Culturalism · Federal Government

In The Name of The King

A recent inductee to my reading convent was Prussianism and Socialism by Oswald Spengler. The German philosopher is often cited by modern conservatives decrying the West’s decline, particularly in the face of radical Islam, yet they conveniently leave another part out: his harsh criticism of liberalism and a full-throated advocacy for the monarchical system. Given my own skepticism of kingship, I was pleased to read his compelling argument in favor such a model. According to Spengler:

“The leadership of such a system cannot be ‘republican’ Putting aside all illusions, ‘republic’ means today the corruptibility if executive power by private capital. A prince will obey the tradition of his house and the philosophy of his calling. No matter what our opinion of this may be, it removes him from the special political interest of parties as we have them now. He acts as their arbitrator. And, if in a socialistically structured state, membership of the professional councils including the State Council itself is determined in view of practical talents, the prince can narrow the selection by use of ethical and moral criteria. A president, prime minister, or popular representative is the pawn of a party, and a party is in turn a pawn of those who pay for it. The prince is today a government’s only protection against big business. The power of private capital is forcing a unification of socialist and monarchist principles. The individualistic ideal of private property means subjugation of the state by free economic powers, i.e., democracy, i.e., corruptibility of the government by private wealth. In a modem democracy the leaders of the masses find themselves in opposition, not to the capitalists but to money and the anonymous power it exerts. The question is how many of these leaders can resist such power.”

This perspective undoubtedly holds currency among American thinkers today. No matter how hard the grassroots activists work to express their varied aspirations for change, the political tide of complacency remains, driven eternally by money, and the elections dependent upon it. The dynamic helps us understand why Trump’s agenda was largely untouched by the Senate majority, and Bernie fans saw the party shift safely back into the corporate column on both sides of the ticket. The peso wins again.

Spengler’s idea is of course not new. Plato specifically designed his Republic in response to the shortcomings of Greek democracy, creating three classes to administer various aspects of society. At the top were the Guardians, who placed the highest value on knowledge and truth, including the famed “philosopher king.” The state system was protected by the Auxiliaries class, or warriors and soldiers devoted to courage, honor, and homeland (nation). Finally, there stood the Producers, a business classes devoted to the fruit of their labors and material gain.

The model of Plato works to ensure those who love money are deprived from holding the reins of power due to their underlying nature. While the private sector may excel at creating products and generating wealth, it rarely observes standards of virtue, and certainly does not respect the ethical role of the state. Corporations frequently pollute, attempt to diminish worker rights, and undermine the national identity through policies of free movement. They care little of traditions or family, because items can be marketed to anyone with money to pay and a heart to lust.

What remains to be seen is how long the tender auspices of liberal democracy will be enough to keep the populace content. Regardless of which outcome flies this November, it is likely that the multinational establishment will continue scoring wins at the expense of both the people and the integrity of the federal system.  And obviously any checks on this slide require employment of the popular election model, which freely cooperates with private sector money. The cycle continues.

 That is, unless a coronation occurs.

Culturalism · Federal Government · investing · Personal Finance

Corporations Don’t Want To Compete

The common line in conservative and libertarian circles is that corporations are suffering. All they truly want is to operate in the free market without government intrusion, but the State is a harsh mistress. So they are left to solemnly trudge on, tears at the corners of their eyes, wishing and wondering if someday a change might materialize.

While this remains a touching and heart-plucking image, it simply fails to measure up in the real world. Despite the protests of economic liberals, very few firms (at least the larger ones) actually desire substantial market competition, which can easily cut into their profits and require continuous innovation. They find it far easier to establish a dominant position from where effective opposition can be limited, if not entirely stomped out.

In case skeptical souls raise complaints, let us go directly to the source. Peter Thiel, the brilliant co-founder of PayPal, flat out admitted in his excellent book Zero To One that creating monopolies is the way to get rich. Corporations follow his lead quite dutifully, buying up smaller competitors before things get too large, and lobbying for regulations to help protect themselves against new blood. After all, the more market share one firm controls, the less ability tiny rivals have to threaten margins by offering cheaper products.

With this in mind, the primary beneficiaries of free market economics would be startups and small companies, not the towering juggernauts operating today. Of course the problem does not end there. So long as we operate within the bounds of a system where power can be influenced by corporate money through the Legislative and Executive branches, the lobbying for price controls and regulations shall continue. Thus even a genuinely “lolbertarian” system exalting no regulations would eventually be subverted if the reins of power were democratic (or the national leadership could somehow be groomed by big money).

Indeed, were we to establish a system like the aforementioned one, officials would still have to contend with the question of mergers and acquisitions, moves which themselves can diminish market freedom. The debate would then rise as to whether antitrust laws are an acceptable form of regulation to preserve a less-regulated model. Yet does such a position invalidate the purity of the free market model?

The jury is out with their competing opinions, but Corporate America knows exactly where it wants to be.

Culturalism

Are Gay Men Braver Than Straights?

Throughout modern history, gay men have been stereotyped as weak, effeminate, emotional, and inferior to their straight equivalents. The terms “Nancy boy” or “flamboyant” give currency to this image, with gay fellows viewed as essentially male versions of women who over-dramatize things for the sake of attention.  They are abject “queens,” filling a role in society but never quite measuring up to the level of masculinity reserved for the primary orientation, especially those versions who are conservative in nature.

Strangely enough though, reality beckons in a different direction. Across the globe, gay or bisexual men have emerged as a visible challenge to social decline and demographic threats, even as their straight (and usually Christian) equivalents stand idly by. This post is not designed to oversimplify, but at least as far as the political classes are concerned, straight men continue to let down the cause of cultural warfare in favor of big financial interests.

We can commence in Europe and highlight the question of Islam. In Holland, where Islamic migration has created a significant problem for the native population, it was Pim Fortuyn who led the political front in opposition, while straight conservative men played the milquetoast, “promote economic growth” card. Fortuyn, himself a Catholic yet also openly gay, would pay the ultimate price when he was assassinated before elections in 2002.

Moving southeast a bit, we encounter the legacy of Jorge Haider, a bisexual nationalist who led the Freedom Party of Austria and the later Alliance for Austria to great political acclaim, only to be (I suspect targeted) for a premature end in 2008. His most visible successor is “HC” Stratche, an absolute disaster (and possible plant) who destroyed the best chance of the FPO at enacting federal migration policies in years with his petty corruption. The consequence is a coalition government including the Green Party, and overall watered down internal security policy.

Our friends in Japan had their own version of a gay icon in the form of Yukio Mishima, who famously attempted to restore the Imperial Japanese system and died in the process, leaving a beautiful literary legacy behind along with several children. In contrast, the present Japanese nationalist scene is dominated by Shinzo Abe, a neoliberal activist who has never sired a single child. Abe is not all-bad, to be sure, but the stark  separation in approaches is telling.

America’s national scene demonstrates a markedly similar conflict. Those termed as “strong conservatives” include the likes of James Lankford and Mike Lee, both dedicated sell-outs to multinational corporations who care nothing about the nation’s long-term destiny.  Religion and traditional values are at best sleeve badges to attain votes, and little else. In contrast, openly gay journalists like Milo Yiannopoulos have made fools of progressives, while officials such as Richard Grenell do what their straight predecessors were too timid to accomplish, domestically and on the international stage.

Perhaps it comes as a function of the social isolation experienced by gay males steeling their resolve against the world, but the phenomenon is nonetheless intriguing. Married straight men with wives and children frequently prove themselves to be dithering weaklings who will accede to protest groups in a heartbeat simply to appear “tolerant,” even while the same respect is not afforded to individuals who back them. Is this effort due to a feeling that they must “keep the peace,” both economically and on the home front?

I believe so, and the implications are dreadful. It is time for us as straight men to seriously consider which aspect matters more: money, or our national future?

Culturalism · Uncategorized

Democracy’s Free Pass

Historical myopia is incredible. After reading through countless books on the early 20th Century nationalist movements, I have determined there is no Western scholar incapable of twisting events into an indictment of particular figures, strictly on the basis of them not being popularly elected. Wherever and however, they stretch the truth so as to hold anti-democratic regimes accountable for standards far beyond the reach of liberal opponents, even when the evidence is glaring.

Case in point: Benito Mussolini. Most writers will concede that his rule was relatively benign, with the harshest punishment for enemies usually entailing imprisonment on islands or in small villages, not the dreadful conditions of some concentration camp. Nevertheless, they persist, scraping at any random example to find fault. For Mussolini, this is the claim that he killed countless Ethiopians with poison gas, because he wanted their land. The less-examined record of course reveals that the weapon was used sparingly at specific infrastructure sites, and as a response to the African nation’s longtime atrocities, including the use of exploding bullets on Italian soldiers. None of that is relevant though, because he was a fascist, and that makes him a war criminal.  

Now suppose we examine for a second the legacy of Barack Obama, our former commander-in-chief. As president, he authorized the killing of over 3,700 people using drone strikes, with over 300 of those being civilians. More than this, he went so far as to brag about his ability to end the lives of the targets, most of whom were brown Middle Eastern people:

“Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”

His crowning achievement in this regard was the shelling of Libya, which culminated in an attack on the convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan leader reportedly asked his attackers “What did I do to you?” as he was sodomized with a bayonet , beaten, and shot to death. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (another empowered product of democracy) cackled about the killing, saying “We came, we saw, he died.”

Just like that. Pure sadism and mass murder, yet how many scholars have written (or will write) books describing Obama as a war criminal? Will Hillary sit awkwardly in a Nuremberg defense box, awaiting the ultimate penalty? Might children grow up absorbing histories about the cruelty and vicious nature of these figures, and how justice was done?

Of course not. They were democratically elected, and therefore all actions taken, whether for “national security” or “the promotion of human rights,” stand to be moderately brushed away as acceptable. Sure, one or two historians will bring up the drone issue, but only as a minor footnote on the page of “controversy,” a term which alone nullifies all seriousness. Chances are, such creatures will end up being celebrated by children for their bravery, tenacity, and progressiveness.

Cast a few votes, and suddenly the rules don’t apply.

Book Reviews · Culturalism

Russert Family Wisdom

This past week I read through Big Russ and Me, an autobiographical tale from the late Tim Russert, one of the last genuine journalists in America. Although a self-described Democrat, he made an effort to present unbiased and competitive material on Meet The Press, heralding an era of media practice which has long since ridden off into the glorious sunset. Unsurprisingly, his book is filled with exceptional anecdotes and lessons in wisdom from both himself and his father, so I decided to recount some of them in this post.

On Meeting People

“Dad insisted on a firm handshake, and he worked with me until I developed one. ‘When you meet somebody,[…] you want to make them feel that you’re proud and happy to know them. So don’t put a wet fish in their hand. Give that hand a good shake, snap your wrist, and look them in the eye. People are people, and if they like you, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated.’”

On Family Honor

“All I’m asking—wait, I’m not asking, I’m telling you—is, Don’t do anything to embarrass our family name. If you embarrass yourself, you embarrass all of us. We all make mistakes, but if you go out there and do something you know you shouldn’t be doing, that’s a tough one.”

On The Role of a Father

Russert talks about growing up in Buffalo, New York during the 50s and 60s, when most men held two or three jobs to make end meet. This was simply the way of life, although I’m sure it might seem like a anathema to some of the manosphere. He sums it up as follows:

“The primary obligation of a husband and a father was to provide for his family, and if it meant working two jobs, that was what you did.”

On Identity Politics

During the 1960 presidential campaign, Russert describes the excitement among Irish Catholics over the ascendancy of John F. Kennedy. His father’s friend Edwin Dill asks him about this:

“Timmy, why are you for Kennedy?

“Because he’s Irish Catholic,” I replied.

“And if there was a barber who couldn’t cut hair, and he was Irish Catholic, would you go to him?”

On Weak Parenting

“In this respect, I believe that parents of my generation have often failed our kids. We are so eager to be understanding and sympathetic that we end up being too lenient, even as we further undermine the already diminished authority of teachers, coaches, and principals.”

On Buying a Luxury Car

After Russert made it big in the news media, he offered his father any luxury car he wanted as a gift. “Big Russ” asked only for a Ford Crown Vic, with the following explanation:

“Do I think it’s  a better car? No, of course not. But If I came home with a big fancy Cadillac, do you know what people would say? ‘What happened to Tim? He’s showing off. He got too big for us. His kid made it and how he’s driving a Cadillac.’ No, I can’t do that. A Mercedes? A Lexus? Can’t do that either. We beat those guys in the war. This is what I want: a good American car. This is who I am, all right?”

On Student Loans

His father had an interesting idea of student assistance for college which makes a lot of sense in principle when we think of the national debt problem:

“If you can’t repay those loans, that money won’t be there for the next kid.”

“The sooner you pay them off, the sooner that money will be there for somebody else.”

On the Vietnam War

‘’We can be for peace without supporting the enemy. We can be against the war without rooting for the other side.”

On Human Loss

After a childhood friend of his died, Russert’s dad attempted to comfort him:

“Would it have been better if Paul’s family had never known him? Or should they be grateful, even in their grief, for nineteen years of love and memories? Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence had suffered a terrible loss, but if they had been offered the possibility of having Paul in their lives for nineteen years, they would have taken the deal without question.”

On Advice For His Son

“You do, however, owe this world something. To live a good and decent and meaningful life would be the ultimate affirmation of Grandpa’s lessons and values. The wisest commencement speech I ever was all of fifteen words: ‘The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.'”

Culturalism · Self-Improvement

When Positivity is Delusional

A frequent criticism I’ve received over the years is that I’m too negative, at least when contrasted with the saucer-eyed, “Heeey guyyyz” entertainers potted about on the Internet dot com. The primary factor might be my voice, which has always been described as monotone, even when I am not trying to be, but at any rate the perception sticks, regardless of what is being discussed. I have of course made the distinction between realism and cynicism where folks accuse me of the latter, yet the chatterbirds continue shrieking, because they want something positive.

The problem is, positivity can often be a mask for real issues. The country is burning from communist-fueled riots, and our currency continues to hyperinflate, but no worries, because there is a nice Independence Day parade, and flags aplenty. There are monster video game birds to beat, and softer bird varieties to game in real life.  Pills can cure diseases, and even bring smiles to the depressed, providing we all remain upbeat and happy. Just listen to the music, and slowly mong to some Snow Patrol. It’ll be ok.

In this way the positivity gospel becomes so fanatical that any dissent is viewed with derision and seen as heresy. No matter how “positive” the intentions of the messenger might be, his interruption of the comfortable norm means he must be labeled as a depressing fatalist or misanthrope. That innocent act of pricking the lovely bubble of punchbowl ecstasy makes him marked for erasure, lest he otherwise white-out their splendid existence.

But of course unfettered positivity is dangerous, and the responsible souls must call it out. How can anyone fathom telling a man to wed a harlot, or buy a car at 18 percent APR, just because it carries a good attitude to the fore? Should you abandon the youth to become rabble merely so no one’s Mozilla-endorsed “be proud of yourself” groove is thrown off by an elderly curmudgeon?

Positivity advocates will of course respond by claiming they do not actually support such ideals, yet their actions are telling. There is only so much that self-talk, weight-lifting, and pro-energy dieting can accomplish before an individual is forced to be honest (read: a realist) and make changes that will  ruffle the feathers of that “slap you bro’s ass” crowd and their committed Wayne Newton smiles.

As for myself, I will continue to speak out, because while we may not successfully mobilize the masses, every mind pinged might just nudge another in the right direction.  The momentum could become a waterfall, then perhaps collapse into a gushing ocean. Things might just change.

And to be honest, that sounds pretty positive.

Culturalism · Relations and Dating · Self-Improvement

The Importance of Keeping a Journal

“Those fateful days, robust hours, frightful minutes, all lost to the shimmering gray wall of forever.”

Not sure where that quotation came from, so we’ll just say Martin Goldberg. At any rate, it touches upon one of the most direct arguments I can make for the maintenance of a daily – if not at least every other day—written journal. This remains one of the most crucial habits you can adopt in life, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the practice is relatively uncommon.

As human beings, our capacity for long-term memory is relatively limited. Most of us cannot remember in detail a single day twenty years ago, or even one two weeks passed. It could be something to do with the monotony of everyday life, yet the realization is no less disconcerting under that lens. It is probably not a stretch to say that 97 percent of your life is a frantic blur, and that is somehow acceptable. I try to even but I simply cannot.

Think of the memories, the specifics, whether good or bad, all dashed to pieces in short order, their legacies gone before a second breath. The magnitude is an overwhelming spell of terror. What’s more, those absent slices of time make up your life.

On this very hill we must consider the value of a journal. By jotting down specific notes of what went on and who was involved, the individual crafts an enduring story which can outsmart the mind and leave imprints to be rediscovered in later days. There is no more – or certainly less—of the scrambling wonder, the attempt to recall a name or face, especially as you gaze down the churning tide of advanced age. Instead of being a stumbled and haggard crone reaching for the vanished past, you can feel the touch of scrolls, the scent of faded ink, the love of days gone by but never perished. You have the ability to return, and to revisit.

Now of course at some point you may pass on into that place beyond the stars, where few souls have gone and reported back. Yet with a journal you live on. The heart of the child, young or grown to fill difficult shoes, will look at and enter the mind of his father, feel the echoes of the time, the memory he was too small to experience. Daughters will find the wisdom of their mother, what things she loved, the joy that spoke, rich tears all cried. The legacy will be one living, from time towards a horizon eternal.

All fault of a pen touched gently to the paper.

Culturalism

The Culture of Neglect

This past week I got to read through A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, the delightful tome of a Japanese spiritualist. What struck me most about his Buddhist philosophy was the emphasis on dignity and value for all things, including the inanimate objects cluttering life. This latter approach is one less visible in Abrahamic traditions, perhaps because they tend to focus on the afterlife as opposed to the material world. Regardless, it got me thinking about how we go about living, and the relationships between individuals and their possessions.

At some point as children, we all probably mistreated a toy. Perhaps broke the arms of an action figure, or melted something down just to see it ooze. Were we all little Sids in training, or did the behavior merely reflect a lack of instilled admiration for the value of those plastic objects?  Maybe too much is made of the concept, but Shoukei Matsumoto’s book makes that and more. He evangelizes the importance of honoring everything which has served us in life, from the moment it escapes the box to the time of being laid to rest.

Beyond plastic, the viewpoint expands to other questions. How many times do people throw away food that is uneaten, or allow clothes to become rags out of sheer neglect? How often do we see working appliances or furniture chucked out on a curb because they have some blemish, or are simply not as glistening as before? They may have served long and well in some capacity, but just when usefulness seems to fade, it is like they never existed.

I thought the same about the house I am currently living in. After weeks of effort and money, the place is coming together nicely, and yet it didn’t have to be that way. Even some minor cleaning and painting—relatively cheap and time sensitive—would have mitigated the issues now slowly being dispersed. Whenever I take a ride into town, I see countless siblings remanded to the same fate: forlorn, unkempt, overgrown by ivy, and my heart weeps for them. Unremarkable structures of wood, brick, and stone, yet as I pass they seem to cry out in solemn tones: will someone please love me?

 Yet the answer is silent. Every last one of them is a casualty of consumerist melancholy, much like the items we discard because a replacement is so easy to attain. So that new candidate can enjoy the spotlight for a few months, until the same fate caterwauls destiny where many junkyards have wandered.

Here I pause and try to imagine, what if we did more with less? Suppose those food scraps all went into gardens, those fabrics turned to quilts, and those plastic soldiers received a proper funeral.

Might we have souls of peace?

Culturalism · Uncategorized

Why Ignorance Survives

Over the last two months, I have been aggressively reading and note-taking in preparation for the assembly of my book on Italian Fascism. As I worked through a section last night concerning the welfare policies of the state, I was struck by something embodied in the situation: the book used as a reference was first published in 1936, and few copies are still available. To the average American reader, it practically doesn’t exist.

This issue is far more prominent than people can begin to imagine. The only reason I stumbled upon the book in the first place was my university library, which is larger and older than that of the previous college I attended. Even after that point, it was only on account of my shelling out some shekels that I secured a personal copy on AbeBooks. In many other cases, I would never have figured out how access the text because of its mystery.

And indeed the record shows truth. Prior to entering college, I wrote a piece about the Fascist policy of Corporatism, castigating it for creating poverty, and attempting linkage with the Wall Street goonism in our own country. Of course I had no idea what corporatism entailed, or how it came to be under Fascism; I simply followed the popular interpretation of libertarian louts and progressives peons. I mean, what else was there to do?

Herein rests the epic problem of our society: the sources which can change hearts are almost always unheard of, or at least locked behind the secure door of financial declarations. One rather short book I purchased for my project cost twenty-five bucks, all so I could have a couple of citations otherwise unavailable on the Internet dot com. Like the other piece, I only knew about it because I was in proximity to the right place.

Thus we are left with a situation where most people interested in knowledge have to rely on Google, which never manipulates results or suppresses what they don’t agree with. Or perhaps spit some dollars for a JSTOR subscription to access primary sources. Apart from that, it’s whatever comes up on the Bing click or the shanty offerings in your local library. As if that is all the knowledge you need.

What a scary thought. Entire generations of the mind shaped by a selective sieve of the empowered and well-meaning who run our technology and political organizations. This is the ultimate state of modern humanity, after supposed years of evolution.

I suppose I’ll get back to my research now, and hopefully at some point, remember to forget.

Culturalism · Federal Government

What Happened To Liberal Values?

Since January 2017, we have been subjected to a deluge of hand-wringing over liberal ideas and constitutional freedoms. Such lamentations have certainly existed before, but never with the same obsessive dedication as in the age of Trump. It is almost as if people believe these principles are suddenly at stake, while under prior regimes they remained safe.

But there is one problem: they have never meant anything, or least not in the way most people think. Sure, one can cry about the Constitution and the Rule of Law, yet neither amount to much unless they are defended, unreservedly. Spectators seem to think we can somehow maintain the general concepts absent any substantial sacrifice, and in the process invalidate all which is at stake. The battle is lost in their thoughts, and thus nobody lifts a finger.

The most evident indictment on this question is that of private property. While liberalism can lay claim to allowing a certain degree of social barbarism in the name of free expression, its adherents have no place to flee on the matter of individual sovereignty over possessions. America was founded largely on this basis, with our Constitution borrowing heavily from the writings of John Locke, perhaps the greatest advocate of property rights known in the Western world. In his own words:

“Every man has a property in his own person.  This nobody has any right to but himself.  The labor of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.”

The very notion of being able to own something without threat of feudalistic seizure by some petty monarch has become sacrosanct in the broader liberal world, despite attempts to erode through acts such as eminent domain. Crimes of trespassing are still regularly enforced, and theft is considered a serious crime in most jurisdictions.

Until now. For all that the liberal republican system has promised to safeguard rights, the riots and looting of the last several weeks shows its agnostic opinion of self. Businesses or cars immolate and merchandise streams from the shelves unpaid, as scarcely soft murmurs escape the lips of the liberty-promoters. Police cannot respond, soldiers are warned against reacting, and politicians condemned for trying to bring order. Yet somehow, we are still implored to believe in the existence of these principles.

Even anti-skeptics must admit it is nearly impossible. The very essence of liberal religiosity requires that people can live without fear of losing their “pursuit of happiness” to the enraged mob of our current year, and edgy suspicion grows every day, with atheistic reactions not far behind. A spiritual awakening seems necessary to stem the tide, if only it can come. Of course such a development requires the will to act, and the liberal order has not anything close.

So softly the Republic burns.