VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger II

This reading continues on from here.

Part II of Ride the Tiger is called ‘In the World Where God is Dead’, and deals with the ever-present problem of the nihilism that arises when one abandons traditional values. This part consists of nine essays.

The first of these (the third essay in the book), ‘European Nihilism – the Dissolution of Morals’, sets the tone for this section. The subject matter will be familiar to any reader of Nietzsche, and indeed Nietzsche is mentioned in the first paragraph. This essay also mentions Doestoevsky, in the context of “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” It promises to be heavy stuff!

“Rational”, or atheistic morality, has no firm basis, Evola contends. Without an appeal to a higher power, any moral philosophy will eventually be chipped away at by critics until it disintegrates. Moral taboos cannot be justified, and therefore we can’t move past “everything is permitted”.

Perhaps more worryingly, it’s possible that, even if God did exist and inform us all, nothing would really change.

The fourth essay is ‘From the Precursors of Nihilism to the “Lost Youth” and the Protest Movement’. Existence has become absurd, Evola contends, because there are no longer any restraints. Here he traces the advancement of nihilism in the years post-Nietzsche. As Nietzsche predicted, the problem of nihilism only intensified as we entered the 20th century.

Movements such as punks and beatniks are drawn under the wider rubric of nihilists. The counter-culture becomes, for Evola, a “destructive, voiceless rage”. It’s isn’t necessarily that things are bad in and of themselves, but that a quiet, peaceful, mediocre life evokes this rage. Natural man feels little difference between the modern cornucopia of manufactured goods and slavery.

Citing Paul van den Bosch when he wrote that “When we were born, the gold was already transmuted into lead,” Evola makes another appeal to the perennial philosophy and its esoteric nature. This is necessary because the left-wing revolution has “betrayed its origins” with “a new conformism” – a statement that echoes in 2018.

The fifth essay is ‘Disguises of European Nihilism – The Socioeconomic Myth and the Protest Movement’. To Evola’s mind, there are two great socioeconomic myths of our time: the myth of Western prosperity, and the Marxist-communist myth of oppressor versus oppressed. Both myths are predicated on the same falsehood, namely that the signs and markers of the dissolution of society represent “progress”.

One severe problem exists with both of these myths: neither has any room for any conception of a higher world – the realm of gold in alchemism – and so both myths, while they solve the problem of nihilism, introduce unacceptable problems of their own. Both ideologies are predicated on a gross, fundamental error: that solving questions of material suffering will also solve questions of existential suffering.

Perhaps the last words here are “there is no correlation between material and spiritual misery.” This lays out the futility of trying to find absolution through materialist avenues. One is left with the impression, in Evola’s words, that “The time is near of the most despicable οf men, who can nο longer despise himself.”

Are we now in the time of the Man of Clay?

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger I

Having chosen a left-wing work (The Interregnum) for our previous reading, we now go to the right again and have a look at Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger. Subtitled “A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul”, it’s based on the premise that the fight against modernity has been lost and the only thing a thinking man can do is ride the tiger of modernity until it’s time to rebuild on the other side.

Part I of the eight parts of this book is called “Orientations” and divides into two essays.

The first of these is called ‘The Modern World and Traditional Man’. This opens outright with a declaration that this text isn’t for everyone. Like The Satanic Bible, Evola is explicit in that his book is only for a particular kind of person. Ride the Tiger is written for the outsider.

Evola’s style seems timeless in the sense that his complaints about the nature of society apply just as well to 2018 as they did to his time, and probably apply well to many times in the past. Things are collapsing, certainly in social terms if not yet physical ones, and so Evola advocates a return to traditional values.

These traditional values are not bourgeoisie ones, Evola is at pains to point out, but in fact “the very antithesis of them.” Indeed, he hints at evoking the perennial philosophy, such as when he writes “It is good to sever every link with all that which is destined sooner or later to collapse. The problem will then be to maintain one’s essential direction without leaning οn any given or transmitted form.”

Psychonauts such as the readership of VJM Publishing will commiserate with this feeling, as it’s a handy description of the ego death experience that comes with the peak of a psychedelic trip. One loses all touch with and memory of the fleeting forms of energy that make up the material world, and resides solely in pure consciousness, and thereby reunites with God.

Fittingly, then, Evola states that the Tradition that inspires him has “the character of an esoteric doctrine.”

The second essay, ‘The End of a Cycle – “Ride the Tiger”‘, continues in the same vein. Evola explains that the expression “to ride the tiger” is from the Far East and refers to the idea that it’s safer to ride on the tiger’s back than to try and flee and get pounced on, for the tiger will eventually tire out and then one can make an escape.

Essentially, the idea expressed here is this: great and terrible changes are sweeping the world, and will continue to do so. They will destroy much, if not all, of the existing order, regardless of whether this order is good or bad. There is no hope of resisting this process.

All of this sounds terribly pessimistic and nihilistic on the surface, but it’s clear that, like Nietzsche before him, Evola has anticipated the nihilism that follows the destruction of the incumbent value system, and is speaking of what must come beyond that. He writes of the “Four Ages” system famililar to readers of Plato’s Republic as well as to Hindus.

The warning of this chapter is that the forces of destruction and degeneracy are too powerful to be overcome; resisting them is as futile as resisting the tide. But in this there is still a message of hope: those destructive forces are too mindless, stupid and disorderly to hold sway for very long and so, like the storm, they will pass, and leave an opportunity to rebuild order in their wake.

And so, Evola mocks the “progressive” and “advanced” thinking of the West as little more than symptoms of a disease of the soul. This is apparently the context in which the book ought to be read.

The object of the book is summed up in the final paragraph of this essay: “defining the attitude to be taken toward certain experiences and processes of today”. In other words, how do we deal with the fact that everything’s falling to bits?

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

The Yin-Yang of History

Traditionally speaking, when men like this start appearing among your youth, it’s the beginning of the end

The postwar period was a good one for the West. The major Anglo powers had seen all the challengers and potential challengers to their world hegemony bombed flat – partially by them, mostly by each other. With Nazism and Communism both falling to their knees, the liberal democratic order ushered in some good times for the people of the world. Peace and prosperity reigned… but the yin-yang of history tells us that nothing lasts.

The 1990s might be seen, from the vantagepoint of history, as the apogee of these good times. The Soviet Union had fallen, and China and India were yet to rise. Those of us who knew the course of history, however, knew this: good times create weak men. Weak mean create hard times. Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times.

This is the yin-yang of history.

Good times are the equivalent of summer. Here, people don’t have to think very hard about how to survive and thrive. In the same way that it’s warm and sunny in summertime and so people don’t have to think very hard about what clothing to put on before they go outside, political conditions are favourable in the sense that the ruling class doesn’t have to think very hard about security without and solidarity within.

In the summertime of history, wealth abounds from the increased energy in the atmosphere. To most, these good times seem like they’re going to last forever. The more perceptive of people, however, even if they don’t know about the yin-yang of history, can often see the signs of collapse coming in advance.

The problem with good times, as Plato observed in The Republic, is that they create weak men. When times are good, the tendency is to let minor infractions slide, and although this can lead to an atmosphere of joy it also leads to indiscipline. This indiscipline is why the weak men are weak, and it’s this indiscipline that leads to the hard times.

It might be argued that this is the stage that the West finds itself in 2018 A.D. Our Baby Boomer leaders, who were raised with all the laxness of a generation that had got its fill of violence in World War II and had decided to bring up the Boomers with as little harshness as possible, clearly do not possess the mental discipline to educate themselves properly about the matters of the world.

In our age, it’s entirely possible to find a Western minister or higher who doesn’t know the basics about history or science. There is ample opportunity to learn about such things, of course, but our leaders would rather drink alcohol and watch television. Some, like the Belgian Minister of Health, have lost control of their weight entirely.

These weak men cast a shadow on their nations: the same as the shadows of autumn, who they represent. Their enemies observe this absence of intellectual power, and they move to take advantage.

Because the leaders have no discipline to educate themselves properly, they don’t understand what’s really happening in the world. This results in decisions getting made on the basis of how things used to be a long time ago (but no longer are), or how things might be in some idealised future world (instead of how they now are).

These poor decisions lead naturally to hard times. This stage in the cycle of history corresponds to the wintertime. Leaders lead the people in the wrong direction, causing them to dissipate their energies on follies or to spill them on battlefields for no reward. Here there is poverty – in fact, there is never enough of anything, and people learn to live with want.

Hard times can lead to bitterness, but in the same way that the bitterest cold of winter leads to a hardening in the form of ice, so too do the bitterest lows of life lead to a hardening of the heart. These hard men do not, at first, bode well for the people who they live among. To the contrary – the pitiless, ruthless nature of hard men make them natural criminals and killers.

But the hardness of hard men leads to discipline in those who come after them. This discipline – true iron discipline – is a matter of Will and therefore it is ultimately generated from within. These disciplined men are the opposite of the men we have in 2018 A.D. These disciplined men impose order upon their minds by devoting themselves to the correct course of study and behaviour.

Disciplined people who study hard represent the springtime of a people. It is for these people that VJM Publishing exists. These are the people who will rise up and make good decisions. They will come to occupy positions of leadership not because their backers paid for the best advertising, but because they are asked by their peers to occupy these positions on the basis of demonstrated wisdom.

Because of this wisdom, these leaders are not afraid to shy away from the knowledge necessary to make the correct decisions. This leads to increasing wealth and prosperity. So when the men of gold are recognised as such and are placed into positions of leadership on account of this, then the people will enter another golden age, or another age of summer.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Sweden Met With Catastrophe Because of Arrogance

I arrived in Sweden for the first time in December of 2001. Within weeks, before I even had the chance to adjust my sleep schedule to the 11-hour time difference, the country was rocked by the murder of Fadime Sahindal. I didn’t understand it at the time, but this incident – and Swedes’ reaction to it – could explain the disaster that has now befallen the nation a generation later.

Sahindal was a Turkish refugee, and had moved to Sweden with her family at the age of seven. She was evidently a high-spirited woman because she refused to accede to her father’s demands that she abstain from dating any Swedish men. This refusal, to to horrified astonishment of the Swedish population, was enough to provoke her own father into shooting her in the head to absolve the perceived shame Fadime had brought upon the family – a so called honour killing.

I had never, ever heard of such a thing as an honour killing in New Zealand, because our Muslim population is too low. So I had to look to Swedish people, as fellow Westerners, to suggest a reasonable reaction. The reaction to this was, at first, utter shock, mostly because murders were shocking enough by themselves in the Sweden of 2002, and to my surprise people got over it very quickly, appearing to reason that the problem would be sorted out soon enough.

But on the fringes on Swedish society, a plaintive voice sounded in the dark forests. It said, calmly and logically, that if women are being murdered for going out with young Swedish men, then the nation’s efforts to integrate these people – now arriving in their tens of thousands – were going to be extremely difficult. If the immigrants hate us so badly that they’d rather kill their own children than have them go out with ours, how will they ever have the will to integrate?

Many Swedish people appeared to have followed that line of reasoning to the obvious, and unremarkable conclusion that if they hate us that badly then we ought not to let them into the country, at least not in any large number. These people had learned, however, that they could not articulate these thoughts without being socially executed, because the consensus was that Sweden would do an excellent job of integrating these immigrants, and anyone going against this consensus was ostracised without mercy.

The intellectual class of Sweden appeared to be obsessed with becoming an “ideologiskt stormakt” (ideological superpower). The reasoning was that Sweden was too small to be a superpower in any military or economic sense, so she could only find satisfaction for her ambitions to be recognised as the best in the world through ideology. She would have to set some kind of Christ-like moral example for the world to follow.

Swedes strongly disagreed with me when I claimed that this desire, borne of a self-righteous and narcissistic need to be recognised as the best in the world at everything, was likely to backfire. Sweden had proven itself the best in world at solving any and all social issues – this was the constant refrain that I could not escape during my time here. Vi är stolt men inte nojd – we are proud but not satisfied – was the campaign slogan.

Therefore, Sweden would inevitably prove itself better than every other country in the world at solving the issue of how to integrate masses of angry, psychologically crippled men of fighting age from cultures rotten with hatred for outsiders. I realised this from talking to a Swedish friend of mine who was a member of the ruling Social Democrat party.

I tried to explain the mathematics of open borders to him. I used the metaphor of two bank accounts, one containing $100 and growing at 5% interest, the other containing $1,000 and growing at 2% interest. No matter how small the initial principal in the first bank account, as long as it grew at a higher percentage it would eventually become the larger of the two.

Therefore, I explained, if you allow mass and unending chain migration from a foreign population into your country, and those foreigners breed at higher rates than you, those foreigners will eventually outnumber you in your own country. Then you are forced to either get rid of democracy or be ruled by them.

He shrugged his shoulders. It was evidently not considered a big deal. “Dom försvenskar sig” (they will become/make themselves Swedish) was heard everywhere. The underlying belief appeared to be that, out of sheer gratitude, the refugees would cast aside all of their previous culture and immediately adopt Swedish norms, having finally come to the conclusion (self-evident to Swedes) that Swedish culture is the best in the world.

None of this is to disparage Swedish culture – to the contrary. Aside from the problems mentioned in this essay, I was deeply impressed with the national character of the Swedish people. In all regards I found them exceptionally competent, thoughtful, industrious, honest, organised and compassionate. They had clearly succeeded in building a society with very few problems.

Unfortunately for them, this success also contained the seed for their demise.

A foreign visitor to Sweden (at least 16 years ago) quickly noticed that it was an unusually high-trust society. People generally believed what you told them. This high trust allowed for an exceptional level of efficiency, because it meant that business could be conducted with very little suspicion.

It also led to Swedish people forgetting, over time, that not everyone else in the world was like that. The level of trust in Swedish society at the turn of the century was so high, and so taken for granted, that it was assumed that everyone else in the world was capable of behaving like that if they were just given a chance.

And so, the failure of other countries to successfully integrate large numbers of Africans or Muslims and turn them into productive members of society was blamed on the moral failings of those countries – those populations were simply too racist or unwilling to pay the high levels of welfare necessary. Sweden would be different because of the unique foresight and generosity of these people.

The psychological origin of the disaster currently befalling Sweden is nothing more than the very same hubris that great writers and playwrights have been warning us about since the time of Homer. It lies in the narcissistic, arrogant belief that Sweden is the best in the world as if by God’s Will and therefore can effortlessly solve the social problems that other nations had struggled with.

Sweden has to accept that it’s impossible to make gold out of shit, no matter how skilled and intelligent one is.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Ethnomasochism

In abnormal psychology, masochism is known as a paraphilia that is characterised by “the derivation of sexual gratification from being subjected to physical pain or humiliation by oneself or another person” (Merriam-Webster). The depictions of masochism in films such as Secretary and books such as Fifty Shades of Gray are, while dramatised, essentially accurate.

Some masochistic individuals have displaced this ordinarily individualistic sentiment with a collective one. It’s common for Jewish men to engage in Nazi roleplay with hired dominatrices, for example. Central to this is the idea that an individual can derive pleasure from being called a “filthy Jew” or similar by a dominatrix, as long as they are able to identify with the race that is being derided.

Ethnomasochism is essentially masochism taken to the collective level of the race. Instead of begging to be whipped by a woman on account of personal transgressions, the ethnomasochist invites abuse on account of the collective transgressions of those sharing a skin colour with them.

It’s becoming common to encounter ethnomasochists on the Internet, especially on social media. They can be found wringing their hands about the past crimes of people of European descent, stereotyping all European colonists as rapists, thieves and murderers.

They will describe a world history in which all races lived in harmony until Europeans started spewing out of Europe like demons out of the mouth of Hell, bringing misery and suffering to all they encountered, for no other motivation than the pure malice their stony hearts held for all life. Usually this comes with a demand that white people collectively make up for the crimes of their race by means of some kind of reparations.

In other words, white people are bad boys that need to be punished.

One can almost guarantee that the sort of person who is an ethnomasochist is also privileged, middle-class and holds deep Marxist sympathies. Chances are high they have a micropenis or are impotent when unable to live out some race-based humiliation fantasy, such as getting cucked by a “black bull”, and chances are also high that they hold much contempt for white working-class people, who they are happy to stereotype as ignorant, violent and lazy (sound familiar?).

To this end, we can define ethnomasochism as “the derivation of sexual gratification from being subjected to physical pain or humiliation by oneself or another person on account of belonging to a particular, despised race.”

Ironically, this movement is actually more racist than normal people are. White people who have a fetish about seeing their girlfriends railed by black men are very, very similar to men who have a fetish about seeing their girlfriends railed by dogs. Part of the thrill comes from the degradation implied by having sex with a creature that’s less than human.

Moreover, a person can only feel shame on account of belonging to a particular race to the degree that they identify with being a member of that race (i.e. to the degree that their identity excludes other races). So it’s only possible to feel ethnomasochistic sentiments about the past crimes of the white race if one identifies strongly with one’s skin colour to the exclusion of other personal qualities – which is the definition of racist.

Curiously, it’s impossible to cure ethnomasochism by subjecting a person with it to hearing a non-white person talk about how they think there’s nothing wrong with white people, or how they were glad for European colonisation because it saved them from the vagaries of Nature, or from cannibalism or ceaseless tribal warfare, or because it gave them an opportunity to engage with the modern world and the wealth of accumulated wisdom going back to before Socrates, Plato, Buddha, Lao Tzu and Confucius..

Because the ethnomasochist is racist, they will often assume that non-white people do not have the intelligence to reason their way to original conclusions, and thus their opinions are irrational and therefore can be rejected in favour of the anti-white narrative.

The cure for ethnomasochism is reading a history book, because an appreciation of history will tell you that the whole world is terrible and always has been, whether or not white people showed up. All non-white races have treated each other with horrific disregard at various points because that is human nature when exposed to the environmental challenges presented by planet Earth.

The Four Kinds of Dark Age

The four types of Dark Age are the Age of Poverty, the Age of Violence, the Age of Ignorance, and the Age of Cowardice. There can be more than one of these ages occurring at any one time, and there can be none, but the invariable is that people suffer in a Dark Age for reasons outside of themselves. These four ages also correspond closely to the four masculine elements of clay, iron, silver and gold.

Humanity seems to have been cast into a world in which all four Dark Ages were in operation simultaneously and when we were little more than animals. One by one, we rose out of these Dark Ages and into a Golden Age, but most would argue that we have since degenerated again.

The Dark Age corresponding to the element of clay is the Age of Poverty. This is when people are unhappy because the basic necessities are hard to come by. A famine would be the typical example of an Age of Poverty, as would a depression. The natural state of humanity in the biological past – i.e. as some kind of ape-thing – could be described as an Age of Poverty.

In an Age of Poverty, children suffer from hunger and basic disease, clothing and housing is shabby and falling apart and getting through every day is a question of making the right sacrifices. There is no surplus, and everything keeps getting harder.

Corresponding to the element of iron is the Age of Violence. The obvious example of this is a war, where people are actively trying to kill each other for whatever reason. In an Age of Violence, people are unhappy because their basic physical security is under threat and this leads to immense anxiety and suffering.

The Ages of Poverty and Violence are related in that the elements that represent them are the two base elements. This suggests that these ages are dark for immediate physical reasons.

The element of silver corresponds to the Age of Ignorance. As silver is brilliant, shines and is reflective, so are those qualities lost in an Age of Ignorance.

Brilliant people become rare; the sort of mind necessary to make original scientific advancements or to produce great works of art, architecture or engineering become impossible to find. No-one shines creatively, instead being possessed of a zombie-like dullness that finds expression in anti-intellectualism and a kind of moronic pride in not reading or being educated.

In a real Age of Ignorance, all aspects of silver are mistaken for signs of either foppishness, passivity and faggotry (from the perspective of iron) or a cruel, detached, insectoid lack of emotional warmth (from the perspective of clay). The real benefits to the quality of life that intelligence brings are either not appreciated or actively despised.

Gold corresponds to an Age of Cowardice. The essence of this age is when men and women lose the Will to confront and to face up to the truth.

That silver and gold are valuable tell us that getting out of an Age of Violence is the most we can expect as a decency. Ages of Ignorance and Ages of Cowardice are ever-present threats owing to the valuable nature of the metaphysical elements that keeps them away.

Generally speaking, human culture devolves from the highest stage down to the lowest, a phenomenon that Plato observed in The Republic. One begins in an aristocracy, which might correspond to an absence of a Dark Age, with the various steps down the ladder of correct rule reflecting a Dark Age corresponding to rule without the next element down. Then comes an Age of Cowardice, when the philosopher kings no longer have the courage to assert their right to rule.

This Age of Cowardice leads to the high-spirited and assertive person taking over, which Plato referred to as a timocracy. This degenerates into an Age of Ignorance, when the rulers ignore the philosophers for so long that the importance of learning and knowledge is forgotten.

Inevitably this leads to poor political decisions being made, which leads to an Age of Violence as the frustration of the people reaches a boiling point. This can either clear out the incorrect rulers and replace them with a new aristocracy of philosopher-kings, or destroy all semblance of civilisation and return humanity to a truly primitive state – the Age of Poverty.

Generation X’s Most Bitter Realisation

Instead of seeing the next generations as inheritors of a world that they were duty-bound to steward, The Baby Boomers see the young as resources to be exploited

Some things have been part of life for so long that we’ve taken them for granted. We take for granted that parents pass wealth onto their children in the form of knowledge and silver; we take for granted that technological and social improvements mean that the quality of life increases for every generation that passes; we take for granted that each generation has an obligation to the leave the world in order for the one that comes after it. Generation X has come to bitterly realise that some of these assumptions are no longer true.

The most bitter realisation of Generation X is that we will be the first generation in history to inherit a lower standard of living than the previous generation enjoyed. The Baby Boomers ticked up so much debt on the intergenerational credit card that they can never pay it back themselves, even if they intended to. We will pay it back through the sweat of our own labour so that our parents can enjoy a lengthy retirement, the vast majority of them still fit to work.

What is currently taking place is the greatest theft in history: the Baby Boomer’s theft of the production of the Generation Xs and Millennials, who will lose a large proportion of their wages to pay back the debts their parents accumulated, and for rents on houses that they can never own, merely so that those parents could experience an unprecedented level of comfort.

They did this by giving themselves tax cuts without cutting spending, so that our nations had to borrow to pay for basic social services, many of which the Baby Boomers themselves used more frequently on account of being elderly. All over the world this was done, not just New Zealand; everywhere an excuse was found for the increase in borrowing.

At the same time, the wages of the next generation were squeezed between having to pay back massive student loans that the Baby Boomers were not themselves subjected to, competing with foreign labour to a degree that the Baby Boomers were not themselves subjected to, and forking out for ever-scarcer affordable housing to a degree that the Baby Boomers were not themselves subjected to.

So not only did the Baby Boomers ensure that they enjoyed the highest standard of living ever recorded by one generation in human history, they did so explicitly at the expense of the generations who would follow, saddling them with a debt so heavy that even war reparations would be less burdensome.

They ticked up this unique standard of living for themselves on the national credit card, and simply left us to pay the debt off, which will take half a century. For most Western nations, cleaning up this mess will involve trying to integrate millions of individuals from very strange and often barbaric cultures, people that the Baby Boomers let into our countries because they didn’t want to pay us proper wages like they themselves had been paid.

The question that will define the soul of Generation X is whether we do the same thing to the generations after us out of bitterness and resentment for what our parents put us through, or if we treat the generation after us fairly out of a belief that we learned something from the greed of our parents.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand V

This reading carries on from here.

The fifth essay in The Interregnum is ‘Welfare and Precarious Work’ by Chloe King.

Unlike the other offerings so far, this essay actually resonates with people who are working class. Instead of waffling on about climate change and other shibboleths of the global elite classes, King focuses on real issues that affect real Kiwis: poor wages, poor security of work and a pitiful excuse for a social safety net.

This essay uses anecdotal examples of young Kiwis trying to make it in a workplace that is forcing them into ever worse conditions. The nature of work in New Zealand is becoming ever more stressful as things like the 90-day firing law undermine employment security, and the essay does a good job of showing how this leads to increased rates of mental illness.

It also correctly draws attention to the cruelty of the Fifth National Government. Paula Bennett’s welfare reforms now force people seeking a benefit to fill out a 48-page form of questions – obviously a considerable challenge to the kind of person whose literacy levels place them in precarious economic positions.

King also speaks to a very real sense of outrage when she writes about how mentally ill people are often bullied back into the workforce well before they are ready – a short-sighted approach whose shortcomings become obvious when the inevitable next mental breakdown occurs.

Describing something she calls “constricted choice”, King details a very real problem in the modern workforce: our choice of jobs has increased, but the average quality of those jobs has plummeted, meaning that Kiwis are essentially forced into taking poorly paid work out of duress. The fact that we have a wide choice of crap jobs doesn’t actually make it any better.

Ultimately, King hits the bulls-eye when she states simply that “Workers deserve to be paid fairly and treated with dignity and respect.” She is right when she points out that the nature of workplace relations in New Zealand have deteriorated to the point where the emphasis is on coercing workers into obedience rather than encouraging them.

The “politics of selfishness” is a very real thing, especially in New Zealand, and King rightly points out that she’s not asking for much when she posits that “no-one should work and be poor at the same time.” It’s not much to ask for, but we’re still not getting it, and the essay concludes with a call to collective action.

In summary, Chloe King’s piece strikes much harder and more accurately at the heart of the issue than the previous efforts in this book: poor living and working conditions right here, right now, not vague threats of what might happen in 50 years’ time. It is easy to get the impression that the left is going to do much better by proposing a universal basic income than it is by going on about climate change, and so for their sake they’d do better promoting voices like King’s.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand IV

This reading carries on from here.

The fourth essay in The Interregnum is ‘Climate Change and Just Transition’ by Edward Miller. Keeping with the theme of the book so far, Miller describes himself as “a political activist with a keen interest in global justice,” and declares the enemy as “the deeply held commitment of large businesses and governments to maintaining economic growth at all costs.”

Miller laments that neoliberalism has made conditions worse for the “most vulnerable of society,” and it is for them who Miller claims to speak. There is already a problem with this, as anyone who has spent time around the most vulnerable of society would know, and it’s that people with pressing, immediate problems couldn’t care less about things like “global justice”.

Writing of the need to sacrifice economic growth for the sake of lowering our carbon emissions, Miller suggests that he is completely engrossed in the bubble of middle-class privilege, like many Green supporters. The practical reality is that sacrificed economic growth means workers getting fired, hours being cut, health care being postponed or cancelled, and children going hungry – considerations often lost on the young and carefree.

Action on climate change is described as something “we so desperately need” – further evidence that Miller lives in an echo chamber. What we need are better wages, better houses, and better attitudes to mental healthcare and to child abuse. Problems with proximate causes and clear solutions. Focusing on problems with clear solutions will all us to ensure that our energies are not wasted from virtue signalling about issues we cannot affect.

Much like other commentators in this book so far, Miller attacks neoliberalism as if it was an evil that sprang from nowhere upon an unsuspecting world in the mid 1980s. This is perhaps to be expected of young writers who are yet to comprehend that history and the world existed before they were born, and were not things discovered by them.

But it’s difficult to take seriously a work that does not place neoliberalism in its context of the complete collapse of the Soviet Union and the West’s increasing awareness that Communism had directly led to the starvation of tens of millions of people. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Communism appeared to the world as a monstrous evil that had, after almost half a century, finally been defeated. It was natural that things move in the direction away from it.

Almost certainly, this movement away from Communism went too far, as political movements tend to do, and so neoliberalism does need to be balanced. But we don’t need to balance it with economic and social policies that have established historical precedents of failure.

The idea of returning the means of production to the masses via an unelected ideological elite that purports to speak for those masses is known to be suicidal, but Miller avoids this easy fantasy, making a successful point when he promotes the idea of a universal basic income by means of the Government printing money.

Unfortunately, the fate of those other men who have proposed debt-free Government-backed money (McKinley, Lincoln, Hitler, Kennedy, Gadaffi) is ignored here. Perhaps this book is not thick enough for the kind of investigation necessary for such a thing.

Charlie Manson: So Close And Yet So Far

Charles Manson: got a lot right, got a lot wrong

Charles Manson: thought by some to be a genius, thought by many to be a maniac. Only a select few realised that he was both. In his actions relating to the infamous Family killings, Manson almost showed humanity a new way of relating to power, but a poor choice of target disqualify his actions from being considered anarcho-homicidalism.

Much like Adolf Hitler, Manson kept a coterie of devoted followers on account of an extraordinary level of charisma and penchant for giving lectures about the degeneracy into which the outside world had fallen. Also much like Adolf Hitler, Manson had a lot of excellent ideas that lacked execution, with consequences that the world would not forget.

One of the excellent ideas that Manson had was that people ought to rise up and challenge the control system, on account of its incredible corruption and the lies and destruction that it has wrought upon the Earth. Rising up against liars and thieves who have wormed themselves into positions of authority is the basis of anarcho-homicidalism, and no doubt Manson played on natural anarcho-homicidalist sentiments when he persuaded Watson et al. to do what they did.

Nobody can stand in judgement, they can play like they’re standing in judgement. They can play like they stand in judgement and take you off and control the masses, with your human body. They can lock you up in penitentiaries and cages and put you in crosses like they did in the past, but it doesn’t amount to anything. What they’re doing is, they’re only persecuting a reflection of themselves. They’re persecuting what they can’t stand to look at in themselves, the truth. – Charles Manson

Some might argue that Manson was an anarcho-homicidalist, on account of that much of his stated ideology was anarchic, and so the homicidal actions of the Family were also anarchism. It could indeed be argued that the Family actions were anarchic, because behaving in that manner is demonstrating very clearly that one has no rulers, but actions only constitute legitimate anarcho-homicidalism if they are conducted against someone making an attempt to enslave another.

It’s not really fair to target members of the cultural elite on that basis alone, for the reason that they are not the ones holding the reins of power. Sharon Tate was an actress – an influential position admittedly – but no-one took orders from her. She didn’t threaten anyone into coercion; she didn’t try to enslave anyone. She was just a pretty face that people paid money to look at for a few hours.

There was perhaps an element of jealousy in Manson’s selection of target, in that he had found it difficult to break into Los Angeles cultural circles, and so chose to target those who had. Such motivations cannot be considered anarcho-homicidal in any real sense, because they didn’t target anyone who held real coercive power, and were not motivated by the ideal of liberation.

This absence of coercive power meant that the people the Manson Family killed were not aggressors in any real sense, and therefore killing them could not be justified in self defence.

If Manson had targeted politicians instead, things would be very different. America was embroiled in the Vietnam War in 1969, and the Government was drafting young men to fight it without their consent, on pain of imprisonment. Killing any prominent warhawk or supporter of the Vietnam War would have been a legitimate act of anarcho-homicidalism, and would have been much more effective than abusing the draftees when they returned.

Charles Manson and his Family had more or less the right idea; their major error lay in the selection of a target that was not directly trying to enslave them.