How The West Was Lost

A few weeks ago, I watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Quentin Tarantino’s movie delivered to me what I have been seeking. Namely, the exact point America careened off the path to flourishing, abandoning our long, mostly successful search for ever-increasing excellence and achievement. It was 1969.

As the shadows lengthen and the darkness spreads, perhaps it does not matter when twilight fell. But why twilight fell does matter, and much of the answer can be found in the pages of Amity Shlaes’s new book, Great Society, which narrates the decade’s massive expansion of government, and of elite power, all in the service of the Left, that we were told was certain to give us Utopia, but instead destroyed our civilization.

That America was being destroyed was not completely obvious at the time. In fact, America sixty years ago could absorb a lot of abuse—until the early 1970s America still seemed mostly on track, just more colorful around the edges, as shown in Tarantino’s movie.

In it, the older America, of a sense of duty and a desire for achievement, tempered by human foibles, is contrasted with the new America, of thieving, murderous hippies, emancipated from unchosen bonds by the social changes imposed on us during the 1960s, and acting badly, as men and women always do when so emancipated. A society composed of such cannot succeed or accomplish anything at all, something known to wise men throughout all ages, but which we were made to forget, to our harm and sorrow.

The movie ends differently than real life—in real life, the hippies won, and as a result we have accomplished nothing of any importance since 1969. Do not forget—it has been fifty-one years since 1969, when we landed men on the Moon, and 1969 was sixty-six years after men first flew. Compare the eras, and weep, for we now know that 1969 was our apogee, and that ever since, we have blindly stumbled along a crooked path that leads nowhere.

But in failure lies opportunity. I think that if we play it right, the 1960s will merely have been a detour off the path. We can now return to the straight path—but only if we have the will to make hard choices, to sell the present, for a time, to pay for our future. As the Wuhan virus spreads through our hollowed-out society, perhaps, indeed, now is the time. We will see.

That the 1960s spelled the effective end of America is not, to the perceptive, news. For fifty years, our ruling class has used their control of education and tele-visual media to indoctrinate our children and hoodwink our adults by painting an utterly false picture of the 1960s.

The party line has been that the decade was a shining time for America, when we overthrew old verities and emancipated everyone in society, resulting in a coruscating new dawn of liberty for America. And by unfortunate coincidence, our elites had, and gladly used, a peerless tool to silence objections, because it was in the 1960s that African Americans, the sole American group worthy of any type of emancipation or the subject of any relevant and unjust oppression in American history, actually got the civil rights promised them in 1865.

This allowed any objection to any aspect of the Left edifice built in the 1960s to be cast as racism and ignored—which it still is today, hugely reinforced by new, malicious Left doctrines such as intersectionality, thereby creating the very real risk of racial conflict in any American rebirth. I do not have a solution for that, yet.

On to the book. Shlaes is known as a historian of the early twentieth century. Her biography of Calvin Coolidge and her history of the Great Depression (The Forgotten Man) are modern classics. This is straight history, with no ideological overlay. Shlaes is not really here to criticize the 1960s, or their most visible manifestation, the so-called Great Society. Yes, the hubris of the men at the nation’s helm is on pristine display, but Shlaes presents the facts almost without comment, letting the reader draw his own conclusions.

The author organizes her chapters by short periods, months or years. She also pulls through certain themes, among them the television series Bonanza, which first aired at the turn of the decade, and went off the air a few years into the 1970s. Bonanza, reruns of which I watched with my grandfather as a child, was an optimistic show, reflecting an optimistic America—one where anything could be accomplished with hard work and the right attitude, most of all knowing and doing one’s duty.

In 1960, Americans correctly perceived themselves as strong and the federal government, which had vastly less reach than today and directly touched the average American’s life nearly not at all, as a partner in continuing that strength. Big business, labor, and the government openly cooperated to everyone’s perceived benefit.

True, there was always some tension about how the pie got distributed, with intermittent conflicts between labor and management, and fears in many quarters that socialism was lurking just around the corner. In 1960 through 1962, there were some rumblings of economic discontent, and, almost unnoticed, the pernicious adoption by President Kennedy of an executive order allowing government employees to unionize. But there was little to suggest new problems ahead.

Trouble was being brewed by the Left, though. Of course, the Left had long been striving to get a grip on America, but had never managed to dominate even the most obvious areas, such as factory workers. The unions were, in fact, mostly ferociously anti-Communist, and a key part of the necessary and heroic suppression by Americans of Communism during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

Realizing this, the traditional American hard Left had switched to dominating the culture, the institutions, and morphed into the New Left. Shlaes acknowledges this was a multi-decade program of the Left: “The ‘long march through the institutions’ that Antonio Gramsci sketched out and Rudi Dutschke demanded had succeeded.” (In America, this was the project of the infamous Frankfurt School). In effect, therefore, this book is a history of how the New Left took power, and ruined America.

Shlaes focuses on the Port Huron meeting of June 1962, which sowed the seeds of much of the rest of the decade. Port Huron was a meeting of well-to-do young New Left activists, organized and paid for by the United Auto Workers, naively eager to enlist young people in the goal of helping keep the pie properly divided.

Politics was nothing new for the great union leaders, such as Walter Reuther, but what the UAW and its elders did not realize is that the young leftists they recruited believed pies grew on trees, and anyway were less interested in pies, and more interested in destruction of the American system and its replacement by something entirely new.

The older American Left, exemplified by Reuther, wanted social democracy in the European mold. The New Left wanted, as the ideological Left has always wanted since the 1700s, a complete reworking of society to achieve a new, Utopian paradise of justice and equality. But Reuther and his compatriots could not see this.

The degeneration heralded by the New Left did not manifest itself into sudden existence, it had long been in preparation, and had multiple parents, not just the Frankfurt School.

It began in earnest sixty years before, among the Progressives who rejected America and demanded its replacement by a technocracy. Such men took advantage of, in sequence, crises to implement their vision—first World War I, then the Depression, then World War II. To the observant, by the 1960s signs of the rot created by the Left were all around, from the destruction of classical architecture to the perversions of higher education William F. Buckley called out in God and Man at Yale.

The clear-eyed among us, such as Ronald Reagan, warned us, but even then, the elite rained contempt on Reagan and his message, thereby strengthening those actively seeking to undermine America.

Why the Left has the will and ability to execute such a strategy over a century and the Right has, so far, not, is a topic for another time. But that reality is on full display in this history, beginning with the Presidency of John Kennedy. It was those young Port Huron-type leftists, along with their slightly older leaders, such as Michael Harrington, who in 1961 quickly began to strongly influence the direction of America.

Kennedy surrounded himself with men who were open to left-wing goals, and insufferably utopian, though most were still not wholly of the New Left. (Shlaes narrates how an obsessive topic of discussion among Kennedy’s White House staff, immediately after Kennedy’s inauguration, was wondering how they would spend their time in the last two years of Kennedy’s term, after they had solved all the nation’s problems during the first two years).

But when Kennedy was shot, and Johnson came to power, it immediately became clear that Johnson wanted nothing more than huge federal programs, in the mold of the New Deal, only bigger and better, to cement his legacy—programs that the Left, with its infrastructure in waiting, could and did easily use for their own purposes.

Shlaes deftly sketches Johnson’s tools—his solid Democratic majorities in Congress, his own political abilities, the manufactured sense of emergency used to circumvent democratic checks (always a favorite tool of the Left). We go through 1964, with a cast of characters once famous who have now left the stage—everyone from Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Sargent Shriver.

Right off the bat Johnson and the men who advised him rammed through massive “anti-poverty” legislation based on New Left principles. In November, Johnson was elected to the Presidency in his own right by a landslide. This cemented Johnson’s desire and ability to execute the now-named Great Society, which meant fountains of cash distributed at all levels (along with many other pernicious non-monetary changes, such as huge increases in legal immigration).

One level was the federal government, where massive new programs sprouted like weeds. But a second level was handouts of tax dollars to states, most of all to large cities, where poverty and Democrats were concentrated. Shlaes goes into great detail about these various programs, everything from the massive new housing developments to Head Start.

Some of the mayors, especially Republican mayors, resented that the price of free money from Washington was toeing the line that Washington set, but they had no real choice, and Johnson’s compliant Congress changed the laws whenever necessary to ensure that local control was a mere fiction.

And a side effect of money sluicing down from, and controlled from, above was more erosion of America’s intermediary institutions, a bulwark against leftist domination, but already in decline due to government expansion of previous decades.

These Great Society programs all had as a primary goal the funding of the Left as an institution, and were the beginning of the massive self-sustaining ecosystem of the modern Left, where to this day enormous sums flow from government, business, and private individuals and entities to fund a galaxy of leftist pressure groups.

In 1965, for example, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago was handed money for a “community action program” to hire one thousand full-time “community action representatives” at a salary of $4,070 each (about $35,000 today). Such “representatives” were instructed from Washington, in the form of a 262-page book that encouraged organizing the poor to protest to demand handouts, using the techniques pioneered by Saul Alinsky. (In later years, an ambitious young man, growing up in Hawaii, would move to Chicago and slot himself directly into this by-then long-existing ecosystem, ultimately leveraging it to make himself President).

This funding and support from well-connected elders has always been lacking on the Right, which is a problem the Right must solve in order to achieve any of its goals.

Shlaes also touches on the importance of the radical leftist judiciary in cementing the Great Society, creating law out of whole cloth that fit with the ideology being implemented. Such decisions included Goldberg v. Kelly, deeming government handouts a property right; Reynolds v. Sims, rewriting the Constitution to ensure states with big cities were ruled by those cities; and many other Supreme Court decisions.

And on a lower level, thousands of suits were brought by the government-funded Legal Services Corporation, created to serve the poor in their minor disputes such as divorces and property, but weaponized to instead frustrate any legislative choice that did not conform to the goals of the Left, and still used for that purpose (joined today by nearly all the top law firms in America).

Such domination of the judiciary by the Left, on display most recently in the practice of federal district judges immediately blocking any action by Donald Trump not approved by the Left by issuing illegitimate nationwide injunctions, is another major problem blocking future Right victories.

Only by crushing such Left judicial opposition, and restoring the federal judiciary to its proper extremely modest role, or by having Right judges finally use their power in the same way as Left judges have for sixty years, can the Right win.

Meanwhile, Tom Hayden and other firebrands of the New Left were moving even further leftward, unhappy that the Great Society was not radical enough. In 1965 and 1966, openly supporting Communism in North Vietnam became the new chic, and Hayden and his compatriots traveled to North Vietnam, receiving the usual Potemkin village treatment and eagerly believing the lies they were fed. (Later, Hayden and his wife Jane Fonda would name their son after a Vietnamese Communist assassin who had tried to kill Robert McNamara by bombing a bridge over which his motorcade was to pass).

This drove a wedge between the leftists in the White House and the even more radical set outside it, but also ensured that further movement Left continued, as the younger generation of leftists replaced the older.

Soon enough, no surprise, it became evident that the desired and expected Utopian results, by whatever measure, were not forthcoming. The poor were worse off and violence among the poor swept the nation. This frustrated Johnson and all the men surrounding him, so he turned to housing, in 1966 and 1967.

The result, in an explicit attempt to achieve “human flourishing,” was disaster, with the building of massive Le Corbusier-inspired tower blocks of public housing that immediately become festering hellholes, such as Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, which Shlaes profiles up to its demolition in 1972. Meant as a Utopian solution that would prevent rioting by the dissatisfied poor, such housing instead exacerbated the Great Society’s destruction of black communities.

And such housing, long a pet project of the Left in its desire to remake human nature and create “scientific” solutions to intractable problems, would have been even more widespread and destructive, were it not for the efforts of people like Jane Jacobs. (Nowadays, bizarrely, we are often told that such public housing projects were the acts of racist conservatives, in an act of historical mendacity that would be breathtaking were it not the norm for Left “history”).

Among all this, Shlaes covers the rise of inflation and the move away from the gold standard, along with other economic matters, as the socialism of the Great Society inevitably led to stagflation. She narrates Johnson’s choice not to run again, and how the cultivation of the New Left in the early 1960s resulted in the takeover of the Democratic party by the New Left at the end of the 1960s.

She talks about the sclerosis in the once-peerless American auto industry (and other heavy industries), and the effect this had on the labor/management cooperation found earlier in the decade. Wound in between are what are now commonplace government behaviors, then new: massively underestimating the costs of government programs; using word salads and names as propaganda; ignoring regulatory costs on society; failing to perform, or care in any way about, cost-benefit analysis. We are used to it all now, just as a man living next to an open sewer becomes inured to the stench, but Shlaes does a good job narrating how it all came into existence.

It is particularly interesting that Shlaes discusses a document written by Moynihan, 1962’s “Guiding Principles of Federal Architecture.” In itself, this one-page memo was not particularly objectionable, but its call for “efficient and economical facilities” combined with a call for “contemporary architects” to direct the federal government’s buildings, not vice versa, resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars of ugly federal architecture.

This did not have to be, but was inevitable in context because of the pernicious dominance of architectural Modernism. Shlaes’s mention of this memo is interesting because only a few weeks ago, this now completely obscure document was prominent again, when it was leaked that the Trump administration was considering, after sixty years, revising this document to call for a return to classical architecture.

The usual suspects shrieked “fascism!”, and nothing has been done yet, but I certainly hope it will—though it needs to be part of a much larger and comprehensive rework of the federal government, of which new architecture will be a key demonstrative element.

By the time Nixon took over in 1969, the cracks were starting to show, but Nixon eagerly continued Johnson’s policies, and often expanded them. In part this was because he didn’t much care for domestic policy (Shlaes quotes him after his 1962 gubernatorial loss, “At least I’ll never have to talk about crap like dope addiction again”); in part this was simply adherence to leftist pieties that had already addicted the mainstream of the Republican party. (George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, features frequently in this book as an eager toady to the Left, just like his son is today).

Nixon, in fact, tried to expand the Great Society to include a universal basic income, and fell just short, because Vietnam and the fact the Left had hated Nixon for decades for his anti-Communism precluded the lockstep forced cooperation that had allowed the early Great Society to be rammed through by Johnson—not to mention the economy was not doing well, and the feeling of shared prosperity had already, not coincidentally, begun to disappear.

Shlaes ends with the beginning of stagflation and the end of the gold standard, with, shades of Donald Trump, Nixon agitating against the Federal Reserve’s unwillingness to loosen the money supply to help his re-election. Of course, one immediate result of the Great Society was economic catastrophe in the 1970s.

Shlaes nods to this, although it is outside the scope of the book proper. That was, ultimately, however, the least important effect of the Great Society. Its most important effect was to encourage the undeserving to believe they are being unjustly denied what belongs to them, while rejecting that any person has any duty that counterbalances freedom. This fragmented our society, and thereby destroyed the unity and purpose that made it possible for America to accomplish great things.

All this is a sad history, but instructive. A basic principle of mine, and of Foundationalism, is that a well-run government should have limited ends and unlimited means. Because elites love power, and rotten elites love power dearly for what it can give them that they cannot earn, expansion of government in practice means expansion of ends.

So it was with us, but worse, since our elites combined love of power with a noxious and wholly destructive ideology. The answer is not incremental changes; it is to defenestrate our entire ruling class and strip the Left permanently of its money and power, by almost any means necessary; then to rebuild a virtuous society that takes advantage of America’s unique history and place in the world, and what I believe is still a unique attitude among many of its people.

With a new ruling class organically arising from the most talented and dedicated, combined with a complete restructuring of education, the termination of any unearned benefit (especially one based on any immutable characteristic), the sharp restriction of the franchise to those with an actual stake in society, and other radical changes, we may have a chance. I have been saying for some time that history will return. 2020 is looking like the year; let’s take advantage of it, for as Lenin said, “Timing is all.”

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The image shows the Woodstock concert poster, from 1969, by Arnold Skolnik.

How Not To Fix The World

Almost always one reads a book of future-looking political theory long before or long after its substance has been proven or disproven. It is quite another experience to observe theory offered just yesterday, as it morphs today into reality. So, it is with The Decadent Society, released in February, a month ago. It sharply identifies our problems, and speaks abstractly of possible futures for both America and the rest of the world, in which our problems are solved, or not.

But all changed futures require a mechanism of change, that in February we were lacking. Now, the Wuhan coronavirus, and, much more importantly, its knock-on effects, have delivered a possible mechanism, and a changed future rises in the shadows. History has, perhaps, returned.

That’s not to say this book is very good. It’s not. I mean, it’s not bad, and the author, Ross Douthat, a prominent conservative, is an excellent writer, but he says nothing that I and many others have not been saying for years; and he is trapped within the rusty confines of High Conservatism, itself decadent under his own definition.

Moreover, iron bars may not make a cage (as the Cavalier poet, Richard Lovelace, a distant collateral ancestor of mine, said). But being the only conservative employee of the New York Times, whether Douthat admits it to himself or not, makes for house arrest, where the author makes sure his thought stays within a narrow band. Still, Douthat is a smart man, and his analysis is a starting place for bolder lines of thought.

Douthat uses Jacques Barzun’s classic definition of decadence, which is hard to boil down to a single sentence, but Douthat distills it to “economic stagnation, institutional decay, and cultural and intellectual exhaustion at a high level of prosperity and technological development.”

Decadence in Barzun’s definition is not eye-catching, dissolute behavior or massive inequality. In fact, decadent periods are often periods of considerable activity—just not original or useful activity. “Repetition is more the norm than innovation . . . intellectual life goes in circles.”

As Douthat notes, this definition, by emphasizing economics and observable repetition, allows some degree of quantification and precision, and largely takes out moral elements. That’s not to say that decadent periods don’t often show moral degeneracy; but in this view degeneracy is not the main marker of decadence, and is essentially ignored by Douthat (though, strangely, the cover image is one of gluttony).

To justify his diagnosis of degeneracy, Douthat identifies four symptoms: economic stagnation; human sterility; institutional sclerosis; and cultural repetition. Each of these gets a chapter, taking up half the book total, and then Douthat turns to what might change, and how we might escape decadence.

By “we” Douthat means Western civilization, primarily America and secondarily, Europe; although he nods occasionally to two Asian cultures now advanced because they have adopted elements of Western civilization, Japan and South Korea. As we’ll see, Douthat does a good job showing that “we” are decadent under Barzun’s definition, although it would be a more interesting (and much longer) book if he tied this analysis to other societies in history.

We can see no forward movement, no future, when our society is viewed with a clear eye. Trying to cover all the bases, Douthat looks high and low for a silver lining, arguing that perhaps living like this, eking out the ruin in a nation, isn’t really so bad. It’s better, he says, than submitting to violence and war for their own sake, in the manner of some pre-World War I thinkers. But as we will see, that is a false dichotomy, and it’s pretty clear Douthat thinks so too.

A key element is missing in Douthat’s analysis, however. He ignores how we got here. He doesn’t say it was inevitable; he does not claim there is a cycle in every human society. Instead, he treats the West’s descent to decadence as a passive event, something that somehow happened to us for unspecified, perhaps unknowable, reasons. He ignores the possibility that it was an active event, something that was done to us by specified people for specified reasons. Or, put another way: did we fall, or were we pushed? You won’t find Douthat addressing that question.

Douthat begins with 1969, the apogee of America. That apogee seemed, Douthat accurately points out, like a beginning, the foothills of the much greater mountains that America would soon conquer. It is obvious in retrospect that the rot was far advanced even then, but not surprising that escaped most people at the time. Douthat focuses on the landing of men on the Moon; this focus prefigures that Douthat’s solution for decadence is a renewed outward-looking vision, celebrating, as I have said, the works of Man under the eyes of God.

This is not a history of the space program, however. Douthat’s initial point is that very soon after 1969, we became resigned to the closing of all frontiers. He speaks of the search for “God and gold and glory,” making the interesting claim that the “ideology of exploration and discovery” in the modern, industrialized world offered “a new form of consolation to replace what faith and tribe and family and hierarchy had once supplied.”

In Douthat’s telling, it substituted for the impermanence of the modern world. I am not sure these things are properly contrasted; the great earlier ages of exploration and discovery combined the two very successfully, and most who sought the American frontier were very much about faith and family, and hierarchy too, if uncomfortable with distant overlords. And the space program itself was a perfect example of a hierarchy, one based on competence—just look at photos of astronauts or of Mission Control.

Douthat’s claim has a superficial appeal, but upon a little thought it’s obvious that accomplishing the new does not necessarily result in evanescence, and I suspect a close historical analysis would disprove Douthat’s claim entirely. Regardless, America did not seem decadent in 1969.

Next, we get four chapters on the four symptoms of decadence, beginning with economic stagnation, or more precisely, stagnation of real economic endeavor that actually adds value. Douthat adduces large businesses that turned out to be frauds or hollow shells, such as Theranos and Uber.

His point isn’t that all businesses are frauds; it’s that when a rich society can’t find legitimate and high-return places to invest wealth, the consequence is stagnation, the cessation of forward movement. It becomes “let’s-pretendism.”

The glossy pseudo-success of Silicon Valley today conceals a laundry list of massive defects and problems pointed out by other writers, from Robert Gordon (on the modern failure to truly innovate) to David Graeber (on jobs that are not real) to numerous writers on income stagnation in real terms for the masses and the decline in social mobility (Richard Reeves, and James Bloodworth).
Douthat doesn’t claim there is one single driver of this stagnation. He cites analyses ranging from libertarians through Thomas Piketty (though it doesn’t lend confidence that he keeps citing the very lightweight Tyler Cowen, who for some reason many on the Right view as some kind of guru), and settles on some combination of aging populations, debt overhang, limits to further education, environmental limitations (making here one of his many required obeisance to the gospel of global warming), and, perhaps most of all, the failure of technological innovation.

He points out that, the internet aside, our world is not very different than the world of several decades ago, but that world was vastly different than the world of a few decades before it. This is partially cloaked by the modern ultra-high speed of communication, but that is not a real difference. Nor is there any sign whatsoever, as I am also very fond of pointing out, that any of the marvels we are promised are imminent are indeed actually imminent, from driverless cars to artificial intelligence to life extension. Far more likely that in thirty years nothing much will have changed.

Following is sterility, human sterility. Here Douthat summarizes what any realist knows—that our actual problem is underpopulation, not overpopulation. I covered this in great detail in my review of Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson’s Empty Planet and will not repeat it here; Douthat does a competent job of summarizing the problem and linking it to his overall theme. He clearly points out all the bad things immediately resulting from an aging population, most of all a total lack of the dynamism that is the lifeblood of any society that is going anywhere. And by the end of the chapter, he nods in the direction of the truth—a society that is focused on nothing greater than maximizing individual choice will, given modern birth limiting options, always die, and die quickly.

He does not, however, advert to that this is an active choice, not something that passively happened to us, and the reader begins to sense that Douthat is either hiding or ignoring a key truth that explains his analysis—that we bought into, and allowed ourselves to be controlled by, a destructive ideology.

Next is sclerosis, in essence, the inability of our institutions, primarily our government, to do anything competently. We can all agree this is true, and it’s unnecessary to recount examples. But why is this? Again, Douthat treats it as something that just happened. Douthat ignores that increasing sclerosis is, over time, directly correlated with the expansion of the state demanded by leftist ideology, while at the same time non-governmental institutions have been deliberately reduced to almost complete irrelevance except as arms of the government or tools of leftist programs.

He says nothing about the administrative state, a creation and instrument of the Left. Worst of all, he makes claims that suggest he either has no idea what he is talking about or is bending over backward to protect the Left from its primary responsibility, such as making the bizarre claim, offering no examples because there are no possible examples, “[T]he conservative movement has become comfortable with judicial activism in reverse; with using judicial power aggressively on issues where conservative legislators have either been defeated or (more often) simply fear to tread.”

I wish that were true, but it’s not, even a little. And I have nearly as much contempt for the Republicans in Congress as for Democrats, but as we have seen this week in Nancy Pelosi holding hostage the “relief” bill for the Chinese coronavirus with a laundry list of unrelated leftist demands, and that the Left benefits from legislative sclerosis by its control of the judiciary and the administrative state, institutional sclerosis is a problem that could be largely solved by smashing the power of the Left. The reader begins to realize who the active agent of our decadence is—the modern Left, and its Enlightenment values of unlimited autonomic individualism and coerced equality.

Finally, we discuss cultural repetition. Douthat makes the point often made (he makes almost zero original points in this book, but he does not claim he is making original points), that the world of 2020 is basically indistinguishable from the world of 1990, but that any other thirty-year gap in modern American history shows massive changes, both visually and under the surface.

True enough, but he glosses over that our culture’s descent in the past fifty years is again directly correlated with the rise to total cultural dominance of the Left. From his Acela corridor perch, Douthat, a movie and television buff, can’t see this. (Oddly, he entirely ignores high culture, such as music and architecture, though of course those have also been destroyed by leftist ideology).

Douthat makes farcical statements, such as that among those pioneering “a richer and more daring approach to televised storytelling” is—Lena Dunham. He claims that Princess Leia using a blaster in Star Wars is the same thing as the men clad in female bodies who now dominate all action movies.

He tells us that five percent of the population is “homosexual or transgender”—which is false, and by including the mentally ill “transgender” he signals his burning of incense at the most recently erected progressive altar. He claims, with a straight face, that “the first season of Mad Men” is a “primary source,” apparently not realizing the entire series is slick leftist propaganda.

Winding up, Douthat points out that the culture war is mostly stalemated for the past few decades, since 1975 or so, hence we are repeating our past cultural battles. True enough, but what he fails to point out is that that stalemate has been a setting in amber of total victories by the Left, the only changes in which have been to add fresh victories for the Left.

So, yes, we do have cultural repetition—but that’s because we have calcified Left victories. The obvious answer, as with sclerosis, is that the Left is to blame, and if we destroy the Left, we increase our chances of being able to restore the future.

So, in these four chapters, Douthat proves, adequately enough, that our society is decadent. But it appears stable, or appeared so last month. Douthat next turns to why that is, when decadence is typically seen as leading to instability. He ascribes it to drugs, pornography, and the internet. Yes, political fighting appears vicious, but it is mostly playacting.

This is not the 1930s. Nobody is manning the barricades or fighting in the streets. The likely result, short and medium term, Douthat says, is a Huxley-ite soft despotism, where the government works to make us feel safe, and nobody even dreams, much less dares, great things. Think China without the annoying Chinese cultural attitudes and behaviors, like eating bats. Think, instead, James Poulos’s “pink police state,” a decayed world where the only thing that cannot be tolerated is intolerance, or rocking the boat for others’ desires, whatever those may be.

This is a reasonable vision. But again, Douthat bizarrely claims that this “coercion to freedom,” in Ryszard Legutko’s words, is some kind of organic modern happenstance, not a deliberate program of the Left. He never ascribes any malignity to the leftist program that has been so successful over the past hundred (really, two hundred) years, and wildly successful over the past sixty.

In Douthat’s Stockholm Syndrome-tinged vision, campus repression is merely something colleges “groped their way to . . . out of a kind of commercial necessity,” and campus speech rules are only “mildly repressive.” Right-wing engineers are “occasionally fired for wrongthink,” rather than every major business totally repressing all socially conservative speech. Western Europe’s violent punitive measures against any activity that challenges Left wholesale importation of alien invaders are neutrally “aimed at policing the tensions between natives and new arrivals.”

In Douthat’s fantasy, the pink police state affects everyone equally and in the same way, for both Left and Right are completely equal in the degree and types of censorship and persecution they suffer. This is ludicrous, and everyone paying attention knows it. Yet again—smash the Left, and you may not solve decadence, but life will get a lot better immediately, and there will be a lot more options for renewal.

But what is Douthat’s solution? It’s not the barbarians, given as an answer in C. P. Cavafy’s famous poem, “Waiting for the Barbarians,” where a decadent people are disappointed when the barbarians fail to show up to sack the city, for “They were, those people, a kind of solution.”

Douthat sees no force capable of “overthrowing the liberal order and inheriting the world.” Not Islam; it’s not coherent and it’s decaying on its own (more accurately, it’s been decaying for twelve hundred years). Not Russia; it’s a fake throwback to the Tsars. Not the illiberal democracies of Poland and Hungary; they are not a real alternative, and won’t be unless they remake themselves as “Christian monarchies” (hmmmm . . . .). Not the Chinese; they’re sterile, and going nowhere. Not populist movements in the developed world; they are “disturbances, not transformations.”

Yes, maybe “the right leader, the right crisis, the right combination of man and the moment [will lead] to actual regime change.” More likely, we’ll instead see global “convergence-in-decadence.”

What, then, are the alternatives? Well, there’s unexpected catastrophe, exacerbated by modern technologies. Douthat sets this to the side as unforeseeable, and I don’t think the Chinese coronavirus is such a catastrophe, although it highlights the possibility of such.

There’s economic collapse, leading to a real resurgence of 1930s-style political chaos. There’s global-warming making large sections of the globe uninhabitable. And there’s chaos resulting from all of these together, most of all the unchecked migration of those from the Third World into the rest of the world, leading to Europe becoming “neo-medieval” in order to resist this invasion, while America might resemble late Rome.

All this is rather a hodgepodge, though not inaccurate as far as it goes. Out of the listed problems, of course, you could construct many possible futures. We can generally, agree, though, that most of those futures are bad. I’m not sure they’re necessarily as bad as Douthat thinks—I could construct a future reached after widespread violence, in which the power of the Left, always fragile because based on unreality, is broken, and a competent, clean, outward-looking new society fashioned from the skeleton of the old. In fact, “neo-medieval” sounds pretty good to me. Maybe we should give that a try, not reject it out of hand.

Douthat, too, desires renaissance, the topic of his last chapter. Correctly, Douthat sees little possibility for internal renaissance in the West, without total or near-total collapse first. He does offer an intriguing idea, one I have touched on myself in the past—perhaps a new synthesis of Africa and Europe might lead to a new vibrant culture.

I’d like to think this is possible, but little suggests it is. Robert Cardinal Sarah, Douthat’s exemplar, is mostly a product of European culture, not African culture. No culture of world importance has ever come out of Africa, except perhaps Egypt, and that was four thousand years ago. But maybe that will change; no doubt even introspective Romans did not think it likely that illiterate, uncouth Franks in the dark forests of Gaul would create the greatest civilization the world has ever known.

Other than this, Douthat rejects that science alone will lead to a renaissance, even in the unlikely possibility that unprecedented scientific breakthroughs begin again. There is not going to be a Singularity, although it is possible that, say, Chinese scientists may create superhumans by genetic engineering and unleash the Eugenics Wars of Star Trek’s imagining.

He also rejects the modest post-liberal vision of authors such as Patrick Deneen, correctly recognizing that localism and subsidiarity, if effective in remaking parts of the world, will not be tolerated by their enemies, although he fails to correctly identify that their enemies are our current masters, the Left, and a Right post-liberal government, of unlimited means and limited ends, would likely coexist just fine with such communities, of the Benedict Option type or any other.

Douthat seems unable to contemplate such a realist-based, rightist post-liberal government; his limited vision only allows him to consider a nationalist-type state on the model of Israel, not one that wholly rejects the Enlightenment, which, after all, is the root of the decadence the Left has imposed on us over the past sixty years. He briefly analyzes a religious revival, but, as with catastrophe, drops it as impossible to predict.

And, ultimately, he concludes, rather unsatisfyingly but with some truth, that any renaissance will depend on “a lot of things happening at once”—though, as I do, he comes back again and again to Space as a backbone of any such renaissance. “I suspect that a truly globalized civilization cannot help tending toward decadence so long as it remains earthbound, so long as there is no hope of finding actual new worlds to leap toward, conquer, or explore.”

Let’s try something different. Let’s imagine another twentieth century, at the end of which did not lie today’s decadence, which, contra Douthat, was not in the least inevitable. Alternative history is both fascinating and largely pointless, but what if the West had, a hundred years after the French Revolution, somehow wholly rejected the pernicious Enlightenment vision of destructive ever-greater emancipation?

What if the Enlightenment had never reached its logical end, woke so-called liberal democracy that is really a dying quasi-totalitarianism? We might have lasted longer, and accomplished more. We might have been Venice writ large, expanding already beyond the Earth, firmly grounded in reality, not ideology, and lifting ourselves upward and outward.

That’s not what happened. And we can’t go back. But maybe we can go forward, not simply by magically refocusing on common outward-facing goals, as Douthat would have it, though that is surely needed, but by first cutting out and cauterizing the cancers at the heart of our civilization. The coronavirus has made most of the many asleep realize, at least a little bit, how badly off track we are, by slapping all of us in the face with reality.

Any recognition of reality undermines the power of the Left’s pernicious vision, which relies on a combination of iron exercise of power and the casting of a mass delusion. A little more reality, hard reality, and those who hold the levers of power are likely to be thrown down. We can hope.

And if so, the key is to rebuild on the foundations that made us successful earlier, not the destructive combination of the visions of John Stuart Mill and Maximilien Robespierre that has led us to where we are now. Through the fire, probably, but then onward to new lands.

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The image shows, “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” by Fritz von Uhde, undated.

America Reborn

Does the world need or want a strong United States? This essential question, whether consciously iterated or not, underlies much of what passes for commentary on the presidency of Donald Trump. Of course, there is the easy caricature that is to be found in the popular media, of Trump as the great villain of the age, who also happens to be stupid, boorish, and well, a “Nazi.” Such vilification has been ongoing ever since the man was elected.

Those who purvey this caricature seem mindless of the consequences of their outrage. They like to imagine that somehow the direct opposite of the Trump presidency will magically be embodied in the Democratic Party, and all will be well again. Such willful naivety, or perhaps confusion, also suggests that the critics of Trump have little interest in understanding what kind of a nation the US is and should be – internally and on the international stage.

But there is also another view. More sober and guided by political realism. And this view understands that the world will always need a strong nation that will pull the rest of the countries towards a particular kind of future. The world has never been so introverted that it does not need leadership. Thus, under whose aegis will be the world be at its best? This question cannot be answered by simply repeating platitudes about social justice. Indeed, justice in the context of politics means alliances with nations that follow a common cause.

There are two questions that must be answered by those who are anti-Trump: Does the world need a strong United States? If not, which nation will be the world-leader? There is an important difference in these two questions – because strength does not necessarily impart leadership, although it is a necessary component. Which nation does the world want to follow? There are, of course, choices.

There is China, which is now busy trying to build a world empire, no matter what the cost. Although it has acquired a lot of wealth, mostly from the USA, it has serious internal fault-lines, chief among them being a population that may or may not be loyal to the Communist state.

There is Russia, which seeks dominance in Eurasia but which is still struggling with decades of Communist destruction; nor does it have the political maturity to take on a decisive leadership role – indeed, what does Russia stand for today?

Then, there is the EU, which is still hoping to become a force to be reckoned with – but it is inherently nothing more than a collection of progressivise, pseudo-moralistic agendas (climate change, third-world migration, multiculturalism). Nor has the EU trading bloc furthered any kind of real economic boom, as it was supposed to do. If it were not for the UK, Germany and France, the EU would be long dead – and the UK has just made its exist from this rule by bureaucrats. The EU will always be an on-going social experiment, with feet of clay; and its various social agendas render it useless for any kind of leadership role. And then there is the USA, which still functions with the ideal of the free market.

Here, an important point needs to be clarified. Leadership is not colonialism, imperialism, or hegemony. It is simply the necessity of hierarchies, if any kind of order is to exist. Otherwise, there is only chaos. So, which nation allows for the greatest freedom (one may argue about the nature of this freedom – but that is simply a rhetorical trick), and which nation promises the best methodology for economic stability.

Drieu Godefridi, in his latest book, Reload! Comment l’Amérique invente le siècle (Reload! How America is Inventing the Century) offers his choice. For him, it is only and always America, which he sees as undergoing a grand economic rebirth (which he calls a “renaissance”), under Trump, whose economic policies have geared America for dominance in the century ahead. That is the premise of the book, which Godefridi then proceeds to elaborate both eloquently and strongly. Currently, the book is only available in French. Perhaps, soon, it will be available in English. Of course, Godefridi is writing for the EU audience, “where the decline of America is a European fantasy.”

Indeed, the tradition of anti-Americanism has deep roots in Europe, going back to Georges-Louis Leclerc and Voltaire, and where it takes on three characteristics: First, there is the envy of American inventiveness and wealth, especially in the area of technology (indeed, the modern world is now defined and determined only by American inventions). The fruit of this ingenuity is massive wealth.

Second, there is the view that American culture is inherently corrupting and destructive and thus must be controlled if it cannot be avoided. This generates a sense of superiority, where European culture is better than what is available in America. Third, there is the wary regard of American military might, which has cast the nation into the role of the “policeman of the world.”

Godefridi boldly addresses this anti-Americanism by first linking it with those easy anti-Trump sentiments that are daily declaimed in the media, and which train people “to hate, despise and dread the figure of Trump.” Such rancor arises from that sense of superiority, wherein Trump embodies the entire caricature of the “ugly American.”

Second, and more importantly, there is the apposition of the American economic model and the EU one. The latter is readily summarized: “That in Europe, the Left does not consider over-regulation a problem is normal. After all, in the socialist worldview it is freedom that oppresses and it is the law that liberates. So, it is not only normal but desirable that human relationships be regulated more and more, often down to the minutest detail.”

Thus, the EU economic model is micromanagement, so that production becomes largely a “department” of the state. This runs counter to the American model which, despite much tampering by the Obama administration, is now being set free. And the result is a US economy that is out-performing all others in the West. It is the “Trump miracle.”

To show how well the US economy is doing, Godefridi points to some cold, hard facts:

  • With a population four times smaller than China, the GDP of the US is 50 percent higher than that of the Asian dragon, having crossed the $20 Trillion mark back in 2018.
  • In world GDP, the US share now is 25 percent – a level not seen since 1980.
  • American GDP per citizen is 50 percent higher than the French GDP per citizen – and the gap is widening.
  • The US is responsible for 40 percent of the world’s entire military spending – and this percentage is increasing.

So, what accounts for this humming economy? Very simply the policies of the man a lot of people love to hate – President Trump – who has ushered in a new American renaissance, “the rebirth of a conquering America, dominant and faithful to its founding values.”

The book is divided into two parts. The first, entitled, “Internal Politics,” deals with the various hurdles that Trump has had to face ever since he became President, from the Russian Collusion delusion and the two-year probe by Mueller – to the economic mess left by Obama – all those regulations which hindered and curtailed free enterprise and which now need to be eliminated.

Thus, Trump has diligently reduced imports in order to boost American prosperity; he has repealed laws that hinder freedom; he has fixed the justice system which had become overly-populated by members of an activist judiciary; he has begun to limit the power of the Deep State; and he has revived the energy industries, by breaking free from the mantra of “renewables” and relaunching coal, oil and shale – so much so that America is now entirely energy-independent. Such is the meaning of, “America First.”

Indeed, it is this freed-up energy that is driving the American miracle economy, which had been made to bend to the dictates of climate alarmist ideologies: “In the energy sector, it is as if Obama never existed!” What we now see is an America being run on the free-market model, rather than an America being run according to the EU model: “Evolution is always richer, more diverse and unpredictable than the wise, ‘apriorist’ theoretical constructions of experts.”

The second part of the book, entitled, “International Relations,” looks at the effect that President Trump is having on the world stage. He has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem; he has re-negotiated free trade; he has dealt decisively with China, NATO, and the UN; he has rejected the Marrakesh Pact and the Paris Accord; and he has signaled an end to foreign military entanglements, thus redefining the meaning of international relations. In each case, Trump has deeply left his mark.

By moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump took the lead in recognizing a simple fact, which everyone likes to ignore – that it is in Jerusalem where the Israeli government is located, and it is to Jerusalem that all foreign missions go when they want to deal with Israel. So, why not locate the embassy where Israeli power resides? The only objection to having the embassy in Jerusalem is a “moral” one, in that Jerusalem is regarded by some as being “occupied land.” Of course, no one bothers to explain what that term actually means in the context of history and contemporary politics.

As for free trade, Trump’s aim is straight forward, and entirely free of ideological blinkers: “…what Trump wants, in fact, is exactly what the American workers and the middle class of the United States both want – to reap a greater share of the fruits of prosperity.” How is this a bad thing?

In regards to China, Trump fully understands the “source” of that nation’s wealth. First, all of its industry is owned by the state, not individuals. Certainly, certain people have become billionaires in such a system – but they are ultimately “managers” of companies that owned by the Communist state. Of course, this wealth has been used to lift many Chinese people into prosperity – but this does not change the fact that wealth itself, within the Communist system, is another mechanism of control, and that the vast majority of the Chinese people have very little share in this prosperity.

Second, the source of China’s wealth is the result of piracy – namely, the outright theft of countless US intellectual property rights (such rights are also stolen from other nations as well). And the products produced from these patents and inventions are then sold back to the West.

In effect, Trump knows very well that the Chinese have not really created anything – they have simply taken American ingenuity and have learned to profit from it vastly. With a new trade deal, Trump has struck a serious blow to China’s entire wealth-generating strategy by shutting down intellectual property theft.

Wryly, Godefridi points out – meanwhile, back in Europe, everyone is worried about climate change!

As for NATO, Trump as simply asserted that the US will no longer foot the bill. If other nations want NATO to exist, then they will have to finance its existence. The US will no longer be paying for everyone else’s defense. Of course, this will mean that in order to keep NATO afloat, Europe will have to wean itself from the many progressive social programs that have become part of “European culture,” and start managing its own defense.

Godefridi then looks at the UN by way of its most recent diktat – the Marrakesh Pact, which allows regular migration into the West from the third-world countries, hand-picked by UN bureaucrats as somehow “endangered” and in need of being relocated to the West. This Pact ignores the will of the people living in the West and simply imposes floods of migrants from disparate parts of the world as a “reality” that cannot be refused by any parliament or any referendum.

Of course, Europe and Canada are eager participants in this disastrous scheme – without bothering to ask their own citizens, whose very tax-money is blithely being used to fund this population transfer. Although opposition is rising, it is hard to predict how effective it can, given what has already been accomplished by the UN. This is what the phrase, “open borders” means. The UN, an unelected agency, nevertheless dictates what a Western nation can and cannot do.

As for the US, Trump has wisely rejected the Marrakesh Pact, as being just one more disastrous socialist scheme. And the stakes are indeed high, for it will lead to migratory anarchy in the West: “The alternative is between the open borders of the contemporary Left, and the practice of our civilization since the dawn of time, that is to say, border control: We only access a country through consent.”

Godefridi describes the UN as, “the privileged means of normative colonization by national democracies.” As many have already pointed out, the UN is an institution that has long outlived its usefulness. A reform is certainly needed, if not an outright dismantlement. Godefridi recognizes that there is certainly a need for institutional exchange between nations, But is the UN the proper institution for such exchange? Most would say that it is not. Whether Trump is able to dismantle the current structure of the UN remains to be seen.

Further, the entire climate change industry has met a formidable foe in Trump, who simply walked away from the madness that is the Paris Accord, which would like see the West entirely deindustrialized, with no real access to any kind of energy, since both solar and wind are disastrous. As Godefridi observed in his earlier book, The Green Reich, fossil fuels have brought freedom to humanity. Take these fuels away, and humanity loses its freedom.

Trump’s decision to minimize involvement in Afghanistan and not to proceed with regime change in Syria has upturned the approach of previous administrations – of bombing other countries into democracy. Instead, he has taken up the greater challenge of reducing American presence in the world, so that the various nations look after themselves rather than look for America “police protection.” Indeed, America has spent Trillions in all kinds of foreign entanglements – and sacrificed the lives of thousands of its young men and women.

And all for what? The gain of this huge sacrifice has been minimal. This is the question before the Trump administration – will it continue to feed the demands of the Industrial Military Complex? It would appear not, for in 2018, Trump ordered a full audit of the Pentagon, which is valued at $2.4 Trillion – that is “equivalent to Apple + Walmart + the state of
California, all doubled.” We will have to wait to see the consequence of this audit.

Godefridi continues his analysis of Trumpian America by examining the current culture war that is now taking place. He rightly sees America, and indeed the entire West, as engaged in a death-struggle of two worldviews. One, which he simply calls “Europe” is fixated on trying to live in the future, by somehow creating a Utopia that will contain no inequality (sexual, religious, or racial); that will function perfectly on renewable, “green” energy; that will have no borders; that will have happy citizens eager to pay ever-increasing taxes to keep the Utopia going. Those who hate Trump want the Utopia for America.

Then, there is the other worldview – one based in the reality of daily life. This worldview regards government of any kind, whether liberal of conservative, as inherently against the people. Thus, it is not politics that is the essential component of a good life, but civil society – which can never be constructed by government regulations: “The individual and the family, capitalism and its progress: such are the bright lights of the conservative American Weltanschauung, from 1776 to the present day.”

This clash of two opposing worldviews leads Godefridi to give a complete explanation of what he calls the “American renaissance.” He astutely observes that America’s rebirth will come about as a result of an agonistic managerial approach, which is “the more sophisticated and realistic conflict management technique,” and which “consists in using the conflicts, within contexts and people, to spark the best for the one the plan that really matters: that of the final decision.”

This agonistic approach is little understood by the commentators and media analysts – because they adhere to another approach, namely, of ataraxia, derived from the Epicureans and the Stoics, which endorses the “idea that happiness is forged in the absence of trouble. Thus, peace, harmony, constancy … calm and tranquility! Every trouble, according to this early utilitarian point of view, comes about because of an avoidance of happiness.” In effect, this is the avoidance of decision-making, which leads to systemic chaos.

Thus, America’s rebirth is coming about because of Trump’s “Management, not in spite of, but because of, conflict. The capacity to decide and stick to decisions that are rooted in principles and riveted to goals, while searching for the new angle.” This approach is transforming America into the economic engine of the world once again. Such is the true meaning of “Make American Great Again.”

Lastly, Godefridi imagines the future, in the year 2075 – and this is what he sees…

  • America will be dominant in most sectors – economic, military, cultural.
  • The 21st-century will not belong to China, because it is simply not built to succeed. Its economy is driven by the dollar, and its political structures are totalitarian. Further, China will lose out to Russia in Asia.
  • As for the European Union, it will fall apart, because of its unsustainable commitment to ecology, which will entirely suffocate freedom, innovation, and the ordinary people’s ability to save. There will be more riots, like the Yellow Vests, because the middle-class will no longer be able to afford necessities, such as, heating, electricity, transportation.
  • Thus, Europe will be partly rebarbarized, before a probable rebound.

But despite all this, the fire of humanity’ advancement will continue to burn in America, from where it will once again rekindle humanity to achieve all that its genius allows.

Godefridi ends his book with this hopeful declaration – “Le XXIe siècle est américain” (The 21st-century is American).

The image shows, “Major Anderson Raising the Flag on the Morning of His Taking Possession of Fort Sumter, Dec. 27, 1860,” by Edwin D. White, painted in 1862.

How To Survive Deplatforming

Free speech and freedom of expression are often assumed to be inherent qualities of being a modern human being. However, modern life is also very much aligned with technology, where freedom has very limited currency, because it gets in the way of the larger project of the entire Internet which is the establishment of vast communities that, hive-like, depend upon like-mindedness. Such conformity is termed, “community standards,” which are policed by various rules and regulations. Transgression of these “laws” brings punishment. either mild or severe.

But the Internet is also a marketplace, where things are bought and sold, and where thousands, if not millions, of people have established flourishing careers. Here, the question of freedom seems entirely irrelevant, since all manner of things can be bought and sold – even the most heinous (like pornography of the worst sort and human trafficking). There is no internal policing here, and thus no limit to what can be bought and sold.

Access to the Internet, whether for information, communication or commerce, is controlled by platforms and their owners. And those who own and control these platforms also own and control communities and the “standards” which govern them. At the same time, these platforms provide the means for effective commerce. For example, most people use the platform known as, Facebook, for communication – while most other people use Facebook to sell things. This dual function makes Facebook both a communications company and a service-provider for commerce.

But notice what takes place in this dynamic – suddenly, Facebook is both a policing agency which cannot allow any sort of disruption of the harmony that it is trying to establish within its community of the like-minded – while also being an open marketplace, in which it also profitably participates by selling ads. Thus, where does Facebook’s allegiance lie? To the community, or to the marketplace? This question, in fact, burdens all other platform owners also, such as, Twitter, Youtube, Google, Instagram, and so forth.

What happens when the community feels disrupted and complains to the platform owner to do something about the disrupter who happens to be using the platform for commerce? As has been happening rather regularly, the platform heeds the community and exiles the disrupter who has no recourse for appeal and everything that he/she has built is immediately shut down.

This is known as a “deplatforming campaign,” where the outraged bombard service platforms with complaining emails and messages asking that the disrupter’s very presence be entirely removed. Does the platform owner do nothing and continue to profit from the disrupter’s commerce? Or, does the platform obey the will of the outraged community – and drive the disrupter from the platform forever?

Welcome to the Cancel Culture – where what you say may not just get you banned from using the largest services on the Internet, but may also get you banned from using essential services like banking and credit cards – just because someone did not like what you said online. This modern-day version of exile is known as, “deplatforming.”

It is a dire problem, affecting thousands of people, many of whom have lost all ability to earn a living. Suddenly, the question of freedom takes on a far grimmer aspect, in that it starkly shows that for some, being deprived of freedom means not only the inability to speak online – but even being deprived of money. In the great juggernaut of mega tech-companies that own the Internet, the deplatformed individual instantly becomes a non-entity, a non-person, who is also denied financial services, such as, banking and credit cards.

Given the fact that cancel culture is only growing, in which outrage is the new morality, it is indeed timely that Mark E. Jeftovic has written, Unassailable. Defend Yourself From Deplatform Attacks, Cancel Culture & Other Online Disasters. Jeftovic is certainly the right person to be writing this book, as he runs a technology company himself, in Toronto, Canada, and is a current Director of the Internet Society, Canada Chapter. So, the wisdom that he imparts is not theoretical, but solid and practical.

Therefore, this book is filled with valuable insights about the problem of deplatforming – but more importantly it also offers real and viable solutions to arm the ordinary individual with strategies to survive and thrive online. This is especially crucial for people who make a living online. Jeftovic lays out his plan clearly: “This book is for anybody who earns their living online. While primarily it is for content creators, many of the principles in this book can be used by any business that relies heavily on their internet presence, and as such must take measures to remain online at all times.”

For those who might imagine that this all some tempest in a teapot and far beyond their own interaction with the world online, Jeftovic has this to say: “Even if you are a content creator who assumes nothing you say is controversial enough to attract a deplatforming campaign, bear in mind that what seems reasonable today may be considered beyond the pale tomorrow.”

The book begins with a Foreward by Charles Hugh Smith, which is a chilling but spirited summary of what is truly at stake: “Societies around the world are experiencing unprecedented cultural purges of ideas and narratives that challenge the status quo. In some nations, this purge is managed by the central government, China being a leading example. In the developed Western nations, this purge is being conducted by private for-profit technology platforms that function as quasi-monopolies in Internet search, video and advertising (Google) and social media (Facebook and Twitter).”

These tech giants are now all-powerful kingdoms who control their realms and their borders very effectively; and their decisions are final and without any due recourse: “A content creator banned by a tech platform has no rights or recourse: the platform is not obligated to identify the “crime” that supposedly violated their User Agreement or present evidence in support of this accusation. The banned user has no means to contest the ‘conviction’ or the ‘sentence.’” Thought criminals are therefore made invisible instantly.

This silencing, or rather erasure, of people is now on-going and persistent practice because these “tech platforms wield extra-legal powers that are impervious to conventional government protections of civil liberties. (Those who attempt to sue these corporations face legal teams larger than those serving government agencies.) Users agree to open-ended Terms of Service that the corporations can interpret however they please, without any transparent process of appeal or redress.”

In effect, if people do not know how to protect themselves, they will always be victims online. It is this protection through knowledge that Jeftovic offers – and his book is the very blueprint for being empowered online in the years ahead.

The book itself is divided into two parts. The first is historical in nature and is therefore entitled, “The Battle for Narrative Control.” Here, Jeftovic provides context for the “culture war” currently being fought on all fronts by those who want to make sure that people only have access to a certain kind of “truth;” that the harmony of like-mindedness is rigorously maintained; and that freedom means absolute conformity. Such hive-mindedness can only result in a society that is “less intolerant and more inclusive with each successive generation.”

In fact, all of us are now used to the conditions of groupthink, because we respond in the prescribed manner whenever we encounter certain “trigger-words.” Jeftovic warns: “The real threats today have names like “the greater good”, “the science is settled”, “that’s a conspiracy theory” and any other variation on a theme that some people feel it’s within their purview to decide what ideas are acceptable for everybody else, and more perniciously, that any disagreement is illegitimate and not permissible.”

Part II is entitled, “What You Do About It,” and it is an honest and highly useful blueprint to entirely and fully own your own means of production (to use a convenient Marxist phrase). If you rely solely on the means of production provided by the platforms of the tech-giants, you will always be in danger of being silenced, unpersoned, and financially destroyed.

Jeftovic then proceeds a give step-by-step, and easy-to-follow methodology, through which you can “own the race-course,” as he puts it. He covers all the essentials that are necessary to ensure your financial and even ideological survival on the Internet. These include: owning and promoting your own brand; the best webhosting; how to do blogs the right way; how to engage with discussion forums; how to get the right kind of email service; how to podcast; how to buy and sell online; avoiding bad revenue models and using good revenue models; how to get on alternative platforms, and much else besides.

Since, Part II is really a how-to instruction manual, it would be unfair to summarize what Jeftovic teaches, for most of it is proprietorial information that will be available to those who purchase this book. To do otherwise would be stealing his commercial thunder, as it were. For those that truly want to use the Internet as a means to exchange ideas and to enter into profitable commerce, then Unassailable truly is an essential and necessary vademecum.

In one of his thought-pieces at the very end of the book, Jeftovic has this to say: “Do you really want to live in a world where people sever business and personal relationships because a literal flash mob demands it? Where mobs get to pick and choose who you are allowed to associate with?”

How will you answer these crucial questions in this society where outrage is a valuable commodity? Perhaps, the greatest way to thumb one’s nose at tech-tyranny is to survive and to prosper, no matter what the tech-giants throw our way. Jeftovic has likely written a revolutionary manifesto about winning freedom in this tech Dark Age.

The image shows, “The Gathering” by the Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag, painted in 2015.

José Ortega y Gasset And The Masses

Oh, but this is a fascinating book. Written in 1930 by the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, it is one of those books that is occasionally mentioned, especially recently, but rarely actually read. 1930, in Spain, was the hinge of fate, and it has been nearly a hundred years since Ortega wrote. That means we can see where he was wrong, and where he was right, and what he wrote says to us today.

First, though, we have to hack our way through two misconceptions that both seem to attend any modern mention of The Revolt of the Masses. The first, simpler, misconception is that this is a book about class, about how Ortega favors the bourgeois, or the rich, over the working class, or at least that it is an analysis of their conflicts.

Given that class was a hot topic in 1930, this is a reasonable guess from the title, but it is totally wrong. This misconception cropped up repeatedly after Trump’s election, and, for example, the review by David Brooks in the New York Times of J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy was titled “The Revolt of the Masses.” But Ortega was a political moderate, and seems to not have been exercised by questions of class at all. Rather, this is a book about human excellence, what it can accomplish, and how it can be destroyed.

The subtler, more pernicious, misconception is that Ortega’s call for excellence is a call for masses to defer to experts—supposedly, according to various chatterers, Ortega’s main point is that experts are ignored. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, Ortega thinks all, or almost all, modern experts are the definition of mediocrity, and the masses deferring to them is like deferring to a mirror.

Instead, people should defer to a natural aristocracy, not of blood, but of focus and accomplishment. Those people are not experts, who are narrow, but are instead broad people of taste, judgment, and discipline. We will return to this misconception later, with specific recent examples, but now that we are past the reef, we can sail into the open ocean of Ortega’s thought.

So, if this is not a book about class, who are the “masses”? Ortega divides every society into “minorities,” a small set of people who are “specially qualified,” and the “masses,” everyone not specially qualified. The key question is who is average and who is not. A mass person feels as if he is “just like everybody,” that he is not particularly special, and not only does this not concern him, he celebrates the fact. (Thus, someone who examines his talents and concludes he is mediocre, and feels that is a problem, is not a mass man).

But this, of course, begs the question—what makes a person above average or, in Ortega’s term, “specially qualified”? They are those who make personal demands for excellence upon themselves, and live in that way. This makes them the minority, by definition. They may not fulfill those demands; it is the demand being made, that alone, which makes the person a minority. In contrast, mass men “demand nothing special of themselves, but […] to live is to be every moment what they already are, without imposing on themselves any effort toward perfection.”

The minority, the elite, are thus not coterminous with traditional aristocracy or a ruling class. Ortega acknowledges that in traditional social elites excellence is more likely to be found, but mere heredity does not make a person place demands on himself, so an aristocrat by blood can be a mass man just like a peasant or a steelworker—and a peasant or a steelworker can be a member of the minority.

The class of intellectuals, in particular, fancy themselves to be above the masses, but are often vulgar pseudo-intellectuals, swept along by lazy, commonplace thinking, and therefore mass men. Children of the excellent frequently ride on their parents’ accomplishments; they thereby become mass men themselves.

Ortega wants “nobility” to mean not nobility of blood, but to restore the meaning of “noble” as “well-known, that is, known by everyone, famous, he who has made himself known by excelling the anonymous mass.” Anyone can do this, from any walk of life, but few do, human nature being what it is.

Having gotten definitions out of the way, Ortega’s first substantive point is that in the past, the mass was content to exist in the background, ceding to the minority such higher-level societal functions as art, government and political judgment. No more. Now, the mass assert their right to dictate in all such areas, without having to demand from themselves, much less achieve, excellence.

In politics, this is “hyperdemocracy,” and Ortega thinks it a degradation. In other areas, such as philosophy (Ortega’s specialty), it means that readers (and, today, listeners and YouTube watchers), do so “with the view, not of learning from the writer, but rather, of pronouncing judgment on him when he is not in agreement with the commonplaces that the said reader carries in his head.”

It’s not that the mass man thinks he’s an expert. “The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will. . . . . The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select.” Mediocrity rules, and does not care that it is mediocre.

All this is a new thing in our history, but not in world history. It can be found in the declining years of Rome, among other places. Ortega ascribes its modern growth, though, not to decline, but to liberal democracy, to the discovery of the abstract sovereignty of the individual.

He doesn’t dislike liberal democracy—quite the contrary, he thinks both that it’s great, and that it’s inevitable and broadly irreversible, as I discuss further below. But if the individual is sovereign, we should not be surprised if each man treats himself as if he is indeed sovereign.

None of this implies decadence—contra Spengler, Ortega thinks that relative to the nineteenth century, which viewed itself as a time of “plenitude” when the destination of society had been reached, the twentieth century, viewing the future as open-ended and in flux, is in many ways superior. (At this point, you have to remember, it’s 1930; look around you at the world of 2018, as well as the past hundred years, then chuckle grimly and draw your own conclusions).

But the twentieth century takes it too far, because the mass men dominate, and they have “lost all respect, all consideration for the past.” Thus, the mass men both see the future as open, but assured, and themselves as perfect and satisfied. That’s a dangerous combination, for it leads to a world “empty of purposes, anticipations, ideals.”

It was those things the minority supplied, and it was those things that drove the world forward. Now, with the triumph of the masses, nobody supplies those things. So the twentieth century is an apogee—but the nature of apogees is there is nowhere to go but down.

Thus, the nineteenth-century, for all its accomplishments, also gave us the rise of the mass man, and the mass man will, unless his rise is constrained, within thirty years, “send our continent back to barbarism.” (This is a book quite explicitly about Europe. America is treated as close to a non-entity, with thinly veiled contempt. And Europe is defined as France, Germany, and England—it does not, for these purposes, really even include Spain).

The mass man, for example, feels that he himself is qualified to decide, and should decide, political matters, rather than his vote “supporting the decision of one minority or another.”

That will lead to the disappearance of liberal democracy, which Ortega regards as man’s highest political achievement (“legislative technique”), but it will also lead to the end of “industrial technique,” since the pursuit of technical excellence by minorities drives industry forward, just like other pursuit of excellence drives political organization forward.

It is this latter “industrial technique,” this combination of “scientific experiment and industrialism,” that Ortega names “technism.” Technism has allowed the mass man to escape the feeling that dominated all prior societies, that of material scarcity and restrictions. At the same time, liberal democracy makes the mass man believe that he is master of his psychic and political destiny.

Thus, the mass man feels in his bones that life is now “exempt from restrictions” on every level. That is to say, in modern parlance, he is emancipated. “The world which surrounds the new man from his birth does not compel him to limit himself in any fashion, it sets up no veto in opposition to him; on the contrary, it incites his appetite, which in principle can increase indefinitely.”

Ortega’s objection is not that appetites increasing is bad; he did not foresee the logical endpoint of total emancipation, which is total autonomy combined with total tyranny and a denial of basic reality. Instead, his objection is that the mass man fails to appreciate that all this, that benefits him, was created with great toil by the excellence of minorities; he thinks it manna from heaven.

What characterizes the mass man is inertia—the opposite of the ceaseless, self-generated search for excellence that characterizes the truly noble. And this failure to understand the sources of the bounty that blesses him, his “radical ingratitude,” combined with the new dominance of the mass man over society, means it will all disappear, and barbarism will return, as excellence flees.

For Ortega, such barbarism isn’t of the type that, looking backward, the twentieth century actually delivered. Rather, “barbarism is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made.” That seems like not a fatal problem, but it is. No standards, no progress, only regress. Certainly, mass men are the creators of such tripe as Syndicalism, Fascism (explicitly in the Mussolini sense) and, Communism (“a monotonous repetition of the eternal revolution,” oblivious to history, like all these movements).

They are created by “the type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions. This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the ‘reason of unreason.’ . . . Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words. . . .” (Ortega would not have enjoyed spending time on Facebook, much less Twitter).

When mass men of politics say they are “done with discussions,” this is what they mean. It implies also that “direct action,” that is, violence, becomes not the ultima ratio, the final argument when all others are through, but the prima ratio, the first argument. This is always true, “at every epoch when the mass, for one purpose or another, has taken a part in public life.”

In all areas, what is recognized by the excellent, the minorities, in all times as “civilized,” from literature, to sexual relations, to art, to manners, to justice, decays. It is those standards for those things that make “the community, common life” possible. Result of their end: barbarism, if we don’t change course.

We can certainly see this degradation of all standards today, to a degree that makes Ortega’s prescience startling (although he was far off the mark on one matter, which I talk about last). Not only is the mass man as Ortega defines him far more dominant, over the whole Western world, than in Ortega’s time, but we see the barbarism Ortega identifies has long since arrived. Certainly almost nobody demands excellence in any field; instead, the mass men who rule demand such rubbish as “diversity and inclusion,” the wholesale granting of unearned benefits on the basis of (preferred) immutable characteristics.

The very idea that there is such a thing as excellence is denied as a matter of course. Similarly with the political processes Ortega identifies. We hear all the time, mostly from the Left but also from the Right, that the time for discussion is over, and the time for action is here, by which the speaker means “conform to my unreasoned and emotion-driven demands or be crushed.” (Such language is all over the latest push to confiscate firearms, for example, along with other forms of knuckle-dragging political behavior that would have horrified Ortega, with his focus on high rationality and political liberty).

And, more broadly, what characterizes everything in the West is a call for total autonomy implemented, if necessary, by government tyranny, and a rejection of any standards as an offense against emancipation.

Ortega believed that as long as the minority of the excellent dominates, progress is inevitable. And the reverse is also true. Therefore, Ortega would, perhaps, not be surprised by the situation today. Moreover, since barbarism has arrived in the form of the domination of mass men, it is natural that a portion of those mass men hold themselves out as the minority, as the elites.

But, of course, they are merely the rulers—they do not actually demand of themselves any pursuit of excellence at all. The names of categories are maintained, in art, politics, and culture, but they are hollow, for the standards are set by mass men clothed in false skins. So, it is entirely possible, if standards have decayed and barbarism returned, for there to be nobody at all to whom the masses can turn for guidance. The polestar may simply have winked out, to, perhaps, be restored at a time to be announced, when the world is remade.

Thus, The Revolt of the Masses feels surprisingly fresh, given not only its age but all the water that has passed under the bridge since it was written. Yes, Ortega does display a simplistic, if touching, faith, in liberal democracy, which has since his time shown its deficiency.

The Europe of 1930 is the triumph of “liberal democracy and technical knowledge,” shown by, among other things, a tripling of the population of Europe. (Ortega is wrong here, of course—there is no necessary, or actual historical, linkage of liberal democracy with the rise of technical knowledge or its impacts in the Industrial Revolution).

He concludes that “liberal democracy based on technical knowledge is the highest type of public life hitherto known,” and though it might be possible to imagine a better, anything better must continue to embody both liberal democracy and technical knowledge, and that it would be “suicidal” to return to any pre-nineteenth-century form. It is the “truth of destiny.”

That was a supportable argument, maybe, in 1930, but not now. True, the term no longer means what it meant for Ortega. For him, it meant political liberty, “consideration for one’s neighbor,” “indirect action” (i.e., a rejection of violence), and, explicitly, universal suffrage where the mass of voters chose among programs offered by their betters.

Today, it means, as Ryszard Legutko says, “coercion to freedom,” where no political liberty is offered to those opposed to unbridled autonomy, and democracy means only being allowed to vote for what today’s elites, who are not Ortega’s minority, allow.

Ortega thought liberal democracy “announces the determination to share existence with the enemy.” Those who today howl “I can tolerate anything but intolerance” can have nothing in common with this sentiment. So perhaps we can say that Ortega may have been right, but liberal democracy as he used the term is dead, a casualty of the barbarism he feared, replaced by its zombie equivalent (although probably such zombification was inevitable, in the nature of liberal democracy, as several recent writers have claimed).

As I promised, let’s turn back to the second misconception about Ortega’s thoughts, regarding “experts.” In the past few years, there have been minor outbreaks of renewed interest in Ortega’s thoughts, always facile. For example, in the Atlantic, a colloquy recently appeared between a staff writer and a reader, where the statement was endorsed by both, that Ortega “describes a movement that appeals to a cross-section of non-intellectual people across class lines that seems to parallel Donald Trump’s cross-cultural appeal. There it seemed to lead to Fascism.” Ortega would have a conniption.

His objection is not that the mass man fails to be intellectual; it is that the mass man does not pursue excellence. For the most part, Ortega loathes modern intellectuals as the very worst type of mass man. Nor does he make any suggestion at all that mass men lead to Fascism; rather, he says that the domination of mass men leads to regression in political organization, one possible end of which is Fascism.

The Atlantic colloquy continues, with such gems as “[T]he digital age seems to have trouble accepting ‘elite’ consensus regarding complex topics such as climate change (and gun control, evolution and tax policy, among many other subjects where the vast majority of scientists, economists, etc., accept certain basic facts that are rejected by large swaths of the public).”

Ortega did not care about what scientists and economists had to say. At all. He would call them ignoramuses, narrow men whose narrow learning did not qualify them to say anything at all to society at large, especially about topics not subject to rigid calculation. His “elites” were men of excellence and broad learning, not sophists and calculators.

To Ortega, “special qualifications” are not those of experts. Our experts are scientists and similar types who are narrow and ignorant outside of a tiny area, yet presume to think otherwise. His leaders, to whom the mass should defer, are men of great mind, not technicians. They are aristocrats.

In fact, Ortega despises the “ ‘man of science,’ the high-point of European humanity,” as being actually “the prototype of the mass man.” This is because the days of scientific discoveries by generalists, like Newton, are over, and the days of narrow specialization by each scientist are here. Science itself is not specialized, and in fact must be informed by areas outside science—but scientific work, today, must be specialized.

The days of encyclopedic minds are gone, and what we have are specialists, each only knowledgeable in “the small corner of which he is an active investigator.” Given this hyper-specialization, men who are overall mediocre, rather than excellent, can actually keep science advancing (this is today called the “Ortega Hypothesis”), because “a fair amount of the things that have to be done in physics or biology is mechanical work of the mind which can be done by anyone, or almost anyone.”

But such men think they are excellent, even though each “knows very well his own tiny corner of the universe; [but] he is radically ignorant of all the rest.” He is a “learned ignoramus,” which is bad enough, but worse is in store, for “By specializing him, civilization has made him hermetic and self-satisfied within his limitations; but this very inner feeling of dominance and worth will induce him to wish to predominate outside his specialty. The result is . . . that he will behave in almost all spheres of life as does the unqualified, the mass-man.”

This is what we see, most of the time, when people demand that the public listen to “experts”—that we listen to specialists in one area who are thereby presumed to be competent to lecture us in areas either only loosely related, or, more often, wholly unrelated.

The names are endless, but include everyone from Bill Nye to Stephen Hawking. It is these specialists, Ortega says, who exist in a state of “ ‘not-listening,’ of not submitting to higher courts of appeal,” a characteristic of the mass man. That is, the experts we are told today we must listen to are, for Ortega, the archetypal mass men, whom we should ignore, and to whom we listen to at our peril.

Finally, Ortega veers off the mark in his last chapter, which covers a third of the book. Here, he extols the need for a European superstate. This chapter has various insights, including that force follows public opinion, and that if Europe does not rule the world, it is not clear that anyone will or can, leading inevitably to “universal barbarism.”

His analysis of nationalism is interesting (“In defending the nation we are defending our tomorrows, not our yesterdays”), but his idea that all states proceed to fusion of social classes (which seems in contradiction to the rest of his book) is demonstrably false. The biggest problem, though, is that he extends this idea of fusion, or consolidation, to extend beyond the nations of Europe, to a true fusion of Europe.

We have seen the zenith of this idea in our lifetimes, and it was not a very high zenith. It has been falsified that “The more faithful the national State of the West remains to its genuine inspiration, the more surely will it perfect itself in a gigantic continental state.” Nor is it true that “Only the determination to construct a great nation from the group of peoples of the Continent [will] give new life to the pulses of Europe.”

Quite the contrary, in fact, as we have seen. The so-called great nation is about to be no nation at all, as all can clearly see. It is not the failure of prediction that bothers me, but that the reasoning and analysis on which it is based, which is conclusory and fantastical, is far inferior to that in the rest of the book.

Despite the last chapter’s failings, this book is very much worth reading and pondering. (I read it because my mother asked me to, on the grounds that she would likely never get around to it herself, and I would do her a service by reviewing it). It does not offer a program to fix the problems identified—that is something we will have to come up with for ourselves.

I don’t know if Ortega had anything to say about that in his other writings. My guess is that he would not be surprised by Europe’s terminal decline, or by that America was able to extend his thirty-year deadline for the West by a few decades, yet is now in the same leaky boat of the Europe of 1930, but with more holes and more fat people in the boat.

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The image shows, “De landverhuizers” (the Emigrants), by Eugène Laermans, painted in 1894.

How To Slay The Climate Change Dragon

In our time, as truth corrodes, myths become necessary. As people drift away from truth, they readily agree to intrusive governments – and such invasive governments give consent to supranational entities and conglomerates who then use myths to manufacture political, social and economic consent.

The sales-force that sells these fictive narratives is the vast media-education-entertainment complex which employs, for such purposes, the punditry of experts, the professoriate, globe-trotting zealots, and sanctimonious thespians. Any dissent from these fables is decried, ridiculed, and suppressed.

One such myth is CO2 in the role of the arch-enemy, Hades-bent on heating up the planet, until life becomes impossible; and it is treacherous human activity that has set free this culprit into the hapless atmosphere to work havoc. After much struggle with vile traitors who greedily serve the villain CO2, and their henchmen, the climate change deniers, a few wise politicians and selfless NGOs will finally hurl CO2 into the netherworld of Zero Emissions, from which it will never rise again. Thus, the planet was saved and is now inhabited by fewer but better humans.

People love stories. The more far-fetched the better. The greater the lies, the more believable it is.

The reality is that the monster, the villain is not CO2 and the Greenhouse Effect. The monster is the myth itself, whereby human life – and the very future of humanity – is being asked to conform to the dictates of the lie that is “catastrophic climate change.” An entire complex of anti-human strategies are now justified by way of this lie – carbon taxes, deindustrialization, veganism, fossil fuel divestment,a green economy, population reduction, Gaia worship, green ethics – a brave new world.

It is precisely this global warming, catastrophic climate change myth that The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap sets out to slay. This book is a follow-up to the earlier work, Slaying the Sky Dragon. Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, which was published in 2011, and which, as the title suggests, did destroy the pretense to “science” that revilers of CO2 leaned upon.

But in the ensuing decade, the myth of global warming has become more deeply entrenched – a lie that must not be questioned. Why this has happened is an important question, and it points to the success of the mythographers, who have a very clever trick up their sleeve – namely, the denial of truth.

Thus, we are supposed to be living in a “post-truth” world, in which “truth” is nothing more than a social construct, where there is only “your truth” and “my truth.” Such “truth” is personal preference, personal taste. In this way, both purpose and meaning are called into question, which brings about cynicism and gullibility; and, thus, people are the more easily led by “thought-leaders,” who serve many masters.

In such a hollowed-out world, climate change is packaged as piety. As Tim Ball observes in his Foreword to the book, “It is hard to believe that such false information as that created and perpetuated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continues to exist. Worse, it goes almost unquestioned and is the prevailing view.”

Ken Coffman in his Publisher’s Note succinctly captures the dynamics of this piety: “We have to give credit to the manipulators – they achieved a lot based on nearly nothing. The human-caused global warming was destructive, wrong and stupid, but masterful use of hyperbole and fear-mongering.”

Earlier, Coffman had noted, “There is no limit to the ways a bad theory can be false.” It soon becomes obvious that the climate change myth is not about science – but about power – and to those who manage the levers of power, truth will always be inconvenient and dangerous, and must, therefore, be suppressed. Truth is the greatest foe of ideology.

The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap offers this truth which is dangerous to those who sell the climate change myth. Thus, in Chapter 1, the entire premise of climate alarmism, of irreversible, catastrophic natural changes, brought about by human activity, is systematically dismantled and then destroyed.

The weapon which slays this mythic beast is the precise definition of what science really is and what it is not. The first Chapter carefully differentiates between the traditional scientific method and “post-normalism.” The former is empirical, rational, and cumulative, where predictions become laws when they can be repeated and always yield the same results. These results become evidence which leads to conclusions, or laws, about reality.

Here, Karl Popper’s famous paradigm serves as a guiding principle: “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.” In other words, truth is first known by evidence and then truth is known by how it is lied about. In our era, post-truth is the lie about truth.

We have to bear in mind that those in power have persuaded many that biological reality of the two sexes is a lie, while the lie of gender-fluidity, that a person can choose his/her own sex – is the truth. This is precisely what Popper meant by falsifiability. We can know truth, when others feel an urgent need to lie about it.

This lying is post-normalism, which stems from norm criticism and intersectionality; both are now de rigueur in all of academia. This means that, by and large, to be educated nowadays means to believe in and promote lies. In such a topsy-turvy world, post-normalist science serves power, not truth, since “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent,” as per Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz.

Such flapdoodle, always uttered with a very serious face, is about managing and controlling the “stakes” and the “decisions,” in which science must be nothing more than another rhetorical device to brainwash people.

This is made rather plain, in case of any doubt, by the academic Mike Hulme: “Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although evidence will gain some insights into the question if it recognizes the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence.” Post-normal “science” is politics by other means.

Thus, climate change is not about the climate – it is not about the environment. Instead, it is an absurd attempt to play God – to change how life exists on the planet. And this existence is to benefit the few, rather than the many, via the Fourth and the Fifth Industrial Revolutions – the point being to cull humanity, so it can pollute less. The shade of Malthus once again raises its head. We are in a death-struggle between two opposing views of humanity. One sees human beings as a harmful virus in the body of noble Gaia, which must be controlled, if not eradicated – and the other which sees great value in human life. It is an epic battle between good and evil.

After Chapter 1, which is the longest of the book, the remaining chapters serve as mop-up operations, in which the various limbs of the dragon that is catastrophic climate change are lopped off and destroyed.

Thus, Chapter 2 tosses the famous Hockey Stick Graph into the dustbin of history. As is well known, this graph, the fabrication of Michael Mann, was the show-piece of the IPCC, and made famous by Al Gore – and it remains to this day the most iconic image of climate alarmists. It purported to “prove” that CO2 trapped heat like a blanket and thus heated up the planet, until life would eventually become impossible.

Things came to a head for Mann when he filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Dr. Tim Ball, who had quipped that Mann was from Penn State but more properly belonged in the state pen, given his many falsifications of data.

Throughout this ordeal, Dr. Ball insisted that he wanted Mann to show his “secret science,” or the R2 Regression Numbers, in court, which Mann claimed he had used to fashion his Hockey Stick Chart, aka the Hokey Schtick. The Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed Mann’s lawsuit and awarded the defendant Ball full legal costs. Such is the cunning of reason – Mann was undone by the very mechanism he had devised to destroy Dr. Ball. God indeed works in mysterious ways!

Chapter 3 guts the myth of the Greenhouse Effect, which is still taught as monolithic truth throughout the education system because it is post-normal science. According to the IPCC (whose usefulness would vanish in a trice if it had to rely on truth rather than post-normal science) the Greenhouse Effect is to be described in this way:

  • The Earth’s surface is warmed by both the Sun and the energy coming back from the atmosphere.
  • The Earth’s surface in turn radiates all the energy, which is wholly absorbed by the atmosphere.
  • The atmosphere then radiates half of that energy into space and the other half back to the Earth’s surface.
  • The result of this continual process is that the Earth’s surface becomes warmer than it would be if it were only warmed by the Sun.

In this model, CO2 becomes a heat-trapping blanket enwrapping the planet. The solution, therefore, is a straightforward one – get rid of the blanket! Hence, all those calls to reduce the “carbon footprint,” to stop using dirty fuels, to save the planet from reaching a “tipping-point,” from which there will be no return. And so forth.

Although this fuels climate alarmism very efficiently, this myth, of course, has nothing to do with scientific facts. The atmosphere is colder than the earth’s surface, so heat cannot bounce back from above, because “colder cannot heat hotter.” Energy is not wholly absorbed by the atmosphere. Some of it escapes into space, the rest is stored in the earth and the oceans and is used to evaporate water.

Any energy that returns to the earth from the atmosphere is always colder, never hotter than the earth’s surface. Therefore, energy returning from the atmosphere can never heat up the planet. All the four points promoted by the IPCC are in fact lies – or, rather, they are post-normal science. It is the sun which heats the planet, while excess heat is radiated out into space.

Chapters 4 and 5 are historical in nature, as they trace the development of various radiation theories, from 1871 to 2010. All the models proposed during these nearly 140-years cannot together prove that heat radiated back to the earth from the atmosphere does actually heat the planet.

In 2010, Claes Johnson called into question the theories of Max Planck and Albert Einstein – and thereby clearly demonstrated that “HEAT can ONLY be transferred from the warmer to the colder body as required by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.”

Chapter 6 is a summary of a paper by George V. Chilingar, which shows that CO2, in fact, cools the planet rather than heats it up. This happens because as “the infrared radiation is absorbed by the molecules of greenhouse gases, its energy is transformed into thermal expansion of air, which causes convective fluxes of air masses restoring the adiabatic distribution of temperature in the troposphere… estimates show that release of small amounts of carbon dioxide (several hundreds PPM), which are typical for the scope of anthropogenic emission, do not influence the global temperature of Earth’s atmosphere.” Thus, the myth of global warming is slain.

Chapter 7 records the results of an experiment conducted by Professor Nasif Nahle, with IR thermometers and radiometers, in which he shows that back-radiation from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface is not real. As Nahle explains, “It is very clear from Thermodynamics and Stefan-Boltzmann Laws that heat is transferred exclusively from warmer surfaces towards cooler systems, never the opposite, and this experiment demonstrates, it is applicable to [the] climate system.” Again, global warming is a lie.

Chapter 8 lays out the experiment carried out by Carl Brehmer in which he shows that the positive water vapor feedback hypothesis is false. The premise of this hypothesis is that “if something increases the Earth’s temperature, this will cause an increase in the evaporation of water into water vapor.”

This leads to increased humidity, which in turn absorbs more infrared radiation from the earth’s surface, thus warming the air and allowing it to hold more water vapor. This supposedly leads to more evaporation, so that humidity continually increases, thus heating up the planet.

By way of a series of experiments, Brehmer discovers that although it is true that higher temperatures create higher humidity through evaporation – it is not true that higher humidity leads to warming. In fact, humidity has a cooling effect, whereby areas that produce higher humidity are cooler than arid areas. This means that “water acts as the Earth’s thermostat and not its heater.”

This falsifies “any notion that there could ever be runaway global warming driven by positive water vapor feedback where the oceans evaporate into the atmosphere and all life on Earth perishes. Why? Because ‘water feedback’ is negative feedback… the presence of water on our planet acts as a stabilizing force, exerting negative feedback against temperature change – up or down.” Evaporation, therefore, continually stabilizes temperature. It cannot increase temperature.

Chapter 9 is a very important study, by Tamarkin and Bromley, of carbon dioxide. Currently, two views predominate. The first is scientific in that CO2 is the “gas of life,” which provides the carbon that all life on this planet needs. Then, there is the post-normal view, promoted by the IPCC, which regards CO2 as a pollutant and which, therefore, must be eliminated.

Given the funding-clout and global influence of the IPCC, it is the latter view that is the norm and which resonates the most with the public at large, because it is easily comprehensible and requires a straight forward plan of action – get rid of the pollutant. To manufacture consent, various computer models have been generated which use the “Radiated Greenhouse Emissions” theory for the usual alarmist predictions – if we do not do something right now, the climate will change so drastically that life on this planet will become difficult if not next to impossible.

As Tamarkin and Bromley rightly remark: “No demonstrable, empirical evidence of this theory is available. No signs of anthropogenic climate change have been discovered.” Even the much-repeated statistic that humans are responsible for increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide by 33 percent is entirely false – because actual evidence shows that manmade carbon dioxide is so low that it cannot even be measured and burning fossil fuels does not impact climate change.

In other words, the only “evidence” is a mathematical computer model, which is contrived to fulfill the demands of alarmist ideology – because the conclusions suggested by this model cannot be observed in nature, nor recreated in experiments. Thus, the political notion of catastrophic climate change, because of Radiated Greenhouse Emissions, is fake news, a grand hoax. More post-normal science hard at work to strip you of your freedom and your dollars.

But more worrying is the fact that this hoax is responsible for affecting real human lives. Politicians are busy implementing real-world policies to counter the effects of a theoretical, computer model. If all this were not so tragic – it would all come off as a silly comedy skit. But the carbon taxes, the war on fossil fuels, the demand for population reduction, the clamor for a one-world government (which might the more effectively “save” this planet via policies that will continually curtail and ultimately deny human freedom) – all these are becoming startlingly real.

Far from destroying the planet as a “pollutant,” CO2 is actually greening the planet, because it is the basis of all life on earth. Also, measurement of infrared radiation suggests that the planet is actually cooling rather than heating up. These various cooling and warming events are natural – and not the result of human activity.

Chapter 10 is the “victory lap,” which details the various achievements of the many brave and resolute scientists who did not kowtow to the IPCC nor submit to political pressure and agree to produce “post-normal science.” Here is a brief list of the changes brought about by these valiant men and women:

  • The foremost British climate scientist, Dr. Phil Jones, admitted that the so-called “historic” temperature data was fake. This became known as the “Climategate scandal.”
  • The work of George Chilingar and John Robertson has positively impacted heat transfer physics, so that other scientists also now agree that adiabatic pressure accounts for the variance in temperature – a process in which CO2 plays no part whatsoever.
  • In 2017, a group of Italian scientists was forced to admit that climate models are “very likely flawed,” since there has been no warming trend over the past century. This means that the greenhouse gas theory can no longer be sustained.
  • It is now known that there is no “tipping point” whatsoever, since carbon dioxide does not drive temperature change.
  • Oxford University’s Myles Allen has conceded that there is no rapid warming happening anywhere on the planet.
  • William Happer of Princeton University admits that the various climate change models do not work because they are fundamentally flawed: “They haven’t worked in the past. They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future.” In other words, climate alarmism has no basis whatsoever in science.
  • Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger of the Cato Institute and the journal, Nature Geoscience, now acknowledge that warming has been on the low end of all model predictions for the last sixty years.
  • Kenneth Richard compiled evidence from over thirty peer-reviewed papers, which showed that all the regions of the earth have been cooling over recent decades. Richard then asks a pertinent question: “One has to wonder how and from where a large net ‘global warming’ signal could have been obtained when there has been so much regional cooling.” Obviously, the answer is simple “global warming” is a lie.
  • In 2012, the influential science magazine, Nature, also admitted that climate change science was “riddled with systematic errors.”
  • In 2017, Nokolov and Zeller affirmed that the “heat-trapping mechanism” that brings about global warming is nothing more than a theoretical conjecture, with no science to back it up. In other words, it is a myth.
  • Russian scientists have recently shown that global warming is DOA.

Chapter 11 summarizes the great work being done by Principia Scientific International (PSI), which has long fought for real science and truth. Its aim is to “shun the vagaries of political advocacy,” and to refuse to be subordinated to the “moralizing pre-determinism of discredited ‘post normal’ science.” PSI is sustained by the unpaid and voluntary work and effort of its many members who are dedicated to the pursuit of truth no matter what the personal cost.

The monster, the dragon that is catastrophic climate change has long been slain – the news of its death has yet to be universally acclaimed. It was slain by the efforts of all those serious scientists who refused to abandon truth for political rhetoric. Their courageous work is meticulously recorded in The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap, which ends on a very hopeful note, because truth can never be defeated, though is may be suppressed for a time. The final words of this marvelous, engaging, and deeply informative book are prophetic in the true sense – “The momentum is ours.”

The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap is a book that everyone must read, because it is a thorough and precise vademecum for all those who want to become “slayers” of the political lie that is manmade and catastrophic global warming – wherever they may encounter it in their own lives. Everyone must read this book to not only learn about the hoax still being perpetrated by supranational agencies, politicians and their various minions – but more importantly it must be read to win freedom from the influence of snake-oil hucksters who want to own your mind and enslave your spirit so that you might the more readily do their bidding.

But such fraudsters have already failed. “The momentum is ours.”

The image shows, “Saint George and the Dragon,” by Vittore Carpaccio, painted ca. 1502.

Our Shared Work With Christ

The average Christian, reading his Bible in happy devotion, stumbles across this passage: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church (Col 1:24).

The passage is particularly disturbing for a certain strain of Protestant thought that emphasizes Christ’s sufficiency for all things. Christ has accomplished all things necessary to our salvation and we are thus able to “rest” in His completed work. For many, this is at the heart of grace. God has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. What remains is for us to trust that this is so. Christ declares, “It is finished.” There is nothing left for us but trust.

This sentiment recently came crashing into a discussion of the Russian novel, Laurus. I attended (and spoke) at the Eighth Day Symposium in Wichita, Kansas. The presenter, Jessica Hooten Wilson, had spoken on the Russian novel, Laurus, by Eugene Vodolazkin, in which the lead character enters the long, arduous life of a holy fool following the death of a woman and her child, a result of his own inaction. Wilson made mention of a review by Alan Jacobs (Baylor University) that described its spirituality as “Hindu,” and castigated its approach to Christianity. He wrote: “…though I know that Eugene Vodolazkin is a Christian, I remain uncertain about just what vision of the Christian life is being held out to me in this book…. In Laurus…long, hard spiritual labor pays for sins, as it does for the world…”

Vodolazkin nowhere characterizes Laurus’ labors as a payment for sin. Indeed, the concept is foreign to Orthodox thought. It is an absence that is so profound that a Protestant professor of literature felt the need to supply it, and with it, distort a beautifully Orthodox novel. In the discussion at the conference, a Protestant participant agreed that the novel seemed strangely unable to “rest” in Christ. Inasmuch as I am often not in dialog with Protestant Christians, I was caught off-guard by these observations. I forgot how foreign all of this is. Happily, it is also foreign to the New Testament.

Whatever one might think of grace, the work of Christ on the Cross in no way removes the work of the Cross from the lives of believers. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and continue to say throughout our lives: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live” (Gal. 2:20). It is Christ who taught that we ourselves must take up the Cross and follow Him. There is no “resting” Christianity made available by a substitutionary work of Christ. The work of Christ is a matter of participation (koinonia) – we are baptized into it, live through its presence in us, and do not cease to share in that work, ever.

It is always difficult to listen to what is actually being said and not try to hear a conversation that is not taking place. Salvation, in Latin Christianity, was made captive, rather early on, to the language of “grace” and “works.” Within what would become a dominantly juridical framework, grace and works were easily externalized, raising questions about who was doing the “saving.”

When St. Paul says that he is filling up “that which is lacking” in Christ’s afflictions, he is either subscribing to some form of Pelagianism, or he simply has no notion of a juridical salvation. No doubt, the latter is the actual case.

When he says that he is crucified with Christ, St. Paul means precisely what he is saying. Indeed, it is the deepest cry of his heart: “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him – the power of his resurrection, and the communion of His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:8-11).

This has nothing of the language of earning, much less external grace and works. It is the language of the most intimate, mystical communion.

We know a little bit about this experience, for it is common in relationships marked by intense love. The coldness of a conversation regarding who did what, or what is owed to whom, has no place in such intimacy. Love speaks in terms of union. It wants to share in the deepest manner possible the life of the beloved.

There appeared a rift in Protestantism within its first two to three centuries. That rift, to a large extent, represented a deep dissatisfaction with a cold, sterile presentation of the life of grace. Early Protestants almost universally held to a doctrine of “cessationism,” teaching that miracles ended when the New Testament was completed. What remained were the rather mechanical/intellectual doctrines that assured of salvation. Dry as dust.

The reaction to this was the birth of Pietism, in a variety of forms and places. At its worst, Pietism’s emotionalism led to extremes of belief and practice. At its best, it produced holy lives and gave heart to what would have been little more than a dry death to Western Christianity. Inasmuch as Western Christianity survives our present difficulties, it will be the heart born in Pietism that saves it (or so I think).

The transformation of the Pietist conversion experience into the doctrine of being “born-again” has tended to confuse Pietism and classical Protestantism, framing the experience of the heart in the rigid language of doctrinal necessity. Like many aspects of Protestantism(s), fragmentation in doctrine and experience has been a continuing and dominant feature.

Classical Christianity, in its Orthodox form, is very rich in its vocabulary and stories of the human experience of God. It is always “ontological” in its approach to doctrine, meaning that doctrine is always about “something-that-is” and not about a theory, or a juridical arrangement. Because “something-that-is” is capable of being experienced, it is always seen as quite natural that the work of God has a describable, experiential component.

If I am being crucified with Christ, it is inherently the case that such a thing is experienced in some manner. In the case of a holy fool, it might look a lot like the Laurus character. He must be contrasted with the middle-class American who sings happy songs on Sunday, perhaps even moved to tears, satisfied and assured that Jesus has taken care of everything such that he can safely return to the banalities of his life. Isn’t Jesus wonderful!

The simple truth is that the Kingdom of God “suffers violence, and the violent bear it away” (Matt. 11:12). The gospel engages the whole person and assumes that we will love God “with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind.” That such an engagement might be described by some as “works righteousness” is merely indicative of a bifurcated Christianity that has placed God in a second-storey doctrinal reality, while the secular party rages here below.

Thank God for the Lauruses sprinkled across the historical landscape. The unity of faith and experience exemplified in their sometimes stormy lives whispers hope that God dwells among us and loves us, willing Himself into the messiness of our crucified existence, ever-straining Himself into the depths of our being, while we strain to respond in kind, enduring “that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” – our own response to His love.

Father Stephen Freeman is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, serving as Rector of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.

The image shows, “Basil the Blessed, Praying,” by Sergey Kirillov, painted in 1994.

The Fall Of Acre

I often say that the Crusades were a high point of Western civilization. And they were, but they were also an example of flawed glory. Certainly, the goal of the Crusades was peerlessly laudable, and the virtues shown by Crusaders admirable.

At the same time, the Holy Land Crusades illustrated key weaknesses of the West, and, after all, if nothing succeeds likes success, nothing fails like failure. In Roger Crowley’s The Accursed Tower all of this is on display, though Christian valor is probably the dominant theme, as it should be. In a sane society, the events of this book would be used for a blockbuster movie featuring the Christians as doomed heroes. Not in today’s society, to be sure, but maybe in tomorrow’s.

The book’s focus is the final years of the Crusader States, which were founded after the epic success of the First Crusade in reconquering Muslim-occupied Palestine in A.D. 1099, and are generally deemed to have ended with the fall of the ancient city of Acre to the Mamluk sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291.

The Crusader States had been in decline since Saladin’s victory at the Horns of Hattin in 1187, and what intermittent respite the Crusaders had gotten from Muslim pressure came from Muslim disunity, not Crusader gains. Then as now, Muslim discord was the norm (Frederick II took advantage of it to regain Jerusalem by treaty in 1228; it was lost again in 1244).

But off and on, due to religious fervor or political consolidation, which usually went hand-in-hand, pressure on the Christians spiked, so the writing had long been on the wall. In the end, it was simple: the Muslims were both rich and close to Outremer, effectively surrounding it, while at this time the West was relatively poorer and farther away.

The book’s title comes from one of the towers defending Acre, a sea port defended on its landward side by extensive fortifications, including a double wall and numerous barbicans and towers. (It mostly could not be approached from its seaward side, and its harbor was protected by the chain formerly guarding the Golden Horn in Constantinople, stolen by the Crusaders sacking Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, in 1204).

As Crowley notes, much of the precise layout of both the city and its fortifications can only be conjectured at this point, but all agree that the Accursed Tower (a name of uncertain origin) lay at the crucial bend in the walls, and thus was the key pressure point during the Muslim siege. Acre had belonged to the Crusaders since it was retaken from the Muslims in 1104 (who had taken it from the Eastern Romans in the late seventh century), except for a two-year period after Saladin conquered it in 1187—it was retaken in a brutal siege in 1189, part of the Third Crusade.

But the Third Crusade failed to free Jerusalem from its occupiers, and the Crusader States for the next one hundred years were sadly diminished, consisting of a string of principalities and fortresses, the latter typically operated by the military religious orders, most famously the Hospitaller citadel at Krak des Chevaliers, north of Acre, near Tripoli (the Outremer Tripoli, not the one in North Africa).

Acre became de facto the center of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, the south end of the Crusader States, both for trade and war, thus becoming a very wealthy and cosmopolitan city. It was also, in the way of rich port cities at the crossroads of civilizations, a pit of vice, although no doubt this was somewhat exaggerated by pious Western churchmen shocked upon their first arrival. And like most of the Crusader States, Acre debilitatingly lacked coherent political leadership.

The King of Jerusalem was an absentee landlord and the strongest power was the Pope’s representative, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (who lived in Acre, not Jerusalem), but other powers, including the Templars and Hospitallers, were nearly independent.

Acre’s existence as a Christian stronghold throughout the century was therefore tenuous, but daily life not all that different from a hundred years before, or from any other Mediterranean port. Muslim and Christian merchants struck deals; the Genoese and Venetians traded with everyone, including the enemy, and fought each other; everybody got along in some years and not in others.

The Christians talked about retaking Jerusalem and did nothing, but on the other side, chronic Muslim civil war, and the threat of the Mongols, kept the Muslims from concentrating on permanently dislodging the Crusaders. And, often as not, the trade brokered by the Christians was of great benefit to Muslim rulers, reducing their incentive to do more than issue vague endorsements of jihad and in practice to curb Muslim fanatics eager to fulfill the Prophet’s commands for ceaseless war against the infidel. All in all, no doubt daily life was fairly pleasant for most people, contrary to the myth of medieval suffering.

The first half of the book is a lively narration of the thirteenth century in Outremer. Crowley covers the mid-century Seventh Crusade, where Louis IX’s armies came to grief in Egypt. He covers the Mamluk defeat in 1260 of the Mongols at Ain Jalut, Goliath’s Spring, neither hindered nor helped by the Crusaders, who at least gave the Muslims safe passage to the battlefield.

He narrates the takeover of Egyptian power by the military slave Mamluks from their Ayyubid overlords, and their welding into a disciplined conquering force under the sultan Baybars, the “Lion of Egypt,” a puritanical Muslim like so many successful conquerors. (As Crowley notes, because the Christians of Damascus had dared to drink wine and ring bells when the Mongols were admitted to Damascus, Baybars collectively punished Christians by, among other crimes, destroying “the hugely significant church of St. Mary in Nazareth, the supposed site of the Annunciation”).

Most relevantly for the current narrative, Baybars systematically increased pressure on the Crusader States, killing peasants in the fields and intermittently besieging and conquering towns and cities. These included the southern towns of Caesarea, Arsuf, and Jaffa, and the critical northern city of Antioch.

He made life difficult for Christians, who were incapable of mounting a unified response, and lacked the military manpower to do much more than man their fortresses and battlements. And he didn’t care much that the Christians provided economic benefits to his realm; jihad was far more important, and this was what sealed the fate of the Crusader States.

The Christians in Europe were well aware of what was going on, but as so often, mustered only a feeble response accompanied by a great deal of hot air. Henry III’s son, Edward Longshanks (later Edward I, made famous several years back by the movie Braveheart), along with Louis IX, led the Ninth Crusade.

Edward landed in Acre with his knights in 1271 (shortly after Baybars finally managed to capture Krak des Chevaliers), and won some major victories over Baybars, but soon enough departed (though he left behind several men who were critical to the final defense of Acre), changing nothing.

The second half of the book narrows the focus to the Fall of Acre. In 1280, Baybars died (probably poisoned), to be succeeded as sultan (after the usual civil war) by another Mamluk general, Qalawun, who continued what Baybars had accomplished, following much the same religious and political policies. He prepared to attack Acre, but died in 1290, to be succeeded by Khalil, who again continued his predecessors’ program. Men and material, called to jihad with its dual rewards of paradise and booty, swarmed to Khalil from every direction, and he began the siege in April, 1291.

Unlike towns earlier conquered by the Muslims, however, Acre was very strongly defended (though, due to internal conflict, the defenders had not beefed up the defenses adequately before the siege) and had a full garrison, of infantry, mounted knights, and such ancillary critical personnel as Pisan siege engineers.

It could be re-supplied from the sea (the Mamluks never had any navy to speak of) and thus had to be taken by force, not by starving out the defenders. On the debit side of the balance sheet, though, the defenders had unclear military command, and failed to coordinate properly, a problem the Sultan did not face. The man effectively in overall charge was the Patriarch, Nicolas de Hanapes (the only canonized Crusader), but his hold was persuasive, not dictatorial. And, the biggest problem of all, Khalil had functionally infinite resources with high morale and strong incentives, so the result was largely inevitable.

Crowley does an outstanding job of narrating the siege and the Fall. Attacks and counterattacks; siege machines; mining; sorties by land and sea. He uses fascinating stories from contemporary sources, both Muslim and Christian, most interestingly from the “Templar of Tyre,” an anonymous Arabic-speaking knight who was probably not a Templar but was included within the councils of the Templars.

On both sides, the heroism often found in such battles, ancient and modern, was on display—the men from the book Red Platoon, fighting in twenty-first-century Afghanistan, would fit right in here, and the men fighting in Acre would fit in there. Over several weeks, the Muslims wore the Christians down; not enough men arrived to replenish losses, and the Christians grew short of ammunition.

By mid-May, the battle was nearing its end. On May 18, after bombardment and mining broke in the walls, Khalil’s troops, coming in endless waves of heavily armored, highly disciplined men, overcame Christian resistance at the Accursed Tower, and thereby entered the space between the double walls, which allowed them to spread out to attack the gates. Last-ditch resistance of the city itself was organized by the Marshal of the Hospitallers, Matthieu de Clermont, who is depicted on the cover of the book in a nineteenth-century French painting (note the double walls).

Clermont and his men rode out and died in the streets, and the Muslims then slaughtered and raped their way through the city, killing or enslaving everyone not able to get away by ship. (Such behavior was the norm in medieval warfare, of course, but is always talked about nowadays as if it was only something Christians did, so it is refreshing to see historical honesty).

A few of the internal citadels, such as the Templar’s castle, held out for a while, but were soon ground down and the same treatment meted out to the survivors. Khalil then demolished much of the city, though its skeleton was a landmark for passing ships for centuries.

So ended the Holy Land Crusades, mostly forgotten in the East until resurrected as part of resistance to colonialism in the nineteenth century, and remembered mostly only in distorted fashion in the West, a propaganda tool for Protestants and atheists up to the present day.

But today I am less focused on politics; today is mostly straight history. One reason I very much enjoyed this book is that I have long had a fascination with medieval weaponry and siege equipment, and Crowley also appears entranced by siege weaponry, especially catapults and trebuchets, about which he talks a great deal.

Why I have such an interest, I have no idea, but it has always been true. I had castle-building Lego analogues as a child, with which I played endlessly. I had toy soldiers, knights in armor, one of which now stands by me as I write, wielding a morning star (a real, if rare, weapon, despite occasional modern claims to the contrary).

I know from reading Howard Pyle’s Men of Iron at the age of five what a glaive-guisarme is (a weapon consisting of a blade on a wooden pole, used to slash and stab, with a hook on the other side, used in the novel in the climactic duel by the underdog). Perhaps my personal interests made this book more gripping to me than it would be to others, however, so if this type of thing bores you, maybe this book is not for you.

Accuracy is key for Crowley, to the extent that a narrative of any ancient event can be made fully accurate. Unlike many modern writers, he does not ascribe to Muslims inventions they did not make. He notes that the Chinese invented most of the catapult-type siege weapons used by Khalil, including the traction trebuchet, which the Byzantines had also used.

The more powerful counterweight trebuchet, a vital weapon in Khalil’s arsenal, able to topple stonework like the Accursed Tower, was probably invented by the Byzantines, though the record is unclear. (With both stonethrowers and, later, gunpowder, the Europeans took the basic idea that had existed for hundreds of years with incremental improvements, and proceeded to reinvent and massively improve the technology within a few decades.

No doubt that is why many of Khalil’s catapults were ifrangi, “Frankish catapults”). The only error that Crowley does make is to claim, repeatedly, that the Mamluks used Greek Fire, by giving that name to all incendiaries, not actual Greek Fire, a liquid that burned on water and was dispensed under pressure, the secret of which was probably lost by this time even to the Byzantines. But that’s a pretty small and common error, that does not detract from the book.

Crowley wrote an even better earlier book, Empires of the Sea, which centers on the 1565 Siege of Malta, where the Christians won. I have been to Malta, and there is no experience like standing where such an epic battle took place, seeing in your mind’s eye what it must have been like. That’s not really possible in Acre, anymore, but reading this book nearly puts you there.

Strangely, Crowley mentions modern Acre quite a bit, but never once mentions that it is in Israel, and most of its modern population is Jewish. Which goes to show that times change, I suppose. I won’t predict the future for Acre, but looking backward allows the reader to grasp, in outline, the life and death of the Crusades.

The Fall of Acre is in many ways a microcosm of that age of action, showing both the good and the bad: heroic men performing acts of glory, and bad men betraying each other and indulging in vice. Often it was the same men. These are the sorts of stories we should tell our children, and, as I say, make movies about. One can hope.

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The image shows, “The Siege of Acre,” by Dominique Papety, painted ca. 1840.

Humans First!

How much of our humanity are we willing to lose? It would appear that this question is becoming most pertinent in our age. But another, more fundamental, question foregrounds this one – what is a human being? Are people bio-mass? If so, then only one idea is required to exist on this planet, namely, how best to manage populations.

If mankind is something other than bio-mass, then another idea is needed to live a happy and meaningful life, namely, how best to safeguard the value of the individual. Each answer also means that a particular type of government, or state, must come into existence – whether it be rule by an all-powerful polity before whose might, one person is worth nothing; or whether it be a limited government that does not stand in the way of the people.

As is obvious, the first question can only be answered properly within the context of either of these two ideas. The current “culture war” is, in fact, an expression of our inability to come to a definite answer for what a human being is. And in this confusion, the very notion of citizenship is fast disappearing. If a citizen is bio-mass, then his value to the state is determined purely by the state. If the citizen is not bio-mass, then his value exists beyond the reach of politics because he innately possesses individual sovereignty, or self-worth, which no court of law or government can take from him.

But the more powerful a state becomes, the less a human life is valued. Consequently, those who agree with the state are deemed “good citizens,” while those that deny the power of the state are held in contempt and labeled as, “dissidents.” Currently, in the West, both these ideas are in contention. Which idea will win out in the end, will decide what type of society comes to exist in the West.

Into this struggle intrudes technology, which has assumed the structure of the all-powerful state – because it is intrinsically about the micro-management and even control of individuals. But it is a “state” of a very peculiar type. We watch screens. The screens watch us. It really is a watcher’s world, in which the boundary between public and private life is much corroded, so that individuals must continually yield their sovereignty in order to access the various necessities now contained solely within technology.

Indeed, it is now impossible to deal with money, information and communication without the intermediacy of the screen. This means that whenever we need to enter into any sort of transactional relationship with the world around us, we need to go and interact with a screen. There really is no other choice. And this “screened” interaction means people must assume two roles – there are those who need what screens dispense; and there are those who mange this dispensation.

In other words, the watchers are watched. And those that watch, do so continually, ensuring that entire populations are under constant surveillance. In this way, technology has created an entirely new form of “politics” – one where constant surveillance both exploits and controls. It exploits by charting what we buy and then tagging us as specific types of consumers. And it controls by telling us what to think – so that screens determine our behavior. We agree to be watched so that we might reap the benefits provided by the screen.

But this is consent of a different kind, because there is no other choice. There is no alternative to the screen. This also means that there really is no consent at all, only compliance, if we want to participate in commerce, communication or banking. In this way, each of us becomes nothing more than a technological “process.”

Much has been written about the surveillance culture and the surveillance economy. But recently an interesting set of three books has been published by Cyrus Parsa, each of which explores the serious threat to humanity posed by technology. These three books were published quickly, from August to October 2019. And all three, offer troubling, if not shocking, insights as to what becomes possible when technology and the state become a seamless entity – a merging that is coming into being in the West, but which is fully entrenched in China.

The three books are meant to be read one-after-the-other, it would appear, since each develops and builds upon two themes – “bio-digital social programming” and the anti-human agenda embedded within technology. Since these books seem to be self-published, a good editor was certainly needed– but this drawback does not distract from the value of the insights and information provided by the author, for he brings to the discussion a point of view that is very little understood and therefore little discussed, namely, the vast anti-human possibilities of technology.

More importantly, Parsa also offers insights as to how we ought to answer the two questions that were raised at the very beginning: How much of our humanity will we agree to give up in order to use technology? And, how shall we define a human being, given the anti-human assumptions that are the modus operandi of high-tech?

In his first book, Raped Via Bio-Digital Social Programming, Parsa posits the idea that technology promotes a “rape-mind,” that is, a mind that is perpetually sexualized and therefore always looking to either rape or be raped. As an aside, Parsa is also creating a vocabulary to help in his analysis, because the topics that he is engaged in have been so little studied that they do not yet possess specific terminology. “Bio-digital social programming” is one such neologism, by which he means the connections made with the human body by all digital transmissions (machines, robotics, computers, smart phones, smart cities, IoT devices, facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence).

Parsa suggests that humanity now exists as a “bio-digital” entity, which learns and understands the purpose and meaning of life now only through technology. This interchange, or cross-over, means that the difference between humanity and robotics is starting to blur. If a human is merely a set of mechanical functions, then bio-digitality makes sense, where the desire of human existence to self-perpetuate is channeled off into technology.

This, then, calls into question the very purpose of sex itself – for freed from reproduction it can only become another form of self-gratification. And because of this separation of sex from procreation, the various hybrids being created become expressions of progress rather than monstrosity. This “logic” also informs the entire transgender movement, where a New Man can be created by chemical means.

Given technology’s assumption about the human body as a mechanical object that can be programmed, Parsa suggests that the most effective method of such programming is digi-sexuality, which is then managed through the various gadgets we all possess, such as, smart phones and IoT devices, and which together create a hyper-sexualized mind, or the “rape-mind.” Parsa then connects this mind with the great upsurge in human and child-trafficking, and a “pornified” youth culture, which seeks to not only imitate but outdo the sexual acts portrayed on the screens of their various devices.

Such “rape automation” offers a precise explanation of what human sexuality has been turned into by technology – wide-spread and freely-available pornography, epidemic levels of pedophilia, sex-robots as a growth industry, and the bizarre promotion by the state of transgenderism. In other words, what Parsa describes is a culture that no longer understands what it means to be human, because it has transformed sexuality into a mechanism for controlling populations, in that people become what they see on their screens.

In his second book, AI, Trump, China & the Weaponization of Robotics with 5G, Parsa delves into another neologism of his, namely, “micro-botic terrorism” (or, MBT), by which he means the weaponization of biometric data. Just as technology has weaponized sex, likewise the human body itself has been turned into an effective means to destroy the individual, so that if the metrics of the individual do not match the “ideal citizen” required by the state, then that individual becomes the enemy of the state, and is dealt with accordingly.

The state needs to know who its enemies are, and technology steps in to identify (or tag) such “undesirables,” by way data. This data is created in such a way that “enemies” can be easily recognized, marked off (tagged) and then dealt with. This data consists of facial recognition, fingerprinting, individual manner of walking and speaking, skeletal structure, eye-scans, and so on.

Our very bodies betray us to the state, in that “enemies” possess physical traits that are markedly different from those that support, comply and agree with the state. Thus, enemies of the state actually possess different faces, postures, speech, mannerisms, gait – which clearly marks them off from the “friendlies” of the state. In other words, in the process of mass surveillance of crowds, enemies can easily be identified.

Such is the grim message that Parsa meticulously lays out; and he identifies China as the foremost user of such anti-human technology. This is obvious, given the idea that China follows in its understanding of what a human being is – nothing more than bio-mass.

Aside from the well-known harvesting of organs from citizens that have been tagged as unfit to live in the “ideal China” (and the trade in such organs is brisk and highly profitable), China also has far grander ambitions. With the help of the big-tech corporations, it has gathered, or is in the process of gathering, bio-metric data of over 6 billion people on this planet.

This means that China now knows, for example, who belongs in the military, police, national security, academia, the government, as well as who belongs to which private sector. And it can also identify who are the friendlies within other nations, and which are enemies. Given the fact that humanity is bio-mass, if any mistakes get made and friendlies get killed by the state – it matters little, so long as the goals of the state continue to be achieved.

Using biometrics, Parsa also details how his own company analyzed one-thousand members of big-tech corporations and one-thousand high-profile media personalities, journalists and reporters. His conclusion was that they are all actively promoting the interests of China; they are friendlies.

If Parsa’s biometric data is correct (and if we assume that data does not lie), then his conclusions must come as a resopunding alarm bell, because those who manage how we receive information have entirely bought into the Chinese model of governance – and the Chinese understanding of humanity.

Next, Parsa details the weaponization of AI by China. This means that through the AI operating system, deep learning and machine learning, human-tracking technologies easily become human-targeting methodologies, where a mass-kill of humans can be done quickly and efficiently.

As a frightening example, Parsa details one current project of the Chinese – the tagging of “House Christians,” or those Christians who refuse to follow the party-approved “church” in which President Xi is given status equal to Christ.

These House Christians have had their biometrics recorded, and this data is then used to identity other House Christians in the general population. This means that the Chinese state recognizes as a fact that Christians look, walk, talk, and generally carry themselves differently from the larger, non-Christian population. The companies engaged in this surveillance are Huawei, Megvii Face++, Sensetime and several others, Parsa tells us.

The purpose of identifying Christians is not only to determine dissidents, but to tag them for organ harvesting – and they can be picked up anytime and rendered.

This is far more than execution. Given that in China humans are bio-mass, the state can remove, without any qualms, people deemed incompatible with, and not fit to live in, Chinese society. And those thus removed are made useful by way of their body parts. Thus, their kidneys, hearts, cornea, livers, lungs and other components are harvested and sold in the international market. Or, “medical tourists” come and receive whatever transplants that they need.

China has been doing such “harvests” for the past fifteen years, with anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 organs harvested in each of those years. Tagged Christians are treated like livestock on the hoof, in that they are kept alive until their organs are needed.

Parsa’s research further shows that there are about 500 Chinese and 600 western AI and tech companies engaged in such collection and categorizing of biometric data, which is gathered by way of smart phones, IoT, automated vehicles, virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, holograms, surveillance grids, and smart cities.

All this information has created a vast human-bio-digital network, wherein humans are connected to machines by way of the Internet and who can then be managed effectively. This means that people are tagged, classified, and their information stored for later use, as they walk about, unawares, on the street, or even as they carry on their private lives inside their own homes. Such AI reach is made possible by G5 and soon G6 technology, which China is rapidly expanding.

Again, given its understanding of humanity, it matters little if G5 and G6 pose a great health risk to people. Indeed, even now, China uses biometric data not only to gather and process individuals tagged for organ harvesting, but to construct vast concentration camps, where individuals are placed for eventual processing. Thus, China carries out the greatest amount of surveillance in its cities. And the same tagging process is being used to identify Hong Kong protesters.

China is also developing “micro-bots,” or “micro-drones,” also known as, Robo-Bees, or Slaughterbots, which are tiny, and insect-like, and which gather data by way of Lidar, facial recognition, and heat-body-motion detection.

These micro-bots have full spatial awareness and can be used for human targeting, in which case they can deliver lethal doses of poison with a quick jab. They can also be trained to swarm and carry out mass attacks on large crowds. Parsa suggests that China is actively using such technology against the United States, and that he has advised the current Trump-administration about this surveillance.

In his third book, Artificial Intelligence. Dangers to Humanity, Parsa fully engages with robotics, and issues an open challenge to the various high-tech firms that are intent on developing capabilities which will lead to profound anti-human outcomes. Taking the lead in this development is China’s robotic and cyborg program, whose sole purpose is the control of all humanity on this planet.

Parsa rightly points out that China has only been able to advance so much in technology because of outright theft (it has sophisticated methods of stealing the latest innovations), tech espionage, forced tech transfers, open-source sharing, and outright collaboration with western companies.

In Parsa’s estimation, China has roughly 1000 new tech startups each day. Some of the things these new companies are developing include robotics, cybernetics, wearable AI surveillance gear, deep fake apps that are easily weaponized, IoT, smart phones, drones, and AI weapons (in which the Chinese military is particularly active). The goal is to record the biometrics of every human being on this planet, a task that is not hard to do, as many might imagine, despite the vast numbers. In fact, AI is built for precisely such massive data.

It is this technology-theft and espionage that has led to the recent Huawei affair. Parsa states that the goal of China is to dominate and control AI and the entirety of the global digital system; and one of the programs that Huawei is implementing is a robot police force, which can effectively track down and quarantine a person who has been tagged for such treatment by the Chinese state.

Huawei is also a Chinese vanguard organization, well-established in over 170 countries, where it creates and manages digital infrastructure. This means that their technology is now being used by 3 billion people, which is a third of the planet’s population. Their network effectively tracks, spies on and controls financial networks and even entire populations. That is vast reach. In fact, Huawei is implementing China’s larger global goals – the domination of financial and political infrastructures of the entire planet, and then the transformation of these infrastructures into one seamless and massive AI digital mega-brain – all run from somewhere in China.

But it is humanoid robotics that holds a special interest for China, in which it is investing a lot of its energy. The end-game of this pursuit is the creation of autonomous weapons, a cyborg army, which can be programmed to kill certain types of humans who have been tagged for elimination. All this is for a very old dream – China wants to be the master of the world.

Then, there is China’s leading role in creating sexbots (which also gather data and transmit it to a centralized system). Such robots are becoming more and more lifelike, and their demand is increasing. Of course, this is also weaponized sexuality, for it is solitary self-gratification, which negates the very idea of love between two human beings, and rather quickly undermines human worth.

Perhaps the question that the rest of need to ask is a simple one – why has the West (which created all this technology in the first place) allow China to become so powerful? And why is a country, which is a clear threat to the West, being empowered still?

The answers to these two questions return us to the original ones asked earlier. The West is confused about how it should understand the human being. Some in power (high-tech companies, the media, Hollywood, politicians) want to follow the Chinese definition. Others are not so sure. And only a minority, it would appear, vehemently reject such classification. This is the real culture war.

And, as an active participant in this culture war, Parsa has taken another unusual step. He has commenced the largest lawsuit of this century by charging corporations, politicians, the media, and banks, under Article 3 of the Genocide Convention, for complicity in the mass murder of humanity. This is a bold step and it will be interesting to see where it leads – whether it is dismissed as frivolous by the courts, or whether it actually gains its sea-legs and proceeds further (as it rightly should).

Whatever the outcome of this lawsuit, Parsa has set a worthy example to us all. His three books are a wake-up call – and the time now has come that we take back our humanity – before we lose it to Chinese and tech tyranny.

But to do so, we must first demand that our politicians be pro-human. We must stop believing in all the anti-human ideologies that now hold sway (such as, environmentalism, transgenderism, abortion, euthanasia). Our strange love of such attitudes and outlooks can only lead to destruction.

We must reject the madness that is environmentalism, because it is simply Neo-Malthusian eugenics. We must demand that a “China Divestment Policy” be implemented, whereby each nation is freed from reliance on cheap Chinese labor (for the Chinese state has enslaved its own population). And most important of all, we must stop being so darned agreeable and compliant when it comes to our own future. The boldness shown by Parsa is much-needed. Let us get behind a cause that really matters – humanity first! A good place to start is the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge.

The image shows a poster for the film, Metropolis, from 1927.

In The Green Reich, We Are All Jews

This is a book that everyone must read. It is brief, to the point – and utterly frightening, for it lays out the end-game of environmentalism, which will affect us all, if we blindly keep empowering it, as we are now so gleefully doing.

People often wonder how Hitler was allowed to come to power and carry out his plan? Just look at the way you vote, the way you think about humans and this planet, why you want to go green, what you demand from politicians you elect when it comes to the environment.

If you are honest about the answers that you arrive at, you will understand how evil becomes institutionalized and therefore massively murderous. Hitler famously said that he had planted the seed and no one could now predict how and when it would grow back again.

Environmentalism is that Hitlerian seed, sprouted and flourishing, and which is now so eagerly being nurtured to maturity by people who naively believe that they are doing the right thing. And once the process of evil is locked into place, its mechanisms always follow through to their bitter end. Such is the dire warning of this timely book.

The author, Drieu Godefridi, a Belgian philosopher, writes in the grand tradition of Émile Zola’s open letter, J’Accuse! Like Zola, he has shoved before our complaisance a defiant open-letter to humanity, in which he warns against the death-cult that is environmentalism, whose adherents now inhabit the highest political, social and cultural offices and positions, and who are widely regarded as the vanguards of morality. Huge money fuels environmentalism, because it is a source of profit and therefore an industry. Thus, celebrities tout it, experts hector us with its “facts,” politicians tax us over it and legalize it – and it is now a towering Moloch, to which all must bend knee, and into whose maw we must toss our humanity.

Godefridi’s original, French title was posed as a question, L’écologisme, nouveau totalitarisme? (“Ecologism, the New Totalitarianism?”). The answer to which is a ringing, “Yes!”

But this is totalitarianism in the true sense of the word, not in the muddled way that this term is commonly tossed about in popular parlance. Ecologism (or environmentalism, as is more usual in English) seeks to take total control of all aspects of human life, even to the extent of determining how many people may actually live on this planet.

Such totalizing means that human life itself can no longer be possible outside the parameters established and policed by environmentalism. Thus, the various curtailments of human liberty that we now agree as acceptable – hate speech laws, rights legislation, indigenization, the green initiative, fewer births and declining populations – these are all slow entrenchments of totalitarianism, where humanity is purely defined by the logic of environmentalism. But notice that this creed is always clothed in the appearance of morality, as being the “right” thing to do. And people for the most part love such clothing, because there yet remains a deep hunger for morality, despite avowed atheism. As such, environmentalism is the new religion whose tenets Goidefridi thoroughly explores.

The English translation of the book, recently published, bears a more sinister title, The Green Reich. The question in the original has now been transformed into a cogent warning, wherein the future is hyper-Hitlerian, in which all of humanity will be held in the same contempt as the Jews in Hitlerian ideology. And Godefridi makes it very clear that the grim program of the environmentalists is far more comprehensive and thorough than anything Hitler could imagine. But the aim is similar; only the labels have shifted – to return purity to nature, to the planet, through the destruction of verminous humanity.

Two common presuppositions that undergird all aspects of environmentalism are that the planet is over-populated, and therefore, there is overconsumption of resources. This results in harmful waste, especially CO2.

These Neo-Malthusian assumptions then proceed to fashion “solutions,” which must be implanted, in order to combat the glut of humanity. Thus, the population of the planet must first be reduced. This will greatly lessen the consumption of natural resources, which will eliminate C02. Therefore, very few humans, and perhaps none, should live on this planet, in order for earth to continue to live on into the future. Nature now is far more important than humanity, because humanity is seen as inherently unnatural, entirely alien to the planet. In effect, mankind is a terrible disease, from which earth needs to be cured.

Stark choices always construct the most powerful narratives, because they demand totalizing solutions. Thus, the deeply ingrained Christian habit of the Western world, of trying to be moral in action and thought, is weaponized against humanity, by making morality an efficient tool to achieve the goals of environmentalism. Humanity has gravely sinned against the planet and now must sacrifice itself in order to give an afterlife to mother earth. Here is the devastating consequence of Western Godlessness – sublimating redemption into self-annihilation. Thus, humanicide is the cardinal virtue of environmentalism. Since humanity is the greatest threat to the planet, humanity itself must find ways to limit its own potential to do harm. And the best limitation is self-elimination.

The book opens with a rather chilling dialogue, set in a stark future, between a father and son, after the “Great Stop” (i.e., the world, as we know it, has been stopped). It is a zero-carbon dystopia, where humanity proudly wears the badge of “Accursed Parasite,” and therefore the human population is slowly but surely being wound down. A nation of sixty-million now has 24 million – and counting.

Each human is allowed monthly CO2 rations, which means there is no travel, you must eat what is allowed, and live in prescribed accommodations. There are no schools or labor of any kind – what would be the point, since there is no world to build, let alone a future generation to prepare to inhabit it. Rather, the world is only there to be unbuilt. And the earth is worshipped as the goddess, Gaia, the all-wise mother, in whose praise the impieties of historical “Terracide” are remembered as piety, from a time when humanity was barbaric and given to robbing the earth of its wealth. Such is the new “holy” wisdom. Each human properly belongs to the “Official Altruistic Death Program” that encourages people to voluntarily “humusate” themselves (that is, made into humus, which is so very useful to Gaia). When the last human is thus composted, the planet finally will be able to recover from the destructive human presence and rejuvenate itself. Gaia utterly cleansed of humanity is the highest virtue.

The points in this dialogue are based on actual studies put out by environmentalist “scientists;” none of it is fantasy; only the conceit of the dialogue is imagined. In effect, environmentalism is an anti-human death-cult. To that end, The Green Reich makes some very disturbing connections, which should really make people question the kinds of politics that they are advocating when they hand power over to ideologues who say they want to “save the planet.”

Godefridi points out that the environmentalists’ only talking point is the vilification of CO2. Few people (voters) understand what is at stake here. Humanity is carbon, as is all of life – the very act of breathing is the constant emission of CO2. All life needs carbon; earth is dead without it. So, phrases like “carbon-neutral,” “decarbonization” and “carbon-free” become code-words for a human-neutral, dehumanized, human-free planet.

Once these code-phrases become part of everyday thinking, humanicide itself becomes that much easier to implement, because people will actually want to have a future that will have zero CO2 emissions – that is, a future without human beings.

The first stage of this program involves the end to all fossil fuels, the burning of which is held to be the greatest crime, or catastrophe. Here “local” takes on a drastic meaning, for you will only be able to travel as far as your own two feet can take you, the combustion engine having been outlawed. Thus, no cars, ships, planes or trains. And once herded into state-designated locales, humans will be that much easier to cull. Do you see how much more efficient this is over Hitler’s ghettoization of the Jews? For example, there are some environmentalists who object to relief aid for famine-stricken areas – because they see famine as a boon to the life of the planet. The more humans that can be wiped out, the better.

A localized humanity will also have to eat differently, because animals raised for food emit far too much CO2. This means that entire industries and livelihoods will be dismantled and eliminated, and a vague sort of veganism will be mandated. Food will serve no purpose, because life will no longer have intrinsic worth, which means that it will become harder and harder to justify human life as a good in itself.

Next, given the elimination of entire food groups, human health will undergo a drastic shift for the worse, as nutrition and medicine will become pointless – the end-game being depopulation. Keeping a human alive for years on end will serve no purpose whatsoever, especially since said human needs and sheds CO2 constantly. But the dystopia is not over just yet.

As already stated, the fundamental premise of environmentalism is its anti-human agenda. Thus, the direst disaster that human beings bring upon this planet is to give birth to more human beings. Babies are the greatest enemies of environmentalists, as these little, new humans produce too much CO2, and besides are guarantors of the CO2 cycle grinding on well into the future. Therefore, births must be reduced, if not eliminated, where child-bearing will be a moral and legal crime. Ultimately, environmentalism is a purified form of antinatalism, purified because human life is seen as harmful in its very essence, not simply because of its actions, or its outcomes. It is no longer about too many humans – the very fact that human life itself exists is bad – because humanity is a parasite upon the earth.

Godefridi describes the environmentalist ethic as “physisist,” where the being of the planet is more valuable than human beings. This down-grading of humanity as the least desirable type of life-form means that nature is the preferred value which supersedes any and all value that humans have given to themselves. It is now the job of environmentalist “thinkers” to brainwash humans into disavowing their own value. The planet cannot be saved with humans on it.

Such self-loathing is delivered for consumption via the education-media-culture conglomerate, where “norm criticism” (that pusillanimous mental exercise that sees every form of Western thinking to be inherently evil and fit only for eradication) is the ideology de rigueur. Thus, a habit of self-loathing is now the proper way to “think,” which makes environmentalist propaganda a breeze to disseminate. Hatred now is the most valuable cultural currency.

There are also various offshoots of antinatalism that derive their moral justification from environmentalism, such as, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and the Church of Euthanasia, both of which, as is obvious, work to rid the planet of humans, though Godefridi does not get into these. Such movements may seem laughable and loony – but notice that they are offered no real opposition. People simply accept the lie that there should not be to many people living on this planet. And it really is an elaborate lie.

This is because no objection to antinatalism is now even possible in the West, given the normalization of abortion, and now transgenderism and pedophilia. Everybody has already bought into the premise that there are too many people on this planet, and therefore people really must have fewer and fewer babies.

No one questions this assumption, let alone seeks to destroy it. No one in power disputes it – because such politicians are put into office by voters who have already accepted the Malthusian presuppositions of environmentalism. So, who will truly have the last laugh?

Many are the “philosophers” who promote this anti-human agenda, such as, Peter Wessel Zapffe, Michel Onfray, Thomas Ligotti, Martin Neuffer, Jean-Christophe Lurenbaum, E.M. Cioran, David Benatar, Gunther Bleibohm, and Julio Cabrera. Their etiology is rooted in the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer. What they advocate is now no longer unimaginable; it even passes for “scientific” truth – the Chinese one-child policy is the perfect example of what can be done with the right kind of “help” from the government. Again, the basic tenets of environmentalism are accepted without question by the voting public.

It would have given Godefridi’s argument fullness if he had spent some time examining the deep connections that environmentalism has with antinatalism. However, his book is more of a philosophical essay rather than a history of those ideas that are now preparing us for mass extinction.

And, as such, Godefridi has written a stirring and urgent call to action for all humanity. We need to abandon the differences that always play so prominent a role in how we manage this world. Instead, we need to unite and confront the true enemy at the gates – the death-cult that is far too quickly gathering momentum and adding devout and powerful believers into its folds. If we do not come together and defeat this pernicious ideology, we may not survive the looming Holocaust that environmentalism is now preparing for us. This is Godefridi’s urgent message.

Indeed, environmentalism has had great successes. It has convinced the majority of the public that what it claims is scientific truth. It has convinced governments to implement anti-carbon policies, which are anti-human policies. It has convinced people not to have children. It has convinced people to panic whenever the environment is mentioned (eco-anxiety) – high emotions are the best way to bring about quick change. It has convinced people to work against their own humanity, not only their own interests.

Only time will now tell how willingly people will allow themselves to be humusated, for humanity has largely accepted the Great Myth that it is the source of all problems that are said to face the planet – because it is the “Accursed Parasite.”

Perhaps it is for this reason that Godefridi chose a more ominous title for the English version of his book, wherein the “logic” of Hitlerism concerning Jews is now extended to include all of humanity. In the emerging Green Reich, we are all indeed Jews. And for us, who constitute the Accursed Parasite, there is only the Final Solution, the ultimate Holocaust, so that the noble planet may at last be purified of its most pernicious disease. It would seem that most humans have now been conditioned to agree, because they accept everything that environmentalism preaches as the gospel-truth. Therefore, most have already decided that people really do need to disappear.

All hail the Green Reich!

The photo shows, “Doomsday Abstraction,” by Zdzislaw Beksinski.