2 Legit Part 5

Earlier on, I called America’s frontier self-governance “football hooligan democracy.”  “Baseball team democracy” is better, because baseball is a metaphor for America.  (Since it seems we must do the Ken Burns thing, here’s a sepia-toned photograph of old ballplayers.  You’ll have to provide the goopy music yourself, and read this in Morgan Freeman’s voice).

Everything that happens in the game is individual.  The batter, of course, is all alone — it’s just his talent, training, knowledge, and experience versus the talent, training, knowledge, and experience of the opponent’s nine guys.  But everything else that happens is also the sole result of individuals’ talent, training, knowledge, and experience.  Simplifying just a little: The catcher is solely responsible for the type of pitch that’s thrown.  The pitcher alone is responsible for the quality of the pitch (velocity, movement, location).  If the pitch is hit — the sole responsibility of the batter — then the fielder alone is responsible for fielding it.  All of these are individual actions, performed by individuals.

And yet… as anyone who has ever played Little League knows, a baseball team is more than a collection of individuals, doing individual things.  The catcher must know his pitcher.  The right pitch in this situation might be a curveball low and away, but maybe the pitcher doesn’t have it tonight.  The catcher who calls for the curve low and away anyway — because all else equal, the pitcher is capable of throwing that pitch — won’t be a catcher for long (and the pitcher who can’t throw all his pitches consistently, on command, won’t be a pitcher much longer).  The best catch-and-throw in the world from the third baseman is meaningless if the first baseman can’t get to his base in time (or can’t handle the throw when it arrives).  Even the batter — the loneliest guy on the field — has other responsibilities than just trying to hit the ball as hard as he can.  He, too, must know the situation and swing accordingly… or even not swing, as the situation demands.  Here too, even the best hitter who swings away without reference to his team won’t be a hitter for long.

And yet… selfless, team-first guys won’t last, either, unless they’re individually very skilled.  All the euphemisms for selfless, team first guys — “field general,” “player-coach,” or the dreaded “veteran locker room presence” — all decode to “this guy stinks.”  A good manager can work with a certain level of “veteran leadership,” but a team full of great locker room guys will be as bad as — honestly, probably a lot worse than — a team of me-first prima donnas.

I hope this digression into baseball arcana (and I hope foreign readers followed ok) hasn’t obscured two important facts about baseball:

  1. There’s a minimum skill level involved; and
  2. The team has a clear, obvious goal.

The higher up the ladder you go, the more 1) applies.  A small town high school team might have to put the only 9 guys it has out there, regardless of skill level.  Even low-level professional teams, by contrast, are full of top-tier talent.  Every single guy who makes even a low-minor roster was the best player on his team in Little League, in high school, in the whole school district, in fact, if not the entire state… and often the best player on his team in college, too.  There’s nobody playing pro baseball, in other words — no matter how “minor” the league — who isn’t really really really really really good at baseball.*

The political parallel is obvious, and it’s the reason I keep banging on about this “human biodiversity” (HBD) stuff.  Representative government, too, requires a certain “skill level” from its voters.  Are we a small town high school team, or are we the Major Leagues?  As we have enough nuclear weapons to incinerate the solar system, I really hope we’re the Majors.  Which means…..

But let’s not forget 2).  What is our goal?

The political parallel is less obvious: It’s legitimacy.  A baseball team exists to win baseball games.  “Winning baseball games” is the one thing from which all others flow.  No matter how great the team is for the community — and I’m sure the good people of Boonton really loved their ball club (pictured above) — they can’t continue to exist without winning games.  Whatever else our government does, then, it’s core function is….what?  Identify that, then see if the government is actually doing it.

If it is, no problem.  If not… well, ask the guys from Boonton.

 

 

*One of the advantages of going to a third-rate state college, I’ve found, is that you get a much broader experience of people.  My school was full of folks who were “just giving college a try” — lots of ex-military, lots of older folks who were taking classes for self-improvement, etc.  And lots of former minor league baseball players, who went straight from high school to the minors and didn’t make it.  These guys were the ringers on intramural softball teams, and holy guacamole.  I remember playing against a guy who wore huge, clunky braces on both knees.  He’d been a prospect, but suffered one of those horrific injuries that show up on ESPN.  He was still ungodly compared to the rest of us, even the former high school athletes among us — he played shortstop, for instance, even though every single guy on his team could beat him in a foot race.**

**For foreign readers; “Shortstop” is the toughest position to play in baseball.  Even most guys who play shortstop throughout their minor league careers can’t handle it in the Majors.  You need to be very, very fast, with fighter pilot reflexes.

 

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2 Legit Part 4

The question in the last post was: How did 19th century America, which had all the Old World’s beefs and the most disgruntled Old Worlders themselves over here stirring things up, end up becoming America?  Why is, say, Greektown a charming place to get some good souvlaki and not a hotbed of ethnic tension?  The former Frontier is full of towns with names like “New Krakow;” why aren’t they feuding with the “New Konigsberg” just down the road (as they would be — still are — back in Europe)?

The last post suggested an answer: Imagined communities and invented traditions.  Or, put simply: Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.

“Traditions” are easy to invent.  Current Year America is full of examples, from the smallest to the largest.  Consider Liberals, and their vanguard party, the SJWs.  These people baffle anyone who passed Psych 101.  Isn’t there this thing called “cognitive dissonance?”  Isn’t it supposed to hurt when you believe obviously contradictory things?  Unless it’s only the “woke” who are driving the opioid epidemic, there’s either something wrong with our understanding of CD, or our understanding of Liberals.  (It’s the latter).

We normies look at Liberalism as a set of… well, ideas is stretching it, so let’s say “propositions.”  Propositions like “race is a social construction.”  Taken in isolation, that’s not so strange.  It might even be functionally true*.  But it directly contradicts one of Liberalism’s other dogmas, that race is the only thing that matters.  The only way those two things could possibly harmonize is if we’re getting all worked up about something we know doesn’t exist… which contradicts a third pillar of the Leftist faith, that they’re The Science People.  Does “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” ring a bell?  Ruining people’s lives over made-up crap we know is fake is something only Godbag Christofascists do, amirite?

Instead, look at Liberals as an imagined community.  The “community-based reality” was a fun joke back in the W. Bush years (read the first sentence of that link for a meta-example), but it’s true for all that.  Maybe Millennials missed out on the rah-rah-sis-boom-bah high school experience — too traumatic for the campus ferns or something — but the rest of us remember Friday nights at the stadium.  We weren’t gonna win, and our team wasn’t number one, but there we were anyway, filled with something close to bloodlust.  I can’t stress this enough — nothing is dumber than high school football, but look at how well it works.  Your parents chose to move to the same arbitrarily assigned district at some point in your past, and you’re supposed to be best buddies for life with a large group of random people, because — and only because — their parents also chose to move within the same arbitrarily-defined district at some point in their past.  But… but… but…. Class of ’85 rules!!!!

All the stuff we call “virtue-signaling” is just policing up the boundaries of the imagined community.  Chanting “race is a social construction!” or “there are 37 genders!” on social media is exactly the same as chanting “we’re number one!” down at the stadium.  That race isn’t a social construction, and that there are only two genders, is exactly as relevant as you’re team’s real record (0-8).  The chant — NOT the words of which the chant is composed — is the point.

Which explains all their behavior.  To Liberals, your team’s 0-8 record is irrelevant, because it is irrelevant.  It means exactly nothing that you didn’t win a game, including the big rivalry game to the evil school across town.  For them, politics works exactly the same way.  If it mattered — if the parents of everyone from the losing school got beheaded, Aztec style — then Massachusetts Liberals would take high school football as seriously as Texas conservatives do.  Liberals don’t have to live with the social constructions, which is why they vote how they do.  So long as it’s possible to keep imagining — and facts can intrude a long, looooong way into the fantasy — the imagined community will be more important than any real one.**

The trick, then, is figuring out how to make this work for us.

_____

Baseball is a benign example (European readers, please feel free to substitute “football,” as I suppose the process was the same).  Something like “professional sports” would’ve happened anyway — the leisure class and all that — but baseball, specifically, became the “national game” through savvy marketing.  It was pitched as a “sandlot” game than anyone could play anywhere, at any time, even though that’s not true — soccer and basketball, just to name two, are far less space- and equipment-intensive, plus baseball can only be played in summer (Naismith specifically invented basketball as a year-round sport that could be played with small numbers).  The first baseball heroes were portrayed as everyday joes, even though they weren’t — as several different players point out in The Glory of Their Times (a must-read for any fan, btw), there were proportionally far more college grads playing pro baseball than in the general population.  For every Shoeless Joe Jackson there was an Eppa Rixey, a University of Virginia graduate who was a high school Latin teacher in the offseason.  In an era where the only other popular sport, football, was strictly a college boy’s game, the Shoeless Joes and Dizzy Deans and Honus Wagners were working class heroes — by design.

Once you had that, the rest was easy.  Just as Rixey and Shoeless Joe could’ve peacefully coexisted on the same diamond, so America’s class and ethnic divisions could coexist peacefully in the stands.  You can cue the gooey Ken Burns music here if you’d like, since moron socialists like Burns have been getting moist over the class-leveling effects of baseball since the Gilded Age.  They’re marxoid dopes, but they’re not wrong about this one.

________

You’ll have noticed, of course, that baseball is scalable…. but only if properly done.  It could’ve easily gone the way of English football hooligan culture*** — Pirates fans attacking Phillies fans in the streets whenever their teams play (yeah yeah, I know inter-league play started in 1997; the point still stands).  Why do you think Civil War retrospectives all feature the Blue and the Gray playing baseball (as if it were the same game everywhere), and Union Gen. Abner Doubleday gets the credit for “inventing” it?  Why did the Presidential first pitch start in 1910, just in time for the Civil War’s 50th anniversary?  Why, of all the shots of G.I.s relaxing that photographers could take, do they invariably take pictures of baseball?

“Phillies fan” (or whatever) is constructed as a subset of “baseball fan,” which is constructed as part of American-ness.  Or do you think it’s a coincidence that all the diabetes-inducingly saccharine portrays of baseball — in the movies, in books, on TV — ended early in the Clinton era?  You think Robert Redford would make The Natural (1984) now?  How about Kevin Costner and Field of Dreams (1989)?  Ken Burns’s Baseball was 1994; Major League, The Sandlot… all late 80s or early 90s.  The only Current Year “baseball” movies anyone has heard of — scan that list; ye cats! — are either sappy rom-coms to which baseball is incidental (Summer Catch; Fever Pitch), or glorifications of nerd culture (Moneyball), in which handsome jock Brad Pitt is helpless without a fat dork and his computer.****

You’ll have noticed also, I hope, that this is a possible solution to the legitimacy problem.  That’s the other great thing about baseball — every team has a superfan kid whose fandom is the only thing keeping him going.  He’s excluded from all other forms of social / political participation, but his fandom is reciprocally legitimizing — being a team fan keeps him going, and simultaneously his fandom makes the random collection of mercenary millionaires wearing the jersey this season seem like a meaningful unit……

 

 

*Stipulating, for argument’s sake, that the “superstructure” (as Marxists would say) of culture can override the genetic “base” of behavior.  I personally don’t believe this, but I don’t have the bioscience classwork to argue against it with someone who does.

** Cf. Magic Dirt Theory, Liberals’ explanation for why a horde of 80 IQ Aztec subsistence farmers will turn into 110 IQ customer service reps just by stepping on our side of the Rio Grande.  If America is only an imagined community, this makes sense, since it’s all pretend anyway.

*** Or, at least, the caricatured American understanding of football hooligan culture.  I’ve read Among the Thugs, but I didn’t get the impression this was a mass phenomenon (i.e. that the “firms” are quite small).  Recusant et al, please clue me in here.

**** SJWs are still too busy shitting on Star Wars to go after baseball again, but since white people play it and normies enjoy it, it won’t be long.  Is there a BALCO movie in the chute yet?  They’ll have to cast a white guy as Barry Bonds, but that’s no challenge for the makers of Girl Luke Skywalker (and besides, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens are whiter than mayo on wonderbread).  I bet we’ll be seeing it by 2020, right in time for the Democrats’ white privilege whining for the election.

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2 Legit Part 3

The question now becomes: Can an “ethno-state” be made?  I think so.

Eric Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger, and Benedict Anderson were all dirty Commies, but their work on “invented traditions” and “imagined communities” says something profound about human group interaction for all that.  It’s actually pretty easy to weld a disparate group of people into a tight unit, zealous for a collective goal.  Boot camp is an extreme example, but it’s easier than that — think of your high school.  The mascot, the fight song, “our” hated rivals from the school across town, all those invented traditions create an imagined community, loyalty to which can span a lifetime.  Check your Facebook account — how many old high school buddies are in your friends list?  Of them, how many still belong to groups like “Class of ’85 Rocks”?  We laugh at Al Bundy telling everyone who will listen about the time he scored three touchdowns in a game back in high school, but the joke only works because everyone knows someone like that.*

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is more meaningless than a high school football game… but there are people who define their whole lives by it.  Imagine what a flag and a national anthem can do!

See, for example, Japan.  Meiji Japan was an imagined community, built on top of an actually existing community.  The genro took the incohate sense of “Japanese-ness” that existed throughout the realm and gave it symbols — the Charter Oath, the Army, the imperial Rescript on Education, the Rising Sun flag, the Emperor himself.  It was astonishingly effective.  In a generation or two, “loyalty to the Emperor” simply was Japanese-ness, despite the fact that Meiji, like all Emperors stretching back into the remote medieval past, was a powerless figurehead.

Of course, Japan was full of Japanese at the time.  But it can be done elsewhere, with a much more heterogeneous population — e.g. the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Forget the huddled masses at Ellis Island, yearning to be free.  Think about the former Confederacy.  North and South were, in 1861, different enough to get into a shooting war with each other.  By 1871, most of the former CSA states were back in the Union, and by 1881 the country was welded together tighter than it had ever been… such that, by 1898, veterans’ groups on both sides were loudest in demanding war with Spain.  40 years after a war that killed more Americans than all the previous wars combined — with hundreds of thousands of veterans still alive (and the most vital voting block in American politics)! — and it was like it had never happened.  Behold the power of the Lost Cause!

Turning Irish, Jews, Italians, Poles, whatever into “white Americans” is child’s play compared to that.  All you need is baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.

This is the secret to American History that baffles the imagined community of the ivory tower (see footnote below).  Think about the source material.  Europeans are famously fractious — when Groundskeeper Willie says that brothers and sisters are natural enemies, like Englishmen and Scots, or Welshmen and Scots, or Japanese and Scots, or Scots and other Scots (damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!), he’s summing up 19th century Europe…. and we got the worst of the lot (folks who are happy with the way things are going at home don’t emigrate).  The French went to the barricades every time someone invented a new kind of cheese, but despite every conceivable source of friction — national, religious, class, clan — going back hundreds of years, Americans, to the perpetual bewilderment of professional historians, never came close to another revolution.  For every Haymarket Square or Pullman Strike or Pennsylvania Coalfield Strike, there were hundreds of incidents that could’ve spiraled out of control, but didn’t.  Something kept all that in check.

What was it, and can it work again?

 

 

 

*The imagined community “academia” is an ironic meta-example.  Hobsbawm and Ranger were historians, Anderson was a political scientist.  In other words, these were guys who made the study of human interaction their life’s work; they, of all people, should’ve been rock-ribbed conservatives.  But they were Marxists, of course, because they were Professors, and Professors by definition are left wingers.  No matter what their “research” said, in other words, their political commitments to their imagined community always came first — in Hobsbawm’s case, actually admitting, on live TV, that 15-20 million dead would’ve been worth it had Stalin succeeded in creating a real Workers’ Paradise.

 

 

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2 Legit Part 2

Here’s the problem: Any society much bigger than a village needs an organizing myth, and ours — Blank-Slate Equalism — doesn’t work anymore.

Nobody in Current Year America can possibly still think, for one hot second, that “all men are created equal.”  We’re not physically equal — cf. all the boys calling themselves “transgender” and setting records at girls’ track meets.  We’re not mentally equal (insert your SJW IQ joke of choice here).  And as for the proposition that we should be equal, at least under the law (which was ol’ Tom’s plain meaning in the Declaration), take your pick: The judiciary (“bake the cake, bigot!”), the educational system (___ Studies), and the media (everything) are deeply, fanatically committed to the fundamental unequality of men.  And all that’s before you get to modern genetics and what it tells us about heritable group characteristics.

Tl;dr — If I can declare myself a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin and get a guy fired for not pretending to believe me, Blank-Slate Equalism is dead, no matter what genetics says (and genetics says it’s deader than disco).

And that’s a problem, as the kids these days say, because our entire political system is based on Blank-Slate Equalism.  I’m not going to recap the history of the Social Contract Theory of government (been there, done that, feel free to trawl the archives for book suggestions).  Rather, I’m going to explore some other, failed options for organizing myths, then suggest one you may not have heard of.

First, Athenian democracy.  Whatever Cleisthenes and the gang actually practiced, it wasn’t based on a social contract as we’d understand it.  As you probably remember from your high school Social Studies class, the Greeks were world-class chauvinists.  Aristotle famously ranked women just below slaves on the rationality scale, and the word “barbarian” simply meant “not-Greek.”  You probably couldn’t play a pickup softball game with the total number of Athenian “voters.”  But it didn’t matter, because Athens was so small that Demosthenes himself could come over to your house and personally demagogue you.  Socrates, too, for that matter (he fought at Potidaea).  Athens’s organizing myth, then, was “democracy” in the football hooligan sense — you voluntarily joined up, but mostly just to have a row with the wankers.  Needless to say, this doesn’t work in anyplace bigger than a Greek polis.  (The early Roman Republic worked the same way, and yes, I’m aware that I just called Romulus and Remus the original soccer yobs).

Divine Right Monarchy solves the scale problem.  China, Rome, and Egypt had good runs with this system (the latter for thousands of years).  The problem here is communication speed.  When you’re wading the Euphrates and the Emperor is in Rome, the Cult of the Divine Augustus seems reasonable enough, especially with a few cohorts backing it up.  When communications speed up, though, it becomes too obvious, too fast, for too many people, when the King and the Gods are on the outs.  Pick your typical Early Modern monarch — if that guy is the Anointed of Christ, then Christ done screwed up good.  The English Civil War, for example, happened because Charles I tried to impose the Book of Common Prayer on Scotland, as he believed it was his Divine Right to do.  The Scots disagreed, and ten years later Charles’s anointed head was rolling in the dust.  Divine right monarchs are themselves, personally, the refutation of the theory of Divine Right Monarchy.*

The English Civil War — or, more correctly, the Continent-wide conflagration known for convenience as the Thirty Years’ War, of which it was an offshoot — is a watershed.  The key word in the phrase “Early Modern army” is modern.  Modern armies are equipped with guns.  Guns require discipline, precision, and the ability to function in the field year-round — the exact opposite of the aristocratic ethos.  Infantry is the queen of battles, and he who keeps the most infantry in the field the longest wins.  To do that, you need buy-in from the peasantry.  The Royalists in the English Civil War, for example, were fairly consistently outnumbered, but even when they weren’t, the Roundheads fought better despite a glaring lack of experienced commanders.  Cromwell’s New Model Army was history’s first politicized army, which explains both its remarkable effectiveness and its notorious brutality.

This suggests a third organizing myth: Defense-of-the-realm.  They wouldn’t put it this way, but liability to military service was one of the major underpinnings of the notion of the King-in-Parliament, from which all authority in the UK still theoretically derives.  Well into the 20th century, anyone with the ability to vote would be on the business end of a war, one way or the other (only men could vote, and those men too old to actually serve paid the taxes for those who did).  As the King’s authority ultimately rests on his ability to defend his realm, King-in-Parliament gives everyone a stake (even Hobbes agreed, at least to the first part — though he shuddered at the “-in-Parliament” part, he made his peace with the Protectorate and came home, because an actually existing sovereign power must be sovereign).

Technology makes this one obsolete, though.  America’s realm could be defended by a small navy with tactical nukes, plus a few ICBMs.  (N.b. I’m not saying this should be our national defense posture.  I’m just pointing out that some nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, combined with a steely-eyed determination to use them, would keep the Hun from our shores, and the rest of the world quiet.  Are the Mullahs really willing to risk a limited nuclear exchange over the Straits of Hormuz?  How about China, over Taiwan?  The point is that the days of mass conscription are over, which makes defense-of-the-realm useless as a modern organizing myth).

And…. that’s about it.  Pick your state, and if it qualifies as a state — if it’s not modern Somalia or equivalent, in other words — it will be organized around one of those three, or some combination of them:

Yes, even the USSR — Communism is just your basic Divine Right Monarchy, with “the forces of History” subbed in for “Divine Right” and “the vanguard of the Proletariat” swapped for the drooling idiot inbred aristocracy.

The American Revolution was a conflict between “defense-of-the-realm” and “football hooligan democracy.”  The Colonials were expected to defend the realm, e.g. in the Seven Years’ War, but without being part of the Parliament.  But they couldn’t have been — technical limitations aside (it took at least a month to cross the Atlantic), and leaving aside the fact that they’d still be outvoted on everything, Colonials practiced football hooligan democracy.  British officers in the Seven Years’ War constantly complained about Colonial soldiers.  They’d fight, and could fight well, but only if you negotiated everything beforehand — they left England specifically to get away from bluebloods just ordering them about.  George Washington was a 4th generation American, but most Colonials were recent immigrants (the Colonies’ population quadrupled before 1776).  Football hooligan democracy won — America was a rough frontier society until the Civil War, and well into the Gilded Age the only contact most people had with the Feds was at the post office.

And so on, with one exception: The ethno-state.  Japan is a prime example.  Technically Japan is a Divine Right Monarchy — the current Emperor is the 125th, going all the way back to an offspring of the Sun Goddess — but Japan’s real ruler is “Japanese-ness.”  They went from a backwards feudal empire to a modern world power in a single generation — !!!! — in an all-out effort to preserve Japanese-ness.  They saw the British in Burma, the French in Vietnam, the entire West in China, and saw their future… unless they got into the imperial game themselves.  The Charter Oath was 1868; by 1895 Japan had defeated China in the First Sino-Japanese War; and ten years later they defeated Russia — unquestionably one of the Great Powers — in the Russo-Japanese War.  Japan’s official form of government changed many times over that span, and would change many more, but always with the same goal: The preservation of Japanese-ness.

The ethno-state is the most powerful form of government known.  Ask anyone in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere — a tiny, virtually resourceless nation, whose armies were sword-wielding samurai so recently that a man born when Perry came could still be alive, conquered pretty much the entire Pacific.  The rights and wrongs (mostly wrongs) of that conquest are irrelevant; focus on the thing itself.  You won’t find Meiji Japan in too many political science textbooks (except, of course, as “Westernization”), but its transformation is nothing short of miraculous.  How did they do it?  And can it be done in the West?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

*I’m leaving aside, of course, the question of which god or gods sanction the monarch.  This was the Romans’ main problem with Christianity.  The Roman Empire worked on a kind of distributed sovereignty — in return for acknowledging the supreme authority of the Emperor, the Emperor’s administrators would rule you according to your own laws and customs.  But Christians are explicitly stateless.  A Jew, Egyptian, Greek, whatever is still a Jew, Egyptian, Greek, whatever in Rome, and can be tried there as such (or extradited back to his homeland for trial there).  But Christians reject all that, so where and how are they to be tried?  Julian the Apostate had a lot to say on this point — as you might expect from a Roman Emperor.

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The Prerogative State

Ernst Fraenkel, a lawyer in pre-Hitler Germany, called the Nazi regime a “dual state.*”  There were actually two sets of laws operating simultaneously, he said: The normative, which is your standard black-letter law, and the prerogative, which is the law of the Party apparatus.  The second, of course, always outranks the first.  It was possible to get real, objective justice in the 3rd Reich — the legendarily efficient German civil service carried on after the Nazi seizure of power just as it did before (this is one of the key supports in the “they all condoned the Holocaust” school of historiography — if principled bureaucrats didn’t resign after Hitler took power, then there were no principled bureaucrats).  But if your “justice” crossed any of the Party’s political or cultural imperatives, you’d find yourself on the business end of a visit from the men in the leather trench coats.

America has been in the same boat for a long time.  We all know who our real rulers are: The SJWs, and their enablers in government and the judiciary.  For a recent example, see here:

[Portland bakery owner, John] Blomgren’s chronology matches and corroborates [his employees’] version of events. However, having established that his staff had done nothing wrong did not alter Blomgren’s decision to fire them. “In this situation it doesn’t really matter that the two staff members working are not themselves racist because the call they made to deny [student and activist, Lillian Green] service caused her to feel like she had been discriminated against,” his statement explained. “Sometimes impact outweighs intent and when that happens people do need to be held accountable.” The bakery has since deleted this statement and denies firing the employees to “save face or to appease anyone.”

Which is baloney — of course they fired people to appease the SJW lynch mob.  The whole thing is clearly and obviously a racket:  “Nice business ya got here, would be a shame if anyone accused you of racism:”

“I think he’s actually a sociopath,” speculates ‘Alex,’ a Portland-based social justice activist who has worked extensively with Whitten and witnessed his strategic use of baseless accusations of racism to take down opponents and manipulate allies. Fearful of retribution given Whitten’s growing influence, Alex spoke to me on condition of anonymity but provided evidence of their relationship. “He’s created a chilling effect in Portland. People are scared of him and no one knows how to intervene.” Alex expressed sympathy for Blomgren and said Whitten selects his targets carefully — mainly white progressives who are likely to trip over themselves when accused of racism. Some of them offer him money or career opportunities.

That’s the prerogative kicking in.  Blomgren’s employees did absolutely nothing wrong; an objective judge would throw any suit against him out of court.  But there are no objective judges in Portland.  Nor, apparently, are the police willing to do anything about this Cameron Whitten guy.  Justice? Fughettaboudit.  The Left can violate normative law with impunity, because they have the prerogative.

Another great example: The Masterpiece Cake Shop decision.  The decision was not based on whether or not the Constitutionally-guaranteed right of free association applies to private businesses.  Rather, the Court ruled that Colorado’s “civil rights commission” showed undue bias toward the bakers.  The normative law is pretty clear: If you don’t have the right to turn away customers, you’re not really running a business — every former business in America is now a “public accommodation;” the former business owners are, in effect, just employees of the state.  I’m pretty sure a junior high debate club could’ve ruled on this one.

But the Court, obviously, wanted to preserve the Left’s prerogative.  Had they made their decision on normative law, badthinkers from sea to shining sea would have legal cover to spread their badthoughts, in the form of carrying on their daily business activities.

And we can’t be having that.  So the Court made the most ambiguous possible ruling, to make sure it could never be cited as a precedent.

Which brings us to the question the Z Man posed today: What happens when the majority of us wake up to the fact that we’re ruled by midgets?  As Hobbes said, “The power of the mighty hath no foundation but in the opinion and belief of the people.”  What happens when the “opinion and belief” of the people is that we’re really ruled by a few dreadlocked blue-haired nose-ringers and their black-robed peg boys?  A king whose knights refuse to ride to battle on his behalf is just a weirdo in fancy clothes.  There’s even less majesty to a GS-7 down at the courthouse.

It’s really not going to end well… and Our Betters are doing everything they can to hasten the end.

 

*The Dual State is what I call, for lack of a better term, a “skimmer.”  It’s full of irrelevant-to-us detail from 1941, so it’s easy to get lost in that stuff and miss the point.  It’s actually far better to read (as I did) a review, to get the main point.  We really need a better word for this than “skimmer.”  Suggestions?

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Random Quick Takes

I got nothin’, so here’s this.

A Honky in Newark.  “Freelance urban sociology,” as we might call it, is pretty interesting.  I grew up in a major Southern metro, so I got to see all the hyphen-Americans without the hyphen — Chinatown, Little Saigon, Caracas del Norte, and, of course, the 100% Black enclaves.  It’s quite a show.  Cruising through the all-Black areas, it’s hard not to sympathize with Liberals’ “poverty causes crime” mantra.  If you haven’t had this experience yourself, watch a season of  The Wire.  Minus a few regional variations — “lake trout,” snow — The Wire’s Baltimore could be any urban Black area in America.  Season 4, especially, is heartbreaking — what chance in hell do those poor kids have?

And yet…. race.  Always race.  Black Americans are just different, in ways that are obvious to everyone when it’s politically convenient to notice them (e.g. in any African-American Studies program, where this is the bedrock premise).  As your second pass around the block will prove, they’re not Africans — Africans-from-Africa tend to be openly contemptuous of American Blacks, especially when forced to live among them — but they’re not White Americans, either, even when forced to act approximately like them.  The fact that they were forced to act that way, for a full century, pushes folks who know their history pretty far into the “race realism” camp.  Culture isn’t genetics, and genetics isn’t culture, but they have a dialectical relationship — American Blacks are the way they are, one is increasingly forced to conclude, because they can’t be any other way.

And this is where the keyboard warriors of the HBD crowd jump into the comments with things like “end the welfare checks, close the freeways, and the problem takes care of itself.”  And you wonder why you get called Nazis.  You do realize you’re talking about genocide, right?

There’s really only one way to get very different groups to coexist peacefully.  It’s incompatible with a whole bunch of seemingly fundamental-to-Americanness stuff like “representative government.”  This is not the world we want, but it’s the world we have.  Give me a realistic plan to keep the peace when the credit bubble bursts — as it must — that doesn’t involve dictatorship, or you haven’t thought this “HBD” thing through.

Revolt of the Revolting.  Speaking of not thinking things through, here’s some half-assed Nietzsche for you:

The entire social justice/aggrotolerance/equalism movement is a revolt by the ugly and freakish against the beautiful and normal. The ideology has no morality nor purpose and exists only to substantiate in political radicalization the aggrieved spitefulness of life’s losers.

True enough.  This is “slave morality,” and ol’ Friedrich wrote about 100,000 words on it.  Which makes us — “the beautiful and normal,” oxymoronic though that is — the ubermenschen, I suppose.  But Nietzsche was obviously wrong about a few important things, starting with that whole “ubermensch” bit.

The transvaluation of values he preached has already happened.  It’s impossible to be more overtly anti-Christian than “Social Justice,” and SocJus — “Cultural Marxism” is far more accurate — is the law of the land.  Nobody turns 19th century European values further on their head than transsexuals, for instance, and look where questioning them gets you.  Nietzsche’s 19th century “slave morality” brought us the prosperity from which “social justice” is an organic outgrowth.  But then again, Nietzsche, a philologist by training, thought Socrates turned the Athenians into a bunch of girly men.  I doubt he’d be much of a Pickup Artist.

Teacher stops having sex with high school sophomore who wore MAGA hat to class.  Satire, I realize, but satire only works when it’s true.  I guess it’s Nietzsche Day here at Rotten Chestnuts, as the feminists, via bargain-bin Nietzsche-wannabe Michel Foucault, actually got this one right.  Sex outside of a monogamous, procreative relationship — let’s call it “marriage,” for convenience — really is exploitative* (the more thoughtful PUAs, like RooshV, admit it**).  As our social dilithium crystals overload and the sexual polarities reverse, you see women acting like men and men acting like women.  Why do grade school teachers, some of them quite attractive, go for their students instead of guys their own age?

Simple: They get off on the power imbalance.  Sex isn’t about the sex act for lots of men — see Elliot Rodger, Alik Minassian, Nicholas Cruz, and suchlike losers.  If all they needed was to get laid, they could’ve hired a professional, who would look exactly like they wanted, do anything they wanted… but none of them even considered it.  Rather, they felt they deserved a certain type of girlfriend.  That type, obviously, is high status — hot, blonde, a cheerleader — which would mean they, Rodger et al, had the goods to merit that type of girl.  Google up pictures of these losers.  They weren’t so fugly that a girlfriend, possibly even an objectively attractive one, was out of reach.  The point wasn’t the girl, much less sex with the girl.  The point was the type of girl, and the validation that provides — i.e. the power imbalance, because, as everyone knows, the head cheerleader only goes out with the quarterback.

Same deal with the reverse-Lolita teachers.  The quarterback may rule the school, but he still has to ask his teacher for permission to go to the bathroom.  If she seduces him, her dominance is complete.  It’s twisted, obviously, but if you assume that modern women act more and more like how they think stereotypical men act, it all makes perfect sense.

UPDATE: Secondary boycotts.  This is the kind of thing I was trying to get at in my Chamber of Commerce Republicans post, below.  I no longer believe it’s possible to fix SJWs.  Their brains are broken, and short of a total amygdala replacement they are forever lost.  But SJWs are actually a small minority.  The professional Left uses them as useful idiots, knowing that the professional “Right” would never dare push back against them.

What I suggest, then — hypothetically, of course, since I disavow all this —  is a kind of “secondary boycott” of the GOP.  All it would take to defeat the Democratic Party is for the Republican Party to stop enabling them.  Stiffen the GOP’s spine, and “antifa” collapses.  But, I’m told, the GOP only does what it does because it’s in the Chamber of Commerce’s pocket.  Well then, let’s stiffen the Chamber of Commerce’s spine a little bit.  We can’t bring any pressure to bear on the big boys in Washington, but your local CofC?  Them we can get to.  If “boycott” — or, heaven forbid, “pressure” — sets your delicate heart aflutter, we could call it a Concentrated Niceness Offensive or a Coordinated Civility Campaign or something.  Just say hi.  A whole bunch of nice, normal Americans saying hi, at their work, at their places of business, on public streets, near their homes…. that would concentrate their minds wonderfully, one would think.  After all, it works like gangbusters on us.

But of course, I would never suggest such a thing.  I disavow it all.

 

 

*Sure it is, if you think it through.  Sex without love — “hookups,” “pickups,” whatever — are purely transactional.  You want it, she wants it, it’s an all-but-capitalistic exchange (this is the starting point for all those feminist arguments about how all heterosexual sex is either prostitution or rape, I realize, but that’s for another day).  “Getting more than you give” is the cornerstone of capitalist exchange.  Ergo — Latin!! — hookups are exploitative.  QED.

**Read your Nietzsche, Roosh.  Then read the Christian critiques of Nietzsche (G.K. Chesterton has a good one).  Then come on over to the Light Side of the Force.

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Chamber of Commerce Republicans?

A while back, I went searching for the huge agribusinesses that supposedly own half the Republican Party.  We’d have closed borders in a heartbeat, I’m told, if only the GOP weren’t half-owned by Monsanto and ADM.  I didn’t find much.  Here’s Monsanto’s direct giving to Federal candidates so far in 2018 — a grand total of $192,000, with about 1/4 going to Democrats.  Here’s ADM — $254K, 1/3 to Democrats.  Admittedly, that’s two companies and a 5 minute trawl through OpenSecrets.org, but we all know that’s how lobbying works — you may favor one party or the other, but you’d best hedge your bets in case the other guy wins.

I’m willing to be corrected, in other words, but I’m pretty sure you’ll have a hard time proving that the GOP is in agribusiness’s pocket exclusively.

But forget ADM for a sec.  The other half of the GOP, we’re told, is owned by the Chamber of Commerce.  That one, I’m willing to buy (though even there, note the #4 recipient, who received just $960 less than their supposed golden boy, !Yeb!).  But therein lies the opportunity.  Unlike Monsanto and their lobbyist butt boys (Akin Gump et al), the Chamber of Commerce is a distributed outfit.  There are local branches everywhere.  If I were the leader of an underground guerrilla organization like the Sons of Valley Forge — and I am not, and never will be, this is entirely hypothetical, I disavow it all — I’d study my local CofC membership roster closely, and…. go say hi.

Nothing illegal, nothing even close to illegal.  Just…. say hi.  Vigorously.  The constant presence of a strapping young man sporting a white Patriots hat and various Fight Club-esque contusions would concentrate their minds wonderfully….

One would think, anyway.  Hypothetically.  You ain’t gonna get to Akin Gump, and you’re sure as hell not going to get to Monsanto, but the local CofC?  They live right around the corner.  Lots of them probably mow their own lawns.  Their wives shop at the local supermarket.  Those are the folks to go say hi to.

Just remember the rules from Road House: Be nice.*

 

 

 

 

*Or, better yet, don’t do it at all.  Because this is all hypothetical.

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Selection Bias

If, several hundred years from now, our descendants want to consider giving representative government another go, they’ll need to figure out a better way of picking leaders.

I don’t mean things like “restricting the franchise to stakeholders” and “IQ tests,” though those are great ideas in themselves.  I mean they’ll have to overcome systemic selection bias — a kind of Peter Principle that promotes people not just to their level of incompetence, but based on a completely different set of skills.

Football coaches are a good example.  Chances are good that a brilliant coordinator will flame out as a head coach, simply because the skillsets are so different.  Head coaches have to “coach up” — their day-to-day jobs involve handling the owner, general manager, the media, and his subordinate coaches.  Their relationship to the day-to-day, X’s and O’s of the game that’s played on Sunday is usually pretty tenuous.  Coordinators, on the other hand, “coach down.”  They do the nuts-n-bolts stuff, handle the players and their issues, devise the specific schemes and match-ups.  There’s almost no overlap between those two areas of responsibility.

(The less said of college head coaches who jump to the pros, the better.  College kids aren’t pros, the boosters aren’t the owner, and you don’t get the ridiculous recruiting advantage bigtime college programs do.  Examples are numerous, but my favorite is Steve Spurrier — in his brief tenure with the Redskins, he really did seem to believe his “huck it downfield and let his five-star receivers blow past the opponent’s two-star DBs” would work in the pros.  But everyone in the pros is a former five-star recruit).

Either way, though, there’s simply no relationship between the two skillsets, and thus no way to judge.  A brilliant X’s and O’s guy, who gets the most out of limited athletes, might be great at schmoozing the owner and handling PR…. but then again, he might not.  The point is, there’s no way to tell if or how his X’s and O’s work will translate over to schmoozing and PR, and — given the demands of the business — there’s no way to give him a trial run.  Yet coordinators always get promoted to head coach, because… well, how else are ya gonna do it?

Politics works the same way.  The traditional cursus honorum — state legislature, national legislature, state governor, president — selects for a very different set of skills than those the President needs.  A dull-but-clubbable party man makes a great Senator, but a lousy President.  It takes some real skills to be a state governor, but high among them is the ability to massage entrenched local elites — you have to be wired in, but in a totally different way than a Senator does.

The system, in other words, is set up to produce dull-but-clubbable party men.  They were quite open about this in the 19th century, in case you think I’m making it up.  That’s why “nominating conventions” were real things back then — the wheeling and dealing was brutal, smoky back rooms weren’t just a metaphor, and sometimes it broke down spectacularly and you ended up running Franklin Pierce or someone like that.  This was because the 19th century actually believed in that “federalism” stuff, and the savvy operators avoided national politics for state governorships.

Trump is a huge anomaly who has exposed just how systemically flawed our process is.  We need to figure out how to overcome this selection bias effect… or, at least, our great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren do.

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Anatomy of a “Fact Check”

I saw this making the rounds on social media.  It’s a “fact check” of this:

As you might expect from Snopes.com, it’s as much lying leftwing tripe as the original “news” story.

Starting with the headline:

Is This a Photograph of a Children’s Concentration Camp in the U.S.?

No.  It’s an overcrowded ICE detention center.  The only people calling it a “concentration camp” are the deranged Leftists in the Media (BIRM), who, by calling it a “concentration camp,” are trying to A) keep readers from wondering just why our ICE detention centers are so perilously overcrowded, and B) blame Donald Trump for something.

Debate continues over how temporary holding facility and processing centers for undocumented migrant children should be described.

That’s the very next line — note that we haven’t even gotten to the actual “fact check” yet! — and it’s another lie, because the only “debate” going on is between Leftists who don’t want to admit that picture was taken during the Obama administration, and Leftists who think it’s “fake but accurate” to say it’s Trump’s fault anyway.  Given the overlap in those Venn diagrams, you’ll see more actual debate at the next North Korean Politburo meeting.

This photograph dates from 2014 (during the Obama administration) and was not directly related to a mid-2018 controversy over Trump administration policy of separating children from undocumented migrant parents at the U.S. border.

Emphasis mine, because “not directly related” in this case means “completely unrelated.”  Again, DONALD TRUMP WAS NOT PRESIDENT IN 2014.  He wasn’t even a Presidential candidate in 2014.  In 2014, Donald Trump was just some orange guy with bad hair that all the Smart people in the political class made fun of.  The only relationship between that photo and Donald Trump was that both of them existed on Planet Earth in 2014.  More astute readers (i.e. folks who don’t read Snopes.com) will also have noticed a nifty bias twofer: “Trump administration policy of separating children from undocumented migrant parents.”  For you see, children of undocumented migrant parents are themselves, by definition, undocumented migrants.  Oh, and by the way, are those children in the photo not separated from their parents?  What are they doing there, do you think, all the way back in the Obama administration?

See, Snopes?  Now that’s how you insinuate.  Oh, wait:

They are undocumented. They entered the country illegally. And when they were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they were shipped to Nogales from overwhelmed processing facilities in Texas.

So the Obama administration DID separate children from their undocumented migrant parents and hold them in separate facilities.  But they did it in Texas, not “at the U.S. border,” which makes it all better.

Some might argue that the pictured facility was in fact a detention center where children were held in conditions that were woefully inadequate for their numbers, and thus it was concentration camp-like in those aspects:

Yep, that was the problem with Auschwitz, all right: Too many Jews for the available resources.  The self-correcting nature of this resource imbalance is not, apparently, a “concentration camp-like aspect.”

However, others maintained that — despite the difficult conditions — the facility was not comparable to a concentration camp in that the children kept there were treated humanely, were provided with medical care, and were held only until they could be placed with relatives or other caretakers pending adjudication of their cases:

Yes, humane treatment, medical care — free medical care, let us note! — and temporary detention are conspicuously absent from concentration camps.  Forget the “others” who say ICE detention facilities aren’t concentration camps; I’m really curious about those who say they are.  Are we seriously debating what levels of medical care (free medical care!) and humane treatment qualify as “not concentration camp-like?”  Where’s the cutoff, Liberals?  Or maybe it’s just that the guys in Auschwitz had it coming?  Zionism is racism, amirite?

See, Snopes?  Now that’s how you insinuate!

Still, in 2016 the conditions of similar detention facilities were being described as “deplorable”

So “similar” facilities, according to an unnamed somebody two years later, are “deplorable.”  Yes, that totally justifies claiming Donald Trump puts children in cages.

Oh, no, wait: The “deplorable” somebody is named.  It’s Judge Dolly Gee, a Clinton appointee whom Obama promoted to a California federal district court in 2009.  The full Snopes quote is worth quoting in full:

Although [Texas] detention centers had been used long before [2014], that year the Obama administration made them key to its immigration policy. [The center in] Dilley was built that year, and Karnes was greatly expanded. Immigration advocates fought back, and last year in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California, Judge Dolly Gee made a ruling that helped their case. In her decision last July, the judge said the centers were in “deplorable” condition, and that they failed to meet even minimal standards. Gee pointed to a 1997 ruling that determined the government cannot treat a child in detention as it would an adult. She ordered the Obama administration to release the migrant kids from both Texas centers.

That didn’t happen. The Obama administration appealed, and for the past year has tried to figure out how to get around the ruling

Did you follow that?  The detention centers in question — the ones we’re comparing to concentration camps — were the key to the Obama administration’s immigration policy.  Indeed, these “deplorable” centers, which fail to meet even minimal standards, were crucial to Obama’s policy.  So crucial, in fact, that Obama didn’t release the kids — the kids in concentration camps — despite a judge’s direct order to do so.

So, yeah, I guess “debate continues” about whether or not these are “concentration camps.”  Obama‘s concentration camps.  Trump has nothing to do with anything.

Debate continues about how undocumented migrant children who come to the U.S. (whether alone or with their parents) should be dealt with, and where and how they should be housed until their status has been resolved. No approach is likely to satisfy critics at both ends of the political spectrum.

So, you know, the photo’s link to Donald Trump has been completely debunked.  But it’s still his fault.

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2 Legit

You can reduce every single political problem the West is currently experiencing to one word: Legitimacy.  By what right do our rulers rule us, and who counts as “us”?  Every successful political movement has an answer.

Yes, even the Left.  They may not remember it themselves — they don’t read much that isn’t Harry Potter, and for them History begins anew each dawn — but even the “everything is a social construction” crowd once thought this through.  They concluded that, though races, nations, borders, etc. are of course “social constructions,” we’re all members of the Proletariat — or, at least, we will be, when we’ve killed all the class enemies — and so the government of the “vanguard of the Proletariat” (i.e. them) is legitimate.

It’s not the most elegant argument to have graced the pages of a political science text, but when your whole family gets shipped to Siberia for disagreeing with it, it’s remarkably persuasive.

The Human Biodiversity (HBD) crowd, on the other hand, hasn’t thought this all the way through.  If they — we, I guess, though with more asterisks than MLB home run records — want to be more than just a bunch of internet gadflies, they’ll have to resolve the fundamental contradiction between HBD and democracy.

Social contract theory — by which representative governments become “representative,” hence legitimate — presumes rough parity between the contracting parties.  It’s the basis of citizenship.  Have you ever wondered just why America opened her borders in the 19th century?  Vox Day et al like to bang on about the Naturalization Act of 1790 and its “free white” requirement, but Congress could have limited immigration in any way it chose — not just by race, but by country of origin, skills, literacy, whatever.  Instead, the naturalization acts specify “loyalty to the principles of the Constitution.”

The United States was, indeed, a “proposition nation” — the proposition in question being “the validity of the social contract.”  The 1802 act (which keeps the “free white” provision) makes this clear: Renounce your previous allegiance (including titles of nobility), be of good moral character, be loyal to the principles of the Constitution, and you’re in.  If all men are indeed created equal (= “equal enough to legitimately sign the social contract”), then it follows that anyone who renounces his previous allegiance and swears to abide by Constitutional principles is legitimately an American.  It’s the closest thing to literally signing a social contract a 19th century government could administer.

But again: A legit contract absolutely requires rough parity between the contracting parties.  We don’t let four year olds sign binding legal contracts because they don’t have the mental equipment to understand what they’re signing. Signing on to “the principles of the Constitution” was pretty basic until after the Civil War, because back then the only interaction most folks had with the Federal government was at the post office.  That’s why the 1862 Homestead Act, for instance, came with citizenship attached — declare your intention of becoming a citizen, and 160 acres in the West was yours for the taking.  Subsistence farmers on the frontier are equal, or equal enough, when communities arise organically and the only permanent government official is the town postmaster.

Modern life, needless to say, is a bit more complex than that.  As you know, we all inadvertently commit three felonies a day.  Who can say what “the principles of the Constitution” even are anymore?  Hell, can most people even pass a basic civics exam?  Is this thing graded on a curve?

So much for re-signing the social contract, eh?

And falling back on the “representative” part of “representative government” won’t do, because the hardline HBD folks have been quite clear about this: There is an absolute cutoff between “competent” and “not competent.”  IQ is destiny, remember?  Read the comments on any “alt-Right” site — Blacks, you’ll be told, are inveterate criminals because the average Black IQ is 85.  If the nice white high IQ readers of the Wall Street Journal (3rd link above) commit three felonies a day, what hope do ghetto dwellers have?  Any “representative” of the “Black community” — which has been a real, untouchable, national thing for going on a century now — will, by definition, only represent his/her group… which is below the participatory threshold.

Right there you’ve just disenfranchised 13% of the population.  But it gets worse, because the number 100 gets thrown around a lot on HBD sites.  100 is, supposedly, the average national IQ needed to maintain an advanced postindustrial society like ours.  Surely I don’t have to tell y’all what average means.  So now you’ve disenfranchised 50% of the population, and you still haven’t addressed the three felonies a day we 100+ IQ brainiacs are committing….

I think we all — Left and Right, cat people and dog people, Crips and Bloods, Team Edward and Team Jacob, Hufflepuff and Slitherin — can agree that any government that only represents at best 49% of those under its jurisdiction is not legitimate in any modern sense.  (For further examples, see the EU, the unelected unaccountable nobodies who are responsible for the European version of this mess).  By what right, then, do the rulers rule?

I’ve got an answer for you, but you’re not gonna like it.

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