Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Unlearning the Dark Ages

The best thing about reading iconoclastic, revisionist historians is that, in the process of reading and understanding their works and their ideas, you learn just how badly your schooling has let you down. Such was certainly the case when I read the truth about the Great Depression through the work of Amity Shlaes and her outstanding The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Such was true of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which proved to be a thorough demolition job of the "standard" understanding of the (minimal) differences between fascism and communism. Such was the result of reading Thomas DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln.

And now, to that distinguished list, I must add a new book: Emmett Scott's superb precis analysis of one of the most controversial theories in the field of classical and post-Roman history, Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy.

The book looks at the groundbreaking work and analysis of French historian Henri Pirenne, who came up with what was at the time the most radical rethinking of the history of the Dark Ages ever proposed. And to understand just why his proposal was so strange and so difficult for mainstream historians to digest, we need to briefly look at the "accepted" view of the way that the Dark Ages came about, how they led to the Middle Ages, and finally how the Renaissance came about.

The "Received Wisdom"

If your schooling was anything like mine, you were taught that the period following the fall of the Roman Empire, up until the advent of the Carolingian Age (i.e. the age of Charlemagne and his descendants) was a true "Dark Age", in which the wisdom, literacy, and artistic accomplishments of the Roman Empire decayed and disappeared as civilisation itself retreated and, at certain points, was in danger of dying out completely. You were taught that the 6th through to the 9th centuries were a time of backwardness and decay, and that during this time the great cities of antiquity withered and died as the empire that the Romans had spent centuries to build up, crumbled into dust in the West and was tenuously guarded in the East by Byzantium. You were taught that the Church became an instrument of terror and repression, suppressing knowledge and condemning those who pursued forbidden topics as witches and heretics.

You were even perhaps taught that the Islamic world flourished into a true Golden Age as Europe retreated into backwardness and squalor. You were told that it was the Islamic world's preservation of ancient Greek and Latin texts that saved European civilisation; when Arabic and Persian scholars took those same books, translated centuries earlier into Arabic, back to Europe to be translated right back into European languages, the resulting transfer of knowledge kicked off the great rebirth of the Renaissance and eventually culminated in the Enlightenment.

All told, you were taught to think that the period from about 550AD (or thereabouts) to very roughly 850AD or 900AD was a three-century-long period of barbarism and backwardness so terrible that it very nearly destroyed what was left of Europe.

An Easily Believed Yarn

Obviously, I am skipping over certain key details here, but that is very broadly the historical consensus that existed before Henri Pirenne walked onto the scene. Both Edward Gibbon and J.B. Bury, perhaps the greatest historians the world has seen since Herodotus and Plutarch, argued convincingly, based on the evidence available to them at the time, that the disappearance of Roman civilisation from Western Europe resulted in a truly terrible Dark Age, and that it was Islam that saved the West. And that meme has persisted down to the present day, to the point where it is taught as near-Gospel in high schools and universities the world over.

There is just one problem with the entire theory: it is complete and arrant nonsense.

So said Henri Pirenne, who attacked the consensus understanding of the history of the period on every front. Drawing on the most up-to-date archaeological discoveries made up to that point, and looking carefully at geological, climatological, and contemporary source data, his conclusions were starkly at odds with the prevailing wisdom:
  • Contrary to popular belief, the barbarians who settled the territories once occupied by Roman legions rapidly became Christians and Romanised all on their own, and quickly re-established a civilisation that was in many ways even more advanced than the one it had replaced;
  • Trade between Europe, Britain, North Africa, and the Eastern Roman Empire flourished between 476AD and 650AD, creating massive prosperity and economic growth;
  • The population of Europe did NOT shrink gradually but in fact entered a boom period, which abruptly cut off when the true Dark Age descended upon Europe;
  • Most crucially, the specific reason why a Dark Age hit Europe was Islam itself
That last conclusion is by far the most unsettling. Henri Pirenne did not deny that a Dark Age did indeed descend across Europe; what he contested was the specific dates which were accorded to the period. And his analysis showed that the true Dark Ages corresponded virtually perfectly with the first great wave of Islamic expansion.

A Controversy Revisited

As can be imagined, such a radical revision of accepted historical narrative was a huge shock to most of Pirenne's contemporaries. In his analysis of and expansion upon Pirenne's work, Emmett Scott notes that even today, most historians find Pirenne's conclusions so difficult to swallow that they force themselves through all sorts of contortions of logic, evidence, and fact to avoid the extremely uncomfortable realities that those ideas would lead to.

Yet the evidence itself is beyond dispute. And Mr. Scott presents that evidence in a book that is a true pleasure to read.

He starts with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire itself, and carries on with his analysis all the way through to the latter 11th Century, when the Middle Ages were well and truly established. And his analysis, presented calmly, clearly, and in considerable yet fascinating detail, is extraordinary.

The history in this book reads like a detective story- and what a fascinating story it is. His tale is the forgotten history of a Europe that we are only now beginning to see and understand.

As Mr. Scott points out, the fall of the Roman Empire was not in fact quite the rupture that we are taught it was in school. It was actually basically a simple transition; the last Roman emperor simply stepped off the throne and handed the crown to the Germanic chieftain Odoacer. At that point in time, the population of the Roman Empire had indeed been in long-term decline; the stock of "ethnic Romans" had dwindled significantly, hence the reason why barbarian Germanic and Gothic tribes were allowed to settle within Roman territories in exchange for their service to the Empire. And that downward trend in population did continue into the early 6th Century.

But then something remarkable happened. The "barbarians" began to civilise. And they did so at a truly astonishing pace.

The Visigothic kingdoms of Spain emerged into a true Golden Age. In Gaul, the Merovingians consolidated and united the Gaulish tribes into a true nation and began building upon the centuries of accumulated wisdom of the Romans and the Greeks. England, a frontier outpost long abandoned by the Romans at that point, rebuilt a true Christian civilisation; Caledonia (Scotland) and Hibernia (Ireland), dreary and miserable islands that they were, also began to experience rapid social, technological, and spiritual progress, thanks in no small part to the introduction and rapid uptake of the Christian faith to those benighted lands.

From Spain in the west to Carthage in the south to Byzantium in the East, a true Mediterranean civilisation began to take shape. The existence of expensive and expertly crafted African Red Slip pottery was proven well into the 7th Century in the northern reaches of former Roman territories, including Britain. In the East, the Byzantines held the line against the Persians, but were strong and flourishing in their own right.

Mr. Scott presents a true mountain of evidence showing that there was no Dark Age in Europe, right up to the middle of the 7th Century. In its place was an advanced culture in which art, science, and literature flourished at a rate not since since the days of the Rome of Marcus Aurelius. Not even the great plague of the Emperor Justinian's time, in the mid-6th Century, could put a stop to Europe's rapid pace of development.

Within and through it all, the Holy Church spearheaded the revival and revolution. The Benedictine order of monks proved instrumental in preserving, recording, and building upon the knowledge of the ancients. As Mr. Scott points out, there is no other group in all of human history that has done more to advance the knowledge and happiness of our species, and there is no institution in history that has ever done more for Mankind than the Church of Christ.

And then, suddenly, it all went horribly wrong.


From the second half of the 7th Century, the evidence tells us that something happened which irrevocably changed Europe's fate. The advances of the previous two hundred years came to a screeching halt. Thriving metropolises were wiped out almost overnight, never to be resettled. Population growth crashed; trade across the Mediterranean collapsed; the fortunes of the Byzantines lurched from disaster to catastrophe with almost monotonous regularity for the better part of three hundred years.

And so the situation remained, until the Carolingian Age was well and truly established, and mediaeval Europe came into existence.

We know what the Middle Ages were like- or at least, we think we do. In reality, what we were taught in school about the Middle Ages is also basically wrong- in reality, the Middle Ages saw the advent of another advanced civilisation which was brought to its knees by the Plague. But that is not the era with which Pirenne or Scott concerned themselves. They were interested in the reason why an age of progress and expansion collapsed so quickly.

The answer can be summed up in one word: Islam.

The archaeological and historical evidence that Mr. Scott presents shows beyond a doubt that the extremely sudden reversal in Europe's fortunes coincides perfectly with the beginnings of the first wave of Islamic expansion, following the "prophet" Mohammed's establishment of a power base in Medina as a warlord.

In the latter quarter of the book, Mr. Scott presents a powerful analysis of the Islamic doctrine of war and shows that the canonical origin story of Islam, already highly suspect, is basically garbage. He further points out that the reason why the Arabs were able to expand so rapidly is not because of any great military skill on their part; the Arabs, a nomadic and squabbling people, were hugely outnumbered and outclassed in every way by the Byzantine Empire. Instead, it is far more likely that they made an alliance with the Sassanid Persians, and that the early victories of "Arab" Islam were in fact backed and financed by the vast wealth and power of the Persian empire in the East.

And anyone who knows anything about Islamic doctrines regarding warfare, piracy, the taking of slaves, and the division of the world into dar al-Harb and dar al-Islam will know that Mr. Scott is talking perfect sense when he points out that it was the rapid expansion of Islam that caused Mediterranean commerce and prosperity to come to a crashing halt almost overnight.

A Myth Debunked

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Mr. Scott's work is his analysis of the much-ballyhoed "Islamic golden age". This is another standard trope that we are all taught in school. We are taught to believe the politically correct lie that Islam was an enlightened religion of peace, which fostered scientific advancement, mathematics, medicine, physics, optics, and literature at a pace never seen in the West.

This is almost all complete BS.

In reality, whatever advances that the Islamic world made during the Dark Ages, which it created, were due to the works of far greater philosophers and authors from the Roman and Byzantine eras. In fact, the greatest findings attributed to "Arab" mathematicians and philosophers were actually Persian in origin. Indeed, the great advances in mathematics, such as the "Arabic" numbering system and the "Arabic" concept of zero and the "Arabic" method of algebra, are all Indian and Greek discoveries given a fresh coat of paint by Persian philosophers.

The true face of the Arabic Islamic empire of the time was in fact remarkably similar to what we see happening with ISIS today. It was backward, intolerant, abusive of Jews and Christians alike, utterly ruthless in dealing with pagans, violent, intolerant, and totally incapable of responsible governance over the territories that it conquered- which were once the wealthiest and most advanced creations of the children of the Roman Empire.

There is far, far more to this remarkable book than I can possibly do justice to here. But I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in the history of Islam's interactions with the West. It is a scholarly work of the first order that is as readable as any best-selling thriller, and as thought-provoking as anything that Thomas DiLorenzo has ever written. It will make you sit up and think; it will shock and amaze you; and you will very likely walk away from it with your entire understanding of the post-Roman era of history turned upside-down.

Schlafes Bruder

From 1999 to 2003, a German musical project called E NOMINE released three (simply amazing) albums that, basically, defy description.

The music is electronica... except it's not, being considerably more melodic and varied than your typical endless repetition of the usual "uhn-TISS uhn-TISS uhn-TISS" beat that I find so intensely irritating.

It's also choral, given that the songs invariably feature heavy use of Latin choirs as accompaniment... except it's not, since the music itself is always an electronic dance beat.

It's not techno, not really. It's not rock, even though guitars and drums feature heavily.

Honestly, I don't know what it is. And I don't really care. I just know that I really like it.

The creators of E NOMINE, Christian Weller and Friedrich Graner, call this music "monumental dance". I dunno about the "dance" part- try dancing to "Die Schwarzen Reiter" and see what happens- but it certainly is monumental.

Very sadly, the project pretty much went into hibernation after about 2007. But the basic concept of adapting hymns and choral music to less... staid formats persisted, and in 2013 the co-creators of E NOMINE released an all new "rock fusion" album under the entity SCHLAFES BRUDER.

The mad geniuses behind both projects call SCHLAFES BRUDER essentially the "natural evolution" of E NOMINE. And listening to some of their songs, it's not hard to see why:

That last song in particular, "Metallum", sounds a lot like RAMMSTEIN on really good crack.

I have to say, it's damned effective. So much so, that I went and bought their debut album. And it is, indeed, quite good.

But then, what do you expect from the same people that gave us, in the words of my fellow VFM MidKnight, "angry Germans reciting 'Our Father' to epic dance beats".

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Why they fight

I came across a powerful video today, just at random, on the Vickers Tactical channel, about one Tyler Grey, an ex-RANGER who was severely injured over in the Sandbox.

He is a quiet man. He speaks with dignity and grace about what happened to him. He doesn't dress up what he went through, and you can see from his face and hear in his voice that what he endured haunts him to this day. But beyond his calm strength and his clearly incredible resilience to trauma and pain, he gives us civilians a very powerful insight into the reasons why men like him endure hellish conditions for miserable pay under the ever-present threat of injury, dismemberment, and death at the hands of  cunning and ruthless enemies.

(Warning: there are images in this video that ARE NOT for those with weak constitutions.)

The follow-on video from that is the documentary that Mr. Grey made, out of videos shot for his own personal diary, and combined with clips from interviews of many individuals who have fought for this country, and those who have helped them re-adjust to civilian life after that.

I cannot pretend to really understand what drives the fighting men of this country. What they do requires sacrifice, devotion, and at some deep level "an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part... and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself, that the whole may live".

I have boundless respect and admiration for that attitude. I have never met a more professional, decent, and upstanding group of men than the personnel in the Army and the Marine Corps that I have interacted with in my 9 years in this country. I believe to my very core that, as long as the American military continues to be staffed by men like Mr. Grey, and officers who will lead them with honour and courage, then this country has nothing to fear from its own armed forces.

But even that is no longer guaranteed:

The way that war affects these men is not something that civilians can easily comprehend. All we can do- the best we can do- is support and honour those who have gone through that very particular kind of hell. We may not be very good at it, because we civilians simply have no idea what it means to see our friends maimed and burned and shot to pieces and killed before us; we've never had to wash their blood off our hands and out of our vehicles; we've never had to hold them in our arms and stared into their pain-wracked eyes as the light in them slowly fades amid a symphony of agony.

But it is all we can do. The best we can do is try to make sure that returning veterans don't end up homeless and hungry, taken to court by their wives and called murderers and mindless myrmidons and forced to watch as the very society that sent them to war, now takes away everything they have left.

That is something that Western society as a whole, and American society in particular, is failing to do. Badly. We are derelict in our duty toward those who fulfilled theirs.

What Mr. Grey and his colleagues have tried to do in that documentary is show the rest of us why men like them fight. They have tried to show us how war changes men, how they come back to a country that they no longer recognise, and how traumatic it is for them to try to readjust to a society that does not understand them and, increasingly, finds it difficult to support them.

Now, having traveled as much as I have, and having written the above, I will say this in defence of Americans: you people, especially the Jacksonians among you, still understand and love and respect the American military. God love you for that.

This is the character trait of Americans that I most deeply admire- that innate, unwavering sense of patriotism, that understanding at some instinctive level that freedom is never free. You still donate money in enormous amounts to support private charities that do their level best to take care of returning warriors. Because it is your sons that have borne the burden of so many of the West's wars over the past century, you still understand, however dimly, the price that these men pay to preserve gifts that they themselves cannot enjoy while fighting for them. That is why, despite all of my gentle mockery of the idiosyncrasies of Americans, I hold in utter contempt the reflexive and ridiculously misinformed anti-Americanism of the International Community of the Ever-So-Caring And Sensitive (ICOTESCAS). (With apologies to LTC Tom Kratman, of course.)

You have to travel outside the USA to see just how unusual and rare this attitude is. In Britain, really the only other Western country that has really had to pay a severe price in blood spent in the Sandbox and the Rockpile, there is a real feeling that the Covenant between society and its soldiers has been broken, and that British society now treats its wounded warriors as unwanted outcasts.

That attitude has, so far, not crossed the Pond to any great degree, at least not among the ordinary people of this country. I can only thank the Almighty for that. The day that this country once again becomes ashamed of its own warriors, as it so regrettably did after the Vietnam War, is the day that its downfall as a nation is truly assured. And while its government daily strives to find new indignities to heap upon those who gave their all, and sometimes more, for family and flag, its people still remember, at some level, what it means to fight- and why men like Mr. Grey go to war.

R.I.P. Master Chief

Or so we are told, anyway:

OK, look, Microsoft isn't so stupid as to kill off the iconic face of its most important, lucrative, and powerful revenue-generating franchise and brand. I have no doubt that this is part of the HALO 5 plotline; I also have no doubt, based on what I already know, that the Master Chief isn't actually dead.

After all, they kind of sort of killed him off before. Yes, I know, technically he was "Missing In Action", like all SPARTANs are supposed to be. But as far as everyone in the HALOverse was concerned, he was dead. Until he wasn't. Again.

Still, a small part of this die-hard HALO nut's mind did do a backwards-flip when I saw that TV spot. It looked something like this:

Friday, 25 September 2015

Blue Team just set a new standard in badassitude

This game is, indeed, going to be amazing. I cannot wait to experience this latest addition to my beloved HALOverse.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Seriously, which part?

I don't necessarily agree with Texans about everything. (Gridiron, for instance, is incomprehensible to me; Texans view it as the most highly evolved form of competition yet invented by Mankind. I might be more inclined to agree with them, if only someone could explain to me what the hell the point is of that "Superbowl half-time show" thing.)

But when it comes to guns, you'll find virtually no daylight between me and any proud son or daughter of the great state of Texas. Indeed, as far as I am concerned, if the rest of the USA adopted the best traits of Texas, the whole country would be better off. (And we'd have fewer liberal weenies pissing in everybody's beer, too. Where's the bad?!)

This is what the Second Amendment literally says, word for word:
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Period goddamn dot. That is it, right there in black and white. Back when I first saw that, knowing virtually nothing about the intent of the Framers, never having read any of the Federalist Papers, I understood it to mean precisely what it said: the free men and women of this country have an absolute right to defend themselves, both from each other, and more importantly, from the State itself.

I didn't understand it as a "right" to hunt. That interpretation is simply idiotic; until relatively recently, the vast majority of people didn't get their meat and fish from a store, they had to go out and kill it themselves. If they didn't, they starved, end of story. The notion that a governmental document has to preserve a "right" to eat is so stupid that it deserves to be treated with nothing more than utter contempt. It is, instead, very clearly a right, guaranteed in perpetuity, to defend oneself and one's possessions from predation by others.

I was not born in a country with America's magnificent tradition of individual liberty. I didn't grow up in such countries either- Australia, back when I was living there, was well on its way to becoming the SJW-land that it is today, and as for Singapore, let's not even start. I came back a little under 6 months ago from an assignment in a country that used to have that tradition, but gave it away in the name of "social progress", to their very great loss.

So if even a heathen foreigner like me can figure out what the 2nd Amendment means, with (at the time) next to no understanding of the background behind the wording, what possible excuse do gun-control advocates who were born and brought up in this country have?

With that in mind, here is a video from some years back exploring the results of the comprehensive gun ban that the British imposed on themselves back during the Bliar era. (That was deliberate.) And, cliched as it sounds, it is a warning from a country that is about 20 years farther down the road to ruin that the US is charging down now while breaking every possible safety rule in the book:

There is something very interesting about that video. Unless I'm going blind, every single person interviewed there is white, and every one of them is middle-aged or older.

Those are precisely the people who tend to own the most guns- white, middle-aged, reasonably affluent and/or rural folk.

These are precisely the people who most need the 2nd Amendment to protect themselves from the Time of Testing that is coming.

The 2nd Amendment's wording is perfectly clear. The original intent of that Amendment is also perfectly clear. The right to self-defence is not, and has never been, granted by government. It is a right granted by the Lord Himself, as the flip side of the right to life, and it cannot be taken away from Americans unless they let it be removed.

Take it from a man well-traveled, who has seen much of the rest of the world: the American attitude toward self-defence is unique among the nations of the world. No other country takes that right so seriously, and no other nation is as happy to be armed to the teeth with everything ranging from sharp rocks to fully automatic shotguns.

When the Framers began the wording of the 2nd Amendment with "A well-regulated militia", their meaning was not restricted to just "the militia" at the time. Their understanding of "militia" encompassed the entire free citizenry of the country. The Framers lived in a world in which every adult male was at times expected to defend himself from hostile threats. They understood that a free society can only ever be preserved if the government is afraid of its citizens, and not the other way around.

Don't ever let your guns and weapons be taken from you as law-abiding citizens. Don't ever fall for the nonsense that anti-gunners keep throwing your way. Guns are tools, nothing more and nothing less. As a free man or woman, it is your responsibility to know how to use them correctly and safely- but if you let the government take them away from you, then YOU will be the one to blame when, not if, but when that same government turns on you.

And if you need some help convincing your liberal friends as to the worthiness of learning how to shoot straight, here's some good old-fashioned red meat to help the process along down below.

The most interesting man in the world('s gun-totin' cousin):

Cute, nice voice, and she likes guns. Can she cook too?

One does not argue with a man with such an epic moustache:

Stefan Molyneux doing his thing:

Still not enough? Let's hear what a veteran, who actually fought and bled for the flag and all it represents, on the subject:

And I have to say, it's quite gratifying to see that not all celebrities are complete knuckleheads when it comes to the rights of free men and women:

On the subject of Amendments to the Constitution- I would not mind in the least if the country passed a very slight addendum to the 2nd Amendment along these lines:

This would certainly make grizzly-hunting even more hair-raising than it already is

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

I gotta get me one of these

Proton torpedoes very sadly not included:

I don't suppose anyone has a scale-model replica of the first Death Star, so that we can setup a mock version of the Trench Run?

The princess and the shiv

Somewhere in Washington, D.C., or wherever the hell it is that Chateau Heartiste is based, He-Whose-Name-Keeps-Changing must be positively crapping himself with delight to see that SCIENCE has once again confirmed he's been preaching for years:
Whether they are senior citizens, middle-aged fathers or barely able to drink legally, all men are inherently attracted to young women who are in their early 20s. 
In his book Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity - What Our Online Lives Tell Us About Our Offline Selves, author and OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder used the data preferences found on his dating site to determine that men find women between the ages of 20 and 24 most attractive - no matter how old they get. 
After [a man] hits thirty, the latter half of [OKCupid's] age range (that is, women over 35) might as well not exist,' Christian explained in an excerpt of his book, which was shared on Jezebel
'Younger is better, and youngest is best of all, and if “over the hill” means the beginning of a person’s decline, a straight woman is over the hill as soon as she’s old enough to drink,' he noted. 
A majority of the groups of men between the ages of 20 and 50 prefer women to be 20, while 21 was the next highest reported age. 
And only one age group, 45, chose 24, the highest age reported, as the one that looks best to them. 
Meanwhile, Christian found that women want a 'guy to be roughly as old as she is'. 
'This isn’t survey data, this is data built from tens of millions of preferences expressed in the act of finding a date,' he said. 
According to his research, women like men to be slightly older than them until they hit their 30s. Then they become interested in men who are their own age or slightly younger. 
By their 40s, women are most attracted to men who are two to eight years younger than they are. 
But an eight year age difference is nothing compared to the 28-year age gap between 50-year-old men who think 22-year-old women are ideal.
'Another way to put this focus on youth is that males’ expectations never grow up,' Christian wrote. 'A 50-year-old man’s idea of what’s hot is roughly the same as a college kid’s.'
This vast difference in the sexual age preferences of men and women was codified into handy visual form by Rollo. That picture, which is known as his Sexual Market Value (SMV) graph, is essentially a heuristic derivation of what the data above tell us in empirical form:

Lo and behold, the peak SMV points coincide almost exactly with those from the OKCupid data set. Which is rather impressive, given that Rollo Tomassi put together that graph back in 2012, and did so based mostly on heuristic observation, without perhaps quite the same level of access to data that Christian Rudder had when writing his book.

This is no coincidence.

The beauty of SCIENCE- more specifically, of scientody, the scientific method- is that it keeps nonsensical, pseudo-scientific ideologies like feminism in check, in the most brutal way possible. The findings above could not be more destructive to the poisonous ideals of feminism if they had been coded into human form, handed a pig-sticker, and set loose upon the nearest college-campus feminist.

Feminists- specifically, third-wave feminists- have been trying to argue for the better part of twenty years that there is no inherent difference between men and women. Their "arguments", for lack of a better word, centre around their assertion without proof that gender is a social construct. In so doing, they ignore simple biology, empirical evidence, and anecdotal proof before their very eyes that they are wrong. Yet they base their entire, er, "philosophy" upon a non-existent foundation. It should come as no surprise, then, that their entire intellectual framework is utterly incapable of handling even the slightest shock.

If, on the other hand, one starts with the basic premise that men and women are different, it follows logically that they have different desires and preferences, and value different things to different degrees. Unlike third-wave feminist arguments, these are testable postulates that can be weighed and measured against the evidence.

The evidence very clearly tells us that the null hypothesis, " there is no inherent difference between men and women and their sexual preferences", is plainly wrong. Therefore it needs to be thrown out.

But of course, that's LOGIC. And LOGIC is oppression of WOMYN because it is a masculine construct. Or... something. I'm not exactly up on my feminist terminology, since I have rather better things to do with my time.

If one is cold-blooded and logical enough, one can see sexual relationships between men and women as voluntary economic transactions. Each person involved in the transaction trades something of value to him or her, for something he or she values more in the other. Reducing everything down to this economic framework requires us only to explore the valuable commodities in question.

By the time young men reach their early thirties, they tend to be firmly established in their careers and, assuming that they haven't done anything too monumentally stupid, have built up a base of personal savings and assets that will continue to grow and generate wealth over time. (With relation to the average American male, this may be too strong an assumption; the average American is addicted to credit in ways that appall more frugal Asian types like me.)

In other words, young men are beginning to ascend up the ladders of wealth, power, and influence. And it is no coincidence that it is precisely these qualities that attract women most strongly. Any man can choose to squander his wealth, power, and influence; or he can choose to build upon it. 

Women, on the other hand, have a very limited window of youth, beauty, and fertility to exploit. They can choose to squander all three if they wish, through poor diet, bad lifestyle choices, and highly promiscuous sexual behaviour. These may not be advisable choices to make, but they are legitimate ones, since adult women have agency and free will just as adult men do. The problem is that if they do this, they damage the very things that men value the most.

And what the data and findings above tell us very clearly is that men value youth and beauty, no matter what their age. Women value security and comfort, which can be provided by high-status men with wealth and power.

Those findings will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who is paying attention. They will come as a huge shock to women who have been told all their lives that they are special and wonderful no matter what they look like and how they act. This is simply not true, and the sooner we all stop telling our daughters and sisters this outright lie,the happier they will be in the long-term.

Otherwise, daddy's beautiful little princess is going to feel the very real and very sharp stab of the shiv of reality the day she turns 30 and discovers that the high-status men her age and older, whom she is targeting for a life of "wedded bliss" after years of partying and sleeping around, are ditching her in favour of young, tight, firm, bouncy 20-year-old coeds.

Monday, 21 September 2015

r/K selection theory made simple

It would appear that Bill Whittle picked up a copy of Michael Trust's Anonymous Conservative's best book, The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics, and came to much the same set of conclusions that I did when I read it. And, in his usual lucid style, he goes through and explains the book's key points in fairly cogent fashion:

Stefan Molyneux did much the same thing, over the course of a three-part, nearly-four-hour (!!!!!) series of videos, though he goes into considerably more detail about the theory itself, and (as far as I can see) examines both the validity and the flaws of the theory itself. I haven't watched the whole thing, but given that it is Stefan Molyneux doing the talking, it's worth grabbing yourself a few beers and propping your feet up to watch the whole thing:

Here's part 2:

Still here? If you are, here, for the long-suffering and very patient (and presumably very very drunk), is part 3:

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A case for faith

There's no sense in going further -- it's the edge of cultivation,"
So they said, and I believed it -- broke my land and sowed my crop --
Built my barns and strung my fences in the little border station
Tucked away below the foothills where the trails run out and stop:
Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so:
"Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges --
"Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and wating for you. Go!
So I went, worn out of patience; never told my nearest neighbours --
Stole away with pack and ponies -- left 'em drinking in the town;
And the faith that moveth mountains didn't seem to help my labours
As I faced the sheer main-ranges, whipping up and leading down.
March by march I puzzled through 'em, turning flanks and dodging shoulders,
Hurried on in hope of water, headed back for lack of grass;
Till I camped above the tree-line -- drifted snow and naked boulders --
Felt free air astir to windward -- knew I'd stumbled on the Pass.
'Thought to name it for the finder: but that night the Norther found me -
Froze and killed the plains-bred ponies; so I called the camp Despair
(It's the Railway Gap to-day, though). Then my Whisper waked to hound me: --
"Something lost behind the Ranges. Over yonder! Go you there!"
Then I knew, the while I doubted -- knew His Hand was certain o'er me.
Still -- it might be self-delusion -- scores of better men had died --
I could reach the township living, but....e knows what terror tore me...
But I didn't... but I didn't. I went down the other side.
-- From "The Explorer" by Rudyard Kipling
There comes a time in a man's life when the world stops giving you things, and starts taking things away. It is inevitable that this should happen; we are mortal, after all, and death is as much a part of life as anything else. Eventually, all of us will pass on, to stand before the Almighty and account for our time on this Earth. Sadly, except for certain special cases, we cannot choose precisely how or when we will die, but we can choose to affect the manner in which we are remembered.

And the best that any man can hope for is that he leaves this world a little better than it was when he found it, by raising strong sons and virtuous daughters who will carry on his name and his legacy through the ages.

That doesn't make the loss of a loved one any easier to bear, of course. And sometimes, when such a loss hits, and a man is faced with a choice between bad and worse, he is left with nowhere to turn- except to a Creator that far too many of us would like to believe does not exist.

And when that happens, a man will come out of that experience with his faith in the Lord shattered and broken, as glass smashed upon the floor... or strengthened and sharpened, as a sword forged by fire and shaped between hammer and anvil.

Such was the choice facing me a few weeks ago.

Someone very dear to me died recently. It was his time, in my opinion- well past his time, for over the last few years I had seen him deteriorate beyond the point where he could recognise his own family. The last time I saw him, earlier this year, he had absolutely no idea who I was and was a hollow shell of the good and kind man that I remembered from my childhood.

So even though I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing, it was with a sense of relief that I greeted the news. At long last, his suffering was at an end.

But, there was... an issue.

In the old country, when someone dies, the family is expected to observe a series of rites and rituals that, to Western eyes, seem arcane and bizarre in the extreme. And the whole family is expected to be there to honour that person's passing.

Such a trip for the "wake", as it were, would involve an enormous amount of discomfort, expense, and hardship. To get there takes a minimum of 25 hours' travel; you arrive feeling like death warmed over. In my case, it's like going to a foreign country, with alien customs and ideals, where the food is basically inedible for someone like me, the customs make absolutely no sense, and the people are every bit as strange to me as I am to them.

On top of that, mid-September is an absolutely awful time to travel, for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that, in my industry, this is when things start to get busy again. Everyone is back from vacation, and in a very big hurry to get things done before the markets go into cruise control after Thanksgiving. And then there is the weather to consider. September in the old country is a time of utterly miserable heat and humidity; American summers in the northeast are picnics in comparison. We're talking about 90% humidity with 35-degree-Celsius heat- conditions that men cannot easily endure, especially when they are used to the relatively temperate weather of northern climes.

But the worst thing about such a trip, by far, is the fact that there are... well, let's just say "family politics", involved that I don't even want to begin to get into. If it were merely a case of going in order to honour the memory of a good man, that would have been an easy choice to make- but the politics I refer to have poisoned relations within my family to such a degree that my mere presence could easily inflame things and set in motion events that neither I nor anyone else could control.

Those issues have caused no end of tension for my father, who has to deal with the results every single day. His strength of will is tested daily by those realities; it is partly because of those realities that things came to a head after the death in the family.

I knew that if I went, I would be risking far more than I could count- my health, my strength, possibly my job, up to a point, and certainly the trust and expectations of some of my clients. My parents both made it clear to me that no one would ever think less of me if I chose not to go. They knew what pressures faced me; they knew that I had worked long and hard to get to where I am now; and for the sake of my own peace of mind, they urged me to think of all of the trials and hardships that awaited, and to consider very carefully just what I'd be getting into if I went.

In every way, refusing to go would have made sense. It would have been easy. Based on purely rational grounds, it would have been the correct thing to do.

If I went, I would spend two days travelling, land with severe jet lag, go to the various ceremonies the very next morning, have barely a day to recover, go off to another ceremony, and then return. I would have spent three days travelling for three days on the ground. I knew that I would be in for a hugely stressful trip, exposed to the vagaries of the politics of my extended family, having to meet people that I do not care for and do not respect, forced to put on a false face for the sake of one who is no longer among us. I knew that if I went, it was a virtual certainty that I would fall ill upon my return- potentially quite badly, given the pattern of past trips.

And no matter how I tried, I couldn't make that equation balance out. 

But I couldn't avoid the fact that I had a duty to my family, and to the memory of a good man, to go. My family needed me. My father needed me for strength and support, even if he can never bring himself to admit it.

At that moment, caught in the jaws of a dilemma with no good way out, I would have given almost anything to have the choice removed from my hands, to have someone tell me to go or to stay, so that I could abdicate responsibility and not have to face the consequences.

It was at that point that I turned to the Lord, and asked Him, in despair and at an utter loss to decide between a bad choice and an even worse one, for His help. I did what, ten years ago, would have been unthinkable to the younger man that I once was. I prayed, to a God that I once knew for a certainty did not exist.

And He answered.

I do not believe that the Lord speaks to us directly; I've never held much truck with the idea that men can somehow hear a voice from "out there" speaking to them in their heads. Instead, I have found that the Lord speaks to us by simply letting us see what is right, and then pointing out that doing what is right is rarely easy, and is not meant to be. Indeed, it would seem that the more right a course of action is, the more likely it is that His course will be arduous and painful.

And though I wrestled long and hard with the choice before me, I knew that, when the Lord calls me to stand before Him and account for my time on this Earth, I could not go before my Creator and tell Him that I chose what was easy and expedient over what I knew to be right.

I knew, ultimately, that the choice before me was no real choice at all. I had to do what was right, despite the cost. I could choose to do what was easy, and no one on Earth who really mattered would ever think any less of me. But I would know, deep down, that when I had been given the chance to do what was right, I had failed that test.

So I went. And basically everything that I feared would come to pass, did.

I've been back a few days now, after a truly insane trip. I have not slept properly for eight nights of the past ten- including one night where I didn't sleep at all and then had to put in a full day at work. I'm down with a rather irritating cold- though, fortunately, not quite as bad as I thought it would be. And the "family politics" I referred to up above were quite alive and well. The bad news didn't stop coming while I was there; when I got back home I learned that several close family friends had seen parents die over the course of the month prior to my visit, and while I was there we learned that a close family friend had been stricken with cancer and that his condition was deteriorating rapidly.

Yet I came out of that experience with my faith deepened and strengthened. When my family needed me, I was there. My conscience is clear. I did what had to be done- in the end, the only thing that really could be done.

I went to honour the memory of a man that gave me much, and who was a good man in life, even as his faculties dimmed and eventually abandoned him altogether. It is my firm belief that, even though he lived his entire life as basically an atheist with little more than casual disdain for organised religion, he stands beside the Lord now, restored in mind and body, once again the good man that he was, watching over his descendants with the same kindly smile and quiet good humour that I remember.

Most of all, I came out of that experience knowing- beyond any shadow of a doubt- that the Lord would not abandon me, and that He would continue to tell me what is right, rather than what is easy. When I prayed for His guidance and wisdom, He was there- not to absolve me of responsibility, but to impress upon me, once again, that the true price of free will is that a man must take responsibility for his choices, and must face the consequences, as a man.

There are many of us "red pill" or "neomasculine" types- far too many- who reject faith as shackles that bind Man to superstition and fear. They reject the Lord and His wonders in favour of an equally irrational devotion to "science" and the scientific process. While I do not question the great power and virtue of that process, I also note that the scientific method is and has always been subject to human error- the difference between scientage, scientody, and scientistry is one that too few of us truly understand and appreciate, and when we confuse scientage and scientistry for scientody, we run the very real danger of mistaking the biased result for the unbiased method.

I have come to a very different conclusion over the last few years. There is no inherent contradiction between reason and faith. They need not be in opposition to each other. Instead, reason must be informed and strengthened by faith, while faith must be constantly tested by reason.

And in this regard, those of us who abandon faith and pursue reason blindly are making, in my opinion, a terrible mistake.

Faith is not something that we can impose upon each other. It is something that has to come from within. It cannot really be explained- I could no more explain my faith in the Lord than you could explain the concept of "green" to a man born colour-blind. But it is there nonetheless, as real as real can be.

I do not, yet, presume to call myself a Christian. I only the vaguest notion of what Christianity really means, my writings on the subject notwithstanding. I don't pretend to be any kind of particularly moral person. I have, oh, many sins to answer for when my time comes. I haven't even read the New Testament yet.

Yet even so, I am pointed to the increasingly inescapable conclusion that it is the Christian understanding of the Lord that makes the most sense, and that the Gospel of Christ is the "one unbreakable shield against the coming darkness, one last blade forged in defiance of fate"*.

And I know now, without doubt or fear, what I had thought to be true for a long time but could never really put into words:

Even though, for many years, I abandoned the Lord, He never once abandoned me.

*Technically, that's a quote from Warhammer 40K. But it works rather well given the subject matter.

Finally he's talking some sense

Republican candidate for the Presidency Ben Carson appears to understand the deadly threat that Islamist ideology poses to the ideal of republican government:
Ben Carson said that he doesn't believe a Muslim belongs in the White House. 
'I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,' Carson said during an interview on 'Meet the Press,' according to a transcript. 'I absolutely would not agree with that.' 
Host Chuck Todd was getting Carson's reaction to the controversy that has plagued Donald Trump's campaign in recent days over whether the billionaire should have corrected an attendee at a town hall forum who called President Obama a Muslim and 'not even an American.' 
The question posed to Carson was whether the faith of a presidential candidate should matter. 
Carson said it depended on what that faith is. 
'If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter,' said the neurosurgeon-turned-politician. 'But if it fits within the realm of America and [is] consistent with the Constitution, no problem.' 
Todd then asked if Carson believed that Islam was consistent with the Constitution. 
'No, I don't,' Carson said. 'I do not.' 
While Carson said he didn't believe a person who practices Islam should be elected president, he was more open to Muslims serving in Congress. 
'Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know,' Carson continued. 
'And, you know, if there's somebody who's of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I'm with them,' Carson said.
I cannot admit to following the latest Presidential circus election particularly closely. I'm firmly of the opinion that this country is past the point of no return, that its collapse as a sovereign entity is assured within a generation, and that whoever the next President is, whether Demoblican or Republicrat, will use the Constitution as a useful substitute for 4-ply toilet paper.

That is not to say that I have been completely unimpressed by what at least a few of the candidates have been saying. Donald Trump, for instance, has been talking a very solid game on immigration. Whether he would actually follow through on it if elected is an entirely different story, of course, but he's saying the right things.

I've also been pretty impressed by his plans regarding gun control- which appears to be heavy on the guns and light on the control. Exactly how it should be. I still do not think he is any kind of principled conservative, and I seriously doubt that he will maintain his hardline positions if he gets the Republican nomination, but the great thing about his candidacy is that he is holding the Establishment's feet to the fire- and they really don't like it.

Dr. Ben Carson, on the other hand, is clearly a moderate in most regards. He apparently isn't a big fan of the Second Amendment when it comes to "semi-automatic weapons"- i.e. most guns with magazines and chambers. His opposition to law-abiding citizens owning such weapons would be all fine and dandy if we lived in an era of single-shot, muzzle- or breech-loading firearms, since such weapons wouldn't exist and he'd be talking nonsense. But they do exist, and in the hands of the vast majority of people who aren't complete morons or stark staring lunatics, they are perfectly safe.

He is, however, talking sense with respect to Islam and why a Muslim should NEVER be put in the Oval Office.

Let's be very clear about this. Islam is not, and has never been, any form of "religion of peace", no matter what its advocates claim- at least, not as you and I understand peace. It is not friendly to the concept of representative elections. It is not consistent with any of the founding values that created this country.

The President is supposed to uphold, preserve, and defend the American Constitution. That is, nominally at least, his entire job. He swears an oath on the Bible to do so on his first day on the job. (I realise that this is an ideal that almost every President, ever, has fallen short of. Including St. Reagan of the Right, for whom I have immense respect.) This means that his authority is derived from enumerated powers granted to him by those who elected him, and that his allegiance is owed to secular authority, according to a pact that he has made with the people with the Almighty as witness and judge.

Within the Islamic understanding of jurisprudence and politics, no secular authority is capable of judging a mullah, who is basically a law unto himself. The only authority to which said mullah owes allegiance is to an Arabic moon-god who Muslims call the One True God, Allah. Within Islam, secular authority is to be distrusted as unreliable and dangerous, while the will of Allah, as revealed through the "prophet" Mohammed, is the be-all and end-all of Man's existence.

This country was built upon principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the second paragraph of which starts with the following immortal words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
(And people wonder, after reading those magnificent lines, why I regard the Declaration and the Constitution to be practically Holy Writ... I mean, it's really not that hard to figure out.)

Equality does not exist within Islam- actually, it doesn't exist anywhere below God's eyes, but Islam doesn't even bother with the sensible notion of equality before God, and specifically enshrines inequality, before their god, as one of its basic principles. There is a very clear hierarchical structure of rights within Islam, with free-born Islamic Arab men at the top. (Yes, the hierarchy IS that specific.)

The concept of "just powers from the consent of the governed" is non-existent within Islam. All "just powers" come from Allah within that ideology, so the head of government is never a secular authority but a religious one.

The idea that the people have the right to abolish government if it becomes too heavy-handed or dangerous to them is not only repellent to Islamic ideology, it is considered outright blasphemous:
Quran (18:26) - "Allah...  makes none to share in His Decision and His Rule" 
Quran (45:21) - "What! Do those who seek after evil ways think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds,- that equal will be their life and their death? Ill is the judgment that they make." 
Quran (5:44) - "Whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed is among the disbelievers" 
Quran (39:9) - "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" 
Quran (4:141) - "...And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumphs) over the believers." 
Quran (63:8) - "...might (power) belongeth to Allah and to His messenger and to the believers;" 
Quran (5:49) - "So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires, but beware of them lest they seduce thee from some part of that which Allah hath revealed unto thee" 
Quran (12:40) - "...Allah hath sent down no authority: the command is for none but Allah..."
This is not "cherry-picking", this is the reality of the book that Muslims the world over hold to be sacred as the final revelation of eternal truth.

Remember that, as I stated above, when an American President is sworn in, he is supposed to recite his Oath of Office with his hand placed upon a Bible. I realise that if a Muslim were elected as President, he would probably insist on using a Koran for the same ceremony, which would openly contradict the traditions and founding ideals of this nation, but let's leave that be for the time being. If such a thing were ever to happen, and a Muslim were sworn in as President by reciting his oath while touching a Bible, then according to most Islamic traditions he would be guilty of apostasy.

The penalty for apostasy within Islam is clear: death.

No matter which way you look at it, no matter how you try to cut it, Islam is not and never will be compatible with the founding values of America. It is an alien ideology, utterly hostile to concepts like free will, the ancient Rights of Man, or the notion of an individual, personal relationship with a loving, benevolent, rational Creator who has sworn an unbreakable Covenant with Mankind.

That Covenant is the basis on which the entire Constitution is built. The Framers knew full well that men are Fallen, and built a Constitution informed by Scripture and the timeless insights that the Bible offers into human nature. Into that Constitution they built a framework of government designed specifically to hold Man's worst instincts at bay, while giving free citizens the opportunity to live their lives as they see fit.

Islamists would respond to this line of argument by stating that Islam provided the world with a Constitution- the world's first, they argue. They call it the Constitution of Medina.

There is a huge problem with this argument. That "constitution" was not built from the bottom up like the American one was. It was dictated from the top down by the "prophet".

And that is before we get to the other really big problem with the Islamist claim. The Constitution of Medina is NOT the world's first. If anyone can lay claim to that title, it is likely (though not certainly) the Spartans. The Great Rhetra, passed down by Lycurgus the Law-Giver through oral tradition, is the constitution by which Spartan society lived and died for nearly a thousand years. The most that can be said about the Constitution of Medina is that it was possibly the first written constitution.

It just isn't a very good one.

In every possible way, Islam is completely incompatible with secular democracy (a concept I also have little patience for, but that's another story), limited government with enumerated powers (a concept for which I have enormous respect), and the virtues of freedom and religious tolerance that are enshrined in the American Constitution.

So Dr. Carson, despite his many and manifest flaws as a candidate for the Presidency, is correct. Under no circumstances can, much less should, a Muslim EVER be given the powers and responsibilities of the Presidency.