Some Links

This is the most fascinating video I’ve seen in a long time. When did Vice begin shooting video on the ground in the Islamic world?

Bookmark this article from Sailer on gun usage and race. It will spread much sanity.

If you’re going to challenge the liberal idea that “race is a social construct”, you might as well link to a liberal.

Mormons live longer

The Analects of Confucius 

Rachel Jeantel is the gift that keeps on giving

A step too far

I haven’t commented on US drone strikes in Afghanistan and other countries. Frankly, I don’t have much of an opinion on the tactic. The purpose of a military is to kill the enemies of a nation, and death is a messy business. Civilian casualties happen. They’re regrettable and often counter-productive. But history doesn’t provide many examples of successful countries that had many qualms concerning the destruction of their enemies. If I were a general and if I had access to classified military information, I could make an informed decision about whether or not the collateral damage were worth the benefit of dead terrorists. But I’m not a general and I don’t have access to this information.

9/11 happened. Nearly 5,000 Americans died. Osama bin Ladin claimed credit for it, and he was found hiding in Pakistan, where he was killed. US intelligence says there’s more terrorists in Pakistan, and that is prima facie evidence that legitimizes drone strikes in the region. Don’t mistake me for some bleeding heart pacifist.

But this is a step too far, and I cannot condone it. News organs are reporting that the United States has adopted the “double tap” maneuver, launching a second missile with a delay after the first in order to kill rescuers and responders to the initial assault:

That tactic is known as the “double tap,” which bombs multiple targets in relatively quick succession — meaning that the second strike often hits first responders.

Fighting terrorists is valuable, but lets be clear that the United States has the military upper hand in the conflict. There is no need for the United States to terrorize civilian populations. The side with the upper hand can and should afford to be gracious, a little noblesse oblige  would be appropriate.

I’m listening to a podcast series on the Mongol empire under Genghis Khan, and this is a tactic straight out of their playbook. The great Khan once ordered a general to wipe out a city, and so he did, ordering his army to cut down each man, woman, and child. But to be thorough, the general returned a day later and killed everyone that had returned from hiding to pick over the scraps and to mourn the dead.

Such vicious actions fit with the Khan’s plan of global conquest, adopting the most brutal tactics possible to scare great walled cities into submission rather than fighting. But it is harder to see how the actions of the US government fit into its duty to protect its citizens and territory from attack.

China and the Cathedral

China takes a lot of flak in the West for their internet censorship program. Many popular international social networks, mostly US based companies, are blocked. And China is ruthless in censoring topics that might damage the legitimacy of the ruling regime.

But looking at the world from the Chinese perspective, and you have to admit that the strategy of the Chinese government is savvy and effective. It does not see Western companies like Facebook and Google as neutral entertainment services, but rather as information organs that can spread Western ideas. “Chinese Democracy” has no appeal to CCP leaders. They don’t relish a future where the politics of China is controlled by parties influenced and funded covertly by the US. Recent revelations of the full scope of NSA wiretapping capabilities, and the complicity of private US companies in US government spying, only add to the apparent wisdom of the ChiComs.

China is not the first regime to recognize the danger of Western information diplomacy and has taken steps to preserve their independence. But they are the country that pulls it off best. China has the brainpower and resources to make high-quality copies of Western services that it bans from its borders. There is no embarrassing Red Star OS here. Weibo, for example, is a popular service with 500 million users similar to a combination of Twitter and Facebook. But unlike Twitter and Facebook, which ultimately answer to Western governments, Weibo answers to the Chinese government on issues of censorship or access to user data. In America, social networks sometimes block users and messages who violate the standards of Political Correctness – the popular version of the Marxist religion of the ruling class. In China, social networks also block users and messages that threaten the ruling regime.

China operates the largest political sphere free from US/Cathedral influence. Recognizing the danger of Western information organs is one of the important ways it maintains its independence. It also fiercely guards its territory, ignoring Western liberals who call for independence for Tibet, greater democracy in the Chinese mainland, or the relinquishment of its claims to disputed territory – as if capitulating to enemies of the state were the best way to maintain their sovereignty. The Chinese government may have other problems, but it is not run by fools.

If there is a chink in the armor of the Chinese regime, it is probably their tolerance of religion. Christianity, in particular, is a gateway drug to Western liberalism. Wikipedia references sources putting the number of Christians at about 84 million.

I admire the savviness of the Chinese leadership required to maintain true independence from the long arm of Western influence. I am happy that some degree of political and ideological competition will remain in the world. That said, China is not utopia. It is only proof that we don’t yet live under a one-world shadow government.

Mapping the Cathedral

To shamelessly rip off an argument from Moldbug – words have meaning. “Independent” means “not dependent”. In Egypt, two governments have been overthrown by popular protest in the last year or so, and now the military is building a third. During the process of writing a new Constitution, military leaders are listening closely to the desires of the USA, on which they are dependent for $1.5 billion in annual aid.

If Egypt is letting a foreign entity influence its Constitution in exchange for a bribe, there is no reasonable way to consider it as an “independent” country. Political maps which show it to be so are best understood as a kind of whimsical artistic exercise.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some foreign aid statistics, and stumbled upon a handy web 2.0 mapping tool that the Obamatons have built. I flipped to a recent year like 2012, and this is the map that results:

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 5.01.12 PM

That’s a truly massive footprint, far larger than I expected. Some of these areas are not under tight US control – China remains the nation most independent from US/Cathedral dominion. The aid they receive isn’t much, and it probably reflects State Department optimism more than anything else.

But foreign aid isn’t the only way that the Cathedral conquers. Most of the gray area of the map is also firmly under American influence, otherwise Snowden would have applied for asylum in France or Australia. European countries depend on America for military protection and therefore dance to America’s tune. It would be cool to pair this aid map with a map of all the countries hosting US troops in the world.

The worst form of government

Anybody who’s discussed politics on the internet has seen the Winston Churchill quote:

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried.”

It seems to be wielded like a charm to ward off doubt ever more frequently as the Western democracies spiral into chain-reaction crises. But seldom do people wielding this quote seriously consider any other form of government.

Is it true that democracy is the best form of government? I’m not a religious man, but I’m a fan of Jesus’s saying “by their fruits, you will know them”. If a tree is producing poison apples, don’t count on it to reform its ways anytime soon.

So what are the fruits of democracy? A big welfare state, permanent deficits, class warfare, and birth rates below replacement. The democratic governments of the west aren’t the worst governments ever, but their history is one of monotonic decline and an increasing inability to deal with obvious impending catastrophe.

The end game for these rotting democratic hulks is high levels of immigration in order to keep the workforce big enough to feed the welfare state while hoping that the education system can turn immigrants into something close enough to natives to preserve native values and culture. It’s a slow suicide, and a ceding of the earth to others who will happily receive it.

Reaction without Ressentiment

Over at More Right, Athrelon caution against the urge to smash the progressive Cathedral just because it would be satisfying. Indeed, the people that make up the progressive movement are the some of the best remnants of the West. They are not the enemy. The doctrine of progressivism is a poisonous, suicidal, and perverse ideology. But it is perverse precisely because it is an ideology of ressentiment. It teaches the weak that they are good because they are weak and that the strong are evil because they are strong. Progressives never lack for reasons to hate the successful man.

But progressives are the noblest caste of our society. Progressives have empathy and high IQs. They are scientists, artists, and writers. They love knowledge. They marry before they have kids and manage their lives competently. The political doctrine they preach is batshit insane, but let’s not throw out the whole cake because of a little moldy corner. When their leadership brings an end to the Western way of life, their way of life will go too. And that will be a sad day.

My reason for getting involved in political engineering is that I want to build nice places to live that can last. These will necessarily reject ressentiment, the feelings of bitterness and hatred towards one’s betters. And they will give room for the best features of man to be developed and relished. We need to keep our eyes on the goal and not be seduced by the ancient pleasure of smashing enemies.

Too much of right-wing discourse is marked by a spirit of bitterness that smells of ressentiment. It is not the smell of a confident, noble people. It is the smell of a prole mob that thinks it would be fun to turn the Harvard dons out on the street.

Me, I’d rather seduce them to the side of order and reason. It’s a tall task – they’ve been gulping the progressive kool-aid for 300 years. Maybe some are unredeemable. Certainly  no progressive should wield any real power or influence in a good society. But I’m hoping many of the smart, honest progressives can be convinced to come over to our side.

Democracy as Ressentiment

The arguments I hear against universal suffrage democracy start from a belief that some other means of appointing political leaders will lead to a better governed society. But arguments for universal suffrage begin with an argument about fairness or rights. Now look, I have no idea what fairness tastes like and I’ve never seen a right, but I do know that I prefer a well-governed society over a poorly governed one, so it’s easy for me to choose which kind of argument I prefer. But I seem to be in a minority among my peers.

The other day a coworker and I discussed the stupidity of voters. I suggested it was ludicrous that we let people vote who don’t know how a bill becomes law. How are they going to have valuable thoughts on how the government should run if they don’t know how it works? My friend agreed that restricting the franchise would produce better government, but he disagreed that we should do so. Why? Because it wouldn’t be “fair”, because lots of people grow up without access to an education that would give them a basic civics lesson.

My response to him is “so what?”. How does the “unfairness” of the situation of the uninformed voter change whether or not it is wise to let him vote? One of the most pernicious consequences of liberalism (and here, like a libertarian, I include both the modern and the classical sense) is divorcing right-ness from wisdom. If doing good leads us to self-harm, then why do good?

My conclusion is that Universal Democracy is an ideology of what Nietzsche referred to as ressentiment. It is not driven by sober reflection on what is best for society, but on the emotions of envy felt by those without the vote towards those that have it. That they have little idea what to do with it once they get it is seldom considered.

The founders of the United States spent many words reasoning against democracy in its rawest forms. The advocates of unlimited Jacksonian democracy needed no reasons to refute them. Resentment and envy were enough.