Adios, comic book stores

When we started Arkhaven Comics, we initially thought we would be offering a new form of distribution to the comic book shops. And while the first shops we spoke to were interested, it rapidly became apparent to me that they were not a viable distribution channel, or at least, would not be for long. The Dark Herald observes that it appears DC has now reached the same conclusion:

A new article has just been posted by Bleeding Cool, more or less confirming what I had posited in my Red Honeymoon peace. 

That DC is Getting out of the monthly pamphlet business. And that means abandoning the comic shops. 

“That the Warner Bros firings of yet more DC Comics senior staffers, and the subsequent fallout across the company is part of a series of measures that will include a switch away from month print comic books towards digital comic book serialization of stories, then collected in trade paperback sized volumes, or larger, thicker, anthologies aimed at a general mass market, a bookstore market, the bookfair market, the likes of Amazon – and then comic book stores and the direct market almost as an afterthought.

DC is reportedly offering its characters and properties for license, but at exorbitant rates that don’t make sense for anyone. No worries, Arkhaven is going to be introducing a considerable amount of new content in the new year. And yes, a certain war is going to be a particular point of emphasis; you’re not going to believe what The Legend has planned.

Four more years

It increasingly appears the voters have bought the USA four more years to get things straight before the centrifugal forces begin to dismantle the societal structures:

Blue Americans cannot bear thought of four more years of Trump, his desecration of the values that made America a beacon to the world, his bullying and lies, his undermining of the norms and institutions that make America work, his contempt for European allies, and his kowtowing to foreign dictators. They fear that Trump will use false claims of election fraud and the post-election social unrest to engineer a military coup, in which he would set himself up as dictator, and abolish free press and American democracy.

Red Americans fear a Biden administration that will open borders to massive immigration, encourage looting and property destruction by BLM and antifa rioters, take away their guns, increase their taxes, and end the oil and gas industry in America. Many see Biden as the senile figurehead for the global cabal of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and child-sex predators that include prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites, and deep state allies, whose aim is to establish an unelected “liberal dictatorship” that would abolish freedom of speech and American democracy.

Each side sees the world in Manichean terms and increasingly endorses violence as the necessary means to prevent the other side from staying in, or coming to power. As a result, we are in an extremely fragile state, which in technical terms is known as the revolutionary situation.

What will happen on November 3? One possibility is that one side wins by a landslide and the other accepts it. This is what the generals fervently hope for. This would avoid a civil war, at least for a time. The problem is that neither side has shown any willingness or understanding to solve the structural problems that have brought about the current revolutionary situation. And it takes years to reverse the negative structural-demographic trends, even once the necessary reforms are implemented. So we simply kick the problem forward to 2024.

But Peter Turchin is right. A Trumpslide doesn’t solve anything, it simply gives Americans a little more time to get serious about addressing the sickness at the heart of the US empire before it is too late. 

Of course, it could be worse. It could be a LOT worse. This dementia-addled guy might have won.

Joe Biden introduces his granddaughter by saying, “This is my son, Beau Biden, who a lot of you helped elect to the Senate in Delaware. This is…this is my granddaughter, Natalie. No wait, no wait. We got the wrong one.”

Beau Biden died in 2015. He never even ran for the Senate.

The war that was lost

Immigration, as the great Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld has shown, is war. And that war, not WWI, WWII, or the Cold War, was the true existential war that America faced, and lost, as demonstrated by this selection from The Old World in the New: The Significance of Past and Present Immigration to the American People, published in 1914 by sociologist E.A. Ross:

If you should ask an Englishman whether the tone of political life in his country would remain unaffected by the admission to the electorate of a couple of million Cypriotes, Vlachs, and Bessarabians after five years’ residence, he would take you for a madman. Suggest to the German that the plane of political intelligence in reading and thinking Germany would not be lowered by the access to the ballot-box of multitudes of Serbs, Georgians, and Druses of Lebanon, and he will consign you to bedlam. Assure the son of Norway that the vote of the Persian or Yemenite, of sixty months’ residence in Norway, will be as often wise and right as his own, and he will be insulted. It is only we Americans who assume that the voting of the Middle Atlantic States, with their million of naturalized citizens, or of the East North Central States, with their million, is as sane, discriminating, and forward-looking as it would be without them.

The Italian historian and sociologist Ferrero, after reviewing our immigration policy, concludes that the Americans, far from being “practical,” are really the mystics of the modern world. He says: “To confer citizenship each year upon great numbers of men born and educated in foreign countries—men who come with ideas and sympathies totally out of spirit with the diverse conditions in the new country; to grant them political rights they do not want, and of which they have never thought; to compel them to declare allegiance to a political constitution which they often do not understand; to try to transform subjects of old European monarchies into free citizens of young American republics over night—is not all this to do violence to common sense?”

As I sought to show, near the end of my initial chapter, the conditions of settlement of this country caused those of uncommon energy and venturesomeness to outmultiply the rest of the population. Thus came into existence the pioneering breed; and this breed increased until it is safe to estimate that fully half of white Americans with native grandparents have one or more pioneers among their ancestors. Whatever valuable race traits distinguish the American people from the parent European stocks are due to the efflorescence of this breed. Without it there would have been little in the performance of our people to arrest the attention of the world. Now we confront the melancholy spectacle of this pioneer breed being swamped and submerged by an overwhelming tide of latecomers from the old-world hive. In Atlanta still seven out of eight white men had American parents; in Nashville and Richmond, four out of five; in Kansas City, two out of three; and in Los Angeles, one out of two; but in Detroit, Cleveland, and Paterson one man out of five had American parents; in Chicago and New York, one out of six; in Milwaukee, one out of seven; and in Fall River, one out of nine. Certainly never since the colonial era have the foreign-born and their children formed so large a proportion of the American people as at the present moment. I scanned 368 persons as they passed me in Union Square, New York, at a time when the garment-workers of the Fifth Avenue lofts were returning to their homes. Only thirty-eight of these passers-by had the type of face one would find at a county fair in the West or South.

In the six or seven hundred thousand strangers that yearly join themselves to us for good and all, there are to be found, of course, every talent and every beauty. Out of the steerage come persons as fine and noble as any who have trodden American soil. Any adverse characterization of an immigrant stream implies, then, only that the trait is relatively frequent, not that it is universal.

In this sense it is fair to say that the blood now being injected into the veins of our people is “sub-common.” To one accustomed to the aspect of the normal American population, the Caliban type shows up with a frequency that is startling. Observe immigrants not as they come travel-wan up the gang-plank, nor as they issue toil-begrimed from pit’s mouth or mill gate, but in their gatherings, washed, combed, and in their Sunday best. You are struck by the fact that from ten to twenty per cent. are hirsute, low-browed, big-faced persons of obviously low mentality. Not that they suggest evil. They simply look out of place in black clothes and stiff collar, since clearly they belong in skins, in wattled huts at the close of the Great Ice Age. These oxlike men are descendants of those who always stayed behind. Those in whom the soul burns with the dull, smoky flame of the pine-knot stuck to the soil, and are now thick in the sluiceways of immigration. Those in whom it burns with a clear, luminous flame have been attracted to the cities of the home land and, having prospects, have no motive to submit themselves to the hardships of the steerage.

To the practised eye, the physiognomy of certain groups unmistakably proclaims inferiority of type. I have seen gatherings of the foreign-born in which narrow and sloping foreheads were the rule. The shortness and smallness of the crania were very noticeable. There was much facial asymmetry. Among the women, beauty, aside from the fleeting, epidermal bloom of girlhood, was quite lacking. In every face there was something wrong—lips thick, mouth coarse, upper lip too long, cheek-bones too high, chin poorly formed, the bridge of the nose hollowed, the base of the nose tilted, or else the whole face prognathous. There were so many sugar-loaf heads, moon-faces, slit mouths, lantern-jaws, and goose-bill noses that one might imagine a malicious jinn had amused himself by casting human beings in a set of skew-molds discarded by the Creator.

Our captains of industry give a crowbar to the immigrant with a number nine face on a number six head, make a dividend out of him, and imagine that is the end of the matter. They overlook that this man will beget children in his image—two or three times as many as the American—and that these children will in turn beget children. They chuckle at having opened an inexhaustible store of cheap tools and, lo! the American people is being altered for all time by these tools. Once before, captains of industry took a hand in making this people. Colonial planters imported Africans to hoe in the sun, to “develop” the tobacco, indigo, and rice plantations. Then, as now, business-minded men met with contempt the protests of a few idealists against their way of “building up the country.”

Those promoters of prosperity are dust, but they bequeathed a situation which in four years wiped out more wealth than two hundred years of slavery had built up, and which presents to-day the one unsolvable problem in this country. Without likening immigrants to negroes, one may point out how the latter-day employer resembles the old-time planter in his blindness to the effects of his labor policy upon the blood of the nation.

If America is to leave behind any historical legacy for the ages, it is this. First, pick your own damn cotton. Second, always sink the ships. Third, never let business-minded men set national policy, because for all their pragmatism, they are totally incapable of seeing anything beyond tomorrow’s pocketbook.

Seldom has a Cassandra foreseen coming catastrophe more clearly. It is small, though rather cold, comfort to know that the die was cast long before most of us were even born. Even so, Ross’s closing paragraph is a haunting one.

“The Roman world was laughing when it died.” Any couple or any people that does not feel it has anything to transmit to its children may well reason in such fashion. A couple may reflect, “It is simpler, speedier, and cheaper for us to adopt orphans than to produce children of our own.” A nation may reason, “Why burden ourselves with the rearing of children? Let them perish unborn in the womb of time. The immigrants will keep up the population.” A people that has no more respect for its ancestors and no more pride of race than this deserves the extinction that surely awaits it.

What ails the USA

The two primary problems are debt and immigration, as can be seen by this comparison of 1952 and 2020 prices.

Any program or policy that does not directly address those two problems, or remove those responsible for creating those two problems from influence, will fail.

A trilemma transition

Contemplations on the Tree of Woe contemplates the implications of what appears to be a Münchhausen Trilemma transitory period playing out in modern society:

The so-called Münchhausen Trilemma is actually Agrippa’s Trilemma, attributed to Agrippa the Skeptic of the Pyrrhonist school of 4th Century BC. Agrippa’s Trilemma phrases the attack a bit differently:

  • Circularity: The truth asserted involves a circularity of proofs.
  • Progress ad infinitum: The truth asserted rests on truths themselves in need of proof, and so on to infinity. 
  • Assumption: The truth is based on an unsupported assumption.

However it is phrased, the Trilemma presents a choice of “three equally unsatisfying options.” Or so it is claimed. Is that the case? Perhaps one of the three options is not “equally unsatisfying” and there are good reasons for adopting one of these three. But before we delve into that, let’s first explain why it matters. It seems a strange thing, after all, to dwell on an unsolved 2,500 year old philosophical dilemma. Why should we care?

Human beings are rational animals; each of us is endowed with our own sense organs and our own mind. By our sense organs we receive precepts about the world, from which we form concepts about what we have perceived. What we perceive and conceive is unique to each of us; no one else has access to the qualia of our senses or the thoughts of our mind. Our consciousness is independent of others.

Human beings are also social animals, who by nature flourish only in society with others of our kind. To exist in society, human beings must cooperate, which requires establishing and asserting their needs and wants, and consensually exchanging value for value with others of their kind. When humans cannot or do not cooperate, they struggle instead, using force or fraud to extract value from others nonconsensually. In both cases, our existence is dependent on others, either as creators, traders, looters, or moochers.

The juxtaposition of our independent rationality and dependent existence creates the necessity for agreement on what can be justified as true. Man in solitude doesn’t need to know or care what others think is true. Man in society must know and care what others think is true: The very concept of exchanging value without fraud presupposes the existence of not-fraud, which is to say, truth.

When human society is simple, the justification necessary to establish truth is equally simple, and typically based on foundationalism relying on sense perception. “Is it rain out?” “Hand feel wet. Yes.” As the complexity of human society increases, the justification necessary to establish truth also becomes more complex. More and more matters arise over which each independent consciousness might disagree. “Does Theodore rightfully own Breckenridge manor?” is no simple question.

As a result, every society of sufficient complexity has created institutions such as courts of laws, trials by jury, assemblies of law, boards of peer review, and other tools to decide what is true. Each such institution fundamentally works the same way: The individual consciousness, with its ability to reason, is embedded within a group of other individuals, and a method used to force the group to come to an agreement (often by deliberation and voting, as in a jury or parliament, but sometimes randomly, esoterically, or even violently).

Over time these institutions, in the process of defining what is true, build a great scaffolding – law, custom, tradition, craft, and practice – that collectively form its culture. But always it remains that what is true about complex matters is reliant on a core set of propositions which are deemed foundational and outside the scope of deliberation. (In the words of America’s founders: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”)

That is, the culture of every society has historically arisen from a series of agreements made out of necessity to permit cooperation to accept certain propositions as justified, with these agreements developing over time in a hierarchy as society becomes more complex, with all ultimately justified by reference to propositions held by that society as foundational.

But Münchhausen’s Trilemma holds that foundationalism is merely one of three “equally unsatisfying” resolutions to the impossibility of proving any truth. And if there is no possibility of proving any truth, it would seem there is no possibility of justifying the culture of any society as good, beautiful, or right. Worse, those who would argue against our society’s way of life do not even have to grapple with its truth-claims at all: They can simply develop another culture, based on another set of propositions that are self-consistent with themselves, and dismiss our own as irrelevant, unfounded, and wrong.

Read the whole thing there. Because what we tend to regard as a culture war is just as much a philosophical war as it is a spiritual war. The reason American society is showing cracks is that its philosophical foundations have been under assault for nearly 120 years.

The storehouse of knowledge

 Essays in Idleness observes that the libraries are metaphorically burning:

For a new generation of reactionaries, old printed books can provide a way to preserve the culture and knowledge now being systematically “re-curated” (i.e. censored and physically destroyed) everywhere I look.

But of course I meant small private libraries, that will have to be hidden from public view, and guarded against electronic penetration; not the extravagant starchitectural wonders that pass for “highbrow” among people who never formed the habit of reading.

Too, as in Aldous Huxley, and the age of Homer, we should be memorizing our most treasured works for the dark age to come. Intelligent schooling, even rote learning must, like the Catholic Church, survive underground.

This is one of the reasons we founded Castalia Library. It allows every subscriber to take on the role of those monks who saved so much human knowledge from the rise of the Dark. Given their censorious behavior, do you really believe Google Books and Amazon and other converged institutions aren’t going to systematically eradicate those books that they find “problematic” for one reason or another?

UPDATE: Speaking of Castalia Library, the bindery just sent a picture of the test stamping of the Libraria edition of AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND.

First you lose the pharmacies

But the decivilizational process won’t stop until the toilets no longer function:

The effects of allowing chaos to prevail in liberal run cities across America might not be obvious to liberals now, but when their cities empty out completely, it’s going to become crystal clear. Such is the case in San Francisco, where the city’s new normal of shoplifting and chaos has driven another Walgreens pharmacy out of the city. 

The move to close the Walgreens at Van Ness and Eddy came after “months of seeing its shelves repeatedly cleaned out by brazen shoplifters”, according to the SF Chronicle. The location served “many older people” who lived in the area. 

One customer told the paper: “All of us knew it was coming. Whenever we go in there, they always have problems with shoplifters.”

The same customer photographed someone in the store, days prior, “clearing a couple shelves and placing the goods into a backpack”. Because when there’s no police and politicians are afraid to enforce the law – why not?

The penalty for shoplifting is a “nonviolent misdemeanor” that carries a maximum sentence of 6 months. But in most cases, for simple shoplifting, the criminal is simply released with conditions.

The customer, who lives a block away, said: “I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted. The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved. They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”

When the Chronicle went to visit the store, they noticed “aisle after aisle of near empty shelves” and said that beauty products seemed to be a favored target. While the Chronicle was in the store, a man with a mask on walked in, emptied two shelves into a bag and walked out the door. 

When they asked a clerk where all the products were, the clerk responded: “Go ask the people in the alleys, they have it all.”

Walgreen corporate commented: “Organized retail crime in San Francisco has increased the challenge for all retail, and Walgreens is not immune to that.”

This location is the third Walgreens to close in the city over the past year. 

The benefits of Christian civilization are not a given. Technological progress does not rely solely on knowledge, but also on societal character. Abandon Christianity, and you’ll eventually find yourself living like the pagans did prior to Christendom. 

The better they are, the harder they fall

 A new historical study entitled “Moral Collapse and State Failure: A View From the Past” reaches some very similar conclusions to my own predictions for the USA:

Societies with ‘good’ governments like the Roman Empire and China’s Ming Dynasty fell harder than tyrannical dictatorships, a new study suggests.  

When ‘good’ governments – those that provided goods and services for their people and did not starkly concentrate wealth and power – fell apart, they broke down more intensely, US researchers say. 

Although good governments may have been able to sustain themselves longer than corrupt regimes, they tended to suffer a more catastrophic collapse when new leaders undermined social contracts with the people.

It was two British ministers, Andrew Reed and James Matheson, and not Alexis De Toqueville, who wrote: “America will be great if America is good. If not, her greatness will vanish away like a morning cloud.” America has already ceased to be either great or good, indeed, she has ceased to be America and is now a perverse Pharisatanic empire ruling over a polyglot collection of diverse peoples.

But as America’s government was once both very good and managed to disperse wealth and power to a historically unprecedented degree, this study suggests that the coming breakdown is going to be more intense than even the most pessimistic observer tends to anticipate.

A portrait in missing the point

John Scalzi thinks he doesn’t miss America:

I don’t miss the America I grew up in — the America I grew up in, aside from being saddled with the strong possibility of nuclear war, had leaded gasoline and smog, it had stagflation and an oil crisis, it was a place where people smoked everywhere, including on airplanes, and people were still comfortable tossing out racial epithets in casual public conversation. It was a place where gay and lesbians and trans people couldn’t get married but could get arrested for existing in public. In my lifetime banks were not obliged to give women credit cards or loans without a male cosigner, women didn’t have the right to control their own bodies, and in the America I grew up in sexual harassment was an expected part of the cultural landscape.

So, yeah, the America I grew up was kinda terrible! And the parts of today that aren’t great are a direct result of what was terrible back then — you may have noticed we haven’t quite gotten rid of racial, sexual or gender issues, and if the GOP gets its way we’ll be saddled with them longer, because that’s how white supremacy do, and the GOP is now a white supremacist party, from the top on down. We also have the largest income and social mobility disparity in over a century, and again, that’s a direct result of policies that got their start in the era in which I grew up.

Part of the reason people have nostalgia is because they yearn for a simpler time — which for most people means a time when they were young, and didn’t know or didn’t care about the rest of the world. This presumes, of course, that one’s youth was simple, which is another reason I don’t have nostalgia; my childhood was not. It had long stretches of poverty and domestic uncertainty and I spent a lot of my time not knowing what was going to happen next — and even if I did know, I had no control over it. To be clear I also had good times and good friends and people who loved and cared for me; I’m not gunning for a “worst childhood” award here. But neither am I nostalgic for my childhood, nor for the era in which it existed.

I don’t miss the America I grew up in. I want to make the America I live in now better, so that everyone has a chance to have the moments of joy that I have been privileged to have.

This is a prime example of the problem with all the clueless Boomers and GenXers who live in safe white enclaves and believe that diversity is nothing more than a nice dash of spice and color in their comfortable lives. They don’t realize that they no longer live in America… or how desperately they will miss it once they realize what has taken its place.

Another church damns itself

Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, this is what happens when you allow the wolves to infiltrate the church leadership.

A shocking new inquiry has found that, not only did the Church of England forgive some 400 pedophiles, but it allowed them to continue working with children. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) found that between 1940 and 2018, some 390 people employed by the church, as clergymen or in trusted positions, were convicted of child sex abuse.

They were ‘forgiven’ for their crimes by the church and allowed to continue their duties, often in close proximity to children, the IICSA found.

“The culture of the Church of England facilitated it becoming a place where abusers could hide,” the report reads. The inquiry found the church repeatedly failed to respond in a consistent manner to victims and survivors of abuse, compounding their trauma over a period of decades.

Never continue to attend any church that “forgives” the moral failings of its leaders. The only correct response to a pastor, a priest, a deacon, or an elder publicly wailing about “sinning against my God” is: “you’re defrocked and you’re fired.”

Penitent men should be forgiven. Fallen leaders must be replaced, whether they repent or not.