Monthly Post

“Wind is Changing!”

Of late my mind has been circling back to a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, one of the passions of my insufficiently misspent youth. The scene in question comes early in the third volume of that sprawling trilogy, as the cavalry of the kingdom of Rohan hurry to the rescue of their allies in the city of Minas Tirith.  Hostile armies block the way and all seems lost, but in the nick of time Ghân-buri-Ghân, chief of the tribespeople of the White Mountains, comes to their aid, showing the king of Rohan a hidden route that gets them past the enemy and into striking range of the battle that matters. All the while vast clouds of volcanic smoke have blotted out the sun.  As the riders of Rohan and their guides reach the edge of the battlefield, however, something shifts:

“Ghân-buri-Ghân squatted down and touched the earth with his brow in token of farewell. Then he got up as if to depart. But suddenly he stood looking up like some startled woodland animal snuffling a strange air. A light came in his eyes.

“‘Wind is changing!’ he cried, and with that, in a twinkling as it seemed, he and his fellows had vanished into the glooms, never to be seen by any Rider of Rohan again.”

As it turned out, Ghân-buri-Ghân was correct; the wind was changing, and with it a tide of events that was shaping the history of Middle-earth turned and began to flow the other way. That scene has been coming to mind, in turn, because some similar tide seems to be shifting around us in the affairs of our less romantic but equally troubled world. The wind is changing, and a great many of the apparent certainties of the recent past are much less certain than they once were.

One hint of change in the air came my way last week.  As I think most of my readers are aware, I host a weekly ask-me-anything session Mondays on my Dreamwidth journal for people who are interested in occultism. It gets a broad range of questions, as you can imagine. Monday before last, one question was from a young man who was trying to break the habit of masturbating to pornography, and who had noticed that something that wasn’t part of himself—something that seemed to have a personality and an agenda of its own—was  pushing him to keep up the habit.

A lot of people dismiss such things with sneering contempt—the reaction so often deployed just now to quash ideas that are too far out of step with the approved narratives of our time. As just noted, however, the point of my “Magic Monday” sessions is to field questions about occultism, and it so happens that traditional Western occultism has a fair amount to say about beings who don’t happen to have physical bodies, but can interact with human beings. Yes, the usual term for these beings is “spirits.” So the young man and I discussed what occultism has to say about this class of parasitic spirits and how to get rid of them. It was far from the only question I fielded that Monday, and once I closed things up I thought no more of it.

Wednesday came around, and half a dozen readers of mine let me know that Rod Dreher had posted an article, “Porn Is Demonic, Says Top Occultist,” which cited me at some length to bolster an argument that pornography ought to be banned by law.  Dreher’s an interesting cat; a senior editor at The American Conservative and an Eastern Orthodox Christian, he’s among the more thoughtful voices of the new Christian conservatism. Despite the differences between his religion and mine, some of our ideas occasionally come within shouting distance of one another. This wasn’t one of those points of agreement; I hadn’t said that pornography is demonic, after all, and I don’t agree that a legal ban on pornography is a useful notion. (It astonishes me that a century on, so many people still haven’t learned the lessons of the Prohibition fiasco.)

So I posted an essay on my Dreamwidth journal making these points, and between that and Dreher’s original post on The American Conservative, there was quite the lively discussion for a few days. Of course some Christians castigated Dreher for quoting an occultist, and of course some of them dragged out the shopworn lie that occultists worship the Christian devil. (No, we don’t, and it’s long been a source of wry amusement to me that so many Christians seem to think that the ninth commandment—“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”—doesn’t apply if their neighbor belongs to some other religion.)  Meanwhile, some Neopagans waded into the debate to castigate me.  Typical was one who said he’d been involved in Neopaganism for twenty years and had never encountered the ideas I’d discussed.

That didn’t surprise me at all. Back in the day—i.e., further back than the twenty years waved about by the commenter—most Neopagans had at least heard of Dion Fortune, the English occultist whose studies of the magical dimensions of sexuality have done most to shape my own take on the subject. Unfortunately that fairly basic degree of occult literacy is hard to find in today’s Neopagan scene, and don’t bother asking about less famous figures of occult history such as Andrew Jackson Davis and P.B. Randolph, who also had quite a bit to say about the subject. Ironically, Fortune’s work had plenty of influence on the Neopagan movement in its formative years; so, indirectly, did P.B. Randolph—his teachings reached Wicca’s inventor-in-chief Gerald Gardner by way of Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley, and did a lot to shape Wiccan concepts of sexuality and the Great Rite. You’ll find very few people in today’s Neopagan scene who know that, though.

All in all, it was a modest tempest in a couple of very small teapots, but it brushed up against collective cultural, political, and spiritual shifts on a much larger scale.

To begin with, the young man who asked my advice is far from alone. I’ve had other young men ask me similar questions. What’s more, off beyond the restricted circles in which it would occur to someone to seek advice from an occultist, there has emerged a substantial movement of young men who are uncomfortable with the roles of masturbation and pornography in their lives, and have decided to do something about it. You’ll find cryptic labels such as “nofap” and “pornfree” splashed across various corners of the internet these days, markers of a rising subculture that’s begun to explore the possibilities of self-discipline, and to reject the facile and heavily marketed notion that the only thing you can do with a desire is give into it, preferably by handing over money to a corporation somewhere.

Can this be taken too far? Of course. The opposite of one bad idea is usually another bad idea, and it’s entirely possible that a good share of the nofap subculture will manage to extract itself from the frying pan of obsessive sexual addiction only to plop into the fire of obsessive sexual repression, with its usual cargo of self-righteous ego preening, pervasive hypocrisy, and frantic hatred of the sexualized Other. That risk doesn’t make a movement toward the balanced middle ground a bad idea, nor does it justify the remarkably shrill pushback the nofap scene has gotten from the defenders of the status quo.

I’m thinking here of a recent and rather hysterical article in Rolling Stone—“hysterical” referring both to the emotional tone and the level of unintentional comedy—insisting that any young man who decides not to wallow in onanistic excess must surely be an alt-right Trump supporter who devotes the time he’s freed up from masturbation to stomping on women and minorities with hobnailed boots. No doubt I’m showing my age here, but I recall a time when liberals of the sort who read Rolling Stone were all over the notion that people ought to have the right to decide what kind of sexual expression is right for them, and when a good many people on the Left asked reasonable questions about the way that pornography promotes the objectification of women.

Those days are long gone now, and that isn’t just because pornography was most of what kept the internet from going broke in its early years.  It’s an interesting detail of history that certain kinds of repressive society fear what’s left of their virtues far more than they fear their vices. I’m thinking here of James Francis’ 1994 book Subversive Virtue:  Asceticism and Authority in the Second-Century Pagan World, which chronicles the pervasive hostility of the Roman imperial establishment toward the principled asceticism of the Stoic movement. Stoics were routinely exiled from Rome or subjected to other legal penalties. The logic is quite straightforward: those who are dominated by their passions are easy to dominate in other ways, while those who can control themselves pretty reliably can’t be controlled by anyone else.

Those historical parallels are on few minds these days. We’re used to think of youth subcultures as libertines, contending against a puritanical status quo. Now we’ve got a puritanical subculture of youth contending against a libertine status quo, and fielding the same sort of ranting condemnation from Rolling Stone that Rolling Stone itself used to get, before it sold out and became a well-polished mouthpiece for the corporate culture of our day. Wind is changing…

The handful of angry responses I fielded from Neopagans were themselves another marker of the changing wind, not least because the arguments they made were basically political in nature, evidence of the hollowing out of the movement they represent. I’m not sure how many people outside the Neopagan scene these days realize that Neopaganism at this point is in freefall. Look around and you can see the signs.  Twenty years ago, most urban areas in the US were dotted with “witch shops,” little stores catering to the Neopagan trade with books, herbs, trinkets, classes, and the like; nearly all of those have gone out of business since then. Witchvox, for many years one of the premier Neopagan networking sites, will be going offline forever at the end of the year; Pantheacon, for many years one of the largest Neopagan conferences, has announced that the conference next February will be its last.

There are plenty of reasons for the collapse of the Neopagan movement, and I discussed some of them in a talk I gave in 2009 (it’s reprinted in my anthology A Magical Education, on the off chance you’re interested). One reason I didn’t anticipate at the time is that a very large share of Neopagans in the US flung themselves into the attempt to use magic to overturn the results of the 2016 election, and—well, let’s just say the results have not exactly been a testimony to the power of Neopagan magic. It’s reached the point that when I read, a few weeks before the British general election earlier this month, that a group of British witches were setting out to use the same methods to win the election for Labour, I commented to my wife that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was sure to win by a landslide—as it then promptly did.

I’ve discussed at some length in this blog how magic—the art and science of causing change in consciousness in accordance with will—can be, and has been, used as part of a campaign for political change. To make that happen, though, you have to have a good technical mastery of the methods you’re using, you have to have a clear sense of the landscape of ideas and emotions you want to influence, and above all else, you have to realize that you can fail. That last detail is the stone over which the “Magic Resistance” in the US and the “Witch the Vote” project in Britain tripped, fell flat, and bloodied their noses.

I recall with some amusement the airy insistence, by one organizer of the campaign in the US, that since the arc of history bends toward justice, and since justice could only mean what he said it meant, the garbled symbolism and inept rituals he was deploying against Trump were sure to triumph. In some other world, maybe; in ours, the results of the “Magic Resistance” have been a textbook case of what happens when you take a foam rubber athame to a knife fight. Since too many of the people involved seem to be unable to consider the paired possibilities that their cause is not as just as they think it is and their grasp of magical theory and practice is inadequate to the considerable challenges of political magic, I expect to see most of them respond to their ongoing string of political defeats by deciding that magic obviously doesn’t work.

This sort of disillusionment is a common feature of a recognizable cycle in American history, in which the interests of the avant-garde cycle from politics to spirituality and back again over a period of about one human lifetime. Thus spirituality held sway as a focus of popular culture from the late 1880s through 1929, when the stock market and the Theosophical Society crashed very nearly together—the latter collapse is less famous than the former, but those who look up the early career of Jiddu Krishnamurti can learn all about it. Those who put all their hopes on an imminent transformation of the world were just as disappointed by the non-arrival of the World Teacher in 1929 as their descendants were by the failure of the pseudo-Mayan prophecies of 2012, and a great many of them reacted by abandoning spirituality altogether and turning to political action instead.

Politics thus took over as a central theme from the 1930s until the late 1970s, when the great wave of political innovation and activism that crested during the 1960s finished breaking and going back out to sea. It was replaced in turn by the New Age movement, Neopaganism, the second wave of Christian fundamentalism, and the “angry atheist” movement.  Now those are cracking beneath the weight of their failures, and the pendulum is heading the other way. Friends who watch youth culture have told me of young people they know burying themselves in the Federalist Papers, looking for a politics that transcends the crass kleptocracies of the present and offers some way out of the false choices being pushed on them by the corporate media.

So I wasn’t surprised to be denounced by Neopagans whose arguments were basically political in nature, and who demonstrated an embarrassing ignorance of teachings that were widely known in Neopagan circles a few decades ago. I expect to see new political ideas and movements springing up in the decades ahead, while existing alternative spiritual movements either buckle down for the long term and accept a period of contraction, on the one hand, or pop like soap bubbles on the other. That’s par for the course at such periods, just as similar processes affect alternative political movements at the other end of the cycle.

And occultism?  It will do what it always does in such periods, and circle back to established traditions. It was during the last period of political focus that Albert Reidel brought the modern alchemical revival to North America, Israel Regardie’s publication of The Golden Dawn laid the foundations for decades of American Hermeticism, and astrology quietly established itself as a major presence in American public life. It interests me to notice each Monday just how many people are interested in old-fashioned occultism of the sort Dion Fortune taught during the corresponding period of English cultural history. Wind is changing…

Of course things are shifting on a broader scale as well. The Conservative triumph in the recent British general election, as perceptive observers have pointed out, marks an immense shift in British political life. For a century it was axiomatic that the working classes voted Labour while the middle and upper classes voted Conservative. Under Tony Blair, Labour reoriented itself (as “New Labour”) to promote the interests of the middle classes against those of the working classes, while counting on the working classes to turn out and vote Labour anyway out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. That worked for a while, but it convinced Labour’s middle class leadership that they could tell the rank and file of the party what they were supposed to want, rather than listening to them and finding out what they actually wanted.

The rank and file eventually decided that the only way to get the Labour party leadership to listen to them was to speak in the language of electoral defeat. A great many working class Democrats in Midwest states decided to phrase things in the same language in the US election of 2016, though the Democratic leadership proceeded to stuff its fingers in its ears and shout “La, la, la, I can’t hear you” at the top of its lungs thereafter. That’s why it’s axiomatic among the Democratic mainstream that those who voted for Trump can only have done so because of racism, sexism, or some other currently unfashionable form of prejudice.  After all, to abandon that claim—disingenuous as it is—would be to admit that working people in America have their own needs and wants and interests, which are not necessarily the same as the ones their soi-disant betters, the self-proclaimed “good people,” wish to assign to them.

Will the new leadership of the Labour Party make the same mistake? If they do, there’s a good chance that the same working class voters will repeat themselves even more loudly at the next election. One way or another, though, the conventional wisdom of a century of British politics has been overturned. An equivalent upset is in process here in the United States, though I suspect it will take either a Trump victory in 2020 or a wave of indictments of Democratic Party apparatchiks to make that sink in.  Since we’re very likely to see both those happen over the course of the next year, though, we can take it as given.

One way or another, the wind is changing, and a great many other things can be expected to change in the years immediately ahead. As I recall the aftermath of Ghân-buri-Ghân’s utterance in the scene described at the beginning of this essay, for that matter, it occurs to me that the defenders of the conventional wisdom of our time might want to listen carefully for the sound of distant horns. Will they do so? That’s a question that occultists can’t answer.

415 Comments

  1. I can only comment on a person harboring ideas that have their own agency.

    Even from a strictly materialist point of view, psychological literature tells about the rare cases of dissociative personality disorder, and the far more common possession.

    Demons, of course, could be included in this model, and be considered as having agency of their own. It baffles me that someone could discard the possibility from start, just because it reeks of woowoo. Freud is to blame for this, with his “black tide of mud of occultism” comment in that chat he had with Jung.

  2. Greetings JMG, AD Emeritus.

    The thread you referred to mentioned the relative smartness of deities vs demons. Which led me to recall something I’ve been thinking on of late: The nature of ancestral deities, and our relationship to the beings our very distant ancestors worshipped.

    I’m thinking specifically of the pre-captivity religious practices of the Israelites. I’ve been reading and watching everything by Margaret Barker that I can, and her hypothesis that before King Josiah, the Hebrews followed a faith Very Similar to that practiced by their Canaanite relatives has been a wonderful Revelation for me… Again it turns out to be a case of whom the working class Israelites wanted to worship (and did) as opposed to what certain elites wanted them to worship.

    So I’m a mixed bag of genes like most of us. The Semitic/German side of the family is thoroughly Lutheran, has been for generations. The Anglo/Celtic side is Protestant. I used to consider myself an aspiring Buddhist, but I’ve also looked at the various Schools of the Western Mysteries, and looked at the Servants of the Light (a positive experience). But my dream life wouldn’t stop with the Temples, the equal armed crosses, and powerful patient women of various ages.

    So now I’m taking Margaret Barker’s hypothesis regarding the place of the Temple in pre-captivity Hebrew worship very seriously. To the point: the Grand Old Lady of the Temple, Ashratah, seems like someone I can finally worship … But of interest to me are all the generations between then and now. It’s been more than 2600 years since the Deuteronomist reformers chased Her and Her Son out of the Temple. To your knowledge, is it unheard of for a Diety to be interested in the very distant descendents of her earlier worshippers? Does devotion follow lines of generic inheritance?

    Curious to Know. This is only one of the things I want to ask you about, but they are all related. Thanks.

  3. Greetings. It’s Michael Moorcock’s birthday today. Beside’s his sprawling multiversal novels, one essay I read by him in particular remained with me. It was in a book called “Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties “. In it, not only does he talk about the violence against women often involved -and the financial straits many are in to do such work- but also the poverty of imagination reliance on porn induces in the people who use it. That was what I remember the most from it. His argument was that for all the so-called sexual liberation of our society and because of that vis a vis pornography is harmless, it really showed little sexual imagination or true eroticism. A truly sexually in touch & erotically liberated society would not have recourse to a mediated third party sexuality played out on a screen. Rather than being a sign of sexual liberation, it is a sign of not really being in touch with our sexuality at all. If society were, would so many people -would so many men?- have recourse to this simulated sex that is so far removed from the real thing?

    Happy Solstice to All.

  4. Fascinating post, thank you. And midway through, I took a break to order _Subversive Virtue_ from Amazon. (Yes, yes, I know what you’re going to say, but I live in Central Europe, and as far as I can tell, Amazon is just about the only way for me to get English language books without paying through the nose for shipping!) Then I finished reading. 🙂

  5. As stepdad to two sons – one a teen, the other a tween – I’ll just share the following bit of anecdotal data, which may reflect part of a larger sea-change as well. The elder son chose to rebel by dabbling in “Satanic magik”, whereas the roughly one decade younger son finds that quite passé and enthusiastically embraces the Hellenistic polytheistic tradition instead! As a side note, a series of books by a Disney distributed author certainly piqued my youngster’s interest in Zeus, Athena and Co., which leads to the question just how widespread this polytheistic trend may very well be.. And it may come as no surprise that neither of them were interested in actually reading Tolkien, tho I tried my best – sigh.. (speaking if which, John, sounds like we spent “silmaril” amounts of time devoted to good old JRR 😉

  6. There’s another way the winds are changing I’m tracking: the fallout from YouTube being fined for violating COPPA. This includes YouTube changing their rules to make sure they’re safe, while placing the liability on the channels. This will make using it much more risky; and very likely will deter plenty of people from posting on YouTube. Frankly though, if it’s too large for them to moderate, it’s too big. YouTube, and most of the internet, needs to be cut down to a more manageable size.

    Most of the fallout from it comes from the fact that it looks like the FTC is actually going to enforce the few laws governing the internet, even against the big players, and this hasn’t been the case until now. Of course, one of the costs of this compliance is that it’ll make the internet cost more by getting rid of one of the hidden subsidies. I hope this goes quite a bit further: the lack of regulation on the internet has let things get quite toxic.

  7. “Since too many of the people involved seem to be unable to consider the paired possibilities that their cause is not as just as they think it is and their grasp of magical theory and practice is inadequate to the considerable challenges of political magic, I expect to see most of them respond to their ongoing string of political defeats by deciding that magic obviously doesn’t work.”

    And thus the Mysteries protect themselves…

  8. The Wind is changing! Absolutely. There is a vibrant tremble in the air. I feel it physically, spiritually and mentally.

    Asceticism is one traditionally witty and resource preserving answer, to imperial overstretch.

    There are increasingly awakenings, gatherings of people with grievances, new experiments to challenge the order and approach the future other than before. An emergency bloom to spread survival germs for the upcoming storm.

  9. There is a logical progression from ” having another religion” than Christianity to ” worshipping the Devil”. I can understand it’s frustrating if you don’t actually do that. But in the Christian worldview there are only two sources of power. So if you attempt to source spiritual power or actually succeed in exercising a spiritual power, that is not seen as from or not acknowledged as from God (the God as described in the Bible), then it must ( as a matter of logic) be from the Devil ( the Devil as described in the Bible) and you are therefore one of his followers/ worshippers, knowingly or unknowingly, or you wouldn’t have any power. In fact, we see the whole world through that lens, including in respect of other Christians on some occasions, for example, there is a split between mostly reformed/ Calvinistic type churches and the Pentecostal type churches, with regard to spiritual manifestations, which are described as either from God or the Devil (depending on the company you are keeping). This is very mainstream stuff, not fringe. In fact, there is a verse in the Bible which seems to back it up which says when the Israelites were worshipping idols, they were worshipping demons. This is quite interesting on one level, because Paul in the New Testament described covetousness as idolatry, and on that basis, you could make an argument that, when we give into our base desires, we are always worshipping demons. This seems to me very similar to the Greek myths and the idea about making a sacrifice to Aphrodite, for example, when it comes to actual certain activity. The anecdote you told about pornography is somewhat interesting in that light. There is also a whole different discussion which could be had about the idea of choosing either life and death, which is very strong in Judaism and Christianity, and how your activities are seen in a moral sense to contribute positively or negatively to either dynamic. The fact is whether you worship the Devil or not is actually possibky a lot more complex in Christian terms than what outsiders ( and also indeed some Christians) may think it is. I think C S Lewis made an interesting point in the Last Battle about this, with regard to who actually took the act of worship. I still haven’t personally resolved this to my own satisfaction, but thank you so much for such an interesting discussion point, amongst others!

  10. Dear JMG,

    I confess a great curiosity to what forms of occultism will develop with these new conditions. My personal hope is that it is able to incorporate the best achievements of the past thirty years, which certainly went in different directions than occultism had gone prior. What may those achievements be?

    First of all, the occult boom of the past thirty years had a major focus on Earth spiritualities. Reading Dion Fortune and other Golden Dawn initiated writers there is a big focus on different planes of existence. Something that many of the different currents of occultism of the last few decades have had a great focus on the powers of the Earth, the seasonal cycle, natural magic, etc. The basic stance of “we’re okay where we are.”

    Second, there seems to have been an opening up of more possibilities of polytheist worship. Heathenry looks likes it’s here to stay, as does Druidry and I’ve been surprised by the number of other polytheistic faiths. This strikes me as an excellent trend; it allows for the eccentricity and freedom of the Aquarian Age to find manifestation. The Christianity of a lot of the occultism, such as Israel Regardie’s work, has an emphasis on Piscean unity.

    Third, I think that the discussion, and the practical applications of Patron deities is a huge shift that has huge implications. Reading Dion Fortune, she seemed rather leery of folks who weren’t extremely Solar in their spiritual makeup. She discusses how effeminate, homosexual men are Netzachic, for instance, but IIRC discusses that as something of a personal problem. With the new paradigm, which I credit to the past few decades of occultism’s development in the Western World, there is now the idea that those effeminate, homosexual men may be Netzachic and that may be totally okay.

    The opening up of diversity of inclination in the occult world is, to my mind, a major departure from at least what I’ve read of Fortune. Of course, I greatly respect Dion Fortune — she’s appeared in my dreams and in my meditations and I enjoy her presence greatly, not to mention her books. Still, the past few decades of occultism have gone in some directions she didn’t anticipate, and some of that strikes me as worthy of preservation as to pass on to the next occult boom.

    I’m curious, JMG, your thoughts on the legacies of the popular occultism that is rapidly going out to sea? You have a much more comprehensive understanding of occultism than I do, so I ask your perspective.

  11. It seems to me that one of the causes for the collapse of the Neopagan movement is that Neopaganism on the one hand and the current left-wing and social justice warrior movement with their dysfunctionalities have become too closely connected for Neopaganism not to suffer the fallout of their failure. On Resilience.org, there is already an article which denounces the British voting system because it yielded an absolute majority for the Tories.

    The most astounding thing in all this is that there are quite a few people, not only in the United States, who don’t see through all the media propaganda despite its hackneyedness. From the outside, the doings of the Left increasingly look like Groundhog Day on steroids.

  12. Packshaud, Freud was simply expressing a prejudice, or perhaps it would be better called a visceral panic, pervasive in Western societies in his time and ours. The thought that the individual psyche isn’t the sole, isolated monarch of its own kingdom of consciousness, that it shares space in that realm with many other minds — not all of them embodied, and many of them far greater than itself — is perhaps the deepest terror of the modern Western mind. Jung was exceptional in that he could step part of the way outside that fear, but even he couldn’t handle the idea that the archetypes he studied might be reflections in the human mind of something extrahuman.

    Disposium, the Hindus have a concept I find very useful in this setting. In some Hindu scriptures the gods — Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, etc. — are job titles rather than unique individuals, and in each age of the world, different souls fill those positions and manifest the principles those gods exist to manifest. When an old deity suddenly shows new life — something that seems to happen very reliably in the history of religions — it seems at least possible to me that someone new has just been hired for that position, so to speak, and even that it may have been vacant for a while. One way or another, if you feel called to reverence the goddess in question, by all means do so; a home altar, a little incense, and a few minutes of prayer morning and evening is all it takes.

    Justin, well, happy birthday to Moorcock, then! I haven’t followed a lot of his recent stuff but I was a major fan of his pulp fantasy in my younger days. His point’s a good one, too. One thing I really recommend, for people who want to understand just how dreary pornography is, is to read the naughty literature of an earlier era. You can get a lot of the “spicies,” the naughty end of the pulp magazines, in PDF format online today; since nobody gets especially excited these days by the mere thought of a woman with her clothes off, it’s painfully clear just how dull most of the stories in the “spicies” were — all they had to offer was the frisson of nudity and implied sex — and it becomes fairly easy to realize just how dull our equivalent is today, with nothing to offer but people making various spasmodic motions.

  13. I actually think the administrative state has done a very good job of reigning in Donald Trump – his Twitter feed nowadays resembles nothing so much as an endless slew of hostage pleas. The following tweet is an excellent example:

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1207355923573989376

    It’s amazing that the nominally most powerful person on Earth has been reduced to having to do that. Someone like Xi Jinping or Recep Erdogan must find it both baffling and hilarious. No other Western leader would be forced to behave so pathetically. From an admittedly outside point of view, it looks as though the US political system has totally failed; that it’s been strangled by a surfeit of checks and balances. It’s notable that some of Trump’s erstwhile supporters are now starting to wonder if more direct routes to regime change might be more appropriate, e.g. here: https://theamericansun.com/2018/10/25/the-inconsistent-radicalization-of-the-conservative-pundit/

    On the same website the balance of forces is also being assessed: https://theamericansun.com/2018/10/24/american-shitshow-the-military-doesnt-matter/

    I think the idea that the Trump election headed off a civil war may need to be reassessed, because even if he is re-elected, I’m far from sure he can overcome the resistance of the regime.

  14. I certainly agree that there really does seem to be a change in the wind (or tides or stars) and 2020 is gearing up to be break point or transition to something different.

    There is the American election – I really don’t know how this one is going to turn out but I am sure there will be at least ½ of the country upset with the outcome.

    From a surplus energy economics point of view the world no longer has the surplus energy to support an global economy that grows in prosperity. And an economy that does not grow can’t have our banking system. (the FED has been acting weird lately, injecting 100’s of billions into the banking system)

    The arctic permafrost has now shifted from a sink to a large and growing source of carbon in the atmosphere. (this year equal to Japan’s CO2 output)

    The American empire looks like it is going the way of the Soviet Empire.

    And 2020 is the year of a grand mutation in astrology, do you think 2020 will be a TSW moment for mundane astrology?

  15. In the UK, a few notable remain supporting personalities continue to argue their case on Twitter in an almost deranged fashion. Remarkably though, it seems that the election on the 12th December has actually settled the Brexit argument. For the first time in around 4 years the subject is not dominating the airwaves and daily conversations have turned to other subjects. Presumably Leavers are quietly satisfied with the situation and most Remainers are simply not in the mood to revisit such a painful encounter with reality so soon after the event.
    My guess is that the passing of a Withdrawal Bill into law at the end of January will be treated as a non event by the media, and the negotiations of a free trade agreement with Europe will be banished to the back pages of the business sections of the papers.
    Speaking personally, I’m ready to leave the subject behind, and concentrate on other, more enchanted matters. The whole thing has been something of an eye opener and I have a mountain of books, study, and practice waiting for me. One lifetime is scarcely sufficient. How fortunate therefore…

  16. Dear JMG,
    This was so very interesting! I fell down the rabbit hole for a bit reading all that had preceded that “little tempest”. I am fascinated and heartened by the fact that Rod Dreher reads your blog JMG because I do too and I am deeply Catholic but also deeply appreciative of your point of view and your amazing intellect (not to mention writing skill). I also think some of what I might categorize as “mystical” (like the etheric plane) should be taken seriously. I also brought my girls up in the tradition of Waldorf education so I have a healthy respect for Theosophy and Steiner. I feel like many stars in my own universe just aligned a bit! Anyway, enough fan-girling! You might find this amusing: I’m using some of my Christmas money to buy 3 of your books along with works by Sigrid Undset, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Alice von Hildebrand and Denise Levertov. I tell you this only to illustrate that you are in good company.
    Sincerely,
    Dana

  17. Thank you Mr. Greer,

    Given this article I have to ask, have you ever used magic aimed towards achieving political goals? If so was it effective? If not, then why not given your intense interest in both politics and magic?

  18. John–

    I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around the notion that not consuming pornography makes one a racist, sexist pig. How does that work again? [shakes head]

    On the purely political front, I fear your brief assessment of the US situation (in light of the recent British vote) is very much on-point. I see little-to-no movement toward any understanding of the shifting circumstances on the Dem side. In the primary polls, the various alternate flavors-of-the-month have surged and fallen back, leaving Biden in his steady front-position spot yet. The Warren/Sanders interplay has been interesting, but at the end of the day, I suspect we’ll be back in 2016, with Biden playing the role of HRC and Sanders playing himself.

    I am hopeful of a rising youth demographic looking back to our founding principles of limited government. Perhaps federalism and the notion of a federal republic of semi-sovereign states with certain, specifically-defined and narrowly-constrained powers delegated to a common central government may yet have life in it!

    Assuming the President’s re-election, I will be curious to see what the longer-term impact of that event will be on 1) the make-up of our party system, and 2) how the various sub-populations resort themselves into new coalitions.

  19. Dear Naomi,

    If I may;

    In response to:

    “This is quite interesting on one level, because Paul in the New Testament described covetousness as idolatry, and on that basis, you could make an argument that, when we give into our base desires, we are always worshipping demons. This seems to me very similar to the Greek myths and the idea about making a sacrifice to Aphrodite, for example, when it comes to actual certain activity.”

    For full disclosure I am a passionate devotee of Aphrodite. She is my patron Goddess, and I make sacrifices of frankincense to Her every single day. I perform other devotional acts as regularly, and others less with less frequency. If by their fruits ye shall know them, my devotion to Aphrodite has made me far more chaste than I was before hand, it has caused me to value my relationship with my family much more, and it has inspired me to be more civically engaged, I do not use cuss words, and frequently I do work to become a kinder and more compassionate person. My devotion to Aphrodite has even caused me to encourage Christians to worship their God.

    I think it bears noting that within Greek religion Aphrodite is much, much more than sex, carnality, and lust. Much of Plato’s Symposium concerns this. For one, there are different titles that She holds; Aphrodite Pandemos — Aphrodite of the People, is more associated with sexuality. Aphrodite Urania is associated with the Mysteries of Beauty, and we read in Hesiod that when She emerged from the sea, flowers grew in Her footsteps. Related to Aphrodite Urania is Aphrodite en Kepois, Aphrodite of the Gardens, who rules the fertility of gardens. Aphrodite is also credited as the Goddess who causes love between Gods and mortals. There are something like twenty other Titles that I know of that Aphrodite holds, as well. My point is that from the Greek perspective Aphrodite and Her works are sacred, the very opposite of base. I have not had sex for the past 6 years and, indeed, I consider my celibacy an extremely important aspect of my devotion to Aphrodite. While I do not claim to be a priest of Aphrodite, her priests often did practice celibacy, so I am participating in something of a historical tradition.

    The idea that Aphrodite is just the act of sex, lust, and carnality simply is categorically false in the context of Greek religion. Furthermore, She is an Olympian and to hate Her was considered very dangerous. Euripides excellent play _Hippolytus_ makes this point, and, in a different way, so does Plato’s Phaedrus.

  20. I regularly post comments on Minnpost, a left-leaning website mostly focusing on Minnesota news, but delving into national politics. There, though I have never voted for a Republican, I defend the working class, and Trump from what I perceive as a classic neoliberal regime change attempt.

    I am always astonished how venomous the responses I get from liberals for daring to suggest that getting in bed with the CIA/FBI/NSA and their Mockingbirds in corporate media, the deep state and the eternal war profiteering complex, is not an effective electoral response to 2016. It is often the same if I suggest it was working class economics and liberal abandonment of working people (not racism/misogyny) that led to Trump winning. The same if I suggest embracing illegal immigrants while shaming working class people is nuts. The same if I say impeaching Trump despite little support in the Senate is an abuse of the power of impeachment. The same if I suggest getting in bed with neoliberals wanting regime change in Russia is insane. The same if I suggest all this adds up to a potential Trump landside win in 2020.

    Because Dems have become the imperial party, I would vote for Trump if he weren’t so keen on polluting and plundering the earth, if he weren’t filling the DC swamp with kleptocrats, and if I weren’t otherwise repulsed by establishment pseudo-republicanism.

    I believe in the potential of the American experiment. I believe in returning power to the people. I believe in restoring America, particularly the land, waters and the rural. I’m not sure though, there are enough people who would fight for such a restoration, or just the restoration of some long failed status quo consumerism/resource exploitation.

  21. “The thought that the individual psyche isn’t the sole, isolated monarch of its own kingdom of consciousness, that it shares space in that realm with many other minds — not all of them embodied, and many of them far greater than itself — is perhaps the deepest terror of the modern Western mind.”

    When I was an atheist, I actually found the concept of being alone with my own thoughts far more terrifying and depressing than the alternative. I had to get over the fear of being utterly alone in order to be a good atheist. Now that I’m no longer atheist, it is actually reassuring to know I don’t live in an echo chamber of my own creepy imagination. Long story short: I don’t know what the heck they’re afraid of!

    FYI to E Hu and those who have interest in the Greek gods: I’m currently putting together some simple tunes I have written to go with some of the Orphic hymns and I will be including links to free sheet music so you can play the series (on guitar, maybe keyboard) on your own. This is a project I’ll be working on over my Winter Break. This may be of interest to the polytheists out there. When I publish them, they will likely show up at my Bandcamp. There is only one Druid-y song on there currently, and the same song is a lyric video on Youtube, which is not an Orphic hymn.

    Nevertheless, surely check back over the Winter Break and I think I’ll get additional uploads done by then:

    https://queeniemusic.bandcamp.com/releases

  22. Is there a form of political magic that involves memorising the layout of the government building and visualising doing rituals in it?

    If you could design and build a new parliament (or congress, assembly, etc) building from scratch, and had public support to do so, what would be good occult influences to incorporate in it? Could the rituals and procedures also be improved to lend some magic to optimal operation of the government?

  23. “I recall a time when liberals of the sort who read Rolling Stone were all over the notion that people ought to have the right to decide what kind of sexual expression is right for them, and when a good many people on the Left asked reasonable questions about the way that pornography promotes the objectification of women.” Yet now, so many on the Left try to convince women that pornography (and sex work, and self objectification) is somehow empowering. What a world!

  24. Hi JMG,

    This essay is an interesting synchronicity from my point of view. I am currently in the middle of writing a novel which unexpectedly started becoming an allegory on porn usage and, in the last couple of weeks, has been steadily losing its allegorical nature. I think it’s going to end up as a satire or farce.

    Could you recommend the main writings of Fortune and others that deal with the magical dimensions of sexuality.

    Cheers,
    Simon

  25. You mentioned that the Roman elite exiled stoics. Of course, one of the greatest Roman emperors — Marcus Aurelius — was a stoic, and this was public knowledge at the time. Many other members of the elite also were. Some of them indeed were exiled or forced to commit suicide by corrupt emperors.

    It seems to me that Stoicism is undergoing something of a revival at present, due to its popularization by Ryan Holiday, Donald Robertson, James Stockdale and a number of other writers. Could a revival of interest in Stoicism be another sign of the changing wind?

  26. Hello JMG,

    Thank you for another insightful article. Two questions on the ever-popular topic of sex:

    1) Related to your views on pornography, I’m curious whether you have any opinions on the “oldest profession”. The commonality is that in both cases, you have individuals being paid to perform sex acts. However, one occurs on a screen and the other in real life. I’m guessing that, as a supporter of freedom, you would oppose a legal prohibition, but consider the activity itself unsound? Is there any difference on the occult level between paid sex and its unpaid versions? I imagine that it’s a step up from autoeroticism, but something tells me the transfer of energy is not quite the same in the two cases.

    2) Are there any sexually sane alternatives for individuals who, for one reason or another (mental illness, physical disability, social withdrawal, etc.), are unable to obtain a partner?

  27. To Disposium: Before the Babylonian captivity, the non-royal Judeans worshipped much life the rest of Canaan. The whole point of the Yahweh cult was to change that.

    The best resource I know is Karen Anderson’s The Great Transformation. After the Captivity, all Judeans started to become priests, taking on the extensive set of rules of Orthodoxy, that only the royal priest originally had to obey.

  28. “In some Hindu scriptures the gods — Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, etc. — are job titles rather than unique individuals, and in each age of the world, different souls fill those positions and manifest the principles those gods exist to manifest. When an old deity suddenly shows new life — something that seems to happen very reliably in the history of religions — it seems at least possible to me that someone new has just been hired for that position, so to speak, and even that it may have been vacant for a while.”

    I wonder if this might have happened with the Greek gods recently. I know I’m far from the only person who feels called to them, and it makes a certain amount of sense to think that part of the odd culture of the late classical age was those gods leaving. This also now has me wondering if the changing of the gods is tied to the shift in astrological ages…..

    With regards to what Violet has said, about Aphrodite, I’d also like to note that my few experiences of her have left me with a firm understanding of something it seems a lot of people don’t get: Aphrodite is not really about sex. She’s about love and beauty, and while it often includes sex, sex without any tenderness and affection between people is not really part of her domain.

    I will freely admit that I don’t have much of a relationship with her, but I do make the occasional offering, and am sharing my two cents on the topic.

  29. Hey hey JMG,

    I’ve been thinking about the intersection of predictable trends and unpredictable contingencies for the last several years. That is that certain trends and changes can be seen in advance. Here let’s use Spengler and say the 2nd religiosity and Caesarism. But the Trump or Clinton in 2016 was contingent on individuals and smaller less predictable trends, if small number of things had been different we would have had Trump vs Sanders. We still would have had an insurgent populist, but it would have been a different populist with different goals.

    The Mexicans have a saying that I like “Nothing changes until it changes” meaning that things go on in the same way and shape and with the appearance of frustratingly dysfunctional permanence until one day they completely change.

    The thing to bear in mind is that on that one day the events are already in motion. All the teams, all of the players, and all of the forces are already in position when that one day comes to pass. The time to have influence of what comes out the other side of those important contingent moments is well before they happen. Things, like, oh, let’s say recruiting the some hobbits or starting a reading room need to happen before the big battle. By the time the winds have started to change the hour is already growing late.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  30. Irena, if that’s the best way for you to get English language books, by all means. When Amazon gets broken up on antitrust charges, I hope there’s still a venue for that!

    e Hu, that’s very promising! Well, except for your boys’ lack of interest in Tolkien. Yes, I was one of those geeky kids who used to sign high school yearbooks in Elvish.

    Will, yes, I heard about that — and I also consider it to be a very good sign.

    Justin, true enough!

    Hubertus, it’s an exciting time.

    Naomi, yes, I’m familiar with that way of thinking. It’s one of the main things that has made Christianity so prone to outbursts of murderous mass violence down through the years. Believing that everyone who doesn’t worship your god must worship your devil makes it very easy for Christians to convince themselves that Jews, Pagans, et al. ought to be tortured to death or slaughtered in war as punishment for their supposed wickedness. Consider me an optimist, but I hope that someday Christians get around to remembering that comment of Jesus about “by their fruits ye shall know them,” and notice that the fruit of this particular doctrine has been hideously bitter.

    Violet, I’m by no means sure what’s going to come of it all. At least for the moment, it looks as though Heathenry has established much deeper roots than Neopaganism has, and will be around for the long term; at least for the moment, it looks as though polytheism is in the ascendant in the occult scene — but it’s early days yet. We’ll have to see.

    Booklover, that’s a crucial point, of course. One of the things that has hollowed out Neopaganism is the tendency — going all the way back to the dawn of the movement — to confuse political empowerment and spiritual empowerment.

    Sven, funny. I missed that.

    Phil K, there’s nothing new in that; Lincoln and FDR, the last two presidents who presided over this kind of change, also spent their entire presidencies bogged down in a recalcitrant establishment. Nonetheless, by the time they left offfice, the tide was flowing their way strongly enough that over the decades that followed, the old order crumbled away. I see the same thing happening in the present case.

    Skyrider, we’re definitely moving into a period of convulsive change, and the points you’ve raised are among the signs of that. As for mundane astrology, we’ll see — I’ll be posting plenty of material about the Grand Mutation as it approaches.

    Andy, that’s got to be an immense relief! I can imagine how restful it would be if the corporate media and its political flunkeys here stopped shrieking “Orange Man Bad!” at the top of their lungs every minute of every day…

    Dana, thank you for this. I can certainly read Catholic writers with a great deal of enjoyment even though I don’t share their religion — JRR Tolkien comes to mind! — so I’m glad to hear it works the other way.

    Stephen, the four magical virtues are to know, to dare, to will, and to be silent. (One of my teachers back in the day used to phrase this “to know, to dare, to will, and to shut the f*** up!”) The competent mage doesn’t talk about what he’s doing or how he’s doing it — and especially not in a setting as public as this one…

    David BTL, the sheer incoherence of the conventional wisdom at this point is one of the signs that things are in flux. When the defenders of the status quo can’t open their mouths without uttering absurdities, you know change is at hand! At this point it doesn’t actually matter whether Trump wins or loses; even if Adam Schiff’s wildest dreams come true and Trump is removed from office, that’s not going to change anything that matters, because hundreds of young, ambitious politicians have learned from him (and now from Boris Johnson as well) that giving the working classes what they want is a ticket to political power. The consensus is broken, and there is an alternative; over the next decade or so, I expect to see Trumpian populism become an inescapable political force across the English-speaking world, and in some European countries as well.

    William, they can’t admit that they’ve spent the last three or four decades deliberately throwing the working classes under the bus in order to prop up their own economic standing. That’s the skeleton in the closet of the modern Left, and the more impossible it becomes to ignore that fact, the more hysterical I expect the Left to get.

    Kimberly, I think part of it is a hangover from the notion that God is out to get you, and is watching you moment by moment in the hope that he can catch you doing something bad and fling you into Hell for all eternity. (Yes, I know that this isn’t what Christianity teaches, but that’s very often the way it comes across; when I encountered Christian proselytizers in my childhood, for example, that’s what it sounded like to me!) Compared to that, a silent empty cosmos is something of a relief…

    Yorkshire, (a) I haven’t seen that done, but it might be worth experimenting; (b) that’s a subject for a book, not a brief comment on a blog! Yes, you could certainly do that, and that was standard practice in most human societies until modern times.

    Bobbygrant, no argument there!

    Simon, how familiar are you with Fortune’s ideas more generally? Her main books on the subject are The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage and The Problem of Purity, but those were for public consumption and need to be read in conjunction with her private papers — The Circuit of Force is especially important here — and her novels, especially The Goat Food God and The Sea Priestess, to get a clear idea of how to read between the lines. With regard to other writers, P.B. Randolph’s Eulis! is a good place to start.

  31. Walter, I certainly hope so!

    Anonymous, making prostitution illegal doesn’t make it go away — is there any place in the US, for example, where it doesn’t flourish? It just guarantees that the women in question will be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and that sensible public health measures can’t be put in place. All things considered, making it legal, licensed, and taxed is the better option. I also think that there are possibilities to professional sexuality that current conditions don’t really make possible. The so-called “temple prostitutes” of the ancient world weren’t simply sex workers, they were priestesses, and worked with the higher dimensions of sexuality in a religious and spiritual context. And, as you’ve suggested, paid sexual services are an alternative to those who are excluded for one reason or another from ordinary relationships.

    Will, I think so, and I think there’s very good reason to believe that the change of astrological ages is involved. Neptune, the planetary ruler of the Piscean age, is the planet of unity — of the higher unities of mysticism, but also of the degraded unities of alcohol and drug addiction, and of madness. I don’t think it’s accidental that dogmatic monotheisms swept the world during an age ruled by Neptune — and with that in mind, it’s not accidental that a healthy polytheism seems to be returning now that that age is over.

    Tim, yep. That’s why I don’t worry too much when the things I’m trying to set in motion don’t show much sign of movement yet. Everything has to be in place before things really start happening.

  32. Excellent article John. I agree that the winds of society are changing. At heart, it is a cultural change brought about by a clash of cultures. Culture drives politics and economics.

    For the past 30 years or so, the cosmopolitan globalists have been in ascendant. Their faith, that open markets and borders would lead to a peaceful utopia has been proven false by events. All the more reason for them to double down. This will create much mischief.

    Opposing the globalists are the pragmatic localists. These are people whose local communities and economies have been eviscerated by globalism and who are calling for more control over their own lives. The cosmopolitans react by calling these people names (bigots, racists, deplorables, etc.) but never by acknowledging that the globalist policies have created this reaction. The struggle will get harsher, especially if the powers-that-be are unable to see the justice of the localists’ demands.

    We are now seeing a realignment of the political scene that reflects the reality of this new cultural dynamic. Donald Trump inadvertently took advantage of this; Boris Johnson deliberately sought out the pragmatic localists even though it meant that some members of his party would leave. I expect this conflict to play itself out over the next decade or so.

    I look forward to your end-of-the-year predictions, usually you’re pretty much on the mark

  33. JMG
    Before I opened up this Wednesday I was thinking about doctrinaire religion(s) – both the power and the weakness. I usually respect doctrines when they are taken personally, (i.e. respect the person), but to my mind the ‘arguments’ too often trivialize more serious issues – including perhaps whether there is a wider ‘native’ religious aspect in the ‘human mind’ in the first place, let alone in ‘the cosmos’. (OK, I suspect some returning ‘teleos’ in some strands of human history.)

    It is possible nevertheless that we take far too much ‘personally’. That has been said of mass ‘unemployment’ for example across industrial societies: “If I had been different …” and so on. I have learned a respect for many ‘personal’ addictive behaviors including some of my own, but many seem to derive from a wider context than personal volition or error. I am reminded that here in Britain, especially it seems in these post-Thatcher years, segments of devastated working class communities have fallen into self-destructive ghettos reminiscent of your reservations for native peoples. The pressures give one a sense of an invisible hungry ‘predator-entity’ imposing upon them.

    Interestingly you mention ‘objectification’; that does seem to be a ‘devil’ in the historical detail.

    I very much agree with you about ‘Blairite’ politics in Britain. In Scotland, however, the writing has been on the wall since well before Thatcher. (I was there). The partly broken Scottish working class finally dumped Labour and went SNP in 2015. (Corbyn came after the key Milliband general election defeat.) SNP is of course anti-Brexit and pro-EU, but that has not changed SNP’s working class support in Scotland this time round in the 2019 election. Corbyn was not a credible alternative.

    There seems nevertheless ‘a wind of change’ in Scotland, whether or not the country stays in the UK as a subordinate polity or in the EU as an arguably ‘independent nation’ (SNP), assuming the EU would allow that. I am pretty sure there is no third choice as yet.

    I know you do not watch videos. Neither do I, but in my case it is because of my hearing. But I leaned-in to listen to this one. However changed Scotland has become in these strange decades it is a Scotland I can still remember, but a nation just now possibly ‘waking up’ to a reality. “Politics is too serious to be left to politicians” a man says in the video. (BTW I have given up on the Guardian ‘progressively’ over more than 5 years, but still go back sometimes to John Harris – otherwise I might get another bad idea in the place of the Guardian. Smile)
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2019/dec/10/anywhere-but-westminster-scotland-fear-and-lothian-on-the-campaign-trail-video

    Will be thinking of you all at the turn of the year.
    Glad you returned to L of R for that turning point!

    best
    Phil H

  34. Mr Greer,

    My apologies then. When asking whether you had done political magic I was not trying to get to personal. In that case, let me ask this. Are there any books on the subject that you would recommend? For the record, I have never intentionally done a magical ritual in my life and have no interest in trying to change politics with magical ritual. From what I can tell that is… shall we say problematic. I am more interested in trying to understand the thought process of the contemporary mages who are doing this and comparing their efforts with the mages of previous centuries. In a nut shell, I would like the know if the sorcerers of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Babylon and so on were delving into the same sort of weirdness that American and British political mages are doing today? Is this just a normal feature of collapsing empires or are we unusually foolish?

  35. The only work of Fortune I have read in depth is The Mystical Qabalah but I’ve been meaning to check out her fiction for quite a while. Thanks for the recommendations. They should make some enjoyable summer reading down here in the southern hemisphere.

  36. Oh yea, those winds are definitely changing. Found myself in a situation today where I unfortunately had to listen to NPR for a few minutes. Outside the occasional internet foray, I don’t have much exposure to the mainstream press. The only way I could describe the broadcast would be desperate and shrill. As if saying the word impeachment over and over (like an incantation or prayer, funnily enough) will make it so. Very interesting, funny how things can change in a few years.

    I’m continually impressed by the arrogance and the hubris of the leftward end of the political spectrum. They are utterly wrapped up in their narratives, not realizing how they are driving lots of folks away from them. I’m very interested to see what the electoral college map looks like after 2020, especially if the Dems nominate another status quo empty suit. A handful of blue coastal states, the rest of the country red? Which is not too far off from 2016. We’ll see, I guess.

    But things are changing, and I do believe there is the potential for some constructive action. I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people who, during casual conversation, are starting to complain about and question some of the central tenants of progress…mainly, how things have become too needlessly complicated and digitalized, how everything from the internet/tech culture seem to be devolving into a scam. My dear old mother, a retired boomer who lives in an affluent Jersey suburb just outside NYC, floored me the other day on the phone, saying “Computers have made everything worse.” Wow.

    Finally, I’ll end with a little experience that I actually found grounding, and gave me some perspective. I do find myself getting despondent now and then, with how folks these days get so wrapped up and polarized in all these narratives. I’m currently doing some building work on a buddy’s home here in Troy, NY. Its an old place, prolly mid-19th century build, and I was doing some demo work on a more modern addition built onto the back of the house. After peeling away a few layers of drywall and plaster, I was staring at front page news from October 4, 1951(newspapers were commonly used for insulation/air sealing before caulk and fiberglass batts came on the scene). Besides some gritty headlines detailing the Korean War (“Allied offensive meets bitter resistance! Allied infantrymen use flamethrowers against fanatical Chinese!”), the paper was chock full of the threat of the “Reds”. So and so being investigated for being red, this and that committee being formed to investigate reds, local groups forming to keep an eye out for reds, what you can do if you suspect someone might be a communist, etc. The paper must have been during the height of the Red Scare and McCarthyism. As a younger person, this reminded me that the ole U.S. of A. has seen this kind of hysteria before, and, just like the wind, it will change and pass. It’ll be interesting to see what this country looks like on the other side.

  37. Regarding the porn issue, I think that putting it in the same category as drugs and alcohol – which many on the anti-porn wing of the dissident right are doing – is a positive first step. Once you accept that porn is a drug, the Rat Park experiments suddenly become relevant.

    In classical studies on addiction, rats were put in tiny sheet metal cages and tubing that would deliver drugs when a lever was pressed was inserted into their blood stream. The dose of morphine or whatever opiate would hit their brain in seconds. Unsurprisingly, the rats all became drug addicts.

    Rats, including ones who were made into opiate addicts by scientists, allowed to live fairly natural rat lives, generally do not use opiates or use them at much lower levels that are compatible with reproduction and childcare.

  38. Dear Violet,

    Thank you for those beautiful reflections on Holy Aphrodite. I just finished re-reading Plato’s Phaedrus last night, and your remarks are both resonant and timely!

  39. Dear Walter (if I may),

    I’m not so sure about the contemporary Stoic movement. On the one hand, it’s interesting to see some of these ethical ideas gaining traction again. On the other hand, I’m very concerned about the way that so much of “Stoic Week” and its offshoots quite deliberately avoids the metaphysical underpinning that was so important to the original Stoics. (“Metaphysics” here in the philosopher’s sense of explaining what makes up the world, and what principles or laws hold it together.)

    In particular, I worry that without a robust and genuinely believed account of providence, the modern Stoic movement risks becoming just another non-chemical tranquilizer at best (like the McMindfulness movement before it), or a kind of dispairing nihilism at worst.

  40. Violet, I guess my context was more that the ancient Greeks when referring to having sex did euphemistically refer to it on occasions as a sacrifice to Aphrodite, if my 18 year old memory serves me correctly. And I only brought it up because I think St Paul had the same idea in respect of all our actions being sacrifices to either one side or the other. I wasn’t actually trying to make a comment directly on other religions, more on the complexity of what sacrifices or worship means in Christianity.

    Mr Greer, there being only two sides in our show doesn’t of course justify Christian murderers of other Christians, Jews or Pagans in the name of God. Rather I was trying to say that I think C. S Lewis and many other Christians would regard those particular Christians as worshipping the Devil, no matter what they called themselves). Any religion (and I include all dogmas in that term) is very dangerous when allied with the power of the state, but often the aims are not religious, but more the pursuit and retention of power I think. We will shortly be celebrating Hanukkah in our family which celebrates the survival of the Jewish people despite the genocidal efforts of the pagan Antiochus, and I think Christianity had a bit of a hard time at the hands of certain pagan emperors too. I’d like to think that we hardcore Christians can keep our beliefs (and the Devil/God duality is pretty much the essence of Christianity), and you and Violet, yours – but yet still find common ground where we can and I think there is a lot of common ground.

  41. OT: But – having finished The Magical Battle for Britain, I now know why Dion Fortune died in 1946. She had done – magnificently – the work she had come to do. The rest of her work was important, of course, but this was it. And her hopes for a future British soul (and behavior) would have certainly been dashed on plain old cussed human nature when they turned out different, but still people no more enlightened than before, nor much better behaved. As Churchill said of them, “This was their finest hour.” And hers. However, the old guard with its head still in Victoria’s age did indeed vanish. Instead we got Elizabeth II, the finest caretaker queen in all British history, as her last link with the past.

  42. Raymond, that seems like a reasonable analysis to me. I tend to focus more on the class orientation of the various groups — the globalists tend to be, and favor the interests of, the managerial upper middle class, while the localists tend to be, and favor the interests of, the working classes and lower middle class — but that’s the schism I’m discussing.

    Phil, I don’t have anything like as clear a sense of what’s going on in Scotland these days — I’ve never been there, among other things — but what I see agrees with your point that things are shifting there. It’ll be fascinating to watch what happens.

    Stephen, I’m not offended at all — it’s just basic magical common sense not to discuss whether and what you’re doing. As for political magic, not only is there nothing unusual about it, it’s not limited to eras of decline. Remember that ours is one of the only civilizations in world history that’s tried to pretend to itself that magic doesn’t work and the gods aren’t real. Most other civilizations are more sensible; they treat such things as the ordinary parts of reality they are, and act accordingly. In terms of reading, I’d encourage you to pick up The Magical Battle of Britain by Dion Fortune as a good introduction to the concepts involved — not least because it documents a very successful working of the kind we’re discussing.

    Simon, enjoy! You’ve got some very entertaining reading ahead of you.

    Andrew, thanks for this! Yes, exactly — hysteria is nothing new for our country or, really, for any other country. Sooner or later it breaks down, and people start to wonder what they were all wrought up about.

    Justin, that’s an excellent point. The reason that pornography is so pervasive is that we’ve made everyday life, very much including human relationships, such a steaming mess!

    Pat, true enough. Thanks for both of these!

  43. My two cents worth on several topics discussed here; Regarding political magic, Norman Mailer’s
    “The Armies of the Night” described a protest march at The Pentagon in which the demonstrators attempted to exorcise the building and to actually raise it off its foundations. I never took that too seriously as real magic, but who knows? I guess it didn’t work. I’ve seen one or two common sense explanations about why The Pentagon is five-sided based on the practical oddities of Washington DC geography and real estate. But certainly it is the most Geburic building on the entire planet and I wonder if the five-sided design was done with magical intent. Who would tell us? Nothing more than a Jungian synchronicity, perhaps.

    Now on porn and masturbation; I can’t claim I’ve never done the act, not by a long shot, but it was rarely in the context of viewing porn. Rather it involved imagination, usually over past events where I imagined how things might have been different had I not been quite so tied in knots by my own sexual inhibitions. Maybe that’s a sort of after-the-fact magic in itself for which I’ve incurred a formidable karmic debt. Where did I get those inhibitions? Gareth Knight, in his book, “Experience of the Inner Worlds” on page 120, describes a “Methodist lady” who could have been my mom; he described her so exactly, as well as describing my own puzzling behavior when in the presence of attractive females. I remember numerous times being out on a date and being in a state of almost constant arousal with a girl who anyone except me could see was “ready and willing” but I’d be positively afraid to touch her: “…almost drove the lad neurotic,” as Gareth Knight accurately described it. And finally, the porn angle: I have several old “Perfect 10” magazines from 15 or 20 years ago. If these are porn (and certainly they do contribute to objectifying women), then you could say that I “consumed them” if it were not for the fact that they are still there in my closet, or at least they were last time I looked.

  44. JMG: your comment “the results of the “Magic Resistance” have been a textbook case of what happens when you take a foam rubber athame to a knife fight.” gave rise in my admittedly dirty mind to a far earthier image of the failure of that for which the athame is a symbol in Wiccan rites.

    And no, I never heard of the writers you mentioned, either, except of course for Crowley, and I’ve been in The Craft since 1990. Well, of course, Dion Fortune, we *did* hear about her, and I have a long shelf of her books.

  45. Hi Disposium,

    I share your high evaluation of Margaret Barker’s scholarship on First Temple themes, including the transmission of secret inner (or esoteric) First Temple traditions within some priestly (or high-priestly) families long after the destruction of the First Temple itself, and the further transmission from at least one of those families to earliest Christianity, where they were preserved for several centuries as a secret tradition of doctrine and practice. The first chapter of her book “The Great High Priest” lays out the core of her arguments, which I find quite presuasive.

    (For present-day Christian readers, it’s pretty clear that the secret traditions of which Barker speaks have gone lost over the centuries between then and now, and they cannot now be rercovered by any means, There are no more than faint echoes of them in some Eastern Christian texts after, say, the 6th century, and not even faint echoes (AFAIK) anywhere in Western Christianity.)

  46. @JMG,

    I am agreed with you about a big shift going on in political alignment, what with the lower middle class lining up solidly on the Right. It reminds me of how, back in 2016, I told my friends in the College Republicans (who were mainly the sons of experienced party operatives) that my own father favored Ted Cruz on ideological grounds but was campaigning for Trump because he thought Trump was more electable. They were baffled by his point of view, but my Dad was right. Trump did what the likes of Cruz, Rubio, et al didn’t even think was possible, and brought a new constituency into the party.

    I am curious, though, if the effect will be more pronounced in Britain than in the United States. The reason being that over here, the Democrats still have a pretty strong hold on the non-white poor, whereas in Britain, while the population of ethnic minorities is growing, it’s a smaller political force.

    Boris Johnson’s big win took me by surprise (I thought that, after missing three Brexit deadlines, the Tory base would become disillusioned and fail to turn out). Perhaps this means that the swing over to conservative dominance will be more enduring in Britain than in the US, where Trump’s win in 2016 was followed by the usual Democratic retaking of the House two years later.

  47. On demons and Christianity:

    One could make a strong case that the foremost “selling-point” of the Christian religion among the common people of the demon-haunted Roman Empire in Late Antiquity was precisely that the founder of that religion had had notable success at expelling every sort of demon and devil, and that the rituals of baptism and confirmation gave every Christian, however humble, the same power to a greater or lesser degree.

    Tertullian, writing in the late 2nd and early 3rd century, mocks the Pagan Roman authorities who use extreme measures to determine whether any person brought before them is Christian and thus subject to punishment. Why take such pains, Tertullian says, when there is a far simpler way to tell who is a Christian and who is not? Just have a possessed person brought into court. If the accused is a Christian, the demon will not be able to abide his touch, but will flee, and the possessed person will be permanently healed; if not, then the person will remain possessed.

  48. Hi Andrew,

    I pre-date the computer age and I can state categorically that it was much quicker and easier to transact business before computers. I often think of that as I stand in line waiting while a clerk struggles to get The System to do what it should, e.g. last year CVS would not accept ITS OWN coupons; every time you wanted to use a CVS coupon at CVS, the manager had to override the computerized cash register.

    I think it’s the misuse of computers that has caused the problem. Machines seem to be entirely morally neutral, unlike other objects, for example swords that were inherently good or bad from “birth.” With machines it’s all about the user’s purpose. You can use a can opener for good, to open a can to feed someone or something, or for bad, to torture someone or something. You can use your car for good, to take your elderly neighbor who can no longer drive to the store, or for evil, to run over an inoffensive cat.

    Over the last 40 years, in particular, computers have overwhelmingly been used for an evil purpose, to make undeclared war on the wage class. We’ve all been stuck in one of those “phone trees”: “Press 1 for knowing. Press 2 for willing. Press 3 for doing. Press 4 for keeping silent…”. The purpose of those phone trees is to throw wage class women out of jobs. They are NOT there for any other reason. (Whose heart has not sunk on receipt of a form letter from a business that starts with “To serve you better…”). When real people answered the phones, business was much more efficient. Whereas a computer being used here, for example, for benevolent Druidly purposes, causes no trouble. I think the huge numbers of computers being used for evil purposes is why people perceive computers in general as a problem.

    I’m concerned that matters will only get worse, as an increasing number of people have had no experience of a society that (with occasional bumps, granted) actually works, where every little thing you do is not a struggle.

  49. Dear JMG,

    That makes sense — that’s the sense that I get too, but you’re very right that it’s early days yet and only time will tell.

    Dear Barefootwisdom,

    You’re very welcome! Phaedrus is truly wonderful.

    Dear Naomi,

    Thank you for clarifying your point.

  50. Greer said: In some Hindu scriptures the gods — Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, etc. — are job titles rather than unique individuals, and in each age of the world, different souls fill those positions and manifest the principles those gods exist to manifest. When an old deity suddenly shows new life — something that seems to happen very reliably in the history of religions — it seems at least possible to me that someone new has just been hired for that position, so to speak, and even that it may have been vacant for a while.

    John, I wonder if you aren’t on to something there.

    Have you ever seen the movie series “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen. In it he steps into the office of Santa when the previous Santa slips off Allen’s roof and dies. Allen dons the red suit and then becomes Santa.

    I had asked on Magic Monday about the avatars of certain species of animals and plants, like the shamanistic spirits of Owl, Bear or the plant Mugwort. You thought that such avatars perhaps held their position until that species went extinct.

    And yet the avatar “Grandmother Mugwort” has been around since our cave dwelling ancestors of 10K years or more found the usefulness of the plant and their shamans began to venerate the spirit. Maybe the spirit which assumes the role of avatar is drawn from an ascending human spirits from that time. As human civilization develops, that office holder changes. As humans settled in village and farmed, an ascending human spirit of that culture assumed the office.

    So to a goddess like Hecate, who began as a minor home and hearth protector in Asia Minor, then her worship migrated to Greece, and then later Rome, gaining status and sophistication as she moved, each time having the office filled by someone familiar with that period and culture.

    Much to think about, thanks.

  51. @ Will J – “Of course, one of the costs of this compliance is that it’ll make the internet cost more by getting rid of one of the hidden subsidies.”

    Over the last few months I have been developing this same idea in writing, it may just end up as maybe a large essay, maybe even a short form book? I don’t know yet. But the ways that the internet and digital information will disappear into a ‘Digital Dark Age’ in the coming decades is fascinating.

    With another hidden subsidies removed, the overhead of running a gargantuan site such as Youtube will become ever more present. These overheads for maintaining the system cannot be sustained by the advertising dollars, data mining dollars and the massive scale of the site. Reducing the scale is far easier and less painful than the blow back from trying to squeeze even more money/attention out of an already exhausted system.

    In the next five years I suspect YouTube will start clamping down on the scale of the site. Something like removing all videos that are more than 3 years old and have less than 1,000 views and thus a great video information purge will happen. They will switch the light off without looking back.

    They already favor certain proven content creators and that will only scale up with time. Less YouTube and more TheirTube. With similar pressure on places like Facebook, the same thing is happening. Facebook removed their slogan “Free and always will be” back in September – an omen of what is to come as this regulartory pressure squeezes ever tighter.

    There are sites like the Internet Archive with their ‘Way Back machine’ desperately trying to make copies of things like this but are being hampered by the massive scale of it in raw data and the legal issues of copyright they have to abide by. Having even more government Bureaucracy layered on top of this will only accelerate this decline.

    There are already massive chunks of the internet that have gone completely dark because the original servers have been shut off, search engines delisted them or have just been lost due to being misplaced. And this appears to be accelerating. Try and find some obscure thing you liked even a decade back and there is a good chance that it has vanished unless it was a part of the mass-approved content.

    “Wind is changing!” indeed. Into the darkness we go, moved by a myth that is made by dreamers and shaken off by reality regardless of intent.

  52. Greer said: One thing I really recommend, for people who want to understand just how dreary pornography is, is to read the naughty literature of an earlier era.

    I assume you meant to write that as “how dreary modern pornography is”, John. I completely agree.

    Maybe because I’m a writer (and of course in my 60s) I must say I’ve always been highly aroused by the written word. If someone wants some very sexy by-gone prose, they should check out the Victorian broad sheet “The Pearl” which was published between 1879-1881. It was a collection of erotic stories, some in series across multiple issues, single stories, rhymes, songs and parodies of the time.

    Amazingly Wikipedia has the entire collection uncensored.

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Pearl

  53. JMG,

    I have been following the discussions on Dreamwidth and on the American Conservative. I will probably be a bit emotional because the whole thing has come as a bit of a shock to me, as well as another shock that I will probably mention next.

    I have two sweet grandsons, 5 and 7. How awful that in 4 years their childhood and their innocence will be wrecked, permanently, by exposure to rape porn. I am sickened that so many people write in saying, in essence, that nothing can be done. I am angry at you for comparing it to prohibition and saying there is nothing to be done.

    In my opinion, we are exposing the psyches of children in an unprecedented way to things which have never been possible before. Please don’t confuse this hard core and unremitting hours of porn with prior erotic writings or nude paintings.
    By the way, I didn’t see anyone say occultists worship the Christian devil. Rather, they said occultists are devil worshippers, which means your average devils, not the THE big kahuna. 🙂
    It says so in the Old Testament (“The gods of the pagans are demons.”) I abhor that type of chauvinism greatly. Just to be clear.

    There are those who say the American male or western male will be replaced by men who know how to be men. Ultimately, that is true. Especially when young men have erectile and performance problems and need viagra to have sex, or prefer masturbation. And I thought the insane rhetoric coming from academia was, well, crazy, as regards ‘rape culture’ but now I see that the whole of America and perhaps much of the world is one big rape culture. And isn’t it ironic that while you’ve got all these young college women getting the vapors over the tiniest of threats, such as saying she looks nice in that sweater, there is this writhing underground reality of endless explicit porn? Well, maybe the reason they have become so sensitive is that they know, since age 11, exactly what many young men are watching and doing.

  54. Phil Knight said: I think the idea that the Trump election headed off a civil war may need to be reassessed, because even if he is re-elected, I’m far from sure he can overcome the resistance of the regime.

    Everyone keeps saying that if Trump is removed or the 2020 election is close and he loses that his conservative supporters will rise up and start shooting. I think that fear is completely wrong.

    Not because some yahoos with too many guns might cause a bit of domestic disturbance if Trump is removed but because the Powers that run this country and have both the Dems and the Repugs in their pocket, recognize that things are getting tighter and tighter for everyone and eventually the 99% is going to revolt.

    Using a Trumpean disturbance of the social norms would be a great excuse to clamp down on the 99% before they could organize. The Left isn’t a threat, they don’t own guns. The show up at protests waving signs and wearing pink knit pussy hats. The Right shows up with torches and guns. Who do you worry about the most, if you are worth millions?

    Anyone catch the recent First Amendment case where a police officer who was struck by a thrown rock at a peaceable protest, has sued the organizer of the protest, not the unidentified thrower, claiming that the organizer didn’t somehow prevent a random person at the protest from doing violence and that the organizer should be liable?

    It goes against established Supreme Court presidence and yet got a 5-0 ruling against the organizer. That would effectively shut down grass roots protests since organizers could face a $100K+ judgements and huge legal bills against them even if they won because some ahole (or undercover plant) did something against the law, hurt someone or cause property damage.

    The Elite are worried and using every trick in the book to keep themselves in power.

    A Stunning Vote Reversal in a Controversial First Amendment Case

  55. Stephan–One of the reasons that the Roman government repeatedly banned certain forms of divination was that one of the first things a conspiracy would do was to seek information from a horoscope or other indication that the current emperor was destined to fall. So any attempt to do divination about public affairs outside the official channels was regarded as suspicious. Later, when the Empire became Christian, they could add the notion that it was irreligious to seek to know the future although, as John Michael has pointed out, many sincere Christians in different eras have regarded the seeking signs in the heavens as compatible with their faith.

    I think part of the problem with Neopaganism is that it tried to be too big of a tent. To my mind there is no good reason that a feminist separatist can’t give a friendly “Goddess bless” to a Gardnarian Wiccan and receive one from a Heathen as they all respectfully allow a procession of transwomen priestesses of Cybele to pass. But try to convince all those people that they should have the same standards of admission and practice–disaster. I hear thru the grapevine that a well known Heathen priestess who has been in the forefront of struggles against racists within the movement will nonetheless not be doing a Heathen presentation at the final Pantheacon because one of the screening panel for presenter objected that some Heathens _are_ racist. That is nuts. And I won’t even go into the banning of people who are accused of being trans exclusionary. Sigh.

  56. Phutatorius, the attempted levitation of the Pentagon is a drug-soaked equivalent of the sort of thing the Neopagans are doing now, and just as effective. As for masturbation, the thing that interests me is that all the young men who’ve asked me about the magical dimensions of their addiction — without exception — focused the discussion on pornography, not masturbation. I’m pretty sure it’s the combination of the two that’s at issue.

    Patricia, if you’re familiar with Fortune you’re fine. The other two are pretty obscure these days!

    Wesley, well, we’ll see. The GOP increased its hold on the Senate in 2018, and 2020 is not looking good for the Democrats, to put things mildly. I also note that Trump’s approval rating among African-Americans has gone from 9% to 34% over the last three years, which is a considerable shift by any measure. But we’ll see…

    Robert, yep. I suspect that’s normal at the end of one astrological age and the beginning of another. Jesus said, after all, “I will be with you, even to the ending of the age” — not “the ending of the world,” as that’s sometimes translated — and his churches don’t seem to have anything like the degree of exorcistic clout they once did.

    Violet, it’s a fascinating question. I have my hopes, certainly!

    David, I haven’t seen the movie, no, but the concept does make a fair amount of sense! As for pornography, I haven’t read The Pearl; I have read a certain amount of late 19th and early 20th century naughty literature, and found it somewhere on the spectrum between silly and dull. But I’ll give The Pearl a look.

    Onething, I didn’t say that nothing could be done, I did say that legal prohibition isn’t an effective response. Do you see the difference between those two statements? (As for your second post, that’s utterly off topic.)

    David, I don’t think we’re looking at “a few yahoos with guns.” I think we’re looking at hundreds of thousands of armed men, many with military experience, who are prepared to launch an armed insurgency if they become convinced that there’s no legal hope of having their grievances heard and their needs considered. They would have massive support from local communities — the fundamental requirement of effective guerrilla war — and the vast majority of rank and file military and police personnel support their cause rather than that of a business-as-usual government. It’s very fashionable these days to dismiss that possibility as absurd or impossible. I think the people who dismiss it in that way are making a hideous mistake.

  57. Onething, read thru this article on the Atlantic.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/the-miseducation-of-the-american-boy/603046/

    The author went out and really spoke with young men about how they feel and what they thought about sex. I’m heartened that most of them really get it, and yet the culture of high school and college sports is toxic. I have to wonder just what complete morons educational sports coaches are and how badly they are screwing our men children. The “bro” culture is mind boggleing in the way it corrupts and warps most young men for later life.

    The kids want to do better but don’t know how.

    Use the free browser Brave if the link comes up behind a paywall.

  58. Phil Knight,

    I usually stay out of the fray, but I read your linked Trump tweet and I did not have the reaction you did. I read a bunch of the below comments to which he was apparently responding. They were stomach churningly, sickeningly, hatefully brainwashed trash. It would probably be better if he ignored them, though.

  59. For the record, I would like to say that in the past I’ve experienced a passionate but emotionally miserable relationship, and always felt like we had called up something, and it needed to be fed, and that didn’t have a damn thing to do with either him or myself.

    Also, I only watch vintage porn. Those are just flickering images of people who have moved on.

  60. Onething,

    I also find it shocking that the porn around today is what it is. Dear gods it’s nasty. Rape porn, incest porn, and the entirety of it have no place in a sane society. And yet, I’m the one who “has mental issues”. Seriously, a former friend of mine has lost his mind over this, and because he’s a psychologist things could get interesting, in the sense of the Chinese curse.

    Frankly, it’s disgusting. It’s also disturbing to note that quite a few people have discussed evil spirits, and looking at it, I’m struck with the fact that more than one person seems to display demonic obsession around this. I’m also stunned that the traditional prohibition on making images for aid in masturbation, found in multiple cultures is being trampled and so many people are pretending it’s fine: that it’s only puritanical Christians who have issues with it.

    I’ve had more than one of my female friends say she will not date anyone, because they have no way of telling who watches rape porn, and thus might have internalized these sorts of horrific ideas around sexuality; frankly, from the way so many people I know use it, and looking at the statistics, I think it’s safe for them to assume everyone.

    I suspect that a huge amount of what causes these overreactions is simple: an awful lot of women have issues with porn. I personally don’t blame them in the slightest for it. The issue though is porn is “liberating”, and so in order to note be “misogynistic” they need to bottle it up. So they have, in the back of their minds, firm knowledge plenty of men that they know are masturbating to women getting raped and beaten, but they can’t express their outrage. So it thus needs to find other outlets.

    JMG,

    Hmm, I need to look into astrological ages! Do you know any good sources on the topic?

    On a different topic, I agree with you that the harms caused by an outright ban on pornography will be severe. However, when dealing with something as toxic as this, I think that even extreme, dangerous options need to be considered. I suspect that you don’t have much real world contact with the the men who are strongly affected by porn. As someone who grew up as internet porn was getting introduced, and can see what it’s done to my peers, I think that no matter how bad you think it is from looking at it online, it’s worse than that.

    So I don’t think it’s wise to rule out banning pornography. I’d compare it to the way before antibiotics came in, arsenic and other heavy metals were sometimes used to treat syphilis: yes, the treatment is horrible, but if the disease is bad enough, sometimes even arsenic poisoning is preferable…..

  61. MichaelIV,

    I’d love to see your essay or book once published! I suspect you’re right about nearly all of it. I can’t help but note though, that it seems to be gathering speed: it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if things come unravelled quite a bit faster than anyone expects…..

    JMG,

    I’d like to add something to my prior post: we should absolutely attempt less drastic measures first, but I still think even very drastic responses might be justified here.

    Feel free not to answer if this is getting too far off topic: A thought just struck me as well: if gods exist on the mental plane (as you discuss in Monsters), then the fact that the gods change when the astrological ages change seems to suggest two things: first, it implies time exists on the mental plane in some way, as otherwise the changing of the gods wouldn’t occur; and second, that astrology works on the mental plane as well as the lower planes. Both of these are interesting, as they seem to contradict other teachings I’ve seen. Am I missing something?

    Also, do you know of good sources on the different levels of being? I’d like to follow up on this thought.

  62. Re the Prohibition argument, reductio ad absurdum, we shouldn’t outlaw anything, even murder, since people will still do it, so I think the Prohibition argument leads us down the wrong path. With a population capable of effective rebellion, what we should be looking at is does the majority want X law? If not, it will not succeed no matter how heavy the attempts to enforce it.

  63. I have been wondering how much future do the political parties have in the post-industrial world. They look like extra layers of bureaucracy.

  64. With regards to UK Labour, I would point out that Corbyn and Company were themselves a rebellion against a liberal, managerialist Establishment – Corbyn (who is actually a lifelong Brexiteer) was a backlash against Blairism. Of course, what ended up happening was that aforementioned Establishment made damn sure that Corbyn got marginalised and demonised as much as possible.

    The consequence of this will be that the managerialist wing of the US Democrats will use this to whack the likes of Bernie Sanders, while repeating the mantra that only they can beat Trump. The Left’s experiment in thinking outside the box of a broken economic system is over.

  65. When you handcrank to corporate porn, its important to remember that you are connecting to a borg of astral energy of everyone else who has handcranked to the same imagery. Check out the number of hits beside each pornhub film amd that is how many astral events are coagulating around your little soiree.

    Kant pointed out very methodically how metaphysically impossible it is to know God through experience, so all the various religious theories are exactly that. The Golden Mean is about the best we can aspire to, as JMG points out.

    In short, bst never handcrank in front of a porn screen and try to limit the overall amount of handcrankery, perhaps by ritually dedicating it to a psychically accessible deity such as Jesus Mary Joseph or Quetzacoatl. Dedicate the handcrank energy to something wholesome and useful.

    Try to leave a time delay between porn viewing and handcranking, and be conscious of not externalising your sexuality in the same way that many externalise their social lives through social media. Perhaps its a sign of the times that many more people are trying to lose themselves in porn and other drugs

    Loving someone else is always the best option, all we need is love.

  66. Change is in the wind, yet we can still see ghosts of the recent past. Biden, it seems to me, is running a ghostlike campaign with glimpses of the same thinking that HRC brought to the race in 2016. It reminds me of the ghostly images we used to see on our old analog TVs when watching far away channels.

    Biden, like HRC, is a poster boy for the Bush-Obama status quo – a combination of neoliberal economic policy and neoconservative foreign policy. He feels he represents the Democrats because he’s sort of the Patriarc of the party, and though he doesn’t come right out with it he’s decided it’s “his turn”. (He missed “his turn” in ’16) I think he’s actually surprised that the other candidates don’t bow down and slink away. Of course Biden won’t get the “I am Woman hear me roar” vote, but most of those voters can be had with good dose of anti-Trumpism. So Biden seems, at least to me, to be running a ghostly re-hash of 2016 and if he gets the nomination I foresee repeat of Trump’s victory. The winds are changing but they don’t blow all the old stuff away all at once.

    Of course the winds may shift enough that Warren or Sanders have a real shot at getting the nominatiion, in which case I see the sprits of the DNC and Superdelegateds working against them denying them the nomination and denying the Dems a win in November. It will take several strong storms to clear the wreckage that is the current Democratic Party.

  67. Re the UK election

    The thing is, I was kind of wondering all the way through weather the blairites were more frightened of Corbyn becoming prime minister or Brexit (sometimes I suspect the former). Not that Corbyns supporters and himself didn’t make plenty of mistakes. Corbyns movement had broadly the right idea on economics (which is party why they surged at the 2017 election- and why Johnson has, rhetorically at least abandoned austerity), though they were far too determined to carry on the ‘woke left cultural politics- especially with regards to immigration and free movement. Labours 2017 manifesto promised to respect the refferendum result while also ending freedom of movement. the 2019 manifesto backtracked on both (even promising to extend freedom of movement!) I suspect this was the straw that ultimately broke the camels back for the British labour heartlands.

    Corbyn did what he could I think, the problem is too many of the modern labour party are too middle class to understand how condescending and arrogant they sounded to anyone outside the big cities…

  68. Hi John. I agree with a lot of what your saying – as a late 80’s millennial I can attest that men of my generation are indeed turning away from the corporate money fueled political/religious paradigms that we were brought up on (altho plenty are still doubling down). It’s not just a flight from porn (which our “Christian” parents only pretended to discourage, ha) but more or less a total retreat from web culture in general. Few of the guys I went to school with maintain social media accounts of any kind aside from what they are more or less obligated to due to work. 2019 will go down as the year my Instagram feed went from being a decent mix of men and women posting a variety of different things to mostly just women posting photos of their dogs and restaurant selections. 2020 will probably be the year that I delete my account, leaving LinkedIn as the last of the public facing social media apps that I actively use (not that my info isn’t being harvested by a half dozen or so other stupid service apps). Also, for what it’s worth, yours is the last of the blogs from the 05-13 golden age that I still check in on – most of the others (spanning a wide field of subjects, mostly political/economic in nature) are all gone or so watered down as to not be worth the effort. What’s interesting online now is buried deep in forums and twitter, which brings me to my next point…

    I think your assessment of the political-religious avant-grade pendulum is missing one major element, which is the rise of what I will simply call BAPism (as in the twitter persona Bronze Age Pervert, who’s just the tip of the iceberg). It’s not just anti-masturbation that’s gaining ground but a whole lot of other stuff which tends to blur the categorical distinctions between political/spiritual and liberal/conservative (examples include body-building, cooking, and animal rights, to name a few). As of right now this phenomenon is literally spiritual in that it directly acknowledges the fact that spirits exist, that they are in us, and they have a will of their own. The last time I encountered any vigorous discussion of this aspect of existence was maybe a decade ago when you more or less single-handedly introduced me to Shopenhauer in an Archdruid Report post. While it’s tempting to think that this subculture is purely an online thing, look closely and you’ll see evidence of its existence in a lot of unexpected places (often veiled and/or coded).

    I suppose the question is what to do when the winds collide. I like to think that I can harness the power of Narya and help inspire those I love to fight the good fight and not despair but there’s a darkness creeping in around the edges of my generation that has me thinking this may get ugly and that I’ll have to pick my battles wisely. Which was probably already the case, but still…

  69. Violet:

    Your comment about your devotion to Aphrodite bringing you to celibacy sorta reminds me of the Krishna worshippers espousing celibacy even within marriage. I had always thought it was despite Krishna’s reputation as a lover; now I wonder if there may be something pointing to a reason BECAUSE of said reputation (to the positive, may I add).

  70. Hi JMG & all,
    Speaking of a change in the wind, a couple of days ago, I watched a YouTube by Randy Newman — song called ‘Putin.’
    I posted a comment that included the phrase, “Whatever we think of Putin, its clear that he has worked very hard to promote the interests of his own country.”
    Immediately after submitting the comment, it came up with a strikeout through the phrase that said something mildly positive about Putin. And an hour or so later, my entire comment had been deleted.
    This tells me that YouTube, or perhaps large clients of it, employ algorithms to enforce politically correct speech. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but to me it was chilling.

    Cheers,
    Emmanuel G

  71. More magical thinking:

    Bernie Sanders
    @BernieSanders
    ·
    7h
    Here’s a prediction: we are going to win, pass a Green New Deal, and criminally prosecute the fossil fuel executives who destroyed the planet.

    Considering that without petroleum products there’d be only a billion or so people on the planet living much like the Amish, well, that would appear to be a pretty tough case to make to anyone with more than a few firing synapses… or have our education systems failed that spectacularly?

    Dear Mr. Greer,

    Your thoughts on this? Greta may find the future has its own accelerated timeline.

    http://energyskeptic.com/2019/net-energy-cliff-collapse-by-2030/

  72. ”those who are dominated by their passions are easy to dominate in other ways, while those who can control themselves pretty reliably can’t be controlled by anyone else.” —JMG

    That’s a really powerful quote. I plan to hold on to it, and hopefully to find an opportunity to pass it on.

    I am a woman who came of age at the dawn of the internet and this puts me in a position to see very clearly the affect internet pornography can have. Those exposed to things too extreme at too young an age and those who became addicted become toxic lovers, and they really aren’t as much fun during actual physical sex. It’s quite sad. Conventional pornography (Like magazines and videos you have to leave your house to get from an actual place… even if it’s the mailbox) is not nearly as damaging. And even internet porn isn’t quite so toxic to people who only use it in moderation. You can tell right away if your lover has been ruined by porn, by the first encounter.

    I agree that porn in general shouldn’t be illegal. I do think it might be helpful to provide information to the public about things like porn addiction. Also, the difference between fantasy and reality… so many toxic things happen when men think porn is how sex is supposed to be (or when women think relationships are supposed to be like romantic comedies or harlequin romances).

    As for the Rolling Stone, “The writer doth protest too much, methinks.” (I stole that from Hamlet).

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  73. Kimberly & JMG,

    I was raised in a fully secular household, and for what it’s worth, the Christian God always struck me as a brutal tyrant. The traditional version looks for something to punish you for for all of eternity, and the Calvinist update has already made up his mind about whether to roast you or not, regardless of your behavior. I never found any of it the tiniest bit attractive. I am rather fond of the music (Gregorian chants, Orthodox liturgy, etc.), though. So, if our host is right about polytheism, I do hope our polytheist friends will find a way to incorporate some of that music (possibly with changed lyrics) into their rituals.

  74. Well, to attempt an answer to your concluding question about the defenders of the conventional wisdom: They don’t appear to be anymore predisposed to grab a clue now than they have been recently, if the reaction to fan-dissatisfaction to the corporate insipidity of the revived Star Wars movie-franchise is any indication. What is supposedly behind this dissatisfaction according to a pop-culture maven writing for the CNN website is, believe it or not, Russian professional trolls. Yes, I know we live in the decade of “Jan Brady Democrats” now (“Russia, Russia, Russia!”). But still, things like this presenting themselves in endless succession make me wonder if I have in fact died and gone to an episode of “Babylon 5”.

  75. An equivalent upset is in process here in the United States, though I suspect it will take either a Trump victory in 2020 or a wave of indictments of Democratic Party apparatchiks to make that sink in. Since we’re very likely to see both those happen over the course of the next year, though, we can take it as given.

    I wonder if even such a double blow would be enough to open their eyes.

  76. About prostitution, I would like to add that the problem isn’t the selling of sex for money so much as the fact that prostitution tends to attract certain kinds of persons as prostitutes and customers. The commenter who supposed that the exchange of energies between customers and prostitutes is something different from the same act in a relationship, is on to something, because the customer and the prostitute don’t know each other, may be not ideally compatible with each other or have otherwise attitudes which are detrimental to fulfilling sex.

    In Germany, prostitution is legal and the prostitutes there have their own agency, but still, prostitutes are often foreign young women who want to make much money fast; they often don’t speak German well or at all, which makes communication with them difficult. So, despite legality, certain pathologies nevertheless develop in the red-light business.

    Since democracy and populis is a subject for discussion relevant to the expected changes in the next decade, the following link may be relevant: https://www.spektrum.de/kolumne/die-smarte-gruene-diktatur/1694202. It is in German. The article deals with the opinion that the climate is too complex to be mastered by humans, and so it is discussed if one should suspend democracy for a while and install a technological surveillance state along the lines of China and Singapore. For some, this is a seducing idea, but I think it would be a very bad idea, because it would give the current establishment a way of imposing austerity on the lower-income classes in the name of environmentalism. I cannot imagine that to end well.

    As for inernationalism and international solidarity, these two ideas, which have begun as utopian notions enthusiastically taken up by the old left, have become so toxic that these ideas will probably totally fall out of favor; the coming of the Aquarian age will drive a further nail in the coffin of utopias of any kind, because utopias tend to be collectivist, because that is the way it turns out when imposing a big, single, utopian vision on a society.

  77. A sense of change does seem to be picking up again, although I have been guilty in the past of seeing the change I wanted to be in the world – mainly of an ecotechnic/retrotopia sort. The biggest change from 20 years ago is that the narrative of progress as inheriting the earth (with progress defined as the interests and concerns of the western professional and managerial classes) is on its last legs, for all the reasons you have discussed here before. The narrative had a little resurgence during the Obama years, but that toothpaste is clearly not getting back into the tube now and enough people can see that clearly. Except the western professional and managerial classes of course.

    But both Trump and Johnson seem to be conflicted to me. They’re aligning with the working classes from political convenience, and they each have Reagan and Thatcher whispering in one of their ears while having to deal with the realities of what the era of Reagan and Thatcher actually bought. Tough balancing act. So they seem appropriate bookends to those eras to me, rather than charting a brave new course. But it’s enough that the realignment is happening, and that the interests of those who have done well these last 40 are receding. And we’ll see what flows into the space that is opening up. There is a lot of repressed frustration, fear and anger out there though. The best I think we can hope for is a bumpy way down, while we all try to do what we can in our backyards and local communities.

  78. @Will J & @MichaelV: Re: Internet (& all Ecosophians)

    Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush / LESS Less Energy Stuff Stimulation

    The collapse of the internet has been on my mind a lot as I seek to quit my year long twitter experiment come 2020. I had avoided all social media -excepting blogs & forums, email lists (many seemed to have slowly withered)- until last year when I joined twitter at the behest of my ham radio club, because I had taken on the role of PIO -public information officer or PR- for two years with the club (stepping down now as well to focus on other things). I also thought maybe it would be a way to promote my projects. Mostly, it’s just been a distraction.

    There are other ways to get work out there, and I think an email list, which can eventually into a print newsletter is the way to go (for me).

    In the Green Wizards book one of the exercises JMG asks the reader to do is imagine her or his life against the backdrop of collapse over what would be the course of the rest of their life. Having networks is a great thing. I love communicating with people long distance -hence radio, and letters…

    Through a friend I have in the shortwave/ham radio community I was asked to join an Amateur Press Association this coming year. I’m about to send off my first batch of materials to the Central Mailer. For those familiar with ham the Central Mailer is similar to the Net Control for a radio net. Only the Central Mailer gets all the material for his mailing list and then sends it back out in bundles to everyone who is part of that APA. The wiki breaks it down pretty well:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_press_association

    I’m looking forward to being a part of this the coming year, and then using what I learn to see about setting one up myself down the road. It will also give me the practical knowledge I need for a project that is taking formation inside me.

    Getting rolling with this stuff now will hopefully mean that it can grow and be in place as the other systems falter. The mail system seems very robust and can deindustrialize with time. I also happen to be working in what I call “The Mercurial District” now that my workplace moved: right across the street from one of the entrances to the CSX railyard, down the street from Union Terminal, which is a museum now but also still the place to go to catch an Amtrak, and catty-corner from the main post office which is an awesome Art Deco buidling. (Cincinnati is the home for Decopunk).

    There is a great Art Deco depiction of Mercury on the Union Terminal building:
    http://www.thelope.com/images/06-07-02-037.jpg

    Hail Mercury!

  79. @JMG, & of course, Fellow Commentariat

    Wow! There is a lot to unpack and digest in this week’s post. Is this the last entry before your break? LOL well enough to keep us busy pondering for the month, I think. 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve replied to a discussion about politics or social issues these days with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” for the exact same sentiment, “The Wind is Changing!”. I think each generation defines themselves, somewhat in rebellion to the generation that came before, somewhat in response to current parameters of their sociopolitical environment, and somewhat on their own inner volitions. I’ve also noticed that amongst the “Zoomers”, (Gen Z) I know and know of – there are mistakes and dangers not at all like the ones we Boomers did or faced. “Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-Roll” is embarrassingly old and fuddy-duddy to them. So in addition to chosen celibacy for some, there are many who have zero interest in getting drunk or high, “partying” in the way our generation did when we were their ages but there are different pitfalls and dangers for ‘kids-these-days’. I’m not sure why it freaks people out so much either, other than perhaps, having gone through it ourselves – these are mistakes/behaviours or “rites-of-passage” we know how to handle? OTOH: I see in many many areas of conversation, both personal and public, people who simply cannot fathom other people are not like themselves and yet perfectly fine and viable in their own opinions.
    Like the stage of toddlerhood wherein a child is only self-aware / not really cognizant of others around them, so their actions are supremely selfish. They have to learn how notice and be aware of others. I’ve been in so many conversations with people on myriad subjects wherein adults seem not to have even gotten out of this self-centered toddler phase. JMG: You’ve noted this many times in regards to Democrats and their political actions and discourse, but I see it on so many other variable issues too. I’m wondering if this incapacity has always been with us ‘silly-humans’? Or is it possibly a result of the social changes in the “Me” generation? Is it a result of our inability to cope with the shock-&-awe changes happening in our world? A part of our inability to react slowly/thoughtfully/logically in such a maelstrom?

    @ Darkest Yorkshire: re: designing a government or parliamentary building in accordance with occult spiritual efficacy. I don’t think it is considered occult, but have you ever looked into Feng Shui? What you are describing is exactly what Feng Shui does. It is still seriously practiced today and appears to be working.

  80. Semi-off topic inadvertent hilarity: your mention of “Dion Fortune’s The Goat Food God.” The little guys are admittedly omnivores, but this is a new one on me! Although it does suggest a novel method of exorcism…

  81. Speaking of Green Wizards I just wanted to mention the next installment of my “Down Home Punk” series went up on the site last week. The discussion this time around is “being poor in style” which came up as a topic here and on GW a few weeks back. Here is my contribution.

    http://greenwizards.com/node/998

    Come on over and join the conversation. @David Trammel is an excellent host.

  82. @Bobbygrant

    “…Yet now, so many on the Left try to convince women that pornography (and sex work, and self objectification) is somehow empowering. What a world!”

    If I may, I think this is a reactionary position to the formerly prevalent conservative position that women must remain chaste at all times, that there were good girls and bad girls . I remember several years back a campaign of rallies and marches against ‘slut-shaming’. The idea being that some women also like promiscuity, and they should have the right to their lifestyles as much as anyone else without being vilified for it. That in turn, I believe came from the ubiquitous problem of rape victims being asked and judged by “What were you wearing that night?”, as if a rape victims clothing choices were solely responsible for her victimization.

    Throwing the baby out with the bath water. The Madonna/whore complex; or as JMG says The opposite of a very bad idea is another very bad idea.

    That’s just my take on it for what it’s worth. 🙂

  83. Dear Godozo,

    That’s very interesting! My thought is this; I think it’s a pretty common experience that with a certain type of devotional mysticism, that when it reaches a certain level of depth and breadth and there is a certain level of commitment of time per day, once that is reached the idea of adding the needs of another person become harder and harder to imagine!

    If one is praying for several hours a day, if one will always put the needs of one’s Patron over the needs of anyone else, than all of the sudden having a romantic partner seems to be more of a hassle than anything else. The idea of a person being jealous of my devotional relationship and unconsciously trying to undermine it just seems so pointlessly fraught. There is no way I could ever love a person as much as Aphrodite. Indeed, I love Aphrodite considerably more than myself!

    For this reason, I think that mystics tend to be bachelors. To my mind, it is irresponsible in the extreme to simply use people as objects to get off, given the unconscious emotional attachments that occur with physical love. As a side note I should add that I have nothing theoretically against casual sex, as long as it comes from a tender place of cherishing an ensouled, sentient being. Further I’ve had many friends who worked as prostitutes and they discussed this problem with me. Once two people have sex enough times they fall in love. And since I can never really cherish a person appropriately given my prior commitments, it seems altogether more ethical, more fun, and more clear and easy to simply embrace the sort of ecstatic celibacy that mysticism allows for.

  84. Since the topic of prostitution came up:

    I’ve found prostitutes make some of the very best friends. They are the sort who happily buy everyone a meal, let you sleep in the shed when you’re homeless, and are whip-smart and flexible in their thinking. They often are open to go on adventures outside, have good taste in books and film, and rich inner worlds.

    I’ve never met another class of people who are so generous, so capable in so many different situations and contexts, and so much fun to spend time with. All the prostitutes I’ve known have resented that they have to provide their beautiful services to the world illegally, and since they have universally been such excellent friends to me, I share their sentiment. Furthermore, I think it’s very sad that the obvious virtues of prostitutes as a class are not recognized by society at large. We can see that lawyers are cunning with words, we can see that engineers are amazing with abstract though, we can see that actors love to perform, but prostitutes are treated in popular culture like polluted untouchables. This, to my mind, is absurd, as my prostitute friends have noted everyone sells their body for money, one way or another.

  85. A couple of years ago our little mountain town got one of those fancy new movie theaters with big, cushy, leather recliners, and bar and grill service in the lobby. Contrast that with the theaters we grew up in back in the 70s and 80s, with their cramped flip-down stadium seating, complete with a rainbow of chewed bubblegum pieces under the armrest, and sticky soda-pop soaked floor.

    But we went anyway, and we loved it, because the movies they showed in those theaters were actually worth watching. I still remember very fondly the moment I finally flipped my seat down and settled in (as best I could) to watch “Return of the Jedi” on my 10th birthday.

    There’s a reason these new theaters are so plush these days. The movies they show are absolute garbage. I went once. Was even excited about the movie, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the most recent addition to the Harry Potter franchise. It wasn’t nearly as good as the 1st one. Mostly just a high-tech sensory barrage, attempting to mask the fact that it didn’t have much plot to work with.

    But it cost a lot! 75 bucks for 2 adults, 2 children, a glass of beer and a glass of wine…surely I’m not the only one who will never go back for seconds. Especially as Hollywood and New York rely increasingly on marketing magic to force their “products” down everybody’s throats.

    Bring me the sticky floors, cramped quarters, and something decent to spend my date money on.

  86. I’ve always wondered how astrology columns became a part of newspapers. I’ve read 18th and 19th century newspapers for research purposes and never found astrology columns. Then 20th century newspapers, there they are. I’d love to hear more about that process if its ever a suitable subplot to an essay or two.

    On a different, sader note, this one statement seems more wishful thinking than reality: “One way or another, though, the conventional wisdom of a century of British politics has been overturned.”

    Conventional wisdom didn’t change after the surprisingly strong Scottish Independence Referendum a few years back. It didn’t change after the last UK election. Why would it change now? The globalists will say it was Corbyn’s incompetence, antisemitism, antiantisemitism, SNP, racism–anything to avoid admitting that people like governing themselves.

    Likewise I doubt Trump will win or lose by enough for conventional wisdom to change. Unfair media, fraud, unfair system–conventional wisdom will be ready with excuses to explain any defeat by Trump or his opponents.

    I don’t know to what degree governing elites really believe conventional wisdom and to what degree its propaganda. (I’ve met a few really wealthy people and they seem to be enthusiastic believers, but that’s hardly a good sample.)

    As long as there is gasoline for the luxury SUVs, roads from the gated mcmansions to the publicly subsidized airports, and jet fuel for the planes; as long as there are journalists and think tank intellectuals who want into those gated mcmansions badly enough to supply exculpatory rationales and flattering theories, why doesn’t it all keep going?

    This is one of those rants where I want to be wrong.

  87. I live close to Eric Prince’s Blackwater private army. I know several people that are “active employees” They a some of the “yahoos with guns” They are some of the few who know what they are doing. I sure would not dismiss them as “yahoos with guns”

  88. JMG: there are professional romance writers who have taken Victorian porn such as “The Lustful Turk, filed off the serial numbers, and sold the tale to modern readers as a historical romance, with some success. In fact, I passed on the link to The Pearl to my friend Jean in Oregon, complete with David’s introduction, source properly attributed to, of course. Which does tickle my funnybone.

  89. Aron, interesting. That makes sense.

    Will, exactly that argument has been used over and over again for various kinds of prohibition, and the results are always the same. Those who will not learn from history…

    As far as the different planes. I wrote Monsters a long time ago and my understanding of the planes of being has changed a good deal since then. I’m currently at work on a book project that should help straighten out some of the confusion.

    Your Kittenship, exactly. In a democratic society, law is the formal expression of a majority opinion. If you don’t have a majority opinion on your side, the law won’t work. As for Larson, in a way I’m pleased, and in a way I’m sorry. His relentless mulish refusal to go digital was always kind of inspiring to me.

    Bike, good question. My guess is that parties of some sort will remain in existence, but the current bureaucratic party structure may not be long for this world.

    Strda221, I think a lot of what doomed Corbyn was precisely his attempt to placate the Blairite wing of his party, as seen especially in his backtracking on Brexit. If he’d stuck to his guns and said “The people voted for Brexit and that means Brexit,” he might be Prime Minister today. But the Left generally has been moving away from any sort of challenge to the existing order — as the party of the comfortable classes, why should they overturn the applecart?

    Onanist, good — well, except for the bit about Kant. Sure, within his philosophy, knowledge about gods is impossible…but anyone can prove him wrong with half an hour a day of meditation, because Kant left the entire realm of gnosis out of his calculations.

    Christopher, I suspect that at this point Biden has too much baggage (and too little competence) to get the nomination even with the DNC propping up his candidacy; still, I could be wrong.

    BB, thanks for this. I think you’re quite correct — and you’ve nailed a crucial point, which is that Corbyn succeeded in convincing the Tories to ditch “austerity,” which was always austerity for the poor and kleptocracy for the rich. If BoJo carries through his promises to expand funding for the NHS and fund economic opportunities in the midlands and the north, Labour’s going to be left twisting in the wind for a good long time.

    Chris W, the political/spiritual pendulum is only one aspect of a much wider range of generational and secular shifts, and of course you’re quite right that it doesn’t capture the whole pattern of what’s going on. I’m delighted to see so many people extracting themselves from the online trap — may that continue. As for what to do when the winds collide, there’s no simple formula for that — you have to assess each struggle and decide what you can do about it.

    Emmanuel, of course. The corporate end of the internet is becoming increasingly censored because its masters are becoming increasingly frantic. That usually happens before the bottom drops out.

    TJ, people have been drawing curves and making predictions like that since the 1970s, and they’re always wrong. The fast-collapse fantasy is highly alluring, and it’s a hydra with a godzillion heads — show that one prediction is nonsense, and ten more leap out of the severed stump — but it’s still always wrong. Meanwhile, the Long Descent continues, and all the people who are fixated on fast collapses miss it completely.

    Jessi, that’s an excellent point. Maybe one of the things that needs to happen is a frank conversation between men and women about sex and relationships, where men (and especially young men) have the chance to learn what a woman needs in bed, and women (and especially young women) have the chance to learn what a man needs in a relationship.

    Irena, I get that. I forget who it was who pointed out that the Christian god, as portrayed in Christian theology, has exactly the behavioral profile of an abusive spouse — he’s constantly going on about how much he loves you but he’s just as constantly trying to control your actions and make you feel bad about yourself; nothing you do can ever be good enough, and when he beats you it’s always your fault and always for your own good…

    Mister N, dear gods. They’re blaming thelack of public enthusiasm for the lousy Star Wars sequels on Russian trolls? Er, that’s crazy, and I mean that literally. These people need serious psychological help.

    Thomas, good question. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Booklover, of course there are problems with legal prostitution; my question is whether those go away when it’s made illegal, and as far as I can tell, they don’t. It’s impossible to solve all problems and sometimes the best we can do is the least worst option.

    Phil K, granted!

    Mark, of course they’re conflicted. No social change comes into being all at once in a coherent form. Johnson and Trump are typical early adopters — they’ve turned to populism because it’s an effective route to power, one that allows an end run around the senile kleptocracy that otherwise holds the levers of power in its doddering grip. We’re a generation or so from the point that a fully developed, self-conscious populism will become a major political force — at this point it’s still a matter of blundering forward in the fog — and half a dozen generations or so from the point at which populism itself becomes a senile and entrenched presence that has to be overthrown by something else.

    Caryn, no, there’s one more — the end-of-year retrospective and predictions for the year to come, which will be sitting under your Christmas tree on the 25th.

    RPC, ha! Typos are the best jokes…

    Justin, thanks for this.

  90. @Phil Knight re: “Well, Abraham Lincoln isn’t a good example of the avoidance of civil war, you know!”

    “But, Dad, Bobby Lee STARTED it!”

  91. @Emmanuel Goldstein: I replicated your experiment, only varying my wording a little bit, with the Randy Newman song. My comment has already been deleted. Scary As Frack. You have the right name to be the one who discovered this.

  92. Violet, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Thanks for this.

    Tripp, $75.00???!!! Clearly I’ve been out of the loop for a very long time. When the original Star Wars came out; it was followed promptly by the very funny parody film Hardware Wars, which had the tag line “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss three bucks goodbye” — and that was a lot to spend for a movie ticket in 1977.

    Joel, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. To borrow a Mexican saying that another reader cited above, “nothing changes until it changes.” A senile kleptocracy can remain in power for a long time, seemingly immovable…and then someone figures out a way to take power out of its hands, and over the next decade or two, things change.

    Patricia M, ha! I’m glad to hear this.

  93. Hello JMG and everyone,

    The ongoing conversations about internet pornography here and on Rod Dreher’s blog interest me for a very particular reason: I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and my practice specialty consists in the treatment of sex and internet pornography addiction.

    As such, I would be very interested to hear more from individuals such as Jessi Thompson, Will J, and Onething (and also JMG) concerning their personal observations about the exact nature of the toxicity and harm that porn causes – and also about the attitudes of suspicion and disgust that arise in response among those who date individuals from social classes that includes a lot of heavy porn use.

    I would also be interested to hear more about similar personal observations among those who know individuals among the younger cohorts of our society who have reacted by abstaining from any form of sexual involvement altogether.

    Thanks in advance.

  94. All–

    Some veritable minefields within this week’s discussion!

    A few things that come up for me re sex, pornography, prostitution, etc.

    I wonder what differentiation one might make between erotica on the one hand and pornography on the other. Is it about style? About a degree of elegance in presentation? Written versus visual? I think the medium is less important than style. I find raw, blatant “porn” unappealing: take two (or more) people, throw them in a situation, and they get to it. No framing, no context, no emotional investment. I’ll use the written variety as a good example. There’s a vast spectrum that ranges from “smut” to “literary” — I find the latter engaging, compelling, and emotional satisfying. Like a good romance, but with spice.

    As to prostitution and similar issues, my strong civil libertarian bent puts me in an odd place. There was a comment above about “rape porn and incest porn having no place in a sane society.” I would agree about rape. Incest, well…if one is dealing with consenting adults, I would ask what business is it of anyone else what activities those adults engage in? Yes, this is a long-standing taboo. Yes, this cuts against much of our cultural programming. However, individual liberty means being able to do what one wishes, so long as one does not impair the liberties of another. Certainly, choices as personal as one’s sexual partner(s) falls within that scope.

    Likewise with prostitution. Likewise with plural marriage or group sex. Other people may find such things baffling, distasteful, or against their personal beliefs. But if the people involved are willing and legally competent, it is no one else’s business, I would argue. Certainly no business for the law.

    On the political front, the Dems have still earned nothing. I still see Biden getting the nomination, possibly picking a counter-balancing running mate (Harris is still my prediction at this point), and losing to Trump in November. We’ll see what starts shaking out as the primaries get underway. The results form Super Tuesday will be telling. What I’ll be watching for is how strong the Sanders/Warren contingent remains. If Biden is running in the 30s still, with Sanders/Warren collectively in a similar place, and a good third with “someone else,” there may have an interesting convention in the offing…

    And with yesterday’s impeachment vote has kicked a whole ‘nother aspect of this into play for Trump, as the Dems continue to hand him campaign material with which they will be whacked upside the head from now until November. Trump has already tied Truman-Dewey for status as the greatest political upset. Now he is in position to make history as a President who’s been impeached and yet won re-election. And the Dems have set these stakes of their own accord and by their own actions. I strongly believe that they will come to regret this path they’ve taken. It is a shame, as they had an opportunity in the immediate aftermath of 2016 to re-assess and make corrections, rather than doubling-down as they have done.

  95. ” I didn’t say that nothing could be done, I did say that legal prohibition isn’t an effective response. Do you see the difference between those two statements?”

    Not so much. Some sort of restriction does need to be done. Just how and what it is way too early to say. But there are a few other things…such as this:
    ”those who are dominated by their passions are easy to dominate in other ways, while those who can control themselves pretty reliably can’t be controlled by anyone else.”

    That is certainly something I will keep in mind to tell my grandsons. That is the sort of challenge that is very inspiring and a good antidote to the lack of manly upbringing for boys. (Hat tip to Jessi for reminding me of it.)

    As to my second post being off topic, I can certainly see why you chose to withhold it. I am not exactly sure that it is off topic though. Still processing.

  96. JMG, actually I’m of the opinion that prostitution should be legal, because there is a need for it, among other things, and because of the issues that you mentioned. The problems I cited were for the illustration of some of the things which can happen; they are relevant to the city where I live. Since full legalization of prostitution in Germany, criminality around it has gone mostly away.

  97. Caryn wrote:

    “Like the stage of toddlerhood wherein a child is only self-aware / not really cognizant of others around them, so their actions are supremely selfish. They have to learn how notice and be aware of others. I’ve been in so many conversations with people on myriad subjects wherein adults seem not to have even gotten out of this self-centered toddler phase. JMG: You’ve noted this many times in regards to Democrats and their political actions and discourse, but I see it on so many other variable issues too. I’m wondering if this incapacity has always been with us ‘silly-humans’? Or is it possibly a result of the social changes in the “Me” generation? Is it a result of our inability to cope with the shock-&-awe changes happening in our world? A part of our inability to react slowly/thoughtfully/logically in such a maelstrom?”

    I’m from the Silent Generation. This same incapacity was about as common in my generation as it seems to be now. I think it has always been that way with us silly humans. Relatively few of us have ever seriously tried to cope with the real world in all its complexity.

    “There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking.” — Thomas Alva Edison.

    And that goes double for the real labor of listening–really listening–to others!

  98. “The article deals with the opinion that the climate is too complex to be mastered by humans, and so it is discussed if one should suspend democracy for a while and install a technological surveillance state along the lines of China and Singapore. ”

    Perhaps that is/was the whole point.

  99. Thank you for the thought! I would be delighted to be surprised!

    Of course, things will change eventually. I hope they change in my lifetime, and for the better not for the worse. Either way, I have a feeling conventional wisdom will be the last thing to move.

    🙂

  100. JMG: To add to your response to Christopher, another factor that militates against Biden being the nominee is that he has clearly entered his dotage mentally. One scenario favored by many of the far-right commentators at JHK’s blog is that there will be some kind of stalemate between Biden and Warren or Biden and Sanders, and the result will be a brokered convention at which Hillary Clinton will once again become the nominee. Or perhaps a reason for a convention so brokered will be contrived out of thin air once it becomes clear to everybody that Biden is just too senile to be president.

  101. @Lady Cutekitten:

    Dealing with these types of issues with the modern use of computers, I’ve made a point of 1) giving myself more time than I think I will need and 2) researching and being absolutely clear on the issues at hand including calling ahead and asking questions. Now one might think why can’t the company representative you interact with provide a decent level of customer service and save you from this trouble? Because front-line representatives are often neither trained or empowered to do much more than process transactions through the system. As soon as things go a little off track, as soon as a situation arises that doesn’t fit into one of their processes, as soon as the system doesn’t respond the way they expect, they are useless. Even when they have the knowledge they are often not empowered to do what needs to be done.
    Because of cost pressures and the fact that people are quite simply getting dumber, I am finding the majority of customer service I encounter these days can’t help you beyond the most inane, basic issues, that someone with half a brain, some Google-fu, and some little ability to plan their business for the day couldn’t figure out for themselves.
    As an IT support guy, I wholeheartedly support any initiatives to reduce dependance on technology. It makes people stupid, it makes processes stupid, it wastes money, it is too often distracting, and as we know well by now, it eviscerates the human element from our societies in a way that turns us pathological.

    @Will J:
    We’ve been told, “rape” is about power, not sex. So “rape” porn is mostly about pretending to have power and less about the sex. For a society that says you should do whatever you like sexually, the kinkier the better, but on the other hand condemns traditional male roles, rape porn ends up being a legitimized way to fantasize about lost power. Western women, especially US and Western Europe, are very independent and much more feminist than say, Eastern Europe, Russia, LatAm, Asia, etc. as opposed to women in porn vids who will lay down and take it and do whatever you are searching for. Both extremes, of course, and I don’t condone either. But you see the reaction.
    The older I get the less enamored I am with progressive feminism and the more appealing traditional roles seem. But here again, I am not advocating a return to the 1950s. I would advocate a flexibility that allows for couples to adjust their roles as they feel they need to, and single women to pursue their dreams, instead of women forced to be at home no matter what and vice versa. Unfortunately that’s an unstable balance. Women’s rights always lead to complete sexual liberation.
    https://www.kirkdurston.com/blog/unwin

  102. @Emmanuel Goldstein, Justin Patrick Moore, et al

    About online censorship: It isn’t just the corporate liberals who do it.

    I once got banned from a conservative forum without explanation, but only hours after posting an article arguing that Iran wasn’t responsible for the oil tanker attacks back in June. I’ve also had my comments deleted on another conservative site when I expressed approval for British Muslims who had organized a successful protest against transgender education for 6-year-olds.

    The patriotic right may be the weaker pole of our corporate-technocratic system, but it has its own shibboleths, and apparently “Muslims Bad” is a tenet of the faith that you don’t get to ignore.

  103. Hi Tripp,

    All the theaters around here have been fancied up. I haven’t been in one because you have to buy tickets in advance and I can’t figure out how. 😊. I do what the site seems to be telling me and get nowhere.

  104. @JMG, Phil K, and Patricia M:

    I’ve heard some fairly convincing arguments that President Lincoln actually did avoid a civil war. Not the one that happened, but the protracted armed Southern insurgency afterward that didn’t, due to some difficult and unpopular decisions Lincoln made regarding post-war policies. I’m not very knowledgeable myself about that era, so I can’t evaluate how convincing those arguments are, but it’s worth noting.

  105. Hi JMG

    Many thanks for this interesting article and your comments

    About “changes”, it seems that things could be “blackswaned” quickly, may be in some power circles they are thinking in disarm the “deplorables” before it is “too late”, but may be is too late yet:

    https://www.theorganicprepper.com/virginia-activates-militia-felony/

    As Johan Galtun said the USA is the only developed country that after Enlightenment did not disarm their civil population, and he thinks that bring some “inherent internal instabilities” in time of political crisis

    Cheers
    David

  106. JMG, it is unfortunate that your comment “as perceptive observers have pointed out” when talking about the recent UK General Election result, links to an article by Toby Young. As an American you are probably unaware of his placement in the political spectrum over here. He is, as we would say, somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan. He represents the Fox News squared, sub-Breitbart end of the popular press. He is a journalist, of sorts, but I doubt even his best friends would call him perceptive. When expounding on the political landscape he has, to put it mildly, an agenda. That agenda is not to educate, explain or generate informative debate. He has no insight into the minds of those different from him. His views of what happened, why, and what it means for the future are as one-eyed as Odin without the magical assistance, as biased as a Whitehouse press statement, and as partisan as a squad of yugoslav resistance fighters. Please do not cite him for anything other than an illustration of why education may apply a veneer of sophistication and intelligence, but is no guarantee of wisdom, perception, or understanding.

  107. These last two weeks I came across what first seems to be a technological change in the wind, but when viewed through the lens of the religion of progress it is as significant as Copernicus’s discovery that the earth revolved around the sun was to medieval christianity. I frequent an unassuming brewpub in an industrial park near the Intel plants in Washington County Oregon. In the last two weeks I have randomly met and talked with three different Intel Employees on three different days, who. out of the blue, told me the same thing. ” Moore’s Law is Dead.” Not that Moore’s law is ending soon, or slowing down,but dead. One of them was a physicist, one was a process engineer and one was a material scientist and they all worked at Intel’s Ronler Acres D1X fab, ( the most expensive and advanced chip plant in the world.) They all mentioned that this fact was forbidden to be discussed at Intel (much like heliocentrism in the Church ). So, no longer will computing power get more powerful while getting cheaper at the same time. Computer chips may get slightly more powerful over time but will cost more at the same time. This incredible growth in computer power at a declining price is one of the main features that prop up the techno-utopian world view. This world view will be slow to change, but mark your calendars as this fall was the beginning of the end.

  108. Here we have a salary-class lady who’s literally butthurt because Trump (section 3, paragraph 2):

    https://believermag.com/logger/an-axe-for-the-frozen-sea/

    She doesn’t seem poison mean like most leftist women of her class, although I didn’t read the whole thing—the endless one-note song of me-me-me-me-me makes my eyes glaze over—but my goodness, she’s shoveling people’s driveways, she can’t be all that bad. It’s almost as if she’d feel left out if she weren’t as enraged as her friends are. Maybe mindless rage is the latest “in” thing? I guess it’s cheaper than replacing all your clothes when the fashion industry tells you too, but it sure sounds exhausting, and painful.

  109. @Mark @John Michael Greer

    “And we’ll see what flows into the space that is opening up. ”

    In Canada the last election saw our present leader and virtue signaller in chief, Justin Trudeau, get served a minority government by the public voters. Andrew Scheer, the conservative candidate, ended up with more votes countrywide but lost due to the way our ridings are categorized. What is astounding about our conservative, candidate however ( who just resigned from his leadership position ) is that he in fact never actually had a previous job outside of politics. In short, he was a very weak candidate. I speculate that wha..or who..fills the political space opening up North of your country will be a stronger conservative Leader maybe in the style of Trump or Bojo with a Canadian flavor. I’m thinking someone more lumberjack..y maybe.
    Our current Provincial Leader in Ontario, Doug Ford, certainly rode Trump energy during his small campaign to win, in my opinion. To use another of your phrases, Mark, it could be that perhaps Trudeau is the bookend of the virtue signalling era of centre left politics in the West. He does seem to be one of the last if not the last politician of his Ilk on a leadership position standing in the global political theatre. And he has had a bumpy ride down the ladder thus far. I never get what I wish for either politically and generally vote green or far left…however I am starting to see the value in (traditional?) Conservative thinking.. as it applies to work ethic and acting on what you think is right despite ruling narratives. The winds change as noted and in fact I will be trying to smooth the way down as well with some focused hard work in my own backyard and community. Thanks for your thoughtful posts

  110. To add a data point about the waning of neopaganism:

    During most of the years of the previous decade, my husband and I were part of a small group of people presenting the Dances of Universal Peace in the St. Louis, MO area. One of our members was the person who booked the musical acts for the local Pagan Picnic during most of those years, so he booked our group as one of the acts. Thus during those years I had firsthand experience of the number and range of vendors and presentations and the numbers and age range of people attending this major event of the local neopagan community. By 2009 we had left the group (it disbanded completely not long after that) and I no longer went to the Picnic.

    Fast forward to this past summer, when I decided to present a talk on Revival Druidry at the Picnic, thinking that some of the attendees might find the info to be of interest. But the Picnic was much reduced in numbers of vendors, range of vendors (very few vendors of books, plants, or food compared to the previous decade), and attendees. Further, most of the attendees appeared to be boomers or those a decade or two younger at most. Compared to previous Picnics I saw almost no one obviously under 40. While I had a dozen or so people at my talk, a significant fraction of them were people I already knew. I won’t be back; it’s not worth my time. And I don’t think the Picnic has that many more years left to it. Wind is changing …

  111. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Yes, I’m more in the “Long Emergency” camp myself. We’ll never run out per se, it’ll just be a slow strangling. I did find the factoring in of EROEI — i.e., oil essentially consuming itself — an interesting addition to the conversation.

  112. @JMG:

    Oh yeah, and it gets better! This theater doesn’t even have a marquis that passers-by can scan for something they might want to watch. You have to go online to find listings…

    I wonder who they’re trying to keep out?

  113. Cheers JMG
    Normally you would get about 400 commenters to a post like this. I think we just learned something about those that are shyly AWOL so far 😜 ! Come on guys there’s no shame in it ! . Even Prince Charles and the Queen do it.

    Curious about your comment about Kant and gnosis. Would that mean then, that the pentescostal evangelical and revelatory forms of Christians be effectively a bunch of gnostics ? I find that very ironic.

    After slogging through 600 pages of “Critique of Pure Reason”, I sensed that Kant believed in God but was unable to see his way clear into articulating him into an empirical sensory construct, which i guess is different from denying him altogether. Lately i have read some neoliberal university philosophy articles suggesting that we should elevate the imagination to the top of the metaphysical dais, something which i think would have horrified Kant and might well end badly. Perhaps we are already there ?

  114. Violet,

    Thank you for sharing some of what you found with Aphrodite. If I may, I have a simple question for you (and anyone else reading this) – how did you find her? Or how did she find you? I’ve been in a spiritual desert for a long time now and I can’t find my way back to the Christianity of my childhood. Finding any form of relationship with a deity / deities seems like it would crystallize the inchoate sense of divinity that I recognize from time to time.

    Thinking this might also be one for Dreamwidth Magic Monday.

  115. One cute little puff of wind changing: as reported in today’s Daily Telegraph, the Wikipedia entry for Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer has now been amended to remove a reference to him being a millionaire…

  116. Justin Patrick Moore, thanks for mentioning the Amateur Press Association(s), which I’d never heard of before. What a fantastic thing that connects with many of my past and present activities (letterpress, desktop publishing, editing, zine-making, writing, dabbling). I’m going to contemplate this awhile and see if I can work it into my doings (or the other way around?).

  117. I am worried we may not have dodged the civil war bullet with Trump’s election like we thought.

    https://www.theorganicprepper.com/virginia-activates-militia-felony/

    I am heartened by the response from most of the counties and cities of Viriginia, but worried about what might happen if the Dems continue to try and ram this down the state’s throat. We may yet have a hot civil war.

    On the plus side, I’d be surprised to see the state remain Blue after the next election. Provided Virginia has one, that is. The winds sure are a changin.

  118. Dear JMG, I’m confused about one thing you wrote and wonder if you might elaborate.

    You said, about “…the pervasive hostility of the Roman imperial establishment toward the principled asceticism of the Stoic movement. Stoics were routinely exiled from Rome or subjected to other legal penalties. The logic is quite straightforward: those who are dominated by their passions are easy to dominate in other ways, while those who can control themselves pretty reliably can’t be controlled by anyone else.”

    I seem to understand this to be presenting evidence of the Stoics being penalized, exiled, or in other words controlled by the Roman establishment. I would assume you intend to assign characteristics like this: Roman Establishment/ruled by their passions, Stoics/self-control. There’s a leap of logic between your two sentences that I’m not making. In this scenario, how are the non-Stoic Romans dominated and how are the (seemingly abused) Stoics not being controlled?

    Thanks for any clarification you can provide.

  119. That Rolling Stone article on NoNutNovember is reminiscent in style to this Guardian interview with Steve Bannon:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/17/steve-bannon-working-class-republicans-labour

    The article is less interesting for what Bannon has to say than that his statements are interspersed with what can only be described as editorial disclaimers, which have been crowbarred in to ensure the reader is in no doubt that the interviewee is an unapproved person. This just gives the article a very awkward feel, as though Bannon was only being interviewed to provide some filler between the rote ideological disavowals.

    The whole ambience of liberal media seems to be drifting this way – towards a kind of fearful rigidity.

  120. I’m not at all surprised that the neopagan movement is dissolving. I never gave it much chance of survival, at least not in its initial form. Back in the late 1970s, when I first came to the fold, I was one of very many dissatisfied with mainstream religions which were far too socially restrictive or spritually barren. I was looking for spirituality and religion that connected with life, not just afterlife.
    However, I went to exactly one (1) neopagan festival and found a spirituality that was about a mile wide and two inches deep with sharp rocks on the bottom for the unwary. The whole movement was a channeling of the zeitgeist that promoted the individual over society, the popular psychological movements that sought to free the individual from the “shackles” of society but also left everyone bereft of any solid foundation of commonality from which to orient oneself and on which to develop and grow. Free-fall is fun, but not forever. Seeds don’t sprout in the air and even hanging moss needs a good solid tree to grow on.
    I don’t know if you ever read “Lila – An Inquiry into Morals” by Robert Pirsig (1991) but in it he explores the dichotomy that if a person or society does not change, it becomes brittle and vulnerable to being destroyed by the inevitable changes which will come and break it apart, whereas too much change, too fast becomes ephemeral and anything of value is lost to time. I believe this is what happened to Neopaganism. Everyone declared themselves to be sole arbiters of their own destiny, devised their own particular non-Judaeo-Christian religious beliefs and generally acted like unsupervised children in a spiritual candy-store, pilfering out of context Gods and Goddesses, ideas and beliefs from every known historical religion and from every known culture and even making some up, such as the pseudo-spiritual “Jedi Religion” based on George Lucas’ imaginary world.
    (“Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.”
    Thanks, Yoda, but that’s not deep wisdom, it’s a disingenuous abuse of the English language, since it’s possible to try-and-succeed, or try-and-fail, which means there is ALWAYS a ‘try’. But an entire generation or two have taken this sort of pseudo-philosophical bumf and made up a whole religion out of it.)
    So, with no common theme other than ‘not mainstream’, and no common set of tenets, values, or beliefs to bind it together and serve as a solid foundation for deeper spiritual and magical growth, Wicca and Neopaganism has basically dissolved into ephemera. It was never destined to do anything else, especially in the context of a culture that itself is coming unglued for exactly the same cause.
    If every possible sub-group of a sub-group with a sense of resentment against the mainstream is supposed to be treated with the same degree of respect, and accorded equal time, then the chaos that ensues when it turns out that they don’t all play well together or respect each other as one big happy amorphous collection of individuals, then commonality dissolves, and so dies the society or the movement, in this case.
    Depth and consistency and deeper exploration and a settling of patterns are required to produce anything that has a chance of lasting, or being worth passing on. I’d say the masses, who mistake wishful thinking for magic and pop-spirituality for religious faith and whose main focus is on feeling hard-done-by, now losing interest and moving on to the next superficial interest is a good thing. Whatever remains has a chance to settle into something like an organized religious movement that may survive in the years to come, rather than a pop-culture footnote.

    Bruce

  121. One thing I noticed when working on a piece on “Virtuous Pedophiles”: there’s this underlying assumption today in many circles that arousing pornography is a human right. Pornography is a tool by which one can release harmful desires in a safe, sane and consensual setting. For some “virtuous pedophiles” that means loliporn — drawings of prepubescent anime girls. They complain that this makes them and other pedophiles struggling with their urges more likely to offend in the real world. And because they cannot control these urges, there is a strong push to recognize pedophilia as an identity akin to homosexuality and transgender.

    In this case I would argue (and will argue) that an exclusive attraction to prepubescent children is no more an innate identity than an exclusive attraction to Size 10 bright red patent leather heels. What we’re dealing with here is a very particular, specific fetish. Often, but not always, pedophiles are re-enacting abusive encounters they had as children. Helping them to deal with that, or with whatever started the obsession, may help them overcome it. Giving them pornography and declaring their problem solved does nobody a favor.

    I think the 22nd century will view online pornography the way we view the 19th century fascination with “radium cures” and early Soviet attempts to cure everything with radiation. Except, as one friend of mine noted, most of the radium cures and X-ray treatments were given by people trying to make people better. We may lose a generation to an industry that had no interest in anything save profiting from human degradation.

  122. I remember Rush or Sean or one of those radio loudmouths berating a caller, saying, “What? You want MORE GOVERNMENT REGULATION?!!!” (as if in disbelief). I’d relish the opportunity to say the same to someone who wants to ban porn: What? You want MORE GOVERNMENT REGULATION?!!! There does seem to be a double standard among conservatives regarding government regulation.

  123. @Nestorian Christian,

    There are many different types of damage. The first to come to mind is that healthy, pleasurable sex isn’t anything like the vast majority of internet porn, so men who watch it begin to have sex like men in porn do, which perpetuate bad techniques and unpleasant experiences. Many of the porn tropes just aren’t pleasant for women, and some are deliberately unpleasant. I don’t want to go into graphic details here, so I can’t give you specific behaviors, but I will say this: if all you know of sex is women who fake organism (or don’t even do that) how are you supposed to learn anything about a real orgasm? The more porn you watch, the more these tropes are normalized so that these behaviors are what you just expect or just do in the bedroom.

    Secondly, with porn addiction, two things happen. You gradually lose the ability to get off to normal sex, (this can lead to pressuring your lover into more extreme sexual behaviors) and you spend more and more time online searching for that perfect clip to excite you, until you spend hours a day to achieve one single orgasm by finding that perfect image, which, by that time, is something so extreme that nobody had ever heard of it 30 years ago and it would have placed you in mental health treatment 60 years ago. All those hours a day cut you off from the outside world and in some cases the relationships right in front of you.

    Whenever I meet someone who works with any form of addiction, I recommend that you take a glance at the work of Gabor Mate, and maybe incorporate healthy coping strategies for negative emotions and trauma.

    I hope this helps!!!!

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  124. Dear David,

    The short form is that I would burn some frankincense everyday and say out-loud something to the effect of “I pray that I might devote myself to a benevolent deity who wishes to be my Patron,” go into detail discussing what you want, what you wish to give — offerings, love, ritual etc, and continue burning frankincense every night with this same basic prayer. Ask for a sign, explicitly offer the frankincense to this unknown deity. Ask the inchoate sense of divinity what name that the being(s) in question might prefer. Pay attention to your dreams, coincidences, and symbols that enter into your life. While doing this, consider reading books on mythology, see what resonates. Be on alert for synchronicity. If you pray sincerely, if you inflame yourself with this prayer, and engage in this practice consistently, with openness and honesty, a deity will answer. It may take a week, a month, a year or more, but you will get a response.

    I think it’s very helpful to go into this having mastered a banishing ritual and basic competence in a form of divination. If I were teaching a course on this, I would consider those to be prerequisites to this sort of thing. The more inner plane mastery you can bring to bear on your search, the better. There’s a lot of ugly stuff out there.

    If you do this working I would suggest going into it prepared to be surprised, to answer the call you receive, and most of all, to change your life. Also be prepared for things to be unclear for a time, to move in the right direction but find that some of the details were different than what you thought at different points. A degree of flexibility is very helpful in this sort of work.

  125. Nestorian, fair enough. I’m sorry to say I don’t have a lot of information to offer, other than (a) what I’ve heard from young men in the nofap scene and (b) what’s said by a body of tradition that, due to the difference between your religion and mine, probably isn’t something you want to hear about. Still, good for you for seeking out that sort of information.

    David, I’m just shaking my head over the impeachment fiasco. What exactly do they hope to achieve, other than an electoral defeat in 2020 even more drastic than the one they were already in for? I’m already seeing things from lifelong Democrats saying, “Okay, that’s one too many even for me. I’m going to vote for Trump.” As for Biden-Harris, that’s been my default guess as to the Dem ticket since the nomination campaign got under way — and it pretty much guarantees at this point that the number of states they’re going to take will be in single digits.

    Onething, if the solution doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how bad the problem is, the solution still doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean nothing can be done; it means a better solution needs to be found.

    Booklover, thanks for clarifying. I certainly agree that there are problems either way — just fewer problems with legalization than with prohibition.

    Joel, oh, granted. What usually happens is that the number of people who cling to the conventional wisdom becomes smaller and smaller over time, until they become just another fringe group. At first, though, the smaller they get, the louder they get, so it can be hard to see the shrinkage!

    Mister N, that’s at least possible. If so, Trump’s supporters will be delighted — they’ve been hoping since the campaign began that Hillary Clinton would run again, make the same mistakes she made in 2008 and 2016, and fail just as catastrophically as before. Besides, they’d get to use all their favorite memes again…

    Walt, interesting. A case could be made…

    DFC, the Virginia situation could get very interesting indeed. County sheriffs there are talking about deputizing the entire adult population of their counties, and taking on the state National Guard. I wonder if anyone’s talked to the rank and file of the National Guard to find out which way they’d point their guns…

    Zoltan, that is to say, you disagree with him. So? He pointed out the thing that a great many people on the British Left have been frantically trying not to talk about — that Labour abandoned its traditional working class voters in order to pander to the upper middle class, while still expecting working class voters in the “red wall” to ignore that betrayal and keep on voting Labour. Compared to the orgy of fingerpointing going on right now among Labour as they desperately try not to learn the lessons of the drubbing the Tories gave them — did they by any chance learn that habit of willful idiocy from our Democratic Party over here, or was it vice versa? — that’s very thoughtful indeed.

    Clay, okay, I just looked out the window to see whether the moon is blue. Not so far, but I will not be surprised to learn that calendars are made with a month of Sundays and a blue ribbon Holstein bore alive two insurance salesmen. Moore’s Law is dead — no, let’s give that the emphasis it deserves: MOORE’S LAW IS DEAD.. The great god Progress has just been put on life support and the doctors are shaking their heads grimly…

    Your Kittenship, rage is an addictive drug, and a lot of these people are using it by the 55-gallon drum.

    Ian, I suspect you’ll get something of the sort. What Trump and Johnson have demonstrated is that it’s possible for a conservative politician to do an end run around the senile kleptocrats who dominate politics in the industrial nations today by appealing to the working classes and then following through on their promises. Somebody in Canadian political life has got to be taking notes…

    SLClaire, thanks for this. I’ve heard many versions of the same thing — Pagan Pride festivals shrinking or simply being canceled, festivals getting a small fraction of the numbers they could expect a decade ago, and so on. It really is winding up.

    TJ, it’s definitely worth considering, but when it’s being used as an excuse for yet another round of fast-collapse fantasizing, it’s outlived its usefulness.

    Tripp, I trust that’s a rhetorical question!

    Onanist, good heavens, yes — your common or garden variety pentecostalist is a small-g gnostic, because gnosis (defined here as personal experience of spiritual realities) is central to that way of approaching religion, as distinct from doxa or praxis. As for Kant, well, I’m an occultist, which is a variety of small-g gnostic, and I’m also a consecrated bishop of a big-G Gnostic church, so my opinions are automatically ruled out of court in philosophical circles! Were I to stray into those hallowed halls, though, I’d point out that it’s a commonplace of quite a few spiritual and religious traditions that certain activities oriented toward the spiritual side of human experience lead to the awakening of modes of perception latent in human beings, and these modes of perception give access to perceptions that you can’t get via reason, or imagination, or any of the other modes of perception available to humans under other conditions. That’s the central claim made by small-g gnostics of all kinds — and, right or wrong, I would argue that it needs to be taken seriously.

    Zendexor, oh, my, my, my. It’s finally beginning to sink in that when absurdly rich and privileged individuals claim to speak for the working classes, they may not be saying what the working classes would say on their own — and maybe, just maybe, the working classes aren’t too happy about this. Right now it’s being treated as a PR problem, to be solved by censorship; stay tuned. This could get very entertaining indeed.

    Trubrujah, no question, it’s going to be interesting to watch.

    Temporaryreality, I’d encourage you to find a copy of the book I cited, which covers all those matters in admirable detail.

    Phil K, what fascinates me is that they’re actually giving Bannon a platform. I’ve noticed a first few tentative articles on corporate US media outlets beginning to question the official narrative about Trump et al. I’m not sure if the motivation is economic — a lot of said corporate US media outlets have had steep declines in viewership, and the louder they shout “Orange Man Bad!” the steeper the declines — or if it’s starting to sink in that they’ve lost and need to begin backing away from a failed set of positions.

    Renaissance, no argument there. The one thing I’d add is that back in the day, one of the primary attractions of the Neopagan scene seems to have been its reputation as a venue for vast amounts of casual sex. Like most party scenes, that lost its appeal after a while, and attempts to put something else in its place never really worked.

    Kenaz, that’s quite possible. One habit I’ve developed over the years is to assume as a matter of course than whenever someone in America starts talking about “rights,” especially about “human rights,” their brains liquefy, dribble out their ears, and leave unsightly stains on the ground. If you replace “X is a human right” with “I want X and I want it Noooooowwwwwww!!!, you won’t go wrong.

  126. JMG,

    I think we can both agree that absent a substantial majority in support of an outright ban on pornography, such a ban simply won’t work. I realize, reading over my earlier post that wasn’t clear, but I agree pushing a ban where the majority, or even a substantial minority, doesn’t support will end badly. In most cases, my libertarian streak says that banning things isn’t the appropriate response, no matter how much harm something causes for people.

    Regardless, I doubt that a majority will emerge in favour of banning porn anytime soon. It’s much more likely that it will be possible to chip away at some of the worst of it, while leaving porn itself as a legal option.

    It also seems absurd to me that we have a situation where nearly everything online is increasingly strictly regulated, monitored, and controlled, except for porn, which for some reason gets a pass on much of the internet regulations. That needs to change, the sooner the better.

    Nestorian Christian,
    I’m in a position to discuss all of your points from a personal perspective. Give me a week or two and I’ll be happy to share it. I will write something and post a link to it either here or on Dreher’s blog at some point. He seems to be quite interested in discussing the issues of porn right now, so I’m fairly sure he’ll have a piece where it’ll be relevant.

    DT,

    Your discussion of the appeal of rape porn seems to make sense. It’s still fairly disturbing that it plays such a large role in society. Hmm. I suspect there’s quite a bit more to it than that.

    Kenaz,
    I can’t help but wonder how much of the child porn epidemic, and how many pedophiles, are created by the fetish inducing nature of porn. It seems implausible to me that there’d be this many of them, and

    All,

    Here’s what seems to be a fairly good article on some studies which have been done on the effects porn has on people. It’s frankly quite disturbing….

    https://amgreatness.com/2019/12/15/a-science-based-case-for-ending-the-porn-epidemic/

  127. Violet,

    Thank you for the thoughtful response. I just learned about John’s Dreamwidth page Magic Mondays and I look forward to participating more there during Magic Mondays.

    It’s funny, my experience with spirituality is almost exclusively physical. Like being touched on the left thigh (always that spot – weird) or a lump in my throat. If I could turn this presence into an image or sense a personality behind it I feel like I could seek it out more often.

    On coincidence and synchronicity – I’ve noticed some things. Like that they tend to cluster together – I’ll go through a “synchronicity season” where these things happen all the time. I don’t know what that means, other than maybe it’s some kind of cosmic green light that’s telling me I’m moving in the right direction.

    Frankincense: on my shopping list. I love the practical aspect here. Thanks again!

  128. As for the persistent infatuation with sudden collapse, it doesn’t come from nowhere. I think where it comes from is the race psyche, actual subconscious memory, from when such things have happened, probably usually by a cometary strike. Atlantis comes to mind, and Atlantis happened at the end of the last ice age after it had actually already ended but this put the world back in for another 1,000 years. North America was hard hit, with some 23 species, mostly megafauna, getting wiped out. Before that, we had horses, camels, elephants, the saber tooth tiger, a giant bear, the giant ground sloth, etc.

  129. The winds… they are a changing for sure. As usual, I think you’ve tapped into a zeitgeist by looking through a historical lens. A few observations:

    Re the #nofap movement, I’m not surprised. Millennials are way more wholesome than Boomers or Gen Xers. How that puritanical streak manifests seems to vary according to political inclinations, but in general there’s a desire for control (both self control and centralized control) that’s straight out the 1940s. I used to be surprised by this until I read Strauss & Howe.

    As for those politics, revolution is in the air. I can’t predict the winners but people of all ages seem to be so desperate for change that previously taboo isms, like communism (ahem, social democrat), racism, etc seem to be bursting out the woodwork.

  130. Dear DT, “an unstable balance”? Really? I believe many societies have provided culturally approved roles for both men and women who were not temperamentally suited for marriage. Some of these: consecrated life, maiden aunts who helped raise their sibling’s children, spinsters, NOT IMHO a term of ridicule, who dedicated their lives to some useful pursuit and so on. My fundamental complaint about the pro-family right is that they do not appear to be willing to allow for the possibility of men or women choosing to be single and chaste. That is a point of view not discernibly far from that of the lefty who proclaims that everyone not getting it on Right Now is a repressed authoritarian.

    About the British election: what interested me was the Scottish results. Apparently, as near as I can figure, the SNP provided a localized alternative to both leftist internationalism and rightist populism, an alternative which included the notion that Scots deserve the right to make their own foreign policy in their own best interests. I wonder if Scotland will revive the Auld Alliance with France, or if it will once again become virtually a part of Scandinavia?

  131. Lady,

    “All the theaters around here have been fancied up. I haven’t been in one because you have to buy tickets in advance and I can’t figure out how. 😊. I do what the site seems to be telling me and get nowhere.”

    Isn’t that a perfect illustration of exactly the point you made earlier, about how difficult transactions have become?

  132. @ Robert – a contemporary! Do you see the entire world as having gone stark, raving bananas, as I do?

    Pat in Florida – if you want to reach me offblog, mathews55 at msn dot com

  133. The name “Michael Moorcock” finally clicked! He was the one who wrote about the albino guy who would die if he didn’t either eat rare, expensive herbs, or draw strength from his sword, which insisted he kill people if he wanted it to uphold its end of the deal. He opted for the sword. Happy birthday and many happy returns to Mr. Moorcock. I only read one of the books—the cover showed a giant fly seated on a throne and of course I had to know what that was all about. (And now, other than the hero’s predicament, I don’t remember! 😳) But I never pursued the series because the premise was depressing. That poor guy was into the sword so deep he’d never get out—the thing was like a high-interest credit card, or the Goodfellas draining the bar. That was the era of anti-heroes and depressing endings, so since I could see things getting quite unpleasant when the sword finally called in the debt, I passed. The book was well-written, though.

  134. Hi JMG,
    Re the dem primary speculation, just wondering if the wind is changing faster than expected, and might be operating on the democratic electorate in ways that will take the democratic leadership/media by surprise. I don’t know, just a hunch. People I never would have expected switching to Bernie; a sort of buzz. You know the funny thing–it was actually Hillary who made me believe it might be possible. In a recent interview, after blaming Sanders’ late endorsement for her 2016 loss, she got in a dig about “I just hope he doesn’t do the same thing to whoever the nominee is this time around.” You know, because the nominee couldn’t possibly be him. Somehow, her assurance convinced me for a moment it would be Bernie. It was the same way that everyone saying Trump couldn’t possibly win in 2016 made me think he would. (Not with anticipation, I’m not a Trump fan at all–nor, as you can probably tell–a Hillary one). I don’t know, the democratic party never fails to disappoint me. Still…wind IS changing.

  135. At JMG and marlena13:

    Leaving aside the pushback my unintended use of “yahoos with guns” seemed to have caused, I think you both have misunderstood my meaning.

    (btw I’m a yahoo with many guns too)

    Yes, in a full on civil war, there are tens of thousands or more people on the Right, in the conflict and street fighting, who would be hard to beat. It would be bloody and awful.

    What I am saying is that before it ever gets to that point, there is going to be a series of lone gunmen or small groups of self identified patriots, who carry out acts of violence in protest to their perceived view that the Left is trying to screw them over even more than it has been.

    In that beginning period, I argue the Elites who own this country and their politicians on both side of the Aisle, Left and Right, are going to use the full force of the surveillance state to come down hard on those first actors.

    Anyone really believe if lone gunmen had been shooting up State capitals and going after politicians, instead of school kids there wouldn’t be a massive law enforcement response and a push to register or even confiscate guns? That a few homemade bombs tossed into banks or credit card company headquarters wouldn’t have their entire databases of financial information in the hands of the government immediately? How many of us only buy ammo and guns with cash? Used a credit card lately?

    Been on any Right wing Facebook pages lately. Been photographed at a pro-gun rights protest or even walked into a gun show in the last year. Don’t think your face isn’t in a database lately?

    Try this article on how your cell phone spies on you:
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/19/21029992/smartphone-location-tracking-legal-technology-privacy-new-york-times

    We are light years past the level that our government spied on us when 13 men flew airplanes into buildings. And its not just the government anymore.

    I suspect marlena13 that those same Blackwater contractors you mention would be guarding those bank headquarters, not on the street helping the insurgences.

    Anyone think for a minute once the powerful Elite start getting shot at, Fox News won’t change their tune and advocate its patriotic to spy on your neighbor and turn them in to be arrested? The Media could quickly paint any domestic violence by the Right as terrorists and justify heavy hand response by the government.

    That doesn’t even get into any false flag operations to further cement control of a dissatisfied population.

    The first Civil War didn’t just happen over night, there was a run up period where random violence started. Anyone think Lincoln wouldn’t have used a domestic surveillance apparatus and a militarized police force like we have now, if he had had it?

    I wanted to add, its not my intention to hijack the thread on this subject. Its something we won’t know until it happens. Much rather talk about porn, lol.

  136. Thinking about the Dylan line a bit. Years ago in my also insufficiently misspent youth I was a teenage punk rocker and a fan of the Clash, whose album London Calling had its 40th anniversary last week. I’ve spent a lot of time down that particular memory lane these last few days. One of the things that came back to me was how, in that slice late-70s British youth culture, it was incredibly unfashionable to have an upper-class accent or any signs of middle-class poshdom. So we all affected working class accents if we didn’t have them already (mine was half and half, but that’s another story). And even Joe Strummer himself came from a solidly respectable middle class background, and covered it up. Anyway, that turned out to be the end of an era, where popular culture still lauded the working classes. In came the 80s and rock and roll mostly pivoted back to middle class values, sex and shopping and important hair. Snoring boring.

    I’m far too old to know what signs the popular culture might be throwing out now of a change in the wind. Rock and roll is well into its era of endless performance, hip hop seems to be obsessed with sex and bling. I’m encouraged by what seems to be a strong community of smaller bands and acoustic performers, at least in my neck of the woods – they mostly seem to be reviving older forms of music, although a turn against electronica is a statement in itself I guess. Can any commenters see signs of change coming now in popular music?

    Meanwhile, if anyone wants to know what all the fuss was about back then you could start here. We looked ridiculous, didn’t change much, but it was a lot fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Qf-3KlJGY

  137. I wonder how having safe and legal prostitution available and socially, if not approved but tolerated without stigma, would moderate some of the angst that too many young men and socially challenged men have? After reading the article on the Atlantic on young men and their culture I linked to earlier I can’t help but think removing the incentive to get laid by some coed at their school with their peers any way you could would dial back the emotional BS associated with growing up male.

  138. The behavior of the Congressional Democrats is getting to be really bizarre, especially now that Nancy Pelosi is playing games with sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

    https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/12/19/house-speaker-nancy-pelosis-impeachment-delay-is-questionable-constitutional-experts-say/

    It seems to me this just makes things worse for them, especially since people can see the Democrats are engaging in blatantly sleazy and constitutionally dubious shenanigans after ramming through articles of impeachment on a party-line vote. It’s going to further diminish what little credibility they still have left while alienating even more voters. How does letting the impeachment circus drag on for months on end while everyone can see what sorts of games Pelosi is playing going to help the Democrats in the 2020 election? Are these people really that stupid? Has Trump Derangement Syndrome driven these people completely barmy? Or are they just completely out of touch with reality because they’ve been living in a bubble for too long?

    I think it’s a foregone conclusion at this point that Trump will be reelected with a landslide, in large part due to the insanity and stupidity of his opponents. But I think it’s also increasingly likely the Dems will lose both houses of Congress in a catastrophic landslide thanks to their behavior and missteps.

  139. Uxurious,

    It’s really the Eastern Orthodox church which harbors gnostics, but they call them mystics, as gnosticism is a ‘heresy.’

    Father Sylvan, monk of Mount Athos, my mentor, what a glorious gnostic he was.

    I thought only I knew about him, he was like a secret joy that lived in my heart but I found out that he has been canonized.

    I don’t know about those churches being a bunch of gnostics. I would expect different fruit. But I expect there are some.
    And they know who they are!

  140. Uxorious,

    Oh, oops. I forgot. Wrote that nonsense when I intended to ask you

    “t we should elevate the imagination to the top of the metaphysical dais, ”

    to explain that a bit.

  141. Virginia isn’t the only state where there is a popular revolt against a draconian gun control law, with widespread backing from law enforcement officers.

    In Washington State, Seattle area liberals managed to persuade enough voters to approve Initiative 1639, which imposed some of the toughest gun control laws in the USA. The vast majority of sheriff’s departments and county governments are refusing to enforce it, claiming it violates both the federal and state constitutions and in spite of threats by AG Bob Ferguson, a standard issue Seattle Democrat apparatchik.

  142. Phutatorious,

    I don’t consider myself a conservative particularly. Maybe I am. It’s really the libertarians who want the least government. I test high in libertarian attitudes, yet think they are greedy and delusional. I lean toward democratic socialism. Like Finland.

  143. JMG, indeed, the wind is changing, and the world is watching.. and.. lo and behold! some are even seeing:

    The most respectable newspaper in Berlin (Tagesspiegel) today fields an editoral (below, for German speakers) displaying remarkable overlap with what you have been saying for many months.. and at least some of the commenters there agree, even going so far as to say that the Dems have just walked into a trap..

    https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/impeachment-gegen-trump-die-demokraten-machen-einen-grossen-fehler/25349422.html

  144. Hi JMG. I thought about the wind changing when I drove by two enormous empty buildings with weed filled parking lots today. I drove by them on badly maintained roads and passed some nearly empty strip malls in the process. The long descent is alive and well and no one pays much attention. Might be like the friend who loses a significant amount of weight, by you don’t notice because you see this individual everyday. Having said that,

    Enjoy this coming Alban Arthan. I am ready for longer days,

    Mac

  145. “BB, thanks for this. I think you’re quite correct — and you’ve nailed a crucial point, which is that Corbyn succeeded in convincing the Tories to ditch “austerity,” which was always austerity for the poor and kleptocracy for the rich. If BoJo carries through his promises to expand funding for the NHS and fund economic opportunities in the midlands and the north, Labour’s going to be left twisting in the wind for a good long time.”

    I’m wondering here if anyone else has noticed how Jeremy Corbyn’s time as labour party leader has more or less followed the ‘wise old man/initiator/wizard ‘ Jungian archetype? (He even looks like Obi wan Kenobi!). He becomes leader and immiediatly thousands of people, especially young people follow him, because he seems to make politics relatable again. He then initiates them into politics, while also shifting the ground of politics in the UK more generally in a more classic leftward economic direction before finally being struck down by the baddies -aka the British establishment (think Darth Vadar sticking down Obi wan), much to the disdain and horror of his young apprentices and followers.

    Sure Corbyn could have more forcefully dealt with the Blairites, though I got the sense that weather or not he actually reached no 10 doing street was sort of beside the point. He’s there to inmate all the young future political heroes/heroines (in the UK and around the world), rather than necessarily being the hero himself.

  146. With all the recent talk about pornography, I thought I might share my struggle and recent breakthrough, in no small part due to the discussion over the past few weeks on the dreamwidth blog (this comment should more accurately have been posted on dreamwidth, but it’s taken me a long time to work up the courage to write this and collect my thoughts on it).

    Starting from when I was a teenager, more than 20 years ago when the internet was first coming about, I’ve masturbated almost daily (mostly right before bed), sometimes more than once a day, to pornography. It started with images but had moved to videos when that became more feasible with the internet and had remained that way. Note that, I am in a happy sexual marriage of 11 years and have several children, so I always thought of it as my one big vice, but I wasn’t really hurting anyone but myself. Except that wasn’t true.

    Part of me knew that what I was doing was hurting myself and others. While the kids were watching TV, I would sneak into my computer room to do the deed. On nights that my wife and I had sex, I mostly wouldn’t feel compelled to masturbate, but even then I would sometimes sneak out afterwards to do so. I would masturbate so much that I would hurt my penis. I found that physically, I had desensitized myself, so that it took longer to finish when having sex with my wife. And, I’m even ashamed to say, I gave my wife a yeast infection when I masturbated, did not clean myself, and later had sex with my wife. This was very much a destructive addiction that I was largely willfully blind to.

    This all started to change about 6 months ago. What happened 6 months ago? I started practicing the Sphere of Protection daily. I made it part of my night time routine and found it very difficult to perform the SOP if I did it after masturbation. I felt drained and it was difficult to concentrate when I did so, and so I found myself masturbating less, simply because I had decided that the SOP was important to me. The number of times I masturbated a week shifted to about half what it was before, but I couldn’t quite kick the habit.

    Then JMG and the anonymous poster had their discussion and it clicked with me. I had a spiritual parasite that was pushing me into this addiction. Almost everything the poster mentioned, I felt as well. It was liberating to know that, while the habit was mine, there was an outside force pushing on me as well. Subconsciously, I have always felt a need to be in control of myself and actions, to know that my failures and successes were my own. It is the primary reason I never tried drugs and do not enjoy getting drunk. And finding out that something was trying to manipulate me brought forth a very righteous feeling anger toward this demon that helped me kick the habit completely.

    I’ve been praying to Venus to help me kick this addiction and make it up to my family, and to Mars to help me keep this anger toward the demon stoked and burning for now. I’ve focused the SOP toward cleansing this thing out, and have found that it has been incredibly easy to stay away from pornography now. The demon certainly didn’t like this, as it played all kinds of hell with my computer for the first week or so.

    So a big thank you from me to JMG for his blogs, books, and discussions, and to the poster for having the courage to post his problem. I really don’t think I would have made any progress on this if it wasn’t for you two. It has only been two weeks, but this is the longest stretch I have gone without masturbating in 20 years, and I’m fairly confidant that it won’t be pulling me back in now. The winds are certainly changing for me.

    – A

  147. OK, I can put that book on my look-for list. By elaboration, though, I mostly meant a nudge toward answering my question, “which part of your passage am I misunderstanding?” Do I need to have read the book to understand what you mean there?

    If indeed you’re suggesting that I shouldn’t need to have my misconstrual
    or confusion addressed directly, that’s fine of course, though I’m kind of ashamed that everyone else but me got it.

    Onto the list it goes…

  148. @Nastarana:

    I mean the unstable balance of trying to have a decent level of women’s rights while avoiding the slide into full sexual liberty.

  149. Will, fair enough. I’ve been expecting for some time to see a transition — probably a fairly sharp one — from the current anything-goes attitude toward much of the internet to something much more tightly controlled; giving extreme pornography a free pass for the time being may be a way to try to get people to consent to that.

    Onething, maybe so, but the people I know who’ve been into fast collapse have pretty consistently used it as a dumping ground for fantasies, and I think that has more to do with the matter than any hypothetical racial memory.

    Brian, no argument there. Make the status quo unbearable enough for enough people and they’ll go for anything that offers them an alternative.

    Your Kittenship, good question. I’m not prepared to speculate, but the end may be very messy. Yes, btw, it was that Michael Moorcock — if you want to read something of his that’s less depressing, the Swords Trilogy was always my favorite.

    Melanie, I hope you’re right. I’m not particularly a Bernie fan, but the gods know he would be better than the interchangeable parts churned out by the party machine who are running against him.

    David, I think you’re mistaken that there would be brief self-defeating outbursts of the sort you’ve outlined. Keep in mind that a very large number of the people who would rally to an insurgency have a military background — which means they know US counterinsurgency doctrine inside and out — and also have an attitude toward the Federal government that would be paranoid if it wasn’t so solidly based in facts. They know perfectly well, as does anyone else who’s been paying attention, that the US has been preparing to fight a domestic insurgency for years now — thus the militarization of police, and so on.

    Put yourself in their shoes, They know that a feeble “yahoos with guns” moment would simply bring down massive repression. Their hope for survival and victory depends on the capacity to launch a massive insurgency very suddenly, and to have infiltrated police and National Guard units so completely that these would be useless in the hands of the government, Assume — I think correctly — that they also have at least one foreign sponsor, who can be expected to give the same advice and enforce it by various means, most of them final. It’s the same strategy as a color revolution, but with much more firepower, and the efforts of those who are preparing for it would focus on building infrastructure, stockpiling materiel in the areas where the insurgency will spring up, spreading propaganda, and infiltrating the police, National Guard, and military. I can’t speak to the first two but the latter have been ongoing for more than a decade now, leaving trails you can see if you take the time to look. We are not dealing with amateurs here.

    With regard to prostitution, that certainly seems to have been the case when it was common and socially accepted.

    Jacurutu, I admit that has me scratching my head as well. I suppose the whole impeachment charade might be a massive exercise in virtue signaling — otherwise it makes less than no sense. Or has the blowback from the “magic resistance” reached a sufficient intensity that it’s driving the Democrats to wreck their own chances? As for Washington State, no surprises there. The Olympia-to-Everett corridor is a blue blob in the midst of a deep red state.

    e Hu, thanks for this! My German’s just about good enough to get the gist.

    Mac, yep. That’s one of the things behind the weirdness all around us these days — the soaring cognitive dissonance between the myth of progress and the reality of decline.

  150. RE: Impeachment,

    No Republicans broke to vote to impeach. Three Democrats did break to vote NO on impeachment and Gabbard simply voted “present”. I feel like that says it all.

  151. Since a couple people have commented on the Virginia situation, I thought I’d add my 2 cents, since I actually live here.

    There’s one major thing you need to know to understand Virginia politics: although Virginia is legally one state, in all other respects-economically, culturally, socially-its really two. We can call them Northern Virginia and Real Virginia.

    Northern Virginia is the ten or so counties around Washington DC that make up the southern half of the DC metropolitan area (and thus the southern end of the DC-NY megalopolis). Prior to WWII, it was mostly dairy farms. Then it became a bedroom community of DC, then the Federal government grew so big that government agencies and the endless army of Federal contractors began moving out there. The Pentagon is in NoVa, as is the CIA and the main training facility for the FBI. Culturally, NoVa is part of the Mid-Atlantic, and most people who live there are from outside Virginia, or descendants of such people.

    Real Virginia, by contrast, is the rest of the state, including the Appalachain manufacturing city where I live. Real Virginia is culturally and politically part of the South, and its economy is traditionally based on agriculture (especially cotton and tobacco) and manufacturing (furniture and textiles being the biggest industry). In the western half of the state, coal mining was also extremely important.

    Ever since the Globalist era started in the 1970’s, Globalist policies (many of the formulators of which lived and worked in NoVa) destroyed or severely eroded all the above mentioned industries that Real Virginia depended on. Many parts of it were plunged into poverty, crime became (and still is) a major issue in all of Real Virginia’s cities, and jobs were scarce as hen’s teath until, well, 2016. My city lost something like 20,000 people before things stabilized and somewhat recovered (though there’s still plenty of bad neighborhoods, and last year the local paper estatically announced that our population had almost recovered to where it was in…1960*)

    Meanwhile, NoVa kept on expanding and drawing in more people-mostly from outside the South. Today, five of the ten richest counties in the US are in NoVa, and 50% of Virginia’s population lives within forty-something miles of Washington. And as the last election showed, the ascendency of NoVa and the decline of Real Virginia has gotten to the point where NoVa combined with its allies in Richmond and Norfolk can finally outvote the rest of the state. And the rest of the state is finally, after decades of resentment, rising up in protest. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Hopefully, Trump survives this current fracas and reverses the trends that caused money to flow from Real Virginia to NoVa. As it stands, I can empathize with the commenter from Florida a while back who said his state had transformed into a completely different place from where he grew up. Watching NoVa take over Virginia has felt much the same.

    *Speaking of said local paper, they’ve got the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome known to man. “Yeah, the railroad is almost gone, yeah the factories are gone, yeah, everyone’s poor now…but you know, Progress! Bright shiny Progress! We should all be so grateful to NoVa for subsidizing us anyway!” Barf. I think everyone who writes for them is convinced that if they kiss DC’s and New York’s ass enough, they’ll get jobs there eventually.

  152. BB, fair enough! He certainly seems to have helped blow up the Death Star of Thatcherite austerity, for what it’s worth.

    Anonymous, delighted to hear it. Thank you for this.

    Temporaryreality, the point was not that the Stoics were “controlled” by the Roman government. The point was that controlling people by pandering to their desires and emotions — the normal way that a mature civilization manages social control — didn’t work on the Stoics, and so the government had to use clumsier and less effective methods.

  153. Patricia Matthews,

    “Do you see the entire world as having gone stark, raving bananas, as I do?”

    I think societies have psychotic breaks from time to time. Not everyone goes crazy. But they do lay low and are not mentioned much in history.

    We humans are so laughable. Tragic, yes, but we cannot be taken seriously.

  154. I have only read down the comments as far as 6 PM yesterday. Still I would like to comment on a couple of topics.

    On American politics

    https://www.christianitytoday.com

    Today the online version of this monthly magazine of evangelical Christianity, which is associated with the late Reverend Billy Graham and his living son, posted an editorial saying that President Trump should be removed from office by impeachment or in the next election. This editorial is addressed to other evangelical Christians and I found it to be interesting reading. I would take it as a straw in the wind.

    My take on Stoicism in the Roman Empire is that it became popular when it became nearly impossible for public-spirited people to do anything constructive in local, provincial or imperial politics. If Stoicism is beginning to appeal to the young, that is a very negative judgement on the condition of our public affairs, the res publica as the Romans would say.

    On the current state and future of neopaganism

    1. I strongly agree with Violet’s observation that “the focus on the powers of the Earth, the seasonal cycle, natural magic, etc. The basic stance of “we’re okay where we are.” ‘ is a major contribution to religion in the West. It has been one of the main attractions of neopaganism and wiccanate spirituality for many people not drawn to any other religion. I hope that this runs deep enough within the values and practices of the movement to survive the ebbing of the cultural tide.

    The mainline and liberal denominations of Protestant Christianity and Judaism are trying to find some backing for nature spirituality in their own religious traditions. My contacts among Wiccans active in the interfaith movement have told me that their counterparts have an interest in what the neopagans do along those lines. Our example is giving them some confidence to design teachings and practices suitable for their own communities.Those same interfaith activists have told me that they have come into contact with various indigenous people and groups who continue to practice their ancestral religions in the Americas and other parts of the world, and that many of those indigenous religious teachers see a commonality in outlook between their own spiritual paths and the outlooks of the (mostly Wiccan or wiccanate) people they have met in the course of interfaith activities, and do not feel that deep commonality in any of the more established religions. This suggests that there is a good deal more to neopaganism than cultural fads and political activism.

    2. Gardnerian Wicca is the oldest and best known tradition within Wicca, and was highly influential at the start of the neopagan religious movement, without ever being fully a part of it. Compared to other varieties of Wiccan and wiccanate witchcraft, American Gardnerianism is liturgically conservative, apolitical, avoids public notice, and is relatively selective in whom it teaches, initiates and raises to positions of leadership. Its organizational model of small private groups with all teaching done in person without money changing hands has proven to be fairly successful in spreading the number of adherents while remaining somewhat cohesive as a sect. Every part of the English speaking world and most of the Commonwealth countries contain Gardnerian covens.

    Like every other organized variety of neopaganism, Gardnerian Wicca in the western part of the US (the only place I’m tracking it at all) has experienced a falling off of interest from potential initiates in the last couple of decades. However, it is working from a medium sized and geographically distributed base, the overhead for both new and established covens is very low, and its covens once established tend to last for decades. I think that Gardnerian Wicca has a good chance of surviving the cultural shift at least for awhile.

  155. David said: Thank you for sharing some of what you found with Aphrodite. If I may, I have a simple question for you (and anyone else reading this) – how did you find her? Or how did she find you? I’ve been in a spiritual desert for a long time now and I can’t find my way back to the Christianity of my childhood. Finding any form of relationship with a deity / deities seems like it would crystallize the inchoate sense of divinity that I recognize from time to time.

    Let me just say, Violet has some good suggestions and if you want, look at her dreamwidth blog for more words of wisdom.

    https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/

    Violet’s a prolific writer so be warned, lol.

    Now I’m in much the same state as you are. I’ve found my lifetime of marginal Christian affiliation stale and of not much use. Recently I began look for more meaningful spiritual fulfillment.

    I should clarify some history. I’ve also been a long time (40 years +) explorer of the mystic realms.

    I settled into the role as shaman decades ago, while still nominally being Christian. Shamans are kind of the garage mechanics of the mystic realms. Not so much the why as the basic mechanics of spiritual interaction and how I make it work for me. We say, if it works then it works.

    Like you I’ve been looking to realign my veneration to a deity who more relates to what I want in my Life. I’ve been looking seriously at the goddess Hecate and exploring what it would mean to work with her as a Patron.

    Recently I started a second blog which deals with my own personal spiritual journey from the Green Wizard site (btw, that’s a good one to be a member of too. Mystics need to eat sometimes and learning how to grow plants helps with herbs and mystic plant spirits too). Never discount the spiritual power of some fresh homegrown tomatoes and onions served over noodles and with a nice homemade wine, lol.

    http://greenwizard.com

    (Send me an email if you can’t open an account and I’ll get you set up right up there.)

    I’m going to speak about my own journey of approachment to Hecate on the blog as a Patron. I suspect it will take me a year to become a devotee and get her into my life and should be interesting. She isn’t an easy goddess to make yours. Wish me luck.

    https://agreenshaman.wordpress.com/

    Though for the next two months I’ll be alternating between discussion of protective energy work and a general spiritual ecology as I see it before I try and attract Hecate’s attention. I’m always surprised how often so called experts on the spirit world just tell newbies to jump right in, without providing the fundamentals of protection.

    (“Here’s your chair and whip go on in, don’t worry the Lion is very friendly…”)

    Hope anything I write helps you.

  156. Dear DT, I think it is possible and useful to posit some principles here

    1. The vast majority of men and women to desire to give and receive love, to live with those whom they love, and to have families.

    2. Those, a small minority, I believe, who do not so desire, rather than be stigmatized as immoral or insane, ought to be encouraged to make themselves useful and respected in other ways.

    3. People are not commodities. Period. Which means, as I see it, there should be no enslavement and no buying and selling of human beings under any circumstances, and no forced marriages.

    4. A society or ruler which wants to promote stable families must see to it that families have a sufficient material basis for a decent and comfortable existence. At the present time, there is no such material basis in the bottom rungs of society, and that instability is spreading upwards.

  157. Regarding the shift to whatever lies beyond a particular form of Christianity, the rectification of past errors, and the shape of things to come? An interesting quote from John Milbank:

    “As regards its corporeality, here again it seems that Christian theology needs to have some recourse to the resources of pagan monotheism. For it is Proclus, and not one of the Church Fathers untouched by his influence, who seems to supply the radical answer which then gets remotely echoed right down to Aquinas. Human and daemonic (Christians would say angelic) intelligence, says Proclus, is removed by its constitutive doubling of being in the conceptual image from the absolute simplicity of the One and from the non-reflexive understanding of the henads or gods (Christians would say from the non-reflexive and intuitive intelligence of the Triune God). But material things, as non-reflexive, although lower than intellect, are also in a certain way simpler than intellect: automatically, in a kind of slumbering innocence, physical things have to praise the gods and God simply by existing and showing themselves forth in their integrity.[1]

    [1] Proclus, Elements of Theology, 57-8 and see Jean Trouillard, La Mystagogie de Proclos (Paris: Les Belles Lettes, 1982) 119-142
    http://theologyphilosophycentre.co.uk/papers/Milbank_SophiologyTheurgy.doc

    If the old sects and supersects (Progressivism) of Christianity tear each other apart, might not emerge out of this a turn towards the elementals and their simplicity and innocence? If elementals are the first level of spirituality as it enters matter, then to some extent, it is their realm that is the primordial realm of the paradisical innocence. I am sensing a return to old fashioned henotheism “in the winds”The elementals may be the only forces or the most appropriate forces that can heal our world. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” Mark 11:23. Sounds like elemental magic to me. Although I doubt it will be done by those trying to “dominate” said elementals, in the fashion of our day.

    Saint Augustine once said roughly, “there was never a time when the Faith was not, and in our day, it is called Christianity”. This is a very different view indeed than what most Christians including myself, have been taught as “the Faith”.

  158. Nobody seems to have mentioned this yet, although I haven’t seen it reported in any non-fringey news site:

    “As the U.S. presidential race began roaring to life in 2016, authorities in the former Soviet republic of Latvia flagged a series of ‘suspicious’ financial transactions to Hunter Biden and other colleagues at a Ukrainian natural gas company and sought Kiev’s help investigating, according to documents and interviews.

    The Feb. 18, 2016 alert to Ukraine came from the Latvian prosecutorial agency responsible for investigating money laundering, and it specifically questioned whether Vice President Joe Biden’s younger son and three other officials at Burisma Holdings were the potential beneficiaries of suspect funds.

    ‘The Office for Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity … is currently investigating suspicious activity of Burisma Holdings Limited,’ the Latvian agency also known as the FIU wrote Ukraine’s financial authorities.

    The memo was released to me by the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office and confirmed by the Latvian embassy to the United States.”

    https://clarion.causeaction.com/2019/12/17/john-solomon-latvia-flagged-suspicious-payments-to-hunter-biden-urged-ukraine-to-investigate/

    If true, this could be the thing that deep-sixes Biden’s campaign and gives Hillary the last push to declare herself a candidate again – we all know she’d love a rematch with Trump.

  159. Hi Onething,

    Yep, the tickets are a good example. You can still walk up to the window and buy tickets for the noon showing or whichever,but any movie you might want to see will have been sold out for days.

    About your grandsons. Old books! Get them old books! The heroes display the masculine virtues and the heroines have intelligence and self-respect. They value themselves and so the heroes also value them.

    And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to explain to them where the word “virtue” comes from. There have been many good men who helped build our civilization in interesting ways. (You may have to get old books to learn about most of those guys too.)

    Set forth with those boys. Treasure Island awaits! (And the 9-year-old is at exactly the right age to read it, or have it read to him.)

  160. JMG, are you sure about that Moorcock recommendation? It sounded like the last thing Eric, the albino, needed was more swords in his life! 😄

  161. To Lady Cutekitten:

    “My imagination is a dangerous place.”

    -Megan Stielstra, salary-class university employee and Stage Four TDS sufferer.

    My reply, “Bwahahahahahaha, hahahahahaha, *snort* bwahahahaha, hahahahaha, what?”

    Megan sure says funny things when she’s high, doesn’t she? Oh wait, she’s serious? The hilarious aspect of the Megan Stielstras of the world is that they believe they can write because they’ve been told all their lives their voices are “new and important” by others in Salary Class Bubble World. Like a true edgelord, she had to drop the F-bomb, because shock value!

    The only thing compelling about her virtue-signaling screed was the tragedy of her brainwashing her son, though I suppose it is slightly amusing to see what professional self-pitiers do with their time.

  162. Phil Knight – there’s another way to look at DT’s Twitter hostage pleas, and that is that they are potboilers. Somehow, I don’t really believe The Donald feels that threatened. I think he is just stirring the pot even more, as pot stirring always benefits outside forces at this juncture. DT is channeling some potent forces, and seems to have caught on that, like the Earps in Tombstone, you don’t have to be a “good guy”, just a heck of a lot less bad than the insane marauders currently running amok over the landscape. What was the line? “I don’t think I’ll let you arrest me today, Sheriff Behan.” At this point, he’s in a learning curve which, to a man of his instinct, has to be rather fascinating. There’s no doubt some stuff caught him off guard, like the impeachment. You don’t expect to turn over a rock to shoot a snake, and find a dragon, but he’s magically still afloat, so that means something too. In other words, I don’t think he’s a coward, despite all the hot air. He strikes me as being a survivor, deep down. And they’ve closed off all his exits, despite him having connections with the right people and basically being a classical, if somewhat reactionary, liberal. So add betrayal and rage to his motivating forces.

    JMG: have you heard the old quote from France? Apropos of the Virginia situation. Someone was talking about reversing something in the 1850s or so, and the man said “if they do that, the muskets will go off all by themselves”. The flagship issue of gun control is going to be their undoing. It doesn’t make any rational sense, but it is almost a palpable existential fact. Of course there are other issues, like police over reach, that are also very dangerous. The disdain of the Progressives is quite interesting on this level. On the one hand, I don’t believe they would even remotely go in for full on detainment centers, re-education camps, etc. And the group they are despising is not sharply racially separate (as in the Jim Crow South), yet like the Old South, they are determined not to let “those people” get uppity, or even continue to have influence at any level. The dynamics are slightly more similar on the morphological level to early Nazi Germany, where a cultural group with racial overtones is despised and marginalized, but not at all similar on the methodological level, which seems to operate along the aristocratic lines of the Reconstruction South (is it any accident that neo-liberal classical economics basically accepts plantation, mercantile political economy?). “Cotton is King!” then, now “Information (and Globalization) is King!” So it’s good and bad news on that front. We won’t have internment camps, but there is a lot of nastiness that reaches beyond mere (economic/class) segregation and marginalization, just because that is racially impossible by now, and also, the ultimate answer is ideologically unthinkable in terms of Progress. Immigration is a passive tactic to blunt their opposition. Hence the “hot” cold-culture wars. More worrisome is that the revolutionary Left embraces the tactics of French (Enlightenment), German (street gangs), and Russian revolutionaries (ideological ferment), depending on the situation, which tells me that they analogically view all of these pre-revolutionary situations as simultaneously real possibilities inherent in the current configuration. The danger seems to be that a hybrid mix of all three will be deployed, or rather, is being deployed or at least dry tested. Virginia may be a “test run”. To see what happens. Like the India monetary test run awhile back.

  163. Oh! I see! Gosh, that all makes sense now. Thank you, that was all I needed. (…book stays on list but doesn’t have to barge its way to the top slot…)

  164. Blowback from the Magical Resistance probably makes more sense than any other explanation I’ve seen thus far for the self destructive behavior of the Congressional Democrats during the impeachment fiasco. It has been really, really strange to watch.

    It’s even more bizarre when you consider that Trump was never actually charged with a federal crime in the articles of impeachment. This is the first time a sitting president or federal judge has ever been impeached without having been charged with an offense that was a crime under federal law.

    What’s even weirder is that Pelosi helped push through USMCA, which is Trump’s replacement for NAFTA and which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. USMCA now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to ratifed early next year. So Pelosi just handed Trump a huge win on one of his signature issues, but when it comes to impeachment, she seems hell bent on wrecking the Dems credibility and alienating everyone who isn’t already a card carrying Wokester. Very strange indeed.

  165. Hi all,
    It has been a very enlightening discussion of sexuality, so I might as well pitch in too–

    It turns out that I too know several prostitutes, but they are possibly on the other end of the (economic?) spectrum from the ones that Violet knows. I have gotten to know these prostitutes here in rural Canada because they are also on Methadone maintenance at the pharmacy where I work. All of them are very poor, a few are homeless–a _real_ problem up here in Winter– and a couple of them moderately to severely mentally ill. Daily Methadone means that they do not have to work (or steal) constantly to maintain a drug habit, and it keeps them away from the plentiful Fentanyl, which kills a lot of people around here due to the import networks of Asian gangs in Vancouver. Methadone is not an ideal solution for them, but maybe helps. Most of them are pretty miserable all the time, and many have dreams to do better. One would, for example, like to go back to working as a care aide in a convalescent centre. I try to help them get their lives under control and follow their best dreams–without a lot of success, I admit. How would legalization help these prostitutes? Perhaps it would, I am not sure….

    On the other side, I have a patient, a middle-aged man whose wife can no longer have vaginal sex with him due to the ravages of a chronic disease. He would like to have sex and would be capable of it, but believes his wife would be broken-hearted if he took up with someone else. He tells me she is a brave and beautiful person, but she is a human being. How could she not be torn if her husband seeks sex elsewhere? “Even if she tells me it would be OK, I would not believe her.” So I agree with his assessment, and his decision not to take a girlfriend, though he admits he knows several people who would be interested in being his girlfriend on the side.

    I can’t advise him to seek the services of the prostitutes I know. IMHO It’s not good for them, not good for him, and will not help his wife. What’s left for this guy? He can masturbate, when he needs to. He tells me he feels terrible about it. I told him once, “There’s a reason why God put those organs where the owner can touch them.”

    And he’s not the only one– Think of any happily married couple in their 30’s. Are they having sex regularly and enjoying it? We all certainly hope so. Now suppose that couple stays happily married into their 90’s. Are they still having sex? Well, probably not, or at least not in the same way they did in their 30’s. Did they both stop being able to have sex at the same time? Again, probably not. If we live long enough, a lot of us will have the chance to be the odd-man-out or odd-woman-out when our life-long partner and friend can no longer have sex, some at a surprisingly young age. Maybe that’s where masturbation works best in the grand scheme of human sexuality.

  166. I would like to add to my observations about the current state of neopaganism.

    I have observed the same decline in attendance and aging of the attendees at public Pagan gatherings in the San Francisco Bay Area that SLClaire describes. It’s been going on for awhile and across the board; small, medium and large events; established gatherings and startups.

    Renaissance Man wrote something that I want to quote because I have found it to be true. “Depth and consistency and deeper exploration and a settling of patterns are required to produce anything that has a chance of lasting, or being worth passing on.”

    I have practiced witchcraft in covens based in established Craft traditions because they perform the same ritual with minor variations on a regular basis, which settles the patterns, and the intimacy of a coven with a stable membership allows, though it does not always foster, depth, consistency and deeper exploration.

    Going to a public Pagan event of some size might give you an opportunity to make a few connections and network, be entertained, and show off your bling. On the right day, you might get to participate in a ritual that alters your consciousness in a positive and controlled direction. On any other day, you’ll get a chance to participate in a ritual that alters your consciousness in an uncontrolled and unhealthy direction, or just bores the heck out of you. Pretty much all of this is probably also true if you set foot in a random church on Christmas and Easter, and don’t participate in a faith community or have a personal practice the rest of the year.

    A good many people who are pagan-curious or self-identify as Pagan are allergic to anything that reminds them of organized religion, and back away if offered the chance to participate in a group that meets on a regular basis. One may of course learn without face to face meetings in meatspace, though the absence of any etheric energy exchange eliminates the possibility of some kinds of experiences, just as a group that always meets indoors eliminates others, and a group that neither dances nor sings eliminates yet other experiences.

    I agree with JMG that the early cohorts of Wiccans and Pagans were more widely read. Back in the day, groups were rare and hard to find, festivals did not exist, the printed word was the only other source of information, and there a lot fewer books on whatever occult or pagan subject you wanted to learn about. People had to read a lot of books, including books that were difficult, in hopes of picking up enough information. Now you can get everything you need to get started in tertiary sources, and for most people that’s good enough.

  167. John – a most excellent essay this week.

    The interaction with Rod Dreher was of interest to me, a former “good little Christian boy” who suffered greatly and still does from the sexual repression (and other forms of child abuse) of fervent Christians.

    But the whole thing over masturbation-as-a-sin is a Johnny-come-lately invention in the early 1700s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onania:_or,_the_heinous_sin_of_self-pollution

    The Biblical story of Onan is in fact about violating the law of levirate marriage, namely, if a married man dies without a male heir, his widow _BECOMES_ a/the wife of eldest brother or whoever is next in line of male inheritance.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+25%3A5-10&version=ESV

    If the brother refuses her, he’s supposed to get denounced by the widow and spat upon in the presence of the elders.

    Thus Onan’s (first) crime is he has sex with the widow, but doesn’t impregnate her as is his duty to preserve his brother’s name. (and it’s coitus interruptus, not masturbation per say).
    The 2nd crime is avoiding his duty without declaring his intent and suffering the public humiliation.
    And his 3rd crime is stealing by false pretense the inheritance of the first son the widow might produce, as the eldest son or his heir gets the double share of the inheritance.

    And of course, we don’t really know if this happened at all, or was just a morality story to scare guys into doing their social duty to deceased brothers and their widows, and not be tempted by the double share of the inheritance.

    There are several of these kinds of things in Christian dogma, where Christians turned their back on Jewish understanding and context, and so have gone off the deep end into sheer nonsense.

    And the whole spilling of seed, no contracepted sex, … thing is a load of superstition, as men as constantly discharging stale semen, having nocturnal emissions, etc.
    But the conceit that it’s the man’s “seed” implanted in the ‘weaker “vessel”‘ of course predates modern biology, and the fact that it’s billions of sperm from the male(s) and one egg of the woman.
    In fact many male animals masturbate to refresh their sperm to be more competitive/effective.

    And fairly frequent ejaculation, either from sex or masturbation, has been found to reduce risk of prostate cancer.
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/ejaculation_frequency_and_prostate_cancer

    Though I do concur with you that anything done to excess has varying degrees of harm.

    And that it’s a pity that sensible ideas about “earth bound entities”, “demons”, etc. aren’t more widely known or practiced by the dominate religions of our time.

  168. @DT & Nastarana

    Women’s rights aren’t one thing. The right to work outside of home, the right to protection from violence, the right to run for office, the right to have an unlimited number of sexual partners – those are all different and only loosely related rights. I really don’t see how allowing women to work as engineers somehow translates into unbridled promiscuity. You can have both, or neither, or either one without the other.

    @JMG (and commentariat)

    I suspect that the issue of boys’ access to porn will ultimately be tackled by banning the use of smartphones by minors, and by restricting their Internet use in general. I suppose we’ll see. Incidentally, I remember that Jonathan Haidt (google him) made the case that rising teen suicide rates, especially among girls (for whom they’re something like 70% up since the mid-1990s, at least in the United States) was linked to the use of social media and the bullying associated with it. Funnily enough, he (Haidt) mentioned that when you give a smartphone to a boy, he uses it to play video games and watch porn (as if this weren’t a problem!). But girls go on Facebook, and then some of those girls use the platform to destroy other girls’ relationships, leading to an increase in mental disorders, self-harm, and suicide. Well, I suspect that eventually, adults will decide that these gadgets and platforms aren’t for children, and regulation (similar to tobacco or alcohol regulation) will ensue.

  169. JMG: “Tripp, I trust that’s a rhetorical question!”

    Hehehe…class warfare much? And of course the “other” theater closed down immediately after the new fancy opened up. Aaaand now I don’t go to the movies anymore.

    Cheers, and happy Solstice Eve!

  170. JMG, re: David Trammel’s avatar line of inquiry

    Do you remember the “Dread God Roberts” theory we came up with a few years ago, based on a line of thinking in the story “The Princess Bride”?

    No one would fear the Dread Pirate Westley. Or a home and hearth goddess for that matter…

    😉

  171. Off on a tangent, again..

    I’m observing several commenters mentioning “porn”, almost as if “porn” is all alike. I’d observe that all media (books, art, film/video) has varying amounts of sex, violence, and romance. It’s actually a continuous shade of “colors”, with the possibility of works being almost entirely sex, almost entirely romance, or any mix in between.

    The sex+violence is often disturbing, and the pure romance doesn’t appeal to a lot of people either. However, these two types of media aren’t different THINGS. They are different parts of the continuous idea-space of “media”.

    “Media” contains “rape porn”, “Game of Thrones”, the bathroom rape/sex scene from “The Fountainhead”, and also every single variation on “Cinderella”. “Media” also contains “Lord of the Rings”, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, things written by Shakespeare, our host’s “Hali” books which (spoiler alert) refer to sex acts with non-human-shaped intelligent beings.

    I’m going to suggest that the common theme between ‘criticism of porn’ and ‘criticism of romance novels’ is that the person viewing/reading the media in question isn’t doing the work the commenter thinks the viewer/reader should be doing.

    (I’m not saying that media is NEVER harmful to anyone. There are millions of books/videos and billions of people on this plant. Some of the combinations will be beneficial, some will be harmful.)

  172. This is a great analysis of porn by left wing Christian (gnostic) Chris Hedges, although obviously not all women are the same or have the same experience in the porn industry. But i think its a good idea to de-objectify the women by reading stuff like this or watching a Louis Theroux documentary or what have you. They are fellow human beings .

    Empire of Illusion – The Illusion of Love : Chris Hedges

    “The porn films are not about sex. Sex is airbrushed and digitally washed out of the films. There is no acting because none of the women are permitted to have what amounts to a personality. The one emotion they are allowed to display is an unquenchable desire to satisfy men, especially if that desire involves the women’s physical and emotional degradation. The lighting in the films is harsh and clinical. Pubic hair is shaved off to give the women the look of young girls or rubber dolls. Porn, which advertises itself as sex, is a bizarre, bleached pantomime of sex. The acts onscreen are beyond human endurance. The scenarios are absurd. The manicured and groomed bodies, the huge artificial breasts, the pouting, oversized lips, the erections that never go down, and the sculpted bodies are unreal. Makeup and production mask blemishes. There are no beads of sweat, no wrinkle lines, no human imperfections.

    Sex is reduced to a narrow spectrum of sterilized dimensions. It does not include the dank smell of human bodies, the thump of a pulse, taste, breath—or tenderness. Those in the films are puppets, packaged female commodities. They have no honest emotions, are devoid of authentic human beauty, and resemble plastic. Pornography does not promote sex, if one defines sex as a shared act between two partners. It promotes masturbation. It promotes the solitary auto-arousal that precludes intimacy and love. Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone else’s expense.”

    “As she talks of her career in porn, her eyes take on a dead, faraway look. Her breathing becomes more rapid. She slips into a flat, numbing monotone. The symptoms are ones I know well from interviewing victims of atrocities in war who battle post-traumatic stress disorder. “What you are describing is trauma,” I say. “Yes,” she answers quietly.

    Shelley Lubben, who also worked as a porn actress, agrees.
    The lifestyle of a porn star is to spend your money as soon as you make it on weed, alcohol, coke, ecstasy, and Vicodin,” Roldan says. “I wanted to be the good gonzo girl they wanted me to be. I took this so I would not feel anything. By the next year, instead of only Vicodin I began to drink vodka, a whole bottle. Every girl I knew used alcohol. We were drinking so we did not feel the pain, physically and emotionally. I remember driving home thinking, ‘I could be stopped for DWI.’” Roldan usually socialized with other porn stars, whom she and everyone in the industry call “girls.” They often spent their days drinking. “Most are very lonely,” she says. She longed for a relationship, “but it felt weird to have a boyfriend.””

  173. Violet – I second your kind words about courtesans. And would add some strippers, who along with some spiritual beings, quite literally saved my life.

    Will J – re A Science-Based Case for Ending the Porn Epidemic

    The article is a typical trope – “I used to NOT believe in X, but now I’ve seen evidence (see I’m not a bigot), and now realize it’s horrible beyond words and we must DO SOMETHING NOW or the world will end!!!!!”

    OK, maybe that’s true, but what’s the proof?
    Despite the leader “the medical science is solid”, the “medical (hard) science” links in the article are of brain imaging studies. I.e. the viewpoints of physicalist-materialists who believe brain = mind and pointedly ignore the emotional/mental/spiritual aspects of addiction.

    The social science links are of selected “sex/porn/masturbation” addicts or Japanese “herbivores” who are withdrawing from sex and life in general, again painting a reductionist picture of “evil (addictive) thing out there causing addiction”, ignoring societal factors (like ummm, the long decline some arch druid guy keeps talking about).

    And while the author allows that there could be other factors, he zeros in on porn as “… the biggest threat to public health”,
    and paints an alarmist picture of societal doom.

    I would refer you to a book “The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit” by Bruce Alexander, or if a book is too long, here’s a good summary of why the addition as substance/behaviour induced brain disease model is bogus:
    https://peele.net/lib/truth_1.html

    What has been the success rate of prohibitions and brain-disease model based treatments?
    or “moral failing” based 12-step programs?
    Sure one can find a few successes here and there to trumpet.
    But basically the prohibit and treat disease or punish moral failing approaches don’t really work, and
    both the Alexander book (with “rat park”) and Stanton Peele’s site have proof and why.

    Basically, additive behaviour is a response to stress, or “dislocation” as Dr. Alexander calls it.

    Also, I think people should know about the Adverse Childhood Experiences study.
    https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/about.html
    When children are traumatized, the effects are cumulative and if large enough, affect their health as adults, including emotional health, mental health and social health – and risk of addictions.

    Porn/sex/drug/gambling/… miss-use are symptoms, not causes.

    But that’s a bitter pill to swallow for prohibitionists/physicalist-materialists/morality police, never mind the neo-classical economists and free-market crowd creating so much dislocation in our time.

  174. And here is Bellingcat, an org sponsored by the NED , attempting to portray potential far right wing (or perhaps working class) paramilitary insurrections as the work of Russian Putin-Nazis, an elaborate propaganda deception which would justify a hugely disproportionate, brutally reptessive counter attack.

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2019/12/19/transnational-white-terror-exposing-atomwaffen-and-the-iron-march-networks/

    Berlin based Satirist CJ Hopkins outlines the nature of the Putin-Nazi manufactured narrative here

    https://off-guardian.org/2019/12/19/2019-the-year-of-manufactured-hysteria/

  175. One comment that may be OT, but …C.S. Lewis wrote about love as the Greeks saw it. He included Eros, which (as this blog post demonstrates, has its very bad downside; Philia, the intense love for a close friend; Agape, the often impersonal love for all beings; but he found, to my surprise and puzzlement, no easy way to translate the fourth, and to him and the Greeks, least of the four – Storge (which even *sounds* stodgy and dull) – the feelings you have for the old familiar places and people, and, I believe Lewis did mention, the old family dog.

    Of course, there is such a word in English and a perfectly good one: “affection.” And it’s the one that makes most marriages endure. It’s the one that porn culture and the cult of “scoring” deliberately omits as effeminate. It’s of Earth, whereas Eros is of Fire. And while Earth alone can drag you down, Fire can and does burn you.

    The old-time romance songs and movies actually did have a place for affection, “a boy for you, and a girl for me… a little love nest,” etc. And yes, for the love one one’s old dog (“Old Yeller.”) And that’s what’s lacking in our culture right now. Which tells this old trend-watcher it will probably be back in a rush when the dust settles, as it was seventy years ago.

    Feel free not to publish this rambling if it’s too far afield or whatever.

  176. @Nastarana – as a matter of fact, the micro-identity list now includes “asexual,” as a recognition that there are some people with no interest in getting it on, and that that’s okay. I remember a long-forgotten novel (small press, bad spelling and all) I nearly threw across the room when the lesbian viewpoint character and her friends dismissed the Jane Addams generation of feminists as “Not real sisters ” because they weren’t getting it on with other women. I dumped the series on an acquaintance with disgust.

    But – one can also be chaste because of various sorts of damage at a vulnerable time. Venus is now mocked – but can express Herself in many gentler ways whan we tend to think.

    Just my $0.02 here, having been comfortably apart from the game for upwards of 30 years.

  177. On Bernie – a friend of mine said Bernie used the term “low-information voters” for some I think he was trying to win to his side. That puts him in the camp of “one more fracking elitist” a far as I’m concerned.

  178. Tolkienguy: by your own description, Virginia is 3 states: Beltway, Plantation South, and Appalachia. I’m sensitive to this since in North Florida there seems to be a variety of Southern accents: the main one isn’t the soft, sweet, rich Southern voice at all, but something higher and sharper and faster, a bit more twangy.

  179. @BB and JMG
    Well said!
    Yes; Corbyn did have that ‘trend’ effect on many young people. And round here in a Conservative constituency that for 4 decades prior to 2015 had been Liberal, the Labour Party’s membership promptly increased x4 in short order, and Labour came 2nd to the Conservatives in 2017, and again in 2019, with this time only a small reduction in vote share compared with the national trend.
    I concur about the break with the Thatcherite Death Star though I am a bit lost with Star Wars references – after my time.😉
    Not sure about the future of the plural British Isles and their bit-parts in the currently globalised world. Although there remains a good deal of affection for the past, ‘Windsor’ seems a weird theme park ‘down south’ when viewed by the more sceptical peering both ways across a Scottish Border. The only seriously noticeable ‘immigration’ we have seen here – and this has happened during ‘austerity’, has come from higher income / middle class buying-in with capital gains from houses and other asset monies gained during the ‘austerity years’ in the ‘metropoles’ to the south. Curiously a few of these joined the Corbyn Labour Party in their now oldish age. 🤔

    North of us a different trend or two seem already emerging.

    best
    Phil H

  180. > current anything-goes attitude toward much of the internet to something much more tightly controlled;

    We are already there. I can tell you do not know the extent yet. You will though. You will. The old internet died sometime in the 00s after 9/11. Say it died in 2008, that’s a convenient time marker for a lot of things that ended.

    It’ll take a while for them to come for you and they do want to preserve as much of the old facade as possible but they will come for you eventually.

  181. I’m not sure if the motivation is economic — a lot of said corporate US media outlets have had steep declines in viewership, and the louder they shout “Orange Man Bad!” the steeper the declines — or if it’s starting to sink in that they’ve lost and need to begin backing away from a failed set of positions.

    I think the inherent instinct of the liberal elite is always to double down, because their commitment to their ideology is not entirely rational nor purely exploitative – it is clear that they have a strong emotional, psychological and even theological commitment to it. Hence they are in a position where the rational position for them is to back down, whereas the position they really want to adopt is increasingly draconian. You can see an example of this here:

    https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/475333-iowa-man-sentenced-to-16-years-for-hate-crime-after-setting-pride-flag

    and here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50858919

    (The first story also tends to confirm my view that the rainbow flag is no longer really an LGBT flag but is instead the “national” flag of liberal progressivism.)

    So I think that the elite are in a back down/double down dichotomy, and at the moment “double down” is still in the ascendant. I think this is largely because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are still within touching distance of making the current settlement permanent – a bit more immigration here, a few tougher anti-bigotry laws there, a consolidation of the administrative state over there, and they are home and dry. I do not think that they understand just how dangerous a gamble this is.

  182. @ Robert Mathiesen
    My first reaction to your comment was “brilliant”

    Quote from your comment:
    “On demons and Christianity:

    One could make a strong case that the foremost “selling-point” of the Christian religion among the common people of the demon-haunted Roman Empire in Late Antiquity was precisely that the founder of that religion had had notable success at expelling every sort of demon and devil, and that the rituals of baptism and confirmation gave every Christian, however humble, the same power to a greater or lesser degree.”

    That was something of a ‘break-thru’ thought for me. Thanks.
    The Roman world seen in retrospect looks like a failing entity, it having seemingly already trashed much of the Classical Hellenic legacy?

    Reminds me perhaps of another failing world haunted by demons. Christians? Maybe ‘superstition’ crept back in a while ago. Remember the witch hunts? And by the backdoor then came demons with their ‘Science’; and there is no exorcising power. I was reading last night Theodore Roszack, 1972, and his take on W. Blake and ‘objectification’.

    best
    Phil H

  183. If Zoltan cannot appreciate the significance of the Conservative election victory when it is explained by someone on the right, how about this from someone on the left, a Labour member of the House of Lords no less:
    https://unherd.com/2019/12/all-hail-king-boris/
    It also has the advantage of being beautifully written and echoing JMG’s wind of change thesis.

  184. @temporaryreality: Great to hear you are doing all this stuff. You may be interested in joining the American Amateur Press Association. I’m thinking about joining this myself as well. My friend who runs Freedom APA was the past president of this group. I’m definitely interested in the stuff you are doing, and want to promote the re-establishing of these kind of analog networks, systems, & groups… so I figured mentioning it here was a good idea.

    “The American Amateur Press Association is a nation-wide non-profit organization of amateur journalists founded in 1936. The purpose of the association is the promotion of amateur journalism and fellowship of amateur writers, editors, printers, and publishers; and the circulation of their work among the membership.

    We currently have about 150 members and are always on the lookout for others who share an interest in our hobby.”

    https://www.aapainfo.org/

  185. @Clay Dennis:
    Interesting to hear the demise of Moore’s Law cannot be discussed at Intel, since it has been the subject of mainstream essays for many years! Don’t talk about nooses at the hangman’s, I suppose…

    Now with regard to heliocentrism, it was openly and even favourably discussed all through the 16th century, even by popes. Galileo got into problems all of his own making!

  186. Nastarana:

    You wrote, “My fundamental complaint about the pro-family right is that they do not appear to be willing to allow for the possibility of men or women choosing to be single and chaste.”

    I am quite surprised by that! During the two decades that I was a member of and weekly worshiper at Assemblies of God churches, a strongly Pentecostal, Bible-based denomination, there were regular sermons about the virtue of a chaste, unmarried, spiritual life. The New Testament has plenty of verses about married vs. unmarried and none that comes to mind at the moment casts a shadow on the choice to remain single; the most often-quoted (in my experience) are in 1 Corinthians 7:25-35. Practically speaking though, Catholic and Orthodox churches have a built-in outlet for singles who want to be chaste and devote themselves to spiritual things with the option to join communities of nuns or monks. There isn’t really a comparable route in a lot of the Protestant churches; there certainly wasn’t in the AG church.

    I will agree that there was a general feeling amongst my Pentecostal brethren that young people should get married and have families and that this would be a good thing for them, but church teaching certainly did not frown on singles. IMHO the conflict may perhaps arise because it’s been noticed that a lot of young unmarried Christians are taking their cues from general society and putting an emphasis on creating a good, hopefully lucrative, career rather than following Paul’s clear instructions for a single life* which are almost entirely spiritual in nature.

    That said, there are probably conservative religious denominations (Christian and otherwise) that could be called pro-life and pro-family as commonly defined which strongly discourage the choice to remain single for cultural as well as religious reasons. I think the Amish might fall into that category and, based on my limited experience, maybe also Hasidic Jews.

    * 1 Corinthians 7:

    32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

  187. Mark D,

    re musical inspirations or social/cultural shifts: If my Zoomers, (ages 19 & 21) and their friends are anything to go by, the biggest shift is that they don’t get their inspirations or politics/social cues from music the way we did, ‘back-in-the-day’. So a lot of music is just music, not a movement. Having said that, there are some rap/hip hop artist with strong socio-political messages, like Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar, who’s work are pretty powerful.

    They grew up with the internet, so music is too disparate to create or lead such Dylan-esque movements and culture by themselves. My youngest listens to Bollywood musicals, eldest listens to some rap, some new rock, Chvrches, Everything & vintage 40’s to 60’s music. Shopping for grab bag CD’s at thrift stores is super popular with his crowd. They get their social/cultural/political cues from us, each other and various internet blog and YouTube sources, although the top social media outlets are boring to them. They barely engage with Instagram or snapchat, zero facebook, some twitter. Those top social media forums have morphed to more casual interpretations of Linked-In – they’re useful mostly for small businesses, (like mine) and employment/professional links and they themselves seem to gravitate towards that.

    @Lady Cute-Kitten: I read your ax throwing article. Yes, it does seem like absolute rage is ‘on trend’ (to borrow a phrase we used to say in the garment industry). OTOH: This poor lady sounds to me like she has sizeable psychological problems, she had post-partum depression, she was actually IN an active shooter situation at her place of work, so benefit-of-the-doubt, maybe hers is authentic, in which case, she needs good therapy to go with her ax-throwing.

    @Robert Mathiesen, Thank You for your reply. Yes, ((sigh)) I see your point. It actually takes effort to stop oneself and truly listen. I suppose that is a silly-human failing.

    @David Trammel, re “yahoos with guns”
    Aren’t we already in the beginning stages of violence, you are describing with active shooters every two to three days in the news?

  188. With regards to the Verge article David Trammel linked, I can’t wrap my head around how people don’t seem to get cell phones are optional. I currently have one, since not having it would mean I’m unable to do some volunteer work I love (not because it’s necessary, but rather nonsensical rules from higher ups require all volunteers to have one), and for now I’m willing to put up with it, but I sure as frack don’t bring it everywhere I go……

  189. Wind is changing. A few days ago, my wife, who works at a well-known home improvement chain store, got into a conversation about the inevitability of long-term slow collapse and what the next civilizations hundreds of years from now might look like. With a random customer, and the customer was the one taking the lead. This was the second time in the past year that one of us has encountered a fellow “slow-collapse-er” (we need a better label!) in ordinary social settings among strangers. Not being in the fringe of a fringe, but just a fringe instead, looms as a significant change of wind for many of us.

    Maybe it wasn’t quite a completely ordinary setting, though. DIY itself has become a fringe pursuit, barely reputable, with links to less reputable fringes like growers, preppers, ‘shiners, and grey-economy cash-and-handshake contractors. Every hardware store is a gateway to a demimonde. Knowing how to do, make, and repair things for yourself is subversive.

    Regarding the decline of Neopagan popularity, it seems to me a routine instance of a general observation I’d summarize as: “If you’re involved in a ‘movement’ or ‘scene’ wherein everyone else is about the same age as you, and that doesn’t change, you’re not the wave of the future.” It’s practically a tautology. (Of course, associating with an entirely coeval group can be a large part of what makes such scenes initially attractive, especially for the young.)

    On pornography and the particular sort of DIY associated with it, I completely missed the boat on film and video porn. It just wasn’t available to me during the crucial years. When it finally was, I found it utterly unappealing. it didn’t come close to what I’d learned I could visualize based on the available text narratives and photographs. (Whenever someone describes general visualization exercises, “… now imagine how it looks from a different angle; now add an additional sense…” my inner fourteen-year-old still sniggers a bit from the third row.) Even hardcore photographs never measured up compared with the best soft-core ones like in Playboy, whose photographers were the best in the business, and whose models’ poses and expressions conveyed a world of implied possibility instead of “now stick it in me again in the place I’m helpfully pointing toward.”

    The idea that boys and young men think they’re learning sexual technique from video porn is cringeworthy. (I hope they’re not also learning carpentry technique from old Three Stooges clips.) Learning in increments from actual experience instead may be feasible for some, but in my own case, when I saw events trending toward a much more experienced woman being my first, I bought a how-to book. All text, no illustrations, which makes sense because most illustrations are distracting and misleading in that context. I think restricting online access to porn, while providing every eighth grader with a free copy of such a book (suitably updated, translated into all needed languages), would be a reasonable political compromise. The chance of that actually happening is a number so infinitesimal it’s unknown to mathematics.

  190. On the subject of porn/prostitution: I find myself in agreement with Onething. I don’t know if there are sociological or psychological studies on this, but I suspect the draw for many is the illicitness, itself, of them. Getting away with something forbidden. If they are legalized – the draw will be gone and those people who crave bending/breaking the rules will push the envelope further or elsewhere. Prostitution is legal and regulated in NV and yet there is a problem with illegal prostitution there as well. I don’t know if I would advocate banning the ban just because it doesn’t work 100% of the time. It would depend on the % of time it does work, the amount of effort / resources needed to enforce and the consequences or deleterious effects of it overall on society or potential victims. Prohibition didn’t work the majority of the time, but alcohol consumption itself – was socially acceptable for most of history, wasn’t it? & it was a ‘victimless crime’. IMHO, it’s not a great comparison, is it?

    &@ Onething: re your grandsons. We managed to escape this particular pitfall with ours, I believe, mostly in just well…active parenting. Engaging with them and being present and involved and limiting their screen time appropriately, discussing things with them, if / when they found something questionable. I don’t know you IRL, but I truly suspect you are also very engaged, even as a Grand, and their parents as well – so you probably have less to worry about than you think. Just by being the kind of Grand that is worried about their development in this area – you are engaged and a trustworthy sounding board for them to come to if they do stumble across something unsavoury. They are in good hands. 🙂

  191. clay dennis, I went looking for “Moore’s Law” to refresh my memory what it is. Found this article. Found this statement very interesting. Note the date “In a 2005 interview, Moore himself admitted that his law “can’t continue forever. It is the nature of exponential functions,” he said, “they eventually hit a wall.”
    Hers is the URL to the entire post
    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mooreslaw.asp

  192. re: rape porn and other extremes;

    I think I have a different take on this. There’s a ratchet effect at work, caused by the easy access and huge volume of pornography. Nobody starts with the weird stuff. No 11 year old logs on to [redacted] looking for rape (unless there’s major underlying psychological issues). For everyone I know, it goes the same way– it starts with softcore, until titties stop being titillating. (It takes thousands of pairs.) Then it’s on to hardcore pornography, but after seeing a few hundred male reproductive organs entering a few hundred female organs… well, that begins to bore too. The hedonic treadmill whirrs on. Often the first step is to anal, which is practically vanilla these days… but that doesn’t last long. Then it’s on to odder and odder niches.

    A lot of guys, I think, are aware of this. There’s the famous moment of “post nut clarity” where the demon lets go and you can take a sober look a what you just masturbated to, and… well, sometimes its’ a very unpleasant reflection. Nausea. I’ve heard of people actually vomiting, once they have full control of their faculties back, but I admit that that may be hyperbole. The point is that just because a young man consumes rape pornography, it doesn’t mean he’s interested in rape. It’s just novelty. It’ll get old, too. (and rape is just one rabbit hole! There’s scat, there’s furry, there’s vore, there’s… there are just so many nightmares. So, so many. Don’t go looking. The internet’s Rule 34: There is Porn of It applies to so many things it really, really should not.)

    For that matter, I have heard that the trend towards cheesy faux-incest porn (“what are you doooooing step-brother?”) and rape is actually driven by trying to get female eyeballs on the product. As “50 shades of grey” and spinoffs showed, there’s a big appetite for it. The faux-incest ones have particularly become something of a joke; there’s a sense its being pushed onto us, and aside from “maybe girls need the storyline?” nobody seems to know why. Maybe it’s just the kink of one particular demon. Who knows?

  193. Onething: I hadn’t intended to direct my second comment to you at all. I suppose I’d also consider myself to be a democratic socialist – like Finland. And as to regulation of porn, I really don’t know how extreme the porn has gotten lately. Since there are some things you can never “unsee,” it’s better not to get too curious. I think gov’t regulation in this case may be a good thing in spite of whether it matches a particular ideology. .Although I was once a reader and a fan of Ayn Rand, many decades ago, I think libertarianism is an attractive but naive philosophy. Russel Kirk had interesting views on libertarianism and was especially hostile toward Ayn Rand.

  194. DT – may I ask whether you consider men’s rights (and/or privileges – a better name for such perquisites as a society grants only to men) have a bearing on degrees of “sexual liberation”?

    Or is it only the rights women enjoy that you see contributing to a “slide” into sexual liberation?

    I’m not clear at all about how these two phenomena seem to be connected for you.

  195. Just a quick thought about the censorship of comments on the Randy Newman video: Might the deletions be the work of Randy Newman or whoever manages his channel? I can imagine him not wanting his song to attract those pesky Russian bots he has undoubtedly heard so much about from watchin’ the teevee and what-not.

  196. Interesting to read this subject after last week’s discussion of ages. I’ve found pornography about an order of magnitude harder to master than tobacco, supposedly among the most addictive vices legally available. It occurs to me that the latter is strongly death-aligned, both in its traditional ancestor-contacting role and its modern connotations. I wonder whether the ‘life aligned’ Aquarian age makes for a greater need for liveliness in our spiritual selves, which in turn causes greater cravings for substitutes? I’d be interested to hear from others who’ve encountered both, it may just be an idiosyncrasy of mine but I suspect there’s something there.

    @Nestorian, I may fit the last category you’re looking to speak to, depending on your definitions. I think most young men in that demographic don’t so much close ourselves off to the possibility of all sex as that we stop actively pursuing it, and/or try to use the desire for an ideal relationship as motivation for some ambitious project of self-improvement or worldly achievement that we feel would make us worthy of it.

  197. I can see blowback against the “magic resistance” acting with the forced impeachment (remember that Pelosi didn’t want it in the first place) – but I can also see other forces acting.

    It would appear that Mrs. Pelosi, by delaying the sending of impeachment articles to the Senate, is playing a high-stakes game. If the Democrats get a majority in the Senate and an assurance of a majority of guilty votes (even if it doesn’t reach the 67/33 threshold needed) she can at least gain a moral victory. If things stay the same, she can bury the impeachment and things go back to normal (even with Trump trumping up his “victory”). The gamble being, of course, that if the Republicans take over the House Trump gains a major victory and talk goes from “four more years” to the possibility that Trump will only leave the presidency on his back, feet first, on a stretcher. (And, should Trump lose, the impeachment becomes moot.)

    We’ve seen this high-stakes gamble happen twice before, involving the last two Supreme Court seats. Mitch won big with his gamble (what would have been Obama’s third supreme court seat had they decided that a bland centrist would have been acceptable, instead the right was gifted with Gorsuch, a State’s rightist whose bona-fides came from the Federalist Society) the MeToo movement lost big when Cavanaugh, a suspect supreme court nominee at best, was suddenly gifted a journey of redemption when his long-past issues suddenly found common cause with many Republicans who, likely, had also had similar cases of bad acting around women followed by years of correcting their behavior (my take, at least). That Pelosi found herself forced into a high-stakes gamble doesn’t surprise me so much as as it induces me to buy more popcorn to watch yet another show developing in the Political Realm.

    Add to all that the fact that many Kek worshippers seem to have gone into the real magic realm and learned some real power, and I can see a major disaster for the left developing.

  198. A couple more quick comments:

    As for the militia movements preparing for takeover, don’t be surprised at the possibility of cooperation between the militias and the armed forces and police. Don’t forget that there is a natural affinity between those who sign up for military service, those who become policemen, and those who’d naturally arm themselves against what they’d see as an unjust and unworkable State. I can easily see a combined (behind the scenes) military/militia movement where the militia makes its move and the military and police, instead of fighting the militias or even standing down, turn around and aid them both directly and indirectly (imagine Washington suddenly being surrounded by the military “for security reasons” only to hear stories of starvation and military abuse of civilians…with stories of minority riots torn out of the pages of Hunter. Also imagine militia and military units working together to take over college campuses all over the nation to turn them into militia training centers).

    As for Moore’s Law dying, I saw that quite a few years ago when, suddenly, the constant speeding up of CPU speed on Apple products stopped. It’s nice to get the confirmation from people in the know, though; also interesting to read a sudden flood of articles stating their faith that Moore’s law was about to strike with a vengeance.

  199. JMG,

    Wind is Changing indeed. I’m expecting a very entertaining year ahead and can’t help but think that The Donald has some surprises up his sleeve.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/737-max/

    I read this the other day and had a strong sense of our civilization having reached a milestone re an end of progress; increasing complexity finally outsmarting itself.

    According to the article this situation could have far reaching consequences; maybe one of those steps down we’ve been talking about.

    Sol Invictus

  200. @Nestorian Christian

    I started to write about my experience with men who use/abuse porn and it turned into a 2-page essay. Because I don’t think anyone wants to read all that, I will try to keep it short. My experience has been very similar to Jessi Thompson and onething. I had personal experiences with sex workers in childhood that taught me what that world is like, I dated a man in college (early 90s) that developed a severe porn addiction after we bought a PC, that turned him into a total monster, and I can absolutely tell when I have sex with a man who consumes a lot of porn (and I was sexually assaulted when I was younger by 2 men that in hindsight were likely acting out a porn fantasy). I agree with JMG on the futility of banning it, but I will not have it in my world, or have people in my life that consume it.

  201. One final comment today: I just now connected the dots between the posts on Stoicism in the Roman Empire and control-by-pandering-to-desires, and how to live in this retirement center. A principled, disciplined program of mild austerity and firm limits.

  202. Dear JMG,

    You’re very welcome!

    If I may, regarding the ongoing conversation of the possibility of domestic insurgency, I wish to generally recommend the book _News of a Kidnapping_ by Gabriel García Márquez. It concerns the political disintegration in Colombia between approximately 1970 and 1991. In 1970 the guerrilla group M-19 started, in 1990 it became just another political party. Coinciding with this was the war-band of Pablo Escobar, who skillfully used political assassination, hostage taking, propaganda and terrorism to win political concessions.

    Point being, the same texture of events could very much ‘happen here.’ The tone would be more in line with the various regional cultures, but it’s sobering to see that what Márquez documents is simply politics as usual in many Third World nations, which, of course, the United States has rapidly become.

  203. Re the demise of PantheaCon one commenter wrote:

    “Any would be successors should be prepared to grow a spine or just not bother. Our movement has become a pathetic bunch of shrieking, self righteous snowflakes, afraid to engage with ideas that challenge them in any way. It is not the movement I joined or even the one we had a few short years ago.”

    It seems the final straw was the drama over Max Dashu and Witchdoctor Utu who were accused of transphobia and cultural appropriation respectively and got disinvited from the event. It seems that wokedom is killing off the last of the Neopagan movement. I hope Heathery is more robust, I think it is..

  204. I heard this song on a radio show I was listening to today. And since Aphrodite seems to be hovering around this conversation thanks to @violet I share it here as a winter solstice sing a long. (Aphrodite is in the first verse.) In the very least I hope this song will chase out the many dreary tunes currently polluting the airwaves.

  205. JMG, do you think that one reason twelve step programs such as AA work for some is because they directly invite assistance from a deity (adherents say “God as we understand him.”)?

    I can confirm Tolkienguy’s comments regarding the cultural split in VA. Although I am more of a ‘real Virginia’ type, I have friends on both sides of the divide. Unfortunately those that are aligned with the NoVa sphere of influence don’t seem to realize their opinions aren’t as widely shared as they think. As you have mentioned before, the elites are very good at constructing ways to ignore what doesn’t support their narrative.

    Sometimes it comes across as a desire to annihilate or rewrite the parts of the State’s history and culture they don’t agree or identify with. I find this especially concerning when it comes from my academic friends involved in anthropology and related disciplines. You’d think a baseline ethical rule in those fields would be that you don’t attempt to destroy cultural or historical artifacts (physical or not) important to ‘the other.’ Indeed, they would object strongly to anyone doing it in their particular cultural specialties and (rightly) decry it. But when it comes to neighbors who aren’t like them, no quarter is given and no explanation is listened to. They are nice, smart, open minded people who have a huge blind spot distorting their perception of just about everything.

    When they get pushback, they are baffled; even when they grudgingly agree I have a point they minimize it by saying other Virginians who agree with me aren’t looking at the issue the same way–they are simply stupid and/or racist/sexist/homophobic.

    Could this disdain be something similar to the ‘uncanny valley?’ Maybe it’s easier to appreciate diversity when it comes from people or a culture that’s obviously different, but when it comes from someone that you are closer to physically or culturally it becomes threatening. The simarities make dissenters more of a threat to our monkey brains.

    Of course, a large amount is probably due to competitive wokeness and status seeking by insincere performative self-hatred.

  206. JMG,

    1 the wind is indeed changing, it seems to be picking up speed too. The era that started with Reagan and Thatcher is coming to an end. You’ve been waiting for this for close to 40 years so I guess you welcome the change.

    2 Unfortunately, climate change will be unfashionable to discuss for the next decade or two, since its so closely associated with the plutocratic elites of yesterday.

    3 Still, it would be funny to see a younger generation point the finger at their elders and accuse them of being excessively libertine. I already see it happening to some degree, articles like “Why Baby Boomers are the worst generation” are plentiful on the Web.

    4 If you were allowed three wishes for Christmas (or Alban Arthan) what would be on your wish list besides public libraries?

  207. I think a very broad theme here is a relationship between our concepts of conditioning and addiction. In all obsessions I tend toward being cyclic, that is to say I have gone through benders for oh maybe a month or so of any of a number of attachments. Sometimes it has been porn, then it might be video games, or dumb youtube videos, it all cases I am very sensitive to visual stimulus.

    A couple of years ago I started to figure that porn in particular felt unwholesome from a primal place, so I started to gradually deliberately tone it back. When the recent thread on it came up on MM I decided that it was time to pull the plug on that attachment going forward, easy to say as I haven’t been in a binge cycle for that in a fair while.

    Another class of hyper-stimulus that I had been more consistently compelled by was oreo cookies. That’s a heck of a drug! Sometimes I would try to go cold turkey, but that generally lead to binges. Which was worse than it was before because I would binge sugar to discomfort! So I adjusted tactics in training my chariot horse, and set the following rule: one oreo at a time. See the big problem in this case was binging a whole sleeve of the little monsters and getting sick. Frankly I don’t see a problem with an occasional cookie. This tactic worked very decently, as the following thing happened: I would want cookies, then I would decide to eat only one cookie, then I would receive positive reinforcement (in the form of a cookie) for deciding to only eat one. That made quick work of the binging habit! Also it broke the emotional linkage between feeling empty inside or feeling shame, and then eatting my feelings.

    I don’t quite know if that tactic could be reworked for porn, but in theory you could get an old playboy or some other limit and try to condition yourself to find satisfaction in the context of a less extreme stimulus.

    In emotionally difficult times one attachment or another is sure to reach for me. Though the grasp of any particular matter is neither strong nor consistent, one or another is grabbing at me, and if I ain’t caught up in something virtuous a vice will rush the void.

    Our culture has made for itself quite an impressive abundance of superstimuli, it is a dangerous place to be with out a guiding star.

  208. Sunnv,

    Of course the article falls into a trope! It’s breathtakingly hard to do anything that doesn’t. I suspect as well that “I used to think X is fine, and then realized it isn’t” is a common one, as that happens all the time. So this sort of article falls into the trope because it’s a common thing to happen.

    As for the studies on the brain, by that logic nearly everything we know about neuroscience ought to be thrown out. However, we know brain damage can cause personality changes, so it’s logical to extrapolate and discuss the matter as a neurological issue. Plus, more than one of the studies looked at erectile dysfunction, which is a physical process.

    Additionally, science doesn’t study the inner planes: it studies the physical plane. It breaks down when applied to things where the variables can’t be controlled: I personally take all social science research in general with a shaker of salt for that reason, and found that to be the weakest part of the article.

    It’s also known that alcohol, caffeine, meth, heroin, stimulants, anti-depressants, etc. have effects on people’s inner lives. We can debate exactly how that happens, but a plausible mechanism to me is that they have effects on the brain, and that this affects the inner experiences people have, which makes studying the brain a way of determining what things do to people. Of course, it’s not the be all and end all, but nothing ever is.

    But, applying your logic, this entire avenue of research is worthless because it doesn’t factor in the inner planes.

    As for the article you linked, to my mind it makes very good points for why change is needed, but it doesn’t do anything to address a simple fact: If you have too much coffee, your health will suffer; if you drink too much alcohol, your liver will suffer. There are some longitudinal studies which show drug addictions can induce neurological changes as well (and, by extension, changes to personality), the article linked does nothing to address that.

  209. @Nastarana, Irena, Scotlyn:

    Quoting Kirk Durston from https://www.kirkdurston.com/blog/unwin in the comments:

    “Every culture that reached the rationalist flourishing stage, arrived at a point where it addressed the unjust legal treatment of women and brought about what Unwin termed the “emancipation” of women–legal equality. Unwin regarded this as just and good. He noticed, however, that shortly after legal equality was reached, the “sexual opportunity” of women increased, men took advantage of this, an increase in sexual freedom occurred, and within three generations the culture had collapsed. There were no exceptions. Unwin’s closing statement at the end of his book is …

    ‘A lesser energy is easily secured, for the force of life seems to flow backwards, and the members of the society will not be slow to take advantage of any relaxation in the regulations. If, on the other hand, a vigorous society wishes to display its productive energy for a long time, and even for ever, it must re-create itself, I think, first, by placing the sexes on a level of complete legal equality, and then by altering its economic and social organization in such a way as to render it both possible and tolerable for sexual opportunity to remain at a minimum for an extended period, and even for ever. In such a case the face of the society would be set in the Direction of the Cultural Process ; its inherited tradition would be continually enriched ; it would achieve a higher culture than has yet been attained; by the action of human entropy its tradition would be augmented and refined in a manner which surpasses our present understanding.’

    Sadly, history demonstrates that humanity is incapable of this balance.”

  210. About Megan’s axe-throwing screed – I could very easily identify with her terror of the Uber driver. A lot of women, even those far too old to be targets for any but the most warped predators, walk in some fear of violent men in situations they can’t control. Ladies, unless you are enormously physically competent, or armed and skilled with your weapons, put yourself in those shoes, please. And consider what’s been said – on this blog – about rape culture and male rage.

    Okay. Putting up my stewpot as a shield to catch the rotten tomatoes.

    As for the “me, me, me” aspect, well, that’s the genre she was writing in, and it’s all over the place. As prevalent as political screaming about Orange Julius, or the economic blindness of those who took Econ 101 and hence know The Truth about wages, prices, etc, or for that matter, as prevalent as porn.

  211. Hi Caryn,

    Yes, that’s what I thought. The snow-angel lady has good reason to be depressed, but it seems the only acceptable emotion in her circles is TDS-derived anger. So she’s stuck in a vicious circle of anger.

    When it gets to the point where your butt literally hurts, it’s time to stop worrying about what your friends think and find some new friends.

  212. I have been thinking about the matter of addiction more and specifically porn addiction, to the point the lasting harm that addiction does to a person and what to do with that damage after the fact.

    I grew up going to AA meetings, and have a particular fondness for a kind of strength that many former addicts have after the fact. On the other hand, I have read some of the links posted up thread about some of the kinds of damage porn can do to a person, and recognize some degree of it in myself, which is a most unwelcome thing to notice! The degree that a heavy smokers lungs can and cannot heal after smoking, the healing ability of the liver and brain after years of heavy drinking, and the brain disruption of porn addiction each I suppose can heal to a remarkable but never total degree. In the case of porn, it is in the brain which is a fantastically adaptable organ for better and for worse. I wonder if that strength I so admire in those who hold AA chips of many years might have an analogue available to those who can kick a porn habit thoroughly.

    I got thinking on this in light of Dion’s formula of evil as a push block that has the potential of giving traction to a soul toward growth. At the first light there is a kind of confidence and strength of will that can come from facing down a demon and coming out better for it, and also a deeper compassion for the harrowing challenges of incarnation that come to a personality which has been deep into the mire. These are very general advantages a soul might gain if it can come out the other side of the dangers of addiction. Might there be a more particular one for porn addiction?

    Human sexuality is, as a rule, a complicated thing, connecting to the most surprising array of mental patterns, either directly or at times most obscurely. I can think back to what kinds of porn I was drawn to, and ask what that says about me, and to intimate relationships, and the desires and behaviors I express in that context and what of them might have pornographic ancestry. The details of such meditations need not be aired in so public a forum. But some general observations might stay within the realm of decency.

    Of course we have many neurological just-so stories about why porn is so compelling, but a phenomenological gander suggests to me that the appeal started often from curiosity, and moved toward a desire for instruction, this makes me grateful that I might never have been strongly drawn to the move vicious genres because the instruction I sought was largely about how to be a more skillful and worthy lover, and if there is one blessing that has done me well in the most domains of life it is that I have generally had good taste in teachers, and good luck in finding superior sources of instruction. Porn is no teacher, and the damage noted in up page articles was not completely avoided, but I think this mental prejudice did keep the focus away from those mode that connect to cruelty. The problem it seems in more in light of the assumptions at the start of each experience. In porn from second one of the experience you have a pretty clear idea what direction the script is going, and this is a most marked difference from reality where each experience is filled with surprises. In true sexual encounters, as I have experienced them, when they escalate and how steeply, when they don’t, when things cool, or are distracted by some outside circumstance, and what rate, and where the plateaus are is all ripe with surprise. For in this case there are multiple souls, each flush with a multitude of wills interacting, sometimes pulling into a sublime unity and at times diverging radically. I think the most difficult effect that porn has had on my thought patterns is the linear narrative of the plots, and trying to disconnect that narrative of continuing progress to a climax for the reality of complex terrain.

    I think there is a degree of self awareness that becomes possible from working through these things in retrospect. It is a changing of winds in one’s own soul. An opportunity, in time, to know various perspectives on life.

  213. On Real Virginia (sigh). I sent this to a friend as an interesting piece of Southern demographics, and here’s what she answered:

    “Oh, yes. Just like Texas is changing (to the extent that Cruz barely won over Beto in 2018). But the cities in Dixie Virginia are pretty blue, and there are a lot of people there, while a large amount of rural Virginia is black and won’t be voting Dixie any time soon.”

    Does somebody have their blinkers (the things they used to put on the headgear of horses so they could only see what was in front of them, not the things on your car for signaling turns) on? Or filtered glasses that only see red and blue? And she wasn’t born salary class, either, nor does she live a salary class life. High desert blue collar, bookkeeper, nurses’ aide, and air force veteran, married to a retired high school chemistry teacher. And those blinkers went on during Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

    Things aren’t as black/white, or blue/red, or salaried/wage as people make it out to be. While nuances have gone, like the bulk of the Silent Generation and and the flowers and young men in a classic anti-war song, to graveyards every one, let us al least keep them in mind here.

  214. The Uxurious Onanist quoted something about how porno isn’t about sex. It’s about masturbation. It’s a solo act.

    That reminds me of trends in dancing over the last decade or so as well: solo performances by young guys pretending to be robots and the like, not a single girl to be had within arm’s reach. Not what I grew up associating with that forbidden deed of “dancing” for sure, the primary goal of which was to put my hands on girls. Which is of course why it was forbidden.

    So maybe there’s a broader trend to be teased out here.

    I’m not worried about that jackleg getting anybody pregnant…as if he would even know what to do with it if he got ahold of it.

  215. 1. If Moore’s Law is dead, then that would seem to nail the coffin on dreams of advanced AI. (I, for one, welcome our newly dead robot overlords.)

    2. Regarding the impeachment, I seem to recall you making a prediction based off of the most recent mundane astrology ingress chart – that Pelosi would be allying herself with Trump against the insurgents in her own party. I wonder if this is what’s behind her refusal to transmit the articles of impeachment over.

    I hate agreeing with Mitch McConnell about anything, but he’s right that it makes no sense to withhold the articles of impeachment (which he doesn’t want to deal with) in an attempt to gain leverage over a process he opposes. All he has to do is refuse the terms, and he wins.

    So I’m thinking this is Pelosi’s attempt at damage control – gin up an excuse, any excuse, before the holidays. Then, when political life resumes two weeks later, all the talking heads will be howling about the next scandal, and the impeachment proceedings will fade slowly into the dense mists of cultural amnesia.

  216. It is not coincidental that a certain Interfaith Sanctuary has been discussing the implosion of the neopagan movement for about half a decade, and seeking clues and cues to the future of an idea that is worth keeping alive. The winds of change blew through our circle just as powerfully as they have swept through the American heartlands.

    In related thinking, I have – as an old school 60s/70s era liberal – been crushed with disappointment at the degradation of the American Left, both morally, intellectually and political. In my altered ego as a Zen Basterd, I have turned myself multicolored in the face trying to point out that concerning Trump, racism is not THE thing, it is ONE of the THINGS, and deeply intertwined with the decades-long destruction of opportunity for nearly 80% of Americans. Ask yourselves, why is it so gorram EASY for Trump to STOMP that ugly button?

    It seems that it is extremely unfashionable to not condemn the entirely of Trump voters as irredeemable racists, misogynists, bigots, authoritarians, and proto-fascists. Of course this allows them to utterly dismiss the possibility that this swath of American voters might also have some legitimate grievances that neither party addressed, but rather contributed mightily to. Such a landscape is fertile ground to nurture every kind of hate, and is Demagoguery 101, as any PolSci freshman could tell you. If the nation, the ecomomy, and it’s institutions were healthy, Trump would not have survived the primaries, much less ascend to the White House.

    Also, the notion that Sec. Clinton was an imperfect candidate, and neither is Joe Biden, is apparently also blasphemy.

  217. Sunnv,

    Let me see if I understand you. You think that because those young men who will be more likely to become actually obsessed and addicted to porn are more likely to have other problems and traumas in their childhood, and that therefore if I think it is rather tragic for my grandsons to be exposed to rape porn before they are even fully pubescent, it means that I am part of the morality police and have a punitive mentality?

  218. David T.,

    Let me be the first to say – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nvzEqsZIGo

    So much to explore here in these links – thanks. I have a lot of free time while on Christmas vacation over the next week and I look forward to reading yours and Violet’s blogs.

    Re. protective energy work, last night I was reading and watching some videos about the Hermetic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. It seems very Judeo-Christian which rubs me somewhat the wrong way, but I’m taking Violet’s advice to keep an open mind. I definitely agree it’ll be good to start with the fundamentals of protective energy work – I’m feeling ambitious but I want to do this right.

    Cheers,
    Yet another David

  219. @Emmanuel Goldstein,

    I absolutely agree with you that masturbation is a healthy sexual outlet. I just want to say there is a big difference between masturbation and pornography and an even bigger difference between say Playboy magazine and the whole internet porn experience. They fall on a spectrum from say, a glass of wine with dinner to a night of drinking too many jager bombs. One is healthy and encouraged while the other is unhealthy and ruinous if done too often. I think it needs to be repeated I don’t think anyone here is against masturbation or attempting to claim that masturbation is unhealthy.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  220. @Sylvia R,

    I respectfully disagree, and the science backs me up.

    Studies have found that exposure to romance movies and novels decrease relationship satisfaction and increase the likelihood of divorce. It’s similar to the effect social media has on happiness in general.

    And a handy article linked on this comment thread found that increases in internet porn consumption are linked to sexual dysfunction (like erectile dysfunction in men under 30) The article went into great depth describing how internet porn changes all sorts of sexual behaviors.

    Honestly I really don’t care what anyone is doing with their time, and I watch plenty of romantic comedies anyway. But I can tell if my lover watches too much internet porn by the way the sex goes and the sex itself is not as much fun for me.

    I think this information is important and should be shared, so people can make better informed decisions about their own happiness.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  221. Deborah, I think you’re probably correct that Gardnerian Wicca, and quite possibly one or more of the other British Traditional Witchcraft groups, may squeeze through to become an enduring presence — or at least as much so as, say, the Theosophical Society, which is of course still very much around. I’m also hoping that thirty or forty years from now, people interested in spiritual alternatives will find books from the Neopagan era useful resources for their own new creations and reinventions.

    Argusandphoenix, I know of very few occultists who are interested in dominating elemental spirits; that’s not the way to win their trust and enthusiastic cooperation, after all! One of the gifts the Rosicrucian tradition brought to the table of Western esotericism is a habit of working with the elementals in a spirit of mutual regard, and that’s spread very far within serious occult circles. Your more general point, of course, stands — and I would be delighted to see more henotheism and less monotheism…

    Beekeeper, yes, I’ve been watching that. As for Clinton, I’m far from sure she’s going to enter the race. There are rumors that one of her staffers surreptitiously filmed her epic furniture-wrecking meltdown the night she didn’t become president, and that copies of it will be hitting YouTube ten seconds after she declares her candidacy…

    Your Kittenship, nah, this isn’t about Elric the albino. The three books of the Swords trilogy are The Knight of the Swords, The Queen of the Swords, and The King of the Swords; those are the titles of three of the Lords of Chaos, Arioch, Xiombarg, and Mabelrode the Faceless; and the hero is a different iteration of the Eternal Champion, Corum Jhaelen Irsei, the Prince in the Scarlet Robe, who is rather less neurotic than poor Elric. It’s good solid pulp fantasy, with a love interest who doesn’t get turned into something horrible.

    Arkansas, it may well be a test — and the outcome will be well worth watching.

    Temporaryreality, glad to hear it.

    Jacurutu, the fact that the articles of impeachment literally don’t cite a single crime — neither “abuse of power” nor “obstruction of Congress” is a Federal crime or misdemeanor — is the weirdest thing about it all. Unless I’m very much mistaken, “no law, no crime,” the rule that you can’t punish somebody for an action that’s not specifically forbidden by a law, is one of the most basic principles of American jurisprudence; you have to show the corpus delicti — the specific body of law that has been broken — to pursue any legal case whatsoever. Most of the people in the House are lawyers; they’ve got to be aware of that. So why have they put together articles of impeachment that the Senate literally has no choice but to dismiss as legally invalid? Something really bizarre is happening.

    Deborah, thanks for this.

    Sunnnv, and here again, I probably need to clarify — as I’ve done several times already — that I don’t think masturbation as such is the issue. The young men who’ve approached me for advice have all wanted to talk about the combination of masturbation, pornography, and addiction. It’s not just a matter of one of those!

    Irena, I would be in favor of restricting smartphone use by minors, just as we restrict driving cars, drinking alcohol, and engaging in some other behaviors that aren’t really compatible with a growing nervous system. Such restrictions pretty clearly do more good than harm.

    Tripp, I wonder what would happen if somebody opened an old-fashioned movie house playing old films, with cheap tickets and inexpensive popcorn. I don’t know, of course, but my guess is that it would make a lot of money and become very popular. As for the Dread God Roberts, I do indeed recall it, and that may also be a factor.

    Sylvia, that’s true, but it also makes sense to assign category labels to various broad groupings within the whole spectrum of things, That’s why we have labels such as “science fiction,” say; even though you can argue about whether some stories are science fiction or not, in general, it’s not too hard to say that (for example) Dune is science fiction and The Brothers Karamazov is not. In the same way, while there are borderline cases, it’s not too hard to notice a distinct difference between those stories, videos, and images that fall into the category we label “pornography” and those that fall into other categories, and — to cycle back to the thing that got this conversation started — I’m not being asked for advice by young men who are addicted to masturbating while reading Dostoevski, you know…

    Onanist, thanks for this. That certainly makes sense to me.

    Bovi, no surprises there. Those awful Russians have become a classic example of the idee fixe in the modern liberal mind, filling precisely the same roles that Jews fill in the imagination of your standard anti-Semite; whatever is wrong with the world has to be traced back to the International Russian Conspiracy in some way or other…

    Patricia, that’s an excellent point and worth reflecting on.

    Phil H, many thanks for the data point.

    Owen, no, we’re not already there. What I’m talking about is a transition after which the internet resembles broadcast media, with a sharply restricted range of content providers and much more limited opportunities for ordinary uses to comment, much less create content. It’s the same thing that happened to radio over the course of the 1920s, when what had been a wide-open field for anyone got divided up into broadcast bands you had to have a lot of money to broadcast in, with what used to be the norm redefined as “amateur radio” and relegated to frequencies nobody else wanted. When exactly that transition will hit is a good question, but I suspect it’s fairly close.

    Phil K, I also think they simply can’t believe it’s possible for them to lose. The next decade is going to be very rough going for them.

    Marcher, many thanks for this! A very cogent analysis and one that deserves multiple readings.

    David, thanks for this.

    Walt, hmm! Fascinating. I’m glad to hear that the reality of decline is starting to get paid some long overdue attention.

    Caryn, why not consider the possibility that some other response would be more effective? It doesn’t matter how bad the problem is, if the proposed solution doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

    David BTL, yep. Of course the cheerleaders will just go on insisting that the next launch will be just fine.

    Greencoat, interesting. That’s certainly possible.

    Godozo, that makes a certain amount of sense. It still strikes me as bizarre that the articles of impeachment don’t specify any of the “high crimes or misdemeanors” required by the Constitution.

    JeffinWA, Tainter’s work on what happens when you take complexity too far seems more prescient by the day!

    Patricia M, glad to hear it.

    Violet, many thanks for this. More generally, it seems to me that Latin America’s last century or so gives some very solid historical analogues to the situation we’re in on this side of the Rio Grande.

    Bridge, I see the collapse into wokesterdom as a very good sign that there wasn’t actually much to Neopaganism in the first place. The advice is good, though!

    Gollios, yes, invoking a god tends to be helpful! As for the academics who are great about preserving culture except when they live nearby, remember that the great unstated issue here is class status. Every aristocracy makes a fetish of despising the peasantry, as a way to justify its claims to authority and its brutal treatment of those further down the ladder, and it’s quite common to combine this with earnest compassion for people who aren’t directly below them. Our managerial aristocracy is no different; your professor friends are members of the bottom layer of the managerial class, and their reflexive hatred and loathing toward working people is how they prove that they’re members of the “good people” and not mere deplorables.

    Polytropos, (1-3) yep. (4) Well, I’d keep one of my wishes for myself, and wish that a lot more people would find out about The Weird of Hali — most of the people who’ve read those novels of mine seem to enjoy them, but word of mouth is a very slow marketing process. My second wish would be for every library administrator in the country to give himself or herself a good shaking, say, “What was I thinking?”, and turn the nation’s public libraries back into real libraries again. The third would be for the overheated hatreds of our current national politics to trickle away, so that the people who’ve been shrieking insults at one another since 2016 can have the long, cold, wretched, but necessary experience of realizing that they’ve turned into hate-filled caricatures of themselves, and have a lot of work to do to to become fully human again.

    Cliff, (1) yep. A vast number of cyber-dreams have just landed with an audible thump in the dumpster of dead ideas. (2) The thing to remember about astrological predictions is that they state tendencies, not certainties; “the stars incline, they do not compel.” I was startled by Pelosi’s sudden decision to go pro-impeachment, and also the frightful deterioration in her appearance — it looks as though she’s under tremendous stress, more so than her position seems to warrant. (I imagine a 3000-year-old decaying lich coming up to her and saying, “Nancy, what happened? You look terrible.”) I suspect we’ll find out what’s going on in due time.

    Samurai, no argument there at all. To my mind, the only thing that explains the frantic insistence that nobody could have had a valid reason to vote for Trump, and that Clinton and Biden are perfect, is that the people who are doing the insisting know that something is very, very wrong and don’t want to talk about it.

  222. Yet Another David, you might find the Sphere of Protection more congenial, then. You can find a set of essays on how to do it here (scroll to the bottom to start).

    Jacurutu, do you recall my discussion of the last stage of the Rescue Game, the Circular Firing Squad? 😉

  223. @DT,

    Anthropology doesn’t support the conclusions of your blogger. Ancient Ireland had legal equality for women as good or better than ours today. They even had Irish queens while we still haven’t had a woman president. The Irish society never collapsed, though women lost a lot of rights under the influence of Rome after it had conquered England. The anthropologists who study different tribes have found every possible combination of views on gender roles, and the only thing they found universal is it really helps if men and women agree on which genders have what roles. Even extreme patriarchies and extreme monarchies can be stable.

    Also, nothing increases female promiscuity except effective birth control. That’s absolutely fundamental to understanding women’s sexuality in different societies.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  224. Dusk Shine,

    Your post didn’t exactly make me feel better. Good info for Nestorian. It would seem that it does all that I fear and more.
    I don’t think 11-year-olds go looking for rape porn, no. I think that most kids probably get introduced by other kids, perhaps a bit older. That it is a slow slide into total degradation isn’t exactly comforting.
    I think the loss of the ability to be sexually excited by regular things is a serious loss. For both sexes.
    I also didn’t mean to imply that boys watch it because they want to rape or learn to want it, although a certain desensitization to it would seem inevitable…

    And just because someone is technically over 18, does not mean that they are not destroyed.

    It’s true, Caryn, that they have good parents who will probably not give them cell phones till much later, but I am grieving that they have so little chance to be wholesome and at some point will see things they cannot unsee.

    Just when I thought things were completely insane, I find that they are even worse. I ‘m also thinking of a backlash. Several things have gone way too far.

    I don’t like pendulums.

  225. JMG, I think Pelosi is hoist on the Democratic petard. The Democrats who send money, stuff envelopes, man—er, person—phone banks, are the Democrats who suffer TDS at the psychotic level. She’s put them off as long as she can. She needs them—at some point she had to give them something. Also, Ruth Ginsburg is dying and Democrats are terrified of the possibility that Trump will get to appoint another justice. (So terrified that they don’t seem to have considered that a Pence-appointed justice would probably be even less to their liking.). Pelosi did what she could with what she had. Then, I suspect she got to thinking about what next year’s campaign ads would look like. Unlike the TDS voters, she’s neither crazy nor stupid, and is well aware that Presidenting While Trump is not a criminal offense, nor is “defeating the goddess Hillary in the Electoral College.” So she’s trying to backpedal in hopes of it all being forgotten by next November. No wonder she looks terrible. You couldn’t pay me enough to do her job.

    OK, I’ll put the non-Eric stuff on the to-read list. Which keeps growing. Right now I’m reading a biography of Ulysses S. Grant. The U.S. Civil War always makes me think of rabbits, because I used to work with a lady who had 2 rabbits 🐰 named General Furman and Rabbit E. Lee. The generals, out of the same litter, shared a big hutch, got along fine, and were cute as—well, as bunnies.

  226. @JMG: Yes, I get that. That’s why I included that long boring clarification that if a ban (of porn, of certain kinds of porn or a ban of whatever) works most of the time and has good results: it’s probably worth keeping around. If it doesn’t then obviously it’s not worth keeping around. From your answer, I guess I can extrapolate that you don’t think it would work at all, so do you have any thoughts on other remedies that would work better?

    @Gollios: If I may butt-in? Having had some experience with twelve step programs, I can say, (it is taught as part of the program) that it doesn’t work at all with out the 2nd step, “Turn it over to a higher power”, so yes. There must be some god, some deity, some belief system one has faith in. In fact, it doesn’t work without taking the steps in order.

    @Lady Cute Kitten: Haha! “…if your butt literally hurts, you need new friends” That was the best thing I’ve read all day! LOL Thanks for that.

    in general: re Impeachment – It was explained that impeachment is a constitutional, political process, not a legal one. A law doesn’t have to be broken to impeach and conversely a law broken doesn’t necessitate impeachment.

    & as a Liberal, I don’t know of anyone who actually supports doddering, angry old Joe Biden or wants to see Hillary ever again. If the powers-that-be are stupid enough to shove him, (or Gawd forbid – her) down our throats, the party will split. The one good thing about this impeachment is that it may have truly sullied him beyond repair, (they never stopped talking about Hunter Biden’s scandal).

  227. Nestorian,

    I don’t think I have the information you are seeking. I am aware of internet porn and watched some nearly 20 years ago. I used to get the usual offers to enlarge my penis but maybe spam blockers have gotten better. I saw some fairly raw porn but not anything particularly upsetting. Like most women, it doesn’t hold my interest. I used to also get porn popping up when I had not sought it, but this has not happened in years. I sort of forgot about it.

  228. Jacurutu,

    It is episodes such as your article discusses which make me think that surely a backlash will come.
    The sad thing is, at least according to Jordan Peterson’s estimation, most transgender people don’t really want to be doing this. But they are being spoken for by the ‘activists’ whoever the heck they are. No one elected them.

  229. JMG,

    It seems to me at one point you wrote a little synopsis of your view of the universe as regards spiritual beings, and it did include some sort of divine principle that I found quite reasonable. Can you remind me?

  230. As regards impeachment, I suppose adultery is against the l law? Is it a felony? I’m referring to the blow job that Clinton got impeached for.

    I suppose also that Hillary is in favor of this impeachment? It’s a little odd because I recall her complaining of a vast right wing conspiracy against her husband, which was more or less true, and this impeachment is certainly that, except not right wing this time.

  231. Since American politics are on topic for this thread, I’m going to dissent from most of the commenters here and from our host. I’m sorry this is so long, but I wanted to include all the facts I think are pertinent.

    I think Nancy Pelosi is playing a weak hand as well as it can be played. The immediate goals of the Democratic Party are to remove Trump from office, regain control of the Senate, and hang on to control of the House. Pelosi did not think that impeaching Trump would help achieve these goals, and she stalled on it until the pressure from her caucus was overwhelming. Elected Democrats have a range of policy views, as do the constituents they represent, so party discipline has never been very strong. Pelosi can’t dictate to them; they have to have confidence in her as a leader.

    It takes a majority of the House to impeach, but a supermajority of the Senate to convict. It is unlikely in the extreme that enough Republicans would vote to convict. McConnell stated publicly that he was supporting the President and that he intended to wrap up the trial quickly. He also said that the Senate would not use the procedural rules that had been agreed to and followed for Bill Clinton’s trial. Among other changes, he said that no witnesses would be called. Pelosi has implied that McConnell was waiting until the charges were delivered, and then the Senate would tell the House leadership how the trial was going to be conducted.

    Pelosi took advantage of the fact that the Constitution does not spell out many details on the procedure of the trial. The historical norm has been that the House sends the articles over to the Senate right away. But they don’t have to.

    The historical norm has also been that when a President sends a nomination for a Justice of the Supreme Court to the Senate for confirmation, the Senate holds confirmation hearings without delay and either confirms or rejects the nomination. Obama sent the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Senate late in the third year of his second term. McConnell refused to allow the Senate to consider the nomination. Neither a hearing nor a vote took place. He held the vacancy on the Court open without any action on the nomination for about a year in the hope that the next President would be a Republican and would fill the seat with a justice more to their liking, which worked out as he hoped. This had never been done before.

    If Pelosi had done the expected thing and sent the articles of impeachment over immediately, the outcome was not in doubt. After a trial as quick as McConnell could arrange, Trump would be acquitted on both charges by a solid majority. Trump, the GOP, and the public would view this as an exoneration. People who voted for Trump last time but are disappointed in him, and the people who aren’t sure about him, would take the trial and acquittal as a sign that it’s okay to vote for him again. Nearly a year will pass before the November elections, and by then it will be old news.

    Pelosi’s delay accomplishes several things. Her stated reason is that she is waiting to hear what the rules and procedures for the trial will be. This is not an unreasonable request, especially since the Senate has a model set of rules from the last Presidential impeachment, not that long ago, that resulted in an acquittal. Both sides have some bargaining power now. Once Pelosi delivers the articles, she has none. McConnell controls the Senate, and he can get the votes for any rules he wants.

    Pelosi’s norm-breaking has put the President off balance. He is upset that he was impeached and wants to be exonerated right away. Since Trump doesn’t know or care how Congress works or what authority it has, he might be uncomfortable enough with the situation he is in to pressure McConnell to come to some agreement about the trial procedures with Democratic leadership of the House. That would benefit the Democrats. Many more people are going to watch the trial than watched the House hearings. The Democrats need to make a good showing that the counts of impeachment are justified, even if the outcome of the trial is acquittal.

    Third, there is an old story about the man in prison, sentenced to death, who persuades the ruler that he is a sorcerer who can teach a horse to sing (or fly), but he needs a little time. If the trial in the Senate is delayed, information may come to light that is bad for the President. The investigating committees in the House subpoena’d witnesses and documents from the White House and didn’t receive any. There are lawsuits grinding their way through the court system which may force the WH to comply with the subpoenas sometime before the next election. There are also lawsuits pending to force the disclosure of Trump’s tax returns. Trump is the first major party presidential candidate in about fifty years who did not make his recent income tax returns public while running for office. Maybe there is something in them he does not want people to know about. If Trump wasn’t worried about what those documents contain and what those witnesses might say, he would not have blocked them, or so the thinking goes. It’s also possible that Trump took it personally and doesn’t like people in Congress telling him what to do.

    As far as I know, there is nothing in the Constitution or the law that requires the House ever to forward the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The framers of the Constitution thought that Congress would care more about upholding its own powers and prerogatives against Presidential exercise of power than supporting a President of their own party. It looks to me as if the House can prevent the Senate from holding a trial during this term, which means that the leader of the Republican Party would go into the election campaign impeached but not acquitted. This will enrage him and his supporters, but they are plenty angry already. The Democrats need to get some past Republican voters to vote for Democrats or stay home.

    Finally, some observers of the President’s behavior, especially when watched on TV, see indications of early stage dementia. He is at an age when this becomes more common, and there is early onset Alzheimers in his family. If this should be true, it will progress, and the signs will become more obvious, since this is a President who seeks attention constantly. If, Gods forbid, we have a chief executive who is losing his mind, Senators who would not be willing to force him out of office now may change their minds later, especially since the Vice President who would replace him is a reliable conservative. The other Constitutional means for removing a President who is unfit to carry out the duties of his office is IIRC the 25th Amendment, which is so difficult to carry out that even Woodrow Wilson would escape it.

    As to JMG’s statement that impeachment charges are not legitimate if they don’t charge a federal crime, some law professors disagree with this, and some historians say that the discussions of impeachment in the Federalist Papers say that impeachment is fundamentally about abuse of power, which is what the first article in this set states.

  232. DT and Jessi,

    I have seen that article about women’s lib and sex twice now and I find myself immediately wondering how there could be all these different societies in which women became sexually liberated. Not only have I never heard of such a society, I can’t see how it would work without birth control. There have always been some attempts at birth control, but effective? Not so much. Has there really ever been a society like ours?

    That the upper classes in various times have allowed all sorts of shenanigans is true, but they are a small minority who can probably afford the fallout.

    ******************

    I think Nancy Pelosi was pressured. She didn’t want to do it because she knows it’s stupid.

  233. Hi Caryn,

    I’m concerned about how many of our great leaders appear to be lapsing into senility. My mom suffered from vascular dementia during her last years, and if our leaders progress as she did we’re in trouble. You can find comparisons of Trump’s mental acuity of now as opposed to 30 years ago easily enough; similar video comparisons can be made on Pelosi and Biden. He seems a lot farther along than she is, but that video I saw of her today, struggling with words, was Mom 20 years ago when the dementia was firmly settling in. And the thing is, the victim, or so the doctor tells me, often insists there’s nothing wrong. I am reasonably confident that Trump, although suffering some degree of dementia, has no particular urge to obliterate mankind (if he did, who would read his tweets?). I can’t hazard a guess on what either Biden or Pelosi might do as their minds continue to crumble. I think our least miserable alternative is Pence.

    I would like to make a suggestion to my fellow oldsters. Handwrite something—a letter, an MFR, whatever—saying that you have observed dementia in your family and if anyone notices signs of same in you, to let you know. Give a copy
    to close relatives and to any friends close enough that you would trust them with your money. That way when you deny the problem, they can wave the letter at you and maybe persuade you to see a neuro. We could have bought Mom another 5 years if she’d been forced to admit her problem.

    I wrote my letter. Sonkitten has a copy and he’s big enough to drag me to the dr if I’m too senile to go on my own. 😊

  234. David said: Re. protective energy work, last night I was reading and watching some videos about the Hermetic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. It seems very Judeo-Christian which rubs me somewhat the wrong way, but I’m taking Violet’s advice to keep an open mind. I definitely agree it’ll be good to start with the fundamentals of protective energy work – I’m feeling ambitious but I want to do this right.

    Hopefully John won’t feel this type of comment is inappropriate. You asked and I felt I should reply with some suggestions for you to get by within the short term.

    Over the course of my life I keep ending up as the “Kindergarden Teacher”. First in the military, then in survivialism, then movie props (yes I worked in Hollywood), then stock investing, and yes for a time even 1990s porn sites (which were vastly different from today). Now it seems I’m destined to do the same with Green Wizardry and Animistic shamanism. Hopefully that the last two big subjects I have to teach, lol, at least in this incarnation.

    The best advice I can give you is that all things start with a single step.

    Like a D&D game from the old beginnings when everyone started at 1st level, you’re not going to be going up against great spiritual powers at your level of basic skill. Those big nasties go after Arch Druids or accomplished mages.

    John can offer more specific suggestion as to protective techniques. From what I’ve read Violet is much better at the Craft than I. Read her dreamwidth pages. And there are several here in the comments who hide it but are skilled practitioners as well. Hopefully they too will offer some suggestions.

    You will discover the tradition that is best for you.

    In the meantime and until I can write some tutorials for my blog, here’s a basic course of study I would recommend for you. All of which you should be able to find tutorials on youtube on. Don’t watch one, watch a few and try and take what you can from all of them. And don’t ignore when your feeling tell you to look at sideward pathway. You will learn a lot if you let your instincts guide you.

    Personal Protection:
    1) Learn how to find your energy center.
    2) Once you do, learn some basic energy manipulation. Google psi balls. Begin with those and then work up to small circular shields of energy in front of your fingertips.
    3) Learn ritual breathing.
    4) Begin extending your sense of energy fields beyond yourself. Start with plants, then animals and then to sensing the energy of other people.
    5) Learn how to ground.

    Let me stop for a second. Grounding is a method of sensing the energy of the Earth, learning to tap into it, then how to augment your personal energy. Most teach finding your center and grounding together. I prefer teaching people how to work with their on board energy first, with the recognition that sometimes you are not going to have access to the Earth’s backup. Maybe I’m a heretic about this.

    6) Once you have these basic, then combined them. Imagine the energy you have learned to play with, becoming a living field around you. That is then your shield. Learn to maintain it as you go about your day. Learn how to augment it and increase it with the energy of the Earth for added protection.

    Now I take it one step upward because I have spiritual allies, of Bear and of Owl. They are always with me. When I drive down the street, a small part of me feels my wings slowly flapping above me and reaching out to sense the world.

    When I sit, I can feel a big shaggy form sitting behind me, giving me his warmth and protection. If I feel threatened, I feel his rage and his desire to crush.

    I will never have the depth of power or pushback from spiritual enemies someone like John does. I’m a minor hedge shaman and happy at that level.

    You though might be destined for bigger things. Learn the basics though first.

    Christian rites, as well as the rites of other spiritual schools, often have a core to their rituals that transcends their religious origins. If you are uncomfortable with something like the Hermetic Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, then replace its Christian reference with a more generic earth centric Gaian reference. Make your invocation to the Earth and her spirit instead.

    I also find just a simple burning of the plant Mugwort as a cleaning agent is good too sometimes. Perhaps a bath with salt to purify. Not every situation needs a battleships worth of protection.

    As for those tentative touches of a higher power you are feeling, give the Spirit time. If its meant to be it will come and make itself known.

    If you aren’t singled out and claimed, which honestly most of us aren’t, then there are ways to figure out which great spirit fits your needs and how to approach it. It took me a few months to figure out that Hecate was a Lady who I might like to serve. And I expect that it will take me much of the next year to develop a real relationship with her. I’m finding she is a rather stern mistress.

    Though already, she’s sent me a few signs she’s open to my veneration.

    Take your time. Enjoy the journey.

  235. Thanks to all who contributed thoughts in response to my query. Any data point that assists me in my endeavor to help clients understand and, better yet, sense within themselves the psychic and spiritual damage that viewing pornography brings about is helpful.

    And by all means keep your observations coming, if you are so inclined.

  236. JMG, you are correct—it was ELric, not Eric. Fastleft is pretty sure Elric was the handsome albino he met on a modeling job once. The poor guy looked terribly worried and kept muttering anguished introspective remarks. Finally he says, to anyone interested, “If a virtuous man has power, should he use it?” Wanting to give the poor guy a little confidence, Fastleft says something to the effect of “Damn straight you should, Skippy!” He was unfortunately unable to continue this in-depth counseling, as the artist called the models to their positions, and he lost track of him when everyone was standing around eating and chatting at the end of the session, but felt sympathy and hoped things worked out for the guy. As do I. But I’ll stick with the Moorcocks you recommended. A little of poor old Elric and his insoluble problems went a LONG way.

    As for the original issue, my own opinion is that if a virtuous man has power…he probably doesn’t live in California.💡😄

  237. One further thing David. Learn when to not worry about the spiritual but to operate in the material world.

    At a party at a good friend’s home many years ago I had a wantabee warlock give me some pushback. My friend was a well known witch in the St Louis community. She was also a very good lawyer too. Her parties were always interesting.

    The person who i was at the party with, one of my best friends now, is also a street magician and decide to mess a bit with the group of wantabees. He pissed them off eventually with his street tricks.

    Mister warlock loudly proclaimed his intention to put a curse on us.

    I punched him in the face, then promised to find him and beat him with a bat if I had any problems with things going forward.

    Sometimes the spiritual realm isn’t the one that is important.

    (No I don’t beat up newbie wiccans anymore, lol)

  238. Wind is changing — I feel we’ve hit an inflection point. We’re still continuing as normal, but a cross-current is pushing us in a new direction. I follow medical news, and as more and more evidence comes out that research results are manipulated to favor big business, people are losing faith in the authorities and figuring things out for themselves.

    Big business is not taking things lying down. For instance, Google now censors search results to remove references to alternative medicine, all for our own good, of course. But slowly the evidence is accumulating. We are being manipulated and lied to, and need to take charge of our own health, not leave it up to the medical-industrial complex.

    Years ago I was very involved in politics, knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets, putting up posters, etc. And as a result of contact with many different people I concluded that the only way democracy works is because 95% of people are totally passive and interested only in their own lives and are happy to work within the system because there’s not much they can do about it, and it sorta works, anyway, although of course they grouse about it.

    But if they start believing the system regards them as schmucks and suckers to be bled dry, they might just get off their butts, drop the TV remote, and do something about it.

    An active citizenry is the last thing on earth the system needs. Who knows what will happen when millions of people cannot be relied on to stay in their lanes? We might be about to find out.

  239. JMG, you’ve mentioned that whether Trump comes or goes he has shown the path to power to other politicians behind him. My fear is that someone much worse and destructive (though perhaps with a more charming facade) could follow Trump’s path. I view the Democrats reaction to him as a lost opportunity because rather than figure out why they lost, and adjust their priorities to the concerns of those voters, they just attack his legitimacy and apparently see no reason to change course. Just a couple days ago I was told that in the “opinion” of a majority of Americans Trump lost the 2016 election. I pointed out that elections are a matter of fact, either you win or you lose, and not a matter of opinion to no apparent effect. Oh well.

    Off topic: I had several hours to kill before going to a family Christmas party and took a long walk around Cerritos, CA, where I grew up. As part of the walk, I went by the house I lived in during the seventies. I almost fell over when I saw bars on the windows! 😉 At least I didn’t see any human feces on the sidewalks.

  240. @ Your Kittenship

    “Presidenting While Trump”.

    That has to be one of funniest things I’ve read in a long time…

  241. @ Caryn Banker

    I’ve talked to quite a few Democrats lately and they all wish Biden would go away. He’s widely seen as a corrupt and senile old man who is a huge embarrassment and a poster child for the failed policies of the past. Many Democrats think he’s almost as bad as Trump.

    But he seems to be the default choice because none of the other candidates, including Warren and Sanders, can get enough traction. So he may well end getting the nomination out of sheer inertia, which would pretty much guarantee a train wreck in the 2020 elections.

  242. According to the Wild Hunt link in the post, the Witch the Vote effort focused on supporting Corbyn rather than binding his opponents, which I recall was the Magical Resistance approach in America. So perhaps it is not the methods that were to blame? Or did you mean something else?

    Personally I believe that Labour lost due to its lack of focus and cohesion. It was already facing an uphill climb, as the historically weaker of Britain’s two main parties, but failing to commit to either side in the Brexit debate and stretching itself too thin between the old left-wing constituency (workers) and the new one (minorities, students, the politically correct) has doomed it. Personally I also see a deeper if seldom acknowledged contradiction in their pseudo-socialist ideology; in the long run, they are striving for “equality”, but that seems to me like a very vague and open-ended goal, as opposed to their more specific policy proposals that offer correctives the disastrous British free market model and that are at the very least worth considering seriously. Supporting another referendum was a blunder for the ages. Knowing nothing about magic, I suspect that not being entirely clear on what you stand for and what you want can’t be very helpful for efforts in that sphere either.

  243. @ Ray Wharton – I discovered a way to cope with cookie addiction. I can eat all the cookies, I want … as long as I make them, myself. The effort involved, makes me make them last, as long as possible. I also gift, a lot of them.

    I usually buy my own AA coin. This year, was the big 3 – 0. When I bought it, at our Club, the young lady behind the counter pointed out that it was the “adult entertainment” coin. LOL, I was rather dense, until she pointed out other meanings for the Roman numerals. Lew

  244. Jacurutu,

    Pelosi’s interest is in suppressing the economic grassroots of her subsidiary of the uniparty, in particular by stopping Sanders. The articles will be delivered to the Senate at such time as best hobbles his ability to win the nomination. It’s unrealistic to consider the two parties as actual, serious competitors. They know there’s enough to go around between them as long as nobody rocks the boat. “Insiders don’t criticize other insiders,” one insider said to someone fresh on the Hill who took the advice to heart and is now an insider who just happens to be campaigning on ingratiating herself to insiders.

    Patricia Mathews,

    re: Bernie, it’s quite frequent for the neoliberal wing of the Democrat Party to attribute to him what he never said, with malicious intent, or more commonly to attribute what he said to some neoliberal Democrat or other. Trust nothing without a source. Don’t be a low-information voter! 😉

    Even if he did say that, he may well have been talking about McResistance types, and in that case completely in line with fact.

    Phil Knight,

    I’ve heard that rainbow flag burning guy’s case is a lot more complicated, with 15 years of his sentence handed down for being a habitual arsonist. As much as the partisan hacks on both sides would love to have people believe it’s as simple and automatic as “offend Democrat sacred cows, do time”, it isn’t.

  245. Onething,

    I seem to have posted an earlier version of my comment somehow. The version I meant to post reads:

    “With regards to the Verge article David Trammel linked, I can’t wrap my head around how people don’t seem to get taking cell phones everywhere is optional. I currently have one, since not having it would mean I’m unable to do some volunteer work I love (not because it’s necessary, but rather nonsensical rules from higher ups require all volunteers to have one), and for now I’m willing to put up with it there, but I sure as frack don’t bring it everywhere I go: six days a week it sits in a drawer, only coming out when I go volunteer.”

    The main differences being “taking cell phones everywhere is optional”, and the bit at the end making it clear what I do with it.

  246. One last statement on Megan the axe-throwing woman. She is also, plainly, deeply distressed at the heartbreaking brutality of our times, especially where law enforcement is involved and is invoked inappropriately for the people involved. As am I. Unless, of course, you all want to dismiss these stories as the hysterical, self-serving outcries of salary-class social justice warriors trying to claim virtue-points while protecting their positions, assets, and jobs. And dismiss them with the same sort of cruel mockery you accuse your opponents of dismissing the real concerns of a distressed heartland. Same tone of voice, just different targets, and just as mean.

    I do not question the need to control our borders. I find it outrageous that the methods used and the conditions in which they are kept, which while they have certainly not reached that of the Russian gulags (let alone Hitlerian proportions) have certainly surpassed those in Manzanar. They are being run like our prisons, by guards used to treating anyone in a prison as both a dangerous criminal and as worthless trash. And that our prisons are hellholes, and may always have been, there have been rather feeble attempts at mitigating those. And, and, and… the list goes on, and whether your local daily wastebasket-liner is left, right, center, or whatever, the stories, exposes, lawsuits, and so on are there for you to read.

    Now, this woman could do nothing to control what distresses her – I don’t think people her age even remember the tools by which we used to try to do so. Taking it out in throwing axes butters no bread. Neither does sitting here with a roiling stomach, thinking of those who ignored increasing or ongoing brutality in other circumstances. Nor does writing your Congresscritter, these days. But if objecting to dismissing her concerns makes me a hysterical, self-serving salary-class social justice warrior trying to claim virtue-points while protecting the admittedly plush retirement I never earned except by being born too soon, so be it. Here I stand – dismissing the real distress of anyone with cruel mockery is mean – I can do no other.

    Now, you can if you wish, read me out of the tribe, though I’d rather you didn’t. So be it. someone has to speak up for the one thing – pure, simple kindness – lost in times like these.

  247. P.S. On porn and detailed sex scenes – I find them deeply boring. I find them as boring as the prolonged and loving descriptions of the choreography of every battle ever fought and of the weapons thereof, that dot a couple of my otherwise favorite s/f series. Give me the satisfaction of men and women finding their mates, and the love between them, and I’m good with that, but not, in the name of Aphrodite, Venus, Freya, and Bast, a detailed account of Tab A going into Slot B.

  248. All,

    A few things amuse me about the porn discussion, here and in the other corners of the internet where people outside the nofap/pornfree groups are picking it up: the first is the fascinating argument that it’s really about masturbation and not porn at all. I find this quite interesting, as quite a lot of people here, and in the places in the internet where the discussions are happening, are clear: the issue is porn. There are people who are anti-masturbation, and an awful lot of people say that it helps to avoid masturbating while quitting porn, but they’ll almost all agree if you can’t quit masturbating, quitting porn is still better than using it. There are a sizable number who don’t get back into the habit after quitting porn and masturbating, but there are quite a few who do. I Think it’s a classic thought stopper. What thought is it trying to avoid?

    The second one is the very odd argument that no one starts on rape porn, therefore anyone complaining people will be exposed to it are overly dramatic. This is not the case: if it’s popular, as it is, then it’s a natural groove for people to fall into when extending. The other issue is that they may not go looking for it, but if it’s there, especially in copious amounts they’ll be exposed to it. Another though stopper.

    The third argument I find interesting is that tons of people are coming forwards to question the idea of addiction. This is fine, since I think the idea of addiction is problematic in some ways, but they’ll then say porn is fine because addictions don’t exist, so any evidence porn causes problems can be dismissed. What’s really odd is that they have half of it: porn addiction, and addictions in general, relate to lifestyle in a very complex way, and it’s almost always easier to get rid of the addiction by lifestyle changes than just willpower. This brings them within shouting distance of many of the more thoughtful, articulate, and successful people in the anti-porn communities, who advocate not just getting rid of it, but figuring out what emotional needs it fills and addressing them, as well as using it as a push for a general self-improvement.

  249. Hi John Michael,

    A fine essay! I hope that the young bloke you mentioned is OK? I have this belief that the young bloke who asked the question is facing the first challenge to becoming more self conscious and in control of the minor moments that he is able to make decisions and take action forging new paths. And the question really is: Who’s ideas are these that are causing him to do such things? It is a more important question than most people realise. I’d be curious as to your thoughts on the matter, but I tend to feel that people are being trained to externalise rather than internalise their dilemmas?

    Porn, I guess is a tool much like other things are tools, and the young bloke probably needs to work out which tools he picks and chooses to expend his energies upon. I dunno about you, but I reckon a persons internal energies are not limitless, and to be conscious means to choose, not be directed. But as you write, such traits are discouraged these days. A bit of a shame that.

    Happy solstice to you and Sara!

    The weather is completely and utterly bonkers down here.

    Cheers

    Chris

  250. John – right, neither do I think masturbation per-say is a big issue.

    The point I tried to make is that the _hysteria_ over masturbation by many/most Christians:
    (1) is a false, un-biblical doctrine propagated by Johnny-come-lately fearmongers.
    (2) it needlessly sets up people and/or their children for angst and suffering as people are gonna wank and then feel unnecessary shame/disgust/self-hatred/…, leading either to attempts to live a repressed life -or- rejection of (all) spiritual teaching and thence fruitless attempts to consume one’s way to happiness.
    i.e. either taking one bad idea to excess (masturbation is evil, you’ll go blind and grow hair on your palms – yes I was told that!) or taking it’s opposite to excess (libertine pleasure is all there is). (instead of learning to think and feel and craft one’s own life in a balanced, effective, healthy fashion).

    ========

    Onething – ??? As best I can figure there are two contexts here: (young) adult users and miss-users of porn – what I was focusing on, and (grand)children – the focus of your question.

    The causality goes FROM suffering adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), leading TO increased risk of addiction and other mental and physical health problems in adulthood. Treating addictive things as root causes of the _already_ addicted person’s misery is closing the barn door after the horse has left. BUT, that does NOT mean responsible parents shouldn’t manage children’s access to things.

    About children, the original ACE questionnaire
    https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/about.html
    asked (among other things) about emotional abuse or physical sexual abuse, or if one’s mother was ever treated violently, and the 2nd version added two questions on neglect, relevant here is emotional neglect.
    I would concur that rape porn (or frankly any porn) at a young age is likely overwhelming to children, and would likely fall in the categories of:
    * emotional abuse (too much to handle),
    * “pseudo” physical sexual abuse (even though it doesn’t physically contact the child they probably “feel” something “icky” and violating)
    * violence toward any woman may seem threatening to a child’s relationship with the mothering parent,
    and I feel it definitely fits:
    * emotional neglect – a pre-pubescent child has no faculty to really understand sex, and certainly not to distinguish between erotica and excess-for-the-sake-of-excess, and would really need adult guidance if exposed to such.

    So I think you are right to be concerned about children. An ACE score of 4 or more has many bad impacts on future health: doubles risk of heart disease, 12x risk of suicide, etc.
    https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(98)00017-8/pdf

    So: reasonable (grand)parenting would include sheltering children from stuff that’s beyond them,
    offering guidance and explanation and reassurance if they should be exposed to such,
    and answering their questions about sex truthfully, calmly, non-judgmentally and without shaming,
    and gradually educating the child about certain things as the child is ready to deal with them.
    I consider NOT making reasonable efforts to do the above to be some level of child abuse by abandonment.

    And, trying to ban porn for adults is punitive and repressive and not going to work well anyway.
    And, trying to shelter children _forever_ means they never grow up and never get responsible.

    It’s not easy being a (grand)parent in the digital age, where even if you figure out the correct security settings/limit screen time for your (grand)kids, the other kids have smartphones and all too often careless parents. I certainly see the attraction of certain private schools or homeschooling.

  251. Growing up in 1960s South Africa, anything even remotely sexual like Playboy was banned. Topless ladies only appeared with large black nipple stars covering the naughty bits. In short, there was a distinct lack of sexual information for growing boys.

    So when in Grade 11 or 12 our class teacher said to us, “Class, a few of the older boys have asked me what you do if you are in bed with a woman,” we leaned forward, all ears.

    The teacher was a young man with a chin beard and I suspect rather inexperienced himself. He was certainly very uncomfortable discussing the subject. Anyway, he soldiered on. “If you are in bed with a woman, I can tell you…” We hung on his every word. Finally, the great secret was to be revealed. “…I can tell you, you will KNOW what to do.” he finished in a rush.

    There was a collective groan. He had chickened out, and that was the sum total of Sex Ed we got in school. (There’s a lot more these days, maybe too much, but given AIDS, roofies, gender-based violence, etc etc, maybe necessary.)

    My parents were no help. At one point they came to me, beet red with embarrassment, and put a book in my hand. “We think it’s time you knew this,” they said. I looked through the book. There were pictures of birds, and bees, and the bees gathered pollen and the birds hatched eggs, and it said on the cover, “Suitable for children aged 7 to 9”. I was fifteen years old at the time. *sigh* *eye roll*. Had they not noticed that I was no longer nine years old?

    Next day they asked, “So, what did you think of the book?”

    “Uh, yeah. Very informative. I learned a lot,” I replied, mentally crossing them off my go-to sources of information.

    I learned a damn sight more from porn.

  252. @Naomi

    What I find interesting is that when the Christian God is asked for his name he said: ”
    And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

    from which is derived the Tetragammaton YHWH.

    The self-existent. Or “The Existence”

    And Jesus said of himself “Before Abraham was, I AM” thereby declaring himself to be God. Getting the Jews to stone him.

    Its that the name declares the fundamental nature of his being. And has so many implications even with this simplistic name.

  253. Will J – certainly neuroscience imaging is valuable for many things, but in the study of addiction the physicalist-materialists (PMs) _ignore_ the evidence from psychology and sociology, thus prolonging the suffering of addicts because most treatments on offer today are not very effective nor is harm reduction widely practiced.

    Evidence like:
    During the Vietnam war, about 20% of US soldiers were heroin addicts, and about that many more were users, but on return to the US, only 1% stayed addicted. According to the biochemical model, this can’t happen – the brain has been hijacked by demon drugs and must be fixed (no doubt by the aid of some expensive new drug).

    But it fits the “addiction as sensible/available response to trauma/pain/dislocation” model. End the terror of being killed/maimed and of seeing one’s comrades suffering same, and that ends the need to anesthetize oneself (unless one ended up with PTSD).
    A 95% cure rate is unheard of in addiction treatment, yet here one is, with no drugs or therapy needed.
    https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.64.12_Suppl.38

    Or:
    Also during the Vietnam war, in regions of intense bombing/shelling, water buffalo would break in to opium poppy fields and chow down. When the war ended, the water buffalo left the poppies alone.
    page 128 in Ronald K. Siegel’s book _Intoxication_

    demon drug – or dislocation?

    Also in Siegel’s book, page 71. A sad tale for animal lovers.
    Some researchers planted some morning glories (which contain the same psychoactive alkaloids as in ergot) in a large pen with a pair of mongooses.
    The animals ate the plants once, displaying signs of intoxication, then avoided it for several months.
    A big tropical storm came, and one of the animals died (?drowned in burrow?).
    When the survivor found the corpse, he went and chowed down on morning glory seeds.
    Note that modern Mexican Indians also use morning glory seeds to console themselves.

    demon drug – or dislocation?

    In Bruce Alexander’s _The Globalization of Addiction_, pages 132, 135
    The Innu people of Northern Quebec and Labrador had _centuries_ of exposure to white traders offering up booze, and they made their own spruce beer to celebrate kills. They adopted the use of whiskey in their religious ceremonies, but alcoholism was unknown. In the 1960s, the great white fathers in Ottawa decided that the Innu’s land needed to be “developed” for hydroelectricity and mining, and moved the Innu to a ready built village. These people were physically dislocated, economically dislocated (now dependent on government handouts), and spiritually dislocated (their religion was based on nature and the land they had hunted upon). Alcoholism and drug use now became rampant.

    demon drug – or dislocation?

    My point is that the PMs consider the human body as a machine,
    and in their quest for accomplishment/prizes/fame/cushy government retirement/large emollients from the pharmaceutical industry are ignoring lots of evidence that the pure biochemical approach to addiction is just plain wrong. No subtle planes needed, just humans suffering and seeking relief.

    Like the fellow looking for his car keys under the street light because it’s easier to see there, instead of over in the darkness by his car where they slipped from his hand, they’ll never find a solution.
    It’s easier and cleaner to look at some brain scans in a nice clean office and hand wave about how fabulous they are at conferences in touristy places, than befriend grubby crack whores from the squalid street like Gabor Mate did as he wrote in _In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts_, where he finds that essentially all drug addicted females doing survival sex (e.g. NOT consensual prostitution) have a history of being sexually abused as children, and most male drug addicts also have histories of child abuse of various kinds or untreated mental health issues.
    https://drgabormate.com/

  254. Looks like we are living in “revolutionary” times (that is, if one takes the word for its original old Latin meaning of “roll back”).

    Here’s an article with an interesting data point: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-hypersane-are-among-us-if-only-we-are-prepared-to-look?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    The concept of wisdom is being raised once again in psychiatry – but, of course, the term “hypersane” is used because, you know, “wisdom” is such an unscientific term. Any psychiatry-oriented article that refers to Plato’s cave, Diogenes and Jung is worth a look!

    Also, I noticed that the article on ‘King Boris’ (thanks to Marcher!) mentions that Pope Francis recently said that “we are not living through an era of change but a change of era” (I can’t resist my Monty Pythonish imagination picturing him breaking into the song “Aquarius” from the musical “Hair” with a chorus of Cardinals behind him joyously singing and clapping). More seriously, I recall how in Dion Fortune’s letters of late ’30 and early ’40, she humbly noted how the Archbishop of Canterbury was addressing the country using almost the same words as she had a few days earlier (obviously, the archbishop was not on her mailing list). Again, something’s in the air…

  255. Dear Lady Cutekitten, I think the Speaker went along with the impeachment brouhaha in order to distract the newly elected leftist members, Rep. Ocassio-Cortez and others, from introducing legislation the Speaker might find embarrassing, and it blew up in her face. She is about a decade past her prime by now. “Presidenting while Trump”, as you so brilliantly put it, is not illegal but neither is it very edifying, and I am wondering if the Trump Show might not have peaked by now. He will likely win another term, if only because of Democratic terminal incompetence, but I also think the Dems, and leftist Dems at that, have a good chance of taking congress. The Justice Democrats are out in the hinterlands recruiting and have come up with some impressive looking candidates. The chief victim here might be, not Pelosi, but her counterpart, Chucky Schemer. One can only hope.

  256. @Onething,

    Well, I’m not sure it was intended to make you feel better — just better informed. Sorry I haven’t better news for you.

    @ Jessi Thompson,

    I am not sure the counterexample of Ancient Ireland disproves DT’s linked thesis. Yes, women had property rights equivalent to men’s. That’s actually common in “barbarian” societies, as opposed to urbanized, ‘civilized’ ones like Rome. (This was noted with regards to the wilder Gallic tribes as well as the Germans, too.) OTH, They did not, as far as I know (with regards to Ireland from a cursory reading mythology only, I’m afraid, so feel free to correct) have sexual license as we see now. So-called “barbarians” allowed their women more freedom, but ultimately sexuality (both male but especially female) was constrained by social mores and ritual.

    Again, as a poster above mentions, there’s the issue of conflating “women’s rights” as one, monolithic block. The late roman dissolution of fertility and sexual morality did not come with an increase in women’s rights with respect to person or property. Just sexual license. Really, the mirror of the Irish example. (Things work differently in urban and rural societies, too, we must acknowledge.)

    Finally, there is a counter argument that disease pressure influences promiscuity as much or more than access to birth control. It’s not a clear-cut absolute the way you make it sound.

  257. DT – Thank you for the passage and the reply.

    I wonder have you given any consideration to what might result from limiting the sexual opportunities available to men, taking note that the subjugation of women has never accomplished this feat. (ie – the subjugation of women has never effectively limited male sexual opportunism – quite the contrary).

    This makes me wonder if what is seen as problematic in this formulation you quote is not so much “sexual liberation” per se, as it might be the fear that women’s rights might include the right of sexual refusal.

  258. Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat: “Re the Prohibition argument, reductio ad absurdum, we shouldn’t outlaw anything, even murder, since people will still do it, so I think the Prohibition argument leads us down the wrong path. With a population capable of effective rebellion, what we should be looking at is does the majority want X law? If not, it will not succeed no matter how heavy the attempts to enforce it.”

    JMG: “Your Kittenship, exactly. In a democratic society, law is the formal expression of a majority opinion. If you don’t have a majority opinion on your side, the law won’t work. As for Larson, in a way I’m pleased, and in a way I’m sorry. His relentless mulish refusal to go digital was always kind of inspiring to me.”

    ***

    Hmm… Certainly, if you want to make prohibition (of anything) work, you need to have a majority opinion on your side. But I’m far from convinced that that’s enough. (I’d be willing to bet that a simple majority supported the Prohibition back in the 1920s. It was still a disaster.)

    What if 60% of the population want to ban something, but 5% are willing to go to extraordinary lengths (and pay huge amounts of money) to get that same something?

  259. Carolyn Baker–re prostitution in Nevada–the legalization is on a county by county basis. The counties with the largest towns don’t allow it–Reno, Las Vegas, Carson City and others. Hence Mustang Ranch, etc. out in the boondocks. The women are also very controlled-restrictions on their movements and associations. Obviously the casinos and tourism in cities create a demand for sex workers, which escort services, strip clubs and illegal prostitutes fill. Many critics of current laws make a distinction between legalization and decriminalization.

  260. Hello Ian, I’m sometimes tempted to vote green or far left myself – whenever I’m feeling particularly frustrated with the status quo. But temperamentally and philosophically I’m a small c conservative. I have a distrust of any one with big plans and schemes for the rest of us – which covers most of the left and quite a bit of the right in the US presently. Slow and steady seems to be the best approach to me, but “let’s just give it some time and see what happens” doesn’t make for a very exciting political slogan!

    Hello Caryn, yeah my kids are in their 20s and get their cues from a variety of sources too – just the sheer number of those influences and their short half-life seems to prevent anything coalescing in terms of a movement. Both my daughters went full on woke for about 15 minutes a year or so ago, but now mostly roll their eyes at that and they’re on to something new. And they certainly don’t look to music as inspiration for anything beyond the emotional appeal of the music itself – I guess rock and roll as a soundtrack to social change was a boomer thing and lost to the past for now. But I still like it.

  261. I have to share this:

    Not from the Onion but from a WH source – “Hillary Clinton purposely lost the election with the aid of Russian hacking so the Democrats could then impeach Trump”
    — Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) December 18, 2019

    The funniest part is that apparently some people took this as a serious statement. Also, that anonymous White House source could technically be Trump himself, making fun of journalists.

    P. S. Happy Alban Arthan, Archdruid and everyone else. May this Druid holiday remind us that even though the times are dark, spring and sunlight will come again.

  262. re: the continuing porn discussion: It seems obvious that an outright ban would be a massive failure both practically and popularly. But… remember a while back when the music and film industries started a big push for copyright enforcement? There was a crackdown on infringement, YouTube was forced to start policing copyrights, and Ways Were Found to make sure that artists and producers were getting paid for their work (yeah, I know it’s far from perfect, but the difference in availability was noticeable). It seems like approaching the porn issue from a similar tack might be a good thing. Yeah, you can still download copyrighted content for free even now… but at the very least, the major legally-run sites involved in the transaction *can* have their feet held to the fire about copyright owners getting paid. From previous comments here, I gather that piracy is a big issue for the producers as well as for the public, so attacking the piracy problem would help both sides: it would help the producers actually get paid for the use of their work, *and* it would make the stuff marginally more costly to access.

    IMO, if it were technically possible, the best solution would simply be to ban advertising in relation to porn: i.e. make it illegal for porn sites to accept advertising revenue, so that the only profitable way to post the stuff is for users to pay for access. That would cut out 90% of the problem of easy-access-to-minors in one fell swoop.

    (not a technical expert. big grain of salt)

  263. Hi Sunnv, JMG and all

    As sunnv said, the Bruce Alexander’s “Rat Park” experiment did was to demolish the existing “scientific” base of the “War on Drugs”, because after the “Rat Cages” experiments in the 50’s and 60’s the idea was that once normal people are subject to certain degree of contact with drugs, as the rats in the cage, it is unavoidable they become addicted, and then the drugs (some kind of them, the “hard” ones) are the problem, not the nature or the situation of the addict himself.

    But dr. Alexander put the rats in a wide space where they can mate, play, make exercise, run, jump, socialize, etc…all that small things that make a rat happy you know…In this situation, again you put the levers where the rats could choose to receive heroin or opium or whatever soft or hard drugs you want them to use, and they did not take any, only water. He even put rats very addicted to heroin (from a cage experiment) and after a short time, they stop consuming heroin at all.

    No, it was not the drug, it was “The Cage” that make addictions happens

    In similar observations, a medical veterans’ association follow up the life of soldiers in the Vietnam war that were addict to opiates, and 95% of them recovery before 10 years after returning home. It was “The Cage” again
    Exactly the same happens to the japanese soldiers, that were taking amphetamines during years in WWII, only 2% remain taking amphetamines some years after the end of the war; so it was not the drug “per se” that cause the lasting addiction

    In fact the addicts do not take drugs for pleasure, it was not “hedonism” the root cause of the strong addictions, it is the opposite: they use them as pain killers, because a lot of people live in “The Cage”, some of them due to vital contingent situation, but many due to an internal anxiety that overwhelm them and make them try to suppress it by the use of drugs, or shopping, or seeing porn, or having sex, or being a hyper-religious person, or working too much, etc…, or many others addictions that happens when you need some external “help” to fill an internal “vacuum” that you, alone, cannot manage.
    In many case people do not suppress the addiction, they merely change of “drug” ( for example I know some case people change from heroin to zealous hyper-religiosity, and I think in this case, this is better for them)

    As civilizations develop the addiction grows, because civilization destroy all the traditional bonds of family, neighborhood, extended family, tribe, etc…and developed civilization are the “enemies” of the childhood and ancianity, destroying the traditional attuning care of children by the mothers and the other mothers inside the group (in the peasants external family), so the small babies nervous system lacks some stimuli to develop in an healthy way. It is what dr. Allan Shore calls “Proximal Abandonment”, where the children develop symptoms of abandoned boys (but they are not), and this happens because parents, in many cases, are “physically present, but emotionally absent”, the parents too are fill with anxiety for the debts, the job, the health insurance, or whatever unimportant reasons instead of paying attention to love and care the boys

    Dr. Gabor Mate explain what happens to him when he was 6 months old in Budapest 1944; he was a new born jew, and recently the nazis occupied Hungary. One night his mother called the pediatric doctor because the small Gabor was crying all the time, day and night, and the doctor said “ok, I can go to your home and see the baby, but you have to know that all the small jew babies in Budapest are crying right now”. For sure the 6 month old baby did not know anything about Hitler, or the gas chambers or any others terrible things happening to the jews in 1944, but he strongly feels his mothers are not treating him as usual, the babies were suffering the anxiety of their mothers and that cause him some anxiety them and an additions problems in the future

    Now the opiates addictions is not only an US problem, it is a global one, it is “The Civilization and its Discontents”:

    https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-12-13/safer-opioid-has-sparked-a-crisis-in-vulnerable-countries

    https://qz.com/emails/quartz-obsession/1692005/

    https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-12-13/safer-opioid-has-sparked-a-crisis-in-vulnerable-countries

    But drugs are the tip of the iceberg, in fact I think you cannot sustain a consumerist society without addictions, so you have “to build” the New (Addicted) Man for this

    Cheers
    David

  264. Eh… I hate to go here…

    A quarter of the women I’ve had sex with had explicit rape fantasies, quote, “I want you to rape me.” Another quarter prefer (demand) more subtle domination. I was never really comfortable with it, but my conclusion when you examine the types of hardcore porn women like to watch and read (and read on trains and other public places) gravitates towards rape / domination. In other words, rape fantasies are largely a female thing they introduce to men, while everybody acts like it’s the other way around, because no one wants to assign agency to women. There are only a handful of men natively interested in rape,.from what I can tell. I’m tired of being blamed for it. If someone is worried about young men getting the wrong ideas about sex, make sure you keep them away from young women too.

    So that’s one thing.

    I got into porn because if you masturbate thinking of a girl at school you get tongue tied around her and it gets weird. So it’s better to think something, anything else. And eventually, girls’ cruelty was so harsh that in my own mind I couldn’t even fantasize about a random girl wanting to have sex with me. So porn it is. For those concerned with your daughters… would you rather someone think of them when they jerk off or think of a professional?

    Certainly it would be better to avoid porn. But if my girlfriend doesnt want sex as much as I do (I’m not sure this is true) it takes the pressure off her. (And let’s not bother with the women who pressured me for sex before I was ready or the girlfriends that watched more and dirtier porn than I ever did.)

    So, theres a lot more complexity here and I don’t claim to have the answers.
    I wanted to share a perspective I havent seen here.

    As for the nofap thing, yeah, it’s good. I hope society is ready for the energy about to be unleashed on it.

  265. @ Patricia Mathews

    Re porn, relationships, and “Tab B into Slot A”

    Agree 100%. In my earlier comment, what you mention is what I meant by context and framing. I’m interested in the pairing’s emotional investment, the confrontation of obstacles (emotional, physical, societal), the overcoming of those obstacles, and the triumph of consummation. It is about the emotional and psychic response, more than the pure physical mechanics. I’d find, for example, a scene focused on the woman’s expression and body language during the act far more satisfying than the typical “crotch zoom” one sees in porn. Perhaps that is where I would distinguish porn from erotica, as the latter is less Tab B-Slot A and more about the greater dynamics of relationship. Perhaps, too, that is why I find romances wherein the pairing in question is of some socially “forbidden” kind—gender or class, for example, or, yes, even familial proximity—to be far more attractive, as the obstacles which must be overcome are that more prominent. My Love In The Ruins submission was of that nature: it had no “sex scene,” of course, but it was very much a forbidden-fruit romance.

  266. Hi Onething and Jacurutu,

    I haven’t met any transgender people but I can readily believe the media seeks out the lunatic fringe. Same thing they did to gay people and 2nd Amendment activists.

  267. Comments on values of Neopaganism—There are several threads that I hope will endure: the idea that the feminine is sacred, not an inferior version of the masculine; the idea that nature and life in a physical body is important and sacred, not just a prison that our spirits look forward to escaping; the idea that deity can take many forms (polytheism). It is easy to underestimate the impact of books such as “When God Was a Woman” for women raised in churches in which the highest rank a woman could achieve was Sunday school teacher or head of the Lady’s Aid. Then the vision of Gaia–the earth as an actual conscious organism rather than a lump of rock with a film of organic chemicals in various combinations–regardless of the literal truth of Lovelock’s theory it had a real impact on the way many people viewed the world. It is easy to dismiss the sexual openness of the Pagan scene, but there is something valuable in seeing human sexuality as a sacred gift, not a nasty necessity and evil temptation. We may not always have lived up to that vision, any more than any other religion lives up to all of its ideals, but it is a vision worth living up to.

    Old time theatre–does show current films–Princess Theatre in LeRoy, IL, pop. 3600. Prices: 2-12 and 60+, $5; adults $6. Popcorn $2.50-$4.50. I’ve actually been there, while visiting relatives in nearby Heyworth, Il. Nothing fancy, just a friendly local place. They didn’t take plastic when I was there but accepted a check–from California!

    Lady Cutekitten–If Grant interests you, try reading his autobiography. Gives a real feel for the frustrations of military command. Available online.

  268. Hi Jonathan,

    It’s entirely possible that is one of Pelosi’s calculations. It’s worth noting that Biden’s other principal rival is Elizabeth Warren, also a US Senator, so perhaps her maneuvering is as much about tripping up the two candidates who pose a real challenge to the favored candidate of the party establishment as it is about placating the bomb throwers in her own party or trying to damage Trump.

  269. Dear Methylethyl,

    If I may;

    Brava — what a brilliant idea! Likewise, I’m not knowledgeable concerning the technical details, but that seems like a really excellent method of controlling access pornography without the heavy-handedness of total prohibition. It seems like a lot of the problems that people have regarding pornography consist of bingeing on free stuff, and so if there were even a marginal cost to access it I imagine that a lot of the excesses would likely fizzle.

    Furthermore, it seems like the sort of political arrangement that could both work and find support considering that there seems to be a huge problem with the current scenario in which, according to many here, anyone can access hardcore pornography with a few clicks. And this appears to set off a “ratchet” effect that creates further and further perversion. I seriously wonder how much the downward spiral might be averted by the need to enter in a bank card number for any pornographic access?

    This is speculative on my part. Since acting in a pornographic film in 2009 I was sufficiently traumatized to find anything that reminded me of my experience utterly repulsive and have, as such, avoided it. Indeed, what I’ve learned about the directions pornography have taken since that time have been sobering and startling in the extreme. I’m curious, then, if there are any studies that indicate how pornographic use might shift based on the need to pay for it? The pre-internet paradigm of sleazy bookstores on the bad side of town seemed a pretty workable arrangement — I wonder if there would be a way to achieve something like that on the internet?

  270. Dear JMG,

    You’re very welcome! I finished rereading _News of a Kidnapping_ last night so it’s been on my mind. What’s good about it is that it gives a solid, non-fiction sketch of something like 20 years of Colombian history, with a focus on the final kidnappings that Escobar used to negotiate his surrender to the Colombian government. It is laugh out loud funny, and then harrowing, and then Marquez discusses astrological charts, magic rituals, bizarre synchronicities, the devotional lives, and the philosophical stances of the major participants of the book. All the while reporting the facts with journalistic rigor. Yes, I’m an enthusiastic fan, how could you tell? 😉

    More broadly, yes, I agree that our neighbors to the South have quite a bit to teach us about how “the future is already here it just isn’t evenly distributed yet.” The more that people US nationals that can accept that the basic rules of politics have perceptible shifted with the reality of economic decline in the United States, the better and the less likely we will be to blunder into the sort of wretched, interminable, foreign-sponsored wars that have defined so much of the political history of La Patria Grande.

  271. @Deborah Bender,

    I think that was a very good summary.

    @Lady Cute Kitten,

    One’s own impending senility is a depressing thought, but that sounds like a very good idea.

    @Patricia Matthews, re the axe throwing lady: I do hope I’m not amongst those you are addressing. I don’t see her as a person to be mocked either – but I do suspect from her article that actual personal traumas, (post-partum depression, caught in an active shooter incident, while her young child is on lockdown away from her) may have pushed her far far further in her distress than would otherwise be ‘normal’ or healthy. The world has always sucked in one way or another and people have always, for the most par,t got on with things. Her distress over the state of the world just seems out of proportion, but it makes sense with those personal traumas she notes.

    @Rita Riptoe, Thanks yes, I actually did know that. We lived for a year outside of Carson, also near Moundhouse, home of the Bunny Ranch and 2-3 others. 2 of my little preschool students’ moms were sex workers there. I still think it’s not that the drive is prohibitive, it’s less than 1/2 hour away from Carson and Reno. I do think some people enjoy the thrill of the forbidden, and there are other less savoury reasons that there is still illegal, (not sure if it is decriminalized?) prostitution there.

  272. Sunnv and Will J,

    Thank you for both your explanations. Reasonable. By the way, I don’t have much interest or worry about masturbation. But certainly pornography is THE tool that makes it easy to carry it to an obsession.
    I don’t know the answer, but it is a concern to me the amount of damage that is and will be done to adults by it.

  273. To all:

    A significant number of anti-Trumpers have conflated the current impeachment proceedings with the fantasy that Trump will actually be removed from office:

    https://pluralist.com/impeachment-day-liberals-confused/

    To Patricia:

    I was certainly in a mood when trashing Megan Stielstra, and I won’t try to pretend I was being fair to her or her class. I apologize for coming down on her like a ton of bricks. May she be blessed this Alban Arthuan. She seems genuinely tormented with no constructive way of dealing with her anger.

    I do think it’s sad and unfortunate that she’s a vortex of Trump derangement for her son to fall into: basically I see Trump derangement as its own special form of insanity, perhaps driven by actual demons and almost certainly fed on by demons in the same sense as hardcore pornography. She is setting him up to become an emotional invalid. I’ve seen it many times among upper middle class mothers. Seeing it brings out my darkness.

    Like conversations about incendiary Trump tweets, Megan Stielstra is the sort of voice I have come to compulsively avoid. My snippy reaction (I was, as they say, “triggered”) to Megan’s essay was one of a jealous, lower middle class fiction and non-fiction writer who has never been supported by an agent or a publisher. She teaches Creative Nonfiction at Northwestern. She rests comfortably in the bosom of the Chicago liberal upper middle class. For me, being able to cover all my monthly expenses was extremely difficult for the last decade, and I went through stints of great financial struggle. Rudely dismissing her was a bit of schadenfreude on my part: unless she’s a compulsive spender, her NWU job provides security and benefits and can most likely easily cover her house payment/rent, yet she’s utterly miserable and admits it. Not nice of me at all: I have suffered severe depression. I know what that’s like. In my opinion, my own depression came from a place of ungratefulness. It took being financially insecure in order to appreciate all the things I used to take for granted. Megan reminds me of all of my ungrateful, upper middle class friends and ex-friends, all of whom have spent significant time in therapy yet have somehow avoided authentic work on themselves for the duration. As for imagination, my imagination is as dark as they come. Of course the human imagination is dangerous! The less you examine it, and I think Trump Derangement comes out of the most unexamined place possible, the more dangerous the human imagination becomes.

  274. Sunnv,

    Very good post on addiction/dislocation. I do want to mention that not all addictive substances are alike in their power. Something like alcohol might pull in a few percent of adults, but expose them to crack and a higher percentage will become addicted. I don’t know where porn might fit into that spectrum.

  275. Nothing Special,

    Thank you for your honest post. When I don’t like young kids seeing hardcore porn, rape porn and the like, I do not mean to imply I suspect most males of actually wanting to rape. I don’t think that is the case. And I am aware that women often have rape and domination fantasies. It is an interesting question, where fantasies come from but I have not generally taken them too seriously.

  276. Dear Nothing Special,

    I don’t expect you to answer this, because it’s personal, but I wonder whether you ever been in a lasting sexual relationship with a woman where you and she had honest talks with each other about emotions and feelings. When a woman asked you for a particular kind of lovemaking or role playing that you were not comfortable with, did you ever ask her why she desired that particular thing from you? If you didn’t ask, was it because asking did not occur to you, or because you didn’t feel safe to ask? Did you think “I have no power to negotiate; I have to do this or this woman will refuse to have sex with me”?

    People have all sorts of kinky desires that from the outside look silly or sick or politically incorrect. If you don’t have the good fortune to fall in with someone who likes pretty much what you like from the get go, sometimes understanding what they get out of what they are asking for can provide enough empathy that you can get into it too. Sometimes not.

    Yes, rape fantasies and fantasies about domination are very common among women. I’m sure there are many reasons for this. I think one reason is that American culture is still at base very puritanical about sex, and still thinks about it as a woman surrendering to a man’s lust, rather than as a cooperative activity.

    You probably aren’t very aware of this because you didn’t grow up female, but girls and women who show very directly that they enjoy sex and want it are denigrated and scorned as sluts. Probably things have loosened up some since the 1950s, but girls used to be taught to beware of boys’ libido and not to “lead them on”. These messages, repeated enough, force girls and young women to pay most of their attention to what the males want and how to respond to them and very little to their own feelings of arousal and its natural expression.

    If you’ve internalized a boatload of this, the fantasy of “he’s making me” is a way of giving oneself psychological permission to let go. It’s easier to enjoy sex if you can let yourself go at least a little bit.

    You probably have seen the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at least once. There is a short scene near the beginning that seems to depict a rape at gunpoint. After about a minute, it becomes clear that the two people know each other very well and that they are roleplaying a familiar scene that both of them enjoy.

    When women read and write bodice rippers, most of them are fantasizing something like this.

  277. methylethyl said: “There was a crackdown on infringement, YouTube was forced to start policing copyrights, and Ways Were Found to make sure that artists and producers were getting paid for their work (yeah, I know it’s far from perfect, but the difference in availability was noticeable). It seems like approaching the porn issue from a similar tack might be a good thing. Yeah, you can still download copyrighted content for free even now… but at the very least, the major legally-run sites involved in the transaction *can* have their feet held to the fire about copyright owners getting paid. From previous comments here, I gather that piracy is a big issue for the producers as well as for the public, so attacking the piracy problem would help both sides: it would help the producers actually get paid for the use of their work, *and* it would make the stuff marginally more costly to access.”

    That doesn’t take in the new reality of how porn makes money I’m afraid. Most here know of the free site Pornhub. Its filled with what appears to be pirated content. It was at the beginning.

    Pornhub encouraged users to upload pirated content because Pornhub made its money off the ads. Which made them a ton of money. They then turned around and used that money to buy many of the more popular porn producers. Once they owned them, they cut the length down to 8-10 minute clips AND more importantly began also cutting the amount they paid the actors. There’s been a lot of grumbling by the actors but for every woman who makes it big there are 10 more wantabee’s in the wings.

    There are still many smaller niche producers whose content gets pirated and uploaded. They try to combat that with take down notices but its just a game of “wack a mole”. I worked with a very popular cam model for a while and did some take down notices for her. Luckily she had unique content and a huge niche of paying customers.

    Recently, Pornhub has been trying to corner the amateur market with revenue sharing and promotional help for popular amateurs. It helps that there is such a huge community of viewers and Pornhub has put effort into cultivating that community. A few amateurs then go on to be pros. There’s also the point that much of amateur content is up just for the attention and fame, so payment isn’t an issue.

    Its worth noting Pornhub tried to roll out a premium service a couple of years back. Didn’t work that well. Think its been offer as free recently.

    To counter porn you have to go after the money which is the ads.

    Without taking a pro or con on porn, I wanted to point out that actual “rape porn” by which I mean scenes that are scripted as real life rape, are actually very few. What many here are pointing to is actually bondage videos where the play aspect of non-consent is acted out. Kink.com is probably its biggest provider.

    They are very careful to show at the beginning of their videos that the actresses are consenting and are into that kind of play. and afterwards, do interviews where the actress says how much she enjoyed it. The rest of us may not understand the appear or attraction of such play, but it is real and otherwise sane and well rounded individuals like to spice up their sexual life with such acts.

    Now are such producers making stuff that consumers are watching, imagining the act of rape? I’ll leave that to people with a better understanding of mental processes than I.

    I just wanted to point that hair out before I split it.

  278. Hello helpful heathens!

    After the solstice, there’s a pause of a few days before the sun starts moving the other way. Has that pause any religious significance for you? It has for the people of Reality—“Yippee! We don’t have to work for another 5 days, thank you, sun goddess!”—and I got to wondering about it in, well, reality.😄. I did some cursory research on the ancients, who were aware of the pause even if they didn’t know why it happened, and if they took any special notice of it, it wasn’t mentioned in a cursory research stint, so now I’m curious about you modern pagans and how you view it.

    And you have my approval to take the week off.

  279. Caryn Banker said: Aren’t we already in the beginning stages of violence, you are describing with active shooters every two to three days in the news?

    No I don’t think the random shooters we are seeing multiply lately have anything to do with a beginning insurrection. Its too unfocused and their target selection makes no sense unless the objective is just to cause chaos. If such acts are meant to show our overlords are powerless, its a poor option to be using. Its helping to add to the militarization of the police and prep the Deep State’s power to clamp down against such an underground.

    I think such random acts are more the cause of media over hype and people with real mental issues figuring that if they have to go out they might as well go out with some grand gesture and fame.

    Its when we start seeing targeted killings and acts of destruction at liberal groups, elite business concerns and banks, as well as government agencies, with a coordinated social media campaign that can’t get censored is when I’ll get really worried. Going after someone like the CEO of Wells Fargo right after the media prints stories about them ripping off regular people yet again and paying a minor fine, sends a much more powerful message.

    I doubt that many ex-military people who would be in such an underground really want to start a bloody civil war. They know just how brutal it would be. If they could get their objectives done without tearing apart the country and destroying it I hope they would.

    I’m actually much more in agreement with John over the way that such a proto insurrection might be forming than I differ. I was in the military right after Viet Nam when the people training me in NCO Academy talked about their experiences fighting an underground insurgency. After getting out I gravitated towards the survivalist side of things. Well read and with friends who would probably be in the underground.

    As the guy trying to get Green Wizards out there so something can be preserved, I hope John is wrong. I fear he is right.

  280. @Onething,

    IIRC, Clinton’s crime was perjury, when he said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” while under oath. But yes, it’s a little ridiculous and had nothing to do with his performance as president. It just goes to show neither party is immune to ridiculous hysterics.

    Sincerely,
    Jessi Thompson
    anotheramethyst

  281. I thought some more about the comment I addressed to Nothing Special, and it occurred to me that although some self help manuals about how to have a satisfying sex life advise talking with your partner about what each of you likes, there are absolutely no models in popular culture on how to do this. No wonder people avoid it.

    Popular song lyrics are all about “Give it to me; I need this,” and “I love my woman because she shakes her booty.” Scenes of consensual sex in movies and TV have gotten more explicit, but they are formulaic, at least in the English speaking product. The two people who are attracted to each other stand very close. They look into each other’s eyes. They decide whether or not they are going to kiss. If nothing interrupts them, they begin tearing each other’s clothes off. They race to the bed. You see one of them on top of the other and more skin showing. Then you hear noises and some carefully framed movement. Sometime this is followed by the morning after. Nowhere in any of this is there any discussion by them of what they are doing, nor any suggestions about what to do next. Once in awhile, there is a low-pitched “You like this?” “Mmmm,” but never a clue as to what “this” is.

    It seems to me that a slower paced sex scene that included some fairly explicit talk about what they are thinking about doing could be pretty erotic. What is the obstacle here, censorship, English culture, or that men, who are mainly aroused by visual stimuli, are doing most of the writing and directing?

  282. In a follow up to my comment to Caryn Banker who said: “Aren’t we already in the beginning stages of violence, you are describing with active shooters every two to three days in the news?”, this goes to you John.

    You said:

    “Malign spiritual entities tend to be attracted to one of two broad patterns of consciousness and behavior, which Rudolf Steiner called “Ahrimanic” and “Luciferic” respectively. Ahrimanic evil is the kind that focuses on mindless wallowing in sensory cravings. Luciferic evil is the kind that focuses on glorifying the ego at everyone else’s expense. It’s very common for people to fall into one in the course of rejecting the other — thus, for example, a lot of the people who are quick to condemn sexual excess (an Ahrimamic habit) are basking in the imagined glory of their own superior virtue (a Luciferic habit).”

    I wonder, could there be a similar pattern of consciousness and behavior, which is for the lack of a better description, “Cause as much hurt and chaos as possible”?

    Both Ahrimanic and Luciferic patterns to me imply a source feeding which would be ongoing. The spirit would find a victim and latch on, continuing to feed and perhaps try and influence the victim to increase their behavior.

    Could there be a third type of malign spirit which gorges itself on a single act of violence?

    Just as Ahrimanic spirits are promoting a mindless wallowing of the senses, and Luciferic spirits are promoting people to get “Holier than Thou”, could there be a class of spirits who are promoting and feeding on a single massive pulse of emotional energy?

  283. Jessi,

    Yes, it’s true he lied under oath, but it should never have come to that in the first place.

    If they had done that to Kennedy we would have lost one of our greatest presidents and who may have saved us from war with the Soviets.

  284. Someone up top recommended Ulysses S. Grant’s “Memoirs.” I concur. It’s quite something. No wonder he took to drink. It wasn’t the people trying to kill him who made his life miserable, it was the REMFs. REMFs seem to be one of the perennial curses of fallen man, like noisy neighbors.

  285. I lean toward democratic socialism. Like Finland.

    False equivalence.

    But yes, it’s a little ridiculous and had nothing to do with his performance as president.

    The very fact that he and his administration spent so much time & energy denying it demonstrates that it was of sufficient gravity to facilitate blackmail. Had he truly considered it inconsequential then he should’ve admitted it immediately and moved on.

  286. Sexual restriction has its origins in paternity certainty. To motivate men to contribute to civilization rather than as an inert sex.

    Or going around causing trouble. Hence the double-standards that existed due to it being a male invention.

    Maybe also the result of nomadic indo-european conquest of old europe who worship the sky father dyeus. Or as the later nomads call him. Tengri of the blue sky.

    Also from this comes the male heroic ideal due to the nature of steppe society.

  287. At the place I used to work, I went on a few informal dates with a man in another department. On one occasion we went to a nude beach. We smoked a joint and he told me some of his life history. He said that he had been in Vietnam during the war. I don’t remember now whether he was a vet or in some civilian support capacity. He told me that he had picked up a heroin habit in Nam, I think from smoking it. He said that he had decided not to bring the addiction home, so he took ship transport home and quit cold turkey on the way. At the time we were seeing each other, he had a steady, responsible job that required some brain power, he had put on some weight and of course I got a good look at his body in the sunshine and didn’t see any tracks. I have no reason to doubt his word.

  288. This comment is partly addressed to the commenter above whose name I cannot recall who mentioned feeling under immense pressure to sustain an erection which disturbed the prospect of spontaneity in sex. Also to Nestorian who is interested in personal anecdotes. And to anyone else who has weighed in on the subject of pornography and its pernicious effects on sex – if “sex” is taken to refer to the two-handed activity a couple engages in when being erotically present with one another.

    My subject is going to be sex – GOOD sex – as experienced by me. Because what may be missing from the thread to date is a positive model for male sexuality as experienced by their partners.

    I am a middle aged woman. In my youth I had sexual.experiences with several men and also one or two women before I met the exceptional man I will tell you about.

    I want to stress that none of these experiences were bad. I enjoyed intimacy, play and learning in every single one.

    However, one difference between sex with men and sex with women that impressed itself upon me was the fact that, with a man, as soon as he comes, that sexual episode is over. Curtains close, the tent is struck, everyone clocks out, show over. With women, this was not the case.

    I realised that this “fact” was culturally encoded in the language we all use, whereby “sex” means coitus to the point of ejaculation, everything else that might be seen as “sexual” but not “sex” comes under other headings “foreplay” perhaps, or “kink” – or in the case of the sex I had with other women, “perversion”.

    (Clinton’s famous disavowal re *having *sex* with that woman” comes to mind. Also the common experience I, along with other women have had, that if the “foreplay” doesn’t lead to an orgasm, the “sex” probably won’t and you’ll have to wait til next time. I can also see why this might lead the more compassionate type of man to feel anxiety about coming “too early”).

    Anyway.

    So one night I have a new sexual encounter with a new man. I come, he comes, and lo and behold, sex is still happening. He has come, his erection has bowed out, but he is still, in every sense, “with” me, exploring me, feeling me, making love to me and with me. A while later, while relaxing into a pleasant cuddle I reflected that here was a man who could sustain an interest in lovemaking after coming, just like a woman. I reflected that here was a man who, all by himself, and with no cultural precedent, had invented “afterplay” – lol!

    So, of course, I set about courting and winning this exceptional man, and marrying him. And so, he is the father of my sons, now young men, whose sex education we oriented around what we call “the four C’s” – Consent, Condoms, Comedy, Cuddles.

    It is worth mentioning that there was a period of a few months during our latter years when a medical condition led to ED – erectile dysfunction – ie erections become whimsical and wouldn’t do what they were told. Being old hands, by this stage, of “after play”, this proved not to be much of a problem as we quickly discovered that the lack of an erection did not prevent him from continuing to be exquisitely sensitive to my ministrations, nor did it prevent him from coming. So we kept having sex, and after a few months the medical condition cleared up and the erections came back. Which, I won’t lie to you, made me happy. I love the feel of his erection and the ways it responds to me, and I had missed them.

    But I had never lost the sexual and erotic presence of my husband, and THAT is what I want any confused young men who might be listening to the ramblings of a middle aged woman, to understand. His presence being *with* me in erotic sharing has ever been the core of our sex. His erections have been a source of pleasure to us both, but had we given them central pride of place we would have displaced one another and committed a kind of idolatry of the body.

    Thanks for listening whoever has ears to hear.

  289. I have a couple of additional reactions to the Megan Stielstra piece.

    First, this is published work, which has been through some sort of editorial process, and some “gatekeeper” judged it worthy. And so, I question its authenticity. To what extent has the story and the language been shaped by the desire to produce a work that’s sufficiently novel to justify publication? (As in the porn thread here, it’s not easy to get people’s attention with sensible behavior.) Hunter S. Thompson wrote with a first-person confessional perspective, too, but was it all literally true?

    Second, I was struck by the degree of self-medication: bourbon, absinthe, weed, and “harder stuff”. And there was that passing reference to “having an acid flashback”. And her friend apparently “prescribes” absinthe. If axe throwing can displace that stuff, fine; but the combination seems risky.

    Third, she’s living in Chicago, a city which has taken on more financial obligations than it can satisfy, in a state with the same problem, in a nation with skyrocketing debt. We’re all living under a volcano of government insolvency, but who knows when it’s going to blow?

    Fourth, her husband plays almost no role in the story. When my (late, ex-) wife was suffering from depression, I arranged psychiatric care for her, not axe-throwing. What husband would send his seething, raging wife to the airport in a scary Lyft, rather than driving him herself? Can’t wake the baby? Maybe the baby should see how Daddy helps Mommy, and is sad to see Mommy go away.

    By the way, the “Northwestern active shooter” situation was a hoax (according to my Google search), though no one “sheltered in place” knew it at the time. It was just a threatening phone call; no gunshots, fireworks, or smoke. Just a police department reacting with an excess of caution, creating an excess of fear.

  290. @David Trammel;

    Thanks for that clarification. OK I see what you’re saying. I was on a completely different train of thought. You’re talking about a much larger, organized planned insurrection by a group or web of organized groups; probably already in the making.

    I was thinking along the lines of so many individuals popping up who appear to have “gone insane”, had enough and go off the deep end, (oddly, not unlike Megan the axe-thrower, but with different, violent, reactions and reacting from the opposite side of the fence than she). I thought what ‘beginning stages’ meant was that we see these individual outbursts of “insanity” increase, like whack-a-mole on speed. At some point they organize / or they collide or join the already organized, underground, serious planners of actual insurrection because it channels their angst into concrete “positive” action?

    I remember reading in the 1990’s that there was concern, although scant action taken about the displaced, unemployed young men in the Paris and other European cities’ Muslim “ghettos”. They were caught in a box of poverty and lack of opportunity. unwanted “Others” in their European homes. So, they were just hooligans committing petty crimes and random acts of vandalism or violence. “What is going to happen with them?” Well, as it turned out a number of them were easily recruited to a more organized, planned form of rebellion.

    The only warning signs for the powers-that-be and the general populace were those initial random acts of petty crime and hooliganism, the occasional riot, destroying their own neighborhoods. So, I was think of the early warning signs, the beginnings of a sea-change amongst the public. You’re right, that is different.

  291. Lady Cutekitten – you noticed it, too? That week always felt to me like a time between the worlds, when mundane life was suspended (not for the workers at the Frontier Restaurant, who came to work even when the entire city was shut down for snow!) and — restful. Very restful. Real life always picked up again either on my birthday (January 3. 1939 in case anyone is interested) or on the nearest Monday.

  292. @Deborah Bender – Amen! Yes. I believe it’s because nobody in either industry asks for or listens to the opinions of women.Or for that matter, happily married men. For that, you have to go to that much older form of ‘media’, the novel. Even genre fiction at times.

    I swear the movies think their target audience is either 13-year-old boys (Smash! Bang! Crash!) or frat rats.

  293. “The problem with pornography is that it supposes a universe that is impossibly accommodating to one’s desires.”

    – Kurt Vonnegut. (Not likely the exact quote, but likely accurate.)

  294. @Deborah Bender, If I may –

    “What is the obstacle here, censorship, English culture, or that men, who are mainly aroused by visual stimuli, are doing most of the writing and directing?”

    From what I see, the censorship or self-censorship in the industry seems to be that every single movie made for grown-ups HAS to have sex in order to sell. I think you see scant attention paid to developing the sexual or romantic lives of the characters simply because the story is actually about a money-heist, a haunted house, a spy thriller or some such, but for some block-headed reason, they feel they MUST include a sexual liaison or men won’t pay to see it. Don’t have any idea if this is true or not, but that notion seems to come down from the producers. & hey, maybe they’re right – I had no idea porn use was so ubiquitous. This thread has been eye-opening.

  295. Deborah Bender,

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with the idea that men or society could be the cause of women’s sexual fantasies. I think it is much more primal than that.

  296. TJand the Bear,

    Not much point in saying false equivalence if you don’t explain why. Especially when I named a specific country.

  297. I’ve got a hypothetical for JMG and anyone else who wishes to play. Suppose there’s an Article V convention to which you are elected, and you rise to prominence among your fellow delegates. You get to write two constitutional amendments and put them to popularly elected state ratifying conventions. What do you propose and why?

  298. Caryn – Re: superfluous sex scenes in movies. With what we now know about “Me Too”, maybe those scenes were to please the male actors and/or producers, rather than the audience. If the film didn’t include sex, why would work it into the casting process? Personally, I very rarely go to movies, and this is one reason why. (Actually, I did see “They Shall Not Grow Old”, which had some distant references to sexual behavior, and a hilarious soldiers song on the topic. Before that, “Inside Job”, a true-crime documentary.)

  299. @ Grebulocities

    Re a hypothetical Constitutional Convention

    Alas, I have nine amendments I’d like to submit. If, however, I am limited to two per the rules, I’d choose the following:

    Proposed Amendment: Proportional Election of Representatives

    Article 1. Seats of a State’s delegation to the House of Representatives shall be allocated proportionally among the political parties registering in that State for that election, according to the proportion of the total vote within that State for that party.

    Article 2. Each party shall be awarded a number of seats equal to the whole number of its proportion of the total vote. Any remaining seats shall be awarded singly, beginning with the party with the highest proportion of the total vote and proceeding to the next-highest, until all remaining seats have been awarded.

    Article 3. Each political party shall publicly register a slate of candidates with the State, with any awarded seats being allocated according to the ranking of the candidates within that slate.

    Proposed Amendment: Secession

    Article 1. A State may secede from the Union established by this Constitution.

    Article 2. A State shall affect its secession by a resolution of a two-thirds majority of its legislature, that resolution subsequently ratified by a two-thirds majority of that State’s electors in a State referendum.

    Article 3. A seceding State shall assume its proportion of the national debt as of the date of the ratifying referendum, that proportion being equal to that State’s proportion of the national population as calculated by the most recent decadal census.

    Article 4. Any property of the United States within the territory of the seceding State as of the date of the ratifying referendum shall become the property of the seceding State.

    Article 5. Any former State, upon seceding, that desires to reinstate its membership in this Union must request admission as a State by Congress.

    There are others I’d like to put forth, but I believe that these two, given that limitation in number, would do the most to move us back from centralization of governance Yes, the first amendment would abolish congressional districts, but also the gerrymandering that accompanies them, substituting geographic representation with party-defined (ideological) representation. I’d expect that parties would quickly define themselves geographically.

    The second proposal would provide a “check” on federal encroachment by giving a state a legal pathway to secede should the people of that state decide they could do better on their own.

  300. JMG – Just reading about rape porn brought unwanted thoughts to mind when I woke up in the middle of the night. Rather than scold myself for these thoughts (and thereby strengthen my attention to them), I gently chose to work through some familiar forms of prayer, and was able to ease back to sleep. I am glad to have those prayers at hand for such emergencies. “Christ before me to lead, behind to encourage, below to support, etc.” Enumerating and visualizing a companion seems to be just what my active imagination needed, followed by “Thanks for the Earth upon which we stand, the waters that flow over the earth, the air that exchanges the gases between plants and animals, and the fires that keep us warm…” These Systems Work (TSW).

  301. Dear TJandTheBear, You typed above;

    I lean toward democratic socialism. Like Finland.

    False equivalence

    Could you please explain why the sentence plus sentence fragment in the first line are a “false equivalence”? Democratic socialism is a theory of governance, as I understand it, and Finland is a country. The statement “false equivalence” is either a cheap shot–of course a theory is not a country–or else an opinion presented as fact.

    I am not trying to be offensive. You might have a valid point here; I don’t know enough about Finland to know. However, I find myself not able to simply accept your word, especially when I can’t even discern what, exactly, you mean. Do you have a case to make against Democratic Socialism? Or do you know things about Finland which are not generally known? Right now, what your statement looks like is a version of: Because I said so and I outrank/am smarter/richer/more successful than you. I don’t appreciate that sort of thing coming from leftists, which it frequently does, and I don’t think I need to respect the same ploy when used by their opponents either.

  302. Your Kittenship, that’s one possible explanation, yes. I admit to wondering if another factor here is the fact that her son is one of the really rather remarkable number of sons of high-ranking Democratic politicians who suddenly got a flurry of jobs in the Ukraine and similar areas for which they had no training, and for which they were paid absurdly high salaries. For some reason the word “bagmen” keeps on coming to mind…

    Caryn, thanks for the clarification. Yes, I do have some suggestions. The first is that access to erotic content online should require an affirmative informed opt-in, so nobody has that pushed on them without their willing consent. The second is that it’s high time that internet content be regulated and taxed — and yes, I include this website in that; I’d be entirely willing to pay a modest annual fee to the federal government, and to have adult-content websites pay a higher fee — enough higher that the torrent of free pornography online has to become a rather smaller torrent of stuff you have to pay to see. (Email should also cost a penny an email to send — that would abolish spam in a heartbeat.) Third, we need to take a hard look at those aspects of our society that make life so miserable for so many young men that they’re vulnerable to addictions. Young white men in particular are one of the few minorities in this country (and of course they are a minority in the overall population) that the mainstream culture considers it entirely appropriate to humiliate, belittle, and condemn — and if you or anyone else starts talking about white privilege, we can have a long talk about how little that means if you live in a working class family in flyover country. Those are my initial suggestions; a collective conversation about what to do about pornography might start from those, or from other places, but we need a conversation, not a kneejerk flight to a supposed remedy that always fails.

  303. Dear Grebulocities , That one is easy, provided our host doesn’t want to move this discussion to Ask Me Anything week.

    1. Presidents to serve one 6 year term with no repeat, and congresspersons to stand for reelection every 3 years, with staggered terms just like in the Senate now.

    2. Nationalize the Fed. In other words, it should be part of the Constitution that the People of the United States maintain their own national bank, which cannot be privately owned in whole or part. Does that mean the federal govt. might have less money to spend? Is that not what the right wants to see happen?

  304. At Grebulocities re Constitutional Amendments.

    Since I assume setting up a Monarchy is too far beyond the pale, I would:

    Create an amendment covering elections and all their aspects, from instituting limited campaign periods (like in the UK), campaign finance and contributions, to the types of ID voters are required to have and ending gimmiks like ranked choice voting and vote by mail, etc.

    An amendment banning dual citizenship, no holders of two passports.

    Antoinetta III

  305. It is not just the Anglosphere. Traditionally powerful centre-left parties throughout the Western World are doing abysmally in recent years as they are increasingly associated with a detached cosmopolitan elite of the sort Spengler prophesied would appear near the beginning of the 21st Century:

    “World-city and province–the two basic ideas of every civilization–bring up a wholly new form-problem of History, the very problem that we are living through today with hardly the remotest conception of its immensity. In place of a world, there is a city, a point, in which the whole life of broad regions is collecting while the rest dries up. In place of a type-true people, born of and grown on the soil, there is new sort of nomad, cohering unstably in fluid masses, the parasitical city dweller, traditionless, utterly matter-of-fact, religionless, clever, unfruitful, deeply contemptuous of the countryman and especially that highest form of countryman, the country gentleman. This is a very great stride towards the inorganic, towards the end–what does it signify?

    The world-city means cosmopolitanism in place of “home” . . . To the world-city belongs not a folk but a mob. Its uncomprehending hostility to all the traditions representative of the culture (nobility, church, privileges, dynasties, convention in art and limits of knowledge in science), the keen and cold intelligence that confounds the wisdom of the peasant, the new- fashioned naturalism that in relation to all matters of sex and society goes back far to quite primitive instincts and conditions, the reappearance of the panem et circenses in the form of wage-disputes and sports stadia–all these things betoken the definite closing down of the Culture and the opening of a quite new phase of human existence–anti-provincial, late, futureless, but quite inevitable.

    This is what has to be viewed, and not with the eyes of the partisan, the ideologue, the up-to-date moralist, not from this or that “standpoint,” but in a high, time-free perspective embracing whole millennia of historical world-forms, if we are really to comprehend the great crisis of the present.”

    Here are some recent results of centre-left parties:

    UK Labour
    Lowest seats since 1935

    Austria
    Lowest since 1945

    Germany
    2nd lowest since 1949

    France
    Lowest ever

    Italy
    Lowest ever

    Netherlands
    Lowest ever

    Sweden
    Lowest since 1908

    Finland
    2nd lowest since 1962

    Michael Lind foresaw this almost a decade ago (https://www.salon.com/2010/11/02/center_left_parties_lind/) and now is coming out with a new book that I think you would appreciate (https://books.google.ca/books/about/The_New_Class_War.html?id=RLWuDwAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y)

  306. I forgot probably the most important item in my previous post about Constitutional amendments regarding elections, and that is to entirely ban any software or computers in ANY aspect of the entire election process. No voting machines, only paper ballots marked with an indelable-ink pen.

    Also ban motor-voter or other forms of quickie registration that have no ability to prove your eligibility to vote. Registering to vote should have to be done in person (nothing on-line) at your local Registrar’s office where you personally interact with staff of that office and your eligibility can be confirmed.

    Antoinetta III

  307. Another thing I forgot regarding elections:

    Ban political parties; everyone runs as an Independent.

    Antoinetta III

  308. Hi John,

    I had heard there were a lot of Republican Senators who want a quick, summary trial because many of them and their relatives were involved in Ukraine related corruption and have things they would rather not come out.

    But if Pelosi and her son were also involved in corrupt business dealings in Ukraine, that might help explain her stalling tactics and her attempts to dictate to the Senate how they conduct the trial.

    Rush Limbaugh pointed out in one his recent radio broadcasts that one of the dirty little secrets of US foreign aid is that it’s always given with the expectation that some of the money willl come back to politically well connected individuals here in the US in the form of consulting contracts, lucrative business deals for the relatives of Congresscritters and other government officials, seats on boards of directors with very generous compensation packages and all the rest There is a huge amount of corruption related to foreign aid programs. Ukraine was exceptional only because the sheer amount of corruption involved and the fact that it was so blatant.

    Pelosi herself has become one of California’s richest politicians thanks to the shameless way she and her relatives have cashed in on her position in Congress. I read an article on the Napa Valley vineyard she owns and how her tax and public disclosure statements related to her vineyard have been deliberately vague. The California Department of Revenue has refused to release financial records in response to FOIA requests, claiming they are proprietary info. Pelosi and many of her colleagues obviously have a great deal to hide.

  309. Hi Patricia,

    I used to work in “customer service” (not the kind of service discussed above! 😳), dealing with large defense contractors. Every year we’d have quite the battle over who got to take off the between week. And we could have all taken off because the contractors, not being fools, shut down the last 2 weeks of the year!

  310. @David Trammel

    …thus my second suggestion: legally decoupling porn from advertising revenue, which, IMO, would effectively end “free” porn. Not at all confident that it’s enforceable, but it seems like at least the larger sites could be constrained. Requiring that users pay to view the stuff would go a long way toward keeping it away from the younger set, making sure actors, editors, cameramen, etc. get paid fairly for their work, and would cut down a lot on use in general… I mean, if somebody leaves a giant bowl of chocolates out on the counter to share, I’m gonna eat fifty of them without even thinking about it. Make me pay a nickel apiece for them, I’ll think about it first, may have one or two, or may, in that thinking time, remember that I’m trying to slim down and opt out entirely.

    The simple act of inserting a payment page between the user and the video would avoid the problem of judgement. Then you don’t have to say that porn is good or bad, or that the actors and prodcuers are good or bad, or that the users are good or bad. You’re just saying “this shouldn’t be free, and the end users should be the ones paying, and the producers and actors should be the ones getting paid, not a bunch of middleman advertisers and webhosting services.” That frames it as a fair wage/labor problem rather than a moral problem.

    That could accomplish several positive things in one go: 1) better working conditions in a typically exploitative industry 2) Reduce unintentional porn exposure 3) Reduce accessibility to minors, 4) Install a “Do I really need this?” step (payment) for people trying to break the habit, and possibly 5) increase the user’s awareness of the performers as actual people.

    Again, no idea about enforceability.

  311. Hi Nastarana,

    I’m simply challenging the oft-stated and thoroughly unsupported assertion OneThing (and later Phutotorious) made that FInland is a “Democratic Socialist” state. Please don’t insult the Finnish people.

    Finland has a capitalist economy with strong private property rights. It also has high taxes, high unionization, and a high level of social welfare spending. The mere presence of generous social programs doesn’t make Finland any more socialist than the U.S., the latter of which I might add already spends more than 50% of annual federal expenditures on mandatory social programs as well.

    You can argue your favorite flavor of capitalist apples all day but please don’t confuse them with socialist horse apples.

  312. @Onething

    “Thank you for your honest post. When I don’t like young kids seeing hardcore porn, rape porn and the like, I do not mean to imply I suspect most males of actually wanting to rape. I don’t think that is the case.”

    When I see the phrase “rape culture” – whoever said it, I don’t think it was you – I need to be clear it resembles to me a term like “international Jewish money” which is basically a term to give yourself permission to enact power and prejudice against someone. I’ve never met a single man who thought rape was OK. In fact, every man I’ve met – I you asked – would name murder and rape is the worst crimes someone can commit. I would think, if I lived in a rape culture, that I would have met a single man who openly thought that rape was OK. I’ve never even been in a position to enable rape, unless that standard requires attaching myself to every random woman I meet as an unsolicited, unwanted, and unpaid bodyguard.

    “And I am aware that women often have rape and domination fantasies. It is an interesting question, where fantasies come from but I have not generally taken them too seriously.”

    It’s very obvious to me the rape fantasy is about ego. “I’m so desirable a man will break every rule to have me.” It only makes sense in a culture where rape is a taboo.

  313. My two amendments would be, in brief: first, an absolute, binding, final right of popular recall, for any official who has been elected to public office or Federally appointed at the Cabinet level or above, for the greater of 1/10 of their fixed term or two months, taking immediate and automatic effect upon the affirmation of 51% of the eligible electors (not just those who happen to show up at the polls!) in a popular referendum. Second, the expansion of the crime of treason to include treason against the people (i.e. the self-serving use of public office to private ends), the latter to be tried by a public jury of three randomly drafted citizens from each Congressional district affected by the acts. 50%+1 and they all get issued commemorative pocket knives for those with the fortitude to go full Hypatia on the convict(s).

    JMG,

    I’d be willing to accept a 1 cent tax on email, in exchange for nationalizing the Internet infrastructure from core to edge as post roads (Art. 1, Section 8) under a fully and irrevocably renationalized Post Office.

    David, by the lake,

    re: a share of the national debt, a point and a question: wouldn’t it be better to divide the debt up according to total adjusted gross income of the population of the states seceding, rather than a per capita share, so that Connecticut doesn’t get to run off with a massive portion of the national wealth or Illinois doesn’t get completely screwed over? Second, what’s your take on the chartalist theory of money? (I don’t suppose a civil libertarian would view it especially favorably, but anthropology, archaeology, and historical research seem to support it.)

  314. Onething, the polytheist concept of divine beings is that they’re vastly superhuman but not infinitely so: powerful but not omnipotent, wise but not omniscient, and so on. They also didn’t create the universe, because the universe wasn’t created — it’s not an artifact. They are part of the cosmic process as we are, but since they’re stronger, wiser, etc. than we are, there’s much to be gained by establishing positive relations with them. Is that the description you had in mind?

    Deborah, fair enough. That seems unlikely to me but hey, we’ll see how it turns out. As for the legal basis, yes, it’s been quite something to see Democratic legal eagles falling back on the kind of arguments about the intent of the founders that used to be the province of the extreme right! Nonetheless the Constitution is explicit: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” If you don’t cite a high crime (as we’d now say, a felony) or a misdemeanor in the bill of impeachment it does not qualify as a valid impeachment under the Constitution, and no amount of handwaving about the Federalist Papers et al. can change that.

    Your Kittenship, Elric was not quite Moorcock’s first Eternal Champion, but the one earlier example I know of is even more angsty. I think youth had something to do with it…

    Martin, I’ve been watching the same thing. You’re quite correct, of course — the medical and pharmaceutical industries are panicking. I wonder if now would be a good time for people to contact their local populist head of state — if they live in a place that has one, such as the US or the UK — and encourage said head of state to take up freedom to choose alternative health care as an issue. The first major politician to do that in the US will get about twenty million extra votes, and I suspect that proportionally the British vote would go something close to the same way.

    Ryan, my hope here is twofold. First, a lot of Americans would rather support a centrist such as Trump instead of someone more extreme and authoritarian — people turn to extremists when they can’t make their voices heard any other way. Second, if Trump wins big enough in 2020, the existing Democratic establishment will be discredited, and sheer self-preservation will likely convince ambitious Democrats to pay attention to the populist tide. Tulsi Gabbard’s already doing that, which is why I expect her to be the frontrunner come 2024.

    Daniil, I was pleased that they had the common sense to choose a positive goal rather than a negative one, but it was still highly public (and thus wide open to counterspells) and made use of the frankly toddler-level magic that pervades the Neopagan scene.

    Chris, thank you! To judge by his comments on the Dreamwidth posts, the young bloke in question is doing fine, and getting things under control. It’s not at all impossible that for him, and for many other young blokes of his generation, this is going to be the challenge that teaches them about their own strength and gets them off their rumps and into motion to do something about themselves and the world.

    Sunnnv, thanks for the clarification. No question, the terror and loathing of sexuality that Christianity picked up from late Greek philosophy and then inflated to absurd dimensions is a mess, and the notion that masturbation is the direst sort of sinfulness is part and parcel of that.

    Info, I don’t do video, so will pass. If you happen to know of a print source I’d be happy to put it in the to-read pile.

    Ron, the image of the Pope doing “Age of Aquarius” is a keeper. Thank you! But you’re quite correct, of course — something’s in the air.

    Irena, then you have one of the classic problems that democracy hasn’t yet found a good general fix for. My point is that if most people aren’t willing to obey a law, it’s kind of a waste of time to have the law!

    Your Kittenship, it’s because our government doesn’t do things like that, of course, that our would-be radicals go on endlessly about microagressions. Back in the 1970s you used to hear socialists ranting about “coercive tolerance” — that was their term for the annoying fact that the government wouldn’t behave as oppressively as socialist ideology claimed the government was supposed to behave, which in turn kept the masses from turning socialist…

    But microagressions are so 2019. I want to start hearing about nanoaggressions, picoagressions, and femtoagressions! Let’s see agressions so tiny that they’re affected by quantum indeterminacy and the strong nuclear force! 😉

    Polytropos, oh dear gods, that’s funny. Yes, I could see someone in Trump’s Office of Memetic Warfare producing that, and clinking beers together in a bar somewhere in DC on hearing that the left fell for another one. A happy solstice to you and yours as well!

    Rita, how much of the legacy of the Neopagan movement is going to survive, and what parts of it will do so, are both up in the air right now. The actions of individual Neopagans can have a great deal of influence on that; you might want to meditate on what you can do to help see to it that the things you’d like to see endure do, in fact, endure. Thanks for the heads up about the theater — if I’m ever in that end of Illinois, I’ll see what’s showing!

    Your Kittenship, thanks for this. I didn’t have to interrupt much revelry to put through a few comments, for what it’s worth.

    Violet, okay, that settles it — that’s going onto the read-this pile. Thank you.

    Your Kittenship, I certainly can’t speak for the lot of us, but in the Druid traditions I know, no, there’s no special significance to the days between when the solstice happens (December 21st) and the point at which the sun’s rising and setting points first begin to move visibly northward along the horizon (December 25). I read years ago, though I don’t recall the source, that December 25 was chosen as the festival day for Mithras, then Sol Invictus, then Jesus, because of that fact.

    David T, yes, but that also falls into Ahrimanic and Luciferic categories. Neither of those has to be a continuing feeding process; a spirit can also goad someone into a single destructive or self-destructive act of either kind, and feed on that.

    Erotically Present, dear gods. I’m appalled to hear that the level of basic sexual competence among men has fallen so far. When I was a teenager, it was standard locker room talk among young men that if you wanted to get laid regularly, making sure your partner had at least one orgasm — and preferably more than one — was essential, and if that meant that things went on after your orgasm, hey, no problem. If men have lost track of that basic bit of courtesy (or common sense), I’m embarrassed for my sex.

    David BTL, yes, I saw that. The fascinating thing to me is that China is falling into the trap of building a huge blue-water navy of capital ships at a time when cruise missile technology makes such a navy hopelessly obsolete. If the US has the great good sense to withdraw from its imperial commitments and focus on its own near abroad, we can keep a couple of carriers for old times’ sake, get really good at potshotting naval vessels from corvettes and long-range aircraft, and then China can be the one that suffers the Twilight’s Last Gleaming moment…

    Vidura, yep. Populism’s on the rise over a great deal of the world — and I don’t think it’s accidental that Trump and Modi apparently get along very well. Along the same lines, I’d expect to see a British-Indian trade agreement signed very quickly after Brexit, and both countries will profit from it.

    Your Kittenship, if you’re interested in that kind of old-time religion, I can recommend a Druid order or two! 😉

    Grebulocities, I’d like to see one amendment changing the term of office of the presidency to six years and not permitting a second term under any condition, and I’d like to see another putting teeth into the 9th and 10th amendments — the ones that were supposed to see to it that the Federal government didn’t usurp powers reserved to the states and the people. I haven’t figured out exact wording for the latter, but about 2/3 of the federal government is not authorized by the constitution and getting rid of it strikes me as a good thing.

    Lathechuck, good. TS indeed W!

    Aidan, thanks for the data points! Of course you’re quite correct that Spengler predicted all of this, as did Lind.

    Jacurutu, my guess is that if the articles of fauxpeachment actually do get sent to the Senate they’ll be dismissed at once, precisely to avoid a public trial. It would be better strategy for the GOP to let Pelosi’s behavior get exposed by the Justice Department instead, since the Constitution permits a sitting congresscritter to be tried and imprisoned for actual crimes without an impeachment process.

    Kiashu, yes, I read that! Wind is changing indeed…

  315. An amendment nullifying the Commerce Clause might be just the thing you’re looking for if you want to return power to the states. Be ready for rhetoric decrying “a patchwork quilt of conflicting regulations,” which is the obverse view of states’ rights.

  316. @ Jonathan

    Re the national debt, etc.

    I’d stick with my basis for division, as population (i.e. the census) is a constitutionally referenced basis and not nearly so disputable as something like incomes. We’d use the numbers used in the most recent allocation of House seats, proportions that would have already been agreed to. The key here is that a seceding state must bear the burden of some portion of the national debt when it elects to depart. And if the people of that state are willing to make that choice under those conditions, then that seems to me to be a strong statement by the vox populi.

    As to the chartalist theory of money, I can’t say I’m familiar with the term. I’d have to research it before I could give a fair response.

  317. JMG, I noticed you were putting comments through last night. I figured either you were taking the occasional break from revelry, or wild rumpuses aren’t what they used to be.

    On this street, we’re all too old to get a halfway decent wild rumpus going!

  318. Godozo said: “You DO know that most non-porn sex scenes are choreographed?”

    And according to an NPR episode I listened to today, now involves “intimacy negotiators” whose job is to spell out just how the sex scenes are filmed and what is involved in them for each of the actors in the scene.

    I’m reminded of this scene from the forgettable movie “Cherry 2000”, where the two people’s lawyers negotiated a contract for sex at a bar after they meet.

  319. Along the lines of JMG’s penny-per-e-mail suggestion, here’s some potential relief from robocalls

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/12/congress-slaps-robocallers-with-10000-penalty-per-call/

    I hope it works. I have had to keep the ringer on my phone turned off for the last 6 months because I was getting 30-40 robocalls a day about my nonexistent student loan. They come from within our area code, but it’s a different number every time, so you can’t block them. I know it’s a scam, rather than someone getting me mixed up with a student named Lady Cutekittent, because I have not been contacted by credit collection agencies.

    It seems like almost everything is a scam these days. You would think conservative politicians would want to do something about the situation, because capitalism depends on some minimal level of trust between the contracting parties. As it becomes riskier and riskier to do business with those you don’t know, people will stop dealing with large companies. We don’t need, for example, cable TV, nearly as much as they think we do.

  320. methylethyl said: “thus my second suggestion: legally decoupling porn from advertising revenue, which, IMO, would effectively end “free” porn. Not at all confident that it’s enforceable, but it seems like at least the larger sites could be constrained. Requiring that users pay to view the stuff would go a long way toward keeping it away from the younger set, making sure actors, editors, cameramen, etc. get paid fairly for their work, and would cut down a lot on use in general.”

    I agree that porn in the hands of kids is harmful, but I have to point out you’re using the perceived good of making sure people who make it get paid as an excuse to restrict kids from seeing it. See the disconnect? Be better to just stick to the problem you want to solve.

    The porn industry went thru the opt in/pay for it controversy in the early 90s when much of the free stuff started showing up and Bush 2 was in office. The first idea was to establish a national database of people who verified they were adults and wanted to see adult material. As you can imagine the thought that our government was to have a list of people who want to see porn, did not go over well.

    You might trust this administration but what about the next? Remember Bush 2 and the rise of Evangelicals. At that time it was worried that it would become public and so be used to shame people. Now with the rise of hacked databases, think what a good public disclosure would do to people’s careers?

    “We’d love to hire you but we see you bought a subscription to Nakedwomendoarcheryonhorses dot com before and the owner’s daughter loves horses. We can’t have your type working here.”

    (Which is actually a fetish, watching naked women shooting arrows from horseback. Probably as a form of worship to Diana, lol.)

    Bush 2 actually went further and was going to require the model release forms which contained personal info like real names and home addresses be shared with the non-producer sites. At that time, the internet had thousands of one page feeder sites for every payed site. Up until then only the actual filming studios needed to store those and feeders just linked to them for the info in case that people thought a model was under aged.

    The clear intent was to put performers at risk of stalkers and people who would find them in the real world. The adult industry fought that one very hard. One of the Circuit Courts ruled against the government and stopped it.

    The Supreme Court eventually ruled that having access to a credit card, which is supposed to mean someone is over 18 since they aren’t supposed to be issued to kids, was to be the legal rule that the person signing up was an adult. We all know though that kids get credit cards, either being given by their parents or just taken from mommy’s purse.

    It was a poor work around but one that lead to the less restrictions of public privacy and civil rights. Yet a ruling that clearly didn’t anticipate the rise of ad driven free porn.

    Ultimately, we need to answer clearly, what problem are we trying to solve? The solution needs to then be narrow and specific. If you can’t find such a solution that doesn’t infringe on much more than the original problem, then leaving the problem alone, might be the best solution.

    You might trust this Administration with your privacy, but can you trust the next one that gets elected?

    Decoupling ad revenue means someone must decide, are you a porn site or not? Who do we give that power to?

    What about the site Literotica.com, which is an erotic story site with 100% user submitted stories? No images. Do we make it a paid site? I’ve wanked to more than a few really good stories myself over the years. If young Johny reads them, does it hurt him? Should we stop me from reading them because we can’t stop Johny from reading them?

    And yes, the site includes some incest and non-consent stories.

  321. Antoinetta,

    What is wrong with dual citizenship? My daughter has had to become one due to our tax laws which would require her to pay taxes on her salary in the US, as well as Sweden. There wouldn’t be a lot of income left.
    But I have thought it should probably be a bar to being elected to higher governmental positions.

  322. Amendment–make it illegal to give either financial support or unpaid labor for any campaign or legislation outside the area in which the citizen resides. National election for President obviously excepted. For the purpose of this amendment a corporation would be a resident of the state in which it is incorporated and the city/county in which it has its headquarters. So if you live in NY you cannot support a candidate for California’s senate seat, or the mayor of Salt Lake City, etc.

    My second amendment choice would be to shorten the election season–no one allowed to declare an intent to run, sponsor a poll, form a committee, etc. or collect funds until 6 months before the election. (I used to forbid my kids to start making Xmas wishes until after Halloween, for similar reasons, just too tiring)

  323. “Third, we need to take a hard look at those aspects of our society that make life so miserable for so many young men that they’re vulnerable to addictions. Young white men in particular are one of the few minorities in this country (and of course they are a minority in the overall population) that the mainstream culture considers it entirely appropriate to humiliate, belittle, and condemn — and if you or anyone else starts talking about white privilege, we can have a long talk about how little that means if you live in a working class family in flyover country.”

    Having this discussion would, even if no action came from it, address one of the major factors making life as a young man difficult right now: life in contemporary society leaves an awful lot to be desired, and we can’t discuss our issues in any public setting. There are issues with life today no matter what background you are, and so it makes perfect sense to discuss the matter of why, and how to improve things. The problem here is that this is only acceptable publicly if you’re going to do two things: first, is identify which minority group you belong to and discuss the issues as they relate to you, not to society in general, and the second is you need to find some way to blame the acceptable targets. This generally means white men. The problem this creates for white men is simple: the sole way our concerns can be formulated in acceptable terms for this narrative is by blaming ourselves.

    Now, there are plenty of reasons why young men have it hard, but I don’t want to get into that discussion right now, and instead focus on something else: not just are those of us who are white men not allowed to discuss these matters in public, and have to deal with the fact that any organizing on our part to address our concerns will be dismissed as whatever the hate speech du jure happens to be, we also have to deal with the fact that there’s a sizable amount of propaganda aimed at assigning blame to us for everything wrong with the world.

    Even if you can avoid internalizing it, which is a big if given the amount of the propaganda out there and how hard it is to avoid running into it, plenty of other people have internalized it, and there are an awful lot of people who don’t really believe it, but find it useful to pretend to in order to push some agenda or other. One of the more bitter ironies unfolds from a pattern an indigenous friend of mine noted: indigenous men can only get sympathy, according to the rules this insane game goes by, by attacking white men: thus, they have every incentive to portray the issues facing them as not affecting white men. This provides a substantial amount of propaganda, but little benefit to anyone. Same thing with white women: culturally, they can’t afford to discuss the issues which affect white people, since they need to blame white men.

    In fact, one of the best ways to get sympathy is to portray the world white men live in as suitably ideal: which means that every single one of us has to deal with the fact that culturally, we’re supposed to have perfect lives, when in actuality many, perhaps most, of our lives are miserable. But, of course, there can’t be systemic reasons, and if you think there are, you can’t say it in public. You have to be very careful who you say it to, since so many people have internalized this, and plenty more will relish the chance to improve their chances by destroying someone else.

    This produces a brutal double-bind: the one way to get support without risking losing everything in a spectacular fashion is to do it online, since if you mention any of this, and word gets out, your reputation will be destroyed; but say it online and you know whichever company hosts the platform knows you said it, and you still run the risk of being doxxed and having your life ruined anyway.

    So I would love for our society to be able to have this discussion, since even if no concrete solutions were found, the very act of being able to air our grievances, and not have them dismissed entirely, would address one of the major issues making life so intolerable for white men.

  324. HI JMG,

    Thanks for the invite, but I’m sworn to Christ so even if I wanted to break my oath, no god worth revering would be likely to want me if I did so. But at least if I get “fired” (excommunicated) I know I’ve got a place to go. 😄

    One of the things I like about your site is learning about all the other religions. For example, Violet 👏 (hi Violet) has put up all sorts of educational material about Aphrodite.

  325. @Deborah Bender

    “I don’t expect you to answer this, because it’s personal, but I wonder whether you ever been in a lasting sexual relationship with a woman where you and she had honest talks with each other about emotions and feelings.”

    I don’t know what made you think otherwise. On the emotional openness spectrum, I’m way over on the side of openness. I just admitted to watching porn, often, in front of people that know me in real life.

    “When a woman asked you for a particular kind of lovemaking or role playing that you were not comfortable with, did you ever ask her why she desired that particular thing from you? If you didn’t ask, was it because asking did not occur to you, or because you didn’t feel safe to ask?”

    It never occurred to me to ask why because there was no answer she could possibly give that would change my mind. (No means no.)

    1. I do not hit women*
    2. I do not rape women.
    3. I do not “rape” women, either.
    4. I do not cum inside a woman without a condom.

    (*I will beat the living sh** out of a woman who is assaulting an elderly person, child, or disabled person.)

    Allow me to elaborate.

    1-3. If there’s some kind of rape-that’s-not-rape I never heard of it. One girl gave me permission to f*** her at any time, even when sleeping. But I knew if would be just my luck that the one time I did it would be the one time she changed her mind. Another girl said “I want you to brutalize me.” I knew this was one of those things that she would need me to push her boundaries further and further, and at some point, it would be “WOAH WOAH TOO FAR WHAT THE F*** MADE YOU THINK THAT WAS OK.” Moreover, I’m not doing anything that leaves a mark, in case the cops get involved somehow. Also, I just… don’t enjoy hitting women. Should I?

    4. Both women who made this request used the exact same phrase: “I’m very careful” – which struck me as very suspect. No, I do not trust a woman with this outside of marriage. I need her solemn vow: take it to term or she’s not getting the sperm.

    “Did you think “I have no power to negotiate…”

    Women have 100% legal dominance in intimate relationships. One call, jail. One doctor’s visit: a son/daughter I will never meet. You must understand the only logical response. I cannot consider a woman to be trusty-worthy until I’ve known her for at least 5-7 years. If, during the course of that time she shows that slightest trace of cruelty, or dishonestly with herself or others, she’s cannot be fully trusted. A man, however, doesn’t have that kind of power over me, and can have a little dishonesty or cruelty, because, in the end, I can beat the sh** of out him if he crosses the line.

    “…I have to do this or this woman will refuse to have sex with me”?”

    The two instances a woman went too far too fast… no. No that wasn’t the case. It was more like “I think it might be better if you don’t blow me on the first d- OH MY GOD THAT FEELS AWESOME.” But in the end I was right because a lasting relationship needs a stronger emotional foundation and the too-early sexual activity was a factor in those relationships falling apart.

    “People have all sorts of kinky desires that from the outside look silly or sick or politically incorrect. If you don’t have the good fortune to fall in with someone who likes pretty much what you like from the get go, sometimes understanding what they get out of what they are asking for can provide enough empathy that you can get into it too. Sometimes not.”

    When it comes to my unborn children, my empathy is with them. Maybe with more empathy I could learn to brutalize women, but… probably not. As far other things, sure. Women really aren’t that hard to figure out.

    Your post is based on the assumption that some kind of emotional underdevelopment is my problem, rather than having ACTUAL REASONS FOR THINGS. You’re talking to me about empathy without empathizing.

    “Yes, rape fantasies and fantasies about domination are very common among women. I’m sure there are many reasons for this. I think one reason is that American culture is still at base very puritanical about sex…”

    By the time I was 14, there was an infinite supply of cum-soaked tranny porn to jerk off to. (I was a late bloomer.) Please understand, this mystical puritanical society sounds like a very nice place. I heard you had “fathers” too.

    Everyone believes the circumstances of their childhood extend into the past forever. People who grew up in the 50’s keep thinking it could return at any moment (or “should” – and this is the ongoing inter-boomer argument that everyone under 55 is bored-to-death of.)

    Boomer advice that is no longer necessary:

    A. Talk about your feelings.
    B. Be yourself.
    C. Don’t be afraid to be different.

    Advice that my generation (Gen Y / older Millennial) will give their children that they will get sick of:

    A. Figure out who you can trust before you talk.
    B. Be useful.
    C. Old things worked for a reason.

    I encourage any boomer who insists this first set is more important to imagine the pain my generation experienced figuring out the second set all on its own.

    “I think one reason is that American culture is still at base very puritanical about sex and still thinks about it as a woman surrendering to a man’s lust, rather than as a cooperative activity.”

    Women have agency, though – they’re not programmable ciphers.

    My hunch is that it’s about ego. “I’m so desirable that a man will break every law to have me.” When women’s literature doesn’t have rape, it features men breaking every rule, taboo, overcoming any obstacle or enemy to have a woman.

    “You probably aren’t very aware of this because you didn’t grow up female, but girls and women who show very directly that they enjoy sex and want it are denigrated and scorned as sluts.”

    I can’t imagine anyone not knowing this. It’s mostly other women doing it too. Cartel behavior. Since the 50’s women have been pretty well demystified. THE THINGS I’VE SEEN CAN’T BE UNSEEN.

    “Probably things have loosened up some since the 1950s…”

    Maybe a bit. Have you caught the 8 year old drag queen’s pole dance routine?

    “…but girls used to be taught to beware of boys’ libido and not to “lead them on”. These messages, repeated enough, force girls and young women to pay most of their attention to what the males want and how to respond to them and very little to their own feelings of arousal and its natural expression.”

    I would agree we still have a long way to go to admit that women have agency.

    “If you’ve internalized a boatload of this, the fantasy of “he’s making me” is a way of giving oneself psychological permission to let go. It’s easier to enjoy sex if you can let yourself go at least a little bit.”

    Oh yes. Pretty much the first thing a pick-up artist learns is to help women give themselves permission to be as slutty as they know they are.

    “You probably have seen the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at least once.”

    No, actually. I’m more of a Danny Kaye fan.

    “There is a short scene near the beginning that seems to depict a rape at gunpoint. After about a minute, it becomes clear that the two people know each other very well and that they are roleplaying a familiar scene that both of them enjoy.

    When women read and write bodice rippers, most of them are fantasizing something like this.”

    Reenacting this in today’s legal and social environment would be an absolutely terrible idea for a man.

    —-

    Story: when I was 12, I was visiting my father over the summer. He had some old hippie friends. I was just hitting puberty. One of his friends had an idea. She said, that “it was time” because I probably “had hair on my nuts” and he should take me “out back” and “show me.”

    Now, even though I was twelve, I knew exactly what she was talking about. She figured that if my dad took me down to the basement, took off his pants, showed me how to jerk off, and then had me take off my pants, and jerk off for him, he’d been doing me a favor. I needed to be sexually initiated so I wouldn’t be repressed like her generation was. Because God forbid you figure out sex on your own when you’re ready.

    So, of course, I ran away and cried. My dad, idiot, didn’t understand why I was upset. He said she was just “trying to be helpful” and for the rest of the summer I avoided the female pedophile without any adult help.

    So if there’s one thing I wish I could express to Baby Boomers, speaking as a Millennial, it would be this: our experience with the sexual revolution is on par with your experience of the Vietnam War, and we are as grateful to you as you are towards the GI generation for pushing us into it.

  326. Nothing Special,

    I may have used rape culture as a copy of the hysteria in academia because they use that phrase. I have considered it absurd, but was rethinking that if females in general are aware of high porn use by the guys, it might make them feel on the defensive.

    “It’s very obvious to me the rape fantasy is about ego. “I’m so desirable a man will break every rule to have me.”

    Feeling desirable and having a man lose control of his desire might be part of the fantasy, but it isn’t ego. Like I said to Deborah, I’m pretty sure that what “turns us on” is a lot more primal than that. If your and her ideas were true, it would be doable to change homosexuals into heterosexuals, or for people to stop responding to unwanted stimuli.

    “It only makes sense in a culture where rape is a taboo.”

    I’m not aware that a culture exits in which rape is not taboo.

  327. JMG,

    No, no. I meant your understanding of whatever ultimate, divine cause exists. The gods I understand.

    And if the universe was not created then how did it arise or how does it exist? I liked your phrase that it is not an artifact. That was very interesting. So you see it very organically. I agree and yet it requires an explanation for its existence and the arisal, at least, of a physically manifest universe might be cyclical. That does not mean it is created as an artifact. But then I see all planes of existence as being the universe and if the physical is not manifest, does not mean there is no universe.

    Sometimes the raw fact of existence boggles my mind as it is so inexplicable, and when I let my mind wander on that I get a sensation like a bang or door clapping in my mind and it brings me to see nothingness as so utterly impossible that it calls existence into existence.

    Existence is unfathomable but nothingness is impossible.

  328. What is “rape culture”? Does such a thing even exist? So far as I can tell, rape culture only seems to exist in the overheated imaginations of radical feminists, SJW’s and the academic Left. Or is there something I’m missing?

  329. @Onething

    “Feeling desirable and having a man lose control of his desire might be part of the fantasy, but it isn’t ego. Like I said to Deborah, I’m pretty sure that what “turns us on” is a lot more primal than that.”

    I would consider ego to be pretty primal. We might be expressing similar notions with different words. I could say ego, I could also say “power fantasy” and mean the same thing. Power is very primal.

    “I’m not aware that a culture exits in which rape is not taboo.”

    Anywhere that rape of a woman is considered a property crime against another man.

  330. Lady Cute Kitten said: “Thanks for the invite, but I’m sworn to Christ so even if I wanted to break my oath, no god worth revering would be likely to want me if I did so. But at least if I get “fired” (excommunicated) I know I’ve got a place to go.”

    May I offer this opinion.

    Over the Winter I came to the conclusion that being a Christian wasn’t working for me. My sworn ledge lord and god wasn’t supplying the benefits my allegiance should be giving. And I wanted to seek a Patron elsewhere. After all we are not slaves.

    I decided that the honest approach was to renounce my faith and tell Jehovah that I didn’t want to worship him anymore. I doubt any other Patron spirit would hold your recognition that your current religion isn’t working and you wanted to find a new god against you. At least you had the courage to proclaim it publicly. Who doesn’t hate hypocrites?

    The ability to decide to worship another spirit was recognized in polytheist societies for thousands of year. Its only the recent monopoly that Christian religion has had in western culture, which puts a emotional shaming on the recognition that Jehovah isn’t benefiting you.

    We each, and everyone of us, are special. We get to choose the relationships we have.

    Decide who you wish to worship, without feeling you are constrained.

  331. To Erotically Present:

    Thank you so much for saying what you said. You have given me much to reflect upon. The sterling advice of “Consent, Condoms, Comedy, Cuddles” to your children is what Sex Ed, formal and informal, should have always been from the beginning of time. Heaven knows it would have helped me back in the day!

  332. @ Onething

    “Existence is unfathomable but nothingness is impossible.” That provides a lot to think about. Thank you.

  333. Dear Nothing Special,

    Thank you for taking the time to engage with me. You express yourself very clearly.

    All we know about each other are the words we have posted. The picture I have of you in my mind, and the picture you have of me, are necessarily incomplete.

    I would like to respond to a few of your points, starting at the end and working backward.

    I, and some of my friends of about the same age, have often said to each other that in many ways it is much harder to grow up now than it was for us. Not speaking for all Boomers, but some of us were sheltered as children from things that children are no longer sheltered from. Also (generalizing), we had to deal with boredom, constraints, and being expected to conform to narrow models of how to dress and behave. Younger people have more freedom of choice in many ways, but they are under greater pressure to excel, and they don’t have enough quiet time to think.

    Bringing up children and giving them good guidance has never been easy, but I think it is more difficult now than it was in the Forties, Fifties and early Sixties.

    You are right that women enforce social norms on other women, and they can be pretty mean about it. Fortunately I have had women in my life who aren’t like that.

    Backing up to your A’s, B’s, and C’s. I think your set is excellent advice. It is true in most situations. I had to get some life experience before I appreciated C.That is because of the famous Generation Gap. Society changed so rapidly in the US after the end of WWII that a lot of the life experience of the parents just didn’t apply and wasn’t very useful to the children, and of course the children had no conception of what their parents went through.

    I would never give your Boomer A, B, C list as blanket advice. Whether it’s a good idea to talk about your feelings depends on the circumstances and who is listening. “Be yourself” is almost meaningless. My parents taught me “You are different. Be proud of the ways you are different. You may have to pay a price for being different, but don’t let other people push you around.” That’s the kind of parental advice you get if you are part of a minority group.

    Everyone under the age of 55 is bored to death with a lot of things Boomers do, and I don’t blame you a bit.

    Another thing I’m in agreement with is that when it comes to sexual intimacy, consent is tricky. Men and women both lie. Men and women can change their minds in the middle of the act. Men and women can refuse to take responsibility for what they said and what they did, and mentally rewrite the encounter so that the other party or parties are all to blame.

    From the language you used about pushing boundaries, I’m guessing that you may have brushed up against the BDSM subculture. In the BDSM community, where people often request or offer acts or experiences that are very different from “vanilla” sex, consent is what defines the boundary between abuse and a good time had by all. These communities tend to have explicit rules in order to protect everyone as much as possible from recriminations, accusations, and regrets. Outside of a longterm, committed, forgiving relationship; a strictly commercial transaction; or a self-policing community with strong norms, taking a walk on the wild side is risky.

  334. So, TJamdTheBear, for the same of clarity and not getting my apples mixed up, when yiu are looking at what you know to be “socialist horse-apples”, what social, economic, political features are you seeing?

  335. Hi John Michael,

    Well yes, that is indeed a possibility because the flip side of crisis is opportunity. And failure or set backs can often be a great incentive to wake up and get off the couch and do something. At least I’d like to think so. Hard times have been a plentiful and regular experience in my life, but I learn from them, incorporate them into my worldview, and then move on.

    It’s a rough teacher, but by and large, I believe avoidance is a harder path. Dunno.

    My solstice present was cooler weather, and after this week’s epic and record breaking continent wide heat wave, the present was very well received. It is very smoky here today, visibility is low and I can taste burnt plant matter in the air. Not nice at all. Hope things are more pleasant up your way?

    Cheers

    Chris

  336. Dear Archdruid,
    Of course people have different experiences and no one person can have ALL the experiences. 🙂

    Plus, I have an idea from much that has been said in these columns, that you yourself, and also many of your commenters, would qualify as “exceptional” by reason of a high degree of resistance to popular cultural influences on the shape of your views of life, the universe and everything.

    So I will just say that, my comment cannot have illustrated “how bad things have become since you were a teenager” for you, for the simple reason that, as far as I can make out, you and I were teenagers (and explorers in the mysteries of sex) at one and the same time, and within the frame of one and the same set of cultural and generational nfluences.

  337. @JMG and Phutatorious

    I agree with Phutatorious’s point in addressing JMG’s “amendment” comment that the 2/3 ‘s of Federal Government that you see as “unconstitutional” is rather “tenuously constitutional” by virtue of the licence taken over time with the Commerce Clause.

    I am particularly interested in how self-consciously the CDC locates its extraordinarily far reaching police powers of search, seizure, detention and forcible medical treatment “in the event of threats to public heslth” under the Commerce Clause.

    Now that forcible vaccination has become the focus of a corporate-usurped CDC, I can see a campaign against the commerce clause gathering steam alongside the currently growing campaign for informed consent and against mandates.

    This campaign has reached a critical turning point, from what I can tell, despites efforts to censor and stamp it down.

    That is my personal “wind is changing” weathervane.

  338. 1st I wanted to check in with Chris at Fernglade – Are you OK? Has Fernglade been affected by these horrible fires? Is there anything we can do, (scattered around the world as we are) to help?

  339. @JMG:

    Thanks for your reply – yes, your and Methylethyl’s solutions soun much more reasonable and effective. TBH, I probably should not have waded into this convo in the first place, because I am learning here that porn is far more ubiquitous than I ever knew, and that well, I know very little about the whole thing. I’m gonna zip it on that topic now, LOL.

    @Nothing Special,
    If you don’t mind my butting in: The term “rape culture” doesn’t assume all men are rapist – (well, maybe for some uninformed people on both sides of the cultural divide – it probably means a wide variety of things to a wide variety of people, unfortunately that is true of so many things in our current society – but I’d argue that just because someone blogs about it and gets it wrong – doesn’t mean it’s correct)

    The rem: rape culture refers to all of the small implied words, phrases, jokes, sentiments that unwittingly contribute to a culture wherein rape is normalized (and what is normalized – is, in it’s way, accepted). Someone above mentioned popular music TODAY – but oh man – go back and listen to rock and pop music from the 1970’s – so much of it is all about quick, meaningless sex, sung from the POV of the man – which IMPLIES that women are for one thing. The discussion above about movies including sex scenes that don’t even rise to the level of sub-plot, because there is an assumption men won’t watch it without T&A? Because some Harvey Weinstein type producer insists on it? yeah, probably, but nonetheless – a story that has nothing to do with the character’s love or sex life ends up with a tacked-on, pro-forma sex scene. So because that relationship has nothing to do with the story the director wants to tell – the lead character is a man, (still the majority of films made have a male lead) – so the woman, sometimes the only female in the movie at all, ends up appearing as nothing more than a breathing blow-up doll, a cypher, not really resembling a full-on human – (and I think even Hollywood is getting much better at including women and people of color as more fleshed out characters and more peripheral characters, but that is very recent). So THIS coupled with our acceptance of violence in our entertainment. Together that’s a bad combo.

    These things are so minor, and they are not intending to contribute to the populace’s perception that females are cyphers, or only good for one thing, but they do unwittingly imply that and that creates a “culture” an underlying perception that ends up contributing to them not being treated as full on humans, expendable or cyphers only good for one thing.

    Those are not to mention the classic “What were you wearing?” court-room defense question in rape cases. The defense attorney is not purposefully encouraging rape, or the responsibility of rape onto victims, they’re trying to imply it was consensual – but they are inadvertently implying that their client had no choice, depending on how alluring the victim’s clothing was. Defense attorneys are not the only ones – this mentality, “what was she wearing?”, “Was she drunk?”, “How was she acting?” has been the default position for the public, (both men and women, maybe mostly by women) when reading about a rape in the papers – until very recently.

    So, yeah, It’s by far, not initiated, even unwittingly, by only men – the fashion and beauty industries, largely patronized and supported by women: “Oh you look great! So young! what face cream do you use?”, “” Oh no – she shouldn’t wear that, it makes her look so old and dowdy”. (Why is it desirable for old ladies to look young?) Or the earlier and earlier sexualization of little girls with make-up, hair blow-outs, clothing designed to be alluring, really designed for a 20-something, but scaled down for teens, then tweens, then kids, sometimes even toddlers. The default “Best look” for females ends up being the age range of prime sexual activity and allure. According to the over-arching societal expectations and these industries that influence them – females in every other age range have to try to fit into that too. (Hmmm. Why?)

    & that’s also not to mention what Onething is rightly worried about – apart from traumatizing them seeing something too young – it’s young kids exposed to aggressive attitudes/actions that can potentially shape their emerging attitudes on males/females/sex/relationships in a very unhealthy way. It’s not going to change the mind of an adult, like you – but it can to a young mind.

    I know people like to dismiss these little things as insignificant, but they add up to a pervasive mentality that does shape ‘culture’.

    Yikes! Sorry that got so long. I hope that helps.

  340. Lastly – I think a discussion of white privilege and or white fragility would be very worthwhile here. I believe they both do exist, but you’re right, absolutely – white privilege doesn’t mean every white person lives a fabulous privileged life. They may in fact lead lives very oppressed in many ways – rendering any privilege their skin-tone may have given them in some contexts – not only moot, but a liability. I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but I think you have created here, an environment, your virtual living room, wherein we, (all? most? of us) feel pretty free to ask and answer things unacceptable in any other quarters of the internet or in our real life interactions. A “safe space” if you will. 😉 har har

  341. Thanks, Antoinetta. I don’t drive since my daughters unanimously decided I was no longer up to it; to get anywhere out of this comfortable cage, one must buy a ride in advance, set a date, and go down to DMV in person. And stand in line. With a bad back and swollen feet. Presenting all the documents I already presented to get my Real ID driver’s license in New Mexico, so hauling those around; Florida does not accept out-of-state Real ID for anything.

    Now apply that to someone with aforesaid ailments who can’t afford to buy a ride and has nobody to drive her to DMV.

  342. @Nothing Special – I am grateful that you have enough trust in this forum to share what you have. You have said a great deal that seems worth taking on board and considering. I thank you for it.

  343. Will J et al,

    The lack of wisdom and common sense are what currently drives me to pessimism. What use is there trying to make the world a better place when so many people are just there for the propagandizing.
    Lack of white privilege isn’t just confined to the flyover states.

    The big concern is that for decades our leaders led us out of racism, and it was working nicely, but now they have decided to use it for there nefarious purposes. For this Jordan Peterson is useful, because he is very clear: Categorizing people by their group leads to intolerance and oppression. It is unjust, period. This is the sort of thing we have worked hard to overcome. What we need is reconciliation and forgiveness, not anger and revenge. Right now white people are being taken revenge against. When I see white people vilified and silenced, I am horrified – not at the injustice of it but at the very fact that people will fall for something so obviously backward, so obviously tit for tat, so obviously just more of the same, same, same.

    Of course, those doing the vilifying are also the ones crying tears over someone or other being like Hitler or being fascist, then they turn around and say white men must wear a yellow star. I mean, that is how blind they are to the meaning of their actions.

    I also think it is destructive to blame something as ephemeral as a particular generation for all our woes.

    Hopefully it will blow over soon.

  344. Lady Cutekitten,

    No god who would have me is worth worshiping! 🙂

    Will J,

    I think the conversation should happen anyway. Once it becomes a small torrent, their little mechanisms of suppression won’t work.

    Break the spell.

  345. I appreciate your reply Mr. Greer.

    Incidently, Michael Lind has heard of you but criticizes “neo-Malthusians” in this article (https://thebreakthrough.org/articles/dark-age-politics).

    He also critiqued the professional class (“10 percent or 20 percent”) in his article “Democrats can’t occupy Wall Street” while everyone else was just paying attention to the financial elites (https://www.salon.com/2011/10/11/democrats_populism/).

    Finally, he foresaw the rise of “Caesarism” in America as far back as 2010 (https://www.salon.com/2010/08/31/lind_caesarism_america/)

  346. Are the Democrats really this crazy?

    Democrats actively rolling out scheme to remove VP Mike Pence so they can install Nancy Pelosi, then Hillary Clinton as President… the CRIMINAL COUP IS HERE

    Quote:

    “Step 1) Fake an impeachment of President Trump and whip up media hysteria to gaslight the entire nation into thinking Trump is being impeached when it’s all an act (with no real vote in the House, no legal bearing and no legitimacy).

    Step 2) Stage an arrest of President Trump, V.P. Mike Pence and his Cabinet members for CNN’s cameras to create the visual impression that Trump is guilty of something. After all, why is he in handcuffs? (Everything with the Democrats is theater. Everything is staged.)

    Step 3) Swear in Nancy Pelosi as the President, since she’s next in line (as Speaker of the House).

    Step 4) Nancy Pelosi appoints Hillary Clinton as her Vice President.

    Step 5) Nancy Pelosi resigns as President, making the V.P. (now Hillary Clinton) the President.

    Step 6) Hillary Clinton then appoints a new Vice President, perhaps John Brennan, to strengthen the deep state spooks in her administration.

    From that point on, the mass arrest and executions of all Trump supporters gets authorized by “President Hillary,” and all businesses or individuals who do not worship the authoritarian Clinton police state will be literally imprisoned in gulags or executed by Clinton’s death squads (which already have plenty of experience from Bill Clinton’s Arkansas days).”

    Yes, I really think these people are that crazy. Will it work? Given the unfathomable stupidity of the American people, it just might!

    I am just happy that I am on the other side of the planet, that’s all!

  347. @JMG re: “femtoaggressions” —

    I’d argue they already are affected by quantum indeterminacy. After all, you can never know whether something is or is not a microaggression until it’s observed to be one…

  348. Nothing Special,

    I am not sure that even in cultures where rape is a property crime against a male, that rape is really OK. I don’t know. The only sort of culture I would call rape culture seems to be in Islam. I don’t know how prevalent it might be, but it seems I hear a lot about rape wherever there is Islam and I hear that several men will hunt for and gang rape white girls in Europe. That would come to a quick stop if the police and authorities were allowed to treat it as the completely unacceptable affront that it is. (I’d say anything from execution to exiling them and their families permanently.)

    “I would consider ego to be pretty primal. We might be expressing similar notions with different words.”

    No, we’re not. It’s apples and oranges. Sure ego is primal. Try getting rid of it. But it isn’t what makes people orgasm.

    ” I could say ego, I could also say “power fantasy” and mean the same thing. Power is very primal.”

    Spoken as a male? Sure, power is primal, and it could surely fuel some aspect of the fantasy. I was going to say that power doesn’t make people orgasm, but in this I think the male and female brain is a bit different. I might be wrong, but the female power to sexually arouse the male is no small thing and could be quite titillating, but I don’t relate this to what is commonly referred to as ego. Instead, it is…more primal.

    What one is sexually aroused by – I expect it is almost inborn. Not all of it perhaps. But well below the level of cultural programming and status-ego stuff.

  349. Michael Martin,

    I’ve not yet read your article, but if that does happen, it won’t be without civil war.

  350. Dear Antionetta III, I wholeheartedly agree with you on no dual citizenships. None. You either are an American or you are not.

    I cannot agree on making registration to vote difficult. The problem with requiring a personal appearance at the voter registration office is that those offices tend to be located as inconveniently as possible and open only 9-5. Mon. – Fri., if that.

    Dear TJandThe Bear, I am afraid that, while your flippancy might be fun for you, it is hardly convincing nor does it instill in me any respect for you. You have not explained what you meant by the throwaway term “false equivalency”. I doubt you know yourself. I have seen many reports to the effect that the standard of living in all the Scandinavian countries is higher than in the US and that most govt. departments are far more responsive to public need than are their American equivalents. I doubt that has very much to do with what sort of economic system exists in those countries. I have, however, many heard angry denunciations from American conservatives of alleged “communist” and “socialist” Scandinavia.

  351. Hi Michael Martin,

    The nuttier Democrats would probably like this plan, but I don’t think it would work, They don’t have the manpower or money to enforce the coup AND meddle in the Middle East, and meddling in the Middle East is a large part of what keeps the remnants of the U.S. economy going. So don’t worry too much; it could happen, as crazy as the ruling class is, but it’s not likely. They tend to recover their sanity pretty fast when failing to do so will cost them money.

    If they went ahead, the Chinese would most likely have a few thoughts on the subject as well.

  352. Hi Onething,

    Jesus will take anybody, even us. Remember, he used to hang with the across-the-tracks crowd. 😄

  353. Hi David Trammel,

    Thanks for the kind words! I’n actually pretty satisfied with Christ, if not with his current vicar. This too shall pass.

  354. At Onething re Dual Passports

    My problems with this is that I have read too much about the situation of dual passport holders (largely from the Ukraine and Israel) also being activists in working to get the US to support the other government, or various factions within the other country. It sounds like your daughter’s situation isn’t a problem, but I’m curious; from your post it seems she lives and works in the US, but is originally from Sweden, and without US citizenship, she would have to pay taxes in Sweden? Getting US citezenship absolves her from Swedish taxes?

    Rita:

    Completely agree with your idea of not being allowed to work for or contribute to a campaign for a candidate or ballot issue that, come election day, you are not eligible to vote for.

    Patricia Matthews:

    My point is that the DMV should have nothing to do with voter registration. The DMV is about automobiles, not elections. They do not have the qualifications to make judgements about citizenship or other voting requirements. These things cannot be determined on-line or merely filling out a form, a face-to-face interview seems necessary for this. Also, I am unfamiliar with “buying a ride in advance.” Doesn’t one just call a cab at the time a ride is needed?

    Antoinetta III

  355. Hi Caryn,

    Many thanks for the kind thoughts and offer. At this stage of summer there are people and areas doing it far harder than where I am, although last week the temperature reached 45’C / 113’F, which is as hot as I’ve ever seen in this particular locale. If I could offer one suggestion: Buy local, travel less, and plant an edible garden. Oops, that was three suggestions – sorry broke my own rule there, but you get the point. 🙂

    There is another heat wave rolling in half way through the weekend. Hmm.

    Cheers

    Chris

  356. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I have a question with a follow-up, if you have time for it.

    On one of your blogs within the past day or two, you described President Trump as a centrist Mr. Trump gets called many things, but this is the first time I’ve heard him called that. It prompts me to ask what criteria you use to decide that a political figure or theoretician is a centrist.

    My understanding is that “centrist” is a relative term, not an absolute A person is a centrist in terms of the range of political positions in a particular country at a given time. Right and left are not very useful political descriptions anymore, and some terms such as “progressive” are too value laden to be used dispassionately.

    My attempt at neutral terms to locate people on a political spectrum would be reactionary, conservative, moderate or centrist, reformer, radical. Perhaps you have a better typology.

    I thought you made a perceptive observation a few years ago when you said that the Democrats are currently the conservative party in American politics, because regardless of what they say they are trying to do, their actions aim at keeping things going without very much change. If the Democrats are conservative and Trump is centrist, what faction or leader do you identify as being in the equivalent place on the other side of Trump from the Democratic Party? That is the position I’m calling “reformer”, though you might prefer another label.

    In more concrete terms, what are the key issues or policies that Trump is upholding the centrist position on? If his position on these issues is centrist, what positions would be the equal and opposite of the stance of Democrats, and who advocates for those positions? I’m not asking for in depth analysis, just enough specifics so I can follow your thinking .

    My follow up question is this: You have described yourself as a Burkean conservative, and you have also described the Democratic Party as conservative. Yet you dunk on the Democrats a lot and it seems to me that you hardly ever have a good word for any of its leaders or advocates. You also say often that Business As Usual is not going to keep things from getting worse. I can reconcile any two of these opinions, but I’m having a hard time getting a consistent argument from all three taken together. How are they reconciled?

    When is a demand for change centrist? Is a spectrum too linear to be a good analytical too for politics?

  357. One other issue comes to mind with regards to that Witch the Vote spell. In the Tumblr post, the participants were instructed to visualise a victorious Corbyn “manifesting justice and equality”. Perhaps I am missing something here, but I struggle to _visualise_ anyone manifesting abstract concepts. Then again, this is probably a minor quibble compared to the other problems with this endeavour.

  358. According to Dion Fortune, Winter Solstice through Spring Equinox is a tide of purification. Here in North Florida, this seems to involve a lot of cold water. If so, we’re all undergoing an etheric cleansing.

  359. @ Antoinetta III

    re: dual passport holders: It is my understanding that the US already prohibits dual citizenship. New citizens have to renounce their previous citizenship when they are naturalized. The problem is that this is totally unenforceable. The “other” country in question usually still recognizes the original citizenship, so if you ever want to travel, you need to maintain that second passport. The experience of people I know has been mixed, on this issue. I know an American guy who, born abroad, had dual citizenship until his teenage years, but then succeeded in renouncing his foreign citizenship to avoid getting drafted into said country’s army (he had not lived there since infancy, and did not speak the language). He’s now just a US citizen. One of my own children was born abroad, in a country that grants automatic citizenship, and he is now a citizen of both the US and his natal country. The US doesn’t recognize his other citizenship, but his natal country does, and if he ever wants to travel there (and I hope he does!), he will need to use his natal-country-issued passport.

  360. @Caryn Baker,
    First: White fragility is BS. Start smack talking anybody’s culture and measure the reaction. Bring up crime stats to a black guy; women’s rights to a Muslim; percentage-of-billionaires to a Hebrew… you’ll see who is really fragile. Whites aren’t peculiar in that regard and it is a sort of racism that liberals expect them to be different and better than everybody else.

    Second:
    OK, so that’s what you mean by “rape culture” — but where the heck in that is “rape”? There’s lots of will-ye-or-nil-ye sexualization, but sexualization isn’t rape.

    For that matter, it goes both ways you know. I’ve worked in male-dominated environments, and female dominated environments, and you know what? “Locker room talk” isn’t really what you think it is. The guys? No gals around and we wouldn’t dream of talking like that. (For one thing, you never know who might listen.) If there was anybody who did? There was a little girl’s daddy there who’d tell him to frack off. Amongst women it’s different, though. In mixed but female-dominated workplaces, the girls would happily eyeball ‘yummies’ half their age and wolf whistle while I was in the room. Men can’t be assaulted, so go ahead and grab his behind. Why not? Men can’t be raped, so hey, ply that boy-toy with lots of drinks. Take him home. Strong, liberated women should take what they want!

    Which of those two sounds more like a rape culture? Who dresses little girls in stripperific outfits? It’s not the dad who is still fighting for visitation rights. To be blunt: If we have a problem, it’s not with men.

    @Erotically Present, JMG,

    “Nice guys finish last” (implied: because they make sure the lady does first) was absolutely current when I was a teen… but I am pushing 30.

    @Nothing Special,

    Preach, brother!

  361. Antoinetta,

    It is quite the opposite. The US is almost unique in requiring those who have made their lives abroad file and pay taxes. No, she is US born but after graduation ended up in Sweden, where she has lived for about 10 years. She would probably never have bothered to become a Swedish citizen but the US tax laws forced her hand.

  362. @Deborah Bender

    “From the language you used about pushing boundaries, I’m guessing that you may have brushed up against the BDSM subculture. In the BDSM community, where people often request or offer acts or experiences that are very different from “vanilla” sex, consent is what defines the boundary between abuse and a good time had by all. These communities tend to have explicit rules in order to protect everyone as much as possible from recriminations, accusations, and regrets. Outside of a longterm, committed, forgiving relationship; a strictly commercial transaction; or a self-policing community with strong norms, taking a walk on the wild side is risky.”

    None of the women who asked me to rape them ever mentioned BDSM. Believe me, people who are into BDSM have no trouble telling you they’re into it, like vegans or keto people. BDSM exists to serve a pre-existing need.
    Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, who is much more physically imposing. Women always demand him to slap and choke them. We can say that BDSM is ambient, that it’s in the air, but it doesn’t answer the question, where does it come from? It has to come from biological drives, somehow.
    I think it’s a lot more than just having a good time. Women use men to react / ground out their psychological trauma through the sexual act. There is another issue of consent here, rarely discussed. Men think they signed up to press body parts together in a pleasing way, and find out they’re roped into the role of shaman, basically, with a massive responsibility thrust onto them, without informed consent: reach through a woman’s body language into the darkest recesses of a her mind, dredge up her traumas, and exorcise them though spontaneous physical ritual.

    It’s horrifying to realize that you just unwittingly participated in something like that. We talk about “emotional labor,” then tell men that rape is the worst thing you can do and oh by the way please rape me and be a shamanistic master of my body while you’re at it. My friend got tired of this and asked his girlfriend to see a therapist.

    @Caryn Banker

    “I know people like to dismiss these little things as insignificant, but they add up to a pervasive mentality that does shape ‘culture’.”

    Back to my initial point, if any of this “added up” to the harmful attitudes you described, I would have met at least one man who thought rape was OK.
    Now, we have bananas, but we are not a banana culture. We have blueberries, but we are not a blueberry culture. When you call something an “x culture” you are saying that culture is defined and characterized by x. You could say we are a computer culture, an industrial culture, maybe even an information culture. Why? Because if you removed computers, technics, or freely flowing information, our economies, systems of food production, living standards, and political structures would cease to function in their current form. To say we are a rape culture, you need to show that there is no way our economic systems can function without the rape of women, no way a politician can get elected without the rape of women, and no way to grow food without the rape of women. This is just not the case. By all measures, our culture would work better if there was no rape. It is set up to NOT be a rape culture.

    Except Hollywood. The studio system resembles a rape culture, which, through its casting couch / pedophilia pipeline, relies on sexual economy to function. For this reason I refrain from almost all Hollywood productions.

    If you subscribe to a worldview that women have no agency, are just leaves blowing in the wind, and media has more influence than motherhood, you will see rape everywhere and in everything.

  363. Jonathan, that strikes me as a very good idea. I’d also like to see the renationalized post office be authorized to provide basic banking services — savings and checking accounts, and simple investment accounts that invest in Federal bonds — as post offices do in so many other countries, as a way to make banking services readily available to the poor, and help defray the cost of postal services.

    Phutatorius, that would be one way to do it, but I’d rather aim for something broader: something like “Notwithstanding any other clause of this Constitution, the Federal government shall not exercise authority over any matter not specifically assigned to it by the Constitution, nor shall it impose any unfunded mandate upon the States or the people.”

    Your Kittenship, I don’t really do wild rumpuses any more — middle age and all that. I had a quiet, pleasant Solstice. As for robospam, I’ve found it oddly effective to say loudly into the receiver, “Magnus Robot Fighter is after you,” and hang up. (Magnus Robot Fighter? He was the hero of a forgotten comic book of my insufficiently misspent youth, a hero who fought evil robots.)

    Will J, exactly. Exactly.

    Your Kittenship, well, of course! That’s why I tacked the smiley face on the end of my comment.

    Onething, the only thing I recall saying about the ultimate cause of all that exists is that human beings can’t possibly begin to understand it. All we can do is make the grunting and hooting noises we call “language” and pretend that we’re communicating something about realities that are utterly beyond our comprehension.

    Jacurutu, there was such a thing in past eras of US history, and it exists in some other countries at present. It’s the notion that if a man can get a woman alone with him, he’s justified in doing anything he wants with her and it’s all her fault. That is to say, it’s the exact equivalent of #Metoo culture: the notion that if a woman can get a man alone with her, she’s justified in accusing him of anything she wants to and it’s all his fault.

    Chris, fortunately, yes; it’s a little above freezing here but the sun’s shining, there’s not much left of the recent snowfall, and the bare branches of the trees are sharply outlined against a bright blue sky.

    Erotically Present, okay, that surprises me. I’d guessed — and of course it was only a guess — that you were somewhat younger than my 57 years.

    Scotlyn, it’s definitely worth watching. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out as the populist movement gathers steam.

    Caryn, fair enough. As for “white privilege” and “white fragility,” I’m far from sure there’s a point in talking about those in isolation — and especially not in isolation from issues of class. It’s all very easy to insist that white people by definition all have privilege vis-a-vis people of color, and then to apply that to individuals as though nothing else matters — but let’s talk about an impoverished white guy in West Virginia who’s been out of work for years, and a woman of color making a seven figure salary in the investment industry in New York. Under the current rhetoric of the American left, he’s supposedly the privileged one — in fact, he’s oppressing her — even if the economic deals she’s brokering and the politicians she supports are directly responsible for his poverty and misery!

    The rhetoric of intersectionality has been abused in absurd ways, but down beneath it all, there’s an important point: when you privilege one set of divisions (say, white vs. black, or male vs. female), that choice is itself a claim of privilege, which is used to benefit some people unfairly and penalize others. In the present case, talk about “white privilege” is consistently used by salary class white people to penalize working class white people, since the salary class — like any other aristocracy — has its collection of dog-whistles it uses to signal that its members are the “good people,” the people who don’t abuse their white privilege, in contrast to those awful deplorables.

    As for “white fragility,” as far as I can tell, it amounts to this: “If we kick him enough, he cries out in pain, How fragile!” Less metaphorically, the American left of late has been trying to find some reason not to notice that shrieking insults at people is not an effective way to get them to change their minds, and blaming their reaction on “white fragility” is the latest attempt in that direction. If you said the kind of things to people of color that are constantly being said these days to white people, you’d see quite a bit of “fragility” too!

    Aidan, thanks for this! I’m glad he’s caught the other issues. As for his critique of “neo-Malthusians,” I know it’s a real challenge to get past the blind faith in progress that serves as the established religion of our time, and notice that no law of Nature justifies the claim that we can just keep on accelerating our absurd rates of consumption forever. Lind’s a smart man, though, and I have no reason to doubt that he’ll catch on sooner or later.

    Michael, nah, that’s just the Hillary cult coming up with another mythic narrative that will allow them to dream of having their goddess as President. There have been a steady stream of such scenarios. Since the GOP has a solid grip on the Senate, the whole thing’s an exercise in emotional onanism.

    Barrigan, duly noted! Thank you; you’re quite correct, of course. 🙂

    Deborah, Trump’s a centrist because he’s more or less in between the conservative Democrats (who want to maintain business as usual under the last three presidents) and the radical populists (who want the troops brought home, NATO dissolved, the regulatory state completely dismantled, power transferred wholesale from the federal government to the states, and so on). As for Burkean conservatism, what a lot of people don’t understand about that viewpoint is that it’s in favor of reform, so long as the reform is incremental and well thought out rather than revolutionary. When there are abuses — as of course there are — what’s needed is a willingness to make the least disruptive change possible that will fix the abuses. My take is that just now the Democrats are trying to stonewall any attempt to redress the serious grievances of the working classes, while the GOP had the same attitude until Trumpian populism seized the party out from under its former magnates. While the GOP is dealing with the issues I consider crucial and the Dems are frantically trying to play impeachment games to stop them, yes, I’m going to belabor the Democrats. When they remember that they were once a party of working people and start acting accordingly, I’ll have good things to say about them — as I’ve had good things to say already about Tulsi Gabbard, who to my mind is leading the Democrats the direction they ought to be going.

  364. Most of the rhetorical whip hands of the “victimhood culture” were invented by the professional class particularly in the fields of psychiatry and law as this article details (https://heterodoxacademy.org/seizing-means-knowledge-production/). Most are a lot older than you may think.

    Similarly, the ideological bases of multiculturalism (the cosmopolitanism that Spengler foresaw would assume the social superiority previously assigned to “the noble class” by the early 21st Century) were in the early 20th Century upper-middle class of the US: the “Liberal Progressives” of John Dewey and Jane Addams and the “Young Intellectuals” of Randolph Bourne and his fellow bohemians. (https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/02/22/the-long-takeover-of-the-american-mind/)

    I don’t know if you have ever heard of Peter Turchin, Mr. Greer. I find his theory of “elite overproduction”, quite intriguing, particularly regarding the inflation of educational credentials (and hence the devaluation of them)

  365. “All we can do is make the grunting and hooting noises we call “language” and pretend that we’re communicating something about realities that are utterly beyond our comprehension. ”

    Thank you. That just made my Christmas.

  366. Dear Duck Shine

    I was rather making the point that “exceptional” guys don’t have to “finish last” if they remain interested in continuing with the sex AFTER “finishing” or do not confuse a “finish” with “the end”.

    I was mainly attempting to alleviate the needless anxiety of any young men who are worried they might finish too “early” – thereby robbing themselves of pleasure every bit as much as their partners. This seems needlessly tragic to me.

  367. @Onething

    Women definitely have power fantasies. They are different than male power fantasies, but they most certainly have them.

    (Actually, all fantasies are power fantasies, because power is capacity for action.)

    Ego simple means self-conception, not status.

  368. @Antonetta: the context here is that you can register any time you please, but you can’t vote until you get a Florida ID card. Normally, that’s a driver’s license. In my case, it’s a non-driving equivalent. DMV handles both.

    Yes, of course you can just call a cab and hop in. And go all the way from the outskirts to downtown. And back. I don’t have that sort of spare change, especially right after the holidays. Now the retirement village I live in has a pretty good deal: for $38 you can book a round trip in their car to any destination in Gainesville you please. Just give them 3 business days notice. And a “time of your appointment.” We can’t even hop a city bus here: they only open the gates for vehicles. Because some of the people here have memory problems and would wander away and get lost.

    Of course, if you live in a very compact city, cabs are a great alternative.

  369. JMG, my father, who was 3/4 white and looked 100% white, was so privileged he got drafted into the infantry in 2 wars, after having to leave school in the 8th grade to go to work because of a habit he formed early in life, eating.

    I mentioned this once on one of the more psychotic liberal sites. From their reaction I got the impression that they think all white guys wear suits and sit at a desk. They do not seem to perceive the white guys plumbing and roofing and jackhammering. They may have been blinded by evil, in which case we should pity them, but we should not stand by and let them destroy our entire society.

    I’m going to have to turn the phone on and try the Magnus approach. I vaguely remember seeing the comic on the racks. My brother was married and too old for comics (yes, kids, there was a time when adults rarely read comics).

  370. Doubt this will get posted at this late date, but hey, I’ll give it a try.

    @JMG & Duskshine: re: “White Fragility”, Interesting take. Thanks. No, I suppose if that is your opinion – then you’ve voiced it and there is nothing else to be derived here. I’ve personally encountered the subject from black friends and acquaintances in contexts of them trying to explain their experiences to white people – and the volatile push-back they get. I thought there might be a more balanced view. Apologies for so offending you both.

    & JMG, regarding your illustration of the working class rural man Vs. the wealthy urbanite black lady, to show that white privilege doesn’t exist: yes, I said that in my comment “They may in fact lead lives very oppressed in many ways – rendering any privilege their skin-tone may have given them in some contexts – not only moot, but a liability.” That’s not what white privilege means. But yes – it is your virtual living room, so subject dropped.

    @Duskshine and Nothing Special, I’m just trying to explain what the term means. Of course you are free to consider it or not think about it and reject out of hand. I also said in my comment:

    “… this mentality, “what was she wearing?”, “Was she drunk?”, “How was she acting?” has been the default position for the public, (both men and women, maybe mostly by women)”. “So, yeah, It’s by far, not initiated, even unwittingly, by only men – the fashion and beauty industries, largely patronized and supported by women… ”

    I have also heard women in a mixed make-shift locker room display this kind of vulgar chauvinism. I don’t think it’s acceptable & I’ve BEEN the “angry father figure” telling women to knock it off. I suspect it (apart from just being rude and vulgar) actually contributes to the unhealthy atmosphere (termed rape culture by some) that we’re talking about – regardless if it is women saying it not men. So, Duskshine – your locker room example doesn’t make it better – it makes it worse.

    Nothing Special: If we eat bananas – then yes, we may be called a banana culture. We are also a blueberry culture, a taco-Tuesday and chocolate culture, etc. at the same time.. That doesn’t mean that any one of these things is the ONLY feature of our culture, but enough people participate in them that it is a part of it. Would you agree with that? I think your difference of opinion on this is kind of just semantic difference.
    The term “rape culture” doesn’t mean there are no other aspects to our culture. It also doesn’t mean we are all gung-ho and eager for rapes to happen “Yay rape!”, or that we embrace it, or that it is all the fault of men. It means that there are elements / aspects of our culture that unwittingly normalize rape and therefore accept rape as part of life. The too-early sexualization that both you and I mentioned are part of this. The fact that they are perpetrated and encouraged mostly by women, not men doesn’t make them, nor their impact go away.

    So the rational (& I concede that not all are rational) but the rational SJW stance of rape culture is simply pointing out these “bananas”, these small things that we do that contribute to that – because if we become more aware of how they impact us, our culture, we tend to stop doing them. This is not a partisan or men v. women issue. e,g, There were a few discussion in the past few days in my Mommy blogs – about not forcing your young children to kiss and hug visiting relatives they don’t know or barely know, whether they like it or not, whether said relative creeps them out or not – because they will likely carry this lesson later in life, (the lesson that you MUST consider Auntie or Uncle’s or anyone’s feelings above your own bodily autonomy). If they do, they will be at a higher risk of falling prey to abuses like rape, especially date rape, because they prioritize other people’s feelings over their own bodily autonomy. This most definitely goes for Auntie as well as Uncle. It’s not because Auntie or Uncle are themselves suspect of sexually inappropriate behavior, it is because the lesson of pleasing others before caring for your own bodily autonomy is a deep message that will carry through to later years and adulthood. That makes sense to me – but again I’m just relating a current trend or sentiment – Feel free to take it or leave it.

    @ Michael Martin – That’s from a website known for conspiracy theories. No, the Democrats are not that crazy.

    I’m not sure it’s worthwhile continuing to write anything here if my comments are simply not read. This is about the 6th time. I keep apologizing that I am not communicating well enough, but I go back and read the comment and my meaning is there. I don’t seem to have this problem in any other venue. I dunno. I guess I will have to consider that too.

    Happy Christmas and New Year to those who celebrate them.

  371. Sonkitten’s on a Star Trek binge. I’d forgotten what a (unDruidly word)ing jerk Dr. McCoy is. At least 2 out of every 3 episodes he’s being wildly insubordinate, and downright rude, to Mr. Spock. It probably played a lot better when seen only once a week. This in turn made me wonder—have our institutions been corrupt for ages and we just didn’t realize it when news was only 1/2 hour/day? If so, clean-up’s going to be an even bigger task than we thought.

  372. Hi Caryn Banker,

    If it makes you feel any better, I’ve read some of your comments. I usually can’t read all of them, anybody’s, because JMG gets so many, much more than he got when I started reading him. Any day now I expect him to announce he’s had to hire a comment approver.

  373. I’m glad to see my amendment question provoked some good discussion! In general, I think an Article V convention is sorely needed right now. Our system has gotten stuck in a rut and doesn’t really seem capable of extricating itself. Absent an overhaul of the rules of the game, it’s difficult for me to imagine a way out of the dysfunctional state of our politics.

    I’m going to bring this back up during the next open post and add some of my own ideas. Like David, I have several of them rattling around in my head, but unlike him I don’t even know which two I would prioritize to fit with my own rules!

  374. @Caryn Banker

    I spared you the full fisking, but I’ll post it now because you’re having severe logic problems.

    “If you don’t mind my butting in:”

    I would, but it’s not “you” butting in, but your ideological thought-prison butting in. Your post is a recitation of cookie-cutter talking points smuggled as personal opinions, or worse, objective facts.

    “The term “rape culture” doesn’t assume all men are rapist – (well, maybe for some uninformed people on both sides of the cultural divide – it probably means a wide variety of things to a wide variety of people, unfortunately that is true of so many things in our current society – but I’d argue that just because someone blogs about it and gets it wrong – doesn’t mean it’s correct)”

    You misrepresented me. I never said rape culture is “all men must be rapists.” I said if rape was normal (or the more pernicious term “normalized”) I would have met ONE SINGLE MAN who thought it was OK.

    But the ideas speaking through you are not even being fully honest here, because you immediately go into an explanation which assigns responsibility of rape to all men, through the term “unwittingly contribute” in conjunction with normal behavior.

    “The rem: rape culture refers to all of the small implied words, phrases, jokes, sentiments that unwittingly contribute to a culture wherein rape is normalized (and what is normalized – is, in it’s way, accepted).”

    “Accepted” has two meanings, which, if not immediately differentiated, indicate a motte-and-bailey argument. The first meaning is “understood to exist, to be true” the second is “valued, consider good.”

    Jokes, for example, work because something is understood to be bad. There are no casserole jokes, but there are dead baby jokes, holocaust jokes, and rape jokes. You have it exactly backwards.

    “Someone above mentioned popular music TODAY – but oh man – go back and listen to rock and pop music from the 1970’s – so much of it is all about quick, meaningless sex, sung from the POV of the man – which IMPLIES that women are for one thing.”

    For sex, they are: sex. Same for men.

    What does a one-night-stand have to do with rape? Without weasel words: not “contributes to, implies, impression of, is associated with.” What’s the actual, logical, direct, step-by-step causal relationship here?

    “The discussion above about movies including sex scenes that don’t even rise to the level of sub-plot, because there is an assumption men won’t watch it without T&A?”

    Directors shoehorn love interests into action movies to bring women into theaters, not men.

    “Because some Harvey Weinstein type producer insists on it? yeah, probably, but nonetheless – a story that has nothing to do with the character’s love or sex life ends up with a tacked-on, pro-forma sex scene. So because that relationship has nothing to do with the story the director wants to tell – the lead character is a man, (still the majority of films made have a male lead).–”

    And female leads dominate television, and novels, and erotica.

    “so the woman, sometimes the only female in the movie at all, ends up appearing as nothing more than a breathing blow-up doll, a cypher, not really resembling a full-on human –”

    You speak as though what people see on screen affects them more than their own real life experiences. There is an entire conversation on what it takes to develop healthy sexuality (if we can even agree on what that is and how it happens) and you’re blowing past it.

    For my money, if my introduction to sexuality had been with the female pedophile, who you have been silent on, that would have had a bigger impact than watching Rambo 100,000 times.

    “(and I think even Hollywood is getting much better at including women and people of color as more fleshed out characters and more peripheral characters, but that is very recent).”

    It’s getting more formulaic now that character type is reduced to demography.

    “So THIS coupled with our acceptance of violence in our entertainment. Together that’s a bad combo.”

    If you don’t like violence in storytelling we’ll have to get rid of the Illiad and Beowulf. Then you say “together” without identifying any kind of logical connection.

    “These things are so minor, and they are not intending to contribute to the populace’s perception that females are cyphers,”

    Your post, long on received ideas, short on reflection, is a cypher.

    “or only good for one thing,”

    For sex, they are. Same for men.

    “but they do unwittingly imply that and that creates a “culture” an underlying perception that ends up contributing to them not being treated as full on humans, expendable or cyphers only good for one thing.”

    Its that word “contributes” again, which sounds like you’re making a point but fails to identify a tangible connection.

    “Those are not to mention the classic “What were you wearing?” court-room defense question in rape cases. The defense attorney is not purposefully encouraging rape, or the responsibility of rape onto victims, they’re trying to imply it was consensual – but they are inadvertently implying that their client had no choice, depending on how alluring the victim’s clothing was. Defense attorneys are not the only ones – this mentality, “what was she wearing?”, “Was she drunk?”, “How was she acting?” has been the default position for the public, (both men and women, maybe mostly by women) when reading about a rape in the papers – until very recently.”

    A defense lawyer’s duty is to do whatever he can to get his client get off. Considering how many cases of false rape accusations turn out to be instances of “regret rape” it’s appropriate. (DNA science has overturned more rape convictions than any other crime, by the way.)

    “So, yeah, It’s by far, not initiated, even unwittingly, by only men – the fashion and beauty industries, largely patronized and supported by women: “Oh you look great! So young! what face cream do you use?”, “” Oh no – she shouldn’t wear that, it makes her look so old and dowdy”. (Why is it desirable for old ladies to look young?)”

    Because young women are more fertile. Also they tend to have less emotional baggage + better pheromones + generally more fun to be around.

    “Or the earlier and earlier sexualization of little girls with make-up, hair blow-outs, clothing designed to be alluring, really designed for a 20-something, but scaled down for teens, then tweens, then kids, sometimes even toddlers.”

    This is an arms race to the bottom fought by abusive mothers by proxy through their daughters. And yet if I control my daughter’s wardrobe that is also rape culture.

    “The default “Best look” for females ends up being the age range of prime sexual activity and allure. According to the over-arching societal expectations and these industries that influence them – females in every other age range have to try to fit into that too. (Hmmm. Why?)”

    Women want to maximize their sexual power. Older women, jealous of younger women, attempt to limit their means to display fertility.

    “& that’s also not to mention what Onething is rightly worried about – apart from traumatizing them seeing something too young – it’s young kids exposed to aggressive attitudes/actions that can potentially shape their emerging attitudes on males/females/sex/relationships in a very unhealthy way. It’s not going to change the mind of an adult, like you – but it can to a young mind.”

    The biggest factor in male criminality is fatherlesness, not vague, undefined societal attitudes. Also, the surefire to create a male rapist is for a female to rape him as a child.

    The thing that made me suspect that women like rape is women telling me they like being raped, and being disappointed when I didn’t rape them.

    “I know people like to dismiss these little things as insignificant, but they add up to a pervasive mentality that does shape ‘culture’.”

    Back to my initial point, if any of this “added up” to the harmful attitudes you described, I would have met at least one man who thought rape was OK.

    —READ THIS PART CAREFULLY BECAUSE IF YOU THINK WE LIVE IN A BANANA CULTURE YOU DONT KNOW HOW WORDS AND CONCEPTS WORK—

    Now, we have bananas, but we are not a banana culture. We have blueberries, but we are not a blueberry culture. When you call something an “x culture” you are saying that culture is defined and characterized by x. You could say we are a computer culture, an industrial culture, maybe even an information culture. Why? Because if you removed computers, technics, or freely flowing information, our economies, systems of food production, living standards, and political structures would cease to function in their current form. To say we are a rape culture, you need to show that there is no way our economic systems can function without the rape of women, no way a politician can get elected without rape of women, no way to grow food without rape of women. This is just not the case. By all measures, our culture would work better if there was no rape. It is set up to NOT be a rape culture.

  375. may not get through but one comment on women ‘blaming’ rape victims.

    I think it is a form of self-defense. _She_ was raped because she: wore the wrong clothes, went to the wrong club, was out too late, didn’t keep an eye on her drink, drank too much, went out with the wrong man, etc. etc. etc. _I_ won’t be raped because I won’t do any of those things–wheew, I’m safe. Not ration, not conscious. Some mechanism at work when a child is injured in an accident or kidnapped—examine everything that the parent or caretaker could have done differently in order to stave off worries about one’s own child.

  376. @Caryn Baker

    I read your comments ! and try to read everyone’s although I’m becoming a bit of a groupie on this webpage. So much information and interesting discussions..
    I used to do my part in explaining the term ‘white privilege’ to people in my 20’s as I had access to these ideas early on at a rather radical university in Quebec. I stopped pushing these ideas however when I realized they were being weaponized and used against the people from the culture I grew up in… Also politicians have integrated these terms into their platforms and were/ are co opting the meaning behind these terms to make gains in ( now failing) political campaigns…not to mention the never ending virtue signalling by Hollywood etc. I also take note of the phenomenon of rising suicide rates among white males and am very much interested in giving my daughter and son the best start they can get in life. Therefore I have stopped using the term white privilege and now perhaps I see the other side of things a little more clearly. I may have shouldered some of the karma left over from the British Empire but I will not add that weight to my children’s future…they can decide when they are old enough.
    I am also not interested in pushing indebted working class people into a situation where they feel militancy is their only option ( although Canadians never revolt ). I have done the working class lifestyle and, especially in labour positions outside of the government/ union fold, life is very difficult and not rewarding in the least. If you want a job in government in Canada currently..whether it’s firefighting, policing, good positions at hospitals etc. it is a plus if you are a visible minority…I am often the only white guy in the wards I work in. The SJW narrative is mostly destructive in my opinion although there may still be some issues to sort out with attitudes in law enforcement… I don’t know.

  377. Daniil, yep. That’s a typical weakness of Neopagan magic — instead of a specific symbolic focus, a vague collection of pleasant feelings.

    Patricia, I hope so. It’s much needed, and not only in Florida!

    Dusk Shine, good to hear that was still common sense thirty years after my time.

    Aidan, of course. The managerial class that took power after the Second World War derived most of its ideas from an assortment of early 20th century thinkers, and simply elaborated them. Yes, I’m familiar with Turchin’s work, and yes, that concept works well; I’m also seeing a lot of validity in Toynbee’s concept of the historical trajectory of the intelligentsia.

    Mark, you’re most welcome!

    Your Kittenship, exactly — it’s the covert suppression of class issues that makes current discourse about “white privilege” so misleading.

    Caryn, I’m not at all sure you noticed that you misstated my entire argument — to say that white privilege can’t be understood in isolation from class issues is not the same thing as saying it doesn’t exist — but we can let that pass. The thing that struck me most is that you went so far out of your way not to reference the core of my argument, which is that when middle class white people talk about white privilege, they’re using that discourse as an instrument of class privilege against working class white people. I’ve noticed that whenever I call middle class white people on their class privilege vis-a-vis working class “deplorables,” they pretend that I never said anything of the kind. I’d be interested in knowing whether you simply managed not to notice that central theme of my argument — or were you deliberately avoiding a conversation about your own class privilege, and the role of talk about “white privilege” and “white fragility” as a dog whistle to display your own class status?

    Present, hmm! Fair enough.

    Your Kittenship, it’s a bigger task than we thought.

  378. @ Phutatorius

    “An amendment nullifying the Commerce Clause might be just the thing you’re looking for if you want to return power to the states. Be ready for rhetoric decrying “a patchwork quilt of conflicting regulations,” which is the obverse view of states’ rights.”

    The Commerce Clause is what makes America one nation. It’s a free trade area without all the paperwork. I read an article recently which discussed how it is easier for interior Canadian provinces to have goods shipped to the US and shipped north to them because transport and regulations in the different Canadian provinces is so expensive. Goods shipped through the US face no such barriers.

    That said, there are two ways to look at the commerce clause. Historically, it was interpreted to promote free trade and prevent discrimination against commerce from other states. In other words, any state regulation had to apply equally to an in state business as an out of state business. That aspect of the commerce clause should remain. During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration extended it to the regulatory state, i.e. anything remotely related to interstate commerce can be regulated by the Federal government. That interpretation is what can be revoked.

    The United States has the most enviable free trade area in the world, revoking the commerce clause destroy’s that singular advantage. I hope that doesn’t happen because the break-up of the US won’t be far behind.

  379. @Caryn I hope you will stick around. Your story is as interesting as everyone else’s story, and taken together, the richness of the tapestry of story being wiven here is breathtaking.

    Be well, be patient. There are ways in which language itself has become a source of division in the Tower of Babel sense. Except that, instead of finding ourselves speaking different languages, we find we can misunderstsnd each other perfectly well while speaking the same language!

  380. @ Arden Barrett – yes. The quote in that article agrees with those the Gospel According to Luke told us to be mindful of right here at home, especially on this day. Convicts and ex-cons. The unemployed and homeless. Panhandlers on the street. The “trailer trash” from whom His followers were drawn, to the contempt of the Pharisees and lawyers. The woman turning the house upside down to find the single coin which was 10% of her entire cash stash. The sex worker who wants out of that life. The people right under out own noses. Our very own people right under our own noses.

  381. @methylethyl regarding dual citizenship. I was born in the US to Canadian parents and had to fight to regain my Canadian citizenship. I also hold Irish citizenship courtesy of my grandfather from Cork. I ditched my US citizenship when I moved to Ireland and it was a painful process. Not only is dual citizenship allowed in the US, giving up your citizenship is highly discouraged and penalised. Currently you have to *pay* $2500 for State Dept approval (renouncing) and even for relinquishment (which technically doesn’t required State Dept approval). Even taking up foreign citizenship doesn’t help because the State Dept thinks you may not have really meant to give up your citizenship, even when people have made written statements etc. I had to visit Fortress America in Dublin, sign papers, send my passport back (twice), wrote to Washington DC State Department (who stopped responding), read the actual law to them which they ignored. I gave up, filed all required tax documents with the IRS and all other filings have been as a Non-Resident Alien. The fee had been raised twice in 3 years because too many people were giving up their citizenship.

    That said, do I think dual citizenship is a good idea? It works for me because although Ireland is now my home and primary loyalty, Canada is my cultural home and having the option to move back is nice. I don’t think anyone involved in the military, politics etc should be allowed to have it (and usually aren’t). The biggest issue I have observed is the overt influencing of domestic and foreign policy of a country by citizens acting as agents for a foreign country (and that country is a lot smaller than Russia).

  382. I think I have found your ideal future Mr. Greer:

    https://www.deviantart.com/rvbomally/art/More-of-the-Same-Text-Pt-1-749202919
    https://www.deviantart.com/rvbomally/art/More-of-the-Same-Text-Pt-2-749203022
    https://www.deviantart.com/rvbomally/art/More-of-the-Same-Map-749204742

    Regarding Turchin’s concept of “elite overproduction”, if true, it would explain an odd curiosity of the “Great Compression” of the mid-20th Century. We frequently hear from contemporary leftists about the need to restore an idealized pre-neoliberal left but I have always been more curious about the pre-neoliberal right. Curiously, the conservative politicians of this egalitarian period have seemed far more patrician than those who came afterwards. Contrast the patrician FDR, Kennedys, Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, Adlai Stevenson, etc (for the US) or Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillian, and Douglas-Hume with the petty bourgeois Milton Friedman, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Roger Douglas (in New Zealand)! These represent resentful elite wannabes who with the elite aspirant allies in the economic world achieve power through laissez-faireism and “bloodsport” (https://books.google.ca/books/about/Bloodsport.html?id=4M3SDQAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y).

    One can certainly see this phenomenon with regard to the credential inflation that began in the 1960s. I disagree with “Longshoreman Philosopher” Eric Hoffer on a lot of things, but I agree with him that what made the America he knew unique has the widespread competence among the common people that drove the academic elite mad. He described a successful society as not one that can provide comfort for its talented but for its untalented. The fraternal organizations (like labour unions) that were common in the 1960s certainly provided a greater sense of security and meaning among the “common people” now. Indeed, popular culture from the period seemed to reflect a certain affection for the simple-minded from Grace Allen in 1932 to Goldie Hawn in 1968 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI5i4Un59MA) with a bit of Li’l Abner, Gilligan, and Maxwell Smart thrown in. More egalitarian contemporary societies like Japan still have these sorts of popular characters (i.e. Sailor Moon).

    The ability to be a “happy peasant” through the power of fraternity is reflected through the eyes of a contemporary lawyer on her sweetheart in this article (https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-i-love-my-blue-collar-guy/). But today, Hoffer’s vision seems tragically out-of-date. In the place of a patrician-style elite with affluent, happy peasants is a society of overly self-conscious, over-educated strivers fleeced by an anomic gang of elite aspirants.

  383. Hi Aidan,

    Her description of the always-on, harshly conformist salary-class lifestyle sounds like where I worked, oddly enough, as we were technically wage class—we got overtime.

  384. @ James Ross

    Yikes! I gather it varies a lot depending on the country. I haven’t the foggiest idea how my son would go about getting his “bonus” citizenship revoked, if he needed to. But I can see where there may be a good argument for single-citizenship requirements for things like public office.

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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