Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Differences between Migration (Settling) and Immigration

I'm currently rereading David Hackett Fischer's masterpiece Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. This classic work should not need much introduction for informed readers. Basically, Fischer documents four British sub-cultures, their migration and settlement in America and their impact on subsequent American culture. No brief review can do it justice. 

These "immigrants" were colonizers. They had no intention of assimilating into the native Indian cultures. Most insisted that the Indians assimilate into their British Christian culture or move west. There is a vast difference between subsequent immigration to America and settler/colonization movements. The words "migrant" and "migration" are used as convenient weasel words to obfuscate the central issue involved. 

Fischer illustrates that British settler leaders in the 17th and 18th centuries well understood the distinctions between different types of immigration. Their explicit intention was to plant the "seed" of British culture in a new land. They came to make North America British in culture, norms and politics. 

Fischer provides two telling quotes as chapter epigrams to make his point. Here's is William Penn's explanation of his purpose for settling the land that still bears his name (but, for how much longer?):

Colonies then are the Seeds of Nations, begun and nourished by the care of wise and populous Countries; as conceiving them best for the increase of Humane Stock. William Penn, 1681
Needless to say, this process in now ongoing in Western Europe and the southwest of the USA. The "populous" countries encouraging the "migration" are not wise, but they are brutal. From the perspective of the "mother countries," the purpose of "migration" is for the expansion of their political power and increased revenue (often to the determent of the colony).

Nearly a hundred years later Samuel Johnson commented on the issue even more explicitly: 

Whole neighborhoods formed parties for removal; so that departure from their native country is no longer exile. He that goes thus accompanied...sits down in a better climate, surrounded by his kindred and his friends: they carry with them their language, their opinions, their popular songs, and hereditary merriment; they change nothing but the place of their abode. Samuel Johnson, 1773
It is no accident that Johnson's quote can be easily applied to the current Mexican invasion of the United States. It is the whole point for the West's traitorous elites support for so-called chain migration. Such policy slows down or ends assimilation as the settlers form enclaves in the host nation. 

Any objective observer - much less self-defined intellectual - should understand the differences between legitimate immigration and settler colonization. Instead, they create an inexcusable package deal in which the former requires the latter. Sadly, today this dishonest package deal is being most vociferously promulgated by the libertarian-left and the "Objectivists" running the misnamed Ayn Rand Institute. Don't be fooled by these dishonest poseurs. The national self-interest of the United States or European nations is not their concern.  

Whatever their economic rationalizations, the destruction of the West is what they support. This is what they champion as legitimate immigration: 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: Fei Xiaotong. From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

        In his classic work Chinese sociologist Fei Xiaotong explains the nature of Chinese rural society based on his own original field work. According to the author the key concept in understanding Chinese culture is chaxugeju, which means “differential mode of association.” He contrasts chaxugeju with what he calls the Western mode of “organizational mode of association.” The Chinese form of social organization is bases on concentric rings of association that spread out from the individual at the center. These rings of association flow out in an ever widening circle from family, to kinship group, to village, to province, to nation. Loyalty also flows out in the same direction at an ever diminishing rate. All Chinese are born into unchosen associations that are sanctified by the concept of ritual. 

            The author observes that chazugeju has many ramifications. Perhaps the most important of these is that it leads to a society animated by situational ethics. This is because all social relationships are based on hierarchies that are defined and sanctioned by traditional Confucian tenets. In other words, standards of behavior and interaction depend on who is doing what to whom. According to the author, there are apparently no absolute standards of conduct in Chinese rural life. Xiaotong cites the Book of Rites “ten relationships,” which are fundamental rules for proper human relationships. The relationships are defined by hierarchies of social standing and power, such are fathers over sons, and husbands over wives: “Everyone should stay in his place” (65). Therefore, an action can only be correctly judged on the basis of not what was done, but rather on who did it and why. 

            Chaxugeju means that at the village level both government and law have little use in daily life. The concept helps explain why a powerful empire had little actual control over or influence upon the daily lives of farmers and village artisans. Rural people had no need of laws or courts. Their tradition of proper ritual and hierarchies based on patrilineages defines both right action and provided means of dealing with those who broke the social code. State magistrates had no role in daily village life. In a way, the “rule of ritual” operated as a social superego: “it is as if there were ten eyes watching you and ten fingers pointing at you all the time” (99). Although the author denies that Chinese society is unchanging, he does state that its system is static in nature: “Generally speaking, consanguineous societies are stable and static” (120). In fact, he adds that stability is the purpose of the system. He quotes Confucius, “Nothing should be changed until three years after your father dies” (130). 

            This book was a deceptively easy read. However after sitting down and attempting to write a short review of it, it is clear that it is far from a simple description of Chinese village life. Xiaotong makes fascinating, and at times profound, observations on nearly every page. His chapters on sex roles in Chinese life and “separating names from reality” were particularly insightful. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, Dangerous Books 2017

Dangerous is an excellent place to learn about the culture wars of the last few years. This last spring Milo was the target of a systemic media smear campaign. In an off the cuff interview, Milo joked about having consensual sex with older men when a teenager. The media/Alinsky axis of evil went into high gear with their "narrative" that Milo supports child molesting. Remember, this is the same media that protects Roman Polanski, pretends Pizzagate didn't happen and covers for Moslem rape gangs. I have two words for the degenerate media on this issue: Pretty Baby.

Milo is one of those public figures who is widely known by and referred to by his first name. He came into widespread prominence with his "Dangerous Faggot" college speaking tour. (Did I forget to mention that he's a flamboyant gay?) He did more to undermine the Progressive's monopoly on campus in one year than all the conservative efforts of the last thirty years. Milo's talks were informative and entertaining. He is great on his feet in extemporaneous debate with audience members. As Milo argues, fighting a culture war with professional liars and hypocrites can't be done with Marquis of Queensbury rules.

As Milo explains:
Despite the hellraising, my campus tour was about more than just causing a ruckus. There was a method to my madness. For too long, the American campus has been the preserve of leftists, who channel funding into crackpot gender studies courses and radicalize students against political tolerance, openness to opposing ideas, and ultimately against reason itself. For too long, they've gone unchallenged. (pg. 231)

Milo began his career as a technology reporter. He gained prominence with his articles on "Gamergate." His chapter on Gamergate is a clear analysis of what it is and why it's important. Briefly, tech reporters reviewing video games were in bed (sometimes literally) with game producers. When this typical case of media corruption hit the internet, the "journalists" attacked their audience as "racist" and all the rest of the usual smear terms. In this case, the idiotic left just red-pilled legions of formally apolitical video game fans.
The real reason GamerGate became a gigantic story was due to the reactions of these media outlets when they were exposed as ethically compromised ... In the space of 48 hours, a dozen articles were published in a similar vein. All repeating the same opinion: gamers are bigoted white males trying to make the world of video games less inclusive ... GamerGate was hugely significant. It was the first time consumers of a major entertainment medium staged a mass resistance to the influence of the political left. Gamers showed frightened, isolated dissidents that it was possible to fight the cultural left, and win. (pp. 194, 209)

Dangerous is organized into chapters that mostly deal with various aspects of cultural Marxism and why Milo has become the favorite object of the Left's Two-Minute Hates: Why the Progressive Left Hates Me; Why the Alt-Right Hates Me; Why Twitter Hates Me; Why Feminists Hate Me; Why Establishment Republicans Hate Me. The chapter on the "Alt-Right" is most illustrative on how the media smear machine works. Milo examines how and why the media came to portray him as a leader of the Alt-Right. He argues that it's the result of him writing one of the few objective accounts on it. He notes the irony of a flamboyant gay man of Jewish descent being characterized as a leader of neo-Nazis.

The opening chapter, "Why the Progressive Left Hates Me," provides a lucid explication on how and why American culture and public discourse has degenerated to its present state. He explains the origin's of Cultural Marxism and why its defeat is imperative if America's ever going to be great and free again:
The New Left, as they came to be called, were responsible for the early stages of the Left's pivot away from traditional class politics and towards the divisive, politically-correct world of gender, racial and sexual politics we know today. They were the ones responsible for making issues like abortion, the reversal of gender roles, "racial justice," pacifism, and multiculturalism into major platforms of the Left. If they could keep their "rainbow coalition" acting and voting as a bloc, and focus all their hatred on the weary white male working class, then political dominance would soon be assured. Thus began the reign of identity politics. (pg. 25)

Needless to say, Milo's "colorful" persona and penchant for four-letter words is not for everyone. His attention getting method has been effective with college students, his main target market. But, the grumpy old men who control Conservative Inc. and Obleftivism just get the vapors when encountering Milo. On the other hand, Milo was effective. That's why the media smear machine sought to destroy him.

I recommend that you buy and read this book. Look beyond Milo's outrageous antics and carefully analyze his effective use of rhetoric. Watching some of his videos is also most instructive on this score. There's two important lessons here: First, if you're boring, nobody not already in agreement will listen to you. So, the most brilliant, but plodding, analysis is a waste of time. Second, understand the difference between neutrals and sworn enemies in war. Neutrals in the culture war can be reasoned with and brought around with some creative red-pilling. Leftists are not open to reason. They need to be ridiculed off the public stage. They have nothing to offer but their own anger and emotional dysfunction. Milo ably demonstrates this principle.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Serenity (2005) dir. Joss Whedon

Serenity is not only my favorite science-fiction movie, it is one of my all time favorites regardless of genre. The film is self-contained and doesn't require familiarity with the television show Firefly on which it's based. Firefly is well worth watching and some of its episodes, such as "Out of Gas," are stellar achievements. Serenity's opening scene is brilliant. It's a flashback within a flashback that is clear and provides the viewer with all the required backstory. 

The story revolves around the adventures of the crew of the spaceship Serenity. As with the Millennium Falcon, the Serenity is a smuggling vessel commanded by a lovable rogue, Mal Reynolds, portrayed by Nathan Fillion. These "naughty men flit about" the "verse" engaging in various illegal ventures. They try their best to stay ahead of the evil tyrannical "Alliance" the rules the star system. 

The story's "verse" is believable and self-contained. There are no aliens in the Firefly universe. The "verse" is apparently made up of one, large solar system. There is no faster than light travel. In the film's prologue it is alluded that the "verse" was populated by pioneers escaping the "earth that was" in some form of generation ships. 

The film and television show have been characterized as "libertarian" in theme. There is much truth to this. After fighting on the losing side of a rebellion, Browncoat Mal Reynolds simply wants to go "his own way" without taking "make-work" from the Alliance. His crew is made up of outcasts who have few options that don't require coming to terms with the evil empire. 

Two of the Serenity's crew are wanted fugitives. Gifted teenager River Tam was kidnapped and cruelly brainwashed to do the Alliance's bidding as a "weapon" devoid of free will. Her brother, Simon, broke her out of prison and they are on the run. River's psychic abilities allowed her access to the Alliance's most guarded secrets. It will spare no expense in tracking them down. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor is excellent as the Alliance "Operative" tasked with finding the Tams. Unlike River Tam, the Alliance has been successful in transforming the Operative into a "monster." He's a dedicated assassin and true believer in creating the Alliance's utopia that is "free of sin." He is Javert like in his relentless pursuit of the Serenity and its crew. As with Javert, the Operative discovers too late that he has devoted his life to and committed crimes for a lie.  

Many of the Firefly saga's best lines are from this movie. The film's heroes discover one of the Alliance's most heinous atrocities and seeks to "broadwave" the evidence across the entire "verse." The odds against them are high. Mal Reynolds breaks it down in his "I aim to misbehave" speech. 

One intriguing thing about this wonderful film is its creator Joss Whedon. Serenity is considered an auteur film. Whedon both directed the film and wrote its screenplay. He was deeply involved in all aspects of its production. I don't care for his other work - what I've seen of it. I could only get through two episodes of "Buffy," for example. Whedon's non-Firefly productions seem to me as adolescent, shallow and uninteresting. What's more, Whedon supports "Alliance" style fascism in real life. He comes across as an emotional creature largely incapable of abstract thought and is given to virtue signalling like a teenage girl.  He isn't the first, and won't be the last, artist whose sub-conscious premises are far superior to his odious conscious beliefs. 

In any event, this is a great film. Watch it and Firefly for a rare treat. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review: The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest: A Moral Ideal for America, by Peter Schwartz. Ayn Rand Institute Press, 2004, 2014

The seventy-two page pamphlet presents itself as the application of Ayn Rand's philosophy to foreign policy. Peter Schwartz's effort is largely a failure. His failure stems from his inability to apply Rand's methodology to this, or any other, topic, and his ignorance of the subject matter. 

Schwartz's thesis is that American foreign policy is dominated by altruism and needs to adopt an ethic of rational self-interest. He explains how the only purpose of a proper government is the protection of its citizens individual rights. These first few chapters are written in his standard Objectivish boilerplate, which is Schwartz's only discernible talent. It is a barrage of floating abstractions that will fail to convince anyone not already in agreement. 

The author states that, "Since the concept of self-interest pertains fundamentally to the individual, the idea of a nation's self-interest refers only to the political precondition of a person's living rationally in a social setting, which means freedom" (pg. 14). This is all very well. However in his argument, "fundamentally" becomes "only" and the cultural preconditions for political liberty are completely ignored. 

One glaring example of Schwartz's inability to apply abstract concepts to reality is his treatment of "nationalism." According to the author, "nationalism" is always based on collectivism and requires tyranny:

This individualist approach to foreign policy disavows any form of nationalism. Nationalism is a collectivist idea, which regards the nation as the primary unit of life and which holds that the citizen is obligated to devote his energies to the glorification of whatever state happens to declare him its subject. (pg. 19)
This characterization of "nationalism" is based on one discredited definition for the concept. Schwartz cannot distinguish Prussian nationalism from legitimate patriotism. Nor, does he have any inkling of how and why "nationalism" and the nation-state developed from earlier types of medieval polities. The creation of the sovereign nation-state was in response to Europe's endless religious wars. It came to be understood that the "nation" preceded the "state." The "nation" being an identifiable people who share certain cultural traits that makes them distinctive from all others. Generally, the people of a nation developed a regard and loyalty to one another that is not necessarily bad or "collectivistic." That people like Schwartz are incapable of feeling such a sense of comradery with their fellow Americans is their loss. 

In fact, nationalism has often been an vital, if not central, component in fighting tyranny. Napoleon sought to impose an EU style empire upon Europe. His ceaseless military campaigns cost millions of lives. In large part, nationalism from Spain to Russia is what defeated him. President Trump in his magnificent speech earlier this month in Warsaw explained how Polish nationalism and national identity has defeated many tyrants over the centuries. 

One root cause of Schwartz's failure to properly define nationalism is that he doesn't define "nation." Throughout the pamphlet he indulges in formal equivocation with the terms "nation," "government" and "state." "National self-interest" is anathema to Schwartz. Hence, the work's title.

Another aspect of Schwartz's ideological blinders is his refusal to identify the greatest threat to the USA and Western Civilization's security and freedom. Needless to say, this threat is the ongoing 1400 year jihad against Christendom (and everyone else). In this short pamphlet there are no less that twenty references to "totalitarian Islam." Schwartz is so clueless that he characterizes the jihad as a "new threat" that was recently concocted by al-Qaeda and the Ayatollah Khomeini (pg. 24). 

Schwartz will not identity the enemy, his nature or threat doctrine. So, he's spectacularly unable to devise a policy that has some basis in reality and some promise of success. His policy recommendation is that of the "neo-cons" on steroids. He thinks "taking out" the Iranian regime (with which he is obsessed) will end the jihad. He provides no evidence for this bizarre contention. More likely, the Sunnis would just throw a party and move to fill the vacuum. When that happens, Schwartz would have us carpet bomb various Sunni countries. Decades, if not centuries, of European occupation did not end the jihad. The colonial powers were forever engaging in punitive operations to put down jihad based rebellions. 

One glaring omission in this work is the issue of immigration. Or, in this case, the importation of the umma and jihad into the West. Schwartz, and his ilk, are too dense to see that most of the USA's jihad problem stems from the mass immigration of Moslems. The same truth is all too evident in Europe. Near the end of his essay, Schwartz stumbles upon the self-evident:  "The appropriate policy towards such nations is the opposite of engagment: ostracism. Let these nation [sic] stand - or, more accurately, fall - on their own" (pg. 61). 

All too obviously, containment is the best policy for dealing with the dar al-Islam. But, a consistent policy of containment would conflict with Schwartz's (and the Ayn Rand Institute's) no-borders fetish. So, he will not even consider it. Nor, will he distinguish between violent and "peaceful" jihad. How can a poisonous ideology be contained when the West has a Kantian moral imperative to import millions of its adherents? These adherents build mosques and recruit the weak, stupid and vulnerable of the invaded society. These adherents become politically active in order to subvert our government and other institutions. This "stealth jihad" is more insidious and dangerous than the violent kind. Carpet bombing Tehran will only encourage such efforts. 

At root, Schwartz's problem is his profound rationalism (meaning his thinking in terms of floating abstractions). The history of Islam and nationalism is of no interest to him. The jihad on American and European soil is not his concern. He takes a few fundamental moral principles and then just plugs them into the issue at hand without knowledge or understanding. Proof? Much of this pamphlet was written in the early 1980s and its thesis was then directed at the Soviet Union. This earlier work has been conveniently stuffed down the Memory Hole. I cannot find a single copy or even reference to it online. Unfortunately for Schwartz, I clearly remember reading it in 1986. All he has done is replace "Soviet Union" with "totalitarian Islam" in much of this essay. It's as extreme a case of rationalism as one will find from ARI. 

If you seek knowledge about the current threats to America, and how to rationally respond, this work will be of no help to you.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: Sahara (1943) dir. Zoltan Korda

Sahara is one of the best wartime "propaganda" films made during World War II. It combines elements of Beau Geste and countless westerns. In June 1942 Rommel's forces are driving the British back into Egypt. An American M3 Lee tank commanded by Master Sergeant Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart) has become separated from its parent unit. Gunn, and his two remaining crew members, decide to head south through the Libyan desert in an attempt to reach Allied lines. Their escape turns into an odyssey.

Bogart with Lulu Belle

Soon after heading south, Sgt. Gunn encounters a bombed out British field hospital. He takes along several British Empire soldiers (one portrayed by Lloyd Bridges), the doctor and a Free French soldier. They also pick up a Sudanese soldier Sergeant Major Tambul (Rex Ingram) and his Italian prisoner. With the guidance of Tambul, this microcosm of the Allied war effort makes their way to a ruin that boasts a well with a trickle of water. 

As Sgt. Gunn and company collect all the water available, a lost German battalion makes an appearance. The Germans are in desperate need of water. Gunn gives a rousing speech on why they should stand and fight to delay the German column. They do just that. I don't want to give away too much. Watch the movie and enjoy one of the most memorable endings produced during Hollywood's Golden Age. 

This film reiterates the theme of the more well-known Casablanca and Life Boat. In these films a heterogeneous group representing the Allies must learn how to cooperate to defeat the common enemy. In these films the German/Nazi characters are irredeemably evil and have to be fought to the death (with or without rounding up the usual suspects). Sahara adds an interesting twist to this theme. The Italian prisoner ultimately repudiates Mussolini and redeems himself. It's a rather prescient part of the plot. Around the time of this film's release, the Italians had overthrown Mussolini and were welcomed to the Allied cause. 

Sahara adds something else to the usual Allied mixture. Sgt. Tambul is both black and Moslem. He's one of the best soldiers in the movie and is instrumental in the group's survival, as mentioned above. In one scene, he explains to an American solder why Moslems are allowed to have four wives. The American finds the explanation interesting and quips, "we can learn from each other." The Free French and British forces had significant numbers of Moslem soldiers enlisted. So, the inclusion of Sgt. Tumbul is not unrealistic. What's illustrative is that he was included and is so positively depicted. By the way, Ingram's performance is top-notch. Contrary to current whining of Moslem victimhood, Hollywood has always portrayed Moslems in a positive light. In part, this was the result of the Studio Code. There was also the lack of knowledge about Islam by film makers and much romanticism was involved. 

The black and white cinematography is most effective for this desert epic. The cascading sand dunes are memorizing. The theme of isolation and having to depend on one's own resources was used by Hitchcock the following year in Life Boat. The pacing is excellent. The first half of the film is devoted to character and plot development. The viewer knows all he needs for the climatic battle for the well. Therefore, the characters' actions make sense and don't require much explanation. This is how it's done. Contemporary movie makers should take note. One problem with overblown special effects extravaganzas is their god awful pacing.

Sahara was filmed in Southern California near the Salton Sea. Happily, the US Army's Desert Training Center established by General George Patton was nearby. All of the military equipment used for the film was "donated" by the 4th Armored Division that was in training at the time. Even 100 US Army soldiers were used as extras to depict the Germans. 

I highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys a great action/war movie. It's also an interesting time capsule of the early period of the war from an American perspective.  


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: China & the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975 by Qiang Zhai, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000

The author’s purpose for writing this book is to record the “rise and fall” of the alliance between Red China and North Vietnam during the early Cold War. This alliance was largely military in nature, and it was Chinese assistance that allowed Hanoi to first defeat the French and then outlast the Americans. Zhai states that there were several issues that affected China’s policy towards North Vietnam: geopolitics and Chinese security, ideology, domestic economic concerns, internal politics, and the personal relations between Chinese and Vietnamese leaders. Of these various factors, the author cites geopolitics and national security as the most important. The book argues that the ultimate determining issue in Chinese policy for providing military support to North Vietnam was the balance of power between the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. Mao Tse-tung’s primary security concern during this period was the perceived threat of encirclement. 

These threats were manifest. During the nineteenth century, Russia had replaced the Mongols as China’s chief security worry on the northern frontier. There was also increasing tension between the two powers along their common border in Manchuria. In 1969, at Zhenbao Island, an armed confrontation occurred during which both sides took casualties. To the east, Mao was anxious of American-dominated Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Accordingly, Mao’s goal in supporting not only North Vietnam but also the Communists in Cambodia and Laos was to create secure southern states that would acknowledge China as their “older brother.” However, China would remain interested in ensuring that neither Cambodia nor Laos would become puppets of Hanoi. China paid a high price for its intervention in the Korean War. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) suffered huge numbers of casualties in a war they were unprepared for. Mao was also forced to delay his murderous domestic agenda in order to fight in Korea. On the crucial question of whether China would have directly intervened in the event of an American invasion of North Vietnam, Zhai is ambivalent. China sent signals to that effect, which President Johnson believed. Whether this threat would have been made good is impossible to determine.

In the 1950s, China was confident of its fraternal relationship with the Soviets. The ideological sympathy of both nations made their common front against Western “imperialism” possible. Zhao contends that, as relations with the Soviet Union cooled, Mao altered his ideology to suit the new circumstances. Mao’s ideological gymnastics required some fancy footwork. He wanted to play the United States off against the Soviet Union. By the mid 1960s the Soviets were providing Hanoi with large amounts of military hardware. Mao had to walk a tightrope to develop relations with the United States and still maintain influence with Hanoi. He failed due to his policy of d├ętente and Vietnam’s historical suspicions of Chinese intentions.  

Zhai’s main argument that geopolitical issues dominated China’s policy towards Vietnam is well documented and presented. The book’s only shortcoming is the author’s bias towards American intervention in Southeast Asia. For example, chapter six is titled “Confronting U.S. Escalation, 1964-1965.” This reviewer lost count of how many times America’s attempts to prevent the Communists from spreading Nacht und Nebel throughout the region were characterized as “escalation.” Despite the author’s standard “liberal” view on America’s intervention in Vietnam, this book is a valuable addition to the literature.