Taxes or Not, Automation Cometh

Ramzpaul has suffered a hard time as of late. Through regular video releases on his YouTube channel over the past few years, his race-realist confessions, nationalistic views, Heartiste-inspired critiques on modern sexual relations, and criticisms of Israel have made him an anathema to the neo-conservatives who dominate the major media outlets and who might otherwise find in him a co-belligerent in many cultural and political battles. According to such outlets, however, anything he says can be disregarded and discarded because he belongs to the demonic alt-right, a Luciferian assembly who, as the accusations go, worship at the altar of racism, sexism, and antisemitism. Whatever–such quivering conservatives have been dismissed by the alt-right as cuckservatives, conservatives-in-name-only who care more about popularity and power than principles. Many in the alt-right, though, consider Ramzpaul a sell-out, for he is on friendly terms with Asians (even finds Asian women romantically viable) and has taken photos with Jews. He has even found the gall to befriend a pick-up-artist-turned-cultural-commentator of Iranian descent (Roosh) and to criticize the goons of assorted (and they are; there is no unity) 14/88 groups. This only shows that the alt-right is just as prone to excommunicate those deemed impure in doctrine as the most zealous cultural-Marxist outfit.

Personally, I think Ramzpaul has merely shown that he thinks for himself–a dangerous habit regardless of one’s ideological preference.

In this recent video, Ramzpaul argues against taxing the 45% of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes. While those in the upper income brackets starting with the top 20 percentile pay a disproportionate amount of all federal taxes, the amount of federal taxes that these people pay does not dramatically affect their lifestyles. They still have it good. In other words, while those in such brackets may not appreciate having to shoulder such an asymmetrical burden, they  do not have to worry about not being able to pay for their children’s shoes or food for their families as a result. This, according to Ramzpaul, cannot be said about the 45% who pay no federal income tax. Were they to be taxed, very drastic sacrifices would have to be made. While this is all food for thought (if you can still afford it), the most interesting points made in this video concern automation and robotics. He rightly notes that commentariats on neither left nor the right are talking about the *guaranteed* displacement of laborers through advances in automation and robotics that is coming.  According to Martin Ford, a founder of a Silicon Valley software development firm, in his The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, the displacement will not devastate only skill-less/low-skilled/industrially-trained workers, but it will also include a large number of white collar jobs as well: lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. Ramzpaul’s position is for the institution of a guaranteed income, one that will keep those who no longer are employable from starving and/or, as I would add, rioting–rioting that would probably pit humans against robots who need not fear the pains of desperation.

 

 

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Warped Wordbook

The late L.A. Rollins, humorously vitriolic curmudgeon, responded to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary with his own Lucifer’s Lexicon.  In Rollins’s The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays, one finds Lucifer’s Lexicon: An Updated Abridgment. It is from the Abridgment that I take the following gems, gems so polished that the wit is blinding. This work can be obscenely irreligious at times, but I suspect more people would be offended at the lack of political correctness (the reigning moral orthodoxy). Here are a few that amused me:

Agnostic, n. A Godfearing atheist.

Anti-Arabism, n. The other anti-Semitism. Fortunately for many American bigots, this prejudice is perfectly kosher.

Bullshit, n. A fertilizer essential to the growth of civilizations.

Capitalism, n. Moneytheism.

Conservative, n. One who favors limited government and total war. One who is against exercise because Jane Fonda is for it. As Franklin Roosevelt said, “A Conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk.” Of course, Roosevelt forgot to add that a Liberal is a cripple who wants to force somebody else to pay for his wheelchair.

Decadence, n. The idolization of idiosyncrasy. Sleeping with Satan on satin sheets. Sowing one’s Wilde oats while going against the grain.

Egalitarian, n. One who believes inequity is iniquity. A morally superior person.

Holocaust, the, n. A smokescreen obscuring the atrocities of the Allies and the Israelis.

I Do, Adieu–to freedom.

Isolationist, n. A selfish bastard who stubbornly doesn’t want to be bothered with slaughtering foreigners.

Liberal, n. One whose heart bleeds when the Federal budget is cut. One who believes that a woman should have the right to kill her fetus, but not with a gun. One who believes that gays should be allowed to join the military and form a Special Forces group called The Lavender Berets.  [hahaha]

Lynching, n. An application of participatory democracy to the judicial process.

Nirvana, n. The state of absolute felicity attained by blowing out one’s brains.  [hahaha]

Reality, n. An escape from drugs.

Subsidy, n. Government aid to the plunderprivileged.

World War II, n. The bigger-budget, bigger-cast sequel to World War I, which was also more successful at the box office.

Zenophobia, n. An irrational fear and hatred of paradoxes.

 

 

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Elvis “Unchained Melody”/Melodious Self-Affirmation

Before my family moved to mythical Mississippi, I was a lone teenage Southern Californian Elvis fan. Had we moved any later than we did, I am sure that I would have eventually found my way into the rockabilly scene. (Yes, I may or may not have worn a leather jacket and may or may not have used Vaseline to style my hair.) Discovering his Sun Sessions album was a game changer. After that, whenever anyone wanted to wag (or hoist, as the case would have been) fried-peanut-butter-and-banana-Vegas Elvis at me, I could simply hold up that album and snarl, all Elvis-like. Whereas ancient Greek boys looked to Homer, ancient Romans boys the Greeks, ancient Hebrews  boys the prophets, and well-formed Catholic boys the saints (when they were not-so-secretly looking to the Greeks and Romans), I looked to Elvis. I projected myself and, thus, my destiny, onto him by identifying with a mamma’s boy who was shy and who stuttered, but who found a release in music that allowed him to transcend barriers–barriers arrogant but, ultimately, unable to oppose a driving–if not divine (just don’t ask a Southern Baptist or a traditional Catholic)–raucous backbeat.

The above video features an Elvis only weeks before his death. What strikes me about this video (apart from his powerful vocal range) is the following–his need for affirmation. At 1:42 he looks toward the camera/audience with beaming self-satisfaction, as if he had just completed a task given to him by a parent or teacher. At 2:20 he looks at the man holding the microphone as if here were looking for a sign of approval. The, at 3:24, he looks back at the audience/camera and nearly demands acceptance. He almost seems, as it were, to mouth the plea “Cheer for me.” (Nota bene: dear reader, please do confuse this with Jeb Bushwacked’s “Please clap.” One issues from an irrepressible urge to please; the other from a pathetic attempt to make sure his audience has not fallen asleep.) What I see underneath the glittering jumpsuit is the shy Southern boy who never fully felt as if he had been accepted, universal popularity notwithstanding.

Elvis was an alpha male. If there is any doubt, watch his 1970 Vegas performance of “Suspicious Minds,” focusing on the way he toys with both the audience and the musicians on stage with a zero-fucks-given attitude. Yet, for all the talk about frame control and irrational self-confidence, Elvis’s vulnerability–the uncalculated kind–still reveals itself. This, and not his Ed Sullivan bravado, is that which with I still relate–a sense that I have fallen just short of the mark and am hoping that nobody catches on to me.

 

 

 

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ISIS: Hopelessly Modern

London School of Economics political philosophy professor John Gray serves (most likely, unwittingly) as a satisfying corrective to modern liberal thought. Though the general tenor of his work is one of a breezy nihilism, he penetratingly points out the flaws of liberal thought. In his work Straw Dogs, he reminds, ” Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth–and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth” (26). The Western democratic belief that through scientific developments and political schemes humankind’s level of knowledge and capacity for justice will continue to advance unabated is the core belief of liberalism. However, as Gray point outs, “The humanist belief in progress is only the a secular version of [the] Christian faith.” In other words, liberalism takes what is Christianity’s emphasis on personal perfection and externalizes it as a type of political manifesto, a program for political expression. Given this, liberalism is, despite the philosophically materialistic elements that commingle, essentially a religious vision that provides its adherents with a narrative of meaningfulness. Thus, as with many traditionally religious believers, liberals may be less inclined to pursue disconcerting truths than they are with keeping a narrative–and, as such, themselves–dominant.

In the latest issue of Lapham’s Quarterly,  Gray once again points out the new clothes of the democratically elected un-emperor of the liberal narrative–this time in regard to ISIS, one of the most pressing currents concerns, a concern that is constantly discussed in the most appalling unhelpful terms. Gray sets out to set to buffet this secular cow.

To begin, Gray claims that ISIS is utterly modern in its violent methodology:  “ISIS has brought with it many atrocious assaults on civilized values: the sexual enslavement of women and children; the murder of gay men; the targeted killing of writers, cartoonists, and Jews; indiscriminate slaughter at a rock concert; and what amounted to the attempted genocide of the Yezidi. All of these acts of barbarism have modern precedents, many of them in the past century” (par. 2). He goes onto mention a few names that many liberals might be disinclined to associate with ISIS: Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. Yet, all of whom, like ISIS, were far more inspired by the events of the French Revolution than by medieval ecclesiology, as the slur oft goes.

The sharpest shiv that Gray twists in-between the ribs of the think global crowd is this:   “None of these features [e.g., such as its eschatology] go any distance toward showing that ISIS is other than modern. A transnational crime cartel, rapidly expanding apocalyptic cult movement, and worldwide terror network, ISIS could have emerged only in modern conditions of globalization” (par. 6). The rise of ISIS, contends Gray, especially given the US-facilitated chaos that arose in the wake of regime changes in Iraq and Libya, should not shock us, but it does because most of us–at least in the Western world–assume the liberal vision by default. (Perhaps not by default, as all of us imbibe it in our political mother’s milk.) To accept this would mean that we accept that “now as in the past some of the most modern movements are among the most barbaric. But to admit this would mean surrendering the ruling political faith, a decayed form of liberalism without which Western leaders and opinion formers would be disoriented and lost” (13). This, in turn, might lead to the further realization that “[c]ivilization is not the endpoint of modern history, but a succession of interludes in recurring spasms of barbarism” (17).

 

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Localizing Ennui

In the May issue of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture (consistently the most thought-provoking, best-written magazine I read), Scott P. Richert calls for America to be America again, not by voting for the baseball cap donning Don, but through a return to the cussed commitment to place of our ancestors, a commitment that was informed by the vision of what could be, provided they remain faithful to the call to cultivate families, friendships, and livelihoods–in other words, nurturing loyalty to location and to the varied richness that any spot provides, provided one is willing to remain in one spot long enough to witness the bounty. Richert writes, “Communities are resilient when there are those who are willing to remain where they are planted, and to try to build for the future on the foundations of the past, and who understand that what makes life worth living cannot be measured simply in dollars and cents.” The lure of dollars and cents, not love or wanderlust–which are far more respectable, acts as the efficient agent for many who abandon their home towns or cities for different, not necessarily greener, pastures.

Richerts continues to drive home (get it?) with the following:

Loyalty, however, is a foreign concept to many self-proclaimed conservatives today—certainly most of those who speak on behalf of conservatism on FOX News, or write articles for conservative publications damning certain presidential candidates for “betraying” core “conservative principles.”  What’s more important—real people in real places, or abstract economic “principles” that justify casting off everything that has made you who you are, so that you can try to make yourself someone you never quite will be?

I do find it interesting, in a related thought–I think, that if one asks any self-proclaimed conservative about his/her thoughts on the military, one will hear nothing , especially in the South, if not an encomium to military life, despite that fact it often leads to rampant adultery, failed marriages, and rootless children, who flounder without any real sense of belonging.

Real people in real places striving to be better: this may be the underlying and anchoring tenore melody to any given issue’s duplum melody. This focus led to a stunning issue, Feb. 2016,  in which the primary fallacy of white nationalism was addressed: a misdirected focus on abstraction.

Making the case for staying put, Richert goes on to say that  “[w]e may wish to run, to justify leaving our responsibilities behind in order to greet the sunrise somewhere else, but we know—instinctively, intuitively—that the decision to do so cannot be made lightly without losing some essential part of our humanity.” I found this particularly convicting as I am now coming to a crossroads. My intention is work on my TEFL license so that I can start teaching overseas. Were I to start soon, I could probably finish and be ready to teach come the beginning of the new year. Though I plan to have most of my debts paid off by that point, what I have left (namely, my car note) I plan to pay by pulling out my retirement from my five years of community college teaching. Anything left over can be put toward an apartment in whatever place I find myself.

However, if I do this, I know that, excepting that I finally get on my lazy ass and write that work of heartbreaking, staggering genius that I trust still lingers within me and sell millions of copies to adoring readers in Eastern Europe, Japan, and South America, there is no coming back from such a move. I will be walking away from a stable–though not rewarding–job that might provide a modicum of financial security, provided that the economy does not collapse and that the widespread societal chaos that is slinking in the shadows chooses not make itself known in the light of day. I will be walking away from a job in which it is to my advantage not to excel or stand out in order to embrace a lifestyle that will require me to live by my wits and to hustle. If I were to come back to visit my family for any length of time, I would have to depend on them financially or find odd work. I will be leaving my parents, both of whom are in their 70s, leaving them during their most vulnerable years. I will be leaving a city that, while it is not my home city, is one that I have invested in–on and off–for the past nineteen years. Would I be leaving behind responsibilities? Would I lose an essential part of my humanity to chase a sunset in the Czech Republic?

Why stay? Though I have tried to fashion myself a localist, I have come to despise my home city. I was not born here, nor is my family originally from these parts, so I have no multi-generational tether to consider. The obese, stupid, and vulgar ugliness displayed–whether in the classroom by inveterately stupid students who cannot make subjects agree with their predicates to feral black youth who are staking larger and larger portions as their territory to dumbass rednecks in their trucks who want to run my small Honda off the road to the obscenely multiplying amount of cash-check-now-rent-to-own businesses that accentuate the city like herpes sores–makes me think that abandonment is justified. I am not married; perhaps I never will be, so I am not depriving grandparents of grandchildren, nor am I depriving grandchildren of their grandparents. I would deprive them, however, of a son with whom they can discuss the recent travails of the pets or the plotlines of their silly TV shows. Yes, I do have good friends here, but my best ones do not live in my city, and the ones I do have here are growing distant because they reside on branches that I cannot reach for lack of a wife and children to help me.

If I am going to be poor, if I am going to be lonely, why not be poor and lonely in some place other than Mississippi?

 

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All for the Feels

A few dark truths can be gleaned from Anton Chekhov’s story of adultery, “The Lady with the Dog.” This story, though it lacks the more traditional elements of fiction such as rising action/climax/denouement, explores the motivations of Dmitri Dmitrich Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna. Both married, both away from their respective spouses while on holiday in Yalta, both looking for an escape from the domestic, the quotidian. The highly likable though serial philanderer Gurov knows, through scarlet experience, that “every intimacy, which at first so agreeably diversifies life and appears a light and charming adventure, inevitably grows into a regular problem of extreme intricacy,” yet “at every fresh meeting with an interesting woman this experience [seems] to slip out of his memory.”  One may submit that Gurov’s all-consuming passion for passion compels him to ignore the felicitas interrupta that has inevitably followed his previous trysts. However, his compulsion may not be so easily dismissed.

After consummating their first hotel encounter, they drive to Oreanda, where Gurov ruminates upon the unceasing movement of life and upon salvation as they gaze at the waters, seated not far from a church. Gurov thinks “how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence.” For Gurov, fleeting love affairs function as the stuff of which post-coital musing are made. His Muse visits him only between the sheets, and she demands that both they and the women between them are changed regularly. These reflections are what, at least to himself, set him apart from hordes of unreflective savages–the massa damnata of romance-a (I tried), such as the men he must surround himself with in order to be social and who want only to glut themselves, get drunk, and play cards.

Gurov knows that he is not the only one benefiting from his amorous adventures. The women he seduces “[love] him cheerfully and [are] grateful to him for the happiness he [gives] them, however brief it might be….”  In other words, these women are those of the EatLovePray variety who look for love in all the exotic places.

In either case, we have men and women using each other, each with their own dubious justifications. The story concludes by intimating that their affair will continue, though they be like “a pair of birds of passage, caught and forced to live in different cages.” The cages of commitment. What are such cages, though, to those must fly wherever they feel led?

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If That Don’t Beat All

Bourbon Apocalypse is still alive and blogging. Yes, my sporadic posts over the past five years might lead one to think that I blog only between writing chapters in my heartbreaking novel about a deracinated racial mongrel (like me!) trying to establish roots in a postmodern America that no longer celebrates the permanent things, all the while slowing coming to the ineluctable yet surprisingly sweet conclusion that the Catholic Church is the only institution that will allow him to rise above the diversifying trend of all things material and all ideologies secular. Boring.

Nope, not writing that novel. Not writing any novel. Barely reading novels these days.

I am an incredibly slothful individual. Now, I realize that sloth, in a theological sense, refers primarily to vice of not performing one’s religious duties, but I do consider writing to be a religious duty, though not in that typical sense of being a “blogger for Christ.” Sheesh–we have enough of those types as it is. Rather, I believe that writing is somehow mysteriously tied up with my overall spiritual well-being. When I am not writing, I am not well.

In addition to my sloth, I have been struggling with depression, lack of direction (read: I am sick-all-the-way-to-the-tired of teaching), loneliness, and drinking. (That last one came out of fermented left field, I know.) At this point, white nationalist alternative-righters will point to the fact that I am mixed-raced and say, “Uh huh–social science studies [said group trying to hide erection at the mention of the word science] have shown that racially-mixed people are more prone to depression than….” Perhaps that is true. Will not discount it offhand. Or, perhaps I am just a melancholy bastard, and would have been one had I been all the Scots-Irish of my mom or all the Japanese of my dad.

Starting to entertain the possibility that I may die without a wife and children. While for years I have thought that maybe I had a call to the priesthood, I truly do not like people or making small talk with pppppp-people, and this quality might disqualify me from the role of God’s public servant. Now, the monk’s life I dig–especially if that monk be a Carthusian, but I fear that my aged parents will soon need me, so I will not allow myself to dream. Perhaps I lack faith. Anyway, I suppose that I deserve this. I have had the opportunity to develop relationships with a number of lovely women, but have prefered the tangible particulars of freedom to the abstraction of commitment and all that it might possibly entail. However, deracinated freedom comes at a price in postmodern America.

I have been lifting serious weights at the gym. My neck is getting out of control–and I like it. May have to go up a collar size. If only transformations of the soul and mind were as immediately gratifying as transformations of one’s body.

All this to say: I plan on writing a little something every day from this point forward.

 

 

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