September 21, 2019

Leftist bubbles during vulnerable phase of 15-year excitement cycle

You can already feel the air coming out of the current leftist bubble that goes back to around 2015. It coalesced around Bernie's campaign, but most of those people have already ditched him and gone back to their same ol' bullshit, cheerleading for a polarizing neoliberal culture warrior like Liz Warren.

It has reminded me so much of the early 2000s, when I was in the anti-globalization and anti-war movements in college. It's strange listening to political podcasts again, which I haven't done since then (back then it was streaming Democracy Now via Pacifica Radio on the RealAudio Player, downloading Noam Chomsky talks, Unwelcome Guests, and interviews / talks hosted by ZNet). It wasn't as developed as it is today, and the parasocial quality was lesser in degree, but it's hard for me not to notice the parallels to today.

That climate coalesced around Nader's 2000 campaign, generated a major protest during Bush's inauguration, and was undeterred by 9/11. There were massive protests against the war before it even began in 2003, and Fahrenheit 9/11 was a major hit at the box office in 2004 (#17 for the year). That mood was popular, not marginal.

Then by 2005, it had more or less evaporated. The late 2000s support for Obama had nothing to do with leftism -- just libs and even moderates getting pissed with 8 years of Bush, the recession, etc., wanting a change of pace but not a major change. Compared to the first half of the 2000s, they had now tuned politics out.

The early 2010s did not see a leftist bubble either. Occupy Wall Street was just a public space hang-out, a party in a carnivalesque atmosphere. It did not have widespread resonance, and did not even try to do anything specific (like blocking the FTAA, preventing the Iraq War, and so on, from the early 2000s). Most people were having too much fun, living too carefree of a lifestyle, to feel the need to pay attention to leftists.

As of 2015, though, it's come back big-time. The Bernie campaign, #MeToo, Trump Derangement Syndrome, Russiagate, imagining Nazis under every bed, joining the DSA, living a parasocial relationship with left-wing podcast hosts.

This rhythm suggests a reflection of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle (see an overview here). That is, it is the vulnerable phase, when people's energy levels have crashed into a refractory period, when they feel like they need to huddle in the leftist bubble for protection. It's not as if neoliberal austerity or imperial adventures just happened with Trump's election.

Rather, it's people's social-emotional states that have suddenly changed, causing them to react to external events in a different way, one suiting them to joining a leftist crowd. In a refractory state, all external stimuli feel painful, so you feel victimized by your environment -- not only your direct social environment, but the broader political current affairs.

Typically that leads to joining the left, although there is right-wing victim Olympics as well, so perhaps the phenomenon is more general -- politicizing the personal, and treating politics as therapy for your broken emotional state. Liberals temporarily become radical leftists, and conservatives temporarily become radical rightists.

During the following restless warm-up phase, people's energy levels have recovered to baseline, and they don't feel such a strong need for being shielded against painful stimuli (i.e., all external events). Having left their refractory period, they don't feel constantly victimized, and no longer in need of group therapy. So, bye-bye to the left bubble. This attitude prevailed during the second half of the 2000s, including the Obama campaign, by which time liberals had de-radicalized.

During the following manic invincible phase, their energy levels are spiking, and they really feel no pressing personal need for politics as group therapy. If they get involved politically at all, it will be to create a party for radicals (the kind where you have fun in public, not the kind that involves long meetings). This was the attitude during the early 2010s, epitomized by Occupy Wall Street, Slutwalk / Free the Nipple / No Pants Subway Ride, and so on and so forth. No strongly, broadly felt need to primary Obama "from the left" because everyone was in high spirits in 2012.

Before the early 2000s, the last time there was a leftist bubble was the late '80s with Jesse Jackson's primary campaign, anti-Apartheid, the date rape panic, etc., also during a vulnerable phase. It had popped by the early '90s, with the shift into the warm-up phase, and liberals de-radicalized into choosing a centrist like Bill Clinton. By the late '90s manic phase, there was no broad leftist zeitgeist at all -- no attempt to primary Clinton "from the left" since everyone was in such an upbeat manic mood.

Before the late '80s, the last leftist bubble was the early '70s -- the original leftist bubble, characterized by anti-Vietnam War protests, anti-capitalist organizations, second wave feminism (all heterosexual sex is rape), bombings, the Counter-culture, Watergate, the McGovern campaign, and the rest of it. That was a vulnerable phase.

Some of those topics were part of the late '60s manic-phase movements, but those were more upbeat and carefree -- the Summer of Love, Woodstock, student protests as an excuse to hang out in public spaces, and so on. And during '68-'69, they had not really radicalized into anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-sexist, anti-whatever. By the second half of the '70s, a warm-up phase, the Counter-culture was dead, and liberals de-radicalized into choosing Jimmy Carter. During the manic phase of the early '80s, there wasn't even a residue of the early '70s personal-is-political counter-culture.

I don't think you can go back before circa 1970, because that's when the New Left replaced the Old Left. Before 1970, there was no "personal is political" stuff, no politics as group therapy. It was materialist, seeking a higher standard of living and autonomy for working class people, mainly through labor unions. Certainly there was an awareness of problems that went beyond the individual to encompass entire groups -- The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, the Feminine Mystique, etc. -- but they were not politicized into a pseudo-political movement, did not have a political candidate to rally around, and did not lead to temporary radicalization followed quickly by de-radicalization.

The speed with which people go through these phases -- radicalized, de-radicalized, politics as partying in public -- suggests something other than external economic or political forces are at work. It looks more like mood swings over the course of an entire rollercoaster cycle. And what do you know, they overlap perfectly with the phases of the excitement cycle, in just the way you'd expect (with the vulnerable, refractory phase making people feel victimized and in need of politics as group therapy).

This dynamic needs to be taken into account for those who are planning on leftist politics after 2020. During that year itself, de-radicalization will already have begun, since 2019 is the last year of the current vulnerable phase, and then it's on to the warm-up phase. They will still be shrieking culture warriors, but they'll be supporting outright libs like Liz Warren and AOC, not Bernie Sanders. That emotional state will last into 2024 as well. Prepare for a party atmosphere during the late 2020s.

This is yet another reason why populists cannot rely on leftoids for change -- they're only in it for emotional reasons, and even those are fleetingly cyclical. Yesterday's Free the Nipple babe has become today's MeToo crusader, and tomorrow will be rid of her post-horny victim mindset, ready to revive Slutwalk the day after tomorrow.

Focusing on real material issues, with audiences who keep experiencing them no matter what emotional mood-swing they're in, is the only way to replace the failed status quo with something different.

September 18, 2019

The left: Give us Elizabeth "Barabbas" Warren!

Let Bernie's blood be upon the left and upon the left's children.

They chose Warren, AOC, and milkshake-throwing dorks over socialist Jesus.

Bernie was never the "most left," just as Jesus was not the "most Jewish," whether according to the Temple priest Sadducees, the info-gatekeeping Pharisees, or the purity cult Essenes.

Barabbas was just some random insurrectionary against the occupying Roman Empire, while Jesus said to not worry about the Romans because there were far larger problems headed our way -- the literal end of the world as we know it. Of the two, Barabbas was more of a polarizing, culture war, troll-the-enemy figure. Jesus' message was more universal, regarding both the problem and the audience.

Bernie was content to render unto the Cultural Right what is theirs -- the 2nd Amendment, strong borders, the Electoral College, etc. His proposed revolution fell under an entirely different domain of matters, and he meant it to involve and to benefit people from across the spectrum.

The growth of populism, socialism, whatever you want to call it, will never proceed through the left, any more than the growth of the Christian movement went through the Jews. It will go through the masses of people who are culturally alien to the left, just as Christianity only resonated among Gentiles.

Socialist apostles must ignore the left from now on, and send missions instead to the normies, respecting their unwoke beliefs and behaviors.

September 16, 2019

Socialist apostles to the normies will respect their unwokeness

Channeling her early Christian background and upbringing (Lebanese Catholic), Aimee Terese sounds like a social worker nun compared to the standard vindictive tribalistic leftoid of the current moment:

From a long thread, addressing others on the left who she sees as sharing the goal of economic populism, and the necessity of a cohesive mass movement acting collectively to overwhelm their obstacles, she says don't worry if they aren't like you socially and culturally (i.e., are not liberals), since that's irrelevant to the economic struggle:

She and her fellow travelers may not know it, but here too they are recapitulating a crucial episode at the founding of Christianity -- who is this new religion meant for, and under what terms are converts accepted? One group followed culturally restrictive practices, and went nowhere, while the culturally open group powered a small movement into an international phenomenon.

Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, and they spread their message in and around Judea -- at most reaching the Samaritans, who were so close to the Jews that they can be considered cousins rather than strangers or foreigners (akin to the Scottish and the Irish). The audience that they took their message to already shared all of the distinctive ethno-cultural traits as the messengers themselves -- they were circumcised, they followed the list of kosher dietary laws, and so on and so forth.

After Jesus' death, the chief leaders of his movement in Jerusalem were his brother, James, and Jesus' right-hand man, Peter. They saw Jesus' movement as something intended for Jews only, and did not proselytize widely outside of their tribe. If a non-Jewish person did want to join the Jesus movement, this camp thought the outsider had to first convert culturally to being Jewish -- perhaps not 100%, but enough to make it a radical break from their existing cultural practices. They were OK with watering down the kosher dietary laws, but still wanted Gentile converts to not eat blood, meat mixed with blood, or meat from animals that were not properly slain (e.g. by strangulation).

That may sound more lenient than a stringent 100% upholding of kosher dietary laws, but to the average person unaccustomed to these practices, even this diluted amount was too much to be comfortable. That put up high barriers to entry for non-Jews. Worse for their growth prospects, most Jews at the time were not receptive to claims of Jesus being the Messiah, so this camp had no room for expansion. Jewish followers of Jesus quickly evaporated in the land where he was from.

Instead, all the growth came from conversions of non-Jews living outside of Judea and Samaria, from the northern Levant, to Asia Minor, to Rome itself. They were preached to by the culturally open camp of Jewish Christians, led by Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews). He believed the membership badges of the Jewish tribe were beside the point of Jesus' message. If you were already Jewish, no problem, continue on being Jewish. But if you weren't already circumcised, you didn't have to undergo it in order to become Christian. If you like your foreskin, you can keep it. This new religion was meant to transcend the particular cultural practices of various ethnic groups.

Paul and his followers did believe in upholding the Ten Commandments for non-Jewish converts to Christianity, but these are not very particularistic and were adaptable to any ethnic group. Honor your mother and father, don't lie, don't steal, don't murder -- which normal human group would not already have these among its behavioral code, whether explicit or informal? The only major change would be following the commandments about abandoning the worship of other gods -- the early Christian movement was monotheistic, so following those two unfamiliar commandments is the bare minimum needed for converts. Other than that, your existing culture already had the other ones covered.

From that initial decision -- to err on the side of laxity rather than stringency in adherence to certain cultural norms -- the trend over the centuries has been to ignore the culture of the originators. Circumcised or not, avoiding meat from strangled animals or not, observing the Jewish Holy Days or not -- that is all irrelevant to following Jesus' teachings, holding him to be your savior, and the rest of the distinctive beliefs and practices of Christianity. If anything, the tendency has been to not merely ignore the original culture, but to consider adherence to it heretical, as though the adherent wanted to return to a pre-Christian way of life.

So too, in our own age, will the successful camp within socialism break it out from a narrow little sub-culture, sending missions to all sorts of culturally different groups, and not thinking of altering most of their existing thoughts, feelings, and practices. Whether or not the converts like to cat-call women, tell ethnic jokes, eat meat, use "gay" as an insult, prefer dancing over reading, or whatever other normie practice -- what does that have to do with holding together a mass movement and using collective leverage against their obstacles?

The historical record shows that if anything, compulsory adherence to these liberal cultural norms is associated with heretical forms of socialism -- e.g., today's SJW-ism that is linked to widening inequality, stagnant wages, destruction of the welfare state, and greater authority for the elites over the commoners in general. When a proto- form of socialism existed, during the New Deal era, these matters were irrelevant. Follow them if you were already culturally liberal, don't follow them if you were already culturally conservative. It's completely orthogonal to the matter of applying a group's leverage to achieve collective material goals, through labor unions and political coalitions.

The two core regions of the dominant coalition of the New Deal, the Democrats, were the culturally conservative Deep South and the culturally liberal Northeast. Any attempt at economic populism, or socialism, that not only writes off one of these halves but derides it as backward or evil, is destined to fail. Today the relevant contrast is the coasts and flyover country, but the logic remains the same.

Where will the apostles to the normies come from? Paul was not only on the periphery of the Roman Empire, he lived outside of the Jewish homeland, in southern Anatolia (Tarsus), which had already been heavily Hellenized before the Romans showed up. He must have been inclined by such an upbringing to view Gentile cultural beliefs and practices as no great threat to leading a righteous life. He hardly found them superior to those of his own diaspora people, but he was familiar with Gentile culture in a way that Jews in Judea would have found more strange and disturbing.

I expect today's apostles to cultural outsiders -- i.e., to the normies, given the sub-cultural background of lefties -- to hail not only from peripheral places vis-a-vis the American imperial center, but also from a relatively more culturally conservative upbringing. Aimee T. has a Lebanese migrant father, lives on the margin of the Anglo empire, in Australia, and was brought up as a Catholic school girl. People like that know from their own social circles that those who tell ethnic jokes, want sex to lead to pregnancy, etc., are not vile monsters, and that they're just as receptive to material populist action as are their cultural inverses.

As for politicians, Tulsi Gabbard comes from American Samoa, far from the imperial center, and even when she moved to Hawaii, that's still far from the center. She was brought up in a culturally conservative environment, and she joined the military  -- she knows personally that cultural conservatives aren't monsters, and are just as open to material populist changes as a liberal computer coder.

Bernie Sanders chose to ditch his cosmopolitan imperial-core upbringing in New York City, to live among the cultural conservatives in rural Vermont -- who he knows from extensive experience are just as open to socialist economic programs as liberal New Yorkers.

Related: monotheistic socialism vs. polytheistic identity politics

September 12, 2019

9/11 made music fun and danceable, against existing soft, numb, emo trend

Here is an interesting podcast with Matt Christman from Chapo Trap House about 9/11's impact on pop culture, especially music. They focus more on the political angle -- what things must or must not be said in pop music in the wake of 9/11, did the culture of fear kill off aggressive rock music from the late '90s, and so on.

Characterizing music of the early 2000s, they identify the zeitgeist of numbness, sadness, schmaltizness, etc. as 9/11's cultural impact. My take has always been the opposite, and now that I've figured out the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, it's possible to separate what 9/11's effect was, and what would have already happened with or without a major terrorist attack.

The early 2000s were a vulnerable phase, a refractory period after the manic climax of the late '90s, and before energy levels had recovered to baseline during the late 2000s. So anything that typifies a vulnerable phase will be unremarkable to find during the early 2000s. Namely the soft, ethereal, numb, emo, schmaltzy trends that also characterized pop music of the late '80s and early '70s -- which were hangovers after the previous manic phases of the early '80s and the late '60s.

What made the post-9/11 zeitgeist feel so different was the social and cultural unity that it brought out of people from all walks of life, both normie and indie, teenagers and geezers. It was not as socially unifying as a steadily rising crime rate, as experienced during the '60s through the '80s, but it was of a similar kind, if lesser in degree (a one-time spectacle, not decades of constant crime stories).

And when people perceive an imminent risk of massive violent attack, they tend to discount the future, live more in the present, and want to party with others and enjoy their company while it's still possible.

So, 9/11's cultural impact would be something that looked unusual for an otherwise soft, numb, emo period -- one which, as the podcast hints at, was already under way before 9/11. (See the year-end charts for 2001 for reference.) It would be unusual in being more socially bonding and party-centered, relative to the backdrop of a vulnerable phase culture where people want to be left alone and sleep under a pile of blankets / sink to the bottom of the sea.

In two recent posts, I identified dance-punk and crunk as two such signatures of 9/11. I'd thought of them in that way since the 2000s, but these recent posts detail how they are clearly not what was to be expected given their backdrop (a vulnerable phase). Those posts are brief, so I won't rehearse them any more here. They're relevant to today since we've been in another vulnerable phase since 2015, and yet there's been no such trends this time around (since there's been no 9/11), while there is plenty of soft, numbing, emo music all over again.

Instead, I'll end with a real deep cut from the dance-punk craze of the first half of the 2000s, in honor of 9/11's enduring cultural influence. I was living in Barcelona when this was out, and got turned on to them by the long-term housemate who I was renting a room from. It was his friend's band. Nothing replaces face-to-face recommendations -- you couldn't hear this after reading some centralized website, no matter how obscure their branding. You had to get out, interact, and listen to what other people had to say.

"NYCgaps" by Delorean (2004):

September 7, 2019

Unsolved Mysteries in context of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, including moral panics

I got curious about how widespread the musical trend was during the late '80s for songs that are heavily layered, atmospheric / ethereal, with at most simple repetitive beats and motifs to create passive trance vibes. Earlier posts here and here looked at pop music, but I thought about movie soundtracks and TV theme songs. Then I remembered!

Listen to the entire soundtrack here and here (two parts). Perfect for scaring the trick-or-treaters next month (assuming any still come by in these helicopter parent times).

Watch the entire original series hosted by Robert Stack on YouTube here, or on Amazon Prime.

* * * * *

Unsolved Mysteries debuted in the late 1980s, a vulnerable phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle. Its peak year for ratings was the '89-'90 season, and although it still did respectably into the '92-'93 season, it fell off a cliff afterward. This tracks the trend in the crime rate -- as crime rates plunged after their 1992 peak, audiences lost interest in a show based mainly on crime. Someone somewhere was apparently solving the crime problem, so why bother tuning in to a show that expected the audience to help solve outstanding crimes?

Then the show was miraculously revived on a different channel in 2001-'02 -- during the next vulnerable phase of the cycle. And wouldn't you know it? -- they're reviving it yet again! Perhaps to appear during the current vulnerable phase. The announcement of new episodes was made by Netflix in January 2019, so they'd better hurry and get it out by Halloween, because audiences will not be quite so interested in such a show during the 2020s, as the warm-up phase kicks in, and the backlash against victimhood culture will begin. At least they've re-released the original Robert Stack episodes, and the soundtrack / score, during the late 2010s vulnerable phase.

(The Dennis Farina episodes from the late 2000s were not new episodes, but repackaged ones from the original run, without the haunting persona of Stack's performance.)

The show was a product of the vulnerable or refractory phase, when people are so anti-excitable, so averse to social stimuli (which would be a sensory overload), that they develop a victimization complex for those 5 years of the cycle. Their energy levels are so low that they feel passive, and can only be acted upon -- and given how painful they will perceive stimulation during a refractory period, all actors would be perceived as wrongdoers, and everyone feels like a helpless victim.

In that mental and bodily state, they will naturally empathize with characters on a TV show who are victims of some kind or another.

Not coincidentally, America's Most Wanted also debuted during the late '80s vulnerable phase.

I have yet to write a comprehensive post on how the rise and fall of society-wide moral panics maps onto the excitement cycle. This review of the phases of feminism across the excitement cycle provides a guide, though. Exhibitionistic, invincible, sex-positive feminism peaks during the manic phase, followed by victimhood feminism during the vulnerable phase, followed by a return to normalcy or losing one's overly inhibited ways during the warm-up phase. For now, all that matters is that major moral panics erupt during the vulnerable phase.

In fairness, U.M. does not give free rein to the crazies of a moral panic, but does present "both sides" and ask the viewer to judge for themselves. Still, not something you would see in a phase where the panicking side is under a backlash by an increasingly skeptical populace.

I'm only halfway through the 1st season, and it's saturated with the moral panics of the late '80s. Foremost is the Satanic Panic -- it's so prevalent that it even makes its way into the Son of Sam episodes. Those murders took place during a warm-up phase (late '70s), when people are coming out of their shells, and nobody thought of a Satanic ritual angle at the time, nor during the succeeding manic phase (early '80s). It wasn't until 10 years later, when people were now in a panic mode owing to the vulnerable phase of the excitement cycle, that all sorts were willing to spread and believe theories that the Son of Sam murders were part of a broader Satanic cult committing ritual sacrifices.

But there's also a lesser known moral panic that most people have forgotten about by now -- alien abduction. Not just sightings of UFOs, or visits from aliens, but being victimized and violated by them -- abducted off to their ship, held captive in a clinical setting, typically naked, and probed and otherwise touched bodily and even sexually without consent by the callous perpetrators from beyond. It's no different from being kidnapped and sexually molested or raped, which people in a refractory state are hypersensitive toward, often to the point of paranoia (e.g., "being creepy in the DMs" is tantamount to rape, in the current #MeToo vulnerable phase).

In the U.M. episode, an expert says that women who claim to have been abducted often complain about problems to their reproductive system, and the man interviewed says he recovered a childhood memory of an "alien" man sitting on his bed, lifting up his shirt, and touching him. Those are clearly references to sexual molestation, whether the people want to project it onto aliens or not. So, alien abduction was part of the broader rape panic of the late '80s (including the "date rape" panic, childhood ritual sexual abuse, etc.). It was sci-fi rape.

"Anal probe" became a common phrase when talking or joking about UFOs, because it was so common to hear about such things from the purported witnesses -- they were made into victims, not just neutrally visited by the aliens. Come to think of it, that dismissive and pejorative phrase likely came from the warm-up phase of 1990-'94, when people no longer felt vulnerable and victimized by everything, and there was a backlash against overly credulous victimhood culture.

Not coincidentally, the Urtext on being victimized by alien abduction -- Communion by Whitley Strieber -- came out in 1987, hit #1 on the NYT Best Seller list, and was made into an indie movie starring Christopher Walken in '89.

Two posts to follow will look at Unsolved Mysteries' place in the crime-and-cocooning cycle, as well as the status-striving-and-inequality cycle. I didn't realize how many themes it touches on until watching again for the first time in 30 years.

September 4, 2019

15-year cover song echoes: "Rock On" in glam rock and dream pop

The original by David Essex and cover by Michael Damian both come from the refractory phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle (1973 and 1989), and both made the year-end charts.

As discussed before here and here, this phase focuses less on catchy bouncy melodies because that would be too stimulating. The performers' and audiences' energy levels are still in a crash after the previous manic phase, and they have not yet been restored to baseline levels by the following warm-up phase.

This state leads them to focus more on layers, echoes, and drones in ethereal textures that wash over them as they lie still, unable to get up and move around. Soothing repetitious motifs keep them in a passive trance.

Such a dream pop style shows up in both the indie and mainstream worlds during the vulnerable phase. The genres from the first half of the '70s are glam rock, early krautrock, and cosmic music -- not the most dreamy, spacey, heavily layered and overly produced music, but certainly in that direction.

In the glam rock example above, by the end there is very heavy vocal self-echo and layering, like a chant. The bass line is simple, repetitive, and trance-like. Otherwise it's very sparse, more of an unsettling kind of minimalism like being alone in the woods at night, hearing only the repetitive chant of crickets, frogs, and droning breezes.

The cover has a standard rock instrumentation, but it's really more of a dream pop song than a proper rock song. No guitar riffs, no rhythm guitar, no killer solo, no vocal range. Although it does have stronger percussion, it's still not very danceable -- you're drifting along passively under the multiple layers of cool soothing textures. A little less vocal layering in this one, since it's richer instrumentally, and they're filling that role instead. Like I said before, the late '80s are a mine for mainstream dream pop songs.

I always think of those late '80s overly layered dreamy hits as roller rink music. Most people aren't moving their legs, torso, and arms enough to count as dancing -- they're just coasting on by in the same direction, with minimal rhythmic movements, melting into a crowd like a school of fish in the ocean.

Or maybe I'm only remembering it that way because that's when I was going to the roller rink -- late '80s / early '90s, toward the end of elementary school when you're just beginning to get social and want to be around the opposite sex. I either wasn't born or was just a toddler during the roller disco days, when there may have been more actual dancing going on.

And even if I hadn't been too old to go roller skating into the mid-late '90s, the roller rink was already going extinct due to the helicopter parents of Millennials not allowing them to congregate in shared public spaces with minimal supervision. Really stunted their social development. Hearing roller rink music makes me nostalgic not just for that particular space, but the whole socially outgoing period that began in the '60s, before closing itself off into the cocooning period circa 1990 and lasting through today.

August 30, 2019

Angela Nagle interview on the anti-woke left (further discussion)

Angela Nagle just did a long and wide-ranging interview with Justin Murphy, mainly on topics relating to the anti-woke left.

They ponder why there are so many women at the forefront of the anti-woke left, including attractive women. Another question, though: why aren't there any hot guys? From my exposure to the online left, the women don't seem to have anyone who they're ga-ga over within the left. No one who amasses an army of "reply girls".

I've heard them refer to Hasan Piker from The Young Turks, but that's understandable for someone who's on camera. I think the Red Scare ladies once said Nick Mullen from Cumtown is conventionally attractive, and he's certainly anti-woke and on the left. But generally, hot guys seem to avoid the left like the plague, while cute girls are if anything drawn more into it.

My hunch is they're more Independent and non-partisan, or somewhat to the right. I wouldn't be caught dead identifying as a "leftist" -- though not as a right-winger either -- and babes call me "hot," "cute," "gorgeous," etc. in their low-effort pick-up lines in dance clubs. (I don't see it or feel so, but then guys can't really tell what hot guys look like.)

Seems like the goal of spreading the message of anti-woke leftism should be for the women on the left to reach out to men and women who are Independent, socially moderate or conservative, and economically populist. The leftist women can't preach to the converted men, and male leftists are far less able to interact with men or women outside of their leftist bubble. Those few who are, like Michael Tracey or Kyle Kulinski, tend to balk at labels like "leftist" anyway.

They discuss my post on the ethnic composition of the anti-woke left, to which I'll add a couple more examples that I was reminded of yesterday. Nathan J. Robinson, evangelical woke-ist, is so WASPy he even fakes a British accent. And "shoe0nhead" from Twitter, anti-SJW Bernie/Tulsi supporter with a large following, who's Irish and Italian (though identifying more with the Italian side).

Murphy is still unaware that "the list" is only an appendix to a fleshed-out argument. He does favorably cite Anna Khachiyan's summary of my argument, but evidently the full post was too taboo for the social media commissars to present or link to, so he'd only seen screencaps of "the list" itself.

Nagle read the full post, though, and was more or less open to the argument. As far as I can tell, then, the only ones who at least skimmed the body, rather than rely on the commissars' screencaps, were Anna, Angela, and Aimee Terese -- not surprising why they're thought leaders on their side. They're not hidebound by silly taboos and parental advisory stickers.

It also makes me wonder if having immigrant parents, or being immigrants themselves, inclines people even harder against wokeness, since all three have at least one parent who migrated at some point. Obviously I mean within the ethnic groups already composing the anti-woke left -- excluding WASPs, Ashkenazi Jews, and upper-caste South Asians, mainly, but including the other Ellis Island groups and white Southerners.

Nagle is more defiantly anti-woke than Irish-Americans whose families have been living here awhile. Khachiyan is more anti-woke than Armenians who've been living here for several generations. And Terese is more anti-woke than Levantine Christians whose families migrated to the Anglo West 100 years ago.

Perhaps they have a keener sense of the uprooting and destabilizing effect of the expansion of the American empire, and are more ambivalent about its woke solution -- just reserve some seats at the elite table for the groups you bring under your sphere of influence, and who cares if those people have to abandon their homelands for the imperial core? (Terese's father moved to Australia rather than America, but it's still part of the broader Anglo empire.)

An earlier post predicted that over time monotheistic socialism will replace polytheistic identity politics / wokeness and the American imperial cult. This is on analogy with the rise of Christianity that ended the pluralistic polytheism and imperial cult of the Roman empire. Notice where Christianity came from -- the periphery, not the core. Its founder, Jesus, was an imperial subject but not an immigrant or coming from immigrant parents; he remained in and around Judea, where he was born. But Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who spread the teachings and practices far outside of its home region, was not only an imperial subject but a member of a diaspora, his Jewish family living in southern Anatolia (Tarsus) rather than the Levant, let alone Judea. Still hailing from the periphery, though, like Jesus.

Nagle mentions that she's escaped woketard capital Brooklyn for Pittsburgh, probably the most anti-woke large city in America. It's in Appalachia. According to a recent survey, it's the least gay city, along with its southern Appalachian sister steel city Birmingham, Alabama. It's one of the least WASPy or Jewish cities, is full of the other Ellis Island ethnics, and is totally surrounded by Scotch-Irish hillbillies (including my mother's side of the family, a few counties to the west in Ohio). Disillusioned academics probably associate the look and feel of the city with Wonder Boys, while for romantics it will bring to mind Flashdance (as detailed in this post, one of the most darkly lit mainstream movies ever filmed, whatever you think about the plot and acting).

Nagle brings up Tulsi as an anti-woke role model for women, emphasizing how rare it is for someone on the left to be putting so much on the line for anti-imperialism (regardless of whatever label she would put on it). That ties back into my argument about wokeness serving the role of imperial integration -- it's the pluralistic ideological glue holding together a multi-ethnic sphere of influence.

If the left's ideological commitment is to wokeness, then they are materially committed to imperial integration (as long as our subjects receive fair and equitable treatment). Anything that would help to disintegrate the empire is contrary to wokeness, and thus anathema to most leftoids in America. That's why the woke-ists hate Tulsi so much. It's also why they aren't talking about removing American forces from Germany, Italy, and NATO generally, as well as from South Korea and Japan, where they've been stationed forever.

At most, the US left might object to a particular war or bombing campaign -- but not to the continued presence of our military around the entire world. It's not as though our occupation of the NATO countries is resulting in massive death and destruction, and the elites of all nations concerned are getting along perfectly well with each other. No one is calling each other ethnic slurs within NATO. American soldiers and generals don't make slant-eye faces at their Japanese subjects anymore, and aren't dropping more atomic bombs on them. So what is there for a woke-ist to object to? They are not anti-imperialist, but merely against the poor and inhumane treatment of our imperial subjects -- woke-ists are not against their subjection under us in the first place.

On the future of wokeness, Murphy thinks there's a backlash coming soon, while Nagle is less optimistic. I agree with a backlash coming around next year, as the 15-year cultural excitement cycle leaves the vulnerable refractory phase, where everyone feels victimized, and enters the restless warm-up phase, where they want to come out of their shells and mix things up again.

In this post I detailed how feminism changes across the three phases of the cycle, looking over multiple cycles. (Here is a quick recap of the excitement cycle model.) The next 5-year phase from 2020 to '24 will feel more like the late 2000s or the early '90s, with an explosion against political correctness, proper manners, and sensitive behavior. It may or may not have a populist / socialist cast to it, but it will be anti-woke for sure. Of course, during the next refractory phase (around 2030-34), we'll be in panic mode all over again.

Over the medium-to-long term, however, I see a rising persecution by the woke-ists against the socialists and anti-imperialists, as detailed at length in the post on monotheistic socialism. That historical analysis looked at many other examples, not just the breakdown of the Roman empire during the Crisis of the Third Century, but also of the Ottoman empire, and of the Fatimid Caliphate. As the American empire begins to seriously come apart, there will be a ruthless crackdown by the woke-ists, who believe that such an imposition will put the empire back together again.

But over the much-longer term, wokeness will die out in America just as polytheism and the imperial cult did in the Italian peninsula after Rome was over, and just as the millet system vanished from Anatolia after the Ottomans were over. A more single-minded moral system will replace it, and it seems clear that as of the Industrial Revolution, that will be some form of socialism (not the SJW-ism heresy of today).

Finally, Nagle says she's thinking of doing a podcast in lieu of getting back on social media platforms, because they're so toxic. I think she should start a blog instead, and write medium-to-long posts on her own schedule, without aiming the output at the online talk radio call-in show that we call social media. I've never understood the appeal of social media, and have never used them to "generate content". Such a pointless waste, unless you're terminally bored and your "content" is shitposting and food-fighting.

Even better, she should start a group blog with the three other women-of-A. Or two blogs between the four of them. Or something. More intimate, more productive, more collaborative (including when they comment on each other's posts), in a way that you can't do in 240-character tweets, or on a podcast where four hosts might talk over each other. Moderate the comments if they don't want retards piling in constantly. The last time blogs surged in popularity was the late 2000s, so it's only fitting for the same phase of the excitement cycle to see them come back into social-emotional style.

August 29, 2019

Wokeness' Puritan origins: A material analysis

Expanding somewhat on one of my comments to the post on the ethnic composition of the anti-woke left:

Wokeness is not unique to 21st-century America -- it's a variation on a timeless and placeless theme. The British Empire had something similar during their imperial heyday (Victorian: stiff upper lip, and White Man's Burden), as did the Roman Empire at their height (2nd C. AD: Stoicism, and polytheistic tolerance + imperial cult).

The function is social control -- to keep the commoners from getting too unruly, and to legitimate the elites. Isn't that needed for any society? Somewhat -- but especially so for a sprawling multi-ethnic empire whose leaders have soaring levels of wealth and power compared to the commoners.

There are two aspects:

1) Restraining libidinal desires for both the commoners (moral panics targeting urges of common folk), and the elites (self-denial, stiff upper lip, etc.). This keeps the mass of people from getting too rowdy and unruly to be governed by the elites. And it also legitimates the elites as being dispassionate altruistic stewards rather than parasites driven by selfish base urges like greed, lust, and gluttony.

2) Promoting harmony among varying groups in a multi-ethnic empire. This means buying off elites from peripheral groups who normally wouldn't be influenced by the imperial core, if it weren't an empire. It's both material funneling of resources to such secondary elites, as well as cultural / symbolic pluralism like honoring their regional gods (polytheistic tolerance) -- provided that everyone upholds the imperial cult. Without this buy-off, newcomer groups would chafe at being ruled by foreigners, and be a constant thorn in the side of the imperial core.

Puritans in America were just the initial material elites -- representing the mercantile and financial sectors of society, not the agricultural sector or the military sector (Southern slave-owners and martial elites, who lost the material and cultural war against the mercantile / financial Yankees).

The particular American form of wokeness is just a local version of the British imperial and Roman imperial ideology -- Stoicism and buying off exotic elites, to promote domestic social control and imperial integration.

This accounts for why American-style wokeness is not found very much in the left wings of other countries -- if they aren't multi-ethnic empires like us, they have no material reason to uphold identity politics among ethnic groups.

And if they're leading smaller-scale societies -- rather than a towering empire -- they don't have as much to prove about being responsible and virtuous. The greater the degree of wealth and power you're in control of, the greater your sense of responsibility is expected to be. If far less wealth and power is at stake, then who cares if the nation's leaders have a sweet tooth and get horny?

Trump, of course, violates both aspects of wokeness. He doesn't care about imperial integration, and regularly says he wishes we would cut loose our occupation of Germany, Italy, and NATO generally, not to mention South Korea and Japan. And he is infamous for gorging on junk food, paying pornstars to screw him, and unleashing his rage.

It's a clear signal of an empire in decline, and the elites would rather complain about the symptom, as though that could reverse the decline of the empire. The only way forward is to accept and speed up the breakdown of the empire, and enjoy having leaders like the normal, non-imperial countries have, whose private lives we won't care much about.

Lastly, this material analysis rejects the idealist / culturalist view that emphasizes the Puritans' control of the press and the academy (for a time, since overtaken by the other primary elite, Ashkenazi Jews). Control over cultural institutions stemmed from their material standing as the mercantile and financial elites, and their leading an empire toward integrating more and more exotic groups. The military may have conquered those groups in war, but the mercantile sector has to integrate them afterward, in peacetime, to keep the economic and political system well-oiled and harmonious.

August 28, 2019

Big swings in polls reflect response bias, not true change

Since nobody has remembered anything about polling from the last election, it's worth emphasizing that there is no such thing as a wild swing in polling support.

A recent Monmouth poll showed Biden dropping from his usual support of just over 30% to 19%. That had the effect of putting the frontrunner in 3rd place, behind Bernie and Warren, each of whom had 20% support.

Harris' average on Real Clear Politics was steady at 7%, then more than doubled to over 15% after the first debate where she slammed Biden over his busing record, only to tumble back to 7% after the second debate where she was the one getting slammed by Tulsi over her severely punitive record as a prosecutor.

Neither of those two changes is real, although they may reflect a subtle change in the same direction. Biden's continuing cognitive meltdown may be making some supporters less supportive -- but only by a small amount, a few points perhaps.

I reviewed this stuff during the final stage of the 2016 election, which really turned out to be important after the pussy tape made everyone think Trump was done for. He did take a little hit, but not the plunge that most polls suggested.

The only reason that wild swings show up in polls is that some people become more likely to participate, or less likely, so that you don't have a snapshot of the same overall group of people before and after some major event or series of events. This is response bias -- how willing various demographic or partisan groups are to participate in the poll in the first place.

This can only be corrected by tracking the same panel of people over time. By recruiting them for a long-haul series of polls, you're sure not to miss some group of them who might go into hiding when their preferred candidate gets womped in a debate, or to overcount some group who is eager to participate because their candidate did the womping and it got them all hyped up.

Usually these major events are debates, as in Harris' case. In reality, support for her has been constant at 7% -- the apparent pump and then dump are back-to-back illusions, due only to her two debate performances hyping up her supporters and then demoralizing them into hiding.

But in Biden's case, it could be a week or two of heavy media coverage of his brain going haywire. That will demoralize his supporters, who will be less willing to take part in the poll. They don't want to have to say, "Yeah, I support that guy whose brain is melting right before our eyes." But that doesn't mean they don't still support him, or won't wind up voting for him in the primary. Could these malfunctions cost him a couple points? Sure, but not double digits.

There's more detail in my old post, though if you want the technical analysis, read the source article by Gelman et al (2016), "The Myth of the Swing Voter".