November 2, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 8:56 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The Nationalism-ists: review of  War for Eternity: Inside Bannon's Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers, by Benjamin R. Teitelbaum (BRIAN DOHERTY, DECEMBER 2020, reason)

In War for Eternity, Benjamin R. Teitelbaum situates Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former campaign CEO and White House chief strategist, in a context likely unknown to 99.9 percent of the voters Bannon helped steer toward Trump: Traditionalism, with a capital T.

This Traditionalism is distinct from its common colloquial meaning of "advocating older ways of life." It draws inspiration from such obscure figures as René Guénon, a French esotericist who moved from Catholicism through theosophy to Sufi Islam while calling for an elite aristocratic order and denouncing the materialism of industrial civilization, and Julius Evola, an Italian occultist and fascist fellow traveler who thought that "bourgeois civilization and society" are anathema to a noble and heroic man.

What inspires a true Traditionalist? As Bannon tells Teitelbaum, it's "the rejection of modernity, the rejection of the Enlightenment, the rejection of materialism." Traditionalists believe in a prehistoric ur-religion, hints of whose deep cosmic truths can be glimpsed occluded in modern faiths from Catholicism to Hinduism. History to a Traditionalist runs through repeating cycles, with similar ages rising and tumbling down in unavoidable succession.

Traditionalists think human culture is now staggering through a dark cycle, the "Kali Yuga." They believe human beings should be shoved into rigid castes, and they see each age dominated by a distinct type, from priest to warrior to merchant to slave (sliding down what they see as the ladder of spiritual merit).

Few voters have pondered any of that, but Teitelbaum thinks the Traditionalists, by allying themselves with far-right authoritarian nationalism, might be developing the muscle to bring the Kali Yuga to a swift end.

Teitelbaum, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, considers Traditionalism the "most transformative political movement of the early 21st century." Acolytes associated with this way of thinking have their claws deep in the leadership of at least three powerful nations, he argues: Russia via Aleksandr Dugin; Brazil via Olavo de Carvalho; and the United States via Bannon.

Dugin is a fervent, violent Russian nationalist who in 1993 launched the National Bolshevik Party. The name, Teitelbaum writes, "was a tribute to Nazism and communism," since each "once served as counterweights to American expansion." Dugin's book Foundations of Geopolitics, which pushed the idea that the U.S. must be counteracted on the global stage, became "standard assigned reading into the twenty-first century at the General Staff Academy" for Russian military leaders. He went on to become a Putin adviser without portfolio, with Putin said to echo "sometimes in a matter of hours...expressions Dugin was using in media broadcasts."

Olavo, as he's known, spent years as an initiate in Traditionalist communal cult groups; he ended up in rural Virginia as a buddy to Bannon and one of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's top advisers.

The three men share a deep contempt for modern institutions, such as universities and the media, that they accuse of promoting decadent modern liberalism. And it certainly is interesting to contemplate their eccentric beliefs and lives in this well-reported book.

The Right, as the Left, hates our institutions.  Conservatism is the great defender of them. We can't help but be enemies.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The eugenic roots of abortion in BritainA recent book about a legal battle in 1920s Britain reveals one of the most ignominious, but little-known, movements in British history. A centenary in 2021 will show whether the movement will be acknowledged or continue to be ignored by historians. (Mark Sutherland, Nov 2, 2020, Mercator Net)

The opening of the Mothers' Clinic was the first step of an attempt to impose eugenic breeding in Britain. As the manifesto of the clinic's support organisation, The Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress ("CBC") put it:

"AS REGARDS THE POPULATION AT PRESENT. We say that there are unfortunately many men and women who should be prevented from procreating children at all, because of their individual ill-health, or the diseased and degenerate nature of the offspring that they may be expected to produce. These considerations would not apply to a better and healthier world."

While the in-house "Prorace" (and later "Racial") brand devices were dispensed to the poor women who attended the Mothers' Clinic, Stopes campaigned for laws to compulsorily sterilise those who did not. For all the talk of giving women "choice", had the laws for compulsory sterilisation that Stopes advocated been passed, that choice would have been made by the state.

In the absence of such laws, Stopes advocated the use of the Gold Pin, an experimental and dangerous device which was, she wrote:

"... the one and only method (apart from actual sterilisation) which is applicable, and of real help to the lowest and most negligent strata of society. It is therefore a method of the greatest possible racial and social value, and should become widely known and practised."

During the trial, physicians on both sides differed as to the impact that the Gold Pin would have. Some said it would enhance conception, others that it would prevent conception, and yet others that it was an abortifacient. A leading birth controller, Dr Norman Haire, testified that if conception did take place, the presence of the Gold Pin would lead to a dangerous septic abortion. Another doctor described it as "a barbarous instrument".

The CBC was supported by some of the most eminent Britons of that era. They included: John Maynard Keynes, the Lady Constance Lytton, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells. One of them, Sir James Barr, an eminent physician and ex-president of the British Medical Association, congratulated Stopes on her achievement:

"You and your husband have inaugurated a great movement which I hope will eventually get rid of our C3 [defective] population and exterminate poverty. The only way to raise an A1 [superior] population is to breed them."

Like other eugenicists, Stopes and Roe had worried about the "differential birth rate". While Britain's overall birth rate had been falling since 1876, the reduction was not evenly spread across all social classes and the poorest people in Britain were the most prolific. As one historian put it:

"... [one-] half of each succeeding generation was produced by no more than a quarter of its married predecessor, and that the prolific quarter was disproportionately located among the dregs of society."

Eugenicists spoke of "degeneration", "national deterioration" and even "race suicide".

Dr Stopes had alerted the readers of the Daily Mail to the problem in a column a few years earlier:

"Are these puny-faced, gaunt, blotchy, ill-balanced, feeble, ungainly, withered children the young of an imperial race? Why has Mrs Jones had nine children six died, one defective? Nor it is for Mrs Jones to take the initiative, Isn't it for the leisured, the wise, to go to her and tell her what are the facts of life, the meaning of what she is doing, and what she ought to do? ... Mrs Jones is destroying the race!"

Testifying on the second day of the High Court trial in 1923, Stopes confirmed that she had opened the clinic:

"... to counteract the steady evil which has been growing for a good many years of the reduction of the birth rate just on the part of the thrifty, wise, well-contented, and the generally sound members of our community, and the reckless breeding from the C3 end, and the semi-feebleminded, the careless, who are proportionately increasing in our community because of the slowing of the birth rate at the other end of the social scale. Statistics show that every year the birth rate from the worst end of our community is increasing in proportion to the birth rate at the better end, and it was in order to try to right that grave social danger that I embarked upon this work."

Stopes was a doctor of science, but her scientific credentials were in sharp contrast to the vituperative (and unscientific) language she used to describe those to be sterilised and their offspring: "hopelessly bad cases, bad through inherent disease, or drunkenness or character" "wastrels, the diseased... the miserable [and] the criminal" the "degenerate, feeble minded and unbalanced", "parasites", "hordes of defectives" and "the spawn of drunkards". Such language led Guardian columnist Zoe Williams -- a journalist not known to be unsympathetic to contraception and feminism -- to remark that "her eugenics programme was actually slightly to the right of Hitler's just because her definition of defective is so broad."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Biden looks to restore, expand Obama administration policies (The Associated Press, November 2, 2020)

Stop and reverse. Restore and expand.

Joe Biden is promising to take the country on a very different path from what it has seen over the past four years under President Donald Trump, on issues ranging from the coronavirus and health care to the environment, education and more.

The Democratic presidential nominee is promising to reverse Trump policy moves on things such as withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and weakening protections against environmental pollution.

While Trump wants to kill the Affordable Care Act, Biden is proposing to expand "Obamacare" by adding a public option to cover more Americans. [...]

Biden also frames immigration as an economic matter. He wants to expand legal immigration slots and offer a citizenship path for about 11 million people who are in the country illegally but who, Biden notes, are already economic contributors as workers and consumers.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Pro-Trump caravans are crowding freeways, sometimes forcing gridlock (The Week, 11/02/20)

Before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump warned of caravans of migrants coming up via Mexico. With just a few days until the 2020 election, Trump supporters are the ones forming caravans, taking to highways and freeways in large numbers to demonstrate their support for the president or make some other statement.

In some cases, like when a Trump caravans waited on I-35 in Texas to "ambush" a Joe Biden campaign bus, things turned a little sinister. The FBI is investigating that incident, though Trump tweeted that in his opinion, they should let it go. In other cases, the rallies just caused traffic jams. Around Denver on Sunday, the gridlock appears to have been an incidental byproduct of the "MAGA Drag The Interstate" rally. In other places, such as New York and New Jersey, the goal appears to have been to shut down traffic.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Scaffolding Holding American Flag at Trump North Carolina Rally Collapses (SCOTT MCDONALD, 11/1/20, Newsweek)

While President Donald Trump spoke at one of his five rallies on Sunday, one of the two scaffoldings that held a giant American flag collapsed. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


After Fauci Praises Biden, Trump Touts Firing Top Health Official (DARRAGH ROCHE, 11/2/20, Newsweek)

He gave an interview to The Washington Post on Friday where he praised Biden's approach to the virus, saying the Democrat "is taking it seriously from a public health perspective" while Trump is "looking at it from a different perspective."

Fauci said Trump's perspective was "the economy and reopening the country."

Republican Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona welcomed the president's remarks and called on him to act. Biggs has been critical of Fauci for months and previously called for his removal.

"Can't come soon enough. Please add Deborah Birx and Robert Redfield to that list, President @realDonaldTrump," Biggs tweeted on Sunday. "The Fauci-Birx doctrine of destruction is coming to a merciful end."

Dr. Deborah Birx is Coronavirus Response Coordinator and another prominent member of the task force. Dr. Robert Redfield is director of the CDC. He was appointed to that position by the president in 2018.

Trump's suggestion that he could fire Fauci comes after White House COVID adviser Dr. Scott Atlas claimed lockdowns are "killing" Americans during an appearance on Kremlin-backed RT, formerly known as Russia Today. Atlas later apologized for the interview, saying he was "taken advantage of" by the registered foreign agent.