Category Archives: Metaphysics

How to Kill Christ

lord of the flies

I.

Stalin supposedly said, “Gratitude is for dogs.” I’ve always thought there was great truth in that, and have always felt dirty and guilty for thinking so. I mean, how can gratitude be for dogs when everybody knows that an ingrate is despicable? But gratitude and ingratitude are not opposites. It may be despicable to spurn kindness and generosity, but no true act of kindness or generosity is ever committed for the sake of receiving gratitude in return.

So why be generous or kind? Out of a desire (it seems to me) to participate in another person’s happiness. Gratitude is generic, perfunctory. Appreciation, on the other hand, is idiosyncratic, and the way to be appreciated is by the peculiar things we do for others. So the proper response to kindness or generosity is not to be grateful, but to be happy, and thus appreciative.

The same is true of good fortune itself—a blessing, a windfall, a narrow escape. The point is to see it for just what it is, and be glad; to change our ways, perhaps. But not to grovel and scrape. This is what I’ve come to realize about devotional worship. It’s all performative. What God would want us to take our time away from gladness, from self-improvement, from kindness, generosity, and appreciation, in order to lower ourselves to the dust? 

For many years I tried to be a Jew. But I am not a Jew. I tried to be a Christian, but I am not a Christian either, not exactly. Next I thought I might be a pagan, but I’m also not entirely a pagan.

From time to time readers and colleagues chide me for being “inconsistent,” for not being committed to an ideology, as if we must be simultaneously bound by everything we’ve ever said or done. As if we don’t wake up feeling one way and go to bed feeling another. It’s all so pretentious, so tiresome—this moral arrogance of faith and ideology. I cannot know what I cannot know, and I’d rather not be in a position of having to tolerate anybody telling me things that they don’t know either. The only criteria that interest me anymore are good and evil, reason and unreason, worth my time or not worth my time. If you’re trying to trap or denounce me with my words, you’re making me into your criterion. Will you then be “consistent,” forevermore?

II.

I have never tried to make money from this blog. Not even a tip jar.

The minute you make your ideas a commodity, they forfeit their power. This is especially true online, where every personality is beholden to a platform, and a public beyond. Granted, it would be more difficult for me to blog without WordPress, but even if I had a million readers, I’ve not made myself an avatar here. It’s just words on a pseudonymous webpage.

This is why I’ve never vlogged or appeared on podcasts. Those media are more dynamic than the written word (more fleeting, more lost in the ether) and their dynamism comes at the cost of ever greater symbiosis with the medium. If this blog is taken down tomorrow, oh well. It’s just graffiti on a bathroom stall. It’s not my name. It’s not my image. It’s not a business or a brand. I’ve not forfeited that kind of energy to the internet.

III.

The so-called problem of consciousness is sometimes cited in support of theology. It refers to the fact that we don’t know where consciousness comes from. We may know all about neurology, brain chemistry and the like, but scientific inquiry cannot really show us the true source of perception, of emotions and thoughts.

In Matthew 18:18, Jesus says that whatever is bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven. We’re accustomed to thinking of heaven as the afterlife, and it may be. But Matthew 18:18 is much more readily comprehensible if we think of heaven as the metaphysical realm, co-terminus with the mundane, material one; a supra-temporal canopy of memory, perception, reputation, where every physical phenomenon has an emotional and conceptual analogue. This is the firmament to which we are “bound” by our choices, our triumphs, our joys, fears, and regrets.

A good analogy for such a concept of Jesus’s kingdom is the internet. Your data, your social media avatar, your online reputation, the emanation of information this way and that, the abstracted interplay of thoughts and feelings pinging about the little labyrinths of software systems. The ways they get lost; the ways they get found. A Jewish teaching that I particularly like is that everything—everything—is written by God in one great book. The reason why the internet—the world wide web—is a good analogy for metaphysics is because it is metaphysics: artificial metaphysics. That’s what metadata collection, social media, AI, IoT, 5G, transhumanism, the Great Reset, and all this kind of shit is about. It’s about the power to see, record, inventorize… everything. It’s an attempt at the total usurpation of all metaphysical power, from the level of the individual man, ad astra.

It’s deicide.

Thrift Shops for Spiritual Hipsters

you can fit so many icons in this bad boy

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Even at my most youthful, arrogant and anti-religious, I never really stopped believing this. Though the three Abrahamic faiths are too convoluted and implicated in mortal foibles for me to settle on any one of them, I’ve always been averse, not to paganism or magic per se, but to hubris, dark arts and left-hand ideologies. Particularly, in this connection, I’ve long felt that the argument (best summarized by Yeats) connecting Christianity directly to liberalism is quite shallow. And it is, except when it isn’t.

I often encounter liberal friends and colleagues, and I’ve come to realize that what they have in common is that they hate themselves. The milieu has its alphas and its omegas, to be sure, and everyone consoles him or herself with rectitude to a greater or lesser degree—but at bottom, for whites at least (there are no non-white liberals) liberalism is a form of self-abnegation. 

Meanwhile, there seems to be a resurgence of interest nowadays in Eastern Orthodoxy among right-wingers. I used to follow a lot of alt-Orthodox accounts on Twitter and Facebook. About a year ago I saw a post that ran roughly as follows:

“Pray for me! My wife has apostatized and absconded with my step-daughter. I received a notification from a lawyer that she is filing for divorce. I miss my step-daughter terribly! I tried so hard to keep my wife in the fold, but she was not strong enough” etc., etc.

I felt bad for the guy, of course. But something about this marriage sounded strange. I mean, first off: why do you only have a step-daughter? The Bible says be fruitful and multiply, bro. I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to stop fellating God long enough to accomplish this. God probably doesn’t even want to be fellated. Hymns, candles, etc…. It’s all very nice, but perhaps there’s just an understanding God wants us to attain and try to imbue our actions with. That seems to me to be the whole message of Christ.

So I could see how the holy-rolling husband made himself a huge pain in the ass. But by itself, that’s probably not enough to repulse a wife. Rather, taking on a groveling aspect is not conducive to manhood. Like liberalism, it’s passive aggressive, a way of indulging self-loathing, of valorizing a weak chin. Obviously, hedonism wrecks people, and I’m not advocating it. I’m all for Christian continence, to a degree. But how TF are you allowing yourself social media (which is real poison) and not raw-dogging the wife? The only way that makes sense is if your religion is for show.

I know the Orthodox response to this is probably that homeboy was doing it wrong, that the Bible indeed commands us to be fruitful, that Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount says not to make a parade out of piety, etc. But Christianity is nothing if not utterly sexless. And what’s a sacral procession? It’s literally a parade.

Does the trinity make any sense at all? How about communion? You know, the blood wine and the flesh bread? Either that all makes zero fucking sense whatsoever, or you have to be way smarter than everyone to comprehend it, in which case you’re damn sure not receiving the kingdom like a little child. If God is logos, i.e., universal reason, then why am I being told that I must believe things that make no fucking sense?

I’ve been reading the Old Testament my entire life, and the New for the last five years or so. My wife is nominally Orthodox. We have young children, and I’ve been looking to inculcate them in a tradition that emphatically teaches (among other, related things) that faggotry is a sickness. So I tried getting into Orthodoxy over the past few months, and what I’ve found is just as much idolatry as there is in Judaism. In particular, converts to Orthodoxy in modern America (usually about half the congregation) are invariably obsessed with authenticity. It’s hipsterism grown old, with the insufferable knit-picking about 80s movies and musical subgenera re-canned and transferred over to theology and apologetics.

Jay Dyer is a perfect example of this. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate and recommend his conspiracy lectures, and even some of his philosophy stuff. But he’s totally glib. Paul Krugman couldn’t be more smug. Dyer has found the thing, and can hold forth literally for hours about why he’s smarter than you. That’s what apologetics amounts to. And it has to be a facade, because (as with liberalism) the suggestion is always that downloading and then going through life insisting on some horribly circuitous reasoning is akin to having a woke third eye. In both cases, it’s purely performative.

Deconstructing Zionism, Pt. III

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choose wisely

(Part I here, Part II here)

I just got finished watching the second installment of Mouthy Buddha’s Pedogate series. Almost as soon as I shared it on Twitter, my account was suspended. The video will surely soon be taken off YouTube, but it’s already up on BitChute. In case you think this stuff can’t shock you, what Buddha manages to uncover is novel, even for those of us who followed Pizzagate closely and had already heard of Jeffstein Eprey ten years ago.

Buddha is a savvy videographer who is very good about sticking to facts and leaving viewers to their own conclusions. It’s a wise course, as the slightest hint of conjecture would only provide grist for the mill of powerful detractors. But the spectrum of inferences that can be drawn from this information by any reasonable person is exceedingly narrow. Essentially, there is a monstrous conspiracy at the highest levels of institutional life on this planet, and its insiders are able to get away with blood-curdling ritualistic crimes.

One of the institutional settings that is rife with these horrors is Hollywood, and we all know who runs Hollywood. It was always obvious, moreover, that Jeffstein Eprey was an Israeli asset. It’s obvious as well that Israel has moles high in America’s most sensitive institutions, private and public. It would be very hard to imagine that these people have the interests of Americans in mind—it would be very hard to imagine that their purpose in the United States is benign whatsoever. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) And in general it’s obvious that Jews are vastly overrepresented among the most debauched ruling class in the history of the human race—Les Wexner, Ed Buck, the Pritzkers, the Bronfman heiresses of NXIVM sex cult fame, etc., etc., etc. These are some of the same people who backed Epstein, and who back organized Jewish communal life at every level. For example, Hollywood potentate Arnon Milchan, a “former” Mossad man, is a close associate and sponsor of Netanyahu. What are the chances that he (and Netanyahu) don’t know exactly what lies at the bottom of the murky depths Mouthy Buddha is plumbing in his videos? What are the chances he isn’t complicit in them?

I know what the Jewish response to this may be: that spiritual darkness and realpolitik are not exclusive to Jews. Neither, in the grand scheme, is the proportion of Jews involved in any of this stuff very large. That’s correct. I’ve made these arguments myself and they certainly have their place. But a decent human being who uncovers institutional rot opposes or at least divests himself from it. Of course not every offshore bank account and weird coven in the Marin headlands is orchestrated by the Sanhedrin. But the rot we’re talking about here is at the heart of Jewish leadership, and thus at the heart of the Jewish community. Where is the condemnation, from any quarter of organized Jewry? There is none. It’s not even a controversy—you have to leave the reservation if you even want to acknowledge it.

If you are Jewish, does this not give you pause? Do you seriously suppose that if you go around identifying as Jewish, you are not identifying with precisely these phenomena? Be serious. Human groups are qualitatively different from each other. Jews may be a fractious bunch, but they are simply more beleaguered—and thus, more closely tied to their leadership—than, say, Russians or Americans. The scope of their group interests is proportionate to a heightened sense of threat. So, in the same way that (say) the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government by the United Fruit Company has something fundamental to do with what America is, worming into foreign halls of power has something fundamental to do with what Judaism is. This is reflected in the Bible (e.g., Joseph, Esther) and so much of subsequent Jewish history that it doesn’t need enumerating. Put simply, Jeffstein Eprey is not a new development.

One windy winter night in Tel Aviv, well over a decade ago and about a year before I entered the Israeli army, I was befriended by a mysterious stranger, an IDF special forces veteran who was four or five years older than me, and vastly more worldly and self-confident. Like me, he was from an Anglophone country, half-Jewish on his father’s side, well-built, and phenotypically Aryan—aside from a pair of deep-set brown eyes. Over the course of a year, we spent weekends together, mostly in bars and nightclubs. I would later find out that he is the scion of an oligarchic dynasty in his country of origin, but I didn’t know it at the time—though I did notice that money was no object to him. He had a sports car, designer clothes, and an apartment in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Israel. In retrospect, some elements of his backstory didn’t add up, but he was in superb shape and it was more than plausible he’d had an elite designation in the IDF. At times (usually after a few drinks, but not too many) he would ask me oddly morbid “hypothetical” questions—things like, could I murder an innocent child if it was absolutely necessary to complete an undercover mission undetected? My answer to these questions was invariably no, and he would counter with forceful, well-considered arguments to the effect that there’s no point in even joining the army in the first place if I’m not willing to do whatever it takes for the country.

Are you comfortable with this, ya’yahud? With supporting a cause for which such things must be done? Of which Jeffrey Epstein was an operative? I am not asking you to own these things personally. Rather, I’m asking you to think seriously about the cause you profess to believe in, just like my former friend—who was clearly sizing me up for recruitment into something other than just the IDF—was asking me to be serious about it.

Of course, injustice may always be necessary to further power. I don’t say that the Jews belong nowhere, or that our national project ought to be dismantled or abandoned just because politics is nasty business. The issue for me is whether power is being accumulated in pursuit of a vision, a higher ideal. A commonwealth should promote truth, beauty, excellence, justice, and vigor for their own sakes in its people. That is how a people becomes a “light unto the Nations.” But for Israel, there is no higher ideal than to outlive our persecutors—to exist and accumulate power in endless insecurity which we ascribe to some social disease or malevolent spirit that can never be examined dispassionately.

The problem is that Judaism is an unhappy culture that operates out of constant reaction to past slights, necessitating a clandestine orientation to the outside world that is by turns vindictive and pathetic. That is why Israel (with its vast technological talent) has become the Prussia of global liberalism—a spearhead, exempt from this system’s normative decorum (as all traditional pariahs are nowadays.) Zionism once promised a “new Jewish man” unencumbered by this messy psychology. It was a good idea while it lasted.

Deconstructing Judaism, Pt. V

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am I missing something?

(Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IVPart VI)

“Seen from the outside, Israel still comports itself like an adolescent: consumed by a brittle confidence in its own uniqueness; certain that no one ‘understands’ it and everyone is ‘against’ it; full of wounded self-esteem, quick to take offense and quick to give it. Like many adolescents Israel is convinced—and makes a point of aggressively and repeatedly asserting—that it can do as it wishes, that its actions carry no consequences and that it is immortal.”  —Tony Judt, Ha’aretz (2006)

I.

In order to know whether a given culture or system of thought is good or bad, we must evaluate it critically. However, we cannot critically evaluate anything effectively unless we determine what its fundamentals are, and what we have identified here as the sine qua non of Judaism is the conviction that the Jewish people are congenitally more special, intelligent, persevering and misunderstood than all other peoples, with a special destiny to be vindicated before the rest of mankind. However, the inductive reasons we’ve offered may not be entirely accurate. So, let’s test this thesis against some possible alternatives, and see whether we can arrive at deductive reasons instead:

(1) The essence of Judaism is some kind of religious belief or set of beliefs.

This may be true of Judaism in a strict religious sense, but what we’ve termed “Judaism” here encompasses a basic belief held in common by the vast majority of Jews, which of course includes liberals, atheists and many others besides orthodox believers. And it is central to religious Judaism too.

(2) The essence of Judaism is the belief that one’s culture and people, i.e., the Jews, are good, and worthy of preservation.

While this is certainly not objectionable, and is indeed intrinsic to Judaism, it is more rudimentary than essential, and it begs the question of what, exactly, is being preserved, apart from the physical existence of the Jews. Some other cultures value honor more than life, whereas Judaism obviously prioritizes life, i.e., group survival, above all values. This is the ethos Israeli soldiers die defending, and the Israeli public views their deaths not so much as heroic acquiescence to duty and fate in the normal course of struggling for the good; but more as the ripping of unripe fruit from the national tree by an insatiable, perennial, irrational enemy. Esav soné et Ya’akov. In every generation they rise up to kill us. C’est la vie, woe is me. This is a profoundly disempowering worldview.

(3) The essence of Judaism is some bedrock idea about God, man, truth, beauty, and the nature of the universe.

Again: this is true, at most, only of religious Judaism, not Jewishness as a culture and a mentality. In the latter sense, the fundamental idea of Judaism is, rather, about the role of the Jews relative to “the nations.” We have phrased it as follows: that the Jews are congenitally more special, intelligent, persevering and misunderstood than all other peoples, with a special destiny to be vindicated before the rest of mankind. In the face of so many irreligious factions and trends in Jewishness, religiosity alone cannot supplant our thesis.

(4) The essence of Judaism is a system of ethics.

Though ethics is a component of Judaism, it may be a stretch to say that Judaism’s ethical requirements are essential. For example, derech eretz can be termed essentially Jewish only in the religious sense, and halakha is a system of laws, not ethics.

However, in the modern era, flagrant violation of both derech eretz and halakha, not only as a matter of personal foibles but as a matter of personal identity, is no bar to a Jewish identity affirmed (or at least not denied) by the broader Jewish culture. For example, comedienne Sarah Silverman, pornographer Al Goldstein, and New York LGBT synagogue Beit Simchat Torah would horrify the Hasmoneans, or the sages of Pirke Avot. Yet Goldstein identified strongly as Jewish, as does Silverman, and Beit Simchat Torah is literally a synagogue, with a frum rabbi. The demographically beleaguered State of Israel would grant citizenship to every one of its genetically dead-end members, with a three-year tax holiday, free healthcare, and $15K in cash assistance immediately upon arrival, regardless of need, simply because they meet its definition of “Jewish.” Should they wish to become parents with a gay partner—a hillul hashem if ever there was one—the Jewish State will go to great lengths to ensure that they can.

(5) The essence of Judaism is tikun olam.

While orthodox Judaism indeed views the performance of mitzvot as inherently leading toward a “healed world” (tikun olam), this is perhaps more quantitative than qualitative. In any case, for most modern Jews, tikun olam actually functions as a half-assed secular substitute for strict religious observance. In this sense it is really just moral law derived by fiat of Jewish genius as a necessary corrective to the intellectually deficient “nations.” It can also be conceptualized as simply “being a good person,” but that is equally arbitrary, and has no necessary connection to Judaism in particular.

II.

Supposing we were to ignore every liberal or secular Jewish trend and faction. Does our thesis still apply to orthodox Judaism? In other words, is it a necessary, fundamental assumption of orthodox Judaism that the Jews are congenitally more special, intelligent, persevering and misunderstood than all other peoples, with a special destiny to be vindicated before the rest of mankind?

It is.

Pure orthodox belief and practice is much more ascetic, more internal, than any kind of Zionism, or secularism, or liberal denomination—the point is to garner one’s reward in heaven. And yet, whether you look at proselytizing sects like Chabad and the Breslovers; or public rabbis like Mantis Freidman and Shmuely Boteach; or haredi enclaves like Beis Yoel or Mea She’arim; or the West Bank settlements of Israel’s national religious camp; the exact same foundational conceit we have formulated as our thesis, and identified with secular Jewish trends, is pervasive. There’s no way around it: Judaism has a fundamental priority that’s distinct from simple fidelity to God. You can’t have Jewishness or Judaism without it. Belief in God does not require it. Yet without belief in God, Jewishness persists.

Deconstructing Judaism, Pt. I

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the final solution?

(Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI)

One of the worst clichés in anti-semitic circles is that the Jews won’t tolerate criticism. Why should Jews accept being criticized qua Jews? No other group accepts this—certainly not those most “critical of Jews”, i.e., Muslims and (with respect to white people) the alt-right.

Readers may know me as a Zionist. This is an oversimplification. I am half-Jewish on my father’s side and was raised Jewish. But Judaism is not about about religion or identity for me. It’s just a memento mori.

The second intifada was raging when I got out of high school. Every several weeks there were murdered Jewish schoolchildren and elderly on the front page of the newspapers. Restless, romantic, full of deontological conviction, I decided to drop out of college and join the Israeli army. Obviously, I am not anti-Zionist. But I am not primarily a Zionist, either. In other words, Jewish identity is not my primary conceptual frame. If it were, I’d be poorer, spiritually and intellectually, which is why Israelis sometimes seem to me like poor relations—smug, stingy, and provincial. For an awful lot of them, Jewish identity is an ultimate end—a kind of idol—whereas for me, Zionism is quite contingent. If a vital Israeli interest contributes to making my life in America (or humanity as a whole) less free, then I am dead set against it. There is no cause worth losing your soul.

If this was the 1920s, I might not be Zionist at all, but Israel is a fait accompli. I’ve defended Jews from neo-Nazis not because neo-Nazis are entirely wrong about Jews, but because they’re stupid and monomaniacal. I’ve defended Israel from the pro-Palestine crowd not because Israel is innocent or unobnoxious, but because Palestine is not a human rights cause—it’s a medieval Islamic one. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but I think leftists in the West should be honest about it. Zionism is Israel’s only alternative to sharia, which any non-Muslim people is entitled to avoid.

Not long ago, I published a piece over on Affirmative Right, basically a polemic against the widespread alt-media view that Zionism is uniquely pernicious in U.S. politics. My argument was that America has always been ethnically and politically fractious, and activism on behalf of narrow interests is normal. A wignat reader seized on this, commenting that I was “deconstructing” (white) American identity, and declaring that I would never deconstruct Jewish or Israeli identity in this manner. Well, he was more than a little bit wrong. Over a year ago, I published a five-part critical deconstruction of Jewish identity (under the asinine title, “Make Judaism Great Again”—the Wayback Machine has my back) but it was windy, and lacked a tidy conclusion. In the aftermath of subsequent anti-semitic shootings, I removed it, intending to refine it and republish it later.

Well, later is now. Stay tuned.

 

By the known rules of ancient liberty

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One evening a few weeks back, I went to the supermarket with a three-item list, and ended up spending $300 on dry goods and medicines. The place looked like the collapse of Soviet Russia. It was pandemonium. As I gazed upon the half-empty supermarket shelves, admonishments from the goldbugs and preppers of post-2008 all came echoing back. The libertarian conspiracy-sphere of the Bush II era seems very prescient now. Ultimately, no system can save us from the system at its present scale. Aside from the Davos set, we’re all paleo-anarchists, we just don’t know it until the toilet paper runs out. In fact, this is especially true of the Davos set—and if they don’t trust their own system, why should you or I?

I’ve come to an age where people all look the same to me, like future corpses in the process of rotting on the wheel of time. It was shocking, at first, to see the wheel turn, and the fleshbags rudely rouse themselves. But why should any of this have been a surprise? We all think we’re well-aware of how thin the ice is getting, yet it seems our ability to procrastinate is limitless. For example, a time-lapse video of a Mormon homestead being built in the Idaho Rockies has nearly 6 million views on YouTube. That’s a 6 million-to-one ratio.

In the midst of this COVID hysteria, I keep hearing people say that our most basic individual freedoms do not trump their right to live. This is exactly backwards. Freedom is not a guarantee of life. From time immemorial, freedom has meant readiness to kill or be killed. Throughout history, those who preferred “protection” to freedom were stooges, serfs, subjects, perpetual children—as are those who are clamoring for government protection today.

Indeed, COVID-19 has brought government-suckers of every stripe out of the woodwork: the “resistance” wants Trump to take total control, while MAGA dupes want gibs at any cost. This thing has already ginned-up a conniption of snitching, too, as government authority becomes more and more arbitrary and experimental. For instance, I took my kid to the park the other day, and some busybodies had taken it upon themselves to cordon off the swing-set with yellow caution tape. There was no signage anywhere to indicate that this act had official sanction, yet no sooner had I torn the tape off and placed kiddo on the swing than some corpulent, elderly fuck out walking a shitty little dog (in flagrant violation of state quarantine orders) started mean mugging me, then walking towards me with his phone out. Not wanting myself and my child to become a photo on his iCloud, nor to be there when he called the cops, I took my son and hightailed it.

Later in the week, I was out walking a shitty little dog of my own, in flagrant violation of even stricter quarantine measures that had been announced by our (regional) government protectors only hours previous. Under the circumstances, I had to take seriously the possibility that I could be hassled or even detained. Having experienced a handful of oppressive run-ins with imperious cops over the years, I started imagining the worst. Consider, for example, the following hypothetical: you are minding your own business when a couple of punk cops, flush with emergency powers, arbitrarily attempt to arrest you. They contrive to charge you with some Gordian knot of administrative offenses that will more or less keep you detained indefinitely. Satisfying the judiciary of your innocence will mean the ruin of your career, your family, and your reputation. Forget, as well, that none of what I’ve just described is rare. For our purposes, all of this takes place in Bruce Springsteen’s America, the whole thing is an anomaly, and these two cops are simply bad apples, with innocent wives and children who want to see them home tonight. However, in this hypothetical, you have the opportunity (never mind how, exactly) to kill these two cops, and get away with it completely, i.e., to walk away immediately and never suffer any social repercussion, because no one else will ever know it was you who killed them.

Would you do it?

I leave the answer to your own private conscience. But by the known rules of ancient liberty, there is no civic obligation to forbear such injustice in the hope that a magistrate may eventually prove reasonable. Your ancestors (the ones who were worth a shit) would view our modern sensibilities in this regard as ridiculous, if not totally incomprehensible. On the contrary: to them, killing to avoid being kidnapped would be perfectly normal and acceptable. If a man threatens you, arbitrarily and maliciously, with a kafkaesque nightmare, and all of it could be avoided by killing him, then what is his life worth from your perspective? Is it worth a life-long ordeal? How about a decade-long one? What about five years? Or two? How about six months? Again, I leave the answer to you. Obviously I’m not advising you to kill anyone, no matter how justified, because there’s zero chance you’d get away with it. You can’t get away with anything nowadays—no one can, which in itself ought to tell you something horrifying. Even if you could escape the system’s ubiquitous gaze, almost no one today is mentally equipped to survive off-grid, and even the lowest functionaries of e.g., the schools, the health care system and private businesses can exercise or activate some form of police authority that may not be much in the grand scheme, but could prove fatal if you rub them the wrong way, whether you are guilty of something or not. And even if you believe that most people are not worthy of real freedom, under this system, not even the worthy are free, and our unworthy rulers will not be, either, because the very possibility of freedom—of authentic human life—is foreclosed.

Already, the mass psychology that’s being insinuated in response to this pandemic is that there are literally no boundaries the authorities cannot cross, because you are beholden to “the herd” on a microbial level. There is nowhere to escape from this mindset. Hysterical, child-like awe of authority has, instantaneously—as if by magic—been given every rationalization. The exercise of official power has crossed the line into a realm so experimental it can only be classed as entirely arbitrary. There is no privilege or benefit, no deterrent or disincentive, that could possibly suffice in one fell swoop to obligate all to do exactly as we are told the way this virus is being leveraged to do now.

In a landmark New Deal-era ruling that greatly expanded executive power, the Supreme Court remarked that “Rulers come and go; governments end and forms of government change; but sovereignty survives. A political society cannot endure without a supreme will somewhere.” Indeed, unless you live in a true republic, if you’re not the sovereign, you are necessarily a subject. But every revolution is a revolution in consciousness. The reigns of power have always been in the mind. So if you are worthy, it is time to scale down the system, and scale up the man.

Crocodile Logos

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the god pill is dispensed by social media, as soon as you hit the wall

“Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. If it could be understood it would not answer their purpose. Their security is in their faculty of shedding darkness, like the scuttlefish, thro’ the element in which they move, and making it impenetrable to the eye of a pursuing enemy, and there they will skulk.” —Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp (1810)

“LOL, are you one of these coomers who wants to ban ‘hate speech’ but not porn?”

I don’t want to ban either. But when was the last time porn inspired a shooting? The social and psychological ill-effect of porn has been a lively topic of public discussion for nearly a decade—a discussion, not a debate, because the harms are proven. But until the alt-right got in on it, the issue was how to stop yourself, not about getting the government to do it for you.

I’m not sure porn is as bad as its most stringent detractors say it is—not because the effects aren’t real, but because choice still exists in the matter:

From a philosophical standpoint, pornography, like any other foul use of speech, has no socially redeeming value. But there is great value in having a government that lacks power in criminalizing people’s words, pictures, or thoughts, especially for the ill-defined goals of “community standards” imposed on other people. I’m not your parent, I’m not your priest.

As far as the “culture war”, this is the sort of thing you see pushed by Twitter conservatives, but there is no appetite for it in the real world. (Nothing is impossible for people who don’t have to do the fucking work.) Hard-core antipornites are a hashtag, not a voting block.

But meme magic is real: the above comment was stolen from a Reddit thread about a letter to AG Barr demanding he take action against porn, sent this week by four congressmen in the immediate wake of last weekend’s #BanPorn trending hashtag.

I have kids, okay? The oldest is nearly a teenager. My own formative years were substantially derailed by degeneracy, my own and that of others. So I’m hyper-aware of mass media social engineering, occult symbols—all that shit. And porn is clearly a tool of social engineering, I just don’t think that the harms are any worse than giving people who think like E. Michael Jones the power to ban it—and not just because he brazenly opposes the Bill of Rights in favor of Torquemada’s forceps. (He just told Alex Jones on a podcast interview that speech restrictions on social media are “antithetical to what we believe as Americans.” Presumably, he’s referring to the First Amendment. Yet he frequently, and with a straight face, calls for the reimposition of medieval Church doctrines which consigned Jews to second-class, “protected” status. I should think that would violate the First Amendment, too. Certainly it would be antithetical to what George Washington believed, about the Jews and religious liberty in general. It’s disappointing to have to take this stuff seriously, but as of this week we’re up to our third anti-semitic shooting in little over a year, and that’s just here in America.)

Jones’s thesis and most widely-quoted insight is that “Sexual liberation is a form of political control.” Truism like these can be oversimplified. Determining that you aren’t interested in having a say in what goes on between two consenting adults you don’t know is quite different than blackmailing a gay Senator. And if sexual liberation means the freedom to choose unwisely, it must also mean the freedom not to, which is a bit more than can be said for life under theocracy.

But to the considerable extent that sexual liberation is indeed a form of political control, so is sexual repression. When Jones bangs on about Wilhelm Reich and Theodore Adorno, what he flatly misunderstands is that those guys were not just condemning religion or the traditional family as such. They were also saying, basically, that those institutions contained a great deal of repressed sexual energy, and that fascism was those people’s way of having an orgy (sometimes literally.) Think about it: when the Iranian morality patrol drags an Instagram model by her hair to a police station, are they just repressing the sexual impulses of others, or are they sublimating their own? Are you sure you want people like that deputized?

Jones himself is quite a shill for the Ayatollahs. I realize that sounds jaundiced, but there’s really no better way to describe it: as the paid guest of a regime that has murdered hundreds of American servicemen, he travels to Iran—a country where Christians are consigned to the same second-class “protected” status Jones would like imposed upon Jews here—and appears on its state-run media to denounce the United States wholesale as morally corrupted by Jews. Well, there’s plenty wrong with the United States (and the Jews) but that’s no less aid and comfort than Tokyo Rose gave Hirohito.

Though of course there were various Jewish shrinks and impresarios (among many, many Gentiles) who helped to sell it, the mid-twentieth century was hardly the first time in world history that decadence has broken out. If you’re an acolyte of Jones, you’ll be amazed to discover that it has even happened occasionally without the aid of Jews. Nature is cyclical, not linear, and dark energies are going to get released one way or another. Hawthorne understood this very well. Not every behavior that reason shows to be perverse or destructive is amenable to our complete control, and the controls we do place on them should be as circumspect as possible, if only because easy assurance that we can subdue or eradicate the forces of nature is always a form of hubris, whether espoused by trans-humanists or theocrats.

Jones, for example, is fond of remarking that Islam upholds “the logos of the family.” But a lot of sub-rosa perversion goes on in Muslim countries, and Iran is no exception. Anyone who has had their brush with Muslim culture knows exactly what I’m talking about and how widespread it is. You can blame this all on the west (or the Jews), but everybody knows about the prophet’s pedophilic predilections. But even in modern America, traditional morality can actually disrupt the “logos of the family.” In 1989, in a case Hawthorne would’ve appreciated, the Supreme Court heard a challenge (Michael H. v. Gerald D.) to a California statute granting the presumption of paternity to the husband of the mother. A woman had cheated on her husband; they stayed together, but the biological father of the child she bore wanted visitation rights. Writing for the majority upholding the challenged law, Justice Scalia reasoned that it was supported by cultural norms and longstanding jurisprudence intended to protect the sanctity of marriage and the family. So in the name of protecting family, an infant child was denied, until the age of majority, the right to ever see or meet a biological parent who wanted to be in her life.

If you’re exceptionally miserable with a spouse, should you really have to prove—you, personally, to a judge—that one of you was beaten or cheated on in order to leave? Should you have to hazard pregnancy every time you shtup the missus? Multiply the you in this instance times a hundred million people and that’s how we got contraception and no-fault divorce. How monomaniacal do you have to be to believe that Jews are a necessary condition here? Miller and Roe came after Griswold, not before. But my point with these over-worn examples is that traditional sexual norms are not so cut-and-dry as the tradcath community wants to believe. It has to do with more than just full D-and-E abortions and story time drag queens with prolapsed rectums. And even if it didn’t, the alt-right argument that those things dramatically affect every man, woman and child from sea to shining sea is as obtuse and disconnected from reality as the libertarian argument that you should be okay with having a crack house next door, so long as it doesn’t violate the non-aggression principle. I mean, without too much effort on my part, my kids have never seen a drag queen, and no one in my life has ever had a late-term abortion. While those things are certainly sickening, and result from, and contribute to an aggregate deterioration in public morality, for the most part you still have to go online to feel affected by it.

And this helps illustrate a larger point: though you can pontificate and grandstand and merch-hawk on social media, the simple fact is that the scale of political community in America is so far beyond the traditional agora that resistance on a grand scale is illusory. Call it what you want, blame whomever you like, but that ship has sailed, and the way to find it is not through Congress or your ISP. “Seek not abroad, turn back into thyself, for in the inner man dwells the truth.” You’re online half the day, you don’t have three people you’d be willing to help move a couch, and you’re gonna stop a hundred million strangers from masturbating? Please. We live in times of anomie, depravity, and dissolution, but that isn’t stopping you from worshipping, getting in shape, getting an education, or starting a family. Spending time online in the alt-right, however, may be stopping you.

Don’t believe me? Well…. Porn is harmful, right? It’s addictive, it’s isolating, it detracts from real relationships, sets up unrealistic expectations, and exposes children to obscenity. It turns you into a hamster on a wheel chasing an ever more elusive hit of dopamine. Well guess what? So does social media, in the exact same way. It’s addictive, it’s isolating, it detracts from real relationships, sets up unrealistic expectations, and exposes children to predators and obscenity. It turns you into a hamster on a wheel chasing an ever more elusive hit of dopamine. The harm from porn addiction is a lot like the harm from simple overuse of the internet. And who’s on the internet more than the fucking alt-right? Sluts? Spammers? Grifters? Coomers? A man is known by the company he keeps. “But porn has never been more readily accessible!” That’s right—the problem is the computer, not just the content. The medium is the message. If all porn was removed from it tomorrow, the internet would be nearly as big a degeneracy agonist as it is now with all the anal sex. It destroys critical brain regions. It causes blindness (yes, even without porn.) It breaks up families. It renders higher cognitive functions reptilian, almost by design. The effects are observable.

So if you’re “rejecting degeneracy” or “revolting against the modern world” on Twitter and YT, you may have a problem. Twitter is awash in porn, yet E. Michael Jones posts there multiple times a day to over 17,000 followers. Do you think tradcath/alt-right content would even be on Twitter at all if it wasn’t helping the platform’s business model? “Well, the alt-right is using it to get a good message out.” Did you not read what I just wrote thirty seconds ago about addiction, social isolation, and fucking blindness? Or can’t you remember? No matter what anyone says, social media serves only two purposes: narcissistic aggression, and huckstering. Almost every internet personality with any kind of following is a frivolous grifter to some degree, and the mark they need in order to buy and sell is you.

Notice how Roosh didn’t need Christianity to become JQ-woke? He’d dialed that bit of vindictiveness in already—being a literal e-thot was no impediment, but eventually he hit the wall. Jesus is nothing but a last refuge for this kind of narcissist, and Roosh is no less narcissistic as a Christian. All he did was gauge the wind and stock next products, posing with a vacuous, far-off look of wannabe profundity all the time like some Insta slag having breakfast at the Four Seasons Wailea. Talk about idolatry—would anyone who has an ounce of shame and self-awareness be selfie-sticking a toll road to Damascus? And here we start to see how wonderfully convenient it must be to have recourse to so ready-made a vocation as castigating Jews at every turn. Incidentally, devout seersucker crusader Nick Fuentes is altogether a sly, deranged little Coco Puff packer on the order of Milo Yiannopolous. There is simply no reason to take any of these carnival barkers seriously. “Doctor” Jones is no exception, and in case you don’t believe me, he’s having a Christmas sale, and takes Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. I’m not saying the man shouldn’t make a living, but online marketing isn’t a real job no matter how much you love Jesus. Moral preening on social media is no less a sin of pride than physical preening, but at least Instagram whores have enough modesty not to press the Almighty into their service.

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In the Quran it is written that, when Judgment Day is concluded and the unfaithful are consigned to hell, they will cry out to Satan that he deceived them, and he will reply that, “I had no authority over you, but I called you, and you came.” Choose wisely, frens. Lolcowing Tinder screenshots of fat girls and single-moms is not anti-degeneracy, it requires degeneracy. It’s a chickenshit cope, and the only reason you don’t feel pathetic doing it is because it absolves you of having to face a real interaction—just like porn. “When men can hate without risk, their stupidity is easily convinced, the motives supply themselves.” (Think I can’t use Céline to mock the alt-right? Yeah, keep using Jesus to get retweets.)

St. Augustine wrote about finding his way to God by overcoming profligacy and waywardness. Without hedonism being available to him as an option, there would be no Confessions. There would be no Saint Augustine. Free will is perhaps the most important concept in teleological ethics and Abrahamic theology. Yet for over a millennium under Jewish, Christian and Islamic theocracies, people were for the most part not free to choose any number of things we take for granted today, including sexual profligacy. When people are not free to face their darker nature, they lose the capacity and the perspective to resist it. This is one reason why a millennium of theocracy has now given way to libertinism. And people who aren’t free to face their darker nature need a scapegoat, which the Jews provided to Europe for a thousand years. Yeah I know, they were very very naughty. But gentiles who were similarly naughty did not get scapegoated in this way, and Jews who weren’t did. And this scapegoat is exactly the role the Jews play in the alt-right/tradcath weltanschaung today. Collective responsibility is precisely what Roosh, EMJ and the rest of the alt-right believe in, and it is utterly “antithetical to what we believe as Americans.”

I know, I know: there are lots of wicked Jews on the loose nowadays, and they’re up to all manner of mischief. But the psychological mechanism underlying their importance to you and E. Michael Jones isn’t entirely connected to whether/to what extent this is true. According to the most recent Forbes list, 1/5 of the world’s billionaires are Jewish. (European Gentiles make up nearly 60%, so don’t talk to me about “overrepresentation.”) Does the alt-right focus only 1/5th of it’s animus on the Jews (or 60% on European Gentiles?) Hardly. The ready coherence of narratives like Jones’s would lose a great deal of force without this antagonist, both real and imaginary. For if the Jews are the enemies of all mankind, then mankind is not the enemy of itself, and believers can very cheaply be absolved of a great deal of introspection.

The Church (which in any case began from a schism among the Jews) has gotten a great deal of mileage out of this little loophole. Can it be a coincidence that the Church has seen its sharpest decline in public prestige and moral legitimacy only since the emancipation of the Jews? So thoroughly is the faith predicated on the negation of Judaism that any Jew’s conversion represents its ultimate legitimation. No penitent drunk or gap-toothed Papuan’s baptism could ever serve to vindicate Christianity like the chastened, exhausted collapse of a Hebrew before the smug mercy of his ancestors’ tormentors. Yet without recourse to project inner foreboding upon these recalcitrants—as if into a spittoon—St. Augustine’s advice to “seek not abroad” had finally to be taken, and we don’t much like when the abyss gazes back into us now, do we?

That is why Vatican II was so undermining to the Church. When Jones says “You can have unity in the Church, or good relations with the Jews, but not both,” he’s absolutely right—he just doesn’t understand why. “When men can hate without risk, their stupidity is easily convinced, the motives supply themselves.” And when they can’t, they might actually have to look in the mirror. But if that’s too much for you, you have an alternative in E. Michael Jones—a shrill mountebank whose pathetic career consists in conscripting Christ Jesus into the pride and vanity of moral grandstanding on social media, and hardly has greater social value than pornography. Like the alt-right more broadly, he’s a spiritual crutch for those who will always be stuck among the middling realms of wisdom and understanding. But if that’s really what those types need to keep from fondling themselves, they’re more than welcome to hate me. By my stripes be healed, frens. I don’t claim to speak for God, but at least I’m not asking for your money.

A Death in Reno

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If a man dies in Reno, did he ever really live?

Lou was a Serb from Cincinnati. I knew him because his mail-order bride was a friend of my Russian mother-in-law. Her name was Yulia. She’d been a schoolteacher in Ukraine.

Neither of them had any kids. Except for her mother back home, neither of them had any relatives, period. They lived in a one-bedroom apartment a few blocks down from us. I’d see him maybe twice a year at my in-laws’ place, and when we had them over for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving—that was my big act of charity for this guy, and a week later, every year, we’d get a package with treats and toys for the kids, and a thank-you card with a hand-written note that couldn’t have been more heartfelt. Just thinking about those packages, I feel awful. This guy languished and died three blocks down from me, for six years, almost totally alone—no kids, no friends, no extended family—and I knew, and I saw him less often than I see the garbageman.

At one time, years ago, Lou had a good-paying, white-collar job with some big company, but he’d been in a car wreck and lost a good deal of his mind. He was soft-spoken. He liked to talk politics, or high-brow movies, but he’d get confused real easy and lose his train of thought in mid-sentence. Once in awhile he’d make a wicked, salty joke, and you’d catch a glimpse of the man that used to inhabit him—witty, irreverent, self-assured. But mostly he just seemed vulnerable, because he knew he was crippled in the head, and when he realized that you knew, he’d get real embarrassed and clam up. I made it a policy to make conversation and treat him like he was perfectly normal. This was easy to do, because my in-laws and a lot of the friends they’d have around for parties were all educated and very self-righteously liberal, but Lou was conservative, which meant that even with his 6.5% rate of brain usage (or whatever it was) he was still smarter than most of them.

He and Yulia lived on his social security, and a pension from his old employer, but it wasn’t much, so they had to work. They were well into their seventies when we met. He worked “security” (I’d make the scare quotes bigger if I could) at a golf course. The place paid nine bucks an hour. She used to fold clothes seasonally, at department stores, which scarcely paid more. A couple of better-off Russian families in the neighborhood would hire her to give their kids language lessons, but they never stuck with it.

Yulia was already in her sixties when Lou brought her to the United States. She got her green card after they married, but she never became a citizen, because she spent six months out of the year with her elderly mother in Ukraine. She had a meager pension over there that she lived off of and used for airfare. This couldn’t have been entirely for her mother’s benefit, because she never went back during the winter. While she was gone, Lou would subsist on the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, and cheap TV dinners. He had a tremor in his hands. I doubt he could’ve opened a can of tuna.

Eventually, the golf course let him go, so he started driving for Uber. It made him feel pretty slick, like he was on the cutting edge. He even bought a pair of sunglasses and a faux-leather jacket, but he drove so far below the speed limit and racked up so many complaints about it that Uber fired him, too. Then he started driving for Lyft. This was right around the time the iPhone 7 came out, and some floozy passenger left one in his car. A couple hours later, as he was driving around, the thing started ringing like crazy from beneath the seat, so he pulled over and retrieved it, but he was embarrassed to answer because he was too confused to know where it came from or how to give it back, and too embarrassed to admit that he was too confused to figure it all out. So he went to McDonald’s to get a coffee and think things through, but all he came up with was to toss the phone in the bathroom trashcan and delete his Lyft app for good, forfeiting three or four hundred dollars of his own in the process.

The cancer took him quick—it couldn’t have been more than six weeks ago that I heard he’d gotten the diagnosis. It had probably been a decade or more since he’d even had a routine physical. I never went to see him in the hospital. My wife works sixty hours a week, I’m in medical school, our kids are growing—who has time? Yulia reached out to his nearest relative, a grand-niece somewhere in Illinois. Apparently, she isn’t interested. Yulia’s not going to host a funeral for him either. She’s trying to save money. She didn’t even bother to have his body dressed up, so he wore a hospital gown to his cremation. She plans to send his ashes to this niece by regular mail, probably in a store-brand freezer bag, and go back to Ukraine with his life insurance payout.

Thanksgiving—that was my big act of charity that I did for Lou. Everything we do for others in America is fetishized, performative, peremptory, and remote. Toys for Tots, breast cancer, all this kind of de-personalized annual bullshit. If we listened to our hearts, we might have to take Jesus’s advice. And then what would become of Uber, and McDonald’s, and the iPhone 7?

A Serb—a man—died this month, in Reno, on All Souls Day, alone, in an indifferent hospital ward named for the mother of God, off an interstate freeway that never stops. I hope there’s something better for him beyond.

il y a une lumière

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mirror mirror, on the wall

>”For some, Notre Dame serves as a symbol of an idealized France that never really existed.
>”For some, the human brain, which is really just taco meat, serves as a symbol of an idealized, interconnected web of neural pathways.”
>”For some, geometry serves as a discriminatorily encoded reification of hierarchies of institutional dominance in a romanticized grid of space-time.”
>”For some, Botticelli’s Venus serves to unrealistically conflate womanhood with light and beauty, thus obscuring and denigrating cankles, acne, period blood, cockroaches, dead puppies, and choleric diarrhea flecked with wiry asshairs.”
>”For some, a cocker spaniel is a child, and a kindergartener is a melanoma.”
>”For some, belly buttons are assholes, midgets are space dolphins, and you can get pregnant in the poopy hole.”

An Introduction to Hermeticism

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Bapholment

Okay: I’m going to reveal something crazy deep that sounds counter-intuitive. Stay with me. Are you ready? Here goes:

Hermeticism is bullshit; elaborate riddles and intimations of great profundity masking empty smugness and rapacity. It’s a cool-kids’ circle jerk, and the cool-kids are all Dorian Gray with one fuckin’ mirror in front and another behind:

“Jim Carey reveals the secrets of sexual alchemy to Norm MacDonald!” Deep in the Plato’s cave of their own assholes, these people have no idea what they look like. “There is a substance that comes from your…..” wherever, the obvious implication (because Christianity “has been altered”) being that, once revealed, the esoteric is the only real insight in scripture. Of course, a narcissistic minion like Jim Carey is not the finest exponent of this thinking, but he’s the perfect product of it.

Keep in mind that I’m not denying that the Bible is full of pre-Abrahamic wisdom and imagery. I’m not saying you’re going to burn in hell if you don’t hew only to the exoteric and take it all literally. But the esoteric, astrologic and pre-Abrahamic stuff is embedded in scripture because it’s being made subordinate to the moral order of the Supreme Being. It’s not saying “do what thou wilt” between the lines.

This solipsistic pop-exegesis and schlock number magick is utterly literalistic and narrow, amounting to what is referred to in Judaism as making use of the Crown (as in Pirke Avot, “He who makes use of the Crown shall perish.”) Whatever stultifying nonsense made its way into the Talmud, Hadith, the Pauline epistles, etc., whatever may or may not be encoded in scripture from the Egyptians or the Babylonians or the Pythagorean Hermaphrodites, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the simplicity of faith. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” As above, so below is the credo of Babel. All you need to know about the occult is its emphasis on secrecy, on personal attainment, and on refashioning the world as if God’s creation is deficient. May I humbly suggest the following sources instead?:

“There is no enchantment against Jacob; no divination against Israel.” (Numbers 23:23)

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” (Mark 10:15)

“Do not be sure of yourself until the day of your death.” ―Pirke Avot

“Understand that for every rule which I have mentioned from the Quran, the Devil has one to match it, which he puts beside the proper rule to cause error.” ―Al-Ghazali