I don’t usually do posts that consist of a series of quick thoughts and short points. It seems time. Things have been accumulating in the mental queue and I need to get them out while they’re still useful. I call them “sundries,” from the root “sunder”: distinct, separate. There was the old phrase “torn asunder” which I’ve always rather liked, as long as it was applied to the right person or thing. When I was a child “sundries” were the little items one got at the “drug” store. The word is little used at present. So much the worse for the present.
My last post about writer/philosopher Matthew Crawford drew some interest, but Nick Land expressed healthy skepticism on Twitter:
@Nick_B_Steves I’m normally a huge @neovictorian23 fan, but this looks like a stretch.
— Outsideness(@Outsideness) February 22, 2016
I deeply appreciate the first part, and I think I understand the second. I called Crawford “Philosopher for the Dark Enlightenment” and I meant “A Philosopher…” One letter can make all the difference. Crawford has some insights that can add value to the conversation. He probably doesn’t consider himself “Darkly Enlightened” but his placement of our entire lives, and our most basic perceptions, within our relation to other humans is a bracing antidote to the Cogito ergo sum of Descartes and the Sum ergo cogito of Ayn Rand. He’s certainly no “collectivist” but his critique of the libertarian fiction of the Sovereign Consumer making rational choices while swimming in a sea of corporate persuasion is devastating. Neoreaction needs to pursue this line more thoroughly.
Kim Philby, Commie Rat Bastard but helluva spy.
I’ve been reading an old book about (perhaps) the biggest spy scandal of the 20th century: THE PHILBY CONSPIRACY: Three (and more) of Britain’s Best and Brightest, graduates of the Finest Schools and so on, whose treason devastated British (and for that matter, CIA) intelligence efforts in the 1940s and 50s (La Wik’s summary is decent). Beyond the particulars of the weakness of the British intelligence community, the lesson here is just how foolish it is for an organization, or a society, to rely on credentials as proof of loyalty. Jonathan Pollard was, of course, hired by US Naval Intelligence despite his massive drug use, loyalty to Israel and propensity to lie about almost everything. But all of those problems have been fixed now…
Oh, yeah, Snowden.
It’s easy to buy into the myth of the hyper-competent “intelligence” services, British, Russian, Israeli, American or other; television shows, movies and novels all paint a picture that has seeped into the social fabric. The reality is that they fuck up almost as often as other government agencies. Everyone who works at them has a degree from university though. I hope you find that reassuring.
Most humans (and some bots, I suspect) feel the need to write about the how and why of Donald Trump’s success (so far) in the US presidential primaries. At the moment, I’m more intrigued by the failures of the many, many “experts” who began proclaiming that Trump had no chance about five minutes after his announcement. One who has got it right (so far) is Scott Adams, best known for his Dilbert comic. You can read the chronological sequence starting with his posts all the way back in August 2015 here. One of the things I was intrigued by in Adams’s book was his laconic description of how, back in the 90s, he was twice told by his corporate bosses that his climb up the ladder was going nowhere fast because “we’re not promoting white males.” He doesn’t seem bitter–in fact it got him directed toward other things like becoming a multi-millionaire writer and artist. Keep your eye on Adams, and definitely seek to learn from his persuasion reading list.
As for the crowd who kept repeating for months and months that Trump would fall any second now…why are they getting paid to predict and write? Yeah, I’m looking at you Nate Silver. But there are a hell of a lot of others, and a hell of a lot of Republican “consultants” who should never, ever find work again.
Finally, one more book of interest; at the office they were passing around The Anatomy of Peace so I went ahead and read it too. This isn’t your usual #NRx fare (heh) but some of that New Age-Feel Good-Hippie-Dippy-Bologna…except, okay, it was good for me to read it. I tend to think of a lot of people not as people, but as obstacles. Objects. Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill effing Clinton, hell, all so-called Progs, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, hell all so-called SJWs, rappers and other strutting Blacks, every whining “minority” on television whining about every fucking thing that ever happened for the last 2,000 years, feminists inventing bullshit rape statistics and calling for my balls to be cut off, environmentalist billionaires flying on private jets to Paris and telling me to quit using fucking paper towels…etc., etc. How long could the list be, if I really tried?
And yet–they’re, all of ’em, human beings, not just objects and obstacles. They have what the book calls ” a heart for war” and there’s a reason for that, because they’re resentful and afraid. Afraid of their weakness, their thin and cracking façade, the raw primeval truth that if white men quit turning the cranks of technological civilization they would die.
We need to have our hearts for peace, which doesn’t mean doing anything different, exactly, in speaking out against the things that we see as destructive of order and civilization. Indeed, I think I’m more effective at fighting when my heart is at peace and I see things as they really are, the sad humans on the other side, not objects but sadly misled, incorrect human beings.
Only by knowing our opposition, empathizing with and understanding them, knowing how to see the world as they see it, will we be able to overcome. They’ll never be able to empathize and understand us. That’s our edge.