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The Sacred Chain, A History of the Jews, by Norman F. Cantor

 

Norman Cantor’s The Sacred Chain (1994) is a highly entertaining and informative book, of the kind I would like to bring to the attention of friends, Jewish and otherwise.

It covers Judaism from its mythological origins to the present day. Cantor dismisses the books of the Pantateuch as largely or entirely mythological: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, Moses, the flight from Egypt, the conquest of Canaan, and so forth.

“But until the glorious day dawns of archaeological verification of the line of Abraham, we have to stipulate that all of the Jewish history of the first millennium BCE and some of it for a century or two after that, as told in the Bible, is one of the great masterpieces of imaginative fiction or artfully contrived historical myths of all time. From empirical evidence, it did not happen.” – page 5

I may agree, but every religion needs its mythology, indeed, every religion is founded in mythology. Look at Christianity. Look at Islam, look at Judaism. They are all stories. The issue of myth is not whether it is factual, but whether it is true. Some people conflate factuality for truth, whereas truth is the yardstick by which the significance of facts is appraised and evaluated. Hence Lord of the Rings is true, as a story of right and wrong, good against evil,  but is not yet considered factual. At least not until the rise of a new civilization, when the King causes the Ring trilogy to be declared to be historical truth, and archaeologists engage in digs to find the lost continent of Numenor.

I digress.

In dealing with the 19th and 20th centuries, Cantor writes with disarming honesty of the divisions of the Jewish people into what he calls the black, the red and the white. [at page 275]  The blacks: followers of traditional Talmudic Judaism, the orthodox, the black-coated rabbinate and their congregations “who developed no evident policy of responding to modernity’s challenge”; the reds: Emma Goldman, Leon Trotsky, Bernie Sanders, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and all the communists and fellow travelers too numerous to mention. The whites: the capitalists, the followers of David Ricardo, the fully integrated dwellers of leafy suburbs from Berlin to San Francisco, the upper middle class professionals, the psychiatrists, the well-being gurus.

On the reds, Cantor observes:

“In retrospect, Jewish communism looks weird, and perhaps pointless, but at the time there was an unquestioning compulsion of many thousands of morally committed, energetic Jews to devote their lives to it and sacrifice their well-being and that of their families for it” – page 281

I find refreshing Cantor’s straightforward treatment of the massive involvement of Jews with Communism. What was this peculiar attraction for them? He essays two explanations:

  • a vestigial memory of biblical prophetic utterances on social justice,  coupled with Judaism’s intrinsic rationality, its elevation of the deity to such a transcendent position, putting the burden for society upon humanity itself that, when coupled with unresolved Oedipal conflicts with parents of the same sex, lead some to project outward from there to rebel and try to punish and overthrow patriarchal and matriarchal institutions of authority in society; – pp 276-277
  • “the inability of modernity and its institutional forms to absorb sufficiently brilliant and active younger Jews seeking a suitable role for themselves in secular society” – p 277

 

“Empirical data support the contention of French and German anti-Semites in the 1920s and 1930s that Jews were both capitalists and communists, and thus doubly anathema to the reactionary racist ands religious movements that funneled onto Judaeo-phobic fascism.

“The German cartoonists of the 1920s who depicted Jews as both bloated capitalists swallowing European civilization and nefarious red terrorists plotting to blow up Western civilization were not engaging in absolute fantasy, even though Jewish apologists then and historians now like to make that accusation and try to forget the whole thing.

But we cannot forget it”. – p 275

Nor can I. My first experience of being a racial minority was McGill University in the late 1960s. 80% of the arts faculty was Jewish, at least. The Marxist Leninists of the more orthodox Russian-oriented persuasion were entirely Jewish, while the Maoists were almost exclusively the children of priviligentsia of the Third World, such as Sikhs and Latin American millionaire’s kids. For a movement that based its entire analysis on the divisions of social class, it was startling – and wholly unremarked – how the divisions between the Marxists were entirely racial or ethnic, if you prefer.

The result for me was to begin to insist that race and nation and biology – loose concepts, I admit – were far more important than they were held out to be. I think that the importance of the biological is obvious and would be readily or grudgingly agreed to by most people.  The second was my growing conviction that the great secret of modern life was that, while everyone talked social class, structures of oppression and sociological claptrap, most acted as if the biological domain was both real and consequential. Just look at assortative mating among the intelligent. The importance of the biological is exactly the heresy that Herrenstein and Murray, the writers of The Bell Curve,  espoused.

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Readers will observe that I have quoted from only a very few pages of The Sacred Chain. Cantor’s book covers vastly more than this review. It is as honest, fair-minded and well-written as one could hope for. Cantor praises and blames Christianity, Judaism and Islam equitably, as he does the secular humanists of more recent times.

My reflections are conditioned by one of the greatest traumas – if that is not too dramatic a word – of my clash with the Marxists and would-be Bolsheviks of university days. There is much, much more to this clever and engaging book than the 20th century Jewish attraction to communism. My reliance on the truth of the rest of the book is reinforced  by the truth of what he has to say about that strange attraction of so many Jews for Marxism. Like the influence of biology, it is one of those things which has been noticed but not often spoken of honestly.

The graph that explains what has happened

 

This is the most important graph you are going to see in the next decade.

Whatever its cause – and historians and economists have much to explain – the gap between rises in productivity and hourly compensation that started in 1973 meant that an increasing proportion of national income has gone to the owners of assets, not the workers. Maybe capital needed to make more money; maybe the workers were making too much: I am unqualified to say. Certainly the Reagan regime did much to restore the profitability of capital.

Yet in that simple graph we can see why Trump found support to deal with a perceived problem. Perceived by whom, you ask? Perceived by the people who do not know or subscribe to the New York Times or the Atlantic magazine. Perceived by the people whose children don’t have jobs and who know people who have died from fentanyl overdoeses, people from towns where the mill has been shuttered for thirty years. Where they used to make things. Not perceived by people who work from desks and computers. No perceieved by people whose jobs have not been affected by COVID.

Nuxon went to China in 1972, thus splitting the Communist world and starting the process whereby jobs left the United States for China and places abroad. I am not asserting a directly causal relationship here between diplomatic recognition of China by the US and the off-shoring of US industry.

Nixon went off the gold standard in 1972, This meant we entered upon the world of fiat currencies, where government declares that money is worth something unrelated to the stock of gold. As many now understand, a consistent undervaluation of one’s currency can suck indistry towards the low cost producer. Is that the cause of US jobs bening leeched out of the United States?

Watch this video and see if you agree. 

Whatever the cause of the growing gap in the rates of productivity and hourly compensation – I wish I knew – its existence engenders a vast retinue of consequences

Douglas Murray says it all

Things are as they normally are. We have been extremely lucky to have avoided revolution completely and great civil unrest since the 1960s. I could blog all day about BLM, defunding police, anarchists, the Democrats. What I observe is an anti-white anti-rational, anti-Enlightenment cultural and would-be political revolution. That is the part of the elephant that I can feel. It is against standards of any kind, the truth, the possibility of truth, the Enlightenment (viz David Hume). It is generated by malignant forces of the Left (because that is what they call themselves) against the rest of society, which they imagine to be on the brink of fascism. As I look around the principal fascist forces call themselves Antifa.

I think we are in a nearly desperate situation, but I think it can still be turned around. But we are in for a decade of increasing civil disorder, greater poverty, and stresses that will lead to war.

Douglas Murray captures my feelings exactly. We have had it so good for so long that we have tolerated fools and termites  in universities undermining the bases of intellectual and moral standards. By their fruits ye shall know them.

 

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

 

 

George Gilder thinks that Google is run by delusional brilliant Marxists

George Gilder was right about a lot of really important things, including especially the future of the computer, the one that you now hold in your hand, called the smartphone. You have forgotten how revolutionary that prediction was in 1990 when he published “The Death of Television”. Some of you were not even born then, I suppose.

Now Gilder has published another significant book, predicting the demise of Google, or at least its dominance.

Gilder observes that by supplying things for free, Google avoids many problems that arise from payment, including the obligation to provide security, to a great extent. Worse, Google avoids the learning process that is acquired with capitalist transactions.

He considers that blockchain technologies will fix much of what is ailing in America. [In this I remain skeptical, but hopeful as well.]

“They [the Silicon Valley apostolate] have a business plan and solutions which are inappropriate to the human mind”. He sees the human mind as the essential source of value, and that Google and cloud-dependent technologies are over-centralized. “Blockchain is an answer to the cloud mind”.

The number of IPOs has been falling, the number of companies on the stock market has also been falling. Consistently with Peter Thiel’s thesis, we do not seem to be getting the innovation that we ought. According to Gilder, the invention of Etherium has halted this decline.

Consequently he takes issue with Ray Kurzweil,  the guy thinks we are approaching a singularity of machine intelligence. Says Gilder, “if you don’t understand consciousness, you don’t understand thinking. Thinking doesn’t produce consciousness, consciousness produces thinking. All these computer scientists are trying to explain away consciousness….To say, oh well, we don’t know what consciousness is, but our computers will compute so fast that it wont matter, that consciousness will emerge like one of their clouds, is I think, one their fundamental vanities of the [Silicon] Valley”.

“What I am against, as Bill Buckley used to call it, ‘immanentizing the eschaton‘; imagining some technology that you came up with last week will end the human adventure, that will subsume all our minds in the clouds, governed by eight giant companies in China and the US, with a few nerds in Israel contributing all the new ideas. This is the vision that I don’t think is going to prevail. I think the human adventure will continue after Google.”

Amen to that, brother.

At 79 years of age, George Gilder speaks as if he were suffering from some neurological ailment that I am not qualified or able to diagnose. Yet he remains a formidable thinker, a seer. I like him. He believes that in principle, machines cannot think, and I agree with him. He foresees the end of the dominance of the current masters of the universe, and how it may come about. He has addressed a vital issue of public interest in Life after Google. Curiously, paradoxically, Gilder reminds me of Timothy Leary, the acid apostle, by his great optimism, but unlike Leary George Gilder is grounded in a formidable mind

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The Google video of 2016: Guardian values and Pharisees

Sergei Brin, cofounder of Google

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRf9UxsM-NE

https://youtu.be/FRf9UxsM-NE

(Paranoid note: every other video I have loaded appears in full, but Google’s video of its own meeting appears only as a hyperlink).

 

 

“I certainly find this election deeply offensive” said Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google. “So many people don’t share the values we have”.

And it goes from there. Fear. Everyone is supposed to feel fear at the prospect of the Trump regime. Minorities are in danger and need to be stood up for. Women likewise. Liberal values are to be stood up for. Yet the same corporation endlessly touting its values fired James Damore in August 2017 for politely protesting the corporation’s bias towards preferential hiring of  women.

I have had experience with Google employees at several levels of seniority over the years, and I feel quite certain that the vast majority are leftist Democrats, which is not surprizing considering the San Francisco Bay area culture. But what bugs me – as the movie reveals – is the enormous self-vaunting, the endless prattling on about their “values”. This is a company whose core business is to sell advertizing. It guts previous business models and replaces them with its own. This is normal creative destruction, in the manner that Schumpeter spoke of. However painful, this is the stuff of economic progress. And talk to former newspaper people if you want to know what Google has wrought.

When the Vice President says that “this is a place where you can bring your whole self to work”, clearly she does not include conservatives (min 16:30)

“We all talk a lot about what it means to be Googley”, said CFO Ruth Porat. The endless blather about tolerance, respect and diversity grates when one compares it to the outrageous and actual treatment of Damore. More, the tone of the film is that the poor people of Google have endured something like the 1940 Blitz of London, or having been unhoused by a hurricane, and that they need reassurance and a group hug, and assurance tot the 10,000 or so working on visa that their visas will remain valid.

Values, values, values: it is irritating and faintly nauseating.

A few years ago the late Jane Jacobs published a marvellous concise book called Systems of Survival. It dealt with the differences in morality between what she called Guardian institutions – the church, the regiment, the academy – and commercial institutions.

If you hand a suitcase of cash to a businessman, that is right and proper, because you are exchanging cash for a private benefit. If you hand a suitcase of cash to a public official, that is a crime of corruption. Why? Her book seeks to answer the question. She also said that corruption occurs when a commercial corporation adopts Guardian values. Thus, the old telephone monopolies constantly appealed to their status as institutions serving the public, and they had a genuine public service ethos. They could afford the attitude because they were monopolies.

Google has Guardian values, but instead of public service being its goal, that is, actually doing something for the general public, it constantly propagandizes its membership/employees with the notion that it stands for superior values: tolerance, inclusion, and diversity being the modern conception of virtue. It thus succeeds in being smug, intolerant, exclusive, and as proud of itself as the Roman Church of centuries past.

Is Google morally bankrupt? Is that not too harsh? It all depends on whether you pay attention to anything Jesus said about Pharisees, about words without deeds. It is not what we put into our mouths that defiles us, but by what comes out of our mouths that defiles us.

In the case of Google I am prepared to argue that the company needs all the self-vaunting talk of values to disguise from itself and its staff that its real business is centralizing the control of information. In short, an illiberal idea being carried out by liberals prattling on about their superior values.

 

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Here is Joe Rogan talking to James Damore, and you will find out all you need to know about Google’s values:

 

 

 

George Friedman talks Trump, talks Bannon, talks Zeihan

In the following video, George Friedman tells why the expert class has been disgraced since the 2008 financial meltdown. In the end there will be nations, he says. The reign of the unelected and international experts is over. The order that existed in the 70 years since the Second World War is coming to an end.

Friedman is at pains to insist that the pain of the 2007 financial crash was distributed unevenly; the expert class made out like bandits, the working classes are unemployed and in an oxycodone death crisis. This is not sustainable. Hence Trump, Orban, the Italian political crisis, nationalist movements everywhere.

“The nation is back”, says Friedman.

I listened to some smooth-talking London-based millionaire bond trader yesterday tell me that Brexit will never happen, that the vote for it will mean nothing in the end. I refrained from saying he was the same sort of intelligent insider who thought a Trump victory would never happen. My impression is that the expert class has not learned a thing, but will have to be taught through some hard blows to their pocket books and to their self-esteem.

 

“Look at how your income is distributed (within a nation). That is you future”.-George Friedman

Inflating your way to survival

In the crash of 2008, and the subsequent measures to stave off a very real global crash of liquidity, certain measures were taken. These had the effect of saving the large banks and financial institutions, and the owning classes, worldwide. In the ensuing ten years, the elites took care of themselves very well. Anyone who had assets, gained; those who offered labour have had to live on no wage increases. So says Steve Bannon. Those with capital gained, while over half the US population cannot put $US400 to cover emergencies.

Socialism – the government covers your downside risk – for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

Start watching around 14:00 minutes. Prior to that is interesting but they are making irrelevant points. This is the best, most cogent, analysis of why Trump came to power. My left wing friends (I have a couple) would probably agree. The essential argument ends by 20:55 into the interview.

Bannon explicitly excludes Obama from any blame for this situation.

In my opinion, while the populist/nationalist movement appears radical, it is actually conservative in intention, trying to save the capitalist system from its current situation where, to repeat, there is socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

 

Good news: The Cold War may be over

As the media go hysterical over Trump and Putin meeting, it is important to ask yourself this question: who gains by making Russia the bogeyman? Instead of, say, Islamic terrorism, Islamic invasion of Europe, mass emigration from Africa or Mexico, or the advent of thinking machines, autonomous cars, and microbiological weapons? Eh?

As Spengler observes, Russia has always been governed by thugs, and on the scale of Stalin or Lenin, Putin’s long list of assassinations is less than the first 3 days following the  Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

 

President Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming the U.S. for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct. By this I do not mean to say that Russia is a beneficent actor in world affairs or that President Putin is an admirable world leader. Nonetheless, the president displayed both perspicacity and political courage when he pointed the finger at the United States for mismanaging the relationship with Russia.

The hysterical shouts of “treason! Munich! disgrace!” are a sure sign that the Party of Davos  is offended, and they are getting really scared that the changes they deplore keep on happening despite their shrill control of the mainstream media.

Something new is aborning, and like all births, it is messy, bloody, shitty and horrible to look at. But wipe off the baby and cut the umbilical cord, tie it up and tuck it in and you have a new baby. The birth of the new will look ghastly for a while but the process of replacing the Post World War 2 American Imperium with something else is underway. As Steve Bannon says, “we don’t want a European protectorate, we want a European alliance.”

Mostly we want to go on living as nations, and not as helots in service of the Davos crowd.

John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, has not exactly adapted to the news.

John Brennan, who led U.S. intelligence under Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: ‘Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.’

You may expect more of the same. Unless you realize that the world is changing before your eyes, and that the US Deep State in particular does not want to change its anti-Russian focus, nothing will make sense. As Orwell once noticed, it is hard enough to see what is in front of our eyes. It is not treason, it is the downgrading of the threat from a declining Russia to its actual proportions. In the meantime, beware of Russians bearing soccer balls, but not more than one should be wary of open borders, Davos thinking,  intersectionality and the decline of educational standards.

The last time I can remember an event so large was the fall of the Soviet Union, but the important fact is that this time the change is happening here.

Vladimir Putin gives Donald Trump a football from the 2018 World Cup in Russia during their press conference in Helsinki