Month: July 2015

What’s behind the #cuckservative phenomenon? A reply to Ace

Thanks to assists by Eric Erickson, HotAir, the Daily Beast, the New Republic, Buzzfeed, and the Washington Post, the term cuckservative is probably here to stay:

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The hashtag shows a steadier increase:

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A week after Eric Erickson first tweeted about it, twice as many people per day were using the word. The question now — the eternal question — is whether this mainstream media-driven neologism is racist. Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos doesn’t think it is inherently so, but if you check Twitter, it’s hard to come away with any other conclusion. This Twitter mob seems to have greatly unsettled Ace, who isn’t sure where they all came from. Most of the social media confrontations involving the term have been with the conservative online community, which has been the quickest and strongest to denounce the term and, though often skeptical of identity politics in the mainstream media, they have pretty much universally — except Ann Coulter, basically — deemed cuckservative racist.

If the popularity of ‘cuckservative’ does indeed indicate a growing tsunami of white nationalism, perhaps one ought to consult survivors from the last town the tsunami leveled. Which, believe it or not, is the dreaded neoreaction. That’s not too surprising when you think about it — there’s only so much room on the dissident right, and neoreaction was started by a Jewish guy; its most popular exponent is a post-Marxist philosopher living in Shanghai. A few months ago, several bloggers who identified with the movement disappeared from the public Internet, in some cases citing rising amounts of abuse from these people. Whether these neoreactionaries continue to discourse in secret is a matter of speculation, but they do occasionally raise periscopes. Here is one:

I almost liked Ace’s post, but I couldn’t quite get there. There was a critical amount of causal depth missing that I’m pretty sure Ace already agrees with, based on his other and more recent writings, and which he chose to omit for — I’m guessing — prudential reasons. The necessity of which is really the heart of the problem, isn’t it? I’m surprised he didn’t focus more on the related simultaneous phenomena of Trump’s sudden popularity amongst a base that feels unrepresented and betrayed with no alternative.

Specifically, he says this ‘came out of nowhere,’ and also at some other points in his post, makes as if it’s some kind of weird and ugly surprise to him.  “Whoa, who are these ‘fringe’ wackos? Who knew there were so many of them, or that their heads weren’t permanently kept down! Where do these guys comes from?!”

But I don’t think that’s really true at all. And I suspect he joined me in long thinking a development of this sort was all but inevitable given recent trends in the evolution of progressive rhetoric and tactics and of course their steadily escalating fanaticism, aggressiveness, and, alas, effectiveness.

The truth is #cuckservative, for all its ugliness and unnecessary extra derogatory baggage, seems to have touched  a very raw nerve and resonated with people in a way that is revealing of many things (some quite nasty and unreflective of my own views). But one of those revelations is that what remains of the mainstream movement is being painted into a shrinking corner where it is impossible to complain politely about one’s bad circumstances, and so it is inevitable that one’s impolite fringe would be the only ones left to take up the banner.

Let me lay out my thinking a little on this. See, to my mind, this is all a little rich coming from Ace. Yeah, I can sympathize with his need to preserve his marketability and a robust reputation for respectability, but again, that’s the problem. When’s the last time Ace linked to Sailer? Maetenloch did it during the whole UVA rape-date thing, once, and that’s the last I can remember. Not a lot of dissident-right linkage over there in general, but, in my view, Sailer is a special case. Sailer is of course radioactive, but not because he’s crude, uncivil, unprofessional, vulgar, unhinged, or anything. Only because he is a thought-criminal who is obsessed with telling the most important hatefacts that explain what is really happening to our world, and are the most significant overlooked factors with major implications for the wisdom of various policies, because no one else will.  But what does it mean to scrupulously avoid any possible guilt-by-association with the most professional presentation of hatefacts possible?

I mean, even Sailer is trying not to touch this stuff with a ten-foot pole or associate with it. He’s got a pretty good sense for staying consistently classy and above the level of dirty partisanship and emotional name-calling. But if what Sailer does write stands for anything, it is the fact that every single major issue of our day is absolutely dripping with the pretty lies of The Narrative that can only be addressed by mentioning and noticing patterns of human non-equality, each of which that the left has now successfully placed beyond the pale of acceptable civil discourse.

So Ace spends every single day chronicling two related phenomena. In his own way of presentation, these are:

  1. The crazy, evil, delusional, and mendaciously defamatory way that megaphone-holding progressives frame reality as if every problem in the world — real or fabricated — is at root the fault of George Washington Archetypes. And, as a corollary, how all their ‘solutions’ are thus unjust penalties and oppressions against people who resemble that Archetype.
  2. The absolute and catastrophic failure of the Republican Party and conservative movement to slow down the progressive agenda, to stand up for clear principles, to fight every good fight with everything they have, or, really, to even do what their constituents want them to do, and vote how they’d like them to vote, most of the time. This has pissed him off so much lately that he’s actually sworn off being part of Team Republican and the conservative political movements, because it’s in such a shambolic travesty of a condition, and he just doesn’t have the heart to bite his tongue or spin the situation anymore, if for no other reason than it’s now obviously counterproductive.

Now, what is the tone over at Ace’s place in general? He’d probably dislike the characterization, but if the shoe fits, then he should wear it, and the answer is really “neoconservative.” I don’t mean that in the derogatory ‘NYC Jew entryist’ sense, but in the positive frame that a self-identified neoconservative would defend, their Americanist politics. That is, a ‘reconstructed right’ that declares that America is fundamentally a ‘propositional nation’ with a specific historical purpose to be a continuing experiment in human freedom, that its history of arising out of a particular people, history, and tradition is fortunate and praise-worthy, but at root, merely contingent and not essentially connected to any particular characteristics, and that it should be based on a dedication to a universalist creed of equality in rights, the project of which potentially any human anywhere can accept and join without real limitation regarding nationality or race, with perhaps the mild exception of having to fit into a secularized version of the the ‘Western, Judeo-Christian’ traditional set of values that underpin the commitment to essential liberty.

Ok, that’s a mouthful, but you get the point. Neoconservatism rejects ‘This is a Christian nation’ talk, in favor of their compatible set of civil virtues and values, and to the extent it can tolerate any racial realism, nevertheless insists on colorblindness as a principal virtue. It seems to me that to the extent Ace is a social conservative, he is a social neoconservative. To the extent he leans libertarian, he is a neoconservative libertarian. If you presented the Sailer Strategy to him in explicit terms — The Republicans can only win if they embrace being The White Party — they would recoil. Even if they accept the realities of the demographic disparities in affiliation to the right, they can’t quite believe it must always be thus. It’s too important to their self-image that their movement is not a crude, old-world one of naked self-interest of ethnic factions, but a universal ideal to which anyone from any origin should be equally recruitable.

And that’s not my problem with him at all really. It’s certainly arguable that, whatever its flaws, this ‘propositional nation’ stuff is perhaps the least-goofy, least-ineffective set of ideas that has had any success whatsoever is slowing the roll of the progressive agenda by being a relatively defensibly and attractive alternative pole, even if it was only for a limited time, and that anything else would have been worse. Ok, whatever.

The problem is that it’s no longer working. What the progressives have discovered over time is a near perfect refinement of the PC-oppression-framing of everything conservative constituents complain about. Everything possible is now racialized (or genderized, or whatever) to the nth possible degree. All roads lead immediately to crimestop, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Against this, a conservative ideology that pretends they can still play a game of idealizing colorblindness is worse than useless.

In the minds of these voters, conservative representative politics is supposed to serve as some kind of outlet for them to express their grievances and petition for relief that will support their interests. But what they are discovering — what Ace himself complains about every day — is that Republican politicians simply won’t do it. And so why won’t they do it?

Well, ‘internet folk-neoconservatism’ has a few half-answers, which is that “the donors make them sell out their principles and their base’s birthright for reasons of evil corporate greed,” or else “they are elites (i.e. near-progressives) who are only pretending to be conservatives, and only vote against the progressives when they absolutely have to or else it just doesn’t matter.”

Besides that there are also the pragmatic political concerns of doing what it takes to hold together a ‘big tent’ large enough to get majorities and be viable. But who controls the direction of the opinion of the public over whom you’d like to cast your big tent? And you can’t be ‘big tent’ and viable without being respectable, and you can’t be respectable if you’re being called racist or whatever-ist or whatever-phobe, and to the extent the progressives can leverage some statement, incident, or position to make that accusation such that enough people can be conned into believing it, you have little choice but to capitulate and give them what they want and avoid the matter altogether as a big loser of an issue for you.

And the effect, it seems to me, has been to push enough of the articulation of any legitimate basis for counter-progressive policies out of the Overton Window into taboo territory, which ends up completely silencing the high status and respectable elites who run and pay for the Party, and preemptively neutralizing any good those ideas could have had in terms of policy if only had it been possible to discuss them openly.

Immigration is the clear example, but you could use any of the manufactured progressive outrages of the past few years. Progressives want open borders because it will hand them a Brazilian one-party-state. Conservatives try to argue against it on pragmatic grounds. Progressives point, sputter, and scream, “Racist!” and conservative elites decide they simply have to avoid that because they can’t win that fight, but might as well make lemonade out of lemons and court the immigrant-labor-hiring donor class. So they start lining up to pass amnesty (or transparently merely pretend to fight against Obama’s executive amnesty), which is the opposite of what their base wants.

I could say the same for crime, for housing, for education, etc.

And Ace, what does he do in situations like there? He is appalled and angered of course, and he thinks it is horribly unfair and abusive for the progressives to accuse the conservatives of racism, but he doesn’t make the final leap and conclude, “It is the ability of the progressives to successfully win this issue by credibly threatening to accuse their opponents of racism in a way which will be believed enough, by enough people, that lies at the heart of this issue, and is the root cause of the awful, cowardly, and politically treasonous behavior I’m observing. So long as that works, and for every issue for which that works, well, we’re doomed.”

That’s why both Charles Murray and Robert Putnam, in writing books about cultural fragmentation and underclass behavior, are obliged to focus exclusively on white people!

He doesn’t seem to get there. Why not? I’m not sure exactly. Maybe he has actually and I missed it. After all, he posts a lot, and I don’t read them all. Or maybe he is on his way to figuring it out, or was on his way, before the radioactive white nationalist moron hater fringe make him “feel dirty” about sharing beliefs with that crowd and want to distance himself from them.

But also maybe he understands that this conclusion can only lead in two bad directions (1) Utter Despondency, or (2) A need to do whatever is necessary to take on the progressive structural advantage of crying-racist, which has lately grown to immense magnitude.

And (2), and the strategies that might exist under it, is a deeply troubling and ugly thought to contemplate for your standard internet quasi-neoconservative. Whose interests are your trying to defend, against what, and perpetrated in the name of what? Because progressives are dominant as the “party of non-whites,” conservative elites are stuck with a mostly white constituency who is begging for some relief from anti-white progressive policy, and the movement intellectuals have spend the last 20 years trying to beat around that bush and argue in terms of abstract ideas and human universals, and for whatever good that may have ever done in its time — that time is now over.

And so what I’m getting to is that it was simply inevitable that you would end up with a Republican Party and conservative movement machine that simply could not perform its basic function for its constituents, because the progressives have made those functions and the expression of the rational for them completely taboo. Since, with the exception of a few reckless or too-old-or-honorable-to-care types, most of these elites simply will not step outside the Overton Window, then it was likewise inevitable that a gap would grow and widen between the behavior and expressions of the politicians and their increasingly frustrated, angry, and alienated base.

This is like being a buyer in a real estate transactions, realizing the interest of your ‘agent’ isn’t quite aligned with your own, because your realtor is working on commission based on the final sale value, and so is more interested in talking to accepting the latest counteroffer instead of aggressively negotiating with the other side and helping you get the lowest price, but risking the possibility that the deal may go south and he’ll have to spend more time on your next attempt, but without any more compensation. At 3 percent commission, there are still plenty of decent realtors who care about their reputation to be honest buyer’s agents. But if that commission starts going up to 10, 20, or 50 percent, all of a sudden, every buyer is going to hate their realtor and the guaranteed betrayal of their interests, and want to spit when they hear their name. That’s what’s been happening with the Republicans. Ace spits constantly.

And so the question is what is a dejected ordinary right-leaning individual supposed to think about this whole problem of bad agents and bad agency and conspicuous public embrace of the progressive mantras that 90 percent of his own side’s voters despise? What is his explanation for why Republican and Conservative elites are so unable to speak plainly and clearly about the real troubles of the day, and seem to let the liars and defamers roll right over them?

And I just think that this state of affairs, the gap, the failed agency, the silenced neutralization, and above all the intense-identity-politics-basis and racialization of all political issues surrounding the current Big Government State, was just bound to find outlet and be expressed in some explicitly race-conscious manner as continued playing along with the racial equality delusion became too exhausting and self-destructive, and racial-equality-narrative-fatigue set in amongst the class of people that are most severely affected, least likely to defect to progressivism, most likely to feel intense frustration, and most willing to embrace risky or extreme subcultures. One can already guess without looking what the demographic profile of the #cuckservative retweeting population is.

Now, look, it would be nice if there were a polite and socially acceptable way to articulate this whole problem without being accused of racism oneself. If you were to somehow to strip the ugly, nasty, crude, and hateful connotations and meanings behind #cuckservative away, there would still be this problem of a need to have a way of naming and describing the consistent betrayal of the interest of one’s side that necessarily includes the cravenness of an agent selling out his principle in favor of staying in the good graces of the counterparty, and the consistent cowardice and inability to act or speak in defense of those interests because of a particular kind of crimestop that the adversary has been working overtime to apply to anything and everything.

So, if I were having a beer with Ace, I would ask him what exactly frustrated people in his big tent should call the elite politicians that he complains about daily for what is, in essence, the same forms of cowardice and betrayal, and which derive from the same causes? What is the essential nature of the criticism being levied? And I think it would be pretty clear that is had just become inescapable that the problem gets into the ‘icky’ territory again and again, that Ace and his kind would rather avoid for as long as possible — indeed, have avoided for as long as possible. And now it’s not possible. If the respectables can’t be the voice the movement, refuse to be in the face of overwhelming threats to their livelihoods, well then, the ugly mob will fill the vacuum from now on, and no one should be surprised that of course you aren’t going to like what they say and the way they say it.

And of course, the ultimate tragedy of all this is that it plays right into the progressives’ hands because it Dylann-Roofs the entire meta-dispute. By saying only neo-nazis could possibly fight their agenda, they make in inevitable that actual hipster-pretend-wanna-be-white-nationalists are the ones who become the face of The Lost Cause, which is just rocket fuel for the fire of progressives using that fact to smear and stamp out all the otherwise potentially respectable oppositions. And this is of course what Ace is complaining and rightly terrified about. And that’s forgivable and understandable. I mean, look what happened to the Confederate Flag and now that’s going to happen to things that were, until yesterday, just barely within the Overton Window too, which just makes things worse in Ace’s eyes. But again, what is the alternative if one isn’t willing to admit and take on the fundamental structural problem at play here?

And it just seems to me that Ace simply isn’t willing to do this, not if it means he can’t avoid associating himself with explicitly racially conscious people, which whites are not allowed to be. He wants a party that can be an anti-anti-white party, and least in most of its representative agenda, but without having to openly admit that’s what it is, and what it’s now principally about, and instead be able to hide behind the plausible cover of simply meritocratic justice and fairness and universal principle (i.e. the progressive pretense). He wants the Sailer Strategy’s end state, but not as an actual overly racially-conscious program, which is simply ideologically unpalatable for him.

And that requires people out there to bite their tongues about this stuff. But he has been a tongue-biter, and practically no one more or better than he has made the case (and recently!) that the progressives have made this completely impossible, and of the absolute futility and counter-productivity of right-wing tongue-biting that characterizes our current political stage and state of affairs. So, if he has another accurate term he’d like to use for people in his own tent to throw at the leadership that he despises and is descriptive of the character and true origin of their condemnatory behavior, then be my guest and offer one up as an alternative! I hope he figures it out quick, but, until then, #cuckservative.

The Mitrailleuse does not endorse these views, but we are committed to free, and respectful dialogue. At least, if lines have been crossed for airing views of this kind, we can be confident they are less odious than those given a hearing in the Washington Post.

Humility Of Heart: Restored original 1906 translation

Mandeville, LAHumility of Heart, the work by by Father Cajetan de Bergamo, was summarized recently by the blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam:

In the early 18th century, a priest named Fr. Cajetan Mary de Bergamo (d. 1753) wrote a treatise entitled Humility of Heart, which was popularized by the English Cardinal Vaughn in his 1903 translation and has subsequently become a classic on the virtue. In his treatise, Bergamo insists on the universal practice of humility, but notes that the way humility looks externally will vary depending on one’s station in life. He says:

Humility of heart…has no limits, because before God we can always abase ourselves more and more, even unto utter nothingness, and we can do the same to our fellow men; but in the exercise of these exterior acts of humility, it is necessary to be directed with discretion, in order not to fall into an extravagance that might seem excessive

Profound humility should exist in every state of life, but exterior acts of humility are not expedient to all. For this reason Holy Writ says, “Beware that thou be not deceived into folly, and be humbled” (Ecclus 13:10).

To practice humility of heart in the midst of pomp and honors, we can learn from the pious Esther, how she cried to God, “Thou knowest my necessity, how I abominate the sign of my pride” (Est. 14:16). I attire myself in this rich apparel and with these jewels because my position demands it; but Thou, Lord, seest my heart, that through Thy grace I am not attached to these things, nor this apparel, and that I only wear them of necessity. Here indeed is a great example of that true inward humility which can be practiced and felt amid external grandeur.” [5]

Listen to a talk about the book here, or download the MP3 version. Read more and download the book FREE, here.

Why I decided to republish Humility of Heart:

When I first heard of Humility of Heart, it was presented in a sermon delivered by a priest from the order of FSSP. He said that “reverence toward God leads to humility” and that has stuck with me ever since. Soon after hearing this sermon I located the 1944 edition of Humility via the website published by the Newman Bookshop of Westminster MD. This edition is the most widely available digital version I have located. I became so enamored with Fr. Cajetan’s text that I decided to republish the work myself in digital and literary form, update the footnotes and then restore Fr. Cajetan Bergamo’s blessed essays on the Our Father and all fifteen of the Holy Rosary’s Mysteries (which no one ever bothered to translate from the Italian, but I have now completed). In comparing the two works I discovered dozens of discrepancies in the footnotes of the 1944 edition and the 1739 original.

This led to a quest for a digitized copy of the 1906 original translated work of Cardinal Vaughan, to compare to the 1944 printing, you are currently reading, but none could be found. I began to think “there must be a copy of this magnificent work, in its original form.” After a search of every Catholic library in Louisiana I was ready to give up when I recalled that a friend, the Rev. Michael P. Morris, is the current Archivist for the Archdiocese of New York. Rev. Morris arranged for a copy of the original 1906 Vaughan edition, to be sent from the library at St. John’s in Collegeview, MN, to me. You are about to read that work as it was originally read by the English reading faithful.

What I have learned from this little book has altered my thinking on and approach to The Faith so profoundly it is difficult to describe, but I will try. In the first paragraph Fr. Cajetan lays out the conclusion “in Paradise there is no Saint who was not humble.” From there Father leads us on a meditation of what Humility is and how we may learn the disciplines necessary to acquire this most primary of graces. Father also cautions against ever coming to believe one has achieved Humility for as Augustine says “If there be holiness in you, fear lest you may lose it. How? Through pride.” I have learned through reading, praying and meditating on this work that nearly every human action is either corrupted by pride or made graceful by humility. In Father’s words:

But I will say more: and that is, examine yourself first, and see whether you really have this virtue that you think you possess. What I mean to say is: is it a real virtue, or perhaps only a disposition of your natural temperament, be it melancholy, sanguine or phlegmatic? And even should this virtue be real, is it a Christian virtue or purely a human one? Every act of virtue which docs not proceed from a supernatural motive, in order to bring us to everlasting bliss, is of no value. And in the practice o? virtue, do you join to your external actions the inward and spiritual acts of the heart? O true Christian virtues, I fear that in me you are nothing but beautiful outward appearances! I deserve the reproach of God’s word:”Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked.” And in the same manner the counsel of St Augustine is good for me, that it is better to think of those virtues in which we are lacking rather than of those which we possess. “I will humble myself more for those virtues which I lack than pride myself on those I possess.”!  [emphasis mine]

Utilizing the lives and works of St Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, St Bernard and St Gregory of Nanzien; Father guides us though a meditative learning process whereby the inspired words of the Saints is anchored to the greatest examples of Humility in history: the public Ministry of Our Lord, his Humble birth and the penultimate act of Our Lady at the Annunciation. You will be moved to tears and great (sic) “examens of conscience.” This book is not meant to be read in a linear way but rather taken as a process, much like reading the Consecration to Our Lady by de Montfort. This work is an inspired treasure and we are in the debt of Cardinal Vaughan for his translation, Fr. Cajetan for his authorship and the most Blessed Trinity for the graces granted to these men and their humility of heart.

About This Edition

The following pages were scanned over the course of five days in July of 2015 from the original 1906 printing of Humility of Heart, loaned to us by the college of St John’s, Collegeville, MN. The scans were done with an eye on preserving the page integrity of this very well-worn copy. For continuity we cropped the pages to a uniform size and left any additional gaps not containing book contents as they were scanned. This preserves the look and feel of the actual book as it was printed not as simply a digitized representation of its contents. Some of the pages, because of the binding, were difficult to scan and had to be digitally skewed and adjusted. The only additions made were on the table of contents page, where the text was not legible to scan. The beautiful lithograph on the inside book cover carries the caption “EXALTAVIT HUMILES” which means “lifted up the lowly.” This piece was touched up so the caption text is legible and I patched the tears to the inner binding, which distracted from the artwork. I pray you enjoy this work and will treasure it as we have in the last six months spent preparing our new printed and digital version which will include this edition. Please consider making a donation to help cover the costs of this process. Download the book FREE, here.

This post republished from

Catholics at Jamestown?

Bill Kelso & co. found a reliquary on top of the coffin of one of the original colonists:

Four newly identified leaders buried in the chancel of Historic Jamestowne’s 1608 church may have included a spy or a secret practitioner of a traitorous religion…

A silver reliquary box atop the coffin of early Jamestown leader Gabriel Archer raises questions about who he really was and who he was really supporting.


Archer’s grave raised the most questions. He was one of the ringleaders of a conspiracy that removed the first president of the Jamestown settlement only four months after arrival in 1607, Horn said. Archer was also instrumental in ridding the colony of Capt. John Smith.

“Several of the early leaders are thrown out of office or deposed, and Archer is involved in all of them. You might say he’s just a conspirator.  He wants to be the leader,” Horn said. “Maybe there’s a different reason that we hadn’t considered before this new evidence of his Catholic leanings.”

Beyond the carefully placed reliquary box, Archer’s burial was oriented in the priestly fashion.

“Was Archer the leader of a Catholic cell at Jamestown? Was he a Catholic priest and does that explain why his head is to the east?” Horn asked. “There’s not a hint of Catholic in the records. He would be disgraced or worse. You could not be an open Catholic in a position of authority” after King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church in 1536.

Archer’s parents, however, had been staunch Catholics, declared outlaws for not attending the Church of England.

Update: An interesting quote from Kelso in the Atlantic:

“We have been finding bits and pieces of rosaries and crucifixes and other things that obviously were Catholic,” Kelso said. “One interpretation is they were bought over here to give to the Indians, even just to trade as trinkets. But now I think about it in a whole different way.”

And here’s a video:

Liberals hold stupid and contradictory views on sex

When it comes to insanity, Joe Gould, the infamously unstable writer who may or may not have written the largest oral account of history, didn’t believe in it. “The fallacy of dividing people into sane and insane lies in the assumption that we really do touch other lives,” he wrote. Seeing as how Gould lived a tragic, if not prolific, life that ended with many stints in mental hospitals and a lobotomy, perhaps he isn’t great source material on mental health.

Or maybe he is, when looking through the lens of today’s liberalism.

The recent leak of user data from the affair-abetting site has got to be beguiling for progressives. As liberals fight to transcendent bourgeoisie sexual norms, they are, at the same time, trying to retain the faithfulness necessary to foster a loving relationship. So on one hand, sexual liberation is the number one goal of the progressive vision. Yet, on the other fidelity is a necessary limit on sexual activity. So which is more important for leftists? Dependability or unrestrained whoopie?


Secession lagniappe

Grab-bag of pieces on the Civil War and reasons for Southern secession.

How the South skews America

Buchanan on civil disobedience in polarized times

Brief and nothing new here, but linking anyway:  The United States of Secession

Amidst all the recent pieces on American cultural fault lines (see last lagniappe as well), I’m linking to an interesting one from back in 2013.  Here’s the full version, the abbreviated one via WaPo, and the book. The gist of the project:

Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald and author of several books, says North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government.

Excerpt from Randy Barnett’s forthcoming book on the real meaning of the Declaration of Independence.

S.C. Senate votes 37-3 to take down the Confederate flag. The House followed suit, and down it went.  Makes me think of this.

Small Mississippi towns removing state flag

Trinity county in upstate CA will consider a State of Jefferson vote.


The Kurdish HDP took 13% of the vote in Turkey’s parliamentary elections in June, landing seats in the legislature for the first time ever.  Meanwhile in Syria, the Kurdish YPG and YPJ continue to consolidate territory in their battle against ISIS. Recent gains are highlighted below in red.  This control is helping form a contiguous strip of Kurdish-run territory along the northern border of Syria.

Recent territorial shifts in Syria and Iraq, via Foreign Policy

Recent territorial shifts in Syria and Iraq, via Foreign Policy

Both the election results and the Kurdish Syrian “statelet” have irked Turkish President Erdogan, who had this to say about the latter:

“I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.  We will continue our fight in this regard no matter what it costs

A particularly helpful Foreign Affairs summary of the Kurdish momentum concludes:

In Turkey, the PKK-sympathetic HDP will be an increasingly powerful advocate for granting the Kurds some semblance of autonomy within the nation. As the cease-fire between the PKK and Ankara continues, it is becoming more and more possible that the Kurds can achieve their dream of autonomy through democratic means. Whether the PKK’s ambition to establish autonomous Kurdish regions on both sides of the Turkey-Syria border is ever realized, the progress it is making toward that goal has already altered the political maps of Turkey and the Middle East.

Countering some of the above enthusiasm is a good Q&A on how battling ISIS is actually delaying Iraqi Kurdistan’s progress.  Fair enough in the short term, but the opposite is quite possible down the road if Kurdish sacrifices are recognized with greater international support for statehood.  Make no mistake, the Kurds are doing the globe a huge solid, which has already been enough in the eyes of some influential Western lawmakers.

Important news on numerous fronts:  Turkey just bombed ISIS as well as PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Where are all the moderate Syrian rebels?

The Vatican signed its first treaty with Palestine, which it will not show to an angry Israel.  Related: The Death and Life of the Two-State Solution.

Tibet’s Tough Road Ahead

More violence in East Turkestan.  Turkish protests form against Chinese treatment of Uighurs.

Pushing for statehood in Delhi

Sarawak independence celebrated, despite the Inspector General of police trying to squash it for fear of secessionist motives.  Local government downplays secession.

Quebec’s separatism as a lesson for the SNP, who is again causing ripples with talk of another referendum

Greece voted “no” a few Sundays ago, presumably to current austerity terms, by a healthy margin.  Interestingly the polls were way off beforehand.  For all the antics and high-stakes jockeying, it looks as though the Greek people may get a package very similar to what they already had, and thought they were rejecting.  Greek 10 year govt bond yields are back down in the 10-12% range.  Difficult to see how this whole episode doesn’t put Syriza down in history as one of the worst governments ever in modern Europe.

Catalan leaders on same page: will push for independence if parliament’s election goes their way.

The Brexit Ramp

Russia taking a second look at the legality of Baltic independence from the Soviet Union.  Yikes.

“Surging” Siberian nationalism

Ukranian Right Sector nationalists, Putin, and Transcarpathia

Activists for a Romania-Moldova unification

Serbian PM pelted with stones at commemoration of Srebrenica massacre

Republika Srpska will hold a referendum on the authority of Bosnia’s national court.  That is big news.  Surprise, surprise: the E.U. and the U.S. disapprove and Russia, well, doesn’t.

ISIS is recruiting in Bosnia.

Hargeisa: Inside Somaliland’s Would-Be Capital City

Burundi remains on the brink as a controversial vote for a third term for Nkurunziza is a go


Is nationalism on the rise more generally?

It turns out that “globalization” hasn’t doused, let alone put out, the embers of nationalism. It has inflamed them. Global and regional frameworks — from the EU to the UN to seemingly stable balance-of-power standoffs –– are under assault amid a renewed obsession with national identity.

Patri Friedman on NRx and anti-entryism

Defining exit

Fascinating piece on Cold War era Russian mapmaking

Soviet map of San Francisco circa 1980

Soviet map of San Francisco circa 1980

More city-states please

Sanctuary cities?

Against marriage privatization

Evaluating the charter school movement 25 years later

(Image sources 1 & 2)

Anarchy in Athens


Greece had been in the news since its financial crisis began, then it return to news when the far left party Syriza won the elections. Syriza provoked mixed feelings, some American conservatives were supporters and some Greek anarchists were enemies. The government of Alexis Tsipras put Yanis Varoufakis in the key position of Minister of Finance. Varoufakis is a self-described libertarian Marxist and a Professor of Economics in the University of Athens. His works on game theory had made him known in the international academic community.

The mandate of Tsipras was twofold because it implied maintaining membership in European Union without implementing austerity measures. Both Tsipras and Varoufakis have tried to deal with the pressure from the Troika but there were some differences. After the referendum that was a victory for SYRIZA, Tsipras call that a victory for democracy but Varoufakis resigned. There were several speculations over what was the real reason for Varoufakis to resign, the most interesting is that the libertarian-Marxist had developed an emergency strategy that will use bitcoin as the Greek currency, which sound more an anarcho-capitalist idea to deal with the crisis. The SYRIZA government had generated discontent among its members because under the pressure of Germany and the Eurozone, it announced the austerity measures. Obviously, anarchists are telling I told you so.

Now even Bernie Sanders is talking about Greece and Ron Paul too. The radical left, the populist right and hardcore libertarians agree that the large international organizations like IMF or the World Bank that supposedly promote “free markets,” actually promote crony capitalism which is why the benefits of a corporate global hegemony mostly go to the rich and well connected. One could accuse these institutions of the problems in Greece but the question remains of what to do. As someone who studied philosophy as a major, I remember hearing a lot that the origin of democracy was in Greece. It was a land of great philosophers, writers, artists and athletes which bring democracy to Western Civilization. But one have to wonder by the realities of the present, when we say “democracy”, if we are speaking of the same Greeks.

Left-libertarian philosopher Roderick Long had a wonderful text about it called Libertarian Athens in which he argued that democracy in the Greek sense was a form of direct democracy closer to what the New Left called participatory democracy than to elections which is what most people thinks when we talk about democracy. The reason is that Athenian democracy wasn’t based in majority rule (electoral democracy) or minority rule (oligarchy) but in debate between free men of Athens. Direct democracy sometimes is called anarchism. In the anti-globalization protests in Seattle in 1999, when there were people chanting “This what is what democracy looks like”, they were right. Democracy isn’t the oligarchy by the corporate and political elite that we see today.

aBack to Greece, when a lot people speak about the country going in an anarchist direction they confuse the chaos and the masked protesters with I think a much deeper concept of anarchy. Bitcoin despite not becoming the official Greek currency is popular in Greece, generally crypto-currencies are associated with anarchism and to a large extent, they are right this is some form of anarcho-capitalism. For another thing, there are now worker-controlled TV stations now, which is some form anarcho-communism. I wouldn’t be surprised if some workers of the collectivized TV use bitcoin because in the end, anarchism is more than capitalism or communism.

I’m not predicting an end of the Greek state, but I think in the long run not only Greece but several countries around the world where governments push authoritarian practices against is citizens will face a backlash. Crypto-currencies are one way, but also black markets, which for example are very popular in Latin America. Anarchism seem to me as a noble idea that could well represented by a teenage girl in High School in West Virginia protesting against the American foreign policy or a scholar in political science from Yale fighting his social democratic colleagues. If we think that the limits for a state in the concept of Aristotle should be the city, one have to wonder where is the legitimacy of the modern Greece. Maybe Greek anarchists need to start reading their own history with other eyes, maybe us too.