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At last! Something interesting to report

Dear Charles:

Your last words to me before you died were “Call the instant anything exciting should happen!”. Unfortunately for the world, your friends and me, you departed to Valhalla before anything of sufficient merit occurred. Now I am pleased to report that something of interest has occurred, twenty years after your departure.

A 12-foot tall steel monolith has been spotted in the desert of southern Utah by a passing helicopter that had been intent of counting bighorn sheep. Investigation has not revealed whether it is an art project or an alien artifact. Naturally we should not call it a monolith because it is not made of stone, but let us not quibble, dear Charles, for this is actually interesting.

The report is here.

Charles Fisher (1914-2006) was always a poet and at various points in his life a soldier (Welsh Guards), spy (MI6) and stenographer in the Canadian House of Commons. Friend of many, mentor to the selected few. He died at 91 in Bangkok on vacation. I would like to think he was bedding a young lady at the time. He was famous for having people over for dinner and disappearing. “Where’s Charles?” someone would ask. Through the kitchen pass-through someone called back from the liviing room: “he’s gone to Cambodia”. “What do you mean he’s gone to Cambodia?” “He has gone to Cambodia” was the reply. He left the guests and acolytes to clean up.

I feel I have fulfilled my obligation, Charles, to report anything exciting, even if fourteen years late. You will have ways of getting the message. Of this I am sure.

His obituary in the Guardian is here.

His funeral was the only one I have ever attended where the mourners left the church walking an inch of the ground, so elated were they by the many recollections of this extraordinary force of life.

Now would someone please tell us what the monolith is?

Cultural appropriation

Have you noticed the ease with which all superior cultures absorb the cultures of others? Have you noticed the enormous influence of Chinese, Japanese and Korean musicians on western classical music? Kyung-Wha Chung? Yo-yo Ma? Michiko Uchida? Yuja Wang? Appropriate this, you people!

Gustav Holst’s symphonic band from the 1930s, performed by a Japanese wind band. They dont give a damn it is western. They only care about perfection. And we should appropriate that concept and make it our own, in an act of cultural appropriation.

 

The Kielburgers explained: transferring wealth upward under cover of high-mindedness

 

The main thing, says Eric Weinstein, at 2:00 into the interview,  is to find an ideology or sentiment that covers your trail. Thus wealth transfer upward to the elites can take place under cover of “we are the World”, concerts for Africa, or for the American farmer. “The dominant narrative of a time is a false narrative disguising how we can make money during that time.” [roughly] “There was some process by which globalization was a betrayal of your countrymen.That thing was the Davos idealism, which is now cratering because it was a wealth transfer program posing as a philanthropic effort.”

I may not agree with Eric on everything, but I agree with him on many many subjects. And one of them is his clear sighted take on how the noble vision has been used to disguise and legitimate the transfer of wealth from the working classes to the rich.

But back to the Kielburgers, those grifters. Do you see how it is done? Pose as champions of social justice. Get youth and politicians behind you. Ensconce yourself in the crowd of mega-rich. Virtue signal all the time. Find a narrative in which you are point men for world-scale caring and concern Shift the funds into real estate.

The Queen was overheard to say about one of the Kielburgers, when she was on tour in Canada, that he was a model little politician, or words to that effect. Don’t say we weren’t warned. One of the rotten aspects of Her Majesty’s job is to greet cordially people you know from the bottom of your heart are greasy-pole climbing frauds.

 

ImageMoments ago

just informed the Commons finance committee that in addition to the $312,000 paid to Margaret Trudeau for speaking at WE Day events she was reimbursed an additional $167,944 in expenses. So a total of $479,944. #cdnpoli #WEscandal

Bari Weiss Resigns from the New York Times

Her resignation letter is fascinating, and what we suspected is happening, is. Calling it American Pravda is not an exaggeration.

 

“….a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.\…”

“Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

“All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.”

To mark the 12th of July

Can you imagine? There used to be Orange Lodges and 12th of July parades in Canada. In a town up the Ottawa Valley, the United and Anglican Churches stood near one another on a hill overlooking the town bridge, and an old cannon stood between them, pointing at the bridge. The Masonic Lodge also stood atop the hill by the churches.  One of the locals told me, “The Protestants were on this side of the river, and the Catholics the other. We kept the cannon in case they ever tried to cross the bridge in force.” I am not making this up. He was only partly joking.

 

I first became a fan of folk music through the early albums of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. I recommend them for their fine collections of rousing Irish songs.

Ireland, where even the songs of religious bigotry are witty and fun.

 

The Old Orange Flute

In the county Tyrone, in the town of Dungannon

Where many a ruction myself had a hand in

Bob Williamson he lived, a weaver by trade

And all of us thought him the stout orange blade.

On the twelfth of July as it yearly did come

Bob played on the flute to the sound of the drum

You can talk of your lyre, your piano or lute

But there’s none could compare to the Old Orange Flute.

But Bob that deceiver he took us all in

For he married a Papist named Bridget McGinn

Turned Papist himself and forsook the Old Cause

That gave us our freedom, religion and laws.

And the boys in the place made some comment upon it

And Bob had to fly to the province of Connaught;

he left with his wife and his fixins, to boot,

And along with the latter, the Old Orange Flute.

At Mass the next Sunday, to atone for past deeds, S

aid Paters and Aves and counted his beads

Till after some time at the Priest’s own desire

Bob went with his flute for to play in the choir.

Bob went with his flute for to play in the mass

But the instrument shivered and cried.”O Alas!”

And try though he would, though he made a great noise,

The flute would play only “The Protestant Boys”.

Well up Bob he jumped with a start and a flutter.

He threw the old flute in the blessed holy water;

He thought that this charm would bring some other sound,

When he tried it again, it played “Croppies Lie Down!”

Now for all he would finger and whistle and blow

For to play Papish music, he found it “No Go”

“Kick the Pope” to “Boyne Water” it clearly would sound

But one Papish squeek and it could’nt be found.

At a council of priests that was held the next day

They decided to banish the Old Flute away;

They couldn’t knock heresy out of its head

So they bought Bob a new one to play it instead.

Now the poor was doomed, and its fate was pathetic

‘Twas fastened and burnt at the stake as heretic.

As the flames soared around , you could hear a strange noise

‘Twas the Old Flute still a-whistlin’ “The Protestant Boys”.

Berlin 1928

I have been reading the wonderful, and last, book of the late Philip Kerr, called Metropolis. Kerr died untimely at age 62 in 2018. Metropolis is set in Berlin, in 1928. The Nazis and the Commies are engaged in street fighting. The political order is delicate. The government can barely summon a majority of centrist parties. Jews, many of whom are in senior positions in government, carry pistols for self protection. Jew hatred is rife; it has become socially normal in broad sections of the public. In Berlin, homosexuality both male and female is broadly tolerated and almost normal. The nightclubs offer British and other foreign visitors the same kind of sex tourism we have heard about in Thailand. Veterans in tattered uniforms without legs or arms beg in the street. Gangs of young thugs prowl the city looking for people to beat or rob. The police are barely able to keep a lid on the chaos.

Into this mess steps the young Bernie Gunther, newly appointed to the murder section of the Kripo, the criminal police. Bernie is a veteran of the trenches, and has a drinking problem. He lives in a boarding house. He is a widower. A man is killing and scalping young whores, and leaving behind false clues that take up police time in wild goose chases. Another killer is putting bullets into the heads of veterans begging on the streets, and sending taunting letters to the police department mocking their inability to catch him.

Many  scenes are set in various night clubs where, if the shows are not sexual they involve cruelty and degradation of the performers or of the audience. As I read one particularly horrid passage, where the talentless were humiliated before a howling audience, I thought of the idea of a stand up comedian telling the audience, in 1928, just for laughs, what would happen to Berlin and Germany in the next thirty years. I wonder if such a comedian could make it sound funny. I bet you he could carry it off for a while.

  • within the next 5 years, Hitler would bring the Nazis to power (scattered boos, plenty of applause)
  • The night clubs of Berlin would be shut down immediately after the Nazi take-over (much booing, scattered applause)
  • Germany would absorb Austria, repudiate the Versailles treaty and re-arm (more applause)
  • Jews would be publicly humiliated, their wealth ripped off by the Nazi state, and they would be disbarred from public office (mixed applause, nervous laughter)
  • The Sudetenland would be absorbed into Germany, and Czechoslovakia would be dismembered (more applause)
  • The British and French reaction to the rearmament and these events would be supine passivity (wild applause)
  • Hitler and Stalin would make a non-aggression pact, as Great Britain dithered too long in its dealings with Stalin  (scattered shouts of disbelief) leaving Hitler a free hand in the East (strong applause)
  • In 1939, only eleven years into the future, Poland would be invaded and crushed in weeks, while 240 French divisions  do nothing on the German border. Some French troops march ten miles into Germany and then march out again. (cries in incredulity, scattered applause)
  • In 1940, Germany invades France through the Ardennes and conquers France in six weeks using a combination of tank and airpower to achieve paralysis of the French ability to combat the Germans effectively. (wild applause)
  • The English manage to get out of France by a massive sea lift from Dunkirk, leaving their equipment behind. (cheers, boos)
  • The German air force fails to suppress the British air force, and gradually calls off major air operations over England by 1941 (boos)
  • Winston Churchill is made British Prime Minister, and offers his people nothing but “blood, toil, tears and sweat”. (more booing)
  • Hitler invades the USSR in 1941 and nearly reaches Moscow. The Soviets reel and fall back, but do not give up. German casualties approach 1.5 million dead. (silence, some booing)
  • Having engaged Germany in a two front war, Hitler declares war on the United States after the Japanese neutralize the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, in December 1941. (Stunned silence)
  • Hitler launches an attack into the Caucasus, and sets the Sixth Army into Stalingrad on the Volga. In late 1942 the Sixth Army is surrounded and forced to surrender, with 600,000 prime German troops marched into captivity, from which maybe 15,000 would ever survive. (Boos, calls of “traitor”, and moves to get the comedian off the stage)
  • North Africa, Sicily, southern Italy reclaimed by the Allies in 1943. (more booing, hoots of derision)
  • Decisive defeat of the Germans at the battle of Kursk in 1943 (throwing of objects at the comedian)
  • Mass slaughter of Jews and Poles continues in captured Polish territory from 1942 onward. (silence)
  • Allies land in France in 1944 at the same time as German Army Group Centre collapses in Byelorussia in a military catastrophe so large it still does not have a place name assigned to it.
  • Russians conquer Berlin by May 1945 (gasps of horror, boos, calls to get the damn fool off the stage)
  • Communism imposed on eastern Germany, parliamentary government in the west  by late 1940s (boos).
  • Europe divided between communist east and capitalist west until 1989, when Russia throws in the towel and European Communism disappears as an effective force (the few communists in the audience boo, the rest give tepid applause)
  • Germany re-unites as a federated democratic republic. (tepid cheers, scattered boos)

At this point the Nazi sympathizers in the audience haul the comedian off the stage and beat him. Communists join in.

The point of this recitation of facts is that it would have been completely incredible to the louche and worldly audience in a Berlin nightclub in 1928, even as the chaos of Berlin was immediately before their eyes.

And I think that equivalent, and equally incredible, things are happening in western society today. The undermining of the host society by the termite forces of leftism is now revealing itself everywhere: abolition of the past, hatred for one’s own culture, anti-white racism, banning and exclusion of any thought that contradicts the Black Lives Matter narrative, total corruption of universities, firings, shamings, Maoist insurrections, the long horrid consequences of Jacques Derrida and the French nonsense machine, third rate Nietzscheans all. Prof. Gad Saad speaks of idea pathogens.

Where will it end? Either in revolution or in counter-revolution.

When will it come? The revolution is underway already.

The counter-revolution is not far behind.

Only those with impoverished imaginations fail to see it coming.

As Orwell said, sometimes it takes all our powers to see what is before our eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

before they take it down, read this

I copy a letter that purports to be from an African American professor of history at UC Berkeley.

 

UC Berkeley History Professor’s Open Letter Against BLM, Police Brutality And Cultural Orthodoxy

The following letter was allegedly written by a UC Berkeley history professor and shared among his or her colleagues anonymously (source / archive link):


Dear profs X, Y, Z

I am one of your colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. I have met you both personally but do not know you closely, and am contacting you anonymously, with apologies. I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field.

In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them.

In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. The explanation provided in your documentation, to the near exclusion of all others, is univariate: the problems of the black community are caused by whites, or, when whites are not physically present, by the infiltration of white supremacy and white systemic racism into American brains, souls, and institutions.

Many cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or ‘Uncle Toms’. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders. Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques.

The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians. Instead, it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, or its worrying implication of total black impotence. This hypothesis is transforming our institution and our culture, without any space for dissent outside of a tightly policed, narrow discourse.

A counternarrative exists. If you have time, please consider examining some of the documents I attach at the end of this email.

Overwhelmingly, the reasoning provided by BLM and allies is either primarily anecdotal (as in the case with the bulk of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ undeniably moving article) or it is transparently motivated. As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black. Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict. This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries. And yet, I see my department uncritically reproducing a narrative that diminishes black agency in favor of a white-centric explanation that appeals to the department’s apparent desire to shoulder the ‘white man’s burden’ and to promote a narrative of white guilt.

If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? This is a funny sort of white supremacy. Even Jewish Americans are incarcerated less than gentile whites. I think it’s fair to say that your average white supremacist disapproves of Jews. And yet, these alleged white supremacists incarcerate gentiles at vastly higher rates than Jews. None of this is addressed in your literature. None of this is explained, beyond hand-waving and ad hominems. “Those are racist dogwhistles”. “The model minority myth is white supremacist”. “Only fascists talk about black-on-black crime”, ad nauseam. These types of statements do not amount to counterarguments: they are simply arbitrary offensive classifications, intended to silence and oppress discourse. Any serious historian will recognize these for the silencing orthodoxy tactics they are, common to suppressive regimes, doctrines, and religions throughout time and space. They are intended to crush real diversity and permanently exile the culture of robust criticism from our department.

Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM’s problematic view of history, and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position, which is no small number.

I personally don’t dare speak out against the BLM narrative, and with this barrage of alleged unity being mass-produced by the administration, tenured professoriat, the UC administration, corporate America, and the media, the punishment for dissent is a clear danger at a time of widespread economic vulnerability. I am certain that if my name were attached to this email, I would lose my job and all future jobs, even though I believe in and can justify every word I type.

The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people. There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is.

No discussion is permitted for nonblack victims of black violence, who proportionally outnumber black victims of nonblack violence. This is especially bitter in the Bay Area, where Asian victimization by black assailants has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that the SF police chief has advised Asians to stop hanging good-luck charms on their doors, as this attracts the attention of (overwhelmingly black) home invaders. Home invaders like George Floyd. For this actual, lived, physically experienced reality of violence in the USA, there are no marches, no tearful emails from departmental heads, no support from McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. For the History department, our silence is not a mere abrogation of our duty to shed light on the truth: it is a rejection of it.

The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim. It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn’t led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively. Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11, as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices – as do Nigerian Americans, who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possible in the current climate at our department. The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession.

Most troublingly, our department appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention, and the Democratic Party more broadly. To explain what I mean, consider what happens if you choose to donate to Black Lives Matter, an organization UCB History has explicitly promoted in its recent mailers. All donations to the official BLM website are immediately redirected to ActBlue Charities, an organization primarily concerned with bankrolling election campaigns for Democrat candidates. Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades; the ‘systemic racism’ there was built by successive Democrat administrations.

The patronizing and condescending attitudes of Democrat leaders towards the black community, exemplified by nearly every Biden statement on the black race, all but guarantee a perpetual state of misery, resentment, poverty, and the attendant grievance politics which are simultaneously annihilating American political discourse and black lives. And yet, donating to BLM is bankrolling the election campaigns of men like Mayor Frey, who saw their cities devolve into violence. This is a grotesque capture of a good-faith movement for necessary police reform, and of our department, by a political party. Even worse, there are virtually no avenues for dissent in academic circles. I refuse to serve the Party, and so should you. The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes, carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed.

There also exists a large constituency of what can only be called ‘race hustlers’: hucksters of all colors who benefit from stoking the fires of racial conflict to secure administrative jobs, charity management positions, academic jobs and advancement, or personal political entrepreneurship.

Given the direction our history department appears to be taking far from any commitment to truth, we can regard ourselves as a formative training institution for this brand of snake-oil salespeople. Their activities are corrosive, demolishing any hope at harmonious racial coexistence in our nation and colonizing our political and institutional life. Many of their voices are unironically segregationist. MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today. We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing?

As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach. He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children, playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors.

And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood. A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise. Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist. A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species. I’m ashamed of my department. I would say that I’m ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It’s hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.

It shouldn’t affect the strength of my argument above, but for the record, I write as a person of color. My family have been personally victimized by men like Floyd. We are aware of the condescending depredations of the Democrat party against our race. The humiliating assumption that we are too stupid to do STEM, that we need special help and lower requirements to get ahead in life, is richly familiar to us. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to deal with open fascists, who at least would be straightforward in calling me a subhuman, and who are unlikely to share my race.

The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations and the permanent claim that the solutions to the plight of my people rest exclusively on the goodwill of whites rather than on our own hard work is psychologically devastating. No other group in America is systematically demoralized in this way by its alleged allies. A whole generation of black children are being taught that only by begging and weeping and screaming will they get handouts from guilt-ridden whites. No message will more surely devastate their futures, especially if whites run out of guilt, or indeed if America runs out of whites. If this had been done to Japanese Americans, or Jewish Americans, or Chinese Americans, then Chinatown and Japantown would surely be no different to the roughest parts of Baltimore and East St. Louis today. The History department of UCB is now an integral institutional promulgator of a destructive and denigrating fallacy about the black race.

I hope you appreciate the frustration behind this message. I do not support BLM. I do not support the Democrat grievance agenda and the Party’s uncontested capture of our department. I do not support the Party co-opting my race, as Biden recently did in his disturbing interview, claiming that voting Democrat and being black are isomorphic. I condemn the manner of George Floyd’s death and join you in calling for greater police accountability and police reform. However, I will not pretend that George Floyd was anything other than a violent misogynist, a brutal man who met a predictably brutal end.

I also want to protect the practice of history. Cleo is no grovelling handmaiden to politicians and corporations. Like us, she is free.

UPDATE #1:

Wilfred Reilly@wil_da_beast630

I can confirm that the letter in the thread below was sent to me and Tom Sowell. It’s really worth reading, in a time of widespread panic. https://twitter.com/tracybeanz/status/1271219776606687233 

Tracy Beanz@tracybeanz

Thread: I was sent this and felt the need to thread it here on Twitter. It will be long. It is purported to be an anonymous, open letter from a professor at UK Berkeley in the History Department. The only comment I will make is to say it is worth every moment of the read.

1,089 people are talking about this

UPDATE #2:

UC Berkeley History@UCBHistory

An anonymous letter has been circulating, purportedly written by a @UCBHistory professor. We have no evidence that this letter was written by a History faculty member. We condemn this letter: it goes against our values as a department and our commitment to equity and inclusion.

War after Civilization

Thomas Hobbes - Wikipedia

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

Some redneck speaks the truth (below) about defunding police.  I find that the best exponents of what it would be like to live in the “nasty, short and brutish” world of a sovereign-less world envisaged by Thomas Hobbes are Americans, perhaps because they are so close historically to a world without externally imposed order. Some of them escaped authority at the time of the Revolution and have never been tamed since. The redneck in question bears a surprising resemblance to Thomas Hobbes, portrayed above. Coincidence?

 

 

The Gilets Jaunes are unstoppable

One of the mysteries to me since Trump’s election has been the steadfast refusal of many intelligent people to contemplate the reasons why he won, why the gilets jaunes are rebelling in France, why the Brexit vote, why anything in the post world War 2 consensus might no longer be applicable, or might have to change. I see a failure of imagination comparable to that of the 1930s, when all well-educated Establishment opinion held that alarms about this Hitler fellow were just Winston Churchill’s bad judgment and war mongering.

The people pointing to the oncoming disaster are mistaken for the disaster itself. The perceptual failure is like the dog who thinks the finger you are using to point with is the thing referred to. You would think people with two university degrees would be smarter, but they are not. In fact the more educated they are, the more resistant to the idea that they might need to adapt their ideas.

I noticed on Facebook pages the first break in the ice-wall. This morning I saw the first reference in my circle of Facebook friends and correspondents to the work of Christophe Guilluy (pronounced Geewee with a hard ‘g’). The article occurred in Spiked, and is called “the gilets jaunes are unstoppable”.

Guilluy produced a study in 2014 called “La France Péripherique” (Peripheral France) that argued that the native French working class no longer lived in the large metropolitan centres of Paris, Toulouse and Lyon, as they had been driven out by real estate prices. They had been replaced by immigrant populations who would build and serve the metropolitan elites, who remain unaware of what is going on in the parts of France (or England) where they no one of their circles lives.

“Technically, our globalised economic model performs well. It produces a lot of wealth. But it doesn’t need the majority of the population to function. It has no real need for the manual workers, labourers and even small-business owners outside of the big cities. Paris creates enough wealth for the whole of France, and London does the same in Britain. But you cannot build a society around this. The gilets jaunes is a revolt of the working classes who live in these places.

They tend to be people in work, but who don’t earn very much, between 1000€ and 2000€ per month. Some of them are very poor if they are unemployed. Others were once middle-class. What they all have in common is that they live in areas where there is hardly any work left. They know that even if they have a job today, they could lose it tomorrow and they won’t find anything else.

spiked: What is the role of culture in the yellow-vest movement?

Guilluy: Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.

The Brexit vote had a lot to do with culture, too, I think. It was more than just the question of leaving the EU. Many voters wanted to remind the political class that they exist. That’s what French people are using the gilets jaunes for – to say we exist. We are seeing the same phenomenon in populist revolts across the world.

spiked: How have the working-classes come to be excluded?

Guilluy: All the growth and dynamism is in the major cities, but people cannot just move there. The cities are inaccessible, particularly thanks to mounting housing costs. The big cities today are like medieval citadels. It is like we are going back to the city-states of the Middle Ages. Funnily enough, Paris is going to start charging people for entry, just like the excise duties you used to have to pay to enter a town in the Middle Ages.

The cities themselves have become very unequal, too. The Parisian economy needs executives and qualified professionals. It also needs workers, predominantly immigrants, for the construction industry and catering et cetera. Business relies on this very specific demographic mix. The problem is that ‘the people’ outside of this still exist. In fact, ‘Peripheral France’ actually encompasses the majority of French people.

spiked: What role has the liberal metropolitan elite played in this?

Guilluy: We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.

But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people. Think of the ‘deplorables’ evoked by Hillary Clinton. There is a similar view of the working class in France and Britain. They are looked upon as if they are some kind of Amazonian tribe. The problem for the elites is that it is a very big tribe.

The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.

Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms. The gilets jaunes didn’t emerge from the trade unions or the political parties. It cannot be stopped. There is no ‘off’ button. Either the intelligentsia will be forced to properly acknowledge the existence of these people, or they will have to opt for a kind of soft totalitarianism.

A lot has been made of the fact that the yellow vests’ demands vary a great deal. But above all, it’s a demand for democracy. Fundamentally, they are democrats – they want to be taken seriously and they want to be integrated into the economic order.

spiked: How can we begin to address these demands?

Guilluy: First of all, the bourgeoisie needs a cultural revolution, particularly in universities and in the media. They need to stop insulting the working class, to stop thinking of all the gilets jaunes as imbeciles.

Cultural respect is fundamental: there will be no economic or political integration until there is cultural integration. Then, of course, we need to think differently about the economy. That means dispensing with neoliberal dogma. We need to think beyond Paris, London and New York.

Christophe Guilluy was talking to Fraser Myers.

I shall watch with interest to see whether the kind of analysis offered by Guilluy will make greater headway among my acquaintances and friends because it comes detached from the kinds of associations that people like Steve Bannon bring with them.