Without Souls, Why Not Be Nazis?

If people have souls, then people are all infinitely valuable. Every single person who was ever conceived has infinite value on the ultimate plane of being. (Or if “infinite” sounds too close to calling people God, let us say that all people are “incalculably” valuable.)

But if people have no souls, then the only value people have is operational, functional, and pragmatic. This is why Leftists insist on radical equality so vehemently. Men and women must be equally good at all functions in life, because if men were better than women at certain things, this would imply that men were more valuable than women and therefore had the right to dominate women unfairly, to rape them and to beat them. So we must never notice that men make better soldiers, better entrepreneurs and better political leaders than do women. Because to do so would logically imply condoning rape.

Blacks and whites must be equal at all functions in life, because if whites were better than blacks at some things, then whites would be right to enslave blacks and kill them at will. So we must never notice that whites are on average smarter, less prone to murder, and better at building quiet, well-functioning communities. Because to do so would imply condoning genocide.

And on and on.

Leftists intuit (with their God-given consciences, with which they were imbued despite themselves), that to rape a woman or enslave a black person is inherently wrong. But why is it wrong? Not because God gave us souls, not because God loves all of us and wants all of us to be happy. No, it is wrong because we are all equal, at all tasks, at all times.

Therefore to give in to the notion of inequality is to condone rape, murder and other horrors.

But to those who know that all human souls are precious, it doesn’t matter that someone is less intelligent or has less muscle mass. That “lesser” person is still worthy of respect and still deserves freedom of the soul. To rape or murder someone because of “inferiority” on the material plane is anathema.

Leftists are constantly tossing charges of “fascist” or “Nazi” at people on the Right because that’s exactly what they would become if they no longer believed in radical equality. To a person with no belief in the soul, Nazism (or some equivalent) is the natural response to inequality. It’s the logical response.

Nine times out of ten when these topics come up, I keep my mouth shut because most people aren’t interested in reasoned argument, but only interested in shouting down the “bad guys.” But occasionally I find myself in a calm and loving discussion with someone I trust and who is willing to listen to me. I always explain it’s ok that blacks don’t score as high on school tests as whites do, because to me the value of the black person is not tied up in his performance on a school test. Just because a particular black person (or a particular white person, or whoever) isn’t very smart does not mean that he is therefore worthy of contempt and violence. It’s Okay. He’s valuable because he is a person, and he has a soul. I’ve found this line of reasoning, while certainly not foolproof, often gives pause. The implication is that the interlocutor is saying that it’s not Okay if the black person isn’t very smart. The tables are neatly flipped.

[Again, this argument usually doesn’t work because people usually aren’t willing to listen. But when people are honest and considerate, I find it can work.]


The funny thing is, there are also many things that women are much better at than men, and many things that black people are better at than white people. (I’m limiting the argument to these two major dichotomies of black/white and man/woman for simplicity’s sake. But of course there are countless variations on inequality … we could talk about Native Americans, or Asians, or Jews, or young versus old, or short versus tall…)

Because this society (the West), for all its recent changes and revolutions, is still basically the society built by white men, the things we tend to view as good on the mundane level are the things that white men are good at: Business, Organization, Science, Technology, etc. So when women or blacks (or whoever) fail to act like white men, Leftists see it as a failure to be good, to be valuable. So, according to their own materialistic, utilitarian views, “something must be done.”

So women are encouraged to behave like men, and it’s a tragedy when they don’t achieve as much manliness as men naturally do. And when blacks don’t turn out to make good law students or good physicists, it’s got to be because of some massive racist conspiracy. Women must be men. Blacks must be white.

Really, the Leftists are the sexist ones. The Leftists are the racists.


I’m glad I live in a world created by white men. I wouldn’t want to live in Africa or in a matriarchal society. But I also have a lot of admiration for great black musicians and great black athletes. Athletics are noble! There’s nothing wrong with being a beautiful athlete. It’s a form of human excellence. (I do think that commercialized sports are pretty heinous, but I don’t think it’s particularly worse in sports than it is in other forms of entertainment like crappy books and horrible movies … that is, the heinous part is the commercialization, not the black achievements.)

I have admiration for women. No man can ever be a mother, and a mother is the greatest thing a person can be, I believe. (Other than a saint, perhaps? But then many mothers are saint-like, are they not?)



But if all that matters is utility, and if utility is measured in how smart you are, how much money you make, how swift your tank divisions are, and how good your career is, then white men will naturally come out on top, on average. So we must insist that a black woman make as good a tank division commander as does a white man. Because the only other option is unthinkable…

 People — all people — have utility and souls. The skills of white men (or any other group) are valuable. But they are not the reason the people in that group are good and valuable. Slam-dunking and inventing iPads are both nice things, but they aren’t what humans were created to do. Value and worth ultimately come from God.

But for someone caught up in hating God, this is an unthinkable proposition. And so, the lies and the hate must continue…. at all costs.

Stuck in a Suburban Mall

Stuck in a suburban mall with two hours to kill. I look around the exterior of the place for somewhere green to walk, or perhaps some interesting side street. No. Only broad streets leading to freeway on-ramps, no pedestrians in sight. Concrete and wires in every direction.

I go inside and look with desperation at the directory, scanning through the categories of available stores for something that might offer respite. A small woman pushing with a broom handle a bucket on wheels comes up beside me, helpfully, and asks “Is there something I can help you find, sir?”

“Where is the book store?” I ask.

“Ohh.. I’m so sorry. There is no book store.”

“I see.” I’m a bit perplexed. Hopelessly, I ask (not even knowing what kind of answer I expect), “Well, what is the closest thing to a book store in this mall?”

She is silent for a moment, almost thoughtful, then laughs apologetically. “No… I’m sorry. There is nothing.”

There is nothing, indeed.

I buy a cup of black coffee from a chain where a “small” is 12 ounces. Outside I sit on a cement divider and look at the sky. Everywhere around me at ground level are cars, more concrete, more wires, reflective paint. People come and go, mostly teenagers, almost none of them looking anything like me or the people I am related to.

The sun has just set. There are streaks and sheets of pink and salmon clouds in the sky. Seagulls passing south and west to the sea move overhead. I sit back, cradling my paper cup of coffee with its plastic lid and watch the birds pass in disorganized clumps. They are beautiful in their way, and the bright colors fade from the sky, leaving lavender, indigo, grey and then black.

I feel I am never home these days, and yet, I am always home.

Sexual Restraint is the Bare Minimum

Almost every spiritual discipline that I have ever read about includes as one of its very basic instructions some form of sexual discipline. There may be other entry-level beliefs and practices that are unique to a particular tradition (a belief in God; a faith in the Dao; a practice of simple prayer; other basic rituals), but they all share in common the notion of sexual restraint, and for all of them this is a basic practice, not an advanced one.

In Eastern religions, life essence (or jing in the Chinese Daoist nomenclature) is not the exact same substance as sexual fluids (semen, menses), but it is so closely linked that to discharge one’s semen is to discharge one’s jing, one’s life essence. In order to even enter into the lowest stages of spiritual cultivation, one must retain the jing for a bare minimum of 100 days. This is not just an act of repression, but a daily renewal of the commitment to practice emptiness (turning one’s will over to the will of the Divine).

This is like filling a car with gas. Without a full tank, you aren’t going to get very far down the road.

In orthodox Christian traditions, sex is forbidden except between husband and wife for the purposes of procreation. For priests, nuns, monks, total abstinence is the rule. In our modern, deluded and degraded age, these rules are seen as some kind of evil imposition; a denial of life and the crazed demands of a control-freak patriarchy (or whatever).

But in fact, without sexual restraint, we cannot even begin to fuel the tank. Everyone knows that the body and the spirit are linked. We intuit it constantly. It used to be common knowledge and only massive thoughtlessness and delusion has made modern people think otherwise. Many people are convinced the spirit doesn’t even exist. And of those who do believe in the spirit, they can’t even entertain a simple (obvious) notion like the idea that the body’s most intense phenomenon may be (must be) cultivated and restrained so as to feed the spirit.

The brainwashing about the idea of sexual restraint is almost completely triumphant in the West. Not only is sexual restraint considered unnecessary, it is considered evil. While chastity is in fact life-affirming, it is portrayed as life-denying. While chastity can be the basis of intense joy and pleasure, it is portrayed as a practice of grinding, hateful dryness.

But I say it is “almost completely triumphant” because it is not totally triumphant yet! For it is possible — even today, I can attest — to be completely on one side (the wrong, deluded, degraded, hopeless) of this equation and somehow (quite miraculously) end up on the other side.

The great thing about the Truth is that it does not stop being the Truth no matter how many times the lies are repeated. It is still there at all times and in all places. It never goes away. The lies have to be repeated constantly, ever more loudly, to keep people from discovering the Truth. Just a little bit of light shining through can be enough sometimes. Everything we do and say is important and meaningful. What a terrible responsibility and what a liberating thought!

The Outside Outsider

Many traditionalists or “paleo-conservatives” in the United States are ex-Republicans. Or they are disaffected Republicans who still tend to vote for Republicans as a least-bad option but who also have a sour taste when doing so, given what the Republican party has come to stand for (i.e. heavy doses of liberalism dressed up in the rhetoric of the free market).

(Anyone who is A-OK with mainstream Republicans is not a serious conservative.)

I, on the other hand, have never been a Republican. As soon as I became vaguely politically aware (about the time of the Bush-Dukakis election, and more certainly during the Clinton-Dole election), I had been on the Left. I voted Nader, Nader, and Kerry in the three elections I voted in.

[Incidentally, the moment I stopped voting on the Left was the Obama-McCain election of 2008. I was voting absentee, living in New York City. An old friend and I, Bush-haters both, filled out our ballots together over a bottle of white wine at my Brooklyn apartment about a month before the election day. It was a little celebration. She was so happy to fill in the bubble for Obama, giggling and bubbly. I knew I hated McCain, and my long-standing Leftist stance had me on the Obama side of things. She took her ballot with her at the end of the night, and I set mine at the door-side table, wanting only a stamp. As the days passed by, the ballot kept sitting there, first for want of a stamp, but then more and more out of a vague reluctance. The day of the election, I picked up my ballot and looked at it, and threw it in the trash.]

My rejection of Leftist politics came first as a rejection of Obama, and of Democrats (and Greens and Communists) to which I had previously been sympathetic. I still considered the Republicans to be vile (and I still do, with a few hesitant exceptions). So in a sense my rejection of Leftism has been rather clean. I was never suckered into Republican-style Leftism. I was very, very far Left. And in a short time I became so far Right that I was clean off the map!

If you can imagine a circle of modern politics, where west is Left and east is Right, then north would be standard American political centrism (Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, John McCain). But I went south, into no-man’s-land. Left of Ralph Nader and Right of Michelle Bachmann. This is the murky land where you find anarchists, monarchists, and assorted other unsavory characters.

I might try and define my politics a little better in the future. As I said in an earlier post, it’s not totally unimportant. But, in another sense, it is unimportant. The circle I described exists on two dimensions. Life is three-dimensional.


Thanksgiving is something that is only celebrated in the United States (or in Canada, though you Canucks do it on the wrong day, you weirdos!).

People in the rest of the world might be aware of Thanksgiving because it’s a big deal in the US and because the US has a lot of influence on the rest of the world via pop-culture (movies and TV, mainly). But though there might be a few Brits having turkey dinners on Thursday this week due to the influence of some American friends or family, it’s basically an America-only holiday.

I know some Leftists who use Thanksgiving as an excuse to rail against White oppression of Native Americans via Facebook. I don’t say anything to them about it (don’t they already have Columbus Day as their official grievance day?). And there are some vegetarians who use it as an excuse to rail against the eating of poor, innocent birds.

But Thanksgiving has remained largely free of the politicization that surrounds Christmas. For the most part, Thanksgiving has remained Leftism-free in the US. We have other official holidays that grant a day off work, like Labor Day, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, and Martin Luther King Day, but no one takes these very seriously. Among religious holidays, Easter is still a big deal, but you don’t get a day off from work for Easter. Halloween is a big deal culturally, but again, no time off work.

The Fourth of July is great fun, culturally, and you get a day off work. In a sense it’s the mirror-image of Thanksgiving. Not explicitly religious, universally recognized among Americans.

Christmas is the last standing religious holiday that is explicitly Christian and which still involves official time off work. I expect to see a movement to remove official status from Christmas within my lifetime, and I won’t be surprised if it works. (I also won’t be surprised if it provokes a massive backlash the fear of which, I suspect, is the only reason such a movement hasn’t begun already.)

Every other holiday in the US is minor at most. But Thanksgiving I love because it is a ritual embedded in time, like amber. The reasons to give thanks are ultimately religious. If there’s no Deity that provided things, then there’s no reason to give thanks. One can feel lucky, but one can’t feel grateful, if one doesn’t believe in a Higher Order. But since Thanksgiving has been cleanly separated from religious tradition in the popular mind, Leftists haven’t been able to attack it on the grounds of being too Christian.

Thanksgiving is stealth traditionalism. The main idea — and it’s still practiced this way among the vast majority of Americans — is to gather around the table with loved ones, to acknowledge the blessings of this life, and to eat and be merry. People play board games together, not because board games are that fascinating, but because it’s an excuse to laugh and love and be close to your family. The overeating that some people decry is actually a beautiful thing. People aren’t (for once!) overeating at McDonald’s or Pizza Hut, they are overeating delicious, traditional recipes that took all day long to prepare. It’s a feast. Even the Elves in Tolkien knew that the occasional feast was a glorious thing. It’s not gluttony, it’s celebration. McDonald’s is gluttony.

The foundations of Thanksgiving are shaking, just like with everything else that is good and glorious in our modern world. David Sedaris writes scathing, sarcastic accounts of Thanksgivings gone bad, and his books sell in the millions. The day after Thanksgiving is a nation-wide orgy of acquisitiveness. Etc. Nothing in our modern age is untouched.

Still, Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, a tiny remnant of the old life. Even the word we use — Thanksgiving — is archaic and beautiful. To simply gather around the table with family and friends for no other reason but to eat and give thanks: it’s almost astonishing that we still do it. So in the tradition of giving thanks for the good things in life on Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks for Thanksgiving.

Black Friday

The Crowd is Untruth.

Mass democracy is the crowd. Hyper-capitalism is the crowd. Our modern world is a world of crowds.

Tomorrow (Friday) is called “Black Friday” in the United States. The name comes from the notion that retail stores, after earning money all year to pay off their costs, investments, taxes, payroll, etc., finally move from the “red” into the “black.” From here to the end of the year they are profiting. (I have no idea if this notion is true for the typical retailer, but that’s where the name comes from.)

But really, could the name Black Friday be any more appropriate? The biggest sales of the year happen this day. Stores open long before dawn. And the Christmas season begins. Here’s what we have become as a society:

(warning: these videos will make your stomach turn. Don’t click if you are in a peaceful mood.)


Black times, my friends. I’ll be headed up to Olympic National Park with family and friends to hike the spooky, wet, cold rainforest of the Pacific Northwest for the day.


The Crowd is Untruth

There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side.] There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that “the crowd” received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.


There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd.


A crowd is indeed made up of single individuals; it must therefore be in everyone’s power to become what he is, a single individual; no one is prevented from being a single individual, no one, unless he prevents himself by becoming many.

Søren Kierkegaard, The Crowd is Untruth, 1847

How to Break Up the United States

I haven’t had this blog for very long, but so far I have avoided addressing politics very much. I’m supremely uninterested in horse race politics, and I am not a Republican nor a Democrat nor a member or proponent of any third party. As a disclaimer, let me say that I do not consider these to be totally unimportant questions. I do care, on some level, about politics and the political situation of my own country, my state, and my community. I understand that these things affect my life and the lives of those I care about.

Politics simply isn’t the focus of this blog. There are lots of important things that I care about that I don’t address on here, like diet and exercise, for example.

Part of the reason for this is that one must maintain some boundaries to be readable. I care about all kinds of (unimportant) things like Seattle Seahawks football and coffee-growing conditions in Ethiopia, which are irrelevant at best to 99% of readers.

But another reason is that I find the things I do address to be most interesting and most important, at least for me. That is: God and religion; our relationship to the divine; the day-to-day choices that lead to the good life; the nature of the True, the Beautiful and the Good; and how to live a meaningful life in a time and place that deliberately sucks meaning out of every nook and cranny it can get its ravenous maw on.


It’s that last point that prompts me to finally address a semi-political issue on “Out of Sleep”. I often read Lawrence Auster’s View from the Right blog, and it’s one of the very few I see fit to link in my sidebar. I’ve also been a sometime commenter at that blog (usually posting under the name “Daniel H. in Seattle”). I don’t always agree with Mr. Auster, but I usually do, and I find him one of the most honest, forceful, and eloquent writers anywhere on or off the internet.

Something he’s occasionally addressed on his blog, usually with lengthy comments from readers (which to me signifies that he’s really hitting a nerve), is the idea of an eventual break-up of the United States along liberal/conservative lines.

I consider this a “semi” political issue because it’s completely off the radar of politics as they are in the USA today. Ultimately, the break-up of the United States would be extremely political by definition. But it’s not about today’s electoral politics; it’s not about the House or the Senate, or Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann or anyone like that. So I consider it only “semi” for those reasons, if you understand.

I can’t rehash all the arguments here. If the topic interests you, here are four posts from VFR: link, link, link, link. But I find it a fascinating idea. Part of me thinks it is desirable, and all of me thinks it’s a cool idea, in the SciFi, counterfactual history sense. Does that make me seem intellectually unserious, that I entertain something for its coolness factor? Actually, I think we would all do well to let ourselves get inspired a little more, rather than immediately tamping down ideas because we’ve been told they are ridiculous. Frodo carrying the Ring into Mordor was ridiculous too.

The most recent post that Mr. Auster posted was this one.

So after all this preamble, I come to the meager kernel of my thought. One of the consistent threads running through the arguments about separating the United States into two (or more) separate nations is the idea of geographical separation. Things are thorny because unlike in the Civil War days, the warring sides are not neatly separated into geographically contiguous states. Rather they are separated mainly between urban zones and rural zones. And as I can personally attest, many people living in one zone are at complete odds politically with their neighbors. Here’s a map that probably no American needs to see, but merely to back up my point: voting patterns by county from the 2004 presidential election.

What Americans who want to break away from the overwhelming, overweening, multiculti, degraded and hyper-materialist State probably need to do is to form explicitly conservative communities. Of course, many small towns in the West and the South are already this way (and in the North and Midwest too, of course, to a lesser degree). But it’s not explicit. In order to have a political separation begin on the explicit level, there needs to be some sort of political confrontation.

The most obvious way for this to happen would be the Federal Government (by far the most liberal institution, not to mention the most powerful) to explicitly overrule a conservative community. Now, of course, this has happened many times before (over abortion, over regulations, over “gay rights”, etc.). The biggest potential for a really meaningful fight in the United States always happens at the State vs Federal level. States are very feeble against the Feds since the New Deal (and since the Civil War, really), but they still manage to win court cases here and there, even at the Federal level.

The most recent example of a really big fight between a state and the Feds was the immigration law passed in Arizona. Conservative Arizonans are still very much activated by this issue, though it has completely dropped off the national radar. But Arizona, while it’s not exactly New Jersey, is not the most conservative state in the country.

What if there were a serious court battle between Utah or Idaho and the United States Government? And what if that battle were over something explicitly conservative and anti-federal? It’s a stretch, but I can envision a scenario where Utah, sufficiently roused to action by something they really care about, declares some form of independence from the Feds. This tactic doesn’t even need to succeed on a legal level. It just needs to act as an impetus to the rest of conservative America. The start of something. Presumably it would be messy and complicated.

We saw the beginnings in Arizona, and that fight is perhaps not over yet, at all. But Arizonans are not pushing the matter very much. I think of Utah because it is of course mostly Mormons, who believe in themselves and who inhere as a group. They love their own and they don’t doubt their own right to live as they see fit. The rest of us non-Mormons don’t need to believe in Mormonism to benefit from the cohesion that Mormons have.

If Utah (or Idaho or Alaska) started a true separatist movement, that could, with the help of the internet, inspire a larger movement to create communities that were explicitly in defiance of Federal power. Even in my own “blue state” of Washington, there are many conservative people, especially East of the Mountains, as we say here. The Feds can clamp down on one little law like in Arizona, but they cannot quash a thousand communities across a dozen states, not if the people in those communities are strong of heart and courage.

Is this just a pipe dream? I don’t think so. The tension is real, and even if the truly conservative in this country are vastly outnumbered, they still number in the millions. It’s interesting to think about how the future might look. Certainly we will not see things remain the same. They never do.

Looking Out and Looking In

Two women touching magic:


Pandora looks in, unable to contain her curiosity. She is the self-interested mind, wanting treasures, fruits, knowledge. She stands outside of magic and looks in on it. Or rather, she kneels, kneels before power and wants it for herself. Her actions show no concern for the Law, or for the fate of the world. She unleashes great suffering and evil.

Pandora, John William Waterhouse, 1896


Miranda looks out. Her relationship with magic is a given. Her father is a great magician, powerful, kindly, and commanding. Miranda is steeped in magic effortlessly. She desires not power, nor even wisdom. Serene in her own virtue and her own beauty, she gazes out on the sea and wonders. Miranda regards the outside world, she is other-seeking and other-loving. Her love for Ferdinand is immediate and self-forgetting.

Miranda, John William Waterhouse, 1875


But if we feel like Pandora, how can we become like Miranda without going through a Pandora stage? That is a great riddle. Miranda simply is. If we have to ask, we are missing the point. To be Miranda, you simply need to dwell already within the magic. No action or spell or incantation will take you there.