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Dead Letters of a Contrarian: On the Career of Christopher Hitchens

The cultus behind the life and work of Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) can only be understood in the context of our fame-obsessed and fundamentally illiterate age. His invocation this past week, in the context of whether Hitch would still be considered hirable by his former employer, the Atlantic Monthly, is a testament to the man’s hold on the intellectual class, even if his work fails to sustain its hold on the intellect. I used to be one of Hitch’s biggest fans. I remember when his last com

Back to Ch'ang-an: The Twilight of Chinese Civilization

Pits of ash not yet cold; rebellion broke out east of Hsiao Mountains: Liu Bang and Hsiang Yü’s illiteracy was revealed -Chang Chieh, Early T'ang Dynasty Comparisons between the Ch‘in Shih Hwang-ti and Mao Tsê-tung are not original—critics of Mao have drawn comparisons to the close-minded and dictatorial fashion of rule of the first emperor and the Cultural Revolution already. Usually, though, these rhetorical attacks are limited to just that: political rhetoric directed against the memory of C

Costin Alamariu Is Damn Right About The 'Alt-Right'

I generally don't interact with the alt-right, and I seldom directly aim any polemics in that direction. After reading Costin Alamariu's reply to Matthew Rose on the alt-right, I quickly mocked it and left it at that. The boys at Thermidor, however, asked me to write a response. At first, I was hesitant because as untenable and disingenuous as I found Alamariu to be still promoting the alt-right as a "broad-tent" youth revolt, there is still utility in such misinformation for the purposes of sp

Donald Trump: Unwitting, Uncouth Champion of Art

America is the global epicenter for “treating real life as fantasy and vice versa,” for taking “preposterous ideas seriously.” Its fantasy-industrial complex has been further boosted by the promotion of Donald Trump, a grifter who “doesn’t like experts, because they interfere with his right as an American to believe or pretend that fictions are facts, to feel the truth.” Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, is worried the country is splitting into two. There’s “reality

The Will to Power and Contemporary Politics: A Martian Perspective

Imagine, if you will, a Martian sociologist who, having spent some months on Earth discreetly observing politics and society in contemporary North America, reported on his findings at an academic conference back home. The proceedings might go as follows: "The humans have a bifurcated social structure that divides them into two major groups. The first group, the majority of the population, appears to do most of the productive work in their economy. With respect to the second, much smaller group,

The Imperial Presidency That Never Comes

There never was a great republic on earth which did not immediately change into a monarchy. It is to evade the usurpations of the victorious army generals, and the tyranny of the military government, that the great people voluntarily give to their constitution the weight of the diadem. If Marius, Sulla or Caesar, on their return from their conquests, had founded at Rome a hereditary kingship, they could not have been crowned by their soldiers. Democracy, in a state like France, enclosed among ri

Reprobate Hollywood, From Ancient to Modern.

The world is now coming to realize what some keen observers have known all along: that Hollywood as a cultural institution is rotten to the core. As a major part of the culture industry (to borrow Horkheimer and Adorno’s phrase,) Hollywood has eaten away at the moral and spiritual fabric of society while also serving as a major conveyor belt for the absolute worst ideological excesses of the modern world. The cultural legitimacy and influence of deep-pocket creeps like Harvey Weinstein are shock

In Defense Of Republicanism

The predilection by many in neoreaction for the monarchical system of government exists to such a great extent that one might almost deem it a fetish. Mr. Mencius Moldbug, of course, kicked the entire enterprise off with his blog of Unqualified Reservations, in which, among other things, the virtues of monarchy were extolled. It was often difficult to tell if, in his posts, Mr. Moldbug was being ironic; indeed, it was often difficult to tell if Mr. Moldbug was being ironic about nearly everythi