Cicero’s “On Old Age” and Modernity’s Obsession with Newness

I don’t believe that it will come as a surprise to most readers that Western Civilization is obsessed with the idea of being “modern,” and has been for quite a while. Concomitant with this concept is that of “newness.” If something is new, then this is equated with it being better. Conversely, things which are old are viewed as out-of-date or even useless.  This mentality has wormed its way into practically every facet of life in the West. Indeed many of our industries operate on the principle of planned obsolescence – purposefully engineering their products to be superseded buy newer models on a regular basis.

Coupled with this tendency is the one similar to it that fetishizes youth while disdaining old age. Our shallow societies equate youth with beauty, and give preference to those in our societies who have the least knowledge and wisdom. Youthful foolishness is honored over staid, grumpy old wisdom. Westerners spend billions of dollars every year on surgeries and pharmaceuticals, vainly trying to stave off the inevitable effects of both entropy and their degenerate lifestyles.  Nearly the entirety of our entertainment, advertising, and related establishments are focused on catering to the young – when is the last time you saw an older person hawking the latest electronic gadget or starring in the hottest new sitcom?

In his essay “On Old Age,” Cicero lauds the blessing of the aged, giving four reasons why men fear growing old and then refuting those reasons.

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On Ethnonationalism and Aristocladism

Here at the Times, I have previously discussed ethnonationalism and even applied it to the American situation.  Essentially, ethnonationalism posits that nations – defined as people sharing common culture, heritage, traditions, language, religion, mores, and so forth (and thus, by extension, nearly always sharing a common genetic descent as well) – should be free to self-associate rather than being forced into supranational or globalistic schemas which dilute and destroy their unique national inheritances.  But let’s say that this sort of schema were actually to become a reality to a much greater degree than it currently is – what would such a world look like?  Would the world be divided among tens of thousands of different nations – each with its own well-defined territorial expanse – consisting of anywhere from tens of millions of people down to merely a few thousand?  I don’t necessarily see how that would be advantageous, and would indeed be a very chaotic sort of situation – exactly the opposite of the type of orderly system that traditionalists and reactionaries seek to restore.

Instead, I believe that an ethnonationalist world order should include the element of aristocladism.  Essentially, aristocladism may be defined as the division of national groups into hierarchies based on a variety of metrics having to do with their relative power and capacities, including many intangibles such as national spirit, courage, and so forth.  Some nations, even when compared to their close relatives and neighbours, seem to “have it together” more than the others.  It’s only natural that these nations should stand out as natural leaders and protectors for those around them.  However, before expanding on this idea, I’d like to discuss a few foundational concepts.

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Why Tribalism Happens and What It Could Mean for the Future

[Ed. Note: Quas Lacrimas has posted an excellent essay about tribalism as well which dovetails quite nicely with this post.  Please take a moment to read it!]

In this post, I’d like to address the phenomenon of tribalism.  There can be two general definitions of this term.  The first is attitudinal – it refers to the possession by a group of people of a strong ethnic and cultural identity, one which pervades every level and facet of their society, and which serves to separate (often in a hostile sense) the group’s understanding of itself apart from its neighbours.  The second definition is more technical and anthropological, referring to a group of people organised along kinship lines and possessing what would generally be referred to as a “primitive” governmental form centered around a chieftain and body of elders who are often thought to be imbued with supernatural authority and prestige (mana or some similar concept).  The first definition, of course, is nearly always displayed by the second.  It is this second definition which I would like to deal with, however.

Specifically, I’d like to explore the question of how tribalism relates to the collapse of widely spread cultures when they are placed under extreme stresses.

There is always the temptation to view historical and pre-historical (i.e., before written records were available) people-groups which were organised along tribal lines as “primitives” or even “stupid.”  This is not necessarily the case, and in many instances is certainly not true.  However, tribalism is not a truly optimal or even “natural” form of social organisation, and I believe is forced onto people-groups more out of necessity than anything else.

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On American Ethnonationalism

When the question of ethnonationalism comes up, many are often tempted to say that the United States cannot have a “genuine” type of it because of the somewhat “artificial” nature of the USA, planted as colonies and then filled with immigrants which were (originally) from NW Europe, then the rest of Europe, prior to 1965.  The Germans could have German nationalism, the Italians could have Italian nationalism, and so forth, but Americans can’t have a genuine ethnonationalism of their own.  I believe this argument rests on the false premise that race – and only race – determines nationality, which is incorrect.  This argument misses the true meaning of what the term ethnos means.  Ethnos is a word which was found in nearly all dialects of Greek (Attic, Doric, Koine, etc.) and which originally denoted a body or company of people living together.  The term developed the connotative meaning of those who live together and share the same culture, laws, language, etc. In other words, ethnos is primarily a culture term, not a racial one – though certainly we should understand that those who share the same culture will nearly always share the same racial and genetic attributes as well – but this is not the primary meaning of the term.

Hence, genuine “ethnonationalism” isn’t built around a genetic framework, but one of shared culture, mores, religion, language, etc, and obviously involves something much deeper than the superficial “propositional nation” nonsense bandied about by civic nationalists.  Indeed, ethnonationalism is the biblical and moral form of nationalism, the one which is most in line with natural law and the long precedent of human historical practice.  Frenchmen can have French nationalism because of their shared culture and language – foreign Algerians and Tunisians with their alien mores, religion, and language will never be “Frenchmen” in the true sense of the word.  Now, as this applies to the USA – certainly, the people of the USA share culture, language, etc.  It is quite legitimate to speak of an “American” ethnic group, which is distinct from other white, European-derived groups, even from other Anglo groups like the English, Canadians, and Australians (members of our cultural and genetic clade).

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Reactionary Ideas in Speculative Fiction

Typically, one would not tend to associate speculative fiction with reactionary ideas.  Speculative fiction – which I am using as a term to include both science fiction and alternate history – tends toward modernism in both its applications and in its underlying ideologies. Even in the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction, this genre of literature was dominated by both progressives and libertarians. The more recent speculative fiction tends to be explicitly and almost uniformly progressive, except for a few writers who consciously seek to buck the trend.

Yet, good speculative fiction contains within it enough realism so that the fantastical elements within the story will still seem plausible.  As such, while exploring futuristic technologies or unfamiliar social systems, a good story will seek to weave in realistic elements that align the story with underlying scientific, social, and psychological realities that are true in every era.  This is why fiction written by authors like Larry Correia or Jerry Pournelle features strong stories that capture the reader’s attention, while fiction written by incorrigibly progressive authors like Octavia Butler or N.K. Jemison generally ranks as literary drivel and only finds an audience among those who consciously seek it out because it reinforces their progressive ideological prejudices.  Since reaction – which is essentially a revolt against the unreality of so much of modern society – is eminently a reality-based thought system, it is only natural that reactionary ideas will crop up time to time even in fiction written by modernistic and scientistic authors.

Below, I’d like to sketch six books or franchises within this genre in which reaction-friendly ideas form a significant part of their plots. In some of these works, the inclusion may be intentional while in others it is merely incidental. I will trust that the reader is either familiar with these works or else may become familiar with them easily enough.  Thus I will provide only a bare outline of the plots of the works being discussed and will assume some level of tacit knowledge about them on the part of the reader.

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Some Thoughts on Immigration, Segregation, and Gentrification

Recently, I wrote a couple of articles about the social alloying model for immigration and the dangers of the decline of the average American IQ whose concepts are more than tangentially related.  Skepticism about immigration, especially mass immigration, has finally been mainstreamed in the United States, and is headed in that direction in most of the rest of the Western world.  The so-called “refugee” crisis is coming to head as Europe and the Anglosphere are being flooded by millions of hostile, inassimilable, socially corrosive aliens from across the uncivilised world.  This is quickly driving those in the middle into one of two directions as the West swiftly divides into two starkly opposite camps – those who wish to preserve the Western world and its unique, valuable set of cultures by ending this immigration, and those who wish to continue the flood of savages unabated until the West succumbs under the tidal wave of barbarism and brutishness.

It is rightly remarked that such a flood of “immigrants” isn’t really correctly described by the word “immigration.”  Rather, the term “invasion” would be more a propos.  This, of course, fits right in with the social alloying model referenced above.  In the production of alloys, when one metal is of dissimilar atomic size and electronegativity to the base metal, only small amounts of that metal can be successfully incorporated into the base metal to form an alloy.  Likewise, when “immigrants” are of grossly different culture, race, language, etc., only small numbers of them can be incorporated into a host society.  When you flood a million Muslim barbarians into a civilised Western nation like Germany or Sweden, the results – as we can plainly see – are going to be catastrophic.  Already, the societies of every European country that has taken in a large proportion of Muslim and African “refugees” have found themselves weakened and even seemingly ready to collapse.

The wisdom of nationalism is quite obvious from these examples before us.  Different countries exist so that people of different cultures can live with their own kinds, within their own cultures, where everyone generally shares the same assumptions, mores, and ways of living.  As much as multiculturalists may wish it to be so, trying to force large groups of people from different cultures and races to live together will not result in some glowing multicultural utopia, but rather war and bloodshed.  “Diversity + proximity = war” should be a truism that every right-thinking person understands and internalises.

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Punching Nazis

So last Friday during the inauguration of President Trump and all of the attendant civil disorder that went along with it, Richard Spencer got punched in the face by a hit-and-run SJWer.  Some folks would say he was asking for it, while others are a bit disturbed by the whole affair.  Many, of course, don’t have a problem with punching a “Nazi” in the face.  After all, who would?  We all know that Nazis are bad guys, and it helps that we beat them like a drum in World War II.  Hence, Nazis make an excellent Schelling point against which good, patriotic Americans (or people, like SJWs, who are only pretending to be good, patriotic Americans) can rally.

Yet – as is almost always the case – the devil is in the definitions.

One of the major problems with invoking a label in politics is that it tends to be subjectively applied.  Someone is a “Nazi,” for instance, not because they actually are, but because the one calling them that disagrees with them and wants to get others to disagree with them as well.  Such tends to be the case with Richard Spencer.  Now, it can easily be granted that Spencer holds to positions which are both well outside the mainstream as well as being offensive to many.  I’ve discussed elsewhere my own disagreement with the sort of white nationalism represented by Spencer, which I think is unrealistic, atheistic, and globalistic. However, calling him a “Nazi” is actually pretty stupid.  That word means something very specific.  A “Nazi” is a “National Socialist,” which is a specific and fairly well-defined ideology that goes far beyond “says stuff about race that I don’t like.”  Whatever other things Spencer may be, a “Nazi” is not one of them.  But  because he takes some pretty controversial positions on race, the charge superficially appears to apply in the eyes of people who don’t really take time to think deeply about these issues.

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Why Westernisation through Modernity is Failing

One of the biggest mysteries that plagues the world of neoconservatism is the question of why the end of history – that final triumph of liberal democracy and consumer capitalism –  hasn’t occurred yet. All around the world in many different cultures and nations there is a strenuous reaction against these very things.  Indeed, even in the western core – Western Europe and the Anglosphere – there is increasing skepticism about these tenets of the Enlightenment.

The question which the neoconservatives ask is, “Why do they hate us?”  This question increasingly applies to pretty much everybody all over the world, but most especially to the Muslim world. Instead of seeing Fukuyama’s end of history, we’re seeing Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilisations. It seems to many of the neocons that the Muslim world is simply being obstinately ungrateful in refusing to recognize the blessings of democracy, secularism, and hedonism being imposed upon them by the force of Western military might.

Now, far be it from me to defend Islam itself or to defend the terroristic tactics which Muslims use. Certainly, I find Islam to be a false religion and Muslims to be primitive barbarians for the most part. However, my attitude toward them tends to be one of desiring to neither invade them nor invite them. I’m perfectly happy to let them do what they want in their own lands and to run their own countries as they see fit, so long as their barbarism is not imported into our Western countries.

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Lying to People about History Doesn’t Help Them

If there was anything that you would think would be immutable, it would be the past.  Short of inventing a time machine, it should be impossible to change any event that has already occurred.  However, this assumption is actually quite incorrect.  While the events of objective history themselves cannot be changed, our understanding of them can. Indeed, revising history is easy when you control the levers of education and popular culture. Then, it’s just a matter of telling the history that you want to be told while ignoring the history that actually happened.

A case in point would be the movie slated to hit the theaters tomorrow called Hidden Figures.  If the hype surrounding this movie is to be believed, it will tell the “true” story of the American space program that put a man on the moon.  The movie is a loose biography of Katherine Johnson, a black woman who played a role in the space program. The hype surrounding the movie, of course, portrays her as the single central figure in that program without whom nothing would have been accomplished. All those white guys with slide rules and crew cuts? They could have done nothing without her.

Now to be clear, there really was a black woman named Katherine Johnson who was involved with the space program – that much is true. It is also true that she was an accomplished mathematician and that she was involved in checking the calculations that were involved with the orbital mechanics of putting a man on the moon. But it’s a long way from that to the sort of “black woman single-handedly put a man on the moon” recounting that the narrative hype seems to be portraying. At face value this movie would seem to be exactly the sort of historical revisionism that progressives love to utilize for the purpose of “resetting the narrative,” so to speak.

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Race Realism is a Good Thing are few things that will get you into trouble as quickly as talking about race.   This issue is one of the hardest things for a person to become red-pilled about.   Many soft-Right classical liberal-style “conservatives” may go along with limiting immigration or even criticizing democracy, but the moment you start talking about racial differences, their inner cuck comes flying to the surface. Westerners – who seem almost by nature to be xenophilic – have a very difficult time accepting realities about race which contradict the sort of wishful thinking about this issue which they learn from their schooling and from their popular culture.   As such, even many so-called conservatives will manifest an unreasonable fear of reality about these things.

The perfect example of this could be seen on Twitter this past Tuesday. There is a third-tier conservative talk radio personality who broadcasts out of Charlotte, North Carolina (I live in this state and had never heard of him prior to a couple of months ago) named Bill Mitchell. He has amassed quite a following on Twitter, much of it due to his vigorous support for Donald Trump during the recent election. However, on Tuesday Mitchell had a complete, day-long Twitter freak out because he thought that some of his followers might be “racists.”   This led to a series of rather ridiculous broadsides against the alt-Right, whom he characterized as horrible, horrible people because many of them are concerned about the drastic demographic changes that are being forced upon Western countries.   To be concerned about the future of white people in their own countries and to recognize the defensive need for the same sort of identity politics on the part of whites that other races routinely engage in was for him apparently beyond the pale. He responded with a huge, ugly, virtue signalling cuckout.

It really was hilarious to see, in a morbid sort of way.   Mitchell asserted that Trump had disowned the nationalist alt-Right (even though Trump’s top representative to Israel canceled a meeting with Israel’s foreign minister after a Swedish delegate from the “far-right” Sweden Democrats had been excluded). He apparently failed to grasp that the whole impetus for the anti-immigration stance that drove Trump’s campaign was essentially alt- Right style nationalism. Instead, and predictably, Mitchell tried to characterize all members of the alt-Right as Nazis and the like.

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