Radix Journal

Radix Journal

A radical journal

Category: Science

Accelerationism and Coronavirus

Two weeks ago, on the “Chimerica” stream, audience member Diem Golightly asked to “apply Nick Land to current Chi-Virus situation.” Let’s give it a short try and talk Accelerationism.

Two weeks ago, on the “Chimerica” stream, audience member Diem Golightly asked to “apply Nick Land to current Chi-Virus situation.” Let’s give it a short try and talk Accelerationism.

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Infinite Monkey Theorem: Redux

With the largest vocabulary of any rap artist ever at over 150,000 words and generates unique word count scores in the region of 10,000 plus- easily surpassing the all hip hoppers and even the totals of many of the average rappers combined, I feel it has accomplished the mission.

Whilst many ideas are theoretically possible, they are also practical impossibilities. The well-known idea that enough monkeys, given enough time, could type out the entire works of Shakespeare, by pressing keys at random, is certainly an example of this, as even a billion diligent monkeys would be hard pressed to develop a passable copy of Macbeth, before the entire universe evaporated into cold, dead soot.

**

Now, on a completely unrelated topic, a New York based data scientist, Matt Daniels, has undertaken a purely quantitative analysis to determine and compare the vocabulary depth of various rap artists. Ordinarily, an event such as this would (and should) elicit absolutely zero interest amongst myself and Radix Journal readers, however Daniels happened to use both Shakespeare and Moby Dick as benchmarks for the analysis, where it seems both the Bard’s and Herman Meville’s works have been surpassed in vocabulary by the more loquacious rappers.

Daniel’s himself, went to some pains to point out that quantities does not necessarily equate to quality, however, predictably, certain exotic parts of the internet, then soon followed by the more the mainstream news sites, started to herald titles such as “Science Proves it: Today’s Rapper’s More Poetic than Shakespeare.”

Clearly, claims such as the above need to not go unanswered, lest the lack of response be taken for bludgeoned acceptance of Cultural Marxist inspired iconoclasm, particularly such as that outlined in Michael McGregor’s “Modern Art Comes Full Circle,” where it’s suggested a Wu Tang Clan album will soon be played in a high-end art gallery for “pretentious SWPLs” to enjoy. The fact that Wu Tang appears to possess are larger lexicon than Shakespeare will be used to give intellectual credence to this type of display.

Presumably, a peer review won’t be forthcoming from the gang-banging set either, so the ball remains reluctantly in the court of the alternative Right.

Initially, I performed a couple of spot checks and found similar numbers to the original research, however, this isn’t surprising – any significant errors are likely to be conceptual, rather than merely arithmetical.

To wit, methodology used involved determining the number of unique words used in the various rappers’ works to determine their breath of vocabulary. For reasons Daniels himself points out, there are a few issues here, as for instance “pimps, pimp, pimping and pimpin” will be counted “as four unique words,” along with the myriad of bizarre spelling permutations which seem to be de rigueur for the hip hop crowd, which will further inflate the apparent depth of vocabulary.

Now, when I initially started writing this article, I based it on the notion that the rigid sentence structure used in Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter and the narrative flow in Moby Dick, would hinder the “unique word count”, however, whilst most likely technically correct, even to my own ears, this argument came across shrill and whiny – unlikely to sway any opinions in either the mah dick and wigger brigades, nor the self-myopia suffering SWPLs, who would likely deliberately pretend not to understand the argument.

Puzzled as to how to continue, I mused that that cruel satire and sarcasm had always been the S.O.P. of the Left, (no matter how severe the mis-application either…) so, all that was required whip up a few rap songs, plug them in the analysis to demonstrate numerical superiority and then point out that the unique word count used in a rap song is not in any way congruent to other literary works, and even an amateur can surpass even the best rap artists with ease.

Unfortunately, given my minimal interest in the genre I couldn’t really consider how to start. Fortunately however, salvation was a hand, as I do have at least moderate Microsoft Excel skillz. So with creativity augmented with a half bottle of merlot, and a nod to the novel writing machines of Orwell’s 1984,1 without further ado, I present:

The RadixJournal RAPBOT™.

With the largest vocabulary of any rap artist ever at over 150,000 words and generates unique word count scores in the region of 10,000 plus- easily surpassing the all hip hoppers and even the totals of many of the average rappers combined, I feel it has accomplished the mission.2

Admittedly, as the bot actually plucks words at random on the screen, without cause nor consciousness, and would hence fail the Turing Test miserably, I was concerned that the output would be mere gibberish, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that probability was on our side and most of the output seems like a bona fide approximation to the structure and content of the seemingly all pervasive hip hop that saturates the MSM airwaves at present. Here’s a sample:

“….

Kings unlimited, here, Africa, the counterweight.

Rome, hook, hoes, penetrate,

Hail Luciano, y’all obligate.

…”

I can’t discern any difference.

However, not content with trolling the hip hop fraternity, I think we can go one step further here.

All that is now required is to market the bot’s output with an imaginary thug, who has a fabricated and appropriately lengthy criminal record, in order that deluded fans can interpolate their own narrative, where none exists at all (in short: so dem suckas know, ‘dis Bot’s from da streets,dawg!) and let the profits roll in, all of which, will of course be wholly donated to Identitarian causes.

The next stumbling block is to find a music label that isn’t controlled by members of the Tribe, which is sadly proving somewhat more difficult…

Footnotes:

1) If anyone is at all interested, the bot grabs words at random via VLOOKUP from a word list with the RAND function, around a weighted RAND function from a smaller pool of “Rap” words (pimp, bitch, hoes etc) to give the output a more rap flavour, and then ends the line with rhyme, selected from another data set. A bit of experimentation with a few different variables to fine tune sentence length and number of syllables etc. was also employed.

2) After this exercise, I actually wouldn’t be at all surprised if the lyrics of modern pop icons Miley Cyrus et al were algorithmically generated, as commentator “TS1709” suggested in this Paul Treitschke article. It seems the cultural vacuity described in Huxley’s “Brave New World” is almost upon us.

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Evolving Before Our Eyes

In Chapter Four of _The 10,000 Year Explosion_, Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending discuss the astonishing speed of genetic diffusion for skin lightening in Caucasians. The single most important gene is Solute Carrier 24A5, and the authors state that the skin lightening variant arose only about 5,800 years ago, yet now has a frequency of 99 percent in Europe and is found at significant levels as far away as Ceylon. Subsequent research has shown that it’s probably a little older, but as Cochrane and Harpending suggest, either way, the variant must have had a huge selective advantage and might have spread so rapidly that, at the most accelerated stage, a particularly old farmer could have noticed the change in appearance in his own village within his lifetime.

Watching the recent film Gangster Squad, my thoughts went something like this:

What is it about the Ryan Gosling’s character that doesn’t quite work? The Josh Brolin and Sean Penn characters—they work. And it’s not that Gosling’s a bad actor and that his looks are unappealing. But somehow, he just doesn’t quite fit 1949. What is it?

Even his suit doesn’t seem right. But it can’t be that—Hollywood must have experts in costuming working on style and tailoring. And I can suspend disbelief on Gosling’s perfect dentition; almost no one had perfect teeth in 1949, but now the entire middle class does. No, it’s no one feature, but the gestalt. I just don’t feel cops looked like Gosling in 1949.’

I’ve had a similar thought watching many period movies: times are changing in fundamental ways.

In Chapter Four of The 10,000 Year Explosion, Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending discuss the astonishing speed of genetic diffusion for skin lightening in Caucasians. The single most important gene is Solute Carrier 24A5, and the authors state that the skin lightening variant arose only about 5,800 years ago, yet now has a frequency of 99 percent in Europe and is found at significant levels as far away as Ceylon. Subsequent research has shown that it’s probably a little older, but as Cochrane and Harpending suggest, either way, the variant must have had a huge selective advantage and might have spread so rapidly that, at the most accelerated stage, a particularly old farmer could have noticed the change in appearance in his own village within his lifetime.

The Gangster Squad is set in 1949—not so long ago, but over a decade before I was born, so I’m not quite the equivalent of that long-lived farmer. Also, there’s the time-travel aspect of film: I suspect a long-lived Bronze Age farmer could have noticed the skin change, but in reality I doubt he would have, because he was brought to the boil too gradually in a pot of lightening skin. But in a film set in 1949 and released in 2013, I can erase those 64 intervening years all at once. It’s as if that farmer, dreaming of his youth and the dusky charms of his maiden field companions, woke to find the fair-haired son of the local warlord showing a particular interest in his great-granddaughter.

It all got me to thinking, once again, about the evolution taking place within our lifetimes. There are a few items people wonder about.

First are the trends that “everyone knows”—those that, like Darwinism itself, we all think we understand. Increased race-mixing may be the most obvious. Whenever I get “race-realist” with my scientist wife, her reaction: ‘It’s all going toward one mixed brown race and there’s nothing anyone can do.’ And if I take that to my scientist father, his reaction boils down to ‘Whites deserve it in the end.’

That’s how it is with scientists; they are self-selected for incredible patience; the key segment of any experiment, no matter how creative, is one of passive observation of external nature; and scientists tend to orient to the geological scale of time. All this leaves them with little faith in the long-term power of will.

I doubt modern race-mixing is quantitatively so different from past upheavals, say, with the great migrations in the wake of Rome’s decline. For that matter, the Roman expansion must have spurred a lot of miscegenation, and the rise of sailing before that. To genes, planes are no faster than boats. Sure, migrants can now get to a new country within hours instead of months. But any descendants they have there will still require several generations, at least, to become truly comfortable. Geographic determinism got a bad rap under race-denying Jared Diamond, but that’s because he left a step out. Diamond believes geography determines culture, but it clearly should be geography determines genes determine culture. Race-realists should note the primacy of geography either way. Mountains and plains are not going away any time soon, are still important, and will re-assert themselves still more if the jet and the air conditioner run their course.

Something else race-realists all think we know is the dysgenic aspect of demographic transition theory. Leading edge dogma now is that a group of gene-based qualities, basically those that select for a prosperous farmer, have been favored reproductively since the dawn of agriculture; but with the maturation of the Industrial Age, they no longer are. Among these were relatively high intelligence, more patience through delayed gratification and impulse control, the capacity for hard, sustained work, and relatively low aggression. Essentially, high paternal investment. For 10,000 years in the earth’s temperate zones, these qualities led to having more children on average; but they no longer do. That change is the basis of demographic transition theory, with much speculation about widening IQ gaps, smaller elites and benighted mobs.

But I want the personal touch. Here’s one: I confess to being occasionally so masochistic that I listen to NPR. And the morning of this writing, I was tuned in to an interview with a blogger well-known in “popular genetics.” I’d never heard his voice before. My immediate impression was how feminine it sounded, not to the degree of the overt gay accents commonly heard on NPR, but very different from the deep, reassuring voices that were the rule among male radio personalities until very recently. The topic of the conversation was the genetics of the fetus his wife and he were expecting. Not absolute proof of heterosexuality, but good enough for me.

I see the “metrosexual” voice as something of a milder version of the gay accent. A portmanteau for the ability to pick out distinctions like the latter is “gaydar.” It’s interesting that the validity of gaydar (and its nearly instantaneous, gestalt aspects) have been scientifically validated, though mostly visually. (It’s even more interesting that the original research into gaydar failed to validate it and subsequently, more careful research did—one wonders whether the first group had an ideological motivation.) Yet auditory recognition is typically more implicit and indescribable, more gestalt, than visual. If you find it hard to describe a friend’s face in detail, trying to describe his voice is really dancing about architecture. Yet you can instantly recognize both. And some kinds of 10,000-hour people, like old-school sonar operators, find that even when they have simultaneous video and audio versions of the signals they are trying to distinguish from background noise, it is the audio that tells them the most, but in ways that are almost impossible to describe, ways in which there is no substitute for experience.

Seeing Ryan Gosling in a period movie and wondering whether faces really looked like that only seven decades ago is fraught with all kinds of bias. So is concluding that the metrosexual voice is evidence of a feminization that is partly genetic. Nevertheless, I think it is. Mike Judge nailed it in Idiocracy: the 100-point IQ of Joe Bauers, the definitively ordinary hero, becomes ingenious in the idiocy of the future, and his middle-of-the-road voice becomes correspondingly “faggy.”

If I’m right, then evolution toward more pliant husband material, originally reflecting higher paternal investment, is not over in the developed world. Women are continuing to choose softer men, or at least men who are far from being natural masters, to breed with. Many will argue that the metrosexual voice must be all cultural, that it burst far too quickly on the scene to reflect anything genetic. Maybe they’re right, but I like my version. I bet that old farmer’s wife tried to convince him the young folk of the day were just spoiled by a soft new culture, and didn’t spend enough time out working in the sun.


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The Fourth Estate

The concept of the “middle class” is crucial for the liberal-capitalist ideology. Although it appeared later than the Marxist theory of class struggle and the famous communist doctrine of the two antagonistic classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the very meaning of the term “middle class” has a much longer history and has its roots in the period of bourgeois revolutions and the rise of the Third Estate, which claimed henceforth a monopoly in political and economic spheres. 

 

The History and Meaning of the Middle Class


Science and Ideology: A Problem of Method

None of the words we use in the course of social and political discussions and analyses is ideologically neutral. Outside of ideology entirely, such words lose their meaning. And it is not possible to determine one’s attitude toward them unambiguously, since the content of any expression is shaped by context and semantic structures, a kind of operational system. When we live in a society with an obvious ideology, openly maintained as the dominant one, things are clear enough.

The significance of words flows directly from the ideological matrix, which is instilled through upbringing, education, and instruction and is supported by the active ideological apparatus of the state. The state forms a language, defines the meaning of discourse, and sets—most often through repressive measures, broadly understood—the limits and moral tint of the basic collection of political and sociological concepts and terms.

If we lived in a society in which communist ideology dominates, concepts such as “bourgeoisie,” “fascism,” “capitalism,” “speculation,” etc. acquire not only strictly negative connotations but specific meanings, with which capitalists, fascists, and speculators would categorically disagree. The disagreement concerns not only signs, but the very significance of words. The way a communist sees a fascist, or a capitalist seems to the fascist, might seem to a different party to be little more than a caricature or a distortion. And this, of course, works the other way around: fascism seems natural to the fascist, and communism, utterly evil.

For a capitalist, communism and fascism are equally evil. The capitalist most often does not think of himself as bourgeois. Speculation is for him a form of the realization of natural economic rights, and the system he defends he usually regards as a “free” society, an “open” society. Neither the Marxist analysis of the appropriation of surplus value, nor the fascist critique of the web of interest obligations and payments, and the international financial oligarchy, which usurps power over peoples and nations, ever convince him of anything.

Ideologies are similar to religions; hence Carl Schmitt speaks of “political theology.” Each believes sacredly in his own values and ideals, and criticism of or apology for alternative values most often has no effect (except for a few cases of confessional change, which occurs in the history of religion and in the history of political teachings).

Consequently, before speaking seriously about one or another term, it is necessary to determine in which ideological context we will be considering it. Someone will surely object: science must take a neutral position. That is impossible. In this case, science would pretend to the status of a meta-ideology, i.e. a kind of “true ideology,” of which all other ideologies are relative forms. But nobody will agree with this, even it should come into someone’s head to flaunt such ambitions.

In the religious sphere, syncretic teachings periodically arise, claiming that they are the expression of “absolute truth” and that all other historical religions are its relative manifestations. But as a rule, such tendencies do not enjoy great popularity, remaining the property of rather small circles and denied by major confessions as “heresies.” Science, likewise, cannot claim the status of a meta-ideology and remain relevant. But it differs from ordinary ideology by three features:

  1. It reflects distinctly upon the structures of the ideological paradigm it considers. (Ordinary people do not even suspect that what seems to them their “personal opinion” is a secondary or even tertiary product of ideological processing, the mechanisms of which are entirely hidden from them.)
  2. In the course of analysis of ideological discourse, it uses the techniques of classical logic (Aristotle’s laws and Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason).
  3. It is able to build a comparative matrix of the correspondences between diverse ideologies, juxtaposing structures in their foundations and establishing symmetries and oppositions between separate discourses and their elements.

Thus, in considering any concept or term, it is possible to proceed in two ways: either to interpret it from the position of one or another ideology, not digging into its foundations and not comparing it with other interpretations (this is the level of propaganda and low-quality applied analysis/journalism), or to attend to the scientific method, which does not free us from adherence to an ideology, but forces us to reason, observing the three above-mentioned rules of the scientific approach (paradigm, logic, comparison).

We propose to consider the concept of the “middle class” in precisely this scientific spirit.

From Caste to Class

Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (15th century) Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (15th century)

The concept of the “middle class” is crucial for the liberal-capitalist ideology. Although it appeared later than the Marxist theory of class struggle and the famous communist doctrine of the two antagonistic classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the very meaning of the term “middle class” has a much longer history and has its roots in the period of bourgeois revolutions and the rise of the Third Estate, which claimed henceforth a monopoly in political and economic spheres.

Before considering the “middle class,” let’s turn to the concept of “class” as such. Class is a concept of the social organization of modernity. Ancient orders and social-political systems were built on the caste principle. “Caste” should be understood as the doctrine that the inner nature of different people differs qualitatively: there are divine souls and earthly (feral, demonic) souls. The caste reflects precisely this nature of the soul, which man is not able to change during his life. The caste is fatal. The normal society, according to this conception, must be built so that those of a divine nature (the elite) are above, and those of an earthly (feral, demonic) nature remain below (the masses). That is how the Indian Varna system is arranged, as were ancient Jewish, Babylonian, Egyptian, and other societies.

This caste theory was replaced by a more flexible estate theory. The estate also proposes a difference in people’s natures (the existence of higher and lower), but here the fact of birth in one or another estate is not considered a final and natural factor in the determination of belonging to a certain social status. Estate can be changed if the representative of a lower estate accomplishes a great feat, demonstrates unique spiritual qualities, becomes a member of the priesthood, etc.

Here, alongside the caste principle, is the principle of meritocracy, that is, rewards for services. The meritocratic principle extends also to the descendants of the one who accomplished the feat (ennobling). Estate society was predominant in Christian civilization right to the end of the Middle Ages. In estate society, the highest estates are the priesthood (clergy) and the military (aristocracy), and the lowest is the Third Estate of peasants and craftsmen. Precisely the same way, in a caste society, priests and warriors (Brahma and Kshatriya) were highest, and lowest were peasants, artisans, and traders (Vaishya).

Modernity became the era of the overthrow of estate society. Europe’s bourgeois revolutions demanded a replacement of the estate privileges of the higher estates (the clergy and the military aristocracy, the nobility) in favor of the Third Estate. But the bearers of this ideology were not the peasants, who were connected with traditional society by the specific character of seasonal labour, religious identity, etc., but the more mobile townspeople and burghers. “Bourgeois” is itself formed from the German word “Burg” meaning “town.” Hence, modernity gave first priority to precisely the townsfolk-citizen-bourgeois as a normative unit.

The bourgeois revolutions abolished the power of the Church (clergy) and aristocracy (nobility, dynasties) and advanced the model of building society on the basis of the domination of the Third Estate, represented by the townsfolk-citizen-bourgeois. This is, essentially, capitalism. Capitalism, in its victory, replaces estate distinctions, but preserves material ones. Thus, the notion of class arises: class signifies an indicator of the measure of inequality. The bourgeoisie abolish estate inequality, but preserve material inequality. Consequently, precisely modernity’s bourgeois capitalistic society is a class society in the full sense of the word. Previously, in the Middle Ages, belonging to an estate was one’s primary social attribute. In modernity, the entire social stratification was reduced to the attribute of material riches. Class is thus a phenomenon of modernity.

Class War

Georg Grosz, Eclipse of the Sun (1926) Georg Grosz, Eclipse of the Sun (1926)

The class character of bourgeois society, however, was perceived most distinctly not by the ideology of the bourgeoisie, but by Marx. He elaborated his revolutionary teaching on the basis of the concept of class. At its foundation was the idea that class society and the material inequality characteristic of it, elevated to the highest criterion, exposes the essence of the nature of society, man, and history. In Marx’s class picture, there are always rich and poor, and the rich always get richer, and the poor, poorer. Consequently, there are two classes, the bourgeoisie and proletariat, and their struggle is the motor and meaning of history.

All of Marxism is built on this idea: when we speak of classes, we speak of two antagonistic classes, the difference between which is not relative but absolute, since each embodies in itself two irreconcilable worlds: the world of Exploitation and the world of (honest) Labor. There are two classes: the class of Labor (the proletariat) and the class of Exploitation (the bourgeoisie). In the capitalist system, the class of Exploitation dominates. The class of Labor must become conscious of itself, arise, and overthrow the class of Exploiters. They must create, at first, the Government of Labor—socialism. Then, after the last remnants of bourgeois society have been destroyed, communist society will appear, now fully classless. According to Marx, a classlessness is possible only after the victory of the proletariat and the radical destruction of the bourgeoisie.

For Marx, a “middle class” simply cannot exist. This concept has no independent semantics in Marxist ideology, since everything that is between the bourgeoisie and proletariat (for instance, the petty bourgeoisie or prosperous peasantry) relates essentially either to the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. For Marxists, the “middle class” is a fiction. It doesn’t exist, and the concept itself is nothing but an instrument of the ideological propaganda of capitalists, trying to fool the proletariat, promising a future integration into the class of the bourgeoisie (which, according to Marx, cannot happen, since the appropriation of surplus value prevents the proletariat’s enrichment).

We can draw the following conclusion: the term “middle class” is a fiction for Marxists, an artificial figure of bourgeois ideology, called upon to conceal the real picture of society and the processes occurring in it. At the same time, Marxists admit the fact of a transition from estate society to class society and, consequently, agree with the bourgeoisie that a society of material inequalities (class society) is “more progressive” than a society of estate inequality; they disagree with the bourgeoisie in that, for communists, this is not the “end of history,” but only the beginning of a full-fledged revolutionary struggle. Liberals, on the other hand, insist that material inequality is entirely moral and justified and maintain that the communists’ striving for material equality is, by contrast, amoral and pathological. For liberals, “the end of history” begins when everyone becomes “middle class.” For communists, it begins when the proletariat finally destroy the bourgeoisie and build a communist society of total equality.

The Middle Class within Liberalism

The concept of a middle class is implicitly present in liberal ideology from the very beginning. That said, it only receives full implementation in the course of the establishment of sociology, which endeavors to combine many avant-garde theses of Marxism (in particular, the centrality of the concept of class) and bourgeois conditions. Sociology is thus a hybrid form: ideologically, it is between communism and liberalism; methodologically, it emphasizes a scientific, analytic approach. We can distinguish two poles in sociology, the social (the school of Durkheim, the theories of Sorokin, etc.) and the liberal (Weber, the Chicago and “Austrian” Schools in the United States, etc.)

In any case, the specific character of the liberal understanding of class is the conviction that, in the standard bourgeois society, there is only one class, and all differences between the depths and the heights are relative and conditional. If, for Marx, there are always two classes, and they exist in implacable enmity, for liberals (Adam Smith, for instance) there is always ultimately one class—the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie nominally embraces the entire capitalist society. The poorest layers of this society are, as it were, incompletely bourgeois. The richest, on the other hand, area super-bourgeois. But the social nature of all people is qualitatively identical: all are given equal starting opportunities, setting out from which the bourgeois can either reach a certain level of success, or fail to reach it and tumble down into the incompletely bourgeois.

Hence, Adam Smith takes as a standard situation the following classical liberal narrative:

The baker hires a worker, who has recently come to the city for work. After working as an assistant to the owner, the hired worker learns to bake bread and observes the organization of processes of interaction with suppliers and customers. After some time, the hired worker borrows credit and opens a bakery. After first working independently, he eventually hires a helper, who has come to the city for work, and the cycle repeats itself.

In this model, we see the following. Not only is society thought of as middle class, but there exists the already-middle-class and the not-yet-middle-class. In this picture, the hired worker does not form a peculiar type, but represents the potentially bourgeois, while the ready baker is actually bourgeois (though even he, coming to ruin, can theoretically be in the position again of the hired worker, the not-yet-bourgeois).

According to Marx, the quantity of riches in society is a fixed quantity, and the presence of two classes is based on precisely this: those who have riches will never share them with the poor, since life in capitalist society is a zero-sum game. For Smith, on the other hand, riches constantly increase. As a result, the boundaries of the middle class continuously expand. Capitalism is based on the presumption of the constant growth of riches for all members of society; ideally, all humanity must become middle class.

At the same time, there are two approaches to the middle class in liberal ideology. The first corresponds to left liberals: they demand that the super-bourgeois (the big capitalists) consciously share a part of the profits with the middle class and petty bourgeoisie, since this will lead to the stability of the system and to an acceleration of the growth of the middle class globally.

The second approach is characteristic of right liberals: they object to the burden placed on the super-bourgeoisie by taxation and welfare projects; they believe these contradicts the spirit of “free enterprise” and slows the dynamics of the development of the capitalist system, since the super-bourgeoisie stimulates the growth of the middle-bourgeoisie, which, in turn, urges on the petty bourgeoisie and the not-yet-bourgeoisie.

Accordingly, the concept of the middle class becomes, for left liberals, a moral value and ideological slogan (as in, “We must build a stronger middle class!”). For right liberals, on the other hand, the growth of the middle class is a natural consequence of the development of the capitalist system and does not demand special attention or elevation to a value.

Class as Social Strata in Sociology

In sociology, this basic ideological attitude of liberalism concerning the primacy of the middle class manifests itself in the relativization of the model of stratification. Sociology divides society into three classes: upper, middle, and lower (to this is sometimes added the underclass of pure marginals and social deviants). These classes are not identical to Marxist, nor to strictly liberal class concepts (since liberalism knows only one class, the middle class, while the others are thought of as its variations). This division fixes the dimension of individuals along four indicators: material sufficiency, level of fame, position in administrative hierarchy, and level of education. On the basis of strictly qualitative criteria, any person can be related to one of three social strata.

Here, the concept of class does not have a direct ideological content, but, as a rule, it is applied to bourgeois society, where sociology as a science appeared. This sociological classes, identified with social strata, should be distinguished from Marxist classes and from standard liberal conceptions about the middle class as the universal and single class.

In this case, in a bourgeois framework, the struggle for the rights of the underclass or support of the lower class (in a sociological sense) can be thought of as a left continuation of the liberal approach: attention to the lower layer of bourgeois society stipulates striving to facilitate its integration into the middle class, i.e. to pull them up the level of the bourgeois. For right liberals, such an effort is “amoral,” since it contradicts the main principle of social freedom: initiative and honest competition (the strong win, the weak lose, but such are the rules of the game; all should endeavor to become strong). The extreme version of right or even far-right liberalism is the “objectivism” of Ayn Rand.

The Middle Class and Nationalism

Thomas Hart Benton, Steel in America Today (1930) Thomas Hart Benton, Steel in America Today (1930)

There is one other ideological system of modernity, which we have yet to consider—nationalism. Nationalism is a variation of bourgeois ideology, which insists that the standard horizon of bourgeois society should not be humanity (the “cosmopolitanism” and “globalism” of classical liberals) but society as defined by the borders of a nation-state. The nation or people is taken as the maximal unit of integration. The market is open within the boundaries of the nation. But in the inter-state system, economic activity transitions to the level of the state, not private actors. From here, there arises the legitimization of such instruments as tariffs, protectionism, etc.

Nationalism thinks of the middle class not abstractly but concretely, as the middle class of a given national formation of the state. Nationalism also, like liberalism, accepts as a standard figure of society the townsperson-citizen-bourgeois, but puts the accent precisely on citizen, and what’s more, the citizen of a given national state.

The “nation” as a political formation becomes a synonym of bourgeois society. For nationalists, beyond this society, there exists only a zone of national and social risk. The nation is thought of here as a community of the middle class. And the task consists in integrating the lower layers into the national whole, often with the help of welfare measures. That is why nationalism can possess numerous socialist features, though the ideological basis here is different: pulling the economically weak to the level of the middle class is a task of national integration, not a consequence of orientation towards justice and material equality. We see something similar with left liberals, who consider integrating the under-class into broader society as a condition for the stability of the development of the capitalist system.

Nationalism, as a rule, relates negatively to national minorities and especially to immigrants. This is connected with the fact that in the eyes of nationalists, these elements disturb the homogeneity of the national middle class. Moreover, some national minorities are blamed for concentrating in their hands too much material wealth, in other words, those who challenge the national middle class “from above.” Nationalist feelings of injustice are expressed in antagonism towards “oligarchs” and, often times, as “economic anti-semitism,” a sentiment that was not foreign to Marx himself. In turn, other non-nationals (usually immigrants) are blamed for increasing the numbers of the lower strata and underclass, the integration of which is complicated by national differences. A variant of anti-immigrant nationalism consists in the charge that the increase of cheap labor slows the process of enriching the “native” population and the “harmonious” (for nationalists) growth of the middle class.

The Problem of the Middle Class in Contemporary Russia

After making these necessary methodological refinements, we can finally raise the question: what is the middle class for Russia? What are its prospects? Is it important for us or, on the contrary, are discussions about it optional and secondary?

It is impossible to answer this without turning to one of the three classical ideologies (including the versions contained in each through the polarities of left and right).

If we take the position of right liberalism, the answer is this: we should not pay attention to the middle class; the most important thing is to secure maximum economic freedom (that is, complete removal of government from business, taxes approximating zero, etc.), and everything will fall into place. Right liberals and consistent globalists are convinced that the growth of the middle class in Russia is not the goal; it is a consequence of the nation’s integration into the global economy, the opening of internal markets for external competition, and the prompt dismantling of an overbearing state.

If we take the position of left liberalism, then our attitude changes substantially. The broadening of the middle class is the number one task for our society, since the successful establishment of capitalism in Russia depends on precisely this, as does its integration into the international community. A small and weak middle class facilitates the degradation of society into “lumpens” and “oligarchs” and indirectly helps nationalistic and socialistic anti-liberal tendencies capture the minds of the population. Social injustice and inequality, the volume of the underclass, and the slow growth of the middle class demand special attention and the execution of goal-directed policies, since the fate of capitalism in Russia is at stake. Again, the struggle for the middle class is a slogan of left liberals. And they are the ones who would most likely focus this topic, since it is the core of their ideological positions.

If we are contemporary Marxists by inertia or conscious choice, then any mention of a middle class must evoke our rage, since this is the ideological platform of the sworn enemies of communism—bourgeois liberals. For communists, the following is correct: the narrower the middle class, the sharper the social contradictions and the more acute the imperative of the class struggle of proletariat against bourgeoisie. Thus, the communist perceives a large lower social strata and underclass against the background of prospering oligarchs as the ideal social picture. For communists, the middle class is a lie, an evil, and its absence or underdevelopment is a chance and window of opportunity for revolution. If some “communist” thinks otherwise, then he is not a communist, but a revisionist and compromiser with the bourgeoisie.

If we are nationalists, then the middle class acquires for us an additional dimension. It is thought of as the skeleton of national society in opposition to the “immigrant underclass” and “foreign-born oligarchy.” This is the peculiar notion of the middle class in the nationalist framework. And the cutting edges of this conception of the middle class are directed against oligarchs (the upper class) and immigrants (the lower class and underclass); the middle class itself is regarded as the national class, i.e. as the Russian class, which includes Russian entrepreneurs, Russian proprietors, the Russian bourgeoisie, etc.

It is impossible to speak of the middle class as such, without adhering (consciously or not) to an ideological position. But since in Russia, according to the constitution, there is no state ideology, theoretically we can interpret the middle class however we want. The fact that this concept has become the center of discussions attests to the fact that in contemporary Russia, by the inertia of the ‘90s and early 2000s, a liberal paradigm prevails. In the absence of a state ideology, liberals nevertheless strive to impose on us their paradigm as dominant.

Let’s conduct a thought experiment: a discussion about the middle class is taking place in a socially significant platform, for instance on one of Russia’s major television stations. Representatives of all possible ideologies of modernity are participating: Russian liberals, Russian communists, and Russian nationalists.

The first, a Russian liberals, would say:

The growth of the middle class and elevation of the level of wealth for the citizens of Russia is the main task of our society and government.

The second, a Russian communist:

Illegal privatization in the ‘90s put national property in the hands of oligarchs; look how our people live in the provinces in poverty and squalor!

The third, aRussian nationalists:

Illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Russians, and they’re all led by Jewish and Caucasian oligarchs. That is a catastrophe for the Russian middle class!

Despite the fact that the viewers might like all three positions, the jury and “respected experts” will, undoubtedly, grant victory to the liberals. For ultimately, we still find ourselves in the condition of the ideological dictatorship of liberalism. This would happen despite the fact that society, recognizing the right of liberal discourse, fully and persistently denies its supremacy and absolute right. (In contrast, for the political elite, liberal dogmas remain sacred and unshakeable.)

From this, we can draw a conclusion: the middle class and discussion about it reflect the ideological order of liberals among Russia’s political and economic elite. If we do not share liberal axioms, then we might not consider this topic at all, or else offer an interpretation (Marxist, nationalistic, etc.) that liberals will vigorously reject.

The Fourth Political Theory: Beyond Class

In conclusion, we can conduct an analysis of the middle class in the context of the Fourth Political Theory. This theory is built on the imperative of overcoming modernity and all three political ideologies in order (the order has tremendous significance): (1) liberalism, (2) communism, (3) nationalism (fascism). The subject of this theory, in its simple version, is the concept “narod,”roughly, “Volk” or “people,” in the sense of “peoplehood” and “peoples,” not “masses.”

In its complex version, the subject of this theory is Heidegger’s category of Dasein. We can say, as an approximation, that narod must be thought of existentially, as the living, organic, historical presence of Russians in a qualitative spatial landscape, in the expanses of Great Russia. But if the subject is the narod and not the individual (as in liberalism), not two antagonistic classes (as in Marxism), and not the political nation (as in nationalism), then all the obligatory elements of the modern picture of the world change. There is no longer materialism, economism, recognition of the fatefulness and universality of the bourgeois revolutions, linear time, Western civilization as a universal standard, secularism, human rights, civil society, democracy, the market, or any other axioms and buzzwords of modernity. The Fourth Political Theory proposes solutions and horizons knowingly excluded by liberalism, communism, and nationalism. (More on this is found in my book The Fourth Political Theory and my new book The Fourth Way.)

On the whole, The Fourth Political Theory, when applied to the problem of the “middle class” says the following:

The transition from caste to estate and from estate to class is not a universal law. This process can occur as it did in modern Western Europe, or it can fail to occur or occur partially, as is happening today in non-Western societies. Hence, the very concept of class as applied to society has a limited applicability. Class and classes can be identified in modern Western European societies, but whether they can replace the caste inequality of the soul and human nature is not at all obvious. Western societies themselves are confident that classes do so. But an existential approach to this problematic can call this into question.

The most important thing is how the human relates to death. There are those who can look it in the face, and those who always have their backs turned to it. But the origins of the social hierarchy, the fundamental distinction between people and the superiority of some to others consists in precisely this. Material conditions are not decisive here. Hegel’s interpretation of Master and Slave is based on this criterion. Hegel thinks that the Master is the one who challenges death, who steps out to encounter it. Acting in this way, he does not acquire immortality, but he acquires a Slave, one who runs from death, lacking the courage to look it in the eye. The Master rules in societies where death stands at the center of attention. The Slave acquires political rights only where death is bracketed and removed to the periphery. So long as death remains in society’s field of vision, we are dealing with rule by the wise and heroic, philosophers and warriors. This is caste society or estate society. But not class society. Where class begins, life ends, and the alienated strategies of reification, objectivation, and mediation prevail.

Hence, the Fourth Political Theory thinks that the construction of society on the basis of the criterion of property is a pathology. The fate of man and narod is history and geography—but in no way economics, the market, or competition.

The Fourth Political Theory rejects class as a concept and denies its relevance for the creation of a political system based on the existential understanding of the narod. Even more so does it reject the concept of the “middle class,” which reflects the very essence of the class approach. The middle class, like the middle (that is, average) person, is a social figure situated at the point of maximal social illusion, at the epicenter of slumber. The representative of the middle class corresponds to Heidegger’s figure of das Man, the generalized bearer of “common sense,” which is subject to no verification or examination. (Das Man is often translated into English as “The They,” in the sense of “They say so-and-so will win the election this year…) Das Man is the greatest of illusions.

The middle, average person is not at all the same as the normal person. “Norm” is a synonym for “ideal,” that to which one should strive, that which one should become. The middle person is a person in the least degree, the most ex-individual of individuals, the most null and barren quality. The middle person isn’t a person at all; he is a parody of a person. He is Nietzsche’s “Last Man.” And he is deeply abnormal, since for a normal person, it is natural to experience horror, to think about death, to acutely experience the finitude of being, to call into question—sometimes tragically insoluble—the external world, society, and relations to another.

The middle class doesn’t think; it consumes. It doesn’t live; it seeks security and comfort. It doesn’t die, it blows out like a car tire (it emits its spirit, as Baudrillard wrote in Symbolic Exchange and Death). The middle class is the most stupid, submissive, predictable, cowardly, and pathetic of all classes. It is equally far from the blazing elements of poverty and the perverted poison of incalculable wealth, which is even closer to hell than extreme poverty. The middle class has no ontological foundation for existing at all, and if it does, then only somewhere far below, beneath the rule of the philosopher-kings and warrior-heroes. It is the Third Estate, imagining about itself that it is the one and only. This is an unwarranted pretension. Modernity and capitalism (in the sense of the universality of the middle class) is nothing more than a temporary aberration. The time of this historical misunderstanding is coming to an end.

Thus, today, when the agony of this worst of possible social arrangements still continues, you must look beyond capitalism. At the same time, we must value and take interest in both what preceded it, the Middle Ages, and in that which will come after it and that which we must create—a New Middle Ages.


Translated by Michael Millerman


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New Vistas for American Renaissance

For more than 20 years, American Renaissance and Jared Taylor have set the standard for a White consciousness movement. Others have undertaken this mission: William Pierce, Revilo Oliver, Willis Carto, among them. But Jared has been most successful in adhering to the norms of modern political organization. AmRen has, for two decades, focused on a few key issues that are (or should be) harmonious with “American values”: free association, the legitimacy of group interests, and the scientific study of genetic differences.

For more than 20 years, American Renaissance and Jared Taylor have set the standard for a White consciousness movement. Others have undertaken this mission: William Pierce, Revilo Oliver, Willis Carto, among them. But Jared has been most successful in adhering to the norms of modern political organization. AmRen has, for two decades, focused on a few key issues that are (or should be) harmonious with “American values”: free association, the legitimacy of group interests, and the scientific study of genetic differences.

Jared has also avoided the obsessions and crankiness that have, unfortunately, characterized much of American racialism.  (I have long been under the impression that many in alternative or dissident movements like to indulge in their own marginalization, perhaps out of a desire to shock for shock’s sake, or as a preemptive excuse for failures in life.)  With Jared and AmRen, there is a certain radicalness in mainstreaming, in presenting ideas that have world-changing consequences in packages that seem mellow and respectable.

American Renaissance’s 2014 conference took place just outside Nashville, Tennessee, in comfortable Montgomery Bell State Park.  It marked the 20th anniversary of AmRen events, a fact that was mentioned only briefly by Jared, perhaps not wanting to dwell on the past. Fittingly, the conference marked a certain milestone.

This had something to do with the contingent of scruffy leftists that protested for an hour or so on Saturday afternoon. It was hard not to chuckle at their signs, which sported crudely drawn swastikas, and their chants, which were a mixture of vague physical threats, vague Marxism, and vague demands for liberal tolerance. Nevertheless, their presence made the conference feel relevant and “real,” not merely academic.  (The Forces of Diversity were significantly fewer than last year, probably due to the fact that their previous protest failed to persuade state authorities to shut down the 2013 event.)  

For me, the real milestone was the speeches themselves. Indeed, as I listened, I sensed that an evolution of sorts was taking place. The talks of Jack Donovan, RamZPaul, and John Morgan—as well as Alex Kurtagic’s speech in 2012 and my own in 2013—all presented racialism “in a different key.” Perhaps they even presented a reversal of some of the rhetoric that informed AmRen gatherings of the past two decades.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Scientists

Saturday morning began with the always entertaining John Derbyshire, the kind of man we all wish had been our professor in anthropology or the history of science in college.  But I’m afraid I wasn’t able to detect much of a through-line in this year’s presentation. It struck me as wandering romp through Chinese history. Interesting at times, but never necessary.

The next speaker, Douglas Whitman, who presented on the biological reality of race, was a revelation.  Whitman’s talk was stimulating, sensible, and generous (though he did twice refer to “those slimy Marxists!”). The revelation was Whitman himself. He struck me as the kind of man, Henry Harpending is another, who could be of tremendous value to our movement. He possesses academic authority (he’s a professor at Illinois State University); he clearly cares about his race and civilization; and he is a “happy warrior.”  He also gave us a great slogan for a T-shirt: “Society is a racial construct.”

The Way of Men

It was with Jack Donovan’s talk that the “evolution” was in full effect.  It’s worth noting that Jack Donovan has never identified himself as a “racialist,” “White nationalist,” or “White advocate”; and he is more often attacked as a “self-hating homosexual” or a “misogynist.” Certainly, much about his personal history has rubbed fundamentalists the wrong way…  But even the most truculent paleoconservative would struggle to deny that Jack’s talk was insightful and masterfully composed.

One dominant mode of thought in American racialism, and AmRen in particular, is that Blacks and Third World immigrants are “unassimilable” and, if they are present in large numbers, would destroy American society as we know it.  This is certainly true. But such a view fails to help us understand why our current demographic disaster is happening and why Whites are so incapable of resisting it.  Jack suggests that the problem is not simply “foreigners” but the very structure of American life—and how this has been psychically internalized by White people. The modern American White man is a “free agent”: a man who has little loyalty to his place, friends, co-workers, and likely has never met his neighbors. (We can all see a little bit of ourselves in Jack’s description.)

Loyalty limits your options. Loyalty to no one opens your options.  You become a mercenary… . “Discrimination” becomes a dirty word… not because it is evil, but primarily because it is unprofitable.

Jack argues that White dispossession is predicated on Whites’ own embrace of the mentality of the consumer, the careerist, and the money-accumulator. His indictment is thus not simply of “socialism” (the perennial bogeyman of the American Right) but “capitalism,” or more precisely “capitalist man.”  And it is capitalism—debt, shopping, buying and selling—that has become the American elite’s favored form of social organization. As Jack states, “Hopeless people without dreams”—without identity, without a history, and without a future—“are easy to control.”

In a moving coda, Jack observed that the ultimate outcome of American meaninglessness is not just the obsessed shopper and salesman but the hipster and SWiPL.  These are people whose identity is irony, whose dress, language, and tastes are in sarcastic quotation marks. (Imagine a smirking hipster sporting a lumberjack beard, drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, wearing ‘80s Rayban knockoffs, and a T-shirt featuring an Atari game from his childhood.)

Contemporary racialism certainly has its share of ironists, those whose activism amounts to gawking at the latest Black-on-White criminal outrage or debating the best way to pick up unstable women at bars. Jack proffers radical “sincerity” as the alternative. Leftists of the last century discriminated between the armchair Marxist and the writer who was “committed” (“engagé”) to revolution. We should do the same.

Life as a White Minority

Jack was followed by three speakers who reported on White racialism in other lands. The first was Philip Craik, who discussed the community of Orania on South Africa’s northern Cape. Orania is an enclave that is exclusively for the Boer people, the “White Tribe” of Dutch Protestants who trekked through Africa and settled in its southern region in the 17th century. Orania represents a distinctively post-Apartheid survival strategy for Boers: it is a secure community that is semi-sovereign and could be compared to a state or municipal government in America: its restrictions are something like citizenship, and it governs and regulates construction and economic activity.

Orania “just works”: the entrepreneurs who created it turned an abandoned settlement into a thriving farming town. But at the end of the day, Orania remains under the dominion of the South African government, and thus the African National Congress. I was surely not the only one who imagined that little Orania might be too tempting a prize for the ANC to seize and plunder if the opportunity arose. I was also surely not the only one who wished that Craik had spent less time recounting the history of the Boers and showing us an Orania promotional video, both of which we could have found online, and instead talked about various survival strategies for Whites as racial minorities.

Nationalism and Beyond

Next came John Morgan, a “citizen of the world” in the best sense of the term: John is an American who created a Euro-centric publishing firm, Arktos Media, which was based in India and now operates out of Hungary. Last winter, John had the opportunity to speak to protestors—and ultimately revolutionaries—from Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement to remove Victor Yanukovych from power.

Whatever one might think about Maidan, the Right Sector, and Svoboda—I must admit that I am not sympathetic—John had a chance to become, in a small way, a part of history; and the Traditionalism (with a capital T) that Arktos advocates became a part of history, too. As John relates, “The political struggle is an outward form of a cultural struggle.” As America is dominated by a religious culture that is “thoroughly corrupted by liberalism, thoroughly moronic, or both,” Morgan suggested that we look towards Eastern Europe as a source, or at least as a model, of authentic nationalism.

There were two things that were conspicuously absent in John’s talk. (Yes, I know it is unfair to criticize a speaker for what he did not say. ) The first was Russia, and in particular the development of the country over the past 25 years—from leading a “Communist” empire that was, to a large degree, an expression of traditional Russian imperialism to the humiliation of the 1990s and, most recently, to Russia’s reentering the geopolitical stage as the preeminent counterweight to U.S. hegemony. Surely this is more lasting and consequential than Ukrainian ethno-nationalism?

The second conspicuous absence was a discussion of the problems of nationalism in itself, especially as it has been expressed by groups like Right Sector. No doubt, most in the audience would concur that nationalism is a natural and healthy form of politics for all peoples. That said, modern racialism comes, as Sam Dickson noted in his talk, in the wake of extremely destructive and fratricidal forms of nationalism that arose throughout the 20th century (and, of course, much earlier). However deeply Right Sector might be influenced by Tradition, it is primarily motivated by passionate (and, to a degree, understandable) historical grudges against Russia (as an embodiment of the Soviet Union), Jews, and Germans. Could even the most hard-core fellow traveller really look forward to yet another violent conflagration between White people? Thus, one of our most important tasks—and one for which Traditionalism could be a great aid—is to form a cosmopolitan, that is, pan-European nationalism, an identity that stretches beyond ethnicity, tribe, religious sectarianism, and the disputes that have, from time to time, turned the continent into a slaughter bench. My sense is that in this all-important project, Ukrainian nationalists won’t be of much use.

After John, the English barrister and long-time nationalist advocate Adrian Davies chimed in about developments in Western Europe. Adrian is a talented orator, who can be concise and humorous while speaking extemporaneously. He was rather bullish on the prospects for European nationalist parties in the coming years. France’s Front National, for one, has not only survived the retirement of its long-time leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, but has actually increased its popularity under his daughter, Marine. Adrian noted that the FN has been successful in finding a new constituency: the working class, which has certainly been affected by the flood of unskilled, Third World immigrants.

It’s worth noting that Radix’s Roman Bernard has been much more bearish on recent trends within the FN. In a podcast following FN’s recent electoral gains, Roman argued that the party hasn’t so much brought its ideals to the working class as it has begun to be defined by the outlook and tastes of this new constituency: this includes dropping the FN’s traditionalist character and even promoting non-White politicians.

Across the channel, British Nationalism is in turmoil. Much of this has to do the rise and fall of the British Nationalist Party: throughout the first decade of the 21st century, the BNP scored a series of electoral coups that seemed to many of us like breakthroughs. But as this decade began, major figures and factions within the BNP lost confidence in its leader, Nick Griffin. In 2013 a new competing party was formed, the British Democratic Party.1

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this disorder has been the United Kingdom Independence Party. UKIP’s platform is “Euro-skeptic” and libertarian, and the party’s identity has become intrinsically linked with its charismatic frontman, Nigel Farage. Beneath the façade, however, UKIP has succeeded by being the Party of general right-wing protest and unspoken racialism (as UKIP’s detractors correctly observe). In other words, much as in America, nationalist energies are being articulated through inherently liberal rhetoric. As Adrian argued,

UKIP is made up of people whose instincts are fundamentally sound… but they are still too obsessed with Anglo-Saxon concepts we need to put behind us: unlimited individualism, the great benefit of unfettered capitalism, etc.

Could UKIP be “co-opted” by the system? Adrian asked a higher-level question, “Can the establishment co-op UKIP and remain the establishment?” Unfortunately, my answer must be “yes.” In 2009, major establishment figures were genuinely disturbed by the Tea Party, which seemed to advocate something like anarcho-nationalism. Conventional Republicans were being reframed as radicals, or were being “dared” into making radical statements by populist forces. The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, went as far as voicing the potential of secession (!). In a short period of time, however, the Tea Party beoame a barely distinguishable wing of the GOP. (Perry now mostly talks about prison reform.)

Predictably, insurgent populist parties—UKIP, the Tea Party, the BNP, the Euroskeptics, und so weiter—ride a wave of negative social mood, but fail to articulate an end goal or real alternative to the current order. UKIP’s guiding fantasy appears to be the good ol’ days of Margaret Thatcher, that is, an earlier stage of liberalism and racial decline. The ability of the established order to absorb such energies should not be underestimated.

Counter Revolution

After our group enjoyed a steak dinner, we were treated to a lecture on the so-called “Dark Enlightenment” by noted YouTuber “RamZPaul.” “Comedic stylings” is probably a better term than lecture, or perhaps “serious comedy.” RamZPaul has the rare gift of timing, and the ability to deliver a joke in a deceptively bumbling manner, à la Bill Murray.

The Dark Enlightenment (which RamZ’s talk equated with “neo-reaction”) is a decisively “alt Right” phenomenon that doesn’t merely differ with policies of the mainstream Right—it opposes the root assumptions on which they are based. According to the DE, all flavors of the American political spectrum—from the Tea Party to Republicans to Democrats to leftists; from Richard Dawkins to Andrew Sullivan to Cliven Bundy—are all fundamentally liberal in nature. They may have passionate disagreements over style, the scope of government and the military, or the role of religion, but these are disagreements over means, not ends. They each hope to inaugurate a society organized by individual rights, the market, and a benign government, in which every person will pursue his or her chosen form of “happiness.” The entire American experiment—from the Declaration to legalized gay marriage—was a liberal disruption of the traditional order of God-Church/State-People. (Martin Luther, it could be said, was the first, though unintentional, “progressive.”)

I often find argumentation like this to shift between profound truth-telling to “all is lost!” fatalism to “I’m more right-wing than you!” geekiness. Perhaps any successful movement needs a little bit of each? Whatever one thinks about DE, the “take-away” is that race is not “everything”; it might not even be the most important thing; it could be that the racial crisis is a symptom of a deeper crisis at the heart of Occidental civilization that has persisted for centuries.

In the subsequent Q&A, I caused a bit of a stir by asking whether liberal universalism was predicated, not simply on Luther, but on Christian monotheism itself. Moreover, as Christianity loses sovereignty in the hearts and minds of European peoples, might this offer an opportunity to rethink our relationship with the “Other”: to view other cultures and races not as more souls/individuals to be converted to Christianity/integrated into democratic capitalism, but to see them as different peoples with their own pasts, destinies, and, indeed, gods. It became obvious that RamZ and many in the audience are not quite ready to follow me down this path … which is fine.

Can We Handle the Truth?

Sunday featured two speakers who have addressed each and every AmRen conference since 1994: Sam Dickson and, of course, Jared Taylor. The centerpiece of Jared’s talk was his claim that White people are not simply motivated by their material interests or greed or ethnocentrism; they possess a moral imagination. That is, they genuinely care about the suffering of others—other people in their race, other people of other races, and even animals and the natural world. This can be, in Jared’s estimation, a wonderful thing; it is a quintessentially White trait that is the basis of a civilization that values recognition and dignity. Jared’s urged us not to simply to view “liberals” as our enemies, but to speak to them honestly and in good faith.2

Sam Dickson closed the conference with a talk on the converse to cliché “truth will set you free”: lies will make you slave. Modern America—maybe the entire modern world—is in the grips of the lie of human equality. For any “conservative” who remains an equality-slave, he can ultimately conserve no great tradition, nor anything of value at all. The concept of race is ultimately that of an extended family, of a people that has interbred for millennia and that has a shared historical experience. If race is meaningless or fraudlent, then why not do away with nation and “family values” as well. If America is simply an accumulation of individuals from around the globe who believe in equality, then what right does one have to prevent any “potential American” from immigrating? Echoing his talk from NPI’s conference this fall, Sam suggests that America has, from its very beginnings, been slave to individualism and an anti-Europeanism that has obscured its racial identity.

As usual, I found myself resonating with Sam’s oration … but afterwards, I began to think that his central metaphor—“Lies will make you slave”—might have masked more than it revealed. Has the American racialist movement been empowered by the scientific study of racial differences? To a certain degree, yes. I have met individuals who have changed their minds as new evidence was presented to them. But such people are quite rare; they have the personality type of the free spirit, scientist, or revolutionary, who takes opinions regardless of their consequences. (I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s famous declaration, “Ich kann nicht anders!”)

But if the history of American racialism has taught us anything, it is that the truth has not set us free—and, furthermore, that truth is always molded, informed, and concealed by political power, social pressure, hopes, and wishful thinking. Martin Luther King Jr. was, from our perspective, never in possession of the “truth,” but he was set free by a “dream”—the idea that emancipating his people would be uplifting to all of humanity. This “dream” has remained powerful for decades, despite the mountains of IQ studies, crime statistics, and evolutionary theorizing put forth by our movement. I certainly don’t mean to say that these publications don’t have value—I’ve been involved in publishing a great many of them—but for us to build a movement and ultimately hold power, the ”truth” is insufficient. It’s fitting that in the second half of Sam’s talk, he discussed creating a master narrative of the White race, involving our connection to the ancients, the age of the cathedrals, and high culture of Europe. With stories like this, what we omit is as important as what we include.

Articulating Racialism

Monarchy … the problems of Americanism and capitalism … race isn’t everything after all … the former Soviet bloc is healthier spiritually than the so-called “free world” …

What’s happening here?

Perhaps the best way to describe this “new key” for American Renaissance is that activists are finding—indeed, forced by events to find–new ways of articulating some of the basic principles of our movement: that race is real, that race matters, and that race is an indispensable component of any form of nationalism or traditionalism. For decades during the Cold War, racialism was articulated as “anti-Communism,” with the Soviet Union cast as a violent, egalitarian superpower. For AmRen, which was founded in the wake of the Cold War, racialism could be imagined as a wing of conservatism or libertarianism: if liberals were dedicated to violating free association and equalizing society, “race realists” could best understand the limits of state power. Each of these perspectives is valid, in its way, but as this year’s AmRen conference made clear, an exploration of new vistas is being undertaken. This is, to a large degree, generational, but not merely so. If the “alt Right”—or Dark Enlightenment or Reactionary-sphere or Manosphere or whatever—is to be successful, it must not merely be dissident; it must be necessary.


  1. This year’s AmRen gathering could have been a BDP showcase of sorts, as its leader, Andrew Brons, was scheduled to appear. But he pulled out at the last minute due to visa issues; the advertised “mystery guest” (who was also not able to appear) was rumored to be connected to British Nationalism.  
  2. Jared’s talk reminded me of an excellent debate that took place between Jared and Sam Francis in the pages of American Renaissance in the mid-’90s, and which inspired, to my mind, one of Francis’s greatest essays.  
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What Is Identitarian Religion?

A long-standing “Trad Catholic” I know told recently me that he had left the Church.  He, in essence, said that his “conservative” priest had become obsessed with promoting mass Third World immigration, peddling interracial adoption, speaking incessantly about various forms of “social justice” such as opposition to non-white abortions, and of course denouncing evolution because it’s “racist.”  Contemporary Western Christianity, even in its so-called “conservative” guises, has become indistinguishable from the central values of Cultural Marxism. 

A long-standing “Trad Catholic” I know told recently me that he had left the Church. He, in essence, said that his “conservative” priest had become obsessed with promoting mass Third World immigration, peddling interracial adoption, speaking incessantly about various forms of “social justice” such as opposition to non-White abortions, and, of course, denouncing evolution because it’s “racist”. Contemporary Western Christianity, even in its so-called “conservative” guises, has become indistinguishable from the central values of Cultural Marxism.

As other commentators have already noted, two things are happening to Christianity today:

First, outside the West, Christianity is rapidly becoming a non-Western religion (e.g. African Christianity in Africa, Mestizo Christianity in Latin America, etc.). As noted by many scholars, a new, non-Western form of Christianity is being born, unlike anything preceding it. It has been estimated that within 50 years, Christianity will overwhelmingly be a non-Western religion, both demographically and theologically.

Second, inside the West, Christianity is becoming more universalized than ever—often substantially no different from the major tenets of Cultural Marxism. You currently have mainstream Christian leaders (both Catholic and Protestant) supporting the Third World immigration invasion of the West and cajoling White couples into adopting unwanted African or Haitian babies instead of birthing White babies. Pathological altruism and ethnomasochism rule the roost; in short, Western Christian leaders today are a bunch of girly men. Such maladaptive trends cannot last indefinitely.

Evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson and science journalist Nicholas Wade have both argued that religion, by and large, is adaptive, in that religion increases one’s inclusive fitness. In short, religion provides group cohesion and, when overlapped with ethnicity or race, religion maintains strong group identity, which assists in group survival. A textbook example of the success of ethno-religion would be Ashkenazi Jews.

What is happening with Christianity in the West today, however, is arguably maladaptive. This extremely universalized girly-man form of Christianity (unlike the more manly earlier Germanic form) seems to be an unholy suicide pact. Not only does it lack any grounding in biological reality but it seems to be hostile toward it.

And what is grounding in biological reality? When religion overlaps with and reinforces racial identity, it is at its strongest. In fact, ethno-religion might be the strongest group identity known to man. Religious identity and racial identity can be strong by themselves, but combine the two and you are in a different league. It’s little wonder that throughout human history ethno-religion has been the norm. The more extreme, deracinated and universalized religion of the past century is the historical aberration.

And that is the gist of identitarian religion, as I understand it: it’s ethno-religion, a rejection of universalism, a return to human normalcy. So, identitarian religion is something “new” in that it’s juxtaposed to our current universalized suicide pact, but it’s also “old” as it’s a return to older norms.

What forms can identitarian religion take? Is it exclusive to a particular religion? Short answer: No.

While Christianity has become nearly synonymous with Cultural Marxism in the West, it must not necessarily be so. Identitarian Christianity is a possibility, and one certainly sees instances of it, ranging from Pro-Western Christianity to the Anglo paleoconservatives, to Kinist Protestantism, to forms of ethnonationalist Slavic Orthodox Christianity. But since Christianity has recently taken on an extremely universalist trajectory, any battle for Identitarian Christianity will be an uphill battle, but nonetheless perhaps a battle worth waging.

Another option one sees is a return to Paganism, ranging from Asatru in North America to other forms of Germanic Paganism, Celtic Paganism, Roman Paganism, Greek Paganism, and Slavic Paganism throughout Europe. Paganism properly understood, i.e. historically and accurately understood, is a blood-and-soil religion, an ancestral religion, an ethno-religion, the very antithesis to deracinated universalist religion.

And, of course, there are other forms of Non-Western identitarian religion that would be appropriate for Non-Westerners. But the question here is whether competing forms of Western identitarian religion can get along. Within the larger framework of Western identitarian religion, can, for example, Identitarian Christians and Pagans coexist?

I don’t see why not.

And what of identitarian atheists and agnostics? Can they co-exist with identitarian religion? Since identitarian religion is not at odds with nature, and thus not at odds with evolutionary science, it does not threaten secular knowledge but offers itself as an additional societal glue. And perhaps a necessary glue at that, as it is unclear that society can survive, long-term, without religion. While some individuals can function without religion, can society as a whole? Has it ever?

As Western Universalist Christianity wanes tepid, and as identitarian ideas continue to spread, now is a good time to outline a larger framework for identitarian religion as a guide for various Western religions. Hopefully this brief outline will help with this endeavor.

Schema of identitarian belief Schema of identitarian belief

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Alfred W. Clark blogs at Occam’s Razor.

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Muslim immigration and the dumbing down of the Western world

An increasingly Muslim world will be, ipso facto, most likely, an increasingly less enlightening world. No matter what Orwellian chicanery is spoon fed to the Western populace via propaganda, when building a bridge, or calculating the logistics of commodity distribution, 2 + 2 must always equal 4 and whilst words might be deliberately obfuscated in the mirk of moral and cultural relativism, mathematics will always retain its power.

An increasingly Muslim world will be, ipso facto, most likely, an increasingly less enlightening world. No matter what Orwellian chicanery is spoon fed to the Western populace via propaganda, when building a bridge, or calculating the logistics of commodity distribution, 2 + 2 must always equal 4 and whilst words might be deliberately obfuscated in the mirk of moral and cultural relativism, mathematics will always retain its power. An examination of the table below, showing the top countries in terms of scientific documents published in 2012, shouldn’t hold any surprises…

As we expected, all large, developed and industrialised economies.

However total output is hardly a fair comparison for the less populous nations, who may well be punching above their per capita weight in scientific contribution. So perhaps a better table is the one beneath, where we look at countries ranked by “Documents per capita”.

Now prodigious the output of the average Swiss citizen and/or scientist may be, we’ll pre-empt the egalitarian’s seemingly ubiquitous, copy + pasted response by agreeing that yes, these are relatively speaking, wealthy nations with per capita GDPs > $40,000 US per year and postulate that scientific output per capita does in fact rise with per Capita GDP.

This is where things do get interesting, because if we are trying to find the most efficient nation, in terms of possessing the cultural requisites for un-impeded scientific research, and deliberately side stepping any comment regarding correlation vs causation (in this case, Ayn-Randistic arguments stating that throwing cash at these nations won’t up their research budgets one iota) your humble author will happy go on record to concede that, of course there is a correlation between GDP per capita and published scientific documents per capita.
For the sake of mathematical simplicity we’ll assume a linear regression line (when in fact a logarithmic function shows a better fit) we can prove that on average, a country’s “Documents per Capita” does increase as the more wealthy a country relatively becomes – about 2 documents per 10,000 citizens for each additional increase of $10,000 in per Capita GDP by the world mean.
Ideally, despite the fact that it is usually a practical impossibility to achieve, we should never be happy with any error between a calculated result, and the data that reality provides us. We must be tenacious and ask ourselves if there are any additional quantifiable factors that will assist us to get those data points on top of the regression line and nail down the observed effect to the austere beauty of a single equation.
And looking at the scatter graph below, sadly, we can see our formula needs lots of work. As there are some quite large discrepancies between the expected Documents per capita / GDP and the actual in many cases.

Even an individual with little experience of these graphs can see that there appears to be a large variance in the data points, one of “Performers”, efficient at turning per capita GDP into scientific knowledge, and the “B” team in red: Dawdling along with very low outputs, despite rather fabulous per capita GDP wealth in some cases…

Hmmm, let’s manually fill in some of the country names occupying points of high variance to see if we can discern a pattern, eh?

It is observed that the “Performers” consist of mainly European nations and the world mean is being dragged down by a few dunces, such as Qatar, such as Canada (?) Kuwait and other Middle Eastern Cohorts.
Now, before we start adding another column to our data, namely “Degrees Latitude from Equator” or similar, which would no doubt show a correlation – no-one, not even a libtard, would seriously consider that geographical position affects human cognitive output. Moreover, there is another factor that is being proposed that can account for a proportion of this error. One that would give a cast a cultural caul over the nobility of science…
Islam: Or quantifiably, the percentage of a country’s population identified as being Islamic.
Below is a graph showing the vertical distance from the calculated regression line (expressed as a percentage from the regression line) versus the percentage of Islamic inhabitants against the total inhabitants.

Ding… ding… ding!
Whilst there are some under-performing “Western” nations, only 2 countries with an Islamic proportion over 60% makes a fair share to the world scientific knowledge pool on a GDP per capita + Documents per capita basis.

Whilst article will cause no shortage of estrogenic fury from the Cultural Relativists and Equalists, who will cling desperately to the fact there are also underperforming nations with an observed 0% Islamic population propofrtion and follow up that there isn’t an absolute, 1:1 match between Islamic demographics and increase in scientific output, the overall figures show another story based on probability and likelyhood. Aside: It is noted for the sheer comedic value that those who usually espouse cultural relativism often demand absolutes in arguments, when they also often state that their doctrine encompasses a more nebulous, holistic view of the world. Do they even realise this blatant contradiction?

*Summary: * This analysis merely relies on a quantitative argument and no discernment is made for the relative value of each document published. The further thought occurs that since most European nations seem hell bent on self-immolation via the flame of Islam, as derivative of their immigration programs, many of these published scientific documents may simply be submissions from leftist sociologists stating that cultural value judgements are only based on a confabulated reality, hence arbitrary in nature… to continue the self-flagellation of the West. They can say what they want, but… if there were a market based on future scientific documents with tradable liquidity, given the global trend for Islamification, this office suggests : Go short.

References:

Scientific document data

Country GDP data

Religions by country on Wikipedia

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To Survive—One Hour Longer Than the Machine

The crisis that began in 2008 with the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble is no ordinary downturn. All observers understood this intuitively. Something has gone wrong with our world, something lying at the very foundation of our way of living, producing, and consuming—and even of our way of thinking.

This something that has just been broken is our faith in the millenarian mechanism of Progress.  

The following is the Foreword to the French edition of Survive—The Economic Collapse.


The crisis that began in 2008 with the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble is no ordinary downturn. All observers understood this intuitively. Something has gone wrong with our world, something lying at the very foundation of our way of living, producing, and consuming—and even of our way of thinking.
This something that has just been broken is our faith in the millenarian mechanism of Progress.

For three centuries, Western man has had the idea that he does not need God, since he is his own savior. Humanity is the messiah of humanity: thus proclaimed the new religion. A religion that entered into Catholicism on tiptoes with Descartes. A religion, also, that ended up substituting itself everywhere in the place of the ancient faith.

People sometimes laugh at Juche, that ridiculous North Korean ideology whose only article states that man can transform nature indefinitely. Wrongly. In more sophisticated forms, all contemporary systems rest upon the postulate of human omnipotence. China has razed the house of Confucius and frenetically converted to the religion of growth. Eternal India—yes, even India—has set itself to conceiving the future as a rising curve.

All mankind has gradually entered into the naïve communion of the new religion, much less rational than it seems: technology to perform miracles, banks to serve as temples of the monetary idol. Monetarist neoliberalism—the last ideology, standing victorious upon the corpses of Jacobinism, classical liberalism, social democracy, communism, and fascism—would lead man to the millennium, the long-lost terrestrial paradise soon to be regained.

It was a false promise and a trap. We ought to have been suspicious. For the past few decades, the facade of the progressivist temple has begun to crack. . .

Since the 1970s, various Cassandras have been warning us: a project of indefinite growth cannot be carried out in a finite world. Their arguments have been swept under the rug as “not taking account of scientific perspectives.”

In the 1980s, the collapse of the USSR following the Chernobyl catastrophe provided food for thought for anyone willing to think: “so, an extremely large, over-integrated system can collapse suddenly, once a certain threshold of fragility is reached?” Here again, we have refused to draw the lessons from the event, preferring to blame the collapse on communist ideology without posing the question of over-concentration and over-integration as such.

During the 1990s, the West was giddy with triumph. Those were the mad years of the Internet bubble. “Who cares that the material world is finite: capitalism will invade virtual worlds of its own construction!” But the dream ended abruptly when the model of the new economy revealed its real nature—it was a mirage, an illusion. If there was a dizzying fall at the turn of the millennium, it was not that of the Twin Towers, but the collapse of hopes placed in virtual reality, the escape hatch through which were pushed the ever more insurmountable internal contradictions of a capitalist system driven mad by the permanent confusion between the monetary map and the economic landscape.
Once again, people decided to see nothing, to learn nothing. In order to maintain at all costs the illusion that the millenarian utopia could construct the meaning of history, the financial oligarchy put the economic system on life support, giving the American economy fix after fix of debt. It was an absurd effort that, besides, pointed out the absurdity of neoliberal monetarist semantics.

This absurdity could only endure for so long. In the fall of 2008, its time was up.

A great shiver ran down the spine of the hundred-thousand-headed beast—the ruling class. Amidst the crash, still more dollars were injected into the system, like so many symbols that concealed nothing, but which once more, for a few years, perhaps, allowed the neoliberal propaganda machine to keep grinding away at all costs.

These were just the last, dilatory maneuvers that will not change anything in the end: it is all an illusion. It hardly matters that financial indices are artificially maintained by lowering interest rates to zero. Breaking the thermometer never cured a fever.

Economic rationality alone is not able to provide the meaning of history. Technology cannot accomplish everything. A project of infinite development cannot be conducted on a finite planet. Man cannot have everything he wants; he must want what he is able to get.

We are faced with a return to limits.
Mankind will not be its own messiah—the humanist religion is a failure.

The beast with a hundred thousand heads is, indeed, behaving like a beast—in particular, it is as dangerous as a wounded animal that feels its hour has struck. Back from the failure of the credit system that served as an ideological shelter for their power, the elites and their trustees are now struggling to save their power, to preserve the messianic fiction, while gradually restricting it to themselves. On the one hand, a superior humanity that wants to be a messiah for itself and itself alone; on the other, an inferior humanity sent back into the symbolic shadows of thought’s absence, the non- existence of meaning—in fact, into the negation of its status as an autonomous subject, where it is forbidden to define a mental space free of the constraints placed upon it. A humanity skinned of its spirit.
Such is the generative schema of the next decades. The future is menacing. We might as well understand this. The humanist religion is going to transform itself into an anti-human ideology.
This turnabout, the creating of a monster by those who sought to make an angel, has been underway since the 1970s. But the 2010s will mark a perceptible acceleration in this process. And life, in consequence, will soon be very difficult for many of us.
In this context, the stakes of the game, for true men, will soon be to survive. That’s all—to survive.

Going back to the ranks of the powerful madmen is not an option. You might obtain the intoxicating illusion of superiority, and certainly easier living conditions, but only at the price of your soul. Resigning yourself to vegetating among the mass of the ruled is hardly less depressing. (And amidst that oppressed and impoverished body, violence will be the norm.) Our contemporaries have too deeply assimilated the perverse logic of the consumer society to convert suddenly to the voluntary simplicity that might save them.

Survival will almost certainly play itself out away from today’s bustle, in refuges we must know how to create and defend. Physical survival, yes; but also psychological and spiritual survival.

Of course, this is no exalted ideal. But at this stage, resisting the inhuman machine will often mean passing by it unnoticed, and above all, being able to do without it.

A modest struggle, but hardly a contemptible one.

For one day, when that machine has exhausted all the possibilities of its original élan, it will totter and fall. Then, for us, it will be enough to be numerous, to maintain solidarity, so as collectively to regain control of our Earth after we have fiercely defended our few areas of retreat. It is in order to be there, at that decisive moment, that we must survive now. So do not be ashamed: let us build our refuges! Remember that a rebel wins if he can hold out one hour longer than his adversary. Let us organize ourselves to do so.

So, my friend . . . wipe away that sad, drawn smile. Raise up those eyes you have kept lowered for so long. Look straight ahead at the horizon. Hold your chin up. Your life has meaning—to survive one hour longer than the machine.

Pass the word on: comrade, our children are counting on you!


Michel Drac is a writer, political commentator, and economist. For fifteen years, he worked as a controller. He is the author of numerous books and the founder of the publishing house Le Retour aux Sources. He is also a member of the national association Equality & Reconciliation.

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Peak Everything

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness,” Samuel Beckett once quipped, a reminder that, when all else seems to be lost, there is still comedy. Hence, I was prone to take a cheeky attitude about the awful and tremendous dislocations now underway in the so-called “developed” world when I wrote my own recent books about it. As we march toward a reckoning with the mandates of reality, delusional thinking increases in direct proportion to the general anxiety level;  the net  effect appears to be an aggregate loss of intelligence, especially among people who ought to know better. What is more comically sublime than smart people acting stupidly?  

 

The following is the Foreword to the English-language edition of Piero San Giogio’s Survive—The Economic Collapse.


“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness,” Samuel Beckett once quipped, a reminder that, when all else seems to be lost, there is still comedy. Hence, I was prone to take a cheeky attitude about the awful and tremendous dislocations now underway in the so-called “developed” world when I wrote my own recent books about it. As we march toward a reckoning with the mandates of reality, delusional thinking increases in direct proportion to the general anxiety level; the net effect appears to be an aggregate loss of intelligence, especially among people who ought to know better. What is more comically sublime than smart people acting stupidly?

Political leadership especially appears mystified by the changes underway in the world. The most conspicuous feature in this period of history is the incapacity of the educated and ruling classes to construct a coherent narrative about what is happening to us and to form an intelligent consensus concerning what to do about it. This is tragic, of course, but watching it unfold has been a pretty riveting show, and the action is only beginning. Piero San Giorgio is arguably less prankish than I am in this very clear and useful guidebook to the present and future, but we share an appreciation for the comic gravity and strangeness of our time.

The three horsemen bearing down on industrial-technocratic humanity are well-known now: 1) peak oil (at least peak affordable oil); 2) the impairments of capital formation due to peak debt accumulation; and 3) the very tangible effects of climate change (or, at least, disorders of the weather). In the galloping charge of these horsemen, certain consequences seem predictable. For instance, we can see presently the relationship between fossil fuels and money. There is a direct link between the availability and quantity of cheap oil inputs to advanced economies and the expansion of cheap credit, which, when activated, is converted into debt. So, at the moment of peak oil, you also arrive at peak debt. And in passing the peak of each, we begin to witness the epochal unwinding of that debt as claims on things of value exceed the existing collateral. The unwinding presents itself as the disappearance of money and, more to the point, of aggregate wealth possessed by a society. That translates into falling standards of living.

For, perhaps, an even more direct example, we can see the tangible effects of climate change (or weird weather) express itself in crop failure, food shortages, and higher prices; or in the destruction of seaboard city neighborhoods and infrastructure when great storms strike; or the desertification of drought-stricken regions driving people from their homes. In all these cases, people suffer terrible losses of health, property, or economic standing.

So the salient point that an interested observer would make of the situation is that the terms of existence are certain to become harsher for just about everybody, as we compete for scarcer resources amid crumbling infrastructures for daily life and ecological breakdown. There are peculiar and pernicious side effects, of course, such as the tendency for the remaining wealth of nations to become concentrated in fewer hands, the notorious “one percent.” But that, too, leads to other effects, for instance, political upheaval, in which the “one percent” (or the aristocracy or the elite or ruling class) is subject to overthrow and physical assault—as in heads rolling. This, in turn, often leads to more widespread civil disorder in which a very general suffering prevails, while economies crumble and new elites attempt to establish rule.

The threat of that disorder, widespread among civilized people, has never been so ominous, though as of early 2013, the people in these societies remain deluded, confused, and apathetic (as in the U.S.) or only verging on manifest discontent (as in Europe). This excellent book provides a roadmap for understanding the journey through socioeconomic upheaval, and what to do at the destination.

I concur with Piero San Giorgio that there is much we can do besides hand-wringing, prayer, and needless political conflict to facilitate the transition into the next era of human history. I think we also agree on the nature of that journey’s destination: a “reset,” shall we say, to far less complex living arrangements in a world that has grown wider, with fewer people, smaller sovereign units of governance, and reconstructed local economies. The “to do” list of crucial tasks for civilized people can be stated succinctly: we have to grow our food differently as industrial farming goes obsolete; we have to inhabit the landscape in ways other than suburbia and colossal metroplex cities; we have to move people and things in ways other than airplanes and automobiles; and we have to rebuild the fine-grained, local networks of economic interdependence that will constitute commerce as we leave the economic dinosaurs of Walmart (and things like it) behind.

In this agenda, there is no room for crybabies, scapegoating, or pettifogging. Piero San Giorgio lays all this out here with a most refreshing clarity of purpose, which I commend to you as a valuable cram course in how to survive the rest of your life.


James Howard Kunstler is best known as the author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere. He is also the author of many novels, including his tale of the post-oil American future, World Made By Hand. His shorter work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, Metropolis, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and many other periodicals.

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