Conservatism

Gnostics in the Woodpile

I recently read Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels. It finally gave me a handle on why these books ended up in a jar in the Egyptian dirt, instead of in the Bible. (more…)

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Time of coalitions

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These are strange times in American politics with outsiders like Trump and Sanders gaining momentum. Jeb Bush is out and Super Tuesday could complicate Hillary Clinton. How does it happen? Lefties try to blame everything on neoliberalism but the editorial of The American Conservative says that these ideology is dying. Sanders is un-reconstructed New Deal liberal who calls himself a socialist while Trump is more heterodox probably could be defined as an anti-immigrant moderate. Despite ideology, coalitions would be build thinking in November. Let’s have fun and try to guess.

The Trump Coalition. Last week big news was the endorsement of moderate governor like Chris Christie, but more recently his refusal to disavow white nationalist David Duke has been making reactions both on liberals and conservatives that think is naïve to believe that Trump doesn’t know who is David Duke and what is the Ku Klux Klan. Trump has an appeal on the former supporters of Pat Buchanan, white working class rural Americans but also on certain moderates attracted to a “Dealmaker”, he is even doing well by some polls among Hispanic Republicans. The endorsement of Jane Brewer is very significant, she was a hardliner on immigration and a supporter of Obamacare. In the general election some predict he could gain some independents and if Hillary wins maybe even some Bernie supporters. But if Sanders wins, The Donald would had a hard time, is difficult to be more anti-establishment than an old Jewish socialist.

The racist supporters of Trump coalition add to the rhetoric of its leader could alienate minority voters. The big government plans could scare libertarians. His distrust in foreign interventionism is making neocons panicking. Certainly a candidate with loyal followers and hateful enemies.

The Clinton Coalition. The victory in South Carolina shows that Hillary is strong among African-American community, but Latinos are divided and white progressives are feeling the Bern. Ideologically she is pushing her feminism in search woman voters but may not work after Steinem embracement. She was trying to focus in domestic issues rather than in foreign policy where her hawkishness is out of touch with the mostly dovish Democratic base but Bernie made some punches with her on the matter of having a War Criminal like Henry Kissinger as adviser. Neocons like her and in the case of a Trump victory in the Republican primaries they would support her.

A lot of progressives see her ties to Wall Street as distrustful. A Jewish progressive feminist like Jill Stein running as Green Party candidate could made the things difficult for Hillary and some Sanders supporters had even pledge to not support Hillary in November.

The Anti-Trump Coalition. Donors and party insiders would like us to believe that these is really strong coalition, capable of defeat the populist Trump. But I think that is too late for that, Trump is going to be the nominee. Some are trying to go third party, more explicitly a neocon third party. I wonder how much support it could get. The neocon candidate of the primary was Lindsay Graham who’s polling was an embarrassment, it’s true that candidates like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were also neocons but their appeal was not necessarily their foreign policy. The position of Trump about Israel is quite interesting, he says he would be neutral on Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Probably some might try to portray him as an anti-Semite but that due to his close ties with Israel that would be hard. The question of a VP could be crucial if neocons are able put one of their own in that position, however Trump has shown he is independent minded and don’t want to be push by anyone.

Some Republican congressman and maybe even some former Presidential candidates could refuse to endorse Trump. Probably even the Bush family would reject The Donald. There had been talks about the future of George P. Bush who currently holds office in Texas but if he decides to endorse Trump, he might have problems in a future, living in a state were Latinos are becoming the majority. Texas is a state where the GOP had been able to gain an important share of the Latino vote but some may find Trump too divisive to support him and emigrate to the Democratic Party. Is very difficult that George W. Bush difficult would support Trump after he accuse him of being responsible of 9/11. That a former GOP president would refuse to endorse a nominee of his own party could be signal of the end of an era.

The Sanders Coalition. While initially he was accused of attracting only male white progressives. He now is leading with young woman and making waves among the Latino community. The endorsements of current congressman are quite diverse ethnically and religiously with Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva, Tulsi Gabbard and Peter Welch. The endorsement of Gabbard is particularly interesting because she is of Samoan descent and of Hindu faith. She is not a progressive even by the heterodox American standards having express doubts of the Iran deal and being in the past praised by neocons, however she is the face of shifting demographic.

Some say a Sanders versus Trump race would be socialism versus fascism. America probably will choose socialism, a fascist like FDR had already been elected and even praised by Bernie. If the neocons fail go get a third party a choice between Sanders and The Donald would be tough. On the one hand, Bernie had embrace Military-Industrial Complex, especially wasteful F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin which are assembled in Vermont and Trump is unpredictable, could the neocons join hands with their comrades of the Fourth International, that would been fun to watch. The same reason that maybe even some neocons feel the Bern is the one who scare progressives, Bernie says he is socialist but on foreign policy he has embraced military Keynesianism, that’s why some progressives still if he is Democratic nominee would back Jill Stein in November.

There is no easy solution for Baltimore

The recent unrest in Baltimore is yet another sign of our trying times. More out-of-control than the chaos that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer, the looting and destruction in the city was another reminder that America is an increasingly divided country. And by divided, I mean split in more pieces than two.

As the media picks sides in the debate over keeping order and grievances about police abuse, I have a novel question: what, if anything, can be done about police brutality and inexcusable violence and looting? Is reconciliation possible, or is America fated to live with irrational destruction driven by corrupt policing?

I have my doubts. Complex issues – and the situation in Baltimore is anything but simple – are tough to weed through. They require looking at things through a kind of prism. All sides should be considered, as much as humanly possible. Of course, bias and predilection will always distort pure, objective reasoning. But we can make a good-faith effort to try and understand what is at the core of problem before formulating a solution.

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Striving to cease being “Addicted to Distraction”

0600 – Wake up, start coffee maker.

0605 – Check Twitter for new “notifications.” Check email for new posts from Dampier, Land, Social Matter, The Mitrailleuse. Etc. Check Drudge to see if the world ended overnight.

0620 – Begin reading local newspaper. Front section is a mish mash of local crime, state legislature blather, Christians beheaded by ISIS, chickens loose on a California freeway after falling off a truck, train crashes in West Virginia, snow storms Back East. Etc.

0645 – Begin making breakfast and lunch for me and my son. For the first time so far today, deal with something real.

Periodically throughout day – repeat check-check-check. Get angry at Mitch McConnell for giving in on “clean DHS funding bill.” Obama wins again. The country is going to shit. The goddam Democrats are blocking everything good and holy, except for bringing millions more illegal aliens who will eventually vote for them and for more welfare. Pope Francis is quoted as saying he’s just skippy with homos having anal sex…or at least that’s what the Lamestream Media want you to believe about him. Greece elects hard-lefties who promise to screw the EU, and it’s hard not to get excited/concerned about that, either because they’re hard-left a-holes or because it would be so delicious to see the EU collapse like the craptacular, multiculti house of cards it truly is. Tweet the blog posts from the people you like that were posted in the last six hours. Throw in a couple of original tweets about how the Oscars are a disgusting sewer hole of Political Correctness. Check Drudge again to see if the world ended while you weren’t noticing. Don’t resist clicking on the story about a man having a freaking baby. Don’t resist clicking on the link at the bottom to “8 Hottest Hotties in their Hottest bikinis.”

Etc.

Read Dr. Bruce Charlton’s new book Addicted to Distraction. It’s free, and it’ll take you an hour. May you never look at Mass Media the same. We are indeed addicted to distraction, you and I and most of the people who immerse themselves in the Mass Media. Which is just plain most people in the West, and soon the world.

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Dr. Charlton makes the point often missed: the media aren’t “biased” to the Left, the Medium is the Message, and the message is that everything is someone’s opinion, everything is “relative.” Even when media presents something good, heroic, charitable, it’s immediately subject to analysis and criticism, to dissection of motive, to questioning on whether the White Cismale who saved a kid from drowning was just another Macho stereotype.

We thought we would use the Web for our purposes, us conservatives, men of the Right, Traditionalists, Neoreactionaries. The Left controlled the Old Mass Media, the NYTWAPO and NBABCBS, but we would seize our chance for every man and woman jack to blog and comment and share our perspective, to go around the Gatekeepers, to form our own networks and “get our message out.”

We were wrong. We were assimilated. We continued to click on the Mass Media, to respond, respond, respond to all of the relativism and the bullshit, to “strike back” at Obama and Reid and Pelosi and Jezebel and Buzzfeed,  Slate and Salon, to the married fags and the trannies and the Slut Walkers, the beheaders and terrorists, the escaped tigers and maniacs, the Kardashians and Housewives; to the Daily Spew.

Dr. Charlton is a blogger himself, of course, and he’s quite frank in his assessment that not only is he mired in the Mass Media, too, but his efforts to escape the addiction are subject to constant temptation and periodic backsliding. But it’s a fight well worth making, not in an effort to save the society, but to save your soul. You might with profit read his piece The Psychological Basis of Self-Remembering as an aid.

It is possible, if barely, to continue to use the web and to post articles on real things without remaining in the Mass Media matrix. I’m going to try.  My strength is the examination of Old Stuff, anyway. Like Dr. Charlton, I know I’ll backslide, just like with the Commandments I’m taught in the Church. These human frailties are the base upon which the Mass Media was built.

The Church, at least, has the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Hopefully, as the media continue to lead society toward the drain we can, like AA members, help each other retain a measure of sanity.

Here’s some advice for conservatives: Use more stories and less talking points

Check out my latest piece in Taki’s Magazine. Here is an excerpt:

The Republican response to the otherwise tepid lecture showed the same promise at first. Delivered by Iowa’s newly-minted Senator Joni Ernst, the onetime pig-castrator regaled listeners with an engrossing story about growing up on a farm and working fast food in high school. She even admitted to wearing bread bags around her only pair of good shoes on rainy days. Unfortunately the hokey story didn’t last; the narrative soon collapsed into standard, red-meat talking points. Republican tropes about jobs and economic growth overwhelmed Ernst’s speech and drained it of its original, rustic flavor.

It was a shame. But playing it safe is typical for politicians. The question is: why was Ernst’s brief story so compelling? When polled by PolitiFact, many Iowans admitted to strapping bread bags around their shoes to protect them from bad weather. So Ernst’s anecdote had more than a grain of truth to it. But facts aside, there was something wholesome, even vivid, about the description of her childhood. It demanded attention.

Leave the 24 hour Christmas music cycle alone

The season of joy is here. And while many of the same troubles that have beleaguered mankind since antiquity (wars, famine, suffering) are still afflicting much of the globe, Christmas continues unabated. Department stores are decked out in green and red. Multi-colored lights decorate houses in middle class neighborhoods. Makeshift Christmas tree shops have sprung up in vacant parking lots. Children are excitedly begging their parents for the latest and greatest gizmo. Brightness is all around.

In present-day America, the Christmas season is known for another tradition: 24-hour holiday music playing on local radio stations. Like many staples of life, the continual playing of festive tunes is met with a fair amount of derision. There are a few reasons for this. The digital revolution is slowly making FM radio obsolete. These days almost everyone opts for their own music rather than the pre-set choices on corporate airwaves. Not only that, but growing secularism and rampant consumerism have eaten away at the real meaning of Christmas. Luke 2:8-14 seems quaint compared to the new Xbox, or whatever video game system is poisoning young minds these days.

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