Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘steve bannon’

Why Gorka’s Retreat Could Help Trump

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

The spate of resignations from the White House is an attempt to retreat and regroup, not a withdrawal. Obama did the same thing early in his presidency, as have many others, once the battlefield reveals itself and new demands must be met.

As the most recent departure, Sebastian Gorka has attracted the most derisive comments, but his exit shows the existence of factions in the White House and the necessity of settling these for the administration to function at all. Gorka has stated that the anti-MAGA factions have won, but as an administrative question, what matters is more that the entire staff can implement the will of its chief executive.

Any factional resignation in any organization calls to mind the point of that organization, which begins with a concept derived from safety. Safety is important, because in its civilizational context as measured over the last 40 years (or so), statistics revealed that the life expectancy correlation with GDP/capita is 61%.

This means that births must be in balance with deaths. We see this in nature where grass-eating animals balance with flesh-eating animals. These ecosystems are present in all organizations where there must be a number of balances, one of which is cooperation.

The term cooperation is closely associated with the context of consolidation of democracy. However, just like optimization is required with safety, so is optimization required with “cooperation”. Too little or too much cooperation increases death/mortality.

Taking the White House as just another organization, it is possible to say that a factional break-up of that organization is a good thing because it reduces too much cooperation. The factions will each move towards its own zone of authority, allowing each faction to be economically efficient.

On the other hand, if a factional breakup did not occur, the organization would have enforced “full” cooperation between the potential factions, thereby turning one faction into a Dark Organization just like the Justice Department’s “deep state”.

Trump had the choice to have factions work in parallel or to force diversity upon his staff and to make warring factions work together. A White House where the factions are broken up will continue to operate at 80% efficiency, but forcing them to try to operate together reduces efficiency to 20%. Trump opted for greater efficiency with the knowledge that his staff are his employees, and whatever they think, are charged with carrying out his orders, and he prefers them to be more efficient than entrenched in factional warfare.

In the bigger picture, Trump is reorganizing for his own reasons. As a strong leader, he may want a hostile group to counterbalance his ideas, and by sending out discontents like Bannon and Gorka, he is able to spread criticism of his administration as being not extreme enough in pursuit of its goals, which gives him outside pressure that he can use to justify more radical acts.

On top of that, this is most likely a plain old reorganization. Trump needs a group that works together well just as he needs to keep the media distracted, and these departures keep the newspapers confused about his actual goals and operating methods. In addition, former staff like Gorka and Bannon are now cut free as evangelists for the Trump vision in their respective fields.

Media operates in the pocket between when an action occurs and when it is understood, and Trump benefits from introducing chaos and complexity so that actual understanding occurs after the media asserts its interpretation of events, which keeps everyone guessing. But in the meantime, his new streamlined team is more likely to operate at high efficiency.

Steve Bannon Goes Into The Cold

Friday, August 18th, 2017

The following is entirely conjecture, but I started writing to get as close to the elusive workings of the pattern order of nature as I can and to have a great time doing it, and so, sometimes one needs to fire up the pipe, inch closer to the fire and work solely with the little grey cells.

Steve Bannon, after apparently submitting his resignation two weeks ago, giving a controversial interview a week ago, being downgraded by Trump yesterday and leaving the White House today, is making a brilliant move that is going to result in more yuge winning for Donald Trump and his team. Bannon was not fired; he chose to walk into the Cursed Earth because he has another mission.

For those that can hear, Bannon himself says exactly what is happening, but like all statements from the proficient, this is an esoteric communication that needs some reflection to understand:

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon said Friday, shortly after confirming his departure. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

Bannon says that he will return to the helm of Breitbart, the rambunctious right-wing media enterprise he ran until joining the Trump campaign as chief executive last August. At the time, the campaign was at its nadir, and Trump was trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls by double digits.

The Trump Presidency is now something else; Bannon is going to Breitbart. What the heck can this mean? First, it is clear he is correct about the Trump Presidency. They were able to run on a certain platform, unite people behind it, and make huge strides within the first year. But now, the game has changed; the President and his staff have seen new challenges that must be undertaken before he can accomplishing the remaining items on his agenda.

In other words, they succeeded at round one, and now, as with every great victory, they have uncovered a new series of challenges that were invisible back then. This leads us to the second part, which is that in the midst of a vast culture war, Bannon seems to be leaving the White House… to go back to Breitbart. He is going back into the culture side and leaving politics because he has done all that he can there.

Bannon has made a brilliant move in this respect. He has allowed himself to leave the White House under the impression that he was forced out and that he is disappointed with Trump, which sets him up to be a critic of the Presidency. That gives him two advantages: backhanded compliments, and he can agitate for Trump to go further to the Right, which makes the President appear to be responding to his constituency instead of acting of his own initiative entirely.

Backhanded compliments will be hysterical. The press does this all the time: “Well, I really don’t like this President guy, but you know he makes some good points when he talks about A, B, and C. Those really need us to look deeply into them, and his policies make sense. But otherwise, I don’t like the guy at all. Not one bit.”

While he is busy doing that, he can also take the pulpit and rant on about how Trump has failed in his mission and needs to get back to basics. From Breitbart, he can unleash a score of articles talking about how the President is not pushing hard enough for what he was elected to do, like bring back 1980s America, end immigration, exile the media to Morocco… Trump accomplished his initial promises, but the ideas behind them naturally lead to new challenges.

Instead of seeing a defection, what we are seeing here is two men separating so that they can attack a problem from different directions. At this point, Trump has uncovered the Leftist Establishment and, big surprise, it is too large to “drain the swamp” with straightforward activity. Instead, it has to be unmasked one node at a time, and its members revealed and sent packing. At the same time, the hostile media will both attack everything that Trump does with fanfare, and apparently miss the less dramatic but more important stuff he does quietly.

Remember, this is the man who deliberately mistyped the word “coffee” and had the press ranting about it for weeks. He is the master of media. He is Howard Stern plus Rush Limbaugh plus Dave Letterman. He knows how to be entertaining, and part of telling any good joke is that you have to misdirect your audience right before the punchline so that it hits them like a ton of bricks. Trump knows how to tackle these people, and so does Bannon.

Watch Breitbart zoom into the spot vacated by Fox News and expand to wider coverage of all sorts of news. My guess is that we will see a more reliable source of daily news which also hits harder on the political front, probably by looking less partisan and more critical of stupidity, sort of like The Onion if Sam Huntington were at the helm. While Trump baffles the press and subverts the Establishment from inside, Bannon will be outside attacking the press and keeping one step ahead of them, which will further ruin not just their reputation, but their utility. Why go to the press if they get the news twenty-four hours late?

As much is subtly declared in a less-than-subtle statement Bannon made to Bloomberg about his intentions:

“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” Bannon told Bloomberg News Friday in his first public comments after his departure was announced.

Bannon led the evening editorial meeting at Breitbart, where he resumed his role as executive chairman, the website said in a statement. A person who was on the call said Bannon called on the group to “hunker down” and work like never before to advance conservative causes.

According to a person close to Bannon, he met Wednesday with conservative billionaire Robert Mercer, co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies and a major financial supporter of both Trump and Bannon’s efforts. The two mapped out a path ahead for Bannon’s post-White House career and discussed how Trump could get his agenda back on track.

Since day one in office, Trump has played the Bannon card, alternately blaming him for anything controversial and giving him credit for successes. Bannon has construct an aura of mystery around himself, revealing his apocalyptic fascinations as well as his highly strategic mind. My guess is that he is using that mind now, and he is not stepping away from the Trump effort, but stepping up to fulfill a new role that it needs.

As both Trump and Bannon are diligent but flexible strategists and planners, this means that Trump has his agenda set for the next couple terms, and is going to begin acting as he usually does, which is from the bottom up, removing the supports upon which his opposition depend, and then applying pressure indirectly while giving them an easy option that either fulfills his needs or sabotages them in order to create an opening for which he, conveniently, has a method of making things better.

Conservatives should take heart. Trump knew long before he got into office that he would have to deceive, misdirect, deflect, conceal, camouflage, downplay, distort and otherwise act through Odysseus-style canniness instead of trying to go in low and slow like a softball. Bannon and Trump have been engaged in what I would guess is several hours of think tank style strategizing since the election, and Trump has achieved more for conservatives in the last six months than the last two conservative presidents and the half-dozen before them.

Things are looking up. But for that to happen, first there has to be obscurity and myth, and from that, fire and steel.

How You Know You Are Living in a Soft Totalitarian State

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Conservatives struggle with a fundamental problem: our ideals are perennially unpopular, at least until things get so bad that people are desperate enough for a solution that they turn to matured wisdom.

As long as the proles — the 90% of any society who belong to the category of people who need to be told what to do — have fat enough paychecks, beer, bread and circuses, they are perfectly content to ignore any long term problems. In fact, they delight in not just ignoring them but shaming anyone who notices them as a “loser,” because this makes them feel more powerful.

With the fall of Berlin, conservatism was not just marginalized by its relative unpopularity, but actively under assault for any area where its ideas overlapped with those of the National Socialists. This caused the “winners” to immediately drop those ideas, and the “losers” to hang on to them, perhaps with the disclaimer that they could be implemented differently.

Only fifteen years after the end of the second world war, America and Europe were already swinging hard to the Left, mainly because post-war prosperity guaranteed that people would be entirely unconcerned about any long-term consequences. As the saying goes, while there’s food, the peasants party, and then only worry about what to do when they wake up the next day to find themselves hungry.

Since that triumph of the Left, conservatives who speak honestly and realistically have been essentially a persecuted minority, with those who speak taboo truths finding themselves facing the terror of public opinion which seeks to deprive them of jobs, housing, friends and family:

“The thought of getting outed as ‘white supremacists’ to our employers and possibly losing our jobs is a horrifying prospect,” the user Ignatz wrote. If forced to choose between a rally, which could bring him unwanted exposure, or supporting his white family, he says he would choose the latter.

…”But, by and large, people are scared because of the exact same reasons you’d expect,” says Hankes. “It’s hard to get a job, hard to make a living, hard to have a normal social life when all your friends and family know you believe in ethnic cleansing.”

This means that we are living in a soft totalitarian state. Like regular garden-variety totalitarianism, soft totalitarian controls people by regulating what methods and ideas they can be exposed to. However, soft totalitarianism adds a wrinkle: We The People, in our endless quest for social acceptance, do the enforcing instead of government.

That extends to corporations and others who achieve their success and wealth through being popular. Consumerism, as it turns out, is a form of democracy; whatever the largest group of people purchases, wins, and so a market or competition is set up in which companies compete to be the most popular. Inevitably, that spills outward from value and quality of their products to public image, which then swings Leftward as all things do when left up to a mass of people, mainly because that mass chooses the lowest common denominator, which is always simple social sentiments instead of complex critical thinking.

In a soft totalitarian state, government uses freedom as a weapon, knowing that most people are short-term thinkers and therefore both selfish and oblivious to long-term consequences, and that in groups, people always choose a mediocre option in order to keep the group together because only a few people understand the task and have a sensible take on it, anyway. The more freedom and fewer restrictions, the more emboldened the mob becomes to engage in bad behavior, and as a result, the more it fears anyone who wants actual standards, morals, customs, values, culture, heritage, religion or purpose. The mob is the weapon.

In any democratic state, the mob takes over because it creates a market for liars. These actors go on stage, make promises they know are untrue, collect votes and then drive out anyone else. Like the Chicago “political machines” of the 19th century, they then rig the system so no one else can win. As Plato noted, they invariably import foreigners who, as people alienated from the majority, always vote for strong protectors, and so keep the actors in charge.

Their problem is that, as conductors of the masses, they must find a way to motivate an increasingly selfish and sluggish group of very distracted people, most of whom are lost in solipsistic ego-drama and attention whoring, in order to stay in power. To do this they must create vivid images like we would find in comic books of exaggerated good versus evil, with the underdog always winning because most people see themselves as an underdog, if for nothing else to justify their selfish behavior and excuse their failings, claiming oppression and therefore a “right” to take what they secretly believe is theirs, or to simply not contribute much. Politics becomes a hybrid between a circus and a football game, with constant distractions to keep the crowd interested, and then narrow characterizations to channel them into one opinion or another. This is one of the many reasons that democracy is immoral and dishonest.

Many have misunderstood this characteristic of democracy. They see how democracy acts against white people, men, Christians and intelligent people, and assume that it has singled these out for some purpose of its own. In a realistic assessment, what it is doing is forming a pretext. Democracy is the political system of equality; equality is only valuable to those who need it, which are the ones who could not succeed without it. If there are one hundred students in a class and a test comes back where grades are worse than usual, it is not the kids with As who are claiming the test was not fair. Equality creates an inherent victim narrative where those who are not successful claim to be equal, which means that the only reason they are not doing as well as the successful is that they have been victimized, oppressed or discriminated against by some force… and there is no one to blame except those who are successful. This is why all equality movements consist of taking from the successful and giving to the less successful. The war against successful groups — including white people in lands founded by white people — is a pretext for the seizure of wealth and power, followed by redistribution of the same.

You might wonder, why does this equality of power not threaten those in power? The answer is that equality is entropy. If everyone literally has the same amount of power, nothing will get done; this is why all known anarchist communes have perished, even those below Dunbar’s number, the mythical amount of people that one can personally know which allows — in theory — any political system to work. As a result, the equal crowd will always turn to a leader or protector, and who better to do this than the person who just gifted them with wealth and power taken from those who succeeded more than the herd? This creates a cycle where politicians gain power by stealing, then give it to the people, who give it back in exchange for more, and so taxes always go up, more rules are created so there can be more fines, more fees are charged to those with more wealth, and educational systems are designed to bore the intelligent and delight the idiotic.

Soft totalitarianism consists of this cycle. In the circus part of the cycle, the politicians provoke outrage in the herd about some target that can be easily destroyed. The mob, which like all groups with no individual power and full anonymity, loves to destroy, and this whets its excitement like a guillotine or race riot. Then comes the football game part of the cycle, where the crowd is encouraged to view itself as intelligent and morally upstanding for supporting blue team over red team. Finally, the politicians deliver the flashpoint: the other team victimized us, and thus we are justified in destroying them. By any means necessary. They are against our values. They threaten us. They must be destr– errr, defeated, wink wink.

We are now caught in that cycle. The Left whipped up the circus by calling the Alt Right “racists,” and there has been no greater sin according to American herd politics since 1945, so people were ready for violence. The cops created the football game by encouraging violence. Then, after one potentially mentally unstable person panicked and in trying to escape, crashed into another car which then killed one person and injured nineteen, the herd was told that it was the victim. There was the dog whistle! The crowd rushed off to smash the bad team, and the corporations, desperate for attention because it is the only thing keeping them relevant in an anarchic society with no values, used that as a pretext to wage war against the Alt Right.

In the past twenty-four hours, we have seen:

  • The Daily Stormer website being removed from GoDaddy and then invalidated by Google.
  • Amazon dropping author Billy Roper’s book The Ice Path because of complaints.
  • VDARE, Counter-Currents and others being deplatformed by Paypal.
  • Discord deleting the thriving Alt.Right chat server.
  • Numerous accounts deleted on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram.

At this point, we see a fundamental problem with the internet: once entirely owned by the government, it now is mostly in the hands of private businesses, and they are prone to do whatever reduces the number of complaints coming in while also giving them headlines that appease the Left, because the Left are the primarily media consumers and especially of social media, where they are most active in both finding news and regular use:

Overall, consistent conservatives are somewhat less likely than consistent liberals to get government and political news on Facebook or Twitter, primarily because they are somewhat less likely to use the sites in the first place. About half (49%) of consistent liberals (and a similar share of those with mixed ideological views) say they got news about government and politics in the past week from Facebook, compared with 40% of consistent conservatives. And while 13% of consistent liberals say they got political news on Twitter in the past week, just 5% of consistent conservatives (and 8% of groups in between) say the same.

Rather than expand to an audience which is less interested in spending its time clicking around, perhaps because it has more important things to do, the media is doubling down on its existing audience, mainly because the fortunes of the dot-com boom are fading and since statistics count warm bodies, it is essential to these companies to get as many warm bodies in the door as possible.

This means that private companies are in control of public spaces where these private companies derive benefit from making “safe spaces,” which means removing all non-Left-wing content. That realization prompted calls to regulate social media as a public utility:

Bannon’s basic argument, as he has outlined it to people who’ve spoken with him, is that Facebook and Google have become effectively a necessity in contemporary life. Indeed, there may be something about an online social network or a search engine that lends itself to becoming a natural monopoly, much like a cable company, a water and sewer system, or a railroad. The sources recounted the conversations on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give the accounts on record, and could face repercussions for doing so.

…Under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission moved forward on a plan to regulate internet service providers as utilities, barring them from slowing down traffic to a site in order to pressure it into paying higher fees. The Trump administration is pushing to reverse that move, which complicates Bannon’s message.

…Silicon Valley’s liberal cultural politics puts it at odds occasionally with more conservative, rural Trump voters. Facebook was confronted by a backlash over its news curating during last year’s presidential campaign. With insiders claiming there was an anti-conservative bias, Facebook pulled its live team off the project.

If you can imagine a town where the only public spaces — churches, pubs, parks, streetcorners and any other place where more than a handful of people could gather — were owned by a company that forbade discussion of certain topics, you can see the risk in allowing private companies to control what has become a public space that has displaced other means of mass communication. This causes concern for the removal of free speech through methods that soft totalitarianism pioneered:

This brings me to the heart of my argument, today free speech no longer hinges on the government telling people it cannot say certain words. Earlier this year the Supreme Court affirmed that “hate speech” that bogeyman of inferior minds is protected speech. Rather, what’s happened is that the concept of “corporate social responsibility” a buzzword for social justice taught in business schools across the US, has been used to deplatform and deny the right the opportunity to participate in the arena of ideas simply because they control the medium, or media, through which the message must travel.

Technology has put the spirit of the First Amendment in a difficult position. Pedants all over the internet will tell you that censorship is only censorship when the government does it, private companies can censor all they want. They can refuse to do business with an individual.

Totalitarianism is a government banning ideas and behaviors; soft totalitarianism is a raging mob that destroys anything which disagrees with the idea of the mob itself, which is that everyone is accepted and wealth and power should be redistributed to them. This is what mobs have always wanted, an excuse to destroy and loot, and resembles a slow-motion riot more than intelligent political change. With social media, soft totalitarianism has found its ultimate weapon.

For the Right to survive this, it will need to create its own internet from the ground-up based on explicit principles of freedom of speech. A good start would be decentralizing, or abandoning centralized sites like Facebook and Google, to instead user a smaller network of blogs, news sites, search engines and chat rooms that are too numerous and too unknown to become targets. Eventually, the wires and servers themselves could be furnished, presenting a space of actual net neutrality not just in its mechanics but in its refusal to allow any host to prioritize traffic from any other, because that would in itself be a form of proto-censorship of this public-private space.

We are living in a soft totalitarian state. As Plato wrote, democracy always collapses this way and leaves behind tyranny. People are loathe to realize that what most of us want, in any group, is usually wrong, mainly because a mob has no accountability and people act through social behavior instead of logical thinking. If humanity is to survive into the next century, it is essential that we come to awareness that the crowd is evil and our only salvation lies in creating a hierarchy where the smartest, not the mob, are on top.

More Evidence That Syria Is Not About Syria

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

As the theory develops on Amerika there are three basic approaches to politics:

  • Ideology. This is based on what we “should” do from the perspective of the individual human as formed into groups of scared people called crowds. This generally focuses on abstractions based on the assumption of a universal human morality, and presupposes that history is linear from a primitive past to an Enlightened™ future which is more like the world as humans wish it were, or intend it to be, than the world as it is at a functional level.
  • Pragmatism. Taking into account the powers that be, and the forces that act upon them, this outlook or attitude looks toward compromise and balance between different forces; Donald Trump refers to it as “deal-making” and it tends to consist of recognizing that any action requires trade-offs and will be made in trade for several something elses that other parties need or want.
  • Realism. An anti-human perspective, realism looks at events through their end results, especially over time, as measured to all other possible options, which creates a preference for qualitative excellence as over time it returns the best consequences. This ignores human intentions and the politics of getting a group to work together and focuses not on what “should” be done, but what constitutes the best adaptive strategy given the reality of the world outside of human intentions and politics.

The Alt Right is a firm realist movement meaning that, having given up on equality and thus democracy, it has no concern for pacifying the fears of others nor for human intentions and desires masquerading as policy. But to get to realism, we may first need to see commonsense, aggressive ideas be proven as a foundation. There are many steps to a goal.

Trump presents himself as a pragmatist but has converted social conservative morality into a form of realism; in his mind, certain behaviors produce better results, and so he champions them not from a religious basis but a pragmatism of the world outside of politics. For this reason, his realism-pragmatism hybrid is probably a mystery to most people.

Last week, he displayed this attitude by launching a missile strike on a Syrian airbase, and Amerika has taken the politically unpopular opinion that this strike is part of his “America first!” vision and has little to do with Syria, but everything to do with Russia and China, possibly as a method of securing Chinese non-intervention in American military activity against North Korea.

If the United States wishes to intervene in Korea, we need to avoid expansion of theater through Chinese entry, which happened the last time American forces were defeating the North Koreans, prompting the first combat between Chinese and American units. The problem there is both the human wave tactics of the Chinese and the fact that, should America prevail, it will be viewed correctly as a threat to the Chinese homeland, which will cause the war to accelerate out of control. Fears of this happening in Indochina hampered American strategy in Vietnam to the point of nearly crippling it, all while Chinese and Soviet weapons and advisers flowed into North Vietnam. This is the nature of a proxy war; it is horrible when fought in a host country, but really bad if the actual combatants manage to tangle it up and start WWIII.

We can see some of the American interest in North Korea confirmed in reports of how the Syria strike was used as a political meme:

Last week nearly five dozen Tomahawk​ missiles were well on their way from U.S. destroyers in the Mediterranean to targets on a Syrian airfield before Trump leaned over to inform his Mar-a-Lago dinner guest, China’s President Xi Jinping.

One of their other conversation topics was North Korea’s determination to develop nuclear weapons and ICBMs to deliver them, Kim Jung-un says, to the United States. Trump deems this a threat to national security and vows to prevent it, with or without China’s help. Both men agreed on the North Korean nuclear threat.

Imagine this from a business perspective. You are having dinner with the new prospective client and you casually inform him that you have just beaten the competition at their own game. China, who has allied with Russia for the past seventy years, would perceive this as a shift in the game; the congenial host has taken pains to illustrate the benefits of collaboration, and show he can take the initiative.

It could entirely be unrelated, but at a similar time, China switched coal supplier from North Korea to the United States, seriously hampering the already fragile North Korean economy:

Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product.

To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were discussing North Korea at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on April 7.

The new Trump doctrine appears to be the best kind of intolerance: he recognizes that while America has desires for isolationism, and domestic problems at home, his presidency will be short if he allows unstable third world powers to gain access to weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. North Korea threatens Japan, and Syria threatens Israel, both US allies and high-IQ countries.

Ideology bows down to pragmatism and a hint of realism here. On the plus side, if Trump crushes these problems, he builds momentum for his social reforms, including the possible budget reform that could downsize government and strip power from the Leftist welfare state, thus disempowering its base and forcing the “long march” into a retreat.

World Wakes Up To Trump Agenda On Syria (errr… Russia)

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Over the past few days, we have published a series of articles advocating an unorthodox theory of why President Trump ordered missile strikes on a Syrian airbase. On this blog, many of our most fervent and committed supporters frequently find themselves either confused about or opposed to what I and other writers write, and some of my best learning comes from the discussions in the comments.

In the spirit of keeping this dialogue alive, maybe it is time to revisit the Trump Syria strike and see what its effects have been and therefore, what its intent was. From Ralph Peters in the New York Post, an insight into how Trump weakened Putin and stabilized the middle east with the Syrian airstrike:

The biggest loser from last week’s cruise-missile strikes on a Syrian air base wasn’t “President” Bashar al-Assad. It was Vladimir Putin. The Syrian leader was punished, but Russia’s new czar was humiliated.

…Much has been written and spoken about our attack’s potential effect on North Korean calculations. Whether or not the strikes affect Kim Jong-un’s behavior, the strategic math has been altered.

But what really changed was Iranian perceptions. The cruel old men in Tehran have been counting on their alliance with Russia to help ward off US or Israeli blows. Suddenly, Moscow doesn’t look so dependable.

In other words, power in the region switches to the USA.

This is what “America first” means in a foreign policy context. We are not there to defend Israel, although it will benefit from our actions; we are not there to bring democracy to Viet NamIraq; we are not there for the United Nations, or from some humanitarian sense, although Trump played that up at the press conference. We are there to represent our interests, which includes driving all the other parties back to their own spheres of influence.

Iran and Russia have been allied for some time in an attempt to have power in the region. It does not matter whether they are good guys or bad guys; they are not our guys and that is all that matters. We are back to colonial logic here, which is that territory must be understood in a Machiavellian sense, and acquired for the sake of power because otherwise someone else will do the same.

The article quoted above talks a great deal about another cold war aspect of this fight, which is competing weapons sales between East (Russia/China) and West (US/NATO). Popular Mechanics gives the best view of this situation with an explanation of why Putin did not shoot down the American cruise missiles:

There is no greater open question in the defense world than just how effective Russian anti-aircraft weapons really are against American technology. Russia generates money and international leverage by selling systems that it claims can thwart American weapons. But the United States’ jamming, cyberwarfare, smart missiles, and advanced decoys are designed to defeat these digitally-linked Russian systems. There would be no greater marketing disappointment than shooting at U.S. cruise missiles and missing, which would demonstrate the deterrent Russia is selling may not work as advertised.

This means that Trump has reduced Russia’s influence twice: first, in Syria and by extension all the territories that Iran wants in the middle east; second, worldwide, by reducing the prominence of Russian weapons systems, thus giving Russia less power over the rest of the world. Again, America first.

The Alt Right has taken an admirable ideological stance on this issue, which is that we want the USA to back off of the world policeman role that requires us to be enforcers of humanism, diversity, pluralism, tolerance, democracy and equality worldwide. Trump’s public statements about the tragedy of the alleged gassing, which is dubious for many reasons but mostly because the rebels are known to use chemical weapons and the anti-Assad aid groups are known manipulators of public image with incentive to lie about Assad’s use of nerve gas, may or may not have been sincere, but they probably did not state his actual objective. This is unfortunate, as Trump is generally a masculine leader, and masculine leaders dislike public deception because it creates a standard of deception for international relations, but if Trump had come out and said he was taking Russia down a peg, he would surely have caused a world war, so this minor deception may have been necessary.

But at its core, Trump’s act was not ideological; it was about maintaining a balance of power so that America comes out… first.

As if to confirm this, the axis of Russia, Syria and Iran has formalized itself, which points out what Russia was doing, namely trying to take over the middle east. They could be doing this to secure their flank, as I have argued, or for a combination of reasons including the fact that if they control middle eastern oil, they can raise oil prices and rebuild their economy. Russia has traditionally tried to control the middle east by forming alliances with radicals who could then, with help from Russian and possibly Chinese military gear and training, be used to fight a proxy war against the US in the region. Witness the political intrigue expressed in carefully-coded statements:

The Syrian state news agency SANA said Assad told Rouhani the Syrian people and army were “determined to crush terrorism in every part of Syrian territory” – a reference to the rebels who have been fighting his bloody rule for six years.

He also thanked Rouhani for Iran’s support for “the Syrian nation”.

We know that Assad cannot back down. If he falls, his people — a minority in Syria, hated by the undifferentiated mass — will be deposed if not wiped out, or at least suffer the attempt. For him, an alliance with Russia means a chance to crush the rebellion in his land. For Russia, it provides a way to bring in another Russian ally, and then force allegiance between those two powers so that a large chunk of the middle east is under Russian control. Or was, until Trump checked the Russian advance.

Trump’s strategy is to maintain unpredictability so that he can aggressively represent American interests, and the whole Bannon-Ivanka-Kushner drama may be part of this smokescreen. It is hard to tell what he intends to do, and how much of it is continuation of the Bush-Obama-Clinton policy of subversion of foreign governments so that they can be replaced with democratic ones. More likely, Trump is hiding his real motivations in order to scare others nations into falling in line with his “America first” plan:

In a week in which he hosted foreign heads of state and launched a cruise missile strike against Syria’s government, Mr. Trump dispensed with his own dogma and forced other world leaders to re-examine their assumptions about how the United States will lead in this new era. He demonstrated a highly improvisational and situational approach that could inject a risky unpredictability into relations with potential antagonists, but he also opened the door to a more traditional American engagement with the world that eases allies’ fears.

As a private citizen and candidate, Mr. Trump spent years arguing that Syria’s civil war was not America’s problem, that Russia should be a friend, and that China was an “enemy” whose leaders should not be invited to dinner. As president, Mr. Trump, in the space of just days, involved America more directly in the Syrian morass than ever before, opened a new acrimonious rift with Russia, and invited China’s leader for a largely convivial, let’s-get-along dinner at his Florida estate.

In the process, Mr. Trump upended domestic politics as well. He rejected the nationalist wing of his own White House, led by Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, who opposes entanglement in Middle East conflicts beyond fighting terrorism and favors punitive trade measures against Beijing.

Speaking of Beijing, Trump seems to have several interests there. He wants to break up the traditional Russia-China axis which killed his classmates in Vietnam, and he wants China to fall in line with American demands for fair trade. This requires him to follow Machiavelli’s dictum that it is best to be both loved and feared, and so by bashing down Russia, he sends a message to China as well. This applies to both trade and the question of whether China will, as it did during the Korean War, respond to American military intervention in North Korea by sending its own forces streaming over the border and starting the dreaded land war in Asia, essentially a war of attrition. Trump seems to have brought China partially into line on trade:

China is prepared to raise the investment ceiling in the Bilateral Investment treaty and is also willing to end the ban on U.S. beef imports, the newspaper also reported.

“China was prepared to (raise the investment ceilings) in the BIT but those negotiations were put on hold (after Trump’s election victory),” the Financial Times also reported citing a Chinese official involved in the talks.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to a new 100-day plan for trade talks on Friday.

North Korea is another actor being sent a signal here. A president who has no qualms about sending sixty million dollars of cruise missiles into a hostile land will have no problem blasting North Korean nuclear reactors and missile sites, or simply taking the really devastating move of blowing up electric plants, irrigation and water purification plants. North Korea is close to starving as it is, and depends on the US for food aid, so a crippling strike would send the North Koreans crawling back to the negotiating table in a position so weak that they would have to agree to US demands for an end to the North Korean nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missile program.

The Alt Right are not dumb. Neither are Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, both of whom spoke out against this strike. There will not be definitive proof that Trump is not a globalist here because Trump is so camouflaged it is hard to tell exactly what his intentions are. However, by looking at how international politics has shaken out, we can see what he achieved, and assuming his competence, can inference that he intended similar results.

This leads us to the question of Steve Bannon and whether or not Trump is driving him out to make way for a Kushner faction on the staff. If we take this at face value — that is, if we assume that somehow Trump has stopped playing everyone at the same time — we could assume that this is a division in the face of the Trump team. But as insiders observe, the Bannon-Kushner fight is more like American government struggles in the 1960s:

  • The changing culture: Here are the two crucial words to understand the outgoing style and incoming style: We’re told that rather than “nationalist” vs. “globalist,” think of “combat” vs. “collaboration.”
  • How the Bannon bubble burst: The last straw for his internal critics: news stories portraying Bannon as the keeper of the Trump flame, in opposition to Jared, Ivanka and economic adviser Gary Cohn — all New Yorkers.
  • Playing defense: Bannon’s allies both inside and outside the White House are scrambling to try to save his job, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports. They argue that getting rid of Bannon will cost Trump among his “America First” constituency, and that Trump’s key to victory is to keep his base motivated.
  • What’s next: This weekend, Bannon, Kushner and Priebus are having discussions about whether the marriage can be saved: “Either Steve becomes a team player and gets along with people, or he’ll be gone.”

None of this is verified information, and if it were official, it would be even less verified. That is the sign of strong power: the Trump team does not allow us to judge them or second-guess them, much as by stating no doctrine, Trump has established a doctrine that leaders should act decisively according to the specifics of the situation and not broader and consistent ideological objectives.

If a fight is brewing between Bannon/Alt Right and the rest of the Trump team, it is most likely this: Trump’s anti-ideological doctrine is pure pragmatist, or responding to the demands of power itself and the system in which he finds himself. His reaching out to both sides of the aisle, and allowing them to attempt compromise legislation that then fails like the Obamacare replacement, allows him to work the dynamics of power by showing others they need him, and that he is willing to make some deals to achieve results.

The natural enemies of pragmatists are both ideologues, including any ideological interpretation of the Alt Right, and realists, who see the questions of civilization survival as more important than being able to work within the system. The system, to realists, is a distraction; the question is the end results of our acts, and how well they develop or destroy Western Civilization, a once-thriving enterprise now in a state of failure and looking for brave leaders to help restore it.

An action that is more related to making essential change happen than being consistent is inherently anti-ideological. The new Trump doctrine is similarly pragmatist; however, the question is whether by attempting to compromise with the system, Trump could turn himself into another of its mouthpieces, which is what the Alt Right fears. However, Trump needs to be at least somewhat pragmatic because he has an extensive and somewhat controversial domestic agenda, and this will require him to — like Reagan — trade off on some things in order to get what he really wants to come to pass. For that reason, a winning move for him would be to deprecate Bannon in order to hide how important Alt Right issues are to him; by the same token, he might also simply drop the Alt Right as unworkable and focus on intermediate steps, making him do the same things as past presidents but improve them halfway through a heady dose of business sense. With his willingness to preserve social welfare programs and socialized medicine, he at least acts this way.

Whichever of these cases shakes out, the Alt Right needs to reposition itself as opposition to pragmatists and ideologues both, but it cannot do this by becoming an ideological horse of a different color; it must instead become the movement of extreme realism. We do not care how the game is played; we care about one thing, which is restoring Western Civilization. This requires us to recognize the current power system as both transitory and something to be opposed, not on an ideological basis, but because it is dysfunctional. In the same way, we should be actively seeking to roll back as much of democracy and the machine of big government as possible, and simultaneously growing the cultural wave that we started to press for long-term policies that will restore the West and nurture it back to health.

The drama playing out with the Alt Right, Bannon and Trump suspiciously resembles what happened in the 1960s. The youthful rebels were intensely ideological and achieved early victories. Then they slipped into a trope of repeating the same things. In the meantime, the government machine realized two things: first, it could never honestly speak about the pragmatic details of power again because they would shock the TV-watching folks back home, and second, that it could use this “peace movement” toward its own ends. Within a decade the idea of peace became “fighting for peace,” and we got launched into the cycle that peaked with George W. Bush and Barack Obama of worldwide war to promote democracy and equality, which coincidentally made us powerful and kept us distracted from our domestic problems.

The Alt Right can win in this new political era by keeping pressure high on Trump to make structural fixes to the West: remove affirmative action, end immigration entirely, abolish entitlements of all forms, and reduce the size of government. For now, those are achievable and tangible acts that others will resonate with. While we do that with our left hand, our right hand should continue the cultural pressure of subversion by dissolving illusions: that diversity is good, that democracy works, that the sexual revolution was good, and that our culture comes from politics and not genetics. We may never know what Trump is up to, but we can figure out from what he has done what he will do, and adapt to that to maximize our message.

Steve Bannon Reveals The Core Of The Alt Right: Traditionalism Plus Nationalism

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The mainstream media calls him a “white supremacist,” which originally meant someone who wanted Caucasians to rule the world and subjugate the lesser races, but now apparently means a white person who resists diversity.

Diversity, as a derivation of the idea of equality, works the same way that equality does: whoever is perceived to be on top is penalized and that power and wealth is redistributed to those on the bottom. It might be called anti-Darwinian supremacism.

However, Steve Bannon reveals a far more nuanced view of the world:

Bannon’s readings tend to have one thing in common: the view that technocrats have put Western civilization on a downward trajectory and that only a shock to the system can reverse its decline. And they tend to have a dark, apocalyptic tone that at times echoes Bannon’s own public remarks over the years—a sense that humanity is at a hinge point in history. His ascendant presence in the West Wing is giving once-obscure intellectuals unexpected influence over the highest echelons of government.

…“The West is in trouble. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, and Trump’s election was a sign of health,” said a White House aide who was not authorized to speak publicly. “It was a revolt against managerialism, a revolt against expert rule, a revolt against the administrative state. It opens the door to possibilities.”

…Curtis Yarvin, the self-proclaimed “neoreactionary” who blogs under the name “Mencius Moldbug,” attracted a following in 2008 when he published a wordy treatise asserting, among other things, that “nonsense is a more effective organizing tool than the truth.” When the organizer of a computer science conference canceled Yarvin’s appearance following an outcry over his blogging under his nom de web, Bannon took note: Breitbart News decried the act of censorship in an article about the programmer-blogger’s dismissal.

Neoreaction, like its parent philosophy found among the reactionaries, starts with this cyclic view of history: there are right ways to run a civilization, and less-right ones, and when civilization deviates from the right ways, it enters a decay cycle. At that point, it has become corrupt and must be partially destroyed in order to rebirth itself.

Like many philosophies derived from the libertarian fringe, Neoreaction is based on the idea of offering options in the freedom of association vein. Its primary concepts, “patchwork” and “formalism,” state that the world is breaking apart into many little corporate states where government is no longer viewed as anything but a self-interest, profit-oriented actor, and therefore must compete for citizens according to free market principles.

While in itself this seems dodgy, as we know that the world will shift to Coca-Cola and Big Macs instead of Beethoven and Aristotle, the point is made that currently, under the aegis of a moral imperative, government appears to be a benevolent moral actor but in actuality is acting to increase its own power and share of the wealth of the citizenry.

As the Founding Fathers alleged, then, government is a parasite once given enough power, because like all things on earth, it acts in self-interest. It is better — in the Neoreaction view — to formalize that self-interest by making government competitive, thus giving it an incentive to reduce its own power in order to increase its own wealth.

This misses the point in many areas, notably what aristocracy addressed, which is a recognition that those who are good at making profit are not good leaders because they are specialized in a different area than leadership. A for-profit system will reward lowest common denominator thinking and shape its people into a commercial culture which is incapable of greatness.

Instead, aristocracy chooses the best people and entrusts them with wealth and power which they have an incentive to keep consistent or slightly increase, but because they already have all they need and are not judged by acquisition, have no motivation to keep the kind of growth-oriented Ponzi scheme to which free markets devolve in the hands of the Crowd.

As Plato said in The Republic, Libertarianism is an intermediate stage whereby those with wealth attempt to defend it by arguing for a benevolent “every man for himself” type order, forgetting that the more numerous drones will simply form a big gang or cult called a Crowd and then take over power. Libertarianism is a march to death, but as Moldbug demonstrated, Libertarian theory is a way out from Leftism.

Bannon reputedly reaches a similar state by pairing Neoreaction with transcendental idealism, which he derives from its oldest source, the Bhagavad-Gita:

According to a former friend of Bannon’s, he “used to talk a lot about dharma — he felt very strongly about dharma … one of the strongest principles throughout the Bhagavad Gita.” Dharma, a difficult term to translate from Sanskrit, can mean righteousness, but also duty. Every human must follow his or her own dharma (duty, calling) in accordance with his or her nature and social duties in order for society as a whole to be following the path of dharma (righteousness, order) and be in line with the cosmic order of things:

It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. (Bhagavad Gita 18:47)

…Given Bannon’s worldview, which sees the world, and especially the West as being in a state of moral and economic crisis resulting from the lack of mooring in traditional values (in other words, adharma, or lack of dharma or alignment with a sacred worldview), his interest in dharma is not surprising.

Dharma is (in part) a defense of inequality: each person has a different role, and they contribute unequally toward a cooperative purpose, which is not found in material — like economics, politics and social factors — but in principle, or upholding the ideals and structures which make for a life which is closest to the divine.

With this inclusion, Bannon’s Neoreactionary influences seem more methodological and his goals more like those of the Alt Right, which combines nationalism and traditionalism with a futurism that acknowledges hard truths about humanity.

This pairing of Neoreaction and Hinduism shows a chief strategist who is aware of the trends of history and how we break out of them. We move from materially-derived ideas such as demotism, the Neoreactionary term for popularity contests like consumerism and democracy, toward ideal-based movement toward a stable and qualitatively improving world order.

In itself, that does not seem significant until one realizes what it rejects. Ideals are not fixed but are continuous, meaning that their core principles never change, but adapt and improve qualitatively while remaining essentially the same thing. The notion of Progress has died, including the liberal democratic version which holds that improving the material situation of individuals is the highest good.

Instead, in a Bannonian/Trumpian world, the goal is to establish a civilization that rewards the good and punishes the bad so that all may benefit from the power of inequality, which is a gradual force toward upward qualitative improvement. In this, Bannon echoes not just his recent influences, but the ideals of conservatism and human wisdom since time immemorial, rejecting the Enlightenment and the nightmare it produced.

Back To The 1840s

Monday, February 6th, 2017

“History repeats itself” and “history is cyclic” are nice ways of saying that the basics of adaptation are well-known, and humanity alternates between accepting reality and embarking on multi-century tantrums which end up making it weaker. In this sense, human survival is a struggle between the realist and the delusional, with the latter having much higher numbers.

If we look to an era that ours is repeating, we are tempted by many historical moments. The Left wants us to believe that we are in Weimar Germany, prepared for the rise of Adolf Hitler 2.0b. Many people think we might be somewhere in the last two centuries of Rome and Athens, but moving much faster. These may be true, but they will be filtered through a more proximate target.

The 1820s-1840s were a turbulent time for America. Having established itself, the new nation promptly re-created itself through the Constitution, and in rapid sequence lost its second revolution, then embarked on a disastrous plan of importing Southern/Irish Europeans to use as labor to shore up its wealthiest entities. The experts agreed this was good; the “common man” — who was really uncommon — revolted.

Brexit/Trumprise shows us the same phenomenon at work: in trouble, we are relying on immigration to keep our Ponzi economy and debt burden going. The experts all agree this is good because, well, their income and position depend on it. The uncommon men, or the small segment of those who have leadership capacity which comprises one-quarter of the one-fifth in our society who do 80% of everything, have united briefly on a cultural change: we no longer trust the ideology of the past.

These transitions have happened before:

Wilsonians, meanwhile, also believed that the creation of a global liberal order was a vital U.S. interest, but they conceived of it in terms of values rather than economics. Seeing corrupt and authoritarian regimes abroad as a leading cause of conflict and violence, Wilsonians sought peace through the promotion of human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law. In the later stages of the Cold War, one branch of this camp, liberal institutionalists, focused on the promotion of international institutions and ever-closer global integration, while another branch, neoconservatives, believed that a liberal agenda could best be advanced through Washington’s unilateral efforts (or in voluntary conjunction with like-minded partners).

The disputes between and among these factions were intense and consequential, but they took place within a common commitment to a common project of global order. As that project came under increasing strain in recent decades, however, the unquestioned grip of the globalists on U.S. foreign policy thinking began to loosen. More nationalist, less globally minded voices began to be heard, and a public increasingly disenchanted with what it saw as the costly failures the global order-building project began to challenge what the foreign policy establishment was preaching.

…But Donald Trump sensed something that his political rivals failed to grasp: that the truly surging force in American politics wasn’t Jeffersonian minimalism. It was Jacksonian populist nationalism.

Even this article is wrong. Donald Trump has a Jacksonian approach, and is currently advocating “populist nationalism” in the way this article hopes to con you into using it, namely “civic nationalism,” but he and Steve Bannon are European-style nationalists: a nation is defined by its ethnic group, and that group unites itself through identity, culture, values, religion, customs and other organic institutions.

As usual, the voters go to sleep as soon as given an excuse to do so. Someone tells them pleasant lies, so they vote for them, and when everything turns out badly the monkeys split into bickering camps so that each person has someone to blame for his own poor decision-making. Instead of acknowledging this cycle, they pretend to “fix” it with increasing doses of dogma.

Once the voters have slept for some time, government unleashes the fact that it is a self-interested corporation, and that it makes profit by having the broadest possible mandate it can muster. Saving the poor? Good. Fostering equality between the classes? Better. Uniting all of the races into a single world based in consumerism and socialism? Best!

The powers-that-be-for-now do not understand that Trump is a rejection of politics itself and its replacement with strong leadership and social hierarchy:

Trump’s remarks suggest he is using the same tough and blunt talk with world leaders that he used to rally crowds on the campaign trail.

The people of the West have seen the face of ideology, finally, and they do not like it. As a result, a cultural wave has risen up against the experts in the city and their conjectural ideology. Instead of targeting the ideology directly, this wave targets the idea of ideology — altruism, equality, big government, the basic goodness of humankind — and subverts it with mockery and replaces it with minimalistic function.

In this way, it differs from the Jeffersonian desire for simplicity and replaces it with a Jacksonian functionalism. This is a realist revolution, much as Brexit is. The experts are simply wrong because they exist in an echo chamber and an ivory tower. It is time for those who work with their hands, whether metaphorically or not, to re-inherit the West and reform it away from an inertial path to certain suicide.

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