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Posts Tagged ‘Irving Kristol’

Who is Christian Lander? He is the the reason for the rant, the hero of American d-baggery in 2008, a beacon to those feeling lost in a sea of Obamamania.

Most commentators in the press incorrectly tag Lander (or as I affectionately call him, Chandler) as a satirist. Satire (as opposed to, say, polemic) seeks to correct people’s vices and follies by getting them to laugh at themselves. You might think that Lander’s send-up of “white people” practices like worrying whether or not a couple is compatible based on shared literary tastes, or gathering socially to play “kids games” is proof that he is writing satires of people who have more money than sense. Making fun of rich people who are socially awkward has a long and venerable tradition reaching back to ancient times. From Mennipius to Juvenal, to Dryden and Swift, to The Onion, making fun of people who confuse their wealth with their personal worth has an honored place in our culture. If he were a satirist it would make him a traditional moral conservative, someone who believes that foudational values like modesty, charity, honesty, justice, temperance, patience, courage and fortitude are being corrupted by selfishness, laziness, smug complacency, and a falsely inflated sense of self-worth (also known as pride).

But is Lander a moral conservative? No. He is a movement conservative. What’s the difference?

Where true social conservatives decry deteriorating morals, movement conservatives in the past half century have reconceptualized values (making them “values”) in an attempt to fuse free-market ideology with more traditional d-bag philosophy. Then they give it ideological cover by claiming their greed, fear, and pride is really thrift, prudence, and pluck. By making greed a virtue and power an end in itself they reject traditional conservatism for a revolutionary critique of traditional morals. Being modest, kind, honest, just and temperate becomes a sign of weakness. Being skeptical is spun as indecision and lack of spine. They gave up dispassionate critical thinking for revolutionary zeal. When moral conservatives became movement conservatives they morphed into the very thing they used to hate.

Lander himself is a paradigm of this kind of d-baggery. Leaving the sangfroid of his native Canada for greener ideological pastures in the United States, Lander found himself in a graduate program in English at Indiana University. There he realized his intellectual gifts were modest at best, and being a movement conservative he considered this someone else’s fault. (Conservatives are big on self-reliance — in others.) Having more sense than some other disaffected d-bags (VA Tech, etc.) he decided not to invest in AKs and Glocks, but rather to invest in a menial, low-paying job in Southern California, one that gave him enough free time to pursue his interests: fantasy football, getting turned down by girls, eating Taco Bell, blogging, and being a complete douche. The anti-intellectualism of his writing is covered with the emotional scars of being too dumb to compete with smart people.

It was easy for Lander to find a voice for his d-baggery: It was developed for him by his spiritual forebears from Irving Kristol to David Brooks. And it didn’t hurt that his sullen, resentful temperament and self-loathing alienation resonate with d-bags all over the English speaking world, who think they are twice as smart as they are and three times smarter than everyone else. Being vicious, voyeuristic and smugly superior to the culture that produced you is de rigueur for d-bags, so Lander only had to speak from the heart to express the Britney/Paris, reality TV, fake-tits-and-porn, post-racial, globalized worldview and its critique of “inauthentic” (i.e. European high) culture.

But the key to his success with Stuff White People Like is the fact that Chandler does not identify as “white” — though his skin tone appears to say otherwise. Being a fan of power for its own sake and worshipping in the Cult of Masculinity (that is, loving anything corporate no matter how bad it is, thinking war is fun, and idolizing sports figures as heroes though they may be the biggest sociopaths on earth) is a trait common to all d-bags from all races and nations. But it’s the hypocrisy of pride endemic to people who believe they come from an ancient and venerable people but who have in fact been colonized and treated as outsiders for so long that they are self-loathing that separates the movement conservative from your average knuckle-dragging jerk. Who are these people? In the United States, these are off-white d-bags: Asians (Chinese especially, but also Filipinos, Koreans), Jews, Indians (from India — not “Native Americans”) — basically anyone who comes from a place where England planted a colony.

Racist discourse (like fascist discourse) relies on myths of purity, authenticity, and priority. “White” Americans are not just rich and foolish, their culture isn’t as old or pure as the cultures of off-white d-bags.  “White” Americans don’t know if they come from a colonizing people (didn’t the Germans rape the Congo?) and therefore they repudiate their past, which makes them posterior and inauthentic. And worst of all in the eyes of a d-bag, they still have the power — the skin privileges — their colonizing forebears worked so hard to bequeath them, but they just don’t seem to appreciate it. And this, in a d-bag’s eyes, is the greatest sin imaginable, because a d-bag wants that power so badly they can taste it, but they still don’t feel like they have it. And so a d-bag like Chandler will do everything in his power to belittle those more powerful than himself, but not from a noble impulse to correct human vices. Chandler is really just a hater.

Why is Chandler’s racism particularly dangerous in 2008? As Charles Blow points out, racism is very much alive in the minds of voters this year. Stuff White People Like tells us if you are non-white you have the right to be as racist, intolerant, and supremacist as any conservative WASP redneck shooting up churches in Tennessee. It’s time to call a shvartser a shvartser. Chandler is telling you it’s OK to hate your enemies based on the color of their skin — especially if they’re “white”.

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(Michelle Malkin)

It should be obvious by now that d-baggery is an American version of an authoritarian nationalist political ideology. D-baggery rails against cultural decline and decadence, and it seeks to achieve a national rebirth by exalting our great nation (and race!). D-baggery advocates unity, strength and purity both in the spirit and in the flesh. It is the unshakable belief in a strong masculine authority — a father, a leader, a Dark Lord — who must remain beyond the reproach of his children, beyond restraint, able to do whatever is necessary at any time and employ His awesome power in whatever way He sees fit, to destroy the enemy and ensure that our traditional life is renewed. He is, of course, a blond beast, one whose fair complexion shows his natural, physical superiority over the degenerate races who were rightfully conquered by our d-bag forbears and put to work making the bricks that compose our national monuments.

D-baggery is much more than just a political ideology though! It is also a lifestyle. It is a worldview. It even comes with its own science. When it looked like d-baggery was on the run in Europe after the end of the Second World War, and when it looked like Soviet era d-baggery was through with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, American d-bags rose to the challenge to resurrect d-baggery using the cast-off scraps from decolonized third world countries like the Philippines, Iraq, Ireland, and Canada. At the end of the Twentieth Century, d-baggery achieved what it had been incapable of achieving in Italy, Germany, Spain or Japan in the 1930s: a coalition of genocidal, racist, sexist, homophobic — heterophobic! — revolutionaries who are the very thing they despise! Isn’t it wonderful?

Part of the d-bag lifestyle is the mantra, “I deserve it.” Of course, the unspoken correlative to the mantra is, “and I’m going to take it from you.” Because that’s where being a d-bag becomes fun! D-bags understand law, right, and justice to be concepts affected by gravity: the bigger the social object is (e.g. Rush Limbaugh or Scooter Libby) the more the law protects their rights like a force field and the less power justice has to punish. For example, when the poor and powerless shoot heroin they are criminal scum who deserve nothing short of life imprisonment or execution, but when Rush scams fifteen doctors to get his fix of OxyContin — hillbilly heroin — he can have the case dismissed and his reputation vouched for by all his upstanding d-bag friends. Government does not have the right to tell you what kind of car you can drive, but it is obligated to provide you with cheap gas — even if that means prosecuting an unprovoked war. Scooter Libby, following in the venerable footsteps of Oliver North, not only is allowed to break the law, but is obligated to break the law as proof of his patriotism. This is what it means to be a d-bag: the privilege of doing what you accuse as criminal in others.

Though they would never admit it in polite company, d-bags love irony. And the fact that some of the biggest defenders of white, male supremacy should be neither white nor male is an irony that warms the fires of hate in a d-bag’s heart — even during the cold winter of peace and prosperity.

Bang, bang you're dead!

Bang, bang you're dead!

So when a strong woman calls another woman a slut, a bitch or a whore; when a black man calls another black man a nigger, and a cotton-headed coon then berates him for laziness; when an Asian woman calls herself a slant-eyed, slope, zipper-head and a gook, d-bags around the world raise a cheer. These are off-white d-bags. The irony is they are the beneficiaries of the liberal, uplift, social justice ideology they hate. Most off-white d-bags received special privileges unavailable to other people with whom they might be expected to identify. Clarence Thomas got into Yale through affirmative action; Ann Coulter can vote; and the Neo-Cons, denied entrance to the Ivy League were accepted to City College CUNY — a truly liberal liberal arts institution. But now that they got theirs, they are more than happy to deny the privilege to the new generation of the needy.

Can Filipinos be d-bags? Sure! Can Jews be d-bags? Absolutely. Anyone who thinks God gave them the right to dispossess another human being of his property, liberty, and life without the due process of law or ethical feelings (do to others as you would be done to) is a fundamental d-bag. But because d-baggery is a belief that might makes right, combined with the perverse satisfaction of using fraud and guile to pretend to might without actually having to work for it, off-white d-bags are paradoxically the paragons of d-baggery. They are ideological cover for the continued degradation of ethics, honesty, justice, and morality by the purveyors of hatred, fear, intolerance and perfidy.

Does this come as a shock? Is it surprising that human beings of all backgrounds might want to obliterate any history of oppression and inferiority that clings to their people or themselves? Not at all. Is it a surprise that men and women want to be able to determine their futures and chose their own fates? No. Is it hypocrisy beyond wickedness that a former revolutionary who wants to ameliorate the condition of his people would, when the battle is won, become a more intolerable tyrant the the one he deposed? Yes. But to be a quintessential d-bag, he must also publish the old lie that some citizens are more equal than others, and that war is peace.

 And here we see the terrible utility of off-white d-bags to the cause of authoritarianism: Off-white d-bags prove that tolerance and forgiveness can be shamefully manipulated by the unscrupulous who make a valid claim on our conscience for reciprocity that they have no intention of honoring.

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We here at SWDBL want to acknowledge and reward exemplary d-bags for their contributions to the art and science of d-baggery. The key doctrine of d-baggery, “I deserve it,” must be constantly re-interpreted by d-bags great and small in order to set precedents for other d-bags to follow. Today the editors at SWDBL would like to acknowledge a bold intervention in d-bag philosophy by William Kristol in The White People Times today. Mister Kristol’s treatise demonstrates in every respect what d-bag writing should be. It is intentionally bland to promote its disingenuousness; it is awkward, stilted and wooden in its prose; and its hypocrisy shows an admirable d-bag contempt for the intelligence of his readers.

“I deserve it” is a principled statement of privilege. It means, “I shouldn’t have to work for it,” “You owe it to me,” and “How dare you question my authority.” Though a legitimate authority (one that has earned authority by demonstrating justice, temperance, stableness, perseverance, courage, and fortitude — but more importantly, one that recognizes the reciprocity inherent in authority) may speak of duty or obligation, a d-bag (often through ignorance, pride, and natural viciousness) asserts obligation in order to get one over on people who he wishes to swindle rather than serve or advise. The target of Mr. Kristol’s swindle are the supposedly liberal readers of the New York Times who are too credulous to think a man with a ghoulish smile like Kristol’s would be allowed to lie in the newspaper of national record.

The topic of Mr. Kristol’s intervention is Barack Obama’s commencement address at Wesleyan University. Kristol accuses Obama of hypocrisy saying “Obama failed to challenge — even gently — what he must have assumed would be the prejudices of much of his audience and indulged in a soft patriotism of low expectations.” That is, when Mr. Obama spoke of “public service” he completely neglected to mention serving in the military (which in May 2008 means fighting a neocon war in Iraq) because the rich, pampered white kids in Connecticut are too liberal and effete to perform the manly duty of remaking the world for democracy.

Mr. Kristol, the son of nationally prominent conservative intellectual Irving Kristol, graduated in 1970 from The Collegiate School, an elite preparatory school for boys located in Manhattan, but rather than volunteering for service in Vietnam he chose to go to Harvard College where in 1973 he received his bachelor of arts. Rather than serve his country by volunteering for military service in Vietnam (the conflict lasted another two years after his graduation) He went on to do doctoral  work in politics at Harvard where he received a Ph.D. in government in 1979. At that point, being too old (in his opinion) to do the menial labor of dying for the flag, Mr. Kristol advocated war for other people’s children from the elite, pampered safety of his Ivy League job at U. Penn.

Mr. Kristol has been a consistent hypocrite and advocate of a strong military and aggressive foreign policy ever since, founding with Robert Kagan the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which brought us the current fiasco in Iraq. His smug disdain for the welfare of others and devaluation of intellectual endeavor by perverting the quest for knowledge into a self-serving lie has earned him our d-bag of the day award!

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