We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Nameless remarks on a private forum…

1. I’m fairly convinced at this point that anything I say can be interpreted as racist and staying silent is also racist.

2. Race, on the other hand, is a terrible idea that the woke children wish to set in stone instead of getting rid of. That’s not to claim that genetic ancestry has no impact on people’s health etc., only that skin color should be no more meaningful than hair color, but expressing such an ideal these days will get you canceled by those who claim to fight bigotry.

3. There is an immense amount of actual racism in the world. Which is not good enough since that can be dealt with, if not easily, at least rationally. So virtual racism is the omnipresent threat the revolution needs.

That makes it all so poignant to me is the people who wrote these things have jobs and do not feel they can speak openly. Anyone who thinks there is no culture war going on is simply wrong.

66 comments to Nameless remarks on a private forum…

  • Disillusionist

    While the leftists at pretty much every institution you can think of spontaneously recreate the roles of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, the (sadly) predictable policy changes that result will have as their most obvious manifestation a significant spike in the number of murders of African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans. And not one of the willful morons backing all this will care about them at all.

  • thefat tomato

    The “culture war” is the fourth estate’s desperate attempt to stay a multi-trillion dollar ruling class, whilst simultaneously losing it’s mass appeal and credibility.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “That makes it all so poignant to me is the people who wrote these things have jobs and do not feel they can speak openly. Anyone who thinks there is no culture war going on is simply wrong.”

    There has always been a culture war going on.

    “Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant — society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.”

    That’s from 1859. It’s the idea that there’s anything new or unusual about this that is bizarre. It has been the constant state of mankind throughout history.

  • It’s the idea that there’s anything new or unusual about this that is bizarre.

    No one here said that, certainly not me. But some do act as if this is unprecedented. It isn’t.

    It has been the constant state of mankind throughout history.

    Yes and no. Periods of relative stability where many issues seem to be ‘settled’ do happen. But inevitably, they decay into periods of flux and heightened uncertainty.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Periods of relative stability where many issues seem to be ‘settled’ do happen.”

    It’s not the “settled” versus “controversy” aspect I’m talking about, it’s the fact that there have always been things you can’t say without getting into trouble from the rest of society. It’s about not being able to ‘speak openly’. It’s not being able to hold certain opinions or beliefs, without ostracism or career suicide or some other heavy penalty if you are discovered. It’s still a war, but sometimes so one-sided that hardly anybody on the losing side dares stand up and fight.

    Religion, politics, nationality, class, race, sex and sexuality – there are a myriad ways we divide humanity into ‘us’ and ‘them’. And a myriad ways we have to show how we conform, to signal our membership of society’s ‘us’. Tribalism is wired in to human nature.

    The contrary would be a period of history when people could say, be, and believe whatever they liked, an’ it hurt none. When has there ever been a time like that?

  • bobby b

    – When I was young – 15-20 – it was fairly well accepted (in my area, at least) that being an atheist was something to be kept to oneself. It was a friend-limiter, a job-killer, a sure way to lose acceptance in society. I remember one late-night college dorm discussion (at a very liberal college) the conclusion of which was that I had no political future because enough people knew I was an atheist.

    – When I was even younger and we had one of those no-money periods, we lived in my aunt Jordis’s basement with my crazy uncle Norman. Norman was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known. But he was a gay cross-dresser, who went out every Friday and Saturday night in drag, and about half the nights he either returned beaten up or someone had to go to jail to pick him up. We didn’t speak about him, we didn’t admit to polite society that he existed. My father was looking for a teaching position at the time, and that would have been a job-killer. I would have been beaten up and hounded out of existence for living with a . . . well, fill in the blank.

    – If one looks carefully at my date of birth and my parents’ marriage date, things don’t quite add up. Sixty-some years ago, this was a big, big thing. I didn’t figure it out until I was in my teens, because my parents kept dates out of all mementos of their wedding, and they never ever let on about it to anyone. I was a bastard, and would have found myself limited in proper (Norwegian/Minnesotan) society.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  • I was a bastard

    …and now you’re not?

    😆

  • NickM

    Would Peter Jackson’s LoTR Trilogy be made now?

    With it’s white cast? Or some of the bad guys being “Easterlings” and Southrons?

    With Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate?

    https://youtu.be/EXGUNvIFTQw

    “I bid you stand! Men of the West!”

    Not very woke was he?

    Orc Lives Matter.(Especially non-binary-gendered ones).

    I am quite serious about this. I don’t think those movies could be made now. We are not just censoring our history and culture but inventing it for political ends. Unpleasant political ends but pleasant or unpleasant is not the point.

    For me, as to history, I am 3/4 Irish (I have the passport and everything) and if there is any “racial” group with a more legitimate historical beef against the English then it is the paddies. Yet… I don’t feel it. I don’t destroy wantonly over grievances from long ago and indeed live very nicely in England as I have all my life.

    As to culture – I am a huge JRRT fan. I think PJ did a pretty good job* and the kind of cultural “update” we’d get now would get my goat. I care about that culture as I also care about the genuine cultural obscenities of, say, the use of blackface. Casting Halle Berry as Galadriel is just as wrong as having Matt Damon play Martin Luther King.

    I’d say a lot more on this but my K/B is on the blink and it is late.

    But, one last thing for now… Didn’t the British Empire abolish slavery with acts in 1807 and 1833? Why the fuck should this have anything more to do with me (or anyone else alive today) than the Napoleanonic Wars? And why has this not been noted by anyone in the MSM? That Britain actually lead the way here?

    *Obviously I have my snarks as all Tolkienistas do… but… let’s not go there simply because we could be here until the Fifth Age picking over the minutiae.

  • bobby b

    “…and now you’re not?”

    Left myself wide open for that one, didn’t I? 😀

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Would Peter Jackson’s LoTR Trilogy be made now? With it’s white cast?”

    It doesn’t matter, but in the book Samwise Gamgee is often described as having brown skin.

    “Sam sat propped against the stone, his head dropping sideways and his breathing heavy. In his lap lay Frodo’s head, drowned deep in sleep; upon his white forehead lay one of Sam’s brown hands, and the other lay softly upon his master’s breast.” The Two Towers: The Stairs of Cirith Ungol.

    “Sam drew out the elven-glass of Galadriel again. As if to do honor to his hardihood, and to grace with splendor his faithful brown hobbit-hand that had done such deeds, the phial blazed forth suddenly, so that all the shadowy court was lit with a dazzling radiance like lightning.” Return of The King: The Tower of Cirith Ungol.

    Probably Sam was a Harfoot. Tolkien wrote: “The Harfoots were browner of skin, smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless; their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides.”

    The men of Bree were also described as related to the darker-skinned Dunlendings, IIRC, and Bill Ferny in particular was “swarthy”. There are quite a few of them in the book.

    The beauty of the stories was that it never mattered. They were just people.

  • Phil B

    Regarding LoTR being made nowadays. One of my friends runs a B&B in Northumberland and one of the delights for her guests is that she has a bird table set up outside the dining room window which is frequented by red squirrels. She has fed them and they are quite used to humans so put on a display.

    She wrote a childrens book about grey squirrels invading the reds territories. No publisher would accept it on the grounds of racism or implied racism against “migrants”. It is about squirrels but racism is searched for by the modern equivalent of the Witchfinder General.

    So, without a predominantly black cast in the lead roles of LOTR then no way would it be produced.

    Bjorn Andreas Bull Hansen has something to say about Cultural Appropriation but as you can guess, it only goes one way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULIHjFy-eUo

    When you only have a hammer (or “racist”) in your toolkit, guess what everything starts to look like?

  • Roué le Jour

    But it isn’t the majority, is it? Polls show Joe Public wants law and order applied good and hard.

  • Nico

    @Disillusionist:

    While the leftists at pretty much every institution you can think of spontaneously recreate the roles of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, the (sadly) predictable policy changes …

    I mean, you’re not wrong, but nowadays it’s straight up Leninism. The Mensheviks, such as they exist, are silent because they get it now that they must be Leninists or else.

    Leninism brooks no dissent. Every Leninist wants to be Lenin, and most of them are willing to accept their fates under some other Lenin (spoiler alert: the competition is always eliminated in Leninist regimes).

    The problem for Leninists is that there are just so many of them this time around, not just one or two and a bunch of Bolsheviks. The carnage, should they take over our governments, will be a spectacle not seen since the Spanish Civil War and the civil war within that civil war.

    @NiV:

    That’s from 1859. It’s the idea that there’s anything new or unusual about this that is bizarre. It has been the constant state of mankind throughout history.

    There’s been nothing new in politics since Robespierre et sa Terreur. I’m pretty sure though that that was a new thing. Perhaps there is an argument that the difference between the French Revolution and what came before is just a matter of degree — degree of weaponization of bad ideas.

    Robespierre and Lenin, their ideas were a new sometimes-still-unimaginable level of refined and purified evil. It is hard to imagine anything worse — a comforting thought perhaps. But the modern antifas, they’re sure trying at the very least to bring Lenin’s nightmare back to life.

    God help us all.

  • Nico

    @Roué le Jour:

    But it isn’t the majority, is it? Polls show Joe Public wants law and order applied good and hard.

    Has there ever been a country that freely voted by a majority (or even plurality) for communism? For Terror?

    I wouldn’t expect so. I’m ignorant of what happened in Nicaragua. Even in Venezuela, the frog got cooked and elections were stolen. In Russia? Coup. Cuba? Coup. China? Civil war.

    The majority may be for law and order, and so against Marxism-Leninism implicitly, but they usually don’t get a say.

  • John

    It’s only a small beef but PJ couldn’t resist inserting Arwen as Frodo’s saviour from the Ringwraiths. Not in the book and completely unnecessary to the plot. Then later on she turns up to defend Gondor!

  • Eric

    If one looks carefully at my date of birth and my parents’ marriage date, things don’t quite add up. Sixty-some years ago, this was a big, big thing.

    Not really, no. This was fairly common, and in polite society you pretended not to notice. The important part was the wedding predating the birth. People sixty-some years ago were not naive.

  • Stonyground

    When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, our family was considered slightly odd because we still went to chapel on a Sunday morning. The congregation consisted of our family and about five old ladies. I have been an atheist since my mid teens, I’ve never kept it a secret and it’s never been an issue. You don’t mention your age and what time period was involved. Does my experience represent progress?

  • Mr Ecks

    That fat BluLabour clown Johnson should go back on tv to give a brief account of the crimes of socialism followed up by denouncing BLM as Marxist scum and banning the organisation (along with Common Purpose) under penalty of jail plus a 100 % wealth fine.

    Publicly taking the knee to Marxist evil should cost 75% of the malefactors wealth for a first offence. Several years inside with hard labour for any subsequent offences.

    I despise the state’ costumed thugs and they have proven their cowardly mettle. Any copper ever again chased down a street should lose both job and pension.

    We need the return of an armed yeomanry as in times gone by. To beat the shite out of Antifa and BLM in any street battles. One that turns out to fight on patriotic sentiment not the orders of political scum.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Good discussion. The only thing is that, as @Roué has pointed out, it isn’t the majority at all. It’s the celebs, the media, academia and a lot of politicians.

    The universities (in the UK) are lining up to make assertions masquerading as “self-evident” truths. I’m considering objecting to mine but will probably be lynched if I do (and part of me just can’t be bothered anymore).

  • Runcie Balspune

    It’s another feeble attempt to push down the silent majority.

    An underlying theme in the protests has been “f*ck Trump” and “f*ck Boris”, on the implication they are racists who kill people so we know not to vote for them, no-body outside the bubble believes this, in fact it probably solidifies the belief that this is a politically motivated demonstration and nothing to do with racism, defacing Churchill’s statue and setting fire to the Union Jack will not rally people to your cause.

    I’ve yet to observe that intimidation of this kind affects how people vote in this country (or the US), so when the end of the year comes, and in five years time, I can expect wins for the current administration.

    The media and the mob are keen to distract attention from the Leftist/Democrat run police forces that are being accused of institutional racism (again), there were BLM protests outside Cummings home FFS!

    Side note: my parents divorced around 1980, back then I think I was one of only a few kids in a large school who had this happen.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The majority may be for law and order, and so against Marxism-Leninism implicitly, but they usually don’t get a say.

    Marx advocated for revolution, on the excuse that it was the only way to get rid of the Czar and his ilk, but he never advocating using democratic means, nor advocated the installation of a democracy that could remove communists once installed, he knew people would not vote for it – who would possibly vote for someone who would either kill you or impoverish you?

  • bobby b

    Stonyground
    June 10, 2020 at 7:34 am

    “When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s . . . You don’t mention your age and what time period was involved. Does my experience represent progress?”

    I suspect we’re very close. I’m 63. But it might be a regional thing. When I was pre-16, we bounced back and forth between Norwalk-Compton (South L.A.) and Minneapolis. In LA, everyone was Mexican – meaning, Catholic. Strongly Catholic. In Minneapolis, everyone was Lutheran or Baptist. Both communities were strongly religious places. It was in Minnesota where the college consensus took place, in about 1976 or 77. It would probably be more proper to say that we agreed I had no political future in Minnesota. The norm everywhere I lived was church every Sunday.

  • bobby b

    Runcie Balspune
    June 10, 2020 at 7:56 am

    ” . . . who would possibly vote for someone who would either kill you or impoverish you?”

    Last I read, 90%+ of blacks vote Democrat, year after year. 😳

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I am a part-owner of a firm and work in a field where I have a bit more freedom than some, but I still have to be careful what I say on public forums. I suspect that there are millions of others in this situation who see intersectionality for the ideological scam that it is, but cannot say so in public.

    Almost 20 years ago I made the very stupid mistake (entirely my own fault) of sharing a rather silly joke about Islam on a work email and nearly got fired. Ever since I have been v. careful about expressing my views in any sort of forum where I could be linked to my day-job.

    And this is important because the people making a lot of the noise are either so rich and independent that they don’t care, or in sectors where coming up with these “woke” points is almost necessary for their jobs. Look at what it must be like to work for a big corporation or public sector body at the moment. Imagine how long your career would last if you said that the very concept of race needs to be re-thought.

    I wonder whether one driver in the UK of all this madness is that the far Left got badly mauled in the 2019 general election and was seen to have cost Labour the election to some extent. The far Left probably knows that it cannot win a general election soon, so in the absence of that, expect more riots/protests, rather as happened during the 80s during the Maggie Supremacy.

    Unfortunately, since the days of Mrs T., the universities have fallen even more solidly into the arms of the Left, and students of the 80s who were influenced by these ideas are now running HR departments, quangos, the arts, sit on committees deciding things like statues, and so on.

    By the way, I wonder how many of them buy goods and services from China, a country that practices slave labour?

  • Eric

    By the way, I wonder how many of them buy goods and services from China, a country that practices slave labour?

    The great strength of Marxism is you don’t even have to try to be consistent. Factions in Libya can operate open air slave markets without criticism, and you can have intergenerational debt in Pakistan also without criticism, but the country which ended slavery in most of the Western world almost 200 years ago can never be considered anything other than intrinsically evil. Does it make sense? No, but they can paper it over with oppressor/oppressed gobbledygook.

  • Mr Ecks

    Simple enough to make firing or hassling people for expressing political opinions a go-to-jail crime. That will neuter the Uni-trained trash handily. Extra jail time as well for trying to use other claims –work no good etc–to cover political firings.

  • NickM

    NiV, John,
    Tempted though I am… I will not be drawn in into it I reiterate… Obviously I have my snarks as all Tolkienistas do… but… let’s not go there simply because we could be here until the Fifth Age picking over the minutiae.

    Phil B,
    That is very sad. I am a Geordie so I have seen red squirrels up in Northumberland – one of the few places you get ’em and they are delightful – unlike their grey cousins down here in Cheshire which are a bloody annoyance. As to your friend’s book… JRRT very clearly stated a number of times (when asked what LoTR was really about) that he “I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations…” but if you look at the forums the issue still comes up again and again. JRRT died in 1973.

    Anyway. What about Watership Down? The free-booting Watership rabbits as the White Hats and the socialist Efrafans as the Black Hats? I know… I know… I shall attend re-education over my racil titferism.

    JP,
    I think we can now safely regard “Life of Brian” as documentary, “That bit of halibut was good enough for Jehovah Himself…”. And don’t get me started on this:

    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=life+of+brian+i+want+to+be+a

  • APL

    ‘Anti racism’ is not about promoting racial harmony. It is a doctrine that exploits racial grudges and promotes racial division.

    In short, ‘anti racists’ and their doctrine are racist.

    I oppose them.

  • Ferox

    I doubt that most of the race hustlers, in the US at least, are sincere in any way. BLM is a race-hate mob that wants to hurt white people. Watch the videos of the riots; watch the mobs cheer as they pull some white motorist from his vehicle and lynch him. Watch them laugh and celebrate as they stomp on an unconscious man’s head because they don’t like the color of his skin. Those people are not angry; they are having a party.

    They don’t care a bit about the issues they claim to be exercised about – they just like making the hated white devil “smell the glove”. In the quest to do this they have to seek ever more and more outrageous things to demand, since white liberals in the US seem ready to acquiese to any demand, however ridiculous. Look at them now, kneeling down in front of a laughing mob of black people jeering at them. I was only surprised that they weren’t compelled to lick the ground.

    What will be next? Will they demand that liberal whites tattoo some self-denunciation on their faces? Hand over their children to be abused and humiliated? Whatever it is that they demand next, it will be not at all about any social issue, and instead entirely about the amusement and sadistic gratification of humiliating those who they percieve as their enemies.

  • Nemesis

    Interesting that many here are atheists, which I have no issue with. The church for all its faults did manage to keep the lid on much errant behaviour without the need for written law and was an equaliser in some respects in that both prince and pauper bowed to the same God. And let it not be forgotten that Western civilization was largely built on Christian principles. Perhaps the same could be said for imperialism – it wasnt all bad. Are we in danger of throwing baby out with the bathwater?

    Yes, illitgitimacy, living in sin etc was frowned upon in my youth but I was also taught judge not lest you be judged. The righteousness of the cultural left have forgotten that.

  • Shame about all those sexually abused choirboys though… 🙄

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

    As for the idea that this push for tyranny comes from “the people” (an idea I think a few comments are implying) that idea is FALSE.

    Frankfurt School Marxism, like all forms of totalitarianism, comes from a small elite group of “intellectuals” – they gain influence in the education system and the mainstream media, and push on from there. For example, the totally irrational idea that Minneapolis Minnesota is a “racist” city has been carefully implanted and nurtured over a long period of time. It has no basis in fact and would not have occurred to ordinary people – had they not been FED such ideas for many years.

    The Frankfurt School Marxists do not really favour democracy – any more that Rousseau and his “Law Giver” did. They seek to destroy the existing society (or what is left of it) in order to impose their own rule.

    It is not democracy – it is the negation of it.

    For example, the totalitarian “mainstream” media could not give a damn about what ordinary people want – and they LIE to ordinary people all-the-time.

    As for Big Business and the “Woke” individual rich – they are also influenced by the ideas of Collectivist tyranny pushed by the education system, but they also think that by praising the Marxists and giving them money (“Social Responsibility”) they will save themselves – they are mistaken.

    The rich (and the not so rich) are already having to flee such cities as New York, Chicago and even San Francisco – and the mega Corporations such as Google and Amazon will learn (too late?) that their policy of supporting the totalitarian left has been a terrible blunder.

    It is not too late for the rich (and the corporations) to save themselves – but they must break with the left.

    As for the United Kingdom – having listened carefully to the Prime Minister, I think further discussion about the United Kingdom is pointless.

  • Nico

    @Ferox:

    BLM is a race-hate mob that wants to hurt white people.

    Oh? If they win, the new Lenin will be white. Whatever they say is motivating them, isn’t. It’s all subterfuge. There is only one thing they want: naked, total power. If they have to kill millions to get it, they’ll kill millions if given the opportunity.

    Fortunately they lack discipline. Right now is too soon, and they probably even know it, but the enforced conformity makes it very difficult for them to have arguments over practical matters like how best to go about getting what they really want.

    But it’s getting close to where they could win. Between the margin of electoral fraud, the indoctrinated, the people who are swayed by loud moralizing no matter how nonsensical, and the Leninist core of the movement, we’re getting to where they can “win” “fair and square” (minus the fraud).

  • Nico

    @Paul Marks:

    The elites, elite-wannabes, and the supporters of the movement, always picture themselves in charge or influential after the revolution. Always. Some of them even know that they are likely to be executed, but nonetheless are committed to the project. But all of them run a huge risk of being executed by whichever Leninist wins. We’ve seen this movie.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The church for all its faults did manage to keep the lid on much errant behaviour without the need for written law and was an equaliser in some respects in that both prince and pauper bowed to the same God

    “kept the lid on” ?

    You mean swept it all under the ecumenical carpet as and when it suited them, if you think that “errant behaviour” just didn’t happen you are living in a fantasy world.

  • NickM

    I just flicked on the TV and it was “North West Tonight” – the local news round here. Liverpool University is renaming Gladstone Hall of Residence (named for William Gladstone – yes, that William Gladstone) because the great Liberal Prime Minister’s Dad was “involved” in the slave trade… Think that’s mad? There is also a campaign to rename Penny Lane… This has to stop or we iz fucked.

    PS There is someone on NWT rumbling on about linking crows (yes, the birds) to George Floyd and BLM or something from his nice garden in Cheshire… I didn’t catch it all because I’m making a lasagne.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Ever since I have been v. careful about expressing my views in any sort of forum where I could be linked to my day-job.”

    Likewise. And I try to take account of the fact that the internet is forever, and the capability to link forums to people in the future may be far greater than it is now.

    “Tempted though I am… I will not be drawn in into it”

    🙂

    “‘Anti racism’ is not about promoting racial harmony. It is a doctrine that exploits racial grudges and promotes racial division.”

    There are two separate movements. One is genuinely about promoting racial harmony, the other is using the first as cover. Don’t mix them up.

    Every generation has its own norms and arbitrary rules, that it enforces unjustly on its members. There are rules everyone must follow, for no rational reason. There are rules you must follow depending on membership of particular groups – class, sex, religion, race – again, for no rational reason. Or for reasons that are controversial and disputed, but where the disputants on one side are considered outcasts. You are not allowed to disobey the rules – or even challenge them – on pain of losing your career, your business, your friends, your family, even your safety from any random norm-vigilante who wants to indulge in a bit of nastiness. You’ll get no sympathy.

    Racism was a part of the previous generation’s authoritarian ruleset, but the authoritarian principle is more general than that. Authoritarians impose the rules of society, whatever they are. If the rules say blacks have to use separate shops, bus seats, and toilets to whites, then anyone breaking them will face dire social consequences. If, on the other hand, the rules say nobody may discriminate on the basis of race, then anyone breaking them will likewise face dire social consequences. It’s exactly the same effect at work. The anti-racists are the new racists. The revolutionaries have swapped places with the tyrants. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    It doesn’t mean the former tyrants were in the right, or didn’t need tearing down. But we constantly misidentify the true enemy. We always wind up fighting about the specific rules being enforced, rather than recognising the problem is that it is the enforcement itself that is the problem. And so we simply replace one tyrant with another, in endless succession.

    “And the world looks just the same — And history ain’t changed — ‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the last war”

    “Yes, illitgitimacy, living in sin etc was frowned upon in my youth but I was also taught judge not lest you be judged. The righteousness of the cultural left have forgotten that.”

    The Church forgot that lesson long ago. It only relearnt it relatively recently.

    Or rather, the situation is always more complicated. It’s never all-or-nothing. There is always a mixture, a blurring of the categories. Some religious people judge and others do not. Most people sometimes judge and sometimes do not. And very often, they see clearly the mote of injustice of some parts of the rules, where they themselves are oppressed, but are blind to other parts, where they are among the oppressors.

    The Church burnt heretics, and hanged those it considered the corrupt. It fought bloody wars to suppress Protestantism, then Catholicism, then Protestantism again, until everyone got sick of it.

    The racists and anti-racists are like the warring Catholics and Protestants, each trying to suppress and stamp out the other. Each using the same bloody-handed methods of oppression. All believe that disagreement and difference is the root of conflict, and so conflict can only be ended by ensuring everyone holds the same opinions, the same allegiances. All believe that the world would (and should) be made a better place by society uniting to eliminate sin and untruth. But the only true sin is using force rather than persuasion to do so, and it’s the hardest lesson to learn.

    Every generation has to learn the lesson anew. And while they don’t, the result is an endless cycle of tyranny. That the anti-racists have replaced the racists as the bullies running society is only the latest example. It’s a story as old as mankind.

    “There’s nothing in the streets — Looks any different to me — And the slogans are replaced, by the bye — And a parting on the left — Is now a parting on the right — And the beards have all grown longer overnight”

  • Stonyground

    I had missed the fact that your experience was in the US whereas I grew up in the UK. That would explain the difference. I was born in September 1958.

  • Stonyground

    Western civilisation was built on enlightenment principles which Christians later claimed were theirs. If you don’t believe me, try and locate any of these principles in the Bible.

  • Nemesis

    “You mean swept it all under the ecumenical carpet as and when it suited them, if you think that “errant behaviour” just didn’t happen you are living in a fantasy world.”

    Okay, but I dont care much for what they have replaced it with….the ‘Green’ religion etc.

  • In the US, there are three rules to follow to avoid a life of poverty, and none of them have anything to do with being black. First, finish high school. Second, get a full time job and third, get married before having children.

    bobby b (June 9, 2020 at 11:12 pm), it sounds like your parents kept the spirit of the third law, though they failed to keep strictly to the letter of it; if so, good for them to keep the spirit.

    It also sounds like they avoiding obliging you to be aware they kept only the spirit but not also the letter until you were more than old enough to be not troubled by it, nor taunted about it, nor tempted to fling it in their face if they advised the teenage you to keep the above rules; if so, I can see why they might do that.

    It would be very depressing to think – as some on this thread might appear to – that society always only swapped old prejudices for new ones, but there were never times and cultures that were genuinely better than other times and cultures that were genuinely worse. Be happy then to notice that it is often we who are in no small part prejudiced about the past. There’s a time to ask for articulate, carefully-qualified endorsement of social rules – the comment thread of a samizdata post, for example 🙂 – and there is a time to recognise what a bigoted intellectual one would have to be to demand that those who most need to follow the “marry before kids” rule should only ever express it in an intellectual’s way.

    (Charles Murray’s Losing Ground has a little parable about a late-teens couple who discover the girl is pregnant. In 1960, they get married and he works at a very dull low-paid job for 10 years before advancing. In 1970, they avoid getting married so she can live off the state and he off her, and they remain in poverty.)

  • Western civilisation was built on enlightenment principles which Christians later claimed were theirs. (Stonyground, June 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm)

    Enlightenment principles arose from Christian civilisations. (If they had instead been the product of Chinese or Islamic civilisation, you might have had a point. 🙂 )

    If you don’t believe me, try and locate any of these principles in the Bible.

    I don’t believe you because I can see the relationship between “Forgive your enemies” and “Don’t punish your enemies merely for disagreeing with you verbally.” Forgiving an enemy, indeed even just listening to a dissenter, fights against a strong human inclination (as we are again being reminded today), so I’m not surprised that getting anywhere near respecting the principle was a long slow process. But I am also unsurprised that enlightenment principles appeared in Christian societies that preached the principle, not in other societies that did not.

  • Stonyground

    “Enlightenment principles arose from Christian civilisations.”

    So why did it take a thousand years for the Christian world to get around to having this enlightenment?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Stonyground asks, So why did it take a thousand years for the Christian world to get around to having this enlightenment?

    Dunno, but at least the Christian world did get around to having it.

  • So why did it take a thousand years for the Christian world to get around to having this enlightenment? (Stonyground, June 11, 2020 at 9:43 am)

    You could try reading the whole of a comment before responding to it. I appreciate it’s more fun to write one’s own comment than to read someone else’s, but by my standards (Niall Kilmartin (Stirling), June 11, 2020 at 9:00 am) is positively short. 🙂

    You will find my answer to your question in the second paragraph of my comment, beginning in the sentence containing “fights against a strong human inclination (as we are again being reminded today)”.

    “My answer” does not mean “the one and only indisputable answer”. I agree with Natalie’s comment at June 11, 2020 at 11:20 am. Why did we take so long to have the renaissance, the abolition of slavery, the industrial revolution? Will the future ask: why so long till interstellar travel?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Forgiving an enemy, indeed even just listening to a dissenter, fights against a strong human inclination (as we are again being reminded today), so I’m not surprised that getting anywhere near respecting the principle was a long slow process. But I am also unsurprised that enlightenment principles appeared in Christian societies that preached the principle, not in other societies that did not.”

    It’s an interesting question. Is Christianity very much closer to that idea than Buddhism, or Taoism, say?

  • NickM

    I think the easiest answer to “Why did it take so long to have an enlightenment?” is, “Events, dear boy, events.”

    Just consider how much history Europe had to endure… The collapse of Rome, Muslims incursions, Vikings, Mongols, Crusades, The Black Death, Rennaissance, Reformation, Counter Reformation…

    NiV,
    One theory as to where the legend of Prester John comes from is a much garbled account of a great Buddhist leader – possibly the Dalai Lama – who would arrive from the East at the head of a huge army and dig the Crusaders out of the mess they’d gotten into.

  • NickM

    Niall,
    Unless the Alcubierre drive is both possible and feasible we ain’t splitting infinitives past the Oort Cloud like ever…

    Stonyground,
    I dunno. I suspect Christianity was less hostile than other belief systems.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Unless the Alcubierre drive is both possible and feasible we ain’t splitting infinitives past the Oort Cloud like ever…”

    🙂 It’s not the speed of light that’s the problem – a constant 1g acceleration will get you to the other side of the galaxy in about 20 years, which is even faster than in Newtonian physics. The big problems are what to put in the fuel tank, and what happens to the windscreen when a bug hits it at 99.9999% of the speed of light…

  • NickM

    NiV,
    It still don’t get you above c does it? It is not Star Trek. Yeah, sure you can do that and time dilation (I was almost an astrophysicist* but fucked up my PhD – personnal reasons** so it is possible but it is the ultimate one way trip.

    *Guess what my MSc thesis was about? Go on. I bet you can NiV.

    **Yeah, I know… I’ll talk about it but not somewhere this public.

  • NickM

    NiV,
    The FOD issue is a biggy. But compared to the sheer energy involved some sort of EM(?) deflector is like the technicalities of fitting an ash-tray to a car compared to the intricacies of internal combustion or syncromesh or whatever.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “so it is possible but it is the ultimate one way trip”

    I did have an idea for a civilisation where all the different parts of it travelled continuously on spaceships and synchronised their time dilation so as to stay in sync. The other approach, of course, is immortality.

    “Guess what my MSc thesis was about? Go on. I bet you can NiV.”

    Fluid dynamics in nebulae?

    “The FOD issue is a biggy. But compared to the sheer energy involved some sort of EM(?) deflector is like the technicalities of fitting an ash-tray to a car compared to the intricacies of internal combustion or syncromesh or whatever.”

    Probably. The windscreen issue is funnier, though. 🙂

    I would imagine you have to figure out some way to pick up the fuel/energy on the way, rather than building a very, very big rocket. But who knows what future technology will think of? If we could think of it now, it wouldn’t be future technology.

  • NickM

    NiV,
    Nah… My thing really should have been fluids (I’m good at that) but I just couldn’t resist the allure of Gödelian Cosmology and rotating universes and closed time-like curves. I was young and funded… and Gods it seemed just so fucking cool. And I knew a bit of GR.

    Immortality would be nice. As long as the missus looks like Cate Blanchett after 11,000 years… Otherwise… I dunno… Is it possible we have everything we ever will have apart from the details? I mean we’ll get improvements but will we get revolutions? I doubt we’re gonna get anything truly new. I so hope I’m wrong and if I am wrong I’ll happily buy you an umbrella drink in one of the smarter bars at Barnard’s Star L5 station.

    Oh, well… I’m a physics-for-poets sort.

    As to picking-up stuff along the way… Well, that is a Bussard Ramjet. It’s (in a lesser way) kinda what the Indians are doing with AVATAR and also Skylon (whatever happened to that).

  • Nullius in Verba

    “My thing really should have been fluids (I’m good at that) but I just couldn’t resist the allure of Gödelian Cosmology and rotating universes and closed time-like curves. I was young and funded… and Gods it seemed just so fucking cool.”

    I agree, it is cool! And cool is as good a reason as any.

    “Immortality would be nice. As long as the missus looks like Cate Blanchett after 11,000 years…”

    What would “Cate Blanchett after 11,000 years” look like? 🙂

    I would expect she would be able to look like whatever she wanted. We already have the low-pixel-count version of that with VR avatars. Imagine something like the liquid-metal shafeshifter technology in Terminator being applied to make-up? There’s lots of development money going into beauty products. I think this one is pretty much guaranteed.

    “Otherwise… I dunno… Is it possible we have everything we ever will have apart from the details? I mean we’ll get improvements but will we get revolutions?”

    You’re not alone in asking the question.

    “it seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice”

    — Albert Michelson (of the Michelson-Morley experiments).

    “An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical science are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals”

    — Michelson again – probably referring to Lord Kelvin.

    Prediction is hard, especially about the future, but I’d say that the past history of the industrial revolution, and the rate at which it seems to be accelerating, makes this seem very, very unlikely. 🙂

    “As to picking-up stuff along the way… Well, that is a Bussard Ramjet.”

    Indeed. Or solar sails. Or something we haven’t thought of yet.

    We’re in the position of Jules Verne, trying to figure out how to get to the moon.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Nico – we have seen this movie before.

    The question we have to decide is whether it is worth staying alive just to see tyranny win again.

  • The question we have to decide is whether it is worth staying alive just to see tyranny defeated time and time again…

    Fixed that for you Paul. Then again, you’re a pessimist and I am not.

    Sure, the Orcs tribes of Islam, the BLM and the Legions of Soros need to be defeated, but that was always true. Their existence does not preclude their defeat, indeed perhaps they exist to be defeated.

    Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis

  • Yes indeed, John Galt, quite so 😎

    Now is the time to rise to the occasion.

  • NickM

    NiV,
    The Cate Blanchett ref was really to Galadriel. You got that right?

    Yes, I’m fairly sure it was about Kelvin but my uncertainty about that is slightly above zero 😉

    I guess, more than anything, I’m getting at various tropes which have become via things like Star Trek so ingrained into our idea of the future that… I mean interstellar travel of the kinda “Off to Barnard’s Star for a fortnight, see you soon, honey!” the same way I have reasonably said (and did) about going to Florida. Or all the other places I have been that would have seemed fantastical to get to in a day 200 years ago.

    So, what I’m suggesting is that, so, yeah, cancer might get it’s “penicillin moment” (yes, that would be a big thing but not exactly existentially changing*) and become way less scary – mostly – people still die from bacterial infections afterall. But some kind of clinical immortality… nah. Colonies on Venus, Mars and Titan – maybe but interstellar? The future will (I sincerely hope so – why would I have studied science otherwise?) have a bit of shock and awe** but I suspect (I hope not) we have in our fictions gone beyond what is even in principle possible.

    As I said. I hope I am wrong. I’m sorry this has veered so far off from the OP.

    *Apart, obviously, from the folks who don’t die of it. It would be for them.
    **I do love it when wankers in the press complain about scientists, “messing with things they don’t understand”. Oh, and general ignorance such as is displayed here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8416125/NASAs-New-Horizons-travels-4-3-billion-miles-perform-parallax-experiment.html#comments

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The Cate Blanchett ref was really to Galadriel. You got that right?”

    Sorry, I missed that! Good one!

    I was tempted to raise the question of whether Galadriel was really 11,000 years old, given that she was actually older than the sun so they didn’t have ‘years’ back then, but I figured you didn’t want to get dragged into a debate on the disputed conversion factors between Valinorian and sun years… 🙂

    “I guess, more than anything, I’m getting at various tropes which have become via things like Star Trek so ingrained into our idea of the future that… I mean interstellar travel of the kinda “Off to Barnard’s Star for a fortnight, see you soon, honey!””

    As I said, we’re in the position of Jules Verne writing a story about the Baltimore gun club launching a French poet at the moon. You can’t predict the details of the far future. Science fiction is invariably a distorted or exaggerated version of the present. But you can get some sort of idea of just how alien and strange it will be by looking at how things have changed in the past, by comparing ideas about space travel in 1865 and in 1969. The future will be strange and wonderful to us in the same sort of way as Star Trek, but the details will be different, and indeed our primitive ideas about the future will usually seem laughable and unrealistic when we get there. (Although Star Trek was remarkably prescient about things like mobile phones and sliding doors and USB memory sticks.)

    Dystopian stories about the future, on the other hand, are based primarily on human nature, which doesn’t change. So in that style it’s a lot easier to write an eerily accurate story about the future by writing about the present/past. Which is why current events seem like the start of some dystopian novel. On the other hand, knowing that the past was just the same, and still we got to where we are now, that gives some hope, too. Human nature has two sides to it.

    “But some kind of clinical immortality… nah.”

    There’s no absolute biological time limit. If you look at the family tree of the individual cells of your body, each cell arises from a parent cell which arises from another cell all the way back to the beginning. Cells can be replaced indefinitely. A germ-line cell in a 30-year-old body can be ‘rejuvenated’ to age zero, by natural, already-existing methods.

    Evolutionary biologists theorise that death is a defence against parasites and disease. We fit individual ‘locks’ to all our cells to keep the parasites out, but they evolve ways around our defences. It’s hard to go round the body and replace all the locks on every cell, so instead we change the locks on just one cell and throw the rest away. It’s an expensive way to deal with the problem. However, the theory predicts that if we were ever to defeat disease by technological means, we would automatically evolve immortality too. If the old are not more vulnerable, with their outdated ‘security’, it makes more sense to prolong the life of an already existing adult than to spend 18 years turning a single cell into a new adult. Of course, long before then I expect genetic engineering would be able to turn off cell aging and death more directly, without having to wait for slow evolution.

    But it’s probably a hundred years off or more, so no chance we’ll see it. Wouldn’t that be annoying?

  • My thing really should have been fluids (I’m good at that) but I just couldn’t resist the allure of Gödelian Cosmology and rotating universes and closed time-like curves. I was young and funded… and Gods it seemed just so fucking cool. And I knew a bit of GR. (NickM
    June 11, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Snap!

    I was interested in general relativity and computing. Despite Roger Penrose patenting a way of extracting usable energy from rotating black holes that was more efficient than any other scientifically known (just one spinning black hole to hand and he could have put all the Arab oil sheiks out of business, providing the world with energy by tossing old socks into the hole), I nevertheless reasoned that my earning prospects if I researched GR at university and later in life worked in computing commercially were much greater than if I researched computing at university and later in life sought commercial work in GR.

    My wise older sister told me long ago:

    Anyone can stay up to six years at a university and remain sensible. DON’T STAY LONGER THAN THAT!

    I have never regretted following her advice.

  • NickM

    NiV,
    The (in)famous Motorola flip phone was consciously styled after the Star Trek Communicator*. I’m a bit vague as to the memory sticks… The other thing of course is a half-way decent smartphone has quite a few sensors so is sort of like a tricorder – though I don’t recall Mr Spock having to cut short an away mission because the battery had died…

    I hadn’t thought about it but the dystopia is easier to get right for the reasons you state.

    You can’t predict the details of the far future.

    But it’s probably a hundred years off or more, so no chance we’ll see it. Wouldn’t that be annoying?

    Contradicting yourself a little NiV? Maybe 100 years isn’t that long from your viewoint but then, to me, next Thursday is an enigma.

    *My last phone was a Motorola (not flip) and I’m kinda sad it died (after some years, mind) because the Blackview A80 I have now was a pig to set-up. It looks exactly like the 2001 monolith and was about as cryptic. I mean it’s fine now but… Bloody Chinese tech outfits…There website had no tech stuff on it – it’s just an online catalogue – I’d already bought a freaking phone from them!!!

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I’m a bit vague as to the memory sticks…”

    I’m thinking of those little plastic rectangles they kept slotting in the holes in the computer for documentary records.

    “Contradicting yourself a little NiV? Maybe 100 years isn’t that long from your viewpoint but then, to me, next Thursday is an enigma.”

    I can’t predict how they will do it, or what the results will look like. But it’s obviously going to continue to be one of the main goals for research. And after all, it’s just a programming problem! 🙂

  • NickM

    And after all, it’s just a programming problem!

    Do much coding yourself NiV? 😉

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Do much coding yourself NiV?”

    Quite a lot.

  • NickM

    NiV,
    Kinda figured that 🙂

  • mikee

    Recent events are a power & money grab by a subset of the governing class, i.e., the Democrat Party, of the urban centers of the US. Unfortunately for them, they have to fight their allies, the rest of the Democrat Party, the rest of the governing class of the urban centers of the US, in order to gain more power and money.

    Republicans should realize this and help this civil war along in any ways they can,
    for example, by stating that this internal Democrat Party power grab isn’t for the good of anyone except the ones getting more money and power.

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