Lind on “The New Separatism”

William Lind discusses “The New Separatism” sweeping across Europe and that, in the U.S., translated into Trump’s victory:

The driving force behind separatism is the same as that which has created Fourth Generation war, war waged by non-state entities. That force is a growing crisis of legitimacy of the state. While its intensity varies greatly from place to place, the state’s crisis of legitimacy is now nearly universal. More and more citizens of states are transferring their primary loyalty away from the state to something else. In the case of separatist movements, it is to regions, often regions that once were states. In Fourth Generation war, new primary loyalties come in a wide variety of flavors, including religions, race and ethnic groups, gangs, and “causes” such as “animal rights.”

Lind identifies three proximate causes:

  1. States controlled by elites are no longer effectively performing the state’s primary function, the reason it first arose: establishing and maintaining order, safety of persons and property.
  2. A second cause is that the global elites long ago transferred their primary loyalty away from their states, towards internationalist institutions and/or globalist ‘free trade’.
  3. The third cause is the resurgence of ‘ideology’ in the form of political correctness.

Of this third causal factor, Lind writes:

In the West, another powerful force is at work to undermine the state—the old enemy of conservatives, ideology. The West’s political elite has adopted the ideology of cultural Marxism, commonly known as “political correctness” or “multiculturalism.” Cultural Marxism denounces Western culture, the Christian religion, the white race, and heterosexual males. They represent “oppression,” in this view. No one who dares defy this ideology can be a member of the elite.

The result is that the elites that run Western nation-states are at war with the common culture, the culture in which most of their fellow citizens (subjects?) still believe. Not surprisingly those ordinary people are rejecting the elites. As we saw in Donald Trump’s presidential victory and are witnessing in Europe, the unwashed masses are starting to cast their ballots for anti-Establishment individuals and parties, people who reject cultural Marxism.

In the end, cultural Marxism brings us back around to the first reason for the state’s crisis of legitimacy, its failure to protect people and property from crime. One weapon the cultural Marxist elites use to destroy the Western culture they hate is mass immigration from other cultures. The goal is to swamp the native population and their beliefs in a sea of foreigners. With those foreigners comes crime. When I lived in Austria and Germany in the early 1970s, crime was not a consideration. No woman thought anything of walking alone at night through a park in Vienna. No longer. Now in Malmo, Sweden, the young Islamic male “refugees” talk of going out to “hunt Swedes.”

Such developments call to mind the words of the Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld, who once told me, “Everyone can see it except the people in the capital cities.”

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TC&I – Scatter Me (2017)

The feud between Colin Moulding & Andy Partridge appears permanent. It’s a shame because, collectively, they put out fantastic albums as the songwriters of XTC.

Some comfort comes in the form of TC&I, the new musical entity involving Colin Moulding and former XTC drummer Terry Chambers. Their first outing is a wonderful 4-song EP titled Great Aspirations.

“Scatter Me” is a song that has really grown on me, with beautiful, mournful lyrics over a classic Moulding song structure and arrangement.

Time is passing. We are getting older. The thick black mane of hair Moulding used to have is now gray. “Scatter Me” seems to be a paean to the inevitable.

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The New Yorker: Profile of Peter Sloterdijk

In The New Yorker, Thomas Meaney has a profile of Germany’s gadfly public intellectual Peter Sloterdijk (“A Celebrity Philosopher Explains the Populist Insurgency”).

Of Sloterdijk’s slightly pomo brand of pastiche philosophizing:

This profligacy makes Sloterdijk hard to pin down. He is known not for a single grand thesis but for a shrapnel-burst of impressionistic coinages—“anthropotechnics,” “negative gynecology,” “co-immunism”—that occasionally suggest the lurking presence of some larger system. Yet his prominence as a public intellectual comes from a career-long rebellion against the pieties of liberal democracy, which, now that liberal democracy is in crisis worldwide, seems prophetic. A signature theme of his work is the persistence of ancient urges in supposedly advanced societies. In 2006, he published a book arguing that the contemporary revolt against globalization can be seen as a misguided expression of “noble” sentiments, which, rather than being curbed, should be redirected in ways that left-liberals cannot imagine…

He has decried Merkel’s attitude toward refugees, drawn on right-wing thinkers such as Martin Heidegger and Arnold Gehlen, and even speculated about genetic enhancement of the human race. As a result, some progressives refuse to utter his name in public. In 2016, the head of one centrist party denounced him as a stooge for the AfD, a new far-right party that won thirteen per cent of the vote in last year’s federal elections.

Of how, in contemporary Germany, everything to the right of Angela Merkel is called “fascist”:

In Germany, where the very word “selection” is enough to set off alarms, Sloterdijk’s essay invited antagonism. Was he making a plea for eugenics? Jürgen Habermas, the country’s most revered philosopher, declared that Sloterdijk’s work had “fascist implications,” and encouraged other writers to attack him. Sloterdijk responded by proclaiming the death of the Frankfurt School, to which Habermas belongs, writing that “the days of hyper-moral sons of national-socialist fathers are coming to an end.” German intellectuals mostly sided with Habermas, but Sloterdijk emerged from the scuffle with his status considerably enhanced. He was now a national figure who stood for everything that Habermas did not.

On the AfD and those he refers to as “rage entrepreneurs”:

When I brought up the AfD, Sloterdijk sank his head in his hands, and his expansive manner gave way to something more cautious. For years, the German media have been making connections between Sloterdijk’s thought and new right-wing groups, and he’s become used to rebutting the charge of harboring far-right sympathies. In my conversations with him, his political preoccupations seemed closer to libertarianism than to anything more blood and soil, but he has a habit of saying things that, depending on your view, seem either like dog whistles to the far right or like the bomb-throwing reflexes of a born controversialist. When Sloterdijk said, of Merkel’s refugee policy, that “no society has the moral obligation to self-destruct,” his words called to mind Thilo Sarrazin, a former board member of the Bundesbank, who, in 2010, published an anti-Muslim tract with the title “Germany Abolishes Itself,” which became a huge best-seller and made racial purity a respectable concern of national discussion…

Sloterdijk deplored the rise of the right, but he couldn’t resist seeing something salutary in the spectacle. “It’s been coming for a long time,” he said. “It’s also a sign that Germans are more like the rest of humanity than they like to believe.” He started talking about “rage banks,” his term for the way that disparate grievances can be organized into larger reserves of political capital.

The piece ends with Sloterdijk giving a talk, and getting courteously heckled by the Usual Suspects:

“You sound like the right-wingers when you speak of the refugees,” an elderly doctor stood up and declared. “We cared about refugees after the war and we can do it again.”

Sloterdijk replied impatiently. “The Americans gave us this idea of multiculturalism that suited their society fine, but which, as software, is not compatible with our German hardware of the welfare state,” he said. “There’s this family metaphor spreading everywhere: the idea that all of humanity is our family. That idea helped destroy the Roman Empire. Now we’re in danger of letting that metaphor get out of control all over again. People are not ready to feel the full pressure of coexistence with billions of their contemporaries.” He went on, “In the past, geography created discretionary boundaries between nations and cultures. Distances that were difficult to overcome allowed for mental and political space.” Space and distance, he argued, had allowed for a kind of liberality and generosity that was now under siege—by refugees, by social media, by everything.

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Le Carré Leans Left

In Modern Age, Mark Tooley looks at the career of John le Carré. Towards the end of this piece is this sad example of le Carré’s leftist leanings:

In his latest novel, A Legacy of Spies, le Carré returns to his old recipe of traditional intrigue, even reviving George Smiley and some Smiley associates, full of memories about their KGB nemesis Karla and other good times. At the end, an aged Smiley recalls how there had been a time when his work had been for England, but he was now a European and dreamt of “leading Europe out of her darkness towards a new age of reason.” So evidently Smiley didn’t vote for Brexit, as most other British elderly did.

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NYT: When Prophecy Fails – Pt. 24,182

In When Prophecy Fails (1956), Leon Festinger showed how disconfirmation of beliefs can lead to increased conviction in these very beliefs. Festinger stated that five conditions must be present if someone is to become a more fervent believer after a failure or disconfirmation:

  1. A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he or she behaves.
  2. The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.
  3. The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
  4. Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.
  5. The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, the belief may be maintained and the believers may attempt to proselytize or persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

From the NYT today:

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‘Mad’ Mike Hoare

In Social Matter, Benjamin Welton has an excellent essay on ““Mad” Mike Hoare: White Giant”, which discusses a famous group of English mercenaries in Africa, and various historical inaccuracies about Belgian and English colonialism.

Having recently watched Dark of the Sun (1968), featuring the greatly underrated Rod Taylor, methinx it’s now time to watch The Wild Geese (1978), a film starring Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Roger Moore. Those three guys in a mercenary action flick? I mean: c’mon.

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The Culture Creators

When it comes to ‘culture creation’ and modernity’s decline towards decadence, one ethnic group in particular is greatly overrepresented.

Calvin Klein, Fran Lebowitz, Andy Warhol and Steve Rubell at Studio 54.

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Kosher Salt: On Jewish Humor

In City Journal, Stefan Kanfer reviews Jewish Comedy: A Serious History by Jeremy Dauber (“Kosher Salt: How Jewish humor became the standard”). The sort of self-deprecating Jewish joke I wish we heard more of:

Sometimes the humor presented the flip side of anti-Semitism. Two impoverished Jews see a sign in front of a church offering cash to anyone who converts to Christianity. The bolder one schemes to fake it, mumble the appropriate homage to Jesus, and buy dinner with the reward. Hours later, he emerges. “Did you get paid?” his friend demands. The scornful reply: “All you people think about is money.”

I do have to take issue with the last paragraph of Kanfer’s piece:

The odd thing, Dauber suggests, is that the old rules of Jewish humor are changing as we watch. The appeal of such comedy used to be insular, full of attitude delivered with rimshots. “But is that true in America today?” Dauber asks, “where the best jokes aren’t about Jewish failure, but about Jewish success?” The answer will appear in clubs and on screens soon enough. Funny how that happens.

Don’t bet on that.

Jewish over-representation in all elite strata is not something they want goyim to notice, let alone openly discuss.

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John Stuart Mill: Liberty & Flourishing

From Christopher Macleod’s brief essay on “John Stuart Mill: higher happiness”:

In contrast to many contemporary thinkers, Mill’s defence of liberal principles is historical and local – not abstract and universal. Whereas the prevailing wisdom maintains that individuals possess certain rights to free speech and action simply by virtue of their status as human beings, Mill was suspicious of that claim.  As a robust naturalist – one who believed only in those objects discovered by observation or the methods of empirical science – Mill could not accept the idea of rights which attach to every human being but were wholly imperceptible to the senses.  Nor could he agree with those who, like the US Founding Fathers, held that our possession of certain unalienable rights was “self-evident”.  If such rights genuinely were self-evident, he notes, there would hardly be so much disagreement about them.

Mill’s argument for the principle of liberty is based on an observation about the conditions most conducive to flourishing in societies that have reached a certain level of civilization. Given the level of moral and intellectual cultivation achieved in Western Europe – modest, Mill suggests, but not insignificant – a robust atmosphere of freedom is indispensable for the advancement of knowledge and the achievement of happiness…

While individuals in “civilized” societies thrive in an atmosphere that protects rights of freedom, for nations that belong to a “barbarous state”, he writes, the best thing would be “obedience to an Akbar or a Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate as to find one”.

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Orban Rules – Pt. 418

From Reuters:

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian leader Viktor Orban called on Sunday for a global alliance against migration as his right-wing populist Fidesz party began campaigning for an April 8 election in which it is expected to win a third consecutive landslide victory.

Popular at home but increasingly at odds politically and economically with mainstream European Union peers, Orban has thrived on external controversy, including repeated clashes with Brussels and lately the United Nations.

Those conflicts, mostly centered on migration since people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa flooded into Europe in 2015, have intensified as the elections approach and Orban poses as a savior of Europe’s Christian nations.

Christianity is Europe’s last hope,” Orban told an audience of party faithful at the foot of the Royal Castle in Budapest. With mass immigration, especially from Africa, “our worst nightmares can come true. The West falls as it fails to see Europe being overrun.”

Orban is widely credited for reversing an economic slump in Hungary and controlling its public finances, culminating in a return to investment-grade for its debt, which was cut to ‘junk’ during the 2008 global economic crisis.

To achieve that and hold onto power the prime minister, 54, has used methods that critics have called authoritarian, and picked fights with EU partners, especially in the West. Eastern leaders, most notably in Poland, have followed his lead.

But migration dominates his agenda now.

Orban said on Sunday that Europe faces a critical fissure between nation states of the East and the West, which he called an “immigrant zone, a mixed population world that heads in a direction different from ours”.

As the West wants eastern Europe to follow its lead, an increasingly vicious struggle was likely, he said, alluding to a plan to redraw the European alliance advocated by the leaders of France and Germany.

“Absurd as it may sound the danger we face comes from the West, from politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris,” Orban said to loud applause. “Of course we will fight, and use ever stronger legal tools. The first is our ‘Stop Soros’ law.”

Orban has for years targeted Hungarian-born U.S. financier George Soros, whose philanthropy aims to bolster liberal and open-border values — anathema to Orban, an advocate of a loose group of strong nation states that reject multiculturalism.

The Hungarian leader has advocated “ethnic homogeneity” and compared Soros, a Jew, to a puppet master unleashing immigration onto Europe to undermine its cultural and economic integrity.

A defining moment of his premiership came in 2015, as the migrant crisis peaked: he built a double razor wire fence that became the symbol of anti-migrant sentiment in Europe.

Orban also said the Hungarian opposition had failed to heed the call of history when it opposed his toughness on migrants.

Voters have responded favorably and Orban is a clear leader of all polls.

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