Today we do conspiracy theories moving toward becoming conspiracy facts.
This post is inspired by a lively exchange that took place on my Twitter feed yesterday. The subject matter of the exchange was the “resignation, that wasn’t”, made by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
Now, what this blogger found interesting about this particular exchange, and the major take-away from this experience, is the level of emotion introduced by one of the sides. The lesson that needs to be learned here, is that whenever one of the sides employs EMOTIONS in a debate, that side is conceding that it has no rational, logical nor dispassionate arguments left at its disposal.
In a poker game, it’s known as a tell.
And now to the conspiracy theory -> conspiracy fact...
Over the years, it has been commonly held in circles that derive their view of reality from objectively observable occurrences, that one of the major, if not the sole benefactor of most radical left wing causes is GEORGE SOROS.
In fact, it was even once considered a conspiracy theory to make an assertion that George Soros was funding DISSIDENT “c”atholic groups who promoted an un-Catholic agenda and that these groups even tried to install a DISSIDENT bishop of Rome.
And then this here appeared:
At present, the conspiracy theory has taken on the air of a “conspiracy fact”, given that making a statement to this effect is now considered to be acceptable in polite society, is that George Soros has a “moneyed” interest in changing Catholic teaching on a whole host of issues, including who the Roman Pontiff should be.
With respect to the “resignation, that wasn’t” of HH Pope Benedict XVI, it is highly probable that one of the “conspiracies” that was launched and financed by the Soros funded John Podesta group, was to put in motion a PROCESS that would bare exactly those results.
Yes, folks, the Overton Window has moved on this one, as per above email exchange.
So today, a post from Tom Luongo, which appeared on the Zero Hedge website explains to what extent, George Soros is a benefactor of radical left wing causes.
Among those causes funded by Soros, could have been a scheme to bring about the “retirement” of a sitting Roman Pontiff.
I will leave off here, but remember dear and loyal reader, coincidence does not equal causation. However, the next time someone wants to shut down debate by using what are called the “relevance fallacies”, point him to this post.
Nota bene: Relevance fallacies are those fallacies that take advantage of human weaknesses like: fear, desire, pity, prejudice, bigotry, gullibility, insecurity, vanity, snobbery, modesty, guilt, admiration, loyalty, patriotism, hatred, etc., rather than present reasoned and relevant evidence. At their core, these fallacies that operate on the basis of what is known as “confirmation bias”!
George Soros is losing. He still thinks he’s winning. But, in reality, he’s losing.
All around you, if you look closely enough, you will see the spectre of George Soros lurking behind the headlines. The caravan, net neutrality, regulating Facebook, the de-platforming of independent media, color revolutions and election meddling, refugee creation and manipulation, the trolls on Twitter, your blog and YouTube, etc.
All of these things we see in the headlines today are a product of George Soros’ money and his singular obsession with re-creating the world in his image.
Soros himself is a product of the times. A multi-billionaire who could only exist in an era of unprecedented corruption of the basic foundations of society. An age where the dangerous mix of Marxist ideology governs the somewhat unfettered free flow of capital has resulted in the mother of all bubbles in making money on money.
Mo’ Money Mo’ Time
A primary thesis of this blog is that corrupt money begets a corrupt society. Corrupting the prices we pay for the things we buy dissociates us from their true cost of ownership and the opportunity costs of making different choices.
It has given rise to a seemingly all-powerful class of money-changers who manipulate policy to arrogate unearned wealth to themselves, known as rent, and then use that new wealth to fund their next scheme to fleece people of their time.
Because the aphorism is true, time truly is money. Time is the only true scarce natural resource. Everything else is, ultimately, recyclable, just ask Einstein.
And men like Soros understand that filling your time with distractions keeps you poorer than you would be otherwise. This is the main mechanism by which they steal your wealth.
The process of political and ideological radicalization that his NGO’s excel in are part of this scheme. Get the people outraged over irrelevancies, emotionally charge them up and then set them against each other until the political system breaks.
Even when it fails ultimately, like in Armenia, it succeeds in wasting a year of millions of people’s lives. Time lost to the machinations of a madman.
How much time do we as Americans spend worrying about the issues du jour concocted by Soros and his cohort Tom Steyer? And the sad truth is that we need to worry about these issues, even though the costs are high.
Because Soros’ goal is the destruction of the United States and what it stands for. He is chaos incarnate continually using his money to stoke conflict which ends in a Hobson’s Choice for us, damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
The Face of Hobson’s Choice
That choice today is one between a Facebook and Silicon Valley that has way too much power over governing our speech, hiding behind broadly-worded EULA’s or accepting regulation of them for abusing their power.
Think about how egregious the treatment of conservatives and alternative press is at the moment. It’s completely one-sided. Now ask yourself the obvious question.
Why would they do this knowing it will result in people getting angry and calling for something to be done?
Because, lightbulb, that was the plan all along.
Notice how today Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are being set up to be the fall guys for this situation. If you can’t see at this point the man behind the curtain pulling the strings on this to achieve this very goal then you aren’t wokeor red-pilled. You are part of the problem.
You are just another of George Soros’ useful idiots.
Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are lining up now to make Zuckerberg into the villain for not answering the their concerns over Facebook’s data handling.
Zuckerberg is the patsy.
And Soros will get what he wants: compliant, paid-for, bureaucrats and politicians ramming through legislation that gives them oversight into social media platforms to regulate not only their behavior but yours.
Game. Set. Match.
If that’s the case then why do I think we’ve reached Peak Soros?
Lies Are Expensive
Because none of this is working anymore. Look around you.
Last month OSF and his Central European University pissed off out of Hungary where Viktor Orban put his foot down against Soros’ malign influence on Hungarian culture.
The Russians threw him out years ago and there’s an arrest warrant out for him there.
He fought these latter two countries for years before finally leaving.
And OSF pulls out in a day?
Reason? They are guilty and Soros is losing his cover. Everywhere where opposition to globalists is hardening Soros is pulling up his tents and running away.
Bullies are weak. Soros hides behind the venal and the vane. He’s never built anything of value, only won a rigged version of a zero-sum game, i.e. currency trading.
He’s not an entrepreneur, he’s a vampire. And vampire’s don’t build things, they destroy things other people love while being unloved themselves.
The overthrow of the government in Armenia didn’t go as planned either, as Nikol Pashinyan failed to form a government even after he gave lip service to remaining a friend to Russia. No one bought that line and Pashinyan’s people’s revolt has left a a vacuum in its wake, but one that won’t be filled with a Eurocratic stooge under Soros and NATO’s control.
But most importantly, fewer and fewer people are falling for the Hobson’s Choice I described earlier that Soros gins up to move the political ball in his direction.
Now, instead, he is resorting to openly backing voter fraud in Broward County and Georgia. He’s paying protesters to harass Senators over a Supreme Court nominee and organizing a violent storming of the U.S. southern border which is quickly becoming a political albatross around the Democrats’ neck.
Lies are expensive. That’s why men like Soros need so much money.
It’s why they continue to also manipulate markets, sow discord and volatility at the same time that they push open conflicts which rightly scare rational people half to death — like Ukraine’s ham-fisted attempt to draw Russia into a shooting war in the Kerch Strait here.
Their lies are being debunked in real time. I’ve said before. These men may be the smartest men in the room but the are not smarter than the room itself. From here on out for George Soros and his ilk in The Davos Crowd victories will get more expensive and losses harder to overcome.
This is why control over the flow of information, control of The Wire, as I talked about recently is so very important. It’s why decentralized platforms are so important and why personal connections we make here in the cyber-world need to be anti-fragile.
Today’s post was inspired by a dear and loyal reader, one JTLiuzza who wrote the following comment:
I enjoy your blog but I must admit I’m at a loss to understand your fascination, or anyone’s for that matter, with this Peterson fellow.
Before your humble blogger provides you, dear and loyal reader with that which he wrote in response, a transcript from the above video embedded at the top of this post is in order. It sets the context of the below discussion.
The exchange between Dr. Peterson and just the next in line cookie cutter feminist takes place coming right out of the gate, and is a follows:
Narrator: In this video, I would like to discuss a particularly contentious exchange where Lewis confronts Peterson attacking Peterson’s now famous lobster hierarchy argument, featured in his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life.
Lewis: My big problem with the lobsters it’s that it’s scientifically… bollocks. Right? You cannot read across from lobsters and what they do and what humans…
Peterson: Of course you can. That’s why serotonin works on lobsters.
Lewis: But it works in two different ways. Serotonin makes lobsters more aggressive and it make humans less aggressive. Right?
Peterson: No. It makes them more dominant. No that’s not right. Serotonin makes human beings more dominant, but less aggressive. And the only reason it makes them more dominant is that they are less irritable and they are less defensively aggressive. So it’s not bollocks. I know my neurochemistry. So if you’re going to play neurochemistry let’s go and do it.
What is of particular significance in the above exchange is the contrasting degree of competence brought to the discussion by the respective sides. The interviewer is just a typical IDEOLOGUE who asks a question without doing her homework about what it is that she is in fact asking. Dr. Peterson in turn knows his neurochemistry and confronts her directly.
So the moral of the story is: OBJECTIVE REALITY always wins.
Which brings me back to my response to JTLiuzza, in which your humble blogger wrote the following:
I am not sure how much of Dr. P’s work you are familiar with, so I’ll explain.
What I find fascinating about him is that he is a (self-avowed) Traditionalist in the Natural Law sense of the term.
If we look at the nature of reality (ontology) we can distinguish between the natural and the supernatural. The supernatural reality we obtain from revealed Truth. The natural reality we obtain through the “natural light of human reason from the things that are made”. This is what is known as natural theology.
What Peterson does is that he takes that which we know from the natural light of human reason and ties it back to the supernatural part of ontology. In other words, he reconciles the natural with the supernatural.
And from what I observe, his message is a very effective weapon for not only proselytizing, but more importantly, for stopping the eradication of Christianity from the public domain altogether.
Concluding, the most destructive element of the Modernist revolution and that which we call the Enlightenment is that the forces of evil have been able to put in place this notion that the supernatural is some sort of an exotic “superstition” and relic from a past dark, ignorant age and will eventually fade away and die out. And then we will enter a new age of enlightenment where our values will be generated from reason, empiricism and science.
And along come Dr. P and makes the obvious observation that reason, empiricism and science can explain reality, but they can’t generate a set of values which will give meaning to the lives of those who are guided solely by reason, empiricism and science.
So Dr. P makes the case that no matter how much the Modernists would like to eradicate (organized) religion, they will not be able to do it since it satisfies a basic human need. And I find this aspect of Dr. P’s work nothing short of prophetic.
Hope this helps.
Now, with the material in this video and in that which Dr. Peterson espouses, we can agree with most and disagree with some. What we can’t do however, is to discount the impact that he is having on what we call on this blog: RECONCILING post-Modernist VIRTUAL REALITY with OBJECTIVE REALITY.
Frankly, it’s the only weapon that is at our disposal to deal with something like this below:
Nota bene: Dr. Peterson stated that the end of this child abuse will definitely come when the institutions that are promoting this genital mutilation, are bankrupted by future law suit judgments. Sound familiar? But I digress…
Which brings me to another positive development which I have been noticing of late. I see this phenomenon as a return to natural theology.
Over at another of the Deus ex Machina’s favorite blogs, the Non Veni Pacem (simply love that title), we get a discussion on Overton Windows and growth functions. The title of the post is: Nuff said: “Sunlight is always the best disinfectant”. In this post, Non Veni Pacem discusses the significance of the Msgr. Bux interview. (see here)
The relevant passage is as follows:
But the point being made here, with regards to the idea of the Bergoglian Antipapacy being the blue line on this chart, is that we just passed Point “A” in the last 24 hours. Point “A” is when the idea takes off, and the chart hockey-sticks. Which means we are about to see a whole lot more focus – white hot light – on this question.
Where point A is defined in the below graph:
Which suggests that within 26% of the Catholic population, it is ACCEPTABLE to question the validity of the Francis bishopric of Rome.
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.
Extending the above SCIENTIFIC CLAIM into the ECCLESIASTICAL sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium, it could be restated as:
When just 10 percent of the CLERICAL population holds the unshakable belief that it is the “spirit of the new springtime of the Second Vatican Council” that is the ROOT CAUSE of the disintegration of the post-conciliar church , their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society and the inevitable Restoration will be at hand.
In other words, the follow-up question is, how close are we to point R with respect to the population that holds an “unshakable belief” that this is in fact the case?
Which answers the question as to why all Catholics need to follow Dr. Jordan B. Peterson religiously.
Never, ever, EVER thought that this humble blogger would write a sentence, let alone a post title on a blog dedicated to the Restoration of all things in Christ, like the one at the top of this one.
As the US FrancisBishops Conference’s conference has come to a FrancisEnd, the Dictator of Rome orders the US Bishops, Cardinals, FrancisCardinals and FrancisBishops NOT to put in place any transparent, laity led, honest review of the current CRISIS brought about by the INTRINSICALLY DISORDERED “clericalists”.
Needless to say, a lot of people are upset.
So today, this humble blogger will take a stab at why these “upset people” are in fact UPSET!
But before we get to that subject matter, this humble blogger needs to make a digression and posit the following claim:
MODERNISM IS DEAD…
… and the Modernists killed it.
The reason for making the above claim, is that it needs to be understood. The reason why it needs to be understood is that without this specific understanding, one cannot properly diagnose the current problem plaguing the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
So why is your humble blogger making the above point AGAIN?
Because if there is any system of categorization that can contain the various speeches, newspaper interviews, musings at the Domus Sanctae Marthae and off-the cuff remarks generated by the bishop of Rome, i.e. the magisterium of Francis, it is post-Modernism.
And this is regardless of whether we agree with their Modernist versions or not.
The reason that Catholics can debate the concept of Modernism in the first place, is that Modenism shares a rational, logical, empirical cognitive framework with Catholicism. What we agree with and disagree with, are the specifics within that framework, while not questioning the framework itself.
With Francis and his post-Modernists, there is no framework.
In fact, Francis and the FrancisMagisterium is not only a critique of, but the antithesis to the qualities that we falsely ascribe to “Francis the MODERNIST”, while in reality, Francis is the exact opposite of a MODERNIST.
Therefore any discussions, or even arguments that we have with Francis, don’t affect either him nor do they affect his actions. Figuratively speaking, it’s like talking to a wall. And that’s because Francis and his FrancisMagisterium is in fact STRUCTURE-LESS, i.e. characterizes by self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, subjectivism, and irreverence.
The reason that this humble blogger eliminated the descriptor “pluralism” from the above list is that Francis, the Dictator of Rome doesn’t have a pluralist bone in his body.
And post-Modernism doesn’t demand that he have one either!
Now given the above, and taking Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s critique of post-Modernism into account, namely that post-Modernism, due to its claim that all hierarchies of values are “equal”, can’t define (establish) a hierarchy of values that can sustain it.
Therefore, to gain and sustain itself in power, it reverts to its ideological foundational doctrine: MARXISM.
And this is the TRUE PHILOSOPHICAL CRITICISM of Francis and his FrancisChurch.
Which brings us to the original question: What is it in FACT that has the “upset people” so UPSET?
And as you can rightly suspect, what has the “upset people” so UPSET is the FORMLESSNESS of FrancisChurch’s post-Modernism.
Just to provide one example: FrancisCardinal Cupich and the “clericalists”. The word has a specific phonetic sound, a sound that is suggestive of something to the imagination of the listener, but in reality has no OBJECTIVE MEANING and is in no manner tied down by any sort of COMMON USAGE.
In other words, “clericalist” used by FrancisChurch can mean anything.
Your humble blogger is back after a long week spent away from home.Before we begin, a quick look at yesterday’s Polish Independence Day festivities. 300,000 people marched in the Nationalist’s (individualists, never collectivists) Independence Day march.And just to remind all my loyal and faithful readers, #fakenews doing what #fakenews does best: #fakenewsing…
And that is how that MAGIC is done!
While we are on the subject of MAGIC, in the last post, we featured the POLITICAL sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium and the US mid-term elections. And as my loyal readers know, the election is still on, in the sense that there are still “election ballots” MAGICALLY appearing in the close Congressional District races and as it just so happens, all these missing “ballots” are from voters who favored of the DemocRats. (see here and here and THIS HERE) <- Don’t NOT READ this…
Funny how that happens…
But it’s just a conspiracy theory if you, dear and loyal reader make this OBSERVATION…
Or maybe it’s racist!
Which brings us to today’s subject matter.
Today’s subject matter is making sense of that MAGIC which is described above.
And since we are trying to make sense of that which is described above, the go-to guy for making sense of anything at present, including vast swaths of the THEOLOGICAL sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium, is none other than DR. JORDAN B. PETERSON.
Now, your humble bloggers input is the sifting through the great body of work on YouTube of Dr. Peterson’s and finding the applicable lecture/data/study. For today’s analysis, your humble blogger will use the Petersonian observation of COMPETENCE HIERARCHIES.
The reason why COMPETENCE HIERARCHIES can explain the PHENOMENON that we are observing is due to their structure and manner in which they function.
On the structural side of the hierarchies we have a configuration that is shaped as a triangle. A triangle in turn is shaped in such a manner that it has a broad base and a very narrow top. The reason that hierarchies resemble a triangle shape is that there can only be one leader, a limited number of lieutenants, while there are many, many subjects, to use an out of fashion descriptor. The thing about hierarchies is though is that a functioning hierarchy serves all of its members.
In other words, a hierarchy exists so that the entire population of that hierarchy can not only survive, but prosper. So if we look at say a nation state, we can observe a political hierarchy, an economic hierarchy and a ecclesiastical hierarchy just to name three.
The manner in which HIERARCHIES function is through a continuous review process that allows the “best” individuals in that hierarchy to be identified and allows them to reach higher levels, i.e. the less numerous positions while allowing the remaining individuals to occupy positions that best reflect their God given talents and competences.
Drillin down a bit into the granular matter, the more COMPETENCE that an individual exhibits, the greater the chance that that individual will occupy a higher position in the said hierarchy and vise versa. And with respect to how a person obtains COMPETENCE, the data is in and it is mostly biological. Here is Dr. Peterson’s explanation.
To quickly summarize, the ability to progress up a given hierarchy consists mostly of intelligence and trait conscientiousness (these two account for >50% of “success”). These two characteristics are for the most part GENETIC. And if a hierarchy has one function and that function is to determine which of its members will be advance to the positions of leadership in that hierarchy, INTELLIGENCE and CONSCIENTIOUSNESS(GENETICS) play a key roll.
Furthermore, a hierarchy that doesn’t advance its most competent members will, as the LEX ARMATICUS posits, eventually find itself on the trash-heap of history.
Therefore, the war that we are witnessing in the “vote creating and counting” after the US mid-term election is nothing more than a microcosm of a wider war on the COMPETENCE HIERARCHY, and is an intrinsic element of NATURE itself. Reasoning goes: since we can’t win with the voters (collective, objective measuring system), we will replace it with our subjective, individual, anthropomorphic WILL, i.e. we will cheat.
Looking at the situation in this manner, one can say that if the US government allows for the institutionalization of VOTE FRAUD by the DemocRatic Party, the American electorate will effectively lose its ability to properly select the most COMPETENT individual to lead the HIERARCHY itself. And if the US population loses its ability to advance the most COMPETENT individuals to the highest levels of the HIERARCHY, it will not only lose the economic, political and societal standing that it currently enjoys, but it will eventually disintegrate into a failed state such as the FrancisRepublic of Venezuela, Zimbabwe or FrancisVatican.
This same process is true for the longest and most successful COMPETENCEHIERARCHY known to man. Here your humble blogger is referring to the COMPETENCEHIERARCHY known as the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
In this latter case, what has happened is that a psychopath has ascended to the Throne of St. Peter and is trying to eradicate the COMPETENCE HIERARCHY instituted by Our Lord and governed by NATURAL LAW.
The manner in which the current Magical Thinker of Rome is proceeding, using the Petersonian framework, is by advancing radically incompetent individuals while suppressing the COMPETENT ones. Moreover, the plan is that the Cardinals don’t even know each other to make that assessment! (See here)
Yes, the FRUITS of the last 5 years are there for all to see.
And in case you, dear and loyal reader are not seeing the ROTTENFRUITS yet, please go to Michael Voris’ youtube channel or to Church Militant TV.(see here)
In the mean time, below is a post from our catholic friends at Zero Hedge. In this below post, we see how the current FrancisGovernment of South Africa is trying to destroy the COMPETENCE HIERARCHY that was left behind by the previous and very effective Dutch and English established public institutions.
Will have more to say on this in a later post, so stay tuned…
White South Africans Barred from Government Jobs Website
The website reportedly requires applicants to be in accordance with the Black Economic Empowerment (“BEE”) definition of black. They are also required to be between the ages of 18 and 34 and citizens of South Africa. BEE is a program launched by the South African government whose aim is redressing inequalities in the nation by giving South African citizens who are black economic privileges that are not available to white people. The program also includes colored and Indian people.
The YES website states:
“YES is a business-driven initiative which is breaking new ground by pioneering a partnership with government and labor, in collectively tackling a national plan to build economic pathways for black youth. Please note we are currently only registering candidates between the ages of 18 and 34, who are currently unemployed and must be black (as per the B-BBEE codes definition).”
YES was the brainchild of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. In March, he boasted about the idea, stating “we will be coming up with further initiatives to address youth unemployment.” However, South Africa’s trade union, called “Solidarity”, stated that white South Africans were “unwelcome”, while calling the exclusion “part of a long list of policies obsessed with race.”
Paul Maritz, coordinator of Solidarity Youth, told RT: “It is as if the President is saying to white candidates: ‘You are unwelcome and on your own!”
Maritz noted that unemployment is an issue of importance in South Africa, but that making decisions based on race has become a dangerous norm.
In late summer, we continued highlighting the growing tension between President Ramaphosa and white farmers who, under threat of having their land taken and repurposed, were digging their heels in, stating that they would defend their properties by force, if necessary. We looked at whether or not a coming civil race war in South Africa was an inevitability at this point.
In early September, we followed up, taking a closer look as to whether or not there was a plan in effect for the government to simply take white farms and “eliminate” white farmers by whatever means necessary. For now the market is giving Ramaphosa the benefit of the doubt.
There is still counting going on, but it looks like the DemocRats will take the House while the Republicans will add BIGLY to their Senate majority.
Can’t call them all, but looking at the respective results from the two chambers, it would appear that the House results are an outlier.
One other aspect to the results. A lot of Rinos were replaced by Trump Republicans. It might not be apparent from just looking at the numbers, but the POTUS will have a much easier time with Executive Branch appointments and with the JUDGES and JUSTICES.
Which brings this thread to one observation: The Very Stable Genius must do something about the voter fraud.
As for the sentiment of this humble blogger, I concur with Ari above.
Leading off, Bill Mitchell…
NOTA BENE: As my loyal readers know, money center banks do exit polls. Therefore if we see the stock market rallying (S&P) or USD rallying (EUR/USD trending lower), it means that R’s are doing very well!
S&P will be the tell in the humble opinion of this even more humble blogger!
In his recent Reason magazine article, senior editor Brian Doherty assures readers that “cultural Marxism” is nothing but mere “paranoia” conjured up by the “conspiratorial right” to provide cover for their hate of “multiculturalism and gay rights and radical feminism.”
He openly mocks the idea that the unmistakable uptick in identity politics these last few decades has anything to do with “sinister machinations of commies striving to enslave us.”
One must be “mistaken” and “foolish,” according to Doherty, to believe that such concerted efforts to build coalitions based on racial, national and gender identities to replace the economic “class” identities of classical Marxism is anything more than “dubious conspiratorial theories.”
Doherty’s stance is especially puzzling, however, given the fact that socialist leaders have openly written about this strategy for decades.
The article begins with the authors proclaiming that the “socialist political struggle” was occurring in a new landscape. They argued that “the traditional discourse of Marxism, centered on the class struggle and the analysis of the economic contradictions of capitalism, has had great difficulty coming to terms.”
Laclau and Mouffe wrestled with how to overcome this challenge and effectively “modify the notion of class struggle” to include groups not easily categorized into an economic ‘class’, vis-à-vis their relationship to the means of production.
Their desire was to figure out how to incorporate “the new political subjects — women, national, racial and sexual minorities, anti-nuclear and anti-institutional movements, etc.” into a socialist movement traditionally identifying people by class.
This new revolutionary strategy that evolved over time, the authors observed, demanded “the possibility of conceiving political subjects as being different from, and much broader than classes, and as being constituted through a multitude of democratic contradictions which the socialist forces had to take into account and be able to articulate.”
This sounds an awful lot like Ron Paul’s Facebook post Doherty cites, which read:
“Marxists just shifted their ‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: ― women exploited by men; ― gays exploited by heterosexuals ― The old exploited by the young ― and vice-versa ― This list goes on and on.”
Curiously, Doherty mentions the cartoon accompanying the post while avoiding the actual content of Paul’s words. Several paragraphs later, however, Doherty begrudgingly admits what has been exceedingly obvious to even casual observers for decades:
“It’s true that campus leftists have shifted some of their attention from specifically economic concerns to ones based in cultural identity.”
Directly after this telling admission, though, Doherty reverts to form by admonishing those that “pretend that the broad grievances of gays, blacks or women are based in communism rather than American history” simply “misunderstand the world around you.”
Laclau and Mouffe, however, would beg to differ with Doherty’s casual dismissal of any link between socialist revolutionaries and identity politics. Indeed, they insisted that the only way to achieve their socialist ends was to create a new conception of the “exploited class,” one that would be identified not in traditional Marxist economic terms, but by “forms of domination different to that of economic exploitation.”
Because, as the authors explained, this society “is indeed capitalist, but this is not its only characteristic; it is sexist and patriarchal as well, not to mention racist.”
“These new political subjects: women, students, young people, racial, sexual and regional minorities, as well as the various anti-institutional and ecological struggles,” Laclau and Mouffe continued, “not only cannot be located at the level of relations of production…on top of this, they define their objectives in a radically different way.”
Replacing an easily identifiable political ‘class’ like the proletariat that unites easily behind the “worker’s movement” created challenges for the new vanguard of the revolution, according to Laclau and Mouffe. With such a broad and diverse set of interests seeking demands for their respective groups (based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.) there is a risk of each separate group becoming autonomous and merely articulating their specific demands.
A united front consisting of all these groups is needed to advance the socialist movement, for “the anti-capitalist struggle can only be strengthened by the addition of these new fields of struggle.”
This creates an urgency to re-brand what socialism is perceived to be so each of these groups can internalize it, Laclau and Mouffe argued.
This new unified socialist struggle “must consist of a vast system of alliances that are continuously redefined and renegotiated. But it cannot truly be consolidated without developing an ideological frame of reference, an ‘organic ideology’ to serve as cement for the new collective will.”
Consider the effort to co-opt the feminist movement. “It cannot be simply a question of adding women’s demands to the existing list of those demands considered as socialist; the articulation between socialism and feminism must involve a radical transformation in the way socialism is customarily viewed, i.e., simply as the socialisation of the means of production. And this in turn means a change in the order of priorities that are today seen as fundamental,” they argued.
This new “organic ideology” and “change in the order of priorities” referred to by Laclau and Mouffe must “take into account the necessary scope of the struggle to suppress all relations of domination and to create a genuine equality and participation at all levels of society.”
Or, to put it in more familiar terms, the new socialist revolution must shift the “‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: – women exploited by men; – gays exploited by heterosexuals; – The old exploited by the young; – and vice-versa.”
Ron Paul had it right.
Doherty is either ignorant or naïve to spurn those who recognize today’s identity politics as a tool in the modern socialist movement.
Prominent socialist theorists like Laclau and Mouffe have openly divulged this exact strategy for decades.
It’s not foolish conspiracy mongering or mere “clever rhetorical deck-stacking” to accurately identify the identity politics of ‘cultural Marxism’ as the preferred strategy of modern day socialists.
This might sound crazy, but is Francis a Traditionalist in disguise?
Now, this humble blogger isn’t the first to posit such a wild assertion (HYPOTHESIS), but might just be the first one to state it in all seriousness.
Stick with me…
I am still rubbing my eyes after reading the below, and multiple times…
Moreover, this here caught the ever gazeful eye of this humble blogger, not to mention his news feed filters:
Quick question: what does this video remind one of?
It appears as if it’s a WHO’S WHO of the homo-mafia in the upper echelons of the post-conciliar church.
I mean, it’s like Francis has a LIST of names of the worst HOMOHERETICS in the post-conciliar church and is promoting them, with their entire entourages to the highest levels of the government of the Vatican.
And he is doing it blatantly, brazenly and in a “in your face”, “cocaine and rentboys and FrancisCardinals and THE DOSSIER in the Muller CDF apartments” kind of way.
Now Francis is bringing back the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for Catholic publications, both print and digital. But this new Librorum Prohibitorum is in fact an ANTI-Librorum Prohibitorum. In essence, the certification will be nothing short of a big red flashing light for the real Catholic stuff.
Now there could be some really funky stuff on this Anti-LibPro, but none the less, it will act as a magnet for drawing attention to those “black listed” publications, and what’s worse (better), it will demonstrate, in a blatant and brazen manner, the hypocrisy of the DISSENTERS.
I mean, this is not the way you make heresy permanent. It’s like introducing extra strength termites on steroids into the wooden substructure of a building that is barely standing as it is, and telling them “go at it boys”.
This appears exactly the correct analogy to the introduction of the extra strength FrancisCardinal Tobin on steroids into the rotten Washington D.C. Archdiocese that is barely standing, not to mention half the clerics are in revolt as it is, and telling these clerics and the Trump Justice Department: “nighty-night baby”.
I’m sorry, but he can’t be that “tone deaf”, not to mention stupid!
And speaking of the Trump Justice Department, all this is in the middle of a US Justice Department investigation that is just getting underway.
And, and after you and your homosexualit rent-boy pedophile clericalists just goaded the President of the United States by effectively calling him HITLER.
I mean, once again, you can’t be that dumb!
Which brings to mind a recurring thought that I have been having over the last few weeks. The recurring thought playing non-stop in my mind is the following account of a tactic used by one of the most famous United States Marines EVAH, one Lieutenant General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller. Here is the passage that came to mind:
Puller made the rounds of his “weary and dejected band” to reassure them that all would be well. A squad leader who had experienced the “terrible feeling being under enemy fire the first time” thought that the colonel’s display of courage and calm during the fight “really raised our morale.” Even those who had not seen their commander firsthand benefited from the tales that circulated around the perimeter. In one story, he had lit his pipe in the dark, then quickly hit the ground and rolled away in an effort to draw fire from a Japanese machine gun and locate its position.
See what I mean?
But that’s not to say that Francis is brave like Chesty Puller. Far from it.
Francis in fact is not only a self-admitted coward, but also a Peronist.
As a Peronist, he is an opportunists.
He plays both sides of the field.
He hedges his bets just in case one of his sides loses.
Like say, hedging his bet when he dropped the dime on Communist subversives in the Argentinian priesthood to the Military Government.
Yet in his Vatican years, we see no hedging.
Why is that?
Well, maybe it’s just that we aren’t looking for it.
Now could it be that Francis, after reading the Dossier realized, as Pope Benedict did before him, that the homosexualists had infiltrated the upper echelons of the Vatican so thoroughly, that the only thing that could save the post-conciliar church is to bring the whole thing down?
Case in point, he is appointing a homosexualist on steroids to Washington DC in a situation where a RICO investigation is almost a certainty, and where the majority of the US Catholic Church’s budget of $180 billion is made up of government funding ($95 billion in 2016, so it could be higher now).
I’m sorry, but you just don’t act that recklessly and become the bishop of Rome.
Finally, a couple of posts back, your humble blogger asked the question of whether Francis is playing the Faithful.
Now the question needs to be asked: is Francis playing the post-conciliar homo-lobby?
“My friends, this election is about more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe, and what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in this country, a cultural war as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.” — Pat Buchanan, 17 August 1992
Coming To Terms
Until the last few years, it made sense to talk in terms of a red tribe and a blue tribe when describing political affiliation. The red tribe was right-wing, populist, nationalist, religious, concerned by terrorism, and valued sexual purity. The blue tribe was left-wing, globalist, internationalist, secular, concerned by global warming, and valued sexual freedom. They had fundamental disagreements about what America (or the West) was, what it needed to become, and how to get there. They even had a culture war. However, this dichotomy no longer provides a sufficient map of the political territory we find ourselves in.
Enter memetic tribes. We define memetic tribes as a group of agents with a memeplex that directly or indirectly seeks to impose its distinct map of reality, along with its moral imperatives, upon other minds. These tribes are the active players in the new culture war. They possess a multiplicity of competing claims, interests, goals, and organizations. While the red and blue tribes were certainly far from monolithic, in the current decade any claim to unity is laughable. An establishment leftist who squabbles with the right must contend with mockery from the Dirtbag Left. Meanwhile, the Dirtbag Left endures critiques from Social Justice Activists (SJA), who in turn are criticized by the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW). The trench warfare of the old culture war has become an all-out brawl.
Some have used the notion of “digital tribes”, which we might call pacifist memetic tribes, to understand the penchant of individuals to sort themselves into online groups that share interest and beliefs. But historians will see the era of digital tribes for what it was: A brief blip before somebody said, “Wait, guys, aren’t we forgetting something? We could be fighting other tribes right now!” Digital tribes could not sate a fundamental need for bloodshed. The Internet, ostensibly an opportunity for greater understanding, communication, and collaboration, has instead become the central theater of the new culture war. In the last decade a boundless field for the diffusion of kitten pictures, image macros, and insular forums transformed into a battleground for propaganda, doxxing, partisan podcasts, and public shaming campaigns. While digital tribes still exist, such as the speedrunners or the harmless furries, we have entered the age of memetic tribes.
Though many conflicts can still be usefully analyzed in terms of disagreement between the right and the left, the conflicts within the red and blue tribe are as inflammatory, and will prove to be just as consequential for the future of America and the West. The Establishment Right vs Trumpists. Gender-critical feminists vs SJAs. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) vs the Establishment Left. Some commentators have observed that the left is devouring its own. But this is only a selection from a broader phenomenon. All across the political spectrum, people are cloistering into tribes and defining themselves against the tribes that are most similar to them. Are you a grey wolf? Then establishment liberals probably bother you the most. Are you Alt-Right? Then the Alt-Lite’s attempts to split the movement surely gall you.
The new memetic tribes share, to varying degrees, a few characteristics. Most are “unscrupulously optimistic”: They see social problems as soluble through large-scale adjustment. They see themselves as spokespeople for larger groups, whether that be “regular people” or “the marginalized”. At the same time, they see their existence, or their prime value, as under threat. They do battle both online and off. And crucially, their memetic warfare is just as much about firing up members and creating converts out of non-combatants as it is about winning particular battles.
From the perspective of the tribal memeplex, the ideal host exists in a state of permanent agitation and interprets all phenomena through the memeplex’s filter. In short: A paranoid ideologue. Memeplexes that have not agitated their hosts into reproducing them will lose out to those that do. There is only so much room inside your head, and ideology expands to fill available space.
The memetic tribes all share a goal: To win the culture war — or at least, to not lose it. To paraphrase Buchanan’s definitive statement on the culture war, the new war is the brawl between memetic tribes for the soul of America and the West. We define a culture war as a memetic war to determine what the social facts are at the core of a given society, or alternatively, to determine society’s boundaries of the sacred and the profane. Political arguments have become indistinguishable from moral arguments, and one cannot challenge political positions without implicitly possessing suspect morals. This makes politics an exhausting and unproductive game to play, and it makes the culture war intractable. A further barrier to ending the culture war is its tendency to spread to previously apolitical interests, from football, to coffee, to rideshares.
At the end of this white paper, we explore ways in which individuals can navigate the culture war tensions. Along the way, we will explore the conditions that give rise to memetic tribalism and the history of the culture war. We also include a taxonomy of today’s memetic tribes. While it is useful to look at the battlegrounds upon which the memetic tribes fight, it is also useful (and entertaining) to peruse the myriad ways in which people have organized themselves.
The Six Crises
Memetic tribes are multitudinous, fractious, unscrupulously optimistic, and divide the world into allies and enemies. They are locked in a Darwinian zero-sum war for the narrative of the noosphere, the sphere of human thought. What conditions gave rise to the contentious environment of memetic tribes?
We argue that six phenomena are involved in their genesis: secularization, fragmentation, atomization, globalization, stimulation, and weaponization. These ingredients respectively engender six crises: the meaning crisis, the reality crisis, the belonging crisis, the proximity crisis, the sobriety crisis, and the warfare crisis. We will examine each ingredient and crisis in turn.
Secularization and The Meaning Crisis. “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?” In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche published his famous epitaph, gesturing at the triumph of scientific rationalism over divine revelation. As Nietzsche recognized, this triumph is a Pyrrhic victory — the meaning system of Christianity cannot easily be replaced by evidence-based reasoning alone, a rationality devoid of narrative and role.
Religion provides meaning. Not only does it provide an understanding of how the world is for the believer, it also informs how the believer ought to exist in the world. Without God, the axiomatic foundation of the West’s historically dominant memeplex, religious oughts are in need of a new justification. According to Nietzsche, without a replacement, a slow slippage to nihilism is unavoidable. And the secularization of our institutions accelerates the collective transition into nihilism.
Secularization theories predict an untethering of religious authority from society would bring about a widespread embrace of a rational and scientific worldview. In the book A Secular Age, Charles Taylor rejects this “subtraction theory” and claims that our modern age is instead becoming one of pluralism, where multiple viewpoints compete with Christianity for control over the social narrative. This society-wide secularization has given rise to the meaning crisis, which we define as a meaning famine where numerous contenders are competing to satiate our meaning hunger.
Nietzsche foresaw the freedom and danger that came with this situation. “We have gone further and destroyed the land behind us. Now little ship, look out! Beside you is an ocean…”, We argue that the noosphere has become this ocean, a vast reservoir of chaos and potential as people attempt to make sense of the world after the death of God. Memetic tribes are one solution, a raft to navigate the open seas. Their totalizing worldviews and the roles they provide are an attempt to satiate the meaning hunger in the meaning-famished.
Fragmentation and The Reality Crisis. Scott Adams often uses the analogy of two movie screens to explain how the Culture War is processed. Conservative media such as Fox News have a rosy Trumpist perspective, while liberal media such as CNN and MSNBC adopt a virulent anti-Trumpist perspective. Viewers of these networks experience the same reality but watch incompossible interpretations of that reality. Adams’s analogy can be expanded beyond the dichotomous right/left narratives embodied by legacy media. We not only have two movies available to us, we have a Netflix-level variety of viewable material.
Philosopher Jean-François Lyotard described this as “the postmodern condition” in 1979. The postmodern condition is not necessarily one of relativism but one of fragmentation. Lyotard defined postmodernism as “incredulity toward metanarratives”, which are narratives that totalize all knowledge and experience, such as religion, the Enlightenment, and communism. These grand narratives, once broken down, give way to what he calls little narratives.
These little narratives do not necessarily espouse relativism directly, but are localized by their contexts, are ostensibly independent from one another, and have different means of sensemaking. This fragmented array of narratives has caused a reality crisis, for without some semblance of a consensus reality, constructive cooperation becomes extremely difficult. This results in what Lyotard calls a differend, a situation where conflicting parties cannot even agree on the rules for dispute resolution. Moreover, there is lack of agreement on what the conflict even is. Collective understanding problems of what reality is amplify collective action problems of what reality should be.
Thanks to the Internet, we are now fully in the postmodern condition, or as we call it, the reality crisis. Whereas previously traditional media provided a consensus reality, the decentralization of information-sharing technology allows individuals to document events, create narratives, and challenge perceptions in real-time, without heed for journalistic ethics. This revolution has not led to greater consensus, one based on a reality we can all see more of and agree upon. Instead, information-dissemination has been put in service of people’s tribalism. Anybody can join a memetic tribe and will be supplied with reams of anecdotes to support that tribe’s positions. Grassroots and underground media production keep the tribes up to date on opinions, with wildly different perceptions of the same event. Memetic armadas are being crafted in neighboring ports. Fake news has only just begun.
Atomization and The Belonging Crisis. Atomization is the reduction of a thing to its elementary particles. It is the state of separateness. Social atomization, or social alienation, is the process by which individuals come to experience themselves primarily as separated individuals who are not part of a greater whole. The freedom that comes from this is accompanied by feelings of isolation, alienation, and depression. In an atomizing society the roles and responsibilities that were the province of kith and kin are increasingly commoditized into transactions with strangers.
In White Collar: The American Middle Classes, C. Wright Mills argued that advanced capitalism has engendered a society dominated by a “marketing mentality.” This is a mentality that encourages Frankfurtian bullshit, uses friendliness as a tool, and is ready to sell and service the other. This incentivizes individuals to treat one another as instruments. In Buberian terms, they engage in I-It relating. By doing so the individual transforms himself into an instrument, ready to be used by the other.
When the marketing mentality reigns supreme it indicates that a Gemeinschaft, a society of subjective binding, has been replaced by a Gesellschaft, a society of contractual binding. This leaves us in a new normal of alienation from self and other. As Hannah Arendt says, we are in a collective state of “homelessness on an unprecedented scale, rootlessness to an unprecedented depth.” This social domicide and de-rooting makes us long for a place to call home and a group of people to call our own.
This is the belonging crisis. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, belongingness is the third innate need required for our psychological health and development. Without it we are bowling alone, longing for a team to play on. To mitigate loneliness, anxiety, and other adverse conditions that lack of belonging brings, people are primed to fly into the arms of others. All they need is an offer of togetherness, and a few convincing memes.
Globalization and The Proximity Crisis. In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg opened his letter to investors stating that “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.” In 2017 he introduced Facebook’s new mission statement: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” It is clear that Zuckerberg has not read Marshall McLuhan. If he had, it might have softened the utopianism of this mission statement.
In 1962 McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man was released. In it McLuhan introduced the term “the global village” to describe the globalization of the mind, a process set in motion by electronic media’s power to interconnect minds worldwide, ending in the compression of the globe into a village. McLuhan, a man ahead of his time, was no Pollyanna. He foresaw that the new media would have a retribalizing effect on man. “The global village”, he wrote, “absolutely ensures maximal disagreement on all points.”
Why is this? Philosopher Byung-Chul Han has an elegant answer: Distance, or lack thereof. In his book In The Swarm: Digital Prospects, Han states that “distance is what makes respectare [respect] different from spectare [spectacle]. A society without respect, without the pathos of distance, paves the way for the society of scandal.” The internet pornifies our private lives, including our political views, leaving nothing to the imagination. When everything is laid bare, respect vanishes, for our proximity exposes all of our ugliness. This manifests in what psychologists call dissimilarity cascades (the more we know about someone, the less we like them) and environmental spoiling (proximity with those we don’t like spoils the environment as a whole).
Mutually exclusive memeplexes, or “mutex” memeplexes, have no distance from one another thanks to the global village. This is the proximity crisis. Good fences make good neighbors, and the power of media has flattened all social fences. McLuhan eventually favoured a global theatre analogy, instead of the global village, to indicate that we are all becoming actors in a repertory of theatrical performances. Thanks to their mutual exclusivity, these performances are becoming increasingly warlike and less theatrical by the day. Twitter, a platform that lends itself to sharing propositional memes, has become a central battleground of the new culture war. It is where mutex memeplexes cannot escape from each other. It is where distance evaporates.
Stimulation and The Sobriety Crisis. Is the image of a beetle hopelessly attempting to have sex with an empty beer bottle the perfect metaphor for the state of humanity? In 2011 Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz won the Ig Nobel Prize for their research on the male jewel beetle’s proclivity to attempt copulation with littered Australian beer stubbies. They found that these discarded bottles greatly attracted the male jewel beetle because their size, coloring, and dimpled design were similar to the male jewel beetle’s female counterpart. In fact, according to Darryl Gwynne, the male beetle found the beer bottle so attractive that they ignored the females and their “attempts to copulate with stubby beer bottles continue until they are killed by the hot desert sun or by foraging ants.”
This phenomenon is known as an evolutionary trap: adaptive instincts turn maladaptive due to exposure to supernormal stimuli, magnified and more attractive versions of evolved stimulus. Nikolaas Tinbergen, the ethologist who coined the term supernormal stimuli, demonstrated that he could trick birds, fish, and insects into evolutionary traps using exaggerated dummy objects designed to trigger their instincts. In Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their EvolutionaryPurpose, psychologist Deirdre Barrett points out that humans are just as fallible to these superstimuli. Whether it be junk food, laugh tracks, pornography, or likes on social media, these artificial triggers addict us and hijack our agency.
Tristan Harris, a former Design Ethicist at Google and founder of the nonprofit Time Well Spent, makes the argument that there is an asymmetrical battle going on for our attention. On one side, we have evolved instincts suited to a bygone ecology. On the other side is an army of high-IQ engineers informed by Ivy League persuasion labs tasked to create algorithms aimed solely at capturing and holding our attention. To make matters worse, the targets of these campaigns aren’t even aware this battle is going on.
In the interest of appeasing shareholders, large social media companies battle over the attention economy, and along the way they reduce our agency and turn us into memetic addicts. The pervasiveness of social media has created the sobriety crisis. Addiction, simply defined, is the compulsive engagement in pleasurable substances or behaviors despite their negative consequences. This is our new norm and it leaves us highly vulnerable to the predation of self-interested actors. Like the jewel beetle being devoured by foraging ants, our reduced agency leaves us blind and defenseless to actors with misaligned agendas.
Weaponization and The Warfare Crisis. Aleksandr Dugin, touted as the most dangerous philosopher in the world, published The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia in 1997, with one reviewer stating that it “reads like a to-do list for Putin’s behaviour on the world stage.” Used as a textbook in the Russian Academy of the General Staff, the book advises Russian operatives to “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements — extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilising internal political processes in the U.S.” After the cold war Russia, no longer competitive with America in hard power, pivoted to aggressive soft power to regain their geopolitical influence.
If the 2016 American elections are any indication, Dugin’s strategy has been implemented. The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that the Russians interfered with the elections with the intent to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” The Internet Research Agency, the source of Russia’s apparent sockpuppet troll army, sought to sow maximum discord throughout America. They disseminated fake news to support the campaigns of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein, and targeted groups across the political spectrum, from Black Lives Matter (BLM) to far-right gun advocates. They even arranged pro- and anti-Trump rallies to occur at the same time, all in the service of destabilization.
Controversial cybersecurity commentator James Scott calls these campaigns “chaos operations”. They follow a basic formula: Understand the target audience through psychographic profiling, create messages that are attuned to the trigger points of the audience, seek out real or fake “incidents” to weaponize, and stoke outrage. A study by marketing professor Jonah Berger showed that anger increases the likelihood to share memes. This naturally selects for “outrage porn”, memes which provoke indignation and outrage and encourage receivers to spread them throughout the global village. Outrage porn is the supernormal stimuli of the culture war.
It is not only Russia who engages in information warfare. Other state actors, terrorist organizations, lone wolf hackers, and big data mercenary firms like Cambridge Analytica all engage in memetic operations. Minds are being weaponized around the world, to advance agendas they may not support or even know about. We find ourselves in a warfare crisis. Without a Geneva Convention for information warfare to govern how unfriendly actors must conduct themselves, we are in memetic anarchy.
To summarize the six crises:
The meaning crisis weakened our collective understanding of what ought to be.
The reality crisis fractured our collective understanding of what is.
The belonging crisis took away a genuine feeling of community.
The proximity crisis removed distance from conflicting views.
The sobriety crisis reduced our agency and turned us into addicts.
The warfare crisis transformed our minds into weapons for hidden wars in plain sight.
None of these crises alone created the new memetic tribes, but the combination of all six made it unavoidable. The meaning and reality crisis created a longing for a collective is and ought. The belonging and proximity crisis put the existentially isolated in close memetic quarters with those they can love and hate. The sobriety and warfare crisis turned us into memetic addicts, weaponized for the strategic aims of others. These crises set the stage for a new culture war we were severely ill-prepared for. The crises are dynamite distributed throughout the noosphere. All that was needed were some matches.
History of the New Culture War
It is worth noting that kulturkampf emerged as a term in the 19th century to describe struggles to redefine the relationship between church and state in Germany and other European nations. While Europe was no stranger to religious and civil war, the kulturkampfs were largely bloodless, and were held between not just different religions but different ideologies.
By the time Pat Buchanan introduced the term “culture war” to America in 1992, the “struggle for the soul of America” had been ongoing for decades. This culture war, which we refer to as Culture War 1.0, was a bipolar affair, fought between a coalition of Christians and secular liberals over “the soul of America”. Battlegrounds included abortion, evolution, and the status of women and homosexuals. The culture war got presidents elected, polarized the country, and left the America of the past decade in a dramatically different position from the America of fifty years ago.
In international relation theory, polarity refers to the way that power is allocated amongst nation states. There are three types of polarity commonly used to describe a given historical period: 1) Unipolarity — One superpower exists that creates order, e.g. Pax Britannica or Pax Americana. 2) Bipolarity — Two superpowers keep each other in check, e.g. the Cold War. 3) Multipolarity — multiple nation states have competing influence, which is potentially the most unstable of the three, e.g. the Concert of Europe, World War 1 and 2.
This notion of polarity maps over to the culture wars. The bipolarity of Culture War 1.0 is analogous to the USA and USSR’s distribution of power in the cold war: Two opposing superpowers, maneuvering for influence, fighting brief skirmishes, and capturing dissent by forcing ideology into a binary (capitalism vs. communism, Christian morality vs. secular rights). But Culture War 1.0 is over. Thanks to the ongoing revolutions in digital communications and the crises that created memetic tribes, the conditions were set for a radical change in what culture war looks like. A bipolar war, with clear coalitions, clear enemies, front lines and supply routes, the tension of two sumos, has become a multipolar brawl.
Multipolar distributions of power do not obey the logic of bipolarity. Agents do not see allies behind the line and enemies in front of it. Instead the lines surround them and are constantly shifting. Attacks can come from right or left, from state power or mob rule, from twitter pile-ons to SWATting. Thus the conditions of 2018: Strange alliances, rearguard action, unstable positions, and everywhere flux and insecurity.
Four main events initiated the leap to what we call Culture War 2.0, whether by wrapping up old theatres of operations or initiating new ones. While other events contributed to it, such as the 2008 recession and the birth of BLM, we think these four were central to the emergence of the fragmentary, postmodern culture war we now live in. It is worth considering these seismic events, to understand the insufficiency of the bipolar frame to describe the current situation.
Event One: November 15, 2011
THE END OF OCCUPY
Simmering resentment towards the financial system after its 2008 collapse exploded into a new kind of public protest. People gathered in public squares to express collective frustration and to explore a new form of justice. For two months, it seemed that questions of economic justice, the power of banks, and the class system would transform America.
Its time had not yet come. The police crackdown on Occupy was swift and decisive, dashing the utopic hopes surrounding it. We propose that the new anti-authoritarian activists baptized by it, disheartened by capitalism’s invincibility, gravitated to identity politics and away from class politics. We cannot ignore the explosion in social justice activism post-Occupy, and the relative lack of anti-capitalist activism until 2015. Until Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn rose to prominence, economic justice took a backseat to issues like racial justice, equal representation, and university culture.
Occupy did not just mark a transformation in content for the culture war, but more importantly, an end of a certain form. Occupy was an instantiation of a universalist politics — the people coming together to practice a communal form of life, forming a polis, speaking with one voice. This type of activism has a rich history in communist and anarchist organizing, but it also contained the seeds of the left’s memetic tribalism. Occupy lived via memes, virality, and digital organizing. The activists that came afterward, like SJA and BLM, ran with these innovations, and have shifted from universalism to intersectional identity. Commentators have even argued that Hillary Clinton’s campaign failed for pandering too much to identity politics, leaving space for Trump to capture the conversation on class.
We suspect that this was a recuperative process for capitalism; identity politics can be negotiated within the mainstream, relieving institutions of some radical pressure. Put another way: Corporations can be woke, they cannot be anti-capitalist. This corporate embrace helped accelerate the spread of identity politics throughout society, leading to a backlash from an ensemble of people taken aback by or ideologically opposed to the speed of change. It also served to neuter the anti-capitalist left by embedding issues of social justice into corporate policy through HR and PR departments. If corporations can be allies of social justice, then the radical leftist assertion that all oppression is intersecting has the ground torn out from under it. This helped fracture the left on questions of its goals, its methods, and its true enemies.
Event Two: June 26, 2015
OBERGEFELL v HODGES
After Event One, social justice was in the air. The final chapter of Culture War 1.0 is the landmark decision by the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage. Secular liberals emerged as victorious protagonists and the Religious Right suffered its final defeat. As Rod Dreher says, “Today the culture war as we know it is over. The so-called values voters — social and religious conservatives — have been defeated and are being swept to the political margins.” The Religious Right was unable to reverse Roe v Wade, unable to bring prayer back to schools, and was arguably complicit in nosediving church attendance. Its bluster and funding did not lead to any cultural power for the Right, beyond organizing votes for Republicans.
Obergefell v Hodges was an event of consensus — a new social reality quickly took hold, with an ever-dwindling minority of dissenters. But the consensus around sexual politics was short-lived — riding the momentum of Event Two, Event Three burst onto the scene.
Event Three: July 1, 2015
While Event Two was closing a chapter in Culture War 1.0, the stage was being set for the first battle of Culture War 2.0: transgender rights. Though this front had been simmering for years, it was not a battlefield for Culture War 1.0. It exploded into mainstream consciousness with Vanity Fair’s July 2015 issue, with Caitlyn Jenner adorning the cover. The transgender question brought with it a host of other issues. Bathroom bills. Non-binary genders and pronouns. The right of transgender people to serve in the military. Puberty-blocking pills for children. Trans women in women-only spaces. All of these points of contention have become culture war skirmishes.
They also contributed to the formation of the new centrist tribes. Unlike the binary Culture War 1.0 paradigm of marriage equality, transgender rights follow Culture War 2.0 logic, whereby tribalism is multidimensional and attack can come from unforeseen angles. Faced with what they see as the excesses of the Left, but simultaneously wary of the viciousness of the right, new centrist tribes have emerged. Their members tend to agree with the left on some of these issues and not on others, leaving them at odds with the more totalizing visions of the right and left. The most important figure in this front is, of course, Jordan Peterson, who jumped into the culture war specifically in response to non-binary pronouns. Without the current cultural push for transgender rights, Jordan Peterson would not have become a culture warrior, and without his massive popularity, it is unlikely that the IDW would have formed in anything like its current shape.
Event Four: November 8, 2016.
THE CHAOS PRESIDENT
“I like chaos. It really is good.” — Donald Trump
Commentators will be analyzing Donald Trump’s election campaign and victory for years to come. What suffices for us is to understand how it shifted the landscape and the rules of the culture war. Trump sent the establishment right and left spinning, self-questioning and delegitimized. The culture war has only increased in fervor since his election, partially due to his instigations and partially due to people abandoning the establishment right and left in favor of memetic tribes.
As Ross Douthat once tweeted, “If you dislike the religious right, wait till you meet the post-religious right.” Trump effectively captured the remnants of the Christian Right, transforming them into a nationalist right in the process. The radical right has re-emerged, armed for war with “meme magic”, unconcerned with civility, aimed only at victory.
Donald Trump’s focus on neglected workers has galvanized the radical left to refocus on economic concerns, as exemplified by the popularity of Chapo Trap House and the sevenfold growth of the Democratic Socialists of America. Movements like Antifa and other activists have seen a surge in membership in response to a perception of authoritarianism. The skirmishes between Leftist tribes revolve and will continue to revolve around two central questions: Class or identity? Centrism or leftism?
Viewed in isolation, the explosion of Occupy and the loss of the Religious Right could be seen as closure for decades-old arguments. As observers from the other side of history, we know them to be kindling for the wars of new ideologies, and the attendant proliferation of memetic tribes. We turn our attention next to the taxonomy of the current memetic tribes.
There is a shared anatomy between memetic tribes. We posit that each tribe has a telos, an objective to obtain or a state to attain. They have sacred values, values which are non-negotiable and inviolable within the memetic framework. If these values are transgressed it will trigger the tribal member. These will also influence the prime virtues that the tribal member will signal. They have master statuses, the dominant identifying characteristic of the tribe as a whole. Each is persecuted or haunted by an existential threat, which necessitates tribal affiliation for survival. Other tribes are combatants in the noosphere. They have campfires, online or in meatspace, where they communicate and cooperate. Each tribe has chieftains who either direct the tribe, provide the theoretical foundation for the tribe, or are apologists for the tribes. They each have mental models by which they conceptualize and navigate reality. And each tribe has forebears, whether they be progenitors of the tribe or personal inspirations of the chieftains.
While presenting the following chart we are adopting a “view from nowhere” position, in order to demonstrate similar memetic anatomy. However, we do not believe that there is equivalence between the tribal claims to truth, morality, practicality, or even interestingness. This is for you, reader, to evaluate.
It is also important to note that this chart is not intended to be and cannot be exhaustive, complete, or final. Our aim is to create a launching point for further discussion on what and who constitutes memetic tribes. We are also aware of what Canadian philosopher Ian Hacking calls the “looping effect”, how the act of categorization can change those who are categorized. If you see yourself in one of these rows, perhaps this will inspire some reflection on how and why you came to your current beliefs and attitudes.
As well, depending on the context and flexibility of the tribal memeplex, one individual can find themselves in multiple tribes, e.g. Sam Harris is a chieftain for both the New Atheists and the IDW. Furthermore, memetic tribes do not consist solely of memetically possessed humans. They consist of anything that produces and reproduces memetic content, from cultural institutions to bots. Memes do not care about the species or non-species of their hosts.
We have excluded tribes that meet our definition but are not currently participating in the culture war to a significant degree, such as Transhumanists, Modern Stoics, the Hotep Nation, and Anti-Natalists. We have, however, included some small tribes. Some of them, such as QAnoners, have influence discordant to their size, thanks to the attention paid to them in the media. Others, such as the Optimists, are included in spite of size because they are currently growing.
On a final note, in the spirit of charity we have attempted to describe the tribes using terms that they would use to describe themselves. For example, the term “Social Justice Warrior” is a popular pejorative used by non-leftist tribes, but those who actively identify as activists for social justice only use the term ironically. In cases where tribes do not self-identify, we have christened them.
Below are some further comments and our speculations on how the tribes will evolve in Culture War 2.0.
SJA: While this tribe engages in full-out war with other tribes, they continue to make gains in legacy media, corporate HR and PR departments, and government institutions. With increased embeddedness of SJA values in institutions and corporations, expect a right-wing countervailing response. Also watch for a fight to define leftism against class-first analysis.
Black Lives Matter: This tribe has made a large impact on the cultural landscape, but has not yet made an impact on government policy. Watch for potential conflicts with masculinist black nationalists and the “leaving the plantation” narrative of Candace Owens. Also, keep a look-out for BLM to distance themselves from white allies capitalizing on wokeness.
#MeToo: Perhaps the fastest growing tribe in recent times, it has moved quickly to redefine the social consensus. Watch for further revelations concerning men in power, followed by more conservative and reactionary backlash.
Gender-Critical Feminists: The feminists left behind by trans-inclusive feminists are fighting an uphill battle inside the left. Watch for future mixing with non-left tribes, and more offline culture war.
Modern Neo-Marxists. Neo-Marxists, while still alive and well in a critical capacity on University campuses, have lost significance since the fall of the Soviet Union. Communism is seen across the political spectrum as discredited. However, given the rising popularity of Democratic Socialists, the memes that Marx birthed could see a revival. If Neo-Marxists can offer a compelling narrative and escape the capitulation and nihilism of Accelerationist thought, then they might be able to piggy-back on the DSA’s popularity. Watch for Douglas Lain’s Zero Books imprint to capitalize on this opportunity.
Antifa: Even without identifiable chieftains, Antifa has played an important part in the culture war, and continues to benefit from people’s fear of Trump and dissatisfaction with mainstream responses. Watch for the normalization of a violent offline culture war.
Occupy: The tribe that coalesced around radical leftism, hope, and physical presence has been shattered. Dormant, it lives on in the 99% meme and in the pages of Adbusters.
DSA and Dirtbag Left: The drama of the Bernie campaign and dissatisfaction with the lack of leftism in the Democratic Party has led to a surge in a radical wing of the American left. The ironic fringe still rests at the top of the podcasts, and the push for mainstreaming socialism has been growing ever since Trump’s election. Watch for further infighting with Social Justice Activists.
Optimists: In reaction to the polarization and catastrophizing they see on both the left and right, this nascent tribe has coalesced around the idea that the world is in fact improving, and whatever challenges society faces can be solved through the institutions and values we currently hold. Watch for an increased presence as neoliberalism converts libertarians and shifts to be embraced as a contrarian ideology.
Establishment Left and Right. The zeitgeist of our times gives the palpable sense that the establishment left and right are dramatically on the decline, especially amongst millennials and Generation Z. Those in power within the establishment are experiencing increased pressure from rapidly rising elements within their parties. Democratic and liberal parties worldwide are contending with socialist and far-left elements. Conservative parties have seen populists and illiberal democrats take over. And everyone, everywhere, has been blindsided by the rise of white identitarian and nationalist elements. Watch for these tribes to make a last grasp at power during the 2020 elections in America.
New Atheists and Street Epistemologists. The atheist tribes are indirect participants in the culture war. Their shared objective is to attack the religious truth-claims and plant doubt in the epistemic methodology of believers. The New Atheists lost the relevance they had during the Bush Era when the “Four Horsemen” had great popularity, but their impact has been felt in the noosphere. They contributed to the religious right’s defeat in Culture War 1.0 by weakening it on philosophical grounds. The Street Epistemologists are the New Atheists potential successor in Culture War 2.0.
Rationalist Diaspora: Incubated on Overcoming Bias and LessWrong, this is an observer tribe in the culture war. Though similar to the New Atheists in that they prize rationality, they do not define themselves in opposition to religion. Thanks to the strength of Eliezer Yudkowsky and Scott Alexander’s writing, and the beliefs and epistemic virtues of the diaspora, they command increasing respect in the culture war. Watch for a popularity boost to Effective Altruism, a struggle with the downsides of increased attention, and possible pressure by the SJAs for the Rationalists to commit to progressive values.
Post-Rationalists. This is another observer tribe, and possibly the most interesting one. If the rationalist motto is “the map is not the territory, but it is important to create the most accurate map possible”, then the post-rationalist motto is “the canvas is not the territory, but it is important to create the most interesting canvas possible.” This observer tribe has the potential to generate innovative solutions to the seemingly intractable problem of the differend.
Integral Theorists. Ken Wilber, who lost some momentum in his “Wyatt Earp” incident, is steadily gaining a strong following amongst cultural influencers. Like the Rationalists and Post-Rationalists, Integralists are an observer tribe. Unlike them, they have a teleological narrative that instills existential hope. This will be a tribe to watch for if it moves away from its observer capacity and becomes more active in the war.
Sorters and Intellectual Dark Web. Jordan Peterson is the common denominator with these two tribes. One of the most important figures in Culture War 2.0, his central message in the war is an emphasis of free speech and the importance of truth-speaking. His followers, which we dub the Sorters, mostly comprised of young men, are attracted to Peterson’s style and his message of personal responsibility. The “Intellectual Dark Web”, coined by Eric Weinstein, consists of a group of thinkers who have experienced what they view as thought policing by political correct elements of the left. With the ever-increasing popularity of Peterson’s brand and platforms such as Quillette, the Rubin Report, and the Joe Rogan Experience, watch for both of these tribes to gain further members and make a strong push for a return to a classically liberal centre in the culture.
Benedictines: With a religious right increasingly subservient to Trump, it is becoming incumbent for Christians who put faith first to organize collectively. This memetic tribe is aware of its own mortality and is putting survival before the culture war. Watch for a siphoning of disillusioned Christians and rightists.
Christian Right: The religious right is quickly transitioning into a nationalist right. The culture war goals of the Moral Majority have largely been set aside in favour of punishing the left via Trump. Unless there is a public evangelist revival, watch for this to dissolve into Trumpists and Benedictines over the next few years.
Tea Party: Since its decline began after the 2013 government shutdown, this tribe has largely been subsumed by the Trumpists. Watch for a continued decline in libertarian activism as believers drift towards Trump or neoliberalism.
Trumpists: This new tribe makes up for a lack of experience and policy through power and “high-energy”. They are engaged in a fight for control over the mainstream perception of conservatism with a blindsided establishment right. Watch for a push for votes from racial minorities and a scramble to stay in line with Trump’s thought.
InfoWarriors and QAnoners. These are the conspiracy theory tribes of the Culture War. Alex Jones and InfoWars represent “established” conspiracies such as the New World Order and Illuminati. With his manic energy, Jones has successfully turned conspiracy into a profitable business. QAnon is a grassroots emergence of conspiracy theories originating on /pol/. Given the intense passion their reality tunnel engenders, we speculate that QAnon will grow amongst Trumpists and will be censored on social media platforms, which will only further fuel its growth.
Alt-Lite, Alt-Right, and Modern Neo-Nazis. These three tribes are concerned with issues surrounding white people and are often lumped together by the mainstream media, but they are actively fighting amongst themselves (“punching right”), in order to create distance and avoid conflation. The Alt-Lite would be quick to point out that they are less defined by white identity and more by western chauvinism, an unapologetic view that western culture is the best. Watch for massive fluctuations and changes in the composition of all three of these tribes and a continued fight amongst themselves to gain adherents.
Neoreactionaries: This semi-dormant tribe has partly been subsumed into the Alt-Right. Lack of public direction from its key figures has led to a decline in influence. Watch for Nick Land’s return to the blogosphere and keep an eye on Social Matter and the Hestia Society for a potential revival.
MRA, Manosphere, MGTOW. Like the dissident right tribes, these masculine tribes are usually lumped together. Like the far-right tribes, these masculinist tribes also signal to create distance amongst themselves. The Manosphere, the largest of the three tribes, reached its peak around Gamergate and has lost momentum due to their lack of a non-hedonistic strategy, and due to men’s attention being drawn to the message of Jordan Peterson. See a continued declined with these three groups unless new voices emerge.
Incels. These self-described involuntary celibates could be placed in the masculinist cluster, if not for their view of themselves as “black-pilled” instead of “red-pilled”. They agree with most of the descriptive views of the masculinist tribes but see their situation as radically hopeless and unfair. The belief space of more extreme adherents has more in common with the violent rage of terrorist groups like ISIS than any of the memetic tribes listed above. Copycat attacks mimicking Elliot Rodger and Alek Minassian might grow in number unless a memeplex emerges that can inspire and provide meaning to sexually unsuccessful males in society.
We conclude this white paper by offering speculative proposals that are not meant to treat the culture war as a solvable problem but as an opportunity for personal and collective growth.
We view the noosphere as an emergent phenomenon, a consequence of globalization and digitalization. When Pierre Teilhard de Chardin introduced the term, he adopted a teleological perspective and saw the collective consciousness of humanity developing towards an “Omega Point”. While we are agnostic about whether or not there is an endpoint, we do think that looking at the noosphere as being in the process of evolution can help with regards to making speculative proposals. In this section we shift our focus from seeing memetic tribes as individual entities to viewing them as fragments of the larger noosphere.
Bruce Tuckman, a psychology researcher in group dynamics, established his famous “stages of group development” model in 1965. He believed that there were four necessary stages that newly formed groups need to progress through in order to tackle their shared challenges. The first stage is forming, when a team first comes together and individuals, mainly focused on themselves, operate with a degree of politeness. The second stage is storming, when comfort within the group allows for conflicting opinions to be voiced. Team members may wrestle for control of the group’s values and goals. The third stage is norming, when “resolved disagreements and personality clashes result in greater intimacy, and a spirit of cooperation emerges.” The fourth stage is performing, when “group norms and roles established, group members focus on achieving common goals, often reaching an unexpectedly high level of success.”
Not all groups are successful. Some abort during the storming phase. If a group is to succeed, it must build a bridge from storming to norming. If we apply this model to the noosphere, we see all the different memetic tribes currently in midst of the storming stage. The emergent collective consciousness of the internet began as the relatively innocent forming stage of Web 1.0. Now that we are in the storming phase, we are plagued by mobs, trolls, and doxxing.
If we are to survive as a species, we must address our collective challenges and existential risks — from rogue AI to environmental disaster. To do so we are going to have to build the bridge from storming to norming. This norming phase may not involve feel-good utopianism, but it must involve deep negotiations and compromises between tribes, or alternatively, a peaceful geopolitical instantiation of the growing memetic divides.
These seven speculative proposals are meant as a launching pad for discussion. They are not proposals for government and corporate policy. Rather, they are ideas for readers to explore, small but meaningful steps to push against the overwhelming whirlwind of the culture war. It is our hope that interested minds and entrepreneurial spirits will take these proposals and advance them further.
Hippocratic Oath of the Cultural War. The Hippocratic Oath was an oath that physicians were required to take before they began practicing medicine. Its modern iteration is a rite of passage for graduates of some medical schools. While today the oath is not a binding contract, there is a degree of ritualistic magic in formally committing to ideals. Could there be a Culture War equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath? One that chieftains of the memetic tribes could affirm? It would prove beneficial if journalists, authors, bloggers, and professors alike took this oath, but any social media user could take the oath, by pledging their name and accepting some sort of e-badge. Promises can be broken, but breaking public promises can give swift social feedback.
What would this Oath consist of? At the bare minimum: a commitment to good faith dialogue, the principle of charity, and intellectual humility. The last virtue is critical. A caveat of “I could be wrong” underlying strongly held beliefs helps even the most difficult conversations, a shared commitment to that caveat helps even more. If enough culture warriors take such an Oath, it could pave the way for a Geneva Convention of the Culture War.
Dirty Bias to Clean Bias. It is increasingly hard for media outlets to approximate “performative neutrality”, thanks to the perverse incentives of outrage porn, and needing to appease dwindling subscribers. Is there a way to satisfy the collective hunger for “unbiased news”? While we try to figure that out, cynicism spreads, as rightists increasingly find traditional media’s claims to neutrality laughable. Is there an alternative?
We could all start by putting our skin in the game, by being honest about our biases and tribal affiliations. We could abandon the pretense to neutrality and more honestly engage with each other, knowing where we stand. Arguments could go to our philosophical foundations more quickly, instead of expending themselves on object-level disagreement.
We call this “clean bias”, an admission of an epistemic framework and value structure. It is in contrast to “dirty bias”, unspoken and denied framework and values while purporting to universality. Thanks to the reality crisis, we are shedding our faith in universally imposed and agreed-upon truths. Clean bias is a necessary part of a new peace in our fractured reality. A first step could be for memetic creators, from journalists to bloggers, to commit to including their foundational presumptions in their bios.
Reinventing Debate. Debate is broken. Nobody actually likes “gotcha interviews” and debates that are plagued by strawmanning, question-begging, bad faith, and side-stepping. Debate needs to be rebuilt. We suggest that debate currently tries to inhabit two contradictory roles. On the one hand, it is a source of entertainment through combat, on the other, it is an avenue for improved understanding and wisdom. We propose that these two roles should be formally separated into distinct types of debates, Sport Debates and Sensemaking Debates.
In Sport Debates, participants debate for combat and entertainment. This would gamify the desire to engage in verbal combat for its own sake, with truth as a potential byproduct. They could be viewed as the UFC of the mind. While it may seem cynical to sponsor an avenue for the fiery and often toxic form debates can take, we think that diverting those urges away from sensemaking desires is a good harm-reduction strategy.
In Sensemaking Debates, participants debate for understanding and exploration. This would allow the purported values of debate to actually flourish. This can also include philosophical sandboxing, the adoption of ideologies as a method actor. Spaces could be made where participants take on ideological roles so as to better understand them, and to develop the skill to take them off.
David Brin’s idea of “Disputation Arenas” and William MacAskill’s “Anti-Debates” can map over to the two types of debates, with Bryan Caplan’s “Ideological Turing Test” as another potential modality that falls somewhere in-between both types. Peter, the co-author of this white paper, has been experimenting with both of these debate modalities in Toronto inside his Intellectual Explorers Club. He welcomes suggestions and participants.
Disrupting and Emancipating Philosophy. Due to technological innovation, industries are being disrupted the world-over, from the sharing economy to AI developments. We suggest that it is time for philosophy to endure similar disruptions. In Disabling Professions, Ivan IIIich argues that professionalization can have a damaging effect on society, as expert culture induces knowledge-distance, blindness, and reliance on experts by non-experts. While Illich’s focus was the medical establishment, this also applies to philosophy, which has been inaccessible to most non-professionals for decades. This has in turn led to a sense of philosophy’s irrelevance amongst non-academics.
But as practical philosopher Andrew Taggart points out, philosophy is much more than an academic discipline, it is as a way of life: “Philosophy is not theoretical discourse but a way of being. Philosophical discourse, accordingly, appears only when necessary and is always put in the service of leading a certain kind of life.” Indeed, we are seeing the beginnings of a reclaiming of philosophy as a way of life in the new popularity of the longform podcast and philosophies of virtue such as Stoicism.
Our hope is that with these and other disruptions to the philosophical status quo, people will gain the tools to think critically and avoid being drawn into convenient and prepackaged worldviews. Philosophy could be a guard against the pressure to join an existing memetic tribe. R.J. Hollingdale’s aphorism may come to fruition: “If we thought more for ourselves we would have very many more bad books and very many more good ones.”
Memetic Mediators. A new role might be required in the Culture War, that of the Memetic Mediator. This mediator would be a pan-tribalist participant who has the ability to communicate across tribes in a way that seems fair and reasonable to each tribe. They would have the mental agility, empathy, and wisdom needed to shift between a multitude of perspectives.
Memetic mediators could be called in for memetic battles where both participants prefer peace to continued civil decay, but cannot come to an accord without facilitation. These mediators would require a multitude of tools at their disposal. They would need to be fluent in multiple tribal paradigms, and would need to give the impression of fairness. And because each tribe has their own method and claims to truth, Memetic Mediators would have to be skilled at finding any common ground and building from it.
As we do not have an existing example to point to, we can only speculate that the role will emerge out of necessity in the coming war. They could even emerge as consultants for social media companies.
Grey Pills as Acid Tests. Venkatesh Rao has introduced the term “grey pilling”, which he views as the third pill in the blue-red pill dichotomy. Blue pills are unquestioned consensus realities we are socialized into. A red pill, as Venkatesh puts it, “is a dose of information that awakens you to the existence of a world beyond the one you are unconsciously immersed in, like a fish being taken out of water. Red-pill moments sensitize you to the previously invisible boundaries and structural lies of the world you knew, and make you alive to astounding possibilities beyond it.”
A grey pill, according to Venkatesh, is the process of “relearning the value of questioning and doubt after you’ve been seduced by answers and certainties; it’s leaving comforting “secret” societies for continued intellectual growth.” Grey pills can engender an existential crisis, but at the right dose they can provide a confident unknowing and a sexy uncertainty, what Stephen Fry calls “passionate and positive doubt.” In a world of tyrannical certainty, grey pilling may be an ethical act.
In 1964, Ken Kesey, smitten with the experience that LSD provided him, drove around the country with his Merry Band of Pranksters and offered “acid tests” to anyone they could find with the intent to open minds and transform the consciousness of society. Some may argue that they were successful in doing so, as his adventures chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test are credited with giving birth to the hippie movement. What if we grey-pilled the way Kesey acid-tested?
This would be the return of Socrates, the original gadfly, who grey-pilled anyone who dared to converse with him. The method of the Street Epistemologists are instructive and may be repurposed for this proposal. Their conversational method of innocently starting dialogue is well-structured, but instead of atheists inquiring into the epistemic methodology of their “irrational” interlocutors, performative agnostics could inquire with the intention to get mutually, philosophically lost. This may be our most dangerous, and most fun speculation.
Human Skills to Protean Tribalism. Management theorist Robert Katz made a distinction between three critical skills for professional success: technical skills, conceptual skills and human skills. Technical skills are practical skill-sets that can be mastered. Conceptual skills are effective ways of thinking about complex problems. And human skills can be understood as the ability to connect with what is “human” about another person. While the “marketing mentality” invokes the need for Dale Carnegie-esque social skills, which are instrumental towards salesmanship or leadership persuasion, “human skills” invokes the framework of authentic relationships with other humans. It has the potential to lend itself to a non-instrumental view of relationships. In Buberian terms, this is a movement from an I-It way of relating to one of I-Thou.
The Authentic Relating and Circling Movement aims to cultivate WE Spaces, which are intersubjective I-Thou spaces where collective consciousness can emerge. For individuals concerned by their own culpability in the culture war, these spaces give an opportunity to develop Human Skills. We speculate that if one becomes skilled at relating to one another for its own sake, across tribal affiliation, it may allow people to bypass tribalistic affinities and allow for a Protean Tribalism to emerge. One’s tribe would be fluid and context-based, in contrast to the increasingly rigid identities we find comfort in.
Workshops for Depolarization. The Culture War is a vicious cycle — those who suffer from it feel they have to perpetuate it. Initiating conversations about alternatives can be the start of a positive feedback loop. Individuals looking to improve the atmosphere in their communities could initiate workshops to that end.
A promising example to this end is the OpenMind platform. As per its website, “OpenMind is a psychology-based educational platform designed to depolarize campuses, companies, organizations, and communities. OpenMind helps people foster intellectual humility and mutual understanding, while equipping them with the essential cognitive skills to engage constructively across differences.”. A combination of an online program and a workshop, OpenMind is one avenue to develop viewpoint diversity and diffuse political tensions in relationships. Any organized, good faith approach to repairing fraying communities is likely to have a positive effect.
These and other creative measures will be necessary to generate functional alternatives to the maladaptive solutions offered by memetic tribes for the six crises. If they are not taken, we expect Culture War 2.0 to slink closer and closer to kinetic warfare, whether 60s style showdowns or more dramatic escalations. The worst angels of our nature are leering from our shoulders. It’s on all of us to refuse the easy solution of blind tribalism in favour of considered thought and embracing the unknown. If we do not, then Yeats’s words will be our epitaph:
As we watch the latest South American telenovella (IntrinsicallyDisorderedSexSynod for the Yoof’s™ – All of the Francis bishopric of Rome is about one thing: “normalizing” deviant sex in post-conciliar church) playing behind the Sacred Vatican Walls, SIGNIFICANT occurrences are taking place outside the ECCLESIASTICAL sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium.
Of those above mentioned OCCURRENCES, one is of particular SIGNIFICANCE. This occurrence pertains to the new trade deal between the US, Mexico and Canada. The significance of the new USMCA that replaced NAFTA is far reaching. The ultimate target of the USMCA are the debilitating trade balances (deficits for the US) that are generated across the globe through “unfair” (illogical) trade agreements entered into by the past governments of the respective countries.
These trade deficits generated by the US translate into trade benefits for countries like Germany and China. Specifically, running trade surpluses allows the surplus generating country additional economic activity (revenue) than it could have generated from its national human and physical assets. This additional revenue can then be used to support additional internal consumption, helping to keep a corrupt dictatorship in place – as is the case in China, or for external “soft power” activities which then can be used to corrupt and destroy… say the Catholic Church is South American, as is the case with Germany.
So the Very Stable Genius and President of the US Trump, by focusing on eliminating trade imbalances in global trade, is actually hitting at the ECONOMICFOUNDATION and FUNDING MECHANISMS of INTERNATIONALIST (GLOBALIST) source of influence, read POWER.
Below is a great post by Charles Faddis that lays this situation out quite neatly. Further information, on a continuous basis can be obtained on the Conservative Treehouse blog, which allows one to go into granular detail on this very important issue.
And speaking of funding, Michael Voris brings us full circle in the above embedded video. In this video, Michael lays out the back-story of one of the elements of the US FUNDING SOURCE of the post-conciliar FrancisChurch: Rich Catholics. (Governemnt subsidies is the other major source)
Concluding, what is important to understand is that FrancisChurch, who recently surrendered their rights to appoint Chinese bishops and gave up the Chinese Catholic Church to their Communist persecutors, most likely based this perfidity on MONETARY CONSIDERATIONS.
And along comes the VSG @POTUS @realdonaldtrump and pulls the rug from underneath the Chinese Communists, as per article below.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is dead. Mexico and Canada have folded. A new agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), will replace it. While the new agreement maintains the integrity of the North American market, it dramatically changes the rules and tilts the playing field in favor of the United States. In particular, changes in provisions regarding the percentage of North American content required in vehicles imported under the agreement, a mandate for huge increases in minimum wages in Mexico and support for labor unions in Mexico mean that an already resurging American manufacturing base is set to expand even more rapidly.
All eyes now shift to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. Here the news is even better. We have already won.
Growth in China’s manufacturing sector stalled this September, with export orders falling faster than they have in two years. The Caixin/ Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for September fell more than expected to 50.0 from 50.6 in August. The index measures the rate of expansion or contraction in an economy, and the neutral 50-mark divides expansion from contraction. What was once the world’s fastest growing economy, destined to overtake the United States at any moment, is now poised, not simply to cool off, but to begin to shrink in size. New export orders from Chinese firms, the all-important indicator of what the future portends, are now shrinking across the board.
“Expansion across the manufacturing sector weakened in September, as exports increasingly dragged down performance and continued softening demand began to have an impact on companies’ production,” said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a company specializing in analysis of the Chinese economy. “Downward pressure on China’s economy was significant,” said Zhong.
China’s currency is in free fall. China’s foreign exchange reserves fell more than expected in September 2018 to a 14-month low as the yuan weakened against the dollar.
China’s stock market is crashing. It has lost $2 trillion in value already this year. China, which overtook Japan as the second largest stock market in the world only a few years ago, has now officially fallen behind Japan. The losses show no signs of abating.
Chinese investments in the US plummeted 92 per cent in the first nine months of 2018 from their peak two years ago. In New York, where Chinese money was once driving real estate prices through the roof, the Chinese are now selling and going home. In the second quarter of 2018 Chinese investors sold $1.29 billion worth of US commercial real estate. During the same time period, Chinese investors bought only $126.2 million of property, according to data firm Real Capital Analytics. This marked the first time that these investors were net sellers since 2008.
Meanwhile, back home, China is on pace for a record year in corporate-bond defaults. Chinese companies have reneged on about $2.5 billion of public bond payments so far this year. As the economy downshifts and the threat of US tariffs hangs over everything, Chinese companies increasingly simply cannot pay their debt.
“Corporate profits have worsened this year and are unlikely to improve against the backdrop of an economic slowdown,” said Li Shi, general manager of the rating and bond-research department at China Chengxin International Credit Rating Company.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the Chinese Supreme People’s Court is warning of an impending flood of Chinese bankruptcies and telling the Chinese judiciary to prepare in advance.
“It’s hard to predict how this trade war will develop and to what extent,” the spokesman said. “But one thing is sure: if the US imposes tariffs on Chinese imports following an order of US$60 billion, US$200 billion, or even US$500 billion, many Chinese companies will go bankrupt.”
Against this backdrop China-based manufacturers, many of whom were already in the process of moving out, have intensified the speed with which they are leaving.
“Companies aren’t as eager to have production in China,” says Nathan Resnick, CEO of startup company Sourcify.
“We run production runs in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines and Mexico right now. Labor costs are actually more affordable outside of China, so for products like apparel where there is a lot of cut-and-sew labor, most companies are moving out of China anyway,” he says.
“I’ve been going back and forth to China for years, and it is getting more expensive. With all these tariffs coming, why not run some of your production runs elsewhere? Companies are saying that the scare of these tariffs has decreased the incentives to manufacture in China.”
Discussing the trend, William Ma Wing-kai, managing director of Kerry Logistics Network, a Hong Kong-listed firm owned by Malaysia’s billionaire Kuok family, stated,
“Our clients have been shifting part of their production lines as early as March from China to other Asian countries where they already have manufacturing plants. This is a reallocation of global production bases.”
In retrospect none of this should come as a surprise. The result of this confrontation was preordained. The United States is far and away the world’s largest market for consumer goods. China, which lives or dies based on exports cannot lose access to the American market and even begin to replace those sales elsewhere. There are on the other hand an almost endless number of other locations other than China, including the United States, to which manufacturers can move their factories and shift production. China was already seeing the beginnings of this shift before the trade war began. The confrontation with the United States simply intensified the trend.
What comes next will reshape the global economy and the world’s geopolitical landscape. China will ultimately cave and sign a deal. Its economy will not collapse. It will, however, never again see growth on the scale it has seen for the last thirty years. Within a year or two, in fact, we are likely to see a red-hot American economy surge past China in its rate of growth. China, which once thought fit to challenge the United States for global supremacy will remain a second-tier power.
Chinese influence around the world, heavily dependent on the availability of funds to invest, will decline precipitously. Chinese plans for massive defense spending will be still born. Outposts in the South China Sea once taken as harbingers of relentless expansion will instead stand as high-water marks for a nation facing the harsh reality of economic contraction.
The ultimate reckoning will come inside China however. Ever since China opened its economy to the world it has had an implicit bargain with its citizens. They would accept continued authoritarian rule by the Communist Party in exchange for a rising standard of living and greater economic opportunity. The Communist Party is about to be forced to admit that it can no longer keep its end of that bargain. What the people do next remains to be seen.
As my dear and loyal reader know, this humble blogger likes to juxtapose information sources (EVIDENCE), i.e. placeclosetogether or side by side,especiallyforcomparison or contrast purposes, which appear in various sub-sets of the Visibilium Omnium.
This methodology has been instituted for various reasons. Among those reasons is that when analyzing a given aspect of the post-conciliar church, this blogger likes to use analytics which are grounded in what the philosopher would term UNIVERSALS.
Now since UNIVERSALS are True always, everywhere and to all, by definition, it must mean that they hold across all the different individual, groups and/or groupings of activities in which His creation undertakes.
Therefore, if a PHENOMENON is being analyzed, and this PHENOMENON shares the same characteristics in two separate and independent groupings of human activities, then the PHENOMENON should proceed along the same trajectory in both simultaneously and independently.
So today your humble blogger is OBSERVING the same PHENOMENON unfolding in two separate and independent sub-sets of the Visibilium Omnium, namely the post-conciliar church and the US Democratic Party.
The PHENOMENON in question can be defined as follows: each institution has allowed its leadership to adopt irrational policies that caused the institution in question to stray too far from the Natural Order of things, which in turn has precipitated a decomposition and subsequent disintegration of the institutions to the point where they are threatened with economic and societal collapse.
In the case of the post-conciliar church and the FrancisChurch which “subsists” in this legacy institution, the upper management is still in a STATE of DENIAL.
In the US Democratic Party, the leadership is likewise in DENIAL, however a group of mid-level managers are taking matters into their own hands and trying to bring this institution back from the brink.
To be more specific, these Democrats are doing a re-branding exercise.
To this end, they have formally reached out to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson for help and are trying to implement some of Dr. Peterson’s research ideas to transform the radically extremist Democratic Party into something more acceptable to the normal… bah sane population of the US.
Nota bene: We are talking about nuclear families and patriotism here folks. How “radical” is that?
As for EVIDENCE, above is an 18 minute clip of Dr. Peterson’s critique of their project. The people behind the re-branding exercise have reached out to him for his comments.
In contrast to the Communist Democratic Party initiative, below is an article that appeared in the US political news site The Hill. It is written by one Grady Means, who is a business consultant and pertains to the situation in the post-conciliar church.
As my loyal readers will note, Mr. Means makes the same observations that have been appearing on the pages of this blog for over 3 years now. Yet the SIGNIFICANCE of the appearance of such information on these major political “news” sources indicates that the situation has been identified as having entered into a critical phase.
Hey, maybe a re-branding exercise is in order?
On an aside, another major upheaval in the POLITICAL sub-set of the Visibilium Omnium erupted yesterday in Germany.Here is Dr. Steve Turley to explain…
The spreading scandals in the Roman Catholic Church provoke the question: could the church collapse? I worked as a management consultant to some of the largest companies and government entities in America for nearly 50 years, and served in the White House. I was a member of the church during that period and served on various church boards and councils. Bottom line: the institution of the U.S. church could collapse, suddenly and unexpectedly.
The problem is that the current scandals reflect corruption of clergy, leadership and the institution itself, going far beyond the sexual abuse alleged. The roots of the corruption were sown as the institution that evolved from a tribal guerrilla movement that the Roman empire co-opted, to a militant state, to an empire and, finally, to adapt to modern demands for specialization and efficiency, to a corporate institution. It has departments that handle communications, finance, product and product development, brand management, marketing, recruiting, training, and human relations. It also has legal, public relations and political arms that protect and defend its brand and the institution itself.
The problem is that, as it “corporatized” and specialized, it made the mistake of many companies — it began to focus on protecting the institution, rather than meeting the needs of the customer, in this case, the “faithful.”
It is an ancient curse that absolute power corrupts absolutely. When you represent the “word of God” on earth, it is a slippery slope to begin to take advantage of the power and trust conveyed with that role. Clerics focused on their pastoral role of caring for the spiritual health of church members can exercise that power to the great benefit of the faithful. But clerics and bishops in the secretive, bureaucratic setting of the church may be tempted to exercise that trust and power in a more opportunistic fashion, leading to arrogance and abuse, cover-ups and denial, focusing on hiding the problem rather than protecting the victims.
It is certainly possible that the U.S. church is largely out of touch with its members. Using estimates provided by The Economist and other sources, of the estimated $170 billion operating budget of the U.S. church, $100 billion is hospitals and health care, $50 billion is colleges and universities, $10 billion is churches and parishes, $5 billion is charity — note the relatively small proportion devoted to pastoral work of spreading the gospel and helping parishioners, though of course schools and hospitals could be considered pastoral or charitable in some cases.
Health care and education are businesses that have limited margins and high capital costs (read fragile), parishes are a money loser, and, of course, charity is run at a loss. Facing billions of dollars in settlements for sexual abuse, it is little wonder that the dioceses have needed to engage in significant liquidation of key assets. Thus, the bottom line above: The organization could quickly go the way of Merrill Lynch, Arthur Andersen, and the Roman empire.
Arguably, the collapse is under way. There are 70 million Catholics in the United States, representing 20 percent of the American population. But that is down from 24 percent six to seven years ago, a 20 percent decline. And that number actually would be 14 percent (nearly a 50 percent decline) if it weren’t for the dramatic inflow of Hispanic immigrants over the past 10 years.
The important point is that the corruption appears to be systemic and may go far beyond sexual abuse. Where there is this much smoke, there is often hellfire. It is hard to believe that the corrupt culture of cynicism, arrogance, and lack of leadership and judgment was limited to sexual abuse. It would be a miracle if a secretive and tightly controlled organization with a $170 billion operating budget did not have other hidden scandals.
A secondary problem is how the pope and leadership are dealing with the crisis. For example, in a recent homily the pope suggested the devil is behind the accusations of sex abuse by clergy and its protection by bishops. Such thinking spells doom for the church.
The problem is that the pope is a product of the socialist, revolutionary theology, Latin American wing of the church. He is under extreme pressure from the sex abuse scandal and internecine warfare with church conservatives. As a socialist cleric, his tools are controlling communications, silencing dissent, spending other people’s money and, under pressure, cloaking himself as “God’s voice on earth.”
Unfortunately, he has adopted the favorite strategy of authoritarian socialist leaders when the heat is turned up: resorting to extreme nationalism and creating external “threats.” Venezuela’s former president Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s communist revolutionary and former president Fidel Castro went for “American imperialism.” Pope Francis is going for “the devil.” The problem for socialist leaders is, when their economic and political foundations crumble, such nationalistic trope never works for long.
It is unclear whether there are leaders in the church who have the skill to lead in this crisis, but the approach and judgment of the pope and leading cardinals does not bode well for the temporal future of the Catholic Church. Serious alarm bells should be ringing in the towers.
Grady Means is the author of books and articles on business, politics and religion. A retired corporate strategy consultant, he was a White House assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and was a Catholic leader (parish council — Holy Trinity Georgetown, Knight of Malta, and board member of Jesuit Volunteers International) for more than 50 years.