So I checked the mail the other day and found this “Notice of Inclusion In a Scientific Study.” My first instinct was maybe this was one of those medical studies where you get paid to be a lab rat and test out some experimental nasal spray or something. I started thinking of all the vintage 90s apparel I could buy from PacSun with the money.
Nope. It turns out this was just a cheesy political advertisement (and a retarded one at that) from a group called Arizona Wins.” The flier goes on to say that they’re “conducting an experiment to understand which voters participate in the November 6 election.” However, this is ultimately nothing more than a lame political ad. Thoughtfully, it also provides “information you need to be a successful voter.” This information consists of basic polling location information and a comically partisan summary of the candidates’ positions which only someone with the brain of Mr. Potato Head would find persuasive.
In fact, there is nothing “scientific” about the way this information is presented. Even though it is somewhat tongue in cheek, this annoying bit of junk mail is revealing in the sense that it demonstrates how the notion of science has come to be associated with political activism and propaganda rather than a cold, objective pursuit of knowledge. It also reveals just how infantile our democracy has become, to the point where politicians and their minions openly insult the intelligence of the voters they intend to appeal to. The disturbing part is that they’re rewarded for doing so, because at the end of the day most people really are that stupid. Having worked retail for many years, I found that the vast majority of people could not even interpret a coupon correctly. A discount sign would say something like “$50 off a second pair of jeans when you buy a pair at full price.” and nearly every day customers would look at it and I’d overhear them say things such as “Oh look honey everything in the store’s 50% off!” These are the kinds of people whom society trusts to analyze and determine the fate of politicians’ policy proposals on complex issues which collectively affect our lives.
This particular political advertisement appears to have been created (or at least approved) by a local tumblrista and airhead high IQ activist. EDIT: Apparently people have received these in other states too, so it must be a nationwide thing. In any event, it is the dumbest piece of political junk mail I have ever received. It’s irrelevant who created it though, because it isn’t all that unique. It’s just the same sort of sleazy marketing tactics we’re bombarded with every day, the kind promoted by greedy companies which politicians (such as those lauded by this flier) emptily promise to keep in check. Electoral politics is retarded. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a person who can’t figure out how to use the self checkout at Target dictating what’s “best” for the country.
Gab needs to stop marketing itself as a right-leaning haven for nutjobs. It should just present itself as a fun, entertaining social media site that just so happens to not ban people as easily as other sites. One of the things I really dislike about Gab is how difficult it is to find people with interests or even opinions outside the realm of basic bitch AltRight/AltLite/MAGA politics. Ideally, I want a place where I can view entertaining content and discuss topics earnestly but one which doesn’t punish people for PC indiscretions. Sites like Gab should aim to attract with apolitical entertainment, with the idea that people go will go there for that but have to tolerate some uncomfortable political speech as a price. Just like when people watch football or some funny cooking vid on youtube, and they have to sit through the annoying political diatribe or cheesy social justice commercial. Kind of like how youtube has its own shows. They need exclusive non-political (mostly) content, which will draw in ordinary people. The “exclusive” streams and shows which can for there now there are all just Alex Jones style and “MAGA” oriented material. They need things like cooking shows, makeup tutorials and animated series. As it currently stands, Gab’s appeal seems to be along the lines of “Come to our site where you can discuss ‘pizzagate,’ ‘false flags’ and other wild conspiracy theories, free of censorship.” It’s no surprise what kind of demographic that ultimately attracts. As a result, discussion on Gab is dominated by insufferable lunatics and surly cranks. Simply saying “we’re a free speech site and everyone is welcome” isn’t enough. You have to actually offer the kind of content which people from a variety of ideological, non-ideological and social spheres will be interested in.
Of course, I don’t believe Gab is to blame for the fact that one of its users (allegedly a man named Robert Bowers) committed the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. A social media site or forum can’t be expected to be responsible for the offline behavior of one of their users. It simply isn’t their responsibility. There are too many crazy people out there. There have been crimes and violent attacks committed by users of every major social media site.
However, what is the point of suspending his (or any other perpetrator’s) account after the fact? Just leave it up, otherwise it just looks like you’re trying to conceal what he posted to avoid damage to your reputation. There’s no point in destroying a public record of someone’s posts just because they happened to commit a crime. Twitter and FB do the same thing, and it’s annoying. People are interested in reading the old posts on these kinds of accounts because they offer insight into the person’s mindset and motivations. I’d prefer to read these myself and draw my own conclusions rather than take the word of some media outlet’s second or third hand interpretation.
During a particularly censorious time on Twitter a few years ago, I contemplated using a spare domain name I had obtained for building a small scale social media site called “Wand” (which was intended to fill the void which Gab has since occupied.) Ultimately, I decided the potential for legal liabilities would be a hassle I just wasn’t equipped to deal with. Once you make the decision to start hosting other people’s edgy content and images on your site, there’s a hell of a lot of shit that can go wrong. Maybe, I’m just a tad too misanthropic to be willing to “take one for the team.” I just don’t care about these issues enough.
I’m grateful that Gab exists, but a site which seems designed specifically to attract pond scum has built in experiential limitations.
“The fruits of neo-imperialism may just be neo-isolationism,” Pat Buchanan once facetiously suggested in a 2003 column titled “Are Bush and Rumsfeld Closet Populists?” The crux of his argument was that the Bush administration’s neoconservative foreign policy and defiant embrace of global military interventionism was so at odds with the rest of the world that it might result in the United States being alienated from the international community altogether and forced to reluctantly adopt the kind of isolationist nationalism Buchanan prefers.
The neocons have been mostly discredited and rejected by the American people since then, yet their ideology and its zealots have wormed their way so deep into the US political and media establishment, that neoconservative influence on US foreign policy remains dominant to this day. What brought Buchanan’s obscure column to mind though is the latest ideological craze, “democratic socialism.” It’s been on the rise for quite a while now, as evident by Bernie Sanders’ near win in the 2016 presidential primary. The ascent has continued with the growing popularity of podcasts like Chapo Trap House, as well as the media’s recent gush fest over political newcomers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and (former Sex and the City actress) Cynthia Nixon. The problem with democratic socialism (in the form it’s currently being presented by enthusiasts,) is that the solutions it purports to offer can’t withstand the weight of their own contradictions. Trying to be too many things to too many people in ways which inherently conflict, may put you on the fast track for electoral success and generate a lot of fawning media coverage, but then what? Where will the people that didn’t read the fine print turn when the built-in failure mechanisms are discovered during the activation process?
How can you have a federal job guarantee *and* support practically unlimited immigration from impoverished countries? And what good does it do to implement strict emission controls if you’re going to import so many people that the result will be a net increase in pollution anyway? In contemplating questions like this, one might begin to wonder (but not really) if these DSA types are “closet neoreactionaries,” in the sense that they advocate for “socialist” policies only within contexts which would guarantee said policies’ ineffectiveness (thus subsequently driving people to reluctantly embrace neo-monarchic, corporate fiefdoms.) “Free health care and college education!” but it’s going to be available to every one of the billions of humans on the planet that can manage to simply show up here in our “borderless,” undefined country that exists in name only. Oh, and we’re not allowed to significantly limit immigration from the third world in any substantial way. No physical borders, border patrol, or substantively sovereign nation states, but presumably there will be a distinguishable collective people whom we’re assured these programs are supposed to viably and sustainably benefit.
Today’s social democracy falls apart on the contradiction between advocating nearly unlimited government largess and nearly unlimited immigration. “Abolish ICE” is a proper rallying cry for hard-core libertarians and Davos globalists, not democratic socialists or social democrats. A federal job guarantee is an intriguing idea — assuming the jobs are for some defined “us” that doesn’t include every immigrant, asylum-seeker or undocumented worker.
Trump gets this, as does the far right in Europe, which is why they attract such powerful working-class support. Want to preserve the welfare state? Build a wall — or, in Europe’s case, reinstate border controls. Want more immigrants and amnesty? Lower the minimum wage and abolish the closed shop.
But please choose. It’s one or the other.
“Socialist” ideologies which aim for the dissolution of borders and the elimination of national sovereignty in actuality weaken the federal government’s ability to administer social programs effectively. If there is no authority to differentiate between who is or isn’t a citizen (of where?) and no tangible separation of territory, just whom or what exactly is the federal government presiding over? Is it simply “residents?” One can already envision the financial insolvency and administrative nightmare of this kind of “international airport socialism,” where going to the hospital is like making a trip to a crowded, third world DMV. Such a system would be impossible to manage efficiently, due to the intrinsic lack of organization and ill-defined parameters, rendering a theoretically empowered federal government hapless and functionally impotent. Very few aspiring employees can take advantage of a $15 minimum wage if you cram so many people into a city that there are not enough jobs to go around, and the accompanying demand for housing becomes so high that skyrocketing real estate prices negate any benefits for those lucky enough to land a “living” minimum wage job. Socialists and social democrats like Bernie Sanders used to be fully aware of all this, but they are so averse to being perceived as xenophobic or anti-immigrant, that their stated positions on these issues include a lot of muddled, self-contradictory language and conflicting statements…ultimately revealing themselves to be the product of doublethink.
In such a scenario, multinational corporations become strengthened, because people will feel they have no other alternative but to sign their lives away to Yelp or Amazon or some other corporate cult, which will present as comparably functional institutions. In exchange for being granted the closest thing to stability available, they’ll be inclined to just accept shitty, high deductible health plans that can change on a whim, conditional company housing, and draconian “code of conduct” rules which dictate what employees can do, wear and say on their own time, etc.
That’s the political choice we’re essentially being presented with: overpopulated, third world international airport socialism vs. multinational corporate feudalism. It is probably already too late for any other alternatives you might have in mind. It certainly seems too late for any kind of populist nationalism or to limit mass immigration in any meaningful way at the national level, though I guess pan secessionism and balkanization are distant possibilities (perhaps even inevitabilities.)
Are “democratic socialists” closet neoreactionaries? No, of course not. Are they the useful idiots of neoreaction? That sounds a bit too harsh. One could just as easily argue that many big companies are so greedy that they are actually helping to facilitate the rise of democratic socialism. The way most multinational corporations shamelessly manipulate and exploit their employees, while simultaneously displaying outright contempt for consumers…they certainly aren’t doing themselves any PR favors. Multinational corporations are portable though, and since they have no allegiance to any particular place or country, they are highly adaptable and can remain as elusive as the Black Fortress in Krull.
Ultimately, I think democratic socialists simply represent one half in the next phase of Americans having to hold their noses and choose between systems that don’t represent their interests and which promise things they can’t deliver.
A long time had gone by, but recently I messaged this girl Lindsay and encouraged her to start making videos again. I always enjoyed her vids because I found them to be honest, substantive and independent minded. There was nothing sexy, dramatic, cutesy or seductive about these videos. It was just a girl in plain clothes spouting her opinions for 20 minutes or so.
Having worked in shitty sales and retail jobs for much of my life as a struggling writer/artist, I’m frequently reminded of how companies annoyingly push you to sell “the package deal.” In my mind, a more effective and ethical sales approach is one that builds trust, where the salesperson asks questions (often referred to as “needs analysis” or “needs assessment”) to determine the customer/client’s needs. The salesperson subsequently proposes a solution for the customer (aka pitches them products.) A successful sale is one where the customer’s needs are identified and met. However, to most of the sales managers I’ve come across, it doesn’t matter if the customer only needs one thing and has no use for a bunch of other crap you offer, companies always push for you to sell package deals, unnecessary upgrades, irrelevant features, overpriced accessories etc. Often this sort of sale results in more short term revenue for the company, but at the expense of losing the buyer’s confidence in the value of your product advice.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, clearly Lindsay was one of those people who didn’t want to sign on to the ideological package deal the AltRight presented, and so she took the knowledge she found useful and moved on. However, she is back making videos again.
I won’t get into the disagreements I have with some of the arguments in her “return video,” but she makes an excellent observation in a reply to some generic trad commenter:
“The human mind continues to grow in its ability to analyze and understand the world, and thankfully this leads to new abilities. one new ability, which I’ve noticed most people still lack, is being able to completely listen to an idea without believing it, critique it without dismissing it, and accept only the parts of it that seem to be true. this ability is demonstrated most clearly in the natural sciences, and it’s almost never witnessed in the political sciences.”
“Mystery shopper” has to be one of the scummiest occupations. The mystery shopper is basically a low level informant, spying on underpaid retail employees and helping big corporations enforce compliance with all kinds of pointless rules and tedious protocol (which smart employees often ignore to maintain efficiency and prioritize the achievement of broader goals.)
A typical mystery shopper review would consist of something along the lines of the following:
“The employee failed to give the official FashionMart 4 point company greeting when I entered the store. The associate also took a sip of water while at the counter and leaned on it as well while sipping the drink.”
First off, almost no one follows company guidelines to the letter and the only people who fetishize them are overpaid executive do-nothings whose time is spent dreaming them up and perhaps a few overzealous cultist true believers in retail management. The only other employees that blindly adhere to them are the natural slaves of retail who never question anything and are easily exploited like pawns.
What mystery shoppers and their nefarious puppeteers do not realize, is that they are not entitled to what they have decreed as the ideal shopping experience. Why? Since they are not genuine customers, mystery shoppers do not deserve to be treated like them. By misleading the employee as to their intentions and ultimately wasting everyone’s time, the mystery shopper is not acting in good faith. If the company demands employees that employees make genuine personal connections with shoppers (a demand which is inherently oxymoronic in itself,) this is not possible with the mystery shopper, because everything about the mystery shopper’s interactions is phony. The entire premise they present for their visit is a facade. They are there to spy on you, to trick you, to watch you, and ultimately to catch you in violation of some sacred creedo on a technicality.
An employee can often sense when someone is not genuinely interested and there are all kinds of reasons why they will be inclined to be less helpful. The mystery shopper may have a resting bitch face. They may appear like too much of a busybody. It may creepily show in their eyes that they are sizing the employee up and judging their every move. Truth be told, there are plenty of shoppers which give off such an annoying vibe, that an employee will prefer the customer would just go away, concluding that the person’s business just may not be worth the potential hassle of future customer service issues, inevitable returned merchandise, arguments over warranty, etc.
The worst part about being preyed upon by a mystery shopper though, is the lack of recourse. The employee has no opportunity to face his/her accuser and refute the mystery shopper’s claims. The report is filed, and management accepts the account provided by the mystery shopper uncritically. It doesn’t matter if the mystery shopper was grossly exaggerating, failed to take into consideration possible context or misperceived the entire course of events.
In conclusion, mystery shoppers are among the lowest forms of humanity, right down there with people who eat chips loudly in public places. Employees do not owe them anything but scorn. Retail employees have enough to juggle with in the form of genuinely shitty and irritating customers: middle-aged women that ask to speak to the manager, aging suburban wiggers attempting to shoplift, fat white men with neck tattoos and Star Wars t-shirts that talk shit because they don’t understand purchasing etiquette in the 21st century. The last thing the retail employee needs is a fake customer, whose sole purpose is to tattletale and document behaviors from the perspective of those with dubious motives and a limited understanding of the situation on the ground.
The following exchange was taken from a 2002 interview with Gore Vidal on Doug Henwood’s WBAI radio show, after Henwood brought it to Vidal’s attention that Tom Metzger was offering videos of one of Vidal’s lectures for sale on his website.
Doug Henwood: There is this long-standing, kind of right-leaning nativist critique of Empire and centralizing power. What affinities or lack of affinities
do you feel in that?
Gore Vidal: Well, look at Pat Buchanan, who borrowed a great deal from me, for “A Republic, Not an Empire.” That is what I’ve been saying for half a
century, that we’re not in the Empire business, or we should not be in
the Empire business, because we’re not very good at it, and we have so
much wrong in our own country. So there is a moment, I would suspect,
that the far-right has to have something positive to talk about, instead
of worrying about getting rid of the inferior breeds, or what they think
of as the inferior breeds. So, the anti-imperial is an interesting
thing for them to take up, ’cause I’d think they’d be on the other
side. But as many people want to join that, why not?
As Trump’s schizophrenic rhetoric continues to erratically oscillate between blunt statements in support of non-interventionist principles and random threats to attack other countries under dubious pretenses, it all seems rather surreal. One begins to wonder whether it is even possible to convince our government to act in America’s interests in any meaningful capacity. Perhaps not, but who cares? We specialize in unlikely alliances and the stubborn exploration of far-fetched possibilities here, so let’s go for one more.
As Trump contemplates engaging in further military action in Syria (and who knows where else,) I would love to see a joint AltRight / far left war protest event. The sight of people who typically spend all day trashing each other on twitter (and occasionally even physically battle each other in the streets) come together for a day of solidarity against war, would send a striking message. Instead of “Unite the Right,” or “Bash the Fash,” a rally should be held called “United Against War” or maybe even “People Who Hate Each Other Against the War.”
Many on the right would reflexively point out that the anti-war left (what remains of it) despises the AltRight with such visceral ferocity, that they could never partner with them on anything, even for a moment. “Nazis” (a term which has expanded in recent years to such an extent that it could now include just about any non self-hating white person,) we are told, are to be punched, attacked, not spoken to, and certainly not courted as allies. For their part, the far right is just as much of an obstacle to any kind of cooperation, given their inability to coordinate (even with one another) except when satirizing / ironically sniping at their own movement, usually from the anonymous peanut gallery. In my observations, the far right in the US contains a significant number of people who just cannot seem to restrain themselves in any way from being aggressive assholes, even when it comes to casual conversation. It’s also worth noting in the case of Syria, much of the AltRight is less motivated by general non-interventionist ideals. Their opposition to US involvement is rooted in their admiration of Putin and Assad as leaders. They don’t wish to stay out of the war because it’s none of our business and a waste of time. Rather, they oppose it because Russia and Syria are the “good guys” fighting our enemies (ISIS, ) while Assad “protects Christians,” “is a family man,” etc. Many AltRighters would be more than eager to launch full scale Conquistadorian invasions of sovereign countries under other circumstances. The fact remains though, a lot of people who hate each other agree that we should stay out of Syria.
Given the levels of polarization among dissidents and the divergence in motivations, you might still be asking, “What’s the point in even trying to work together on this? Why bother?” Well, because in this particular instance, it would be worth it. Getting involved in another pointless and misguided war is such a terrible idea, that it is worth preventing at almost any cost. In fact, the only way supporting wars like these make any sense at all is from the accelerationist perspective, since every new catastrophic US policy blunder serves to speed up the collapse of the US from its own weight, potentially making room for something new and improved to replace it that much sooner. I won’t support the war on that basis though, even as cynical as I am. After all, this isn’t just about us. There are other countries’ fates at stake, other people’s lives being needlessly jeopardized. Instead, I’ll keep the accelerationist contingency provision in my pocket as a cheap consolation prize, a souvenir to be admired in the eventuality of yet another misadventure.
On a mildly encouraging note, there does appear to be an emerging market for unlikely alliances against increased intervention in Syria. Glenn Greenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson and both seemed broadly in agreement of their skepticism of the need for the US to escalate our involvement. Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks seems to be firmly against beating the War drums for military action in Syria, as is his paranoid AltLite nemesis, Alex Jones. Could a genuine AltRight figure like Richard Spencer share a stage with a far left personality, even an Antifa or prominent SJW, to denounce the war, without the spectacle turning into a total shitshow? Would anyone agree to be part of any of it? Probably not. You never know though until you put the offer out there and see what happens. To borrow a quote from the Lawgiver’s scene in Battle for the Planet of the Apes: Who knows about the future of US foreign policy? Perhaps, only the dead.