Whatever else may be said about Marxism, it provided (for those who needed it) an eschatological philosophy in a post-religious world. It served more than one psychological purpose: It gave those who adhered to it the comforting feeling that they understood the inner or hidden workings of the world; that they were far superior in this understanding to those who did not adhere to it; and that they were participating in something far bigger than themselves. In short it gave them a sense, or illusion, of transcendence.
But though many Marxists claimed that the downfall of the Soviet Union did not affect their faith in the truth of their secular religion—because they said that the Soviet Union had never been a properly Marxist state in the first place—there is, in fact, no doubt that Marxism as an intellectual system was deeply discredited by the now-undeniable failure of the Soviet Union to deliver on any of its utopian promises. Marxism had, on the contrary, provided the pretext for the murder, as well as causing the miserable living conditions, of many millions of people; and it was as implausible to deny the connection of these with Marxism as it is now to deny the connection of terrorism with Islam.
But the desire for ideology did not die with its failure; on the contrary, the desire simply found its fulfillment in a variety of strange sub-ideologies. Future historians will surely find one of the strangest of these to be that of strident transsexualism.
There have probably always been transsexuals, and I remember the days when those who declared themselves such were sent to specialist clinics for various treatments and procedures. Everything was arranged in a somewhat hole-and-corner way, without the glare of publicity and the influence of ideology. The numbers were small and no political demands ensued.
In the space of the past few years, however, a full-scale ideological movement has grown up that will not be satisfied until the rest of society accedes to its demands, which include the reform of language itself. The demands, in fact, are kaleidoscopic, constantly changing, as the ideology itself twists and turns in an attempt to overcome its inherent contradictions. It cannot decide, for example, whether gender is a question of feeling or expression, whether it is inherent and fixed or flexible and socially constructed, whether it is binary or on a spectrum. Those who want a forensic dissection of this ideology, and a masterly exposé of its absurdities, as well as an account of its disastrous practical consequences in a society too lacking in moral confidence to oppose it (or any other sufficiently strident ideology), would do well to read a recent book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, by Ryan T. Anderson.
As a result of the supine acceptance of the ideology, it seems (if the author is to be believed) that full-scale experiments are being conducted on children, such as the use of puberty-blocking drugs, by doctors without any clear idea of the long-term outcome—experiments only somewhat ethically superior to those of Dr. Mengele, insofar as the children themselves agree to them or even demand them, though at an age at which one would not normally think of children as being able to make such far-reaching choices.
But perhaps the most sinister sentence in the book comes very late, in the acknowledgements:
There are several other physicians, professors, and lawyers who gave me assistance, but I cannot mention them by name due to their very valid fears of professional repercussions.
This, be it remembered, is a book by a man living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The author hopes, with his book, to “create a culture where they can speak freely.”
At dinner the other night a friend wondered what came first, social climbing or name-dropping? It’s obviously a very silly question, and we all had a laugh over it: “As Achilles told me in his tent the other evening, Helen always fancied him and Menelaus didn’t like it a bit.” Or, “I’m rather tired of listening to Claudius complaining that Agrippina doesn’t hold a candle to Messalina in the sack.” We played that game for a while and then I dropped the name Highgrove, and the first time the Queen was seen in public with Camilla. I began to describe the outdoor lunch and my guests started to drift off. “No, it’s true—I was there,” I told them. Actually, we were discussing the new Tom Bower book on Prince Charles and wondering how much of it is true. I know Tom Bower slightly, and was interviewed at length by him for the hatchet job he did on Conrad Black. But I was delighted at the hatchet job he did on the phony Mohamed Al-Fayed. The reason I brought the lunch up was because it’s mentioned in the Prince Charles opus making the rounds nowadays.
According to Bower, the Queen simply would not meet Camilla. Then Prince Charles gave a lunch at Highgrove for King Constantine’s 60th birthday in the summer of 2000, and that’s where yours truly comes in. The invitation was standard, but I was made to understand that details of the lunch should not appear in my next column. The King of Greece is a very nice man and a very good friend. He put it to me gently. Security was tight as hell and my driver was quite impressed. He was used to bringing me home from nightclubs in a very different state than my present one. He had a problem finding Highgrove as the house wasn’t listed under Soho clubs.
I remember saying hi to Camilla, who was acting as hostess, and seeing the Queen and how tiny she is, and then I sat down to lunch and began to down a very fine wine. It was hot, the sun was shining, everyone was in a very good mood, and I behaved myself until it was time to be given a tour of the house by Prince Charles and to inspect his plants. I don’t know who was faster off the mark to escape the place, the man who designed the Titanic and was first on a lifeboat, or the poor little Greek boy, off to Badminton for some cricket.
The radar about the lunch was buzzing off its hinges, but the hacks had been unable to infiltrate. My friend John O’Sullivan and I had dinner and he was laughing over the fact that I was the only hack present but was sworn to secrecy. Now, here’s the gist of it: Camilla and the Queen were at different tables, and as far as I know there was no contact. What took place before or after, I haven’t a clue.
When Tom came to New York and interviewed me about Lord and Lady Black, I told him about an incident when Conrad was extremely angry with me for something I had written about Israel. Boris Johnson, the editor at the time, refused to fire me. That’s when I received a call from Lady Black—I was told to wait on the line—but the moment she came on I said to her in a rather aggressive manner that only the editor could fire me and then I hung up. She never got a word in edgewise, as they say.
The editorial standards at The Atlantic, as I demonstrated a little while back in my essay for New English Review on contributing editor Ian Bogost, are certainly exceptional. On the first day of spring (I leave it to the psychics of Women Studies to divine the significance), Ibram X. Kendi gave us more evidence of the magazine’s commitment to misandry and black resentment. What’s the Difference between a Frat and a Gang?, Kendri asks. Why, is it that the former dates skinny bourgeois white women and the latter fat white trash? Ah no, says the writer, a kind of poetical Ta-Genius Coates, his essay reeking of mortality. There is little difference, for don’t you know that
the fraternity may be as violent as the gang. Collegiate America may be as dangerous for women as urban America. If sexual violence is a violent crime, then the fraternity of today may be committing as many violent crimes as the gang of the 1990s that spooked fearful Americans into tough-on-crime policies. The fraternity may be as frequently violent as the “savage gang MS-13,” as President Donald Trump called it in his State of the Union Address in January to spook fearful Americans into tough immigration policies. But Americans stereotype the gang and fraternity differently and treat them differently and rationalize their violence differently and police them differently. What if Americans looked at them similarly? What if Americans treated them similarly? What if Americans treated their victims similarly?
Gangs are associated with black men, Kendi himself is a black man, and so he wants to make a false equivalence between gangs and fraternities, the latter being a white thing. Nor can Heather Mac Donald’s debunking of the campus rape myth, now a decade old, dispel his illusion, because such work, being grounded in empiricism, is irrelevant to such a resentment-piper.
Sociologist Mari Mycek has come to public attention in recent weeks for her 2015 doctoral thesis, “Meatless Meals and Masculinity: An Examination of Men’s Use of Rationality and Scientific Research to explain Their Plant-based Diets.” Equating rationality with masculinity—a sensible enough approach—Mycek claims that “men effectively engage in a feminized practice (eating only plants) but masculinize it, rather than feminize themselves and their consumption identities.” You will notice the crucial assumption here: Mycek’s belief that, for men, it is obviously bad to “feminize themselves.” And in the background of this, no doubt, there is Mycek’s own anxiety.
To support her “argument,” Mycek interviewed a number of men, whose rational reasons for being vegan or vegetarian she quotes. One is a fellow named Hector: “There’s this book that made a lot of sense to me. It was written by this guy who is actually a molecular biologist. What he says makes a lot of sense.”
According to Mycek, “[vegan/vegetarian] men justify their identities as not only reasonable and rational, but not emotional”—that is, not feminine. For Mycek, it is important to understand this practice, because “it bolsters the gender binary, maintaining the idea that men and women are distinctly different.” Moreover, “masculinity receives its prestige, privilege and power in the US at the expense of women and femininity.”
Camille Paglia—a distinctly masculine mind—has said that time and time again feminists serve only to confirm the truth of the old male prejudices about women. She is right, and Mycek is a representative example of this phenomenon. To begin with, it is not evident that there is something intrinsically feminine about “eating only plants.” Mycek just assumes that this is so, the purpose of the assumption being that it aids her sophistry. Nor is it established that a plant-based diet, if chosen for rational reasons, is better in some sense than it would be if chosen for emotional reasons. The belief may well be true, but who has ever made an argument in support of it? Nobody! Mycek is likely projecting her own neurosis. Deep down, she probably believes women are inferior, and hence her characteristically feminist desire that everyone believe the sexes are the same.
Mycek also makes a dubious distinction. She quotes the rational reasons of men who don’t eat meat, but then merely asserts that such reasons have no emotional significance. And yet any moral value, whether rational or not, has some emotional significance; otherwise it would not be a moral value at all, but rather a cold, meaningless abstraction. As William James wrote,
Our judgments concerning the worth of things, big or little, depend on the feelings the things arouse in us. Where we judge a thing to be precious in consequence of the idea we frame of it, this is only because the idea is itself associated already with a feeling. If we were radically feelingless, and if ideas were the only things our mind could entertain, we should lose all our likes and dislikes at a stroke, and be unable to point to any one situation or experience in life more valuable or significant than any other.
From biological functions to cognitive processes such as perception and judgment, there is a massive amount of evidence that men and women “are distinctly different.” Still, to these findings Mycek, like so many sociologists, seems indifferent.
The view that “masculinity receives its prestige, privilege and power in the US at the expense of women and femininity” is more fashionable nonsense. It is worth asking the question, to what purpose is most male labor? The answer, now as ever, is so that a man can support a family, that is to say, provide for women and children (or at any rate, with the former). Accordingly, women drive the world economy and control household spending.
They also get jobs and are admitted into elite universities because they are women.
Finally, long before there ever was a USA and a notion of whiteness, Eastern cultures, like the West, were equating women with the irrational, and Mycek’s unwittingly confused mind is a perfect example of why men may still reasonably do so. Mycek wants to make an ambitious argument, but she does not think coherently, and her work is interesting only in a psychological sense, betraying as it does her own neurotic character, anxieties, and insecurities.
“In a study of 127 samples in 70 countries (N = 77,528; Schwartz & Rubel-Lifschitz, 2009),” writes the psychologist David P. Schmitt,
women attribute consistently more importance than men do to benevolence and universalism values. National measures of gender egalitarianism predicted sex differences in benevolence and universalism values but, once again, in an unexpected direction. The greater the social, health, and employment equality of women and men in a country…the larger the sex differences (women higher) in benevolence and universalism values. That is, in countries with greater gender equity (e.g., Finland, Sweden), women attribute substantially more importance to benevolence and universalism values than men do. In more patriarchal cultures, sex differences in benevolence and universalism are much smaller.
This research has important implications. It was historically the function of the female moral/maternal genius to palliate the harsh effects of male authority and discipline in the family. And doubtless women’s greater “benevolence and universalism” also served valuable purposes for the whole of society, for which we should be grateful. The problem today, with our “greater gender equity,” is that following the sexual revolution and the loss of traditional religious mores, the female moral sensibility is no longer held in check, but has basically gone wild. No longer applied primarily at the local level (i.e., within the family and the community), it now serves (however unintentionally) to devour the state from within.
Yes, esteemed readers and Takimag commentators, Ivanka has taken the totally irrational, illogical, short-sited, dumb, whimsical, and hormonally induced decision to shut down the comments section on Daddy’s website, if not forever, certainly for now.
Some of you will not be happy to know that the President, in his nepotistic fashion, supports this decision. Nor that this decision has little to do with The Donald, The Left, the SPLC, the NAACP, DACA, NAFTA, BREXIT, The Russians, Harvey Weinstein, Muslims, Mexicans, Wakanda, or (((the Rothschilds))), who many believe, judging from the tiresome and banal commentary on our website, are omnipotent masters of the universe who are to blame for absolutely everything including every last spoiled little rich girl temper tantrum.
While we would prefer to have a free and open forum for our readers, a few bad eggs seem incapable of communicating as though they were in good company and have in so doing, ruined it for the the rest of you. So in a way, yes, you can blame (((them))), or at least those who blame (((them))), for this gag.
As many of you will appreciate, Takimag is run like a dictatorship, rather than a nanny state, and therefore a moderated site is not an option we are considering at this time. Up until now moderation has been ineffective and seems to only encourage the bastards who ruin the exchanges many of you enjoy and will likely miss.
At this point, we would be ever so grateful if you would kindly give the steady stream of childish threats to abandon Takimag forever a rest and be grateful we provide this platform for you and our writers, and that they have something intelligent to say week after week.
Thank you, and a Happy Easter to all of you from everyone here at Taki’s Magazine!
NEW YORK—I’ve been reading this indictment of the thirteen people who supposedly disrupted the 2016 election.
Are you kidding me?
These are intelligence agents.
I mean, some of them may be contractors employed by Russian intelligence, but either way, it’s the equivalent of saying the CIA doesn’t know what it’s doing.
You don’t indict intelligence agents. There’s no point to it. There’s no possible outcome that’s better than monitoring the agents, wiretapping the agents, sending spies to collaborate with the agents, or, in a best-case scenario, turning the agents. Given the choice between a public indictment and a secret operation, there are about 700 arguments for secrecy, while I can think of only one for going public: Maybe they will let their guard down. Otherwise, why would we publish a 37-page document telling them what we know and, by implication, what we don’t know?
Remember when Italy indicted 26 CIA agents for kidnapping Abu Omar while he was walking to his mosque in Milan? We were furious about that. We cited sources in Italian intelligence who had told us it was okay, but Italian police and judges were unimpressed and issued the indictments anyway, essentially ending the active undercover careers of all 26, including the mission head in Italy and the station heads in Rome and Milan. Our argument against extradition was essentially, “This is not the way it’s done.” Italy’s argument was, “Not in our house.”
Which makes the public naming of these thirteen Russian nationals absurd in comparison. We’re treating this like the equivalent of the nerve-agent attempted murder in London, whereas these operatives spent most of their time at 55 Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg creating fake accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram; fake IP addresses to mask the origins of various forms of propaganda; and fake money trails so they could pay for everything through PayPal. The most telling detail in the document is that “Project Lakhta,” with its painfully small $15 million annual budget and its staff of eighty, wasn’t just dealing with the United States—these people were creating mischief for other countries as well. Fifteen million bucks to cover the whole world? We indicted thirteen part-time election disrupters. (I’m assuming that the thirteen we singled out were just particularly fluent in English and remembered to use articles—missing articles always being the telltale sign of a Russian trying to pass as an English-speaker.)
For example, the three rock-star operatives seem to be Gleb Vasilchenko, Irina Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov. Gleb was good at fake organizations. Irina and Vladimir were good at fake personas on social media. So, given the vast IT resources of the National Security Agency and the CIA, wouldn’t it be possible to write a program that detects the peculiarities of their writing styles and tracks exactly where they are from day to day and what they’re doing? Why would you want them named in an indictment, reassigned to Dresden, and replaced by someone we cannot identify? (Irina is the one who got sloppy with her email security and was caught messaging her mother about having to destroy records so the FBI wouldn’t find them, so she might get reassigned to Novosibirsk instead of Dresden.)
Or how about the three-week barnstorming trip by Aleksandra Krylova and Anna Bogacheva, the two women who were apparently so good at their jobs that they passed for American political organizers in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, and New York, while gathering intelligence on divisive election issues, “purple states,” and the like? Why not just get some good photos of Aleksandra and Anna, approve their visas in the future, and follow them? What’s the alternative? Put them in an interrogation room and sweat out the reasons they were cozying up to that NRA member in June 2016?
I’m actually in awe of some of these guys, especially the ones who founded Blacktivist, Army of Jesus, and United Muslims of America—all fake organizations that ended up with tens of thousands of followers—but a special award has to go to the comrade who managed to successfully pose as the head of the Republican Party in Tennessee (100,000 followers). This is probably the same guy who got the key hashtags started, especially #TrumpTrain and #Hillary4Prison, although one of the most intriguing things about the operation is that the bosses in St. Petersburg would have been just as happy with Bernie Sanders as with Trump. It was not so much a pro-Trump propaganda campaign as a #NeverHillary. The other intriguing things about the Internet Research Agency (the St. Petersburg operation has many names, but that’s the most often cited) is that, as soon as the election was over, they sponsored both pro-Trump and anti-Trump political rallies, often on the same day.
“Hangover cure”—like military intelligence—is an oxymoron. If hangovers could be cured, they wouldn’t exist. Maybe one day it will happen, and some penicillin of the brain will sweep away these days of paroxysm. I’m told the Russians have a drug that renders the user impervious to the effects of alcohol. But if its morning-after cousin is released, who knows what the effects would be? Western economies would probably overheat in a week, unleashing all stripes of new disaster on the world. Better for the hangover to remain, if only as a brake on our Frankish vigor.
The best literary hangover is in The Bonfire of the Vanities, when Peter Fallow describes a “yolk as heavy as mercury, and it rolled like mercury, and it was pressing down on his right temple.” Only a fool prone to extreme hubris would set out to “cure” such a condition of nature. Instead, you must accept—from the very first moments of waking—that your hangover will be with you all day, until thoroughly drunk, asleep, or dead. You have no choice but to dance with it across the hours, like the lover you never entirely trust. Like her, the dictum is not to win but to know your enemy. Consider early on what reserves of viciousness she will bring to bear, what lawyers’ writs she will be issuing by 3 p.m. Most of all, classify her. Is she primarily cranial, corporeal, or psychological?
Of the three genera, the cranial hangover is the least threatening. A headache at least allows you freedom of action (aside from sports, perhaps; but you shouldn’t be doing those in the first place). It is moreover also most receptive to the key palliative of alcohol. Two white-wine spritzers with lunch can dissolve the condition into a state of positive joy, leaving your soul open to all kinds of elevation.
The corporeal hangover is a different matter. Its power rests on not immediately declaring its colors. You wake up with a mild feeling of lassitude. You cast off the woolliness and set about the day. A gradual realization dawns that basic tasks are taking too long. Personal effects are carried between rooms, then back again, then lost. You step into your car and stare at the Medusa-like thicket of controls: How does the damn thing work again? Soon this new autodidactism is seeping into everything, and you realize you are learning life from scratch. Staring at the coffee-shop menu for the fifth minute, reality finally bears her awful bosom. By then it is far too late. For the rest of the day, you drift like a ghost ship; speaking in half-formed sentences, beyond the help even of booze.
And yet, throughout all the above, your psyche has remained intact. Not so under the exquisite tortures of a psychological hangover. When Dickens wrote “sharper teeth than teeth of mice have gnawed at me,” I am sure it was to this that he referred. Under the thorns of a mental hangover, you are not only relearning how to do things, you are learning a new version of yourself. Needless to say, it is the very worst version. Yours is an empty husk of an existence. Everything you have ever done is wrong. In the words of Talleyrand, your life is worse than a failure; it is a mistake. You have torn everyone who reached out to you. God help the beast in me, you think, knowing that He won’t.
No amount of physical interventions will help. They will only make you feel your impotence more. Your only chance is to take a mental gun to a mental gunfight and tell yourself that what is happening has no objective value. Our great shared culture provides abundant reminders that you are not alone. Among the best of these is the word onrust. From the Dutch for “unrest,” it communicates a vague, creeping shame at the previous 12 hours. The first appearance of onrust in my young life was as a teenager at the Cannes Film Festival. The evening was advanced. There was a man in an embroidered paisley suit. Being a precocious little shit, I burst forth with “Darling, love the suit!” Having less irony in his old frame than I had gathered in my 18 years, he planted me with a large indigenous kiss. “Well, Bunky,” I thought as I cowered from the air stewardesses the next day, “you really walked into that one.”
Perhaps Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby’s rival for Daisy’s affections, wasn’t totally wrong after all?
Countless articles about how unscientifically racist old WASPs were begin by quoting the scene early in The Great Gatsby in which Daisy’s oafish husband, Tom, recommends a book called The Rise of the Colored Empires.
Ironically, F. Scott Fitzgerald was parodying his own regrettable views on race. For instance, in 1921 the great novelist wrote to critic Edmund Wilson of his disgust engendered by a visit to Europe in language that sounds like Tom Buchanan waxing poetic: “The negroid streak creeps northward to defile the Nordic race. Already the Italians have the souls of blackamoors.”
Since about the stock market crash of 1929, this kind of thinking has been terribly out of fashion.
Since then, an endless stream of anthropologists have assured us that race is just a social construct, that ancient peoples made pots not war, that Aryan conquests in India and Europe were Nazi delusions, that the caste system was imposed on the egalitarian Indians by British colonialists, and many other agreeable suppositions.
As Fitzgerald’s friend Hemingway ended The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
But now the brilliant Harvard geneticist David Reich has published a bombshell scientific book, Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past, whose revelations would have been found congenial by a smarter version of Buchanan (such as Fitzgerald himself).
Despite Reich’s occasional need to stop his otherwise lucid narrative to spew irrational rage against his fellow race-science heretics such as James D. Watson, the genome expert conclusively demolishes the post-Boasian anthropologists’ conventional wisdom.
For poorly explained reasons, Reich feels it satisfying to occasionally vilify some of his own admirers, such as Watson, New York Times genetics reporter Nicholas Wade, the late genetic anthropologist Henry Harpending, reporter Jason Hardy, physicist Gregory Cochran, and economic historian Gregory Clark. In the funniest line in the book, Reich exclaims:
Writing now, I shudder to think of Watson, or of Wade, or their forebears, behind my shoulder.
Evidently, Reich has…issues. But a close reader of his book can enjoy his prodigious research without taking terribly seriously Reich’s prejudices.
Reich learned the fascinating modern science of high-tech grave robbing from Svante Pääbo. This Swedish biologist invented the techniques for extracting from ancient skeletons their DNA. (Interestingly, the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act makes it hard to get hold of ancient American Indian skeletons, but other races’ ancestors appear to be fair game.)
Reich applied to Pääbo’s breakthrough the traditional American knack for vast industrial scale. Assisted by English code-cracker Nick Patterson’s innovations in extracting meaning from bits and pieces of ancient genomes, Reich’s factory-like lab at the Broad Institute has been churning out a tsunami of papers on fascinating questions of prehistory.
For example, India played a large role in the development of European conceptions of race. In 1786 British judge William Jones delivered a lecture in Calcutta suggesting that Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin were all descended from the same lost language, a ghost tongue now called Proto-Indo-European.
Jones went on to hypothesize that an ancient invasion of Dravidian-speaking India by Proto-Indo-European-speaking Aryans from Iran could help explain the curious distribution of language, skin color, and caste within the Hindu world today.
Jones’ ideas had unfortunate influence. Reich writes:
To the Nazis and others, the distribution of the Indo-European language family, linking Europe to India…, spoke of an ancient conquest moving out of an ancestral homeland, displacing and subjugating the peoples of the conquered territories, an event they wished to emulate.
Hitler thus culturally appropriated the Hindu swastika.
Since 1945, the notion of Aryan invaders has been unsurprisingly unpopular.
In Europe, anthropologists have promoted the “pots not people” theory to argue that trade and changes in fashion must explain why Corded Ware pots suddenly showed up all over Europe about 4,900 years ago. (So did battle axes; indeed, early scientists called this the Battle Axe Culture. But that sounded too awesome. Hence, more recent academics renamed it after its pottery style to make these brutal barbarians sound dweebier and thus less interesting to boys.)
In India, the notion of Hindu culture as a giant conspiracy by Aryan invaders to enshrine their descendants at the top of the social order for the rest of eternity perhaps struck a little too close to home.
But Reich’s laboratory has found that the old Robert E. Howard version is actually pretty much what happened. Conan the Barbarian-like warriors with their horse-drawn wagons came charging off the Eurasian steppe and overran much of Europe and India. Reich laments:
The genetic data have provided what might seem like uncomfortable support for some of these ideas—suggesting that a single, genetically coherent group was responsible for spreading many Indo-European languages.
Much more acceptable to Indian intellectuals than the idea that ancient conquerors from the Russian or Kazakhstani steppe took over the upper reaches of Indian culture has been the theory of Nicholas B. Dirks, the Franz Boas Professor of History and Anthropology at Columbia, that the British malignantly transformed diverse local Indian customs into the suffocating system of caste that we know today.
Now, though, Reich’s genetic evidence shows that caste has controlled who married whom in India for thousands of years:
Rather than inventions of colonialism as Dirks suggested, long-term endogamy as embodied in India today in the institution of caste has been overwhelmingly important for millennia.
This is in harmony with economic historian Gregory Clark’s recent discovery in his book of surname analysis, The Son Also Rises (Clark loves Hemingway puns), that economic mobility across the generations is not only lower than expected in most of the world, but it is virtually nonexistent in India.
Just as you’d imagine, Reich found that the highly nationalist Chinese turn out to be genetically quite homogeneous, while the Indians are genetically diverse due to caste divvying them up into thousands of inbreeding groups:
The Han Chinese are truly a large population. They have been mixing freely for thousands of years. In contrast, there are few if any Indian groups that are demographically very large, and the degree of genetic differentiation among Indian jati groups living side by side in the same village is typically two to three times higher than the genetic differentiation between northern and southern Europeans. The truth is that India is composed of a large number of small populations.
Indians traditionally thought of India less as a nation than as a world. Modern Indian nationalism’s roots trace to Gandhi’s sojourn in South Africa, where his thinking was revolutionized by the simplistic racial politics of the African colony in which his countrymen were seen not as countless castes, but as, in contrast to Europeans, blacks, and Coloureds, simply Indians.
Reich worries that his genetic findings sound more like the racialist ideas of a century ago than what educated people are supposed to believe in the current year. So, he’s come up with a number of explanations for why the bad guys whom Tom Buchanan read were wrong after all:
But the data also reveal that these early discussions were misguided in supposing purity of ancestry….
You see, the Yamnaya steppe nomads who were the predecessors of the Aryans who invaded India were actually a hybrid of two even more ancient peoples: a northern steppe race and a southern race from Armenia or Iran.
The Aryan-invasion-theory glass isn’t half full, Reich wants you to understand, it’s half empty.
Reich points out that genetic research proves that race is not just an arbitrary social construct (although he’d much prefer you call it “ancestry” rather than “race”). For instance, the Caucasian race, which was first named by German scientists in the late 18th century, turns out to be a real thing, genetically speaking:
Today, the peoples of West Eurasia—the vast region spanning Europe, the Near East, and much of central Asia—are genetically highly similar. The physical similarity of West Eurasian populations was recognized in the eighteenth century by scholars who classified the people of West Eurasia as “Caucasoids” to differentiate them from East Asian “Mongoloids,” sub-Saharan African “Negroids,” and “Australoids” of Australia and New Guinea…. [P]opulations within West Eurasia are typically around seven times more similar to one another than West Eurasians are to East Asians. When frequencies of mutations are plotted on a map, West Eurasia appears homogeneous, from the Atlantic façade of Europe to the steppes of central Asia. There is a sharp gradient of change in central Asia before another region of homogeneity is reached in East Asia….
But, Reich hastens to point out, today’s vast Caucasian race has only existed in its current form for the 4,500 years since steppe herdsmen invaded.
Before the Bronze Age there were several quite distinct races in Europe. After the last Ice Age, Europe was inhabited by an ancient race of hunter-gatherers with blue eyes and dark skin. They were then largely overwhelmed by lighter-skinned, brown-haired farmers from the Middle East.
These farmers in turn were inundated, especially in northern Europe, by the blond beast pastoralists from the steppes.
Nietzsche would have found much of Reich’s book validating. And Tom Buchanan would have seen in Reich’s discovery that Europe, while relatively homogeneous, is mostly steppe ancestry in the north and more Levantine in the south with a transition zone in the middle a restating of the Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean categories of his era.
It’s been less than a month since actress Frances McDormand used her Oscar acceptance speech to push for the adoption of “inclusion riders” in entertainment-industry contracts, and, true to form, Hollywood has been quick to mindlessly jump on the bandwagon. In the weeks following McDormand’s speech, Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan announced that from now on his production company will adopt inclusion riders for all of its future projects. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck declared the same. And Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel, CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME) and brother of sentient AIDS virus Rahm Emanuel, bragged that from now on, WME will consider inclusion riders an “imperative.”
So what exactly is an “inclusion rider”? It’s a clause inserted into a motion-picture contract. It’s a mandate, a demand, that the movie must include, as McDormand put it, “at least 50% diversity” in its cast (the rider sometimes applies to crew as well, but for the purposes of this piece, I’m focusing solely on cast). Now, don’t be fooled: “50% diversity” means 50% non–white male. That’s what’s so fascinating about the use of the word “diversity” in this context. The inclusion rider is exclusionary in nature. It means “everyone except white males.” By this definition of “diverse,” one could refer to the Third Reich’s Nuremberg Laws as encouraging “diversity,” if you look at the laws strictly from the perspective of the many groups not excluded by them, as opposed to the one group that was.
Stacy Smith, head of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and originator of the inclusion-rider concept, explained to The Washington Post that “contemporary dramas” will be forced to cast “50 percent women, 50 percent minority, 20 percent people with disabilities and five percent LGBTQ.” Historical dramas, she assured the Post, “would be exempt” (cue John Gielgud from Arthur’s sarcastic voice: Oh, thank you, madam). These quotas are needed, according to Smith, because movies “have to be filled with norms that reflect the world in which we live.”
Some in the industry have cautioned that Smith’s inclusion-rider concept is impractical. I prefer to call it borderline retarded. She wants movies to “reflect the world,” but how many movies claim to be set in “the world”? Most films have a more specific location—a city, a town, a place of employment, a house. Any industry professional will tell you that casting isn’t supposed to reflect “the world” but rather the specific location of the specific film in question. But that’s just common sense, so it has no place in Stacy Smith’s fevered mind. One might also ask what Smith’s inclusion rider would have done to a movie like Black Panther. Should the citizenry of Wakanda have included 20% Chinese, to reflect their percentage of the world’s population? Of course, I’m being facetious. As I already indicated, Black Panther is considered “diverse” because it features very few white males.
It should be noted that the two most vocal apostles for the inclusion rider are the aforementioned McDormand and another Academy Award-winning actress, Geena Davis, who has, in the past, partnered with Smith on “inclusion” projects. McDormand and Davis are white, and their fanaticism regarding inclusion riders exposes a blind spot—indeed, a delusion—that affects many white actresses in this business: They see themselves as being among the “oppressed.” Traditionally, in Hollywood, white actresses have had it pretty good. They’ve always been in demand…especially the attractive ones. This town has been exceptionally kind to them, in no small part because they are the beauty ideal of many of the men who run things behind the scenes. Sure, there’s always been a downside, from Harvey Weinstein whipping out his dirlywanger to Howard Hughes’ bizarre obsession with the pertness of his leading ladies’ breasts. But regardless of (and sometimes because of) the odd perv, pretty young white actresses in this town know that they’re desired, and they don’t need any consent decree or quota system in order to maintain that privileged position.
Having been surrounded by actresses my entire life, I can tell you that if one word describes them, it’s needy. Very, very needy. White starlets are more likely to get the attention that all actors crave, and it’s sincere attention. It’s not like when a production company is forced by prevailing social justice winds to hire dark-skinned black actresses (the sort my high school chums used to describe as “blue-black bitches”), and you have a roomful of male execs condescendingly going on about what a “stunning beauty” she is. I’m not saying black can’t be beautiful, but around these parts, it’s not the ideal, and I’ve always felt certain that a lot of black actresses sense the patronizingly insincere compliments that get thrown their way.
When white actresses like McDormand and Davis (and Jennifer Lawrence, etc.) talk about “inclusion” and “diversity,” they see white women as part of the “coalition of the underrepresented” who would benefit from something like an inclusion rider. They are dead wrong. Actors (and especially actresses) of color don’t see white women as needing or deserving any special protection or quotas. They see them as part of the privileged class, not rejects from it. Black actresses in particular despise their white counterparts. When a black actress hears “inclusion rider,” I can tell you with absolute metaphysical certitude that she is not thinking, “Oh, yes, we need that rider in order to help the poor, downtrodden blond girls in my acting class!”
The tone-deaf lack of awareness exhibited by the white actresses who are pushing the inclusion-rider nonsense reminds me of every snapshot I’ve ever seen of spoiled young white chicks whose daddies (or sugar daddies) treated them to an “adventure” vacation in the Third World. White chicks love taking pictures of themselves surrounded by black and brown locals, hugging them, squeezing ’em tight, wearing an expression that says, “These are my new best friends!” White actresses who see themselves as part of the Hollywood “dispossessed” might as well be some vacationing Beverly Hills Becky telling a Ghanaian trash-digger, “We need to stick together because we’re both so badly oppressed!”
The simple fact of the matter is, rather than benefit from inclusion riders, white actresses—not the successful ones presently campaigning for their use, but the up-and-comers who don’t have an Oscar and don’t share a bed with a Coen brother—will suffer, because to properly prove its dedication to “inclusion,” Hollywood will have to decrease the number of white actresses in visible roles. White male actors will not suffer as badly. Why? Because minority activist groups don’t like seeing black and brown actors cast in “negative” roles. Movies and TV shows need villains—rapists, thugs, terrorists, wife-beaters, serial killers, etc.—and minority groups are only too happy to leave those roles to white guys (indeed, casting an “actor of color” in a villainous role has often led to protests and boycotts by groups like the NAACP). When The Sum of All Fears replaced the book’s Arab villains with neo-Nazis (thanks to a lobbying campaign by CAIR), white actors got work. When Children of Men deviated from the novel by inventing a subplot involving thuggish skinheads, more work for white guys. Every time the TV show Law & Order changes a black villain to white in its “ripped from the headlines” episodes, white actors profit handsomely (in the second half of season 13 alone, Law & Order switched races from black to white in dramatizations of the Beltway snipers, the Michael Jackson molestation trial, and the Bison Dele murder case). Sure, from a political point of view, such race-swapping is vile. But from the POV of white actors, it’s a boon. As long as pressure groups continue to demand that nonwhites not be portrayed “negatively,” white actors will be fine.
The last man standing between the U.S. and war with Iran may be a four-star general affectionately known to his Marines as “Mad Dog.”
Gen. James Mattis, the secretary of defense, appears to be the last man in the Situation Room who believes the Iran nuclear deal may be worth preserving and that war with Iran is a dreadful idea.
Yet, other than Mattis, President Donald Trump seems to be creating a war cabinet.
Trump himself has pledged to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal—“the worst deal ever”—and reimpose sanctions in May.
His new national security adviser John Bolton, who wrote an op-ed titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” has called for preemptive strikes and “regime change.”
Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo calls Iran “a thuggish police state,” a “despotic theocracy,” and “the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.”
Trump’s favorite Arab ruler, 32-year-old Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calls Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei “the Hitler of the Middle East.”
Bibi Netanyahu is monomaniacal on Iran, calling the nuclear deal a threat to Israel’s survival and Iran “the greatest threat to our world.”
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoes them all.
Yet Iran appears not to want a war. U.N. inspectors routinely confirm that Iran is strictly abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal.
While U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf often encountered Iranian “fast attack” boats and drones between January 2016 and August 2017, that has stopped. Vessels of both nations have operated virtually without incident.
What would be the result of Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal?
First would be the isolation of the United States.
China and Russia would not abrogate the deal but would welcome Iran into their camp. England, France and Germany would have to choose between the deal and the U.S. And if Airbus were obligated to spurn Iran’s orders for hundreds of new planes, how would that sit with the Europeans?
How would North Korea react if the U.S. trashed a deal where Iran, after accepting severe restrictions on its nuclear program and allowing intrusive inspections, were cheated of the benefits the Americans promised?
Why would Pyongyang, having seen us attack Iraq, which had no WMD, and Libya, which had given up its WMD to mollify us, ever consider given up its nuclear weapons—especially after seeing the leaders of both nations executed?
And, should the five other signatories to the Iran deal continue with it despite us, and Iran agree to abide by its terms, what do we do then?
Find a casus belli to go to war? Why? How does Iran threaten us?
A war, which would involve U.S. warships against swarms of Iranian torpedo boats could shut down the Persian Gulf to oil traffic and produce a crisis in the global economy. Anti-American Shiite jihadists in Beirut, Baghdad and Bahrain could attack U.S. civilian and military personnel.
As the Army and Marine Corps do not have the troops to invade and occupy Iran, would we have to reinstate the draft?
One of the many reasons I voted for Trump—beyond his attitude, of course, which will always be the main reason—was that he realized America’s military forays into the Middle East were disastrously stupid.
As far back as 2006 he said that “Bush will go down as the worst and by far the dumbest president in history.” In 2013 he tweeted that “Iraq was a waste of blood and treasure.” During a 2015 Republican debate, he told voters:
We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems—our airports and all the other problems we have—we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East—we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away—and for what?…It’s not like we had victory….It’s a mess.
During his campaign, Trump seemed to understand the difference between nationalism and internationalism, and he had no fondness for the latter. Again and again he promised not to get us in “any more stupid wars.”
And it was his resistance to being dragged into the endlessly costly and absolutely unnecessary neocon wars that caused the GOP establishment to oppose him even more ferociously than the Democrats did.
That’s why it was such a mega-bummer for me back in April when Trump decided to cast all that campaign rhetoric aside and bomb Syria.
And now he has to go and make things worse by appointing that warmongering walrus John Bolton as his National Security Advisor despite some perfectly understandable initial reservations about the man’s mustache?
John Bolton, that deservedly loathed botfly from the Bush Jr. Administration, is back, and he’s ready to kick ass—provided, but of course, that he doesn’t have to personally do any of the ass-kicking. Bolton and his giant 70s’ porno “flavor saver” mustache seem ready, willing, and ready almost to the point of premature ejaculation to bomb the rest of the world into oblivion in order to, um, protect “America’s interests.” He’s something beyond trigger-happy—he’s bomb-happy. He is the incarnation of Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove except, as I intimated before, he probably doesn’t have the guts to ride the bomb itself like a cowboy on a bucking bronco.
Our new National Security Advisor is the guy who’s written such tender think pieces as “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” and “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First,” which was published only last month and might be a bit concerning seeing as how, you know, we already have a whole situation with North Korea.
This is one of the main charlatans who sold the public the whole “weapons of mass destruction” lie that dragged us into Iraq, but Bolton’s bloodlust extended even further than Bush or Cheney’s—he urged the US flex its muscles “Beyond the Axis of Evil” and bomb Cuba, Libya, and Syria into smithereens, too. To this day, Bolton remains one of the five or so people on Earth who don’t think the Iraq War was a colossal mistake.
Despite the fact that I don’t think he’s ever done anything the neocons have disapproved of, Bolton insists he’s not a neocon because his mission isn’t to “spread democracy.” Apparently, his mission is merely to bomb the shit out of other places on the taxpayers’ dime.
And what countries does our new protector of our national security see as a looming threat that may need a few bombs to set them straight? Oh, only a handful:
Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea. These are regimes that make agreements and lie about them. A national security policy that is based on the faith that regimes like that will honor their commitments is doomed to failure.
A man who likely would have approved—or even ordered—the Pearl Harbor bombing if he were Japanese, Bolton has over his career agitated for “preemptive” strategy against Iraq, Iran, Korea, and Libya. And in stark contrast with Trump—who during his campaign took the eminently defensible position that it’d be better for all concerned if Russia were our ally rather than an enemy, Bolton has advised in the past that we should make the Russians “feel pain.”