Disaffection

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Too much of a good thing

When I was younger I was a thief. Something just seemed to possess me from a young age, about 9-10, to shoplift. By the time I was a chubby-cheeked bar mitzvah boy I had shelves full of CDs and cassettes I had walked out of record stores with. Throughout childhood, if I saw an adult doing physical work, it was a Mexican migrant or some rough white prole. I never learned how to produce anything, just how to consume, and to bullshit my way through school. I lived in a nice neighborhood but there was an underclass there of latchkey kids and failed families, failed in that they didn’t keep up appearances.

Once I got into high school some fellow miscreant pals and I would run out of convenience stores with cartons of cigarettes and resell them, steal laptops and other valuables from dorm rooms on the university campus (glass bongs in particular had resale value), stake out student drug dealers in off-campus rentals and steal their stash, their scales, their loose cash. If they were at home when we struck I’d strong-arm them. It wasn’t like, a routine thing, but it happened a few times. As a 15 year old I hung out with a 13 year old kid who used to drop down into strip malls late at night through various hatches in the rooves and hoist the safes up out of taquerias and liquor stores. Years later I ran into him downtown and it looked like he was heavy into meth and peddling his ass, all that time he was doing Mission Impossible shit he’d been closeted. Talk about sublimation.

Anyway, eventually I mellowed out and started selling pot. There were a hundred pot retailers my age in town, but once I got the hang of it I managed to drum up a nifty little book of business. Problem was, I was so habituated to the thought process of running up on people and just ganking their shit that the fake schmoozing and (figurative) smoke blowing was too much for me. It gave me anxiety. Ironically, thieving had made me too honest (impulsive, really) to cultivate commercial wiles or insincere relationships or even just future-time orientation. I’d never been a calculating sneak, just brazen, short-sighted. I didn’t want to ensnare people or string them along, I wanted not to fuck with anyone unless I had to or chose to, and then I wanted to just swoop down on them and be done. In the case of friendships I didn’t want there to be a business element, just frankness. But it’s calculating, sneak fucks who run the world these days, or swarm institutions aspiring to run shit because they know their kind is most eligible in this system. People with inverse values and no impulses.

Being heavy into pot had one advantage, it was that glass pane dividing rebellious upper-middle class mediocrity from real depravity and forfeiture of the most basic moral inhibition. My childhood best friend has been a meth-head alcoholic stumble-bum wherever-dweller since the year we got out of high school, guy uses smack the way smokers use a nicotine patch. I hear from him once in eighteen months now, and not from lack of effort on my part trying to locate him, although we live in different states. Two years ago he told me he had pawned his mother’s jewelry after crashing at her place for the night. Six months ago I heard from him again and he was totally gone, fried, kaput, insane in the membrane, he was trying to talk but made absolutely no sense. But at least being a scumfuck or a psycho is honest. An animal or a devil is a known quantity, there may be a ton of day-to-day conniving and a trail of fucked-over relationships but there’s no overall pretense of goodness.

Now, me (on the other hand), here I am today working a corporate sales job trying to be a good guy and pay my bills. But that lashed-out resentful kid is inside of me with all those violent impulses, and in a way he’s truer to who we are, more psychologically hygienic for all his so-called maladjustment. The world is war, physical war. Money’s not real, your stomach is. We forget that, we like others to slaughter the meat for us. And as a salesman, marketer, manager, executive, PR hack, entertainer or public face of any kind, an academic, a “journalist”, a whatever-you-fancy-yourself, you’re always a fucking charlatan, every word you utter is smoke, because your end-goal is always to bedazzle someone and get inside their pocket. You can be as transparent, as forthright, as helpful as you want. It’s just a tactic. The other guy’s interests are a means. And it can never be finally acknowledged. It’s so standard (i.e., pervasive), yet so slimy. And those impulses I gave reign to as a youth now sit like stone guests, restrained yet blocking my every effort to sublimate the fundamental guile of this most accepted protocol for making a living into the neat little rationales that make it effective.

Cigarette Butts

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What if the only person who could be Jesus Christ was an addict? A deadbeat?

What if redemption germinates in slime, shit and piss?

It’s worse out there than we think

It’s always worse

It’s always deeper

and yet also somehow less

So that we’d rather not know, not look, not slow our roll

But what if this brand of glory is some pathetic, anonymous moment?

Not martyrdom but nameless, faceless dissolution

Not ignominy but private shame

What if the crucifix is self loathing?

What if the aggregate of all our microscopic dread are the forces acting upon us

The stripes, the stigmata

What if the garbage in the street were relics for some busybody’s collection

and holiness is something far, far away?

 

 

Cities from the air at night

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You put the intransigence in transit

I rode north one autumn through high country, blind

Once upon a time

The burden of fate held up a staircase

and the buoyancy of youth left a gap between who you are

and what you signify for me

Dawn always breaks in the distance

Life defies us, is defiance

because the world is won by wickedness

but only seemingly so who needs Jerusalem

if it can never be forgotten?

I saw you in a dream, I knew it was really you

but when I woke up it seemed as if you were no longer there

We left these past lives in other places

that are scarcely more real than the ones we can’t recall

and if I lose you I won’t be me

if I could lose you I wouldn’t be myself

We may never set foot in the same city twice

But we live in each other

So let us take nothing for granted

Disinteresting Times

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Did somebody say download speeds of up to 35.46 gigabits per second?

Modernity is the subordination of principle to process. And if man is subordinate to technology, this inversion would signify a negation of life by the very means once intended to serve at its disposal.

Life, however, is anxiety-inducing, and faced with it plainly we tend more and more to retreat instead into life-negating distractions—think of Sartre’s Nausea—which seem to represent more and more of the benefit we now derive from technology, and cannot be separated from whatever ideas, however lofty, which the latest hi-tech media transmit.

When we absorb ourselves in our smartphones, we almost invariably peer down into them. But it is possible to get a seemingly uncanny sense of how ridiculously small (in contrast with the world as we naturally position ourselves to view it) this frame is that sucks in so much of our focus, simply by correcting our posture and holding up our arm to position the phone within the normal, eye-level field of vision. Of course, the attempt at diversion simply cannot be carried out in this way.

The other day I’m out with a friend, when he tells me he needs to pay a cell phone bill, so we duck into a T-Mobile store. While he’s busy with the clerk, I stroll around the place, and it immediately strikes me (I’m probably not the first to say so; I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before) how much these outlets are arranged like art galleries: the displays mounted mid-floor on white, spray-painted particleboard pillars, or sequenced along the bleach-white walls in the foreground of splashy, lit-up stock imagery. Next to each phone display is an informational placard. To get the interactive experience you need assistance from an initiate flunky with a lanyard and a thumb drive. Just enough reverence to discourage overthinking is all that’s needed, but when 48% of the market is on public assistance it’s a legacy feature.

As we’re leaving, I remarked to my friend that, just for the hardware, the margin on a lease must be astronomical, considering how low the resale value of a smartphone is. But my friend informs me that, to lower their costs, every time you go in for an upgrade, the retailer more or less sells your old phone back to the OEM, who does a little light refurbishing and then punts these devices in bulk into a developing market—a euphemism for a country where the buildings are still tattered from the last civil war or the peasantry have all been displaced and reduced to hawkers and bricklayers, if they aren’t combing through garbage for a living.

Think about that: every impression of these industries that the public is imbued with is one of buoyancy, bedazzlement and pure intelligence. Meanwhile, these companies are balancing the books with third world fire sales.

I work in IT sales. Not anybody’s dream job, but what can you do? (Ask me about our tower desktops with Windows 7, LMFAO). Among the concepts they beat us over the head with to peddle is virtualization, you can’t sell servers anymore without VM Ware. Again, the impression they want you to have is of buoyancy, bedazzlement and pure intelligence. But somewhere over the rainbow there’s still a fucking server bank and, eventually, the amount of energy it takes for those sleeker, more powerful machines to direct traffic is going to exceed what it takes to run all the bulkier devices they’re replacing today, because we’ve mistaken data for value and elevated our valuation of data to a catechism. And we’d be right but, cui bono? Zuckerberg’s hardly less creepy than One Hour Photo (if you think that’s hyperbole, you have brain parts that aren’t working).

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It gets better

So if man is an intrinsically technological creature, then technology is the one and only factor that enables us to cage animals. If you’re caged, you’re an animal, and a cage is any advantage some shrewd, unscrupulous creature has—some limp-dick sneak fuck who’d be eaten in open combat or humiliated in reproductive competition, and knows it. Basically: usurers, sexual predators and peeping Tom data miners. The cage is technology. Your data trail. The toilet paper stuck under your shoe. That’s our rulers’ source of power; Mark Zuckerberg is a virtual used toilet paper magnate.

We get the micro-managers we deserve, though: behold the Gothic architecture of medieval Europe, and it’s hard to gainsay T.S. Eliot’s estimation of the 13th century as the apex of civilization. What are we missing about those people when we ascribe primitivity to them? Something, I assure you. When in the intervening centuries were the structures they built surpassed for exquisiteness? Hell, the largest solid, unreinforced dome on the planet is still the Pantheon of Rome, completed in 128 AD. Technologically, this edifice remains unimproved upon in 2017.

Kurzweil, Zuckerberg, Musk…. they keep telling, not asking us how we’re going to live in the future. Who’d have thought a few autists with Excel spreadsheets for brains would exceed the imaginations of Hieronymus Bosch and every dystopian fiction author, ever? RFID implants and neural lace make precogs look like deus ex machina. Symbiosis with the internet sounds about as appealing as being strapped down like the protagonist in the closing scene of A Clockwork Orange. And that’s exactly what these control freaks want, because the minute they bet money on their predictions those predictions become a motive in themselves, if they weren’t propaganda to begin with. Tech oligarchs are the ultimate totalitarians, and they’re sold to us as luminaries! In a civilization whose denizens possessed a shadow of a survival instinct they’d be fed to orcas at SeaWorld on national television.

And yet the technologies they mean to imprison us with are so…. crude. Internet traffic runs through transoceanic cables the way the telegraph did at the close of the horse and buggy era. When 5G comes online it will require a massive new infrastructure that can be traced, ultimately, to a surge protector in a wall outlet. And when these batty, syphilitic billionaires and virginal, glorified sysadmins tell us about the singularity, they’re talking about an autonomic simulacrum of the übermensch, what VR masturbation is to hot, sticky sex. We’re moving backwards, not forwards. Wireless signaling, photography, the combustion engine, conventional aircraft, even rocketry—none of these is fundamentally different today than they were at inception, they’re just spiffier. Granted, there are still actual and theoretical game changers: anti-gravity, fusion, quantum, nanotech, AI, genetic engineering. But do any of these developments portend spiritual or intellectual advancement? Of course not—on the contrary. Mankind is the only known species capable of true (i.e., conscientious) cruelty, and we can’t even eradicate the mosquito without taking ourselves out with it. Measured in terms of the ratio of arithmetical figuring to grandiosity of outcome, the capacity to immolate half the solar system remains our greatest technological achievement—our greatest achievement, period, if the technological inclination is our foremost distinction as creatures. Maybe it isn’t, though. Maybe inventiveness and creativity are distinct sides of the same coin. Maybe these improvements aren’t just risky, but unnecessary, enabling aggressive tendencies at the expense of traditional wisdom. Prime example: the Elon Musks of the world keep telling us they’re inevitable and we may as well make the best of it. Sounds rapey, doesn’t it? Kind of like how voting is conflated with choice.

Either way, craftmanship isn’t what it used to be—at least Patrick Bateman used his hands.

Sundays at the Zoo

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Got my beverage past the turnstile equals white privilege

Just smile

Don’t maintain eye contact

Don’t say gesundheit

Mankind are pederasts, malingerers, rats on an ash heap communicating diseases

Horrible, ambling, eczemic, eggplant-shaped creatures

They suffer waking sleep apnea and never wonder how the meat gets to the plate

Should some grave misfortune befall them they must be maintained alive

Freedom isn’t free, they want a raincheck, they want a discount

They want to see caged animals

and teach the blind how to covet

Shame was the last vestige of propriety

In the distance I saw a crucifix

It was the logo on a ballcap, of a hotel casino

Cattle Prod

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It gets better

Although making an example of someone is the most primitive, totem-and-taboo method of maintaining order, it is a cudgel uniquely suited to democracy. In America, the buck simply must stop somewhere, for where human beings are reduced, scurrilous and simpering, to their uttermost state of servility, it becomes inconceivable to them that misfortune results from their own inadequacies, or—put differently—that our inadequacies result from nature.

So if this had happened to a white boy in a majority black school district, you can be sure it wouldn’t make the Washington Post:

A ham-faced Missouri teenager puts a squirrel-peeler to his humpty dumpty and squeezes…. Come to find out he was being bullied sadistically from just about sun-up, by dozens of classmates and by his supervisor at the local Dairy Queen, who is being charged with second-degree involuntary manslaughter, and is a woman. (Inadequacy: the apple doesn’t fall far from the woe-is-me, but do you think they’ll charge the parents who went on helplessly eating Dairy Queen while all this was taking place?) One look at him choking back tears in his school portrait and you can’t not pity the boy, so anyone remotely acquainted with him in person had to’ve known what was going on, if they wanted to. Either (a) the whole town is complicit in this young man’s Missouri, or (b) no one is. But local media and opinion say it’s both.

For example, the schools superintendent asserts that the bullying in his district isn’t that bad. How many people like him are superintending schools in this country? Rudolph Höss had a personal touch by comparison. State’s prosecutress April Wilson had this to say about her colleague in public, er… “service”:

We wanted to be very cautious and responsible. Both sides of the issue are extremely important. A young man is dead. But we also want to acknowledge that it’s not easy being in public education.

For the kid or the adults?

And is it easier to manage a Dairy Queen?

In other words, as long as we’re assigning blame arbitrarily….

Is this a justice that would satisfy the deceased Kenneth Suttner? From the looks of the victim and the fact he apparently never fought back, the kid probably didn’t have a vindictive bone in his body. At least, not yet. But on the part of others this utter lack of will is why no one intervened to help him. Nature culls herds of all species, but this is the behavior of prey.

A whole town. An entire race.

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Look this smug, sadistic sack of shit in the gullet without retching. This effete, marrow-sucking, cryogenic loon, this liver-spotted fondler, posturing with his sleeves rolled up. His very breath is a fog of lies: he gets winded talking.

The Russian government has classified the names of certain (apparently) high-ranking Syria-bound Tu-154 passengers who perished in the Black Sea this Christmas Eve, as part of what was supposed to be a victory delegation.

Of course the Putin regime has ruled out terrorism. Grubby mohammedan irregulars couldn’t have pulled off a stunt like this without outside support, and acknowledging the possibility—if one exists—of foul play would be too humiliating.

Loathing of posterity by the ensconced and responsible is a salient peculiarity of our times. Dying Germany, ruled by a childless matron. Russia running a net population deficit for three decades. And there is no more United States. All there are, is countries for old men.

Don’t defame me, bro

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Above: third world political moderates requesting admission to the sanctum of western-style democracy

What to make of recent remarks by the sitting Israeli ambassador to the United States, condemning the Southern Poverty Law Center?

We must reject the shameful efforts of some to prevent any serious discussion about the nature of the enemy we face. I realized the full extent of those efforts only after a controversy erupted over my being here tonight. The day you announced that I was being given this award, the spokesman at my Embassy received an email from the Southern Poverty Law Center asking me why I was accepting an award from what they called an anti-Muslim hate group….

The SPLC and others who asked me not to come here tonight claim to support free and open debate. But in reality, they seem to want to stifle debate. They…have amended that famous Voltairian dictum to be ‘I hate what you say and I will never defend your right to say it.’ I will defame you as an extremist. I will label you a racist and a bigot….

We must not let the defamers and blacklisters succeed. We must not let them turn into pariahs those erudite scholars and courageous reformers who are trying to enlighten us about ideologies that threaten our way of life.

The famous Voltairian dictum, amended! If militant Islam didn’t exist, Israel would have to invent it, but upon Europeans it is being foisted in bald-faced contravention of any antecedent concept of decency. Will they ever manage to shop their way back to freedom?

Neocons like Dermer conflate a first-world living standard with (capital double-u) Western civilization, and proclaim the principle menace to this meager construct to be not carrying capacity or antibiotic-resistant microbes but militant Islam—which is itself a construct, since the real distinction to be drawn among Muslims is between genteel and brute. After all, rape’s not “resistance.” Swarming and groping women on a subway platform is not radicalization. Neither is the relentless beating of your lily children in school a political-religious act, nor trafficking drugs, transmitting disease, hogging social services and conducting turf wars around public housing. Come to think of it, the real distinction to be drawn between Muslims overall is “here” and “there.” So vetting these hordes politically or placating or re-educating them is rightly an afterthought to all but the professions that stand to gain power in the process: yellow media, PC social workers, HR department bias-minders and intel-spook middle management.

Continuing that theme, against that one-in-a-hundred thousand radicalized, RPG-toting pajamaman they like to conjure out of central casting, certain Israelis stand ready with predictably self-serving solutions, namely their own political and financial collusion in inexorable foreign and domestic police action on the part of Europe and the US, and ankle-grabbing white ingratiation to millions of criminal, third world vermin at the expense of the very continentals those vermin are plundering with shockingly cynical Israeli connivance.

So there are those who will inevitably view intra-Jewish spats like this recent one as a shopworn Yid swindle—after all, it’s the defamers and the blacklisters who have a direct line to the Israeli embassy, not the Ancient Order of Hibernians. There are those, like myself, who are hoping this daylight newly-emerged from between the cheek of the “love wins” Jewish commissars and the jowl of their levantine militarist cousins precipitates an eventual parting of ways. But above all, this spat is symptomatic of the interim of paradigm shift in the year of Trump, the fog of a relied-upon consensus passing into obsolescence.

Indeed, as if emerging, dust-caked, ears ringing from a blast radius, consensus acolytes are ambling about in a daze, muttering their catechisms and copybook headings:

David Friedman, Donald Trump’s close confidante and ambassador-designate to Israel, is not a right-winger. To be on the right wing implies that one is on a continuum from liberal to conservative. But Friedman – together with around 15% of the Israeli Jewish population – inhabits a different world entirely. His appointment would represent a total realignment of American policy in the Middle East, with the biggest winner being (surprise) Vladimir Putin. 

The normal continuum runs as follows. The consensus of the international community, the Israeli government, and every American government for a generation is that that there must be a state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. Of course, within that consensus, there are hawks and doves, right-wingers and left. Some are willing to take more risks for peace, some are more mistrustful of the people they call “the Arabs” and want any peace process to be slow and gradual. But all agree that it’s not feasible to create an apartheid regime in which 7 million Jews rule over 10 million non-Jews.

There you have one Jay Michaelson, writing in the Daily Beast. What need he has of a name in spite of his lacking a soul, we’ll never know, but for the moment never mind his snide self-assurance, he got it ninth-hand anyway. Conformist hacks like these should be facing a firing squad, yet in spite of his befuddlement this Michaelson is slouching towards Bethlehem with the rest of us.

So too Ambassador Dermer, a Kantian character, a baby-boomer from Miami Beach whose commitment to Zionism entailed renouncing his American citizenship. He has been called a traitor for this, but it actually makes him the exact opposite. Whatever his boss’s long-game may be, he and the rest of the coterie of ex-yankee Jewboys surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu are products of a peculiar timeframe, and will persist in applying its outmoded lexicon (circa 2001-06) to subsequent events, no matter how unprecedented.

Thus, Dermer’s “ideologies that threaten our way of life” refers to Muslims who take their Islam literally and seriously enough to fight (in principal, if not ultimately, against Israel) rather than hawking stolen goods and catcalling on street corners in Charleroi and Rotterdam—behavior which is instead dubbed a by-product of diversity and all such “Western values” that “we” are “defending.” In the same vein, “rooting out militancy” means oblique facilitation by the social services of that steady supply of swivel-eyed, subliterate aspiring rappers we see pouring into the immiserated, supranational Hobbesian diversity-state. For the democratic formulary requires the white man’s burden not slacken until it lies heaped upon a corpse, that he redouble his efforts whenever and wherever pea-brained, recalcitrant melanotics are failing to curb their innate criminality.

Defenseless under the night/Our world in stupor lies, when we conflate Diaghilev’s Eros with an affirming flame.

Herzog to Amona residents: Zionism is not a land grab….

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“‘To build a home and plant a tree’ I told ’em, LMFAO.”

…..per the Times of Israel.

Pardon me while I die laughing. Zionism, not a land grab! Life is a land grab, I could see excepting pacifism or Buddhism or beta-male hipster bisexuality, but Zionism? Herzog could’ve logically said, “Grab this, not that, grab strategically.” He could’ve said “Grab ’em by the pussy” with greater dispassion, because the basis of leftism is wishful thinking, which is why the Netanyahu administration is starting to look like Putin in terms of longevity in office.

In the same vein, during the Q&A at white nationalist Richard Spencer’s recent talk on the Texas A&M campus, the local Hillel’s young rabbi roused himself:

You’re here preaching a message of radical exclusion. My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion and love. Will you sit down and learn Torah with me, and learn love?

Radical inclusion! Perhaps King Solomon should’ve divided the baby, so as to’ve been radically inclusive of both broads? Spencer handily eviscerated this low-hanging fruit:

Do you really want radical inclusion into the State of Israel? Maybe all of the Middle East could move into Tel Aviv or Jerusalem…. Look, the Jews exist precisely because they did not practice inclusion [and] I respect that about you.

But if we cannot respect ourselves enough to look in the mirror, how can we expect our adversaries to respect us enough to stop stabbing us for sport under the anatomically ill-proportioned nose of the world’s fourth most powerful army? Liberal Judaism is a masochistic sickness. I’ve yet to encounter a mindset more autonomically empty behind the eyes. Its practitioners mask their real aims from themselves, and the Arabs know it. I hear they’re accepting Levantine asylees in Stuttgart this year, if land grabbing’s not your thing.

Power Lunch

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Let them eat hugely important topics

Media coverage of the alt-right has been profuse in the wake of the recent election. Based on the near-uniform reporting in mainstream outlets, it appears as though journalists covering the phenomenon have little prior familiarity with it. Normies affronted for the first time in generations with a resurgent far-right and a critical mass of unapologetic white racial consciousness originating—no less—with millennials savvily harnessing new media, evince not a little sputtering cognitive dissonance.

Maybe they’re right that this is all just a fresh face on fascism. But if so, such repackaging is not so much a subterfuge on the part of alt-righters, but the peculiar ambiance of the times that have given the alt-right momentum. Either way, one reason we keep hearing that there’s nothing novel about the alt-right is because media and academic conformists simply have no ready vocabulary to describe it that’s worthy of its novelty and moment. If the left-liberal hegemony of late-modern Americanism fails to suppress and supersede this new development, it will be because its pundits and cogitators failed to grasp its implications.

Of all the commentary I’ve seen in any mainstream publication, Atlantic editor David Frum’s comes closest (while failing) to treating the alt-right with any real depth or dispassion:

Over the past two decades, Americans have constructed systems of intellectual silencing that stifle the range of debate among responsible and public-spirited people. They’ve resigned hugely important topics to the domain of cranks and haters. If the only people who’ll talk about the risks and costs of a more diverse society are fascists, then the fascists will gain an audience.

A better way to put it might be, ‘If anyone who ever talks about the risks and costs of a more diverse society gets peremptorily maligned as a fascist in publications like the Atlantic, then anyone who speaks of such things will be a fascist according to the Atlantic which—not incidentally—is now a blog.’ But whaddoo I know? I’m not the editor of the Atlantic.

Obviously, David Frum cannot be arraigned individually on this charge he so richly levels at Americans as a whole, but his CV would seem to indict him quite a ways ahead of most others. What we have here is the unintentional concession from a ranking establishment figure, that public discourse in America is a consensus environment subject to peculiar ideological controls.

But whether ‘we’ or David Frum, or whomever, enable so-called cranks and haters to have a voice is much less interesting a question than whether those cranks and haters are saying anything true and worth hearing. Either Frum takes issue with the message regardless of the messengers, or there’s no need to peremptorily tar anyone as a crank and a hater. Even Frum acknowledges that the alt-right is responding to something. For those unbeholden to the interests he represents, a more interesting approach would be to ask whether other—cogent and visceral—interests are threatened, that the alt-right is advocating for. If so, then you’ve got to figure those interests, being prime targets of ‘systems of intellectual silencing,’ had rather not be serviced by the scarcely-chastened likes of David Frum.