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Archive for December, 2009

A New Dark Age

A few days ago, I was plundering the archives of Gates of Vienna and came across this:

Islam and the Dark Age of Byzantium

The impact of Islam was devastating for all of Christendom, both East and West. It was the event that terminated Classical civilization. The destruction of Classical culture in Europe was due to largely, though not completely, to the economic blockade of the Mediterranean by Muslim piracy. Yet the termination of that culture in regions such as Egypt and Syria (formally great centers of Classical and Hellenistic civilization) which came under the control of Islam, was produced by the new faith’s utter contempt for the cultures and histories of the peoples it came to dominate. Right from the start, the Caliphal government in Egypt established a commission whose purpose was to seek out pharaohnic age tombs, for plundering. So complete was the destruction that, perhaps little more than a century after the Islamic Conquest, no one in Egypt had any idea who built the Great Pyramid – this in spite of the fact that very substantial histories of this monument and the pharaoh who erected it were contained in the works of many Classical authors, most notably Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus. Immediately prior to the Muslim invasion the libraries and academies of Egypt, Syria, and Babylonia, were packed with the works of these authors. Their disappearance and the disappearance of the knowledge they contained can only mean, as Christian polemicists argued for centuries, that the Muslims had deliberately destroyed a great quantity of Classical literature.

In the West of Europe and in the East, in North Africa and the Middle East, Classical civilization came to an end in the mid-seventh century; and the reason for its demise can be summed up in one word: Islam.

This had me thinking that now, we aren’t dependent on Egyptian papyrus for affordable paper, so Islam might find it somewhat harder to wipe out knowledge this time around. Aside from the ready availability of paper all around us, there’s also the Internet, crammed with the great works of past and present, bursting at the seams with information. And they can’t just set fire to it. No, they can’t destroy it unless they do one of those things like the villain in Goldeneye wanted to do, or like Snake Plissken did at the end of Escape From L.A.

This morning:

An EMP in Your Future

Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a series of reports from the Dutch media about the frightening possibility that Iran will use nuclear weapons to create a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse (EMP) over the coast of Europe as well as over the United States.

I’m starting to think survivalists might not be so crazy after all.

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How Humans Work

Bizarrely enough, modern intellectual thought has actually managed to make most people forget what human nature is and how it works. Here are a few passages that will help to remind us:

Young people seek power and status. This is natural. It will always be the case. However, they are young; so they seek not the things that will bring them power now, but the things that will bring them power when they are of age to rule. Not, of course, that this is a conscious strategy; it is more a matter of evolutionary biology. But it still works. The number of former ’60s radicals in positions of power today is remarkable.

Thus, it is better to say that young people seek potential power and status. If an elite is open to new talent, they will seek it in that elite. If an elite is not open to new talent, or if the process of entering it excludes much of that talent…

In this case, we see a prerevolutionary condition. The classic case is late 19th-century Russia. Young elites, instead of being attracted to careers in the administrative or clerical arms of the Czarist state, were attracted to revolutionary activism – plotting to replace that regime. They seek a different path to power – not an existing path, but a potential and hypothetical path.

A gentle introduction to Unqualified Reservations (part 9d)

Physiologically adult humans are not meant to spend an additional 10 years in a school system; their brains map that onto “I have been assigned low tribal status”. And so, of course, they plot rebellion – accuse the existing tribal overlords of corruption – plot perhaps to split off their own little tribe in the savanna, not realizing that this is impossible in the Modern World. The teenage males map their own fathers onto the role of “tribal chief”…

Rebelling Within Nature

Sociobiological theory also has profound implications for the nature of the family. Generations of psychologists have presumed that evolution (or some very powerful force) must have intended the family to function more smoothly than it generally does. A naive model of the nature of the family assumes that it is harmonious under ideal conditions, since that is allegedly how it was designed. But it was not so designed. Like the male-female pair, it is an association among individuals with partly distinct evolutionary purposes. Family members are often at odds with each other’s ultimate (not merely temporary) purposes, and their relations are naturally conflicted rather than naturally harmonious. This conflict is not friction in what should or could be a smoothly functioning system but is intrinsic.

~Melvin Konner, Only The Reckless Survive and Other Secrets of Human Nature

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In which I reveal far too much about the folly of my youth.

1. Marry someone of your own class and background. Yes, I know that your DNA and his DNA have identified each other as an excellent fit, and consequently have ordered your hormones and his hormones to make beautiful music together. This will not help you five years down the road when you are having twenty trivial, insoluble and increasingly acrimonious arguments a day about things like whether paper towels make acceptable napkins or if the fact that you laughed three times during an episode of Friends is sufficient reason that you should endure an hour of the show every single week. The old joke is right: male and female is opposite enough.

2. When people say that in relationships, the most important thing they look for is “a sense of humor”, what they really mean is not that they want someone who has one, but someone who has the same kind as theirs. Two incompatible senses of humor cannot peacefully coexist under one roof.

3. Do not study occultism. Even if there is anything to it – and I think that there is a little – it is not enough to repay any significant time investment. The only exception is if you intend to make a career of telling other people about your useless but hard-won knowledge. It worked for Crowley and Leek. The market is pretty small, though; LaVey spent his last couple of decades on welfare.

4. Traditional notions of the differences between men and women exist because they are accurate. There are a very few people who are significantly gender atypical. If you are one of them, your atypicality will manifest itself with no effort on your part. If you are not, you will spend decades trying to wipe out your natural inclinations and at the end they will still be there. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Invest your time in an endeavour more likely to succeed, such as completely eradicating dandelions from your lawn.

5. Without wishing to discourage anyone from cultivating qualities such as honesty, integrity, intelligence, and so on, I regret to inform you that unless you also acquire the skills of making a good first impression and displaying the shibboleths that will convince the people around you that you are of their tribe, very few people will ever discover that you have the former. Sure, beings with large brains “should” be able to dispense with all that. Convince the other six billion people on this planet, not merely to intellectually agree with this premise but also to act upon it, and then we can stop pretending to like the same bands as our buddies. (Note: most people will claim that they are above such petty signals. They are not.)

6. Ayn Rand was one of the great minds of history. She did not, however, have the whole story about anything. It just seems that way because today’s so-called “schools” and “colleges” and the MSM have filled themselves with so much poppycock and so well concealed the existence of most of history’s greatest minds (I did not even hear the name “Edmund Burke” until I was in my thirties) that when we encounter the one who they couldn’t cover up, due to those pesky best-selling novels, she seems to be the only person in history who ever made any sense.

7. Do not try to be an atheist. In recent years there has been a spate of books showing that belief in God comes, essentially, pre-installed on our hard drives. (Oddly, many people take this as proof that the belief is incorrect. Do they consider it impossible that the Creator would create us with the means of sensing Him?) Very few people are really capable of disbelieving; we’re just not wired for it. Most of those who claim not to believe actually spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince themselves that God does not exist. And since this disbelief is unnatural to humans, it tends to do nasty things to one’s temperament. Admit that He’s there and get on with your life.

8. While we’re on that subject, organized religion is, in fact, a good thing. If you want, you can say otherwise between the ages of 15 and 21; it will impress other people who are also between the ages of 15 and 21. After that, oh good grief read a history book. There’s way more to “organized religion” than the Inquisition. A lot of people much smarter than you have spent many centuries building up the organized religions. That these organizations have lasted so long is a pretty good indication that they’re on to something.

9. People who are mean in trivial little ways are probably also going to be mean in big important ways. If they only use their moral code in emergencies, it’s going to be rusty and unreliable.

10. Don’t eat too many carbohydrates. Limit your sugar and caffeine. Don’t try to limit your fat intake. (See Gary Taubes for why.)

11. If someone lies to you, or rewrites the history the two of you share, run. No matter how sincere and reassuring the talk the two of you have is, he (or she) will do it again.

12. Don’t try to rescue people, except from literal physical danger. People who beg you to “save” them are actually just hoping you’ll give them some company in the pits.

13. The fact that you have never fit in does not automatically confer virtue upon others who also have never fit in. They may be perfectly nice but awkward persons like yourself, but it is statistically more likely that they are speed freaks who are on the dole in between paying gigs of marginal respectability. Such people can be extraordinarily charming if you are not superficial enough or sensible enough to flee them on sight. (See #5; those instincts are so deeply ingrained for good reasons.) It is how they survive.

14. Don’t go to a therapist, and especially don’t let them mess with your biochemistry with medications (unless you are hallucinating or genuinely close to killing yourself or someone else). For one thing, psychologists and psychiatrists have spent years having their heads intensively crammed with mountains of the most absurd nonsense. For another, they go into that field in the first place because they are more screwed up than you will ever be and are trying to figure out why.

15. Smart people are not necessarily more ethical than stupid people. There is limited correlation, because higher intelligence goes with a greater future time orientation, so smart people count consequences more, but a lot of the time smart people just figure out sneakier ways to harm others.

16. Never assume that anyone else has the same sense of honor and fair play that you do. Don’t put yourself at the mercy of anyone else’s ethics. Odds are, they don’t have any.

17. Free love is neither.

18. That which does not kill you will not necessarily make you stronger. Just as likely, it’ll soften you up so that whatever comes next will kill you. Bear in mind that the man who originated that fine-sounding quotation ended his days in a lunatic asylum.

19. Do not attempt to tell any of this to people who have not already figured it out for themselves.

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After the Collapse

This article disheartened me, even though I didn’t expect any better from a San Francisco paper.

Rights watchdog hints Swiss minaret ban could go

A Swiss ban on minarets could violate fundamental liberties, Europe’s top human-rights watchdog said Monday in an indication that the heavily criticized vote could be overturned.

The London Times said pretty much the same thing:

Swiss voters back right-wing minaret ban

Swiss voters defied their Government and clerics yesterday and approved a ban on building minarets — reflecting an alarming hostility to a rising Muslim minority.

Just like how every time a European nation has a referendum in which the people assert that they wish to stay out of the EU, it gets overturned. All the claptrap about voting and the consent of the governed, but it’s only allowed when the sheep do as those in power wish them to. Things haven’t come to quite that pass in America, but can there be any doubt that they will soon?

I cheered myself up a bit by rereading two recent blog posts that I bookmarked. This sort of pessimism is cheering because it is a relief to know that I am not the only one who sees what is going on.

A Type of Protest I’d Like to See

Now, our society is so rotten, so corrupt and weak in so many ways, that there ought to be numerous weaknesses that we traditionalists can exploit. The very passivity, lack of clear thinking, lack of loyalty, and venality that lead our politicians and businessmen to roll over and surrender to invaders who are largely inferior in ability to their hosts (or victims) and without exception dependent on the largesse of those hosts, ought to be exploitable by those of us who are tired of living under the conditions they set.

Yet for me, a clear path for action has yet to emerge.

The Coming Crash

I think we need to be realistic and realize that the current political-ideological order is completely broken and beyond repair. Instead of wasting time and energy on attempting to fix what cannot be fixed we need to prepare as best as we can for the coming crash and hopefully regroup to create something new and stronger afterward. There will be a pan-Western and perhaps international economic and social collapse in the not-too-distant future. I fear that this is too late to avoid by now. The people who support the ruling paradigm are too powerful and the paradigm contains so many flaws that it cannot be fixed. It needs to crash. We should focus on surviving this crash and on developing a new paradigm to replace the failed one.

It’s true: the decline of our civilization cannot be halted now. The corruption has run too deep. Worst of all, the people who retain a moral sense have been convinced that there is no problem. Outside of the traditionalist blogosphere, I do not know anyone who realizes or believes that we are heading towards a tremendous collapse. Most of my Republican friends shrug and say that all we have to do is elect another Reagan and everything will be fine. Point the problems out to them and they insist that most of them are not problems. Sure, crime is a problem, but it has nothing to do with the societal changes that have increased the numbers of fatherless homes. Sure, terrorism is bad, but it doesn’t mean we should ever in any way resist the importation and indulgence of large numbers of practitioners of a violent and oppressive faith, or even publicly disapprove of that faith. Sure, our schools need improvement, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with corraling at gunpoint the entire next generation to brainwashing at the hands of Marxist pedophiles. And so on.

I suspect that at least European conservatives no longer believe, thanks to events like the minaret ban and the way the EU has devoured the entire planet, that the democratic process can protect us.

We cannot reverse the decline. What we need to be considering is how we can preserve as much as possible of our values and knowledge, and how we can go about rebuilding on the rubble a few decades hence.

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