The Genius Famine answered many burning questions that have arisen for me over the course of several decades.
Where are the Japanese and Chinese geniuses if their average IQ is 106, second only to Ashkenazi Jews of 110? (There are very few Chinese Nobel Prize winners).
As a corollary of that, why do the Chinese just copy American technology through reverse engineering and industrial espionage instead of creating their own? Yes, it is easier, but also derivative and destines them for second rate status.
Why would someone who came top of his class in English, second to the top when transferred to an élite private school, find the vocabulary of Charles Dickens fairly challenging as an eighteen-year-old? (Names for Victorian ladies’ hats and kinds of wallpaper did not help.)
Why are there no genius physicists at all anymore; the kind that make real, meaningful contributions to basic theoretical physics? We are still waiting for a grand unifying theory to reconcile quantum physics and relativity and a solution is nowhere in sight. In the first half of the twentieth century, we still had hall of famers, like Rutherford, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Max Planck, and Einstein.
Where are the genius musicians, poets, philosophers, painters, and novelists? The 1990s saw the mishmash recycling of styles of post-modernism, with seemingly nowhere to go, as though music and literature had exhausted themselves. We had the nihilistic geniuses of Joyce, Picasso, and Schoenberg, in the early twentieth century, all of whom, Dutton suggests, were artistic dead ends. Academics could not have boosted atonal music anymore if they had tried, and it is effectively dead. Though it is true that the past can seem disconcertingly intimidating because there has been a lot of time to accumulate a list of worthy geniuses. But, it has been seventy years from 1950 to 2021. Think of what the physicists did in a mere 40, from 1900 to 1940.
The late eighteenth and nineteenth century had Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Mahler, Liszt, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Berlioz, Puccini, and Verdi. The twentieth century produced Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and Schoenberg, and that’s about it. And most people do not even like the last one.
Readers who enjoyed my earlier Brazos Country Rambles and Notions videos are invited to watch volume 5. As with the earlier BCRN videos, this one very briefly states my idea of landscape appreciation and then unrolls a video montage of landscape photographs and literary quotations.
In my previous post I said our side should hack the political system, not withdraw from politics as some on our side (many of whom are Christians) counsel.
The political system is hostile to us but still capable on occasion of producing outcomes beneficial to us. And the withdrawal of people of good will from politics only makes it easier for our Opponent to torment us. We must wisely apply political force where it is likely to do us good and not be misled by foolish idealism of either the anti- or pro-politics type.
The present counsel refers primarily to voting, although obviously voting does no good unless there is a candidate who is a person of good will, and governing does no good unless done by people of good will. But the vast majority of us will not hold office. We will only vote.
To “hack” the political system, then, is to view voting not as a civic duty, but as one means among many of defending ourselves. Politics as civic duty dates from the old days, when America functioned reasonably well regardless of who occupied governmental office. In those days the election of a bad party or politician was never a catastrophe, and it made sense to vote for a questionable candidate as long as his party was, in the long run, better for America than the other party.
But now all of official America is committed to destruction. To vote with the goal of supporting the existing order is to cooperate with destruction.
Instead, we must vote with the goal of protecting ourselves. And if no candidate is likely to protect us, don’t vote. That’s the way our Opponent votes, and he has been successful so far. Continue reading →
What Verhulst et al. found was that being left wing is predicted by being low in agreeableness, low in altruism, low in empathy, i.e., being selfish, low in compassion, and low in conscientiousness – i.e., low in impulse control and rule following, high in neuroticism, mental instability, feeling negative feelings strongly like jealousy and anger, with the feeling that the world is an awful place, and having low self-esteem. Left wingers try to gain self-esteem by claiming to be morally superior and asserting they are left wing in order to seem morally superior. Neuroticism is associated with the feeling that the world is unfair and wrong. Continue reading →
There was a time not long ago when John 3:16 was said to epitomize scripture. Nowadays one more often hears Genesis 1:27 advanced as the pith and soul of the gospel. This is, of course, the astonishing declaration that, Continue reading →
Readers who see dark designs in the manufactured remedies for today’s influenza may find food for thought in this advertisement for one of the most widely advertised manufactured influenza remedies of the late nineteenth century. “It is the most speedy known!”
“Look! His fist is e’en clenched in the Communist salute!”
Guy Gilpatric, The Man with the Walrus Mustache (1939)
The raised fist is a primitive gesture of menace that even many animals understand. Indeed apes raise their fists to threaten violence, so the raised fist is a natural symbol with which to threaten violent revolution. When brandished by communists, black panthers, feminists, or the organizers of a Latinx graduation ceremony, a raised fist expresses hatred of the system and an intention to smash that system violently, ruthlessly, and with all the righteous fury of revenge. Continue reading →
Transcendence was an abiding concern of our late colleague Thomas Bertonneau. I say concern rather than interest because Tom did not simply study transcendence as an arachnologist studies spiders. Tom yearned for transcendence and searched for it, much as a mother would yearn and search for a child that was lost in a dangerous wood as the sun was going down. Tom was oppressed by our modern incarceration in an exclusively immanent world, depressed by the ever-strengthening strictness of our prison guards, and unimpressed by the primitive and perverse antics with which so many prisoners simulate transcendence and pretend that they are free. Continue reading →
It used to be that life was getting materially better but spiritually worse, that men enjoyed expanding freedom at the cost that their choices meant less and less, and conservatives argued that the loss outweighed the more obvious gain. This situation has changed.
“When . . . I am told that a war is a war of opinions, I am told that it is the most important of all wars.”
Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide Peace (1796)
We have the phrase culture war from the German Kulturkampf, a word that is more accurately translated as culture struggle. A Kulturkampf is a struggle to decide which opinions will be taught as public doctrines. Public doctrines are the opinions that are taught by official teachers, by the men and women who hold the public office of teacher. The highest rank in this cadre of official teachers is, of course, the doctor, a certified officer in some minute bureaucratic department of the Ministry of Truth. Continue reading →