Many people complain that President Donald Trump has broken the norms of the office of President. However, I believe that those norms were already broken, and that is partly why we elected Trump in the first place. Can we go back to the way things were?
In my fourth livestream I discuss the ongoing breakdown of law and order and look at how our worldview informs how we see current events.
Watch on Periscope, or listen to the audio through iTunes or your favorite podcast source.
At the heart of so many of our disputes today is the question of who owns America. Who has the best claim on this country, this nation? What makes someone an American? As rioters storm our streets to take our country by violence, I try to figure out who this country really belongs to.
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In my third livestream I discuss the chaotic week that was, as riots have engulfed most of our major cities. The division in our country has never been greater, and this could be just the beginning.
(Note that the Periscope video cuts off at about 34 minutes – I am not sure why, as I streamed for 51. The audio version posted below has the full stream.)
If truth no longer matters in America, what does? People today interpret the news and current events based upon their tribal affiliation, and every tribe acts in its own interests, except for one.
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Truth is treason in the empire of lies. We live in that empire today, where news media and politicians are working to convince us that up is down, right is wrong, and two plus two equals five. Fight back against the lies by keeping your eye on the truth.
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Friday night I recorded my second livestream, this time with a better camera. In this stream I ask if the good times are over for good, talk a bit more about Justin Amash, look at the way the FBI framed General Flynn, and take milquetoast conservatives to task for fighting harder against the right than the left. Check it out!
No matter where you look, our society feels like it is rapidly spinning out of control:
- The response to the coronavirus pandemic might well be worse than the virus itself, as our economic shutdown has now displaced thirty million American workers.
- Supply chains have been disrupted, and some are predicting massive food shortages across the entire world.
- The left is using the virus as an excuse to push their entire wish list from open borders to green energy to 1984-style surveillance.
- China is ascendant in the world, using their military to bully their neighbors and their propaganda machine to cow Americans who question our relationship with them.
- Migrants are still coming to civilized nations, crossing both the Mediterranean and Rio Grande at will.
The whole world is hurtling down the road like a runaway truck, with no way to hit the brakes. How can we disengage before we utterly crash? Where is the off-ramp from this highway to hell?
Let us start with the economy, which was running at full steam just two months ago: Unemployment was below 3.5%. The stock market, which includes all our retirement accounts, was at record highs. The housing market was expanding, and new construction was happening everywhere. The response to the coronavirus pandemic has shattered that strong economy, yet the cracks were there for anyone to see. Unfunded state liabilities continued to increase, without hope of being fulfilled. Federal deficits continued to be more than a trillion dollars a year, and the growth of our national debt showed no signs of slowing. Much of our economic expansion had been driven by infinite debt, as the Fed continued printing nearly free money. The employment numbers masked some problems too, as many of the new jobs over the last decade went to temporary migrants rather than American citizens. Outsourcing has only increased over the last decade, and the massive spike in unemployment brought on by the pandemic response is unlikely to stem the tide. President Trump last week signed an executive order to limit immigration and work permits, but the big business interests that have an outsized voice in the Administration managed to carve out exceptions for foreign tech and farm workers.
The time to patch these cracks was before a global emergency, not during one. Once we are in the middle of a crisis, corporations and elected officials feel the need to take drastic measures to “save” the economy. As soon as the crisis began every big business came to Congress hat in hand demanding a bailout. After all, when the market crashed in 2008, the government declared all these businesses “too big to fail” and bailed them out with taxpayer money. In a real free market economy, there is no such thing as “too big to fail”. Ideally, we would let airlines, banks, and other corporations go bankrupt in order to clear the deck of over-extended and inefficient corporations. Bankruptcy is not dirty word; rather it is a vital part of a free market. Over-extended businesses and diseconomies of scale need to be partitioned and sold off to satisfy their creditors, not given a cheque from the taxpayer that allows them to continue operating inefficiently. Yet there are few elected officials with the courage to do what is necessary to fix the fundamental problems of our economy. Anything that is worth doing will inevitably result in electoral losses. The American people, having been fed media propaganda for generations, will not accept a politician who takes these problems seriously. Instead, we demand pat answers to hard questions. Instead of fixing the problems, elected leaders just kick the can further down the road, hoping to have retired into a comfortable lobbying gig before the bill comes due.
The pandemic is also showing the vulnerability of our supply chains in multiple ways. When China locked down in January and February, this started a chain reaction that is just beginning to reverberate through the world economy. So many of our essential goods are manufactured in China now, from electronics to antibiotics to the raw materials for most everything else. This was bad enough before Europe and the US locked down as well, and now every industry in the world is facing Armageddon. It has taken this crisis to demonstrate how weak we are left by relying on foreign nations for our supply lines, especially belligerent nations such as China. Back in the 1980s and 90s, our leaders thought they could liberalize China by normalizing trade. After all, open cultural exchange with the Soviet Union brought down that Communist juggernaut, so why not China? However, in this case the reverse happened, and the Chinese Communist Party corrupted America. Corporations such as Google and Apple happily work with China to censor the internet and crack down on dissidents, the NBA and Hollywood prostrate themselves before their new Chinese benefactors, and American media outlets reprint Chinese propaganda because it serves their short-term anti-Trump narratives.
Disentangling us from China will likely be difficult. Big corporations have found it lucrative to fire American employees in favor of foreign temp workers, who are cheaper and easier to control. In addition to corporate outsourcing, China has also taken full advantage of our education system. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students come to America to learn engineering while we waste our time teaching our own young people grievance studies. Like big businesses, universities will resist any effort to stop the flow of foreign students. Once again, it would take politicians with more courage than we currently see in Congress to stop this cycle. Globalist elites see themselves as beyond such petty distinctions as citizenship, so they see no reason not to sell out to China if it helps their bottom line. For the elites, this pandemic is not an existential crisis like it is for the little people, but rather an opportunity for greater wealth and power. The time to solve these issues was before this mess began.
Our food supply might also be in danger. A few days ago, the CEO of Tyson, the country’s largest chicken producer, put out an ad saying that this shutdown is going to destroy the market for meat. I have seen stories and pictures of chickens and hogs being destroyed because farmers say they are unable to get them processed. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. I do know that far too much of our meat industry is controlled by foreign owners, who heavily depend upon migrant labor, and that it is far too centralized in the hands of just a few corporations. While a meat shortage would be devastating for the American people, the globalist left seems to be looking forward to it. Over the last year the media has been pumping out stories about meat being bad for your health as well as for the environment, and that we should switch to eating soy protein or bugs instead. Many on the carnivore right wondered about the purposes of this propaganda barrage. Well, here we are, and the American people have been primed to accept a future where we eat insects instead of hamburgers. However, it should go without saying that while we eat bugs and soy paste, the elites will still be eating steak at Davos.
The globalist left is advancing on the domestic front as well. While the Trump victory in 2016 was a blow to their totalitarian dreams, they were not vanquished completely, and the last few years have seen them redoubling their efforts to permanently crush us under their boots. They have raised their derangement to a fever pitch, and as soon as they control the government again, they plan massive retribution. This pandemic is giving them the opportunity for a trial run of authoritarianism:
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered stores to stop selling “non-essential” items. The government bureaucrats who decided what was considered “non-essential” banned such things as lawn tools and seeds, which a rational person would think of as being important in the face of uncertain times.
- The Democratic governors of Massachusetts and Colorado ordered gun and ammunition stores to be shut down, despite the increased risk of lawlessness and danger due to prisoners being released for fear of infection.
- Governor Andrew Beshear of Kentucky ordered churches closed on Easter Sunday, without exception for drive-in services. He sent State Patrol officers to churches to record license plates of congregants in order to cite them later.
These dictatorial orders are less about protecting citizens from a virus than about simply enforcing the will of these petty tyrants. On Good Friday, the Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee tweeted:
“We respectfully ask that churches in our area not move forward with “drive-in” worship services or any other kind of public assembly. Allowing people to gather, even in their cars with the windows rolled up, will be considered a violation of our directives.”
Did you catch that? “…a violation of our directives”. This is not about public safety; it is about humiliating American citizens into respecting the unconstitutional authority of our elected officials.
Of course, as is usually the case, the laws made for the little people do not apply to the big people. After closing non-essential businesses in New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio went out to his favorite gym. After telling Chicago citizens to stay home, Mayor Lori Lightfoot went out to have her hair done. She had the chutzpah to defend her decision, saying “I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.” The mask has come completely off, and our bureaucratic tyrants are telling us to our faces that they are more important than us. The concept of “public service” has been inverted in America today. Rather than facing a single tyrant like King George III, we have thousands of little tyrants, each doing their best to interfere in our daily lives in a way that King George never could have dreamed.
In Arkansas, a twelve-year-old girl was playing basketball outside by herself, so city officials removed the basketball hoop. Police in Colorado found a man playing t-ball with his six-year-old daughter in an empty park, and they arrested him, putting him in handcuffs in front of his little girl. These stories go on and on. It is insane, but this is what America is like in the age of a thousand petty tyrants. However, keeping people out of public parks is just the beginning. The Atlantic recently published a piece extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and censorship:
“In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.”
Remember when the left was in favor of free speech, free expression, and an open internet? Those days are long gone. Today’s left looks at the authoritarianism of Communist China as an example, not a warning. Of course, the big question left unanswered here is who should decide what is compatible with society’s norms and values? I doubt the writers of The Atlantic would consider traditional American values to be their goal. A century ago, our norms and values were unabashedly Christian, with emphases on hard work, personal liberty, and the importance of the family. Today, powerful cultural forces are working to change our so-called norms to something much more sinister: Socialism and dependence upon government; collectivism rather than liberty; and the destruction of the traditional family. The people in charge of enforcing these norms are social justice warriors at Twitter, Facebook, and Google who boast of their mental illness and declare that transgenderism, homosexuality, atheism, and even pedophilia are all right and proper while traditional American values are on par with Naziism. These are the values that The Atlantic, and the rest of the globalist progressive left, want to impose upon you and your children.
How did we let this happen? Where was the off-ramp from this cultural freeway? Conservatives ceded control of the culture in the 60s, and the left never looked back. Even as the Communist experiment failed in the Soviet Union, the American left was content to march slowly through our institutions, turning public schools, universities, television, music, comic books, and everything else into instruments of cultural destruction. Where were the conservatives? Sitting on a cruise ship lobbying for tax cuts. Where were the Christians? Whistling past the graveyard while their children were converted under their noses. I often hear conservative Christian friends talk about reclaiming our culture, as if a few Bible verses posted on Facebook can reverse a century of cultural decline. That ship sailed three generations ago. The time to fix this was when the left made their first assault upon our defenses, not when they have all but won and are just mopping up the few who remain. Imagine if we tried to fight Nazi Germany by sending our children to the Hitler Youth to act as missionaries for American culture. Absurd, right? Yet that is exactly what millions of Christian parents have done over the last three generations: They sent their children to be brainwashed in progressive prisons and while naively expecting that an hour or two of church every Sunday would counter the damage.
With regards to international diplomacy, the world is due for a major conflagration. War was once a regular occurrence in the affairs of nations – as Clausewitz said, war is politics by other means. In the first half of the 20th century, hundreds of millions died due to war and the accompanying starvation and genocides. The “small” wars we have engaged in since Vietnam have lulled us into a false sense of security about world peace. It was just over a century ago that World War I was fought over land, colonies, and diplomatic insults. Ironically, learned men had been writing during the first decade of the 20th century that war was obsolete. They believed that the new global economy of the 1900s made war impossible, that nations were two intertwined to possibly go to battle. Sound familiar? Nuclear weapons have been a deterrent to war between great powers since the end of World War II, but the pressure cannot keep building forever. The current diplomatic situation looks a lot like it did before World War I, with an ascendant China in place of the Kaiser’s encircled Germany.
Chinese elites believe that this is their time. If the 1800s were the British century and the 1900s were the American century, then why should the next hundred years not be the Chinese century? China has an old and proud culture, and they were the jewel of world civilizations a thousand years ago. By the Industrial Era, however, they had been eclipsed by the west, culminating in a humiliating defeat at the hands of the British who fought to keep the opium trade going. The Chinese have long memories, and they still aspire to be the greatest civilization in the world. They have been working patiently toward that end since 1948, and their work has finally started bearing fruit. Today, China has a massive economy, and consider themselves at the forefront of technological development. They are building a navy that can project power throughout the region, and perhaps even challenge the mighty US Navy for dominance in the South China Sea. They know that time is on their side. Over the last half century, America has become weaker and more dependent upon nations such as China for supplies, while China itself has become stronger. They are propagandizing our children in our own schools using fronts like the Confucius Institute. While the coronavirus pandemic is generating support for decoupling from China, it might be too little, too late. What happens tomorrow if China decides to finally seize Taiwan? What happens if they decide to occupy disputed islands in their region? Does America stand up and say stop? Or do we back down rather than risk World War III? China can afford to play chicken here, much more than we can. China’s collectivist culture would not hesitate to sacrifice a hundred million men to win a war, while our culture would not have the stomach for such death and destruction.
We missed the off-ramp to stopping China thirty years ago, before they reached this point of cultural, economic, and military dominance. We should never have normalized trade relations with a country that is willing to kill millions of their own people on the road to progress. We should never have allowed them to use our universities to train their engineers and researchers. We should never have allowed them to wantonly steal our intellectual property, proprietary designs, and even nuclear secrets, as well as to spy on our elected officials. Now it could be too late. There might be no way to stop China from achieving the dominance they desire. Our best hope is to disengage as much as possible and return manufacturing to within our borders.
International diplomacy might be the least of our worries, however. Demographic change looks likely to end our nation soon anyway. Vdare.com recently published a chart showing the decline of the white population in New York City over the past century:
In 1910, it was 98% white. This was the New York City of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, of Jay Gatsby and Captain America, of King Kong and The Miracle on 34th Street. Today, however, that number is down to 32%, and possibly lower, depending on how you count Jews. (Many Jewish people online identity as white when it suits them, only to draw a contrast when it does not.) I believe the world should have a variety of cultures and ethnicities. Yet this wholesale replacement of our people is not cultural diversity, rather it is cultural genocide. Cities and countries that were once filled with people of western European descent are being occupied by other races and cultures, while any word of criticism is called racist and is grounds for censorship and ostracism. If someone on the right points out how demographic change is altering American society, they are denounced as white supremacist Nazis. If someone on the left does it, as the ambitious Georgia politician Stacy Abrams does, it is considered a good thing, and inevitable.
Of the twenty-five largest cities in America, only seven are still majority-white in 2020, and zero of the top ten. Our great cities have become miniature earths, with varying proportions of ethnic groups from across the world. Globalists call this beautiful, as if our cities were merely snow globes full of different colors. Yet what does this diversity portend for the future of America? The descendants of African slaves who migrated to Detroit and Philadelphia after World War II have no reverence for the founding fathers; in fact, they most likely hate them as racist white slave owners. Same for the Hispanic population that is rapidly increasing in our southern states. As each of these different cultures gains more political power, they are going to use it to transform our country into something it was not. Once again, the globalist left will call that a good thing, saying that America has always been evil, racist, and white. (Note how they often use the word “white” as a pejorative.) Those of us who descend from America’s founding fathers are having our civilization conquered by force, but the worst part is how we are made to celebrate our own annihilation.
The seeds for this sad end were sowed many years ago, but even as late as 1965 we were still a Christian nation of mostly western European descent. Our leaders, many of whom traced their American ancestry back to Ellis Island rather than Valley Forge, told us that we must open our doors to the whole world lest we be accused of that dreaded word, racism. So we dutifully opened our doors, and now our country is permanently changed. Other nations have occupied our great cities, and the only rational ways to take them back are abhorrent to our own values.
Europe faces the same problem, with migrants from Africa and the Middle East pouring in every day. Turkey uses these migrant mobs as a weapon against Europe, restraining or unleashing them as it suits their purposes. The last few weeks have seen clashes on the Greek border as migrants try and force their way past fences and guards. It feels like these clashes could escalate at any time to all-out war. These migrants have been told by globalist organizations that Europe and America are theirs for the taking, and that they have the right to live here for free, and to take advantage of our generous welfare. Centuries ago, Muslim armies crossed into Europe with the belief that their god willed them to conquer the world. The only difference then was that Christendom was willing to defend itself. Today we simply open the gates and invite our conquerors into our homes. The resistance to this cultural genocide by the Greeks is a welcome sign, but again, possibly too little, too late. The time to stop this invasion was before it started, but our culture had long since lost confidence in itself and so saw no reason to stand in the gap and say stop.
Our civilization is driving toward the edge of a cliff at breakneck speed. The brakes no longer work. The last off-ramp was passed many miles ago. All we can do is hold on, or maybe try our luck and bail out the door before it is too late. The only thing that is for sure is that we have passed the point of no return. Our country faces a reckoning, and the forces of history have gathered at our gates to deliver it. There is no saving America as we know it now; we had our chance decades ago and blew it. Yet it is imperative we survive the coming crash so we can still be here to rebuild again.
Our society is like a runaway truck headed for a cliff. Our brakes have been cut, and the precipice approaches. When did we miss the last off-ramp before annihilation?
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My first ever livestream, recorded Tuesday evening April 21, 2020. I share my thoughts on the state of the world, with specific attention to China, libertarian idealism, and de facto American blasphemy laws.
Watch the video here:
Listen to the audio below, or listen, subscribe, and review on iTunes.
The coronavirus pandemic has provided an excuse for tyranny from all levels of our society – from governors and mayors down to the nosy neighbor across the street. How should we respond to the growing totalitarianism of 21st century America?
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America is due for a reckoning. We have forsaken the traditions and wisdom of our ancestors in favor of novelty, throwing out generations of knowledge in our effort to remake society and remake mankind. Yet pride always goes before the fall. The gods of the copybook headings always have their due.
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The coronavirus pandemic will surely be the end of America as we know it. But what is America? Our country has been radically transformed from the nation created by our Founding Fathers, and we are continuing to be transformed every day. What can we do to make America what we want it to be for our posterity?
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We tend to think that the way we live now is how it always was and how it always will be. But society is always changing; sometimes gradually, and sometimes suddenly. This pandemic is going to change many things in our lives, and we will soon be confronted with the new normal.
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A few days ago, I mentioned to family and friends that we were about to witness a preference cascade for canceling large gatherings and switching to remote work as much as possible. I did not expect how quickly it would occur, nor its magnitude. As I write this, the NCAA has cancelled March Madness, Major League Baseball has cancelled Spring Training and delayed Opening Day, the NBA, the NHL, and MLS have all suspended their seasons, numerous events from Coachella to SxSW to E3 have been cancelled or postponed, schools and universities throughout the country have closed indefinitely, and even Disneyland is preparing to shut down. Governments and organizations, seeing what has happened in Italy over the past two weeks, are taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and looking to contain or at least slow down the pandemic.
No matter what happens with the virus, these cancellations are already going to leave a mark on our economy. Think about all the industries that depend upon events and travel to survive. March Madness is a huge part of the income for hotels, restaurants, bars, and drivers in the cities that host each game. For some vendors, events like E3 or SxSW are the linchpins of their entire revenue stream. No matter what steps the government or Federal Reserve take to mitigate it, we will see a significant economic contraction over the next year.
Our nation has had recessions before. Recessions are necessary in a healthy economy, like a forest fire is occasionally necessary to burn away the deadwood and leave room for new growth. Like a fire, recessions can harm a lot of people in the process. However, once we come through, we can enjoy another long period of growth and prosperity. More interesting, I think, are the long-term societal changes that will occur due to this outbreak.
Working from home is going to become more socially acceptable. We have had the technology to enable telecommuting for decades now, but many companies have resisted thus far. Working from home means an employee is out of sight of management, which worries some bosses. Employees at home can be distracted, and collaboration is more complicated. With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing businesses to move to a work-from-home model, I think both employers and employees are going to decide that it is not so bad. Telecommuting means less traffic, and less gasoline usage. It means less eating unhealthy food for a quick lunch before getting back to your desk. It means less disease transmission. It means less overhead for office space, electricity, janitorial services, etc. Rather than paying for an entire office, a company can rent some space at a server farm and have all their workers connect remotely from the comfort of their own homes. Working from home also changes the paradigm for childcare. Rather than having to make arrangements to send children to daycare or a babysitter when school is out, they can just stay home with their telecommuting parents.
Speaking of school, this outbreak is also going to make a lot of people realize how obsolete the public school system really is. Homeschoolers have known this for years, but even normal folks are going to see how much easier it is for children to learn at their own pace using online resources than it was to send them to a seven-hour prison sentence every day. Even as local officials throughout the nation considered closing schools to try and slow down the pandemic, they hesitated. Not because they were concerned about the education of America’s children, but because the public school system has become a de facto daycare and meal service for millions of children. For a child who wants to succeed, public schools are often a hindrance. While school closures might be temporarily inconvenient, they will be a demonstration of how well a driven student can learn when he can go at his own pace and has the sum total of all human knowledge at his fingertips.
This outbreak is also going to put a dagger in the heart of globalism. For nearly thirty years now, corporations have been cutting costs by outsourcing work to developing nations. It’s cheaper to pay Chinese factory workers pennies, to manufacture products and then ship them back to America, than it was to pay American workers prevailing wages. Yet this outbreak is exposing the flaws of this design. It was bad enough that outsourcing took good jobs away from American workers, but now we see the dangers of having our supply lines controlled by a foreign, sometimes hostile, nation. With China basically shut down for two months, we are starting to see shortages of goods that we once took for granted. More than just our cheap trinkets, China supplies us with many of the raw materials we need for vital industries.
President Trump has been warning against entanglement with China for many years, even before he ran for high office. As president, he has been trying to disentangle us from China, using tariffs and new trade deals to bring manufacturing back to our own shores. This outbreak is just a minor stress test compared to what could happen in the future. Imagine if China suddenly declared war on us; what happens to our vital industries if their factories are all in enemy territory? Divesting from China and making our own stuff again will be a positive effect of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nationalism and national borders work. Nations that closed their borders early have seen only mild outbreaks, while nations like Italy that remained open have borne the full brunt of this pandemic. Viruses do not respect borders, but they require human hosts, and humans can be contained. The very concept of the quarantine is about keeping viruses immobile by restricting the movement of the people that carry them. People who use this crisis to demand open borders are dangerous ideologues who should be ignored. People who say it is racist to say “Wuhan virus” or complain about bigotry toward Asians are not serious about saving lives, rather they are just using this outbreak as an excuse to attack their political enemies and push their globalist agenda. Nationalism saves lives, while globalism kills.
If nothing else, the outbreak has been a reminder to us all about the basics of hygiene and controlling disease transmission. Antibiotics and other advances in modern medicine have left us complacent about the power of disease. In the old days, disease was a constant terror, something that could strike without warning and decimate entire nations. The Black Death killed more than a third of Europe’s citizens in the 14th century, returning several more times before fading into history. Just over a century ago, the Spanish Flu killed more people than both world wars combined. Now more than ever we should take steps to keep ourselves and our families healthy, so that when we do inevitably get this or any other viral outbreak, we are prepared to survive it.
The next few months are going to be interesting. We are going to see many companies flirting with bankruptcy, as their planned revenues go up in smoke. We are going to see new industries rising to fill the gaps as people change their daily lives to contain this outbreak. We are going to see government clumsily attempting to keep the stock market from cratering, which will probably only prolong the inevitable crash. This is all just a taste of what the future holds. The decline and fall of America is not going to look like the zombie apocalypse, but will be a series of sudden changes like this followed by eventual acceptance of the new normal. Don’t freak out, don’t panic, but do keep your head about you and be prepared to adapt and overcome.
Our nation is run by a bloated bureaucracy that has become so inefficient it cannot carry out its basic functions. That has been on display this week, as our government has been unable to test for and contain the COVID-19 outbreak. What is the solution to this mess? Is it more socialism and more federal control? On the contrary, the answer to our problems is localism and small government.
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We know that we live in a declining civilization. Anyone with eyes to see understands that we are not the men that our forefathers were. Our ancestors built monuments, conquered kingdoms, and tamed the vast wilderness. They crossed the oceans in wooden ships and crossed the prairies in covered wagons. They were not afraid to risk everything and venture into the unknown. Their wars were great rather than petty, and their bravery was lauded rather than mocked. Our grandparents’ generation survived the Depression, won World War II, created the atomic bomb, the computer, and the jet engine, and set foot on the moon. Yet the comfortable lives they created for us have left us soft, coddled, and weak, a condition made even worse by the knowledge that we are made for something greater than this. Author Chuck Palahniuk spoke for the men of our generations when he wrote:
We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
In Palahniuk’s story, Fight Club, the protagonist takes this longing for greatness to an extreme, by first fighting other men barehanded in an effort to regain the vitality of life, and then by committing terrorist acts in the hope of bringing down the system that has enslaved us. I think that desire to tear down the system is latent in a lot of men today. While I’m sure most of us don’t really want to watch our families and our friends go through hell, there is something in us that would secretly welcome the breakdown of society. Author H.L. Mencken summed up this feeling when he said:
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
I mentioned back in Episode 22 how every generation has a belief that they are the last generation on earth, and that something – climate change, Mayan prophecies, the Second Coming of Christ – is bound to happen any day now that will end everything. While some fear the apocalypse, others welcome it. While the decline of the United States is evident to most anyone at this point, there are many who are hoping for the fall to be dramatic rather than mundane. Young men throw around the word “boogaloo” to describe the hoped-for conflagration that will sweep away the remnants of our old decadent society and usher in a new era of masculine virtues. Some men buy a gun to protect their family but hope that they never have to use it; while others pray someone tries to break in that night. I think we all envy our ancestors in that they had opportunities to prove their bravery that are denied to most of us today. There are no more wild continents to win, kingdoms to conquer, or oceans to cross. “Born too late to explore the world,” the meme says, “born too early to explore the galaxy.”
I think this explains some of the reaction to the recent coronavirus outbreak this year. Some dismiss the whole thing as overblown, but many are prudently stocking up on food and medical supplies, just in case the worst happens. A few, however, secretly wish for this to be the apocalyptic event of our lifetimes. Is it any wonder than stories about the end of the world are so popular? We watch movies like Planet of the Apes, 28 Days Later, or the Matrix, vicariously living through an apocalyptic tale where the shackles of polite society are lifted, and we can hoist the black flag.
Rather than surviving the modern world by knowing the bus schedule and how to move data from one computer system to another, we would instead survive by our strength, our wits, and our courage. As boys, many of us grew up reading books like “Hatchet” and “My Side of the Mountain” and dreamt of having the chance to live off the land, untethered from our ordinary lives. Sure, Tom Hanks looked like he went through hell in the movie Castaway, but I think there is a little part of all men that wants a chance to test themselves against unforgiving nature. Trees and plants grow best when properly pruned, and forests need the occasional fire to clear out the deadwood and make room for new growth. Our founding fathers understood this well. Thomas Jefferson expected that each generation would have to fight its own revolution, saying:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The post-World War II generations illustrate a decline from glory. The men who won the war came home looking for a quieter life. They invented the concept of the suburb, a neighborhood that was neither in the city nor the country, where families could gather together and raise children in peace and safety. The men who performed heroic deeds in the war rarely talked about them. They had nothing to prove, to themselves or to anyone else, and would rather focus on living a peaceful life and raising a happy family. Yet something went wrong. Masculine virtues began to be redefined by a media interested only in selling more junk. For the first time, television enabled images of war to be beamed directly into our living rooms. The carnage in Vietnam was surely no worse than in World War II, yet now we could see the things that our grandfathers had refused to speak of. The pointlessness of the war was the worst part. Unlike the clearly defined good and evil of World War II, we watched our young men killing and dying in the jungles of Indochina for no apparent reason. Our society took the wrong message from the failure of Vietnam, deciding that masculinity itself was barbaric and must be bred out of the human race.
In the 1970s, women began entering the workforce in greater numbers. Rather than being our partners in raising strong families, women became competitors for raises and promotions, and beneficiaries of government welfare. Media propaganda started convincing women that they should take on the most extreme characteristics of masculinity – aggression, assertiveness, and even violence. Our current cultural landscape promotes a view of women that strips away her femininity and leaves her consumed by traits that would be considered brutish in a man. More than one book has been written telling women that they need to interrupt more in business meetings. The newest Star Wars and Marvel movies feature female characters whose only flaws are that they are not assertive and violent enough. The feminine virtues such as empathy, kindness, caring, nurturing, and beauty are downplayed as relics of a sexist patriarchy. Women are told that they should not worry about how they look, as if there is no objective difference between a thin and lovely woman with long hair on one side and an obese tattoo-covered purple-haired grouch on the other. Feminists tell a young woman that it is wrong to do nice things for her husband or her children, and that she should put herself first.
On the other hand, the same propaganda teaches men to act like the most extreme versions of women. The modern man is supposed to be submissive and meek, quietly standing back while women run the show. He is told to be open about his feelings and to wear his emotions on his sleeve. Ambition is shunned while physical fitness is downplayed. “Real men,” they say, should not worry about how strong or fit they are or how much testosterone they have. They should be satisfied with their weak soy grip and their “dad bod” pot belly. While it was called a crisis when standardized test scores showed girls falling behind in math and science, boys falling behind in other subjects is considered right and normal. Society wants us to be mediocre, and since mediocrity is the path of least resistance, most men today settle for just that.
The modern American diet doesn’t help either. Our ancestors lived off of meat, but today meat is shunned as barbaric and out-of-date. Modern men are expected to eat soy, industrial seed oils, and ultra-processed meals that come out of a box. Modern men assume that it is normal to be fat and weak by the time they reach their 40s, and that heart disease and diabetes are simply things that inevitably happen when you get old. What can you do? The conspiracy theory would be that governments and corporations know that weak, sick men are easier to control than the kings we used to be. The reductive view is just as likely, however. Corporations create food that is cheap to make and addictive to the consumer in order to maximize profits. “Bet you can’t have just one,” the old potato chip commercial said. Health is a secondary consideration, and even then, only in so far as they can advertise according to the conventional wisdom of the day. The anti-meat crusades of the late 20th century enabled food manufacturers to replace healthy fat with poisonous sugar and carbohydrates and then market their products as “healthy”. Big Tobacco was broken in the 1990s because they used drugs and advertising to create a product that was addictive and attractive. Big Food has yet to meet their own reckoning, despite causing untold millions of early deaths with their own poisonous products.
The 1990s saw the first stirrings of awakening by American men to the spiritual quagmire they found themselves in. Fight Club was written in 1996 and adapted into a popular movie the following year. In the early 2000s, bloggers began writing about the struggles faced by modern men and sharing ideas on how to break out of our cultural ennui. Men woke up and realized that they had no power in American life. They had been taught that America was the land of the free, but they found themselves working mindless 9-5 jobs in order to pay for the mortgage, the car payment, and the numerous useless distractions that make up the modern life. The woman you married could, at any time, leave you, take away your children and your possessions, and use the force of government to confiscate all your money for the next twenty years. It was bad enough before, when the government took a third of your paycheck to fund foreign wars and welfare programs. Now you have to pay the rest to the woman who betrayed you and the children you are no longer allowed to see. The American man was once a king, and his home a castle, but today we are reduced to chattel. Is it any wonder that the male suicide rate has been ticking steadily upwards for decades now?
Some of the early blogs focused on men’s rights or social issues, but it was the pick-up blogs that really struck a nerve. While some men saw the state and direction of society and wanted to go back to the golden age of the past, the pick-up artists instead decided that since the world was burning anyway, they might as well have fun while they could. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die,” said the prophet Isaiah in the Bible. Or, as “Captain Capitalism” Aaron Clarey says, “Enjoy the decline.” The three most prominent pick-up bloggers were Rollo Tomassi, Roosh V, and Roissy, who later called himself Heartiste. Each of these initially used their platforms to teach young men how to meet and seduce women, and men flocked to their blogs and forums seeking this forbidden knowledge. These nascent communities began to realize that meeting women was not an end unto itself.
What these young men truly yearned for was an escape from the soul-sucking modern culture that tried its best to emasculate them. In bloggers such as Roissy and Roosh they found stark truths that were not being told in schools or in churches. Many Christian churches were still stuck in a post-World War II mindset, teaching young men that they must just be themselves, find a good girl to marry, and God would take care of the rest. They failed to see that modern society had turned against Christianity and masculine virtue, so disillusioned young men sought answers elsewhere. Author C.S. Lewis actually identified the problem more than half a century earlier, writing in The Abolition of Man:
In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The Christianity of modern America has become feminized and trite, failing to provide an alternative to our lost culture and instead reinforcing its worst aspects. The masculine heroes of the modern church are not strong biblical leaders like Moses, David, or Jesus Christ Himself, nor bold men of history like Alfred the Great, Roger Williams, or Billy Graham. Today, the alpha male of the modern church is a skinny-jeans-wearing latte-sipping tattooed pierced worship nasally-voiced worship pastor.
These blogs eventually moved beyond simple pick-up tips, as their communities began to question what it meant to be a man. They came to the same conclusion as King Solomon who lamented that all the pleasures of the world had left him empty. Three thousand years ago he wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me… and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” The men of these online communities found that they wanted more than fleeting pleasures, but instead longed for what their fathers and grandfathers had: a family that loved and relied upon them, a society that supported these bonds, and a God worth believing in.
Roosh V is the most interesting story to come out of the so-called manosphere. He made his name in the 2000s writing books and blog posts teaching young men how to sleep with as many young women as possible. He traveled the world, exploring exotic locations and interacting with all manner of women, and then reported his results. He seemed to recognize early on that this was not the ultimate goal of life, however. He created a web forum called Return of Kings that invited those disillusioned young men to come and share stories of how they were triumphing over the malaise of modern culture. He tried to organize real-life meetups, but these were disrupted by feminists and soy-boys who could not tolerate free-thinking masculinity. When he lost his sister to cancer a few years ago, Roosh took the final step on his journey from libertinism back to tradition. He became a Christian, joining the Orthodox Church of his Armenian ancestors, and unpublished all of his books that taught men the art of fornication.
I believe that Roosh has taken the same journey that many thousands of anonymous men have made over the past two decades. We awoke to the realization that our culture is actively trying to stifle and harm us, and turned to hedonism – using women, movies, video games, or anything to try and retain some happiness in life. After a while, we realized that these were empty pursuits, and we wanted more. Rather than seeing the decline and fall of America as an excuse to live free of responsibility, we now see it as an imperative to build families and communities that will not only survive the fall, but thrive as we build the next phase of western civilization. There is no guarantee of success in this endeavor. The forces of malaise and mediocrity have grown powerful, and their boot is upon our necks. But our calling is a noble one. Each of us has only one life to live on this earth, and death awaits us all. What will you leave behind when you are gone? A collection of video games, or a growing family that honors your memory as a man who had a life worth living?
Thomas Babington Macaulay said it well in his Lays of Ancient Rome:
Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods?
We all know deep inside that something is not right in our society and that we were made for better things. The time has come to stop lamenting the loss of a past age of kings and start building a new one. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn claims the crown he was born to wear after proving his courage and bravery in defeating the armies of the Dark Lord. In Tolkien’s mythology, kings were a special breed of men. They were tall and strong, with unmatched wisdom and knowledge, and their very hands could heal the sick. Not just any man could take up the throne and declare himself king; Aragorn did so because he had the right bloodline and ancestry. He was not a usurper but was instead coming into his rightful inheritance. It was Tolkien’s view that enlightened monarchy was the best choice for human government, however he qualified that by explaining that there were no more men left that he would trust in such a position.
Unlike Aragorn, we do not have Elves or angels in our ancestry, but we are made in the image of God. Our mortal bodies were created to manifest, in a small way, the incomprehensible glory of God himself. As children of the Most High God, we are princes, we are kings of our own domains, accountable for our actions and our stewardship to the King of Kings Jesus Christ. Our kingdoms are bequeathed to us by our fathers and their fathers, who worked and fought and died in order to pass on their heritage to us. Do not let malaise, propaganda, and the path of least resistance steal that heritage from you. Our calling is not to grow fat and sick while simply counting the days until our inevitable death. We are heirs of three thousand years of western civilization, of Solomon and Alexander, Bach and Beethoven, Rembrandt and Raphael, Shakespeare and Cervantes, Augustine and Aquinas. Don’t be the one to drop the baton. Don’t let the flame of the west be extinguished forever. My fellow kings, the task of building the next civilization rests with you.
If Donald Trump wins reelection in November, it will mark an unprecedented four consecutive two-term presidents. The last time there were three was in the early 19th century, when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe all served two terms. John Quincy Adams, elected in 1824, failed to win reelection when he was defeated by Andrew Jackson’s populist uprising. History shows us that unseating the incumbent president is always a long shot.
The last time a president lost his bid for reelection was nearly thirty years ago, when President George H.W. Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton. The 1992 election, however, was a perfect storm of problems for the elder Bush. Mere months before the campaign, Bush enjoyed a level of popularity few presidents could even dream of after the successful Gulf War. However, a worsening economy soured voters on the president, especially when he broke his explicit pledge to not raise taxes. Many Republicans turned to the insurgent campaign of independent candidate Ross Perot, who promised a businesslike approach to government. NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was being debated at the time and had support from both parties. Perot warned that free trade would lead to massive outsourcing and a decline of manufacturing jobs in America. (History has obviously proved him right on this count.)
The Democratic field that year was initially weak, as nobody wanted to challenge the popular president. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton ended up with the nomination, and presented himself as a young, hip, empathetic figure, contrasted with the older, unflappable, President Bush. Bush was a member of the Greatest Generation, who had fought in World War II – Bush himself had been shot down over the Pacific. Clinton, on the other hand, was a Baby Boomer, young and fresh-faced, who came out of the hippy movement of the 1960s. Clinton had avoided the Vietnam War, which hurt him with military veterans. However, with Perot splitting the conservative / libertarian vote, Clinton came out on top, despite falling well short of a majority of the popular vote.
Since then, no president has lost his bid for a second term. Clinton easily defeated Bob Dole in 1996, as a strong economy and few foreign conflicts gave voters no reason to change. In 2004, President George W. Bush improved on his initial numbers from 2000, defeating the weak John Kerry. Finally, despite a poor economy, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012. Of all the reelection campaigns in recent memory, this one should have been harder for the sitting president. The economy, which had crashed just before Obama took office, was still incredibly weak. Unemployment was high and wages were down. The Republicans nominated what they thought would be a solid ticket: Mitt Romney was a former governor and businessman and running mate Paul Ryan was known as a budget guy and policy wonk. Yet Obama basically coasted to reelection. Why?
For one, there was no Ross Perot in 2012. The populist nationalism that would explode in 2016 through Donald Trump was still simmering beneath the surface. The Tea Party movement, originally formed in reaction to Obama’s tax and healthcare positions, had long ago been coopted by the GOP establishment who redirected its energy toward the usual Chamber of Commerce platform of low taxes without regard to the national questions of immigration and culture. Romney himself tended to treat Obama with kid gloves, even as the president and his surrogates ferociously savaged Romney in the campaign, even going so far as accusing him of killing a man because Romney’s company had laid him off at one point.
So, what does that mean for the 2020 election? If you go to any left-wing social media group, you might come away thinking that Donald Trump is the most unpopular president in history, and that the Democrats could run a mannequin and still win easily. However, this ignores both history and the preferences of the country as a whole. Trump won in 2016 by promising to control the border, renegotiate trade deals, bring our troops home, and fix the economy. While his work on the border is ongoing, he is making progress – illegal crossings have significantly decreased in recent months. He has taken care of bad trade deals, is working on withdrawing troops, and the economy is booming. While the COVID-19 outbreak might cause some economic issues, it might well recover by Election Day. In short, the president has kept most of his promises and the economic situation of most American people is better now than it was four years ago.
An incumbent president has access to the largest megaphone in the world. Every tiny utterance of President Trump is headline news. More than 73 million people follow the president on Twitter, receiving messages unfiltered by mainstream media. For many low-information voters, picking a candidate is more about brand recognition than policy positions. Who in America has a more well-known brand than Donald Trump?
The current crop of Democratic contenders does not inspire confidence, either. In 1992, the Democrats nominated Bill Clinton, who was able to create a large contrast with President Bush. In 2020, the Democrats will be nominating either the outright socialist Bernie Sanders or the fanciful and forgetful Joe Biden. Both men are, believe it or not, older than President Trump! Because the odds of ousting an incumbent president are so high to begin with, that is the time to swing for the fences and take a chance with your nominee. The Democrats are either too afraid to step outside mainstream conventional wisdom, or they believe their own hype about Trump’s vulnerability.
Barring some black swan event in the next nine months, Donald Trump will be reelected and become the fourth consecutive president to serve two terms. In the late Roman Republic, power grew increasingly concentrated into the hands of a few, as single-term consuls were replaced by men serving many consecutive terms, and eventually into dictators-for-life like Sulla and Caesar. I hope that President Trump is able to use his second term to finish the job of draining the swamp, otherwise he will end up being only a speed bump in the decline and fall of America.
At the core of the decline of our once-great nation is the loss of masculine virtues such as courage, strength, and discernment. The American man has gone from being a king of his castle to chattel on a tax farm. But men are waking up, and deciding that there is more to life than simply counting the days until their deaths. Men across America are making the choice to take control of their lives and to build something that will echo through eternity.
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Each new generation develops its own way of sharing ideas. While the printing press, telephone, radio, and television all shifted the paradigm of how ideas propagate throughout a culture, the development of the internet and social media have exponentially accelerated that shift. The 1930s generation listened to President Roosevelt on the radio, the Baby Boomers grew up watching television, and even Millennials grew up watching cable news. No generation has had the sheer variety of news sources as Generation Z has today, however, and it is this variety that is shaping our world today.
The 2010s especially saw an explosion of alternative media channels, and the lines between content creator and content consumer became increasingly blurred. While the network and cable news organizations struggled to maintain their control over the flow of information, social media and YouTube allowed anyone with a voice to attract an audience. Four million people tuned in to watch Tucker Carlson last week, leading all evening cable news hosts. More than six million people watched the most recent Democratic presidential primary debate, a new record. Meanwhile, Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, better known as Pewdiepie, has more than a hundred million subscribers on his channel. Sure, that is quite an outlier – Pewdiepie has been the most-subscribed content creator on earth for half a decade now. Yet it is clear that Generation Z is influenced much more by personalities on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram than they are by the legacy media.
Generation Z would often rather watch a Twitch streamer than play video games, and watch YouTubers break down a movie rather than watch it themselves. Whereas video games in my generation were stigmatized as an anti-social activity, gaming for younger people is inherently social, whether they are walking about playing Pokemon on their phones or voice chatting with their friends while playing Minecraft or Fortnite together. The younger generations are looking outside the traditional information channels, and the established media does not like losing their gated pasture. When legacy media celebrated the recent banning of Generation Z conservative Nicholas Fuentes from YouTube, they claimed it was because they oppose so-called “hate speech”. However, the real reason seems to be that they simply do not like the competition. Established news organizations have long enjoyed their position as the gatekeepers of knowledge in America, but their ability to control the flow of information is quickly dissipating in the modern era of social media.
Social media has changed the way in which ideas spread throughout a culture. In the long ages before the printing press, ideas were transmitted slowly. Books were hand-copied by monks, which meant only the rich could afford them. Traveling storytellers and bards brought cultural ideas from place to place at the speed of horse, or even slower if they traveled on foot. Culture developed and changed extremely slowly, because new ideas could only spread slowly. The printing press democratized ideas by making books cheap enough that most people could afford them, which spurred advancement in nearly every field. The Protestant Reformation, for example, followed directly on the heels of the printing press as lay people could suddenly afford to buy their own Bibles and see what they actually said instead of only relying on the clergy. The Renaissance began just a few years later as lost knowledge of the classical world began spreading again. It was the printing press that enabled American patriots to spread their ideas of revolution throughout the thirteen colonies. Thomas Paine could write up a pamphlet, print a thousand copies, and have them handed out to people from Boston to Virginia, spreading his seditious ideas very rapidly through colonial society.
It was this spread of ideas that sparked the American Revolution. In societies where information is tightly controlled, it is sometimes difficult to gauge how popular your own position is compared to your friends and neighbors. Sure, you could talk openly, unless you’re in East Germany or North Korea, but even then you still have the bubble effect, where you might assume that your views are more popular than they really are because you surround yourself with like-minded people. Pamphlets in pre-revolutionary America showed people that they were not alone, as writers such as Paine put into words what a lot of people were already thinking.
If the printing press democratized ideas, social media is democracy on steroids. Someone like Thomas Paine still needed access to an expensive printing press, not to mention the infrastructure for delivering those pamphlets after printing. Today, the world is full of bloggers, YouTubers, Twitch streamers, Twitter personalities, and Instagram influencers. Whereas Paine’s pamphlets could reach thousands in Colonial America and Great Britain, modern influencers can reach a worldwide audience using nothing more than a smartphone. You could even run a successful blog with no investment besides a library card if you really wanted to. Despite their claims of devotion to democracy, legacy media is doing everything they can to stop this information explosion. CNN recently aired a segment explaining that they are the only news source trustworthy enough to tell you that a banana is a banana and an apple is an apple. Washington Post added the slogan “Democracy dies in darkness” to its masthead, even as wages an endless campaign against the democratically elected president. The mainstream outlets have also used every trick in the book to try to silence and censor alternative sources of information. They have used their influence to get people and groups they disagree with banned from Twitter and YouTube, and sometimes even dox anonymous content creators. These mainstream organizations had grown powerful in their position as the gatekeepers of ideas, and they very much would like that position back.
The founders of our country recognized the importance of the spread of ideas in their own revolution and crafted the First Amendment to guarantee the rights of free speech and a free press. Modern technology has enabled anyone with internet access to have their own printing press, so to speak. Despite this, legacy media insinuates that the First Amendment protects journalists as a class, and they use that logic to justify their censorship of alternative voices who are not, in their view, legitimate press. Even conservative media has fallen into this pattern. During the 1990s and 2000s, conservative media played the role of counterculture to the left’s media monopoly. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were rebels against a censor-hungry mainstream media. Today, however, the conservative media establishment uses the same tactics as the left to shut down ideas from their right. Last autumn, America First groups led by Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey tried to engage the establishment conservatives of TP USA and Fox News. The establishment cabal, led by milquetoast conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk, responded by calling them racist and trying to get them banned and deplatformed – the exact same thing that they accused left-wing media of trying to do to them. Despite the mantra about competing in the marketplace of ideas, it seems that powerful conservatives are no different in their desire to be gatekeepers of truth than their counterparts on the right.
Yet as the early internet pioneers liked to say, information wants to be free. It is hard to destroy an idea once it is out in the open. There is something called the Streisand Effect on the internet that describes what happens when the rich and powerful try to censor an idea. It was named after actress, singer, and general narcissist Barbra Streisand, who in 2003 tried to remove pictures of her Malibu mansion from the web. This backfired spectacularly, as the attention generated caused people to share the pictures far and wide out of spite and anger that someone would attempt such censorship. The act of trying to hide the information made it even more popular than before. The more technology enables ideas to be spread more quickly and easily, the more difficult it is to censor those ideas. In the 1500s, ideas were spread when the literate class read books, but only those with presses could write them. In the 1900s, ideas were spread by the television to the masses, but only a few companies controlled the airwaves. In 2020, ideas are spread by clicking “share” on a 50 kilobyte meme, and that is hard to stop.
The word “meme” was coined in 1976 by biologist Richard Dawkins to describe the way in which a concept or idea spreads and evolves as it moves through a population. This compares with the way a gene that contains biological information changes through many generations of reproduction. Like genes, a meme can spread through a culture, becoming subtly altered as it comes into contact new people. In modern web parlance, a meme is usually a picture with some text that spreads through various online communities. There is no way to predict or control how or why any particular meme will become popular. Big corporations and established politicians have tried to engineer their own memes, but they usually fail. Many of the most popular memes over the last two decades were started by anonymous users on 4chan and from there spread to other social networks.
Let’s talk about 4chan for a moment. You might have heard it described by mainstream news as a scary place on the internet, where hackers collude and where anti-social young men plot evil deeds. In reality, 4chan began as an image board for anime fans. Because of its entirely anonymous nature, it quickly gained a following for people who wanted to rebel against the established culture. There have always been countercultures in the world. The beatniks and hippies of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s were themselves counter to the prevailing culture of the day, which was socially conservative. At some point, these rebels grew up and took control of the culture, becoming the very “man” they once raged against. Today’s counterculture is conservative and traditional, because it is those things that are being crushed by the dominant forces of social justice. When 4chan began it was full of Millennials rebelling against the social order of the late 90s and early 2000s. Today, it is full of Generation Z – Zoomers – who are rebelling against the globalist homosexual multicultural social justice establishment of 2020. Concepts such as reading the Bible, going to church, marrying and building a family – these are the countercultural ideas being spread among the younger generations today.
Let’s look at an example of how a meme can influence people in a way that you might not expect. The pro-life movement began in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that states did not have the authority to ban abortion. Despite billions of dollars, despite nearly fifty years of Republican politicians campaigning on promises to outlaw abortion, this barbarous practice still occurs routinely across America. The pro-life movement has tried to change hearts and minds, but it is a slow process, especially in the face of our dominant media and culture that treats abortion as if it were a secular sacrament. Pro-life activists march on the Capitol every January, proclaiming their support for unborn children, while various advertising campaigns have been tried with little success. The general idea in our culture is that the pro-life movement is made up of old church ladies, or worse of evil men who just want to exercise control over women’s bodies. Conventional wisdom says that young people are growing more pro-abortion every year. However, there is a traditional counterculture that goes unseen by both the left and the right, and they are generation ideas in a new way. I came across a meme recently, one that likely originated on 4chan but eventually found its way to Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and other social media. It shows childlike drawings of boys and girls, calling them “aborted older brother,” “aborted daughter,” and “aborted sister”. The “aborted daughter” meme has statements written in crayon such as “Hi Mommy, I miss you. It’s ok, I’m glad you have a good life.” The “aborted sister” meme has others, such as “I wish I could hug you. I’m sure Mommy had a reason; did I do something bad to her?” These concise memes have probably done more to change the minds of young people on abortion than half a century of the pro-life movement.
Clausewitz said that politics is war by other means. Well, memes are information by other means. Older generations always complain that young people have short attention spans. In that case, memes can deliver a lot of relevant information in just a few seconds. It is not just the younger generations, however. Life moves fast in 2020. Nobody wants to sit down and watch three hours of dignified debating, as we did in 1858 when Abraham Lincoln challenged Stephen Douglas for the Senate. We ingest information as fast as possible – Twitter is 280 characters or less, TikTok videos are only a few seconds long, and memes are just a single image with only a few words. President Trump has fully embraced this new reality, and he uses his Twitter feed in the same way that President Roosevelt used radio in the 1930s. Trump can easily bypass the gatekeepers of knowledge and connect directly to the people. Vox Day has written much on the difference between rhetoric and dialectic. While we like to think that we are logical beings who appreciate a rationality, the truth is that most people respond more to emotional rhetoric than to a reasoned argument. This is not a new concept; Aristotle was saying the same thing more than two millennia ago. Memes are a terrific method of transmitting ideas because they are almost entirely rhetorical, but often carry with them the seed of logic that grows into a rational idea the more you see it.
The other advantage to memes is that they are almost infinitely applicable. Ever since there were newspapers, there have been political cartoonists. Political cartoons are not usually amusing, rather they serve to jam a bunch of ideas into a single box that preaches to the choir, whether on the right or the left. In the late 19th century Thomas Nast famously began using a donkey to represent the Democratic Party and an elephant to represent the Republicans, and that shorthand has stuck. Perhaps the closest analogue to the old political cartoons is the webcomic. There is one in particular that has hit the cultural zeitgeist like no other and that is Stonetoss. According to the social justice left, the author of Stonetoss is a Nazi who should be banned and censored. A better term, however, would be iconoclast – the sort of person who relentlessly skewers the politically establishment in the way that the left used to appreciate when they were not culturally dominant. I have found a few Stonetoss comics that communicate a certain message in three or four panels better than an entire essay. Here is the example I mentioned in last week’s podcast:
This single comic so succinctly demonstrates how advertising has turned into a propaganda platform for social justice warriors who want to remake society, with no thought to the product they are ostensibly trying to sell. Lest you think that this satire is unrealistic, there was recently a fast food ad that did exactly what the comic suggests, showing more footage of a homosexual couple than any of the food that they want to sell.
The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back. As much as the rich and the powerful establishment would like to impose 1984-style censorship on us, the existence of the internet has made it possible to share ideas at the speed of light. Now that the globalist left is culturally dominant, it was only natural that a traditional and conservative counterculture would develop as young people seek an alternative to the degeneracy and misery of our modern world. While Orwell said in 1984 that if there was hope it lies with the proles, John Derbyshire summed up our modern world when he said that if there is hope today, it lies in the comments section. Mainstream media has their narrative, but the truth will find a way out as long as there are people brave enough to question what they have been told. There might be no way to stop the decline and fall of America, but, like our revolutionary fathers, the ideas we pass around today will form the basis of our new society in the future.
Here is a list of alternative media sources that I suggest you follow. It is by no means exhaustive. Some are meme or comic artists, some are independent journalists, and some are amateur pundits and commentators. Check them out, bookmark them, and follow them on multiple platforms in case they get banned from the mainstream sites.