Snowflakes Don’t Last

Nassim Taleb is smart enough not to spell it out, but the concept of antifragility is profoundly conservative. The antifragile is what lasts, and more than that, the antifragile is what defeats every attempt to extinguish or deny it. In Lacanese, it is what insists, the relentless, constant pressure of the drive. Fashionable ideas, enthusiasms, hysterias: these are the things that come and go.

In this context, we can think of modernity as an arrogant revolt, a humanist attempt to emancipate humanity from human nature with the help of technological magic. This is what underlies every modern calumny against tradition. Modernity is the promise of emancipation. In a peculiar way, the slave resentment that Nietzsche detected in Christianity has only become more virulent with the secularization of Christian moralizing into the doctrine of “human” rights.

Only now, after modernity’s complete triumph and entrenchment, does it begin to become evident that the constraints it imposes are actually worse than those of patriarchal tradition. Only now does the radical unnaturaleness of modernity and the harshness of the measures needed to sustain its “emancipations” begin to register, revealing the paradox that modern emancipation is predicated on totalitarian social administration, that liberal ideas can only be realized as illiberal impositions.

Specifically, today it becomes ever more clear that the protection of wholly artificial, gender-emancipated snowflakes requires nothing less than the eradication of masculinity.

This is not going to happen.

For one thing, modernity itself has conditioned us to find value in what is socially proscribed. Thus, at some point, we can expect the stigmatization of masculinity to turn on its head. An early indications of this is the rise of the populist right, congruent with the growing realization that feminism is the priggish ideology of a privileged elite.

But even if the Western elites have their way, the demolition of Western masculinity can only be prelude to the West going under, to the profit of other more vigorous, unrepentantly virile civilizations.

The Irreversibility of Decline

There is much to be said for Christopher DeGroodt’s prescriptions for educating boys to become men.

So what can our educators do to create real leaders, as opposed to the usual cowardly, moneygrubbing mediocrities?

To begin with, the unmanly self-loathing that characterizes education has to end. Our schools and universities have become like the believer who never stops dwelling on his sins: sick, sick unto death, and yet he would have his illness be our virtue. Students should learn that the brutal evils of American history—African-American slavery, the genocide of the native peoples—are not unique in character to these States. On the contrary, such violence and moral evil reflect the character of the natural world with which we are one and which, in a clear sense, we indeed are. These words are, of course, not meant to “excuse” our past; the point is that nothing is to be gained by constantly dwelling on its bad aspects.

We should also impart a hearty acceptance of competition and elitism, for how else can we keep up with the Chinese? “Every talent,” said Nietzsche, “must unfold itself in fighting.” The classical philologist was thinking of the Greek genius, whose manly vitality is an antithesis to our effete time. And yet, we can see that American youth do have a desire for accomplishment unapologetically pursued. Pindar, the ancient Greek poet, declares that he is “an eagle soaring sunward” while other poets “vainly croak like ravens” or “feed low like chattering crows.” Such exuberant pride finds a parallel in hip-hop culture, wherein men “battle” and “dis” one another with pleasure. Why is it that we hear rap everywhere we go these days, from Walgreens to the breaks at sporting events? What is the special appeal? It is that, like rock and roll, rap contains an unfettered masculine energy that is rather lacking in our enfeebled, professionalized culture. Just look at those poor souls, always so harried and exhausted, Monday through Friday during rush hour. What a horrid sight! I am reminded of the words of a great French poet: “All active men seem playthings of grotesque deliriums.”

Boys must learn that authority and rank, though often mixed or worse, can be noble things. Professors think that they are wise to teach students to regard authority and rank as such with suspicion and resentment, yet this merely reflects their own conceited pathology. Authority and rank do not cease to be necessary simply because we don’t like them. Besides, there is in human nature a natural instinct to revere what is praiseworthy. There are videos on YouTube in which his soldiers display the profoundest respect for James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Mattis bravely led his men in extremely dangerous conditions that most of us cannot even imagine. For that they rightly hold “the warrior monk” in the highest regard. I have a much older scholarly friend to whose judgment on certain matters I am happy to defer. The reason is that he knows a lot more than I do about those things. It is therefore my good fortune to gain from him. The proper attitude here is reverence, not resentment, which both poisons the soul and precludes its elevation.

At the secondary level, boys should be taught by men. Student gender segregation also is desirable. And it would be silly to perceive “sexism” or “misogyny” here. We have seen the consequences of an education system dominated by women: boys put on drugs because they are boys and made to feel guilty about themselves for the same reason. It would be far better for a boy to have no education at all than to undergo a feminized one. The present system is the way to destroy a country; it is emphatically not a path to excellence.

All well and good. But it is not going to happen. Because to make it happen would require men, real men, to be in charge. It would require a functioning patriarchy. If we had a functioning patriarchy, we would not need to reinvent education. Without a functioning patriarchy, we also lack the virility to institute one. Decadence is not reversible. It has to be endured all the way to collapse and then, perhaps, to a new beginning.

The educational shortcomings DeGroodt decries are not causative. They are symptomatic. This is what happens when a culture has been terminally compromised and has entered a death spiral. If education today is dominated by women and dedicated to the unmanning of boys, it is because a prior unmanning elevated harpies into cultural arbiters. Shrews flourish when there are no longer men with the requisite virility to tame and manage them.

Why would the absolutism of money under capitalism produce anything but a race of “moneygrubbing mediocrities”? What else could it produce?

This is what erstwhile conservatives consistently overlook. They dream, in Zizek’s words, of a capitalism without capitalism.

Dream on.

Pervert Self-Effacement

Only a monstrous egotist like Foucault could so assiduously promote a philosophy of self-effacement bordering on self-eradication. The reason is not that complicated. What is sought under the guise of self-effacement, of authorial extinction, is a God-like invulnerability. Self-effacement becomes a means to deify a monstrous self, a self so vastly inflated that it is no longer “personal” but has achieved the impersonality of an Olympian.

I’ve run across such personalities a few times in my life. Invariably, it is an unpleasant experience. What you’re up against is someone who ceaselessly proclaims his egolessness in order to make his caprices into “objective” laws for others. The ruse is always that what he wants is not what he wants but what is ordained from on high, by history, by logic, by aesthetics, or whatever seemingly objective, disembodied authority he is selflessly aligned with.

Anytime you encounter such a person, you are dealing with a pervert. “Selflessness” is the hallmark of perversion.

Suicidal Ideation

The ongoing reckless demonization of Putin and Russia and ruling class enthusiasm for reviving McCarthyism and the worst excesses of Cold War Russophobia suggests that the decrepitude of the Western elites has now reached the point where they unconsciously desire their own extinction. This latest drive to war, fomented for the most part by ostensible liberals, is ripely overdetermined. In addition to the usual and persistent factors that drive American bellicosity–the need to justify profligate public expenditure on a bloated military/intelligence apparatus, the myth of American exceptionalism and the paranoia it fosters about countries and figures unwilling grovel before it, the illusion of American invulnerability fostered by a combination of technological mastery and geographical insularity–there has been added the pressing need of the neutered “left” to prove that it retains some vestige of testicular function. One of the peculiar phenomena of recent times is the spectacle of female-dominated liberal men compensating for their emasculation by displaying intolerance for “toxic” masculinity. South Park’s PC Principal provides a fictional illustration of this phenomenon.

In Putin, this pathetic anti-macho machismo has found an ideal target. We are witnessing the late fruition of something that started in the ’60s, when baby boomers who had internalized anti-Soviet propaganda along with their mother’s milk redefined left-wing radicalism in expressly anticommunist “countercultural” terms and became the progenitors of today’s “intersectional” pussy-hatted left. Who could have foreseen that Sen. McCarthy would achieve reincarnation as a bespectacled lesbian?

Where will this lead?

If the past is prologue, we are one the eve of World War III. The present drive to war is bipartisan. The only disagreement between American “conservatives” and “liberals” is about target priority. Should the U.S. go to war with Russia? China? Iran? Or all three at the same time.

Until recently, it had seemed as if the cultural, moral, and intellectual decline of the West would proceed as a largely internal process of cretinization. One noted how, with each passing day, the culture became ever more enmeshed in its sentimental lies about … everything. The modern dilapidation of patriarchal authority had progressed to the point where it had completely compromised the process of acculturation and socialization that mitigates infantile narcissism and produces relatively sane adults. The result is that since the ’60s–when the breakdown rapidly accelerated–Western societies have been vanquished by hordes of internally generated barbarians all clamoring to be unquestioningly recognized as uniquely gifted and deserving of mass adulation. The related sophistries of feminism, diversity, and identity fetishism were invented to accommodate the vastly inflated egos of these monstrous, developmentally arrested children.

And accommodate them they have, to the point where Western societies have developed a full-blown allergy to the merest hint of realism. Today, one courts controversy by merely pointing out that the sexes are biologically different. On the right and the left, self-serving ideology has supplanted reality testing and one of its consequences is the tendency common to both sides to seek the cause of internal societal collapse in the malignancy of external agents. This is just as evident in the pussy-hatter belief that Russia robbed Hilary Clinton of her entitled claim to the presidency as it is in Trump’s equally deluded belief that military confrontation and tariffs will restore American global supremacy.

When a country that has squandered untold billions on fruitless military adventures nonetheless evinces an appetite for more, one must conclude that it has succumbed to a death drive. In recent decades, Hollywood has fantasized all manner of cataclysms that might threaten the destruction of the homeland, but in all instances the fictional threat is averted by the intervention of heroes of the human or superhuman kind. What Hollywood cannot imagine is a scenario in which the heroes themselves, seized by madness, destroy themselves and their world. “Evil appears as good in the minds of those whom gods lead to destruction.”

Men in the Ruins

As Christopher DeGroot notes, the systemic eradication of masculinity in America is long past reversibility.

Restoring male authority, although necessary, seems nearly impossible to do by rational means. Notwithstanding evidence that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men, it is implausible to think the culture as a whole will want men to become men again, that is, in the old sense of the man of the house. For that to come about, crisis and catastrophe will be necessary—or rather, more of them.

And more of them are certainly on the way. Wait till the pussyhatters get their war with Russia on.

I somehow doubt that the radioactive Mad Max—type landscapes that such a war would leave behind would be hospitable to feminist ideas or any other form of infantile posturing.

Men Without Penises

Jimmy Kimmel gives a definition of the ideal feminist male:

“No question about it. Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood. And there’s a very good reason why. Just look at him. Keeps his hands where you can see them. Never says a rude word and most importantly, no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations. And that’s the kind of men we need more of in this town.”

Social Constructs

One of the obligatory inanities that every undergraduate learns in college is that gender is a social construct. What the undergraduate is not taught–because it would greatly diminish the revelatory power of this truism–is that denotation in general is a social construct. No denotation exists that is not a convention. But denotative conventions are not arbitrary constructions that can be amended at will. They transmit eons of collective experience that one ignores at one’s peril.

Sure, you are free to stick your hand in a pot of boiling water to test what “hot” really means. But that would fall under the category of learning things the hard way.

Same with gender. If you’re a man and want to pass yourself as a woman (or vice-versa), it is feasible, but will demand an extraordinary degree of dedication, in addition to a talent for 24/7 fakery, and even then is likely to yield an unconvincing result. In which case you will have to mount a social campaign to bully everyone around you into validating your gender choice. If you have better things to do than spend your life performing a gender at odds with your sex, you’ll settle for the “cis” default.

But let’s face it: this is all beside the point. The notion of gender as social construct is the mantra of the inadequate. It was invented by feminists. It is compensation for self-loathing.

The real question is why Western societies have succumbed to this nonsense. I would suggest, with Marx, that the destruction of common meaning is an effect of the power of money. Money, as Marx observed, confuses things. It turns the world upside down. It is “the confounding and confusing of all natural and human qualities.” It is “the fraternisation of impossibilities. It makes contradictions embrace.” Money makes the ugly attractive, the cowardly brave, the stupid clever by putting at their disposal those who are attractive, brave, and clever. If you’re poor, whatever beauty you possess is a gift. The rich do not depend on gifts. They depend on the power of money to compel adulation.

Feminism expresses the power of wealthy women to compel validation of their vanity. The dismissal of gender and the qualities that define it as “social constructs” transforms ugly, nasty, shrews into figures of admirable empowerment, at once “stunning and brave.” Feminism thus brings to the surface in the most striking way possible the monstrous perversity of money’s dominion and the extent of its power to corrupt.

Rotten Meat

How does the mutiny in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin start?

With a side of beef crawling with maggots that the ship doctor nonetheless declares fit for consumption by the crew.

The fairly obvious point Eisenstein is making is that insurrections start when the stench of the corrupt, rotting status quo becomes so overpowering that official narratives can no longer hide it. When people are asked to disbelieve their own eyes and noses, trouble brews.

As C.J. Hopkins recently noted, the Western elites face a similar moment. The neoliberal order stinks and the corporate media is in full deodorant mode.

The Brexit referendum and the election of Trump alerted the global capitalist ruling classes to the existence of another dangerous insurgency that had nothing to do with the Greater Middle East. While they were off merrily destabilizing, restructuring, privatizing, and debt-enslaving, resentment of global capitalism had grown into a widespread neo-nationalist backlash against globalization, the loss of sovereignty, fiscal austerity, and the soulless, smiley-face, corporate culture being implemented throughout the West and beyond. That this backlash is reactionary in nature does not change the fact that it is an insurgency … just as Islamic fundamentalism is. Both insurgencies are doomed attempts to revert to despotic social systems (nationalist in one case, religious in the other) and so reverse the forward march of global capitalism. The global capitalist ruling classes are not about to let that happen.

The corporatocracy wasted no time in dealing with this new insurgency. They demonized and hamstrung Trump, as they’ll continue to do until he’s well out of office. But Trump was never the significant threat. The significant threat is the people who elected him, and who voted for Brexit, and the AfD, and Sanders, and Mélenchon, and Corbyn, and who just stayed home on election day and refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. The threat is the attitude of these people. The insubordinate attitude of these people. The childish attitude of these people (who naively thought they could challenge the most powerful empire in the annals of human history … one that controls, not just the most fearsome military force that has ever existed, but the means to control “reality” itself).

The corporatocracy is going to change that attitude, or it is going to make it disappear. It is in the process of doing this now, using every ideological weapon in its arsenal. The news media. Publishing. Hollywood. The Internet. Intelligence agencies. Congressional inquiries. Protests. Marches. Twitter’s “advisory emails.” Google’s manipulation of its search results. Facebook’s “counterspeech” initiative. Russiagate. Shitholegate. Pornstargate. The ruling class is sending us a message. The message is, “you’re either with us or against us.” The message is, “we will tolerate no dissent, except for officially sanctioned dissent.” The message is, “try to fuck with us, and we will marginalize you, and demonize you, and demonetize you, and disappear you.”

The message is, “we control reality, so reality is whatever the fuck we say it is, regardless of whether it is based in fact or just some totally made-up story we got The Washington Post to publish and then had the corporate media repeat, over and over, for fourteen months.” If that doesn’t qualify as full-blown Orwellian, I’m not sure what, exactly, would.

The media war on “fake news” is a war on all those who dare call rotting meat what it is. In Battleship Potemkin, the captain dealt with the rebellious sailors by ordering a tarpaulin to be thrown over them, literally sweeping them under the rug, and then ordering a firing squad to shoot them. At the last moment, the firing squad refuses the order to shoot. The mutiny is on.

Attempts to throw a tarp over insurgent Deplorables are ongoing at Google, Facebook, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and countless other guardians of the liberal regime. A particularly astute move is the effort to invest the counterinsurgency operation mounted by the corporatocracy and the organs of the Deep State with the aura of “Resistance.” But squelching dissent is a desperate measure that testifies to the fatal unraveling of the official narrative. It delays the final reckoning but cannot turn rotting meat back into living tissue.

Going Down

Once you get past all the rhetoric about diversity, all the rationalization . . . it’s pretty clear that the Western canon had to be devalued to make room for women.

The reality is that women have contributed nothing to any field of creative endeavor. Womanly virtues lie elsewhere. They are the keepers of the hearth, patrons of the decorative arts, enchantresses.

But now, for the sake of mollifying shrews, we are required to pretend that the canon is discredited by its lack of diversity, a diversity measured in crude demographic terms completely divorced from aesthetic considerations. In a decomposing culture, where virility has been undermined and displaced by technology, the canon is unable to summon defenders and is overwhelmed by the hordes of mediocre opportunists whose self-elevation depends on the debasement of what they themselves could never hope to achieve. We have to get rid of Rubens to make room for Tracy Emin.

Opening the door of the canon to women did not simply enlarge it; it destroyed it altogether, making it permeable to all the inferior, malformed, vapid, ugly things it was designed to exclude. No vessel stays afloat once it begins to admit water under the rubric of inclusion.

The West’s inability to value and safeguard its own heritage is the surest sign that it is a moribund civilization. The day of woman arrives when men have become too weak to rule her. But her triumph is short-lived because she helms a sinking ship.

Trump as Wrecking Ball

Orlov is always on the money:

There are some people in the US who wish for a better president: one who would actually fix things. But what if no such person could exist, even in theory? What if what the country needs now is a nice big swinging wrecking ball, to knock down all of the buildings that have become unsafe and should be condemned? You can paint your wrecking ball any color you like, so that it looks pretty while hanging still, but paint tends to rub off on first contact with the brick walls of reality. In the end, all that matters is that the condemned building collapses. Once it does, it becomes possible to clear the rubble and build something better in its place.