By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Why don’t you grow up, Nicky? That’s the tried old refrain that never seems to get older than I do. It seems like I hear it from pretty much all the token adult figures in my life; my parents, my therapist, my government. And maybe they’ve got a point. I am over thirty, unemployed, painfully single and I still live at home. To be fair, I’m also certifiably mentally ill. As a slowly recovering shut-in, my lingering agoraphobia makes it damn near impossible to hold down even a part time job. But If I’m to be 100% honest to a gut-shiving fault, which is pretty much my whole shtick, my aversion to adulthood is far more complex than my inability to properly regulate good and bad stress.
I was raised in the wrong fucking gender by an establishment of adults who I was led to believe held the mandate of god himself, the ultimate adult figure. By in large, growing up, the adults in my life were cruel, petty, two-faced zealots who had their way with my trust until it quite simply ceased to exist. There is a very firmly moralist part of me that yells at the top of her deeply closeted preteen lungs, WHY THE FUCK WOULD I EVER WANT TO BE LIKE YOU!
I’ve talked about this disembodied voice before. The invisible girl who’s tired of suffocating beneath the biological trappings of manhood. She wants to come out and play with matches but she’s not particularly intrigued by the late capitalist banality of modern adulthood. And, in 2019, she’s not alone.
It seems like I come from an entire generation of kids who are downright allergic to adulthood. We are a lost generation that has chosen in overwhelming numbers to stay single, unemployed and live at home. We also seem to be a culture that is defined by our collective nostalgia. We’ve somehow managed to make washed-up boy bands and thirty year old cartoons a downright viable industry. we’ve gathered on the Internet into rabid cults devoted to everything from anime to My Little Pony. In the process, we have also become the butt of an endless barrage of jokes from older generations for refusing to conform to what their interpretation of what adulthood is. But isn’t that precisely what adulthood is? An interpretation, not unlike other equally subjective concepts like normality and sanity, of what constitutes a successful existence in a collapsing society running on fumes?
So what is an “Adult” in 2019. What earns one that cherished class distinction in the waning hours of the American Century? According to postmodern western society, an adult is someone who pays their taxes and votes for sensible centrist warmongers.
Jun 11, 2019
14 minute read (full)
First let’s decentralize history…
This month’s thematic has been a real challenge for us and raised many questions in our minds. Why? The history of decentralization is complex and non-linear. But most of all, it is difficult to be considered from an objective point of view, stripped of the predominance of the state.
Talking about decentralization leads obviously to discuss about centralization; to find the ghosts of history, to cross-reference the victories and failures of social-political movements; to discover some contemporary alternatives to the generalized centralization of our lives. Unless we consider that a technology is neutral, in the end, we cannot talk about decentralization without talking about governance, suffrage, politics or apoliticism, autonomy, organization… and the dominant model of centralization: the nation-state. Still, if a very vast literature and documentation concerns rise of states, it must be stated that the one granted to the opposite, i. e. the absence of a state, is almost non-existent. More…
This is one of the best analyses I’ve seen to date on what an actual Civil War 2 would look like. It’s political, geographical, and cultural analysis is spot on, although its main weakness is that it largely leaves out social class (which is fragmenting both the Red and Blue Tribe) as well as cultural/social cleavages among the Blue Tribe which are growing exponentially.
An actual Civil War 2 would not be the Red Tribe vs Blue Tribe per se (although that may be an impetus that gets the ball rolling). It would be more like the Lebanese civil war of the late
1970s/early 1980s with dozens of different factions. For example, in some geographical areas showdowns between rival gangs would be just as important as political rivalries. Also, the fragmentation of the state itself would be an issue (or multiple issues).
Paris aims to ban tourist buses from the city centre to spur visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport, tackling complaints about nuisances caused by mass tourism, the French capital’s deputy mayor said.
Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (Eds) Why we disagree about human nature.Oxford University Press, 2018. 206 pp. £30 hbk.
JULY 1, 2019
If one day a disturbingly precocious child were to ask what part you had played in the nature/ nurture war, what would you reply? Were you with the massed intellectual ranks who, since the philosopher David Hull’s ground-breaking 1986 classic ‘On Human Nature,’ have denied that there is any such thing as a common nature for all humans? Or did you join Stephen Pinker’s 2003 counter-revolution, when The Blank Slate sought to reclaim the ground for the Enlightenment, and the idea that there is something essentially the same about all humans across time, space and culture?
If you are not quite sure where you stand, or perhaps too sure where you stand, then this pleasingly eclectic collection of ten essays on human nature, and whether we can meaningfully talk about such a thing, will be of great help. Its contributors, who come from psychology, philosophy of science, social and biological anthropology, evolutionary theory, and the study of animal cognition, include human nature advocates, deniers, and sceptics. We could perhaps call the sceptics ‘so-whaters’ – they agree there may be something we can attach the label ‘human nature’ to, but query whether it really matters, or carries any explanatory weight. These people would take our (hopefully apocryphal) infant prodigy aside and say, ‘well there are some conceptual complexities here that make it quite difficult to give you a straightforward answer.’ More…
When Scott Udall first played Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance shortly after it came out in 2005, he was in a vulnerable spot. Udall, who grew up Mormon in Salt Lake City, Utah, was very religious, and his family were all politically active Republicans. His parents had gone through a messy divorce, and he’d lost contact with his father’s side of the family. He found solace in Path of Radiance’s world, and when the sequel, Radiant Dawn, came out two years later, he was excited to revisit the characters. He didn’t realize when he started playing that Radiant Dawn would become a catalyst that shook him from his previously held convictions. More…
The local population is at its lowest since the 1950s, with no turnaround in sight, as tourists continue to chase locals out.
by Chiara Albanese, Giovonni Salzano, and Federico Vespignani
If you’ve been to Venice, you get it. Even the most jaded globetrotter can’t help but do a double-take at the sheer originality—and beauty—of the centuries-old city built entirely on water.
Yet even the quickest visit reveals that Venice is no longer a living city, with scores more tourists than actual Venetians crowding its lagoon, bridges and walkways. The numbers bear that out. The city’s population basically peaked in the 1500s, and though it rallied again to near 16th century levels in the 1970s, today there are just one third as many Venetians as 50 years ago. More…
Caitlin Johnstone on why it is the “centrists” who are the real extremists.
By Caitlin Johnstone
I just watched two mainstream political videos back-to-back from what is conventionally referred to as America’s political “center”, and just by coincidence they happened to completely contradict each other. The first was a Bill Maher segment in which he barely even attempted to tell any jokes, spending the time instead explaining to his viewers why the Republican Party is “the party of Putin.” The second video was a recent CNN interview with Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who proclaimed that the US needs to be “more aggressive” toward Russia “across the board”, and described his party’s unified efforts to help escalate that aggression.
Royce is a Republican.
I have never recommended that anyone watch a Bill Maher video before, and I don’t expect that I ever will again, but this segment was really extraordinary in the shrillness and seriousness with which Maher advanced his ridiculous argument that the Republican Party loves Russia. I recommend taking a look at it and just noting the near absence of actual jokes and the few pity laughs the audience gives him.
Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Once upon a time, somewhere over the rainbow, being Queer was dangerous. We were vile leather-clad degenerates, strutting down the cracked streets of neon drenched red light districts, lipstick smeared, basted in glitter, our self-manicured claws sharper than knives, our foul tongues sharper than claws, posing, posturing, begging the devil for a bad time.
We were outlaws, pirates sailing the high deserts in long stolen Cadillacs, painting our faces like savages and pitching our battered rainbow tepees on the banks of the Salton Sea, smoking peace-pipes loaded with hash, reefer, semen, tobacco, opium, ludes, kitten heels and moldy crumbled make-up. We got so high, we fucked so hard, for so long, our tantric screams of ecstasy bouncing off the canyon walls and swelling the cul-de-sacs of the recently robbed rich, depriving them of the sleep they so desperately needed to fulfill their wretched obligations as some bloated dictator’s greatest generation, a pill-popping silent majority who couldn’t swallow a barbiturate big enough to free them from the knowledge that the moaning sodomites who ransacked their garages were their bastard kin.
We were bomb-throwing revolutionaries, marching with Panthers, torching cop cars, hurling our diseased corpses upon the machines of powerful men all but deaf to anything but the sound of our shattered bones clogging the guts of their federally funded sports utility vehicles. We were Billy Burroughs, Miss Major, Hakim Bey, Allen Ginsberg, John Waters, Leslie Feinberg, Harry Hay, Paul Goodman, Gore Vidal, Larry Kramer. We were dykes, fags, trannies, perverts, lunatics, sodomites, carpet munchers, cocksuckers, radical faeries, flaming fucking queens. We were dangerous. We were beautiful. We were Queer.
In my perfect world, there would be nothing but voluntary communities, and particular communities could be as open or closed as their members wanted. I tend to think that for utilitarian reasons within the current state-capitalist system there needs to be at least some limitation on both immigration and discrimination. I don’t know that throwing open the borders and saying, “Come one, come all” would have a happy ending, just like I don’t think anyone’s freedom is being abridged when WalMart can’t put a sign out front saying, “No Coloreds Allowed.” Virtually the entire spectrum of the ruling class and the state benefits from mass immigration, i.e. more scab labor employers, more clients for social services bureaucrats, more constituents for ethnic lobbies, more voters for political parties, more students for the education bureaucracy, new parishioners for organized religion, etc. But immigration enforcement also benefits other state/ruling class interests, i.e. the federal police state, companies that get state contracts to build walls/detention centers, the prison-industrial complex, capitalist corporations that profit from prison labor, retrograde Republican politicians using immigration as political vehicle, etc. It’s a win-win situation for the power elite, and lose-lose for everyone else.
I don’t think it’s a Left/Right issue per se. Immigrant detention centers didn’t start with Trump. They’ve been around for quite a while spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. I’d argue immigrant detention centers are part of the wider apparatus of the police state/state legal racket/prison-industrial complex. So people in immigrant detention centers are in the same boat as people in jails, prisons, places of involuntary psychiatric incarceration, juvenile detention, etc, etc,etc Traditionally, the US prison system has overlapped with the older slave system as well as things like Jim Crow. I’d argue it’s also something that transcends boundaries of race, class, gender, politics, etc even if those categories aren’t irrelevant either. But the same traditional conservative vs traditional progressive dichotomy that defines US politics today has been in place for over a century with swings back and forth in different directions.
Progressives have exercised a great deal of influence over US society since around 1900 (Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were Progressives, for God’s sake). Progressives have long been involved in facilitating authoritarian state policies (eugenics, racism, and drug and alcohol prohibition among them). During the course of the 20th century progressives did an about face on race, immigration, homosexuality, the “sexual revolution,” etc. But they’ve still favored authoritarian state policies in many other areas. For example, the modern “war on drugs” has been supported just as zealously by liberal politicians and civil rights leaders as conservative Republicans and the religious right, and the war on drugs is to a large degree the foundation/cornerstone of the modern American police state (though there are obviously many other contributing factors).
Most progressives are not anarchists or libertarians (left or right) and don’t claim to be. They accept the supposed legitimacy of the state, state law, state penal institutions, etc. They just don’t like it when these things are used against people they like (illegal immigrants, environmental protestors, etc) as opposed to people they don’t like (the Bundy clan, corporate executives, gun nuts, racists, etc). But given their acceptance of these things, they don’t really have a principled argument against the statist argument that says, “If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t break the law” or “The law is the law. If you don’t like the law, you can work to change it not break it” or “These people chose to break the law and choices have consequences.” Once the legitimacy of the state, state law, police, prisons, etc. is conceded, I don’t know that there is a principled counterargument that can be raised that doesn’t amount to special pleading.
Of course, my view is that anarchists and libertarians who wish to be consistent should stand in solidarity will ALL persons being held by the police state and prison-industrial complex (and, yes, that includes serial killers on death row, racist hate criminals, scumbag corporate executives, pedos, and every other kind of creep imaginable as well illegal immigrants, drug users/sellers, sex workers, “consensual criminals,” self-defenders, “survival criminals,” vagrants, etc). The struggle against the state/ruling class/power elite/globalism/imperialism/capitalism/Zionism is not a “Nice People Only” club.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
There’s a storm brewing, dearest motherfuckers, or so I’m told. And I’m not talking about climate change. The wild wild world of the world wide web is ablaze with rumors, dark rumors, rumors told of a Fourth Reich, more than seventy years since the last one ran out of gas in the mucklands of Stalingrad. Fash is back and this time it’s coming through the left door. There are reams of hysterical chatter across the mucklands of social media speaking of a diabolical collaboration between the far right and the far left. From Julian Assange robbing Hillary of her throne for Donald Trump, to Steve Bannon and George Galloway exchanging bro-hugs at a Eurasianist summit in Kazakhstan, to Glenn Greenwald getting chummy with Tucker Carlson on Fox News. It’s a deep, dark, twisted, incestuous collaboration built on a shared comradery among crypto-Baathist Russophiles goosestepping their way to overthrowing the blessed post-war order of the Atlanticist brand of globalism we all know and love. And naturally that dastardly Kremlin puppet master, Vladimir Putin, is behind it all with his army of trolls and bots and other assorted shadow people. It’s a dementedly elaborate conspiracy to lynch liberal democracy and here’s the Shyamalan twist, apparently I’m the token tranny holding the noose.
For those of you who are less than familiar with my jagged, lip-smacking brand of drag queen satire, that first paragraph was a joke and so is this whole tired conspiracy theory of a new Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Some call it Horseshoe Theory, some call it the Red-Brown or Red-Green-Brown Alliance (Just add Islamaphobia!), but that old feverish canard about a grand plot by the fascist right to infiltrate the far-left or vice versa has long been a favorite scare tactic of neoliberal centrists seeking to keep dissidents separated across their manufactured left-right divide. The desired result of this campaign is to keep conservatives and leftists too frightened of “infiltrators” to think outside of the ideological box while also keeping them dependent on the radical center to protect them from the ominous “other”. Nothing scares the establishment more than working class unity, so the establishment turns this unity into a Polanskiesque horror story. Any leftist open to working with the right (like myself) is in danger of being linked to the worst excesses of white nationalism, while any conservative who refuses to spit on a hippie is blackballed as a dreaded National Bolshevik.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
In spite of my Freudo-Marxian syndicalist roots I pride myself on being something of a cafeteria philosopher, taking a little influence here, there, and everywhere, even from the fringes. Fuck, who am I kidding, especially from the fringes. Wack-jobs make the best visionaries. But as far as the far right is concerned you’ll be hard pressed to find any work of philosophy with anything resembling intellectual depth. Even the non-racial shit (few and far between) is plagued with the kind of half-baked mysticism that’s only fascinating to a pre-teen metal-head (been there, done that). I make an acception, however, for the work of German Conservative Revolutionary Oswald Spengler, in particular his World War era magnum opus Decline of the West, which is more than worth thumbing through, even for a genderfuck anarchist derelict like me.
The basic thesis is that the world is broken up into distinct cultures (Greco-Roman, Persian, etc.) that tend to have a shelf life of roughly two thousand years. Every culture rises, stagnates, and develops into a civilization once its creative impulse wanes. And every civilization falls into a murky abyss of cultural decadence (people like me) and monetary greed (people like Trump) from which a new culture springs, starting the cycle over again. The focus of Spengler’s theory was that at the dawn of the First World War, Western Civilization had reached it’s winter time. The Faustian Civilization, as Oswald referred to the stagnant West was bleeding out. It’s organic aristocracy of philosophers and prophets had been replaced by a plastic plutocratic elite. It’s spirituality had been replaced by the paper god of money. It’s temples had become transformed into veritable piggy banks for greedy heretics. And most foreboding of all, the West had entered into a final state of militant Caesarism with it’s increasingly desperate populace looking to enigmatic strongmen for guidance in the turbulence.
A fan created a montage of audio clips from Kick the Puppy Season One showing how we are moving towards a third world model class system.
By Michael Liccione
Religious believers sometimes say that atheism is a “faith,” and in that sense a religion. That’s debatable because they’re using the word ‘faith’ ambiguously, and trading on that ambiguity. But according to NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, there is a scientific sense in which a relatively new, secular “religion” of “social justice” is entrenching itself among students on America’s campuses.
He’s got a cogent point.
ITO has run several pieces about Haidt’s ideas before. He’s not a conservative or even religious; he self-identifies as a liberal Democrat. Yet he’s alarmed by “the lack of ideological diversity” among faculty and students, which he sees as causing a “breakdown of discourse.” As he sees it, such stifling orthodoxy can never be good for higher education, which thrives when opposing views are permitted and given a fair hearing.
But, suggests Haidt, it appears that many colleges and universities are hosting what is not merely a stifling orthodoxy, but also one that exhibits a few key characteristics of religious orthodoxy.
That’s the thesis of a lecture he gave a few weeks ago: “The American University’s New Assault on Free Speech,” organized by the Manhattan Institute in New York City. It’s summed up in an article with the provocative title: “This New Religion Is Causing an Existential Crisis at American Colleges and Universities, NYU Prof Says.” The article includes a podcast link to the lecture.
Thus: “There is an extremely intense, fundamental social justice religion that’s taking over, not all students, but a very strong [space] of it, at all our colleges and universities. They are prosecuting blasphemy and this is where we are.”
What does he mean by “a very strong space”?
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will-Antonio Gramsci
When the individual’s behavior and consciousness get hooked to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, and it is time for him to die and be reborn. Time to “drop out”, “turn on”, and “tune in.”-Timothy Leary
America, the indispensable nation. That old jingoistic canard gets tossed around like confetti in this country, while the rest of the world rolls their collective eyes and crack their collective knuckles. According to patriotic lore, America is some beige, color-blind, miracle designed by the greatest white philosophers since Socrates to free the world from its backwards indigenous ways with the magic of global capitalism. Naturally, this is all bullshit. The kind of sad pep-talk a date-rapist gives himself in the mirror before showering his glamour muscles in Axe body spray. There is absolutely nothing miraculous about America but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t exceptional.
America is an exceptionally cruel experiment in the outer reaches of colonial social engineering. We are a nation defined by the two greatest holocausts in recorded history, spanning three continents and an entire hemisphere. America as we know it was founded by an ambitious collection of European super-colonialists who found themselves and their nations increasingly depleted of the wealth they accumulated from the Crusades. So they traveled the seas in search of greener pastures to irrigate with more dark-skinned blood. They found their sainted killing fields of Shangri-La in the New World and with the superiority of their steel, they decided to take the Americas by force and slaughter anyone who stood in their way. But with an entire hemisphere half empty of its indigenous inhabitants, these European overlords found themselves with too much work for their feeble bourgeois fingers to handle, so they filled their new colonies with shiploads of slaves pilfered from the jungles of Africa to build a nation on their scarred shoulders, murdering millions more in the process and permanently hobbling another entire continent.
By Keith Preston
Originally published in Tribes Magazine
Perhaps one of the most curious features of modernity is the way in which ideologies have replaced religions as a principal source of contentiousness. During the era of the nineteenth century, when the intellectual revolution of the Enlightenment was being institutionalized, a few perceptive thinkers recognized that the “death of God” did not mean the death of dogma. In 1844, Max Stirner noted that “our atheists are pious people,” an acknowledgment that humanism and liberalism had replaced Christianity as the religion of the intellectual elite. Similarly, Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Parable of the Madman” was rooted in the recognition of the consequences of the loss of faith, its metaphysical underpinnings, and its derivative traditions.
“What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882)
The era of the twentieth century revealed that the Age of Faith gave way not to an Age of Reason, as Voltaire or Thomas Paine would have hoped for, but to an Age of Ideology. What were the great conflicts of the twentieth century, whether the two world wars or the Cold War, but wars of ideology that paralleled or exceeded the great wars of religion that had taken place during previous centuries?
Many different ideologies abound in the same manner that many different religious sects can be identified. Ideologies are typically grouped into the categories of Left and Right. The Left is thought to favor equality, progress, and universality, and leftists include liberals, progressives, socialists, social democrats, communists, left-libertarians, and left-anarchists. The Right is thought to favor hierarchy, tradition, and the particular, and rightists include conservatives, reactionaries, traditionalists, monarchists, right-libertarians, fascists, and national socialists. There are also a range of ideologies that defy the left/right model such as nationalism, populism, environmentalism, regionalism, feminism, and third positionism.
This piece by Lind could almost be a left-libertarian or left-anarchist analysis EXCEPT the cultural divide is so vast as to be unbridgeable.
By William S. Lind
The Left has adopted the word “woke” to describe people who have accepted the ideology of cultural Marxism and are willing to act on it. The equivalent I hear most often for the Right is “getting it”. What does it mean to “get it”?
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I like conservatives. Not all conservatives. Not the bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran kind or the endangered white male victim kind. But the Traditionalist kind. The Old Right, Paleolibertarian, fuck-you-mind-your-own-damn-business kind. I like people like Bill Kaufman, Wendell Berry, Ron Paul and H.L. Mencken. I admire the prose and courage of Yukio Mishima. I appreciate the insight of Martin Heidegger. I think Oswald Spengler’s ideas are at least as prophetic as those of Gramsci and Marx. I even think Alain de Benoist has a few good ideas (and about 67 bad ones). Justin Raimondo used to be one of my favorite writers before he mysteriously vanished up Donald Trump’s orange asshole. And I consider antifa-hate-thing Troy Southgate to be a personal friend of mine.
An interesting take on First World/bourgeois identity politics. This is more or less my long-held position on these questions as well.