Randoms

"One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore." Here. I think he’s probably right.

Here are two completely unrelated headlines:

1) Buffett To Co-Host Obama Fundraiser In NYC

2) Buffett to Invest $5 Billion in Shaky Bank of America

I really can’t stress how un-related the headlines are.

For alternative perspectives, here’s Bronte Capital on Bank of America. And here’s Carlyle:

Great is Bankruptcy: the great bottomless gulf into which all Faslehoods, public and private, do sink, disappearing; whither, from the first origin of them, they were all doomed. For Nature is true and not a lie. No lie you can speak or act but it will come, after longer or shorter circulation, like a Bill drawn on Nature’s Reality, and be presented there for payment,–with the answer, No effects. Pity only that it often had so long a circulation: that the original forger were so seldom he who bore the final smart of it! Lies, and the burden of evil they bring, are passed on; shifted from back to back, and from rank to rank; and so land ultimately on the dumb lowest rank, who with spade and mattock, with sore heart and empty wallet, daily come in contact with reality, and can pass the cheat no further.

Samson’s Jawbone on modern sexuality: "We *told* people this would happen. What can you say when you tell people, and tell people, and tell people, and they don’t listen, and then it happens just like you saw it was going to?"

This video is fake, right? Someone, please, tell me that this video is fake.

On male bonding. The best male bonding is manual labor.

"Margaret Thatcher: The Most Useful of Idiots" – an interesting argument

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16 Responses to Randoms

  1. Tschafer says:

    Well, if Eisenhower was “objectively pro-Communist”, Thatcher was “a useful idiot” and even Reagan didn’t really do anything except “make the world safe for leftism”, if we couldn’t even manage to elect anyone as conservative as these three today, and if “a gentleman only supports lost causes”, just where in the Hell is this supposed to leave us, circa 2011? Does reaction just consist of pining for the good old days (whenever those were – after all, Lincoln was a tyrant, and George Washington was a “military adventurer” according to a leading reactionary), enjoying good scotch, reading Carlyle, and waiting for Eric Holder’s secret police to kick the door down? Do reactionaries have anything to offer as a solution, other than weak stuff like the “Antiversity” (easily censored, as we currently see in China and Egypt) or hoping for a military coup by our feminized, newly gay-friendly military?

    We can sit aroud and criticize past generations of conservatives all we want, but if they failed in stopping the progressive juggernaut, that only proves that the task was a lot harder than it looked at the time. The question is, are WE going to do any better? Say what you will, at least they tried. Certainly, we should learn from their mistakes, and do better. But the question is, where do we go from here? I can’t say as I’m hearing very much that’s useful from the Reactionsphere.

    • Alrenous says:

      If gentlemen really do only support lost causes, I must hang up my top hat.

      So your meta-problem is how to get something useful out of the reactosphere. And the meta-meta-problem is what would be useful for the reactosphere to do. What’s your strategy?

      Washington was a politician, and pace Moldbug, we can consider everything he said to be a lie. On average, people like him get where they are from desperate personal ambition. Indeed, there’s lots of people like that, but most of them fail – and the winners get to write their own histories. In other words, barring evidence to the contrary, one should assume Washington was a military adventurer just based on what he accomplished.

    • Foseti says:

      I sympathize with your line of thought here. I’m still in recovery from the same line of thinking, frankly.

      Being reactionary means understanding that the Republican and Democratic Parties work like all other inner and outer parties. To be blunt, it’s an illusion that you can change your government by voting in the right person.

      As to where that leaves us – it at least leaves us understanding how USG actually functions. This puts us well ahead of everyone else.

      If these propositions are correct, and you refuse to recognize them, you’re in an even worse position: you’re fighting battles in which victory will actually be defeat.

      • Vladimir M. says:

        I agree with all this, however I can’t help but feel some guilt over the fact that people who engage in right-wing politics still slow down the juggernaut somewhat and occasionally even stop some of its craziest excesses. One could argue that thanks to their eternal loser struggle, we enjoy a much more tolerable situation than if every progressive idea was enforced instantly without opposition. So we end up in the uncomfortable situation where we correctly recognize rightists who don’t give up on politics as deluded and doomed to contempt by the fashionable opinion and eventual defeat, and we choose to proudly stand aside and refuse such an undignified role — but at the same time we free-ride on whatever they actually manage to accomplish, which is still far from nothing.

        Alternatively, of course, one could argue that progressivism would have collapsed long ago under its own weight if it had been left unopposed, and all the decades of constantly retreating opposition have provided an optimal environment for it to grow to the present monster. But I’m not at all sure of this, and even if it would have collapsed, this could have led to an even uglier situation.

    • prcaldude@gmail.com says:

      Do reactionaries have anything to offer as a solution, other than weak stuff like the “Antiversity” (easily censored, as we currently see in China and Egypt) or hoping for a military coup by our feminized, newly gay-friendly military?

      lolno.

      The React-o-sphere is all about non-doing.

      • Foseti says:

        The notion of “doing” as a good is progressive. We’re doing stuff all the time. Most of that stuff relates to increasing our own understanding of the world. “Doing” in sense that the word is commonly used is almost entirely bullshit.

    • Matt Weber says:

      The right can’t do much at the moment, because, among other things, the right has no idea what it even is. Trundling around the rightosphere, you get the sense that there is a lot of inchoate complaint, but almost no consensus on policy preference. Is the right pro-free trade or anti? Is there any consensus on taxes? Is there any consensus on anything?

      Another problem is that the right either can’t or won’t compromise. The left has been able to keep its eye on the ball and keep a sense of how far is too far, but the right doesn’t have that same savvy. Legal immigration is pretty solid, but illegal immigration is largely hated. Target the weak points. People aren’t likely to become racialists any time soon, but Affirmative Action is widely hated regardless. Achieve what can be achieved and leave the rest to the the next generation. Reducing entitlement spending by 10% would be a real accomplishment, and a coalition could be built to do it. Getting rid of Social Security tomorrow is not going to happen.

      We also have the faddishness. In the rightosphere you have Men’s Rights, HBD, neopaganism, localism, white nationalism, teh Jooos!…that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To take HBD as an example, I have no idea what the policy implications are. Rightists all seem to believe that if everyone woke up tomorrow and accepted HBD that something drastic would change, but what? The end of AA? We don’t need HBD for that one. The end of diversity policies? Maybe, and that’s a big maybe. One gets the sense that on the right, everyone has their One Big Idea that’s gonna fix everything. These range from benign sentimentality (localism) to ridiculously implausible (WN)

      There’s also this sort of learned helplessness that afflicts many. Rightists say that the MSM is biased against them (true) and that their opponents will just hurl abuse at them rather than debate (also true). But they seem to infer from this that there’s no point in doing anything. The reality is that while the MSM is biased against us, the internet is biased against the MSM. The days where the NYT channeled the flow of acceptable opinion are ending.

      It is true that our opponents will hurl abuse. Well, let them. The goal is to make it where abuse is the only thing that can be hurled, because our arguments are airtight. Yes, we’ll get more criticism than more establishment friendly people, but when you are facing an unfair playing field then you can either work with it or give up. The truth is that the left-liberal establishment is rotten. They have almost completely stopped arguing for their positions, instead assuming that all right-thinking people will naturally agree and denouncing those who don’t. Believe it or not, denouncing everyone who disagrees is not a winning strategy. Read Matt Yglesias’ blog sometime…the guy has no original thoughts at all. His whole MO is find something to respond to, match a prejudice, and punch out a blog post. We don’t have to convince the Yglesiases of the world, and never will. It’s the undecided bystanders who will notice that one side is arguing their point of view and the other is just screaming.

      I’ll end this since it’s already too long, but more could be said. As you can tell, I’ve been thinking about this for some time.

      • Vladimir M. says:

        Matt Weber:

        [T]he right has no idea what it even is. […] Is there any consensus on taxes? Is there any consensus on anything?

        The “right” is nothing but a loose designation for anyone who has significant disagreements with progressivism. So it’s no surprise that there is little consensus among people who get so designated.

        Another problem is that the right either can’t or won’t compromise. The left has been able to keep its eye on the ball and keep a sense of how far is too far, but the right doesn’t have that same savvy. Legal immigration is pretty solid, but illegal immigration is largely hated. Target the weak points.

        Bur the right has been doing nothing but compromising for generations. If you held the positions of, say, Bill Buckley and the founding crew of the National Review circa 1955, you’d nowadays be a far right extremist altogether unfit for polite company. Today we see a National Review “conservative” declaring: “what I favor is basically the ADA (Americans for Democratic Action…) circa 1965.” (ADA was the very epitome of left-liberalism back then.)

        There are plenty of individuals and organizations targeting the weak points where progressive measures are unpopular. And what success do they have? Sure, they might achieve some slowdown of their implementation, but no reversals. (The closest thing to a reversal was when mainstream progressives abandoned further steps towards outright socialism and implemented the NEP under which we still live.)

        If there is any hope at all, it must be in somehow finding a way to push principled positions without any tactical compromising and pusillanimously picking issues based on popularity. Clearly, I presently have no idea how this could be done, but the futility of the present right-wing politics must be recognized as an evident fact.

        The days where the NYT channeled the flow of acceptable opinion are ending.

        I wish I had a penny for every time I heard this asserted without evidence. Honestly, I see no indications whatsoever that the internet has made even the smallest dent in the intellectual monopoly of the mainstream media, academia, etc., nor that this is likely in the foreseeable future.

        Twenty years ago, you couldn’t open a website to express your ideas, but you could still xerox a bunch of pamphlets and hand them out on a street corner. I fail to see how being able to open an obscure website is a substantial improvement on that, except of course that it’s much more fun and intellectually stimulating.

        The only chance for changing the status quo lies in somehow undermining and capturing the status and prestige of these elite institutions of public opinion. Again, I have no idea how this could be achieved, but what I do know is that it can’t be done just by setting up alternative sources of information and relying on their greater truthfulness and intellectual quality.

        The truth is that the left-liberal establishment is rotten. They have almost completely stopped arguing for their positions, instead assuming that all right-thinking people will naturally agree and denouncing those who don’t.

        The books I’ve read indicate that it was just as bad 40-50 years ago, though of course the Overton window has moved far to the left since then. The intellectual quality of the arguments for an ideology doesn’t matter at all as long as it enjoys status and prestige. Everything else is wishful thinking.

      • prcaldude@gmail.com says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head.

        But they seem to infer from this that there’s no point in doing anything.

        It’s worse than that – much of the reactosphere doesn’t see much value in doing things that will obviously improve their station in life, much less launch some alternative political movement.

        Really, there’s no need to launch an alternative political movement at this point because the Left has thoroughly snuffed-out conservatism in this country, and maybe the idea of “conservatism” in this country has been stillborn since 1776. Since the Left has won, all a reactionary really needs to do is find better ways of living his own life (get married, get a job, join a church, buy a home, secure a future for his family, etc). These are probably the only worthwhile measures a conservative can take at this point unless there’s some sort of massive collapse of the USSA.

        But these basic, common-sense things are the least likely to be pursued by most in the reactosphere. They would rather spend their lives bellyaching on the internet, which is why I said that the reactosphere was all about non-doing.

      • Foseti says:

        I think you’re right as to what reactionaries should do and wrong in your suggestion that they’re not doing it.

      • Tschafer says:

        “Doing” in sense that the word is commonly used is almost entirely bullshit.”

        But wasn’t the criticism of Thatcher, Reagan, and Eisenhower directed at them for not “doing” more of the right stuff to stop leftism?

        “We’re doing stuff all the time. Most of that stuff relates to increasing our own understanding of the world.”

        And the leftist tide rolls on. At some point, will we understand the world enough to take positive action? And if so, do we have any idea as to what that action will be? If the answer is “no, we have no idea how to stop leftism, we need more info, more understanding” I can accept that. But if we have no idea how to stop leftism, we can hardly be too censorious of those who came before us who also didn’t know how to stop leftism. As Vladimir pointed out, they at least succeded in slowing the Red Tide down, which if nothing else is giving us time to actually find a solution. Assuming that we reactionaries really want a solution, rather than just sitting on the sidelines, throwing rocks at our predecessors.

      • Matt Weber says:

        “The “right” is nothing but a loose designation for anyone who has significant disagreements with progressivism.”

        I should be clear that I’m talking about the far-right or the alt-right, not necessarily anyone who’s not an active Democrat.

        “Bur the right has been doing nothing but compromising for generations.”

        Right, because that’s the only way to get anything done. The 20th century has been one long retreat for conservatism, true, but there were reversals. Tax reform, anticommunism, welfare reform, counterterrorism…these were all Republican initiatives. For that matter, gun control is almost entirely dead, hate speech laws have never gained a foothold, and now public unions are under fire. Obamacare was very nearly defeated, and may yet still fail the courts. The debt compromise, while not very exciting, was certainly better than another red ink rubber stamp. Not to mention global warming, which has failed to make any plicy impact whatsoever. These are achievements, however compromised they may be. Illegal immigration, Affirmative action, free trade agreements, entitlement reform…these are all issues in which the right can win, but in order to do so we have to stop insisting on all or nothing.

        “The only chance for changing the status quo lies in somehow undermining and capturing the status and prestige of these elite institutions of public opinion. Again, I have no idea how this could be achieved, but what I do know is that it can’t be done just by setting up alternative sources of information and relying on their greater truthfulness and intellectual quality.”

        I meant there that the NYT et al no longer control what people are able to hear. It’s true that altright.com is not going to become the new Washington Post, but what the internet has done is made many rightists realize that they aren’t alone. I can’t be the only one who, if not for the internet, would probably be a standard Republican right now.

        On influence, the MSM was never as influential as rightists think. I’d wager that Paul Krugman has not changed a single person’s mind as a result of his NYT column…most people just read it for confirmation of their prejudices. Academia is another matter, and I have no suggestions there.

        Finally, 40-50 years ago it was the traditional establishment that was rotten and no longer able to argue for its positions. In the face of leftists who had thought these things through they had no chance. Ideas that once were cutting edge–multiculturalism, anti-racism, globalism, environmentalism–are becoming or have become the butt of jokes.

  2. samsonsjawbone says:

    Thanks for the link! The best bonding *is* manual labour, but more bonding of every non-decadent type is needed.

  3. Greg says:

    You do know that the video is a joke, right? I showed it to various friends who work for child protective services and the food stamp program here in New York, all of whom thought it was screamingly funny. They see these attitudes every day.

  4. Vladimir M. says:

    Matt,

    I should be clear that I’m talking about the far-right or the alt-right, not necessarily anyone who’s not an active Democrat.

    But this an even more heterogeneous bunch. These are people who have extreme disagreements with progressivism on some issues, but this means that their views go into extremes (relative to the mainstrem) in all sorts of directions, making them even more distant from each other than less extreme rightists, who are at least similar insofar as they aren’t too far from the mainstream.

    I mean, this “alt-right” bunch includes both goofy neopagans who would like to burn churches and Maistrean throne-and-altar reactionaries who would like to see the Church re-established as state religion. It includes paleo-libertarians along with fascistoid corporativists and economic nationalists, yuppie HBD geeks along with folkish ethno-nationalists, and so on. What sort of consensus would you like to build among these people?

    The 20th century has been one long retreat for conservatism, true, but there were reversals. Tax reform, anticommunism, welfare reform, counterterrorism…these were all Republican initiatives. For that matter, gun control is almost entirely dead, hate speech laws have never gained a foothold, and now public unions are under fire. Obamacare was very nearly defeated, and may yet still fail the courts. The debt compromise, while not very exciting, was certainly better than another red ink rubber stamp. Not to mention global warming, which has failed to make any plicy impact whatsoever. These are achievements, however compromised they may be.

    These are achievements akin to German counter-offensives in 1944. Some of these were also great tactical victories when viewed in isolation. Yet each subsequent “victory” happened deeper in previously Axis-held territory. Even in cases where the reversal has been quite substantial, like with gun control, the overall trend through decades has been clear. (Antonin Scalia says that as a youth he carried a rifle on the New York subway getting back from target practice. Imagine that today!)

    Now, as I wrote in an earlier comment, I do think that we owe some gratitude to the people who fight these battles, considering what might have happened without them. But however you turn it, getting into mainstream right-wing politics means forsaking any semblance of dignity and integrity. First you must ditch your integrity to compromise with leftism enough to be acceptable to the mainstream, and then you must ditch all dignity by trumpeting populist cliches and letting yourself being portrayed as a moron by the respectable intellectuals and media.

    Illegal immigration, Affirmative action, free trade agreements, entitlement reform…these are all issues in which the right can win, but in order to do so we have to stop insisting on all or nothing.

    But who are these people “insisting on all or nothing”? There are plenty of single-issue people and organizations struggling on each of these issues. Even when they manage to exploit the popular momentum to push something through legislatures, they get slapped down by the judiciary or obstructed by the bureaucracies.

    I meant there that the NYT et al no longer control what people are able to hear. It’s true that altright.com is not going to become the new Washington Post, but what the internet has done is made many rightists realize that they aren’t alone. I can’t be the only one who, if not for the internet, would probably be a standard Republican right now.

    Yeah, but how many of us are there? Once you exclude various neo-Nazi, Illuminati-conspiracist, 9/11-truther, and other crazies and dimwits, the number of serious non-establishment rightists is infinitesimally tiny, possibly small enough to fit into a large conference hall. There are UFO cults with more membership and clout.

    I don’t think the internet has changed anything relevant at all for the intellectual dominance of NYT and Harvard. There have always been equally accessible alternative sources of information and opinion — the problem is that unlike NYT and Harvard, they don’t have the prestige and status (and the ability to bestow it on individuals and opinions).

    Finally, 40-50 years ago it was the traditional establishment that was rotten and no longer able to argue for its positions. In the face of leftists who had thought these things through they had no chance. Ideas that once were cutting edge–multiculturalism, anti-racism, globalism, environmentalism–are becoming or have become the butt of jokes.

    I think your perspective here is very inaccurate. If you read rightist literature from several decades ago, you’ll see that the establishment was just as staunchly left-liberal as nowadays, except of course that the liberalism itself has gone further left in the meantime. By the fifties, the anti-leftist “traditional establishment” you have in mind had already been reduced to a few eccentric righ-wing millionaires like Robert Welch, peasant senators and congressmen like McCarthy, Reece, or McCarran, and fringe oddball intellectuals like those who staffed the National Review in 1955.

    Read, for example, James Burnham’s Suicide of the West, written almost 50 years ago. Burnham describes the American elite academic and intellectual world that had been thoroughly leftist throughout his life, sometimes in surprisingly modern ways — for example, he recounts the de facto affirmative action system that was already in place when he started teaching at NYU in 1929 (!), and professors who wouldn’t go along with it being arm-twisted by the university administration and their friends from the NAACP. All this stuff is much older than you seem to think.

  5. As far as the samsonsjawbone link goes, I am not at all convinced that Puritan views on sexuality are the best views on sexuality. My personal sexual tastes are pretty traditional, but I recognize that I’m a product of my upbringing (I was a demotist for a long time, as well).

    This doesn’t mean the Progressive line is good, either. As far as I can tell, they’re both wrong; you neither want prudish intolerance to sex, nor do you want foolish hypertolerance to such things, either. This writes a false dichotomy, where the audience is encouraged to choose between sexually repressed Calvinist society, and gag-inducing liberal “celebrations of diversity”. There are alternatives.

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