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Culture War Roundup for the week of March 11, 2024

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There's a youtuber who's been showing up a lot in my feed lately. "The Healthy Gamer" aka "Dr Alok Kanojia" aka "Dr K." His actual channel is here: https://youtube.com/@HealthyGamerGG but the single clearest expression of his views is probably his interview here with another influencer, Diary of a CEO.

The reason I bring him up here is that he reminds me a lot of when Scott A used to talk about social issues. First of all, he's a psychiatrist. So at least some of the time, he has the weight of authority on his side (based on my training at Harvard medical school, there's lots of research saying... blah blah blah). But he's not afraid to go way outside the mainstream, speculating about hot-button cultural issues, particularly incels and modern dating. He's also got a hefty dose of "woo"- he spent time at some sort of Hindu monk training program in India, and his main recommendation for most people is "Yoga and meditation."

He uses a lot of clickbait thumbnails, with some wording that seems ripped straight from 4chan /r9k/. "Why therapy sucks for men," "Getting a girlfriend is NOT an achievable goal, "untake the blackpill," "why chasing red flags lead to love," and many others. Most of them are very long, so I've only skimmed through them. That's another similarity he has with Scott A- he has immense patience and goes on at great length over what most other people just hit in tweets and short videos. I hate the fact that he's using video as a medium, but I do understand that's what the young people are into these days. It also lets him sooth us with his calming voice and demeanor, instead of just focusing on the words...

Overall he comes across as both very wise and very kind. His overall perspective seems very "blue-pilled," but he seems to genuinely understand the slang that red-pillers and incels are using, which most liberal blue-pillers seem to get slightly wrong. He admits that a lot of the incels/red-pillers/black-pillers have genuine problems. He even admits that, for some of them, it's quite logical that they would want to commit suicide, given how crappy their lives are and how few solutions are available. He strikes a good balance between "here's how you can help yourself" and "this isn't really your fault, it's the fault of society." He's one of the very few men I've seen who's able to cry and camera and make me more sympathetic towards him. I can't help but like him, even when I disagree with him.

That said...

He's not content to just be a Youtube influencer. He's also selling a "coaching guide" on his website: https://www.healthygamer.gg/ for $100. Or a series of "coaching lessons" with a personal "coach" (NOT a licensed therapist), for $50/session (20 session minimum). Not with him, personally, but with some other person that he's supposedly trained. There's also a more expensive program for wanna-be Youtube creators.

I don't know how to feel about that. On the one hand... that's what psychiatrists and therapists do, right? They have to make a living, so they charge for their services. It's understandable that you can't fix all your problems from just watching Youtube videos, and maybe this sort of coaching works better than regular therapy (which I do have a pretty low opinion of). And there's a lot of alienated young men right now who really don't have anyone in their life they can reach out to for help right now.

On the other hand... this is exactly what scammers like Andrew Tate and the old PUAs do. Set himself up as this great, winning guy (he's not afraid to show off his lovely family and nice house), and offer an expensive service to teach vulnerable young men how to follow in his footsteps. Since the service is kind of vague, he can charge whatever he wants and there's no way to prove he scammed us. And he's definitely working the algorithm as hard as he can, with clickbait thumbnails and lots of Youtube shorts, plus going on interviews with other famous channels.

I can't tell whether this guy is the nicest, kindest guy who just wants to make a living from his very valuable service, or the shadiest scammer who's taking advantage of miserable people while pretending to be a saint. It's one or the other, no in-between. Thoughts?

the shadiest scammer who's taking advantage of miserable people

That one, he was shilled to me by the youtube algo as well. Blocktube took care of that. He knows how to play the algo game, I don't TRUST people who are ontop of their youtube algo game.

Agreed. I can't take anyone seriously who makes that face in the video thumbnails. I know that's just my boomer take but fuck it.

You know the option where a guy is altruistically helping others? That doesn't happen. Go with the other one.

Of course there are some people who genuinely practice altruism, at least unless you narrow the definition of altruism to ridiculous levels.

I disagree. There are none righteous, no not one.

Because righteousness requires total devotion to altruism, yes. If one is, say, 90% of the way to altruism, but still charges a bit more than they could to buy themselves some luxuries, that isn't 'righteous' in this sense. But

You know the option where a guy is altruistically helping others? That doesn't happen. Go with the other one.

There's no reason you can't be experiencing part of the 90% and not part of the 10%. You can be 'most of the way' there.

Yes - but in the Christian tradition that is because God's standard of righteousness is impossibly high, not because human-scale good works are impossible per se. From a secular perspective, what 2rafa was saying.

I'd settle for a humanity with the ability to tie shoes and sit on a toilet properly. But like God before me, I am doomed to disappointment.

This is basically what Andrew Tate did. Post a bunch of controversial things that appeal to young guys on youtube, claim that this is some sort of secret information "they" don't want you to know, then sell coaching classes.

It worked out really well for the tate guys. IMO this is a blatant (and common) scam.

Aren’t the Tate guys most likely heading to prison? I wouldn’t say it worked out well for them at all. Attracting the eye of Sauron is not good business.

Well, turns out that bragging about bribing police in widely followed podcast is not an ideal way to avoid bringing eye of Sauron.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/8/as-he-awaits-trial-andrew-tate-continues-to-influence-romanian-boys claims following summary

I like Eastern Europe as a whole because corruption is far more accessible … I find it offensive that a police officer in England will stop me and refuse to take a bribe

Aren’t the Tate guys most likely heading to prison?

Yes, because they're doing something illegal. Dr. K, not engaging in sex trafficking and merely separating fools from their money, is probably fine.

The problem for the Tates is the set of scams they were running before they hit the jackpot. All of this is blowback from their alleged pimping days that their newfound fame as the internet's red pill gurus cast a light on.

I think Dr. K will be fine.

It’s also that they were extremely stupid and started insulting their host country, which as ‘famous’ British/American influencers in a former Eastern Bloc country with an inferiority complex meant their remarks always made/make the news, which created a lot of resentment toward them in the state and higher-level judiciary, so much so that their low level organized crime connections and regular bribery could no longer keep them out of trouble. If Tate had studiously avoided mention of Romania, Romanian women, Romanian corruption etc he would have been fine.

Anecdotally, when he gets into the neuroscience of how emotions and motivation and such work, what he has to offer tends to be helpful. I think he relates things to adiction so much in part because that's the specific area he originally focused his practice, and also because it's been studied heavily and appears to have some transferable lessons associated with it.

FWIW, I attribute the amount of stuff I've been getting done over the past two years largely to what I've learned from like two or three of Dr. K's videos. However, it's clear from some videos that this is not as straightforward for everyone in his audience. Charitably, I'd hope the coaching program is both to get a more personalized assist going for those who need it, and to make up for the psychiatry practice he loses by spending so much time on Twitch. More pessimistically, the coaching program reminds me way too much of PUAs and things like that Sales Mentor thing that I just found a mail in my spam folder from that admits they got in trouble with the FTC. But he's way, way less pushy about the coaching ads than those types, so I'm holding out for the charitable version.

Anything promising coaching that isn't a sport is a scam. I simply refuse to believe that anyone would choose to associate themselves with such a strong scam trigger word if they weren't themselves a scammer.

As someone whose played basketball his whole life. Coaching in sport is also mostly a scam.

Do you know which videos were most helpful? I'm looking for some motivation hacks right now.

Why is there no in between?

I've noticed a pretty big pattern these days among fitness YouTubers. More clickbaity videos, more collabs with other creators that are popular, more shilling of exercise apps and products. It's not necessarily bad content, and a lot of it comes from people who are genuine and respected. I just think that's the ecosystem they live in now. And I couldn't say on the back end exactly how they're financially incentivised and rewarded, but clearly they are being pushed in this direction.

If he's telling the truth, then he sincerely believes that he can turn people's life around, from zero to hero. That's worth a lot! If he's not telling the truth, it's worth nothing. He's doing a lot more monetization than the average youtuber.

It's one or the other, no in-between.

....no? It's definitely in between. He is a nice guy who genuinely believes in the value of his service, and has seen it genuinely help people, and has rationally concluded that valuable services are worth large amounts of money, and good advertising and optics help you sell more of them.

This is no different than a top class chef charging $100 for meals at a high class restaurant instead of working at a soup kitchen. You would not describe such a person as "the nicest kindest chef", it's not a charity, but neither is it merely a scam.

High value product for high cost = fair

High value product for low cost = kind

Low value product for high cost = scam

Low value product for low cost = fair

Whether it genuinely is a high value product, I have no idea. But I believe that he genuinely believes in it, and wouldn't offer it if he didn't believe it was valuable, in a way unlike Andrew Tate or other scammers.

Whether it genuinely is a high value product, I have no idea. But I believe that he genuinely believes in it, and wouldn't offer it if he didn't believe it was valuable,

People have a way of convincing themselves of things that are convenient for themselves. Which means that a standard of "if they themselves believe it, it doesn't count as a scam" is unworkable. If they don't have some well-founded reason to believe it, they're indistinguishable from scammers even if on some level they've convinced themselves that their scam is really a good deal. You can't read their mind, after all.

I think the difference is, with the top chef, it's very obvious to everyone that his lessons are valuable. You can taste his food, directly sense how good it is, and he's teaching you himself. This is both vague ("what is "motivation?" what is "happiness?") and indirect (he's not teaching you himself, he's recruiting other people to teach you). This is more like if a famous modern artist recruited other artists to teach you how to become a famous modern artist, where the value of each work ranges wildly depending on totally subjective opinions and reputation.

Also, why do you think Andrew Tate doesn't "sincerely believe" that his service is valuable?

I would consider a "scammer" to be someone who deliberately tricks people into overpaying for a service above what value they would actually acquire from it. In a normal rational capitalist transaction, both the seller and consumer gain utility by transfering a good which the consumer values more highly than the seller does, for some price in between the two subjective valuations of that good. A non-scam seller genuinely helps their consumers while enriching themselves because the consumers value the good more highly than the price paid. A scam is when the seller deceives the consumer into over-valuing the good to the point that they pay a price higher than the actual value they receive once the good is obtained. Importantly, this involves actual deception: someone who unknowingly sells something to customers is like someone who unknowingly tells you false facts that they believe: they're wrong, but they're not a "liar".

I'll be honest, while I've watched a reasonable amount of Dr K. I'm not very familiar with Andrew Tate directly. Everything I know about him is third-hand, so I wouldn't place bets on my belief that he's an actual scammer, it's mostly based on vibes. His advice is largely selfish and unconcerned with helping other people as long as you maximize your own well-being at the expense of others, which is entirely self-consistent with maximizing his own well-being at the expense of others. It would be not at all hypocritical for him to scam his audience. I think. Again, I've mostly heard about him third-hand, so I could be wrong here. I'm much more confident that Dr K is not knowingly scamming others, at least in the form of deliberately deceiving or overcharging them, based on his general personality and genuineness. I believe that he believes that his customers will benefit from his services at a value higher than the cost. I don't know if that's true or not, but even if false I wouldn't consider it a "scam", in the same way that I don't believe $100 restaurants are worth the price to non-millionaires, but still aren't scams as long as they're up front about the prices.

Andrew Tate's brother has outright said their business was a scam and that they were fleecing fools. So I've got pretty high odds on Tate being a scammer. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brothers-make-millions-using-webcam-26508739

I don't know a ton about Dr. K, but sounds like he's somewhere between "overcharging for a somewhat useful service because he can" and "selling a great service at a reasonable market price". It really depends on how good his coaches are. I don't think they need licenses or government regulated training to be helpful, and $1000 for life-changing help that changes someone from a NEET to a functioning member of society is absolutely worth it. But whether his coaches can actually help much is an open question I think. But people can just watch his videos and decide for themselves whether that sort of therapy is right of them- he isn't advocating for anything immoral or lying to people like Tate does, so if someone wants to pay $1000 for several hours of 1 on 1 help, that's their choice.

I don't see what the coaches are even doing, besides repeating the same advice that he's giving for free in his videos. As I understand it, with traditional therapy, the main benefit is supposed to be from talking about your problems to someone who will listen. The "talking cure" as Freud called it. But you're also opening up about your deepest secrets to someone, which is why it helps to have therapists somewhat regulated so they don't take advantage of people or convince them of crazy shit like Freud did.

As far as I can tell, he gives great explanations of how modern society and technology are bad for people in ways that are not their personal fault. But his main advice is just to get the internet and do some meditation. At least a therapist can meet you in person, seeing a coach over the internet seems to contradict that.

Having an internet coach who you can talk to and get personalized advice from isn't a useless service. Just having an intelligent person to be a sounding board can be worth money. Plus it can serve as someone to be accountable to- you need to tell the coach how much progress you make each week, so you make sure you make some progress instead of putting it off.

What consequences would regulated therapists face that these coaches wouldn't for abuse of people's secrets?

Doesn't the therapist lose their license if they're caught doing something wildly unprofessional? That's supposed to keep them in check a bit. But yeah, I do agree that it's helpful to have a real person to talk to regularly, just wish it didn't have to be some stranger on the internet.

This sounds like "death of the author" stuff. Does the intent of the author matter, or is it just the words on the page? Not a clear issue, but I think most scholars side with the latter. EG, it doesn't matter whether someone intends to be a scammer, what matters is if they can actually give a useful service that justifies their prices.

I would be interested to know if there's anyone that's like "yeah, I paid for coaching from one of Dr. K's coaches and it was totally worth it. Turned my life around, in some ways that are easy to measure and verify."

What matters depends on what you're trying to extrapolate it for. If you're evaluating whether you or someone you know should purchase the product, then the value of the product matters, and intent only matters in-so-far as it correlates with the value of the product If person A is an intentional scammer then the vast majority of products they offer will have low value and high cost, so you can use that as a prior and probably dismiss all their offerings without any additional investigation.

If you're extrapolating it to the value of their other offerings then intent matters a little. An intentional scammer is going to offer bunches of scams and fail to cultivate real value. Someone who values themselves highly in a genuine way is going to attempt to offer good value even if they tend to overprice some of it, so the correlation between offerings will be weaker.

If you're extrapolating that to the value of their character, then intent matters a lot. If person A offers a bad product unintentionally, then you can't conclude they're a bad person, while if they do it intentionally then they are.

So if two people, A and B, have free videos offering advice, and then paid videos and services offering more detailed advice and individual attention for a cost, and person A is a known scammer and person B is not, you should probably avoid even the free videos from person A, because they're optimizing for advertising the scam and getting money rather than being genuinely useful, while person B is likely to offer more genuine advice in their free videos, because they believe the value of their product can speak for itself.

Ultimately, the value of the free and paid content is what actually matters, but the intent correlates strongly across content

Ultimately, the value of the free and paid content is what actually matters, but the intent correlates strongly across content

That's true. Unfortunately it's very hard to judge intent when the person is a is gifted salesman and charismatic speaker. Sometimes I think they even convince themselves. Take L Ron Hubbard for example. As far as I can tell it started off as a simple grift ("You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."). But then went deeper and deeper into it, and spent his entire life surrounded by fawning sycophants, and he started to actually believe that he was some sort of messiah. Plenty of people still swear by his teachings to, and would happily hand over all their money to the Church of Scientology all over again.

Basically I think the entire self-help/therapy/mysticism industry is full of both types, people who are actively scamming and people who are sincerely trying to help people. And I don't think I can always tell the difference.

As a heavy lifetime videogamer I've gotten a lot of value out of his advice. I'm particularly interested in some of his views around ADHD 'symptoms' and heavy screentime. I basically came to his conclusion years ago that meditation, (in my case basic mindfulness breath focus) was an excellent treatment to lack of focus, mental fatigue and super stimuli led dopamine receptor downregulation.

I've got no issue if he wants to spruik cheap courses or offer one on one sessions. In my view he's earned it.

I definitely think there's something to the idea that meditation, or just deliberately slowing down and focusing, can help with a lot of modern problems like ADHD and screentime. He just... goes very far with it, like saying that it's the cure to any kind of addiction. So yes, absolutely, try meditation. He deserves a lot of credit for convincing ADHD-addled gamers to try meditation! I just wish the sales part of it didn't feel so much like a late-night telemarketing scam, or Ponzi scheme.

An obscure figure from the old Alt Right takes the Hanania Pill.

The main reason I am posting this is not that, but to highlight his insider's history of the 2015-2017 era Alt Right which makes up much of an accompanying article.

1: Hanania's apparent survival of cancellation for past extremism via telling his story and disavowing his most extreme past views may have been quietly influential. This is the 2nd guy I've seen do it without even being forced to by exposure.

2: This guy claims to have been a quietly very influential figure and tells a story where his actions had a very outsized effect on the world. Maybe truly, maybe not. But his general account of events besides his own part in them is an insider's history of that much-mythologized period of the Alt Right, which was very influential and did have have a very outsized effect on the world, and his account seems to be a reasonably well-calibrated explanation of how their influence rippled into events.

Trace posted this on twitter and got a bunch of comments. Although the comments mostly remind me of why I dislike twitter. Not that I'm going to stop using twitter.

+2 upvotes on TheMotte -> 4.5M views on Twitter

That's the pipeline for you. I was surprised it went quite that far, but it's a good story!

A piece about the alt right that doesn't mention Yannapoulos, Bokhari and the wider anti-sjw sphere looks completely delusional to me. It's true that there is a real distinction between the Alt Right™, led by Richard Spencer, and the wider anti-sjw movement of the late 2010s that got lumped in as "alt right", sometimes without even being on the right. However the former was basically along for the ride, Richard Spencer was a marginal figure in his own heyday.

PS. someone referencing himself as a "young buck" is probably the cringiest thing I've seen this year so far.

Ultimately, the author appears most affected by how his hopes/expectations wrote a check that reality couldn’t cash when it comes to living in red-state country, especially for dating. This is something often seen in men who travel abroad looking for love/sex, but leaving disappointed that they only seem to attract bargirls and prostitutes—or nothing at all (or worse, they leave blissfully unaware that their “girlfriend” is but a bargirl or prostitute).

Sure, your greater wealth, worldliness, credentials, and especially height (in the international traveling case) will give you a leg-up upon the local men when it comes to female hypergamy and polygyny. Your status as an outsider might even stir up some additional curiosity and intrigue. However, girls will be coy and passive regardless of locale, so you must put in the… leg-work. The local girls, particularly the attractive ones, much less the ones who are both attractive and chaste, will hardly line-up to suck your dick and join your harem upon your arrival like a more explicit Axe commercial.

However, I give props to the author for putting his money where his mouth was, and giving it a go at living in red state country (at least for two years). Some other thoughts:

We’ve also passed Peak Woke, and cancel culture is on its last legs.

Yes, and Hunter/Trump will surely go to prison this time.

It turns out safety is mostly achieved by cultivating a boring and risk-averse culture optimized to meet the needs of smallminded and gossipy people who get don’t get excited about much other than college sports and weddings.

Former White Nationalist reinvents the hustle and bustle meme.

And the people who rise to the top of the food chain are never quite as inspirational as they are in places where things are actually happening. They stop being sharp or hungry really early on in life—it’s like they universally have “big fish in a small pond” energy. They work hard until they can coast off a sinecure, at which point they become totally unremarkable and function on autopilot for the rest of their life.

Well yeah, working hard until one can coast off a sinecure is a large motivation for working hard in the first place. Hence #fatFIRE, #chubbyFIRE and whatnot, all the way down to #leanFIRE and/or gasp a normal retirement (the horror).

Of course this revelation won’t come easy to an inexperienced young buck who’s only been with a handful of women. That hipster chick’s tattoos or stripper past or body count of 17 will likely intimidate you. But once you’re nearing 30 and have come into your own as a man, the same girl will seem an ingenue compared to your own triple digit past, while the churchy trad girls you once idealized as innocent little angels will instead seem like frigid judgmental viragoes who could never understand you.

This reeks like cope. Or perhaps: as you amass more sexual and life experiences, you cherish and appreciate the churchy trad girls all the more, and the thought of wifing up a tattoo’d hipster, former stripper, or a girl with a body count of 17 fills you with all the more disgust as your options widen and your desperation decreases.

In fact, many of them seemed hostile toward the very idea of someone moving around in the first place. When I first arrived a lot of people were genuinely incredulous that someone from another state would ever choose to live there, and thus regarded me with suspicion. Midwesterners seem not to like people who move. Many of my new social circle had never lived outside their immediate area and still were geographically very close to their parents.

*shocked pikachu*. People who are self-selected temperamentally and/or perhaps genetically to prefer their way of life and staying amongst themselves, and regard interloping outsiders with suspicion. Someone hasn’t read their Cochran and Harpending on the Amish.

To put it bluntly, most of my White neighbors and coworkers basically resembled hobbits. They had no ambition to them, nor any aspirations of greatness. Nor did they think about the world in a dynamic way—the more educated among them certainly stayed informed about the wider world, but they largely took it for granted that their immediate universe was a static place where nothing would ever happen.

Don’t these stupid midwestern hobbits know how much better life would be with elves telling them what to do and orcs providing some vibrancy?

Agreed, though, that a lot of white Americans are kind of like hobbits, in their lack of antibodies against general blank slatism, outgroup preferences, and progressive American culture. They might make a stink face at the young white male cosmopolitan who arrives in town for an extended study abroad program, but will root for outsiders and people that hate them when it comes to college football/basketball, the NFL, the NBA. Quokka would be the rationalist sphere term of art, here. “Cucks” might even apply. Relatedly, this has been touched upon in the Norf FC series of memes with regard to whites on the other side of the pond.

the same girl will seem an ingenue compared to your own triple digit past

I think this is the salient bit here; oh sure, when you were green and just starting out on your sexual odyssey with more experienced girls, you thought 17 was a lot. But (worldly chuckle here) when you're an International Man of Mystery at age 30, you'll have racked up so much poontang that those girls will be like innocent fawns next to your sexual kill-list.

I cannot roll my eyes hard enough at this because they'll bounce off the floorboards, but sheesh. Worst of both worlds: you want to boast that you can hit that stripper who begged you to do her, and you want to come away with a (relatively) fresh woman when you're ready to start thinking about marriage and a family. Meanwhile, the girls who correctly pegged you as a wannabe man-whore are all frigid prudish bitches. Uh-huh.

This is something often seen in men who travel abroad looking for love/sex, but leaving disappointed that they only seem to attract bargirls and prostitutes—or nothing at all

Another black pill; if you can't make it "here" (wherever that is), you can't make it anywhere; moving or traveling just means your failures move or travel with you.

I do think most young Western men, ranging from the sexually unsuccessful to the already successful, can (further) improve their lot—even substantially for some—by moving/traveling. However, expectations need to be managed and some work may be required to adapt to a new environment, such as learning the language.

This is true to an extent but sometimes it really is just the place. Personally every big move in my life has changed things up a lot (sometimes better sometimes worse).

Lol too true. The complaints seem universal. There is also very little more low status than having a mail order bride. At least in my circles. But it is very waspy stuff and apparently doesn't apply if you're Trump (like most things).

Trump didn't mail-order any of his brides. Both Ivana and Melania met Trump in the US; Marla Maples was born in Georgia (the state, not the country).

Most mail order brides meet their husbands in the us.

Trump is low status in his own circles and always was, but he doesn’t really care, which is kind of his superpower.

I have no idea who this bloke is and I don't much care. I doubt he had anay influence at all, other than in his own tiny set of like-minded, which he now declares he has left behind.

But I had to laugh at his pissiness over "I moved to my ideal place and got treated like a blow-in". Yeah, funny that: strangers with different views move in and want to change things to how they want it, locals don't go along with that? Isn't that what your White Nationalism was all about in the first place?

Every homogenous community in the world behaves like that; if he moved to his feisty Florida, proud Appalachia or gothic South, those local communities would treat him the same way for the next twenty or so years. He doesn't understand what he claims to be representing.

As to his Hobbits and the Shire metaphors, clearly he doesn't understand Hobbits or the Shire. Tolkien was aware of the downsides, but this guy doesn't appreciate the upsides.

Whew, you hit the nail on the head here. People generally like the way things are where they live, or they would move somewhere else (means available). Outsiders that want to come and fuck up the good thing they have going are going to be shunned, as they should be. The lack of awareness present in this fellow is staggering.

To put it bluntly, most of my White neighbors and coworkers basically resembled hobbits. They had no ambition to them, nor any aspirations of greatness. Nor did they think about the world in a dynamic way—the more educated among them certainly stayed informed about the wider world, but they largely took it for granted that their immediate universe was a static place where nothing would ever happen.

And the horrifying thing is that’s how they liked it.

I quickly discovered that Midwesterners had no sense of imperial destiny and “right to rule” like you see in New Yorkers, Texans, or Californians. They had nothing like the feisty Faustian individualism of Floridians or “fuck you” pride of Appalachians. They didn’t even have the air of faded glory and gothic tragedy you see in the Deep South. It was nothing but aggressively bland conformity everywhere you looked.

As someone that has adopted the Midwest as home, I'm glad that it's so bad for this guy that it twisted his political views and forced him to leave. Yes, we are basically hobbits, content to live in nice towns with little in the way of crime and no real desire to seek power over others. Yes, the "elites" in the small-city Midwest are less Machiavellian lunatics seeking power at all costs and more boring bureaucrats that just want the buses to run on time. No, this sort of community building doesn't manifest any sort of whites-only ethnic unity; Hmong, Indian, and other populations that would have been exotic here a century ago show up, adopt the culture, and basically wind up seeming about the same as other Midwesterners in a couple generations. That this part of the country remains relatively naturally egalitarian, welcoming, and so godawful boring for a status-seeking, power-hungry lunatic is exactly why I am much happier here than in a genuine power center of the empire.

There's also something that's just genuinely funny to see this guy finding out that Whiteopia isn't actually what he dreamed of and having that curdle into animosity towards the Whiteopian residents that don't even engage in serious racial introspection like residents of Diversitopias.

It is fascinating and dare I say even hilarious and satisfying to read a man discovering that the whole culture he made up, projected on to people, and invested in was in fact made up.

Why no, it turns out that most white people are not wannabe-Nietzschean-hustlers, and instead just want to find a nice partner, a nice job, and settle down to a quiet life and find meaning in family and friendship. The horror!

Yes, we are basically hobbits, content to live in nice towns with little in the way of crime and no real desire to seek power over others.

I remember reading Lord of the Rings growing up and thinking the Shire sounded like paradise. I'm not exactly surprised to find people who don't think so exist -- I knew this, there are people who like the city --, but finding that there are people who think of the Shire as an example of a bad thing is a little funny.

I live across a river from the hospital I was born in, five miles from the house I grew up in (well, one of them, anyway -- we moved a lot when I was young, but always in the same county. My father chased the housing bubble upwards), and, while the old rural character of the place is mostly gone and paved over by suburbia, enough of it is left that I love it here and have no desire to ever leave. I've married a girl I met in college, most of my immediate family lives within a 45 minutes drive, and I pretty consciously chase stable, salaried employment that provides dependable income and doesn't ask too much as far as travel or flexibility.

The funny thing is that I'm actually from an area of the country that is otherwise very much like the 'coastal elitopia' the guy found out he prefers, just far enough out on (what used to be) the edges of the suburbs that you can still see the shimmer of the rural past in the ponds and the creeks. The small towns are still small (even if they're expensive and trendy and surrounded by miles of SFH neighborhoods), the parks are still pristine (even if the bike trails are getting more defined and nature outside those parks is disappearing, at least in this part of the county), and the job market is healthy enough that I don't think I'll ever even have to leave (even if my wife wants to move to Europe someday -- we both want something like Bavaria, which is pretty much exactly like here but with less tract housing and better beer).

Lord of the Rings growing up and thinking the Shire sounded like paradise.

Really? Even if you ignore Aman completely I would say Rivendell and its environs were more of a paradise than the Shire ever could be.

Depends what you want. Rivendell was a refuge, and a temporary one; now it has faded with the passing of the Rings. The description in the appendices of Arwen coming to Lothlorien after Aragorn's death is heart-breaking, because it says so much with so little: she came to the silent land and dwelt there alone under the fading trees, since both Galadriel and Celeborn had left, until winter came and she laid herself to rest on the green mound while the mallorn leaves were falling.

If you're looking for 'paradise' in this world, then the Shire is the nearest you will get.

Rivendell is temporary only from a terribly alien worldview - it has lasted thousands of years. That is, of course, insufficient from the perspective of an Elf, but should satisfy any mortal human.

The Shire, of course, is clearly idealised by Tolkien, but anyone who thinks it to be paradise is wrong. Tolkien himself clearly grasped the drawbacks of such a society - petty, parochial, ignorant, and dependent on the goodwill of greater civilizations.

Rivendell is a redoubt, it's a place of refuge because it's hidden away, not easily accessible, and Elrond can control who gets there. It's been sheltering the shattered line of the Northern kings since Arnor was destroyed, and it's filled with war survivor Elves from the last time Sauron kicked off and the time before that when Melkor was the Big Bad.

And all this depends on the power of one of the Three Rings to maintain that air of timelessness. Which is precarious, as we see with the destruction of the One Ring. Even with that, though, the age of Men is coming and the fate of the Elves is fading if they remain (until, in Tolkien's very oldest original mythos, they dwindle down into the 'fairies' of our/Victorian day) or to pass overseas and leave behind all that they tried to build in Middle-earth.

And even Rivendell is not immune to the depredations of the outer world, see the fate of Celebrian.

It's not a place for mortals, apart from a time where they need shelter and healing, or are coming to the end of their journey through life.

Tolkien's presentation of Minas Tirith is similarly idealised, but nobody writes about Tolkien as a promoter of classical (or any other) principles of urban planning. Tolkien clearly did have an idealised view of a traditional English rural life which was being rendered obsolete by industrialisation, but when he tries to put it on the page he falls into the classical historical-nostalgist trap of writing out the reality of peasant life. The only working-class hobbits we see are the two Gamgees (and we don't see much of the old Gaffer), who enjoyed the favour of their aristocratic patron. If I use race as a metaphor to explain the English class system to Americans*, this is like writing the Antebellum South from the perspective of three planters and a house slave, which is what Gone With the Wind does, and is widely panned for in the current year.

In the world we live in, the dominant demographic trend of the last 250 years (in England - it is more recent in other places) is people voluntarily and knowingly moving from the Shire to Minas Tirith for a better life.

In so far as the Shire is paradise, it is because it (for reasons not explained) remains rightly-governed and unaffected by the rising Dark despite Arnor falling around it. (Rivendell and Lorien are similar, although the reasons that they are unaffected are more obvious) The implication of the appendices is that once Aragorn (and his heir Eldarion) consolidated the Reunited Kingdom, the whole Kingdom enjoyed this level of peace and prosperity.

* Something I feel entirely justified in doing given that the traditional English class system is fundamentally about oppression of the indigenous population by Norman settler-colonialists.

I think if you're likening Gaffer Gamgee and Sam to house slaves, you're wading into deep waters. That is completely not the parallel, even if we take the view that this is about the landed gentry. Think more the idealised image of the 'old family retainer' rather than 'chattel slave of a different race'.

Though I think, given your analysis of Norman colonialism, you are somewhat tongue-in-cheek about this whole topic.

Yeah, there's that, too. We are not Elves and we cannot have their life. We are Men and the fading of the world of Elves leaves us to build our own paradises.

There's a chapter in Anna Karenina where Levin, the lovesick landowner and sometime friend of Anna's brother, returns to his estate after trying and failing to win the heart of Kitty, a young woman who is still too caught up in the thrills of court life to take him seriously. While there, there is a scene where he assists his tenants with harvesting the grain, spending most of a day just working side by side with them. Tolstoy describes this experience like next to nothing else he describes in the whole book, lauding it in a way that almost feels utopian. You can feel Tolstoy's agrarianism shine right through.

I've never found the idea that paradise involves no work very convincing.

Reminds me of Alexander Pope:

Happy the man, whose wish and care 
A few paternal acres bound, 
Content to breathe his native air, 
     In his own ground. 

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread, 
Whose flocks supply him with attire, 
Whose trees in summer yield him shade, 
     In winter fire. 

Blest, who can unconcernedly find 
Hours, days, and years slide soft away, 
In health of body, peace of mind, 
     Quiet by day, 

Sound sleep by night; study and ease, 
Together mixed; sweet recreation; 
And innocence, which most does please, 
     With meditation. 

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; 
Thus unlamented let me die; 
Steal from the world, and not a stone 
     Tell where I lie.

Excuse me rolling on the floor at this bit:

It turns out that a cultural ecology where most quality women get married early on in life—either in college or immediately thereafter—is really bad for the dating prospects of a 25 year old man. In practice a society that encourages late marriage is actually much better for more bookish eccentric guys, who tend to be late bloomers in developing their masculinity and ability to seduce women.

Dude, pal, mate: the reason the local gals didn't date you is because you didn't seem like marriage material, and the reason you didn't seem like marriage material is that their parents (especially their mothers) didn't know you, where you worked, how much you made, where your family came from, where your father worked, how much he made, etc.

If you want a culture of "quality" (and that term alone lets me know there were plenty of women who would date a 25 year old incomer, but they didn't meet his criteria) women who will also date promiscuously, then you want a culture of promiscuous women. And I'm betting those were the women you wouldn't date in that Midwest town.

Do you really think twenty-two year old Joe from down the street has a "developed masculinity and ability to seduce women" and that's why he's dating twenty year old Mary-Lou who's in her second year of college? The same Mary-Lou who won't give you the time of day? No, it's because their families know each other, they grew up beside each other, they went to the same high school. They have connections and roots.

I nearly feel sorry for the poor bastard, if ever there was a case of "be careful what you wish for, you may get it", this is it. He wants trad women who don't sleep around and marry early, and turns out he's the kind of guy their mothers tell them not to get involved with. Also probably because these stolid, cow-like Midwesterners can tell when someone is strutting around with a superiority complex about "I know what a bodega is, I've eaten Thai food (as you get it in an American restaurant), and your elites are vastly less impressive" and so they don't want to bother with someone who will spend 80% of the time looking down his nose at them, their town, their families, etc.

Talk about sour grapes!

Ironically enough, if you are the sort of extremely online neurotic weirdo intellectual who gravitates to “trad” ideology as a young man, you probably aren’t temperamentally suited to dating normie conservative church girls who organically live that way. They much prefer unreflective stoic chudbots with rough hands and smooth brains; to these women any kind of emotional expression is coded as womanly. After you date around for a few years you’ll quickly discover that you are a lot more attractive to the bohemian art hoe daughters of the coastal elite.

Uh-huh. It was your giant throbbing... intellect that turned them off, and your being in touch with your emotions. The coastal elite art hoes may date you (read: sleep around with you) but when it comes to marriage, their parents will be every bit as picky as the Midwesterners.

Of course this revelation won’t come easy to an inexperienced young buck who’s only been with a handful of women. That hipster chick’s tattoos or stripper past or body count of 17 will likely intimidate you. But once you’re nearing 30 and have come into your own as a man, the same girl will seem an ingenue compared to your own triple digit past, while the churchy trad girls you once idealized as innocent little angels will instead seem like frigid judgmental viragoes who could never understand you.

Triple-digit camgirls he's jerked off to, is it? 🤣 Let's break this down: so take it that Big Boy is 30 years of age and started dating at 16. That's 30-16 = 14 years to bang a gong, get it on. As for triple digits, let's be very conservative here. 100 is triple digits. 100/14 = 7 girls a year, which comes down to a new girl every 7 weeks. Well, that's doable, he never has a relationship lasting longer than two months, he can rack up 100 girls over 14 years.

I'm thinking the frigid judgmental viragoes understand you just fine, Big Boy. Like every cheating husband that ever said "my wife doesn't understand me".

Largely agree although I’d add that it’s also that all the pretty midwestern blondes who want to date nebbish [pseudo]intellectual guys who talk about French cinema move to NYC or LA pretty soon, if you move in at 25 you’re meeting who’s left, and they will be by nature small-c conservative.

That's exactly it. The girls who stay behind are the ones who like the small town life, or haven't the opportunity to go to the city university, and they probably have local boyfriends. Moving in as a stranger makes it harder to meet anyone, and if you want 'quality' girls who like scrawny intellectuals, you haven't a great selection to choose from.

Good point. If a local girl doesn't particularly want to a) get married b) enter an exclusive long-term relationship straight out of high school, there are multiple incentives pushing her from her hometown and towards the big city.

Dude, pal, mate: the reason the local gals didn't date you is because you didn't seem like marriage material, and the reason you didn't seem like marriage material is that their parents (especially their mothers) didn't know you, where you worked, how much you made, where your family came from, where your father worked, how much he made, etc.

And thus you demonstrate a fatal flaw with such places. If you can't be accepted in such places for several generations, and there won't be several generations because you not being accepted means no offspring, then these towns cannot get new people. Any people (especially men) they lose to the wicked outside world cannot be replaced.

If he can get over himself, integrate into the local community, and make the effort, he can find a local bride. Or heck, he can marry an outsider woman and go settle down in the town. Their kids will be more accepted because they were born and grew up there, and they'll be able to marry local girls and boys if they want, and the grandkids will be well-integrated.

It's the "I'm an outsider, I'm better than you, and you rubes aren't good enough for me" attitude that means local people won't want to be any closer to him than they need to be. The guy who strolls in to the local pub, club or church expecting the nice girls to be fields of wheat to fall at his scythe (to make a metaphor) with no effort on his part isn't going to get any dates or chances of marriage, particularly when it's "where are you from?" and his answer is "nowhere in particular". If you have no roots to speak of, what parent can be sure that you won't dump their daughter and move on after a few years? Even if he was "I'm from Florida", that's better than nothing, but he's "my parents don't come from anywhere, their parents don't come from anywhere, I go where the money is" talk.

Few towns are happy with wandering single men moving in, they’d probably be much more accepting of a young couple or an already-extant family unit.

This. They're happy to have new families come in. Enroll your kids at the local public school, and they'll all want to talk to you at school functions or whatever. There just isn't going to be a hot spot for singles to hook up for casual sex.

There just isn't going to be a hot spot for singles to hook up for casual sex.

Or if there is, 25 year old him will be too old for it, since it'll be a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds doing underage drinking and fumbling around while they try to get some privacy away from their parents.

Not to be gross, but uh... there's a lot of places where the age of consent is 16, and a lot of 25 yr olds guys wouldn't mind taking advantage of a 17 yr old who wants to experiment with an older boyfriend. But like you said, those teens are looking for privacy, so it's hard for a newcomer to come to town and meet them. Probably a good thing overall!

There are shortcuts. Come in with a membership transfer from your local church, Masonic temple, Elks lodge, or the like, and you’ll be accepted and welcomed like some long-lost relative. Get involved in the local community and demonstrate that you’re hard-working, reliable, and not a complete ass, and within a couple of years (or sooner), you’ll have people trying to set you up with their female friends and relations.

Come in with a membership transfer from your local church, Masonic temple, Elks lodge, or the like

The chance of anyone trying to leave Blue-tribistan being a Mason, an Elk, a Moose, or a Water Buffalo is pretty much nil; a local church not much better.

Joining the elks or becoming active in a church is a possibility, this guy just didn't want to do it.

@Lewis2 suggested you had to be active in the Elks or a church before attempting to move. Which, like I said, isn't too likely for the latter and has pretty much probability zero for the former. If you're in Blue and don't like the way Blue is going, well, tough shit buddy; you can't retreat to Red because Red don't want you. If you don't count your ancestors among those who founded the town, you're an untrusted newcomer, not fit to date the local women. "Stick to your own kind", they say.

As I said, coming in as a card-carrying member of whatever organization you prefer is a shortcut. You can still get many of the same benefits by joining up once you move to a new location, but it’ll take longer since you’ll have to prove yourself; you won’t come in pre-vetted, as it were.

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To an extent conservative Red tribers would not be conservative Red tribers if they welcomed people unlike themselves with open arms no? Just as coastal Blue tribers wouldn't be them if they weren't more welcoming to the other. Having said that, having been a Brit moving to a Red American town, I found as long as I signaled the right way (went to Church, didn't mention i was an atheist, etc.), that while I was not regarded as local, no one treated me particularly badly. It was a little while before I was able to embed myself in the social fabric (particularly because I didn't work locally), but I was still invited to bbqs and functions out of politeness if nothing else, and within 6 months or so, I was much more embedded socially, so I don't think it is massively difficult. Just like with any society, you need to make an effort to fit in, if you want the locals to actually take to you.

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You can join the elks or a church in NYC or Chicago or whatever, and people who want to live a flyover lifestyle but are obliged by circumstances to live in those places do exactly that.

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I think my problem with the hobbit mindset is that Hobbiton will not be left alone. Hanania seems to have a deep-seated disdain for mundane domesticity and, as the Zoomers say, "vibing". I just don't believe the hobbits will be allowed to vibe. If the ring doesn't get to Mordor, the Shire will be perfected by Sauron; if it does, the Shire will still be scoured. The hobbits' complacency only allows Saruman to sweep in and turn it into a police state virtually unopposed — and I don't believe for a second Tolkien didn't have an allegory in mind when he was writing that.

and I don't believe for a second Tolkien didn't have an allegory in mind when he was writing that.

The place where that became unrealistic to me was how stupidly Saruman behaved after he got news the ring had been destroyed. The Shire under his control, like everywhere else in Middle Earth, would have felt the reverberations from the destruction of the ring and the fall of Sauron. Saruman would absolutely have known that the Fellowship hobbits were going to return back home soon (knowing their temprament and desire for domestic life) and would fight him for control there.

The very first thing a smart Saruman would have done would have been to completely ethnically cleanse the entire Shire of hobbits by genociding them all (and we know that by this point he was evil enough to do so) and replacing them with Uruk-Hai, so that when the inevetable battle happened at least the locals would side with him instead of against him. And if you read the chapter you'd quickly realise that the fellowship hobbits wouldn't have been able to muster their successful rebellion had there been no more living local hobbits left.

For whatever reason Tolkien didn't write the chapter in this way though... Perhaps it would have been even more anticlimatic than The Scouring of the Shire is on its own, but it would definitely have been more realistic.

Not really more realistic. Saruman's goal was never to depopulate and replace the hobbits, it was to enslave them. And the timing: the whole time period under discussion only lasts about seven months. Saruman wouldn't have had time to ethnically cleanse the Shire.

by genociding them all (and we know that by this point he was evil enough to do so) and replacing them with Uruk-Hai

With what forces? Saruman was not keeping spare army in case he would lose.

And when Lotho sent his Men they got no change out of him. Tooks are lucky, they’ve got those deep holes in the Green Hills, the Great Smials and all, and the ruffians can’t come at ’em; and they won’t let the ruffians come on their land. If they do, Tooks hunt ’em. Tooks shot three for prowling and robbing. After that the ruffians turned nastier. And they keep a pretty close watch on Tookland. No one gets in nor out of it now.’

Yeah, when Saruman had power and was building up his forces, his immediate aims were to get Rohan under control (and he did that by using Grima to undermine Theoden, not by marching in a conquering force) and then move on to Gondor, all the while sucking up to Sauron who, justifiably, didn't trust him not to be planning some backstabbing of his own if he ever got his hands on the One Ring.

Even if he had wanted to, he couldn't move his own Uruk-Hai army into the Shire without Sauron's knowledge and permission, which I doubt he would have obtained as Sauron would have seen this (again, correctly) as Saruman trying to build up his own base of power.

Besides, Saruman wasn't planning for "what happens after Sauron is defeated", his entire rationale for throwing in with Sauron was that he was convinced he was going to come out the winner, and Saruman wanted to be on the winning side. He had lost all his wisdom, and wasn't capable of foreseeing that the Hobbits would survive and come out the victors and he would therefore need to be three moves ahead in destroying their homeland. He didn't see this because he didn't want to see this, he wanted the position as trusted viceroy after the victory of Sauron.

When he was overthrown, and therefore wanted revenge, he had lost all his powers. Gandalf had stripped him of everything, so that all that remained to him was the ability to persuade others, and to pick up what shreds of control that remained to him. Due to using Lotho as a catspaw, he was able to introduce his band of Ruffians into the Shire first under the guise of 'post-war reconstruction' and then, as he tightened his grip on power there, to do away with Lotho altogether:

Wormtongue halted and looked back at him, half prepared to stay. Saruman turned. ‘No evil?’ he cackled. ‘Oh no! Even when he sneaks out at night it is only to look at the stars. But did I hear someone ask where poor Lotho is hiding? You know, don’t you, Worm? Will you tell them?’

Wormtongue cowered down and whimpered: ‘No, no!’

‘Then I will,’ said Saruman. ‘Worm killed your Chief, poor little fellow, your nice little Boss. Didn’t you, Worm? Stabbed him in his sleep, I believe. Buried him, I hope; though Worm has been very hungry lately. No, Worm is not really nice. You had better leave him to me.’

A look of wild hatred came into Wormtongue’s red eyes. ‘You told me to; you made me do it,’ he hissed.

EDIT: As an aside, this bit always kills me, Saruman just casually throwing it out there that there may not even be a body to bury because Wormtongue cannabalised Lotho: Buried him, I hope; though Worm has been very hungry lately. And people say there's nothing dark in Tolkien, it's just simple Good Guys versus Bad Guys (and racially-coded bad guys, if we go with the progressive critiques).

Saruman had been much more occupied with foiling Gandalf, who even as far back as the events of "The Hobbit" (as retconned) was worried about the return of Sauron, and Saruman had to work in secret there since suddenly popping up with an Uruk-Hai army would have revealed all too early. There were other reasons that Saruman couldn't simply march an Orc army into the Shire, thanks to the restoration of the Kingdom under the Mountain and the Dale men:

From Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth, Part III: The Third Age, III: The Quest of Erebor:

"I was very troubled at that time," he said, "for Saruman was hindering all my plans. I knew that Sauron had arisen again and would soon declare himself, and I knew that he was preparing for a great war. How would he begin? Would he try first to re-occupy Mordor, or would he first attack the chief strongholds of his enemies? I thought then, and I am sure now, that to attack Lórien and Rivendell, as soon as he was strong enough was his original plan. It would have been a much better plan for him, and much worse for us.

"You may think that Rivendell was out of his reach, but I did not think so. The state of things in the North was very bad. The Kingdom under the Mountain and the strong Men of Dale were no more. To resist any force that Sauron might send to regain the northern passes in the mountains and the old lands of Angmar there were only the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, and behind them lay a desolation and a Dragon. The Dragon Sauron might use with terrible effect. Often I said to myself: "I must find some means of dealing with Smaug. But a direct stroke against Dol Guldur is needed still more. We must disturb Sauron's plans. I must make the Council see that.'

..."That is true," said Gandalf. "Poor Thorin! He was a great Dwarf of a great House, whatever his faults; and though he fell at the end of the journey, it was largely due to him that the Kingdom under the Mountain was restored, as I desired. But Dáin Ironfoot was a worthy successor. And now we hear that he fell fighting before Erebor again, even while we fought here. I should call it a heavy loss, if it was not a wonder rather that in his great age he could still wield his axe as mightily as they say he did, standing over the body of King Brand before the Gate of Erebor until the darkness fell.

"It might all have gone very differently indeed. The main attack was diverted southwards, it is true; and yet even so with his farstretched right hand Sauron could have done terrible harm in the North, while he defended Gondor, if King Brand and King Dáin had not stood in his path. When you think of the great Battle of Pelennor, do not forget the Battle of Dale. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now only hope to return from the victory here to ruin and ash. But that has been averted – because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring not far from Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth."

As an aside, this bit always kills me, Saruman just casually throwing it out there that there may not even be a body to bury because Wormtongue cannabalised Lotho

Also, Saruman is running on pure spite toward everyone - including some of his actual followers. And ends paying price for that soon after.

That's part of his fall; he always did think he was better than anyone else, but now he's reduced to this miserable ball of spite and hatred and mostly impotent anger. Wandering in rags like a beggar, where he had hoped to be one of the lords of the earth (and was in his origins indeed one of the lords of the universe).

And people say there's nothing dark in Tolkien

Of all things that you could claim/invent/legitimately have a point... Some people went with this one? Really? Really?

Maybe Book of Mazarbul was to subtle for them? ("The Watcher in the Water took Óin — we cannot get out. The end comes soon. We hear drums, drums in the deep.")

What about literal genocide? Poisoned and ruined land of Mordor and Marshes? Multiple characters with severe mental illness (and well depicted one)? Mind control and possession? Horrific death in multiple varieties? Story of Entwifes?

WTF they want? Explicitly described rape scenes were one of few actually missing things.

(I am being charitable and limiting things to LOTR and Hobbit, if people are going to claim that there's nothing dark in Silmarilion, then I can only assume trolling or some deep confusion)

Explicitly described rape scene

I think it's the lack of explicit description that makes people think this; Tolkien knew about bad things happening, he didn't feel the need to put the gory details down on the page. Just because he didn't write ten pages describing Celebrian's torture at the hands of the Orcs doesn't mean he had no clue about evil.

He did speak about this in a 1956 letter:

So I feel that the fiddle-faddle in reviews, and correspondence about them, as to whether my 'good people' were kind and merciful and gave quarter (in fact they do), or not, is quite beside the point. Some critics seem determined to represent me as a simple-minded adolescent, inspired with, say, a With-the-flag-to-Pretoria spirit, and wilfully distort what is said in my tale. I have not that spirit, and it does not appear in the story. The figure of Denethor alone is enough to show this; but I have not made any of the peoples on the 'right' side, Hobbits, Rohirrim, Men of Dale or of Gondor, any better than men have been or are, or can be. Mine is not an 'imaginary' world, but an imaginary historical moment on 'Middle-earth' – which is our habitation.

Besides, Saruman wasn't planning for "what happens after Sauron is defeated", his entire rationale for throwing in with Sauron was that he was convinced he was going to come out the winner, and Saruman wanted to be on the winning side. He had lost all his wisdom, and wasn't capable of foreseeing that the Hobbits would survive and come out the victors and he would therefore need to be three moves ahead in destroying their homeland. He didn't see this because he didn't want to see this, he wanted the position as trusted viceroy after the victory of Sauron.

This isn't my reading. By the time the Fellowship reach Rohan, Saruman has already attempted to double-cross Sauron (by attacking the Fellowship at Rauros with the intention of stealing the Ring and taking it to Isengard). See this Brett Devereaux post for why Saruman's plan was very unlikely to work. My understanding is that the Unfinished Tales confirm this reading, and that Saruman had been actively concealing the likely location of the Ring (which he had guessed based on Gandalf's excessive interest in the Shire) from Sauron several years before the events of LOTR - with the implication that the offer made to Gandalf before imprisoning him (to join in a Saruman-led scheme to use the Ring to defeat Sauron and seize power for themselves) was sincere.

Saruman absolutely intended to backstab Sauron, and Sauron was well-aware of this. But I think Saruman concentrated more on the problems on his immediate doorstep (Rohan) and left the Shire to be dealt with at his convenience. Sending his own forces off to occupy and ethnically cleanse the Shire would have been wasteful, he would expend resources that he needed to take on Rohan/Gondor and then later Sauron. What is Saruman going to do, with his army sitting there in the Shire twiddling their thumbs waiting for any fleeing Hobbits to come back, all the while the action is diverted South and Sauron versus Gondor is going on? Whoever comes out the winner of that, they're not likely to be friendly to Saruman, and unless he's planning to flee to the Shire himself sans Ring and make some kind of fortified land on the edge of the immediate concerns of the victor, dividing his attention like that isn't sensible.

If he'd stopped playing silly buggers and had genuinely thrown in with Sauron, then sending his force North to aid in the Battle of Dale might have turned the tide for the Mordor forces and the bad outcome Gandalf feared could have come true:

Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now only hope to return from the victory here to ruin and ash.

I think Saruman suspected Gandalf's interest in the Shire because he couldn't imagine that one of the Istari would like the Hobbits for their own sake. There had to be an ulterior motive. It was just a lucky coincidence that he guessed right about where the Ring had finally turned up. His offer to Gandalf may have been sincere, but Gandalf was right that only one person could wield the Ring and the second Saruman got his hands on it, that would be the end of their 'partnership' and the end of Gandalf, too.

Isn't Saruman at lower level of divine pyramid (or how it's called?) than Sauron and cannot defeat him in any case?

and cannot defeat him in any case

This is proved wrong by Sauron being defeated (ok, it is heavily implied that God was meddling in it but still it shows that Sauron being more powerful than any of Istari is not unsolvable)

Both are Maiar. Sauron is clearly more powerful (both in various mundane ways like army size and territory controlled, and through his power over the Rings), but they are at the same level of the divine pyramid.

Saruman believes that he can master the Ring, and that if he does he will be stronger than Sauron. There are strong hints that he is wrong about this, but the matter is never settled as his orcs grab the wrong hobbits and Frodo escapes across Anduin with the Ring.

I believe Sauron, Sarumon, and Gandalf were all Istari and one step below the Valar (who were second to Erú Illuvatar himself); Sauron worked directly for Morgoth, and the Istari worked for the other Valar.

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Saruman was ruined at that point, and all that was left to him was petty revenge. He no longer had the power, much less the wisdom, to carry out his plans about cosying up to Sauron and getting a place at his right hand, and when Sauron fell that was it, game over.

But he could still do something in a mean way, and even if he knew the survivors were coming back to the Shire eventually (and he may have gambled that the destruction of the Ring would also mean the deaths of Frodo and any others with him, or that the Hobbits would have been killed in the fighting even before the fall of Sauron), he still had time to get there first and spoil as much as he could.

Merry looked round in dismay and disgust. ‘Let’s get out!’ he said. ‘If I had known all the mischief he had caused, I should have stuffed my pouch down Saruman’s throat.’

‘No doubt, no doubt! But you did not, and so I am able to welcome you home.’ There standing at the door was Saruman himself, looking well-fed and well-pleased; his eyes gleamed with malice and amusement.

A sudden light broke on Frodo. ‘Sharkey!’ he cried.

Saruman laughed. ‘So you have heard the name, have you? All my people used to call me that in Isengard, I believe. A sign of affection, possibly. But evidently you did not expect to see me here.’

‘I did not,’ said Frodo. ‘But I might have guessed. A little mischief in a mean way: Gandalf warned me that you were still capable of it.’

‘Quite capable,’ said Saruman, ‘and more than a little. You made me laugh, you hobbit-lordlings, riding along with all those great people, so secure and so pleased with your little selves. You thought you had done very well out of it all, and could now just amble back and have a nice quiet time in the country. Saruman’s home could be all wrecked, and he could be turned out, but no one could touch yours. Oh no! Gandalf would look after your affairs.’

Saruman laughed again. ‘Not he! When his tools have done their task he drops them. But you must go dangling after him, dawdling and talking, and riding round twice as far as you needed. “Well,” thought I, “if they’re such fools, I will get ahead of them and teach them a lesson. One ill turn deserves another.” It would have been a sharper lesson, if only you had given me a little more time and more Men. Still I have already done much that you will find it hard to mend or undo in your lives. And it will be pleasant to think of that and set it against my injuries.’

Saruman didn't send an occupation force into the Shire because he didn't have one to spare; all the efforts were concentrated on the great final push against Gondor and Rohan, and in the aftermath of victory, he presumed, then he could put in his claim to be overlord of the Shire for Sauron. He didn't much care about it except as a way to poke Gandalf in the eye, it was too unimportant without anything there of interest for him. A slave-land filled with slave-Hobbits was enough for him after the dust had settled, but as it fell out, he couldn't even get that much, though he was able to gather together a rag-tag bunch of bandits to help him take over, with Lotho at first as his puppet quisling face of authority.

And they didn't have it all their own way, even from the first:

‘Have they got any weapons?’ asked Merry.

‘Whips, knives, and clubs, enough for their dirty work: that’s all they’ve showed so far,’ said Cotton. ‘But I dare say they’ve got other gear, if it comes to fighting. Some have bows, anyway. They’ve shot one or two of our folk.’

‘There you are, Frodo!’ said Merry. ‘I knew we should have to fight. Well, they started the killing.’

‘Not exactly,’ said Cotton. ‘Leastways not the shooting. Tooks started that. You see, your dad, Mr. Peregrin, he’s never had no truck with this Lotho, not from the beginning: said that if anyone was going to play the chief at this time of day, it would be the right Thain of the Shire and no upstart. And when Lotho sent his Men they got no change out of him. Tooks are lucky, they’ve got those deep holes in the Green Hills, the Great Smials and all, and the ruffians can’t come at ’em; and they won’t let the ruffians come on their land. If they do, Tooks hunt ’em. Tooks shot three for prowling and robbing. After that the ruffians turned nastier. And they keep a pretty close watch on Tookland. No one gets in nor out of it now.’

I think Tolkien was more interested in showing internal corruption; the Shire is not an earthly paradise, even if it is a good place to live. The dealings with the Sackville-Bagginses, where Lotho has his authority go to his head, and he is enriched by trading with Saruman, and hence gives Saruman a foothold in the Shire, and the co-operation of the likes of Ted Sandyman who are all too happy to help with 'progress' (but really wrecking and pulling down things), all done at first under the guise of working with the local authorities (i.e. Lotho) - that, as much as the unpreparedness of the Hobbits for an outside invasion force, is what lets Saruman establish control there.

An invasion force of Uruk-Hai that wiped out all the Shire Hobbits won't give you that, or the warning that you can't safely and smugly assume all the 'bad things' are out there, away over yonder, and not lurking at your own fireside.

The very first thing a smart Saruman would have done would have been to completely ethnically cleanse the entire Shire of hobbits by genociding them all (and we know that by this point he was evil enough to do so) and replacing them with Uruk-Hai, so that when the inevetable battle happened at least the locals would side with him instead of against him. And if you read the chapter you'd quickly realise that the fellowship hobbits wouldn't have been able to muster their successful rebellion had there been no more living local hobbits left.

Smart saruman would guilt trip the hobbits for colonizing traditional elf lands and tell them that not accepting their uruk-hai migrants into the shire would not be very nice.

"Today we meet to acknowledge that the Shire occupies a portion of the unceded ancestral lands of the Laiquendi branch of the Nandorin Elves, who were displaced by the colonizers from Númenor*" 😀

*After a long chain of natural and unnatural disasters

Their complacency only allows Saruman to sweep in and turn it into a police state virtually unopposed

But the Hobbits did resist in quiet ways, and once they had leaders they turned the tables quickly. It's the great powers underestimating the Hobbits all the time that brings about their own downfall. Our friend here sneering at the Hobbits seems to have turned tail and run back to the big city, he didn't stick around and by virtue of his superior crinkled brain, get-up-and-go, and sharp, hungry, novelty-seeking contrarianism rise to the top of the heap and become cock of the walk round them there parts. The sleepy stodgy Hobbits ran him off because he couldn't deal with them.

The guy just does not understand people:

Both of my parents came from vastly different regions of the country, and had themselves been raised in itinerant families that regularly relocated to where the money was. To me moving all the time is just something that normal responsible middle class people do to achieve prosperity, but in many parts of the agricultural Midwest there appears to be something of a stigma to it.

You know who moves around all the time going to where the money is? Beggars. Tramps. Hoboes. The Joads moving to California out of necessity, not choice. People who are the new serfs, being moved around by their bosses at the convenience of the business (move to the new plant/office three hundred miles away, uproot your family). Itinerant farm workers, seasonal workers like the immigrant labour brown people he probably wouldn't like being compared to.

By contrast, having something you own that is yours, where you can tell those who would move you around like a chesspiece to go to hell, is valuable. For all his talk about the bovine Bavarians versus the proud and fierce Ulster Irish, he has no realisation that the Scots-Irish also would tell him to go to hell if he tried moving them off the plot of land that is now theirs, and no landlord can evict them or make them shift.

You're not an entrepreneurial adventurer, Big Boy; you're a tumbleweed who goes with the wind, a servant like those of the Centurion who says "And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” You have no roots and nothing to fall back on against those who have power over you to say "come here, go there, do it now!"

Where do you come from? The Sun Belt? The various states your parents grew up in and moved to with their itinerant families? Where do you belong? Where are the graves of your ancestors, or do you even know that much? You're a disposable, replaceable cog in the economic machinery who will be discarded the second you can't "move to where the money is".

I am sympathetic to the Auron MacIntyre framing that the side that wants to win always beats the side that wants to be left alone. At present, I don't have a well-constructed ideological vision for how to maintain Hobbiton indefinitely, but I think I can trivially observe that the power-seekers lauded in the original blogpost have utterly failed to do anything constructive in the places of conflict (California, New York, DC). The lack of a good solution for the dissolution of high-trust communities by bad actors doesn't really get to me a place of actively preferring a conflict-zone of racial animosity.

I think he seems to have realized a terrible truth for a lot of WNs who are deeply used to their particular kind of persecution complex and enemy hierarchy, which is that much of the state of the modern west is a direct product of the ‘white temperament’ and white population preferences, possibly on a genetic level.

Someone posted a Twitter video of a Fox News interview with locals in Seattle or Portland or something during the (ongoing) violent crime wave in reply to my Seattle post last month. It’s become a popular online meme because it’s all these very annoying looking white people saying it’s not a problem at all, they don’t notice an increase in crime, ‘what, do YOU pussies have a problem with homeless people now, does it bother you, bitch?’ aggressiveness to the reporter. Just the most annoying kind of stubborn middle aged person, and I would add white because for all the many, many, in most cases worse flaws of other groups I’ve never seen their peoples behave like this, the grandiosity, “no u”-ness, general pigheadedness of their denial is on another level. For all their varied and whacky politics, many Jews I’ve met in NYC would press the button to delete the homeless if they could, and wouldn’t think twice about it. I couldn’t say the same for many Northern European whites. They don’t have it in them, until they do, and then they’re just as pigheaded and stubborn in the other direction.

It reminds me of real life conversations I’ve had with white English people, intelligent, center-right conservative types, about groups, identity, mass immigration, genetics, civilization, and they just shut down. I don’t mean that they shut down the debate, they’re usually polite enough and I wouldn’t discuss ‘edgy’ things with people I didn’t trust anyway, but they shut down internally. They display the exact pigheaded stubbornness that the Seattle video interviewees do, the strange combination of [post] Christian guilt complex and superiority complex and absolute, ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ type emphasis on propriety above policy. Like a Church of England relic unable to deal with the fact that the church becoming a retirement camp for delusional elderly middle-class hippies could be a reason why attendance is down 90% in 50 years or whatever. Some (politically involved people, one a former MP) will even admit the current levels of immigration are a catastrophe, but then suggest in the same breath that what happens will happen, and that above all the focus should be on preventing the far right from making too much hay of the situation and “destabilizing” things. What can you do with such people?

I find @BurdensomeCount’s occasional gloating at whites unbecoming, but when you live here you understand it. Oh, how I have been lectured about tolerance by people who are actively destroying their own country. Oh, the sanctimoniousness I have sat through. Gradually, I began to feel a pull towards a certain contempt for some of the English, for they were destroying not only their own civilization but that of their greater ancestors, and their unborn and innocent descendants, and even that of those various non-Anglo hangers on who had, like myself, found themselves as productive and (mostly) happy guests in their society. They did not understand how precious what they had created was.

What can you do about such a people? They have no will to power, no will to survive. Whatever vitality they once had, they lost. I would gladly sacrifice Israel for a Britain that was both tolerant of Jews and actively pursuing the greatness of its own once-proud civilization, that’s how much I like it here. But I may be faced with no choice but to cast my lot in with my ancestral homeland (real or imagined) because these people have given up, and they’re proud of it.

As the saying goes, you can’t respect people who don’t respect themselves.

If I can quote a speech from everyone’s least favorite 20th century antisemite, not to be edgy but to demonstrate three separate points:

The Jew, who is himself a nationalist more than any other nation, who through millennia did not mix with any other race […] this same Jew preaches every day with thousands of tongues, from 19,000 papers in Germany alone, that all nations on Earth are equal, that international solidarity should bind all the peoples, that no people can lay a claim to a special status etc., and, above all, that no nation has a reason to be proud of anything that is called or is national. What a nation means, he, who himself never dreams of climbing down to those to whom he preaches internationalism, knows well.

This speech was made in 1920, two years after Hitler received his “punch a Nazi” treatment for giving a similar speech on German nationalism by a crowd disgusted by his extremism. The history of “white identiarianism” or whatever we wish to call it is not linear. Americans as late as 1960 overwhelmingly believed that “white” was a primary identity marker and wanted a white majority in their country. Yet Germany went through a period of progressivism in which German national identity was attacked, only to swing the complete opposite way, only to swing again in the complete opposite — and today it may be swinging once more with the rise of the AfD. Russians, too, went from nationalism to internationalism and back to nationalism. I think this precludes any possibility of a genetic explanation and instead shows that ideology and culture are what shapes these things. And I think this is also an antitode to doomerism because we can’t predict the future based on the past.

The content of the speech is interesting because it highlights the disconnect between American Jews and white American gentiles. I would argue that Jews are the most nationalist people on earth today. They engage in ancestor worship on a weekly basis, they are obsessed with bloodlines, they unite Race and Religion together and choose the former whenever questions of membership arise, their very nation bans religious intermarriage and protects the priestly bloodlines even from the (rare) convert. They put barriers in the way of orthodox conversion yet welcome any “born Jew” with ease. Secular Jewish culture has cross-pollination with religious Jews, and so secular Jews receive an implicit influence of positive racial identity.

As such, it may be hard for even a secular Jew to imagine what it is like growing up in a culture with no such positive identity indoctrination. A white gentile can’t get a free meal at his local university Chabad house where a racial leader talks about how important their DNA is and how the universe has specifically chosen their race to lead the world. He doesn’t go to a church that talks positively about the history of his people. And the stories told in school are not about the triumphs and glories of “the whites”, as a Jewish school teaches about the great Jewish sages and advisers. While his school does teach about great American figures without mention of race, when race is mentioned he learns that his are the villains, the enslavers and the oppressors. The Jews, of course, believe that they were the slaves and the oppressed, in Egypt before God freed them, in the Middle Ages despite opulent wealth, and in the holocaust, that “burnt offering” which established the state of Israel.

Now, to disagree with Adolf Hitler, I do not think that most of the Jewish internationalist voices both a century ago and today are involved in an explicit conspiracy to aid their race by reducing the solidarity of other races (although they would have every motive to do this, it would be morally permissible in their religion and perhaps even morally obligatory given that it helps Jews). Instead, I think it’s easy to push for greater immigration when you know that your host country is not your real home — your real home is every Jewish community and Israel. The Jew’s neighbor is never going to be the new Guatemalan, because the Talmud specifies that “love your neighbor” means only other Jews. So these voices don’t realize that they are blinded to many of the drawbacks of immigration, because their implicit or explicit identity protects them from ever considering the prospect of assimilation with potentially deleterious low-culture migrants. Dan Gertler may fund the Chabad House of Central Africa, indeed he may siphon off their blood diamonds and become a billionaire in doing so, but never in a million years would he consider assimilating there. And the wealthiest billionaire gentile families who push immigration for profit have a similar bias because they know full well that their childrens’ elite boarding school is far from Haitian gangs and Honduran cartels.

Finally, to answer the main question: why do the whites harm themselves? Because they are indoctrinated at a young age from the propaganda which (ironically) the arch-villains of the 20th century warned against. The neural circuitry of in-group preference is the same as familial love: you need to raise children up with positive identity, otherwise they will never truly establish the communal bond. It’s like how an abused child that doesn’t form a bond with his parents will grow up to be avoidant of relationships; even if he rationally understands that his impulses are illogical, they are still there. This is why — as you write — even the conservative Brits are too polite. They logically know something, but the instinct is not developed in the heart. Identity is not primarily rational but instinctive and emotional. And the religious Jews know this, so they fiercely protect their right to indoctrinate their children, such as by launching an international legal effort when Sweden wanted a Rabbi’s children enrolled in a public school.

Finally, to answer the main question: why do the whites harm themselves? Because they are indoctrinated at a young age

Sure, but they are indoctrinated predominantly by their own people, who truly believe in their ideology and who in substantial part invented that ideology and its ideological foundations.

But it’s not just that, because as I think anyone would admit, whites hardly have the monopoly on believing in stupid shit bad memes. Every people has its bad memes and sometimes those memes are so catastrophic they result in the actual extinction of a civilization, fine.

This isn’t really a complaint about that. It’s about the idea that there might be something specific in the (especially Northern) European mind that leads to this inanity, this combination of blasé arrogance and naïveté. I always think back to something I recall @DaseindustriesLtd saying once about Germans. How the brazen, ironclad stubbornness in their refusal to admit that importing a million Syrian men might be a bad idea really wasn’t actually that different from the brazen, ironclad stubbornness in refusing to admit that killing millions of Jews wasn’t actually necessary to avoid the victory of Bolshevism or whatever even as they were losing the war. You even saw it in the way that the DDR was the most zealous communist state in embracing mass surveillance, the most resistant to implementing Gorbachev’s reforms, the harshest in just subtly ruining the life trajectory of people who disagreed too hard. Whatever feeds the machine, 150% compliance, ideology irrelevant.

The scots-irish are also northern European.

screed

This is my favorite thought-stopping word. It gives me some nostalgia for when it used to appear all the time in progressive editorials. It doesn’t really signify anything except that the reader was insulted by the writing (which also doesn’t signify anything).

intermarriage

This is complicated:

  • the influential and regenerative kernel of Judaism is the orthodox/conservative, their billionaire funders, their political influences, their attachment to Israel. This cohort creates all the rabbis and most of the leaders of the Jewish community, eg run all the Chabad houses. Orthodox Jews do not intermarry, I think like 1% do. They have the highest birth rate and are inheriting Judaism. There’s lots of articles on this.

  • It’s true that reform intermarry, but the data is still more complicated, because what counts for “intermarry” may be Jewish+JewishAtheist. I have yet to find data on the number of Jewish+OtherReligion marriages but maybe someone smarter can find that. From Tablet: “The Pew study offered respondents who were parents a wider range of possible responses. Among respondents with a non-Jewish spouse [[61% as of 2020, 53% when this article was written]], 20 percent were raising their children Jewish by religion, 25 percent partly Jewish by religion, 16 percent Jewish not-by-religion, and 37 percent not Jewish.” So 37% of 61% are being raised without Jewish affiliation, or about 22%. I would like more clarity by demographers on what the intermarriage rate is for “Jewish+non-Jewish-ancestry”, as this gives us a better picture on intermarriage given how many non-religious but self-identifying Jews there are. The question the polls ask is “do you have a Jewish spouse” which doesn’t really tell us the future of Jewish affiliation. From Tablet again: “Admittedly, the secret of Jewish survival may be the propensity to panic about our fate. The grim predictions made in the 1990s may have proved wrong because Jewish organizations, federations, and private foundations did what they needed to do to turn the tide. They funded massive new investment in Jewish summer camps, Hillels, Taglit-Birthright Israel, and innovative startups—all programs that reach a fairly wide spectrum of Jewish children and young adults”.

tell me you don't know anything about Judaism

Everything I have read indicates that the Orthodox love to convert by-birth-Jews into their conservative flock. This is why they do the man on the street interviews Jewish outreach campaign by asking Jewish-looking people if they are Jewish. Heck, this is why they fund Chabad centers all over the world.

It varies, to some extent the ultra orthodox are more tolerant of sincere orthodox converts of other races than liberal Jews for whom it’s more of an ethnic and cultural identity rather than a religious one.

Re the spouse thing, your ‘37% of 61%’ only seems to encompass those Jewish parents raising children of actively another religion, since one imagines atheists would pick category 2 and those raising their kids with a mix of, say, Jewish and Christian holidays would pick 1.

Most secular Jews still identify as Jewish, and certainly their religiously-identifying-as Jewish spouse would likely identify them as being Jewish in that case, so I’d guess only a very, very tiny percentage of ‘intermarriage’ figures capture unions between religious Jews and atheist Jews. I don’t know any Jew who would describe that as an intermarriage on a census form or in a survey.

I think it’s quite strong evidence, honestly. Other tight-knit groups like Pakistanis in Britain, Copts in Egypt, many of those tiny Christian sects that survive in the Middle East, all have very low intermarriage rates compared to Jews. The supposed lack of orthodox intermarriage is overstated since Orthodox Jews who marry unconverted gentiles just become reform or secular Jews.

A million things. London, as it is, is being strangled by a hideous combination of sky high rents, high taxes, and a glutted labour market. That it manages any prosperity at all is a marvel - that what prosperity it enjoys is sapped to support housing prices (and atop it, a rentier class of whitehairs) and an underclass of semi employed immigrants. The rest is pure consumption.

This is how despite inviting vast numbers of immigrants, Britain remains poor and is not likely to change it.

For completeness’ sake, I’ll paste my reply from when you DM’d me this comment earlier:

My problem with mass immigration is democracy, rather than anything else. Consider the recent statistic that more than 50% of those living in social housing in London weren’t even born in the UK; it is predominantly the British who are subsidizing a vast imported welfare class.

If immigration to the West was handled like the Saudis or Emiratis handle their immigrants, I would have no issue with it.

And did you not make some top level post not that long ago about how the new POC British aristocracy is no different than its white counterpart? I didn’t say ‘no different’, rather I suggested that the British elite don’t seem to care whether the underclass they rule over is imported or native. I think in the end that they will be surprised to find out that there may well be a difference, but still.

To me immigration is more just an example of an area in which policy follows some kind of bland, stubborn moral imperative combined with zero willpower to question anything or to do anything differently, it just happens, and everyone shrugs, and then it was a good thing anyway.

My own policy preferences are driven by a fundamental desire to live in a safe, rich, orderly, clean, functioning society in which people behave and in which prosocial behavior is rewarded and antisocial behavior harshly punished.

In the spirit of Norm McDonald, I'll say that while some lament the civilizational change that Muslims have brought to England, I think the worst part is all the rape.

Tacitly ignoring Muslim rape gangs for fear of being called racist seems like a pretty good example of losing spirit as a civilization capable of greatness as well.

In the Midwest I encountered a different kind of White person that honestly seemed quasi-Asian to me. They had no will to power. They were not Romans. They seemed more like the Chinese of the Ming era, or like modern Europeans. But there wasn’t a Faustian spirit to be found anywhere [...]

Compared to my early 20s self, I am a lot less prone to ingrouping with the kind of White people who deliberately shut themselves off from the world by retreating to the ‘burbs—people who just want to be comfortable and don’t have a burning desire to change the world. I’ve also lost any protective instinct toward people who stay in a shitty poor area with no opportunities just because they have a sentimental attachment to their podunk hometown. My experiences have taught me that these people want nothing to do with my vision for the world and aren’t my volk in any meaningful sense.

They have no destiny except under the [boot].

The Hanania pill seems to consist of arrogant shitstirrers realising that they loathe most white people just like they loathe everyone else.

They seemed more like ... modern Europeans.

God forbid.

I am a lot less prone to ingrouping with the kind of White people who deliberately shut themselves off from the world by retreating to the ‘burbs

"It turns out I was the rootless cosmopolitan all along. :'("

He has no idea that those white Midwesterners have won. Why are their towns so homogeneous? Why are they all the same type of person, with the same type of culture? Why are they not Diverse?

He wants the hustle'n'bustle of the coastal cities, where he will triumph in competition as iron sharpens iron, but he also wants to be protected from competition for his labour by H1B immigrants. Well, are those Midwesterners worried about "sustained immigration of high IQ and ethnically nepotist immigrants from India into highly paid tech jobs, blocking the sons of the American middle class from the possibility of upward social advancement and leaving them stranded in five figure wagecuck hell"? I'm getting the impression that the answer there is "no".

This guy wants to be pampered, but also have the illusion that he's a rough-n-tough descendant of adventurers who dukes it out with equals and wins by virtue of his bigger brain. He has no idea where those "adventurer" ancestors come from, he doesn't want the actual adversity of fighting for a job against cheaper labour which is where the self-interest of the business owners leads them, but he still thinks that the five contradictory viewpoints he espouses can be reconciled, as long as he always comes out on top of the pile.

If a midwestern town is homogenous it's for the same reason that rural areas are homogenous anywhere in the western world: they are poor and isolated enough that migrants don't want to move there. The great cities that midwesterners built (St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago etc.) have been handed over to outsiders where they now have some of the highest murder rates in the developed world.

Yes, and in general the depiction of small town midwestern USA as some kind of paradise is ridiculous. Stripmallville with a dying main street, Applebees as the best restaurant, no organic spontaneous community because you have to drive everywhere (even to somewhere a half mile away because there’s either no sidewalk or you’re separated by an interstate that goes right through the middle of town), no beautiful architecture, and the same slowly declining social trends (birthrates, single motherhood, drug addiction) as the rest of the country, just 20 years behind is not some bucolic garden of eden.

Indeed, if one lived in the Midwest and actually wanted the kind of comfortable, pastoral, low risk existence @Walterodim described they’d be best off getting their proof of German ancestry in order, applying for a visa and moving to some little village in Bavaria or Baden Württemberg with zero immigrants; at least there the scenery is much better, the architecture is better, the schools are probably better, the buses are both more frequent and more timely and you’re actually in (or nearer to, certainly) the homeland of your ancestors.

Indeed, if one lived in the Midwest and actually wanted the kind of comfortable, pastoral, low risk existence @Walterodim described they’d be best off getting their proof of German ancestry in order, applying for a visa and moving to some little village in Bavaria or Baden Württemberg with zero immigrants...

To be clear, this is not my personal preference. I live in a small Midwestern city with around 250,000 people, it's 80% white but has a large university with the expected immigrant population associated with it. Having traveled in Europe, I vastly prefer living in the United States due to the much higher standard of living. Also, at the end of the day, I'm not actually a German no matter how high of a percentage my ancestry German is, and it's really obvious when I visit Germany. I'm an Amerikaner with Amerikaner preferences, which includes my distinctly non-white wife. The city I settled in offers a balance of comfortable, low-risk community with city amenities that I really do consider just about unbeatable anywhere in the world. I don't expect others to have the same preferences - that's fine!

Your portrayal of most American small towns is at least 10 years out of date.

I’ve been to many wonderful small towns in the US, but they were all in New England or in the outer suburbs of wealthy cities and the residents all had some source of external wealth, either from commuting into highly-paid PMC jobs in the nearest major city or from tourism. And again, if it’s a low variance rural lifestyle in a pretty, walkable, homogenous locale, much of Western Europe easily vastly outdoes the US and the US’ advantages (like much higher salaries) are less necessary.

Idk, what actually rural small Midwestern towns very far from the nearest major city are you thinking of? Happy to take a look on Streetview.