Bill Gates Sends a Warning to His Critics

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There is a temptation, pronounced most acutely in frustration or fear, to compare the indoctrinated to the mole or the grub. This creature, accustomed to the tenebrous, subterranean environment in which it has been placed, may not be unlike the myopic bourgeoisie, those social specimens born into psychic and intellectual darkness, and preserved in darkness by pervasive propaganda. They are cautioned against venturing into the world above and outside, and for good reason, as the brutal brilliance of the natural light will blind them—temporarily, yes, but not so briefly as to deny them time to squint and squeal and scurry back furiously to the comfortable ignorance to which they’ve grown accustomed. Have we painted this portrait fairly? Are we right to reduce the bourgeoisie to this cruel and dehumanizing cliché? Perhaps, but let us not forget Nietzsche’s warning: “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster.” We the unplugged, the disillusioned and the disabused, spend so much time within our own shelter, within the echo chamber of reality, speaking only with those who have escaped the prison of the benighted, that we forget the benighted are real men and women, living beings whose words and behaviors, ventriloquized and puppetized though they may be, have a tangible and sometimes even fatal impact. We forget this only at our own peril, and we run an even greater risk if we forget that it is they, the programmed and the manipulated, who have forced us into our own chateau, and not the other way around.

For this reason, it is necessary to maintain some limited conversance with the popular culture, but this proves more trying with each passing day. The popular culture is alien, hostile, and frequently unintelligible, hence why we must commit ourselves to a mastery of it. An especially provocative and relevant example emerged just a couple of days ago, when Anderson Cooper of CNN invited Bill Gates to describe his vision of what the United States government must do in its ongoing battle against the coronavirus. It is a battle that is growing increasingly quixotic, as neither a relaxed and Darwinist approach, nor the enforcement of mass social isolation, has been proven to reliably halt the spread of infection—which is to say that there is no practical justification, to say nothing of a philosophical foundation, to suspend the people’s freedom of movement. We are aghast to hear of policemen detaining people without formal charge, yet our tolerance for the revocation of several other civil liberties under universal suspicion of infection is apparently everlasting. Unfortunately, the popular culture has little patience for this criticism, and will entertain it only rhetorically, so as to caricaturize and demonize the conscientious objector.

Bill Gates is more than willing to execute this task, one which he has pursued with salient passion in the days of the pandemic. This summer, he has made multiple appearances on CNN, delivering cheerful lectures on “the need” to proscribe freedom of movement and to enforce compliance with this prohibition through “contact tracing” and other forms of universal surveillance. When he isn’t speaking to the hosts of CNN directly, they are discussing him with an unreserved reverence, and in the absence of even gestural neutrality—a journalistic malignance that has become the norm in the Trumpish Age—a novice might think Gates is the network’s senior coronavirus correspondent. We have written of institutional incest before, but the problem remains mysterious, even unknown, to the bourgeoisie who depend on popular culture to remain “informed”. Alas, the corporate brass of Warner Media are more perceptive than that, and they recognize that their pageantry has become dangerously undignified. Perhaps they wanted to avert calamity when, on Thursday, July 23rd, they pumped the brakes of their propaganda machine and invited Gates to address some of the criticism he has received in the independent media.

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Standing in the Ruins of Freedomain Radio

“Rational cynicism is politics plus time.” So observed Stefan Molyneux in his satirical analysis of the 2012 American presidential election, a contest on which, we were warned repeatedly, the fate of civilization depended. This force of fate, as nebulous as it is notorious, finally gravitated towards Barack Obama, the unofficial mascot of the Affordable Care Act, and rejected Mitt Romney, the same Act’s unrepentant architect. For all of the panicked prognostication, nothing of note changed in Washington, D.C. Much, however, changed in cyberspace, as Molyneux abandoned his interest in anarcho-capitalism, and thereby the entire basis for his attacks on the establishment, and became a neoconservative. The man who had once refused to say a kind word about Ron Paul, lest he give credence to the possibility of effective government, was now praising Dinesh D’Souza’s jingoistic documentaries. What had effected such a substantive intellectual transformation? Had Molyneux really come to believe in the virtue of right-wing authoritarianism, or had he, the joyous capitalist, cynically elected to exploit the dearth of neoconservative expression in the underground media?

These questions appear to be of very little relevance today, as YouTube has scrapped Molyneux’s channel after too many people accused him of peddling “hateful” propaganda. Presumably, these critics of his were less concerned with his ideological reversal (a betrayal of his cause, in my view) than they were with his sustained curiosity for female fertility and “racial intelligence”, the former oftentimes expressed by scolding women for having children after they reached the age of thirty, and the latter summarized by the argument that white people are genetically superior to blacks. It was all a melancholy reminder of how far he’d fallen, how the man who once offered a thoughtful critique of American feminism with Karen Straughan and articulated the virtues of the free market with Peter Schiff was now floating in the muck of the alt-right. None of it warranted his expulsion from the airwaves, of course, but it did raise some cruelly amusing questions about the sagacity of his choice to pursue profit and popular appeal at the expense of the integrity, however limited, that he once possessed.

To answer my own question, then: Molyneux began catering (or pandering) to right-wingers, not because he believed in the virtue of their views, but as a business decision, an opportunity to grow his brand. We might even credit him for his prescience, as he was contemplating this shift at least one year before Donald Trump commenced his presidential conquest. He found a niche—one that was plainly visible, yet one that the rest of us couldn’t see—and he sought to fill it, thereby setting a precedent for other independent neoconservative commentators. His comparative irrelevance in the year 2020, his unremarkable status as one such figure among so many others, is probably the surest sign of his success, although the victory, as it were, seems pretty hollow and unsatisfying to those of us who discovered his work ten years ago, at least, and who remember what he once did. If the demise of his YouTube channel is the demise of his career, for lack of better word—and it probably will be, as he lacks Alex Jones’s celebrity status and notoriety—then the occasion ought to feel more momentous than it does. Molyneux was the first YouTube commentator I encountered as I was beginning to become disconnected from the Matrix, and while I moved on from him more than seven years ago—well before he dabbled in the unbecoming subjects mentioned above; it was actually an uninformed review of the work of Lionel Shriver that initially made me suspicious of Molyneux—still I wonder why I don’t feel anything as I stand in the ruins of Freedomain Radio.

The Racist, Hidden Meaning of “Blue Lives Matter”

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The unfinished history of “Black Lives Matter” has been a protracted and grueling transition from decadent ignorance to deliberate ignorance. A decade ago, the white bourgeoisie of our nation may have been pitied, but perhaps not forgiven, for having not a clue of the government’s undeclared war upon black Americans; but to be so benighted in the summer of 2020 is persuasive proof of a hostility to enlightenment, on this issue and on a host of others, too. It is not the first day—nor the first year, nor even the first decade—you have heard someone chant, “Black lives matter,” so you will do well to spare us the tedious question, “All lives matter, don’t they?” Do you mean to say, in the most shameless sincerity, that “Black lives matter” is such a serpentine sentence, an abstruse and convoluted construction the likes of which the sage philosophers of old could scarcely fathom? And if it really is so mysterious that you cannot understand it, then why are you arguing with those who do?

We have wasted all too much time arguing semantics, an ambitious pursuit in an illiterate culture. It doesn’t end with this single statement, either: there is a multilayered and seemingly immovable skepticism of black Americans’ demands to live without fear of spontaneous judicial executions. The most succinct, but by no means the most lucid, counterargument is the statement “Blue lives matter”, trending on Twitter as of this writing. In the real world, too, the sentiment abounds: every pickup truck is decorated with an American flag defaced by a thin blue line, or the Punisher’s skull smeared by the same. Why someone would incorporate the logo of a fictional vigilante to promote their support for law enforcement is truly mysterious. Less complicated is the corresponding claim, “Blue lives matter”, and its concealed connotations.

We shall have no ambiguity on this point: “Blue lives matter” is a racist statement. I had considered very carefully whether to write “…when uttered in response to ‘Black lives matter’”, but when has it ever been uttered otherwise? Far from the case of the chicken and the egg, it was the black man who said: “Black lives matter.” And it was the white man who replied: “Blue lives matter.” Once we have agreed that “Blue lives matter” is a response, an attempt to contradict the argument raised by the black man, then we must ask ourselves: “What is this argument that the white man is looking to contradict?”

The white man implies that the policeman, the blue person, who killed the black person was right to do so because his life, the life of the policeman, mattered. Concordantly, the white man implies that there was some situation wherein either the life of the policeman or the life of the black person could be spared, but not both. In other words, the policeman’s life and the black person’s life must be mutually exclusive: there must be some kind of irreconcilable conflict between the two. Because we cannot preserve both lives under these undetermined circumstances, we must choose which life to save. The white man has already made the decision for us and protected the life of the policeman. Such is the essence of “Blue Lives Matter”.

You will notice that this lethal dichotomy is absent from the black man’s perspective. In declaring, “Black lives matter,” he does not imply that the black life poses a threat, mortal or otherwise, to the life of the policeman. On the contrary, he believes that both lives can be preserved, but that the black life is lost because the policeman, who neither respects nor values black life, believes he is justified in killing black people as one would thoughtlessly squash a mosquito. We are speaking of a racist devaluation of life, and it is a barbaric perspective that must be overcome, lest the streets continue to drip with the blood of murdered black Americans.

Personally, I see little reason to trudge further through this linguistic muck, explaining what ought to be transparent to the honest—who, I am sorry to say, comprise a negligible minority in the U.S. I will close with something of a non sequitur, observing that today marks the seventh anniversary of the theatrical release of the film Fruitvale Station, which is based on the murder of Oscar Grant. I saw that film in a cinema, back when the cinema was still in operation, and while I wasn’t sure if it was an especially good film, it is lamentable that its message did not resonate with a wider audience. I have now written more than seven hundred words on this issue; I would be happy if I needn’t write any others.

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Notes from the Secret White People Meetings

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My grandmother never lived to witness Trump’s inauguration. She died of multiple organ failure a few days before, declining so rapidly that she was effectively dead for twenty-four hours before her heart finally quit. She didn’t vote in the final election of her life, either, believing, rightly, that both of the candidates were too repulsive to deserve anyone’s support. Was she lucky to miss out on the psychic shockwave, elusive yet pervasive, that has rocked this nation in the three subsequent years? That, I can’t say, but when the news media is overloaded with grisly absurdities and comic grotesqueries (not an uncommon state of affairs, these days), she is usually the first person to come to my mind: “Holy fucking Christ, I’m glad Grammy isn’t around to see this.”

She was around, though, to see plenty in her nearly-ninety years. She saw a cop in South Carolina shoot Walter Scott three times in the back; it would have been quite the challenge to shoot him in the chest, as he was running away from the cop and towards the street. The cop, now a murderer, informed his masters that Scott tried to steal one of his weapons, but a video recording of the crime, captured without the murderer’s knowledge, exposed both his lie and his attempt to plant evidence of it. Wikipedia alleges that this scandal generated “a widespread controversy”, but I don’t recall anyone discussing it more than once, or for more than one day. In any case, Walter Scott did not become a (white) household name, unlike Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, two murdered men who dwarfed Scott in mass media coverage.

My grandmother had no stomach for violence, nor did she have a fixed view of colored Americans. Commenting on Scott’s demise, she asked my sister: “What do you think of the intelligence of the blacks?” Grimacing in disgusted disbelief, my father answered for her: “There’s plenty of dumbass white people, mom! Oh my God!” This, mind you, was a few years after she scolded my aunt, her daughter, for advising my sister to date white men only. “Oh, stop it!” my grandmother said with a dismissive flap of her hand. “This isn’t thirty or forty years ago. This is a different time!” Indeed, it was a very different time: America’s first black president had just ended a successful re-election campaign, much to the delight of my aunt and uncle on the other side of my family tree. They think Barack Obama was the greatest president in American history, and they will tell anyone who cares to listen—including my cousin, whom they disowned when she married a black man, but whom they welcomed back into their lives after she divorced him.

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Tara Reade and the Epilogue to American Feminism

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If the fourth wave of American feminism rose, as we had confidently come to believe, on the same day that we elected Donald Trump, then how do we explain its sudden crash upon the soggy, slimy, spore-spotted stones bunched together by the Biden campaign? This was no common interpolation, no ordinary link in the chain, but the anticlimactic coda of a movement that once offered legitimate hope of revolution, only to succumb to the suffocating grip of the establishment. This slow snuffing out of the victim likely started fifty or sixty years ago, when academia claimed (in the absence of cause) feminism as its intellectual domain. That, of course, was the beginning of the ill-fated flight known as third-wave feminism; it was also the cue for feminists to abandon economic justice and to pursue an abstract “social” enemy. The lifeless beast slumbered until the dynastic Clintons were dethroned, an unparalleled political tragedy that proved sufficiently arousing to inspire aggression. This marked animation, in contrast to the tedium of the past several decades, was thought to be the dawn of a new era, but it was only the furious epilogue to the penny dreadful that our history will write.

Cheap, sloppy literature and party propaganda printed in garish, nauseating pink: such was the one product of American feminism’s fourth and final wave. The directed resurgence of feminist ire in the last several years, ubiquitous in the most powerful tiers of the corporate media, was always an elaborate marketing gimmick developed by the Democrats. Banal and superfluous for most of the 2000s, the Democrats received much-needed cultural relevance when Obama came upon the scene, only to be threatened with popular insignificance when Trump made his political debut. Lacking a compelling spectacle of their own, the Democrats seized a weathered, polarizing trend officially known as feminism and sold it to Trump’s dizzy critics. They advertised it as the sophisticated, high-minded, and grown-up alternative to Trump’s titillating sideshow, but its moral insincerity, in substance as well as in form, failed to escape the eye of discriminating customers.

No one could explain why fourth-wave feminists plumbed the murky details of Brett Kavanaugh’s college yearbook, but could not be stirred to investigate the extralegal business of Jeffrey Epstein. None of these self-proclaimed activists defended Tulsi Gabbard when she was lampooned as the goddess of 4chan, but to them, rugged sexism was the one conceivable cause of Elizabeth Warren’s disastrous performance. Under no circumstances could these moral philosophers understand why a civilized human adult would vote for Trump when he has been plausibly accused of committing rape—just as we cannot comprehend why they have agreed to vote for Biden, not only when he is plausibly accused of committing rape, but when these so-called feminists acknowledge the claim.

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