In the future, the government maintains control of public opinion by outlawing literature and maintaining a group of enforcers, known as “firemen,” to perform the necessary book burnings. Fireman Montag begins to question the morality of his vocation.
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“With usura hath no man a house of good stone,” wrote Ezra Pound in Canto XLV. “Usura” is symbolic of the culture destroying, hostile, and inhumane reign of interest, capital, and the banks. Pound also said: “A man can inhabit one house, also another, but a third is capital with which he wants to earn money.”
“Contro ogni Usura,” “against all forms of usury,” is hand painted in large letters on the banner that was unfurled on the façade of a vacant six-story house in Via Napoleone III, No. 8 in the center of Rome. Next to a half dozen Tricolore flags was a flag with a stylized tortoise on a black background. Another banner declared the building baptized “Casa Pound.” The house was occupied by a group of young men in a blitz maneuver. Shortly afterwards, in the city quarter, a flyer with the following declaration was distributed: “We have occupied a building that stood vacant for years. We have given the house to twenty families. We are Italians. We are not social outcasts. We are workers, students, mothers, and fathers.”
Social pathos, anti-capitalist rhetoric, national symbolism – the occupiers come out of Rome’s militant radical Right scene, and make no secret of their convictions: they are “neither Left nor Right,” but simply “Fascista.” (A variation is the ironic amalgam “Estremocentroalto” – “extreme high center.”.) The exposed heads of Casa Pound belong to mentor and co-founder Gabriele Adinolfi, who in the 1970s was an active member of the group Terza Posizione which was closely linked to the “black terror,” and man of action Gianluca Iannone, born in 1973, a bearded tattooed giant who cultivates an image of a rough biker and additionally holds cult status as head of the hard-core band Zetazeroalfa. Casa Pound’s network also includes the bookstore “Testa di Ferro” (Head of Iron), “Cutty Sark,” the “most hated pub in Italy,” and “Area 19,” an abandoned train station concourse in Monte Mario behind the Foro Italico Olympic complex built under Mussolini.
Within the ambit of Casa Poundism a political style has developed which has brought a fresh wind into the extreme Right. This success owes itself not in the least to adept self-marketing. The memorable logo of Casa Pound, a tortoise, has become a brand mark just as notorious as the Celtic cross or the fasces. For a dedicated fascist movement the choice of a peaceful, defensive and torpid animal is at first surprising. However, the symbolism exhibits a poetic soundness. The tortoise carries her house on her back, she cannot be pulled out, and at the same time she is mobile and strong. A second look reveals that the symbol has a concealed warrior connotation: it plays on the ancient Roman military formation “Testudo” (tortoise), in which the closely aligned shields transformed the troop into a human tank: the precise octagon of the stylised tank and the inwardly directed arrows point to an intellectual organising principle and spiritual concentration. Consequently, those in charge of Casa Pound, despite their anarchic gestures, sharply differentiate themselves from the style of Left-wing occupied houses: order, cleanliness, and aesthetics play just as an important role as the strict ban on weapons, drugs, and prostitution.
In the meantime, there are corresponding Casas, among others, in Milan, Bologna and Naples, all cities where the Black Shirts sometimes meet violent resistance. The anger of the Left probably arises from the indignation that the Right are now fishing in their waters. This includes active solidarity with the socially underprivileged and the expression of sympathy for oppressed peoples such as the Tibetans, as well as the fight against privatization of education and health care and radical demands for government-guaranteed housing rights for all Italian families. In April 2009, after the large earthquake in the Abruzzo region, volunteer assistance was rallied under the slogan “Let’s rebuild Italy.” In line with this, political recruitment takes a back seat: the twenty resident families of Casa Pound indeed come, for the most part, from the environment of the Right, but there exists, according to the organizers, no required profession of ideological commitment.
Women are also specifically addressed, for instance the “Time to be a Mother” initiative, which advocates for the rights of single mothers. Increasing mass immigration to Italy since the 1990s is, in the affinitive publications, primarily seen under the aspect of a “critique of globalization”: capitalism needs cheap labor and tries to conceal this exploitative strategy with multicultural rhetoric. Coloured activists also occasionally appear among the militants, the in-house legends include the story of a pizzeria, owned by an Egyptian, which was trashed by Antifa members who had their eye on Gianluca Iannone — who, as a consequence, supported the renovation of the restaurant through a benefit concert.
So, in the middle of the “multicultural” Esquilino district, in an almost exclusively Chinese inhabited street, tolerated by the police and the city council, an institution arose, which has had a practical as well as a symbolic impact. It stands for a philosophy of localization as well as for a social utopia and functions as a centre for political and cultural activities. Monthly lectures on a wide array of topics are held, for which regular guests are obtained through intelligent networking, people who are as far away from the scene as possible, such as Nicolai Lilin, author of the bestselling Siberian Education. A representative of the Left even came to a Che Guevara theme night, another time Valerio Morucci, former member of the Red Brigade and one of Aldo Moros’ kidnappers. They strive to do justice to the slogan, “Casa Pound – Where the discussion is free” without giving up the pronounced self-positioning. So the hallways and the round-the-clock occupied offices are decorated with slogans such as “Begin to believe! Start to fight!” and with paintings in the military style of the Mussolini era.
While the social revolutionary program can be seen to be in line with the early and late forms of Fascism (the “Social Republic” of Salò), the adoption of Left-wing procedures such as the self-authorized establishment of “centri sociali” (social centres) is a relatively recent phenomenon. Already in December 1990 members of “Fronte della Gioventù” occupied a house in the Roman district of Monteverde; in 1998 the “PortAperta” in San Giovanni was opened. When in July 2002, once again in Rome, “Casa Montag” was proclaimed, an unheard voice announced itself. “Montag,” the hero from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, is a “fireman” in a future city, where the possession and reading of any kind of book has been forbidden. The “fire department” is under duty to destroy all books, but Montag begins to secretly collect and read the banned goods, until he himself turns into a rebel. While totalitarian societies are usually covered with the term “fascism,” the “non-conforming” militants turn the tables: the rebels against the thought police, individual freedom is now on their side. From this time on, the cipher “451” has consistently appeared in Fascist demonstrations – occasionally, increasing the paradox even more, upon a white circle on a red background, visually bringing to mind the flag of the NSDAP.
Casa Montag follows Casa Pound in that their given names reveal a similar sophisticated base structure. The entrance hall of the house is designed as a kind of pop-art hall of fame, where the names of all those valued as inspiration are painted on the wall in colourful letters. The company of cited minds forms an astonishing array. Alongside obligatory icons of European fascism such as D’Annunzio, Evola, Codreanu, Mosley, and Degrelle you will find a wild jumble of names like Saint-Exupéry, Jünger, Majakowskij, Kerouac, Bukowski, Stirner, Tolkien, Orwell, or Leonidas. Ian Stuart, head of Skrewdriver, is represented just as much as Hölderlin, the Indian chief Geronimo, and the comic characters Corto Maltese and Captain Harlock. With the exception of Walter Darré you won’t find any National Socialists. However, Ernst Jünger enjoys a high status amongst the scene: In Autumn 2009, distributed posters that bid farewell to a deceased comrade with a Jünger quote were to be seen in Rome right across the Esquilino district and neighbouring areas all the way to the Colosseum.
The gallery of heroes continues in the stairwell, which is exclusively dedicated to distinguished women: visual artists such as Camille Claudel and Tamara de Lempicka, poets such as Ada Negri and Sibilla Aleramo, film diva Luisa Ferida (who was murdered by communist partisans), Leni Riefenstahl, as well as sportswomen and female pilots. You will also find a similar eclectic selection amongst the products of Testa di Ferro. There T-shirts and badges are offered for sale whose motifs range from Yukio Mishima to football legend George Best. And films such as Fight Club, 300, Clockwork Orange, and Pulp Fiction consistently come up as central references.
In the headquarters, the fostering of icons culminates in an annotated collection of rare photos from the life of Ezra Pound. The American avant-gardist belongs to the group of great minds who were drawn to Fascism. Pound had settled in 1924 in Rapallo and, during the Second World War, gave anti-Semitic tinged propaganda speeches against the Allies, who he regarded as stooges of “loan capital.” After the war he was charged with high treason and subjected to degrading treatment, culminating in a 12-year-long detention in a psychiatric hospital.
However, for the majority of scene adherents it probably suffices to know that Pound was “the poet against usury” and an admirer of Mussolini. The complicated esotericism of his Cantos is notorious even among literary-minded readers, and the same applies to Julius Evola, who has been made into a cult figure within the scene. The more decisive ideological sources might instead be the lyrics from Zetazeroalfa and other “Musica Alternativa” bands. The audience of the several day long festival celebrating 5 years of Casa Pound in Area 19 in June 2009 was dominated by the approximately 80 percent proletarian skinhead and hooligan types present, who are commonly associated with the extreme Right. Provocative tattoos and shaved heads are a must, as well as a very select array of T-shirt designs. This seems to be representative for the scene as a whole, even if a considerable proportion, via the student organisation Blocco Studentesco, comes from the middle-class. Here is, admittedly, another connection with historical Fascism: an emphasis on the physical, vitalism, male gangs [Männerbünde], the agon, and even violence. As an outlet, for example, the ritual of “Cinghiamattanza” (roughly, “going nuts with a belt”) is used, based loosely on DAF’s “Alle gegen Alle” in which one plunges shirtless into a wild brawl with belt straps (the buckle is prohibited).
Also the popular, to some extent amalgamated with rock romanticism (“liberi, belli, ribelli” – “free, beautiful, rebellious”), Squadristi iconography with its death-heads, black flags, and Decima MAS daggers and roses, underscores the ambiguous “Bad Boy” image, which is especially appealing to young men as well as women, and is a hindrance to them becoming part of the mainstream – because for the Left it is of course easy to categorically portray the scene as a group of thugs. Despite the considerable leeway in comparison to Germany that Rightists and even (the at least officially banned) Fascism in Italy can lay claim to, “Political Correctness” also has the upper hand here. The photographic book OltreNero from anti-fascist journalists Allessandro Cosmelli and Marco Mathieu, which initially resulted from a close collaboration with Gianluca Iannone, rendered the scene in stylish black and white photographs, in a light as much alluring as abysmally repellent and emphasised their sub-cultural character as well as an aura of violence. Iannone saw this representation as distortive and one-sided and, as a result, fell out with the authors.
The question concerning the actual ideology of the Fascism of the Third Millennium is not easy to answer. Despite all the assertions not to be pulling a nostalgic number, the emotional core of the movement is still just as focused on the heroic stories of yesteryear: D’Annunzio’s Fiume, the march on Rome, Futurism, the legend of the Squadristi, the Republic of Salò and the “black heart” of the “lead” ’70s, when in Italy a bloody, secret service-infiltrated war of terror flared up between Left and Right wing extremist groups. It is unclear what concrete form this envisioned “modern” fascism should have, the more so as dialogue with other milieus is actively sought out and “cross fronts” are not excluded. What remains is primarily the rhetoric of the act and the precedence of activism over ideological conformity, as well as the maintenance and creation of icons, and a non-conformist attitude to life.
Telling in this regard is the August 2009 editorial from the in-house magazine Occidentale. One of the most successful Casa Pound coups of the year was the widespread public posting of placards, which exhibited in pop-art style the 1980 deceased Left-wing songwriter Rino Gaetano, bearing only the infamous tortoise logo without any written commentary. In the editorial, the author explained, “Why it is just for Casa Pound to celebrate Rino Gaetano.” One must by no means be Left-wing to admire the free and vital spirit of Gaetano’s songs. In them you can find everything that Casa Pound stands for: “The love of everything that views the world with irony; poetry, provocation, freedom, justice.” One should not focus on the past, “D’Annunzio, Marinetti, Jünger, Evola, even Mussolini” were at the forefront of their times and believed: “No romantic escapism, no doomsday hysteria. Will, deeds, joy, freedom. That is what counts.”
1. It is also possible to translate this as being against all usurers. Mr. Lichtmesz’s original German takes this line.
2. The translator would like to thank Mark Dyal for providing the following summary of this concept:
Estremocentroalto takes its cue from the revolutionary socialist origins of Italian Fascism. As Estremo (extreme), it takes the radical counter-modernism of the true right and the popular sociality of the interwar left, while embracing what is extreme and Italian about both: aggression, passion, and total commitment. It seeks to be Centro (center) so as to be absolutely relevant and central to all aspects of Italian life. Casa Pound, as part of the contemporary social right, embraces politics, philosophy, and art from the perspective of Italian ways of life. Thus, it embraces the piazzas, cuisines, bars, and normalized forms of Italian social interaction, but always from an extreme position. Finally, Casa Pound seeks to be Alto (high) in consistently rejecting the banality of Americanized pop culture, seeking instead to remake the natural seriousness of Italian beauty, life, and creation.
Since I was a small child I have felt that I had to devote my life to something tremendously important. This is it. You are looking at it.
My life now easily divides into “before Counter-Currents” and “after.” Before Counter-Currents I held most of the views I do now, but had virtually no idea what to do about them. I attended various Right-wing conferences, and made Right-wing friends, and attended meet-eat-and-retreat Right-wing dinners. We all talked about the need to “do something,” but aside from a very small number of us (men like Jared Taylor, for instance, who I first met sixteen years ago) nobody had any idea what to “do.” Meanwhile, I was very busily pursuing success in my chosen profession – one which genuinely seemed important to me at one time, but over the years has come to seem more and more like a corrupt racket. I needed to keep my real name and identity under wraps in Right-wing circles (and still do — though perhaps not for much longer).
About seven years ago I realized I had achieved my basic professional goals; what people in my line of work define as “success.” But suddenly it seemed pointless and hollow. I felt like I was waking up from a long sleep. What on earth was that “important” thing I thought I was going to accomplish? I no longer had any clear idea. Had I ever had a clear idea? And, of course, I asked myself “what now?” I was in my mid-forties. And then my mother died, reminding me of my own mortality. As she lay dying, my attention had been divided between her suffering and the politics of my profession, in which I was embroiled at the time. It was shameful. I had become the sort of person that, when I started, I thought I would never be. And I knew my time was running out.
It was during this period that Greg Johnson and Mike Polignano, who I had known for many years, founded Counter-Currents. I had a standing invitation to write for the webzine. But it took me awhile. I had reservations about what I saw as the ephemeral nature of online publication. Plus, I needed to find an authorial voice. It was in September of 2010 that I contributed my first essay to Counter-Currents — though I used a different nom de plume. I got a certain satisfaction from seeing my essay instantly “in print” — and even greater satisfaction when Greg told me the number of people who had clicked on my essay and (presumably) read it.
Finally, I felt that I was doing the elusive something.
But it was not until February of 2011 that I would really find my voice and that yours truly, Jef Costello, would be born. My earlier essays had been detached and philosophical, and had all the pep and humor of Julius Evola (which is to say, no pep and humor at all). At the beginning of 2011, however, I felt the desire to reach readers on a much more personal level, and to be freed from the constraints of “serious writing.” I began to reflect on the personal difficulties that being a heretic have caused me — specifically, my frequent depression at the state of the world, my alienation, and my recurring fears that maybe, one of these days, I’m just going to lose my goddamned mind. The result was “I Am All Right (A Cry For Help).”
I signed this essay “Jef Costello.” The name comes from a French film of the late ’60s called Le Samourai. Alain Delon plays “Jef Costello,” a hired killer depicted as living a solitary and ascetic lifestyle. Just exactly what drives him to be a hitman is unclear, but the odd thing is that he seems to approach it with the same self-denying devotion with which a monk might devote himself to prayer. Something about the loneliness and isolation of this character must have appealed to me — the way in which he voluntarily stood apart from all others. On an impulse, I picked his name. The essay and the choice of pen name were one of those fortuitous events that sometimes happen in life, when things just seem to magically come together in the right way to help us produce something of value. Later on, it felt fateful and mysterious, and I no longer have a very clear memory of writing the essay or choosing the name. I wish Jef had a better origin story, but there it is.
I followed this up with other, similarly personal essays such as “How I Found My Mission in Life,” “The View from Hippie Hill,” “Against Happiness,” and “My Real Life.” I found that these essays struck a chord with readers, especially men. I was articulating the feelings of many who think the way that we do, who face every day the enormity of our predicament: the very real possibility that our people and our culture will cease to exist, the sheer perversity of our enemies, the cowardice of so many “friends,” and the enervation produced by the culture’s constant parade of stupidity, ignorance, and vulgarity. I wrote with a bitter kind of humor and irreverence (some time later I realized that a major influence on my style was, oddly enough, D. H. Lawrence: see his essay on Walt Whitman). Often in my essays, however, the humor would fall away after a few paragraphs and the piece would end with a crescendo of passion and earnest sincerity. Sometimes I must have laid it on a bit thick, because readers would respond with comments like “hang in there, Jef!” They must have pictured me writing these things from a ledge somewhere.
I supplemented these essays with lighter commentary pieces, such as “In Defense of Royalty,” “The King’s Speech is C-C-C-Crap,” and “Aryan Cows?” Beginning with “Dystopia is Now!” I graduated to writing more substantial pieces. This one surveyed four literary dystopias — 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, and Atlas Shrugged — and argued that we are now living in them. All that talk about “the age of anxiety” that people used to trot out in the ’50s and ’60s and even into the ’70s has fallen away, because the majority no longer have a basis for comparison: dystopia is all they’ve ever known. At the beginning of 2012 I produced probably my most ambitious essay of all: “Fight Club as Holy Writ,” an eleven-thousand-word analysis of my favorite film. Again, this touched a chord with a lot of readers — and, again, they were mainly guys.
By this point I was hooked on writing for Counter-Currents like it was a drug. If I went without writing anything for a while I would start feeling guilty, and my life would feel emptier. I would go back to that “what the hell is this all about?” feeling. When I produced a new piece and triumphantly emailed it to Greg, my soul would feel cleansed. I had done my part — again — for Western civilization: I had given moral support to somebody whose commitment was wavering, I had helped one of our comrades to understand himself and the world a bit better, I had red-pilled a normie who had stumbled upon my writing through an innocent Google search for Fight Club, etc. When I would wake up the next morning and see that my piece had been posted, I would feel intense pride and satisfaction. And I would go a little easier on myself, for a few days at least, basking in the glow of my new essay. Inevitably, my ego got involved. I would carefully watch how many Facebook shares each essay got. “It’s got 80 shares and climbing!” I would announce to Greg on the phone, as if he didn’t know this already. By contrast, if a piece I’d put a lot into got only a few shares, I would be crushed. (Author’s Message: share this and all my other pieces very, very widely or you will put me back on the ledge.)
The periods in which Jef would write nothing (and would thus feel quite guilty) had various causes. Sometimes the demands of my job made it difficult to write. But then sometimes I also went through periods of depression and lack of motivation. Then there were times when I felt motivated (at least in the sense of wanting to get the guilt of not writing behind me), but had writer’s block: I just couldn’t think of a topic. I’ve learned, however, to keep my mind open to the possibility that anything can be a topic. I’ve thus written essays on modern art, murder, narcissism, the supernatural, anthropomorphism, and even my pet peeves (I was REALLY stumped for a topic when I churned that one out, but lots of people liked it). My essay “What the Drugs Have Taught Me” was an attempt to shock right-wing purity spiralers by discussing the positive effects that drugs like marijuana and LSD have had in my life. I definitely succeeded in shocking them: it’s one of my most controversial essays. I think a few were also shocked by “The Vermont Teddy Bear is a Giant Phallus,” which remains one of my favorite essays (and, personally, I think it may be my funniest).
The two most important lessons I could impart to younger writers are the following. First, keep your mind completely open to different possibilities for topics. Try the following experiment: sit in a room that’s filled with as many varied and interesting objects as possible. Then, keeping your mind as receptive as you can, let your eyes scan the room and see how many topics pop into your head. Is there, say, an old picture of a beautifully-dressed woman? Write an essay on how standards of appearance have fallen (i.e., how people today dress like shit). Is there a cup of coffee in front of you? Write about how caffeine has helped white people to conquer the world and rocket to the moon. My only hard and fast rule is that I won’t write about a topic for Counter-Currents just because it interests me. In some way, it has to be relevant to the interests or concerns of our readers: race realism, Western culture, critiques of modernity, masculinism, Traditionalism, etc.
The second lesson I would impart is this: JUST WRITE THE DAMNED ESSAY. What I mean is that once you’ve got the topic, sit down in front of the bloody computer and start cranking it out, no matter what. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says “this sucks.” Just keep writing. You can always go back and change the first parts later. It’s very often the case that when I start an essay it feels forced and awkward at first, but then begins to “click” as I keep going. In those instances I resolve, as I’ve just said, to later “clean up” the opening bits that seemed awkward. But more than half the time I go back to the beginning of the piece, I find that I’m actually satisfied with what I’ve written. That voice that says “this sucks” is almost always a liar. You have to try the experiment of trusting me on this, or you’re never going to produce much.
In 2015, like so many of us, I became passionately interested in Donald Trump. I was visiting a friend in August of that year, and had not been paying too much attention to any of the hubbub leading up to the 2016 campaign season. My friend (a faithful reader of my essays) convinced me there was something to Trump, who I had previously dismissed as a kind of nouveau riche vulgarian. In 2016 I bought a ticket on the Trump train and started writing about him — mostly, of course, in support. Unlike many of you, I have not yet given up on Trump. The man is facing incredible, unprecedented opposition. I believe it is still possible that he can make good on his promises. (Which would certainly not fix our predicament, but might slow our dissolution a bit.) I therefore stand by what I wrote in essays like “What Would Trump Do?,” “The Happening,” and “After Trump.”
In 2016, Counter-Currents also published my first novel, Heidegger in Chicago. It’s a picaresque tale of what happens when Martin Heidegger goes on a lecture tour in America (which he never did). The genre is, I suppose, a kind of “magical realism,” with some large dollops of Terry Southern. I originally conceived this as a “complete speech of the whole,” since it manages to reference, in one way or another, everything I have ever been interested in and, directly or indirectly, everything else. In short, it’s pretty weird. And not for all tastes.
This essay is the 22nd piece I have written for Counter-Currents in 2017. In earlier years, as mentioned already, I have gone through slumps. In 2015 I wrote (as Jef) only six pieces; in 2014 a grand total of three. But now it seems I’ve got my mojo back, and nothing is going to stop me. I need my Counter-Currents publication “fix,” and I need to feel that I am, again, “doing something.” No matter how “funny” and frivolous some of my essays might appear, they always have a serious point. As I have already said, I am always trying to give moral support to those who think as I do, and to enlighten others. This is why I write.
I write—exclusively—for Counter-Currents partly out of loyalty to my friend Greg and the community we have built here, and partly because I think that Counter-Currents is the most substantial and intellectually sophisticated New Right webzine in the world today. Sure, some people hate Counter-Currents, but they are intellectually and morally inferior. I’d like to invite you to get addicted to the drug of writing for Counter-Currents. Consider making this the “something” you do. It has put a great deal of meaning and purpose into my life, and it could do so for you as well. (But I know Greg would want me to advise you to consult him before you go to the trouble of writing and submitting something.)
By my count I have now written (again, as Jef) 81 essays for Counter-Currents since 2011. And this year, Counter-Currents brought out an anthology of my writings on popular culture: The Importance of James Bond, and Other Essays. Eighty-one essays is a lot, but it’s never going to be time to retire. I doubt seriously that this struggle is going to end in my lifetime. What are you doing for the struggle? What will you write for Counter-Currents?
It’s easy to manipulate through emotion. Some of us would say that all of liberalism is a giant sales con based on the idea of “equality,” which feels good to people and alleviates their guilt for any material success they might have, thus making it popular among the wealthier. But underlying liberalism is the idea that we’re all the same so we can all get along, and that tends to be based — as any kindergarten teacher can tell you, and probably will repeat in evenly-spaced syllables — in empathy. Empathy is the idea that you see the other person’s suffering as your own. In theory this would be a good thing, but it removes all sense of proportion, and utterly cripples us by making us unwilling to make choices that might upset someone. Unless that someone can be categorized as bad, and we have a few helpful categories (Hitler, pedophile, terrorist) for that.
Viewers who are â€œnot preparedâ€ to be critical about what they are seeing on screen were more likely to experience a â€œleftward shiftâ€ in attitudes when watching Hollywood movies with an underlying liberal message.
A team of political scientists at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana set out to explore the power of political messages in popular films, and found that they â€œpossess the ability to change attitudes, especially on issues that are unframed by the mediaâ€.
Like guilt, empathy is a great manipulator. It blows things out of proportion. People in the grips of empathy tend to say things like, “Stop the trains! Someone somewhere is suffering!” while missing the fact that no matter what we do, someone somewhere will be suffering. We can’t stop them all. This is a result of empathy being personal. Consider the other person’s suffering as your own. Thus, any pain is like the worst pain for you, so you will demand it stop. What stops pains? Nothing, since many of them are arbitrary or self-imposed. But liberalism promises to! It brings equality and its handmaiden, wealth redistribution, to end those pains. Perhaps the people who are suffering somewhere will still be suffering, but we’ll buy them iPads or give them aid packets.
This is how movies make it inevitable that you, your children, your wife and anyone else you’re foolish enough to allow to watch these movies will gradually brainwash those people into being liberal. Empathy is an absolute; it’s not a flexible or balanced standard. Even more, it’s a narcissistic one, rooted in the individual. What results is that actual thinking and feeling are replaced with a social reflex, like saying “bless you” when someone sneezes. People begin to see it as necessary to be liberal to be sociable.
Media has now found a new expansion called “social media.” Like the television walls in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, these are interactive forms of media. You get to participate with your favorite stars and, by the same mechanism that creates empathy, you project yourself among them by identifying with them. More on this from the social media misadventures of Lady Gaga:
â€œOur work tends to focus on studying audiences who are maligned or consider themselves awkward,â€ said Melissa Click, assistant professor of communication in the MU College of Arts & Science. â€œIn our study of Lady Gaga followers, we found that she uses social media not for promotion but rather as a communication tool with her fans. She shares personal and â€˜insiderâ€™ information through social media and develops feelings of intimacy with her followers. By revealing her embrace of her own differences and unusual behaviors she allows her followers to embrace their own differences.â€
Click and her team found in some cases emotional support was a matter of life or death. Researchers interviewed several fans who identified as gay, who had eating disorders, who considered themselves different or who were taunted relentlessly. They reported that Gaga instilled strength in them through her acceptance of their differences, which gave them a reason to live. In addition, the social support network Lady Gaga fosters encourages her followers to be more charitable to each other, Click said. Often fans create support communities that allow her followers to encourage and inspire others in times of difficulty.
Observe the star, participate in the event, and then act like the star and in your mind, you are the star. How many times have you heard “You can be the star!” in advertising or on a television show? It’s the inherent promise of all popular culture media and it creates a cloud in the heads of those who partake in it. Project yourself, and join the crowd doing the same thing, and then you’ll get your share of the social importance. It is the essence of egalitarianism.
In Lady Gaga’s case the menace is even more left-leaning. She is gathering up those who feel a lack of acceptance and gifting them with acceptance on the basis of empathy. This creates a group that does not think. In any situation, they favor the perceived underdog. In every situation, if someone is inconvenienced, they see injustice. As a result, they form a kind of ad hoc lynch mob that takes down the perceived injustice. The problem is that often these “injustices” are not unjust. While some of them are unfortunate situations, the “solution” is usually worse than the situation. Further, this group is blind to the culpability of those who suffer, so they are like a corrupt court rigged to choose only one option. This is how liberals like it: a captive vote-bought population.
And yet Americans, even vastly conservative ones, rack up the movies, music and popular books and hand them off to their families in vast boatloads. If we are looking at a conservative future, our first effort might be to purge these crypto-traitors — pop media and mass entertainment — from our midst.
By: Jay Dyer (from years ago) Cloud Atlas (2012) was an interesting film on several levels. Fans of both the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer will quickly recognize the fingerprints of all three, especially philosophical elements of the Matrix trilogy. From the perspective of moral assessment, there is much in the film that I object to, but artistically speaking, I […]
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