Monday, January 31, 2011
Richard E. Byrd
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1938
I first encountered Richard Evelyn Byrd while researching the Nazi UFO legend, which Ernst Zündel popularised during the late 1970s in his book UFO: Nazi Secret Weapon?, and which was elaborated—from an esoteric perspective—by Miguel Serrano in El Cordón Dorado (The Golden Thread). In these accounts, Byrd appears in connection with the ambitious US-sponsored Antarctic expedition of 1946-1947, Operation Highjump, which he led, and which, according to various speculative historians and conspiracy theorists, was abruptly cut short due to Byrd having been met with attacks by German flying saucers, operating out of a secret base in New Swabia, on Queen Maud Land. Proponents of the Nazi UFO legend maintain that, following National Socialist Germany’s defeat in 1945, two submarines, U977 and U530, smuggled a surviving Adolf Hitler to the aforementioned base, Point 211, in New Berlin, the capital of Germany’s Antarctic claim, and continued to operate there for many years after the war. The esoteric narrative claims that from there Hitler went underground, entering the Earth’s hollow interior via a polar entrance; and that he has since waited in the hidden hyperborean civilization that still survives there for the day when he would return, commanding a fleet of UFOs that would defeat the forces of darkness and found the Fourth Reich.
The 1933-1935 expedition was Byrd’s second in Antarctica, and involved extensive meteorological studies in the continent. Among Byrd’s plans was to establish Advance Base, deep into the Ross Ice Shelf, where he would spend the Winter collecting data. Until then, all the meteorological data previously gathered by explorers had been collected either from coastal stations or during fast-moving journeys; a static weather station situated in the continent and gathering data over a six-month period would provide scientists with a much more accurate climatological picture of Antarctica.
Conditions in the Antarctic interior during the Winter months are the most hostile on Earth. The cold is more extreme than in the Arctic. Nothing lives. Months pass in complete darkness. And in Byrd’s time, hundreds of miles of sea ice made the continent inaccessible for half the year. Moreover, the landscape, although beautiful, is barren, on the Ross Ice Shelf consisting of a vast plain of iron-hard ice. Because of this, Byrd had initially conceived Advance Base as a three-man weather station: he knew from previous experience that two men living in close quarters for six months under such conditions and unable ever to escape each other would end up hating each other for the rest of their lives, which would add to their already heavy psychological strain; three men meant there would always an arbitrer and the option for one of taking a break from another’s grating habits. Due to being delayed by adverse weather and difficulties with the terrain on the Bay of Whales, however, the main base, Little America II was not ready until later than anticipated, and this meant having to revise earlier plans for Advance Base. The base would not be at the foot of the Queen Maud mountains, but much nearer, at 80.08ºS; and, because of the impossibility of bringing enough supplies before the onset of Winter, it would not be staffed by a team of three, but by a solitary man. Byrd chose himself for this mission.
At the beginning of the book, Byrd sets out his reasons: firstly, he could not ask of other men something he was not willing to do himself; and secondly, he thought the experience would be personally beneficial, as it would enable him effectively to stop time and use his six months of isolation to do all the thinking, reading, and listening to music the frenetic pace of modern life made otherwise impossible. The decision nearly cost Byrd his life, and the experience irrevocably changed him, causing the book not to be written until four years after the events.
Even in April, with the Autumn just beginning, conditions on the Ross Ice Shelf are severe. The ice shelf is the size of France and is hundreds of metres thick; it is also located in the windiest continent on Earth. Robert Scott and his four men died there, stuck on a ten-day blizzard with temperatures in the minus forties, having starved for months while attempting to cross it on their return journey from the South Pole in 1912. While building Advance Station, Byrd’s men had to keep an eye out for each other, looking for signs of frostbite. And once built, the shack that constituted Byrd’s living quarters was still freezing, with any water not directly on the stove turning into ice within minutes.
All the the same, Byrd’s first two months went well. The data gathering and survival kept him well busier than he anticipated, and he had to wrestle with the psychological effects of relentless deathly silence and isolation, but he still managed to read, meditate, and listen to music, as he had desired; indeed, by May he had achieved a sense of inner piece, and felt his beliefs crystallise in manner he had never previously thought possible. Until this point, Alone grows progressively philosophical in tone.
But then, disaster struck.
Byrd maintained twice weekly radio schedules with Little America, using a primitive radio receiver that enabled him to hear but not send sound—his messages to the main base were transmitted in morse code, at which he was not skilled. Electricity for the receiver came from a gasoline generator located in one of the two tunnels running out from the front of the shack, which was buried in the ice. Ventilation both in the shack and in the tunnels was far from perfect, and the pipes leading out of them tended to become clogged with ice—the cold was indeed so intense that even the fumes from the burning stove or the running generator engine did not thaw it out. During an early June schedule, Byrd noticed the generator engine was skipping, and interrupted his exchange to investigate. Byrd found the tunnel choking with smoke. Next he found himself coming to on the tunnel floor, having been unconscious for several minutes. He had been knocked out by the carbon monoxide in the fumes. He was saved by the steep temperature gradient that existed throughout the underground weather station, where heat rose to form a layer of warmer air against the ceiling while the floor remained some thirty degrees colder (and better oxygenated).
Byrd managed to switch off the generator and crawl back into shack, where, in a daze, he managed to finish the schedule some twenty minutes after his interruption. He did not inform Little America of the incident, or of his condition, instead explaining away his absence as simple trouble with the generator, out of a desire not to alarm his men. Yet from that point onward Byrd was poor shape: the carbon monoxide in the tunnel had only provided a knockdown blow, but the fact was that he had been gradually poisoning himself for some time, as the stove in the inadequately ventilated shack had a leaky pipe and the air had consequently been slowly filling up with carbon monoxide. Even before his collapse, Byrd had recorded aching eyes and headaches in his diary. Now he was in danger: the Winter was still deepening and the sun, which had dipped below the horizon in April, would not return for months. A rescue would be in all probability impossible, and if attempted certainly extremely dangerous: besides the darkness, the cold, and the blizzards, the Ross Ice Shelf is riddled with heavily crevassed regions, made treacherous by the fact that many of the abyssal caverns just below the surface are covered by thin bridges that make them invisible; a man on foot or in a tractor could find himself plunging into a black bottomless chasm. (Douglas Mawson lost a man this way.) Byrd was thus compelled to conceal his condition and stick it out until October (well into the Antarctic Spring), which was earliest he had authorised his men to come and get him.
What follows is yet another a harrowing tale of unimaginable suffering and endurance. Plagued with blinding headaches, back aches, leg aches, weakness, dizziness, and loss of appetite, Byrd was barely able to function. Even the simplest tasks, like rising from his bunk or putting on his clothes, came to require supreme effort and willpower, as well as considerable time; this was made worse by the fact that, having identified the problem, Byrd was now forced to choose between yet more carbon monoxide poisoning and freezing cold. You can well imagine, if you have ever resisted rising out of bed on a cold day, or found it hard to rise while with tonsilitis or a kidney infection, how much more difficult this is when the air temperature is like on the Martian surface.
At 50º[F] below zero a flashlight dies out in your hand. At -55º kerosene will freeze, and the flame will dry up on the wick. At -60º rubber turns brittle. . . . Below -60º cold will find the last microscopic touch of oil in an instrument and stop it dead. If there is the slightest breeze, you can hear your breath freeze as it floats away, making a sound like that of Chinese firecrackers. As does the morning dew, rime coats every exposed object. And if you work too hard and breathe too deeply, your lungs will sometimes feel as if they were on fire.
Even April’s relatively moderate cold had already given Byrd much to think about. The novocaine in his medical kit had “froze[n] and shattered the tube glasses”. So had the chemicals in the fire bombs. “Two cases of tomato juice [had] shattered their bottles”. Whenever he brought canned food inside the shack he had to let it stand all day near the stove to thaw it out. And the touch of cold metal burnt his fingers even through the protection of gloves. Temperatures only rose during blizzards, but even during these “heatwaves” it never rose above several degrees below freezing point in the very best of cases. Consider that among Byrd’s tasks involved him going outside, even during blizzards, to collect data, de-rime the instruments, or unblock frozen ventilation pipes. He rarely came back without a frostbitten nose, toe, cheek, or finger.
While healthy, Byrd put out the stove and opened the door at night, in order to prevent fires and aid ventilation while he slept. After his June collapse, he was forced to keep stove usage to a minimum—enough to defrost whatever meager food he managed to eat and hold down. The result was a sheet of ice gradually creeping up the walls, until it eventually encased the whole of the shack’s interior. When waking in the morning, in cold pitch blackness, Byrd found his face and hair a mess of ice inside his sleeping bag; his shoes were stiff with frozen sweat, and could not be put on without first being worked on with the fingers—at -40ºF (-40ºC).
Despite such adversity, Byrd managed a partial recovery, but he soon relapsed due to the continuing issue of poor ventilation. To make things even worse, the generator in the fuel tunnel broke down beyond repair, and Byrd was then forced to use an emergency receiver that generated its own electricity by means of a manual crank. Chronically weak and malnourished as he was, his radio schedules became punishing feats of aerobic exercise, which felt like being beaten within an inch of his life. Around this time Byrd also experienced a wave of extremely low temperatures, which froze or nearly froze even his specially prepared his instruments. When required to go out onto the surface, the outside air—at that moment down to -84ºF (-64.4ºC)—nearly suffocated him, on account of the instant constriction of his air passages. While climbing a short ladder the rungs frostbit the balls of his feet through the four soles of his polar boots. And afterward frozen skin came off his cheeks when removing his face mask.
Were it not because the men at Little America began suspecting Byrd’s unwellness on account of his unintelligible messages, long delays, and seeming lack of energy, it is possible he would not have survived. The rescue operation involved subterfuge on both sides, as Byrd feared for his men and the prestige of the operation, while the men at Little America did not wish to contravene his explicit orders not to come for him until six months had passed and there was ample light for safe travelling. Even though a rescue operation was eventually launched, the tractors did not reach Byrd until mid August, two previous attempts having failed due to the darkness and mechanical failure. Moreover, departure from Advance Base was further delayed by several weeks in order to allow Byrd sufficiently to recover, which he managed after being—effectively but not formally, due to a tacit agreement to maintain appearances—temporarily relieved of his duties.
Byrd states at the beginning of his account that he only wrote the book at the insistent behest of friends and colleagues, and that he initially resisted doing so because the experience had been a personal one. Further, as a Virginian and man of his time he deemed it unseemly to share his emotions with world. A man’s emotions, he argued, are most seemly when hidden. Likewise with a man’s suffering, which in his case he concealed as best he could from his subordinates, even after he had nearly despaired and on the verge of death. Indeed, Byrd admits to losing his cool only once, and deeply regretting it—losing his cool in Byrd’s opinion was urging his men to hurry during a radio schedule. True, Byrd was a navy officer, and he confesses that some of what he wrote in his diaries was left out, but it is difficult to imagine a modern man displaying that kind of mastery over his emotions in the face of such extreme adversity. It is an edifying example.
Next to Lennard Bickel’s Shackleton’s Forgotten Men Byrd’s is one of the most gripping accounts of Antarctic horror and adventure I have yet encountered. His narration is compelling and it is difficult to put the book down, which is probably why there have been multiple editions and why the book remains in print, over 70 years after it was first published. This is recommended reading for anyone seeking inspiration from the hard men of a more glorious age.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Joseph P. Farrell
Reich of the Black Sun: Nazi Secret Weapons and the Cold War Allied Legend
Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004
Even though I acknowledge that governments conspire—against the electorate, against organisations, and against other governments—I have never been a conspiracy buff: there is a difference, in my mind, between conspiring to make Britain more multicultural, as did the Labour government of Tony Blair, and covering up alien abductions. All the same, this does not stop me from having some fun weaving the mythology of Nazi UFOs and secret bases in Antarctica into a novel, as I am presently doing, and informing myself with the extant literature on this topic. And it was for this reason that two years ago I purchased the book under review here.
Reich of the Black Sun argues that the secret weapons developed by the National Socialists during World War II were subsequently appropriated by the Americans, under whose aegis former National Socialist German scientists continued their research during the Cold War. Among them are innovative aeronautical projects (unidentified flying objects) and even anti-gravity technology. Dr. Farrell’s is a more science-oriented narrative of the discovery by Hitler’s scientists of what Miguel Serrano calls ‘the other science’ in his Esoteric Hitlerist volumes.
At the time, this was my first encounter with speculative history of this nature: similar books that I was lent in the past were returned unread. And had I been looking for proof of suppressed events, I would have been disappointed, because Dr. Farrell’s prose is tendentious and calculated to maximise sensation, despite a quasi-scientific veneer. He follows the useful tactic of exploiting the gaps between primary records, and inserting there elaborate speculation and loaded questions in the vein of ‘Could there be more to this than we’ve been told?’ His conclusions precede and predetermine the research methodology, and his prose is clearly aimed at an audience that is already predisposed, indeed actively looking for reasons, to believe in mind-blowing conspiracy theories. The psychologist in me imagines that in an age of alienation, secularism, and boredom, mind-blowing theses provide stimulation and meaning. Certainly, feeling that they are in on a secret, in on the workings of a monstrous conspiracy that most citizens have no knowledge of, infuses feelings of superiority in both unremarkable and marginal readers alike.
Another minus in Reich of the Black Sun is the number of typographical errors: these are numerous, and multiply as one progresses, leading one to speculate that an error by the publisher led to an uncorrected draft making it to publication. Whatever the cause, the quantity of errors is very distracting in the first edition.
What makes this especially disappointing, however, is that Reich could have been a hugely entertaining book. Unfortunately, Dr. Farrell’s approach lacks sophistication, and this limits his appeal to well informed, slightly above-average minds, with above-average critical analysis skills, but crucially lacking when evaluating evidence. It is a shame, because the potential offered by the material under examination only marks the present effort as a wasted opportunity. With less blatant bias, a more clinical tone, sophisticated arguments, and a more devious use of research techniques, an author wishing to run with the idea would have produced an effective series. Even more unfortunately, the second volume in the series (Reich is the first) is no better: it is longer, and has been proofread much more carefully, but it grows tedious after a while, as hundreds of pages are spent going back and forth in what seems like grasping, without ever making a convincing case for the existence of a German anti-gravity device. The result is that even though I am open to alternative perspectives and interpretations of historical data and events, and likewise sceptical of officialised histories, I find myself resisting Dr. Farrell’s narrative, and mentally rebutting him on every page.
The trick is obviously to plant a seed of doubt, and to very deviously hide the fact that this is, ultimately, still a form of science fiction—we may call it, science fictory. Doing it well requires extraordinary skill and, more importantly, an utterly cynical realism in one’s understanding of human psychology—of the fiendish kind some may find in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
On the topic of Nazi secret weapons, as obviously partisan and as hastily put together as it was, I still prefer Ernst Zündel’s classic UFO: Nazi Secret Weapon? The latter offered an entertaining overview of the now well-known theories / mythos without Zündel—who contributed to their elaboration—trying too hard to be taken seriously; and perhaps it is because of that Zündel’s was a more successful effort. And even better from my point of view is Miguel Serrano’s treatment of this exact same topic, which we find in parts of his 1978 book, El Cordón Dorado: Esoteric Hitlerism (the latter volume covers much more besides). There, in the chapters dealing with the UFOs and the Antarctic, it is presented in much more erudite form and without rationalist pretensions: Serrano’s narrative inhabits a mystical space between history, mythology, fantasy, and poetry, with some elements of autobiography thrown in, so it becomes a philosophical / metapolitical work of literature and reflection.
Despite its defects, Reich of the Black Sun contains a wealth of information and parts of it may prove a useful source of inspiration for a writer of fiction. For me, however, this sits in a neutral space between science and speculation, and I would rather it went more one way or the other.
Let us hope I will have better luck next time.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
First published on Alternative Right: http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/malinvestments/boardroom-shuffle/
The Daily Mail reported the other day that British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is studying the possibility of imposing compulsory quotas for women in company boardrooms—a demand previously made by Labour’s Harriet Harman, and previously derided by the Conservatives while in opposition. Apparently, Mr. Cameron is drawing inspiration from Scandinavian countries, where companies are required by law to ensure that at least 40% of board members are women.
The Daily Mail reported the other day that British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is studying the possibility of imposing compulsory quotas for women in company boardrooms—a demand previously made by Labour’s Harriet Harman, and previously derided by the Conservatives while in opposition. Apparently, Mr. Cameron is drawing inspiration from Scandinavian countries, where companies are required by law to ensure that at least 40% of board members are women.
No mention has been made of exactly how this will improve operational efficiency, the quality of products and customer service, or profitability.
I have no problem with women in boardrooms if they are there for the right reasons—meaning, they are the most skilled persons for the job not currently employed elsewhere. But I do have a problem with the government, which knows nothing about my company’s needs, telling me whom I must hire and whom I must promote, to what positions, and how soon.
Having long known management consultants whose clients have been either among the industry leaders nationwide or prestigious multinationals (indeed, one of the consultants, now retired, worked for one of the latter), one certainly cannot dismiss the famed glass ceiling for women in management as pure feminist agitprop: although this is less the case nowadays, there has been, and there still is, a tendency among some to take women less seriously in corporate environments, and this has inevitably impacted on promotions. (If executive women are sometimes unpleasant, masculine, and abrasive, it owes as much to the need to be heard and be taken seriously as it owes to feminism. This would be consistent with social identity theory, which predicts that in conflict situations competing groups will grow to resemble each other, even if ingroup members’ perceptions of the outgroup come increasingly to exaggerate ingroup-outgroup differences, real or perceived. In a male-dominated environment, women competing for resources, and equipped with an adversarial group identity by the feminists, will inevitably adopt male tactics and characteristics.)
Having said this, however, and with the caveat that mediocrity and incompetence abound all the way up and down the corporate ladder, irrespective of sex, there are also women who do not deserve to be taken seriously, who are hypersensitive, and / or who, found lacking in efficacy and / or industry, exploit equality legislation to obtain undeserved advantage. And, more importantly, there are also many women who do not dream of being ball-busting executives: indeed, many are content to have economic autonomy, while others would rather be at home looking after their families.
The underlying assumption with quotas is that (a) every person has the same potential to do a job as well as any other given the same opportunities; and (b) when a person who is not a member of a protected category is not successful with a job application it is always unjustified, unless another member of a protected category has been successful instead.
Mr. Cameron’s brand of feminism cannot accept that women may tend to order their priorities differently from men, and that his may have contributed proportionally to different outcomes vis-à-vis the corporate ladder. As usual, inequality of outcome is equated simplistically with inequality of opportunity.
Were it not because the imposition of quotas is a zero sum game, where every person who is favoured by the quota system is another person who is displaced in turn, I would be thinking that this is not about equalising outcomes, but about maximising tax revenues: after all, more women in senior executive positions means more women in the high income tax bracket.
What is certain is that any quota system will result in less qualified women displacing better qualified men. Definitely not in every case, as there are many very talented women out there and many incumbents who do not deserve to be where they are, but it will definitely happen. And where this happens, the quality of the decision making at boardroom level will be lower, which will impact negatively on the entire organisation, and even the consumer.
Any quota system will also impact negatively on women, as those attaining boardroom positions will fall immediately under suspicion of being there because of the quota system rather than because of professional merit. You can well imagine the rage and frustration of a genuinely deserving woman executive—one who probably had to strain to be taken seriously—in the presence of sceptical male colleagues who will now, in addition, have reason to see her as an affirmative action beneficiary, rather than a fully qualified partner. And, in addition to undermining this women’s authority at the boardroom level, quotas will also undermine their authority among those directly below them, for the better-qualified men who were passed over for promotion will certainly not take their new woman bosses seriously. Some men, demoralised, may engage in passive aggression and reduce their output, possibly going on strike by doing exactly no more and no less than what they are paid to do, interpreting instructions literally and keeping strictly to the 9 to 5 schedule, even, or especially, when there is a crisis. Some may take a page from Hermann Melville’s novella, Bartleby, the Scrivener, and practice outright passive resistance. Other men, infuriated, may work double-time actively to undermine their new woman bosses.
Aware of this, women executives, whether at boardroom level or on their way there, will certainly notice and act accordingly. Quotas are likely to exacerbate an antagonistic climate of competitive nastiness.
This will be far from helpful when organisations are already rife with all manner of intriguers, sycophants, back-stabbers, opportunists, hypocrisy, deception, bruised egos, pettiness, and personal hatreds; and where there are plenty of free-loaders, time-servers, gossips, and blunderers who rise purely because of their adeptness at blame transferring and gluteal osculation.
As usual, feminism, rather than reconciling the sexes in a spirit of teamwork, drives a wedge between them and sets them at war with each other. This is not how the alternative Right would approach matters of sex and gender: over here we view the sexes as complementary, each endowed with their own unique skills and ways of doing and seeing things, but ultimately working in concert. Feminism is all about us-versus-them; it is a force of destruction and revenge, not a constructive effort towards synergistic harmony between the sexes.
And there is also the matter of free association. Supposedly, we enjoy it in our democratic society. In reality, we are often denied it: millions of people we do not want around us are imported or allowed in, with government collusion or sanction, and settled in our communities, making them, the high streets, and the transport system, far more unpleasant than it needs to be. And now, as employers, should Mr. Cameron go ahead with Labour’s idea, and should less-qualified women be promoted over better-qualified men to meet minimum government quotas, we will have to suffer annoying, odious, incompetent partners and directors on the boards of our companies, holding positions of immense responsibility, being paid large sums of money, and causing more headaches than it is worth, rather than the persons we would have chosen on the basis of merit, talent, and personality.
And what next? Previous experience suggests this is to be thin end of a wedge, which will open the way for further, and even more unpleasant, impositions; more quotas, to ensure the full spectrum of colour, creed, gender, age, IQ, disability, HIV status, and sexual orientation is uniformly represented in every area of private and professional life, irrespective of relevance or merit, without the option to choose whom we would rather work or associate with. So much for meritocracy and free association.
Perhaps the response will be greater automation, and the dispensing with of humans whenever possible, for fear of whom one may be forced to work alongside with. Perhaps the response will be emigration: many companies, fed up with the previous Labour government’s predatory tax code, relocated their businesses out of the United Kingdom, in favour of more fiscally amenable pastures. Perhaps the response will be outward compliance, followed by subterfuges and workarounds—subtle psychological warfare to force resignation of affirmative action beneficiaries in hopes that another, better candidate will fill their positions. Or perhaps the response will be a call for more women in coalmines, construction, and oil drills.
Personally, I would prefer a system and a culture based on merit and teamwork, where men and women contribute with their own unique perspectives and approaches to action in the effort solve the different problems in life. Whatever the wrongs of the past, quotas is not the solution.
Well before Labour’s seizure of power in 1997, I knew Tony Blair and Gordon Brown would be trouble. Even my most pessimistic forecasts were eventually exceeded by the dynamic duo. And now, in the six months following 13 years of heavy-handed Labour government, with the nation groaning under the iron heel of that miserable party, it is clear that under David Cameron’s coalition we are in for yet more of the same.
Friday, January 21, 2011
First published on Alternative Right: http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/euro-centric/winglord-s-heroica/
I have found commentators on the Right to be deeply polarised concerning modern popular music. There are those who think only Classical music is real, and anything made after the 1890s equals noise, from Arnold Schönberg onward. Then there are those who say that, actually, even today we can find positive developments in modern popular music, even if they are not to everyone’s taste.
In earlier writing about music, I have concentrated on Black Metal, whose cultural roots I traced back to the Völkisch movement of the nineteenth century—although, of course, one could, if determined, keep excavating deeper into time without limit. The album under review today, however, does not belong to the Black Metal genre, but would be classed as Neo-Classical, with a few hints of Martial Industrial (the two genres overlap, and are contiguous, and in key ways ideologically congenial, with the more Völkisch forms of Black Metal; and indeed disaffected Black Metal fans have been known to “graduate” to the more refined Martial Industrial, Neo-Classical, Neo-Folk, Dark Ambient nexus of genres, which are not always sympathetic to the miscreants on the other side of the divide).
Heroica is as apt a title for this album as one can imagine, as it swirls with neo-Romantic beauty and heroic pathos, somewhat reminiscent of Beethoven. Their music is synth based, and has the epic quality of an epic film soundtrack, but the approach to composition, the melodic development, and the dark atmosphere, is pure nineteenth-century Classical, with apocalyptic rhythms and some diversions into Electro Pop on tracks two and eight, complete in the latter case with male narration and angelic female vocals. Despite the obvious heroic feel, however, this is not as martial as H.E.R.R.’s The Winter of Constantinople, let alone Kreuzweg Ost’s masterful Edelrost. Neither does Heroica have as modern a feel as the latter two albums, the former being almost entirely instrumental.
Winglord is designed to fill the listener’s mind with images of “Europe’s slumbering grace and splendour”; and it is, according to the press release, “about the longing for a more heroic spirit—and a worthier way of life . . .” These are certainly welcome sentiments in present day Western society, and may herald an eventual turning of the tide when one considers that this is not one isolated case, but part of a thriving network of modern popular music genres, comprising hundreds of artists, predicated on the comprehensive rejection of the values of 1789. The power of music is not to be underestimated, for it can, under the right conditions, rouse feelings of a violence and of an intensity that transcend all rationality, that can defeat any logic, argument, or economic imperative. Few other forms of human expression have such power.
Visit Winglord’s website and listen to a few samples (here is one). And if you find that you would like to hear more in this vein, support the work of this talented musician, and buy his music: do not steal it and do not make it available for thieves to steal; buy it, offer to pay double even, and play a part in pulling modern popular music in a positive direction.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
First published on Alternative Right: http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/untimely-observations/work-until-you-drop/
The BBC reports today:
The Default Retirement Age (DRA) is to be phased out this year, the government has confirmed.Those who have read Mister will recall the recurrence of harried elderly White workers performing low-status jobs, of which 'Picasso', the irascible nonagenarian taxi driver of the year 2023 was a prime example. The novel was written between May 2007 and June 2008, so elderly workers, forced to keep working in order to keep their heads above water in a floundering and debt-ridden economy, is yet another sad prediction that has come true.
It means employers will no longer be allowed to dismiss staff just because they have reached the age of 65.
The Department for Business said that as well as benefiting individuals, "the freedom to work for longer will provide a boost to the UK economy".
The phrase "a boost to the UK economy" spins the fact that this end of the default retirement age results from the realisation, admitted, that there is not going to be enough money to pay all the welfare commitments successive governments have made in the efforts by politicias to get themselves elected.
Meanwhile, the phrase "ageing population", because it is refers to a generalised phenomenon driven by several causes, conceals the unwilliness of the government to make the economy more family friendly: indigenous Europeans are delaying starting a family, having smaller ones, or not having them altogether, partly because of the cost relative to their incomes—resulting from, on the one hand, pressure from the consumer culture, and on the other, inflation, predatory taxation, and labyrinthine regulation—is seen as too high. (Another factor is Marxist feminism.)
Also concealed is the implicit realisation that the levels of immigration that would be required to close the fiscal gap is high enough to risk serious social disturbance and a significant rise in support for anti-immigration parties: one way of increasing the workforce without importing or creating new citizens is to allow existing citizens to work for longer.
By painting this legislative development as an act of generosity by the government, the report also misrepresents the facts. The desired implication is that the government is now "allowing" those eager to work to do so for longer, and "forcing" employers not to retire and not to deny employment to workers above a certain age. It fits in with the equality discourse that permeates modern culture. But the reality is that working past 65 is not a choice for many (because many hate their jobs), but a necessity. As we well know, Western governments have incurred unpayable debts and, as predicted by Kotlikoff years ago, they have decided money printing is the only way out: they cannot raise taxes nor cut welfare programmes enough without causing a revolution. The consequence is, of course, inflation, and neither incomes nor pensions being able to keep up with the devaluation of the currency. Most workers will increasingly have to work until they drop, occupying progressively more menial positions as age takes its toll.
I suspect other Western countries with default retirement ages still in place will be forced to follow. They may at first extend the retirement age, but they will eventually 'liberalise' or 'relax' employment legislation and it will be sold to the public as a way to keep active and boost the economy, just as it has been done here.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
First published on Wermod and Wermod: http://www.wermodandwermod.com/newsitems/news090120110000.html
I first encountered Jaenelle Antas through her association with British historian David Irving, for whom she has organised a number of speaking tours and for whom she currently runs Focal Point's mail order operations in the United States. As not everyone gets to work closely with the world's most controversial historian, or to experience the wild fringes of the publishing industry and lecture circuit, I decided to find out more about the person behind the face. We discover an intelligent, thoughtful, and professional person, and we also learn about her new bookshop venture, Lighthouse Literature.
You must be an object of perplexity for the casual, apolitical observer. On the one hand, you are an intelligent young woman, from a middle class background, with a university education; but on the other, you subscribe to a system of beliefs most would consider abhorrent, notorious, and morally depraved. Explain for the apolitical reader how this came to be.
This is a hard question for me to answer because there were a lot of factors that had to fall into place for me to end up where I am now, so I’ll just talk about what I consider to have been the most significant of those because to go into every detail would fill up a pretty good sized book.
Like most other small town Minnesotans, I had no real notion of diversity growing up. Rural Minnesota is very white. I certainly wasn’t a liberal growing up, but race issues were not part of my provincial existence. I didn’t encounter non-whites on a regular basis until I started attending college ten years ago. At that time, we were starting to see an influx of immigrants from Somalia and Southeast Asia and there were a few of them at my college. They kept to themselves and I never had any classes with them. I neither liked nor disliked them and paid them very little attention.
It wasn’t until I moved to Indianapolis five and a half years ago that I got a taste of reality. My neighbourhood is very diverse—whites are certainly in the minority. At that time I was not driving due to a bad car accident earlier that year and I took public transportation to get to my university. I was the only white girl on the bus and put up with daily harassment. It was clear that the bus was not “white territory”, shall we say.
My university itself was also much more diverse than my old school back in Minnesota and also much more liberal, the way these cloistered ivory towers tend to be, filled with academics whose job it is to insist upon and enforce reality denial. I felt like race politics played a very prominent role on campus, which bothered me, especially in classes where it was pretty much a requirement to talk about it and only one kind of opinion was allowed. The racial clubs on campus were also very prominent.
My first semester there was a major reality check. I was used to being able to speak my mind and question things, so I said a lot of bold things in class that I would probably advise other students not to do. More than one professor marked me down for it and specifically stated that I was marked down because of my opinions. One told me views “like mine” (whatever that means) were unacceptable and showed that I did not understand the material (a.k.a. had not accepted the brainwashing). Another professor flat out said she would fail me if I didn’t do a class project showing how minority students were discriminated against. After that semester, I either kept my mouth shut or found more subtle ways of saying things and graduated summa cum laude. The hypocrisy of the university educational system, though, solidified many views in my mind and created the foundation for the evolution of my beliefs on race and politics.
What were the books and authors that had the greatest impact on your thinking and outlook, and why?
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that the first book that really had a profound impact on me was Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. I read it when I was 18 and was fascinated by it and maybe even brainwashed by it to some extent, as most Randroids are. I became what I call a “vacuum libertarian”—one of those ultra individualists who believes he needs absolutely no one, ever, but wouldn’t last two days out in the woods with only a pocket knife. Once I got to college and started taking a lot of philosophy classes and political theory classes, I quickly moved away from that type of thinking. While I still agree with much of what she says about selfishness and altruism, I interpret it very differently now than I used to, and I also disagree fundamentally with her view of human nature and some of her basic values.
More influential on my thinking now would be the classics: Plato and Aristotle. Plato’s ideas I like in regards to governments and societies and Aristotle’s I like in regards to morality and “goodness” such as it is. In a more modern form of Aristotle, I like Alasdair MacIntyre, minus his fervent religiosity. Politically, I am a big fan of Edmund Burke’s brand of conservatism and I’ve found a lot of kernels of wisdom in Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”. And while I don’t agree with him necessarily, I found Rousseau’s discussions on positive freedom to be thought provoking and worthy of further consideration—quite a leap from Randian ideas of freedom!
Between 2007 and 2008 you did volunteer work for the Indiana Libertarian Party. Many Americans come to White advocacy via Objectivism and Libertarianism, and it is often possible to see libertarian tendencies among White advocates. To what do you attribute this curious phenomenon? After all, isn’t libertarianism in a way diametrically opposite to the intellectual tradition favoured by White advocates, including the European New Right and its forbear, the Conservative Revolution?
I was actually on their payroll during that time and did volunteer work for an even longer period, but they probably don’t like to admit that now. Apparently, their vaunted tolerance and free speech advocacy only applies to certain ideas and certain people.
To answer the question, I think libertarianism among whites is to be expected, but I also see aspects of that kind of ideology as being one of our suicidal tendencies. Libertarianism was born out of the Enlightenment which is inherently and exclusively European in origin. It’s natural for whites to be drawn to libertarian ideals.
These are ideals that we do need to protect and preserve. They are an important part of our heritage and those ideals are what give us our above-average standard of living today. The idea that government should serve its people and not the other way around was radical thinking in its day, as was the idea that people should be able to have some kind of socioeconomic mobility whereby they could improve their lot in life through hard work—the fruit of which belonged solely to the one who produced it. Enlightenment ideas made the West great.
However, taken to its logical conclusion, libertarianism will eventually lead to our destruction if we allow those ideals to apply to other groups who do not share them. While we are busy being tolerant of Muslims, inviting them into our countries, letting them build mosques, and offering them access to social programs originally designed to benefit our citizens, they are busy working towards our destruction and openly making threats against us. But we believe in free speech, free religion, and tolerance, so we put up with it, wringing our hands all the while, and convincing ourselves they will eventually come around to our way of doing things. Not likely. There is a great book by Lee Harris called “The Suicide of Reason” which goes into detail about why the Muslims will win. The basic premise of his argument is that Muslims will win because they think tribally and we don’t. And he is exactly right.
Libertarianism has eroded our sense of tribal ties and we will therefore be easily defeated by a group that still thinks in terms of “us” and “them”. We can’t defeat “them” when there is no “us”.
From 2008 onwards you have been associated with David Irving. How did you first become aware of him?
I met David in 2008 when he spoke in Louisville. I’d never read any of his books, but I went because a friend had told me he was a really good speaker. All I knew at that time was that he had recently come out of prison in Austria and that he’d been jailed for saying something politically incorrect. Being a free speech sort of gal, I was interested to hear his side of the story.
Certainly, some of the situations an assistant of David Irving is likely to encounter are rather unique. We all know about the attempts of violent anti-fa thugs to disrupt his talks and the game of cat and mouse that entails organising such events. Yet most observers doubtless only known the half of it; and surely many have all manner of preconceptions. Give us some insights as to the most peculiar, most challenging, and less well understood aspects of this job.
Friday, January 7, 2011
First published on Alternative Right: http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/untimely-observations/the-de-niggering-of-huck-finn/
Much is made in the mainstream media of the alleged perfidy of certain revisionist historians on the Right, whom they accuse of falsifying documents, whitewashing, and distorting history to suit a political agenda. Yet, alert students of history know well enough that the Left is not above revisionism. Indeed, in Leftists we find yet another example of accusers who are guilty of doing similar things they accuse others of doing, and who, in fact, do it on a much wider scale. Leftist revisionism is not limited to history, but extends even to classic works of literature. The latest example of politically motivated revisionism was reported by the BBC earlier today:
I do not remember any public debate triggered by the bowdlerisation of this book, which makes me wonder about the extensiveness of this practice, and whether we can trust modern editions of pre-PC literature by classic authors any longer. How many have been quietly edited in this way? How many more will they falsify, whitewash, or distort to suit, conform, or respond to the Left’s political agenda?
It reminds of the Stalinist practice of erasing inconvenient individuals from official photographs, following the individuals’ politically motivated murder. It seems old habits die hard…
Furore over 'censored' edition of Huckleberry FinnTwo days ago, the publisher, New South Books, posted this on their website:
A new edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is causing controversy because of the removal of a racially offensive word.
Twain scholar Alan Gribben says the use of the word "nigger" had prompted many US schools to stop teaching the classic.
In his edition, Professor Gribben replaces the word with "slave" [219 times] and also changes "injun" to "Indian".
In a bold move compassionately advocated by Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben and embraced by NewSouth, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also replaces two hurtful epithets that appear hundreds of times in the texts with less offensive words, this intended to counter the “preemptive censorship” that Dr. Gribben observes has caused these important works of literature to fall off curriculum lists nationwide.According to the BBC, the publisher has received dozens of telephone calls and hundreds of emails protesting the falsification of Mark Twain’s work. Noteworthy is the fact that the act of censorship is being presented as the well-intentioned exact opposite. Could it be that Professor Gribben was so frustrated by the self-censorship pervading centres of learning that he saw his revision of the original text as making the best of a bad job? The Irish Times reports:
“Let’s get one thing straight,” says Gribben, an Aubern University professor who has been vilified by both the left and right. “Mark Twain was a notoriously commercial and populist author. If he was alive today and all he had to do was change one word to get his book into every schoolhouse in America, he couldn’t change it fast enough.”To which the Irish Times reporter repliers:
But he isn’t here and he can’t answer for himself. Maybe Twain would have screamed in indignation that his work was being robbed of its original meaning.Indeed, Mark Twain was sensitive about his prose. The BBC again:
Mark Twain did not take kindly to editing.More egregiously, the self-censorship Professor Gribben is attempting to work around appears driven mainly by spineless White lecturers, not by angry Black students. The Irish Times article highlights this quite well:
He is quoted as saying that "the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter".
And when a printer made punctuation changes to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Twain wrote later that he had "given orders for the typesetter to be shot without giving him time to pray".
Gribben, a likeable straight talker, is adamant that he is not robbing Twain of anything, merely making a small change so that English teachers are no longer embarrassed to read out loud in class.Another problem is that similar falsifications are also being effected with minor works of literature, where the arguments given to justify the bowdlerisation of Mark Twain cannot possibly apply. In 2002, Deodant Publishers, printed an edition of Bram Stokers’ Lair of the White Worm, with some. . . cosmetic alterations. An Amazon reviewer noted:
. . .
I wondered what other black people thought of the N word and whether removing it from Twain would help bury a painful past or save white America from confronting its own history. I was pondering all on the subway on the way home when I heard two black teenagers talking. “Hey nigga, what’s up with you?” said one. The reply was instant “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with me nigga, something wrong with you though.”
Enter white Irish reporter with a copy of Huckleberry Finn and a massive avalanche of awkwardness. I stutter through an explanation of my article and show them a few of Mark Twain’s offending passages.
The first, 17-year-old Laurence Johnson, picks up the book, studies it for a moment and shuts it suddenly.
“So he said ‘nigger’. So what? People think slave owners called us African-Americans?” he says loudly. His friend laughs, so do some middle-aged black women sitting nearby, all of whom nod in agreement. Johnson, who is in his final year of high school in Brooklyn, puts himself in the place of a slave owner counting his slaves.
“One, two, three, four . . . damn, we got an African-American escaped up north!”
More laughter, some of the women are clapping their hands. “It’s about the timing,” says one of them, Katicha Spencer, a 42-year-old dental nurse from Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. “If some white person said that word to me, I’d be mad as hell. But if it’s from 100 years ago, and it’s someone trying to get the flavour of what people are saying, then that’s what people said. You can’t sugarcoat the past of this country, you can’t pretend it didn’t happen.” Her friends nod in agreement. “Mark Twain’s alright,” says one. “He’s not my boss.” Katicha gives her a high five and they laugh as they leave the train.
this Deodand version is not the original. It has been edited. One word has been changed throughout the book, but only in specific places: The 'good guys' do not say the "N" word, they say "native." The 'bad guys' use the "N" word.