The sphere was jam packed with well-wishes, blessings, and good thoughts for Christmas this week. Logos Club extends Yuletide Greetings. By way of Imaginative Conservative, classy, but not too terribly expensive gift ideas for women of good taste. Unorthodoxy offers a (beautiful) mixed media Merry Christmas. PA rewrites (thereby much improving) John Lennon’s Happy Christmas. And Slumlord chimes in with Christmas greetings and a State of Dissident Right Address. And Evolutionist X throws a Christmas Open Thread, with must-see feature image.
VDH opines on The Internet (as) Executioner. Although there is much ado about “The Internet” shutting down dissident voices, I find Five Minute Hates punish my enemies a whole lot more. Therefore… Pass the Popcorn™. (Goes down heckuva lot easier when one believes in neither free speech nor a free press.)
This week in American Greatness, James Piereson bids a Good Riddance to the Blue State Model.
And Kevin MacDonald’s Unz piece: Opioids and the Crisis of the White Working Class is absolutely not to be missed. He gathers a lot of indisputable facts together on this subject that was (and is) so near and dear to Ryan Landry’s heart.
Let’s see… what else was going on?
Imperial Energy offers a Formalist FATWA to the charge that “NRx is Dead”. Wherein IE promises “The Ten Pillars of Mencius Moldbug”. The first of which he promptly delivers. It is excessively long but a worthy one-stop recap of Moldbug’s “Purpose & Procedure”, thereby earning an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀.
Giovanni Dannato argues that Suburban Populism Beats Rural Traditionalism In Mass Identity Politics. He hits upon an absolutely key point crack out of the box:
The dissident right’s model of reality falls short when it focuses on race while ignoring class.
Indeed the signal conflict of Western Civilization is intra-white—and no don’t just mean white versus (((white))).
In the real world, most of America lives in the suburban orbit of the cities and not only does a minority live in the more traditional countryside, lots of them are old people. The city and its hinterlands is where most the action is at. The country has the advantage of providing safer territory for right wing populists to operate in, but in any kind of electoral politics, suburbanites both middle and working class have to be the main focus. Even people in the country can use facebook and tinder now. Going “trad” is a recipe for failure at this point. Nobody really can go back or even really wants to. The real question is what replaces obsolete, dead social structures.
He’s basically correct in that, tho’ I do object the implicit equation of “Going Trad” and “Going Rural”. Certainly there is a tendency for people, especially those in religiously reactionary spheres, to equate them, but exploding that instinct—which I argue conflates accidents with essences—is absolutely essential to our project. “Trad”—properly speaking—is a commitment to time-honored and proven social technologies, which happen to be under attack from false, but utterly regnant, ideologies of The (so-called) Enlightenment. Whether you believe “God commanded” or “Adaptive selection rewarded” traditional social technologies (or, as must needs be: both) is largely irrelevant. They work, demonstrably, and very nearly optimally for the types of problems human societies necessarily face. Cop outrage pron aside, this is a very worthwhile read and an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀.
Also this week at Forward Base B, Dannato’s musings upon The Dance of Cooperation and Defection. Defection is only a successful strategy when it is either not detectable or not severely punished.
Shylock Holmes has a an excellent meditation upon Bitcoin and the Inscrutability of Wealth—which should not be construed as investment advice. My own opinion on bitcoin is that it will keep doing what it’s been doing: skyrocketing up, crashing a bit, and stablizing around ever higher equlibria. Therefore buy (big) dips.
Titus Q. Cincinnatus delivers an eloquent and spirited defense of Hierarchy and Authority as Necessary Components of Civilisation.
Hierarchy and authority are not merely human inventions, but are in fact God-ordained (it is not surprising in the least that rejection of authority among men has nearly always been accompanied by atheism and the rejection of God’s authority as well). Scripturally, God ordained human society and government as a means of diverting the baser nature of mankind into positive channels, or at least to attempt to restrain it from flowing through the negative. God also ordained the patriarchal family as the organising principle for the means of propagating the species and preparing adult members who would be fit for full participation in society. Even if one wishes to rest merely on natural law arguments, one can see that these same principles hold true.
And of the opposite…?
Of necessity, egalitarianism and the rejection of hierarchy rest upon a foundation of radical individualism of the sort which has infected the Western intellect like a mind worm since the Renaissance. Ironically, while in a hierarchical society everyone knows his place and can find his or her individual identity within it, in egalitarian contexts, the individual person is cast adrift, unmoored from a sense of belonging and identity, and is left to try to forge his own identity as best he can. This explains the drive for “uniqueness” among those who have enthusiastically accepted egalitarian principles in the modern West. When you don’t have an identity based upon a set of traditional interlocking hierarchies and roles, your identity becomes built around other sources, usually extraneous and ersatz.
Excellent stuff. No stranger to the podium, Cincinnatus takes home the ☀☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Award☀☀ for his work here. RTWT!
In Generative Anthropology the topic of the week is Sovereign Resentments inspired by the under-explored “Sacramental Kingdom” of Louis IX—the only French king defined as a saint. Adam relates Andrew Willard Jones’ (Before Church and State: A Study in the Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX) account of the remarkable cooperation between “Church” and “State” during the 13th Century reign of St. Louis.
What the sacramental kingdom did recognize is the “business of the peace and the faith,” a business carried on collaboratively by all the power centers of society. Categories like “heresy” and “rebellion” pointed to a single nexus of social unrest that needed to be bound up with the peace and faith of the realm. According to Jones, while the category of “sovereignty” presupposes the primacy of division, conflict and violence, and hence the need to concentrate power in a single source, the sacramental order presupposes the primacy of peace, with conflict and violence seen as aberrations—in which case, power is essentially reactive to breaches of the peace and faith, and can be carried out by any responsible agent—even a tavern owner.
A very worthwhile read, and while dense, not terribly long. Adam gets the nod for an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ here.
Alf reads Alan Friedman’s Berlusconi and reports the results.
Friedman harbors typical leftist resentment towards Berlusconi and finds him arrogant, shallow and egotistic and deserving of condemnation by the international community. Yet Friedman cannot help but reveal envy in his writing, because every man would envy the Italian version of Donald Trump. This made for an interesting read.
Alf parenthetically wonders if Friedman is Weinstein’s twin brother, which was worth a couple laughs as well…
Billy Pratt is just in time for The Holidays with The Disillusioned Boomer and “Christmas Vacation” (1989)—a movie he seems to have hated, which is a bit surprising because he seemed to sorta like Family Vacation (1983). What happened? Reagan happened, for one… And by 1989, everyone was buying “Morning in America”, after it had already been sold to Mexico for a future 4th round draft pick…
This time Clark wants a big swimming pool for his big house, theoretically relying on a bonus check from work to pay for it, and when he doesn’t get it Clark goes berserk. Entitlement for the sake of entitlement—Clark wants what Clark wants because Clark wants it. Heartwarming, I know.
Clark has also dropped any sense of idealism when dealing with family. If visiting Eddie was gross in “Vacation,” Clark was still gonna try to be a good guy about it. The joke was less about how disgusting Eddie is, and more about seeing how much good guy Clark could take before losing it. “Christmas Vacation” skips past this with a far less sophisticated take on how much family sucks. Clark is done bothering to put up appearances, and is irritated with his family from the moment they walk in the door. Eddie isn’t even invited this time around, crashing the family’s Christmas, and isn’t it funny how gross he is?
This too was an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀.
Atavisionary makes another documentary recommendation with which I fully agree: Connections (1) by James Burke 1978, which dovetails beautifully with last week’s Civilization series. Don’t bother with Connections 2. It sucked. They tried too hard to recapture the magic of the original series, and managed only to eke out too much British snark. To much of a good thing… yada yada yada.
By way of Malcolm Pollack: One Hundred Racist Things. Which gets me thinking about a Twitter bot account that doesn’t yet exist: Every Word Be Racist.
Norther Dawn shakes off its winter slumber with Constantin de Mestre’s debut article Disdain And Mismanagement: A Century in the Life of Our Armed Forces. That’s the Canadian Armed Forces, of course. Which used to be pretty kick-ass, I hear.
An instant classic post over at Those Who Can See: Weapons of Mass Migration: Are You a Target? See especially Section IV on the Brain Drain mass migration creates: There’s more than one Whom to the elite globalist Who. TWCS snags an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Silver Circle Award☀ for this one.
Over at Jacobite, Christian Britschgi of Reason gives us commentary on Under-Theorizing Governance. Britschgi’s targets are several authors on Leftist sites who’ve taken issue with public choice theory.
Common to all three pieces is a reliance on Marxist ideology to serve as a substitute for any practical theory of why individuals, interest groups, and governments behave as they do in the real world. Public choice theory is flawed in their eyes, not so much for its lack of empirical insight, but because it fails to conform to ideological conclusions that were arrived at before the evidence. In attempting to expose the evil of governance-optimizing thought, leftists reveal how incapable their own ideas are at describing a world where incentives are real.
Libertarians are not wholly misguided when it comes to political science, and public choice theory is definitely an asset to anyone hoping to build a stable state in the future.
Public choice theory […] takes the realities of incentives and practical governance head on. Unlike solutions of the left that are fenced in by how well their conclusions fit with ideology, public choice theory is value-neutral. It doesn’t lean on the crutch of rhetorical conformity. Public choice scholars accept the fact that most human beings will never be saints. They instead task themselves with formulating structures and mechanism of government that work in a world where not everyone is as opposed on principle to state action as they.
A big week from Anatoly Karlin, with four entries of note. First, the blackpill timeline, a set of pessimistic but plausible predictions Anatoly is making for the next few years. I don’t think what he has sketched out here is the most likely scenario, but plausible? Certainly.
Anatoly also remembers when alt-right was banal centrism, which was… quite recently. Polling of WW2 US military personnel show that overwhelming majorities opposed military racial integration. Just 70 years ago, some kind of sanity was the order of the day on racial questions. We ought to remember that these attitudes can change in what is, in world-historical terms, the blink of an eye. And if you get a, say, Constantine to convert to your side, attitudes can change even faster than that.
Karlin also puts up a rare listicle, enumerating 10 ways life in Russia is better than in America. This is, of course, dangerous wrongthink and in no way encourage Social Matter readers to RTWT. Just look at this:
8. Less Faggotry
Did that trigger you, snowflake?
Nobody in Russia cares, LOL.
Even though I don’t particularly care for hardcore homophobia, I consider the right to call things and people you don’t like “gay” as one of the most important freedoms there are. Happened all the time at school, but since I graduated in 2006, liberal faggots have all but criminalized this. Russia remains free of this cultural totalitarianism; here, you can still call a spade a spade and a gender non-fluid helicopterkin a faggot (пидор) without any particular worries for your professional career and social status.
I don’t think this will last so enjoy (or suffer) it while you still can.
And, rounding out his offerings this week, Anatoly offers the lowdown on North Korea. I am inclined to think that a shooting war between the US and the DPRK would be a lot more of a slog than Karlin seems to indicate, but overall he offers a more balanced perspective than one usually hears. A definite read if you’re one of those who is fascinated by such geopolitical minutiae.
Finally, this week’s offering from CWNY: Remembrances VII: The Return to Bethlehem. It appears to be part of a series—perhaps an epic master work???—of plays that he publishes around Christmas each year. Here are (courtesy of my incomparable google-fu) links to previous years’ editions: Remembrances (2011), Remembrances II (2012), The Woman Who Loved Much (2013), God, the Devil, and Mau Mau (2014), By the Cross We Conquer (2015), and Thy People (2016).
By way of Isegoria… On the relative cardio-vascular safety of the taser; The Iliad as the greatest campfire story every told; Does Vitamin D prevent the flu?; Saturnalia gift ideas from Martial’s Epigrams; Carlos Slim slashes New York Times holdings—perhaps the market on Fake News is about to turn south; and, speaking of tasers, an etymology on “electrocution”.
This Week in Jim Donald
Jim kept us abreast of current events this week, so no grand pronouncements on the evils of female emancipation. Darn. Anyway, Jim observes that the Blue Empire of consulates continues to collapse.
Pakistan expels the NGOs. So, soft power looks like it is not doing too well in Syria, Libya, Sudan, the Philippines, Hungary, and Pakistan.
The NGOs are the foot soldiers of the US State Department, and, as the internal cohesion of the state continues to collapse, act like a plague of locusts. The empire dissolves into a horde of mobile bandits. Gigantic amounts of money were poured into Haiti, and spread famine and disease.
Which brings me to hard power and the Red Empire of the Bases (though since Obama placed feminists and transexual commissars all over it, no longer all that red).
How is the affirmative action Navy doing?
The affirmative action Navy seems to be having a spot of difficulty operating all that complicated machinery created by evil white males, especially now that they have stopped those evil white males from engaging in the evil white male microaggression of mansplaining. Lot of crashes lately. Which problem has been solved, or at least substantially reduced, by the simple expedient of staying in port and operating as a floating brothel and a jobs program for people who profile as Democratic voters.
The Empire’s decline is very real, people, and their ability to paper over it with gee-whiz technology is starting to peter out, because, well, it’s the evil white males that make the new technology to provide bread and circuses.
And, on a usual topic of his, Jim has a short entry on Trump and power. In case you can’t even be bothered to click, the story is that Trump has not yet taken power, but he has taken definite, but small, steps in that direction. Unfortunately, this is not the time for measured moves but rather sweeping purges of the Cathedral apparatus.
This Week in Social Matter
Another quiet week here at Social Matter, but we did eke out two items (aside from Ours Truly). The ever-regular Myth of the 20th Century podcast was Episode 49: Konrad Adenauer—First Chancellor Of West Germany
And Poet Laureate E. Antony Gray resumes his Poets Series with a study of Wallace Stevens, whom, like Ezra Pound, is more un-remembered than reinterpreted these days. Which, for Gray, provides a very useful heuristic…
The result of this process is strange, in that it means that when I began to dig for poets that I hadn’t read or heard of, I almost always find treasure; for as a person of reactionary sensibility, it is almost certain that if a poet or writer is good and buried, it is because they are a persuasive conservative of some kind.
Stevens has not always been quite so unheard of…
If indeed, as the literary critic Harold Bloom said, Stevens was the “best and most representative” American poet of the time, how is it that we do not know about him? (From my last essay on Dryden, there seems a pattern here.) Does it then surprise you to hear the Poetry Foundation stating that “by the early 1950s Stevens was regarded as one of America’s greatest contemporary poets, an artist whose precise abstractions exerted substantial influence on other writers.”? At this point, no. While the Gell-Mann effect is not a slam dunk way to tell us that popular publications are missing what is really important and deeply influential simply because we see it in what we know, it should mark a good starting-point for an investigation. We keep turning things up!
Gray provides an abundance of samples of Wallace Stevens’ work, along with astute commentary. The Committee were very impressed and bestowed an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ for his superb efforts here.
This Week in Kakistocracy
Porter—who was not laying at the bottom of a ditch with his neck broke—returns from a two week hiatus with some more disdain for the way that Trump is spending his political capital in Alphabet Cuts in 18. Taxes, according to Porter, are necessary in order to make society feel the pain of its moral indulgences. The US has been spending more than it taxes for quite a while now however. Why not weaponize tax policy?
…[R]epublicans could have absolutely crushed the globalist money men with punitive brackets on very high incomes, matched with elimination of the earned income tax credit on the bottom… That’s cutting into the left’s brain and muscle.
After all, as Porter notes, the Left cares nothing for the national debt. Its imported clients care even less. Worrying about the nation that the next generation inherits is the domain of high-trust societies, and we are well past that point.
Then, Porter wishes us all a Crypto Christmas. Actually, he has some serious reservations about Bitcoin and the like. But through all the critique, one real advantage of BTC shines through:
Bitcoin allows its holders to avoid the inflation tax. There can only be 21 million bitcoins ever. Their value can not be shaved like fiat currencies. In fact their value is almost mathematically certain to increase as supply remains capped while the universe of goods and services they could be used to purchase theoretically expands forever.
This Week in Evolutionist X
Evolutionist X kicks off the week with Two Interesting studies: Early Humans in SE Asia and Genetics, Relationships, and Mental Illness. The first potentially pushes back the earliest arrival of humans in Asia by 20k years, and the second features comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s cousin as co-author. No really. It’s an accomplished family.
And the saga of the Original Gangster: The Real Life Story of one of America’s Most Notorious Drug Lords, by Frank Lucas continues for Anthropology Friday.
This Week at Thermidor Mag
At our sister publication Thermidor, N. T. Carlsbad kicks the week off with Some Ironies and Curiosities of Right-Wing History. A lighter piece than Carlsbad’s usual but still an interesting collection of exactly what the title suggests.
The Europa Weekly podcast serves up The Peter Diaries.
Next up, Richard Carroll offers a review of The Everlasting Empire: The Political Culture of Ancient China and its Imperial Legacy by Yuri Pines. Carroll gives the book a strong recommendation and draws specially attention to the Chinese state’s pragmatic treatment of its intellectual class.
Absolutists may frown and ask why the emperors didn’t clamp down on these troublesome scholars. We should note that several emperors were less concerned with their historical reputation than Shizong in the story above, and did torture and execute particularly troublesome critics. Part of the answer for why others were more tolerant is that the first dynasty, Qin, did adopt Legalism as its guiding philosophy and attempted to enforce stricter uniformity. However, the Qin collapsed after just one king, and was fiercely criticised [sic] as tyrannical. The following dynasty, the Han, was far more tolerant (though it’s worth noting that this dynasty was initially weak, and so perhaps simply unable to enforce its will as firmly as the Qin). Emperor Wu, who reigned 141-87 B.C., ended this lenient policy and granted Confucianism canonical status, in part by instituting the examination system that would gradually become so central to the imperial bureaucracy. Why Confucianism specifically? In part, it functioned as a compromise with the literati. Though other schools would have served Wu’s purposes more directly, many scholars saw Confucius as an intellectual ancestor, so by granting them official status Wu could bring them into the imperial system, make use of their talents, and gain more control over them, while allowing them to maintain their dignity.
Carroll’s excellent analysis here was more than enough to prod The (quite stingy) Committee into an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀.
K. R. Bolton rounds out the week with another book review, this time of On the Fortunes and Misfortunes of Art in Post-War Germany by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. Syberberg is not explicitly Right-wing, but that has not saved him from the scourges of the Left, and there is much in his book with which reactionaries will agree.
This Week Around The Orthosphere
Kristor admonishes would-be traditionalists on The Rectification of Grammar. So if this applies to you, rectify yourself. Another opportunity for us to plug the heroic (and endlessly entertaining) work of the late, and criminally under-widely-known, Richard Mitchell: Underground Grammarian. I urge completism in his regard.
J. M. Smith draws parallels between the loss of the great American songbook and the fall of the Roman Empire, both of which were among The Deadly Fruits of Victory.
Matt Briggs writes about the mathematical prediction of the coming world cataclysm in Cliodynamics And The Lack Of A Hari Seldon. Also, The Mathematics Of Santa Claus’ Present Delivery System:
In fact, any argument which attempts to show that Santa could do his job if he were only fast enough always ends disastrously. Santa would have to travel so fast that the reindeer would burn up like meteors entering the atmosphere. However, these mathematical results, while true, are answering the wrong question. And since those presents are delivered, so Santa must be doing something else. But what?
Sorry, no Insanity and Doom update this week at Briggs’. It was Christmas.
Jim Kalb strikes a delicate balance between Honoring Rulers, Honoring Truth. Then he comments on Donald Trump, social issues, and Catholic witness:
Catholics responsible for presenting Church social teaching who are dismayed by the rise of Donald Trump, and by the support he has received from their co-religionists, should look in the mirror for an explanation of the turn events have taken. His triumph has a great deal to do with their failed leadership.
Mark Richardson contrasts the current Pope’s pro-immigration antics with Pope Benedict XV, who in 1920 wrote an encylical about The good course of national tradition.
Bruce Charlton treats us to a reading describing Arthur’s Christmas feast in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Knight of Númenor envisions Australia: an Anglo-Mediterranean civilization in the making.
Finally… ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and… Sydney Trads published their prodigious Second Symposium of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum, comprised of long-form essays by the reactionary luminaries Barry Spurr, Thomas F. Bertonneau, James Kalb, Frank Salter, Kristor Lawson, Mark Richardson, and Valdis Grinsteins. It posted too late in our week to fully digest. It is massive not merely in textual extent, but moreso in the brainpower behind it. We hope to have some of it digested for next week’s review, but urge interested readers over there to get an early start!
This Week in Arts & Letters
Chris Gale has a couple helpings of Ezra Pound, with a dash of E. Antony Gray tossed in. An interesting historical vignette on Why the Victorians drank so much—it depends on your accounting system. Wifely devotion in poetry past and present. Favorable commentary upon Spandrell’s Biological Leninism. Jihad comes to Melbourne. And a pair of (non-mawkish) Sunday Sonnets for Christmas Eve, from John Donne.
PA—a man of diverse talents and interests—offers A Simple Poem in Polish with his own English translation.
Over at Imaginative Conservative, a capable debunking of progressive “values” in Ordinary People Against the Multiculturalist Intellectuals. A review of: “The Miracle of the Bells”: A Forgotten Novel & Film. Commentary and embedded video of American composer Wm. Henry Fry’s Santa Claus Symphony. This week in Wyoming Catholic College: Looking for Camillus: Why We Need Great Men. And Fr. Dwight Longenecker laments Christmas Without the Angels.
This week in the Radio Enless podcast, Kaiter has a remarkably blasé attitude toward doxing. A review of The Force Awakens—which sucks on its merits. And another Star Wars episode: Rogue One—which he liked a whole lot better. (For those who prefer reading reviews: that version is here.) In Logos Club text edition, Enless catches up to the present in-theaters moment with a A Writer’s Review of The Last Jedi. In non-Star Wars related news, Enless serves up some well-earned scorn for CNN, Younglings & The Fear of Fascism.
Richard Carroll continues his Plato’s Symposium series with an overview of Symposium.
Jonathan Haidt, of NYU and Heterodox Academy fame, stops by at City Journal with an essay, based on a November address to Manhattan Institute, on The Age of Outrage. (Here is Kling somewhat less sanguine than Haidt.) Theodore Dalrymple finds some exemplary old people that give him some hope: O, Brave Old World! Judith Miller argues that America First needs to focus on infrastructure. The dark, fetid (and totally predictable) underbelly of Suspension Reform. A review, but sadly few photos, of the David Hockney retrospective at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art: Cubism and the Camera.
This Week in the Outer Left
The Outer Left was too boring this week to justify the expenditure of our august readership’s time.
This Week… Elsewhere
AMK thinks There are only four problems in the world. That’s incorrect: There is only one…
But America has so many problems! No, she doesn't. America has only one problem: America is a communist country. #NRx
— Moldbuggery (@moldbuggery) December 3, 2017
Also from the Anti-Puritan, a tale of late Roman decadence: The story of Elagabalus: perverted trannie emperor, and virtue signaling zealot.
Arnold Kling doubles down on his utter failure to understand what Bitcoin actually is—despite many knowledgable commentators.
Nullus Maximus helpfully explains Eight Politically Incorrect Benefits of Cryptocurrency.
Al Fin offers an excellent primer on Early Brain Development and the Dangerous Child.
Universal Dissenter has a hot (and new to me) theological take: Wheel Theory, The Projective Line, and the Trinity; Finding the Trinity in A Priori Systems. And manages to do so without heresy, near as I can tell.
Greg Cochran explains why the Lewontin fallacy is a fallacy… probably even on it’s own terms.
Welp… that’s all folks. Many thanks as always to my fine and faithful TWiR staff: Aidan MacLear, Egon Maistre, Hans der Fiedler contributed their usual high quality coverage. And it was tremendous to have David Grant back at his post. As an administrative note: We are still looking for well-qualified contributors to the Arts & Letters and HBD “beats” around the Reactosphere. Apply within. Keep on reactin! Til next YEAR: NBS… Over and out!!