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Asabiya

Peter Turchin reintroduced me to the concept of asabiya in his War and Peace and War. 

Asabiya is a term borrowed from the Arabic philosopher of history Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406). Asabiya is the power of a society to accomplish things collectively, such as build an empire, a cathedral or a bridge, or fight a war. If you want to experience the power of asabiya, just consider how the entire British nation and its institutions buried their monarch. mourned her loss, televized the funerals, held complex ceremonies in centuries-old churches, organized 4000 soldiers, sailors and airmen and the the top ranks of the governing classes into parades, solemn processions, and ceremonies of the state church, as the people organized themselves into disciplined throngs of hundreds of thousands enduring hours of patient waiting in order to flow past the coffin of the dead Queen.

 

Says Turchin:

“Different groups have different degrees of cooperation among their members, and therefore different degrees of cohesiveness and solidarity…. Asabiya refers to the capacity of a social group for concerted collective action. Asabiya is a dynamic  quantity; it can increase or decrease with time. Like many theoretical constructs, such as force in Newtonian physics, the capacity for collective action cannot be observed directly, but can be measured from observable consequences”.

Great Britain manifestly has huge asabiya. So does the United States or Japan. Canada had asabiya. It demonstrated this in two world wars. Whether it still has asabiya is doubtful. It is rent by too many ethnic fissures, and the group most asabiya-endowed,  English Canada, is constantly denigrated and weakened by the governing Liberals as a matter of multicultural policy. “Diversity is our strength.”  The French Canadians fear English Canada’s asabiya and seek always to diminish it. For that matter, all of woke ideology is an attempt of the political left and their black allies to weaken the asabiya of the American people – “white fragility”, “systemic racism”. So is the attack on organic sexual divisions in the species a different form of attack on asabiya, as the idea of fixed sex roles, indeed fixed anything, goes against the idea of personal choice.

Life is not a matter of expressing our puny selves. It is a matter of belonging  to something great. Think if the political left as being in a permanent war against every other kind of asabiya but their own, when theirs is a weak and hate-filled search for enemies.

Asabiya is real, though not material.

 

 

 

 

 

My sentiments exactly: the catastrophe that is Canada

My consternation about the descent of Canada into politically generated distrust, fascism and chaos are well expressed in the video conversation above. The press is bought. The opposition from the Conservatives is weak and tepid. The NDP is a lapdog of the Liberals. The government is unhinged. It believes – or acts as if it believes – that the Canadian working class is a force needing suppression. I am out of words.

Then, having discussed Canada,  they get on to the real issues driving the whole mess: the World Economic Forum, the capture of the elite by the global warming madness, and the measures that have been taken by the federal government to ruin the oil and gas industries. Note that the attack on the Coastal Gas Pipeline construction site was mentioned only 24 hours after it happened by State News under the caption “alleged attack” on pipeline worksite.

Canada’s GDP per capita has remained at about $45,000 for a decade, while the US figure has gone from about that level to about  $67,000 per capita. Canada is stagnating.

Watch this for confirmation.

us gdp per capita – Google Search

 

 

Your daily dose of doom

HD wallpaper: skeleton chair ruin hdr, abandoned, obsolete, damaged, decline  | Wallpaper Flare

Sean Speer interviews Andrew Potter. Potter sets out his case:

“Here are the factors. One is what Tyler Cowen, the economist, calls the “great stagnation” to convey the three- or four-decade-long stagnation in technological development, innovation, and economic growth that has been going on since the 1970s.

Second, I think Benjamin Friedman, the economist, doesn’t get enough credit for connecting the dots between economic stagnation and its socio-political effects. He wrote a really interesting book about 15 years ago called The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, where he says, “Look, growth is great not just because it gives you stuff and raises your standards of living, but it also makes you better people.” That is, it makes you more open to immigration, more tolerant and open to diversity, less risk-averse, and generally less fearful about the future. In effect, it makes you more cosmopolitan and less Hobbesian about the world.

This points to the other key factor in what is going on, in addition to the “great stagnation”, which is almost a downstream effect, which is the rise of conservative populist politics. Right-wing populist politics is, in many ways, a consequence of economic stagnation, including in household incomes.

A third element is the rise of the internet and social media, which a lot of people thought was going to amplify productivity and democracy, but which has had the opposite effect. I used to be pretty optimistic and even cavalier about the effect of the internet on our civil discourse, but now I’m very, very pessimistic.

So, together with a stagnating economy, the rise of populist politics, and the toxic effects of social media, you get this toxic brew of lack of trust: lack of trust in institutions, a lack of trust in experts, and a lack of trust in one another.

Finally, there is another element in all of this, which J. Storrs Hall, an engineering sort of tech guy, reflected in his bookWhere Is My Flying Car?: A Memoir of Future Past, where he argues, “The great stagnation actually became the great strangulation.” That is, what’s standing in the way of growth is not the fact that we just plucked off the low hanging fruit and we can’t figure out new sources of economic growth, but it’s because we’ve buried our economy in a big mass of regulations and risk-averse bureaucracies. So even if we could resolve the political problems that have arisen in the last few years, there’s a more longstanding issue about whether we’re even capable anymore, as a society, of getting anything done.”

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The Hub bears watching.

Why you don’t get to vote on the woke revolution

From Zero Hedge:

In fairness, broad swaths of the culture always operate and evolve outside of politics. The world of ideas and entertainment – the books we read, movies we watch, groups we join – must never be subject to electoral will. But the woke revolution feels different. First, it is an explicitly political ideology that is, at bottom, about power. Second, it is remarkably ambitious: It seeks a wholesale transformation of America’s past, present and future. Third, while some of its ideas resonate with plenty of people, it is a top-down movement that seeks to impose aien ways of thinking and being on everyone – hence the rise of cancel culture and other illiberal mechanisms to silence and punish those who fail to conform.

One of the great paradoxes of the social justice movement is that even as it claims to fight inequality, it is itself a reflection of the growing inequality in America: both of wealth and culture. Like most revolutions, it is not led by the downtrodden but by the elites. It is not the person of color on the streets but the swells at the top (most of them white) who are imposing the new order.

Although it might seem that the woke revolution erupted in 2020 with George Floyd’s murder, or with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, its intellectual framework – which includes critical race theory, postmodernism, anti-colonialism, black power and queer/gender studies – emerged at America’s universities in the 1960s and 1970s. Heavily influenced by Marxism, leftist scholars suffered a crisis of confidence after communism was discredited 30 years ago as the Soviet Union collapsed. In response, activist academics essentially repackaged their old ideas. They still saw politics as a zero-sum battle between oppressors and the oppressed, with themselves in the moral vanguard, but they replaced the concept of class with new identity markers: racial and sexual identity. The struggle was no longer between capitalists and the proletariat, but privileged “cisgendered heteronormative” whites versus the rest of humanity.

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Communism is alive and well, it has just dropped the nonsense of Marxism which was its only link to reality, however wrong it was. – Dalwhinnie

The division within all of us

I have been reflecting on what Solzhenitsyn said about the dividing line within our hearts between good and evil.

The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.

There is another line that goes through our hearts, that between the liberal and the conservative. I was reminded of this line by what Douglas Murray said in his conversation with Brett Weinstein. The political realm lies in a balance between reforming abuses, and the capacity to see the abuses and the need for reforms, with the ability to pay for the reforms, to adopt new ideas of justice, and to resist excessive compassion.

It is in the weakening of resistance to excessive compassion that is causing society to disintegrate, or to “deliquesce” to use a word I last saw in an issue of The Idler back in the 1980s; to disintegrate from the inside out.

It is obvious to me, as a conservative in this sense, that we have swung too far over into a land of therapeutic remediation of all previous offences against the  equal dignity. of people and cultures. The BLM  ideology, “whiteness” as a spiritual disease, the endless guilt tripping over Indian residential schools, the entire settlement of North America by white people: each and all are held to be examples of the offence that white people – as whites- have wrought against natives and Africans. It will not be long before punctuality, hard work and discipline are held to be examples of sick white culture.

Back in the 1990s I attended some weekend sessions taught by people from the Diamond Heart school of philosophical inqury. As  a discipline it  had much to recommend it, including especially its central idea that it was not a therapy: it was not trying to cure you or your condition. At some point in a session we were talking about compassion. One of the first ideas that you get in these kinds of schools is that you must first have some compassion for yourself if you are to have compassion for others. Yet our class leader immediately took up a phrase I used when I said some people need the “boot of compassion”. She agreed. Compassion is not only  open-hearted listening. It actually involves taking steps to get people off their addictive or self destrctive behaviours.ld just as well be expressed by the admonition “get a grip”.

I am suggesting that part of the problem is that it is becoming morally impossible to tell people to get a grip. A grip on reality, a grip on their addictions, a grip on their tendency to self-pity, and a grip on their inability to look themselves in the mirror and see that what needs improvng is not society but themselves.

In short, the boot of compassion is needed at all levels of discourse.

I think that most of what Jordan Peterson has been aiming at is a purposeful life. This is not the same as a the boot of compassion, but the boot of compassion is a good place to start the voyage.

 

 

 

 

 

The Democratic Party’s Value Proposition

1. Nominate a presidential candidate who is manifestly in mental decline. He is embarassing to watch.

2. Nominate a Vice-Presidential candidate more PC and less popular than Biden or most of the other runners-up for the Democratic presidential nomination.

3. Burn the downtown cores of cities when they are in Democratic Party control.

4. Promise whites that they will suffer for all eternity for their “whiteness”, because whiteness, like a voodoo emanation, is the all-sufficient explanation for black underperformance.

5. Promise to defund the police and in the meantime fail to support them against rising tides of crime and lawless behaviour.

6. Rigorously pursue policies in the work place that discriminate against white males, and require thought crime confessions in public shaming ceremonies.

7. Invade neighborhoods after dark in deliberate acts of annoyance and terrorization.

8. Blame Trump for the urban violence and intimate that a Biden election victory might possibly end it, or not.

Do I have this right? Am I missing anything?

Seen in this light, the clever minds of the Democratic Party must be wondering at this stage whether their strategy is working. Thirty seconds of clear thought would indicate that this strategy is suicidal, yet they cannot back down, or shift to something more positive. They are doubling down on a bad bet. Meantime their thugs are out losing the election for them,

Have you noticed the meme going around that Portland is “mostly peaceful”?

I am reminded of the line in Gladiator, “people should know when they are conquered”.

 

Our Orwell, who art in Heaven

The events of the past months – murders, riots, firings for writing that all lives matter, statue shattering – reveal that the Leftist war on the past is total. The Left seeks power for ever, by erasing the past. The coverage of Trump’s speech before the Mount Rushmore monument showed that patriotism is now considered by the New York Times, the Washington Post and their ilk to be white supremacy. White supremacy is touted when there has never been less chance of encountering even so much as white self-respect. White idiots are kneeling before black people seeking forgiveness. Useful idiots every one.

Faced with my incapacity to say anything sufficient to the occasion, I refer to George Orwell for relevant insights and quotations, This one is from “the Prevention of Literature”

 

“Literature has sometimes flourished under despotic regimes, but, as has
often been pointed out, the despotisms of the past were not totalitarian.
Their repressive apparatus was always inefficient, their ruling classes
were usually either corrupt or apathetic or half-liberal in outlook, and
the prevailing religious doctrines usually worked against perfectionism
and the notion of human infallibility. Even so it is broadly true that
prose literature has reached its highest levels in periods of democracy
and free speculation. What is new in totalitarianism is that its
doctrines are not only unchallengeable but also unstable. They have to be
accepted on pain of damnation, but on the other hand, they are always
liable to be altered on a moment’s notice. Consider, for example, the
various attitudes, completely incompatible with one another, which an
English Communist or “fellow-traveler” has had to adopt toward the war
between Britain and Germany. For years before September, 1939, he was
expected to be in a continuous stew about “the horrors of Nazism” and to
twist everything he wrote into a denunciation of Hitler: after September,
1939, for twenty months, he had to believe that Germany was more sinned
against than sinning, and the word “Nazi”, at least as far as print went,
had to drop right out of his vocabulary. Immediately after hearing the 8
o’clock news bulletin on the morning of June 22, 1941, he had to start
believing once again that Nazism was the most hideous evil the world had
ever seen. Now, it is easy for the politician to make such changes: for a
writer the case is somewhat different. If he is to switch his allegiance
at exactly the right moment, he must either tell lies about his
subjective feelings, or else suppress them altogether. In either case he
has destroyed his dynamo. Not only will ideas refuse to come to him, but
the very words he uses will seem to stiffen under his touch. Political
writing in our time consists almost entirely of prefabricated phrases
bolted together like the pieces of a child’s Meccano set. It is the
unavoidable result of self-censorship. To write in plain, vigorous
language one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly one
cannot be politically orthodox. It might be otherwise in an “age of
faith”, when the prevailing orthodoxy has long been established and is
not taken too seriously. In that case it would be possible, or might be
possible, for large areas of one’s mind to remain unaffected by what one
officially believed. Even so, it is worth noticing that prose literature
almost disappeared during the only age of faith that Europe has ever
enjoyed. Throughout the whole of the Middle Ages there was almost no
imaginative prose literature and very little in the way of historical
writing; and the intellectual leaders of society expressed their most
serious thoughts in a dead language which barley altered during a
thousand years.

Totalitarianism, however, does not so much promise an age of faith as an
age of schizophrenia. A society becomes totalitarian when its structure
becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost
its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. Such a
society, no matter how long it persists, can never afford to become
either tolerant or intellectually stable. It can never permit either the
truthful recording of facts or the emotional sincerity that literary
creation demands. But to be corrupted by totalitarianism one does not
have to live in a totalitarian country. The mere prevalence of certain
ideas can spread a kind of poison that makes one subject after another
impossible for literary purposes. Wherever there is an enforced orthodoxy
–or even two orthodoxies, as often happens–good writing stops. This
was well illustrated by the Spanish civil war. To many English
intellectuals the war was a deeply moving experience, but not an
experience about which they could write sincerely. There were only two
things that you were allowed to say, and both of them were palpable lies:
as a result, the war produced acres of print but almost nothing worth
reading.”

Respect hereditary chiefs

Is this the only country in the world where such respect is shown to pre-feudal political organizations? A bunch of feathered and beaded aristocrats are taken more seriously than their elected rivals and the expressed will of their own tribe. Of course a majority of their subjects may not prevail against the will of hereditary Chiefs, can they?

Of course, the real reason for people supporting them is that the Chiefs serve the interests of Tides and the anti-development crowd. If the hereditary Chiefs were pro-development – as some are – they would be ignored by the likes of the Toronto Star and the protestors.

Their purpose is nothing less than the deligitimation of European settlement of North America, in which anti-development and carbon dioxide madness fit like hand in glove.

When are we going to have government leaders who boldly announce we shall not be governed by pre-modern tribal institutions of peoples who never got as far as metallurgy or the wheel?

When are we to have leaders who tell the Supreme Court of Canada that its talk of white racism is unacceptable?