I don’t know about you, but I miss Pepe. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Is the alt-right a serious political entity or just teenagers poking fun at modern liberalism?

…as answered on Quora…

There are serious alt-righters, and there are shitlords who troll normies with “memes.” They are distinct.

Notice that I use the word “troll” as a verb. From what I can tell, many people think it bubbled up from the Lord of the Rings and Nordic myth, meaning a big, nasty, ugly mean creature, vaguely hominid. “A neckbeard.” That is the wrong etymology. It comes from a fishing technique. It is a way of getting people to flop around ridiculously, like wild fish on a line or a caught fish on the bottom of a skiff.

The paragraph above is not a diversion from my answer. It is important to get a few metaphors right to understand either the alt-right or the “trolls.”

Another metaphor to get right is “cuck.”

This does not primarily derive from the sexual fad of cuckoldry, wherein the male partner likes to watch his woman penetrated by another man. That is just a kink, a perversion.

The core idea of “cuck” comes from the cuckoo, a bird, which destroys the egg of a bird of another feather (species) and then lays its egg where the destroyed egg had been, to be incubated until hatching, and the hatchling to be nurtured into maturity not by the cuckoo but by the cuckolded mated pair, who expend time and energy on what they have been fooled to think of as their own progeny.

Of course, that is where “cuckold” comes from. But the traditional word is there as a pejorative not just because the husband of an adultress is a contemptible, dishonored man. It has its condemnatory power because it makes the cuckold a slave of the alien male, doing work but not doing it for himself. The cuckold is a chump, and destroys his own interests. Lowest of the low, in a sense. That is why “cuck” is so effective a term of disparagement, for it applies not only to men who serve feminist women who possess no loyalty or gratitude. It also applies to whole societies that allow foreigners to come in, leech off of their welfare state programs (public schools, SNAP, Medicaid) and strain the resources of police, courts and prisons . . . all at the hosts’ (citizens’) tax expense. The term “cuck” applies to anyone who valorizes or shame-facedly accepts subsidized mass immigration as a government policy and social norm. It applies not only to the progressive left but also to the “conservative” right. Hence “cuckservative.”

This is a serious critique.

I agree with it, though I do not go with the alt-righters in their favorite policy direction, that of an ethnostate. Sure, I think a policy of subsidized immigration is insane because suicidal. I think it entirely apt to scorn the cucks, left, right or libertarian. But I am not an alt-righter. The alt-right want to cut off immigration. “Build the Wall.” I want to make immigrants ineligible for welfare benefits — and then work to get rid of the welfare state entirely. It has been a disaster. It has created several generations of serviles and wimps and snowflakes and . . . cucks. And it is breeding race hatred, threatening to eradicate the last vestiges of liberal order.

Meanwhile, the lolsters and trolls and shitlords float their “memes” — and chortle. They understand enough of the alt-right critique to freak out progressives. And it is indeed fun to watch progressives freak out — “RACISM!” they cry. “Sexism!” “Trans-phobia!” “Islamophobia!” And the trolls chuckle, moving on as progressives dance to shitlord tunes, flipping and flapping to trollers’ (proper word, but not used) lure.

Oh, and here is my modest troll: there is no “liberalism” on the left anymore. They are so thoroughly cucked that the “progressives” cannot conceive of freedom, meaning the word “liberal” must not be allowed to them. They just want more and more handouts. And safe spaces — a term of art meaning

Subsidized Sectarian Commiseration Center for the Easily Offended and Emotionally Unstable

— normal people’s “safe” areas being bedrooms, homes, churches, and clubs, and are privately paid for, not subsidized.

twv

Variants of the following question seem common enough. I have almost certainly answered one or two previous ones before. Because it is common, and because previous historical instantiation is a reliable indication of possibility, the question has some importance today. But, as I try to make clear, being new is not a sure sign of impossibility or undesirability. But more will needs be said.

as answered on Quora:

Why has there never seem[ed] to have been a nation whose approach to government was Libertarianism?

Simple answer: because libertarianism is a fairly recent refinement of a long tradition in social innovation.

More complex answer: many, many societies have demonstrated libertarian elements, and it is worth remembering that until the modern period, most societies did not even sport states. Libertarianism arose in response to the abuse of state power, and to rescue a sense of morality in law from the general run of state power that almost invariably corrupts legal practice.

Further, states tend to form around high capital areas, by capture (high capital regions make easy marks), and — if not run by murderous psychopaths or morons — also encourage the accumulation of more capital. By encouraging capital and commandeering capital, they often produce lasting markers that we can track, as history. Freer societies in ancient times tended not to leave big monuments or be known for their conquests. So they tend not to leave historical mileposts. If there were free societies in the tribal, upland, and margins-of-civilizations societies, we probably would not know much about them.

But it is worth remembering that the basic libertarian stance is very old, and can be seen in writings as various as the Hebrews’ I Samuel 8-15 and the Chinese Tao te Ching.

That being said, libertarianism is a workaround to a problem arising from our hierarchical natures and the path dependence set in place by relying upon the most valiantly coercive: accommodation to power, legitimation of the powerful, Authority . . . and the eternal problem of in-group solidarity and out-group antagonism. Libertarianism is an attempt to regulate these volatile mixes — regulate by law. Other attempts at such regulation have included timocracy, democracy, and republicanism. Libertarianism is the latest, and if it seems familiar, no wonder, for libertarianism is a lexarchy. The fact that we almost never hear that term suggests to me that libertarianism, despite its august lineage from rule-of-law traditions, is very young, and that today’s libertarian challenge has not been met in the general culture. Not even libertarians themselves really understand what it is that they are trying to accomplish — they might boil it down to “rights,” for instance, or The Individual . . . without contextualizing what a universal right to liberty would actually accomplish.

So, the past is something of a red herring. It is not for nothing that the major libertarian (as opposed to myth-making liberal) theorists have looked to the future, not the past. Henry David Thoreau wrote of a future with radically less political governance, but he noted that it requires a culture and a general character to match it: “when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.” This notion of a cultural context of resistance to mere power and position was carried on a few years later, in another early classic of libertarian advocacy, Social Statics: or, The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness and the First of Them Developed, by Herbert Spencer. Speaking of the novelty of the most extreme elements of his doctrine — which most libertarians today would assent to — he wrote that “There are many changes yet to be passed through before [libertarianism] can begin to exercise much influence.” At about the same time as Thoreau and Spencer were formulating their rather radical doctrines — of law as regulated by explicit contract — a young Belgian economist put the idea to its most precise formulation in an essay entitled “De la production de la sécurité.” This Gustave de Molinari’s last full book, and the only one to be translated into English, was titled The Society of To-morrow. In that he explained why what we would now call libertarian ideas were so late in developing. But why he had hope for a later instantiation.

Now, I confess: I am not fully convinced that libertarian proposals are even possible fully to implement in a society of baboonish hominids, I mean, humans. But if they are, it would be the result of some sweeping changes, not only institutionally but also culturally.

And, I readily concede, it is not as if such radical changes have not happened, even in our lifetimes.

But most relevantly, consider the cultural, intellectual support for two institutions, democracy and slavery.

If in 1492, the year that I believe marks the beginning of the modern period, you had asked all educated men on the planet at that time, whether some day the word “democracy” would not only inform the politics of the nation states of more than half the world, it would even play as piety on the lips of even the most brutal of tyrants, not one man would not laugh, chortling in derision at the preposterous nature of your question. Yet “democracy” has become the byword of politics.

And, perhaps more astoundingly, throughout history slavery was a civilizational norm — even many pre-civilized tribes and chiefdoms practiced this brutal form of tyranny. Yet, in recent modern history Christians in England and elsewhere began liberating slaves and abolishing the institution, making it illegal. Now, it is so anathematized that no civilized person can even conceive of bringing it back.

If democracy — once universally condemned — can become normalized nearly everywhere, and slavery — once universally practiced — made taboo, then it is not altogether incomprehensible that liberty rigorously conceived might someday also become the norm.

But that would make libertarianism definitely a future, not a historic, development.

twv

Currently back to reading this book.

Democracy was the State’s way to ape the market. Democratic socialism is the belief that aping the market in a limited political realm provides proof of concept enough for the State to replace all market activity with its own machinations.

What democratic socialists do not understand is that the aping of the market in democratic action cannot be maintained when there is no market left to ape — in no small part because the replacement of markets with politics and bureaucratization is, transactionally, anti-market, and cannot allow even the mimicry of trade.

The “socialism” part of democratic socialism must trump the “democracy” part, transforming what may begin by voting and “voice” into the paradigmatic socialistic activity: statist fiat. Compulsion. Command. Totalitarianism.

The democratic socialist is the kind of person who has tricked himself, conned himself, not realizing that some inkling of intent cannot override the reality of the means chosen. Socialism is control. And its form of control must always destroy the weak shadow of freedom retained in democratic action.

Democracy mimics the market’s myriad of two-way transactions — where each side can refuse to coöperate (demonstrating “exit”) and where a proposed scheme will fail if it cannot find willing collaborators, willing traders — with an orchestrated expression of “voice” without any possible exit or right of refusal. And this lack of “exit” — the lack of an ability to decline the results of a vote — ends up with a prohibition of failure. Democracy cripples the learning inherent in failure, allowing the State to carry this to the extreme by almost never allowing a failed program to cease: instead failure gets rewarded with more resources.

Thus building up failure into the very warp and woof of the socialist enterprise.

Along with forceful control.

twv

One of the great public relations coups of all time has been to identify “the left” with goodness and “the right” with “wrong.”

This is especially droll, since, in olden times, “the left” was identified with “sinister.”

Defining “sinister”. . .

Further, and especially before the introduction of toilet paper, the left hand was not a hand you offered in public, especially in handshake or salute. Why? Because in private it was the hand one used to wipe one’s anus after defecation. The idea that “the left,” today, would be synonymous with good intentions and moral goodness and all other things pure and holy is almost hilarious.

But it is just the kind of thing you should expect to happen when the State comes to dominate society.

twv

There is a sort of progress to be identified in civilization, an incline that can be seen in the graded, increasing limits on the demands the state may be allowed to place upon us. It goes something like this:

  • Death
  • Slavery
  • Corvée labor
  • Property confiscation
  • Taxation

Generally, civilized societies emphasize taxation as preferable to confiscation — but naked confiscation exists in America: just look at the practice of civil asset forfeiture.

America’s founding fathers placed an important limit upon confiscatory practices: the Takings Clause of the Bill of Rights. Their idea was that there be allowed no confiscation of property without a valid public use, and not without “just compensation,” either. Unfortunately, state functionaries are not the only ones with designs on others property, and both limits have been repeatedly undermined over the years, indeed flouted. The Keto case being only the most famous. And we now must endure a president who has used the “public takings” procedures of “eminent domain” for his own quite private ends. Who knows where this limit upon state power will go because of Donald Trump?

It is a mark of civilization that intermittant required labor (corvée) is preferable to outright slavery . . . but note that military conscription is a form of corvée labor that looks an awful lot like slavery, and one that often leads to death.

The State often brings back that initial demand upon subjects: the cessation of their very lives.

It is also the case that taxation is yet another form of slavery, just removed from personal control to more alienable commandeering of property. And remember the tale of Genghis Khan, who wanted to raze Manchuria (in the process slaughtering all of the conquered Manchurians) to . . . raise horses. An advisor, the story goes, mentioned to him the principle of the Laffer Curve — though not of course by name — saying that a living population could provide wealth to the Khanate via taxation, while as The Dead they could provide nothing. So, the Great Khan allowed the Manchurians to live, taxing them, thereby enabling his Golden Horde to further spread death and slavery throughout the world, into Persia and the Arab world, through Russia and even as far as Vienna.

Who says government doesn’t work!

Yet I prefer to push back on all forms of conscript service — all the way back to taxation. And then cut taxes. The love of taxation, often expressed these days, is sometimes said to express “caring” for the less well off. I just think of Manchuria. And its people, seen by their Mongol rulers as a mere one small step up from the equine beast.

twv

Facebook post by online philosopher Stefan Molyneux.

This is interesting. The religion of our age is statism, and its proponents are dangerous because dependent upon (and thus prone to) violence. Since statists and ultra-statists demand that state violence be marshaled to serve their causes, no wonder that they engage in threats and terrorism. Their philosophy is one of threats and terror.

And the scope of state action is immanent, part of the warp and woof of the secular world, so always a live option for acolytes.

Christianity, on the other hand, is a transcendent religion, not immanentist. So the religion’s forcible element is seen as taking place outside of the secular sphere. This allows its practitioners a sacred space apart from the world of hustle and bustle, thus encouraging them not to over-invest in everyday politics. It even allows them some skepticism and resistance to state power.

This is probably why statists have made such a strong, sustained attack upon Christendom for the past century, the last few decades especially: the State is a jealous god.

“God is dead, and we have killed him!” —F. W. Nietzsche
From PJP’s most famous book.
This first one in this afternoon’s binge is probably the best, no?
A two-disc CD set from OgreOgress.

Morton Feldman’s ‘Rothko Chapel’ is one of the classics of East Coast avant-garde music and is the work that turned me on to this composer in the first place. His quiet music is nonpareil.

This disc set — ‘Morton Feldman: Complete Violin|Viola and Piano Music’ — does not contain ‘Rothko Chapel,’ of course (since, despite the great viola melody at the end, the Rothko meditation is ‘Spacial Music’ and not chamber music), but it does showcase his second most famous work, ‘The Viola in My Life,’ a justly admired work.

The first disc starts off with an excellent early violin sonata. It is the odd piece out, here, but welcome nonetheless. It is in a vaguely neoclassical style, tuneful, many timbres . . . not just pizzicato. What we hear in this work reveals Feldman’s genius mainly as a promise of great works to come.

The brief, under-two-minute ‘Piece’ provides a good follow-up, coming next on the first disc, a sort of cleansing of the palate. It, and the several works to follow, show Feldman at his most characteristic; here is the Feldman we have come to know. Not at all tuneful in an ordinary way, but always listenable, thoughtful. I am not sure how Feldman manages to make this seemingly disjointed material cohere together. But he does. Perhaps it is the calmness: Feldman does not push his pointillistic chords and notes and ‘gestures’ (frankly, I forget what that is supposed to mean, technically, in avant-garde music, but it suggests something I think we all can point to) in an ‘in-your-face’ way. Feldman rarely if ever shouts. I find it hard to describe Morton Feldman’s music that might convince anyone to give it a try. It is just different from other composers’.

Perhaps what makes Feldman’s work so unique is that what he offers is not music as we usually understand it, but the Dream Time equivalent: peaceful echoes of music, as if an afterlife memory.

I enjoyed all the performances. This disc set gave me a few new Feldman ‘favorites’ — the second disc, especially, with two long works dedicated to two specific older contemporaries of Feldman, Aaron Copland and John Cage. I could take almost any single piece from his mature style and place it on infinite loop. I am listening to ‘Spring of Chosroes’ right now. I will be listening to it again. Soon. Any minute now.


Morton Feldman

N.B. Unlike John Cage, I do express interest in listing favorites. Feldman’s most arresting and accessible work remains, in my opinion, “Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety,” which John Adams conducted for a CD entitled ‘American Elegies.’

Morning Oregonian, 1901

As proof of the degradation of literacy and journalism in America, compare any recent paper — or news website, for that matter — with these three articles from page six of a newspaper near me 118 years ago:



I share these not to argue with them. I could. No problem. But note the quality. Does journalism anything like this exist in America today?

I have not seen it.

twv

Me, playing with filters . . . and not with my cat, Bene.

On Quora, a question was asked — “What aspect of ‘big government’ frightens conservatives and libertarians?” And answered: dependence. And that answer was then commented upon . . . which then received an additional comment. That last little comment — nothing more than a quip, really — irked me enough to respond.


As the old saying goes, “Libertarians are like housecats. Completely dependent on the people around them for survival, yet utterly convinced of their own independence.”

Ben Patch

This misconstrues the nature of interdependence.

Libertarians celebrate our interdependence in the form of voluntary cooperation — especially in trade. This is the most obvious thing about individualist intellectuals, and has been since Adam Smith and Anders Chydenius. When libertarians talk about dependence we are talking about non-reciprocal aid over long periods of time. The goal of an adult should be a morally autonomous being capable of offering moral (and economic) support to family, friends, and neighbors, but is not a burden to same.

Conflating interdependence with dependence is something of a perversity.

And as for the cat thing — “I bought me a cat” a decade ago because I needed protection from rodents. My cat could have survived for some time in the wild. But in my house he kept it vermin-free for ten years — and has survived longer than he could have on his own. This is important. It is reciprocity. And he certainly is not my slave; and neither, really, am I his. He is not my dependent, not like many people on the dole are to the state.

The “old saying,” above, is a calumny against both cats and libertarians.

twv

Nota Bene: Then followed more discussion, which the curious may drill down to with the link given above.