Release the Hounds…

There are heretics hiding among us, spreading corruption and blaspheming the name of our Lord. We must cleanse ourselves of this blight.

There are witches in this town, cursing us and bringing the devil into our midst! We must find these witches and purge ourselves of these elements before they cast us all into sin!

The Jews have infested every facet of our society. They are leeching resources from honest Germans. It is necessary to cure ourselves of this disease.

Our entire way of life is threatened. There are communists operating at the highest levels of the government, and we must root them out.

hunting-wacistsRacists and misogynists are just as prevalent as ever. They should be named and shamed, for there is no place for them in society today.

The principles of human behavior really aren’t that complicated. There’s really nothing within human action that deviates from a few basic precepts. The same script plays out again and again and again and again.

Pattern recognition. Half of human understanding is pattern recognition. What are we to conclude of those who lack the basic ability to see the patterns that our lives follow?

It really is difficult to see the dignity and worth of each human being when so few of them seem to have even one of those things.

The way that the strong rule over the weak never changes. The way that the smart rule over the average never changes. The way that the powerful rule over the weak never changes. The way that the rich rule over the poor never changes.

The way that the moral guardians rule over those they claim authority over never changes. It matters not whether these guardians are self-appointed or not.

Moral panics never change. Moral panics are the same everywhere, done for the same reasons by the same types of people.

The people stirring up the moral panics don’t have to be wrong. Hell, most of them get at least a few basic facts correct. There were certainly communists in Hollywood and the government in the 1950’s. There were no doubt heretics in medieval Spain. There were certainly Jews in Germany, and Jews do tend to be economically successfully wherever they go.

Sometimes the people being purged are harmless. Sometimes they’re the ones running the show. Sometimes they don’t exist. None of this is actually relevant. The purpose of the moral panic is to precipitate a moral panic. The moral panic itself is just an excuse.

Nothing like a good moral panic to rile up the herd. Gets them all spooked and afraid and desperate for a leader like you who can calm them and show them the way out of the emotional wilds into which they have been plunged. Gets you status points. Allows you to show how dedicated you are to protecting others and keeping the herd safe. Gotta cast out the bad elements, don’t you know?

What’s that? Moral panics have a nasty habit of becoming vectors for their own pandemonium? No, that can’t be it. There are racists hiding here, don’t you know? If you don’t think this is problematic enough to drop everything and start lighting torches, you might be one of them. What’s that? This is getting out of control? Now I know you’re one of them! What do you mean this is going to come back to bite me one day? Nonsense! And who is this Robespierre asshole you keep bringing up?

A good purge is such a human constant you almost get the sense that the urge to do so is written into their DNA. Come to think of it, you’d probably have a more difficult time arguing that it isn’t.

I am generally of the idea that humans are going to have a purge sooner or later. Humans need their chaotic social frenzies the same way they need sex: it’s not absolutely necessary, but they tend to go a little off if they aren’t getting it. The pressure builds and builds and it really is better if you just let it out because not everyone can handle it and very few people can properly channel it into constructive avenues.

Imagine having a pet dog that is loyal and reliable, if a little dumb. Imagine that you love this dog, but that every once in a while it goes absolutely frothing mad and starts barking at everything and clawing at the walls and attacking your neighbor’s cat.

Well, fuck your neighbor’s cat. Your neighbor’s cat is probably an asshole, and hey, maybe this world would be a better place if it was gone. That doesn’t make any of this behavior any less disruptive, though, nor any less problematic.

What could you do with such a dog?

We do not have the choice to not have this dog. We are stuck with it. What we are left with is the burden of devising a plan to channel its impulses in such a way that they are minimally destructive.

How do you make the purge an effective ritual for dissipating their emotion urges without causing collateral damage? How could you time it so that it happens at a very particular time in controlled circumstances? Better yet, how could you set up a system that neutralizes panics before they begin while still granting people the release they need?

These are but a handful of the questions that need be asked in this realm. It is exceedingly difficult to know which questions are the right ones to ask. I cannot imagine how difficult it might be to find and implement the answers.

Select Quotes from Edward Bernays’s “Propaganda”

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

So begins “Propaganda”, by Edward Bernays, a man sometimes called “The Father of Public Relations”. What’s that? You confused the above for a Moldbug quote? I don’t blame you. They sound very similar, but there’s one rather large difference. Bernays wrote this work in 1928, 80 years before Moldbug ever Moldbugged.

Bernays arguably did more to found the science of propaganda and develop the manipulation of the modern mind through mass media than anyone else. I expected that reading him would be a haunting experience. What I did not expect was that it would be so spine-tinglingly exciting.

The steam engine, the multiple press, and the public school, that trio of the industrial revolution, have taken the power away from kings and given it to the people. The people actually gained power which the king lost. For economic power tends to draw after it political power; and the history of the industrial revolution shows that power passed from the king and the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the common people. For the masses promised to become king.

Today, however, a reaction has set in. The minority has discovered a powerful help in influencing majorities. It has been found possible so to mold the mind of the masses that they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction. In the present structure of society, this practice is inevitable.

Technologies like the Internet give power to the people, but they also give power over the people. Bernays understood this long before surveillance cameras, GPS trackers, and NSA wiretapping. He noted that the initially destabilizing impact of new technology disrupts old orders and put them in the grave before cementing new ones that somehow always seem to look exactly like the old orders.

In other words, any technology that gives power to the majority quite frequently becomes used by the minority to control the majority.

Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps linked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man’s rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints.

“We train our students in critical thinking so that they can develop and defend their own ideas and beliefs in order to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Page one of the New York Times on the day these paragraphs are written contains eight important news stories. Four of them, or one-half, are propaganda.

Hold on, let me check something. Let’s see…copyright 1928…first printing Novermber 1928…second printing December 1928…third printing March 1930.

The more things change, am I right?

Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea, or group.

Father of public relations, remember? Not hard to see how that came to be in light of the above passage (the emphasis was mine, by the way).

This practice of creating circumstances and of creating pictures in the minds of millions of people is now very common…sometimes the effect on the public is created by a professional propagandist, sometimes by an amateur deputed for the job.

And nowadays, many who engage in spreading propaganda are not even aware that they are doing such a thing! How far we have come over the past century. How can my fellow neoreactionaries disbelieve in progress when we have such clear evidence of it right in front of our eyes?

Formerly, the rulers were the leaders. They laid out the course of history, by the simple process of doing what they wanted. And if nowadays the successors of the rulers, those whose position or ability gives them power, can no longer do what they want without the approval of the masses, they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that approval.

In a modern democracy, the people do not suggest to the leaders what they ought to do. They leaders suggest to the people what the people should demand the leaders do.

After reading this book, I am convinced that free will, if it exists, can be extinguished and replaced with the will of another, as if by a dark magic.

There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally known to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.

If you said that today you would be labelled a conspiracy theorist. But when it comes from the mouth of someone who was so instrumental in setting up the modern system…

The propagandist who specializes in interpreting enterprises and and ideas to the public, and in interpreting the public to promulgators of new enterprises and ideas, has come to be known by the name of “public relations counsel”.

Propaganda is business, and business is booming (emphasis mine, once again).

Is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible.

At this point, I almost expected Dr. Evil to hop off the page and ask for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

The group mind does not think in the strictest sense of the word. In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.

Zing.

Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.

Which is why you have to laugh every time you see a pick-up guru or manosphere blogger claim that women are irrational creatures driven by emotion by men are totally logical and never do anything stupid the way those drunken sluts do, am I right? Hey, remember to buy my e-book on how to use Tinder to meet loose bitches but no fat chicks ‘cuz that would be gay, brah.

I believe that [business] competition in the future will not be only an advertising between individual products or big associations, but that it will in addition be a competition of propaganda.

Coke or Pepsi? Answer the question. You’ve done that? Good. Now tell me why you answered the question the way you did.

Oh wait, I just went back and read the quote right above this one. Never mind. Don’t say anything.

The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion.

Recap of one of Bernays’s main points in this work: that the will of the people is whatever the propagandists want it to be.

Political campaigns today are all side shows, all honors, all bombast, glitter, and speeches. These are for the most part unrelated to the main business of studying the party scientifically, of supplying the public with party, candidate, platform, and performance, and selling the public these ideas and products.

ARE YOU READY FOR HILLARY (OR MAYBE NOT HILLARY AFTER ALL BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO MILK THE DRAMA FOR ALL IT IS WORTH) IN 2016 I HOPE YOU ARE BECAUSE IT IS GOING TO BE AN EPIC SHOWDOWN WITH THIS OTHER PERSON WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN DECIDED FOR YOU BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHO IT IS JUST YET TO BUILD SUSPENSE AND GET YOU RILED UP AND EXCITED TO VOTE REMEMBER THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER AND ONLY YOU HAVE THE POWER AND THE FREE WILL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The criticism is often made that propaganda tends to make the President of the United States so important that he becomes not the President but embodiment of hero worship, not to say deity worship. I quite agree that this is so, but how are you going to stop a condition which very accurately reflects the desires of a certain part of the public?

The easiest time to convince someone of anything is when they already want to be convinced of it.

(Side Note: Henry Dampier has a great piece that touches on the idea of Presidential hero-worship as a sublimated religious impulse.)

Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. Is this government by propaganda? Call it, if you prefer, government by education.

What an odd move for someone who has just spent 104 pages explaining to me that propaganda is perfectly legitimate and is absolutely necessary for the functioning of a modern democracy, and who stated at the beginning of this book that he wished to remove the negative stigma from the word “propaganda”. Does he not trust his own efforts or does he just not believe them?

The normal school should provide for the training of the educator to make him realize that his is a two-fold job: education as a teacher and education as a propagandist.

Hang on, I think I need to read that bit again. That can’t seriously be what it says. Maybe I misread it the first time.

The normal school should provide for the training of the educator to make him realize that his is a two-fold job: education as a teacher and education as a propagandist.

Yep. He said that. He definitely said that.

I think I just figured out why I was never assigned to read this book in school.

Propaganda, by repeatedly interpreting new scientific ideas and inventions to the public, has made the public more receptive. Propaganda is accustoming the public to change and progress.

141114-shirt_726587a0e1274f7df1ed10392d8bd295

The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today.

I think it’s safe to say that television and the internet have edged it out since then, but that doesn’t exactly make this any less salient of a point.

If the public becomes more intelligent in its commercial demands, commercial firms will meet the new standards. If it becomes weary of the old methods used to persuade it to accept a given idea or commodity, its leaders will present their appeals more intelligently.

An observation of the Red Queen hypothesis manifesting itself in market conditions decades before the idea was ever proposed? Check. This book just gets better and better.

It’s also a pretty ominous threat though. Catch on to our public relations techniques? We’ll just develop better ones, thank you very much.

Finally, Bernays ends his work in spectacular style:

Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which the can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.

THE END

Well that’s certainly a note to end on.

It is at this point I must make a confession. I have been “selective” (some might say dishonest) in selecting quotes from this book, and in doing so, I have taken a tome that was written to defend propaganda as beneficial and necessary and turned it on its head. Bernays argued in this work that propaganda was only bad if used for ill purposes, and I have deliberately quoted him to make him sound sinister.

I guess all that reading on propaganda rubbed off on me after all.

Just goes to show how easily someone can be swayed, especially if you are swaying them to believe something that they want to believe and greatly desire to believe in the first place.

I can see how reading this work might strengthen one’s perception of the use of propaganda, though. That is what the book set out to do, after all, and it makes a strong case as to the necessity of propaganda in modern society. I’ll even go so far as to say that Bernays was, at least to a certain degree, absolutely correct.

It is also not difficult to see why one might believe something in the vein of Bernays’s argument. If you truly think that you are teaching people the right things, and you are guiding them in the right way, and you are looking out for their best interests, then of course you are going to rationalize it to yourself that you are not only doing the right thing, but that you are doing the world a great service. How could you not throw yourself into this task and devote your life to it? It is for the good of your fellow mankind!

Did you ever stop to wonder why you think that?

Friday Night Fragments #20

I was on the Hour of the Jackal last night, as hosted by the infamous Soapjackal. I totally recommend it. If you’re into signaling how cool you are (and you should be), hop on this bandwagon and start showing up for these things. It isn’t going to be long before everyone will be tripping over themselves to talk about how they were totally there (even if they weren’t) just to show off how they’re part of the cool kids club. You may laugh (NRx as the cool kids? lol) but I know this game and I can assure you, this is what’s going to happen with the Jackal Hours.

Besides, if you don’t show up, you’ll miss out on the creation of sweet-ass neoreactionary inside jokes (i.e. like why you should totally invite Nick B. Steves to go snorkeling with you next time you see him). It may sound silly, but what is a culture if not a series of related inside jokes? Do you really want to be shut out of the culture that’s being built?

I hope to catch you all on the Jackal Hour next time it rolls around.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I shared a personal anecdote on the Jackal Hour last night that I think would be fun to share with you all. It was mentioned that cultivating a circle of men with whom you engage in deliberate rituals is key to developing a strong tribe. To corroborate this observation, I shared an experience I had of forming a martial arts club at my university. We weren’t given permission to form an official club (due to safety concerns), so what did this small band of men do? We formed an “unofficial” martial arts club.

All the stuff we couldn’t so as an officially sanctioned club? We do it. Weapons training? Yep. Chokes, armlocks, and all kinds of violent things to knees, elbows, necks, and fingers? Yep. Muay Thai sparring? Every Saturday we strap on the gloves.

It’s a wild ride, and these guys have become some of my best friends. Based on my experience, I can honestly say that if you want to build a tribe, start by punching someone in the face.

Starbucks caused quite a stir this week when it decided to encourage customers to “Race Together” and have conversations about race. It was universally lambasted by people of all ideologies, but more importantly, it confirmed for me the proper way to walk into a Starbucks:

For what it’s worth, I too like my women like I like my coffee: hot, rich, and five or six times a day.

Someone tell Starbucks that we need to have that conversation next.

A few weeks ago, I carved out some time and read Casino Royale, the first and original James Bond novel. It’s a quick read, but a thrilling one. It’s definitely not high-brow literature, but it actually is a fantastic book, even without judging it as the light beach reading that it really is. It’s also seeded with all sorts of tidbits that would trigger the modern-day progressive, in case you need any additional reason to pick it up.

Other books I’ve read in the past few weeks: Anabasis, Collapse, and various books on sustainability that are not worth touching (I had to read them for a project I’m a part of, and I exhort you not to share my fate).

Anabasis was great. Collapse was dull, and, according to a professor I know, inaccurate on several major fronts (such as the rise and decline of Easter Island civilization). Read the former, but not the latter.

I’ve also been working my way through Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts, and I must say, it is phenomenal. Napoleon is not exactly a favorite figure among many Neoreactionary-types, but he was an amazingly gifted individual and is is absolutely thrilling to read about the things he did and how he did them.

I highly recommend this book, and there’s a quite a few of you in particular who I think would greatly enjoy it. If you think I mean you, you’re probably correct.

Many of my plans for the future are still up in the air, and they depend on various different factors beyond my control, but the common threads run deep, and as they come together and solidify, it seems more and more likely that I’ll be ending up in Washington DC for the next several years. It’s the best-case scenario for me, at the very least, and I certainly intend to make it happen.

There have been stirrings and whispers of a growing Neoreactionary community in the area, and though I personally think that’s a bit of a ways off, I know for a fact that in 2-3 years there’s going to be a strong NRx tribe there, hiding in plain sight.

During my time in DC last summer, I saw the rich potential in that city. I saw the vibrant network of fellow travelers and potential allies. I learned of the growing numbers of those that we could call friends hidden away in that great Sodom on the Potomac. The cultivation of a Neoreactionary community there would not be difficult. All the ingredients have come together and the recipe is practically making itself.

West Coast Neoreaction has been highly active in developing its own unique flair. East Coast Neoreaction has been highly remiss in doing the same thing. People near New York have the opportunity and the numbers to do so, and I hope that they will continue to work towards this development in the future.

Once I get situated, I plan on doing the same thing in DC.

Who else wants to take this thing straight to the heart of the beast?

What Dreams may Come…

It’s Mardi Gras today.

I was surprised to find out too. I’ve been wrapped up in other affairs and I’d completely lost track of the holidays and things.

Mardi Gras is like Halloween in that it is a form of ritual space designed to unleash the chaotic and debased aspects of the self in a controlled fashion as a means of preserving the semblance of order and morality for the remaining temporal cycle. Bad today, pious tomorrow, and well-behaved the rest of the year. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Conservation of ritual. The Dionysian cults of old would smile if they could see how we carry their flame.

Human social groups cannot function without measured application of the occult.

I like to think of the Venetian Carnivals when musing on matters such as this. There are few examples so fine. They were Halloween and Mardi Gras combined in one, a festivity of excess and release and pageantry.

And yet, the Venetian Carnival provides an example of how such a system can go all wrong. Theft. Burglary. Assault. Organized gang fights. Crime of all sorts, some of it home-grown and some of it by foreigners coming in to drink of the extravaganza while flouting the implicit rules and agreements that make it possible.

Any ritual intended to unleash the maelstrom of human passions relies on a very delicate framework of implicit concessions and sacrifices. It dances on the razor’s edge in a lively jig in which one false step brings the entire edifice crashing down.

The beauty of the internet is that we can grant these rituals a spatial and temporal permanence they could never have had in the world of flesh and blood. Every culture can have its own Carnival, and the party never has to end.

What happens if we decide to take that path? A permanent Carnival that we can retreat to at any time? The internet already is such a thing. What happens if we turn it in on itself and create an Inception of Carnivals and free ourselves from the burden of being known by our masks?

The Carnival takes over. The status system of the Carnival supersedes the status system already in place as people find themselves unable to separate the excesses of the Dionysian rite with whatever order they claim to uphold outside the mask.

Is this inevitable? No. But it a trap to be wary of, one that follows the same principles and poses the same danger as entryism of a foreign sort. It is entryism of our darker urges and it is very real indeed.

A culture that desires to promote aristocratic sophistication, cultural refinement, and nuanced discernment is one that must take great care to compartmentalize its Carnival and be aware that the base status system of the Carnival not spill over and the frenzied activity behind the masks not impact the normal functioning of said culture, unless it desires to bear witness to the destruction of its raison d’être.

Any designated space in which members of a subculture can make fun of each other in an anonymous way is a mechanism that borders on the necessary. It allows for tension to be blown off and all sorts of games to played, and as long as all agree that all such action is in good faith, the repercussions are few.

If the fires of the Carnival are heaped with too much fuel, the inferno can break free of its bonds and become a force acting of its own accord. The ritual space used to abrade the Dionsyian becomes the belly of a ravenous beast insatiable in appetite and possessed of no further urge than its own perpetuation.

The nightmare becomes unleashed. It is a nightmare that is needed. It is a nightmare that is deserved. It is a nightmare that ensures the destruction of the dreamer.

What dreams are these? What dreams indeed.eyes-wide-shut

The only defense is to wake up, but it is not a feasible recourse when one is trapped in moonlight reverie.

What does one do then?

Friday Night Fragments #11

The shadow looms heavy. The scorpion bears the weight of the sting and will suffer the burn when the frothing mess boils into a river of blood. The boar will become the owl as the wrath of those who have been roused turns from a trickle to a river. The strings of the spiders cling to all in the dark as the hydra laughs from behind the veil hidden within the song of the night. Hidden deep beneath the steps of this dance, the portents of the coming fire are rousing from their slumber as foreshock to the rumbling that will shake the plane of the living and beyond.

Fractures. Fragments. Howls in the dark. What comes next is beyond what any of you will ever know.

Wikipedia, you’re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do. I don’t want to see you at the hotels, I don’t want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won’t be there. You understand?

I would like to expand on a small point that SOBL made in that piece, one that was tangential to his point. Specifically, this bit:

I have never understood why NBA players and rappers idolize Scarface when Michael Corleone is the real kingpin.

I think this ties in to something I mentioned to a friend of mine recently: that the urge to dominate and the urge to succeed, while often manifesting themselves simultaneously, are not the same thing. They are rather correlated tendencies that run orthogonal to each other. Think of them as fire and ice. While they can certainly both be present in a particular individual, it is often the case that one tends to dominate.

Montana is all fire: filled with bluster and ambitious to the point of insanity. Corleone is ice: cool, calm, and calculating. One is driven by balls and bravado. The other relies on cunning as his weapon.

See how these two types might appeal to different types of people?

The type of person who wants to be the big man, the alpha male looming over his conquered lands, will tend to gravitate towards the fiery archetype of Tony Montana. It’s quite understandable why aspiring alphas like basketball players and hip-hop artists would idolize Scarface.

Different strokes for different folks. Everyone has their own tastes. Give me a moment, however, to defend mine. You see, Montana is a third-rate version of the Joker: all rampaging id and maniacal excess (you’ll note that the same tendency can be observed in fictional characters who are not bad guys, such as Hank Moody in “Californication”). The difference is twofold, however.

First, Montana is trapped in a prison of his material desires, which acts as both a leash that pulls him forward and the noose that hangs him. The Joker has no such weakness. Montana and the Joker may both little more than unshackled id, but Montana is an id driven by desire while the Joker is paradoxically an id without desire.

Second, while the Joker is devious and cunning enough (not to mention unscrupulous enough) to actually get away with his schemes, Montana doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together. He says it himself that all he has in life are his balls and his word, both of which get him in way over his head, at which point his own idiocy and myopic moral code sink him.

And Corleone? Corleone never puts a foot wrong. He out-thinks, out-schemes, and out-maneuvers everyone who threatens him, and he does it not for a pile of toys and a trophy wife but for The Family. Both families.

A great villain is one who entertains us and captivates us and makes us feel like the good guys. A villain who is good at being a villain is one who succeeds at what he set out to do while avoiding the “inevitable” fate of most villains. Tony Montana may be a great villain, but Michael Corleone is good at being a villain.

Aspire to be whichever most pleases you. Just remember that when push comes to shove, the Scarfaces of the world tend to meet nasty ends at the hands of the Godfathers.

Porphyrogenitus and I had a short discussion on Twitter earlier this week as to the struggle between secular progressivism and Islam. We’re both in a strange position in which we would prefer to live under neither system, but we realize that we would more likely thrive in a progressive state. Now, yes, there are a lot of ways to live under progressivism, and a lot of ways to live under Islam (just look at the differences between, say, Morocco and Saudi Arabia). Having lived under both Islam and secular progressivism, the thing that I’ve realized is I actually am better adapted to a secular progressive state. It is a bit weird at first to realize this, though unsurprising upon further consideration. After all, which of these two systems have I been raised in?

I have stronger dislike for the progressive agenda, yet my stake in keeping the racket going is much higher than any possible benefits I would accrue from living in a world dominated by Islamic law; even the loosest and least stringent interpretation.

Life is weird sometimes.

Speaking of Twitter:

If that’s the daily dose of funny, it’s now time for some whiplash. Let’s take a look at how civil liberties are doing!

Ouch.

I’ve got this idea bouncing around at the back of my mind that a bunch of us on the neoreactionary side of things should pull a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” when the “50 Shades of Grey” movie comes out. Great idea, or GREAT idea? Anyway, I’ve no idea how we could co-ordinate this (being somewhat geographically disparate), but consider this a trial balloon to see if there would be any interest.

The media really is a funny thing. One of its purposes is to brainwash you so you lose your mind, and the other is to tell you what the plan is so that you don’t lose your mind.

To clarify:

Try not to lose your minds out there.

SPQR

The King of Ashes

What do you see?

The first thing you’ll notice is a great preponderance of sweaty men standing around looking nervous and adjusting their ties. You might also notice the not-so-subtle imagery that indicates that Frank and Claire’s relationship is going to deteriorate this season. Try to look deeper.

What is House of Cards? It is a pop culture phenomenon. Frank Underwood is everyone’s favorite politician. He was in the latest “Call of Duty” game. We have real politicians trying to conflate themselves with him to better their image. Frank Underwood is exactly the politician we think we want, and we want him to be guiding us wherever we go.

One of the reasons that House of Cards is so popular is that there is nothing a weak, womanly society desires more than strong man to come in and take charge, and Frank Underwood is exactly the kind of power-hungry psychopath that makes our panties drop. How fitting it is that this new season is coming out so soon after the premiere of the “50 Shades of Grey” movie. If that isn’t some kind of divine portent, what is?

What type of feeling does this trailer try to instill in you? Let me tell you. It wants you to feel the thrill of the hunt and the rush of battle. The air starts to buzz and you can feel the metallic taste of blood on your tongue. Your hair stands on end and lightning starts to hum through your veins. Your eyes being to tingle and you feel an ocean of savagery begin to rise within you while all measure of compassion, empathy, or conscience fades away.

Let the butchery begin. A fitting catchphrase for a show that so revels in it.

Is is any wonder that power hungry schmucks and status-whoring young women love this show? Every intern and low-level wannabe big-shot in DC touches themselves at night at the thought of one day becoming Frank Underwood.

For all those familiar with the Gervais Principle, I ask you, which group of people is most likely to enjoy this show: clueless, losers, or sociopaths? If you guessed that this is a show that placates the clueless who want to be sociopaths, you guessed correctly.

Well, and the losers too. The more the merrier, and there’s really no lack of suckers who will try to internalize this show in a buffoonish quest to become some kind of sociopolitical ubermensch.

The kind of people who can actually learn a thing or two from shows like this are the kind of people who would have learned those things sooner or later. They may not be wired to be wolves, but at least they’ll have sharper teeth than the plodding herd animals who comprise most of humanity. Better to be a fox than a sheep, if nothing else.

Mitchell has rightly pointed out that if you’re being triggered, you’re being played. I will go one step further and say that any time you’re experiencing an externally-imposed emotion, you’re being set up for something.

“We’re murderers, Francis.”
“We’re survivors.”

This is a show that wants you to ask whether there is even a difference between these two things. It wants you to ask this so that you can feel like a badass while being a cog in the machine. It will keep you docile. It will keep you complacent.

Look how edgy I am. I’m a hardcore killer. Fuckin’ yeah I’ll keep working this shitty, underpaid job. I’m a fucking nightmare for wimpy little pussies like Cecil over in accounting. I’m going to do the best fucking job ever on this make-work my boss assigned me while he gives me a pay cut.

Shows like this are brilliant., This is part of the reason why they set us up so well to accept whatever it is they are trying to say. This is a pretty raw deal on our part.

Open mind. Insert programming here.

There is no better way to shut down critical thinking than to tell someone a good story.

I may lie, cheat, and intimidate to get what I want, but at least I get the job done, so I hope some of you were taking notes.

That’s got to be one of the most transparent pleas for blind eyes and excessive power that I’ve ever seen. It is no sin to enjoy this show, but to accept it is to submit to a wolf that declares itself to be your shepherd. People who are willing to accept any and all actions by their elite are being set up to get slaughtered like sheep.

If you’re reading this now, I have bad news for you. You are not a noble white knight. You are not a wolf. You’re a speck in the pile of ashes. Don’t get swept up in the narrative. Keep your wits about you. Avoid getting caught in the currents that are stirred up to keep the fish swimming in the right direction.

It’s the only chance you have.

It would be a great bit of rhetoric to end this post by saying that Frank Underwood is exactly the kind of politician we deserve. I wish we had that much going for us.

LUPUS NON TIMET CANEM LATRANTEM

Hell hath no fury…

I had planned on putting out the next part of my Theory of Mind series, but there have been a few things brought to my attention that necessitate further research and synthesis. While I let all that simmer, I figured I would once again turn the lens of this blog towards pop culture. The value of art and culture as a teaching tool is significant, and so it pays off to keep an eye on what our culture is trying to teach us. Let’s dive in!

Hey look, beautiful people in the setting of classic southern aristocrats! What a great aesthetic! I’m sold! Sure, it’s a bit ridiculous at times, but I think we can suspend our disbelief long enough to allow for Taylor Swift to keep her horses and deer inside her mansion (with interesting implications depending on how we choose to interpret that symbolism).

As it turns out, this song is a treasure trove of important lessons. There is much to discuss here, but let’s start off by just looking at the lyrics.

Nice to meet you, where you been?
I could show you incredible things
Magic, madness, heaven, sin
Saw you there and I thought
Oh my God, look at that face
You look like my next mistake

Looks don’t matter. Looks matter. Looks don’t matter. Looks matter. Post-hoc rationalization or a perfectly human reaction to stunning good looks? Can we ever really know? Can the singer tell us? Does she even know herself well enough to answer?

Can any of us know ourselves well enough to be able to comprehend the machinations of our unconscious?

You can’t underestimate the effect a first impression has on how people perceive you. I chalk it up to 50% of the way they view you. Forever.

What impression do you give off?

Love’s a game, want to play?

And what a game it is, but beware of any woman who knows that it is a game. If they’ve figured that out, they probably know how to play it better than you. If this intimidates you, you’re normal.

If this excites you, then maybe you’ve got the balls to play this game right, but you’ll need more than balls alone. Balls without anything else are soft and easily crushed. It is only when attached to something dangerous that they count for anything.

New money, suit and tie
I can read you like a magazine
Ain’t it funny, rumors, lie
And I know you heard about me

Illusionism and divination. Two sides of the same coin. Absolutely instrumental in playing the social games that require intense theory of mind.

People who deal well with ideas spar with each other in the realm of the abstract (i.e. philosophical discussions). People who are good with people spar with each other in the realm of social engagement, sizing each other up and testing their social savvy, trying to see if they can find cracks in the facade or make the mask slip a little bit. Charisma, cunning, and dissimulation oft go hand-in-hand, and people who possess these traits are very good at figuring out who is on their level and who isn’t.

Most of the time, this is unconscious, automatic behavior. At higher levels though, a good deal of conscious effort is put into it, supplementing and guiding the instincts and behavioral patterns that are being relied upon.

So hey, let’s be friends
I’m dying to see how this one ends
Grab your passport and my hand
I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

You can’t change people, but that doesn’t stop us from trying now, does it?

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames

Either/or thinking. Very easy to fall into. Very dangerous if you do.

You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain

No. You can’t. No matter how much time passes, no matter how many years go by, you can’t tell. You never figure out if it was worth it, and you realize that you’re afraid to make the call either way.

 Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane

First off, it definitely sounded like she was singing “Those lonely Starbucks lovers”, which led me to initially write this: “If some dude at Starbucks tells you that a chick is crazy, proceed from the assumption that you have no reason to doubt him.”

Having checked the official lyrics, I present them without comment.

‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game

Reality 101.

‘Cause we’re young and reckless
We’ll take this way too far

“We”? What’s this we? Sure, it takes two to tango, but in this situation, you really only need one person to drag things into dangerous territory. What happens next though, does rely on the actions of both people.

It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar

Who says it has to be one or the other? These kinds of relationships are the kind of wild ride that becomes addicting because the highs are higher and the lows are lower. Women especially can get addicted to these cycles, but you’re a fool if you think it doesn’t happen to men as well…and more than you might think.

Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space baby
And I’ll write your name.

A scary thought, but also a titillating one. This is exactly the sort of thing that Nietzsche was talking about when he said that to man, woman is both danger and play.

Every man needs a little bit of both from his woman (and vice versa), but the level of danger that will elicit the strongest emotional reaction is higher than either is willing to admit. Perhaps this is because they do not know this about themselves. Perhaps this is because they are unwilling to admit it to themselves…

Cherry lips, crystal skies
I could show you incredible things
Stolen kisses, pretty lies

Not exactly the foundation of the healthiest relationship, but definitely the foundation of a passionate, mad whirlwind of a relationship that will make you feel out-of-control emotions and leave you changed forever. In other words, a dangerous potion indeed.

Combine this with the tumultuous cycles of insanity depicted in the video and you have an insane maelstrom of every emotion humanly possible. The brain cannot help but get addicted to this kind of stimulation.

Add in a cycle of abuse to make the ride even more extreme, and you have a powerful emotional connection that most people will never have the strength to break.

When you muse on this, you realize the dark truth. People do not stay in tumultuous, abusive relationships despite being abused. They stay in them because they are tumultuous and abusive and nothing else can give them the kind of stimulation and satisfaction they’ve become wired to need.

You’re the king, baby, I’m your Queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month

So soon into the relationship? Warning sign. It is easy to say you want a girl who will submit to you and act for your pleasure, but this is not the way you should want it to happen. Very, very bad things will occur if you let this be the case.

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I can make all the tables turn

“…And will blame it on you. It’s your fault you put me in this state. How can you do this to me? What’s wrong with you? Look at what you’re doing to me!”

Hey look, there’s that abuse that is painful to hear at first, but becomes soothing and comforting if you don’t out of that relationship right then!

These situations are tricky because the angrier person is usually the one doing a better job of holding frame, leaving the less angry one in a situation that the overwhelming majority of people are incapable of handling. This is not very conducive to a successful extrication.

Rose gardens filled with thorns

Blatant symbolism with a dangerous message. Does true beauty necessarily have to come with pain? Yes? No? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even partially, and the dangerous pattern I described above is fairly accurate, well…

Careful you don’t trip down that rabbit-hole.

Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”
I get drunk on jealousy

That rush of jealousy. It can have…unpredictable effects. What’s the old saying? The dose makes the poison.

But you’ll come back each time you leave
‘Cause darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream

How easy it is to find yourself enjoying a nightmare. The rush of adrenaline…the relief when the tension dissipates…it’s the same mechanism that make people enjoy riding roller coasters or watching scary movies. How easy it is to take pleasure in it. How easy it is to get addicted…

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game
‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane (Insane)
But I’ve got a blank space baby,
And I’ll write your name.

I think I’ve said all I need to about the chorus.

Boys only want love if it’s torture
Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya
Boys only want love if its torture
Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya

A male artist saying this about women could never get away with saying this, but truth finds a way to slip out. Particulars often mask hidden generalities.

It’s very easy to call this projection, but the truth is a bit more complicated than that. Just because it’s projection, doesn’t mean that it’s entirely wrong. Just because it’s projection, doesn’t mean it doesn’t cut both ways.

So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames.
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain.
Got a long list of ex-lovers
they’ll tell you I’m insane.
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game.
‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I’ve got a blank space baby,
And I’ll write your name.

In recent days, the words of the Marquis de Sade have weighed heavily on mind: “The way to a woman’s heart is along the path of torment. I know none other as sure.” The “red-pill” guys think they know what that means. They have no idea how much they underestimate what de Sade meant by that.

On top of that, a lot of the neuroses and psychological quirks that manosphere and red-pill guys attribute to women apply in significant measure to men as well. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool lacking in either honesty or self-awareness…if not both.

Granted, it takes slightly different emotional triggers to elicit the same reactions, but the fundamental principles that underlie human psychology aren’t that different between men and women.

People tend to fool themselves into thinking silly things. It’s how we deal with the world. To assume that to be wise means inverting foolish beliefs is equally mad. People are rarely 100% wrong, and when they are, it is very easy to convince them of this. It is when they are part wrong and part right that the process becomes tricky.

Think of the aggressive, amazon-type women who think that only a “real man” can handle them and that people who avoid them do so because they are afraid. They’re not exactly wrong on the first part (though roughly 90% wrong on the last bit). It really does take a Frank Underwood to marry a Clarie Underwood and make it work. If a good, quality woman to raise your children is your only end, you are more likely than not going to be better served by staying away from that type. If your ends are slightly different, though, it’s not necessarily not a bad idea to get wrapped up with that type…especially if you can handle it.

The men who fantasize about such alpha women are actually governed by the same dynamic behind fantasies of banging a lesbian: the idea that your woman will submit to no man but you. Marrying a meek wife who is loyal and chaste is one way of ensuring that this happens. Taming a true amazon is another.

Make your bed and lie in it.

Perhaps this is the bit where I’m supposed to tell you to avoid ball-busters, crazies, and other kinds of “wrong” women. Perhaps this is the bet where I tell you to avoid toxic relationships with unstable people. That’s a good moral. It’s certainly what “Blank Space” is telling us to do.

That’s what I should tell you. That’s what I should say.

So why can’t I bring myself to say it?

AMOR ET MELLE ET FELLE EST FECUNDISSIMUS