Friday, March 30, 2018

what are we actually fighting for?

There are several reasons why the opponents of the globalist/social justice order always lose. One, which I have alluded to in other posts, is that we are simply not very good at choosing effective tactics. Another is that we are insufficiently ruthless. There is however another factor that may be even more important - we just don’t have a cause to which people are going to rally.

What we have is a miscellaneous assortment of dissidents who agree on very little, who have no coherent program, and worst of all seem to have no clear vision of the future that they want. They are often quite good at explaining what they are against but not so strong when it comes to articulating a positive vision.

Communism up to around the 1960s could always rely on having an endless supply of dedicated ideological warriors, both leaders and loyal foot-soldiers. I’m talking here not just about communism in actual communist societies but also communism in the West, where it gained a very substantial foothold (and it’s worth remembering that a very large number of western communists were not actual party members).

Communism gained such support because it was a cause in which people could believe, and believe passionately. Whether communism was ever likely to be workable in practice is not the point. It sounded reasonably plausible and it sounded very attractive. It sounded like the kind of cause for which it would be worthwhile accepting hardship, suffering or even martyrdom.

One of the reasons communism was so successful in gaining converts is that it appealed to both men and women. Men liked it because it sounded practical and scientific. Women liked it because it was emotionally satisfying - it was all about fairness and justice and therefore produced lots of good feelings.

Communism also had a theoretical underpinning. That doesn’t mean that the theories of people like Lenin and Mao were correct but they sounded impressive and they gave the movement intellectual respectability and discipline.

Communism therefore attracted a high calibre of both leaders and followers. And they had a plan. They were not reacting defensively. They were seizing the initiative. You can do that when you have a plan.

You could, incidentally, make almost exactly the same argument about the spectacular success of Christianity in the Roman Empire which culminated it its becoming the state religion. The early Christians had a coherent program, they agreed on essentials even if they differed on details, they were well-organised and well-disciplined, they had a clear vision of what they were trying to achieve and they came across as having a positive rather than a negative vision. It’s not surprising that early Christianity attracted formidable leaders, and loyal and dedicated followers willing to accept even martyrdom to achieve their aims. They were able to carry out what was in effect a very successful revolution. They were able to do so because their pagan opponents did not have a coherent program, were not organised or disciplined and had lost the kind of clear and positive vision of the future that they had once had. Pagans no longer had a cause for which they were prepared to fight or even die.

So how do we transform a motley assortment of vague and often contradictory dissatisfactions into a program that will unify opposition to the established order, capture people’s imaginations and give them a cause worth fighting for? It has to be a cause that is both attractive and that offers the opportunity to take the moral high ground, and it has to have genuine emotional appeal. I didn’t say it was going to be easy.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The never-ending Cold War

In Orwell’s 1984 Oceania is in a permanent state of war, either with Eurasia or Eastasia. The advantages of permanent war are obvious - it distracts people from the realities of economic stagnation and it’s a perfect justification for more and more political repression. In actual fact the endless wars are largely illusory. People see newsreels of epic battles but in reality these wars are mostly small-scale border skirmishes.

In other words it’s much like the Cold War - lots of fear-mongering but mostly fairly small-scale proxy wars.

In fact it’s pretty much like the world today. It seems like we can look forward to never-ending Cold Wars. It certainly seems that those who shape U.S. foreign policy are determined that there must always be a Cold War. It’s not just for the reasons outlined above. There are other even more compelling reasons to maintain a permanent state of Cold War. War is very profitable. It’s not profitable for everybody of course, but it’s profitable for the people who count. As far as those people are concerned the business of America is war.

The difficulty lies in justifying vast and completely unnecessary military expenditures for a country that has no actual viable enemies and doesn’t actually need to spend more than a token amount on defence. The solution is simple. If the U.S. doesn’t have enemies, make up some pretend enemies. In order to justify the massive spending they have to appear to be at least vaguely credible enemies. There are only two possible candidates, Russia and China. Therefore Oceania (the U.S. and its satellites) must be constantly at war with either Eurasia (Russia) or Eastasia (China).

But wars are messy things and don’t always turn out the way you’d hoped. Sometimes you even lose, as happened to the U.S. in Vietnam. So the best solution is permanent Cold War. It’s just as profitable but a lot safer.

There’s an even worse downside to fighting an actual war. What if you win and there’s no enemy left to fight? How do you continue to keep the money flowing to the military-industrial complex? That was the nightmare scenario facing the American defence establishment in 1945. With Germany and Japan totally defeated the U.S. no longer needed an enormous military. Fortunately an answer was found. The Cold War was like an answered prayer. Pretty soon the money was flowing again in a very satisfactory manner. The military-industrial complex has no intention of facing such a nightmare again so the new Cold War must never end.

It’s important to understand that it makes no difference who happens to be in government in Russia and China or what policies those nations pursue. The U.S. must have enemies, so therefore Russia and China must be those enemies.

It seems highly probable that the Russians are well aware of all this, and have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no point in trying to negotiate with the Americans. The Americans will never negotiate in good faith. Therefore the permanent Cold War just has to be accepted.

There are certain advantages to this situation for both Russia and China. The biggest threats they face are the economic and cultural menace from the West, especially the cultural menace. If a Cold War encourages anti-American feeling it might provide some protection from the tidal wave of western degeneracy that threatens to engulf the entire planet. Cultural isolationism may well be the only hope for survival for both Russia and China.

Friday, March 23, 2018

healthy and unhealthy democracies

I’ve had an amusing discussion elsewhere on the subject of healthy democracies. Someone tried to argue that the fact that Vladimir Putin got 76% of the vote in the Russian presidential election is a sign that Russia is not a healthy democracy. Apparently a healthy democracy is one in which there is “competition” - sort of like the free market.

I find this bizarre. The election indicates that the Russian president governs with the overwhelming consent of the Russian people. How could that possibly be unhealthy?

Compare this to Britain, where Theresa May is Prime Minister even though her party got only 42% of the vote in the most recent election, or the U.S. where Donald Trump got 46% of the vote. It seems blindingly obvious that a society in which more than three-quarters of the population thinks the government is pretty OK is going to be a lot healthier (and a lot happier) than a society in which more than half the voters think the government is most definitely not OK.

I am mystified by the idea that we need competition in politics. I’m not even convinced that competition is all that great in the economic sphere. The free market has always seemed to me to be an unworkable utopian pipe-dream. I certainly don’t think free market thinking has any place in politics.

Obviously it is impossible to have a society which makes everyone happy or a government of which everyone approves. On the other hand a society in which roughly half (in some cases more than half) the population disapproves of the current government surely has major problems.

That’s the problem with democracy - even if it worked in practice the way it’s supposed to work in theory (in other words even if there were actual differences between the major parties) it’s still a recipe for trouble and it’s still a guarantee that most people will be dissatisfied.

But if we must have democracy I think I’d prefer to have a democracy in which most people are at least reasonably satisfied. At this point in time Russian democracy looks a lot healthier than democracy in most of the West.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

there’s no such thing as society - right-liberalism in action

In 1987 Margaret Thatcher made the notorious statement that, “There is no such thing as society.” That statement seems to sum up the right-wing liberal position rather nicely (and let’s be quite clear that Thatcher was no conservative).

The most amazing thing about this position, to me at least, is that anyone would want to adopt such a worldview. A world entirely composed of atomised individuals motivated purely by selfishness and the blind pursuit of crude pleasure does not sound very enticing to me but right-liberals seem to love the idea.

Of course Mrs Thatcher went on to say, “…who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families…” Today, to an increasing extent, we don’t even have families.And right-liberals like Mrs Thatcher did little or nothing to defend the traditional family.

Without society and without families people are condemned to lives of emptiness, futility and loneliness. All they can do is turn to the government. Which, ironically, is exactly what Thatcher didn’t want people to do. It’s a nice little illustration of the inherently nonsensical nature of right-liberal dogma. Destroy society and destroy the family and you’re going to get the kind of intrusive bureaucratic statism that right-liberals claim to despise.

One consequence of the abolition of society is the elimination of shame. You will inevitably have no sense of shame if you don’t consider that there’s such a thing as society. When you look at our contemporary leaders that lack of a sense of shame becomes very obvious.

Even classical Marxism (as distinct from cultural marxism) is more appealing than right-liberalism. Classical Marxists were trying to create Utopia. They had a vision of a better world. It might have been an unworkable vision but at least it was a vision and it was considerably more attractive than the nihilism and despair to which right-liberalism inevitably leads. Classical Marxists thought they were building Heaven right here on Earthy. Right-liberals are building Hell right here on Earth.

Friday, March 9, 2018

bad new for the Oscars, good news for everyone else

You don’t often get good news stories but this is definitely a good news story. The 2018 Academy Awards telecast set a new record - the lowest ratings in its history.

Maybe people don’t want to watch four hours of political preaching? Maybe the people who actually watch movies don’t share the belief of those who make movies - that every movie should be an excuse for political messaging, that every single awards show and every interview given by Hollywood celebrities should be an extended political lecture?

And there is one other thing that Hollywood execs need to bear in mind. The dismal ratings for the Oscars indicate declining interest among American movie-goers but Hollywood these days is heavily dependent on foreign markets, such as the Chinese market. And those markets have little patience with being hectored politically by self-righteous Americans.

There’s also, as mentioned in a comment by бармаглот to my previous post, the all-new inclusion rider madness - stars will be able to have it included in their contracts that a movie must include specified levels of diversity. This should do plenty of damage, particularly to the foreign box office.

Hollywood needs to die. Perhaps we are seeing early signs that this is actually going to happen. One can only hope.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

superhero moves - liberalism on steroids

Why are superhero movies pushed so aggressively by the studios? There are several obvious answers. These movies don’t require originality, just money, and in commercial terms they’re safe.

There is another possible reason. Superhero moves are liberalism on steroids. They sum up so much of the Social Justice mindset. What Social Justice Warriors hate and fear more than anything else is reality, because reality rarely coincides with their theories. When you make a superhero movie you can just ignore reality.

We all know that in real life men are much stronger than women. But that isn’t fair! In a superhero movie it’s no problem. Female superheroes can be even stronger than the male ones. We all know that in the real world multi-culturalism is a disaster. But in a superhero movie it works just fine. A superhero movie is an opportunity for creating a Social Justice fantasy world.

Superheroes also don’t have to earn their superpowers. They just have them. That’s an idea that appeals to liberals. In an ideal liberal world you can be anything you want to be. You just have to follow your dream.

Back in the 70s and 80s science fiction was an incredibly popular genre. You might think that sci-fi really isn’t much different from the superhero genre but actually it is. Science fiction at least has to go through the motions of trying to appear vaguely plausible. There is at least a tenuous connection with reality.

It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with fantasy, but it can be dangerous if it’s being used to reinforce theories that just don’t work. And if it’s being used for purposes of blatant propaganda.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

could the British Empire have survived?

Historical might-have-beens are always fun. Of course they seem futile to many people, especially those who subscribe to either the Marxist or Whig views of history. Since I most emphatically do not subscribe to either of these views I can indulge myself in historical hypotheticals.

When you look at the mess we’re in now it seems obvious that at some point we must have reached a fork in the road and we must have taken the wrong fork. Speculating about hypotheticals can be a way to try to identify those forks in the road.

Britain at the start of the 20th century definitely faced a fork in the road. The British had two choices. They could maintain and defend their empire, or they could play the game of European great power politics. But they could not afford to do both. If they chose the empire that meant avoiding, as far as possible, any entanglement in Europe. It meant continuing the policy of Splendid Isolation that had served Britain so well in the past. If the British chose to play at being a European great power then sooner or later the empire would have to be sacrificed.

Faced with this choice between Europe and the Empire Britain chose Europe. With catastrophic consequences, but not just the immediately obvious ones of being dragged into the futile farce of the First World War. There were long-term consequences for the Empire, and especially for relations between Britain and the Dominions.

Australians for example up until 1914 considered themselves to be pretty much British. In theory Australia was semi-independent (it was not a fully independent country since it did not control its own foreign policy). Australians thought of themselves as being part of the British Empire and in general were fiercely loyal to the Empire.

That attitude took a bit of a knock during the First World War. The sheer scale of the bloodletting was a shock and then there was Gallipoli. Gallipoli was seen by many Australians (including my grandfather who was there) as the first great British betrayal.

Then came the Second World War and for Australians Singapore was a British betrayal on an even more spectacular scale than Gallipoli. That was the point at which Australians in general ceased to believe in the British Empire.

These betrayals were not really so much actual betrayals as simply consequences of the choice Britain made in signing the Entente Cordiale in 1904. Britain had chosen Europe and the Empire’s fate was sealed. Britain was utterly unable to defend the Empire due to her involvement in Europe.

If the Empire was ever going to have a future in the latter part of the 20th century it was going to have to be more an equal partnership, especially as far as the Dominions were concerned. The two world wars had made it painfully obvious that Britain had neither the capability nor the will to defend the Empire, so after that the Dominions had zero interest in the Empire.

Which was a problem for Britain because in the post-WW2 world Britain’s only hope of remaining an independent power lay in transforming the Empire into a geopolitical bloc that could rival the Soviet and American empires. The United States was of course, for that very reason, absolutely determined to destroy the British Empire. But there might still have been a chance for the Empire if the Dominions had still believed in it. But their trust and their confidence in the Empire had vanished. Which left only one alternative for Britain, being an American vassal. The choice made in 1904 was perhaps the most spectacularly wrong foreign policy decision in British history.