Category: Current Affairs

The Minotaur: Five Short Lessons About the Modern State

Revisiting de Jouvenel’s 1945 classic, On Power

“the spirit of domination never slumbers”

An ambitious first 100 days is upon us.

It would be a great time revisit Bertrand de Jouvenel’s 1945 classic, On Power.

Progressive to . . . Something Else

Bertrand de Jouvenel was born in 1903 to an aristocratic family that embraced the “progressive” mores of the day. His parents divorced. His father married the famous novelist Colette in 1912. In 1920, de Jouvenel and Colette started an affair (de Jouvenel was just 16), which became a public scandal and (understandably) ended his father’s marriage.

In de Jouvenel, we aren’t dealing with a stodgy member of the bourgeois. 

De Jouvenel was taught to view progress as inevitable, which was the accepted paradigm in those halcyon days of the early 1900s.

World War I shattered that paradigm. No longer was history viewed as constant progress.

De Jouvenel struggled with different political philosophies. In his twenties, he embraced a modified concept of laissez-faire political economy. In his thirties (which coincided with the 1930s and the Great Depression), he concluded that the market economy had failed miserably, but didn’t embrace the Communism or Fascism that became the fashionable theories of the day.

When the Germans occupied France, de Jouvenel pretended to support the Vichy government but secretly joined the Resistance. When he learned that the Nazis had become aware of it, he and his wife fled to Switzerland.

In Switzerland, he researched and wrote On Power, which was his attempt to explain the rise of the modern state. By understanding how the modern state arose, he hoped readers would understand why the modern state is a problem.

He would later use On Power as a launching point to explore how government could work better for the common good. … Read the rest

Google Scares Me, Taki, the Gulag

Tuesday miscellany

I’m merely linking to this: Google Is Not What It Seems. It’s an excerpt from Julian Assange’s new book. I’ve long maintained that something doesn’t “smell right” about Google: its government ties, its shockingly-fast growth, its involvement in foreign affairs.

But, alas, I’m not the guy to talk with about contemporary foreign affairs. I don’t even have a firm opinion on Assange.

Though I am kinda hoping that he and Snowden both get pardons. I have no opinion on whether the pardons are just. I just like it when a stick, any stick, gets pushed in the eye of the Establishment.

My man Taki Theodoracopulos’s current column is just a series of (loosely?) related points. It’s not his best piece by any means, but points are thoroughly-enjoyable.

Lord Belhaven died at 93. His widow said he had the perfect death: “He asked for a gin and tonic, went to bed, and never woke up.” That sounds good but not perfect. If had gone to Confession right before the gin, that would’ve been perfect.

“Trauma is now as American as apple pie, and purported to be caused by many things: betrayal, moral injury, an abuse of authority, the loss of a pet, the closing of a nightclub, or the malfunction of a television set. Actually it’s a spiritual void that afflicts those who use social media and take celebrities seriously. Therapists and quacks are having a field day.”

The Sackler family organized Perdue and developed OxyContin. They “bribed doctors to prescribe it rather vigorously, and managed to kill more Americans than the two atom bombs dropped in Japan did Japanese. Oh yes, after 450,000 deaths, and as early as 2007, the Sacklers began to transfer $10 billion to their private accounts. As it now stands, they’ve got … Read the rest

Gay Boogaloo Boys and Talkin’ Secession at Parler

brown concrete building
Photo by Priya Karkare on

If you hadn’t heard, Parler is back online, though barely. It’s in the process of getting everything restored, so it’s premature to start posting there again.

Once they do, I’d suggest everyone support them. They apparently have a new web host that is dedicated to behaving like originally intended by the Communications Decency Act (just a neutral utility provider).

Let’s hope more people get out from under Amazon’s boot.

If you hadn’t noticed, the Amazon ads (except Audible, which is a hybrid) have been removed from the sidebar at TDE. I honestly couldn’t stomach its decision to kill Parler and didn’t think the relatively small Amazon kickback I receive is worth it. It kind of felt like kissing a hooker.

You will continue to see Amazon links in older posts, as well as newer ones, but once I establish alternative affiliates, all new posts going forward will use them instead of Amazon.

I know Amazon ain’t gonna crumble because TDE is providing fewer and fewer affiliate links and it’s not even going to notice my digital disobedience, but for now, it’s simply a matter of doing the right thing.

So now the Boogaloo Boys are a thing. According to Zero Hedge, they’re apparently gathering in state capitals across the nation, preparing to launch attacks on inauguration day.

Or are they?

The Boogaloo movement has a large Wikipedia entry, which basically says it’s the Proud Boys on steroids, but Zero Hedge says it’s groups that oppose the Proud Boys (not stands to the right of them, which would make them “fellow travelers”).

And in one of the pictures of armed Boogaloos, one of the guys has a rainbow flag on his chest.

So, alt-right, homosexual anarchists are descending on our nation’s state … Read the rest

What’s That Twitter Imp Up To?

Is Jack Dorsey looking to a Bitcoin (libertarian) Internet model?

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t much bugged by Twitter deplatforming President Trump. I didn’t think it was cool, and it bothered me that a company displays such brazen arrogance, but I agree with the ACLU’s ultra-liberal Ira Glasser, who said a President always has plenty of speaking outlets.

I was uber-bugged—outraged, in fact—when Amazon killed Parler’s access to the Internet altogether and, if antitrust laws mean anything, Amazon should be facing severe scrutiny in this regard.

But Twitter? I was just annoyed and, of course, I’ve long been frustrated by Twitter’s ongoing and disingenuous Leftist agenda: “We’re just neutral content hosts. We don’t favor either side, but we do enforce a certain narrative because that narrative is true, so we block other narratives because they’re false.” (Nevermind that in the philosophical field of “narratives,” the premise is that none of them are true.)

But overall? I wasn’t outraged by Twitter’s decision.

What We Know about Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is to blame, of course, but let’s acknowledge a few things about Dorsey:

1. He founded Twitter 14 years ago. It now has 4,600 employees and 321 million users. That’s shocking growth. Dorsey can’t entirely control that company as a practical matter, and he can’t control it as a legal matter since he’s a minority stockholder.

2. He is presumably surrounded by Leftists, many of them far Left.

3. He himself was raised Catholic and his uncle is a priest.

4. He supported Tulsi Gabbard (my favorite candidate) in 2020.

5. He also supported Andrew Yang (my second favorite candidate, but far behind Tulsi because of his troublesome trademark (the universal income)). Based on Wikipedia, those are the only two he supported in the primaries.

6. He is a huge … Read the rest

California was a Hot Bed of Libertarianism

Given the ideological condition of the Golden State today, it must’ve been the most-failed ideological movement in history

low angle photography of brown building with los angeles led sign
Photo by Giovanni Calia on

My opinion of Gavin Newsom, Eric Garcetti, and other imbecilic politicians in California is strongly colored by Joe Rogan, who has an extremely low opinion of them. So whereas I view those politicians as megalomaniac frauds with low IQs, a person without the Rogan skew might just view them as megalomaniacs with low IQs.

I respect that.

Nowadays, when I hear “California,” I think, “beautiful land of sun and chains.”

It didn’t use to be that way. In fact, I just learned that LA and southern California in general used to be a hot-bed of libertarian activity, so much so that New Yorker Murray Rothbard moved to California in the late 1970s.

The following is lifted from Jeff Riggenbach’s Libertarian Tradition.

When I arrived in LA in 1972 . . . there was a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills called — believe it or not — the Eater’s Digest, which reputedly belonged to a Galambosian, who made it available for libertarian meetings once or twice a month during evening hours when the restaurant was closed (the Eater’s Digest didn’t serve dinner, just breakfast and lunch). Harry Browne was on the New York Times bestseller list, Andrew J. Galambos was still giving his mysterious lectures under the auspices of his mysterious company, the Free Enterprise Institute.

There was Objectivist activity in LA in the early seventies as well. Ayn Rand was still in New York, but Barbara Branden was in LA, running Academic Associates out of an office on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Up the hill, on Sunset Boulevard, Nathaniel Branden and Roger Callahan were practicing psychotherapy with Objectivist overtones.

Robert LeFevre was … Read the rest

Give Peace a Chance

We need to set up avenues for peaceful and orderly secession.

The majority of Americans think we are heading to civil war. 71% of Trump supporters; 40% of Biden supporters.

In a country of over 300 million people, there are going to be disagreements. That’s expected.

And in the postmodern age, when basic rules of logic and norms of behavior are questioned and rejected, the disagreements become insurmountable. That’s unavoidable.

There will be two sides and civil war is a logical result. In that, you can put me with the Americans who expect civil war.

But there is a much better answer.

Peaceful coexistence.

No side coercing the other side, no use of violence or threat of violence. You do your thing and I’ll do mine.

It’s easy, it really is. Most of live that way already. I see white trash spending their week’s wages on pot and tattoos, I experience a wave of disgust, then it passes: “their life,” I tell myself, “and besides, I got my own sins to deal with.” I move on and can even greet the tattooed fellow with a smile at the checkout line.

Very few people seek confrontation, but very few people willingly suffer violence or willingly be coerced under threat of violence.

Government by its nature forces confrontation because it exists and acts under threat of violence. That is not a disputable statement. It’s a naked fact. Government is natural, government is necessary, but for it to exist and work, it needs a measure of coercion at its command. This fact doesn’t make government bad, any more than the fact that commerce relies on the desire for money (love of which is the root of all evil) makes the market bad. They’re just naked facts.

But just as we should all take … Read the rest

Four reasons why the Right shouldn’t be too distraught by the Capitol building violence

If you’re like me, you’re still embarrassed by the violent eruption at the Capitol building last week. I know, Trump didn’t directly provoke it, but those close to him did, and Trump indirectly did.

As I mentioned yesterday, no one who wants to remain in the United States can logically condone riots and other forms of public violence (e.g., tearing down statues), no matter the reasons.

But we can take comfort or at least suspend a little bit of judgment on the events earlier this week by keeping in mind a few things.

First, we don’t know who all the protesters are. Just as Antifa and its fellow travelers provoked violence from BLM protests that were intended to be peaceful, we know there was at least one Antia-type person among the protesters. One doesn’t equal a coordinated effort by any means. He could’ve just been an aberration, but it merits further investigation, even though it appears he probably was the only one, and he said he was there just to take video.

Second, we don’t know anything. Unless you’re crazed with anger or other passions, the one thing that should be in your mind right now is, “Wait, stop. What the frick is going on?” How was the protest launched, who’s responsible, why was security at the Capitol building so crappy, and on and on. When you combine our ignorance in general, the media’s full-scale disregard of their important duty of trying to provide objective facts, and the clandestine efforts of the CIA and other federal agencies, no one should assume he or she knows anything about the riot.

Third, the Left is now behaving violently, from banning Trump from Twitter to calls for impeachment. The disturbingly shrill and non-measured response from Pelosi and others really ought to … Read the rest

The Continuing Crisis and The Week that Perished

The best lead columnist of all time is Emmett Tyrrell, who wrote “The Continuing Crisis” for The American Spectator for years.

I read the column while I was in high school, always being careful to put the magazine back in my dad’s stack before he got home from work. In the 1990s, I got my own subscription. I always read “Ben Stein’s Diary” first, then “The Continuing Crisis.”

Both columns are back, I discovered yesterday. You just need a subscription . . . to the tune of $10.99 per month.

I was bummed at that. I was hoping it would be $20 a year, but no: $132 per year. As I mentioned in this column, the paywall online publications vary wildly in price and content. I’m afraid The American Spectator ranks pretty low in this regard.

It’s too bad. I gotta believe Tyrrell is still brilliantly funny, and Stein’s reflections on his days in Hollywood are always fascinating. He gave Jimmy Kimmel his first big break on Win Ben Stein’s Money (to be accurate, I assume Comedy Central hired Kimmel, but I gotta believe Stein had some involvement). I still remember Stein writing that Kimmel had more talent in his little finger than most people have in their body and that he would make it big someday.

He was right.

I just wonder if he weeps at how Kimmel went woke. I know I do.

Taki Magazine’s “The Week that Perished” isn’t as good as “The Continuing Crisis,” but it’s in the same ballpark.

And its most-recent entry is one of the finest over the past couple of months. A run-down of its story points:

The woke’s disregard for property rights and public statues, then their outrage when one of their own gets smashed.

Last week, a large ceramic

Read the rest