Saturday, October 01, 2016

Last call - Melbourne Trads meeting

Just one more reminder of the upcoming Melbourne Traditionalists meeting on Monday October 3rd. You can email either myself or Mark Moncrieff for details (my email: swerting(at)bigpond.com.

Being different

At the German site Conservative Thoughts I read a quote from Götz Kubitschek, who I had not heard of before. He appears to be a leading intellectual of the New Right in Germany. I have little idea of Kubitschek's worldview but I recognised an intelligent criticism of liberal modernity in the quote. Here is my clunky translation:
Being different is only allowed today as a chosen, not exclusive, not fated, but constructed and constructible being different, that at any time therefore ought to be able to be discarded, replaced or assumed like a pair of glasses, a beard, a fashionable opinion. Whereas every inescapable being different must - as here intrudes the final involvement of the Weltinnenraum - be deconstructed, broken up or, at least, relativised in its seriousness.

What does this mean? It's the basic point I make so often at this site. Liberal modernity holds, as its overriding good, a freedom to self-determine or self-define. Therefore we are only allowed to have a self-constructed, fluid, changeable, discardable identity rather than one which is predetermined or fated. The inescapable forms of identity are held to be oppressive and earmarked for deconstruction (or, as Kubitschek points out, are made less serious by no longer being thought to represent something objectively or inherently good, but only of value from a subjective, relative point of view). Some of the inescapable forms of identity include our membership of an ethny and our biological sex.

Kubitschek asserts that a reason why liberal modernity rejects predetermined differences between people is that these differences bring us to an awareness of the "Weltinnenraum" - a concept popularised by the poet Rilke. The word means literally "world inner space" though I have seen it translated as "outer space within." It seems to refer to the moment that we perceive the interpenetration of the outer world with our own inner one, or an awareness of a transcendent nature through which we have our being. Liberal moderns, according to Kubitschek, are discomfited by this engagement with a larger, non-material aspect of their being and therefore turn from it, to a smaller understanding of the self as being self-constructed.

I'm not sure about the Weltinnenraum aspect of the quote, though it's an interesting thought, but the quote in general is eloquently expressed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roberto Fiori on Italy's fertility campaign

I posted recently about the efforts of the Italian Government to raise fertility rates (Feminists hate Fertility Day).

A leading Italian nationalist, Roberto Fiori, supports the aim of raising fertility rates but has offered a good criticism of the government's strategy:
The president of Alliance for Peace and Freedom, Roberto Fiore, who is also the chairman of the Italian nationalist party, Forza Nuova, is not very impressed by the campaign.

-The campaign is too little too late. More than that it examines the issue at a medical level or nearly zoological level, he says to europa-terra-nostra.com.

The veteran nationalist, and father of eleven, believes that the state needs to tackle this from another angle.

— For a decent campaign we need the involvement of the state with serious and strong help to young couples and investment in children. But let’s not forget that the highest birth growth in the world is Gaza where there is no welfare, but just the will to preserve a people. So a campaign has to hit the heart of people with the idea of preservation of civilization and tradition, says Fiore.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Eltham Resistance

Last month I was sorry to report that a retirement village in my suburb of Melbourne (Eltham) had been bought by a Catholic agency and was going to used to house refugees alongside the elderly residents. It's a similar pattern to what is happening in places like Sweden and Germany.

There are some important updates to this story. I had a conversation with a councillor who told me that the refugees will not be just from Syria but from a range of places. There is a council election happening right now and unfortunately the choice seems to be between left-leaning candidates who want a Middle-Eastern refugee intake and right-leaning candidates who want to build units for Chinese investors. If I learn of any independent candidates I'll publicise this in a further post.

There is some resistance to the plans. A petition is up at Change.org which I'd encourage Victorian readers to sign (see here). There will also be a demonstration outside the local MP's office (Jenny Macklin) from 10.00am to 11.00am on Saturday 1st October (149 Burgundy St Heidelberg).

I'll repeat again the obvious. The current refugee system is irrational. The sensible option is to offer to resettle asylum seekers in countries which are the most similar in living standards and culture to those they are leaving. This would give no incentive to those who are economic migrants and it would be the least disruptive in terms of culture and identity to the host nation. The scheme could be funded from a pool paid into by the wealthier nations.

Hopefully the resistance in Eltham will grow over coming weeks.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

ANZ goes SJW

ANZ is one of the big banks here in Australia. It is also a captured institution, being dedicated now to SJW causes, especially feminism. For example, it has decided to pay its female employees more than its male ones ($500 extra super a year) and it has spent a bucket load of money on an advertising campaign in which children are used to illustrate the evils of the "wage gap".

Here is one of the ads:



The ads seem to be annoying people more than inspiring them (at the time of writing the ad had 400 likes on Facebook and 4000 dislikes). And people are right to be annoyed for the following reasons:

1. The wage gap is a myth (see more below).

2. In a healthy society, men would earn more over a lifetime than women (on average). That's partly because women find men with resources attractive, giving men an added incentive to work for money rather than for life satisfaction or for work/life balance; partly because many men have a provider instinct and wish to work on behalf of their families; and partly because many women choose to prioritise time with their children when their children are young and so cut back hours, or choose more flexible work options.

3. It is hardly significant if married women with children earn less than their husbands over the course of a lifetime because their husband's pay goes to supporting their families anyway. It is in the interests of a woman if she has a husband with a well-paid job. In other words, the ANZ model assumes that husbands and wives are set against each other, rather than pooling resources.

4. It is destructive to set the men and women of a society against each other, to needlessly cultivate a sense of grievance in women, and an injured defensiveness in men. It is abusive for the ANZ to poison the feelings of young children in this way.

5. It is a bias in itself to believe that earnings is the true measure of a good life; i.e. that the measure of man is money. It is a fact that women report being less happy now than they were some decades ago, in spite of higher earnings.

As for the wage gap, economists have crunched the numbers and found that when hours worked in similar professions are compared, then earnings are much the same. In fact, young women are increasingly earning more money than young men:
according to a new analysis of 2,000 communities by a market research company, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more. This squares with earlier research from Queens College, New York, that had suggested that this was happening in major metropolises. But the new study suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought, with young women in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego making 17%, 12% and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. And it also holds true even in reasonably small areas like the Raleigh-Durham region and Charlotte in North Carolina (both 14% more), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6%).

I don't bank with the ANZ, but if I did I would most certainly choose to take my business elsewhere.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Next Melbourne Trads meeting

The next Melbourne Traditionalists meeting is coming up soon (October 3rd). The quality of the last one was great, but our aim is to continue growing, so if you'd like to meet up with some like-minded people then contact Mark Moncrieff or myself for the details. Mark M can be contacted via his website here or you can drop me a line via my email address: swerting(at)bigpond.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shriver strikes back

The American writer Lionel Shriver gave a speech to the Brisbane Writers Festival which was strongly critical of the idea of "cultural appropriation." Her arguments against cultural appropriation are devastating, and if you're interested I recommend you read the whole thing. Here is a taste of what she said:
The author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University who for the record is white, defines cultural appropriation as “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorised use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.”

What strikes me about that definition is that “without permission” bit. However are we fiction writers to seek “permission” to use a character from another race or culture, or to employ the vernacular of a group to which we don’t belong? Do we set up a stand on the corner and approach passers-by with a clipboard, getting signatures that grant limited rights to employ an Indonesian character in Chapter Twelve, the way political volunteers get a candidate on the ballot?

I am hopeful that the concept of “cultural appropriation” is a passing fad

It's difficult not to agree with Lionel Shriver. The concept of cultural appropriation is full of holes and unworkable in any consistent and principled way. Nonetheless, I doubt it will be a passing fad as Lionel Shriver hopes. That's because it serves a purpose within contemporary liberalism.

Think of it this way. For liberalism to work as a system then the choices that each individual makes should not impede the self-determining choices of every other individual. That's not really possible, but one option liberals have to make the system appear to work is to have everyone limit the sphere of their choices to individual lifestyle matters such as career, travel and consumption. At that level, liberalism can (mostly) work as a system, albeit at the cost of making individual life more trivial than it once was.

That's' the kind of liberalism that Lionel Shriver represents. In her Brisbane speech, she wrote of identity that:
we should be seeking to push beyond the constraining categories into which we have been arbitrarily dropped by birth. If we embrace narrow group-based identities too fiercely, we cling to the very cages in which others would seek to trap us. We pigeonhole ourselves. We limit our own notion of who we are...

That's the older liberal-speak we are so used to. It's an ideological view, in which the good in life is thought to be a self-defining autonomy. Therefore, identities that we inherit (into which we are "arbitrarily dropped by birth") are thought of in negative terms as limiting the individual (as being "cages").

What then defines us in a liberal society? Lionel Shriver answered that in a column some years ago. She believes that liberal moderns answer the question of "What is life for?" differently than people did in the past:
baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lower-case gods of our private devising. We are less concerned with leading a good life than the good life. We are less likely than our predecessors to ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose; we are more likely to ask if we are happy. We shun values such as self-sacrifice and duty as the pitfalls of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and don't especially care what happens once we're dead. As we age - oh, so reluctantly! - we are apt to look back on our pasts and ask not 'Did I serve family, God and country?' but 'Did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat?' We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun.

If that package sounds like one big moral step backwards, the Be Here Now mentality that has converted from 60s catchphrase to entrenched gestalt has its upside. There has to be some value to living for today, since at any given time today is all you've got...Furthermore, prosperity may naturally lead any well-off citizenry to the final frontier: the self, whose borders are as narrow or infinite as we make them.

She goes on to quote a friend of hers, Gabriella, regarding the choice not to have children:
Having children in my 20s would have spelled the end of everything I had spent my life working towards and was about to really enjoy: the ability to spend my money the way I wanted, travel where I wanted, choose my partners, live as I wished."

So that is the mindset that liberalism is gradually pushing people toward: not being bound to anything, but being a "freewheeling individual" making little lifestyle choices ("spend my money the way I wanted, travel where I wanted").

That, then, is one way to make liberalism work as a system. But it's not likely to appeal to all liberals. After all, it is considerably apolitical - it's all about consumerism and lifestyle. What if you're a liberal with a more radical political agenda? What if you're an activist type? You'll then be looking for a different way to make liberalism work as a system, i.e. of answering the question of how everyone can equally make self-determining choices.

The answer that activist liberals give has become increasingly familiar. They assert that some groups of people have "privilege" (i.e. they get to have things their way more than others do) and that therefore the demands of underprivileged groups should take precedence over those of more privileged groups. There is no longer a belief that everyone can have untrammelled choice (as this leads to a system based on an apolitical lifestyle consumerism); instead, there is a ranking (the oppression Olympics) of who should get to have things their way based on which groups are judged to be most marginalised (e.g. men should give way to women who should give way to blacks etc.)

The concept of cultural appropriation is an outgrowth of this approach. People who choose the "privilege" approach to making liberalism work will become sensitive to ways in which they might be marginalised/oppressed/dominated, not only because it feeds into a sense of grievance and wrong, but because it is also the basis of their own right over others. And so you end up with an overly sensitive belief that someone else is exploiting your culture, alongside a blindness to the way in which you yourself might be "culturally appropriating" the mainstream culture.

As a traditionalist, I fear Lionel Shriver's approach to liberalism more than I do the newer, privilege ranking one. Her way is empty and futureless (as she admits in the second column I linked to) but people can amuse themselves with it if there are no other options. The newer, activist approach to liberalism is more confronting and difficult to live by, particularly if you are a white male. It's more likely to push people away from liberal modernity altogether, to shake up the whole liberal edifice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The look says it all

Think what you like of Milo, I would love to have this effect on feminists - the look is priceless:

Hawthorn supporters attacked in CBD

A small group of Hawthorn supporters were walking along Swanstson Street in the city after their loss to the Western Bulldogs when they were suddenly attacked by a larger group of Somalis and Sudanese. One was knocked out and then kicked in the head. You can hear the young Australian men complaining that they no longer feel they can walk around their own city because of the chance of being attacked.

The assault happened near the steps of the Anglican Cathedral, St Paul's, which has chosen to fly a banner from its spire which reads "Let's fully welcome refugees". I looked up some of the material the church has distributed in support of this policy and nowhere is there any disclosure of some of the negative effects of open borders, including a loss of safety on the streets.


An Australian knight

This is a rare non-political post. I found out yesterday that an Australian had won a prestigious knight's tournament in France (Tournoi de L’Ordre de Saint Suzanne). Phillip Leitch works at Kryal Castle just outside Ballarat here in Victoria. I felt some patriotic pride to think that an Australian should win this title, given that we missed the entire medieval era. Here is the winning knight:


Monday, September 19, 2016

A Clarissa rethink?

Some years ago I wrote a series of posts (here and here) about a liberal academic blogger called Clarissa. She followed the liberal script in an orthodox way, believing that inherited identities are oppressive and should be thrown off in favour of self-defined ones:
modernity is destroying old certitudes, identities and ways of being. Modernity is liberating in the sense that we are a lot less tied to collective identities ascribed to us at birth. Gender identities, normative sexualities, class origins, religious backgrounds still exist, of course. Nevertheless, they are nowhere as binding as they used to be before the advent of modernity...A society that strictly prescribes its collective identities offers people a great degree of freedom from the irksome necessity to make their own decisions. At birth, you are handed a set of norms that you are supposed to observe as a representative of your gender, social class, religious denomination, etc. You accumulate enough of these collective allegiances and you can guarantee that pretty much every aspect of your life will be defined for you

It's a clear message: liberal modernity is a good thing because rather than our identity already being defined for us, it is now self-defined.

I have argued against this view numerous times at this site. If our identity can't be based on predetermined qualities like our membership of an ethny, or our sex, but only on things that we can define for ourselves, then our identity becomes more shallow - it is based on lifestyle choices rather than on deeper aspects of our created nature.

I took a look at Clarissa's site again this morning and I was surprised that she now has a more ambivalent attitude toward the modernist project. In a review of a novel by Philip Roth she writes:
If you cut off your roots in search of freedom, will you find it or will you wither and die? Now that we have shed our oppressive, restrictive familial and cultural bonds, has fluidity given us anything in return? Or are we, like the novel’s protagonist, floating around in limbo, incapable of making a connection with anybody?

This still has a liberal bias in that she describes the ties of family and culture as being oppressive, but at least she is questioning the quality of the "freedom" the individual has, once he or she has been reduced to an atomised existence.

More gains for the AfD

More good news from Germany. The Alternative for Germany party has made a breakthrough in Berlin, gaining 13% of the vote. That's a terrific result in what is one of the most left leaning parts of the country.

Angela Merkel's CDU slumped to only 19% of the vote and is likely to be dumped from Berlin's coalition government:
A year before a national election, the result is set to raise pressure on Merkel and deepen rifts in her conservative camp, with more sniping expected from her CSU allies in Bavaria.

The CSU's Bavarian finance minister Markus Soeder was quick to call it the "second massive wake-up call" in two weeks.

"A long-term and massive loss in trust among traditional voters threatens the conservative bloc," he told the Bild daily, adding Merkel's right-left national coalition had to win back support by changing course on its immigration policy.

Why would traditional voters continue to support Merkel's CDU when she is committed to open borders and globalisation? How can traditional Germany survive such a policy?

Apex & Moomba

I was chuffed to be mentioned in a John Derbyshire column at Vdare last month. The column was about the closure of a festival in the American Midwest because of black violence. John Derbyshire rejected the idea that such violence could be explained by the lingering effects of slavery and Jim Crow laws on the black population. He noted that the Moomba Festival here in Melbourne had been similarly affected by black gang violence (the Apex gang), despite the fact that the members of the gang are from families which have only recently migrated here from Africa. The pattern is the same in both Australia and America, so blaming slavery or Jim Crow laws doesn't seem all that plausible.

American readers might not be aware that the emergence of the Apex gang is big news here in Melbourne. The gang often makes it to the front page of the papers, as it is something we haven't seen much of before (we have had organised crime gangs, but they were mostly involved in trafficking drugs, and they committed violence against rival gangs rather than against members of the public). The Apex gang has carried out violent carjackings and home invasions, which the public here aren't used to.

Typical of news reports  (this one appeared just two days after John Derbyshire's column was published) is this Herald Sun front page story:
EXCLUSIVE: POLICE are bracing for a new wave of youth crime to sweep the state with the imminent release of dozens of notorious Apex gangsters from custody.

Up to 30 Apex members and associates - some considered leaders of the feared outfit - are now due to be released.

The worst Apex offenders were last year and earlier this year sent to youth detention and adult prisons for serious violent crimes including home invasions and carjackings.

But most were sentenced in children’s courts meaning their lockup terms ran over months rather than years and are now due to be freed into the community.

One is suspected of being a founding member of Apex.

The member has been involved in car-jackings and armed robberies in the southeastern suburbs and is regarded as influential among younger associates.

Senior police have told the Sunday Herald Sun they mark the release dates of jailed juveniles in their calendars in anticipation of a crime spike.

More recently a female offshoot of Apex has formed, called the "Aces". There is a video of members of this gang attacking a house somewhere in Melbourne:



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Guys & dolls

Dalrock has found an interesting video about a woman, Kristen Jarvis, who has decided to manufacture dolls for boys. It's interesting because it shows the conflict within liberal moderns when it comes to the topic of our biological sex.

On the one hand, Kristen Jarvis is a very orthodox liberal. She complains that society says "be anything" but that people are still guided in some ways by being male or female. It is that basic liberal complaint that we cannot be wholly self-defining if our unchosen biological sex still matters. She believes that if boys were to play with dolls they would become more feminine and nurturing.

But liberal moderns live in the same world as the rest of us in which sex distinctions do matter: they are hardwired into human biology and are a part of our core identity and our heterosexual instincts. And so throughout the video you see glaring "unprincipled exceptions" in which these liberals don't follow the principle of erasing sex distinctions at all.

For instance, Kristen Jarvis had a very highly paid job as a lawyer, but admits in the video that she felt sadness and anxiety in not being with her children, and so she quit her job to be supported by her husband. Her maternal instincts won out. She didn't want to be away from her children and so she hired her sister to run the doll-making company. But this sister is one of the most feminine looking women you are likely to see - there is a mismatch between the purpose of her job (making manhood/womanhood not matter) and the effort she goes to in order to appear attractively feminine.

It's also interesting to observe the part where the sisters go to a preschool in order to test out the dolls on the boys. The best they manage is to get some of the boys to use the dolls for a rough sports game; one of the boys is pictured looking ill-at-ease with the doll; and one other looks glaringly offended at being offered the doll and rejects it altogether. The sisters admit that they have hurdles to overcome.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Distribution piece

Here's the latest pamphlet that I'm distributing in my local area. It's not meant to appeal to the masses, rather it's aimed at those with a genuine interest in politics:

Melbourne Traditionalists

It isn’t publicised much, but all Western societies are run along the lines of just one ideology, namely liberalism. Both sides of politics are committed to this ideology, even if they differ a little on how best to implement it.

So what is liberalism? It’s the idea that the overriding good in society is the autonomy of the individual. That’s a nice sounding principle, but it is important to think about what it commits people, as a matter of logic, to believe about society.

Autonomy is the idea that what matters is a freedom of the individual to define themselves according to their own choices. It often goes along with the idea that there is nothing that is objectively good outside the individual, but that value is created in the act of choosing, no matter what that choice is.

So what’s wrong this this? Well, if what matters is that there is nothing to limit how I self-determine or self-define, then the things that I cannot self-determine must be oppressions that I must abandon in order to be free. To be more exact, the things that I cannot self-determine must be made not to matter.

What is not allowed to matter in a society based on a liberal ideology? First, it will be thought wrong for a person’s ethnicity to matter, as that is something they don’t get to choose for themselves. In a non-liberal society, a person’s ethnicity matters a great deal, as it is part of what defines an individual (it is a significant part of their identity) and as it forms the communal tradition that individuals feel a close sense of belonging to. Therefore, people in a non-liberal community will, logically, work to preserve their own ethnic tradition.

Liberals, on the other hand, focus on the idea that they should demonstrate that their own ethnicity does not matter and does not influence their preferences or loyalties. Some liberals openly state that they identify only with themselves as individuals rather than with any community sharing a common language, history, culture and so on.

Nor do we get to determine our own sex, i.e. the fact of being a man or a woman. Therefore, this too has to be made not to matter in a liberal society. So, rather than celebrating the differences between men and women, and encouraging men to cultivate their better masculine qualities and women their better feminine qualities, a liberal society will be focused on ensuring that our sex has no bearing on what we choose to do. Most societies are not fussed, for instance, if more women than men choose to be nurses, or more men than women choose to be tradies, but this is something that those committed to liberalism see as a flaw in society to be overcome – otherwise our sex still continues to matter.

Liberalism also generates its own moral outlook. Liberals can’t easily accept the idea that there are standards of character for individuals to try and live up to. This would be limiting to an individual’s freedom to self-determine. So in this sense liberalism is libertine – there is nothing that is objectively right or wrong.

However, for liberalism to work as a system, what one person chooses can’t restrict what another person chooses. This means, first, that there is pressure to limit the range of choices to purely individual matters (e.g. career, holidays etc.). Second, it means that liberals emphasise a morality of non-interference, so that we end up being judged as good or bad people by a limited set of qualities, such as how tolerant, open, inclusive, non-discriminatory and non-judgemental we are. This morality of non-interference is sometimes policed to the point that it becomes absurdly intrusive.

If you are not committed to a liberal ideology, then you are likely to be dismayed at the way that Western societies are developing. Things that matter a great deal to the individual are being made not to matter – they are being, in liberal terms, gradually “deconstructed”. So what then are we to do? The first thing is to reject liberalism outright, at the level of first principle, as this is the source of liberal moral claims. The second thing is to recognise that, for the time being, the institutions of society are liberal, including the major political parties, and that it is a waste of time to passively expect help from that direction. Third, we need to continue to build up resources of our own so that we can assert an alternative to liberalism.