No jobs

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They threaten us when we are young: study hard, work hard, and get a good job or you’ll end up living in a van down by the river. You will fail where others succeed. And life for you will be bitterness as everyone laughs at you.

When I first became involved with conservatism, the most common question floating around was “Why don’t people wake up?” We could see how our society was degenerating through a death of a thousand cuts, and clearly there was no path but into oblivion. And yet people did nothing.

Most astonishing was how inert the smarter people were. The people you would think might be able to make vast change were instead completely resigned. There is nothing we can do, they would explain. The system simply will not change.

It seemed as if the entirety of our society was deliberately pushing itself into denial, if not outright self-destruction. People militantly refused to see the obvious. Resentment, self-pity and helplessness hung in the air.

Many of my cohorts went off on tangents looking for symptoms to blame as if they were causes. Most blamed the rich, some blamed the Jews, others found more nuanced groups to attack like Bilderbergers or Freemasons. I have a simpler suggestion.

Much of this relates to what Bob Black writes in “The Abolition of Work”:

My minimum definition of work is forced labor, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick. (The carrot is just the stick by other means.) But not all creation is work. Work is never done for its own sake, it’s done on account of some product or output that the worker (or, more often, somebody else) gets out of it. This is what work necessarily is. To define it is to despise it. But work is usually even worse than its definition decrees. The dynamic of domination intrinsic to work tends over time toward elaboration. In advanced work-riddled societies, including all industrial societies whether capitalist or “communist,” work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness.

Usually — and this is even more true in “communist” than capitalist countries, where the state is almost the only employer and everyone is an employee — work is employment, i.e., wage-labor, which means selling yourself on the installment plan. Thus 95% of Americans who work, work for somebody (or something) else. In Cuba or China or any other alternative model which might be adduced, the corresponding figure approaches 100%. Only the embattled Third World peasant bastions — Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey — temporarily shelter significant concentrations of agriculturists who perpetuate the traditional arrangement of most laborers in the last several millennia, the payment of taxes (= ransom) to the state or rent to parasitic landlords in return for being otherwise left alone. Even this raw deal is beginning to look good. All industrial (and office) workers are employees and under the sort of surveillance which ensures servility.

But modern work has worse implications. People don’t just work, they have “jobs.” One person does one productive task all the time on an or-else basis. Even if the task has a quantum of intrinsic interest (as increasingly many jobs don’t) the monotony of its obligatory exclusivity drains its ludic potential. A “job” that might engage the energies of some people, for a reasonably limited time, for the fun of it, is just a burden on those who have to do it for forty hours a week with no say in how it should be done, for the profit of owners who contribute nothing to the project, and with no opportunity for sharing tasks or spreading the work among those who actually have to do it.

Societies commit suicide when they become insufferable. Work makes them insufferable, because instead of serving a function, people serve as functionaries of image. This is worst in democracy, with its handmaiden consumerism, where image really is more important than reality because it is what convinces voters to vote and shoppers to buy.

Two hundred years ago, we had roles with clear goals to them, and we were rewarded for them. Now we have jobs, where the role is the job itself, and the reward is the only motivation. Much as we separated sex from marriage, we have separated work from goal, and the result is complete breakdown.

People are not “waking up” because work has crushed them. They either take low-paid jobs for lower stress and live in middle class suburbs where one can never escape the poor judgment of others, or take high-paid jobs and give their lives to them then miss their former power when they retire and die out of pique. Jobs take souls.

The best of our people have the least interest in fixing anything because they have a simple message for society: DIE. They resent their jobs, which are basically servitude to people who are stupider than they are but have more time to become “important” in the job hierarchy, and they find the stupidity of their clients or customers appalling. They have become slaves to stupidity and through that, stupor. Their brains could not recognize the crisis even if it were in front of their noses, and even if they did, they would cheer it on. Destroy this miserable place.

If conservatives want to start a revolution against the Revolution, the best target is work itself: get people working fewer hours by removing all appearance-based standards of conformity, including most regulation. Send as many workers home as possible by eliminating all make-work, and pay them to guard empty lots or watch out for pedophiles instead. Get people off the death trip that comes with the inevitable misery of jobs, work and obedience.

Nullius Mihi Culpa

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A characteristic feature of an irresponsible society is socialization of failures (externalities) while encouraging individuals to keep (capitalize) all profits from successes. Such societies are susceptible to the ravages caused by those who seek centralized power.

For this reason, in an irresponsible society it is very common to attribute achievements to individual capabilities (as if capabilities were needed in an egalitarian state) and on the other hand to blame failures on society in abstracto, so that the individual gets praise for anything that succeeds but faces no censure for failure.

In such societies convenience requires we ignore that economic success arises from the individual: intelligence, cunning, credentials and alma mater of his choice, capabilities, effort, and many other reasons that directly depend on him and his decisions.

Failures are always attributed to the collective and, even, to the past: “because we are so,” “it’s because of our ancestors,” “they are the politicians who steal everything,” “Communists are ruining it all,” “Capitalism is guilty of the ruin of the people” and an endless list of scapegoats we can blame for the misfortunes, even including superior beings for which we have not even a hint of its existence.

I want to expiate all blame on Television, because it is not T.V. who has turned society into imbeciles, but it is the society itself which has turned T.V. into a stupid thing. For example, an irresponsible society complains about the stupidity of some characters, as if it were not the same society which consumes trash-T.V. on air, filling the pockets of the not-so-stupid people with thousands of dollars. When Rocko’s Modern Life was taken off the air, I stopped watching television. After all, no one is obliged to watch the crap being showed on screen.

However, why should there be better television programming? Should television be educational? Having so many ways to self-educate yourself, why should the TV be responsible — and, therefore, the entire industry which is behind the TV — for the severe lack of education of this society? Since when is responsibility of others the education of the individual? Pick up a book.

It is too easy to blame it on the System when the individual fails, especially if this help us to forget, for a while, that we are the main causes of our own ruin. We have met the enemy and he is us.

A cynical seizure of power

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The new government of Greece has discovered it cannot make good on its anti-austerity promises. In particular, the particular reality that the money must come from somewhere has come home to roost, after the election of course.

Cynics — those who view unimproved human beings as self-serving at the expense of others — would say that this was the plan all along: promise what cannot be delivered because no one else has the audacity to tell a lie that big, take power, and then ask for forgiveness for being unable to do the impossible.

In what’s turning that nightmare into reality, Greece’s month-old anti-austerity government led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had a rude awakening last Friday when German-led pressure forced it to pedal back on most election pledges in the face of national insolvency. On the streets of Athens, Greeks used to political flip-flops in the five years of their odyssey to financial health are taking what has been a capitulation in their stride.

“When you have your hand outstretched and they say there’s no money, that’s when you put your hands up in the air,” said Alexandra Dimopulos, 60, a retired civil servant. “You may have all the good intentions in the world but that means nothing when you have no money for them.”

Before we get into bashing the Greeks for making an obviously stupid decision, let us consider that American voters have just done the same thing. In demanding the internet revert to its pre-1993 state and forward traffic equally between nodes, which ignores the changes in infrastructure and technology that have occurred since that time, the American voters have handed regulation of the internet over to the FCC. That government agency has also promised something it cannot deliver, but in exchange for the promise alone, voters have given it the power to regulate a new medium and through that, extend its relevance past what was a failing gig monitoring radio and television which are now of less importance.

In short, the voters just pledged their money and a limitation of the flexibility of the medium for the indefinite future in return for a lie that was an obvious lie at the moment it was made. They seem to do this every time: media hypes a problem, people demand a one-dimensional immediate solution, and government stands up to offer a solution like an advertiser offering product to the consumer stream, and the voters buy it. In two weeks they will not remember, having rushed on to other pleasures and panics, and the power will remain. It will be very hard to dislodge. The voters are insulated from seeing their own bad decision by the fact that they will not remember enough to connect cause with effect, that their voting created a power that was then abused, and by their tendency to simply go into denial and plug their ears with their fingers and ignore their own culpability.

So it goes in democracy, when only those who deliberately tell lies can get ahead, and those who attempt to tell the truth are drowned out by a herd of egotists who want to give their money instead to someone who promises the impossible and like a snake oil salesman apologizes later, and offers them a discount on their next purchase.

Neofedora

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Privately we can say more than we can in public. While this statement has always been true, the degree of its application has varied. For example, now we live in an age where most anything truthful must be said in private, because people are sensitive to appearance more than reality through the mechanism of democracy.

The first assault of democracy is categorical/rational logic. It uses logical tokens as if they were reality, and argues from that point, instead of using logical tokens descriptively. The result creates a tangent that heads straight out into space, with people “educated” above their station spouting off logically-correct assessments that clash with reality in every way.

Under this assault, we expect that ideas segregate themselves to their own little categories and do not leave. For that reason, if we say we are “anti-democracy,” we do not expect democratic thought in ourselves. This illusion is what allows entryism, which more properly is called assimilation, or the tendency of a generic larger pattern to absorb any breakaway smaller entities.

Such has been the problem with post-leftist movements: all of them get assimilated because the leftist ideal of equality interacts with the human mind at such a basic level. “Equality” signals that the individual is sovereign in his choices, and therefore picks only what flatters him.

Neoreaction built up a good head of steam but has run into stagnation lately because much of its growth has been hijacked by the usual tendencies. These did not start out that way, but became that way because of the nature of preaching to an audience. That is, to make money via blogs and books one must generate an audience and get them fascinated by a repetitive message, which promptly walks right into the trap of pandering to what flatters them.

For this reason, conservatism cannot exist without a hierarchy based on ability toward leadership, which is a skill rooted in philosophical judgment. Otherwise, it gets assimilated by the great prole revolt based on selling products, votes or personality to people. Its surface appearance has value because it is “different” and can be used to brand a personality as distinctive, so it becomes popular, but through that process, it gets normed to the standard for the age.

If you wonder why all efforts to rise above the democratic standard fail, it is because it forces all entrants to pitch their materials to the approval of other people. Those people then approve what flatters them, at least as soon as the fledgling movement reaches critical mass, and opportunists arise who see a chance for personal advancement in pitching to those people. This then changes the nature of the movement and humbles it to the norm.

I have now seen this process happen with a half-dozen movements — artistic, social, and political — and it follows the same pattern every time. The only way to escape it is to early on appoint leaders not by popularity but by competence. Neoreaction eschewed that unpopular tactic, and therefore, it has ended up creating its own internal advertising market and distorting its truth to fit that market.

In this, it mirrors in parallel the same complaints that afflict mainstream conservatives, who bend their ideas to fit both “working within the system” including its inevitable compromise and pandering to the voters, who inevitably do not want to hear that the voters are too incompetent to make most if not all decisions, and yet it is true. Until we fix this fundamental fracture, nothing can be done to reverse decline.

Kill the Boomers

Never forget the original name for the generation we now call “Baby Boomers”: the Me generation.

This group, born in the last days and aftermath of World War II, appeared in the United States and England, bringing a message of peace, racial brotherhood, love, happiness, drugs, casual sex and equality. In short, they combined the Bohemian philosophies of the previous century with the wartime ideology of the West, which in opposing forces that were both anti-democratic and nationalistic, championed their opposites in egalitarianism and multiculturalism.

It is significant that they emerged from the victorious powers of the Second World War. Generally when a child grows up with no consequences for his action and yet a sense of great entitlement, we call him a brat. The term “brats” is not often enough applied to the prolonged tantrum that was the 1960s, in which the children of the war revenged themselves on their parents by taking the philosophies those parents claimed to uphold and throwing them back at them.

You stand for equality? Dad, but what about the African-Americans? You stand for freedom? Mom, what about the homosexuals? You believe in peace? Why are we fighting for peace in Vietnam, then?

Gotcha!

The entire Baby Boomer mentality is one of finding exceptions and, using those to claim the invalidity of the philosophy that opposes whatever the Boomers desire, creating a justification that allows them to seize power. If you do not support freedom for everyone (it helps to slowly enunciate each syllable in this word to emphasize its importance) then you are bad, and the new generation should take over.

They seized power in the 1960s with the methods of terrorists, by using the media to scare, embarrass and eventually shame their host nations. As a result, the conservative “Establishment” — otherwise known as those holding on to the idea of social order — caved before them just like it did their ideological forebears in the French Revolution of 1789, which forgot the cynicism about mob rule that the Americans recognized. The crowd threw off the old rules, replaced them with anti-rules which stated negative freedoms aimed at removing all social standards entirely, and relished in its liberation as individuals who now could indulge whatever desires, fetishes and appetites they could conceive of and depend on the group to back them up. More like a street gang or a witch-hunt than a political movement, by 1968 the Boomers had upended social order in the West.

We all now live in the society they created, first in 1968 and next in 1992 when they formally seized power as “responsible adults.” In the USA we got Bill Clinton, the president who preyed on vulnerable clueless over-weight interns for his sexual pleasure after a long history of using his authority to convince (or coerce, depending on who you believe) women into having intimate relations with him. Even more, the Boomers took over culture, with the banal droning rock of the 1960s assuming front and center in commercials, radio play and even museums. Generation X grew up thinking that the best thing they could do was to recapitulate the hippie era by acting out the ritual: drugs, sex, rebellion and then — just as the hippies did — cutting the hair, getting jobs and retreating to the suburbs from the broken-down society the hippie ideals had created.

Our current social situation reflects the ideals of 1968: tolerance for every individual behavior, enforced by the herd, and no place must be left standing where people choose to live by pre-1968 rules. Anything that stands in the way of more freedom, diversity and tolerance must be destroyed. These ideals however exist not in themselves, which is what fooled the Establishment, but as justifications as mentioned above. Any person who wants more power has to simply adapt his argument to one of these justifications and then use it to pry open the door for entrance to power, money and social prestige. This is why we have no shortage of district attorneys willing to champion drug-addled strippers accusing wealthy white field hockey teams of impropriety, or people standing up for drug-addled criminals shot by police while escaping from their first felony assault of the day, or even people willing to cash in on the recent mania for transgender, gay and other non-standard sexual behavior being not just tolerated but mainstreamed. With liberal ideologues like the 68ers in control, the only way to power is to find a new way to apply the dominant ideology. The Establishment was not an establishment, but the post-1968 regime certainly is.

In addition to wanting complete personal liberation, which was a fit of pique at their parents, the Me generation formulated one other agenda. They wanted to close the door to all who followed. Like most radical individualists, they engaged in a combination of narcissism and solipsism which actively denied the world outside themselves except as it could be used for the benefit of themselves. Society existed to be the canvas upon which they painted their bright and beautiful existence. Like every depressed person who speaks frequently about how they are an artist, this too was a power grab using the social prestige conferred on art to convey importance to the individual life. Each of these individualists wanted to be the new Jesus Christ, Albert Einstein and The Beatles rolled into one, a character of vast profundity which conveniently justified their egomania, selfishness and power-hungry greed.

As parents, the Me generation provided a paint-by-numbers example of how to utterly fail. Most divorced, and left their kids wondering if their own conception had not been a mistake; those who did not manipulated their children relentlessly, setting them up to fail and then using that failure as a justification to re-program their lives toward Baby Boomer objectives, which as always are to use ideology as a shield for the personal quest for power. They were narcissistic parents who hid their child abuse behind so many labyrinthine passages of logic that Generation X grew up baffled, belittled and most of all accustomed to instability. If Generation X has a symbol, it is the child’s bedroom with a door that locks; after the terror of the Boomers, they wanted nothing more than to retreat and have a space of their own to be inconsequential, mainly because their damaged brains and psyches needed time to figure themselves out.

They would not receive this time. The Baby Boomers slammed the door. Pathologically they pursued policies that would make society insufferable for those who followed. Reams of regulations, laws protecting people in inferior positions (who were frequently parasitic or criminal) and a complete collapse of social order ensured that Generation X and subsequent generations had nothing more to look forward to than Office Space-style make-work jobs designed to showcase obedience more than competence, a psychotic ideology in the grips of society, rotten cities and expensive suburbs to which to escape, faithless sexual partners become deceptive and manipulative spouses concerned only with self-interest, and children who would grow up without a culture except media entertainment and what the Government presented through education and published “science” reflecting its ideological objectives.

Baby Boomers created hell in their wake. Narcissistic individuals tend to shut the door this way because to them, everyone but the self, and those who provide that canvas to make the self seem to be an angel of enlightenment, is an ideological enemy. To the Boomers, their children were the enemy. What if those children found enlightenment the Boomers did not? What if they did not agree with the 1968 agenda? Those were the worst children of all, and the best way to punish them was to create a trap, much as Baby Boomers were accustomed to setting up their children to fail and then seizing power when the children failed, much as the Boomers seized power when the Establishment had no answer to its new calls for peace, equality and freedom. All of these were justifications; the real goal was revenge, in destroying the world of their parents and those who followed after them. In short, to obliterate, erase, eradicate, pollute, corrupt, sabotage and vitiate everything but the Self. Baby Boomers saw themselves alone and for this reason they ran to ideas which “seemed” to be the opposite, such as egalitarianism, and used them as weapons.

As a wise philosopher once said, “Ontology recapitulates pathology.” Baby Boomers created a worldview to reflect their selfishness and narcissistic desire to exclude everyone else but those who slavishly agreed with them. They ruined social order, knowing that they would be vested in the ideological and commercial hierarchy, and could simply buy their way out of the endless problems created by the collapse of social hierarchy and purpose. Their children would inherit nothing because in the Baby Boomer view, all went to the Baby Boomers as individuals. They are not called the “Me generation” for nothing.

There is no solution to the Baby Boomers. We can fix our society by reversing every change made since 1950, but we cannot fix them as people. Some have repented and joined the Tea Party, but the rest continue to sit around reading The New York Times and commenting sagely on how the world would be better off if it simply followed the Baby Boomer ideological agenda. They refuse to recognize how much it follows that agenda because to do so is to admit the failure of their ideology and by doing that, admit the falseness of their justifications. That in turn would invalidate their power. As a result, the only thing we can do is apply to the Baby Boomers their primal philosophy — revenge — and use it for positive ends, namely a symbol to the world that 1968 was a toxic failure and that those who embrace it are liars using it as a justification for their witch-hunt against all that is good, functional, innocent and kind so that they may replace it with an empire of the Ego.

Line them up. Give them a choice: accept the Tea Party or face the consequences. Take those who will not swear an oath of loyalty (on a Bible or Bhagavad-Gita) to the Tea Party and take them out to a field and kill them. Shoot them in the face with rusty Revolutionary war muskets, guillotine them with replica Robespierre guillotines made by stoned lazy millennials for the Renaissance Faire, or best of all, smash their windpipes with the master tapes for Are You Experienced?. We still have time before they are too old to execute. They are now in their late 60s and 70s and can still own the consequences of their actions. They lived only for themselves, and now they can die for the same.

By doing so, we would erect a giant memorial to all history: we despise the bratty attitude these people had toward our future, and we reclaimed that future by murdering them and letting this unspeakable crime stand as a warning to future generations. If you behave like selfish children having a tantrum, and use that narcissistic jive to destroy our society, we will make mulch of you. And we will do so with the cruelty you veiled in your indirect manipulations and corrupt ideas and show it to you in its raw form so that you finally recognize, as the light flickers from your eyes, what you have done. Then we will bury you in mass graves to emphasize the insignificance of you as individuals and the meaninglessness of the Ego in a world of endless time.

And then, hearts rent at the tragedy of history, we will begin the real work that Baby Boomers dodged: getting over ourselves, transcending our ego and its social counterpart, and rebuilding a society to standards that would have been considered ideal before the French Revolution. Then we will go further, and like athletes or philosophers, push ourselves to actually improve. To get better at being what we are, not try to change what we are every day of the week to appear as unique, new and different. We will get over our fear of death instead of making it into a quest to deny death through worship of ourselves. And on top of those mass graves, we will heap your boring music and your fickle books and set those ablaze, then plant rose gardens in the ashes and dirt so that future generations may remember that even after the greatest storm, flowers boom. The future is there for us all.

Democracy in recession as its true face is revealed

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If you listen to the usual voices for (leftist-slanted) news, you will hear the beginnings of a disturbing refrain: democracy is in decline. Those voices are arguing this so that they may claim to be the underdog, because victimhood is the only justification for power recognized by liberalism, and so can return to the argument that worked for them so well from 1861-1969 which was that they were bringing democracy, freedom and equality to a world under the control of evil blue meanies who opposed such things from fear, hatred and other surrogates for inherent evil.

When we look past the inherent evil argument and deconstruct it, it falls apart rather quickly if we are able to consider how different regions demand different solutions because the people there are different. Not good/bad different, but different in the sense of having non-identical needs and responsibilities. Liberals pushed back against that idea hard and in order to prevent it from taking root, demonized any mention of innate differences as “racism.” That left no obstacles to the global application of liberalism, which would be the biggest power seizure in the history of humanity, dwarfing even Genghis Khan and Alexander, but somehow the narrative has cracked and buckled. As broken clock Thomas Friedman notes, democracy is in decline worldwide:

As the Stanford University democracy expert Larry Diamond argues in an essay entitled “Facing Up to the Democratic Recession” in the latest issue of the Journal of Democracy: “Around 2006, the expansion of freedom and democracy in the world came to a prolonged halt. Since 2006, there has been no net expansion in the number of electoral democracies, which has oscillated between 114 and 119 (about 60 percent of the world’s states). … The number of both electoral and liberal democracies began to decline after 2006 and then flattened out. Since 2006 the average level of freedom in the world has also deteriorated slightly.”

Since 2000, added Diamond, “I count 25 breakdowns of democracy in the world — not only through blatant military or executive coups, but also through subtle and incremental degradations of democratic rights and procedure. … Some of these breakdowns occurred in quite low-quality democracies; yet in each case, a system of reasonably free and fair multiparty electoral competition was either displaced or degraded to a point well below the minimal standards of democracy.”

Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey are the poster children for this trend, along with Venezuela, Thailand, Botswana, Bangladesh and Kenya.

One should be suspicious of studies for no reason other than that the left adores them, but the basic argument against them is this: they measure a single factor out of many and draw broad conclusions based ont heir results. In this case, 25 nations have either limited or abolished democracy. By itself this is not all that unusual. In context, it looks like a world less dedicated to freedom and all that jazz, and this concerns liberals as it might interrupt their seizure of power.

More likely what is happening is that the democracy brand — once assumed to be the reason for Europe’s success — has fallen prey to a bit of experience. People in third world nations are realizing that if you install democracy there, people vote for third world ideas. As scientists will tell you, every effect has a single cause, and there is some reason why third world nations are at third-world levels. Generally the reason is the same actual reason why people are poor: they have made poor decisions. They demand rule by a theocracy or dictator because the people around them are unhygenic, criminal, corrupt, disorganized and unable to make long-term plans, which is exactly why these nations ended up third-world and why people end up poor. That truth has been made taboo and yet it peeks out from behind the curtain at every chance since it is so consistent in its truthfulness.

Democracy resembles a product sold in the big box stores. At first, we all must have the iPad. The obedient press trots out the wild speculation disguised as fact: it will replace desktops! Everyone will have one! They do stuff ordinary machines cannot! At first, the rich buy. It takes a few years to figure out what you think of a gadget, so that starts their clocks ticking. A year and a half later, the gadget makes it to middle-class price levels, and so all of them buy it. A year and a half after that, it gets cheap enough for everyone. Was this deliberate? New audiences appear just as the old ones are discarding the new toy, having learned that while it is neato, it does not do what the press promised.

The same is true of democracy. The West adopted it in 1789 and promptly embarked upon an orgy of self-murder for two centuries, culminating in the fall of the last extreme leftist regime. This enabled the marketers to norm democracy and sell it to the world. It will renovate those starving people, restore those fallen cities, and make everything new again! Also, fresh breath. But while it did many of those things, the cost became apparent: democracy was the advance troop for globalism, itself a form of colonialism by which third-world labor is sold cheaply and then, as the third-world nation comes up in the world, it becomes an “emerging market” and gets sold the same products that the first world got a decade ago, made by people even poorer than its own citizens. The Ponzi scam unraveled.

Even more, democracy failed to deliver on its promises. It did not make the world into the strength of Europe; it made Europe weak and the rest of the world unstable. Liberals have worn themselves tired making excuses for every time “the voters” have chosen jihadi theocrats or blood-drenched dictators of their own free accord. What democracy does is standardize things by making choice difficult, since only pluralities can rule and they always rule in favor of fewer rules, which is good for business but externalizes its costs through the destruction of social order. As Europe falls into ruins, and the face of the disease becomes visible elsewhere as well, people are rethinking democracy, as well they should. Mob rule with a fancy name is still mob rule.

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

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Jane Austen specialized in writing books that on the surface were the type of social chatter one might find in a tabloid for Oxford-educated upper middle class people, but underneath the skin, argued a philosophy of human excellence which unites morality and natural selection in a harsh judgment of humanity akin to Nietzsche’s analysis of man as a bridge to the superman.

In Persuasion, Austen revisits a timeworn tale: boy and girl fall in love but have no immediate future together, so being sensible people, they avoid a Romeo and Juliet and avoid marriage. Boy then ventures out into the world and makes his fortune. When he returns, girl wonders if boy still cares. Both are now caught in a high society version of the prisoner’s dilemma: the first person to offer himself or herself puts that person at great risk of being denied and crushed, but if both somehow meet in the middle they can begin the happily ever after.

Unlike earlier books from this author, Persuasion features fewer scenes of people interacting through dialogue, and instead describes these through an omniscient narrator closer to what Laurence Sterne used in A Sentimental Journey or Celine’s nearly omniscient narrator-protagonist in Journey to the End of the Night. This is a story told, not “shown” as every idiot creative writing instructor demands, which enables it to move quickly, make more pointed comments on the nature of the people involved, and save conversational points for — in what is almost a return to her earlier drafts of epistolary novels — lengthier communications where characters address points of interest in long soliloquoys. If you ever wondered what Ayn Rand would look like in the hands of an actual master, it is Austen’s dense but informative prose that shows a clearly female voice in its use of multiple dependent clauses in long sentences which elaborate on inter-related concepts. The writing has more in common with Kant than stereotypically “female” voices in modern literature, but preserves a female perspective by approaching from context and slowly getting to the point, in contrast to male characters who are very objective-driven.

Austen elaborates on her perspective of gender differences throughout the novel, culminating in an analysis of the reasons for the differences between the sexes:

I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were only known by woman. No, I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forebearance, so long as — if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object. I mean, while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone. (233)

This follows up on an earlier soliloquoy where Anne expresses the idea that men are based in conquest of objective, where women seek to frame themselves in a context and make that balance. Through this continuing analysis, she opines on the differences between men and women and which roles befit both as a result; this complex analysis sprawls in dialogue throughout the novel. A more interesting line of inquiry arises from Austen’s analysis of good versus great in terms of people, picking up on another thread in the novel which is the crisis within the “First Families” (titled aristocracy) over their own quality control, a line of thought which in Austen’s view is tied closely to the question of who marries and what children result, and whether people should be accepted merely for social position or for something more. She does not attack the aristocracy, but calls for filtering within it to keep picking the best, in a method of eugenics which emphasizes the positive aspects of promoting the best more than a desire to smite the worst:

Lady Russell confessed that she had expected something better; but yet ‘it was an acquaintance worth having,’ and when Anne ventured to speak her opinion of them to Mr. Elliot, he agreed to their being nothing in themselves, but still maintained that as a family connexion, as good company, as those who would collect good company around them, they had their value. Anne smiled and said,

‘My idea, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’ (147)

Much of the language has been altered since the writing of this book by our egalitarian times. In Austen’s parlance, clever means intelligence instead of merely shrewd; well-informed means an ability to analyze and retain information; great deal of conversation refers to a constant intellectual activity and ability to creatively analyze situations and people. Society has since dumbed down these terms to mean entertaining, memorization and chatter, but in the context of this book their meaning is unmistakable and is elucidated in earlier dialogues.

Persuasion will confuse any reader who thought The Lovely Bones or Flight Behavior were profound books, and baffle Randian readers who like one-dimensional characters and scenes where only one idea is transacted at a time. But in this elegant and engrossing novel ideas more akin to what Plato or Nietzsche might discuss emerge from the everyday of society both high and low, and for this reason Persuasion lives on among those who wonder if, after all, there is a solution to the human problem.

“Issues”

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People fail by attempting to reduce conservatism to issues. “Issues” form the basis for conversation about politics, talking points that show concrete examples of how ideals would be applied. But in doing so, the conversation moves from causes to effects, and soon people are fighting over details of appearance and not root cause.

Conservatism is more than liberalism a philosophy; liberalism is a method called egalitarianism which is designed to compensate for a loss of stability in civilization. Conservatism focuses on the health of a civilization as if it were an ecosystem, and recognizing that humans are until they discipline their minds basically inconsistent and animalistic in their pursuit of desire, looks toward end results in reality instead of what people think about those results. Liberalism takes the opposite view, which is that we must talk about how things “should” be and their impact on the individual without considering the broader context in which the individual operates.

A larger ideal underscores the conservative mentality: how to make a civilization which is not just doing okay, but rising and beating the constant tide of entropy which sweeps almost everything into the dustbin of history. We exist on a globe where most civilizations have failed and left little behind; it seems they die at the peak of their powers, as if giving one last heave before collapsing. Until we reverse the decline of our society, we head toward the same fate, and most conservatives are in denial of this fact.

Modern life is boring and pointless. We have entered the age of tyranny of method, following our adoption of egalitarianism, to try to convince ourselves that with the right 300,000 pages of regulations, laws, procedures, policies and position statements we can transform the half-chimpanzee human being into a perfected Utopian man. We cannot. Instead, we have dedicated our time to the tedious, frustrating, detail-obsessed and mindless and as a result, people are miserable. One in ten million can articulate why this is so or even that it is so; the rest blame themselves, or blame others, but fail to blame the design/structure of their civilization. Like a car whose designers were incompetent, modern society can be fixed and will spend most of its life in the shop, but will never run well. In the same way all the best cinematography and acting cannot make a badly-written movie into a good one, no amount of “trying harder” will make this society better.

And so, at the end of the day, there is a single issue: are we acting so that our civilization will end up healthier, or not? Like all tasks, this one distills to a binary. We are either doing what we need to in order to accomplish the task, or we are doing something else and, by the constant currents toward decay which run throughout existence, stagnating into decay. Almost all of our political discourse exists for the singular function of hiding this decay and convincing us that by fighting twice as dogmatically over “issues,” everything will turn out all right. In this sense, liberals have at a subconscious level grasped more of the situation than conservatives, in that their goal is to remake society and they pick up on the urgency and need for this to be a powerful and wide-ranging remaking.

On the other hand, conservatives understand what liberals do not, which is that no amount of methods can fix this. We cannot make society better by writing new laws, funding institutions or fighting wars. We can only fix it by changing its design, which requires a cultural shift, and then a seizure of power back from the crazies. For the last two centuries, conservatives have been in retreat, trying to hold back the insanity while “working hard” and prospering on their own, which results in their families being devastated by their absence at stressful jobs and resulting near-psychosis from those horrible conditions. We are at war with modernity itself and the society created by egalitarianism, and we want to bring actual civilization back. Any stepping away from that viewpoint is defeat and will result in us bickering over issues on the foredeck as the ship slowly slips beneath the waves.

Early days of Venezuela lite

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I hear they are rationing toilet paper in Venezuela. Military units have moved in to the grocery stores to ensure people do not take more than their share. Wealth has been confiscated from the rich and the poor are promised subsidies. In a nation holding a giant pile of potential wealth through its oil reserves, such scenes seem unusual. And yet these scenes are typical of any country going from a greater degree of organization to a lesser one, in what we recognize as a descent into a third-world state.

Our tendency in the West is to see Venezuela as a state which made “different” choices than us and ended up socialist by virtue of looking for another path. If we hit the “zoom out” button to a historical level however we see Venezuela in a different light: a decaying nation-state compensating for its decline with colorful promises and rhetoric. What is socialism but a promise to create justice? And what is totalitarianism but a response to the instability of the state and its people?

The default condition of humanity is poverty, filth and failure. Without organization to make the operation of a group of people united toward a common purpose and efficient through study of its past mistakes, humans exist as ragged mobs of subsidence farmers, scavengers or hunters who fall prey to disease, crime and warfare on a frequent basis. Humans create civilization for a reason: formalizing activity forces there to be reasons for any activity, and for all of those to conform to a standard of behavior. This avoids the worst of the chaos and facilitates learning, culture, art and architecture.

When this path breaks, civilization loses its inherent purpose, which is the furtherance of social order to the end of having those things. People become geared toward scavenging from civilization which they see as a dying beast. Into this void of order comes compulsion, usually in the form of a strong state that specializes in shooting people for minor offenses and ignoring greater ones. This is the condition that Venezuela currently finds itself in.

In the United States and Europe, we have not yet fallen to Venezuela levels, but we are on a path to that state. We have lost a sense of purpose and a belief that we can improve; we have replaced the idea of having social order, and the underlying identity as a people that makes it possible, with a political identity based on our obedience to methods such as democracy, pacifism, transparency, and the root of them all, egalitarianism. Our belief in these things is tautological, since our proof for their goodness is our assumption of their goodness to the point that we ignore their consequences.

We are the addicts of an illusion who refuse to see that the way out is to set down the needle one last time and forever. When our egalitarian ideas fail, we assume that some mystic force akin to Satan has subverted them. Perhaps it was the rich or the right-wing — they mean about the same thing, don’t they, comrade? — but we assume that our programs failed because they were subverted by an invisible enemy, instead of the plain truth… that they failed because they are illogical, paradoxical, unrealistic, badly-designed or any other synonyms for the same idea. Their failure is innate because their concept is inconsistent with the world as we know it, and even more, with the underlying mathematical order of existence itself. We cannot enforce equality; that is not how logic works. And yet we insist we must, so like the First World War, we charge into the breach yet again for something we not only do not believe in but do not believe can prevail.

The point here is that we have not found a purpose. This leads to Venezuela. There are numerous purposes we could discover, but we need to pick one. Failing to pick one leads to Venezuela or its ultimate destination, Brazil, where teeming hordes of impoverished, ignorant and larcenous proles threaten a few wealthy who isolate themselves behind high fences and armed private security. If it were not for Western investment, these states would already have failed further and returned to their pre-civilization origins. Collapse is not a yes/no, or even a series of discrete states, but like a ramp a gradual process of ascent or descent with gravity constantly working against rising.

The problem with choosing a purpose is that as stated above, people are not equal. Purpose cuts some of them out of the equation at least as they think they should be (and we should not assume that their vision is correct, since most of them lead disorganized lives marked by a lack of direction anyway). We are all afraid of being that person cut out and, looking for a reason why we should not be told what to do, settle on self-pity and victimhood, which leads us to assume we would be that person. As a result, large portions of our society resist the idea of purpose itself, even though not to have it is by definition insanity.

Decision time awaits us. Do we go back up the ramp toward classical Europe, Greece and Rome, or do we walk back down the ladder toward becoming primitive tribes living in kleptocracies under warlords and surrounded by low-IQ people as we see in Russia, Venezuela, Brazil and Arkansas? All of our “altruistic” ideas, like our egalitarian “ideas,” boil down to a lack of purpose. This decision is a binary: do we rise or continue to fall? We know what falling looks like; the only question is whether we have the will to resist it.

Legalize drugs

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To be a successful liberal, a person must constantly generate drama. This is because liberals are social, because they are based in the individual, where conservatives are results-oriented and based in the ideal of social order. The last drama was gay and transgender marriage and recognition; a potential contender for the next big drama will be the legalization of drugs.

As with all liberal projects, this follows the “ripping silk” model: a hole is made in the silk, then pressure applied from many directions, causing the silk to tear. Liberals specialize in destruction hidden behind the mask of concern for “your best interests,” starting with equality and extending to the idea that every behavior short of murder should be legalized or at least approved of. The hole in the silk will be legal marijuana, probably for a procession of doomed people with horrible illnesses who just want to choke down their nutraloaf without pain, man. This will then be expanded by a desire to legalize all manner of drugs as victimless crimes and personal choices, ignoring the vast damage this does to social order.

Strange that liberals will not speak up for legalizing regulated substances like explosives, various medical compounds and steroids. These do not lead to liberal style happy times, which consist of removing the odious consciousness which periodically reminds them that liberalism conflicts with reality and therefore is most likely insanity. Stop, stop the bad thoughts! Legalize everything you can and maybe it will help. Their victimless doubleplusgood drugs include only those that intoxicate the mind and transport it to a fantasy land where functional liberalism and unicorns frolic together in the golden fields.

And yet, the issue runs deeper than liberals would like to acknowledge. A government that regulates any substance is in effect saying that every other substance is harmless and approved. This approach creates problems in that no substance known to humankind is completely harmless, but rather has certain effects at certain dosages. At one dose, it might be a medicine; at another, a poison; at a third, ineffective for either. This does not mean that all substances are medicines or that marijuana is a harmless medicine that performs works for which we do not have other drugs, but rather that dosage is as important as the name of the substance itself in assessing harm. We have salt on every table, but if you ate three ounces of it you might be in a bit of trouble.

The quandary created by regulation of substances puts society in a difficult position. We either criminalize some, and indicate approval of the rest by the converse, or we legalize all and indicate approval of none. Conservatives should force this issue by demanding legalization of all. Put legal heroin on the streets for ten percent above cost, and do the same with every other drug. Then let people have any medicines, chemicals or steroids they want without a prescription from a doctor. Let us have access to all the dangerous chemicals that you fear we will use to manufacture binary explosives. End the black market in everything by making it all legal.

This forces the issue by making people confront what legalization means. It is all or nothing; no matter what we do, society is stating a position on substances. To legalize marijuana is to approve of it and encourage its use. The only end run around this is to legalize everything, and state clearly our approval of none by stamping USE AT YOUR OWN RISK on every chemical sold. Force the mentally obese consumer-voters to actually know what they are doing with a chemical, or potentially maim, retard or kill themselves. We will lose some, and we will have more terrorist incidents. However, we will have staved off what liberals actually want, which is to force society to approve of their drug habits.

In fifty years, liberals will be screaming for drug criminalization. Their voter base is the one that will snuff itself out, because anyone with the brains to avoid drugs will become focused on learning about how things work and what consequences will be in reality, and hence will have no use for a snake oil magic philosophy like liberalism. Let the bodies hit the floor! For too long, conservatives have tried to save voters from themselves, and the result is a fat lot of spoiled brats who want both their cake and to eat it too. They want civilization with no rules — a condition that does not exist in reality — as a means of indulging their mindless fantasies at the expense of the rest of us. The bill has come due. Let the anarchy commence and we will see who is actually on the “right side of history” by who survives.