Quotulatiousness

October 6, 2017

QotD: The likely transnational progressive endgame

Filed under: Politics, Quotations, Religion, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

… if transnational progressivism actually succeeds in smothering liberal individualism, its reward will be to be put to the sword by some flavor of jihadi. Whether the eventual winners are Muslims or Mormons, the future is not going to look like the fuzzy multicultural ecotopia of modern left fantasy. The death of that dream is being written in European banlieus by angry Muslim youths under the light of burning cars.

In the banlieus and elsewhere, Islamist pressure makes it certain that sooner or later the West is going to vomit Stalin’s memes out of its body politic. The worst way would be through a reflex development of Western absolutism — Christian chauvinism, nativism and militarism melding into something like Francoite fascism. The self-panicking leftists who think they see that in today’s Republicans are comically wrong (as witnessed by the fact that they aren’t being systematically jailed and executed), but it is quite a plausible future for the demographically-collapsing nations of Europe.

The U.S., fortunately, is still on a demographic expansion wave and will be till at least 2050. But if the Islamists achieve their dream of nuking “crusader” cities, they’ll make crusaders out of the U.S., too. And this time, a West with a chauvinized America at its head would smite the Saracen with weapons that would destroy entire populations and fuse Mecca into glass. The horror of our victory would echo for a thousand years.

I remain more optimistic than this. I think there is still an excellent chance that the West can recover from suicidalism without going through a fevered fascist episode and waging a genocidal war. But to do so, we have to do more than recognize Stalin’s memes; we have to reject them. We have to eject postmodern leftism from our universities, transnational progressivism from our politics, and volk-Marxism from our media.

The process won’t be pretty. But I fear that if the rest of us don’t hound the po-mo Left and its useful idiots out of public life with attack and ridicule and shunning, the hard Right will sooner or later get the power to do it by means that include a lot of killing. I don’t want to live in that future, and I don’t think any of my readers do, either. If we want to save a liberal, tolerant civilization for our children, we’d better get to work.

Eric S. Raymond, “Gramscian damage”, Armed and Dangerous, 2006-02-11.

October 5, 2017

QotD: Legalizing drugs

Filed under: Law, Liberty, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

It is not the business of the State to tell adults what to do with themselves, or how they interact with other consenting adults. Where drugs are concerned, any disadvantages in leaving people alone are greatly outweighed by the costs of the War on Drugs, which has reduced large parts of the world to violent chaos, and corrupted every law enforcement agency involved in fighting it, and been made an excuse for the destruction of due process rights in England and America.

Sean Gabb, quoted in “Wayne John Sturgeon talks to Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance”, Sean Gabb, 2013-08-26.

October 4, 2017

QotD: Transnational progressivism

Filed under: History, Media, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The Soviets didn’t invent [transnational progressivism], but they promoted it heavily in a deliberate — and appallingly successful — attempt to weaken the Lockean, individualist tradition that underlies classical liberalism and the U.S. Constitution. The reduction of Western politics to a bitter war for government favor between ascriptive identity groups is exactly the outcome the Soviets wanted and worked hard to arrange.

Call it what you will — various other commentators have favored ‘volk-Marxism’ or ‘postmodern leftism’. I’ve called it suicidalism. It was designed to paralyze the West against one enemy, but it’s now being used against us by another. It is no accident that Osama bin Laden so often sounds like he’s reading from back issues of Z magazine, and no accident that both constantly echo the hoariest old cliches of Soviet propaganda in the 1930s and ’40s.

Another consequence of Stalin’s meme war is that today’s left-wing antiwar demonstrators wear kaffiyehs without any sense of how grotesque it is for ostensible Marxists to cuddle up to religious absolutists who want to restore the power relations of the 7th century CE. In Stalin’s hands, even Marxism itself was hollowed out to serve as a memetic weapon — it became increasingly nihilist, hatred-focused and destructive. The postmodern left is now defined not by what it’s for but by what it’s against: classical-liberal individualism, free markets, dead white males, America, and the idea of objective reality itself.

The first step to recovery is understanding the problem. Knowing that suicidalist memes were launched at us as war weapons by the espionage apparatus of the most evil despotism in human history is in itself liberating. Liberating, too, it is to realize that the Noam Chomskys and Michael Moores and Robert Fisks of the world (and their thousands of lesser imitators in faculty lounges everywhere) are not brave transgressive forward-thinkers but pathetic memebots running the program of a dead tyrant.

Brittingham and other have worried that postmodern leftism may yet win. If so, the victory would be short-lived. One of the clearest lessons of recent times (exemplified not just by kaffiyeh-wearing western leftists but by Hamas’s recent clobbering of al-Fatah in the first Palestinian elections) is that po-mo leftism is weaker than liberal individualism in one important respect; it has only the weakest defenses against absolutist fervor. Brittingham tellingly notes po-mo philosopher Richard Rorty’s realization that when the babble of conflicting tribal narratives collapses in exhaustion, the only thing left is the will to power.

Again, this is by design. Lenin and Stalin wanted classical-liberal individualism replaced with something less able to resist totalitarianism, not more. Volk-Marxist fantasy and postmodern nihilism served their purposes; the emergence of an adhesive counter-ideology would not have. Thus, the Chomskys and Moores and Fisks are running a program carefully designed to dead-end at nothing.

Eric S. Raymond, “Gramscian damage”, Armed and Dangerous, 2006-02-11.

October 3, 2017

QotD: Generation selfie

Filed under: Humour, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

There was a whole section of the catalog I picked up in which the models obscured their faces with their phones by taking selfies. Unlike most models these days, who affect a look of unutterable misery (perhaps it is not an affectation, given that they are not allowed to eat and are treated like slaves), the models taking selfies looked very happy, at least in those pictures in which it was possible to discern their facial expression. Perhaps, then, it is in looking at oneself that true happiness lies, at least for some people.

Certainly, at every famous tourist site these days one sees whole troops of people taking pictures of themselves: me and the Mona Lisa, me and the Eiffel Tower, me and Big Ben, me and the Empire State Building, me and Mount Everest. It is the me that counts in these photos, of course; no one’s friends really care about Mount Everest, and even concern for the me is relative. A selfie with Mount Everest is like an alibi when one has been accused of claiming to have been there without having been there; the proof is in one’s phone, although it must be admitted that these days, with an ability to alter photos at will that would have brought joy to Stalin’s heart, anything can be arranged. I read in the memoir of a French model that, having starved mannequins to the size of minus 6, they are fattened up a little afterwards by computer at the printing stage: a remarkable testimony to mankind’s capacity to combine wickedness with stupidity.

The selfie is an example of the new social contract brought about by the social media: You pretend to be interested in me if I pretend to be interested in you. Thus, I agree to look at your selfie at Machu Picchu if you agree to look at mine at Angkor Wat. And this, after all, is as it should be, because it is a long way to go to either of those if no one believes you have been. A classic book is a book that everyone wishes he had read; a wonder of the world is a place at which everyone wishes he had been photographed.

Theodore Dalrymple, “Suit Yourselfie”, Taki’s Magazine, 2017-09-16.

October 2, 2017

QotD: Maxims 61-70 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

61. Don’t bring big grenades into small rooms.
62. Anything labelled “This end toward enemy” is dangerous at both ends.
63. The brass knows how to do it by knowing who can do it.
64. An ounce of sniper is worth a pound of suppressing fire.
65. After the toss, be the one with the pin, not the one with the grenade.
66. Necessity is the mother of deception.
67. If you can’t carry cash, carry a weapon.
68. Negotiating from a position of strength does not mean you shouldn’t also negotiate from a position near the exits.
69. Sometimes rank is a function of firepower.
70. Failure isn’t an option. It’s mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do.

“Link Weimar” (aka Howard Tayler), Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries: 301st Anniversary Annotated Edition, 2017.

October 1, 2017

QotD: Maxims 51-60 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

51. Let them see you sharpen the sword before you fall on it.
52. The army you’ve got is never the army you want.
53. The intel you’ve got is never the intel you want.
54. It’s only too many troops if you can’t pay them.
55. It’s only too many weapons if they’re pointing in the wrong direction.
56. Infantry exists to paint targets for people with real guns.
57. Artillery exists to launch large chunks of budget at an enemy it cannot actually see.
58. The pen is mightiest when it writes orders for swords.
59. Two wrongs is probably not going to be enough.
60. Any weapon’s rate of fire is inversely proportional to the number of available targets.

“Link Weimar” (aka Howard Tayler), Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries: 301st Anniversary Annotated Edition, 2017.

September 30, 2017

QotD: Maxims 41-50 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

41. “Do you have a backup?” means “I can’t fix this.”
42. “They’ll never expect this’ means “I want to try something stupid.”
43. If it’s stupid and it works, it’s still stupid and you’re lucky.
44. If it will blow a hole in the ground, it will double as an entrenching tool.
45. The size of the combat bonus is inversely proportional to the likelihood of surviving to collect it.
46. Don’t try to save money by conserving ammunition.
47. Don’t expect the enemy to cooperate in the creation of your dream engagement.
48. If it ain’t broke, it hasn’t been issued to the infantry.
49. Every client is one missed payment away from becoming a target.
50. Let them see you sharpen the sword before you fall on it.

Howard Tayler, quoted by Rodney M. Bliss in “New Maxims Revealed For The First Time”, Rodney M. Bliss, 2015-12-18.

September 29, 2017

QotD: Maxims 31-40 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

31. Only cheaters prosper.
32. Anything is amphibious if you can get it back out of the water.
33. If you’re leaving tracks, you’re being followed.
34. If you’re leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun.
35. That which does not kill you has made a tactical error.
36. When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.
37. There is no ‘overkill.’ There is only ‘open fire’ and ‘I need to reload.’
38. Just because it’s easy for you doesn’t mean it can’t be hard on your clients.
39. There is a difference between spare parts and extra [parts].
40. Not all good news is enemy action.

Howard Tayler, quoted by Rodney M. Bliss in “New Maxims Revealed For The First Time”, Rodney M. Bliss, 2015-12-18.

September 28, 2017

QotD: Maxims 21-30 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

21. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he’s lucky just to be alive, and he’ll figure out how to catch another one for you to take tomorrow.
22. If you can see the whites of their eyes, somebody’s done something wrong.
23. The company mess and friendly fire should be easier to tell apart.
24. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a big gun.
25. If the damage you do is covered by a manufacturers warranty, you didn’t do enough damage.
26. “Fire and forget” is fine, provided you never actually forget.
27. Don’t be afraid to be the first to resort to violence.
28. If the price of collateral damage is high enough, you might be able to get paid for bringing ammunition home with you.
29. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy. No more. No less.
30. A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you’ll go.

Howard Tayler, quoted by Rodney M. Bliss in “New Maxims Revealed For The First Time”, Rodney M. Bliss, 2015-12-18.

September 27, 2017

QotD: Maxims 11-20 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

11. Everything is air-droppable at least once.
12. A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head.
13. Do unto others.
14. “Mad Science” means never stopping to ask “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
15. Only you can prevent friendly fire.
16. Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.
17. The longer everything goes according to plan, the bigger the impending disaster.
18. If the officers are leading from in front, watch out for an attack from the rear.
19. The world is richer when you turn enemies into friends, but that’s not the same as you being richer.
20. If you’re not willing to shell your own position, you’re not willing to win.

Howard Tayler, quoted by Rodney M. Bliss in “New Maxims Revealed For The First Time”, Rodney M. Bliss, 2015-12-18.

September 26, 2017

QotD: Maxims 1-10 of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Filed under: Humour, Military, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

1. Pillage, then burn.
2. A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn’t know what’s going on.
3. An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.
4. Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.
5. Close air support and friendly fire should be easier to tell apart.
6. If violence wasn’t your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it.
7. If the food is good enough, the grunts will stop complaining about the incoming fire.
8. Mockery and derision have their place. Usually, it’s on the far side of the airlock.
9. Never turn your back on an enemy.
10. Sometimes the only way out is through … through the hull.

Howard Tayler, quoted by Rodney M. Bliss in “New Maxims Revealed For The First Time”, Rodney M. Bliss, 2015-12-18.

September 25, 2017

QotD: IKEA’s shady history

Filed under: Business, Europe, History, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

IKEA itself serves as a fitting symbol of the middle-class masquerade. The company’s well-managed brand obscures the fact that its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, at the time that he founded the store in 1943, was a member of Sweden’s pro-Nazi fascist party, in which he continued to be active at least until 1948 and which he continued to praise for decades after; or that the company used forced prison labor in East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is fitting that IKEA’s current worth is unknown, since it is technically owned by a phony-charity shell company incorporated in the Netherlands, enabling Kamprad to evade Swedish taxes. This is not to single out IKEA for particular scorn: one could write an equally lurid laundry list about almost any large corporation; a fascist undertone usually lurks beneath the surface of mass-production and mass-marketing. Consider the fact that Apple uses what is slave labor in all but name in China yet none of their customers seem to care.

Samuel Biagetti, “The IKEA Humans: The Social Base of Contemporary Liberalism”, Jacobite, 2017-09-13.

September 24, 2017

QotD: Libertarians and Conservatives

Filed under: Liberty, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

‘Who lost the libertarians?” It’s a question you hear a lot from conservatives of late. The reason should be obvious to anyone who has followed the conservative movement’s internecine intellectual frictions over the last decade — or decades. Self-described libertarians are a minority, even among the ranks of people one could properly describe as libertarian. On many, or even most, contentious public-policy issues — economics, gun rights, health care, free speech, regulation, constitutional interpretation — most support for the libertarian position actually comes from people who describe themselves as conservatives. In other words, conservatives tend to be libertarian, but libertarians tend not to be conservative.

And self-described libertarians are very keen on emphasizing that distinction. They justifiably point to the areas, many of them quite significant, where the bulk of libertarians depart from the conservative consensus: foreign policy, drugs, gay rights, etc. Of course, the demarcations between these different camps are not hard and clearly defined. Many conservatives now — and even more in the past — hold the same convictions as libertarians on foreign policy and drugs and, to a lesser extent, on issues such as gay rights. But as a generalization, libertarians want to have their own identity, separate and distinct from that of conservatism. They’re a bit like the Canadians you meet abroad who go to almost obsessive lengths to show everyone that they aren’t American.

Jonah Goldberg, “Fusionism, Sixty Years Later”, National Review, 2015-11-05.

September 23, 2017

QotD: Political ideology

Filed under: Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Ideological principle is the lifesblood of a political party. The more a party focuses on “electability” and “pragmatism”, the more it cuts its own wrists and drains its own blood. Eventually, the point is reached that the party exists for no reason but to profit the party elite, which is understandably not of interest to anyone outside that elite.

What do the Republicans stand for today?

Pragmatism in politics is like cocaine. A little bit goes a long ways. You not only win, but you feel like an all-conquering tiger. But gradually, you start needing more and more to achieve the same affect, until finally, you overdose and your heart stops.

Vox Day, “The impracticality of pragmatism”, Vox Popoli, 2015-10-24.

September 22, 2017

QotD: Microaggressions and the out-groups

Filed under: Media, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The debate over microaggressions often seems to focus on whether they are real. This is silly. Of course they’ve always been real; only the label is new. Microaggressions from the majority to the minority are as real as Sunday, and the effect of their accumulated weight is to make you feel always slightly a stranger in a strange land. The phenomenon is dispiriting, even more so because the offenders frequently don’t realize that their words were somewhere between awkward and offensive (once again).

On the other hand, in a diverse group, the other thing you have to say about microaggressions is that they are unavoidable. And that a culture that tries to avoid them is setting up to tear itself apart.

I’m using microaggressions broadly here: to define the small slights by which any majority group subtly establishes its difference from its minority members. That means that I am including groups that may not come to mind for victim status, like conservatives in very liberal institutions. And no doubt many of my readers are preparing to deliver a note or a comment saying I shouldn’t dare to compare historically marginalized groups with politically powerful ones.

I dare because it highlights the basic problem with extensively litigating microaggressions, which is that it is a highly unstable way of mediating social disputes. Deciding who is eligible to complain about microaggressions is itself an act by which the majority imposes its will, and it is felt as alienating by the minorities who are effectively told that they don’t have the same right to ask for decent treatment as other groups. As a conservative social scientist once told me, “When I think of my own laments about being an ideological minority, most of it is basically microaggression.”

Megan McArdle, “How Grown-Ups Deal With ‘Microaggressions'”, Bloomberg View, 2015-09-11.

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