Category Archives: Society and Culture

Q.E.D.

Among the topics I passed by during our August hiatus was the story about Rotherham, England, in which it was revealed that groups of Muslim men had been using young white girls as sex slaves. This had been going on for many years, over which time there had been at least 1,400 victims, some of […]

Veritas

Today we present a fine piece by Steven Pinker on the state of our elite universities. Pinker’s essay is a response to a New Republic article, by William Deresiewicz, entitled Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League. Pinker, writing with his usual clarity and brio, defends the Ivies, and makes the case for standardized […]

Mugged By Reality

Here.

Ethics, Engineering, And Driverless Cars

There’s a great deal of buzz lately about self-driving cars. They were the focus of a couple of sessions when I was at Singularity University a couple of years ago, and Google sent one over so we could get a look at it. The consensus at SU was that they confer so many public benefits […]

Habitat For Humanity

With a hat-tip to Bryce Laliberte, here’s an excellent photographic essay on the appeal of “traditional cities”: cities that are built not for cars or transit systems, but for people.

Motte And Bailey

I’ve just run across (hat-tip to Nick Land) an excellent, and apparently oft-cited, essay by Scott Alexander on the unique terminological characteristics of the various “social-justice” movements. The essay describes a splendid metaphor: the “motte-and-bailey” style of argument. Here’s Section II of Mr. Alexander’s post: I started this post by saying I recently learned there […]

The Womaniferous Aether

I’ve just read an outstanding essay on the paucity of women in high-tech jobs, and the stubbornly persistent (and demonstrably counterfactual) belief that it is caused, not by natural differences between the sexes, but by an invisible fog of sexism. I’d sum up its arguments for you, but it’s so good you should go and […]

TERF War

As I wrote some time ago, to observe the culture wars is to realize that grievance is fractal: There’s no limiting principle. And if you watch for a while, you begin to realize that “social injustice” is not only infinite, but fractal. It’s a Julia set of grievances. Zoom in all you like; new affronts […]

Cui Bono?

My late sifu, William Chung, used to quote an old Chinese saying: “Where there is confusion, there is profit.” Here’s an example.

Comic Relief

The comics used to be escapist entertainment. If you’re trying to find a place to escape the mind-bludgeoning drumbeat of cultural Marxism, though, these days you’d better look somewhere else. Not only is Archie Andrews about to martyr himself in the name of homophilia and hoplophobia (a pacifist, anti-cis-heteropatriarchal twofer!), but now we learn that […]

Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue

It’s hard to believe that all the Ramones are now dead, but there it is: Tommy Ramone, the last man standing, died yesterday of cancer.

The Exogenous State

From Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins, p 149-50: The main thing that emerges in ancient forms is that unity in them did not possess a merely political character, but rather a spiritual and quite often religious one, the political domain apparently being shaped and upheld by an idea or a general view that was […]

Read It And Weep

The latest in Victor Davis Hanson’s chronicles of a moribund civilization. Here.

Égalité!

The weather being clement here in Brooklyn today (it won’t be for long; see here and here and here and here) I went out for a constitutional in Prospect Park. I found myself walking behind a police officer. I was so struck by her appearance that I snapped a photo (forgive the poor quality; it […]

Eek!

Here’s what Bryce LaLiberte just called “the lamest hit-piece on neoreaction yet (and that’s saying something)”. It really is pretty bad. There isn’t even any discussion of what NRx is; just a lot of huffing and puffing about fascism by a frightened socialist. See for yourself. My favorite parts: putting the word “culture” in scare-quotes, […]

Uh-oh

Google’s just revealed its workplace demographics. The breakdown for tech workers: 60% white, 34% Asian, 2% Hispanic, 1% black. Pass the popcorn. Addendum, 5/29: I neglected to add above that the breakdown by sex is: women 17%, men 83%. Nobody should be surprised by any of this. To get through the multilevel Google tech interview, […]

Newton’s Third Law

Well! Good news from across the Big Ditch, as the “bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” known as UKIP did very well indeed in yesterday’s elections. Here’s a happy reaction from UK blogger ‘Anna Racoon’, in which she writes: So peace finally reigns in the old ‘Muppet show’ studio ‘D’ at Elstree, from where […]

Wabbling Back To The Fire

From Eric Hoffer’s Before the Sabbath, 1975: It is disconcerting that present-day young who did not know Stalin and Hitler are displaying the old naiveté. After all that has happened they still do not know that you cannot build utopia without terror, and that before long terror is all that’s left.

The Incredible Shrinking Man

A few days ago we linked to a defiant essay by a young, Jewish college student in which, having been told once too often to ‘check his privilege’, he examined the ‘privileges’ his family had enjoyed in the Holocaust, and during the struggle of its surviving members to build a life in postwar America. Here’s […]

Triple-Decker

Our pal Mangan directed us yesterday to an interesting item, from Britain’s Institute of Economic Affairs, on the idea of ‘political correctness’ as an expression, not of one’s actual beliefs, but as a ‘signaling’ mechanism employed to enhance status. (This is not a new idea, but this is a good treatment of it.) Inside the […]

Check Your Privilege

The best thing I’ve read all week. Here.

Those Guys

NRO’s Jim Geraghty attended the National Rifle Association’s annual convention last week in Indianapolis, and today he summed up his impressions in an excellent post. I had begun to cull some excerpts, but really you should go read the whole thing yourself. It’s here. Best line: “Hi, I’m here to change your culture!”

And So It Goes

Once, Winston Churchill was the voice of England, the defender of “the island race“. My parents, who grew up in Britain, remembered hearing him on the radio during the Blitz. They told me that, more than anything else, it was his lion’s heart (and his lion’s roar) that gave the sturdy people of that battered […]

Goodbye, Rigor

Hello, … well, something very different indeed. Here’s an article about what college “debate” has become.

C.I.V.

Brandeis University has rescinded its decision to award Aayan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree at this year’s commencement. You might have thought that a Jewish liberal-arts institution that was sufficiently impressed by Ms. Ali’s advocacy of women’s rights to offer her this honor wouldn’t be put off by her outspoken criticism of a culture that […]

Phase Transition

A story that’s making the rounds today concerns trending changes in the way people read. Here’s the lede, from today’s Washington Post: Claire Handscombe has a commitment problem online. Like a lot of Web surfers, she clicks on links posted on social networks, reads a few sentences, looks for exciting words, and then grows restless, […]

Another Witch-Burning

This time it’s Javascript inventor Brendan Eich, who failed to pull his neck in quickly enough as the Overton Window sped leftward. He was defenestrated today as head of Mozilla, for supporting a rational ideological position that every society on earth — and even Barack Obama himself — defended until just a couple of years […]

Charles Murray Responds to HuffPo Vituperation

Recently the Huffington Post took a big swipe at Charles Murray, with all the intellectual rigor we’ve come to expect from the blank-slate universalist Left. The argument appears to be that he’s a racist, sexist old white guy, so everything he says must, a priori, be false, and therefore beneath refutation. (When an idea is […]

The Heat Death Of The Universe

Back in February the New York Times Magazine published an article about the decline of eros in the modern-day marriage. The story noted a surprising fact: where there is less differentiation in gender roles, there tends to be less sex. We read: A study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which appeared in […]

The Minimum Wage, Part 2

A while back I agreed to comment on a New York Times editorial advocating a rise in the minimum wage. (The editorial, entitled The Clear Benefits of a Higher Wage, is here.) The brief editorial’s main point is that a minimum-wage increase cannot be reliably expected to cause enough of an increase in unemployment to […]

You Get What You Pay For

WSJ columnist James Taranto has a regular feature in his Best of the Web newlsetter, in which he posts news items where obvious cause-and-effect relationships are presented as baffling paradoxes. A typical such item might be a headline that says “Despite Historically Low Crime Rate, Incarcerations Are At All-Time High”. He had a good one […]

Her Knight In Shining Armor

Here’s a depressing commentary on, among other things, the quality of the modern American male (my emphasis): Woman Going Into Labor Robbed in Anne Arundel County — A woman reported to be in labor and her boyfriend were robbed in Annapolis as they headed to a hospital, police said. The couple was confronted by three […]

Forward!

In a Takimag article called Useless Mouths, John Derbyshire looks at the road ahead, as technology displaces more and more workers. I recall that this sort of gloomy forecast was common when I was a boy, but I think this time round it’s more on the mark. (Barring a Butlerian Jihad, that is.) Things have […]

The Idols Of The Tribe

Our previous post touched once again on how liberal orthodoxy habituates its adherents to deny reality and suppress the expression of truth. One such truth is the near-total hegemony of liberal orthodoxy itself in the social sciences, and of course our leading liberal commenter has wasted no time in denying it. (As I said in […]

Battle Lines

Last year I wrote this about liberal orthodoxy’s unavoidable antagonism to truth: A sine qua non for the modern liberal ideologue is a flair for living comfortably in a state of cognitive dissonance. This is made necessary by the internal contradictions of his worldview, and by its frequent, and calamitous, collisions with the social, political, […]

Uh-Oh!

From Australia’s News.com.au: New forms of discrimination, known as “neoracism”, are taking hold in scientific research, spreading the belief that races exist and are different in terms of biology, behaviour and culture, according to anthropologists who spoke at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago. This would be bad enough […]

How Can This Be?

The CBS program 60 Minutes reported tonight, to everyone’s astonishment and dismay, on a recent, and heretofore completely unsuspected, scientific discovery. The context was specific — differences in the effect of the sleeping pill Ambien on men and women — but it appears, shockingly, that the scope of the problem might be far more general, […]

Food For Thought

A while back, the comment-thread of a post about the government shutdown turned into a discussion about the obesity of the American poor. A commenter remarked: The reason why many poor people are obese, of course, is that the cheapest foods tend to be high in carbs and low in nutrients, which often leads to […]

Paving The Road To Hell

Over the years readers have mentioned to me that too much of the discussion here takes place in the comment-threads, which are often far longer than the posts themselves. The days go by, the posts roll away down the screen, and exchanges that happen days after the original post are, effectively, hidden. I’ve been trying […]

Casting Out The Devil

Here’s something that seems to be in the air today. Yesterday I added a comment to our Benghazi thread from a few days back. As usually happens as threads lengthen, the conversation had wandered off-topic toward the more general sort of ideological scuffling that is a constant attractor in any discussion of current events these […]

This Isn’t Rocket Science

According to the New York Times, the “prolonged” execution of one Dennis McGuire — who had been condemned for the brutal murder of a young pregnant woman — has raised, once again, questions about the humaneness of various methods of execution. In Mr. McGuire’s case, the technique was lethal injection: As the lethal drugs flowed […]

Is All Inequality Created Equal?

For today’s reading, we have an essay on income inequality by tech entrepreneur Paul Graham. Mr. Graham makes two key points: First, he reminds us that in a free society, the natural diversity of human characteristics, talents, and dispositions will always result in inequalities of wealth: When people care enough about something to do it […]

Be Very Afraid

The psychotic, pestiferous torrent of cultural-Marxist sludge excerpted below is, apparently, what a college education in the humanities produces nowadays. This is the moment when you make of your fist the same clench in your teeth, make of your tongue all the textbooks your school was not funded enough to provide you with, make of […]

The Finger Pointing At The Moon

Here is a good example, from the Huffington Post, of a modern Eloi woman: a psychotherapist who responds to her young son’s naturally boyish play by wondering where she “went wrong”. (As one commenter remarks, it’s as if she sees her normal boy as a “defective girl”.) In particular, she is horrified that he might […]

Implosion

Today we have an interesting piece by Nick Land on John Smart’s novel approach to the Fermi Paradox (see here for more about the Fermi Paradox, if you aren’t familiar with the term): that advanced civilizations, rather than expanding into space, relentlessly turn inward. We read: John M. Smart’s solution to the Fermi Paradox is […]

Noblesse, Sans Oblige

In part 3 of his “Gentle introduction“, the reactionary and monarchist writer Mencius Moldbug examines a possible framework for the creation of a new ‘noble’ class: Let’s say you were a person who didn’t care at all about the Constitution, and you wanted to take America back to the past and establish a new order […]

It’s Different For Girls

In this blog post, a New York venture capitalist expresses his concern about an urgent national problem: the underrepresentation of women in software engineering. Why this would, by itself, be an urgent national problem is hard to imagine. From an end-user’s perspective, what matters is that software does what it’s supposed to, reliably and without […]

Bill On Phil

We’ve already discussed the Duck Dynasty brouhaha at sufficient length (and then some), but I wouldn’t want you to miss Bill Vallicella’s recent post about it: Some Points on Homosexuality in the Context of the Culture War.

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

The big news story of the day is that a good-natured Christian man from Louisiana has expressed an opinion that, while in full concordance with traditional Christian beliefs, is, in eyes of the modern Cathedral, a grievous heresy. (If “no news is good news”, I suppose we should all be relieved.) You can read about […]

Homo Rationalis

James Taranto had a very good piece in his daily Best of the Web edition yesterday, but before I could write it up, my pal Mangan beat me to it. So go and find it at his place.