Angelo “New Clerisy” Codevilla asks: Can the First Amendment Protect Us from the Ruling Class? The cynical answer being, of course, “It will protect us from whatever our Ruling Class wishes it to protect us… Comrade!” Codevilla correctly notes that the risk to “First Amendment Freedoms” stem principally from private corporations and not formal government. But he is far too sanguine about the strength and putative longevity of the First Amendment: A spike was driven through the head of free association (the only freedom enumerated in the Constitution with a natural law leg to stand on) in the 1960s. Yes, a return to the strict text of the First Amendment would be nice, but it is no lasting salve for the problem of Chronic Kinglessness.
In the Great White North, Constantin de Mestre returns to Northern Dawn with an analysis of The State of Arms: Evaluating Canada’s Military. It’s a heckuva lot better than you might’ve thought.
Let’s see… what else was going on?
Unamusement Park’s revival continues. First, there’s Anna Kendrick dating tips—very Jimian. A deceptively articulate shiv to those ol’ worry warts at NYT regarding the “risk” of declining democracy. Related: Waves of confusion in the Polite Press over what just might be driving an eerie spike in socio-political divisiveness. Hmmm… Unamused’s furry, cute-kitteny fun continues with The deconstruction of Rome—a 4-gauge fisk applied to the soft tissues of “Celebrity classicist” (LOL) Mary Beard’s Sunday Times Fake History. Commentary on the burgeoning Hate-Speech Crisis™ that has wracked Canada: Prickly white folk: a setback for love.
With three years of pent up social commentary, Unamused is not at a loss for words (and outrage). He offers some Richard Weaver in this moment of candor for a corporate woman who’s coming doubt that she’ll ever have It All™. Finally, some Latter-Day Pamphlets applied to the Lockheed Martin F-35—which appears to be Too Much, Too Late. I wonder how many trebuchets $400 billion would buy.
This week in Generative Anthropology, Adam plumbs Technology and Magic, Doings and Happenings.
Contingent, Not Arbitrary has a brief announcement of New Year, New Plans. Which is followed quickly by By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them: “Beliefs held by temporal beings have material consequences in the temporal world”. It’s a tricker row to hoe than it looks.
Cecil continues his exploration into Bridging the Gap, i.e., between religious belief and scientific belief.
I got interested in religion because I learned it works in the pragmatic sense. That took nontrivial intellectual effort and a number of assumptions that are not commonly shared. If the practical benefits—and the necessity of faith for reaping those benefits—can be established in a more accessible way, we have a compelling case from the secular point of view.
When St. Thomas Aquinas and Charles Darwin agree, you can be pretty sure you’ve arrived at the truth… or at least the most plausible explanation. And where they disagree? Well… where’s that exactly?
Finally, Cecil collects his thoughts in a Grand Theory, First Draft.
Friend of This Blog, Ralph Branaugh, has a superbly crafted post-rationalist response to How to biohack your intelligence—with everything from sex to modafinil to MDMA. And Ralph has an equally brilliant follow-up. Hey, maybe one million years of primate evolution already is the killer biohack! Ralph Branaugh, Apostle to the Rationalists, snags an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ for his excellent missionary work here.
Friend of Social Matter, Anatoly Karlin, reports that PISA will now test for tolerance. Fortunately, it is currently voluntary on the country-level, but we all know how long that will last. Right now, England, the United States, Germany (!), France, and the Netherlands (!!), among others, will not be subjecting students to this element of the PISA testing. Click on Anatoly’s link to the questions (pdf warning); the three he quotes aren’t even the worst ones.
Here are some of the questions that Scots, Australians, and Canadians will be asked in this test:
- I respect the values of people from different cultures.
- I value the opinions of people from different cultures.
- Immigrants should have the opportunity to continue their own customs and lifestyle.
Since possible answers are all variations on Agree/Disagree, wouldn’t it be easier to just ask “How much do you agree with SJWs out of 100″?
Karlin also reports on the result of the recent Czech presidential election, Zeman scrapes out a win. Current president, Milos Zeman, was looking for re-election, and seemed to be gunning for an easy win, but some campaign missteps gave his opponent, Jiri Drahos, a chance. Cue media meltdowns because, while Zeman was once chairman of the Czech social democratic party, he has been very publicly opposed to th EU’s plans to force rapefugees on the Czech Republic, so, naturally, he is Literally Hitler. Drahos was your standard issue globalist, so even though Zeman is far from /ourguy/, I’m still chalking this one in the win column. Immigration is not a fundamental issue, but it is an urgent one in the Current Year.
At Jacobite, Nicolas Hausdorf pens Historiography Wars, a consideration of how changing technology and culture have affected our contemporary understanding of history.
In contrast, the internet, with its minimal publishing costs and far-reaching freedom of speech, changed everything. All of a sudden, obscure, revolting and previously marginalized pamphlets become weaponized as compact meme-truth, “redpills” in internet lingo, capable of spreading rapidly and thus poisoning the information foundation of historical narratives. Kissinger is on trial and he is not alone. Whether it is reinvestigating Stalinist terror, or the introduction of “nuance” into WWII narratives (which has been made illegal in many Western countries), the floodgates of revision have been opened. We are reminded that individuals cannot access history in its pure form but only as mediated through fallible historiography.
Malcolm Pollack shares some notes on The New Cathars in the highest halls of Academe.
By way of Isegoria… Jordan B. Peterson’s… well… what can we call it but faith: No one gets away with anything, ever. The problem of metrics and unintended consequences: You are quite likely to grind up the humans in the process. I sure was surprised: Fanta was created for Nazi Germany. In case you weren’t already convinced: Modern universities are an exercise in insanity. David Brooks on Jordan B. Peterson. Finally, Asian antelopes straight outa Dr. Seuss.
Finally, this weeks epistle from CWNY: They Do But Sleep—the “they” being us.
This Week in Jim Donald
Jim took a well-deserved break this week. It’s probably part of his comprehensive plan to shave an additional 20 years off his appearance.
This Week in Social Matter
A busy week at Social Matter kicks off with the long-awaited return of Mark Christensen who brings a perspicacious book review: of Elmory Thomas’ 1971 The Confederacy As A Revolutionary Experience.
[Thomas’] thesis is likely to ruffle feathers amongst partisans of North and South alike. His nuanced investigation of Southern class and social structures, and of their geopolitical interests in North America, will not satisfy the need for moral aggrandizement which modern discussions of the South require. However, he likewise refuses to embrace the “Lost Cause” narratives of many “unreconstructed” Southerners; Thomas views this as a post-war rewriting of the Confederate experience, which decisively transformed many aspects of Southern life. In particular, he firmly rejects the notion that slavery was a marginal rather than a defining consideration of the conflict.
Christensen describes the work as vital for “anyone seeking to understand how political projects are achieved”. This could be you.
Thomas emphasizes that the Fire-Eaters were defined by their outsider status. To be one was to doom any chance of rise in party structures. Most importantly, their ideological victory would not result in personal rise. Rather, the implementation of the Confederacy fell to a more moderate coalition, often only secessionists at the 11th hour. Jefferson Davis and his vice-president, Alexander Stephens, had been “doctrinaire states’-righter[s]” but hardly Fire-Eaters. This trend is of course common in all revolutions and radical shifts in administration. We may think of the various anti-Jacobin reactions in France, Stalin’s putsch against the more radical Trotsky, or Hitler’s purge of the NSDAP’s left wing.
… and there is much, much more here. A very valuable contribution from Mr. Christensen to the Reactionary State of the Art, garnering a ☀☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Award☀☀.
Following close on Christensen’s heels, Fritz Pendleton drops a veritable pamphlet on Tuesday: The Prince, The People, And Everything Between—which merited a rare Trigger Warning from Da Boss. He makes the case that the foundational principles of a society, and thus political reaction are:
one people, one parliament, one prince
You see now why the Trigger Warning was necessary. Parliament??!! But let’s let Pendleton make his case. In truth, he makes eloquent (and quite correct) defenses of the One People and One Prince pieces. And his arguments in support of One Parliament deserve, at minimum, an answer. And I think not a few of our readers will find them quite compelling. In a rare show of tolerance, The Committee bestowed an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ for Pendleton’s painstaking yet controversial work here.
An absolute must-listen in Myth of the 20th Century this week: Episode 54: Holodomor—Harvest Of Sorrow. Myth of the 20th Century is probably the most intelligent podcast in the Dissident Sphere. One notes that Jordan Peterson has been quite careful to lump the Holodomor and Mao’s Great Leap Forward in with the Holocaust whenever and wherever he can.
And… Saturday Poetry & Prose is back in the saddle this week. Poet Laureate E. Antony Gray offers some freshly minted verse: The Apothecary.
This Week in Evolutionist X
Big week over at Evolutionist X’s place. She begins with a quite excellent overview of Local Optima, Diversity, and Patchwork.
Japan in 1850 was a culturally rich, pre-industrial, feudal society with a strong isolationist stance. In 1853, the Japanese discovered that the rest of the world’s industrial, military technology was now sufficiently advanced to pose a serious threat to Japanese sovereignty. Things immediately degenerated, culminating in the Boshin War (civil war, 1868-9,) but with the Meiji Restoration Japan embarked on an industrialization crash-course. By 1895, Japan had kicked China’s butt in the First Sino-Japanese War and the Japanese population doubled–after holding steady for centuries–between 1873 and 1935. (From 35 to 70 million people.) By the 1930s, Japan was one of the world’s most formidable industrial powers, and today it remains an economic and technological powerhouse.
Without the perturbation, however, to jolt Japan away from a local max, it never would have iterated to a much higher one. So is this a case for Diversity Is Our Greatest Strength? Evolutionist X says not so fast. This was an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ for being a bit off our beaten path.
Next, she tackles The Social Signaling Problem.
In the midst of increasing crime, an opioid epidemic, starving Yemenis, decimated inner cities, rising white death rates, economic malaise, homelessness, and children with cancer, is the return of assets stolen 75 years ago in a foreign country really our most pressing issue?
No, but do you want to be the guy who voted against the Justice for Holocaust survivors bill? What are you, some kind of Nazi? Do you want to vote in favor of drunken alcoholics? Criminals? Sex offenders? Murderers? Racists? Satanic Daycares?
Well are you?
For Anthropology Friday, the trip continues down through Numbers and the Making of Us.
Finally a quick graphic: Democratic support for Israel sharply down; Republican up. Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
This Week at Thermidor Mag
Over at our sister publication Thermidor, Jake Bowyer starts the week off with
The Great British Mistake. Bowyer laments how the mighty have fallen.
Britain did conqueror most of the known world, and no matter your opinion on the British Empire, one cannot deny that the British soldier pulled off Herculean feats between the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. If you ever find yourself thinking of Brits as wimpy poofs, then you should read a little about the Battle of Kohima-Imphal or the siege at Rourke’s Drift. For hundreds of years, Anglo-Saxon soldiers, sailors, and adventurers were Orwell’s “rough men” who stood “ready to do violence” on behalf of the British nation and Britannia’s glory.
N. T. Carlsbad delivers for us Nativism and Radical Republicanism: A Curious Relationship. Carlsbad revisits American nativism during the 19th century and along the way discovers important lessons for modern identitarians.
If the nativist endorses his race because it is the only one capable of transmitting the ideals of “the rights of man,” “the emancipation of women,” etc. (and after all, these are largely First World white traits) we are dealing with dysgenic identitarianism. The race is preserved in the short run, but destroyed in the long run as a result of the hijacking of its cultural inheritance by the elite stratum of the identitarian tendency in charge of producing the ideology for mass consumption and mobilization.
This was the dilemma of American nativism, a movement simultaneously racially exclusionary and progressive, in alliance with Radical Republicanism and Reconstructionism by the exodus of the Know-Nothings to the Republican Party, a key reason for the latter’s ascendancy.
Carlsbad snags an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ for this one.
Next up, Europa Weekly with What if the Ethnostate consents?
Newcomer Lue-Yee Tsang offers up a learned meditation in China, A Fourth Rome? Blending history and theology, Tsang analyzes the West and its impact upon China.
Oswald Spengler has spoken of the (modern) West as wholly different in character from ancient Rome, Faustian rather than Roman, but it is perhaps truer and more fitting to say that in the life of the Western nations is both something we can call Faustian and something we can call Roman, sometimes the one having the upper hand and sometimes the other. For, even if much of the modern talk of Rome and living its glory be counterfeit, a mere conceit, yet something must be there to be spoken of so widely, so long after some have dated the “fall of Rome” at the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in the West at the hands of Odoacer. […] Europe itself, as a geopolitical space and not merely a designation of physical geography, can be said to be a Rome, for a long time a multiple Rome. When aligned with the heavenly City of God, it breathes the spirit of the Rome used by God; when aligned against it, a Rome assimilated to the Faustian spirit. Yet the line between the two Romes, to borrow a line from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, cuts through the human heart.
Lue-Yee impressed the Committee to the tune of an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Silver Circle Award☀.
Not to be left out is editor P. T. Reflections on a Year of Thermidor, and the Road Ahead. The past year has been fruitful for Thermidor, and Carlo offers important advice to all readers on how to move from conversation and critique to action in the real world.
The action we need to be taking, at the present moment, should be a combination of ceaseless real-world networking and personal advancement. Do what it takes to meet like-minded people in your area and then build something with them. Stop complaining and take the initiative, if something doesn’t exist that you think should then build it yourself because no one else is going to.
Join your local Republican party, advance your position and push the conversation rightward. If you’re a Christian make sure you’re involved in your local church and do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t succumb to the poison of progressive theology. If you’re an atheist find some decrepit old Elks club and turn that place into a chateau of chic nihilism for you and your new right-wing friends. Be creative.
Get a law degree, take the foreign service exam, break into journalism, if you’re an academic try and become the next Adrian Vermeule. Make a long-term plan for yourself. In short: make yourself useful.
This too was an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀.
This Week Around The Orthosphere
Kristor suggests we need Established Sacerdotal Hierarchy Controls for Competitive Holiness Spirals. Like a Church or something. Then, in The Resurrection of the Body: A Simple Explanation for Children, he shares a delightful exchange between himself and his granddaughter. Also, The Gedanken Policy Test of Christianity considers how Christianity’s mitigation of scapegoating increases its competitive edge.
Richard Cocks presents an excellent interpretation of Plato’s Cave:
In The Republic Plato is just showing what the single-minded pursuit of justice alone would entail. Prioritizing justice above all other goods would mean condoning behaviors that contradict the pursuit of other things we believe to be good. Thus The Republic embodies a reductio ad absurdum argument. These kinds of arguments try to show that accepting one proposition will contradict another proposition a person believes to be true, forcing him to reject the proposed notion. The consequences of pursuing justice alone would mean abandoning the pursuit of other very important things: familial love; the love of parents for children and the love between the parents. Therefore, The Republic is actually an argument against the single-minded and exclusive pursuit of justice.
Bonald finds cause for The tribal Catholic’s strange new respect for Pope Francis. And when an atheist asks Is the universe too big?, Bonald responds “not in the grand scale of things.” Then there’s this meditation on the nature of Time and the fear of death and a sweeping survey of The plausibility of theism; notes on the history of philosophy.
Matt Briggs takes a depressing look at Pew’s New Survey on Religious Groups Views on Abortion. Also, Christianity might be a hate crime in the UK and more than a quarter of California youth defy gendering in this week’s Insanity & Doom Update XX.
Guest posting at Briggs is Kevin Groenhagen, who suggests the word “controversial” has been weaponized by the media. It’s Controversial. Then Ianto Watt writes about tradition and its disruption, using as a prophetic example what he calls Vatican Zero.
The example I’m interested in today is Vatican Zero. No, not Vatican I, nor Vatican II. Vatican I was all about certainty (“let’s listen to one leader”) versus Vatican II (“let’s listen to everybody, all at once”). The two could not be any different than day and night. In that order, too. What I’m referring to here (Vatican Zero as I call it), is the precursor of Vatican II. And that would be the schism that occurred within the Russian-Orthodox world around 1666. The schism that would produce the Raskolniks (the Old Believers) and would lead to the emergence of their opposites, the Narodniks (the Believers in The People).
When a noted traditional conservative calls for open borders, Mark Richardson asks Why did Birzer get borders wrong? Then he compares two liberal Australian suburbs in terms of their traditional values. Camberwell vs Fitzroy: who wins?
In She’s the boss, child torture edition, Dalrock catches the media glossing over the fact that this couple who severely abused their children consisted of an actual cuckold and his dominating wife.
—Hans der Fiedler
Elsewhere, Cologero expounds upon The Nature of Things and a powerful critique upon modernity for not getting it.
Over at American Dad, Scott shares an up close and personal account of the on-going opioid crisis and a defense of the (almost universal) practice of adoption.
Cane Caldo reverses his previous position and urges: Bring Bastards Back. We agree.
This Week in Arts & Letters
Chris Gale proclaims that We Are Not Sorry for a whole host of evils related to being white males. Is it just me, or has Chris been getting a bit more militant lately? Not that we mind. He has a few words on Liars and Evidence. When in doubt, call the leftist out as a liar. But there shouldn’t be many occasions to doubt. Riffing on Fritz Pendleton’s article this week, a post on States, nasty, brutal, or glorious. Ours, however, is an Apostate State, and it’s going to hell. Finally, some more Belloc for our Sunday Sonnet.
Over at the Imaginative Conservative, Dwight Longenecker explains Why You Should Read and Write Poetry. Any reactionary will approve of the fact that formal restrictions make the mind, and the creative powers, stronger. Speaking of which, Stephen Klugewicz on The Wild and Terrible Mozart. And Joseph Pearce finds Freud Perpetrating a Freud on Sophocles and Shakespeare—yes, that’s a pun, but an awfully inviting one.
At City Journal, Seth Barron tells the Left to Find Better Martyrs. They’ve picked quite a hill on which to die, this time. Theodore Dalrymple casts a skeptical eye on the British Human Condition Commission—not that a proper government shouldn’t be concerned with increasing loneliness. Seth Barron is joined by John Tierney on the 10 Blocks Podcast to discuss The Trump Infrastructure Plan. And a review of Paris in the Present Tense. Maybe we won’t… Always Have Paris.
Richard Carroll reviews The Baltimore Catechism. If you don’t trust the modern Catholic Church (which you shouldn’t) to set your kids straight, this one is highly recommended.
Over at Logos Club, Kaiter Enless has some horror fiction: The Chittering. Highly recommended. And Giovanni Dannato has some fiction of his own, a (not terribly) short story in five parts: Apostasy. And here’s Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. Dannato earns an ☀“Official” #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀ for his superb efforts there. As well as putting money where is mouth is.
Tearing down is easy. Building is hard. And building a new aesthetic is what Logos Club is all about.
Finally, Education Realist isn’t too enthused by Get Out, which has the spotlight on it once again as Oscar season approaches. Personally, I enjoyed it for the wrong reasons. For one, it’s a sneaky poison pill for the leftist to swallow: even blacks think white pandering to them is creepy, if not downright suspicious. It also subtly acknowledges low white status, and not-so-subtly, the alienation felt by each race in the presence of the other.
—Hans der Fiedler
Elsewhere, PA has Idle (but very well-composed) Thoughts On Music In The Public Space. Extra kudos for the Foo Fighters embed.
This Week in the Outer Left
There was quite a bit going on with the left this week, including one piece that I largely agree with. Never thought I’d see the day.
The Awl is concluding operation at the end of the month, but they aren’t finished just yet. Their history of colors continues (and maybe concludes?) with one that is a particular favorite of mine, Payne’s gray, the color of English rain and Henry Milley’s Paris. I love a good dark gray, not gonna lie.
The Baffler had a particularly strong week, with no fewer than three pieces that merited inclusion. One is a bit of a black pill, the other a bit of a white pill, and the last is a peek behind the Cathedral’s curtain.
I always start with the bad news, so let’s go to Poland, where Alex Cocotas speaks to a number of Polish feminists, whom he dubs Memory Keepers. This is largely a puff piece for these women, while also functioning as a Two Minutes Hate against Poland for its supposedly misogynistic policies, but some of the facts presented constitute a downer for us. It is difficult to get a legal abortion, contraception is frowned upon and has legal restrictions, there are policies intended to keep families together, 96.7% of the population is Polish, and the Roman Catholic Church exerts a strong influence. All great things from our standpoint. Here’s the black pill: their fertility rate is still absolute garbage: 1.35 in 2017, one of the worst in the world, and it has not been above replacement levels (2.1) since 1988. The Polish labor market is considered one of the most equal between the sexes among OECD countries, and over half of Polish women work. That seems highly significant to me. If I may channel Jim for a moment, even with abortion and contraception restrictions in a religious population, if you let women work so they can fantasize about sex with their high-status boss, they won’t have sex with their lower-status husbands… if they even get married at all, which they increasingly are not.
The white pill I have for you is not nearly of the same magnitude as that black pill, but we take what we can get from the leftoids. Soraya Roberts has some pretty stinging criticism for the phenomenon of Instagram poets, particularly Rupi Kaur. This is significant for a couple reasons.
First, Miss Roberts is apparently white and feels free to criticize Rupi Kaur—who wields her PoC status as shield and sword—in a very left-leaning publication. Naturally, this is couched in terms of offering a criticism of capitalism and neoliberalblahblahblah, but even still, something about the way it is done with nary more than a whisper of apology or qualification feels significant in the Current Year.
Second, Miss Roberts criticizes Kaur, and the other less popular Instagram poets, on the grounds that their poetry is simply bad on objective literary merits. You can go back to at least the 1960s and find the cutting edge of the left attacking the idea of objective artistic merit. By the time I went to college, it was nearly heresy to claim that certain literary works are objectively good and others are trash. One English professor told me “I am afraid you have reactionary taste in literature” for expressing just that view. Yet, here it is in The Baffler of all places.
The final point is a bit more of a mixed bag. She attempts to couch her criticism inside a more general criticism of Instagram and capitalism, as I have said. However, given the actual content, the claim that this is criticism of Instagram and not of the Instagram poets themselves barely passes the laugh test. But one cannot shake the feeling that there is more than a whiff of Cathedral acolyte elitism on display here. There’s nothing too overt, but the juxtaposition of quotations from Oscar Wilde, Ezra Pound (oooh, the fascist), and Arthur Rimbaud with criticism of Rupi Kaur for being openly materialistic, commercialistic, and a savvy marketer to the masses feels like the whine of the Cathedral as people no longer have to go through their gatekeepers. Still, in the final analysis, I must tip my hat to Miss Roberts for this defense of genuine culture against trash.
And in a peek behind the Cathedral curtain, David Banks REEEEEEEs about the future being engineered for dystopia, but not in the way you think! You see, engineers are disproportionately drawn to right-wing and authoritarian political beliefs, which simply must be due to the way engineering is taught and institutionalized, so the solution is to bring engineering education and professionals more deeply under the rule of the priestly Brahmin caste. You think I’m exaggerating? RTWT for yourself and you will see that Banks all but outright says just that. The Cathedral truly is a ravenous beast that wants to consume and control every aspect of human life. Even the most nominal independence is hateful to the Cathedral’s acolytes.
Vanity Fair is a newcomer to the august This Week in Reaction round-up, but we welcome them with a piece from Nick Bilton on Facebook’s downward spiral. The downfall of Facebook is a pretty complex story, and as it is still very much in motion, it cannot fully be written. Indeed, many people probably think it is pre-mature to announce that Facebook is on the way down, as the company is valued at over $500 billion. Let’s look at what Bilton has to say.
During the past six months alone, countless executives who once worked for the company are publicly articulating the perils of social media on both their families and democracy. Chamath Palihapitiya, an early executive, said social networks “are destroying how society works”; Sean Parker, its founding president, said “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” (Just this weekend, Tim Cook, the C.E.O. of Apple, said he won’t let his nephew on social media.) Over the past year, people I have spoken to internally at the company have voiced concerns for what Facebook is doing (or most recently, has done) to society. Many begin the conversation by rattling off a long list of great things that Facebook inarguably does for the world—bring people and communities together, help people organize around like-minded positive events—but, as if in slow motion, those same people recount the negatives.
OK, that sounds rough, but that’s all industry insiders, many of whom work for competing companies. There’s more.
Is Facebook eliminating news from its site because it realizes that spotting “fake news” is too difficult to solve—even for Facebook? Or, as some people have posited to me, is Facebook rethinking the divide it has created in order to keep growing? After all, much of Zuckerberg’s remaining growth opportunity centers upon China, and the People’s Republic won’t let any product (digital or otherwise) enter its borders if there’s a chance it could disrupt the government’s control. Why would the Chinese Politburo open its doors to a force that could conspire in its own Trumpification or Brexit or similar populist unrest?
This is hidden under hysteria that Facebook “fake news” is responsible for Trump’s election, but a company that relies on continual user growth, like Facebook, only has China left as its big growth frontier. China is famously reluctant to let non-Chinese companies have the kind of access to its people that Facebook requires to work. But the American userbase is also becoming a problem.
There’s another theory floating around as to why Facebook cares so much about the way it’s impacting the world, and it’s one that I happen to agree with. When Zuckerberg looks into his big-data crystal ball, he can see a troublesome trend occurring. A few years ago, for example, there wasn’t a single person I knew who didn’t have Facebook on their smartphone. These days, it’s the opposite. This is largely anecdotal, but almost everyone I know has deleted at least one social app from their devices. And Facebook is almost always the first to go. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sneaky privacy-piercing applications are being removed by people who simply feel icky about what these platforms are doing to them, and to society.
Some people are terrified that these services are listening in to their private conversations. (The company’s anti-privacy tentacles go so far as to track the dust on your phone to see who you might be spending time with.) Others are sick of getting into an argument with a long-lost cousin, or that guy from high school who still works in the same coffee shop, over something that Trump said, or a “news” article that is full of more bias and false facts. And then there’s the main reason I think people are abandoning these platforms: Facebook knows us better than we know ourselves, with its algorithms that can predict if we’re going to cheat on our spouse, start looking for a new job, or buy a new water bottle on Amazon in a few weeks. It knows how to send us the exact right number of pop-ups to get our endorphins going, or not show us how many Likes we really have to set off our insecurities. As a society, we feel like we’re at war with a computer algorithm, and the only winning move is not to play.
Anecdotally, I concur with this. In my experience, people have hated Facebook for years and were waiting for some kind of societal permission to get off the platform. The acrimony of the 2016 election, and the fallout from it, seems to have given a lot of people that very permission. Of course, this could all be just a temporary blip for the company. But if Facebook does fall, these events will be remembered as the beginning of the end.
This Week… Elsewhere
Occam’s Razor has a send up of The Boomer Cuckservative Interpretation of Western Civilization.
Ace checks in with a timely insight: “I know a word can be untrue and yet still move you…”
TUJ, who pays attention to Current Events™ so you don’t have to, is still Waiting for the Persuasion Knockout in FISA-Gate.
Xavier Marquez has a thorough and thought-provoking essay on Charisma and Representation.
Lorenzo has a, brief for him, comment on border walls. Suitable for normies.
Zach Kraine articulates A Vision For America, in which there is much to like—after the problem of fractured sovereignty is solved.
This week in The Zeroth Position, Nullus Maximus offers a review Robert Taylor’s 2016: Reactionary Liberty: The Libertarian Counter-Revolution. Also there: Agreeing With Statists For The Wrong Reasons: Cryptocurrency Bans. A la, “Go ahead, make my day.”
AMK exposes The Righteous Indignation Scam—selling ritual purity is the new simony.
Meta-Nomad has put up part 1 of a delightfully didactic fiction, Chem and Narax. It looks so far like your usual story of a man and a telepathic, intelligent dog wandering through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. We could be in for quite a ride of dulce et utile.
Meta-Nomad is also debuting a new feature on his blog, TSPDT. He is endeavoring to watch the entire They Shoot Pictures Don’t They 1,000 Greatest Films list in chronological order and give quick capsule reviews for our enjoyment. In this first edition of the series, he watched L’arrivee d’un train a la Ciotat, Le Voyage dans la lune, The Birth of a Nation, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Dawn of the sun above a desecrated planet, its rays bowing pleasantly over yesterday’s cinders; garbage fires, shit-piles and hot corpses litter the ground, their shadows a homage to nothingness; the end of days stretched over all that is and could be conscious. Welcome to 2019 friends, let’s hope that along with all plant-life many of yesteryears’ ideas died too. A world still crumbling, yet hopeful to build a future atop the remains of the past, forget the ruins, forget the remnants… forget your nature and all will go to shit.
Greg Cochran considers Generalized Homeopathy. Homeopathy—pseudo-scientifically doing nothing for placebo effect—started out beating actual medical practice because actual medical practice was just that bad. Medicine caught up and surpassed homeopathy. But many disciplines have not.
Welp. That’s all we had time for, folks. Thanks for reading. As you hopefully noticed, I’ve tried to credit the staff contributors in place now. (ADDED: Those who haven’t objected getting credited.) You can now see just how much they’ve contributed. Keep on reactin! Til next week: NBS… Over and out!!