Sep 4, 2015

Cultural Marxism and the Nature of Power

via Radix

In order for an individual, organization, ideology, or philosophy to achieve anything meaningful it must have power. Without power, an individual is helpless, an organization is merely a social club, an ideology is a collection of opinions, and a philosophy is an abstraction. To acquire power, one must understand how it operates. In order to determine the true nature of a subject, it is often useful to examine the topic through diametrically opposed schools of thought; to reflect on the nature of power, how it operates and is most effectively wielded, the views of Marx and Gramsci will be analyzed. 

Marx believed that power is physical in nature, and stems from ownership of the means of production. Gramsci, by contrast, believes that power stems as much from the control of culture as from the control of the means of production. According to Gramsci, the ability to impose one’s values in the cultural sphere is just as important as the ability to effectively use physical coercion to achieve an end. A ruling group whose subjects share its the values does not need to resort to coercion to uphold the social order.

The question of how power works is a question which Marx does not hesitate to address. He contends that power is a product of economic conditions. As Marx states in The Communist Manifesto:
Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will, whose essential character and direction are determined by the economic conditions of your class”.
In other words, power does not flow from ideas, rather ideas flow from economic conditions. Power, according to Marx, is ownership of the means of production. It is physical, material in essence. Philosophy, culture, and law merely reflect the economic realities and interests of the ruling group; they are an effect rather than a cause.
Marx's conception of man as an economic being is in accord with the account of man given by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, such as John Locke and Adam Smith. Smith in particular believes that man is by nature an economic being whose chief activity is the satisfaction of his various physical needs. The only disagreement between the two philosophers is a dispute over the best way to satisfy the above mentioned means: Marx favors communal ownership of the means of production, while Smith favors private ownership. Both would agree that ownership of the means of production, and their products, is what constitutes power. Thus Classical Liberalism and Marxism can be thought of as different sides of the same coin, rather than as opposites. In order to analyze these ideas through a truly opposing school of thought, we must find a thinker who does not conceive of man as merely homo economicus.

Gramsci, unlike Marx, believes that control over the institutions that produce culture is essential to maintaining power. As stated in what has come to known as The Prison Notebooks, Gramsci conceives of power as consisting of “two major superstructural ‘levels’: the one that can be called ‘civil society,’ that is , the ensemble of organisms called ‘private,’ that of ‘political society’ or ‘the State.’” What this means in practical terms is that society is not governed merely by the power of the state, which receives it power through the products of the means of production, but also has a cultural, social component, which justifies its existence. According to Gramsci, philosophers, political theorists, and other intellectuals “are the dominant group’s ‘deputies’ exercising the subaltern functions of social hegemony and political governance.” In other words, they create the values and ideology, which justify the existence of the regime. This cultural activity creates a state in which “the great masses” “consent” to the arrangement of society created by the dominant group.. While Gramsci attempts to ground his theory of power in a Marxist framework, it entirely contradicts the Marxian conception of power. Marx views ideas as merely the product of the economic conditions from which they spring. Civil society, law, and culture are determined by the economic conditions created by means of production that a society uses for commerce. By contrast, Gramsci believes that the two are interrelated, that culture is not irrelevant, rather it, along with economic activity, is a lever of power. While Gramsci asserts that culture, and the civil society which is it product, are of secondary importance, this is a far cry from the irrelevance that Marx assigns them. It is not too far of a leap to go from this assertion to the conception of power held by Marx's true opposite in thought, Nietzsche, whose mouthpiece, Zarathustra, proclaims, “The greatest events—they are not the loudest but the stillest hours. Not around the inventors of new noise, but around the inventors of new values does the world revolve.” Nietzsche writes this in the context of an analysis of the events of the French Revolution, and asserts that the great tumult and re-ordering of society that resulted was but an effect; the cause was the values created by the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Thus, power flows from ideas.

Nietzsche—and Gramsci, to a lesser extent—believe that a culture's values are the determining factor in which types of systems of thought, economics, and governance are legitimate. A ruling group that operates in accordance with the values of a society does not have to resort to barbaric and costly measures such as labor camps and secret police mechanisms found in totalitarian regimes. An effective regime rules by consent of some sort. This consent is a product of the fact that the majority of society shares its values. Thus, following this logic, the most effective way to achieve power is to control the educational and media institutions, because these are the institutions by which one can propagate ones values. If the majority of society shares your values, they will obey you of their own free will. Thus, real power stems from the production and control of culture: the literature, religious systems, and myths which shape the ethical framework of society. To evaluate the truth of this statement, one need only examine the fates of economic Marxism and cultural Marxism of the type propagated by the Frankfurt school.

Economic Marxism has failed in every country in which it has been implemented, because its fundamental assumptions about human nature are incorrect. Man’s nature is not infinitely malleable: man has certain drives that we understand as “selfishness”— preference for his own family and in-group, and a natural tendency to form hierarchies; these are the result of being a social animal, and they cannot be eradicated. To counteract this, Marxist regimes had to resort to great cruelty to uphold their programs and rarely did they have “consent,” in the Gramscian sense. The irrelevancy of Marx's economic program is underscored by the fact that liberal capitalism, of the kind practiced in America and Europe, and authoritarian capitalism (or fascism), of the kind practiced by China, are the two dominant economic systems.
By contrast, cultural Marxism has triumphed in its struggles with traditionalism in the Western Europe and America (such as it is) as a result of following the Gramscian approach of acquiring and maintaining power. The cultural Left has won every conflict of significance with conservatives because their values are predominant in the universities, primary and secondary educational institutions, and the majority of media outlets. Through this predominance, they have the power to shape the values of the culture, to create and propagate the myths that shape the culture's moral framework. This method of maintaining power is far more efficient than the gulags and secret police necessary to coerce people to live according to even an approximation of Marx’s economic ideas. Conservatives, like Marx, believe that power is essentially physically based—that it consists in winning elections, making money, and military power. Thus they are baffled that they “won” the Cold War and yet live in societies in which their values are marginalized, and in which they are increasingly becoming physically marginalized.

If radical traditionalists want to obtain power, we must create our own mythology that shapes the values of the culture; and we must create and put forth values that are compelling, both to the small minority that creates and imposes culture and the masses that consume it.

Just Your Standard Deviation

via Kakistocracy

One of modernity’s most prominent cultural landmarks is its uniformly quixotic approach to societal tasks. If there is a simple solution, it unerringly gives way to the fanciful. This isn’t entirely a surprise, as frivolity is a trapping of wealth. And the West has been spending its inheritance since Emanuel Celler crawled out of the crypt. Though what pleasures we’ve purchased. Primarilly the frisson that accompanies vain moral posturing. But if we can have that and a mocha latte…well, our children can figure their own way out of the cannibal’s pot. Such are the choices a society makes when unburdened by necessity.

Here’s an example: how do educators best produce the next generation of high-achievement pupils? One way is to import legions of unassimilable “minority” dullards to supplement our already robust native cohort. Then subsequently pray for divine providence in converting them into only mildly disruptive wards of the state. Another is to perform the trivial molding required by intelligent students that share a common heritage. One of these approaches is simple and proven, the other is the obvious choice.

The realm of politics isn’t appreciably different. Just as teacher performance inexplicably improves with better students, so does that of politicians. As a man of that profession, you can either cobble together an egg-shell coalition of perpetually aggrieved and warring factions, or simply provide a generally like-minded constituency their preferred policies and spend the other 95% of your time riding yachts and call girls. Like teachers, the key to being a great politician is all in what you have to work with.

This seemed the obvious response to a spate of recent articles (that I didn’t save and so won’t link) on America’s growing unhapiness and across-the-spectrum dissatisfaction with core institutions. Most of these pieces focused on increasing political acrimony and disgorged a dense word-paste in pondering just why it is that “Americans” are becoming more irascible by the day. What could it possibly be?
Maybe the concept of standard deviation conceals the culprit.
Standard deviation is a number used to tell how measurements for a group are spread out from the average (mean), or expected value. A low standard deviation means that most of the numbers are very close to the average. A high standard deviation means that the numbers are spread out.
I will suggest, with no proof beyond intuition, that homogeneity is correlated in strong inverse proportion to standard deviation. That is to say the disparate members of a highly diverse society are spread far from the mean, while members of a homogenous society cluster much tighter to it. This has very obvious implications on happiness metrics.

Consider the following image.

image


Which plot between red or blue is the simpler for a politician to satisfy? If he chooses to enact “mean” dotted line policies, how many constituents will find themselves at great distance from it for each color plot? And if distance from preferred policies equates to political discontent, how is it possible to achieve even vague consensus with any position in the blue? It isn’t.

High SD diversity drives structural rancor in politics. It is invariable. No matter where a politician maneuvers on the x-axis he alienates huge swaths of the populace. Each segment having competing interests and vocal demands for their own to be accomodated foremost. Those not fully appeased will be furious. And math demands they will be in the vast majority. That is until the inevitable cleansing produces a more tranquil low SD environment.

It is only a politician plying the red plot who has the luxury of cavalierly plucking a point from 80-110 and hearing only mild grumbles in response–these being easily drowned out by a pair of inboard motors and the soft plish of bikini tops hitting the deck.

But this is all just political string theory. It may very well be that Somali Muslim clansmen in Minnesota have notions of government that are copacetic with their Scandinavian socialist neighbors. In that case it will just be a graph that ultimately runs red.

Alex Jones, David Duke, and the Reverse Bluff

via Aryanism

First, I would like to link to a video by Numinous Sun showing how the reverse bluff works in a simple example, also involving Alex Jones. If you are not familiar with the reverse bluff, please watch this first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gIDluvsgyI

Recently Alex Jones has invited David Duke to Infowars for a “debate”. Here is the “debate”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuXNMkBJbNg

At first I wasn’t sure if Alex Jones is just an idiot or if his debating style has a deeper logic to it, but as the video went on, some patterns emerged. Jones constantly cutting Duke out is particularly annoying, and makes the audience, consciously or subconsciously, sympathize with Duke, which many of the comments indicate. (The tone of the two men also does this to some extent, making Jones look like an aggressive, rambling idiot, and Duke like a rational, intelligent, and kind person, even if one disagrees with his views. It’s likely, though, that this wasn’t planned out, as Duke is generally a much more polished person than Jones.)

But beyond giving support to Duke on a completely personal level through this personality dynamic, Jones also sponsors Duke’s ideas through the reverse bluff. What is important to note is that there are actually two “debates” going on, one regarding Jewish domination of the world, and the other concerning the “preservation of white people and their culture”. In the first “debate”, Duke’s claims of Jewish hegemony are evidenced through solid historical and political narrative (with plenty of excellent examples and accurate claims) and an explanation of Jewish tribalism. Jones’ counterarguments can overall be reduced to a single one – “not all Jews are bad” – with which Duke never disagreed (and which shows that Duke’s “every race deserves to preserve itself” is contradictory to genuine anti-Zionism, by the way).

Duke easily won the first of the two debates, and now the real danger begins. By presenting Duke as the voice of anti-Zionism, Jones is herding his audience to either one of two options in the second debate: either take racism (regardless of what Duke wants to call it) along with genuine anti-Zionism, or drop both even if Duke’s case for Jewish hegemony is accurate. Jones praises the “white” creators of Western civilization from the very start, agrees with Duke’s stance on the need to preserve the “European people” because he wants to continue seeing “European babies” (without detailing what this means for “whites” not interested or for people of other skin colors), and at times agrees that “whites” are in imminent danger not just as a collective but as individuals, we  can easily tell which is Jones’ preferred effect. Jones even goes another step forward, by labeling the False (PC) Left as more racist than Duke or other racists, thereby subconsciously making anti-racist leftists question their own allegiance to the Left as a whole. I’ve taken a few Jones quotes from about halfway through the debate for a demonstration of Jones’ fundamental agreement with Duke on this issue:

“I want everybody to either keep their culture, mix cultures, don’t: whatever you want to do – I’m a libertarian!” – Alex Jones (How can you both keep and mix cultures?)
“The Left wants to destroy it [Western Civilization] even though they’re in control of it. So there is an attitude – and I call it basically leftist, garbage, collectivist garbage – that does want to overthrow any originally Western institutions, even though that’s the source of the power structure’s power. And so I think it’s more an act of ceremonial domination, almost at a subconscious level, than it is anything else. And regardless who’s running the show, there is freakish racism being made against whites now being prodded everywhere, a-a-and I think it’s just meant to just condition everybody to accept anything and to accept what’s coming in the future.” – Alex Jones (“And I love Western Civilization and the “white” people who created it, and so I think they ought to be preserved.  And I really don’t know who the bad guys are (though Duke has made a pretty good case, which I will continue to ignore), but they’re bad, and they’re trying to ruin Western civilization and are racist against “white” people. A-a-and the Left is one of the bad guys. How can you continue being conditioned to be leftists?”)

“I just want to promote the ideals of liberty across the board, and I want to be able to throw it into the face of the Southern Poverty Law Center and other people that I don’t sink down to their race-based nature, you know, that the left pushes. And that’s what I’m saying, that I want to transcend that, and try to promote liberty to everybody, and not fall into the race-based system. But it looks like they’re pushing it so hard, and the Left is so racist, that at the end of the day it’s just going to become that because if you’re white, you won’t be able to be in area that has people that aren’t white in it because you’ll be killed, and I guess that’s the goal, and I mean whoever’s behind it, it sure is working.” – Alex Jones (“I really want myself (and others) to stand up against racism, stand up for catchphrases like “liberty” and the “free market”, and I want to be able to throw it into the face of racists that I’m not a racist like leftists. But “whites” are in imminent danger from all “non-whites”, and this is all the fault of the Left and bad guys who are bad (and who Duke identifies in a very good manner, but let’s ignore that). And I guess I’m not going to explicitly tell “whites” to be on their guard against “non-whites” and leftists (and those bad guys) from now on to stop this, and I mean you guys already know what the solution is for you not to be killed by “non-whites”.”)

Though Jones says he disagrees about the importance of “race”, he supports Duke’s argument the whole time. What really happened here is that the debate on Jews was reverse-bluffed by Jones to favor Duke’s side, and thus by extension Duke won the “debate” – more like the Duke-presents-his-racist-arguments-and-Jones-agrees talk show – on “preserving the white race”. The real poison here is not in either of the two debates, but in making the two issues – anti-Zionism and “preserving the white race” – one and the same, and then letting Duke easily win. Going through the various YouTube versions of the debate, there have been over one hundred thousand views so far, meaning Jones may have herded over one hundred thousand people to support Duke and WN.

We figured out this trick years ago (see example 5); why couldn’t Alex Jones?

Duke’s racist points are easy to demolish; why couldn’t Alex Jones?

Sacred Wounds

via Alternative Right

Let us cast a casual glance at an obscure footnote to Russian history:
"Skoptsy is a plural of 'skopets,' an archaic word meaning 'castrated one' in the Russian language. As their title indicates, the main feature of the sect was castration. They believed that after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had the halves of the forbidden fruit grafted onto their bodies forming testicles and breasts. Thus, the removal of these sexual organs restored the Skoptsy to the pristine state before the Original Sin. In this the Skoptsy maintained that they were fulfilling Christ’s counsel of perfection in Matthew 19:12 and 18:8-9.

There were two kinds of castration: the 'lesser' and 'greater seal' (i.e. partial and complete castration). For men, 'lesser' castration was the removal of the testicles only, while 'greater' castration was the removal of the penis as well."
The reason was not that they were born in the wrong body, but:
"The Skoptsy also believed that a chief evil of the world is rooted in the lepost (bodily beauty, human sexuality, sex appeal, etc.) which prevents people from communicating with God. The way to perfection begins with the elimination of the cause followed by the liberation of soul. Castration ensured that all sins caused by lepost could not be committed."
Naive reader could get an idea that Skoptsy were just a handful of crazies who couldn’t afford good hashish and ended up excessively sniffing glue, while scissors, to their misfortune, happened to be ready at hand. However, it was not entirely so:
"Membership in the Skoptsy sect was not restricted to the peasant class. Nobles, military and naval officers, civil servants, priests and merchants were to be found in its ranks, and its numbers were so great that 515 male and 240 female members were transported to Siberia between 1847 and 1866 without seriously threatening its existence. In 1874 the sect numbered at least 5444, including 1465 women. Of these 703 men and 100 women had partaken in bodily mutilation."
Today, simply on account of cheap status whoring, people are prepared to amputate genitalia of their own children or feed them hormones (Interesting question: Were those primitives from forlorn times more or less merciful than their contemporary counterparts, when they tossed their offspring in the flames of Moloch? It seems to me that a few minutes of roasting or suffocating provides you with death more merciful than a life spent in crippled body, under the wing of a father and mother who were ready and willing, not only to mutilate you for the sake of one minute of fame and ounce of popularity, but also to push you in the public spotlight for to whole world to admire your induced invalidity.) We are not talking about stupid people simply trying to get on the front pages of the tabloids, but well educated, intelligent men and women convinced that they are working for a higher cause.

Liberal child abuse.
However, this is not an article about transsexuals, but only an attempt at comparison of one historical and one contemporary phenomenon: the key issue in both is the belief in the existence of Original Sin and the idea that this can be washed away only by great and deep suffering and renunciation – purchasing sainthood with self-mutilation:
"They believed that after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had the halves of the forbidden fruit grafted onto their bodies forming testicles and breasts. Thus, the removal of these sexual organs restored the Skoptsy to the pristine state before the Original Sin."
The reason this occurred to me is because of an article in the Huffington Post, "Towards a Concept of White Wounding," massively shared via Twitter in the last few days by various Evilthinkers. Make sure you read it in its entirety. Every word of it is pure gold and only when taken in its entirety it leaves you with just the right taste in your mouth. However, the closing chorus is simply too good to be left unsung along:
"Thus, white wounding is a call to action. It’s time to put our friends, family, co-workers, bosses, partners, social media connections, and our own comfort aside. The problem is real, and it is killing people. At this moment one of the most important and rudimentary things white anti-racists can do is spread awareness among other whites about racial inequality and oppression. It’s time for white wounding."
The essential thing being pushed here is an idea that, in order to be saved from the 'sin' of racism, one has to suffer certain form of self-destruction, necessary for enlightenment and the forgiveness of sins. Broadly: one has to have faith in Original Sin, which can be washed away only by intense physical pain, abstinence from earthly delights, and by belonging to proper group of people.

Weird skin complaint caused by cutting off one's balls.
In the case of the Skoptsy, the order of the day was getting castrated and following the leader who declared himself to be the Son of God. In the case of the contemporary liberal elite, one has to make his or hers fellow men suffer by chanting the mantra of diversity while constantly feeling ashamed of the sins of one's forefathers.

As G.K. Chesterton said:
"When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything."
This perfectly applies to the liberals of today, be they atheists or hippy-Christian abominations. They have faith in the Original Sin of patriarchy, misogyny, racism, and homophobia, and, in order to make amends, they’ll make their fellow men pass through fire and leave a poorer, uglier, crueler world to their descendants. They need more Fergusons, Rotherams, more suffering, pain, and horror, in order to liberate the corrupted souls from sin and bring them closer to the Lord's Progress:
"For I, Progress, your God, am a jealous God. I punish the sin of the fathers – those who hate me – down to the third and fourth generation, and show mercy to thousands who love me and obey my commands."
Bear in mind, of course, that the act of sacrifice won’t be equally distributed. The higher priesthood will sit back, smiling contently and observing the sacred deeds via their iPads. They’ll attend the diversity conferences in their 98% white-only neighborhoods, guarded by armed security, or they’ll visit Belgrade to get themselves photographed with children of Middle Eastern immigrants. People of poor beginnings and the generally lower strata of society – those who are not materially secure but are working like hell to get there – will, however, bear the full weight of the Glad Tidings upon their shoulders.

White liberal getting feels and cucks by helping immivasion.

P.S. Comparisons of liberals with Skoptsy is entirely deliberate. Liberals have low levels of testosterone. Accepting political correctness is auto-castration.

The Image and Likeness

via Gornahoor

When this thought or contemplation visits the inner temple of our spirit this is filled with the light and majesty of God. The spirit’s rapture then is indescribable. All its bones, that is, all the smallest moving parts of its being give an irrepressible leap of deep inward joy. ~ Bishop Theophan the Recluse
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ~ Mt 5:8
It is said that man is created in the image and likeness of God. Although the West tends to conflate the two terms, that is not quite correct esoterically. In what follows, please refer to the following schema.

Exoteric Teaching Esoteric Teaching Source Reality
Image Intellect and Will Real I and True Will Intrinsic Virtual
Likeness Grace “C”, or transcendent, influences Acquired Actual

The image of God can only be perfected in a purified consciousness, freed of lower influences, by the action of Grace. “Pop” religion today regards the “image and likeness” as a fait accompli, asserting a certain dignity on those. However, the image of God in man is only virtual and needs to be actualized. That is the “likeness” of God, the process by which man becomes more god-like, or theosis. He becomes a “son of God”, which means sharing in the same nature. To become such a son by adoption is a privilege and is not at all universal. Pop religion, on the other hand, claims that everyone is a “child of god” no matter what. The opposite misconception is that God is “totally other” to man. While that may be true for profane man, it is not so for those in communion with God.

Now, following the Greek Fathers, the Eastern Church has been clearer about making this distinction. The failure to take this into consideration often leads to mischief in social policies.

The Image of God

So, to summarize, the “image” is what we are born with, but it is as yet only virtual. As the image of God, man has intelligence and free will. Of course, that is the higher intellect, not just discursive thought. This higher intellect is called the “heart” in Tradition. When the heart is purified, that is, purged of the distorting effects of negative emotions, disordered desires, and false doctrines, then the image of God will be more perfectly reflected in one’s consciousness. In that state, one is “pure of heart”.

The Likeness of God

As one overcomes the lure of the lower influences, one becomes open to “grace”, or transcendent influences. One’s nature changes to become more God-like. One is given the gift of understanding. One’s will becomes free, since it is not being driven by external forces. One hungers for impartial justice and so on. One becomes passionless and free of useless sentiment. Nevertheless, there can be the experience of great joy, as Theophan describes, and even flights of ecstasy.

Pop religion presumes we are by birth children of God. Misleadingly, they take this from John as an indication:
That was the true light, which enlightens every man that comes into this world. (John 1?:9)
As such, it appears universal, however that is immediately followed by:
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13)
But that is not the case; we see only the “second birth” makes one “born of God” which can only come from the acceptance of the “true light”. In Tradition, to be “born of God” means to share the same nature, just as the son shares the nature of the father, i.e., he is a “chip off the old block”. The pop religion, on the other hand, interprets the phrase as referring to perpetual infantilism.

Hermetic Teaching

Valentin Tomberg in his Meditations teaches that the image and likeness of God refers to the human personality. He contrasts that with Oriental systems which lead to a depersonalization, which he rejects. Tomberg actually follows the Eastern Church in recognizing that growing in the image and likeness of God is actually a process of humanization, of becoming “truly human”, a fuller “realization of true human nature”. In effect, he has “more being” than he did before.

This is an alchemical process. As such, it transforms the base human into the image and likeness of God through “sublimation”. In Hermetic initiation, one penetrates into the depths of consciousness to awaken to the primordial Adamic state of the image and likeness.

While the contemporary Catechism of the Catholic Church shows the loss of any understanding of the distinction between the image and likeness, that was not also the case of the Nordic-Roman Medieval Tradition, which, like the East, had not forgotten that doctrine. Quoting St Bernard, Tomberg shows how the image and likeness separated after the Fall of Adam and the forgetting of the Primordial State. Bernard claims that while the image of God remains in man, the likeness has been lost “in the soul which sins”.

The consequence is that man is “free”, perpetually free through eternity. The likeness, however, is not essentially immortal. The Holy Guardian Angel acts to preserve the likeness that has been lost in man.

Misconceptions

Distortions arise because of the lack of understanding about the distinction between the image and likeness. In particular, new age and liberal theory more or less adopt the notions of the “image and likeness” as well as the universalization of the “children of god”. For example, if the image of God is actual rather than virtual at birth, then it would follow that one’s weakness, faults, and foibles are in reality God-given attributes of one’s personality or nature. This is a reversion to pantheistic paganism as we showed in Esoteric Stoicism. Specifically, one’s “presuppositions” are seen as God given, while in the Christian view such presuppositions need to be examined and tested.

Social Policy

You will be hearing in the coming month about the “option for the poor”. It is said that there is an inherent “dignity of man” (i.e., worthy of respect) due to his being in the “image and likeness of God”. Of course, we treat everyone with the respect due him as a matter of justice. Even if a man has lost the likeness of God, “every sinner has a future” (Augustine). Similarly, the unborn is also due justice, even if his being is still virtual.

In economic policies, there is a religious left that makes common cause with the secular left. On a certain level, this is quite strange. The religious left basis its program on man as being in the image of God and a descendent of God. The secular left, on the other hand, regards man as a material being and a descendent of monkeys. When two incompatible premises lead to the same conclusion, then, by Occam’s razor, one is justified in accepting the simpler premise, which is the secular worldview. Hence, the religious left tends over time to get sucked into the secular, material view.

Now, economic solutions are not as simple as many want to believe. There are several alternatives, not necessarily incompatible with each other, to provide for the material needs of the poor. Moreover, the option for the poor should include cultural and spiritual components. This is where the secular worldview falls short, since only economic and material considerations matter. And the religious left, but accepting de facto the secular premise, becomes impotent.

By failing to recognize that the loss of the “likeness of God” has been lost (due to faulty understanding), the religious left has no solution to the cultural and spiritual issues. The secular left promotes contempt for religion, sexual license, drug use, gun violence, and so on. While in their personal lives, they are usually less affected by the consequences of that worldview, that is not true of the poorer elements which have fewer options. The religious left seems to say nothing about that.

Postscript

This is not to say that the religious right has much better to offer. By glorifying capitalism and perpetual war, they create more problems than they solve. Even if they are marginally better on cultural and spiritual issues, there is a disturbingly mixed message.

At a recent protest of a Planned Parenthood clinic, the Evangelicals were yelling through a megaphone, presumably to harass the women. I don’t know if they checked first to determine if a woman was there due to incest or rape. In another section the Catholics gathered to say the Rosary. The Evangelicals then turned the megaphone onto the Catholics admonishing them “not to worship Mary.” Is there any wonder why the educated left regards the right as unhinged?

The Ruling Caste's Hissy Fit

via traditionalRIGHT

The reaction of the ruling elite and their minions in official conservadom to the Donald Trump surge is best characterized as a hissy fit, an extended temper tantrum that the GOP base isn’t doing what they want them to. The elite and their gatekeepers can’t seem to figure out why Trump is surging and why the peons who support him won’t listen to their betters. What is more puzzling is why they didn’t see this coming and why it hasn’t happen sooner. The writing has been on the wall for a while.

Anyone who wants to understand the Trump phenomenon should read the book The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It by Angelo Codevilla. It was first published as a rather longish essay in the American Spectator magazine. It was so well received that American Spectator updated it, added an introduction by Rush Limbaugh and published it as a book.

At first glance, Codevilla perhaps seems like an unlikely candidate to write such a book. Arguably a member of the ruling class himself, he was first an influential government employee before moving on to the Hover Institute think tank and then to Boston University as a professor of international relations. With a Ph.D from the Claremont Graduate School and a history of foreign policy hawkishness, he was also perceived as at least somewhat neoconish. My impression is that he may have backed away from his hawkishness a bit in the last few years, but where exactly Codevilla stands on foreign policy is beyond the scope of this essay. Suffice it to say that regardless of Codevilla’s own shaky credentials as a pitchfork-wielding man of the people, his insights in the book ring true and are much appreciated.

Whether Codevilla intended it as such or not, The Ruling Class has been praised as a brilliant example of elite class analysis. According to Dr. Paul Johnson of Auburn University, elite theory suggests that:
American politics is best understood through the generalization that nearly all political power is held by a relatively small and wealthy group of people sharing similar values and interests and mostly coming from relatively similar privileged backgrounds. Most of the top leaders in all or nearly all key sectors of society are seen as recruited from this same social group, and elite theorists emphasize the degree to which interlocking corporate and foundation directorates, old school ties and frequent social interaction tend to link together and facilitate coordination between the top leaders in business, government, civic organizations, educational and cultural establishments and the mass media. This “power elite” can effectively dictate the main goals (if not always the practical means and details) for all really important government policy making (as well as dominate the activities of the major mass media and educational/cultural organizations in society) by virtue of their control over the economic resources of the major business and financial organizations in the country.
Well, you don’t say? This observation is a “no duh” to Trump supporters. A bear does what in the woods?

According to Codevilla, Democrat voters are much more satisfied with their party because they see it as serving their interests. On the other hand, Republican voters, who are mostly middle-class yokels in flyover country, are not happy with their party because they see it as asking them for votes every two years then promptly going to Washington and serving the interests of someone else, the primarily bi-coastal elite donor class.

For example, “Fast Track” trade legislation was recently rammed through Congress at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce set thanks to the yeoman efforts of Republican legislators to salvage it following a legislative setback. This was despite polling data and an overwhelmingly disproportionate number of calls, letters, and emails that indicated their base was extremely hostile to it. And then party leaders and Conservative Inc. gatekeepers scratch their heads and can’t figure out why some people are so angry and supporting Trump. Trump is the chickens coming home to roost.

I have no use for the Republican party leadership, but I don’t doubt that some of the conservative gatekeepers are well intentioned. Trump is not a check-all-the-boxes conservative to say the least, and he certainly says things that shock the sensibilities of small-government and free-market advocates. I’m sure many are sincere in their attempts to safeguard the Republican brand and conservatism as they understand it, but the gatekeepers too often come off as apologists for said fat cat elites, often to the point of parody. Unlike political hobbyists, most voters are not ideologues. Many people vote viscerally and appearances and general impressions matter to them. Which candidate really cares about me? If that’s the question for the angry GOP base, Trump crushes ¡Jeb!

It is not impossible to mix free-market orthodoxy with populism. Ron Paul was able to walk this fine line with some success. In fact, as Codevilla points out in The Ruling Class, popular sentiment has increasingly come to be characterized by “leave me alone and get out of my business” attitudes as the government has expanded and become more and more intrusive, but you can’t come off like the guy on the Monopoly board either. If the leadership of the Republican Party and Conservative Inc. want to reconnect with a base they are quickly losing, I suggest they pick up a copy of The Ruling Class, and give it a read. I doubt it will do much good, but maybe they won’t be so baffled.

Mechanisms for Cuckservatives

via The Occidental Observer

The cuckservative meme is beautifully derisive, connoting a man who is cuckholded by his wife and thus perhaps raising another man’s children. The term, or the more generic ‘cuck’ (which could also apply to White liberals), is quite appropriate for Whites across the mainstream political spectrum who are aiding and abetting the process of White dispossession, whether by legal or illegal immigration. (A poll of 100 House Republican “conservatives” found that only 1 favored decreases in legal immigration, so we can conclude that pretty much the entire mainstream Republican party are cuckservatives.) Donald Trump is indeed a breath of fresh air.

The cuckservative idea implies parasitism, and in fact the word ‘cuckold’ comes from a classic parasite, the cuckoo bird. There’s a terrific video of cuckoo birds eliciting feeding from their cuckolded parents after pushing the eggs of the hosts out of the  nest; especially striking are the much smaller warblers feeding their parasites.

Parasites know how to push the buttons of the host. Many animals are basically reflex machines where a particular stimulus automatically results in a preprogrammed response. The cuckoo opens its mouth to be fed and it doubtless looks just like the reed warbler chick’s mouth, so the warbler’s reflex to feed it kicks in. Like your knee joint responding when the doctor hits it with the rubber hammer.

Much of the media and advertising exist by pushing buttons that trigger appropriate financially lucrative reflexes in their audiences, from pornography to romantic movies to team sports. Media  profits are driven by competition over how best to push those buttons. But the effort to produce politically and racially cuckolded Whites adds a layer of complexity: What buttons do you push to make Whites complicit in their own racial and cultural demise?

Actually, there are a whole lot of them, which shouldn’t be surprising. This is a very sophisticated onslaught, enabled by control over all the moral, intellectual, and political high ground by the left. With all that high ground, there are a lot of buttons you can push.

Guilt and  empathy are emotional buttons triggered by never-ending photos and accounts of suffering non-Whites, such as the ubiquitous photos of migrants going  to Europe.  For example, The Telegraph  reports that a “prominent author” from Iceland wants to raise a Syrian child and is encouraging other Icelanders to take in refugees to oppose the government policy of only a token number:
After the Icelandic government announced last month that it would only accept 50 humanitarian refugees from Syria, Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir encouraged fellow citizens to speak out in favour of those in need of asylum [the Telegraph link goes to an article on Germany’s aggressive drive to maximize their refugees.] In the space of 24 hours, 10,000 Icelanders – the country’s population is 300,000 – took to Facebook to offer up their homes and urge their government to do more.
In the eyes of a great many, Ms. Bjorgvinsdottir will certainly gain much status with this gesture. We can be sure that others will compete with her by offering to take in whole families (see Anthony Hilton’s “Giving away the farm: Why?“). Status competition by altruism — another important mechanism in White dispossession that ultimately depends on control of the moral, intellectual, and political high ground by elites hostile to the traditional people of the West. The result is that we are “drowning in altruism.” In a society with elites responsive to the interests of its people, such a person would be shunned and prevented from taking in refugees apart, perhaps, from temporary arrangements where they would be repatriated as soon as possible.

Often the pull for empathy is combined with a narrative that somehow this all comes back to uniquely evil Whites responsible for the actions of their ancestors. Of course, these accounts are carefully contextualized to ignore things like morally crusading Whites who uniquely ended slavery after a campaign based on empathy for far-away Africans. Also ignored are the characteristics of Whites and non-Whites that feed into current realities (e.g., IQ differences, the Faustian soul of  the West, etc.). I have yet to hear of a movement opposed to slavery that worked by eliciting empathy—apart from those that were so effective in the West and continue to be effective by showing photos of suffering refugees and immigrants; “we need to help them,” never mind the short term and long term costs to our own people.

Pressing the  guilt/empathy button doesn’t work in Africa or Asia despite the fact that huge swaths of humanity there (Arabs, Han Chinese, Bantu) have achieved their present territories as the result of the conquests of their ancestors. And slavery persisted in these areas long after it was abolished in the West. And even if these areas were  prone to messages of guilt/empathy, you won’t see them there because these societies are not controlled by elites hostile to their traditional peoples and cultures of those areas.

The lack of contextualization and the continual deluge of messages hostile to the White majority are good indications that the button pushing is an exercise in propaganda emanating from a hostile elite, enabled because of their control over the moral, intellectual, and political high ground. It’s not just emotional buttons that are pushed. Some of these memes are much more purely intellectual, although I suppose many of these terms have emotional overtones as well because they are often linked in such a way that that they plug into the guilt mechanism. This means that they are addressed to  the higher brain centers which are able to exert substantial control over the rather more primitive (and self-preserving) lower brain centers responsible for such as those related to ethnocentrism. Control of the  media and the academic high ground by the left means that Americans are bombarded by messages that enjoin them to inhibit their natural self-preserving tendencies and indeed, to feel guilt for them. These  messages have also filtered down to churches and schools, so, unless they tune in to dissident media on the internet, Whites can spend their entire lives without hearing any contrary messages. It’s hard to overcome that.

For example, Tobias Langdon discussed “verbal venom” in the context of parasitism, where messages render their targets comatose and unable to defend themselves. “Race is a social construct” disarms people who believe it because  it claims that all peoples are the the  same, that we can all live together in peace and  harmony. In Guillaume Durocher’s recent TOO article, Glenn Greenwald calls illegal immigrants “human beings” — an attempt to subvert obvious and important differences that very much impact the  interests of White Americans. Or, if Blacks are doing poorly in school compared to other groups, it couldn’t  possibly be significantly due to genetic race differences given that  race is simply an arbitrary classification invented to benefit the arbitrary class of people called “Whites.”  So the failure of people classified as Black must be because of the evil of this arbitrary group of people.

Another example: in his recent interview with Jared Taylor, Alan Colmes says that the US has always been open to all comers—absurd given the 1924 immigration restriction law, as Taylor points out. But Colmes’ comment reflects the common meme that “America is a nation of immigrants” so often used to silence opposition to immigration.  And of course, we also see appeals to Enlightenment values of individual liberty, egalitarianism, democracy, etc., contextualized by the propaganda machine as implying that opposition to immigration, multiculturalism, and Whites becoming a minority violate the most basic ideals of the West.

Of course, messages that encouraging people to suppress their natural tendencies are nothing new. I was just reading a book on how the medieval Church encouraged people to strive for sainthood  above everything else, including the normal pleasures of parenting and family life. The result was that their accounts of the saints’ mystical life are filled with “familial sentiments”[1]—their natural desires finding expression in another form. For Whites, the analogy is implicit Whiteness where Whites, many of whom have internalized the ideology of White suicide and repress explicit assertions of White interests, nevertheless move away from diversity and associate with other Whites.

Besides top-down control via destructive memes aimed at the higher brain centers, another  mechanism is simply conditioning. If a psychologist asked subjects what pops into their mind when they here the phrase “David Duke,” it would likely be “Ku Klux Klan” despite the fact that he hasn’t been associated with any version of the Klan for decades. So we get headlines in January, 2015 such as “Former KKK Leader David Duke Says He May Run Against Steve Scalise” in the Huffington Post. Constant repetition by a hostile media is a very effective weapon, resulting in people having a reflexive emotional reaction that precludes a rational evaluation of what Duke is saying.

This is effective because “Ku  Klux Klan” has achieved status as one of several labels that have reflex connections with supreme evil — “White supremacist,” “Nazi,” “racist,” etc. Pairing anyone or anything with these labels is enough to send fear into the hearts of most Whites. So if you, God forbid, are going to be a Republican, at least have the decency to say good things about Ben Carson, no  matter what his positions are.

Another  important mechanism for cucking is social identity manipulation, such as saying Jews are White even when it is entirely mainstream in Jewish culture not to identify as part of traditional European Christian culture (see “Ashkenazi Jews are not White“) and to actively seek to dispossess Europeans and their culture. But it is oftentimes extraordinarily effective for Jews to be classified as White and to be seen as White by people with European-Christian ancestry. The vast over-representation of Jews in the Ivy League beyond what their academic credentials would warrant and the corresponding underrepresentation of Europeans are enabled by grouping Jews with non-Jewish students of European descent. Harvard would doubtless argue that  separating Jews and those with European-Christian ancestry when they break down admissions by ethnicity would be horrifyingly racist. And yet it corresponds to a very real fault line in terms of attitudes related to race, ethnicity, and the future of White America.

Another example is Hollywood, where conservatives often lament that it is controlled by liberals, and liberals complain that it is controlled by White males:
The LA Times understands how the game is played. Every year around Oscar time they put out editorials and articles bemoaning the “overwhelmingly white male membership of the academy” [i.e., the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences] and that “film, TV diversity doesn’t look like America’s.” Then the next year, they do it all over again because nothing changes. (“Gary Oldman becomes a pariah“)
But of course Hollywood has been a Jewish monopoly for nearly 100 years, and, this has been of critical importance especially since the 1960s when the social controls exerted by culturally conservative, often Christian organizations on the film industry became a victim of the counter-cultural revolution (see here). Since the 1960s, the propaganda emanating from Hollywood has been much more in line with Jewish liberal values typical of the mainstream Jewish community but quite different from mainstream White America (here, p. xlvi ff).

Another example from this genre is that media commentators on issues related to Israel are never identified as Jews with a very strong ethnic interest in and commitment to Israel. For example, Charles Krauthammer expounds on a wide variety of issues at FoxNews, but you would never hear mention that his ethnicity or ultra-Zionist connections on Fox influence his views on Israel. Just another talking head White male. Such examples are legion and are a major source of neoconservative influence.

Another important mechanism is social learning theory: it’s natural to look up to celebrities who are fawned over by the elite media. A classic example was all the people, especially women, having dreams where Obama took on superior positions — women having fantasies about sex with him, men feeling inferior and in needing to get in shape. Models are far more effective if they have prestige and high status, which fits well with an evolutionary perspective in which seeking high social status is a universal feature of the human mind. So it makes sense that propaganda is much more effective if promoted by elites that are seen as legitimate. So when the New York Times wants to validate its propaganda, it’s very effective to quote a Harvard professor, thus reassuring readers that their opinions are a sign of intelligence and education. It’s no accident that all of the pseudo-scientific, ethnically motivated intellectual movements discussed in The Culture of Critique were propagated from elite academic institutions.

Finally, it goes without saying that material incentives are important: We’ll pay you to forfeit the future of your own children for promises of a great career in the media or politics. Life is good, and going for the gold is made all the easier by buying into the propaganda via the previously discussed mechanisms. As I used to tell my students, it’s always easier to fall in love with a rich man than a poor man.

There are doubtless other psychological mechanisms that come into play in explaining the cucking of America, but these give a good introduction to the general picture. All of these mechanisms stem from the fact that the anti-White revolution is a top-down revolution resulting from control of elite media and educational institutions by hostile elites. America is now an oligarchy, not a democracy; combating this power is  daunting to say the least.

Which brings up Donald Trump’s campaign with its populist positions on immigration and trade policy. Trump, uniquely, is positioned to strike a real blow to these entrenched elites because of his celebrity status and the fact that he is not dependent on their financial support. It’s  encouraging that despite the deluge of positive messages on immigration emanating from the mainstream media, elite attitudes on immigration still do not resonate with most Americans.

Thankfully, the mechanisms cucking so many Americans are not all-powerful. As the medieval Church found, going against nature isn’t easy.

Notes:

[1] David Herlihy, Medieval Households (Cambridge: Harvard, 1985), 115.

The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945, Part 9

via Carolyn Yeager

Listen Now

Carolyn reads Chapter 16, "Captured German Soldiers in the Soviet Union."

Stalin and the Red Army had a policy of German genocide and it was evident on the very first day of the war. Main themes:
  • Massacre at Broniki on July 1, 1941 when 180 mostly wounded Germans were stabbed, shot and grenaded to death with never an admission from the Soviet government or army;
  • Captured reports and orders, leaflets and intercepted radio and wireless messages all told of the policy of executing prisoners of war;
  • Seven ways the Soviets justified the killing of prisoners;How the Soviets pretended they were following the Hague Conventions of war;
  • Commissars and/or lower ranking officers responsible for most of the killings, but there were numerous reports of a Stalin Order;
War Crimes Bureau members believed that Stalin was responsible for the wide-spread killing of German prisoners of war. 1h3m

Retrotopia: The View from a Moving Window

via The Archdruid Report

Part 1

Author's Note: This is the second installment of an exploration of some of the possible futures discussed on this blog, using the toolkit of narrative fiction. Readers who haven’t been following The Archdruid Report for long may find it useful to remember that not everything seen along the way has a simple explanation.
From the window beside me, the Steubenville station looked like a scene out of an old Bogart vid. The platform closest to the train I was riding was full of people in outdated clothes.  Most of them wore long raincoats that didn’t look a bit like bioplastic, and all of the men and most of the women had hats on. Up above was a roof of glass and ironwork that reminded me irresistibly of the Victorian era, and let daylight down onto everything. The oddest thing about it all, though, is that I didn’t see security troops anywhere. On the other side of the border, anywhere you saw this many people together there’d be at least a squad in digital camo and flak jackets, pointing assault guns ostentatiously at the sidewalk. I remembered the guards at the border, with their clipboards, holstered revolvers, and old-fashioned uniforms, and wondered how on earth the Lakeland Republic got away with that kind of carelessness.
The train finally rolled to a stop, and doors opened. The conductor had warned us that plenty of people would be coming aboard, and he wasn’t kidding: it took better than five minutes for everyone to file onto the car where I was sitting, and by the time they’d finished coming aboard, nearly every seat was taken. The aisle seat next to me wasn’t one of the empty ones; a family with three children settled in right behind me, one child next to the mother, the second next to the father, and then Mom came up to me and asked if I minded having the oldest child sit next to me. I gestured and said, “Sure,” and a boy of maybe ten plopped into the seat. “Now you mind your manners,” the woman told him, and he rolled his eyes, sighed loudly, and said, “Yeah, Mom.”
That wasn’t too promising, but he had a book with him, and as soon as he was settled in his seat, he opened it and didn’t make another sound . I was curious enough to give the book a sidelong glance; it was called Treasure Island, and it was by somebody I’d never heard of named Robert Louis Stevenson; I made a mental note to look up the name and see if he was somebody new I should check out. He wasn’t the only kid in the car who was doing something quiet, either.  Up three rows there was a girl in a blue checked dress and a bonnet who was reading something, too, and behind me, the two kids in the immigrant family were watching everything and not saying a word, though they didn’t look quite as scared as when they boarded.
A couple of solid jolts shook the car. A moment later, I heard the voice of the conductor outside calling out, “Last call for Train Twenty to Toledo via Canton and Sandusky. All aboard!” Doors clattered, the locomotive up ahead sounded its whistle, and with another jolt the train started on its way again.
The station slid away, and I got a street-level view of half a dozen blocks of downtown Steubenville. The sense of having landed on the set of an old Bogart vid was just as strong. To judge by the couple of clocks the train passed—my veepad was still giving me a dark field and the words no signal—it was right around time for the morning commute, but there wasn’t a car to be seen anywhere; the sidewalks bustled with people, and a couple of streetcars rolled past with bells clanging and standing room only on board. The train picked up speed and left the downtown behind, but further out was more of the same: streets full of comfortable-looking houses and apartment buildings, with people walking to work or waiting at streetcar stops.
Further on the houses spread out, and big gardens sprouted all over the place, with the last fall crops visible in patches separated by stubble and brown earth.  A little further, and Steubenville blended smoothly into the same sort of farm country I’d seen since shortly after the train crossed into the Lakeland Republic. The farmhouses and barns looked well-tended, windmills spun and solar water heater panels on the roofs soaked up what sunlight came through the broken clouds, and the roads I saw were unpaved but had fresh gravel on them.
A little further, and the train passed a work gang out in one of the fields. That wasn’t surprising—back on the other side of the border, you saw prison work gangs doing labor on corporate farms all the time—but these didn’t have the slouch and the least-possible-effort sort of movement you see in convicts. They were working their way across a field, digging up turnips as energetically as if they wanted to be there, and others came behind them just as methodically and carried the turnips away in bushel baskets. It was when I noticed where they were taking the turnips that my mouth dropped open.
Just past the field was a wagon with two draft horses hitched up to it. I wondered for a moment if this was an Amish farm—we’ve got Amish in our country, quite a few of them in what used to be the state of Pennsylvania before Partition, and they’re among the few people who’ve really done well in the postwar era—but the wagon had been painted in colors that, though they’d faded, had obviously once been bright. The people in the work gang weren’t dressed in any sort of Amish kit I’d ever seen, either. I shook my head as the work gang and the wagon slipped out of sight behind the train, wondering what kind of weird place I was visiting. This was the twenty-first century, after all, not the nineteenth!
And yet it was like that all the way to Canton—or, to be more precise, it was some variation on the same theme of outdated technology and inefficient land use. All the farms were absurdly small, one to two hundred acres divided up into the sort of mixed farming that modern agriculture discarded most of a century ago, and I didn’t see any trace of modern agricultural machinery: no harvesting drones, no nitrogen injection systems, no quadruple-wide megacombines, nothing. What I did see left me baffled, not least because there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. In one place I’d see trucks driving down paved roads and tractors in the fields, and twenty or thirty miles later it would be draft horses and wagons doing the same jobs.
The train passed through I don’t know how many little towns, and those were the same way: in one I’d see paved streets and a few cars and trucks, in the next the streets were paved with brick and streetcars shared space with horsedrawn carriages, and then there were a few that had brick streets and no streetcars at all. The thing that puzzled me most, though, was that all of the towns, like nearly all the farms, seemed to be thriving. Every scrap of theory I’d learned in business school argued that small towns, like small farms, were hopelessly inefficient and couldn’t possibly support themselves in a modern economy. I’d guessed earlier in the trip that there must be subsidies involved, but this far into Lakeland Republic territory, that explanation wouldn’t wash. I reached for my veepad reflexively to make a note, remembered as I got it out of my pocket that it wouldn’t get a signal, and put it away, feeling a rush of annoyance at the metanet’s absence.
We got to Canton a little ahead of schedule, or so the conductor announced cheerfully, and stopped in the switching yard east of town to lose some freight cars, gain others, and add three more passenger cars and a dining car to the back end of the train. That went quickly, though it involved a lot of jolts and thumps, and before long we were rolling ahead into the city. Canton was a fairly big town; according to what I’d read while researching this trip, it had plenty of factories until the offshoring fad of the late twentieth century scrapped the United States’ manufacturing capacity and left the nation at the mercy of rival powers.  I’d seen the gutted hulks of old factories outside Pittsburgh and a dozen other cities on our side of the border, and assumed that I’d see the same thing here.
I didn’t. What I saw instead, as the train rolled through the outlying districts of Canton, were what looked very much like warehouses and factories open for business. There weren’t many smokestacks to be seen, but the buildings had recent coats of paint on them, boxcars were being pushed down sidings by switching engines, and a mix of trucks and big horsedrawn wagons were lumbering past on the streets. Further in, the train passed the same mix of of office buildings, apartment blocks, and stores I’d seen in Steubenville, and then we slowed and stopped at the Canton station.
That had me remembering Bogart vids again. From my window I could see at least eight platforms to one side of the train I was riding, and through the windows on the other side of the car I was pretty sure I could make out two more. Signs on the platforms noted destinations all over the Lakeland Republic—Morgantown, Bowling Green, Cairo, Madison, Sault Ste. Marie—and the place fairly bustled with passengers heading for this or that train. Some of the passengers from the car I was sitting in got their luggage and headed out into the crowds, and some others came on board, stowed their luggage, and sat down; and the weirdest thing of all was that everyone seemed perfectly comfortable doing without security troops to protect them or modern technology to take care of their needs.
The train finally got under way again, and I got more views of Canton as the track headed northwest through town. About the time the houses started to spread out and the gardens got bigger, the conductor came through the door behind me and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, breakfast service is now open in the dining car, and since so many of the people in this car have been with us since Pittsburgh, you’re first.  If you’d like to head back four cars, the dining car staff will be happy to serve you.”
Just about everyone in the car got up and filed back through the door. I didn’t. I’m one of those people who doesn’t do breakfast; if I eat anything before lunch I end up with stomach trouble. The kid next to me went with his family, and the mother of the immigrant family took her two kids back to the dining car right after them. The father of the immigrant family, though, didn’t join them. After a few minutes he and I were practically alone in the car.
I half turned in my seat, gave him what I hoped would come across as a friendly smile. “Not into breakfast?”
“Too keyed up,” he said, smiling in response. “If I ate now I’d get sick to my stomach.”
I nodded. “I couldn’t help hearing the border guard say that you’re immigrating. That sounds pretty drastic. If you don’t mind my asking, what made you do that?”
His smile vanished, replaced by a wary look. “The wife has family in Ann Arbor,” he said. “They’re sponsoring us, and I got a job offer when we visited this summer. It seems like a good move.”
“Even though you have to give up modern technology?”
The wary look gave way to something that looked uncomfortably like contempt. “Technology? Like what?”
“Well, veepads and the metanet, to start with.”
By this point it was definitely contempt. “Big loss. I can’t afford any of that keech anyway.”
“Why not? You’ve got as much chance as anyone. Work hard, and—”
His expression said “whatever” more clearly than words, and he turned toward the window and away from me.
“No,” I said. “Seriously. I want to understand.”
He turned back to face me. “Yeah? Did you hear my wife start crying there at the border, once they checked our papers?” I nodded, and he went on. “You know why she started crying? Because she’s been working three different jobs, sixty hours a week plus, to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table—and before you start thinking something stupid, mister, I’ve been working more hours than her since before we got married. This is the first time she’s had anything to look forward to but that kind of schedule or worse for the rest of her life, until one of us gets too sick to work and we get chucked onto the street or into the burbs.”
“And you think you’ll be that much better off here?”
He gave me a baffled look, and then laughed a short hard laugh. “You haven’t been here before.”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Then open your eyes and take a good plutting look around.” He turned back to the window, and I knew better than to try to continue the conversation.
The landscape rolled by. We were in farm country again, the same patchwork landscape of little farms and little towns, with the same weird incongruities between one place and another. I was paying more attention this time, so I noticed some of the other differences: paved roads, gravel roads, and dirt roads; in some places, streetcars and local rail service, and none of these things in others; towns that had streetlights and others that didn’t. At one point west of Canton, as the train rattled across a bridge, I looked down and honest to God, there were canal boats going both ways on a canal, each one with a mule pulling the towrope as though it was two hundred years ago and the Erie Canal was still in working order.
With my veepad useless, I didn’t have anything to do but watch the landscape roll by. The people who’d gone to breakfast trickled back a few at a time, and the conversation I’d just had with the immigrant replayed over and over again in my mind. Of course I knew perfectly well that things were pretty hard for the poor back home, and the statistics that got churned out quarter after quarter showing steady economic improvement were strictly public relations maneuvers—there been a modest upturn after the Treaty of Richmond was signed and the last closed borders between the North American republics opened up, but the consequences of the Second Civil War and the debt crisis that followed it still weighed down hard on everybody.
It’s one thing to have some more or less abstract idea that times are tough, though, and something else to hear it in the voice of someone who’d been on the losing end of the economy all his life. I started to reach for my veepad to look up honest stats on the job market back home—those weren’t easy to find if you didn’t have connections, but that wasn’t a problem for me—and caught the motion just before my hand reached my pocket. What did people do in the Lakeland Republic, I wondered irritably, when they wanted to make a note of something or look up a fact?
I stared out the window, and after a while—the train was most of the way to Sandusky by then—noticed something that made the crazy quilt pattern of old technologies on the landscape a little clearer and a lot more puzzling. The train had slowed a little, and crossed a road at an angle. The road was paved on one side and dirt on the other; I could see tractors in the middle distance off to the left, where the paved road started, and draft horses closer by on the right. Just where the pavement began was a sign that read Welcome to Huron County.
That got me thinking back over the landscape the train had crossed since the border, and yes, the breaks between one set of technology and another worked out to something like county-line distances. That made me shake my head. Had the Lakeland Republic somehow divvied up the available technology by county, so that some counties got the equivalent of twentieth century infrastructure and others got stuck with the nineteenth-century equivalent? That sounded like political suicide, unless the Republic was a lot more autocratic than the briefing papers I’d read made it sound. Then, of course, there was the fact that the farmhouses and farm towns in the nineteenth-century counties looked just as prosperous, all things considered, as their equivalents in the twentieth-century counties, and that made no sense at all. The farmers with more technology should have outproduced the others, undercut them in price, and driven them out of business in no time.
Huron County slid past the window. Farmland dotted with little towns gave way to a midsized town, which I guessed was the county seat, and then to farmland and little towns again. After a while, the conductor stepped through the door behind me and called out, “Next stop, Sandusky.” A few minutes later, the train swung around a wide curve to the left, and ran just back of the shores of Lake Erie. Off in the distance, at a steep angle ahead, Sandusky’s buildings could be seen rising up above the flat line of the landscape, but that wasn’t what caught my gaze and held it.
Out maybe a quarter mile from shore was a big schooner with three masts, white sails bellying out ahead of the wind. It wasn’t anybody’s luxury yacht, that was for sure; from stem to stern, it looked every inch a working boat. From the direction it was headed, I guessed it must have left Sandusky harbor not long before, and was headed east toward the locks around Niagara Falls, or just possibly toward Erie or Buffalo—since the Treaty of Richmond, I knew, we’d been importing agricultural products from the Lakeland Republic, though I’d never bothered to find out how they got to us. I sat there and watched the ship as it swept past, wondering why they hadn’t done the obvious thing and entrusted their shipping to modern freighters instead. What kind of strange things had been going on here during the years when the Lakeland Republic was locked away behind closed borders?

Selma Descended into Gang Violence, Crime after Obama's Bloody Sunday Visit

via AL.com

The eyes of the nation were trained on Selma from the Christmas release of the film bearing the city's name until March 7, when President Barack Obama, civil rights leaders and celebrities descended on the city en masse to commemorate its place in civil rights history.

It was a historic event, producing images of the nation's first black president leading a crowd over the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge, where civil rights protesters were savagely beaten by Alabama state troopers 50 years earlier.

The triumphant moment left many observers around the world with a sense that perhaps Selma had transcended its violent, racist past in the decades since Bloody Sunday.

But in the months since the reenactment of the March on Selma, the city's slums have descended into a period of frequent gang shootings and open-air drug dealing, leaving residents gripped by fear and police struggling to clean up the streets.

The peak of Selma's gang violence problem came about seven weeks ago, when shootings were being measured per week, rather than per month or per year, according to Michael Jackson, district attorney for Alabama's 4th Judicial Circuit.

Local authorities say they encounter gang members armed with heavy weaponry including AK-47s, MAC-10s and 40-caliber handguns with high-volume clips in Selma area's worst neighborhoods, where fresh bullet holes still pepper the sides of some homes.

Gang ties and beefs are seldom cut and dry, but an unsolved murder from three months ago appears to have kicked off a retaliatory spat between rival crews from two of the city's poorest and most neglected areas that continues to this day.

"We had a lot of open gang warfare between the Selmont gangs and the Craig Air Force Base gangs," Jackson told AL.com Thursday evening at the Dallas County Courthouse in downtown Selma. "These are real gangs. These are not wannabe gang members. They'll kill you and assault you without thinking much of it ... You don't want a situation where people are afraid to go outside."

Selmont, a low-income community just across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from downtown Selma and the nearby Craig Air Force Base – which has been left to deteriorate since the military abandoned it in 1977 – have been the epicenters of the violence over the past month-and-a-half.

Stuck in impoverished, mostly African-American areas left destitute by decades of systemic neglect and policies that elevate white residents at the expense of their black neighbors, most residents of Selmont and Craig have little opportunity to better their stations, and many turn to drug dealing, gangs and crime.

Most of the indigent Dallas County schools that serve Selma's roughest communities are ridden with gangs, with even some elementary school children turning to drugs and gang-like behavior, perpetuating the criminal lifestyle from one generation to the next, Jackson said.

Riding along with the 4th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force through Selmont and Craig Thursday night, the potholed streets were dark and mostly desolate. Family members watched children play in the front yards of a few run-down homes and apartment complexes while groups of young men stood drinking beer and smoking marijuana in alleyways and quiet corners of the residential neighborhoods.

The task force was engaged in what has become something of a deliberate routine, one in a series of regular driving patrols of Selmont, Craig and other high-crime areas in hopes of catching and arresting violent criminals and drug dealers, according to Larry Coalston, commander of the drug task force.

"We're just basically going out and checking the areas where we've been having trouble at," Coalston said Thursday evening before leading his team on patrol. "We're going to kind of check around, see what's going on ... See if they're hanging out in some of these spots where we get complaints about them shooting, drug activity, different things like that, their little gang meetings."

Thursday night's patrol resulted in at least three people being arrested between 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on suspicion of criminal activity including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving with an open container of alcohol.

The three-man drug task force and officers assigned to the team from other agencies have gone on driving patrol multiple nights a week in response to the uptick in crime, cruising slowly through crime-ridden areas and occasionally jumping out of their vehicles to question and often search suspicious individuals.

Task force members made one arrest Thursday night after they pulled a car with four young men inside over and discovered open alcohol containers and marijuana. Two more resulted from a bust of two men suspected of selling marijuana from an apartment along a dim alleyway as neglected-looking dogs sat chained up outside. A third suspect fled the scene and evaded capture despite being chased into the woods by an officer carrying heavy gear and wearing a bulletproof vest.

The tactics the task force used Thursday night often fell in line with the controversial "broken window" policies employed by the NYPD in the 1980s and 1990s. Officers stopped and searched people in Selmont and Craig who were committing "quality of life" violations like loitering in areas where it is off-limits to do so, committing minor traffic violations or openly drinking alcohol on public property.

Some residents likely take issue with the crackdown on minor offenses, but the task force says that such tactics are necessary if they are to find and arrest the major criminals committing murders and moving large quantities of drugs.

And law-abiding community members often thank them for bringing a semblance of law and order to their neighborhoods, according to Jackson.

"We are trying to run them out of town, and since we've launched this crusade to run them out of town, things are getting quieter and quieter, and there's not a day that goes by that the citizens [aren't] thanking us for tackling this problem," he said.

Local law enforcement agencies have put numerous people behind bars on firearm and drug charges since rolling out the anti-gang initiative, taking guns and significant quantities of heroin, crack, crystal meth, pills and marijuana off the street in the process.

The most significant arrest of the weeks-long crackdown came Aug. 21, when Maurice Brown – "one of Selma's biggest gunslingers," according to Jackson – was arrested for violating probation and illegal possession of a firearm.

Frequent patrols and high-profile arrests like that of Brown communicate to the community that the local authorities are paying attention and that criminals will be arrested. Even simply seeing officers driving the streets sends the message that criminal activity will not be tolerated, and that there are consequences for breaking the law, even in the most dangerous parts of Dallas County.

Coalston said that though there was some criminal activity visible, the scene on the streets of Selmont and among the former military housing blocks of the shuttered Craig Air Force Base was significantly quieter Thursday night than it would have been even three weeks earlier.

But authorities worry that the progress may be temporary.

Once the streets have calmed sufficiently in Selmont and Craig, law enforcement resources will be directed elsewhere and the frequent patrols of those areas will fall precipitously, as local agencies have too little money or manpower to adequately police the whole of Dallas County.

And recently announced cuts to a major funding stream for Alabama's drug task forces threaten to further undermine the gains made over the past couple of months.

As AL.com reported last month, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs plans to dedicate just 30 percent of the millions of dollars it obtains via a key federal grant program to drug enforcement this year, down from more than 75 percent in 2014.

"I think Selma's biggest problem is the police aren't visible enough. They don't have enough money. That's our problem – we don't have enough money," 4th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force Agent Eric Stallings said during the Thursday night patrol. "We have five counties. We have the largest circuit in the state and we've got three [drug task force] officers."

And so the cycle continues, with cash-strapped local law enforcement agencies playing whack-a-mole with the populations they serve. As one area cools down, another one eventually emerges as a new hot spot for criminal activity.

Still, Jackson is hopeful that the agencies' efforts will bring peace to Selma and the surrounding communities.

"[B]efore it's all over, Selma's going to be known to be a quiet place because, again, we're going to make sure they hop in their car and ride out of here," he said. "Or they're going to be tracked down like bloodhounds."