Fisk of the Week: White Fragility

So I’m mostly back from my self-imposed ascetic period. I needed some time to clear my head, and politics certainly has a way of muddying the religious waters. But I feel that I can safely return to my long-winded screeds and overly-involved fisks. And my friends, we have a whopper today. In fact, this is not just a fisk, it is a comparison of two viewpoints, one interesting and one a well-spun lie. Before we get into it, I have this observation for you:

One of the more penetrating questions to a liberal is “when is my duty satisfied?” It lacks the grounding necessary to recognize a success condition. It embraces its own form of original sin, but lacks the redemption method.

Think carefully on this. Leftists generally like to, for example, push taxes higher. What rate of taxation is enough, after which they must better allocate the funds instead of asking for more? With respect to racial grievances, how many affirmative action programs, how much money, how much tireless media spin is necessary before we can say that we have satisfied the duty they ask of us? What level of involvement in Social Justice programs is enough that, when satisfied, the person can proudly state that he is not racist/sexist/whatever?

If you cheat and look in the back of the book, so to speak, you will find that the answer is nothing. Nothing will satisfy them. Nothing is ever enough. Unlike Christianity, the original sin of Liberalism can never be expunged. There is no redemption, racist.

Don’t believe me? Let’s fisk some of this.

The New York Times bestselling author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism sat down with Teaching Tolerance to discuss why working against one’s own fragility is a necessary part of white anti-racist work—and why good intentions don’t matter.

And later in the article she expands on this:

I think intentions are irrelevant. It’s nice to know you had good intentions, but the impact of what you did was harmful. And we need to let go of our intentions and attend to the impact, to focus on that.

Intentions don’t matter. That’s a good place to start, and by itself explains a great deal about Progressive political thought. In a criminal case, intentions do matter. If you intend to kill someone, that is murder, and it is worse than killing someone by accident, which may be manslaughter or negligent homicide, or some other thing. Or, if the other person intended to harm you, your killing him in turn may be justified. Intentions surely do matter. What happens in the physical world also matters, of course, but to say good intentions don’t matter is already a lie.

Well, when I coined [white fragility], the fragility part was meant to capture how little it takes to upset white people racially. For a lot of white people, the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause great umbrage. Certainly generalizing about white people will. Right now, me saying “white people,” as if our race had meaning, and as if I could know anything about somebody just because they’re white, will cause a lot of white people to erupt in defensiveness. And I think of it as a kind of weaponized defensiveness. Weaponized tears. Weaponized hurt feelings. And in that way, I think white fragility actually functions as a kind of white racial bullying.

Fascinatingly enough, the author tells us that white fragility is actually a form of Weaponized Empathy, in so many words. It’s interesting to note this because this is a very clear form of projection. I’ve delved a lot into Weaponized Empathy as a concept here at The Declination. I am certainly one of the originators of the term. And so it is quite fascinating to see the author of this book, and the responses in this article, using a very similar phrasing. If a white person is defensive he is, by her own words, a kind of racial bully. The tears are offensive weapons. The hurt feelings are offensive weapons. But let’s explore a little more here.

We white people make it so difficult for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable—but often unaware—racist patterns and assumptions that, most of the time, they don’t. People of color working and living in primarily white environments take home way more daily indignities and slights and microaggressions than they bother talking to us about because their experience consistently is that it’s not going to go well. In fact, they’re going to risk more punishment, not less. They’re going to now have to take care of the white person’s upset feelings. They’re going to be seen as a troublemaker. The white person is going to withdraw, defend, explain, insist it had to have been a misunderstanding.

If you make an accusation, the accused gets to have his own say in the matter. Justice is not one person making an accusation, and everyone else immediately agreeing with him and not giving the accused an opportunity to defend himself. If I make an accusation, I expect the accused to defend himself. This applies even when I know he’s in the wrong! The author implies that a person defending himself, explaining his actions, and suggesting whatever happened was a misunderstanding is not engaging in acceptable behavior. Only admission of guilt is acceptable. But let’s continue.

There’s a question that’s never failed me in this work to uncover how racism keeps reproducing itself despite all of the evidence we like to give for why it couldn’t be us. And that question isn’t, “Is this true or is this false: Was the person’s intention good or not?” We’re never going to be able to come to an agreement on intentions. You cannot prove somebody’s intentions. They might not even know their intentions. And if they weren’t good, they’re probably not going to admit that. The question I ask is, “How does this function?” The impact of the action is what is relevant.

There is an interesting omission here. Do you see it? We don’t know a person’s intentions with certainty, that is true, though this has not stopped legal proceedings from finding evidence for a motive, and for ruling on such cases. However, note that the defender’s testimony is dismissed as irrelevant because intentions cannot be proven, but thus far in the article, we have not once made similar questions of the accuser’s motives! This is extremely important, because the demand for racist activity far outstrips the supply. This is why we have seen so many hate crime hoaxes of late, including the very public Jussie Smollett affair, but also lesser “crimes” like the Mizzou poop swastika, the receipt with vague racist crap scribbled on it, and others.

A person who claims to be a victim of such an affair is, like the receipt faker, often doing it for social media attention. Posts of sympathy are many. A person makes the evening news, and maybe boosts his failing career. The media eats these affairs up! It’s crack cocaine to a journalist, and people know this. But the author of this piece doesn’t even mention the possibility of a false accusation, and hammers homes a focus on the accused.

Foundationally [we] have to change our idea of what it means to be racist. As long as you define a racist as an individual who intentionally is mean, based on race, you’re going to feel defensive. When I say you’ve been shaped by a racist system—that it is inevitable that you have racist biases and patterns and investments—you’re going to feel offended by that. You will hear it as a comment on your moral character.  You’re going to feel offended by that if you don’t change how you’re interpreting what I just said. And I would actually agree with anyone who felt offended when I say, “It is inevitable that you are racist,” if their definition of a racist is someone who means harm.

Note the first sentence. We need to change our idea (the definition) of what the word means. Here we see Progressive thought laid bare: we change the definition of a word or concept. The author is not just admitting that they do this, she is demanding that we be complicit in this change. Note the dictionary definition:

Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Note the word “directed” used here. This implies intent, especially when combined with “based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” So to be a racist, you must believe in the superiority of your own race, and direct some form of antagonism or discrimination intentionally toward a person of another race. The author is telling us to change this definition so that her entire book makes sense, because otherwise it’s a form of meaningless nonsense. For her position to be internally coherent we must change the meaning of our own language. She’s telling you this, straight up!

Change how you understand what it means to be racist, and then act on that understanding. Because if you change your understanding, but you don’t do anything different, then you’re colluding.

And now comes the threat. Change the definition, or you’re a traitor/colluder/heretic/whatever. Distilled to its most simplistic form, obey me, or I will call you a mean name. Now many Rightists will scoff and laugh at this. Don’t. Leftists use this tactic because it works on at least some people. Here’s the real weaponization. Obey, or I will apply social peer pressure to you, racist.

In fact, white people measure the value of our schools and neighborhoods by the absence of people of color.

I know exactly what a “good” school is, and I know what we’re talking about. We all know what we’re talking about when we say “good school” versus “bad school.” We use race to measure those things. And now, you take the product of that conditioning, that segregation, that narrow story, and you put that teacher in a position to socialize everyone’s children—and that is a critical piece of [the] school-to-prison pipeline.

The first portion of this bit is actually correct, to at least some degree. Let’s be more specific, however. She uses the term “people of color”, but this doesn’t really work. There are few people bothered by the presence of, say, some Japanese kids or something. Is anybody really worrying about Chinese kids, or Cuban kids? It’s not “people of color” folks worry about (and note that said Japanese, Cuban, and Chinese kids are just as worried as the white kids, if not much more so). It’s much more specific than that. It’s mostly blacks that people worry about. That is the elephant in the room here, that has both Conservatives and Liberals tied up in politically-correct tongue twisters like “people of color” and such, because they can obfuscate the truth behind the idea that people are running in fear from Chinatown or something.

Why is that? Racism? Jim Crow? Or is it rational behavior?

The statistics on black crime are staggeringly bad. And here I am using a source, The Prison Policy Initiative, that is not friendly to my political views (intentionally). People of all races – blacks included – know this. They see first-hand, in many cases, how bad majority-black schools really are. Has the author ever been to Detroit? Washington DC (outside the nice parts)? There is a wealthy black family in my neighborhood. I was told, in polite language, that they left the ghetto they grew up in for good reason. Deep down, blacks know this is true. This is after spending in Detroit schools was elevated to near the highest spending per student in the country. The supposed-racists threw a lot of money at this problem. I suppose they are still guilty, though, right?

Either the statistics are true, and blacks commit crimes at a much higher per-capita rate than any other ethnicity in America, or a lot of people are being falsely convicted. As in most of them. The latter is not very likely. Now, argue all you want on why these things are true. But do not spin this as a “people of color” thing when it clearly isn’t. It is much more specific than that. Tell me, how many of you – even Liberals who found their way here to drop me some hate mail – want to live in a majority-black neighborhood in Detroit?

I don’t call myself a white ally. I’m involved in anti-racist work, but I don’t call myself an anti-racist white. And that’s because that is for people of color to decide, whether in any given moment I’m behaving in anti-racist ways. And notice that that keeps me accountable. It’s for them to determine if in any given moment—it’s not a fixed location—I haven’t made it or arrived. …

Again she tells us that only the accuser’s perspective matters. This is a recipe for complete submission.

Read the rest if you like. But now let’s compare to another piece, this one recommended by Fr. Brendon Laroche. The title is instructive: Liberalism Is Failing Because It Rejected Orthodox Christianity. This piece is a reflection on a book The Lost History of LiberalismFull disclosure, I have not read this book, I have only read the rebuttal. But that in itself is interesting enough. Let’s begin.

A similar sense of gloom hovers over Helena Rosenblatt’s recent book, The Lost History of Liberalism. Rosenblatt presents her work as a history of those who have called themselves liberal through the centuries. More accurately described, however, it is her attempt to redefine liberalism’s founding in order to rescue it from the worrisome future toward which it seems to be headed. Liberalism was founded on commitments to duty, patriotism, self-sacrifice, and the other virtues that guide humanity’s use of freedom, she notes. But contemporary liberals are trading their birthright for an untenable pottage of rights talk and anarchic freedom that lacks solid grounding.

Rosenblatt foresees disaster at the end of that path, and her book is a call from within the liberal tradition to turn back. That alone is worth a cheer.

Indeed, I do welcome liberals who are willing to point out the flaws in liberalism to talk. There are flaws in conservatism, Libertarianism, and other Right-ish beliefs. I will readily admit them. Indeed, a friend of mine who is more Rightist than I am (he absolutely knows who he is) has frequently pointed out where I and others become too tribal in Rightist thinking. Certainly, it has irritated me on occasion, but he is correct to do this. That is Proverbs 27:17 at work. Also, Tom Kratman has frequently challenged my foundations as well, something I do appreciate quite sincerely. And so I do understand that it takes a certain measure to critique your own belief systems at this level. Let’s continue.

Rosenblatt’s central claim, however, is that the word “liberalism” has a strong historical connection to moral virtue. Although virtue has fallen into obscurity in contemporary liberalism, Rosenblatt argues that it needs to be recovered because it is essential to the liberal project.

I am not so certain of this. The idea of the Classical Liberal is a more Rightish thing. But again, I haven’t read her book, so I would need to see the claim in more specificity, and certainly the terms have been muddied and poorly-defined for some time, now. Nonetheless there is some kind of truth to this in the more modern sense. Liberals today are quite obsessed with signalling moral virtue. So it is possible their thought-lineage originates from a place where the moral virtue was more than just a mere signalling of tribal membership and a sort of assumed humility contest. Perhaps over time, the real moral virtue was replaced with the false one. It’s plausible, at least.

There follows a lot of exposition and rebuttals of Rosenblatt’s claim, which I will skip over for purposes of this post, but do give it a read. It is important.

Continental liberals believed that republican self-rule required the people to be educated in moral and civic virtue. In fact, at least in the early years, they seem to have agreed on little else. For many years, liberalism in France and Germany was a grab bag of political projects and policies. Still, these liberals always shared a commitment to republican forms of government founded on a civic virtue inculcated in the populace. They distrusted or even opposed pure democracy as little more than mob rule (although they recognized, especially thanks to Tocqueville, the inevitability of democracy’s rise). Only virtuous citizens, they reasoned, could navigate between the extremes of reactionary royalism and radical democratic revolution. A combination of democratic institutions with the more aristocratic emphasis on virtue would ennoble democracy and prevent the return of the exhausted ancien régime.

But how are citizens to be fitted with the virtue that republican government requires? This question brings us to the second important contribution of this book, and its most curious feature. Liberals concluded that the answer to this question was religion—Christianity, to be specific. Not the Christianity of the Catholic Church, which liberals regarded as the problem; and not the Christianity of orthodox Protestants, either: they, too, had often sided against democratic forces during the French Revolution. Early liberals needed a new theology for the new man at the dawn of a new age.

Here it is worth pausing to note what happened. Titanic figures in liberalism’s history, such as Benjamin Constant, explicitly asserted that liberal forms of government would stand or fall on the success of religion’s moralizing force. For liberalism, religion became good because of its usefulness for politics and not because of its truth. Liberalism instrumentalized religion, subverting it to “higher” political purposes.

Here is where things get interesting. Note that at the end we are given the idea, by the author of the article, that Liberalism used religion in a cynical manner. Voltaire famously encapsulated this with his quotation: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” The full text of the verse it appears in is below:

If the heavens, stripped of his noble imprint,
Could ever cease to attest to his being,
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
Let the wise man announce him and kings fear him.
Kings, if you oppress me, if your eminencies disdain
The tears of the innocent that you cause to flow,
My avenger is in the heavens: learn to tremble.
Such, at least, is the fruit of a useful creed.

Such, at least, is the fruit of a useful creed. If we account him a Liberal – and I’m not sure that makes sense in a modern context, but let’s provisionally entertain the idea that Liberal thought-lineage descended from something like this for a moment – this would mean that Liberalism found Christianity useful, possibly irrespective of whether or not it was true. Why is that? And, more interestingly, why would modern Liberals abandon this notion and, quite frequently, scoff at the “stupid Sky Wizard believers” and their antiquated, and potentially racist notions?

I wonder – and this is personal speculation – if it isn’t because Christianity posits that God knows your heart. He knows if your charity is sincere, or if it is for personal status signalling. He knows your intentions. If the author of the White Fragility piece believed in a neutral arbiter who knew your heart, your true intentions, that would change things, wouldn’t it? If her intentions are bad, God knows! And if the accused racist had good intentions, He knows that too! The avenger in the heavens, as Voltaire phrased it, is ready to deliver his righteous fury.

Consider the possibility that belief in God restrained Liberals from doing too much “good” in the name of moral virtue, and shamed those who “sounded the trumpets before them” as in Matthew 6:2. A useful creed indeed!

Rosenblatt’s discernment of this remarkable turn may be the most valuable contribution of the book, yet she does not emphasize it. In fact, she discusses liberalism’s treatment of religion in bits and pieces, scattered throughout the text for the reader to assemble for herself. The upshot of these disconnected observations is that one of liberalism’s greatest successes was to domesticate Christianity, very cleverly, to make it safe for liberal politics. Instead of violently confronting Christian believers, or co-opting Christian figures (tactics that had been tried throughout history by Roman emperors, medieval kings, Enlightenment democrats, and countless others), liberalism colonized Christianity itself.

Bingo! I don’t know that modern Christianity’s essence would be all that recognizable to Christians a thousand years ago because of this colonization. Certainly many of the rituals and catechisms would be recognizable. In fact, as I study Catholicism I am surprised by how little has changed, in that respect. But step outside the trappings of the faith for a moment and look at it from a cultural perspective.

I read a piece many years ago which I tried very hard to find today, but failed. Nonetheless, perhaps a reader of mine may have more success. It was about a historian studying the Black Madonna in France. He discussed the Christianity that created it. How Christ as a baby was wise, but harsh. This wasn’t a happy child, this was the child with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Madonna was a hard woman, focused. Brave. The culture of the time was forged in dirt, grime, and war. Their Christianity was illiberal. The Madonna of later periods was soft, the baby Jesus more child-like (though never fully so). The resilience and hardness was lost. In the end, the historian, who had been contemplating conversion to Catholicism, decided he did not care much for the softer modern church, though he noted the older church might have won him over.

I don’t know how true it really is, as it was one man’s anecdote (though the style changes of the Madonna over time lends itself somewhat to his position) and in this portion I am rambling a bit. But again, it strikes me as plausible that the form of nascent Liberalism present during the Enlightenment did indeed colonize Christianity, and to some extent change its essence in some fashion.

But one group of liberals deliberately set out to remake Christianity from within by developing a radical, new theology, new interpretations of scripture, new publications, and new churches. They succeeded remarkably in gaining adherents. Instead of trying to convert people overnight from Catholicism or orthodox Protestantism to secular humanism and its “pure light of reason” (as French historian Edgar Quinet called it), political liberals used liberal Protestantism as a halfway point from which to pry Christians away from dogma.

Now I don’t know how much of this occurred in Voltaire’s time, but this is definitely true of modern Liberalism, which has overridden tradition and dogma in many churches, including some particularly noteworthy examples like openly gay bishops and pro-abortion views from some churches (here’s an example).

The novelty of the liberal approach was the way it changed the Church from within, via its theology. Today’s young Christians practice what sociologist Christian Smith has described as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” a faith whose history stretches back to the French and German thinkers of the early liberal movement. They developed a new method to bring Christianity to heel and shore up liberal politics, simultaneously.

I’ve spoken on this matter before. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a very watered down descendant of Christianity, though not really a form of Christianity itself. Consider it as an intermediate stage between fedora-equipped “brights” and skin-suited churches like the mainline Episcopalians.

They retained the parts of Christianity that spurred people to improve themselves and inculcate civic virtues, but sheared off the strong doctrinal claims that divided society and relativized the state’s authority. They wanted a religion that fitted their practical, political aims. The German Johann Semler coined the term “liberal theology” in 1774 to describe a way of reading the Bible that persuaded him (and other scholars) that Christianity’s core was moral, not dogmatic.

Here is where this piece connects to the first fisk. You see, from dogma – and my instruction in Catholicism – I have clearly-outlined duties, and there are clearly-outlined consequences for failing in them. There is a success condition, and repentance, and forgiveness. Modern Liberalism lacks all of these mechanisms. The White Fragility author talks of microaggressions as if they were grave offenses. Why? Because she lacks a success condition. She must always find new and ever more granular expressions of racism, because she has no defined success condition, nor does she appear to desire one (consciously, anyway).

The accused are guilty, and they are always guilty, and they can never not be guilty. There is no forgiveness. Repentance doesn’t matter, because your intentions don’t matter. Her desired definition for racism is, in effect, Original Sin, except lacking all of the dogmatic success conditions upon which your sins can be forgiven, and you can be made whole. She wants to define the word racism this way. But you can find similar arguments on sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc…

There is no set of duties to absolve you of the guilt. The guilt is forever, and constant, and neither your intentions (which are dismissed as irrelevant) nor your actions (you’re still subconsciously racist) absolve you.

What was designed as a political-theological project to modernize religion and moderate democratic politics has proven to be exceedingly fragile. The liberal political settlement is rapidly fraying, and its theological component has collapsed.

One can easily sympathize with Rosenblatt’s anxiety over the future of the liberal project, which once seemed so promising. However, because she overlooks the most important implications of her work, she misdiagnoses the root cause of the failure of liberalism: its rejection of the kind of Christianity on which it depends. From its earliest days, some of its strongest proponents have recognized that liberalism on its own lacks the resources to form the kind of citizens it requires.

Voltaire was wise enough to understand that, whatever his belief system really was at its core, he still needed God at some level. Humanity still needed God. Nietzsche told us that God was dead, and by implication, that it was the Enlightenment that killed Him. For one, I believe God is still there, but even independent of that thought, the first wave of the Enlightenment did not try such a deed. That was for the successors in the Liberal tradition to attempt.

And where they have succeeded, where they have stripped away the divine, removed dogma, and destroyed the success conditions upon our moral duties, they have left us with only an invented moral preening, a virtue signalling so bereft of meaning and utility it must openly rewrite our very own language to disguise its nature as futile nonsense. It features no redemption, no hope of success. Ray Bradbury warned us of the Autumn People, that they would “frenzy forth”, and now I take his meaning. They have no purpose but to signal their status, but in this they whip themselves into a frenzy. Cut those racist dreadlocks, white boy. You are guilty. We need no trial, no defense. Only the accusation ever mattered, and even there, the intent is meaningless.

One SJW explained that Elon Musk was a racist because he launched his car into space and didn’t spend the money on Flint’s water supply, as if it was his duty to attend to such matters, and not that of another, like say the duly elected government charged with the job. Why could she make such an absurd claim, and why would it stick with many Lefties? Because they have no success condition, no list of moral duties, nothing to benchmark anything against. Only accusations, which are proof of guilt, matter at all.

You, dear reader, did you donate all of your wealth to some Liberal political cause? No? You are guilty! All it takes is one accusation!

Sound your moral trumpets before you, for surely you are holier than thou, yes?

Ask a modern Liberal: “what duties must I fulfill, upon which I may be judged as having satisfied my moral responsibility?” Most will respond with vague platitudes. Save the world from Climate Change (I can’t do this, supposing their notion of what this means is even true), end racism (they told me this can categorically never happen), etc, etc… Their lack of dogma leads them to wander a twisted moral landscape with no compass, no grounding, until they are spouting absurdities about tri-gender gay 3 year olds, because somebody, somewhere, accused someone who was against it of unforgivable sin. Remember, only the accusation matters.

Liberalism disconnected with Christianity over time. And the more it did so, the more it lost that grounding. Almost none of it remains today. As such, we are all sinners – that is the one point which survived the ideological culling – but there is no redemption to be had. The guilt is forever, racist.

The misery of such an existence is hard to fathom. For the first time in a long time, I almost pity them.

The Legacy of the West

When the Roman Empire splintered and shattered, the modern West was born. This was a point on which another student of Byzantine history and I agreed. Where did the West originate? The Greek agorae? The Roman legions? Or the Christian monasteries?

It’s a bit of a trick question, because all contributed to the formation of our civilization. Yet the monasteries were the last critical component. It was the Church, for better or worse, that nourished the West after Rome was gone. Even in Byzantium, where the Roman state continued in some form, the Church was increasingly the light that held eastern Christians together as Islam slowly consumed its share of the Roman world. Observe the Divine Liturgy sometime and tell me that, even today, the Orthodox Christians do not mourn the loss of the old Byzantine world.

Speak to college students today, and many will tell you that the “Dark Ages” were a time of burning scientists at the stake, inquisitors conducting witch hunts, and, of course, the Crusades. Islam was the great, prosperous bastion of learning while Europe slumbered in ignorance. That such twisted history is taught in public schools and universities is beyond travesty, it’s profoundly anti-civilizational.

As the West loses touch with its faith, it loses an essential component of its collective soul, so to speak.

I’m no exception. I’m an example of this. My historical studies kept leading me to God. Events in my life, people I met and interacted with. They always led to God and to the Church. I don’t think this was an accident.

The same student of Byzantine history who asked which of the three contributed most to the West had another observation: there is a crisis of meaning in the West that people try to medicate away. Maybe we could just call it Nihilism, but it’s a little more than that, I think. From my DJ booth, I’ve seen a lot of drugs, sex, and hedonistic behavior. On occasion I have asked some folks why they do what they do. In aggregate, the reasons boil down to a sort of cosmic boredom: if there’s no meaning in anything, why not drink, get stoned into high orbit, and dive into an orgy party? There’s a certain logic to it.

Let’s not kid ourselves. People have been getting drunk, stoned, and being sexually depraved throughout human history. This, by itself, is not new. The Bible itself speaks of such times. Notice, however, the common theme in such examples: there is no faith in God. Instead, the faith is replaced with an inferior thing. A golden calf, mass sexual depravity, etc… These idols stand in for God, but very poorly. There’s a link here. I can speak to it personally.

Humans are wired to desire a higher purpose and meaning to their lives. Maybe it’s just instinct, just genetics making us seek out something that doesn’t exist because, somehow, this is advantageous from an evolutionary perspective. Maybe God-seekers are more likely to, in the grand scheme of things, survive and pass on their genes. From the amount of fucking the golden calf worshipers do, though, I doubt this. At best, you are looking at an r/K selection bias.

Or maybe this is all real. Maybe God does exist. And when you attempt to replace the divine with some human creation, it leads to a soul-sucking barrenness, something that you have to medicate away with drugs, booze, and hedonism. And you keep throwing things into that great hole in your life, and nothing ever fills it. Nothing makes the emptiness go away but God.

In either case, as God fades from the West, the cultural malaise spreads. I’m about as certain as I can be that there is a link. I can’t prove it to you in concrete terms. I’m the kind of man who speculates on things and looks for connections. I am a poor purveyor of proofs. But look around you and see if you spot the same sickness. Maybe you’ll agree with me.

Faith in God kept us going long enough to get back on our feet from a civilizational perspective. Far from being the cartoon witch-burning villains, the monasteries of the middle ages were preservers of what came before. Much of what remains of the ancient world is because of their efforts. Maybe the answer to the soul sickness we see today is the same as it was when the Roman edifice came toppling down: God. That choice cannot be worse than a golden calf or a crack pipe.

I’ve made my choice, and I’ve chosen God. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb often says, I have skin in the game now. I have chosen to enter the Catholic Church.

Which way, Western Man?

The Customer Is Always Left

Long ago, I spent a year and change working retail. The economy was in a downturn at the time, and I took whatever work I could score. It’s not something I’ve thought about often, except that the other day it popped into my head how similar the “customer is always right” philosophy is to a feature of Leftist politics.

You see, Leftists see racism/sexism/bigotry/whatever in everything, even where it does not exist, even in cases like Jussie Smollett where it is blatantly made up out of whole cloth. There is a functional similarity to angry retail customers.

Consider the following example: I worked in the shoe area of a department store. The store had a policy where shoes would not be accepted for return if they were clearly worn, unless the shoes were defective in some manner (which was handled via a different procedure than regular returns). The sign stating this policy was clearly posted on the register, and workers were instructed to remind the customer of this policy upon sale.

It happened often enough that someone would try to return shoes that were clearly worn (they’d have dirt on the soles, or stains, etc…), and demand a refund. Some would still be dripping mud, when the customer made the absurd claim that they hadn’t been worn. Invariably, they would get angry upon being denied the return. Such customers would claim that I wasn’t doing my job, or I was a bad person (and please, could they complain about me to a manager), or offer increasingly improbable stories – and variations of the same story – explaining how the signs of wear weren’t really evidence of the shoe being worn.

Some would threaten to have me fired, others would yell at the assistant manager, and then the store manager, and insinuate claims of discrimination (oh, you won’t take the shoes back because I’m black, is that it?). This isn’t unique to the shoe department at an old department store, though. Anyone who has worked retail will have long lists of situations like these.

Another example was when the store management tried to push store credit card applications. Cashiers were required to ask the customer if they wished to save 10% on their purchase by opening a credit card with the store. Now, this was one area where I disagreed with store policy. I hated trying to push credit, and some customers would get hostile if either denied the credit account (and thus the promised 10% discount), or when I asked for their Social Security number. I fully understand that. I wouldn’t want to give out my social to some random person at a department store either. BUT this was how it worked. I had no choice in the matter. I had to ask, or I would lose my job.

Angry customers would then say that they wanted to get me fired, especially if the system sent back a denial.

The latter example is similar to how many Leftists claim that a system of oppression is in place that discriminates against X people, and that if you’re white and you aren’t actively trying to dismantle this system, you’re a bad person. Well, even if it exists, what do you want me to do about it? Am I supposed to, as in the credit example, lose my job because you’re pissed about something someone else did? I have no control here.

In the nasty return example, I was often unsure if the customer really believed their bullshit stories – that they had convinced themselves they hadn’t actually worn the shoes, or believed their child when he swore he never wore them – or if they were actively trying to screw the store over for free shoes. It is often that way with angry Leftists. Do they really believe a white guy wearing dreadlocks is racial discrimination? Or are they just exceptionally gullible? Did they convince themselves of this belief?

The saying “the customer is always right” is a load of crap. Leftist claims of oppression are likewise. Look, we all see the dirt on the soles here. We see the Jussies of the world oppressing themselves. We see the people irrationally freaking out over some white girl wearing a kimono to an art exhibit. None of this is real. It’s all either an act, or some kind of very special stupidity.

The only question is, are the Leftists just weapons-grade morons, or are they actively trying to screw us? At some point, it no longer matters. No, you moron, if you went trudging through the mud in your shoes, you can’t just bring them back. How did you ever think this was going to work?

The tactics are the same. They’ll call your manager and complain about you and try to get you fired for having the wrong opinions. Leftists have this vindictive mentality that mirrors those of spurned, angry customers. Oh, you didn’t risk your livelihood to please their whims? You bigot, you! They’ll scream and yell at you, and make a nuisance of themselves in public. They’ll rant and rave about getting you fired. They will gleefully see you ruined over something you didn’t do, and don’t have any control over in the first place. Even if you submit to them, they’ll still hate you and see you as the enemy. It’s very bizarre seeing entitled people whining about your entitlement.

And then you get incidents like the GameStop transgender, where we have a literal merger of an Angry Customer and the Entitled Leftist into some kind of Uber-Asshole, created in a laboratory and assembled from the parts of lesser assholes:

The Gamestop employee no doubt had a difficult decision to make when addressing this person: is he really a would-be she, or a he merely dressing slightly feminine? Who the Hell knows anymore? But woe be to the cashier who guesses wrong.

This, of course, becomes moral ammunition in whatever transaction is going on here. “Give me my fucking money back.” Is the he-she genuinely angry because of a pronoun, or is this all some kind of scam to get some kind of treatment?

Or, worse, did he-she get up on the wrong side of the bed and just want to get somebody fired from his job?

Angry customers are fascinating in how fast they go from not even noticing you exist – you’re just a wage-earner, after all, and entirely beneath notice – to having a personal desire to ruin your life over the most trivial of things, most often things you don’t even have control over. I can’t go back in time and change the policy of early America on slavery in the South. What the Hell does that have to do with me, personally? And what do you want me to do now? Do you want me to quit my job and give it to a “person of color?” Do you want my house, my car, my money? What?

It’s like when you say to an angry customer that you’re sorry, and while you didn’t come up with the policy, you work here and have to abide by it. The angry customer might say ‘well if you don’t like the policy, why do you work here?’ Because I need to eat, jackass.

There is this bizarre notion that corporations and employees must have some kind of singular political belief – a Leftist one, naturally. Companies owned by admitted Rightists have to deal with this bullshit all the time. Chick-fil-a had those protests some time back because one of the owners wasn’t a big fan of gay marriage. So what? For one, what does that have to do with serving chicken? And secondly, there was no evidence the owner’s personal beliefs had anything to do with store policies. Chick-fil-a did not ask if you were gay during a job interview.

But, it’s the end of the world if a Rightist might actually own a business. Worse, I suppose, would be to be a Rightist employee. If you make the wrong joke at the wrong time, in the wrong social media space, you could have an angry mob calling your employer and getting you fired for a bad tweet.

The hostility is so much like the angry customer it’s hard to not see the connection. Except to say in this case, companies are firing people upon the demand of people are are not even customers. What is this, the theoretically possible future customer is always right?

When the economy picked back up again, I was glad to get out of that retail job. I do have a level of sympathy for people who deal with that attitude on a daily basis. But with the expansion of Leftist politics into every aspect of life, including your personal life, your job, and your business, pretty soon everybody will be dealing with something like the angry customer, screaming at you and blaming you for things that are objectively not your doing.

Soon, everybody will learn what working retail is like. And I tell you, it will suck.

Leftist Hoaxes: A Failure to Understand the Right

Many moons ago, Milo Yiannopoulos told us that the demand for hate crimes far outstrips the supply. This has been obvious to many on the Right for quite a long time now. Jussie Smollett’s hoax certainly wasn’t the first such incident, though it is unusually prominent. In this, we see the Media’s journey into a Pravda-like arm of the DNC reach its final conclusion. Like Alyssa Milano, they desperately want the image of violent MAGA hat loons running around to be true. Their desire finally trumped the last vestiges of integrity they still possessed.

But beyond this, as Tom Kratman once told me, the Left does not understand us. They do not know their enemy, though we know them a bit better than they know us. Jussie’s faked hate crime smelled wrong to us from the beginning, and not just because of the lack of credible evidence, but because the Left’s conception of who and what we are is so out of touch reality. Their image of MAGA hat wearers is completely at odds with reality.

To explain this in more detail, I will tell you a story. A friend of mine used to be a bouncer. He’s a Rightist, and has always been at least vaguely conservative. And he did witness (and deal with) a homophobic “hate” crime (I loathe the term hate crimes in general, but let’s play along for the moment).

He was at a seedy biker bar a couple decades ago, and a very obviously flamboyant gay man entered the premises. The gay man appeared to be oblivious to the unwelcoming looks of the bar’s regulars. At some point, the gay man decided to go to the bathroom, and some drunken, addled bikers followed him into the john with obvious intentions.

My friend, naturally, followed the bikers. When he got in, the gay man was already being attacked, and my friend had a real hard time dealing with them – they were bikers, after all – but he successfully fought them off and told the gay man to leave before it got any worse for him.

This is how a crime against a gay man, motivated by his homosexuality, would likely take place. If Jussie was walking down the street, acting particularly flamboyant, and a couple of drunken guys accosted him in the street, it would be believable. Crimes of this sort aren’t planned, generally. Nobody is carting around rope and bleach, while pointedly wearing MAGA hats, to find a homosexual to beat down. If someone has an issue with gays, the attack is likely to be unplanned, spontaneous, and like the case my friend dealt with, it will probably involve copious amounts of alcohol.

Most Rightists don’t care much one way or the other if a gay man walks by, or enters a bar, or whatever. Contrary to Leftist belief, most of us don’t care who you are screwing. If there is any annoyance, it’s probably with the sort of folks who like to wave their sexual preferences around like a badge of honor and won’t shut up about it. Even then, that is usually a minor annoyance, barely above that of people who drive slow in the left lane. But if a Rightist were to care, and take offense, and want to hurt someone over it, it would go down like the incident in the biker bar.

It would not go down like the Jussie Smollett hoax. Or the “poop Swastika” incident at Missou. Or the drum-beating Indian complaining about “the Smirk heard ’round the world.”

Rather, these fake hate crimes are presented in the manner a Leftist would conduct a hate campaign. Leftists are fond of indirect, symbolic tactics. PETA-tards enjoy throwing paint on people wearing leather or fur. They are fond of weird symbolism like dressing up as bloodied animals up for slaughter. See the parallels with the noose and bleach supposedly dumped on Jussie? It’s basically PETA-behavior, but staged as a Rightist thing.

No. If a Rightist is going to have a problem with you, the odds are he’s going to punch you in the face. Or follow you into a bathroom and beat you down. The Right is much more fond of directness. Does anybody really think, say, a redneck is going to dump bleach on you and run away? Do you think he cares about the symbolism of a noose, or that he’s going to go out of his way to wear a certain hat – so as to make the right fashion statement during the attack? No. If he has a problem, he’s going to get in your face, probably punch it repeatedly, and walk away when he feels his point has been made.

In this the Left betrays how little they understand us. For even their hoaxes seem like bad parodies to us. It’s what a Leftist would do, only reversed in ideological polarity. It’s not what a Rightist would do. They don’t get us. Their rank-and-file doesn’t have any clue who they are dealing with anymore. Even the Media is too stuck on Leftism to understand anymore. There was a time, perhaps, when wiser Leftists would have thought “well, that doesn’t sound a whole lot like them… maybe we should check into this a little more.”

That time has passed.

This is profoundly dangerous to us all. Because, not knowing us, they cannot understand where the limits are. They’ve been butting up near our maximum levels of tolerance for some time now. Sooner or later, one of them is going to exceed that boundary because he doesn’t even know it’s there, anymore.

It won’t go down any better for them than it did the oblivious gay man walking into the wrong biker bar at the wrong time. And given that no Rightist will be willing to stick up for them, as my friend did back then, it’s likely to go down much, much worse.

Journalists are Character Assassins

When the Internet was relatively young, I remember folks telling me that things were going to be different. With the rise of blogging, the rise of conservative talk radio, with the availability of alternative media in the vein of Andrew Breitbart’s vision, things were going to finally be different.

We were going to break the Left’s stranglehold on journalism, academia, entertainment – all of it.

That never happened.

Andrew Breitbart was, in many ways, the strongest of us all when it came to challenging Old Media. He was our Alexander the Great, charging into Persia. And like Alexander, he was taken from us too soon. Some of his proteges remain with us. I am a great fan of Kurt Schlichter, for instance. But with all due respect to them – and my respect is great and genuine – they are not enough.

One of the unforeseen complications was that the Left gained control of social media as well. Facebook and Twitter censors are anything but objective, and their subtle (but pervasive) enforcement of Leftist norms stacks the deck against us. We are gamblers at the casino, and though we may win here and there, the House always wins in the end.

When Rightists create alternative platforms, they are always seen as just that, alternatives. Copies. Not the original. When Rightists create something very original, Leftist mobs show up to tell us how racist it is. Revenue streams are dried up by Leftist activism. Even payment processing can be cancelled underneath them.

Media power has not waned. Though Donald Trump has created a backlash against the media among some Rightists, all too many still believe them. The “smirk” incident blew up on social media, and many Rightists were quick to condemn the smirking kid and support the indian drummer. Eventually, the truth got out – at least to people willing to hear it – yet the damage was already done.

Next time, the media will tar another Rightist with some terrible non-crime, and again, people will leap to condemn the ‘perp’ because the media has declared him guilty by fiat. The Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect (a variant of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect) is in full effect.

Mainstream Media is still incomparably mighty. If they targeted you, as they did the smirk kid, could you weather the storm without severe consequences?

No. Nobody could. Even Donald Trump, a billionaire and President of the United States, has serious trouble fighting back against them, and if there is any Rightist more powerful than he, at the moment, I am not aware of him.

At any point, you could become the focus of a shitstorm merely by virtue of a journalist taking notice of you. They could travel to your pizza place in the middle of nowhere and make you the focus of a national gay rights scandal. They could threaten to expose you to public ridicule and mobs if you should dare to post a political meme on reddit. Or, you could make a bad joke on Twitter and be subjected to a massive online mob and fired before your plane even lands.

Journalists are Character Assassins. Their job is not to report the news – not anymore (if it was ever this). Rather, since real assassination has become bad form, their new role is to conduct a different variety of assassination on behalf of their Leftist handlers. This craft is not practiced on the margins, or by lone wolves. It is practiced openly, and on a massive scale. Dig deep. You know this is true. We all know journalists exist to destroy people. Now, they may be practiced at cloaking this behavior with honeyed language – you’ll be famous, you’ll get national attention – all that is just an effort to con you into consenting to your own character assassination.

Social media was supposed to be our counter, our grassroots defense against this behavior. For a time it kinda-sorta worked. Dan Rather and his “fake but accurate” hit piece was quickly exposed. The word got out. Rightists were on the offense. The rise of Andrew Breitbart and his cadre of culture warriors was much overdue, but extremely effective. Even today, our victories – rare as they might be – are through this medium.

Nonetheless, the Left has gradually assumed control over social media with such Orwellian ministries as the Twitter Trust and Safety Council. What next? Will Facebook create a Ministry of Truth? With Google semi-openly supporting the Left, our access to this medium is gradually being stripped away.

How does this happen? Every time, the Left gains control over the institutions. Anything not explicitly Right-wing is soon dominated by the Left. Anything explicitly Right-wing is ignored and tarred from the get-go.

This is the one thing the Left has always been excellent at. They are the experts in subversion, in stacking the deck for their side. They are the ultimate cheaters. Put a Leftist in control of, say, an HR department… and soon they only hire Leftists, if they can possibly get away with it. Before long, the organization is entirely Leftist. Jonathan Haidt described this process in certain academic fields.

It is a common Leftist contention that “people of color” are marginalized, pushed to the fringes and “invisibled.” This may have been true pre-1960, but it is true no longer. Today, it is anybody right-of-center who is marginalized. Your skin color does not protect you, as Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell can surely attest. Everything SJWs accuse us of doing, they do… to us.

The unmitigated gall of these people is staggering. They accuse Rightists of “cyber-bullying.” But if anyone is guilty of this, it is the Left (see Justine Sacco’s story). They accuse us of violence, but it is Antifa who roams the streets with the implicit promise of violence should you dare to disagree. Some would think this is projection, but it is something much worse. Projection happens when you don’t want to believe a truth about yourself, so you project it onto another.

Progs know full well what they are doing, and they like it. Kurt Schlichter is fond of saying that these people hate you and want you dead. Generally speaking, he’s not wrong.

There is a relationship here. Political masters command the media, which in turn drives what is permissible on social media, which in turn mobilizes the Leftist masses against targets selected for character assassination.

This could be me, or you, or some random kid at a March for Life rally. It could be a CEO of a software company, or a woman flying to South Africa. It could even be my very own neighbor. The Character Assassins are everywhere, and they mobilize the mobs of SJWs, Antifas, and general idiots.

They are also expert in defanging Rightists and preventing them from coming to the aid of their compatriots, using guilt trips, misinformation, and peer pressure.

They are not reporters of the news. They are Character Assassins. That is their real job. Everything else is a smokescreen.

I don’t know how we fix this at any kind of meta level, but I do know where to start: do not listen to them. They are liars. They are assassins. Trump is right when he calls them the enemy. We’ve long known this about them, but few speak it openly. Thus it may be Trump’s most important observation.

%d bloggers like this: