A couple of days ago, Jordan Owen posted a YouTube video to the effect that he could no longer financially justify his YT activity and stating "the only thing I have done is make a fool of myself." Mr. Owen has since taken down that video and said that he will post a clarifying video in the future. I cannot speak to Mr. Owen's finances. However, I must protest in the strongest possible terms his statement "the only thing I have done is made a fool of myself." This is untrue. His debunking of the external (and now some of the internal) enemies of the adult industry and of the social justice jihadists in general (as well as of the boyosphere), culminating in his movie The Sarkeesian Effect has taught an old man like me many things I did not know. Internet Page Three types who whinge about #GamerGate and idolise Sarkeesian/Full McIntosh naturally disparaged TSE, but so narrow is their ken that they failed to see the point of my review of TSE, which was that this documentary is of interest and is applicable to an audience wider than that of the subset of gamers, that the dangers to liberty exposed by TSE are something that should be taken seriously by all who believe in Equal Rights For All, Special Privileges For None.
To be certain, I am not an uncritical fan of TSE. My main problem with the documentary, however, is that it is not in the style of a documentary that I am used to and that I prefer. That is largely an artifact of the massive age differential between me and the people in TSE. Examples of documentaries whose styles are more to my tastes are Yorkshire Television's 1993 The Hidden Hand: The Forgotten Massacre, The Valkyrie Legacy: The Plot To Kill Hitler, Patrick Rotman's 2002 documentary on the Battle of Algiers L'ennemi intime and Mayday/Air Disasters/Air Emergency/Air Crash investigation. TSE's style, however, does not in any way detract from the vital information it rendered accessible to a wide audience, for which reason it remains a significant accomplishment. As well, all the public pain that went into the making of the movie had the additional bonus of exposing the underhanded methods of the cult that is the boyosphere, discrediting them even further, in addition to the fact that all of their books are lifted directly from Tariq Nasheed. In that sense, Mr. Owen accomplished a lot. The only problem is that these accomplishments, unlike copper and platinum, are rather difficult to monetise. This problem is further compounded by the fact that the entertainment industry (of which YouTube videos are a subsector) is not doing particularly well right now, something further evinced by the fact that big name Hollywood actors such as Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, George Clooney, Danny DeVito, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Christoph Waltz (and yes, even my beloved Julie Bowen) have been reduced to taking regular television commercial roles.
This leads me to my next topic. Lisa Shadowpaint is a #GamerGater who was involved in the promotion of TSE. Recently, she penned and released this open letter condemning internecine #GamerGate disputes. She says these disputes must stop and expresses sadness that folks of a wide diversity of views and backgrounds who had once united to fight the social justice jihadists are now more occupied with infighting. I certainly understand Lisa Shadowpaint's sentiment. The difficulty is that permanent unity is simply against human nature. It is best expressed in the classic Doctor Who serial "Genesis of the Daleks," wherein the Doctor, having wired the Dalek incubator with explosives, hesitates, asking Sarah Jane and Harry Sullivan if he has the right to destroy an entire race of sentient beings. One of the questions he directly asks "But what of all those worlds which will unite and come together only because of their mutual fear of the Daleks?" There are parallels in history.
In medieval times and in the 18th century, there were several instances wherein Szekler/Magyar/Hungarian and Vlach/Romanian and when Serb and Croat put aside their differences long enough to serve side-by-side against the Ottomans. Indeed, in the First Balkan War of 1912-1913, Bulgaria sided with Serbia, Greece and Montenegro against the Ottoman Empire, but, in the Second Balkan War of 1913, Bulgaria fought against Serbia, Greece and Montenegro, the latter three being allied to the Ottoman Empire this time. Six years later, Greece and Turkey, allies in 1913, were at war with each other. Romanians, whose Vlach Dragoons had served alongside the Szekler Hussars in the Austrian Grenzer (frontier) regiments in the 18th Century, attacked Austria in 1916 and were heavily repulsed by General Hans von Seeckt, before the Central Powers' collapse allowed the Romanian army to roll into and temporarily occupy Hungary, whose fortunes were partially reversed when the Vienna Awards brokered by Berlin and Rome forced Romania to cede large portions of Erdély/Ardeal/The Seven Villages (the mountainous Hungarian-Romanian border region unjustly made infamous by Bram Stoker and known in English as Transylvania) to Hungary, a loss Romania only made up in 1944-5 with the help of the Red Army and at the price of ceding the traditional Romanian principality of Moldavia to the USSR. As for the Croats and Serbs, they too tore up their past of cooperation with their savage wars against each other in 1941-1945 and again in the 1990's.
Peoples, in other words, do not hold to alliances with other peoples once the usefulness of those alliances expires. What had united much of Central and Eastern Europe from the 18th to the early 20th centuries was the mutual fear of the Ottoman Empire. Once the Ottoman Empire ceased to be an issue, the members of these alliances had less in common with each other.
As it is for nations and peoples, so it is between individual people and groups of individuals. In this entry, I detailed the examples of how, in the 1990's and 2000's, the National Rifle Association, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, various Veteran's groups in reaction to CNN's Tailwind scam and the New York anti-immigrant Sachem Quality of Life group all had extremely public internal power struggles wherein personalities predominated over stated goals. Likewise, in 2002, President Bush sacrificed his unwavering supporter Senator Trent Lott because Senator Lott no longer served his interests.
I realise that what I am about to say is starting to sound like the "Carthago delendum est" of this blog, but if one tries to understand the world through realpolitik, as did Alexander Hamilton, August von Rochau and Otto Graf von Bismarck, one sees that personal interests have a far greater explanatory power for people's or peoples' behaviour than do things like ideals, doctrine, dogma and political position. Oliver Cromwell, William III, General George Washington, Bill McKinley, Sir Edward Carson, the Germans who tried to overthrow Hitler and the French soldiers and colonels who tried to overthrow deGaulle were the exception in that they were men motivated overwhelmingly by ideals. Men motivated overwhelmingly by personal interest, like Aaron Burr, John C. Calhoun, Roscoe Conkling, Heinrich Himmler and Martin Bormann are far more common, and the vast majority of us, to one degree or another, have more in common with them than we do with Cromwell or the Germans who resisted Hitler.
Let me give you more current examples. This is the realistic way to look at President Putin's recently announced withdrawal from Syria since it explains his tangible real interests involved and does not indulge in the bogeyman caricature dictator the National Endowment for Democracy types make him out to be.
Another current example is Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's ostensibly conflicting statements yesterday that he seeks to promote gender equality at the UN while he concomitantly refuses to cancel the sale of Panzers to Saudi Arabia, the mother of all Patriarchies. Viewed from the perspective of morality, or of Trudeau's stated declarations that he is a feminist, these two statements of his from yesterday are irreconcilable and they make him look like a hypocrite. Viewed from the perspective of realpolitik, Trudeau's statements are perfectly consistent. He states he is a feminist because he knows women vote for him. He does not cancel the sale of Panzers to patriarchal Saudi Arabia since those Panzers are made by unionised Canadian workers, a demographic over which he is in constant battle for with the socialist NDP of Thomas Mulcair.
On the subject of Trudeau, I have to disagree with the Wooly Bumblebee. Wooly argues that Trudeau is a feminist based on his statements and based on the fact that he has a gender-balanced cabinet. The problem with using the latter fact as evidence of Trudeau's feminism is that it assumes all cabinet posts are created equal. They are not. If one looks down the list of Trudeau's cabinet, one sees that the President of the Treasury Board, and the Ministers of Finance, Public Safety, and Defence, as well as the Foreign Minister--i.e. the vast majority of the important cabinet posts--are held by men. Only one important cabinet post--AG/Minister of Justice--is held by a woman. The rest of the cabinet posts held by women are--as are many government organisations, departments, services, programmes the world over--make-work positions intended for the clandestine lovers and illegitimate children of politicians in order to keep these would-be scandal-generating elements quiet.
Trudeau says he is a feminist. His continual of the sale of Panzers to Saudi Arabia and his awarding of virtually all the important cabinet posts to men indicate that, whatever he says, he is actually practicing realpolitik. His interests are more material to him and his actions than his professed ideals. In this regard, he is hardly any different from anyone else, government official or ordinary civilian alike.
Interest dictates that people will only say what is in their best interest. Any resemblance this may have to the truth is largely coincidental in nature. Realpolitik understands and acknowledges this. So does the Harvard Business School, the Harvard Business Review and Bill Ackman of Pershing Square. The articles I linked to in the previous sentence all have to do with risk management, whose supreme goal is to limit the damage to a company's reputation. Full public disclosure of everything that goes on within a company is not synonymous, and is, indeed, often antithetical, to the efficient practice of risk management. It is not a coincidence that the central characters of the superb filim Margin Call are part of the fictional firm's risk management department.
People will be honest some of the time. They have no choice but to be honest at certain select times, such as when filing tax returns or testifying under oath. When they are free of these constraints, however, the extent of their honesty only goes as far as the limits of their interests. I am not saying that people will outright lie to you all the time. I am saying that people will only be truthful to you as far as being truthful serves their interests. For example, there is another (sigh, again!) miniseries about the OJ Simpson trial, in which Alan Dershowitz was part of the defence. Last night, Dershowitz was on CNN--which explains why Dershowitz is a law professor and not a senior managing partner at Cromwell and Sullivan, his grasp of the actual practice of law (i.e. billable hours) being weaker than his understanding of the letter of the law--to discuss this new OJ miniseries. The question of whether or not OJ is guilty came up. Dershowitz's response shows the functional limit of honesty in today's world. He said "It is not the role of the defence attorney to make pronouncements on whether or not the client is guilty." Did Dershowitz lie outright? No. He simply said, as clearly as he could manage, that he could not give an honest answer to the question of whether or not OJ is guilty.
In this light, perhaps it was not a brilliant idea for #GamerGate to be promoted as a paragon of virtue over the lying, thieving social justice jihadists. #GamerGate has the same basic problem that any military and any police department has; it is manned and run by humans. Some say that humans are not perfect. To me that is like saying that a particular metal or vehicle is not perfect. I prefer to say that metals and vehicles have specifications outside of which they do not perform so well. Individual humans also have specifications outside of which they do not perform so well. Those specifications are known as interests. Practitioners of realpolitik have understood this for centuries.
This tendency to look after personal interests explains a lot of why the world is the way it is, for interests do not exist in a vacuum. They coexist with the situation sine qua non that people find themselves in. The more talented people are those who can balance their personal interests with external interests. Examples of these more talented people include Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Reinhard Heydrich and Robert A. Taft. Now, Internet Page Three types will zero in on my mention of the name "Reinhard Heydrich" in the previous sentence and say that the fact that I pointed out that he was talented enough to balance personal and external interests is an indicator that I support his policies and his murders. Again, no. If ever there was any doubt that the Holocaust was a horrible evil (there never was, except for maybe in the minds of the boyosphere and their functionalist school ripped off from known Frankfurt School associate Jürgen Habermas), David Stahel's works eliminated them. Stahel has consistently showed that Hitler lost the war in August 1941, at which point Germany, having reached its maximal war production capacity, failed to defeat a Soviet Union that had barely began its war production (which was all done behind the Urals, well out of Luftwaffe range.) From August 1941, every man, every round, every shell, every vehicle, every drop of building material not devoted to combating the 200 million strong USSR (Germany only had 80 million people at this point) only served to hasten Stalin and Beria's eventual grip over Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, rump Prussia and Saxony. Hitler's idiotic racial obsessions were not only criminal, they also enabled Stalin and Beria like nothing else could have.
So, what do I mean to say when I say that Reinhard Heydrich was talented enough to balance self interests with external interests? Heydrich, like Martin Bormann and Heinrich Himmler, was a ruthless self-promoter who was only slightly different from Aaron Burr, John C. Calhoun and Roscoe Conkling. Heydrich differed, however, in that, when picking the middle management of the Gestapo and other elements of the security police at home and abroad, he preferred professional, highly competent, thinking, experienced policemen who could get the job done such as former anti-Nazi Bavarian state police official Heinrich Müller, whereas Heinrich Himmler preferred drunks he could handle and manipulate through blackmail, irrespective of their qualifications, experience and lack thereof, like Friedrich Jeckeln. Heinrich Himmler was not alone in that particular liking of his. New York Mayor and loudmouth Rudy Fooliani tolerated Commissioner Bratton as long as Bratton made him look good by bringing down crime, but he fired Bratton as soon as he saw Bratton was an intelligent man, replacing him first with the fire commissioner, then with future convict Bernie Kerik, who had been the head of his personal protection detail, the choice of Kerik being disastrous for the city on 9/11.
Even great men can fall into the trap of not seeing where pursuing their interests will lead them. During the Franco-Prussian War, then Prussian Minister-President Otto Graf von Bismarck told visiting US Army observer General Little Phil Sheridan, of Shenandoah and Indian War infamy, that he had not wanted to be a politician, that he had started life wanting to be a simple soldier. Once that avenue was closed to him, Bismarck, although he achieved many great things, was locked in the Byzantine logic of surviving at the Royal Court. He conspired with the brash Wilhelm II against the latter's father Kaiser Friedrich III, only to be then dumped by Wilhelm when the latter became Kaiser and no longer needed Bismarck. Today, it is not even a matter of fall from grace. When self-interest met organisational behaviour, careerism and ticket-punching were born. As General Hal Moore and the late Colonel David Hackworth pointed out, ticket-punching (holding a position only long enough while putting in a minimum amount of work in order to have the right "ticket-punch" to advance to the next promotion) has long been destroying the US military. As I have long pointed out here, a similar mentality is also rendering policing in America and, as well, in Canada into a revenue collection agency whose workers happen to have revolvers.
That is as good an explanation as any of how the world works today. Let me apply this to address the phenomenon of Donald Trump. I am not a fan of Trump for this reason. (picture below for Internet Page Three types who have problems with big words like "Ulster.")
That being said, I take issue with this Macleans article lambasting Trump and President Putin for focusing on outcomes instead of policies. Policies are like SLEP (Service Life Extension Programme), something dreamed up to live on into perpetuity to guarantee the employment, and thus the silences, of politicians' mistresses and illegitimate children. Outcomes are far less taxpayer dollar-intensive than policies. As well, his internal policies and his love of Sinn Fein/IRA/the Vatican notwithstanding, Donald Trump has some very sensible ideas on foreign policy, ideas which entail a complete reversal of the disastrous course pursued since 2001.
All, however, is not bleak, all is not a bureaucratic nightmare of competing fiefdoms of self-interest. Two very specific people who understand the central role of interests--and who, perhaps more to the point, openly declare this--are Jordan Owen and Tommy Sotomayor. Across his various videos, Mr. Sotomayor has repeatedly stated that he speaks for no one but himself and that he will not enter into alliances or business arrangements unless the terms thereof benefit him. He is upfront about this. I find this honesty refreshing, which is why I remain a fan of Mr. Sotomayor despite our disagreements. The boyosphere/"Man"-osphere, like Tariq Nasheed, mention Mr. Sotomayor's name all the time. Mr. Sotomayor never mentions them. If one watches enough of his videos often enough, it becomes quite clear that the only organisation Mr. Sotomayor is affiliated with is his entertainingly un-humble self.
Mr. Owen also openly acknowledges the reality of self-interest in his promotion of Ayn Rand's version of libertarianism. In Rand's Objectivism, the individual's pursuit of an enlightened self-interest is the ultimate good. Objectivism and realpolitik are alike in that both stress the importance of self-interest as a factor in human interactions. They differ in that Objectivism treats self-interest as a good where realpolitik assigns no moral dimension to self-interest, viewing it instead as being in the same category as markets and nature, i.e. something that just is. I agree with Rand and Objectivism on the importance of self-interest as a determining factor, but I am much closer to Hamilton, von Rochau and Bismarck regarding the moral nature/lack thereof of interest, just as I am much closer to Hamilton and Bismarck in my economic ideas.
I also diverge from Ayn Rand's views on another couple of specific matters from The Virtue Of Selfishness. Specifically, Rand says "To hold one's life as one's ultimate value, and one's own happiness as one's highest purpose are two aspects of the same achievement." At my age and with my life experience, the balance of people who I know who are in the cemetery and of the people who I know who are not is just about even. Death, the opposite of life, no longer has, for me, the bad reputation it generally has, since it comes eventually anyways, an unalterable outcome. Death and life to me have just as much import as if it is a rainy day or not. The only distinction is that I don foul weather gear on rainy day. It is that banal at my age. As for happiness being "the highest purpose," my experience has been that happiness is like sleep; the more you chase after it, the less of it you are likely to get. It happens organically and in spots when you least expect it, a nice thick asparagus shoot, a pear (see the last chapter of Sven Hassel's Blitzfreeze if you cannot figure out the pear reference), the sight of a cute kitten. Otherwise, it is simply a question of the willing flesh, and woe to live on.
As to what Rand said about Native Americans at West Point in 1974, she was not a historian, something evident in the fact that she talks about "Native Americans' rights to the land" as if Native Americans and Europeans/Americans ever were monoliths who dealt with each other as monoliths. For one thing, from the colonial era through the Civil War and beyond, various Native American groups alternatively sided with Europeans/Americans in the latter's wars with a) other Europeans/Americans and b) other Native American groups. The line between Native Americans on the one hand and Europeans/Americans on the other was eternally blurred throughout the period of active warfare in America. For another thing, the colonial era wherein various Europeans and their Native American allies fought various other Europeans and their Native American allies roughly coincides with the period of the English Civil War, the Thirty Years War and the Glorious Revolution, wars known for their unremitting savagery. Europeans in America, in other words, did not treat vanquished Native American foes any differently than Britons in Britain and Europeans in Europe treated their vanquished foes in those war zones. As I intimated above with the example of Bismarck's ill-fated pursuit of his interests, General Little Phil Sheridan did not learn how to commit atrocities when he was fighting with Native Americans. He, and Custer, and Sandy Forsythe simply transferred the knowledge they earned regarding how to commit atrocities while fighting Colonel John Singleton Mosby's 43rd Virginia Cavalry in the Shenandoah to their later wars fighting the Native Americans in the West, which means that they did not treat the Native Americans any differently than they treated the Confederate Partisan Rangers. Sheridan and his gang of murderers, however, were not the sum total of the US Army's dealings with the Native Americans. Other officers, such as Captain Tom Jeffords and General Oliver Howard negotiated a peace treaty with the Apache Chief Cochise, which the Apache Chief Geronimo chose to not honour, a happy episode partially captured in the Jimmy Stewart filim Broken Arrow.
Long story short, Rand's remarks about the Native Americans being "savages who had no rights to the land" clearly shows that she was not fully aware of the extent to which Native Americans had actively collaborated with Europeans and Americans--and vice versa--throughout the centuries. She was as well-placed to talk about this topic as Richard Dawkins and Thunderf00t are to talk about whether or not "Nazi" belt buckles read "Gott mitt uns." ("God with us.")
Enough about Rand, back to Mr. Owen. The following also needs to be said about him. He delivers better than FedEx and UPS combined. I had problems getting things from the latter two. I had no problems accessing TSE last summer. As well, while Mr. Owen is as caustic and unabashed as Andrew Dice Clay in his video monologues, he is every inch the perfect Southern gentleman when he is a guest on someone else's show, as evinced below.
Long story short, yes Jordan Owen openly acknowledges that self-interest is a determining factor in human relationships. That being said, he is conscientious enough to deliver as promised and he is a true gentleman in his public discourses with others. His reliability shows that he is an honest man. His endurance against both the social justice jihadists and the boyosphere in getting TSE out on time as promised show that he, like Oberst Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, is a man of an unusual, and an exceptionally powerful, moral clarity and moral force.
Tommy Sotomayor and Jordan Owen both show that it is possible to openly acknowledge the role that interest plays in human affairs. For that honesty on their part, they are well worth following.