Category Archives: Society and Culture

Is Digital Civilization Sustainable?

Here’s something else that the Sony hacking story has me thinking about: the ‘arms race’ between hackers and cybersecurity. There have been a lot of high-profile cyberattacks lately, and if anything, they seem to be getting more frequent, and more damaging. What’s worse, more and more of every aspect of our lives, and of every […]

Al Über Alles

The Sony affair has revealed, in many ways, just how appallingly far our culture’s wasting disease has progressed, but this is by far the direst symptom of all: Sharpton to have say over how Sony makes movies Excerpt: Hollywood ​came to the Rev. Al Thursday as embattled Sony exec Amy Pascal ​met ​privately with the […]

The Bonfire Of The Sanities

Following on last spring’s item on the NYPD, here’s a story from yesterday’s Post: FDNY drops physical test requirement amid low female hiring rate The Fire Department has stopped requiring probationary firefighters to pass a job-related physical-skills test before getting hired… Fifty years ago, it would have been obvious to any rational person that this […]

There Are Too Damn Many Laws

Recently I wrote: Have we reached the point where we want to forbid the police to use force, when necessary, to make arrests? Approach this idea with caution, for to grant a monopoly of physical force to the State, except in cases of immediate self-defense, is the very bedrock of the social contract that makes […]

Sound And Fury

Yesterday’s Senate report on the CIA has sparked a lot of talk, most of it on a very shallow and very binary level. (Post on that forthcoming, when time permits.) As noted yesterday, the report is far from impartial. Several former directors and deputy directors of the CIA, who were active during the period covered […]

A Slight Air Of Unreality

Today we will have the Senate’s report on the use of harsh interrogation methods by the CIA. There will be a great spasm of hand-wringing — indeed, there already has been — and no doubt the report will be further confirmation, for those who scarcely need it, of the fundamental vileness of the United States […]

On The Rule Of Law

From a column by Thomas Sowell, today at NRO: Let the responsibility lie with whoever forces a resort to force. Also: For people who have never tried to take into custody someone resisting arrest, to sit back in the safety and comfort of their homes or offices and second-guess people who face the dangers inherent […]

And So It Goes

Well, Zemir Begic is already down the memory hole, it seems (who?), along with executive action on amnesty, etc. Now it’s Eric Garner, all the time, and race-hatred is ablaze in the streets again — the flames whipped up, as always, by those who delight and luxuriate in cultural arson. Mr. Garner’s story is a […]

If They Had A Hammer…

Did you hear about the brutal murder of Zemir Begic in St. Louis a couple of days ago? He was beaten to death, with hammers, by ‘teens’. If you haven’t heard about this it isn’t surprising; none of the major news outlets thought it fit for much attention. After all, there’s no reason to think […]

The Healing Touch

On Monday night, as the sack of Ferguson was just getting underway, President Obama appeared on television to make a lackluster appeal for decorum. (His remarks were broadcast in split-screen, with the gathering riot on one side and Mr. Obama on the other; the juxtaposition made for some memorable TV.) Writing at City Journal, Heather […]

Watching The World Burn

By now even the most rose-bespectacled Pollyannas among you (you know who you are) must be noticing that things are getting a little, um, frayed. As I write, civil order is fracturing, with impressive coordination, all over the country. Last night an American city was sacked by barbarians — looted, pillaged, and burned as the […]

Angels And Demons

When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and […]

Paging Dr. Richter

Everybody’s talking about the unilateral illegal-alien amnesty President Obama plans to announce tonight. (One thing you may not have heard, buy the way, is that it will add as many new foreign workers as there have been jobs created since 2009, at a time when, for example, unemployment among blacks, who will disproportionately be competing […]

Boil That Frog

Yawn… ISIS beheads another American. You know, when I was younger, that would have been a pretty big deal.

Fact And Faction

The other day a group calling itself ‘Hollaback’ posted a video on YouTube called 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman. Its apparent purpose was to call attention to the oppressive conditions that women, even in these relatively enlightened times, must endure in a culture still in the grip of a malevolent and […]

Into The Tumbrel

The comedian Bill Maher has, throughout his career, been a darling of the Left. His smug and odious schtick has for years consisted of taunting and ridiculing conservatives, Republicans, Christians, and pretty much anyone who represents American traditional values. (That he chooses to do so in the coarsest and most vulgar terms imaginable only serves […]

The Main Drawback

More and more over the past decade or so I’ve become convinced that modern, secular, post-Enlightenment civilization — perhaps high civilization in any form, but especially the sort we live in today — operates in such a way as inexorably to extinguish itself. Writing in the early 20th century, the prominent Progressive intellectual and author […]

Why Is The Left So Willfully Blind To The Reality of Islam?

As is usually the case on Tuesdays, I’m working late, so “hie thee hence” to the Maverick Philosopher’s website, where our man Bill has put together an excellent post on this vexatious question. Better yet, Bill has opened the post to comments — a rarity these days — so if any of our liberal readers […]

The Organizing Principle Is Control

Here’s withering essay on homeschooling from NRO’s Kevin Williamson. I have to say that Mr. Williamson is anomalously forthright and frank for an NRO staffer (see, for instance, this item from a week or two ago). Sooner or later (sooner, by the look of things), he’s going to earn himself a Derb-fenestration, methinks.

Bouncing The Rubble

The Overton Window never rests. (Or, as Mencius Moldbug put it, Cthulhu always swims left.) The normalization of same-sex marriage is only a few years old — indeed, in some tenebrous corners of the West the process is still underway — but already it’s boringly mainstream. Once the ancient defining and limiting principle has been […]

No Resistance To Anything

Here’s a great post by our man Mangan (and, drilling down through links and quotes, by Bruce Charlton as well) on a deadly disease. I’ve given this thing a name: C.I.V.

That’s No Way To Treat A Lady

We’ve been hearing more about Omar J. Gonzales’s romp through the White house the other day. Apparently he got around inside a good deal more than was initially reported; he made his way all the way into the East Room before he was brought down. In the process, as it turns out, he “overpowered” a […]

In The End We Shall Make Thoughtcrime Literally Impossible

At NRO we have an excellent response, by Charles Cooke, to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s egregious illiberality regarding climate heretics. Longish excerpt: Were he to have his way, Kennedy admitted, he would cheer the prosecution of a host of “treasonous” figures — among them a number of unspecified “politicians”; those bêtes noires of the global […]

The Latte Salute

Here’s a video clip that’s been making the rounds: President Obama ‘saluting’ his military honor guards with a disposable coffee cup in his right hand. It has sparked enormous anger among conservatives and patriots. Here’s why. It’s a small thing, I realize — a perfunctory, narcissistic non-salute pales in comparison to the truly grievous harm […]

Ex Cathedra

Here’s a report of a remarkable comment from Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg: People seeking clues about how soon the Supreme Court might weigh in on states’ gay marriage bans should pay close attention to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a Minnesota audience Tuesday. Ginsburg […]

Mantle Plumes

Here’s a piece from Jay Nordlinger on how hard it is to keep up with what we’re allowed to call things from one day to the next. (I’m old enough now that I’m simply refusing to play along anymore.) To find out what this has in common with the geology of the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll […]

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.