Brave New World and the Last Man

Book review of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley with reference to Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Frederick Nietzsche and 1984 by George Orwell.

In 1984, the world is ruled by a totalitarian, self-perpetuating system that brutalizes its own upper echelons most of all.  In Brave New World, Huxley paints a different picture of the future, one where human interactions are mandatorily shallow, where casual sex is expected, and where bad feelings have mostly been bred and conditioned out of the docile, fun-loving population.

It is too easy to make fun of science fiction that is already out of date.  There are anachronisms such as scientists taking notes with pencil and paper, manual laborers who are still required in large numbers, liftmen (elevator operators), and English women who are slim and attractive.

But good science fiction aims to comment, not to predict, because the latter is impossible.  Huxley envisions what some of his contemporaries might have considered an ideal society: one where the family has been done away with, children are born in test tubes and raised in nurseries, trained from infancy to enjoy their assigned roles in society, and kept happy throughout their lives by generously provided rations of the feel-good drug soma.

Bernard Marx (yes, I yawned too) doesn’t fit in.  He doesn’t want to be happy all the time.  He wants to Read More

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Aesop

Book review of The Fables of Aesop.

Thousands of years later, these stories still have relevance.

To wit:

The Fox Who Had Lost His Tail

An ugly feminist was unconsciously so disgusted with herself that she tried to convince all the other girls to cut their hair short and dye it blue, get out of shape and get tattoos.  She said it was much more convenient that way and that they would receive much praise for their changes on Instagram.

The other girls said to her, “If you were not so repulsive yourself, you would not thus counsel us.”

The Old Man and Death

Read More

Critiquing the Critique

Book review of The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of the Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements by Kevin MacDonald

There are three groups of readers here today.  A third of you just shuddered to see that I’m reviewing this book.  The second third just boned up in anticipation of discovering a new convert to RealThink on the JQ.  And the third third have never heard of the book before and have no idea what the fuss is about.

Hello to all of you.

This is Part III in MacDonald’s trilogy investigating the movements, survival and success of the Jewish people across times and places from an evolutionary point of view.  In Critique, he examines the intellectual role of Jews in the west, especially in the profound cultural changes that have taken place since the 1960s.

To summarize: according to MacDonald, the Jews are Read More

War is a racket

Book review of War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier by General Smedley D. Butler

We open our scene in a seedy pub in a disreputable south-east Asian city.  I’m not the kind guy who just sits around and drinks all day but for two or three days that’s what I’ve been doing, justifying myself on the grounds that I’m meeting some interesting people, and that I feel like it.

This long-haired ginga yank comes in and we get talking, he’s ex-marine, was in Iraq II but eventually quit that life, moved abroad, got himself a foreign bride and some halfie kids and now lives on less that 15 grand a year out in the burbs.  Not a dirty old man like most of them there, just my age.  Maybe even a bit younger.

He seems pretty cool and I ask him what I’m wondering, which is: how do you feel about that whole war now, in hindsight?

He looks at his hands for a while Read More

Civilization vs. Barbarism

Book review of The Story of Burnt Njal – The Illustrated Edition by unknown Icelanders

At some point the Vikings settled an uninhabited Iceland and were seemingly unperturbed by how freaky that place is.  They immediately set to work doing what Vikings did best – farming, sailing around Europe on raids, fighting endless feuds with each other and writing epics about it.

This is such an epic.

In a land without a state monopoly on violence – that is, barbarism – a master morality reigns, with free men living and thriving upon their own reputation for ferocity, and that of their extended family.  A tiny incident like a comment about a daughter or a wife’s sharp tongue about a neighbor can lead to decades-long tit-for-tat killing between childhood friends or even relatives.

In such a world it pays to be reasonable, honourable, and dependable, and known to be so.  Nevertheless, marriage to a troublemaking lady will soon land you right back in the thick of it.  If a court finds in your favour at the Thing, you’ll only receive that justice if you’re prepared to dish it out yourself.  Anyone who blinks is considered weak and thereafter will be pushed around, robbed and humiliated by everyone.

Wimps like me would not last a minute.  You can see why people had surnames like ‘Bloodaxe’.

The plot, apparently based on true events, is far too convoluted to relate in full, but it begins with Hrut needing to go and fight for his inheritance, but then a powerful lady calls Gunnhillda invites him over.  He is told that if he goes to her she will look after the whole dispute for him (in return for certain entertainments provided on his part), while refusal would mean he and his family would be driven from their land.  So off he goes.

Various feuds break about between multifarious parties, and as one hero dies on the dueling island, another emerges to continue the story.  The body count reaches hundreds.  Finally Christianity arrives in the brutal little island, via the conversion of the King of Norway.   Does this calm things down?  Well, the ones who refuse to convert thereby create new feuds and are murdered by the freshly-minted Bible-bashers.  Viking’s gunna Viking.  And in the end a bunch of them turn up in Constantinople as guardians of Christianity.

Guess they were all gone by the time the Turks rocked up.

Oh, and Njal gets burnt.

‘Hard times beget strong men.’  But at what cost?  Pre-civilized society is one long battle of all against all, with the average man often dying in a duel or skirmish or raid.  Anyone not prepared to live such a life becomes a slave or is treated with contempt by everyone.  Modern women would love to live in such a world, stirring up their menfolk against each other and sexually favouring the victors – look at their passion for the non-politically correct TV shows they twiddle their little beans to, like Game of Thrones, Mad Men et al.

But would any modern man want to go back to such a time?  Perhaps the criminally-inclined might, they being a type that has presumably declined over the centuries as civilization gradually hung and beheaded that sort of fellow.  The type who want to join Isis or bikie gangs.

As for us normies, we’d rather just eat pizza, drink beer and watch X-Videos.

Civilization makes life so much more peaceful and content for the ordinary man.  But, at what cost?  Look at the Scandinavian countries today.  Vikings no longer, they are led by women, sit down to piss, and soon they’ll be fully colonized by the same Islamic civilization (?) that overthrew the Byzantine empire.

Such is life: short and brutish or long and feeble.  But in this Viking saga there is contained a warning: we of Northern stock were once quite different from how we are today, and we could return to that state in the future.

But it is not as simple as ‘civilized = weak, barbaric = strong’.  There are twists and roundabouts in this story.

Ancient Rome triumphed over many barbaric tribes because, being civilized, they were larger, better armed and more organized.  Civilized government allows a state to exist on a massive scale.  That is, I guess, the point.

On the other hand, when Rome finally let in too many Goths all at once, the newcomers found that the Romans had grown weak after having the state protect them from criminals for so long, and that if they strode into Romans towns they could take what they wanted without meeting any resistance.  So they did, and the empire collapsed.

A millennium later European civilization recovered and was easily able to sweep away primitive cultures wherever in the world they found them.

And today, civilization’s strength is again waning, with both East and West suffering unsustainably low birthrates and staring down the barrel of disappearance or replacement.  It seems that it is barbarity’s turn again.

Charles Murray warned long ago that the New Left, puritanical as it is about anything remotely touching upon race, sex and that sort of thing, might one day break its cognitive dissonance in an extreme and dangerous over-correction.  Perhaps it is from that side, not the hard right, that our people might again plunge into savagery.

Personally, I’d rather just stick with civilization.  But suit yourselves.

America’s favourite anti-American, part 2

Book review of Prejudices by H.L. Menken

We previously looked at Menken’s withering attacks on US involvement in WWI, the lack of protest against wartime curbs on Constitutional freedoms, sheep-like political views and Prohibition.

In Prejudices, Menken goes into some of the underlying human traits that prompt such cruelty and stupidity.  On the over-the-top violence committed against olde-time sinners – “saloon keepers, prostitutes, . . . believers in the Darwinian hypothesis, . . . adulterers”, he says: Read More

America’s favourite anti-American, part 1

Book review of The American Credo by H.L. Menken.

There was a girl I knew from a perfectly bourgeois, conventional family in the suburbs.  The mother was a high-school teacher.  The father sold computers.  One day her middle-aged parents, after years of dreaming about it, set off on a trip to America to visit Disneyland.  Unfortunately, they were denied entry to the United States as the father was recorded in US security files as being ‘anti-American’.

It wasn’t a complete misunderstanding – turns out he’d Read More

The good news from Tacos

Book review of Finally, Some Good News by Delicious Tacos.

Have you ever had one of days when you thought your life would be improved by a nuclear holocaust?  I sometimes get them when a customer explains to me, like I’m a retarded child, just how I ought to do my job.  Or when the water’s off for no reason whatsoever.  Or when I don’t get to have sex, which I guess is every day.

Delicious Tacos, of the eponymous blog, has days like that, too.  So many, it seems, that he wrote a book about it.  He takes his real life, known to many of us intimately through his long-running blog, hurls some really big bombs into it, and sees what happens.

The results are quite impressive.

Mr. Tacos has a very strange problem with women – they only want him for Read More

Diary of a ChiCom

Book review of Diary of a Madman, and other stories by Lu Xun.

At what point do you stop respecting a communist?  Some people set an upper age limit, say, twenty.  Others go by an educative event such as the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.  And some let it pass all the way up to 1991, arguing that it seemed like a good idea at the time and who knew how badly it would all go.

I’ve decided I’ll forgive Lu Xun his communism because Read More

Volunteers requested to test-read my books

Hi lads,

I’ve completed two books and I need some feedback before I get too far into starting another.

The first is a non-fiction work called The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual for Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.  It is very much a beginner’s guide to personal finance and covers such basic requirements as eliminating debt, establishing an emergency fund and a budget, investing in bonds and shares, and how to find a good financial advisor.  It is 24,000 words.  It started as a series of blog posts but once I got to 10,000 words I decided to just make it into a book, instead.

There are two types people who might make suitable reviewers for this book: Read More

Things you don’t know but probably should

Book review of Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell.

If you want to see what poor economic management looks like in practice, you will not have great trouble finding it.  Come over here to sunny Bumfuckistan.  The government has so utterly hobbled business with such a myriad of arbitrary and capricious regulations that all economic activity has ground to a halt.  Almost all the factories and large stores have closed down.  Tourism is near non-existent.

In his insightful conclusion, Sowell notes that politicians, no matter how counterproductive their policies, are not basing them on nothing at all.  They are basing them upon Read More

We Wuz Spacemen

Book review of Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith.

Anyone remember space exploration? I don’t mean bobbing around like Bondi turds in low-Earth orbit as we do these days. That’s barely a step up from powered flight. I mean exploring deep space, going so far out that we can look back and see the whole world at once. So far away that we can block out the planet with our thumb. Remember that? We used to do that.

I was born several years after the last occasion any man traveled so far from our briny home. In my eighties childhood, so soon after our spacefaring achievements, it still seemed certain that we would be on Mars and Pluto and into other solar systems in the near future. My lifetime was going to be amazing, my teachers said, one in which I might well end up Read More

Free Speech: From Areopagitica to Twitter

Book review of Areopagitica by John Milton.

Freedom of speech has rarely been popular anywhere. Only a small minority of any population has been wise enough to see the advantage in allowing their ideological enemies to speak freely and disseminate their views.

Among this minority was one John Milton, best known for Paradise Lost, who delivered his famous Areopagitica to the British Parliament in response to a proposal to require all books to be approved by a censor prior to publication.

Here we find some of the classic and foundational arguments in favor of Read More

What Confucius Really Say

Book review of The Analects of Confucius.

Confucius lived at around the same time as the great Greek philosophers, when thinking and learning were becoming more possible with the rise of cities and non-farming opportunities. Dusted off and misused by modern ChiCom tyrants and incompetent Korean bosses, his philosophy is not quite the ‘rote learn piles of useless rubbish and do as you’re bloody well told, dirty peasant’ line pushed by those who assume their material-obsessed populace will not actually read his work.

The Analects are collected sayings of the old teacher as reported by his students, similar to the Islamic Hadith literature. So let’s have a look.

The Master said, ‘Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.’

Every tiger mum should have this tattooed backwards on her Botoxed forehead. The Asian obsession with ridiculous hours of ‘study’ (memorization and repetition) is hopelessly inefficient. Even though we are far lazier, the west continues to lead in many areas of technological innovation. This must at least partly be a consequence of Asian anti-education, that is, the practice of training children to merely listen, obey and to turn off their brains altogether. Thinking and curiousity are essential.

The Master said, ‘The study of strange doctrines is injurious indeed!’

I disagree. One should study everything. The brilliance of western Enlightenment is our realization that we are able to consider and entertain a concept in our minds without actually being convinced by it. This is something that Medieval Europe and many contemporary, more primitive cultures cannot get their heads around.

Read the Koran. Read Mao’s Little Red Book. Read Mein Kamph. Don’t forget the Nirvana Sutra and maybe some femo dross to round it out. Only a fool need fear that he will become a Muslim, Communist, Nazi, Buddhist or Feminist merely according to whichever of these he had read last.

Mind you, this is a genuine fear for fools. The unintelligent should be discouraged from reading significant texts and their education should focus on practical skills. This group consists of the greater part of the global population.

In high school I knew this dickhead called Jim. He would consistently be swayed by whatever ne’er-do-wells happened to be letting him hang around at the time. Years later I ran into him and he started going on about how he’d become involved in one of those wog separatists movements. I immediately thought, of course! How could he not get recruited into one of those eternally dissatisfied organizations? Though he was not one, I suppose this is where suicide bombers come from. The tenuous point here is, simple people should indeed be kept away from strange doctrines.

The Master said, ‘Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it; – this is knowledge.’

This is very similar to what Socrates said, although he claimed to know nothing at all. Certainly there is great foolishness in arrogantly believing things we could not possibly know for sure, such as the existence of the Gods, fairy tales about the creation of the universe, or anything much in the realm of morals.

The Master said, ‘They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.’

It is remarkable how few individuals and cultures in history have delighted in truth. Most hate at least some aspects of it and try to keep it hidden, most especially regarding religion, morality and politics. And more recently, race and sex. The average person abhors the truth and gets offended if it is spoken aloud, though the particular truths that will have them brandishing pitchforks vary according to time and place.

Like the Greeks, Confucius sensibly avoids discussion of spiritual matters. You can only do what you can do. I like to fancy that, had he been born in freer times, he would have said exactly what I say, but who knows.

The Master said, ‘What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others.’

Want of forbearance in small matters confounds great plans.

How true. The world’s lesser people are unable to endure the difficulty and delayed reward of study, the tediousness of contraception or the frugality to save and invest. In fact, lack of forbearance is probably the primary cause of poverty in the developed world, and in lots of the rest of it, too.

Confucian thought has influenced the West in various ways since his teaching was translated by the Jesuits in the 1600s. The idea of the consent of the governed had an impact on the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, though few Patriots would have known this. The concept of education for all led to mass schooling first in Prussia then in many other places. The idea that the educated should govern led to the Chinese public service exams, a concept now embraced by most parts of the world and excluding a few that have gone backwards for reasons of political correctness. It seems that the people getting the top scores did not adequately resemble those clip art photos for the search term ‘office team’.

Those ‘Confucius say’ jokes were always dull. There was only one that was ever funny. This is it:

Confucius say: “Man who go to bed with itchy bottom wake up with smelly fingers.”

What is Good?

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Review of On Duties by Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated by Quintus Curtius.

The old windbag Cicero lived during a definitive, pivotal time in Western history – perhaps the moment, along with the American Revolution, that produced our world – but you wouldn’t have wanted to live then unless you have a fondness for starving and being chopped up.  The Roman republic was on the ropes with two cut eyes and early signs of Parkinson’s, and Julius Caesar and others sought to deliver the knockout blow in order to establish a totalitarian empire in its place.  Cicero, a lawyer and famed orator, favored the old republic.  Sometimes exhiled and eventually killed, he is best know today for Read More

The Meaning of Life

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Book review of Stoner, by John Williams.

Kant said, beauty is that for which we have no concept.  We can look at it, admire it, and feel that certain qualia that comes from beauty, but if we attempt to explain it in mere words we fail because words can only express concepts.  Such beauty might come from a moment of perfection in music or from the composition of a great work of art.

In this spirit, it is impossible to properly describe the qualities of Stoner.  It tells the story of a very ordinary man and his life which is, on the surface, insignificant.  He is born into rural poverty, attends university and becomes an academic.  He has some joys, tragedies, suffering and some minor triumphs along the way.  These are of a sort that any person might experience.  In the end, he Read More

Sympathy for the Devil

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Book review of Paradise Lost by John Milton

 

Been cast into Hell for eternity?  Look on the bright side.  That’s what he does:

Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell

Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings

A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.

The mind is its own place, and in it self

Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n . . .

Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.

Whose side are you on, Milton?  You seem to have framed the Devil as an admirable Stoic.  Of course Milton has to pretend to side with insipid, old God and his goody-two-shoes son, Jesus, but the scenes of those two sedatives chin-wagging are about as compelling as the dinner table conversation at the Flanders’ house.  We can disregard the boring bits.  Paradise Lost is an epic poem in iambic pentameter about literature’s most fascinating and maligned character, the one who dared to stand against God himself.  He may have a bad reputation but the Devil seduces from us our curiousity.

Milton opens his verse in the midst of the drama, with Satan having been Read More