Civilization consists in giving something a name that doesn’t belong to it and then dreaming over the result. And the false name joined to the true dream does create a new reality. The object does change into something else, because we make it change. We manufacture realities.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet (Penguin Books, 2001), pp. 65–66.
…currently reading…
A typically tendentious bit of fake news.

You may have thought that the purpose of a protest march was to garner publicity for your cause, thereby changing minds and then government. We have been told, since at least the days of Martin Luther King, that the protest march is a noble form of activism. Peaceful. Effective. Important for “democracy.”

What we were told no longer applies, for today’s protesters do not seek publicity. They are up to something else.

Correction: protesters “on the left,” these days, are up to something else. Protesters “on the right” stick a bit closer to the old rationale.

Yet Another Portlandia Protest-cum-Riot

You can glean what is going on if you read between the lines of an appallingly deceptive article about the recent altercations on the streets of Portland, Oregon. Andy Campbell, the propagandist who wrote the article for an ezine that I had thought was called the Huffington Post, but now goes under the banner of HuffPost, works mightily to convince leftists that their side, whose avant-garde is the black-clad thugs who call themselves Antifa, is on the side of the good, while the “far right” groups Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer (hereinafter identified by their initials), are evil. It is all very interesting, sure. But what the reader may not see is what is what is most important.

And what is that missing something?

Any consideration of who initiates violence.

Sure, the author makes much of PB/PP protesters preparing for violence. But violence can be defensive, and defensive violence can be prepared for. The implication of his tendentious, ersatz reportage is that Antifa’s posture is innocent and good and the PB/PP protesters’ is malign. While he lingers on these right-wingers’ armament styles, he does not do the same for Antifa, or draw any conclusions from their style of dress: black, with faces covered.

So he misses the pattern here: the PB/PP protestors arm themselves, sure; they also get permits and walk the streets of the city, shouting their slogans and holding up their gonfalons, as protestors are wont to do — and then the Antifa counter-protesters show up, sans permits, in their masks and makeshift black uniforms, throwing things at the protesters, taunting them, egging them on so that the violence will escalate.

It had preciously been important, in our age’s tradition of protest efforts, to appear the victim — and undoubtedly both sides here are prepared for violence yet wish, to some degree, to be seen as not “starting it.”

We have only two real clues about the justice of the latest City of Roses mêlée, neither made explicit in Campbell’s dreadful Antifa apologia.

  1. Who was there first, who had a right to be there.
  2. The attack upon journalist Andy Ngo.

These two issues deserve separate treatment.

Who’s On First?

In previous altercations between the PB/PP and Antifa, the former groups had bothered to seek (and sometimes obtain) permits to protests on public property.

Permits are good form, at the very least, for public roads and parks and sidewalks are designed and maintained for the use of people in normal transit, going about the normal business of commerce. Appropriating them to protest and publicize a particular cause blocks transit, and public use, and what amounts to a form of privatization — so one would expect the “public” to be somehow compensated and protected from the change in de facto and perhaps de jure property rights.

Mr. Campbell’s narration, such as it is, does not mention any permitting process. But it is clear that the “right-wing” protesters had priority, and that they were taunting Antifa merely by their presence.

In normal civilized contexts, one expects to be able to go about one’s peaceful business without being attacked, compelled, or coerced. In a society where there is freedom of speech, mere expressions of ideas are not considered provocations — only direct threats and incitements are.

So, as near as I can make out — and nothing Mr. Campbell writes indicates otherwise — when the PB/PP protesters take to the street, they are indeed preparing for violence, defensive violence, and they expect their mere words, slogans, and presence to call forth the counter-protesters who, by initiating violence, show themselves to be thugs.

So for one side, publicity and journalistic coverage is all-important. Protesters on the PB/PP “right” play by the old rules of protest, the ones culturally established in the 1960s.

For the other side, the opposite is true. Counter-protesters on the hubristic left do not want careful consideration of what they are doing, they do not want transparency. They need confusion and darkened cameras to allow “journalists” in partisan venues like HuffPost to make halfway plausible apologia for their violent actions.

Which takes us away from Andy Campbell, propagandist, and to Andy Ngo, victim.

Do We Know Ngo?

For an article about a riot and an attack, the HuffPost effort provides few details. Indeed, details are almost non-existent. Most of the screed is about providing a context for the attack upon Andy Ngo. And it is a carefully constructed context — which does not mention other victims, for example.

Also left out is the fact that Mr. Ngo was merely photographing the event. He was attacked for his journalistic work, here and elsewhere. In other accounts online we are told that his attackers were more than aware of who he was. “One woman in the crowd,” The Daily Wire reports, “can be heard yelling, “F*** you, Andy!”

So why attack Mr. Ngo, a photojournalist and sub-editor for Quillette?

He has a long history investigating Antifa and other leftist violence and mobbing activity in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere. For this he is seen as an enemy — a “fascist,” I gather.

More importantly, it is the new style of leftist protest. We saw it best in the Melissa Click Missou Muscle Moment:

Repeatedly, in recent years, leftists in charge of and participating in public protests have ejected and attacked and . . . muscled . . . photojournalists and bloggers trying to cover public events. It makes no sense for a protest, of course. The whole point is to be seen.

Two likely explanations for this strike me as plausible.

One is that the leftist protesters see any non-major media coverage as likely to be antagonistic. Leftists know, intuitively if not explicitly, that major media is on their side, for the most part. But independent media? Much less likely. So why tolerate bad press? Do as Bush and Obama did in public: marginalize the opposition by pushing protest out beyond the margins.

Today’s leftists know that their protests are not free speech zones.

But another explanation is even more likely: leftist protest today is not protest at all, it is insurrection and repressive mobbing.

Antifa and friends are not aiming to appeal to the masses or the politicians. They aim to subjugate them: shout them down, drown out their voices and, by sheer force of effrontery and threat and mayhem, make them cringe in cowardice and fear.

Leftist protests today are mobocracy in motion. They are inherently violent. Their whole raison d’être is revolution and their modus operandi is force and intimidation.

And why don’t more moderate leftists object? I can only speculate. It sure seems like either because they agree with Antifa goals, or because they are cowards.

“By any means necessary” is a popular slogan amongst these people, and, for some reason most journalists and many politicians fail to see its deep immorality, the uncivilized principle of justifying violent, tyrannical means by the purported goodness of one’s chosen end.

Andy Ngo was peacefully covering the event, and Antifa goons attacked him and stole his camera.

And Mr. Campbell spent most of his effort trying to defend the obvious thugs, in part by denying that the milkshakes thrown at him did not (likely) contain Portland cement.

Ah, Portland cement! How apt in this situation.

How We Know HuffPo Is Propaganda

HuffPost spin dubs Andy Ngo a “conservative,” and Campbell uses words like “extremists” and “far right” quite liberally. Antifa, on the other hand, garners no adjectives, and is usually blessed with the eulogistic “anti-fascist” synonym.

This is how we know HuffPost is a mere propaganda mill, a spinner of what we call, these days, “fake news,” a term previously associated most famously with Jon Stewart (self-identified purveyor) and Donald Trump (accuser and accused).

In situations of conflicting interpretations, if you only take efforts to define your opponents, but just assume an understanding of one’s own side, then you are likely just a partisan. Indeed, it is this trick, of always referring to one side by pejorative adjectives and nouns, and letting one’s own side free of imposed modifiers, that defines a centrist cult. The method is well known. It is called “marginalization.”

The fact that the left has long been the most proficient practitioner of marginalization while making marginalization a grounds for attacking its opponents is just one of the drolleries of our age.

I consider this funny, of course: clueless hypocrisy is often funny.

But it is also part of a malign project, and thus quite serious indeed.

Now, it is possible that Andy Campbell is not the evil liar I think he is. He could be just very stupid, a brainwashed stooge with typical-to-his-class revolutionary, statist sympathies. Perhaps because he is on the side of Antifa, he has disabled himself from applying reason to the reality before him. All he can do is paint pictures that makes his side look good and the side he hates look bad. It is just second nature.

In the spirit of Mencken, we might be tempted to dismiss him, therefore, as a boob, mountebank, or moron. But to succeed in journalism surely means possessing a modicum of intelligence, doesn’t it?

While Mr. Campbell is a reporter manqué, I make no such pretentions to “news journalism.” No one pays me to quote fairly from all sides (which reporters are supposed to do), so I have here taken the liberty merely of arguing a case.

Which is all, really, that our HuffPost tendentitarian does. So, I guess the surest method to handle folks such as he is twofold: mock them as journalists and revile them as base rhetoricians . . . and worse.

twv

In the latest episode of Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation, not only does the show address the nuclear assets issue and the Rendlesham Forest Incidents in particular, it also considers the infamous Doty counter intel operation and the fact that the show’s focal figure, Luis Elizondo, was, earlier in his career, also a counter intel operative, and thus deals with the painfully obvious conjecture that Elizondo likely remains a government stooge telling lies for a living, making the whole current disclosure measure one big psy-op. This fifth episode in the History Channel series, entitled “The Atomic Connection,” and featuring George Knapp, gamely dances its two-step, Denial and Counter-Assertion.

The show breezes past mounds of data and reporting, but also repeats snippets of dialogue for effect.

I am afraid I really do not think it is a good TV documentary series. It is at once too slick and too inept.

The subject matter and the show’s relationship to the ongoing UFO disclosure, however, make it important nevertheless.

twv


Addendum July 2, 2019

In an interview on The Richard Dolan Show, Michael Schratt emphasizes the importance of the nuclear weaponry element, citing events witnessed by multiple person, all the while also insisting that most current UFO sightings are U.S. military, associated with the Air Force. I realize most people tend to find this comforting. I do not.

Schratt discusses this unusual series of events that took place when I was in gestation.

Not a few UFO theorists have noticed something very odd about their admittedly peculiar subject, the one we now think of as pertaining to “the paranormal” and “alien encounters”: the accounts vary, over time, in specifics, sure — but not much in generalities. While the look of the Others changes, they remain other in a few characteristic ways. And, especially, reported human interactions with them seem surprisingly consistent over the epochs: there is often “missing time”; experiences of “floating”; reports of telepathy and “mind control.” These are common across cultures and times and bodies of lore.

In the course of the last two centuries, the style of our interpretations of the alleged fantastic phenomena have gone from mythological/religious to Jules Verne-extramundane to stefnal-extraterrestrial. Encounters with Faërie and the Djinni, for example (not uncommon in the premodern past), and “alien abduction” scenarios (not uncommon now) are often startlingly similar to each other.

Further, encounters with beings in the sky in ancient and medieval times are often explicitly connected to the cultural expectations of the experiencers: religious at least up through the Fátima events; simple technological in the mid- and late-19th centuries; more obviously “alien” and seemingly extraterrestrial as the 20th century progressed.

Erich von Däniken has made much of this oddity, arguing that the beings whom humanity has been encountering are, well — to use the colloquial — “fucking with us.” The Trickster figure did not come from nothing.

Joseph P. Farrell suggests that the evidence here points to a psy-op, a sort of Grand Psy-Op masking the evidence of cryptoterrestrials — not necessarily extraterrestrials — in a “breakaway civilization.”

Now, I noticed this cross-time commonality years ago. I had no direct experience with anything paranormal; I missed a “miracle” once by a matter of a few feet. Yet I have read quite a bit, over the years, and from my readings I noticed the common strain from folklore about wee folk and worse, to modern urban legends surrounding the UFO/alien abduction subject. But then I forgot about this connection (one has so many ideas going in and out of one’s head), and when I encountered it again recently, it sure seemed familiar.

Mere cryptomnesia, a common enough occurrence of faulty memory.

In my youth, I chalked up these the eerie echoes of high strangeness across the centuries to the night mind of our race, a susceptibility to confabulate and perhaps even hallucinate in ways that suggest Jung’s “collective unconscious.” But I also theorized that the strangely related experiences could very much be evolutionarily driven — that is, biological and life-history in origin — as in the common fear of snakes.

But I have changed my mind, recently. The rise in the number of — and even increasing government transparency about — Unidentified Flying Objects (along with Unidentified Submersible Objects, there are those, too) adds a huge ancillary data set that subtracts from the credence of the more comfortable “psychological” theories about strange encounters.

So I go back to the square one, and you may even now find me reading the Book of Enoch . . . and even stranger fare.

Note that it was my exposure to unexpectedly large amounts of credible-if-challenging testimony that got me out of my dogmatic skepticism, my almost-automated response of dismissal to each anomalous datum. What I used to regard as not requiring serious explanation, as fit only for “debunking,” now I try to regard as new information, though what to make of that information is hard to figure.

But just because one cannot explain a datum does not mean that it is worth ignoring. Indeed, one trouble with debunkers today is their readiness to cook up an explanation, however wildly improbable, that satisfies the debunkers but also throws out of court a whole host of anomalies.

Meanwhile, in between readings and viewings of documentary videos, I mull over possibilities. And the possibilities are not exactly narrow.

Yet, the most obvious conclusion is the one respectable people seem most afraid of. I have noticed how readily journalists do what Tim Poole did, last week, when they cover the current series of UFO disclosures: insist that they ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT ALIENS! 

“During the Cold War, a psy-op is infinitely more likely than we found nine alien ships. . . .”

What is interesting about this “lots of ways to explain this other than aliens” rap is that it has little to do with actual likelihood. You cannot talk reasonably about probability without some measurable data sets, and to speak of an “infinite” likelihood of non-alien explanation (as Mr. Poole did) is more out-of-your-ass talk than scientific, though it may sound science-y and reasonable.

To me it sounds like how Deists talked during the Great Awakening — very carefully.

What we are dealing with is “subjective probability,” a pure matter of personal cognitive comfort.

Now, some UFO sightings are undoubtedly natural phenomena — and by that we must include natural events beyond just swamp gas. The Hessdalen sightings sure seem less like technology and more like electromagnetic “ball lightning” (or similar), anyway.

But the accounts that really puzzle are not so easily explainable within the confines of normal science. Most of the UFOs we are interested in are said to exhibit material surfaces — that is, to appear as solid, in ways that the Hessdalen lights do not appear to exhibit.

What interests me is Tim Poole’s reassuring tones one minute — talking how it is “infinitely more likely” that what we are witnessing in the Bob Lazar case is a psy-op rather than “alien” craft — and then providing a familiar “cognitive bias” explanations the next . . . all the while claiming not to question Bob Lazar’s honesty. This seems bizarre to me. I have watched the recent documentary on Lazar, and the subsequent Joe Rogan interview . . .

. . . and it seems to me that Lazar is either lying, and therefore part of a psy-op; programmed into a carefully constructed delusion, and therefore part of a more ominous psy-op; or telling something close to the truth, and we are in Terra Incognita. Mr. Poole, breezing right over this, seems to want both to reassure us of Nothing To See Here and still be nice to a testifying whistleblower whose claims have become increasingly credible, over the years, in macro contexts as well as in micro*.

But this question of reassurance: is that the key to understanding how people are handling the current info-seep?

I suspect it is. Most of us do not want to be publicly humiliated as a UFO nut.

But it is wrong-headed. Given the reports that come to us, aliens may be the least of our worries, that is, if mass panic is what we are really concerned about.

For what is the real likelihood, here?

If it is just governments screwing with us in a Deep State Psy-Op of the first water, this suggests a malignity in our governments that should deeply unsettle any democrat or republican (an anarchist might more likely merely raise an eyebrow). It would mean that the Deep State is perpetrating the greatest fraud in history, instigating abductions, fly-bys, druggings, and worse along with sending mixed signals, publicly, to foul up everything and therefore create an astounding elite/rub class division, all to . . . fake out the Russians?

If it is aliens, on the other hand . . .

…a popular and quite comic meme…

. . . then the Deep State has been hiding information from most of the rest of government, from the American citizenry, and from the world, and for a long time. Why? Well, likely to protect us.

But what of the alleged aliens themselves?

Well, they are undoubtedly not to be trusted . . .

Claims to have first-hand knowledge of “aliens.”

. . . but they appear to have been at the margins of our civilization for a very long time, and could be doing worse . . . but apparently aren’t. Whatever it is that they are doing.

If — and I realize for most this seems like a big IF — what we are dealing with here cannot be ascribed solely to natural phenomena, and also not to our government messing with our heads . . . and it is not aliens . . . exactly . . . think of what else it could be:

  • Clandestine cryptoterrestrial civilization, of recent origin;
  • Clandestine cryptoterrestrial civilization of ancient, even deeply prehistoric origin;
  • Time travelers;
  • The real players in our Simulation.

I submit that at least three of these four scenarios** are each more disturbing than The Government Is Hiding Aliens.

  • A recent breakaway civilization, whether Prussian, Nazi, South American, or North American, suggests a disturbing threat level.
  • An ancient, non-mammalian race hiding under the oceans, or in Antarctica, or even on the Moon? Freaky.
  • And, well, extra-dimensionals playing a game in which we are likely mere NPC’s? Maybe Hindus would grok it, but Christians and Jews wouldn’t, would they?

Given the unsettling nature of these even more “out-there” possibilities, mightn’t we non-experts recognize this in our reaction? A word to the wise; a word to Mr. Poole.

That being said, I should admit that not all of Tim Poole’s UFO speculations are valueless, for he was surely right to remind people who profess to yearn for the bizarre that an alien civilization would be truly . . . alien.

Most ufologists I encounter online seem impatient or annoyed with the current disclosure talk; almost no one in the UFO community believes that the Government — some people in government, anyway — do not know what is going on regarding UFOs. The disclosure project at present is obviously a way to let normal well-educated (snooty) Americans (like me), who have at best treated the subject as fit only for sf lit, to adjust themselves to a greater and somewhat disturbing reality. Slowly. And the project (run, for better or worse, by the To the Stars Academy folks) appears also to be a way to allow government bureaus and military personnel to get over their fears of shame and backlash, and thus allow the biggest disclosures to take place.

As for me, well, I am willing to be convinced of anything, provided there is some evidence, and provided alternative, less outré hypotheses cannot better explain all the data.

Even, yes, the Players at the Simulation story. . . .

And remember, neither my preferences or yours are irrelevant to the truth.

twv


* Lazar’s story keeps on checking out. A number of the unknown things Lazar spoke about, initially, to George Knapp, have eventually checked out. And, in the course of investigation, it was shown that the government had almost successfully erased Lazar’s educational and work record. Erased.

** I do have one other conjecture that makes surface sense, but it suffers for being on the other side of Occam’s razor.

For three years, Democrats have driven themselves mad hallucinating a Russian conspiracy to elect Trump — when the most that could be said is that some Russians were sowing ideological discord in a rather goofy way. But now we have good evidence that a major corporation is trying to “influence” the next election through e-chicane.

We have Project Veritas to thank, having not only recorded a Google insider admitting to the company’s conspiracy, but unearthed a whistleblower, too. Tyler O’Neil summarizes:

The video shows leaked documents calling for Google to establish “a single point of truth” for news. An admittedly unscientific PJ Media study found that 96 percent of Google search results for “Trump News” came from liberal sources.

“We have gotten accusations on around fairness is that we’re unfair to conservatives because we’re choosing what we define as credible news sources and those sources don’t necessarily overlap with conservative sources so we’re getting accusations of fair from one side,” [Jen] Gennai admits in the video.

“They are not an objective source of information,” the Google whistleblower says. “They are a highly biased political machine that is bent on never letting somebody like Donald Trump come to power again.”

Ms. Gennai is head of Responsible Innovation at Google Global Affairs, of all things. And biased is right:

“We all got screwed over in 2016. Again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again?” she says.

This is far from the first time that anti-Trump bias has been revealed at Google. A Google executive bragged about efforts to boost Latino turnout “in key states” in 2016, expecting that voting bloc to pull for Hillary Clinton. Employees at Google and other tech companies heavily favor Democrats in political contributions.

Google is taking upon itself to steer the course of these United States — in a clandestine way. O, the Democratic Party should be proud, now! The left’s cultural hegemony is really paying off.

Or is it? The Veritas revelation could effect a backlash — in votes. After all, a majority in America are not hard-core, lockstep supporters of the Democracy. Their temptation to vote left may vanish.

Of course, no single voter’s vote elects anyone. One must find an extra-instrumental reason to vote. Google may have inadvertently provided an unexpected reason to vote Trump: spite.

Against Google.

Perhaps we should define the difference between the political-cultural left and right in terms of the differing grounds upon which they become unhinged:

  • Rightists go crazy in defense of insider hierarchy, and of self and tribe.
  • Leftists run round the bend in defense of outsiders as well as in opposition to insider hierarchies.

It is fun to watch them, as if a sort of madhouse carnival. It is especially entertaining because leftists and rightists flip orientation — often erratically — depending on propinquity to power.

This allows left-wingers to say things like “Stalin was actually a right-winger” and right-wingers to call Nixon “a leftist.” And with plausibility.

One of the comedies of politics.

twv

Seeing through the political realm since 1977.

Do efforts to eliminate class in society usually just
result in the creation of new classes and, if so, why?

…as answered on Quora:

It is not clear what concept of class can stand the tests of analysis and debate. See Joseph Schumpeter’s essay on class for a decent and politically unbiased discussion. (I wrote a foreword to one ebook reprint of it. I am not sure it is still available.)

But let us pretend, for sake of this question, that common sense class notions are robust enough to work with. And that the reader will follow along with me as I present the following simple argument.

Attempts to eliminate classes, so far, have been political, governmental. That is, they involve the State.

Which means: force.

Sociologist Max Weber, in “Politics as a Vocation” (1919), wrote that “a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory” — that is, “a compulsory association which organizes domination [and] has been successful in seeking to monopolize the legitimate use of physical force as a means of domination within a territory.” Barack Obama scandalized America by repeating this basic definition in 2008. (Dumb America, of course.)

So, why is this important?

Attempts by the State to break apart classes and create one mass of humanity must fail, because those using the ostensibly legitimate force are quite distinct from those being forced. Indeed, the use of force is the separator that distinguishes so clearly that even dullards recognize that a class demarcator is in operation. It is “sticky” in all imaginations.

I bring force into the discussion because physical force is the micro-social, transactional factor that creates the most basic class distinction. It is not merely the case that one group of people, in the State, seek and work to destroy all other class distinction, leaving none left but what remains, the State/non-state. Force-relations draw the strongest line with which to separate people, at least when the directions of force go mainly one direction, between groups. The groups demarcated by force-relations constitute a new class. Force, aggression — this is the most salient social factor, stronger even than matters of family and clan (so important to Schumpeter’s theory), race, language, or generation.

Now, States usually try to provide a meta-class structure, setting terms with all perceived classes in society. This not only strengthens the State, in one sense, it does so by limiting itself, since people will still align themselves and act within the context of many state classes. These other classes provide countervailing power against the State, which often serves to limit the use of force by State actors.

But once the State seeks to destroy all other classes, the number of alternate social systems to oppose the State vanishes, and society goes into a feedback loop. We then witness a maximizing of aggression and interference by the State, turning people into stooges of the State, finking on each other in fear of being finked on first.

And worse.

Human beings naturally form groups. They must, to work and achieve, sure, but also merely to feel human. But in a society with a State program to eliminate classes, this natural, human sociality turns sour, and we almost create a new man. The human being in a one-class mass society is post-moral, fear-ridden, hubristic, anti-social. An ironic twist on the New Socialist Man prophecy? Well, it was predicted in the negative form, by socialism’s enemies in the 19th century. It came true in the Soviet Union and other failed Communist “experiments.”

And the horrifying upshot has, I am told, been exquisitely depicted on the TV show Chernobyl.

The political/bureaucratic/military attempt to create a classless society creates a class system much worse than the classes we see in our freer societies.


…a few further considerations:

Though I rely heavily on force as a basic distinguisher of class, in the answer above, I do not wish to convey the idea that it is the only distinguisher.

Indeed, in most societies at present, the State works mightily to try to muddy up and even extinguish that class indicator.

One way it does this is by the circulation of personnel along with the circulation of elite positions. Indeed, America’s founders were much concerned about this, and so pushed “rotation in office” as a way to prevent the formation of a permanent governmental class.

Another way that the early American federal republic resisted the formation of a hard state/society class split was with “the Spoils System,” in which the winners of an election would fill many government posts as rewards to supporters. This meant there was no permanent class. But the open greed and clamor for position was ugly. And corrupt. So a permanent civil service was formed. And with it, a new class.

Of course, the class structure in America and most of the West is based largely on cognitive skills, with what I call the Moderate Brights forming the main pool of people to get placed into government. And the tendency of classes to congeal around family and clan success (as Schumpeter argued) is offset somewhat by the public school system, higher education and its grants economy, and a general credentialist selection system, which technocratic progressives pushed to replace market productivity as the means for social mobility — and which they use to calcify class structure in a society under a dirigiste State.

Another method to counteract the separation of classes along what could be called the Aggression Line is ideology, which includes morality and religion. By sharing norms and myths and rites, a sharp distinction between State workers on the one hand and citizens on the other can be fuzzed up, allowing the wheels of commerce and community to flow like water around the rocks of the State.

Indeed, ideology is of paramount importance, for it is ideology that turns the water of power into the wine of authority — it is ideology that paints on the halo of legitimacy.

Further, one should always remember that human beings are naturally hierarchical animals. And though the purveyors of Equality über alles might seem to be seeking to upend all accommodations to in-group/out-group and top/bottom distinctions, their eagerness to embrace the harsh hierarchies and class distinctions of Actually Existing Anti-Class Classism belies their explicit approaches.

It is hard not to judge them as mere insurrectionists, seeking to place themselves in some advantageous class position, with their preferred in-group well-ensconced, and their place in its hierarchy secured.

Is that too reductionist? Harsh?

twv

I was reminded of my Facebook post, above, while watching Late Night, tonight, the drama about broadcast television’s least funny time slot, late night.

Though Seth Meyer, the no-longer-funny-at-all comedian of post-primetime network TV, actually makes an appearance (as himself) in this sorry contrivance, do not let that fool you: the melodrama is not without a few laughs.

But it is not a comedy, and I do not think it was trying to be.

It is the adult SJW equivalent of an “After School Special” — an earnest attempt to provide a smart secular morality play. I watched it because it got rather high marks on Rotten Tomatoes, and because I suspected these numbers were inflated by ideologues and “low-IQ individuals” (thanks, Trump).

The show stars Emma Thompson as a typically unfunny but otherwise untypical (for the networks) NPR-lite/midcult “entertainer.” You know, the kind of snob who thinks California Senator Diane Feinstein is a smart bet for a chat in front of a live New York (and national TV) audience. In other words, in a world where unintentional comedy is the kiss of death, this film specializes in unintentional realism. And the realism is about how unfunny late night comedy now is.

Just read the official synopsis — does this sound like a comedy to you?

So, why, when watching the flick, did I think of my Facebook post regarding the two stories of ideological Gray Lady nonsense?

Not because of the word “crone” — Emma Thompson is not there yet. Not quite.

The reason is the story arc: an allegedly misogynistic woman professional is redeemed by becoming yet another woke-scold pseudo-comedian, telling jokes about how male Republican Congressmen want to legislate women’s bodies because they cannot get laid, or some such nonsense.* This joke, of which much is made in service to the main plot — rescuing the career of “Katherine Newbury” — is astoundingly stale. That the authors of this lame commonplace think it (a) funny and (b) daring shows how out of touch they are.

The 80 percent Tomatometer rating is inexplicable, except as an indicator of how ideological and stupid critics have become.

But what stuck out, to me, was how conservative it all is. The whole saccharine moralism that imbues the show with its “heart” is essentially conservative. Oh, sure, because of the core bit of intersectionalism featuring writer and co-star actress Mindy Kaling — a young, earnest Indian-American — one might mistake it all as “progressive.” But progressivism is, as I have argued before, nowadays almost wholly a conservative movement, moralistically shoring up the power of a paternalistic elite. And in this movie the allegedly “progressive” #metoo hashtaggery is cautiously merged with an anti-adultery message, and we are really not very far from 1950s cultural conservatism.

Emma Thompson is a fine actress, and does her best with the limited material. She manages to almost convince the forgiving viewer that her character is a comic of the first water. When she takes to the stage in the third act, and proceeds to bomb, it is her acting alone that convinces us that her “spontaneous” routine is worth a laugh.

Mindy Kaling, who wrote as well co-stars, is thus the one to blame.

But really, for once we should spread the responsibility around: society is to blame for this inanity. For just as late-night TV has been ruined by social justice and political partisanship, so that nothing is funny any more, Late Night shows us a fantasy world where young, talentless women of color can save a show (and, by synechdoche, an industry) just by earnest moralism and blunt confidence and shepherding more talented people to being more social justice-y — a sort of doubling down of a failed strategy. Late-night and comedy in general has been ruined by the moralism of the Millennials. This movie, which asserts that this moralism and these Millennials can save late-night comedy, is not the more laughable, alas, for being preposterous.

====

* The link is with the first Times story I mention, about the young leftist who is “brainwashed” by the “alt right” to wind up exactly where Late Night winds up: in the arms of the SJWs.

. . . and that is just a small truth compared to the whole truth.

Much has been made of the Davis/Wilson leak. By Richard Dolan, for instance:

Keith Basterfield has a succinct discussion of the matter, titled “On the provenance of the purported Davis/Wilson document,” which is worth reading. Dolan puts this in perspective, despite admitting that “we are still in a hall of mirrors”:

The documents themselves are worth checking out. Here are the ones I grabbed from Imgur:

I do not know much, of course. This is not an area of my expertise. I just find it weird that smart people with a sense of history seem uninterested in the story. Could it be fear? Intellectual cowardice? Lack of curiosity? Pathetic programmed response? Centrist cultism?

A reasonable and studied skepticism?

It will be interesting to see where this all goes. My suspicion is that the big picture will turn out to be big and important. If this is a psy-op — if the leak is itself an attempt to deceive the public — it is even a bigger story than extra- or xeno-terrestrials, suggesting the lengths intelligence agencies will go to manipulate people . . . for reasons unknown.

twv

In America today the argument about immigration . . . borders on the idiotic.

Everyone seems to pretend that the debate has two sides, and that they are

Limited Controlled Immigration
versus
Open Immigration.

This is obviously not the case, for while The Wall side of the debate does want to crack down on illegal immigration, the other side actually supports (and even insists upon) Subsidized Immigration.

I lean towards open immigration, but that is not an option at present. Libertarians who pretend that open borders and free immigration are actually on the table strike me as naive at the very least. And what they are at most, well, I will not say, for it isn’t nice to say such things about your friends.

More amusing are the supporters of open borders, for though they are enthusiastic supporters of a welfare state, and even seek to extend that welfare state’s benefits to all people who can manage to get within U.S. borders, they almost never address the question of sustainability of their beloved transfer state programs.

Further, they evince a de facto policy preference in all things: what is legal shall be taxed or subsidized; what is illegal must not overburden “traditionally marginalized” groups.

And it is obvious that folks on the limited immigration side lack the courage or intelligence to attack the subsidies — which in California are set to go even to illegal immigrants* (because, I surmise, they are as addicted to subsidy as a way of life as anyone) — though, generally, they appear to understand that the practice is wrong, is indeed disastrous in the long run.

The sane compromise between the two positions? Well, that is not viable: free(ish) unsubsidized immigration. Why is it not politically possible? That should be investigated. As a matter of no small concern.


*   There have been Republican attempts to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining taxpayer subsidized benefits, but these are adamantly opposed by Democrats and courts have stricken them down. I am not sure they could be obtained without a constitutional amendment at this point. And remember, front-running Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has come out for full medical support for illegal immigrants: