Culturalism

Casting Spells

I have never read much into the idea of magic, at least beyond skimming the Harry Potter novels, or at one point trying to conjure away my final exam in middle school. Nevertheless, as someone with a wide variety of interests, I was happy to get a chance to explore the concept of words, and their capacity to control the mind in a magical sense. This experience came in the form of reading the book Spellcaster by Sidney Prince, a text which presented the English language in a way I had never considered.

Central to the book’s premise is the notion that certain words and phrases in the English language are designed to have power over or cast a spell on the unthinking user. Early in the tome Prince presents the following section related to a standard phrase of greeting:

When a person says“Good Morning”, they mistakenly cast a spell of mourning on that person. The unspoken reality is that the person casting this spell is saying “Good Morning” with the insinuation that they themselves are feeling good to mourn.[…] The spelling of “Good Morning” tells you exactly what is actually happening. You are spelling your own mourning while reconditioning yourself to think that it is good, proper, or worst of all, normal.

This may seem like over-analysis to some, but it gets more interesting. He proceeds to break down the use of the term “wake” in the context of rising from bed. Prince suggests this is a reference towards the funerary term wake, again attaching negative connotations to a relatively mundane act of life. Similarly, he posits that the word “job” is taken from Hebrew origins referring to persecution, thus people will verbally celebrate their oppression as a duty in order to make a living.

Towards the end of the text, Sidney outlines how sentences can be constructed to “break the spell” placed upon people by their unknowing use of language. These methods permit the user to conquer their previous mental and spiritual subordination, but require a clear grasp of linguistic origins for specific words. In point, he incorporates a section detailing the meaning of terms in different languages.

As something entirely new to me conceptually, I found the book really fascinating. Would recommend checking it out, or viewing his YouTube channel here.

Culturalism · Self-Improvement

Out of Time

When we are young, viewpoints tend to be informed but whatever structure or experience is immediately surrounding us. This might include features such as religion, class level, familial structure, or household setting. Over time we (hopefully) get the chance to expand our sphere of understanding through education and the pursuit of association with a wide variety of experiences which can serve to dislodge or strengthen prior opinions, depending on the impact. Ideally, the typical person will evolve gradually into a well-rounded individual with personal drive for learning and the humility to continue growing throughout life.

That is, ideally. In the torrid reality of our existence, few people bother venturing past the “Drop Off,” where  they might actually face challenges to long-held opinions. Instead, what has been known and accepted for years is simply reinforced, not forcibly through validating scenarios, but a general inability to scrap together the time needed for such change to occur. Busyness, or the impression thereof, simply lays the foundation of contended indifference towards the unknown frontier.

As noted before, this severe shortage of hours (or lack of access) can prove radically dehabilitating to the anxious mind. Millennials are the first generation to have steady means of getting on the Internet dot com, yet even there the pockets of time available for superficial research – let alone critical reading—are minor between work and digital socialization routines.   One almost has to demand the blocked out portion of a given day or weekend to ensure it occurs, and even in that case the guarantee falls less than confidently.

Now, should the research get started in earnest, the relative speed of accrual can still present a bedeviling reality for curious learners. Books take time to finish if they are going to be covered concretely, and certainly note-taking can extend this process. Then there is the question of which others to read, and the specific order of tackling, plus the overall reliability of the authors. Things can swiftly become a minefield of careful assessment and budgeting to determine precisely what writers are worthy of attention, or the most generic respect.

Perhaps more crucially, the aforementioned debate over order could serve to delay access of an important source. Taking the example of dieting books, if a person avoids reading a particular title for one or two years due to time constraints, they are likely to have gone that entire period potentially eating foods that are unhelpful to bodily prosperity. There is no basis to indict their ignorance, as it remains unwilling, yet the long-term consequences stay grim. Thus we are all victims of what we do not  yet know, and may never until it is too late.  

Is there any more saddening realization?

Culturalism · Personal Finance · Uncategorized

Monuments To Nothing

As a teenager I rode the local commuter bus to college in the days before I could afford a car. It was an interesting experience, particularly due to all the interesting characters I would come across, from government-paid drivers ranting about the dangers of socialism, to the historically butthurt claiming fares were racist. On an especially rainy day, when the bus was emptier than usual, a guy about my age struck up conversation about philosophy and life. “Mark,” as he called himself, was concerned over the decay of society, a matter being expressed in various forms, but especially so with the bland nature of architecture, which he saw as communicating nothingness and unoriginality. We ended the discourse at my stop with a handshake, and ventured off into that somber world.

I only saw Mark once after that day, this time in passing, but his message has struck me as immeasurably profound with each passing year. Even a cursory look at new developments tells the undoubting tale: the objective is functionality, not art or community. Take a glance over here, for instance:

Pretentious vinyl siding rushes about the landscape’s face, displacing any alternatives, such as wood, stone, or brick. The colors are drab stains of white or gray, cut through only by the random placement of windows giving no evidence of skilled impression apart from the tablet-fed blueprints of Toll Brothers and their associated clan. The double back doors are imprisoned by cheap-looking baby gates drilled into the siding – a final insult for those unwilling to pay for the full wooden deck model. Those so fortunate to spend the additional $20,000 can relish their descent into a yard of astro-turf grass, green and cordoned as expected.

What prevails in these models is a stark sense of disinterest in creating the classical vignette of a close-knit neighborhood. The homes (or townhomes) stand there to serve as miserable and costly testaments to the need for proximity to a commuter route, and thus Wonder Bread on the table. Anything else is beneath slight importance. After all, with “smart” devices and the surveillance witch machine, why should anyone care about their fellow residents?

The basic necessities approach pales utterly in contrast to traditional German-American visions in the Midwest, which were driven by a sense that neighborhoods and buildings ought to forge ties between those within, and reflect the dynamism of community. While house models might have been similar to start with, the final touches insisted on showcasing the unit as representative of that family. The neighborhood as a whole was meant to inspire common pride and unity, as opposed to mainline consumerist isolationism.

In many respects, modern architecture highlights our civic and cultural slouching towards mediocrity. To have something unique, one must become a collector, or maybe restore the ancient structures yet remaining. Trying to select a custom model in new residential areas is next to impossible, because everyone is expected to be the same, and observe rules issued by the tyranny of a HOA. Conformity now holds paramount importance, with the vestiges of uniqueness best expressed by a new set of wheels—themselves paid for by overextended credit and bitter squalor. Defiance only comes on the heels of financial turmoil.  So we distance ourselves, obey post-liberal rules, and settle behind the big screen for the brain-melting ganache of Netflix.

Perhaps Mark was righter than he knew. I’d like to tell him so, but that would require a world build upon  community.

Culturalism · Economic History · Federal Government

Is AOC Actually Wrong?

Ever since her victory in the 2018 Democratic primary over incumbent corporate Dem Joe Crowley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been the prevailing fodder of Conservatism Inc. They love yukking it up over her air-headed takes on the issues, and lamenting the seemingly-delusional slide of her millennial supporters towards socialism. As irrelevant as she happens to be in the grand scheme of things, they simply can’t let go of the entertainment factor.

The latest iteration of their guffawing comes in the form of the following tweet, in which she gets angry at people dismissing her as a do-nothing social media icon:

Of course we have the obligatory Cernovich reply below, which, coming from the biggest Twitter prostitute of all, drips of smug hypocrisy:

Much as we might like to dismiss AOC’s complaint, it feels rather legitimate in the context of modern politics. Sure, she mostly makes big statements and tweets, but then again, what politician doesn’t do the same? Trump certainly is guilty of this, and for that reason alone he may have lost considerable support. Take a look at these examples:

So he’s “closely monitoring” a situation as the country tears itself apart, just like he promised an executive order on birthright citizenship, and the classification of AntiFa as a terrorist organization. Then we have Jim Jordan screeching about Big Tech, all while planning to do nothing, These are supposedly “strong” indications of action, but in the end they manifest as nothing more than empty words, just like AOC’s public proclamations. The deceptive smoke blows both ways.

If we examine democracy from a broader perspective, this is not exactly new. Politicians have always made large declarations about their intentions or ideas to do something, for the simple fact that election or reelection depends upon visibility and assumed competence. A leader who chooses to play it safe and focus on the policy wonk aspects is liable to be smothered, as the media will not report anything beyond the headline, apart from C-SPAN at least. Thus these short messages are strategic, even if they amount to little in the end.

The relative “problem” caused by AOC is not so much “only tweeting,” but rather the manner in which she has somewhat dislodged the established “conservative” alternative media from its fine pedestal. Prior to her rise, the leftist burn-bringers online were largely made up of the Young Turks or ripped segments from cable news. While useful, these sources lack the power of an indignant and uncompromising opposition. AOC on the other hand injects a certain vitality into the narrative which they cannot control, especially in regards to the role of government versus corporations. That is the main issue.

Tweet on, and do nothing.   

Culturalism

Napoleon’s Wolves

As part of my research into an upcoming book project, I stumbled upon the Principles of Syndicalism by Tom Brown. Though written from an admittedly leftist perspective, it contains a number of interesting observations on the post-war labor economy, especially in the UK. Brown also dedicates a considerable amount of time outlining the specifics of a proposed syndicalist revolution, down to the merits of a standing police force used to detain counterrevolutionaries. It is here that matters become quite interesting, because he unleashes Napoleon’s wolves:

“Let us recall the story of Napoleon’s wolves. It is said that while Napoleon was Emperor the number of wolves increased in France, so Napoleon offered a large reward for each wolf’s head brought to the local authority. Wolf hunting became a lucrative profession until the wolves began to disappear. Fortunately for the hunters the decline in the wolf population was mysteriously checked and their numbers began to increase. Upon investigation the authorities discovered that, rather than lose their jobs, the hunters were breeding wolves and even shepherds had turned from their flocks for the more remunerative work of wolf breeding and hunting”

Brown employs the story to illustrate the problem of organized police attempting to protect their jobs after the revolution by generating culprits to pursue, but his approach is applicable to most institutions. How many times do we see government agencies (or their corporate cousins), actively generating self-justifying missions and spotlight vignettes in order to remain relevant? The most obvious federal example would be the FBI, as Glenn Greenwald notes:

 “The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.
Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of “entrapment” that it could almost never be successfully invoked.”

The strategy is terribly convenient. People want to feel like the government is doing something, so the feds gladly oblige, even if the cost is someone who might well be innocent. It would seem logical for such agencies to direct folks towards appropriate care or attempt to talk them down, not actively encourage terrorism for the cameras. Skepticism has gotten so bad on the matter that even radical leftists are calling the government out.

But doing so, and nipping any hostile activity in the bud, is poor content for the television cameras. They would not be able to agitate for more funding using the moralistic line of “inadequate resources,” while appealing to all the children who might be harmed otherwise. Even worse, their jobs might feel pointless, and in the loving culture of the State, that’s bad news.

Certificates · Culturalism · Federal Government

The Illusion of Resistance

Much clucking and chirping is afoot in the GOP Twittersphere over surprisingly good House election outcomes for the 2020 election. Republicans won a handful of seats, and may end up forcing the Dems as low as 220 representatives, a weak majority over next year’s Congress. Though this might seem exciting to politicos and their ilk, the result simply outlines yet again the haplessness of belief in resistance-style politics championed by both the Right and Left.

If we cycle back to 2010, the conservative party used Tea Party anger against Obamacare and “wasteful spending” to power its 63-seat swing against Democrats, leading to a majority of 242. They fell short in the Senate, but nevertheless gained seats. Now, did America see historic cuts or entitlement reform? Absolutely not, because GOP resistance amounted to simply opposing tax increases on the wealthy, whilst blocking serious spending reductions at every turn. Such bumbling proceeded on to the 2012 presidential election, which rewarded the dedicated TP activists with a campaign platform sworn to protect Mitt Romney from tax penalties and back a budget plan with net cuts of only $155 billion. Why? Because the Tea Party quickly became a subsidiary of Koch Brothers interests, not the average American.

In late 2011, Occupy Wall Street protests exploded across the country, determined to draw attention to corporate greed. Despite their fierce tenacity, and the relative pro-corporate leanings of Barack Obama, the protestors ultimately ended up serving as a political and financial cow to help Democrats retain the presidency. The people insistent on getting money out of politics helped return a figure who raised more from Wall Street corporations than his “pro-business” Republican opponent.  Once more, an allegedly populist movement got co-opted by the financial mainstream, and with scarcely a cry issued.

More recently, the Black Lives Matter riots have shown a similar nature. Although presuming to oppose a tyrannical police state praying on minorities, the street advocates and their “La Resistance” friends have no conflict with blindly obeying the dictums of CDC officials to “mask up,” or translating their movement into a train of endorsement for Biden, perhaps the vilest plutocrat to attain office in short memory. The very idea that committed protestors happily obey the medical industry complex as they pretend to stand for justice, or submissively quiet down to help a Democrat attain power; said actions demonstrate a brilliant lack of autonomy and agency which undercut the primary themes. Nothing is really being disrupted, only the comfort of political opponents.

So it’s all well and good that Republicans are excited about their prospects, but these remain meaningless without action. Until legislation is on the desk—signed—their fist-waving and proclamations about being “loyal opposition”  will stay as mere words. For opposition is futile, and resistance an illusion.

Federal Government · investing

Can Bitcoin Be Regulated?

One of the great cultural nuances of the internet is how everyone can be right. Providing you are convincing, or at least look the part, most effective dissent will get chucked out the window, along with any need for respect. In point, we have the prototypical messaging of the Bitcoin-promoting community, which often argues that digital currency is beyond government regulation or control due to algorithms and encryption. They have some credibility, but as with all things deemed to “beat the system,” there are major exceptions which must be considered.

To start, the idea that crypto transactions can simply fly under the radar is muddled by known IRS actions. The federal government has already issued warnings to thousands of people about failure to report crypto gains to the IRS, and significant penalties lurk for those who flaunt such warnings. We also have the recent indictment of John McAfee for allegedly hiding cryptocurrency assets. Thus from a reactive standpoint the State is already gearing up for the long haul fight.

Perhaps more immediately, reports suggest the government seized around $1 billion worth of Bitcoin connected to the controversial Silk Road marketplace, whose founder Ross Ulbricht was given a life sentence for numerous alleged crimes. That’s a small but noticeable chunk of the overall coin value, and it’s not the first time Uncle Sam has held a stake. Other governments such as Bulgaria have snapped up digital currency in the past, with the leaders in Sofia holding 200,000 bitcoins at one stage.

Ruling out these sorts of criminal situations, what of the more obvious methods for centralized regulation? Governments could begin requiring trading firms like Coinbase to meet specific standards of licensure and tax reporting, much as investment companies are required to do. They might also go after crypto miners, placing restrictions or taxes on their Morian mainframes These are hardly out of the question when we examine the history of the State, and its insatiable desire for money.

By this I don’t mean to suggest crypto is a bad idea; in fact, I own a great deal and will continue adding. Just avoid becoming too drunk on the swill of lolbertarianism. As Ronny boy might say, “The government wants what it wants.”

Culturalism · Federal Government

How Conservatives Protest

Last week at the MAGA rally, Sebastian Gorka spoke by the Supreme Court, loudly demanding to the Plural Left, “Where’s all the looting and burning?” Much applause followed, and conservatives proudly reminded themselves how much better they were than their liberal opponents. After further marching and cheering, they all went home.

Gorka’s comment and the behavior it refers to are important because they help encapsulate the very heart of conservative attitudes towards resistance or civil disobedience. Over the summer, the Right continued spinning narratives about how they supported “law and order” versus the historically butthurt and rich leftist protestors who milled about, smashing businesses and looting stores. The idea was that the “good guys” would defend small businesses and “Back the Blue,” while their enemies ran amuck to cause destruction.

Such a storyline works well so long as you maintain power, because it projects the Boomer idea of communities under assault by the wild and communistic. Once elections go the other way, however, the message is a completely dull edge. Peacefully protesting election officials or courts while maintaining support for the establishment (laws, police, military), effectively implies acquiescence to whatever outcome they are sworn to protect. “Law and Order” now means accepting a Bidenesque presidency, even if the tagline is that fraud has been perpetrated across the country.

Herein rests the heart of conservative struggles with any form of a civil standoff. Much as they might enjoy parading around with their gun collections and body armor wardrobes, the fact remains that any sort of outright defiance requires them to break their own political talking points on defense of public order. Doing battle with police or the military makes them “traitors,” or “unpatriotic,” so instead the approach involves softly declaring opposition and then disappearing off into a SuperBowl Sunday watch session.

For all those reasons, it is hard to imagine any significant conservative action to overturn balloting results. The courts so far have been rather timid, and individuals themselves remain caught in the same conflict of belief. Do the people defending tradition and “the way it has always been” take a risk and break their own vows?

Probably not.

Culturalism

What I Saw In DC

Thanks to a profoundly unGoldberg move today, in which I ventured up to Washington D.C. to check out the MAGA March, some observations must now be made. We’ll allow the pictures to tell a story:

Young People Are Nationalists

When Nick Fuentes began speaking, the more youthful crowd pretty much ignored establishment Republican speakers, who kept loling about courts and not being waycists. Ironically, lots of minorities were in the Fuentes crowd, despite what the media would suggest.

Westboroesque Trads Presented

Some lolbertarians began arguing with them, while others encouraged a policy of ignoring their language.

LOTS of Anti-CCP Protestors

This was a small part of a massive parade led by Chinese folks against the CCP. Taiwanese activists were there as well.

AntiFa Girls Love Sweatshop Companies

People Trust SCOTUS To Help Trump

Those Numbers Tho