Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

After enduring the abomination that was The Last Jedi, I found myself tempted to forswear the franchise along with other old school fans. Why participate in the further vandalism and degradation of a beloved cinematic mythology at the hands of people who clearly do not care about the story, have pure contempt for the core audience and are using it as a transmission vessel for their demented ideological jihad? Furthermore, a Han Solo origin story feels especially unnecessary at this juncture in the new series. After dying a very undignified death at the hands of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi’s very explicit message of “killing the past”, why try to revive the memory of Han Solo after you’ve closed out his story arc and signaled the desire to wipe the slate clean? Rogue One managed to split the difference by leveraging aspects of Episode IV while still presenting something that felt genuinely new. This film already feels like blatantly opportunistic mythological cannibalism. Just because you can make a Han Solo origin story doesn’t mean you should.

Call it masochism, nostalgia or just plain stupidity, I had to see Solo just to assess how bad the damage was. Admittedly, Kathleen Kennedy and her minions have made it eminently clear that she doesn’t give a single fuck about the core audience and is solidly intent on utilizing the franchise as a political bludgeon. That said, Solo wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It’s a serviceable, if pointless, addition to the franchise that has a couple genuinely rousing moments which approach the old Star Wars magic.

The main question surrounding Solo is why? Rogue One pulled off its central premise by fleshing out the Rebellion’s daring acquisition of the Death Star plans. You could say it was equally pointless, but it was just enough to justify its existence as a standalone Star Wars film. Whereas Solo’s existence only makes sense as an exercise in franchise vampirism since The Last Jedi nearly milked every last drop of residual goodwill from the fanbase reservoir.

Solo is essentially Smokey and the Bandit crossed with Game of Thrones set in the early years of Imperial dominion. It’s a lite heist caper set in the pre-New Hope gangland. If you don’t ask too many questions and go along for the ride, it works pretty well. As a Han Solo origin story, it’s a functional connect-the-dots which asks for relatively modest cognitive leaps. You know how things will end up, so the outcome is never really a surprise. Director Ron Howard manages to throw in enough twists to keep your attention.

In the titular role, Alden Ehrenreich has the thankless task of reimagining a beloved character whose memory is already firmly cemented through Harrison Ford’s iconic performance. Maybe there’s something to the law of diminished expectations because I didn’t think he completely sucked.

What’s perhaps most disturbing about Solo and each new installment in the Star Wars franchise is the way the films manage to make moral relativism and the brute acquisition of power seem virtuous and cool. This is, of course, entirely consistent with the progressive agenda behind them, but it’s astonishing to see increasingly overt nihilism being packaged as family entertainment. Forgoing the standard crawl that’s featured in the canonical installments, the film opens with a simple text frame which outlines the dire state of the galaxy.

It is a lawless time. Crime Syndicates compete for resources – food, medicine, and hyperfuel. On the shipbuilding planet of Corellia, the foul Lady Proxima forces runaways into a life of crime in exchange for shelter and protection. On these mean streets, a young man fights for survival, but yearns to fly among the stars…

So the Old Republic was so shitty at governance and maintaining a stable social order that the transition to empire resulted in the mass dissolution of families and the immediate rise of crime syndicates? Didn’t the Republican Senate approve Palpatine’s expanded executive power in Episode III? And these are the people we want to have returned to the seat of power? And if society deteriorates into a shitstorm of resource wars and competing crime lords so soon after the dissolution of the Old Republic, what does this say about the prevalence of ethics under the Old Republic? I’ll tell you what it suggests to me. They were incompetent and corrupt because those sympathetic to the Old Republic are in a constant state of revolution against some version of Imperial government in every film. Neither the Rebellion nor the Old Republic are capable of translating military success into stable government. Way to go, Disney. You guys are validating the existence of every The Empire Did Nothing Wrong subreddit and meme page.

Of course, our hero is the quintessential lovable outlaw, so we must understand the world that shaped him. As Darwinism and #WOKE materialism dictates, man is just a semi-conscious sack of meat who is simultaneously biologically hardwired for toxicity due to his genitals, the beneficiary of immutable social forces which accord him countless privileges and yet perpetually at war against bourgeois delusions of free will. A man whose only credo is to do what thou wilt for the highest bidder can only be understood by setting up a sociopolitical order that’s devoid of man made law. Because, after all, that’s the highest authority. What Solo presents is a sanitized variation on the type of world with which we’re presented in Game of Thrones and numerous other similar shows. In other words, the acquisition of power is the only objective. Ethics are bought and sold. Blackmail and the threat of deadly force is the only surefire way to ensure compliance, obedience or loyalty. Individual freedom and defiance of any established authority is the highest virtue.

Just as we’ve seen in all other installments, there are no real parents, no legitimate or virtuous authorities, and the universe is a seething snake pit of lawless brigands, Imperial tyrants, and ruthless slave lords. You have no organic ties to family, religion or nation. Just a collection of atomized individuals who seek either a big payday, ultimate power or salvation in revolution. In a pivotal scene in which Solo sees enlistment in the Imperial army as his only ticket to liberation, the Imperial officer asks him about his family name. “I don’t have one,” he says. Got that, kids? Your parents are useless, the world in which you live is poisoned and corrupted beyond hope and you can’t trust anyone or anything.

This is the Aeon of #SocialJustice so you know you’re going to get the SJW Catechism in one form or another. While not nearly as cringeworthy as The Last Jedi, Solo still serves up some groaners. Despite Solo being a rare new film featuring a white male hero, you know Disney isn’t just going let this film be made without swinging the wrecking ball at the male hero archetype in one way or another. Naturally, we get no insight into Solo’s childhood or parents. Like Luke and Rey, Solo is another rootless youth set adrift in a sea of galactic chaos seeking some semblance of freedom and, in this rare circumstance, a romantic connection with Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra.

He finds a paternal proxy in Woody Harrelson’s mercenary, Tobias Beckett. Through the course of the series, we’ve seen the father figure go from Jedi Knight to Jedi muppet to communist revolutionary to Jedi incel to amoral criminal degenerate in ten films. Good work, Disney.

While impersonating an Imperial officer on the front lines of a “pacification” operation, Solo discovers that he has designs on a coaxium heist. Sensing a ticket out of Imperial servitude, Solo ingratiates himself with Beckett and his team. Early on, Beckett advises Solo to “assume everyone will betray you, and you will never be disappointed.” Given that advice, it’s not difficult to guess where this story arc ends up. In a remix of the Greedo confrontation and a foreshadowing of The Force Awakens, Solo couldn’t be more explicit about Disney’s contempt for fatherhood. Besides being utterly predictable, it is by far the most malevolent subtext.

Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot droid, L3-37, can be read either as a sop to militant SJWs and transhumanists alike or it can be read as a vicious lampoon of both. Given what Jonathan Kasdan tweeted about Solo, it’s obviously intended to be read as the former but that doesn’t exempt it from Poe’s Law either. L3 joins Jar Jar Binks, Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo as one of the series’ most irritating characters because she is basically a feminist activist in the form of a droid. She is annoying, preachy, narcissistic and domineering. Her heroic moment amounts to fomenting a droid revolution at a critical moment which buys our heroes a narrow window of time to escape. The choice to have this character embodied in a droid speaks for itself.

As one would expect, the L3 character was used as a pretext for engineering an utterly idiotic revision of Lando Calrissian as “pansexual.” That’s right. The suave smooth talker who couldn’t stop putting the moves on Leia throughout The Empire Strikes Back is really “pansexual” and has the hots for an anthropomorphic SJW garbage can. An attractive human female, a blob of alien slime, a droid. It’s all good, brah. Like clockwork, the lemmings in the media heralded this #WOKE revision with the same fanfare that Rose Tico received upon the release of The Last Jedi.

Though one could make a case that the Original Trilogy had more complex politics, the blatant leftism of the new films leaves no such room for nuance. To be fair, the politics in Star Wars have always been confused so it seems pedantic to analyze them too closely. Regardless, they require some inspection because there’s no doubt that they’re meant to transmit a political message. On the positive side, Solo is pretty explicit about the fact that Crimson Dawn and other crime syndicates are the shadow masters behind the Imperium. Whether it’s the Trade Federation, the Hutts or Crimson Dawn, the economic elites are able to buy influence within the Republican and Imperial power structure. Like their real world globalist counterparts, these are the people who buy off the politicians while the utopian rubes in the #RESISTANCE continue to romanticize the idea of a #WOKE, progressive Democracy despite being in a state of endless rebellion.

Solo’s hopes for rekindled romance with his lost sweetheart, Qi’ra, are dashed upon discovering that she has sworn allegiance to Crimson Dawn. His sole motivation entering the Imperial military and making an alliance with Beckett was so that he could earn enough money to buy a ship and rescue his bae from the Corellian hellhole from which he escaped. No such luck though, pal. This is the Aeon of #SocialJustice, Solo, and you don’t get to have your heterosexual, cisnormative romance.

When Solo finally reunites with Qi’ra, she’s already in league with Crimson Dawn capo, Dryden Vos. She’s cagey about the nature of her allegiance, but she makes it clear to Solo that there’s no going back to The Way We Were. And she’s got the Crimson Dawn insignia tattooed to her forearm to prove it. I suggest that this is a revealing insight into the culture of blackmail within Hollywood. While women in Hollywood talk a big game about female empowerment and equal pay while being sanctimonious about the evils of sexual predation, the culture of silence we saw from these very same actresses around Harvey Weinstein’s transgressions speaks volumes about their true loyalties. Qi’ra’s Crimson Dawn tattoo also bears a similarity to the marks women received during branding rituals that were utilized in the NXIVM sex cult.

Solo’s bond with Chewbacca feels rushed and arbitrary. Given that this is a character whose relationship to loyalty is initially sketchy, we want to understand how he forged such a deep bond with a creature who resembles an anthropomorphic dog. It’s a strange scene and the speed with which he earns Chewbacca’s trust as well as his mysterious grasp of Kashyyykian grunting is a bit of a leap. Why he needed only to speak in Chewie’s native tongue on one occasion and speaks to him in English from that point forward is a mystery that will have to be pondered on a subreddit.

Maybe I’m seeing Star Wars through the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, but a Star Wars film used to feel special. Maybe they were fated to end up as bland corporate Product and Content from the start, but at least George Lucas made me feel like he actually gave a shit about the story he was telling. The same claim cannot be made about Kathleen Kennedy and her cohorts at Disney. Sure, Solo managed to be passable entertainment, but that still doesn’t explain why this film had to be made in the first place beyond lining the corporate coffers. Sure, Ron Howard managed to prevent this from being the turd it could have been, but is that really the best that can be done with this property? Maybe I’m asking too much from Kathleen Kennedy and the Disney Corporation.

No one in the progressive establishment will ever acknowledge it, but Han Solo is a kind of Randian übermensch. In the materialist dialectic, he has opted for individualistic self-interest over revolutionary collectivism. At least in this stage of his character development. In the final scene, he’s offered the opportunity to join the #RESISTANCE, but he opts to fly to Tatooine so he can score some cheddar smuggling for Jabba the Hutt. In the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo was the lovable wiseass in contrast to Luke’s overly earnest farmboy romanticism and Kenobi’s stoic mysticism. His character made sense within that story arc and his development felt heroic. Whereas using Solo as a subject for a heroic arc of his own feels like thin gruel for a standalone story. Why do you want to see a man become a narcissistic loner outlaw who has issues with honesty, debt, and commitment? Sadly, the only answer that’s apparent is that this is exactly the message Kathleen Kennedy and the Disney Corporation want to send with the Star Wars franchise.

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The Post (2017)

Most of Steven Spielberg’s directorial output falls into two broad categories. Big budget popcorn blockbusters like Back to the Future and Ready Player One in one group, and quasi-historical agitprop like Schindler’s List and Amistad in the other. While they both serve the same political goals, the films in the latter category are easier to dissect because they aren’t veiled in fantasy or sci-fi symbolism. Released a mere year into the Trump presidency, anyone who isn’t already on board with Spielberg’s politics can smell the agenda behind the film a mile away. Simultaneously a softball primer on the Post’s role in exposing the Pentagon Papers and a love letter to the movie’s namesake, The Post amply demonstrates Spielberg’s mastery of the medium. Though one gets the impression that Spielberg more or less phoned this film in, it is a surprisingly satisfying drama on its own terms. It is also a cunningly deceptive work of progressive propaganda. If we take the case that even when making historical dramas Spielberg is revealing occulted truths underneath the exoteric editorial, The Post reveals a lot about the true nature of the DC power structure.

The film traces the events that occurred between Daniel Ellsberg’s theft of the Pentagon Papers from the Rand Corporation archives up to the Post’s coverage of the report and subsequent Supreme Court exoneration. The drama of the film centers around the tensions that arise when a sedate establishment paper like the Post exercises editorial courage and actually lives up to its assumed mandate to hold the powerful accountable for their actions. As WaPo heiress, Kay Graham, Meryl Streep is the tentative-but-determined publisher and widower trying to negotiate a path forward for the paper. While trying to reconcile the competing aims and advice of Post chairman, Fritz Beebe (Tracy Letts), editor-in-chief, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), and board member, Arthur Parsons (Bradley Whitford), Streep is plying yet another tiresome spin on the Beleaguered Womyn Standing Up to The Patriarchy.

As the film opens, we are plunged into the war torn hellscape of South Vietnam in 1965 as it’s seen through the eyes of high level Pentagon bureaucrat and assistant to Secretary of Defense, Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg knows the war effort is a failure and all their attempts at technocratic administration have had no effect. Disaffected with the lies being spewed by Robert McNamara, Ellsberg returns to the employment of the Rand Corporation and uncovers reams of research performed by his employers that reveal just how much had been hidden from the public over several administrations.

In 1971, New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan ran the first article exposing the leaked papers and was subsequently throttled by the Nixon administration in court. Cowed by the iron fisted tactics of the White House, the leadership of the Post were at first reticent to pursue what was obviously an explosive story. Driven by a sense of journalistic duty, Post reporter, Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk), goes on a tireless search for Ellsberg in a world without internet connectivity or cell phones. After communicating through presumably untapped phone booths, the two meet in a secluded hotel room and Ellsberg hands him the 7000 page trove. As he flies back to DC, the stewardess innocently asks about the giant box occupying the adjoining seat. “Just government secrets”, he quips.

As a viewer, you already know how things will resolve, but Spielberg masterfully crafts the dramatic beats. It remains engrossing throughout. However, just like Bagdikian’s quip, Spielberg is also putting a lot in plain sight that goes beyond what he wants you to see. For one thing, he is very clever about how he frames the moral conflict. When Bradlee presses Graham about the importance of maintaining the integrity of their role as members of the fourth estate regardless of whose feathers might get ruffled, Graham initially balks because of her close social ties with McNamara. To his credit, Spielberg is revealing the longstanding symbiosis between the progressive political establishment and their media lapdogs. At a crucial juncture in the film, Bradlee openly acknowledges the Grahams’ proximity to the highest echelons of the Democratic power elite.

Ben Bradlee: [to Kay] You know, the only couple I knew that both Kennedy and LBJ wanted to socialize with was you and your husband.

It’s a refreshing moment of honesty, but this is also a cinematic parlor trick. Just as Lincoln portrayed the Democrats as the villains, Spielberg again wants you to see this film as a fundamentally apolitical work upholding timeless truths and sacred American ideals irrespective of his obvious partisanship. After all, this is simply a quasi-historical account of an event which was damaging to Democratic presidents. Spielberg wants to show you how pained and tortured Bradlee and Graham were in weighing the decision to release the information that would be damaging to people in their social circles who also happened to be on the same political team as they were. He really wants you to believe that the WaPo of 2018 and all other establishment media outlets are just these selfless, intrepid truth seekers who would fearlessly pursue the truth even if it was damaging to a Democratic regime. Spielberg really wants you to think that all of these pampered elites are going to put everything on the line and hold the political class to account even if it disrupts their cushy lives, their exclusive access and their career fortunes. Ergo, you should trust the media to be just as fearless about holding both parties accountable regardless of which party occupies the White House or controls Congress. Right.

The central deception of the film is that it tries to paint WaPo and establishment media as independent actors. Who really thinks that the Washington Post under Jeff Bezos is really a completely neutral paper without an unspoken ideological bias? Who really thinks that the millions donated to Democrats and the prospect of a fat Pentagon contract aren’t tilting the coverage in one direction? Who really takes Jennifer Rubin and George Will seriously as honest conservatives?

And what about the Rand Corporation? Ellsberg gets painted as a hero for stealing the report and leaking it to the media, but is anyone asking what they’re up to in the first place? If you read the official line, it’s just a cutting edge think tank which just happens to attract the brightest minds from the military, intelligence and academic communities who are applying themselves to the world’s thorniest issues. If you scratch just below the surface, you find a collection of shadow technocrats and neocons who are agitating for expanding surveillance, global military intervention, weather manipulation and various forms of social engineering. When anyone discusses the “deep state” or the “shadow government”, it includes quasi-private, para-intelligence organizations like Rand. Who’s to say that the release of the Pentagon Papers wasn’t quietly authorized by Rand as a large scale psychological operation in the first place?

What’s really galling about The Post is just how predictably tone deaf Spielberg is to the cultural moment. Like his imperious cohorts and their servile, feckless sycophants, Spielberg is painfully oblivious to the media landscape of 2018. Since Trump announced his candidacy for POTUS, there has been an incessant and increasingly unhinged howl of fauxtrage from the ruling elites that someone who hasn’t been properly anointed has claimed the reins of power. He hasn’t hidden the fact that this film was meant as another broadside against Trump, but who’s going to come away from this film with a changed mind? Progressives will congratulate themselves for watching another movie which confirms their biases and conservatives will either ignore it or vent over Hollywood’s liberal agenda.

What’s perhaps most odious about The Post is that Spielberg has the audacity to continue to present progressives as the champions of press freedom and civil liberties. The media and political landscape of The Post is ancient history. Like everyone in Hollywood establishment, Steven Spielberg seems to hold the belief that there are people outside his echo chamber who need a history lesson on the importance of a free press and the dangers of executive overreach. The stupid rubes just don’t get it. Pay attention, you MAGA hat wearing degenerates. Steven Spielberg wants all you stupid peasants to just ignore the absolute monopoly progressives hold in media, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and academia and get really worried about the despotic overreach of Donald Trump. Just ignore the aggressive and punitive clampdowns of the Obama administration. Pay no attention to the fact that during the era in which this was set, the entire liberal counterculture predicated their movement on free speech First Amendment rights, but now cheerleads the multibillion dollar tech giants who openly censor and deplatform any opinion to the right of Bernie Sanders. Just disregard the fact that WaPo Executive Editor, Marty Baron, openly admitted that Trump was more accessible than Obama at the recent Poynter Ethics Summit. Just close your mind off to these inconvenient facts and focus all your attention on that ominous final scene and pretend that Trump is just a carbon copy of Nixon. Just luxuriate in this romanticized portrait of a bygone era where liberal virtue was a metaphysical certitude. Kind of like the way Wade Watts donned his VR goggles as he entered the Oasis in Ready Player One.

The Post takes its place alongside All The President’s Men and Spotlight as a subgenre of films in which Hollywood consecrates its fellow media brethren as eternal champions of truth and guardians of the American republic. It’s not that these media victories were inconsequential or untrue, it’s just that the one-sided agenda they serve is so blatantly obvious at this point. Will Spielberg ever make a film chronicling the years the media spiked or ignored Hollywood’s abuses? Will the cinematic adaptation of the Harvey Weinstein media story ever get made? Will Spielberg ever make a film which paints the sexual revolution in a bad light? Where’s the media’s aggressive investigation of the allegations contained in An Open Secret? Oh, that’s right. None of these exist because this would be damaging to the progressive establishment.

On the positive side, The Post’s historical details are outstanding and a shocking reminder even to me of how distant the technological world of 1971 seems. Telephones were devices plugged into walls and had rotary dials which required a small amount of physical exertion to operate. Newspaper print had to be laid out in typesetting machines and then put into production with giant presses. After the paper is printed, the bundles are loaded on to trucks through human chains of men. Sure, it still goes on to this day, but for how much longer? Shortly after Graham authorizes the printing of the story, the film cuts to Bagdikian cracking a wry smile as the rumble of his desk signifies the impending arrival of a historic journalistic scoop. And when the paper arrives, the whole world stops to read it. Maybe there’s something to learn from the analog world after all.

The Post is an enjoyable enough 2 hours of viewing, but I doubt anyone will look back on it as one of Spielberg’s best films. The fact that this film was fast tracked into production so quickly after Trump entered the White House says quite a bit about how deeply he’s agitated the ruling elites. In the film, Parsons excoriates Graham for putting the future of the paper at risk by publishing stolen top secret government documents. His concern that everything was on the line rang true. I suggest that Parsons’ anxiety offers a window of insight into the panic that has gripped the progressive establishment. Not because he’s the tyrant they continuously portray him as, but because he’s not in their Club. Sure, he’s a billionaire and everyone loved him before he went into politics, but since he entered the arena, he joined the Wrong Team. Making things worse is that he’s openly adversarial and calling out WaPo and all the other media lackeys for being the water carrying propagandists they are. Anyone who isn’t inside the progressive bubble knows this. And we certainly don’t need a patronizing cinematic lecture from Steven Spielberg in order to understand the virtues of a free press.

Jonas Salk: Survival of the Wisest

Though it’s debatable that his name means anything to anyone under the age of 30, Jonas Salk is known as of the inventor of the polio vaccine. If his name registers at all, he is likely to be seen as a fearless champion of scientific progress and a paragon of enlightened modernism whose contributions to medical science have elevated Western society out of the backwardness of religious superstition. So when Jonas Salk writes a speculative tract called Survival of the Wisest which spells out the type of individual best suited to guide humanity into its new age of enlightened virtue, it is meant to be accorded the reverence one would normally reserve for religious doctrine. Survival of the Wisest is, in fact, a quintessentially scientistic work. It has the veneer of scientific rigor. It is filled with charts and fancy scientific words like “metabiology”. Make no mistake though, Salk has donned the miter of the scientific priesthood and has issued what amounts to a proclamation of Scientific Prophecy.

Survival of the Wisest is a short read, but it’s dense and by his own admission, it’s not a work of actual scientific theory. It is a speculative, philosophical work which presents itself as authoritative prescription for humanity as we march forward into the new age of global liberalism. Salk posits that scientists’ “attention must turn increasingly to questions of of general human concern.” While he claims that his concern is for the general welfare of humanity, it comes across like a justification for the existence of a scientific dictatorship. By synthesizing Darwinism, Malthusian warnings of cataclysmic overpopulation, Freudian psychoanalysis, and a quasi-Lockean post-Enlightenment outlook on Natural Law, Salk tries to manufacture a telos for the entire human race.

This book demonstrates the hubris of placing scientific materialism as the foundational propositions for modern society. Salk claims that true wisdom is the product of those who are able to negotiate inexorable forward march of competing dialectical tensions. Man is simultaneously the author of his evolutionary progress and the victim of his lethal excesses. By ensuring that the “wisest” among us are able to guide this forward march of evolution, we are fulfilling the purpose that’s in accord with “nature”.

Needless to say, Salk is engaging in a long form circular argument. In order to attain wisdom, you must first dismantle the “illusion” that man is a purposeful being in the first place. Because after all, there is an order and a direction to the evolutionary flow of the universe. And it’s only properly understood by the Wisest among us. And the Wisest are the ones best adapted to discern true wisdom. See how this works?

While presenting abstract concepts such as “being” and “ego” as though they’re objective phenomena and their relationship to somatic biology over time as an ironclad fact, Salk is trafficking lots of metaphysical assumptions that he cannot prove through pure scientific empiricism. He comes across like the illuminated Platonic mystic who apprehends the world of true forms and is simply here to decode the shadows of the cave wall for all you rubes. Everything in the natural world is in a state of evolutionary flux except for his speculative prescriptions for the future. His talks of the synthesis of the scientific and the artistic, but his language is freighted with an aura of moral imperative and absolute necessity.

The truth is that Salk and the adepts of the scientific priesthood have already prevailed. Science is used to rationalize anything and for the most part, no one can distinguish between the science and the moral prescriptions wrapped around the rhetoric. If depopulation and eugenics can be justified by the “wisest” among us and they have the sanction of the media, political and academic classes, who can stand in their way? Better yet, if you can manage to make people believe it’s virtuous through popular culture, you won’t face opposition when the laws are passed. How else do you explain the Thanos Did Nothing Wrong subreddit?

Survival of the Wisest seems indistinguishable from the likes of HP Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and Annie Besant who have proclaimed that we’re in a new Age of Aquarius. Post-Enlightenment liberalism has demolished the traditional cornerstones of the classical worldview. Subsequently, the void of meaning and purpose needs to be filled with substitutes. However, the task of filling this void has laid bare the numerous contradictions of the neverending pursuit of liberation. The perpetual quest for infinite tolerance and freedom cannot be reconciled with a society that respects boundaries and limits. You got a problem with womyn of size, bigots? Do you object to cannibalism or something? Do you oppose progress?

Even the academic elites cannot avoid confronting the fact that liberalism has only compounded the problems against which it rebelled in the first place. Of course, the solution cannot be a rejection of liberalism. It must be a reaffirmation of liberalism. You know. Just cede the tedium of thinking to Wisest among us. They’re only concerned with their Survival.

Oops.

I mean OURS.

Black Panther (2018)

Similar to the prejudices I harbored going into The Last Jedi, I went into Black Panther fully expecting to hate the film simply because it was being pushed so hard by the progressive establishment. While it is certainly filled to the brim with all of the requisite SJW talking points and orthodoxies, it is also another surprisingly entertaining addition to the MCU franchise. As is the case with every other Marvel installment, there are a lot of esoteric symbols, religious archetypes and geopolitical themes which warrant a deeper look.

We Wuz Kangz!

The fact that Stan Lee, Marvel and Disney are in the business of manufacturing myths that are designed to subvert and supplant any conventional real world religious or cultural history should be self-evident to everyone. When examining the significance of Black Panther from the perspective of symbolism, one must not forget that Black Panther was aimed primarily at black Americans and white progressives who desperately want to virtue signal their solidarity with blacks.

Since the black community has been so mercilessly politicized and exploited by the progressive establishment, a black superhero archetype fills a spiritual void that has been eclipsed by a neverending mantra of oppression and subjugation at the hands of the evil white man. So what kind of archetype do Stan Lee and company serve up? A genetically engineered KANG, muthafuckas!

That’s right! When the mythmakers of Hollywood want to conjure a fantasy of black technological might, cultural solidarity and national unity, they go all Old Testament and give us T’Challa, King of Wakanda. Long live the king! In the age of democratic triumphalism, Black Panther presents a fantastical, isolationist, racially homogeneous hereditary monarchy as the ideal socio-political order. Given the prevalence of illegitimacy and fatherlessness in the black community, I suspect this myth taps into a primal psychological and spiritual yearning. It’s a society in which competition for the throne is settled by male on male combat rituals. It is, in essence, a patriarchal monarchy. Since the film has a politically correct vision of black empowerment which includes an elite all female praetorian guard, a female scientific genius and a cat goddess, you won’t hear a peep of dissent from feminists about this portrait of a patriarchy. Besides, it was enough that they “leaked” about the deleted lesbian love affair between two members of the Dora Milaje. We’ll have our black, non-binary, differently abled Disney princess yet! More on this later.

Needless to say, you don’t have to look very far to find people who are convinced that Black Panther reveals some actual hidden history that’s been suppressed by the white man.

Wakanda Forever!

Besides being an Afrofuturist spin on the Masonic myth of El Dorado and the latest black power meme, Wakanda represents something even deeper. Home. Since the black American identity is so tightly wound up with slavery, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement and Africa remains a country rife with corruption, poverty and political instability, the search for a historical narrative which elicits pride might seem elusive. So let Marvel create one for you! Blacks have always asserted a collective cultural identity, but Wakanda is probably the first large scale pan-African mythological homeland. It has different tribal factions, but everyone swears allegiance to Wakanda and calls it home.

W’Kabi: You would kill me my love?

Okoye: For Wakanda? Without Question.

Herein lies one of the numerous absurdities in the ever changing Catechism of progressive racial pieties. Blacks are always permitted to express different visions of leftist black nationalism. With the release of this film, it can now include sci-fi black nationalism for a country that doesn’t even exist. Cuz Institutional Racism and Historical Oppression and shit. Or something. Who can keep up with the latest #WOKE protocols anyway? Whereas a white, middle class person wearing a MAGA hat is basically worse than a KKK Grand Wizard and a dude in a SS uniform combined.

But what a grand vision of fantasy nationalism it is! When we’re introduced to Wakanda, we see it from the cockpit of T’Challa’s hovercraft as it swoops through the idyllic plains. As the ship penetrates the cloaking system and careens through the neo-Babylonian spires of the utopian futurescape, the music ratchets up the drama and you can easily imagine fists being pumped in IMAX theaters all over the world. “This never gets old,” proclaims T’Challa as he beams with pride. It’s a scene that tugs at the heartstrings in a manner that’s reminiscent of the scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture when Kirk is reunited with the Enterprise.

Also like Star Trek, the Wakandan origin story is a very clever and daft mixture of sci-fi esotericism and bonkers economics that’s common of both the Trek and Marvel universes. 2.5 million years ago, a vibranium asteroid crashed to earth somewhere in East Africa where Wakanda is located and remains hidden from the surrounding world. The vibranium infected the flora and fauna and imbued certain plants with mutagenic properties. Guided by a vision from the panther goddess, Bast, a warrior named Bashenga was guided to a special herb which gave him supernatural strength when ingested. Transformed into the first Black Panther/King David, Bashenga proceeds to unite four out of five tribes of Wakanda. Sitting atop the most valuable resource known to man, the Wakandans proceed to build a society of unimaginable technological innovation and economic prosperity.

It’s easy enough to suspend disbelief when being presented with the origins of superhero powers, but the ascendancy of Wakanda as an economic and technological superpower just beggars belief. We’re to believe that Wakanda developed itself into a technological behemoth by maintaining a completely homogeneous population and an isolationist economic policy while simultaneously maintaining ancient tribal rituals and traditions. With no visibly adverse effects on the environment and not a trace of economic inequality. Right. Besides withholding this technological might from the world, they don’t even make an effort to improve the lot of the remainder of the African continent! What a bunch of bigots.

The fact that Wakanda Forever has become a cultural meme shouldn’t surprise anyone. Every Avengers film henceforth which features Black Panther is going to have some rousing scene in which the phrase is uttered. It’s the new May the Force Be With You. The larger question is over the true provenance of the Wakandan salute and what it may represent.

Glory to Aiwass!

Black Panther is rife with pagan, occultic and esoteric religious overtones. The majority of the Wakandan population swear allegiance to the panther goddess, Bast, while the dissident Jabari tribe worship an ape god, Hanuman. Bast is a twist on the Egyptian goddess Bastet, but was portrayed as a male god in the original Marvel canon. Since we live in the Aeon of #SocialJustice, Bast is made into a goddess. This inversion and connection to Egyptian mythology casts the overall theology in close proximity to all of the expected associations with Masonry, Thelema, Theosophy and all other related occult traditions.

Aside from the Wakandan ceremonial combat, there is also ritual magick. The victor ingests the mutagenic vibranium herb as he is buried in red soil. He enters a supernatural realm called Djalia and communes with ancestral spirits. It’s roughly similar to Aleister Crowley’s communion with the entity Aiwass which allegedly inspired The Book of the Law.

Speaking of Crowley, I think the true origin of the Wakandan/Wonder Woman/Wolverine/Deadpool salute is not quite what the media would lead you to believe.

Wakandan Spooks or Marvel Spooks?

It is supremely ironic that “spook” is both a racial slur and a slang term for people who work in clandestine services because Black Panther is loaded with geopolitical espionage subtext.

For starters, the presumed villain Erik Killmonger, is T’Challa’s first cousin. His father, N’Jobu, was Wakandan deep state. While on assignment in the oppressive, racist world of the white man, he becomes embittered by the subjugation of his people at the hands of the white devil.

N’Jobu: I observed for as long as I could. Their leaders have been assassinated. Communities flooded with drugs and weapons. They are overly policed and incarcerated. All over the planet, our people suffer because they don’t have the tools to fight back. With vibranium weapons they can overthrow all countries, and Wakanda can rule them all, the right way!

He tries to redress these inequalities by hiring another unscrupulous white man, Ulysses Klaue, to steal vibranium from Wakanda. He is discovered by King T’Chaka and killed for his act of treason. His death is hidden from his son, Erik, and he grows up with nothing but hatred and animosity for the evil white man. Imagine my surprise.

So what does angry Erik Killmonger do? He ends up working with the CIA! This is the part of the film where they’re actually telling you the truth. As we learn from token white CIA hero, Everett K. Ross, Erik worked with the CIA on destabilizing foreign governments during election cycles! Remember, everyone. Election meddling is fine when we do it. But if Trump wins against Hillary, the progressive establishment will get apoplectic and manufacture a story about how this is the worst possible crime imaginable.

Everett K. Ross: He

[Erik Killmonger]

Everett K. Ross: worked with our CIA to destabilize foreign governments… during election cycles.

They’d never do that here though, right? Nah!

After all, Black Panther was first published in 1966, and the Black Panther Party, a radical Marxist, black nationalist party also surfaced in 1966. I’m sure it’s just a strange coincidence. It’s not like Marvel is working with the Pentagon and the CIA or anything.

This is also where the movie tries to have it both ways. The film wants you to believe that Erik Killmonger is Black Hitler. In reality, his rhetoric mirrors the radical BLM/socialist element of the progressive Left very closely.

Erik Killmonger: I’ve waited my whole life for this. The world’s going to start over. I’MA BURN IT ALL!

How many amongst the black demographic actually found Erik Killmonger’s rhetoric distasteful or disturbing? Much like Avengers: Infinity War sparked the Thanos Did Nothing Wrong meme, Black Panther inspired a Killmonger Did Nothing Wrong campaign. Of course, the progressive establishment doesn’t want to own up to the hatred and division it has actively cultivated, so they deployed their minions to attempt to tamp down the flames. Erik is the archetypal broken, angry black man who’s been ground up by the system and dispossessed of his family, country and past. They want you to believe that Erik is light years apart from T’Challa, but the system thrives by cultivating Erik Killmongers every day.

Erik Killmonger: I lived my entire life waiting for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed just to get here. I killed in America, Afghanistan, Iraq… I took life from my own brothers and sisters right here on this continent! And all this death just so I could kill you.

Wakandan SJW shit is this?

As I expected, Black Panther is chock full of SJW bullshit. With one notable exception, the characters and the story are sufficiently engaging that it doesn’t derail the movie. Of course, we have the powerful warrior womyn archetype. Somehow, being a member of the all female Dora Milaje and swearing an oath to protect its male monarch is super empowering and #WOKE for some reason. Apparently, women have to be portrayed as asexual badasses in EVERY GODDAMN MOVIE these days.

Not only that, just like Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman, they refuse to use guns. Got that, guntards? The Dora Milaje don’t need no guns, coloniser! They have vibranium spears, really bitchen outfits that don’t turn them into sex objects and the best CGI money can buy, so give up your constitutional rights already!

But you can tell that Coogler and company don’t really believe the horseshit they’re serving up. Early in the film, T’Challa sets out to rescue Nakia and a group of burqa-clad women from a Boko Haram-style group of militants. Yeah, sure. Okoye shows up to help T’Challa out of a jam, but this group of women were pretty ordinary in that they had neither super strength nor combat skills. It was a welcome bit of realism from a film that’s very high on its own helium.

What sci-fi film would be complete without the requisite female scientific genius? Hollywood actresses and their feminist foot soldiers love to talk about smashing stereotypes and subverting gender roles, but they seem blissfully ignorant of the degree to which they’ve mainstreamed a handful of absolutely predictable and idiotic SJW stereotypes. Right behind the asexual ass kicking warrior womyn is the scientific super genius. How many times do we need a character whose sole purpose is to hammer home the idea that MORE WOMYN SHOULD BE IN STEM FIELDS? Besides being an irritating bigot, Letitia Wright’s Princess Shuri has no real flaws or weaknesses. This isn’t a real character. She’s just a progressive virtue checklist who is given some sassy lines of dialogue while being Q to T’Challa’s Bond.

Rounding out this collection of dumb clichés is a shout out to veganism. We already got a generous helping of racial politics and feminism, so that pretty much leaves us with climate change and veganism. It amounts to one wisecrack, but it’s extraordinarily stupid and contrived. Upon discovering that T’Challa had survived his confrontation with Killmonger and was convalescing among the Jabari tribe IN THE FUCKING MOUNTAINS OF WAKANDA, our heroes attempt to negotiate his return. M’Baku threatens to feed the party to his kids. After a pregnant pause, he breaks the tension and confesses that the Jabari are VEGETARIANS. Hardy har har.

Now remember, the Jabari have REJECTED technology and LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS. They’re big and physically imposing dudes who wear ANIMAL FURS. But we’re expected to believe that they’re VEGETARIANS. Give me a fucking break, Ryan Coogler. This is what happens when ideological correctness overrides basic storytelling common sense.

The entire issue of immigration was so hot, I’m not surprised they completely bulldozed over it by the film’s end. To my surprise, they allowed a moment of honesty. Because W’Kabi sides with Killmonger, his argument is not meant to be taken seriously. After all, he sided with the self-proclaimed Black Hitler, so pay him no mind.

W’Kabi: You let the refugees in, they bring their problems with them, and then Wakanda is like everywhere else.

This is the issue progressives refuse to confront. Culture is something that’s nurtured and cultivated over centuries within a homogeneous society. Cultural traditions exist for the purpose of affirming a unitary identity. When you have a minority population within a largely homogeneous population, the minority are naturally going to gravitate towards their own just to have a sense of shared cultural solidarity. Ideally, the minority population will assimilate to the culture and traditions of the host country because they actually want to be citizens. If there’s no incentive to adopt the customs of the host country, they’re going to assert the identity they already possess. But when you’ve got a class of elites who despise the native population and are intent on inculcating the notion that national identity and pride is the sole province of non-European cultures, then multiculturalism isn’t really about affirming all cultures equally. It’s about hating whitey.

In light of everything happening in South Africa right now, the entire post-apartheid biracial dream of unity is unraveling. Even under the SJW definition of racism, we’re seeing a white minority being dispossessed of their property under a black majority government. But progressives don’t care. They’re too invested in pushing their one sided narrative.

T’Challa the Globalist sings Kumbaya

By the film’s conclusion, Black Panther sidesteps the entire immigration question. T’Challa’s renounces isolationism and joins the United Nations, but we never learn whether he alters Wakanda’s immigration policy. We just see him turn into another milquetoast political hack mouthing the same idiotic, braindead appeals to Brotherhood and Unity we hear all the time. Sure, he sets up Wakandan CIA field offices from which to conduct psychological warfare…I mean….EMBASSIES in which inner city youth will get Wakandan iPads and learn sassy wisecracks from Princess Shuri. But it never addresses the question of whether Wakanda will be multicultural and #DIVERSE henceforth. I have a hunch I already know the answer.

Despite all my gripes, I enjoyed it way more than I expected. The template for the MCU franchise is well established, and for the time being, the Marvel team are able to crank out new additions to the Avengers saga that manage to be slick, stylish and entertaining. Yes, indeed. Black Panther is a clever, Afrocentric spin on the superhero archetype. Chadwick Boseman is quite likable in the role and he plays it with a slow burn charm that really works. I even bought the phony accent. Lupita Nyong’o is equally appealing as T’Challa’s lover, Nakia. It’s also nice to see a bit of romance at the end. Aside from Wright, the only other off key performance was an overwrought turn from Angela Bassett. Too bad Bobbi Kristina isn’t around to weigh in.

Is Black Panther also a wildly manipulative and cleverly deceptive piece of globalist propaganda? Absolutely. Anyone who isn’t drinking the #SocialJustice Koolaid knows this film is little more than a multi-million dollar virtue signal and a long running targeted psychological operation. It’s a chance for the black target demographic to flood social media with fist emojis and Wakanda Forever gifs while white progressives wring their hands and get hyper self-conscious about asserting too much white privilege in a moment that’s about “uplifting POC voices” or some shit. Like everything in the progressive movement, it’s a collection of platitudes that has the aura of unassailable righteousness but masks unpleasant realities and inconvenient facts. But progressives don’t care. You too will learn to say Wakanda Forever and mean it, coloniser.

Or else.

Blink-182: Deep State Front Organization?

If you’ve read David McGowan’s expose of the Laurel Canyon scene, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, you wouldn’t be unreasonable to have some lingering skepticism and doubt. After all, it can’t be that everyone in the music industry is CIA/military shill, right? Probably not everyone, but when the exact pattern of connections McGowan uncovers in Weird Scenes repeats itself in 2018, cosmic coincidence seems less and less tenable.

I’d always found blink-182 repugnant and detestable. They perfectly embodied the post-Green Day mall punk vibe in all its hollow boorishness. They affected a posture of snot nosed, frat boy rebellion, but it always rang even more false and contrived than their contemporaries. To my ears, their songs were grating and stupid. As it turns out, my disdain is justified beyond all aesthetic considerations. It appears that blink-182 are a deep state front agency. Allow me to explain.

I ran across this piece in Consequence of Sound, and it piqued my interest right away. Everything about this story fit the Laurel Canyon pattern perfectly. What on earth is a clown like Mark Hoppus doing giving military advice to actual military personnel on a major operation? How was he granted permission to participate in the mission to locate Saddam Hussein? Who authorized his involvement in the first place? Where did he learn this skill? Musicians are clever people, but that’s some awfully specialized knowledge.

I did a little digging, and lo and behold, Mark Hoppus’ father, Tex, is a former military guy who designed MISSILES AND BOMBS. Well, no biggie, right? Blink-182 is his act of punk rebellion, right? I don’t know about you, but taking part in a major military operation and bragging about it on Twitter doesn’t exactly sound like an anti-establishment move to me.

Big deal though, right? Not so fast. If McGowan is right and celebrity pop culture is an extension of state propaganda and an ongoing psychological operation, then Hoppus’ admission is basically a rock n’ roll Argo moment. He’s making the global military imperium look cool, man! This is everything punk rock supposedly stood against! Besides, people pay way more attention to pop culture and celebrities than politicians. And remember when the music world #RESISTANCE was actually mobilized against the Iraq War? Like rockers were back in the day? Yet here’s Hoppus racking up likes on Twitter for being an American hero.

But it gets better.

Former guitarist, Tom DeLonge, hasn’t just gone on to explore new musical horizons, he fancies himself some kind of ufologist. However, this isn’t some idle teenage hobby that he’s managed to turn into a pop culture success. He’s got MAJOR military-industrial/intelligence muscle behind this endeavor.

So what are DeLonge and his deep state coterie up to? Based on what I read on the website at To The Stars Academy, it’s a synergistic amalgam of AI, big data, really heavy duty science-y shit that’s way above our heads and infotainment. Or something. But it’s loaded with fancy sounding buzzwords like Human Ultra-Experience Database, Engineering Space-Time Metrics, Brain-Computer Interface, and Telepathy! Telepathy, man! This is basically real life X-Men! So you know it’s gonna be awesome, bro!

We believe there are transformative discoveries within our reach that will revolutionize the human experience, but they can only be accomplished through the unrestricted support of breakthrough research, discovery and innovation.

Whoa. That’s some deep shit, Tom.

So, do you guys party with Seth Green?

But how deep is his association with John Podesta? Or Seth Green? It’s not very punk to endorse government secrecy, Tom. If the purpose of this project is to develop something “without the restrictions of government priorities”, what could be exposed that would cause you to be so concerned, Tom? Is this connected to the secret space program? His Instagram post indicates that it’s an opportunity to “change the way we view ourselves”. Given that kind of rhetoric, there can be little doubt that it is part of an extended psychological operation designed usher in a globalist technocracy.

If it’s just another attempt to leverage DeLonge’s pop cred to attract private money and publicity for some project that’s too hot for the black budget, he’s certainly succeeding in getting media attention in all the right places. Whatever it is he’s up to, he is pretty circumspect about the details.

And that kind of secrecy is what one would expect from a practitioner of the Craft.

But DeLonge left the band. What about the new guy, Matt Skiba? Well, I don’t think he is a radical departure from DeLonge in terms of his overall allegiances.

While he was a member of blink-182, DeLonge was singing about the existence of extraterrestrial life. Supposedly, this fascination drove a wedge between him and Hoppus. He claims he had to be secretive about his connections to the government. Yeah, right, Tom. I suspect that the more likely explanation is that their handlers have decided that making their connections to the military-intelligence complex public will make them more convincing than when they were just frat boy mall punk brats.

Nicholas Hagger: The Secret Founding of America

It’s important to study history, but it’s perhaps even more important to know through which lens history is being viewed. Facts matter, but historical accounts are always filtered through a set of ideological biases. No account of history is going to be completely neutral. Establishment historians will generally emphasize the significance of events as they relate to their political beliefs. Libertarians and other historical revisionists are also analyzing history through the lens of fidelity to or deviance from their own ideological orthodoxies. What most conventional readings of American history overlook is the role of secret societies, specifically Freemasonry, in the formation of the American republic. This perspective alone makes Nicholas Hagger’s Secret Founding of America an especially fascinating and essential read.

Though secret societies and occult traditions have been around for centuries, this aspect of history is generally overlooked. Likely the result of intensive cultural conditioning, these topics are generally regarded as the province of conspiracy theorists. A term which was deployed by our own state sanctioned secret society, the CIA, in order to diffuse selfsame criticism in the wake of the JFK assassination.

Hagger argues that Freemasonry was a revolutionary ideology that sought to build Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis in America. Since it was a secret society from the beginning, it served as a sort of para-espionage, proto-intelligence organization. Revolutionary ideas could be discussed beyond the view of authority.

English Freemasonry then, was an occult and philosophical idea, an order whose members guarded the secret knowledge of the ages and which drew in Intellectuals dedicated to liberalism and civil and religious freedom. (89)

Hagger builds a surprisingly taut narrative which begins with America’s original colonists and brings us to present day. He contrasts the original “planting fathers” with the Founding Fathers who actually drafted the core documents on which the American republic was built. Where the planting fathers of the original American settlements in Plymouth, Jamestown and St. Augustine sought to build theocratic states from Christian traditions, the Founding Fathers were working from a distinctly secular and Masonic template which prioritized deistic, Enlightenment liberty and religious pluralism over orthodoxy.

Hagger’s account of the rise of the American religious right is brief, but persuasive. American colonists were children of European christendom, but diverse in belief. The entire “religious right” as we know it today comprised a coalition of Presbyterians, Baptists, Anglicans and evangelical Calivinists who collectively sought to reverse the trend towards rationalism and secularism. Given that these denominations were Protestant schismatics from the start, the mass proliferation of garish megachurches and their collective devolution into carnival barker hucksters makes more sense. As a consequence of another movement influenced by CIA infiltration, ecumenism, these churches have largely been coopted by the globalist establishment. This goes a long way toward explaining the bland progressive unanimity of the entire spectrum of Protestant denominations, syncretistic New Age faiths and post-Vatican II Catholicism Lite that now permeates the culture. Hagger’s account undermines any conservative claim that America is a Christian nation. Masonic with a Christian veneer, yes. Christian? No.

The hidden hand of Freemasonry can be found moving every significant geopolitical event from the French Revolution to the American Civil War and up to the major events of the 20th and 21st centuries. All of the foundational documents upon which the nation was built from the Articles of Confederation up to the Constitution itself bore the influence of Masonry. The christening of nation itself was an oath made on a Masonic bible by our very first Freemason president, George Washington. There’s a ton of juicy stuff in this book, particularly the details around the origins of the Civil War, and I doubt any of it makes it into today’s history classes. The presence of Freemasonry continues to be felt through numerous SPECTRE-like tentacles which extend into supranational entities like the EU and UN as well as private foundations, NGOs, and sub-Masonic organizations such as Bilderberg and the CFR.

America is indeed a unique nation in world history in that it’s a nation built from a collection of abstract principles decoupled from any specific religious beliefs while simultaneously projecting a veneer of Christianity. Herein lies the great triumph of American republicanism, and by extension, Freemasonry itself. American Masonic ideals have essentially supplanted the role of religion. Within the template of classical liberalism you have the appearance of a radically divergent left wing and right wing, but each ideology runs on top of the same operating system. Both sides are revolutionary ideologies. Both comprise two sides of a Masonic dialectic which seeks to transmute two opposing ideological poles of base matter into an ascended, alchemical synthesis. The kicker is that the Masonic agenda was never limited to America. It was always about building a global government.

This New Atlantis would be a paradise in which men would follow reason, and work for a universal world republic that would replicate the Utopian conditions of America throughout the known world. Secret knowledge would be passed on from generation to generation in the Freemasons’ Temple, a recreation of the Temple of Solomon in which Solomon became the wisest of rulers. (87)

As Hagger correctly observes, “it is easier to unify the world if it is divided into two camps” (197). The power of this dialectic simply cannot be gainsaid. What better way to engineer global domination than to present scientific materialism, evolutionary pragmatism, democratic capitalism and radical egalitarianism as the highest human aspirations? Simply pit the two sides against one another, paint all attempts at metaphysics, traditionalism and objectivity as relics of a bygone age, ensure that the banking/military complex continues to flood the culture with degeneracy, and you have a completely pliable, compliant and atomized population who simply don’t know any other way nor are they interested in questioning the existing paradigm. Ensure that each side has a radical wing so that you can have an incubation chamber for fringe ideas that you want to eventually mainstream. Since all discourse is mediated through the social media panopticon, you can police the boundaries of acceptable discourse and any deviation from the popular orthodoxy will be regarded as beneath contempt. Welcome to the global Masonic Atlanticist Nutopia, proles!

Given that Hagger builds such a damning case against the Freemasonic agenda to build a global government, his conclusion is surprising. He doesn’t object to the idea of a global government, but merely hopes it can be built on Christian values. Maybe that’s how he managed to get a publisher for this book at the end of the day. Regardless, The Secret Founding of America is an important read for anyone who wants to understand America’s true history and spiritual essence.

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

2001: A Space Odyssey has inspired numerous analyses over the years, but considerably less attention has been devoted to its successor, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Following up Stanley Kubrick would be a difficult task for any director, and Peter Hyams deserves more credit than he’s been given. Written, directed and produced by Hyams, 2010 is completely worthy follow up to Kubrick’s 1968 landmark film. Set 9 years after the events of the first film, 2010 portrays the US and USSR simultaneously engaged in a race to recover the Discovery from Jupiter’s orbit and unlock the secrets of the monolith while trying to prevent Cold War geopolitical tensions from escalating.

Just as 2001 could be described as the first significant Masonic evolution allegory with transhumanist overtones, 2010 touches on all the same core ideas. It distinguishes itself by placing greater emphasis on the globalist and scientistic ideology through which these more esoteric ideas are transmitted. The Luciferian spiritual implications of the story are considerably more explicit in this film as well.

2010 features the incomparable artistry of Syd Mead.

I further contend that 2010 is an overt nod to Russian Cosmism; the ideology that appears to be the forerunner to transhumanism as it’s currently being promulgated. Aside from sci-fi films that were made in the USSR, 2010 is perhaps the only film I can recall which takes place on board an advanced Soviet spacecraft. The name of the spacecraft is itself a reference to Soviet spacewalker, Alexey Leonov. This serves two purposes. It portrays the socialist USSR as being technologically superior to the US despite the opposite being true. Second, it makes you sympathetic to the Soviet crew and their thirst for knowledge while eroding the stigma that was built up around communism throughout the the Cold War. Don’t listen to those dumb conservatards who bash communism, proles. They’re just aping the fearful, warmongering douchebags in the GOP who have no empathy for human progress! It lends credence to the possibility of the entire Cold War dialectic being at least partially engineered. In other words, communism and capitalism are just two sides of the same ideological coin which have been pitted against one another for the express purpose of creating manufactured global tensions. It could very well also suggest that these two national space programs were part of the same global psychological operation from the start.

Besides being the more technologically advanced society, the USSR are also portrayed as being more advanced on gender equality. As Captain Tanya Kirbuk, Helen Mirren plays the steely but vulnerable feminist archetype we continue to see portrayed in film and television ad infinitum. This is arguably the one time we’re seeing feminism so explicitly connected with its socialist roots. Kirbuk is also Kubrick in reverse, so it’s also one of two overt references found in the film.

Fake Time magazine cover featured in the film. Art imitates life.

The opening scene sets up a perfect visual metaphor for the entire film. Roy Scheider’s Heywood Floyd is working atop one of the radio telescopes located at the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. Dana Elcar plays Soviet scientist, Dimitri Moisevitch, and approaches him to discuss the US efforts to retrieve the Discovery. Floyd is symbolically sitting atop the lofty perch of presumed technological and political superiority of the US talking down to the dirty commie scientist from the USSR. Mirroring the US geopolitical stance of opposition, he is reluctant and initially refuses. Reminding him that they both have higher allegiances to scientific discovery, he offers to meet him halfway up the tower. Floyd assents to his overture and agrees to two minutes of truth telling. Moisevitch informs Floyd that USSR will reach the Discovery two months before the Discovery II. Subsequently, the Leonov crew will need the expertise of the Americans in order to make the journey worthwhile. After offering to allow an American team passage on the Leonov, they proceed to speculate about how they must sell the proposal to the politicians to whom they’re beholden. Complicating the entire mission is a Cuban Missile Crisis-type entanglement which carries the threat of total nuclear annihilation. Where politicians routinely engage in rhetoric veiled in dishonest platitudes, bellicose posturing and vacuous pronouncements, scientists must fearlessly seek truth wherever it may lead! Once again, we’re presented with space exploring scientists as the vanguard of discovery, bravery and enlightened, cosmopolitan virtue.

Like 2001, transhumanism plays a very significant role in 2010. As Dr. Chandra, Bob Balaban is the AI specialist who is conscripted for the mission to reactivate HAL and discover the reason for his apparent malfunction. Mirroring the plot device we saw in Ridley Scott’s Alien, we learn that HAL did not malfunction. He was assigned to hide the fact that the NSC programmed him to go after the monolith at the expense of the crew and simply had the AI equivalent of a mental breakdown trying to reconcile conflicting protocols. At a crucial turning point in the film, Chandra is himself emotionally distraught over the prospect of explaining to HAL that he and the Discovery may very well be destroyed in order to make their accelerated launch window. After all, AI’s have RIGHTS, you know. While the idea of according rights to an artificial intelligence is now somewhat commonplace in media and entertainment, this was certainly one of the early examples of this phenomenon in film. In Arthur C. Clarke’s book, we learn that HAL’s “soul” joins Dave Bowman in the presumed elevated realm of consciousness to which he has ascended.

The full title of the film is 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Since most major films contain pieces of predictive programming, with what exactly were Hyams and company predicting contact? One of the big moments in the film was the discovery of chlorophyll on the surface of Europa. Some unknown energy surge conveniently destroys the ship logs and, ironically, the crew are expected to take their observation as an article of faith. It oddly mirrors the recent revelation that the original moon landing tapes have been mysteriously “erased”. Obviously, we didn’t discover a monolith or travel to Jupiter, but lo and behold, there were claims of possible microbial life coming from NASA. I suppose the launch of the space shuttle Discovery was also another coincidence. Though it was launched in 2011, the Juno mission also seems to dovetail into this narrative.

Perhaps this quest for contact wasn’t limited to the possibility of alien life. Maybe it was an encoded reference to the search for the infamous God particle being carried out by CERN.

Other pieces of predictive programming include Roy Scheider’s Apple IIc home computer and the biometric scanner in Chandra’s corporate office. Another oddity is the inclusion of Floyd’s two pet dolphins. While this could be a reference to John C. Lilly’s LSD experiments or the militarization of dolphins, it could also be an early step in the normalization of interspecies “love”. It is also noteworthy that Scheider went on to act in the Spielberg produced SeaQuest 2032 which featured a genetically engineered dolphin.

The fact that this was released in 1984 shouldn’t be overlooked either. The film was extrapolating a mere 26 years into the future, but was speculating about astronomical leaps in technology and space travel. Like many early works of futuristic sci-fi, 2010 presents a future of unbounded scientific progress. In comparison to the neverending conveyor belt of dystopian hellscapes to which we’re routinely subjected, this film’s optimism does seem refreshing. That said, I also believe it was presaging the world of total information awareness in which we live. Just as feel good cinematic messages can mask nefarious agendas, feel good political legislation can be passed in order to advance the goal of full spectrum panopticism.

Above all else, 2010 is presenting another Luciferian spin on man’s origins and destiny. In 2001, humanity was raised up from primordial ignorance by the material manifestation of a higher intelligence. This allowed Dave Bowman the ability to achieve his transhuman gnosis. In 2010, Dave Bowman is both a reincarnated transhuman Jesus and Yahweh. Bowman appears to Floyd/Moses like a holographic burning bush and instructs him to leave Jupiter’s orbit and return to Earth in two days. Filled with gnostic revelation, he disregards the diplomatic sanctions placed between the crews and boards the Leonov. Once again, the hard bitten scientists are faced with knowledge that transcends the material and enters into the realm of the spirit. Should the Russians forego the political tensions in which their earthbound compatriots are embroiled and trust the Americans? As ascended beings who are engaged in their own communion with the cosmic infinite, they agree to heed this seemingly miraculous message from the Beyond.

As they blast off, Jupiter begins to implode. Just as they reach safety, Jupiter ignites into a new sun which bears the name Lucifer! As in, Lucifer the light bearer. As they witness this miracle, the instructions from Yahweh/Bowman appear on the monitor screens on the Leonov and everywhere else on Earth. The voice of Yahweh will come to you too through the television screen or the computer monitor, proles. We will learn to unite as One World just like the crews of the Discovery and Leonov.

Sounds like utopia, doesn’t it?

Firing Line Returns as Progressive Hugbox

In the annals of 20th century American conservatism, few legacies loom as large as William F. Buckley’s. For better or worse, National Review remains a pace setter and barometer of modern establishment conservatism. Aside from his oversight of NR and nascent spy novel career, Buckley further distinguished himself through his current affairs show, Firing Line. With his oddly captivating air of aristocratic sophistication and a demeanor which teetered between thinly veiled disdain and genteel charm, Buckley was a champion of the marketplace of ideas long before the “intellectual dark web” were a thing.

Though YouTube has already established itself as the most accessible venue to engage in the battle of ideas for content creators of every ideological persuasion, PBS and the Hoover Institute have decided to pretend they care about civic discourse with a reboot to the franchise. Featuring the eminently telegenic great granddaughter of Herbert Hoover as host, Margaret Hoover is attempting to extend Buckley conservatism into the 21st century with her exceedingly banal and toothless brand of “Center Right” Conservatism Incorporated.

Based on the extended interview she gave to Reason’s Nick Gillespie and the episode I watched featuring “democratic socialist” rising star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I’m hard pressed to identify a single position she holds which distinguishes her from the neocon, globo-capitalist, corporatist establishment. The opening sentence of her Wikipedia page describes her as “an American political commentator, political strategist, media personality, feminist, gay rights activist, and author.” Not exactly a set of descriptors that screams “conservative”. She comes across like another progressive in conservative clothing whose sole existence is designed to placate liberals who claim to listen to “both sides”. Appealing enough to watch, but devoid of any ideas that deviate from approved establishment orthodoxy. She seems right at home alongside other anti-Trump neocon shills like Jennifer Rubin and David Frum. The show itself also seems calculated to blunt criticisms that PBS is a captured propaganda arm of the Left. I was especially interested in this episode because I naïvely assumed that Ocasio-Cortez would offer Hoover ample opportunity to challenge her narrative and present a contrasting worldview.

I know. What was I thinking? This is PBS, after all.

Buckley had a knack for setting up the guest in a manner which simultaneously highlighted his august achievements while very subtly tipping his own hand. He was magnanimous, but he was editorializing while he did it. He could even manage very sly digs. By contrast, Hoover’s artless introduction of Ocasio-Cortez reeked of over the top fangirl praise and obsequious fawning. This seemed less an introduction and more of an extension of the gushing adoration that’s been heaped at her feet by the progressive establishment since winning the nomination of the New York 14th. As Hoover ratcheted up the swooning praise with each sentence, the camera would linger on Ocasio-Cortez’ blushing giddiness. Hoover even went full Teen Vogue by mentioning her ability to sell out lipstick, and Ocasio-Cortez giggled in gleeful affirmation. It was meant to be a lighthearted moment, but for this middle age curmudgeon expecting a hard hitting current affairs show, it set up a Girls Club vibe that was tonally wrong.

The interview that followed only confirmed this impression. Bill Buckley’s once venerable Firing Line has been repurposed as Progressive Hugbox. Hoover asked wide open questions which provided ample opportunity for cross examination, and failed at nearly every juncture to challenge or engage. Where Buckley took every opportunity to present a contrasting argument and even administer the occasional smackdown, Hoover seemed content to go through the motions and play pattycakes with her guest. The whole thing was one gigantic missed opportunity. Even someone as MOR as Ben Shapiro could have made Ocasio-Cortez break a sweat. Hoover, on the other hand, seemed mostly in agreement with Ocasio-Cortez throughout!

On “Democratic Socialism”

Of all the assaults on language and deceptive word games deployed by the Left, perhaps the most odious is the pernicious lie called “democratic socialism”. Progressives who embrace the inevitable endgame of their worldview fall into two camps. One camp is the “Real socialism has never been tried” crowd and the other is “Not Venezuelan socialism. DEMOCRATIC Socialism” crowd. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is in the latter camp. When Hoover wisely chose to ask her to elaborate on the meaning of the term, Ocasio-Cortez did not disappoint and delivered a doozy of vacuous piffle. In the hands of any ideologically grounded conservative or libertarian, this would have been a slam dunk. Anyone worth his salt could have torn her to shreds.

Democratic socialism is the value that in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live.

Since its earliest modern incarnations, socialism has taken root in the conscience of the Left precisely because it speaks to moral instincts and the eschatological inevitability of an egalitarian, secular utopia. Ocasio-Cortez has stripped out the fact that her utopian vision requires the instantiation of vast new bureaucracies and large scale redistribution. She blithely omits the fact that it also requires the guns of the state to implement and leaves only the rhetorical ear candy. Whether this is out of ignorance, dishonesty or stupidity, I cannot say, but it’s a glaring omission regardless.

With this statement alone, Ocasio-Cortez left herself deeply exposed. Hoover could have made mincemeat out of her right then and there, but instead, she allowed her to serve up more heaping portions of brainless drivel.

On the Economy

Ocasio-Cortez likes to tout her economic credentials on social media, but she exposed herself as yet another economic illiterate peddling fanciful tales of endless, large scale economic hardship and woe.

Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, and can barely feed their kids.

Differences in skill level or ambition never enter into her calculus. Any disparities in outcome can be rectified by subsidizing college and pouring more money into the education bureaucracy apparently.

Along with her asinine claim that “everyone has two jobs”, Ocasio-Cortez’ assertion was thoroughly disconnected from reality. EVERYONE? Really? Again, Hoover could have eviscerated these claims, but she opted to let this steaming pile to stand unchallenged. I can’t imagine Buckley doing the same.

On Immigration

On the issue of immigration, Ocasio-Cortez predictably leaned on boilerplate progressive clichés and platitudes.

Hoover blew it again by completely bypassing her STATED intention to abolish ICE. Instead of taking the claim at face value and challenging her on the specifics of the plan, Hoover punted and asked her simply to expound upon her vision for broad based immigration reform.

To Ocasio-Cortez, every immigrant is a potential food truck entrepreneur or bodega owner, there is no downside to immigration, there are no issues of assimilation with which to contend, there are no criminal elements, and there are no standards that should be applied. It’s just one big multicultural Wonderland. But perhaps this is consequence of American republicanism taken to its fullest conclusion. It may be impossible to impose constraints or uphold standards on a collection of abstract principles that sanctify human liberation and equality.

However, on this subject, Ocasio-Cortez actually revealed a new and heretofore unprecedented position for the progressive Left. A tacit acceptance of American imperialism.

Instead of taking what was once a fairly conventional, antiwar, non-interventionist leftist stance, Ocasio-Cortez seemed to concede that regime change was a prerequisite for being part of the progressive political aristocracy in the American globalist imperium. She seems to want to ensure that displaced refugees will be granted automatic citizenship.

On Capitalism

In yet another colossal oversight, Hoover completely missed an opportunity to dismantle Ocasio-Cortez’ vacuous Marxist twaddle.

Capitalism has not always existed in the world and will not always exist in the world.

The first part of the statement is, of course, correct. Laissez faire capitalism wasn’t practiced or promoted in earnest as ideology until the 18th century. Mercantilism, trade guilds and feudal economies preceded it. But the question is what exactly does she envision if she wants to see us “evolve” beyond it? Hoover wasn’t interested in finding out.

Ocasio-Cortez seems to buy into the standard Marxist view of history. Capitalism is but a necessary step in an inexorable forward march of human progress. Socialism is both an inevitability and a necessity.

Equally bewildering was her contention that we live in “no hold barred, Wild West hypercapitalism” society. This is such a painfully idiotic cliche, that it shouldn’t need to be rebutted, but these nostrums are essentially the equivalent of scripture for progressives. We live in a highly regulated, quasi-socialist market economy which is centrally managed by bankers. The staunch refusal to acknowledge the extent that government institutions, public-private partnerships and corporations all aid and abet the progressive establishment is simply astonishing. The perpetual posture of being beleaguered underdogs is beyond tiresome.

The fact that we’re still addressing these ideas lends credence to the claim that capitalism and socialism are merely two sides of a false dialectic. Clearly, there are vested interests who want these ideas to infiltrate the culture. The radical Left and their globalist sponsors have been promoting these ideas for well over a century. They wouldn’t still be around without generous patronage.

On Israel

The one moment that has the rightward social media commentariat Twitter feeds ablaze was her stunning admission over the disputed territories in Israel.

I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue!

Quite the admission from a Boston University graduate with a degree in economics and international relations. It seems like this question should have been right in her wheelhouse. What I suggest it reveals is the power of the Left’s linguistic and ideological programming. Could it be cowardice given that Israel is a longstanding punching bag for the Left? Probably not. Given that she’s been coronated as the Left’s new Fearless Truthsayer, I’d expect her to let the Palestinian Liberation flag fly.

Why bring back Firing Line?

Hoover’s abysmal performance begs one burning question. Why revive Buckley’s show at all if you’re making no effort to even attempt a genuinely conservative approach?

I wanted to be enthusiastic about this show, but it feels a little bit like the current affairs equivalent of the 2016 gender swap Ghostbusters reboot. A shameless attempt at reviving an intellectual property that once had cultural cachet. What’s so edgy about another anti-Trump establishment neocon who gives a socialist a free ride? If Bill Buckley were alive today, he’d likely find his encounter with Gore Vidal a quaint memory. He’d probably be relegated to hosting demonetized Google Hangout streams on YouTube while fighting back accusations of being alt-right.

How many PBS viewers are truly interested in the battle of ideas at this juncture? What percentage of their audience are aging boomers just trying to uphold the delusion they’re interested in an opposing perspective?

What does this say about the vitality of Buckley’s synthesis of post-Burkean conservatism and laissez faire classical liberalism? Even worse, what does this say about the alleged gulf between the Right and the Left if Margaret Hoover is nodding in agreement with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

Margaret Hoover represents exactly the kind of bland establishment conservatism that propelled Trump to the White House. National Review’s Against Trump issue only fueled the perception that the conservative intelligentsia were out of step with the grassroots. We’re living in a time when the very idea of conserving national borders is considered tantamount to the reopening of Auschwitz. A reboot of Firing Line with an assertive host could have been a positive contribution to public discourse. Too bad we got Progressive Hugbox instead.

Jonathan Haidt: The Righteous Mind

NYU professor Jonathan Haidt has risen to prominence in recent years by taking a stand against the rising tide of PC sensibilities on college campuses. Given his willingness to take on the cultish groupthink that has overtaken the political Left, I was initially enthusiastic about The Righteous Mind. Similar to what I’ve experienced with his fellow would be dissidents on the classically liberal Left, I was really taken in by this book at the outset, but its allure diminished as it progressed. The Righteous Mind is a fine piece of scholarship for anyone seeking a clear headed albeit academic perspective on moral and evolutionary psychology. However, this recommendation comes with caveats. Haidt is a liberal academic who seeks mostly to explain and classify the components of the moral apparatus while remaining within the confines of the liberal mindset. His role model of a society which respects authority and hierarchy is the one articulated by Marxist sociologist, Emile Durkheim. He unironically cites Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell and Barbara Ehrenreich as authortative scholars. He’s not a threat to the secular democratic consensus. He’s not a reactionary proposing a return to religious order. He’s merely a well intentioned intellectual who is making an above average effort at providing people across the conventional political spectrum a deeper empathy for the opposition.

The Righteous Mind is a good summary of the current state of evolutionary psychology, but ultimately all it does is give you a more scientific framework for understanding how liberals and conservatives process morality. The book mostly seeks to mitigate the contentious nature of political discourse. Since it comes from a Darwinian perspective, it portrays morality as an evolving, semi-malleable psychological realm which resides exclusively in the political arena. Though Haidt describes his disaffection with the dry and clinical nature of his early explorations into this field, this book suffers from the same pitfalls. There’s a part of me that thinks that this work is just an inducement to log on to YourMorals.org so that the results can be sent to progressive think tanks or the AI teams at DARPA and Google to optimize machine learning systems.

Haidt argues that there is an innate wiring for morality, but the specifics vary across cultures and they are evolutionary adaptations. Morality is not the product of pure intellectual reasoning nor can it be adequately explained or generated through rationalist attempts at universal rules. People possess moral intuitions, but there is a margin of elasticity which allows for reasoning to occur. This innate wiring can be described as a matrix of receptors that he calls Moral Foundations Theory. “Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.” (1)

Haidt builds his case by tracing the evolution of morality in the secular philosophical sphere up to the discoveries of modern evolutionary psychology. He consolidates these discoveries with his own studies which corral all moral thought into the political arena. He posits that the morality of progressives, libertarians and social conservatives can be understood through a matrix of six different foundations. These foundations would be Care, Fairness, Loyalty, Authority, Sanctity and Liberty/oppression.

Haidt’s view of morality is roughly analogous to that of a liberal Christian Protestant theologian, but viewed through the lens of modern social science. In other words, man is prewired for moral instincts, but the moral matrix requires input from external sources in order to develop. This development may be constrained in various ways. We are guided by our moral intuitions, but there is a realm of slack that allows for moral reasoning and persuasion to occur. By laying out the moral matrix of liberal progressives, libertarians and social conservatives, Haidt hopes to elevate the public discourse to a place where disagreements can be had without being disagreeable. An honorable aim, but doomed nonetheless.

Since Haidt is himself a liberal and writing for an audience who are like minded in one way or another, the great triumph of the book is that he solidifies the proposition that all humans are wired for religious thinking. Everyone. Even you. Deal with it.

It’s not about whether you read the Bible or attend church services. Haidt’s great victory lies in the fact that he able to persuasively argue that the human mind has the capacity to sanctify anything. Even a self-proclaimed atheist sanctifies gods called “reason”, “social justice” or “democracy”. Haidt proclaims the following:

Whatever its origins, the psychology of sacredness helps bind individuals into moral communities. When someone in a moral community desecrates one of the sacred pillars supporting the community, the reaction is sure to be swift, emotional, collective, and punitive. (174)

The one thing I particularly appreciate is that Haidt is very explicit about the fact that liberals sanctify politics and deify the presidency. The highest moral reality for the secular liberal is realized through the democratic process. This is a large reason that progressives are so contemptuous of conservatives. Because the progressive sees only oppression in traditional society or conserved ideals, there is no real morality outside the context of politics. Conservatives are just contemptible Neanderthals who must be mercilessly mocked and then dragged into the future by force. This observation also goes a long way toward explaining the absolute insanity that has overtaken the Left in the Trump era. In the progressive view, an apostate has usurped the pinnacle of moral authority. Trump’s very presence in the Oval Office is nothing short of blasphemy against the Holy Writ of Progressivism.

On the flipside, I think Haidt gives progressives too much credit. He asserts that everyone cares about the Care/harm axis, “but liberals care more”(212). This is patently absurd. Liberals are quintessentially Glauconian in the sense that they care about the appearance of caring above all else. Politicized compassion is not the same as the practice of individual acts of compassion. Advocating for the passage of a law which will only expand the sphere of criminality in pursuit of some abstract notion of equality without regard for cost or outcome is not an expression of caring. Walking into a voting booth to pray to the Democracy God on the basis of altruistic sounding political rhetoric is not the same as taking individual action to improve the welfare of some disenfranchised group. Hashtags, rallies and slogans are not substitutes for volunteering in soup kitchens or being a mentor for an inner city kid with no father. Progressives have merely politicized every sphere of social interaction and sanctified government bureaucracy. To oppose any progressive initiative, policy or agency is seen as moral degeneracy. You can’t just oppose transgender bathrooms because to do so just means you’re a hate filled bigot. You can’t criticize the Department of Education because to do so means you oppose education all by itself.

In fact, when it comes to expressing disdain towards conservatives, progressives can be downright hateful and violent. When attacking conservatives, all of the flowery slogans and treacly hashtags are immediately jettisoned. The progressive Left are the very definition of double standards and selective outrage when it comes to voicing their contempt for conservatives. To his credit, he acknowledges this by citing the hate filled bile of Village Voice writer, Michael Feingold. It’s a hate that has only been amplified by the media and progressive priesthood in the Trump era.

Haidt is also guilty of trafficking presumptions of moral truth which presumably underpin the liberal West. He claims that Westerners regard life as “supremely valuable, and that the human body is more than just a walking slab of meat” (174), but this is a dubious proposition. If that were the case, abortion would not be legal. Nor would progressives callously cheer the hypothetical gunning down of an audience full of Trump supporters. He tips his hand further by suggesting that the “only ethical question about abortion” (177) becomes the point at which a fetus feels pain. Not the point at which it becomes its own distinct life.

Haidt asks you to buy into the presuppositions that comprise the liberal, Darwinian worldview. In other words, nominalism and empiricism are to be taken as a given. He describes this using the acronym WEIRD which stands for Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic.

The WEIRDer you are, the more you see a world of separate objects, rather than relationships. (113)

The bad news is that Haidt, like his fellow compatriots in the so called “intellectual dark web”, is simply trying to tend the barricades of classical liberalism in the vain hope of preserving these ideas for the future. To his credit, this book offers a potential glimmer of empathy for the hardboiled progressive who views the conservative with disdain and contempt. Progressives like to preach empathy, but it’s an empathy that seems only to extend to those who agree with the progressive worldview.

Are you even allowed to disapprove of transgenderism or gay marriage without being ostracized from society? Are you allowed to crack a joke at the expense of the Left’s favored groups without fear of losing your job? Are you even allowed to be on the Left and hold heterodox beliefs without being ldemonized?

This is the core problem of The Righteous Mind and classical liberalism. Not only is morality circumscribed to politics, but it is considered a malleable matrix that can be reshaped through social policy if properly understood. Haidt essentially asks you to accept pragmatism and relativism as givens. There are no fixed principles nor is there objective truth except the presuppositions of Darwinism and liberalism.

If morality lives in a malleable psychological scientistic realm, then social scientists will be able to adjudicate morality and no one will question their authority or methods. Who’s going to question the tenured social scientist with a fancy degree who insists that pedophilia is a congenital sexual orientation? Who’s to say that the highly respected physician at Johns Hopkins who insists that children with gender dysphoria should receive hormone blockers is wrong? How can you mount that case when morality is consigned to the realm of scientism and evolutionary relativism? What’s preventing us from removing the moral “taboo” against cannibalism? How can you mount a case against any of these positions when morality is consigned to the realm of scientism and evolutionary relativism?

Haidt also stumbles in his attempts to reconcile the dialectical tension that arose from the Enlightenment which pits the will of the individual against the collective unity embodied in the state. Invoking the work of Rockefeller University graduate, Barbara Ehrenreich, Haidt discusses the binding powers of psychedelics, cross dressing and ecstatic dancing as a way of strengthening hierarchical structures through ritualized subversion. Naturally, he lauds these practices as progressive and healthy while simultaneously cautioning against the bad kind of collective identity that fascism represented. He even invokes the magical power of oxytocin as though everyone is going to pay attention to the limited effects it has on strengthening in-group affection. True to progressive form, he mostly avoids the errors of communist states and places all of his emphasis on the one and only moral negative that exists in the progressive worldview: fascism.

He also seems to contradict himself when it comes to racial in-group preferences. He concedes that “we trust and cooperate more readily with people who look and sound like us.”(244) Because he’s making an evolutionary and Darwinian argument based around genetic adaptation to culture, he’s able to completely sidestep his own claim in favor of a politically convenient argument that runs completely contrary to his original claim.

Like Jordan Peterson, he takes a more charitable view towards religion than his atheist contemporaries . “Gods and religions, in sum, are group-level adaptations for producing cohesiveness and trust.” (306). In contrast to the New Atheists, he doesn’t see religion as a pure pathology, but merely an accessory to pathology. He recognizes that religious people are more charitable and have more children. He acknowledges that religious communities are more cohesive and maximize cooperation better than their secular counterparts. But he ultimately affirms the conclusions of Jeremy Bentham! He just wants a more nuanced felicific calculus.

Haidt is generally pretty good about presenting the conservative and libertarian position, but he misses the mark occasionally, too. He describes conservative opposition to the entire array of welfare as the absence of “proportionality”. What he ignores is the compulsory nature of the taxes collected to pay for them. Compelled charity is not charity at all. Any social welfare system will require the creation and maintenance of a bureaucracy within the government. Once this bureaucracy is established, the incentives immediately become corrupted. The bureaucrats will only seek self-preservation while the recipients will lose their incentive. He eventually gets around to the problem of bureaucratized compassion when he discusses the adverse effects that arise when attempting to make health insurance more affordable through government policy. Kudos to Haidt for calling out the Left’s pathological and religious obsession with using government policy as an instrument of compassion

This book was published in 2012, so it predates Trump Derangement Syndrome. Haidt’s sympathy towards the religious community extends to conservatism in general, but it’s a conservatism that’s confined to the province of classical liberalism. Haidt’s efforts to foster greater empathy for conservatives and conservatism is above and beyond the vast majority of his contemporaries, but his Twitter feed suggests a pretty typical indifference to the hostility towards conservatives that has erupted in the Trump era. When rank and file conservatives are being vilified for seeking border security that was uncontroversial under Bill Clinton, Haidt’s work feels increasingly tepid and weak.

I’m willing to give Haidt credit for trying to turn down the temperature of the political discourse, but I can’t help but think he’s missing the bigger picture issues. There’s no mention of the collapse of the family. There’s no mention of high divorce rates. There’s no mention of the effect of illegitimacy on children. There’s no mention of rising suicide rates in men. There’s no mention of the increase in antidepressants and opioids. There’s only a passing mention of “social engineering” and Haidt seems pretty blithely dismissive of the ways that society has already been socially engineered by the likes of Durkheim and Russell. How can you discuss morality and not make a connection to these outcomes? How can you be concerned about morality and not see these issues as supremely troubling? Haidt’s book is mainly geared towards educated liberals just like him while ignoring the vast swaths of the population who can’t be bothered with this shit. Most people formulate a worldview very early on and simply aren’t interested in having it challenged. I’d wager that even amongst the target demographic for this book, very few were persuaded to view the opposition with greater empathy.

If morality is consigned to genetic evolution, then eugenics and technocratic social engineering are not far behind. As much as I admire Haidt’s good intentions, I fear that these are the ends this book is serving.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two (2015)

In contrast to classic dystopian sci-fi like Orwell and Huxley, there’s something really dishonest about The Hunger Games franchise. That’s not saying it’s devoid of revelation, but the fact that it’s sugar coating its true intentions and the nature of armed revolution makes this an especially pernicious piece of filmmaking. Despite its surprisingly pro-life conclusion, Mockingjay Part 2 is burdened by stilted performances, dumb PC cliches, a leaden tone and an absence of any real tension or adrenaline rush.

Mockingjay Part 2 finds our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, in the midst of an armed and surprisingly well supplied District 13 insurrection against President Snow and the Capitol. Peeta Mellark is still recovering from the MK Ultra mind control program to which he was subjected. Jilted former lover, Gale Hawthorne, is bummed about Katniss’s torn affections, but remains loyal to her, the revolution and Primrose regardless. President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee are still running psychological warfare operations and propaganda campaigns from the cushy confines of the District 13 centcom.

The power of propaganda and psychological warfare is the overriding theme of Mockingjay. By the final film, Katniss’s status as Victor Tribute morphs into Revolutionary Messiah. Katniss was exploited as goddess-like heroine through the Games, but the Resistance have simply capitalized on her cult of personality to galvanize the masses for their revolutionary goals. She defies Coin’s orders to make propaganda videos from the secure confines of District 13’s Lookout Mountain Airforce Station and takes it upon herself to personally assassinate Snow. Like their real world globalist counterparts, Coin and Heavensbee resign themselves to her decision and resolve to make her moves seem controlled by the Resistance. When she arrives at the Resistance military compound, Katniss is greeted by a mass display of cultish obeisance. Upon being recognized, everyone stops whatever they were doing and huddles around her hoisting the three fingered salute that was used throughout Panem while she was a Tribute. Once the command forces accept that she can’t be controlled by Coin, they place her with what’s essentially a high tech special forces bomb squad for the express purpose of diffusing traps and weapons in between propaganda videos. Both sides are utilizing psyops and see it as essential to demoralizing the opposition.

The Hunger Games is doing the same thing every action/sci-fi/superhero franchise is doing when it comes to presenting what was once a relatively clear delineation between good and evil. It’s trying to eke out a grey area of Greater Good in a corrupted world of perpetual violence that sees the acquisition of “democratic” power as the highest goal. While the Resistance tries to carry out its carefully laid military plans, Katniss gets to be the voice of would be moral authority by pointing out that civilians and children will be killed along with Capitol Peacekeepers. Tough shit, honey. This is war, Katniss. Of course, Katniss can claim the moral high ground cuz she’s female and she’s the Mockingjay. Or something.

Of course, once they undertake their mission, they don’t hesitate to use deadly force. The film gets to sidestep this moral conundrum by making their enemies Peacekeepers or mutants. The Peacekeepers are just faceless goons in military regalia and the mutants are anonymous monsters whose existence is never explained to my knowledge. Perhaps they’re just the Capitol’s genetically engineered super soldiers.

The film is also showing the rank duplicity of the Left’s relationship to authority and hierarchy. In yet another resemblance to their real world globalist analogues, the District 13 shadow government is highly resourced and safely secluded while the rubes who fight in the trenches are kept compliant with propaganda videos and braindead promises of democracy. They exploit Katniss’s image by presenting her as mythical, quasi-divine icon just like every other pop culture heroine. The entire Resistance is no less hierarchical or authoritarian than the Capitol. They display total deference to Coin’s leadership and military command structures. Katniss is, however, the notable exception. Her journey began as an act of selflessness to protect Primrose, but her entire character arc since then has been defined by defiance. Herein lies the absurdity. Progressives have built an entire philosophy that’s designed around a posture of rebellion wrapped in flowery rhetoric while simultaneously seeking total domination and control. The film wants to have it both ways by showing that Katniss’s acts of defiance bring about #EQUALITY and #SocialJustice while ignoring that everyone else is required to fall in line.

It also sidesteps the bloodlust and hatred that had been stoked amongst the proles by both the Capitol and most especially the Resistance. Though Suzanne Collins really wants you to think that her story wasn’t just a retread of Animal Farm, it ends up being that anyway. By taking out Coin, Collins undoubtedly wanted to show that Katniss knew that she was just as corrupt as Snow. By removing him, she’d presumably forestalled a new dictatorship to replace the old. But assassinating Coin only unleashed the desire to exact bloody revenge on Snow. The proles essentially tore him to pieces. You can’t unleash that kind of revolutionary bloodlust and expect to control it. The Resistance would have had to resort to the same iron fisted military force that their deposed enemies did. The idea that everything just worked out peacefully after Snow’s death is ludicrous.

One theme that seemed curiously absent was the actual presence of food and hunger. Hunger was a more prominent theme in the first film, but by the final film, it seems to have diminished in significance. The first film did a good job of showing how food deprivation was used as a control mechanism and the excess of the Capitol was seen as decadence. If anything, the only hunger was a desire for vengeance. The one time there is an overt reference to food is when the remaining Capitol civilians are being herded to safety after the Resistance forces had infiltrated the city walls. The citizens walk in a zombified trance as the promise of medicine and food is looped over the PA.

The Hunger Games is a sad commentary on the world of perpetual revolution and panopticism that all of the post-Boomer generations have inherited. The very act of revolution becomes the final Hunger Game. Even in their final attempt to depose the despotic Snow, they submit completely to the very media driven bloodsports that were used to keep the population under control. The spectre of totalitarianism and dystopia in cinema isn’t presented as a warning anymore. At this point, it’s just telling you what’s coming. Siberia already has their own real life version of The Hunger Games in production. That’s ultimately what the entire social media experiment seems geared towards producing. It’s merely a giant psyop that’s designed to engender hostility and pit people against one another. It appears to be succeeding.

With the possible exception of Donald Sutherland’s President Snow and Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch Abernathy, the remaining cast and characters are forgettable and devoid of charm. Jena Malone’s portrait of shaved head smack addict, Johanna Mason, struck me as the archetype on which Emma Gonzalez was based when the CIA and FBI were seeking poster children for the Marjory Stoneman gun confiscation movement. Once again, the filmmakers are at pains to present the Resistance as colorblind, multicultural gender egalitarians where women don’t just occupy military and government leadership roles, but they’re completely proficient with firearms and combat. It’s so boring, stupid, and unrealistic, but anyone who isn’t drinking Hollywood SJW Koolaid already knows it at this point.

Like many others, I was smitten by Jennifer Lawrence’s gritty turn in Winter’s Bone. I liked Katniss at the beginning of the series, but just as I’ve grown weary of Lawrence’s hollow preening in real life, the character and the performance became increasingly intolerable. It seemed like a mirror image of her J Law persona. In other words, someone who was once probably really down to earth and likable but has put herself in a position in which she has to play her own version of Mockingjay: Young, Powerful Hollywood Womyn. To my great astonishment, Katniss ends up marrying Peeta and becoming a mother. It’s such a rarity to see that in film these days, and it feels weird to praise the film for portraying something that used to be quite normal and commonplace. Given Hollywood’s pathological obsession with feminism and the entire array of items on the SJW agenda checklist, heterosexual romance and marriage takes a backseat. But Katniss and Peeta both played the role of being media puppets in the service of globalist shadow government. Perhaps the film is telling us that the life of domestic bliss is only reserved for the elite. For the rest of you….may the odds be ever in your favor.

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