The Second BrExit Referendum and the Utility of Scottish Nationalism

uk battle map

Plan B: Operation Celtic Revenge

I have been meaning to do a post on Scottish nationalism for about a year now. Other more topical issues kept displacing it in the order to writing though. But I suppose the 2019 UK elections finally have made it the topical issue of the time that can no longer be avoided. Therefore, this is going to be a two for one special both on the just completed UK elections and the future of Scottish nationalism.

First its time to preempt the incoming SensibleSerious™ hot takes that will be bombarding us from both sides of the Atlantic in no time. No, Labour did not lose because it had gone too far left. It lost because of its inability to run with BrExit as a settled policy. The wishy-washy ‘we want both sides’ position was the last thing anyone wanted. In particular the working class base of the party whose interests are very divergent from the middle class Blairites who still control so much of the upper echelon of the organization. People clearly wanted this three and a half year nightmare to be over-one way or the other. And the way things are going (especially in regards to long held Labour seats suddenly defecting despite generally being anti-Tory bastions) meant that Labour would have been better off embracing BrExit than running against it…or running in a way that sidelined the issue altogether, which is what they did. That second referendum the Remainers asked for? We just got it. It was this election.

Bold claims perhaps, but I have evidence to back them up. Its quite simple really. The Liberal Democrats were the hard Remain party. True neoliberal centrists, they basically come across as if American Democrats were grafted onto the UK political system. If Labour voters were dissatisfied with the more left wing direction of the party under Corbyn (who, by the way, delivered unexpected and impressive gains two years ago in the last election when BrExit was less of an issue) they would have defected to the Lib Dems. But the Lib Dems, under Immortan Jo, got their clocks cleaned in this most recent election too. Jo Swinson herself, the leader of the party, lost her seat to the Scottish National Party. Outside of the two major parties there was generally a telling result: the Lib Dems bombed and the SNP gained.

immortan jo

Big Shocker

So now we come to the bridge between this election and my other point about Scottish nationalism. And that is that class and regional differences are now so strong that the very integrity of the United Kingdom is fatally compromised. The working and ruling class alike’s turn against the EU in England is very different from the situation in Scotland, where remaining part of the EU was a major motivating factor in handing the pro-union forces a victory in 2014. After all, the Union campaign said ‘if Scotland goes rogue it will be outside the EU and will have to re-apply.’ Less than two years later BrExit happens and…whoops. The Independence referendum was held under false pretenses.

I lived in the UK for over half a decade. One year in London and the rest in Scotland. I began my time as a temporary immigrant (I refuse the smug neoliberal term ‘expat’) and had little knowledge to start with about UK politics. At that time I found (then still Blairite) Labour and the Tories equally gross and largely just watched things happen as bemused observer. I was pro-union in the building Scottish Independence question, but only mildly so. I encouraged pro and anti sides to debate in front of me and always had a great deal of respect for independence leaning people. The degree to which I was pro-Union gradually eroded to only just barely, which is what I was left with when the vote came and ‘my side’ won.

But despite starting out on the other side, I came to realize that Scottish nationalism was a much different creature than pretty much any other contemporary nationalism I had ever experienced. While I have never been a fan of nationalism on a personal level, I recognize its utility and generally find it an often necessary, if distasteful, thing to appeal to in order to mobilize the coalitions needed to get policies done. But Scottish nationalism was different.

At first I thought it was just the affinity I had developed for my home-away-from-home, something I never felt when I was living in England and even arguably something I never quite felt growing up in the United States either. Scotland fit me really well and if it was up to me I probably never would have moved out (thanks for the new visa restrictions then Home Secretary Theresa May…well, at least she ended up getting her just desserts in the end). Naturally, I thought I was just being more forgiving to a place I had come to enjoy living in. But that wasn’t it. Unlike most nationalist groups, the SNP was always ethically and culturally diverse. Its concept of Scottish civic responsibility stems directly from a geographic rather than ethnic self of what makes Scotland unique. Scottish nationalism is, in effect, parallel to a lot of what I have come to advocate as a geopolitical strategist for a sustainable society: The situational and ecological tie to a specific place’s interest and its resulting unique political identity as a physical thing, rather than a romantic nature of ethnicity. Speculative realism meets the political world. For instance, in the 2014 vote on independence the rules were that UK citizens living in Scotland could vote in it, no matter where they were from originally, but Scots living elsewhere in the UK could not. It was all about what was best for the country from the people who lived there, no matter who they were. The important and unifying point is that it is (or should be) a distinct civic entity from its giant and increasingly reactionary southern neighbor.

But the feeling of fondness and respect for these trends only intensified once I moved out. And with its intensification my views on independence changed. David Cameron continued to gut the country and oversee the most incompetent government since Atlee. He also maybe fucked a dead pig. He promised a referendum on the EU that he didn’t need to make, and then, contrary to all expectations including his own, lost it. Cue the BrExit shitstorm, the trainwreck of Theresa May’s government, and the eventual saddling of the world with Boris Johnson, a truly Trumpian clown who isn’t even as funny or memeable as his American counterpart. Ever since all of Britain has been David Cameron’s Pig being fucked by London elites and Tory politicians and my views on Scottish independence went from mildly pro Union to massively pro-Independence. This also came in tandem with a former neutrality on Northern Ireland tilting strongly towards full Irish reunification.

There were many reasons to be opposed to the EU, some good and some bad. But surely the unraveling of the Good Friday Accords in Northern Ireland was an inevitable part of BrExit. Scotland itself, a small country with interests throughout Europe, needs connections to larger entities to survive. But its political culture is diverging rapidly from that of England as BrExit and the rise of the SNP clearly show. And it seems to me that England is holding the non-Anglo parts of the British Union back. Perhaps even dragging them down with it. While England sinks further and further into the morass of petty bitter nativism, the country where I once lived and had impromptu street parties I joined when Thatcher died is clearly turning away from both Tories and Labour and for the SNP, presaging a re-invigoration of the Independence debate. I would not be surprised if I, as an individual, end up outliving the United Kingdom.

My only hope is that, going forward, more countries could take cues from Scottish nationalism in general: a type of green-civic-geographic program of tying together people based on place rather than ethnicity. I believe it offers a far better future than either the tired neoliberal status quo being rejected around the world right now or the nativistic rise of the chuds that seems the only force yet striving to take its place.

Or you could just take the black pill and keep on voting for a country where someone like Greg Knight just sits in Parliament taking up oxygen and making the worst campaign videos ever seen by man. A slow death by mediocrity and Little Englandism.

And the Geotrickster Nominee for Person of the 2010s is…Rachel Dolezal!

dolezal

In the run up for 2012 a bizarre medley of hippies, conspiracy theorists, people who badly misread Mayan calendars and seemed to forget that their civilization collapsed before they could finish putting together future dates all came together to warn us of the end of the world…or at least of an era.

Well, the joke was on them. Or was it really? Maybe the joke is on us. Because now, at the end of the 2010’s its apparent that we have entered at least one new type of era-the era of mindlessly entitled and approval seeking behaviors. With the collapse of the world economy in 2008, neoliberal individualism could only maintain its existence and credibility through the hijacking of social issues and identity politics-and with the spread of social media’s popularity and up and coming generations of people who had never known any alternative but the post Cold War status quo-a whole new age of stupid was ready to descend.

2012 was indeed the decisive year. Obama won re-election easily against a cartoon parody of a vulture capitalist and then proceeded to continue down the path of tepid centrism not far removed from his opponent. That perpetual puppy dog Cory Booker defended Romney’s laughable non-career and began his own pivot towards the voice of American Thatcherism which he still does (to ever diminishing audience). Even more in line with the zeitgeist was the rise of the low-information voter appealing humanitarian hipster who was an easy mark for the Christian missionary front and unintentional Pentagon dupes of Kony 2012. It ended with the movement’s frontman, a kind of theater kid closet-case precursor to John Allen Chau, having a naked drunken meltdown in public while ranting about the devil. And possibly nothing was as emblematic of these times as Upworthy, the clickbait trollfarm of liberal virtue signaling that did so much to make the internet a cesspool of the rebirth of evangelism from the religious right to the social issues left. You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next, and Number 3 Will Shock You.

Before this period the internet was a refuge from aggressively complacent world views. It was a cynical, secular, and wonderfully unorthodox place. It was much meaner too, but in a direct and less psychologically manipulative way than the quest to mine a scarcity of virtue makes it today. Like a hippy boomer, it went from counterculture distraction to the mainstream in record time and with the most pearl clutching reactionary pathos possible.

While this new era of the Mayan Long Count may still be upon us for some time, I can think of no better time than the end of 2010’s cultural decade to reflect on who the spirit totem of this neoliberal sundowning era could be. And there is one obvious answer: Rachel Dolezal.

While Dolezal, famous for perhaps the most in depth attempt to LARP in blackface since Al Jolson (but with far more commitment to the bit as a serious exercise to be fair) is funny, she is also tragic. She was raised by seemingly abusive religious fundamentalist parents she broke with. She serves as a kind of microcosm of Late Capitalism and identity politics in one person. The utterly alienated and powerless, either too lazy or too ignorant to realize the true structural forces that make them miserable, latch onto increasingly niche social causes or communities they are not part of in order to have some power over their lives through the construction of a new identity. What interviews with Dolezal show is her levels of tragedy fueling her narcissism. The situation that caused her to seek a new identity is quite real, even if her response to these problems is mistaken.

This is so many people today, especially the terminally online. If a real commitment is not made to elevate the discourse towards materialism and away from postmodernism this is also our future. More and more powerless and perhaps originally sympathetic people just turning towards fantasy and identity. We see it in the Harry Potter obsessed liberals and the adults whose greatest travel dream is Disney World everyday. The problem with that is what little power you have becomes even more diminished when you start viewing public issues through the lens of inner reflection and personal labels. Only collective efforts can address the major issues of our times, and that requires relegating identity to a secondary status in service of the public good and causes that effect more, rather than less, people.

To end the Dark (or not-so-dark) Age of Dolezal we must usher in a new Golden Age of Civic Responsibility. To do that means not to give up personal issues but to wield them constructively in alliance with greater public causes outside of simply self-validation and attention seeking. It means calculating interest not based on personal fashion choices or cultural affinities but rather real calculable interests about how to distribute resources and who should have the power to do so.

 

Oversocialization: An Alternative Social Media Theory

gibbering mouther

I have seen a plethora of theories about how social media, the internet, and mass media in general is driving us insane by increasing the number of shut-ins and people who forgo real life social interaction for the sad-sack replacement of dehumanizing cyberspace. They are so common as to not be worth summing up once again here. While I certainly agree that the internet seems to have weaponized a specific type of cheap and clueless discourse that lacks depth and seems to empower the most hysterical and autistic-leaning elements of public speech at the expense of all else, I disagree on why this is with the mainstream theories that are out there.

I believe it is over-socialization, rather than under-socialization, that is the true bugbear of this problem. The internet is enabling more connectivity than ever before, and in so doing it is abolishing private space to think and reflect. This is hardly a new process-it clearly began with television-but it is being accelerated more than ever before by social media in particular. We see people’s opinions unfiltered whereas before they would either have to be teased out or would naturally come out as part of a normal conversation between people who at least sort of know each other. Cyberspace may be filled to the brim with posturing and fakeness but all of human social interaction is. It is just more on display than ever before. Everyone no matter how irrelevant can now behave as golden age of Hollywood celebrities types do…and since our society idolizes those very people it becomes a model to emulate.

None of this is really any faker than normal interaction, it is just jacked up to 11 and dosed with a big helping of agoraphobia. The true alienation is with nature and the outdoors, not with human civilization. It is humanity that is in fact being overdosed on. If people are withdrawing from social interaction in the real world it may very well be because they already have too much of it online.

So what we are seeing with the widespread panics and ever more rapidly shifting zeitgeist of cultural wars, tribalization, and the like is really what happens when we are trained to be too social. People have too many ‘friends’. They have too many people watching them and care about the approval of too many outside forces. Privacy has been abolished as a value and to tune out of the mainstream is now a freakish occurrence rather than a respectable one. A contemporary definition of a thinker is now someone who tweets approval-seeking self-marketing in a desperate bid to thrive in the gig economy. I don’t think any but the most obnoxious among us were designed to be exposed to other people so much for such a large percentage of our waking hours. We need quiet to really be with ourselves. One of the biggest turn-offs for me when I meet a new person are those who clearly cannot be alone with themselves for long stretches of time. It implies that they have little of interest going on inside save perhaps for insecurity.

How does one combat this trend of over-socialization? Well, it is easy. You don’t fully have to disconnect…but rather take a step back and realize that when you say you need ‘me time’ or whatever it is you want to call it, that this also requires that said solo time is removed from the internet, television, or anything like that. Time to oneself, when a person’s most interesting thoughts occur since they are not simply being shaped by extremely temporary trends, is key to self-cultivation. And self-cultivation is nearly impossible in an over-socialized environment. Reading full books rather than articles is a start, but I would say that getting outside and adopting physical hobbies is also a part of it. Writing, even just for practice, helps too. Exploring a city on foot can even work as people who live among high population densities are very good at tuning other people out for necessities sake-a skill perhaps needed on highly trafficked social media websites as well.

Nature is among my favorite refuges. Nothing reminds one more of how things work without pretense than physical processes and less mentally cluttered other animals. The (fictional) writing I do is often most effectively inspired by trips I take to naturally beautiful locations for hiking or whatnot. Much like the life you live in meatspace, your online life should be regulated to a level that works best for you without overloading your own personal time. Otherwise you end up like an algorithm of a person with no depth of character. A human Marvel movie constructed for mass consumption rather than actual contribution beyond immediate gratification. It is the irony of the present times that those who feel the need to be most in tune with current trends are the ones basically guaranteeing their thoughts have no staying power. These are the people who will be first to fade into irrelevance.

The first step is to realize that while humans are social animals, this too must be held in moderation along with our other instincts. To have a meaningful contribution to others in the first place one must first be able to step back and look at things from an angle different from merely going along unthinkingly with trends.

Of course, there are entire industries based around relieving and avoiding self-reflection, so we have a society that incentivizes people not to really be quiet with themselves. But even in order to see that relatively mundane observation, it requires the knowledge that you are being manipulated…and that in turn requires some sense of distance.

………………………………

One announcement regarding the future of this blog-and no, it is not related to the above post. I recently started a position where I will do a lot of foreign policy and strategic writing. Unlike my prior time at the State Department where most of what I wrote was not for public output, this one will be. So, with that being a big part of my near future I feel that is likely that the percentage of foreign policy specific topics on this blog will decrease in proportion to the other topics I like such as philosophy, history, domestic politics (of various nations), etc. When I write something particularly on topic for this blog elsewhere I will probably just link to it with a brief statement and then get to another topic.

I will not cease writing about foreign policy topics here, I am merely stating that its proportion will decrease. And even then, book reviews on that topic are almost certainly staying as is when it comes to output.

 

Two Birds, One Stone: Using Demographic Replacement to Destroy the Woke

What follows is a proposal guaranteed to displease both the woke left and the racist right…and most likely please nearly everyone else if they think about it.

green inferno

It should be beyond doubt at this point that the worst, most anti-intellectual, and loudest segments of the left and liberals alike have far more in common with right-wing reactionaries on a psychological level than they do with anyone else. This is not some lazy horseshoe theory on my part, as I have on multiple past posts made my scorn for the alt-center neoliberals quite clear. It is, however, a recognition that similar cultural, class-based, and other factors create Extreme Culture Warriors. These ECW’s are the dumbest people of left, center, and right alike and get in the way of anyone’s ability to have rational and productive conversations. This decade’s current epidemic of call-outs, scolding think pieces, and ‘canceling’ mirror the right-wing evangelical revival of the 80s, 90s, and early oughts. That one came as a reaction to the 60s and then was briefly recharged by 9/11, whereas the current one is a reaction to the 2016 election (liberal 9/11) and the failures of the Obama years to amount to much of anything. Both are entirely the wrong response to serious problems in need of addressing. Both, therefore, get in the way of finding solutions.

Both of these similar movements are also overwhelmingly demographically dominated by white people. Specifically, middle and upper-class white people.

Much as I loathe identity politics this class and ethnic overlap on widely different parts of the political compass cannot be ignored. But seeing as these ideologies often rub off on second and third-generation descendants of Asian immigrants who have mostly white friends it perhaps behooves us to refer to this faction collectively as ‘Anglo-Protestants.’ Besides, we all know that white Euro-Catholics in America are basically culturally Protestant anyway so it works. As it is, both come from the same original strain in North Atlantic history. And it is worth remembering that the whitest large city in America is Portland, Oregon. The very place the right hates the most. So if the far right got its own white ethnostate it would take about 1 generation for it to become overrun with SJWs.

What to do about this problem? Well, fortunately, present trends have already shown us some facet of the answer. Demographic Displacement. That’s right, the worst fear of the far right! This introduces a delicious irony…if the right wants to prove that they are in fact not racist than surely they will be able to commit to the destruction of ‘SJWs’ by acknowledging that the most effective way to get rid of them is to fundamentally undermine the white majority in North America. Meanwhile, on the other side of irony, both liberals and leftists of woke-persuasion will at first champion taking more Hispanic and Asian immigrants…until they begin to realize that this is swamping out their assimilationist tendencies and attempts to colonize other people’s language.  Speed is the key. If the amount of immigration is too low then the Anglo-Protestantified second and third generations will also grow up surrounded by such people and be tainted by their moralism. The only choice to combat this scourge is to smash white supremacy with numbers. Open the borders to countries with non-protestant cultures, do not open them to countries with huge strident revivalist religions of all stripes.

So, righties, if you are serious about confronting the menace of the woke its time to step up and stick it to whitey. And lefties, if you really want that super-diverse world you claim to crave its time to accept that such a world will likely bury your ideology and make your performative politics irrelevant. Because when demographics kill off Luther and Calvin, they will also kill off Richard Spencer and Lena Dunham.

But time is of the essence lest we end up with more Kamala Harris-types.

kamala deportation

 

Not Evil, Just Stupid

11-hillary-clinton-shocked.w700.h700

And in an age of near universal literacy and information access in the developed world, stupid is an evil all its own. Perhaps the greatest of all evils. This is now abundantly clear with the poorly disguised attempt to smear a veteran and sitting congresswoman as a traitorous Manchurian candidate and its hilarious response.

Despite the feverish conspiracy theories of the right, it has long been my position that Hillary Clinton, and the people who religiously tend to identify with her, are not in fact these brilliant puppet masters. As fun as it is to joke about these people being reptillian baby eaters, the truth of the matter is that while indeed the Clintons (just like the Bushes and Trumps) are monstrously corrupt, they are also remarkably stupid. Hillary in particular, who lacks the charisma and trend-reading ability to her husband, is a living embodiment not of evil but of incompetence. The network she can call out to speak on her behalf is more a patronage network of fellow incompetents than it is anything else, though that network surely does exist as we can see clearly this week,

My evidence is Mrs. Clinton’s entire record in policy. Let’s break it down.

-As First Lady she was given the opportunity to reform America’s healthcare system. Her attempts went down in history for being so undiplomatic that they failed before they even began. She also faked a southern accent during this time despite not actually being a southerner.

-Her tenure as a senator from the State of New York consisted of trying and failing to censor video games in a second wind of the prior decade’s Tipper Gore war on music. This was concurrent with her attempt to ban flag burning, which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional, and her support for Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq, the biggest foreign policy blunder quite possibly in all of American history.

-She then ran her first presidential campaign in 2008. Her record specifically on Iraq doomed both her and her Republican analog, John McCain, both of whom lost to a previously unknown upstart senator who ran against that war and the people who made it. During this campaign, Hillary Clinton engaged in endless race-baiting attacks on her opponent implying something nebulously foreign about him in a precursor to Trump’s birtherism and insisting that ‘the real America’ of the midwest and south would never vote for him….for *some* reason. She then refused to concede her clear loss in the primary and hung around for a strangely long period of time. Far longer than, say, Bernie Sanders did against her in 2016. She did this, most likely, as a negotiating tactic to be Obama’s declared successor and Secretary of State.

-Upon becoming Secretary of State she quickly went on to show what a mistake the first of Obama’s corrupt bargains would end up being for any hopes of reversing Bush’s ruinous administration. She was the decisive force for convincing an undecided Obama to intervene in Libya. Now, Libya is a failed state fought over warlords that incubates terrorism, Islamic extremism, and has a burgeoning chattel slavery industry. Despite this enormous failure, Hillary pushed again for greater levels of intervention in Syria, this time on the side of outright and undisguised jihadists. Her very own emails, which her fans often deride as ‘but her emails’ to deflect from their actual contents, show that she was aware of this and still supported ‘Operation Timber Sycamore’ (which you can look up yourself as the documentation is truly enormous) anyway.

-In the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton then went on to run the most well-funded campaign in history into the ground. Everyone save Matt Taibbi preemptively called the election for Clinton. Her staff’s one original idea aside from riding celebrity accolades was to signal boost Trump over his republican challengers using their media contacts in something called ‘The Pied Piper Strategy‘, thinking he would be the easiest candidate to beat. Most likely, Hillary would have beaten nonentities like Rubio and Jeb!, but someone like Trump was always going to be more of a challenge to the ultimate insiders of the Clintons. Then, in the general election, Hillary Clinton ran what could only be described as a Romney-style campaign based on insulting voters who weren’t already in her camp, failing to campaign in the right locations, and generally ignoring the strong ground game. Plus, she had a close run with a previously little known self-described socialist from Vermont. A challenger that, despite all the post-election rhetoric from all sides, went on to deliver a greater percentage of his base to Hillary than Hillary ever did for Obama after losing to him 8 years before. Hillary then went on to promise her priorities after her inevitable coronation as ‘the removal of Assad from power’ (mentioned in literally every 2016 presidential debate in the general) and even more of the same policies of offshoring and deindustrialization that everyone outside of finance hates. Oh but don’t worry, she had some great one-liners.

-In the post-election hellscape of her failure, Hillary Clinton and her fans who treat her like she is their mother, have greatly exaggerated Russian cyber interference in American discourse in order to absolve themselves and their entire overpaid consultant class from the blame they deserve for blowing the most winnable election in history. This has unleashed a McCarthyite hysteria that has hijacked the Democratic Party, public discourse, and the media and created an opposition to Trump that looks like the republican loyalists to Bush from 2001-2008, where accusations of disloyalty and secret sympathies dog the discourse as a cover for avoiding substantive debate. This is a big reason why the Democrats of this decade became like the Republicans of last decade. Reflexively in support of military intervention, in love with intelligence agencies, and using the same model of going all out religious revival in social issues to distract their supporters from the fact that very few policies they support actually help their base in any real material way.

Into this post-Clintonian apocalypse, only Tulsi Gabbard has had the courage to stand up directly and challenge the odious legacy of this accurately stated ‘Queen of Warmongers’ and symbol of corruption. This is why her candidacy, even more than Bernie’s, is the true anti-bipartisan consensus run. You can see just by the hysterical reactions of the Beltway class to her factually accurate statements about the results of U.S. interventions in the Middle East. Yes, we did support AL Qaeda aligned groups in Syria and Libya. Hillary herself admitted to it in her emails…which is why those emails were always a scandal. Not because of how she handled them, but because of the lack of judgment on matters of policy she showed in them.

Finally, someone stands up against the insanity of our endless war state and against the neoMcCarthyite rhetoric used to defend it from both parties. The same candidate with the spine to call Trump ‘Saudi Arabia’s Bitch’ is the one who can accurately identify Hillary’s miasmic influence on American politics. it is time to throw all of these bums and their acolytes into the trash where they belong.

The fact of the matter is, Hillary Clinton is nothing but an attention-seeking and uncharismatic sociopath with no self-reflection or ability to learn. Everything she has ever touched has turned to ashes and manure. Her ability to create spectacular backfires is a welcome addition to the message-driven Gabbard campaign, as few in this country are loathed as much as Hillary Clinton is-especially by independent and anti-establishment voters. By giving her un-endorsement she has already served an unintentionally useful purpose for those who wish to bring about change. By inspiring all her servile op-ed ghouls to come out in her defense she shows who is willing to make the death rattles on behalf of a dying order and who isn’t. She is not showing her power, but her weakness. A head of a cabal she may be, but rather than pulling the levers of power this cabal spends its time sitting and sulking at a world waking up to their many failures and rank incompetence.

I would say ‘Go away Hillary,’ but I know after crawling back into her spider hole of bitter resentment and abject failure that she will only give us a few months more at most before reappearing yet again with more rot and decay than ever before.

In Praise of Indigenous People’s Day

battle-of-old-sitka

‘The Battle of Old Sitka’ by Roy Troll

If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably know I have nothing but disdain for so much of the fashionable woke causes of today. We are bombarded on a daily bases by performative virtue signalling largely sold as snake oil by grifters to the guilt-ridden white bourgeoisie and those over-eager to have passionate opinions without doing the necessary work to justify such strongly held views. No doubt today you are seeing many of those very people loudly proclaiming their inheritance to replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. Be not afraid though, broken clocks are right twice a day after all.

From the undeniable fact that the largest mass human die-off in recorded human history was due to Eurasian pathogens made short work of much of the Native American population, to the subsequent enslavement, murder, and conquest of these then-weakened communities (I maintain that direct European conquest would likely not have happened in that era save for certain coastal and island areas were it not for the full-fledged apocalypse of smallpox and company creating a literal post-apocalypse-but that is a big enough topic to be the subject of another post), the reasons for replacing a Holiday celebrated in the United States, a (future) country Columbus never set foot it, are obvious. Even leaving aside that Columbus was a grifter, fanatic, and died convinced he had found the edge of Southeast Asia despite everyone else realizing it was clearly something else which was a direct result of him believing the world was much smaller than it actually was-a fringe view even in his time- there are plenty of reasons to neither give up a holiday nor continue it in its present form.

The mass destruction of indigenous culture goes beyond the human toll. It robbed the world of art, thought, philosophy, biodiversity, and language. While I am hardly one to use ‘imperialism’ as a catch-all phrase of bad things, the specific form of Spanish and English colonialism towards the New World resulted in positively ISIS-levels of cultural vandalism where the pathologies of the present rob the future generations of Earth from its material heritage. If the conquest in hindsight seems inevitable, the mass destruction, Palmyra style, of religions and cultures surely was not as it was fueled purely by ideology. Conquistadores cared little for converts, but the people that came after them did. And from Torquemada’s ideological children to Cotton Mather’s bastards, a varied mosaic of thought was swept away for the barren and monolithic desert of Christian fanaticism. A legacy that very much infects almost everything today in contemporary North America.

But Indigenous People’s Day is not mainly a marking of the past but first and foremost a statement of the future. The Natives are still here. Despite everything many still keep their cultures as intact as reasonably possible.  They aren’t going anywhere. And of equal importance, it is about time that we who dwell in North America recognize how much they contributed to us. Half of the vegetables commonly used in cooking today in the world have a New World origin. Most spices come from Mesoamerica originally. Languages used as codes to baffle the Axis Powers and vital contributions especially welcome in our benighted postmodern age towards contemporary art still pour out from Native artists who are both cutting edge and traditional alike. Even our urban legends and modern myths increasingly adopt the fantastic creatures who were spoken of in these lands long before the Europeans came.

We might also do well by recognizing what they have still to give. There are ways of thought that would be a welcome break from the endless Alt-Protestant shrieking that almost all sides of our culture have degenerated into. No one is more suspicious of that famously ambiguous and mealy-mouthed phrase ‘decolonization’ than me, but we sure as hell could use some decolonization in our politics and philosophy on this front when it comes to anthropocentrism, economic priorities, and the dominant sects whose theology holds sway over much of the populace. So much of the intellectual legacy of Northern Europe is a stain on the thoughtful, including even in strategic culture. There are histories whose very concept of strategy remains to be explored as political theory. More on this later at some point, I promise.

Anyway, if you would like to explore something contemporary and native I recommend starting with Nechochwen:

Much Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth for Syria’s Kurds

First let me say that the YPJ/SDF is probably the most sympathetic non-state actor in the entire Syrian Civil War. Second, I will state clearly and definitely that the present Turkish government under Erdogan and the AKP is second only to that of Saudi Arabia as a force for destabilization and horror in the contemporary Middle East. There is no question that at this point Erdogan is the primary villain of Syria’s long unfolding tragedy.

That out of the way, the hysterical response to the ‘western betrayal’ of ‘the Kurds’ is utterly bizarre and hard to fathom…at least for anyone who thinks first in terms of strategy and not in emotional sentimentality. For the following reasons:

  1. Turkey was always the bigger geopolitical prize than ‘the Kurds’ (i.e. the Rojava/SDF-there is no one unified faction of Kurds) and so both the United States and Russia were always going to jockey for influence in Ankara first rather than over a thin strip of unrecognized territory in northern Syria. This has always been the case and should surprise exactly no one.
  2. The United States had better chance holding on to South Vietnam in 1975 than it ever did holding on to to Syria’s northeast. A handful of operators ostensibly helping Kurdish forces battle Islamists was just as much there to prevent Kurdish-Damascus rapprochement as for any other reason. But the Syrian government is in the region to stay and the U.S. never really could be. As it is, prompt withdrawal of American forces increases the odds of Kurdish-Syrian and Syrian government forces being able to coordinate a response to Turkey’s blatant act of invasion at the head of a force of neo-Bashi-Bazouks.
  3. If Russia acts to clip Turkey’s wings in northern Syria (one can hope though that hope is far from likely at this point) it will be easier to do so with U.S. forces gone from the immediate area as the first thing they want gone is American influence there. This is far more likely to happen than the Americans being able to hold back the Turks themselves.
  4. What is the alternative? The far left (most vocal western factions wailing about betrayal) joins forces with the neoconservative right to voice support for some kind Israel-like creation of a Kurdish state that will set off a series of regional wars requiring an endless commitment to arming and equipping Kurdish forces against all their neighbors forever? No doubt Netanyahu and the ghost of Trotsky alike gets wet at the thought.
  5. Worst of all, from my very subjective perspective, all of this has overshadowed the great news that the Saudis might be forced into a corner by the Houthis in Yemen. But the House of Saud teeters perpetually upon the brink of collapse in a way that the AKP in Turkey definitely seems not to. And if anything, taking a ‘strong line’ against a Kurdish bogeyman probably further bolsters Erdogan’s position at home.

States have permanent interests and not permanent friends. The Kurds of the Rojava/SDF themselves should and probably do know this. They would be fools if they did not. But so much of the commentary coming from across the board in the developed world have forgotten this principle. Be not surprised when the ‘betrayal of the Kurds’ is used in future interventionist rhetoric for why we need to be more involved in this war or region at large.

But arguably this sequence of tragic affairs is a direct result of NATO involvement in the Syrian Civil War in the first place. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.