The Dangers of Staying “Above It All”

Is there an “artistic temperament”? Do people of only certain political stripes go into the arts more than others?

Both Brian Niemeier and Rawle Nyanzi have discussed these recently, with Brian focusing more on the traditional Right’s refusal to fight as the Left fights, with Rawle concerned more with why conservatives don’t go into the arts despite lamenting that they have no influence in the arts.

Rawle believes that the temperament is informed by politics:

Art is not immediately useful; it neither grows your food nor supplies your energy. Except for a handful of megastars, art is low-paid. Most artists rely on either a job or on other people to support them in their endeavors; “don’t quit your day job” is a cliche for a reason, as is “starving artist.” It requires the mind to break with conventional modes of thinking and spend much time speculating on bizarre possibilities. Art requires one to focus on emotion.

This is as far from the conservative mindset as one can get.

Brian, for his part, is quite harsh in his assessment of conservatives’ unwillingness to fight:

. . .conservatives are cowards. They talk a good game about standing on principle, but the inescapable conclusion is that they don’t really believe what they’re saying. People who truly believe in and are informed by principles act on them.

I’m inclined to agree with Brian, but this refers especially to a certain type of conservative. The kind that’s probably a midwit at best but wants everybody to think they’re smart, so they parrot what the culture at large tells them is the right thing to think–a culture that is against everything they purport to stand for, mind–while offering some nominal opposition.

This is yet another reason why the “conservative/liberal” dichotomy is inaccurate and outdated, and the real distinction is globalist/nationalist. Great men and women of the past who’d be considered on the Right today fully understood the importance of emotion and rhetoric. Modern “conservatism” feels artificial and soulless in a lot of respects.

But let’s stick with the terms that we have.

Does this all mean that conservatives are at, as Rawle puts it, a psychological disadvantage when it comes to the arts?

I say no. Continue reading “The Dangers of Staying “Above It All””

The Center

No one wants to be “extreme.”

It feels icky and will get you disinvited from all the cool kids’ parties. Besides, these days reasonable conversation about important issues seems impossible.

One of the biggest problems is the logical fallacy that supporting X’s right to do something equals support for X and opposition to Y.

 

This is how unintelligent people see things. Unintelligent people, or dishonest ones.

You can see the left/right polarities in politics, philosophy, economics, and in many, many other field–even the arts.

Reaction against constant politicization is completely rational. Jamming politics down everyone’s throats is tiring and it prevents any meaningful solutions from being formed.

Someone has to be right, right? Someone has proposals that’ll work better than others, don’t they?

Enter the centrists.

A new trend is to describe oneself as centrist, meaning–according to what I call the nü-centrists–“one who looks at things from both sides.”

“Centrism is NOT agreement with parts of both sides!” I’ve been told.

“Centrism isn’t being a moderate!” they say.

Except…it kind of is.

You see, as with most things, it doesn’t matter what YOU wish a word meant, it matters what the word actually means and how the society views the term.

In other words, the term “centrist” is horrible branding. It has way too much baggage and means in the majority of people’s minds exactly the opposite of what the nü-centrists want it to mean. Continue reading “The Center”

Book Review: Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos

Book cover of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos

Oh boy. I’m going to get into trouble with this one.

A third of the people reading this probably think Milo Yiannopoulos is the scum of the Earth, a third might be huge fans, and the other third either finds him mildly annoying or doesn’t know who the hell he is at all.

Me? I’m a fan. I can’t deny it–the guy cracks me up.

Is Milo (I refuse to type it as MILO the way he insists; I know what he’s trying to do, but it’s just dumb) a perfect human being, or even a good one? Arguably no. But I like that he sticks it to the people who need sticking to, and he pisses them off so much.

I’ve only written about Milo once before, back in the summer of 2016 when he got banned from Twitter for life. I’m not going to rehash this here, since this is a review of Milo’s debut book, Dangerous. But I do think a quick primer on the man is in order.

Milo Yiannopoulos is a gay, British-born half-Greek, half-Jew, Catholic who considers himself a conservative, but is really only conservative in that he believes in a hands-off approach to government and is an absolute free-speech fundamentalist. He used to write for Brietbart, and was the editor-in-chief of the site’s tech vertical, until some of his words got him into trouble (more on this below).

He brutally mocks lots of the politically correct crowd’s favorite sacred cows, including Islam, feminism, the university system, other gay people, Democrats, Republicans, celebrities, identitarians, Ben Shapiro . . . basically anybody he can get a rise out of.

He is vulgar, he makes a lot of dick jokes, and isn’t shy about the fact that he has done (and still does?) copious amounts of drugs and has a fetish for black men. In his personal life, he’s about as conservative as a 1970s rock star, but politically I guess he’s more on the libertarian/populist side. Oh, and he’s a huge fan of Donald Trump. Like, gigantic.

He has been accused of being an anti-Semite, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, a misogynist, a racist, a Nazi, a shameless self-promoter, a narcissist, and a jerk. It’s funny because both the far-left and actual neo-Nazis hate him and wish he’d die and burn in hell. This might mean he’s doing something right, right?

Milo Yiannopoulos in a fur coat Well, there was that whole accusation about being pedophilia apologist.

See, Milo was all set to have Simon & Schuster release this book–they had paid him an obscene advance and everything–but then some comments he made on a YouTube interview some months ago resurfaced where he talked about his gay sex experiences as a thirteen-year-old boy with an adult–this is actually called hebephilia, sexual attraction to persons aged around 14-16–suggesting that such things are natural in the gay community, and should in fact be encouraged. It was enough for Simon & Schuster to drop Milo and for him to resign from Breitbart . . . even though George Takei said a similar thing once and faced no repercussions.

(A note: I don’t know much about gay culture and so on, but apparently young gay men having sexual experiences with older gay men is not an uncommon thing, or necessarily frowned upon. I’m not defending or condemning anyone, I’m just stating facts.)

Despite the fallout Milo’s college speaking tour rolled on, gaining even more steam with each controversy. He decided to self-publish his book, which by all accounts has been a success. The title, Dangerous, comes form the name of his speaking tour, which is also a nickname for himself: “The Dangerous Faggot.”

So how dangerous is Dangerous? Continue reading “Book Review: Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos”

Me and Harry: A Breakup

Dear Harry,

Listen: I’m done with you. Please know that it’s not you. And it’s not me.

It’s them.

Harry Potter Crying.png

Let’s get this out of the way first: I know I’m writing a blog post to a fictional character. You are not real. That’s the thing: I know this!

But the others? The others seem to have been confused about this since time immemorial.

And especially since November 8, 2016.

It’s like a mass psychosis. In the event of a traumatic (if you’re a weak person with nothing in your life but politics who lets the outcome of an election literally make you crazy), certain people need something to hold on to. And in the absence of God, or family, or even sanity, they choose you.

And it’s not your fault. You seem like a pretty cool guy. Brave. Heroic. Willing to do the right thing, no matter the personal cost. Very admirable!

Here’s the thing: You’re not political. Hell, you’re not real, as we’ve already established. But if you were, you’d vote…

You’d vote for…

Um, actually, it’s impossible to tell from your books. There’s no politics in them! And that’s the great thing!

There are lessons, sure. Great lessons based on timeless human principles of bravery and heroism and self-sacrifice and all of that other corny, sincere stuff that has a distinctly, let’s say, right-leaning flavor to it.

But I digress. See, I don’t like politics. To me, it’s a necessary evil, one that a person needs to pay attention to, because it will pay attention to him, whether he likes it or not.

But I like fiction! Fantasy, sci-fi, classical literature, poetry…give me stories! And to the maximum extent possible, keep politics out of them!

And better yet, don’t read politics into stories when they aren’t there.

Your stories, Harry? Your stories have been  politicized to the point of parody, to the point beyond parody, to the point where the mere mention of your name pisses me off! And I counted myself a big fan of yours!

Without Hermoine blah blah blah.jpg

At least, I used to. Where to begin… Continue reading “Me and Harry: A Breakup”

Cultural Traps, Part III

Observing your own culture with a detached eye helps one recognize the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. I’ve written about some of these traps before, those parts of American culture that we all take for granted but might not actually make sense.

In this third edition, I’m going to look at some things that might be emerging trends in America that are both really stupid and really dangerous, many culled from my own experiences and observations. 

Some of these might not be uniquely American. They may just be human nature. But when I see my countrymen and women (whatever the hell that means anymore) act like scary monsters, I can’t help but see these tendencies shaded in red, white, and blue. 

Opposing one thing automatically means liking the other.

Are you against the death penalty? Then you clearly want to open all the prisons and are super-soft on crime.  

…or maybe you’re just against the death penalty. 

Perhaps you oppose partial-birth abortion. You obviously want women at risk of death die from birth complications to die. 

…or maybe you’re just against partial-birth abortion. 

This might be more of a logical fallacy than a cognitive trap, but it is still (a) everywhere l, and (b) dumb.

Unintelligent people think like this, or liars. I’m sorry if that sounds mean, but it’s true. One is either incapable of seeing this trap, or is wielding it as a rhetorical club. 

If the former, you can learn. If the latter, its effective, sure, but it really doesn’t move the needle in any direction. It does something that could arguably be another entry on this list, which is assuming ill intent on the part of the other. Rhetorically, it’s a weapon. But it weakens your own position and makes you look silly. You risk losing credibility, which in a debate–akin to a trial–is the kiss of death.  

Disproportionality and overreaction, aka hysteria.

Debating is an art that requires practice and preparation. It also requires an understanding of the rules of a particular interaction, such as whether the relationship with your opponent will be ongoing, whether you’re trying to change the other’s mind, or whether you’re trying to illustrate a point to your observers. But either way, you want to make your points using reason, logic, and evidence.

Of course, what really changes hearts and minds is emotion. So use rhetoric where applicable. It’s very effective, and for some people, whether you call them midwits or IYIs (“intellectuals, yet idiots,” per Nassim Nicholas Taleb), that’s all they understand.

This trap dovetails nicely with the first, but it’s distinguished by what I call default nuclear. Continue reading “Cultural Traps, Part III”

The Monopoly on Normal

The state is defined by some as being the entity that has a monopoly on violence. 

But there’s more to a society than just who has the guns. There are other forms of control. 

I’m more interested in the entity that has a monopoly on normal.

And that entity is not necessarily just “The State.”

What is acceptable?

What can you do?

What can you think?

Who is it that you can criticize? And who is it that you can’t?

And who makes these rules?

There’s this tendency, which I find laughable, of constantly deriding the 1950s as an era of overwhelming, stifling conformity, a boogeyman to be invoked every time we beat our chests and crow about “how far we’ve come.”

And while certain things are better–many, in fact–in other ways thigs today are just as stifling. 

Every era has its problems. And every era has standards that you will be nudged to comply with–at first gently, and then with increasingly greater force. Until, eventually, the guys with the guns, threatened or actual, will come pay you a visit.  Continue reading “The Monopoly on Normal”

Movie Review: Silenced: Our War on Free Speech

silenced-movie-poster-1

There’s so much talk about free speech these days. But what does “free speech” even mean? Why does it matter?

As Americans, free speech is our “first right,” from which our other rights flow.

Free speech is constitutionally guaranteed in the First Amendment, arguably one of the greatest codification of fundamental human rights in existence, as one of our God-given rights.

Even if you don’t believe in God, you have the right to free speech by nature of your being a human.

Despite the importance of free speech to American society, even those not “plugged in” to contemporary politics and culture can sense a narrowing of what is acceptable speech and what is not, about political correctness and the unwritten list of things one can and cannot say.

Is the government behind the increased stifling of free expression these days? Or is this political correctness and silencing of the “wrong” speech coming from somewhere else?

These are the questions asked and discussed in Silenced: Our War on Free Speech, the new documentary film from Loren Feldman (director) and Mike Cernovich (producer). And as an original Kickstarter backer of the film, I was lucky enough to have the chance to watch the film before it’s release.

As Harvard professor and First Amendment lawyer Alan Dershowitz says in the movie, we’ve largely won the free speech battle against the government. Our current culture of censorship, silence, and intimidation is coming from ourselves.

img_4144
Silenced is a film I am proud to have helped make possible, even in small part.  

I’ve written about Mike Cernovich before, the mindset expert who made a name for himself with his book Gorilla Mindset, and, most recently, with his journalism and political activism. Silenced, his first film, explores Americans’ current obsession with censoring each other and what it means for the future of our politics and culture.

And while Cernovich himself is on the political right, don’t think this is a “political” film. There are many guests on the left, in the center, and those whose politics no one knows. And regardless of their personal politics, they all share a common belief: Free speech is vital to a free and open Western society. Choke it at your own peril. Continue reading “Movie Review: Silenced: Our War on Free Speech