Human Garbage

Sincere-post incoming.

I don’t usually do this. You may’ve noticed I like to pen very surgical little polemics. There was a time when I was far worse for grandiloquence, but eventually I learned that too much nuance loses people, so now I have the opposite problem: when your arguments are too stringent and direct, people pigeonhole you as some sort of counter-partisan.

A number of my polemics focus on the underlying psychology of fascism and anti-semitism, so (of course) many readers take me for a big Heeb; but my analysis of Judaism is no less withering.

Part of the intellectual freedom that online anonymity confers is that you don’t have to be consistent. You can change your mind and go through phases without having to account for every little thing you’ve ever said. That’s one reason why I’ve never made much effort to promote this blog. We all talk shit about e-celebs, but guys who roll the dice on self-doxxing at least deserve respect for pinning themselves down. 

A little over a decade ago I was an undergrad, uncouth, pudgy, taking my coffee with sugar and cream, and I loved the Daily Show. One night at a party, I met a girl with long legs, big tits, and low self-esteem. We’d been together a year when she dumped me. I was devastated. That’s when I started getting in shape, and boy did I ever get in shape.

They say that bodybuilding inevitably makes you more right-wing. This is very true. I think the first little moment of clarity came the week the Trayvon Martin killing became national news. I’d only been working out a month at that point. I remember sitting with my housemates, flipping through the TV channels, and it was just wall-to-wall Trayvon. That was when all my leftist training (“media concentration,” Manufacturing Consent) kicked in, and the suspicion suddenly dawned on me that this story was being coordinated by all these networks for some purpose other than its newsworthiness.

A month or so later I was killing time one weekend evening in a Barnes & Noble when I decided to read a little Ron Paul. The chapter that caught my attention was where he graphically describes abortion from the perspective of a pro-life OB-GYN. His argument that the procedure is a homicide was just incontrovertible. This had never occurred to me and I became very emotional thinking about all the victims.

Not long after that I was on campus when a church group showed up in the quad with big anti-abortion placards featuring oversized pics of aborted babies. People were pointing and laughing at the dumb Christians. Suddenly I had this secret I was keeping from classmates who regarded me as a good liberal. My understanding of whose view was hegemonic flipped 180 degrees that day, when the Dean guest-lectured my history class with a slide-show of a trip he’d taken to Russia (and a smarmy, triumphalist commentary that treated the people he’d met there like zoo animals). Then the floor was opened to questions, and someone asked what was going to be done about the extremely offensive Christians in the quad. The Dean replied that they’d already been removed. “We decided that, you know, we all support free speech very strongly, but some things are just too much.” No one in the lecture hall seemed troubled by this.

At school I had a gay friend, Jackson, a grad-student in sociology. We met in a coffee shop downtown that was popular with students, where we mostly talked politics. He was an old-school faggot, a wry wit, kind of dapper and sub-rosa. The summer I moved to Denver he was staying with friends up in Missoula, and I drove there to meet him and hang out for a few days. Later in the year I gave him a call where I mentioned that I’d been listening to the radio host Michael Savage, whom I found amusing, almost like an Andy Kauffman bit. I hadn’t said I agreed with Michael Savage about anything, but Jackson was taken aback, and started getting quite hot under the collar. He was going to school to be an academic and fancied himself very Socratic, a bit of snideness you had to put up with in order to be friends with him. In the course of this phone call, he asked whether I thought the “power elite,” as he phrased it, was liberal or conservative. The whole conversation then turned on that question, and went downhill very fast. I didn’t yet have strong feelings about the issue, it just seemed obvious to me that the power elite was liberal, and that was how I answered. Jackson started blabbing very pedantically, about the Protestant country club and all this kind of horseshit, telling me that I couldn’t even know what the power elite was—because I hadn’t read C. Wright Mills. I just had to take his word for it. I very politely stuck to my guns. Jackson came so unhinged that I had to get off the phone abruptly. We never spoke again.

A little after that I fell down the alt-right rabbit hole, and my total change in perspective was complete. 

From my background, this wasn’t entirely baseless. My mother’s people were nationalistic Anglo-Saxon country folk from the lower midwest. But when I was growing up, the men on my father’s side also had some extremely based opinions which were totally uncharacteristic of Jews. They had relatives in South Africa and hated Nelson Mandela. They supported the Serbs in the Bosnian civil war. They owned a lot of unregistered and “illegally” modified firearms and they hated Janet Reno because of Waco and Ruby Ridge, which they regarded from a Jewish lolbert perspective as analogous to Nazi heavy-handedness. They used racial epithets, including nigger. Any time we’d be out driving and pass some tattooed or dyed-haired freak walking down the street—something commonplace in a university town—my dad or my grandpa would point and say, “You see that there? That’s a moron. Total garbage. People like that are the lowest form of life. Don’t you ever do that to yourself.” When I was smoking pot as a teenager and my uncle took me aside to excoriate me for it, I told him it’s harmless and should not be illegal the way harder drugs were. His response was that at least those harder drugs will kill you, and that pot is for pussies. It’s been very disappointing to see these guys in their dotage, watching Jack Ryan and rolling up their sleeves like faggots for that fake vaccine.

As a rebellious teenager, I became very left-radical. I partied with with a lot of fellow shitheads. My nagging conscience always told me this scene was ugly, but I was functioning within a totally inverted ontology with no mental escape hatch, awash as I was in the whole stale bacchanalia of a hipster university town where judgmentality was simply unthinkable and the bourgeoisie had fewer moral convictions than the street element. The only sin was intolerance and judgmentality. The whole underlying psychology of puritanism had simply reversed itself in my parents and teachers, such that sternness and setting boundaries was sinful, and actual crime was not.

Years later, after returning to my hometown in my mid-twenties, kicking my various drug habits and (after that fateful break-up) getting in shape, I began to see this system not simply as having its inner contradictions, but as something rotten from root to branch. Everything it celebrated and condoned was essentially degrading. Housemates who smoked pot and cigarettes suddenly disgusted me utterly. Local heads whose personalities were all based on hipster trivia and body art appeared frivolous and small. People whose opinions had mattered to me became these contemptible little worms.

I knew guys who worked for their dads’ businesses and smoked pot every day; guys who spent every weekend aimlessly in bars for years at a stretch; or who made it a titillating little habit to just fuck for the sake of fucking. One of these guys, a whiteboy tile-layer who was strung out every other year, once told me, “I’d rather nut on a bitch than in a bitch.” That’s how thoroughly this person had been perverted by rap music and pornography. There was a whole burgeoning demographic of sexless, unhygienic university bluehairs with soft science or art degrees—to go to a bar or house party was to encounter this cookie-cutter person ad nauseam. I knew slack-jawed surfers growing pot for a living in their late twenties, living at home and rolling around in the same SUVs their parents bought for them in high school. The one thing everyone had in common, even the ones (like that tile layer) with a bit of vigor and testosterone who’d grown up poorer, was their ready, unthinking assent to hedonism and tolerance, which was the whole premise of the culture in the Bay Area: that being vocal about your personal boundaries was sinful. There was a pervasive preference for passive aggression, because to assert yourself like a man required you to (God forbid!) make judgments about other people. I’m all for minding my own business, but to agree not to make judgments about others is self-imposed mental tyranny. It’s essentially saying, by default, that you have to like everybody’s shit and approve of it.

Pumping iron and running long distances became this silent but salient rebuke to all that. Old friends looked at me completely different. I was above them in the clearest and most fundamental way. It was very liberating. A year later I moved across the country, finished college, married a beautiful girl, and had kids. I worked for a few years, then went to law school. Throughout that period, through this blog, I became a kind of minor, critical gadfly on the alt-right—I’ve punched right as often as not. But in spite of this, the alt-right has been incredibly cathartic for me, affirming my sense of just how deep the rot of tolerance and inclusivity goes, and of the need for sternness—and ridicule—in its place.

Judaism Is Pathological

Courage leads to heaven, fear to death.” —Seneca

Like slits in a tank, their eyes are uncanny; I’m always the few, and they are the many.” —Yehuda Amichai

Judaism is a lyrical trove. It embodies mournful steadfastness, defiant pluck, and impervious amour propre. But it is also an agonized victimology, solipsistic, constantly chafing and embroiled, its relationship to the outside world anxiety-laden and fundamentally antagonistic.

The Jewish Question is a minefield to which virtually every approach seems to escape reasonable proportion or fall shy of the mark, due on the one hand to the obscure and protean aspects of Jewish doctrine and identity, and to the manic, cynical ressentiment of full-retard anti-semitism on the other. I have elsewhere made the distinction between dispassionate recognition of ontological differences, and that fanaticism which I refer to as full-retard anti-semitism. Dispensing with the latter is easy: ressentiment is just… gay, and I have treated the topic at length in these pages. Judaism’s underlying neurosis is perhaps more evasive of diagnosis, if only because its symbolism and eschatology are insinuated so deeply into Western civilization that the tangle of branches obscures the vine.

What are we really adhering to when we adhere to Judaism? People go generations without ever examining received and fixed ideas. They go to their deaths defending them without having comprehended their full import. I want to be clear that what follows is not an indictment of persons. It is a search for the essential and the archetypal in a world where past bills are increasingly coming due.

One thing is certain: Judaism is deeply insecure. “Security” is virtually the sole aim of the State of Israel; maudlin reflections on personal and familial Jewishness—reducible invariably to a sense of insecurity—are a staple among cultural elites; and Jewish topical films and literature reflect the most skittish, vindictive psychology. Only three antidotes have ever been proposed for this: religious fervor, apostasy (or assimilation), and Zionism.

Vladimir Jabotinsky, one of Zionism’s clearest thinkers, described the problem thusly:

We ourselves have acquainted our neighbors with the thought that for every embezzling Jew it is possible to drag the entire ancient people to answer… Every accusation causes among us such a commotion that people unwittingly think, ‘Why are they so afraid of everything? Apparently their conscience is not clear.’ Exactly because we are ready at every minute to stand at attention, there develops among others an inescapable view about us, as of some specific thievish tribe. We think that our constant readiness to undergo a search without hesitation and to turn out our pockets will eventually convince mankind of our nobility; look what gentlemen we are—we do not have anything to hide!

This is a terrible mistake. The real gentlemen are those who will not allow anyone for any reason to search their apartment, their pockets or their soul. Only a person under surveillance is ready for a search at every moment. This is the only one inevitable conclusion from our maniac reaction to every reproach—to accept responsibility as a people for every action of a Jew, and to make excuses in front of everybody including hell knows who. I consider this system to be false to its very root.

Jabotinsky could’ve saved himself a lot of trouble by just becoming a dentist. Over the course of a 150-year period which has seen the rise of the first independent Jewish polity in millennia, nothing about “this system” has changed. No people in the world expends greater energy on PR. After seventy-three years of Israeli independence the Jew, and the Jewish Israeli, is every bit the specially protected creature his forbear was in the courts of medieval Europe. One has to wonder whether this system is susceptible of change at all, or if its perverse incentives all militate in the direction of continuous ressentiment and inferiority complex.

Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir’s 2009 documentary, Defamation, examines institutional Jewry’s cynical exploitation of anti-semitism for political gain, and even managed to elicit a shocking (if not quite counter-intuitive) on-camera confession from former ADL chief Abe Foxman that from his perspective, anti-semitism is a source of leverage. Andy Nowicki reviewed the film for the original Alternative Right:

[T]he most powerful segment… involves a group of Israeli teenagers who are flown to Auschwitz on a field trip. The kids are familiar adolescent characters: rowdy, rambunctious, immature, emotional, prone to gossip and mischief, at times sweetly wide-eyed in their innocence. They are both annoying and likable simultaneously, as teenagers can be. In any case, this group is in no mood to have their consciousness raised during their exciting trip together: much to the consternation of their adult chaperones, they just want to have fun. 

Over the course of the trip, however, these kids are repeatedly bludgeoned with the message: You are Jews and the world hates you; you must in turn hate and fear the world if you hope to survive! Their faces are pushed into the gruesome tales of the events that took place in the notorious camp, and at night their handlers tell them stories of how the present-day country of Poland is still rife with neo-Nazi violence. A harmless comment to some members of the group uttered by an old Polish man is interpreted as viciously anti-Semitic; Shamir tries to correct their misconception, but to no avail; they have been instructed how to perceive reality, and won’t be dissuaded.

The kids, being hedonistic at heart, do manage to put up some resistance to the relentless stream of emotionally compelling propaganda being pumped into their ears, but they can only hold out for so long. Near the end of the trip, a lovely young Jewess breaks down and tells Shamir that it has finally happened: she has learned to “hate” her enemies; the implication is clear that she has come to view the Palestinians and Arabs as cut from the same cloth as the Nazis. 

This scene has a viscerally searing quality, similar in feel to Orwell’s account of his hero Winston Smith succumbing to the horrific manipulations of the Ministry of Love and learning to embrace the pernicious ruling ideology of Oceania. The corruption of innocence portrayed here is simply breathtaking, and heartbreaking to behold.

The deeper question that Defamation fails to ask, however, is just what purpose this distorted attitude serves. What imago are these sacrifices really being lain before? It must be something more than just Israeli state security or short-term political gain, because it is far older than both.

I’ve been wanting to cast this anguish aside for a long time, to put Judaism in the past and never again be afflicted with the pangs of its sentiments. My mother is not Jewish and neither is my wife. But I was raised Jewish—strongly so, and the mental impressions of our formative years are hard to shake. Still, behind my troubled fidelity I have long sensed a foreboding of something uncanny—a callous and refined self-regard, at once vindictive and pathetic, lurking in the shadows of platitudes like a shell game. Yes, the tenacity of the Jews is on the one hand a virtue, but the Jews’ adaptability is ironically a product of refusal to adapt. To live precariously, as an alien, out of belief in one’s own precious distinctness and thwarted special election—such a system is necessarily clandestine. That is why Jews tend to feel that public expressions of Jewishness are always defensive and embarrassing.

In Spies of No Country—a history of the early years of Israel’s spy services—Israeli author Matti Friedman put it (approvingly) like this:

Double identity has always been a part of life for Jews, members of a minority often outwardly indistinguishable from the majority. You wonder how much to show or hide at different times… Some of the oldest stories told by Jews about themselves feature characters who use their double nature at crucial moments to aid their people among the greater nations that threaten it.

Now, I happen to think that Jewish crypsis is one of the richest literary motifs there is, and I don’t want to oversimplify it. But in terms of the angst Friedman is describing, do we ever really feel this way about what is inherently or self-evidently good? Sometimes, yes. Society and its authorities can err where individuals or minorities are in the right. But for a people to be singularly right, always aggrieved, and the rest of mankind wrong or at best indifferent, for millennia at a stretch—that is simply beyond credence.

The younger we are, the more easily we are drawn to concise and vigorous doctrines. As a romantic ne’er-do-well in my late teens, I went to Israel in the early 2000s and joined the IDF because Zionism—assailed dramatically at the time, both by suicide terrorism and world opinion—evidenced a clear sense of mission that American universalist consumerism lacked entirely. But as I searched for exactly what it is that Jews believe, I could not find it anywhere. Yes, there is the central catechism—the Shema—and the 13 Pillars of Faith, but very little of this is distinct to Judaism, and anyone can believe them—that doesn’t necessarily make them a Jew. When placed beside the tumult of Israel’s perennial orientation to the world, they explain next to nothing.

Furthermore, it quickly became clear to me that orthodox Judaism is not only a set of laws, but an initiatic system centered around progressively obscurer texts—and doctrines—and it is highly selective about who gets to learn them. I was told by religious friends that Judaism contains the most ancient and superlative wisdom, that the Torah is replete with mysteries beyond the grasp of reason, and that I simply had to trust the rabbinic authorities. But it isn’t in the nature of reason to depend on the caprices of gurus—and it isn’t in the nature of light to conceal itself. Either this creed is concealing something good from a wicked world, or it is concealing something dark from a morally ambivalent one, and I think I know which is more likely. Namely, it is incontrovertible that Jewish eschatology promises Israel eventual world dominion in a messianic age. Like all messianism, this is megalomaniacal, something wicked on its face, and the fact that it is not taken seriously by most Jews does not make it less characteristic of Judaism. For something called Judaism to persist without it simply requires it to take different forms.

When I viewed Jews entirely as underdogs—a belief critical to Jewish identity—this disturbed me less. But that view was oversimplified, and in any case, times have changed. Put simply, the Jews have given the world a large part of the most debauched ruling class it has ever seen, and though for the most part these people are not Torah observant, their peculiar will to power is remarkably consistent with well-known motifs in the Hebrew Bible. Powerful Jews may represent a tiny proportion of Jewish people, but they represent a very high proportion of world oligarchs. If we want to keep things down to earth and avoid pure speculation, there is simply no avoiding the conclusion that a trans-national conclave that is disproportionately if not predominantly Jewish occupies the very center of power in the world today. Although one sees it done poorly more often than it is done well, in this context the psychological fundamentals of Judaism simply must come under examination.

I don’t have a dogma or peculiar theory to stand on here. From personal experience all I can tell you is this: to be a person with due regard for objective truth, on the one hand, and a strong Jewish identity, on the other, is to be ready at a moment’s notice (and more often unasked) to burnish the nation’s public image by presenting oneself as an example; to avoid asking critical questions, and dissociate or rationalize when they can’t be avoided. It is to engage in a great deal of self-criticism and self-awareness, but only as ego defense; and (especially) to regard fanatical and repulsive enemies as a welcome relief from introspection.

Of course, Judaism means different things to different Jews. Its factions and trends are proverbial—yet it coheres. Just what is its sine qua non? Not its catechisms, but its overall tendency and underlying psychology? What is the unvarying factor around which its disparate strands all coil?

I have already hinted at my thesis. Judaism’s basic narrative structure is simply that the Jews are the elect of God or of history—congenitally more special, intelligent, persevering and misunderstood than all other peoples, with a special destiny to be vindicated before the rest of mankind, either (1) religiously, in a coming messianic age; (2) historically, over the course of linear time, or (3) in daily life and society, as sagely sorts with a penchant for overcoming long odds. It isn’t that most Jews consciously believe this or behave as if it were so. It’s that every (yes, every) disparate form of Jewish identity—whether left-radical, libertarian, secular, religious, nationalist, chauvinist, humanist, etc.—is underlain by this basic narrative structure. Even Jewish self-hatred tends to be a way of just chewing on this psychology without ever spitting it out. 

Of course, any enduring group identity will involve mythos, conceit, xenophobia, perhaps inferiority complex; but to conceptualize a national god as the God, and the nation as the most special and important of all time, is an exceptional psychological perch that virtually cannot be climbed down from, and this perhaps points to why Jewish identity survives all kinds of assimilation and disillusionment.

Consider, for example, this famous bit of philo-semitism from Mark Twain:

The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished. The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was… All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains.

Could anything more nearly approximate the Jewish self-image? The combination of pathos and pomposity is glaring. The question also arises whether immortality is at all desirable—don’t get me started on who else Twain was singing the praises of at the time.)

Leo Strauss similarly concluded, in his noted 1962 lecture, “Why We Remain Jews,” that the purpose of the Jews is to prove that there’s no salvation:

The Jewish people and their fate are the living witness for the absence of redemption. This, one could say, is the meaning of the chosen people; the Jews are chosen to prove the absence of redemption.

Well then who chose them? I happen not to be a believer in redemption in the Judeo-Christian sense (I much prefer Camus’s dictum, “Do not wait for the last judgment; it comes everyday.”) Still, it’s hard to see how one people’s failure in this regard could be everyone else’s problem. Strauss’s conclusion is a bit like unsolicited advice to a bright-eyed youth from an embittered elder. Our religion flopped, so yours must be nonsense as well.

More recently, TED-talk charlatan Douglas Rushkoff expanded on this:

The thing that makes Judaism dangerous to everybody, to every race, to every nation, to every idea, is that we smash things that aren’t true, we don’t believe in the boundaries of nation-state, we don’t believe in the ideas of these individual gods that protect individual groups of people; these are all artificial constructions and Judaism really teaches us how to see that. In a sense our detractors have us right, in that we are a corrosive force, we’re breaking down the false gods of all nations and all people because they’re not real and that’s very upsetting to people.

We are nihilists, Lebowski. We suck all the enchantment out of the world and replace it with data. Of course, a nation with boundaries and an individual god that protects an individual group of people is precisely what Jews have long believed in; but those are just the trees, whereas Rushkoff in his breathtaking arrogance has actually identified the forest, the destructive logical terminus of Judaism as its psychology actually functions in western civilization since WWII. For how different is Rushkoff’s thesis from ours? Is he not agreeing that Judaism entails being congenitally more special, intelligent, persevering and misunderstood than all other peoples, with a special destiny to be vindicated before the world?

But this is quite odd. On the one hand, we have Judaism, the ancient religion: insular, xenophobic, theistical. On the other, we have “Judaism”: liberal, cosmopolitan, atheistic. The rabbis (for the most part) aren’t excommunicating the atheists, and the Zionists approve of both sides. All seem to agree about little else, except that Judaism makes us more special, intelligent, persevering and misunderstood than all other peoples, with a special destiny to be vindicated before all mankind.

Needless to say, this self-image is not self-sufficient. It necessarily involves others who would prefer to be left out of it, who may not be thinking about Judaism, though Judaism is thinking about them. That is what Jabotinsky was trying to change, he just couldn’t see the depth of the problem and that it went two ways—that Christianity is not only scapegoating the Jews, but that Judaism needs this, because it is scapegoating the gentiles as well. This identity of anguished specialness is a neurosis that has to be let go. You can hate me for saying so, but I mean to learn from the past, not wallow in it like a pig in shit, no matter how precious and ancient the shit may be. I’m not waiting for the messiah; what God has given is sufficient. And aside from the unparalleled lyricism of the Bible, there is nothing the Jews have given mankind that others have not discovered independently and done at least as well. There is no other people on earth that does not have its memory of calamities, no less terrible for them than ours are for us. The Jews should honor their national heroes and mourn their national martyrs without the constant underlying feeling that the world has something to answer for. It’s not healthy. It’s not right.

Rise of the Normie Fascist

I’ll show you no nut November

Progress and civilization, religion and the ideal have closed life in a mortal circle where phantoms most grim have erected their viscid reign.” —Renzo Novatore

Beware of those who talk much of their ‘justice.'” —Nietzsche

I have a confession to make: I can’t stand Tucker Carlson. It’s not that I disagree with him much. It’s just that…. Some evils are so ubiquitous, so predictable, that I can no longer be bothered with anyone who’s still gawking at them.

It would be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the 2010s alt-right merged completely into basic conservatism. It didn’t happen all at once. For me, I think the first sign came a few years back, when the tattooed, pot-bellied pastor at a boys’ church activity group I take my youngest son to told the parents (apropos of what, I can’t recall) that “Strong men make good times, good times make weak men,” etc. But there have been lots of little moments like these over the past ten years, Yarvin on Tucker being the most recent. Or when The Tim Allen Show parroted the “white people built civilization” trope (which is true, but also pouty and cringe), or when rumors were going around that Steve Bannon was fond of Julius Evola. And who can forget this Chestertonian slop-gob, which made quite the rounds a few years back:

It’s always sad when your comedy heroes confess to being humorless. The verbiage, the sentiment…. It’s a perfect illustration of Wilde’s definition of a cynic. Note the outrageous abuse of the word “stygian.” The Enlightenment was a milestone in the history of consciousness. Its assassins are who is lurking in wait, and they’re all so…. tiresome. Little do alt-right Twitterers realize, when they skewer the uncouthness of Marjorie Taylor Greene, that they’re looking at their own souls in the mirror.

In late 2012 I was in college, when I encountered an article on TakiMag someone had shared to Facebook. Before long, I was reading Jack Donovan’s blog, then Radix and Alternative Right. It was all so heady and subversive. The alt-right was hatched as a movement, but in the early days it really was just a thought trend, a Fight Club-style critique of corporate culture, consumerism and the ideal of progress, with a hefty portion of cheeky racism thrown in almost as a litmus test of iconoclasm. After all, what other taboos are there left to break? But the sense of alienation it spoke to was so raw, and the venue it emerged in so incompatible with the catharsis of being punched in the face, that before long the alt-right went from skewering puritanism to practicing it. The moment of clarity for me came in 2013 when an alt-right page on Facebook shared a Counter Currents article condemning the Kansas City JCC shooter, but purely for tactical reasons, “optics” and the like. It wasn’t long before the alt-right became a Nuremberg rally, just another ring-around the fetid altar of full-retard anti-semitism—a die-hard habit and a rock-bottom that can only be dug deeper, because one cannot climb out of it.

That’s the thing about fascism: it’s all bark. Whereas Zionism started out with great feats of daring against precipitous odds, only to degenerate into a liberal consumer culture and a victimology, Nazism started out with bawdy talk and broken glass, only to take on precipitous odds that its ersatz heroism was insufficient to overcome—Tolkien’s “ruddy little ignoramuses,” stroked with assurances of their congenital fortitude, morality, and entitlement.

But we shouldn’t be too hard on the Nazis. After all, the complexity of nature and of human life is lost on ideologues, who are always in the vanguard of far dimmer wits—the man with one eye, leading the proverbial blind. For as I have sung many a time in the shower:

When one reflects how necessary it is to the great majority that there be regulations to restrain them from without and hold them fast, and to what extent control, or, in a higher sense, slavery, is the one and only condition which makes for the well-being of the weak-willed man, and especially woman, then one at once understands conviction and ‘faith.’ To the man with convictions they are his backbone. To avoid seeing many things, to be impartial about nothing, to be a party man through and through, to estimate all values strictly and infallibly—these are conditions necessary to the existence of such a man. But by the same token they are antagonists of the truthful man—of the truth…. The believer is not free to answer the question, ‘true’ or ‘false,’ according to the dictates of his own conscience: integrity on this point would work his instant downfall. The pathological limitations of his vision turn the man of convictions into a fanatic—Savonarola, Luther, Rousseau, Robespierre, Saint-Simon—these types stand in opposition to the strong, emancipated spirit. But the grandiose attitudes of these sick intellects, these intellectual epileptics, are of influence upon the great masses—fanatics are picturesque, and mankind prefers observing poses to listening to reasons.

The party-men of the alt-right are on trial this week, in a federal court in Virginia, and things look to be going badly for them. Little do they (and their opponents) realize that they’ve already won. They got what they wanted—they radicalized the normies. Conservatism in 2021 is completely isolationist. Jews are about as popular as they were in 1937. Old-time religion is enjoying a resurgence. The Great Replacement is on Fox primetime. Everything is “based.” Alt-right memes and tropes are everywhere among normie conservatives and Trumpists, who in 2021 are finally as alienated as the readers of Radix were in 2012. The only problem is, they’re no less stupid for having been radicalized. The circus of American public life absorbed these poison darts, and carried on. The vanguard led its child army to the Holy City, and the windswept streets whispered “Rosebud” (and a promo code for MyPillow. Thanks, Jack Posobiec.)

Pay careful attention. I say this as a Pale Horse-before-it-was-cool conspiracy theorist: such an outcome is far, far beyond the abilities of Dr. Woland, Project Monarch, or the Elders of Zion. It depends on the constitution of the human creature—and his apotheosis, the American—something that can only be ascribed to the sick sense of humor of God Almighty. The problem was not hatched in a Prague cemetery, it was ordered loud and clear with a Dr. Pepper and a large fry.

Some carnival barker called Darren Beattie—a self-styled genius whose star is rising among right wingers, because they lack all sense of style—proposes that the antidote to left-wing moral fervor is right-wing moral fervor:

Juxtapose the slogan ‘Silence is violence’ with ‘Don’t tread on me.’ ‘Silence is violence’ is morally imperialist, and it will always beat ‘Don’t tread on me,’ and [this] registers the fact that the left, for all its faults, has the moral high ground, and that’s why they win. And so, until Republicans can be just as confident in being protectors of civilization against barbarism and destruction and defend civilization as such with the same kind of moral fervor that the left attempts to tear it down [using] words like ‘racism’…. Until they’re prepared to do that, they will lose. And so that’s the moral framework, and having the moral high ground gives you the confidence to hold frame in a discussion.

Where to begin with these brain contusions? The Republicans as “defenders of civilization”! “Civilization” is a buzzword, an affliction to which its sufferers apply the snake oil of moralism the way a junkie uses smack. This right wing junkie hates the left because the left has better smack. He needs the good stuff because getting help is out of the question—he cannot work for a living, he’s too far gone. “I’ll see your AOC and raise you a Father Coughlin and a No Nut November.” Is public discourse not insufferable enough? Who that lived through the summer of George Floyd could possibly want more moralism? This lunatic’s will to power is a game of blackmail anybody’s mother-in-law could beat him at, yet he intends to “defend civilization” with it. Sad!

Here is what this Beattie’s “moral high ground” looks like in practice:

The French and Indian War? Why not the Battle of Thermopylae? These dimwit spergs are everywhere now, with nothing to say for themselves but this Ancestry.com trivia. Outhouse intellectuals, consumer dissidents and high school football has-been dad bods who’ve learned the word “oligarchy.” The oligarchs couldn’t wish for choicer enemies, Beattie’s moral rectitude is the extent of their power:

Has the baggy-eyed soul of Spiro Agnew acquired a new flesh suit? The awakened Saxon would like to please speak to a manager. This loyalty-oath fetishist thinks the military is too woke because he doesn’t realize that Nietzsche’s “regulations to restrain him from without and hold him fast” were already gayer than a rubber dolphin. That’s why my sole loyalty is to my family and friends, and to timeless principals. I wouldn’t waste a drop of it on ideology, or institutions, or on making common cause with patriotic louts and moralfags against woke fairies and loons. If our rights don’t derive from government, but from God, then why this obsession with power? I don’t know about you, but my rights derive from me, and I don’t give a fuck what God or America has to say about it.

The Banality of Freefall

these people signed a contract, man

Nina Jackson was older than shit, piss-poor, and black as coal. All I knew about her was that she owned a house in a blighted neighborhood in Houston, that she defaulted on her mortgage, and when she went to file for bankruptcy pro se she made an error in the pleadings and the judge apathetically kicked her case back for re-filing. This lifted the stay against repossession and automatically imposed a 180-day interim before she’d be allowed to re-file. During that time, the bank took her house.

Texas is a title state, meaning the bank holds title to a borrowers’ house and can repossess upon default without first going to court. So they changed the locks while she was out, and now Nina Jackson is homeless. I know this about Nina Jackson because I was the clerk at a creditor-side firm in Denver who drafted the motion to dismiss her petition to reimpose the stay and allow her back into her house until she could re-file for bankruptcy.

Law school was a woke shit show. I made enemies. Summers, the only internships I could get were with rural prosecutor’s offices because I had three kids and wasn’t about to spend my time outside of class networking with the gilded goblins of the LoDo transactional scene. I just needed the degree. Driving an ambulance didn’t pay, IT sales was soul-crushing, and when I got laid off I found myself waiting tables at Pappadeaux in that humiliating little red bow-tie while my lush spinster sister-in-law harangued my wife about what a louse I am. Law school was the sewer grate at the end of my personal cul-de-sac with the scary clown underneath it. There’s an old bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus Is Coming. Look Busy.” Whoever came up with that never had a wife, and a beater car on the driveway, and credit card bills piling up and kids who need winter clothes and braces and karate lessons. If you can afford to wait for Jesus, you’re doing great.

So there I was in my thirties, on my way to becoming the professional-man scary clown I’d spent my twenties pretentiously running away from. And what I learned is that the court system is a nanny for adult babies, which is the vast majority of people, and that it gives lawyers a license to swindle them on their way to tattle on each other, and that the people who leverage this system the best are the absolute worst kinds of people. The banality of evil is everywhere in this country, because the only real evil the system requires is your assent. After that, it’ll do the rest of the dirty work for you.

I failed the Colorado bar my first time out, and had to take whatever I could get in the way of work while I studied for my second attempt. This meant a clerkship at a pop-up “creditors’ rights” firm filing foreclosure paperwork against line cooks and truckers. It was basically just data entry, with the occasional research assignment.

Now, creditors’ rights sounds horrible. And it is. But the thing about it was, I didn’t have options less cynical, because no one else would hire me. So I told myself that I’d give it six months and see if they’d make me an offer when I passed the bar the second time around. How much could it hurt to pull eighteen months in this place? Experience was experience. But for the whole first month, each day was worse than the last. There I was with my JD, and some walleyed Nurse Ratchet who should’ve been making me photocopies was my direct supervisor.

Her name was Gretchen. She was in her mid-fifties, unmarried, fat and miserable like everyone else on staff, but with the intense competence in granular meniality of one of those office lady kapos whose revenge on the world is to give the system a better blowjob than anyone else, by achieving a mind-meld with a dozen software systems and being snarky with anyone who didn’t know all she knew about filing foreclosure paperwork. After the first few weeks they sat her beside me in my cubicle to train me for a week on scheduling foreclosure sales. She chewed reeking salads and burritos with her mouth open and typed so loud and so fast you thought she’d break the keyboard, to the point I couldn’t hear myself think. She spoke all the time in a foul, impatient tone and issued constant reminders to work faster.

Finally, I snapped.

“Um, Gretchen… I caught an error in this notification and I’m wondering whether….”

“Why do you have an error?”

“Well, I think LawLink just auto-filled the caption wrong when it merged the document, and…”

“No, that doesn’t happen. You have to manually enter an error in your Sale Info XE tab under the Calculations Bracket for that to happen. Why are you still manually entering errors? You don’t get that that’s a write-off for the firm if a filing like that goes to the court? We can’t bill the client for that time. Do you even understand what the setting of sale process is all about?”

“Yeah, so the sale can go through and these evil banks can get their money.” I tried to catch myself by chuckling to indicate sarcasm, but it was too late.

“No. No. No.” She was already intense and condescending; now she was getting ardent, and loud. “These people sign a contract, and then violate the terms. Don’t borrow the money if you can’t pay it back. If I default on my obligations, that’s on me.”

“Okay, okay, sorry. It was a joke. Jeezus.”

“You need to get back to work and stop wasting my time.”

“Um, why are you talking to me like that?”

“Because I have to get you trained and you’re being rude and not making an effort.”

“Gretchen, you’re the rudest person here. You’re the only rude person here, everyone else is minimally pleasant and sociable. You’re the only consistently unpleasant person I’ve encountered, and you need to dial it back and stop talking to me like you’ve been doing. It’s counter-productive.”

She gasped, stood up affectedly, shoved her wheeled ergonomic chair across the hallway, and stormed off. That was when my Outlook pinged: an email from the senior litigation attorney, urgently requesting a research memo on Fifth Circuit bankruptcy cases, under what circumstances a bankruptcy defendant may not refile, and whether a client can ever repossess within the 180-day window for refiling, along with a draft answer to the borrower’s motion. The email contained no please, no thank you, not even a salutation from this person I had never met. She said she needed the information by five o’clock Friday. It was Thursday at three forty-five.

I opened the attachment. The house was already repossessed, but the borrower had engaged some do-gooder non-prof to file an appeal in federal district court, on the grounds that Ms. Jackson’s petition for bankruptcy had been improperly tossed. There were some technicalities to the case that made this plausible, and a response was due to the court by Monday morning; thus the urgent email from the litigation team.

As I read through the borrower’s motion I felt worse and worse for her. This prompted me to suck it up and start taking her argument with a grain of salt—these were attorneys after all, doing their thing. The shrewd and shaded wording was all there; the burden was misstated, several of the cases they cited clearly didn’t support their arguments well, and one was a very surreptitiously added bit of state law that had no bearing on the issues in a federal case. I was going to tear this thing to shreds.

Then I reached the paragraph where opposing counsel had cut-and-pasted the borrower’s letter to the bankruptcy court, begging the judge to allow her to amend her petition, rather than outright dismissing it.

“Dear Judge Lindman,

“I have done all I can as a pro se petitioner. I have utilized the courts’ websites, read the bankruptcy code, and Googled everything I can. It is apparent to me now that I must hire an attorney. I tried not to do this before because I do not have the money. I have reached out to several law firms in the area and am awaiting responses. I am begging this honorable court not to dismiss my case. If the stay is lifted and I lose my house, I will have nowhere else to go.

“Yours Very Sincerely,

Ms. Nina Jackson”

All of a sudden I had a hard time getting a breath. It felt like my soul had flown away from me. I put my blue blockers on the desk and looked around the building. Every square inch of this banal space now was hiding an unutterable evil. “These people sign a contract, and then violate the terms.” Yeah.

All through law school, as it became more and more apparent that this profession was not for me, I kept telling myself that I would take my degree and just do whatever was necessary to provide for my family. That it didn’t matter where to work. That work life is miserable anyway, that we have an adversarial system where no party is purely in the right and somebody’s going to get fucked whether I participate or not, and no matter how. As I ran through that script again, I knew it was wrong. It felt despicable. I had given in, to exactly what it was I hated. I was giving the system my squeamish, rationalized blowjob.

But for now, I needed the paycheck, badly, and if they weren’t going to fire me for standing up to Gretchen I was going to have to stay until I could find something else. So I came in Friday morning and got to work. By about 1:30 I had everything prepared. Then the office manager, Betsy, appeared behind me at my cubicle along the hallway. Gretchen was with her.

“Sam, could you come see me in my office?” I knew I was being fired.

They frog-marched me down the hall. “Have a seat.”

“Sure, Betsy.”

“Sam, you’ve been here a month, and after reviewing your work, we feel you’re not a good fit for this office.”

“Sure, Betsy. Do you need anything from me at this time?”

“No. Just please log into TimeBank and clock out. Then you’re free to take your things and leave.”

“No problem Betsy. Thank you for the opportunity.”

I walked back to my desk and began opening the app to clock out. Then I remembered: there it was, on my Microsoft desktop. The Word document I’d spent all day on. “Appellee’s Answer to Appellant’s Motion to Set Aside the Bankruptcy Court’s Dismissal.” The litigation team needed it urgently. I right-clicked, and selected “Delete.” Then I went into the Recycle Bin and nuked it for good.

Good luck, Nina Jackson.

Reductio Ad Iudaeoram, Pt. II

innocence is bliss

Dave Chappelle is woke as fuck. He traffics in every NPR tote-bag trope from hair touching to food deserts, and tops off each of his specials with grave sermonizing about racism. His recent tranny bit was a fig-leaf for Netflix, and his “Space Jews” bit only made the whole thing palatable for consumer-dissidents of every variety, whose bravest ego-defense will always be Palestine.

What do I mean by this? Full-retard anti-semitism is not a garden variety prejudice, but its psychological mechanism is textbook projection, which works the same in every fanatical creed, its object being to salve the conscience while relinquishing one’s freedom. Moderate, “implicit,” classical liberal racism is sober and mature—the subtle recognition of ontological differences that makes mutual respect possible. Full-retard anti-semitism, in contrast, is dishonest precisely because it arises from a sense of innocence, something cunning and vindictive mediocrities are always in the market for.

As an illustration of this, here is Congressman Thomas Massie commenting apropos of the recent controversy around the congressional progressive caucus’s rejection of an allocation for Israel’s missile defense system:

the innocence abroad

I like Thomas Massie. I’d make him President if I could. I’m certainly not calling him an anti-semite, but his Twitter feed is full of this Pollyanna bilge, and his formulation (above) is a good illustration of psychological distancing. Obviously, both of these things (“fantasy” and “reality,” above) are true, and they’re interdependent because a lot of the time it’s Foreigner A exerting influence on Congress to suborn U.S. influence over Foreigner B. But even supposing Massie’s tweet is correct as formulated: in order to buy influence, you have to have someone who is willing to sell, someone who holds power and is willing to hire it out. What Massie was implying instead—and certainly what those applauding him inferred—is that foreigners are corrupting Americans who would otherwise be quite innocent in foreign affairs.

Well I like America fine, okay? But that’s pure idolatry. Ever heard of Brown Bros. Harriman, or Mr. Potter? How about the Contracts Clause, or Lin Manuel Noriega? This country was structured on peonage and patronage and foreign wars from day one. Horatio Alger was a pederast for chrissakes, and Reverend Dimsdale was a paragon of “a moral and religious people.” Show me a man who thinks the problem is Jews, and I will show you an exhibit of the psychology needed to willingly go on having a problem when the debt for it comes due. And as for those earnest liberals who now essentially view Israel entirely from the Palestinian perspective, if I was King of the Jews I’d relinquish everything up to the 1949 armistice lines just to force the purveyors of this thoroughly conventional iconoclasm to say what they really think.

Oh, and by the way: $4 billion per year in military aid to a country whose military is constrained by this arrangement to spend $20 billion here, annually, equals negative 16 billion dollars, geniuses.

Those Who Can Make You Believe Banalities Can Make You Forget Atrocities

It doesn’t take a crude, fanatical anti-semite to see that Curtis Yarvin and Michael Malice are obscurantists. I’ve said much the same thing about TRS. I’m not presuming to know these people’s motivations, or their true identities and associations. But each of them is successfully peddling some dead-end ideology that casts a shadow in the buyer’s mind over valid, competing ideas, and can only be arrived at circuitously. The carrot is always an apt critique; the stick is always to tar doubters by association with e.g., Jews, or conspiratards, or statists, or lolberts, etc. “You’re not a sucker are you? Here—buy my book!”

The same is true of BAP: his followers are ordering Achilles, and being served Trump through the back door.

I never understood the hype around BAP. Every one of his ideas is lukewarm. For example, here he is on his latest podcast:

Periodically, I remark that the people who rule us are incompetent losers, and it is always interesting to see how much statements like these anger a subset of my followers. I am open to many theories, but I am opposed to what I would call the conspiratorial, paranoid style of thought. This is a way of interpreting political happenings [where] it is assumed that geopolitical events are mostly intended, and fruits of hidden plans; that the politicians and other visible actors are puppets for hidden, conspiratorial parties, and that we are more or less powerless to influence the course of events. The conspiratorial, paranoid style is a cope. First of all it relieves those who think this way of the great burden of understanding what is happening. Many conspiranoids I see are under-informed about events. Secondly, the conspiratorial, paranoid style spares its adherent of the burdens of opposition. What happens is inevitable, and there is little or nothing that can be done against it; and finally, it is submission to occupational elite propaganda; it is an acceptance of the truth of basic stories these people tell about themselves. Villains like Klaus Schwab consciously play to conspiratorial, paranoid reconceptions because they benefit from them.

“Klaus Schwab is a villain who’s playing a villain to trick you into believing he’s a villain.” Uh….

This take is itself a cope: Klaus Schwab and friends don’t give a fuck what you think. They’re going right ahead with their program.

Does anyone seriously believe that politicians the world over aren’t puppets who serve at the pleasure of a billionaires’ club? Read BAP’s words carefully—he’s not saying that conspiracy theory can go too far; he’s denying that it has any validity whatsoever. Watch as he escalates deftly from “a subset” to the whole genre. It’s sleight of hand. No wonder Kanye came out as a BAP fan. Like so many others, he’s a moron with good instincts and no critical faculties.

Many conspiranoids are under-informed. So what? So are many non-conspiranoids. I have no doubt that imbeciles are in the majority. And tyrants always seek to instill terror—this is no great insight. What they never encourage, however, is the dissemination of authentic, comprehensive information about their crimes. Of course, pride cometh before the fall, and the oligarchs are nothing if not hubristic. But that’s exactly why virtually no one who earnestly traffics in so-called conspiracy theories does so out of a sense of powerlessness. Nothing has been more empowering for more people than the rise of independent online journalism over the last 20 years.

What BAP is telling us here is to underestimate an enemy. I, too, think they’ve overplayed their hand, and am hopeful about the future because I can’t afford not to be. But these people are playing an exceedingly long game, and musings like BAP’s here can only make sense in the eye of the storm, to those who have the long-term memory capacity of a goldfish. COVID-19 is the biggest experiment in trauma-based psychological conditioning ever conducted. A virus was intentionally created and unleashed so that nations could be looted and subjugated in perpetuity. We can ignore the perpetrators’ dictates as best we can, we can protest and perhaps strike fear into them and can certainly disbelieve everything their marionettes have to say—but in that case, what’s stopping them from making any number of course corrections? Oh, but the ruling class wouldn’t do anything like that, ’cause only losers believe in conspiracies.

Klaus Schwab is either a villain, or an incompetent. He can’t be both.

Belly of the Snake

We get very little wisdom from success.” —William Saroyan

Knowing people is useless, for I am unable to change my attitude toward any scoundrel.” —Varlam Shalamov

When I was in law school my buddies and I had a word to describe shameless careerists. We called them Batemans. These were the type of guys who were never frank, constantly opportunistic and frequently in professors’ offices licking ass. When one of my pals was doing an internship at a large, well-established and extremely arrogant civil defense firm, he used to say that it was full of Batemans.

In his memoirs, Menachem Begin once wrote that the key to survival in NKVD interrogation, and later the gulag, was learning:

One should, in all circumstances, give free reign to the thirst for knowledge which is in every man. Even if you are brought down to the depths of humiliation, to the Valley of the Shadow of Death—open your eyes wide, and learn! For as long as you are learning, your inquisitors will not succeed in establishing between you and them the relationship they desire; they, the superior beings, and you, the degraded. As equal to equal you will talk with them…. And from the knowledge that around you are not only crudity and humiliation, but also material for study, you will draw strength to stand up to the test of degradation—and remain a man.

I’ll warrant that coming from Menachem Begin this may sound vindictive, but adherents of a pugilistic creed can at least offer such advice without sanctimony. Either way, it is absolutely sublime in my opinion, a piece of the utmost superlative wisdom. The whole meaning of life is to learn, at whatever level and in whatever manner the gods have ordained for you. As for the late Mr. Begin, his only mistake was to assume that the thirst for knowledge is in every man.

When I first got out of law school I had a job interview where a great deal of learning took place, because the interviewer was a boomer firm partner who took me for a potential “mentee” and wouldn’t cease doing me the ginormous favor of blabbing about himself and his hollow philosophy. I had seen this kind of mentorship before. My best friend from undergrad was an Arab MBA guy I met in a Spanish class, and when we were in school he was in the Rotary Club, where the college chapter was full of exchange students trying to work these boomer buffalos for Green Card employer-sponsors. They tended to get as good as they gave—worse in fact, and my pal’s “mentors” among this seriously corrupt and inbred local business elite exploited the crap out of him for three years without ultimately helping him find a long-term job to stay in the country.

Boomers are the stupidest, most effete, self-absorbed and money-grubbing generation of blood suckers in the history of the world—the Saturnalia of generations. If you think we’re living in the Kali Yuga, fret not—we’re really just living in the after-stench of its nadir. It’s all uphill from Woodstock. For example: my last year in college, I worked as a bouncer in a nightclub. The owner was an extremely arrogant boomer, wealthy but psychotically cheap, and well-connected, politically. He was also quite brazen about breaking a number of laws, apparently because he felt he could get away with it, which he did. I was never an accomplice to any of this (I left as soon as I became aware of it, and tried to report it—to no avail), but the head of security may’ve been. He was a smart but boyish high yellow my age, who tended to be a tad too obvious about always trying to be strategic.

One day when I was working with him, we had some downtime and got to chatting. Apparently he wanted to impress me, and ended up giving me a tutorial in handshakes, and all he knew about the subtle, multifarious ways they can be used to communicate. A lot of this stuff wasn’t any big secret—overhand versus underhand, how far to extend your arm, that sort of thing. But some of what this guy had apparently been learning from our boss was quite obscure, and it reminded me of the wealthier and better connected Rotary Club people I’d met—they all seemed to have litanies of exquisite little hang-ups with body language, screening for “tells” all the time and using muted gestures to signal dominance or distain. If you’re a powerless student or junior associate rolling in these circles like a courtesan, trying to get ahead, this stuff can easily be mistaken for a kind of perennial, vigorous man’s wisdom. But it’s extremely catty, and beneath contempt, and belongs strictly to the era circa Brown Bros. Harriman thru the adults in Beavis and Butthead.

But back to my interview. This firm partner—whom I’ll call Gary—looked to be in his early sixties, energetic in the weaselly manner of lawyers, with narrow features and impish, bright blue eyes. Now, I’m not a laser-beam eye contact kind of guy. No two people who genuinely like each other ever interact like that, but in a business environment I can do it, and obviously in a job interview it’s expected. But as soon as I was shown into the office, took a seat across from this man and began chatting, I noticed he was in the odd habit of looking way off to the side of me as he spoke. This struck me as a snide little tactic that could only have been developed out of a sense of weakness. Indeed, I was about twenty years younger than Gary, a couple inches taller, and much broader in the upper body. As he filled the air self-importantly in response to some meaningless question I’d lobbed for preliminary chit-chat, I realized that he was physically intimidated, and that his flex was going to be professional rank and business acumen.

I took the opportunity of his gazing past me to study him a bit. He had on a gold Rolex, and his hands were smallish and soft. Like the upper-tier Rotarians, he made disdainful little gestures that seemed calculated. When it was my turn to speak, for example, he crossed one leg over the other, leaned way back in his chair, and folded his hands behind his head, or else would pick very deliberately at his cuticles. He would bluntly cut me off, never giving me the opportunity to say very much, yet seemed to take offense at those natural, minute interruptions that keep a conversation flowing past lulls, and would stammer forward in order to cut them off. When I addressed—unprompted—a couple of blemishes in my background, he took this not as reverse due diligence and transparency, but as naïveté, and launched into one of several fifteen-minute lectures as if I was a twenty-three year old kid who’d come to him for advice. (I was in my early thirties). The substance was always the same: that the meaning of life is to play the game, that winning is measured by money and connections, that personal development is secondary and sincerity is for rubes. He blew a lot of smoke up my ass about how rich I’d be if I’d aim to make partner within seven years. In other words, let me exploit the shit out of you and pilfer your weekends for the next seven years while your kids grow up without you, and then maybe….

“Where do you see yourself in seven years?”

“Well right now my goal is to learn. I can’t say with certainty that I’d like to be here in seven years because we’ve only just met, but wherever I am at that time, whether here or elsewhere, my primary goal is always to learn and refine my capabilities. Because I’m essentially asking you to train me, I would want to work as hard as possible, not only to learn but to make it worth your while to teach me.” It was a thoroughly honest response. I wasn’t going to give this Laban seven years—he’d already taken my whole afternoon. 

Gary chuckled and kind of rolled his eyes. “That’s all fine—but it’s the wrong answer. Do you wanna know the right answer?”

“Sure.”

“The right answer is, ‘In seven years I hope to be making you a pile of money.'”

Don’t Stop Believing

When someone threatens to kill you, you should believe them.

The ruling class says there is a pandemic. It is manifestly in the ruling class’s interest that there be a pandemic. And who knows the ruling class’s interests better than the ruling class?

My instinct since all this began has been to treat COVID-19 glibly, because the authorities are so obviously cooking the numbers. But that was a category error. An extortionist does not open with empty threats; he opens with veiled ones. A criminal syndicate, “a financial element in the large centers,” is telling you it would be a shame if you got sick. Why would you imagine these people cannot effectuate that outcome? Of course they can.

Putting aside the fact that “the vaccine” is not really a vaccine and that it probably does the immune system far more harm than good, the reported vaccination rates of >70% so far in the U.S. seem to me wildly exaggerated. I’m in a blue state and most people I know aren’t vaxxed. There is a great deal of incredulity about this entire COVID program, and although resistance tends to go unreported there are ongoing mass protests around the world. The only problem with that is, the era of protest is over. We’re talking about an open cabal with exquisite, unprecedented tools at its disposal. It doesn’t need to sweat a protest. Remember the Yellow Vests? Macron simply ignored them, and clung to office, as smugly as ever. Melbourne saw a huge anti-lockdown protest last month, and now the Australian army is on the streets. Show me a viral video of an angry conservative yelling at a school board to ardent background applause, and I’ll show you a school district that still has a mask mandate.

When the bag-persons of this regime are tested, they simply double down. And that is what I want to suggest today: that not only will the authorities double down in the sense of going forward, in flagrante delicto, with all the vaccine coercion, restrictions on movement and digital ID schemes they’ve been salivating over; but that the more resistance they meet, the more likely it becomes that the next pandemic will be more deadly, to a wider range of people, and less needful of abstruse numeromancy to make the point that it would be a shame if you got sick.

So hold the line, but be cognizant of the true extent of evil we’re up against.

No Salvation in Boise

white boy summer

Idaho is this decade’s bittersweet emblem of American longing and disappointment, of envy and dispossession, apple pie and accelerationism.

I came to Boise to explore a job opportunity. It hadn’t been my intention to relocate anywhere in particular, though my wife and I have long been quietly desperate to extricate our family from an endemically high crime and perennially Democratic city, somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon and west of the Mississippi, where mestizos are solidly in the majority. 

The first thing you notice in Boise is the cleanliness. It feels too good to be true, like it could be ripped away by “progress” at any moment. The next thing you notice are the white people: beardos, rednecks, hipsters, college kids, cheeky teens and old fogeys, blue collar workers, white collar professionals, young couples and families with children. To re-purpose a line from Scorsese, it’s like you died and went to Anglo heaven.

It’s not that Idahoans are very friendly, but like Kipling’s stranger within the gates, mestizos, even to the umpteenth whitewashed generation, just don’t get my references. On my mother’s side I’m solidly midwestern. I grew up parroting awkward sirs and ma’ams, with Turner Classics on television, scalloped potatoes in the oven and nary an elbow on the dinner table. What it does to the psyche of a pre-teen to be raised like this among Jews I’ll leave for another commentary, but what I’ve been missing for over a decade of living among chicanos is the kind of mundane intellectual tete-a-tete that presented itself almost immediately upon my arrival in Idaho. It sounds like something superfluous, but it is the staff of life, and I didn’t even have words for this wretched lack until Tuesday.

Even without much banter, it’s possible in Idaho to amicably greet and have eye contact with strangers in a way that’s far rarer where non-whites are in the majority. Even the lowliest Idahoan waitress or gas station attendant was someone whose mind I could feel, and this is no doubt connected to the next thing one notices about Idaho, which is that you can let your children wander without fearing overmuch for their safety. In a sprawling, vulgar waterpark permeated by the smell of corndogs and sunscreen off an interstate highway in Meridian, I let my children wander unaccompanied into a throng to ride waterslides and in their absence failed to agonize for nearly half an hour. This is inconceivable in the city where we currently live.

Then there’s the masks—or the lack of them, even in Boise’s ultra-liberal, nouveau cutsie downtown. It’s maddening to think that all the businesses there flying rainbow flags (and touting various other neoliberal shibboleths) are beneficiaries of opposition to policies their owners support, even as livelihoods in states where those policies have greater effect are being utterly destroyed. A recent news item, one of many in a burgeoning genre, stated that “Americans fleeing COVID are headed to Idaho.” Aside from the fact that this doesn’t make sense (endemic pathogens do not stop at statelines), official propaganda cannot let on what everybody knows, namely, that Americans are fleeing nightmarish political repression. Because it is novel and not ideological in the traditional sense, it can be hard to think of our dystopian new biosecurity regime as political per se, but that is a mistake. In any case, the cost of housing is not entirely what people are fleeing, either, because for well over a year those prices are skyrocketing in the states receiving the exodus.

But even before the Great Reset, Boise has for a decade or more been attracting a steady stream of hipsters, liberals, gays, blacks and Mexicans, and regularly featuring in national news outlets as the most rapidly expanding and diversifying town in the nation. One notices how unafraid these types are, living in the heart of podunk despite all the slanders they like to traffic in. There are, as mentioned, the virtue signalers of the downtown area, and when you drive around the more upscale neighborhoods of the city you will see occasional rainbow flags and related tchotchkes. But it seems there has also been an expansion of section 8 housing, inhabited largely by African immigrants. On a Friday night on Boise’s south side I went to fill my tires at a gas station, and was bent over and distracted by the noise of the air pump when a group of African youths in gaudy hip-hopper apparel came creeping around my vehicle, minds palpably for mischief, in an otherwise needlessly circuitous route to the convenience store from the gas pump where they’d parked. All of a sudden, I stood ramrod straight and glared at them, and they sodded off nonchalantly as if they’d made a wrong turn. The smell of cheap beer followed them.

As a matter of fact, non-whites, particularly mestizos, are everywhere in Boise, and while they certainly aren’t in the majority, one gets the feeling that their numbers are increasing year over year. White youths as well seem entranced by garbage culture in various guises—tattooed soyjack maskoids in the supermarket checkout and street racers bumping voicemod mumble rap are easy to encounter.

This last feature (the degeneracy of whites) highlights the cursed and haunted nature of the American dream. All this new construction, all the new housing tracts, shopping centers, nightclubs and bougie eateries: they’re all bought on credit, and conduce toward nothing but sloth and paralysis to please women. The only way off this train would require decisive and decidedly unpleasant action, but there’s no support for it, most people don’t want it, and most of those who think they do wouldn’t know how or couldn’t handle it. And so we get wiggers and manlets and androgynes, and another generation’s laundry cycle of college debt with negative ROI. At least Boise State isn’t pushing a vax mandate, though the University of Idaho is.

Despite a concerted effort by the regional newspaper of record to undermine them, the Republicans here own the state, yet still cannot manage to fight the future. The Idaho Statesman is this week stoking fears of “McCarthyism” over Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachum’s commission of inquiry into “Marxist indoctrination” in Idaho schools. What the paper fails to mention is that this commission has no teeth and can only make recommendations to the legislature. It’s all theatrics to benefit McGeachum, who is leading a renegade gubernatorial campaign against her more anodyne boss, Governor Brad Little. Members of the board of the state’s leading conservative lobby, meanwhile (along with many of the elected officials it endorses) have been serving themselves and their own private businesses liberally out of a COVID-relief slush fund earmarked by Congress for the state. And the alternative to this familiar grift is militia leader Ammon Bundy—a sympathetic character, to be sure, but whose own gubernatorial campaign platform is to turn federal lands in the west over to private developers to meet the state’s housing needs. In the era of Blackrock and virtual monopolies like KB Homes, this is dangerous stupidity.

So we may or may not be moving to Idaho, but we won’t be leaving any blackpills behind.

Southern Exposure

There’s only one great road trip in Israel, a three-hour drive from Tel Aviv’s sweltering, interminable bumper-to-bumper through a great empty desert of sandstone canyons and date palms and camels, downhill all the way to the little manicured pubic-strip of beachfront hotels along Israel’s flea-speck of Red Sea shore. The Arava is a single arroyo so big you can see it from space, straining south toward furthest Arabia, punctuated by a massive below sea-level crater you can see a hundred miles across as you descend into it along serpentine switchbacks to its soft, sandy belly. Emerging at the other end, from eastward the craggy red mountain spine of Jordan leers down at you the remainder of the way to Eilat.

This dramatic topography belies the relative size of the speck of map that it crosses, and the contrast gives itself to a sensation of wild freedom comparable to driving from Denver to Taos, or from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe. When the highway finally reaches Eilat, you’re still looking downhill, across a long, gentle slope extending between foothills through town, down to the water and off down the coast of Saudi Arabia, as if the whole southern half of the country was one great funnel-shaped beachhead. To the east of you is Jordan, Egypt is immediately to the west, and the bay is full of Panamax tankers. No other place so small and narrow as Eilat could ever feel so wide open.

“They’ve got all these crime families in Israel, kafkazi, Moroccan. Mafia, mafia,” Boris informs me in slow, steady Hebrew as if he’s talking to a chinaman. We’re cruising south in Betzalel’s Lamborghini, top down, full moon beaming, the cool night air swirling in the desert around us. Boris is a street-wise general contractor who grew up in a pnimia, a kind of low-class boarding school for foster kids. Shrewd and charismatic, he has dreams of getting rich and a habit of cultivating useful friendships: Betzalel is the indolent and airheaded rich-kid pushover, and I am the American. I regard Boris with wry skepticism and he respects me for it. Plus we have a mutual sort of anthropological interest going on.

“And it’s true they pimp and run drugs,” Boris continues, “but would you believe where the bulk of their income is derived? From recycling. Municipal recycling! You get 10 agorot for a Coke can, right? Half a shekel for a bottle. So these guys extort restaurants and falafel stands for recyclables. Isn’t that wild?”

“No one in America would think to make a criminal enterprise out of saving the planet,” I respond. “That’s for damn sure.” (Actually, nowadays that’s not true anymore.)

Yotveta is the last stop before Eilat. We pile out. Boris and I grab chips and chocolate milk while Betzalel fills the gas tank.

It’s 1 AM on a Friday night when we check into the hostel. The room’s like a county jail cell, with eight bunks for a total of sixteen beds, a couple of violently buzzing fluorescent lights and a shitty ceiling fan. It’s not Betzalel’s kind of digs, but he was going along to get along because he didn’t want to be too generous.

A boisterous group of guys our age is drinking arak and playing dominos around a card table, monopolizing the space in front of the room’s single window, overlooking a boulevard where revelers are transiting back and forth loudly. These roommates are a half-dozen hairy kafkazi guys in skinny jeans and beaters, with two raven-haired broads standing, because the guys have all the chairs. One of the girls is frumpy and the other is pretty. They’re both wearing heavy layers of make-up. We nod to this group and the girls glance at us furtively, but I can tell the cute one had been looking at Boris.

We go out. We bar hop. We drink and dance and try to pick up chicks. Everyone comes to Eilat in discrete groups and it can be difficult to separate the women. Eventually the night finds us at a bar in this little cabana type place by the water. A largish group shuffles in behind us and in the dark I make out our roommates. As they pulled out stools Boris looked wary, but Betzalel struck up with them very amicably and before long we were all up the street in a nightclub with strobe lights, fog machines, a DJ and everything. Some drunk, sweaty chick was grinding on me, spilling her RedBull and vodka down my shirt in slips and slops, when I realized Boris and Betzalel had vanished. My dance partner was way too drunk for me to fuck honorably, and she smelled like faded Axe body spray and patchouli, so I took off looking for my friends. I found Boris around back by the dumpsters, making out furiously with the cute kafkazi girl from the hostel. Betzalel was off a ways, puffing on an L&M with his collar popped and pissing against a chainlink fence.

I walked right over. “Hey Boris man, where are those guys? You sure that’s a good idea?”

He tore himself off her face like a suction cup and looked around blankly. Then he said, “We’re taking a cab back to the room. You coming?”

“Uh…. Yeah, but what about those guys? You’re not worried?”

“Just stand guard down the hall for me.”

Ten minutes later I’m leaning on a vending machine with Betzalel when our douchebag roommates come bowling up the stairs like West Side Story. You could hear Boris fucking the shit out of this girl down the hall. “Hey, guys, how’s it going?” I put on a shit eating grin and tried to distract them, but they brushed right past me and into the room. I wasn’t gonna let them beat up my friend, but as I started to follow them in they burst out, dragging Boris by the scruff of his neck, shoeless with his belt buckle dangling. As the girl came slinking out, shamefaced and shoulders arched, Betzalel slipped into the room behind them and shut himself in. Betzalel’s grandfather owned an oil refinery in Greece, meat-packing plants in Israel, and God-knows what else. I’d been trying hard to like him but the fact was he was exceptionally stupid and contemptible.

In any case, I decided I’d play dumb with these kafkazi guys and see how far it got me. I trailed close but not too close behind them as they made their way to the parking lot, and when we emerged into the early morning I put on the thickest, most ham-fisted American accent I possibly could. “Hey where we going guys? We going back to the club?”

“Go back to the room, Sam!” Boris entreated. But as they opened the sliding side-door on their Mercedes Sprinter I slipped in behind the driver’s seat. “We going for breakfast or something guys?” I tried to look as moronic as I could. They all glanced at each other sidelong and kind of shrugged. Then they shoved Boris in beside me and five of them hopped in behind us. The sixth and runtiest one had bad acne, a ridiculous overbite and coke-bottle glasses with a headband. He grabbed the girl by the hair and slammed her face against the passenger-side window, then walked calmly around the front to the driver’s side. She snuffled and wiped a profuse stream of blood from her nose up her forearm, then from her forearm onto her pants. Then she climbed in the front passenger seat resignedly and buckled up.

There’s a ring road that goes up around Eilat into the burnt hills and comes out at a highway that winds up to an observatory and on along the Egyptian border. Dawn was breaking over Jordan as we turned east off the highway down a dirt track and off onto an endless, sandy mesa. Pretty soon we pulled over by some bushes and the driver snuffed the engine.

Boris was not the kind of guy to go quietly like he had, and the fact that no explicit threats had been made nor weapons brandished told me that on the one hand, these guys had good reason to be confident of being feared, which was very bad for us; but also that the situation was negotiable, because if you don’t need to make a threat explicit you don’t lose face by back-peddling. The question was how to give them latitude.

I hopped out ahead of the other guys in back as they dragged Boris out by his armpits like he’d been condemned to a firing squad. They threw him on the ground. I helped him up. Then they surrounded us as the biggest one, this choad-like, walleyed kid with a ginormous globule of neck fat separating his head from his shirt collar, brought out a tire iron and waddled over to right behind the little guy with the glasses. The runty one got right in Boris’s face.

“The name Benziad mean anything to you?”

“Yes, of course.” Boris replied. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything. I didn’t know.”

Eyal Benziad was one of the most feared names in Israel. I hadn’t lived in the country eighteen months and barely spoke the language, but even I knew that. The resemblance suddenly asserted itself: we were face to face with the son and protege of a mass murderer.

“Guys please,” Boris continued. “This is all a misunderstanding. I apologize. I really mean it. I didn’t know. I’m sorry. Please….” His voice was breaking. He was on the verge of tears.

Now, we may have been facing death, but I wasn’t going be murdered without my dignity, and Boris’s groveling pissed me off. At that time the U.S. wigger imitator of boogie lip-flap was a well-known comedy trope internationally, and I’m not proud to admit that I was going through a bit of a phase myself. In fact, at that moment I was dressed in a Sprewell jersey, Timberlands and basketball shorts down to my ankles. I looked like J-Rock from Trailer Park Boys. I even had on a sweatband. That’s when it dawned on me. I knew just what I had to do.

“Yo dawg, this some bullshit dawg!” I shoved Boris aside and got right in this kid’s face. “This my boy, dawg. We aint’ going out like no punks!” I said all this entirely in English, gesticulating as niggerishly as I possibly could. I tapped the runty kid lightly in the chest. “You fuckin’ with my boy, you fuckin’ with me dawg! We ain’t goin’ out like that. My boy ain’t no punk.”

The others tightened the circle around us. I’d tried, but now we were completely fucked. Just then the corner of the runty kid’s mouth turned up, and he glanced wryly around at the others. The walleyed kid in back burst out laughing like an orc receiving a handjob. That set off a chain reaction. First, the runt started cackling, then the others until they were gasping for breath. Boris glanced at me for a nanosecond, subtly enough to not be seen, with a look of supernal relief and amazement.

“What’s this guy’s name?” the runt asked Boris in Hebrew.

“Sam.”

“Sam? Nice to meet you.” He gave a mirthful snort as he stuck out his hand and we shook. “You America? America good. George Bush. Dr. Dre. You many good, many ha ha ha.” He said all this in English. “You friend name?”

“Boris,” I replied.

“Okay, Boris,” (now in Hebrew). “I think we can call this a misunderstanding. You need to have respect and be aware of who you’re dealing with in the future.”

“Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you.”

Then we all went back into town for omelettes and hair of the dog.