The AXis 12/15/18: Aristocracy Vs. Meritocracy

"It’s obvious that the old American aristocracy had a much better track record. It’s not even close, really. The old American aristocracy was in control during an unparalleled period of American ascendance. It presided over the greatest economic expansion ever, the creation of a massive and growing middle class, the spread of democracy to other parts of the globe, general peace in its spheres of influence, institutions such as the Marshall Plan, United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bretton Woods Monetary System, and the creation of “the liberal world order.” And though this group of elites came close, they didn’t blow up the world. However, determining just how much credit the old American aristocracy deserves for these developments is tricky."

The AXis 12/03/18

"We live in a strange time in which technical expertise and political animus are both in abundance. Indeed, both are distributed along ideological vectors in such a way that the weaknesses and failures of each are still considered acceptable to their affinity groups when compared their polar opposites."

The CruX 11/25/18 — Ultraviolence

"The genius of the new far right, if we could call it “genius,” has been their steadfast determination to blend into the larger fabric of society to such an extent that perhaps the only way you might see them as a problem is if you actually want to see them at all."

The CruX 11/17/18 — All Your Engines

“Because the industry has such a voracious need for capital, and capital costs money, fracking could not have taken off so dramatically were it not for record low interest rates after the 2008 financial crisis. In other words, the Federal Reserve is responsible for the fracking boom.”

The Politics Of Cruelty And Cruelty As Politics

"“White identity policing” is an instance in which a white person reports the actions and behavior of a black person to the police that (s)he would not report were the same actions those of  a white person. I’ve suspected that the frequency and tenor of white identity policing is a knock-on effect from the curious way that Black Lives Matter receded from the spotlight of a very specific cultural, political, and media moment."

Kanye West And The Double Hustle

Kanye West is a small player in a sprawling, decades old play that’s seldom seen for what it truly is. The Double Hustle’s features are 1) real and genuine oppression; 2) mass, mostly justified grievances; 3) white hot media fascination; 4) obsession with celebrities who use their “platforms” to speak on behalf of the movement; 5) black politicians following instead of leading; 6) the inevitable wane and disappointment; and, lastly, 7) "non-commensurate victory conditions," when “winning” for black people has a higher bar and a higher cost than it does for any other groups with which we claim solidarity.

Project LinX 10/06/2018 — Gas Mask

A lot more people think they’re middle-class than actually are. This is because “middle-class” is as much an ideology as it is a salary range. By “ideology” I mean a “way of thinking” that justifies how one thinks and acts. It’s interesting that neither “lower-class” nor “upper-class” are ideologies. Neither has need for it. Both understand the true nature of class warfare. It's crucial that the middle class remains oblivious.

Steven Pinker And The Enlightenment Paradox

We sense that something has gone wrong, that our way of doing things has been disrupted by its own rules. That everything we’ve built over all this time is more fragile than it should be. We may even feel some low-frequency trauma that we might not have it as well as our parents or grandparents. What Pinker might dismiss as “un American gloominess” shouldn’t dissuade us from thinking through to some clarity about whether Enlightenment values are still sustainable, even though Enlightenment institutions are still going strong.

Project LinX 10/01/2018 — Wheels Within Wheels

Today: Low productivity, trade war, no money control, Hume this!, YubiKey, Neoliberalism is dying, benefits torch wages, Mises!, curse you Western philosophy!, and a child abuse contrarian. Come get some.