July 18, 2014
Argentina in Whiteface

Whenever a major sporting event comes along, the progressive media always has a desired narrative. So it was with the recent World Cup, where it was widely hoped that a racially mixed team would win, proving once again the all-conquering power of ‘diversity’. Alas, when Brazil crashed to its 1-7 defeat against Germany in the semi-final, the desired narrative took a severe beating and started coughing up blood.

In its own way, the German team was also quite diverse, but not in the same flashy, frizzy manner as Brazil. Among its blond Aryan ranks it also boasted a Turk (Ozil), a half-Tunisian (Khedira), and even a Black player – well, half-black (Boateng). But overall the team looked White, and, worse than that, they played with Teutonic precision rather than the carefree carnival spirit expected from a truly ‘diverse’ team; in short, unsuitable poster boys for the progressive fantasy.

After this setback, the desired narrative’s next best hope was the Dutch team, which had a few Black players – there seemed to be about 2 or 3 – although this team too was less than ideal. When they were knocked out by Argentina in the other semi-final, the diversity narrative was pretty much nailed in its coffin. Argentina, despite some players having a little Indian and possibly Black ancestry, was again a depressingly White-looking and White-playing team as far as progressives were concerned. Whoever won the final was going to be a poor substitute for the multiracial French team that famously won the World Cup in 1998, or the default diversity of the Brazilian team.

With the narrative of diversity leading to success well and truly buried, all that remained was either to walk away or else find a negative narrative that bemoaned the lack of sufficient diversity at the top levels of international soccer.

With the World Cup continuing to generate the all-important hits, the Huffington Post decided to stay in the game with the negative story, “Why Are There No Black Men on Argentina’s Roster?” by Rachel Décoste, a Black female software engineer, who is also listed as a “motivational speaker.” The article seems to have been largely lifted from this Wikipedia page, so it’s good to see that Décoste isn’t entirely an affirmative action plant in the male-White-and-Asian-dominated tech sector. She at least knows how to surf the internet and copy and paste. One suspects that her motivational talks share a similar degree of originality.

In the article, she drew attention to the fact that back in the 18th and early 19th centuries some parts of Argentina had a much higher percentage of Black people than they do now:

“In colonial times, the proportion of Africans hovered around 50 per cent in half of Argentina’s provinces. General José de San Martín, the revolutionary who lead the charge to gain independence from Spanish rule, estimated that there were 400,000 Afro-Argentines who could be recruited to his armies. Black men made up 65 per cent of his troops. The 2010 census puts the Afro-Argentine population at 150,000, or less than half of one per cent.”

Décoste wants us to believe that this drop from 50% to 0.5% was due to genocide:

“Over the years, overt and covert government sanctions promoted ethnic cleansing and, some say, genocide.”

Given the fact that Argentina’s colonial population was around a fortieth of what it is now and that much of its increase was due to mass immigration from Europe, and that much of the Afro-Argentine population mixed in,  a figure of 150,000 Blacks in Argentina does not seem an unreasonable number for the country’s present-day Black population. The Wikipedia entry says that “over 5% of Argentines state they have at least one black ancestor, and a further 20% state they do not know whether or not they have any black ancestors.”

Rather than being “genocided,” all that can be said with any degree of accuracy is that Afro-Argentines, as a separate people, did not flourish to any great extent, and this fact on its own is taken to denote genocide. By the same metric the medieval population of Iceland, which declined from 84,000 in 1300 to 47,000 by 1800, must have been subjected to genocide (although that must have been rather difficult as the Icelanders were isolated from the rest of the world!).

Those Icelandic population figures are from Gregory Clark’s economic history, A Farewell to Alms. In that book he makes the highly significant point that most of the differences in wealth between the rich countries and poor stem from the much higher productivity of workers in those countries, a point that was also noticed by none other than Karl Marx, as Clark points out:

“When Britain was at its economic apogee in the middle and late nineteenth century, a number of writers argued that its ability to pay high wages and still prosper in international competition derived mainly from the much greater intensity of labour in Britain compared to the its low-wage competitors. These writers maintained that British workers were able to operate more machinery per worker, mitigating or even eliminating the wage cost advantage of the low-wage countries.

Karl Marx himself endorsed this view. The first volume of Capital, published in 1867, contains a short chapter, ‘National Differences in Wages,’ which attributes high output per worker in British textile mills to high labour intensity.” A Farewell to Alms, p.353

At this point in his book, Clark is comparing British labour to Indian labour, but elsewhere he refers to the even lower productivity of African workers. The extremely low productivity of African workers not only explains why Africa remains poor to this day, but historically it also explains why, when Blacks were inducted into the global economy, it had to be done through slavery (forced labour) rather than the wage incentives used with more productive workers.

Among all else, slavery was also a means of artificially improving the productivity of African workers, and by the same logic, its abolition, which happened in 1853 in Argentina, lessened that productivity and by doing so weakened their ability to compete demographically with Whites.

In an economy where two races with markedly different rates of productivity coexisted without any compensatory mechanisms such as welfare, and where the resultant differences in income expressed themselves in higher fertility and survival rates, we would expect the population with the more productive workers to expand more rapidly. This is exactly what happened in Argentina, assisted by largely White immigration.

In her article Décoste contrasts Argentina with Brazil, but that, alas, is an unfortunate comparison, because, while Brazil still has a considerable Black and mulatto population, it actually followed an identical trajectory to Argentina. It moved from a population that was majority Black in the colonial period to one where Whites predominate, and no one is accusing the Brazilians of committing genocide against Blacks.

The main differences between Brazil and Argentina were that Brazil had a higher initial Black population, abolished slavery later (1888), attracted less capital, and saw less economic development. These factors were of course all related and together explain why Argentina moved further down the road of ‘Whitification’ than Brazil did, although both were moving in the same direction until comparatively recently.

Progressives should be warned that comparing Argentina with Brazil is sure to raise some interesting questions and point towards some awkward conclusions that challenge their simplistic historical model of evil Whites committing genocide whenever they got the chance.

from Argentina in Whiteface

July 16, 2014
Slavoj Žižek and the Politics of Plagiarism

The continental philosophy superstar Slavoj Žižek was recently found to have plagiarized from the paleoconservative magazine American Renaissance.

Steve Sailer drew attention to a 2006 article by Žižek, “A Plea for a Return to Différance (with a Minor Pro Domo Sua)”, which included a summary of Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique. Sailer wrote that “the superstar professor achieves a higher degree of clarity while expounding MacDonald’s message than in any other passage I’ve read by Žižek”. The first comment on Sailer’s post: “That’s really weird. It looks like he copy-pasted somebody else’s summary.”

A few hours later, the blogger Deogolwulf found that Žižek had in fact copy-pasted someone else’s summary: Stanley Hornbeck’s review in American Renaissance of MacDonald’s book.

Here’s the first part of Žižek’s summary:

The main academic proponent of this new barbarism is Kevin MacDonald, who, in The Culture of Critique, argues that certain twentieth-century intellectual movements led by Jews have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man; these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian.

And here’s Hornbeck:

In The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald advances a carefully researched but extremely controversial thesis: that certain 20th century intellectual movements – largely established and led by Jews – have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man. He claims that these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian.

A full account of the similarities and differences between the two can be found here.

Žižek has responded:

With regard to the recent accusations about my plagiarism, here is what happened. When I was writing the text on Derrida which contains the problematic passages, a friend told me about Kevin Macdonald’s theories, and I asked him to send me a brief resume. The friend send [sic] it to me, assuring me that I can use it freely since it merely resumes another’s line of thought. Consequently, I did just that – and I sincerely apologize for not knowing that my friend’s resume was largely borrowed from Stanley Hornbeck’s review of Macdonald’s book. … In no way can I thus be accused of plagiarizing another’s line of thought, of »stealing ideas.« I nonetheless deeply regret the incident.

Some communist academics are defending him, claiming that his plagiarism is a non-issue that’s only used against him by political opponents:

It’s not the first time Žižek has plagiarized, either: his practice of ‘self-plagiarism’, copying and pasting passages, sometimes entire chapters, from his own articles and passing them off as original, is well-known, and a passage in his book The Parallax View has been found to be identical to a 2003 Guardian article.

from Slavoj Žižek and the Politics of Plagiarism

July 11, 2014
Anthony Cumia and the Inverted Samurai of the American Ghetto

Anthony Cumia, known along with Gregg “Opie” Hughes and Jim Norton as part of The Opie & Anthony Show, was fired last week after having been apparently attacked by a Black woman on the street and posting about it on Twitter. Sirius XM, the satellite radio company who had been syndicating the show, called Cumia’s comments on Twitter “racially charged and hate-filled”, evidently making them ground for Cumia’s firing.

You can look at the offending Tweets and judge for yourself, but whatever you think of them, this incident illustrates something about today’s American norms: making racially offensive comments about Blacks is seen as worse than Black-on-White violence. If Cumia and the Black woman he photographed had been reversed, we know what the media and political (but we repeat ourselves) response would have been. But in the United States of 2014, Blacks, among other groups, are a protected class, and violence from protected classes is acceptable in a way that even the mere verbal objections of Whites like Cumia are not. Protected classes are nothing new, however, as Mencius Moldbug explains:

In old Japan, it wasn’t illegal to be an asshole. It wasn’t even illegal to be an asshole to a samurai. But it was illegal to be an asshole to a samurai – if you weren’t a samurai. See how it works? You might say the samurai were a sort of protected class. A system not at all unique to old Japan. Always and everywhere, “microaggressing” against the protected class is hazardous to your health.

In old Japan, it was illegal to be an asshole to a samurai if you weren’t a samurai. In modern-day America, it’s technically illegal for anyone to attack anyone—even for Blacks to attack Whites—and it’s legal for Whites to say bad things about individual Blacks, but the former goes unpunished and the latter does not. De jure is not always de facto: it doesn’t matter whether something is legal if you’ll still lose your job for it.

But there’s a difference between Blacks in 2014 America and the samurai of old Japan: the former are not an aristocracy. If they were, would their situation really be steadily getting worse, as it has been? Besides, Blacks as a group do not make America’s administrative decisions—they’re not the ones designating who is and isn’t a member of a protected class.

If America isn’t old Japan, what is it? History is a very big place, so we must have some historical precedent for this state of affairs—but what?

Moldbug continues, and provides the precedent.

America is a communist country. For workers and peasants, read: blacks and Hispanics.

The capital-C Communists claimed to rule for the benefit of the workers and peasants, but really ruled for the benefit of themselves. The progressives—who can reasonably be called lowercase-c communists—claim to rule for the benefit of the Blacks and Hispanics, but the Blacks and Hispanics clearly don’t rule. Instead, progressives rule in their name.

Such initiatives as affirmative action and ‘diversity’ may be understood as tools to increase the power of progressivism. This works on multiple levels: first, they create a way for progressives to exercise power and create job positions that do nothing but promote progressivism; second, they provide a way to measure the conformity of an institution with progressivism; and third, there is a tacit understanding that those who claim the benefits of affirmative action ought to be progressives themselves, as was most recently shown by Harry Reid’s “five White men” slip.

The belief that progressives really are concerned with White ‘racism’ makes it difficult to explain why they do not go after those (of even their own number) who take great care to isolate themselves from non-Whites. The fact that they are concerned with things like speech and representation in Disney movies, but not with this isolation, or the fact that the material condition of Blacks has been steadily declining ever since desegregation, shows the lie: the Communist bureaucrats of the Soviet Union wrapped their drive to accumulate power and eliminate those they considered elthedish in talk of concern for workers and peasants, and the lowercase-c communists of today do much the same.

from Anthony Cumia and the Inverted Samurai of the American Ghetto

July 7, 2014
Stalin’s American Fanboys: FDR and the Warner Brothers Go to Moscow

We’ve written before about Mission to Moscow, the pro-Stalin film made by Warner Brothers at FDR’s personal request. Here is a review of it. Try to guess where it’s from.

Just as “Mission to Moscow,” which was Joseph E. Davies’s report on his two-year Ambassadorship to Russia, was a striking and controversial book, so its translation into pictures should prove an equally agitating work. For this generally faithful screen version, which Warners brought to the Hollywood yesterday, is clearly the most outspoken picture on a political subject that an American studio has ever made. With a boldness unique in film ventures, which usually evade all issues, it comes out sharply and frankly for an understanding of Russia’s point of view. It says with a confident finality that Russia’s leaders saw, when the leaders of other nations dawdled, that the Nazis were a menace to the world. And it has no hesitancy whatever in stepping on a few tender toes.

Based entirely on the personal observations reported by Mr. Davies in his book, it will obviously prove offensive to those elements which have challenged his views. Particularly will it anger the so-called Trotskyites with its visual re-enactment of the famous “Moscow trials.” For it puts into the record for millions of moviegoers to grasp an admission that the many “purged” generals and other leaders were conspirators in a plot—a plot engineered by Trotsky with the Nazis and the Japs to drain the strength of Russia and make it an easy victim for conquest.

Further, it takes some healthy potshots at Britain’s Chamberlain government. It pictures the pre-war Ambassador of Great Britain to Russia as a foggy person. It characterizes the French and Polish envoys as anti-Russian to the core and swings a vicious wallop at Congressional isolationists over here. In short, it says quite clearly that reactionaries permitted the war and that Russia, far from earlier suspicion, is a true and most reliable ally.

That is the general content of “Mission to Moscow” as a film—or should we say as a screen manifesto, which is actually what it is. For in form it follows closely the episodic pattern of Mr. Davies’s book and aspires, through re-enactment, to convey a realistic impression of fact.

Despite the jabs against “the so-called Trotskyites” and their obvious errors of thinking that Trotsky was not the leader of a Nazi plot to overthrow the USSR and that Stalin was not a great leader whose “point of view” ought to be defended “sharply and frankly”, this was not from a Communist Party paper.

No, it ran in the New York Times.

That’s right: Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally ordered the creation of a Stalinist propaganda film based on the memoirs of a man who was “brainwashed by Stalin completely”, a film its own director would later call “an expedient lie for political purposes, glossily covering up important facts with full or partial knowledge of their false presentation”—and the New York Times reviewed it favorably and uncritically.

from Stalin’s American Fanboys: FDR and the Warner Brothers Go to Moscow

July 2, 2014
Maya Peterson and the Great American Outrage Machine

The media runs on clicks, and outrage brings clicks like nothing else but celebrity gossip; so those parts of the media that don’t run on celebrity gossip run on outrage. Due to the political tendencies of journalists—and this is surely even more the case now, with the proliferation of communist-run new media outlets—media outrage tends to be progressive outrage.

Here is the latest example. The title: “What Happens When A Prep School’s Black Student President Mocks Her White Male Classmates”. We are told in the first line that “an Instagram photo allegedly led the country’s most expensive boarding school to strip its first black female student body president of her role.” An Instagram photo mocking her white male classmates, that is.

One day last March, Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson donned L.L. Bean boots and a Yale University sweater to pose for an Instagram photo depicting what she described as a typical “Lawrenceville boi”: white, Republican, and cockily holding a hockey stick.

Peterson, who graduated in June, added hashtags like “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool” before posting. It was a joke, she said, inspired by classmates who complained to the school’s dean of students about Peterson’s own senior photo, in which she and 10 friends, all black, raised their fists in a “Black Power” salute.

Why should someone who shows open disdain for a large part of the population of the school be student body president? And why is it that someone who attends the country’s most expensive boarding school is getting depicted in the media as an oppressed victim?

Completely missing the irony of depicting someone whose parents can afford to pay $53,000 a year for her to attend high school—and, yes, it’s pointed out in the article that her parents paid full tuition—as anything but privileged, Buzzfeed whines:

The photo was simply the last straw for many white students who never wanted Peterson to be president in the first place — and for Peterson herself, who said she was sick of fighting vicious attacks from the most privileged members of the elite school. …

Peterson, a tall, animated 17-year-old with flowing dreads and thick-rimmed glasses who ran on a platform of “inclusion and acceptance and pride in oneself,” wasn’t just the first black woman to serve as student body president — she’s an out lesbian too. She won the election by reaching out to students whom other candidates overlooked, including freshmen and minorities, other students said.

And here’s what she did with her power.

One of Peterson’s first acts as president was to institute a “diversity representative” on the student council board to eliminate tension on campus when talking about race and gender issues. But her diversity initiatives were not widely welcomed; a push for gender neutral bathrooms was particularly controversial. …

The backlash to her election led to personal attacks. Shortly after Peterson was elected, an anonymous student sent the dean of students photos of Peterson using marijuana. Soon after, the school received more anonymous information that alleged Peterson had posted racist tweets about a Sikh student. In a school-wide meeting, Peterson apologized for the photos and the dean of students clarified that the racist tweets were fabricated. Still, many students believed she wasn’t right for the position.

Students of Lawrenceville, the boarding school, found the post and explained what really happened—which turns out to have the exact opposite moral from what Buzzfeed spun it into. “The school president I voted for our senior year broke school rules and was voted out by HER OWN STUDENT COUNCIL.” That she was voted out—unanimously but for the ‘diversity representative’—is not mentioned in the article; nor is it mentioned that drug use is supposed to disqualify candidates from running in the student council elections. (It was only uncovered after the election results were in.)

Predictably, it’s also not mentioned, except in the comments, that “she cheated on a test, and when a Sikh student notified the teachers, she bullied him for it. That’s two violations, enough to merit expulsion for any normal student. … Lawrenceville had no problem expelling the sons of wealthy benefactors when they misbehaved, and my class had several “white males” who got themselves kicked out for pedestrian smoking and drinking. Maya only lost a spot on the student council, and walked to receive her diploma in front of her friends and family.

Another student wrote, “I was a friend of the Sikh student in question, and Maya also made completely insensitive comments about his weight, and no amount of wishy-washing Buzzfeed reporting can change this. There were elements to her behavior that were simply unacceptable, and I was a personal witness to this.”

In other words: if you’re a black lesbian who goes around creating student government positions for ‘diversity representatives’, you’re above the rules of your $53,000/year boarding school, and when you get voted out of your student government seat after not only showing open hatred for a large part of the student body, but also doing things that would’ve gotten a mere white male expelled, Buzzfeed will come to your defense.

If that’s not privilege, what is?

from Maya Peterson and the Great American Outrage Machine

June 21, 2014
Redneck Authenticity and Its Ironic Enemies

Progressives hate country folk. This is isn’t news, of course—they remind us of it with every Phil Robertson or Cliven Bundy they can find—but it is worth examining. I’ve got an article here discussing the deredneckization measures put in place by the present US political superstructure—we’ll call it the Fourth Union—and the laughably unrevolutionary quality of the established anti-proletarian leftism it exemplifies.

What I do not discuss in that article, however, is the matter of what Brahmins’ true feelings are, beneath the snark and feigned indignation. Sure, they hate rednecks and farmers—but is there perhaps more to it than smug contempt? These same progressives are known to enjoy such things as folk punk, communal living, and ritual use of enemas. They show disdain for technological progress in any field other than that of shiny toys they can tap with their thumbs. They’d like life to be a bit slower. A bit more contemplative. A bit more genuine. They love what is stripped-downreal, and sincere. They’re desperate for that strange and intangible human quality: authenticity. We all are, of course—such is the postmodern condition—and I’ve written on this previously:

We can be “true to ourselves” by eating new foods and dying our hair—just as thousands of others do. We can be “different” like everyone else, and this makes us “free”. In a world where we no longer have to be decent to fit in, fitting in is the closest thing we have to being decent. No longer bound by our elders’ wishes, by our ancestors’ customs, by our sense of conscience, we are raised to please our peers—and we have the audacity to call this “authenticity”!

But not all of us are starving for sincerity with the same desperation. Progressives clearly crave it bad—but the men of the countryside? They know their neighbors. They work close to home. They go to church. It’s thoroughly normal for them to build things and grow their own food. They have a level of self-reliance that no small number of Brahmins would love to attain. This can be made insincere and ironic, too, of course—the merchandising of Duck Dynasty tells us as much—but the demands of rural existence don’t allow for too much of that; there’s a certain lack of bourgeois pretension in the country life. There’s something about a fresh-made kolache, or a good plate of fried gizzards, which is more authentic than a quinoa salad with artisanal mustard and a grande latte.

Brahmins want authenticity—rural folk live it. Not to mention that these same genuine, sincere, simple people do not at all share the thedish norms of the yearning progressive, let alone his utmost convictions. There was once a rural Left, but that’s long gone. Any good progressive in 2014 hates the White working class his ideological grandfather championed. They’re hicks, inbreds, bigots, racists, homophobes—and they’re more authentic, more real, more legit, than the typical Brahmin can even pretend to be. That’s got to sting.

So perhaps part of the urgency in Brahmin cries for a “Third Reconstruction” und so weiter is a deep and uncomfortable suspicion that rural areas and their inhabitants are wellsprings of authenticity—an authenticity so foreign to the latte-sipping pseudosophisticates, however, that they wish to destroy those whom they cannot join.

Huey Long and FDR should have fought each other to the death for the Presidency in 1936.

from Redneck Authenticity and Its Ironic Enemies

June 18, 2014
U.S. Patent and Trade Office Cancels ‘Disparaging’ Redskins Trademark

It’s been fashionable among progressives to whine about the offensiveness of the Washington Redskins’ name for some time, and now the US Patent and Trade Office has cancelled its trademark registration, calling the name “disparaging to Native Americans”:

The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed.

“This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word “Redskin.”

“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath, said. “The dedication and professionalism of our attorneys and the determination of our clients have resulted in a milestone victory that will serve as an historic precedent.”

Precedent indeed! The names and images which “may disparage” an individual or group are as endless as the human ability to find things to get offended by. John Durant made a point of this on Twitter earlier:

As these not-implausible examples illustrate, actions like this one by the Patent and Trade Office are less about defending supposedly disparaged individuals or groups and more about letting the world know who’s boss. Likewise with Mozilla, and Business Insider, and so on. We might like to think of trademark registration as an apolitical thing, but progressivism demands otherwise.

So it’s been a good day for social progress. Unemployment, crime, and drug abuse on American Indian reservations remain serious problems, but at least the people living on them no longer have to worry about disparaging remarks from red-State football fans. I’m sure they’re very thankful to the USPTO about this.

from U.S. Patent and Trade Office Cancels ‘Disparaging’ Redskins Trademark

June 15, 2014
Off-Script Democracy: Eric Cantor’s ‘Anti-Semitic’ Loss

“[My opponent] is running on Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable principles.”

“All of the investment banks, up in New York and D.C., they should have gone to jail.”

Thus spoke the surprise winner of an obscure primary that was expected to be won easily by the incumbent, a widely-hated figure who spent several hundred thousand dollars of his campaign budget on entertainment and needlessly expensive travel, and whose wife once worked for Goldman Sachs.

But the media doesn’t like this very much.

The reason is simple: Eric Cantor, the House Majority Whip, was a major figure in not only Wall Street’s Rolodex, but also the push for increased mass immigrationand Dave Brat, the economics professor who defeated Cantor, made mass immigration a central issue of his campaign. Laura Ingraham, a talk radio host who backed Brat, tweeted her motivation for doing so:

It’s not news that progressivism has come to be on the same side as capital on many issues, of which immigration is onethe Kochs, who have become a metonym to progressives for well-funded ultraconservatism, back open-borders initiatives. So it’s not surprising that Dave Brat’s opposition to “Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundable principles” didn’t save him from the round of media denunciation that comes to anyone who opposes mass immigration.

What may be more surprising is the other media response.

Eric Cantor, you see, is Jewishand Dave Brat is a Christian with a theology degree. Naturally, this means that Virginia’s 7th District, which not only elected Cantor, but reëlected him six times, is a raging hotbed of anti-Semitism. The New York Daily News floated this explanation, writing that Cantor “was highly visible as the only Jewish Republican in the House, in a district with a strong evangelical presence”, but the Times of Israel went all-out with it, headlining their story covering the election, “Could Cantor have lost because he’s a Jew?”

The New York Times also ran with it:

David Wasserman, a House political analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said another, more local factor has to be acknowledged: Mr. Cantor, who dreamed of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House, was culturally out of step with a redrawn district that was more rural, more gun-oriented and more conservative.

“Part of this plays into his religion,” Mr. Wasserman said. “You can’t ignore the elephant in the room.”

Never mind that Cantor won the rural northern counties of the district, and that Brat’s largest margin of victory came in Hanover County, a suburb of Richmond, where two thirds of the votes went to Brat—never mind that Cantor was reëlected six timesno, those damn ruralites, clinging to their guns and religion, must all be raging anti-Semites.

Then there’s this Politico article, where things get really weird:

Matt Brooks, the RJC president, called Cantor’s primary “one of those incredible, evil twists of fate that just changed the potential course of history.”

“There are other leaders who will emerge, but Eric was unique and it will take time and there’s nobody quite like Eric in the House to immediately fill those shoes,” Brooks said. “I was certainly hoping that Eric was going to be our first Jewish speaker.”

Across the aisle, the reactions to Cantor’s defeat ranged from shock and distress to barely-restrained glee. For partisan Jewish Democrats, Cantor has long been a supremely annoying figure, perceived as a front man for a conservative party that’s hostile to the values a strong majority of Jews share on issues from economic inequality to gay marriage to immigration, the central animating issue of Cantor challenger Dave Brat’s campaign.

As Democrats seek to cement a public perception of the GOP as an intolerant and homogenous party, the defeat of the nation’s leading Jewish Republican over his support for more relaxed immigration laws can only help.

Incredible! Evil! Changed the potential course of history! …What?

One must wonder if the charge of anti-Semitism serves to mask certain other concerns, the airing of which would further undermine progressives’ already comedically absurd attempts to market themselves as tolerant. There are so many other lines of attack (some, like the belief that citing Max Weber is fascist, even more absurd than the belief that it’s anti-Semitic to win an election against a Jew) that it’s hard to believe that so many people could come to the same conclusion for so many different reasonsit’s far more likely that there are only a few underlying concerns, but that no one will admit them.

One of those is probably Cantor’s establishment role, his “Chamber of Commerce principles”, support for mass immigration, and ability to make himself palatable to a press that habitually speaks power to truth. Another is that, by electing Brat, the voters went off-script: Cantor was an establishment man in what was thought to be a safe district. Brat’s election is the exception that proves the rule: the voters’ normal role is to sit downstream of the media, think how they’re told to, and vote (and act) accordingly. But there’s still a third.

As The Federalist has pointed out, many reporters (and many Brahmins) see Christianity as something backwards, alien, and vaguely threateningin a country where the vast majority of the population is Christian, no less. Religion just isn’t high-status among Brahmins: it imposes constraints against the often-destructive hedonistic excesses that the Brahmin intelligentsia prefer to promote, it demands community that isn’t based solely around status-seeking, and besides, those icky, backwards people in the South do it, so it can’t be considered cool the way Westernized Buddhism or Islam are.

Eric Cantor is Jewishbut Dave Brat is a Christian with a theology degree, and he beat a pro-amnesty candidate in a supposedly safe seat. That’s where the real objections come from.

from Off-Script Democracy: Eric Cantor’s ‘Anti-Semitic’ Loss

June 14, 2014
The Social Vacuum of Progressive Hegemony

George Orwell, in 1984, described a chaotic world of perpetual warfare: a large part of the planet was forever fought over and constantly changing hands, with the lives of the inhabitants assigned minimal value.

“Between the frontiers of the super-states, and not permanently in the possession of any of them, there lies a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin, and Hong Kong, containing within it about a fifth of the population of the earth. It is for the possession of these thickly-populated regions, and of the northern ice-cap, that the three powers are constantly struggling. In practice no one power ever controls the whole of the disputed area. Portions of it are constantly changing hands, and it is the chance of seizing this or that fragment by a sudden stroke of treachery that dictates the endless changes of alignment.”

Due to the decline of both moral and pragmatic qualities that progressivism has caused, the West is effectively creating a similar zone of chaos and anarchy today. This has been driven home by the recent news from Iraq: Mosul, one of the country’s largest cities, has been taken over by Sunni militants opposed to the forces of the Shiite-dominated government, in a move that threatens to cause the creation of a fully independent Kurdish state further north, which would in turn have repercussions for the West’s ally, Turkey, and its foe, Iran.

The great flaw of Washington and its allies in recent years has been a tendency to start things without finishing them. There are two sides to this: again, a drastic decline in political pragmatism combined with a fall in moral worth. The West is now driven to destabilize or depose the natural power elites of various Third World states, often for short-term corporate interests but also often because they simply offend the moral scruples of Brahmins.

But Brahmin moral posturing is paper-thin. It lacks the fiber and deep honour of the morality of many of the ‘rednecks’ and ‘flyovers’ they so detest. In other words, it is incapable of committing a country to fulfill the duties it assumes and conscientiously follow through, supporting allies, opposing enemies, and rebuilding countries. For the Brahmin ruling class, it is enough to make the moral gesture, get the buzz, and then sidle away from the mess they have created and look for the next thrill.

This irresponsible attitude has created a toxic brew of “hegemonic anarchy” that has driven countries like Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Mali, Yemen, and Syria into chaos, civil war, and deeper dysfunction than they are normally capable of. Iraq and Afghanistan, the scenes of the West’s greatest commitments and sacrifices, are clearly heading this way tooas is Nigeria, despite the hashtag offensive of recent weeks. Against this background, some countries in the danger zone, like Algeria, Egypt, and Thailand, have found temporary reprieve by reverting to old-style military dictatorships and a bit of PR to keep the Brahmins from noticing them too much.

Iraq is a classic example of the kind of country that either requires pragmatic or principled treatment, but which in Brahmin hands just turns to mush. Like most Third World countries, it has badly-drawn borders that do not correspond to nations, but instead throw together diverse and antagonistic thedes.

Thanks to the former predominance of the Turks in the region, the natural ruling elite has always been rooted in the Sunni Arab part of the population. This is also a group that occupies a relatively central position, with the numerically superior Shiite Arabs to the South and the non-Arabic Kurds to the North North-West.

Despite its inherent flaws and weakness, Iraq, with the right kind of strong and pragmatic leader, could be relatively stable. Although Saddam Hussein was clearly deeply flawed, he may well have been a workable solution for the country in a way that the present underpowered ‘strongman,’ Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, isn’t.

A well-managed partition of the country into three separate sections corresponding to the three main groups in the population may have been another option at one time, but that moment has clearly passed. Whatever new borders arise will now have to be drawn in blood, while any strongmen that arise to keep the country united are likely to get on the wrong side of the Brahmins at some point and meet the same end as Saddam or Gaddafi.

The truth is that Brahmins prefer anarchy to a convenient tyrant: anarchy says “we tried” rather than “we connived”, and, as the somewhat Orwellian phrase “humanitarian intervention” hints at, it helps them to feel better about themselves. Rather than totalitarian humanism, what Brahmin America is pioneering is a form of hegemonic anarchy.

from The Social Vacuum of Progressive Hegemony

June 12, 2014
The Assortative Atomization of America

The distinctiveness of the American civic atmosphere, with its unprecedented degree of social equality, has been noted from Tocqueville to G.W. Steevens to Charles Murray. This doesn’t mean America has ever been truly classless—especially not in the South or Northeast—but democratic and Protestant ideas, commercial forces, and an abundance of space have ensured a large intermediate class whose upper section drives the societal discourse, and only a small gentry. America thus developed norms and institutions, often business-related ones, that facilitated coöperation across class and regional lines.

But over the past three or four generations in particular, the more prestigious of these institutions have come to function as a massive sorting apparatus which diminishes or removes the familial and contractual bonds which made a classless, transregional set of civic norms possible. Class divisions have sharpened as this sorting machine puts educated Whites who vote Democrat and have more pets than television sets—the upper-middle class, Brahmins par excellence—in homogeneous communities sheltered both from the underclass and from the tens of millions of working- and middle-class men and women who do not share their mores (or, frequently, their level of comfort).

At the heart of this divergence is the matter of atomization: people don’t know each other as well as they used to. One’s social networks consist less of extended family, neighbors, and coworkers and depend more on one’s peer groups in school. Americans move less frequently than they did a generation ago, but they remain one of the least stationary peoples in the world, and they’re much less likely to join or form any voluntary organizations.

Social dissolution has thus been at work on more than just national thedishness. Local distinctions and neighborhood quirks have been effaced as regional differences broaden and become tied with ever-more prominent class differences. The landlessness which has long been a part of proletarian life has become the standard—or as Christopher Lasch put it, “the war of all against all, which is now spreading from the lower class, where it has long raged without interruption, to the rest of society.” Thus there aren’t many deeply-rooted, long-term thedish affiliations available to middle- and working-class Americans.

There are plenty of shallower, quicker-gone ones, however. The loose social networks of the atomized environment allow for nameless groups to cluster around shared interests and inside jokes. Subcultures abound, some of them multigenerational, and there are some thedes which are implicitly White and non-Brahmin, though this can rarely be codified, for obvious reasons. By voting Republican and going to the local evangelical church, you can, at the very least, signal your middle-class status (add in talk radio and a pack-a-day habit for solid high-prole). Some organizations are even more reliably White and non-Brahmin: Future Farmers of America, for example. If you did well in FFA in high school, of course, you’re about two-thirds less likely to be accepted by an elite college. Here we see the importance of the sorting machine.

Common among the White middle class is a sense of patriotism, which would be great if their country and Brahmin country didn’t both call themselves America. Divergent and interantagonistic groups of people—well-off Brahmins, the working and middle classes, and the growing underclass—are living under the same flag, using the same currency, and voting in the same elections. They are not, however, living in the same neighborhoods, consuming the same media, or going to the same schools (middle-class and prole kids are more likely to see members of the underclass at school than upper-middles are).

These people see one another as foreigners, yet their differences are treated as political matters to be resolved judicially or electorally rather than those of distinct ethnicities or classes with territorial autonomy. In other words, the focus is on voice as opposed to exit, and the voice that tends to win calls for the “reconstruction” of other voices. The toxicity of this arrangement ought to be clear enough.

from The Assortative Atomization of America

June 11, 2014
Hidden History: The French Mutinies of 1917

Soldiers laying down arms. Soldiers saying enough is enough. Soldiers protesting the war because it has no just cause. Talk of revolution. Disobeying orders. Killing officers. Boomer nostalgia over Vietnam? No, this is about the French Army Mutinies of 1917. In the spring of 1917, the French Army faced a widespread revolt within its ranks. Few people discuss this mutiny, but it is part of the Great War storybook that is swept under the rug. Few books are out there about the mutiny, and one film is sort of based on it, which is amazing because the essence of the event is so left. Maybe the lack of attention is that the mutiny did not stop the war, and the leadership responded to the demands of the men in the trenches.

This mutiny occurred after the Nivelle Offensive. This was another offensive that gained nothing in the face of automatic weapons in dug in defensive positions that typified the war. The Germans had made changes in communications, reconnaissance and had worked a flexible defensive reaction to offensives rather than their old hold all ground approach. The offensive failed and soldiers started to lose it. The government called it collective indiscipline, but as many as half of the French divisions were non-functional. Had the Germans any inkling of what was going on, they could have sprung fast and probably pushed onward to Paris with French soldiers melting away, returning home. That is what men were angry about: conditions, the deplorable fighting for nothing, leaves, better food, and an end to it all.

General Petain reacted to the men’s demands and delivered on promises. Men were rotated home, leaves were granted, and many of the items the soldiers argued for were addressed. There was a bit of a political element with the later period of the mutiny, but Petain took care of this. There were also court martialed soldiers and executed soldiers. Here is where the hidden part comes in. The archives were sealed until 100 years later. In a few years, we will know everything as historians will have access to all of the mutiny records. Maybe that is part of the reluctance to create martyrs and heroes out of the mutineers because what if the only men executed were men who killed fellow soldiers?

Avoiding this little nugget seems normal in the vast expanse that is history, but how many inconsequential diversity history bits are pushed on school children? This is an anti-war history bit. Children learn of fragging officers in Vietnam. The hard lesson might be that leadership responded, but the war went on. People power did not matter. What were the French fighting and not negotiating for in 1917 anyway? Were Alsace and Lorraine that hot? Maybe. The war went on because unlike the Russians and their deserting, mutinous soldiers, the French had plenty of material goods and food to calm their soldiers down with. Anti-war soldiers could be bought off, and that is a lot harder to pitch than martyrs. It is better to focus on the plight of the men in the trenches, not that they finally rebelled and, when they did, relaxed for a few baguettes and some R&R.

from Hidden History: The French Mutinies of 1917

June 10, 2014
The Rainbow Coalition Fractures in Schools on Both Coasts

It has long been politically encouraged for minority groups to rail against the injustices, real or perceived, of White America. They’re still more than happy to do that in a city like Detroit, even though it has been a primarily Black city for decades. Just last month, we heard the appropriate wailing and gnashing of teeth when it was discovered that American schools have been re-segregating in the sixty years since Brown v. Board of Education (and not in the South, but in the Northeast!).

The LA Times had an interesting story shortly after that round of media upset, in which we learn that in one middle school in Watts in Los Angeles, Latinos—supposedly the Black community’s allies in the coalition of the officially-designated Oppressed—are apparently starting to do some oppressing of their own. To wit:

“Fanning racial tensions at a Watts middle school, several African American parents say Latino administrators are unfairly targeting their children and unofficially suspending them from classes.”

“It’s extremely clear there is a racial thing going on,” said [Ingrid] Villeda, the [teacher] union’s south area chairwoman. “You have a Mexican principal suspending all African American kids. You can’t lie about it.”

And what kind of things are they being suspended for? According to that LA Times report, one “victim”, Traeveon Cohen, had been sent home at least five times during the last school year after being told to “cool off.” Part of this stemmed from alleged bullying, which led to Cohen hitting his tormenter “with marbles in a sock.”

It’s also worth noting that Markham Middle School, the school this is all happening at, is “one of 17 schools run by the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit started by former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to turn around low-performing campuses.”

Low-performing? Perish the thought! What are the demographics of the school, anyway? At the LA Unified School District website, we can see that this is a dominantly Hispanic school with a Black minority population—and a lone White eighth-grader, for whom one cannot help but feel bad.

The same process is at work in Baltimore:

Racial tensions erupt both inside and outside of Digital Harbor High School in Federal Hill over the past week. Now school officials and the police are coming together to try to put an end to the violence. Students say the feud is between African- Americans and Latinos. …

“There were some problems between students, and that’s what started everything,” said Jose Dominguez, student.

Dominguez says his fellow classmates are scared to walk the halls after two students were attacked last week after school. …

“It’s like segregation. Hispanic kids stay on one side. The African-Americans stay on the other,” said Sevi Chaplin, a student at the school. “They’ve been breaking out into fights, riots, everything else.”

Some parents are so fearful they’ve kept their kids home.

“I didn’t send mine back Monday or Tuesday, yesterday or today. No, I didn’t,” said concerned mother Kisha Jackson.

Frightened for his life, tenth-grader Ali Majeki is on edge. He says he has to constantly watch his back in school. He said the diversity divide is the talk of the halls.

“Every teacher is walking and talking about this situation,” Majeki said.

A few students say it escalated between African-Americans and Latinos after the murder of a former Mexican student, 15-year-old Oscar Torres.

The diversity divide! The progressives’ rainbow coalition is fracturingnot that it, composed as it was of groups with nothing in common other than a common enemy, was ever not fractured. States like Maryland and California are the ones to watch here: California became a Hispanic-plurality State sometime this spring and Maryland is taking in immigrants from all around the globe (not to mention that over half of its births are to non-Whites), we’re sure to hear about more schools like Markham and Digital Harbor.

from The Rainbow Coalition Fractures in Schools on Both Coasts

June 6, 2014
University College London Bans Student Club For Being Anti-Marxist

If you like having the freedom to read books by philosophers who weren’t Marxists, you must be a fascist—at least according to University College London, which banned a student organization called the Nietzsche Club from holding meetings on campus after UCLU, its student union, were offended by a poster that read “Too much political correctness?”.

The poster went on to list examples of philosophers the group was interested in, including Heidegger and, of course, Nietzsche, both of whom are commonly read in even undergraduate philosophy departments in many Western countries. Nevertheless, they’re too extreme for UCLU; in its resolution banning the club, it condemns them as “on the extreme-right, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, homophobic, anti-Marxist, anti-worker”. Anti-Marxist! The horror!

It’s no surprise that UCLU would be horrified; Socialist Appeal wrote last year that “University College London Union, like many other student unions, held elections this spring for full-time and part-time positions representing the student body. These elections can be considered a success, as most of the full-time officer positions are now occupied by candidates on the left of the political spectrum.”

On the left of the political spectrum: yes, left enough that UCLU’s resolution openly states its belief not only that “there is no meaningful distinction to be made between a far-right and a fascist ideology” and that “fascism has no place at UCL or UCLU, and that any attempts by fascists or the far-right to organise on campus must be met with unconditional resistance”, but also that “fascism is used by the ruling class to divide workers and students along ethnic, national, religious, and gender lines, as a measure to split them and thus weaken their effectiveness as a force and undermine their resistance to policies of austerity, attacks on living standards and public services, and other consequences of the crisis of the capitalist system”and then resolves to “commit to a struggle against fascism and the far-right, in a united front of students, workers, trade unions and the wider labour movement, with the perspective of fighting the root cause of fascism – capitalism. Thus, the struggle is to be united under the programme of a socialist transformation of society.”

Yes, you read that right: one of the highest-ranked universities in the world is run by Marxists. It’s as though the 1960s are never really over.

from University College London Bans Student Club For Being Anti-Marxist

June 4, 2014
Two Great Reads on the Great War

The centennial for the Great War is rapidly approaching. Who will mark the booming of the guns of August? The non-fiction, as well as fiction, of and about that horrific struggle and its aftermath is usually overshadowed by the love affair with the Roaring Twenties, the Turbulent Thirties, and World War Two. There are gems to be found in this area of non-fiction, gems that stand with feet firmly in the old world gone by—or in the “the proud tower“, as Tuchman’s book of the pre-war era was named. It was an age of kings and titles, when Europe had a sense of honor that, one hundred years later, looks gone for good. If you have the time, read Under Fire by Henri Barbusse (here and here for free) and The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus.

Barbusse’s work of fiction was based on his experiences serving in the French Army. It is gritty, brutal and anti-war in mood. Barbusse looks at the war as a horrific mistake created by old institutions gone mad. This is interesting because it was published in 1916; we can see that even that early, the madness point of view had set in. Fighting in the trenches has a way of damaging the myth of gallant warfare. They should have known early, when Gallieni used taxi cabs to send troops to tip the balance at the Marne and save France, that this would be a different type of war. Even though Barbusse is angry with militarism and the foolish tragedy of it all, he loves France and the fighting élan of his fellow troops. It helps to be part of the side defending one’s homeland from invasion.

Kraus’ book is actually a play, and not available online. Kraus was a journalist and thinker in Austria. There is no love for the fight, the war, or the leadership in his writing. Considering the entire war a conspiracy among the corrupt leadership of the monarchy, Kraus paints his cast of characters as greedy jerks abusing a dumb mass of individuals. He does not think the war just or Austria good. His view fits well for our time as Americans look at the bipartisan War Party leadership, sending troops wherever and whenever for whatever purpose. Kraus was a monarchist and defender of the old order, but he went after corruption and many of the other Jewish writers of Vienna. Though Kraus himself was Jewish, he had renounced his faith and mocked the nascent Zionist movement in Austria at the time. Kraus is an interesting character and quite quotable.

Liberals do not know how to treat or approach Kraus, which is why you may not know him. Barbusse went full Communist, so he is acceptable. Kraus is a different cat, and sometimes the cat scratches you if you pet him too long. Read enough Kraus, and you see his disdain for the masses, the press, cronyism and democracy. That is probably why few discuss him. This work is not widely available, but you can still find it on Amazon—used and expensive. Barbusse’s book you can flick through on your e-reader. If you’re looking for a summer read with a historical flair, pick up either of these two books. You can read both and compare two men both opposed to war but with totally different points of view.

from Two Great Reads on the Great War

June 1, 2014
Watching the Aftermath of Thailand’s Coup

On the periphery of the American Empire is where the first moves against democracy and towards Caesarism will take place. These changes are fantastic to watch, not just for the events themselves but for the reaction in American media. Like smearing Modi after his win in the Indian elections, the framing of the Thai coup—and what is revealed as fact—is telling. The press is keen on hiding the main cause and portraying the coup in a negative light without legitimacy. Democracy is the only way, and voting must be restored as soon as possible (as long as it will provide progressive results) for any regime to have legitimacy.

Media organs like Vox and the Daily Beast are there to tell you everything a cool Internet reader like you would need to know about the Thai coup. Vox claims to tell you everything you need to know with its cards. In ten cards, they explain the historical problem of coups in Thailand, the problem of a king who has any power, and in a really odd way, never explains the immediate cause: corruption. Thailand has seen its corruption score drop in recent years. The ruling party is a billionaire who used populist slogans to amass enough votes from the illiterate masses to win election after election. With democratic electoral supremacy established through vote buying, leadership has acted in a pocket lining manner (sound familiar?). The Daily Beast tells readers all they need to know without mentioning corruption either; it is just good old fashioned government programs that people are angry about. They even use a Romney citation to describe the regime’s opponents.

The Daily Beast article reveals an incredibly smart truth moment about democracy that the writer did not even realize they were unveiling:

The Shinawatras’ enemies maintain that democracy is about governance and conduct as well as winning elections, and they insist that the Shinawatras won by essentially bribing the electorate with promises of “stuff,” in much the same way Mitt Romney accused President Obama of winning reelection.

The enemies of the regime’s leadership believe that governance and conduct matter, that legitimacy doesn’t just come from winning elections? How horrible! To the Vox/Daily Beast types, any democratically elected government (that isn’t too far to the right, of course) is legitimate, no matter how incompetent it is. Thaksin and his cronies won an election; let them run all over society and loot.

To its credit, the New York Times mentions the corruption issue. But, opposed to its coverage of the Tea Party, UKIP, and the Front National, the Times approves of Thailand’s populist movement, mentioning the growing ‘problem’ in Thailand of educated people who have “become skeptical of the notion of one person, one vote, which they say hands too much power to uneducated provincial voters who support Mr. Thaksin.” (This is, of course, totally different from the situation in the West, where educated people have become skeptical of the notion of one person, one vote, which they say hands too much power to uneducated provincial voters who support unprogressive parties; the difference is that, in the West, this manifests itself in the belief that true democracy means progressivism, and therefore UKIP, the Front National, etc. are threats to democracy.)

America’s Secretary of State and even the useless UN Secretary-General spoke out against this coup. The coup supporters seem to want a return to voting, but with some changes. What will they be able to get away with? A limited franchise, voter minimum requirements, maybe an indirect voting system like Argentina’s 19th-century voto cantado or something else might be in the cards, at least if America allows it. Watching the geopolitical events of the last year, Thailand’s elites should press for all they can to set up a system for stability and control now—just ask Assad. Maybe the Thai military is talking to the Egyptian military because they have moved off the radar as they kill off anyone they deem a Muslim extremist. Like a mystery film where the thrill is not in finding out the reveal but in wondering how the hero will react to finding out the secret, it would behoove Americans with an eye on America’s electoral future to watch what happens in Thailand.

from Watching the Aftermath of Thailand’s Coup