After the recent episode, many are asking for recommendations on how to approach Dostoevsky. Rather than answering all the emails, I’ll do it here. 1/5
Start w/Notes From the Underground. This is the first book where D finally unlocked the secrets of underground psychology: how pride, vindictiveness, spite, ad masochism disguise themselves as virtue. It’s a book of astonishing honesty. Everything follows from here.
Next do Crime & Punishment. If two is enough for you, make them Notes and C&P. I like to describe this book as the story of the protagonist from Notes From the Underground if he had read Nietzsche as a young man. Real-life examples like Leopold & Loeb make it visceral.
Today is 100th anniversary of the surrender of West Virginia miners to federal troops at Blair Mountain, ending the largest labor uprising in US history, and the most serious insurrection since the Civil War.
The Battle of Blair Mountain was only the climax in a decades-long battle between mining communities and the coal mine operators who controlled their lives and were intent on preventing unionization.
America was still being built, and regional economics was inextricably tied to infrastructure expansion. Coal mines closer to accessible rail & industry had an inherent advantage over mines in southern West Virginia & Kentucky, and the difference came out of the hides of workers.
Why are liberal urbanites so willing to submit to the any draconian COVID regime? hope Rogan dies? demand irrational measures beyond medical guidelines (eg, masks for vaccinated kids outdoors)? They break the rules when they think no one’s watching, so it’s not fear of the virus.
The thing is, they don’t feel it as a burden because it’s become a game. The game is an old one: identify and punish heretics. There are actual prizes: 15 mins of fame for chasing ppl out of restaurants, rushing Trump on stage, leaking docs, and… harassing COVID rule-breakers.
It’s the gamification of totalitarianism, and there’s a sick brilliance to it. Ordinary liberals actually get excited at the prospect of greater restrictions. They adopt them like a uniform update, no problem, then march out into a newly target-rich environment, locked & loaded.
This tweet explains the vindictiveness of the woke managerial class, their need to “shove it down your throat”, etc. A normal adult doesn’t point to childhood drama as the driver of his politics of resentment. The whole thread (+ most woke politics) is a revenge fantasy.
The most interesting part of the thread is how his political taxonomy emerges from childhood trauma. He codes the dumb bullies from elementary school as red America, and the soft bullied kids like him as blue America. And all of his politics proceed from that.
He describes - brags, really - about how the soft, bullied kids like him fled to ally themselves w/state & corporate power structures and now wield vindictive power over the kids who used to oppress them. Only a deeply damaged man could say these things in public without shame.
Many right-wingers have been so jaded by the left's constant moral blackmail that they make themselves callous & insensitive to protect against it. Many refuse to admit any compassion because they fear that it will be cynically used against them. And they're right, but it sucks.
Not really. 99% of the people I'm talking about hate most Americans, too. They say "America First" and talk about loving "their own people", but usually all they have for "their own people" is venom about how brainwashed, cucked, etc they are.
Really ugly to see such aggressive apathy about the Afghan allies we’re leaving behind. You can have your views on the war or immigration and still recognize that many are regular people w/families who are going to die horribly because they trusted us.
Many of them bought the line we were selling about making their country better. Some risked their lives for our soldiers in battle. It’s not abstract, these are real people. There are networks of soldiers & Marines trying right now to evacuate Afghans who mean a lot to them.
Stop saying “they didn’t fight for their country.” Well over 100k of them were killed or wounded on our side. Their leadership abandoned them, and guess what… They’ll all have posts at the UN or the IMF by next year. That has nothing to do w/the normal people who took our word.
"My fellow Americans. Since the pandemic began, your gov't, media & public health authorities have failed you. Our messaging has been confusing & politicized, we have censored good faith dissent, and as a result many no longer trust us to lead the country through this crisis."
"We have asked you to make tremendous sacrifices, destroying millions of your jobs and businesses, closing your schools and your churches, while we politicians and bureaucrats have continued to receive government salaries while working from home."
"We controlled your movement under threat of arrest, then told you the most widespread & destructive protests in decades were a public health necessity. While you were forbidden to hold funerals for loved ones, your leaders snuck away for maskless dinners at fancy restaurants."
I've seen @jordanbpeterson push this view and I don't get it. Meek means "quiet, gentle, easily imposed upon, submissive." People object that this seems like a suicidal teaching, apparently forgetting that all of the apostles who followed it were martyred by their enemies.
@jordanbpeterson But "the meek shall inherit the earth" is not a command to be meek. You're either meek or you're not. If not, don't mistreat those who are; if others are mistreating them, stand up for them even if it means your death. For according to how you treat the least shall ye be judged.
The word is related to a horse that's been broken. Horses are strong, so you can interpret that as the focus, but I think the rest of the New Testament makes clear that the focus is on being submissive to the will of another.
The US occupation spent billions pushing feminism and LGBT pride in Afghanistan, but allowed institutionalized child slave rape, a practiced banned by the Taliban, to be re-normalized. The strangest thing is that this seems perfectly in keeping with this regime’s priorities.
Can anyone imagine Captain Daniel Quinn being disciplined for intervening against Afghan men who jeered women headed into their Kabul gender studies class? Of course not. The reason is uncomfortable, but obvious: Our leaders consider that to be a crime far worse than child rape.
Ask yourself: How bad would the Taliban have to be to justify allying ourselves with people who fully-institutionalize child rape? The regime’s answer: They would have to be against feminism and LGBT pride.
SECDEF Lloyd Austin was CENTCOM just 3 years ago. He received regular briefs on progress of the Afghan Army. But where does he get that info? The same place bosses in every bureaucracy get their info: PowerPoint. 2/x
Who briefs him? Maybe a colonel. Where does the colonel get his information? Why, the same place General Austin is getting his, from a PowerPoint slide, this one likely briefed by a lieutenant colonel, maybe a major. 3/x
He also wrote an “impressive”, “visionary”, “optimistic”, book called Fixing Failed States in 2008. There was one good review of it that captures the madness of our foreign policy elite so perfectly, that I’m just gone tweet out the entire thing as a thread. 1/x
“The authors, both former UN advisers, spotlight the critical problem of failed states: countries where govts have all but collapsed, basic services go unprovided and terrorism and criminality reign unchecked - or even abetted by a corrupt and predatory state... UNFORTUNATELY 2/x
Their analysis suffers from heavy reliance on management theory, w/talk of “power of networks,” “flows” of information & capital, “webs of value creation” & business-school truisms (“underlying a sound management system is an effective supply-chain management”).” 3/x
It really is bananas. The explicit purpose of gender studies programs is to train gender activists. Only an insane person (or a revolutionary) could see a medieval tribal society w/a state on life support and think, “What this place needs is more radical feminists.”
The USA has turned into a radically revolutionary empire, but people don’t see it. We use all the hard & soft power we can muster to completely overturn ancient lifeways in places we know nothing about, feel completely righteous, and blame them when the changes don’t take! Crazy.
Unpopular and politically impossible Afghanistan take: It’s too late now, but we could have preserved Kabul & key areas, protecting Afghan urbanites allergic to Taliban extremism w/a very light footprint. This was the point of the generals who wanted to stay. Why stay at all? 1/x
One reason was to protect people to whom we’d made promises. They’re all going to die w/their families now. That’s at least an argument a politician can make on the stump. The real reasons can’t even be suggested in public by a politician. 2/x
Example: We don’t really have good domestic facilities for military training at a company or above level anymore. Afghanistan provided a low-risk, low-cost, live-fire training ground to cycle young officers & NCOs through to get real experience. 3/x
There's no nice way to say this. Once we left Afghanistan, the options were (a) Taliban, or (b) descent into the chaotic warlordism that pre-existed Taliban. The rapid takeover by the Taliban isn't a f*** you to USA, it's a rush to establish control before the chaos takes hold.
We built a sand castle, now the ocean is moving in, it's that simple. Don't worry, in a few months, the media will memory hole Afghanistan and we'll be back to forgetting it exists . Sorry. The people in charge were stupid, careless & lied about what was possible. This is nature.
I don't know how to tell you this, so I'll just say it: We're not involved in the decision-making process.
No one cares about him per se, but the story's treatment is one of the clearest and most indisputable reminders that the corporate press is a propaganda agency, that that's all it is, and that it has no other purpose but to lie, obfuscate, and accuse in service to the regime.
PSA: People like Biden aren't in power despite being vulnerable to blackmail; they're in power because they're vulnerable to blackmail.
Imagine if Trump had pulled our opposition to Nordstream 2, then months later we saw a tape of Don, Jr telling a prostitute that Russians stole a laptop full of him doing "crazy f****** sex s***" to blackmail him, not simply for $ but explicitly because of his dad's position.
It's brainwashing. CIA Handbook (1983): "The purpose is psychological regression of the subject (to bring about) a loss of autonomy." (Spitz, 1989): "The victim adopts the aggressor's view of himself, loses self-coherence, accepts view of self as worthless, non-human, etc..."
More fully: "(The victim) identifies w/the aggressor, who is introjected as a psychic attempt to control an intolerable conflict situation... (T)he victim introjects the aggressor's abusive/negative view of himself (which often leads) to self-destructive attitudes and behaviors."
"Under conditions of torture (physical or psychological) emotions and physical reactions have to be repressed, the victim's sense of coherence and self-experience are shaken and he begins to lose a sense of familiarity with himself. His identity begins to fragment."
Some years ago I told a friend that, warts and all, America would remain a free country because it was baked into our culture that snitches deserve their stitches. That changed, and we went from 0 to mass surveillance, blasphemy codes, & forced medical procedures in record time.
When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, nobody liked a tattle tale. Didn’t matter if you were in the burbs, The ghetto, the barrio, whatever. If you tattled about something serious, adults would still say, “Thanks for telling me… but you shouldn’t tattle.”
I’ll be honest, I thought that trait was bone deep, and provided serious insulation against some of the worst excesses of tyranny. Nowadays we’re a step away from erecting statues of Pavlik Morovik.
"Kandinsky thought of his art as musical (”color is the keyboard”). Biden plays the keyboard of colors as deftly as he does... but has a more urgent sense of purpose, Biden attempting to save his soul not simply express it."
"The color patches are full of feeling, and in St. Alban and St. Ambrose cemented together by streams of blood—the red blood of the martyred saints?—in contrast to St. Thomas, where they're packed together, perhaps alluding to St. Thomas’ famously complex, dense writings." 🤣🤣🤣
"These symbolic abstractions testify to Biden’s Catholic faith, which seems to have restored meaning to his life. They're masterpieces of transcendental abstraction—more particularly, abstract representations of... Biden’s “personal” saints... and evoke them by praying to them."
We’re at the late-imperial stage where the regime has accumulated so many lies that to tell the truth about anything risks collapsing everything. Nothing to do but continue to lie, about everything, all the time. Anyone who takes this as a starting point will look like a prophet.
One way to reverse-engineer the process: Watch for times when the seemingly-divided regime apparatus unites and goes full-court press on something. Especially when the opposition inexplicably refuses to ask obvious Qs. When it happens, they’re lying, usually about something big.
A refresher: The regime lied about Gulf of Tonkin. Murdered civil rights leaders. Told us Oxy wasn’t addictive. Claimed Saddam had WMD. Epstein. The Saudis & 9/11. RussiaGate. It doesn’t mean everything is a lie, but it does mean there’s nothing they wouldn’t lie about.
For 40 years, polls consistently show a desire for less immigration. Democracy means nothing if citizens can't say no to having their communities overwhelmed by foreigners. No pre-modern autocrat would've dared to do this, and he would've expected a violent rebellion if he tried.
We've been cowed and gaslit into silence for decades, but if the elites in any other society were rapidly displacing the population over the consistent protests of their own citizens, marginalizing, firing & blacklisting those who spoke out too loudly, it would seem very strange.
Do not allow people to shame or gaslight you with accusations of racism or xenophobia. It's enough to say, "I like my country/community the way it is." That is a positive, prosocial sentiment and you owe them no further explanation.