Category Archives: Society and Culture

Yeah, Yeah

The other day our President, Barack Hussein Obama, took time out of his busy schedule to visit a Baltimore mosque. There he delivered an obsequious panegyric about the glorious role of Islam in America’s history. (If there is a major, or even mid-tier, religion that has in fact played a lesser role in America’s founding, […]

Confess!

We’ve written often (for example, here) about the unbroken ideological and doctrinal thread connecting the Puritanism of the Massachusetts Bay Colony with the modern, secular religion of the Left. The “mission into the wilderness” continues unabated, its outward forms unaltered. All that changes is the temporal object of the mission: the MacGuffin varies from picture […]

Circling The Drain

I meant to comment on this when it happened a few days ago: Rome’s nude statues covered up ahead of Rouhani visit In further concession to Iranian president, official dinner with Italian PM does not include wine on the menu What a craven, flabby, neutered thing our civilization has become. This is what ACID syndrome […]

The Thucydides Trap

In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes wrote the following about why humans fight: ‘So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first maketh men invade for gain; the second for safety; and the third for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters […]

David Bowie, 1947-2016

I was shocked and saddened to read this morning that David Bowie has died of cancer at age 69. He was one of the greatest artists of my age. He touched nothing that he did not adorn. I consider myself enormously fortunate to have had a slight personal acquaintance with Mr. Bowie. (I met him […]

An Onomastic Oversight

In a post a few months ago, while developing a metaphor involving collapsing stars, I commented on the vulnerabilities of the load-bearing structures that support a civilization’s weight: Given that what gives a culture its form is essentially ‘memetic’ — an aggregation of ideas, lore, mythos, history, music, religion, duties, obligations, affinities, and aversions shared […]

A Ghost of Christmas Past

It being Christmas Eve, earlier this evening I found myself humming the “Christmastime Is Here” song from the old Charlie Brown Christmas special. (The show originally aired in 1965, when I was nine, and Vince Guaraldi’s beautiful score has stayed with me ever since.) The tune got me thinking about the show itself, which is […]

Headlights On For Safety

I’ve written before about the transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom. His work is concerned with the long-term prospects of the human race, with particular interest in the future of artificial intelligence, and its perils. In these pages we’ve mentioned his suggestion that we might already be living in a computer simulation (see here and here), as […]

We Are The Enemy

Headline at Salon today: White men must be stopped: The very future of mankind depends on it Salon is not a “fringe” publication. (Would that it were.) Apparently it has no qualms about declaring race war. As Saul Alinsky said in his Rule 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Comparisons […]

Stockholm Syndrome

Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist describes the situation in her homeland — which for most of my lifetime was the holotype and exemplar of the advanced, peacable modern Western nation — as it sinks into darkness and disorder, thanks to its mass importation of wholly alien, mostly Muslim, immigrants. Swedish citizens, […]

Can We Talk?

During last night’s debate Carly Fiorina, whose chances are roughly equal for the Republican nomination and Prva HNL Player of the Year, suggested that we ought to make her President because she’s a woman. Let’s leave aside the reaction were a male candidate to try such a thing, and try to get the gist of […]

The All-Union Academy Of Climate Sciences

Yesterday the United States Senate held a hearing on the magnitude of human impact on climate change. Giving testimony were some Actual Climate Scientists. I would like very much for you to read and carefully digest their testimony. I will excerpt some of it here, in what will be a longish post — but please, […]

This Ain’t No Disco

In a recent post I remarked that, with bitterly opposing forces tearing at our rotting social framework, every public shock — in this case, the San Bernardino jihad assault — is a hammer-blow that “strains the joints and widens the cracks”. “Each time,” I remarked in a subsequent comment, “we split apart a little more.” […]

Sturm Und Drang

Jim Geraghty of NRO (yes, you folks in the NRx mutaween, I’m linking to NRO again) posted a good newsletter this morning about the San Bernardino shootings. (In case you’ve just emerged from a coma, or a two-day shift in a zinc mine, there was a mass shooting by two or more Muslims in California […]

More On “Universal” Values

The Maverick Philosopher, William Vallicella, has responded to my own reply to his thoughts on the universality of Western values. I’ve just posted a longish comment over at his place. Read Bill’s post here. Related content from Sphere

The “Refugee” Question: Further Thoughts

In the discussion thread under our previous post, a commenter directed our readers’ attention to an article by Megan McArdle on the question of settling “Syrian” “refugees” in the United States. Further discussion ensued. Ms. McArdle’s essay is helpful in that it identifies six low tactics that proponents of Syrian refugee resettlement have been using: […]

Pardon-Begging

When I was a young man (and dinosaurs trod the earth), if a person found himself accidentally obstructing someone’s way, he said: “Excuse me.” This is no longer so. Now, everyone says: “Sorry”. Why is this? When I first noticed this change, a year or two a ago, I thought nothing much of it. Now […]

Are Values Universal?

Writing at his blog The Maverick Philosopher, our friend Bill Vallicella gave our “What Now?” post a commendatory link. I thank him for that. Bill is a serious thinker — a highly trained expert in thinking itself, with a professional philosopher’s expertise in detecting and clearing away rubbish — and I’m always glad to have […]

Le Meta-Petard

In an essay about the Paris attacks, Richard Fernandez writes: The dilemma the West now faces is that it cannot survive on the basis of the platform which its elites have carefully constructed since WW2. They are being beaten to death with their own lofty statements. They must either continue to uphold the vision of […]

What Now?

I have said this before, and I will say it again: allowing mass Muslim immigration is the stupidest and most irreversibly self-destructive thing that any Western nation can do. So in the wake of the Paris attacks, is it reasonable to imagine that Western nations, reeling from yet another inevitable and predictable act of jihad, […]

It Is Balloon

Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote five years ago. It still seems current, so I thought I’d repost it here today. The expanded modern liberal Western mind, stripped of reverence for its cultural heritage — and having shed, as a snake sheds an outgrown skin, the scaffolding and buttresses of traditional standards and […]

A Monumental Precedent

Heather Mac Donald — whom, I am happy to say, I had the pleasure of meeting last night — weighs in here on the Left’s newest weapon in its “long march” through the institutions of our civilization. It’s a doozie, too: college athletics. Related content from Sphere

Scooped!

The other day I spotted a few headlines that I thought bore some connection to one another. They were: Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds …and: Small Towns Face Rising Suicide Rates. …and: Americans becoming less religious, especially young adults. There was also this: Illinois District Violated Transgender Student’s Rights, U.S. Says. […]

Sheepdogs

In the comment-thread to a recent post on hoplophobes, our reader ‘libertybelle’ put up a link to an excellent essay defining three human types. It deserves promotion to the front page. We read: If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for […]

Society As Viscoelastic Liquid

There was a lot of push-back in yesterday’s elections: a new, conservative governor in Kentucky, a “gun-control” defeat in Virginia, a restroom reaction in Houston, a “sanctuary sheriff” defeated in San Francisco, and a pot-legalization defeat in Ohio, to name a few. Longtime readers will know that “I never metaphor I didn’t like”, so here’s […]

Mutatis Mutandis

A central theme of “neoreaction”, which draws a direct line from 17th-century New England to post-modern liberalism, is that modern Leftism, and therefore the cultural, ideological, academic and political framework of the 21st-century West, is a religion in search of a God. (As someone once said, the easiest way to understand the state of affairs […]

In The Gloaming

Making the rounds today (hat-tips to, among others, Bill Vallicella and our commenter Whitewall) is a jeremiad by Victor Davis Hanson, who has made these lamentations his métier in recent years. In this one, he mourns in particular the lost virtues of the West: the qualities that made our civilization shine so brightly, that gave […]

On Growth And Form

Montesquieu: “It is in the nature of a republic to have only a small territory; otherwise, it can scarcely continue to exist… In a large republic, the common good is sacrificed to a thousand considerations; it is subordinated to exceptions, it depends upon accidents. In a small one, the public good is better felt, better […]

Destroyer Of Worlds

The modern attitude places the burden of proof upon every aspect of traditional life. All is disposable unless proven necessary, including even the axioms upon which such proof depends. What vessel could contain this universal acid? Related content from Sphere

Memes And Species

A culture, a civilization, is a memetic ecosystem. If one species — a ritual, a tradition, a way of modeling some aspect of the world — goes extinct, the effect may reverberate through the entire habitat. Related content from Sphere

La Difference

Back in 2007, psychologist Roy F. Baumeister gave a talk on why men and women are not the same. It’s lucid and thoughtful, and well worth your time. Read it here. Related content from Sphere

Coincidence?

In our recent post on neoreactionary bloggers, we noted again, as we have often done before, the applicability of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to social decay. Our reader ‘antiquarian’, in the comment thread, pointed out that the late Robert Conquest’s (p.b.u.h.) Second Law of Politics also describes an entropic rule. For those of you […]

Reactionary Roundup

“Neoreactionaries” are a wordy bunch, and it’s hard to keep up with the volume of blogorrhea they produce every week. If you’re interested, Nick B. Steves, who appears these days to be NRx’s General Secretary, posts his own gleanings from the “reactosphere” in a weekly, somewhat Catholic-leaning summary, here, and he’s also put together a […]

g-Galitarianism

In the mail today came a link to an excellent, informative, and even-handed article on inequality, social mobility, and the heritability of advantageous traits. The author is an Englishman named Toby Young, and he zeroes in nicely on the question one comes to once one has hacked through the thorny ideological thicket surrounding these topics. […]

Trust: Our Strength, Our Fatal Weakness

The indefatigable JK has posted a link, in one of our recent comment threads, to an outstanding article that deserves promotion to the front page: an in-depth look at high- and low-trust societies and how they got that way. Read it here. Related content from Sphere

Rights For Robots?

In today’s Physorg.com newsletter (which I recommend again to you all), we find a link to the following story: Incident of drunk man kicking humanoid robot raises legal questions We read: A few weeks ago, a drunk man in Japan was arrested for kicking a humanoid robot that was stationed as a greeter at a […]

As I was Saying…

I’ve written several posts about the culture of victimhood and microaggression now hegemonic in academia and eslewhere. Among other points, I’ve noted that such a culture of perceived oppression is actually made possible only by the clemency of the ambient culture: It is as if the grievance culture is a little ‘virtual machine’ running inside […]

Dawkins And Diversity

With the migrant crisis in Europe at full boil, immigration is a hot topic. I’ve just had another round with our multiculturalist gadfly in the previous post’s comment thread, but of course we’ve been over all of this before. I invite readers to review, in particular, the long and patient discussion we had here, which […]

As The World Burns

Though it’s September, and time to get back to business around here, I haven’t had enough quiet time over the past few days to do any serious writing. (Though you may find it hard to believe, it actually takes me rather a long time to produce a substantial post — and then there’s coming up […]

How Frogs Are Boiled

With a hat-tip to our reader and commenter Libertybelle, here’s a strong piece by Mark Steyn on the way things happen.

Order And Disorder

Here is an article from Vox about a trans-gendered high-school student, with a female body, who wants to use the boy’s bathroom. The title of the piece is: A federal judge said being transgender is a mental disorder. Here’s why he’s wrong. The piece relies for its argument on the recent (2013) reclassification, by the […]

The ‘National Conversation’ Continues

Here’s a good post by Lewis Amselem, a.k.a. ‘Diplomad’, on race relations in the West. He begins: Let me be blunt: I find that discussions of race quickly get boring, idiotic, inconclusive, and, often, verbally and even physically violent. Race tells you very little if anything about a person and his or her attributes except, […]

Bongo-Bongo!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A biology professor and two of his graduate students are doing field-work in the jungle. Suddenly they are surrounded by tribal warriors brandishing spears and clubs. They are quickly subdued and taken to a village a few miles away. The Chief appears. He glowers at them and says: […]

The New RINO

It appears that the intellectual and philosophical conclave known as ‘neo-reaction’, or the ‘Dark Enlightenment’, has just made its first memetic inroad into the broader political culture, with the derogatory neologism ‘cuckservative’. The term refers to ‘conservatives’, generally white and male, who, cowed and ensorcelled by the hegemonic multiculturalism and relativism of what neo-reactionaries calls […]

A Respectful Whistle

This may ring a bell: There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and […]

America’s Jacobins: Feeling Their Avoine

Recently a commenter scoffed at suggestions that, given the sudden anathematization of all things Confederate, statues honoring Confederate heroes might soon be removed. Fast forward a week, and we’re already moving past anything so tame as that — to the actual disinterment of the dead. No announcement yet as to which lamp-post will display the […]

The Culture War: Dispatch From The Front

The other day, in the context of the gagging and grinding-into-the-dust of a dissenting Oregonian baker, I mentioned Tom Nichols’ observation about the difference between authoritarians and totalitarians: that the former only cares about what you do, while the latter must also control what you think. Totalitarians demand not only obedience, but conversion. Mr. Nichols […]

Troubleshooting Gun Violence

A recent exchange on Twitter (another urgent call for gun bans, in reaction to the spree-killing in Charleston) reminded me once again the extent to which gun-control zealots are driven, not by reason and wisdom, but by missionary Utopianism, cultural resentment, naive and sheltered pacifism, and lust for social control. (As someone once said, gun […]

Kneel

Or, Woe to the Vanquished, Part II. What’s the difference between authoritarians and totalitarians? As Tom Nichols observed recently: the former only cares about what you do, while the latter must also control what you think. They demand not only obedience, but conversion. Things are moving fast these days. This acceleration is exactly what we […]

Woe To The Vanquished

From the latest Radio Derb, here’s a corking rant by John Derbyshire on the latest national frenzy: the destruction and damnation of all symbols of the Confederacy. It’s so good that I reprint it here in full, with some emphasis added. Back there in our April 11th podcast I noted the 150th anniversary of Robert […]