Not the Monthly Post

The Kek Wars, Part Two: In the Shadow of the Cathedral

In last week’s thrilling episode of The Kek Wars, we talked about the way that America’s managerial aristocracy and its broad penumbra of lackeys and hangers-on retreated into a self-referential bubble to avoid noticing the consequences of their preferred policies. As they did so, those policies—the metastatic growth of government regulation that strangled small businesses and transferred power and wealth to huge corporations and federal bureaucracies, the trade policies that forced working class wages and benefits down below subsistence levels, and the tacit policy of encouraging unlimited illegal immigration that created a vast labor pool of noncitizens who had no rights and thus could be exploited with impunity—drove tens of millions of Americans into destitution and misery. Now it’s time to start exploring how the blowback to those policies took shape.

Part of that blowback came from within the working classes that took the brunt of the policies just named, and part of it came from other sectors of society that were shut out of the benefits of the bipartisan policy consensus and forced to carry a disproportionate share of the costs. Another element of it, though, unfolded from a policy that elites always embrace sooner or later: the habit of making sure that the educational system produces more people trained for managerial tasks than existing institutions can absorb.

Why should elites do this? For them, at least in the short term, the advantages are obvious. If you’re going to entrust the running of society to a hierarchy of flunkeys who are allowed to rise up from the underprivileged masses but are never quite allowed to join the overprivileged elite—and this, of course, is the normal condition of a complex society—you need to enforce rigid loyalty to the system and the ideas it considers acceptable. The most effective way to this is to set candidates for flunkeyhood against each other in a savage competition that most will lose.

As your prospective flunkeys climb over one another, kicking and clawing their way toward a sharply limited number of positions of wealth and influence, any weakness becomes a weapon in the hands of rivals. You thus can count on getting the best, the brightest, and—above all—those who have sedulously erased from their minds any tendency to think any thought not preapproved by the conventional wisdom. Your candidates will be earnest, idealistic, committed, ambitious, if that’s what you want them to be; ask them to be something else and you’ll get that, too, because under the smiling and well-groomed facade you’ve got a bunch of panicked conformists whose one stark terror is that they will somehow fail to please their masters.

It’s the losers in that competition who matter here, though. There are always some of them, and in modern America there are a lot of them: young men and women who got shoved aside in the stampede for those positions of wealth and influence, and didn’t even get the various consolation prizes our society offers the more successful end of the also-rans. They’re the ones who for one reason or another—lack of money, lack of talent, lack of desire—didn’t take all the right classes, do all the right extracurricular activities, pass all the right tests, think all the right thoughts, and so fell by the wayside.

Not all of the losers in question live in their moms’ basements and spend their days playing video games, but a significant number do. In today’s America, remember, jobs are scarce, rents have been artificially inflated to an absurd degree, and what used to be the normal trajectory toward an independent adult life has been slammed shut for a very large number of young people. So those who have been shut out, the educated failures, gather online, play video games, and frequent online forums such as “the chans”—websites such as 4chan and 8chan—where posts are anonymous, the rules that govern acceptable discourse no longer apply, and the more offensive to the privileged an idea is, the better it goes over.

That’s usually what happens when an elite makes the mistake of educating far more people than it’s willing to employ. Go look at the long history of revolutions and you’ll find that far more often than not, the people who overthrow governments and bring nations crashing down are the precise equivalent of today’s basement brigade: people with educations but no opportunities, losers in the struggle for prestige and wealth, who figure out how to weaponize their outsider status in one way or another.

One of the things that makes losers so dangerous in such a setting is that they have a freedom their successful classmates lack: the freedom to think and say whatever they want. In the struggle for success, remember, any least sign of straying from the acceptable is a weapon in the hands of your rivals, and will be used ruthlessly to shove you aside and take your place. (Watch students at prestigious US universities looking for any pretext to accuse each other of racism or sexism if you want a great example of this process in action.) Those who drop out of the struggle don’t have to submit to the suffocating conformism demanded of their successful peers, and inevitably make use of that freedom in ways that offend the conventionally minded.

That’s harmless if the conventional wisdom works. It stops being harmless in a hurry when the policies embraced by the aristocracy have disastrous consequences for too many people outside the self-referential bubble of elite culture. Smart aristocrats recognize this, and pay attention to the way their policies affect the lives of the majority, but here in America we don’t have smart aristocrats. We have clueless aristocrats who’ve barricaded themselves inside an echo chamber from which any talk of the downsides of the approved policies has been carefully excluded.

What happens in such situations is that the losers become the only ones willing to talk about the things that matter most to a great many people. That means, in turn, that whatever ideology the losers happen to have embraced may just become the guiding vision of radical political change, and if the change goes far enough, that ideology can end up imposed on a nation. If you’re lucky, the losers in question might embrace democratic nationalism, and you get a successful democracy such as modern Ireland or India. If you’re not lucky, the losers in question might embrace a far more toxic ideology, and you get Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

And the losers we’re discussing? That’s where the Alt-Right comes into the story.

If you happen to be interested in the history of ideas, as I am, one of the most fascinating events in the last dozen years or so has been the twilight of Reagan-era pseudoconservatism and the first tentative gropings toward the revival of an authentic conservatism:  that is to say, a political and social movement that actually conserves something. The pseudoconservatives of the Reagan and post-Reagan era adopted every major policy of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal—deficit spending on the grand scale, government subsidies for private industry, endlessly expanding entitlement programs for the middle class, endlessly expanding federal regulations, a foreign policy obsessed with military intervention, and the rest of it—while tossing the occasional crumb to religious conservatives and a few other pressure groups on the right.

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that anyone who proposed today’s “conservative” policies in a GOP county convention in 1960, say, would have been thrown out of the meeting with enough force to leave a dent in the sidewalk. Until recently, though, the only alternatives to that faux-conservative ideolody were, on the one hand, the soi-disant Neoconservatives, who simply doubled down on all of American pseudoconservatism’s worst features, and on the other, a gaggle of extremist religious zealots and free-market libertarians whose idea of conservatism was to pursue their own arbitrary utopian fantasies with a doctrinaire enthusiasm that more than matched that of the Marxists they so cordially hated.

That started to change in 2007, when Curtis Yarvin, blogging under the name Mencius Moldbug, began attracting attention online for a set of ideas that have come to be called “Neoreaction”—essentially, classic nineteenth century European reactionary politics retooled for early twenty-first-century conditions, complete with an enthusiasm for absolute monarchy and a rejection of the whole range of democratic values. Neoreaction had a modest vogue in those online circles where the excluded spend their ample spare time, and thereafter it quickly lost its novelty and settled back into the same underworld of longshot causes where distributism, social threefolding, democratic syndicalism, and the like have their home. It succeeded, though, in punching a hole through the pseudoconservative orthodoxies of our time and raising hard questions about what a genuine alternative to the status quo would look like.

It also introduced a useful term into what would become the vocabulary of the Alt-Right: “the Cathedral.” This was Yarvin’s term for the enforced consensus of the mainstream, the set of values and beliefs that justify the existing order of society and, not coincidentally, the privileged place of the managerial aristocracy in that order. It’s a brilliant coinage, because it catches the devout faith and the moral fervor with which believers in the conventional wisdom of our time rally around the things they believe. At the same time, of course, a cathedral isn’t simply a set of ideas; it’s also an institution that deploys a great deal of influence and wealth, and the visible expression of a hierarchy in which believers and heretics alike have their strictly defined places.

Mind you, there’s plenty to object to in Neoreaction, and some of the things that followed in its wake were even more toxic. Of course various reworkings of fascism and national socialism got a word in—the cultural mainstream has put so much effort into portraying Hitler as the ultimate antithesis of today’s elite values that it was inevitable that some would stray down that self-defeating path. The writings of Julius Evola and other Traditionalists got their share of air time, and so did more recently minted ideologies. The one thing they all had in common was that they were utterly unacceptable to America’s aristocracy—and of course that’s the one feature they needed to have. Those who have been discarded and despised by the gatekeepers of the status quo will only be interested in ideologies that those same gatekeepers find unspeakably offensive.

Thus we don’t yet have a consensus ideology among the losers we’ve been discussing. The label “Alt-Right” is a grab bag of contending notions, not a specific set of proposals. The mainstream media’s loud insistence that the Alt-Right is all about racism, by the way, is straightforward disinformation; what the American aristocracy fears more than anything else is a rapprochement between working class white people and working class people of color, and the constant shrieks of “racism!” from the privileged classes are part of a strategy intended to stave off that ultimate elite nightmare.

Thus one crucial wild card in play, once a society has pupped a sufficiently large batch of losers, is which ideology will become central to the opposition to the elite, and in the present case that hasn’t been decided yet. Since so much of the Alt-Right closed ranks around the Trump campaign when that got under way in 2015, it’s entirely possible that something not too far from old-fashioned democratic nationalism may be the ideology that comes out on top in the current situation, in which case the long-term results could be fairly good—although it’s still quite possible that something more toxic might result instead.

The other crucial wild card is the choice of a basic strategy. If revolutionary warfare happens to catch the fancy of the excluded, and they can make common cause with a demographic sector that includes a lot of the rank and file of the military and a lot of military vets, then there’s a really good chance that your society will plunge into civil war and a lot of people will die. If it’s terrorism that catches their fancy, a smaller number of people will die much more uselessly—terrorism is great for working off your martyr complex but it always fails. (Can you name a terrorist organization that actually succeeded in its political aims? No, I didn’t think so.)

But there are other options as well, and one of them is magic.

Magic, as I noted in last week’s post, was defined by the great twentieth century mage Dion Fortune as the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will. It’s extremely well suited to politics, since human beings in the mass are easily swayed by symbols and ritual actions. Look at the way that content-free incantations such as “Hope,” “Change,” and “Yes We Can” helped catapult Barack Obama into the presidency, and you can grasp some hint of the power of magic in politics. What makes magic an extraordinarily potent force, though, is that it doesn’t require the kind of immense marketing budget that Obama’s campaign used to sell their bland and smiling product to the voters; it can be done on a shoestring budget by a few part time people if it’s done cleverly enough, and with enough mastery of the principles of magic.

It was in 2015, or so I’ve read, that several frequent habitués of “the chans” encountered a particular school of modern magic, brought it back to their favorite online forums, and started talking enthusiastically about it. The particular form of magic they introduced to the basement brigade is called chaos magic, and thereby hangs a tale.

It so happens that every few decades someone tries to bridge the gap between science and magic by coming up with a version of magic that borrows concepts from current trends in science, and deep-sixes those elements of traditional Western occultism that scientists won’t tolerate. It never succeeds in bridging the gap, of course, because modern science has always defined its identity in opposition to occultism, and any time the mages come up with something that comes too close to science, the scientists simply move the goal posts. Yet the systems of magic created by these efforts tolerably often work well in practice, and can develop an extensive following.

In the nineteenth century, for example, physicists theorized that light consisted of wave patterns in the ether, a hypothetical substance filling the universe. Occultists jumped on the label “ether” and borrowed it as a label for the subtle omnipresent life force of magical theory—by the way, that’s spelled qi in Chinese, ki in Japanese, prana in Sanskrit, and so on through the roster of the world’s languages. (As far as I know, the only languages on Earth that don’t have a word for this commonly recognized reality are the dominant languages of the industrial nations of the West. Is that accidental? Not a chance.)

In response to the borrowing of their term by occultists, scientists dropped the ether like a hot rock. Instead, light became probability waves moving through four-dimensional spacetime. What differentiates “four-dimensional spacetime” from “the ether”? Purely that the former enables scientists to place the familiar distance between their disciplines and the occult. I’m quite certain that if occultists started making a big deal of the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun, scientists would rediscover the joys of a geocentric cosmos.

Chaos magic emerged in the usual way in the late 1970s, just as the current generation of radical scientific materialists were beginning to hit their stride, and it’s telling that the bêtes noires of those radical scientific materialists—notably, the real existence of gods and spirits, on the one hand, and the efficacy of astrology on the other—were also heatedly rejected by the early chaos magicians. The goal of the founders of the new magic was, as usual, the development of magical systems free of old-fashioned superstition, and thus notionally acceptable to people who have bought into the worldview of contemporary science.

The result was an approach to magic that treats gods, spirits, and other magical beings as wholly imaginary constructs used by human beings to focus their innate magical energies. Does it work? Sure, within the limits it sets for itself. As an unabashed practitioner of traditional Western occultism, I find that chaos magic reminds me forcefully of lite beer, in contrast to the rich dark brew of the sort of magic I prefer—but of course there are people who like lite beer. In magic, as so many other things, personal tastes are what they are, and there’s no such thing as One True Way. I know people who use chaos magic and get good results with it.

Two core elements of chaos magic, however, made it particularly well suited to the culture of the chans, and a third turned out to have decisive importance in the way things worked out once the Kek Wars broke out. The first of these elements is that the methods of chaos magic mesh well with certain aspects of today’s online outsider culture.  The basic working tool of common or garden chaos magic is the sigil, a symbolic image or pattern used to represent the intention of a magical working. Internet memes by and large make good sigils, and some of them make very good hypersigils—this is the chaos magic term for a sigil used by a group of people with a shared intention.

Second, while chaos magic takes just as much hard work to master as any other kind of magic, the simplified nature of its theory and practice makes it fairly easy for beginners to pick up some degree of basic competence at it very quickly. In particular, a fairly modest amount of reading and practice will enable the enthusiastic beginner to learn how to create suitable sigils and charge them with magical energy using any of several simple methods. That made it possible for the chans to become a chaos magic boot camp for thousands of young people who’d been discarded by the system and were eager to strike back.

The third point is more subtle. Most versions of chaos magic teach that gods and spirits are simply hypersigils devised and empowered by old religious and magical traditions, rather than conscious nonphysical beings with their own intentions and powers. Many chaos magicians, in fact, treat the universe as a blank slate in which human beings are the only active presences. As a result, very few chaos magicians learn how to work safely with gods and spirits who aren’t products of human minds. That’s something that traditional occultists know how to do, and it informs many of the basic practices and teachings of traditional occultism, but these protections were among the things that the early chaos magicians discarded when they broke with traditional occultism.

As a result, tens of thousands of young and angry outcasts who were part of the chans and a galaxy of similar online communities took up the intensive study and practice of basic magical workings without any sense of how to manage interactions with nonphysical beings—or, indeed, any notion that such interactions might need to be managed. That, in turn, pretty much guaranteed that if something other than human took an interest in the situation, a lot of the graduates of the chans’ magical boot camps were going to be swept up in something over which they had no control at all.

That’s what happened, too. Next week we’ll talk about how that process unfolded.

374 Comments

  1. I’ve found a good example of absurd policies put in place by the aristocrats: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/plastic-straw-ban-santa-barbara-jail-time-punishment/

    Switching gears: “That, in turn, pretty much guaranteed that if something other than human took an interest in the situation…”

    And why wouldn’t it turn out that way? There are a lot of trickster deities in mythology who would love to have the chance to play with something like this. All that energy being thrown around, and the people doing it not just won’t recognize you but refuse to recognize your existence in the first place….

    On a very different note, I wonder now if the blowback to the aristocracy could be anything other than anti-empire. The way the empire works relies on the corporations, and it would be very hard to restructure something as massive, and complicated as the American Empire, even if things were going well for it. It may just be easier to walk away from it.

  2. One other question: how is it that, yet again, first time I check on a Wednesday the post is up, but no comments? I was really hoping if I had psychic abilities it would be for something cool, not “Oh, JMG has put up a new post, time to go look and put one of the first comments through.”

  3. “Since so much of the Alt-Right closed ranks around the Trump campaign when that got under way in 2015, it’s entirely possible that something not too far from old-fashioned democratic nationalism may be the ideology that comes out on top in the current situation”

    Why is that? I don’t understand the connection between the two parts of the sentence.
    Is it because democratic nationalism is Trump’s political ideology?

  4. John–

    Wow. Much to digest here. I’m going to be giving this several readings, I can tell. First thoughts, for what they’re worth given the dense substance of this series:

    First, as we are discussing the nature of the bipartisan elites, I felt this was worth sharing:

    https://politicalwire.com/2018/07/24/quote-of-the-day-1991/

    The quote is brief:

    “We’ve gone from being the party of Jeb Bush Republicans who can win everywhere and over perform in Democratic areas to the party of red hat Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel and QAnon. Who thinks this is going to end well?”

    — A Republican political operative, quoted by the Tampa Bay Times.

    However, the PW commentariat wasted no time piling on, and one comment in particular caught my eye:

    drzaius • a day ago
    Or as I like to call them “banjo playing sibling fornicators”

    The class disdain is palpable. And the cluelessness of both flavors of establishment quite apparent.

    Secondly, your point re the formation of excluded intelligentsia and other skilled-but-cast-aside classes is sobering. I do wonder where our practice of tossing our military veterans on the rubbish heap is going to end up taking this nation — no good place, I fear.

    Finally, branching off the historical narrative a bit, how would one go about utilizing magic of the excluded in a more positive way? That is, if one sought to employ magic to, for example, induce the US to follow a more pro-active path of strategic withdrawal, retrenchment, and re-organization to better promote citizen welfare in the context of our post-imperial (and post-industrial) future? Could an effort along these lines be effective?

    The image that came to my mind is not so much a replication of the anti-Trump magical effort you described elsewhere, but rather more of a symphony, where those involved agree on a broad fundamental theme, but develop their own particular variations and foci in practice, those variations weaving and blending together in a chorus of different voices with different emphases but pushing in the same general direction.

    Thank you for this essay. I’m looking forward to the balance of the series.

  5. JMG, another fine installment of the Kek wars. It’s been difficult for me to discern the difference between magic and propaganda, but this week your background explanation of the blowback caused by the elitist policies helps clarify that quite a bit.

    When we think of grass roots or traditional revolutionary movements, smoke-filled beer halls, protest marches and public square rallies come to mind. So far it seems that while the modern technology of the Internet allows for an exchange of ideas by the excluded, at the same time it seems to be muting the effect of the movement due to the remote nature of the participants. Other than a few Antifa protests and the occasional flash mob, the anti-establishment politics only seems to have a fraction of the energy of the late 1960s anti-Vietnam war movement.

    Do the aristocrats hold more cards this time, since they tightly control media and communications?

  6. Will, you know, I may just do a post one of these days about the absurd crusade against plastic straws. If I’d spent a month trying to come up with an imaginary example of faux-ecological virtue signaling, I don’t think I could have done a better job. As for your second point, why, yes — it’s only in the delusions of rationalists that human beings are all alone in an empty cosmos, and there are plenty of deities who like to mess with the clueless and the arrogant. Finally, with regard to your third point, no argument there — walking away from an empire that’s followed the usual cost-benefit curve and costs more than it’s worth is really the essential political act of our time, and one way or another it’s going to happen.

    As for your psychism, hey, you get what you get…

    Omer, got it in one, Democratic nationalism is another name for populism — you know, the thing all the anti-Trump forces are denouncing at the top of their lungs. What’s the opposite of populism? Elitism, of course. Here in America we’ve labored for years under a form of doublespeak in which the word “democracy” is supposed to mean “the richest 20% of the population get whatever they want,” and now that an older form of the word is rearing its ugly head — well, you’ve seen the meltdowns yourself, I’m sure.

  7. I have thought that invoking Kek might have unforeseen consequences. If a person doesn’t believe in something, of course they won’t respect, or fear it. I believe that the spirit of chaos does exist, and if that spirit is Kek, it would not be manageable by mere humans, any more than we could manage a tsunami.

  8. David, half the reason the GOP end of the elite is snarling so loudly is that they’re losing control of their party to, ahem, the people — which is of course the one thing they can’t stand. Yes, the class bigotry is thick enough to spread with a silver spoon. As for your other two points, those are massive issues that’ll require some serious thought.

    Drhooves, don’t be too sure of that. Different media foster different kinds of political action, and those who figure out how to work the new media — Donald Trump is a good example here — can steamroller those who don’t yet have a clue.

    Danae, got it in one. I’ll be talking about the specific archetype behind Kek and the Trump phenomenon in the fourth installment of this series.

  9. This is overall quite interesting. However, your regular use of language like “constant shrieks of “racism!” from the privileged classes” makes it seem that, except for sorrowful disapproval of outright Nazis, you are rhetorically tougher on anti-racists than pro-racists. The urban minorities who wish to maintain the ability to vote, and not to be murdered in the street by racist cops, are not privileged classes. While some folks who see bias everywhere really are “shrieky”, surely they are no more so than people who call 911 to shriek that they’ve seen a black person, or get on Twitter to shriek that “illegals” rape white women and their parenthood is fake. But we aren’t supposed to call right-wingers shrieky, because they prefer to see themselves as strong, aggressive and righteously angry, rather than the weak and hysterical snowflakes that they so often are.

    Many of these people have been screwed by the system – although economic anxiety did not correlate with Trump support – and I can have sympathy for them. But how much sympathy did/do they have for people in lower strata who have been screwed harder for longer? Think of what many conservatives have said about problems in black communities. “It’s not society’s fault; it’s their fault because Them are culturally, if not biologically, inferior. And if they can’t find a job that will support a family, it is their fault for not moving out of that lousy neighborhood [and away from all social support].” Imagine what you, JMG, to say nothing of the Kekheads, would say about an Elite who said the exact same thing back to one of those conservatives who’s now lost his coal-mining job: “Well, your community is obviously jobless and drug-infested because of inherent cultural pathologies, and why don’t you move out of Appalachia anyway?” Of course nobody should say such a thing – it would be mean and unfair. But it’s also mean and unfair when said to urbanites who are still laboring under the burden of racism as well as the corpocratic economy.

  10. It’s interesting, this link that you’ve described between magic and parts of the alt-Right.. I don’t do magic, (although I certainly do not dispute its efficacy in the right hands); thus, in reading about the alt-Right I have been missing part of the story. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

  11. “(Can you name a terrorist organization that actually succeeded in its political aims? No, I didn’t think so.)”

    I’m not an expert, but Irgun, the ANC, and the IRA were all pretty successful as far as I understand. Not to mention the Resistance in WWII France and Poland, or revolutionary slavery abolitionists like John Brown. Or people who murder and harass abortion providers.

    You can quibble about who qualifies as a “terrorist” (non-state actors carrying out politically-motivated violence against civilians?), and about the extent to which these groups achieved their overall goals (and on what terms, and with help from what outside forces), but I’m not sure I agree with your implication that terrorism is always politically ineffective. I’d say it can be effective as part of a pincer technique, using violent radicalism to drive people into the arms of moderate reformers. It can serve as a pretext to justify outside intervention. It can also serve to undermine war efforts through internal sabotage, assassinations, etc. Each of these can result in the terrorist groups achieving their goals, although usually not without assistance from other groups. (And of course you’re right that much of the time terrorism is counter-productive in achieving the terrorists’ policy goals.)

  12. JMG,

    My favorite part of the crusade against plastic straws was witnessing someone throw a fit about getting a plastic straw in a plastic cup. The cup itself was fine, but the straw crossed a line.

    As for my psychism, why couldn’t it be something useful, like email? It’s just this one blog. Could be worse: at least I like the blog in question 😉

    I’ve also been involved in arguments with my friends over the topic of withdrawal from empire as well, and one of the things that strikes me is that it’s possible for the wealth pump to still work, but for the other forms of dysfunction to be reaching the point where they’re not worth it anymore. So, the empire could be functioning to concentrate wealth effectively but still be well past the point where it makes sense to drop it, which I think describes the present.

    Finally, this post describes me in a way. I have a university degree, but I’m not willing to deal with the hoops required to get into the higher levels of the managerial class. I think I could, but I just don’t want to do it. I’d rather be free to say and do what I think is right. I think that’s also a risk here: there will be people who will decide against the rat race, and the more difficult it is, and the worse the policies work out in practice, the more people who could be very effective will decide to quit and go off to do better things with their time, right when an influx of such people is most needed.

    Of course they wouldn’t be able to get in anyway, but it’s different deciding to quit than being forced out: the people forced out may still want to get back in, and will have to self-monitor. Those who quit are much more free to go off and do other things.

  13. My oldest son is a video editor who now works at a nightly news show on one of the cable networks. His trade is equal thirds style , technical skill and speed. He came up through the ranks of hip hop music videos and entertainment television before he was picked out and recruited to join the team on a new nightly news show produced by a company that had previously been known for “bad boy” alternative content. At the point they offered him the job they were only interested in his “style” and technical competency and had worried about him being vetted like a reporter or producer would be. The true direction of this ” alternative” news show became clear when the two veteran mainstream news executives were installed to run the operation by the large conglomerate that owns the cable channel in which the show airs. He started out doing cultural and entertainment pieces and didn’t get much directional influence in his work. As he became well known for speed and efficiency he landed some of the plum episodes ( normally 3 minutes) with more political subjects. He ended up being lead editor on a longer story that got wide spread viewing outside of the normal nightly slot and was very favorable to the anti-trump agenda. It was not really any better or worse than any of his other work but because of the political serendipity of the content he and the team that produced it were showered with awards from all corners of the industry. So the forces to” tow the line” are very powerful as you have described and often take the form of rewards as well as discouragement. Luckily he talks to me often about the agenda behind the curtain and has so far managed to keep his perspective and not drink the kool-aide.

  14. John–

    Re the Republican elite losing control of their party to the people

    As early as the general campaign back in the fall of ’16, I was mentally equating Trump with Andrew Jackson as a historical parallel in terms of his impact on his party and on American politics generally. Brash, uncouth, populist, unapologetic, popular with the “common man,” disdained by the elites. Since then, that parallel has only been reinforced in my opinion.

  15. I would love to hear more about archetypes. A few days ago, I was on the facebook page of a #resistance supporting former classmate and came across the following:

    “If you would have joined Dumbledore’s Army…

    If you would have fought with the Mockinjay…*

    If you would have struggled against the Empire…

    Then now is the time!”

    I don’t know if it has a name in occult circles, but the archetype of the Young Heroic Underdog Who Destroys The Evil Overlord is a highly potent one among people under 30, and goes a very long way, IMO, towards explaining why so many of my generation have been caught up in the #resistance, and also why the “resistance” never questions itself or entertains the idea that its opponents are anything but evil racists. (Did Harry Potter ever seriously question himself? Did Voldemort-or any of his followers, for that matter-have any motivation beyond cackling evilness?)

    *For those not up on teen girl lit, this is a reference to a YA series called “Hunger Games”, about a teenage girl who leads a revolution against a cartoonishly evil dystopia.

  16. As someone who was vaguely-to-thoroughly familiar with all of the above bits-and-bobs (the occult, chans, memes, online politics, Neoreaction and its cousins, etc), some of the aspects of Kekism and its fallout (particularly having it dragged into the open by the Clinton campaign, and Trump re-broadcasting the memes) were surprising, but none of it was SHOCKING. Being a non-American and thereby having a little bit more breathing space helped, as did having American friends who were more versed in certain aspects than I.

    I enjoyed reading about the Pepe/Kek stuff, but didn’t involve myself in it. I particularly remember showing summaries the Kek stuff to my friends who are more knowledgeable about the occult than I, and getting a reaction of “oh [expletive]” and repeated warnings not to stick my hands into the occult equivalent of a live electrical panel without knowing EXACTLY what one is doing and taking safety precautions.

  17. “In response to the borrowing of their term by occultists, scientists dropped the ether like a hot rock. Instead, light became probability waves moving through four-dimensional spacetime. What differentiates “four-dimensional spacetime” from “the ether”? Purely that the former enables scientists to place the familiar distance between their disciplines and the occult. I’m quite certain that if occultists started making a big deal of the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun, scientists would rediscover the joys of a geocentric cosmos.”

    JMG:

    I take it you’re being at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek here, but in case you’re serious about this:

    All waves (e.g. ocean waves, sound waves, light waves) propagate through space, over time — which is to say that they exist in “4-dimensional spacetime”. I’m not sure it’s accurate therefore to say that they “propagate THROUGH spacetime”.

    However, most waves that science had studied up to that point required a medium — a substance, some form of matter — through which they could propagate: ocean waves propagate through water, sound waves through air (and other gases, and liquids, and solids), and so on. Scientists studying electromagnetism were struck by the anomalous finding that, as far as they could tell, light and other types of electromagnetic waves did not seem to require a medium (i.e. a substance, a form of matter) through which to propagate — unlike, say, sound waves, light was perfectly capable of propagating through a vacuum.

    So some of those scientists theorized that there WAS such a medium, and that it pervaded even what we considered to be “vacuum”, but that we just didn’t know how to detect it. They called this theoretical substance “ether”.

    Later, it turned out they were wrong (or rather, the “ether” hypothesis was not properly parsimonious) — electromagnetic radiation does not require a substantial (i.e matter-based) medium through which to propagate (or rather, the “ether” hypothesis doesn’t have any predictive power, and therefore the presence of “ether” is superfluous to physical modeling).

    As for the geocentric thing — again, I guess you’re joking? Are you seriously proposing that scientists today would be willing to become geocentrists to distinguish themselves from occultists? This strikes me as a deeply silly and grandiose claim that imbues the occultist community (a tiny minority in places like the US) with tremendous social power.

    I’m as wary of Scientism as the next guy, but I don’t think anyone is well-served by this caricature of the entire scientific community.

  18. What a cliff-hanger! If this were a book, I’d be reading it through to the end in one sitting.

    Honestly I’m skeptical that there’s so many beings that you keep referring to. And to be even more honest, I don’t even want to think about it because I don’t want to deal with it. Once I admit that they are there, then I have to do something about them. Or maybe I don’t?

    Ignoring that reality though, the one you live in and are writing this post from, makes me feel like I’m experiencing the world as if underwater, muted in sound and sight. Or maybe I’m not missing anything?

  19. There is no doubt that the elite in the USA have made many mistakes. But I think the two that will most like cause them to end up swinging from the lampposts or contemplating the sharp side of the Guillotine will be ,as you argue, the program to over promise and over educate the future revolutionary class and the cheap and short-sighted way the government has used up and discarded the soldier class that were economically drafted in to fighting the last 15 years of pointless wars. Even the most bone-headed monarch or dictator from history knew that they must keep a loyal soldier class ,that is well cared for and housed separately from the masses that they were impoverishing.

  20. Fascinating post John.

    The exploration of how the “losers” interact, rebel against the elite ideology and embrace new ways of thinking makes sense to me. The alt-right are certainly a disparage bunch but, like you, i think that a variation of democratic nationalism will emerge in both the West in the coming years as the main replacement to the status quo.

    Corbyn, of course, represents a different strand of thinking, hard-left/socialist, but there doesn’t seem to be much traction for his type of thinking within the mainstream Left outside of the UK so far (although Sanders is a pale version in America).

    The modern day Left appear to be doubling down on the failed status quo policies of the past, leaving the field largely free for the forces of the populist right to get ever more support in the coming decade.

    The Democrats appear to be going for the Russia card, which is likely to be a disaster, given the fact nobody cares about that. I see quite a few articles saying that Trump is losing support in the heartlands due to his tariffs on agricultural goods, what is your take on that?

    I understand that trade tariffs will benefit working class Americans and manufacturing, but would that extend to the big farming states in the mid-west as well?

  21. JMG, well, I agree that those who learn how to use the new media first can have a much greater impact. As the Nazis came to power in the late 1920s and early 1930s, they were quick to use the new technologies of radio and movies to promote their power.

    But the Nazis also began to censor and restrict their opposition’s access to media after they came to power. Granted, Trump has taken Twitter to a whole new level, and he plays the MSM like a harmonica. But he is also an aristocrat. We’ve already seen the “fake news” and “extreme” political viewpoints come under pressure on the Internet, including Twitter, Facebook and Google.

    How does an alternative political movement gain steam for the promotion of the excluded’s agenda, when by definition they are excluded from significant access to the new media?

  22. It’s a bit unfair to say that physicists dropped the notion of ether because of occultists. The failure of the Michelson-Morley experiment revealed no empirical support for the notion, and by implication no support for the idea of an absolute space. The working out and clarification of no absolute space led eventually to four-dimensional spacetime, where gravity causes local spacetime curvature.

  23. @drhooves
    Re: protest energy

    You said: Other than a few Antifa protests and the occasional flash mob, the anti-establishment politics only seems to have a fraction of the energy of the late 1960s anti-Vietnam war movement.

    There’s a difference between a Prophet/Reactionary generation (the Boomers) and a Hero generation (the Millennials). The first is all about protest energy and tearing down what they see as wrong, the second is, by its nature, a builder. Frankly, I’m amazed that the protests have as much energy behind them as they do.

    Having taken a few minutes to do something else before coming back to this comment, though, I suspect that a lot of the protests come from the older demographic, that is the over-50s who are, in fact, Boomers, while the under-35s, that is the Millennials, are doing a lot of the political building that’s going on quietly behind the scenes and out of sight of the people who follow the popular press and the other organs that make lots of noise.

  24. Class bigotry goes both ways – or rather, all ways. Blue-collar workers who make twice what I do (or disingenuous Republican billionaires who make a million times what I do) feel free to label me Eeelite because I live in a city and read books. At the same time, I deal with allopaths who think that a female with only a PhD is a dumb peasant who should shut up and believe what she’s told. The only common denominator is contempt and hostility for everyone who is Not Like Me, whoever Me may be. This seems to be a moral failing found in all sectors of American society – and at least the upper classes are not trying to deny the Real Americanness of “noncollege whites.”

  25. I find it amusing that “kek” is what the phrase “lol” was translated to in World of Warcraft when your character didn’t speak the language of another character. That led a whole group of online gamers to deliberately use “kek” in place of “lol” outside of that game, and that includes a lot of overlap with the chan community in general. I wonder if that’s coincidental?

  26. I thought that this article might interest those here. It’s called the New American Aristocracy, and it paints pretty good, if secular, portrait of how the new top 10% live and think. It’s a good companion piece.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/the-birth-of-a-new-american-aristocracy/559130/

    I’m looking forward to part three. I did a cursory examination of chaos magic as well, and I’m not surprised that it would appeal to those also stepped in internet and game culture, which has always had certain throw-away-the-manual, DIY feel.

  27. You rather downplayed what I find to be most brilliant about “the Cathedral” as a coinage: it makes explicit the religious motivations of the left. As late as WWII, the left were not just religious, not just Christians, but holier-than-thou Christians. They were “ultra Protestant” in their own description. Now they are atheistic, but yet still holier-than-thou; which is quite ironic from a naive perspective. It is good to remind the open-minded of their profound religiousity, since they certainly won’t.

  28. Dewey, as I thought I made clear in that part of the post, I’m talking about the use of racism as a rhetorical weapon on the part of elite groups who have an interest in keeping the white working class and the nonwhite working class at each other’s throats. Is racial prejudice a reality, and a serious problem for people of color? Of course it is — but that reality doesn’t keep the concept from also being used as a rhetorical and political weapon by a privileged class.

    Cyrill, fair enough; I should have been more precise about my terms. I’d identify the ANC as the armed wing of a mostly political movement, which played an effective good cop-bad cop routine on the white South African government. It’s the movements in which dissidents embrace terrorism as a strategy in itself, rather than as one part of a political strategy, that I had in mind.

    Ruth, glad to be of help. 😉

    Picador, fair enough.

    Elbows, what a fine thoughtstopper! Do you happen to know what percentage of the plastic waste clogging the oceans consists of plastic straws? (It’s miniscule.) Do you happen to know where the vast majority of that waste comes from? (Fishing fleets, which discard torn nets, damaged floats, and other plastic waste over the side in immense quantities.) Did you happen to know that people with a fairly wide range of disabilities need to use straws if they’re to drink at all? (It’s quite true.) If you actually want to do something about the plastic waste clogging the oceans, how about boycotting seafood? Of course that’ll never get any traction among privileged faux-environmentalists — why, that would affect their lifestyle! — so launching a crusade against plastic straws makes a fine bit of virtue signaling, and allows them to think they can have their planet and eat it too.

    Will, my take is that the imperial wealth pump now costs more than it brings in, and the soaring income disparities in American society are a function of the attempts by the upper 20% to monopolize the income while pushing the costs further down the social pyramid. You’re right, though, that there are other modes of dysfunction in addition to that, and those can be very significant.

  29. I enjoy reading these two Kek posts. Don’t really believe in spirits or deities other than God, but I agree on the Bubble of the Elites where even the possibility that some of the Truth might be in error is the same as advocating for incestuous necrophilia. When I was an agnostic I was called stupid by some true believers, and now that I am a deist I am a moron to some atheists, because what I believed in was so self-evidently wrong as to require no debate. At all. Okay. Ah, the disdain. Same great flavor from two ostensibly different and opposing groups.

    Since there is a very large population of educated, or at searching, people who are looking for and sometimes succeeding in finding new ideologies and belief system, while filled with despair, rage, and even hate, what is a good way to counteract the despair, rage, and hate bit? It seems that the more everything is being unstable, the more fearfully and deliberately ignorant and/or dogmatically rigid many become leaving them unable to protect themselves or anyone else from used from any social con artists.

    So circling back to the spirits and deities. Whatever wants to do evil has a growing number of useful idiots at hand. People who would be both victim and victimizer.

  30. JMG – thanks for another great post. I’m old enough to just remember cool Jack Kennedy trouncing sweaty Dick
    Nixon in a debate. Modern media management was born then, and I wonder if we are seeing a similar turning point now regarding the ‘net.

  31. Hello, very exciting series; I happily anticipate the next installment. Could you explain a bit about the relationship between “the enforced consensus of the mainstream” and the collective unconscious? I would think that general “conscious” consensus wouldn’t necessarily trickle into the collective unconscious, which is where I thought our actions are frequently generated. (Which is why someone might say he believes in equal rights for women (the enforced consensus), but then raise his daughter to believe that she must wear pink and only allow her to be pleasant and smile all the time (the collective unconscious), just as an example.) I’m wondering if I’m misunderstanding one or the other. Some light on that point would be appreciated. Thank you.

  32. I have a Pinterest account, where I like to look at jewelry and textile designs. People post all kinds of visuals on the website, lately a lot of “sigils” and new age witchy stuff. To me, sigils seem kind of fakey, and made up, like they are supposed to be magical, and mean something because the creator of the sigil said so. I guess I like magical traditions that have a little more pedigree, so to speak.

  33. I had wanted to post something to this regard last week, but I would like to mention some of the voices on the left that are pushing back against the abuses of identity politics.

    The one that seems the most appropriate for this week’s blog is the podcast Chapo Trap House. They completely reject the hyper sensitivity on the left and spend about as much time making fun of liberals and clueless centrist democrats as they do making fun of conservatives. Very irreverent, but very on point as well.

    In terms of critiques of identity politics that are packaged to be more accessible, I really like Current Affairs magazine. Unlike a lot of folks on the left they realize that you do need to try and convince people who don’t agree with you. The editor in chief thinks of it as democratic socialist magazine aimed at people who don’t identify as such.

    Briahna Joy Gray had this piece about discourse that had a lot of parallels with piece JMG published earlier this year.
    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/02/the-politics-of-shame

    Angela Nagle had one that had some points similar to the ones JMG made about leftist circular firing squads.
    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/02/the-scourge-of-self-flagellating-politics

    I mention this because for too long I had a difficult time finding these voices on the left. It seems nobody wanted to speak up. Now that I have found them I want to share them.

    For what it is worth I think the number of people in the racist end of the alt-right and the number of snowflake social justice warriors are inflated. Though I must admit I was surprised to see certain attitudes voiced outside of the academic bubble recently, just as I have been surprised to see some incredibly racist conspiracy theories gaining traction.

  34. >Can you name a terrorist organization that actually succeeded in its political aims?

    The pIRA or the IRA or one of the many branches of it. If you look at the grievances they had in the mid-60s and you look at what Britain finally agreed to in the mid-90s, they pretty much got everything they were asking for. Equal votes, equal police representation, etc. Not everything but most of what they were initally asking for all those years ago.

    It wasn’t the Sinn Fein that did that, it was the persistent bombing campaign of the IRA that did it. Took them 30 bloody years but they achieved nearly everything they set out to do. Violence, does work but it’s slow, bloody and painful.

  35. @ Tolkienguy

    I do find it interesting that people (particularly American people) are all into Resistance(TM) of the empire when it is the United States that is the empire in question (and has been for generations). It has a “pay no attention to that empire behind the curtain” air about it, an almost desperate distraction of one’s own awareness of the uncomfortable reality of the situation.

    @ JMG, et al.

    Between last week’s comment thread and the beginning of this week’s cycle, I find it interesting also to observe folks who are insistent that Trump *must* be opposed root-and-branch because of certain actions, statements, or beliefs (whether real or projected), but ignore the fact that he is the only person to have reached this office who is even remotely willing to take the steps needed to affect our retreat from empire: whether he is doing this by design or by accident is irrelevant in the end. Tariff walls are necessary; a withdrawal of our troops from abroad is necessary; a reduction in our foreign commitments is necessary; controlling the flow of goods and people over our nation’s borders is necessary. Among other things.

    Now, aside from the tariffs and border control, he is still largely in the talking stage. But if he actually initiates troop withdrawals and/or begins a disengagement with NATO, then that will be a game-changer as far as I’m concerned. I dislike the man, but to paraphrase what I was repeatedly told on PW during the 2016 election, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the necessary.” Give me a thoughtful, deliberate, respectful social liberal who’s advocating those same policies — please! — and I’ll gladly vote for that person. But in the absence of that alternative, a distasteful, coarse, crude, arrogant blowhard may be our most effective option.

    I’m not sure how magic might be a factor in this or in the outcome of this year’s midterm’s, but I’m going to be very interested to observe what occurs over the next two years as Trump’s (first?) term is completed. If there is, as I mentioned above, the possibility of a magical effort to influence our nation’s path for the better, I’d be more than willing to participate in that effort, despite being the rawest of raw novices.

  36. >Of course that’ll never get any traction among privileged faux-environmentalists — why, that would affect their lifestyle!

    I like to call those kinds of people “Berkeley Liberals”, ultra left on issues that don’t directly impact their own lives, ultra right on the issues that do.

  37. As far as the average -chan funposter consciously practicing magic of any sort, not really. Most of them are just there to while away the day or there to decompress after a competitive video game match, most are not thinking in the terms you outlined. This was mostly subconscious and instinctual behavior by them in the majority. At least it was initially. There may be a few consciously doing it and as time wore on, more and more are doing it consciously. And you are sort of right that the activity on /pol/ has attracted the attention of entities. I can’t talk of the non-earthbound ones but plenty of alphabet agencies are now on /pol/ 24/7.

    But if you want to know where things are headed for better or worse you have to look at /pol/ these days, or find those who can filter the noise to extract the signal out of it for you.

    https://ih0.redbubble.net/image.346978242.1919/flat,800×800,075,f.u2.jpg

  38. I like where I think I see this going, and will follow with interest.

    As for eco-virtue signaling, my favorite example is a woman I met some years ago who made a big deal out of saving the planet by always keeping a reusable mug in the cup-holder of her SUV.

  39. Dewey,

    It’s not that JMG is tough at all on anti-racists. He’s tough on hypocrites.

    By the way, I’m a little tired of the assumption that all black people have it tougher in life than all white people. I also think that your class is quite comfortable accusing the deplorables of being racist, when in fact most are not. I am even more wary of the calm accusation of the police of being casual murderers. The statistics do not bear this out. Murder is a serious accusation. Do some homework.

    If it is true at all what JMG says above that the elites are once again drumming up animosity and ill will between the white and black, then certainly this sudden promotion of the notion that blacks are being shot willy nilly is a brilliant move. It is also a very, very dangerous one.

    The whole meme is so obviously orchestrated, and a big beef I have lately with your class is the obliviousness, the obtuseness, the naivete with which you lap up whatever pablum your thought leaders dish out.

  40. Interesting start to what looks like a fascinating (and painfully relevant) topic!

    One aspect of the situation that you haven’t covered (yet), was the topic of your book “The Long Descent”. It looks like the blowback from industrial civilization’s systematic rape of the global ecosystem is starting to take a serious toll (while of course being studiously ignored by the elite, and reduced to a simplistic “war on climate change” for popular consumption). I’d be interested to hear how that aspect interacts with the others.

    A thought: In what ways does magic interact with the complex dynamic systems of the ecosphere?

  41. Hi JMG, in this post you refer to the term Cathedral as a “brilliant coinage” because “a cathedral isn’t simply a set of ideas; it’s also an institution that deploys a great deal of influence and wealth, and the visible expression of a hierarchy in which believers and heretics alike have their strictly defined places.”

    In my opinion it is precisely the opposite: “Cathedral” is an unhelpful term which serves to confuse and distract from meaningful discussions about American society. You’re promising a deep dive into alt-right occultism in your next post, but from my standpoint, when you adopt the terms of Mencius Moldbug you are already buying into an egregore that shapes your thought in subtle ways.

    A major difference between America and Europe is that America has a Puritan strain in its social construction. The Puritans, or Dissenters, were objecting precisely to cathedrals and other highfalutin religious institutions. Instead of having a single source of dogma, they desired to read the Bible for themselves and construct an intentional community based on internal consensus.

    Which is a lot like how America works today, even in its harshest moments: there’s an internal consensus about right and wrong, and the wrong-thinkers are removed from positions of power by voluntary procedure. We read directly from the good books of Conscience and Empathy and debate amongst ourselves what their message means. It’s been known for centuries that this is a flawed procedure (c.f. The Scarlet Letter and Lovecraft), but it’s not a single institution that can be tuned up in the way Pope Francis does with the Catholic Church.

    If someone like Mencius Moldbug claims that in fact there is still a “Cathedral” at work in America, the burden of proof is on him to show that America operates like a cathedral and not like a Puritan colony. A cathedral is a single institution with a single bishop, representing vertical authority. What is the single institution that controls American dogma? If you want to claim it is “all institutions at once,” working horizontally and in tandem, you have it precisely backwards: that is how a Puritan colony works, not a cathedral. There is nothing Puritans hate more than cathedrals.

    Furthermore, Mencius Moldbug never explained what exactly he disliked about cathedrals. (Believe me, I did look through his oeuvre; at one point, he claims that his singular “Cathedral” contains a large number of bishops.) As you yourself said, he had “an enthusiasm for absolute monarchy and a rejection of the whole range of democratic values.” Is there nothing more undemocratic or hierarchical than a cathedral? Why does he not imagine a cathedral as an ideal, utopian alternative to the horizontal, democratic structure of American society?

    I raised this point with NRx back in the day, and I was dismissed with the response that “the question had been raised before” but any other term could be used with the same meaning. But that’s precisely the problem: any other term would not have the same meaning, because the word cathedral is being used in a self-contradictory way, evoking anti-Papist sentiment rooted deeply in the American psyche and directing it on America’s own anti-Papist social structure. This kind of inaccurate terminology serves to cloud minds and replace clear thinking with warm fuzzy feelings.

    That being said, I do like your characterization of where American society stands at this point and I am looking forward to the next segment in this cycle.

    (P.S. Big thanks to Violet for helping me get my own thoughts clear on this point!)

  42. Your comments on excluded intelligentsia are interesting, because I do resemble your remark.

    I’d add lack of sufficient physical or mental health to your list of reasons people fail to make it. College has a horrible tendency to spread nasty germs, and it’s really hard to concentrate on your work or attend class when you have flu, stomache flu, or whooping cough. It also seems to have a bad influence on a significant number of people’s mental health. Been there, done ALL of the above while there and I suspect it helped trigger the health problems I have now.

    And once you’ve graduated, if you by then aren’t capable of working the number of hours the few available hotly-contested entry level jobs in your field require, you’re stuck, because there is no way you’re going to be able to persuade an employer to take a chance on you when someone else is available who has everything you have, plus good health. So you end up with dribs and drabs of low paying part-time jobs outside your field if you are lucky. If you’re not, you can end up with nothing at all.

    And you only have a limited time (I’ve heard it’s about 5 years) before your degree is out of date, so even if your health improves after that, employers in your field aren’t interested in you unless you go back to school. Which takes money you weren’t able to earn while ill.

  43. JMG, what about the excluded intelligensia who go left rather than right? A lot of them are not going alt-right.

  44. Kek is an anti-structural Trickster god, isn’t he?

    Like Loki or Eshu, or even Mercury.

    He, or an equivalent entity, was always bound to appear as soon as the structure of the American class system became too rigid, and the resulting anti-structural forces started to build.

  45. Tangential to the article’s point, but my understanding is that plastic in the ocean is about 80/20 split on source, (surprise, surpise, and score another for pareto) 80 percent land based in origin, 20 percent ocean going debris. So while I agree the straw thing is virtue signaling, not sure I’d be inclined to fight it since everything helps. Would it be better to get rid of plastic packing materials? Probably, but maybe the straw people saw a chance to have some little impact and they ran with it. And of course California took it too far, but that’s to be expected.

  46. This is very interesting indeed, on a personal level. When I was finishing my undergrad degree (BSc, Agricultural Science, very progressive West coast University) I went into a spiritual searching phase that I find I do about the end of each Saturn return. Being where I was, and environmentally minded, I hitched up against Wicca in short order, but having just gone through a science degree, and raised without gods, found the deities uncomfortable… But also scary, because I’d had experiences with spirits at 14/15 and they were not good, at all, I couldn’t picture good ones. I tried getting into chaos magic but found the fluid ethics worse, and also resisted many of the ‘magic is anything humans say it is’ flavours (which were also abundant in the Wiccan corners – but in a ‘nothing bad exists in real magic’ way – we say it’s warm fuzzies and beaming goddesses, so it is).

    I’m two more Saturn returns past that undergrad, and here I am, left the corporate environmental consulting world in disillusion, to talk to druids online again, after seven years ago reaching my pinnacle of success and achievement within that Faustian world. And here is that old magic back again…. Can’t help feeling glad I missed the rise of the chans by fifteen years – gods help me I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 19… I’d have been right in the thick of it.

  47. Hi John–

    I’m thinking of creating a supply/demand curve of potential lackeys in response to your post, in which the human psychology that ensures the supply is no longer guaranteed and thereby undermines the demand. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But maybe not, given that there are many who have no genuine interest in reaping the trewards (or paying the corresponding price) that the current system offers. Among those, I would suggest, is a group of individuals who may have ended up in the top 20% socio-economically speaking, but who did so due to happenstance and perhaps a combination of skills that were coincidentally well-suited for the demands of a technocratic economy, Many of these voted not solely on behalf of their pocketbooks, being far more concerned with the well-being of their compatriots and the sustainability of a social arrangement that served the interests of all. And, on a disconnected note, I’ve got to say that the alt-whatever alternative to our current CF needs to adopt a more potent or archetypally-resonant sigil than some silly frog or similar emblem.

  48. Clay, I’ve heard dozens of stories like that. Yeah, the pressure is real.

    David, that’s an example that’s been on my mind as well.

    Stinkhornpress, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Tolkienguy, yep. Those aren’t so much archetypes as simply clichés, but they have a powerful effect on those who obsess over them.

    Zontargs, well, yes. One of the occult writers I studied most intensively in my young days used to say, “Don’t monkey with the buzzsaw!” It’s good advice — but we’ll be talking more about that in upcoming posts.

    Picador, of course it was tongue in cheek! I know my humor doesn’t always communicate to my readers. One thing, though — I don’t claim to be any kind of physicist, but I’ve read more than one book on modern physics which claimed to be by someone with relevant credentials, and claimed that electromagnetic radiation and gravity are waves in spacetime — as in, spacetime is the medium of which they are the ripples, and thus serves the same function as the ether in 19th century physics. Is this not the case? If it isn’t, why do you think those books claimed it was?

    Mike, thank you.

    Denys, magic isn’t for everyone. On the one hand, it takes the same kind of day in, day out discipline you’d put into becoming a skilled musician or martial artist; on the other, it does require a certain willingness to put up with high strangeness, and it helps if you revel in that. If you don’t feel called to it, you’re best off leaving it alone, and participating in the religion of your choice if one appeals to you.

    Clay, yep. My take is that we had a very, very narrow escape from a future of brutal civil war, and things could still go that way if the privileged are boneheaded enough.

  49. Archdruid Greer,

    What practices protect most occultists specifically from wayward gods? Is it the purifications, is it “barrier methods” like casting circles? Do all the other occult systems use them (that you are familiar with)?

    How exactly is an uninvited god more dangerous than an invited god? I can speculate on the controlled nature of the interaction (THIS god whom I have studied affecting THIS aspect of my life who is only here from THIS time to THIS time) but not everyone follows that model and often people spend a great deal of time and energy devoted to a matron or patron. What makes this safe?

    And finally…. are there any parallels in the joke-worshipping of Eris/Discordia in the early days of the Principia Discordia?

    Thanks for your time, and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if your next segment mysteriously showed up tomorrow 😉

    Simcerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  50. JMG – Your reference to “The Cathedral” calls to mind “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” http://users.ece.utexas.edu/~perry/education/382v-s08/papers/raymond.pdf, which contrasts the authoritarian information technology of Microsoft (the Windows OS, Office apps, and web browser) against the DIY chaos of Linux, where anyone can get the source code, modify it, rebuild it to suite themselves, and where the interoperability of simple programs and a simple file system combine to build powerful systems.

    It’s probably not a coincidence that Linux originated in Finland, with a state-sponsored Protestant church. (There was a fun bit of IT humor regarding “Microsoft Church”, which sounded a lot like Roman Catholicism. https://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/microsoft-church.html)

    If you haven’t heard much about Linux lately, it’s because one offshoot has been renamed “Android”, and it’s been built in to over 80% of all mobile phones since 2013. (Microsoft’s attempt at a mobile OS ranks along with “other” in the single digits since 2016.)

    So, we have a generation of young people obsessed with their chaotic Android devices, coordinating chaos magic. Makes sense to me.

  51. @David BTL,

    “Or as I like to call them “banjo playing sibling fornicators””

    That’s (that and the Cletus thing) just Republican for ‘deplorables’.

  52. Re: ‘The Cathedral’

    I didn’t find “the Cathedral” a brilliant coinage since I’d seen it before: “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” is a 1999 book about two different styles of open source software development, contrasting elite and common methods. I suspect that if I wanted to go back far enough, I could find the Puritans in England saying the same thing in the late 16th century. They were certainly (in)famous enough for going around asking where the Bible said to build cathedrals.

    Re: Plastic straws

    It may surprise a few people, but before straws were made out of plastic, they were made out of paper, and before that they were made out of … wait for it … straw. Why aren’t they still made out of paper? The paper straws weren’t strong enough to go through the plastic lids that came into vogue for the disposable cups you get in fast food joints.

    Can plastic straws actually be replaced by a redesigned paper straw? I’m not in manufacturing, so I don’t know.

  53. JMG
    Terrorism’s political success? Always arguable of course, and I don’t think ANC in South Africa cuts it as ‘terrorist’ – more ‘resistance’ – but closer to the mark perhaps are paramilitary ‘Lehi’ (Stern gang) and Irgun in the Palestine Mandate 1931 to 1947. They contained future Israeli politicians.

    best
    Phil H

  54. Greetings AD!
    As for the reality of spirits, For the last month I have been practicing every morning your heathen ritual invoking Thor’s hammer I like it , it’s manly. Anyway I got up in the morning and I noticed a framed renaissance era manuscript had somehow,in the middle of the night, fallen down. This never has happened before, and at the moment I am living alone.
    1. Coincidence
    2. Something is telling me he is noticing my practice and encouraging me.
    3. My sloppy Magic is irritating the locals, and he wants me to stop.
    I’ll keep you informed if something happens.

  55. Onething – You wrote: “By the way, I’m a little tired of the assumption that all black people have it tougher in life than all white people. I also think that your class is quite comfortable accusing the deplorables of being racist, when in fact most are not. I am even more wary of the calm accusation of the police of being casual murderers…. Do some homework. [sic]”

    Your first point is a straw man; I never said or implied that. (Polls, by the way, find that the strongest predictor of Trump support is not economic anxiety, as often assumed, but a sense of racial/cultural anxiety or grievance.) You express outrage that anyone might stereotype a group to which you belong, but you write:

    “a big beef I have lately with your class is the obliviousness, the obtuseness, the naivete with which you lap up whatever pablum your thought leaders dish out.:”

    “Your class” gets repeatedly mentioned. You don’t know anything about me. What class do you assume I belong to? I am certainly not poor, but I’d be making more money if I had become a plumber. You know that I don’t believe Philando Castile or John Crawford or Tamir Rice should have been gunned down while minding their own business. Who do you imagine my “thought leaders” must therefore be? How do you know I have any regular “thought leaders” at all (other than JMG, whom I happily admit to)? You might be surprised if you cared enough to ask. And do you really think insulting my intelligence and dismissing my opinions as “lapped-up pablum” might convert me to white nationalism? Hasn’t worked for the scientism crowd, and they argue better than you do, frankly.

    You want to have your cake and eat it too, denouncing stereotyping of or hostility toward your own race and class (minimally) while maintaining the right to stereotype and show hostility toward others. That doesn’t work. One-way civility that is not constantly enforced by violence by the dominant group, as in the old South, doesn’t exist longer than your average antiparticle. If you want respect for your own subgroup, you must treat people from other subgroups with respect; otherwise mutual disrespect becomes the universal rule.

  56. Hi JMG, relatively new reader, enjoying these posts. Wanted to bring to your attention an interesting publication from August 2015. “K-HOLE” is a “brand forecasting” publication primarily distributed among urbanites working in art, design, product, and related fields. Are they part of the cathedral? Unclear, but they’re certainly not basemented alt-right types. The fifth edition (link: http://khole.net/issues/05/) contains what else but a straightforward guide to… chaos magic!

    Interesting to me that simultaneously as the channers were realizing the power of “meme magic,” so were the young quasi-elite class! I cannot evaluate it myself as I have no background in occultism, but I’m curious what you’ll make of it.

  57. Banning plastic straws is virtue signaling, and an easy win for politicians who avoid the real issues like homelessness, mental health, drug use, and human waste flowing in the streets. Looking at you San Francisco!

    “The Ocean Conservancy said in a report discussed in the GlobalPost that 60 percent of the plastic trash flowing into the sea originates from China, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand.”

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-01-12/5-countries-spew-more-plastic-oceans-rest-world-together

  58. Mr. Greer, I disagree with your statement – “(Can you name a terrorist organization that actually succeeded in its political aims? No, I didn’t think so.)”

    In the 1940’s Irgun carried out terrorist acts in (then) Palestine. Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel’s right-wing Herut (or “Freedom”) party, which led to today’s Likud party. Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977. (From the wikipedia entry on “Irgun”).

    It may seem churlish to point this out. Its debatable whether my comment adds to the overall discussion.

    I’ve enjoyed your writing since the beginning of The Archdruid Report.

  59. So one of the major mechanisms you described is the process of over educating and under employing. (I think I heard it called “elite overproduction” once). The other side of the process you described involves the enforcement of a narrow consensus among the people who “make it”. As an ivy league student I have unfortunately been a victim of the first process and a firsthand witness to the second one.

    What perplexes me is that the result of this process is not directed towards the leftward end of the political spectrum. A genuine working class movement seems like the most fitting response to the economic difficulties you described. The fact that the alt right mobilized this process instead seems odd.

  60. On a tangential note, I’m reading a book by a physicist about a theory of variable light speed, in which he describes precisely the process you do above: Einstein declares that there’s no such thing as ether, and light propagates itself through the nothingness between the stars. Then he turns around and starts ascribing qualities such as gravity and tension to this nothingness.
    After I stopped hissing and spitting from frustration, I calmed down and began thinking of the first chapter of the Cosmic Doctrine, with its flows of space and motion.

    Also, by the end of your post, I was imagining Kek slouching towards the chans, singing “Little Miss Red Riding Hood, you sure are looking good…”

  61. Hi all,

    I’d argue that the mix of outcast and former soldiers is well underway, although your not going to see it on 4chan. Look at what games people are playing online and a decent percentage are war sims. Go checkout your local range/gun club/airsoft groups and you’ll see elements of that mix. A simple youtube search will give you any number of former SF teaching CQB drills and the like. Guest appearances at ranges for such training is quite common.

    Any interesting aside if I may.

    Something that is not talk about, but very much underway is the militarization of gangs. As far as I can tell from my research this began with the Zetas in Mexico. A group of former Mexican SF soldiers hired by a cartel decided they didn’t need to take orders from the boss and installed their own structure based on their old military one. This caused an arms race of sorts with every other cartel rushing out to hire ex-SF to keep up with the competition (a lucrative fast-track for retirement for those without a care for atrocities from both within and without Mexico).

    This has bled though to the street gangs across the US with military service a requirement for anyone with aspirations beyond fodder. They have adopted former military hierarchy alongside regimented training programs. Here’s an interesting clip of a Mexican Mafia member detailing the transition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewXXSQMtE7E
    Strict military discipline, physical fitness and correspondence courses while incarcerated are in, baggy pants and gang tats are out. White and black gangs have had to evolve similarly or face oblivion.

    Thinking about this while typing, the same process you describe of those who fail to become part of the goings on’s of elites, who then end up in their parents basement, is happening with ex-military personal. With the huge serge in recruitment over the last couple of decades, veterans need to do something post-service. Many who serve in combat units find the transition to civilian life tough and the sense of camaraderie sourly missing. Gangs, cartels, militias, police etc offer this, with many paying well. Somewhat ironic the the forces used by the elites in the maintenance of empire, manybe the same ones that are going to undermined their control at home.

    As someone involved in this world, how can we get these people on a side that doesn’t revel in violence and control and manifest itself in the living nightmare many (most?) in Mexico and other parts of the world have to deal with? A problem with folks on the alternative spectrum, viewed from the military point of view, is that many come across as weak; both physically and mentally. Lots of talk and very little action. I think druidy has much to offer these people, but perhaps from a different angle to those who are already environmentally inclined? What does druidry have to say about warriors? Wasn’t King Arthur a benevolent warlord? Can intense physical training be another mans form of quiet meditation?

  62. Avery: In regards to your rejection of the idea of a cathedral: of the original 13 colonies, three had established Congregational Puritan churches (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire) two had no established church (Rhode Island and Pennsylvania), and the balance established the Anglican (now Episcopal) church.

    Roger Williams fled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in January, 1636 when Governor Winthrop warned him that he was about to be arrested for preaching his understanding of the Bible, instead of following the dictates of the church hierarchy. Williams had left England in 1631 after a similar battle with the Bishops of the Anglican Church. The ruling class has never approved of the anyone thinking for themselves, and the Reformation constructed a plethora of sects, each with its own ruling class who built dogmas to be adhered to. That’s why Calvin burned Michael Servetus in Geneva in 1553, and Williams narrowly escaped imprisonment for heresy, and Anne Hutchinson fled Massachusetts several years later.

    They may not have built elaborate cathedrals in stone, but they built them in dogma. Your Puritan colony as an intentional community based on internal consensus exists in the Histories we are taught, but the actual history includes many trials for heresy. Of course, the other colonies eventually built Cathedrals in stone to display their wealth and power and to house the Bishops to come.

  63. John, you mentioned that when the egregor goes bad the best response is to shut down the institution for 7 years and then try again. Do you know of any other way to attempt repair? There is no central, uncorrupted authority to shut down the rentiers (the main source of most countries’s troubles, I think). I would be happy to try to help fix things and I believe most other citizens would too.

    I wish the Pope would try this approach on my church—the Baptists keep the lights on parish by parish, I think we could too.(Anything they can do, we can do better! 😄)

    Does anyone think it would be helpfulif we all started insisting on being called “citizens” rather than “consumers”? Suppose every time a news story about consumers appeared, thousands of people wrote in politely asking “Did you mean ‘citizens’ could save on their car insurance [or whatever]? If so, why not say what you mean?” I think our betters would eventually concede if only to stop the flow of mail tying up their computers. Then we could start pushing them to call us “people.” This would be a tiny first step to taking back the human dignity they’ve stolen from us. What say you all?

  64. Your description of Chaos Magic was very helpful; it reminded me that the best way was to have a well-understood pantheon to call on at need. For example, I pay honor to Thor and Sekhmet during this season, and as a cat owner, Bast at all times.The airy-fairy Wiccans Sara Dee describes are out there, of course, but one hopes their magic is limited to affirmations and the like because clearly they are not going very deep into it. Far more common are the “Banish all negativity – think positive thoughts” crowd.

    BTW, I tend to agree with John Roth that the hysteria over Trump seems to be strongest in those born between 1940 and 1960; the youngsters have other agendas. Though they are being raised in the beliefs of their parents, obviously. But the hostess of one of my circles has banned all talk of politics except the mechanics and personalities of local organizations.

    A question about the alt-Right – you said “Young men and women.” I’ve been given to understand that a lot of it is heavily male and angry – also – because of their failure to attract women. Which their attitudes simply reinforce. Or am I mistaken? Do young men who don’t make it into the management class have fewer opportunities than young women? I ask this as the grandmother of one young woman and four young men.

    Thank you for satisfying my curiosity,

    Pat (1939)

  65. JMG or anyone more educated than I, which is all of you, I suspect: Can someone point me to where it says tariffs are good for the poor? Because that’s nowhere to be found in the media. I keep reading things about how many companies are struggling because the price of raw materials has skyrocketed and I see nothing about how this is helping. Please enlighten me. Thank you! I’m trying to get on board here and reject the orthodoxy….

  66. Forecastingintelligence, a lot depends on the outcome of the current trade situation. Breaking news has it that the EU has just agreed to lower tariffs on US products and buy more US natural gas and soybeans; if Trump’s hardball gamesmanship gets that kind of result more generally, the midwestern farm states will do just fine.

    Drhooves, but they’re not excluded from the new media. The new media that matter aren’t the big establishment news sites; the new media that matter are blogs, aggregators, and social media, which are still wide open. The Iranian revolution in 1979 was largely fomented by tape cassettes passed from hand to hand; a movement that uses peer-to-peer media today could be at least as successful. It’s purely a matter of actively addressing the concerns that the excluded have, rather than those that somebody thinks they should have…

    Arshad, the concept of the ether was independent of the concept of absolute space, even though the two are routinely run together in current histories of science. Trust me, occultists who don’t believe in absolute space still make use of the ether as an explanatory concept!

    Dewey, do you understand that prejudice backed up with power is different from prejudice not backed up with power?

    John, we’ll be talking about that next week!

    Andru, thanks for this.

    Leonard, that’s an excellent point. Thank you.

  67. I’ve just been told this blog is an alt-right blog. I think I may have scared the people saying it, since I just shrugged and said that made me alt-right.

    It seems it covers far too much ground.

  68. I thought I was going to talk off-topically today, but in fact, the last three paragraphs hint I am quite on-topic with this.
    About 15 or so years ago, the climate scientists among my friends stopped talking so much about “mitigation” and started talking about “adaptation,” seeing as how no meaningful moves against climate change were politically possible. Looking at the world news this morning, I think am beginning to see what “adaptation” really means.
    At this moment, in Japan, a bowling ball of a typhoon is aimed straight at the kisser of Tokyo on a sustained easterly that is starting up earlier than the past two years. That’s a good thing actually (really, another “kami kaze”), because if the record-heat-producing northwesterly foehn out of Siberia continued much longer, we faced a danger we’ve never seen before here: forest fires, that I see are devastating Greece now. There are certain folks I know in mountainous western Tokyo that I’d call and urge to grab what they can and flee for the Kanto Plain if a fire started. I’m sure the relevant authorities realize the danger, but I’m not so sure they want to cause “a panic.”

  69. @petervanerp

    ” three had established Congregational Puritan churches (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire) two had no established church (Rhode Island and Pennsylvania), and the balance established the Anglican (now Episcopal) church. ”

    I grew up in an old Connecticut town that was founded in 1639. It was founded by a Puritan church that was founded in 1638 in New Haven for the express purpose of planting this town – they’d already scouted it out. It was a total theocracy – adult male members of the church could vote on things, but the church elders had the final say. Some years later, they had to open the franchise up a bit in order to join the CT colony, for military assistance against the natives.

    Yes, there were schisms. A gang broke off and formed a new church, cleverly called the Second Church, right across the river from the first. This was based more on personal frictions than any theological niceties. 100 years later, no one could remember what the deal was, and the Second Church rejoined the First Church. I’m not kidding.

    That church still exists – it’s still called the First Church. They’re on their third church building – the canonical New England big white church on the green – I grew up in that church. It’s now a rather liberal Congregational Church of Christ. What a difference 379 years makes!

  70. @petervanerp, I would like to respond to you, but I’m not sure what you mean by this: “Your Puritan colony as an intentional community based on internal consensus exists in the Histories we are taught, but the actual history includes many trials for heresy.”

    Do you not believe that it is the nature of an intentional community to have rules? Is belief in orthodoxy compatible with Protestant theology, or does it reveal hints of Papism which need to be stamped out? I would argue that the converse is a much more reasonable claim: historically, Catholicism has been far more open to innovative and heterodox thought…

  71. @ Ken

    Re tariffs

    The way I would argue it, tariffs are a necessary tool, not a good or bad thing in themselves. A comprehensive tariff wall would be needed to protect domestic production from the predation of foreign competition so that a nation could develop a robust, self-sufficient economy employing its citizens at a livable wage, producing their own goods and services for their own consumption using their own labor and their own resources. This would also allow for resource depletion taxes, anti-automation taxes, and other measures favoring the employment of humans rather than robots, promoting human well-being, and supporting frugal, sustainable resource use. Essentially, this would be upending the “free trade” dogma that prevails today in favor of a self-reliant economic nationalism. That’s would I’d be pushing for anyway, were I in charge — which of course I’m not 😉

  72. I understand that many people are annoyed with political correctness, and some may want to get rid of it altogether. I can freely admit that several of the promoters of PC are annoying.

    But I think that there’s a reason that it reached the amount of influence that it did. It was less than 40 years ago that over 200,000 Americans died during the AIDS epidemic. A major reason that so many people died was because the Reagan administration treated it as a joke – that’s not an exaggeration, they literally made jokes about it. And the people who voted them in decidedly didn’t hold their feet to the fire.

    A distinct lack of political correctness in this situation led to a situation where much of the voting public were pretty much fine with just sort of letting people die. If it had been treated as something other than a joke in official channels, and described in terms other than, for example, “the gay plague”, things might have been different.

    This was less than 40 years ago. If you’re a conservative, as many people who are annoyed with PC culture today are, I’d be cautious about assuming that we’ve changed so much that something similarly tragic couldn’t happen today. Flippant language can be genuinely dangerous, especially when used by official channels. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  73. JBird, the first requirement is to address the actual sources of the despair, anger, and hate. These days those are usually what one of my teachers used to call secondary emotions — for example, a lot of people who express anger are using it to distract themselves from fear or grief, because it’s less uncomfortable to be angry than it is to be afraid or grieving. One of the things I’m trying to do is talk about experiences of all those people who have been told that they’re losers, when in fact they were set up to fail, and are now being blamed for it.

    Leonard, very possibly.

    Beau, the enforced consensus is entirely conscious. Think of Victorian England, where the enforced consensus was that sex was beastly and wicked and degrading, while the collective unconscious was (as it always has been) surging with archetypes that fuse sex and the highest reaches of spirituality. The more the enforced consensus of a culture contradicts the collective unconscious, the more you can be sure that things are going to blow sky high sooner or later.

    Danae, I ain’t arguing, but different strokes for different folks, you know.

    Greg, thank you! This is really good to hear.

    Owen, I wasn’t there at the time, but my take is that it was the combination of the IRA doing the bad cop and Sinn Fein doing the good cop that accomplished as much as it did — and of course the core demand of reunification seems as far away as ever.

    David, that’s the thing that I find most wryly amusing about the opposition to Trump. Even many of the extreme leftists have rallied around the imperial status quo the moment somebody actually threatened it. Mind you, when the left by and large cheered on Obama for doing everything they denounced Dubya for doing, that was a wake-up moment for me; it became painfully clear that far too much of their supposed hostility to war, imperialism, et al. was purely tactical, and they didn’t mind it at all if it was their guy doing it. I think that was when I finally lost any remaining faith that the American Left actually cared about any of the causes it so loudly trumpeted.

    Owen, I wish they were limited to Berkeley! As for the chans, I know. I lurk on 4chan and 8chan occasionally, on the same basis that I lurk on far left websites — it’s always good to know what the other folks are up to.

    Kevin, that’s a good one. I still recall the day I first saw a gargantuan SUV with all the expensive options lumbering down the street with a bumper sticker saying “Live Simply That Others May Simply Live.”

    Dwig, true enough. I’ll probably cycle back to the environment in due time, not least because climate change is really starting to accelerate noticeably. As for magic and the ecosphere, that’s an exceedingly complex matter, and needs to be discussed alongside the relationships between the ecosphere and the theosphere. (We have biota, and we also have theota…)

    Avery, if you don’t find it useful, then by all means use a different term. I find it helpfully evocative.

    Pygmycory, that’s a very good point as well. Thank you. As for those who go left, well, yes — you get the excluded going in all imaginable directions. I’m talking about the ones who went rightward because they’re central to the story we’re following.

    Phil K, I actually have a different identification to suggest. Stay tuned for the fourth part of the series!

    Sng, I’ll have to find the articles I read that suggest that most of it is from the fishing fleets. Of course different samples may have different results.

    SaraDee, I get that. One of the things that drew me to classic ceremonial magic, and traditional occultism more generally, is the very clear recognition in those traditions that there are things on the inner planes that are not your friends, and here are some useful things you can do to protect yourself if they hassle you.

    PHRR, I like that. As for the frog, though, they didn’t pick it; as we’ll see, it picked them.

    Sgage, yep. Nyahahahahaha!

  74. JMG, I know you’re not a fan of Peter Turchin, but what he describes as elite over-production followed by the emergence of a dissident elite and increasing inter-elite competition aligns pretty closely with what you describe in the first part of your essay. It seems to be a necessary condition for social collapse to proceed. Really interested to see where this goes.

  75. Just so happens i am reading Frederic Jamesons “Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”. In it he semiotically explains postmodernity as the freeplay of signifiers dvorced from their signs in the context of a ceaseless informational flow, which sounds a lot like chaos magic. It induces a kind of mass psychosis or schizophrenia, fertile ground for mage-trickery. I guess its relativism or satanism , and works the path of the tower between Hod and Netzach , approaching but never quite reaching the harmony of tiphareth, rendering its practioners subject to possession by sublunary psychic forces as you suggest.
    It is the magick of deconstruction , depth replaced by suface, art replaced by text , the abysmal merging of subject and object (quite dangerous really).
    It marks “the ascendancy of process and the triumph of the ephemeral over the monumental”: describes our Dragon culture to a tee.
    I guess the kids are turning the elites own magic against them using their own technology as talisman/amulet. ?
    Wouldnt mind betting the elites have their own more traditional , powerful dark mages though.

  76. Regarding the far right and white nationalism, and the far left and the various forms of brown/black nationalism – my feeling is that most people that lean alt-right or far-left (I would say that the cathedral is almost 100% ctrl-left, with a few leftover neocons in the attic, because the far-left actually are communists or radical socialists) – view these ideas sort of like nuclear weapons – if the other guy has them, we better close the ethnic/racial supremacism gap.

    For instance, when Ocasio Cortez talks about “Social and economic justice”, what she means is “tax primarily white people and use it to fund programs that mostly benefit her >90% Hispanic constituency” – at least that’s how I hear it. Not to mention the (I have no idea how significant, I don’t live in the Southwest) “Make America Mexico Again” crowd. It is completely reasonable for white people to take one look at these movements and realize that they either need to get out of dodge or form a counter-collective.

  77. JMG – Cyril already gave one example, but let me add another; the Bolshevik wing of the communist party regularly employed terror in the years leading to up to the October revolution. Stalin robbed banks to finance the part long before he got anywhere close to the central committee.
    Second, maybe this will become clear as the posts proceed, but it seems to me that you have consistently declined to acknowledge that left-wing populism is also on the rise. I get that maybe you write more about the Alt-right more because they have pushed for a man in the White House, but there are plenty of discarded intelligentsia who fall on the leftward end of the economic spectrum as there are those on the nationalist right.

  78. Re John Michael’s reply to Beau: “The more the enforced consensus of a culture contradicts the collective unconscious, the more you can be sure that things are going to blow sky high sooner or later.”

    If I had to choose one most salient point arising from this week’s post, that would be it. The enforced consensuses of the US have been growing steadily in contradiction to the collective unconscious; it looks like the blowup is already in the early stages…

    Re: “…when the left by and large cheered on Obama for doing everything they denounced Dubya for doing, that was a wake-up moment for me;…” Don’t be too hard on the lefties; after 8 years of hard core in-your-face neoconservatism, they were desperate for a serious change. When they found themselves faced with “neoconservatism lite”, the cognitive dissonance was fierce (especially when the right doubled down on their opposition to anything less than full-up Bushismo); many, if not most chose the superficially better choice of denial. The cheering soon took on a hollow ring, though. And since the Dems and Reps have successfully made a vigorous third party movement nearly impossible (at least for a time…), where should a conscientious liberal go to find a home for real political liberalism? (I’m reminded of the last line of a poem by Daniel Day-Lewis: “we who lived by honest dreams, defend the bad against the worse”.)

    “As for magic and the ecosphere, that’s an exceedingly complex matter, and needs to be discussed alongside the relationships between the ecosphere and the theosphere. ” I look forward with great interest to the discussion…

  79. Hello JMG,

    Wow, in reading a little about the deity Kek I am not surprised that he He stepped right in.

    I suppose if folks have a deep desire to pull everything apart, invoking an ancient deity of primordial darkness (hello Ring Chaos!) would certainly get the job done. Trouble is, without a counterbalancng force, that’d get everything they -do- like dissolved along with everything they don’t like.

    Next thing I wonder is, where’s his serpent-headed wife about now, and what’s she doing?

    Bonnie

  80. Jessi, the way that traditional occultism deals with gods extends straight through the old systems from basic assumptions through a galaxy of practical techniques. Your classic occultist works with divine energies all the time, but in a deliberately controlled and balanced way, using a structure such as the Tree of Life to understand the interactions between deities and their powers. At the root of the entire process are the recognitions that (a) deities exist, (b) they have their own purposes and intentions, and (c) they influence you most powerfully when you don’t notice them. A sudden idea backed with strong emotions surfaces in your mind, prompting you to do something you wouldn’t normally do. If you know that that’s the kind of thing gods and spirits do, you can assess the idea, the emotions, and the action, and decide what to do; if you don’t have that concept, you’re much more likely to get caught up in the energy, and the results may not at all be good…

    Lathechuck, interesting. I wonder if that’s where Yarvin got the idea.

    John, oddly enough, I was thinking of paper straws, too…

    Phil H., so noted.

    Dashui, by all means. Glad you like the ritual!

    Simpolism, thanks for this! At first glance, it looks typically simplistic, but the basic techniques are there. I’ll give it some further thought as time permits.

    Denys, and there’s always that. 🙁

    Bruce, I note that a lot of people challenged this point, and it’s almost always with the same couple of examples. Shall I revise the passage to say that terrorism almost never works?

    Caleb, remember that the universities enforce left wing ideology on students. That pretty much guarantees that a lot of people who rebel against the system will head right instead.

    Cliff, fascinating. What’s the book?

    Shizen, thanks for this. What you’re seeing is the ordinary process of warband formation that takes place as a civilization slides toward a dark age. I don’t know a way to forestall or divert it.

    Pogonip, that’s specifically the rule that works for magical lodges. I have no idea whether the same principle applies to other organizations, though it would make sense. The way you know that you haven’t shut things down long enough, by the way, is that the same scandals keep on popping up with different people involved. Sound familiar?

    Patricia, it’s mostly young men, but there are some young women involved in various parts of the alt-right and it seemed reasonable to acknowledge their presence. I’m not sure what the opportunity differential is these days.

    Ken, it’s quite simple. Right now many countries in the world have tariffs restricting imports of goods made in the US, while the US until recently had very few tariffs restricting imports from other countries. This made it more profitable for companies to manufacture things overseas and ship them here, rather than hiring people here to make them. The reason so many people in the US today are poor is that there aren’t enough jobs, and the law of supply and demand (too many people chasing too few jobs) has driven wages and benefits for the working class down below subsistence levels in many areas. Tariffs, by making it more profitable to manufacture things in the US for US markets, encourages companies to hire people here in the US, thus improving the lives not only of the people who are hired, but of all those who depend on consumers having money to spend.

  81. Brilliant and thoroughly riveting series of posts on Kek, JMG – I can hardly wait for the next installment! I will, however, quibble with you re: terrorism. Of course in quite a few cases one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, but I think it can be argued that the Irish Republican Army ultimately achieved their aims, although their methods and leaders became more “civilized” during their final decade.

  82. Archdruid Greer,

    You said, “Mind you, when the left by and large cheered on Obama for doing everything they denounced Dubya for doing, that was a wake-up moment for me; it became painfully clear that far too much of their supposed hostility to war, imperialism, et al. was purely tactical, and they didn’t mind it at all if it was their guy doing it. I think that was when I finally lost any remaining faith that the American Left actually cared about any of the causes it so loudly trumpeted.”

    I wholeheartly agree, I saw and felt the exact same things at the exact same time, starting with Obama’s first cabinet appointments. I found voices on the far left who were willing to say “The emperor has no clothes,” but such voices were few and far between, and ALWAYS on alternative/independent media, never on corporate-owned media. I also found more common ground with Libertarians (and had always identified as a Green), and it prompted me to abandon the “two party” system altogether. There are a lot of people out there who can see the truth (and suddenly find themselves on the fringes of American politics, or walk away altogether) and all it takes is a reasonable bull excrement detector and some observational skills.

    Sincerely
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  83. E. Goldstein, that’s a huge question. We’ll touch on it briefly in part four of this series of posts, but at some point I probably need to buckle down and do that often-requested series of posts about Jung.

    David, thank you. That’s hilarious — though I was waiting at the end for a spaceship with the Pepe the Frog logo to come zooming past.

    Will, good heavens. Where did that claim get made?

    Patricia, wow. Yeah, that would be awkward! I hope the typhoon brings plenty of rain.

    Spicehammer, interesting. I haven’t heard the AIDS crisis presented as the driving force behind the rise of political correctness before, and will need to look into that claim.

    Graeme, worth noting. Toynbee talks about the same thing in the context of colonialism and the influence of one society on another, but not more generally. Hmm…

    Fabian, that makes sense. I’m not at all sure the elites have any really serious magic on their side, if their spells can be foiled by a bunch of novice chaos magicians under the banner of a cartoon frog…

    Justin, reasonable but simplistic. All you do with that kind of straightforward opposition is lock into place the thing you want to fight. There are smarter ways to do things…

    Ben, I haven’t written about them in this sequence because they’re not central to the story I’m talking about just now. They’re important in the broader sense — the emergence of socialist populism in particular is a huge factor, and one that’s going to rattle things good and hard as we proceed — and they’ll get discussion in future posts as time and subjects permit.

    Dwig, I’m not at all sure I believe that the left was really interested in serious change. Obama copied Dubya’s policies, very nearly point for point — he was just a different face for the same neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy — and next to nobody pointed this out and tried to put pressure on his administration to do something else. My take, then and now, was that they didn’t want change — they just wanted their side behind the wheel (and in charge of the very considerable financial payoffs of power), rather than the other side.

    Bonnie, good question. As I noted in response to an earlier comment, I have a slightly different notion of the archetypal presence that’s at work just now. Stay tuned!

  84. Ron, last I heard — and please correct me if I’m wrong — the overarching goal of the IRA was uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. That hasn’t happened yet…

    Jessi, yeah, it was kind of a shock to watch so many people who’d been acting horrified at Dubya’s wars and drone strikes and neoliberal economic policies turn on a dime and praise Obama for doing exactly the same thing. I lost my remaining respect for the Democratic party as a result of that.

  85. Pardon my dumb question JMG, but if magic is ‘the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will’, is writing a successful blog that encourages people to change their perspective on an number of social and political ideas an act of magic?

  86. JMG, I know that its stupid – but to suggest that white people who engage in that sort of simplistic behavior do it because they’re the maleficent minions of Evil is our culture’s standard response to the issue and it isn’t helpful and feeds into the persecution complex at the heart of the actually white supremacist part of the alt-right. Of course, their brown and black counterparts have a persecution complex too…

    I’ve noticed that that game works by reducing people into racially/ethnically homogeneous Leviathans, who interact with each other as though they are single individuals. Therefore every white person is responsible for slavery, every black person responsible for that community’s violent crime rate, every Jew responsible for the Russian revolution and the gulags, and so on – and of course, the violent fantasies of every group is merely a response to the past transgressions of some other group.

    Of course, each side also vigorously defends the notion that its people are in fact sovereign individuals. For instance, we have had two terrorist attacks in Canada in the last four months or so, and although the death tolls were about the same, the response among the chattering classes was predictably different:

    One was a white man who supposedly killed 10 or so people with a rental van before attempting suicide-by-cop. He was involved in online ‘incel’ subcultures and supposedly authored a facebook post about how his attack was the start of the ‘incel rebellion’ – even though this was likely a *chan prank. Although the man had a history of mental illness, and additionally, he is Armenian and his attack occurred on the Armenian genocide memorial day, of course, this attack reflected a systematic problem with all men, especially white men. (Fascinatingly, the same culture celebrates the Kardashians, who are also Armenian, as successful women of colour).

    The most recent was a Muslim of Middle Eastern descent who started shooting in a predominantly Greek neighborhood. Although there are some clues that the attack was racially motivated, there really is no point in talking about them too much because no credible media organization – to the extent that such creatures exist in Canada – will ever report on that evidence if it is uncovered. Of course, this is a one-off incident of mental illness and has nothing whatsoever to do with anything else, and ACHKTUALLY could be because a white person (whose mental illness was irrelevant, of course) shot up a mosque a year ago.

  87. A thought that came to mind is if the chans et al. were publicizing their magical workings, in addition to attracting attention from malefic and/or mischievous gods, they would have also made themselves known to disgruntled mages on the left. Wouldn’t these left-leaning mages have tried to mess with their workings? The debacle that arose on your other blog as a result of your posts on ‘How not to do Magic’ was a revealing illustration of the importance of secrecy in magical workings.

    To me, your essay implies that if someone (or a few someones) were to come up with an ideology that outlines what they do want in a way that appeals to the disenfranchised, and back it up with some serious magical power, it would be possible to bring about some actual changes in the politics of the country, as David eloquently theorized in his comment. Hopefully those who might have with good intentions, a vision for society, and magical power to boot will also know enough to keep quiet about any actual magical workings they might have in mind.

    If the need for secrecy is real, though, how could anyone hope to influence others with their ideology? If they can’t talk about it, then who will ever know about it? I’m thinking that magic works by causing changes in the Astral light, which then affects the consciousness of other people directly without having to talk about it outright. Is that way off base?

  88. It makes sense to me that it would have been a major reason behind it. After people could no longer really ignore the problem (it took over a decade, though) and the gay community became more accepted, it makes sense to me that there would be a huge amount of collective trauma over the whole epidemic, as well as some fairly justified paranoia that something similar could happen again to a group that was perceived to be outside of society in a similar way.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Opioid crisis is painted in similar terms to the AIDS epidemic a few decades down the line. Some political correctness on behalf of the victims there could have proven helpful. I don’t think that the previous administrations were actively using the terms hillbilly, redneck etc., but they could have done better. I’m also worried about people who cross the border, illegally and otherwise. As long as someone can be set outside of society it becomes easy to let them die and only come to realize that the actions were horrific later on.

  89. “Is it because democratic nationalism is Trump’s political ideology?”

    Yes, Trump is a civic nationalist. Meaning that he still thinks a multi-cultural society with better rules can survive…History being to the contrary, with no multi-cultural society having survived very long, the end product will be regular nationalism, with one dominant culture and language. However, that might mean secession for parts of the United States.

  90. Mr Greer,

    I am one of the people you’re describing. I spent my formative years immersed in the culture of sites like 4chan and I find your description of how these places encourage us to see the world to be totally accurate. (Many video games and anything else touched by Elrick convey a similar worldview.) Until recently I did not grasp how much I had been exposed to the occult over the course of my life.

    In fact, I believe this led to a possession. Something, or someone, that fills me with trepidation even as I type this out, had been nipping at my mind for a very long time. At a point a few years ago, I finally let it in. I don’t know if I had been softened by all my years of consuming tainted culture combined with sudden exposure to the Dark Enlightenment or if I was simply reaching out for help in a moment of great personal distress (or both of these things). What I do know is that I had an experience of watching myself type out an essay of consequential pith, something that contained a mixture of my own views and outright lies, calculated to provoke and enrage the painted and doughy mandarins of the Establishment who would read it. I’m still dealing with the results.

    The full possession fled soon afterward but the ‘savant-like’ abilities I always had were sharpened significantly. I have been looking for someone to help me understand what happened. Frankly, in spite of the personal harm I suffered I feel enormous gratitude for whatever entered me for finally convincing me to embrace the correct path for my life. I wish I understood more about Him/Her/It.

    Thanks again.

  91. @JMG, John Roth – I realize that the forces in play when it comes to political movements can be quite complex, and I’m guilty of oversimplifying things. There’s certainly generational aspects to the current movements, but I don’t detect the same solidarity or energy in play today against government policies. I find it impossible to believe that the current War Machine and political shenanigans by players like the Obamas, the Clintons and Trump would have lasted a month back in the 1960s. The Vietnam protests and Watergate fallout were major events triggered by far less criminal acts than what’s tolerated today.

    And the reason for that, IMHO, is that the opposition to the elite’s goals is fragmented and disorganized. I can’t buy into the idea that the media “that matter” are now blogs, aggregators and social media. Check out Facebook’s face plant after hours tonight. Social media is limited and annoying, and along with the Internet provides only a limited means of organizing before being hijacked and controlled, as in the Tea Party movement. It’s another tool that the elites use to keep the outsiders off their toes. Television is still the 800 pound gorilla, and alternative views get very, very little airtime. If an online mechanism did begin to gain momentum and success, it would be at the mercy of a couple of mouse clicks on the root DNS servers to no longer be accessible. I would love to be wrong about this, and see meaningful changes gain traction at the national level – but for now I see movements restricted to local levels only, and few at that.

    As for the Iranian revolution, didn’t the youth behind that change piggy-back on the widely distributed and well-organized clergy? Cassettes may have played a part in the educational aspect of it, but those fellas in the robes were driving the boat, no?

    I don’t mean to get too far off the beaten path here though, as overall the first two installments of the Kek Wars essays have been amazing. Tons to think about.

  92. JMG,

    Re: warbands. Not forestall, but harness for the greater good. For want of a better example, Robin Hood and his merry men?I find the groups I mentioned above tend to be right wing by nature, not for any love of the ideology, but because the left tends to be overlty hostile towards them.

    If we were going to try and find a third way, like your Esc -centre. What might it look like? Thinking about things like mental fortitude through meditation shares many aspects as physical strength, or firearms proficiency. Are there Druid equilivent to Shugendo, or yamabushi, perhaps Sohei (although they seem to be used as tools for inter-temple warfare so perhaps not) ?
    A path within druidry that offers purification though physical hardship?

  93. Quick question – do you know of a good place to read a distillation of alt-right thinking as it currently exists, or a smorgasbord of interesting alt-right opinions with relatively little garbage? I know it’s not a cohesive movement, but anything that boils down one or more of the several currents in the alt-right would be helpful.

    Going to /pol/ or its equivalents reveals mostly just a morass of low-quality garbage. It’s clear that there’s some wheat among the chaff, but I only have so much time and can’t afford to spend it sifting through 4chan to find the good stuff.

    I have read some of the real white nationalists that predate the alt-right, e.g. Jared Taylor and the website Stormfront, which educated me enough to know that Trump, Bannon, or for that matter Le Pen, Farage, Orban, et al. don’t actually fit the label ‘white nationalist’. I’ve also read a bit of Moldbug and some replies to him, and I’ve watched videos of a few people considered ‘alt-right’ who reject the label, such as Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad.

    Thus far I haven’t encountered much that was very compelling – only Yarvin/Moldbug had anything reasonably well thought out. Do you know somewhere I could read/watch some reasonably high-quality alt-right types?

  94. My first thought of a terrorist group that won was the Ulster Loyalists. A lot of places tried to bomb their way out of the British Empire but they succeeded in bombing their way into the British Empire. 🙂 The next thing that came to mind is, more than any other political organisation I can think of, the Loyalists have a substantial lodge structure. What effect will that have had?

  95. The English phrases “political correctness” and “politically correct” were widely used in Red circles (that is, by the American Stalinists and others generally sympathetic to the Russian experiment in Communism) in the San Francisco Bay area long before the AIDS crisis ever developed. I heard a lot about “political correctness” in Berkeley in the early 1960s among my hard-left friends and acquaintances. It was a tool of Communist or Socialist Party discipline back then: not being politically correct in every detail had real consequences in those circles. Most folk who were not hard left, but lay elsewhere on the left end of the political spectrum, despised the term back then.

    As the opposition between the left and the right hardened in the later ’60s and the ’70s, and the moderate center started to vanish from the political spectrum, jokes and mockery were weaponized for the incipient total war between the left and the right. In fact, everything that could be weaponized, was weaponized for battle. The AIDS crisis was just one among many such things. In that war — Spicehammer gets it quite right — “much of the voting public were pretty much fine with just sort of letting people die.” I would emphasize that this was just as true on the left as on the right; each side was totally on board with letting any natural disaster kill off hundreds of thousands of people–provided, of course, that it was people on the other side of the war who were dying.

    Compassion is one of the first casualties in any war. (It was ever thus.) And one of the first steps in recovery, once the war is ended, is to recover compassion for all the survivors on every side of the battle.

  96. As far as I can tell, the only terrorist organisations that were really successful in Northern Ireland were the Loyalist paramilitaries – it was their increasingly deadly tit-for-tat assassination policy that ultimately ended the IRA’s campaign, not the peace negotiations. It’s notable that when any Republican group starts talking about a return to violence, it only needs a threatening murmur from the Loyalists for such talk to cease. I believe the right-wing pro-government terror organisations in Colombia were equally successful.

    So there is a certain kind of terrorism that works, but it isn’t the revolutionary, anti-government sort.

  97. I feel I should point out that the Archdruid Report and its spinoffs and replacements are just as much part of the online samizdat scene as the avant-garde internet hate machine and NRx bloggers. Was that intentional when you started, or just good fortune?

  98. Dear JMG,

    Thanks for another great post. As a late commenter (I live in Europe, don’t see your posts until Thursday morning), what strikes me the most about this one is that the comments are less instrospective and decidedly more defensive. Instead of relating the post to their own reading or observations, a larger-than-usual number have selected a smallish detail for rebuttal (cathedrals, tariffs, terrorists), a common technique used to intentionally miss the broader point of (and thus discredit) a post that they’d rather not deal with on its own terms. Congrats, you’re hitting a few nerves!

    Have you by any chance followed the writings or podcasts of Scott Adams and his thesis that Trump is a “master persuader” using all sorts of hypnosis-salesmanship techniques (I’d call it cognitive-bias exploitation) to achieve his ends? If so, what do you think of this analysis, and does it tie in with Dion Fortune? With his coarse, devil-may-care, straight-camp, bad comb-over (you were the only one to pick up on this during the campaign), does Trump create his own thrust-block to push off against? By courting and absorbing the class insults, usually reserved for deplorables, does he accept the imagined sins of an entire class of people and paradoxically make himself stronger?

    Trump seems to be a kind of self-made antifragilist (in the Taleb sense), capable of seeing the disconnect between the orthodoxy of the few and the increasing desperation of the many and stepping into the gap. I suspect that Ms. Fortune would not be surprised.

  99. New England was very far from being solidly Puritan either in its origins or in its later history. It only seems that way because the old Puritan colonies ended up writing almost all of the history textbooks. In truth, its religious history is extremely complex. The only other region in British North America with such a complex religious history is Pennsylvania.

    Roughly speaking, there were four major cultural-religious areas in New England, and Puritanism was the characteristic religion in only one of these four regions. The Puritan colonies were Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut (which began as a colony planted out of Massachusetts Bay), and New Haven (which initially stood from the other two, and had its own colonies planted on both sides of the Long Island Sound.

    The second region can be called the “Northern Fringe” for convenience. The earliest “Northern Fringe” colonies were planted a few years before there were very many Puritans in New England at all. They were in what are now New Hampshire and Maine, and also in a few places (like Salem) on what is now called the “North Shore” (i.e. in Massachusetts, north of Boston). The people who lived here had come mostly to fish and trade, and not for any religious reasons whatever. And they weren’t particularly shy about making sure the authorities in Massachusetts Bay remained aware of that. Clergy were in very short supply here, and in the early years a significant fraction of that sparse clergy were priests of the Church of England. This was a huge source of conflict with the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay.

    The third region was not Puritan, but Separatist, which is quite another thing–at once more radical and more tolerant than the Puritans in New England. This was the region of the oldest separate colony in new England, the colony of Plymouth Plantation; it included what is now the “South Shore” in Massachusetts, i.e. south of the “Old Colony Line,” and the eastern part of what is now Rhode Island, east of Narragansett Bay. By a clever bit of political chicanery, Massachusetts Bay swallowed Plymouth up (somewhat against its will) in 1691-92. After that, the “Old Colony” (Plymouth) was slowly pushed into Puritanism–but never completely assimilated.

    The fourth and last region was the land around Narragansett Bay, especially on the west side of the Bay. The religious profile of this region was established by one of its earliest English settlers, Roger Williams. It was basically, in religion “anything goes”; here your religion didn’t even have to be Christian. Williams called this “soul liberty,” and for him it was absolute.

    To this same region belonged the southeast corner of what is now Connecticut, which began as a distinct (and very small) colony, Saybrook Colony. Saybrook Colony led something of a charmed life politically and religiously. Though it was swallowed up by Connecticut quite early, it was for decades (before and after) almost the personal fiefdom of the long-term governor of Connecticut, John Winthrop Jr., who was technically a Puritan, but an uncommonly tolerant, speculative one. Saybrook’s religious culture was therefore as tolerant as that of Rhode Island, and its economic life was also as closely linked to Rhode island’s as to that of the rest of Connecticut.

  100. JBird,

    I regard the inability to entertain the least suspicion that one might be even slightly wrong in one’s chosen belief system as a symptom of lowered consciousness. An awareness of the complexity of life, the ways the human drama unfolds individually and collectively along with the frequency of weird ideas that turn out wrong and discarded, gets lost.

    Basically, when it comes to truth, there are those (a distinct minority) who actually put finding the truth of the matter in first place in their hearts and there are those who seek facts that will bring comfort to their psyches. When one is seeking comfort, there is no motive for keeping open a slight wedge of doubt.

  101. Thank you for replying about magic. Since finding your blog 8 years ago or so, I’ve been seeing if a teacher of magic would show up. None yet.

    I have been studying Muay Thai boxing the past 2 years and that has been helpful mentally as well physically (lost 40 pounds and 8% body fat which at 50 years old now is a huge accomplishment for me) and its been just showing up and doing the work, not having a specific goal that’s been my focus.

    When sparring in Muay Thai I’ve noticed that I fight the way I live – I assume the other person will fight fair, I overthink what I am doing, I fail to protect myself. Its been interesting to change the physical behavior fighting – not easy!!! – and see it show up mentally in how I live my life and choices I make.

    I’ve learned that I’ve lived my life as if everyone has good intentions for me and other people. I’ve refused to believe consistently until recently that there is evil and it can influence and control people. I’ve seen it “out there” but now I’m wondering how much of it is around me right here. I’m doing the work in Cosmic Doctrine; no coincidence it is what I’ve been dealing with.

    I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle it if it shows itself, so I just deny that it exists. Denying makes things make them more influential, not less, right? I’m going to pull out the Mystery Teachings of the Living Earth book and do the exercises that I never did. I read along but didn’t do the practices and I won’t give it reason because it doesn’t matter. I just didn’t do them and now I will.

  102. David, by the lake,

    Did I misunderstand or did you? I thought the Resistance was purely about resisting the Trump presidency and not at all about empire.

  103. Have you seen this Qanon thing? #followthewhiterabbit #thestorm #thegreatawakening Supposedly run by 8chan or some say an insider of Trump or CIA?

  104. Thanks for the reply, JMG. That was the IRA’s stated mission for most of its “life”. However, they ultimately took the position that Northern Ireland will remain part of Great Britain as long as the majority of its population chose to do so. This happened only after the Belfast Agreement in 1998. After decades of the British Government stating that “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”, ultimately that is exactly what they did. And – surprise, surprise! – negotiations worked. I am no fan of terrorism in any way, shape or form, but I do find it interesting that on occasion (such as the IRA) they manage to adequately address the grievances that gave them birth and maintained them.

  105. JMG, regarding the research gap between the cult and occult sciences, I have often considered writing an epic tome regarding the commmon techniques between numerical weather prediction and astrology. I shall apply to the National Science Foundation for funding to write such a piece.

    But perhaps you think that is a ridiculous suggestion, since Professor J. Bloggs, PhD already wrote such a tome connecting the numerical-statistical-divinatory-analytical-archetypal-empirical-whathappendenedbeforewillhappenagainical themes of both sciences, and no git could possibly dream of adding anything new. Do you know of such an author? I am sure one of your readers can recommend something.

  106. Dewey,

    Thanks for the (sic). I carefully reread that sentence and it was carelessly done. I love that stuff.

    Well, you said a lot – OK, I am generalizing my impression from what you wrote, I just reread it and my impression is that I was correct in my understanding of where you are coming from. Of course, the word ‘always’ was probably excessive on my part.
    Also, I just finished reading the Atlantic article someone shared last week about the New American Aristocracy. It has clarified a few things for me. I see now that a part of my anger at this is because it is a coverup of the real problem – class stratification – by the very opportunists who are most privileged (and in my opinion also the ones with the unconscious racial bias that they are projecting onto the deplorables).
    My assessment that you belong to the Hillary class may have been wrong but was based on a couple of things you wrote. It is not only about money. So I am wrong? What class do you see yourself in?

    To try to name your thought leaders is far too deep a question, and besides, I don’t think we know. The media is controlled, and when I see issues suddenly pop up out of nowhere and see that on another entire continent the same issues are also in the limelight at the very same time, well I smell social manipulation.
    Those who believe the lapped up pablum are not unintelligent, but I see it constantly. It is surely a source of distress to me since it is many of my friends and neighbors whom I can no longer talk to honestly. Since your thoughts here could be written by any of them, I assume you are listening to the same thought leaders.

    I wasn’t actually denouncing stereotyping. In fact, I am engaging in it. It can be useful. I was just denouncing what I saw as errors. I think of what I wrote as a bit of pushback but not disrespect. I’ll try to do better.

  107. Concerning the AIDS epidemic as the fore-bearer of PC, I can certainly see a dimension of that. Though I don’t view it as the spark to the fire, it did create a certain emotional fuel to the expansion. It catches my attention that the two demographics which disproportionately suffered in the epidemic, gay men and black people, did a great deal of the core political work which the PC movement was built upon once those of higher social status found the mask more pleasing than their own reflections. In a sad way as that process unfolded those two groups eventually became dismissed as insufficiently marginal. I can think of a gay buddy who was hospice care for his lover in 90’s San Fran; I can scarcely imagine the anguish. The person in question doesn’t happen to have the ticks of PC culture, but he does have an earlier identity based on not being offended, and yet a few ‘wounds’ that sure do take offence to certain topics. Come to think of it, a lot of my reaction to crocodile tears that other people shed for motives of control, can be based on an inner comparison to my friends quiet pain when certain parts of his experience are brought up crudely. I think that as a tool of political control there is a deep failure to comprehend the real feeling of being offended. Pro-tip if the person responds to ‘offence’ the way that a shark responds to a drop of blood that is an essential different reaction to someone who responds to offence the way a Mama-bear responds to her cub’s danger; or for that matter the way an elephant responds to a loved one’s bones. Those are just some examples of the diversity of feeling, that get hid behind too few labels.

    https://morecrows.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/unnecessariat/

    This is a neat essay, that got some circulation on Greer’s blogs back in the day. It is thought provoking in terms of this suggested connection, and also in terms of the next cycle. How does today’s massive death tolls of group dismissed as a (tasteless) joke today foretell of storms to come?

  108. John–

    In your assessment, has the mythology of “rugged American individualism” always been more sizzle than steak, or was there a period (perhaps in the Frontier Culture you discuss in Decline and Fall) where it was actual reality but was lost subsequently?

  109. I wonder if anyone will write a ‘Magical Battle of America’ one day. My only regret is I can’t do more to help the situation.

  110. >I’m not at all sure the elites have any really serious magic on their side

    Or as the kids say on /pol/ – the left can’t meme. They’ve actually taken to hiring professional artists to try to come up with memes and they’re still failing at it.

    I’m pretty sure that there are parts of the deep state that do have serious magicians. For some reason they’ve decided to not get involved, perhaps for the same reasons other serious magicians didn’t get involved either. They see these kids flying into the asteroid field (they wouldn’t be crazy enough to follow them, would they) and they know the odds of survival are 713 to 1, or whatever it was that C3PO said in Star Wars.

  111. John–

    In the break-down of things, there’s a whole spectrum of possibilities, of course. We have choices as a society, yet between the cluelessness of the elites (aptly described in your essays here) and the misunderstanding of the broader situation under which much of population still labors (these are temporary difficulties, growth will restart again and it’ll get back to normal, we can all live middle-class lives on sunlight and wind), we are consistently making choices which nudge us toward the less-than-palatable edges of that spectrum.

    Our civil political discourse — or more pointedly, the slow, painful decay thereof — is one case in point. We yell at one another, posture for our respective choirs, cast the other side as inherently evil beings out to eat our children, and erode the basic tenets of compromise and collective problem-solving. I don’t know how a reasoned voice breaks through when it would only get shouted down.

    The recent tactic of chasing politicians and political appointees from public spaces — restaurants, parking lots, et cetera, is a good example of this. The (apparently repeated) vandalism of Trump’s Hollywood star is another. Now this morning, I see a story about someone setting Betsy DeVos’ boat (yacht) adrift from its moorings. These are small things, but they will be remembered when the roles flip. And the blood-feud will escalate. Chaos magic, indeed.

    People aren’t thinking about where this path leads. I guess people just aren’t thinking much at all, really, and that saddens me.

  112. In thinking about your idea that those who aspire to the elite class have to strictly adopt and hold the elite’s ideas I wonder if that amounts to training to be a sociopath? I have read that only sociopaths rise to positions of authority and it would make sense that being able to lack awareness of any harm you do would be a good skill to have in order to thrive in the elite’s world.

  113. @ sgage

    Re Cletus, etc.

    The comment after the quote was actually from a liberal newsfeed site, but yes, I agree with your point. Those attitudes expressed by the Republican elite are one reason I see Trump as the harbinger of the party’s destruction rather than a wellspring of its revitalization. The genie ain’t going back in the bottle after him and the rank-and-file aren’t going to fall in line behind their putative betters now that someone has demonstrated that an alternative path is possible.

    I still think that the Republican elite are gradually going to migrate to the Democrats and make peace on the basis of the shared neoliberal consensus — especially if Trump continues on this path of deconstructing that consensus, and even more so if he wins a second term. We’ll just have to see. Perhaps the working class right and working class left will manage to get together in a less-than-violent-revolution manner. That’s my hope, anyway.

  114. I’m sure there’s considerable variation in plastic sources depending on sample location. Time of year would be important as well. I’d be interested to see that data if you can find it. The data I was referencing was for the north atlantic. Based on the data from that survey the best way to eliminate microplastics in the ocean would be to stop driving cars, the single largest source of microplastic that survey found was “tire dust” the little particles that come off when we drive. Not one write up I could find on that particular data suggested that anyone stop driving. 🙂

  115. I am pleased to announce the Fall Equinox Ecosophia Picnic. For those interested, we will be meeting at Boston Commons, Saturday, September 22nd, starting at 1 pm. The location is right on public transportation, has two public restrooms, and is open to visitors. Sadly, no booze allowed, but there are many bars and pubs around if people want to grab a drink or have an after-party after the bathrooms close at 5 pm.

    If you wish to come or have questions, thoughts or concerns, please send me an email at hopefulcinquefoil@gmail.com so we can work out the details. There is a sign up sheet I put together, too, to help make sure that there is more to eat than potato salad!

  116. I was excited to see you response to Clay that we likely have avoided a civil war. I’ve been feeling the same way the past few months but couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way.

    Then I read Shezen’s comment about military training of gangs, and your response that that is normal in decline, and now I’m confused.

    Can you elaborate a bit more? Or is it coming in parts 3 & 4?

  117. @JMG Ron, last I heard — and please correct me if I’m wrong — the overarching goal of the IRA was uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. That hasn’t happened yet…“

    (Disclaimer: what follows is probably going to annoy people, but that’s not my intention. Rather, it’s my understanding based on the information available. Always open to polite correction)

    It was somewhat more complex than that. The IRA of Michael Collins fought for Irish independence from the British Empire, and settled for partition as the best deal they could get. They fought the Irish Civil War, and then grew old and effectively vanished.

    The Troubles, of the 1960s onwards, were sparked, in a way, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Catholic population of Northern Ireland, a permanently disenfranchised and discriminated-against minority in a Protestant Ulster, emulated his tactics in a campaign of non-violent Civil Rights protests. For this, they were targetted by enraged Protestant mobs. The response was the formation of the Provisional IRA (the ‘Provos’) by a new, radical generation, who noted the failure of the now-superannuated Official IRA to protect the Catholic population. As an aside, it’s now long been dropped from the official narrative that the British Army was originally deployed to Northern Ireland to protect Catholics from Protestant violence, and not the other way round. Hence, the IRA campaign you’re referring to was rather more a local self-defence militia than a dedicated movement for Irish reunification, whatever the rhetoric.

    On the topic of terrorist groups, it’s interesting that nobody so far seems to have brought up Irgun and the Stern Gang.

  118. There are times when I want to tear this society down brick by beam by stud. Pull all these privileged elites from their perches…

    Then I pause and think, our foundations are not strong here in America. There are not enough people who know how to build, we are consumer creatures of corporate origin, we will starve while we demolish. There will be nothing but tears and rubble.

    Being a builder/remodeler/gardener however, I want to use that chaos to make order, the order of a more just, sustainable, responsible society taking care of people, the waters and the earth. Something more like your Lakeland Republic. Firm foundations make for strong people, strong culture.

    I want to enlist the gods in this, but I am very wary, very cautious. What is your council, mage?

  119. Okay, I’m going to change my mind here. I found a much better data source that does seem to suggest that a large portion of macroplastics are coming from marine debris, i.e. bouys, nets, etc like JMG suggested:

    “The 891 visual surveys revealed that foamed polystyrene items were the most frequently observed macroplastics (1116 out of 4291 items), while derelict fishing buoys accounted for most (58.3%) of the total macroplastic weight”

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111913

    How much of the microplastic debris comes from macro being broken down is apparently still not known, though there is more micro than macro in terms of sheer tonnage.

    If you’re really concerned about plastic in the ocean the two biggest things you can do are to stop buying synthetic fiber clothing and stop driving. In the big picture, getting rid of straws will do next to nothing except give a certain class of people the dangerous illusion that they’re somehow doing something.

  120. @Avery: The point I was trying to make is that I think you are implying a democratic basis for the government of the Puritan colonies, but in actual fact, the colonies were governed by a theocratic hierarchy, and the heresy (and witchcraft) trials are an expression of that hierarchy. I think that hierarchy is the equivalent to the Cathedral, regardless of the expression in stone or wood.

    Any successful community has rules, whether explicit or implicit. I think that the question of orthodoxy vs. Protestant theology is a false dichotomy: each Protestant sect has developed its own orthodoxy to which followers are expected to adhere. I think it’s in the nature of a catholic (deliberate lower case “c”) church to be open to innovative and heterodox thought; or it will end in endless schisms, as have the multiple Protestant sects.

    All of this is to say that I disagree with your assessment of how America works today: that there is an internal consensus about right and wrong, and that reflects a strain from the beginning. I think that the Cathedral is the precise analogy for the way that the US actually works, and has worked since our beginnings: a ruling class has run the US and the British Colonies for its own benefit.

    @sgage: My church was only established in 1720 as the First Congregational Church of Providence, and we too are in our third Meeting House. Our schism in the 1750s was over the minister preaching “damnable good works”: ie: salvation by faith (the leavers) vs. salvation by works (us). Today, the First Unitarian Church (us) and the Beneficent Congregational Church (the leavers) cooperate on a massive dinners for the homeless, so it looks like the salvation by works crew won out….

  121. @onething:

    It is true that in the US there are no laws on the books that specifically reference someone’s race, and often people say that because we now have legal equality that means that oppression is not happening at all. They will acknowledge that black people make up a larger percentage of the prison population than white people, but claim that because of a legal system that is just on paper, and became black people on average commit more crimes than white people, this must be the result of those people’s actions.

    However, oppression can still occur in a legal system which on paper is totally just because the system is not perfect. If that is the case, you don’t have equality of opportunity. In the above example (black people commit more crimes so it makes sense that they make up more of the prison population), people rarely check to see if the percentages match up. I’ll give you two scenarios: First, imagine that a group of people are 10% more likely to commit crimes and make up 10% more of the prison population. That’s what you’d expect in a fair system, without factoring in wider society. Scenario 2 – members of a certain race are 10% more likely to commit a crime, but make up 30% more of the prison population. That’s unfair and unjust treatment even accounting for that hypothetical group’s higher relative criminality. Does that make sense?

    One way to see which of those two scenarios more accurately reflects the American criminal justice systemto is to see how individual members of different groups are treated by the system for the same crimes. There are several studies on this. For example, the 2013 Yale Law Journal study “Mandatory Sentencing and Racial Disparity: Assessing the Role of Prosecutors and the Effects of Booker” has a lot of fantastic data and reasoning, and here is a piece of the conclusion:

    “We agree that the high rate of incarceration of black men is a serious social problem and examining the possible contribution of disparities in the criminal justice system is important. Our research suggests that, in the federal system, disparities in the post-arrest justice process contribute to this problem. After controlling for the arrest offence, criminal history and other prior characteristics, sentences for black male arrestees diverge substantially from those of white male arrestees (by around 10% on average). While this disparity does not seem to be growing, it is persistent.”

    A United States Sentencing Commission Report called “Continuing Impact of United States vs Booker on Federal Sentencing” comes to similar conclusions. Namely, their research (controlling for past factors) indicated that, for the same crimes, sentence length for black male offenders was longer than that recorded for white male offenders by 19.5%.

    This would certainly account to some degree for the disparate number of back people in prison. If, when controlling for every factor except race, your group gets longer prison sentences, you’re going to end up making up a higher percentage of the population. And the statistic that people most often use to show that black people commit more crimes are the ones that show that they make up a larger number of prisoners in a system that we’ve just show is biased against them. When we say there’s a problem with black culture, we forget that cultures don’t form in a vacuum and are influenced by the cultures surrounding them.

    For oppression to be occurring, black people would need to be being imprisoned and arrested unjustly. They are, so to some extent it is. Do some people exploit that situation to make political hay? Of course, but at the same time we have a collective responsibility to address the conditions that unjust circumstances rise out of.

  122. Hi JMG. Really interesting essay! As usual I end up having to do research on the concepts you discuss. So, would an individuated person be free of the influence of deities and archetypes, or at least able to act independently? If this is to too far off subject, I hope you CAN do at least one essay on Jung.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Mac

  123. You write: “… under the smiling and well-groomed facade you’ve got a bunch of panicked conformists whose one stark terror is that they will somehow fail to please their masters.”

    Well, I think it is fair to say that even with those of us who are aristocratic losers, this sort of attitude remains nailed in place to a large extent. After the experience of public school, I find that I have a very, very deep fear of offending people, and for good reason. Over and over again in counter- and subcultural space, I’ve found that it’s surprisingly easy to end up out in the cold for contradicting someone’s ideas, saying the wrong thing, or not having the right schooling. Interestingly, my friends from blue collar backgrounds tend to be much less brittle in this regard, which is why I think it is a hang-up of the education process of potential elites.

    I am convinced that most people of the educated losers that are outside of the mainstream power structure reproduce the same systems of conformity within themselves. Quite a few times I’ve gotten the boot from this or that alternative community because I dared to say the wrong thing, and then refused to grovel quite enough and kiss the boot. The losers, in my experience, often simply aim towards being the aristocracy of a different system, with precisely the same problems and dynamics as the aristocracy they aim to replace.

    This leads me to think of the sort of mass-slaughter of former allies and dissidents ordered by Lenin that we see in Vol. I of The Gulag Archipelago. Speaking as a failed aristocrat, there really does appear to be a certain psychological brittleness vis-a-vis position in hierarchy. The revolutionary too often tends towards even more unrestrained bullying than the clueless aristocrats!

    You write: “One of the things that makes losers so dangerous in such a setting is that they have a freedom their successful classmates lack: the freedom to think and say whatever they want. In the struggle for success, remember, any least sign of straying from the acceptable is a weapon in the hands of your rivals, and will be used ruthlessly to shove you aside and take your place.”

    I’ve found, in my experience, that this is only true to a limited extent. Péladan’s quote comes forcefully to mind: “Society is an anonymous enterprise for living a life of secondhand emotions.” The freedom to think whatever one wants is, in practice, usually akin to the freedom to choose between different brands of toothpaste. This or that subculture, at least as I’ve seen it, polices the thought of its inmates just as brutally as the aristocracy. People listen to every word of their peers, ready to note a weapon to shove a rival aside, now or in due time. Stray too far and here’s the metaphorical guillotine. It’s been an enormous, but vitally important, disappointment to understand that subcultures are distinct anonymous enterprises that deal in somewhat different secondhand emotions. That is, they tend to have the precisely the same trappings as regular society, at least in terms of social dynamics. Sure they’re on a smaller scale and are much less ossified, but “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    As you mentioned, one of the ways out is magic. Of course, that also includes theurgic magic. This, more than anything else, has helped with the psychological brittleness, but it is significantly, as Manly P. Hall titled one of his books, “the way of the lonely ones.”

  124. I’ve been keeping an eye on some of the leading edge de-industrial places here in the US, such as Detroit and Flint, Michigan since in my view they are a good indicator of how the Long Descent will actually play out here in the US.

    One coping mechanism that has evolved–and it is too early to tell whether it will work to re-enfranchise some of todays “losers” we are discussing here–is worth watching. That mechanism is a new bureaucratic position called the Emergency Manager.

    Emergency Managers, which are not really a new position (they used to be called Dictators in the days of Cincinnatus, but that has become a hopelessly confused term), have broad powers to actually sweep away the tangle of stifling regulations, union contracts, entitlement programs, and other unsustainable city commitments. I understand that in Detroit and Flint, they have been able to announce drastic cutbacks in services including water utilities, road maintenance, and police and fire department coverage to large areas.

    I haven’t spent any time in Detroit, but the narrative goes that with the withdrawal of the city bureaucracy, in come the artists and other creative pioneers who are now free to experiment with alternative models of living. I suspect that this may be more hype than reality, but either way the precedent is being set for how cities ratchet down the decline curve.

    The number of disenfranchised losers are actually leaving the comforts of their parent’s basements and choosing to go to a completely written-off place like Flint is probably very small at this point.

  125. Shane,

    That happens after the post goes up. My question is how I know when to start. 😉

    JMG,

    One of my friends stumbled on the blog and saw a “Will J”, and decided to see if it was me. I have no idea where he got the idea this blog was alt-right though. I’d assume something somewhere or other in the media, but I haven’t seen it yet.

  126. So harking back to your previous discussion about the four worlds and the primacy of the spiritual world; in the context of this series, would the creation of the discarded elite-trainees and the chans be a manifestation of some spiritual reality? That is to say, in the magical worldview, wouldn’t the actual cause of this phenomenon be that a deity or other spirit recruited followers to give himself a viable path into the mass consciousness? Wouldn’t then the seeming fluke of lol=kek and the collection of the useful idiots on the chans and the apparent frantic desperation of the body politic become something more than coincidental?

    That is, if the material world is a reflection of spiritual realities filtered down through the two intermediate realms, then the cycles of rise and fall of societies and civilizations, the ballet between cohesion and strife, the rhythmic marching of mailed boots against the whisperings of silk slippers, and all the rest of the cacophony of human experience played out over cosmic time – all of these things are like movements in a symphony played in the spiritual realm and echoing down into material space, and (if I understand correctly) the archetype you’re referring to is playing a growing part in the piece, using the phenomena of mass consciousness as its instrument.

    Thus, from the magical perspective, the use of chaos magic by the discarded intelligentsia of the alt-right and their view of themselves as not believing in Kek or other deities is either irrelevant to the deity or actually useful to them (for if gods are more able to exert their wills when we ignore them…).

    All of this begs the question of who or what you suggest is the deity or archetype at work. I know, I know, I’ll stay tuned, but please consider this another vote for the Jungian archetype post sooner than later. I have a big blank space in my mind where a conscious understanding of archetypes could be, and it’s unlikely to be filled in anytime soon from other sources. The only thing that comes to mind for me as an archetype for the outcome of the Kek wars is a bull in a china shop, which is not nearly as nuanced or complete an image as I’d guess the reality is.

  127. Thank you for so clearly articulating why I fail miserably in a corporate or otherwise super-hierarchical setting. I refuse to force myself to think the required thoughts when they are clearly nonsense. I’ve had an awful lot of emperor has no clothes moments. Thus I chose instead to become a farmer. Goats and chickens are honest.

  128. @ Tolkienguy

    Re Resistance and Empire

    Imprecise language on my part. What I was attempting to say was that folks enlist to resist a man whom they see as an overlord, a bully, and an arrogant power, when those same attributes belong to the United States and its empire, yet they have nothing to say about that.

  129. @petervanerp: I still fail to see the value of the word “cathedral,” as it seems to create exceedingly improper analogies, such as a single bishop or a single identifiable institution; you don’t dispute this. But I agree with you that there is a “hierarchy” which has been improperly set up as the chief ideology of America, and that “a ruling class has run the US and the British Colonies for its own benefit,” and does its best to expel “heretical” ideas from the public sphere. I will take JMG’s advice that I should use whatever term seems evocative and meaningful, and refer to this problem as “capitalism.”

  130. JMG said:

    >If it’s terrorism that catches their fancy

    I can’t be certain I see the pattern yet, but to my understanding, they’ve taken a few important steps in this direction.

    Picador said:

    >It can serve as a pretext to justify outside intervention.

    Just today, I saw a call by an alt-right organizer for Trump to intervene in Portland in response to either the violence that this organizer is planning to perpetrate, or the violence he’s intending to provoke (the journalist didn’t get enough context to remove this ambiguity).

    This alt-right group is holding a rally to respond to a knife attack against women of color (1 dead, 1 injured) on the Oakland public transit system.

    I marched in support of people riding transit without their throats being cut a little over a year ago, when this same group held a rally to respond to a knife attack against women of color (2 dead, 1 injured) on the Portland public transit system. I saw a green-and-white “Kek” flag on the side that rallies and celebrates after this sort of knife attack.

  131. @JMG: “Dewey, do you understand that prejudice backed up with power is different from prejudice not backed up with power?”

    Yes, and that’s why I’ve been so alarmed by the Trump administration’s actions – and its placing people like Miller and, initially, Gorka into positions of power. The Obama administration never moved Rev. Jeremiah Wright into the White House and let him write executive orders.

    @Pyrrhus – You say multicultural societies don’t last. Au contraire, virtually every large and successful imperial state in history comes to encompass multiple ethnic groups, and benefits from their inputs. Long-distance importation of slaves in numbers that substantially change cultural demographics is not even new to Western society, nor is voluntary long-distance travel. If by “culture” you at least partly mean race, you could have gone to first-century Rome or twelfth-century Baghdad and found people on the street whose pigmentation ranged from lily-white to sub-Saharan African.

    @ Onething – Sure, the media are not a perfect source of information; that’s why I watch little TV, avoid radio, and don’t assume that what the networks say is the whole story. Sometimes I just happen to agree with the opinions or values of people who watch a lot of non-Fox network news and read mainstream newspapers because those beliefs seem correct to me.

    As for stereotyping, there’s a sauce-for-the-gander aspect. If it’s useful to stereotype blacks, Latinos, Muslims or educated people, it’s also useful to stereotype ruralites or blue-collar workers. The truth is that even if at a given moment there are average differences among groups in the occurrence of some trait, they tell you nothing about the characteristics of any individual. Therefore they are rather poor heuristics.

  132. I just want to note the to my mind most egregious example of difference between enforced consensus and collective unconscious in America today, which is pornography. Go on any porn site and you will find immediately highlighted any number of videos that starkly blare and glorify racist stereotypes, degradation of and disdain for women, practically ‘mandatory not-niceness’, etc. Note especially the video titles which in a way reveal more than the actual videos. And this is something especially the thwarted elite contenders are steeped in, and blatantly contradicts the official consensus. The seedy underbelly of America’s psyche where all the primal emotions that the official consensus has only shamed out of expression hide and become unbelievably strong, unable to escape. And I think it’s not a consensus that feminism and pornography have exploded in America over the past fifty years together – they feed off each other, don’t they, tearing apart the whole human psyche into a public angel and private demon.

  133. Gregg, the three that everyone seems to be thinking of are the Stern Gang/Irgun, the IRA, and the ANC. It might be interesting sometime to compare those to the run of the mill, l.e., failed terrorist movement, and see what conclusions can be drawn.

    Jack, shhh! 😉

    Justin, exactly — and that’s why I keep on pointing out that the idea of separate human races is a bit of discarded 19th century ethnology long overdue for decent burial. Human ethnicities exist, no question, and they’re important, but assigning them to “races” on the basis of a few highly superficial biological markers (mostly skin color and the presence or absence of an epicanthic fold) is malarkey, biologically speaking. What’s more, it’s malarkey that only helps the privileged classes; the whole point of dividing the complex ethnic patchwork of today’s America into the arbitrary categories of “white” and “people of color” is to keep the poor and working classes of all ethnicities from realizing that they have far more interests in common with one another than they have with the privileged classes that are exploiting them all.

    Stefania, good. I suspect the chaos magicians on /pol/ got as far as they did, first, because so many people on the internet only visit sites that agree with them, and second, because so many Democrats had convinced themselves that they couldn’t possibly lose, and so wouldn’t have taken the magical workings seriously even if they’d known about them. (Have you noticed that the people who are doing the loudly publicized anti-Trump workings angrily dismiss the idea that anyone else could do magic to disrupt their workings? That kind of arrogance is very common on the left just now, and tends to lead to messy defeats.)

    As for the possibilities for political magic, you don’t do it in a vacuum. The Kek brigade wouldn’t have accomplished much if they didn’t have a candidate to support, or if the candidate in question hadn’t been very, very skilled at old-fashioned bare-knuckle political campaigning, or if there weren’t a lot of people who were so desperate for anything but the status quo that they’d take a chance on a reality TV star. So if you want to do magic to shape American politics, why, you start by getting a set of ideas into circulation, and then you very quietly get magical workings going to support it.

    Spicehammer, fair enough. You seem to be using the term “political correctness” to mean things that differ fairly sharply from the way I’ve seen it used more generally; for example, denouncing poor white people as evil because of the color of their skin appears to be very politically correct, given how freely it’s done in universities where political correctness is mandatory.

  134. John, I think you’re mistaken about government regulation causing the decline of small business. Several factors were more important: (1) automobile culture, favoring suburban shopping centers filled with nationally known stores; (2) a Federal tax code which for decades subsidized new construction versus maintenance of existing buildings; (3) the vertical integration of chain and franchise businesses, creating near-monopolies not recognized by anti-trust law; (4) the political influence of large firms; (5) decades of declining real wages, accentuating the need for discounts and bargains, best delivered by large firms with pricing power. My book on this subject was a worst-seller, but I believe it explained the trend better than any I’ve seen. — Bob Wise

  135. Mr Greer,

    I want to refer you to an article in New York Magazine where the writer puzzles over climate denial.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/climate-change-wildfires-heatwave-media-old-news-end-of-the-world.html?utm_source=nym&utm_medium=f1&utm_campaign=feed-part

    I want to relate this back to comments on your other blog about the “reproducibility crisis” in science. A helpful guide is here for those not familiar with the term.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replication_crisis

    In my 60 years I have been told multiple times that studies have shown that black coffee is good for you.
    In my 60 years I have been told multiple times that studies have shown that black coffee causes cancer.

    Repeat that for literally thousands of studies on other subjects.

    And then liberals wonder why many people don’t believe the climate change science.

  136. @ Will J

    Re Ecosophia & JMG as Alt-Right

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had labelled John as Alt-Right on the basis of his (successful) calling of the 2016 election, his willingness to criticize HRC and the Democratic establishment generally, his observation that some subset of what Trump is doing may actually be beneficial, and/or his low tolerance of hypocrisy from any quarter. Anyone who’s actually read any of his essays, browsed the substantive discussions in the ensuing comment threads (which contrast sharply in substance, respect, and range of opinion with the commentary on PoliticalWire, let me tell you!), and given this blog a moment’s actual consideration would see that such a designation is fatuous nonsense.

  137. @Pyrrhus and others

    China is an obvious example of a very large state that has been fairly stable for millennia. Yet it has always been multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural. The ruling elite (a sort of civil service) was fairly homogeneous in its culture and language, but the general populace was not.

    The Roman Empire did not last as long as China, yet it endured long enough to have an enormous influence in all subsequent history within its boundaries. It, too, was multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural. It, too, had a fairly homogeneous ruling elite, but the general populace was not.

    The whole idea of “one people, one language, one culture” is basically a post-medieval bit of hogwash that happened to appeal to the bureaucrats and civil servants of incipient European empires, as it seemed to them to make their work easier if they didn’t have to take differences between segments of the population into account. What it did do is make theorizing about the so-called “races” a little more welcome, once that unscientific theory really took off in the 19th century. As a concept, “race” is as badly flawed and empirically false as “phlogiston.”

  138. Hi there JMG,

    Have you written an opposition piece to libertarianism? I have read “the wealth of nature” along with most of your other books but I cannot recall an extensive discussion.

    Many thanks,
    Matt

  139. Before the plastic straw ban, there was the plastic bag ban. I grew up pre-plastic shopping bags. I remember the large paper bags that had to be carefully packed so that 1) they were not too heavy, or the bag would tear and your goods would go tumbling, and 2) awkward items (long loaves of bread, any odd shaped box or item) did not either tear through or fall out because of top heaviness. And if it were raining, you had to quickly get to the car (it was almost always a drive to the store) and then into the house before your bags turned into a soggy mess, causing the aforementioned tumbling of goods. Plus, most paper bags had no handles, so you could not carry as many at the same time. However, paper bags were degradable, and thus better than plastic. Why did we make the switch? Was it the convenience and ease of use of plastic bags? I can remember when plastic was introduced the expression “Save the trees, use plastic!” was used. Was this a marketing gimmick, or did people just think of it themselves? While I think going after plastic straws will do little to help the environment (and, as pointed out, create difficulties for those with disabilities) banning plastic bags would improve things. I’ve only seen a few straws blown to the curb, but quite a few plastic bags blowing around, catching on tree limbs, clogging street drains, caught on fences, etc. I can only imagine how many plastic bags are floating in the waterways and oceans.

    Plus, I do agree that all this banning may be avoiding other, heavier issues that people are dealing with; as mentioned by Denys (homelessness, mental health, drug use, etc.).

    This also reminds me of the plastic carry rings around six packs of soda and some canned items. I’m not sure when they were introduced, but I can remember my mother cutting the rings before she threw them into the trash so that they would not get caught around the necks of birds and other wildlife. This was the “solution” to saving wildlife from our consumption habits. Umm, why not just stop buying anything with plastic rings? Why not stop buying anything with plastic?

    Joy Marie

  140. Ho JMG,

    Add a long time reader and first time commenter, I’m pleased beyond belief that you’re covering what we on the chans call The Great Meme War.

    I think the exposition for the GMW, and the rise of Kekistan is being well written, and look forward to the further telling of the tale.

    As what the chans call an “oldfag” (being over 30) and have training in paganism and ceremonial magic, I knew exactly what the anons were doing, and pushed them whenever I could you read Peter Carroll and other chaos magicians; at least to help refine techniques.

    Generally the anons are skeptical about divinity, but I and a few others who saw Kek as a real being with agency. He was the perfect harbinger of what I see as the revenge of the Dirt People against the Sky People. Bringer of chaos in the form of Donald Trump.

    Had I known you followed the GMW when I met you last summer, I would have regailed you with stories of world-wide capture the flag against Shia LeBeouf and the power of weaponized autism.

    Any readers who question the truth of the next few weeks of this story, I can assure you it all really happened this way. Finding a theme song, the numerology of dubs and trips on the boards, the connection between Kek as a synonym for lol and Kek as the God of chaos. The crowning moment when Hillary herself made Kek/Pepe a household word .

    All of it really happened and I was there.

    Keep up the amazing work.

  141. John, regarding your answer to Pogonip regarding shutting down an organization with a bad egregor; you said “I have no idea whether the same principle applies to other organizations, though it would make sense. The way you know that you haven’t shut things down long enough, by the way, is that the same scandals keep on popping up with different people involved.” I have seen this happen in Christian churches (both conservative evangelical ones, and more liberal progressive ones), though usually they don’t shut down. They just remake themselves; new name, new order of service, new building, etc. Then they are surprised when they still struggle with the same problems. Now, does the problem only reside in the institution or also with certain people in the organization? I’ve known of cases when troublemakers left one church for another. Once, the pastor of their new church realized a large group of people from a neighboring church was attending, he called a special meeting with them and basically told them whatever problems they had at the other church they were not to bring with them into this church. I haven’t heard any updates of this example, but churches (in their own way) are magical lodges…though many would have a conniption at being called that!

    Joy Marie

  142. wow…i’m really diggin’ what’s going on here / i HAD to write…

    sorry this is long. i’ve mostly quit so much on the internet and only post on wolfstreet these days as writing takes so long and a lot of focus. but i slept on this before i wrote so i hope what i say is felt:

    dear Miss Sara (Greer): i love your take on cage not being a con artist but being a true believer who smelled his own farts too long. (and that is the danger of all this current magic and our powers on this magic subject, yeah?)


    magic… being an altering of consciousness. beautiful and DENYS:

    you’re fifty! it’s a magical time. don’t dismiss this. i’m turning 51 in a few weeks and when i lost all i was and thought i was in this country i went “sane” and could no longer have b.s. conversations in the real world. i started reading germaine greer and other women on the change and found my new outlook resembled what they were talking about: this epic feeling of being IN LOVE all the time and i just felt sexier more alive and confused. it really is like another adolescence this time of our lives.

    you say you feel like you’re experiencing life underwater… all you have to do to scare the hell out of yourself is to go over your own personal moral code (point yourself to your own north star because when you live outside the normal laws you MUST MUST live by a code or you’re just leaking everywhere like what we have now… boundaries are good).

    but north star is important because when you go outside your house with enough free time to have a spontaneous long conversation face to face with someone or answer yes to whatever comes up like the number one rule behind improv comedy is to always say YES AND… so that you give your player something to play off of and they do the same for you…

    this brings me back to the realization that ART IS A FORM OF CASTING SPELLS AND CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS … i forget that the artist is shaman priestess priest magician CON ARTIST… all that

    so Denys i come back from the silence to tap you, “you’re it!”—you don’t have to read anyone else because maybe it’ll hinder you from seeing your own magic your way at this time. we each are mystical simply because we’re ALIVE and HERE but you can court the more alive life and all that exciting scary vertigo it courts as you suddenly see things in different realms in different ways.

    i always wondered why everyone’s so hell bent on outside life when the life here is crazy abundant beautiful and holy.

    but just being a 50 year old WOMAN… oh my gosh you have your own proverbial heaven right there within you simply because this is a magical time in a woman’s life. i love it. i am better than i was as a teenager simply because i don’t care about being LIKED anymore. and i see and feel how lonely frightened and feral people feel now. i feel naked so i am also more protective and thus SCARY on purpose…

    more THEATRE…

    we women KNOW theatre / i’ve learned to use these skills for good for light for love for reminding people tricking CONNING people into being their most beautiful selves

    this is what the artist shaman is about to me the trickster all that

    you gotta pull the zip tie, see what happens… and pay the bill for any damage you may do. it’s just STUFF. just don’t hurt anyone. the voices if they ever tell you to hurt ANYONE they are lying. that’s what James told me when he told me to go ahead and pull the zip tie as myself.

    i’ve been beat up for dancing in the street by so-called good people, i ‘ve thrown 3 cell phones, been banned from the YMCA for standing my ground, and i see how “free” i am to be me. i couldn’t do me without my James. i have to call him whenever i get home so he knows i’m not in jail.

    i promise you just being yourself out in the open with courage and peace will blow your mind before you practice any formal magic. you’ll get that in love vertigo of just “…this is in ME????”

    and it’s beautiful. i feel like a board of people. not just like one person and i don’t fear feeling “possessed” anymore or out of control because i’ve visited these places and know how nauseous real evil inside me feels like being infested with worms for an eternity.

    i struggle to be CLEAN because i carry every nightmare of every bad thing i’ve knowingly done to people with me. they burden me. so i try to live without adding more weight to my regrets already at 51 and i used to be proud i had none; now i feel i must atone constantly in my way.

    but it’s no mistake that John Michael has a high priestess artist for a wife to challenge him balance him push him argue with him. keep him from smelling too many of his own farts. i think we undermine our own magics when we don’t have anyone keeping us in check. our magics get automatically SMALL when we don’t constantly practice challenging ourselves because things change up.

    like he said, when you feel yourself doing things inexplicably and on auto pilot… i thought, “yes! that’s what we artists court” AND that’s also related to what Miss Sara said about PRACTICE and art going out as finished when it’s the STUDIES. the snot and piss and excrement on the way to art. the paradigm is we have to wade through the funk the filth the fluids of creation and nature to get to the romance the magic… the OH WOW THIS SHXT IS MAD REAL.

    i have to catch myself from cartoonizing my own magic experiences. that kills it. James doesn’t like to use words to point out such moments for that very reason. it’s like trying to tape it into a photo album smooshes it dead flat dessicated.

    just say YES more often and see what happens… it’s like just sitting and paying attention and that’s what social media desperation and hunger hijacks.

    and to “gentleman loser” – you hit that flow state we artists court and now i can go into with the snap of my fingers when i dance or sew and create with my hands, which i have to do more and more now as a rebellion away from tech. but what i wanted to say is that you also make your reality by using words such as “loser”. they aren’t funny these self-hating jibes meant to take it on the chin just when you need strong legs. it’s hard to be vulnerable and your open crazy messy dark nasty self. which is also where the artist must frolic. otherwise you’re just playing around like a sex adviser who’s never had sex or fallen in love. you have to go to the evil sides to know why it’s not a great idea to stay there and bring people there. it’s easy to bring people down to their nastiest selves. i used to do it out of HABIT. / now i’m not afraid of the evil so much even though it’s deadly. i go into that zone where i’m not skin. it’s easier now that i don’t want anything from anyone but themselves. i used to hustle. then i burned out. it was never my thing to use insider awareness and knowledge to game anything or save myself. / but words as JMG reminds us as to why there’s no word in english language for the unseen ON PURPOSE… you must be aware of your own language before you are casual with it. it will bite YOU back. it’s designed to do that so you feel like you’re owning your own imprisonment.

    and yes… we’re all in the same situation and i’m hopeful after reading JMG’s posts that magic can still open up bigger than to remain divisive. we simply cannot afford it. it’s tragic to die and kill so much for so little, so NASTY. tell me THAT’s not some evil magic already.

    the magic already exists already existed. as the world we know comes to an end i KEEP on thinking of that quote from the movie, “the usual suspects”:

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

    PERFECT!

    and Mr John Michael Greer i’m glad you’ve integrated your sides more audaciously with this site. it’s beautiful.

  143. In your answer to Stefania, you said “Have you noticed that the people who are doing the loudly publicized anti-Trump workings angrily dismiss the idea that anyone else could do magic to disrupt their workings? That kind of arrogance is very common on the left just now, and tends to lead to messy defeats.”

    They haven’t gotten the message, John. In fact, they are releasing documentaries showing their rituals.

    https://wildhunt.org/2018/06/documentary-film-depicts-binding-ritual-on-trump-nra.html

    All the easier to disrupt their workings, if you can see exactly how and what they are doing?

    Joy Marie

  144. As I practiced at my piano today, I wondered how often music is a mage’s tool? Music’s energy waves and pulses, like all of those energies that surround us, are the driving force behind of many of history’s changes. Utilized for good or ill.

  145. Failed terrorist revolutionaries: ETA; the Red Brigades.

    As for the Stern psychopaths (made such by the horrors of WW2 Europe, of course) the ANC and IRA, true failure or success can only be assessed over the longer term, and I would suggest that little good came of their activities from that perspective.

    Unlike probably most people on this site, I have actually met – to my disgust but deep interest- real, unrepentant, terrorists.

    And also, by chance, one (British) torturer (and had another pointed out to me in Spain, now a bar owner -his new identity and reward for services rendered: he cried for days when his little dog died……).

    If the Left is ever to mature, it must drop the infatuation with violent revolution which was one of Marx’s infantile day-dreams.

    Excellent novel on the Left terrorist psychosis and delusion: Doris Lessing, ‘The Good Terrorist’.

  146. Great post.

    If I may suggest a soundtrack to what may happen if the basement brigades campaign succeeds it would be “The submerged Cathedral” by Debussy. A submerged cathedral is a perfect home for amphibious deities.

    By-the-way… I had a small stone frog shaped soap dish in my back yard for a very long time, next to a standing rock I had put under our laundry line. I left things there for Land beings from time to time, on the dish. I go the urge to move it into the front yard a couple of weeks ago -and was totally ignorant of all this Kek stuff going on in the chan worlds until your post. I didn’t think of the frog as related to Kek at all, just as an animal. However I don’t want any blowback from this being. Do you think having a frog figurine that was used magically before is problematic in relation to the things you are describing? I know its not Monday, but since it relates to the post, thought I’d ask.

  147. A fascinating series! I don’t want to disagree too strongly, because I know you are correct that much of what you call “the Left”, (which is really an elite class who’s politics would align with a center-right party in Europe), uses discourse around racism as virtue signaling and as a bludgeon against their political opponents. Nonetheless, much of the grassroots anti-racist left understands fully that racial and cultural unity is the key to political success from below, and to the avoidance of the worst kinds of civil conflict that we all see on the horizon. We who are white and working class, and on the grassroots left, are looking to extend an olive branch to our non-white fellow citizens, and to me, this is what anti-racist organizing is at its best. I work with a group locally that is attempting exactly this, not so much through advocacy, but through direct organizing of on the ground mutual aid, while at the same time trying to extend the same olive branch to our fellow working class whites, to hopefully bridge that gap in both directions. I just wanted to ensure that this perspective was also acknowledged. A couple others have said this already, but it’s truly not just the grassroots far-right against self-satisfied liberal elites. Anti-racism has its dark side to be sure, but there are honest advocates of justice and unity out there, who also use the anti-racist label, and I don’t want that to get lost in the mix.

  148. Hi, again, JMG, and what a wake up call. If I am totally honest, I have been one of the “broad penumbra of lackeys and hangers-on,” for my whole career. After discovering The Archdruid Report, years ago, I became aware of the scam, and have been working at trying not to exhibit those attributes, and will be leaving the War Factory soon. I plan to work at more meaningful pursuits in retirement. The point is, after this last post, I was walking around the War Factory these past few days and I could see the scam in all its ugliness and deceit. I guess it is never too late to change.

    Thanks,

    Mac

  149. Re: Cathedral…

    Sounds like a re-invention of Marx’s better thought out base & superstructure model. I’d beware of using any alt/right ideas as they’re likely to be (like their chaos magic) off-base (pun intended).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_and_superstructure

    In Marxist theory, capitalist society consists of two parts: the base (or substructure) and superstructure. The base comprises the forces and relations of production (e.g. employer–employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations) into which people enter to produce the necessities and amenities of life. The base determines society’s other relationships and ideas to comprise its superstructure, including its culture, institutions, political power structures, roles, rituals, and state. While the relation of the two parts is not strictly causal, as the superstructure often affects the base, the influence of the base is predominant. In Orthodox Marxism, the base determines the superstructure in a one-way relationship.

  150. @Avery: This is why I keep coming back here: the atmosphere JMG has set up has forced me to think and explain myself clearly. In sum: the Cathedral works for me as descriptor, and Capitalism works for you.

  151. Can you name a terrorist organization that actually succeeded in its political aims? No, I didn’t think so.

    Irgun?

  152. @JMG – re: light as wave in spacetime:

    I’m not Picador, but let me give it an attempt. Aether wasn’t dropped because “light isn’t waves in something”, it’s that “the thing light is waves in doesn’t behave like matter.”

    (I’m excited to share this because I actually did these experiments myself at school – it takes a great deal of patience and some precise equipment, but you can do this test at home, and without electronics. Hurrah for a hands-on, non-corporate, classical college education)

    Light behaves like the more familiar sort of wave in several important ways, so people explaining it often rely on “waves in spacetime” as a useful teaching tool. It’s a really great analogy and teaching tool!

    But light also works differently than familiar waves in important ways too.

    If you drop a pebble in water, it makes waves which travel at a constant speed relative to the water itself. If you’re in a moving boat and drop a pebble, you see the same thing – you create waves moving at a constant speed *relative to the water*, not to the dropped pebble or to your boat.

    That’s how aether expected light to behave – but it doesn’t. With light, the waves move at a constant speed *relative to the observer.* If you’re standing still, you see the waves travel at the speed of light compared to you. If you’re on the boat, you see the waves travel at the speed of light compared to you.

    That’s why light is waves in spacetime, rather than in aether – spacetime isn’t a material “thing” like people thought aether was. The “thing light moves through” got a new name because we discovered it didn’t work like we thought!

  153. Not directly related to this week’s post, but I was startled to see a story from the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Washington Post (voice of the liberal coastal elites): “Why I Turned to Tarot”. The first photo proclaims “Manifest Your Own Magic” over a photo of Pamela Coleman Smith (artist of the Rider-Waite tarot deck). The author describes seeking out a tarot reading in 2015.

    There’s also a sponsorship by-line: “Presented by J. P. Morgan Chase & Co.”

    I’m not saying the JPMC&C corporately endorse tarot divination, but it all feels pretty weird to me.

    (By the way, “Democracy Dies in Darkness” became the Post’s motto when Trump got elected. It’s pretty clear where their sympathies lie.)

  154. Reading through these threads take some time – I didn’t see Arshad’s comment and JMG’s response until after I’d hit submit here, sorry for that. But I think the point stands – Aether was used, in the scientific theory, as a *material* that light traveled through. So it was dropped when experiments showed that the ‘stuff light travels through’ doesn’t behave like a material!

    You can certainly use the term for other things if it’s useful – but as a theory for how light works, it doesn’t have much in common with the concept of spacetime.

    I used to be frustrated when occultists picked up scientific terms when I was younger, but I’ve grown up a little since then.

  155. @kittylopez You are inspiring and making things move for me over here where I am. I’m going to re-read what you wrote a few more times tonight before I go to sleep so my Self can enjoy it while I sleep

  156. @ hapigreenman: I’m quite sure that music is a magical technique. Playing it changes you; listening to it changes you. It features in advertisements and movies for the specific purpose of changing the mood of the listener according to the creator’s purpose. It fits nicely with Dion Fortune’s definition of ‘changing consciousness according to will’.

  157. @Will J, JMG,
    well, by your essay, JMG, the “alt-right” includes anything on the right that is not elite approved, so your moderate Burkean conservatism fits the bill… 😉

  158. Re: Scott Adams Sorry I can’t find who suggested Scott Adams to @ this response directly. I wanted to second Scott’s periscopes and blog, and his thinking can be helpful to process what is going on.

    Word of warning: Scott is actively trying conversational hypnosis on his listeners in his periscopes. Nothing wrong with that per se as one could desire to have one’s thoughts shifted and get some relief, but I’ve watched him turn his audience into pitchfork carriers. One night he had 1,000+ people agree with him that all children should be taken from their parents and put in boarding schools. I doubt even 20 people would have said that is something they would do before the periscope. But 20 minutes with him and they were ready to pack suitcases for kids. This periscope was six months ago or maybe more so I can’t link it because they aren’t kept that far back.

  159. Hello, Mr. Greer I have enjoyed your blogs and I commend you on adding to the discussion of our time in a serious and constructive way.

    You state in your article:
    >As a result, very few chaos magicians learn how to work safely with gods and spirits who aren’t products of >human minds.

    I was wondering if you could expand on this a bit. Depending on how you approach this I could see that one could come to the conclusion that all gods and spirits are products of the human mind (chaos approach in some cases) or no gods are spirits are products of the human mind (maybe a strong neo-platonism.) I was wondering if you could elucidate of where you draw the distinction between human projections and pre-existing powers or provide some illustrative example.

    Thank you,
    shimrod

  160. I am interested in the larger thesis being presented here by JMG and await the last two installments. However, I agree with those who have called JMG to task on some assertions about successful terrorist orgs, small biz vs. gov’t regulation, and science vs. the ether. I am reminded of a paragraph in Ioan Couliano’s “Eros and Magic in the Renaissance.” It relates to the notion of the magic of the elites: Couliano writes; “Insofar as science and the manipulation of phantasms are concerned, magic is primarily directed at the human imagination, in which it attempts to create lasting impressions. The magician of the Renaissance is … the precursor of modern professions such as director of public relations, propagandist, spy, politician, censor, director of mass communication media, and publicity agent.” I’ve been having trouble with the login lately. I lack a website.

  161. Pyrrhus, the claim that multicultural nations can’t survive is flatly contradicted by history. I trust you’ve heard of the Chinese Empire? How about the Roman Empire? How about the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires? All of these lasted considerably longer than the United States has endured so far — in the case of the Chinese empire, around three thousand years — and all of them were multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual. What’s more, I could list quite a few others, because most large nations are multicultural. I’m not sure where you got the idea that multicultural nations can’t endure, but you might want to be a little more skeptical about such claims, as you’ve been misinformed.

    Gentleman Loser, as long as you’re good with the consequences, fair enough. These are strange territories, where it’s often hard to tell which is the mask and which the face beneath it.

    Drhooves, well, our opinions differ; since the outcome is what counts, we’ll have to wait and see what actually transpires.

    Shizen, Druidry is still fairly young as a spiritual movement — the first Druid Revival organizations got going right around three centuries ago — and it’s still in the process of shaking off the inevitable pseudomorphoses of any religious movement that emerges in a radically different religious and cultural climate. I’m pretty sure there will be Druid equivalents of shugenja and yamabushi, and probably sohei as well — some of the older Druid Revival groups use a sickle on the end of a staff as an emblem of certain offices, and I can see that morphing into a naginata or the close equivalent very easily! But we haven’t hit the point in the historical cycle when monasticism develops, and there’s a transition from there to what we’re discussing — if you will, first you have your Kobo Daishi founding monasteries way up in the mountains, then you have the period of blending between strict monasticism and the practices of hermits and mountain mystics, and then you have your yamabushi (and, ahem, shinobi as well).

    The warbands currently forming will, if I’m right, go through a different set of changes — evolving the first draft of a code of bushido/chivalry/etc., becoming both the focus of and the primary audience for a literature of epic poems, and playing a central role in bringing down a fossilized bureaucratic state and replacing it with a flexible protofeudalism: that is to say, what warbands always do.

    Grebulocities, I wish I did. My take on the alt-right has been picked up bit by bit by raking through the undergrowth of /pol/ and similar venues.

    Yorkshire, that’s an excellent point, and I should have thought of it; the uncle of one of my many-times-great grandfathers, according to stories current in my grandfather’s generation, was a founding member of the Loyal Orange Order. Political activism and violence with a lodge flavor used to be quite common — the role of Freemasonry in the American Revolution is very well documented, for example — and it would be interesting to compare lodge and non-lodge organizations to see whether that makes a reliable difference.

    Robert, thank you for this! I had one of those niggling memories about hearing the term “politically correct” before the AIDS epidemic; of course it was in Seattle-area Marxist weekly newspapers, which I read for the entertainment value back in my teen years in the 1970s.

    Phil, correct me if I’m wrong, but in each of those cases, wasn’t there an existing leftist terrorist campaign against which the right-wing counterterrorists struck back?

    Synthase, oh, it was pure coincidence, of course. 😉

    Pepe, why, yes, I noticed. Always a good sign! As for Trump, exactly; he gets people to react unthinkingly against him, locks them into that reaction and uses it as a base against which to build, exactly as Fortune suggested. I’m not sure I agree with the details of Adams’ analysis, but he was one of the few who predicted a Trump victory, and anyone who gets right what everyone else gets wrong deserves a hearing.

    Denys, martial arts are great training for life! You’ll find that what you’ve learned in your Muay Thai training will hold you in very good stead as you work with the material in the Cos. Doc. and in my book. As for Qanon, I’m pretty sure it’s disinformation managed by US military intelligence; it has exactly the same flavor as the folderol that USAF intelligence personnel have been feeding people in the UFO scene for the last seventy-one years.

    Ron, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Thecrowandsheep, ha! I want it in iambic pentameter.

    Raywharton, thanks for this. That’s a question well worth brooding over.

    David, it was always an exaggeration, but it was an exaggeration of something that actually existed, and yes, the frontier culture was the place where it was most visible.

    Ailuromancer, any magically trained person can do quite a bit. If you’ve got a copy of The Magical Battle of Britain and follow its approach precisely, while choosing (or receiving from the Inner) a set of themes and images appropriate to the work you have in mind, there’s a lot that can be done.

    Owen, I wonder if the fact that “the left can’t meme” is at all related to the legendary lack of a sense of humor on the far left. (Back in the day, there were any number of jokes in which the punch line was someone of radical leftist opinions saying, in a quelling tone, “That’s not funny!”) One of the things that makes the alt-right’s memetic mages as good as they are is that they’re comfortable with absurdity and with self-mockery; that makes for edged and nimble humor, and thus for effective memes.

    David, no, people aren’t thinking — and the thing is, they usually don’t. Thinking is hard work.

    Kay, hmm. I don’t know enough about aberrant psychology to know whether it would fit that or some other disorder more closely.

    Sng, no, of course not. 🙁

    Violet, delighted to hear it. Thank you for organizing this!

    Denys, no, but we’ll discuss it later. Yes, I’m pretty sure that we’ve avoided a civil war. The time of the warbands is further off, probably another fifty to one hundred fifty years in the future, though if you live in certain parts of the country you may get to see it somewhat earlier than that.

    Bogatyr, thanks for the information! Actually, several people have mentioned the Irgun and the Stern Gang, along with the IRA and the ANC.

    William, you don’t enlist gods; you hope that you can find one that wants to do what you want to do, and the two of you work together to facilitate that. It’s good to be very cautious when dealing with them!

    Sng, thanks for this. That’s not the source I read but the information seems to be the same.

    Mac, an individuated person isn’t free of the influence of the archetypes, but can respond consciously and intelligently to that influence, rather than being swept up in it unthinkingly. Yes, there’s going to be a post on Jung, probably more than one, as we proceed.

    Violet, I get that. What makes the losers dangerous to the status quo is not that they embrace freedom of thought — it’s simply that each subculture of them zooms off in a different direction, embracing some set of beliefs at variance from those of the mainstream, and when the mainstream beliefs fail drastically enough, the strongest of the alternative subcultures can become a new center around which society organizes. It need not have good ideas so long as they’re different — again, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union come to mind.

    Samurai_47, thanks for the data points! It’s early yet for significant informal homesteading in the collapsed zones; that’ll happen only after things become much more difficult in the uncollapsed zones.

  162. Great Analysis. But why ignore Sanders-style groups like Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the broader left-chan and left-book culture that exists alongside the alt-right and constantly debates it? Are they not also the over-educated “losers” of society, who see things much the same as you?

    Socialists like DSA and Socialist Alternative have to tread lightly around identity politics to maintain their coalitions, but they pretty much agree with you that idpol and “privilege theory” is too easily used to divide people and can be co-opted by the economic elite to virtue signal.

    It is very interesting that posters like “Justin” above see Ocasio-Cortez as a “tax primarily white people and use it to fund programs that mostly benefit her >90% Hispanic constituency”… Where does this kind of fear come from? Simple research can show that Ocasio-Cortez won in the “whitest” parts of her district while her white opponent Crowly had the political machine of Black Churches and community organizations locked down. Ocasio-Cortez is basically a representative of the DSA which is *mostly* white, but tries hard to build solidarity across racial boundaries.

  163. JMG,

    If I may, in your reply to Shizen you mention that “we haven’t hit the point in the historical cycle when monasticism develops…”

    At what point do you see that happening, and how far away do you take us to be? There were certainly some thriving monastic communities in your Retrotopia timeline, though perhaps you have something different in mind with your remark here?

    I ask in part because I’m seeing some strong stirrings toward monasticism among polytheists of various stripes. While monasticism’s big cultural moment is still over the horizon, the groundwork is being laid now. (I’m also mindful—and appreciative—of the contribution you and Sara made to those movements with the Gnostic Celtic Church.)

    Thank you as ever for a thoughtful post, and for hosting such a lively discussion!

  164. I’m immensely enjoying this series of post! And I am noticing how well they are correlating with the study of The Cosmic Doctrine. I’ve always felt that while you’ve never outright supported Trump, you’ve never condemned him either. After understanding now that he is a force of Chaos, I wonder if you are viewing this as an opportunity to get a purchase to make a platform to do some constructive change. It does seem a ripe opportunity for that.

    On the other hand, I’ve noticed a lot of other members in the druidic and pagan communities outright opposed to Trump. It has been amusing watching their antics, especially their attempts at spells to lock him up but I can only imagine that these attempts cannot end in something good.

  165. JMG replied to William Hunter Duncan:

    “William, you don’t enlist gods; you hope that you can find one that wants to do what you want to do, and the two of you work together to facilitate that. It’s good to be very cautious when dealing with them!”

    I want to echo what JMG says about dealing with the gods.

    My forbears on my mother’s side–where all our esoteric interests lie–felt that religion was far too dangerous and toxic a thing to expose children to. You can and should start children out with simple forms of mental magic at a young age, but anything involving gods, spirits and the like is only safe for late ‘teens, or better, for adults. — The magic that we thought was safe for children was essentially the sort of mind-training thing that Charles Godfrey Leland discusses in his “The Mystic Will” (1907) and William Walker Atkinson in his “Mind Power” (1908).

    For whatever it might be worth, Terry Pratchett’s character, Granny Weatherwax, took much the same position:

    —- “I don’t hold with paddlin’ with the occult,” said Granny firmly. “Once you start paddlin’ with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then before you know where you are you’re believing in gods. And then you’re in trouble.”
    —- “But all them things exist,” said Nanny Ogg.
    —- “That’s no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages ‘em.”

    This quote is from Pratchett’s “Lords and Ladies.” He has Grany Weatherwax say much the same thing elsewhere, too. See his “Equal Rites,” “Witches Abroad,” and “Carpe Jugulum.”

  166. The discussion of gods has prompted me to ask a few questions.

    First, I find it logical to conclude that there must be other intelligent beings out there in the universe capable of making decisions that involve their own agenda. I struggle with taking that logical conclusion and bringing it further though. In the Bible this has always come down to those scriptures discussing faith in a matter and I can only conclude that having interaction with the gods helps one to develop that faith. How does one develop a relationship with the gods? Where does one start?

    Second, I wonder about the names and symbols of the gods and their importance, especially when interacting. Many traditions have similar gods with sometimes minor differences and other times big differences. Lugh of the Irish traditions and Tyr of the Nordic have many similarities, each ultimately being gods of the sun, yet they are vastly different. How does one get learn which gods are most meaningful to them? And which system/framework of traditions to interact from?

    Lastly, these chaos gods being able to create thoughts that are unusual to a person really struck me. My leaving to China some years ago was very spur of the moment although I feel the experiences have all been for the best. I see a great many people who have taken the adage “variety is the spice of life” to new levels, living their life in complete chaos and seemingly happy with that. Is that a result of the current order of things needing to spiral out of control for it’s own sake?

  167. of interest and some concern to me is the substantial overlap between the alt-right and the involuntary celibate subcultures.historically, there are few cultural forces more threatening than large numbers of sexually frustrated young men. recent comments by jordan peterson, among others, suggesting some form of “sexual redistribution” sound ominous to me and would no doubt be more threatening if i were a young woman instead of an old man.

  168. Ruth — re. plastic straws and plastic lids. Paper straws are inadequate for poking through the X cuts in plastic lids. However some styles of plastic lids have a circle cut almost completely through that could be poked by a paper straw.

    Jessi– re. Discordians. The gods did not invite Eris, goddess of Discord, to the wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia. Miffed, she showed up anyhow, tossed the Golden Apple labeled “to the fairest” and set up the conflict between Athena, Hera and Aphrodite that led to the Trojan War. What is the lesson? Don’t snub goddesses. And, especially, welcome and prepare for the unplanned. If you don’t prepare for it, it ruins everything. If you do, well you have a better chance of riding the chaos. I long ago decided that Eris it the goddess of unplanned pregnancy among other things. In a Discordian spirit (I am, by the way, a Discordian bishop, declares-d so by Robert Anton Wilson himself–bishop is promotion from Discordian Pope) I got a tattoo of a golden apple with a K for kallisti (to the fairest) and Hail Eris in Greek. It is fun to explain.

    I haven’t studied it deeply, but from what I have read it seems that a successful multi-ethnic Empire is best run by letting each community run by its own laws and regulating only relations between communities. I.e, the rabbis get to determine who is or isn’t a Jew and punish Jews who harm other Jews, the Governor only steps in when a Jew hurts a Muslim or a Chinese merchant is cheated by an Arab, etc. An entire group is only threatened if they seem to be a threat to the state–like Christians refusing to burn incense to the genius of the Emperor or more modern, Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing to salute the flags of nations they reside in. The whole thing starts to break down when the central government starts to impose the one true right and only way. For example coming up in the EU, bans on kosher slaughter because some people have decided it is cruel. That looks to me very likely to blow up, not just with observant Jews on one side, but various allies on both sides. It is not necessary for endurance of the system that all groups have equal rights–Muslim empires treated Jews and Christians as 2nd class citizens, but still allowed them to run their own affairs and that worked relatively well for long periods of time. Obviously details differed between different eras and different empires. You couldn’t duplicate the Persian empire today–people’s expectations of what is and is not in the public sphere are too different.

  169. JMG, How would one go about compensating for the deficiencies of Chaos Magick? And could you elaborate a bit more on what you meant by masks versus faces in your reply to ‘Gentleman Loser’?

  170. Can chaos magic turn on itself or flow over into other organizations? I ask this because there is currently some controversy going on at Gaia.com. Since you don’t do video, John, you might not be aware of this. Gaia (formally Gaiam ) provides programs with what I call a general new age flavor: a mixture of yoga and eastern religious interests, ufology, ancient aliens, conspiracy theory, meditation, etc. They describe what they provide as consciousness expanding videos. You either subscribe online for their streaming service or in some areas can get it through cable companies. I don’t subscribe, but have seen some of their material on YouTube, and at a friend’s on their cable service. Recently, some of the people whose programs are shown through Gaia have resigned, claiming that Gaia actually has a “Luciferian agenda.” Now I’m not saying that Gaia is connected to Kek, or the alt-right, in fact, some of their shows would probably appeal to what would formally have been called the hippy crowd. But others, along the lines of conspiracies, false flags, and the deep state, would catch the attention of the alt-right. Either way, there seems to be a lot of chaos going on! For more info, video lovers can search on You Tube for “Gaia controversy”; for readers, I did a web search and found the following links (from various sources; for info purposes only, I don’t promote any of these sites or their views as I’m not familiar with them).
    https://onstellar.com/blogs/66577/NEWS-David-Wilcock-s-resignation-letter-from-GAIA
    https://www.exopermaculture.com/2018/07/07/david-wilcock-resigns-from-gaia-tv/
    And, from a “historical researcher and skeptic”: https://tinyurl.com/ycvmrccv

    Joy Marie

  171. By the way, in my previous post the skeptic site I linked to is by debunker Jason Colavito, and he provides a library of supernatural stories, classic sci-fi/horror fiction (H. G. Wells, Lovecraft, Doyle, Poe), and more. http://www.jasoncolavito.com/the-library.html Some I have never heard of before and others are quite surprising (Edmund Burke listed under supernatural stories?!?!?) I can see what I will be reading tomorrow!

    Joy Marie

  172. David,

    My take is “alt-right” just means “stuff I don’t like” at this point. It’s been leached of all meaning.

  173. Will, fair enough.

    Owen, and of course when they do so, they’ll want you to “work together” under their direction, toward goals they’ve chosen, to deal with problems or predicaments they’ve created — and saying no will be the one effective choice you have.

    Steve, heh heh heh…

    Svea, that’s why I’m a freelance writer. I had my encounter with the route to flunkeyhood back in the early 1980s, and walked away.

    Joel, well, we’ll see…

    Dewey, yes, I figured you’d change the subject. We were talking about the difference between the prejudices the privileged direct toward the working classes and those the working classes direct back toward the privileged.

    A reader, that’s an excellent example. My favorite example is closely related; I happen to know a fair number of women in the Neopagan scene who are committed feminists in public, and submissive masochists “owned” by male doms in their private lives. Return of the repressed, much?

    Bob, it seems to me that there’s a logical fallacy in your argument. Are there other factors beside the fantastic proliferation of federal regulations driving the collapse of small business? Sure, but the fact that other factors exist doesn’t mean that the one I’ve cited isn’t involved. My wife has worked as a bookkeeper for a number of small businesses and we’ve discussed at length the very substantial economic burden placed on small businesses by federal regulation and the associated fees and taxes — a burden that affects them much more severely than it does big corporations. Still, over the next few years we have the chance to see an experimental test of the theory; the Trump administration is busy scrapping a great deal of regulation — if I’m right, as the effects of that trickle down, the small business sector will show signs of recovery.

    Greg, exactly — science as a cultural institution is in the midst of a massive crisis of credibility and legitimacy, which is why arguments regarding climate change that rely entirely on the credibility and legitimacy of science don’t convince those who don’t already believe in them.

    Matt, no, not yet. I should probably do that one of these days.

    Joy Marie, good. Very good. Yes, exactly — changing your buying habits to reflect your ideals is one very straightforward way to have an impact; it’s just that you can’t do that and still play the conspicuous consumption game.

    Edward, I wish we’d had that conversation! Back in the days of the Archdruid Report there was a regular commenter who went by Dammerung, who was a /pol/ack from way back. He dropped enough hints about what was going on that I started lurking on 4chan and 8chan from time to time, and got some idea of what was happening. I’ll be talking next week about gets, frogs with magic wands, Point-Emerging-Probably-Entering, and the rest of it — a summary, as there’s far more than will fit in a single post.

    It would be seriously cool, by the way, if someone who was there at the time and played an active role in the whole business could write a book about their experiences. Fifty or a hundred years from now, historians of magic would give one of their eyeballs for such a thing.

    Joy Marie, thanks for this. I’d gotten the idea that the same thing was true of churches, but I don’t belong to a church — never have, in fact — so it’s kind of unfamiliar territory to me.

    Kittenlopez, thank you. I’ve passed on your comments to Sara. Saturday, btw, is our 34th anniversary…

    Joy Marie, yep. I saw that and just started laughing. If you were playing poker, would you go out of your way to make sure everyone else at the table knew exactly what cards you have? Only if you want to lose every penny you’ve got. I really do think that this shows that they’re just virtue signaling, parading around like a five year old in a Batman costume saying “Look at me, I’m a superhero, I’m battling the bad guys!”

    I had a Batman costume when I was five years old, for what it’s worth, and did my share of parading around in it. When I got to the ripe old age of seven or so, I found other things to do with my time. I’m not sure why that didn’t happen to these folks…

    Hapigreenman, music is an extremely powerful tool in magic. It’s not something most modern occultists know much about — understanding the old lore of occult music requires a very thorough background in the kind of music theory that was taught in the Renaissance — but it’s strong stuff, and could be put to work by those willing to make the effort.

    Xabier, thanks for this. Yes, exactly.

    Justin, no, you should be fine. The frog plays an important role in a lot of Native American traditions, so you’re probably just interacting with the land spirits.

    Taraxacum, thanks for this. That’s very good to hear. Has the grassroots anti-racist left also begun to grapple with the huge issues around classism and class prejudice, by the way? To my mind, that’s a real elephant in the room, and it’s something that the privileged end of the Left goes out of its way not only to ignore but to justify.

    Mac, glad to hear it. As Manly P. Hall used to say, “the place to begin is where you are, and now is the acceptable time.”

    Dermot, to my mind, Marx is at least as far off base as the alt-right, and Marxist regimes have killed a lot more people, you know.

    Earthworm, you’ll want to mention that to Bogatyr. 😉

    Threewestwinds, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Lathechuck, good heavens. That really is weird.

    Shane, nah, I’m Esc-Center!

    Denys, thanks for the warning. This is another reason why I avoid videos. Thanks also for the news about the education act — that’s extremely good to hear.

    Shimrod, that’s a very complicated issue, and one that will probably need a post of its own. The very short form is that there are phenomena in the inner planes that are created by human will and imagination, and there are also phenomena that are independent of human will and imagination, and it sometimes takes a lot of work to be sure which is which.

    Phutatorius, by all means disagree, then! You’ve been around here long enough to know that I don’t require agreement — my main goal is to get people thinking for themselves.

  174. Nicholas, because they’re not part of the specific story I’m discussing right now, of course. I’m not sure why it is that US socialists think that everyone ought to include them in every political discussion, no matter what the subject; I’ve been fielding such demands from Berniecrats in particular for two years now. “But you didn’t say anything about Bernie!” Well, no, we were talking about some completely different subject. “But you should have said something about Bernie!” I hope socialists more generally don’t get into that.

    Barefootwisdom, the first stirrings are about what I’d expect about now — the sort of thing that you see two to three centuries before the St. Benedicts and Kobo Daishis show up and give the resulting traditions their enduring organizational forms. Over the next fifty to one hundred years, I’d expect to see various monastic experiments, a few relatively successful, most much less so, working out the complexities of monastic life in relation to previously nonmonastic religious traditions. So the people you know in the polytheist community are right on schedule — the one thing I’d encourage them to realize is that they’re pioneers, and they won’t be able to launch more than a few scattered communities and hermitages until the money economy unravels enough to make monastic subsistence farming viable again.

    Prizm, glad to hear it. No, I don’t condemn Trump, nor do I adore him; he’s just a politician, for heaven’s sake. I think it’s possible that he could klckstart certain changes that badly need to be made in US politics and economics; no doubt he’ll cause various kinds of carnage as well, but that’s business as usual for a US president. Still, it’s early days yet.

    As for your questions, (1) to my mind faith is badly misunderstood these days. It’s not blind acceptance of doctrinal claims without evidence; that’s not faith, it’s belief, and generally fairly ignorant belief. Faith is basic trust in reality and the powers that shape reality. It’s the recognition that as a human being, you don’t actually know that much, and the willingness to trust the powers that guide you to take you someplace worth going. (2) Names and symbols are there because they work; Lugh and Tyr may be similar in some ways, but if you invoke one you won’t get the other, and there are differences. How do you decide which you want to work with? Partly personal preference, partly — well, they also have their personal preferences, and very often they’re the ones that do the choosing. (3) Bingo; most of us are stuck in patterns of living that are too rigidly logical to work well, and need to let some freedom and chaos into the mix.

    Jay, if these young men could get worthwhile jobs with decent salaries, afford places of their own, and do the other things that young men used to do when entering adult life, most of them wouldn’t be involuntarily celibate. The mating game really does have a strong economic element! Of course there are other factors, and I may have to discuss those in a future post.

    Bori, well, I’m very much a small-t traditionalist when it comes to occultism; to my mind, the best way to learn magic is to take up a good systematic course of study and practice in some school of traditional occultism, such as the Golden Dawn system, and do it exactly as given even if that conflicts with your preferences or your notions about what the universe is like. (Among other things, doing this will give you a great deal of will training, which is of course essential for success in magic.) As for my comments to Gentleman Loser, the self is a much more complex thing than modern mainstream culture likes to think; each of us has levels of being that go well beyond what we’re currently conscious of, and each of us also interacts, knowingly or not, with beings of various kinds who don’t manifest on the physical plane. It’s an interesting question whether the experience G.L. had came from his own higher self, or from some being outside the structure of his personality, or from a merging of both.

    Joy Marie, my guess is that what’s going on there has less to do with chaos magic than with the standard problems with conspiracy culture. Once you get people convinced that there are invisible conspiracies all over the place, it’s only a matter of time before they start identifying their coworkers, employers, etc. as part of a conspiracy against them, and away we go. Now of course it’s also quite possible that Gaia TV got into fashionable pop Luciferianism, or at least got into the habit of taking pot shots at the Christian God; and it’s also quite possible that they behaved abusively to their employees — I’ve heard a lot of fairly well documented allegations of that at a large range of New Age businesses, so would not find that surprising.

    Enjoy the stories, btw!

  175. Oh, absolutely! The outcomes are mixed, of course, but the discussion is happening. There is a large and growing contingent that very self-consciously identifies as working class and, for instance, has absolutely no patience with the kinds of contemptuous rhetoric popular among the educated and moneyed classes.

  176. JMG, A very thought provoking post – and the comments as well. You’ve opened my mind to a lot of things through the years, at least as possibilities. A few scattered thoughts of my own:

    – I wasn’t thinking about how the elite school + “liberal-arts” education glut could be a deliberate strategy to manage people beyond, obviously, a propagandizing opportunity. Trying on how I would feel if I had fought my way through an elite school, especially with a “liberal-arts” (by which I mean anything which doesn’t teach practical skills beyond, maybe, writing) and then been “cast off” as a failure made me realize that while some people would get angry, MOST people would – IMO- be broken by that experience – especially if they were isolate enough to take it as personal failure alone. And broken people tend not to have any fight in them, so they are controlled if only by being marginalized. But in a prolonged economic malaise, as the group of cast-offs grew larger and began to realize it wasn’t just them, the discouragement would reasonably transmute to passive aggressiveness, if not outright civil war. Is that what you meant?

    So do you think the elites were figuring people who are smart enough to qualify for admission to an elite school needed to either be made servants or be broken/marginalized? Yeah, I can now the criminal overlords thinking that merely a wise strategy. But, if so, did they think it through to end-game? That is, do they have a fall back strategy for now that we haven’t yet seen nor considered?

    – The Michelson–Morley experiment proved there could NOT be any sort of medium through which light propagated. That was really not expected, even by the authors of the experiment. It caused pandemonium at least as big as Trump to TPTB; at least in the community of science. Re your question about how purported experts could say space time WAS the medium, I think the key word is purported. The overwhelming majority of science books for laypeople are not written by scientists and most of the rest are written by people who may have a science degree of some sort but are either out of their specialty or are the dregs. An example of this is Deepak Chopra, M.D. and the myriad areas of science he has commented on. An M.D. is not a scientist — medical doctors often live in this delusion that they are somehow scientific but, in truth, the overwhelming majority are technicians only, and commonly not even very good technicians. But that doesn’t stop them from writing books and articles. (Disclaimer: I have a hard science degree but I am not a physicist).

    – If the cast off elite-wanna-be class has embraced Kek and magick then I can tell you first hand the elite-manager class has embraced Buddhism, and particularly Tibetan Buddhism in a massive way. I had the unpleasant experience of attending an intensive retreat and training with a large group of people and discovering, the hard way, the group which SO talked about compassion had not a bone in their body of compassion for anyone who wasn’t a Hillary Clinton supporter. The teachers sat at the front of the class talking about cultivating compassion and emotional intelligence while endlessly sneering and laughing at Trump and all the “bigots” who voted for him. I walked up to one of the teachers during a break and confessed that I had voted for him; and my girlfriend was certainly not white (so I probably wasn’t a racist/bigot); and asked if she had ever left her coastal city to visit flyover country..,you know…the COMPASSIONATE thing to do. The teacher absolutely freaked out.

    Not a gram of authentic compassion could I find in the whole group. Just endless virtue signaling, and contempt, radiating like … well sort of like serious bigotry… especially in those who had supposedly been practicing mindfulness and other esoteric practices for decades in order to reach enlightenment. My interest in Buddhism took a serious hit, as you might imagine; the rest might get to nirvana ahead of me, but I’m not sure I’d want to be in nirvana if that is where they are really headed. Maybe I’ll check out Kekism next! 🙂

  177. Dear Archdruid, as someone who was a regular on 4chan when all this took place, all of this is quite spot on. I would however like to make two points.

    First, you seem to imply that the political crowd on the chans are in the middle of a choice between democratic nationalism and extreme nationalism. While this is indeed the choice faced by the new right in general, it is not true for the chans. The choice has already been made there, and it is extreme nationalism all the way. While moderate “civic nationalists” aren’t exactly hounded out of the place yet, all the enthusiasm has been for a long time between extreme nationalist causes, such as the campaign of Patrick Little.

    Beyond that, a lot of analysts and you as well overemphasize the importance of people like Yarvin in the generation of this new right wing wave. While him and some other bloggers provided parts of the intellectual structure, the core views of the alt right were generated mostly organically, in my opinion.

    Even in the 2000s, chan culture was already ironically embracing offensive far-right symbolism and memes. The reason was this is exactly what you say – angry and rejected young men deliberately chose to represent themselves with that which was the most offensive to the mainstream. What then happened to generate the alt-right was for these young men to cease embracing the symbols ironically, and to start embracing them genuinely.

    The way this happened was largely due to the rise of web 2.0, which was registered by the “old internet” as a massive influx of mainstream pressure on the medium that had once been theirs alone. With this, tensions rose, and finally escalated into a type of online culture wars with the Gamergate scandal. As the mainstream pressure was registered to be culturally liberal and politically correct, it became in vogue to be the opposite, to be as offensive and right wing as possible, beyond the point of irony.

    And as you said, growing up into a recession helped to fuel this process. Other effects contributed as well. For instance, being raised by the brain-draining and infantilizing consumer culture created many young men who were soft and inadequate to cope with the actual world, causing many of them to react, and to become as hard and stiff-necked as possible. This, I believe, fed into both the new right, and other recent events, such as the rise of Jordan Peterson.

  178. You’re bang on with the Obama stuff. Still to this day, one of the spookiest things I’ve ever seen was, in 2008, a parade of Obama supporters near a university campus — just a sea of people — mindlessly chanting their Obama incantations; waving (and LITTERING) their Obama sigils (I’m still not sure if that was supposed to be a rising sun or a SETTING sun); and marching with their Soviet style portraits of Obama, the ersatz deity. I’ve never personally seen, before or since, such a large display of mass enchantment.

  179. “assigning them to “races” on the basis of a few highly superficial biological markers (mostly skin color and the presence or absence of an epicanthic fold) is malarkey, biologically speaking.”

    This is one of the reasons why the alt right has an influence disproportionate to its numbers. Many of them have discovered that this is another piece of establishment dogma that never had any basis in science – that’s also partly why you get quite a bit of rage going on in some corners of it. It was invented partly in reaction to Nazism, and partly because it helped the privileged classes to silence dissent against mass immigration by labelling it ignorant and racist. It’s not going to survive current advances in population genetics for long, so the sooner people stop spreading it, the better. A biologist on here a few weeks ago explained it better than I could.

    This idea that the ruling class uses arbitrary, socially constructed divisions to divide and rule the working class largely applies within a country. The precise opposite applies during periods when the ruling class decides that national borders are getting in the way of money making. And, of course, they’re perfectly capable of doing both simultaneously, which is what they do.

    Bogatyr,

    Yes the old IRA faded, but it never disappeared. More relevantly, public support for Irish reunification never went away. The IRA wasn’t just one thing, but their demand for reunification was never mere rhetoric either. It was supported as a real goal by very many people in the north and south including everyone I knew growing up. No doubt some of those who supported the IRA only sought civil rights, or self defence. But for very many others, those goals were ultimately inseparable from reunification. Others were radicalized by their experiences in the 1960’s and ’70’s. They compromised after decades of bloodshed. It doesn’t mean they don’t still want reunification. They’ve just accepted that the price was too high (they’ve also accepted massive wealth transfers from the rest of the UK, which is the unmentionable sweetener that has allowed both sides to accept unpalatable compromises). And there are still IRA splinter groups who oppose the current compromise as a sell-out and are holding out for reunification.

  180. Hi John,

    Great post. You note that at some point in the future the money economy will unravel.

    How do you see that process unfolding and what is the likely timeframe?

  181. John, not to put too fine a point on it, but I didn’t say that only the factors I mentioned were involved; nor would I discount your wife’s experience. Watching our family drugstores decline over the years, talking with local businessmen and -women, and studying the past century of retail history, I think the factors I mentioned were the most important. Deregulation will certainly help, and I hope it’s as helpful as you suggest.

  182. JMG and @Bogatyr and @Phil Knight
    Civil Rights protest in Northern Ireland were as I remember it exactly as @Bogatyr has described. I had a friend from NI who said after the first 12 months he was astonished nobody had been killed yet. When it came it came quickly; the clearance and burning of Catholic streets by Protestant mobs which precipitated the army arrival. The old IRA was nowhere. (I think after that we need to remember the domestic politics in America as well as in mainland Britain that played their deadly part for a decade or two along with a helpless Eire.)
    It is correct though that IRA never took their violence to Scotland. This was attributed by some at the time to threats of massive reaction by the Protestant militias on Dublin. There were large sub-populations in Scotland on either side of the NI divide.

    best
    Phil H

  183. I sense this is a bigger question than can be answered adequately in a comment response, but here goes: As someone very familiar with the Christian and Jewish traditions, but aware of magic and polytheism only by reading your blog, I am struggling how to fit the concept of “gods” into my mental paradigm. Any suggestions for someone who worships the Creator God (the one you say Masonry requires a belief in)?

    Certainly the Christian and Jewish scriptures acknowledge the existence of gods, but seem to have little else to say. And the accumulated Judeo-Christian theology of the past few millenia seems to want to ignore their existence. Except for the popular notion that Lucifer is a fallen angel (who basically acts like a god), I sense that gods are not the same thing as angels. So what are they? Natural forces? I can conceptualize the little-g gods as “things” created by the big-G God. Is that a useful paradigm? I like the concept of a “Tree of Life” you mentioned to Jessi. That helps, but I’m still having trouble conceptualizing what the gods are.

    Is there a way for someone in the Judeo-Christian tradition to conceptualize the gods, without having to go through magical training?

  184. Umm, JMG, I know you’re not into the scene, so aren’t familiar, but a lot of subs are actually very strong-willed people in their “muggle” life, or have very strong wills, and the power all revolves around consent–the consent of the sub to the Dom. That’s why it’s called a power exchange relationship. W/hold consent, and their is no relationship. So it’s often said that the sub holds the power, or at least is an equal. Also, in reality, there are actually very few 100% Doms or subs–most people are somewhere in the middle, either leaning to one or the other side. It’s just more complex and dynamic than it appears to the uninitiated…

  185. John–

    Re one point in your reply to Prizm:

    “most of us are stuck in patterns of living that are too rigidly logical to work well, and need to let some freedom and chaos into the mix.”

    I am quite sure that I am one of those folks, but I have a difficult time seeing chaos as anything other than as something dangerous to be bound, controlled, and minimized. Not unlike anger and those other pesky excessive emotions which cloud my judgment. (Yes, I know… I’m still working on it. Another discussion on this very point was had last evening.) Finding a framework that accommodates these things in an understandable manner is a challenge that I have yet to successfully surmount.

  186. I think your mention of democratic nationalism touches on the biggest faultline within the loose coalition that is the alt-right. I’ve observed that a major added stressor in the competition for the few elite seats is that young peoples’ natural instinct for adventure is now largely at odds with our de facto duties to family and community. Whatever route one tries to take in the long climb, competitive exposure to tedium is a recurring feature. A far cry from the ‘heroism in battle’ that was the gold standard for doing one’s duty as recently as our grandparents’ generation.

    There is a world of difference between the society a man who feels cheated out of his adventure would like to see and the one a veteran of the Korean war would like to see. One would be perfectly content with well-functioning democratic nationalism, while the other would much rather summon an ancient chaos-god and elect his avatar to the highest office in the land. These groups made common cause because post-Bernie the Trump campaign was the best bet for both futures, but they can’t both get what they want. The sense of betrayel one of them will feel is going to be horrendous.

  187. >I wonder if the fact that “the left can’t meme” is at all related to the legendary lack of a sense of humor on the far left

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byupht8nlQ0

    And this touches on the terrible choice the Germans had to make back in the early 30s when their moldy political center finally rotted away into collapse. People forget that the commies were almost as active and violent as the nazis were back then and your two choices were the far left and the far right. And here we are again, the political center is moldy and rotten and beginning to give way and we have far lefties getting violent once again.

    And if your a kid and you’re presented with the choice of the far left or the far right – which one to you looks more appealing to side with? At least the nazis this time around are funny, sometimes hilariously so.

  188. Jay Moses, Jordan Peterson has never advocated that women be ‘distributed’ among men by some forceful means. What he has referred to is “socially enforced monogamy”, which was the system of customs that said that sex should be between a married (or at least in a relationship) couple, and that people should only have one sexual partner at a time.

    Occasionally I will check out what incels at places like wizardchan (A wizard is an virgin incel over 30) have to say, and they’re pretty sad – but they are also one of the few socially acceptable punching bags – so, unless they commit actual acts of violence, I’m not going to get butthurt on behalf of their supposed victims.

  189. Dear JMG: You commented above that “music is an extremely powerful tool in magic.” May I ask a stupid question: a tool to do what specifically? I’m just wondering how music was used within magical practice. Thanks!

  190. Hello Mr Greer

    With reference to over production of the managerial/professional class in your essay. The explosion in intermediation in the economy in my life time (five years younger than you), where you can’t turn round without someone extracting cash from you, also tells where much of the excess of that class has gone. That this is counter productive to the real economy of goods and services is self evident today. Between the banks, landlords, government, professional bodies, utilities, regulatory agencies, unions, lawyers, and insurance companies anybody who tries to produce real wealth outside the rackets will have every last penny extracted from them if they try, so why try! The future is the grey economy; make it yourself, trade only with who you know, and never go near anybody who wears a grey suit.

    Further to the above I had a look at the few surviving communist states, a factor they seem to have in common is that they did not go in for mass higher education i.e. produce excess candidates for the managerial/professional class which then have to be found intermediation jobs in the economy, que stagnant economy, pervasive corruption and political turmoil. I doubt this was deliberate, more a product of initial poverty, but if you want political stability avoiding having a large intermediation class would probably be a good idea.

    A couple of data points for you Mr Greer

    From Heart Radio 26th July 2018 UK (Sussex) announced, last year 18,000 tape decks/cassette players were sold in the UK last year, up 90% on the year before! Retro future Yay!

    BBC Radio 4 morning news program “Today” 6.00am to 6.30am Business slot 16th July 2018. I was half asleep when I caught this so did not get all the details. Think tank taking head announces peak oil demand in 2036 due to all the electric cars. Presenter asks will this save the climate? Talking head ER NO, decline in oil demand to little to late. Presenter, is there plenty of oil? Talking head, YES there is lots, plenty for decades to come, its just getting very expensive to get it out of the ground. Me, BINGO! This radio slot is great, a lot of truths get told in advertently, because the presenters/journalists don’t bully the interviewee as they don’t think anybody will listening at that time in the morning.

    Best wishes All

  191. JMG re: political magic

    That makes more sense now, thank you. If I were to try to sum up what I have understood from this, I would say that the aspiring political magicians would first create or choose something material – a written ideology, manifesto, manuscript, or candidate that they believe will have a good influence, based on their knowledge of the situation, and the direction of the cosmic cycles at the time. They would publicize it as much as they are able. Then quietly conduct a series of magical workings, making use of the magical practices available to them, to consecrate that material thing with magical or spiritual influences. This would establish it firmly on the material plane, so it can then influence the political situation. In that way, it would almost act as a talisman, radiating out the spiritual influences with which it has been charged. And to help it all work, it would be best if those magical practices were grounded in a well-founded tradition, and performed by people with properly-flowing magical power.

  192. “It’s the losers in that competition who matter here, though. There are always some of them, and in modern America there are a lot of them: young men and women who got shoved aside in the stampede for those positions of wealth and influence, and didn’t even get the various consolation prizes our society offers the more successful end of the also-rans.” There’s another set of losers worth mentioning. When the working class got thrown under the bus, the whole constellation of factotums responsible for their care and feeding got thrown under as well. Hence, along with Joe Sixpack, the host of formerly employed includes his foreman and upper managers, the denizens of the purchasing and personnel departments, the company nurse and workers’ insurance department, and much of the corporate structure over at the union hall. The difference between these folk and the young video-playing basement inhabitants you describe is that the former have a wealth of expertise in organizing to make things happen. Should they chance to not drink themselves to death (see 1990s USSR) and offer their services to the new paradigm, the impact could be considerable.

  193. @ Violet (& @ JMG)

    Re chaos, Qabalah, and my various psychological issues 😉

    Not to stray too far off-topic, but to the extent that I’m struggling with the nature of freedom and chaos, the lower sephiroth, and a mathematically-trained intellectualized ego that ruthlessly dominates my awareness, while also attempting to understand and navigate a cosmos that extends far beyond my comprehension, perhaps this is still relevant. To be brutally self-honest, I am a product of the system JMG has described, climbing on the basis of academic performance, scholastic achievement, and a certain desire for success and status.

    Violet, as you are one who is also working the Tree, I was wondering if you might share some of your techniques? I’m a greenhorn blundering about here, in addition to the handicaps from my schooling which are biased against non-rational (JMG: transrational?) processes. I’m nearly through The Mystical Qabalah at this point. Gareth Knight’s Qabalistic Symbolism is next on the list. Reading is one thing, doing is another — and that is where I’m flailing about a good bit. I think that the Tree is a tool that may help me, as it is a structured process for the transrational, thus bridging both worlds to some extent.

    I keep getting told the same things (e.g. “the point of the Dance is itself”), in various ways and by various sources, but I can’t quite seem to integrate them properly and I don’t know why that is, or how to change that.

  194. Before I go on, I want to note the excellent quality of the comments here! It really is a pleasure to read them, and there is always a lot to consider…Also you’re welcome thank you JMG for your responses, especially the second one. I see I was employing somewhat faulty logic, and now I can think more clearly about the issues.

    Re: Getting swept up into things in which one has no control;

    It appears to me that various “subcultures” are, it could be argued, under the unconscious rulership of various deities, and one could say that from a certain perspective, the depth of one’s commitment to a subculture is precisely commensurate with the commitment to said deity. What makes this relevant, is that people are, in my experience, totally unaware of the numina involved and thus are caught up in very powerful currents that they are only semi-aware of. This makes navigating the rapids, depths and undertows all the more difficult and perilous.

    For instance, I’ve noticed a pervasive Loki vibe with punk rockers. Sneering, adolescent, contrary, funny and treacherous. Also punks have a tendency to escalate things disastrously. What starts off as fun and games often gets increasingly serious, entrenched and even violent, but always with the same distinct charge in the ethers.

    With the various permaculture/gardening and rewilding projects I’ve participated in, Venus reigns supreme. The people there are often energetic, sensually oriented, almost trembling, as if in love. They laugh easily, create beauty, and are thrown about by an almost Oceanic sense of devotion to their gardens. Very, very frequently such people are endowed with the gifts of Venus, too; a beauty that is often distinct from appearance, good graces and ease finding and creating love.

    With Rainbow folks, hoboes, and Burners and those heavily into Castaneda/Ayahuasca there is often an intense Coyote vibe. Playful, annoying, with a sense of plotlessness, seemingly on an endless journey of unrelated experiences in the sequence of time. They tend to carry a playful chaos with them like stolen embers.

    It has been my repeated experience that Jesus Christ rules social justice. Of course, the ethics of social justice are taken from the Bible, especially the Gospels. I’ve been to many social justice meetings and they were evangelical, proselytizing, fundamentalist, with a sincere desire to help the downtrodden. The pneuma present felt very similar to my exposures to protestant Christianity. Interestingly, the question on the tips of everyone’s tongue is always the quandary of the missionary, essentially “how do we convert them?”. Part of the reason I think that the social justice left has been so ineffective is that they don’t accept Jesus Christ as their master. If they did, there would have been, I imagine, much more soup kitchens run out of churches in poor neighborhoods and less class warfare.

    Of course Chan cultures is under the rulership of Kek, which to their immense credit, they at least have self-awareness of!

    I imagine that people with exposure to to different subcultures could speculate about their rulership as well, and in fact I would be curious to read it.

    Perhaps an argument could be made that what pulls people into various subcultures are the various deities themselves, since the various subcultures all have what appears to be separate valences of sacredness which informs their value systems. To a large certain extent the Great Meme War is a war of some these various values systems. Perhaps it is fair to speculate that this is a battle operating at a very high level indeed.

  195. Thanks for this detailed series – I have been pretty curious about what was happening with the frog meme. I did not at all realize that the chans were making a connection between sigils and memes. Frankly, ugh. They are working some dangerous levers, as you and others have already observed.

    Speaking of dangerous levers, I wonder at how much of this extreme behavior can be attributed to the fact that reality itself is becoming extreme. When I took your advice and read some Tacitus to see how other ancient societies have dealt with massive, ugly change, he told the story of an actor who convinced a rabble that he was the emperor in disguise – seemed to believe it himself – ran around with his pretend army for a couple battles before he was dispatched by the real forces.

    When the average human finally wraps their mind around the fact that we are in a moment of upheaval that will make a mark on the big time timescale, what’s to stop them from losing their grip in any number of creative/destructive ways?

  196. Dear Nicholas Garcia, ” Crowley had the political machine of Black churches and community organizations locked down.” ? Now, that is interesting. It shows that patronage politics is losing even within Democratic districts, maybe past its’ prime? Of course, Crowley was a dismal candidate who failed to show up for a scheduled debate, thereby disrespecting not only his opponent, but the news media as well.

    Dear Mr. Greer and others, about the plastic straws, I am looking at this from a slightly different angle. Please, this is not pushback, just a somewhat different take.

    First, the good citizens of Santa Barbara can pass whatever ordinances they like so long as those ordinances do not violate the constitution. I don’t have to live there. IDK but, surely, disabled residents would have had their chance to present their objections. Ongoing localization means we are going to see a lot of ordinances and edicts we may not like, from open carry to sanctuary cities. I also think it does not hurt or harm distribution companies to separate straws out of their bundles for SB–it is called work, AKA paying attention.

    OF COURSE I agree this is hypocritical virtue signaling, and I would rather see, say, a ban on plastic bags–with maybe some exceptions as needed–or, better yet, a ban on polyester fabric for all except sports and outdoor survival uses. BUT, hey, it’s a beginning, a baby step towards elimination of mass market plastics, or so I can hope, and a step away from centralized monopolies being able to impose their one size fits all uniformity on all of us.

  197. I suspect political lodges would have more long-term stability than many other political organisations because its members would be getting the benefits of lodge membership as well, so would have more reason to keep coming back. There would probably be an extra level of bond and camaraderie between them as well. It was fairly common in British working class culture for political organisation and trade unionism to be combined with things like the mutual aid societies and miners’ libraries, the social club, bar and dance hall of the miners’ welfare, and the brass bands. All things that gave people other reasons to be there beyond the ups and downs of politics. Although it is largely about a very obscure corner of British labour history, considering your interest in both syndicalism and fraternal organisations, this may be of use: https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1111/principles-of-syndicalism/

  198. Mr. Greer, thanks for your response. I think that is a useful and concise way to frame the question of inner plane entities and human psychology. Much like on the material plan there are human artifacts and “natural” artifacts and processes. There are some interesting threads of inquiry that could be followed further in both realms and I will read with interest if you tackle the topic in depth.

    It’s great to hear you citing old Mencius Moldbug, whom I think was extremely influential when he was writing but sadly seems to have hung up his quill pen. Another aspect that is captured by the “Cathedral” coinage is the fragility. A Cathedral is not a fortress and only a few well placed rocks will bring all the stained glass crashing down.

    I will look forward to the rest of this series.

    Regards,
    shimrod

  199. Xabier, how did you come to meet terrorists and which organisation did the British torturer belong to? Also, if you’re going to go up against Marxist revolutionary ideology, this is the quality of argument you’re up against: http://isj.org.uk/the-axe-without-an-edge/. Dismissing it as infantile isn’t going to cut it by a long way.

    Dermot, there’s actually a debate among Marxists about what is included in the base and what is superstructure. China Mieville argues in his book about international law Between Equal Rights, of which I read every word and understood about 20%, claims the law should be considered as part of the base. Without it every trade would be as risky as a drug deal, so law is essential to stabilise commercial exchange. The relationship between base and superstructure definitely isn’t one way either. Sometimes the superstructure takes over and takes the base for a ride. This happens when a society commits to some ideal (or usually prejudice) and pursues it in preference to class interests. A simple example is after the American Civil War a group of former slaves decided they wanted to be farmers and offered a white landowner a fair price for his land. He ended up selling to whites for about half what the blacks had offered. So the superstructure of white supremacy overrode the base of capitalism.

  200. Just a note to clear up something I haven’t seen mentioned here yet: As I understand it, White Nationalists were for years out to co-opt the term “alt-right” to refer to their beliefs and theirs alone, and as far as I have been able to tell they won this battle decisively after the media circus of “hailgate” in 2016. I follow a lot of right-wing and centrist (i.e., liberal) political commentators and since then they all have been using the term “alt-right” exclusively to refer to something approximating old-guard White Nationalism, complete with anti-Jewish sentiment. The parts of the old “alt-right” that didn’t fall into this criteria have generally been referred to instead as “New Right”, with post-2016 alt-righters referring to them and some establishment-critical liberals as “alt-lite”. Maybe someone you know is still using the label “alt-right” to mean something else, but as far as I am aware they are in the minority.

    Of course, the far-left has continued to refer to any and every alternative to their diktats as “alt-right”, but in my view it’s impossible to listen to them and have a serious conversation at the same time.

  201. @gnat
    Re: light as a wave, Buddhism

    You explained the Michaelson-Morley experiment better than I could, as well as why it’s a bad idea to trust most science popularizations.

    As far as “light is a wave,” no it isn’t. Under some circumstances, light acts like a wave, under other circumstances it acts like a particle. If you want the most accurate possible results, you use general relativity at large scales, and quantum mechanics at small scales. At practical scales, you treat it like particles – that’s how computer graphics systems produce reflections and shadows in animations.

    I can tell you that whatever they’re practicing, it’s not Buddhism. Ask any Tibetan Buddhist priest how western business practices relate to “right livelihood,” which is one of the eight parts of the eight-fold way.

    The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (‘meditative absorption or union’). (Wikipedia)

    Neglecting any of the parts in favor of watered-down meditation has a tendency to turn a jerk into an even bigger jerk.

    There are a few basic things to remember that seem to have been misplaced. If your intent is to live a good and happy life of benefit to you, your family and others, then for God’s sake pursue that goal and forget about enlightenment. You should only pursue liberation if that’s your overwhelming life goal. The price of liberation is … everything. Literally everything, and you will not understand what that means until you achieve it.

    Another basic thing to remember: in the West, a true teacher emphasizes passing on a lineage to the student, and teaches because it is fun, and for no other reason. I could say a whole lot more on the subject, but this is not the time.

  202. @Phil Harris.

    As well as not attacking Scotland, I always found it interesting that the PIRA seemed to be generally averse to attacking the Royal Navy and the RAF.

    There seems to be a bit of a libidinal thing going on between the various iterations of the IRA and the British Army, as the IRA were modelled on, and indeed were kind of a mini-version of, the British Army. There have always been British Army veterans who have joined the IRA and of course informers within the IRA who were working for the British Army.

    If I was more mischievous, I would suggest that the British Army and the IRA were pretty much one and the same organisation.

  203. While I enjoyed reading this series, I would like to talk about something you mention a couple of times in the comments, namely that communist/marxist regimes killed way more people than the fascists.

    I think that is debatable.

    I grew up under a communist regime (a mild one though) and I hated them. It took me a long time to get over raw emotion and try to understand why it happened. And the main reason is because it works! It took basically feudalist societies and lifted them up in less than a century to almost first world status. Yes it enforced very strict conformism (which explains a number of deaths) and it leads to paranoid leadership (which explains the rest of the deaths). Long term it proved to be a dead-end for human organization.

    But there are comparisons out there between capitalist India and communist China and there were many more dead children in India (due to lack of medical care and poverty) than the total killed in China during the cultural revolution. This is just one example. I know your conservative leaning might lead you to prefer some children deaths over a prison camp (not being nasty, I think we cannot guarantee life for everyone unless we turn to a hive mind). I just think you are too black-and-white about this.

  204. Spicehammer,

    Well done. So, I don’t personally know enough about the sentencing issues to have any good comment. The disparate sentencing for crack versus powder cocaine is one possible contributor, although I have to say that I do regard crack cocaine as a more destructive drug. A better comparison might be meth offenses versus crack cocaine, with meth being largely a white vice. I think meth is the worst of them all.

    But the problem as you present it is what I might expect of a slowly resolving racial problem. It isn’t completely fixed, but incredible strides have been made to the point we have to kind of look for issues such as you present and analyze them. What I am reacting to is the rather sudden intense hysteria on the part of all the liberals or whatever we call them to an imaginary daily persecution and all over guilt. I also, as mentioned to Dewey, smell a rat in that I highly suspect these privileged types to not really like black folk all that much, up close and personal. But consciously, it’s all crocodile tears. So who has the unconscious bias?

    From where I sit – mid Appalachia, I don’t see a lot of real racism. What does exist is under tight control. Strongly Trump country. My county, by the way, went for Bernie Sanders in the primary, and Trump in the general.

    Slightly straying off topic here, but it continues to burn me that all the Hillary class are NOT angry with her for taking away Bernie Sanders from them. I have almost no doubt at all that he would have won the general if nominated. Why? Because nearly every vote that went to Hillary would have been his, and a significant number of Trump’s as well, as shown by my own county.

  205. Dewey,

    Of course one must always consider the individual before their group or any stereotypes. But again, my main objection to certain stereotyping is that they are erroneous.

  206. Taraxacum, that’s very good to hear. The use of “racist” as a dog whistle for “working class white person” has been very widespread in liberal circles for the last few decades, and it’s going to take some serious work to get past the barriers that rhetoric has raised — quite deliberately, of course — between the two halves of the underclass.

    Gnat, thanks for the data point on Tibetan Buddhism. I’m sorry to hear that; there’s a lot of richness in the Vajrayana traditions, and it’s sad to see them being hijacked as yet another entertainment for the privileged — not least because the blowback is likely to make life difficult for Buddhists of all stripes in the US for some decades to come.

    Sam, thanks for this. You’re right that I should have specified that the choice in question was faced by the new right generally, not specifically by the chans; there’s still the question of what /pol/ will support — they certainly rallied around Trump to an impressive degree, and he’s no extremist. (I’m increasingly sure that that’s why the left hates him so much — he refuses to fit their stereotype of the hateful Other.) Interesting, too, that you see the political orientation of /pol/ as more homegrown than influenced by NeoRx et al. — I’d gotten the opposite impression, but that was on the basis of occasional visits rather than any kind of extensive participation.

    As for Obama — no argument there. As I’ve mentioned before, watching the Left abandon all its principles and cheer Obama on when he was doing exactly the same things they criticized so harshly when Dubya did them was kind of a defining moment for me; yes, it makes sense to talk about them as under an enchantment. As so much of the mainstream Left talks earnestly about how right and just and true the FBI and the CIA are, and how bad it would be if we pulled our troops out of Syria, I have to think the enchantment is still very much in place…

    Dot, I see I’m going to have to do a post on the myth of race one of these days, aren’t I? The short form is that you’re quite simply wrong — scientifically, historically, and (ahem) tactically. The entire notion of separate human races — as distinct from ethnicities, which of course actually exist — was coined in the American colonies in the early 1700s as part of a push to keep indentured servants from Europe and slaves from Africa from making common cause against plantation owners, and was turned into dogma across the Western world starting later in the same century as a core bit of justification for European colonial conquests. I’ll get into the lack of scientific jvalidity in detail in the forthcoming post, because of course that will need citations — of which there are no shortage. Finally, if you’re concerned with immigration, you’re more likely to get traction if you deal with that on its own terms, rather than getting sucked into the failed discourse of race — which simply hands an ample toolkit of rhetorical weapons to your opponents and guarantees that you’ll be marginalized and ignored.

    James, in the twilight years of a civilization, whatever system of economic exchange it uses is increasingly subject to being gamed by people who produce no economic value but use loopholes and weak spots in the system to extract value from it. Eventually the burden of parasitism becomes high enough that people simply walk away from it, and produce goods and services for their own use or for local exchange under the radar of the collapsing political and economic order. We’re starting to see that latter trend getting under way — there are a growing number of people in the US who are dropping out of the economy, living in squats, and working under the table — because our economy is massively gamed already. I give it fifty to one hundred fifty years, though, before the money economy stops being used in what’s now the United States; the process of decline and fall takes its merry sweet time, you know.

    Robert, um, you said, “John, I think you’re mistaken about government regulation causing the decline of small business.” That kind of comes across as though you think I’m mistaken about government regulation causing the decline of small business! If you meant that it’s not the only cause, I’m not arguing; if you wanted to say that you think that other factors are more important, well, you might have wanted to say so…

    Phil H., thanks for this.

    Blue Sun, first and parenthetically, no, Masonry doesn’t require belief in a creator god. It requires belief in a Supreme Being, without specifying whether that Supreme Being must be the sole creator of the universe, or filling any of the other roles assigned to it by the monotheist mainstream. Second, there’s no way you’ll be able to find room for gods in your worldview, because the worldview of monotheism specifically excludes them. It’s as though you believed devoutly that there were no such things as vegetables, and then tried to find some way to fit vegetables into your mental paradigm. So you’re stuck. Interestingly, polytheism makes ample room for the god you believe in; polytheists may think that you’ve engaged in what Alfred North Whitehead called “metaphysical flattery,” and assigned characteristics to your god (such as omnipotence and omniscience) that no being of any kind has; but they’ll readily grant you that the god you worship is real, that he is capable of conferring blessings of various kinds on you, and that if you want to receive his blessings you should follow his commandments — gods are, after all, notoriously picky about such things…

    Shane, fair enough. You’re quite right that I’m very much an outsider to that scene, and I was simply caught by the apparent contrast between public and private lives.

    David, it’s a common problem. I wonder if it would help to reflect on the awkward reality that the universe is in no way logical or rational, and that logic and reason are nothing more than habits of the nervous systems of a particular species of social primates, amplified in various ways by cultural factors: useful in some contexts, which is why natural selection produced them in us, but purely habits of our minds with no particular relevance to “the buzzing, blooming confusion” of the world we actually live in. That’s scary at first, no question, but once you’ve embraced it, it becomes possible to dance with it…

    Justin, you’re most welcome.

    Christopher, that’s certainly true. The advantage the democratic nationalists have is that they know the other party is only going to field candidates who are far more offensive to the far right than they are, so they can count on getting the far right’s votes. As for your broader question, though, it’s crucial in the years ahead to find ways to harness the normal healthy energies of young men in a constructive way, rather than vilifying and demonizing those energies, as too many Second Wave feminists have done.

    Owen, to my mind that’s the worst case scenario. I think it can still be avoided, and Trump’s election has opened a door through which it can be avoided, but it’s still hideously possible.

    Jbucks, a tool for causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will, of course. You can combine music with other magical techniques to get a far more potent effect, for whatever purpose you have in mind.

    Philip, exactly — and that’s the usual way that the economy of a civilization in decline implodes: so many people game the system to extract unearned wealth that the system collapses from the equivalent of blood loss. Thanks for the data points!

    Stefania, ding! We have a winner. 😉

    RPC, that’s an excellent point. Thank you.

    David, relax. Trying to understand it all is itself an attempt to control. Accepting that you’ll never understand it all makes it a lot easier to dance with it.

    Violet, good. I’d point out that with the social justice movement as with the Christian churches, that name “Jesus” seems to cover a wide range of apparently different gods. I have a hard time believing that the Jesus of the Quakers and the Jesus of the Southern Baptists are the same god; by the same token, not all social justice activists seem to be in resonance with the same deity.

    Aron, good. You’re quite correct; a lot of people, in fact, have already lost their grip.

    Nastarana, um, I’m uncomfortable with the claim that Santa Barbara ought to have the legal right to forbid disabled people from having access to implements they need to stay fed and/or hydrated. At least in theory, the rights of the majority aren’t usually held to extend to forcing a minority (such as disabled people) to move or starve — do you disagree with this? Finally, how many times do we have to hear the same rhetoric about “baby steps” before it sinks in at last that it’s not a baby step if it’s not followed up by more steps in the same direction? You know as well as I do that the people who are pushing this would scream like a gutshot banshee if they were asked to do anything that would actually have an impact, such as paying twice as much for seafood because fishing fleets were required to pay for the removal of their waste. This isn’t a baby step, it’s the precise equivalent of the indulgences the Catholic church used to sell so people could commit sins and then buy their way out of purgatory.

    Yorkshire, thanks for this! Yes, that seems quite plausible.

    Shimrod, glad to hear it. You’re right about the cathedral, too.

    Erik, interesting. I hadn’t encountered that.

  207. Hi Denys

    “60 percent of the plastic trash flowing into the sea originates from China, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand”

    Hmm, I wonder what percent of world human population lives in those countries, and what conclusions might we reach from said data?

  208. Violet,

    There is another substratum of social justice activism. Though it also owes allegiance to Jesus, it does tend to involve a good deal less proselytizing. Look up “Catholic social teaching” and “Catholic Worker movement” on Wikipedia for an overview. The documents mentioned in the first reference gave birth to distributism.

  209. I have a hard time believing that the Jesus of the Quakers and the Jesus of the Southern Baptists are the same god… I can see that, but… hmmm, how to ask this… would that imply that they somehow ‘created’ two [or more] different gods? I think that can be explained by the difference between the ‘Jesus of history’ and the ‘Christ of faith’, but I’d be interested in your take on it…

  210. I have a question regarding your statement that ‘science moves the goal posts’ whenever occultists come to close to it. This does not make sense from the perspective of an auto-didactic scientist who is not operating from within academia. In fact, that statement seems to run counter to how science is supposed to operate.

  211. blue sun,

    C. S. Lewis provides a useful way of looking at a world full of gods from a Christian perspective in his “Malacandra” trilogy (particularly “That Hideous Strength”) and his lecture-turned-book “The Discarded Image.”

  212. @ David,

    Thank you for asking! My technique is rereading JMG’s Paths of Wisdom and Dion Fortune’s Mystical Qabbalah a lot and some other books on the subject and using the Cabala as a way of framing my thoughts and experiences. Basically, when I think I use the Tree as my foundational conceptual framework. For instance, I think of John Crowley’s Engine Summer as a Cabalistic Allegory on the Path of Kaph, and Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund as an Allegory of the Paths of Shin and Qoph, respectively. When I think of evil, I frame it in terms of the Qlippoth. When I think of the gods, I place them in their respective Sephiroth.

    My thought is I don’t have to be special or advanced. Indeed, I try to make haste very slowly, and accept the sharp limitations of my consciousness. Working with myself gently and steadily seems to be yielding good results. Meditation is very important too, of course, and there are some excellent thoughts concerning this in Paths of Wisdom. Also, one can meditate on symbols as they relate to the Tree, such as a Tarot cards or what have you.

    For what it’s worth, it sounds to me, who is likewise a greenhorn, that you’re doing a good job of working with the Tree from where you’re at and that this is all part of your process. From my personal experience, it’s all too easy to weaponize where one could hypothetically be and use it as an excuse to abuse and bully oneself, which is far from helpful. The simple fact is that where you’re at is where you’re at, and that is the perfect place for you to be working from, right now.

  213. @Violet

    Re biblical economics and social justice

    Back before I went looking for a direct, authentic experience with the desert god Yahweh, but instead had a direct, authentic encounter with a chthonic earth goddess, I did a fair amount a reading on this issue. If you’re not already aware of them, Richard Horsley’s Biblical Economics and Shane Claiborne’s Economy of Love are excellent resources, drawing on both the Old and New Testaments.

  214. “… the universe is in no way logical or rational, and that logic and reason are nothing more than habits of the nervous systems of a particular species of social primates, amplified in various ways by cultural factors: useful in some contexts, which is why natural selection produced them in us, but purely habits of our minds with no particular relevance to “the buzzing, blooming confusion” of the world we actually live in. That’s scary at first, no question, but once you’ve embraced it, it becomes possible to dance with it…”

    Could you clarify this a little? If the universe is in no way logical or rational, then where does sacred geometry fit in?

  215. To Yorkshire’s queries:

    1/ I met and interviewed terrorists in the Basque country – all convicted and imprisoned, no cloak and dagger stuff.

    2/ The torturer was a retired intelligence officer in the British Army. Actually, as I understood it, he just gave the sergeant orders to do the hitting, etc. Nice chap, actually.

    3/ I really have no more time to waste in a brief life on Marxist theory and rhetoric, so much good paper has been spoiled with that nonsense over the last century or so (and so many lives ruined and blighted: but as for ‘infantile’, I refer you to Marx’s letters to Engels, in which he reveals that he longed to play a small part of a great Revolution, and ‘to be swallowed up and destroyed by it’.

    Neither mature nor, I would suggest, remotely sane!

    if you met someone spouting nonsense like that a party, you’d suddenly have to get a drink the other side of the room……

  216. @Violet

    “Perhaps it is fair to speculate that this is a battle operating at a very high level indeed.”

    Rudolf Steiner said in more than one place that the battle between Michael and Lucifer had consequences on earth, so your speculation is not without precedent.

  217. Straws, continued:

    From the Santa Barbara website explaining the proposed ban:

    Food or beverage providers would be exempt from this ordinance in the instance that they provide, distribute, or sell a plastic beverage straw to a person for whom non-plastic alternatives are unsuitable due to a mental or physical condition that qualifies as a disability pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act ( 42 USC § 12102).

    I don’t know if the ordinance is still proposed or has been passed into law. So, it would appear that persons with disabilities are taken into consideration. Apparently SB already has a ban on plastic bags as of 2014.

    I am afraid I am distinctly unimpressed by Fox news, et al, complaining about assaults on personal convenience (in places where the Fox crew don’t themselves live!) nor do I agree that personal comfort and convenience, for able bodied persons like me at least, are some kind of inalienable rights. One wonders how some folks imagine our ancestors survived at all without refrigeration, air conditioning or plastic water bottles. The last two of which, I hasten to add, I do NOT use.

    I will have to disagree about baby steps. I have been accused more than once of being too easily impressed and I suppose the criticism is true. I do believe that even small efforts towards virtue or right conduct ought to be acknowledged and complimented, though not extravagantly, and I have always rather resented the kind of person for whom any effort at all is never enough perhaps because one of my parents was such a person. If my neighbor plants some flowers from Walmart in their yard, I am not going to rant about shopping at Walmart, even though I can’t personally stand the company or its’ stores. I might take them some plants I started from seed, if I have any, and I might share extra seeds.

  218. Magic basically isn’t the engine of the car, it’s the turbo? You need a good strong engine no matter what, it’s just if you can add an extra 15 pounds of boost, you can make the engine do quite a bit more than what you would normally expect it to do? Same token if you try to boost a weak engine, you’re likely not to get much power at all but rather a thrown rod. I wonder if that’s what really doomed Hillary, they really tried to get her to rev but she’s so rotten to the core, so fake and insincere that she ended up throwing a rod out the side.

    That would make /pol/ one of the turbos. Turbocharged engines can make power but they need more maintenance and can burn out quicker if neglected. I wonder if the maintenance has been done.

    As far as an “educated loser” goes, Mike Enoch of The Daily Shoah comes to mind. And here’s some lingo for you, he was once as he liked to put it – a “bugman” – until he got fired and blackballed from his programming job. And guess what he is now? A far right full time activist. Very smart guy and very very dangerous depending on your perspective and allegiances, I guess. But he was created, and if he was left alone, he probably would still be a harmless “bugman” in the city. He’s not the only one out there either. They have turned many many more people like him from the bugmen they once were into – something else. Something more active, aggressive.

  219. NemoNascitur, was India a fascist society when those children died? If not, your point is irrelevant. Please look up (a) how many people were killed by the Nazi government in Germany, (b) how many people were killed by the Communist government in the Soviet Union, and (c) how many people were killed by the Communist government in China. If you want to be really complete, add in the killings by other fascist regimes (e.g., Italy) on the one side, and all the killings by other Marxist regimes (e.g., Cambodia) on the other. You’ll find that the Marxist total is rather more than an order of magnitude larger than the fascist total — and of course that’s what I was talking about, you know.

    KMB, not at all. It implies that you get what you pray for. If you pray for a god of peace and love to show up in answer to your prayers, you’ll very likely get that, and if you pray for a god of vengeance and harsh moral judgment to show up in answer to your prayers, you’ll very likely get that, too — and what name you assign to that god may not have that much to do with what shows up.

    Antony, of course it contradicts the way that scientists like to think that science works. If you have the chance, you might want to read James McClenon’s Deviant Science; The Case of Parapsychology, which applies the theory of social deviance to the scientific community, and documents some very interesting examples of the way that the goalposts have been moved.

    Spear, geometry — like mathematics and logic — is a way of understanding the structure of our own minds. As Kant pointed out a long time ago, space is an a priori category of the human mind, not something that exists outside us; geometry is the study of the abstract properties of space, so it’s a mirror in which we can contemplate the way we think. There are, after all, no straight lines and no perfect circles in the real world…

    Nastarana, I’m not sure why you’re fussing about Fox News, which I don’t watch — to my mind it’s just another one of the mainstream media, and as dishonest as the rest. I’m also trying to figure out why you dragged in the business about somebody’s ancestor — perhaps you’d like to explain. I’m simply saying that the whole straw business is virtue signaling (as you’ve already agreed) and that it serves to distract attention from the real work — “don’t blame me for the state of the oceans, I gave up plastic straws!” I’m glad to hear that the Santa Barbara law exempts the disabled; as far as I can tell, comparable laws elsewhere — notably the one in Seattle — does not do so.

    Owen, I’m not sure the car metaphor works. Rather, I’d say it’s like modern warfare; you’ve got to have command of the air, and you’ve also got to have command of the battlefield right down there on the ground. If you don’t have the former you probably can’t get the latter, and if you don’t have the latter the former won’t do you that much good. As far as educated losers, yes, exactly.

    Jorma, thank you.

  220. >you’ve got to have command of the air, and you’ve also got to have command of the battlefield right down there on the ground

    So it’s like the guy on the radio talking to entities in the air, asking in very specific ways for very specific things?

  221. Another comment about racism. In a recent Facebook exchange I read an article in The Nation–“Economic Anxiety Didn’t Make People Vote Trump, Racism Did” The authors explained a little of their methodology, which included surveys with questions on various economic and racial issues. They had three measures concerning race. One they called “racial resentment” roughly defined as believing Blacks could do better if they tried harder. I privately labeled this the “Quit whining” position. The second was “black influence animosity” the belief that the US government favored Blacks or that Blacks have too much influence on the government. For the third I will let the authors speak, “We created a _stereotyping scale_ which measures views like believing people of color are more violent or lazier than whites, but it was not included in our final models because it did not predict voting behavior.” (emphasis added)

    Wait, what? They admitted that they measured the main way in which most people would define racism–thinking that people of another race have negative qualities–but discarded the results because, my interpretation, it didn’t prove what it they wanted it to prove. So, thinking that enough has been done to help blacks and/or thinking that they have too much influence on the government are racist, but actually thinking that they are dangerously inferior people is not worth counting? Can’t they see the overlap between the two things they chose to measure and economic anxiety? Or do they think their readers are too willing to believe that racism elected Trump to even question the study?

    On government regulation. Someone far up the thread mentioned that the EPA has a greater effect on small companies than on large polluters. The same is true of OSHA. My ex was in construction for years as a surveyor, operating engineer (driving the bulldozers and other big equipment), an estimator and site supervisor. As a union member he certainly supported worker safety. But he had several tales of small companies given crippling fines for minor infractions of the OSHA regulations while big companies skated. In California there was a case in which two men died and one nearly succumbed to oil fumes when entering an empty tank for cleaning. The oil company was fined an amount they could have paid out of petty cash–a few thousand dollars. Bob knew of a case in which a small grading company was digging two ditches that intersected. It is difficult to shore such a project. They were heavily fined for the ditches being inches deeper than allowed without shoring. No one one was injured in any way, let alone killed.

    The county I live in has banned the lightweight disposable plastic bags that flutter across the landscape. You either bring your own bag, or purchase a durable fabric or plasticized cloth bag displayed at the check out or you are charged $.10 for a heavier plastic bag or paper bag that is allowed. Or you carefully balance the candy bar on top of two cartons of yogurt and carton of eggs and carry them out. The rule mainly applies to grocery stores and pharmacies, not to other retail.

    It is possible to purchase metal straws, some with a bendable silicone top and a brush to keep them clean. I also bought a two-ended eating utensil, fork on one end, spoon on the other that fits neatly in my purse. If I were a clean freak I could sew a little pouch, but it is kept away from the money, so I don’t worry much. I got the straws at a natural foods co-op and the utensil at the sporting goods co-op in the camping section.

    Re. incels–I think it was John Stuart Mills in his “The Subjection of Women” who commented to the effect that there was scarcely a man so low in society that he could not acquire some woman to be subject to him. That was true when there were few jobs open to women, women could not control their own wages or property and divorce was virtually impossible. Obviously the changes in the law in Western culture have made it possible for women to not only live, but raise a child without a man. So, the brutes and losers that Mills observed have a harder time finding and keeping a partner. Now the economic situation that has turned many young men of reasonable character and ability into basement gnomes is not completely new–economic recessions have always been marked by a decline in the marriage rate and in the birthrate–but the expectation that everybody should be able to enjoy all of the sexual contact of whatever kind they desire (except with children or animals) is new. Most earlier culture reinforced the idea that sensible women held out for a man who would be able to support them and any children. I am constantly alarmed by the number of comments I see on peak oil and other blogs that assume the future holds a return to the good old days of strict gender roles.

  222. @justin-
    sir, you are both correct and incorrect. the precise phrase “sexual redistribution” originated with robin hanson. of course the push back was loud and immediate. jordan peterson, ross douthat and others came to hanson’s defense; insisting that all the phrase really meant was “enforced monogamy”, suggesting that more men would
    have access to mates if women were, in some unspecified fashion, limited to one sexual/matrimonial partner. Hanson is a provocateur, choosing to make his point in the most confrontational way. peterson and douthat tried to make the same point in a way that would be more palatable. they failed.

  223. Hello Mr. Greer,

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) As a teacher, I feel that I am part of the semi-flunkeyhood. Being a teacher is one of the “consolation prizes” for not attempting (or failing to succeed) to be part of the managerial class. In a sense, we’re still part of the managerial class in that we determine who gets to move on college and have a shot at being part of the managerial class. Do you have any thoughts about the role of teachers in all this?

    2) I had a lot of free time this month (one of the perks of being a teacher) and somehow ended up re-reading “The Next 100 Years” by George Friedman. It’s only been a decade but he’s already been off on a few things. (For example, China and Russia…) One thing I still found thought-provoking was his prediction that dropping fertility rates were going to have a major impact on politics. I checked fertility rates for both the US (1.84) and Mexico (2.21) and they’re indeed low and will likely continue to drop. Friedman said that (if I recall correctly) there would first be a move to limit immigration early in the 21st century, but that due to the diminution of the size of the workforce, there would be selective immigration soon afterwards, especially in fields that involve caring for the elderly and technology for coping with the diminished size of labor. This strikes me as likely. What do you think?

    Thank you! You run a fascinating blog.

  224. JMG, thanks so much for raising the level of class consciousness! Ever since you’ve started to discuss the topic, I now see everything through the prism of class–it adds so much to the awareness. Even on here, when I don’t see eye to eye w/someone, I often find there is a class division between my and the other person…

  225. Another thing, JMG, that I just recently found out myself via straight connections in the community–a lot of Mistresses began in submissive roles of various sorts before they found out they liked the other side of things better–so there is fluidity there…

  226. I’ve been reading your blogs for a few years now and this is the only blog I read that deals in the subject of magic. Until recently I’ve tended to skip over discussion of majic, but clearly I’d be missing a great deal if I continue to do that. I’m followiing the CosDoc series of posts, so I’m paying a wee bit of attention to magic. I admit I’m still primarily in the frame of miind that equates majic with pulling rabbits from hats and sawing women in half. With that said, here’s’ my question –

    Is the type of magic you’re talking about in this essay fairly described as the techniques of persuasion?

  227. JMG, wasn’t Christianity at its beginning a fringe movement, at odds with mainstream values? Maybe a new religion is forming right now, under your nose…

  228. JMG-

    A very, very interesting series of articles. Somewhat disconcerting and just a little spooky. I look forward to the rest. I do have a question involving dogs and fleas, but will wait for the other two and let it roll about in my mind a bit.

    You are spot on about the elites wanting to pit racial and ethnic working classes against each other. They have been doing this for decades. This is why I none too happy with establishment Dems and have no use for either the GOP or the alt-right.

    As far as the incels, there is a lot more going on there than just economics. Take bad job prospects, poor social skills, no experience handling rejection, mix that with loneliness (which is a soul killer) and toxic forums and you have major problems, as we saw in Toronto.

    @Justin

    For instance, when Ocasio Cortez talks about “Social and economic justice”, what she means is “tax primarily white people and use it to fund programs that mostly benefit her >90% Hispanic constituency” – at least that’s how I hear it.

    Where did you get the 90% figure. Per the 2010 census the 14th is 46% Hispanic She won because she worked her tail off and the voters liked her platform. And she doesn’t wanna tax white people, she wants to tax the 1% rhetorically (the top 20% practically) which is whys Pelosi is none too pleased with the primary results.

  229. @John Roth Thanks. I thought you might enjoy this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBTUVg91bao&list=PLNxhIPHaOTRZd4guSEvA_BsHWlln_9dn_ and this article: https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-octonion-math-that-could-underpin-physics-20180720/

    If nothing else, I think I am in unrequited love. ;-> (which you’ll get once you see the physicist’s face). Maybe John can mix up a love potion for me or something.

    Anyway, I wanted desperately to share this information on octonions and their quite likely missing-link role in fundamental physics with someone and so there you go. I hope you are as intrigued as I am. I mean really: it seems too unlikely that octonions don’t have a central role in physics when you consider their special position in the number systems which underlie all modern physics.

    Also thanks for the reminder on Buddhism. Still, this was a pretty big gathering at a Tibetan monastery; I actually got to see the Dalai Lama and listen to him advocating mindfulness for world peace. I really thought the advanced practitioners, at least, would be slightly better exemplars of tolerance and *considerably* more mindful of how polarized the US was…and why.

  230. JMG: Concerning your comment that: “I’m glad to hear that the Santa Barbara law exempts the disabled; as far as I can tell, comparable laws elsewhere — notably the one in Seattle — does not do so.”

    That is not the case—Seattle does have a waiver for plastic drinking straws for the disabled.
    From their “Temporary Exceptions to Food – Service Ware and Packaging Products “:
    Waivers are provided for:
    “• Disposable flexible plastic drinking straws when needed by customers due to medical or physical conditions and for whom flexible compostable paper straws are unsuitable.”

    Perhaps this plastic straw business may not be the straw that breaks civilization’s back.

  231. Dear Mr. Greer, I don’t watch Faux News either, nor any of its’ rivals, don’t own a TV and don’t care to pay for cable. If anyone is interested, here is the Faux take on the straws

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/07/27/santa-barbara-backpedals-on-jail-time-for-plastic-straw-offenders.html

    which strikes me as pretty typical RW crybaby whining about the mean lefties want to take our toys away. Since when has Faux cared about homeless persons? If it is true that the left likes to indulge in useless virtue signaling, which it does, I would say that it is equally true that the right is addicted to comfort and convenience no matter what the cost to themselves or anyone else and seems to think that civilization consists of air conditioning, personal transportation devices, microwaves, etc. etc. It does look to me after a google search, with all that implies, that most of the brou ha ha about straws is coming from the kind of RW types who think that uninhibited consumerism is a pinnacle of human achievement.

    I think you might be mistaken about upscale lefties not being willing to pay double for, let us call it, plastic free seafood. The same folks do cheerfully pay a premium price for grass-fed meats, cage free eggs, certified organic vegetables, PABA free canned goods, and so on, not to mention dolphin friendly tuna.

    Dear Jay Moses, Do I understand you to say that Hanson and the other worthies you named think women but not men ought to be limited to only one partner? Here I was thinking that the traditional view is that marriage is a lifetime commitment for both partners.

    Dear Ray, Friedman is brilliant and thought provoking but he does have his own agenda and needs to be read with a bit of healthy skepticism, IMO.

  232. @nastrana
    you are, of course, correct about the nature of marriage as a lifetime partnership. hanson and others claim that some (many? most?) women seek hypergamy–marriage to a high status man–leaving low status men to lives of sexual frustration while the high status males enjoy the attentions of multiple women. they apparently see forced monogamy as the answer, compelling women to cease their pursuit of high status males and settling for mates of lower status. as comedian jon lovitz advised women in a painfully funny saturday night live skit years ago: “lower your expectations”.

  233. @Owen – Mike Enoch and his ilk are not the danger, IMHO. They are too focused on hearing themselves bleat on, and too fringe in numbers to move the dial. I am more concerned about the unwashed masses of potential useful idiots, people who have become dangerous due to becoming more poor and desperate, and who can vote in mass numbers and move the meter. That’s why it’s my opinion that television is the biggest game in town, and that the elites will continue to control television and other media with larger audiences, and thereby control the waves of useful idiots that are influenced by that process.

    However, I hope I am wrong about that, and history does provide some examples of a very small percentage of the people doing the heavy lifting for new political movements. Maybe there’s hope, but right now the glass is half empty.

  234. Precariat- I had the same questions about the five Asian countries named as producing 60 percent of the plastic ocean trash, so I did some quick Googling of populations and back of the envelope math. Here you go: populations (2016, World Bank): China 1.397 billion, Indonesia 261.1 million, Phillipines 193.3 million, Vietnam 92.7 million, Thailand 68.8 million, sum of the five= 1.8329 billion. World Population (2016) was 7.466 billion, giving us 24.6ish % of the world’s population in the five countries named. So if the 60% ocean trash figure is correct and I haven’t misplaced a decimal somewhere or something, the five countries listed are producing an outsize proportion of plastic ocean trash.
    So, some things I’m wondering: what proportion of that 60 percent figure might come from “recycling” that other nations sent those countries? Also, what’s the effect of having the population clustered so densely along the coast? If we could measure how much of a coastal dweller’s trash ends up in the ocean and adjust for population density, I wonder what, say, the U.S.’s trash contribution would look like? I’m getting more concerned by and interested in this issue, and plan to do some more digging. I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up.
    –Heather in CA

  235. What Dot said. I see that the idea races are not real is a meme that was taught in college at some time back. I also see that perhaps those who have been taught to shun it have also been taught that the word ‘race’ means more than it does, and therefore gives them a bad feeling. Obviously, unless you can’t believe your lying eyes, race is real. It is also true that genetics are very complex and diverse, and they say that there is more genetic differences within Africa than across racial lines. This could very well be so. It is also true that we are one species with other lines of overlap and divergence than the obvious racial ones.
    I had not thought of how this insistence might be irritating to some people enough to raise resistance instead of trust but it does irritate me a bit cuz it ain’t common sense.

  236. @gnat

    You might want to look up some of the public talks given by Dzongsar Khyentse. He is someone who doesn’t pull any punches when he calls out his ‘liberal’ students and their hypocrisy, and is quite happy to do it publically. The fact that they then completely miss the point, interpreting his admonishment as some sort of figurative test rather than the plainly intended literal meaning is very unfortunate.

    I can personally attest that there are other genuine teachers out there who shoot very straight and don’t tolerate excrament from their students. But for obvious reasons they tend to be hidden yogis, and after all, genuine vajrayana is and always has been very much a (self)secret lineage.

  237. @precariat The answer to why so much of those countries have plastic trash in the ocean is that they just don’t put it in landfills like we do in the US. I lived and traveled overseas and the trash collection was a couple of guys in a pick-up truck. People just tossed things aside or burned it.

    It could be also that we as Americans tend to demand our government do things for the betterment of all society, and that dynamic doesn’t exist in many other countries. Our legal system also has the ability to punish offenders even at the corporate level and that is something most other countries also lack.

  238. @Gnat “So do you think the elites were figuring people who are smart enough to qualify for admission to an elite school needed to either be made servants or be broken/marginalized?”

    thank you for sharing this – Wow – just realized that one way people could be broken is to be told that the color of their skin and their upbringing, their “whiteness”, was toxic and poisoning the culture. To group people and label them with traits as a group is bigotry and it is taught as social science.

    So these students graduate and are made impotent when it comes to succeeding because they have been trained to put other people ahead of themselves, and not strive to reach the elites positions.

    Holy mind games.

  239. Hi John Michael,

    I realise that your essay is about the ‘loser’ class, but I was wondering why the Alt-Right haven’t sought to engage with the working class in a meaningful sense? There is the smell of ‘managerial class’ in their thinking. Just curious.

    Anyway, been there, done that, and got the t-shirt! 😉 One of the things that struck me as being pointless about ‘the game’ as you described it, is that to my mind it has no end point. And well, I’ve been around the block in ways that you would well understand, and so I rose up through the ranks. I basically made it to a point that I was happy with, as it gave me access to resources, and then I went off and did something else productive with my life. What is going on now in society appears to be unproductive to my mind.

    We’ve spoken about this before, but it is very foolish to assume that you can be onto and aware of everything, and I do rather hope that those chaos mages take your rather unsubtle hint. They could do something useful with their energy. But I suspect that you are right, because so many people are acting in interests that run contrary to their own, that clearly something is swaying, subverting, and possessing them. It makes an awful lot of sense.

    Basically, I just try not to give offense to the elder ones. It seems like a good idea to me, but I do have to accept limits that most would find to be rather harsh. On the other hand, it is the easy road that is in fact the hard road and not many people realise that.

    Cheers

    Chris

  240. Re the Michelson-Morley experiment.
    Some years ago on a blog I was accused of being a vitalist who probably believed in the ether. So I looked it up and decided I was indeed a vitalist, and when I read about the MIchelson-Morley experiment, while I am not at all a scientist, my assessment was that they were looking for a much heavier ether than I think is the case. I don’t think that experiment was actually adequate. I’d say the true ether is out of range of our instruments.

  241. To John and KMB– Regarding your discussion of different gods among Chrisitans.

    KMB: “I have a hard time believing that the Jesus of the Quakers and the Jesus of the Southern Baptists are the same god… I can see that, but… hmmm, how to ask this… would that imply that they somehow ‘created’ two [or more] different gods?”
    John: It implies that you get what you pray for. If you pray for a god of peace and love to show up in answer to your prayers, you’ll very likely get that, and if you pray for a god of vengeance and harsh moral judgment to show up in answer to your prayers, you’ll very likely get that, too — and what name you assign to that god may not have that much to do with what shows up.

    This jogged my memory a bit, so I had to dig out my old bible (New International Version, popular among some evangelical branches of the church) and find 2 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 3 and 4. “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”

    Note verse 4 (some versions translate the word ‘different’ as ‘another’). This is Paul speaking to Corinthians about what’s called false Apostles, which, according to the commentary provided in my edition, are those who present Jesus from the view of Jewish teachings. I can’t speak for all church denominations, but when I was an evangelical, most ministers used this to teach against false doctrine–which usually had little to do with the Jewish religion any more, but referred to other denominations’ teachings, or those groups who might be considered on the “edge” of Christianity and therefor suspect, such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, New Age versions of Christ, etc. In fact, if you do a web search for “different Jesus” or “another Jesus” you’ll find some of these essays and debates. But they wouldn’t go so far as to say they are worshiping another god, as they believe in only one (which is why they fight so much over him!). At the most, some would say that if you are following a different Jesus (or spirit, or gospel) you are following Satan. And, Christians deny Satan is a god, though they often give him a lot of power! Of course, this doesn’t mean John is wrong; with so many denominational interpretations and variety of worship and rituals, it does seem that Christians may be worshiping different gods with the same name, they just don’t acknowledge it.

    Joy Marie

  242. A few people re: music and magic

    By coincidence my meditation a couple days ago was on this subject, and I happened to jot down some notes.

    Vibration, including sound, is an oscillation between two poles, or between a center and an extremity – male and female, on and off, yin and yang, Cosmos and Chaos. This seems to be the main power source in the universe, for reasons which I don’t think can be known to us.

    Each of our body’s energy centers which are mainly located along the spine oscillates or vibrates at a particular frequency or rate. Various musical scales can correspond to these energy centers – each note is a particular rate of vibration, expressed in hertz. Each energy center in our body also corresponds exactly to the cosmic expression of the various divine forces. The rate of vibration of each force or energy center corresponds to its particular divine name or number, as some occult texts discuss. They are in the universe and in us. That’s why we are called the Microcosm, or little universe (the big universe being the Macrocosm).

    What that implies for us is that these various divine forces, (Gods, or Sephiroth on the Tree of Life) are the source of rates of vibration or energies we could possibly develop in our consciousness. When we chant the divine names of power, or sing notes which are at the same rate of vibration as the various energy centers, we are effectively turning on or connecting to these divine forces. We become identical to them. We cause a change in consciousness, which is a useful way of describing what magic is.

    Normally our minds are mainly dominated by a force of a low rate of vibration, which causes inner disorganization. It seems like it is somehow stealing our energy away. All the so-called harmful, pathological emotions operate (mostly unconsciously, beyond our control) at this lower vibration: fear, self-doubt, shame, guilt. At this slower rate of vibration our energy is out of phase with the divine vibration, the music of the gods. The presence of these emotions in our consciousness cut us off from the possibility of having divine consciousness.

    But music, through chanting, singing and listening protects us from this low rate of vibration. It is one powerful way that we are able to sync up with the divine, faster rates of vibration. Many cultures have traditions of sacred chanting, music, drumming and dance meant to take advantage of this aspect of our nature. In many traditions each God or Goddess even has a particular rhythm and dance associated with them. So invoking the Gods through music is a way of establishing the divine rate of vibration in our consciousness. This brings the various pathological vibrations to conscious awareness where they can then be understood, dispelled or driven away, and replaced with the divine rates of vibration. That is one of the loftier goals of magic, I think.

    JMG mentioned that music is an extremely powerful tool in magic. I wonder if some caution is in order here – because of its power could it be dangerous, as in causing unintentional connections to the divine forces for someone who is not properly psychologically prepared?

  243. Hi JMG,

    As I don’t hang out in the chans etc it’s hard for me to really tell what’s Alt-Right proper vs youtube right (which is how I mostly engage with this stuff – via comments and videos), but it does seem to me that the success of Jordan Peterson (etc) is partially being driven by political provocation. Not because what he is saying is so provocative or right wing, but it seems like most people encounter him first through short clips that are titled in ways that make him sound far more of offensive and combative than he is (“Jordan Peterson DESTROYS Feminist SJW”). I think this is done partially to bait the Cntrl-Left in the same way that the “It’s OK to be white” posters do.

    Peterson makes a great target because the vast majority of what he says is not that political or polemic at all really, most of it is self help stuff which the occasional conservative read on psychological studies, (compared to somebody like Anne Coulter), and he does his best to be calm and articulate when confronted. So when people get whipped into a frenzy about him there’s this great disconnect between what they are mad about and the actual nature of the arguments. Many of my friends on the left fall into this category and discuss him with vitrol that is quite impressive.

    To anybody neutral who approaches this they come away often with a sense that there is something quite wrong within the thinking on parts of the left right now and so the left loses ground. I think that is a success for the Alt-Right, but it seems to be pulling their success to the centre. The figures who were making more waves a few years ago during Trump’s campaign and first few months in office seem to have receded and now you are seeing more centre left types (like Jonathan Haidt or Brett Weinstein) being used in this same way.

    My feeling is that your optimism about the possibility of an Esc-Centre is well founded.

    Since I’m bogging your comments down with more Peterson stuff, another interesting aspect of this which I think mirrors what you’ve described in your experience with blogging (and one I think you might not be aware of due to your aversion to youtube), is that he (and others mining this area right now) do everything in really long form videos. It’s typical for one of his videos to be 2 – 3 hours long either in the form of lectures or long form conversations. This is not the standard notion of how to use this media successfully and the comments show that people are able to hold complex and nuanced arguments in their heads and generally I think this points to a future with less heated polarization. At least that is my hope. I don’t think he’s the guy with all the answers, but his success as a feature of the current landscape I believe he is an encouraging sign.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  244. @JMG You really think the political center can be fixed in place without needing to pull it out and rebuild it? How? Even the modest reforms Trump has managed to push through have been met with ferocious resistance from the status quo. What I see they’d rather it all burn than compromise even a little bit.

    The Democrats are turning into far left loonies before our eyes and the Republicans can’t seem to get out of the own way to do anything at all. That is, when they’re not colluding together to get key policies passed, that is.

  245. Only at the opening lines and already enjoying myself way too much.

    Previously, on Kek Wars…

    “Sir! If the Proletariat and the Plebes join forces, it’ll spell the end for the Cathedral and our bi-partisan consensus!”
    “Release the Cheeze Doodles…”

    ***

    “Managerial aristocracy. What an absurd notion, and yet entirely necessary, wouldn’t you agree, Jarvis?”
    “Keep up, old sport, or my bloodhounds will catch our working class ‘rabbit’ before yours do, wot!”

    ***

    “Detective. Look here. The memes. The Lulz scattered throughout the ransom note. This could only be the work of one group. The organization of internet trolls known as… the Chans!”
    “Son of a bi-”

    Anyways, in regards to ether/chi/qi/like… the breath of the Universe, man/prana/chakra/whatever the case may be, I once heard a colleague describe the concept in Westernized terms as something along the lines of “physiological bio-feedback”. It sounded like gibberish to me, but he was a certified self-defense trainer who practiced tai chi so what do I know? It sounds cooler than four-dimensional spacetime at any rate.
    I continue to love your work, JMG. Keep on keeping on!

  246. ” a big beef I have lately with your class is the obliviousness, the obtuseness, the naivete with which you lap up whatever pablum your thought leaders dish out.”

    How does this conceivably fit the criteria of a ‘courteous…comment’ or ‘polite discourse’? This is pretty clearly abusive.

  247. I spotted some familiar names in the post and in the comments.

    I read Mencius Moldbug years ago. Having never been a progressive, a democrat (in the sense of uncritical support for representative democracy – I’ll grant you that it’s worth supporting as the least bad form of government for a given time and place, though) or even an American, some of his appeal may have been lost on me. Still, he certainly seemed very original (and readable, if sometimes obnoxious). What impressed me at the time was that he avoided any conspiracy theories in laying out his non-conspiracy theory of what went wrong. I do not think it was a particularly exhaustive explanation, and all the solutions he presented seemed like fairly abstract utopian projects (then again, I recall that he acknowledged as much). But his critique is useful for those who aren’t hopelessly allergic to the far right. On the subject of the Cathedral, I must confess a suspicion that he used that term to play on people’s hostility for a certain highly centralised religion known to build cathedrals – even as he described a religion with a completely different structure, notable for its lack of an apparent centre. But it is a useful concept in any case, and the term appears to have stuck.

    I also read Scott Adams, back when he made blog posts instead of videos, and he was the one who drew my interest to Donald Trump and to the 2016 election in the first place. I might not have cared about it that much otherwise if not for accidentally stumbling upon some of his posts. Since I actually found the Archdruid Report while reading about that election and people’s reactions to its results (scientifically fascinating – especially from a safe distance), you could say that he is responsible for me being here in the first place, in which case I owe him a debt of gratitude. Magic or at least political, weaponised magic as you describe it here definitely seems to have some overlap with what he calls persuasion (indeed, Adams called Trump a “Master Wizard” before switching to “Master Persuader”). Though this overlap might mostly amount to the shared theme of someone or something working actively and through generally unacknowledged means to produce some of the very strange mental effects that I and many others have observed in 2016 and afterwards.

  248. Owen, that’s one thing you can do. You can also ask for reconnaissance, get updates on the situation in different parts of the ground, and work out joint plans that involve independent action on both sides, and more.

    Rita, yep. It’s called P-hacking — you run a whole series of analyses, and then only include those that support your thesis in your final paper. It’s one of the most common ways of doing junk science these days.

  249. Oh yes, and while I am here I may as well throw the Russian Empire’s hat in the ring as a fairly successful multicultural society. By 1914 it ruled peoples from Poles to the Chukchi, and while some of its ethnicities were relatively isolated, quite a few of its cities had Jews, different Muslim nations, Slavs from different “Russias” and European immigrants coexisting in relative peace and harmony. Of course, this harmony broke down in some places in a rather gruesome way in the late 19th century, but up until then, it seemed to work well enough. Of course, the Russian elite is an even more striking example, having successfully absorbed Tartar, Lithuanian and Baltic German nobles, among others. Multiculturalism may be a larger challenge for democracies than autocracies, but to be honest, some of the democracies have weathered it well enough as well up until recently.

    Rita Rippetoe, I think the model you are describing is that of the Ottoman Empire. I hear tell some parts of it (the model, not the empire) survive in Israel and Lebanon even now, with the religious leaders of different communities being granted authority (including court authority) over religious issues in those communities, so long as they do not violate basic rights and the peace of the state. The approach clashes badly with Enlightenment-era expectations of regular, standardised government with equal rights for all. It may work better for those countries than any likely alternative, though.

  250. HAPPY 34TH ANNIVERSARY TO YOU AND MRS GREER! i wasn’t gonna say anything but the more i thought about it, the more i owe you The Truth:

    James (“thor” or “thorbikes” when he posts on here) and i started reading you on your Archdruid site and James would get your books on the trajectory of the future, and we’ve listened and LOVE when we can find podcasts of you because you’re just so endearing and fun to listen to. there’s so much more joy and levity in your voice that i don’t know if it’s apparent here.

    HOWEVER, when you were shutting down the archdruid site and were going to be committing to posting MORE online, i said to James, “that’s it… i can’t watch the internet take down and suck the blood of another artist or thinker. i refuse to watch it happen. you go ahead and continue to read him and can report back and we can talk, but i’m gonna stay online only to check the front page of the times to make sure we’re still here– i won’t click on a thing– but then i’ll read wolfstreet to understand MONEY that runs everything to the nub and i can understand this MAGIC, the twisting of words and thinking on the books and avoid as much emotion as i can.”

    so i got sucked back in when James said, “you just HAVE to read this week’s post and NOW” because i’ve been recently relieved as i FEEL the worm turning finally and humanity’s NOT gonna take this bending over and thinking of england (that was my despair about what the internet/thinking has done to san francisco before our very eyes and it just seemed to… happen….and be okay).

    i was worried that the internet had finally accomplished complete domination sublimation in a godless society. and i use the lowercase g on purpose even though i’ve pulled the zip tie and write in lowercase when i’m naked… but i write all this so you know i know there is a more deep and beautiful magic in your marriage than you show and i’m glad i see it. this is why i don’t care a hoot for extraterristrial aliens because i see miracles right here in plain site:

    I NOW KNOW THAT YOU CAN SCALE RIDE AND BE SAFE IN THIS ONLINE PLACE BECAUSE OF YOUR WIFE BECAUSE AS WE SEE FEW CAN HANDLE THE MESMERIZATION OF THIS MEDIUM. MYSELF INCLUDED. I HAVE TO PSYCH UP TO GO BACK IN TO WRITE EVEN EMAILS. IT SUCKS ME IN AND AWAY FROM TIME AND THE HERE AND NOW.

    you are solid because of your Sara Greer and i thank you because James has been my co-creator and i love the combination of being parts of many beings, past human archetypal poetic spiritual ancestral…whatever… the MYSTERY is beautiful / i don’t HAVE to know

    but you and your WIFE… WOW… 34 years.

    this is why i think some of us are still here. us weirdos who didn’t have children. i see many such people as yourselves have held onto themselves and now can turn a patient teaching love out in a bigger way. aspirate or focus it in a big way.

    for you, see… Miss Denys… if you are reading this or any of you who’ve wished for teachers… you’ve had one here all along! part of missing the magic is not seeing it when it is in front of you. if you’ve read this or JMG’s work or listened, he teaches in how he is in the world he invites us into. he’s alpha and owns his world, as does his WIFE. they are strong…

    and this to the person who was talking about confused feminist wiccans and whatnot… women are all kindsa confused because as i’ve seen and know: ALL STRONG WOMEN CRAVE BEING ON HER KNEES TO A STRONG TRULY STRONG MAN.

    surrender isn’t about someone jamming your face in the dirt. no… it’s about 34 years of THIS… it’s beautiful. thank you. i SEE it. you let each other be who you are and as James said to me once, “thus begins the REAL mystery.”

    he has been my teacher in love and being more myself.

    this is also the horrible joke of feminism pointing in the direction of “i want all the crap too” –as John Michael says, they just want what they have and will TAKE it.

    yes. i also hope we, HUMANITY, finally makes it past the divide and conquer stuff. we are told to be careerists to value ourselves as women. it all serves the system to keep us good androgynous workers and kill the extremes.

    i hope we get past the WORDS and can one day hear each other and i’m getting optimistic even though history laughs at me. but this is what artists and the poets and intellectuals also have to imagine… NEW WAYS. new ways of THINKING. growing pains in the old dying.

    34 years has BEEN a beautiful art project of LOVE. and she’s protecting you because i can’t believe you haven’t gone insane with power. everyone has an arc of life on here, on this medium.

    i dance because it connects me to the animal. the eyes. i can see and feel what’s underground. under the b.s. WORDS.

    so cool. i like how you keep each other sane and in the game and able to safely use this medium. it’s a very dangerous, flattening place for humanity. it takes heroic acts of messy love to withstand it.

    and this, ladies and gentlemen, is the magic already before you. it takes paying attention and standing firm to your gods, whatever they may be, to strengthen any muscles for magic, to receive magic. it’s not a passive thing. heck, you practically have to die or get gang raped in an alley to have ANIMAL come raging back to you as a reminder you’re …ALIVE and more than a bag of guts here to make a few people rich.

    congratulations on 34 years. that’s solidity i can feel from HERE. romance is everywhere. shame on me for whining passively just the other day.

    (smile)

    x

  251. @ Violet and JMG

    Re Qabalah, etc.

    Thank you.

    @ JMG

    Re the nature of logic

    Yes. I recall, too, that one of the things I was told/reminded in my meditations was: “Tools, not truths.”

  252. @ Nastarana – Yes, I thought so, too. Friedman seems to know what he’s talking about, but he also seems to be a status quo cheerleader, as well.

    (Also, since there’s already a Ray on this blog, from hence forth I shall be called… Ray, The Second!)

  253. @Jay Moses

    Okay, sure – and I’m not even a big Peterson fan anymore, but I find the style of argumentation where you come up with the worst possible interpretation of something someone said, then insist that no, that’s what they really meant extremely tiresome and pointless.

  254. Regarding Mike Enoch of the Daily Shoah, well, he got blackballed from the tech industry because of his podcast – although my understanding is that that podcast used to be weekly and now comes out three times a week and that he now makes his living from premium content behind a paywall.

  255. In regards to the topic of racism: I have found it helpful to reexamine how some liberals (actually, progressives, they are a different creature, actually more socialist) use the words ‘racism’ and ‘white’.

    Racism is no longer someone who holds prejudices against another because of their skin color, and wishes the law and/or society to enforce this perceived difference in some way. The definition must now include the concept of power; since the history of European Western Civilization includes the subjugation of cultures of different backgrounds from Europe (and those countries, like the USA, whose power structure is based on those of European descendants), and the people of those countries have traditionally favored those of their own European background, therefor people of European background have power over the subjugated people. Now that’s a mouthful! You could argue that even among those descended from Europe, some were considered inferior to others; in America, this tended to be people from Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, and others from southern and eastern Europe. As they assimilated, they became ‘white’. As John has pointed out, those in political and/or cultural power used the idea of white vs. black to divide the working class; the intellectuals of today prefer the new meaning of racism to keep the lower classes away from their doors.

    White: Formally used to refer to people whose ethnic background was European. I struggled awhile with understanding how the intellectuals were using this term now days, until I realized they were not simply referring to where your parents and grandparents were from. White is now used to mean “Westerner/Capitalist/Conservative/Liberal*/Consumer/Exploiter/Oppressor/Fill-in-your-own-hated-category”. (* Remember that ‘Liberal’ is a dirty word, almost conservative-lite, to progressives and socialists.) You can find essays and discussions over whether Hispanics and Asians in America will one day be ‘white’. If you have read some of these and find it confusing, understand they are not talking about what a person looks like, but what they believe in and the systems they support, specifically adopting Western Culture. I wonder if a black person was conservative and supported capitalism and Western Civilization (Thomas Sowell? Clarence Thomas? Walter Williams?), would he be considered white? These white intellectuals, if they despise Western Culture, are they black?

    Up is down, left is right, let’s get everyone confused and push through our agenda!

    Joy Marie (formally described herself as liberal, but now I don’t know what I am!)

  256. Wow, this has been the most I’ve ever commented on your blog, John. Hurrah for vacation days!

    Some of you may be familiar with Steve Turley. He has written books and produced videos on You Tube supporting a return to a more conservative and traditionalist society. He writes from a conservative Christian point of view. His new book “The Triumph of Tradition: How the Resurgence of Religion is Reawakening a Conservative World” is available as a free download for a limited time. While I’m not a Christian, I’m going to read it, as I’m sure he will have insight into the changes that are sweeping through many nations. (Plus, I can’t pass up a free download!) I thought I’d provide the link, in case anyone else is interested. I don’t know how long he will keep the download available.

    https://www.turleytalks.com/the-triumph-of-tradition

    Joy Marie

  257. Denys at 6:42 am

    Yes, a lot of this stuff is a real mind frack, and goes way beyond keeping our eye on continuous improvement in race relations. As I mentioned a couple weeks back, my hippie friends had a situation in which they had some land to more or less give away and decided to give it to a couple of trannie kids who wanted to live in community. They were nice kids and struggled to homestead for about 2 years, when they invited a couple of toxic snakes who happened to be people of color. The trans community, being pretty far left, are deeply infected with racial teachings from college which justify almost any amount of animosity toward whites – even those ones who were ostensibly in their own small and persecuted community of trans people. They guilt loaded the two originals, who happened to be white, into saying that they would leave if need be, in order to give it over to people of color. In the end, that is exactly what happened. And yet those who caused them to leave were not serious about homesteading, they were just playing political games. They have already left. The whites were told they could stay if they submitted to people of color and wee never to lead or give direction to any peole of color (who had no idea what they were doing and who just got there).

  258. In reply to Jay Moses:
    I think it is a claim easily disputed by one quick glance at reality that the majority of women seek “hypergamy.” I come from a small village in a rural area in the Midwest and I see friends from all social classes, from gaming nerds to drug people to successful people, all getting married and shacking up and having children. The status level of the males involved seems to vary from disability-class, to blue-collar, to white-collar, on up. In other words, I see females displaying behaviour, en masse, which definitely goes against this hypergamy theory. I highly doubt that the wife of a friend on disability is throwing pebbles at the window of a higher status male in the middle of the night trying to arrange a sexual liason. If lower class men didn’t breed, there wouldn’t even be a lower class to begin with. Quite the contrary, it seems like guys in the lower classes might be bouncing pelvises more often than guys who are “high status.”

    I think this theory that humans are a tournament species, whereby only high status males breed is probably cooked up by guys who have enormous blindspots that can filter out huge amounts of real life data.

    On the other hand, if a guy subjectively *feels* like a loser, there might be some reality that women will stay away from him and treat him as such.

    I doubt the large coalition of most women, plus all guys who still give themselves a decent chance of having a mate, plus all the guys who already have a decent long term relationship, will ever again be in favour of “enforced monogamy.” Plus, that raises the question of who is going to do the enforcing, and under what terms. The genie is already out of the bottle and the jury is in. People like having free choice. Even in countries with arranged marriages as the norm, nowadays there is at least the option to strike out on one’s own.

  259. OK, only one more comment…I promise. 🙂

    Here’s a question for you: why are the progressives seemingly for globalization? I remember the term in the 90’s being used in a corporate sense, and lefties were against it. (Remember the Seattle riots during the WTO meetings?) I’ve considered that the left might want the corporate globalism in place, so that they (in their dreams?) might take it over and have an internationalist global control already in place to adapt to their system. I don’t think this would work (nationalist governments have enough trouble running their countries, what makes them think a world governing system would work any better?), though that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try it. It’s so strange that while progressives seem to support and love (or at least talk about supporting) local food, local ease of living (walkable cities, for example), local business, etc., some have even talked of local currencies, yet they seem to have a hatred for local governance! Maybe because appealing to the Federal Government for help and guidance can be transferred to a world government? I hope I’m not dipping into conspiracy waters; I’m leery of some of the theories swimming around out there. (Cue the Jaws theme music…)

    Once again,
    Joy Marie

  260. Mmkay, I’m gettin’ tired of all the Jordan Peterson worship up in hyahn. This ain’t the Jordan Peterson Report dot blogspot dot com up in hyahn! This is Ecosophia up in hyanh! This is where we discuss the Druid mindframe through many different real life based prisms in ways so subtle you might not know it was the Druid mindframe. Back many years ago there was a jabroni named Guy MacPherson, some of you may remember him because he had many ideological acolytes who would spout his theories endlessly at top volume on these comment pages. Time after time, JMG laid the smackdown on these Foot Clan ninjas, until they went down into the sewers from whence they came. The point of this little exposition, is that in the field of futurology, there are many different theorists, many different practitioners and false Christs, many different fly-by-night promoters of the latest fad, but JMG stands tall after all these years, while other geniuses fall by the wayside. In seven years it may be fashionable to get a vasectomy, take AIDs pills, and make love in public, and Professor J. Peterson might be out of a job! But I guarantee you that one blessed with the righteousness, one irradiated by the beams of the gods, JMG, will be standing taller than ever on this internet medium.

  261. So I’m reading this thread, and I’m reading the Cos. Doc. series, and my aunt, very liberal, sends me Jordan Petersen’s book. Says it’s really good – which to anyone who has seen how the left received him, should understand my surprise. And my further surprise when I find that so far, it is good – really good. As E. Goldstein above links to his videos that explorer very similar themes to here. However.

    Petersen’s solutions to the problems we agree we see are dangerous (and sloppily reasoned given his own familiarity with anthropological literature… He should know). He reminds me of Marx in that respect; great critique, but solution *sad trombone*.

    So thinking out loud….

    It’s hard, as a woman, who is personally well aware of how much harm these reject guys can cause, to stay, in the buddhist sense, with any sort of sympathy. The bulk of my need to respond to their threat is out of sheer terror and self preservation. But I can sympathize – I know what rejection is like, that it hurts to be outcast. In Fortune’s words, the less successful response of the mainstream religions had been to force overcoming that fear response to a threat, and greet these guys with love – turn them from their dark path with a glitterbomb. Listening to old stories might warn us of this: a sympathetic frog helping a scorpion across the river may find he is stung, because his fear of the scorpion was not misplaced. My fear is not misplaced, so I can’t afford the luxury of a disgust or rejection response that leaves them on the riverbank with me. Nor will love help them, without destroying us both – they won’t actually get anything out of this chaos in the long run either.

    How then should a frog, out of sympathy, and self preservation, then help the scorpions?

    In Fortune’s words, go around the evil, and hate the hate. So if the hate at the root here is social isolation, loss of place in the world, the frog should attack that, the agents of that (certainly not love it with deranged calls for further isolation) . Go upstream, and redirect the stream, build a dam, build a bridge, so the scorpion can go across itself after the water goes down (meanwhile getting away from that scorpion).

    I keep worrying, like other commenters have, about being accidentally an agent of Chaos, with the “best of intentions”. But neither do I want to reinforce the Ring Cosmos of the Cathedral… So how can I tell?? My best guess is… If I have one foot on the chaos, and another on the cathedral, the laws of geometry suggest the direction I’m pushing off to is at least tangential so might be better….

  262. Nastarana – When you said “I think you might be mistaken about upscale lefties not being willing to pay double for, let us call it, plastic free seafood. The same folks do cheerfully pay a premium price for grass-fed meats, cage free eggs, certified organic vegetables, PABA free canned goods, and so on, not to mention dolphin friendly tuna.” it just inspired me to write that, while I consider myself well to the right of center, I do all of those things.

    And I also seek out “made in USA” products, though they are usually substantially more expensive. It’s as if I impose tarrifs all by myself, which make foreign goods uncompetitive. As far as I can tell, buying a pair of “made in USA” shoes has a much greater impact on my world than voting in any national election ever has. Every purchase is tracked. Even if we pay cash anonymously, the producer made a sale, and “demand” was created for the next customer. I don’t have to “vote” with the majority of other consumers to make a difference. I don’t have to make a lot of noise to be persuasive. Money talks much more loudly in the marketplace than it does in politics.

  263. >That’s why it’s my opinion that television is the biggest game in town

    Even “normie” type e-celebs don’t want to move to TV anymore. TV is shrinking, internet is growing, according to Neistat and he’d rather post videos on the internet than work on TV again. He’s done both.

    Trump won because he bypassed that whole legacy media structure. He was the first politician to speak in internet to the internet, before then the most any of them had done was stick their hand out for money and then stay on TV.

  264. Archdruid,

    The limited intake capacity of economic sectors isn’t isn’t really recognized by most people, it’s existence is only recognized by those who have first hand experience and those who are observing the situation from the outside. That would explain why so many people outside the aristocracy are so freaked out by the current political situation. They still aspire to join the aristocracy, and still buy into the promise that there is a way in. These people are the aspirational aristocracy, they signal their loyalty by publicly signaling their virtue. They also act as the ground force, or the mobs, of the aristocracy, though they would never admit to such a thing. That explains why I’ve run into so many people who are part of my class that are suddenly supportive of the military-industrial complex or deep state.

    In that sense, most liberals aren’t really part of the aristocracy, they just aspire to join the aristocracy. It also explains why they’re so bloody violent. They are desperate to prove that they’re one of the good people before the draw bridge closes and the gates are locked.

    So in comes the hopping god of chaos, kek, who is summoned by a bunch of people who can’t conceive the consequences of their actions. Kek finds himself an avatar in Donald Trump, or at least an earthly representative, and proceeds to weave chaos in ever part of our once orderly society. Meanwhile the summoners now think that their power is wholly responsible for these events, and start to believe that nothing is beyond their reach. Kek, being a god of chaos, probably loves that belief because there are few things more fun than pulling the rug out from under someones feet. The summoners are in no way prepared to deal point where Kek inevitably turns on them…you know, for the lulz.

    What form will that turnabout take? Well, Kek’s actions have increased, and are increasing, the intake capacity of our political economy by creating new sub-sectors that need management. Where are the sub-sectors? Local government and non-governmental groups. Problem is that the summoners many not actually be the ones with the skills to manage these new sectors. In fact, because they were the losers in the competition for the management positions of the old order, most probably don’t have the necessary skills. Not to mention that being trapped online denies them the necessary skills to operate on the streets, where the mobs of the current aristocracy seem to dominate. So now we have potential, whirring about to start forming cosmos.

    Regards,

    Varun

  265. Hi John Michael,

    I read your comment: ” if you pray for a god of vengeance and harsh moral judgment to show up in answer to your prayers, you’ll very likely get that, too”.

    The thing is in such a circumstance, people may not realise that the harsh moral judgement can be turned upon them. I feel that most people tend to believe that they will be excluded from that request. I on the other hand tend to believe that things are otherwise and they will most certainly reap what they sow. Really deep down the people in question are seeking vengeance and control upon others, and that sort of looks to me to be what they’re getting. Of course that may also elicit reactions from others with their own agendas…

    Out of curiosity, would you consider handing the Alt-Right chaos mages rituals in their language with which to highlight the point that their hypersigils may have their own agendas which may not be in congruence with their goals?

    Cheers

    Chris

  266. @DavidbytheLake
    re chaos: Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem“ had the line “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. Chaos is everywhere; its only our human consciousness that imposes “order” on it. I believe its often the fear of madness or losing control that makes us hold so tightly to our self-imposed order. And of course, the tighter we hold on, the more we blind ourselves to the “cracks”.
    I’m speaking from personal experience. After suffering inner depression for years, but being a highly functional person on the outside, I finally found myself in a situation at age 55 where I could “let myself go” and dive deeply into the “well of grief” or through the crack. I truly feared I would never surface; I couldn’t even cook for myself or do the simplest chore. My situation was such that I had enlisted compassionate people to take care of me, give me “tough love” and above all people I trusted not to abandon me. Eventually I hit bottom and slowly surfaced. It was a kind of rebirth and with it came less need to control and more appreciation for life’s mysterious ways.
    Henry Thoreau said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”….
    Good Luck in your searching.

  267. >why are the progressives seemingly for globalization?

    Cynically, most of them are city dwellers and they advocate for the interests of the cities. Cities import just about everything so it’s in their interest to get the lowest possible bid on everything they import. And that’s what globalization is – a big race to the bottom on prices of the goods and services they need to import. They like to dress it up in moral and pretension but underneath it’s just what benefits them.

  268. Hi JMG, had a few thoughts from my time lurking /pol/ for the last couple of years.
    -In my experience, many chan dwellers (in the absence of elite peer pressure) are considerably less committed to scientific materialism than their mainstream education & upbringing would suggest (not even counting the explicitly occult subcommunites such as 4chan’s /x/ board)
    -Even among the skeptics there were some serious currents of doubt (and fear) as the upswell of Kek worship and other meme magic coincided with the 2016 election cycle getting seriously weird in more or less the ways the amateur magicians desired
    -Though many ‘channers are fairly agnostic about the efficacy of their powers, it seems the elites they’re targetting are not; at least not judging by the outsized reaction of the Clinton campaign to the ‘cartoon frogs’. Makes me think that the 0.1% have their own magic beyond that of the 10% that is telling them to be worried – Clinton’s leaked emails showed her to be suprisingly spiritual, there’s the very odd elite gatherings like Spirit Cooking, plus persistent rumors about the Bohemian Grove and the like.
    -I think that the basement denizens responsible for all this don’t really mind not having control of what they unleash. They weren’t in control beforehand either, and the only outcome they’d really hate (directly propping up the status quo) is just about the only one I can’t see Kek promoting.
    Looking forward to part 3!

  269. Thank you Lathethechuck. Me too, I do all those things you mentioned whenever possible, including parking the car and walking, cooking at home, buying local and patronizing farmer’s markets for what I can’t grow myself. But, I feel like Inigo Montoya, It has been 20 years and I am beginning to loose confidence.

    Dear Jay Moses, I wonder if any society has ever figured out a way to prevent upper status males from preying on lower status females. And vice versa. It seems to me that if you want to encourage marriage among the working class population, then working class wages need to be adequate to support families in reasonable comfort and dignity. No matter what the effect on profits and investment. If you want to encourage monogamy and commitment, then you need not to be glamorizing sexual predation and adventurism. Point out the parasitic nature of libertinism, whether male or female, the lack of solid achievement of most such persons, and the emotional shallowness which underlies their charm.

  270. Joy Marie asks:

    “Here’s a question for you: why are the progressives seemingly for globalization?”

    If I had to guess (as someone who is often confused with a progressive), I’d say that to the degree it’s true that progressives support it is because it offers a chance to raise living standards for impoverished people around the world by giving them an economic alternative to subsistence farming or worse. That it does so at the expense of wage class people in rich countries hasn’t been a big concern for the progressives I know. For that matter the progressive opposition to national borders comes from similar humanitarian sentiment, which is why progressives talk about refugees and undocumented migrants.

    At this point, though, it seems to me that plenty of progressives are not as much “for globalization” as “against tariffs and border walls,” largely because Trump supports those things so progressives must be against them.

    It’s a bit ironic to me, though, since I have long thought of myself as a liberal, to see people who I know share some of my views and politics twisting around to fawn over the FBI and CIA, celebrate NAFTA, and vehemently oppose detente with Russia or North Korea just because Trump wants to try it. My wife (who marched in the Battle of Seattle) and I have repeatedly discussed the Obama years with distaste because many of our friends stopped caring about issues because he was in charge. It was as though nothing could be wrong because an eloquent African-American was in charge and he promised us hope and change.

    In that sense it’s been a breath of fresh air to have Trump get elected, because now we can talk issues with our friends again, and they get fired up and want to do something. That said, it’s deeply disturbing to me how much politics these days focus on individuals (like Trump, Obama, and their underlings like Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos) and how little the issues seem to matter.

    To your point about global corporate government and progressives, though, I can’t help you there. None of the progressives I know ever talk about those three words together in any meaningful way, except to crack derisive jokes about conspiracy theorists. They rail against corporate influence in state and national governments, view global corporations as bastions of evil (excepting possibly Apple, Google, Facebook), and have no apparent interest in a global government. Nobody I know even talks about the UN in a serious way these days, but maybe I’m not talking to the right progressives.

  271. JMG said:

    “You know as well as I do that the people who are pushing this would scream like a gutshot banshee if they were asked to do anything that would actually have an impact, such as paying twice as much for seafood because fishing fleets were required to pay for the removal of their waste. This isn’t a baby step, it’s the precise equivalent of the indulgences the Catholic church used to sell so people could commit sins and then buy their way out of purgatory. ”

    I don’t know about this. These are the same people who flock to fair trade shade grown coffee, organic sweatshop free apparel, and grass-fed meats. They’re also pushing carbon taxes, electric cars, and solar panels. They already shell out for wild-caught salmon and “sustainably farmed” seafood, so fish in general as another high-priced status symbol that can be used for virtue signalling seems right up the alley.

    Still, while the plastic straw ban is obviously virtue signalling, I don’t think it’s a terrible thing. There are plenty of alternatives available, like paper straws or reusable metal straws. It’s much like banning or charging fees for plastic bags, which was done here a couple years ago and has reduced bag-caught-in-the-tree litter substantially. People just bring reusable bags or pay 10 cents for a recyclable or compostable paper bag. Dog owners subscribe to local papers for poop sacks.

    No one is forcing the differently abled to move or face starvation, and if that’s an unintended consequence the local social justice activists will shriek until a remedy is promptly applied. Besides, the political effort required to ban straws here is less than one-tenth of what gets put toward any mildly controversial condo development, so it’s not like this indulgence is distracting people from doing something useful…

  272. Dear Mr Greer

    You say that there is no such thing as race but that there is such a thing as ethnicity. I wonder if you could briefly explain what you mean by the term ethnicity. I am asking this question because terms like race and ethnicity are often used interchangeably and is it is easy to get confused by what you mean. Race is a sensitive issue and people can easily get into bitter arguments because they get into a muddle about the meaning of words.

    Thank you

  273. Thank you for the very informative commentary, and acutely different perspective on current political affairs. You have a way with surprising the heck out of me, the reader, regularly; particularly when you introduce the role of magic after a thoroughly engrossing dissection of the dynamics at play. I could not but feel an underlying current of un-ease building through the tale, as if the game is critically poised, a germinating seed of revolution as yet unexplicated. It could go either way …

    It made me wonder about the principles of magic that played out in South Africa, in its remarkable escape from the sticky end many had envisioned as inevitable. In particular what the role of Nelson Mandela was from magic’s perspective. He seems to me an example of what Castaneda called “impeccability” – the ability to sustain coherence over time between one’s political objectives, and one’s personal values. I have always suspected that here lies the difference between effective leadership, and fruitless effort. Would love your views.

  274. @Onething 2:33pm Saturday – That story you shared is example #1! Holy moly! Was going to say some other expletives but that’s my blue-collar upbringing.

    I shared the story on here about the Transition Town two day workshop I attended in 2017 where a group of three college age women shut the workshop down because they felt the white woman facilitator was doing micro-aggressions against the black man facilitator. At least I think that was the accusation. They approached the woman facilitator and basically shut down the workshop for three hours the first day with their issue and no one was informed exactly what happened. I know it involved race – and the man facilitator was only person of color there – and I know it involved the woman facilitator.

    The black man facilitator who was built like a football linebacker ran a non-profit in Pittsburgh with a budget of $12million, was renovating homes, doing leadership programs for black youth, and had I think two master’s degrees. But somehow these 20 somethings thought he couldn’t speak up for himself???

    But the white woman facilitator didn’t call the young women out on their assumption that this black man was helpless. She apologized and groveled and sent a six paragraph email after the workshop apologizing more for her hidden racism and thanking the young women again for bringing it to her attention.

    Oh, and on the morning of day one we were to move to a group that we thought was the biggest issue facing us: Energy, Economics, Environment or Social Justice. 75% of the audience moved to the Social Justice group. I went to the Energy group – DUH!!!! – with two other people. One professed his view that if everyone got solar panels, all will be well. The other person said we all needed a cryptocurrency to solve our issues. Then the woman facilitator came over to check on us and said, “energy isn’t an issue because there is this guy that has a plan to power the whole world with wind turbines.”

    So needless to say I’m not doing anything with Transition Towns.

  275. @Joy Marie You mentioned black conservatives, and a new one on the scene is Candace Owens. She used to do videos under the name Red Pill Black as she was trying to figure out how to square her liberal thinking and upbringing with her experience in the world in her 20’s.

    She’s said a couple of times that she gets the ugliest comments from black democrats. She insists that white liberals have taught blacks to see racism in everything so now blacks hold down other blacks.

  276. JMG, the exceptional quality of your writing and reasoning on your blogs never ceases to amaze and impress me. However, on very, very rare occasions, you disappoint me, and your response to NemoNascitur is one of these.

    NemoNascitur, was India a fascist society when those children died? I get what you’re saying: that in your original comment you were comparing only fascism and communist states. However, as a well-known Druid sometimes points out: given two options, look for a third, and you must be aware that in a discussion of political systems, fascism and communism cannot be separated from Western liberal/social democracy. It’s a trinary (?), not a binary, model.

    My problem is that the position I see you take here is alarmingly close to what Ihear from alt-right friends, essentially “Communism killed more people than Fascism, so we in the Western world are best”. And, of course, that simply isn’t true.

    As NemoNascitur argues, the Communist* states also lifted many millions out of mediaeval squalor and poverty to education and relative prosperity. That also needs to go into the mix.

    More importantly, it ignores the fundamental difference in the mechanism of power and ideology; while we can point the finger at the totalitarian nature of fascism and communism, and lay direct blame at the doors of the regime, that gives our own society a free pass. The ruling ideology of the West decentralizes killing by decentralizing business; it might not be the State that is bleaching the Great Barrier Reef, submerging the Pacific Islands and Bangfadesh, locking fire escapes and so causing untold deaths in sweatshop fires, causing the destabilization of the Jet Stream and hence vast fires across the Northern Hemisphere, and so on… but it *is* our system and general model of governance that is responsible, and it’s going to kill vastly more people than Stalin.

    Short version: reducing political comparison to a Vietnam War-style body count is a pretty poor analysis, and I’m disappointed to see you resort to it.

    * A further issue is your inclusion of China amongst the Communist states. The CCP may call itself Communist, but that’s no guide to anything. When Deng Xiaoping referred to “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, it was the second part of the statement that was important, not the first. I suspect Marx would neither recognise, nor approve of, what’s happened in China; Qin Shi Huang would do both.

  277. Denys, my limited experiences with the Transition Town movement of may home town in Germany are a bit similar: there is much talk and no action under the label of “Buen Vivir”, except of presentations and conferences, and most of the other activities revolve around the usual sort of upper middle class esotericism. At least, there is an annual clothes swap, visited to 95 % by young girls and women, and some gardening projects.

  278. Ray, teachers are indeed at or near the bottom edge of flunkeyhood — my father, stepmother, and biological mother were all public school teachers, so I have some exposure to this! Exactly what you can or can’t do, though, depends on the extent to which you have any freedom at all in what and how you teach, and I’ve heard widely varying accounts of this — I gather it varies from state to state, and even from school to school. So I’m not at all sure I can offer any advice there. As for the intersection of population growth and immigration, that’s something that still has to play out. The issue as I see it isn’t immigration, it’s the tacit encouragement of illegal immigration, which creates a labor pool that can be exploited with impunity to drive down wages and working conditions. I’m very much in favor of legal immigration, as it happens, at levels set after appropriate public debate about how many more people the US economy can actually absorb each year.

    Robert, no question, that horse is pretty much reduced to paste at this point.

    Shane, class is the big taboo in American society these days — and like most really big taboos, that’s because it explains too much for comfort.

    David, thanks for this.

    Christopher, I wrote about magic extensively back on my former blog, The Archdruid Report, and I’ve also discussed it every month here on the book club posts. Stay around; we’ll be talking a lot more about it. As for your question, no, magic isn’t limited to the techniques of persuasion; magic, to return to the definition I cited, is the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will — which covers much more ground than persuasion.

    Bruno, Christianity was one of a couple of thousand little fringe religions in its day; it just happened to be the one that won out. There are thousands of little fringe religions now, too, and in all probability one of them will become the major religion of the next cycle of North American history — but which one? Heck (or Kek!) of a question…

    William, thank you. Of course there’s more to the InCels than economics, but I’ll argue in an upcoming post that economics form the foundation on which the rest of it is built. Teach young men that their worth as human beings depends on being able to fulfill roles that the economy is rigged to deny them, and you’re going to get the whole galaxy of personal and psychological problems that feed into the culture of the forums in question. More on this as we proceed!

    Cy, if you’d like to show me where I said that virtue signaling about plastic straws was going to break civilization’s back, I promise I’ll take the rest of your comment a little more seriously.

    Nastarana, then why did you bring up Faux News in the first place? It really did look as though you were engaging in a typical sort of guilt by association — “you disagree with the left on this issue, therefore you must be one of those Fox News-watching morons, blah blah blah.” If you’d like something that’s less of a straw man — pun not intended — you might consider reading this essay on the subject. One quote worth repeating here: “'[City leaders] seem to be telling restaurant owners in Seattle there’s a total ban and telling disability organizations that there are exemptions,’ Lawrence Carter-Long, communications director for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, told me.”

    Onething, by exactly the same logic, you can insist that the sun goes around the earth. Which are you going to believe, some guy named Copernicus or your own eyes? You’ve been taught to lump ethnic groups into categories called “races” which are defined by a few very superficial but visible characteristics — skin color and the presence or absence of an epicanthic fold — and since you can see those characteristics, and have been taught to use them as markers for “race,” why, you see races all around you. Step back from that learned response and things aren’t so simple.

    Chris, I suspect the engagement between the alt-right and the working class is beginning, with enthusiasm for Trump as one piece of common ground and hostility toward the privileged end of the Left as another. As for not giving offense to the Elder Ones, well, yes; the Bible notes, in a verse that’s gotten a lot of dismissive comments in the last century or so, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom,” and the same sentiment can be found in nearly identical terms in polytheist religions as well. As C.S. Lewis liked to point out, Aslan is not a tame lion; the gods are not safe; they don’t care about our boundaries or our preferences; and if you’re going to deal with them — and there are good reasons to do so, of course — you need to be aware that their concerns do not center on your wishes…

    Onething, no argument there.

    Joy Marie, thanks for this! That makes a great deal of sense.

    Stefania, good. I tend to think, though, that a lot of music resonates at a kind of middle level, not reaching up far enough to contact divine energies, which is why it often has strong emotional effects but that’s all. The secret lore of sound has been almost entirely lost at this point, and though there are people working on its rediscovery they have a long ways to go — and as you point out, that may be a good thing in some ways.

    Johnny, thanks for this. I’ll probably pick up one of Peterson’s books one of these days, if only because I know a certain number of young men who seem to have gotten a lot out of his ideas. It’s also interesting that he’s succeeded by breaking the rules of the internet — that’s encouraging, for obvious reasons. 😉

    Owen, not at all. That’s why I’m trying to reconstruct the basic ideas of a centrist democratic nationalism here on my blog and elsewhere. The center is not the space where the Democrats and the GOP overlap — that’s way off in La-La Land — but I’ve found that for a very large number of Americans, the ideas of a centrist democratic nationalism have a very potent appeal, and I’m hoping to help start a groundswell of movement toward those ideas at a grassroots level, which will affect the political arena only after it finds its voice in other ways.

    StarNinja, thank you — that’s great. As for “physiological biofeedback,” yeah, I’ve heard that one too, at rather some length. Push for a definition and it amounts to “something that makes our bodies feel exactly as though we’re sensing and radiating qi, even though we can’t be sensing and radiating qi, since we’ve officially defined qi out of existence.” Just accepting the reality of the life force requires far fewer mental gymnastics.

    Ray I, thanks for this.

    Daniil, I’m not a great fan of Yarvin’s ideas, but he did a lot to open up a space in which the right questions could be asked, and that’s a major service. As for the Russian Empire, of course you’re quite right — and of course today’s Russian Federation is another good example of a fairly successful nation that’s multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural. I’m probably going to have to do a post one of these days to swat down the fallacy that claims that nations can only survive if they’re ethnic, linguistic, and social monocultures.

  279. Denys: I could not believe my eyes! Though with today’s clown show, where even The Onion can’t compete with the serious news, I guess one must. Suggested rule #1 for Transition towns from an old retired bookkeeper – PLEASE include someone who can define the term “Job costing” for you. And “Return on investment.” And replace the term “Social justice” with “fair distribution of benefits/resources/output.” If that makes all the idiots drop out, well, who needs them?

    Which would work as well as introducing Roberts Rules of Order into my local neopagan organizations, alas.

    Pat, picturing someone trying to set up that group in Grantsville, WVA. LMAO&Scaring the cat at the very thought.

  280. Here then, is my question. If, as Steve M points out, progressives have done an about face on all sorts of issues such as our MIC, FBI, CIA, NAFTA and general military belligerence, then is it that they actually never did care about any of these things, or is it that they do but have been brainwashed by Trump Derangement Syndrome?

  281. Steve M says:

    ” to the degree it’s true that progressives support it is because it offers a chance to raise living standards for impoverished people around the world by giving them an economic alternative to subsistence farming or worse. That it does so at the expense of wage class people in rich countries hasn’t been a big concern for the progressives I know. ”

    First, this indicates that JMG is right when he says that the compassion of the Hillary class does not extend to their own countrymen in distress, but only to more abstract and farther removed groups.

    Second, is this a bit of bias against rural living? I have heard many first hand reports that a lot of places in the world have people that are certainly extremely poor, but they are happy, reasonably well nourished, have strong community and family and are in control of their resources and livelihood. Then they are lifted out of poverty, uprooted to the cities, and become wage slaves.

  282. Denys,

    I try to get it across to my airy-fairy hippie elder friends that these stories are indicators of something very dangerous afoot and should be nipped in the bud. They are nothing but vengeance and game playing with people’s lives and psyches. This is not the way we want to go and it is not the way our society had been going! MUST we do the Hatfields and McCoys ad infinitum?

    Instead, we had a much grander vision. One of realizing that oppression is wrong, illegalizing overt discrimination, gently teaching the public and letting time do the rest. This was a vision on principle, which means not that something is wrong because it hurts me but if I get the chance I’ll do the exact same thing to you or someone else. No, the principle is that humans should not oppress one another opportunistically and/or based on group identity.

  283. >The center is not the space where the Democrats and the GOP overlap — that’s way off in La-La Land

    To me, the center is what the most people vote for. Nobody else seems to be to command the votes the Duopoly controls. Everyone else is a fringe entity, more or less. Antifa, the 1488ers, the liberalismistsismers, the lolbertarians, the commies – all fringe. For the moment.

    You’re still talking about pulling the Duopoly out and putting something else in its place. And if you’re going to start talking about “we just need to get the right people in office” – ObiWan once thought as you do. You don’t know the power of the dark side. They must obey their master.

  284. >Second, is this a bit of bias against rural living?

    Which lays bare the fundamental conflict coming. The interests of the cities and the rural areas are in diametric rational opposition. What benefits one, screws the other one over. It’s not quite zero sum but it’s getting there. This could be resolved peacefully through the Murican tradition of compromise, but have you seen any indication the cities want to compromise on ANYTHING? Me neither.

  285. RE: the IRA…

    I was first told of the IRA in fourth or fifth grade. I responded to the teacher in front of the whole class that why are they doing all this fighting, they should just use a nuclear bomb and get it over with. I’ll never forget the look on the teacher’s face.
    Sometimes I think I still feel this way today. I’m so sick of where America is today. Just get the Civil War II or WW III underway and let’s blow things to smithereens already so we can get to the other side and rebuild whatever order is coming.

  286. Kittenlopez, thank you. I don’t know that I’d agree with the on-your-knees thing — well, outside of certain specific activities 😉 — but it’s certainly true that Sara deserves a great deal of credit for whatever success I’ve achieved.

    David, yep. One of these days I may want to use Lovecraft as a jumping-off place for an essay on the nature of meaning that takes on the embarrassingly anthropocentric nature of rationalism.

    Joy Marie, nicely done. Exactly, and the political exploitation of that deliberately ambiguous category “white” is one of many reasons why the whole language of race needs to be challenged at its core. Thanks for the book link, btw.

    As for globalization, it’s really quite simple. The progressive movement was hijacked in the 1980s and set to work shilling for the interests of the upper 20%. Globalization benefits the well-off, since it drives down wages to starvation levels and so means that the privileged get their goods and services more cheaply than before; the mere fact that it’s driven tens of millions of people into destitution and misery never gets addressed by the progressives. Follow the money and you’ll understand more about politics than the mainstream wants you to…

    Merle, um, I’m just another essayist, you know. I appreciate the enthusiasm, but if anybody said to my face that I was blessed with righteousness and irradiated by the beams of the gods, my response would be something between an embarrassed giggle and an eye-roll.

    SaraDee, I get that. If I’m right, though — and I propose to argue this point at some length in a future post — what’s driven the rise of so large a cohort of young outsiders who are full of rage and misery is at root economic in nature, and has to be addressed by challenging certain specific bipartisan policies. These guys have been systematically lied to, and they’ve been just as systematically set up to fail — and the folks who benefit from that have managed to redirect the resulting rage away from themselves, and toward an assortment of targets lower down the ladder. It’s a classic gimmick and as we proceed, I’ll be discussing it at length and exploring ways for those on both sides of the resulting manufactured conflicts to find some more productive response.

    Varun, good. The one place where your analysis may not hold up is that the ait-right has a significant sector that’s quite capable of holding its own on the street

    Chris, nope. I’m going to explain the situation as I see it, on this blog, which I know is read by a fair number of people in various corners of the alt-right. They’re adults, and they get to make their own choices.

    IguanaBowtie, thanks for this! Yeah, I was watching on /pol/ when Hillary Clinton collapsed and a lot of people there went through the standard “oh, shale” moment — I’ll be giving this a different name in the next post, but it’s a familiar thing for those of us who teach magic.

    Steve, actually, it’s been my repeated experience that most social justice activists quite literally couldn’t care less about the disabled. My late brother-in-law, who spent the last forty-odd years of his life in a wheelchair and was for many years the disability-affairs coordinator for the King County (WA) transit system, had a wealth of colorful stories about the way that soi-disant progressives used to try to push their various agendas with blithe disregard for the needs of disabled people. Not to mention the repeated lectures he got from lily-white, privileged, able-bodied progressives about what he as a disabled person ought to call himself, so as not to offend their ideas of politically correct vocabulary! So, no, I don’t think we can count on social justice activists to speak up if straw bans turn public restaurants into segregated spaces in which disabled people who need straws are no longer welcome.

    Jasmine, that’s an excellent question, and I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take someone to ask it! An ethnicity is a group of people who share a common national and cultural origin, extending far enough back to have significant genetic as well as sociocultural commonalty. The Irish, for example, are an ethnicity; so are the Koreans; so are the Yoruba; so are the Inuit. So, by the way, are African-Americans; the slaves who were brought here from Africa came from a variety of ethnicities, but genetic and cultural mingling produced the African-American ethnicity that exists today. All ethnicities come into being by some such process; they’re no more permanent than species; but while they exist, they’re distinct and meaningful groupings. It’s the bad habit of lumping ethnicities together into arbitrary categories such as “the white race” or “the black race” that I’m criticizing — the kind of dubious logic that insists that Inuits and Indonesians somehow belong to the same “race” because they share a few very superficial physical characteristics.

  287. @nastrana:
    i have the same questions about how to reduce predation among the powerful and to encourage long term commitment among the poor. while the “metoo” movement seems to have taken a bit of a bite out of a few very public predators, i have serious doubts about its prospects after the immediate excitement has worn off. sexual victimization, like every other form of victimization, exists because those with power allow (encourage) it. asking predators to stop seeking prey it seems to me is a bit like offering a lion a salad.

    as to the poor, it is clear that wages are too low to support family formation and maintenance. this is also no coincidence.

    is there a solution? in my opinion large complex and unequal societies have no good way to solve problems like this. those with the greatest power are most invested in continuing the status quo. note that the prominent men recently accused of sexual assault are not all cut from conservative cloth. some are democrats or widely regarded as strong supporters of the democratic party, e.g. harvey weinstein, les moonves, al franken and anthony weiner. who promotes solutions when the problem is so clearly bipartisan?

  288. @Bogatyr, NemoNascitur
    I’d also like to point out that India vs. China isn’t exactly fair comparison, if you want to talk Capitalism and Communism; there are massive cultural differences between India and China, and neither exemplify the systems in question. “Luckily”, the Cold War gave us two very good controlled experiments in Germany and Korea. In each case, it is not the communist system that comes out ahead for unnecessary deaths of children. Nor is environmental degradation less on the side of the line that suffered under command economies and absolutism. It goes without saying which system produced more direct human suffering through pollitical murder and oppression.

    Bogatyr, it seems you write as though a communist system is inherently environmentalist, and you can lay the consequences of global environmental degradation at capitalism’s feet. I encourage you to take a dip in the Aral sea. Or perhaps visit Norilsk, Russia, and compare with its precise western equivalent in Sudbury, Canada. (Each was the power bloc’s largest nickel producer during the cold war. Only one has had major environmental remediationt. Guess which?)

    Democratic capitalism is, ultimately, less environmentally damaging for two reasons. One, because the people have a voice, they can push back against their local environmental degradation. Two, it is a more efficient economic system. It produces more surplus. Surplus that can be directed towards environmental causes. Poor countries are polluting countries, and command economies don’t make for rich countries.

    There’s also a large moral difference between my (and your) indirectly killing people via poverty or pollution and Comrade Stalin ordering kulacks liquidated or Herr Hitler enacting the Final Solution. To my mind, you are comparing apples and oranges.

    Now, I’m willing to admit that the present system is pretty rotten. (I’m a Distributist, me.) It’s just not even in the same league as other social experiments.

  289. Regarding the 9/11 Hilary Clinton collapse, do you think there’s any synchronicity between the world of 9/11 truth “The towers collapsed into their own footprints at freefall speed” and Hilary Clinton, an agent of the same power structure that may have had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, doing the same, 15 years later?

  290. @ Sandy

    Thank you for sharing of your personal experience. These are internal struggles, and most likely unnecessary but for a certain stubborn and overly-intellectualized ego in my particular case. I’ll get there, eventually. My wife is very patient, in a tough-love kind of way.

  291. Marco, I haven’t studied the South African experience in detail, so can’t comment on it directly — the politics here in the US are intricate and sordid enough to keep me more than busy! You may well be right, though.

    Bogatyr, I’m scratching my head here trying to figure out how you got from my comment to a supposed free pass to Western democracies. What I’m saying — and all that I’m saying — is that as ideologies go, Marxism is considerably more murderous in practice than the fascism that Marxists so often like to denounce. That has nothing to do with whether this or that other system is or isn’t better, or for that matter worse; it’s a specific point meant to challenge a specific bit of rhetoric common these days on the Marxist end of the Left, and that’s all it is. As for whether China counts in the Marxist camp, who was talking about Deng Xiaoping? I was referring to the fantastic death toll under Mao Zedong, of course, and if you want to insist that Mao wasn’t a Marxist you’re welcome to try. All in all, it sounds to me as though you’re arguing with things I haven’t said and missing what I did say; perhaps you’d like to reconsider that.

    Onething, I wish I had a clear answer on that. I’ve been wondering about that a lot myself.

    Owen, no, you’re still misunderstanding what I’m saying. The center I have in mind isn’t what most people vote for, it’s what most people would vote for if they had the chance. As for the duopoly, don’t be fooled by brand names; the two political parties we have here in the US have quite routinely changed their entire orientation as a result of shifts in what voters will put up with. Right now the Democratic old guard is beginning to crack under the assaults of social democrats (misnamed socialists), while the Republican party is in the midst of a struggle between its old guard and populist insurgents which the populists are pretty clearly going to win. The containers remain but the contents change — and again, this has happened many times in our history.

    Justin, it’s certainly a remarkable bit of synchronicity…

  292. Onething

    I trust you won’t mind me weighing in on your question. I make a sharp distinction between partisan Democrats and real Progressives, but political labels are imprecise, so I won’t go further on that. The partisan Democrats that I know are very much victims of TDS. So much so they are busy, lately, telling me what a fine and upstanding man Bob Mueller is, and how honorable our intelligence agencies are, and how we really must get tougher on Russia. IMO they only care about issues (any issue) so far as it can be used to oppose Trump. They never cared about NAFTA because they are mostly salary class and little effected by it. Their attitude is that anyone who’s lost their job to offshoring should have learned to code. They’ve forgot all the lies that the itelligence agencies have told over the years, and they’ve dismissed Mueller’s lying about WMDs as a minor glitch, if they acknowledge that at all. If I point out Trump has been tougher on Russia than Obama was I get the deer in the headlights look, or flat out denial. It’s almost as if cognitive dissonance prevents them from seeing, and hearing, how much they are like many Republicans, or at least Republicans of the past.

    I didn’t vote for Trump (or Hillary) but I’m concerned that Partisan Democrats have become completely reactionary due to TDS. I’m sure that if Trump said something positive about sunshine and puppies they denounce both, one for causing skin cancer and the other for being a vector for spreading rabies. IMO this does not bode well for them. Better, I think, to ignore much of what Trump says and be more subtle in respondiing to what he does. As one example the Dems might critique Trumps particular tariffs here and there, but not oppose tariffs as a general principle. (Of course that goes against the interests of their corporate sponsors) In the minds of the working class the Dems are cementing their position as the party that doesn’t give a rip about them. I suspect this is part of Trump’s plan. I think much the same process is going on with other issues, but I won’t go through them all.

    It’s only the real Progressives in the party who are committing themselves to particular policy issues.. Agree or disagree with them on policy, but at least they’re doing something constructive and winning some primaries.
    In the marketplace of ideas at least they have something to sell.

  293. @ JMG

    Re Lovecraft, anthropocentricism, and logic

    Just as one reader, I would appreciate an essay on that subject. For whatever reason (ha!) I have great difficulty seeing/accepting logic as subjective (though I know that all logic systems rest on assumptions which cannot be proven by the system in question — Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, if I’m remembering correctly.)

    When you had Shelby arguing that a statement is either rational or not rational, I had difficulty disagreeing with that position (regardless of her other errors). So an essay along those lines would be useful in outlining an alternative perspective.

  294. @ JMG

    Re the (potential) essay on logic

    A quick follow-on to my previous comment. To the extent you’d be willing to address the issue in that (or any) essay, I’d always been partial to the “scholastic” phases of the various philosophical traditions growing up and always saw the divine not as non/ir/transrational, but rather as operating by logical processes outside of our perception and/or by inputs of which we were unaware. That is, “God” wasn’t irrational, but simply knew more; so the way to approach the divine was to learn as much as possible about as much as posssible so that one’s mental model of reality would (however asymptotically) approach the One True System. If this is not the case, as my current DA studies would assert, how might one address that viewpoint?

  295. Onething said:

    “First, this indicates that JMG is right when he says that the compassion of the Hillary class does not extend to their own countrymen in distress, but only to more abstract and farther removed groups.

    Second, is this a bit of bias against rural living? I have heard many first hand reports that a lot of places in the world have people that are certainly extremely poor, but they are happy, reasonably well nourished, have strong community and family and are in control of their resources and livelihood. Then they are lifted out of poverty, uprooted to the cities, and become wage slaves.”

    To your first point, I think both you and JMG are quite right. And it’s not necessarily true that the other groups are more abstract and farther removed: plenty of progressives travel to less-industrialized countries and have direct interaction with people who either are or were rural peasants. Very few whom I’ve met have spent any significant time in Red America (for lack of a better term) unless they grew up there; even fewer show any desire to do so in the future. Thus it’s quite possible that for many Americans their own “countrymen in distress” are the more abstract and farther removed group.

    To your second point, the only progressives I’ve met who express any positive feelings toward rural living are squarely in the permaculture and organic farming camp. They often seem more interested in the romantic ideas of rural living than the modern reality of it. The rest of the progressives I know (the majority) are either suburban or urban dwellers and are either wholly ignorant of rural life or grew up in it and fled.

    To your final point about places in the world where subsistence farmers are happy, no doubt they exist. The fact remains that billions of people have fled the countryside over the past 100 years and flocked to cities. It’s the poverty of urban slums where they typically end up that was the “or worse” situation I originally referred to, and people in both rural and urban poverty the world over have for generations flocked to factories to make more money. My impression is that many progressives see the shift of manufacturing offshore as a continuation of Progress to which they are generally devoted.

    Now that the American political system is in such great upheaval, the alignments are all up for grabs and subject to change.

  296. Onething also said:

    “Here then, is my question. If, as Steve M points out, progressives have done an about face on all sorts of issues such as our MIC, FBI, CIA, NAFTA and general military belligerence, then is it that they actually never did care about any of these things, or is it that they do but have been brainwashed by Trump Derangement Syndrome?”

    Speaking of the progressives I know personally, I think it’s much more about Trump Derangement Syndrome and how that’s been amped up by the corporate media echo chamber. It only takes about 5 or 10 minutes of conversation for me to get a NYTimes-quoting friend to acknowledge how weird it is that they’re ranting about the president questioning the people who lied us into Iraq, or how odd it is that they’re arguing against pulling the US out of another illegal war in the middle east.

    I don’t think it’s that they’re actually in favor of the things they were vocally against a couple years ago. I think it’s that American politics has morphed into a strange social-media-mediated reality TV show, and they’re repeating the reasons they’ve heard on their facebook feed why the character they don’t like is evilly evil and deserves to be kicked off the island at the next commercial break, or whatever.

    The whole situation reminds me a bit of Obamacare. It started out as a republican reform policy, but when a democrat adopted it and ran with it, suddenly everyone on the right was hysterically against a market-based health insurance reform program. With politics as a cult of personality contest, the issues seem to get batted around as mere accessories. If the Wrong Person shows support for an issue you like, it’s hard to be publicly on the same side as them.

    Thanks for engaging with me about this, Onething, as it’s helped me clarify for myself a bit of the Twilight Zone feelings I’ve had lately.

  297. JMG said:

    “… So, no, I don’t think we can count on social justice activists to speak up if straw bans turn public restaurants into segregated spaces in which disabled people who need straws are no longer welcome.”

    Fair enough. My experience locally has been different, but given your experience I understand a bit better now why you’re so adamant about this. Thank you.

  298. David, so noted, and I’ll consider the scholastic arguments as well.

    Steve, thank you. Will you do me a favor? If you see social justice activists dismissing the needs of the disabled, will you please challenge them? If I may offer an incentive, the Left has gotten embarrassingly good about driving away sectors of the electorate that used to support it — cough, cough, the working class, cough, cough — and if disabled people generally become convinced that the Left is hostile to their interests, that’s another demographic sector the Democratic party can’t afford to lose. Even if the GOP is no more compassionate, you know, they’ll at least let disabled people have their straws.

    Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, you might want to consider reading this essay by a disabled-rights activist, who explains in some detail why single-use plastic straws really are the best option for many disabled people and why the supposed alternatives have serious problems. There are some twitter tags down at the bottom of the essay, if you want to hear from disabled people who are already being harmed by straw bans — and, by the way, this includes being harassed and bullied in public by people who think it’s their job to enforce straw bans on people with disabilities…

    DFC (offlist), that is to say, you’re still trying to drag the discussion away from the point I was making, which is that Marxist regimes have killed a lot more people than the Fascist regimes that Marxists love to denounce. If you want to address that point, then address it — don’t just play distraction games and try to pretend that I’m talking about something else.

  299. Onething – no, I live in Albuquerque, NM. Grantsville. WVA is a town which is essentially the star of Eric Flint’s time travel series, called 1632.

    Caveat: It’s been called down for “historical inaccuracy – “the downtimers are far too enthusiastic about uptime attitudes to be real.” Since the writer who said that, S.M. Stirling, seems to prefer societies more like 18th century England (set ranks with social mobility for those who distinguish themselves) – he’s been called a Tory – make up your own mind about that. I quite like both. But his picture of the townsfolk in all their variety, while probably several decades out of date, is wonderful.

    MAJOR caveat: the series is extremely “gung ho for progress and full steam ahead.” BUT the uptimers quickly and intelligently retrofitting, individually improvising as they go along, is excellent.

  300. @Owen – I’m guessing here you are referring to Casey Niestat. In spite of his total views of 2.3B, I had to google him – had never heard of him. Depending on an “e-celeb’s” connections, TV may very well not be an option for them. IMHO, the elites tightly control access to that media. There is “growth” from an entertainer’s point of view with the Internet – because that’s where one can establish an audience on a shoestring, and establish paywalls for the discriminating user looking for a particular echo chamber. But in terms of actual numbers, especially in terms of who votes, I’m dubious of any claims that TV isn’t still, by a wide margin and especially with news, the biggest game in town. Take a national survey, and the elites come up on top – Rachel Maddow, Shawn Hannity, Oprah, Colbert, etc., are surely household names. Niestat, Enoch and even our much more worthy esteemed host have a fraction of that exposure.

    Trump hardly “bypassed” legacy media – he received TONs of free media coverage, including television, radio and newspapers, every time he made an outrageous comment or outrageous tweet. Thousands of web sites hung on his every word, and analyzed him ad nauseum as if he was serious. It’s my opinion he received this exposure because he’s an elite himself, and not many Americans caught on to the fact they were being gamed. An insider, billionaire, and one born with a platinum spoon in his mouth is hardly going to be a champion of the poor – and as a recipient of far more media coverage his whole life than was deserved, he was obviously groomed for a very long time for the role he now plays. There are other reasons he won the election – by being portrayed as a “swamp drainer” for one, but his use of media was wide and directed. The election of Obama, who gets my vote for the least qualified to hold the office of President, revealed to me how firmly the elites are in control.

    That being said, the content of this series of essays and the Kek Wars certainly provides food for thought – whether it’s chaos, changing demographics, changing technology, etc., that are going to have the greater effects on what comes next, remains to be seen. Social media, and their impact on the Internet took a hit this week as Facebook and Twitter reporting losing users. Maybe saturation is part of it. Perhaps the control of the elites, and their goals to maintain their wealth and status at the expense of us bottom 90-99 percenters will blow up in their faces. But right now, as I connect the dots, I see “resistance” to the status quo being rather fragmented, incoherent, and far from critical mass.

  301. Jasmine and JMG, if I may add my own thinking about ethnicity:

    I find nothing to criticize in JMG’s definition as long as one keeps in mind that “significant genetic … commonalty” does not usually mean a sharply defined line between neighboring ethnic groups. If you walked as straight a line as possible from the northern tip of Denmark to the south of Italy, and every 5 km picked somebody living nearby to measure, you would find a rather smooth and continuous decrease in height, and increase in melanin content. If you measured the ocurrence of DNA variants, the picture would be similar. When you speak of a Danish, a German, an Austrian and an Italian ethnicity, the genetic differences are subtle, with a great deal of overlap, and even differences in height, for example, might be due more to nutrition (i.e. to a sociocultural factor) than to genes. For island people, there may be a bit more of genetic isolation, but not much. If you pick smaller regional entities (Bavarian, Tuscan etc.), the groups may be a bit more homogeneous, but again they are not clearly defined against their immediate neighbors.

    It is important to understand that the (fragmentary) archeological and ancient DNA evidence we have does not indicate that the lines were more sharply drawn at any point in the past than they are today. Even Kalahari hunter-gatherers have very widely cast marriage networks because this was important for survival.

  302. I’m beginning to wonder if the fact straw bans hurt the disabled is a feature, not a bug…..

  303. Blue Sun, the Tibetan concept of the ‘refuge tree’ might help you out here. In the Tibetan system (and to my knowledge the Indian system as well) there is a kind of ultimate consciousness – a singular mind that dreams the universe, variously called Brahman, base-of-all, God… there are a lot of names. In these polytheistic systems, this ultimate that-is has emanations, which have emanations of their own. A loving-mother emanation might have a war-goddess emanation for example. The farther out on this branching of emanations one goes, the more willing but less able the entities encountered become to intervene, as one goes closer to the trunk the more powerful but less relateable they become. That is why one might pray to the relic of a local saint instead of God – God is infinitely more powerful, but the saint is more likely to want things to be other than they are. Of course, any emanation can consult its higher self similar to how you or I would. I believe there’s a passage in the Bagavad-gita where Krishna discusses how the Hindu gods relate to the Brahman – I believe ‘fountainhead’ is the simile used there. Obviously the only way to really reconcile these ideas is to meditate on them yourself, probably for a long time given the difficulty of the subject matter 😉

    And Matthias, thank you for your appreciation! I’m always tickled pink when someone likes one of my turns of phrase!

  304. Concerning logic. If there is one thing I really profited from in school, it was a year of studying logic, and a year teaching the same classes. The best way I ever heard logic described is a detailed analysis of the usage of the words ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’, ‘if’, ‘then’, ‘only if’, ‘at least one’, and ‘all’. What formal logic did was try to describe a meaning that each of these terms could have which would permits them to be nested complexly while maintaining preciseness. One could add or subtract a few terms from that list to generate other logics. They are all human inventions, very much in the same vein as chess.

    Logic does not describe reality, at best it is evolved to be able to adequately describe and process chosen features of a relevant aspect of reality from a perspective that is generally accessible enough it can be taught from one being to another sufficiently similar being. That’s the most it can do. Even the greatest logical achievements, for example Incompleteness, only give us insight into a minuscule bit of trivia about their topic.

    Incompleteness is often presented as some truth about reality as such “reality does not permit a logical system which is both able to describe itself and guaranty consistency of derivations!” tell Moses to get out the chisel. Hog wash. That grand truth about reality amounts to as much as “Bertrand can not pull himself out of the river by his grabbing his own ear and tugging in an upward direction.” Logic turned in on it self, asked ‘am I capable of absolute certainty about the nature of reality, and after careful consideration concluded “I cannot”‘

    “AH HA!” Says the Freshman, “that is a thing about the nature of reality isn’t it, a contradiction!” Nope. Its a thing about an abstract aspect of reality as discussed from a narrow perspective (our cultures intelectual perspective) about a traditional custom called logic, which ain’t even close to the unnameable holy of holy’s that might or might not be behind the drapes of our own stupidity.

    To be fair, there are real patterns that can be explored by logic, certain mathematical entities like geometric figures, and patterns in observations of the material universe we call laws of nature (which I am increasingly suspicious of as a reliable metaphor). Some of those real things that logic can talk about are fantastically beautiful, and sophisticated. There are many logical objects which each are elegant and have depth beyond a million galaxies of planets of mathematicians to fully plumb. One of the few things we can reckon about the reality which we share with logical objects is that it is further beyond the limits of any logical system than the complexity of all logical systems surpass the complexity of a single bit.

    There might be use, for parable, in saying the universe is logical, or rational, in much the same way a sage sitting by a pond might find use in saying to the child “The Universe is a leaf falling from a ginko…” or some such poetic device.

    Western Logic is quite the master piece, its really a magnificent intellectual system, so beautiful. And it pushed to the Faustian limits, only to be told its fate. Some accepted limits, and treasure it as a flower, other deny those studies and still try to use it to look God up Reality’s skirt.

    With such a glorious tool as logic is, and with in its limits it is fantastically powerful, -truly the shock of discovering it is finite has stopped many philosophers of logic from really groking how strangely powerful it is- a glorious tool is apt to be elevated as sacred, and as sacred a simulacrum of Reality. As such logic is as much the Cosmos or better than most sand mandalas, but probably not as good as all sand mandalas.

    Logic indeed has been a weapon of prestige and power because it is so powerful it could once fool many it was Godly, or some even though beyond God! It has held aloft regimes. All vanity.

  305. A few random thoughts.

    I was mildly surprised to see a mainstream establishment Republican apparatchik in Florida reference Q Anon who for the uninitiated is the Nostradamus meets Deep Throat of the Trump movement.

    If stuff as fringy as that as trickled down , whoever much truth is in there the GOP establishment must be scared pantless

    2nd If you are going to be use magic be smart and careful and don’t mess around with it. if you do big stupid stuff people in the community will know and there will be consequences. I’ve also seen objects move , electrical devices explode and people nearly killed by backlash.

    3rd Re: binding President Trump. The problem is those spells aren’t going to work for many reasons,

    He has more magical power than any coven mainly gained by his status as a star and his vast number of supporters. This is as I understand it Mana in the Polynesian sense.

    He also he has protection from one or more Gods, Kek and JHVH or many others I don’t know about

    lastly what they “binding him to not do he wasn’t going to do anyway . In essence the rituals make him stronger. I suppose trying to protect abortion might have some impact but that isn’t going away anyway. Its honestly a waste of time and energy

    lastly re a revolution. I’m seeing mainstream Republican publications, granted ones on the actual Right starting to notice that smell in the air and talking about the nightmarish consequences of same,

    My guess is we are still on the track though if the President is successful we may get a reprieve .

    What happens will depends large on what the Democrats and their Neo Con (aka Trotskyite) allies do. If they bend like a reed, they’ll do fine. if they decide on reprisal ? Well as it goes its on like Donkey Kong.

    The horrific part of this is it will resemble the 30 year war or something like that and whatever is left will be bereft of social capital, institutional capital, institutions and infrastructure

    here once stood an Ivy league burned during the revolution .

  306. @drhooves: “An insider, billionaire, and one born with a platinum spoon in his mouth is hardly going to be a champion of the poor –” is historically inaccurate. In fact it’s a very common thing for tyrants – from ancient Greece on up through FDR – to be aristocrats who called themselves the champions of the people, and curbed the power of their patrician contemporaries One notable example from Rome, of course, is Julius Caesar.

  307. “Picador, of course it was tongue in cheek! I know my humor doesn’t always communicate to my readers.”

    Could you please insert a smiley or winky face for clueless people like me?

    I took what you said as ignorant conceit. I really took it seriously and thought it odd coming from you but I don’t expect perfection.

  308. Hi JMG,

    Thanks for the links. The tumblr post was interesting and informative. And yes, if I see local activists dismissing the concerns of the disabled community I will challenge them on it. I’ll also probably pass along the link and hashtags.

    As for Thomas Frank and the democratic party, I’m doing my small part to try to encourage a focus on policies and politics that benefit and have the support of the working class. I’m also encouraging people I know to engage with the Other, to listen, and to humanize the supposed enemy. It feels uphill both ways, but it’s what I can do with what I have right now. And if the democratic party solidifies as the elitist bastion of neoconserviberal aristocracy aligned against the internal proletariat amid all the political upheaval, well them’s the breaks, I suppose.

  309. @John Roth

    Paper straws would need waterproofing such as wax. They would not be recyclable.

    I don’t like straws because I don’t like the flavor they contribute. Am I the only one?

  310. Onething, JMG:

    > “progressives…they actually never did care about any of these things, or is it that they do but have been brainwashed by Trump Derangement Syndrome?”

    My take is that they really did genuinely care, but only in as much as they could not conceive of a path beyond helping with minor course corrections to the status quo, rather than a wholesale re-evaluation of where this civilisation is heading.

    Effectively then, the many problems (little p) that crop up are presented as the Problems (big p) of our age. Queue loud protests, much gnashing of teeth etc. Of course when a real (big P) Problem comes along and challenges to derail the whole endeavour, why, all those little problems a really aren’t such a worry after all, better we all run back to mummy!

    It is telling in that almost all the objections to the powers of the status quo were protests against something, rather than action towards an alternative.

  311. One of the great failures of applied Marxism has been not just the awful death toll and rejection of human rights, liberty and any non-revolutionary morality (too bourgeois), but their dishonesty in facing up to the plain facts.

    It’s always excused as being because the Revolution came ‘too early’, or in the ‘wrong (often ‘too primitive’!!!) country’, ‘fell into the wrong hands’, or, best of all, because ‘revolutions are made by humans, people are flawed, so what do you expect, let’s just talk about how great Revolution is in principle and how wicked fascists are?’

    A very good example of this is the Iranian journalist who writes on the Saker site about the ‘Iranian Socialist Revolution’ (ie theocracy based on murder and corruption) – he loves the ‘nothing’s perfect, Capitalism is far worse, so chill’ argument.

    Thus they fail to mature, and learn.

    The Whigs of 18th century Britain, who favoured the overthrow of the French absolute monarchy, but with gradual reforms, were far wiser in their grasp of human affairs. I recommend Arthur Young’s comments on the Revolution as it unfolded in his ‘Tour of France’ – very sane and pragmatic. Pragmatism is something revolutionaries simply hate.

    An excellent example of this dishonesty may be found in the Marxist ‘grand old man’ Hobsbawm’s memoirs: to his credit, he is honest (at the end of his life!) about the fact that he and his colleagues were so eager to talk up every revolution in Africa or Latin America in the 1960’s and 70’s that they deliberately suppressed the news of personal dictatorship, mass murder and corruption, rule by fear, as it invariably reached them – to do otherwise would have been to ‘betray the Revolution’ and give ammunition to the capitalists.

    As every revolution went sour, that pretended that all was sweet.

    Now, one can see that ordinary party members would do this, as objectivity would shake their emotional foundations and sense of personal significance as a revolutionary agent: but for a supposed historian of distinction (which does imply at least an attempt at objectivity) it was a disgrace.

  312. JMG, they’re banning plastic straws in some cities here in Brazil, and there are plans to enact a Federal ban against those, too. Remember what I said about Brazilians imitating the worst fads Americans manage to conjure? Yeah, that’s an example.

  313. David, by the lake,

    I, too, suspect that there is actually nothing illogical or nonrational anywhere, just things that are not completely understood. We will see.

    Mark M,

    I should clarify a bit about what I mean when I say the compassion of the liberals is reserved for more abstract groups. Sure, they joined the peace corps after college and spent some time there. Those groups are far away by definition, not even in our country. I think the same might be true of groups like migrants from Mexico and ghetto blacks. They are not really close because they don’t live near and with the liberals and their neighborhoods. They may or may not spend some time with them, but it’s quality time, not quantity time.
    But the poor whites are closer, in part because they are not a different ethnicity or nationality. So, they maintain some distance from them by use of disdain.

    I see how city people can oppress the rural, but I am not sure I see the reverse. But from what I have read, those going to the city don’t always want to. Sometimes it is due to bad deals that cause them to lose their land to corporate transnationals.
    Then too, I think in all countries, people are lured into making decisions that look pleasurable, but actually decrease happiness. High end middle class neighborhoods, for example, increase isolation. Older neighborhoods with open areas will show many more children outside playing.

  314. JMG,

    Following IguanaBowtie’s comments, do you have any feel for how much occultism is deliberately practised at the very highest echelons in society?

    There’s an enormous amount of conspiracy theory regarding this, which due to its lurid nature tends to be more obfuscatory than anything else. Indeed, I suspect that concepts like the Illuminati and Spirit Cooking are deliberate false trails to deflect from what is really going on.

    Still, it would be interesting to know what your estimate is.

  315. JMG
    You write: “Mencius Moldbug, began attracting attention online for a set of ideas that have come to be called “Neoreaction”—essentially, classic nineteenth century European reactionary politics retooled for early twenty-first-century conditions, complete with an enthusiasm for absolute monarchy and a rejection of the whole range of democratic values.”

    This sounds an internet version very like that associated with Russian pressure groups that Putin has needed to handle over Ukraine, including the enthusiasm of some formidable characters for Absolute Monarchy. (Quote “Radicals and nationalists … using their extensive influence in Russia’s security establishment”; in Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine’, 2016).

    I have wondered if this propaganda of the imagination is an epiphenomenon? – (query spelling) – This made me look up the concept and I found the perennial difficulty of relating phenomena to ‘causation’. My guess is that ‘neoreaction’ is an epiphenomenon, except that like an assemblage of weeds selected (by) during repeated cultivation, it leaves its ‘seeds’ (‘DNA’) behind for future contingency.

    best
    Phil H

  316. @ JMG

    Re the indoctrination system, perspectives, and objectivity/subjectivity

    A small illumination this morning, if you’ll permit a bit of background.

    I’ve struggled for as long as I can remember with this notion of objective truth and the quest for that truth, in whatever guise it took — God, Reality, Logic, what have you. The standard was always absolute and unerring perfection — perfect knowledge, perfect action, perfect judgement. (The old saw that a 98% success is 2% failure applies here.)

    I accepted growing up, however begrudgingly, that I was not one of those geniuses who got his (first) Ph.D. when he was 12 (although I dreamed; did I ever dream!) and who could naturally do everything well. I was not Francisco D’Anconia. I did not embody the Renaissance ideal of sprezzatura, that effortless grace in all things. I was “gifted” academically but never felt like it, for there were always others more gifted than I, and the fact that I had to labor to achieve meant that I was automatically inferior to those who did not have to do so.

    So the standard remained, though I continually fell short. The greatest sin was incompetence. And I could never achieve that standard, deemed objective and immobile. Now, the suggestion that the standard itself was flawed, that it was a choice and not an objective truth was usually met (in my head) by the accusation that such an argument was merely hand-waving sophistry seeking to excuse failure.

    The mini-revelation I had this morning was the notion that popped into my head a short while ago that this voice sounds a lot like the Puritan’s God — Cotton Mather’s famous sermon comes to mind — unyielding and remorseless. And I realized that my emotional reaction to the idea of rejecting that “objective” standard was likely little different than a Puritan’s reaction might be to the suggestion that he reject that notion of God. Rather like willingly remaining in an abusive relationship.

    How does one escape a trap within one’s own mind? Path-workings, meditations, and no small dose of psychology are a part of the solution, I’m sure.

  317. JMG
    Small note / correction on my take above on ‘neoreaction’. The Russian re-tooling sounds more like the actual stuff and to be built into the inherited post-Soviet environment, as it might well be in other parts of Europe. Mencius and Co might be more like a transient flowering easily controlled, continuing my analogy with weeds and their seeds.

    Varun’s analysis has a lot to be commended in my outsider opinion when he delineates the American ‘epiphenomenon’.

    best
    Phil H

  318. My apologies to Cotton Mather and his descendants! “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, not Mather as I had erroneously remembered.

  319. I want to ask this again, because I find (my understanding of) it at odds with everything else you (JMG) have written (that I’ve read).

    “… the universe is in no way logical or rational, and that logic and reason are nothing more than habits of the nervous systems of a particular species of social primates, amplified in various ways by cultural factors … purely habits of our minds with no particular relevance to “the buzzing, blooming confusion” of the world we actually live in.”

    If the universe is in no way logical or rational, and the world is a confusion, then what is the basis for articulating the various laws in Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth? I’m trying to connect the dots between this statement and your other teachings and not having much success on my own, hence the question(s).

  320. @ Ray

    Re logic

    Most certainly, there are a whole host of assumptions — many of them quite buried and unacknowledged — that underlie this system we think of as “logic.”

    Most of my training in logic comes from the mathematical side, though I have dabbled in philosophy. Of course, one must also realize that my past-self was also fully enthralled by the notion of the abstract world of forms as True Reality, with everything else being a poor, imitation — a rather inhuman and inhumane view, all things considered. It is a good thing that the Radiance did not actually exist on my college campus as JMG describes in the WoH novels, else I might well have been a Shelby Adams. As a twenty-something (heck, even as a thirty-something), I’d have been an easy recruit.

    Optimization is always with respect to a given objective function and (generally) a set of constraints. The question that my past-self never asked in contemplating this theoretical optimization of existence was “who defines the objective function to be optimized and on what basis?” Not to mention, “what and who gets broken in the process?”

    I find myself in this place of flux where the old forms are dead or dying, but the new have not yet been born. And the siren call of the old certainties does indeed crop up now and then.

    @ JMG

    Re “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”

    As I think on it, I wonder if that is not exactly what I was, albeit unknowingly — a supplicant of a remorseless and unyielding deity. You’d mentioned previously that gods are often most influential when we are unaware of their existence. Looking at my situation from a polytheistic perspective, perhaps I’ve simply been a willing participant in a rather abusive relationship with this deity I’ve perceived as this “perfection.” An interesting thought. Certainly clarifies things…

  321. @JMG: “Dewey, yes, I figured you’d change the subject. We were talking about the difference between the prejudices the privileged direct toward the working classes and those the working classes direct back toward the privileged.”

    Sorry for the slow response. I didn’t think I was changing the subject. You suggested that prejudices held by people with higher status should be considered worse because those people are capable of doing more to the detriment of the people they dislike. Trump and Miller are examples of privileged elites whose prejudices against portions of the working classes have been translated into federal policies harmful to those subgroups. Yet many people think that when those targeted subgroups evince prejudice against that privileged elite, it is because, or shows that, they are bad people.

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. You’ve made it very clear that you don’t think racism or persecution of minority religions is right. For me, the conclusion that certain attitudes and behaviors of some of the people now in power are wrong follows naturally from that premise, and I don’t understand why you’re willing to cut them so much slack.

    (Incidentally, you say above that you think a potential civil war has been averted. I don’t see why. The armed militants who have been systematically pursuing military training and placement in relevant jobs for the past twenty years are not going to vanish. Indeed, they have been emboldened – we needn’t argue about why – and they are not eager to permanently settle for anything short of a wholesale “ethnic cleansing” that is impossible under our current system. Meanwhile, we are heading for a future in which a quarter of the population will control almost three-quarters of the Senate, potentially making functional politics impossible and inspiring those who have been deprived of power – or the franchise – to violence. I would favor fair, peaceful division of the country with decommissioning of a large majority of its WMD and war machinery, proportional distribution of the remainder to successor states, and rational disposal, with compensation, of the resultant toxic wastes. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for anyone to agree on any of those points.)

  322. It’ll be a little while before I have time to get to today’s comments, since my weekly ask-me-anything on occultism is in full swing over on my Dreamwidth journal, but a fast note might be useful.

    I had a gaggle of Marxist trolls come barreling on here to insist at the top of their lungs that it’s horribly unfair to mention the fact that Marxist regimes killed far more people in the twentieth century than Fascist regimes did. It’s quite understandable that they should be thin-skinned about that, because it points up the most serious of the many flaws in Marxism — the catastrophic gap between Marxist theory and Marxist practice.

    The thing is, on paper, Marxism looks wonderful — from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, and all the rest of it. Unfortunately, like most of the other paper utopias with which the modern world has been afflicted, Marxist economics simply don’t work when applied to the real world. That’s why Marxist regimes so reliably turn to secret police, prison camps, and mass killings, in an increasingly frantic effort to make the world behave the way the arbitrary dictates of Marxist theory say it should behave. Eventually they either go under or do as China very sensibly did, and quietly shelve the theory while keeping the rhetoric.

    One of these days I may do a post about the rise and fall of Marxism as a millenarian religious movement, which is of course what it is under all the bric-a-brac of economics. In the meantime, this week’s post is not about Marxism, and further attempts to fill this comments page with disinformatsiya will go to the same trash can as the flurry I’ve already received. Thank you, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion on Ecosophia.

  323. Dewey wrote:

    “For me, the conclusion that certain attitudes and behaviors of some of the people now in power are wrong follows naturally from that premise, and I don’t understand why you’re [= JMG] willing to cut them so much slack.”

    Not speaking for our host, but just for myself: I’m always inclined to cut everybody a fair amount of slack for wrong attitudes and behaviors because all I want is a world that sort of muddles through, not one that is morally or ethically correct. (Is “ethical correctness” even a thing yet? If not, it soon will be.)

    I actually don’t believe human beings even have the bare physical and mental capacity to consistently do what is right. And their incapacity doesn’t depend on which specific ethics or morality one is talking about. No matter what the ethics or morality one has in mind, human beings simply aren’t able to adhere to the program consistently. No punishments, however severe–no rewards, however tempting–no program of education or re-education–can ever change that hard and brutal fact. Our species is hard-wired for inconsistency, and thus will always and everywhere exhibit a very ugly muddle of good and evil behavior.

    That being the case, one must always balance justice with mercy, and mercy with justice, even in the absence of any possibility whatever of reformation of behaviors. And for that balance there can be no cut-and-dried formula. Cutting slack, a.k.a. showing mercy, seems to me to be as much a prerequisite for any functioning society as doing justice. And so I generally cut people a lot of slack. (Where, oh where, are the “social mercy warriors” to fight alongside of the “social justice warriors”?)

    And in addition, somewhere in the back of my mind, the voice of Oliver Cromwell keeps on saying to me what he once said to an assembly of his fellow Protestants in Scotland as they argued among themselves rancorously about questions of the very gravest import: “I beseech you, gentlemen, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

    Or Immanuel Kant, who wrote, “From the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made” [Aus so krummen Holz, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann kein ganz Gerades gezimmert werden].

  324. JMG

    In re: Marxism as a religious movement, I think the “go to” book on that subject is Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith by James H. Billington, former Librarian of Congress. He covers all Utopian movements, from the French to the Russian revolutions (1780-1917). It is truly an encyclopedic study.

    Your comments remind me of why I became disillusioned with libertarianism about 20 years ago. I am still a strong civil libertarian, in that I think people should have the right to live as they choose, as long as they are not doing anything obviously criminal or seriously antisocial.

    And yes, that absolutely includes the right of free association (Jim Crow notwithstanding). What made Jim Crow so unjust was not that whites and blacks did not want to live or work together. What made it unjust, is that these separations were codified into law, and anyone who acted differently could be lynched.

    On the other hand, economic libertarianism (as exemplified by the Austrian school of economics) is just as ideologically blinkered as Marxism ever was. I keep hearing the same kinds of excuses for the failures of libertarianism as I do for the atrocities of Marxism. It is not for nothing that Whittaker Chambers called the libertarianism of Rand, Mises et al., “the Marxism of the Right.” It is an exact description.

  325. Regarding ‘books from the horse’s mouth’ on the Kek phenomenon – besides A.T.L Carver’s Essay (https://pepethefrogfaith.wordpress.com/) which you’ve probably read, There are also the works of St. Obamas Momsjeans (https://www.amazon.com/Saint-Obamas-MomJeans/e/B01J28ZZKA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1533001378&sr=8-5) and related works. I haven’t ready any myself and they seem more in the vein of “Babby’s first magic book” than memoirs, but if I know my generation’s writing style they’ll be full of personal anecdotes all the same.

  326. The recent discussion of “race” and “class” here makes a story I heard this morning on NPR Morning Edition oddly relevant. They were exploring the phrase “white trash”. According to the academic author/experts on the subject, the phrase “white trash” comes from a white-supremicist world-view, because it distinguishes “white” trash from all of the other implicitly non-white trash. (I would dispute this analysis, but that’s not my point right now.) Then, they recalled the association of Trump supporters with “white trash” (a/k/a “Deplorables) during the election campaign; just another instance of “white trash in the news”.

    What they did NOT specify during the program, was who used white-supremacist language to denigrate Trump supporters as white trash. Certainly, it wasn’t the Trump campaign calling out to “white trash” to rally with them. I don’t recall mainstream Republicans using that sort of language. I do know who introduced the term “deplorables”. White-supremacist thinking may lurk in unexpected places.

    The transcript is here: https://www.npr.org/2018/07/30/633891473/why-its-time-to-retire-the-disparaging-term-white-trash.

  327. Lathechuck, I don’t buy the idea that “white trash” is usually used in a white supremacist manner either. Growing up in the upper middle class of a coastal American city and later among similar sorts in Canada I never heard the exact words “white trash”, but it sure got said a lot nonetheless especially around the Lewinsky scandal and the election of Bush Jr.

    Often the comparison was made between successful immigrant groups and “white trash” – implying that if only they voted Democrat (or later, in Canada, Liberal or NDP) they would be successful too.

    JMG, I finished Steppenwolf tonight. Quite a read. My local library even had a physical copy, although when I want to revisit it I’ll probably buy the paperback.

  328. As far as the Alt-Right goes, and the movement, perhaps, into the workforce of some of the over-educated, I have a little anecdote. First, we live at the interface of urban and wild Idaho. Second, we’re a mixed race family: my husband is a naturalized American, born in Africa, of the generally Bantu appearance. I resemble my Finn/Dutch ancestors with perhaps a nod to the English. (The ancestral reality, as best reconstructed, is a heck of a lot more colorful.) With kids, of course.
    So we’re in a place that’s accused of being wildly racist. It isn’t. There are as proportionately many ignorant people here as anywhere, but it’s the sort of place where if you put in a hard day’s work you’re as respected as the next man. It’s also a place that’s been in an extended recession since Union Pacific pulled out its repair yards in the early 1980s, in spite of the best efforts of the towns to attract technology companies.
    My husband had been working on contract as a sysadmin with one of said technology companies. They decided they did not need him to continue. After nine months, mostly filled with offers to move to Georgia for three month tech contracts or the dreaded rejection for being overqualified from local businesses, he finally found a full-time job working in a potato processing plant, a factory floor job. After he’d been there a bit, folks already there started chatting with him. Turns out there are a lot of folks running potato processing equipment who have college degrees. Maybe as many as a third of them, judging from my husband’s work stories: these are the folks making the dried hash browns and the instant mashed potatoes for your university cafeterias and chain restaurants.
    Now, the economy has picked up a little in the last few months. There are a lot of help wanted signs out. And here we have a lovely mix of folks who never went to college and folks who went to college but can’t find a college job, but are willing to take a non-college job if they can just get one. As businesses need more workers, it’s not just going to be the potato factories that will take the risk of hiring someone who’s overqualified, and it’s not just going to be the educated but also physically strong who find their way into the lower levels of the workforce. I suspect even a small improvement in the economy is going to do the job of mixing the folks who’ve been busy on the chans for the last couple years up with the wage class and working/welfare class.
    And, of course, we’ve been seeing just that out here: a small improvement in the economy. Not huge, just enough that all the minimum wage places have Help Wanted up in their windows. I know four people who’d been unemployed long enough to drop off the unemployment count who are now working full time.

  329. To my delight I have found, by chance, an early instance of the ‘Deplorables’ disparagement of one’s enemies -in the mid-15th century!

    When Pope Pius II was locking horns with the Archbishop of Mainz – he had been hit with excess fees for taking up his post by the Pope’s banker chums, including the Medici (not having the readies he had to borrow the fees), and having put together a coalition to challenge the papal system, they were sneered at by Pius as:

    1/ ‘A great mass of common people, even down to the ordinary monks and priests’. Pius was used to dealing with bishops at the very lowest…..

    2/ They were ‘all those who had failed to rise…..and deservedly so’. NB: if you are at the bottom, it’s because you are useless trash; if we are at the top, we are simply the best.

    3/ ‘Criminal types’. Crimes not specified….

    4/ Those who always want to pull down and ‘detract from the dignity of the Papacy’.

    Read status quo elite for the Papacy, and there you have it -the Deplorables Sneer.

    Pius launched a terrible war against the Archbishop, just to teach those Deplorables their place,and devastated the territory of his enemy – which meant farms robbed and burnt, flocks stolen, the starvation which attended such events, etc.

    Examination of the Papal accounts shows that the Archbishop was right; he had been robbed to the tune of 80% excess fees, all of course ultimately drained from the labour of the peasants in his domain, and that Pius II had lied about the matter ( or did he not look too closely at his own accounts?)

    Does Mrs Clinton seek inspiration form ancient history, one wonders?

  330. Re: communism versus fascism, I’d argue that the exact bodycounts do not matter that much, and neither does the amount of people both systems have helped (and they both have helped many – it’s just that fascism’s help was cancelled out by a catastrophic military defeat and its consequences). What’s really important, from my point of view, and what sets both apart from liberal democracies or conservative autocracies alike, is that both the communists and the fascists (or rather, the Nazis – Mussolini’s bark was far worse than his bite) have preached and practiced unrestrained, systematic state violence against innocent people based on their group affiliation for political ends. This sort of principled amorality (or “our morality”, per Trotsky) is their true distinguishing trait. How many people they managed to kill in pursuit of their respective utopias seems more circumstantial, though one might say that the fascists were far less violent towards their own people – aside from those whom they have arbitrarily excluded from those ranks.

  331. philsharris, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that book. Does it mention any of those formidable characters by name? There certainly are some monarchists here, and Putin does throw them a bone from time to time (mostly through rhetoric), but I wouldn’t overestimate their influence. They’re very much a niche group with no hope of success for the near future (which is why some of them gave up and ran away to found a geographically-ambiguous microstate, the Romanov Empire/the Sovereign State of the Imperial Throne). Radicals and nationalists are a broader group, but I’m not sure that any of them can seriously influence government policy. Perhaps by infiltrating the security apparatus… but even then, those at the top of it appear to be overwhelmingly pragmatic centrists, so it’s unclear how much influence their nationalist underlings might have on them.

  332. Xabier, this is more like it! This is the kind of criticism of Marxism I want to hear. I have responses to all your points (and in some of them you are right). But since there is currently a moritorium on further discussion of Marxism, I’ll save them for another time. I’ll be reading Arthur Young’s Travels in France http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/young-arthur-youngs-travels-in-france-during-the-years-1787-1788-1789 (I think this is the whole thing).

    Michael Martin, Fire in the Minds of Men looks very interesting and I’ve ordered a copy.

  333. Another fascinating post, Mr. Greer. I need to find time to read all 300+ comments.

    The planet has twice as many people as it did when I was born.

    How much of the increase in rent/housing prices is artificial, and how much is due to increasing demand/competition for the pieces of the same amount of planet surface? I realize this is not an easy question to answer even mathematically, without considering the changes in fashion for larger houses and more lavish groomed lawn!

    I look forward to the next step in your chain of reasoning.

  334. re: white trash I grew up in a blue-collar town that was so separated from the world economically that it had its own accent. We laugh loudly, shove people to make a point, and curse freely. I got made fun of for that accent post college and it kept me from getting a “real job”.

    We used the term white trash all the time. You didn’t want to end up like the white trash that lived on the other side of town. I’m still the only person in my extended family all sides to complete college and I graduated in 1991. Most of my family owns a business, drives truck or works in a labor job at a corporation.

    My husbands parents are 20 years older than my parents, and were federal government employees their whole life. They had kids in their 40’s (my parents in their 20’s) and so I am the white trash of my husband’s family. They don’t call me that as they never label anyone anything, but its the tone of voice when they talk to me. They talk to me slowly like I can’t understand things or ignore me. It used to frustrate me and make me angry when we were first married because all I wanted was to be accepted. Now I just don’t go visit them anymore. Why bother?

  335. Thanks JMG.

    Another youtube only guy who may have slipped your notice is Joe Rogan. He’s quite a strange phenomenon, a comedian/actor who became host of Fear Factor, a Japanese style endurance TV show in the 90s and then became commentator for the UFC. He seems to have become good friends with the fighters there and took up fighting and training himself. In the midst of this he has a strong interest in psychedelic drugs and is quite curious about things and brings guests on to learn things and spread unusual ideas. Again his conversations are all 2 – 3 hours but he’ll some times bring in guests like Peterson (even Rupert Sheldrake has been on!). I discovered Jocko Willink through him who is another unusual youtube/podcast guy (ex Navy Seal turned self help guy) his concepts of extreme ownership have to do with leadership in battle and loyalty for leaders towards their men.

    I am far from an expert on Rogan, so my bio might be a bit off, I actually mostly just stayed away from him for years (due to my own snobbery if I am honest) so was quite surprised to see what he was up to when I finally started to pay attention. I imagine the very things that kept me from him before are what attracted a lot of people to him and so I think he speaks to a very different audience from me. He’s on the left, but kind of centre left for the most part and is another advocate for free speech, which these days is basically a rallying cry for breaking the thought rules of the Cntrl-Left.

    Thanks,
    Johnny

  336. Re: Marxism. Fine in small groups, but it does not scale well at all. You can be loose about keeping track of resources and who owes who what in a small group of friends you trust highly but in a large low trust context, it is guaranteed to fail.

    A lot of conservative once thought as you do, if we just put the right people into office, we can fix it! And then they turned out to be worthless do-nothings. Still are by and large. No repeal of PPACA, no wall, even the milquetoast modest stuff is systematically sandbagged wherever it can be. The consensus on the far right is that voting for the right people is a waste of time. Your container analogy, the barrels are rusted out on the inside and taint everything you put in them.

  337. Re the Pepe the Frog article and Kek — they couldn’t tell the Egyptian images were of a goddess? She was wearing a dress! Just like Isis and Sekhmet et. al. Egyptian men wore kilts and headcloths. Duh – Wikipedia is your friend….

    Re “White Trash” – yeah, it began (by using the adjective) to distinguish it from other sorts of people who behaved that way. Now the term is “trailer trash” which is purely economic in nature and, as the author of the book pointed out, includes and stigmatizes honest low-income working people. But honest low-income working people still have pejorative terms for those who behave like trash. Also note the term “Eurotrash” for their jet-set counterparts.

  338. Before we begin, I had one more round of Marxist trolls, mostly doing the “we’re so disappointed in you” sort of concern trolling. No doubt they are, but then life is full of little disappointments, isn’t it? 😉 So I think that’s over and we can go back to talking about the things this blog was started to talk about.

    Matthias, that’s an excellent point. Every ethnicity is in flux in space as well as in time, of course — that’s the nature of biological as well as cultural reality — and as with most things in the real world, boundaries are zones rather than lines.

    Will, dear gods, I hope not. If that turns out to be the case, then the return of the repressed is a lot further along in the “progressive” end of things than I’d thought.

    Ray, to my mind the word “logic” itself defines its limits. The word comes from the same root as logos, and the simplest meaning is “stuff having to do with words.” Logic is extraordinarily powerful as a way of checking any kind of language — including mathematics, of course — for internal consistency. It’s where language stops and the wordless cosmos begins that logic no longer applies.

    Simon, I ain’t arguing. For reasons I’ll explore a little later, I think that we’ve dodged the bullet of civil war, and though there’s going to be a lot of turmoil ahead, some of the abuses that made civil war almost happen are already beginning to be addressed constructively. More on this as we proceed.

    Inohuri, so noted. My humor tends to be kind of opaque to a lot of people, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Steve, thank you. It’s the people like you who are trying to remind the Left of what it once stood for that give me reason for optimism.

    Daniel, ding! We have a winner. You can tell that protest is serious if it has a constructive alternative to offer. If it doesn’t, it’s basically either whingeing or pro forma protests by those who don’t actually want change but don’t want to face their complicity in the system.

    Yorkshire, of course! It’s a central tenet of Marxist theory that whenever Marxism doesn’t produce the results that Marxist theory says it ought to produce — and of course it never does — either there are unrelated factors interfering, or it’s all capitalist lies, or it’s unfair of you to mention it, or the regime or dictator in question wasn’t a real Marxist. If I could use the same logic in defense of capitalism I could make capitalism look truly angelic, which of course it isn’t…

    Xabier, exactly. Thank you.

    Bruno, oog. I’m sorry to hear that.

  339. @JMG “Can you name a terrorist organization that actually succeeded in its political aims? No, I didn’t think so” Sometimes John you do get a little carried away by your own rhetoric. How about the Irgun and the Haganah? It worked absolutely splendidly for them. It worked also tolerably well for the IRA. I am sure one could scour the history books for more examples.

  340. Mr Greer and all,

    Late to the party, as usual. But heck, if I get there before it ends I have not missed it, right? So, I have forgotten who mentioned Rogan but I have a quick observation here. Rogan may say he’s a leftie but when I hear him he comes off as far too open minded to be stuck in an identity box. He appears to truly want to learn about any and all points of view that interest him. Commendable in my book.

    JMG, you said Peterson has helped a number of younger men. True enough, but he has helped me too and I’m far from younger. Far. Right now my focus has been on learning how to think clearly and critically. In this vein you and Peterson hold a place of honor because you both require that I read your writings or listen to your speech carefully. Before I can come back with a criticism or a ‘gotcha’ I have to review the words carefully. This is training of the type I want and need most right now. (Truth be told, you both also have a rather subtle and dry way of expressing humor.)

    Gratitude for all you do!

    ’nuff for now, Aged Spirit

  341. Phil K, my guess is that there’s very little serious occultism in the upper echelons of society. My exposure to the spirituality of the very rich — and I had a fair number of encounters when I was doing the Grand Archdruid thing — is that it’s basically entertainment, on a par with Marie Antoinette et al. pretending to be shepherds and shepherdesses in their off hours. Their flunkeys put a lot of work into the debased forms of magic we call advertising and public relations, but as far as I can tell, that’s about it.

    Phil H., good question. We’ll have to wait and see.

    David, glad to hear it. The first step is to recognize that it’s (a) real and (b) in your mind, not in the universe around you. The practices you mentioned can certainly help; so can Transactional Analysis — the book Born to Win is a good practical intro to that.

    Spear, the laws I set out in Mystery Teachings aren’t logical and they aren’t reasonable. Like the universe, they simply are — and what they are, of course, is a set of attempts to talk about the way things happen in the universe of our experience, using the inadequate but unavoidable tools of human thought and language.

    David, thanks for this — and yes, that does sound like a good description. A lot of people are still going through a hangover, in the full gut-twisting sense of the word, from fifteen hundred years or so of Christian morality.

    Dewey, we were talking about the prejudices that middle class people and working class people have toward each other. You claimed they were equally bad. I pointed out that the middle class has, and exploits, power and privilege over the working class — and you immediately changed the subject and started talking about Donald Trump. Nothing new in that — privileged middle-class people nearly always change the subject in exactly that way when somebody points out that their behavior toward the working classes is the behavior of a privileged class abusing and exploiting a less privileged class.What’s more, I have every reason to think that you’re going to keep on talking about Donald Trump and pretend that I never mentioned the behavior of the middle class toward the working class — because after all, it’s central to middle class identity that they’re the good people, and all evil belongs to someone else. I’ll have a specific description of that habit to offer next week.

    Michael, agreed! Billington’s book is one of my favorites on that subject, vastly superior to Wilson’s hamfisted and partisan To The Finland Station.

    Christopher, I’ve read and enjoyed Carver’s essay online; I’ll put the other on the look-at list. Thank you.

    Lathechuck, funny. Of course they didn’t mention who used the term “white trash,” because then they’d have to deal with the reality of middle class bigotry toward the working classes.

    Sierra, yeah, that’s really weird.

    Justin, delighted to hear it!

    BoysMom, many thanks for the data points! That’s well worth knowing.

    Xabier, funny. I suspect you could find something identical in the struggles between the optimates and the populares in the Roman Republic, for that matter…

    Daniil, I’m certainly not suggesting that fascism is good just because Marxism has a higher body count. Again — and I’ve mentioned this several times now — my point is simply that there’s a bitter irony in the way that Marxists constantly yell about the horrors of Fascism, when Marxist regimes in the 20th century killed more than an order of magnitude more people than Fascist regimes did.

    Sylvia, good question. My back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that in the US, rents have risen considerably faster than the rate of increase of the population, though.

    Denys, I get that. Class bigotries are just as unpleasant to have to deal with as any other kind of bigotry…

    Johnny, interesting. Glad to hear it.

    Owen, at this point I think you’re no longer even paying attention. Where did I say that we can fix things by getting the right people into office? (May I offer you a hint? I didn’t.) It looks to me as though you’re arguing about what you think I ought to be saying rather than what I’m actually saying, and that’s not a useful way to have a conversation, you know.

    Patricia, the statue in question was a frog, not a woman with a frog’s head, so their confusion was a little more understandable.

    David, thanks for this.

    Olivier, I take it you didn’t read the previous comments.

    Aged Spirit, interesting. Thank you.

  342. @JMG “The new media that matter aren’t the big establishment news sites; the new media that matter are blogs, aggregators, and social media, which are still wide open.”

    What about the recent news stories like Facebook’s feed algorithm change eliminating 93% of traffic to conservative sites
    https://www.westernjournal.com/ct/on-heels-wj-study-gateway-says-fb-stopped-93-traffic-top-conservative-pages/

    Twitter’s shadow-banning
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-19/twitter-caught-censoring-conservative-journalists-site-wide-shadowbans

    And Google’s search algorithm changes that massively dropped traffic to socialist and anti-war news websites:
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/09/19/goog-s19.html

    Sure, blogs and alt-news sites themselves are wide open, but those big companies (all with close ties to the US security state) have a large degree of control over the amount of traffic they receive.

    I think they’re trying to be “wide open” to appearances but control the actual influence and spread of different viewpoints behind the scenes with powerful tools that are invisible to regular people. They probably don’t mind if a minority of smart people find content with “incorrect views” online as long as they can succeed in isolating them and forming a sort of mental containment zone, making it impossible for those few to talk to people in real life about the things they’ve read without being branded conspiracy theorists or traitors.

    (I speak from some recent experiences in trying to talk to some people, not even about anything particularly shocking, just some stuff about Syria that never gets reported on cable news, but it was enough to get into a nasty argument and be compared to Alex Jones, whom I don’t even watch)

  343. Gnat,
    I am sorry that you had that experience with a Tibetan Buddhist group. The Tibetan Buddhists groups that I have been with over the years were more open than that, but I did see enough people who took for granted the moral superiority of liberals and the Obama-Hillary branch of the Democratic party that I can easily imagine an experience like yours.
    I was also with a Zen-based group in Salt Lake City. Having to adapt to that strongly Mormon society at large and also having members who came from Mormon backgrounds, some of them working class, kept things more honest.
    The pity of it all is that the teaching of inherent buddhanature (you are already an enlightened Buddha, you just haven’t noticed it yet) is so profoundly subversive of _all_ hierarchies. If it is taken seriously.
    I hope you find folks with more genuinely universal compassion.

  344. JMG, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that noticing its smaller bodycount means that one approves of fascism (or else I would have been accusing myself of fascist sympathies as well). My point was more that the sheer amount of people killed matters far less than the underlying principle behind the killing for the purposes of moral assessment – and that this underlying principle was strikingly similar for both. But I do not think we disagree on that.

    As for the irony, it is there (and is even greater if you compare most Communist regimes with Mussolini’s Italy rather than Hitler’s Germany). Though I’d say there is a still greater irony in the fact that the worker state proved more repressive towards workers than the contemporary capitalist system it set out to oppose, especially in the first few decades of its existence.

  345. “What’s more, I have every reason to think that you’re going to keep on talking about Donald Trump and pretend that I never mentioned the behavior of the middle class toward the working class”

    I don’t know if you’ll still be commenting on this thread, but I didn’t realize that we were specifically considering only those who were privileged but not VERY privileged. That stipulated, I’d like to perform better than you expect and agree that plenty of white-collar-job people do seem to gain icky emotional comfort from looking down their noses at blue-collar folks … even when those folks actually make more money than they do. Rather the class equivalent of those morons who look down at people with darker skins than their own. As for me personally, I am happy to know that an average local plumber makes more than I do; he deserves it more. (I get a better class of dirt under my fingernails in my job.)

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the current post are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views expressed here, and I try to respond to each comment as time permits. Long screeds proclaiming the infallibility of some ideology or other, however, will be deleted; so will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed; so will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flamebaiting and the like -- I filled up my supply of Troll Bingo cards years ago and have no interest in adding any more to my collection; and so will sales spam and offers of "guest posts" pitching products. I'm quite aware that the concept of polite discourse is hopelessly dowdy and out of date, but then some people would say the same thing about the traditions this blog is meant to discuss . Thank you for reading Ecosophia! -- JMG

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