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Commentary

Life is Conflict - Jack Donovan
Blog, Commentary

This is for Me, Too

I don’t just write the words you need to hear. I write what I need to hear, too.

I’ve been doing a lot of MMA training lately — clocked in 7 hours last week. I’ve been training for a couple of years now, but mostly boxing, and mostly with pads. I’d had maybe ten serious sparring sessions total, including two or three matches with other members of the Wolves.

At this point, sparring is what I need. I need to shorten my reaction time and learn how to apply all of the theory I’ve been practicing. I need to learn to keep attacking instead of resetting by default the way you do when you are repeating pad drill with a partner. I need to figure out what really works, what needs more work, and what is probably not going to work for me most of the time because of my size, fighting style, build and age.

I don’t have much to put out there confidently in terms of wrestling or kickboxing yet, so full MMA sparring rounds are still somewhat stressful and confusing. I’m not a tail-wagging 22 year old who feels invincible. I’ll be 42 in a couple of weeks. I’m a fast, strong, healthy and I’d like to think kinda imposing 42 when I’m not smiling or laughing, which I usually am — but I’m still 42. Because I’m one of the bigger guys, the other big guys and the guys who are actually good are always going to want to work with me.

The other day this guy joined our class. He was maybe 5’9” and 185. Cauliflower ear, obviously broken nose. Built like a fighter. I knew I was going to have to end up sparring with him that day, because I was an obvious match. When he walked across the room and picked me for the second round of sparring, In my head, I kicked rocks and got all Eeyore for a second. “Well…this is going to suck for me.”

Then I remembered that I’m the guy who writes things like, “Life is Conflict, Peace is Death.”

Oh. Yeah. I’m supposed to be that guy.

Alright. Stop it, Jack.

Life is conflict. Peace is death.

It was a long three minutes, but I did OK, all things considered. Took a Superman punch to the face, a bunch of kicks, some brief grounding and pounding, a few punches that could have been knockout punches — but I have a pretty good chin. And no, he wasn’t being a dick or showboating. I don’t think he ever went past his 70% range. I also threw out a few solid punches that connected, and I kept him moving.  

It was just a round, but I drove home on a Fight Club high. I was glad that I’d worked with him, and that I’d survived. Nothing really even hurt. No fucked up face.

The next morning I texted Paul Waggener, asking if he ever finds himself repeating his own mantras.

He said that he does it all the time, and that he writes mostly for his “future self” at this point.

He’d been sick that day and had wanted to lay around, but remembered that there are some guys out there who think he is some kind of machine. And machines don’t lay around being sick. So he hit some weights and went to BJJ class that night.

“What good are these mantras if we don’t use them as what they are for ourselves?”

I’ve had a reader tell me that when he read The Way of Men for the first time, he thought, “Man, this guy has got to be some kind of operator.” The reader actually had been an operator. Somehow, I’d managed through pure thought experiments to pull this truth out of the ether that he recognized.

I’ve never been an operator. I went to art school. I didn’t bar fight my way through my twenties. I started thinking and writing about masculinity seriously in my mid-thirties. I didn’t actually learn how to throw a punch or deadlift over 400 pounds until I was 38.

The other day, I was being photographed by a guy I used to deliver produce with for a book project he is working on. He has had a rough time over the past few years, and he asked me what my biggest “struggle” had been.

I haven’t had a very hard life, by any meaningful standard.

My biggest struggle has been trying to live up to my own words and beliefs. I can’t just write this stuff and not do it. I can’t be that kind of hypocrite. I can’t tell people to go out and push themselves if I’m not willing to do it myself.

When my work makes men angry, it’s usually because they imagine that I’m some kind of puffed up jerk who is calling them pussies and telling them to be more like me. I trigger a lot of guys with “daddy issues.” Or they think I’m some phony pretending to be something he’s not.

The truth is, I’m just a guy.

I’m just a guy trying to live up to his own ideals. I’m writing the words I need to hear myself. These mantras and symbols are for me, too.

Like Paul, I’m writing for a future self.

We are creating ourselves, always in the process of transforming and becoming. These words and symbols are magic. No lightning flies out of my fingers, and I haven’t tried to summon a storm, but these words and symbols are what I need to invoke my better, higher, future self.

I’m at a point in my life right now where I feel more “self-realized” than I ever have before. I’m closer to who I have always wanted to be than I ever have been before.

Maybe these words and symbols and ideas will work for you, too.

I almost didn’t want to share this. Sometimes it’s better to allow people to believe whatever they want to believe about you.

And, tactically speaking, when we meet and you shake my hand, you’ll know that I have no grappling game and my kicks suck.

But…by then…I’ll be better.

 

newkid
Blog, Commentary

Your Bitchy Comment Says Your Life Sucks

I remember when I started leaving bitchy comments and arguing with people on the Internet. It was around the year 2000. I was an administrative assistant at an Architecture firm in San Francisco. It was my job to write letters, schedule appointments and file paperwork. I was paid reasonably well, but I was bored. So I killed time arguing with people on CNN.com’s comment forums, way back when Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school.

In the years since, I spent the most time commenting negatively on other people’s content when I was least invested in my day to day life. Whether I was doing the bidding of a sociopath in Beverly Hills or following corporate policy in some retail stockroom or doing hours of mindless data entry for a university hospital, I still could tell someone off on some forum or comment thread. I could tell some writer that he or she was an idiot. Sometimes when you’re having a shitty day, it feels good to type a big “fuck you” to some stranger.

When I was most powerless and least influential, the Internet gave me a voice that felt like it mattered. Someone more important and more successful than me would have to listen to me.

Most of that was before smart phones. I actually had to be near a computer to attain bitchy comment catharsis. Now that power is right there in people’s hands all the time. No matter where you are, you get the high of finger-tapping out your sacred opinion — which is similar to voting or praying, except that someone, somewhere may actually give a shit about your Internet comment.

Over the past few years, I’ve reached a point where I get a genuine sense of accomplishment from my work and I basically make my own schedule. I’m not held captive anywhere I don’t want to be. I don’t have anyone micro-managing me or looking over my shoulder — except for the government, in some abstract and unknowable way. Life is sometimes still, “one vile fucking task after another,” as Al Swearengen would say, but I have all of those years of being the low man on the totem pole to put things in perspective.

If I have something I want to say to the world, I write an essay like this one, so other people can leave bitchy comments and tell me I’m an idiot.

And they do. I used to be that guy, spraying his desperate graffiti all over some freshly printed page or photograph — so I know what to expect. It’s part of the job. 

Now that I’m on the other side of it, I often talk about the Internet game with a few other guys who are putting themselves out there, producing content, attracting attention. We all deal with the same shit. We’ve all had real jobs, and we’ve all probably been that guy at some point.

When you press “post,” you brace yourself for the inevitable hatestream and you may even get a chuckle out if it.

Sometimes it gets under your skin — usually when you’re not expecting it or ready for it. But you learn to shake it off, because, again in the words of Swearengen, if you get aggravated, “that’s when the enemy has you by the short hairs.”

To be honest, I wrote this essay because I was still in bed when I read the first pointless bitchy comment of the day, written by some guy who I’ve never heard of, but who obviously cares about me enough to follow me and who wanted me to care about his sacred opinion for just a second. He reminded me of some points I’ve wanted to make for a while. So, thanks, guy whose fake name I don’t remember. You made a difference. 

People who have never been that guy sometimes take comments too seriously. They think they are sincere — that they actually mean something. That someone’s reaching out or even genuinely upset or offended. They don’t see that people are just commenting because commenting on social media is so accessible. They’re just commenting because they had some immediate reaction or half a thought or a feeling about a headline or a phrase and that “triggered” them. They’re just reacting to whatever passes by and comes within reach, and they’ll forget about it when the next thing comes along.

Most people are too lazy to even hit ctrl+tab to send an email. I get maybe one critical email for every few hundred negative comments on social media.

When I talk about this with my friends who have their own followings and their own collections of those fucking guys, what we see is boredom and helplessness. We imagine the lonely bastard who wrote this comment or that comment hunched over his computer in his IKEA-furnished apartment, or dorm room, or maybe his parents house. We think of all of the people standing in line, idling in commuter traffic, taking a mandatory 15 minute break, or sitting alone in some sterile corporate lunchroom.

People used to read magazines in doctor’s offices and employment agencies and Jiffy Lube waiting rooms. Now everybody has a phone, and to pass the time they can engage themselves in some choose-your-own-adventure online soap opera. They can start a Twitter war with some rival contingent or mock some celebrity millionaire. They can jump on some bandwagon and shame an NFL player or a politician or a musician who said the “wrong thing.” They can have a heated debate with some Facebook acquaintance who they don’t even really like, about whatever the media told people to talk about that day.

For the most part, they don’t really care, though. They’re just bored. Modern life is easy and unrewarding for most people. Most jobs are either mind-numbing busywork, or they require 6-to-10 hours of submissive behavior.

“Would you like room for cream?”

“Did you find everything you were looking for today?”

The unemployed have even more time to waste. They can literally troll someone all. damn. day. What else do they have to do?

The last time I left a negative comment on someone else’s profile, it was out of disappointment. A local guy who I thought seemed admirable and interesting, and who I genuinely wanted to meet, started posting a bunch of uninformed opinions that indirectly insulted people who I support or care about. I argued back and forth with him for about half an hour to make sure I wasn’t reading him wrong, and then I just blocked him and wrote him off. I won’t allow myself to waste a lot of time on the enemies of my friends or people who have incompatible values. Making time for friends and allies is challenging enough. Why cultivate relationships with people who aren’t even close to being on the same page? I have plenty of things to do and plenty of other ways to procrastinate.

Most of the comments I write these days are positive. I follow friends and I follow the work of people who are doing things that inspire me in some way. Aside from occasional writing projects where someone asks me to react to someone else’s work, I can’t think of the last time it occurred to me to follow someone whose work I don’t like. I just can’t be bothered.

If you spend time commenting on the work of people who you don’t like, who don’t follow your work or even know who you are — it tells me you don’t have a lot going on.

When I see your bitchy comment, I just figure that you’re bored and your life sucks.

americuck
Blog, Commentary, Essays

The American Flag Is Not A Phallic Symbol

americuck

Wake up Americucks, Your Country Hates You


Who waves the flag in America?

Everyone waves them at political rallies, but transblack lesbian Democrats don’t put flags in their front yards. They don’t wear “these colors don’t run” t-shirts and they don’t fly mini-flags on the antennae of their trucks.

The guys, and they are mostly guys, who adopt the flag as part of their identities are white men who are often also veterans, gun enthusiasts and first responders. Veterans and first responders who fly the flag may not always be white and you can try to convince yourself that it’s not a race thing, but everyone else sees it as a race thing, because the vast majority of people engaged in some sort of flag worship are white.

White guys make up most of my readership, and many are vets, gun enthusiasts and first responders. I see their Facebook feeds and I follow the same stuff they follow on Instagram.

Continue reading

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BEST OF, Blog, Commentary, Links and Updates

Best of 2014

Dollarphotoclub_69714369fbshare

This year I quit driving delivery trucks and opened my own by-appointment tattoo shop, attached to my good friend Chris Duffin‘s powerlifting gym. I’m starting to develop a consistent blackwork style, and in 2015 I should have that dialed in enough to add a tattoo portfolio to this site. I also started taking boxing classes and broke my ankle in a SAMBO but came back strong with a 510lb gym pr deadlift and a 315lb bench in the second half of 2014. Not bad, considering I also turned 40 this year. I spent a lot of time being a gym rat who occasionally writes and tattoos, but I write about men and masculinity, so standing around bullshitting with powerlifters and strongman competitors counts as field research. Or that’s what I tell myself. Mostly it’s just fun. I was kicking around competing in participating in a strongman competition for fun this spring, but some nasty bicep tendonitis in my right arm stalled my training in December, so I’m wavering.

For most of the year, I wrote monthly for RADIX, my favorite “alternative right” site, and also managed a few pieces for Counter-Currents and this site. I started Start The World, my podcast, but decided to produce it only when I had someone I particularly wanted to talk to or introduce to my audience. I was also interviewed on numerous podcasts, including Tucker Max’s Mating Grounds, Master Chim’s Pressure Project, Hangover Radio, Radio3Fourteen, Knowledge For Men, Practical Tactical, Alpha Man Project, Dating Skills Review, and probably a bunch more I’m forgetting and one recorded yesterday that isn’t out yet. I also did some interviews for international publications in Greece and Germany that may or may not have come out yet.

All of this extra promotion meant that 2014 has been the best year for sales of The Way of Men, and December 2014 has been the book’s biggest month ever (thanks in part to a boost from that viral Breitbart piece that quoted me). The Way of Men has sold well over 13,000 copies at this point and seems to be picking up steam. It came out in a French language edition this month, and there are Spanish and Portuguese translations in the works. I’ve finally started recording the audiobook, and I’ll be releasing that via audible.com in January. My book of essays, A Sky Without Eagles also came out this year, and it’s done surprisingly well.

Reflecting on my books recently has reminded me that somehow I became an author, and my books are the accomplishments I am most proud of in my life. I’m going to focus even less on writing essays and reviews in 2015, and am committed to starting and finishing my next book, Becoming A Barbarian (or something like that) before the end of the year.


Below are some my favorite projects I worked on in 2014.

 

A Time for Wolves

In June I traveled to Virginia to observe a moot and ritual with a tribe of heathens called The Wolves of Vinland, wrote about it for this site, and recorded a podcast with Paul Waggener — outlaw country singer and one of the leaders of the Wolves. Since then, the Wolves have become part of my life, and a couple of them flew out to perform a ritual with me and others here in the Pacific Northwest.

A Sky Without Eagles

Collecting my best essays, writing some new ones, recording an audiobook and drawing up the right cover art took up a big chunk of my time this year.

Start The World Podcast – Episode #5 – “Deep Conan” with Piero San Giorgio

This is my favorite STW podcast so far. The author of Survive: The Economic Collapse and I discussed the deeper themes of one of our favorite movies.

“That’s Ms. Potato Head To You – Transsexuality, Transhumanism, Transcendence, and Ecstatic Rites of Highly Conspicuous Consumerism”

In terms of style and insight this is one of the strongest pieces I’ve written.

“Beauties in Beast Mode

This had a lot of crossover appeal, in that it pissed off many groups of people, and re-reading it has me disgusted all over again about the way that men sell out men and fawn over women who do…anything. Also see my 10% Law of Female Sex Pollution, which isn’t so much an argument as it is absolute truth. So many comments I got about that post were along the lines of “I’ve seen it play out exactly like that at my gym/workplace/etc.”

“What is Masculinity?”

Making this video was the hardest thing I did all year, hands down.  Big learning curves in several areas, combined with late night shoots.

Chris Duffin’s Ourobouros Tattoo

We clocked in about 37 hours of tattoo time wrapping this Nordic wyrm all the way around a guy who walks around at about 250lbs.

“Rape Culture Isn’t About Sex, It’s About Power”

While it is true that women enjoy sex, they are also pragmatic and especially interested in safety and security. If there has been a “war of the sexes” raging throughout human history, men have almost always been the victors, precisely because they are bigger and stronger, more willing to take risks, and more inclined to be violent. Women see the potential for violence in men and they recognize that it is the greatest threat to the new order of society–their order. A majority of women in the developed world now have more political and economic power now than they ever have in human history, and this increase in status is utterly dependent on the continued pacification of men.

So they lie. They lie about male sexuality the way men lied about female sexuality.

They’re willing to trade satisfying sex for quasi-coital man-milking if it means holding on to their newfound political and economic power. They’re willing to use the tragedy of rape as a tool to cow men morally–to make normal, decent men prostrate themselves to prove they are not rapists or enablers of rape. As with “privilege,” men will always be guilty until proven innocent, and no matter what they do, no matter how they dishonor themselves, they will never be innocent enough. To release men from guilt is to relinquish power over them, and this power has already corrupted the hearts of the women who revel in it and gain from it.

Especially prescient, and even more relevant now, given recent scandals in feminist journalism like the UVA gang rape hoax and other fake rapes fabricated so that feminists could acquire more power and resources.

Oh yeah…almost forgot one of my most important essays from RADIX.

“I Don’t Care.”

The expectation that we are supposed to care about everyone’s happiness is what gives social justice warriors power. If you admit that you don’t care about their feelings, they have nothing. They don’t know what to do with “I don’t care if Barbies make girls feel bad about their bodies. So what?” Own it and tell them to fuck off.

Baphomet by H.R. Giger
Commentary, Links and Updates

The Transsexual Ideal

Baphomet by H.R. Giger

Transsexuals, especially male transsexuals, are tormented souls torn between what they are and a desire to be something they can never truly become. I have some sympathy for their predicament, but I think the well-meaning progressive doctors and therapists who push them to “transition” are abusing them for ideological reasons, and because saying “no” feels mean. They’re indulging them and spoiling them like parents who let their obese children live on pizza and candy “because that’s what they want.”

Since homosexuality was decriminalized and gay marriage has become politically inevitable, forward thinking professional gay activists — who preferred to distance themselves from transsexuals when they were still seeking mainstream legitimacy for themselves — have recognized that “transsexual is the new gay.” Transsexualism is going to be pushed as completely normal by the progressive media for the foreseeable future, and objections will be drowned out by the outrage pornographers who now dominate mainstream American discourse.

I do believe a silent — petrified, even — majority believes that encouraging transsexuality, especially in children, is infuriatingly abusive to the point of being evil. But few will risk being vilified as bigots to question the narrative.  Provocateur Gavin McInnes, who I still think of as kind of a disgruntled liberal, was forced to take a leave of absence from a company he co-founded after his trans-faux-pas, and anyone who isn’t already independently wealthy will avoid making the same mistake.  Using the right pronoun for a man who had surgery to look like a woman will become thought crime, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

Instead of arguing about the validity of the claims made by transsexuals, I wrote a piece for RADIX about some of the reasons why transsexuality fits so harmoniously into progressive visions for the future — aside from it being the ultimate “fuck you” to the “cisgender community” and the ultimate progressive boogeyman — the masculine white male.  In many ways, the transsexual is the progressive ideal — a post-human, blank slate, interchangeable consumer who can be decorated with disposable and ultimately inconsequential identities.

Read it now at RADIX Journal:

“That’s Ms. Potato Head To You”

Transsexuality, Transhumanism, Transcendence, and Ecstatic Rites of Highly Conspicuous Consumerism

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500 words, Blog, Commentary

More on Clickbait Country and Yellow “Scandal” Journalism

When I posted “Clickbait Country” a few days ago, I was making observations based on the kinds of headlines I’d been seeing from formerly “respectable” news sources over the past year.

A Portland pal responded, mentioning the recent transformation of Oregon’s primary paper of record, The Oregonian.

According to the left-wing weekly, Willamette Week, last June the paper’s owners at Advance Publications (which owns more than 25 papers in comparable markets) laid off a quarter of The Oregonian‘s newsroom staff and more than 50 other employees, split up the company, and reduced home delivery to four days a week. That October, they officially switched to a “digital first” model, prioritizing posting to the Oregonlive.com website. Then, frustrated that the paper website was still not web-oriented enough, early this year Advance created incentives for generating traffic and posting shorter articles more often, even if that meant relying more heavily on celebrity gossip, sports, polls, ” news stories written solely about readers’ comments, and photo essays on such subjects as obese cats.”

The Oregonian, still in some sense regarded as the most credible mainstream news source in Oregon, converted to the Gawker model.

Everything is yellow journalism now. No news source is trustworthy. Everything is entertainment.

This has to be driving the uptick in outrage politics, hysterical political correctness, and the virtual tarring and feathering of anyone who becomes the focus of a Twitter hashtag campaign.

If there was ever a rule in yellow journalism, it was “scandal sells.”

Instead of creating news in the absence of news, today’s digital reporters create scandal in the absence of scandal. Because scandals sell.

Take, for instance, the case of Stephen A. Smith, ESPN commentator. After saying at least 7 or 8 times that any many who hits a woman is wrong, should be beaten by other men, and should be put in prison (where he’ll probably be beaten and raped by other men), gingerly suggested that some women may provoke domestic violence. Michelle Beadle, a female colleague at ESPN, then attacked him on Twitter, and used the medium to draw attention to herself and garner victim status based on an admission that, at some point, she’s been in an abusive relationship — whatever that means to her. Hundreds of blogs picked up on the issue, vying for traffic, upping the “shock and outrage” ante. Smith was forced to tape an awkward apology for saying something that was obviously true — of course women intentionally provoke male violence, look at all the sympathy fake violence gets them! — and has now been suspended for a week.

How many “reporters” received traffic bonuses for stirring up that madness?

How many people racked up social media affirmation for expressing solidarity with that manufactured outrage?

How many women followed Michelle Beadle’s lead and took the opportunity to divulge a history of victimhood and bask in the fake sympathy of friends and the desperate reassurances of beta orbiters?

This isn’t genuine outrage. It’s not serious debate.

It’s a pay-per-click gravy train, and an online brothel for attention whores.

 

clickbait country
Blog, Commentary

Clickbait Country

You may or may not be old enough to remember when the Internet was a new thing, but for a long time, web pages were not considered “credible” sources. If you were a serious person trying to make a serious point, you cited books, academic journals, established magazines and venerable old newspapers.

Books are still books, but publishing is more accessible, and more people are aware that a publisher is just someone with a bank account and some means of printing and distribution who is willing to put up some money and do some of the work of publishing for a share of a book’s potential profit. Academic journals are still an arcane, exclusive racket, but a lot of them are just web sites now, too.

Newspapers and magazines have been forced to compete with web sites, and they are losing. Why would anyone bother to subscribe to a newspaper when they can read it online and get updated news in real-time, for free? For the ads and coupons? I’ll admit they are handy for getting coals started when I want to grill a steak, but that’s about it. Brown paper bags work just as well, and they probably burn cleaner.

Certain magazines are still worth keeping around if you have the space. National Geographic, or something special like Lapham’s Quarterly or even VICE. Glossy design magazines are still better than their online editions, if you’re into that sort of thing.

But major news magazines and newspapers have become printed slaves to their online editions. They have to compete for traffic every day with trashy click-bait sites like Upworthy, Gawker and Buzzfeed. Over the past year or so, this seems to have accelerated, and the old printed institutions are becoming indistinguishable from their yellow counterparts.

I have a copy of TIME from 1970 that shows Yukio Mishima’s death scene, with his severed head still sitting on the floor facing the door where he wanted it. The cover story was a forward-thinking report on the organic food movement. TIME famously explored the Nietzschean question, “Is God Dead?” in 1965, opening with a reference to Jean-Paul Sartre.  It was always a mainstream magazine, but it at least pretended to be a magazine for serious people.

Last week, one of the big stories at TIME online was “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.” Reactions to this ridiculous screed about sassy faggots with stolen head snaps were published at New York Magazine, NPR, Slate (A Washington Post property), The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and every smaller web site that wanted to tap into the related “outrage traffic.” Meanwhile, at The Wall Street Journal, we learn “Why We Need a Female Thor and a Black Batman.” This is now what passes for a “national conversation.”

I checked out the rest of the TIME site while I was writing this. There were some hard news items about politics and real human tragedies abroad, but among their top 10 most popular stories were “10 Excuses Unproductive People Basically Always Use,” “10 Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On,” Credit Card Companies Really Hope You Don’t Notice This,” ”Beyoncé Teases Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer on Instagram,” “The World’s Second-Richest Man Thinks You Should Work Only 3 Days a Week” and “How Overparenting Makes Kids Overweight.” I especially liked, “For Nerds, This Video Is Absolutely Everything.” As of this writing, The Atlantic seems to be having a semi-serious Sunday, but monthly cover stories this year have included “The Fraternity Problem,” “Closing the Confidence Gap” (On women in business),  “The Overprotected Child,” and “A Case for Reparations.” Most of them have been designed to draw attention, surprise or provoke outrage, like any click-bait headline. I don’t even think most black people take the idea of reparations seriously, and with percentages of male enrollment in college lower than ever, an article about the trouble with frats is just another invitation for spoiled college girls to gossip about boys.

I have a hard time believing that the people who write this stuff are even sincere. They’re going for the big story, the most shares, the most tweets, the mention on late night television.

I’m not complaining. In fact, I welcome this development. I love that the mainstream media is getting trashier and easier to dismiss.

It makes people more willing to consider what non-mainstream writers have to say.

American newspapers and magazines started out as soap-boxes for entrepreneurs and ideologues. Hearst drove sales with sensational headlines. Every paper was as unapologetically skewed as The Huffington Post. For a few decades, journalism gained a veneer of respectability based on an assumption of objectivity that was probably always more of a charming fiction than a reality. Now the industry is returning to what it always was — a commercial enterprise catering to base elements of human nature and whipping up madness in crowds.

As the “reputable” papers and magazines become increasingly indistinguishable from TMZ , Jezebel, Upworthy or Thought Catalog, they burn credibility as legitimate sources and gatekeepers of ideas. They’re down here with the rest of us on the digital street corner, shouting, trying to get people’s attention. If everyone is spinning everything shamelessly and sensationally, people can just pick the spin they like the best, instead of looking to the mainstream media for “serious journalism” and “reasonable viewpoints.”

In 2012, one Gallup poll (whatever that’s worth) found that 60% of Americans don’t trust the mainstream media.

When no one trusts the mainstream media, what happens next could blow your mind…

Pasiphae by Andre Masson (1937)
Blog, Commentary, Links and Updates

The Feminist Rape Cult

Pasiphae by Andre Masson

Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin.

– Pet Shop Boys, “It’s A Sin” (1987)

A spectre has been haunting America — the spectre of “rape culture.”

It’s everywhere, you see…

You’ll find it in pop songs, in every sexy ad, in every flicker of macho, in every criticism of women. It’s under every rock and you can read it in-between every pair of lines.

Here a rape, there a rape, everywhere a rapey-rapist.

It’s “endemic” to American culture and it exists precisely “because we don’t think it does.”

How rapturous it must be to wander this wet orb as a woman like this, to be tickled by the eyeballs of a trillion would-be rapists! No man can know what it is like to be the object of so much desire.

And yet, admittedly, it must also be tiresome and terrifying at times to be trapped in a never-ending hentai where all of existence scuttles over your delicate flesh and presses into your nether depths with creeping cephalopodous tentacles.

A chorus of women have finally roared, “ENOUGH!” and called for an end to this perpetual prying at their pinker parts.

Read my mansplanation of “rape culture” at Radix.

“Rape Culture”Isn’t About Sex, It’s About Power 

TRIGGER WARNING: Some content may cause certain individuals to indulge in the social theater of offense-taking and thereby engage in melodramatic performances of outrage designed to encourage in-group affirmation, establish a reputation for moral purity and increase perceived social penalties for offering opposing viewpoints. Be careful! It could happen to you!

Raymond Tusk from House of Cards
Blog, Commentary

The Clan vs. Modern, State-Dependent “Individualism”

Raymond Tusk from House of CardsWriting for Cato Unbound, Mark Weiner, author of The Rule of the Clan, recently made several correct observations about the problem of reconciling statelessness or “small government” with American conceptions of individual liberty.

Many of my readers tend toward libertarianism, and I favor libertarian ideas by default. As a natural-born American, it’s in my DNA. You know what I’m talking about.

However, I also think it’s important to look at how the State makes this swaggering self-conception of the romantic one-against-all rugged individualist possible, and how this modern anti-clannishness actually makes the individual more dependent on the modern State.

To begin, let’s look at Weiner’s essay, and go over what he got right.

“The Paradox of Modern Individualism”

What Weiner calls “rule of the clan” is similar to the male group mentality I identified in The Way of Men  as “the way of the gang.” Weiner admits that the “rule of the clan” is a natural, universal form of human organization which exerts a “gravitational pull,” and that it is the object of modern liberal government to resist that pull. He defines the “rule of the clan” first as a society based on kinship, but notes that extra-genetic kinship is possible, and points to the existence of gangs and criminal brotherhoods which inevitably form in the smooth, derelict spaces of failed or impotent State influence.

Weiner is also sharp for making the distinction between the modern, liberal idea of honor, which is a self-imposed standard of moral goodness, and the clannish or traditional idea of honor, where individual honor is linked to both the reputation of the group as a whole and the individual’s reputation within the group. He reduces and degrades this primal, tribal form of honor with a vulgar financial analogy, but recognizes that group honor enables group autonomy and group independence. He also recognizes the profound benefits offered by group identification. In his words, the way of the clan “fosters a powerful sense of group solidarity,” “gives persons the dignity and unshakable identity that comes from clan membership,” and “generates a powerful drive toward social justice — a political economy that prizes equality.”

Weiner’s admission of the benefits of clannishness is significant, because he sums up many far-right and reactionary criticisms of modern liberalism and globalism. The prices of liberal, globalist modernity include rootlessness, detachment, an emptiness and desperation for identity that is easily exploited by commercial interests, a lack of community, and a lack of intra-national loyalty that encourages financial greed and insulates elites from the social responsibilities of nobility and the social penalties for betraying their kin, neighbors and countrymen. As the modern, liberal State is easily influenced by large amounts of money, it also insulates the wealthiest individuals from taking physical responsibility for their crimes and betrayals.

Can there be any doubt that it is only the armed protection of the State that has made it possible for the gun-grabbing billionaire Michael Bloomberg to escape a spectacular skyscraper defenestration?

Weiner argues that the modern libertarian idea of individualism , “the modern self” — which generally includes a freedom from responsibility to clan beyond the immediate nuclear family and voluntary instead of mandatory association with groups — is a in fact a product of state development which owes its fragile sense of individual autonomy to the legal protections provided by the state and the conditions of modern life.

This makes perfect sense to me, because I’ve never understood the weird, crypto-religious libertarian obsession with the idea of “natural rights.”  I have always understood “rights” as a bargain between rulers and subjects, or in the case of the American democratic ideal, between “the people” and “their” government. In nature, men have no rights. There are no police to call and there is no mechanism to sue any entity that has wronged you or “infringed upon your natural rights.” This is why the primal form of human organization is not the pioneer nuclear family of libertarian individualist fantasy, but the patriarchal clan or tribe or gang of men who unite to provide coordinated protection against danger, and a communal mechanism for righting wrongs or resolving disputes. How “fair” or “just” these tribal systems of resolution and retribution actually are is varied, culturally relative, and subject to taste.

Weiner has concluded that, for the liberal state to thrive and continue to deliver on its promise of individual freedom and autonomy, it must do a better job of doing the things the clan has always done better. He suggests that the state “pursue policies that moderate economic inequality,” “provide space for the flourishing of voluntary civil society organizations that provide opportunities for solidarity,” and “ensure that individuals have fair opportunities to exercise their autonomy within the marketplace,” whatever that means.

At first glance, his suggestions sound OK, if you’re into that whole “saving the modern liberal state” thing.

However, after a closer look, they quickly become unworkable. He is also overindulgent of the fictions of the modern State, and he barely mentions the biggest elephants in the room.

When the State pursues policies that moderate economic inequality,  to do so, it must become more nationalistic — more clannish, even — not more economically libertarian. A chief contributor to economic inequality in America is surely the ability of corporations, wealthy individuals, even small businesses to undercut American labor and outsource it to foreigners. A little more economic protectionism and certain degree of nationalistic isolationism might go a long way in the long term, but would be damaging to “the economy” in the short term. American politicians are necessarily short-term planners, because they are held accountable in the short-term, so the likelihood of American politicians acting to serve the long term good of the nation while cutting off a foreign supply of cheap labor for corporations, wealthy individuals and small business owners in the short term is approximately zero. This is probably why, for all of their populist posturing about getting tough on immigration, and despite widespread popular support for immigration control, conservative politicians almost always fold.

When Weiner says he wants the State to “provide space for the flourishing of voluntary civil society organizations that provide opportunities for solidarity,” that sounds good, but the reality is that the State as it currently exists would end up micromanaging these organizations to the point where no one would actually want to be members of them anyway. The alternative would be the State creating space for organizations which, if left to flourish organically in harmony with human nature, would eventually challenge the authority of the State itself. Surely, no explicitly kin-oriented groups could be encouraged, especially for white people, because that would be racist. No groups that exclude women could be allowed, because that would be sexist. And the more the State intervenes to regulate and sanction the activities of individuals who associate voluntarily, the more laughable this whole idea of individual autonomy within the context of the State becomes.

What Weiner really fails to acknowledge with this suggestion, even though it is implicit in everything he has written, is that opportunities for “solidarity” and truly meaningful group bonding are a threat to the State, which exactly why there isn’t more room for them now.

People already express group solidarity in ways that are acceptable to the state and its corporate sponsors. They become sports fans. They invest money and time and emotional energy in a group identity that revolves around the dramatic but completely inconsequential activities of, usually, a gang of men.

If men put the same amount of time or energy into forming a highly visible organization with ethnic concerns, for example, half of their enthusiastic new members would probably be FBI agents, because that kind of loyalty would threaten the interests of the liberal state by creating an alternative — and clannish — network of support. The power of the liberal state depends on dependency, and as Weiner has noted, even libertarianism depends on it to protect “rights” and “liberties.”

Finally, in his ode to the State, Weiner perpetuates the fiction that the American State is some kind of benevolent expression of the will of its citizen voters, and he all but ignores the most powerful actors in American politics: corporations. Corporations amass enough money to fund, manufacture and distribute the scientific miracles we use on an everyday basis, but they also perpetuate their own amoral existences by using that money to buy and exert influence on the American political system, whether they are American or foreign-based corporations. Because corporations can exert so much more influence on politics than any voter, the modern liberal state has become a tool of corporate interests, not as Weiner idealizes, a guarantor of individual liberty.

The clan, gang or tribe poses an economic threat to corporations by creating alternative support systems, reduced consumption of goods produced extra-tribally, and the possibility of supply-chain disrupting inter-tribal violence or violence against the State. The State will always oppose clannishness because the state responds first to the interests of self-perpetuating legal entities known as corporations, and because the State is, itself, a self-perpetuating legal entity that will, like any fundamentally amoral corporation, act to perpetuate its own survival above all other concerns.

If the State is over-reaching and becoming the biggest threat to the liberties it supposedly protects, as many men with libertarian tendencies now believe, the solution is not a return to the atomized, go-it-alone individualism that ultimately relies on the liberal State. The only viable option is to increase clannishness or tribalism, which Weiner correctly identified as the natural counter to the modern liberal State.