President Joe Biden fell up the stairs, as if a metaphor for his career.

Last year, when President Donald Trump ultra-carefully walked down a ramp, corporate media “journalists” regaled us with much rumination on how old he looked. But last week, legacy media made little of Biden’s stumbling up the red carpet to Airforce One. It was opposition media that went all abuzz. The corporate halls of propaganda merely mouthed the White House’s official spin: Biden’s doing fine; he exited the plane with aplomb.

But at some point, Biden will fall down, not up.

Remember when members of the administrative state were outed as conspiring to marshal the 25th Amendment against Trump? Well, at some point that will likely happen to Biden. Is he not too old for a full term, much less two? His usefulness as a marionette will at some point cease, and the strings will be cut.

Or, as he himself suggested, he would merely resign.

But Amendment XXV may prove less important than Amendment XXII: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”

If Vice President Kamala Harris is being groomed to replace Biden, the plan may be to string out Biden’s term of incompetency to two years and a day — to allow nearly a decade in office.

But whether Joe can manage to soldier on for that long, or we will witness a Weekend At Bernie’s III, is anybody’s guess.

twv

Why do conservatives love Ayn Rand?

…as answered  on Quora….

Only some conservatives love Ayn Rand’s work. But why do they do so?

Since I am not a conservative or extremely enamored of Rand, I am going to try to answer this based on observation of others.

  1. Rand was a good writer. She did some literary things very well. Quite a few people who dislike her politics, or other aspects of her philosophy, often say she is not, but a former colleague of mine took passages from her novels around to his fellow literature professors in a ‘blind taste test,’ so to speak, and they rated those passages very highly, recognizing the genre and tradition which they exemplified and judged them as quite successful literarily. So one reason to like or even love an author is because the author wrote well.
  2. Rand extolled human industry, vision and responsibility. Conservatives tend to love that stuff, and since many political writers (especially on the left) sure seem to be opposed to these things, characterizing entrepreneurs and businessmen as thieves and the standards of individual responsibility as somehow compromised and/or oppressive, it is no wonder that conservatives find some comfort in her writings.
  3. Rand dramatically showed the tyrannical and exploitative nature of leftist ideologies and leftists’ beloved dirigiste state. Conservatives generally favor some limits on government, and are deeply opposed to totalitarian government, so understandably some are drawn to her work.
  4. Rand supported individual rights, including rights to person and property. Many strands of American conservatism do the same, and appreciate attempts to clarify such issues, which, right or wrong, Rand attempted to do, with bravura and persuasiveness.

I could go on and on in this vein. There is much in Rand for conservatives to hate, of course — her atheism, alien moralistic dogmatism, and surrounding cult (!) — but we tend to love writers for their merits and, if those merits speak to us, we ignore or downplay their demerits.

twv

N.B. Do a search on this site and you will discover many “anti-Randian” thoughts. Ayn Rand had no significant influence on my intellectual development, other than in the reverse. That is, dissecting a few of her errors helped me to hone my normative social philosophy. Of the handful of Rand’s major literary works, I’ve seen her most famous play in a local production and read the novel The Fountainhead. The latter I deemed a brilliant but imperfect work.

Last week, Russia recalled its U.S. ambassador. Why? The Biden administration had just put up sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the poisoning of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny. But the larger context is the Democrats’ use of Russia as its poster boy for Evil throughout the Trump period, with Biden carrying on the carping, saying that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin would “pay a price” for interfering in American elections.

But there was insult as well as threatened injury. Egged on by ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, Biden also called Putin “a killer.”

Putin’s response? “‘I would say to him: “Be well,” I wish him good health. I say that without any irony, without jokes.”

However darkly you want to interpret that, Putin also challenged Biden to a live, public debate — and that is darkly hilarious.

Unheard of in diplomacy — but apt for the current age?

It won’t happen, of course, for Putin is in command of his faculties, while Biden is not. Besides, Putin might speak some unpleasant truths that we try not to think about.

Like: killers abound.

“You know, I remember, in childhood, when we were arguing with each other in the courtyard, we would say, ‘I know you are, but what am I,’” ABC News quotes Putin, who insisted that this taunt is “not just a childish saying. There is a very deep meaning in that.”

Was Trump’s habit of saying nice things about dictators really so bad?

twv

When will Republicans do something about so many Americans being shot, wounded and killed by other Americans? Nine killed in Atlanta and then several shot in Colorado in two shootings in the past 24 hours.

…as answered on Quora….

Odd question. Why focus on Republicans? And why mention two much-publicized shooting events and not the overwhelming number of shootings and murders in inner cities (such as Chicago) which is ongoing and dwarfs the body count of spree murders?

Take this seriously, why focus on Republicans? Democrats are in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency — and the cities where most of the routine criminality occurs. And that latter fact is even more important. Why? Crime-fighting is properly a local matter.

It is almost as if the questioner has no real interest in crime reduction but … merely seeks to ply a tired and false agenda for “gun control.”

More entertainingly, when we ask somebody to “do something” about a problem, we ask the somebody with direct connection to the problem, in this case crime. While Republicans are generally thought of as “tough on crime,” Democrats are regarded as weak and lenient — so consider, for a moment, the obvious question of responsibility: Democrats commit most of the violent crime. A supermajority of convicted criminals are registered Democrats, not Republicans.

So, the question should become when are Democrats going to do something about violence in their ranks?

But aha! They won’t. Because violence sure looks like part of a strategy.

The Democracy is now the party of anarcho-tyranny, where the plan is to go easy on violent and property crime, and then criminalize civil matters like environmental issues, business competition, socializing sans masks. The idea here is to make peaceful people the subject of police power and ultra-coercion, while letting the mob (whether antifa or looters) and criminal gangs and habitual criminals thrash about, endangering peaceful people. This ramps up demand for increasing State power and (especially) wealth redistribution, and amounts to engaging in terrorism as a means to consolidate authority behind a cult-backed group of ruthless insiders.

I am not a Republican. I have an instinctive dislike for a party that runs on a sort of inertial piety and extreme tolerance for dumb-assery. But Democrats sure seem to be pushing me into the GOP. Please, no, Democrats. No. Give up on idiotic panaceas like “gun control” and evil practices like anarcho-tyranny.

twv

I chatted with Matt Asher a week or so ago. The podcast is up:

And as a video, too:

Matt has figured out the knowledge/trust issues of our time, and explores the problems in an interesting way. I think you may enjoy this one. You may find it even helpful.

And the UFO talk is not off-topic.

Matt Asher’s podcast is The Filter, and his most recent episode, referenced in our chat, is well worth looking up.

twv

There is now talk of Russia breaking ties with the United States. Think of that.

Russia’s foreign ministry withdrew its ambassador to the U.S. on Wednesday after President Biden vowed that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would “pay a price” for his country’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 election.

A statement on the foreign ministry’s website confirmed that Ambassador Anatoly Antonov had been summoned to Moscow and warned against an “irreversible deterioration in relations” between the U.S. and Russia, warning such a move would have consequences.

John Bowden, The Hill, March 17, 2021.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, “reiterated that Russia would face consequences over the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia continued its political interference efforts throughout 2020,” according to Bowden’s article. “‘Our administration is going to take a different approach in our relationship to Russia than the prior administration,’ Psaki said.”

OK, but note which relevant country is not mentioned in this article, or its follow-up, today, “Russia warns of response after Biden calls Putin a ‘killer.’”

Unmentioned, but looking like the grayest of éminences grise? China.

International power politics is a three-cornered affair, tensions rising and falling among the three most significant powers, Russia, China, and America. While the Russian state has the weakest position in terms of population demographics and military might, under Putin it possesses a clearer vision than America does. Putin struggles for relevance, and he is placing long-shot bets on elements of Russian culture that seem utterly alien to us Americans, including, not least by any means, the Russian Orthodox Church. Putin sees himself as Christianity’s last political defender.

Some of Putin’s stances, like his strengthening of Assad’s Alawite regime in Syria, must seem strange to Americans, who can only think in outward forms of government, like “democracy” versus “tyranny.” But Putin knows what the Alawites know: formal democracy in Syria would lead to the genocide of Alawites, Jews and Christians there by the Sunni majority. Americans, top to bottom, cannot understand these things because they do not understand cultural underpinnings of politics. And, of course, Americans are Catholic and Protestant, to the extent they are Christian at all, and know nothing of Syria’s status as the birthplace of Christianity, which was neither Catholic nor Protestant at the beginning or now, nearing the end. And the Nones in America remain, of course, by and large ignorant buffoons, their buffoonery shown by their support of a senescent corrupt old coot to replace the “dangerous” authoritarian, Trump.

China’s new mission of world dominance by means of state capitalism should be less of a puzzle to Americans, since is merely a more tyrannical version of post-war America, which was itself a reboot of the British Empire. That baton of imperial authority hands off from east to the west, like the Star Prophecy, and China wants it bad, the next power in the great relay of world powers. The Mandate of Heaven goes to China, the Chinese oligarchs are certain.

And China undoubtedly had a hand in the last American presidential election. That is what is missing in these articles from The Hill. The Democratic Party is the party of China. Democrats call for the end of liberal free speech and press, and they are all in for dirigisme and class tyranny by oligarchy, though Democrats sport their own special sauce, stirring up racism to effect their revolution.

Indeed, that is along the lines of what John Ratcliffe determined:

Ratcliffe, you will remember, concluded that the Russia Collusion story was bunk — the “former spy chief” said there was “no evidence” for it. But that does not mean that Russia did not have a hand in the 2016 election . . . or the 2020 election. America is a world power, and one way to influence that power is through elections. And elections can be rigged, jiggered and gamed. Especially in America, where electronic voting machines are notoriously insecure, and where one political party says it is “racist” to insist that voters show i.d.

Now, I think most of my friends interpret the Democratic “racist i.d.” opposition to ballot integrity as a mere ploy to get more brown people to vote. I have suspected for years it is a cover to allow manipulation of vote counts by elites, party apparatchiks, and . . . China.

The Democracy is nowadays thoroughly anti-democratic and pro-China. The Clintons were embroiled in a huge China influence and money scandal that somehow (somehow!) never hurt them. Biden has shilled for China for years, and he and his son made millions off the corrupt CCP establishment.

But most Americans are too ill-informed to even suspect something could be wrong.

Which is why America is so weak internationally. The people itself are stupid, ignorant dumb-asses who do not know enough to care or be scared.

And those that do harbor dark suspicions? Why, they are “terrorists”!

Say the Democrats.

I would like to break diplomatic relations with them, too.

But we are all in this together.

Our demise will at least be interesting. The American super power will fade, or somehow experience profound eclipse, unless some Hail Mary play upends the game.

Right now, it sure looks like Biden isn’t prepared to do anything but fumble.

That does not seem to be what we can say about Xi JinPing or Vladimir Putin (though Putin is certainly under stress, shall we say). They aren’t fumblers, are they? They may be dangerous, and malign, but a fumbler in charge of a super power could be more dangerous yet.

Then again, Biden’s not exactly in charge, is he?

twv

“Why does nobody seem to bother about viral immune escape?”

…sort of a follow-up to yesterday’s….

People should be aware that there is a vaccination specialist out there who (a) thinks the technology of the mRNA treatments “vaccines” is brilliant, but is also (b) extremely dangerous, epidemiologically, in that, when used as a mass prophylactic against the current pandemic, has a strong potential to produce a highly resistant strain of coronavirus that will infect the young and could lead to a civilizational and even species threat.

Now, I cannot “vouch” for the man. His name is Geert Vanden Bossche, PhD., and he sure seems on the up and up. But I am not an epidemiologist. Still, as I blogged the other day, I understand the concept of antifragility, and I have long suspected that over-use of some medical technology could end up producing a major plague. Scientists have been warning of this for years, and it has been spun out in numerous science fiction tales, many of which I’ve read with a sort of gallows-interest enthusiasm. And here we do have a viral science technician urging world governments to stop the vaccination campaign, for the health of our species, for humanity.

Specifically, Bossche warns that “this type of prophylactc vaccines are completely inappropriate, and even highly dangerous, when used in mass vaccinaton campaigns during a viral pandemic.

Vaccinologists, scientists and clinicians are blinded by the positive short-term effects in individual patents, but don’t seem to bother about the disastrous consequences for global health. Unless I am scientifically proven wrong, it is difcult to understand how current human interventons will prevent circulatng variants from turning into a wild monster.

Racing against the clock, I am completing my scientific manuscript, the publication of which is, unfortunately, likely to come too late given the ever increasing threat from rapidly spreading, highly infectious variants. This is why I decided to already post a summary of my fndings as well as my keynote speech at the recent Vaccine Summit in Ohio on LinkedIn. Last Monday, I provided internatonal health organizatons, including the WHO, with my analysis of the current pandemic as based on scientfcally informed insights in the immune biology of Covid-19. Given the level of emergency, I urged them to consider my concerns and to initate a debate on the detrimental consequences of further ‘viral immune escape.’

PDF provided by Geert Vanden Bossche; numerous typos corrected, above and in quotations below.

I have opposed the popular “wisdom” of how to deal with COVID from at least last April, when the nature of the lockdowns became clear in the wildly moved goalposts. Since then, most folks have stuck to what their bureaucrats and politicians and public scolds have told them, usually with less knowledge of the subject than I possess. It’s all cultic tribalism on all sides now.

But you should understand what you are getting jabbed with. Start with the CDC. Its website is not outright lying. But it is propaganda.

That being said, the technology is not what most folks think it is. It does not work like a simple vaccine. And that difference could make a difference. How big? Very; extremely:

[I]t’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the consequences of the extensive and erroneous human intervention in this pandemic are not going to wipe out large parts of our human population.

This is End Times stuff, really. Which is why “smart people” will resist. They are easily embarrassed by end-of-the-world predictions, since most are by kooks, are heavily ideological, or quickly proven wrong.

But Bossche’s case is quite familiar to us. The concepts he is talking about are part of the general scientific approach of our age. He is not pushing Conspiracy Theory here (though that shouldn’t make us mindless, either). He is advancing a quite-familiar approach to the evolution of contagions. Standard neo-Darwinian science.

But he is obviously worried. He says there is no time to spare, yet worries even more because, in his words, “I have not received any feedback thus far. Experts and politicians have remained silent while obviously still eager to talk about relaxing infection prevention rules and ‘springtime freedom.’ My statements are based on nothing else but science. They shall only be contradicted by science.” Yet “the elite of scientists who are currently advising our world leaders prefer to stay silent.”

This reminds me of some tragedies that occur in tyrannical societies, where the experts fear to speak up, not unreasonably imagining reprisals. Examples abound in the Soviet Union, including the infamous cases of Lysenkoism and Chernobyl.

Though we are talking a possible end to our civilization, I do think proponents of mRNA vaccines can be funny. The especially funny ones fall into two categories, as I blogged yesterday:

  1. The same people who normally extol the FDA and its long, killer waiting periods and expensive regulatory hurdles now push a drug that Donald Trump moved heaven and earth to get around, while
  2. the people who dislike the FDA because of its huge and deadly regulatory burden now like this drug since it has been pushed through — while not recognizing that it is massively subsidized, distributed by an untrustworthy government, and has a demand built up by psy-op and coercive threats, explicit and implicit.

I do not plan on taking this experiment in genetic manipulation . . . though, if the doctor is right, I may be more susceptible to the killer strain it produces than its users.

It is possible we are witnessing the greatest crime against humanity in world history, in its early stages. And the reason? Because experts and politicians will not properly consider scientific evidence that contradicts their favorite policy proposals. And they resist this, despite the dangers, because the general political culture has moved away from free speech and vigorous debate to cultic tribalism. While I have been saying that these anti-free-speech tendencies of today’s hyper-partisanship could kill our civilization, I do not remember considering that they could do so in precisely this manner, and so quickly.

But what do I know? Just go along with the flow. We all gotta die sometime.

Do we really need to all go together when we go, though?

twv

The Brazen Serpent (Numbers 21:9), Artist: Tissot; Photographer: John Parnell. ©The Jewish Museum

The current vaccination craze presents some puzzles.

Those who insist that we must have a regulatory body like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even if it adds great expense to drugs and prohibits many useful treatments with calculable loss of life, are the same folks who also believe that the population of the whole world should be injected with experimental gene therapy while pretending that only good can result.

Though the new therapeutics has been studied for 20 years, the studies are by no means exhaustive.

Libertarians are beset with the inverse problem: a fast-tracked pseudo-vaccine has reached the masses, and because normal FDA procedures were bypassed (by Trump), it can look like a triumph of pharmaceutical capitalism over regulatory dirigisme. But note: the drug was indeed pushed by politicians and bureaucrats, is heavily tax-subsidized, and demand for it has been whipped up by a massive panic orchestrated as a psy-op by our managerial elites, not a few of them inhabiting the corridors of power in that sector we call “the Deep State.” The explicit goal for many people inside and outside of government is to inject all of humanity with this peculiar treatment. This is nothing like a free market. It is a government operation, and the product being pushed has consequences we cannot know. But we do know that it has unknown consequences.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a common-sense cautionary maxim.

”Don’t inoculate the whole world with an experimental gene therapy” would be that wisdom translated into the contemporary situation.

At base, here, are issues that get to the heart of medical intervention. Public goods problems abound, at this level, and they do not suggest the advisability of a uniform policy. Indeed, uniformity of policy is a very dangerous course to take. It is inherently fragile, not antifragile — and as I write this, I am more than aware that the coiner of that term, antifragility, has been a huge pusher of the COVID panic. I believe he has been profoundly wrong, because he has only conceived of the danger in one dimension. Which is a strange thing in itself, since Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s genius has been to broaden our conception of threats and menaces. In his reaction to the pandemic, Taleb has become the thing he despises, a fragilista.

But then, fragilistas have been generally ascendent. When confronted with a menace, it is hard for most people — driven by fear and with their imaginations limited enough to prevent them from considering the sheer variety and enormity of possible threats — to resist the promise of a panacea, even if said panacea makes our species and our civilization weaker. And in this case could open us up to much worse diseases with far graver consequences.

Fragilistism is the mind contagion against which our welfare-state, social-engineer dominated civilization has proven to possess few antibodies.

Pity. It has been an astounding civilization, for all its horrors.

twv

Why do so many libertarians support Trump (no true Scotsman arguments)?*

…as answered  on Quora….

Because of his enemies.

Trump was opposed not only by the easily offended Democrats, but also by the Republican establishment that had betrayed its supporters for years. More importantly, Swamp creatures from the shallow end of the Deep State came out of hiding to take Trump down in the insane Russia collusion and Ukraine Phone Call scandals. So some politically savvy libertarians took note of this.

They know that were an actual libertarian to attain high office, the assassination bureau would kick in. Trump’s term was instructive. So many libertarians warmed to him, for they saw the lies and hysteria directed against him for what it was, and also for the warning it serves for libertarians — who seek a much larger change in government than the under-educated Trump ever contemplated.

Trump was not of course a libertarian. But he is an anti-socialist at a time when the Democratic Party has become increasingly socialistic. He was also skeptical of America’s insane foreign policy, which is what really pissed off the establishment, and caused some libertarians to prefer him over warmonger Hillary Clinton and over the insiders of the DNC who pushed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

It should be noted that there are several distinct tribes of libertarians. The beltway types live amongst progressives in the major cities, near the corridors of power, in orbit of the academic and media cultural centers, and seek the approval of these progressives. They tend to do his by virtue signaling anti-racism and anti-sexism and other social justice obsessions. These libertarians of course hate Trump, because to even defend Trump a bit would be icky.

Those of us who understand that social justice is a mirage and that liberty is a competing paradigm of justice, well, we find the Ms Grundies of the beltway libertarians decreasingly impressive. They often buy into politically correct psy-ops, and toe the line as drawn by disinformation artists behind the scenes at the CIA and even shadier outfits. So their opposition to Trump often seems, to us, as witless as progressives’.

For my part, I have never looked upon Trump as a savior, never picturing him as a valiant champion of liberty. That is preposterous. But Trump was not the devil, either, so I could see why a number of libertarians I knew voted for him. I mean, contra Bill Weld’s statement in defense of Hillary Clinton, and Gary Johnson’s, too, I think Trump was a far better option for the country than Hillary. Still, in 2016, I voted the Johnson-Weld ticket despite the bone-headedness of the Johnson-Weld team. That fewer Americans (and, presumably, libertarians) voted for Jorgensen-Cohen in 2020, while Trump received an extra eleven million popular votes, suggests to me that anti-Democratic Party sentiment had increased over Trump’s term.

It is all about voting against these days. Not voting for.

This of course also explains (to some extent) the whopping increase in votes for the Democratic candidates in 2020 over the previous outing.

At what point do Americans realize they are being played — by the system, by the major parties, by the people behind the scenes?

twv

* The question was worded oddly on Quora. The parenthetical remark was a warning that the questioner was utterly uninterested in arguments like “no true libertarian could vote for Trump!” And I sympathized. That is a stupid person’s response.

“In the United States, there is no religious animosity,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, “because all religion is respected, and no sect is predominant.”

Religion in American life has changed since the 1830s, when the French nobleman and sociologist wrote Democracy in America. He was wrong, of course: there was indeed religious animosity in America. He didn’t see it. But it wasn’t as big an issue as a rational person might expect. Hence his statement.

Nowadays, religious animosity has come back big time, fed into a conflagration by the new social classes aligning themselves in partisan politics. 

So we should expect to see many attempts to make sense of the growing rift.

But you might not want to bother with Greg M. Epstein’s piece in the Boston Globe this weekend. For he might as well be from Mars, not France, he is so wide of the mark. 

A truly inclusive vision of America recognizes the nonreligious, too,” Epstein writes. The article’s blurb encapsulates where Epstein goes wrong: “Amid rising Christian nationalism, President Biden should reach out directly to the ‘nones.’”

“Nones” is the silly term of current jargon to describe people with scant religious beliefs and no religious affiliations. The problem in the blurb can be detected in the article: the reason we see rising “Christian nationalism” (which really freaks out Democrats) stems from the fact that Democrats are increasingly seen — quite accurately, I think — as anti-Christian globalists. 

Christian nationalism is a reaction. But it is not the only reaction against the godless globalists.

The anti-Christianity is quite evident in the united government under the Democrats. Indeed, it was formalized in the 116th Congress’s invocation “to the monotheistic god, Brahma,” a prayer that ended with “Amen and Awomen,” an old joke the supplicant apparently took seriously, signaling to those feminists who are also so deeply against men that they cannot abide having the phoneme “men” appear in an ancient word, “Amen” that has nothing to do with either men or women. This is rightly perceived as anti-Christian, even if the performer of the prayer calls himself a Methodist. 

Epstein only sees the pandering to religion, of course. “The Biden presidency has already involved several prayerful events,” he writes. “Some of the most prominent such occasions have essentially ignored our existence,” he laments, thus providing his nones-such bona fides — he is a “humanist chaplain at Harvard.” 

But this concern basically boils down to a Do the Right Thing-style complaint about the lack of “brothers on the wall.” 

“Calls for ‘unity’ framed largely around religion not only erase nearly one-third of the country but ultimately denigrate us by suggesting traditional faith is necessary to cope with the nation’s problems.” He does not consider a more likely rationale: that what Biden & Co. are doing is over-compensating.

Instead of seeing religion as a way to sucker in inattentive marginal voters who may be marginally religious, and get them to pass over all the anti-Christianity and blasphemy of the current tribe of Democrats, Epstein pushes forward his ridiculous, low-level partisanship. “This is a loss for all of us, because in the wake of the Trump presidency, the notion of true inclusiveness — and President Biden’s obvious passion for it, albeit imperfectly executed at times — are among the most compelling aspects of this new administration.”

But what Epstein cannot see is that Biden is trying to include people who find Epstein’s crowd repellent

Perhaps it helps being a libertarian while also being a philosophically inclined “none” — for we who are both have seen the tensions between religious and anti-religious zealots and thus can appraise the rift with some objectivity. The relentless obnoxiousness of many libertarian atheists and pagans has led many religious libertarians to linger in the inhospitable waters of the Republican Party for longer than they otherwise would. Indeed, the “relentless obnoxiousness” led to the once-upon-a-time “paleolibertarian” turn of the late 1980s and early 1990s, not a small thing in the libertarian movement. One point that Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell were making in their paleo turn was, in essence, “can’t you non-believers be less offensive and not scare off traditionalist recruits?” Not a wholly misguided gripe. For many nones are indeed quite indecorous, often blasphemous.

Epstein downplays the action/reaction nature of the current, major-party version of this divide, merely feeding the “action” part. “My two decades of work representing the nonreligious in interfaith work have convinced me that we so-called ‘nonbelievers’ share core common values with progressive and moderate people of faith.” Well, yeah. But he does not acknowledge that there are “nones” who reject his brand of globalism, and would rather ally ourselves with anti-socialists and limited government people. Yes, we exist, too. 

But let us be frank: Epstein does indeed seek to exclude us. Completely. 

“I have been moved as Biden repeatedly stressed that his faith impelled him to build the most unifying presidency in US history,” he writes, “promising to restore the ‘soul of America’ by coalescing diverse faith voters, social justice activists, racial and ethnic groups, and LGBTQ, disabled, and young people. Still, you can’t restore an inclusive spirit, while excluding — or ignoring — large groups under your big tent.” 

It is hard not to roll one’s eyes. Progressives are not “for inclusion” — they are as exclusionary as any other group, if not more so. They seek to exclude, after all, those outside Epstein’s big tent, including many nonbelievers. 

For some of us nonbelievers also disbelieve in the Gospel of Inclusion, in no small part for reasons of logic: you cannot include everybody. It’s the wrong emphasis, because there is no universal principle there. Law and government, upon further reflection, must be about the terms for inclusion/exclusion and definitely not inclusion über alles. 

Since no group can include everyone, there’s no reason why the particular interests of a group of rural Baptists must align and work in lockstep with a coterie of cosmopolitan pagan lesbians. But these poles-apart groups can coexist if the number of public goods they are required to share is made as low as possible. Baptists may take care of Baptists, but still respect pagan lesbians’ rights to independence, while those goddess-worshiping homosexuals can form their communities and mutual aid societies and also allow Baptists to live in peace, respecting only the limited rights to freedom of the Baptists.

But the Democrats’ have embraced a chimera, where all groups must contribute to the well-being, robustly defined, of all other groups, leaving scant room for independent action. Baptists must not only defend pagans’ and LGBTQ nonbelievers’ rights, they must pay for those groups’ abortions and sex changes and, insult to injury, allow the heathens into their communities. That is integral to the Democrats’ “inclusionism”: forced inclusion. 

That coercion is one-sided, though: no gays and pagans are made to follow and accept the rites of Baptists. And this breeds reaction against the Democrats’ “inclusionism.”

Epstein is, apparently, ignorant of all that. Or merely blinded to it. The idea that a free society can incorporate diversity by reducing the purview of government is lost on him.

Understandable, though, since it is usually lost on conservatives too, so reactionary and unimaginative are they. Hence their pet “nationalist” projects, where the idea is to jigger with culture to support a robust nation-state. 

This is why some of us nones prefer liberty to nationalism as well as liberty over socialism, “inclusionism” and “globalism.”

In this article, Epstein is reviewing a book by Ryan Burge, a Baptist preacher and professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, who, Epstein tells us, “has recently gained a following among atheists like me.” Burge’s book is titled The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going, and it may actually be good, for all I know — but going by Epstein’s review, I doubt it.

For Epstein concludes quoting the author: “‘Think about the rise of the nones,’ Burge writes, waxing homiletic, ‘the same way as globalization. In both cases, the same cold, hard fact is true: We cannot stop it.’” But “globalization” is one of those words like “multiculturalism” that does not mean what its users think it means. 

“Globalization” could be a good term for increasing freedom of movement and trade. But in Democrats’ hands (and in the hands of socialists and socialist-adjacents) it’s a synonym for political internationalism, a “globalism” that means subsidization of Third World immigration into First World countries, domination of regional institutions by multinational corporations, and ever-increasing calls for world state governance, starting with forcing separate states to adopt identical laws and regulatory schemes. 

Similarly, many people think “multiculturalism” is merely respect for a diversity of cultures. No. That’s not how Democrats use the term in the context of their policies. Multiculturalism is the attempt to use increasing numbers of cultural interest groups to feed at the trough of the State, effectively ramping up wealth transfer schemes to socialist levels. 

Epstein thinks his Democrats should acknowledge The Nones formally, thereby pushing (though he doesn’t say it, of course) forced inclusion. But in so doing they must exclude those Nones and religious believers who think what they are doing is inherently unstable and deeply immoral. Smarter schemers than he know this, and they are in power, trying to fool Americans into thinking that the current crop of pseudo-inclusionists are more traditionally religious than they are. 

I suspect this will all end badly. But to understand why, do not consult this particular Harvard “chaplain.” He doesn’t believe in God, but he really, really does “believe” in The State. Perhaps to his credit, he’s not smart enough to be deceitful about it. He thinks that were people honest, we could all get along as “we” ramp up technocracy to the extreme that our elites really, really yearn for. He is wrong. Success for this forced inclusion can only be a form of totalitarianism the likes of which past madmen have only imagined.

In his piece, Epstein paraphrases a Voltaire quip, the one about common sense not being so common. He should have quoted a different Voltaire witticism: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” Epstein does not believe in any god. But he feels that itch. So he supports a final revolution to usher in the Super State of his dreams, perhaps not realizing how this Leviathan must wind up serving as a god far more jealous and enraged than YHWH. His politics follow closely from this desire for a deity. It is painful to read such naivety.

Bakunin riffed on Voltaire by saying that “if God did exist, it would be necessary to destroy him.” I’ve always been a bit iffy about that, but if Epstein’s god arises, killing it would be necessary indeed. And we can be assured: Epstein will rise to defend to his death his right to impose It upon us all.

twv