The suicide of the West

That’s the title of Jonah Goldberg’s new book, which I expect will be primarily interesting for how Jonah tries to dance around the obvious, based on this extensive interview about it with Russell Moore. I’ll be posting my review of it after I finish reading it.

It tends to strike me as an attempt to defend the West while simultaneously de-Christianizing it. The core thesis strikes me as being fundamentally wrong, because “the fundamental form of human corruption” is most certainly not “I don’t like your artificial constraints on my human desires and my desire for my group to be victorious.”

Russ Roberts: It’s a fascinating book. It’s a disturbing book. It’s a somewhat depressing book, at times; and maybe we’ll look for some bright spots on the horizon and in our conversation. But I want to start with a paragraph from near the beginning of the book. You say the following

My argument begins with some assertions. Capitalism is unnatural. Democracy is unnatural. Human rights are unnatural. The world we live in today is unnatural, and we stumbled into it more or less by accident. The natural state of mankind is grinding poverty punctuated by horrific violence, terminating with an early death. It was like this for a very, very long time.

Elaborate on that. And talk about what you mean by the Miracle, which is the unnaturalness that we’re in the middle of.

Jonah Goldberg: Right. So, what I mean–I’ll just start with what I mean by ‘unnatural.’ If you took a jar of ants and you dumped them on a planet very much like ours, with our atmosphere, ants would do what ants do. And they would build little colonies and they would dig their little ant tunnels. If you took a pack of dogs and you put them in the wild, they would very quickly become a natural pack like they would. If you took human beings, absent all of the stuff that they learned from culture and education today and put them in the wild, they would not all of a sudden start building houses and schools and have startups. They would take to the trees, and have spears, and it would take a long time to discover spears. And they would behave the way that we are wired to behave. One of the core beliefs I have about a definition of–at the heart of conservatism–is this idea that human nature has no history.

And so, when I say that ‘capitalism is unnatural’: if it were natural, if it were the way human beings, like ants or dogs or any other creature naturally behaves in its natural environment, we would have developed capitalism a little earlier in the evolutionary history of man. We would have developed democracy a little earlier in the evolutionary history of man. In the 250,000 years, give or take, since we split off from the Neanderthals, the amount of time where we had any conception of natural rights–particularly for strangers, right? People within the tribe, that’s different. But for strangers, the idea that someone we just met has any dignity or any claim on justice–that is an astoundingly new idea in human history. And, this whole world that we live in–so, a big inspiration for this book is this idea you talk a lot about on EconTalk, which is: Hayek’s distinction between the microcosm or the microcosmos, and the macrocosm. And, I take Hayek–I think Hayek is absolutely correct, where he says that we evolved to live in small bands of people–troops, tribes, whatever label you want to call them. And that’s how our brains are structured. And our brains haven’t changed very much in the last 10-, 11,000 years since the agricultural revolution. And so, this entire extended order of liberty and contracts and the monopoly on violence of the state–all of these things are really new. They don’t come to us naturally. We have to be taught them. We have to be civilized–as a verb–into believing in these things.

And this Economic Miracle–and so the Miracle is–and I was heavily influenced by Deirdre McCloskey; and I think she gets a lot right. We can talk about one of the things she might get wrong, later. But, you know, for, what is it, 7500 generations? For 200-, 300,000 years, the average human being everywhere in the world lived on average on about $3 a day. I think it’s Todd Buchholz who says that man lived no better for most of man’s existence he lived no better on two legs than he had on four. And, it is only when you get this radical change in ideas that comes from the bottom up–what I call the Lockean Revolution, but I don’t think Locke gets credit for it. He just simply sort of represents it. For the first in all of human history basically in one place, this little corner of Europe, human prosperity, human wealth starts to explode. And that explosion radiates out around the world and is still doing so today. And that is a miracle. And the reason I call it a Miracle is not because I think God delivered it–the first sentence of the book is, “There is no God in this book.”

Russ Roberts: A promise you don’t quite keep; but, I know what you meant.

Jonah Goldberg: We can talk about it.

Russ Roberts: That’s all right.

Jonah Goldberg: But, what I’m saying is, it’s not providential. Right? God didn’t suddenly decide to give us all of this bounty. It’s a miracle because you people, you, you know, you witches and warlocks of the economics profession have not reached a consensus about why the hell it happened. You know, there is a consensus about the $3 a day stuff. But there is not a consensus about why this miracle or this explosion of rights, liberties, and prosperity happened. And, no one planned it. We stumbled into it by accident. And, my argument is that we should be incredibly grateful for it. And, therefore, protective of it. You only protect those things you are grateful for. And, that’s what I–that’s sort of the opening precis of the book, I guess.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Just a couple of comments. I always think of it as the goose that lays the golden egg. If you have a goose that–all of sudden you get this goose that happens to be laying golden eggs instead of regular ones–you’d kind of want to be interested in what keeps the goose healthy and alive, and how this came to happen, as you keep it going. And we seem to be somewhat oblivious of it. I think it’s a human trait to be–take things for granted, and to think that tomorrow will be like yesterday. And so, the era of progress we presume is just a natural thing. And, as you point out–it’s hard to accept, but it’s not so natural.

Jonah Goldberg: Right.

Russ Roberts: And just to expand on the Hayek point, in The Fatal Conceit, he says: This micro-cosmos and macro-cosmos, we have two –we have to have two ways of thinking about the world. In our small families or our bands or our tribes or our communities, we have a more socialist–what you and I would call a Socialist–enterprise. We don’t sell stuff to our kids: typically, we share. It’s top down, not bottom up. In the family, the parents tend to run things. And, that’s very appropriate in a small group that’s held together by bonds of love, for genetics–whatever keeps it together. And, he says, we have to have a different mindset when we go out to the extended order–when we are traders and commercial actors. And he said, we have a tendency to try to take the beautiful and poetic ethos of the family and extend it into the larger order. And he says that leads to tyranny.

Jonah Goldberg: Right.

Russ Roberts: In a way, that’s–that’s what I want to–you might–it’s one of the things you are worried about in your book. Which is that the tribalism that we are hardwired for seems to be spreading beyond the immediate family.

Jonah Goldberg: That’s right. I think it’s worth pointing out: It is disastrous going both ways.

Russ Roberts: Hayek makes that point, yeah.

Jonah Goldberg: Right. Right. It’s disastrous to treat the larger society like a family or tribe. But it’s also disastrous–getting your g’mindschaft[?] and your Gesellschaft is always a problem. And treating your family like a contractual society destroys the family. And, both are really, really bad. And I agree that it’s not just that we are Socialist. I mean, the way I always put it is: We are literally Communist, in the sense that in my family it is: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. You have a sick kid, you don’t do any kind of calculus about what their contribution to the family is. You just do whatever they need. And, yeah. So, part of my argument is that–you know, the Roman philosopher Horus has this line where he says, ‘You can chase nature without–you can chase nature out with a pitchfork, but it always comes running back in.’ And, so, part of my argument is that human nature is always with us. Right? We are born with it. That is the preloaded software of the human condition, and you can’t erase that hard-drive. All you can do is channel and harness human nature towards productive ends as best you can. And when you don’t do that, human nature will assert itself.

And I think of this in terms of corruption: That, just as if you don’t maintain their upkeep–a car, a boat, or a house–the Second Law of Thermodynamics or entropy or just rust will–you know, rust never sleeps. Eventually, nature reclaims everything. And that’s true of civilizations, too. And if we don’t civilize people to understand this distinction between the micro- and the macro-cosm, what inevitably happens is that the logic of the microcosm, the desire to live tribally which we’re all born with, starts to infect politics. And if you are not on guard for it, it can swamp politics. And this is why I would argue that virtually every form of authoritarianism, totalitarianism–whether you want to call it right-wing or left-wing–doesn’t really matter to me any more. They are all reactionary. Because they are all trying to restore that tribal sense of social solidarity–whether, you know, it’s a monarchy or treating the leader of the country as the father of the country or the Fuehrer or whatever you want to call it. Or whether you are just saying that the entire society is just one family.

Whether it’s nationalism, or socialism, or populism–all of these things are basically the reassertion of human nature, which says: I don’t like your artificial constraints on my human desires and my desire for my group to be victorious. And that is the fundamental form of human corruption.

Fictional is not a synonym for false

National Catholic Register interviews John C. Wright:

What do you think is the place of such elements in science fiction?

Hmm. Good question. Science fiction is by and large based on a naturalistic view of the universe. When penning adventures about space princesses being rescued from space pirates by space marines, religion does not come up, except as local background and local color, in which case, the role of religion is to provide the radioactive altar to the Snake God of Mars to which our shapely by half-clad space princess is chained, that our stalwart hero can fight the monster.

Now, any story of any form can be used as a parable or as an example of a religious truth: indeed, my latest six-book trilogy is actually about faith, although it is portrayed in figures as being about a man’s love for his bride.

Fantasy stories, on the other hand, once any element of magic or the supernatural is introduced either declare for the Church or declare for witchcraft, depending on whether or not occultism is glamorized.

Note that I speak of occultism, not magic itself. Merlin the magician is a figure from King Arthur tales, of which no more obviously Christian stories can be found, outside of Dante and Milton, but no portrayal in olden days of Merlin glamorized the occult. Again, the way characters like Gandalf in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, Coriakin in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, or Harry Potter, even those they are called wizards, are clearly portrayed either as commanding a divine power, or, in Potter’s case, controlling what is basically an alternate technology or psychic force. There is no bargaining with unclean spirits, no rituals, not even a pack of tarot cards. These are like the witches in Halloween decorations, who fly brooms and wave magic wands, and nothing like the real practices of real wiccans, neopagans or other fools who call themselves witches.

Fools, because, as I did when I challenged God, they meddle with forces of which they have no understanding. I meddled with bright forces, and was spared. They meddle with dark, and they think they can escape the price.

Fantasy stories generally are hostile to Christianity, some intentionally and some negligently. The negligent hostility springs from the commonplace American desire for syncretism, that is, for all religions to be equal. Even some fairly Christian-themed fantasy stories yield weakmindedly to this temptation, as in Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising or A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L’Engle, where the forces of light are portrayed as ones where Christ is merely one teacher among many, each equally as bright and good, but makes no special nor exclusive claim. Or tales where the crucifix will drive back a vampire, but so will any other sign or symbol of any religion, from Asatru to Zoroastrianism, because all religions are equal, dontchaknow.

Such syncretic fantasy stories are perhaps more dangerous that those which are openly hostile to religion in general and Catholicism in particular, because such stories as are openly hostile can be read with pleasure and enjoyment the way one would read the Iliad by Homer or the Aeneid of Virgil, as pagan works where the reader suffers no temptation to bow to the stupid gods the writer evidently favors. In this category I place the work of Philip Pullman and Michael Moorcock. Socialist anarchist materialists are so autistic when it comes to spiritual matters, their worlds portrayed in their make believe has little or no power to sway real faith in anything real. Their ideas, when they venture into spiritual themes, are like listening to colorblind men discussing how they would make a better rainbow.

More dangerous are writers of real skill and talent whose spiritual vision is awake, but whose loyalty is in the enemy camp: I put the remarkably talented Ursula K LeGuin in this category, for she can capture the spiritual look, feel, and flavor of Taoism without ever once revealing her own spiritual preferences; and likewise Mr. John Crowley, who is a gnostic, and peppers his work with themes that make the heresy seem quite inviting and new.

In my fantasy stories, magic is always portrayed as unlawful for humans, dangerous, and innately corruptive; elves are beautiful but dangerous; the Church is a mighty fortress bold as an army with spears and trumpets. Because that is the way it really is.

Stories and fairy tales are fictional. That does not mean they are false.

Islam and immigration: a historian’s view

Back in 2011, during my abortive experiment with doing a podcast, I had the privilege to interview my favorite historian, John Julius Norwich, whose Byzantine trilogy has pride of place on my bookshelves between the final volume of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica and the Summa Theologica. In preparation for the publication of the three volumes of my collected columns, we discovered that there was room to include the complete version of selected interviews at the end of Volume III, which will cover from 2010-2012.

Thanks to Were-Puppy, who has manfully taken on the task of transcribing them. Here is a section of my interview with Lord Norwich concerning a subject that is more than a little relevant today.

After a long period of relative peace, Islam appears to have entered another expansionary phase.  Is this something the West is better equipped to handle, now that it has become increasingly secular?

I don’t think it’s at all better equipped to handle it. No, I think it may be worse equipped. I find what I see going on around me in this respect very, very worrying indeed.  I had thought, until ten years ago, perhaps until 9/11, that the years of religious wars were virtually now, at long long last, over. The last place they continued, really, was in Ireland where there was still this violent Protestant-Catholic division. And killings were still going on on quite an important scale.  But when that was settled, well, it hasn’t actually been completely settled now, as we know, it still goes on. But we thought it had been settled then. And I thought good, now we really don’t need to worry about religious wars anymore. We are all okay, we know where we stand. That’s fine.

And then suddenly there comes this tremendous axe swing of Muslim fundamentalism, and 9/11, and all that, and suddenly we’re back to the beginning.  I go quite often to the Middle East, and to parts of the Muslim world, particularly to Turkey. Turkey was a completely secular state, as you know, after the First World War.  And it was as much as your career was worth to be seen going into a mosque. But now the prime minister goes to the mosque every Friday. Everyone is wearing head scarves and a lot of young women at the university are earing even more, wearing those awful pale pastel-colored overcoats to the ankle. That has always been a particularly ugly Muslim fashion, I think.

There was so many of these girls I saw, about seven or eight years ago, wandering around in those clothes. But there were also quite a few who weren’t, which meant those who were were doing it because they wanted to, not because someone told them, or forced them to do so. They were doing it voluntarily, because they felt happier that way. That worries me. It leads ultimately to excess. And we now have that ridiculous situation where you see Muslim women now, far more than ever in my lifetime, wearing vast black tents covering everything except the slits for the eyes.

A lot of these women are trying to apply to become school teachers in England. It seems to me there is no way you can teach without showing your face.  You know, you can’t just have a voice emerging from a black tent. You need a person, you need a personality, you need a character you can identify with. I’m very worried by this trend, because it’s getting worse.  In London, every single year, there are more of these black-tented ladies around, you know.

Looking at it from the historical perspective, not the political perspective, but the historical perspective, there are about 500,000 immigrants arriving every year in Great Britain. What is the outcome that this sort of mass migration is likely to have? 

It really depends, I think, on the proportion that decides to integrate. Who decides to say, okay we’re in England now, we’ll lead an ordinary English life, we won’t wear black tents or veils or anything, we’ll put ourselves through school and university. And that’s fine. Those people will obviously get absorbed.  But for every one of those, I don’t know how many there are of the other side, who do not want to be absorbed, who want to go on carrying on with their Muslim ways of life. And this will lead to a greater and greater gulf in the population of the country.

From a historical perspective, does the culture usually tend to change the immigrants, or do the immigrants tend to change the culture?

I think it works both ways. There are a lot of cases where the immigrants have actually changed the culture, when there has been an enormous immigration. It depends on the size of the immigration. If it’s quite a small immigration, then I think on the whole, it doesn’t really affect the culture very much. But with a really huge one, of course, it can really swamp it.  And that’s what I’m hoping is not going to happen in this country. But I’m very much afraid it is.

I can’t help but wonder what Lord Norwich must make of London’s Muslim mayor….

Interview with Moshe Feiglin

Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and the head of Zehut, an Israeli political party formed in 2015. Zehut advocates the return of Israel to the Jewish people and leading the State of Israel through authentic Jewish values. Feiglin was interviewed by Vox Day on January 24, 2017.

VD: What would a long-term peace in the Middle East look like? Is there any possibility for genuine peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, or is this a situation more akin to the Cold War, which only time can resolve in its own fashion.

MF: You may be surprised, but I’m very optimistic. The reason for the conflict is that Israeli society did not make clear to itself what is our identity. I know for a fact, from talking to Arab members of the Knesset about the situation here in the Middle East that the reason why the Arabs do not accept the Israeli state is that they don’t see the new Israelis, the Zionists, those who are trying to create a new identity instead of the Jewish identity, they don’t see them as real Jews who belong to the region. Therefore they don’t accept them. I was talking to an Arab Knesset member once, and he told me, “with you, I will manage, because you belong here.” It’s not a territorial conflict, it’s a cultural conflict. I think that the wars we have around us, and against us, are a reflection of the identity war we have inside Israeli society. Once that inner war is settled, we’ll be able to make peace with our neighbors. It’s just like somebody who is fighting with himself all the time, he will also fight with his neighbors. It’s true for individuals and it’s true for nations. There was never a Palestinian nation, there was never a Palestinian state. That’s all one big lie. If, God forbid, Israel would disappear one day, immediately, the word “Palestinian” would disappear as well. When the Gaza Strip, or Judea-Samaria, or parts of the land of Israel were held by the Egyptian army, or by the Jordanian army, you never heard any voices calling for those pieces of land to be given back to the so-called Palestinians. They will always fight for a Palestinian state on the square inch where the Jew is standing. In order to solve the conflict, we need to start saying the truth. The truth is that the land of Israel is a Jewish land, it belongs to the Jews more than any piece of land on Earth belongs to any other nation, and they have more historical right to it than any other nation. We have to be ourselves. When we hide from our identity, we open the door to these demands and these wars.

VD: What should Israel’s position on Syria be? Was overturning the Assad government a legitimate and reasonable objective for the Obama administration? Should the West be involving itself in regime change in the Middle East?

MF: Israel is the strongest state in the region. When a humanitarian crisis, like what’s taken place in Syria, is happening right on our border, I don’t think Israel, as a Jewish state representing moral values, can stand aside and see vast massacres taking place. I don’t want our soldiers going in and getting involved with that war, of course. However, I think that a long time ago, Israel should have set up a safe zone, protected by the air force and artillery, where citizens running away from murderers, whether it is Assad, ISIS, DAESH, or whoever, can be safe. There should have been that kind of humanitarian involvement from Israel. Because Israel did not do that, we saw other forces come into the vaccuum, and they only escalated the violence.

VD: Jews are often, understandably, concerned about the Holocaust. But do you think there is a diminishing effect of appealing to the Holocaust, considering that it is beyond the living memory of most people today? How can anyone expect the Holocaust to make any difference to, say, the Chinese, who killed 50 million of their own people? Why would they care more about an order of magnitude fewer Jews being killed 70 years ago than they do about themselves?

MF: It’s a very important question. I agree with you 100 percent. When I’m talking about the Holocaust, I don’t think that it is something Israel needs to wave before the entire world, not at all. I don’t like that every VIP who comes to Israel is taken to Yad Vashem. Not at all! I’m not looking to embarrass anyone about the Holocaust and I don’t base Israel’s right to exist on the Holocaust. When I bring it up, I am saying that we, Israel, have to remember our own experience. When the head of a serious state, 60 million civilians, a member of the UN, with a serious army, talks about destroying Israel, we should believe him. I’m not turning to the Americans, or the Russians, or anyone else, to help me. I’m reminding myself that I should learn from my own experience. The right of Israel to exist is not Yad Vashem. The right of Israel to exist is not the recent past. The right to exist, and to flourish, is the message that the Jewish nation still needs to enlighten the entire world, and to help it flourish from Zion. This is our point. It is a positive point, not a negative one.

Read the whole thing at the Unz Review.

UPDATE: I found this statement of the Trump administration’s intentions to be more than a little intriguing in light of Mr. Feiglin’s answer concerning Syria.

A separate order also would lay the groundwork for an escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria by directing the Pentagon and the State Department to craft a plan to create safe zones for civilians fleeing the conflict there, those familiar with the plans said. Mr. Trump has said such safe zones could serve as an alternative to admitting refugees to the U.S. News of the actions, which are expected Thursday, was met with distress across the Middle East. They point to a dramatic reshaping of America’s relations in the region by a president just days in office, when the U.S. is engaged on multiple fronts in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group.

Safe zones are an excellent idea, as they permit humanitarian actions to be performed while avoiding most direct military engagement as well as preventing aliens from invading the nation.

An interview with John C. Wright

Scott Cole of the Castalia House blog interviews Castalia author John C. Wright about his recently completed trilogy, (and first quarter of his MOTH & COBWEB duodecology) The Green Knight’s Squire, which consists of the following three books:

Scott Cole:   After reading both books my thought is the series is influenced by The Once and Future King and shares similarities with the Book of Revelations (i.e. descriptions of some of the beasts, especially at the first elf tournament), Shakespeare, Narnian anthropomorphism, and Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch along with a multiple mythological references.

John C Wright: You are a little off, but not too far. Any similarity with Lukyanenko’s NIGHT WATCH is pure coincidence. Shakespeare I certainly steal from, but I don’t recall stealing anything from Narnia, aside from a mood. I am not a fan of T.S. White; I take my Arthuriana from Mallory and the Mabinogion and Tennyson’s IDYLLS OF THE KING. Alan Gardner’s WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN is also an inspiration.

Since the book is called SWAN KNIGHT’S SON’S SQUIRE, expect to see the events of THE SWAN KNIGHT’S SON played out. Also, I decided to borrow the bad guys from G.K. Chesterton’s THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY, and to make Gil a member of the Last Crusade.

SC: What was the inspiration for the Moth and Cobweb series?

JCW: Once upon a time I asked my editor, Vox Day, what I could write that would reach a wider audience. He suggested writing something aimed at the juvenile market, and said that talking animals were always popular.  He also admired my short story ‘A Parliament of Beast and Birds’ which appeared in the anthology BOOK OF FEASTS AND SEASONS.

The mystery of where writers get their ideas is a perennial one, but the truth is that we have no more ideas than anyone else. The difference is that, unlike muggles, we write our ideas down and use them. Every writer I have ever met keeps a notebook in purse or pocket or in his smartphone where he jots down ideas.

So, I threw the idea of a talking animal into the pot and looked through my notebook of unused ideas to find what else might go into the stew. Usually a writer needs three ideas to get the ball rolling.

I had the germ of an idea that had been in the back of my mind for some years, a juvenile originally set in a mythical place called Uncanny Valley, Nevada, where four seniors in high school, cousins, each had to do an apprenticeship or internship over the summer with one or another of their mad uncles. Instead of the normal jobs, because some of their uncles were from beyond the fields we know, the kids end up being a squire to a knight, the sidekick to a superhero, a sorcerer’s apprentice, or something of the sort.

A second idea came not from my notebook but from my wife’s Harry Potter inspired role playing game. Like all the games we run, we made up our own rules. In her role playing game, she decided that in addition to buying character stats like strength or scholarship, dexterity and intelligence, you could also buy social stats like fortune, friends, fame, and family. So, for example, an orphan with a vast bank account would have a zero in family and high marks in fortune, whereas a poor boy from a large and supportive family would have the opposite.

One innovation in her rule system, which I had not seen used elsewhere, was that each player had a star he could use to mark one stat and only one he had purchased, and this carried a secret benefit revealed in the course of the game. So, for example, putting a star in scholarship gave the character total recall. Putting the star in family meant you were a member of the largest and most supportive extended family imaginable, the children of the seneschal of Titania, the Moths. This did not give you any magic powers, but it meant that you had uncles and cousins both in the human world and beyond, including royalty, famous scientists, mermaids, and so on. Indeed, my wife had umpired more than one game with these rules, so it became sort of a running joke that I always played a member of the Moth family. My first character was named Dusty Moth, and he was a cowboy from Utah, and an amateur alchemist, who had the blood of elves in his background.

The third idea came from the song ERLKOENIG or the medieval tale of TAM LIN, where a boy is being sold by the elfs to hell. I had noticed that elfs and fairy creatures from the days before Tolkien and Gary Gygax, and indeed from before Shakespeare’s MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, were actually quite spooky and frightening, not the pretty and twee tween girls of Disney’s Tinkerbell cartoons.

I noticed traces of the sulfurous scent of the inferno clinging even to such recent and childish works as DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, a favorite film of mine, based on an older series of books, where the Leprechauns are terrified by the powers of a parish priest, whose blessings and exorcisms can shrivel them. Even in the lighthearted Disney version, as in the original books, the elfs are angelic beings who neither aided Satan during his rebellion, nor fought on the side of Heaven, and so were cast out of paradise, but not all the way to Hell.

It’s a really good interview. Read the rest of it there. And the books are really good as well. If you ever enjoyed Susan Cooper or Lloyd Alexander, you will almost certainly enjoy John C. Wright’s MOTH & COBWEB series.

Well, we certainly aren’t submitting

This is a good interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson on hate speech and SJWs:

Do you believe that society should draw the line at all when it comes to limitations on hate speech?

No. Hate speech laws are wrong. The question – not a question, but THE question – is ‘who gets to define hate?” That’s not to say there’s no such thing as hate speech – clearly there is. Hate speech laws repress, and I mean that in the psycho-analytical sense. They drive [hate speech] underground. It’s not a good idea, because things get ugly when you drive them underground. They don’t disappear, they just fester, and they’re not subject to correction. I made these videos, and they have been subject to a tremendous amount of correction over the last six weeks. I don’t just mean from my public response, but also partly from the university’s response, partly from a group of friends who have been reviewing my videos and criticizing them to death. This is why free speech is so important. You can struggle to formulate some argument, but when you throw it out into the public, there’s a collective attempt to modify and improve that. So with the hate speech issue – say someone’s a Holocaust denier, because that’s the standard routine – we want those people out there in the public so you can tell them why they’re historically ignorant, and why their views are unfounded and dangerous. If you drive them underground, it’s not like they stop talking to each other, they just don’t talk to anyone who disagrees with them. That’s a really bad idea and that’s what’s happening in the United States right now. Half of the country doesn’t talk to the other half. Do you know what you call people you don’t talk to? Enemies.

If you have enemies, you have war.

If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them. Those are your options and those aren’t good options. It’s better to have a talk. If you put restrictions on speech, then you can’t actually talk about the difficult things that need to be talked about. I have about 20,000 hours of clinical practice and all I do for 20 hours a week is talk to people about difficult things – the worst things that are going on in their lives. These are hard conversations all the time. The conversations that are the most curative are simultaneously the ones that are most difficult and most dangerous. Most normal people will not have those conversations. That’s why so many marriages dissolve. People don’t like to have those conversations. Part of that too, is because – let’s say you have a little tiff with your wife, and you know there’s more to it than the little thing that’s bothering her, and you ask ‘what are you REALLY upset about’? Try peeling that back. You might find she’s upset about something her grandfather did to her grandmother two generations ago that hasn’t yet been resolved within the family, and that’s the determining element of her attitude at the present moment. If you unpack it though, then you don’t have to live it over and over again.

There’s also this idea that you shouldn’t say things that hurt people’s feelings – that’s the philosophy of the compassionate left. It’s so childish it’s beyond comprehension. What did Nietzsche say: ‘you can judge a man’s spirit by the amount of truth he can tolerate.’ I tell my students this too, you can tell when you’re being educated because you’re horrified. So if its pleasant and safe, it’s like you’re not learning anything. People learn things the hard way.

People learn things the hard way because MPAI. The reason why the mainstream media and the Left hate the Alt-Right so much is that unlike the conservatives and moderates, they understand that we will never submit to them. And the reason they fear us is that they know we will utilize every tactic they use against us. Especially because every time they deny us a platform, we simply build a replacement, and moreover, one that is actually superior to the original platform.

I don’t have a problem with hate speech laws. After all, there are so many kinds of hate speech that need to be banned.

  • Feminism is hate speech.
  • Equality is hate speech.
  • Globalism is hate speech.
  • Diversity is hate speech.
  • Inclusivity is hate speech.
Don’t learn the hard way. Learn the smart way.

An interview with Mike Cernovich

EveryJoe interviews the bestselling author of MAGA MINDSET:

EveryJoe: In your book, MAGA Mindset: Making YOU and America Great Again, you claim that America’s motto might as well be “You can’t say that!” due to oppressive political correctness. How can individuals reclaim their free speech and fight back against outrage culture?

Mike Cernovich: Free speech in America is in a strange place. On the one hand, people are self-censoring due to fear of negative feedback. Americans are speaking out less than ever in history. Online hate mobs have ruined lives.

On the other side, there has never been more opportunity for free speech. Social media allows us to bypass fake news media gatekeepers, to share our message directly with the people. You can write a blog, start a podcast, create a YouTube channel, and even using social media platforms (although the future of these are less certain) like Twitter and Facebook to spread your message to the entire world.

People can support free speech by speaking truth to power, perhaps anonymously as a commentator. You can also share links to articles and video you find compelling. Those who aren’t in a position to speak publicly, due to the real risk of backlash, can also support those who share a positive and high impact message by providing resources to truth tellers.

EJ: You wrote and published MAGA Mindset weeks before Trump won the election. At the time, nearly every poll had Hillary Clinton winning by a comfortable margin, but the book hinges on a Trump victory. Was that kind of bold move an example of the MAGA mindset in action?

MC: Yes! That was a meta-move of mine. How can I expect people to trust my writing if I don’t live it?

I went all in on my beliefs. Had Trump lost, my own credibility would have been destroyed. In MAGA Mindset, readers learn how to think big and make bold moves. The first lesson was taught in real-time by my choice to release MAGA Mindset before the election.

Publishing a book explaining why Trump won when the “experts” said he would lose is an example of the MAGA Mindset in action.

EJ: At EveryJoe, we recently published an article that explained how Gamergate elected Donald Trump. Do you think Gamergate played a role in the election?

MC: Gamergate was the first pushback against the thought police. Before Gamergate, people who supported free speech felt isolated and alone. Gamergate showed that millions of people support free speech.

Moreover, Gamergate exposed unethical journalism of all types. People began trusting the media less than ever before. While I wouldn’t say Gamergate got Trump elected, it was a powerful force for free speech.

Read the whole thing there.