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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Stenner on Authoritarians

Dr Karen Stenner | University of Surrey

 

  1. Authoritarians don’t like difference, complexity and diversity, which is associated with space
  2. Conservatives don’t like change, which is measured over time

And Stenner thinks it is insane to exclude the one third of the population that does not like complexity and diversity, the potential authoritarians, from political discourse.

For many people modern life overwhelms: one third of humanity does not like change, diversity, variety, multiple ethnicities and religions, it is a largely heritable condition, and cannot be eradicated by education and propaganda. Liberal democracy has exceeded the capacity of a large segment of people to tolerate, says Stenner.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000y7sq 

Loss of a sense of shared values is the bugaboo of authoritarians. Reminding them constantly about diversity drives them up the wall. Patriotism unites, diversity divides. Deal with it.

 

Populism is just resistance

The US economy is having a Wile E Coyote moment | Financial Times

 

 

I am mystified by the the word “populism”. What is the opposite of populism? Elitism? Does the term ‘populism’ have any use other than as an insult? What is the matter with pursuing policies that have the support of most of the people? Does a carbon tax become a populist measure if it is opposed by most people, but remains a sensible proposal if supported by centrist parties or the elites?

The term is like smoke. It has no substance. We may feel we know what it means, but it means anything the Left says it means. Mostly it means people or policies they don’t like.

A constitutionally elected Prime Minister like the Hungarian Viktor Orban is described as an ‘authoritarian’, yet he holds a majority in the Hungarian Parliament, and would be out of power if he lost a majority in the house.  A ruthless dictator like Putin is described as an ‘authoritarian’, yet he hardly refers to or depends on the Russian Duma at all. A Prime Minister of Canada holds a majority in the House of Commons thanks to an parliamentary coalition with the fourth largest party.  He seeks to pass legislation crushing the possibility of free expression on the Internet, through a revised Broadcasting Act that makes most Internet expression into a state-licensed activity, and by an on-line harms bill, which says that only certain groups can be offended, and further seeks to control the press by a scheme of compulsory compensation from the large platforms to Canadian newspapers on conditions approved by the CRTC. Does Trudeau escape being labelled an authoritarian because he leaves speech control to regulatory agencies? Or because he effectively emotes a false compassion? It is a mystery.

 

Simon Jenkyns writes in the Guardian that

The message is that party is being supplanted by personality and identity. As relative prosperity rises, voters are taking recourse in prejudice and emotional security. They can distrust outsiders. They can hate globalists, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and liberals, however defined. They want to feel control over their own lives…This populism has torn the left-right spectrum apart.

It is not Simon Jenkyns’ finest article; but he is trying to warn the Left of the seriousness of the opposition to elite consensus politics. What Jenkyns and other self-styled progressives are trying to warn about is that issues are going to be contested in the next few years as they have not been since the 1970s or perhaps since the 1930s. Inflation, the COVID shut down, the lies about vaccines (safe! effective! mandatory!), global warming catastrophism (carbon neutral policies, taxes,  subsidizing electric cars, messing with people’s access to heating fuels), gender policy, LGBTQQ+ and its attendant speech controls: the vast panoply of governmental management of the economy, nudging of behaviour and thought control is shortly to be contested. The political elites have engaged in grotesque over-reach and, like Wile E. Coyote treading air over the desert floor, they are showing signs they know they may have gone too far.

 

 

 

 

Hugs, handshakes across the aisle mark passage of bill banning conversion therapy

Blair Atholl comments:

“A bill that prevents people from voluntarily seeking counseling – even from priests. Meanwhile, say once at nine years old that you wish you were a girl and the state will happily cut your dick off. Fuck the CPC and their morally degenerate leaders.”

-from a life long conservative

And this is Dalwhinnie talking: the guy who increasingly seems to be talking a language I agree with is Mad Max Bernier. Kind of like the slow growth of mindshare held by Ronnie Reagan before his Presidency. Though Max will never be Prime Minister of Canada absent a cultural revolution.

 

 

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 zombification of San Francisco

This is San Francisco on fentanyl.

 

From Michael Shellenberger

“For over a decade, the city of San Francisco has been carrying out an experiment. What happens when thousands of drug addicts are not only permitted to use heroin, fentanyl and meth publicly, but also enabled to do so? The results are in: hundreds of them die annually. Last year, 712 people in San Francisco died from drug overdoses or poisoning, and this year a similar number are on track to do so.

“Worse, cities around the country, from Seattle and Los Angeles to Philadelphia and Boston, have been copying San Francisco’s approach. Partly as a result of these supposedly progressive policies, 93,000 people in the US died in 2021 from illicit drugs, a more than five-fold increase from the 17,000 people killed by illicit drugs in 2000.”

……

According to critical race theorist Ibram Kendi, whose views are shared by San Francisco’s progressive policymakers, policies that result in racial disparities are themselves racist. As a result, progressives should view harm reduction-only policies, including Housing First, as racist.

“Indeed, San Francisco is engaged in an unethical refusal to mandate proven medical treatment to drug addicts that is no different from the denial of medical treatment to syphilis sufferers by US government researchers in Tuskegee, Ala., between 1932 and 1972. In those infamous, racist experiments, US health and medical professionals denied penicillin to African American men long after it became clear, in 1947, that the antibiotic saved lives.”

 

More is at https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/more-black-americans-died-from-san 

Brexit the movie

 

 

This is an altogether a fine movie, filled with political insight. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the architect of the victorious leave vote. The credits say that some portions of the movie are fictional, leaving one to infer that most of it is just how it happened. The portion I am sure is fictional is a scene near the end between Dominic Cummings and the head organizer of the Remain campaign, a Tory working for Prime Minister Campbell. They are in a pub after a long day’s work.  It is becoming clear to the Stay side that they are losing and they are surprised and outraged. They would stay that way for four more years. The Tory political professional running the Stay campaign accuses Cummings of undermining the rule of experts and of opening up political life in England to a set of forces that will be impossible to control.

Broadly speaking, the accusation is true. What kept politics manageable for the ruling classes was a consensus that experts in fact knew more than most people and that their rule was legitimate. This is under challenge in the English-speaking democracies.

Curtis Yarvin, of Mencius Moldbug fame, explains this as the rule of the Cathedral. It is a vitally important concept, and Brexit the movie touches upon it in the exchange between Dominic Cummings and the lead organizer for the Stay campaign.

“The mystery of the cathedral is that all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions, even though they have no central organizational connection, behave in many ways as if they were a single organizational structure.

Most notably, this pseudo-structure is synoptic: it has one clear doctrine or perspective. It always agrees with itself. Still more puzzlingly, its doctrine is not static; it evolves; this doctrine has a predictable direction of evolution, and the whole structure moves together.”

I am uncertain whether the term “the Cathedral” has to be conceived as Yarvin does. Yet it is stands as a useful metaphor for the collective inertia of received ideas that dominate political discourse these days.

Watch the Brexit movie. It will get you to the core of the issues. As the referendum approached, there was a telling scene during a focus group being held by the Remain side where some frizzy blonde-haired working class woman entirely loses it, and starts screaming that she is absolutely fed up with being told she is a racist for having a dim view of current rates of immigration, and that she has been fed up with this state of repression for the past twenty years. The meeting descends into chaos. At that point the chief organizer for the Remain side knows for sure that he is going to lose.

I wonder when that point will be reached in Canada.

 

 

Dear Professor Attaran

Trudeau calls for end to ‘Quebec bashing’ after Ottawa professor says province run by ‘white supremacist government’

 

Dear Professor Attaran:

I take exception to your characterization of the Quebec government as “white supremacist”. I think that is wide of the mark, and quite unfair to the Government of Quebec.  Quebec’s government is not white supremacist. It is French supremacist. The French speakers just happen to be white. Let us imagine for instance that the original founders of French Canada were not French but Tunisians. As the only Muslim majority and North African-origined ethnos in North America, the government of Quebec would believe it was its duty to protect the historic Tunisian and Muslim nature of the country. In this conjecture,  street signs and public advertizing would have to be in Tunisian Arabic with Latin letters distinctly smaller. There is an endless fret about whether the Tunisian nature of Quebec is being lost because the immigrants are assimilating to the English speaking majoriy of Canada. And so forth.

To call the government of Quebec “racist” is misleading. The only race they are concerned about is their own. Need I point out that English-speakers are not part of their “race”? Nor are any other peoples of any skin colour. Their axis of discrimination is entirely ethno-cultural.

And here is the irony. No place in North America is now safer for white people from the anti-white propaganda of the woke. If you attack Quebec for racism they will put on the armour of righteous indignation and the Prime Minister will come to their defence, as he ought to. The Quebecois are immune to “woke” because their politics are frankly about French supremacy. They just happen to be white.

Years ago some self-righteous Liberal apparatchik who normally lives in Westboro, a posh part of Ottawa, was in North Hatley, Quebec. He said how typical it was to find me in the whitest part of North America, or was it just the whitest part of Quebec that he referred to? I can’t quite recall, but he did not mean it in a complimentary or friendly way. Apart from his towering condescension and hypocrisy, of which he was completely unconscious, I find myself in agreement with him. [And what, pray tell, was he doing there?] It is nice living in a place where locking your doors is optional. It is nice living in a place where there is high social trust. Being a part of an English-speaking minority in a French language majority is sometimes aggravating because not all the Quebecois are worldly or accepting of outsiders of any description. But they do not suffer from doubt that the main point of politics is to keep themselves in existence and able to speak French. I like the protective umbrella this offers to fend off the anti-white cultural and racial attacks of the likes of yourself, and the self-loathing of my Liberal apparatchik.

And if we could have just five percent of that attitude in English North America, we would spare ourselves a great deal of grief.

Yours sincerely,

 

Dalwhinnie