The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersAudacious Epigone Blog
It's Raining Comments
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The cup overflows with thought provoking reactions for this COTW. Wency on the drop in the stock price of liberal white women:

White feminists have endured a series of intra-left losses these last few years. World War T has cost them on both sides: MtFs (for whom abortion is at most a theoretical issue) have labeled them “TERFs” and taken much of the feminist high ground from them, while a number of butch left-leaning would-be lesbians have instead gone FtM and “non-binary” and attached themselves more to the LGBT wagon than the feminist one. All the while blacks (whose prestige within the Democratic Party is as high as ever) remain wary of white feminists and label them “Karens”.

Democracy is a zero sum game. That’s why it generates so much anger and resentment.

Wency again on the two most famous dystopian novels of the 20th century (with Fahrenheit 451 occupying the Bach position as a third option against Mozart and Beethoven):

Which dystopia rings more true as a possible vision of the future: the quasi-Communist 1984 or the quasi-liberal Brave New World? I read both of them as a teen in the Clinton years, and I had little doubt: the latter, even though it was written earlier. A couple of decades later, and that appears even more true to me today. I remember being astonished, at first, how old Huxley’s book was, that it predated the Sexual Revolution. Only the weird references to “Ford” really gave it away.

I could perhaps argue though that Huxley’s vision is less evil: I suppose I would prefer to live under it than Orwell’s. But then again, maybe that’s what makes Huxley’s world most threatening to the soul. If a boot is to stamp on our faces forever, then 1984‘s ending aside, maybe I could find it in myself to hate Big Brother and yearn for what could have been. But if we’re merely provided with a crass but comfortable life of selfish hedonism, and never allowed or taught to value attachments like family, then perhaps I’d find myself content with it, and I hate that idea even more.

Unless an authoritarian sadist, 1984 is pure dystopia. On the other hand, there are more than a few people who, if honest with themselves, might view Brave New World as something closer to utopia. They live like it is.

Drawing from his own fieldwork, nebulafox offers insights into hard drug addiction and approaches to help people break free of it:

Many junkies are sincere when they tell you they want to clean up. They aren’t lying to you or attempting to manipulate you. They believe it: in that moment. But their brains are “short-circuited” from addiction. Some junkies do become aware of this dynamic over time, and it’s often a highly depressing realization that leads to further abuse. If you don’t even trust yourself to that extent, you aren’t likely to think you are worth saving.

Detox, in many ways, is the process of repairing and rebuilding neural networks necessary for performance that the addiction destroyed.

So, the good news from that is, it’s possible for the junkie to clean up. They have to want it and know the responsibility lies with them, of course, and some don’t. But many sincerely do. The bad news is, the average person with average willpower who is dealing with a severe addiction is unlikely to have the faculties necessary to break it on their own, especially if they lack meaningful social networks or support. They need a highly regulated environment surrounded by people who care in the “right” way in the right amount: i.e, they genuinely want to see the junkie detox, but don’t have emotional ties that might lead to indulgence. They also can’t just sit around and focus on detoxing constantly: which is a mistake a lot of programs make. They need to rebuild the psychological scars that led to and/or fueled the addiction.

For men in particular, lifting weights is a great therapeutic tool because it emphasizes control and power.

The vulpine again on why an Iranian desire for nukes is rational:

Gaddafi: gave up his nukes. Sodomized and left in ditch.
Saddam: had his nuclear reactor blown up by Israel. Eventually lynched.

The Kims: successfully develops nukes. Endures the horror of mean Hollywood movies and YouTube videos being made about them.
Pakistan: successfully develops nukes. Actually gets away with harboring Bin Laden.

The mullahs draw the logical conclusion from the above about how much nuclear programs are worth, and (given what happened to Mubarak, a guy who was America’s friend for almost as long as the mullahs have been America’s enemies) how much you should trust anything Washington DC has to say.

John Johnson on how the reigning neo-liberal order of the brave new world we’re living in manufactures consent:

I saw this in college where very few students could conceive of professors being dishonest for the sake of politics. Most people assume that really smart people somewhere have already done all the work and it isn’t their place to question the result. This is argument from authority which is a logical fallacy that liberals have not only mastered but have entire areas of study entirely built around it. We saw this with the Wuhan virus where the liberal media said that it couldn’t have come from a lab because the WHO and all kinds of other experts said so. That actually isn’t an argument.

Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:

The bill was being paid even while it was active. It’s like hiring employees with intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation: you have to keep upping the dopamine dose for the latter. With slaves, you have to turn your energies to controlling them, a negative task, from the ones of innovating and growing.

That’s why Alexis D’T noted the extrinsically motivated slave lands as largely barren. They were suffering, but the elites that benefitted from the system kept it in place. Just like English commoners were kept a lot poorer by the Empire using the wealth of the industrial revolution to control India. The common man got no economic dividend from it, but the grifter class at the top of the British Empire did.

Dfordoom provides a pithy outline of weaponized wokeness in action:

[Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden] put the interests of bankers and billionaires ahead of the interests of the rest of us. That makes them pretty far right economically in my book.

To me that’s what neo-liberalism amounts to – looking after the interests of bankers and billionaires while using social left policies to distract us from the economic issues. With most neo-liberals the social policies (antiracism, LGBT nonsense, etc) are motivated by pure cynicism.

The doomer on how echo chambers are a feature of rather than a bug in social media:

Social media is re-creating the conditions of pre-industrial society in which people would spend their whole lives in a tiny social bubble and never have any exposure whatsoever to the wider world or to anyone outside their own immediate social circle. Ironically for most people the world of social media is like living in a tiny village and never interacting with outsiders and never becoming aware that such things as history and culture exist.

V.K. Ovelund on how neo-liberalism is neither purely capitalist nor socialist, but something more like crony capitalist with occasional showers of helicopter money for the rabble, managed by elites convinced they’re doing good:

I suspect that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden see socialism through the Cold War prism of their generation and, thus, are sincere in their regard for capitalism as they understand it. They are also sincere in their desire that capitalists repay that regard with campaign cash and other favors. (If the CEO gets to retire with a net worth of $300 million, then what’s a mere $30 million for a good friend?)

Working Class on how on an all volunteer military allows the empire to wage its forever wars in ways it could never get away with under conscription:

With the abandonment of conscription after VietNam and the fall of the Berlin Wall, endless war became something that happens on television. For Americans, with the notable exception of our veterans, endless war abroad is a background noise forgotten in the midst of domestic culture wars. The woke are mostly silent regarding war and peace. They are engaged with real problems like pronouns and of course, white supremacy.

What’s the over-under on US troop presence in Afghanistan at the end of September?

 
• Category: Arts/Letters, Culture/Society, Economics, Ideology, Science • Tags: COTW 
Hide 169 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. We have always been on the way to a future utopia for the elites, scraping by for the masses, and dystopia for the dissident and intellectual types, ever since the Enlightenment. We have always been in one!

    Liberalism is the virus, not SARS-COV-2 or medical authoritarianism (Those are just cherries on the elites’ cake). It is the system (as Dugin detailed) that will guarantee the destruction of the human race, no matter if there’s a conspiracy or not.

  2. Reply to the John Johnson comment.
    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy – it’s a valid form of argument.
    It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
    Meanwhile you and I need to get some answers about Wuhan because our lives and political liberty are at stake. What can you and I know? We can look for such a scientist and respect his authority when we think we’ve found him. It’s not unlike finding a reliable mechanic to work on your car.
    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.
    It is not as certain a judgment as doing the science work yourself, but it is far from fallacious and is a necessary part of life judgments.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @rebel yell


    Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
     
    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    Replies: @rebel yell

    , @Fluesterwitz
    @rebel yell


    Argument from authority
     
    is a logical fallacy, not necessarily a real-life/ontological one. E.g., the slippery slope argument can be valid in the real world.
    Ironically, some people appear to use the term "fallacy" as an argument from authority in the form of list of logical fallacies compiled by experts.

    Replies: @G. Poulin, @martin_2

    , @MarkU
    @rebel yell


    It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
     
    You are?

    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.
     
    Therein lies the problem, faced with a situation where there are experts on both sides of an argument, people will almost invariably believe the side which is telling them what they want to hear, that is not exercising judgement, it is believing whatever you want to believe.

    One of the biggest problems in our society is that people have been taught that they should have an opinion about everything. In some areas it is reasonable to have an opinion, in others not so much. In the case of a scientific argument, unless you are prepared to educate yourself in the subject, your opinion is worthless. By educating yourself in the subject I do not mean finding some website that is telling you what you want to hear. The sad fact is that the vast majority of people never use their critical faculties unless they are told something disagreeable, so when they find a website or a book that is telling them what they want to believe, that is enough, research over. One should always use ones critical faculties especially when told something agreeable because that is when most of the garbage gets in.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @rebel yell

    , @John Johnson
    @rebel yell

    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy – it’s a valid form of argument.

    Certainly not when it is your only argument. If you can't explain your position other than "cause X says so" then you don't understand the subject enough to argue.

    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    The media wasn't saying that they didn't know. They said it didn't come from the nearby lab because the WHO said so. Did you buy that argument? Did you pay attention to the fact that China never gave the WHO full access? Our press certainly glossed over that fact.

    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.

    No I'm not an expert virologist but it doesn't take an expert to see when the media or an openly pro-China organization is being dishonest.

    If a dangerous gas just happened to be leaked 20 miles from a dangerous gas factory would you allow "argument by authority" to be evidence enough? Especially if it was from a dictatorship that routinely lies?

    Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.

    It's called common sense. When a coronavirus is released near the only lab in China where they are studied you don't turn off your mind to a weak argument made by our lying press or an organization that is openly globalist and pro-China.

    I never took the position that the virus must been from the lab. That is merely the most logical explanation and I remained open to counter-arguments. The WHO and our press however took the position that a lab leak was 100% false and only supported by ignorant Trump voters.

    So far the evidence is pointing at the same conclusion I originally made using the common sense and the facts available and yet here you are defending argument by authority. Are you saying I should have turned off my mind and trusted our press, the WHO and the Chinese government?

    Eventually you will acknowledge my initial assumption was correct and yet the WHO experts you trusted were wrong. China will not be able to keep this covered. Maybe then you will understand why argument by authority is in fact a fallacy.

    , @Bill Jones
    @rebel yell

    No-one but a simpleton starts to look for any cause for an action taken within the political world without Ciciero's Cui Bono.

  3. Unless an authoritarian sadist, 1984 is pure dystopia. On the other hand, there are more than a few people who, if honest with themselves, might view Brave New World as something closer to utopia. They live like it is.

    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.
     
    I found Brave New World to be more disturbing than 1984 because it's more seductive. I could imagine people being willing to accept such a society.

    Orwell's vision was implausible. You can't control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it's not just the proles who are oppressed - the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation. Almost everybody, apart from a tiny Inner Party elite, lives a life of misery and deprivation. Such a society would be highly unstable.

    Huxley's vision is chillingly plausible. If you mostly use the carrot rather than the stick you can exercise complete social control pretty much indefinitely. You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Dutch Boy, @TomSchmidt

  4. @rebel yell
    Reply to the John Johnson comment.
    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy - it's a valid form of argument.
    It's valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
    Meanwhile you and I need to get some answers about Wuhan because our lives and political liberty are at stake. What can you and I know? We can look for such a scientist and respect his authority when we think we've found him. It's not unlike finding a reliable mechanic to work on your car.
    I'm assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he's heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe - argument from authority.
    It is not as certain a judgment as doing the science work yourself, but it is far from fallacious and is a necessary part of life judgments.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Fluesterwitz, @MarkU, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    • Agree: Dissident
    • Replies: @rebel yell
    @dfordoom


    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
     
    The successes of modern science indicate that real world thinkers can indeed lay aside biases, political or otherwise, and achieve a great measure of objectivity. That is the standard we should set.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @John Johnson

  5. @Twinkie

    Unless an authoritarian sadist, 1984 is pure dystopia. On the other hand, there are more than a few people who, if honest with themselves, might view Brave New World as something closer to utopia. They live like it is.
     
    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.

    I found Brave New World to be more disturbing than 1984 because it’s more seductive. I could imagine people being willing to accept such a society.

    Orwell’s vision was implausible. You can’t control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it’s not just the proles who are oppressed – the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation. Almost everybody, apart from a tiny Inner Party elite, lives a life of misery and deprivation. Such a society would be highly unstable.

    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible. If you mostly use the carrot rather than the stick you can exercise complete social control pretty much indefinitely. You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It's only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy. During much of the Cold War, 1984 was more plausible, especially given that a version of it already occurred in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

    You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.
     
    Forget not "attractive enough." I found it downright monstrously repellent and evil.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Barbarossa

    , @Dutch Boy
    @dfordoom

    Although the present is more BNW than 1984, surveillance and cancellation are useful 1984ish adjuncts to the BNW drugs/sex Utopia (aimed at those who don't wish to go along with that program).

    , @TomSchmidt
    @dfordoom


    Orwell’s vision was implausible. You can’t control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it’s not just the proles who are oppressed – the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation.
     
    It used to be argued that theWest was more creative than the Soviets, given the advances in technology. Certainly, fear is a great motivator, as Machiavelli pointed out, even though his own preference in The Prince was for a ruler to be loved (but, he argued, that was not in his control, while fear was. He should have met Bernays and Cialdini!) in times of crisis. The AK47 remains one of the greatest weapons ever created, combining the creativity of the maker with the fear of the invading Teutonic hordes. But as you note, fear will eventually burn out the creative circuits in the brain.

    The cause of Soviet economic failure was the failure of failure. It's not like they didn't have great ideas. The math behind the first Stealth fighter was actually Soviet. They simply did not cut off bad ideas and redirect scarce resources to working ones, preferring to cut off bad people,like wreckers and kulaks.
  6. @rebel yell
    Reply to the John Johnson comment.
    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy - it's a valid form of argument.
    It's valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
    Meanwhile you and I need to get some answers about Wuhan because our lives and political liberty are at stake. What can you and I know? We can look for such a scientist and respect his authority when we think we've found him. It's not unlike finding a reliable mechanic to work on your car.
    I'm assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he's heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe - argument from authority.
    It is not as certain a judgment as doing the science work yourself, but it is far from fallacious and is a necessary part of life judgments.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Fluesterwitz, @MarkU, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    Argument from authority

    is a logical fallacy, not necessarily a real-life/ontological one. E.g., the slippery slope argument can be valid in the real world.
    Ironically, some people appear to use the term “fallacy” as an argument from authority in the form of list of logical fallacies compiled by experts.

    • Replies: @G. Poulin
    @Fluesterwitz

    Correct. Authorities can be right, and often are, but it is a logical fallacy to assume that the authority is necessarily right --- which many people do out of sheer intellectual laziness or a desire to be aligned with authority. I see this all the time in my discussions with fellow Catholics, who are viscerally afraid of being found out of step with what "the Church teaches". "Who the hell are you to disagree with Pope Saint So-and-So?" is what I get constantly.

    Replies: @Liberty Mike

    , @martin_2
    @Fluesterwitz

    "...some people appear to use the term “fallacy” as an argument from authority in the form of list of logical fallacies compiled by experts"

    A beautiful self referential point. I will use that somewhere. It's a bit like when some midwit states there is no objective truth without realising that what they're saying about there being no truth is by their account not true.

  7. What’s the over-under on US troop presence in Afghanistan at the end of September?

    I do not know, but since I’ve skin in that game (my son having been there these past six months), I want the under.

  8. Democracy is a zero sum game. That’s why it generates so much anger and resentment

    I disagree. Much of government is a zero sum game, but democracy is a patch, which reduces catastrophic conflict, by institutionalising it.

    It allows the elite to maintain control, which is the same thing as avoiding catastrophic conflict, by encouraging them to softly split and represent powerful cohorts within society.

    Oddly, the US elite is now more ideologically conforming than it has ever been, but Trump showed the power of political entrepreneurship. The incentives to peel off remain; if you’re willing to take the vilification.

    On the other hand, a united elite suggests a faulty democracy, even if a healthy elite. With modern surveillance technology, social media and all opinions being so public, the power of the elite, to maintain conformity, may have surpassed the incentives of democracy to break it. This leaves a lot of powerful cohorts in society feeling out in the cold.

    In which case, democracy can’t function for long as the reducer of catastrophic conflict. If the elite want to remain the guardians of order then they need to relearn tolerance. I am just not sure most of them even know what it means anymore.

  9. Anonymous[133] • Disclaimer says:

    Is it possible to be a rich elite and also be serious about three of the Four Last Things?? Warren Buffett isn’t. Charlie Munger isn’t. Richard Branson isn’t. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t… All atheists.

    Life is short. The scenario of dystopic doom we have in our mind will never come to pass. But each of us will, soon.

    “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” — Michel de Montaigne

  10. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.
     
    I found Brave New World to be more disturbing than 1984 because it's more seductive. I could imagine people being willing to accept such a society.

    Orwell's vision was implausible. You can't control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it's not just the proles who are oppressed - the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation. Almost everybody, apart from a tiny Inner Party elite, lives a life of misery and deprivation. Such a society would be highly unstable.

    Huxley's vision is chillingly plausible. If you mostly use the carrot rather than the stick you can exercise complete social control pretty much indefinitely. You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Dutch Boy, @TomSchmidt

    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.

    It’s only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy. During much of the Cold War, 1984 was more plausible, especially given that a version of it already occurred in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

    You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.

    Forget not “attractive enough.” I found it downright monstrously repellent and evil.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Twinkie



    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It’s only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy.
     
    Maybe. I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.

    But it's interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.

    So what was it that Huxley saw in the world of 1931 that led him to make such pessimistic prediction of the future? Was it the way capitalism was evolving? Was it the growth of mass media? The effects of mass education? The rising tide of materialism and the beginnings of consumerism? Was it the way democracy was evolving?

    Was it the excesses of the Jazz Age? Is it significant that Evelyn Waugh's scathing hatchet job on the Bright Young Things, Vile Bodies, was written at almost exactly the same time as Brave New World?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency, @res

    , @Barbarossa
    @Twinkie

    "Forget not “attractive enough.” I found it downright monstrously repellent and evil. "

    And now you know why you are commenting on Unz instead of watching "Dancing With the Stars", you enemy of society you!

  11. @Fluesterwitz
    @rebel yell


    Argument from authority
     
    is a logical fallacy, not necessarily a real-life/ontological one. E.g., the slippery slope argument can be valid in the real world.
    Ironically, some people appear to use the term "fallacy" as an argument from authority in the form of list of logical fallacies compiled by experts.

    Replies: @G. Poulin, @martin_2

    Correct. Authorities can be right, and often are, but it is a logical fallacy to assume that the authority is necessarily right — which many people do out of sheer intellectual laziness or a desire to be aligned with authority. I see this all the time in my discussions with fellow Catholics, who are viscerally afraid of being found out of step with what “the Church teaches”. “Who the hell are you to disagree with Pope Saint So-and-So?” is what I get constantly.

    • Replies: @Liberty Mike
    @G. Poulin

    Given the propensity with which authorities are wrong, or ignorant, or mendacious, one should never presume that they are right

  12. @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It's only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy. During much of the Cold War, 1984 was more plausible, especially given that a version of it already occurred in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

    You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.
     
    Forget not "attractive enough." I found it downright monstrously repellent and evil.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Barbarossa

    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.

    It’s only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy.

    Maybe. I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.

    But it’s interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.

    So what was it that Huxley saw in the world of 1931 that led him to make such pessimistic prediction of the future? Was it the way capitalism was evolving? Was it the growth of mass media? The effects of mass education? The rising tide of materialism and the beginnings of consumerism? Was it the way democracy was evolving?

    Was it the excesses of the Jazz Age? Is it significant that Evelyn Waugh’s scathing hatchet job on the Bright Young Things, Vile Bodies, was written at almost exactly the same time as Brave New World?

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.
     
    Multipolarity is unstable. Unipolarity leads to arrogance and decadence. I now see that bipolarity was the best (though the price was paid by the denizens of the Soviet bloc).

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ

    , @Wency
    @dfordoom

    Well, Huxley wasn't a reactionary by any means. I think what he was satirizing was the ultra-orderly, scientific strand of early-20th century progressivism and its various utopian ideas. Based on his own utopian vision in the novel Island (which I've read about but haven't read) I think Huxley was more like a hippie born several decades too early.

    There's perhaps an interesting frame here that on the chaos/order axis, leftism started out the 20th century more on the side of order and conformity (seeking to regiment and rationalize society according to scientific/industrial principles and pushing back against somewhat chaotic and organic traditionalism), then sometime in the mid-20th flipped to the side of chaos and nonconformity (pushing for free speech and free love and a thousand wacky ideas against a modernist gray-suited conservative consensus) and in the form of Wokeism is now once again on the side of order and conformity (restricting free speech and free thought and allying with Woke Corporations and the Woke Military-Industrial Complex).

    Huxley then represents a revolt against the first stage of 20th century leftism and a harbinger of the second stage.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    , @res
    @dfordoom


    But it’s interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.
     
    Agreed. I think Wency is onto something with early 20th century progressivism as a seed. Eugenics being the most obvious example IMHO.

    This looks relevant.
    Designing a Brave New World: Eugenics, Politics, and Fiction
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/tph.2007.29.3.105

    Abstract
    Aldous Huxley composed Brave New World in the context of the Depression and the eugenics movement in Britain. Today his novel is best known as satirical and predictive, but an additional interpretation emerges from Huxley's nonfiction writings in which the liberal humanist expressed some surprising opinions about eugenics, citizenship, and meritocracy. He felt that his role as an artist and public intellectual was to formulate an evolving outlook on urgent social, scientific, and moral issues. His brave new world can therefore be understood as a serious design for social reform, as well as a commentary about the social uses of scientific knowledge.
     
    Full text available here, but I have not read it yet.
    https://mymission.lamission.edu/userdata/spitleep/docs/Eng102Gen/Eugenics%20Politics%20and%20Fiction%20Woiak.pdf
  13. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie



    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It’s only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy.
     
    Maybe. I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.

    But it's interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.

    So what was it that Huxley saw in the world of 1931 that led him to make such pessimistic prediction of the future? Was it the way capitalism was evolving? Was it the growth of mass media? The effects of mass education? The rising tide of materialism and the beginnings of consumerism? Was it the way democracy was evolving?

    Was it the excesses of the Jazz Age? Is it significant that Evelyn Waugh's scathing hatchet job on the Bright Young Things, Vile Bodies, was written at almost exactly the same time as Brave New World?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency, @res

    I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.

    Multipolarity is unstable. Unipolarity leads to arrogance and decadence. I now see that bipolarity was the best (though the price was paid by the denizens of the Soviet bloc).

    • Agree: ChrisZ
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    Multipolarity is unstable. Unipolarity leads to arrogance and decadence. I now see that bipolarity was the best (though the price was paid by the denizens of the Soviet bloc).
     
    That may well be correct.
    , @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie

    I've been thinking about your clever and humane observation, Twinkie, and would like to add a corollary. Namely, that while bipolarity is the "best" scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival. The end of the great rivalries of antiquity--Athens/Sparta, Carthage/Rome, maybe even Troy/Achaia--seem to have had this character, as does the post-Cold War world we're now enduring.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  14. The Culture from Iain Banks books is a notable 4th credible dystopia; it’s about a post-scarcity society in which all pleasures are permitted but all key decisions are taken by super-intelligent AIs making biological species a sort of pampered pets that live lives of plenty but have no political agency.
    Funnily enough many consider this to be an utopia, a sort of Fully Automated Gay Space Luxury Communism, and Musk names the ships used by SpaceX in the style of Minds from the Culture book series.
    Maybe they have a point and being ruled by AI is better than being ruled by sociopathic politicians and fanatical activists.

    • Replies: @Liberty Mike
    @SIMP simp

    "A just machine to make big decisions
    Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision
    We'll be clean when their work is done
    We'll be eternally free and yes eternally young"

    Perhaps Donald Fagen was channeling his inner Huxley.

    , @A123
    @SIMP simp


    The Culture from Iain Banks books is a notable 4th credible dystopia;
     
    I find his writing to be difficult. I read a the first three Culture books, but gave up on the series.

    Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth series is more approachable. One of the cultures in that universe is Huxley's Haven, a planet that withdrew from the Commonwealth to build a society based on roles that people were genetically engineered to fulfill. While stigmatized by the more open planetary cultures, Huxley's Haven is known for its stability.

    AE's suggestion is plausible. As an Alpha or Beta, life in Huxley's titular Brave New World would not be a great hardship.

    PEACE 😇

  15. @rebel yell
    Reply to the John Johnson comment.
    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy - it's a valid form of argument.
    It's valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
    Meanwhile you and I need to get some answers about Wuhan because our lives and political liberty are at stake. What can you and I know? We can look for such a scientist and respect his authority when we think we've found him. It's not unlike finding a reliable mechanic to work on your car.
    I'm assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he's heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe - argument from authority.
    It is not as certain a judgment as doing the science work yourself, but it is far from fallacious and is a necessary part of life judgments.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Fluesterwitz, @MarkU, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.

    You are?

    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.

    Therein lies the problem, faced with a situation where there are experts on both sides of an argument, people will almost invariably believe the side which is telling them what they want to hear, that is not exercising judgement, it is believing whatever you want to believe.

    One of the biggest problems in our society is that people have been taught that they should have an opinion about everything. In some areas it is reasonable to have an opinion, in others not so much. In the case of a scientific argument, unless you are prepared to educate yourself in the subject, your opinion is worthless. By educating yourself in the subject I do not mean finding some website that is telling you what you want to hear. The sad fact is that the vast majority of people never use their critical faculties unless they are told something disagreeable, so when they find a website or a book that is telling them what they want to believe, that is enough, research over. One should always use ones critical faculties especially when told something agreeable because that is when most of the garbage gets in.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    @MarkU

    In a highly complex information environment like our modern society, having an opinion or not is a damned if you do damned if you don't situation. Japan is a country where people are not taught that it is important to have an opinion. Tropes, stereotypes, and adherence to consensus fill the void. I have had experiences trying to teach where I can't get people to express an opinion on something and end up thinking, "yeah, well, really I shouldn't have an opinion on that either--pretty dumb of me.". On the other hand, holding an opinion and rationalizing is a beginning stage of critical thought. That's what happens in debate classes/ clubs--you adopt an opinion and then defend when confronted with a counter-opinion. Finding a website that gives you arguments in favor of your preference is not thorough education, but it is not nothing either. Without that vein in society of people willing to believe in the "minority report" on a wide range of topics they aren't actually educated on, we would just be totally at the mercy of elite influencers.

    Replies: @MarkU

    , @rebel yell
    @MarkU

    I'll just add this -
    Almost all the decisions you make and opinions you hold rely on or appeal to some authority. Almost all the critical thinking you do is directed at evaluating which authority you will trust. Seldom do you conduct your own experiments and use your own data points to form an opinion.
    Investing your money? Deciding whether to authorize a car repair? Choosing a new hot water heater for your house? Deciding whether to get treatment for your cancer? - in every case you will educate yourself on what the contending experts are recommending and then pick your poison. Your final decision will rest on someone else's authority, since you yourself are not a professional economist, mechanic, plumber, or MD.
    All opinions you hold on political, economic, and social issues rely on some other authority - at least if you have well-formed opinions they do. You will cite studies, you will cite authors, you will cite arguments or work done by others. Critical thinking means "listening in" on the arguments among experts and then deciding which school of experts is likely right. There is no avoiding appeal to authority, since you are not going to avoid the expert work done by others and you are not going to personally repeat every experiment ever done. You are better off making well-informed, intelligent choices among authorities and being forthright that you are depending on the work of others to reach your own conclusions.
    What I am describing is not stupid appeals to authority, such as "The experts said it so it must be true," or "I found an expert who validates my biases and that's all I need to know." It is good Rhetoric as Aristotle and other pre-modern thinkers understood it - "I have done my homework and studied the arguments of contending experts and, though I am still an amateur myself, I have a well-informed opinion on the subject." Remember that there is no avoiding having amateur opinions - you have to do something with your money and your hot water heater, and if you are a good citizen you have to have the best opinions you can on the issues of the day. Choose your authorities well.

  16. “What’s the over-under on US troop presence in Afghanistan at the end of September?”

    It depends on what is meant by “US troop presence”.
    I don’t think that all the special ops and contractors are leaving Afghanistan. All the “normal” troops may leave, but I think the Biden administration has made it pretty clear that we aren’t really getting out.
    I think there is 0% chance we are actually out, but there will be some optics that will make most normal people think we are.

  17. The JEW/WASP Ruling Class of the American Empire uses distractionary non-procreative spasms and titilation conditioning to keep the pauperized peasants in thrall to another form of power when the pauperized peasants should be focused on the power of dislodging the evil and treasonous ruling class and installing a new patriotic ruling class that advances the interests of the European Christian ancestral core of the USA.

    WHITE CORE AMERICA will financially liquidate all members of the JEW/WASP Ruling Class and its minions and the former ruling class slobs and their rancid minions shall be forcibly exiled to sub-Saharan Africa.

    Human nature dictates that there will always be ruling classes and the current JEW/WASP Ruling Class of the American Empire is very close to walking the plank and submerging into watery historical oblivion.

    Brave New World had orgy porgy and 1984 had Winston selling out Julia and the orgy porgy gives the downward transcendence and crowd intoxication of the two minutes hate and the two minute warning is now here and the JEW/WASP Ruling Class of the American Empire is heading for the graveyard of dislodged and decapitated ruling classes.

    I displayed my disgust and disdain about this nasty rotting empire business in October of 2019:

    Many White men would phuck a rock pile if they thought a snake was in it. Blacks too. Divorce lawyers rely on these rock pile “animal spirits” for their bread and butter and Mercedes-Benze automobile purchases.

    This gender bender business and all this hubba hubba horsehit about this or that prostate pulser positioning is the talk of a rotting and decadent and rancid empire about to implode with a big wump wump thump.

    The undertow of squalid sexual mumbo jumbo and ass slapping foppery in the American Empire is right out of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

    I blame Cole Porter, Milton Berle, John Irving, John Lithgow, Helen Gurley Brown, Aunt Blabby, Maude Frickert and Jonathan Winters for all this gender bender confusion and anything goes sexual free for all that is the Tower of Babel and Sodom and Gomorrah all rolled into one big imperial implosion freakout.

    I blame Cole Porter, Milton Berle, John Irving, John Lithgow, Helen Gurley Brown, Aunt Blabby, Maude Frickert and Jonathan Winters for all this gender bender confusion and anything goes sexual free for all that is the Tower of Babel and Sodom and Gomorrah all rolled into one big imperial implosion freakout.

    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/alt-youth/#comment-3499152

  18. Which dystopia rings more true as a possible vision of the future: the quasi-Communist 1984 or the quasi-liberal Brave New World? I read both of them as a teen in the Clinton years, and I had little doubt: the latter, even though it was written earlier.

    Huxley does certainly seem more prophetic as time goes on. I would highly recommend his essay “Brave New World Revisited” written in 1958! If you thought the novel was insightful this is a whole new level, especially the parts about advertising and technology. Here’s a link.

    https://www.huxley.net/bnw-revisited/

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Thanks: res, Fluesterwitz
  19. @MarkU
    @rebel yell


    It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
     
    You are?

    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.
     
    Therein lies the problem, faced with a situation where there are experts on both sides of an argument, people will almost invariably believe the side which is telling them what they want to hear, that is not exercising judgement, it is believing whatever you want to believe.

    One of the biggest problems in our society is that people have been taught that they should have an opinion about everything. In some areas it is reasonable to have an opinion, in others not so much. In the case of a scientific argument, unless you are prepared to educate yourself in the subject, your opinion is worthless. By educating yourself in the subject I do not mean finding some website that is telling you what you want to hear. The sad fact is that the vast majority of people never use their critical faculties unless they are told something disagreeable, so when they find a website or a book that is telling them what they want to believe, that is enough, research over. One should always use ones critical faculties especially when told something agreeable because that is when most of the garbage gets in.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @rebel yell

    In a highly complex information environment like our modern society, having an opinion or not is a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. Japan is a country where people are not taught that it is important to have an opinion. Tropes, stereotypes, and adherence to consensus fill the void. I have had experiences trying to teach where I can’t get people to express an opinion on something and end up thinking, “yeah, well, really I shouldn’t have an opinion on that either–pretty dumb of me.”. On the other hand, holding an opinion and rationalizing is a beginning stage of critical thought. That’s what happens in debate classes/ clubs–you adopt an opinion and then defend when confronted with a counter-opinion. Finding a website that gives you arguments in favor of your preference is not thorough education, but it is not nothing either. Without that vein in society of people willing to believe in the “minority report” on a wide range of topics they aren’t actually educated on, we would just be totally at the mercy of elite influencers.

    • Replies: @MarkU
    @Chrisnonymous


    Finding a website that gives you arguments in favor of your preference is not thorough education, but it is not nothing either.
     
    Agreed, but it could be better than nothing or worse than nothing, that is the problem, being misinformed is worse than being uninformed.
  20. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie



    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It’s only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy.
     
    Maybe. I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.

    But it's interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.

    So what was it that Huxley saw in the world of 1931 that led him to make such pessimistic prediction of the future? Was it the way capitalism was evolving? Was it the growth of mass media? The effects of mass education? The rising tide of materialism and the beginnings of consumerism? Was it the way democracy was evolving?

    Was it the excesses of the Jazz Age? Is it significant that Evelyn Waugh's scathing hatchet job on the Bright Young Things, Vile Bodies, was written at almost exactly the same time as Brave New World?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency, @res

    Well, Huxley wasn’t a reactionary by any means. I think what he was satirizing was the ultra-orderly, scientific strand of early-20th century progressivism and its various utopian ideas. Based on his own utopian vision in the novel Island (which I’ve read about but haven’t read) I think Huxley was more like a hippie born several decades too early.

    There’s perhaps an interesting frame here that on the chaos/order axis, leftism started out the 20th century more on the side of order and conformity (seeking to regiment and rationalize society according to scientific/industrial principles and pushing back against somewhat chaotic and organic traditionalism), then sometime in the mid-20th flipped to the side of chaos and nonconformity (pushing for free speech and free love and a thousand wacky ideas against a modernist gray-suited conservative consensus) and in the form of Wokeism is now once again on the side of order and conformity (restricting free speech and free thought and allying with Woke Corporations and the Woke Military-Industrial Complex).

    Huxley then represents a revolt against the first stage of 20th century leftism and a harbinger of the second stage.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Wency


    Well, Huxley wasn’t a reactionary by any means. I think what he was satirizing was the ultra-orderly, scientific strand of early-20th century progressivism and its various utopian ideas. Based on his own utopian vision in the novel Island (which I’ve read about but haven’t read) I think Huxley was more like a hippie born several decades too early.
     
    Island is interesting mainly because it makes Huxley's views clearer. It does make it clear that, as you say, he was certainly not in any way a conventional reactionary. And yeah, definite hippie tendencies. It's also worth reading his early 1920s comic novels such as Crome Yellow and Antic Hay to get a fuller understanding of where he was coming from.

    I think your remarks on the dramatic shifts of the Left over the past century are very perspicacious.

    Having lived through a couple of decades of overbearing political correctness and now Wokeism I find myself getting nostalgic for the free-wheeling chaos of the 60s and 70s. It certainly had its downside but it was fun. Fun was outlawed sometime in the late 90s.

    It's certainly grimly ironic that the modern Left is about as much fun as the 17th century Puritans.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

  21. Which dystopia rings more true as a possible vision of the future: the quasi-Communist 1984 or the quasi-liberal Brave New World? I read both of them as a teen in the Clinton years, and I had little doubt: the latter, even though it was written earlier. A couple of decades later, and that appears even more true to me today. I remember being astonished, at first, how old Huxley’s book was, that it predated the Sexual Revolution. Only the weird references to “Ford” really gave it away.

    I say:

    Brave New World is the fait accompli horror story that is already over and 1984 still needs Big Brother to torture Winston and the other intellectuals and there is a chance something might happen. Huxley slams the brakes on redemption or dislodgement of the ruling class and Huxley’s story is the existential horror book while Orwell allows for action. Huxley precludes totalitarian removal possibilities and if I remember the genetically altered proles just about kill some dope who wants the proles to give up the soma.

    Brave New World is the more horrifying book and 1984 is the more suspenseful book.

    My take on 1984 from October of 2019:

    Anti-White Race Slots sounds more sinister than affirmative action.

    Affirmative action sounds like a Lifetime buddy road trip broad movie starring Valerie Bertinelli and Meredith Baxter Birney.

    I blame George Orwell for giving the White upper middle class globalizers and the White Plutocrat Globalizers the idea to use globalization and financialization and mass legal immigration and mass illegal immigration and anti-White race slots as demographic weapons to attack and destroy lower middle class Whites and regular middle class Whites. I also blame the serpent and the apple and Adam for not ignoring Eve’s offer of an apple.

    George Orwell said that Big Brother didn’t have to bother much with the proletarians because all they wanted was some ale and a job that was physical and some more ale and some neighborhood drama and some sports and gambling and the like and they were content. Big Brother had to contend with the intellectuals like Winston Smith.

    The current White proletarians can be won over to a new Sam Francis type political party with a call to remove 50 or 60 million foreigners in the USA to greatly improve the living standards of the proles. Don’t call them proles.

    Proles will also respond positively to a new Sam Francis type political party that EXPLICITLY advances the interests of White Americans as Whites.

    WHITE CORE AMERICA RISING!

    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/support-for-affirmative-action-among-whites-by-class-and-political-orientation/#comment-3483801

  22. “What’s the over-under on US troop presence in Afghanistan at the end of September?”

    The US military is holding onto fortified enclaves in Iraq and Syria. It believes that it can hold these through airpower, air supply logistics, and mastery of battlefield intelligence.

    The nearest comparison may be Crusader forts.

  23. DforDoom with the reliable “everything terrible about the left wing is actually right wing,” take. I mean leftism is a priori always good, and this is bad, ergo right wing.

    In reality removing barriers to trade and international capital dominating smaller states is a liberal progressive idea. To the liberal, protectionism and institutional barriers to international trade/labour mobility are just regressive and parochial holdovers from things like feudalism, and arbitrary prohibitions on people’s freedom to move and conduct business however and wherever they want. And thus an extremely liberal society like the west is dominated by free market thinking (in fact, free market thinking also dominates their social thinking).

    Trade and financial regulations/restrictions aren’t compatible with liberalism because liberalism always appeals to incoherent retard concepts like freedom/autonomy that will only ever be read in the ruling classes’ favor (which is why cuckservatives love it). If you say that regulations don’t reduce someone’s freedom/autonomy, you’re either a liar or an idiot. If you make the (correct) objection that not prohibiting certain things reduces other people’s freedom/autonomy in different ways, congratulations, you’ve taken the first steps in realizing liberalism is a shitload of incoherent babble.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Athletic and Whitesplosive


    In reality removing barriers to trade and international capital dominating smaller states is a liberal progressive idea.
     
    It's an economic liberal idea, and economic liberalism is just another name for the Economic Right. It's right-wing because it's based on a belief in things like free markets and economic freedom as opposed to the Economic Left which tends to favour statist solutions and government intervention in the economy.

    The Economic Left/Economic Right divide has no connection whatsoever with the divide between social liberalism and social conservatism.

    In other words there are two entirely different kinds of liberalism.

    Belief in freedom/autonomy in the economic sphere does not imply belief in freedom/autonomy in the social sphere, and vice versa.
  24. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.
     
    I found Brave New World to be more disturbing than 1984 because it's more seductive. I could imagine people being willing to accept such a society.

    Orwell's vision was implausible. You can't control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it's not just the proles who are oppressed - the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation. Almost everybody, apart from a tiny Inner Party elite, lives a life of misery and deprivation. Such a society would be highly unstable.

    Huxley's vision is chillingly plausible. If you mostly use the carrot rather than the stick you can exercise complete social control pretty much indefinitely. You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Dutch Boy, @TomSchmidt

    Although the present is more BNW than 1984, surveillance and cancellation are useful 1984ish adjuncts to the BNW drugs/sex Utopia (aimed at those who don’t wish to go along with that program).

    • Agree: dfordoom
  25. @G. Poulin
    @Fluesterwitz

    Correct. Authorities can be right, and often are, but it is a logical fallacy to assume that the authority is necessarily right --- which many people do out of sheer intellectual laziness or a desire to be aligned with authority. I see this all the time in my discussions with fellow Catholics, who are viscerally afraid of being found out of step with what "the Church teaches". "Who the hell are you to disagree with Pope Saint So-and-So?" is what I get constantly.

    Replies: @Liberty Mike

    Given the propensity with which authorities are wrong, or ignorant, or mendacious, one should never presume that they are right

    • Agree: dimples
  26. @Chrisnonymous
    @MarkU

    In a highly complex information environment like our modern society, having an opinion or not is a damned if you do damned if you don't situation. Japan is a country where people are not taught that it is important to have an opinion. Tropes, stereotypes, and adherence to consensus fill the void. I have had experiences trying to teach where I can't get people to express an opinion on something and end up thinking, "yeah, well, really I shouldn't have an opinion on that either--pretty dumb of me.". On the other hand, holding an opinion and rationalizing is a beginning stage of critical thought. That's what happens in debate classes/ clubs--you adopt an opinion and then defend when confronted with a counter-opinion. Finding a website that gives you arguments in favor of your preference is not thorough education, but it is not nothing either. Without that vein in society of people willing to believe in the "minority report" on a wide range of topics they aren't actually educated on, we would just be totally at the mercy of elite influencers.

    Replies: @MarkU

    Finding a website that gives you arguments in favor of your preference is not thorough education, but it is not nothing either.

    Agreed, but it could be better than nothing or worse than nothing, that is the problem, being misinformed is worse than being uninformed.

  27. By the way, and I mean it sincerely: one of the nicest signs of honesty and good character at The Unz Review and particularly in Audacious Epigone’s blog is that, if someone like me happens to mention military service, hardly any fellow American reader ever utters the retarded, clumsy, embarrassing “Thank you for your service!” (That was all right for a few months in the Lee Greenwood era of the first Gulf War, while the nation unburdened herself of Vietnam hangover, but it’s a saccharine nothing now.)

    Commenters are more candid here, and as a rule more genuinely polite. I appreciate that.

    • Agree: WorkingClass, Daniel H
  28. @SIMP simp
    The Culture from Iain Banks books is a notable 4th credible dystopia; it's about a post-scarcity society in which all pleasures are permitted but all key decisions are taken by super-intelligent AIs making biological species a sort of pampered pets that live lives of plenty but have no political agency.
    Funnily enough many consider this to be an utopia, a sort of Fully Automated Gay Space Luxury Communism, and Musk names the ships used by SpaceX in the style of Minds from the Culture book series.
    Maybe they have a point and being ruled by AI is better than being ruled by sociopathic politicians and fanatical activists.

    Replies: @Liberty Mike, @A123

    “A just machine to make big decisions
    Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision
    We’ll be clean when their work is done
    We’ll be eternally free and yes eternally young”

    Perhaps Donald Fagen was channeling his inner Huxley.

  29. res says:
    @dfordoom
    @Twinkie



    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It’s only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy.
     
    Maybe. I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.

    But it's interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.

    So what was it that Huxley saw in the world of 1931 that led him to make such pessimistic prediction of the future? Was it the way capitalism was evolving? Was it the growth of mass media? The effects of mass education? The rising tide of materialism and the beginnings of consumerism? Was it the way democracy was evolving?

    Was it the excesses of the Jazz Age? Is it significant that Evelyn Waugh's scathing hatchet job on the Bright Young Things, Vile Bodies, was written at almost exactly the same time as Brave New World?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency, @res

    But it’s interesting that Huxley could see such a future as plausible way back in 1931.

    Agreed. I think Wency is onto something with early 20th century progressivism as a seed. Eugenics being the most obvious example IMHO.

    This looks relevant.
    Designing a Brave New World: Eugenics, Politics, and Fiction
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/tph.2007.29.3.105

    Abstract
    Aldous Huxley composed Brave New World in the context of the Depression and the eugenics movement in Britain. Today his novel is best known as satirical and predictive, but an additional interpretation emerges from Huxley’s nonfiction writings in which the liberal humanist expressed some surprising opinions about eugenics, citizenship, and meritocracy. He felt that his role as an artist and public intellectual was to formulate an evolving outlook on urgent social, scientific, and moral issues. His brave new world can therefore be understood as a serious design for social reform, as well as a commentary about the social uses of scientific knowledge.

    Full text available here, but I have not read it yet.
    https://mymission.lamission.edu/userdata/spitleep/docs/Eng102Gen/Eugenics%20Politics%20and%20Fiction%20Woiak.pdf

    • Thanks: Fluesterwitz, dfordoom
  30. @Fluesterwitz
    @rebel yell


    Argument from authority
     
    is a logical fallacy, not necessarily a real-life/ontological one. E.g., the slippery slope argument can be valid in the real world.
    Ironically, some people appear to use the term "fallacy" as an argument from authority in the form of list of logical fallacies compiled by experts.

    Replies: @G. Poulin, @martin_2

    “…some people appear to use the term “fallacy” as an argument from authority in the form of list of logical fallacies compiled by experts”

    A beautiful self referential point. I will use that somewhere. It’s a bit like when some midwit states there is no objective truth without realising that what they’re saying about there being no truth is by their account not true.

  31. What’s the over-under on US troop presence in Afghanistan at the end of September?

    Is the Deep State’s stubborn refusal to exit Syria relevant to this question? I don’t think so. Now that Orange Man is gone it may be possible that our permanant government will remove the uniforms from Afghanistan. But NGOs and mercenaries will remain. Any honest and actual withdrawal from the Greater Middle East awaits the final collapse of the Zio/Anglo Empire.

  32. A123 says: • Website
    @SIMP simp
    The Culture from Iain Banks books is a notable 4th credible dystopia; it's about a post-scarcity society in which all pleasures are permitted but all key decisions are taken by super-intelligent AIs making biological species a sort of pampered pets that live lives of plenty but have no political agency.
    Funnily enough many consider this to be an utopia, a sort of Fully Automated Gay Space Luxury Communism, and Musk names the ships used by SpaceX in the style of Minds from the Culture book series.
    Maybe they have a point and being ruled by AI is better than being ruled by sociopathic politicians and fanatical activists.

    Replies: @Liberty Mike, @A123

    The Culture from Iain Banks books is a notable 4th credible dystopia;

    I find his writing to be difficult. I read a the first three Culture books, but gave up on the series.

    Peter Hamilton’s Commonwealth series is more approachable. One of the cultures in that universe is Huxley’s Haven, a planet that withdrew from the Commonwealth to build a society based on roles that people were genetically engineered to fulfill. While stigmatized by the more open planetary cultures, Huxley’s Haven is known for its stability.

    AE’s suggestion is plausible. As an Alpha or Beta, life in Huxley’s titular Brave New World would not be a great hardship.

    PEACE 😇

  33. @MarkU
    @rebel yell


    It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
     
    You are?

    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.
     
    Therein lies the problem, faced with a situation where there are experts on both sides of an argument, people will almost invariably believe the side which is telling them what they want to hear, that is not exercising judgement, it is believing whatever you want to believe.

    One of the biggest problems in our society is that people have been taught that they should have an opinion about everything. In some areas it is reasonable to have an opinion, in others not so much. In the case of a scientific argument, unless you are prepared to educate yourself in the subject, your opinion is worthless. By educating yourself in the subject I do not mean finding some website that is telling you what you want to hear. The sad fact is that the vast majority of people never use their critical faculties unless they are told something disagreeable, so when they find a website or a book that is telling them what they want to believe, that is enough, research over. One should always use ones critical faculties especially when told something agreeable because that is when most of the garbage gets in.

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @rebel yell

    I’ll just add this –
    Almost all the decisions you make and opinions you hold rely on or appeal to some authority. Almost all the critical thinking you do is directed at evaluating which authority you will trust. Seldom do you conduct your own experiments and use your own data points to form an opinion.
    Investing your money? Deciding whether to authorize a car repair? Choosing a new hot water heater for your house? Deciding whether to get treatment for your cancer? – in every case you will educate yourself on what the contending experts are recommending and then pick your poison. Your final decision will rest on someone else’s authority, since you yourself are not a professional economist, mechanic, plumber, or MD.
    All opinions you hold on political, economic, and social issues rely on some other authority – at least if you have well-formed opinions they do. You will cite studies, you will cite authors, you will cite arguments or work done by others. Critical thinking means “listening in” on the arguments among experts and then deciding which school of experts is likely right. There is no avoiding appeal to authority, since you are not going to avoid the expert work done by others and you are not going to personally repeat every experiment ever done. You are better off making well-informed, intelligent choices among authorities and being forthright that you are depending on the work of others to reach your own conclusions.
    What I am describing is not stupid appeals to authority, such as “The experts said it so it must be true,” or “I found an expert who validates my biases and that’s all I need to know.” It is good Rhetoric as Aristotle and other pre-modern thinkers understood it – “I have done my homework and studied the arguments of contending experts and, though I am still an amateur myself, I have a well-informed opinion on the subject.” Remember that there is no avoiding having amateur opinions – you have to do something with your money and your hot water heater, and if you are a good citizen you have to have the best opinions you can on the issues of the day. Choose your authorities well.

    • Agree: MarkU
  34. Which dystopia rings more true as a possible vision of the future: the quasi-Communist 1984 or the quasi-liberal Brave New World?

    technology dependent

    “1984” is/was an accurate vision of the kind of system necessary for total control at a certain level of technology

    “BNW” is accurate for a level of technology which we didn’t have back then but are coming into now.

  35. Orwell’s workhorse called Boxer from Animal Farm as a stand in for Whites Without College Degrees(WWCDs).

    I wrote this in December of 2017(with slight spelling corrections):

    I know what happened to Boxer — Russian working class — the work horse in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Boxer busted his arse building the farm back up to snuff after it had undergone the revolution and other problems. The pigs — Stalinists — rewarded Boxer by carting him away to the glue factory. Poor Boxer finally realized he was going to the glue factory while in the truck, but he was so exhausted from his labors in working on the farm that he didn’t have enough strength to kick the truck to pieces to escape.

    Whites Without College Degrees(WWCDs) are the new Boxer of the present day. The Stalinists are now the Globalizers. The Globalizers have decided that all the hard work and all the soldiering over generations by the WWCDs will be rewarded with deliberate attacks and sneaky ways to harm them. From mass immigration to de-industrialization to hooking the WWCDs on drugs, the Globalizer pigs have used every trick in the book to destroy Whites Without College Degrees. Two academics have described this demographic phenomenon as the WHITE DEATH.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/ferdinand/#comment-2132091

  36. Drawing from his own fieldwork, nebulafox offers insights into hard drug addiction and approaches to help people break free of it:

    I say:

    Warren Zevon on the mantras of the rehab industry in a catchy song with an excellent guitar groove:

    Well, it’s tough to be somebody
    And it’s hard to keep from fallin’ apart
    Up here on Rehab Mountain
    We gonna learn these things by heart

  37. rebel yell: “Argument from authority … [is] a valid form of argument. It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.”

    I agree with your analysis. I’ve engaged with Johnson quite a few times, often on the topic of Christianity, which many authorities see as the source of leftist ideology. In support of this point, I once quoted Oswald Spengler, so Johnson tried this objection on me, here:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-woke-are-reversing-the-compartmentalization-of-science-from-faith/#comment-4232637

    Johnson is the type of fellow who sees no reason why, since he considers himself the world’s greatest expert on everything, his opinion on this shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Spengler’s. As do many people, he defines Christianity very narrowly, tailoring this definition to fit his rhetorical purpose, thus concealing its many malignant cultural side effects.

    As you correctly note, the problem is that the explosive growth in knowledge and scholarship characteristic of modern times has produced a situation in which expert opinion must be appealed to in order to achieve the best results possible. No one can be an expert on everything. There simply isn’t time enough, even if a human mind were big enough to contain all knowledge, which of course it isn’t. At the same time though, there has been a democratization of these things. The internet brings whole libraries of scholarship into easy reach. So everyone may have an opinion, and that opinion may even be more or less informed. But still, that doesn’t mean that all opinions are of equal value.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    I agree with your analysis. I’ve engaged with Johnson quite a few times, often on the topic of Christianity, which many authorities see as the source of leftist ideology. In support of this point, I once quoted Oswald Spengler, so Johnson tried this objection on me, here:

    Ah here we go with nebulous authorities that you don't cite.

    Yes Dr. Morgan and Marxist authorities agree that Christianity needs to be eliminated.

    Dr. Morgan still hasn't explained how this will somehow benefit Whites.

    Marxists however have written extensively about how it is the White religion that needs to be eliminated as it passes on traditional Western values. You can even find articles where they write about giving Islam a pass but Christianity needs to be destroyed.

    I have pointed out that birth rates in White countries strongly correlate with secularism but Dr. Morgan is certain that removing Christianity will not cause a further drop because of (?????) plan he hasn't explained. I still await his underpants gnomes theory on this.

    Marxists fully agree with Dr. Morgan but unlike him actually have a plan. Maybe Secular White Nationalists and Anti-Christian Marxists could get together for a potluck? Christianity, Our Common Enemy. Bring a hot dish.

    Johnson is the type of fellow who sees no reason why, since he considers himself the world’s greatest expert on everything, his opinion on this shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Spengler’s.

    Thanks for the compliment. No I don't consider myself the world's expert on everything but I did find it peculiar that I had numerous professors get emotional and weirdly defensive over my questions. So aren't professors experts? Something stinks about modern knowledge which is exemplified by your faith in it. Too many self-described experts are just quoting experts and hoping no one actually asks them to explain themselves. Wuhan is a prime example of this. I would have grilled any of these experts with questions. Any of them. That is the job of our press but they are cowardly and put politics first which makes them prone to argument by authority.

    In my field I am certainly an expert and would never shy away from questions from a layman. I would welcome them in fact and have many times. Try asking an expert anthropologist a basic question about race and evolution. Watch them turn into petulant children in adult bodies. Same thing happens with just about any field where liberals dominate.

    Replies: @commandor, @Barbarossa

  38. @dfordoom
    @rebel yell


    Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
     
    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    Replies: @rebel yell

    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    The successes of modern science indicate that real world thinkers can indeed lay aside biases, political or otherwise, and achieve a great measure of objectivity. That is the standard we should set.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @rebel yell

    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.

    To take it to extremes, I bet even the most rational scientists would sometimes become irrational and unaware in arguments in their marriage or with their children.

    I have met one person who I think wouldn't. Maybe two.

    Replies: @rebel yell, @dfordoom

    , @John Johnson
    @rebel yell

    The successes of modern science indicate that real world thinkers can indeed lay aside biases, political or otherwise, and achieve a great measure of objectivity. That is the standard we should set.

    But those successes are disproportionately where political bias isn't going to be a factor. For example we have seen massive increases in computer technology while the social sciences are stuck in the 60s. In journalism a science? No but the people involved seem to think they value objectivity and yet they seem incapable of writing anything related to politics with intellectual honesty.

    Numerous college departments have essentially locked out objectivity. That is really the point of post-modernism. What they call critical race theory has a similar origin. It's very much about locking out people that want to establish an objective viewpoint or even suggest that one might exist. They want to lock out belief in objectivity so they can dominate through subjectivity.

    The left realized at some point that they couldn't be objective which is really why the universities are filled with so much garbage. They just don't have enough convincing arguments. Even the original Marxists weren't interested in debate. Marx called for a violent takeover of the government and not a friendly debate with capitalists.

    We are locked in a struggle with liberals and they have no intention of playing by the rules. I assume that most at the top know full well they are lying. So what I am getting at is that there is a game being played whether we want it to be or not. We can't really force objectivity when the dominant political ideology doesn't believe in it at a standard. On some level it really makes logical sense to attack them by any means necessary. Not saying I support this view as it encourages nihilism but the logic is there.

  39. @rebel yell
    @dfordoom


    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
     
    The successes of modern science indicate that real world thinkers can indeed lay aside biases, political or otherwise, and achieve a great measure of objectivity. That is the standard we should set.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @John Johnson

    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.

    To take it to extremes, I bet even the most rational scientists would sometimes become irrational and unaware in arguments in their marriage or with their children.

    I have met one person who I think wouldn’t. Maybe two.

    • Replies: @rebel yell
    @Triteleia Laxa

    Very true - objectivity (and just plain old honesty) is harder to come by in debates where values and self-interest are at stake.

    , @dfordoom
    @Triteleia Laxa


    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.
     
    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren't that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors. Even if the link between that scientific field and politics might seem tenuous you can be sure that somebody will make a political issue out of it and then personal political biases and external political pressures will come into play.

    A couple of years ago most of us would have considered it implausible that epidemiology would become totally politicised but it happened.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @V. K. Ovelund

  40. As much as I would prefer a conscription-based military for the sake of crippling our offensive capacity in random war making, it would likely be better to adopt a semi-Swiss\IDF model: abolish the army, replace it with a militia based on the district-level with a permanent deeper ment in charge of coordinating them in times of maneuvers, mobilization, and war. This leaves the more complicated defense systems in place (Navy, Air force, Coast Guard (optional), and create a Missile force like Russia and China did) to ward off any theoretical invasion or missile attack, while rendering any actual offensive action nearly impossible, assuming other nations have quality air and ship killing capacity, and our leaders no longer feel like invading the world post-reform.

    Iran should definitely have nukes, and so should every other country capable of producing them. Let the world be equally afraid and respectful of each other.

    • Replies: @Wency
    @Boomthorkell

    My simple suggestion is something like reducing Army + Marines to fewer than 100,000 personnel (including National Guard and Reserves) and cutting 50% of funding for Air Force / Navy. Though I'd also be happy with just abolishing the Army and Marines entirely.

    Militarily speaking, the US doesn't need a militia system because it doesn't have any land-based threats in North America -- there's no military purpose to importing a system from Eurasia (which is nothing but land-based threats) to North America. But you could argue for social benefits, and all our problems are social, after all. I'm just not sure whether or not it would be a good thing if every leftist knew how to use a gun.

    But it seems to me that importing a pointless militia system wouldn't last anyway. Everyone would object to having to waste years of their lives serving in it, even if it did have social benefits. While cutting the military's budget and returning the money to the people as a UBI -- that's a long shot, but I think you could at least get a majority of Americans behind the idea. And once the UBI was in place, no one would ever favor cutting the UBI in order to build more tanks.

    Replies: @Boomthorkell

  41. @Triteleia Laxa
    @rebel yell

    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.

    To take it to extremes, I bet even the most rational scientists would sometimes become irrational and unaware in arguments in their marriage or with their children.

    I have met one person who I think wouldn't. Maybe two.

    Replies: @rebel yell, @dfordoom

    Very true – objectivity (and just plain old honesty) is harder to come by in debates where values and self-interest are at stake.

  42. @rebel yell
    Reply to the John Johnson comment.
    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy - it's a valid form of argument.
    It's valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
    Meanwhile you and I need to get some answers about Wuhan because our lives and political liberty are at stake. What can you and I know? We can look for such a scientist and respect his authority when we think we've found him. It's not unlike finding a reliable mechanic to work on your car.
    I'm assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he's heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe - argument from authority.
    It is not as certain a judgment as doing the science work yourself, but it is far from fallacious and is a necessary part of life judgments.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Fluesterwitz, @MarkU, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy – it’s a valid form of argument.

    Certainly not when it is your only argument. If you can’t explain your position other than “cause X says so” then you don’t understand the subject enough to argue.

    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.

    The media wasn’t saying that they didn’t know. They said it didn’t come from the nearby lab because the WHO said so. Did you buy that argument? Did you pay attention to the fact that China never gave the WHO full access? Our press certainly glossed over that fact.

    I’m assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.

    No I’m not an expert virologist but it doesn’t take an expert to see when the media or an openly pro-China organization is being dishonest.

    If a dangerous gas just happened to be leaked 20 miles from a dangerous gas factory would you allow “argument by authority” to be evidence enough? Especially if it was from a dictatorship that routinely lies?

    Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he’s heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe – argument from authority.

    It’s called common sense. When a coronavirus is released near the only lab in China where they are studied you don’t turn off your mind to a weak argument made by our lying press or an organization that is openly globalist and pro-China.

    I never took the position that the virus must been from the lab. That is merely the most logical explanation and I remained open to counter-arguments. The WHO and our press however took the position that a lab leak was 100% false and only supported by ignorant Trump voters.

    So far the evidence is pointing at the same conclusion I originally made using the common sense and the facts available and yet here you are defending argument by authority. Are you saying I should have turned off my mind and trusted our press, the WHO and the Chinese government?

    Eventually you will acknowledge my initial assumption was correct and yet the WHO experts you trusted were wrong. China will not be able to keep this covered. Maybe then you will understand why argument by authority is in fact a fallacy.

  43. Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn’t happen.

    TAIWAN’S FORMER NUCLEAR
    WEAPONS PROGRAM

    Despite Taiwan’s efforts to hide these activities, the United States
    was able to gather incriminating evidence that allowed it to act, effectively
    denuclearizing a dangerous, destabilizing program, that if left unchecked,
    could have set up a potentially disastrous confrontation with the People’s
    Republic of China (PRC).

    http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/TaiwansFormerNuclearWeaponsProgram_POD_color_withCover.pdf

    • Replies: @Daniel H
    @Joe Stalin


    Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn’t happen.
     
    C'mon. Think it through. If Taiwan - or any nation - attacks the Three Gorges Dam with nuclear weapons it is the end of that nation on this earth, forever.

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before. The USA did Taiwan - and the world - a favor dissuading Taiwan from obtaining nukes.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @A123, @dfordoom

  44. @Dr. Robert Morgan
    rebel yell: "Argument from authority ... [is] a valid form of argument. It’s valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves."

    I agree with your analysis. I've engaged with Johnson quite a few times, often on the topic of Christianity, which many authorities see as the source of leftist ideology. In support of this point, I once quoted Oswald Spengler, so Johnson tried this objection on me, here:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-woke-are-reversing-the-compartmentalization-of-science-from-faith/#comment-4232637

    Johnson is the type of fellow who sees no reason why, since he considers himself the world's greatest expert on everything, his opinion on this shouldn't be taken as seriously as Spengler's. As do many people, he defines Christianity very narrowly, tailoring this definition to fit his rhetorical purpose, thus concealing its many malignant cultural side effects.

    As you correctly note, the problem is that the explosive growth in knowledge and scholarship characteristic of modern times has produced a situation in which expert opinion must be appealed to in order to achieve the best results possible. No one can be an expert on everything. There simply isn't time enough, even if a human mind were big enough to contain all knowledge, which of course it isn't. At the same time though, there has been a democratization of these things. The internet brings whole libraries of scholarship into easy reach. So everyone may have an opinion, and that opinion may even be more or less informed. But still, that doesn't mean that all opinions are of equal value.

    Replies: @John Johnson

    I agree with your analysis. I’ve engaged with Johnson quite a few times, often on the topic of Christianity, which many authorities see as the source of leftist ideology. In support of this point, I once quoted Oswald Spengler, so Johnson tried this objection on me, here:

    Ah here we go with nebulous authorities that you don’t cite.

    Yes Dr. Morgan and Marxist authorities agree that Christianity needs to be eliminated.

    Dr. Morgan still hasn’t explained how this will somehow benefit Whites.

    Marxists however have written extensively about how it is the White religion that needs to be eliminated as it passes on traditional Western values. You can even find articles where they write about giving Islam a pass but Christianity needs to be destroyed.

    I have pointed out that birth rates in White countries strongly correlate with secularism but Dr. Morgan is certain that removing Christianity will not cause a further drop because of (?????) plan he hasn’t explained. I still await his underpants gnomes theory on this.

    Marxists fully agree with Dr. Morgan but unlike him actually have a plan. Maybe Secular White Nationalists and Anti-Christian Marxists could get together for a potluck? Christianity, Our Common Enemy. Bring a hot dish.

    Johnson is the type of fellow who sees no reason why, since he considers himself the world’s greatest expert on everything, his opinion on this shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Spengler’s.

    Thanks for the compliment. No I don’t consider myself the world’s expert on everything but I did find it peculiar that I had numerous professors get emotional and weirdly defensive over my questions. So aren’t professors experts? Something stinks about modern knowledge which is exemplified by your faith in it. Too many self-described experts are just quoting experts and hoping no one actually asks them to explain themselves. Wuhan is a prime example of this. I would have grilled any of these experts with questions. Any of them. That is the job of our press but they are cowardly and put politics first which makes them prone to argument by authority.

    In my field I am certainly an expert and would never shy away from questions from a layman. I would welcome them in fact and have many times. Try asking an expert anthropologist a basic question about race and evolution. Watch them turn into petulant children in adult bodies. Same thing happens with just about any field where liberals dominate.

    • Agree: Catdog
    • Replies: @commandor
    @John Johnson

    Jewsus is the enemy of ALL LIFE.

    You are so stupid you can't even realize that you pray to a Jewish god. I would direct you towards César Tort's magnificent blogspot, but what even is the point in trying to reeducate you?

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    , @Barbarossa
    @John Johnson

    The anecdotal evidence certainly seems to be that as Christianity has waned in the West society has gone to hell in a handbasket. Correlation is not necessarily causation, but still...

    It seems like those who want argue that Christianity is what's bringing us down sure don't have much of a historical leg to stand on.

  45. @Joe Stalin
    Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn't happen.

    TAIWAN’S FORMER NUCLEAR
    WEAPONS PROGRAM

    Despite Taiwan’s efforts to hide these activities, the United States
    was able to gather incriminating evidence that allowed it to act, effectively
    denuclearizing a dangerous, destabilizing program, that if left unchecked,
    could have set up a potentially disastrous confrontation with the People’s
    Republic of China (PRC).

    http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/TaiwansFormerNuclearWeaponsProgram_POD_color_withCover.pdf
     

    Replies: @Daniel H

    Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn’t happen.

    C’mon. Think it through. If Taiwan – or any nation – attacks the Three Gorges Dam with nuclear weapons it is the end of that nation on this earth, forever.

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before. The USA did Taiwan – and the world – a favor dissuading Taiwan from obtaining nukes.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    @Daniel H

    Mutual Assured Destruction is a win-win for Taiwan, I'd say.

    , @A123
    @Daniel H


    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before.
     
    If the CCP Elites order an attack on Taiwan their invasion will result in house to house fighting that will wreck almost everything. To restore lost Taiwanese capabilities & infrastructure they will have to pay for nation building. Much like the U.S. inherited a giant bill after GW's ill fated Iraq offensive.

    Everyone with concerns about the CCP's intentions will have their suspicions proved. Disengagement with CCP supply chains will become a #1 priority for multiple nations, including the U.S. Loss of export markets will throw various sectors of China's economy into chaos.

    One never wishes for war, so I cannot say, "I hope the CCP Elites make this mistake." However, certain winners from such CCP Elite folly would be American Citizen/Workers in manufacturing and resource extraction industries.

    PEACE 😇
    , @dfordoom
    @Daniel H


    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords.
     
    Which is certainly better than being reduced to a radioactive ash heap.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

  46. @John Johnson
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    I agree with your analysis. I’ve engaged with Johnson quite a few times, often on the topic of Christianity, which many authorities see as the source of leftist ideology. In support of this point, I once quoted Oswald Spengler, so Johnson tried this objection on me, here:

    Ah here we go with nebulous authorities that you don't cite.

    Yes Dr. Morgan and Marxist authorities agree that Christianity needs to be eliminated.

    Dr. Morgan still hasn't explained how this will somehow benefit Whites.

    Marxists however have written extensively about how it is the White religion that needs to be eliminated as it passes on traditional Western values. You can even find articles where they write about giving Islam a pass but Christianity needs to be destroyed.

    I have pointed out that birth rates in White countries strongly correlate with secularism but Dr. Morgan is certain that removing Christianity will not cause a further drop because of (?????) plan he hasn't explained. I still await his underpants gnomes theory on this.

    Marxists fully agree with Dr. Morgan but unlike him actually have a plan. Maybe Secular White Nationalists and Anti-Christian Marxists could get together for a potluck? Christianity, Our Common Enemy. Bring a hot dish.

    Johnson is the type of fellow who sees no reason why, since he considers himself the world’s greatest expert on everything, his opinion on this shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Spengler’s.

    Thanks for the compliment. No I don't consider myself the world's expert on everything but I did find it peculiar that I had numerous professors get emotional and weirdly defensive over my questions. So aren't professors experts? Something stinks about modern knowledge which is exemplified by your faith in it. Too many self-described experts are just quoting experts and hoping no one actually asks them to explain themselves. Wuhan is a prime example of this. I would have grilled any of these experts with questions. Any of them. That is the job of our press but they are cowardly and put politics first which makes them prone to argument by authority.

    In my field I am certainly an expert and would never shy away from questions from a layman. I would welcome them in fact and have many times. Try asking an expert anthropologist a basic question about race and evolution. Watch them turn into petulant children in adult bodies. Same thing happens with just about any field where liberals dominate.

    Replies: @commandor, @Barbarossa

    Jewsus is the enemy of ALL LIFE.

    You are so stupid you can’t even realize that you pray to a Jewish god. I would direct you towards César Tort’s magnificent blogspot, but what even is the point in trying to reeducate you?

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @commandor

    @dfordoom

    The comment to which I reply, which due to my old-fashioned qualms regarding profanity I decline to quote, is a fine example of what has become of the post-alt-right. It isn't insightful. It's isn't witty. It's not even clever enough to be properly insulting.

    I want my old alt-right back.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

  47. @Daniel H
    @Joe Stalin


    Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn’t happen.
     
    C'mon. Think it through. If Taiwan - or any nation - attacks the Three Gorges Dam with nuclear weapons it is the end of that nation on this earth, forever.

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before. The USA did Taiwan - and the world - a favor dissuading Taiwan from obtaining nukes.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @A123, @dfordoom

    Mutual Assured Destruction is a win-win for Taiwan, I’d say.

  48. John Johnson: “Ah here we go with nebulous authorities that you don’t cite. ”

    You’ve never asked me to cite them, so I assumed you must be familiar with them. Apparently not, however. But lots of scholars have seen Christianity as a subversive cultural force, some of them quite distinguished. Gibbon, Nietzsche, Revilo Oliver, Spengler, Tom Sunic, and others come to mind. On today’s racial right, Alex Linder and César Tort have small followings that agree with this point of view.

    John Johnson: “Dr. Morgan and Marxist authorities agree that Christianity needs to be eliminated. Dr. Morgan still hasn’t explained how this will somehow benefit Whites. ”

    My view is that knowing the truth is always beneficial. As it saith in the Holy Book (though in another context) the truth will set you free.

    John Johnson: “Thanks for the compliment.”

    LOL. It’s not a compliment, but if you want to take it that way, you’re welcome.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    You’ve never asked me to cite them, so I assumed you must be familiar with them. Apparently not, however. But lots of scholars have seen Christianity as a subversive cultural force, some of them quite distinguished. Gibbon, Nietzsche, Revilo Oliver, Spengler, Tom Sunic, and others come to mind. On today’s racial right, Alex Linder and César Tort have small followings that agree with this point of view.

    That's nice. And I can cite a dozen philosophers that support Christianity as essential to Western society. Big deal.

    And the end of the day I'm more of a numbers person and there is a numbers problem you have zero solution for. An excel spreadsheet with a strong correlation is a stronger argument to me than "cause a German philosopher said so". That is appeal by authority.

    The further that Whites drift from Christianity the more left they become and the fewer children they have. That correlation has been consistent across time and numerous countries. That is the reality. Your personal beliefs on Christianity do not change that reality. Atheist voters especially vote left and here you are promoting atheism as a solution to that reality. That is illogical.

    You can provide me with a dozen lofty quotes about how Christianity is a problem but that isn't a solution.

    Leftists look at that correlation and wrap their hands with glee. The overall trend favors them and the evidence suggests that attacking Christianity is very much in their political interest. So what makes you think you are not working in their political interest by attacking Christianity? Try to explain this using arguments based on logic and not authority.

  49. @rebel yell
    @dfordoom


    In the real world there is no such thing as a scientist who is free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
     
    The successes of modern science indicate that real world thinkers can indeed lay aside biases, political or otherwise, and achieve a great measure of objectivity. That is the standard we should set.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @John Johnson

    The successes of modern science indicate that real world thinkers can indeed lay aside biases, political or otherwise, and achieve a great measure of objectivity. That is the standard we should set.

    But those successes are disproportionately where political bias isn’t going to be a factor. For example we have seen massive increases in computer technology while the social sciences are stuck in the 60s. In journalism a science? No but the people involved seem to think they value objectivity and yet they seem incapable of writing anything related to politics with intellectual honesty.

    Numerous college departments have essentially locked out objectivity. That is really the point of post-modernism. What they call critical race theory has a similar origin. It’s very much about locking out people that want to establish an objective viewpoint or even suggest that one might exist. They want to lock out belief in objectivity so they can dominate through subjectivity.

    The left realized at some point that they couldn’t be objective which is really why the universities are filled with so much garbage. They just don’t have enough convincing arguments. Even the original Marxists weren’t interested in debate. Marx called for a violent takeover of the government and not a friendly debate with capitalists.

    We are locked in a struggle with liberals and they have no intention of playing by the rules. I assume that most at the top know full well they are lying. So what I am getting at is that there is a game being played whether we want it to be or not. We can’t really force objectivity when the dominant political ideology doesn’t believe in it at a standard. On some level it really makes logical sense to attack them by any means necessary. Not saying I support this view as it encourages nihilism but the logic is there.

  50. A123 says: • Website
    @Daniel H
    @Joe Stalin


    Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn’t happen.
     
    C'mon. Think it through. If Taiwan - or any nation - attacks the Three Gorges Dam with nuclear weapons it is the end of that nation on this earth, forever.

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before. The USA did Taiwan - and the world - a favor dissuading Taiwan from obtaining nukes.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @A123, @dfordoom

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before.

    If the CCP Elites order an attack on Taiwan their invasion will result in house to house fighting that will wreck almost everything. To restore lost Taiwanese capabilities & infrastructure they will have to pay for nation building. Much like the U.S. inherited a giant bill after GW’s ill fated Iraq offensive.

    Everyone with concerns about the CCP’s intentions will have their suspicions proved. Disengagement with CCP supply chains will become a #1 priority for multiple nations, including the U.S. Loss of export markets will throw various sectors of China’s economy into chaos.

    One never wishes for war, so I cannot say, “I hope the CCP Elites make this mistake.” However, certain winners from such CCP Elite folly would be American Citizen/Workers in manufacturing and resource extraction industries.

    PEACE 😇

  51. @Dr. Robert Morgan
    John Johnson: "Ah here we go with nebulous authorities that you don’t cite. "

    You've never asked me to cite them, so I assumed you must be familiar with them. Apparently not, however. But lots of scholars have seen Christianity as a subversive cultural force, some of them quite distinguished. Gibbon, Nietzsche, Revilo Oliver, Spengler, Tom Sunic, and others come to mind. On today's racial right, Alex Linder and César Tort have small followings that agree with this point of view.

    John Johnson: "Dr. Morgan and Marxist authorities agree that Christianity needs to be eliminated. Dr. Morgan still hasn’t explained how this will somehow benefit Whites. "

    My view is that knowing the truth is always beneficial. As it saith in the Holy Book (though in another context) the truth will set you free.

    John Johnson: "Thanks for the compliment."

    LOL. It's not a compliment, but if you want to take it that way, you're welcome.

    Replies: @John Johnson

    You’ve never asked me to cite them, so I assumed you must be familiar with them. Apparently not, however. But lots of scholars have seen Christianity as a subversive cultural force, some of them quite distinguished. Gibbon, Nietzsche, Revilo Oliver, Spengler, Tom Sunic, and others come to mind. On today’s racial right, Alex Linder and César Tort have small followings that agree with this point of view.

    That’s nice. And I can cite a dozen philosophers that support Christianity as essential to Western society. Big deal.

    And the end of the day I’m more of a numbers person and there is a numbers problem you have zero solution for. An excel spreadsheet with a strong correlation is a stronger argument to me than “cause a German philosopher said so”. That is appeal by authority.

    The further that Whites drift from Christianity the more left they become and the fewer children they have. That correlation has been consistent across time and numerous countries. That is the reality. Your personal beliefs on Christianity do not change that reality. Atheist voters especially vote left and here you are promoting atheism as a solution to that reality. That is illogical.

    You can provide me with a dozen lofty quotes about how Christianity is a problem but that isn’t a solution.

    Leftists look at that correlation and wrap their hands with glee. The overall trend favors them and the evidence suggests that attacking Christianity is very much in their political interest. So what makes you think you are not working in their political interest by attacking Christianity? Try to explain this using arguments based on logic and not authority.

  52. Regarding Kim’s decision to have nukes being rational: He winds-up with the “traffic ladies” (retirement age, 26), and 100 personal cheerleaders.

  53. Dr Morgan tell me if you would accept this as a sound argument:

    A lack of gun laws is clearly the problem.

    If we had more gun laws there would be fewer shootings.

    When there were zero gun laws there were far fewer shootings.

    My explanation for this inverse correlation is my own hand picked list of gun research experts that agree a lack of gun laws is the problem.

    In conclusion I hope we can pass enough gun laws so we can get back to the days of fewer shootings when there were no gun laws.

  54. @commandor
    @John Johnson

    Jewsus is the enemy of ALL LIFE.

    You are so stupid you can't even realize that you pray to a Jewish god. I would direct you towards César Tort's magnificent blogspot, but what even is the point in trying to reeducate you?

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    The comment to which I reply, which due to my old-fashioned qualms regarding profanity I decline to quote, is a fine example of what has become of the post-alt-right. It isn’t insightful. It’s isn’t witty. It’s not even clever enough to be properly insulting.

    I want my old alt-right back.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @V. K. Ovelund

    Agreed.
    I'm only 35, but I share your despair.
    Comments like that seem like some mainstream parody of an "alt-righter". Paleo-cons have had some appeal to me, with "Chronicles" being a good read, but they have unfortunately come under new management and have become a rather boring "respectable Breitbart".
    It's sad to see the rich intellectual inheritance of the right reduced to such inanities.

  55. John Johnson: “Big deal.”

    If you have no interest in educating yourself, why ask for my sources? It seems to me you aren’t arguing in good faith.

    John Johnson: “And the end of the day I’m more of a numbers person and there is a numbers problem you have zero solution for.”

    I’ve already given you my diagnosis, here:

    https://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/does-our-diversity-portend-disintegration/#comment-4687422

    And I explained to you at some length that this correlation you think is so important incorporates post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning if interpreted as causal. I’ve also asked you to provide proof that it is Christianity that is responsible for a high birth rate, since it seems to me clear that Christians use birth control and abortion too. However, you never did this. Furthermore, the white birth rate was just fine before Christianity even existed. How can you explain that if Christianity is necessary for a high white birth rate? You can’t.

    John Johnson: “So what makes you think you are not working in their political interest by attacking Christianity?”

    What makes you think that belief in Christian fairy tales is a good thing?

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    John Johnson: “And the end of the day I’m more of a numbers person and there is a numbers problem you have zero solution for.”

    I’ve already given you my diagnosis, here:
    (from where you link to yourself)
    I’d call it a diagnosis rather than a plan.

    So you don't have a plan. Got it.

    This is your position:
    We need to get rid of Christianity because it causes liberalism which lowers birth rates.

    Once we get rid of liberalism using (unexplained method) birth rates will return to where they were when the country was far more Christian.

    Fascinating logic.

  56. @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    Huxley’s vision is chillingly plausible.
     
    It's only plausible now, because Western countries are devoid of any superpower external enemy. During much of the Cold War, 1984 was more plausible, especially given that a version of it already occurred in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.

    You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.
     
    Forget not "attractive enough." I found it downright monstrously repellent and evil.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Barbarossa

    “Forget not “attractive enough.” I found it downright monstrously repellent and evil. ”

    And now you know why you are commenting on Unz instead of watching “Dancing With the Stars”, you enemy of society you!

  57. @John Johnson
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    I agree with your analysis. I’ve engaged with Johnson quite a few times, often on the topic of Christianity, which many authorities see as the source of leftist ideology. In support of this point, I once quoted Oswald Spengler, so Johnson tried this objection on me, here:

    Ah here we go with nebulous authorities that you don't cite.

    Yes Dr. Morgan and Marxist authorities agree that Christianity needs to be eliminated.

    Dr. Morgan still hasn't explained how this will somehow benefit Whites.

    Marxists however have written extensively about how it is the White religion that needs to be eliminated as it passes on traditional Western values. You can even find articles where they write about giving Islam a pass but Christianity needs to be destroyed.

    I have pointed out that birth rates in White countries strongly correlate with secularism but Dr. Morgan is certain that removing Christianity will not cause a further drop because of (?????) plan he hasn't explained. I still await his underpants gnomes theory on this.

    Marxists fully agree with Dr. Morgan but unlike him actually have a plan. Maybe Secular White Nationalists and Anti-Christian Marxists could get together for a potluck? Christianity, Our Common Enemy. Bring a hot dish.

    Johnson is the type of fellow who sees no reason why, since he considers himself the world’s greatest expert on everything, his opinion on this shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Spengler’s.

    Thanks for the compliment. No I don't consider myself the world's expert on everything but I did find it peculiar that I had numerous professors get emotional and weirdly defensive over my questions. So aren't professors experts? Something stinks about modern knowledge which is exemplified by your faith in it. Too many self-described experts are just quoting experts and hoping no one actually asks them to explain themselves. Wuhan is a prime example of this. I would have grilled any of these experts with questions. Any of them. That is the job of our press but they are cowardly and put politics first which makes them prone to argument by authority.

    In my field I am certainly an expert and would never shy away from questions from a layman. I would welcome them in fact and have many times. Try asking an expert anthropologist a basic question about race and evolution. Watch them turn into petulant children in adult bodies. Same thing happens with just about any field where liberals dominate.

    Replies: @commandor, @Barbarossa

    The anecdotal evidence certainly seems to be that as Christianity has waned in the West society has gone to hell in a handbasket. Correlation is not necessarily causation, but still…

    It seems like those who want argue that Christianity is what’s bringing us down sure don’t have much of a historical leg to stand on.

    • Agree: Catdog
  58. @V. K. Ovelund
    @commandor

    @dfordoom

    The comment to which I reply, which due to my old-fashioned qualms regarding profanity I decline to quote, is a fine example of what has become of the post-alt-right. It isn't insightful. It's isn't witty. It's not even clever enough to be properly insulting.

    I want my old alt-right back.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

    Agreed.
    I’m only 35, but I share your despair.
    Comments like that seem like some mainstream parody of an “alt-righter”. Paleo-cons have had some appeal to me, with “Chronicles” being a good read, but they have unfortunately come under new management and have become a rather boring “respectable Breitbart”.
    It’s sad to see the rich intellectual inheritance of the right reduced to such inanities.

  59. @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.
     
    Multipolarity is unstable. Unipolarity leads to arrogance and decadence. I now see that bipolarity was the best (though the price was paid by the denizens of the Soviet bloc).

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ

    Multipolarity is unstable. Unipolarity leads to arrogance and decadence. I now see that bipolarity was the best (though the price was paid by the denizens of the Soviet bloc).

    That may well be correct.

  60. @Wency
    @dfordoom

    Well, Huxley wasn't a reactionary by any means. I think what he was satirizing was the ultra-orderly, scientific strand of early-20th century progressivism and its various utopian ideas. Based on his own utopian vision in the novel Island (which I've read about but haven't read) I think Huxley was more like a hippie born several decades too early.

    There's perhaps an interesting frame here that on the chaos/order axis, leftism started out the 20th century more on the side of order and conformity (seeking to regiment and rationalize society according to scientific/industrial principles and pushing back against somewhat chaotic and organic traditionalism), then sometime in the mid-20th flipped to the side of chaos and nonconformity (pushing for free speech and free love and a thousand wacky ideas against a modernist gray-suited conservative consensus) and in the form of Wokeism is now once again on the side of order and conformity (restricting free speech and free thought and allying with Woke Corporations and the Woke Military-Industrial Complex).

    Huxley then represents a revolt against the first stage of 20th century leftism and a harbinger of the second stage.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Well, Huxley wasn’t a reactionary by any means. I think what he was satirizing was the ultra-orderly, scientific strand of early-20th century progressivism and its various utopian ideas. Based on his own utopian vision in the novel Island (which I’ve read about but haven’t read) I think Huxley was more like a hippie born several decades too early.

    Island is interesting mainly because it makes Huxley’s views clearer. It does make it clear that, as you say, he was certainly not in any way a conventional reactionary. And yeah, definite hippie tendencies. It’s also worth reading his early 1920s comic novels such as Crome Yellow and Antic Hay to get a fuller understanding of where he was coming from.

    I think your remarks on the dramatic shifts of the Left over the past century are very perspicacious.

    Having lived through a couple of decades of overbearing political correctness and now Wokeism I find myself getting nostalgic for the free-wheeling chaos of the 60s and 70s. It certainly had its downside but it was fun. Fun was outlawed sometime in the late 90s.

    It’s certainly grimly ironic that the modern Left is about as much fun as the 17th century Puritans.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    @dfordoom



    It’s certainly grimly ironic that the modern Left is about as much fun as the 17th centu
     
    ry Puritans.
     
    That's an insult to Puritans. At least they had God and the Bible as rigid authorities. And then there was this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Drinking-Calvin-Luther-History-Alcohol/dp/0970032609
  61. @Athletic and Whitesplosive
    DforDoom with the reliable "everything terrible about the left wing is actually right wing," take. I mean leftism is a priori always good, and this is bad, ergo right wing.

    In reality removing barriers to trade and international capital dominating smaller states is a liberal progressive idea. To the liberal, protectionism and institutional barriers to international trade/labour mobility are just regressive and parochial holdovers from things like feudalism, and arbitrary prohibitions on people's freedom to move and conduct business however and wherever they want. And thus an extremely liberal society like the west is dominated by free market thinking (in fact, free market thinking also dominates their social thinking).

    Trade and financial regulations/restrictions aren't compatible with liberalism because liberalism always appeals to incoherent retard concepts like freedom/autonomy that will only ever be read in the ruling classes' favor (which is why cuckservatives love it). If you say that regulations don't reduce someone's freedom/autonomy, you're either a liar or an idiot. If you make the (correct) objection that not prohibiting certain things reduces other people's freedom/autonomy in different ways, congratulations, you've taken the first steps in realizing liberalism is a shitload of incoherent babble.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    In reality removing barriers to trade and international capital dominating smaller states is a liberal progressive idea.

    It’s an economic liberal idea, and economic liberalism is just another name for the Economic Right. It’s right-wing because it’s based on a belief in things like free markets and economic freedom as opposed to the Economic Left which tends to favour statist solutions and government intervention in the economy.

    The Economic Left/Economic Right divide has no connection whatsoever with the divide between social liberalism and social conservatism.

    In other words there are two entirely different kinds of liberalism.

    Belief in freedom/autonomy in the economic sphere does not imply belief in freedom/autonomy in the social sphere, and vice versa.

  62. “Only the weird references to “Ford” really gave it away.”

    Not so weird in the year 1 AF (After Floyd).

    Note the echo of Ford’s production techniques in the baby factory.

    She sighed profoundly as she refilled her syringe. “John,” she murmured to herself, “John …” Then “My Ford,” she wondered, “have I given this one its sleeping sickness injection, or haven’t I?” She simply couldn’t remember. In the end, she decided not to run the risk of letting it have a second dose, and moved down the line to the next bottle.

    Twenty-two years, eight months, and four days from that moment, a promising young Alpha-Minus administrator at Mwanza-Mwanza was to die of trypanosomiasis-the first case for over half a century. Sighing, Lenina went on with her work.

  63. @Boomthorkell
    As much as I would prefer a conscription-based military for the sake of crippling our offensive capacity in random war making, it would likely be better to adopt a semi-Swiss\IDF model: abolish the army, replace it with a militia based on the district-level with a permanent deeper ment in charge of coordinating them in times of maneuvers, mobilization, and war. This leaves the more complicated defense systems in place (Navy, Air force, Coast Guard (optional), and create a Missile force like Russia and China did) to ward off any theoretical invasion or missile attack, while rendering any actual offensive action nearly impossible, assuming other nations have quality air and ship killing capacity, and our leaders no longer feel like invading the world post-reform.

    Iran should definitely have nukes, and so should every other country capable of producing them. Let the world be equally afraid and respectful of each other.

    Replies: @Wency

    My simple suggestion is something like reducing Army + Marines to fewer than 100,000 personnel (including National Guard and Reserves) and cutting 50% of funding for Air Force / Navy. Though I’d also be happy with just abolishing the Army and Marines entirely.

    Militarily speaking, the US doesn’t need a militia system because it doesn’t have any land-based threats in North America — there’s no military purpose to importing a system from Eurasia (which is nothing but land-based threats) to North America. But you could argue for social benefits, and all our problems are social, after all. I’m just not sure whether or not it would be a good thing if every leftist knew how to use a gun.

    But it seems to me that importing a pointless militia system wouldn’t last anyway. Everyone would object to having to waste years of their lives serving in it, even if it did have social benefits. While cutting the military’s budget and returning the money to the people as a UBI — that’s a long shot, but I think you could at least get a majority of Americans behind the idea. And once the UBI was in place, no one would ever favor cutting the UBI in order to build more tanks.

    • Disagree: iffen
    • Replies: @Boomthorkell
    @Wency

    Oh, I'm all for cutting the budget. A militia will always be cheaper than a fully professional army occupying bases globally.

    The militia is mostly social, and also, every population should have some level of preparation and training. The only reason I'm advocating a militia system and not a standing, professional army is because the United States, especially once Canada and Mexico-Central America are secured, is a gigantic Island Continent. Russia, China, and even Japan can't really get away with this, but we are perfectly placed for it.

    As for UBI, I like the idea of replacing all welfare with a simple check and seeing how people ruin or don't ruin their lives with it. If we're gonna have welfare, might as well keep it simple.

  64. @Triteleia Laxa
    @rebel yell

    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.

    To take it to extremes, I bet even the most rational scientists would sometimes become irrational and unaware in arguments in their marriage or with their children.

    I have met one person who I think wouldn't. Maybe two.

    Replies: @rebel yell, @dfordoom

    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.

    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren’t that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors. Even if the link between that scientific field and politics might seem tenuous you can be sure that somebody will make a political issue out of it and then personal political biases and external political pressures will come into play.

    A couple of years ago most of us would have considered it implausible that epidemiology would become totally politicised but it happened.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @dfordoom

    Yes, absolutely

    , @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren’t that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors.
     
    I have read speculation that Western science was somewhat fairer and more objective during the XVIII and XIX centuries because, with participation by few women, it was able to leverage masculine modes of interaction. Of course, feminists take offense at the suggestion, but the offense only illustrates the point.

    I also conjecture that the bitter, uncollegial fracture of the U.S. Congress is chiefly due to the increasing number of women among its membership. Women are better at many things than men are but, in adulthood, collegial self-organization is not one of them.

    Do you remember getting into a fistfight with a bigger boy when you were a lad? Who could forget? Half the time, the fight led to the two boys' becoming good friends. The other half, it led to bad blood but between women it nearly always leads to bad blood. Women are by nature too given to contempt. That is a problem in both science and politics, or so it seems to me.

    Replies: @Wency

  65. @dfordoom
    @Triteleia Laxa


    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.
     
    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren't that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors. Even if the link between that scientific field and politics might seem tenuous you can be sure that somebody will make a political issue out of it and then personal political biases and external political pressures will come into play.

    A couple of years ago most of us would have considered it implausible that epidemiology would become totally politicised but it happened.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @V. K. Ovelund

    Yes, absolutely

  66. @dfordoom
    @Wency


    Well, Huxley wasn’t a reactionary by any means. I think what he was satirizing was the ultra-orderly, scientific strand of early-20th century progressivism and its various utopian ideas. Based on his own utopian vision in the novel Island (which I’ve read about but haven’t read) I think Huxley was more like a hippie born several decades too early.
     
    Island is interesting mainly because it makes Huxley's views clearer. It does make it clear that, as you say, he was certainly not in any way a conventional reactionary. And yeah, definite hippie tendencies. It's also worth reading his early 1920s comic novels such as Crome Yellow and Antic Hay to get a fuller understanding of where he was coming from.

    I think your remarks on the dramatic shifts of the Left over the past century are very perspicacious.

    Having lived through a couple of decades of overbearing political correctness and now Wokeism I find myself getting nostalgic for the free-wheeling chaos of the 60s and 70s. It certainly had its downside but it was fun. Fun was outlawed sometime in the late 90s.

    It's certainly grimly ironic that the modern Left is about as much fun as the 17th century Puritans.

    Replies: @TomSchmidt

    It’s certainly grimly ironic that the modern Left is about as much fun as the 17th centu

    ry Puritans.

    That’s an insult to Puritans. At least they had God and the Bible as rigid authorities. And then there was this:

  67. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    I am not an authoritarian sadist, but I was far more disturbed by the vision of the latter. The former I could understand (though, of course, I was repelled by it). The latter I found incomprehensibly monstrous.
     
    I found Brave New World to be more disturbing than 1984 because it's more seductive. I could imagine people being willing to accept such a society.

    Orwell's vision was implausible. You can't control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it's not just the proles who are oppressed - the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation. Almost everybody, apart from a tiny Inner Party elite, lives a life of misery and deprivation. Such a society would be highly unstable.

    Huxley's vision is chillingly plausible. If you mostly use the carrot rather than the stick you can exercise complete social control pretty much indefinitely. You or I might not think that the carrot being offered in Brave New World is attractive enough, but most people would find it to be pretty attractive.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Dutch Boy, @TomSchmidt

    Orwell’s vision was implausible. You can’t control people forever purely by force. And remember that in 1984 it’s not just the proles who are oppressed – the Outer Party members live lives of misery and deprivation.

    It used to be argued that theWest was more creative than the Soviets, given the advances in technology. Certainly, fear is a great motivator, as Machiavelli pointed out, even though his own preference in The Prince was for a ruler to be loved (but, he argued, that was not in his control, while fear was. He should have met Bernays and Cialdini!) in times of crisis. The AK47 remains one of the greatest weapons ever created, combining the creativity of the maker with the fear of the invading Teutonic hordes. But as you note, fear will eventually burn out the creative circuits in the brain.

    The cause of Soviet economic failure was the failure of failure. It’s not like they didn’t have great ideas. The math behind the first Stealth fighter was actually Soviet. They simply did not cut off bad ideas and redirect scarce resources to working ones, preferring to cut off bad people,like wreckers and kulaks.

  68. @Daniel H
    @Joe Stalin


    Taiwan was prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons because of the actions of the USA. Now they face invasion from PRC. Taiwan nuclear missiles aimed at the Three Gorges Dam, Peking and Shanghai could be a real deterrent to attack today if that didn’t happen.
     
    C'mon. Think it through. If Taiwan - or any nation - attacks the Three Gorges Dam with nuclear weapons it is the end of that nation on this earth, forever.

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords. Their prosperous, efficient commercial republic will continue on as before. The USA did Taiwan - and the world - a favor dissuading Taiwan from obtaining nukes.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @A123, @dfordoom

    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords.

    Which is certainly better than being reduced to a radioactive ash heap.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Which is certainly better than being reduced to a radioactive ash heap.
     
    That is for the Taiwanese to decide. If my blood were up, in their place, I might choose the ash heap. I would certainly keep the Red Chinese guessing, at any rate.
  69. Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:

    Well, that’s just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient. This was manifest nonsense when de Tocqueville wrote it and it is even more manifestly nonsense today when TomSchmidt repeats it. Let’s talk about efficiency first.

    There seems to be much confusion left over even today about whether we ought to work to live, or live to work. The correct answer is decidedly the former; but that being the case, “efficiency” must be measured not in multiplying outputs, not in the heaping up of goods for no true purpose, but in the maximization of the ease and tranquility with which the necessaries of life can be garnered. To that end, there is no more perfect assistant imaginable than the human servant. There is no type of labor he can’t perform, no comfort he can’t provide, nothing he cannot be made to learn or understand; and if you need more of him, he can reproduce himself, which he is most eager and wont to do anyway. He can be developed to the highest degree of loyalty and refinedness, made ready to answer any need and to provide the rarest quality. Even if some nonhuman machines are required in particular circumstances, it will be your human servants who build them and operate them. Indeed, it is the human servant who implicitly contains all other things—all machines, all inventions, all arts. Be your automated process never so exacting, at the end of the day you still need a human being to man it. A good servant is an entire microcosm; he has everything else within him. Man himself is the ultimate means to any end, as Machiavelli recognized when he said that money cannot buy good soldiers but good soldiers can always find money.

    What de Tocqueville observed on the Ohio side of the river was not “efficiency” but conspicuous consumption, a needless hustle and bustle which, motivated by fear and envy, consumes the life of a man in a never-ending treadmill of labors. He who, with the needful things of life already in his hand, continues to sweat and strive as though he had nothing, is on that very account an incomplete human being—a misbred and misbegotten caricature who cannot reason and cannot rest. He is denying himself the leisure required for all the sublime things in life—religion, contemplation, philosophy, elegance. When one has the opportunity for these good things, to turn one’s nose up at them in order to continue in the rat race is either a sin against beauty or a piggish coarsening of the soul—but that is basically what capitalism (de Tocqueville’s “freedom”) amounts to.

    On the moral front, it must be remarked that slavery is not condemned by the Church, still less is it branded an “intrinsic evil” as the Enlightenment crusaders would have it. Neither the Old nor the New Testament contains any proscription of slavery as such. Christ Himself passed over the whole matter in silence, and in general said nothing about social conditions except insofar as they impinged upon the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a very good reason for this, namely that servitude is the de facto reality of much of the human race, always has been, and always will be. One cannot bring an end to servitude any more than one can bring an end to personal power (of which it is the inverse, i.e. personal powerlessness)—laws, constitutions, and revolutions notwithstanding. And since morality is concerned with what we ought to do, it makes no sense to moralize over something which is simply an inevitable condition of existence. All that can be said is that when people live together in charity, the harsher realities of class distinctions tend to moderate on their own, but this can be easily thrown into disarray by wars, mass migrations, vain ambitions, or anything else that upsets the social balance.

    On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery. In the last analysis, this is the only realistic solution we have when it comes to dealing with our own fellaheen population, whether white or colored. The immigrants will never all be deported, the black underclass will never be self-sufficient, and they will be joined by an ever-growing white underclass which seems likewise unwilling to shoulder the burdens of civilized life. Now, assuming that we cannot just get rid of these people (which we can’t) and that we do not have the wherewithal to continue feting and pampering them (which we don’t), all that remains is to force them into productivity. We must say “Look, the welfare state is over. We won’t let you starve to death, but you will plow the fields, patch the potholes, and lay the railroad track necessary to get this dilapidated country working again, or you won’t be getting squat, capisce ?” This is a conversation that really needs to be had.

    What is absolutely unacceptable, though, is de Tocqueville’s Whiggish notion that slavery is intrinsically evil and capitalism intrinsically prosperity-producing, and that the two things prove one another. In places like the Unz Review, that trope seems to get started something like this. The progressive Leftists make the claim that America got rich off her slaves and that therefore the descendants of slaves and colonials are entitled to reparations today. Then the Unzies, instead of refusing the premise and recognizing that the two things have nothing to do with one another, simply swallow the bait and argue that America did not get rich from slavery. This is not only not true (America got very rich from slavery), it is also utterly irrelevant. There is no logical connection between accepting that slavery produces wealth and demanding that descendants of former slaves are entitled to a share of it, and therefore there is no need to falsify the record with elegiacs about how “inefficient” slavery was. This desperate urge to prove to oneself that some misunderstood moral intuition is also the key to getting wealthy is one of those typical Enlightenment errors that has imparted so much confusion to the Western world these last several centuries. It is a very costly mistake that we just don’t have time for anymore.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Well, that’s just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient.
     
    You are sure to receive grief for this comment and, candidly, I suspect that grief is what you want, since you have missed no opportunity to overstate the case!

    However, part of the reason you will receive grief is that some readers (including me) suspect that you may be largely right. Your comments are always thought-provoking, always worth reading, at any rate; and I am glad that you are here to deliver them. Your comments make the whole modern world seem iconoclastic—and who knows? Maybe it is.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @rebel yell
    @Intelligent Dasein

    I like your honest look at forced labor. I've always thought that low-paid workers are not "free labor" even if they are technically free. No one digs ditches for subsistence pay because they freely choose to. We haven't had free labor since Adam got kicked out of the garden of eden.
    Better to say we will always have forced labor and try to be reasonable about it. That still leaves a lot of room for a free market, the right of workers to be paid and to change jobs, market policies that favor higher wages, policies that favor ladders of success and a strong middle class, etc. But as you say there is a cut-off point, and if you don't work, you don't eat.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    , @Barbarossa
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Your views on slavery are interesting and I am not wholly unsympathetic. I've done a bit of thinking on the topic of slavery which I'll add for consideration. I think the may compliment your overall point.

    It seems to me that slavery is a function of the increased specialization necessary for running a "real" civilization. Scribes, warriors, priests, administrators, craftsmen, etc all spend their time doing things which are not directly sustaining their direct earthly needs for food, clothing, and so on. Therefore, someone must be compelled to do the hard dirty jobs required to keep a higher functioning civilization running, i.e. slaves.

    If you take exception to the use of the word slave to better include non-chattel forms of servitude such as serfs, we could create a lovely modern sounding euphemism such as "force compelled labor specialist". I'll stick with slave with the understanding that it encompasses a broader category than just chattel slavery.

    Hunter gatherer's require no slaves, since their needs are minimal and easily met personally. However, it seems that slavery is pretty universal in any higher functioning society.

    The thing that upsets this arrangement is not, as most modern folks would contend, some rising tide of understanding and happy thoughts which abolishes slavery, but the industrial age, specifically the use of very energy dense fossil fuels which eliminate the need for most human and animal power.

    This is why Britain could afford to be so "enlightened" in their early elimination of slavery. Their early utilization of industrialization made it practicable. Similarly, the industrial North, could afford to tolerate anti-slavery sentiment far more than the agrarian South which still relied on the power of the human body.

    Essentially, without fossil fuels and the machines that run on them, we would still have slavery today, as it would untenable and technologically impossible to eliminate it.

    The question to me then becomes what the future brings. If the industrial age is a historical anomaly predicated on a reliance on limited fossil fuel resources, then we will at some point revert to a reliance on animal and human power and labor. This will make a return to slavery of some form inevitable.

    It's always possible that we find limitless source of power that permanently replaces everything else, but I won't count on it until it happens. Either way, the modern conception of slavery as inherently evil seems rather silly to me, unless one is advocating a hunter gatherer lifestyle (an argument which does have it's points, I'll admit).

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    , @Audacious Epigone
    @Intelligent Dasein

    The contemplative life is not for most men, now or ever. Most men are at their best creating things. The type of work is important--repetitive, mindless, thoughtless tasks vs repairing a motorcycle, building a barn, or writing a computer program--but when most men run out of work, they run out of a reason for being.

    Replies: @anon

  70. @dfordoom
    @Triteleia Laxa


    Yet it is a lot easier to be abstract and impersonal over equations to determine flight velocity, than it is on emotional subjects like politics.
     
    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren't that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors. Even if the link between that scientific field and politics might seem tenuous you can be sure that somebody will make a political issue out of it and then personal political biases and external political pressures will come into play.

    A couple of years ago most of us would have considered it implausible that epidemiology would become totally politicised but it happened.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @V. K. Ovelund

    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren’t that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors.

    I have read speculation that Western science was somewhat fairer and more objective during the XVIII and XIX centuries because, with participation by few women, it was able to leverage masculine modes of interaction. Of course, feminists take offense at the suggestion, but the offense only illustrates the point.

    I also conjecture that the bitter, uncollegial fracture of the U.S. Congress is chiefly due to the increasing number of women among its membership. Women are better at many things than men are but, in adulthood, collegial self-organization is not one of them.

    Do you remember getting into a fistfight with a bigger boy when you were a lad? Who could forget? Half the time, the fight led to the two boys’ becoming good friends. The other half, it led to bad blood but between women it nearly always leads to bad blood. Women are by nature too given to contempt. That is a problem in both science and politics, or so it seems to me.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @Wency
    @V. K. Ovelund

    You might be on to something, but I doubt that age-old woman-to-woman dynamics explain Congress so much as contemporary dynamics between men and women (especially liberal women). The liberal women are inclined to see politics as a holy war wherein America could turn into the Handmaid's Tale at any moment, and their Republican colleagues would be the ones to do it. They're also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them -- they want men to use the kid gloves without "mansplaining", interrupting, or being patronizing.

    But also I don't think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time -- men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive. This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha. Either act "ladylike" and mostly get trampled in a game dominated by men, or be humorless and intolerant towards any perceived slight or challenge to your authority whatsoever and at least get somewhere within that man's world (while causing your haters to double down on their hatred).

    Replies: @anon, @nebulafox, @John Johnson

  71. @dfordoom
    @Daniel H


    If China invades Taiwan, the very worst that will happen is the Taiwanese will have new overlords.
     
    Which is certainly better than being reduced to a radioactive ash heap.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    Which is certainly better than being reduced to a radioactive ash heap.

    That is for the Taiwanese to decide. If my blood were up, in their place, I might choose the ash heap. I would certainly keep the Red Chinese guessing, at any rate.

  72. @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Yes. The problem is that science and politics are more and more closely interwoven. There aren’t that many fields of science that are entirely isolated from politics. And many fields of science really are political minefields. In any scientific field that intersects in any way with politics personal political biases and external political pressures are going to be major factors.
     
    I have read speculation that Western science was somewhat fairer and more objective during the XVIII and XIX centuries because, with participation by few women, it was able to leverage masculine modes of interaction. Of course, feminists take offense at the suggestion, but the offense only illustrates the point.

    I also conjecture that the bitter, uncollegial fracture of the U.S. Congress is chiefly due to the increasing number of women among its membership. Women are better at many things than men are but, in adulthood, collegial self-organization is not one of them.

    Do you remember getting into a fistfight with a bigger boy when you were a lad? Who could forget? Half the time, the fight led to the two boys' becoming good friends. The other half, it led to bad blood but between women it nearly always leads to bad blood. Women are by nature too given to contempt. That is a problem in both science and politics, or so it seems to me.

    Replies: @Wency

    You might be on to something, but I doubt that age-old woman-to-woman dynamics explain Congress so much as contemporary dynamics between men and women (especially liberal women). The liberal women are inclined to see politics as a holy war wherein America could turn into the Handmaid’s Tale at any moment, and their Republican colleagues would be the ones to do it. They’re also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them — they want men to use the kid gloves without “mansplaining”, interrupting, or being patronizing.

    But also I don’t think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time — men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive. This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha. Either act “ladylike” and mostly get trampled in a game dominated by men, or be humorless and intolerant towards any perceived slight or challenge to your authority whatsoever and at least get somewhere within that man’s world (while causing your haters to double down on their hatred).

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund, dfordoom
    • Replies: @anon
    @Wency

    This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha.

    The solution to that is both simple and obvious. It is impossible at this time, of course.

    , @nebulafox
    @Wency

    >They’re also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them — they want men to use the kid gloves without “mansplaining”, interrupting, or being patronizing.

    I think there's a genuine translation problem. I grew up in an extended family that was heavily male-dominated, numerically speaking, and where many of the women were on the masculine side: it wasn't until I sat down in other family environments that weren't that I realized the dynamics I saw might not be normative. My take is that if a man is trying to compete with you on facts, trying to talk over and get an edge in on you, it's a sign he takes you seriously as an opponent rather than disrespect. But to a woman, I'd bet it'd sound aggravating and disrespectful because of the social conditioning against overt aggression or directness.

    Especially if the man doesn't know what he's talking about and is transparently not passionate about the topic, but using it as a way of impressing people. Women tend to have far more acute BS sensers about this kind of thing than men, from my experience. Women do like men who have mastered something and can show it, by contrast.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency

    , @John Johnson
    @Wency

    But also I don’t think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time — men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive.

    If anything women are more likely to have those instincts.

    Women go kooky if there are too many women in the workplace. They get catty and overreact to everything. It can be emotionally draining for them.

    I honestly don't think that most women like each other.

  73. @Intelligent Dasein

    Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:
     
    Well, that's just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient. This was manifest nonsense when de Tocqueville wrote it and it is even more manifestly nonsense today when TomSchmidt repeats it. Let's talk about efficiency first.

    There seems to be much confusion left over even today about whether we ought to work to live, or live to work. The correct answer is decidedly the former; but that being the case, "efficiency" must be measured not in multiplying outputs, not in the heaping up of goods for no true purpose, but in the maximization of the ease and tranquility with which the necessaries of life can be garnered. To that end, there is no more perfect assistant imaginable than the human servant. There is no type of labor he can't perform, no comfort he can't provide, nothing he cannot be made to learn or understand; and if you need more of him, he can reproduce himself, which he is most eager and wont to do anyway. He can be developed to the highest degree of loyalty and refinedness, made ready to answer any need and to provide the rarest quality. Even if some nonhuman machines are required in particular circumstances, it will be your human servants who build them and operate them. Indeed, it is the human servant who implicitly contains all other things---all machines, all inventions, all arts. Be your automated process never so exacting, at the end of the day you still need a human being to man it. A good servant is an entire microcosm; he has everything else within him. Man himself is the ultimate means to any end, as Machiavelli recognized when he said that money cannot buy good soldiers but good soldiers can always find money.

    What de Tocqueville observed on the Ohio side of the river was not "efficiency" but conspicuous consumption, a needless hustle and bustle which, motivated by fear and envy, consumes the life of a man in a never-ending treadmill of labors. He who, with the needful things of life already in his hand, continues to sweat and strive as though he had nothing, is on that very account an incomplete human being---a misbred and misbegotten caricature who cannot reason and cannot rest. He is denying himself the leisure required for all the sublime things in life---religion, contemplation, philosophy, elegance. When one has the opportunity for these good things, to turn one's nose up at them in order to continue in the rat race is either a sin against beauty or a piggish coarsening of the soul---but that is basically what capitalism (de Tocqueville's "freedom") amounts to.

    On the moral front, it must be remarked that slavery is not condemned by the Church, still less is it branded an "intrinsic evil" as the Enlightenment crusaders would have it. Neither the Old nor the New Testament contains any proscription of slavery as such. Christ Himself passed over the whole matter in silence, and in general said nothing about social conditions except insofar as they impinged upon the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a very good reason for this, namely that servitude is the de facto reality of much of the human race, always has been, and always will be. One cannot bring an end to servitude any more than one can bring an end to personal power (of which it is the inverse, i.e. personal powerlessness)---laws, constitutions, and revolutions notwithstanding. And since morality is concerned with what we ought to do, it makes no sense to moralize over something which is simply an inevitable condition of existence. All that can be said is that when people live together in charity, the harsher realities of class distinctions tend to moderate on their own, but this can be easily thrown into disarray by wars, mass migrations, vain ambitions, or anything else that upsets the social balance.

    On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery. In the last analysis, this is the only realistic solution we have when it comes to dealing with our own fellaheen population, whether white or colored. The immigrants will never all be deported, the black underclass will never be self-sufficient, and they will be joined by an ever-growing white underclass which seems likewise unwilling to shoulder the burdens of civilized life. Now, assuming that we cannot just get rid of these people (which we can't) and that we do not have the wherewithal to continue feting and pampering them (which we don't), all that remains is to force them into productivity. We must say "Look, the welfare state is over. We won't let you starve to death, but you will plow the fields, patch the potholes, and lay the railroad track necessary to get this dilapidated country working again, or you won't be getting squat, capisce ?" This is a conversation that really needs to be had.

    What is absolutely unacceptable, though, is de Tocqueville's Whiggish notion that slavery is intrinsically evil and capitalism intrinsically prosperity-producing, and that the two things prove one another. In places like the Unz Review, that trope seems to get started something like this. The progressive Leftists make the claim that America got rich off her slaves and that therefore the descendants of slaves and colonials are entitled to reparations today. Then the Unzies, instead of refusing the premise and recognizing that the two things have nothing to do with one another, simply swallow the bait and argue that America did not get rich from slavery. This is not only not true (America got very rich from slavery), it is also utterly irrelevant. There is no logical connection between accepting that slavery produces wealth and demanding that descendants of former slaves are entitled to a share of it, and therefore there is no need to falsify the record with elegiacs about how "inefficient" slavery was. This desperate urge to prove to oneself that some misunderstood moral intuition is also the key to getting wealthy is one of those typical Enlightenment errors that has imparted so much confusion to the Western world these last several centuries. It is a very costly mistake that we just don't have time for anymore.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @rebel yell, @Barbarossa, @Audacious Epigone

    Well, that’s just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient.

    You are sure to receive grief for this comment and, candidly, I suspect that grief is what you want, since you have missed no opportunity to overstate the case!

    However, part of the reason you will receive grief is that some readers (including me) suspect that you may be largely right. Your comments are always thought-provoking, always worth reading, at any rate; and I am glad that you are here to deliver them. Your comments make the whole modern world seem iconoclastic—and who knows? Maybe it is.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @V. K. Ovelund


    I suspect that grief is what you want, since you have missed no opportunity to overstate the case!
     
    He is just pompous.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

  74. @Wency
    @V. K. Ovelund

    You might be on to something, but I doubt that age-old woman-to-woman dynamics explain Congress so much as contemporary dynamics between men and women (especially liberal women). The liberal women are inclined to see politics as a holy war wherein America could turn into the Handmaid's Tale at any moment, and their Republican colleagues would be the ones to do it. They're also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them -- they want men to use the kid gloves without "mansplaining", interrupting, or being patronizing.

    But also I don't think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time -- men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive. This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha. Either act "ladylike" and mostly get trampled in a game dominated by men, or be humorless and intolerant towards any perceived slight or challenge to your authority whatsoever and at least get somewhere within that man's world (while causing your haters to double down on their hatred).

    Replies: @anon, @nebulafox, @John Johnson

    This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha.

    The solution to that is both simple and obvious. It is impossible at this time, of course.

  75. @V. K. Ovelund
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Well, that’s just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient.
     
    You are sure to receive grief for this comment and, candidly, I suspect that grief is what you want, since you have missed no opportunity to overstate the case!

    However, part of the reason you will receive grief is that some readers (including me) suspect that you may be largely right. Your comments are always thought-provoking, always worth reading, at any rate; and I am glad that you are here to deliver them. Your comments make the whole modern world seem iconoclastic—and who knows? Maybe it is.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    I suspect that grief is what you want, since you have missed no opportunity to overstate the case!

    He is just pompous.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @Twinkie


    He is just pompous.
     
    It is easy to understand where you are coming from, but I strongly disagree. The main thread of Intelligent Dasein's thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable; and though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.

    No one else here is likely to advance such points but he. This blog would be less interesting a place without Intelligent Dasein. As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance. That's his style. You don't like it, perhaps, but, well, I do.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @RSDB

  76. On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery.

    LOL. Yeah, that’s really going to happen. That may be the most unrealistic suggestion ever made on UR.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @dfordoom


    LOL. Yeah, that’s really going to happen. That may be the most unrealistic suggestion ever made on UR.
     
    Actually, it's inevitable that it will happen. If it doesn't, the Left will continue to push harder and harder for reparations and we ain't paying for those.

    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, "Hey, let's take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit "free" people under similar circumstances." It will finally out that slavery really wasn't that bad. If people aren't moved to this conclusion by the substantial truth of it, they will still nevertheless be compelled to take it by sheer dialectics of the present situation.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  77. @Twinkie
    @V. K. Ovelund


    I suspect that grief is what you want, since you have missed no opportunity to overstate the case!
     
    He is just pompous.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    He is just pompous.

    It is easy to understand where you are coming from, but I strongly disagree. The main thread of Intelligent Dasein’s thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable; and though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.

    No one else here is likely to advance such points but he. This blog would be less interesting a place without Intelligent Dasein. As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance. That’s his style. You don’t like it, perhaps, but, well, I do.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @V. K. Ovelund


    As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance.
     
    His intellectual substance as such is rather shallow. He and his fans confuse verbosity and antiquarianism with intellect.

    I invite such people to read, say, Etienne Gilson's "The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy" to get a sense of what a real intellect writes of the true medieval Christian thought (particularly as opposed to the cartoon image of it that post-Enlightenment authors paint). Intelligent Dasein's comments are not even a poor imitation of such serious works.

    Intelligent Dasein’s thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable
     
    Yeah, well, for much of human history, pretty much all sex was rape. That doesn't mean that's the way sex is today or should be. A lot of things are "natural human conditions" devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the "wage slavery" of today is an exaggeration, to say the least. The machines that have been invented by human ingenuity have created numerous problems and tragedies to be sure, but they have also produced wonderful benefits and uplifted many - indeed, millions - from crippling and stunting poverty.

    though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.
     
    Our view of feudalism is rather romantic since only the accounts of those who were at the top survive, by and large. But we know from other evidences and deductions of history that it was filled with unimaginable inequities and violence. The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.

    Moreover, when the peasants finally did have enough of it all, the result was sometimes horrific to the seigniors too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquerie

    "peasants killed a knight, put him on a spit, and roasted him with his wife and children looking on. After ten or twelve of them raped the lady, they wished to force feed them the roasted flesh of their father and husband and made them then die by a miserable death".
     

    That’s his style.
     
    But that's not even what bothers me about him (his "style" as such is just annoying and buffoonish). It's his God-complex. He literally wrote once that he is "right about everything." For an alleged man of faith, his lack of intellectual humility is astounding... which was why both I and another commenter (I think it was "res" or possibly "Johann Ricke") thought he seems to be someone pretty well-read from an otherwise unintellectual environment where he is used to be being the smartest person in the room.

    Replies: @RSDB, @Wency, @res

    , @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund

    What interested me about the feudalism comment and this is that it strikes me as a little odd for a distributist, or at least one who uses the term approvingly, to go immediately and without pause from lauding the Distributist State ("feudalism" would be distributive, in Belloc, precisely in its evolution away from servility) to the Servile State; particularly as, in the contrast between the two banks of the Ohio in the 1830s, the Ohio side, as much as it may have tended to exalt the kind of crass materialism he dislikes, would have been rather closer to "distributism" than the other.

    I do tend to appreciate these sorts of comments, though, if they lead to an interesting discussion.

    Belloc's treatment of the subject, in general, is probably worth reading.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

  78. Barbarossa: “The anecdotal evidence certainly seems to be that as Christianity has waned in the West society has gone to hell in a handbasket. ”

    An addict never blames the drug for the bad effects he suffers. He always wants to increase the dose. He never blames his own behavior, either. It’s always someone else’s fault he is the way he is.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    I'm afraid that your comment doesn't really even attempt to engage with my point.
    If Christianity is such a force for cultural rot, then how do you explain that the great accomplishments of the West were all birthed from an explicitly Christian West?
    I could turn the spirit your comment right back around on you and posit that because you hate Christianity you use it as a scapegoat for what it did not cause. After all,


    An addict never blames the drug for the bad effects he suffers. He always wants to increase the dose. He never blames his own behavior, either. It’s always someone else’s fault he is the way he is.
     

    Replies: @nebulafox

  79. @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    I do think that a multi-polar world is more conducive to sanity.
     
    Multipolarity is unstable. Unipolarity leads to arrogance and decadence. I now see that bipolarity was the best (though the price was paid by the denizens of the Soviet bloc).

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ

    I’ve been thinking about your clever and humane observation, Twinkie, and would like to add a corollary. Namely, that while bipolarity is the “best” scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival. The end of the great rivalries of antiquity–Athens/Sparta, Carthage/Rome, maybe even Troy/Achaia–seem to have had this character, as does the post-Cold War world we’re now enduring.

    • Agree: Twinkie
    • Thanks: res
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ


    Namely, that while bipolarity is the “best” scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival.
     
    That is an excellent observation. I am going to steal that for the future. ;)

    I've made a somewhat related point about domestic politics among friends. I have always maintained that a competitive two-party system is the most stable and beneficial. And as a rightist, I obviously prefer the rightist party to win, but not always. I'd lived in one party-dominated localities (where one party or the other wins almost all the time) before, and inevitably such total domination results in mediocre or even incompetent people running things and screwing things up. So my ideal is somewhere where the rightists win about 2/3 of the time (I'd even take 60/40) - where they have the upper hand, but not so dominant that they can just take it easy and engage in corruption, self-dealing, etc. and treat the voters like fools.

    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance, and we are back to unipolarity again (though in the realm of domestic politics, unipolarity does not seem to degenerate into multipolar chaos - or does it in the long-run?).

    Life on this earth is a constant struggle.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ

  80. @Intelligent Dasein

    Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:
     
    Well, that's just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient. This was manifest nonsense when de Tocqueville wrote it and it is even more manifestly nonsense today when TomSchmidt repeats it. Let's talk about efficiency first.

    There seems to be much confusion left over even today about whether we ought to work to live, or live to work. The correct answer is decidedly the former; but that being the case, "efficiency" must be measured not in multiplying outputs, not in the heaping up of goods for no true purpose, but in the maximization of the ease and tranquility with which the necessaries of life can be garnered. To that end, there is no more perfect assistant imaginable than the human servant. There is no type of labor he can't perform, no comfort he can't provide, nothing he cannot be made to learn or understand; and if you need more of him, he can reproduce himself, which he is most eager and wont to do anyway. He can be developed to the highest degree of loyalty and refinedness, made ready to answer any need and to provide the rarest quality. Even if some nonhuman machines are required in particular circumstances, it will be your human servants who build them and operate them. Indeed, it is the human servant who implicitly contains all other things---all machines, all inventions, all arts. Be your automated process never so exacting, at the end of the day you still need a human being to man it. A good servant is an entire microcosm; he has everything else within him. Man himself is the ultimate means to any end, as Machiavelli recognized when he said that money cannot buy good soldiers but good soldiers can always find money.

    What de Tocqueville observed on the Ohio side of the river was not "efficiency" but conspicuous consumption, a needless hustle and bustle which, motivated by fear and envy, consumes the life of a man in a never-ending treadmill of labors. He who, with the needful things of life already in his hand, continues to sweat and strive as though he had nothing, is on that very account an incomplete human being---a misbred and misbegotten caricature who cannot reason and cannot rest. He is denying himself the leisure required for all the sublime things in life---religion, contemplation, philosophy, elegance. When one has the opportunity for these good things, to turn one's nose up at them in order to continue in the rat race is either a sin against beauty or a piggish coarsening of the soul---but that is basically what capitalism (de Tocqueville's "freedom") amounts to.

    On the moral front, it must be remarked that slavery is not condemned by the Church, still less is it branded an "intrinsic evil" as the Enlightenment crusaders would have it. Neither the Old nor the New Testament contains any proscription of slavery as such. Christ Himself passed over the whole matter in silence, and in general said nothing about social conditions except insofar as they impinged upon the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a very good reason for this, namely that servitude is the de facto reality of much of the human race, always has been, and always will be. One cannot bring an end to servitude any more than one can bring an end to personal power (of which it is the inverse, i.e. personal powerlessness)---laws, constitutions, and revolutions notwithstanding. And since morality is concerned with what we ought to do, it makes no sense to moralize over something which is simply an inevitable condition of existence. All that can be said is that when people live together in charity, the harsher realities of class distinctions tend to moderate on their own, but this can be easily thrown into disarray by wars, mass migrations, vain ambitions, or anything else that upsets the social balance.

    On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery. In the last analysis, this is the only realistic solution we have when it comes to dealing with our own fellaheen population, whether white or colored. The immigrants will never all be deported, the black underclass will never be self-sufficient, and they will be joined by an ever-growing white underclass which seems likewise unwilling to shoulder the burdens of civilized life. Now, assuming that we cannot just get rid of these people (which we can't) and that we do not have the wherewithal to continue feting and pampering them (which we don't), all that remains is to force them into productivity. We must say "Look, the welfare state is over. We won't let you starve to death, but you will plow the fields, patch the potholes, and lay the railroad track necessary to get this dilapidated country working again, or you won't be getting squat, capisce ?" This is a conversation that really needs to be had.

    What is absolutely unacceptable, though, is de Tocqueville's Whiggish notion that slavery is intrinsically evil and capitalism intrinsically prosperity-producing, and that the two things prove one another. In places like the Unz Review, that trope seems to get started something like this. The progressive Leftists make the claim that America got rich off her slaves and that therefore the descendants of slaves and colonials are entitled to reparations today. Then the Unzies, instead of refusing the premise and recognizing that the two things have nothing to do with one another, simply swallow the bait and argue that America did not get rich from slavery. This is not only not true (America got very rich from slavery), it is also utterly irrelevant. There is no logical connection between accepting that slavery produces wealth and demanding that descendants of former slaves are entitled to a share of it, and therefore there is no need to falsify the record with elegiacs about how "inefficient" slavery was. This desperate urge to prove to oneself that some misunderstood moral intuition is also the key to getting wealthy is one of those typical Enlightenment errors that has imparted so much confusion to the Western world these last several centuries. It is a very costly mistake that we just don't have time for anymore.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @rebel yell, @Barbarossa, @Audacious Epigone

    I like your honest look at forced labor. I’ve always thought that low-paid workers are not “free labor” even if they are technically free. No one digs ditches for subsistence pay because they freely choose to. We haven’t had free labor since Adam got kicked out of the garden of eden.
    Better to say we will always have forced labor and try to be reasonable about it. That still leaves a lot of room for a free market, the right of workers to be paid and to change jobs, market policies that favor higher wages, policies that favor ladders of success and a strong middle class, etc. But as you say there is a cut-off point, and if you don’t work, you don’t eat.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @rebel yell


    Better to say we will always have forced labor and try to be reasonable about it. That still leaves a lot of room for a free market, the right of workers to be paid and to change jobs, market policies that favor higher wages, policies that favor ladders of success and a strong middle class, etc. But as you say there is a cut-off point, and if you don’t work, you don’t eat.
     
    Tangentially, this is a good explanation for why there ought never to be an employer paid minimum wage. If the government wants to establish a federal minimum wage and then add it as a multiplier to the employee's earned wages, that's different; but the employer should never be forced to pay more than the market price of the labor. That way, even people with hardly any skills can still be employed doing something useful.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

  81. @Wency
    @V. K. Ovelund

    You might be on to something, but I doubt that age-old woman-to-woman dynamics explain Congress so much as contemporary dynamics between men and women (especially liberal women). The liberal women are inclined to see politics as a holy war wherein America could turn into the Handmaid's Tale at any moment, and their Republican colleagues would be the ones to do it. They're also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them -- they want men to use the kid gloves without "mansplaining", interrupting, or being patronizing.

    But also I don't think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time -- men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive. This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha. Either act "ladylike" and mostly get trampled in a game dominated by men, or be humorless and intolerant towards any perceived slight or challenge to your authority whatsoever and at least get somewhere within that man's world (while causing your haters to double down on their hatred).

    Replies: @anon, @nebulafox, @John Johnson

    >They’re also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them — they want men to use the kid gloves without “mansplaining”, interrupting, or being patronizing.

    I think there’s a genuine translation problem. I grew up in an extended family that was heavily male-dominated, numerically speaking, and where many of the women were on the masculine side: it wasn’t until I sat down in other family environments that weren’t that I realized the dynamics I saw might not be normative. My take is that if a man is trying to compete with you on facts, trying to talk over and get an edge in on you, it’s a sign he takes you seriously as an opponent rather than disrespect. But to a woman, I’d bet it’d sound aggravating and disrespectful because of the social conditioning against overt aggression or directness.

    Especially if the man doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is transparently not passionate about the topic, but using it as a way of impressing people. Women tend to have far more acute BS sensers about this kind of thing than men, from my experience. Women do like men who have mastered something and can show it, by contrast.

    • Agree: Triteleia Laxa
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @nebulafox

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56020674


    Yoshiro Mori, 83, was quoted as saying women talk too much and that meetings with many female board directors would "take a lot of time".
     

    "If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying," Mr Mori was quoted as saying.
     

    "Last night, my wife gave me a thorough scolding. She said: 'You've said something bad again, haven't you? I'm going to have to suffer again because you've antagonised women'," he said.

    "This morning, my daughter and granddaughter scolded me as well," the paper quoted him as saying. [Boldface mine.]
     
    Did you get that? Mori can deal with the criticism and backlash, but his wife found the suffering too much. After saying he wouldn’t resign, Mori did.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    , @Wency
    @nebulafox

    There's some truth here, but it's probably also true that our society has conditioned everyone, when speaking to someone lower than them on the Diversity Totem Pole, to interpret any perceived discourtesy in the context of the larger war. A white man can speak a bit rudely towards another white man and the latter can overlook it or maybe give it back to him and move on, they both have bigger fish to fry. If a white man is rude towards a black woman, then he is perpetuating a centuries-old cycle of injustice, and for her to overlook it and move past it would require not just setting aside her own ego, but setting aside her duty to all other women and all other people of color to punish his behavior.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  82. @nebulafox
    @Wency

    >They’re also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them — they want men to use the kid gloves without “mansplaining”, interrupting, or being patronizing.

    I think there's a genuine translation problem. I grew up in an extended family that was heavily male-dominated, numerically speaking, and where many of the women were on the masculine side: it wasn't until I sat down in other family environments that weren't that I realized the dynamics I saw might not be normative. My take is that if a man is trying to compete with you on facts, trying to talk over and get an edge in on you, it's a sign he takes you seriously as an opponent rather than disrespect. But to a woman, I'd bet it'd sound aggravating and disrespectful because of the social conditioning against overt aggression or directness.

    Especially if the man doesn't know what he's talking about and is transparently not passionate about the topic, but using it as a way of impressing people. Women tend to have far more acute BS sensers about this kind of thing than men, from my experience. Women do like men who have mastered something and can show it, by contrast.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56020674

    Yoshiro Mori, 83, was quoted as saying women talk too much and that meetings with many female board directors would “take a lot of time”.

    “If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” Mr Mori was quoted as saying.

    “Last night, my wife gave me a thorough scolding. She said: ‘You’ve said something bad again, haven’t you? I’m going to have to suffer again because you’ve antagonised women’,” he said.

    “This morning, my daughter and granddaughter scolded me as well,” the paper quoted him as saying. [Boldface mine.]

    Did you get that? Mori can deal with the criticism and backlash, but his wife found the suffering too much. After saying he wouldn’t resign, Mori did.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Twinkie

    I bet that when politicians resign "to spend more time" with "their family", that goes right over your head too.

    A poll showed that nearly 60 percent of Japanese believed he was no longer qualified to lead. Some Olympic sponsors expressed concern about their continued involvement in the Games, according to Japanese media reports, and the president of Toyota called Mr. Mori’s comments “truly regrettable.” Female lawmakers in opposition political parties wore suffragist white to Parliament on Wednesday to protest his remarks.

    Mr. Mori’s fate had seemed to turn on Tuesday evening, when the International Olympic Committee, which had previously called the issue “closed” after his apology, called his remarks “absolutely inappropriate.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/world/asia/yoshiro-mori-tokyo-olympics-resigns.html

    I don't think he should have been forced to resign, but the excuse you report is clearly just a face saving exaggeration/lie.

    Unsurprisingly, the Japanese picked a woman to replace him, despite none being the obvious candidate.

  83. @Twinkie
    @nebulafox

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56020674


    Yoshiro Mori, 83, was quoted as saying women talk too much and that meetings with many female board directors would "take a lot of time".
     

    "If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying," Mr Mori was quoted as saying.
     

    "Last night, my wife gave me a thorough scolding. She said: 'You've said something bad again, haven't you? I'm going to have to suffer again because you've antagonised women'," he said.

    "This morning, my daughter and granddaughter scolded me as well," the paper quoted him as saying. [Boldface mine.]
     
    Did you get that? Mori can deal with the criticism and backlash, but his wife found the suffering too much. After saying he wouldn’t resign, Mori did.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    I bet that when politicians resign “to spend more time” with “their family”, that goes right over your head too.

    A poll showed that nearly 60 percent of Japanese believed he was no longer qualified to lead. Some Olympic sponsors expressed concern about their continued involvement in the Games, according to Japanese media reports, and the president of Toyota called Mr. Mori’s comments “truly regrettable.” Female lawmakers in opposition political parties wore suffragist white to Parliament on Wednesday to protest his remarks.

    Mr. Mori’s fate had seemed to turn on Tuesday evening, when the International Olympic Committee, which had previously called the issue “closed” after his apology, called his remarks “absolutely inappropriate.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/world/asia/yoshiro-mori-tokyo-olympics-resigns.html

    I don’t think he should have been forced to resign, but the excuse you report is clearly just a face saving exaggeration/lie.

    Unsurprisingly, the Japanese picked a woman to replace him, despite none being the obvious candidate.

  84. This is a good collection of information and insight – thank you.

  85. @V. K. Ovelund
    @Twinkie


    He is just pompous.
     
    It is easy to understand where you are coming from, but I strongly disagree. The main thread of Intelligent Dasein's thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable; and though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.

    No one else here is likely to advance such points but he. This blog would be less interesting a place without Intelligent Dasein. As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance. That's his style. You don't like it, perhaps, but, well, I do.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @RSDB

    As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance.

    His intellectual substance as such is rather shallow. He and his fans confuse verbosity and antiquarianism with intellect.

    I invite such people to read, say, Etienne Gilson’s “The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy” to get a sense of what a real intellect writes of the true medieval Christian thought (particularly as opposed to the cartoon image of it that post-Enlightenment authors paint). Intelligent Dasein’s comments are not even a poor imitation of such serious works.

    Intelligent Dasein’s thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable

    Yeah, well, for much of human history, pretty much all sex was rape. That doesn’t mean that’s the way sex is today or should be. A lot of things are “natural human conditions” devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the “wage slavery” of today is an exaggeration, to say the least. The machines that have been invented by human ingenuity have created numerous problems and tragedies to be sure, but they have also produced wonderful benefits and uplifted many – indeed, millions – from crippling and stunting poverty.

    though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.

    Our view of feudalism is rather romantic since only the accounts of those who were at the top survive, by and large. But we know from other evidences and deductions of history that it was filled with unimaginable inequities and violence. The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.

    Moreover, when the peasants finally did have enough of it all, the result was sometimes horrific to the seigniors too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquerie

    “peasants killed a knight, put him on a spit, and roasted him with his wife and children looking on. After ten or twelve of them raped the lady, they wished to force feed them the roasted flesh of their father and husband and made them then die by a miserable death”.

    That’s his style.

    But that’s not even what bothers me about him (his “style” as such is just annoying and buffoonish). It’s his God-complex. He literally wrote once that he is “right about everything.” For an alleged man of faith, his lack of intellectual humility is astounding… which was why both I and another commenter (I think it was “res” or possibly “Johann Ricke”) thought he seems to be someone pretty well-read from an otherwise unintellectual environment where he is used to be being the smartest person in the room.

    • Agree: photondancer
    • Replies: @RSDB
    @Twinkie


    . The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.
     
    To be fair, I think a number of UR commenters, though not me as far as I can tell, are actually descended from aristocrats: you (iirc), Talha (and his wife), "AP", "Daniel Chieh", and probably a number of others I am missing.

    Thanks for mentioning Gilson; it's been a long time since I dusted off the Thomist corners in my mind.

    I would mention with respect to violent outbursts, though I think I get the point, that these are not necessarily confined to that era; I just heard recently, for instance, of a frustrated math professor in Shanghai who killed his Party political officer with a knife; certainly that does not come up to the brutality of the situation you mentioned, but I don't doubt that such brutality could be matched by some of the things done to landlords in China not all that long ago.

    Replies: @iffen

    , @Wency
    @Twinkie


    A lot of things are “natural human conditions” devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the “wage slavery” of today is an exaggeration, to say the least.
     
    I agree with you here (though I'm not interested in analyzing I.D. as a person). Within pre-industrial society, there are many common fates worse than many sorts of slavery -- though the Arab sort where they castrate you and rape your womenfolk and work you to death is pretty bad by any standard. I believe it's for this reason that Scripture advocates humanizing slavery somewhat, but does not forbid it.

    So yes, the mainstream narrative is entirely unnuanced about slavery and at least partly wrong about almost everything in this matter, and getting worse. But reality check: that doesn't mean that slavery is anything like working at McDonald's. They don't whip you if you screw up making a McFlurry at McDonald's. They don't send men and dogs to hunt you down if you don't show up for work at McDonald's.

    I'm not sure how one can simultaneously hold the view that it's unjust how mainstream Republicans constantly screw over the working man while also thinking "It wouldn't really be so bad if the working man was enslaved again."

    , @res
    @Twinkie

    Good memory. That was me last year. Here is my response to your comment then.
    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/conflusion/#comment-3839491

    That said, whether or not I agree with it or like the style, ID's comment 70 seems like a worthwhile and interesting contribution to the discussion.

  86. @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie

    I've been thinking about your clever and humane observation, Twinkie, and would like to add a corollary. Namely, that while bipolarity is the "best" scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival. The end of the great rivalries of antiquity--Athens/Sparta, Carthage/Rome, maybe even Troy/Achaia--seem to have had this character, as does the post-Cold War world we're now enduring.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Namely, that while bipolarity is the “best” scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival.

    That is an excellent observation. I am going to steal that for the future. 😉

    I’ve made a somewhat related point about domestic politics among friends. I have always maintained that a competitive two-party system is the most stable and beneficial. And as a rightist, I obviously prefer the rightist party to win, but not always. I’d lived in one party-dominated localities (where one party or the other wins almost all the time) before, and inevitably such total domination results in mediocre or even incompetent people running things and screwing things up. So my ideal is somewhere where the rightists win about 2/3 of the time (I’d even take 60/40) – where they have the upper hand, but not so dominant that they can just take it easy and engage in corruption, self-dealing, etc. and treat the voters like fools.

    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance, and we are back to unipolarity again (though in the realm of domestic politics, unipolarity does not seem to degenerate into multipolar chaos – or does it in the long-run?).

    Life on this earth is a constant struggle.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance
     
    Is that really true? In Australia in the postwar period from 1949 to 1972 the conservative Liberal Party won nine consecutive elections. But that did not translate into permanent dominance. The next two elections were won by the opposing Labor Party.

    In the 80s and 90s Labor won five consecutive elections but that did not translate into permanent dominance. Their opponents won the next four elections.

    And in the US the Democrats controlled the White House continuously for twenty years from 1932 to 1952, and then lost it.

    So it doesn't seem to happen in two-party systems. For some reason they don't seem to become one-party systems. Even when one of the parties disappears into political oblivion, as happened with the Liberals in Britain a century or so ago, the two-party system still reasserts itself.

    One of the reasons this happens is that voters like changing governments. When one party has been in office for a decade or so voters always fall prey to the "it's time for a change" syndrome. Even if the party in power has done a good job and has done nothing wrong the "it's time for a change" syndrome asserts itself. Changing governments makes voters feel good.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie

    Thanks for your kind words, Twinkie.

    Reflecting further on the question of identity, I came up with some potentially good effects of multipolarity. While I agree that it is an unstable system at the international level, in terms of the individual nation itself, the multipolar condition seems to encourage a positive identity: a sense that, to put it schematically, "We are this." "This" would be understood as the experience of a shared history, language, religion, descent, literary/artistic culture, food, dress, habits--anything that distinguishes one people from all the other competing peoples in their separate spheres of power.

    The bipolar condition, by contrast, encourages a negative identity: "We are not that." The idea is that the nation is inclined--perhaps needs--to draw a heightened distinction between itself and its single rival. In a way, this allows the rival to set the terms of the nation's own self-understood identity. Examples of this from the Cold War abound, in retrospect--although to be honest they did not seem to be negative at the time.

    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral "armor" for America's long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a "proposition nation," for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites. Previously (it seems to me), the idea of America as an "idea" existed in balance with positive notions of what constituted an AmeriCAN: the pioneer spirit, self-reliance, habits of tinkering and self-improvement, respect for commerce, Protestant Christianity, etc. It wasn't until the latter 20th century that these aspects of positive identity were abandoned in favor of the claim that anybody (and everybody) could be an American, if they simply pledged fealty to the preamble of the Constitution.

    Having emerged victorious in the Cold War, the proposition nation idea would transform from an antidote into a poison. As you noted, Twinkie, a unipolar America slid easily into arrogance and decay. We succumbed to the delusion that every nation could be a noble idea--that the people of any nation would respond to abstractions like freedom and self-rule--and we lurched into the "nation-building" debacle of the second Iraq war. We took it as given that every human being really was an American at heart--and turned a blind eye to an invasion of our country by people who could only see America as something to loot and laugh at.

    The thing is, from this perspective, I don't see a way out of the iron cycle of multipolarity-bipolarity-unipolarity-crisis/collapse-multipolarity... Your final sentence--"Life on this earth is a constant struggle"--could hardly be more apt. But I'm not sure whether that struggle is a tragedy or, in the final analysis, a comedy.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Twinkie

  87. @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ


    Namely, that while bipolarity is the “best” scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival.
     
    That is an excellent observation. I am going to steal that for the future. ;)

    I've made a somewhat related point about domestic politics among friends. I have always maintained that a competitive two-party system is the most stable and beneficial. And as a rightist, I obviously prefer the rightist party to win, but not always. I'd lived in one party-dominated localities (where one party or the other wins almost all the time) before, and inevitably such total domination results in mediocre or even incompetent people running things and screwing things up. So my ideal is somewhere where the rightists win about 2/3 of the time (I'd even take 60/40) - where they have the upper hand, but not so dominant that they can just take it easy and engage in corruption, self-dealing, etc. and treat the voters like fools.

    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance, and we are back to unipolarity again (though in the realm of domestic politics, unipolarity does not seem to degenerate into multipolar chaos - or does it in the long-run?).

    Life on this earth is a constant struggle.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ

    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance

    Is that really true? In Australia in the postwar period from 1949 to 1972 the conservative Liberal Party won nine consecutive elections. But that did not translate into permanent dominance. The next two elections were won by the opposing Labor Party.

    In the 80s and 90s Labor won five consecutive elections but that did not translate into permanent dominance. Their opponents won the next four elections.

    And in the US the Democrats controlled the White House continuously for twenty years from 1932 to 1952, and then lost it.

    So it doesn’t seem to happen in two-party systems. For some reason they don’t seem to become one-party systems. Even when one of the parties disappears into political oblivion, as happened with the Liberals in Britain a century or so ago, the two-party system still reasserts itself.

    One of the reasons this happens is that voters like changing governments. When one party has been in office for a decade or so voters always fall prey to the “it’s time for a change” syndrome. Even if the party in power has done a good job and has done nothing wrong the “it’s time for a change” syndrome asserts itself. Changing governments makes voters feel good.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    Is that really true?
     
    It’s happened with localities and even states in the U.S.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  88. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance
     
    Is that really true? In Australia in the postwar period from 1949 to 1972 the conservative Liberal Party won nine consecutive elections. But that did not translate into permanent dominance. The next two elections were won by the opposing Labor Party.

    In the 80s and 90s Labor won five consecutive elections but that did not translate into permanent dominance. Their opponents won the next four elections.

    And in the US the Democrats controlled the White House continuously for twenty years from 1932 to 1952, and then lost it.

    So it doesn't seem to happen in two-party systems. For some reason they don't seem to become one-party systems. Even when one of the parties disappears into political oblivion, as happened with the Liberals in Britain a century or so ago, the two-party system still reasserts itself.

    One of the reasons this happens is that voters like changing governments. When one party has been in office for a decade or so voters always fall prey to the "it's time for a change" syndrome. Even if the party in power has done a good job and has done nothing wrong the "it's time for a change" syndrome asserts itself. Changing governments makes voters feel good.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Is that really true?

    It’s happened with localities and even states in the U.S.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Twinkie



    Is that really true?
     
    It’s happened with localities and even states in the U.S.
     
    Sure. And I've lived in electorates in Australia that have elected Labor MPs in every single election for the past hundred years. And there are other electorates that have elected conservatives in every single election for decade after decade after decade.

    But at a national level the two-party system always seems to reassert itself. I don't claim to fully understand why this is so, but it seems to be the case.

    Replies: @iffen

  89. @V. K. Ovelund
    @Twinkie


    He is just pompous.
     
    It is easy to understand where you are coming from, but I strongly disagree. The main thread of Intelligent Dasein's thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable; and though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.

    No one else here is likely to advance such points but he. This blog would be less interesting a place without Intelligent Dasein. As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance. That's his style. You don't like it, perhaps, but, well, I do.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @RSDB

    What interested me about the feudalism comment and this is that it strikes me as a little odd for a distributist, or at least one who uses the term approvingly, to go immediately and without pause from lauding the Distributist State (“feudalism” would be distributive, in Belloc, precisely in its evolution away from servility) to the Servile State; particularly as, in the contrast between the two banks of the Ohio in the 1830s, the Ohio side, as much as it may have tended to exalt the kind of crass materialism he dislikes, would have been rather closer to “distributism” than the other.

    I do tend to appreciate these sorts of comments, though, if they lead to an interesting discussion.

    Belloc’s treatment of the subject, in general, is probably worth reading.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB


    What interested me about the feudalism comment and this is that it strikes me as a little odd for a distributist, or at least one who uses the term approvingly, to go immediately and without pause from lauding the Distributist State (“feudalism” would be distributive, in Belloc, precisely in its evolution away from servility) to the Servile State; particularly as, in the contrast between the two banks of the Ohio in the 1830s, the Ohio side, as much as it may have tended to exalt the kind of crass materialism he dislikes, would have been rather closer to “distributism” than the other.
     
    Your comment is serious, of course. It shows a welcome appreciation for the topic. Still, I am unsure that harmonizing distributism with slavery was Intellectual Dasein's chief intent. However, I. D. is obviously quite capable of speaking for himself, so if he wishes to respond to your comment he can.

    I. D.'s evidently puts some persons off, including Twinkie. Plainly, I. D. does not mind putting some persons off; but I still like his commentary. He so often makes me think about a topic from an illiberal angle I had not considered that I look forward to his commentary, every time.

    As far as the writing style goes, well, it's nothing like Hemingway's. That's for sure. I do like his writing style, though. I am unlikely to wish to emulate it, but I do like to read it.

    As far as pomposity goes, all of modernity is pompous, except when it is merely tasteless and shabby. Modernity is inhuman. Typing on my modern PC keyboard (which I like), I have no answer for this problem, but I think that thoughtful men who explore the problem space are valuable. I. D. is such a man. If he does not explore the problem space, who will?

    Replies: @RSDB

  90. @Twinkie
    @dfordoom


    Is that really true?
     
    It’s happened with localities and even states in the U.S.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Is that really true?

    It’s happened with localities and even states in the U.S.

    Sure. And I’ve lived in electorates in Australia that have elected Labor MPs in every single election for the past hundred years. And there are other electorates that have elected conservatives in every single election for decade after decade after decade.

    But at a national level the two-party system always seems to reassert itself. I don’t claim to fully understand why this is so, but it seems to be the case.

    • Replies: @iffen
    @dfordoom

    Let's not overlook the fact that on many issues in the past there was little difference between the two parties in the U. S. on most questions. Only recently have we had the beginning of an actual choice, and that is not complete. Which party should I vote if I want to end the wars (and not start any new ones)? If I want troops withdrawn from Korea and Germany? If I want distance between Israel and the U. S.?.

  91. @Twinkie
    @V. K. Ovelund


    As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance.
     
    His intellectual substance as such is rather shallow. He and his fans confuse verbosity and antiquarianism with intellect.

    I invite such people to read, say, Etienne Gilson's "The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy" to get a sense of what a real intellect writes of the true medieval Christian thought (particularly as opposed to the cartoon image of it that post-Enlightenment authors paint). Intelligent Dasein's comments are not even a poor imitation of such serious works.

    Intelligent Dasein’s thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable
     
    Yeah, well, for much of human history, pretty much all sex was rape. That doesn't mean that's the way sex is today or should be. A lot of things are "natural human conditions" devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the "wage slavery" of today is an exaggeration, to say the least. The machines that have been invented by human ingenuity have created numerous problems and tragedies to be sure, but they have also produced wonderful benefits and uplifted many - indeed, millions - from crippling and stunting poverty.

    though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.
     
    Our view of feudalism is rather romantic since only the accounts of those who were at the top survive, by and large. But we know from other evidences and deductions of history that it was filled with unimaginable inequities and violence. The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.

    Moreover, when the peasants finally did have enough of it all, the result was sometimes horrific to the seigniors too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquerie

    "peasants killed a knight, put him on a spit, and roasted him with his wife and children looking on. After ten or twelve of them raped the lady, they wished to force feed them the roasted flesh of their father and husband and made them then die by a miserable death".
     

    That’s his style.
     
    But that's not even what bothers me about him (his "style" as such is just annoying and buffoonish). It's his God-complex. He literally wrote once that he is "right about everything." For an alleged man of faith, his lack of intellectual humility is astounding... which was why both I and another commenter (I think it was "res" or possibly "Johann Ricke") thought he seems to be someone pretty well-read from an otherwise unintellectual environment where he is used to be being the smartest person in the room.

    Replies: @RSDB, @Wency, @res

    . The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.

    To be fair, I think a number of UR commenters, though not me as far as I can tell, are actually descended from aristocrats: you (iirc), Talha (and his wife), “AP”, “Daniel Chieh”, and probably a number of others I am missing.

    Thanks for mentioning Gilson; it’s been a long time since I dusted off the Thomist corners in my mind.

    I would mention with respect to violent outbursts, though I think I get the point, that these are not necessarily confined to that era; I just heard recently, for instance, of a frustrated math professor in Shanghai who killed his Party political officer with a knife; certainly that does not come up to the brutality of the situation you mentioned, but I don’t doubt that such brutality could be matched by some of the things done to landlords in China not all that long ago.

    • Replies: @iffen
    @RSDB

    It's a big area, but one thought that I have is that it sure didn't take all that long for noblesse oblige to get purged from the gene pool.

  92. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie



    Is that really true?
     
    It’s happened with localities and even states in the U.S.
     
    Sure. And I've lived in electorates in Australia that have elected Labor MPs in every single election for the past hundred years. And there are other electorates that have elected conservatives in every single election for decade after decade after decade.

    But at a national level the two-party system always seems to reassert itself. I don't claim to fully understand why this is so, but it seems to be the case.

    Replies: @iffen

    Let’s not overlook the fact that on many issues in the past there was little difference between the two parties in the U. S. on most questions. Only recently have we had the beginning of an actual choice, and that is not complete. Which party should I vote if I want to end the wars (and not start any new ones)? If I want troops withdrawn from Korea and Germany? If I want distance between Israel and the U. S.?.

  93. @RSDB
    @Twinkie


    . The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.
     
    To be fair, I think a number of UR commenters, though not me as far as I can tell, are actually descended from aristocrats: you (iirc), Talha (and his wife), "AP", "Daniel Chieh", and probably a number of others I am missing.

    Thanks for mentioning Gilson; it's been a long time since I dusted off the Thomist corners in my mind.

    I would mention with respect to violent outbursts, though I think I get the point, that these are not necessarily confined to that era; I just heard recently, for instance, of a frustrated math professor in Shanghai who killed his Party political officer with a knife; certainly that does not come up to the brutality of the situation you mentioned, but I don't doubt that such brutality could be matched by some of the things done to landlords in China not all that long ago.

    Replies: @iffen

    It’s a big area, but one thought that I have is that it sure didn’t take all that long for noblesse oblige to get purged from the gene pool.

  94. @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund

    What interested me about the feudalism comment and this is that it strikes me as a little odd for a distributist, or at least one who uses the term approvingly, to go immediately and without pause from lauding the Distributist State ("feudalism" would be distributive, in Belloc, precisely in its evolution away from servility) to the Servile State; particularly as, in the contrast between the two banks of the Ohio in the 1830s, the Ohio side, as much as it may have tended to exalt the kind of crass materialism he dislikes, would have been rather closer to "distributism" than the other.

    I do tend to appreciate these sorts of comments, though, if they lead to an interesting discussion.

    Belloc's treatment of the subject, in general, is probably worth reading.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    What interested me about the feudalism comment and this is that it strikes me as a little odd for a distributist, or at least one who uses the term approvingly, to go immediately and without pause from lauding the Distributist State (“feudalism” would be distributive, in Belloc, precisely in its evolution away from servility) to the Servile State; particularly as, in the contrast between the two banks of the Ohio in the 1830s, the Ohio side, as much as it may have tended to exalt the kind of crass materialism he dislikes, would have been rather closer to “distributism” than the other.

    Your comment is serious, of course. It shows a welcome appreciation for the topic. Still, I am unsure that harmonizing distributism with slavery was Intellectual Dasein’s chief intent. However, I. D. is obviously quite capable of speaking for himself, so if he wishes to respond to your comment he can.

    I. D.’s evidently puts some persons off, including Twinkie. Plainly, I. D. does not mind putting some persons off; but I still like his commentary. He so often makes me think about a topic from an illiberal angle I had not considered that I look forward to his commentary, every time.

    As far as the writing style goes, well, it’s nothing like Hemingway’s. That’s for sure. I do like his writing style, though. I am unlikely to wish to emulate it, but I do like to read it.

    As far as pomposity goes, all of modernity is pompous, except when it is merely tasteless and shabby. Modernity is inhuman. Typing on my modern PC keyboard (which I like), I have no answer for this problem, but I think that thoughtful men who explore the problem space are valuable. I. D. is such a man. If he does not explore the problem space, who will?

    • Replies: @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund


    If he does not explore the problem space, who will?
     
    Well, it seems to me I have heard this debate before-- as I mentioned, I thought Belloc's treatment worth reading*, and while I'm not sure how much purpose our rather airy discussions on some webzine actually serve, I do recall talking about this general sort of thing before on here**.


    I'm certainly not in a position to lecture anyone else on pomposity, but as the question of style has been brought up, the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people's attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things: first, the weird WWE-style trash-talk ("It really does get tiresome being consistently right about everything all the time", " you are an idiot who does not know how to think", etc.), and, second, the long-windedness and high-flying delivery which some other commenters have criticized.


    *I did say "worth reading" and not "the ending point of all discussion on the subject".

    **Two examples

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @V. K. Ovelund

  95. @Dr. Robert Morgan
    Barbarossa: "The anecdotal evidence certainly seems to be that as Christianity has waned in the West society has gone to hell in a handbasket. "

    An addict never blames the drug for the bad effects he suffers. He always wants to increase the dose. He never blames his own behavior, either. It's always someone else's fault he is the way he is.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

    I’m afraid that your comment doesn’t really even attempt to engage with my point.
    If Christianity is such a force for cultural rot, then how do you explain that the great accomplishments of the West were all birthed from an explicitly Christian West?
    I could turn the spirit your comment right back around on you and posit that because you hate Christianity you use it as a scapegoat for what it did not cause. After all,

    An addict never blames the drug for the bad effects he suffers. He always wants to increase the dose. He never blames his own behavior, either. It’s always someone else’s fault he is the way he is.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Barbarossa

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity. That's ahistorical. If anything, what strikes me about the Christianization of the empire was how little it changed the propaganda and self-conception of the Roman state. (This stands in stark contrast to the results of the collapse of the 7th Century in the East, which led to nothing less than redefining what "Roman" was.) It was also a far more gradual process that began earlier and finished later than in pop history, although I'm happy to take correction on this, as I haven't got to my reading there yet.

    What I do know is that the big changes of the 3rd Century meant that the empire was a far more integrated place than it used to be, and that the emperors encouraged religious behavior that could encourage unity, in contrast to the Principate. It is particularly telling that even the traditional polytheistic pagans like Diocletian or Julian tried to revive paganism not as a diffuse collection of cults like the old days, but as an empire wide faith. Julian, in particular: he wanted to bring back the days of the Princeps. Yet even he was a product of his time, and it shows here in his attempts to organize paganism. That wasn't how it was earlier.

    Replies: @iffen, @Barbarossa

  96. @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB


    What interested me about the feudalism comment and this is that it strikes me as a little odd for a distributist, or at least one who uses the term approvingly, to go immediately and without pause from lauding the Distributist State (“feudalism” would be distributive, in Belloc, precisely in its evolution away from servility) to the Servile State; particularly as, in the contrast between the two banks of the Ohio in the 1830s, the Ohio side, as much as it may have tended to exalt the kind of crass materialism he dislikes, would have been rather closer to “distributism” than the other.
     
    Your comment is serious, of course. It shows a welcome appreciation for the topic. Still, I am unsure that harmonizing distributism with slavery was Intellectual Dasein's chief intent. However, I. D. is obviously quite capable of speaking for himself, so if he wishes to respond to your comment he can.

    I. D.'s evidently puts some persons off, including Twinkie. Plainly, I. D. does not mind putting some persons off; but I still like his commentary. He so often makes me think about a topic from an illiberal angle I had not considered that I look forward to his commentary, every time.

    As far as the writing style goes, well, it's nothing like Hemingway's. That's for sure. I do like his writing style, though. I am unlikely to wish to emulate it, but I do like to read it.

    As far as pomposity goes, all of modernity is pompous, except when it is merely tasteless and shabby. Modernity is inhuman. Typing on my modern PC keyboard (which I like), I have no answer for this problem, but I think that thoughtful men who explore the problem space are valuable. I. D. is such a man. If he does not explore the problem space, who will?

    Replies: @RSDB

    If he does not explore the problem space, who will?

    Well, it seems to me I have heard this debate before– as I mentioned, I thought Belloc’s treatment worth reading*, and while I’m not sure how much purpose our rather airy discussions on some webzine actually serve, I do recall talking about this general sort of thing before on here**.

    [MORE]

    I’m certainly not in a position to lecture anyone else on pomposity, but as the question of style has been brought up, the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people’s attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things: first, the weird WWE-style trash-talk (“It really does get tiresome being consistently right about everything all the time”, ” you are an idiot who does not know how to think”, etc.), and, second, the long-windedness and high-flying delivery which some other commenters have criticized.

    *I did say “worth reading” and not “the ending point of all discussion on the subject”.

    **Two examples

    • Agree: Twinkie
    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB


    ... the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people’s attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things ...
     
    I know that, but he's a character. He grates some others' nerves but I like him; and he really does inject some fascinating points into discussions, points I'd likely never have thought of on my own.

    If he behaves similarly in real life (and I do not assume that he does), well, I assume that he will have had to find associates that possess a certain sense of humor and can appreciate his approach.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    , @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB

    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I'll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.

    Replies: @RSDB, @dfordoom

  97. @Twinkie
    @V. K. Ovelund


    As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance.
     
    His intellectual substance as such is rather shallow. He and his fans confuse verbosity and antiquarianism with intellect.

    I invite such people to read, say, Etienne Gilson's "The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy" to get a sense of what a real intellect writes of the true medieval Christian thought (particularly as opposed to the cartoon image of it that post-Enlightenment authors paint). Intelligent Dasein's comments are not even a poor imitation of such serious works.

    Intelligent Dasein’s thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable
     
    Yeah, well, for much of human history, pretty much all sex was rape. That doesn't mean that's the way sex is today or should be. A lot of things are "natural human conditions" devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the "wage slavery" of today is an exaggeration, to say the least. The machines that have been invented by human ingenuity have created numerous problems and tragedies to be sure, but they have also produced wonderful benefits and uplifted many - indeed, millions - from crippling and stunting poverty.

    though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.
     
    Our view of feudalism is rather romantic since only the accounts of those who were at the top survive, by and large. But we know from other evidences and deductions of history that it was filled with unimaginable inequities and violence. The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.

    Moreover, when the peasants finally did have enough of it all, the result was sometimes horrific to the seigniors too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquerie

    "peasants killed a knight, put him on a spit, and roasted him with his wife and children looking on. After ten or twelve of them raped the lady, they wished to force feed them the roasted flesh of their father and husband and made them then die by a miserable death".
     

    That’s his style.
     
    But that's not even what bothers me about him (his "style" as such is just annoying and buffoonish). It's his God-complex. He literally wrote once that he is "right about everything." For an alleged man of faith, his lack of intellectual humility is astounding... which was why both I and another commenter (I think it was "res" or possibly "Johann Ricke") thought he seems to be someone pretty well-read from an otherwise unintellectual environment where he is used to be being the smartest person in the room.

    Replies: @RSDB, @Wency, @res

    A lot of things are “natural human conditions” devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the “wage slavery” of today is an exaggeration, to say the least.

    I agree with you here (though I’m not interested in analyzing I.D. as a person). Within pre-industrial society, there are many common fates worse than many sorts of slavery — though the Arab sort where they castrate you and rape your womenfolk and work you to death is pretty bad by any standard. I believe it’s for this reason that Scripture advocates humanizing slavery somewhat, but does not forbid it.

    So yes, the mainstream narrative is entirely unnuanced about slavery and at least partly wrong about almost everything in this matter, and getting worse. But reality check: that doesn’t mean that slavery is anything like working at McDonald’s. They don’t whip you if you screw up making a McFlurry at McDonald’s. They don’t send men and dogs to hunt you down if you don’t show up for work at McDonald’s.

    I’m not sure how one can simultaneously hold the view that it’s unjust how mainstream Republicans constantly screw over the working man while also thinking “It wouldn’t really be so bad if the working man was enslaved again.”

    • Agree: Twinkie
  98. @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund


    If he does not explore the problem space, who will?
     
    Well, it seems to me I have heard this debate before-- as I mentioned, I thought Belloc's treatment worth reading*, and while I'm not sure how much purpose our rather airy discussions on some webzine actually serve, I do recall talking about this general sort of thing before on here**.


    I'm certainly not in a position to lecture anyone else on pomposity, but as the question of style has been brought up, the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people's attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things: first, the weird WWE-style trash-talk ("It really does get tiresome being consistently right about everything all the time", " you are an idiot who does not know how to think", etc.), and, second, the long-windedness and high-flying delivery which some other commenters have criticized.


    *I did say "worth reading" and not "the ending point of all discussion on the subject".

    **Two examples

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @V. K. Ovelund

    … the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people’s attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things …

    I know that, but he’s a character. He grates some others’ nerves but I like him; and he really does inject some fascinating points into discussions, points I’d likely never have thought of on my own.

    If he behaves similarly in real life (and I do not assume that he does), well, I assume that he will have had to find associates that possess a certain sense of humor and can appreciate his approach.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    I know that, but he’s a character. He grates some others’ nerves but I like him; and he really does inject some fascinating points into discussions, points I’d likely never have thought of on my own.
     
    That's a valid point. One of the attractions of UR is that discussions often veer off on intriguing tangents and end up being discussions that just couldn't happen elsewhere, because anywhere else they'd get shut down as soon as they drifted into forbidden territory. And you do get some interesting (and sometimes bizarre) perspectives being offered. @Intelligent Dasein does have a habit of triggering some really interesting discussions. I rarely agree with him, but he makes things more entertaining.
  99. @Barbarossa
    @Dr. Robert Morgan

    I'm afraid that your comment doesn't really even attempt to engage with my point.
    If Christianity is such a force for cultural rot, then how do you explain that the great accomplishments of the West were all birthed from an explicitly Christian West?
    I could turn the spirit your comment right back around on you and posit that because you hate Christianity you use it as a scapegoat for what it did not cause. After all,


    An addict never blames the drug for the bad effects he suffers. He always wants to increase the dose. He never blames his own behavior, either. It’s always someone else’s fault he is the way he is.
     

    Replies: @nebulafox

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity. That’s ahistorical. If anything, what strikes me about the Christianization of the empire was how little it changed the propaganda and self-conception of the Roman state. (This stands in stark contrast to the results of the collapse of the 7th Century in the East, which led to nothing less than redefining what “Roman” was.) It was also a far more gradual process that began earlier and finished later than in pop history, although I’m happy to take correction on this, as I haven’t got to my reading there yet.

    What I do know is that the big changes of the 3rd Century meant that the empire was a far more integrated place than it used to be, and that the emperors encouraged religious behavior that could encourage unity, in contrast to the Principate. It is particularly telling that even the traditional polytheistic pagans like Diocletian or Julian tried to revive paganism not as a diffuse collection of cults like the old days, but as an empire wide faith. Julian, in particular: he wanted to bring back the days of the Princeps. Yet even he was a product of his time, and it shows here in his attempts to organize paganism. That wasn’t how it was earlier.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @iffen
    @nebulafox

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity.

    And the loss of Christianity is causing the decline and fall of Pax Americana.

    I love symmetry, it's ... it's so satisfying!

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @Barbarossa
    @nebulafox

    I agree with your points.

    It seems an odd line of argumentation, since Graco-Roman antiquity declined quite on it's own, apart from any baleful influence from Christianity.

    All civilizations will decline into decadence at some point, with Christendom being no exception. I mostly just find it odd that someone like Dr. Morgan seems loath to give Christendom it's due, while assigning it blanket condemnation for unconnected realities. Perhaps that's what too much myopic focus on Jews does.

  100. @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund


    If he does not explore the problem space, who will?
     
    Well, it seems to me I have heard this debate before-- as I mentioned, I thought Belloc's treatment worth reading*, and while I'm not sure how much purpose our rather airy discussions on some webzine actually serve, I do recall talking about this general sort of thing before on here**.


    I'm certainly not in a position to lecture anyone else on pomposity, but as the question of style has been brought up, the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people's attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things: first, the weird WWE-style trash-talk ("It really does get tiresome being consistently right about everything all the time", " you are an idiot who does not know how to think", etc.), and, second, the long-windedness and high-flying delivery which some other commenters have criticized.


    *I did say "worth reading" and not "the ending point of all discussion on the subject".

    **Two examples

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @V. K. Ovelund

    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I’ll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.

    • Replies: @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund

    If you do decide to look at it, the single chapter itself is less than ten pages, though of course it fits into the context of a longer work.

    I forgot to mention before:


    Your comment is serious, of course.
     
    Well, I'm not quite sure of that, but thanks.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    , @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I’ll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.
     
    Belloc was opinionated and very eccentric in his views but he does present a completely different perspective on both European and especially English history. He's a valuable corrective to the anti-Catholic bigotry that was so common among English historians for so long.

    His books on the Reformation in England are extremely interesting. And since I'm a bit of a Jacobite I particularly enjoyed his book on James II. His views on Elizabeth I are also fascinating. You don't encounter many historians prepared to do a thorough hatchet job on Elizabeth I.

    Have you read his book The Great Heresies? That's an interesting one. Especially his take on Puritanism.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

  101. Barbarossa: “I’m afraid that your comment doesn’t really even attempt to engage with my point.”

    And your point is what? That because the West was nominally Christian all of its “accomplishments” must therefore have been because it was Christian? LOL. I’ve yet to see a serious argument that belief in any particular type of sky fairy is a necessary precondition for these “accomplishments”, whatever you think they are. If anyone here can make one, I’d love to see it. That would be very entertaining.

    Barbarossa: “I could turn the spirit your comment right back around on you and posit that because you hate Christianity you use it as a scapegoat for what it did not cause.”

    I’ve addressed this canard many times. See my comment history. Here, I’ll just remind you that whites had already established quite a civilization before Christianity, which Christianity wrecked. If you want to know more, read what Gibbon has to say about the destruction wrought by the Christian takeover in his monumental History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; or read Catherine Nixey’s The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World; or if you can read German, a very scholarly account in ten volumes is available, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums [Criminal History of Christianity], by Karlheinz Deschner. Some parts of Deschner’s magnum opus have been translated into English by my pal CT and are available at his site chechar.wordpress.com.

    Yes, the West, addicted to Semitic fairy tales, seems to me very much like an addict. The cure for its malaise its so-called defenders crave is always more drug! More Christian opium! And this drug’s triumph over the West has been so complete that even what it imagines to be its attackers are only itself in another form, such as Communism, which Spengler correctly notes descended from Christian theology. But then, he and the others I mention have an actual argument, developed with evidence and reason. You don’t.

  102. @nebulafox
    @Wency

    >They’re also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them — they want men to use the kid gloves without “mansplaining”, interrupting, or being patronizing.

    I think there's a genuine translation problem. I grew up in an extended family that was heavily male-dominated, numerically speaking, and where many of the women were on the masculine side: it wasn't until I sat down in other family environments that weren't that I realized the dynamics I saw might not be normative. My take is that if a man is trying to compete with you on facts, trying to talk over and get an edge in on you, it's a sign he takes you seriously as an opponent rather than disrespect. But to a woman, I'd bet it'd sound aggravating and disrespectful because of the social conditioning against overt aggression or directness.

    Especially if the man doesn't know what he's talking about and is transparently not passionate about the topic, but using it as a way of impressing people. Women tend to have far more acute BS sensers about this kind of thing than men, from my experience. Women do like men who have mastered something and can show it, by contrast.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Wency

    There’s some truth here, but it’s probably also true that our society has conditioned everyone, when speaking to someone lower than them on the Diversity Totem Pole, to interpret any perceived discourtesy in the context of the larger war. A white man can speak a bit rudely towards another white man and the latter can overlook it or maybe give it back to him and move on, they both have bigger fish to fry. If a white man is rude towards a black woman, then he is perpetuating a centuries-old cycle of injustice, and for her to overlook it and move past it would require not just setting aside her own ego, but setting aside her duty to all other women and all other people of color to punish his behavior.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Wency

    If the game is rigged against you, change the parameters. This applies to perverted moral structures as much as anything.

  103. @Twinkie
    @V. K. Ovelund


    As far as pomposity goes, the man backs it up with intellectual substance.
     
    His intellectual substance as such is rather shallow. He and his fans confuse verbosity and antiquarianism with intellect.

    I invite such people to read, say, Etienne Gilson's "The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy" to get a sense of what a real intellect writes of the true medieval Christian thought (particularly as opposed to the cartoon image of it that post-Enlightenment authors paint). Intelligent Dasein's comments are not even a poor imitation of such serious works.

    Intelligent Dasein’s thesis regarding slavery seems unassailable
     
    Yeah, well, for much of human history, pretty much all sex was rape. That doesn't mean that's the way sex is today or should be. A lot of things are "natural human conditions" devoid of the constraints of a modern civilization. Conflating the soul-crushing nature of true servitude of the past with the "wage slavery" of today is an exaggeration, to say the least. The machines that have been invented by human ingenuity have created numerous problems and tragedies to be sure, but they have also produced wonderful benefits and uplifted many - indeed, millions - from crippling and stunting poverty.

    though you have parried his feudalism with admirable flair, I believe that he is essentially right there, too.
     
    Our view of feudalism is rather romantic since only the accounts of those who were at the top survive, by and large. But we know from other evidences and deductions of history that it was filled with unimaginable inequities and violence. The kind of people who speak highly of such a past always imagine themselves the overlords in that fantasy, but never the peasants.

    Moreover, when the peasants finally did have enough of it all, the result was sometimes horrific to the seigniors too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquerie

    "peasants killed a knight, put him on a spit, and roasted him with his wife and children looking on. After ten or twelve of them raped the lady, they wished to force feed them the roasted flesh of their father and husband and made them then die by a miserable death".
     

    That’s his style.
     
    But that's not even what bothers me about him (his "style" as such is just annoying and buffoonish). It's his God-complex. He literally wrote once that he is "right about everything." For an alleged man of faith, his lack of intellectual humility is astounding... which was why both I and another commenter (I think it was "res" or possibly "Johann Ricke") thought he seems to be someone pretty well-read from an otherwise unintellectual environment where he is used to be being the smartest person in the room.

    Replies: @RSDB, @Wency, @res

    Good memory. That was me last year. Here is my response to your comment then.
    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/conflusion/#comment-3839491

    That said, whether or not I agree with it or like the style, ID’s comment 70 seems like a worthwhile and interesting contribution to the discussion.

  104. I’m not sure how one can simultaneously hold the view that it’s unjust how mainstream Republicans constantly screw over the working man while also thinking “It wouldn’t really be so bad if the working man was enslaved again.”

    What really wouldn’t be so bad is if we acknowledged a “right to be poor” again. Modern society does not do that. If you’re born into the modern West, and assuming you don’t already belong to the ultrarich elites, your choices are to either sink into the ranks of the urban canaille or to become a middle class bugman striver and pay through the nose for a mortgage. We have abolished all other types of life from all social and economic recognition. Consider:

    • The true peasant no longer exists. The modern “farmer” is nothing like a peasant. He is simply a far-flung fragment of the megalopolis who performs agricultural functions with the same technical and cynical air of any city businessman. The peasant, who actually roots himself into his clod of earth and lives on it in a more or less self-sufficient manner, has become something absurd in the modern consciousness, yet there is nothing between him and us except the stage props of an increasingly threadbare civilizational ideal.

    • The day-laborer no longer exists. Except for the Mexicans who pick vegetables in California or beg for contracting gigs outside the Home Depot, the once common type of the swain—i.e. the unpretentious, jack-of-all-trades country worker, is gone. This would have been a good role for those with little aptitude for school but who nevertheless desire the respectability of useful employment.

    • The independent scholar no longer exists. There is a kind of man who does not desire to work very much or to own very much. He wants to rent a small room, eat a simple meal, and have plenty of time to commune with his books. He often made his living by tutoring children, thus imparting literacy and humane tastes to many who would not otherwise get any. It is impossible to quantify the contributions this sort of man has made to the culture; but now we have no place for him and we suffer for his loss as each new generation gets cruder than the last.

    • Religious vocations no longer exist. There are no monasteries anymore, and I daresay (although this point will likely not be understood) that God has stopped calling men to the priesthood. The “priests” we have today (such as they are) are merely tolerated by God rather than called by Him, and many of these are wicked fathers sent to punish an unjust nation. Likewise, the nuns who used to nurse the sick and indigent have disappeared, to be replaced by uppity nurses with Master’s degrees and twerk videos.

    The proper functioning of society actually requires a fair amount of poverty, and not merely for the negative reason that not all can be rich, but also for the positive reason that the poor provide essential contributions which cannot be monetized and which cannot be got in any other way. It would come as quite a relief to many hearts simply to hear someone tell them in a fatherly manner that such a state of affairs is inevitable, to call upon them to accept the burden and privilege of poverty for God’s sake. But they cannot hear that when all the poor professions have been struck from the lexicon and severed from the consciousness. Like all things modern, this has done a great disservice to everybody but particularly the very people it purported to help.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Intelligent Dasein


    The independent scholar no longer exists.
     
    That's certainly largely true. Scholars today cannot indulge in independent thought. They exist to serve somebody else's interest and no matter how hard they try they will always end up serving the interests of their paymasters.

    Religious vocations no longer exist. There are no monasteries anymore
     
    I'm no Christian but I do think the collapse of monasticism was a tragedy.

    There is a kind of man who does not desire to work very much or to own very much.
     
    There's a lot to be said for learning to live without the desire for a vast collection of shiny consumer goods. It's not for everybody, but it can be liberating.
    , @anon
    @Intelligent Dasein

    There are no monasteries anymore,

    lol @ Ignorant

    https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/270000/velka/dunce-hat.jpg

  105. @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB


    ... the commenter in question would probably be able to focus more people’s attention on his points rather than his delivery if not for the combination of two things ...
     
    I know that, but he's a character. He grates some others' nerves but I like him; and he really does inject some fascinating points into discussions, points I'd likely never have thought of on my own.

    If he behaves similarly in real life (and I do not assume that he does), well, I assume that he will have had to find associates that possess a certain sense of humor and can appreciate his approach.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    I know that, but he’s a character. He grates some others’ nerves but I like him; and he really does inject some fascinating points into discussions, points I’d likely never have thought of on my own.

    That’s a valid point. One of the attractions of UR is that discussions often veer off on intriguing tangents and end up being discussions that just couldn’t happen elsewhere, because anywhere else they’d get shut down as soon as they drifted into forbidden territory. And you do get some interesting (and sometimes bizarre) perspectives being offered. does have a habit of triggering some really interesting discussions. I rarely agree with him, but he makes things more entertaining.

  106. @Intelligent Dasein

    I’m not sure how one can simultaneously hold the view that it’s unjust how mainstream Republicans constantly screw over the working man while also thinking “It wouldn’t really be so bad if the working man was enslaved again.”
     
    What really wouldn't be so bad is if we acknowledged a "right to be poor" again. Modern society does not do that. If you're born into the modern West, and assuming you don't already belong to the ultrarich elites, your choices are to either sink into the ranks of the urban canaille or to become a middle class bugman striver and pay through the nose for a mortgage. We have abolished all other types of life from all social and economic recognition. Consider:

    • The true peasant no longer exists. The modern "farmer" is nothing like a peasant. He is simply a far-flung fragment of the megalopolis who performs agricultural functions with the same technical and cynical air of any city businessman. The peasant, who actually roots himself into his clod of earth and lives on it in a more or less self-sufficient manner, has become something absurd in the modern consciousness, yet there is nothing between him and us except the stage props of an increasingly threadbare civilizational ideal.

    • The day-laborer no longer exists. Except for the Mexicans who pick vegetables in California or beg for contracting gigs outside the Home Depot, the once common type of the swain---i.e. the unpretentious, jack-of-all-trades country worker, is gone. This would have been a good role for those with little aptitude for school but who nevertheless desire the respectability of useful employment.

    • The independent scholar no longer exists. There is a kind of man who does not desire to work very much or to own very much. He wants to rent a small room, eat a simple meal, and have plenty of time to commune with his books. He often made his living by tutoring children, thus imparting literacy and humane tastes to many who would not otherwise get any. It is impossible to quantify the contributions this sort of man has made to the culture; but now we have no place for him and we suffer for his loss as each new generation gets cruder than the last.

    • Religious vocations no longer exist. There are no monasteries anymore, and I daresay (although this point will likely not be understood) that God has stopped calling men to the priesthood. The "priests" we have today (such as they are) are merely tolerated by God rather than called by Him, and many of these are wicked fathers sent to punish an unjust nation. Likewise, the nuns who used to nurse the sick and indigent have disappeared, to be replaced by uppity nurses with Master's degrees and twerk videos.

    The proper functioning of society actually requires a fair amount of poverty, and not merely for the negative reason that not all can be rich, but also for the positive reason that the poor provide essential contributions which cannot be monetized and which cannot be got in any other way. It would come as quite a relief to many hearts simply to hear someone tell them in a fatherly manner that such a state of affairs is inevitable, to call upon them to accept the burden and privilege of poverty for God's sake. But they cannot hear that when all the poor professions have been struck from the lexicon and severed from the consciousness. Like all things modern, this has done a great disservice to everybody but particularly the very people it purported to help.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @anon

    The independent scholar no longer exists.

    That’s certainly largely true. Scholars today cannot indulge in independent thought. They exist to serve somebody else’s interest and no matter how hard they try they will always end up serving the interests of their paymasters.

    Religious vocations no longer exist. There are no monasteries anymore

    I’m no Christian but I do think the collapse of monasticism was a tragedy.

    There is a kind of man who does not desire to work very much or to own very much.

    There’s a lot to be said for learning to live without the desire for a vast collection of shiny consumer goods. It’s not for everybody, but it can be liberating.

  107. @Intelligent Dasein

    I’m not sure how one can simultaneously hold the view that it’s unjust how mainstream Republicans constantly screw over the working man while also thinking “It wouldn’t really be so bad if the working man was enslaved again.”
     
    What really wouldn't be so bad is if we acknowledged a "right to be poor" again. Modern society does not do that. If you're born into the modern West, and assuming you don't already belong to the ultrarich elites, your choices are to either sink into the ranks of the urban canaille or to become a middle class bugman striver and pay through the nose for a mortgage. We have abolished all other types of life from all social and economic recognition. Consider:

    • The true peasant no longer exists. The modern "farmer" is nothing like a peasant. He is simply a far-flung fragment of the megalopolis who performs agricultural functions with the same technical and cynical air of any city businessman. The peasant, who actually roots himself into his clod of earth and lives on it in a more or less self-sufficient manner, has become something absurd in the modern consciousness, yet there is nothing between him and us except the stage props of an increasingly threadbare civilizational ideal.

    • The day-laborer no longer exists. Except for the Mexicans who pick vegetables in California or beg for contracting gigs outside the Home Depot, the once common type of the swain---i.e. the unpretentious, jack-of-all-trades country worker, is gone. This would have been a good role for those with little aptitude for school but who nevertheless desire the respectability of useful employment.

    • The independent scholar no longer exists. There is a kind of man who does not desire to work very much or to own very much. He wants to rent a small room, eat a simple meal, and have plenty of time to commune with his books. He often made his living by tutoring children, thus imparting literacy and humane tastes to many who would not otherwise get any. It is impossible to quantify the contributions this sort of man has made to the culture; but now we have no place for him and we suffer for his loss as each new generation gets cruder than the last.

    • Religious vocations no longer exist. There are no monasteries anymore, and I daresay (although this point will likely not be understood) that God has stopped calling men to the priesthood. The "priests" we have today (such as they are) are merely tolerated by God rather than called by Him, and many of these are wicked fathers sent to punish an unjust nation. Likewise, the nuns who used to nurse the sick and indigent have disappeared, to be replaced by uppity nurses with Master's degrees and twerk videos.

    The proper functioning of society actually requires a fair amount of poverty, and not merely for the negative reason that not all can be rich, but also for the positive reason that the poor provide essential contributions which cannot be monetized and which cannot be got in any other way. It would come as quite a relief to many hearts simply to hear someone tell them in a fatherly manner that such a state of affairs is inevitable, to call upon them to accept the burden and privilege of poverty for God's sake. But they cannot hear that when all the poor professions have been struck from the lexicon and severed from the consciousness. Like all things modern, this has done a great disservice to everybody but particularly the very people it purported to help.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @anon

    There are no monasteries anymore,

    lol @ Ignorant

  108. @nebulafox
    @Barbarossa

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity. That's ahistorical. If anything, what strikes me about the Christianization of the empire was how little it changed the propaganda and self-conception of the Roman state. (This stands in stark contrast to the results of the collapse of the 7th Century in the East, which led to nothing less than redefining what "Roman" was.) It was also a far more gradual process that began earlier and finished later than in pop history, although I'm happy to take correction on this, as I haven't got to my reading there yet.

    What I do know is that the big changes of the 3rd Century meant that the empire was a far more integrated place than it used to be, and that the emperors encouraged religious behavior that could encourage unity, in contrast to the Principate. It is particularly telling that even the traditional polytheistic pagans like Diocletian or Julian tried to revive paganism not as a diffuse collection of cults like the old days, but as an empire wide faith. Julian, in particular: he wanted to bring back the days of the Princeps. Yet even he was a product of his time, and it shows here in his attempts to organize paganism. That wasn't how it was earlier.

    Replies: @iffen, @Barbarossa

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity.

    And the loss of Christianity is causing the decline and fall of Pax Americana.

    I love symmetry, it’s … it’s so satisfying!

    • LOL: John Johnson
    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @iffen

    I believe it is more subtle. What we have here is the fraying of the bonds of society-economic, social, political, or otherwise-to the point where, coupled with the brittle logistical systems, a couple of catastrophes could bust the whole thing apart.

    We've seen this story before in 3rd Century Rome. The good news is, the empire survived. The thing that never ceases to impress me about the Romans is how resilient they were. They came back from stuff that could and did end most states, multiple times in multiple eras. The world has changed so much since the industrial revolution that I'm leery of comparing the pre-industrial world to ours, but one thing that has changed little is human nature, human psychology. Our morals and outlook might have changed. What we know about the universe definitely has. But the core is there. That is where ancient history is very useful.

    The bad news is, it took a massive administrative overhaul, several decades of war, new domestic policies that weren't necessarily pleasant for those subjected to them, and a healthy dose of luck to make it into the 4th Century. And even then: the empire was not the same beast that it was a century earlier. Even the emperors themselves had changed. The overwhelming majority of guys from Claudius II to Justinian came from the same Latin speaking provinces on the Balkan frontier. Not exactly the Augustuses and Trajans and Marcus Aureliuses of old.

    Some of the problems that led to the crisis, particularly the pandemics, were unavoidable. But some weren't. Wouldn't it have been better if the Romans preemptively sowed up problems a century earlier that would have taken much less effort at the time? Yes.

    But I think we are past that point. What is done is done, and reflection on it is counterproductive. The best the US can do is do what it takes to survive the bad times ahead, and lay the long term ground for renewal in better ones that follow. Just as good times never last forever, and you should always have backups and good stores keeping that in mind, bad times never last forever, either, and one should always lay ground for that. Even if you will not be alive to see it and all you can do is store aside knowledge and resources for descendants who get luckier.

    Replies: @iffen

  109. @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ


    Namely, that while bipolarity is the “best” scenario, it comes with an inherent time limit, when eventually one rival prevails. For the loser the consequence is obvious; but the victor cannot help but suffer a loss of identity and purpose with the passing of its rival.
     
    That is an excellent observation. I am going to steal that for the future. ;)

    I've made a somewhat related point about domestic politics among friends. I have always maintained that a competitive two-party system is the most stable and beneficial. And as a rightist, I obviously prefer the rightist party to win, but not always. I'd lived in one party-dominated localities (where one party or the other wins almost all the time) before, and inevitably such total domination results in mediocre or even incompetent people running things and screwing things up. So my ideal is somewhere where the rightists win about 2/3 of the time (I'd even take 60/40) - where they have the upper hand, but not so dominant that they can just take it easy and engage in corruption, self-dealing, etc. and treat the voters like fools.

    The problem with even that ideal scenario, as you pointed, though is that it cannot last forever. Sooner or later one side wins again and again and takes steps to turn that series of victories into permanent dominance, and we are back to unipolarity again (though in the realm of domestic politics, unipolarity does not seem to degenerate into multipolar chaos - or does it in the long-run?).

    Life on this earth is a constant struggle.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ

    Thanks for your kind words, Twinkie.

    Reflecting further on the question of identity, I came up with some potentially good effects of multipolarity. While I agree that it is an unstable system at the international level, in terms of the individual nation itself, the multipolar condition seems to encourage a positive identity: a sense that, to put it schematically, “We are this.” “This” would be understood as the experience of a shared history, language, religion, descent, literary/artistic culture, food, dress, habits–anything that distinguishes one people from all the other competing peoples in their separate spheres of power.

    The bipolar condition, by contrast, encourages a negative identity: “We are not that.” The idea is that the nation is inclined–perhaps needs–to draw a heightened distinction between itself and its single rival. In a way, this allows the rival to set the terms of the nation’s own self-understood identity. Examples of this from the Cold War abound, in retrospect–although to be honest they did not seem to be negative at the time.

    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral “armor” for America’s long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a “proposition nation,” for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites. Previously (it seems to me), the idea of America as an “idea” existed in balance with positive notions of what constituted an AmeriCAN: the pioneer spirit, self-reliance, habits of tinkering and self-improvement, respect for commerce, Protestant Christianity, etc. It wasn’t until the latter 20th century that these aspects of positive identity were abandoned in favor of the claim that anybody (and everybody) could be an American, if they simply pledged fealty to the preamble of the Constitution.

    Having emerged victorious in the Cold War, the proposition nation idea would transform from an antidote into a poison. As you noted, Twinkie, a unipolar America slid easily into arrogance and decay. We succumbed to the delusion that every nation could be a noble idea–that the people of any nation would respond to abstractions like freedom and self-rule–and we lurched into the “nation-building” debacle of the second Iraq war. We took it as given that every human being really was an American at heart–and turned a blind eye to an invasion of our country by people who could only see America as something to loot and laugh at.

    The thing is, from this perspective, I don’t see a way out of the iron cycle of multipolarity-bipolarity-unipolarity-crisis/collapse-multipolarity… Your final sentence–“Life on this earth is a constant struggle”–could hardly be more apt. But I’m not sure whether that struggle is a tragedy or, in the final analysis, a comedy.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @ChrisZ


    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral “armor” for America’s long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a “proposition nation,” for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites.
     
    And America infected its Cold War allies with the same destructive ideologies. The political elites of Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany all now see their countries as Proposition Nations.

    Replies: @ChrisZ

    , @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ

    This is a very well-thought-out piece. Thank you for writing it.

    You are absolutely right that what you frame as negative identity is useful in a bipolar struggle, but a healthy positive identity is crucial in surviving unipolarity well (or any -polarity, for that matter), particularly, as you put so succinctly, when existing in balance with a negative identity.

    I think, though, one of the major problems is that for most human beings, a negative identity is much easier to form than a positive identity. People are very social and socially-conscious beings. And we tend to form ideas about ourselves in relation to others around, friends and enemies. Individuals who are powerfully driven internally are rare and, when scaled to the larger populace, pretty nonexistent. I don't know a way around it, devoid of something like religious fanaticism or cult-like ideology (which have their own many downsides).

    Another line of conversation I'd like to pursue with you. You brought up several examples earlier of the bipolar dynamic that led to unipolarity and decay, namely Athens vs. Sparta and Carthage vs. Rome. These are, indeed, very good examples. Yet, the two cases differ. Rome reached the zenith of its power long after the Third Punic War and survived hundreds of years (and even more than a millennium if counting the Eastern Empire). On the other hand, Sparta fell from dominance quickly after Aegospotami, as Leuctra was only thirty-some years after it.

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ, @nebulafox

  110. @iffen
    @nebulafox

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity.

    And the loss of Christianity is causing the decline and fall of Pax Americana.

    I love symmetry, it's ... it's so satisfying!

    Replies: @nebulafox

    I believe it is more subtle. What we have here is the fraying of the bonds of society-economic, social, political, or otherwise-to the point where, coupled with the brittle logistical systems, a couple of catastrophes could bust the whole thing apart.

    We’ve seen this story before in 3rd Century Rome. The good news is, the empire survived. The thing that never ceases to impress me about the Romans is how resilient they were. They came back from stuff that could and did end most states, multiple times in multiple eras. The world has changed so much since the industrial revolution that I’m leery of comparing the pre-industrial world to ours, but one thing that has changed little is human nature, human psychology. Our morals and outlook might have changed. What we know about the universe definitely has. But the core is there. That is where ancient history is very useful.

    The bad news is, it took a massive administrative overhaul, several decades of war, new domestic policies that weren’t necessarily pleasant for those subjected to them, and a healthy dose of luck to make it into the 4th Century. And even then: the empire was not the same beast that it was a century earlier. Even the emperors themselves had changed. The overwhelming majority of guys from Claudius II to Justinian came from the same Latin speaking provinces on the Balkan frontier. Not exactly the Augustuses and Trajans and Marcus Aureliuses of old.

    Some of the problems that led to the crisis, particularly the pandemics, were unavoidable. But some weren’t. Wouldn’t it have been better if the Romans preemptively sowed up problems a century earlier that would have taken much less effort at the time? Yes.

    But I think we are past that point. What is done is done, and reflection on it is counterproductive. The best the US can do is do what it takes to survive the bad times ahead, and lay the long term ground for renewal in better ones that follow. Just as good times never last forever, and you should always have backups and good stores keeping that in mind, bad times never last forever, either, and one should always lay ground for that. Even if you will not be alive to see it and all you can do is store aside knowledge and resources for descendants who get luckier.

    • Replies: @iffen
    @nebulafox

    We’ve seen this story before in 3rd Century Rome.

    When the war machine stopped paying its way, much less sending surplus to the core, it was only a matter of time. You can see a parallel with the colonial empires of the European powers. It has happened to us (the U. S.) but we have this tremendous reserve and it will take forever to waste it away.

  111. @Wency
    @nebulafox

    There's some truth here, but it's probably also true that our society has conditioned everyone, when speaking to someone lower than them on the Diversity Totem Pole, to interpret any perceived discourtesy in the context of the larger war. A white man can speak a bit rudely towards another white man and the latter can overlook it or maybe give it back to him and move on, they both have bigger fish to fry. If a white man is rude towards a black woman, then he is perpetuating a centuries-old cycle of injustice, and for her to overlook it and move past it would require not just setting aside her own ego, but setting aside her duty to all other women and all other people of color to punish his behavior.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    If the game is rigged against you, change the parameters. This applies to perverted moral structures as much as anything.

  112. @nebulafox
    @iffen

    I believe it is more subtle. What we have here is the fraying of the bonds of society-economic, social, political, or otherwise-to the point where, coupled with the brittle logistical systems, a couple of catastrophes could bust the whole thing apart.

    We've seen this story before in 3rd Century Rome. The good news is, the empire survived. The thing that never ceases to impress me about the Romans is how resilient they were. They came back from stuff that could and did end most states, multiple times in multiple eras. The world has changed so much since the industrial revolution that I'm leery of comparing the pre-industrial world to ours, but one thing that has changed little is human nature, human psychology. Our morals and outlook might have changed. What we know about the universe definitely has. But the core is there. That is where ancient history is very useful.

    The bad news is, it took a massive administrative overhaul, several decades of war, new domestic policies that weren't necessarily pleasant for those subjected to them, and a healthy dose of luck to make it into the 4th Century. And even then: the empire was not the same beast that it was a century earlier. Even the emperors themselves had changed. The overwhelming majority of guys from Claudius II to Justinian came from the same Latin speaking provinces on the Balkan frontier. Not exactly the Augustuses and Trajans and Marcus Aureliuses of old.

    Some of the problems that led to the crisis, particularly the pandemics, were unavoidable. But some weren't. Wouldn't it have been better if the Romans preemptively sowed up problems a century earlier that would have taken much less effort at the time? Yes.

    But I think we are past that point. What is done is done, and reflection on it is counterproductive. The best the US can do is do what it takes to survive the bad times ahead, and lay the long term ground for renewal in better ones that follow. Just as good times never last forever, and you should always have backups and good stores keeping that in mind, bad times never last forever, either, and one should always lay ground for that. Even if you will not be alive to see it and all you can do is store aside knowledge and resources for descendants who get luckier.

    Replies: @iffen

    We’ve seen this story before in 3rd Century Rome.

    When the war machine stopped paying its way, much less sending surplus to the core, it was only a matter of time. You can see a parallel with the colonial empires of the European powers. It has happened to us (the U. S.) but we have this tremendous reserve and it will take forever to waste it away.

  113. @Wency
    @V. K. Ovelund

    You might be on to something, but I doubt that age-old woman-to-woman dynamics explain Congress so much as contemporary dynamics between men and women (especially liberal women). The liberal women are inclined to see politics as a holy war wherein America could turn into the Handmaid's Tale at any moment, and their Republican colleagues would be the ones to do it. They're also extremely sensitive to how men speak to them -- they want men to use the kid gloves without "mansplaining", interrupting, or being patronizing.

    But also I don't think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time -- men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive. This creates a sort of lose-lose situation for female leaders, who really have no way to assume the pose of a confident and collegial alpha. Either act "ladylike" and mostly get trampled in a game dominated by men, or be humorless and intolerant towards any perceived slight or challenge to your authority whatsoever and at least get somewhere within that man's world (while causing your haters to double down on their hatred).

    Replies: @anon, @nebulafox, @John Johnson

    But also I don’t think the women are being paranoid 100% of the time — men do have a problem with female leadership and authority that I think is probably instinctive.

    If anything women are more likely to have those instincts.

    Women go kooky if there are too many women in the workplace. They get catty and overreact to everything. It can be emotionally draining for them.

    I honestly don’t think that most women like each other.

  114. @Dr. Robert Morgan
    John Johnson: "Big deal."

    If you have no interest in educating yourself, why ask for my sources? It seems to me you aren't arguing in good faith.

    John Johnson: "And the end of the day I’m more of a numbers person and there is a numbers problem you have zero solution for."

    I've already given you my diagnosis, here:

    https://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/does-our-diversity-portend-disintegration/#comment-4687422

    And I explained to you at some length that this correlation you think is so important incorporates post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning if interpreted as causal. I've also asked you to provide proof that it is Christianity that is responsible for a high birth rate, since it seems to me clear that Christians use birth control and abortion too. However, you never did this. Furthermore, the white birth rate was just fine before Christianity even existed. How can you explain that if Christianity is necessary for a high white birth rate? You can't.

    John Johnson: "So what makes you think you are not working in their political interest by attacking Christianity?"

    What makes you think that belief in Christian fairy tales is a good thing?

    Replies: @John Johnson

    John Johnson: “And the end of the day I’m more of a numbers person and there is a numbers problem you have zero solution for.”

    I’ve already given you my diagnosis, here:
    (from where you link to yourself)
    I’d call it a diagnosis rather than a plan.

    So you don’t have a plan. Got it.

    This is your position:
    We need to get rid of Christianity because it causes liberalism which lowers birth rates.

    Once we get rid of liberalism using (unexplained method) birth rates will return to where they were when the country was far more Christian.

    Fascinating logic.

  115. John Johnson: “So you don’t have a plan. ”

    I’m not Fuehrer, in case you haven’t noticed. Therefore, any “plan” I might have would be as irrelevant as yours, even if you had one, which you don’t.

    John Johnson: “Got it. Once we get rid of liberalism using (unexplained method) …”

    LOL. Do you have a child handy? Then get him to explain it to you. If my diagnosis is correct, even a child should be able to see that the key to restoring white birth rates to where they were before the advent of scientific birth control is to get rid of scientific birth control. This conceivably could be done by edict or political action, but I doubt that is a realistic possibility. The alternative is a collapse of the technological system, which will render such methods unavailable.

    “… birth rates will return to where they were when the country was far more Christian.”

    Or to where they were before Christianity existed at all.

  116. I target no particular commenter, but some comments have been made regarding optics. The right almost always gets this wrong.

    The right needs to earn a reputation for telling the truth with due humility and, secondarily, for exploring interesting illiberal ideas. That is how public trust is earned.

    Attitude toward Nazism makes a good test case. I think the whole Nazis-are-evil trope hysterical. Do you want to talk about optics? Don’t you understand that, to a Zoomer, the proposition that “Hitler is evil” is hardly more relevant than the proposition that “Hannibal is evil”? It’s not that the proposition is true or false. It’s that, in the 2020s, the proposition is tiresome. Moreover, it sounds insincere.

    It sounds insincere for a reason. It often is insincere. (I hasten to add that the readers present in this blog belong to one of the sincerest colleges of commenters to be found on the English-speaking Internet. I explicitly do not suggest that any of the commenters here is insincere.)

    The received history regarding Nazism is mostly lies as far as I am aware. Disavowing Nazis for optics’ sake is how to lose, and lose, and lose some more—and even when you win you lose, for the victory is always on a rotten foundation.

    If anyone believes that I just said, “Nazis were good,” then that person should reread from the beginning, because I actually said something entirely different than that.

    Optics are a poor substitute for the truth, so tell the truth as well as you can. To tell the truth was Twinkie’s advice and I believe that you and I ought to apply that advice here. One need not be tactless about it, but the truth will out; and in the end, good men are going to want to stand on the truth’s side.

    • Agree: Barbarossa
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    The right needs to earn a reputation for telling the truth
     
    But you're dealing with politics and in politics there's simply no such thing as objective truth. There are only opinions.

    Libertarians, conservatives, liberals, communists, fascists, monarchists, reactionaries all believe they have objective truth on their side but they're all wrong. All they have is opinions.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    , @Triteleia Laxa
    @V. K. Ovelund

    The Nazis didn't dedicate their intellectual efforts to defending the Confederate cause. Germans would have thought them clowns; not unfairly.

  117. @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie

    Thanks for your kind words, Twinkie.

    Reflecting further on the question of identity, I came up with some potentially good effects of multipolarity. While I agree that it is an unstable system at the international level, in terms of the individual nation itself, the multipolar condition seems to encourage a positive identity: a sense that, to put it schematically, "We are this." "This" would be understood as the experience of a shared history, language, religion, descent, literary/artistic culture, food, dress, habits--anything that distinguishes one people from all the other competing peoples in their separate spheres of power.

    The bipolar condition, by contrast, encourages a negative identity: "We are not that." The idea is that the nation is inclined--perhaps needs--to draw a heightened distinction between itself and its single rival. In a way, this allows the rival to set the terms of the nation's own self-understood identity. Examples of this from the Cold War abound, in retrospect--although to be honest they did not seem to be negative at the time.

    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral "armor" for America's long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a "proposition nation," for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites. Previously (it seems to me), the idea of America as an "idea" existed in balance with positive notions of what constituted an AmeriCAN: the pioneer spirit, self-reliance, habits of tinkering and self-improvement, respect for commerce, Protestant Christianity, etc. It wasn't until the latter 20th century that these aspects of positive identity were abandoned in favor of the claim that anybody (and everybody) could be an American, if they simply pledged fealty to the preamble of the Constitution.

    Having emerged victorious in the Cold War, the proposition nation idea would transform from an antidote into a poison. As you noted, Twinkie, a unipolar America slid easily into arrogance and decay. We succumbed to the delusion that every nation could be a noble idea--that the people of any nation would respond to abstractions like freedom and self-rule--and we lurched into the "nation-building" debacle of the second Iraq war. We took it as given that every human being really was an American at heart--and turned a blind eye to an invasion of our country by people who could only see America as something to loot and laugh at.

    The thing is, from this perspective, I don't see a way out of the iron cycle of multipolarity-bipolarity-unipolarity-crisis/collapse-multipolarity... Your final sentence--"Life on this earth is a constant struggle"--could hardly be more apt. But I'm not sure whether that struggle is a tragedy or, in the final analysis, a comedy.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Twinkie

    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral “armor” for America’s long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a “proposition nation,” for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites.

    And America infected its Cold War allies with the same destructive ideologies. The political elites of Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany all now see their countries as Proposition Nations.

    • Replies: @ChrisZ
    @dfordoom

    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America's proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @dfordoom

  118. @Intelligent Dasein

    Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:
     
    Well, that's just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient. This was manifest nonsense when de Tocqueville wrote it and it is even more manifestly nonsense today when TomSchmidt repeats it. Let's talk about efficiency first.

    There seems to be much confusion left over even today about whether we ought to work to live, or live to work. The correct answer is decidedly the former; but that being the case, "efficiency" must be measured not in multiplying outputs, not in the heaping up of goods for no true purpose, but in the maximization of the ease and tranquility with which the necessaries of life can be garnered. To that end, there is no more perfect assistant imaginable than the human servant. There is no type of labor he can't perform, no comfort he can't provide, nothing he cannot be made to learn or understand; and if you need more of him, he can reproduce himself, which he is most eager and wont to do anyway. He can be developed to the highest degree of loyalty and refinedness, made ready to answer any need and to provide the rarest quality. Even if some nonhuman machines are required in particular circumstances, it will be your human servants who build them and operate them. Indeed, it is the human servant who implicitly contains all other things---all machines, all inventions, all arts. Be your automated process never so exacting, at the end of the day you still need a human being to man it. A good servant is an entire microcosm; he has everything else within him. Man himself is the ultimate means to any end, as Machiavelli recognized when he said that money cannot buy good soldiers but good soldiers can always find money.

    What de Tocqueville observed on the Ohio side of the river was not "efficiency" but conspicuous consumption, a needless hustle and bustle which, motivated by fear and envy, consumes the life of a man in a never-ending treadmill of labors. He who, with the needful things of life already in his hand, continues to sweat and strive as though he had nothing, is on that very account an incomplete human being---a misbred and misbegotten caricature who cannot reason and cannot rest. He is denying himself the leisure required for all the sublime things in life---religion, contemplation, philosophy, elegance. When one has the opportunity for these good things, to turn one's nose up at them in order to continue in the rat race is either a sin against beauty or a piggish coarsening of the soul---but that is basically what capitalism (de Tocqueville's "freedom") amounts to.

    On the moral front, it must be remarked that slavery is not condemned by the Church, still less is it branded an "intrinsic evil" as the Enlightenment crusaders would have it. Neither the Old nor the New Testament contains any proscription of slavery as such. Christ Himself passed over the whole matter in silence, and in general said nothing about social conditions except insofar as they impinged upon the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a very good reason for this, namely that servitude is the de facto reality of much of the human race, always has been, and always will be. One cannot bring an end to servitude any more than one can bring an end to personal power (of which it is the inverse, i.e. personal powerlessness)---laws, constitutions, and revolutions notwithstanding. And since morality is concerned with what we ought to do, it makes no sense to moralize over something which is simply an inevitable condition of existence. All that can be said is that when people live together in charity, the harsher realities of class distinctions tend to moderate on their own, but this can be easily thrown into disarray by wars, mass migrations, vain ambitions, or anything else that upsets the social balance.

    On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery. In the last analysis, this is the only realistic solution we have when it comes to dealing with our own fellaheen population, whether white or colored. The immigrants will never all be deported, the black underclass will never be self-sufficient, and they will be joined by an ever-growing white underclass which seems likewise unwilling to shoulder the burdens of civilized life. Now, assuming that we cannot just get rid of these people (which we can't) and that we do not have the wherewithal to continue feting and pampering them (which we don't), all that remains is to force them into productivity. We must say "Look, the welfare state is over. We won't let you starve to death, but you will plow the fields, patch the potholes, and lay the railroad track necessary to get this dilapidated country working again, or you won't be getting squat, capisce ?" This is a conversation that really needs to be had.

    What is absolutely unacceptable, though, is de Tocqueville's Whiggish notion that slavery is intrinsically evil and capitalism intrinsically prosperity-producing, and that the two things prove one another. In places like the Unz Review, that trope seems to get started something like this. The progressive Leftists make the claim that America got rich off her slaves and that therefore the descendants of slaves and colonials are entitled to reparations today. Then the Unzies, instead of refusing the premise and recognizing that the two things have nothing to do with one another, simply swallow the bait and argue that America did not get rich from slavery. This is not only not true (America got very rich from slavery), it is also utterly irrelevant. There is no logical connection between accepting that slavery produces wealth and demanding that descendants of former slaves are entitled to a share of it, and therefore there is no need to falsify the record with elegiacs about how "inefficient" slavery was. This desperate urge to prove to oneself that some misunderstood moral intuition is also the key to getting wealthy is one of those typical Enlightenment errors that has imparted so much confusion to the Western world these last several centuries. It is a very costly mistake that we just don't have time for anymore.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @rebel yell, @Barbarossa, @Audacious Epigone

    Your views on slavery are interesting and I am not wholly unsympathetic. I’ve done a bit of thinking on the topic of slavery which I’ll add for consideration. I think the may compliment your overall point.

    It seems to me that slavery is a function of the increased specialization necessary for running a “real” civilization. Scribes, warriors, priests, administrators, craftsmen, etc all spend their time doing things which are not directly sustaining their direct earthly needs for food, clothing, and so on. Therefore, someone must be compelled to do the hard dirty jobs required to keep a higher functioning civilization running, i.e. slaves.

    If you take exception to the use of the word slave to better include non-chattel forms of servitude such as serfs, we could create a lovely modern sounding euphemism such as “force compelled labor specialist”. I’ll stick with slave with the understanding that it encompasses a broader category than just chattel slavery.

    Hunter gatherer’s require no slaves, since their needs are minimal and easily met personally. However, it seems that slavery is pretty universal in any higher functioning society.

    The thing that upsets this arrangement is not, as most modern folks would contend, some rising tide of understanding and happy thoughts which abolishes slavery, but the industrial age, specifically the use of very energy dense fossil fuels which eliminate the need for most human and animal power.

    This is why Britain could afford to be so “enlightened” in their early elimination of slavery. Their early utilization of industrialization made it practicable. Similarly, the industrial North, could afford to tolerate anti-slavery sentiment far more than the agrarian South which still relied on the power of the human body.

    Essentially, without fossil fuels and the machines that run on them, we would still have slavery today, as it would untenable and technologically impossible to eliminate it.

    The question to me then becomes what the future brings. If the industrial age is a historical anomaly predicated on a reliance on limited fossil fuel resources, then we will at some point revert to a reliance on animal and human power and labor. This will make a return to slavery of some form inevitable.

    It’s always possible that we find limitless source of power that permanently replaces everything else, but I won’t count on it until it happens. Either way, the modern conception of slavery as inherently evil seems rather silly to me, unless one is advocating a hunter gatherer lifestyle (an argument which does have it’s points, I’ll admit).

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @Barbarossa


    If you take exception to the use of the word slave to better include non-chattel forms of servitude such as serfs, we could create a lovely modern sounding euphemism such as “force compelled labor specialist”. I’ll stick with slave with the understanding that it encompasses a broader category than just chattel slavery.
     
    I think the word "servant" is very applicable here. It is a biblical term with long usage in both literary and vernacular speech. It can include everything from the churl who must be kicked and whipped in order to be made useful, up through the hireling, the respectable footman, the dignified butler, and even something noble and sublime, as in 'public servant" or "servant of God." Slavery ought to be understood as meaning all these things, but the word has a nasty connotation that puts an end to all nuanced thought.

    Essentially, without fossil fuels and the machines that run on them, we would still have slavery today, as it would untenable and technologically impossible to eliminate it.
     
    Yes, this is an important point that I have sometimes made myself. I would only differ in saying that the industrial age has not so much eliminated slavery as obscured it.

    I invite anyone to contemplate the following thought experiment. Imagine some ancient Babylonian village where slavery was as common and unremarked as the rising sun. Now, without changing the social relations of any of the inhabitants, scale everything up to industrial proportions and give everyone a giant mech suit to wear. Now we still have the same slaves and masters, but everyone is a hundred times more powerful. Obviously slavery still exists in this scenario, but after a few generations even the slaves are looking back with quaint chuckles at how their great grandpas used to plow the field with and ox and thresh the wheat by hand. They do not realize that they are still working just as hard and just as unfreely as he ever was, and consequently they cannot take the further step of imaging that perhaps his life didn't feel quite so hard and unfree to him as they suppose it did.

    Now, we today are in exactly the same position as these Mechas of Gilgamesh. All the machines and conveniences of modern life form simply a single---albeit extended and distributed---"mech suit" that multiplies the effects of our labors but does not in any wise reduce the the severity of our efforts. I received quite a bit of grief on here a few months ago when I made the statement that machines do not save labor. Well, they don't. Machines multiply force but they do not eliminate the odiousness of work. The two are easily conflated but they are not at all the same thing.

    The main difference between today and the norm for human history---the main difference between today and some presumable future time without fossil fuels---is that the men of those other times will not feel as compelled to delude themselves about the true nature of their situation.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

  119. @V. K. Ovelund
    I target no particular commenter, but some comments have been made regarding optics. The right almost always gets this wrong.

    The right needs to earn a reputation for telling the truth with due humility and, secondarily, for exploring interesting illiberal ideas. That is how public trust is earned.

    Attitude toward Nazism makes a good test case. I think the whole Nazis-are-evil trope hysterical. Do you want to talk about optics? Don't you understand that, to a Zoomer, the proposition that “Hitler is evil” is hardly more relevant than the proposition that “Hannibal is evil”? It's not that the proposition is true or false. It's that, in the 2020s, the proposition is tiresome. Moreover, it sounds insincere.

    It sounds insincere for a reason. It often is insincere. (I hasten to add that the readers present in this blog belong to one of the sincerest colleges of commenters to be found on the English-speaking Internet. I explicitly do not suggest that any of the commenters here is insincere.)

    The received history regarding Nazism is mostly lies as far as I am aware. Disavowing Nazis for optics' sake is how to lose, and lose, and lose some more—and even when you win you lose, for the victory is always on a rotten foundation.

    If anyone believes that I just said, “Nazis were good,” then that person should reread from the beginning, because I actually said something entirely different than that.

    Optics are a poor substitute for the truth, so tell the truth as well as you can. To tell the truth was Twinkie's advice and I believe that you and I ought to apply that advice here. One need not be tactless about it, but the truth will out; and in the end, good men are going to want to stand on the truth's side.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Triteleia Laxa

    The right needs to earn a reputation for telling the truth

    But you’re dealing with politics and in politics there’s simply no such thing as objective truth. There are only opinions.

    Libertarians, conservatives, liberals, communists, fascists, monarchists, reactionaries all believe they have objective truth on their side but they’re all wrong. All they have is opinions.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Libertarians, conservatives, liberals, communists, fascists, monarchists, reactionaries all believe they have objective truth on their side but they’re all wrong. All they have is opinions.
     
    I believe that your statement is objective truth. I also agree with you, and I'll do you one better: none of those governing philosophies works. They all fail, and this is not merely because the genius has not yet appeared to reveal to us the one correct governing philosophy!

    The one correct governing philosophy will not be seen this side of the Millennium.

    Notwithstanding, liberalism has had its run since the Enlightenment. Liberalism has exhausted itself for now, nor has Western conservatism proved itself a worthy alternative at this time. It is time for something different in my opinion.
  120. @nebulafox
    @Barbarossa

    I believe the traditional argument is that Christianity caused the decline of Greco-Roman antiquity. That's ahistorical. If anything, what strikes me about the Christianization of the empire was how little it changed the propaganda and self-conception of the Roman state. (This stands in stark contrast to the results of the collapse of the 7th Century in the East, which led to nothing less than redefining what "Roman" was.) It was also a far more gradual process that began earlier and finished later than in pop history, although I'm happy to take correction on this, as I haven't got to my reading there yet.

    What I do know is that the big changes of the 3rd Century meant that the empire was a far more integrated place than it used to be, and that the emperors encouraged religious behavior that could encourage unity, in contrast to the Principate. It is particularly telling that even the traditional polytheistic pagans like Diocletian or Julian tried to revive paganism not as a diffuse collection of cults like the old days, but as an empire wide faith. Julian, in particular: he wanted to bring back the days of the Princeps. Yet even he was a product of his time, and it shows here in his attempts to organize paganism. That wasn't how it was earlier.

    Replies: @iffen, @Barbarossa

    I agree with your points.

    It seems an odd line of argumentation, since Graco-Roman antiquity declined quite on it’s own, apart from any baleful influence from Christianity.

    All civilizations will decline into decadence at some point, with Christendom being no exception. I mostly just find it odd that someone like Dr. Morgan seems loath to give Christendom it’s due, while assigning it blanket condemnation for unconnected realities. Perhaps that’s what too much myopic focus on Jews does.

  121. @dfordoom
    @ChrisZ


    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral “armor” for America’s long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a “proposition nation,” for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites.
     
    And America infected its Cold War allies with the same destructive ideologies. The political elites of Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany all now see their countries as Proposition Nations.

    Replies: @ChrisZ

    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America’s proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @ChrisZ


    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America’s proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.
     
    Yeah. We supported the US in the Cold War and they wrecked our society. And the US is still wrecking our society. Now the US has given us Wokeness. And the LGBT madness.

    We'd have been better off supporting the evil commies.

    Replies: @ChrisZ

    , @dfordoom
    @ChrisZ


    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America’s proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.
     
    A major problem is that a proposition nation will become a political nation. It will become a nation in which eventually everything will become political. Which is what has happened in the United States, which has become the most politically and ideologically obsessed nation in history. There is not a single aspect of life that has not been politicised. Religion, science, medicine, sex, marriage, food, energy policy, sport, entertainment - all have become entirely politicised.

    If you announce that you're thinking of buying a new car, or that you've just bought a new couch, or that you've decided to take up hiking, or you decide to cook a steak for dinner, or you admit that you like reading detective stories, or you admit that you're thinking of moving to the suburbs,
    someone will find a way to make all of those things into political acts.

    Which means it is impossible to do anything at all, or to say anything, or even to think anything, without first considering the political ramifications.

    This is deeply unhealthy and it's another consequence of the ideological struggle known as the Cold War.
  122. @Barbarossa
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Your views on slavery are interesting and I am not wholly unsympathetic. I've done a bit of thinking on the topic of slavery which I'll add for consideration. I think the may compliment your overall point.

    It seems to me that slavery is a function of the increased specialization necessary for running a "real" civilization. Scribes, warriors, priests, administrators, craftsmen, etc all spend their time doing things which are not directly sustaining their direct earthly needs for food, clothing, and so on. Therefore, someone must be compelled to do the hard dirty jobs required to keep a higher functioning civilization running, i.e. slaves.

    If you take exception to the use of the word slave to better include non-chattel forms of servitude such as serfs, we could create a lovely modern sounding euphemism such as "force compelled labor specialist". I'll stick with slave with the understanding that it encompasses a broader category than just chattel slavery.

    Hunter gatherer's require no slaves, since their needs are minimal and easily met personally. However, it seems that slavery is pretty universal in any higher functioning society.

    The thing that upsets this arrangement is not, as most modern folks would contend, some rising tide of understanding and happy thoughts which abolishes slavery, but the industrial age, specifically the use of very energy dense fossil fuels which eliminate the need for most human and animal power.

    This is why Britain could afford to be so "enlightened" in their early elimination of slavery. Their early utilization of industrialization made it practicable. Similarly, the industrial North, could afford to tolerate anti-slavery sentiment far more than the agrarian South which still relied on the power of the human body.

    Essentially, without fossil fuels and the machines that run on them, we would still have slavery today, as it would untenable and technologically impossible to eliminate it.

    The question to me then becomes what the future brings. If the industrial age is a historical anomaly predicated on a reliance on limited fossil fuel resources, then we will at some point revert to a reliance on animal and human power and labor. This will make a return to slavery of some form inevitable.

    It's always possible that we find limitless source of power that permanently replaces everything else, but I won't count on it until it happens. Either way, the modern conception of slavery as inherently evil seems rather silly to me, unless one is advocating a hunter gatherer lifestyle (an argument which does have it's points, I'll admit).

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    If you take exception to the use of the word slave to better include non-chattel forms of servitude such as serfs, we could create a lovely modern sounding euphemism such as “force compelled labor specialist”. I’ll stick with slave with the understanding that it encompasses a broader category than just chattel slavery.

    I think the word “servant” is very applicable here. It is a biblical term with long usage in both literary and vernacular speech. It can include everything from the churl who must be kicked and whipped in order to be made useful, up through the hireling, the respectable footman, the dignified butler, and even something noble and sublime, as in ‘public servant” or “servant of God.” Slavery ought to be understood as meaning all these things, but the word has a nasty connotation that puts an end to all nuanced thought.

    Essentially, without fossil fuels and the machines that run on them, we would still have slavery today, as it would untenable and technologically impossible to eliminate it.

    Yes, this is an important point that I have sometimes made myself. I would only differ in saying that the industrial age has not so much eliminated slavery as obscured it.

    I invite anyone to contemplate the following thought experiment. Imagine some ancient Babylonian village where slavery was as common and unremarked as the rising sun. Now, without changing the social relations of any of the inhabitants, scale everything up to industrial proportions and give everyone a giant mech suit to wear. Now we still have the same slaves and masters, but everyone is a hundred times more powerful. Obviously slavery still exists in this scenario, but after a few generations even the slaves are looking back with quaint chuckles at how their great grandpas used to plow the field with and ox and thresh the wheat by hand. They do not realize that they are still working just as hard and just as unfreely as he ever was, and consequently they cannot take the further step of imaging that perhaps his life didn’t feel quite so hard and unfree to him as they suppose it did.

    Now, we today are in exactly the same position as these Mechas of Gilgamesh. All the machines and conveniences of modern life form simply a single—albeit extended and distributed—“mech suit” that multiplies the effects of our labors but does not in any wise reduce the the severity of our efforts. I received quite a bit of grief on here a few months ago when I made the statement that machines do not save labor. Well, they don’t. Machines multiply force but they do not eliminate the odiousness of work. The two are easily conflated but they are not at all the same thing.

    The main difference between today and the norm for human history—the main difference between today and some presumable future time without fossil fuels—is that the men of those other times will not feel as compelled to delude themselves about the true nature of their situation.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @Intelligent Dasein

    My "forced compelled labor specialist" label was meant to be tongue and cheek, although I'm sure the technocrats will come up with a similar appellation to ease the sting on the peons of the future!

    I would find servant to be a overly broad definition, since we are all servants or slaves if the net is cast too wide. Even though I own my own business I am rather a "slave" to it, since it imposes sometimes harsh constraints on my time. Similarly with my wife and children. I could consider myself "enslaved" (not that I take this view) by their bonds to me. We all have to serve someone in some capacity.

    I think that the thing which separates slavery as a concept for me from that of servant, is the strong and overt coercive element in the former.

    I actually generally agree with your points on the ways that modern industrial age has obscured rather than really eliminated slavery and the often pointless implacable whirling of the modern consumer economy.
    To the former, wage slavery in the first world is certainly a real thing, enforced by crippling debt loads accrued by living the "American Dream". Even the reliance on third world labor is really in many cases little better than an off shored slavery.
    To the latter point, I remember reading that we actually spend more time doing laundry now than your average housewife in the 1800's. We just have so many more clothes it eliminates the labor saving advantages of all these expensive machines. I think that simple example is equally true of any number of things in our modern world.

    My main intention of my statement on the industrial age, is that for the first time it was possible to have a civilization without slavery. Unfortunately human greed has ensured that this was not the case. It is staggering to me how the energy unlocked by fossil fuels has been enormously squandered. Something which could have reshaped human life for the better in profound ways has been pissed away sending trinkets across oceans. I once read the summation that modern consumer capitalism is at it's heart a system that seeks to turn raw materials into garbage as efficiently as possible. This seems a very accurate description.

  123. iffen: “And the loss of Christianity is causing the decline and fall of Pax Americana.”

    It’s remarkable that anyone would think that in America, where roughly two thirds of people still say they are Christians, that Christianity has been “lost”. I’ve addressed this numerous times with Johnson, but he seems ineducable, either too stupid or too unwilling to understand. Let me try again. Perhaps the assembled brain trust here will not prove to be as dense.

    If you are in America, you are living in a country that was founded by Christians, the form of government of which was designed by men who were profoundly influenced by the thinking of Christian theologian John Locke. Locke got his ideas of equality and justice from the Bible, and used it to “prove” his points. The earliest white immigrants to N. America were fanatic Christians, and a substantial minority of them objected to slavery, which they considered an affront to their Christian notions of liberty and equality. They conceived of themselves as a “shining City on a Hill”, in a trope drawn from the Bible. They thought their mission was to set an example for the world. It only took them a little over eighty years to cause a Civil War over the question of slavery and racial inequality, which many whites at the time regarded as a sin. After this bloody war to free the negro, a Christian America quickly amended its Constitution to make these negroes into fully equal citizens. White Americans are still living with the repercussions of that insane, faith-based, religiously-motivated decision today. Further, despite the dismal results, they have never made even the slightest attempt to repeal this mistake. Modern Americans still take the Christian view of racial equality. The are at least as crazy as their nineteenth century forebears, and maybe even more so.

    The idea that Christianity has been “lost” from such a country runs counter to observable reality. If only it had been! Virtually every precept of political correctness can be shown to have Christian roots. If Christianity had really been lost, there would be no such thing as political correctness. Acceptance of biologically-based racial and sexual inequality might be the dominant point of view, since it is clearly the case and easily demonstrable. But instead of disappearing, Christianity has just gone secular. The progress of science has eroded belief in the supernatural claims of Christianity, but hasn’t done anything to demolish its moral framework, which remains the standard by which white Americans judge themselves and the world. What’s causing the social dislocation of modern times is that if anything, the secularization of Christianity meant that it became more fanatical than ever. In its secular form of Wokeism it has much less tolerance for hypocrisy, and hence its endless quest to equalize the inherently unequal. America remains very much a country under the noxious influence of the Christian death cult. It’s more Christian than ever, willing to commit national suicide if necessary to prove its virtue.

    • Agree: commandor
  124. @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie

    Thanks for your kind words, Twinkie.

    Reflecting further on the question of identity, I came up with some potentially good effects of multipolarity. While I agree that it is an unstable system at the international level, in terms of the individual nation itself, the multipolar condition seems to encourage a positive identity: a sense that, to put it schematically, "We are this." "This" would be understood as the experience of a shared history, language, religion, descent, literary/artistic culture, food, dress, habits--anything that distinguishes one people from all the other competing peoples in their separate spheres of power.

    The bipolar condition, by contrast, encourages a negative identity: "We are not that." The idea is that the nation is inclined--perhaps needs--to draw a heightened distinction between itself and its single rival. In a way, this allows the rival to set the terms of the nation's own self-understood identity. Examples of this from the Cold War abound, in retrospect--although to be honest they did not seem to be negative at the time.

    What occurs to me, some 30 after the end of the Cold War, is that the negative identities that provided intellectual and moral "armor" for America's long struggle against Communism may be precisely the ideas that have now proved our undoing. The identity of America as a "proposition nation," for example, was seized upon during the Cold War as a way of combatting the Marxist critique of European nations as nothing more than the self-interested rule of hereditary elites. Previously (it seems to me), the idea of America as an "idea" existed in balance with positive notions of what constituted an AmeriCAN: the pioneer spirit, self-reliance, habits of tinkering and self-improvement, respect for commerce, Protestant Christianity, etc. It wasn't until the latter 20th century that these aspects of positive identity were abandoned in favor of the claim that anybody (and everybody) could be an American, if they simply pledged fealty to the preamble of the Constitution.

    Having emerged victorious in the Cold War, the proposition nation idea would transform from an antidote into a poison. As you noted, Twinkie, a unipolar America slid easily into arrogance and decay. We succumbed to the delusion that every nation could be a noble idea--that the people of any nation would respond to abstractions like freedom and self-rule--and we lurched into the "nation-building" debacle of the second Iraq war. We took it as given that every human being really was an American at heart--and turned a blind eye to an invasion of our country by people who could only see America as something to loot and laugh at.

    The thing is, from this perspective, I don't see a way out of the iron cycle of multipolarity-bipolarity-unipolarity-crisis/collapse-multipolarity... Your final sentence--"Life on this earth is a constant struggle"--could hardly be more apt. But I'm not sure whether that struggle is a tragedy or, in the final analysis, a comedy.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Twinkie

    This is a very well-thought-out piece. Thank you for writing it.

    You are absolutely right that what you frame as negative identity is useful in a bipolar struggle, but a healthy positive identity is crucial in surviving unipolarity well (or any -polarity, for that matter), particularly, as you put so succinctly, when existing in balance with a negative identity.

    I think, though, one of the major problems is that for most human beings, a negative identity is much easier to form than a positive identity. People are very social and socially-conscious beings. And we tend to form ideas about ourselves in relation to others around, friends and enemies. Individuals who are powerfully driven internally are rare and, when scaled to the larger populace, pretty nonexistent. I don’t know a way around it, devoid of something like religious fanaticism or cult-like ideology (which have their own many downsides).

    Another line of conversation I’d like to pursue with you. You brought up several examples earlier of the bipolar dynamic that led to unipolarity and decay, namely Athens vs. Sparta and Carthage vs. Rome. These are, indeed, very good examples. Yet, the two cases differ. Rome reached the zenith of its power long after the Third Punic War and survived hundreds of years (and even more than a millennium if counting the Eastern Empire). On the other hand, Sparta fell from dominance quickly after Aegospotami, as Leuctra was only thirty-some years after it.

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?
     
    Maybe Rome was just Too Big To Fail.

    No matter how crazy, corrupt, brutal, decadent and degenerate the Romans became they could still crush any military challenger. And they remained an aggressive violent state that was perfectly prepared to do so, with chilling ruthlessness. They didn't have a serious military rival until the rise of the Sassanid Persian Empire. The Sassanids were a tough nut to crack but the Romans eventually destroyed them as well.

    The Romans were utterly appalling but they had military resources that dwarfed those of all their opponents. Throughout their history the Romans could lose huge armies, and just raise another one. Or just call in an army from another part of the empire.

    The parallels with the modern United States are striking to say the least. The United States is also Too Big To Fail.

    Replies: @Wency

    , @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie


    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

     

    I don't have a definitive answer to this, of course. Only thoughts. Thanks for asking.

    Sparta was a very one-dimensional society--in a way, that was its whole point. And however efficient it was in its own domain, it was not suited to being an international power. Its defeat of Athens had the character of a "last man standing" victory, after the opponent's serial self-destructive mistakes, and may not have been an indication of Sparta's genuine superiority. Prosecuting the war led Sparta to violate many of the identity traits that had made it distinctive and resilient--it started minting money, and built a fleet, e.g.--but once the war was over, it could never return to the "logic" of old Spartan ways, which were predicted on societal isolation. And in its one-dimensional simplicity, it lacked the internal resources to adapt or grow.

    Rome, on the other hand, even in its austere Punic Wars incarnation, was a more complex society that recognized many pathways of human flourishing. I think dfordoom has the right idea when he says Rome was too big to fail. But I might say that we should really be talking about "Romes"--in the plural. The final crushing defeat of Carthage was indeed a crisis for the victorious Romans, bringing on an era of social unrest, slave revolts, civil war, and within a century the dissolution of the Republic. But at each pressure point it was able to draw on the internal reserves of a richly constructed society--military, political, technological, and of course its famous human capital--to re-organize and re-establish "Rome" on a different footing.

    What's interesting to me in the context of our conversation, Twinkie, is that throughout its political transformations--republic, dictatorship, empire, etc.--the idea of "being a Roman" was always meaningful, which suggests how critical and fundamental a rich positive identity is to the question of national durability.

    Replies: @res

    , @nebulafox
    @Twinkie

    >What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    The Romans didn't run dry of soldiers. Even if that meant enlisting slaves which they enfranchised as a reward, as they did after Cannae. They did whatever it took to keep the state going, even if that meant scrapping the entire previous era, as happened to a limited extent with the Second Punic War, then fully with fall of the Republic, and even more fully in the 3rd Century. It's not a subject I know a ton about, so I could be wrong, but I just can't envision the Spartans being that flexible. I suspect this had a lot to do with their downfall. Their stringent requirements to be a Spartan meant that there just weren't enough men in the end, and their boy whipping ritual became a tourist attraction for Roman passerby.

    Sometimes you have to choose between tradition and survival.

  125. @ChrisZ
    @dfordoom

    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America's proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @dfordoom

    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America’s proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.

    Yeah. We supported the US in the Cold War and they wrecked our society. And the US is still wrecking our society. Now the US has given us Wokeness. And the LGBT madness.

    We’d have been better off supporting the evil commies.

    • Replies: @ChrisZ
    @dfordoom

    The Cold War had its own internal logic, which seemed right at the time, and made its own unique demands on the players. We can replay it in retrospect, but what's done is done.

    The woke ideology is a different matter in a different time. Any of the European nations could have pushed back on it, asserted some independence, appealed to their distinctive national experiences. Some have done so. But in the main, Europe has seemed eager to embrace this self-destructive cancer, and even anticipated the U.S. in some respects (e.g. Merkel's Mistake). It would have been bracing to see a major European nation resist the madness--maybe using your exact words, D: "We'd have been better off supporting the evil commies." But none did.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Triteleia Laxa

  126. @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ

    This is a very well-thought-out piece. Thank you for writing it.

    You are absolutely right that what you frame as negative identity is useful in a bipolar struggle, but a healthy positive identity is crucial in surviving unipolarity well (or any -polarity, for that matter), particularly, as you put so succinctly, when existing in balance with a negative identity.

    I think, though, one of the major problems is that for most human beings, a negative identity is much easier to form than a positive identity. People are very social and socially-conscious beings. And we tend to form ideas about ourselves in relation to others around, friends and enemies. Individuals who are powerfully driven internally are rare and, when scaled to the larger populace, pretty nonexistent. I don't know a way around it, devoid of something like religious fanaticism or cult-like ideology (which have their own many downsides).

    Another line of conversation I'd like to pursue with you. You brought up several examples earlier of the bipolar dynamic that led to unipolarity and decay, namely Athens vs. Sparta and Carthage vs. Rome. These are, indeed, very good examples. Yet, the two cases differ. Rome reached the zenith of its power long after the Third Punic War and survived hundreds of years (and even more than a millennium if counting the Eastern Empire). On the other hand, Sparta fell from dominance quickly after Aegospotami, as Leuctra was only thirty-some years after it.

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ, @nebulafox

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    Maybe Rome was just Too Big To Fail.

    No matter how crazy, corrupt, brutal, decadent and degenerate the Romans became they could still crush any military challenger. And they remained an aggressive violent state that was perfectly prepared to do so, with chilling ruthlessness. They didn’t have a serious military rival until the rise of the Sassanid Persian Empire. The Sassanids were a tough nut to crack but the Romans eventually destroyed them as well.

    The Romans were utterly appalling but they had military resources that dwarfed those of all their opponents. Throughout their history the Romans could lose huge armies, and just raise another one. Or just call in an army from another part of the empire.

    The parallels with the modern United States are striking to say the least. The United States is also Too Big To Fail.

    • Replies: @Wency
    @dfordoom

    Another way to frame this is that the Romans actually did enlarge their power base with many of their early wins (up through Egypt, at least). They added places to their domain that remained pacified and more or less permanently Romanized -- several of their conquests still speak dialects of Latin to this day.

    But whenever a Greek polis succeeded in defeating one of its rivals, the result seems more like the Yankees defeating the Red Sox than it was like Rome unifying Italy. Sparta collected some revenues from its victory in the Peloponnesian War, and it hobbled Athens somewhat, but it apparently gained nothing that permanently enlarged its power base.

    It's also worth observing in here that Classical Greece was never really bipolar, both because Sparta and Athens relied on allies that were far more independent than the Roman socii, and because Persia was a player the whole time. The Persians failed to conquer Greece, but they continued to heavily subsidize the continued division of the Greeks, and at this they were very successful until the rise of the Macedonians. Persia probably had a lot to do, behind the scenes, with Thebes defeating Sparta.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  127. @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    The right needs to earn a reputation for telling the truth
     
    But you're dealing with politics and in politics there's simply no such thing as objective truth. There are only opinions.

    Libertarians, conservatives, liberals, communists, fascists, monarchists, reactionaries all believe they have objective truth on their side but they're all wrong. All they have is opinions.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    Libertarians, conservatives, liberals, communists, fascists, monarchists, reactionaries all believe they have objective truth on their side but they’re all wrong. All they have is opinions.

    I believe that your statement is objective truth. I also agree with you, and I’ll do you one better: none of those governing philosophies works. They all fail, and this is not merely because the genius has not yet appeared to reveal to us the one correct governing philosophy!

    The one correct governing philosophy will not be seen this side of the Millennium.

    Notwithstanding, liberalism has had its run since the Enlightenment. Liberalism has exhausted itself for now, nor has Western conservatism proved itself a worthy alternative at this time. It is time for something different in my opinion.

  128. @ChrisZ
    @dfordoom

    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America's proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @dfordoom

    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America’s proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.

    A major problem is that a proposition nation will become a political nation. It will become a nation in which eventually everything will become political. Which is what has happened in the United States, which has become the most politically and ideologically obsessed nation in history. There is not a single aspect of life that has not been politicised. Religion, science, medicine, sex, marriage, food, energy policy, sport, entertainment – all have become entirely politicised.

    If you announce that you’re thinking of buying a new car, or that you’ve just bought a new couch, or that you’ve decided to take up hiking, or you decide to cook a steak for dinner, or you admit that you like reading detective stories, or you admit that you’re thinking of moving to the suburbs,
    someone will find a way to make all of those things into political acts.

    Which means it is impossible to do anything at all, or to say anything, or even to think anything, without first considering the political ramifications.

    This is deeply unhealthy and it’s another consequence of the ideological struggle known as the Cold War.

  129. @dfordoom
    @ChrisZ


    Precisely. To use an uncomfortable metaphor, America’s proposition nation ideology was impressed upon her Western allies as the vaccine that would immunize them from Communism. It proved in the long run to be a poison that will kill them.
     
    Yeah. We supported the US in the Cold War and they wrecked our society. And the US is still wrecking our society. Now the US has given us Wokeness. And the LGBT madness.

    We'd have been better off supporting the evil commies.

    Replies: @ChrisZ

    The Cold War had its own internal logic, which seemed right at the time, and made its own unique demands on the players. We can replay it in retrospect, but what’s done is done.

    The woke ideology is a different matter in a different time. Any of the European nations could have pushed back on it, asserted some independence, appealed to their distinctive national experiences. Some have done so. But in the main, Europe has seemed eager to embrace this self-destructive cancer, and even anticipated the U.S. in some respects (e.g. Merkel’s Mistake). It would have been bracing to see a major European nation resist the madness–maybe using your exact words, D: “We’d have been better off supporting the evil commies.” But none did.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @ChrisZ


    It would have been bracing to see a major European nation resist the madness–maybe using your exact words, D: “We’d have been better off supporting the evil commies.” But none did.
     
    It is depressing. Mind you, if any of its "allies" did try to resist it's certain the US would retaliate. "Nice little country you got there. Be a real shame if anything was to happen to it."

    Australia did once have a government that tried to pursue an independent foreign policy. Oddly enough that government got overthrown. A complete coincidence of course. Nothing to do with the CIA.
    , @Triteleia Laxa
    @ChrisZ

    The US isn't the leader, it is just the loudest*.

    In 2012, Argentina's Senate unanimously approved the Gender Identity Law making sex-change surgery a legal right. The procedure is even included in both public and private health care plans.

    Two years later, the Danish Parliament followed Argentina's lead and allowed legal gender recognition for transgender people over the age of 18, solely based on their self-determination -- without any medical intervention.

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/23/health/transgender-laws-around-the-world/index.html

    Those countries can't have big #BLM movements, because they have few *black people, but they "progressed" much earlier than the US.

    Replies: @Wency

  130. @dfordoom
    @Twinkie


    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?
     
    Maybe Rome was just Too Big To Fail.

    No matter how crazy, corrupt, brutal, decadent and degenerate the Romans became they could still crush any military challenger. And they remained an aggressive violent state that was perfectly prepared to do so, with chilling ruthlessness. They didn't have a serious military rival until the rise of the Sassanid Persian Empire. The Sassanids were a tough nut to crack but the Romans eventually destroyed them as well.

    The Romans were utterly appalling but they had military resources that dwarfed those of all their opponents. Throughout their history the Romans could lose huge armies, and just raise another one. Or just call in an army from another part of the empire.

    The parallels with the modern United States are striking to say the least. The United States is also Too Big To Fail.

    Replies: @Wency

    Another way to frame this is that the Romans actually did enlarge their power base with many of their early wins (up through Egypt, at least). They added places to their domain that remained pacified and more or less permanently Romanized — several of their conquests still speak dialects of Latin to this day.

    But whenever a Greek polis succeeded in defeating one of its rivals, the result seems more like the Yankees defeating the Red Sox than it was like Rome unifying Italy. Sparta collected some revenues from its victory in the Peloponnesian War, and it hobbled Athens somewhat, but it apparently gained nothing that permanently enlarged its power base.

    It’s also worth observing in here that Classical Greece was never really bipolar, both because Sparta and Athens relied on allies that were far more independent than the Roman socii, and because Persia was a player the whole time. The Persians failed to conquer Greece, but they continued to heavily subsidize the continued division of the Greeks, and at this they were very successful until the rise of the Macedonians. Persia probably had a lot to do, behind the scenes, with Thebes defeating Sparta.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Wency


    Another way to frame this is that the Romans actually did enlarge their power base with many of their early wins (up through Egypt, at least). They added places to their domain that remained pacified and more or less permanently Romanized
     
    Again the parallels with the modern US are striking. The US doesn't actually make conquests but its "allies" end up being permanently pacified and Americanised. With both Rome and the US there's a reliance on very successful cultural imperialism. In practical terms is there any difference between the situation of a US "ally" like Australia and one of the conquered provinces of the Roman Empire? We even have Roman legions US troops stationed in Australia to ensure that we remain pacified.

    The Romans seem to have been very conscious and deliberate about this. They didn't just loot conquered territories, they made them culturally Roman and in particular they made sure the local elites became culturally Roman. Even as corruption and decadence were steadily growing the Roman Empire became militarily stronger. And it wasn't necessary for Roman armies to be all that effective. The Romans lost plenty of battles, but their vast resources allowed them to win wars anyway. They could grind down their enemies. And they were a lot better at logistics than their enemies.
  131. @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ

    This is a very well-thought-out piece. Thank you for writing it.

    You are absolutely right that what you frame as negative identity is useful in a bipolar struggle, but a healthy positive identity is crucial in surviving unipolarity well (or any -polarity, for that matter), particularly, as you put so succinctly, when existing in balance with a negative identity.

    I think, though, one of the major problems is that for most human beings, a negative identity is much easier to form than a positive identity. People are very social and socially-conscious beings. And we tend to form ideas about ourselves in relation to others around, friends and enemies. Individuals who are powerfully driven internally are rare and, when scaled to the larger populace, pretty nonexistent. I don't know a way around it, devoid of something like religious fanaticism or cult-like ideology (which have their own many downsides).

    Another line of conversation I'd like to pursue with you. You brought up several examples earlier of the bipolar dynamic that led to unipolarity and decay, namely Athens vs. Sparta and Carthage vs. Rome. These are, indeed, very good examples. Yet, the two cases differ. Rome reached the zenith of its power long after the Third Punic War and survived hundreds of years (and even more than a millennium if counting the Eastern Empire). On the other hand, Sparta fell from dominance quickly after Aegospotami, as Leuctra was only thirty-some years after it.

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ, @nebulafox

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    I don’t have a definitive answer to this, of course. Only thoughts. Thanks for asking.

    Sparta was a very one-dimensional society–in a way, that was its whole point. And however efficient it was in its own domain, it was not suited to being an international power. Its defeat of Athens had the character of a “last man standing” victory, after the opponent’s serial self-destructive mistakes, and may not have been an indication of Sparta’s genuine superiority. Prosecuting the war led Sparta to violate many of the identity traits that had made it distinctive and resilient–it started minting money, and built a fleet, e.g.–but once the war was over, it could never return to the “logic” of old Spartan ways, which were predicted on societal isolation. And in its one-dimensional simplicity, it lacked the internal resources to adapt or grow.

    Rome, on the other hand, even in its austere Punic Wars incarnation, was a more complex society that recognized many pathways of human flourishing. I think dfordoom has the right idea when he says Rome was too big to fail. But I might say that we should really be talking about “Romes”–in the plural. The final crushing defeat of Carthage was indeed a crisis for the victorious Romans, bringing on an era of social unrest, slave revolts, civil war, and within a century the dissolution of the Republic. But at each pressure point it was able to draw on the internal reserves of a richly constructed society–military, political, technological, and of course its famous human capital–to re-organize and re-establish “Rome” on a different footing.

    What’s interesting to me in the context of our conversation, Twinkie, is that throughout its political transformations–republic, dictatorship, empire, etc.–the idea of “being a Roman” was always meaningful, which suggests how critical and fundamental a rich positive identity is to the question of national durability.

    • Replies: @res
    @ChrisZ

    ChrisZ, Thanks to you, Twinkie, and Wency for an interesting discussion about historical bipolarity .

  132. @V. K. Ovelund
    I target no particular commenter, but some comments have been made regarding optics. The right almost always gets this wrong.

    The right needs to earn a reputation for telling the truth with due humility and, secondarily, for exploring interesting illiberal ideas. That is how public trust is earned.

    Attitude toward Nazism makes a good test case. I think the whole Nazis-are-evil trope hysterical. Do you want to talk about optics? Don't you understand that, to a Zoomer, the proposition that “Hitler is evil” is hardly more relevant than the proposition that “Hannibal is evil”? It's not that the proposition is true or false. It's that, in the 2020s, the proposition is tiresome. Moreover, it sounds insincere.

    It sounds insincere for a reason. It often is insincere. (I hasten to add that the readers present in this blog belong to one of the sincerest colleges of commenters to be found on the English-speaking Internet. I explicitly do not suggest that any of the commenters here is insincere.)

    The received history regarding Nazism is mostly lies as far as I am aware. Disavowing Nazis for optics' sake is how to lose, and lose, and lose some more—and even when you win you lose, for the victory is always on a rotten foundation.

    If anyone believes that I just said, “Nazis were good,” then that person should reread from the beginning, because I actually said something entirely different than that.

    Optics are a poor substitute for the truth, so tell the truth as well as you can. To tell the truth was Twinkie's advice and I believe that you and I ought to apply that advice here. One need not be tactless about it, but the truth will out; and in the end, good men are going to want to stand on the truth's side.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Triteleia Laxa

    The Nazis didn’t dedicate their intellectual efforts to defending the Confederate cause. Germans would have thought them clowns; not unfairly.

  133. @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB

    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I'll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.

    Replies: @RSDB, @dfordoom

    If you do decide to look at it, the single chapter itself is less than ten pages, though of course it fits into the context of a longer work.

    [MORE]

    I forgot to mention before:

    Your comment is serious, of course.

    Well, I’m not quite sure of that, but thanks.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB


    If you do decide to look at it, the single chapter itself is less than ten pages....
     
    Thank you for persistence in suggesting it! I have now read it. It's the best ten pages I have read in months.
  134. @ChrisZ
    @Twinkie


    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

     

    I don't have a definitive answer to this, of course. Only thoughts. Thanks for asking.

    Sparta was a very one-dimensional society--in a way, that was its whole point. And however efficient it was in its own domain, it was not suited to being an international power. Its defeat of Athens had the character of a "last man standing" victory, after the opponent's serial self-destructive mistakes, and may not have been an indication of Sparta's genuine superiority. Prosecuting the war led Sparta to violate many of the identity traits that had made it distinctive and resilient--it started minting money, and built a fleet, e.g.--but once the war was over, it could never return to the "logic" of old Spartan ways, which were predicted on societal isolation. And in its one-dimensional simplicity, it lacked the internal resources to adapt or grow.

    Rome, on the other hand, even in its austere Punic Wars incarnation, was a more complex society that recognized many pathways of human flourishing. I think dfordoom has the right idea when he says Rome was too big to fail. But I might say that we should really be talking about "Romes"--in the plural. The final crushing defeat of Carthage was indeed a crisis for the victorious Romans, bringing on an era of social unrest, slave revolts, civil war, and within a century the dissolution of the Republic. But at each pressure point it was able to draw on the internal reserves of a richly constructed society--military, political, technological, and of course its famous human capital--to re-organize and re-establish "Rome" on a different footing.

    What's interesting to me in the context of our conversation, Twinkie, is that throughout its political transformations--republic, dictatorship, empire, etc.--the idea of "being a Roman" was always meaningful, which suggests how critical and fundamental a rich positive identity is to the question of national durability.

    Replies: @res

    ChrisZ, Thanks to you, Twinkie, and Wency for an interesting discussion about historical bipolarity .

    • Agree: RSDB
  135. @dfordoom

    On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery.
     
    LOL. Yeah, that's really going to happen. That may be the most unrealistic suggestion ever made on UR.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    LOL. Yeah, that’s really going to happen. That may be the most unrealistic suggestion ever made on UR.

    Actually, it’s inevitable that it will happen. If it doesn’t, the Left will continue to push harder and harder for reparations and we ain’t paying for those.

    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, “Hey, let’s take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit “free” people under similar circumstances.” It will finally out that slavery really wasn’t that bad. If people aren’t moved to this conclusion by the substantial truth of it, they will still nevertheless be compelled to take it by sheer dialectics of the present situation.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, “Hey, let’s take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit “free” people under similar circumstances.” It will finally out that slavery really wasn’t that bad.
     
    I'm very sceptical. I honestly think you've got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons. You're just not going to get people to think unemotionally about slavery.

    Emotions always trump reason.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @V. K. Ovelund

  136. @rebel yell
    @Intelligent Dasein

    I like your honest look at forced labor. I've always thought that low-paid workers are not "free labor" even if they are technically free. No one digs ditches for subsistence pay because they freely choose to. We haven't had free labor since Adam got kicked out of the garden of eden.
    Better to say we will always have forced labor and try to be reasonable about it. That still leaves a lot of room for a free market, the right of workers to be paid and to change jobs, market policies that favor higher wages, policies that favor ladders of success and a strong middle class, etc. But as you say there is a cut-off point, and if you don't work, you don't eat.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    Better to say we will always have forced labor and try to be reasonable about it. That still leaves a lot of room for a free market, the right of workers to be paid and to change jobs, market policies that favor higher wages, policies that favor ladders of success and a strong middle class, etc. But as you say there is a cut-off point, and if you don’t work, you don’t eat.

    Tangentially, this is a good explanation for why there ought never to be an employer paid minimum wage. If the government wants to establish a federal minimum wage and then add it as a multiplier to the employee’s earned wages, that’s different; but the employer should never be forced to pay more than the market price of the labor. That way, even people with hardly any skills can still be employed doing something useful.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Intelligent Dasein

    This is an excellent point in isolation; but I think your "minimum wage" would de facto become the UBI.

    Were I to want it and not work, I would pay my friend $1 a day to clean my house and he would pay me $1 a day to clean his; with the rest made up by your government provided minimum wage policy.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

  137. @Twinkie
    @ChrisZ

    This is a very well-thought-out piece. Thank you for writing it.

    You are absolutely right that what you frame as negative identity is useful in a bipolar struggle, but a healthy positive identity is crucial in surviving unipolarity well (or any -polarity, for that matter), particularly, as you put so succinctly, when existing in balance with a negative identity.

    I think, though, one of the major problems is that for most human beings, a negative identity is much easier to form than a positive identity. People are very social and socially-conscious beings. And we tend to form ideas about ourselves in relation to others around, friends and enemies. Individuals who are powerfully driven internally are rare and, when scaled to the larger populace, pretty nonexistent. I don't know a way around it, devoid of something like religious fanaticism or cult-like ideology (which have their own many downsides).

    Another line of conversation I'd like to pursue with you. You brought up several examples earlier of the bipolar dynamic that led to unipolarity and decay, namely Athens vs. Sparta and Carthage vs. Rome. These are, indeed, very good examples. Yet, the two cases differ. Rome reached the zenith of its power long after the Third Punic War and survived hundreds of years (and even more than a millennium if counting the Eastern Empire). On the other hand, Sparta fell from dominance quickly after Aegospotami, as Leuctra was only thirty-some years after it.

    What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    Replies: @dfordoom, @ChrisZ, @nebulafox

    >What did Rome do better than Sparta that it was able to endure so much longer after a decisive victory over its rival?

    The Romans didn’t run dry of soldiers. Even if that meant enlisting slaves which they enfranchised as a reward, as they did after Cannae. They did whatever it took to keep the state going, even if that meant scrapping the entire previous era, as happened to a limited extent with the Second Punic War, then fully with fall of the Republic, and even more fully in the 3rd Century. It’s not a subject I know a ton about, so I could be wrong, but I just can’t envision the Spartans being that flexible. I suspect this had a lot to do with their downfall. Their stringent requirements to be a Spartan meant that there just weren’t enough men in the end, and their boy whipping ritual became a tourist attraction for Roman passerby.

    Sometimes you have to choose between tradition and survival.

  138. @ChrisZ
    @dfordoom

    The Cold War had its own internal logic, which seemed right at the time, and made its own unique demands on the players. We can replay it in retrospect, but what's done is done.

    The woke ideology is a different matter in a different time. Any of the European nations could have pushed back on it, asserted some independence, appealed to their distinctive national experiences. Some have done so. But in the main, Europe has seemed eager to embrace this self-destructive cancer, and even anticipated the U.S. in some respects (e.g. Merkel's Mistake). It would have been bracing to see a major European nation resist the madness--maybe using your exact words, D: "We'd have been better off supporting the evil commies." But none did.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Triteleia Laxa

    It would have been bracing to see a major European nation resist the madness–maybe using your exact words, D: “We’d have been better off supporting the evil commies.” But none did.

    It is depressing. Mind you, if any of its “allies” did try to resist it’s certain the US would retaliate. “Nice little country you got there. Be a real shame if anything was to happen to it.”

    Australia did once have a government that tried to pursue an independent foreign policy. Oddly enough that government got overthrown. A complete coincidence of course. Nothing to do with the CIA.

  139. @Intelligent Dasein
    @rebel yell


    Better to say we will always have forced labor and try to be reasonable about it. That still leaves a lot of room for a free market, the right of workers to be paid and to change jobs, market policies that favor higher wages, policies that favor ladders of success and a strong middle class, etc. But as you say there is a cut-off point, and if you don’t work, you don’t eat.
     
    Tangentially, this is a good explanation for why there ought never to be an employer paid minimum wage. If the government wants to establish a federal minimum wage and then add it as a multiplier to the employee's earned wages, that's different; but the employer should never be forced to pay more than the market price of the labor. That way, even people with hardly any skills can still be employed doing something useful.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    This is an excellent point in isolation; but I think your “minimum wage” would de facto become the UBI.

    Were I to want it and not work, I would pay my friend $1 a day to clean my house and he would pay me $1 a day to clean his; with the rest made up by your government provided minimum wage policy.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @Triteleia Laxa

    Yes, that is a danger, but I was giving a very abbreviated version of what I had in mind.

    My actual idea is to apply a federal multiplier to all earned wages and all savings, but not to securities, and to reinstitute a supercharged Glass-Steagall act that would make stock investing prohibitively difficult for all but the true owners. The multiplier would be gradually reduced and finally sunsetted according to a very public timetable.

    I think this would be the least painful way of inflating away the debt without destroying the working class while at the same time encouraging productivity (work) and real capital investment over speculation. It will also rein in the oligarchy and drastically limit the power of the banks.

    This is a lot more intelligent than just straight, unnuanced UBI. It maximizes the incentive to work, to save, and for employers to pay the highest wages they possibly can.

  140. @ChrisZ
    @dfordoom

    The Cold War had its own internal logic, which seemed right at the time, and made its own unique demands on the players. We can replay it in retrospect, but what's done is done.

    The woke ideology is a different matter in a different time. Any of the European nations could have pushed back on it, asserted some independence, appealed to their distinctive national experiences. Some have done so. But in the main, Europe has seemed eager to embrace this self-destructive cancer, and even anticipated the U.S. in some respects (e.g. Merkel's Mistake). It would have been bracing to see a major European nation resist the madness--maybe using your exact words, D: "We'd have been better off supporting the evil commies." But none did.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Triteleia Laxa

    The US isn’t the leader, it is just the loudest*.

    In 2012, Argentina’s Senate unanimously approved the Gender Identity Law making sex-change surgery a legal right. The procedure is even included in both public and private health care plans.

    Two years later, the Danish Parliament followed Argentina’s lead and allowed legal gender recognition for transgender people over the age of 18, solely based on their self-determination — without any medical intervention.

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/23/health/transgender-laws-around-the-world/index.html

    Those countries can’t have big #BLM movements, because they have few *black people, but they “progressed” much earlier than the US.

    • Replies: @Wency
    @Triteleia Laxa

    The US left is still the world's leader in inventing and pushing leftist cultural ideas. Argentina didn't invent transgenderism -- has it ever invented anything? Those ideas were exported to Argentina by Americans. But specific culturally leftist policies may be implemented first in other places that have been colonized by American ideas, because USG is a complex beast and conservatives still have many levers with which to block leftist policies on some fronts, even as they're unhindered on other fronts.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @dfordoom

  141. @Wency
    @dfordoom

    Another way to frame this is that the Romans actually did enlarge their power base with many of their early wins (up through Egypt, at least). They added places to their domain that remained pacified and more or less permanently Romanized -- several of their conquests still speak dialects of Latin to this day.

    But whenever a Greek polis succeeded in defeating one of its rivals, the result seems more like the Yankees defeating the Red Sox than it was like Rome unifying Italy. Sparta collected some revenues from its victory in the Peloponnesian War, and it hobbled Athens somewhat, but it apparently gained nothing that permanently enlarged its power base.

    It's also worth observing in here that Classical Greece was never really bipolar, both because Sparta and Athens relied on allies that were far more independent than the Roman socii, and because Persia was a player the whole time. The Persians failed to conquer Greece, but they continued to heavily subsidize the continued division of the Greeks, and at this they were very successful until the rise of the Macedonians. Persia probably had a lot to do, behind the scenes, with Thebes defeating Sparta.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Another way to frame this is that the Romans actually did enlarge their power base with many of their early wins (up through Egypt, at least). They added places to their domain that remained pacified and more or less permanently Romanized

    Again the parallels with the modern US are striking. The US doesn’t actually make conquests but its “allies” end up being permanently pacified and Americanised. With both Rome and the US there’s a reliance on very successful cultural imperialism. In practical terms is there any difference between the situation of a US “ally” like Australia and one of the conquered provinces of the Roman Empire? We even have Roman legions US troops stationed in Australia to ensure that we remain pacified.

    The Romans seem to have been very conscious and deliberate about this. They didn’t just loot conquered territories, they made them culturally Roman and in particular they made sure the local elites became culturally Roman. Even as corruption and decadence were steadily growing the Roman Empire became militarily stronger. And it wasn’t necessary for Roman armies to be all that effective. The Romans lost plenty of battles, but their vast resources allowed them to win wars anyway. They could grind down their enemies. And they were a lot better at logistics than their enemies.

  142. @Intelligent Dasein
    @dfordoom


    LOL. Yeah, that’s really going to happen. That may be the most unrealistic suggestion ever made on UR.
     
    Actually, it's inevitable that it will happen. If it doesn't, the Left will continue to push harder and harder for reparations and we ain't paying for those.

    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, "Hey, let's take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit "free" people under similar circumstances." It will finally out that slavery really wasn't that bad. If people aren't moved to this conclusion by the substantial truth of it, they will still nevertheless be compelled to take it by sheer dialectics of the present situation.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, “Hey, let’s take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit “free” people under similar circumstances.” It will finally out that slavery really wasn’t that bad.

    I’m very sceptical. I honestly think you’ve got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons. You’re just not going to get people to think unemotionally about slavery.

    Emotions always trump reason.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    I honestly think you’ve got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons.
     
    Not in the United States, it doesn't. Not any more. The Austrian painter chap's career is now too long ago.

    Americans born before about 1960 usually don't quite grasp this, but that's my point.

    Not having set foot in England since 1984 (and I spent only two nights then), I lack actual knowledge of what ordinary Englishmen think on the subject; but judging by what one reads from them, the specter of Hitler would still seem to retain some power over there. Not in the United States.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    , @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom

    I forgot to mention: it seems to me you are right about slavery.

    Fortunately, the point regarding slavery has little application at this time. The point is theoretical. That is, even if I somehow persuaded every American to listen to I. D. and Belloc regarding slavery, the feat would achieve little practical effect. It would be hard to find a white American since World War II who would even be willing to take charge of a black slave.

  143. @RSDB
    @V. K. Ovelund

    If you do decide to look at it, the single chapter itself is less than ten pages, though of course it fits into the context of a longer work.

    I forgot to mention before:


    Your comment is serious, of course.
     
    Well, I'm not quite sure of that, but thanks.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    If you do decide to look at it, the single chapter itself is less than ten pages….

    Thank you for persistence in suggesting it! I have now read it. It’s the best ten pages I have read in months.

    • Thanks: RSDB
  144. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Intelligent Dasein

    This is an excellent point in isolation; but I think your "minimum wage" would de facto become the UBI.

    Were I to want it and not work, I would pay my friend $1 a day to clean my house and he would pay me $1 a day to clean his; with the rest made up by your government provided minimum wage policy.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    Yes, that is a danger, but I was giving a very abbreviated version of what I had in mind.

    My actual idea is to apply a federal multiplier to all earned wages and all savings, but not to securities, and to reinstitute a supercharged Glass-Steagall act that would make stock investing prohibitively difficult for all but the true owners. The multiplier would be gradually reduced and finally sunsetted according to a very public timetable.

    I think this would be the least painful way of inflating away the debt without destroying the working class while at the same time encouraging productivity (work) and real capital investment over speculation. It will also rein in the oligarchy and drastically limit the power of the banks.

    This is a lot more intelligent than just straight, unnuanced UBI. It maximizes the incentive to work, to save, and for employers to pay the highest wages they possibly can.

  145. @dfordoom
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, “Hey, let’s take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit “free” people under similar circumstances.” It will finally out that slavery really wasn’t that bad.
     
    I'm very sceptical. I honestly think you've got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons. You're just not going to get people to think unemotionally about slavery.

    Emotions always trump reason.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @V. K. Ovelund

    I honestly think you’ve got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons.

    Not in the United States, it doesn’t. Not any more. The Austrian painter chap’s career is now too long ago.

    Americans born before about 1960 usually don’t quite grasp this, but that’s my point.

    Not having set foot in England since 1984 (and I spent only two nights then), I lack actual knowledge of what ordinary Englishmen think on the subject; but judging by what one reads from them, the specter of Hitler would still seem to retain some power over there. Not in the United States.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @V. K. Ovelund

    dfordoom wrote:


    I honestly think you’ve got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler...
     
    As you say, this isn't really farfetched anymore. People like Pat Buchanan have been taking a very nuanced view of Hitler, and doing so from within the mainstream media, for decades now.

    WWII ended 76 years ago. There is hardly even anyone left alive who remembers that period as an adult. Anyone younger than 40 finds it simply tedious to have to kowtow to the Holocaust cult. They have other things to care about.
  146. @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    I honestly think you’ve got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons.
     
    Not in the United States, it doesn't. Not any more. The Austrian painter chap's career is now too long ago.

    Americans born before about 1960 usually don't quite grasp this, but that's my point.

    Not having set foot in England since 1984 (and I spent only two nights then), I lack actual knowledge of what ordinary Englishmen think on the subject; but judging by what one reads from them, the specter of Hitler would still seem to retain some power over there. Not in the United States.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    dfordoom wrote:

    I honestly think you’ve got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler…

    As you say, this isn’t really farfetched anymore. People like Pat Buchanan have been taking a very nuanced view of Hitler, and doing so from within the mainstream media, for decades now.

    WWII ended 76 years ago. There is hardly even anyone left alive who remembers that period as an adult. Anyone younger than 40 finds it simply tedious to have to kowtow to the Holocaust cult. They have other things to care about.

  147. @dfordoom
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Eventually some Tucker Carlson-like figure will say, “Hey, let’s take an honest look at slavery as it was actually practiced and see how it compared to the lives lived by other poor, albeit “free” people under similar circumstances.” It will finally out that slavery really wasn’t that bad.
     
    I'm very sceptical. I honestly think you've got as much chance of persuading people to take a nuanced view of Hitler as you have of persuading them to take a nuanced view of slavery. It pushes too many emotional buttons. You're just not going to get people to think unemotionally about slavery.

    Emotions always trump reason.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @V. K. Ovelund

    I forgot to mention: it seems to me you are right about slavery.

    Fortunately, the point regarding slavery has little application at this time. The point is theoretical. That is, even if I somehow persuaded every American to listen to I. D. and Belloc regarding slavery, the feat would achieve little practical effect. It would be hard to find a white American since World War II who would even be willing to take charge of a black slave.

  148. @V. K. Ovelund
    @RSDB

    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I'll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.

    Replies: @RSDB, @dfordoom

    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I’ll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.

    Belloc was opinionated and very eccentric in his views but he does present a completely different perspective on both European and especially English history. He’s a valuable corrective to the anti-Catholic bigotry that was so common among English historians for so long.

    His books on the Reformation in England are extremely interesting. And since I’m a bit of a Jacobite I particularly enjoyed his book on James II. His views on Elizabeth I are also fascinating. You don’t encounter many historians prepared to do a thorough hatchet job on Elizabeth I.

    Have you read his book The Great Heresies? That’s an interesting one. Especially his take on Puritanism.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Have you read [Belloc's] book The Great Heresies?
     
    Odd that you should mention it. One Saturday as an undergraduate, while wasting time in the university's library stacks rather than finishing my homework, I happened to pull that very book more or less randomly off the shelf. I read a few chapters for no particular reason, but the book apparently made enough of an impression that I still remember it these decades later.

    The library has probably purged the book for political incorrectness by now.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  149. @Triteleia Laxa
    @ChrisZ

    The US isn't the leader, it is just the loudest*.

    In 2012, Argentina's Senate unanimously approved the Gender Identity Law making sex-change surgery a legal right. The procedure is even included in both public and private health care plans.

    Two years later, the Danish Parliament followed Argentina's lead and allowed legal gender recognition for transgender people over the age of 18, solely based on their self-determination -- without any medical intervention.

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/23/health/transgender-laws-around-the-world/index.html

    Those countries can't have big #BLM movements, because they have few *black people, but they "progressed" much earlier than the US.

    Replies: @Wency

    The US left is still the world’s leader in inventing and pushing leftist cultural ideas. Argentina didn’t invent transgenderism — has it ever invented anything? Those ideas were exported to Argentina by Americans. But specific culturally leftist policies may be implemented first in other places that have been colonized by American ideas, because USG is a complex beast and conservatives still have many levers with which to block leftist policies on some fronts, even as they’re unhindered on other fronts.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Wency

    I disagree.

    I believe that ideas, which catch on, are those that best fit people's challenges and their lives.



    The US is quite advanced at this, as it is generally advanced. It is by far the highest GDP per capita country, that isn't a tax haven, or top 10 natural resource per capita country. Iceland is second. Iceland is extremely progressive.

    The most socially radical left professors of a few decades ago, are the most influential today. If universities were creating this wave, then why would the wave not reflect the vast majority of the opinion from before?

    The most socially radical left professors seem to have caught the current. They are entrepreneurs of the zeitgeist.

    People know what fits their feelings, lives and thoughts better than you or I. The progressive left offers them the best fit. Life has gotten weird. Politics has gotten weird. This is global, when applied to middle classes in big cities.

    It is so easy for conservatives to decry progressive institutions for somehow bamboozling the world. It is certainly much easier than admitting that conservative ideas have simply not been attractive enough. They don't speak to people. Or, when they do, they only speak to people who grew up in a different age. They do not fit how people experience their lives subjectively now.

    All this doesn't mean that the progressives are right. It just means that their ideas, and the way they express them, are more attractive. This is why all of the people who are most absorbed in ideas are also the most progressive.

    I find your narrative seductive. It simplifies the cause. It simplifies the solution. It appeals to the part of me that wants to stand bravely, against all odds, against powerful, crazy people. But it has no feel for how people take up ideas, nor intellectual humility, nor explanatory power.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    , @dfordoom
    @Wency


    The US left is still the world’s leader in inventing and pushing leftist cultural ideas.
     
    Yep. If you look at everything that is crazy and unhealthy about the modern West you'll find that the US was in every case Patient Zero. Some crazy ideas might have originated elsewhere but you'll find that in every case the infection has spread from the US.

    Partly it's just a scale thing. The US has the overwhelming soft power to impose its values on the rest of the world. No other nation has the capacity to do this. If some bizarre crazy idea originates in Bolivia or Norway or Singapore its effects will be local. If some bizarre crazy idea originates in the US its effects will be global.

    And there's no question that it's not just an accidental thing. There are powerful cultural institutions in the US, including the US Government, that are actively and aggressively seeking to impose American cultural values on the rest of the planet. There is no other nation that is seeking to do this.

    If the US goes crazy it can and will force the rest of the world to go crazy as well. And the US has gone crazy and it is forcing the rest of the world to adopt its craziness.
  150. @Wency
    @Triteleia Laxa

    The US left is still the world's leader in inventing and pushing leftist cultural ideas. Argentina didn't invent transgenderism -- has it ever invented anything? Those ideas were exported to Argentina by Americans. But specific culturally leftist policies may be implemented first in other places that have been colonized by American ideas, because USG is a complex beast and conservatives still have many levers with which to block leftist policies on some fronts, even as they're unhindered on other fronts.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @dfordoom

    I disagree.

    I believe that ideas, which catch on, are those that best fit people’s challenges and their lives.

    [MORE]

    The US is quite advanced at this, as it is generally advanced. It is by far the highest GDP per capita country, that isn’t a tax haven, or top 10 natural resource per capita country. Iceland is second. Iceland is extremely progressive.

    The most socially radical left professors of a few decades ago, are the most influential today. If universities were creating this wave, then why would the wave not reflect the vast majority of the opinion from before?

    The most socially radical left professors seem to have caught the current. They are entrepreneurs of the zeitgeist.

    People know what fits their feelings, lives and thoughts better than you or I. The progressive left offers them the best fit. Life has gotten weird. Politics has gotten weird. This is global, when applied to middle classes in big cities.

    It is so easy for conservatives to decry progressive institutions for somehow bamboozling the world. It is certainly much easier than admitting that conservative ideas have simply not been attractive enough. They don’t speak to people. Or, when they do, they only speak to people who grew up in a different age. They do not fit how people experience their lives subjectively now.

    All this doesn’t mean that the progressives are right. It just means that their ideas, and the way they express them, are more attractive. This is why all of the people who are most absorbed in ideas are also the most progressive.

    I find your narrative seductive. It simplifies the cause. It simplifies the solution. It appeals to the part of me that wants to stand bravely, against all odds, against powerful, crazy people. But it has no feel for how people take up ideas, nor intellectual humility, nor explanatory power.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Triteleia Laxa


    All this doesn’t mean that the progressives are right. It just means that their ideas, and the way they express them, are more attractive.
     
    Yep. Social progressives are very good at selling their message with lots of feelgood words and phrases and they're also very skilful at keeping the focus away from some of the unpleasant realities and negative consequences of progressivism.

    Social conservatives are totally inept at selling their message. They come across as humourless scolds who want to tell other people how to live their lives. They don't seem to have any idea how to appeal to people's emotions or how to make social conservatism sound like an enjoyable way to live.

    In reality the biggest problem is the same problem that we have with every other issue these days. Both sides adopt unnecessarily extreme positions and refuse to compromise. We need a balance between social conservatism and social liberalism but neither side wants to accept that. But it's a bigger problem for social conservatives because they haven't found a way to make their message sound emotionally appealing, so they lose, and society ends up going too far in the social liberal direction.

    And it's very hard to convince social conservatives that they have a huge image problem and a huge marketing problem. It's even harder to convince social conservatives that some elements of their program are just unsaleable. The Sexual Revolution happened for lots of reasons but the key reason is that most people really did find 1950s sexual mores to be too restrictive. Social conservatives are never going to be able to sell the idea that recreational sex is wicked or that permanent monogamous marriage should be the only option on offer.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

  151. I do believe there’s some truth to what you’re saying, that the roots of our decay are deeper than Hollywood’s influence. I think C’thulhu would swim left even without the US. I think social conservatism is almost never very sexy and thus always vulnerable if people are shielded from the sorts of problems it’s best at solving, and wealth can be a shield from many of those problems. As can peace — the US military hasn’t been at peace, but the US homefront has.

    But I still think you overstate your case. For one example, US TV and movies have very intentionally and obviously worked hard at pushing acceptance of homosexuality for many decades, and those policies you cited are downstream from that. I don’t think people, aside from activists, were ever clamoring much for more gay material and gay characters on their TV shows in decades past — more sex and violence, more angst and disenchantment, fewer shows like “Andy Griffith”? Sure, but more homosexuality? Nah.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Wency


    For one example, US TV and movies have very intentionally and obviously worked hard at pushing acceptance of homosexuality for many decades, and those policies you cited are downstream from that
     
    Your comment is very engaged and engaging. Thank you. I am sorry that the following reply is a bit vague and a bit of a fob off. I can only write what I see.

    Sexuality is complicated. It is the closest most modern people get to feeling a sense of magic. My concept of it is too foreign to most people to be understood by them, so we probably won't come to an understanding.

    I need to clarify that because, while I don't much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.

    Almost everyone, including gays and lesbians, are extremely insecure about their sexuality. It is a crazy topic.

    I am sure that people involved in entertainment tend to be more interested in this stuff. Magic is what showbusiness is made of; but I'd still place them at the front of a phenomenon outside of their control, rather than creating it.

    I do not expect you to agree and what I say cannot be proven, without an extremely detailed understanding of sexuality; when all I see is confusion when people talk about it.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Wency

  152. @rebel yell
    Reply to the John Johnson comment.
    Argument from authority should not be considered a fallacy - it's a valid form of argument.
    It's valid because in life we are called on to make many judgments that require expert knowledge when we are not experts in the field ourselves.
    Wuhan is a good example. Who can really know where the virus came from? Only a scientist trained in the field, with all the available and necessary data at his disposal, given enough time to do his research, and free from personal political biases and external political pressures.
    Meanwhile you and I need to get some answers about Wuhan because our lives and political liberty are at stake. What can you and I know? We can look for such a scientist and respect his authority when we think we've found him. It's not unlike finding a reliable mechanic to work on your car.
    I'm assuming that John Johnson is not himself an expert virologist who has done his own research to find out where Covid 19 came from. Whatever he believes probably rests on some testimony he's heard from a scientist he has chosen to believe - argument from authority.
    It is not as certain a judgment as doing the science work yourself, but it is far from fallacious and is a necessary part of life judgments.

    Replies: @dfordoom, @Fluesterwitz, @MarkU, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    No-one but a simpleton starts to look for any cause for an action taken within the political world without Ciciero’s Cui Bono.

  153. @Wency
    I do believe there's some truth to what you're saying, that the roots of our decay are deeper than Hollywood's influence. I think C'thulhu would swim left even without the US. I think social conservatism is almost never very sexy and thus always vulnerable if people are shielded from the sorts of problems it's best at solving, and wealth can be a shield from many of those problems. As can peace -- the US military hasn't been at peace, but the US homefront has.

    But I still think you overstate your case. For one example, US TV and movies have very intentionally and obviously worked hard at pushing acceptance of homosexuality for many decades, and those policies you cited are downstream from that. I don't think people, aside from activists, were ever clamoring much for more gay material and gay characters on their TV shows in decades past -- more sex and violence, more angst and disenchantment, fewer shows like "Andy Griffith"? Sure, but more homosexuality? Nah.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    For one example, US TV and movies have very intentionally and obviously worked hard at pushing acceptance of homosexuality for many decades, and those policies you cited are downstream from that

    Your comment is very engaged and engaging. Thank you. I am sorry that the following reply is a bit vague and a bit of a fob off. I can only write what I see.

    Sexuality is complicated. It is the closest most modern people get to feeling a sense of magic. My concept of it is too foreign to most people to be understood by them, so we probably won’t come to an understanding.

    [MORE]

    I need to clarify that because, while I don’t much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.

    Almost everyone, including gays and lesbians, are extremely insecure about their sexuality. It is a crazy topic.

    I am sure that people involved in entertainment tend to be more interested in this stuff. Magic is what showbusiness is made of; but I’d still place them at the front of a phenomenon outside of their control, rather than creating it.

    I do not expect you to agree and what I say cannot be proven, without an extremely detailed understanding of sexuality; when all I see is confusion when people talk about it.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @Triteleia Laxa


    Almost everyone, including gays and lesbians, are extremely insecure about their sexuality. It is a crazy topic.
     
    I think this is a very perceptive point. All the loud and proud chest thumping really is an expression of deep insecurity. And how could it be any other way when modern society makes sexuality such a weltering confusion of personal identity? The message is that if you don't "figure out who you are" you can't really be you. That must be exhausting mentally. I can't for the life of me figure out why ones' entire identity should be defined and expressed by who you go to be with. I would hope that people would have a little more substance than that.
    , @Wency
    @Triteleia Laxa


    I need to clarify that because, while I don’t much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.
     
    On this, we'll have to agree to disagree. Though the degree to which LGBT is more a cause or a symptom of our decline I'm not fully settled on (though Romans 1 always comes to mind). But I don't think you can have it halfway -- you can't have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we're currently experiencing.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.
     
    Brokeback Mountain came after the propaganda campaign had already been ongoing for decades. Gay marriage was already a hot issue by then, and I think it sort of attracted a buzz of its own and going to see it and talking about it became a performative act of leftism. If it was indeed a boring film (I've never subjected myself to it), this would seem to reinforce my theory. But performative leftist moviegoing is not a sustainable business model for Hollywood -- you actually do need to entertain the people at some point. Which most of the time means sneaking just enough of the gay stuff into an otherwise entertaining film.

    And while it was a successful film, it still didn't top its director Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from a few years earlier. The lesson would seem to be that gay romance still can't beat Chinese-language kung fu.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @dfordoom

  154. @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund


    I neglected to acknowledge your reference to Belloc. My reading list is too long: I’ll never get to all of it; but I have read a little Belloc and have admired what little I read.
     
    Belloc was opinionated and very eccentric in his views but he does present a completely different perspective on both European and especially English history. He's a valuable corrective to the anti-Catholic bigotry that was so common among English historians for so long.

    His books on the Reformation in England are extremely interesting. And since I'm a bit of a Jacobite I particularly enjoyed his book on James II. His views on Elizabeth I are also fascinating. You don't encounter many historians prepared to do a thorough hatchet job on Elizabeth I.

    Have you read his book The Great Heresies? That's an interesting one. Especially his take on Puritanism.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    Have you read [Belloc’s] book The Great Heresies?

    Odd that you should mention it. One Saturday as an undergraduate, while wasting time in the university’s library stacks rather than finishing my homework, I happened to pull that very book more or less randomly off the shelf. I read a few chapters for no particular reason, but the book apparently made enough of an impression that I still remember it these decades later.

    The library has probably purged the book for political incorrectness by now.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @V. K. Ovelund



    Have you read [Belloc’s] book The Great Heresies?
     
    Odd that you should mention it. One Saturday as an undergraduate, while wasting time in the university’s library stacks rather than finishing my homework, I happened to pull that very book more or less randomly off the shelf. I read a few chapters for no particular reason, but the book apparently made enough of an impression that I still remember it these decades later.
     
    The two ideas of Belloc's that have really stuck with me were firstly that the Reformation in England was entirely driven by the desire of wealthy landowners to loot the wealth of the Catholic Church, and secondly that the end result was to seriously weaken the Crown and create an unstable political situation which doomed the monarchy.

    The library has probably purged the book for political incorrectness by now.
     
    Probably! His books are not that easy to get hold of.
  155. @Intelligent Dasein
    @Barbarossa


    If you take exception to the use of the word slave to better include non-chattel forms of servitude such as serfs, we could create a lovely modern sounding euphemism such as “force compelled labor specialist”. I’ll stick with slave with the understanding that it encompasses a broader category than just chattel slavery.
     
    I think the word "servant" is very applicable here. It is a biblical term with long usage in both literary and vernacular speech. It can include everything from the churl who must be kicked and whipped in order to be made useful, up through the hireling, the respectable footman, the dignified butler, and even something noble and sublime, as in 'public servant" or "servant of God." Slavery ought to be understood as meaning all these things, but the word has a nasty connotation that puts an end to all nuanced thought.

    Essentially, without fossil fuels and the machines that run on them, we would still have slavery today, as it would untenable and technologically impossible to eliminate it.
     
    Yes, this is an important point that I have sometimes made myself. I would only differ in saying that the industrial age has not so much eliminated slavery as obscured it.

    I invite anyone to contemplate the following thought experiment. Imagine some ancient Babylonian village where slavery was as common and unremarked as the rising sun. Now, without changing the social relations of any of the inhabitants, scale everything up to industrial proportions and give everyone a giant mech suit to wear. Now we still have the same slaves and masters, but everyone is a hundred times more powerful. Obviously slavery still exists in this scenario, but after a few generations even the slaves are looking back with quaint chuckles at how their great grandpas used to plow the field with and ox and thresh the wheat by hand. They do not realize that they are still working just as hard and just as unfreely as he ever was, and consequently they cannot take the further step of imaging that perhaps his life didn't feel quite so hard and unfree to him as they suppose it did.

    Now, we today are in exactly the same position as these Mechas of Gilgamesh. All the machines and conveniences of modern life form simply a single---albeit extended and distributed---"mech suit" that multiplies the effects of our labors but does not in any wise reduce the the severity of our efforts. I received quite a bit of grief on here a few months ago when I made the statement that machines do not save labor. Well, they don't. Machines multiply force but they do not eliminate the odiousness of work. The two are easily conflated but they are not at all the same thing.

    The main difference between today and the norm for human history---the main difference between today and some presumable future time without fossil fuels---is that the men of those other times will not feel as compelled to delude themselves about the true nature of their situation.

    Replies: @Barbarossa

    My “forced compelled labor specialist” label was meant to be tongue and cheek, although I’m sure the technocrats will come up with a similar appellation to ease the sting on the peons of the future!

    I would find servant to be a overly broad definition, since we are all servants or slaves if the net is cast too wide. Even though I own my own business I am rather a “slave” to it, since it imposes sometimes harsh constraints on my time. Similarly with my wife and children. I could consider myself “enslaved” (not that I take this view) by their bonds to me. We all have to serve someone in some capacity.

    I think that the thing which separates slavery as a concept for me from that of servant, is the strong and overt coercive element in the former.

    I actually generally agree with your points on the ways that modern industrial age has obscured rather than really eliminated slavery and the often pointless implacable whirling of the modern consumer economy.
    To the former, wage slavery in the first world is certainly a real thing, enforced by crippling debt loads accrued by living the “American Dream”. Even the reliance on third world labor is really in many cases little better than an off shored slavery.
    To the latter point, I remember reading that we actually spend more time doing laundry now than your average housewife in the 1800’s. We just have so many more clothes it eliminates the labor saving advantages of all these expensive machines. I think that simple example is equally true of any number of things in our modern world.

    My main intention of my statement on the industrial age, is that for the first time it was possible to have a civilization without slavery. Unfortunately human greed has ensured that this was not the case. It is staggering to me how the energy unlocked by fossil fuels has been enormously squandered. Something which could have reshaped human life for the better in profound ways has been pissed away sending trinkets across oceans. I once read the summation that modern consumer capitalism is at it’s heart a system that seeks to turn raw materials into garbage as efficiently as possible. This seems a very accurate description.

  156. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Wency


    For one example, US TV and movies have very intentionally and obviously worked hard at pushing acceptance of homosexuality for many decades, and those policies you cited are downstream from that
     
    Your comment is very engaged and engaging. Thank you. I am sorry that the following reply is a bit vague and a bit of a fob off. I can only write what I see.

    Sexuality is complicated. It is the closest most modern people get to feeling a sense of magic. My concept of it is too foreign to most people to be understood by them, so we probably won't come to an understanding.

    I need to clarify that because, while I don't much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.

    Almost everyone, including gays and lesbians, are extremely insecure about their sexuality. It is a crazy topic.

    I am sure that people involved in entertainment tend to be more interested in this stuff. Magic is what showbusiness is made of; but I'd still place them at the front of a phenomenon outside of their control, rather than creating it.

    I do not expect you to agree and what I say cannot be proven, without an extremely detailed understanding of sexuality; when all I see is confusion when people talk about it.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Wency

    Almost everyone, including gays and lesbians, are extremely insecure about their sexuality. It is a crazy topic.

    I think this is a very perceptive point. All the loud and proud chest thumping really is an expression of deep insecurity. And how could it be any other way when modern society makes sexuality such a weltering confusion of personal identity? The message is that if you don’t “figure out who you are” you can’t really be you. That must be exhausting mentally. I can’t for the life of me figure out why ones’ entire identity should be defined and expressed by who you go to be with. I would hope that people would have a little more substance than that.

    • Thanks: Triteleia Laxa
  157. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Wency

    I disagree.

    I believe that ideas, which catch on, are those that best fit people's challenges and their lives.



    The US is quite advanced at this, as it is generally advanced. It is by far the highest GDP per capita country, that isn't a tax haven, or top 10 natural resource per capita country. Iceland is second. Iceland is extremely progressive.

    The most socially radical left professors of a few decades ago, are the most influential today. If universities were creating this wave, then why would the wave not reflect the vast majority of the opinion from before?

    The most socially radical left professors seem to have caught the current. They are entrepreneurs of the zeitgeist.

    People know what fits their feelings, lives and thoughts better than you or I. The progressive left offers them the best fit. Life has gotten weird. Politics has gotten weird. This is global, when applied to middle classes in big cities.

    It is so easy for conservatives to decry progressive institutions for somehow bamboozling the world. It is certainly much easier than admitting that conservative ideas have simply not been attractive enough. They don't speak to people. Or, when they do, they only speak to people who grew up in a different age. They do not fit how people experience their lives subjectively now.

    All this doesn't mean that the progressives are right. It just means that their ideas, and the way they express them, are more attractive. This is why all of the people who are most absorbed in ideas are also the most progressive.

    I find your narrative seductive. It simplifies the cause. It simplifies the solution. It appeals to the part of me that wants to stand bravely, against all odds, against powerful, crazy people. But it has no feel for how people take up ideas, nor intellectual humility, nor explanatory power.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    All this doesn’t mean that the progressives are right. It just means that their ideas, and the way they express them, are more attractive.

    Yep. Social progressives are very good at selling their message with lots of feelgood words and phrases and they’re also very skilful at keeping the focus away from some of the unpleasant realities and negative consequences of progressivism.

    Social conservatives are totally inept at selling their message. They come across as humourless scolds who want to tell other people how to live their lives. They don’t seem to have any idea how to appeal to people’s emotions or how to make social conservatism sound like an enjoyable way to live.

    In reality the biggest problem is the same problem that we have with every other issue these days. Both sides adopt unnecessarily extreme positions and refuse to compromise. We need a balance between social conservatism and social liberalism but neither side wants to accept that. But it’s a bigger problem for social conservatives because they haven’t found a way to make their message sound emotionally appealing, so they lose, and society ends up going too far in the social liberal direction.

    And it’s very hard to convince social conservatives that they have a huge image problem and a huge marketing problem. It’s even harder to convince social conservatives that some elements of their program are just unsaleable. The Sexual Revolution happened for lots of reasons but the key reason is that most people really did find 1950s sexual mores to be too restrictive. Social conservatives are never going to be able to sell the idea that recreational sex is wicked or that permanent monogamous marriage should be the only option on offer.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Social conservatives are never going to be able to sell the idea that recreational sex is wicked or that permanent monogamous marriage should be the only option on offer.
     
    Never is right. Had you written, never and to no one (which you did not), that would have been incorrect. They successfully sold a fairly extreme brand of social conservatism to me, at least, and from an early age. My own parents have repeatedly advised me to loosen up!

    But I don't scold and, other than my own children before the age of 21 or so, do not advise others how to live their lives. The fact is, there is more than one way to live a life; and just because, say, I don't drink alcohol or whatever, doesn't make that the one true answer for everybody else. In fact, it would likely cause problems if everyone followed my example. That's probably not a good idea.

    Everyone loathes the humourless scold to whom you refer. Even I kinda loathe him, even though I have pretty much taken all his advice from an early age. There is a good reason the scold is loathed.

    I'm going to tell you a story, though, partly because it stokes my own vanity and partly because it proves your point. One of the benefits and hazards of being a university instructor is authority over, and consequent cause to associate with, hundreds of well-bred 19-year-old women. See, I'm pretty hapless with this but somehow have managed to score well, anyway: my wife before we got married was heavily pursued by multiple high-performing men but married me, anyway, yet I've never, well, done the thing married couples do with another woman in my life, neither before nor since. When you don't drink, illicit opportunities tend not to arise, anyway.

    So I had this coed once in a course of mine, and she was such a looker that a national-chain retail shop (Americans would recognize the brand) had literally hung four full-length life-sized photographs of her, modeling various seasonal outfits, in its front window—which was especially remarkable because she was only 5-foot-6 or about 165 or 170 cm tall, tall enough but a little too short to be a standard model.

    The girl stalked me all semester long—skirts, legs, demure tops alternating with low-cut ones (keeping eye-to-eye contact with her required discipline). Now, heck, I don't make that much money. I had been married about 15 years and had four children at the time. I had nothing to offer this gal except an unearned grade of A in the course and I knew it—and the grade wasn't for sale—but she knew my regularly scheduled office hours and frequented them about once a week.

    Now, anyone can invent any story. It doesn't really matter whether mine is true (though it is). It makes a pretty good story, anyway.

    She had asked for a deadline delay for a homework assignment and (as I would for any student within reason), I granted it; but then she asked for another, and another, and I scolded her, with posture and eye contact suitable for scolding; and she had already been standing a couple of inches too close, and one cannot both scold and retreat at the same time (that body language fails), so I was towering over her at close quarters when I did it. She left without saying a word but, after that, to my astonishment, she really turned it on. (Astonishment? Yes. I had scolded other coeds who, after the scolding, never spoke to me again.)

    So this one time, she was seated in my office for homework advice, the door open (of course), another undergraduate in the room, too, and rather than play with her hair as she usually did, she just raised her arms over her head, arched her back, and stretched. Well, now, that was an eye-popping moment, five feet away, and I hadn't even paid for the show. I had to drop a book on my lap to conceal the, er, masculine reaction.

    The other student in the office was male and an A student, so it was his lucky day: I confirmed with him that he knew the answer to her homework question, hustled to two of them off together to another room where he could give her advice instead of me, locked my office, and left the building.

    But she only pursued me harder after that. In fact, after finishing the course, which was required for her degree, she took another course of mine the following semester which was most decidedly not required for her degree and in fact was a bit eccentric for her to take: so this went on for nine months straight.

    Being a ramrod-spined stiff, I have little notion of what would have occurred had I pursued the apparent opportunity. Truthfully, I suspect that pursuit would soon only have ended in my humiliation, but odd things happen in life. I can only assume that she found a man she liked over the summer (it can't have been hard for her), because I never saw her again. Even the photographs in the retail shop were eventually replaced by photographs of someone else, and that was the end of that.

    Does the story illustrate your principle? Perhaps not, but it makes a pretty good story nevertheless. Certainly, nothing like it has ever happened to me again, nor ever will, for age has overtaken me like everyone else; and now it's my sons turn at glory.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

  158. @Wency
    @Triteleia Laxa

    The US left is still the world's leader in inventing and pushing leftist cultural ideas. Argentina didn't invent transgenderism -- has it ever invented anything? Those ideas were exported to Argentina by Americans. But specific culturally leftist policies may be implemented first in other places that have been colonized by American ideas, because USG is a complex beast and conservatives still have many levers with which to block leftist policies on some fronts, even as they're unhindered on other fronts.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @dfordoom

    The US left is still the world’s leader in inventing and pushing leftist cultural ideas.

    Yep. If you look at everything that is crazy and unhealthy about the modern West you’ll find that the US was in every case Patient Zero. Some crazy ideas might have originated elsewhere but you’ll find that in every case the infection has spread from the US.

    Partly it’s just a scale thing. The US has the overwhelming soft power to impose its values on the rest of the world. No other nation has the capacity to do this. If some bizarre crazy idea originates in Bolivia or Norway or Singapore its effects will be local. If some bizarre crazy idea originates in the US its effects will be global.

    And there’s no question that it’s not just an accidental thing. There are powerful cultural institutions in the US, including the US Government, that are actively and aggressively seeking to impose American cultural values on the rest of the planet. There is no other nation that is seeking to do this.

    If the US goes crazy it can and will force the rest of the world to go crazy as well. And the US has gone crazy and it is forcing the rest of the world to adopt its craziness.

  159. @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Have you read [Belloc's] book The Great Heresies?
     
    Odd that you should mention it. One Saturday as an undergraduate, while wasting time in the university's library stacks rather than finishing my homework, I happened to pull that very book more or less randomly off the shelf. I read a few chapters for no particular reason, but the book apparently made enough of an impression that I still remember it these decades later.

    The library has probably purged the book for political incorrectness by now.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    Have you read [Belloc’s] book The Great Heresies?

    Odd that you should mention it. One Saturday as an undergraduate, while wasting time in the university’s library stacks rather than finishing my homework, I happened to pull that very book more or less randomly off the shelf. I read a few chapters for no particular reason, but the book apparently made enough of an impression that I still remember it these decades later.

    The two ideas of Belloc’s that have really stuck with me were firstly that the Reformation in England was entirely driven by the desire of wealthy landowners to loot the wealth of the Catholic Church, and secondly that the end result was to seriously weaken the Crown and create an unstable political situation which doomed the monarchy.

    The library has probably purged the book for political incorrectness by now.

    Probably! His books are not that easy to get hold of.

  160. @dfordoom
    @Triteleia Laxa


    All this doesn’t mean that the progressives are right. It just means that their ideas, and the way they express them, are more attractive.
     
    Yep. Social progressives are very good at selling their message with lots of feelgood words and phrases and they're also very skilful at keeping the focus away from some of the unpleasant realities and negative consequences of progressivism.

    Social conservatives are totally inept at selling their message. They come across as humourless scolds who want to tell other people how to live their lives. They don't seem to have any idea how to appeal to people's emotions or how to make social conservatism sound like an enjoyable way to live.

    In reality the biggest problem is the same problem that we have with every other issue these days. Both sides adopt unnecessarily extreme positions and refuse to compromise. We need a balance between social conservatism and social liberalism but neither side wants to accept that. But it's a bigger problem for social conservatives because they haven't found a way to make their message sound emotionally appealing, so they lose, and society ends up going too far in the social liberal direction.

    And it's very hard to convince social conservatives that they have a huge image problem and a huge marketing problem. It's even harder to convince social conservatives that some elements of their program are just unsaleable. The Sexual Revolution happened for lots of reasons but the key reason is that most people really did find 1950s sexual mores to be too restrictive. Social conservatives are never going to be able to sell the idea that recreational sex is wicked or that permanent monogamous marriage should be the only option on offer.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund

    Social conservatives are never going to be able to sell the idea that recreational sex is wicked or that permanent monogamous marriage should be the only option on offer.

    Never is right. Had you written, never and to no one (which you did not), that would have been incorrect. They successfully sold a fairly extreme brand of social conservatism to me, at least, and from an early age. My own parents have repeatedly advised me to loosen up!

    But I don’t scold and, other than my own children before the age of 21 or so, do not advise others how to live their lives. The fact is, there is more than one way to live a life; and just because, say, I don’t drink alcohol or whatever, doesn’t make that the one true answer for everybody else. In fact, it would likely cause problems if everyone followed my example. That’s probably not a good idea.

    Everyone loathes the humourless scold to whom you refer. Even I kinda loathe him, even though I have pretty much taken all his advice from an early age. There is a good reason the scold is loathed.

    [MORE]

    I’m going to tell you a story, though, partly because it stokes my own vanity and partly because it proves your point. One of the benefits and hazards of being a university instructor is authority over, and consequent cause to associate with, hundreds of well-bred 19-year-old women. See, I’m pretty hapless with this but somehow have managed to score well, anyway: my wife before we got married was heavily pursued by multiple high-performing men but married me, anyway, yet I’ve never, well, done the thing married couples do with another woman in my life, neither before nor since. When you don’t drink, illicit opportunities tend not to arise, anyway.

    So I had this coed once in a course of mine, and she was such a looker that a national-chain retail shop (Americans would recognize the brand) had literally hung four full-length life-sized photographs of her, modeling various seasonal outfits, in its front window—which was especially remarkable because she was only 5-foot-6 or about 165 or 170 cm tall, tall enough but a little too short to be a standard model.

    The girl stalked me all semester long—skirts, legs, demure tops alternating with low-cut ones (keeping eye-to-eye contact with her required discipline). Now, heck, I don’t make that much money. I had been married about 15 years and had four children at the time. I had nothing to offer this gal except an unearned grade of A in the course and I knew it—and the grade wasn’t for sale—but she knew my regularly scheduled office hours and frequented them about once a week.

    Now, anyone can invent any story. It doesn’t really matter whether mine is true (though it is). It makes a pretty good story, anyway.

    She had asked for a deadline delay for a homework assignment and (as I would for any student within reason), I granted it; but then she asked for another, and another, and I scolded her, with posture and eye contact suitable for scolding; and she had already been standing a couple of inches too close, and one cannot both scold and retreat at the same time (that body language fails), so I was towering over her at close quarters when I did it. She left without saying a word but, after that, to my astonishment, she really turned it on. (Astonishment? Yes. I had scolded other coeds who, after the scolding, never spoke to me again.)

    So this one time, she was seated in my office for homework advice, the door open (of course), another undergraduate in the room, too, and rather than play with her hair as she usually did, she just raised her arms over her head, arched her back, and stretched. Well, now, that was an eye-popping moment, five feet away, and I hadn’t even paid for the show. I had to drop a book on my lap to conceal the, er, masculine reaction.

    The other student in the office was male and an A student, so it was his lucky day: I confirmed with him that he knew the answer to her homework question, hustled to two of them off together to another room where he could give her advice instead of me, locked my office, and left the building.

    But she only pursued me harder after that. In fact, after finishing the course, which was required for her degree, she took another course of mine the following semester which was most decidedly not required for her degree and in fact was a bit eccentric for her to take: so this went on for nine months straight.

    Being a ramrod-spined stiff, I have little notion of what would have occurred had I pursued the apparent opportunity. Truthfully, I suspect that pursuit would soon only have ended in my humiliation, but odd things happen in life. I can only assume that she found a man she liked over the summer (it can’t have been hard for her), because I never saw her again. Even the photographs in the retail shop were eventually replaced by photographs of someone else, and that was the end of that.

    Does the story illustrate your principle? Perhaps not, but it makes a pretty good story nevertheless. Certainly, nothing like it has ever happened to me again, nor ever will, for age has overtaken me like everyone else; and now it’s my sons turn at glory.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @V. K. Ovelund

    I like your story.

    You have your own thing, in your account. It makes you substantial. Substance exerts a gravity, which pulls people like that in.

    She was flimsy and would have been a complete pain. You hurt her ego, making her feel small, so she tried to get back at you, and feel big again, by using her sexuality.

    Your instinct that it would have ended in your humiliation is probably right, though the affair could have lasted a long time, before that happened. People who are openly and inappropriately manipulative in that way, tend to need a lot of validation.

    You'd be feeding an addict, hoping to one day have them go cold turkey, without a fuss. Or maybe she would have found someone else to validate her and move on.

    Parents, please don't neglect/abandon your children. Even the worst, most flawed individual, who nonethless offers secure and open attachment, is better than that. You might think you're a piece of sh*t, but your child won't.

  161. @V. K. Ovelund
    @dfordoom


    Social conservatives are never going to be able to sell the idea that recreational sex is wicked or that permanent monogamous marriage should be the only option on offer.
     
    Never is right. Had you written, never and to no one (which you did not), that would have been incorrect. They successfully sold a fairly extreme brand of social conservatism to me, at least, and from an early age. My own parents have repeatedly advised me to loosen up!

    But I don't scold and, other than my own children before the age of 21 or so, do not advise others how to live their lives. The fact is, there is more than one way to live a life; and just because, say, I don't drink alcohol or whatever, doesn't make that the one true answer for everybody else. In fact, it would likely cause problems if everyone followed my example. That's probably not a good idea.

    Everyone loathes the humourless scold to whom you refer. Even I kinda loathe him, even though I have pretty much taken all his advice from an early age. There is a good reason the scold is loathed.

    I'm going to tell you a story, though, partly because it stokes my own vanity and partly because it proves your point. One of the benefits and hazards of being a university instructor is authority over, and consequent cause to associate with, hundreds of well-bred 19-year-old women. See, I'm pretty hapless with this but somehow have managed to score well, anyway: my wife before we got married was heavily pursued by multiple high-performing men but married me, anyway, yet I've never, well, done the thing married couples do with another woman in my life, neither before nor since. When you don't drink, illicit opportunities tend not to arise, anyway.

    So I had this coed once in a course of mine, and she was such a looker that a national-chain retail shop (Americans would recognize the brand) had literally hung four full-length life-sized photographs of her, modeling various seasonal outfits, in its front window—which was especially remarkable because she was only 5-foot-6 or about 165 or 170 cm tall, tall enough but a little too short to be a standard model.

    The girl stalked me all semester long—skirts, legs, demure tops alternating with low-cut ones (keeping eye-to-eye contact with her required discipline). Now, heck, I don't make that much money. I had been married about 15 years and had four children at the time. I had nothing to offer this gal except an unearned grade of A in the course and I knew it—and the grade wasn't for sale—but she knew my regularly scheduled office hours and frequented them about once a week.

    Now, anyone can invent any story. It doesn't really matter whether mine is true (though it is). It makes a pretty good story, anyway.

    She had asked for a deadline delay for a homework assignment and (as I would for any student within reason), I granted it; but then she asked for another, and another, and I scolded her, with posture and eye contact suitable for scolding; and she had already been standing a couple of inches too close, and one cannot both scold and retreat at the same time (that body language fails), so I was towering over her at close quarters when I did it. She left without saying a word but, after that, to my astonishment, she really turned it on. (Astonishment? Yes. I had scolded other coeds who, after the scolding, never spoke to me again.)

    So this one time, she was seated in my office for homework advice, the door open (of course), another undergraduate in the room, too, and rather than play with her hair as she usually did, she just raised her arms over her head, arched her back, and stretched. Well, now, that was an eye-popping moment, five feet away, and I hadn't even paid for the show. I had to drop a book on my lap to conceal the, er, masculine reaction.

    The other student in the office was male and an A student, so it was his lucky day: I confirmed with him that he knew the answer to her homework question, hustled to two of them off together to another room where he could give her advice instead of me, locked my office, and left the building.

    But she only pursued me harder after that. In fact, after finishing the course, which was required for her degree, she took another course of mine the following semester which was most decidedly not required for her degree and in fact was a bit eccentric for her to take: so this went on for nine months straight.

    Being a ramrod-spined stiff, I have little notion of what would have occurred had I pursued the apparent opportunity. Truthfully, I suspect that pursuit would soon only have ended in my humiliation, but odd things happen in life. I can only assume that she found a man she liked over the summer (it can't have been hard for her), because I never saw her again. Even the photographs in the retail shop were eventually replaced by photographs of someone else, and that was the end of that.

    Does the story illustrate your principle? Perhaps not, but it makes a pretty good story nevertheless. Certainly, nothing like it has ever happened to me again, nor ever will, for age has overtaken me like everyone else; and now it's my sons turn at glory.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    I like your story.

    You have your own thing, in your account. It makes you substantial. Substance exerts a gravity, which pulls people like that in.

    [MORE]

    She was flimsy and would have been a complete pain. You hurt her ego, making her feel small, so she tried to get back at you, and feel big again, by using her sexuality.

    Your instinct that it would have ended in your humiliation is probably right, though the affair could have lasted a long time, before that happened. People who are openly and inappropriately manipulative in that way, tend to need a lot of validation.

    You’d be feeding an addict, hoping to one day have them go cold turkey, without a fuss. Or maybe she would have found someone else to validate her and move on.

    Parents, please don’t neglect/abandon your children. Even the worst, most flawed individual, who nonethless offers secure and open attachment, is better than that. You might think you’re a piece of sh*t, but your child won’t.

  162. @Wency
    @Boomthorkell

    My simple suggestion is something like reducing Army + Marines to fewer than 100,000 personnel (including National Guard and Reserves) and cutting 50% of funding for Air Force / Navy. Though I'd also be happy with just abolishing the Army and Marines entirely.

    Militarily speaking, the US doesn't need a militia system because it doesn't have any land-based threats in North America -- there's no military purpose to importing a system from Eurasia (which is nothing but land-based threats) to North America. But you could argue for social benefits, and all our problems are social, after all. I'm just not sure whether or not it would be a good thing if every leftist knew how to use a gun.

    But it seems to me that importing a pointless militia system wouldn't last anyway. Everyone would object to having to waste years of their lives serving in it, even if it did have social benefits. While cutting the military's budget and returning the money to the people as a UBI -- that's a long shot, but I think you could at least get a majority of Americans behind the idea. And once the UBI was in place, no one would ever favor cutting the UBI in order to build more tanks.

    Replies: @Boomthorkell

    Oh, I’m all for cutting the budget. A militia will always be cheaper than a fully professional army occupying bases globally.

    The militia is mostly social, and also, every population should have some level of preparation and training. The only reason I’m advocating a militia system and not a standing, professional army is because the United States, especially once Canada and Mexico-Central America are secured, is a gigantic Island Continent. Russia, China, and even Japan can’t really get away with this, but we are perfectly placed for it.

    As for UBI, I like the idea of replacing all welfare with a simple check and seeing how people ruin or don’t ruin their lives with it. If we’re gonna have welfare, might as well keep it simple.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
  163. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Wency


    For one example, US TV and movies have very intentionally and obviously worked hard at pushing acceptance of homosexuality for many decades, and those policies you cited are downstream from that
     
    Your comment is very engaged and engaging. Thank you. I am sorry that the following reply is a bit vague and a bit of a fob off. I can only write what I see.

    Sexuality is complicated. It is the closest most modern people get to feeling a sense of magic. My concept of it is too foreign to most people to be understood by them, so we probably won't come to an understanding.

    I need to clarify that because, while I don't much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.

    Almost everyone, including gays and lesbians, are extremely insecure about their sexuality. It is a crazy topic.

    I am sure that people involved in entertainment tend to be more interested in this stuff. Magic is what showbusiness is made of; but I'd still place them at the front of a phenomenon outside of their control, rather than creating it.

    I do not expect you to agree and what I say cannot be proven, without an extremely detailed understanding of sexuality; when all I see is confusion when people talk about it.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Wency

    I need to clarify that because, while I don’t much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.

    On this, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Though the degree to which LGBT is more a cause or a symptom of our decline I’m not fully settled on (though Romans 1 always comes to mind). But I don’t think you can have it halfway — you can’t have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we’re currently experiencing.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.

    Brokeback Mountain came after the propaganda campaign had already been ongoing for decades. Gay marriage was already a hot issue by then, and I think it sort of attracted a buzz of its own and going to see it and talking about it became a performative act of leftism. If it was indeed a boring film (I’ve never subjected myself to it), this would seem to reinforce my theory. But performative leftist moviegoing is not a sustainable business model for Hollywood — you actually do need to entertain the people at some point. Which most of the time means sneaking just enough of the gay stuff into an otherwise entertaining film.

    And while it was a successful film, it still didn’t top its director Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from a few years earlier. The lesson would seem to be that gay romance still can’t beat Chinese-language kung fu.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Wency


    you can’t have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we’re currently experiencing.
     
    Disagree

    Brokeback Mountain came after the propaganda campaign had already been ongoing for decades
     
    I'd see it as creators tentatively revealing human complexity, but your summation is reasonable too.

    And while it was a successful film, it still didn’t top its director Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from a few years earlier. The lesson would seem to be that gay romance still can’t beat Chinese-language kung fu.
     
    The latter film is beautiful. The gay film is boring. House of the Flying Daggers I found extraordinary.

    Have you seen Mullholland Drive? That film is interesting and pretty gay, though that it is two hot hot women might help!

    David Lynch is cool AF.
    , @dfordoom
    @Wency


    But I don’t think you can have it halfway — you can’t have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we’re currently experiencing.
     
    I'm not sure whether that's true or not. It's not that we've slid down the slippery slope. We've been pushed.

    I think there are particular reasons why that endless ratcheting of perversity is happening.

    One reason is the total corruption and cynicism of the mainstream Right political parties. The only core value that these parties have these days is Greed Is Good. Which means the mainstream Right political parties have offered no effective resistance to that endless ratcheting. In fact in Britain and Australia the right-wing parties are if anything more socially left than the parties of the Left. Look at Theresa May and Boris Johnson. So the mainstream Right has provided no effective opposition to that that endless ratcheting, because they just don't care.

    And of course there's Woke Capital. Whether Woke Capital is motivated by true belief in social liberalism, or cynical opportunism or simple cowardice is hard to say. But in practice capitalism has been a relentless force pushing perversity.

    Without the worthlessness of the mainstream Right and without Woke Capital maybe we wouldn't have gone the slippery slope and maybe things would have stabilised at a more moderate level. Or maybe the slippery slope was inevitable.

    Replies: @Wency

  164. @Wency
    @Triteleia Laxa


    I need to clarify that because, while I don’t much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.
     
    On this, we'll have to agree to disagree. Though the degree to which LGBT is more a cause or a symptom of our decline I'm not fully settled on (though Romans 1 always comes to mind). But I don't think you can have it halfway -- you can't have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we're currently experiencing.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.
     
    Brokeback Mountain came after the propaganda campaign had already been ongoing for decades. Gay marriage was already a hot issue by then, and I think it sort of attracted a buzz of its own and going to see it and talking about it became a performative act of leftism. If it was indeed a boring film (I've never subjected myself to it), this would seem to reinforce my theory. But performative leftist moviegoing is not a sustainable business model for Hollywood -- you actually do need to entertain the people at some point. Which most of the time means sneaking just enough of the gay stuff into an otherwise entertaining film.

    And while it was a successful film, it still didn't top its director Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from a few years earlier. The lesson would seem to be that gay romance still can't beat Chinese-language kung fu.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @dfordoom

    you can’t have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we’re currently experiencing.

    Disagree

    Brokeback Mountain came after the propaganda campaign had already been ongoing for decades

    I’d see it as creators tentatively revealing human complexity, but your summation is reasonable too.

    And while it was a successful film, it still didn’t top its director Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from a few years earlier. The lesson would seem to be that gay romance still can’t beat Chinese-language kung fu.

    The latter film is beautiful. The gay film is boring. House of the Flying Daggers I found extraordinary.

    Have you seen Mullholland Drive? That film is interesting and pretty gay, though that it is two hot hot women might help!

    David Lynch is cool AF.

  165. @Wency
    @Triteleia Laxa


    I need to clarify that because, while I don’t much care for gay marriage, Pride parades or anything like that, I do believe that the integration of homosexual impulses into ordinary society was inevitable, and healthy.
     
    On this, we'll have to agree to disagree. Though the degree to which LGBT is more a cause or a symptom of our decline I'm not fully settled on (though Romans 1 always comes to mind). But I don't think you can have it halfway -- you can't have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we're currently experiencing.

    Brokeback Mountain, a very boring film, made $180 million at the box office for a $17 million budget. It got watched on DVD a lot more than at the cinema too. People really wanted it.
     
    Brokeback Mountain came after the propaganda campaign had already been ongoing for decades. Gay marriage was already a hot issue by then, and I think it sort of attracted a buzz of its own and going to see it and talking about it became a performative act of leftism. If it was indeed a boring film (I've never subjected myself to it), this would seem to reinforce my theory. But performative leftist moviegoing is not a sustainable business model for Hollywood -- you actually do need to entertain the people at some point. Which most of the time means sneaking just enough of the gay stuff into an otherwise entertaining film.

    And while it was a successful film, it still didn't top its director Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from a few years earlier. The lesson would seem to be that gay romance still can't beat Chinese-language kung fu.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @dfordoom

    But I don’t think you can have it halfway — you can’t have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we’re currently experiencing.

    I’m not sure whether that’s true or not. It’s not that we’ve slid down the slippery slope. We’ve been pushed.

    I think there are particular reasons why that endless ratcheting of perversity is happening.

    One reason is the total corruption and cynicism of the mainstream Right political parties. The only core value that these parties have these days is Greed Is Good. Which means the mainstream Right political parties have offered no effective resistance to that endless ratcheting. In fact in Britain and Australia the right-wing parties are if anything more socially left than the parties of the Left. Look at Theresa May and Boris Johnson. So the mainstream Right has provided no effective opposition to that that endless ratcheting, because they just don’t care.

    And of course there’s Woke Capital. Whether Woke Capital is motivated by true belief in social liberalism, or cynical opportunism or simple cowardice is hard to say. But in practice capitalism has been a relentless force pushing perversity.

    Without the worthlessness of the mainstream Right and without Woke Capital maybe we wouldn’t have gone the slippery slope and maybe things would have stabilised at a more moderate level. Or maybe the slippery slope was inevitable.

    • Replies: @Wency
    @dfordoom

    Well, the essence of it is that the intellectual classes have steered the conversation. The right's chief objection to normalized homosexuality is, and always has been, "Eww, gross, and unnatural." It's the sort of argument that can be sufficient for a long time, but it's unappealing to intellectuals and crumbles against dedicated propaganda and intellectualizing, if that propaganda and intellectualizing is allowed to occur. There were other arguments against it, but they seemed some combination of scaremongering and religious, and that wasn't the spirit of the age.

    Of course, now there is a very good and new argument against it: look at what's happened to the 21st century West! Unfortunately, this argument is only useful for those societies that haven't yet been infected. From within the West, what has happened is that we're more "enlightened" than ever before.

    I think, so long as there was a taboo against homosexuality, you couldn't defend it too much because you would be cast out of society for it. But as soon as it was tolerable to defend it, then it became cutting-edge and enlightened to support it, and from there it was mostly inevitable that it would have widespread social acceptance and the Right was always fighting a losing battle, which is why the politicians were so quick to surrender.

  166. @Intelligent Dasein

    Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:
     
    Well, that's just flat-out wrong and ridiculous. Slavery is neither immoral nor inefficient. This was manifest nonsense when de Tocqueville wrote it and it is even more manifestly nonsense today when TomSchmidt repeats it. Let's talk about efficiency first.

    There seems to be much confusion left over even today about whether we ought to work to live, or live to work. The correct answer is decidedly the former; but that being the case, "efficiency" must be measured not in multiplying outputs, not in the heaping up of goods for no true purpose, but in the maximization of the ease and tranquility with which the necessaries of life can be garnered. To that end, there is no more perfect assistant imaginable than the human servant. There is no type of labor he can't perform, no comfort he can't provide, nothing he cannot be made to learn or understand; and if you need more of him, he can reproduce himself, which he is most eager and wont to do anyway. He can be developed to the highest degree of loyalty and refinedness, made ready to answer any need and to provide the rarest quality. Even if some nonhuman machines are required in particular circumstances, it will be your human servants who build them and operate them. Indeed, it is the human servant who implicitly contains all other things---all machines, all inventions, all arts. Be your automated process never so exacting, at the end of the day you still need a human being to man it. A good servant is an entire microcosm; he has everything else within him. Man himself is the ultimate means to any end, as Machiavelli recognized when he said that money cannot buy good soldiers but good soldiers can always find money.

    What de Tocqueville observed on the Ohio side of the river was not "efficiency" but conspicuous consumption, a needless hustle and bustle which, motivated by fear and envy, consumes the life of a man in a never-ending treadmill of labors. He who, with the needful things of life already in his hand, continues to sweat and strive as though he had nothing, is on that very account an incomplete human being---a misbred and misbegotten caricature who cannot reason and cannot rest. He is denying himself the leisure required for all the sublime things in life---religion, contemplation, philosophy, elegance. When one has the opportunity for these good things, to turn one's nose up at them in order to continue in the rat race is either a sin against beauty or a piggish coarsening of the soul---but that is basically what capitalism (de Tocqueville's "freedom") amounts to.

    On the moral front, it must be remarked that slavery is not condemned by the Church, still less is it branded an "intrinsic evil" as the Enlightenment crusaders would have it. Neither the Old nor the New Testament contains any proscription of slavery as such. Christ Himself passed over the whole matter in silence, and in general said nothing about social conditions except insofar as they impinged upon the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a very good reason for this, namely that servitude is the de facto reality of much of the human race, always has been, and always will be. One cannot bring an end to servitude any more than one can bring an end to personal power (of which it is the inverse, i.e. personal powerlessness)---laws, constitutions, and revolutions notwithstanding. And since morality is concerned with what we ought to do, it makes no sense to moralize over something which is simply an inevitable condition of existence. All that can be said is that when people live together in charity, the harsher realities of class distinctions tend to moderate on their own, but this can be easily thrown into disarray by wars, mass migrations, vain ambitions, or anything else that upsets the social balance.

    On that point, it would be nice to see some prominent voices within the national discourse take a more nuanced and accepting view of slavery. In the last analysis, this is the only realistic solution we have when it comes to dealing with our own fellaheen population, whether white or colored. The immigrants will never all be deported, the black underclass will never be self-sufficient, and they will be joined by an ever-growing white underclass which seems likewise unwilling to shoulder the burdens of civilized life. Now, assuming that we cannot just get rid of these people (which we can't) and that we do not have the wherewithal to continue feting and pampering them (which we don't), all that remains is to force them into productivity. We must say "Look, the welfare state is over. We won't let you starve to death, but you will plow the fields, patch the potholes, and lay the railroad track necessary to get this dilapidated country working again, or you won't be getting squat, capisce ?" This is a conversation that really needs to be had.

    What is absolutely unacceptable, though, is de Tocqueville's Whiggish notion that slavery is intrinsically evil and capitalism intrinsically prosperity-producing, and that the two things prove one another. In places like the Unz Review, that trope seems to get started something like this. The progressive Leftists make the claim that America got rich off her slaves and that therefore the descendants of slaves and colonials are entitled to reparations today. Then the Unzies, instead of refusing the premise and recognizing that the two things have nothing to do with one another, simply swallow the bait and argue that America did not get rich from slavery. This is not only not true (America got very rich from slavery), it is also utterly irrelevant. There is no logical connection between accepting that slavery produces wealth and demanding that descendants of former slaves are entitled to a share of it, and therefore there is no need to falsify the record with elegiacs about how "inefficient" slavery was. This desperate urge to prove to oneself that some misunderstood moral intuition is also the key to getting wealthy is one of those typical Enlightenment errors that has imparted so much confusion to the Western world these last several centuries. It is a very costly mistake that we just don't have time for anymore.

    Replies: @V. K. Ovelund, @rebel yell, @Barbarossa, @Audacious Epigone

    The contemplative life is not for most men, now or ever. Most men are at their best creating things. The type of work is important–repetitive, mindless, thoughtless tasks vs repairing a motorcycle, building a barn, or writing a computer program–but when most men run out of work, they run out of a reason for being.

    • Replies: @anon
    @Audacious Epigone

    The contemplative life is not for most men, now or ever. Most men are at their best creating things.

    Consider the last line of Voltaire's Candide as one possible example.

    The type of work is important–repetitive, mindless, thoughtless tasks vs repairing a motorcycle, building a barn, or writing a computer program–but when most men run out of work, they run out of a reason for being.

    Paging Robert Pirsig. Paging Robert M. Pirsig.

  167. @dfordoom
    @Wency


    But I don’t think you can have it halfway — you can’t have normalized homosexuality and not have the endless ratcheting of perversity we’re currently experiencing.
     
    I'm not sure whether that's true or not. It's not that we've slid down the slippery slope. We've been pushed.

    I think there are particular reasons why that endless ratcheting of perversity is happening.

    One reason is the total corruption and cynicism of the mainstream Right political parties. The only core value that these parties have these days is Greed Is Good. Which means the mainstream Right political parties have offered no effective resistance to that endless ratcheting. In fact in Britain and Australia the right-wing parties are if anything more socially left than the parties of the Left. Look at Theresa May and Boris Johnson. So the mainstream Right has provided no effective opposition to that that endless ratcheting, because they just don't care.

    And of course there's Woke Capital. Whether Woke Capital is motivated by true belief in social liberalism, or cynical opportunism or simple cowardice is hard to say. But in practice capitalism has been a relentless force pushing perversity.

    Without the worthlessness of the mainstream Right and without Woke Capital maybe we wouldn't have gone the slippery slope and maybe things would have stabilised at a more moderate level. Or maybe the slippery slope was inevitable.

    Replies: @Wency

    Well, the essence of it is that the intellectual classes have steered the conversation. The right’s chief objection to normalized homosexuality is, and always has been, “Eww, gross, and unnatural.” It’s the sort of argument that can be sufficient for a long time, but it’s unappealing to intellectuals and crumbles against dedicated propaganda and intellectualizing, if that propaganda and intellectualizing is allowed to occur. There were other arguments against it, but they seemed some combination of scaremongering and religious, and that wasn’t the spirit of the age.

    Of course, now there is a very good and new argument against it: look at what’s happened to the 21st century West! Unfortunately, this argument is only useful for those societies that haven’t yet been infected. From within the West, what has happened is that we’re more “enlightened” than ever before.

    I think, so long as there was a taboo against homosexuality, you couldn’t defend it too much because you would be cast out of society for it. But as soon as it was tolerable to defend it, then it became cutting-edge and enlightened to support it, and from there it was mostly inevitable that it would have widespread social acceptance and the Right was always fighting a losing battle, which is why the politicians were so quick to surrender.

  168. anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Audacious Epigone
    @Intelligent Dasein

    The contemplative life is not for most men, now or ever. Most men are at their best creating things. The type of work is important--repetitive, mindless, thoughtless tasks vs repairing a motorcycle, building a barn, or writing a computer program--but when most men run out of work, they run out of a reason for being.

    Replies: @anon

    The contemplative life is not for most men, now or ever. Most men are at their best creating things.

    Consider the last line of Voltaire’s Candide as one possible example.

    The type of work is important–repetitive, mindless, thoughtless tasks vs repairing a motorcycle, building a barn, or writing a computer program–but when most men run out of work, they run out of a reason for being.

    Paging Robert Pirsig. Paging Robert M. Pirsig.

  169. Here’s a pic just for several regulars. You know who you are.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Audacious Epigone Comments via RSS