Nationalism as Nihilism

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Is this tradition?

Over the past year or so, the most apt and philosophically grounded alt-right content by far has been from Keith Woods. Yet his worldview also demonstrates the paucity of political imagination from this milieu. This is perfectly encapsulated in a horrible little listicle he just published over at Radix Journal.

In “The Coming Decline of Globalism,” Woods lists his reasons why nationalists should be hopeful that liberalism is dying. It’s a Gordian knot of dead-ends and clichés: the rise of populism is touted. The internet is held up as a harbinger of decentralization. The decline of the United States is forecast hopefully. The Putin kleptocracy is hailed as a religious revival, dystopian China’s vast human ant farm as a bastion of “tradition.”

The first item on Woods’s list is China’s reintegration of Hong Kong: “In many ways, Hong Kong is symbolic of the western international order. It has little identity or culture to speak of beyond being a city state ruled by financial interests for financial interests.” Identity. What an absolute vacuum of a word. This is typical alt-right question-begging. Exactly how is “identity” or “nationalism” an antidote to neoliberalism? When it’s convenient, neoliberalism conjures nationalism all over the world (the Balkans, the Caucasus, the subcontinent, the South China Sea, among American blacks) and offers a plethora of a la carte identities, of which alt-right dilettantism is a perfect example.

Woods goes on: “In fact, [Hong Kong’s] lack of a real identity is precisely its identity, the kind of anti-identity that characterizes the spaces where neoliberalism finds its truest expression.” Again: what the fuck is “identity”? Are global financial interests really inimical to it? China is the murky boiler room of global financial elites—nothing that destabilizes it is good for them. It’s also a testing ground for the infrastructure of automated social control, which is a favorite predilection of global oligarchs. The riots in Hong Kong saw people attacking that infrastructure. That’s a good thing.

But for Woods to address the fact that China is imposing with hard power the same AI dystopia that Euro-Atlantic elites are ushering in using soft power (and that the two sides collude extensively) would disrupt this neat paradigm where neoliberalism represents pure disorder (rather than managed chaos) and statism is a good in itself, so long as it is cheaply predicated on some Potemkin “identity.” For if neoliberalism is the opposite of statism, then neoliberalism is wholly systemic, a permutation, and its increasing authoritarianism need not be taken seriously as the product of deliberate policymaking informed by a guiding vision.

Woods’s views are even less well-considered when it comes to economics. He says that “China has demonstrated that economic development and innovation can be achieved without democracy and liberalism.” Putting aside the issues of pirated technology and (more importantly) who China’s customers are: has China demonstrated that development and innovation can be achieved without sprawling, neo-Dickensian charnel houses? Without a pervasive, dystopian AI minder state? Without ecological destruction unprecedented in scale? Without centralization of power in ways that destroy everything local, seasonal, and traditional? Without cultural homogenization across vast areas? Without the targeted destruction of traditional cultures and nations (like the Uyghurs and Tibetans) through mass migration, forced intermarriage and horrific anti-natal policies?

On the contrary: China, like America, has proved that economic development inevitably produces all of those things. Yet democracy and liberalism are the only explanations Woods has for them, because he has nothing to say about them unless they occur in the West. “Economic development and innovation” here is just a euphemism for state capitalism, and if you look at who put up the seed money for Apple and Google and Oracle you’ll find the exact same thing. But whether it takes hold on the eastern or western model, the Lorax end-result is the same. Woods goes on to claim that “Without the force of American unipolar hegemony and the expansive dominance of rootless international finance capital, tradition and identity can again assert itself.” Again: what the fuck is “tradition”? The decline of the United States is a stage, not in the decline of capitalism, but in the “expansive dominance of rootless international finance capital” itself.

I’m not trying to be a lefty deconstructicon here. I’m not saying identity and tradition don’t exist. But terms are meaningless without clear definitions—and they’re even more meaningless when they’re given fake, insipid definitions by gangsters with air forces, regardless of how much those guys counter-signal the Pentagon.

Accordingly, though he offers no positive vision or definition of “identity” and “tradition,” what Woods will accept as compatible with these concepts is all kitsch. “[The Hagia’s Sofia’s] place as a museum was a symbol of Ataturk’s vision of a secular, westernizing Turkey. Its reversion to a Mosque is a rejection of this vision, another bold assertion of a primordial national and religious identity against the infestation of the identity-less, consumer friendly spaces of neoliberalism.” I’m also inclined to favor Erdogan’s taking Turkey in a more independent direction, but the restoration of the Hagia Sofia to a mosque is not a gesture to the West but part of a power struggle within the dar-el Islam—which is an aggressive, international force that has always sought to homogenize cultures and territories, and in the end it is no less vulnerable to modernity and increasingly cheap self-reinvention than anything else we might cherish as “tradition.” If it represented a threat to neoliberalism (or neoliberalism to it) there would be no mass-migration of Muslims into Europe.

Then there’s the astounding ignorance Woods brings to the subject of Russia:

Russia’s transformation from a failed state of demoralized people subjected to the worst effects of liberal governance and privatization in the early 1990’s to the independent, religious and nationalist state it is today looks like a potential best case scenario for other western countries looking to what comes after globalization.

This is pure fantasy. Russia’s fortunes today rise and fall at the behest of Congress and the Saudi oil ministry only slightly less than in 1995. “[T]he worst effects of liberal governance and privatization [of] the early 1990’s” are still haunting Russia in the form of a debauched hereditary oligarchy that made its fortunes as a direct result of those policies. Among its most shameless members is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a noted cigarette smuggler and unrepentant communist stoolie. And while this monk lives in opulence, profaning the name of God by ratifying every filthy act of the government, his country’s life expectancy (and church attendance) is among the lowest of any developed country, its rate of abortion, drug abuse and single-mother households among the highest. While his associates keep their money offshore, Putin robs public pensions and imposes exorbitant new taxes on even the smallest personal savings accounts, year after year. This self-styled protector of Syrian Christianity enables a sharia-mafia state to flourish within Russia’s borders—not just in Chechnya, but in every major Russian city where Chechen criminals enjoy commodities monopolies with the connivance of the FSB. He uses Muslim mercenaries to attack his Christian neighbors in Georgia and Ukraine. And his attack on the latter country—not just his support for separatists in the east but his totally gratuitous and counter-productive takeover of Crimea, a display of vulgar impunity for its own sake—directly caused the first schism within the Orthodox Church since 1096 and has dredged up bad blood between Slavs that may never fully heal.

This is identity?

Woods cannot even say what this word means for any practical purpose. So while his critique of liberalism is engaging and well-read, harkening back to the finest alt-right content circa 2010-2015, his overall worldview has no principles other than might makes right, so long as the might in question is not shrewd but pretentiously aesthetic or shamelessly domineering. This is mere vindictive, nihilistic opposition to liberalism. It can make no objection (on principal or otherwise) to the IMF-style Chinese takeover of poor East European and Central Asian countries, or the venal thievery of oriental strongmen, which they cover over with fake appeals to national mythology while they send their kids to Switzerland for school and Germany for doctor’s appointments. It cannot defend free inquiry, due process, a single religion to the exclusion of others, nor even religion itself; nor any of the principles that made the West unique. Indeed, it sees individualism and liberty not as principles to be harmonized with communalism and duty, but as slogans to be rejected peremptorily in absolute favor of the opposite slogans. Yet it cannot even decide between populism and autocracy. It’s not a “third position.” It’s not any kind of position.

It’s nothing.

Wear the Mask, Bigot

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“TRS retweeted”

I had an instructor in professional school, a black woman, who used to arbitrarily hand out low grades to smart white students. (No—not just to me.) She would always gerrymander the topic of race into her lectures, too. It was very annoying. Essentially, this person lived and breathed negritude. She had a software system in her brain that not only scanned constantly for certain signs, but could make totally unrelated signs fit the patterns her software was designed to uncover. This is the kind of thing I have always seen going on with the JQ on the alt-right:

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You’re more than welcome to take a look at the thread that Enoch here is retweeting from. You may notice a few things. First, Zach Goldberg does not have a blue checkmark. He’s not a public personality. For a private person, 12.9K followers is nothing to sneeze at, but his word is no more consequential than Enoch’s is at 14.3K. Second, where does Zach Goldberg “blame whites for the problem”? I don’t see it. Third—who is “everybody clapping”? The reactions to Goldberg’s thread seem to mostly be from Joe Rogan bro types. For them, the information presented is novel indeed. So what’s more likely? That Goldberg is appropriating white nationalist narratives because he’s a Jew who wants to co-opt pro-white audiences? But that would be Mike Enoch’s job. Zach Goldberg, on the other hand, is obviously just a derpy centrist who’s late to these insights.

When you commit yourself to narrow activism, you have to die on that hill, and there will be times that you have to make a lawyerly argument, to obfuscate, to filibuster and demagogue. It takes no great powers of perception to pick up on the fact that Mike Enoch is a master of this. But what this little example with the Zach Goldberg retweet reveals is that Enoch also has no problem concocting the purest, most blatant lies and putting them in front of his audience.

A couple weeks ago I was listening to an FTN podcast, and within the first ten minutes, one of the presenters, referring disdainfully to conspiracy theories about COVID-19, says, “If you can convince me that Bill Gates is Jewish, I’ll believe this conspiracy.”

Putting aside the fact that in the current year, of course Jewish plutocrats are involved in a ruling class conspiracy, FTN here encapsulates my whole problem with alt-right JQ memes. Bill Gates is fucking shady. COVID-19 is shady. The government’s whole response to it is shady. It’s obviously a huge psyop. Yet in the (apparent) absence of Jews ex machina, none of this interests FTN. Months after they happened, TRS podcasters are still disparaging the anti-lockdown protests (~45:10) in terms resembling those used by liberal pundits. NPI/Radix is likewise still treating COVID-conspiracy theory dismissively (~38:00). This isn’t just a difference of opinion about the numbers. It’s moral support for a plutocrat agenda from people who brand themselves as dissidents.

Here’s another example, this one from James Allsup: “Easily Falsifiable 5G Conspiracies are a Hamster Wheel for White People.” Well of course an “easily falsifiable” conspiracy theory is a trap—for anyone who falls for it. But that’s not what Allsup means. TRS has internalized MSM tactics, which (again) they have an obvious talent for. So the point of an article like this is not to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to 5G conspiracy theories. It’s to plant a suggestive seed in the minds of unwary followers that some (pretend) authority says you’re a moron if you’re giving consideration to any 5G conspiracy theories. Yet 5G is a critical tool of an incoming system of totalitarian control. You only have to look at the facts. Why would these self-styled dissidents want to discourage that?

They do the same thing with 9/11—not just to their audience, but to their colleagues. A few years ago on a podcast (~50:00), podcaster “The Mad Wop” starts in with a bit of trutherism. Promptly, and with a lot of pretentious sighs and awkward pauses, Enoch and McNabb start steering him away like a couple of boardwalk con-men, claiming there’s no hard evidence for dissenting theories, blaming Saudi Arabia and “bureaucratic incompetence.” McNabb then asks, supposing it was an inside job, “what does it get us” to promote 9/11 truth?

IDK, what does it get you to promote Goebbels and Himmler? TFOH.

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First they say al-Qaeda did it, then they say they’ve “always been skeptical” (~20:00) of the official narrative. Then they say the Jews did 9/11 at the same time (~20:00) they say the Jews “created the whole 9/11 truth movement.” None of this makes sense. Noticers aren’t supposed to not notice things. Professional noticers are not supposed to run a sideline in telling their audience, “Move along, nothing to see here.”

So what am I saying? Am I saying that TRS are feds or that you shouldn’t be listening to them? Look: when they’re right, they’re right—amen. When they’re entertaining, they’re entertaining—bravo. And when they’re lying, they’re lying. I frankly couldn’t care less about their identities, or their real motivations. I don’t really know who anybody is on the internet. The only barometer of honesty is whether the things you say are true. TRS says many true things, and they also have a propensity for obscurantism that’s very odd considering the boldness of their worldview in other areas.

There’s a name for this kind of thing. It’s called gatekeeping. Beyond that, I won’t speculate. I don’t have to.

Boatman’s Bluff

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spare me

The year after college I was an ambulance EMT. I started in July, and it wasn’t until September that I was assigned a steady shift with a partner. Before that I just bounced around between paramedics, snoozing, reading, and writing this blog on my cellphone between inventory and 911 calls.

My first code blue was an OD, on my first day of work. We arrived on scene before fire to find a supine fat kid unresponsive on a back driveway, with a gaggle of bleary-eyed teenagers who’d obviously waited too long to call, and were real quiet and vague about what happened to their friend.

I attached the EKG nodes and started bagging while my paramedic trainer pounded on his chest. No cardio activity. Fire arrived and they started banging on his chest in a rotation. Still no activity. Then someone offered to bag while I pumped, and I went to town so hard on this kid that I cracked his sternum. The snapping sound was horrific, but the moment it happened the heart monitor gave a beep and started going.

The thing about it was, everything happened in under ten minutes, and although he died later that day, when we dropped him in the ER the kid was still alive—unconscious and intubated, but alive. It wasn’t until November that year that I actually witnessed a death.

Now, I’m an omega, a contrarian loner who hates rules and rarely strikes up a lasting friendship. I’m also fairly tall and large-framed. My first paramedic partner, Tommy Gonzales, was a medic second lieutenant in the National Guard, the kind of beta-simp who joins the service to compensate. He looked like Eugene Levy—gaunt, about 5’6″, and very uptight, but highly intelligent, which necessitated bending the rules as often as they got in the way of logic. I respected him for that.

One night just about dusk as I was driving Tommy around the Sonic drive-thru, we got coded to a trailer park. Again, we got there before fire. Again, the patient was supine, this time on a shabby carpet. It was a double-wide with fake wood paneling and a bunch of taxidermied elk heads on the walls. The guy must’ve been in his mid-sixties. He was shirtless and barefoot in a pair of jeans that hadn’t been washed in a coon’s age, skinny-fat like alcoholics often are, and covered in a half-inch layer of wooly grey body hair that went all the way up his neck to an untrimmed beard. The place was strewn with empty pint bottles and crushed-up Coors cans.

The family was all assembled—son, daughter, daughter-in-law, adult grandkid. They said they’d found him the way he appeared, unresponsive, not breathing. They thought he’d choked on a turkey sandwich he’d been eating lying down, and that he must’ve rolled off the couch onto the floor. That was what it looked like. I had to shave him to place the EKG nodes, then Tommy and I started doing our thing.

It was a long night. The monitor gave just enough activity after a minute of CPR that we had to keep going even though the guy’s chances were very slim. Fire got on scene and Tommy started trying to intubate, but the laryngoscope kept bringing up turkey sandwich. The firefighters and I rotated doing CPR while Tommy smeared gob after gob of partly digested food like pâté onto the inner lining of a red haz bag. Eventually we got the guy tubed. His cardio kept flopping and starting back up with just enough activity for hope.

At one point I stood up to stretch my legs. Across the room, the family was piled around a card table in the corner, faces downcast, their arms draped around one another, watching their patriarch recede into eternity past indifferent, knee-jerk bureaucracy—past us, with two forms of state-issued ID over his eyes. We were the boatmen.

Above the family on the wall was a framed and faded portrait of a proud and fearsome Marine with a flag half-draped across the background. That was the guy we were trying to save. The two of them couldn’t have looked more different. He wasn’t in his body anyway, yet he might not’ve been further away than that portrait. I felt this sudden sense of reverent foreboding in the pit of my stomach, that this man lying dead at my feet was witnessing his family’s despair, and screaming desperately from just out of reach of them.

After three hours, Tommy advised the family that things weren’t going to turn around. They nodded stoically. We called up to the hospital and signed the necessary forms. Then we packed up our equipment in haz bags and debriefed with the firefighters before leaving them to wait for the coroner.

That shift went long. We went back to base, cleaned up, and tried to get a nap, but the calls just kept coming. The 24-hour shift that had begun just before that code in the Sonic drive-thru turned into 35, 36, then 40, and topped out at 51.

At one point we dropped someone at the ER. It was about 9 in the morning. I was sitting in the driver’s seat of the ambulance waiting for Tommy to snag Graham crackers and juice boxes from inside at the nurse’s station, when all of a sudden I started sobbing maniacally, just huge choking sobs without any kind of buildup or anticipation whatsoever. It was so primal. There was no reflection, no social pressure (I was completely alone) and no reason to feel anything. I hadn’t known the guy, the Marine—I hadn’t known him. I’d run plenty of codes, seen lots of pitiable people in sorry states and felt bad for them, and I’d gone hours by then without it occurring to me that I’d been impacted at all. It was just a job, I was just exhausted, I just wanted to go home to my family, I just wanted a burrito. This is America—nobody has real feelings. I remember that I’ve had them, back when I was a kid, but I don’t even remember what real feelings feel like. It’s been six years since that 911 call and in all that time I haven’t experienced a comparably spontaneous and authentic emotion. And yet it happened, in spite of every social pressure militating against it.

It’s strange how things incubate in us when we thought they didn’t matter, or that we’d forgotten them. Sometimes when I discipline our kids, my wife gets on me and says, “This isn’t the army, you know!” On the one hand, when I hear this it sounds odd, because the army is the furthest thing from my memory and my motivations. On the other hand, my first reaction is to feel she’s being unreasonable, because life is rough, and it’s better they learn it first from their dad. But what she sees me doing that I can’t see myself is sublimating an experience that’s constantly with me in ways I’m almost never aware of. Sublimating the untold humiliations and death by a thousand cuts of being a king, and a piece of shit, all at the same time.

Unfollow, Pt. III

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(Part I here, Part II here, Part IV here)

As I stood in the socially-distanced self-checkout of my nearby Idiocracy Costco, gazing vacantly across a field of eggplant-shaped cattle, the whole history of our species from the agricultural revolution flashed before me, and I understood all at once how the instinct for absolute safety and convenience is strangling everything worthy that’s in us.

I don’t want to beat my sword into a ploughshare—that’s ridiculous. My sword is who I am. Yet here I am, smashed between a hammer and an anvil. I look at my youngest son and see the most unadulterated aggressive instincts. There’s no resentment or ulterior motive, just pure joy. He just wants to fight—to box and run and sword-fight and do archery—and the whole world is against him. Our world is predicated on neurosis and anti-social impulses. Every protected class of people is fundamentally self-loathing. Every feature of modern life conduces toward cowardice and resignation.

Lysander Spooner described the U.S. Constitution as a contract that binds no one. Ironically, that is now the U.S. government’s position as well. You probably don’t know my identity, and I don’t know yours, but (as you already know) a global shadow government knows both our identities, because its skynet backlogs our every word and keystroke—every purchase and fap sesh—in real time. No proposition could be more straightforward than that this proves you are not a man, a citizen, nor even a consumer (who at least in theory has choices) but a subject.

What does it mean to be a subject? It means you have no moral agency. The mandarins of a parallel society will decide right and wrong for you. A good illustration of this was in the news recently. An Omaha middle school employee named James Fairbanks sent letters to the local press confessing to the murder of a repeat child rapist who had gotten away with a couple slaps on the wrist and was out walking around. Somehow, Fairbanks became aware of him, and of some pretty clear evidence that he intended to continue kid-fucking, and decided to kill him instead.

He was charged with first degree murder. The district judge who ordered him held without bond declared that, “There is a reason we are a nation of laws and don’t take justice into our own hands.” Yes, exactly—in this case, so that children can be raped. That is the reason. According to his own daughter, the victim here raped dozens of kids over a period of decades. Lots of people knew what he had done, and could reasonably know that he was never going to stop, yet none but Fairbanks took the highly intuitive step of greasing him. Why not? Because the system told them not to.

Milan Kundera said that “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” What’s this guy’s beef with power? Well, by power, he meant the Stasi, who were capable of a great deal less than the U.S. government; but at least its subjects knew how to read. As Jonathan Bowden once remarked, under liberalism, you talk like a Jamaican gangster, and books don’t have to be burned because 40% of the population can’t read them anyhow. We are to our forebears what a beagle is to a grey wolf. By the sum of a million little undecisions, we sign up for this degradation.

The coronavirus lockdowns—the destruction of livelihoods and total abrogation of civil liberties—put me in an extremely libertarian, even anarchist place. I wasn’t alone: a great deal of overlap began to manifest between the anarchist accounts I follow on social media, and the alt-right ones. And then something strange happened: the Minneapolis riots broke out, and (apparently for the sake of consistency) not a few of these alt-right people stuck around on the anarchist side, decrying supposed police heavy-handedness against African-Americans and lauding the riots as a “boogaloo,” with memes like “This is what ‘don’t tread on me’ looks like.”

Setting aside the fact that the “intelligence community” is known to seed and manipulate these subcultures: this is an absolutely delusional take. First of all, Metro PD is undoubtedly a part of “the system.” But so is the media, the Department of Justice, and every public official in Minnesota (and beyond) now calling for Derick Chauvin’s head with every concern for their power and careers, and no concern for the fairness of the system that will try him. Yet (as always with these essentially staged events) the rioters’ grievances are focused solely on municipal police—and on the average white person, whose “privileges” and “implicit attitudes” are presumed to be propping up the world like Atlas.

And this narrative persists when the same system—that just put 100 million people out of work and vilified them for protesting peacefully; that backlogs virtually all our private communications; that tells us not to “take justice into our own hands” and ice a child rapist it has enabled and deigned unworthy of proportionate punishment—gives a mob the go-ahead to torch American cities. George Carlin once remarked that “The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class.” There is a great deal of racial insight there that Carlin probably did not intend. Accordingly, as with every race riot since Rodney King, Minneapolis is 100% a media phenomenon. And if the system has direct access to your brain the way it does with these “protesters,” then you’re not against the system. You are the system.

The alt-right is the only sub-culture that really clearly perceives the cynical ways that the deviant and the marginalized are pressed into service in this way by the powers the be. But what the alt-right cannot see is the way this draws their alienation into fruitless hostility with those groups, i.e., on the basis of their characteristics and not their behavior.

A related problem with the alt-right is that it is reactionary rather than affirmative. No one in the alt-right just woke up one morning with a penchant for goose-stepping. Rather, it is felt by these types that, because liberal democracy has betrayed liberty and become authoritarian, that this fire must be fought with the fire of an illiberal authoritarianism. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Orwell once said that “if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you.” That time is now. The minute corona hit stateside, the whole alt-right peanut gallery came down with a major case of hypochondria, praising the Chinese and denigrating “conspiracy theories.”

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neoliberalism is statism

It’s very hard to believe (for example) that the TRS network can be so well-versed in Whitney Webb’s reporting on Israeli spyware (they never seem to cite her work, but it’s the sole basis of a lot of their podcasts) and not take seriously everything she’s been reporting about DARPA and big tech plotting to chip everybody like cattle. Deep-diving the “evolutionary psychology” of every lumpy kike they worked with in a call center is more interesting, I suppose. But when every problem looks Yiddish, it’s because you have a favorite gas.

This is actually analogous to certain alt-right criticisms of the alt-lite, e.g., Tommy Robinson:

The whole argument of all these sorts of anti-Islamists is, Muslims are scary, please don’t hurt us… All they’re doing is, they want to preserve their own nihilism, because Islam is a metaphysically objectivist system… Whereas these western nihilists just want to wallow in their own hedonism, that’s what they want to defend.

This kind of eggheaded take ignores the fact that alt-right thought leaders are as eager as the EDL to be kept creatures of a paternalistic state, so long as no one rocks the boat. I mean, what’s more “metaphysically objectivist” than a chimp-out? Police-informant regimes forcing people into stadiums to do calisthenics hasn’t altered mass man’s basic mediocrity anywhere it’s been tried. The only difference between the alt-right (or 3P or whatever autistic label they’re giving themselves nowadays) and fully automated luxury space communism is that the former is racist. Well I don’t think that racism in the form of words and opinions is all that wicked per se. But if you’d trade the Bill of Rights for Hugo Boss, what exactly is setting you apart from the homies?:

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Of course he may be right to surmise that western powers are abetting the HK protests. But no one really believes this demagogue when he says he “has no idea what these protests are even about.”

Liberty is priceless. There’s no identity worth trading for it.

Deconstructing Zionism, Pt. I

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if you will it, it is no dream

The Jews are probably the most hated group of people on the planet, and to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, any people that is so widely hated must be doing something wrong. Now, I don’t think that Kissinger’s view is necessarily correct. Jesus was hated in his time, and so was Socrates. But whether we’re right or wrong to be hated, there is much to be said for how one deals with being hated; and a great deal of the rightness or wrongness of being hated can be measured there.

So how do the Jews deal with being hated? We demand acceptance. We castigate others as immoral for not liking us, and feel deeply entitled as victims to validation and moral support. There can be no greater accomplishment for Israel than to simply be acknowledged as existing, by Chad or Honduras or some Egyptian TV presenter. This is absolutely pathetic. North Korea has more self-respect.

When the Arabs bury their war dead, they own their choices by declaring that the fallen died on account of Islam. When Israelis bury their war dead, they say the exact same thing. Muslims take the initiative; Jews just keep having things happen to them. The Arabs have martyrs; the Jews have victims—and victims are always on the defensive. When the French lost Alsace and Lorraine, they resolved to “remember it always and speak of it never.” In contrast, it is doubtful that Israel can ever shut up about all its massacres and humiliations, which it fetishizes and nurses its children on. It’s disgusting.

Of course there are many trends and factions in Zionism, and many different personality types in Israel. But as with my prior essay series on Judaism, the question is, what is the general tendency? Well… Who is Zionism’s most representative personality? It’s not Joseph Trumpeldor or Imi Lichtenfeld. It’s Jared Kushner, or Rahm Emmanuel. They may not be the most powerful Jews in America, but they’re the best exemplars of how Jewish power in America functions, and Jewish power in America is more fundamental to Zionism than anything that goes on in Israel.

Not long ago, fashionable liberals believed Israel to be a jackbooted anachronism in a liberalizing world. I was a proponent of the corollary view that Israel is based and redpilled for a long time. But I was wrong. In fact, the opposite is true: it would be more accurate to say that Israel is to the liberal world order what Prussia once was to the Holy Alliance.

The goal of late-stage liberalism is to advance “progress” across a theoretically limitless field of human backwardness. The goal of Zionism is to secure the existence of the Jewish people against a theoretically limitless field of outside hostility. Like the enemies of Hamlet or Big Brother, these ideologies’ adversaries are everywhere and nowhere at once. Efforts to ferret them out and crush them must constantly be redoubled. The conclusion each one must eventually reach is that might makes right. And like late-stage liberalism, which functions in machiavellian fashion as its adherents go around preaching human rights, Zionism asserts in the same breath both that Israel has a non-contingent moral “right to exist,” and that its contingent, amoral strength is its ultimate justification.

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make up your mind dude

Like a man, there comes a time in the life of any regime or ideology when potentialities are null, and what you see is what you get. What we see with Zionism is a regime that cannot sustain itself without plundering and subjecting a foreign civilian population to permanent martial law. We see a state complicit in the destruction of entire nations (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen) as a matter of its most intrinsic long-term strategy. We see a culture obsessed with victimhood, “remembrance,” and death. We see a people that believes it has special dispensation from morality, with a clandestine orientation to the outside world that is by turns vindictive and pathetic. We see an ideology that increasingly cannot tolerate criticism, because its conscience is not clean. screen-shot-2020-11-29-at-11.02.39-am

Zionism once promised a “new Jewish man,” but after seventy-two years of Zionism the Jew, and the Jewish Israeli, is every bit the specially protected creature his forbear was in medieval Europe, subject to occasional massacres as a matter of course. Where once the relationship of hofjude to crown was the thread by which the community’s safety swung, today the country is dependent on billionaire surrogates pulling strings in foreign capitals. Zionism has accomplished a great deal, but changed nothing fundamental about the Jewish character and its relationship to the world. Why not?

Part II

Also published at Affirmative Right

Unfollow, Pt. II

A homeowner fed up with a string of neighborhood burglaries kills a negro who may or may not have been minding his own business, and somehow it’s a mandatory “national conversation.” We’ve seen this show before. Cui bono?

That would be the oligarchs playing an underclass against tax cattle, to separate 60% (and declining) of the population from its most basic survival instincts. It’s MLK meets MK-ultra. But what I mean by this is not that “survival” requires fear of black people. On the contrary. Fear is what this country’s owners are pushing. It’s the instincts that conduce toward liberty and dignity that they’re scheming to deprive us of. They’re just using black people to do it:

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As discussed previously, last month Michiganders fed up with absolute government power stormed the statehouse in Lansing toting ARs. They didn’t really do anything, but State legislators boohooed on Twitter anyway, and the intelligentsia piled on. Over a week after the protest dissipated, the State Rep. pictured above, a Democrat who advocates citizen disarmament, strode into work with an armed (civilian) escort to protect her from “protesters bearing white supremacist symbols.”

The anti-lockdown protests at Lansing began on April 15. Protesters entered the capitol building on April 30. All told, this story was national news for three weeks. You would think that if just one of those protesters was “bearing white supremacist symbols,” the media would’ve found a way to have a field day with it well in advance of May 8, when this slander first surfaced in The Hill. Yet they didn’t. So where did it come from? The Hill attributes it to a local Michigan paper, which claims to have sourced it from video evidence posted by Rep. Anthony to her Facebook page—which contains no such video. And this smear surfaced just three days after a similar one fizzled. The moral of the story is that if you’re white, and armed, and opposed to absolute government power, you’re a Nazi—period. Human dignity is criminalized, starting in the media.

But that’s just the long-term angle. In the short-term, the point is to distract from these corona-powers that are instigating the protests, exactly as the killing of Trayvon Martin was employed to redirect almost immediately after the suppression of Occupy Wall Street (which had apparently outlived its usefulness.) Last week, when reporters asked the masked gunmen guarding that Dallas salon their names they replied, “Duncan Lemp.” See what I’m saying? To the criminal conspiracy that runs this country, Ahmaud Aubrey was a godsend.

However, that homeboy lay dead for over two months before he made the New York Times suggests that nationally, this isn’t news—it’s expertly timed propaganda. Maybe the DA’s initial decision not to indict the McMichaels was baksheesh between good ol’ boys, and maybe it wasn’t. But does similar partiality not go on where blacks are in charge? I don’t want to discount the possibility that the McMichaels are racists or belligerent people who unfairly targeted an innocent man. But how many innocent black victims of white firearms ownership would that make—this week, this month, this year? #JoggingWhileBlack is no more (and definitely much, much less) of a thing than jogging while white is, especially in major metro areas. So just talking about this kind of Bonfire of the Vanities media event with even a modicum of reverence inevitably concedes something to the suspicion it’s meant to cast upon white people who don’t outsource their safety to the government—i.e., “yes, we have impure thoughts, conversations need to be had, inquests need to be made.” Sorry, no. I am not setting foot in that confessional, whose purpose is to stymie the kind of dissent we just saw in Michigan.

The current controlled-libertarian talking point is that McMichael the elder is an ex-cop, so fuck him. I’m not a cop sycophant, but the McMichaels were private persons, acting in a private capacity. If they really did have him on video committing prior break-ins, then they didn’t go to Ahmaud Arbrey, he came to them. What’s more libertarian than protecting your own neighborhood? “But they called white privilege 911!” How’s that working out for them? You’ll notice it’s not a Citizens’ Counsel clamoring for capital charges here—it’s the intelligentsia. If we’re going to oppose overbearing police power, we ought to be consistent.

But the policy-making class doesn’t actually oppose police power. They are the police. The media, academia, the legal and STEM professions, have considerable power to determine what laws you live under. It’s a closed club, and only a modicum of the process takes place democratically. Essentially, this is the class that is sponsoring BLM, for whom BLM is making itself a rationale. If all they wanted was to hamstring the police in accordance with the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment, I’d be all for them, but what they want is citizen disarmament. They want to empower (with hate crimes statutes) the very prosecutors they’re denouncing. They want the government to have more and more power to control the lives of strangers. They aren’t anti-police. They are the fucking police.

If you have any idea how difficult it is for a homicide defendant to mount a successful self-defense case, I want you to go ahead and multiply it by this:

“People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race’,” Morrison told the Daily Telegraph. “This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.” She added: “And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

This breathtaking vindictiveness was excreted by a Nobel-laureate—and it is bottomless, because there are plenty of examples of the things she’s talking about, from the Duke lacrosse incident to Daniel Shaver and Duncan Lemp. If white privilege is to not notice or care about strangers, black privilege is to openly, unashamedly, unappeasably wish them ill. Never mind the fact that per capita, more whites than blacks are shot by police every year in the United States, or that the ratio of black-to-white perpetrators of interracial rape is more than 1000:1. What’s interesting here is what Morrison inadvertently revealed about herself, which is that her highest conceivable aspiration is equality in hell. We see this with blacks who are millionaires, world class athletes, professors emeritus, senators and presidents. As Sartre once said of the Jewish cabinet minister, “he is at once an Excellency, and an untouchable.” Half-baked communism is their only will to power. And when Rep. Sarah Anthony votes to disarm those people who showed up to “protect” her, they’ll blame the white man for that, too.

(On to Part III…. here)

Unfollow, Pt. I

Today America, and the world, have never been less free. Yet, in a way, we’ve never been freer—this COVID lockdown is putting things right into perspective. For instance:

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“A queen practicing self-care.” Do we have monarchy in America? You know…. crowns? Coronas? According to Wikipedia:

The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms. Named after Republican assemblyman Don Mulford, and signed into law by then governor Ronald Reagan, the bill was crafted in response to members of the Black Panther Party who were lawfully conducting armed patrols of Oakland neighborhoods, in what would later be termed copwatching. They garnered national attention after Black Panthers members, bearing arms, marched upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.

Of course, that’s not what’s going on, above, in that screenshot from the Instagram of one Lenard Larry McKelvey (who is not only royal, but divine.) Rather—in case you’ve been living elsewhere in the solar system—this Michigan legislator is being escorted into the statehouse by armed men because she fears for her life from “armed protesters marauding through the state capitol demanding an end to the coronavirus lockdown.” Here is a snapshot of just a few of these rapscallions:

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Just how were they able to get away with it? Why, the color of their skin, of course:

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One way of testing this hypothesis (don’t tell Mehdi Hasan) would be to look at a control group, like (say) the one in Sacramento that same week. Same demands, same politics, same podunk demographic, but the Californians didn’t even get into the statehouse. They got zip ties from stormtroopers, while their counterparts in Michigan got a field trip.

How to explain this disparity? I’ll tell you how. Common sense gun reform:

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That picture is from the campaign website of Michigan State Rep. Sarah Anthony, the same Rep. Sarah Anthony being escorted by gunmen in the Instagram screenshot above. You see, not unlike assemblyman Don Mulford, Rep. Anthony supports common sense gun reform like they have in California. What would the Black Panthers make of this—from an African queen, no less? Well…. Perhaps they’d think the same thing the NRA thought of the Mulford Act. Playing superficial factions against one another is how the system creates psychological distance so you can go on supporting it. “NRA: Stand and Fight.” Unless you might have to fight the Black Panthers, and then—quick! Outsource that shit to the police, and the FBI, and the National Guard.

Fear is the ultimate slave master. That, and stupidity. For instance, a few weeks back, Gov. Greg Abbot issued an emergency quarantine order that shuttered Texas businesses. One Dallas salon owner, Shelley Luther, decided to defy Gov. Abbot’s order and keep food on the tables of her stylists’ families. She reopened, and before long, Texas authorities arrested her. Texans were outraged by this. Conservatives are mad about it. Ms. Luther and her attorney are mad about it. But do you know who they’re mad at? Not Gov. Abbott. No. They’re mad at some little metro court judge for enforcing the governor’s order:

That right there’s the Tuck. You can’t cuck the Tuck, unless it’s a Republican governor throwing you out of work and onto the dole. In that case, the Tuck will find someone else to blame. That’s how this scam works. If you were a witness at Deputy Tucker’s county jail lineup, he’d have you cover one eye.

My mother’s neighbor is a German who is quite elderly. Regarding coronavirus—the lockdown and the fear and the mass, compulsive rule following—he said, “This is how it began.” It put me in mind of a quote I’m fond of:

An assault on the inviolability, on the sacredness of the home, would have been impossible in old Iceland in the way it was carried out in 1933, among a million inhabitants of Berlin, as a purely administrative measure. A laudable exception deserves mention here, that of a young social democrat who shot down half a dozen so-called auxiliary policemen at the entrance of his apartment. He still partook of the substance of the old Germanic freedom, which his enemies only celebrated in theory…. Naturally, he did not get this from his party’s manifesto….

That’s Ernst Jünger in The Forest Passage. What does he mean by “the substance of the old Germanic freedom”? What is freedom? How does one find it? And what’s standing in the way?

On to Part II….

A shopping excursion

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this weimerican life

I keep having these dreams where I can’t get out of the room. Some grim dinner party or shabby hotel cafeteria where I’m exposed somehow to a whole gallery of faces I can’t quite make out. Where I’m stuck with someone from my past or present who wants something I can’t give, or knows something I’d rather they didn’t. Sometimes I’m able to escape, but then can’t seem to find my way out of the building—the trap just expands, until at some point I’m hit by the dread realization that no matter what they look like, each person I encounter is exactly the same on the inside.

Sometimes it’s a labyrinthine airport, incredibly futuristic, where I keep following bad directions or encountering incomprehensible bureaucratic obstacles requiring me to traipse back and forth between ticket counters and security checkpoints and terminals. I can never seem to make my flight, yet it’s always imminent, and panic builds until finally I wake up grinding my teeth and repeating incomprehensible nonsense to myself in a low whisper until well after I’ve had my coffee, like I got high the night before and it still hasn’t worn off.

Other times I’ve committed a crime of passion. As I begin to realize what I’ve done, my surroundings become dim, narrow, subterranean. Acquaintances and passersby all take on a uniform, alien quality. I feel I have to hide from them as I go about planning how to cover my tracks, but I can’t get out of public and they keep questioning me and I keep piling lie upon lie until I’m all out of lies and no longer believe myself.

Lana wanted to have a date—clothes shopping at the mall. It’s not how I would choose to spend a couple hours away from the kids, and she knows it. The clock slows; my blood congeals. I’d resist, but I’ve got to buy my next reprieve. We’re living on borrowed time, so why not live on a little more borrowed money?

On the way, we discuss what to buy. What the kids may like. Then a hopeful note underlying the subject of job prospects turns to debts, bills. Once that subject is wandered into, we fall silent. Her phone comes out of her purse. Like having to eat a failed attempt at some new recipe, I’ve ruined our afternoon, but still have to see it through.

The unspoken tension ratchets up as we near the mall. I fight traffic on the proximate boulevards and join a rotating queue of drivers, presumably all grimacing and overweight, as we circulate the packed rows of parking spaces, now stopping as some optimistic rube slams his breaks behind a pair of glowing tail lights, now proceeding again, now stopping, all in a row—trapped together, but unknown to one another. Some ham-faced slob in a ginormous pickup nearly backs into us as he jerkingly vacates a parking spot without looking over his disgusting shoulder. Honking, shouting, shaking his fist, he ejaculates his soul’s phonetically memorized plaque and drives off in a cloud of diesel exhaust. In my grey-green, calcified heart I blame Lana, realizing all this could’ve been avoided. She feels it, and lowers her face into the refuge of the pillar of blue light emanating from her stupid smartphone, which may be the only thing keeping us married.

The mall is filled with wretched refuse and flooded via loudspeaker with the vacant crooning of some new ethnically ambiguous slag of the month. Huge families of eggplant shaped Mexicans block our progress as they amble along at a snail’s pace, shoulder-to-shoulder across the width of the walkways, stuffing their faces as they go, from carafes of nachos, fries and mega-sized slushies all teetering precariously atop the canopies and cupholders of baby strollers occupied for some strange reason by five, six and seven-year olds. I nearly trip over a morbidly obese preteen in ankle shorts and a Nike shirt that reads, “Skilled in Every Position” when the family’s uppity little garden-gnome patriarch casts a threatening glance, holding up his cartoonishly oversized pant-waist with one hand like he’s somewhere on a prison yard.

Lana peruses the racks of a store. We stand in the massive checkout line with her items. A couple of shameless, mercenary orientals are in front, delaying everybody’s day to interminability, yapping scarcely comprehensible harangues at indifferent teenage cashiers in an attempt to find some grift in a system that permits no haggling otherwise.

Some ghastly, freckled, androgynous high-yellow in a denim vest and fedora is staring out of a wall-length advertisement with a quote emblazoned along his misshapen flank: “sometimes, you just gotta do you.” Somewhere in an oak-paneled office high in a glass tower some shrewd hypnotist wants you to think of these pontoon-lipped vacancies like a quotable Confucius or St. Matthew. It seems with each passing day that being white and remotely genteel in America is more and more like being a ruined old noble in a Chekhov play. We’re living through this long night, and we can’t bring ourselves to turn the lights out, but we’ve had too much time to ruminate and it isn’t getting us anywhere.

Lest you find all this bigoted—which it is—allow me the caveat that I consider these plague rats the real Americans. Their ready, unreflecting belief in magic, their vulgar fixation on commerce and utter abandonment of traditional scruples in the hubbub and banal, intermittent terror of this strange new land—as new to me today as it was to them last week—make them far worthier to be called Americans than all the brokeback whites longing for cowboy chivalry as they use their bottom incisors to greedily scrape the Dorito dust of this neurasthenic consumerist birdcage off the tips of their fat, diabetic fingers.

We pass the food court, the metastasis of sickening flesh in sweat pants with little cups of frozen sugar and cardboard palettes overflowing with cheap sauces. Then we make our way into another one of the undifferentiated neon storefronts so Lana can look for jeans. Somewhere over the rainbow, beyond every sales display and stack of merchandise lies the smoke-shrouded neo-Dickensian charnel house it all emanates from, the ant-farms and blood-sausage of Christmas present, and corrugated metal dwellings stacked along alleys strewn with plastic rubbish, flowing with human excrement, and interminable fields of shipping crates transiting ports. It’s only mid-July, but in my head I hear jingle bells. I start to wonder whether we’ll ever get away from this, whether we’ll ever be self-sufficient and free, or will we always just be employees and consumers and patients, avatars and reflections, bar-coded replicants, objects to whom all meaning in life is provided, administered, and presented like food to a capricious toddler. The wax paper burger wrapper wafting along the ground that fifteen hundred people just stepped over, the cigarette butts floating in the urinal, the fluorescent lights overhead, the LED screens in our palms, the model on the wall poster like a whore in a red-light district window, her snide smile doubtless masking every private misery, and the thousand hidden thoughts or inarticulate nagging doubts between hand-holding couples with lowered expectations, their acne, their cankles, their flat feet, fat asses, and venal cravings—the yawning gap between what you own and what you owe, and the sense of resignation to a trap so thorough we dream what it feeds us and conceptualize nature itself like a kind of unknowable death.

This is the cross. These are the nails.

“I’m so fat.” She’s in front of the mirror in the narrow corridor across from her changing room.

The worst part of marriage is the lying. Falling in love is this perfect kind of exposure that relieves you of everything you thought you needed to hide, and you reciprocate this to your lover and she accepts it with tender ecstacy and you’re free and she’s free and the world is light and song. But marriage builds lie upon lie, just in order to function. There are never enough sorries. There are never enough I love you’s.

“You look great, babe.” And she does.

Deconstructing Judaism, Pt. IV

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Assyrians, Donny

One October almost a decade ago, I was enrolled for the fall semester in my California hometown community college when an Israeli army pal flew in to visit. He spoke almost no English, and it was a great opportunity to translate and see my native country through alien eyes. The morning he arrived, I showed him around San Francisco. It was during the Jewish high holidays, and I had taken the week off school. Our plan was to drive to Lake Tahoe the next morning.

Toward mid-afternoon we came to the Palace of the Legion of Honor (when I show you San Francisco, I do it right.) The museum is on a hill sloping sharply down from the plateau of a cliffside that looks north across the Golden Gate toward Marin. The bottom floor is partially subterranean, but white-walled, high-ceilinged and well lit. As you exit east-to-west along the south side, there’s a long hallway leading past the gift shop and the cafeteria. My friend and I slowed to peruse the contents of the glass cases along the south wall, when a number of ancient Assyrian artifacts caught our eyes.

“Assyrians!” my friend exclaimed.

“Those bastards!” I chimed in.

Well, about a week later I was in World Civ class (Honors World Civ, if you must know.) The instructor, a charismatic, Jesuit-educated old historian with a wry sense of humor, who knew about my Israeli army sojourn, was lecturing about the bronze age Levant. When he came to the Assyrian sacking of Jerusalem in 701 BC, he paused, lowered his glasses down his nose a bit, and cast me a wry glance. “I don’t want to inflame any tensions here,” he quipped. “I know Sam’s still mad at the Assyrians.” What could I say? He’d busted me.

My old father is a small-town doctor, raised as one of a few dozen Jews at a time when the town was overwhelmingly WASP. He’s totally irreligious and apolitical. Yet, not long ago, he told me about a Lutheran minister who’d been in to see him as a patient. “I asked the guy why Martin Luther didn’t like the Jews,” he told me. Awkward. What kind of madhouse would the world be if everyone had memories this long?

As it turns out, we have some idea. Yoav Shamir’s 2009 documentary, Defamation, examines official Jewry’s exploitation of anti-semitism for political gain. Andy Nowicki reviewed the film for the original Alternative Right:

[T]he most powerful segment of the film 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.

Who can fail to detect the empathy in Nowicki’s recounting of this little incident? I know all about these stories. I was nursed on precisely this kind of pathos and spite throughout my childhood, and adolescence, and as a young adult in Israel. The problem is that, because I am half-Jewish, this fear and loathing that Judaism traffics in is directed, in part, against a part of myself.

The perspective of this series is one that will be difficult for many Jews to accept or even follow. I’ve tried to raise a mirror to Judaism—not just to the frummies, or the liberals, or the Zionists, but to Judaism and Jewishness fundamentally, and what I see reflected back is not entirely flattering. As Nowicki puts it, channelling the filmmaker, Shamir,

Hating those one takes to be one’s enemies and constantly fearing the worst from them may in fact be a self-fulfilling prophecy, bringing out the worst in everyone, oneself and one’s enemies alike. If Jews want to thrive and inspire goodwill from others, Shamir appears to be saying, they should eschew such a spurious mindset, and not dwell so much on bad things that were done to them in the past.

But what kind of Judaism would this be? It’s scarcely even conceivable.

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Deconstructing Judaism, Pt. III

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“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 have identified here as the sine qua non of Judaism the belief 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. Let’s test this thesis against some possible alternatives:

(1) The essence of Judaism is faith. It is doubtful whether anyone really believes this. Orthodox Judaism mandates faith, but it defines who is a Jew biologically, and there are many more irreligious Jews than there are religious ones. One could believe all thirteen Pillars of Faith and not be Jewish, and one could be Jewish without believing them. So we can dispense with this hypothesis.

(2) The essence of Judaism is the belief that one’s culture and people, i.e., the Jews, are good, and worthy of preservation. This begs the question of what values are being preserved, because Judaism is not just a people but a culture with definite values. Some cultures value honor over life, whereas Judaism prizes life more highly than that. Thus Israelis views their combat deaths not so much as stoic assent 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 adversary. Esav soné es Ya’akov. In every generation they rise up to kill us. C’est la vie, woe is me. If there is nothing more to Judaism than this, it confirms our thesis.

(3) The essence of Judaism is a system of law and ethics. Though there are both ethical and legal components to Judaism, it would be a stretch to say that Judaism’s ethical requirements are essential. For example, derech eretz can be termed essentially Jewish only in reference to halakhic precepts, yet adherence to halakha is not required in order to be considered a Jew, which (again) is defined biologically.

In fact, 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 Jewishness 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 almost immediately upon arrival, regardless of need, simply because they meet its biological 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. So no—law and ethics are not essential to Judaism.

(4) 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 goyim. It can also be conceptualized as simply “being a good person,” but that is equally arbitrary, and has no necessary connection to Judaism.

So we’re back where we started: the sine qua non of Judaism is the belief 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. It transcends virtually all religious and political differences among Jews. It is more than an ethnic identity—no other ethnicity in the world is so rooted in such narcissism. And it isn’t just a religion, either, because faith in God is at best only ancillary to it.

(…..Part IV here…..)