What am I doing here?

Our commenter ‘Musey’, in response to our previous post about Special Relativity, wrote from Australia to tell me her husband Martin said I’d “explained that very well”.

Readers, if you look at my early archives you’ll see that I used to explain a lot of things in here that had nothing at all to do with political matters. I’m now so very deeply sick of writing and arguing about politics and decline — sick of picking unwinnable fights, preaching to the choir, alienating old friends, changing nobody’s mind about anything, and all the while making myself socially radioactive, that I might just go back, at least mostly, to other things.

Yes, as far as politics and society are concerned I do believe, as I explained to a commenter recently, that I see a great division widening in America; that our current course is unsustainable; that the traditional American nation, which generations fought and died for, is tottering, under continuous assault from within; that if we look to Europe we see a foreshadowing of what may well happen here; that it is hard for me to see how the deepening fissures dividing our nation can ever be bridged; that the original “operating system” installed at the nation’s founding is increasingly incompatible with the “hardware” it must run on today; that the nation is too vast and too diverse for a centralized government to manage it effectively; that there is a boiling anger in much of America that threatens to tear the nation to pieces; that human biodiversity is both real and vitally important to understanding both history and human societies, and that a great civilizational crisis will soon occur in the West, and in fact is already underway. I believe also that democracy itself has dangerous, perhaps inevitably fatal, liabilities, and that those liabilities are sharply increased by high heterogeneity and universal suffrage. I believe that the West has been committing voluntary suicide through mass Third-World immigration (particularly mass Muslim immigration, which is the fastest path to social and cultural self-extinction that any Western nation can follow.)

But I’ve said all this, by now, many times over. What has any of it accomplished? As far as I can see, absolutely nothing at all. So why bang on about it? It’s not like I don’t have other interests — and the late days of a great civilization, at least the part prior to violent collapse, can actually be rather a pleasant, crepuscular interval, for those with the means to enjoy it.

I really have to think this over.

(For examples of what this blog used to be like, you might have a look here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

See also our linked series on free will, beginning here, and on the mind-body problem, beginning here. There’s lots more, but you get the idea.)

Related content from Sphere

28 Comments

  1. systemd is roko's basilisk says

    isaiah’s job

    Posted February 19, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  2. JumpinJackFash says

    I understand how depressing it can all be and I know that I dont comment much here, and I wont blame you for quitting politics.

    But you are wrong about changing minds. I value very highly the older members of the shitlordosphere because you bring a measured wisdom and you set an example for many of us, myself personally at least, in the way you approach these things. You say that these things are happening, and we have lost a great civilization, and what a tragedy it is. This somber reflection is actually much more conducive than any kind of larping because it plants a seed in our minds for what might come next and how to do it differently.

    Anyways I find your blog really insightful even though I dont comment much, and I’m sure theres many others like me. Your science/tech links are quite interesting too, and your commentary on it is appreciated.

    Posted February 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
  3. Though I never took one myself, Malcolm, I have been told a sabbatical can be refreshing, and possibly rejuvenating.

    Best wishes.

    Posted February 19, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  4. John says

    You’re right, Malcolm. Raging on about the obvious dysfunction and absurdity of western civ is not productive. Even worse, it becomes boring.

    Think about this stuff too much and you’re constantly triggering yourself, or triggering unlucky people who you come in contact with.

    I feel happier when I get some distance from it, and I feel like a better person.

    Posted February 19, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
  5. @ SIRBS

    Thanks for the link to Isaiah’s Job. I especially liked the penultimate paragraph:

    For these reasons it appears to me that Isaiah’s job is not only good but also extremely interesting; and especially so at the present time when nobody is doing it. If I were young and had the notion of embarking in the prophetical line, I would certainly take up this branch of the business; and therefore I have no hesitation about recommending it as a career for anyone in that position. It offers an open field, with no competition; our civilization so completely neglects and disallows the Remnant that anyone going in with an eye single to their service might pretty well count on getting all the trade there is. Even assuming that there is some social salvage to be screened out of the masses, even assuming that the testimony of history to their social value is a little too sweeping, that it depresses hopelessness a little too far, one must yet perceive, I think, that the masses have prophets enough and to spare. Even admitting that in the teeth of history that hope of the human race may not be quite exclusively centered in the Remnant, one must perceive that they have social value enough to entitle them to some measure of prophetic encouragement and consolation, and that our civilization allows them none whatever. Every prophetic voice is addressed to the masses, and to them alone; the voice of the pulpit, the voice of education, the voice of politics, of literature, drama, journalism — all these are directed towards the masses exclusively, and they marshal the masses in the way that they are going.

    Truer words were hardly ever spoken, IMHO.

    Posted February 19, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    roko,

    Thank you very much for that. Very much indeed.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 12:21 am | Permalink
  7. MaverickPhilosopher always justifies his complaints by saying that something has to be done to defend democracy, but I think spending a great deal of time stewing over the state of the world is detrimental both intellectually and ethically. From an intellectual point of view, the danger is becoming increasingly invested in certain conclusions and losing the ability to sympathize with other points of view. There’s a lot of silliness to go around, and I think it’s best to maintain both a certain level of skepticism as well as humility. Polemics and the habit of thinking in terms of the rhetorical question tends to push us in the opposite direction, and especially for those who already have volatile natures, an Aristotelian corrective is in order. The ethical dangers come out of the intellectual dangers, but I think constant anger can wheedle down our characters into something stunted and cruel.

    Through all the arguments I was exposed to at my very liberal college (I went to Reed in Portland, Oregon), I constantly would say to myself that what I needed to focus on was “the work”. That is, people were always complaining that the Classics were sexist, racist, and so forth, and as someone who was at the time rather religiously devoted to some T.S. Eliot idea of the classics, I felt a need to argue back. Later, somehow, I allowed myself to be converted to some of the literary theory ideas, and then I felt rage in the other direction. But through it all, I thought — if you want to read and write poetry, don’t let yourself get so distracted about the value of it and just focus that time productively in doing it.

    I also think of it a little after the manner of Bertrand Russell — we become better when we remove ourselves from our perspective and study “the facts”. It’s better to focus on acquiring things like science, mathematics, or some talent than engaging in disputes that can never be resolved. There’s more than enough positive knowledge in the world that we don’t need to focus ourselves unduly on these polemical exercises.

    Finally, from a Platonic perspective, the cornerstone of justice is supposed to be minding one’s own business. I wouldn’t think that the fate of civilization is my business. I’ll retreat and cultivate my garden.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 12:26 am | Permalink
  8. I’ll retreat and cultivate my garden.

    Very tempting indeed for someone like me who is retired. But for some reason, I still care about my children’s and grandchildren’s (and, god willing, my greatgrandchildren’s) future. Call me crazy, but those feelings are somehow in my genes. And my genes demand that I give a damn. And so I do whatever little I can to improve our dismal prospects.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 1:19 am | Permalink
  9. Musey says

    What you’re doing here is putting forward a point of view, articulate, clever, and uniquely compelling. That’s why I love your blog. Not everyone, not most people, well almost nobody, can express themselves and suck people in to the love.

    However much I disagree with you, I recognise the sincerity, and the conviction which comes through everything that you write. You come over as a good person.

    Martin, my very lovely husband has been with me for thirty seven years. Oh my. He is the kindest, most self effacing man, never makes a scene. How has he coped? Well, probably with difficulty but according to him..okay!

    He won’t be drawn here in case he gets caught up in nastiness with people that he “doesn’t even know”. He was also a little bit worried that I was getting into ugly exchanges with unknowns.

    When you write about the physical world,he’s interested.

    I don’t put too much store by IQ scores but my father was rated by the British army as 152. He said, subtract ten because they just boosted people up.What a load of rubbish,.

    Martin has a massive IQ. He has written a few lines to you Malcolm so that you can be sure of that! Not.

    The thing with geeky folks is that they don’t care too much because they’re in their own world.

    Never mind, he likes you and actually he is sociable, and women always like him, so there’s no problem . I love him so much.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 2:27 am | Permalink
  10. Whitewall says

    Henry, “Very tempting indeed for someone like me who is retired”. I too am retired and know others who feel that as long as things are ok for them, then nothing else matters. There is not that much time left as they see it. For me, I care and always have. It is odd that people on our side always tire of the fight first. The other side never tires, always on the attack wanting more…and they get it. The other side is always organizing, always moving. It defines who they are. Not us. We want a fuller more peaceful life. We define a good life as absence of threat. The other side defines a good life as absence of opposition.

    A step back from time to time is good. For me, when I leave this keyboard, I can usually leave it all behind. Today, major events are unfolding and consequences will be forever. In my younger years, I saw many third world countries and at times I was in great danger. I don’t want that here.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  11. smg says

    A few short months ago I would have been perplexed and disturbed by your point of view. Now I understand. The purpose in your writing is to inform those of us slow on the up-take. You’re providing a valuable service. Thank you.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink
  12. peter connor says

    As a retiree with grandchildren, I share in this conundrum of what to do, if anything, about the banana republic police state we have become. I don’t attempt to convert people, but I make clear my point of view on individual matters, and that seems to influence some people. My time is mostly spent in learning and helping others….

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Thank you all. I’m still mulling this over; your support, especially from readers who don’t usually comment, and from those of you who have emailed me, is enormously encouraging.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  14. Doug says

    Hey Malcolm for what is is worth, you write good stuff, you use reason and stick to the truth of things. I appreciate you very much for it. It is like a drink of cool water in a desert. Not for nothing I enjoy everything you got something to say about and always come away with something of value which enlightens me.
    You have a good heart and you care about the world and people, lot of virtue in that. And you got the courage of your convictions to boot. Everything to be said for it Brother.

    If I may, if your frustrated with the world not listening, you might be missing the forest for the tree’s a tiny bit. Where would we be in this world without the stoics amongst us?

    “Words need to be sown like seed. No matter how tiny a seed may be, when it lands in the right sort of ground it unfolds its strength and from being minute expands and grows to a massive size. Reason does the same ; to the outward eye its dimensions may be insignificant, but with activity it starts developing. Although the words spoken are few, if the mind has taken them in as it should they gather strength and shoot upwards. Yes, precepts have the same features as seeds: they are of compact dimensions and they produce impressive results — given, as I say, the right sort of mind: to grasp at and assimilate them. The mind will then respond by being in its turn creative and will produce a yield exceeding what was put into it.”
    — Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

    There is tremendous motive power in Liberty and Freedom Malcolm. All it takes is just a few, and even the tiniest person can change the course of the world.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  15. JK says

    You’re retired Henry?!!

    I dunno how I’d just figured otherwise. But you are still a Bridge aficionado are you not? Noticing the State Department hasn’t issued a travel advisory yet I figure it my civil duty.

    http://annaraccoon.com/2016/02/05/bridge-on-the-river-kwai/

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  16. Whitewall says

    JK…of course Henry is retired! He is old enough to remember when the earth cooled. I thought you knew.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  17. SteveG says

    For those of you that are retired a simple custom made T shirt can do the work of jabbing leftists in the eye, zazzle or café express can make one. I made a shirt that says “White privilege is evolution that’s why Asians have it also”. Not only did white people react positively to it, coming up and thanking me for wearing it but my views of black literacy became even more dismal. It forces them to realize they have to chose to believe in evolution or equalism. If you are not brave enough or don’t live in a state that grants concealed carry go with a shirt that quotes Margate Thatcher
    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” ~Margaret Thatcher

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  18. In my younger years, I saw many third world countries and at times I was in great danger. I don’t want that here.

    My feelings precisely, Robert. For the first three years of my life, my parents and I were in grave danger of being murdered by the Nazi occupiers of Poland. The four years after Nazi Germany’s defeat by the Allies, we meandered through occupied Germany ending up in the American Zone, which was then controlled by General Eisenhower’s armies. We then acquired the status of Displaced Persons seeking immigration to the United States. The legal processing lasted until the fall of 1949.

    As a seven-year-old boy, I somehow sensed that American soldiers were not to be feared. After all, they smiled at you, gave you chocolate bars, and spoke softly. They must reside in some place akin to heaven. When we arrived in New York harbor and saw the Statue of Liberty, I realized that my boyish intuition was right.

    I am saddened that my own sons, who are both in their 40s, have children of their own, and for whom life has been like the proverbial bowl of cherries, have never felt that way about their own country, the country they were born in, the once-great America.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  19. JK,

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if California’s Leftists saw fit to outlaw the playing of face-to-face bridge, on the basis that it is potentially a means of inciting to riot. Such a basis, however, would not be entirely inappropriate because, in fact, riot does ensue in the event that, for example, one’s partner ignorantly trumps one’s Ace.

    Most non-players are not aware that bridge is in actuality a blood sport. People have been known to kill a partner for failing to secure a makable contract, especially if their side was vulnerable.

    This is why I prefer to play duplicate bridge with robots via the internet. So far I haven’t noticed any bloodshed online. But, of course, that could change as AI continues to advance.

    [Disclosure: For those of you who are unfamiliar with my sense of humor in these pages, for god’s sake, I am just keeding!]

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  20. Nxx says

    What has any of it accomplished?

    -Mainstream media are closing comment sections
    -Facebook and Twitter are forced to censor
    -Establishment bewildered at Trump popularity
    -Europe begets far right governments in Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Switzerland

    Because..

    Your efforts (and others) have exposed white demographic euthanasia as deliberate policy.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink
  21. Troy says

    I found this blog only relatively recently. I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual perspicacity. I’ve been amazed at his patience with OEM. An excellent example of why this former republic in declining and the rate of decline is increasing.
    But though I am a regular reader, Malcom owes me no duty to publish such a great product.

    Thanks Malcom. To use a Roger Waters lyric, “each small candle, lights a corner of the dark.” And you are a lighthouse that shines to shows the the crags and rocks that might destroy us.

    Best of Wishes Malcom, you should take a break. You’ve earned it.

    Oh, and about Scalia. I have nothing but contempt for the man. He was great on the 1st amendment, and often horrible on the 4th. i.e. when the cops are searching you car for drugs with a dog, that isn’t a search. Got that. A search is not a search. I have no respect for anyone willing to use contradictions to justify their reasoning.

    1000 years from now when they talk about the point where this republic ended, I’d choose Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_of_Castle_Rock_v._Gonzales

    Scalia wrote the opinion that determined that the police have no duty to protect you. This is the case that breached the social contract. If I have no recourse to the law for the most basic of all interests, my safety, then you no not have a republic. We basically lives in Hobbe’s State of nature. That Clinton is still running for president instead of dealing with multiple felonies is indication alone that we are no longer a nation of law but of men.

    I think the biggest bummer is that the decline isn’t going to be an event like the 2008-2009 depression that happens over the course of a few months. No, it is going to take decades for it to happen. I agree with Malcom’s analogy that social pressures are like tectonic plates. They take years before they finally release their pent up energy.

    Again, thank Malcom for this awesome blog.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink
  22. Robert Marchenoir says

    Three great artistic movements happened just before World War I and II : Arts and Crafts, Art nouveau and Art deco.

    I understand the corroding effect this sort of blogging has on the writer. Everybody involved in the milieu has experienced it for himself at some point or other. It’s only natural.

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  23. Musey says

    So, everyone wants you to carry on writing. It’s so hard for the writer like you, who puts in time and effort just so that the critics can blast in with an ill-judged, knee jerk line. You’ll decide whether or not it’s worth continuing. Nobody else. I suppose that at some point the pleasure of writing is ruined by all the argument that it causes, that it’s just not worth it anymore.

    You know, we all enjoy reading your stuff. I don’t actually agree with Whitewall that one side is so much more committed. Both sides are entrenched, no one is getting tired. We are divided but we all know that we are right and the opposition is wrong, and things get heated.

    Your friend Peter will still be your friend. You can, and will, get over a minor altercation. To me, he’s just a man who doesn’t agree, not a “shill” who sets out to annoy you just for the hell of it.

    You should take heart from what “smg” says. You have changed his mind. You have certainly made me think, re-think from time to time. That is powerful.

    I did take exception to your post about democracy being less desirable than good government. We’ve had this discussion before, I’m sure, which is why I deleted my response. It’s simple though. Who decides what is good government? Where is the continuity? How do we get rid of a dud? To me, democracy safeguards us all from excessive power wielded by the chosen few who can’t be dislodged.

    I know that I have contributed to the nasty atmosphere which has been prevalent recently. It’s not going to happen any more. Not from me. I have been told!

    Carry on Malcolm, if you can. Do you know how much we all love you?

    Posted February 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink
  24. djf says

    Malcolm, I selfishly hope you’ll keep blogging on politics, because it is somewhat comforting to me to know that there are others who aren’t crazy (and who don’t have funny ideas about Jews) who view the current scene with same horror I do. But I would not blame you for taking a break. Either way, thanks.

    Posted February 21, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  25. Malcolm says

    Again, thank you all very much! Back in a bit.

    Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  26. pangur says

    Some thought from Cavafy (may or may not be of consolation, Malcolm):

    Thermopylae

    Honor to those who in the life they lead
    define and guard a Thermopylae.
    Never betraying what is right,
    consistent and just in all they do
    but showing pity also, and compassion;
    generous when they are rich, and when they are poor,
    still generous in small ways,
    still helping as much as they can;
    always speaking the truth,
    yet without hating those who lie.

    And even more honor is due to them
    when they foresee (as many do foresee)
    that in the end Ephialtis will make his appearance,
    that the Medes will break through after all.

    Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

    (C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink
  27. JK says

    http://www.ktlo.com/Catfish-completing-community-service-after-trout-t/22492308

    Posted February 22, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  28. Interesting article, JK, but I wasn’t able to tease out its relevance to the current thread here. Perhaps it’s an Arkansas thing …

    Posted February 22, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink