Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: history

Human culture in a nutshell

I published this article some time ago on my pal slittyeye´s blog  I'm quite proud of it so I'll cross post it over here. 

 

There’s this question I’ve wondered about forever. We are all told humans are individuals who think independently and are totally creative and unique.

But I grew up and read, travelled, went to museums. And I thought: if all humans are individuals with individual souls and fully capable or whatever,

Why are cultures so uniform? And why do they vary so much? Why do Egyptians cut clitorises? Why do Chinese worship money? Why do Indians worship bullcrap? Why do Moroccans drink mint-tea? Etc.

The answer to cultural diversity between cultures, uniformity inside them; and to the world’s utter dysfunction in the postmodern age is,

Most people are stupid. As individuals, most people are pretty dumb. I won’t show the Bell curves here. But it’s pretty well known. Or it should.

Well dumb people can’t do anything by themselves. They have to be taught. Repeatedly. Drilled mercilessly on their brains until they reach basic competence.

And that’s what most cultures do: the same fucking thing over and over again for generations. Attach some mystical value to the whole thing (some God fucked a sheep and its son invented the technique), some ancestor worship (they came up with doing that on the first place), and over time y...

Compassion as a leftist scam

I'm sure everyone has the bad habit of looking up unfamiliar words on Google before finishing reading a text, shortening the attention span and all that. Well reading the last article of Steve Sailer, where he strangely doesn't mention HBD (I guess he wants Pinker to be able to respond), I ended up reading about the Khodynga Tragedy.

It basically happened that during the celebrations of Tsar Nicholas II coronation festivities,1896,  they had this panem et circenses oh so Christian charitable places where meat and beer were given away to the loyal subjects of the crown. Over time rumors flew that the free stuff was running out, so people ended up running in, pushing whatever came on their way, with the result of 1300+ people dead, trampled.

If such an accident happened today in say, the US, we on the HBD sphere would be writing one after another posts claiming how Idiocracy is coming, we-told-you-so, how this proofs HBD, and wishing government would just get around abolishing welfare so the left half of the bell curve would just die off and spare us the shame. As a matter of fact fatal stampedes happen all the time in India, and the usual reaction is just some amused grin.

What would liberals do, though?

Well if the rul...

How Left and Right both suck

I used to call myself a reactionary, but lately I'm developing a hate for the word. Let's say I'm evolving. I not longer think we should go back to the past. The modern world sucks alright, but the past sucked in his own way. Let me explain.

Let's talk about myths.

Conservatives have this myth.

In the old days people were reasonably well behaved, religious, serious, forthright, strong, men were manly women were ladies. Society enforced this behavior in many different ways, which we call tradition.

Then liberals came by and destroyed tradition, killed standards, and said people should be free and do what they wanted. The result is Juggalos, Juggalettes, Big Brother, American Idol, and basically civilization collapse.

So Conservatives cry, its all about those liberals! They destroyed those traditions that made people behave. We should just go back and enforce them, so the common people will go back to be god-fearing, hard-working honest fellas.

All of this is quite true. Yet let's look at the historical angle.

Those liberals that deconstructed and destroyed the old traditions were, on average, quite smart people. And they did that because they were bored by those traditions. They didn't want go to to mass to listen to some old fool preach some moralizing BS. They didn't want to be chaste and refuse to explore the pleasures of the body. And they didn't want to self-censor, to pay respect to some bunch of old geezers who were only w...

On words and history

I am a linguist by training, so I have this bias for etymology. The word reactionary, which is what the Jacobins called the pious rebels of the Vendeé, just didn't sound right. Still after careful thought, it seems clear to me that the intellectual descendants of the Vendeé farmers are what today we called traditionalists, and it's mostly secular dissenters of liberalism which call ourselves reactionary. If you think about it, we are using an old word for what is a very new movement.

But of course the same could be said for progressives. Whigs became liberals, became progressives, became socialists, which became progressives again. Their particular positions may have changed, but its also very obvious what the inherent ideology is, how it started, how it evolved, what they stand for. We on the other hand don't have it so easy.

What do 'we' stand for? With 'we' I mean all those likely to read this blog, which are also likely to call themselves reactionary. Still it seems to me that the reactionary blogosphere is but a subset, the most coherent, of a wide pool of dissenter blogs. Most of them based in the US, each focuses on the particular aspect of liberalism that is screwing him the most. I discern the following:

1.HBD

2. Anti immigration

3.Anti welfare

4.Anti-feminism

5.Anti Jewish

6.Anti bankstas

7.Anti Democracy

After Handle's suggestion I tried to do a Venn diagram on this, but th...

Left and Right, continued

Bill was very kind to write a long comment to my last post. I was answering when I saw that it was getting even longer, and consequently I thought it'd be wise to just start a new post for it.

So here's the original comment:

The post is about the 1960s. Seen that way, it is largely right. What happened in the 1960s is that the elite decided that they no longer wanted the (minor) inconveniences imposed on them by the norms and enforcement mechanisms which existed to prevent the proles immiserating themselves. They assigned their children the job of “making it so.”

Traditional sexual mores protect Joe and Jane Sixpack, but pretending to comply with them is annoying to the great and the good. The police dealing out rough justice protects the working class from the predators amongst them but can be inconvenient for hippies: hippies who have other methods to escape the genuinely unwashed. Etc.

The New Left / SWPLism / PC is, in effect, a war on the stupid by the smart. “Taking away this support of civilization will fuck up your life, your family’s life, the life of everyone you know? Well, you see, I find that prop slightly annoying, so, well, fuck you, yours, and everyone you know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The mainline Protestant denominations by this time were empty shells, consisting of some guy bleating out platitudes before the main event: coffee, donuts, and networking. Post Vatican II, the Catholic Church tried its best to b...

The narrow light of Experience

I've been watching these days Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series, BBC (1969). Its basically a history of western civilisation taught through the history of art, him being a curator. Although Clark also makes the occasional comment on culture, from his aesthetically traditionalist angle. Its normally just a short remark on how 1960s hippies are tasteless, or how the Reformation was little less than mass peasant histeria. But in the end of the 8th chapter, The Light of Experience,  which is about the 17th century, he makes this long, very charged comment.

Between Descartes and Newton, Western man created those instruments of thought that set him apart from the other peoples of the world. And if you look at the average 19th century historian (...), you'll think that European Civilisation seems almost to begin with this achievement. The strange thing is that none of these mid-century writers (except for Carlyle and Ruskin) seemed to notice that the triumph of rational philosophy had resulted in a new form of barbarism.  If, from the balcony of the Greeenwich observatory, I look beyond the order of Wrens's hospital I see the squalid disorder of industrial society. It has grown up as a result of the same conditions that allowed the Dutch to build their beautiful towns, to support their painters, to print the works of philosophers: fluid capital, a free economy, a flow of exports and imports, a belief in cause and effect. Well every civilis...

The Creative Destruction of Anglo-Saxon culture

Jim tell us how books are being burned all over the Anglosphere. He links to an article on Cracked about some guy who tells how libraries all over hire him to dispose of books, because the library has to make space for new books, doesn't have the money to expand, actually doesn't even have the money to give them away. So the books are burned. They have a business to run, you know.

Oh, come on, you must be thinking, this can't be happening. We are spending trillions in bank bailouts, while public libraries have to burn 18th century books to balance their budgets? Well, I'm surprised too. Jim focuses on the fact that the whole process is done in secret, without weeding out which books might be worth something and which can be burned without harm to humanity's knowledge. Nah, they just get junior stuff (I'm imagining a group of illiterate Mexicans carrying big plastic bags) and they burned the stuff.

Jim says its a conspiracy. Well I think he's exaggerating, although I also noticed that Google is quite evil indeed. By the way the Internet Archive should have like a huge torrent circulating with their whole stuf, updated monthly. You never know with this things.

While it might not be a conspiracy of the Cathedral professors to erase the pre-progressive past, if you read the...

On Drilling

Aretae writes how he likes my insight but disagrees with my position. He hates drilling "with a white hot passion". Actually I do too. Bores me to death. Actually, and I guess Aretae feels the same too, drilling offends me. Because I don't need it. I understand all those dull kids around me probably needed to be drilled to get a handle on what was taught, but I didn't. I was always ahead. And receiving equal treatment made me mad. I deserved better.

Still that doesn't mean that drilling should simply be made away with. I argued against it here. The fact remains that 80% of people need drilling to learn any skill set. But not just skills, just about every concept our brains manage is imprinted. Language, identity, all is created by large scale drilling. The very fact that nation states exist says a lot about the power of drilling. Nations are defined as any group of people who have a shared history, culture and blood ties. But that's patently false. Nations are a group of people who have been drilled into thinking that they share a history, culture and blood ties. An inhabitant of Nice has no more history, culture and blood in common with someone from Calais, than it has with someone from Torino. Garibaldi, the Italian nationalist was from Nice! But alas, in 1860, not than long ago, Napoleon III seized the area, and a...

On Kindness

Professor Charlton writes that our society is very nice.

Modern society exceeds all previous societies in terms of its kindness - it is the least-cruel society ever. Naturally - if we focus on this single virtue to the neglect of all other virtues and sins, then we can regard ourselves as more virtuous than anybody else.

It caught my attention, not only because its rare to read Professor Charlton praising any aspect of modern society, but because it reminded me of a quote by the late Aldous Huxley, who said:

It's rather embarrassing to have given one's entire life to pondering the human predicament and to find that in the end one has little more to say than, 'Try to be a little kinder.'

As much as I admire Huxley, I thought he was being too clever there. He never thought about kindness when he was young, and admired beauty and boldness. He only thought of it when he grew old, and needed people to be kind to him.

But the concept of modern society as kind especially reminds me of the last chapter in Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series, which I blogged about a while ago. He talks among other things of the birth of kindness as a social value:

It's an almost incredible fact, tha...

On Ethics 2: Children

Foseti links to Laura Wood's blog, aptly named "The Thinking Housewife". She's a longtime commenter at Lawrence Auster's, and gives a fresh perspective as a Traditionalist woman, who wants neither to work outside the home, nor vote, nor dominate her husband. Her blog is also much fun because it resembles so much a stereotypical Victorian house, with all those housewives debating moral topics while drinking tea, and the odd wimpish man participating.

Yet on the whole the tone of discourse is just... womanly. Which is to say simple, and prone to long tirades of moral outrage without much argument. Well there is some argument, and she must be commended for it. But its mostly Mrs Wood who does the thinking. Her tea-mates, not much. In  this post (h/t foseti, who I guess makes his wife read that blog?), they comment this news:

ETHICISTS ARGUE IN FAVOR OF ‘AFTER-BIRTH ABORTIONS‘ AS NEWBORNS ’ARE NOT PERSONS’

The news talks about how some ethics experts (not fat guys on suits this time though) argue that, once you think about it, infanticide and abortion aren't really that different. And abortion is good, so why not kill children? At least...

Panem, putas et circenses

One of the big steps towards political adulthood is to understand the relation between fascism and leftism. The eternal question of whether fascism is the antithesis of leftism, or just a flavor of it. The official view of the question is that fascism is the remnant of the Old Regime, the evil dark ages, who still lurk in the shadows to fight against Progress. Then there's the occasional smartass who says that Fascism was a leftist movement. And they oppose modern capitalism to it.

Well that's not it either. Mencius Moldbug made himself a name by reminding people that Fascism had nothing to do with the old aristocratic order. Fascism was a popular movement, a movement of the masses. It was all about public opinion. Mussolini grabbed power simply by getting a mob and walking to Rome. Hitler also made himself a militia, then mob-ilised the population. The old kings didn't care about mob-ilising the people. They ruled because they had a right to do so according to ancient laws, and that was it. They neither needed nor expected the people's consent.

Of course all that changed over the years. In the beginning the check was aristocratic privileges, but then arrived the printing press, the Reformation, later the railroad, the newspaper, the radio. In a manner of speaking, all there is to power, political power, is the ability to raise a mob, organise technolo...

On Whores

The Social Pathologist has been doing a series of great posts on the recent best seller, Mimi Alford's biography. Mimi Alford being the 19 year old girl from a good family who went to work as an intern in the White House in JFK's time. Kennedy being Kennedy, he couldn't pass up the chance of shagging a good ol' WASP virgin, which he did. Alford loved every bit of it, and kept on shagging with him even after getting engaged. She liked it so much that 50 years later she wrote this book about the thing, and she remembers every detail.

Besides the anecdotes about JFK and friends' sexual life, the book is a good window in the psychology of women. Alford writes her story very frankly, without artifice, saying plainly how she felt in every moment of her life. As a psychological drama the most interesting part of the book is when, on learning about JFK's assassination, she burst up crying, and her fiancé asks her why is she taking it so personally. Then she confesses about her affair with Kennedy. Her poor old boyfriend, who hadn't touched her by then, loses his head. He never forgave her, but kept the engagement. Their marriage was a lousy, cold and sad affair. Poor fella. Imagine if she had told him about her giving a blowjob to David Powers in front of JFK.

The Socia...

Why Christians lose

Everybody in the blogosphere writes reviews of books by modern economists or academics, producing a lively discussion on the topics on vogue. That's also how people like Yglesias or Tyler Cowen get good money also. Well I'm not going to participate in that, and I'm not reading any of these trendy books, in part because my fellow bloggers have done all the digestion necessary for me to know what the book is about without contributing to their chalupas eating budget.

All this doesn't mean that I don't read any books at all. It's that what I read doesn't usually interest anyone else. But to hell with it, I've got a blog and I'm gonna do a book review too.

I just finished reading the 1971 book, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century, by Speros Vryonis Jr.

The Byzantine Empire is one of the most interesting polities in human history, for many reasons. For one, it was the Roman Empire! Or so they called themselves, Romania. It was a Christian bureaucratic theocracy in a time where most of Europe was divided in tiny fiefdoms by uncouth German knights. Humans generally have a fascination for continuity, and Byzantium was a miracle of continuity in a world of violent upheaval. It survived the Goths, the Slavs, the Bulgars. Even the Arabs, although they did do a lot...

Constantinople's suicide

I apologise for the frivolous intermede, and now continue with more serious matters.

Following up with the first post, I'll explain how big, rich and important Anatolia (Asia Minor) was for the Empire, and how the Empire basically let the Turks in by sheer incompetence.

The first chapter in the book is dedicated to bust the myth that Asia Minor wasn't Greek to begin with. It's been written often that the loss of Asia Minor was analogue to that of Syria or Egypt: the people were ethnically distinct from their rulers, and as a result didn't care being ruled by the Turks. Vryonis asserts with strong evidence that the population of Asia Minor, if originally distinct, had long been Hellenised, and by the 6th century was majority Greek speaking, Orthodox Christian up to Cappadocia (up to Sebasteia, modern Sivas). Further east the Syrian, Armenian or Kurdish element was more prevalent. Asia Minor had been spared the multiple invasions that Greece had suffered, such as the Germanic and Slavic invasions in the 5th and 6th centuries. Besides some Arab raids after the rise of the Caliphate, Asia Minor had enjoyed a long peace, and was by far the richest part of the Byzantine Empire.

It also was the "spiritual reservoir"(Vryonis' words) of the Empire. Asia Minor was one of the earliest areas to be Christianised, and was "strewn with sanctuaries and cults of numerous saints"...

Where did all the Christians go?

So in the last post we saw how the Byzantine Empire thought that playing a soap opera style family feud was more important than the lives of 10 million Greek Christians in Asia Minor.

Vyronis tells how this crushing defeat woke up all the Greek nation to the danger of the Muslim Turks:

The strife between the generals and bureaucrats not only did not abate, but the very appearance of the Turks in Anatolia seemed to add a certain zest to the struggle as each side strove to outdo the other in purchasing Turkish military aid in a quest for power. This graphically illustrates how narrow and selfish political considerations outweighed all other factors, the Turkish danger included. By this time the true nature of the Turkish menace was apparent to all, to both bureaucrats and generals, but the desire for the imperial crown was overpowering.

Oh.  But the infighting topic is already getting boring, so let's talk about the new boss: the Turks.

I remember reading some years ago some smartass claiming that the Turkish conquest was a good thing, because the Byzantines had double taxes to pay for State and Church, and Muslims have it more streamlined. Yeah he really said so. Of course when one just sees the maps changing colors it doesn't seem like the change was more than just one boss going out and a new boss coming in. The old story of how feudal wars were a trivial business because...

The Byzantine Cognitive Elite

One of the funniest chapters of Vyronis' book tells how the Byzantine intelligentsia coped with the loss of the empire. The Middle Ages were the golden age of religion; everything was understood in terms of God and scripture, all matters big and small were referred to the local priest or bishop, which would use their theological training to explain to the flock how anything, from the local disease which decimated a village's livestock, to an earthquake that devastated a whole area, it was all God's will, chastening the people for their sins.

Well if an earthquake is a proof of God's wrath, the Turkish invasion surely meant God was really really pissed. How did the theologians deal with that? Muslims were as likely as Christians, if not more so, to credit God for their victories, and they surely seemed to have the upper hand in the God's with us business. So what was a Constantinople intellectual supposed to do? Accept God's message and convert? Hell no. People don't spend decades analysing the most intricate minutiae about the relation of the Father and the Son, the double nature of Christ, or the surface area of angels and pins, just to throw it all away and get in the business of hadith reciting. There's already enough competition there already anyway.

So Christian intellectuals chose to fight Islam in the realm of ideas. One funny thing about Muslims that is little acknowledged today, is that the people really think their religion is true, and do enjoy ta...

The fragility of logic

There's a funny paradox in all us reactionary bloggers. On one hand we believe that politics should be abolished. That a firm, inviolable power structure would make life safer, the economy wealthier, the people happier overall. With caveats of course, but surely the modern glorification of constant struggle, the micro civil war that democracy forces upon all of us is a bad thing.

Yet we are obsessed with politics. Writing a blog, commenting everywhere, fighting the liberal hordes wherever we find them. Some more than others, but we are way more involved than the average person. I don't know about others, but I was always like that. I started to argue at primary school, my teachers hated me. Then came the internet, BBSs, Usenet, IRC, you name it, I've been there fighting for my ideals. I used to gang up with friends and crack leftist's email accounts, then send erotic stories fetched from the web to all the female names in the address book. Damn, it was fun.

As a kid I first was a fairly typical rightist partisan, by late adolescence become a libertarian, then quickly grew up and realised none of it made much sense. Not that I met any intelligent debater who convinced me of the folly of any of it. In fact at the same time that I grew out of libertarianism, came an increasing feeling of tedium over political arguments. First I quickly got bored of debating with dimwits who did little else but parrot partisan lines. But arguing with smart people wasn't much bet...

Affirmative Action in 1910

I think one of the most important contributions that the reactionary blogosphere has done is disproving the common conservative myth that things in the West only started to go awry after the 1960s. While it is true that the counter-culture destroyed traditional religion and ethnic loyalty and brought anti-racism, feminism and welfare transfers, none of that came from a vacuum. The Left has been around a very long time.

The more you read the more it seems that the powers that be have been leftist forever. I owe to Jim Donald the great insight that imperialism was a leftist phenomenon, as opposed to the earlier colonialists. Imperialism happened when the Left nationalised the colonialists' property, and introduced enlightened rule by state bureaucracy where ad-hoc arrangements had prevailed. Over time, as always imperialism became the status quo, a.k.a. the right, and the sanctimony rat-race advanced making anti-imperialism the new leftist cause. But don't let that deceive you.

Imperialism was opposed as the evil mechanism of oppression and exploitation of foreign nations. Which partly was, because it's the only way of making a profit out of the dominion of lands very far from home. That's how the colonies started, but the shift into state led imperialism didn't make them more profitable. The Left isn't about making money, it's about losing it.

See this test...

Burma's dead, long live Burma.

Says Thrasymachos that he's fascinated with Walter Russel Mead. I must admit to share some of the fascination. It's like watching a train wreck. I can't help admiring the mess, and wondering how each piece of broken steel is entwined to the other. Thinking how on hell did the toilet end up between rows 11 and 12, surprisingly keeping its shape intact.

A good source of reactionary recruits is a sober analysis of recent foreign policy. Of Moldbug's Cathedral, perhaps the most conspicuous part is the US State Department. National policy is subject to many emotional narratives and historical constraints that, on the whole, are quite understandable and acceptable at face-value. But any careful look at, say, US foreign policy before and after WW2, and a good perusal at contemporary sources is the fastest way to lose it. The sheer madness of it all shows that Progressives are just out of their minds.

And they still are, which also proves the Cathedral is still the same animal. The fact that a homo US ambassador was publicly murdered on the streets of Benghazi should be proof enough. But there's always more. Going back to Mr. Mead, he likes to focus on those topics with more potential for bringing good news, say, 3D printing, or autonomous cars, or East Asian policy. A recent news hotspot is, of course, Myanmar.

See this masterpiece of foreign policy ...

Witch hunts, East and West.

It seems the US is immersed in yet another witch hunt against a heretic troublemaker who dares contradict the foundational dogma of the Cathedral. I'm more surprised by the balls of the man who made a dissertation on Mexican IQ on freaking Harvard, than in the totally predictable crackdown when his views came out in the news. Of all the stupid, irrational, me-too denunciations that have denounced Richwine all around the media, the one that caught my eye the most was the one from Will Wilkinson in the Economist. I thought of making a thorough fisk of the piece, but it's all over the place already, and I doubt I could say anything that anyone doesn't know.

I'll try to be original and talk of something else. While the US was busy depriving Jason Richwine of his livelihood, something much bigger was going on in Japan. A which hunt of larger scale, and larger consequences that what any naive researcher might do in Cathedral HQ. Right now Japan is in one of the most important times in their history. Anyone who reads the news might have noticed that Japan is all over the news, with its new central bank governor, massive currency printing, Abenomics as Keynesianism done right and all that. It Continue Reading →

Ethnic policy in ancient Japan

For all the modernity-hate and past-worship in the Dark Enlightenment Community, there are very few historians around. Interest in history is also pretty low considering the circumstances. Sure there is a lot of interest and good scholarship in the immediate past, i.e. the evolution of the Cathedral, but little interest to ancient or foreign history.

That's a shame, because you can learn a lot from history. Perhaps it's because of HBD, the cornerstone of all our ideas. We are lately finding out that people have evolved faster than we thought, so the idea that we are different from our ancestors is spreading a while. That's mostly true, but don't believe the hype. We haven't evolved that much. Human power dynamics aren't based in gut adaptations, or even in the distribution of altruism genes. Power dynamics are wired deep, deep into our lizard brains, or at the very least monkey brains. Check out this video and tell me it's that different from our world:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSVF4CuXYno]

One thing that liberals often say to us (like that Scott Alexander dude) is: what's so wrong about modernity? We got antibiotics and stuff, right? Well feminism or homo liberation can be dismissed as a matter of taste, so what's the big deal? Well surely the biggest deal is ethnic policy. The Cathedral is hell bent on bringing every single tribal people on earth into the West, give them perks and let them run wild without even trying to make ...

The truth is out there

I first became acquainted with the name of Christopher Beckwith when I borrowed this book on the origins of old Japanese from my college library. It's a groundbreaking book on a very interesting topic that nonetheless has received little scientific scrutiny. Most Japanese themselves don't know much, nor seem to care about where their language, and hence their people come from. The book was interesting in part, but also full of wild speculations and non-sequiturs that left on me the impression that Mr. Beckwith is quite the nutter. It's one thing that Japanese has relatives in old Manchurian Kingdoms. It's a different one altogether to posit that Burmese and Japanese share common ancestry because they both have a pronoun which starts in /wa/ and have a lot of monosyllabic words.

To be honest I never cared much about the topic, or the man. Until last week Razib at GNXP declared himself a fan of a recent book of his on Central Asia. I recall the guy was an expert on Tibet, so he must know more about Central Asia than Japan. And Central Asia is also a poorly understood region, so there must be lots of low-hanging fruit for the committed scholar to gather. On the same post, Razib li...

Ghosts and Diplomacy

WRM cheers on the newly found intimacy between USG and Japan. Kerry and Hagel, State and the Pentagon are both now in Japan, where they have signed... something. WRM sees this as proof that USG is putting its weight behind Japan, joining forces against China. And that's a good thing. Say what you will about WRM, he knows what he likes, he makes it clear, and he says it all over again as many times as he can find excuses for. Pension reform, automation, fuck China, defend Israel, he's not a single-issue guy, he-s a 5-issue guy. Which doesn't mean he really has a clue.

I found his article quite surprising, because just yesterday I read in the Japanese press this other article about Kerry and Hagel made a flower offering at the memorial to the unnamed soldier in Chidorigafuchi. Now this is big news for several reasons. First of all no one has ever gone to Chidorigafuchi in decades. It's a small, inconspicuous place inside the Imperial palace. It was only built in 1959, and the government has given it little attention.

And that's because Japan already has an official place to pray for the war dead. And that's Yasukuni shrine. Built in 1869, year of the Restoration, with the explicit purpose of be...

Globalization

I'm still reading Christopher Beckwith's book.

The guy is still as nuts as I remembered him. Just a little example: back in Ancient China, around 300 BC there was a foreign people living in the Tarim Basin, which the Chinese called 月氏. There are good reasons to think those people were the Tocharians, an Indo-European offshoot. These characters are pronounced in MSM (Modern Standard Mandarin) as Yuezhi (sort of /yoo-eh-jrr/ in American English).

Of course the modern pronunciation has nothing to do with the ancient one. As of now we are fairly confident of how Chinese sounded around 700 AD, the Tang Dynasty days, and those characters were pronounced as /ngwat ji/. Well of course there are 1000 years of difference between 700 AD and 300 BC. But Mr. Beckwith insists that the first character, /ngwat/, was pronounced /Tokwar/. Well, 1000 years is a lot of time, but phonetic change does follow some rules, and it's seldom, not to say never, that radical. Not to say it's purely impossible. But then Beckwith comes up with another theory of his. Any student of European history knows of Attila and his Huns, called Hunni (singular Hunnus, probably pronunced as Hunno at the time).  Well it happens that in Ancient China, more or less at the same time frame as the Yuezhi, there was a tribe of steppe dwellers on the northern frontier called the 匈奴. These characters are pronounced in MSM as Xiongnu, which doesn't ring a bell. But in 700 AD Chinese they were pronounced as Hion...

Monarchy

After refusing for years, I finally yielded to a friends's insistence that I watch Game of Thrones. And it's actually pretty good. Quite oversexed, you might say, but not comically so, as the infamous Rome series, which had Augustus fucking his elder sister, out of the blue. I have no trouble believing that a quarter or so of the medieval elite were oversexed whoremongers. We do have an unrealistic image of the Middle Ages as a time of piety and boredom and sheer peasant stagnation. Then again it does nag me to read that the author of the series, George R. R. Martin is an Obama supporter, and a Carter worshiper. Of all people. I wonder what Jimmy Carter would think if he watched the series, with all those naked women and guts spilling out of soldiers.

The fun point of the series is to see how power is grabbed, lost, used and fought about. It's mostly about petty disputes, personal dislikes and other middle-schoolish personal relations. Revenge as the ultimate human emotion. And if you know something about how Feudalism worked, it all does ring a bell somehow. You read in a book how this lord had this lover, or killed this man or whatever, and well that's just something you read. Seeing it on a movie though, and quite vividly, gives another impression. Which makes it all so much real. I've said before I am a great believer in the dictum that all politics are local. But local not as in town, but as in house. Or castle, or palace, or whatever it is. Politics is about...

High Level Equilibrium Trap

If you've read some history you'll probably know about the Needham Question, i.e. why China didn't have an industrial revolution. Personally my favorite answer is the High Level Equilibrium Trap, which is a theory saying that China had developed medieval technology so efficiently that it just never had a need to develop machinery and high density energy sources.

It is perhaps unrelated, but one does have the impression that Asians generally do more with less. The Confucian exhortation to self-improvement and mastery in some way produces a mindset conducive to extracting all the juice from whatever you have, instead of abandon it and come up with something new from scratch.

For a more graphic take on the idea, take a look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiIj2gDzaNI

BBC reading Moldbug

I didn't set out to make a series on BBC snippets, but I feel that I must. I shouldn't even be watching BBC documentaries. But somehow tricked by my love of their nature documentaries (which are just amazing) and some residual memory of their great series on Civilisation, I downloaded in bulk a series of recent BBC shows that looked interesting. But of course the BBC being what it is, basically the representatives of evil on earth, these recent documentaries I've been seeing are so jarringly and boorishly leftist, so in-your-face on their promotion of evil that I feel I must take something good from them. I'm that sort of man that hates wasting time on anything, I must always be able to rationalize any activity as having made learn something, or been the groundwork of some future productivity. I can't say I learned much of this BBC show so I might as well make a blog post on it.

So the BBC makes this 3 part documentary on the Ottoman Empire. And it's presented by this man who looks a lot like an old Egyptian waiter I knew from years ago. Why would they use an Egyptian to make a special on the Ottoman Empire? Beats me. Beats me more still when I check out the guy's name and learn that he isn't Egyptian, but Somali. He's not a dark Egyptian then, but a light Somali. And a connected one by that. Name's Rageh Omaar, public school and Oxford educated. Younger...

New Year is local

A female relative called from Europe to wish me a Happy New Year.

F: "What do you do out there for New Year's Eve?"

S: "Buckwheat noodles."

F: "Oh. And then? Any party after count down?"

S: "Not really. Actually no count down at all."

F: "How can you not do count down!"

S: "Count downs come from the European custom of having churches in every town with huge bells to mark the time. No churches here, so no bells. They didn't even have clocks until recently."

F: "That's sad."

S: "Actually tomorrow is the big day here. Fancy food, visit to the temple to pray for good fortune, visiting relatives, etc. What will you do tomorrow."

F: "Oh we'll all be horribly hangover unable to move."

S: "That's sad."

One of the hardest intellectual challenges of living abroad is learning to do cultural relativism right. Probably cultural relativism started with actually knowledgeable explorers paying attention and being reasonable about what they learned: that different peoples do things in different ways, and sometimes there's no particularly superior way. Which should be obvious. But bizarrely the idea was appropriated by the sanctimonious left as a way to stick it to their domestic rivals. Of course they deprived it of all nuance. But it shows how their brains are wired that talking about different cultures, when the context is not signaling ones enlightened tolerance in contrast to the nasty nativists, leftist just default ...

The Chinese Bureaucracy, 1

Don't believe the hype: learning Chinese is hard. Very hard. It's not for every one. Pronunciation is hard, grammar isn't as easy as often said, characters are insane,  and every city has its own dialect or outright different language which makes it very hard to understand anything unless people actually want you to understand.

And what makes it harder of all is that there's just so little interesting content in Mandarin. I know people who learned German to read Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer himself is said to have learned Spanish in his old age to be able to read Calderón de la Barca's plays. Manga and videogames have motivated many to learn Japanese.

But what do you learn Mandarin with? Mandarin prose itself is quite recent, with 18th century Dream of the Red Chamber becoming an unofficial standard, which saw an explosion of creativity in the Republican era. But the Communists killed that movement right after assuming power in 1949, so the only decent literature in Mandarin is all compressed in about 30 years. Taiwan and Hong Kong have not picked up the slack, so decent content in Mandarin pretty much died. And it can barely be said to have recovered by now, even after 30 years of opening.

I eventually found my killer app (TV soap operas and Wang Shuo), and through them developed a deep appreciation towards the Beijing dialect. It has a bad rep with Chinese intellectuals for having a Manchu superstrate and being a language of idle vagrants and swindlers...

Chinese Bureaucracy, 2

So in talking about how all states end up surrendering real power to the permanent bureaucracy, I thought it interesting to look at the example of China, which has the oldest and most well structured permanent bureaucracy of all. The previous post was on how the Chinese Empire started as a mostly hands-off affair where the Emperors let most daily decisions of government to their ministers, but little by little they assumed more power, until by the Ming Dynasty they assumed personal rule.

Next clip is about the lower levels of government. Who got to be a bureaucrat?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl4ryLN8PyE

In Ancient China, if you wanted to enter the state bureaucracy, well at the beginning it was all hereditary succession. Which in common parlance means, dragon breeds dragon, phoenix breeds phoenix, and the children of rats dig holes. So that's how it was, the position was inherited every generation. The ruler was like that, and all officials were also like that. Get to the Spring and Autumn period, especially in the Qin state, they had this incentive system to motivate the commoners. If you tilled your land well, you could become an official. At war, those who killed more people could become officials. Those who cut the head of an enemy in the battlefield, would rise one level in the bureaucracy by every head they cut. One head, one level up. Another head, anot...

Chinese Monarchy

The international Jewish conspiracy asks for more lectures from Yuan Tengfei, and more they shall have.

I started this series with the lecture on Chancellors, and followed with bureaucrats, because I thought it interesting to show how different the dynamics in China were from the West. China is *the* monarchy, they've had deified supreme emperors ruling over tens and hundreds of millions for millennia. Compared to that the monarchies of Europe are pretty much a sham. The Roman Emperors kept their pretenses of being Republican officers for centuries, until the Empire wasn't even in Rome and didn't even speak Latin. Later Medieval and Modern monarchs all had to constantly fight and appease their nobles, only to get their head axed, and those fortunate enough to win that battle would soon lose power to the bourgeoisie.

And that's another funny one, municipal corporations with autonomy rights against the court.  The first Chinese to study European history must have scratched their head hard about that. Nothing of the sort ever existed in China. Nobles weren't much of a problem even back in the First Empire, and when the Han Dynasty founder, Liu Bang did give noble rights to his brothers, it didn't take much for his successors to kill them all and stop the experiment. And so the landholding nobility was never an important polit...

Chinese Monarchy, 2

So we've seen that in the eternal conflict between the Chinese Emperor and his Bureaucracy, slowly the Emperor took power from the bureaucrats and into his own hands. As a result the Emperors ended up being extremely busy, having to handle all imperial business by themselves.

But the Chinese Emperors had quite extensive harems, and many of them sired dozens of children. All of which was necessary for the continuity of the dynasty of course. So what happened with all those Imperial Princes? Did the Monarch use his family to control the bureaucrats? Did he enlist their help to run the business of government? Let's see Yuan Tengfei's take on the issue:

[I translate 王 as prince, following common practice. For more details see Wikipedia.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do_rnR09T_c

Princes are Miserable

In Ancient China, the Emperor is boss. So the princes must be second in command. In today's soap operas, it's sorta the same way. If an actor can't get to play an emperor, well he can get to play a prince and enjoy it. All those Imperial Princes, very cool.

But being a Prince was actually quite miserable. First I must correct an idea that most people have. Who get to be prince? In my classes I always asked my students: who gets to receive the title of Prince? And they always say: "the Emperor's relatives". Wrong. His uncle-in law can? His sister's son?...

Monarchy and Monarchs

After all the praise that my Monarchy post got, I started to suspect that people hadn't really got the point. And while I am quite proud of it as a piece of storytelling, I wasn't praising monarchy as a system or anything like that. My suspicion was confirmed when Habsburgian transhumanist monarchist Michael Anissimov linked to the post in Twitter. Well if he liked it I'm sure I didn't make my point clear.

The point of the story was that the Japanese monarchy is a sham, and has been so for 13/14 of its history. Actual imperial rule lasted, at most, 100 years, after which it was co-opted by the Fujiwaras, the Heikes, the Genjis, and so on. The fact that the Imperial family was never actually deposed Chinese style has more to do with the ineptitude of the early shoguns and sheer inertia later.

Now one might make the point that even if the official monarchy was a sham, to the extent that the shoguns exerted personal rule they were running a monarchy themselves. Which is quite true. What's amusing is that the pattern of takeover of political power by the father in law not only happened to the Emperor himself, many shoguns also fell into it. So the Emperor loses actual rule to the Genji shogun, who is himself a puppet of his Hojo father in law. This puppetry chain never went further than two links though. But anyway, yes of course the shoguns were monarchs too, and the Tokugawas run a very real monarchy for 250 years.

What...

The Internet

I shut down my Twitter account last week (didn´t see the point really), and the blog's being slow too. But don't worry, I'm not going anywhere.

What the hell am I doing you say? Well I'm busy. I found the best site in the internet.

Real History.

I was chatting with Slittyeye on HBD, looking up pics of weird tribes on Google Images, when I stumbled upon the best fucking site on the internet. I came upon this link, which has pictures of albino Dravidians (!). Real cool pics.

 

 

 

 

1Capture

 

And you go further and there's lots of other really cool pics. Terracota warriors! Ainus! Yamamoto Isoroku! Backward Koreans!

 

By the way I've been planning forever to write a post on how primitive and just massively fucked up premodern Korea was, in spite of its IQ and traditional mores and monarchy and proximity to China, but I can't seem to find objective sources on the topic. I guess I'll just run a bunch of pictures of their ugly totems, ...

Craziness

There's two sorts of people. The optimists who periodically get enthusiastic about something and feel how everything is going to turn out great, and they're gonna be part of it personally. Then there are the adults who come by and tell you to calm down. It's not gonna turn out great and you aren't gonna be part of it anyway.

The Internet has brought the inner optimist in a lot of people. Bitcoin is a recent example most will know about. But there's also the more general principle, that the Internet has dramatically lowered the ease of access to publishing. Anyone can run a website or a blog, and tell truths that the establishment doesn't want in the official media. So the truth will be published, so that everyone can read it, and so the truth will prevail, and the people set free!

Instead we see the people organizing online campaigns to get Brendan Eich fired. Actually this is a pretty old threat in the blogosphere. Is the Internet a good thing? Will it help dissenters get together, to spread and refine their views? Or will the Cathedral simply colonize the Internet and use its technology to run a massive surveillance and brainwashing operation, also making it easy to subvert foreign countries? Well it probably has done both. But it's also obvious which has more important consequences.

Yet... that doesn't mean the Internet is bad. Far from it. For one, it has given us great websites such as Real History. And now s...

We need a new religion, 3

Isegoria has been running a series of posts quoting John Glubb's The Fate of Empires. It's a great book, short and to the point. Not exactly erudite and full of data, but the patterns he points out are very interesting, even though his analysis is not quite consistent.

I also found interesting his chapter on religion, which agrees on some old idea of mine:

 

In due course, selfishness permeated the community, the coherence of which was weakened until disintegration was threatened. Then, as we have seen, came the period of pessimism with the accompanying spirit of frivolity and sensual indulgence, by- products of despair. It was inevitable at such times that men should look back yearningly to the days of ‘religion’, when the spirit of self-sacrifice was still strong enough to make men ready to give and to serve, rather than to snatch.

But while despair might permeate the greater part of the nation, others achieved a new realisation of the fact that only readiness for self-sacrifice could enable a community to survive. Some of the greatest saints in history lived in times of national decadence, raising the banner of duty and service against the flood of depravity and despair.

<...

The Slave Trade in Medieval Italy

Before the trade in slaves shifted to the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the fifteenth century, merchants from Genoa, Venice, Palermo, and other Italian cities, supplied Muslim and Christian markets with slaves captured in lands outside of the Roman communion. Although Italians did not engage in slave trading with quite the same dedication that Catalan and Portuguese merchants applied to the business in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Genoese and the Venetians nevertheless offered them stiff competition. The demise of the Roman Empire in the West and thechanges in land tenure in the early Middle Ages contributed to a marked decline in slavery in Italy, but not its extinction. Venetians, for one, were supplying Muslims with slaves from Europe as early as the eighth century.Trading in and owning slaves increased after the ports of the eastern Mediterranean became accessible to Italian merchants at the start of the thirteenth century, but the most intense periodof Italian involvement in slave trading occurred during the 100 years before the most profitable trade shifted to the Atlantic Ocean in the late fifteenth century.Merchants from Italy acquired slaves mainly in the markets of the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea and, to a lesser extent, by raiding unprotected coastlines.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204 and the establishment of the Latin principalities in what is today mainland Greece and in the Ae...

The Slave Trade in Medieval Italy, 2

The overwhelming majority of the women and men sold to and by Italians came from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Merchants traded in Russians, Circassians, Tatars, Abkhazi, Mingrelli, Geti, Vlachs, Turkish, and others from the Balkan, Caucasus, and Central Asian regions, some of whom were Christians, captured by enterprising local traders or sold into slavery by debt-burdened parents. In late fourteenth-century Florence, most of the slaves were Tartars. Genoese traders sold Greek-speaking adherents of the Eastern Church in Italian and Aegean markets until the late fourteenth century, when the Genoese government no longer allowed it. Far fewer Greek slaves appear in Italian notarial sources after the turn of the fifteenth century, which suggests that the populations of Italian slave-owning societies now viewed the enslavement of Greeks to be as illegitimate as their own enslavement.

(...) The Genoese relied heavily on Russian, Circassian, and Tartar slaves into the 1460s. In Venice, Tartars stand out among the slaves sold there. Only the number of Russian slaves reaches nearly as high a figure. When they lost access to the Black Sea in the late fifteenth century, the Genoese and Venetians resorted to Bosnian, Serb, and Albanian captives of the Ottomans.15 Sub-Saharan African slav...

Slavery in Medieval Italy, 3

Because most economic historians assumed – for the most part, correctly – that slavery in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean did not engender racial or ethnic rationales in favour of slavery, they regarded the ancestral origins and skin colour of slaves as merely two among several demographic factors, such as gender and age. They showed more interest in religion, which they understood to play a greater role in legitimising enslavement. Recent efforts to establish continuity between Mediterranean slavery and that of the Atlantic have taken a different approach. Now medieval and early modern scholars well-read in the literature on North and South American slavery have developed a healthy scepticism about the assumptions embedded in the work of economic historians of an earlier generation. Perhaps skin colour and ethnic origins, they hypothesise, were not arbitrary categories as was previously thought. Not surprisingly, the more recent efforts began by reassessing what was known about black Africans in the Christian Mediterranean.

Sub-Saharan African slaves show up in northern Italian records as early as the mid- fourteenth century. Until the mid-fifteenth century, Italian merchants from the north- ern peninsula acquired black African slaves mainly from Muslim merchants. When Portugal began to transport captives fro...

Revolutions

Might as well post this here too:

I find interesting that when one sees Erasmus or Servetus, it’s clear that the growth of classical knowledge and the advancement of science had created a situation in which large parts of the intelligentsia in Europe had realized that Christianity was bogus.

They probably thought that rationality would prevail and that the Church would lose its power to science or something. But what happened is that screaming demagogues came out of nowhere in droves and soon dominated the ideological vacuum that incipient science had created. And what they sold was not rationality or heliocentrism, but something 10 times wackier and more violent than the Roman Church had ever been.

Fast forward to the late 18th century, and the further advances of science and history produce a new cohort of intellectuals convinced that Christianity, this time in 2 flavors is bogus. They probably thought that rationality would prevail …

but something 10 times wackier and more violent than the Puritans had ever been appeared, and won. We call it progressivism.

Fast forward to the early 21st century, and a small group of aspiring intellectuals are starting to notice that Progressivism is bogus. They probably thought …

Shinto

I was typing this as an answer to Jim's comment, but I might as well make it a post and be done with it. I don't really have much time to spend hours reading on religion in ancient Japan, interesting as it is. So I'll just start typing and see what comes out of it.

The gist of the issue is that Shinto was usual local animism, and the introduction of Buddhism with their holy ascetic monks and sutras and shit basically killed Shinto and replaced it for all purposes. Shinto animism was just your typical local spirit worship, and some clan god worship. Everybody had their dear gods/spirits who they prayed to or appeased, and that was it. The priests or wizards usually came from the same family of retainers of the local lord.

Then in the 6th century the imperial family's relatives in the Korean peninsula bring Buddhism, saying it's The Truth, and it's awesome. The Yamato court agrees, and Buddhism starts to spread like wildfire, together with their huge fancy temples, weird sutras in classical chinese, and ascetic monks.

Apparently the court start building temples next to any Shinto shrine of significance. I imagine it was a power coup to make the local clans understand who was boss now. Sure, you can pray to your clan god; but see this amazing temple just next to it! So much bigger and colorful. Eventually people got the message.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="641"]Continue Reading →

Babies for whom?

This post is a good example of what I wrote at the start of the year. I got an interesting idea that would require a lot of research to actually flesh out properly, but I don't have the time to acquire that kind of expertise right now. So I don't write the post, bury the idea, forget about it, and the world loses a half-assed good idea.

But, you dear readers told me that you can't get enough of half-assed good ideas, so here it goes. All this adds to what I commented here at Land's.

Yes, yes, people are not having babies. People in developed countries, that is. We don't know why exactly, and everybody has its pet theory, but what we do have is a lot of data which we can run correlations with.

Low fertility is most severe in developed countries, but it doesn't correlate cleanly with development. Moldova is as poor as any country in Africa, and it has low fertility. Spain is poorer than Sweden yet has lower fertility. Saudi Arabia is richer than Nepal yet has higher fertility.

One of the best correlations out there is female education, but again that doesn't map neatly. Swedish or American women go to grad school in much higher rates than Japanese women, yet they have higher fertility.

The obvious answer to this melange of messy correlations is that there's no one big factor. It's like the genetics of height or IQ; hundreds of small factors that add-up, and possibly affect each other in qui...

The purpose of absurdity

Ron Unz had an interesting comment at Sailer's blog a while ago:

Actually, another suspicion I’ve often had is that much of that massively-promoted total nonsense like transexualism and Gay Marriage is meant to flush out and expose potential troublemakers potentially lurking within ranks of the elite before they can rise high enough to become a serious problem. In support of this hypothesis, the leading purge victims are usually found within the fields of popular culture, entertainment, celebrity, and the media, which constitute a crucial chokepoint in controlling our society. It’s obviously much easier and safer to detect and purge a future Mel Gibson while he’s just a rising young actor than after he’s spent a dozen years as Hollywood’s #1 star.

the reason the King walks down the street naked in his imaginary suit is to draw out and catch those people unwilling to say they see what isn’t there.

In an actual historical example, the Emperor Caligula appointed his favorite horse to the highest official government position in the Roman State. How better to break the spirit of potentially disloyal Senators and military commanders, and determine which of them might have independent thoughts.

Well put. But personally what struck me is that he had to come up with this by his own. A very intelligent man in his 50s had to personally realize this. When...

Giving the handle

My last posts were very well received. I guess there's a market for the intersection between Chinese history and Ron Unz, so here's another one.

Steve Sailer writes:

As you may have noticed, Ron has this wacky theory that a surprising percentage of our political leaders have, shall we say, compromising incidents in their past. He even speculates that perhaps having something to hide from the public might make a rising politico more attractive to those who make it their business to decide which of the ambitious to help climb the greasy pole of political power.

And he just had a new post on what he's named the Unz Suspicion.

Mr. Unz is very right to suspect that much. But again Unz had to use all his powers of insight to come up with his idea. Which given his upbringing is quite impressive. And yet this has been common wisdom in China for thousands of years. A 10 year old in Kaifeng could have told you as much in 1034.

There's plenty of examples of great leaders of bureaucratic factions, imperial prime ministers who purposefully surrounded themselves with crooks in order to be able to crack down on any defector with ease. It may sound counterintuitive, but the group is much stronger if everybody is a crook with something to hide.

None of this is surprising...

Recent news

The fall of the Girondins on 2 June, helped by the actions of François Hanriot, the new leader of the National Guard, was one of Marat's last achievements. Forced to retire from the Convention as a result of his worsening skin disease, he continued to work from home, where he soaked in a medicinal bath. Now that the Montagnards no longer needed his support in the struggle against the Girondins, Robespierre and other leading Montagnards began to separate themselves from him, while the Convention largely ignored his letters.

Marat was in his bathtub on 13 July, when a young woman from Caen, Charlotte Corday, appeared at his flat, claiming to have vital information on the activities of the escaped Girondins who had fled to Normandy. Despite his wife Simonne's protests, Marat asked for her to enter and gave her an audience by his bath, over which a board had been...

Trade and Peace

People used to ask me if there's any libertarian movement in East Asia. And there really isn't. Nothing. The very concept is very foreign to them. It hardly registers at all. Try to explain it to a random native and odds are they won't even get what you're trying to say.

The whole concept is so bizarre that I promptly forgot about the whole thing after living her for some time. I used to be a Mises.org reading teenager, and I have to thank my Asian hosts for making it so hard to parse the ideology that I also lost interest myself.

Now I guess there's many theories about why is that the case; besides the obvious one that libertarianism is retarded, and the burden of proof is in Westerners to explain why they came up with that strange idea that the people would be free without the state. Whatever that means. I guess I'll put up my own theory: Asians are not into theology. They're into history. These are exceptions of course (the weird shenanigans of Neoconfucianism), but in general the study of history has been much more prestigious and pervasive than arcane discussions about social metaphysics.

And of course history is but a compendium of anecdotes about why libertarianism makes no sense. So let me show a very short and illustrative one.

Gengis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, and its Chinese branch, what became the Yuan Dynasty, left a lot of historical records about the great Mongol enterprise. These dynastic histories, especially when they conce...

Male culture

So I'm reading the Water Margin (Shui Hu Zhuan 水滸傳). Written in the 15th century, it's the most famous vernacular novel in Chinese history, together with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Well, I'm not actually reading it (it's long). I'm watching the 2011 TV show. Which is long too, but very neat. The Water Margin is the story of 108 men. Good men, strong, noble, virile men who are wrongly abused by the governmenet, and thus rescind their loyalty to the state, and run to the hills to form bands of bandits to fight for their manly honor. The story is based on the Song Dynasty, particularly the reign of the infamous Huizong (1082-1135), who was so fucking awful he deserves a post for himself. The novel is fiction, often very, very wild fiction; but it is loosely based in actual events on the era. There's an earlier novel about evil bandits in the mountains doing evil things. The Water Margin tripled the characters, and made them into good, noble men. It also sold like crazy, becoming the second most famous novel in the world, while it's more truthful predecessor was forgotten for 900 years.

The Song Dynasty gets a lot of good publicity for being wealthy, commercial and urbane. Indeed the Chinese economy boomed like it never would until well into the 19th century. The Song state also solved the problem of military warlords running petty kingdoms in their domains; the exam system became the only path into officialdom, and the strengt...

North Korea

When I get referrals from Twitter I use to search a bit to see how my posts are being talked about. Recently I saw Nick Land calling me a North Korea sympathizer of sorts. Now, I had been wanting to make a post about North Korea since a while ago, so this is as good a chance as any to write what I think about that country.

North Korea is a nasty place. I define "nasty" by the way the people live, not by the way its political system conflicts with the political positions I’ve signaled over the years. I don't give a crap about it being "totalitarian" or "communist" or "antidemocratic". I’m not married to any particular political structure. I haven’t spent years signaling my commitment to this or that form of government. I probably should have, as everybody I know has been busy loudly proclaiming their allegiance to western democracy, and my silence on the topic hasn't gained me any status. Fortunately, I get my status from other sources, and my heartfelt fear that joining the game of public political signaling would get me purged by more adept agitators sooner rather than later made me confident that my outsider strategy is the best over the long term. This is I think the mental calculation that most "conservative" people do.

Anyway, as I was saying, I don't care about totalitarianism or whatever. If a totalitarian regime produces a wealthy, pleasant and interesting country, God bless it. If a communist country does so; I’ll sing its praises. If a democracy do...

Demographics

After establishing that facts are useless, I have a lot of facts to show you.

Let us check the demographic history of the recent world. It's pretty interesting. I spent a while gathering up figures, mostly from Wikipedia, and some sporadic Googling. As far as I can tell the figures look pretty reliable.

I recently wrote about how 37% of births in France are Africans. How many people is that? Let's take a look at the number of live births in France.

Continue Reading →

Men doing their own thing

Basically means doing steroids and denying that those have any bad effect.

You'll remember a post I did a while ago on the Chinese classical novel, the Water Margin. That's a 14th century novel, thought to be based on the peasant rebellions that overthrew the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China in the 1350s. So that's 665 years ago. The novel is a historical novel of a previous rebellion in the 1110s. Rebellions are of course stories of men, and the Water Margin is an epic story of 108 men who are forced to leave society by evil men, and thus go up the mountain to do their own thing. To this day, when a man says "fuck it" and leaves polite society to do his own thing, in Chinese you say he is "forced to climb to mount Liang", which is the hideout of the rebels in the Water Margin.

So what did these great bros do up at Liangshan? Bully each other into a signaling spiral of binge drinking, binge eating, pointless fighting and destruction of normal family life. And completely disregard for women. The only women in the novel are bros too, women fighers who can beat 100 men while handling huge spears on horseback. Those are cool. Other women are hoes, and hoes are not cool. The sheer nonsense and sometimes pure evil that the novel describes as being the honorable and manly thing to do is just amazing. One of the stories that amazed me the most was how 秦明 Qin Ming joined the gang.

Oh sorry, I forgot that Chinese names just don...

Choices

I hadn't thought about it, but my last post on Whites converting to Islam has a somewhat similar theme to a very famous episode in Chinese history. It's been a while since I write another Chinese history tale, and this is one of my favorites. So let's talk about Wu Sangui 吳三桂.

The year is 1644. The Ming Dynasty is in ruins. It is actually in ruins; a peasant rebellion led by a man called Li Zicheng 李自成 has been ravishing the country for a decade, conquering and utterly destroying much of the central and western areas of the country. The rebel leader had already conquered the largest city in the west, Xi'an 西安, and had proclaimed himself as the king of the Shun 順 Dynasty. The Shun army raced from Xi'An up through the province of Shanxi 山西, where most of the cities openly surrendered to him without bloodshed. In no time he crossed the western passes close to Beijing, and on May 26, the capital fell. The emperor of the Ming Dynasty stabbed his wives and daughters with his own hand, and then hanged himself on a nearby hill.

A resistance had formed in the south, where several imperial princes were proclaimed as emperors in different provinces. The north though was completely in control of the rebels of the Shun Dynasty. They felt safe, and spent 10 days sacking Beijing, raping the wives and daughters of the mandarins and merchants, and torturing them to extort untold quantities of gold and silver. Then one advisor to the rebel army came with news: we haven't comp...

Quotes

Sailer quoted Disraeli  (d'Israeli, originally) saying "all is race". I got curious and Googled the guy, and damn.

I don't know if England has lost 15 IQ point on average since that time, as Charlton says. But Parliament speeches have lost even more than that.

Some samples from en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Disraeli

The noble lord in this case, as in so many others, first destroys his opponent, and then destroys his own position afterwards. The noble lord is the Prince Rupert of parliamentary discussion: his charge is resistless, but when he returns from the pursuit he always finds his camp in the possession of the enemy.

Speech in the House of Commons (24 April 1844), referring to Lord Stanley; compare: "The brilliant chief, irregularly great, / Frank, haughty, rash,—the Rupert of debate!", Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The New Timon (1846), Part i.

Heh. Prince Rupert being famous for being the best general to lose the English Civil War.

London owes everything to its press: it owes as much to its press as it does to its being the seat of government and the law.

Probably true. Not a good thing though.

Sir, it is very easy to complain of party Government, and there may be persons capable of forming an opinion on this subject who may entertain a deep objection to that Government, and know to what that objection leads. But there are others who shrug their shoulders...

The Informed Position on Tibet

Years ago I used to read a lot View from the Right, the blog of Lawrence Auster. Auster was a very peculiar guy. A Jew convert to Christianity, chanting the joys of social conservatism when being single (and most likely gay), he spent half his time criticizing progressive ideology, and half his time criticizing fellow critics of progressive ideology. His criticism was vivid, sharp and often accurate. Some of his criticism of rightist pundits was very good (Auster's law of race relations is brilliant and more relevant than ever), in many ways anticipating what today is called cuckservatism. Much of his material wasn't that good though, especially his awkward attacks of Steve Sailer for not defending Israel. The best part of his blog was how often he updated it (I was bored at college and appreciated the entertainment), and the comments by Jim Kalb. I wonder what Auster would've thought of Trump.

Auster was also quite obviously a man of the right, but he wasn't part of anything. He wasn't a paleocon, he wasn't a white nationalist. He was his own man. Being your own man is underappreciated. See this blog. It started as a neoreaction blog. At times I wrote quite actively about the "movement". Then the Eternal September happened and hordes of retards fell into neoreaction, driving the level of discussion down to the left half of the bell curve. Is this still a neoreaction blog?

See, I studied linguistics, and this sort of questions always interested me t...

The Law

A while ago I wrote some posts on the classical Chinese novel, the 14th century Water Margin 水滸傳. The Water Margin is the story of 108 outlaws, in the original 英雄好漢, which literally translates as hero 英雄 yīngxióng and ... 好漢 hǎohàn is very hard to translate. 好 means good, that one's easy, but 漢 means, well, Han, the Han Dynasty, the Han race we know today. It also means man, today normally expressed as 漢子 hànzi. But not just man, that's 男 nán. A 漢 is a real man, a strong, manly man, respected by his peers. You call someone a 漢子 hànzi as a compliment, to mean he's a real man. Add 好 to that, and you have a good+real man. I'd translate it as dude, for lack of a better fit, and also because it fits with the whole LARPing atmosphere of the men in the Water Margin.

They're just a bunch of outlaws, some with good reason, fleeing from the injustice of tyrannical government, some who lost their families to evil but connected people. Others though are just punks and hooligans; small time robbers, mountain bandits, drunkards, smugglers, that kind of people. That they spend the time calling each other great heroes is quite hilarious. Still, China has a long tradition of vagrancy and men doing their own thing, i.e. learning martial arts and forming gangs of bandits. Not everyone could pass the mandarin exam, you know. And those mandarins in the government didn't have the resources to police the whole country, so there was a...

The Song Golden Age

People are asking for more Chinese history. I agree. Chinese history is great. It's long, it's well documented, and it's documented in explicitly moralistic terms. Chinese thought has been always focused in how to achieve good governance, and histories are written as to contain parables of what good government is, and what bad government leads to. The most valued history book in China, the Zizhi Tongjian 資治通鑒, written by Sima Guang in 1084, again explicitly states that it is to be an aid for emperors and mandarins to achieve good governance. Good government leads to nice things. Bad government leads to death and misery. That's all Chinese intellectuals have ever cared about. I think it's a good priority to have.

Sima Guang was a brilliant scholar, and it's a huge pity that he finished his book just before the best story in Chinese history happened. The Jingkang Incident of 1127. Oh man, that's such a great, great story. There should be more books about it. It's perhaps the most compelling story in the history of mankind. It's just so unbelievably simple, yet dramatic. It's so good it seems fiction. But no fiction is this good. Anyway, let me tell you this story. It'll probably take several parts.

So again, the time is the Song Dynasty, 960-1279. If you've been reading my posts on the Water Margin, you have some minimum background.  The Song Dynasty was under many accounts the most wealthy and successful of all Chinese dynasties. Not to date...

The distribution of power

Another Chinese story.

Royal absolutism was invented by Shang Yang in the Chinese state of Qin, 360 BC. Of course absolute rulers had existed before, in the Middle East obviously you had plenty of god-kings; but Shang Yang's governance was recognizably modern. It was planned on secular terms, it had a central bureaucracy, and it explicitly took power from the nobility in order to strengthen the authority of the central government. The way it was framed is that the King deserves to have all the power, that's why he's the king; and that the king having all the power will result in more Order and better government, as the people will have no power to resist and create Chaos. Later Chinese political thought changed a lot: Confucianism was explicitly against Shang Yang's ideas (what came to be known as Legalism). In fact one could think of Confucianism as the revolt of the upper middle class against the centralizing legalists. A sort of English or French revolution dynamic. Happens they lost; Confucianism only somewhat won in a very, very diluted way 300 later under emperor Wu of Han.

But the idea that the power of the Ruler should be absolute absolutely carried the day in Chinese political thought. That contrasts a lot with the Western tradition which since the Greeks is obsessed with Tyranny and Despotism and basically makes it hell to run a cohesive government. Power has to be shared or else Tyranny! Much of that was the spillover from the propaganda war on th...

The Song Dynasty's Decline

So we left the story at Song Huizong. Huizong was as I wrote a consummate artist and a famous bon vivant. He knew how to enjoy himself. That means he generally wasn't interested in politics. Politics is generally very boring, pushing paper around, taking decisions about stuff you know nothing about. However Huizong was very willing to do politics if the topic at hand was interesting enough; interesting enough for such a consummate artist, that is.

There is one topic he did like to discuss, which was war. Artists tend to like war. The glory of fighting, thousands of men armed to the teeth and killing each other in mass pitched battles. There's something aesthetically very striking about that and artists across the world tend to be very attracted to it. Huizong was no exception, he was very much into war.

The thing is the Song dynasty had been founded explicitly as a peaceful state. The Song founder had decided the army was more trouble than it was worth, so he instituted a meritocratic bureaucracy and let it run the state more or less unimpeded for 100 years. That results in unprecedented prosperity, the reign of the 4th emperor Renzong being regarded as the historical peak of Chinese government. That produced its own set of problems, though. While you may not be interested in war, war is interested in you. While the Khitans in the Northeast were quite honorable, the Tanguts caught notice that the Song had no army to speak of, so they starte...

The Song Dynasty's Fall

So let's continue the rise and fall of the Song Dynasty. Let me digress a bit and let me talk about the capital of the Song.

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The borders of this map are contemporary China, but look at the topography. The Song Dynasty's capital was in Kaifeng. Kaifeng is probably the most retardedly located capital of all 3,000 years of Chinese history. Up until the Song, the capital of China had been alternating between Xi'an and Luoyang. Xi'an is in the Wei river valley, which is fairly narrow and easily defended if you control the mountain passes that surround the valley. Luoyang is just east of the mountains from Xi'an, in the North China plain proper, surrounded by mountains and a large river. Southern Dynasties had their capital at Nanjing, which is just south of the Yangtze river which is huge and completely impassable without a navy. And of course Beijing has been the capital for long due to its strategic location at the northern edge of the central plains.

But Kaifeng? It's in the middle of the damn plain! It has no natural defenses whatsoever. The only reason the Song capital is there is because the warlord who destroyed the Tang Dynasty 100 years later had his base there. Kaifeng is close to Jiangnan, the Nanjing-Shanghai area which is by far the wealthiest of the country, and the Grand Canal goes through there, so Kaifeng...

The Song Dynasty's Surrender

So we left as the Jurchens conquer the Song capital of Kaifeng, empty the city of all its valuables, butcher most of the population, taking around 100,000 people as slaves. Among them the whole imperial family, 5,000 people in all, plus all their servants. The wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the emperor and all the nobility were taken as wives, concubines, or put to work as whores in the Jurchen official brothel. Those who made it alive to the Jurchen homeland, that is. Many died on their way.

Once the Jurchen destroyed the city of Kaifeng, they grabbed one Song minister, Zhang Bangchang, gave him some of the imperial regalia they had grabbed from the Song palace, and put him as emperor of the Great Chu. Zhang was supposed to set a court at Nanjing and rule as the puppet of the Jurchens, who annexed all land north of the Yellow River, but left most Chinese territory to this puppet court. The Jurchens had no intention of ruling China at all. They had invaded to punish the Song court for its treachery and to extract some booty to share between the Jurchen generals. They achieved those goals, and then some. Setting a government in China and finding a way to rule the peasants sounded like a lot of trouble, trouble the Jurchens weren't interested in taking at all. The destruction of the Song Dynasty had also erased all public order in north China. Gangs of bandits roamed the countryside, killing landlords, public officials, Jurchen detachments and anything the...

We need a new religion, 4

We need a new religion. We sorely need one. And we will likely get one. But we might not like how it turns out.

In 200 AD, the Roman Empire was the largest, richest and most powerful empire on Earth. Roman civilization extended from Britain to Mesopotamia. Vast trade networks allowed for large and advanced industries that provided a very high standard of living, far above anything in the past. Rome was so great it seemed it would last forever.

Then a couple of substandard emperors, a military setback and a mutiny suddenly saw the Empire fracture into 3 parts, hundreds of thousands of barbarians entering the borders, plundering and murdering as they pleased. It took 50 whole years until Aurelian rebuilt the army, expelled the barbarians, and reunified the realm. But it was never the same. Too many people had died. Cities now had to build high walls to defend themselves, trade routes had been destroyed, the whole administrative apparatus had to be rebuilt from scratch.

All that was taken care of, especially by Docletian, who was very much interested in how to run a government. But still, as much as Roman emperors reformed the army and the administration, the virtue of the empire, the real power of Rome, the roman people, that was over. Any Roman of learning knew that. And they all wanted to do something to get it back. To fix Rome, to bring it back to its golden era. Romans used to be virtuous, strong, hard-working, just men. Not anymore. The Romans of t...

The Bow of the King of Chu

Google openly praises leftist terrorist supporters, Obama forces schools across the US to allow transexuals to choose the toilets they use. The West is fucked up. Yes, I know. The mission of this blog has been to explain in plain language why the Left exists, why it's so crazy, and why it gets even crazier over time.

Part of that mission is to find similar instances of crazy political ideas in non-Western cultures. Sir John Glubb spent some time in the Arab world, and he seemed to have the same interests, so he produced a very interesting account on political madness in the Abassid empire, which looked fairly similar to contemporary leftism. I live in East Asia, and so I write a lot about East Asian history. I may end up making some money by selling my readers a fancy book with some stories. In the meanwhile, let me share another interesting anecdote.

The most fertile era of Chinese intellectual culture coincided with what came to be called the Axial Age. In China is the era between 550 BC and 200 BC, more or less. That's the era of the Hundred Schools of thought. China was divided in many kingdoms, who each wanted a piece of each other. It was if anything more violent and chaotic that Classical Greece, which had similar dynamics; division, constant warfare, and amazing intellectual life.

Continue Reading →

The Spectre of Nationalism

After some lazy Youtube pastes, I guess it's time to write something interesting about Brexit. You'll have to forgive my delay as I was too busy getting drunk in celebration. Or in despair. I don't know.

The ghastly forces of nationalism are sweeping now across Europe, liberals say. "Racism is out of the bottle", they say. The European project, the liberal world order is in danger, they say. Oh yes, yes it is. And they are right to be frightened.

Perhaps people out of Europe don't know, but in Europe, at least in academic circles, the EU is talked about as an almost godly institution. The most successful piece of institutional engineering in human history. A professor of mine had almost tears in his eyes when he talked how the EU "went against entropy", fighting all odds in integrating all European states into a superior, sacred institution of peace and prosperity. And then some Nigel Farage with goofy shoes comes and takes 60 million Britons out.

Naturally all the bien-pensant are horrified. Truly, really horrified, horrified as if a zombie just showed up at your window. The EU in Europe is worshipped in a way probably similar to how the early Catholic Church was worshipped in the early Middle Ages. It must have looked like a miracle that while myriad Goths and other barbarians completely destroyed the Western Roman Empire, the Church not only survived, but thrived with a very sophisticated organization across the whole of Europe, North Africa and the...

Correct Naming

Master Xun (荀子 Xunzi):

夫民易一以道,而不可與共故。故明君臨之以埶,道之以道,申之以命,章之以論,禁之以刑。故民之化道也如神,辨埶惡用矣哉!今聖王沒,天下亂,姦言起,君子無埶以臨之,無刑以禁之,故辨說也。實不喻,然後命,命不喻,然後期,期不喻,然後說,說不喻,然後辨。故期命辨說也者,用之大文也,而王業之始也。名聞而實喻,名之用也。累而成文,名之麗也。用麗俱得,謂之知名。名也者,所以期累實也。辭也者,兼異實之名以論一意也。辨說也者,不異實名以喻動靜之道也。期命也者,辨說之用也。辨說也者,心之象道也。心也者,道之工宰也。道也者,治之經理也。心合於道,說合於心,辭合於說。正名而期,質請而喻,辨異而不過,推類而不悖。聽則合文,辨則盡故。以正道而辨姦,猶引繩以持曲直。是故邪說不能亂,百家無所竄。有兼聽之明,而無矜奮之容;有兼覆之厚,而無伐德之色。說行則天下正,說不行則白道而冥窮。是聖人之辨說也。詩曰:「顒顒卬卬,如珪如璋,令聞令望,豈弟君子,四方為綱。」此之謂也。

Which translates as:

The people can easily be unified by means of the Way, but one should not try to share one’s reasons with them. Hence, the enlightened lord controls them with his power, guides them with the Way, moves them with his orders, arrays them with his judgments, and restrains them with his punishments. Thus, his people’s transformation by the Way is spirit-like [i.e. religious]. What need has he for demonstrations and persuasions? Nowadays the sage kings have all passed away, the whole world is in chaos, and depraved teachings are arising. The gentleman has no power to control people, no punishments to restrain them, and so he engages in demonstrations and persuasions.

When objects are not understood, then one engages in naming. When the naming is not understood, then one tries to procure agreement. When the agreement is not understood, then one engages in persuasion. When the persuasion is not understood, then one engages in d...

The Great Ming Emperor Admonishes his Troops about Women

So some people are saying I'm just some rootless cosmopolitan who speaks Chinese. How can I be alt-right?

此言差矣. It doesn't work like that. I have insight precisely because I've been around, and I've read around. Let me prove my alt-right bona-fides by quoting Zhu Yuanzhang, the great founder of the Ming Dynasty, the Empire of Brightness.

Zhu Yuanzhang is the greatest rags-to-riches story in the history of mankind. He was some minor son of a landless peasant, born during the period of Mongol rule in China. Mongol government in China was quite horrible; infrastructure decayed, bandits were everywhere, and all manner of natural disasters happened all the time. One of those disasters killed our hero's whole family. Starvation. Every single one of them. Our hero had to go to the closest Buddhist temple to beg for some food; and all he got was an old wooden pan, and an order to beat the crap out of the temple and beg some food outside. Which he did for years. Beg for food. Around the country. For years. Until he met some band of bandits. Heaven had it so that his best childhood friend was a bandit chief; so he soon joined them. Our hero then slowly but steadily climbed the bandit meritocracy ladder; next thing you know he is leading the best rebel army in China, expels the Mongols to the steppe and reunifies All Under Heaven.

There's something to say for the tradition, the slow accumulation of knowledge in society. But some things just don't require an educa...

The balance of the natural and social world

Apparently I missed this kind post by Jim where he calls me clever but pessimistic. Guilty as charged. I agree with his point though. Irrational optimism works. I'm just not very good at it. Which is why I've been reading and writing on how to generate it exogenously, i.e. for people like me.

The discussion there at Jim is uncharacteristically good. The main issue people ask is that you can't just make up a new religion. That's a good point. It's also a bummer, given that my shtick for 5 years has been that We Need a New Religion (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). But once you understand what religion is about, what it is for, it's obvious that you can't just make one up from thin air. Any coordination mechanism for groups, any set of ideas to generate loyalty is more likely to work if it feeds upon previous ideas which are out there, preferably for a long time. If only to make people not feel inadequate about their past ideological stances. If you want Christians to join your group you should make them feel good about having been a Christian; at least parts of it. Ever read the Quran? The writer was very, very familiar with Christianity and Judaism. Christianity was of course also based on Judais...

Gnon Theology

I propose a short ritual for when reactionaries meet each other. You go to a church, or some nice old building. Emphasis on old, more than nice. You get there, and the master says the following string, which the apprentice is to repeat.

There is no God but Gnon. Kek is his avatar. And Jordan Peterson is a pretty good prophet.

Once that is done, the master shows a red pill to the apprentice, hands it to him. And the apprentice swallows it. No. He bites it. Munchs it. He chews it. It's hard. It's bitter. It's really hard to chew really. But at the very end it leaves an awesome aftertaste. Then Dark Enlightenment occurs.

Listen to this short clip (starts at 1:04:50), up to the end.

https://youtu.be/RcmWssTLFv0?t=1h4m57s

 

The Dark Enlightenment is based in evolution. This admits no discussion. Criticism of modernity on non-evolutionary grounds is just plain old reaction. Religious traditionalism. That's a thing. It's not my thing, but it's out there, even here on my comments, most often by a kinda annoying Jew. All in all it's a good thing that it's out there, annoying as it is. But there's a reason why reaction is a thing and neoreaction is another thing. Arnold Kling called Moldbug "neoreactionary" because he saw he wasn't just some plain old Crown Church and Country guy. Moldbug mentioned (not very heavily) HBD and that's about evolution. But there's more about evolutionary critiques of modernity than mentioning the biol...

The Geopolitics of Empire

Cool title, huh? It always feels good to type this kind of stuff. "Empire". Pronounced with a 1900s British accent. Feels good man. Insert happy frog pic.

Anyway. The most interesting, shall I say "official" theory of historical geopolitics of the reaction must surely be Peter Turchin's theory of meta-ethnic frontier armies pumping up their asabiya and conquering the civilizational center.

The theory basically says that to run a civilization you need a strong army. To run a strong army you need cohesion, discipline, i.e. asabiya. To produce this cohesion and discipline you need your soldiers to feel its need. Discipline isn't nice. You'd rather slack off and drink beer and be merry. The kind of discipline an army runs off is produced by massive amounts of violence and unreasonable demands. You can only get people to do so if they feel is absolutely necessary. And they will only feel it's necessary if they get to the realization that either they behave like good soldiers, or they're dead, and they will lose everything they hold dear.

The way you get your soldiers to feel that is to stack them against a different civilization. People so alien to you that they you have nothing in common. If they win, everything you are accustomed to, all your life, all those little habits of behavior that form your identity: all that will be destroyed. And you don't like that. It's taken a while for you to adapt to that culture. Starting at birth. Your brain unconsciously...

Biological Leninism

This is the first of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the second part here, and the third part here. I also gave an interview with some more thoughts on the topic which you can read here.

It's 100 years now since the Russian Revolution. The Soviet Union. Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Leninism. It's been 100 years already, but you realize how present the whole thing remains when you look at the press these days. People are still praising or damning the revolution. As if it mattered anymore. As if it were something more than history. As if the left and right of today had remotely anything in common with the left and right of Lenin's day.

I won't praise Lenin, an evil man. But great men are often quite evil. I'm not very interested in Lenin, the man; but I'm very interested in Leninism. Lenin is very dead (if not yet buried, I wonder what Putin is waiting for); but Leninism is quite alive. And the Western press has just realized that China, the second power in the world, in place to become the first in a few years, is a Leninist state. It's taken 5 years of Xi Jinping shouting every day about the Leninist orthodoxy of the Communist Party of China for people to realize. N...

Bioleninism, the first step

This is the second of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the first part here, and the third part here. I also gave an interview with some more thoughts on the topic which you can read here.

Some things I said in Twitter yesterday. Man, 280 characters feel *way* better.

https://twitter.com/thespandrell/status/940732305265610752

Bronze Age warfare used to be about great lords going around in their chariots, shooting arrows here and there, then getting on foot and engaging in Single Combat. Early Samurais also did that. They'd go around on their horses, shouting who they were, their house, their pedigree.

But eventually somebody figured out that winning a war is really profitable. So they'd just raise a big army of common people, give them cheap weapons, a cheap shield, drill them into having rock-tight discipline. And they'd win. A disciplined team always wins against the most talented man.

The theory of democracy was that rich people, with the leisure to educate themselves about public policy, and a financial interest in the government of the nation, would run for individual office, represent their constituency, be reelected if they did their job well, replaced if they didn't. But laws are p...

Leninism and Bioleninism

This is the third of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the first part here, and the second part here. I also gave an interview with some more thoughts on the topic which you can read here.

Happy New Year everyone. I left a bit of a cliffhanger on my last post, which I intended to resolve in a few days, but I've been pretty busy, not really in the mood to write long form.

I am sorry about that, but do note, this blog is a free service, so I hope you understand it doesn't quite take the priority of my time. Again, there's a Bitcoin address at the sidebar, so if you want me to write more, I'm sure we can arrange something.

2017 has been a quite eventful year. I guess the overall mood was disappointment. Trump didn't get anything done. Doesn't seem like he'll ever get anything done. Europe slowed down the refugee invasion but not by much. And China has realized that AI makes state control so much easier. It's showing the way in censorship and crowd control. All China is doing will be done on the West in a few years, with the aggravating factor that Western states will use Orwellian tools to ...

Tales from the patriarchy

The way of properly learning a language is to do what languages are made for: use it. Ideally, live your usual life, do whatever it is you like doing, and just try to find a way to insert that language you're learning into your daily routine. So if, say, you like movies, and you're learning Persian, well, stop watching Hollywood crap and go pick up some Persian movies.

I get asked about books on Chinese history, and I tend not to know what to say. I haven't read a lot of Chinese history books in English. Certainly not any general ones. I read China in World History by Adshead after Steve Sailer recommended it. It's a fascinating book, not very accurate, but a fun read for beginners, so I do recommend it too. Generally speaking most English books on China are pretty bad, and badly written. With the exception of Frederick Wakeman's, which are awesome.

What I often do to read up on Chinese history is watch a historical TV show, then stop anytime something bugs me and go check out the primary sources out there in Wikisource. If the thing is interesting I check out 知乎, China's much improved version of Quora, where they have detailed explanations and book recommendations. If the topic is interesting enough I get the (Chinese-language) book.

There's a recent TV show in China about 司馬懿 Sima Yi, one of the most important leaders of the Three Kingdoms p...

Making Japan Great Again

The blog has been slow lately. Part of that is me being on Twitter, wrecking my long term IQ with short term dopamine hits. But man, those dopamine hits are good. If you’re not following me yet, there’s a link at the sidebar.

So anyway, one of the places I rely most recently for commentary is the online mag The Diplomat. It’s some Cathedral foreign policy rag, apparently with some close relation to the Indian government. Lots of Indians shitting on China there, which is funny. But by and large it’s a pretty standard Cathedral foreign policy rag, so if you want to know what USG, i.e. the compromise between the Redgov empire (the Pentagon and its foreign satellites) and Bluegov empire (the State Department and its foreign satellites) are up to, it’s not a bad resource to follow.

Yesterday I took a look at their feed and they had this tweet, which I found hilarious.

https://twitter.com/Diplomat_APAC/status/988630863347945472

Seeing a picture of a woman academic I didn’t bother to read the whole piece; I assumed it was a piece about the Abe’s government long-discussed plans to nationalize college education. I thought some USG-supported feminist QUANGO had joined the plan and was salivating at the possibilities of extending Bioleninism in Japanese colleges. As it happens there’s a #MeToo assault o...

The Past and Future of Korea

So Trump just met Marshall or Chairman or whatever Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

I don't have any opinion on the meeting. Nothing substantial was agreed on. Seems to me nothing real happened at all. North Korea isn't going to give away its nukes. And USG isn't going to withdraw its troops from South Korea. Thus, nothing is going to happen.

The reasoning is quite simple. At the end of the day, North Korea is a small, poor, fairly inconsequential country 25 million people. It's birth rate appears to be close to 2, more than double that of South Korea, but still, it hardly matters at all.

Yes, it has nukes. But why would it give them away? Gaddafi gave them away. He was killed shortly after, as the evil fat women USG likes to employ laughed about it. No way North Koreans with their 105 IQ are going to surrender their nukes. Not a good idea.

Unless USG packs and leaves South Korea, leaving the degenerate land of barren K-pop whores and their long legs achieved through horrendous surgery open to domination by Kim Jong Uns soldiery. That would be a reasonable deal.

Which is not going to happen. The US military, or more precisely the military-industrial complex, as President Eisenhower put it, is today about half of the US power structure. It funds the larger part what Moldbug called Redgov, the Republican party and its app...

The Wars of the Sexes

What do Bronze Age Pervert and Brett Kavanaugh have in common?

https://twitter.com/bronzeagemantis/status/1044336637801615360

Not a lot. One is a nudist bodybuilder, a tropical Nietzsche who wants to burn the cities and reduce women to breeding stock. The other is a pasty Irish Catholic Yale graduate who was pretty much a virgin until his marriage at age 40, and to this day can't help crying like a girl when referring to the women "friends" during his life who gave him the slightest amount of attention.

Imagine these two guys in the same room. Would they get along? I don't think so. And yet here we are, in this strange world where not only BAP, but millions of people in and outside the internet defending this Irish cuck and his all-female team of legal clerks. So what’s going on?

Let’s talk about the Women Question (WQ). The WQ is the realization among a few select men of intelligence that female emancipation has been a complete and utter disaster for civilization. What started rather innocently with giving limited economic rights to women (having a bank account, inheriting property) has spiraled in less than two centuries into a full fledged war of the sexes, making life miserable for hundreds of millions. And most importantly, depressing the birth rate of the most valuable people on earth.<...

Patriarchal Sexual Law

We live in a world of sexual license. Sexual freedom we could say. You can sleep with whoever you want and neither state authorities, nor most people, will interfere with your sexual life. You can even engage in the most unnatural, disgusting and disease-inducing activities; but criminal law just has nothing against you.

This alone is a sign that the patriarchy doesn't exist anymore. Patriarchies are systems in which all women belong to a man; the husband after marriage, the father before that, or the head of the household if she's a servant of some sort. Women have this uncanny ability to make men want to have sex with them, and at the same time prefer to have exclusivity in that matter. Not to mention the potential for disease or childbirth. So naturally their legal guardians had to take care that women, i.e. their property, was not captured by other men to have sex with them without proper compensation. As such, law regulating sex in the pre-modern period where every bit as complicated, and as harsh, as laws regulating finance and property in our day.

Imperial Chinese law on marriage is a lot of fun, but most interesting are their laws on fornication. Fornication belonged to criminal law, ever since the very first complete legal code on compiled during the early Tang Dynasty in 624, which has remained to us as the 唐律疏義 tánglü shūyì. More importantly, rape was understood as fornication + force, a more serious crime but nothing really different. Th...

Interview on Bioleninism

A few weeks ago, a great artist who runs the blog Parallax Optics was kind enough to ask me for an interview on Bioleninism, to follow up on a great piece he published recently where he interviewed the man responsible for the Twitter account Woke Capital. That interview was great, and I had never done an interview before, so I thought it could be a good idea to try this new format. As it happened, the interview went great, and I very much enjoyed the process.

What follows is the whole text of the interview for those who missed it up at Parallax's. Let me use this chance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy year end holidays. 2018 has been a quite eventful year. Hopefully it has been good for you personally as well (unlikely if you're invested in the stock market, but nobody's perfect). A lot has been going on in the reactionary sphere, much of it good. Bioleninism has become a widely known concept. Here's for a great 2019.


Bioleninism has widely been acknowledged as perhaps the most important contribution to reacti...

Debt

A few weeks ago I had a short exchange with Nick Land on Twitter on the issue of debt.

https://twitter.com/Outsideness/status/1115053094654451712

Debt is a huge issue, a big part of what's wrong with the fabric of modernity, a big factor of what's driving modern civilization into collapse. And yet it has remained largely underdiscussed in these circles. Moldbug, who to the end still remained something of a libertarian, did have a keen interest in finance, and after the great crisis of 2008 made a series of long posts on financial crises and how to design a properly sound banking system. His "favorite topic" he even called it. Well it's certainly not my favorite topic, nor I'm sure it's Mr. Land's, but it's nonetheless a fascinating issue, and more importantly, a critical one.

Again, my approach to all intellectual issues is to think about its history, and the one thing that strikes one when thinking about debt is how easy-going the ancients were about them. Sovereign bankruptcies were routine, and nothing really happened. But most importantly, debt jubilees were *very* common. Mr. Land...

Tiananmen

It's been 30 years this week since the famous riots in Beijing. I refuse to give any attention to an incident which was of little consequence, which nobody in China knows about, and to the extent they know about it nobody but a small number of dieharders (i.e. the people rioting back then and their families) gives a shit about.

If the Western press won't shut up about something, odds are is all a pig pile of fake news, of official propaganda which has been concocted up at some upper level and been issued hierarchically to the Cathedral press so everybody toes the official message. That applies to things like #Metoo, to the idea of "Russian interference" in the 2016 American election, the goddamn Rohingya, and yes, the stories of the "Tiananmen massacre".

So I won't add my blog to that message volume. Which is what they want, of course. Attention. To occupy mental space and crowd out other ideas, so the fake news gets around. Don't give it to them.

That said, some people do ask me what Tiananmen was about. Short answer: nobody knows, they won't tell, everybody is lying. Long answer: probably an internal coup attempt by a pro-Western faction of the CPC (led by premier Zhao Ziyang) with some Western intelligence support; a coup attempt which perhaps was aided by other factions inside China which disliked Deng Xiaoping and just wanted to take advantage of the disorder to drag him down.

<...

The Father of Taiwan

Lee Tenghui is dead. 97 years old. I won't wish he rest in peace, as his life was dedicated to making peace harder on earth. He was the man who single handedly prevented Taiwan from reuniting with China, thus prolonging the life of the American Empire in Asia for a good 3 decades. Of course I exaggerate, but only a little. The man really was a force of nature. Readers of historiography might now that there's a factional battle among historians, between the proponents of the "Great Man theory" which says historical change is driven by extraordinary men and their raw energy and ambition; and it's opposite, what you could call the "naturalist theory", that history is driven by larger forces such as modes of production or religion or whatnot, and individuals don't really matter that much.

Large ideological battles are of course always bullshit; they are driven by factionalism, status infighting inside the guild in order to capture monopoly rents and vanquish your factional enemies. I'm not an academic historian, hence not a member of the guild, so I won't give fuel to any faux dichotomy. Obviously history is both influenced by overarching forces and the actions of extraordinary man. The same way wars are generally determined by fundamental factors such as production and manpower, yet some decisive battles are very close and pretty much decided by random chance.

Well Lee Tenghui was a most extraordinary man, a man who for decades did what very few human...

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