Month: December 2020

Prohibiting Things with the Experts

Question: What do government COVID lockdowns and Prohibition have in common?

Answer: They were both advocated by “the science” and “the experts.”

That’s Jeffrey Tucker’s point in a great essay he just published: The “Expert Consensus” Also Favored Alcohol Prohibition.

Tucker hits on quite a few points, including the extreme tact that anti-Prohibitionists had to use when questioning the Establishment on the merits of Prohibition, for fear of coming off as a crackpot.

He also paints this short portrait of Irving Fisher, a man whose bust probably ought to grace the Self-Righteous Hall of Villainy:

The most influential pro-Prohibition economist of the next generation was the rock star academic and social progressive Irving Fisher, whose contributions to making economics more about data than theory are legendary. So was his push for eugenics. No surprise if you know this period and such people, but he was also a passionate opponent of all alcohol. It was he who made a decisive difference in convincing Congress and the public that a complete ban was the right way.

And even as Prohibition was giving rise to speakeasies and organized crime, the experts didn’t back off, urging just more enforcement. Here’s Fisher himself:

Although things are much better than before Prohibition, with the possible exception of disrespect for law, they may not stay so. Enforcement will cure disrespect for law and other evils complained of, as well as greatly augment the good. American Prohibition will then go down in history as ushering in a new era in the world, in which accomplishment this nation will take pride forever.

Tucker also points out that opponents of Prohibition were ridiculed as bootlegger fans and drunks, just like people who question government lockdowns are derided as fools who wear tin hats and believe in conspiracy theories … Read the rest

Seven Days Make One Weak

The past 11 days made me weak.

You might recall that I had COVID the first week of November.

I didn’t. Or if I did, I caught it again on December 1st.

I got tested this time and it came back positive. Plus, I lost my sense of taste and smell and had the fully spectrum of problems (short of going to the hospital). It’s not fun. It’s the third sickest I’ve ever been.

The good news is, I have virtually no symptoms at this point and most of my strength back. I also now flaunt my bullet-proof immune system.

Well, maybe not “bullet-proo.” Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford University who has been working both on the epidemiology of COVID-19, says I’m “almost-certainly immune.”

That’s close enough for me.

The link above goes to an episode of The Tom Woods Show. If you want a synopsis on how well lockdowns and other government responses have worked, I recommend it.

So, one of my favorite websites, Zero Hedge, announced “Zero Hedge Premium” yesterday.

The gist of ZH Premium: “Because Facebook and Google are censoring us, we need to have a premium webpage option that doesn’t rely on ads. The cost for subscribers: $1 a day.”

The Facebook and Google censorship is real enough. Even someone as amiable as Tom Woods started a MeWe fan site because Facebook had started to demand that he censor his fan comments. From that perspective, it’s believable Zero Hedge needs to have a self-funded site.

But $365 annually?

We’re at the beginning of a self-publishing gold rush. If you have a lot of publishing cred, you can demand a lot of money from fans. Mark Steyn charges $160 a year for his “Club.” Matt Taibbi has used Substack to create Read the rest

Orwell Paints Abortion in the Soul

In Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Orwell describes the protagonist’s reaction to the suggestion from the girl he impregnated that she get an abortion:

“That pulled him up. For the first time he grasped, with the only kind of knowledge that matters, what they were really talking about. The words ‘a baby’ took on a new significance. They did not mean any longer a mere abstract disaster, they meant a bud of flesh, a bit of himself, down there in her belly, alive and growing. His eyes met hers. They had a strange moment of sympathy such as they had never had before. For a moment he did feel that in some mysterious way they were one flesh. Though they were feet apart he felt as though they were joined together—as though some invisible living cord stretched from her entrails to his. He knew then that it was a dreadful thing they were contemplating—a blasphemy, if that word had any meaning.”

Read the rest

Drinking with Children

The first Christmas card

Tis the season . . . to get kids drunk.

The very first Christmas card showed a young child drinking mulled wine. It was 1843, the year Dickens’ Christmas Carol came out.

One of the works of art proved very popular, selling out its first edition in six days (from December 19th to Christmas Eve).

The other work of art wasn’t quite so popular, producing such a backlash of outrage that no one even tried to produce another Christmas card for three years.

My only question is, how do they know the kid was drinking mulled wine? It looks like an ordinary glass of wine to me.

I’m guessing they just assumed it, since mulled wine is a traditional Christmas drink.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had it. I’ve been looking at recipes, though, and am thinking I’ll have to make some this holiday season. I’ve kind of been on the wagon lately for health reasons, so this might be a nice bridge into drinking this holiday season.

If anyone has recommended recipes, please email them to me.… Read the rest

L.A. Genocide

David Cole has written one of the most interesting and amusing essays of 2020. Bonus: It’s about Los Angeles.

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

Los Angeles has always fascinated me. Among U.S. cities, it’s second only to NYC in my mind.

I’ve only been to L.A. once, but I’ve read a lot about it, and L.A. stories always get a click from me, so I feel like I kind of know the place.

But not like David Cole, whose recent article in Taki Magazine about L.A. is one of the best things I’ve read lately. It’s so good, that for the foreseeable future if I see “David Cole” anywhere, I’m going to click on the story, even if the link indicates it will go to a gay porn site.

Cole’s piece is about the collapse of L.A.’s black community.

I had heard a few times that the L.A. Mexican gangs were basically perpetrating genocide on the vastly outnumbered L.A. blacks on a scale that, if whites were doing it, would’ve gotten the United Nations involved, but because the violence didn’t fit the binary narrative, it was ignored.

Cole makes it clear that the genocide is almost complete. “L.A.’s black population has dwindled to just a few remaining areas that could realistically be called ‘black communities.’ It’s a ‘black belt’ that starts south and east of the prosperous Westside and stretches farther south beyond LAX. But those communities are placeholders, destined to be either Hispanic or gentrified within the next decade. And blacks know this.”

Cole’s story revolves a BLM protest against a Jewish developer who plans on renovating a run-down piece-of-s*** mall in a black community.

The concern is that, if the mall becomes nice, people are going to want to live around there. Property values will increase . … Read the rest

Everlasting GKC for Advent

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” as a rejoinder to Neil Young’s smug “Southern Man. Likewise, GKC wrote The Everlasting Man as a rejoinder to H.G. Wells’ Outline of History.

In both cases, the rejoinders won.

The Everlasting Man explains history as part of the revelation of the Christ. It’s no wonder that the Advent season figures largely in it.

Some choice passages:

“Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether he likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other; the idea of a baby and the idea of unknown strength that sustains the stars.”

“It is no more inevitable to connect God with an infant than to connect gravitation with a kitten.”

“Bethlehem is emphatically a place where extremes meet.”

“If the world wanted what is called a non-controversial aspect of Christianity, it would probably select Christmas.”

“You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a new-born child. You cannot suspend the new-born child in mid-air; indeed you cannot really have a statue of a new-born child at all.”

“You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother; you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all, the other idea follows as it is followed in history. We must either leave Christ out of Christmas, or Christmas out of Christ, or we must admit, if only as we admit it in an old picture, that those holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross.”… Read the rest

The 2020 Election and Men in the Gray Flannel Suits

November 2020: When holding leftist beliefs officially became a sign of monotonous conformist thinking

How did Biden pull off his victory?

He didn’t do as well with minority voters as every presumed he would.

The Catholic vote continued to hover around 50% like it has for 20 years.

So what did it?

Answer: Elitism.

You see, only rubes, hicks, rednecks, wife-beaters, and Elvis fans vote for Trump. In order to mark yourself as (oh so) above the unwashed, you vote Democrat. And if you’re really smart and want people to know how good you are, you fly rainbow (like I see at Notre Dame University) or BLM banners (like I saw on Lake Shore Drive in ritzy Grosse Pointe over Thanksgiving weekend).

I had that feeling throughout 2020: the feeling that Biden voters looked at their leftist support as badges of virtue . . . of being “with it” . . . of wokeness . . . of truly understanding things.

“Nothing,” this poseur line seemed to say, “signals intellectual distinction like agreeing with the New York Times.”

And it was reinforced, I felt, by suburban living, where conformity is, was, and always will be, the enduring trait. We laugh at the 1950s cookie-cutter houses, competition to get the newest TV, buying a paneled station wagon, keeping the wife in the kitchen, and voting for Ike.

But now everyone in the suburbs has two incomes, the most-recent iPhone, and McMansions.

And votes for Biden.

That, anyway, is how I felt.

I had no proof.

Until now.

It turns out white suburbia turned out en force for Biden.

Trump 2020 outdid Trump 2016 in almost all of the demographics: blacks, Hispanics,  Asians, women.

But not among white men.

Especially white men in the wealthy suburbs, which went overwhelmingly … Read the rest

Is the New Left the Old Occult?

The supernatural and paranormal. Postmodernism and critical theory. What could be the connection?

Over 40 years ago, Norman Cohn, author of that masterpiece about countercultural movements in the Middle Ages, The Pursuit of the Millennium, wrote a review about a little-known book by a young genius who would commit suicide at age 34.

The author: James Webb, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, a man who Colin Wilson considered “one of the most brilliant minds of his generation.”

The book: The Occult Establishment (1976).

Cohn said:

[T]his book performs an important task. It offers the most vivid portrayal yet given of that hydra, irrationalism; and leaves one waiting, with curiosity if not with trepidation, to see what the next head will look like. 

“In Pursuit of the Irrational,” The Times Literary Supplement, June 17, 1977

The Occult Establishment is now out of print. Amazon says my copy is worth $100, if only I hadn’t beat the hell out of it with my underlinings and side notes.

But I didn’t know it would go out of print, and I didn’t know Webb was a genius of the first order.

Besides, I probably couldn’t have helped myself anyway.

The book is packed with fascinating (underline-worthy) facts about the 20th-century occult.

What is the Occult?

The “occult” is an umbrella term. It means anything pertaining to the mystical, supernatural, magical, and paranormal that falls outside religion or science.

Both religion and science use reason and logic to construct their “systems.”

The occult, on the other hand, embraces the irrational.

Religion and science seek to explain, but the occult revels in the unexplainable.

The occult, in fact, could be, and has been, defined as “rejected knowledge”: the knowledge rejected by the establishments of religion and science (OE, 15).

The term is

Read the rest