Bryan Caplan finds himself confused by the link between recognizing the importance of IQ and wanting most of humanity dead. He argues for acceptance of fact without rancor, but seems perplexed by the vitriol expressed (h/t Outside In):
My fellow IQ realists are, on average, a scary bunch. People who vocally defend the power of IQ are vastly more likely than normal people to advocate extreme human rights violations. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate a One-Child Policy for people with low IQs. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate a No-Child Policy for people with low IQs. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate forced sterilization for people with low IQs. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate forcible exile of people with low IQs – fellow citizens, not just immigrants. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate murdering people with low IQs.
…If someone says, “I’m more intelligent than other people, so it’s acceptable for me to murder them,” the sensible response isn’t, “Intelligence is a myth.” The sensible response is, “Are you mad? That doesn’t justify murder.” Advocating brutality in the name of your superior intellect is the mark of a super-villain, not a logician.
Generally, his point is agreeable, but that is mostly because human groups require a span of IQs to cover all of the roles in society. Every general needs soldiers, and every soldier needs a cascade of leaders in order to give him guidance so that he is not left alone and confused to make decisions he has no hope of getting correct.
However, as one of the misanthropes he describes — or as we might call it, a “human quality control advocate” — I can attest to the power of wanting to purge the weak. This comes more from the conditions of our time than an innate will to do harm based on this realization.
Let us look at the factors involved:
Overpopulation. There are too many of us, and too few good ones, especially in power. The urge to purge the excess and pare away the useless is great because daily, we see many people whose absence would make life better.
Idiocracy. The herd rules us. When we look at the products available and the decisions made by our leaders, it is clear that mass opinion sways the day, and like a demonic compass it always points toward full retard.
Stupidity. Our time is stupid. The cities are ugly, the jobs moronic, the culture idiotic. We want a war on stupidity and bad decision-making, and associate it with the stupid people we see among us.
We also live in a time of lies. IQ is denied, as well as most other natural and intelligent things. When people “wake up” from the stupor of egalitarianism, they react as does any consumer who has been defrauded: with injured rage.
The temptation is to make a continental mass grave to remind future humans not to go down this path because it ends badly. This arises as much from the perception that all decency and truth are lost on this world, and that all is futile, which produces a suffocating rage.
A more sensible view is that we could divide the useful from the useless. A janitor who does his job in a conscientious way and does not live like a degenerate is necessary just as a rocket scientist is, but people of any intelligence level who are given to evil merely thwart the realization of the good.
This would be done informally, in a natural method, if applied intelligently. A hierarchy of natural leaders would be set up; they would decide who to retain, and send the others away. Those who could not find a place would have to relocate to easier places to live, like the third world.
As the news struggles to accept the suddenness of vast change forced upon it, the Alt Right has faded into the background hum a little bit. Part of this is that the Alt Right seems confused as to its own actual goals, or in other words, what it proposes instead of the failing system we have now.
What makes the Alt Right fascinating is that it arose organically in parallel between several belief systems — libertarians, human biodiversity, nationalist, deep ecologists and the new right — and then lived on through what was found in common between them, pushed to an extreme by its irreverent, absurdist troll culture.
But a different view would be that these different belief systems were not the cause of the Alt Right but rather a vocabulary through which it could spring up. Instead, the Alt Right came from a yearning for something so simple and powerful that it was nearly impossible to articulate. It is something one assumes, not speaks.
And yet, those of us who have grown up in a failed civilization and who have realized that this was the case from an early age have always yearned for something like the Alt Right. We were born depressed, have lived in ambivalence and alienation our entire lives, and finally found a voice and animated it however we could.
While the Alt Right proposes many related ideas — nationalism, anti-egalitarianism, post-democracy, futurism — the root behind them is a simple desire: we want to escape civilization collapse. We know that most societies collapse, but that someone can beat the odds and rise to a greatness merely dreamed of by the rest of humanity.
One cannot escape civilization collapse as one dodges a bullet. Instead, civilization collapse is like a path in a forest that leads to a large pit. The only solution is to get on another path that both (1) goes away from the pit and (2) goes somewhere good, so that one does not die the slow death of purposeless wandering until entropy becomes victorious.
This leads us to our goal: restore Western Civilization by giving it a purpose unrelated to individualism, equality or any of the impulses that cause fragmentation in a society. The Alt Right is our desire to be a great civilization again and to live our lives with meaning, instead of in service to consumerism, democracy and social popularity.
We want order. We want a path. We want meaning. That requires values, customs and something worth sacrificing for so that we can bond with life itself. We wish to see the infinity open before us and to become an eternal civilization, exploring the stars and establishing new great civilizations, with intricate histories, triumphs and tragedies.
This is what we are. We are the reflective people, or those who contemplate life and search for meaning not in ourselves but in the universe around us. From that we can bond our intuition to that of the cosmos, and from that, discover a way of life that fits who we are. We do not expect it to be universal; it is enough that it fits Us, and that is all we need.
Perhaps the most renowned of its mysteries is the fact that the outcome of a quantum experiment can change depending on whether or not we choose to measure some property of the particles involved.
…The physicist Pascual Jordan, who worked with quantum guru Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in the 1920s, put it like this: “observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it… We compel [a quantum particle] to assume a definite position.” In other words, Jordan said, “we ourselves produce the results of measurements.”
…Whenever, in these experiments, we discover the path of a quantum particle, its cloud of possible routes “collapses” into a single well-defined state. What’s more, the delayed-choice experiment implies that the sheer act of noticing, rather than any physical disturbance caused by measuring, can cause the collapse.
Our job is to notice our present options, and then put our focus into those which offer us a future of restored Western Civilization. In doing so, we make them more likely to become incarnate, much as our noticing can render light into particle or wave. We then become sorting engines within the calculation machine that is the cosmos, a pattern-based reality which constantly self-evolves.
The act of observation links the observer and the observed. This implies an informational basis to reality, as if it were composed of patterns that manifest in materiality, and shows us that we wield a force greater than materiality in the focus of our minds. When we create links between ourselves and ideas, we manifest them, albeit not directly like material force.
When Nietzsche said, “God is dead…and we have killed him,” what he means is that we have failed to rediscover things such as “God.” These are not innate to the universe because they are not universally accessible. Only those who forge their thinking into directed noticing can access these ideas, and their effects will remain invisible to others much as most truths are.
We know from Darwin that the whole universe acts as a calculating machine, forever refining its objects into a greater balance and efficiency. Our thoughts act the same way — this is one of the precepts of my upcoming book Parallelism — and so we see that our first task is to visualize and thus “attract” what we desire.
While that may not be known in precise visual terms, it can be known in general direction. We can stop reacting to what is happening as if we are trying to save a miserable society that makes people bored and frustrated. Instead, we can escape the loop of trying to salvage the dead and focus instead on rising again.
If the Alt Right has a goal, this is it. We want to restore Western Civilization by aiming for greatness. We wish to embrace excellence in our future and to use that, and not reacting to material problems, as our guide. It seems too New Age for us right now, but once upon a time, it was accepted knowledge, and perhaps deviation from that is responsible for our current downfall.
The original Death Race 2000 came about for many of the same reasons as Black Sabbath did: skepticism of the optimism based in technological and political Utopianism around it, a phenomenon that seemed irrefutable but in fact, as human assertions often do, concealed a vast and secret doubt.
Death Race 2000 introduced us to an alternate vision of the future in which democracy and consumerism have merged, producing a single mega-powerful corporation which serves as both consumer magnet and socialist state. To keep the groundlings from rioting, the state stages a number of panem et circenses style spectacles including the Death Race, a cannonball run across America where the goal is for drivers to kill each other and rack up points by murdering unsuspecting citizens with their cars.
Add in a massive dose of grim humor, and you have the groundwork for a satire that is amazingly both insightful and watchable. This in turn may have influenced a generation of anti-positive movies like Idiocracy and Demolition Man, in which the future is portrayed not as Blade Runner styled dystopia but a Utopian project that succeeds and makes its citizens into neutered idiots as a result.
In this way, Death Race 2050 turns back the dial of seriousness established by Death Race (2008) which was more of an adventure/horror film featuring the growling and unshaven Jason Statham. In that film, the power struggle was grim and the focus was more on a struggle for life and death; here, the focus is on satirizing what civilization has become in the hands of good intentions (as in, “the road to Hell is paved with…”).
A decade or so after Idiocracy woke up the world to the consequences of democratic empowerment and the welfare state, Death Race 2050 revisits the original film in a grimmer postmodern version: the world presented is bleaker, a space where most of the population are indeterminately beige and living off Universal Basic Income (UBI) which keeps them in poverty. The few white people are relatively impoverished but consider themselves proud to be middle class. As society winds down, rich multi-racial elites rule the world cynically and citizens flee to whatever sources of meaning — cults, drugs, rebellion — that they think will make the process existentially survivable.
In this brave new Amerika, regions are named after Mark Zuckerberg and cities have become sprawling favelas. The race car drivers, chosen for their membership in ethnic and gender stereotypes common to this future time, are as cynical as the elites, seeing the race as a way to survive better through the destruction of others. In this way, the entirety of USA 2050 resembles William S. Burroughs’ “algebra of need”: people using others as a means to their own power because there is no unity or cooperation, and in its stead, a cynical tyranny has arisen, empowered by a population more concerned with tacos and television than the future.
Race is treated as part of the dysfunction. Most actors are mixed-race or racially ambiguous. Perhaps the most profound moment in the film is when the ghetto-talking African-American driver reveals, in elegant academic English, that her parents were university professors and she acts out a stereotype in public for the profit potential (she is also the author of a contemporary pop hit, “Drive, Drive, Kill, Kill,” which is both catchy and disturbingly simplistic).
Featuring the delightfully pathological Malcolm McDowell as the leader of the Cathedral, this film takes callous indifference to human life to new comedic levels. Corpses pop apart, flinging intestines across the screen; ordinary people who seem dumb as rocks can be counted on to do only what is least productive and most destructive at any time. The country, portrayed as essentially an open-air junkyard, seems in the grips of heat death and conscious only of its next distraction as the darkness slowly — ever so slowly — closes in.
Should we seek a message in Death Race 2050, it can be found in the Huxleyian revelation that most people in fact not only enjoy the race but derive meaning from it of a religious level, much like pre-2016 Americans found in watching sports or politics. It is a distraction from the fact that civilization and life is moribund, so they strap on virtual reality goggles and distract themselves with drugs, celebrities and murder.
This cynical vision of America is not really American so much as it is human. When we confuse what we wish were true with what is real, we create disasters which always end this way: pointless, hopeless and excited only by destruction. Filmed in the type of off-hand and low-budget style as Idiocracy, the grimly humorous Death Race 2050 is a similar warning that its vision is not of the future, but the present.
In a traditional society, the aristocrats take care of three functions: leadership in war, leading cultural events, and interpreting religion. These are the foundation of a healthy society.
They do not take on the functions of government. Government tries to protect everyone from themselves, which shows us the flaws of both government and consumerism: it needs any 25% of the population to endorse it to win, and it does not care who they are, only for the numbers. Thus it always displaces a more discerning audience for a less scrupulous one.
Looking at this mechanism, we can see that government is parasitic to the whole of society because it emphasizes saving individuals who are perhaps not fit to be part of it, at the expense of the standards, quality and purpose of the whole. This is the nature of individualistic government: protect the individual no matter who they are, and by extension, damage the organic whole which suffers for having lesser individuals survive.
The idea of individualism is that society stops being concerned about the whole — including tradition, the past, the future, values and philosophy — and focuses on saving every individual from whatever terrors or doom awaits them. Organicism is the opposite idea, holding that society should save itself as if it were an organism, focusing on the health of the whole in which individuals are but cells.
Democracy attempts to be individualistic.
Monarchy is organicist.
Our modern viewpoint skews entirely toward the individualistic because the motivation behind equality and humanism is the protection of the individual. It represents the lone person, terrified of being insufficient, joining with others around the credo that there should no longer be external standards, so that everyone is included… exclusively so that the terrified individual is automatically included and safe from fear.
Organicism recognizes that for the civilization as a whole to thrive, Darwinism and moral Darwinism must exist, promoting the best above the rest. This is not some simplistic “kill the weak” calculus, although it would not oppose such a crude but effective model. Instead, it demands that we see society as a body and demote the individual to its place as one of many unequal forces working toward that end, like different species in an ecosystem.
To see society as a body requires giving up the pretense that the individual means anything without context. That is: the individual is only significant where serving a role in the world, and has no significance when limited to the self alone. This denies all of our fantasies of power and control over our world, but gives us something better, namely a chance for meaning.
And yet, with meaning, we have something to lose, so like the teenage girl breaking up with her boyfriend because she fears to lose him, we cast aside all meaning and embrace the meaningless because it makes us feel powerful. With having given up anything external, we can focus on ourselves and follow along with the world as conformists, dedicating none of our mind to it.
Like a symbolic victory, it makes us the most important thing in the world, and yet makes that victory empty. In fact, over time it becomes apparent as a defeat disguised as victory. And where does that leave us? As cells in a vast body, having betrayed it, hoping now that its death will not be ours as well.
Our modern time is full of depression. We know our society has failed, and it makes us grim. We are surrounded by “invisible” examples of this, where we see how stupid the design of our society is, and how it makes people miserable, but others merely rationalize this in order to make themselves seem more successful.
Let us look instead toward a different interpretation of history.
In this, we are going through a great filter to weed out the weak. Some will be seduced by the modern time and its lies, and they will fade away, whether by miscegenation or death through one of the many trendy modern methods like opiate addiction or alcoholism.
What will remain are those who see the numinous light
Thousands of years ago, or thousands of years in the future, a primitive man crouches on a hillside. He is surrounded by the radiant light reflected from the ice and snow. Life is hard: he struggles to find food through hunting and gathering roots and berries, and often, the cold takes members of his tribe in the night.
He sees the darkness enclosing the earth, and the likelihood of his early death, but still he keeps on. Against what seems obviously true, against all signs, against what others think… he keeps on. Past the darkness, he sees light, an abstract light. He sees what may become, and the goodness that is there, as well as the threats against that. But always, he pushes himself toward a greater degree of organization, like the patterns in the forest he observes around him.
The numinous light is what we see in sensible mental patterns and understanding of the ways of nature. It is a supreme logic, both practical and always pointed toward increasing degrees of beauty and excellence. It is intangible, which excludes it from the grasp of most. And yet in the darkest hours of night, it is the only clarity as life seems misbegotten and hopeless.
We live in an age of error. Following the herd is death. All those who give in to its weakness will be destroyed. This leaves a much smaller group to rebuild, and when it regains its strength, it will exile the other of all forms: ethnic Other, and among itself, the perverts, criminals, parasites, weaklings, idiots, fools and sycophants of the modern time.
Imagine a long line of stockbrockers, lawyers, shop owners, union bosses, thugs and journalists in chains, marched to the sea where boats await to take them to Brazil. The great exodus of that which does not fit into the society of the future, but thrived in the degenerate society of the past (our present).
In past times, when society failed, the sane ones fled to the north. They took on the rocky and inhospitable territory that everyone else feared, and forged a life for themselves there. In this new world, they died, and those that were able to survive created the next iteration of the human species. They evolved.
When the era of failure was over, and the ice receded, they stormed back over the mountains to conquer those that a thousand generations before had displaced them. Those fell, and were replaced by a stronger race. Those in turn were refined by the long years struggling against the wilderness. Only those who saw the numinous light, and had something to strive for beyond the immediate, survived the long winters and dark nights.
The point is that we suffer a bad time. We cannot merely break away to the north, but must reconquer our civilization, and then must act like those dark nights and long winters: the weak among us, who gave in to the seductions of modernity, must go elsewhere.
We do not need many. A few hundred thousand stalwarts of good character, intellect and health can rebuild a civilization. They must have autonomy to do so; they cannot do it among the rest. But as they rise, they will gain confidence, and then when it is time, storm over the mountains to remake civilization — where the real rises above the human — once again.
It is tempting to bemoan our time, but recently, our prospects for the future have improved. With the debunking of liberal democracy as the US and EU collapse in a flurry of convergent failures, people are seeing that Systems — networks of rules — are inferior to culture and organic civilization.
Those two things, culture and organic civilization, have been banned by the Left through the use of diversity. By insisting that society be mixed-ethnic, they prevent it from ever having a single origin and single people, which it needs to have social standards and cultural values.
We might view the Left as a social contract: it offers guaranteed inclusion in society, or “equality,” in exchange for political support of the Left. This creates a mass within society that consumes it, but because it is unstable, it tends toward direct authoritarian rule instead of decentralized rule by principle as occurs with social standards and cultural values.
The problem with this is that it works against itself. As social acceptance approaches 100%, people have no need for Leftism anymore. Leftists then tend toward authoritarianism, especially acts which are symbolic only.
For example, diversity is a symbolic-only act. Leftists import the third world, then carefully live apart from them. The point is to smash down symbols of majority culture, because that has a values standard and so some people can be “wrong” and not included by those rules.
When Leftism becomes irrelevant, the social contract evaporates, which is why Leftists must constantly invent new crusades to “unify their base.” Luckily this is easy as much of the appeal of the Left is that it justifies revenge on those more naturally gifted or successful. When the base is given a new target, like gay marriage, they sense the ability to smash down the sane and make insanity standard, which delights them.
The problem with this, as with all work in search of a purpose, is that it gradually becomes disorganized and paradoxical. The more people we make equal, the less they are to agree with one another, and more likely to fragment into nearly infinite special interest groups, at which point those will be at war with one another.
In addition to the failures of their leadership, which are many because ideology is inherently reality-denying, Leftist societies fail because they cannot achieve voluntarily cooperation. As soon as people have guaranteed acceptance, they start pulling away from ideology, and even whipping them up into a Two Minutes Hate with the ideological outrage of the day is less effective, lasting for shorter periods of time.
Leftist society in the US and EU resembles the Soviet Union for exactly this reason: as soon as it took over, Leftism became The Establishment and the same bratty human behavior that Leftism took advantage of to get into power began to work against it. This requires them to switch to “negative authority,” or punishment, to keep people in line.
Your average Leftist does not care a fig for transgender rights or gay marriage. They want these things because they are absurd and offensive and therefore can become shibboleths, or quick tests for who is a good obedient Leftist cog and who is not, with the latter group seen as The Enemy even when — especially when — they do not identify as such. This is the bullying mentality behind Leftism.
The combination of this bullying, the predictable failure of unrealistic Leftist policies, and the growing uneasy sensation that our society was heading down a path to doom from which there could be no recovery, together motivated a backlash that we see with the election of Donald J. Trump, Brexit and other anti-Government actions.
These are more than a rejection of the last eight years, or even the last seventy, but more importantly, reject the entire concept of the System as good and Modernity as a variety of Utopia. We have seen what is on the end of the fork, and we now realize that all modern paths lead to authoritarianism, entropy and breakdown to a third-world status.
As pragmatic people, we realize that when a certain action is failing, the best thing to do is to stop doing it — or at least do less of it. This is why the narrative we see now is more anti-government than anything else. We want fewer taxes, welfare, healthcare, immigration, political correctness, censorship and other government programs. We want more normal life without its intervention.
For the functional among us, very little is needed from government. We like roads, military and police, and beyond that, want very little. But this conflicts with a segment of our population that probably would have been eliminated by natural selection who are a biologically-determined drain on civilization:
After 35 years, the researchers found one fifth of the group was responsible for 81 per cent of the criminal convictions; three quarters of drug prescriptions; two thirds of welfare benefit payments and more than half of nights in hospital.
…“About 20 per cent of population is using the lion’s share of a wide array of public services,” said Prof Terrie Moffitt, of King’s College and Duke University in North Carolina. “The same people use most of the NHS, the criminal courts, insurance claims, for disabling injury, pharmaceutical prescriptions and special welfare benefits.
…“But we also went further back into their childhood and found that 20 per cent begin their lives with mild problems with brain function and brain health when they were very small children.
In other words, civilization has been hijacked by its least competent because its most competent are afraid of appearing non-compassionate.
Symbolically, these elections are about more than politics. They are a cultural shift against the religion of compassion, and in favor of the lifestyle of realism and common sense, applied knowledge.
This places the West at a juncture where it has never been before, and possibly at a chasm that no society has ever managed to cross: it is rejecting our monkey-instinct fear of social disapproval and instead, suggesting that self-discipline and logical prevail over the impulses we otherwise follow.
If we reject our fear, we can stop making our policy around those who need to be moved on, and instead focus on what makes us healthy, sane and experiencing existential pleasure in life.
The team began the project to test the ‘Pareto principle’ – also known as the ‘80-20 rule’ – which states that in the majority of systems, around 80 per cent of the effects come from about 20 per cent of the causes.
This principle has been found to work computer science, biology, physics, economics and many other fields.
The new research found that the law is also true for societal burden. As well as increased criminality and NHS use, the most-costly participants of the study also carried 40 per cent of the obese weight and filed 36 per cent of personal-injury insurance claims.
All of nature fits this pattern. There is a corresponding 20% who do most of the good, and by definition, 60% in the middle. Societies that succeed are those which push the good 20% to the top, chop off the bad 20%, and reward the 60% only when they act more like the good 20%.
Government and Systems move in the opposite direction, which is to design around a lowest common denominator so that they do not leave the bad 20% behind, thus avoiding the appearance of being bad and keeping the fear of the sheep from being inflamed. That way of living does not work.
Since the West went egalitarian, or believing that Good = Bad so that it could accept the bad 20%, it has steadily devolved into incompetence, corruption, stupidity and mass slavery to boring tasks that are designed to accommodate the lowest achievers. We have made life existentially miserable, and as a result, our people are self-destructing.
These elections are the first step, a symbolic gesture, in the reversal of this path toward the bad and, in order to avoid it, setting a path for the good instead.
Many civilizations have faced this fork in the road, and apparently they all chose wrong, because history is a graveyard of failed empires.
We have the possibility of fixing a thousand years of decay and to move past it, just by pushing forward toward a non-Government, non-System based society anchored in realism and moral attention, which requires denial of individualism. All of these things are present in nascent form in the existing cultural change.
Right now, we have a chance to do what no others have done, and by so doing, end the crisis of leadership that has afflicted humanity and allowed it to overpopulate, pollute and vandalize a planet with useless activity.
We may rise above all who have come before us, starting with these little baby steps.
One of the hardest tasks for me was realizing that conservatism is fact-proven living, where Leftism is entirely conjectural.
This means that Leftists are opposed to facts and logical facts which invalidate Leftist thinking, which in turn means they cherry-pick every field of facts to find only what is convenient for advancing their narrative, or the story of how their conjecture leads to Utopia.
From that, we can see how our press and all Leftist politicians are essentially liars. To them, reality denial is the only good, because it leads to equality, which is “progress” toward Utopia.
As a result, they have developed a number of tropes that we refer to as “Typical Leftist Behavior” or TLB.
One of these can be seen in the recent triviality of a teenager entering a beauty contest wearing a burkini, a type of bathing suit/burka fusion that seems to offend both cultures.
The 19-year-old St Cloud college student was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, which borders Somalia, and moved Minnesota as a young child.
Halima Aden starts off Miss Minnesota USA’s swimsuit segment to big cheers from the crowd. Announcer: “She’s making history tonight.” — Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) November 27, 2016
A burkini is a full-body wetsuit that covers the torso, limbs and head and is worn by some Muslim women. The garment became the centre of a controversial debate in France earlier this year, after officials in at least six towns on the Mediterranean coast banned women from wearing it on beaches.
The idea of “she’s making history tonight” — announced by a white woman to the right of the burkini-clad teen in the photo — is to introduce political symbolism as history, which is standard TLB that consists of erasing and rewriting history to make Leftist seem like it has some logical basis instead of being purely a message of human intent and self-image.
She wore a different swimsuit in a beauty contest. The only “history” made is that she is forcing her political agenda on others. Otherwise, we see this for what it is: someone wearing a different cut of swimsuit.
Outside of political symbolism, framed here in the “girl power” narrative of defying stereotypes, there is no news here, but the press reports it as if she swam to the moon.
This is how insanity destroys human civilizations. It makes itself socially popular by crushing those who do not see it as important, and then when it takes over, it places unrealistic rules and incompetent people in charge, which makes life miserable and drives away the sane, competent and morally good.
Then the civilization implodes to a third world state, committing suicide through pretense. And since this is the most common way that civilizations exit, it is hardly “making history tonight” either.
Back in the day, people were more alert and attentive to what was going on around them. They were not obsessed by detail, but trusted themselves because of their intuitive connection to their world, and so when they noticed a general change in the “shape” of events, they knew it was time to act.
The boys would break into the mead early one afternoon and talk it over. There would be some low, quiet voices from the elders, and louder voices from the young. Eventually, they would identify nodal points where things were going wrong. These points were people.
As night fell, the torches would be lit. The boys would go through the town or city, picking up those people who formed the nexus of decay. Then they threw them on wagons, and went outside the settlements to the peat bogs. There, the unfortunates were thrown in, and with long poles, pushed underneath the viscous surface of the bog.
Centuries later we find evidence of these peat parties. Bog mummies were a common discovery over the past ages, and adults told their children to be quiet and left them alone. They were remnants not of mob justice, but of the wisdom of the elders. That is, the wisdom that some are born bad, and can only do bad.
In 2024 AD, the Peat Party ran for election against the existing degeneracy parties and won, not so much by the popular vote as a formless mass, but because the 3% of the population that does all the thinking supported them and cowed everyone else into following along. Or at least enough of them.
Their first act was to suspend all laws written after 1789, when the Constitution was signed, and then to amend the Constitution to replace government with an aristocracy and modify “rights” to be “roles,” such that privilege did not exist without contribution. This was the first anti-parasite legislation enacted in the West.
Next, the Peat Party sent delegates — generally, the sharpest minds and biggest hearts they could find — to every region, where those delegates then found people like themselves among the population. These groups were assembled into councils of elders, and they drew up lists.
The rule was simple: those who contributed positive and necessary effort were good; those who did not were unnecessary; among the unnecessary, those who contribute negative or unnecessary effort — “make-work” — were bad. The boys were summoned, beer was poured in great golden draughts, and then the peat parties set out.
This time, there was no need for a bog. Instead, in front of every city hall, there were trucks. These were comfortable. On them went the bog mummies of the future, and all that was required of them was to surrender their passports. These were punched with a special symbol and the records marked in the databases.
The trucks drove to train stations, and trains took these people into Mexico. In America, over one hundred million people were removed, in addition to the repatriation of all of those who were not ethnically of the founding group. This left fewer than one hundred and twenty million people.
Along the Mexican border, a great wall was constructed, with cameras that saw in infrared and could track crossers. A great jobs program hired many men to stand at this wall with weapons at the ready, discouraging re-entry.
The parasite purge continued in the normal way. With most of the parasites gone, laws could be enforced, and instead of prison, the offenders when convicted went over the wall. This purged many more millions over the years, both impoverished criminals and billionaire grifters.
Mexico, as the new peat bog, received these people with open arms. They were able to take their wealth and possessions, and settled into Mexico to begin doing what they had done in the past. They found however that their voices were less powerful there because Mexico, having suffered centuries of parasites, simply ignored them.
In the revitalized United States, the same one-fifth of the population that did everything in the past kept doing what it had done, but now it bore far fewer burdens. Wealth, stability, sanity and happiness returned. People began investing extra income into what had been ignored, namely growth of culture and learning.
History would record this time as a momentary burst of sanity in the otherwise dysfunctional human tendency to destroy great things by creating ideology, or an excuse for why parasites should be included alongside the productive. For once, civilization won over the destroyers.
Ten thousand years afterwards, the people who came out of America were different. They were tall, strong and lean with high intelligence and bold, loving hearts. And yet, because they were the descendants of the Peat Party, they were also uncompromising in their tendency to remove parasites.
Passing generations had intensified what made these people great and distributed these traits throughout the population. If there is a state close to “equality,” a notion these people would instinctively see as parasitic, these people were the living embodiment of it.
The Kingdom of Speech
by Tom Wolfe
Little, Brown and Company. 169 pages (2016)
While some have identified this book as an assault on Darwinism, it is more appropriate to view The Kingdom Of Speech as a critique of the arrogance of science in drawing broad conclusions from scant evidence.
Wolfe approaches this topic by looking at the sub-discipline which inspired the title of the book, linguistics; specifically, he targets Chomsky-era “theoretical” linguistics in which academics invented conjectural theories and then defended them against actual evidence that refuted their assumptions. This was achieved when anthropologist Daniel Everett studied the Pirahã people of the Amazon rainforest and found that their language lacked a key Chomskian trait, recursivity.
That revelation in turn provoked another: language was not, as asserted, an inherent structure that arose from evolution itself, but a human tool for understanding the world, and it does not have a single structure shared among all people, or a universal structure. Universal structures support the idea that all humans are basically the same and suggests they share an origin; arbitrary structures show that humans are widely different and think in vastly different ways.
Everett didn’t so much attack Chomsky’s theory as dismiss it. He spoke of Chomsky’s “waning influence” and the mounting evidence that Chomsky was wrong when he called language “innate.” Language had not evolved from …anything. It was just an artifact. Just as man had taken natural materials, namely wood and metal, and combined them to create the ax, he had taken natural sounds and put them together in the form of codes representing objects, actions and ultimately, thoughts and calculations — and called the codes words. (141)
This point cannot be stressed enough: Wolfe has discovered Nihilism of the kind discussed in this journal. Language is arbitrary, or at least begins arbitrarily, and is an invention of humanity, not the other way around. It is a tool. It has no innate worth other than the fact that two or more people can use it to communicate. And as Nietzsche discovered, it is also a powerful weapon that can destroy good things:
But because man, out of need and boredom, wants to exist socially, herd-fashion, he requires a peace pact and he endeavors to banish at least the very crudest bellum omni contra omnes [war of all against all] from his world. This peace pact brings with it something that looks like the first step toward the attainment of this enigmatic urge for truth. For now that is fixed which henceforth shall be “truth”; that is, a regularly valid and obligatory designation of things is invented, and this linguistic legislation also furnishes the first laws of truth: for it is here that the contrast between truth and lie first originates. The liar uses the valid designations, the words, to make the unreal appear as real; he says, for example, “I am rich,” when the word “poor” would be the correct designation of his situation. He abuses the fixed conventions by arbitrary changes or even by reversals of the names. When he does this in a self-serving way damaging to others, then society will no longer trust him but exclude him. Thereby men do not flee from being deceived as much as from being damaged by deception: what they hate at this stage is basically not the deception but the bad, hostile consequences of certain kinds of deceptions. In a similarly limited way man wants the truth: he desires the agreeable life-preserving consequences of truth, but he is indifferent to pure knowledge, which has no consequences; he is even hostile to possibly damaging and destructive truths. And, moreover, what about these conventions of language? Are they really the products of knowledge, of the sense of truth? Do the designations and the things coincide? Is language the adequate expression of all realities?
Only through forgetfulness can man ever achieve the illusion of possessing a “truth” in the sense just designated. If he does not wish to be satisfied with truth in the form of a tautology—that is, with empty shells—then he will forever buy illusions for truths. What is a word? The image of a nerve stimulus in sounds. But to infer from the nerve stimulus, a cause outside us, that is already the result of a false and unjustified application of the principle of reason. If truth alone had been the deciding factor in the genesis of language, and if the standpoint of certainty had been decisive for designations, then how could we still dare to say “the stone is hard,” as if “hard” were something otherwise familiar to us, and not merely a totally subjective stimulation! We separate things according to gender, designating the tree as masculine and the plant as feminine. What arbitrary assignments! How far this oversteps the canons of certainty! We speak of a “snake”: this designation touches only upon its ability to twist itself and could therefore also fit a worm. What arbitrary differentiations! What one-sided preferences, first for this, then for that property of a thing! The different languages, set side by side, show that what matters with words is never the truth, never an adequate expression; else there would not be so many languages. The “thing in itself” (for that is what pure truth, without consequences, would be) is quite incomprehensible to the creators of language and not at all worth aiming for. One designates only the relations of things to man, and to express them one calls on the boldest metaphors. A nerve stimulus, first transposed into an image—first metaphor. The image, in turn, imitated by a sound—second metaphor. And each time there is a complete overleaping of one sphere, right into the middle of an entirely new and different one. One can imagine a man who is totally deaf and has never had a sensation of sound and music. Perhaps such a person will gaze with astonishment at Chladni’s sound figures; perhaps he will discover their causes in the vibrations of the string and will now swear that he must know what men mean by “sound.” It is this way with all of us concerning language; we believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things—metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities. In the same way that the sound appears as a sand figure, so the mysterious X of the thing in itself first appears as a nerve stimulus, then as an image, and finally as a sound. Thus the genesis of language does not proceed logically in any case, and all the material within and with which the man of truth, the scientist, and the philosopher later work and build, if not derived from never-never land, is a least not derived from the essence of things.
Wolfe explores this idea through a volume that is mostly historical, describing first the clash between Darwin and other competitors for the idea of natural selection, and then how that failed to explain language and this drove the rise of Chomsky and the theoretical linguists. The book then detours into the explorations of Daniel Everett and how these refuted the prevailing Chomskian regime, and how nastily and dishonestly that regime fought back.
The Kingdom Of Speech shows Wolfe at his most palatable. Starting with I Am Charlotte Simmons, a type of plain-spoken low-adornment speech crept into his usual bombastic writing, and here it flowers with mostly potent descriptive language bursting into occasional bits of what we might call “song.” Wolfe waxes lyrical with new expansiveness, bringing in cultural and political fragments as metaphor indirectly, giving his writing more of a broad halo of context than a straight narrative could allow.
In the end analysis, the attacks on Darwinism in this book are not attacks on Darwinism, but on its interpretation. Wolfe indirectly asserts parallels between the Chomskians and the Darwinians, pointing out that more is unknown than known, and that theoretical extrapolation is most frequently wildly, hilariously, and absurdly wrong. This allows his main topic to rise in an evanescent fashion from the center of his argument, which is nothing is universal nor inherent; these are merely things that occurred ad hoc as humanity struggled to evolve and then understand itself.
Following on his discussions of homo loquax from earlier works, Wolfe shows us how language is a weapon — and the Chomskians are exhibit A. He hints that their insistence on universalism in language was a method of backdooring egalitarianism into science, when no such assumption can be proven or has foundation. In his view, language when viewed as a tool becomes something more like combat than an expression of some inward truth shared between all humans:
Only speech gives man the power to dream up religions and gods to animate them…and in six extraordinary cases to change history — for centuries — with words alone, without money or political backing. The names of the six are Jesus, Muhammad (whose military power came only after twenty years of preaching), John Calvin, Marx, Freud — and Darwin. And this, rather than any theory, is what makes Darwin the monumental figure that he is. (165)
Careful readers will note that this is not Wolfe attacking Darwin, but pointing out that Darwinism as a concept has power far greater than science. It is a political statement and a social one, even religious if one views it as a replacement for religion. In the Wolfeian analysis, language dictates history, and the concepts in it have the ability to subjugate others and bend them to the will of whatever intention directs those concepts, which leads us to wonder if communication and manipulation are not one and the same.
His timing is fortuitous. Across the globe, a general backlash against universalism has begun that very likely will be as profound as the changes wrought by Darwinism. For example, in a parallel event to the research of Daniel Everett, researchers have found that human facial expressions are not universal, just as language is not, by finding an exception to the rule:
When you’re smiling, it may feel like the whole world is smiling with you, but a new study suggests that some facial expressions may not be so universal. In fact, several expressions commonly understood in the West—including one for fear—have very different meanings to one indigenous, isolated society in Papua New Guinea. The new findings call into question some widely held tenets of emotional theory, and they may undercut emerging technologies, like robots and artificial intelligence programs tasked with reading people’s emotions.
For more than a century, scientists have wondered whether all humans experience the same basic range of emotions—and if they do, whether they express them in the same way. In the 1870s, it was the central question Charles Darwin explored in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. By the 1960s, emeritus psychologist Paul Ekman, then at the University of California (UC) in San Francisco, had come up with an accepted methodology to explore this question. He showed pictures of Westerners with different facial expressions to people living in isolated cultures, including in Papua New Guinea, and then asked them what emotion was being conveyed. Ekman’s early experiments appeared conclusive. From anger to happiness to sadness to surprise, facial expressions seemed to be universally understood around the world, a biologically innate response to emotion.
In this case, what was assumed to be true of all humans turned out not to be, which causes us to reassess the idea of universality in itself, and brings up other challenging ideas like parallel evolution, if we assume that our traits cause us to make facial expressions in a certain way. Or perhaps like language, it is random, given that there are only a certain number of distinctive facial expressions that can be used to communicate.
To read more deeply into the topic introduced in this book, Wolfe writes about linguistic hacking, or the use of language to re-program other people to do the will of the speaker, especially if it is disguised through the use of categories to shape our understanding of the relationships between objects, or causes and effects. This idea comes to prominence in his analysis of Darwinism.
Like Chomsky’s idea of universal language, Darwinian natural selection is an idea so well entrenched in the scientific community that it is viewed as beyond assailing. Wolfe, who is an atheist, describes science — but even more importantly, the views of certain scientists — as a new religion which controls our thought as much as the words of Jesus or Mohammad are influential. In particular, Darwinism gives us a bias toward the present tense and our own civilization as it is now, because whatever exists now must have happened through natural selection, and therefore is as close to “good” as we will admit anything is.
Wolfe has made a career of crushing sacred cows and sacrificing popular idols. With The Kingdom Of Speech, he takes on the cornerstones of modernity itself: that our interpretation of Darwinism that favors our current state is correct, that people really are the same everywhere, and that humanity was shaped by external forces like language instead of inventing these things to help itself grow. Reading between the lines, he is tackling the myth of progress itself.
For a short book, and one in which most of the text is narrative, The Kingdom Of Speech packs a heck of a punch. There is plenty to think about here, and as usual Wolfe has zoomed in on the nexus of support structures which holds up our present-day self-conception. These attributes guarantee it a place in history, but it also provides a fast and enjoyable read for those who like seeing finer logic defeat popular ideas.
Watching presidential debates has become surreal. It is somewhat disturbing that everyone seems to speak slowly and with difficulty, as if they were having mental confusion problems, with the exception of Donald Trump and Anderson Cooper.
More disturbing is the seeming anticipation and gratitude that people display for being told lies. They seem to hunger for them, thirst for them. Then again, lies are always easier to digest than truth. The dark side of democracy has never been so clear. The members of the public chosen for the townhall style question-and-answer seemed either cynical to one or both candidates, or clueless with glowing faces, wanting to hear what Uncle Santa was going to bring them.
The real star of the show was the housefly (Musca Domestica) that kept landing on Hillary Clinton. Whether it was the land of the dead laying claim to a future occupant, or some other smell that is appetizing to flies, the fly kept landing on her and then staying there, looking quite happily at home. It buzzed by Trump but found nothing of interest. Guess he can kiss that segment of the electorate goodbye, which is significant since they are probably registering insects to vote in Virginia these days.
Although the moderators seemed very proud of their questions, most of them seemed either obvious or contrived to seem profound. The obvious questions were the best: they get the candidates to speak plainly about aspects of their policy and their reasoning. Hillary seemed as if she had memorized twenty talking points and fifteen ad libs in advance, and used them as if she were writing an answer on a bar exam. Her preparation was vast.
Trump on the other hand came across as unprepared, but was not. He clearly had worked on avoiding language that betrayed his background in dealmaking, and on having more focused answers. He also took the advice of the saner supporters and after a slow start, and a brief period where he just seemed bored, went on the aggressive offensive and began nailing Clinton with the various scandals, errors, glitches, deceptions and outright lies of her campaign.
Despite their efforts, the closest the mostly-hostile moderators had to a hit on Trump was the over-hyped tape of his locker room conversation with Billy Bush. Intelligently, Trump at first apologized, and then fought back, pointing out that the recording did not reveal him speaking of sexual assault, at all. The moderators went into full retreat after their ¡GOTCHA! moment failed, and having cucked them, Trump then beat them down about the unequal time enforcement by pointing at the clock when it expired during a Clinton answer.
He will continue to win supporters with this because his answers were passionate and, if rambling, full of interesting details and connections. He refused to name specifics he cannot yet know, and often had only a single point to come back with. But where Clinton sounded like a law student searching for the perfect answer to please a crowd of professors, Trump came across as someone who actually gets his hands dirty digging into details and making things happen.
Clinton’s answers seemed to focus on emotions, women’s issues, minorities and fear of inequality. She occasionally made some good points, such as when she spoke about possible military intervention in Syria and why a ground invasion would be ill-advised, but then followed it up by reciting the American Vietnam strategy, which to any historically-literate observer sounded insane. While she did not have a health crisis, she seemed wired on something and it translated into overly awkward attempts to “connect” with members of the audience. Some have suggested that she may have had a micro-scale earpiece to receive prompts from her staff because she kept looking down and pausing when answering, but it is equally likely that she was recalling memorized talking points and ad libs.
She seems very much like Saruman from Lord of The Rings: she knows the system is broken, but believes that working with it is the only option. Her answers were designed to be perfect in a free-standing way, and never spoke about practical means, only results she hoped to achieve by dumping money on problems. Her vitriol against Russia seemed designed to deflect from criticism of China, which is interesting given the longstanding Clinton interest in that region. Her tone was clear: take from the haves, give to the have-nots, and otherwise do nothing different.
Trump on the other hand gave rambling Dad answers that hit on important points. He mentioned Benghazi, deleted emails, the $20 trillion debt, the trade deficit, crumbling infrastructure and dying cities, and the misery of middle class Americans. His rambling style allowed him to mix attacks on Clinton with assertions of positive values, and ended up being compelling because of the energy he unleashed despite looking bored the rest of the time, as if he thought he was in a room of numskulls talking nonsense to make themselves seem important.
What this debate made clear is that the battle lines are drawn not by what people think, but by who they are. People who are results-oriented or white will like Trump; everyone who wants the American tax-and-spend freebie for the third world, women and millennials will be drawn toward Clinton. The point is that Clinton promises what money will be spent on and what feelings will be generated (“America is great because we are good,” she said with schoolmarm seriousness) and Trump talks about how to restore function and achieve results. This divides the electorate into polar extremes.
Trump also scored some surprise victories. Clinton was visibly unnerved when Trump kept mentioning the better positions that Bernie Sanders took on her pet issues, which he followed with an attack on her maneuvering to get Sanders out of the race. While Trump thinks Sanders is a moron, he thinks Sanders believes his own rhetoric, but the opposite of Clinton. He also paid her a graceful compliment at the end, which had her looking at him as if she was considering an torrid affair right there in the lobby, at least for a half-second. Advantage: Trump.