Practicality vs. coping with dissidence

Reality often accommodates contradictory beliefs and frequently even provides evidence that supports all of them. Thus intelligent, informed people can hold opposing beliefs on basically everything.

Now put yourself in the shoes of one of those intelligent, informed people whose beliefs contradict most of those underpinning our modern/liberal/global/egalitarian/democratic Western society. What are your practical options to get through life? Or would you take no practical option and just “cope”?

What annoys me lately is when those people’s goals suggest they should seriously pursue practical options, but their actions are pure coping instead.


17 thoughts on “Practicality vs. coping with dissidence

  1. Everyone feels trapped in his own role in ways that don’t seem to others to truly prevent escape. Often personal connections can’t be broken (a move would constitute the abandonment of some person for whom one feels responsible, for example). Or … it would just be impossible to pack all of one’s stuff and deal with address-change-forms. It really feels impossible. Being very alone contributes to this sense of impossibility, I guess.

  2. Examples: (1) A politically conservative secular Jewish poli-sci-adjunct who reads Chinese and gripes about how he can’t make in US academia, when he could probably get a good job with either US or Israeli intelligence agencies; (2) A Romanian half-Jewish philosophy adjunct who studied Phenomenology in Paris and gripes about how he can’t make it in US academia, when he’d probably be happier teaching in Romania; (3) An ADHD guitar-playing Modern-Orthodox Deadhead, in his late twenties and halfway through his undergraduate “education” at a crappy school with no end in sight, who has no prospect of forming a family here in the US and would be happier in Israel but is restrained by his parents’ life-plan for him; (4) a close family-member, man in his mid-thirties, married to a Chinese woman and living in Hong Kong where he cares for their daughter while she resentfully “works”; he doesn’t have the “social skills” to keep the sort of non-profit-fundraiser-data-management job he’s used to having and would (it seems to me) be very good at hands-on computer-repair type work but doesn’t see this as on his menu of life-possibilities; (5) me (half-Jewish, by the way), feeling that my philosophy-adjuncting at 5th-rate schools is a despicable fraud and that I’d be happier working on a oil rig in North Dakota … but have to stay near my child, who’s not in my physical custody (good excuse, but personal inertia would probably keep me in my rut anyway, and there are always other excuses waiting to present themselves) ….
    I’ve always thought that this pattern applies to creative projects, too — People are trapped in creative projects that they aren’t well-suited to; the ones they’d be more successful at just aren’t the ones for which they’ve programmed themselves.

  3. So, I take it you’re annoyed that people’s goals suggest that they should join the Amish or convert to Islam or move to Israel or North Dakota or do computer-repair-certification program, and yet instead they just go on “coping” … and I’m saying, yes, we people are annoying … we annoy ourselves.
    I was reviewing your posts for the past couple of years (I came here by clicking on your name at JewAmongYou, by the way) … I have things to say in response to a couple of them. (1) On your suggestion that Altrighters should, if they’re serious, join either the Amish or the Muslims: not the Amish, because fighting for your group is part of the idea; not the Muslims, because a certain image of gallant kindness toward your (subordinated) women is part of the idea. Their pointless anti-Jewish nastiness aside, a lot of altrighters would probably like to be part of a Victorian society. (2) On your “an ounce of natalism beats a pound of nativism” suggestion — it seems to me that large-scale Southling immigration makes the thought of raising a child more daunting, so natalism as a social policy might presuppose nativism.
    Personal reflection: I’m half-Jewish, half-NWEuro, and while (1) “patriarchy” seems to me to be necessary both for social and for nerd-male-personal survival, and (2) some degree of NWEuro-centrism seems to me to be necessary for cultural survival, reading all of the Jew-hating comments at, say, Jim’s blog, is painful and I no longer comment anywhere because I know I’m not welcome at the clubhouse (and I usually agree with Jim on everything; he actually likes Jews but thinks they should move to Israel, which seems right to me; it’s all about whether someone reaches and asserts this conclusion in a nice or nasty manner).

    • yes, we people are annoying … we annoy ourselves.

      How inspiring.

      1) The Alt Right are not fighting for their group. At least I don’t see any fight. I see a lot of noise bouncing around an echo chamber with occasional snarky/trollish fingers extending outward to put parentheses around somebody’s name or post an inflammatory meme or Twittering somewhere. (Getting yourself punched in the face doesn’t count, Mr. Spencer!) Besides, the Amish fight for themselves (financially and socially, not with violence; they’re pacifists).

      I’d guess most Muslims are plenty gallant and kind to their women. At any rate, being cruel to women hardly seems required for membership.

      The Victorian period included huge feminist and technological advances, mass immigration (not just from Europe but from Asia, Africa, and points south as well), Protestantism, etc. When I think of Victorianism I think of tight-lipped women in high-necked dresses, dandies with canes and bowler hats, and lots of flowery curlicues ornamenting everything. Did you have some other Victorianism in mind? Not clear on what you mean there.

      2) Mass immigration from south of the border hasn’t stopped me and my wife from enthusiastically having as many kids as she can carry. (Or lots of other right-of-center white people for that matter.) I’m not sure why it would daunt you. If anything it should motivate you. Unless you’re just the type of be daunted by things–but that’s kinda my point.

      By Jim, do you mean Jim Goad? I’m warmed by the fact that he’s nice about wanting Jews out of here and over to Israel, but what matters to me is what he thinks should be done about it and what he would tolerate others doing about it. We all have our compartmentalized “ideals” but at some point these need to be defined so they can be recognized and distinguished from things that are actually going on. (BTW, does Goad’s history of unrepentantly beating up women make him more suited for Victorianism or Islam?)

  4. From the bottom to the top:
    I mean Jim of — I think his last name’s “Donald”.
    I’m glad you and your wife have lots of kids. That’s great. Good job.
    I guess “Victorianism” means Dickens and Browning and Ruskin to me.
    The difference between European patriarchy and Muslim patriarchy, as I imagine it, is that European men like women and think that they’re smart and funny and cute, while Muslim men think that women are basically gross.
    I think that the possibility of fighting violently in defense of your group is pretty much a male human need. This is one of the awesome things about Religious Zionism.
    I agree that the alt-right seems to be a girly-gossipy social scene. I can’t be a part of that social scene because I’m half-Jewish. I don’t think I’d want to be anyway, but who knows.
    I’m sorry to be anti-inspiring, if that annoys you. I’ve just been noticing how various people are in various ruts, that’s all.

    • Don’t know that Jim. So, what does he think would be an acceptable way to get Jews to leave the US and move to Israel?

      Thanks! I love my wife and kids.

      So, Alt Rightists prefer the world of Dickens to the world of Nehisi-Coates (or J.M. Coetzee if you prefer)? Couldn’t they get relatively close by becoming Amish? (If not to Dickens, then at least to Twain…I mean, come on) Seems like a more realistic option and a lot less work than…I dunno…wishing for Trump and Sessions and Bannon to bring about a new Victorianism? Bullying SJWs until they roll over and hand over a new Victorianism? Not sure what the plan is there. Really, there isn’t one; that’s my point.

      If you want to fight violently in defense of your group, nothing’s stopping you from joining the military. Pretty sure you can join Israel’s military too if you’d rather just fight on behalf of other Jews.

      I’m not annoyed by your being anti-inspiring. I remarked on the anti-inspiringness of what you said because it nicely encapsulated my year-old disillusionment and disgust with the Alt Right. If that whole cobweb of writers and commenters is just a bunch of people in the same rut, then a lot of pundits on the Left and in the mainstream media have got at least one thing figured out.

  5. I think that on the one hand there is in fact Something Very Wrong with the way things are (Progressive Degeneration), but that one the other hand, yes, You Can’t Fight City Hall and should Cultivate Your Garden.
    Looking forward to your next post. You seem both nice and wise.

    • Thanks. I don’t know if I’m nice or wise but I try to at least be civil and open-minded and not write anything I wouldn’t want my kids or my boss to someday read.

      There will ALWAYS be Something Very Wrong with the way things are. Progressive degeneration is background cosmic radiation in human culture, punctuated only by Third Reichs and Amish ordnungs. I don’t get the sense that the Alt Right fully appreciates what would happen if everything they thought was Very Wrong was set right; they are not prepared to live in that world–and as I’ve said, I suspect they know it.

  6. Maybe there’s always a Big Suck, but the nature of it changes. The Big Suck of the past was plague, famine, and warring psychopathic barons. The Big Suck of the present is sexual confusion (no clear man-role or woman-role) and cultural void full of mass-media crap. Overcoming the Big Suck of the past leads to the Big Suck of the present, because Science and Industry give people the impression that all past assumptions (e.g. sex roles and a divine moral order) are bullshit. The Big Suck of the present probably isn’t worse than the Big Suck of the past (I have no family but on the other hand don’t have to worry about plague and famine) but might lead us back into the Big Suck of the past anyway because smart people aren’t reproducing much (noble efforts like yours aside).

    • We don’t really know what the Big Suck of the past was. War and famine look bad from our perspective, but that’s a subjective one. In 300 years people might look back on the 21st century and consider it a horror show of cancer, viruses, and natural disasters and wonder how anybody got through it. I think it’s safe to bet, though, that every generation of hominids, from the time we evolved language and culture, has always observed and mourned the decay of the values they hold dear. Stability is valuable. This is an enduring fact.

      I’m sure there are a few coffee shops near university campuses where sexual confusion has truly taken root, but unless one suspends disbelief and allows the world of punditry and blogs to become their umwelt, this confusion is basically a superficial “fad of words” that’s easy enough to tune out. Science and industry give people what they want to take from it; I and other right-of-center people (i.e. half the US) live in the same scientific industrialized world you do (in fact I work in the tech industry!) and we don’t think all past assumptions are bullshit.

      If smart people aren’t reproducing enough it’s not because they are in a position where doing so is impossible; it’s because of a misalignment of their priorities. That’s understandable enough, and maybe even predictable given human nature, but the good news is it can be changed with ideas. That’s why the ideas you choose to attach yourself to and repeat to others are so important. And that’s also why the self-defeating Alt Right are the ultimate enablers of progressivism. (I.e. a one-syllable word that rhymes with “trucks”.)

  7. Girls feel the need to have “careers”. This is bizarre and horrifying.
    Women move on whenever a man seems to be of insufficiently high-quality. This is bizarre and horrifying.

  8. (Take out the hyphen between “high” and “quality”; I neglected to remove it after adding “of” before “insufficiently”.) By “sexual confusion” I mean collapse of natural sex-roles (men in public realm, women in private). So it’s not just a “coffee house” thing. It’s a bizarre, horrifying, Satanic confusion. And so families either aren’t formed to begin with or don’t continue. An entire economy is constructed around fake jobs for women. Men can’t “provide”. (I pay $850/mo child-support for a single child, and, no, I didn’t end the marriage, and, no, I wasn’t cheating or hitting.) All marriage vows become lies. No, this is not some kind of “enduring fact” of perpetual decline. This is a brand new Badness, uniquely Horrible. I thought that I was making a reasonable concession to your wisdom in acknowledging that past Badnesses have been as great, albeit very different. Famine, plague, and psychopathic warlords in the Agricultural Age; fear of witchcraft, with accompanying brutalities, among Primitives. You’ve done well, but “see, I’ve done well so all of you are just whining losers” suggests … I don’t know … a turning-away from certain unpleasant facts? I wish you’d acknowledge these facts — their historical uniqueness (Feminism is NOT age-old!) — before arriving at whatever non-reactionary, non-nationalist political conclusions you wish regarding what one’s practical attitude should be. Sure, Accept the System … maybe the alternatives are really worse. But at least see the reality: pudgy female cops tapping at their phones on street-corners; academic ladies manning “Centers for Social Justice and Diversity”; HR departments stuffed with childless party-girls; Hillary Clinton in her pantsuits. Ugliness.

    • By “sexual confusion” I mean collapse of natural sex-roles (men in public realm, women in private)

      You long for shariah law! See? I told you so.

      Seriously though, natural sex roles as you’ve defined them haven’t “collapsed”. Stay-at-home moms are still a much bigger thing than stay-at-home dads. Gender imbalances aren’t going away despite being embattled by pundits and policies. Sure, natural sex roles have been obsessively criticized in some parts of our society, but for the most part they’re still doing fine and nature will see to it they continue to do fine. It’s too bad about your divorce, but I think you’re psyching yourself out and imagining the wider situation as more bleak than it really is.

      You’ve done well, but “see, I’ve done well so all of you are just whining losers” suggests … I don’t know … a turning-away from certain unpleasant facts?

      That isn’t what I’m saying at all. To make a bit of an analogy, the Alt Right aren’t a bunch of guys who can’t get dates, they’re guys who turn down dates because it helps make their arguments about “it is so hard to get a date these days!” look more consistent. They are whiners, yes, but they’re not losers so much as self-defeatists.

      I’m not even necessarily opposed to reaction(aryism?) as a thing, I’m just saying if you’re serious about traditional sex roles and having a proud tribe of white people who get to determine their own destiny and all that stuff, there’s a community already out there doing that (the Amish) and they accept converts. You could literally have it tomorrow if you really wanted it. Nobody would get offended, nobody would fire you or blackball you, nobody would vilify you, hell nobody would even criticize you. So there’s another way of describing my issue with the Alt Right: it seems more about trying to stop others from getting what they want than about you getting what you want. That makes them a cancer.

      I’m not asking anyone to Accept the System. I don’t. I’m saying, if you’re going to React, then React! Don’t pretend there are obstacles that aren’t there, and don’t let the fact that the System exists be an excuse for why you have no choice but to accept it. People may act like they’re blocking your path or want to block your path, but they’re not really blocking it. You don’t have to fight them, you can just keep walking past them.

  9. I know you were kidding, but the England portrayed by Trollope (or Dickens, or Austen) really doesn’t look anything like a society governed by Muslim Law.
    I teach college classes at a couple of 5th rate NYC colleges with disproportionately female student-populations, so I’ve been acquainted with thousands of young women over the past decade. All of these young women think that they’re supposed to have careers. None of them want to have children. This is historically unprecedented, bizarre, and horrifying.
    I don’t know what “alt-righters” experience, personally, with regard to dating and so forth; I’m not one of them, and can’t be, because I’m half-Jewish.
    You’re right that people should look for the real options that would come closest to satisfying them. I don’t think that the Amish would satisfy most people, because pacifism is unnatural. But I agree with you in principle here.

    • Not to be too pedantic, but you keep referring to an England portrayed in fiction by Victorian authors who almost certainly omitted certain aspects of their society. Anyway, that society might not look a lot like Saudi Arabia but its rural side probably does look relatively similar to Amish country.

      College undergraduates are not representative. Not only are they a numerically small minority, they are also almost entirely naive young people in a time of flux in their lives. A huge majority of that age cohort are left-wing (this has been true for a long time), yet a significant portion of them–a majority in many places–become more conservative as they age. See if that matches the experience of most adult conservatives you’ll meet; I’ll bet it does. I smile when I think of all the women I know who considered themselves radical feminists in college who now stay at home with kids while their husbands work. That’s a common story all over the country. Nature is stronger than the flimsy notions held by recent high-school grads. It’s only bizarre and horrifying if you ignore that fact.

      I don’t know what you mean by half-Jewish…you only obey half the Commandments? If it simply means you have one Jewish parent, then from my understanding of Leviticus I’d say you might consider yourself Jewish or not Jewish based on your religious observance, and in much of the Alt Right it probably doesn’t make a difference anyway. There are plenty of full-fledged Jews in the Alt Right. If being “half Jewish” makes you feel unwelcome in certain circles, then probably there’s something else going on there.

      I don’t see what the Amish’s pacifism has to do with anything. Most American individuals aren’t occupied fighting in wars or even bar brawls on a regular basis, and most educated Americans (which includes most of the Alt Right) will go their whole adult lives without getting in a serious physical confrontation of any kind. Amish pacifism is perfectly compatible with that, as well as with the Alt Right’s rather isolationist stance on foreign policy.

      But yeah, I could totally see people in the Alt Right making that and any number of other meager excuses for why they don’t want to be Amish/Muslim, instead of just being honest and admitting they don’t really want the society they say they do.

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