Daily Pics, My Comic, and The Times
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The guy who stole my diary died.

My thoughts are with his family.


INTERVIEWER: So, where do you see yourself in five years?

ME: I'd say my biggest weakness is listening.


A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him in front of the service station. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.

"Reverend," said the young man, "Sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The minister chuckled, "Same in my business."


The economy is terrible. At the beginning of the year, the politicians promised things would improve by the last quarter.

Well, I'm down to my last quarter and they haven't improved!


How rare is it for a cow to be struck by lightning?

Medium rare.

Quote of the Times;
"I want ordinary citizens of Western states to hear me too. They are now trying to convince you that all your difficulties are the result of some hostile actions of Russia... the truth is that the problems faced by millions of people in the West are the result of years of actions by the ruling elites in the West." – Putin

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
The Bright Ages by Michael Davis

Anti-Christian bias leads modern historians of the Middle Ages into some hilarious gaffes.

Around the year 849, a group of Byzantine monks paid a young woman to accuse the Patriarch of Constantinople, Methodius I, of seducing her. His defense ought to be studied by every law student on the planet. At his trial, Methodius lifted his robes, triumphantly exposing himself to the court. They gasped. The Primate’s manhood was shriveled almost beyond recognition.

Methodius explained that, as a young priest, he’d asked St. Peter to save him from lustful urges. St. Peter obliged, and the result was now plain for the whole Empire to see. The Primate was acquitted and eventually canonized. The monks were excommunicated.

No story, in my opinion, better captures the medieval “thing.” The Middle Ages are full of magical, mystical happenings. We all know the bit in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle where dragons appear in England, a portent of the Viking invasion in which “heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter.” Still, Thronies may be disappointed by the dearth of dragons in medieval history. Withered genitalia is more usual.

That’s why we love the Middle Ages. That’s what makes John Julius Norwich’s facts more enchanting than George R. R. Martin’s fiction. It’s so plausible. Even the miracles are a little pedestrian. You hardly notice them at all. It’s as if they were commonplace in medieval Europe. And who knows? Maybe they were.

Whether you believe in miracles or not, one thing is clear. A history of the Middle Ages may be anything but boring. At least I thought so until I read Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry’s new study The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe.

Most of what makes the book so tedious is the book’s political agenda. And to be fair, the authors are upfront about that agenda. They wrote The Bright Ages, they explain, because medievalism is bound up with ultraconservative politics. “Sometimes symbols of the Middle Ages are used approvingly by the far right,” they write, “emblazoned on shields in Virginia, fluttering on flags as the U.S. Capitol is stormed, or peppered across the screed of a mass murderer in New Zealand.”

The only way to cure these fifteen or twenty teenage boys of their delusion is to declare an all-out war on history. The authors state their opposition to “whiteness,” which they call “a modern idea with medieval roots.” The myth of whiteness is also used to prop up “the fiction of Europe and the invented concept of Western civilization.” In other words, white supremacism is wrong because white people haven’t done anything to be proud of. Actually, white people don’t even exist. Feel stupid yet, bigot?

Academics love to play these little word games. Meanwhile, the rest of us know that it’s okay to be proud of the achievements of one’s ancestors. Nobody really thinks I’m racist because I, Michael Warren Davis, have more of an affinity for the British Isles than I do for the Andean Mountains or the Great Steppe. But Gabriele and Perry make a truly heroic effort to defend their point. The authors say of these white supremacists, “They looked into both the medieval and classical European past and imagined they found white faces, like theirs, looking back at them. They were wrong about all of this.”

You’ll have to take my word for it, but there’s no context for this remark. The authors seem to be arguing that whiteness doesn’t exist because 10th century Europe was actually full of black people. If so, that would certainly take the wind out of the alt-right’s sails, though I’d really like to see their proof.

Over and over, this obsession with “debunking white nationalist myths” leads them to ridiculous, ahistorical conclusions. For instance, they recall how Pope Gregory the Great decided to launch his mission to England. According to the Venerable Bede, Gregory was strolling through the Roman slave markets when he saw a group of boys with fair skin and blonde hair being sold as chattel. He was shocked to learn that the boys were not Christians and immediately resolved to send missionaries to their homeland. Gabriele and Perry omit the part of the story where Gregory asks what their people are called: Angles. Gregory says the name is fitting since they’re as beautiful as angels. (You see what he did there.) Gregory sends a monk named Augustine to establish a new mission in England.

The authors declare: “This story is apocryphal, deeply unlikely to be true.” Well, no. It’s actually likely, even deeply likely, to be true. We know that English slaves were sold in Rome during Gregory’s reign. In fact, it’s unlikely that a pope would have encountered the Angles in any other way. As for the pun, Gregory probably wasn’t the first person to compare small children to angels and he certainly wasn’t the last.

Why, then, do the authors conclude that this story is deeply unlikely to be true? Why, because it may encourage racists, of course. According to the authors, the story of Gregory and the Angles is “a founding myth for white supremacist ideas about the past.” Well, let’s say this about that: First of all, you’re not going to find the Venerable Bede quoted in The Daily Stormer. Secondly, it isn’t a myth. It’s not even “apocryphal,” as Gabriele and Perry claim. Bede was a historian who was only one generation removed from Gregory I. He was surrounded by men who had known the missionary Augustine and perhaps even Gregory himself.

There’s no reason to doubt this story, unless you assume that Christians are pathological liars. And, indeed, Gabriele and Perry declare that in studying medieval history, “we must surely move beyond the writings of Church Fathers and their theological goals.” That’s not history. It’s sectarianism.

You’ll hardly be surprised to find that this bias doesn’t extend to Islam. Predictably, the authors are as mindlessly pro-Muslim as they are anti-Christian. But at least here the authors are subtle. For instance, they explain that “dhimmis (Arabic for non-Muslims living under Muslim rule) possessed specific rights, protections, and obligations.” That word “obligations” bears the brunt of the load.

Dhimmis were given the freedom to worship, but they had to do so virtually in secret. They were forced to pay an exorbitant tax rate—much higher than that paid by Muslims. They needed permission from Muslim authorities to repair their churches and synagogues, and were forbidden from building new ones. Their houses had to be smaller than Muslims’ houses, and they were forbidden from marrying Muslim women. They were forced to wear certain clothes, so as never to be confused with Muslims. They were forbidden from riding horses, camels, and sometimes even mules. Criticizing Islam or trying to convert Muslims was a capital offense. In court, the word of a dhimmi was worth less than that of a Muslim man.

It’s impossible that two men with PhDs in Medieval History could be ignorant of all this. Their decision to downplay dhimmitude is not only intentional but ideological. Seriously, imagine if a conservative historian said, “For black South Africans, apartheid brought specific rights, protections, and obligations.” We would call that dishonest and offensive. Yet, because Christians and Jews were the victims of dhimmitude, nobody really cares. Gabriele and Perry are free to twist the facts—and they know it.

Naturally, the authors also take up the thesis, which has now been embraced by most American educators, that Spain was lucky to be invaded by the Umayyad Caliphate in 711, and the only people who didn’t want to be colonized by Berbers and Arabs were racists. Unlike (say) the British settlements in North America, Muslims and people of color exploiting divisions among white Christians to colonize their lands is totally fine. In fact, it’s not even colonialism. According to Gabriele and Perry, the Umayyad are guilty of nothing more than “bringing closure to a civil war.” Really, they were doing the Spanish a favor! I wish I was making this up.

If that seems implausible to you, that’s because you’ve been brainwashed by Francisco Franco. According to the authors, support for the Reconquista—Spaniards fighting to reclaim Spain from their colonizers—was “mainstreamed” by “Spanish nationalism and contemporary Roman Catholic reactionism, and then embraced by Franco’s fascists just before World War II.” Gabriele and Perry continue: “According to Franco’s authoritarian nostalgia, just as medieval Christians fought against Islam, so he fought to retake the country once more, this time from republicans, anarchists, and Communists. Unsurprisingly, this framing remains prevalent to this day.”

Some may find it improbable that the U.S. education system has been unknowingly teaching Francoist propaganda. Did the Generalissimo send spies to infiltrate the history departments of American colleges? Did wealthy Spaniards with ties to Franco’s government quietly fund campus programs, the way China does today? Gabriele and Perry never say.

Then we have the Crusades. According to the authors, “we honestly don’t know—can never know—what was in Pope Urban II’s mind” when he called the First Crusade in 1096. The one thing we cannot say is that the Christians were “making a sober, militarily justified defensive action in response to an unprovoked attack.” Sorry to nitpick but, actually, that’s exactly what they were doing.

Gabriele and Perry note that when Caliph Omar took Jerusalem in 638, he issued a decree allowing toleration for non-Muslims. (At that point, the Holy City was full of Jews and Greek Christians.) True enough, but that still meant a life of dhimmitude for the locals in the best-case scenario. Rarely did the Muslim invaders comply with Omar’s orders. Christian villages were routinely sacked; their inhabitants slaughtered. On holy days like Easter, churches would be burned and worshippers killed. Whole convents full of nuns were raped and murdered. Few Westerners ever seem to wonder how Palestine, the Semitic homeland, came to be populated by Arabic Muslims. Well, that’s how.

And Jerusalem was only the beginning. In the 650s, the Rashidun Caliphate attacked the islands Cyprus, Cos, and Crete. In 653, a Rashidun general named Mu’awiya invaded Rhodes and destroyed the famed Colossus. Mu’awiya would soon become the first Umayyad caliph.

In 645, the Umayyads invaded Armenia. For a while, they allowed Armenian nobles to rule as their vassals. Then, in 705, the local Arab viceroy invited over a thousand of the country’s leading Christians to a meeting in Nakhichevan. The Armenians were locked inside and burned. The survivors were crucified. From then on, the Arabs ruled Armenia directly.

Six years after the massacre at Nakhichevan, the Umayyads invaded Spain.

In 827, the Aghlabid Emirate invaded Sicily. It took seventy years of fighting (and several massacres) to conquer the whole island.

In 840, the Aghlabid armies invaded mainland Italy. They took the cities of Taranto and Bari, sacked Capua, and occupied Benevento. They also raided Rome twice, once in 843 and again in 846.

In 870, the Aghlabids invaded Malta. The capital of Melite was besieged and its inhabitants slaughtered. The rest of the Maltese population was either killed or banished. For a hundred years, the island—now home to over 500,000 people—was deserted.

Then, beginning around the year 1070, Seljuk Turks massacred the populations of Jerusalem, Gaza, Tyre, and Jaffa. Within ten years, Muslims were officially barring Christians from entering Jerusalem. Bands of armed pilgrims would try to fight their way into the city, but those who weren’t killed by Muslim bandits along the way were butchered by Muslim soldiers.

We can be fairly confident that all of this “was in Pope Urban II’s mind” when he called the First Crusade. Those historians like Gabriele and Perry who act like Christians woke up one day and decided to commit genocide are lying, and they know it.

That’s not even the most egregious example of their irrational anti-Christian bias. One chapter of The Bright Ages is dedicated to praising the Vikings, presumably because the Vikings proper were not Christians. It’s true that past historians have wrongly characterized the Norse as bloodthirsty savages. But the grounds on which Gabriele and Perry choose to praise them are bizarre. After describing a Viking ritual in which slave girls were drugged, raped, and then set on fire, the authors declare: “Their society featured significant gender parity, at least in key parts of society. Their cities were vibrant hubs of mercantile exchange. Their men were extremely snazzy dressers.”

I wish it went without saying that nobody who drugs, rapes, and murders women believes in gender parity. Also, “mercantile exchange” is an odd euphemism for raiding and slave trading. But what really gets me is the line about Norsemen being snazzy dressers. This is one of the cardinal sins among modern historians like Gabriele and Perry. They absolutely refuse to take their subject seriously. The Vikings were history’s most ruthless warriors, and yet you’d think the authors were gossiping about characters in an HBO miniseries.

According to Gabriele and Perry, whereas the mass rapists of Scandinavia are proto-feminists, the Byzantines are woman-haters. Why? Because they subjected Empress Theodora (490–548) to “sexist and classist scorn.” Like her husband Justinian, Theodora was born a commoner. She worked as an actress, a trade associated with loose morals even in medieval Byzantium. Much of what contemporary critics wrote about her is vile—too vile to repeat here—and the reputation stuck. Despite being one of the most powerful women in Byzantine history (and a saint in the Orthodox Church), she’s still best remembered for her alleged wantonness. According to Gabriele and Perry, “the story of Theodora reminds us of the enduring power of patriarchal norms when it comes to depicting and attacking powerful women.”

I guess the obvious parallel in modern politics would be Melania Trump, a Slovenian ex-model who rose to prominence by securing an advantageous marriage. I searched the authors’ tweets to see if either of them had said anything about the former First Lady. Of course, they both had, and none of it was flattering. My favorite was Prof. Gabriele asking, “[Does] anyone else think Melania looks like Sherri Ann Cabot from Best in Show?” According to Wikipedia, “Sherri Ann Cabot is the plump, buxom, overly-made-up trophy wife of the elderly Leslie Ward Cabot, her sugar daddy.”

Now, I really don’t care about the tweet, and neither should you. But it goes to show how disingenuous Gabriele and Perry are.

Granted, just because Mrs. Trump’s critics often resort to sexist and classist insults, that doesn’t exempt her from serious criticism. But the same may be said of Theodora, who happened to live in an age when it was common for actresses to perform sex acts on stage and to moonlight as escorts. Not to speak ill of the dead, but one could easily believe the worst about her.

What’s more, virtually every historian agrees that she and her husband were poor rulers. Yes, the Code of Justinian is a triumph, and their reign saw Byzantine culture flourish. But just five years after taking the throne, a huge revolt broke out in Constantinople. The principal causes were the crushing taxes that Justinian and Theodora levied, especially on the poor, and systemic corruption in the royal bureaucracy. Known today as the Nika riots, it broke out during a sporting event, and ended with government mercenaries blocking the entrances to the stadium and butchering 30,000 civilians. Justinian wished to show mercy to the riots’ leaders, but Theodora insisted he make an example of them. The leaders were promptly executed; their bodies dumped in the sea.

To dismiss all of Theodora’s critics as classists and sexists is like saying the Syrian people only revolted against Assad because they didn’t like his mustache.

I could go on (and on and on) about all the strange, needless errors in this strange, needless book. But I’d rather not. Actually, I try to avoid writing negative book reviews. I only made an exception this time because, at some level, the authors must know this is a bad book.

The Bright Ages is the product of the modern university system, which prioritizes making money above everything else. Academics aren’t promoted for their ability to teach; it’s all based on their publication history. Professors like Gabriele and Perry pad their resumes by writing these “accessible” histories for big-name publishers like HarperCollins.

To stand out in a crowded field, they give their books ludicrous theses like There were no white people in medieval Europe, or high school history teachers are all secret Francoists. The theses can’t be supported by facts. But that doesn’t matter. The point of the book isn’t to inform. The point is to show that the author’s values are those of an 18-year-old middle-class white girl: the key demographic for college admissions departments. And what do white girls like? Sexy feminist Vikings.

Still, I don’t think Gabriele and Perry spent all those years working on their PhDs just so they could spread lies and slander about medieval Europeans. I wonder, when did they first fall in love with the Middle Ages? Maybe it was reading The Canterbury Tales in high school. Maybe it was a visit to Notre-Dame de Paris. Or maybe they played too much Age of Empires growing up, like me. Deep down they must be tired of burying their passion under mountains of politically correct nonsense. Part of them must want to share that love, not suffocate it.

There are thousands of talented scholars all over the country who are forced to adulterate their scholarship by pandering to braindead teenagers, so administrators can give themselves fat bonuses. Yes, that should make us angry. But we should feel pity more than anything else.

We deserve a better history of medieval Europe than The Bright Ages.

We deserve better historians than Gabriele and Perry.

News of the Times;
I saw a woman in Walmart with March Madness teeth.

She was down to the Final Four.


Interviewer: Is it OK if I contact your previous employer to make sure you're a good fit?

ME: Sure, as long as I can contact your ex-employees to see why they quit.


An Englishman is hiking in Scotland and he pauses to drink from a stream. A passing shepherd calls out "Dinnae drink frae that, it's all fulla coo piss an shite!"

The Englishman says to him in a cut-glass accent "I'm terribly sorry, my good fellow, would you very much mind repeating that in the Queen's English?"

And the shepherd says "I'm terribly sorry sir, I was only asking if you would like to borrow this tin cup and get a proper drink?"


A New York business man buys a newspaper, glances at the front page, throws it away.

Next day: same thing.

This goes on for days.

Eventually, the newspaper guy asks, "Why DO you do keep doing that?"

"Oh, I'm just checking for an obituary"

"But obituaries aren't even on the front page!"

"Oh, the one I'm looking for will be"


Them: You can't bring food in here!

Me: Oh, this is a service BLT.

Quote of the Times;
"If I wanna know the Truth, I just listen to CNN and believe the opposite" - Dr. Zelenko

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Noam Chomsky Goes Off the Deep End – Proving that All Socialism Leads to Tyranny by Brandon Smith

I was recently watching a new interview with 92-year-old Noam Chomsky, a figure of general worship among leftist academics, and I began reminiscing about the first time I read the book ‘Manufacturing Consent’. Though I have never agreed with Chomsky’s politics I have always appreciated his analysis on the methods the establishment uses to control mass psychology and silence popular discourse. I have long felt that this was an area where the political left and conservatives might intersect in our views and find common ground. This is why I felt an extra dose of disappointment when I witnessed Chomsky go off the deep end this week and suggest that people who refuse to comply with vaccine mandates need to be ostracized from society.

Chomsky compared people who don’t comply with the vaccines to people who don’t comply with traffic lights, suggesting we pose an imminent danger to others and that we should be removed. When asked how unvaxxed people forced out of the economy could be fed (how would they survive), he asserted “that is their problem.” Chomsky does not explicitly say that force should be used to eliminate the unvaxxed from social participation, he merely insinuates that “actions” might be required to get the desired effect.

I was around 20 years of age back in 2001 when I first read Manufacturing Consent. I was young and not fully aware at the time of a basic function of the political left and socialism that is vital to understand: Many people claim there is a “spectrum” of political beliefs on the left and that there are those that support socialism or centralization while also supporting freedom, but this is simply not so. At the core of their ideology freedom has no home, and when pressed on where they truly stand every socialist WILL eventually support tyranny as a means to achieve their Utopian vision of society.

Chomsky has long claimed himself to be a “libertarian socialist.” In the past I have found that a classic misdirection of covertly authoritarian people is to tack the “libertarian” label onto whatever they believe in. Con-men like Chomsky figure that most normies don’t actually know what libertarianism is, but they’ll assume it means that you “support liberty.” It’s a calculated abuse of the ideology designed to mask the collectivist’s true intentions.

I don’t even know that I personally fit into the libertarian framework, but I do hold some of its basic tenets as fundamental.

A key pillar of libertarianism is the Non-Aggression Principle – A foundational rule for society that says the use of force or coercion to impose one’s beliefs or ideology on others is wrong, and the use of force in general is wrong unless it is in defense of yourself or the lives of others. The problem with socialists and collectivists is that they ALWAYS find a way to claim that their brand of force is somehow in defense of the lives of others. That is to say, the “greater good” is the go-to excuse for all modern totalitarians.

Chomsky will claim that his hard-line stance against unvaccinated people is predicated on saving lives, and that’s the great swindle. When science and logic is applied, we see that the vax mandates have nothing to do with protecting the lives or safety of the public. That said, those same mandates are very effective in elevating the socialist goal of total centralization. How convenient…

Chomsky’s bias is evident in the lack of rational thought he puts forward. In fact, Chomsky never addresses the basic contradictions inherent in his claim that traffic laws and vaccine mandates are the same.

Firstly, covid mandates are NOT laws; they are dictates that have never been voted on by a single legislature nor the American people. This means mandates are meaningless in a legal sense. At least with new traffic laws the voters or legislators get some say in potential changes. The vaccine mandates are purely totalitarian in nature and completely circumvent all constitutional checks and balances.

Imagine if one day Biden assumed defacto control over all traffic rules, and then claimed the authority to deny all people who run red lights access to the majority of jobs and the overall economy? That would be absurd, right? Well, that’s exactly what Biden and his globalist handlers are doing with the covid mandates.

Secondly, obeying a traffic light is not the same as allowing yourself to be injected with a barely tested experimental mRNA cocktail – a “vaccine” which numerous health and virology professionals have warned could have potentially damaging side effects including autoimmune disorders, blood clots and infertility. Traffic lights have been in existence for decades; we know a red light is not going to harm our health. The covid vaccines have been in existence for about a year and have no long term testing (that has ever been released to the public) to back their safety.

All vaccines in common usage today were tested for at least 10 to 15 years before being released for use on the wider population. The covid vaccines were slapped together at “warp speed”, at least according the official story. Who are the guinea pigs for these mRNA jabs? The entire human population. Every person in the country is now considered a guinea pig.

We have no idea what the implications of this unprecedented experiment will be in the next few years.

Chomsky’s comparisons are obviously ridiculous and it’s frustrating that I’m required to point this out. One would think that the co-author of ‘Manufacturing Consent’ would be able to easily discern the massive differences in terms of violating public freedom. But, for some reason he can’t seem to grasp the foolishness at the heart of his debate. Or, he is being deliberately ignorant because he thinks, like many globalists, that there is something to be gained in going along with the farce…

The “greater good” theory is meant to either appeal-to or silence conservatives and libertarians that oppose the vaccines on the grounds of the non-aggression principle. Covid mandates rely on the claim that the unvaccinated are an integral danger to society as a whole, and thus force is justified. Now, I have been asking this question over and over again for the past year to any vax fanatic I run across, and not a single person has come up with a valid counter-argument:

If the vaccines work, then how are unvaccinated people a threat to vaccinated people? If the vaccines don’t work, then why take them in the first place and why mandate them?

What does Chomsky think the average death rate of covid actually is? Is he aware that according to dozens of peer reviewed studies the median Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of covid is only 0.27%? Who exactly are the unvaxxed a threat to? Less than 1% of the population? And if we are actually a threat to these people, then maybe THEY should take the vaccines, if they think the vaccines truly work.

What about the fact that vaccinated people still transmit the disease to others, according the the CDC narrative?

Furthermore, new studies from countries with very high rates of vaccination have shown that natural immunity formed by people who have already had covid (like I have) is superior in protection against future contraction or transmission of the covid virus. Natural immunity is up to 27 times more effective than the vaccines. It trumps the jab to an epic degree.

And what about all those breakthrough cases and deaths of fully vaccinated people? Chomsky must be ignoring those as well. Nearly 60% of all people hospitalized in Israel are fully vaccinated; 56% of all covid deaths from April to October in Ireland were people who received at least one vaccination. Who caused that? Unvaxxed people most of whom have superior natural immunity? Or, vaccinated people with low comparative immunity and the ability to transmit the disease?

Maybe Chomsky just isn’t educated on the science, or maybe he doesn’t care. Either way, his mentality is destructive and typical of socialists and leftists.

I am reminded of a radio show I did many years ago out of the UK which presented itself as a kind of liberty forum. As it turned out, the host was a socialist with some tourism into libertarianism and he was anxious for a debate. I was a little annoyed with the ambush on the merits of socialism but my position on it is simple enough that anyone should be able to understand it:

If a group of people want to form a community or collective based on socialist values then they should be allowed to do so in peace, as long as all participation is voluntary and they don’t try to harm anyone in the process.

At first the show host appeared to agree with this idea, but his support of personal freedom proved superficial as the debate went on. His argument was “What about all the people in society that need our help, such as those that are in poverty or are disabled? Don’t we need a centralized system in place to manage these kinds of problems?”

My response: “By all means, go and help those people if you want to help them. Just don’t try to force me to do it. I might want to help them too, but I will do it in my way, not yours.”

And here is where every single socialist shows their true authoritarian colors – The host then argued that while I might be a good and charitable person the majority of people, in his mind, are not. And so, we must all be forced by government to contribute to society in the manner “society” has deemed appropriate.

There you have it. Like Chomsky, this socialist was appealing to the greater good as a tool to impose HIS ideological vision onto everyone else; not to protect the lives and freedoms of individuals, which is the ONLY purview of government, but to make people participate in the way HE thinks they should participate. People must be forced to uphold social standards, and the social standards are coincidentally defined by the very people that benefit most from collectivism.

At no point do socialists and leftists ever suggest that more individual freedom might be the best option for elevating the greater good. Their solutions always involve progressively less freedom for the individual and more power for the government, the same government which they expect to control.

To be clear, I’m not talking about silly notions of anarchy, just constitutional protections for inherent freedoms. The political left only seeks to erode the liberties codified in the Bill of Rights, and no matter where they are on the leftist spectrum they all end up at the same terrible draconian place given the right circumstances.

This is evident as the vax mandates spread around the world, with nations and states run by leftists now mired in oppression. The facts are undeniable – Blue states are enslaved, red states are free. Leftists support tyranny, conservatives support freedom. Millions of people are trying to escape blue states; almost no one wants to relocate to one.

Even Noam Chomsky, a supposed anti-establishment champion, reverts to little more than a decrepit dictator rationalizing mass starvation when the opportunity to enforce vaccine mandates arises. Maybe he is feeling his mortality along with his age and fear of covid has overwhelmed his senses. I doubt it. I suspect the promise of collective power is so intoxicating to all socialists that their masks and costumes fall away and their true character emerges whether they want it to or not.

There is not a single shred of scientific evidence to support the forced vaccination argument. There is not a single shred of proof to support the claim that an unvaxxed person is a threat to the safety of anyone else. I’ll say it again – Mandates are not laws, and even if they were they would be unconstitutional laws. There is nothing legal, rational, scientific or moral compelling me to submit to an experimental vaccine. Chomsky and his ilk have no leg to stand on.

So, we are at an impasse. They want power over us, and we will not give it to them. Therefore, the law of the jungle takes over. The bottom line is this:

I will not comply with your illegitimate mandates. IT-WILL-NEVER-HAPPEN. And if you think you can use leverage to force me to comply, threatening me with poverty and death through economic discrimination, then I will view your actions for what they are – An attack on my freedoms and my life. I will therefore respond in kind and eliminate the threat by any means necessary, and, I will be justified in doing so, constitutionally, rationally, scientifically and morally.

Covid cultists like Chomsky, most of them leftists and socialists, should keep this in mind as they continue down this path. They think that the greater good is on their side but this is a fantasy driven by their own hunger for dominance. The question you need to ask yourselves is this: Do you really think your desire to force the mandates and your political ideology on me is greater than my will to stop you and remain free? Are you ready to risk death to impose the vax mandates? Because I am ready to risk death to end them.

News of the Times;
My daughter was doing her homework and asked me what I knew about Galileo.

I told her that he was just a poor boy, from a poor family.


What is the preferred pizza place for epileptic midgets?

Little Seizures.



My super-power is holding on to junk for years and then throwing it away a week before I need it.

I have to say that flipping off a driverless vehicle is not nearly as satisfying.

I really need to get in shape, I realized today that if I was murdered, my chalk outline would be a circle.

Don't you hate it when you try to make a protein shake and you accidentally make a Margarita?

I had a hen that could count her own eggs; she was a mathmachicken.

Today's Work At Home Tip: Blowing on your wine in your mug will make people believe your tea is really hot.

Stop blaming everyone for your problems; find one person you hate and just blame them!

I just printed on a wireless printer and now I'm wondering which neighbor got the document.

I am not 40 years old; I'm 18 with 22 years experience.

I am not a complete idiot; some parts are missing.


Might wake up early and go running tomorrow.

I also might win the lottery.

Odds are about the same.


Walking past a new employee's desk & yelling, "Do you think it's a good idea to be surfing porn on your first day?" will never get old.

Quote of the Times;
The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Lenin

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Biden's Handlers Want Skyrocketing Gas Prices. The EPA Just Revealed Why. by Robert Spencer

The Democrats are well aware of the old adage, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” and are busy applying it as gas prices spiral out of all control. As PJM’s Chris Queen discussed Monday, Transportation Secretary Pete “Mr. Mom” Buttigieg appeared to be fantastically out of touch when he responded to skyrocketing prices at the pump. “Clean transportation can bring significant cost savings for the American people as well,” asserted Buttigieg. “Last month, we announced a $5 billion investment to build out a nationwide electric vehicle charging network so that people from rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV.”

It was a real “Let Them Eat Cake” moment for Secretary Pete, but there is a method to his madness: the administration isn’t just out of touch, it is actively trying to use this crisis to impose its green agenda. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Michael Regan confirmed that on Monday.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Regan was at the White House, along with Buttigieg and alleged Vice President Kamala Harris, to announce “proposed limits on new buses and large trucks to curb some of their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% in the next decade.” In the course of his remarks, Regan boasted, “We’re pressing the accelerator to reach a zero-emissions future sooner than most people thought.”

Nothing presses the accelerator to reach a zero-emissions future more effectively than gas prices rising so high that driving a carbon-emitting car is simply too expensive.

At the Monday White House event, Harris was likewise enthusiastic, saying, “We are all in the midst of a turning point. We have the technology to transition to a zero-emission fleet. We can address the climate crisis and grow our economy at the same time.”

We are all in the midst of a turning point, and the green energy forces are not going to let it go to waste. On Tuesday, Old Joe Biden said that the situation was going to get worse, as prices are “gonna go up,” and that he couldn’t do anything about it. “Can’t do much right now. Russia’s responsible.” Biden also risibly claimed that “It’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production.”

How is it possible that the president of the United States could be such a shameless liar and constantly get a pass for it from the establishment media? In lying so brazenly, Biden must know that no “journalist” will challenge him, and he must also have such a low opinion of the American people that he assumes most will not realize he is lying. On that score, he may be at least partially right: it’s likely many Americans don’t know that Biden promised, during a presidential debate, that he would “transition away from the oil industry.”

Related: Buttigieg Says the Solution to High Gas Prices Is Simple: Just Buy an EV

Old Joe delivered right away, shutting down the Keystone Pipeline, placing a moratorium on oil leases on federal property (which was blocked in court but is apparently still followed in the Interior Department, as the number of drilling permits it has issued has dropped sharply), suspending some existing drilling leases, restricting fracking, placing onerous financial regulations on the oil industry, and more. Now, his handlers have made it clear that they have no intention of revisiting any of this, but instead are looking into buying oil from tyrannical rogue states such as Venezuela and Iran.

It looks as if Biden’s handlers will do anything but relieve the plight of the American people, the plight that they themselves created. If they did ease up on their restrictions on the domestic oil industry and restart work on the Keystone Pipeline, they would face the wrath of the far-Left greens who constitute the great bulk of their base, and it is clear that Biden’s handlers will do anything but cross them. Instead, they’re using this crisis as an opportunity to try to foist their green agenda on the American people, while we have no choice but to go along.

Regan is right: the administration is pedal-to-the-metal on its zero-emissions agenda, and with gas rapidly becoming too expensive to purchase, we are all greens now. After all, the line between abject poverty and environmental consciousness has always been exceedingly thin.

News of the Times;
I haven't even gone to bed yet and I already can't wait to get home from work tomorrow.


I feel sick every time I fill my tank.

I'm worried I mighta caught that CarOwner Virus people have been talking about!


The trial went on for 4 weeks with testimony by both sides.

Finally, the jury retired to determine the verdict.

Despite a convincing prosecution, after 2 days the jury had reached a decision to acquit the prisoner.

Judge: "What possible reason could you have for acquitting the prisoner?"

Foreman: "Insanity, sir."

Judge: "What, all twelve of you?"


ME: What does "competitive salary" mean?

BOSS: It means your salary will be competing with your bills.


Russia has banned Facebook.

They're just trying to make us think they're not all bad.

Quote of the Times;
"Republicans refused to give Donald Trump $4B for a Border Wall for four years, but they gave Joe Biden $14B for Ukrainian aid in a week. What does that say about the priorities of congressional Republicans?" – Vance

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Brace yourself for fertilizer and food shortages by Patrice Lewis

I've been following the issue of supply-chain shortages carefully. Of all the stories that have plagued the news over the last two years, one of the most disturbing was a piece I read last November entitled "Fertilizer Shortages Could Become the Death Knell for Global Food Production."

Normally I dismiss the scare factor in these kinds of doom 'n' gloom articles; but as someone involved in small-scale homesteading, this one caught my attention.

"The production of fertilizers has stopped for various reasons and prices have reached record highs," begins the article. "Sky-high prices for electricity and transport will have a major impact on food prices, but fertilizer shortages risk knocking out large parts of global food production. The consequences could be grave."

How grave? As it turns out, very grave.

Fertilizer factories across Europe have been closing down their operations due to the high costs of natural gas, which is used in production. In America, fertilizer production and availability have been crippled by everything from hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast to fires in fertilizer plants (North Carolina and Washington) to (oddly) train derailments (Iowa and Minnesota). In short, fertilizer is a lot scarcer and more expensive than before.

Recently, Fox's Tucker Carlson interviewed a farmer named Ben Riensche, the owner of Blue Diamond Farming Company in Iowa and a farmer of 16,000 acres in that state. Riensche crunched numbers to illustrate the direct correlation between fertilizer availability and prices, and food availability and prices. Then he said something startling: "If you're upset that gas is up a dollar or two a gallon, wait until your grocery bill is up $1,000 a month, and it might not just manifest itself in terms of price. It could be quantity as well. Empty-shelf syndrome may be starting." (It's worth noting that Carlson was so staggered by this information, he asked Riensche to repeat and confirm that prediction.)

Americans are already dealing with skyrocketing inflation, and food prices are up 24% over just the past year. Large-scale commercial food production, it must be pointed out, is intimately connected to the large-scale availability of commercial fertilizer.

And who are two of the biggest exporters of fertilizer in the world? You guessed it, China and Russia. Last year, China (the world's top fertilizer exporter) banned exports of phosphate until June 2022. That alone put an enormous crimp on the world's supply of fertilizer.

"In August 2021," notes this article, "fertilizer prices were expected to go up by 10 percent. By January, the predicted increase rose to 80 percent. … Like it or not, the world economy is tightly interconnected."

As if this weren't bad enough, Russia invaded Ukraine. Crop-wise, these two countries account for about 30% of world wheat exports, 19% of corn exports and a staggering 80% of sunflower oil. The invasion has choked off more than a quarter of the global wheat trade, about a fifth of corn, and 12% of all calories traded globally. Any guess what this conflict will mean for the availability and prices of these commodities?

Then Vladimir Putin, in his infinite wisdom, threatened to crash world food supply by withholding fertilizer. Russia produces 13% of the world supply of potash, phosphate and nitrogen for fertilizer. It's tempting to dismiss this threat as hyperbole, but Putin isn't known for his sense of humor. It's best to take his threats seriously. He followed through on Thursday, when Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said Russia decided to suspend fertilizer exports. Putin is a desperate man, desperate to justify his invasion of Ukraine on the world stage. Desperate men do desperate things.

Europe, already on edge over the conflict, is circling the wagons when it comes to food. Hungary – one of Europe's most grain-rich nations – is banning all grain exports effective immediately. Ukraine has done the same.

In some ways, a shortage of fertilizer is one of the biggest issues the world faces – and that includes war, threats of war, inflation, COVID, rising crime and a host of other current ills. That's because food is a universal requirement and an immediate need. Starvation is a common tactic of tyrants (just ask the Ukrainians). Alfred Henry Lewis said it best: "There are only nine meals between humanity and anarchy."

Modern agriculture is scarily, frighteningly, dependent on commercial fertilizers to feed the world. "Half the world's population gets food as a result of fertilizers … and if that's removed from the field for some crops, [the yield] will drop by 50%," Svein Tore Holsether, head of agri company Yara International, told the BBC.

For a multitude of reasons, it's like we're having this "perfect storm" of issues facing world agriculture. Weather, storms, droughts, pandemics, supply-chain problems, conflicts, fertilizer shortages – the list goes on and on. As a result, countries are moving into a stage called "food protectionism." This is an every-man-for-himself position where exports are severely curtailed or halted, and imports are ramped up (if possible) to try and make sure each nation can feed its people.

"Governments are taking steps to safeguard domestic food supplies after Russia's invasion of Ukraine roiled trade and sent prices of key staples skyrocketing," notes Bloomberg. "Protectionist measures, which have already picked up in recent years as the Covid-19 pandemic spurred concerns about shortages, could spell more bad news for global food trade and add pressure to food inflation. … Indonesia, the world's biggest exporter of edible oils, will tighten its control over shipments in a sign of growing protectionism around the world as countries grapple with soaring food prices. … Other countries that have taken to food protectionism include Hungary, which is banning grain exports. Argentina and Turkey also made recent moves to boost their control over local products. Moldova, albeit a small shipper, has temporarily halted exports of wheat, corn and sugar."

As someone once put it, "When the bread runs out, the circus won't be enough."

News of the Times;
My wife asked me why I was doing the dishes while sitting down.

Told her it's because I can't stand doing it.


My friends from New York talk about how tough their schools were.

I’m not impressed.

I'm from Texas.

My school had its own coroner.

We used to write essays like: “What I want to be IF I grow up...”


At the doctor's waiting room a man was sitting opposite a mother and her little daughter.

He asks the little girl, "Hi there, and how old are you?"

The little girl showed him 4 fingers to indicate she is 4 years old.

The man says, "That is nice, but can't you talk?"

The little girl replies, "Yes I can, can't you count?"


I fell asleep last night reading old magazines.

Woke up this morning with back issues.


Everyone, please don't ride with me if you're going to scream and grab the dashboard every time I run off the road.

It makes me nervous.

Quote of the Times;
“Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That’s why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course. Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers.” – President Trump in 2018

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning by N.S. Lyons

One day in August 2021, Zhao Wei disappeared. For one of China’s best-known actresses to physically vanish from public view would have been enough to cause a stir on its own. But Zhao’s disappearing act was far more thorough: overnight, she was erased from the internet. Her Weibo social media page, with its 86 million followers, went offline, as did fan sites dedicated to her. Searches for her many films and television shows returned no results on streaming sites. Zhao’s name was scrubbed from the credits of projects she had appeared in or directed, replaced with a blank space. Online discussions uttering her name were censored. Suddenly, little trace remained that the 45-year-old celebrity had ever existed.

She wasn’t alone. Other Chinese entertainers also began to vanish as Chinese government regulators announced a “heightened crackdown” intended to dispense with “vulgar internet celebrities” promoting lascivious lifestyles and to “resolve the problem of chaos” created by online fandom culture. Those imitating the effeminate or androgynous aesthetics of Korean boyband stars—colorfully referred to as “xiao xian rou,” or “little fresh meat”—were next to go, with the government vowing to “resolutely put an end to sissy men” appearing on the screens of China’s impressionable youth.

Zhao and her unfortunate compatriots in the entertainment industry were caught up in something far larger than themselves: a sudden wave of new government policies that are currently upending Chinese life in what state media has characterized as a “profound transformation” of the country. Officially referred to as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Common Prosperity” campaign, this transformation is proceeding along two parallel lines: a vast regulatory crackdown roiling the private sector economy and a broader moralistic effort to reengineer Chinese culture from the top down.

But why is this “profound transformation” happening? And why now? Most analysis has focused on one man: Xi and his seemingly endless personal obsession with political control. The overlooked answer, however, is that this is indeed the culmination of decades of thinking and planning by a very powerful man—but that man is not Xi Jinping.

The Grey Eminence

Wang Huning much prefers the shadows to the limelight. An insomniac and workaholic, former friends and colleagues describe the bespectacled, soft-spoken political theorist as introverted and obsessively discreet. It took former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin’s repeated entreaties to convince the brilliant then-young academic—who spoke wistfully of following the traditional path of a Confucian scholar, aloof from politics—to give up academia in the early 1990s and join the Chinese Communist Party regime instead. When he finally did so, Wang cut off nearly all contact with his former connections, stopped publishing and speaking publicly, and implemented a strict policy of never speaking to foreigners at all. Behind this veil of carefully cultivated opacity, it’s unsurprising that so few people in the West know of Wang, let alone know him personally.

Yet Wang Huning is arguably the single most influential “public intellectual” alive today.

A member of the CCP’s seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, he is China’s top ideological theorist, quietly credited as being the “ideas man” behind each of Xi’s signature political concepts, including the “China Dream,” the anti-corruption campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative, a more assertive foreign policy, and even “Xi Jinping Thought.” Scrutinize any photograph of Xi on an important trip or at a key meeting and one is likely to spot Wang there in the background, never far from the leader’s side.

Wang has thus earned comparisons to famous figures of Chinese history like Zhuge Liang and Han Fei (historians dub the latter “China’s Machiavelli”) who similarly served behind the throne as powerful strategic advisers and consiglieres—a position referred to in Chinese literature as dishi: “Emperor’s Teacher.” Such a figure is just as readily recognizable in the West as an éminence grise (“grey eminence”), in the tradition of Tremblay, Talleyrand, Metternich, Kissinger, or Vladimir Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov.

But what is singularly remarkable about Wang is that he’s managed to serve in this role of court philosopher to not just one, but all three of China’s previous top leaders, including as the pen behind Jiang Zemin’s signature “Three Represents” policy and Hu Jintao’s “Harmonious Society.”

In the brutally cutthroat world of CCP factional politics, this is an unprecedented feat. Wang was recruited into the party by Jiang’s “Shanghai Gang,” a rival faction that Xi worked to ruthlessly purge after coming to power in 2012; many prominent members, like former security chief Zhou Yongkang and former vice security minister Sun Lijun, have ended up in prison. Meanwhile, Hu Jintao’s Communist Youth League Faction has also been heavily marginalized as Xi’s faction has consolidated control. Yet Wang Huning remains. More than any other, it is this fact that reveals the depth of his impeccable political cunning.

And the fingerprints of China’s Grey Eminence on the Common Prosperity campaign are unmistakable. While it’s hard to be certain what Wang really believes today inside his black box, he was once an immensely prolific author, publishing nearly 20 books along with numerous essays. And the obvious continuity between the thought in those works and what’s happening in China today says something fascinating about how Beijing has come to perceive the world through the eyes of Wang Huning.

Cultural Competence

While other Chinese teenagers spent the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) “sent down to the countryside” to dig ditches and work on farms, Wang Huning studied French at an elite foreign-language training school near his hometown of Shanghai, spending his days reading banned foreign literary classics secured for him by his teachers. Born in 1955 to a revolutionary family from Shandong, he was a sickly, bookish youth; this, along with his family’s connections, seems to have secured him a pass from hard labor.

When China’s shuttered universities reopened in 1978, following the commencement of “reform and opening” by Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping, Wang was among the first to take the restored national university entrance exam, competing with millions for a chance to return to higher learning. He passed so spectacularly that Shanghai’s Fudan University, one of China’s top institutions, admitted him into its prestigious international politics master’s program despite having never completed a bachelor’s degree.

The thesis work he completed at Fudan, which would become his first book, traced the development of the Western concept of national sovereignty from antiquity to the present day—including from Gilgamesh through Socrates, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Hegel, and Marx—and contrasted it with Chinese conceptions of the idea. The work would become the foundation for many of his future theories of the nation-state and international relations.

But Wang was also beginning to pick up the strands of what would become another core thread of his life’s work: the necessary centrality of culture, tradition, and value structures to political stability.

Wang elaborated on these ideas in a 1988 essay, “The Structure of China’s Changing Political Culture,” which would become one of his most cited works. In it, he argued that the CCP must urgently consider how society’s “software” (culture, values, attitudes) shapes political destiny as much as its “hardware” (economics, systems, institutions). While seemingly a straightforward idea, this was notably a daring break from the materialism of orthodox Marxism.

Examining China in the midst of Deng’s rapid opening to the world, Wang perceived a country “in a state of transformation” from “an economy of production to an economy of consumption,” while evolving “from a spiritually oriented culture to a materially oriented culture,” and “from a collectivist culture to an individualistic culture.”

Meanwhile, he believed that the modernization of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” was effectively leaving China without any real cultural direction at all. “There are no core values in China’s most recent structure,” he warned. This could serve only to dissolve societal and political cohesion.

That, he said, was untenable. Warning that “the components of the political culture shaped by the Cultural Revolution came to be divorced from the source that gave birth to this culture, as well as from social demands, social values, and social relations”—and thus “the results of the adoption of Marxism were not always positive”—he argued that, “Since 1949, we have criticized the core values of the classical and modern structures, but have not paid enough attention to shaping our own core values.” Therefore: “we must create core values.” Ideally, he concluded, “We must combine the flexibility of [China’s] traditional values with the modern spirit [both Western and Marxist].”

But at this point, like many during those heady years of reform and opening, he remained hopeful that liberalism could play a positive role in China, writing that his recommendations could allow “the components of the modern structure that embody the spirit of modern democracy and humanism [to] find the support they need to take root and grow.”

That would soon change.

A Dark Vision

Also in 1988, Wang—having risen with unprecedented speed to become Fudan’s youngest full professor at age 30—won a coveted scholarship (facilitated by the American Political Science Association) to spend six months in the United States as a visiting scholar. Profoundly curious about America, Wang took full advantage, wandering about the country like a sort of latter-day Chinese Alexis de Tocqueville, visiting more than 30 cities and nearly 20 universities.

What he found deeply disturbed him, permanently shifting his view of the West and the consequences of its ideas.

Wang recorded his observations in a memoir that would become his most famous work: the 1991 book America Against America. In it, he marvels at homeless encampments in the streets of Washington DC, out-of-control drug crime in poor black neighborhoods in New York and San Francisco, and corporations that seemed to have fused themselves to and taken over responsibilities of government. Eventually, he concludes that America faces an “unstoppable undercurrent of crisis” produced by its societal contradictions, including between rich and poor, white and black, democratic and oligarchic power, egalitarianism and class privilege, individual rights and collective responsibilities, cultural traditions and the solvent of liquid modernity.

But while Americans can, he says, perceive that they are faced with “intricate social and cultural problems,” they “tend to think of them as scientific and technological problems” to be solved separately. This gets them nowhere, he argues, because their problems are in fact all inextricably interlinked and have the same root cause: a radical, nihilistic individualism at the heart of modern American liberalism.

“The real cell of society in the United States is the individual,” he finds. This is so because the cell most foundational (per Aristotle) to society, “the family, has disintegrated.” Meanwhile, in the American system, “everything has a dual nature, and the glamour of high commodification abounds. Human flesh, sex, knowledge, politics, power, and law can all become the target of commodification.” This “commodification, in many ways, corrupts society and leads to a number of serious social problems.” In the end, “the American economic system has created human loneliness” as its foremost product, along with spectacular inequality. As a result, “nihilism has become the American way, which is a fatal shock to cultural development and the American spirit.”

Moreover, he says that the “American spirit is facing serious challenges” from new ideational competitors. Reflecting on the universities he visited and quoting approvingly from Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, he notes a growing tension between Enlightenment liberal rationalism and a “younger generation [that] is ignorant of traditional Western values” and actively rejects its cultural inheritance. “If the value system collapses,” he wonders, “how can the social system be sustained?”

Ultimately, he argues, when faced with critical social issues like drug addiction, America’s atomized, deracinated, and dispirited society has found itself with “an insurmountable problem” because it no longer has any coherent conceptual grounds from which to mount any resistance.

Once idealistic about America, at the start of 1989 the young Wang returned to China and, promoted to Dean of Fudan’s International Politics Department, became a leading opponent of liberalization.

He began to argue that China had to resist global liberal influence and become a culturally unified and self-confident nation governed by a strong, centralized party-state. He would develop these ideas into what has become known as China’s “Neo-Authoritarian” movement—though Wang never used the term, identifying himself with China’s “Neo-Conservatives.” This reflected his desire to blend Marxist socialism with traditional Chinese Confucian values and Legalist political thought, maximalist Western ideas of state sovereignty and power, and nationalism in order to synthesize a new basis for long-term stability and growth immune to Western liberalism.

“He was most concerned with the question of how to manage China,” one former Fudan student recalls. “He was suggesting that a strong, centralized state is necessary to hold this society together. He spent every night in his office and didn’t do anything else.”

Wang’s timing couldn’t have been more auspicious. Only months after his return, China’s own emerging contradictions exploded into view in the form of student protests in Tiananmen Square. After PLA tanks crushed the dreams of liberal democracy sprouting in China, CCP leadership began searching desperately for a new political model on which to secure the regime. They soon turned to Wang Huning.

When Wang won national acclaim by leading a university debate team to victory in an international competition in Singapore in 1993, he caught the attention of Jiang Zemin, who had become party leader after Tiananmen. Wang, having defeated National Taiwan University by arguing that human nature is inherently evil, foreshadowed that, “While Western modern civilization can bring material prosperity, it doesn’t necessarily lead to improvement in character.” Jiang plucked him from the university and, at the age of 40, he was granted a leadership position in the CCP’s secretive Central Policy Research Office, putting him on an inside track into the highest echelons of power.

Wang Huning’s Nightmare

From the smug point of view of millions who now inhabit the Chinese internet, Wang’s dark vision of American dissolution was nothing less than prophetic. When they look to the U.S., they no longer see a beacon of liberal democracy standing as an admired symbol of a better future. That was the impression of those who created the famous “Goddess of Democracy,” with her paper-mâché torch held aloft before the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Instead, they see Wang’s America: deindustrialization, rural decay, over-financialization, out of control asset prices, and the emergence of a self-perpetuating rentier elite; powerful tech monopolies able to crush any upstart competitors operating effectively beyond the scope of government; immense economic inequality, chronic unemployment, addiction, homelessness, and crime; cultural chaos, historical nihilism, family breakdown, and plunging fertility rates; societal despair, spiritual malaise, social isolation, and skyrocketing rates of mental health issues; a loss of national unity and purpose in the face of decadence and barely concealed self-loathing; vast internal divisions, racial tensions, riots, political violence, and a country that increasingly seems close to coming apart.

As a tumultuous 2020 roiled American politics, Chinese people began turning to Wang’s America Against America for answers. And when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, the book flew off the shelves. Out-of-print copies began selling for as much as $2,500 on Chinese e-commerce sites.

But Wang is unlikely to be savoring the acclaim, because his worst fear has become reality: the “unstoppable undercurrent of crisis” he identified in America seems to have successfully jumped the Pacific. Despite all his and Xi’s success in draconian suppression of political liberalism, many of the same problems Wang observed in America have nonetheless emerged to ravage China over the last decade as the country progressively embraced a more neoliberal capitalist economic model.

“Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” has rapidly transformed China into one of the most economically unequal societies on earth. It now boasts a Gini Coefficient of, officially, around 0.47, worse than the U.S.’s 0.41. The wealthiest 1% of the population now holds around 31% of the country’s wealth (not far behind the 35% in the U.S.). But most people in China remain relatively poor: some 600 million still subsist on a monthly income of less than 1,000 yuan ($155) a month.

Meanwhile, Chinese tech giants have established monopoly positions even more robust than their U.S. counterparts, often with market shares nearing 90%. Corporate employment frequently features an exhausting “996” (9am to 9pm, 6 days a week) schedule. Others labor among struggling legions trapped by up-front debts in the vast system of modern-day indentured servitude that is the Chinese “gig economy.” Up to 400 million Chinese are forecast to enjoy the liberation of such “self-employment” by 2036, according to Alibaba.

The job market for China’s ever-expanding pool of university graduates is so competitive that “graduation equals unemployment” is a societal meme (the two words share a common Chinese character). And as young people have flocked to urban metropoles to search for employment, rural regions have been drained and left to decay, while centuries of communal extended family life have been upended in a generation, leaving the elderly to rely on the state for marginal care. In the cities, young people have been priced out of the property market by a red-hot asset bubble.

Meanwhile, contrary to trite Western assumptions of an inherently communal Chinese culture, the sense of atomization and low social trust in China has become so acute that it’s led to periodic bouts of anguished societal soul-searching after oddly regular instances in which injured individuals have been left to die on the street by passers-by habitually distrustful of being scammed.

Feeling alone and unable to get ahead in a ruthlessly consumerist society, Chinese youth increasingly describe existing in a state of nihilistic despair encapsulated by the online slang term neijuan (“involution”), which describes a “turning inward” by individuals and society due to a prevalent sense of being stuck in a draining rat race where everyone inevitably loses. This despair has manifested itself in a movement known as tangping, or “lying flat,” in which people attempt to escape that rat race by doing the absolute bare minimum amount of work required to live, becoming modern ascetics.

In this environment, China’s fertility rate has collapsed to 1.3 children per woman as of 2020—below Japan and above only South Korea as the lowest in the world—plunging its economic future into crisis. Ending family size limits and government attempts to persuade families to have more children have been met with incredulity and ridicule by Chinese young people as being “totally out of touch” with economic and social reality. “Do they not yet know that most young people are exhausted just supporting themselves?” asked one typically viral post on social media. It’s true that, given China’s cut-throat education system, raising even one child costs a huge sum: estimates range between $30,000 (about seven times the annual salary of the average citizen) and $115,000, depending on location.

But even those Chinese youth who could afford to have kids have found they enjoy a new lifestyle: the coveted DINK (“Double Income, No Kids”) life, in which well-educated young couples (married or not) spend all that extra cash on themselves. As one thoroughly liberated 27-year-old man with a vasectomy once explained to The New York Times: “For our generation, children aren’t a necessity…Now we can live without any burdens. So why not invest our spiritual and economic resources on our own lives?”

So while Americans have today given up the old dream of liberalizing China, they should maybe look a little closer. It’s true that China never remotely liberalized—if you consider liberalism to be all about democratic elections, a free press, and respect for human rights. But many political thinkers would argue there is more to a comprehensive definition of modern liberalism than that. Instead, they would identify liberalism’s essential telos as being the liberation of the individual from all limiting ties of place, tradition, religion, associations, and relationships, along with all the material limits of nature, in pursuit of the radical autonomy of the modern “consumer.”

From this perspective, China has been thoroughly liberalized, and the picture of what’s happening to Chinese society begins to look far more like Wang’s nightmare of a liberal culture consumed by nihilistic individualism and commodification.

The Grand Experiment

It is in this context that Wang Huning appears to have won a long-running debate within the Chinese system about what’s now required for the People’s Republic of China to endure. The era of tolerance for unfettered economic and cultural liberalism in China is over.

According to a leaked account by one of his old friends, Xi has found himself, like Wang, “repulsed by the all-encompassing commercialization of Chinese society, with its attendant nouveaux riches, official corruption, loss of values, dignity, and self-respect, and such ‘moral evils’ as drugs and prostitution.” Wang has now seemingly convinced Xi that they have no choice but to take drastic action to head off existential threats to social order being generated by Western-style economic and cultural liberal-capitalism—threats nearly identical to those that scourge the U.S.

This intervention has taken the form of the Common Prosperity campaign, with Xi declaring in January that “We absolutely must not allow the gap between rich and poor to get wider,” and warning that “achieving common prosperity is not only an economic issue, but also a major political issue related to the party’s governing foundations.”

This is why anti-monopoly investigations have hit China’s top technology firms with billions of dollars in fines and forced restructurings and strict new data rules have curtailed China’s internet and social media companies. It’s why record-breaking IPOs have been put on hold and corporations ordered to improve labor conditions, with “996” overtime requirements made illegal and pay raised for gig workers. It’s why the government killed off the private tutoring sector overnight and capped property rental price increases. It’s why the government has announced “excessively high incomes” are to be “adjusted.”

And it’s why celebrities like Zhao Wei have been disappearing, why Chinese minors have been banned from playing the “spiritual opium” of video games for more than three hours per week, why LGBT groups have been scrubbed from the internet, and why abortion restrictions have been significantly tightened. As one nationalist article promoted across state media explained, if the liberal West’s “tittytainment strategy” is allowed to succeed in causing China’s “young generation lose their toughness and virility then we will fall…just like the Soviet Union did.” The purpose of Xi’s “profound transformation” is to ensure that “the cultural market will no longer be a paradise for sissy stars, and news and public opinion will no longer be in a position of worshipping Western culture.”

In the end, the campaign represents Wang Huning’s triumph and his terror. It’s thirty years of his thought on culture made manifest in policy.

On one hand, it is worth viewing honestly the level of economic, technological, cultural, and political upheaval the West is currently experiencing and considering whether he may have accurately diagnosed a common undercurrent spreading through our globalized world. On the other, the odds that his gambit to engineer new societal values can succeed seems doubtful, considering the many failures of history’s other would-be “engineers of the soul.”

The best simple proxy to measure this effort in coming years is likely to be demographics. For reasons not entirely clear, many countries around the world now face the same challenge: fertility rates that have fallen below the replacement rate as they’ve developed into advanced economies. This has occurred across a diverse array of political systems, and shows little sign of moderating. Besides immigration, a wide range of policies have now been tried in attempts to raise birth rates, from increased public funding of childcare services to “pro-natal” tax credits for families with children. None have been consistently successful, sparking anguished debate in some quarters on whether losing the will to survive and reproduce is simply a fundamental factor of modernity. But if any country can succeed in reversing this trend, no matter the brute-force effort required, it is likely to be China.

Either way, our world is witnessing a grand experiment that’s now underway: China and the West, facing very similar societal problems, have now, thanks to Wang Huning, embarked on radically different approaches to addressing them. And with China increasingly challenging the United States for a position of global geopolitical and ideological leadership, the conclusion of this experiment could very well shape the global future of governance for the century ahead.

N.S. Lyons is an analyst and writer living and working in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Upheaval.

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