Lazy Sunday XCIII: 2020’s Top Five Posts

It’s the last Sunday of 2020, so in keeping with last year’s tradition, today’s Lazy Sunday is dedicated to reviewing the Top Five posts (in terms of views) for 2020.

The posts below are not the top five in terms of views all-time.  Instead, I’m featuring the top five published in 2020.  Indeed, there were several posts from 2019 that blew these out of the water (all view totals are at the time of writing, 22 December 2020):  “Tom Steyer’s Belt” (2864 views), “Napoleonic Christmas” (295 views), “Christmas and its Symbols” (212 views), and others.

So, again, these are the Top Five Posts of 2020, published in 2020.  All numbers are as of 22 December 2020, so there could be some shifts:

1.) “The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War” (254 views) – This post was adapted from a lengthy comment I made on a post at Nebraska Energy Observer, “What Do You Think?” by Audre Myers.  The comment sparked some good feedback, so I made it into a post.  Rachel Fulton Brown shared the post on her Telegram chat and her personal Facebook page, which really boosted the numbers.  The post discusses the oft-forgotten cultural and spiritual consequences of the Confederate loss to Yankee materialist imperialism.  I’m no closeted Neo-Confederate, but I tried to offer up a nuanced take on the downside to Union victory, and what was lost when the South fell.

2.) “Thalassocracy” (201 views) – This post really surprised me with its success.  I wrote it mostly as an after-thought—the situation with many posts when I’m churning out daily material—but the topic interested me.  Based on the limited search term information WordPress gives me, it turns out that many people were searching the unusual term for the same reason I was:  the video game Stellaris.  In searching for the meaning of “thalassocracy,” I stumbled upon a lengthy essay on the fragility of thalassocracies—nations and empires that build their fortunes on naval prowess, rather than substantial ground forces.  It’s an interesting (and long) essay, but hopefully my humble post sums it up well enough.

3.) “You Can’t Cuck the Tuck III: Liberty in The Age of The Virus” (87 views) – As you can see from the numbers, the posts begin dropping off a bit in views from here on out, though I consider anything over fifty views pretty solid for this humble blog.  This piece explored the destruction of liberties in The Age of The Virus, something that I find has occurred with shocking ease, and which continues to ever more ludicrous extremes.

4.) “Big Deal” (78 views) – This post was about Joe Rogan’s move to Spotify, and his own implicit sell-out to social justice cuckery.  I can’t account for its mild popularity, other than it was a timely post that touched on a widespread sentiment on the Right.

5.) “The God Pill, Part II” (76 views) – This piece reviewed former pick-up artist Roosh V’s dramatic conversion to Orthodox Christianity (covered in “The God Pill“; read the whole series here), and his decision to unpublish his bestseller, Game.  That decision has really cost him financially—he recently took a gig doing construction work in Alabama for a few weeks, and is apparently back living with his parents in Maryland—but it was the right move spiritually.  Many thought Roosh was converting as a way to reinvent himself to make an extra buck, but he really seems to be putting his faith first.  Kudos to him.

That’s it!  It’s hard to believe another year is in the books.  Thanks to everyone for reading, and for your ongoing support.  It can be difficult to maintain the pace of posting at times, but your feedback and comments really keep me going.

God Bless—and Happy New Year!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Law and Order?

It’s an election year, in case you’d missed that point, and our man Trump is up for reelection.  Trump is not doing well in the polls at the moment, but George H. W. Bush was similarly down against Michael Dukakis at this point in 1988, and won in a blowout victory.  Of course, Dukakis was an exceptionally feeble and excessively nerdy politician, and Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton ad was a gutsy, effective attack on Dukakis’s program of weekend release for prisoners.

1988 was also a very different America.  Even 2016 seems like another world.  Trump’s election was the paradigm shift of our age, spawning four years of constant resistance from progressives and neocons alike.  Joe Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, enjoys the full support of the media and the institutions; even in his advancing senility, they are determined to drag him into the White House, where he will serve as a dull-witted, mentally-diminished puppet for every crazy Left-wing policy ever concocted in the faculty lounge of a women’s studies department.

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Postmodern Iconoclasm

Statues are coming down all over the United States.  A few years ago, during our nation’s last bout of racialist temper tantrums and looting, the calls were for Confederate monuments to come down, on the premise that our nation shouldn’t celebrate “losers” and “traitors.”  For an historically illiterate population that just knows that “slavery was because of bad white Southerners,” it was a compelling, if ultra-simplistic and stupid, case.

At the time, many conservatives pointed out that, hey, if you start tearing down statues of former slave owners, you’re inevitably going to move onto George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Should we really judge great men of the past solely based on one practice, one that we now acknowledge as immoral, but that was widespread—and, let’s not forget, practiced globally, with particular zest and gusto among Muslims—during their lives?  And let’s not forget that many slave owners wished to see the ultimate demise of the “peculiar institution.”

What we’re seeing now is an orgy of presentism, one that fits nicely with the orgy of animalistic rioting.  These ignorant, borderline illiterate (they are, in fact, excessively educated in Grievance and Victim Studies, but uneducated in actual knowledge and Truth) progressives and their pawns live in a perpetual present, in which the only good is whatever the social justice commissars decided at the last struggle session.  “We have always been at war with Eurasia.”

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If the South Woulda Won

Amid all the upheaval of the past few weeks, conservatives are wondering, “What next?” and “Where did we go wrong?”  There are multiple answers to both questions.  To the latter, there are the familiar suspects:  the 1960s, the Progressive Era of the early twentieth century, the influence of the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism, etc.

One possible answer—one that’s been pushed aside in our historically incompetent and racially hypersensitive era—is the victory of the Union in the American Civil War.  I wrote extensively about “The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War” a few weeks ago; in that essay, I wrote that

…[T]he biggest legacy of the American Civil War was that it marked the victory of a certain Yankee political philosophy and political economy over the rest of the country. The North and the South took fundamentally different views of the world….

…[T]he larger point was that the South existed in a far more traditional version of the world than the Yankee.

The Yankee, instead, came from a Puritanical/Calvinist perspective. Weaver argued that the Southerner recognized and named evil, but rather than try to stamp it out—thereby breeding a multitude of smaller, more insidious evils—he sought to fence it off, to mark it. The Northern Puritan sought to eradicate evil–thus the radical abolitionist impulse (in the context of the Civil War), on down to the modern-day “Puritanism” of the SJWs, for whom nothing is ever good enough.

Immediately after the Civil War, the South, being out of national politics in the Reconstruction Era, could not stop the political-economic alliance of the North and West, which put into place high protective tariffs and expanded federal authority….

And so on.  Essentially, the victory of the Union, which brought many material blessings, and the moral good of abolishing slavery, also brought with it the totalizing influence of Yankee imperialism and the erosion of legitimate States’ rights at the expense of expanding federal power.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Civil War?

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The nation is aflame in disorder.  These race riots—really, thinly-veiled pretenses for mob violence and destruction—have become a depressing feature of our progressive utopia; perpetual revolution for the perpetually aggrieved.

The reactions from the two sides of our great national divide illustrate the unavoidable contrasts.  The Left either celebrates the violence, or washes its hands of it, claiming they can’t condemn the riots “without walking in the shoes” of looting blacks.  The Right, grounded in reality and respect for rule of law, expresses disbelief that anyone, even a progressive, could somehow endorse or even ignore rioting.

The United States has not been so divided since the 1850s.  When John Brown, the crazed radical abolitionist, staged his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, he was hanged for his reckless crime.  Brown’s goal had been to use federal arms to equip slaves, leading them in a massive rebellion—the deepest fear of slave owners.  In the North and among the elites, Brown was heralded as a hero of and martyr to a noble cause.  To Southerners, this praise seemed like cheering for a murderer—a murderer who wanted Southerners in particular dead.

Slavery was wrong—as tiresome as it is to have to repeat it in the vain attempt of shielding one’s self against attack—but Brown’s zealotry shed blood needlessly.  Had he succeeded, many innocent Virginians would have died—and the rebellion would have been put down.  Regardless, the differing reactions of the two sections of the country highlighted how thoroughly alienated both had become.

So it seems we are similarly poised today in the United States.

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Lazy Sunday LXII: The South

Poet Archibald MacLeish wrote that the American “West is a country in the mind, and so eternal.”  The American South may be the same, but it’s more—it’s a country in the soul.  It’s the culture, the faith, the land, the people—these elements truly make the South “the South.”

The South has been changing for a long time, but those old virtues are still present here, even if they are fading.  The wickedness of modernity probes its tentacles into every crevice of every society, and the South is no different.  We’ve managed to capitalize on the material benefits of modernity without sacrificing our souls entirely—yet—but the unrealized dream of the Reconstruction Era Radical Republicans to remake Southern society into the image of the North is rapidly becoming reality.

That said, the South and its more adventurous cousin, the West, have managed to hold onto the important things in life, namely faith, family, and work.  In the United States, the vast belt from my native South Carolina in the east, driving westward to Texas, and up through at least Nebraska (that’s for you, NEO), still maintain sanity in a nation that is increasingly unhinged with an addiction to postmodern progressivism.

Not to say that Northerners don’t love their families or God, but the governing ethos of Yankeedom is materialist efficiency über alles.  Even the terse attitudes and abrupt styles of conversation suggest little room for even the most cursory pleasantries.  The propensity with which Northerners sling around f-bombs is one of the more dramatic reminders of what cultural differences exist between America’s two great regions even to this day (although, alas, I hear more and more Southerners engaging in sloppy manners and foul language).

But I digress.  I’ve made enough sweeping generalizations for one Lazy Sunday.  You can read more of my sweeping generalizations about vast swaths of the country in these essays, all about fair Dixie:

  • Southern Conservatism: John Randolph of Roanoke” – I somehow had never learned about John Randolph of Roanoke (outside of a reference in Richard Weaver’s Southern Essays) until teaching History of Conservative Thought during Summer 2019.  This post was all about the feisty—some might say ornery—Virginia statesmen who constantly strove to keep Virginia strong and the federal government weak.
  • Reblog: Conan the Southern?” – This post looked at better post from The Abbeville Institute about Texan Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian.  Howard’s tough Texas upbringing and Jacksonian derring-do inspired the ferocious barbarian hero, a self-made man in a world of evil wizards and sinister forces.
  • The Hispanicization of Rural America” – After driving through some parts of western South Carolina and noticing there were only Hispanics, I wrote this post, lamenting the replacement of white and black Southerners.  Here’s the key paragraph:

    I don’t like seeing my people—the people of South Carolina—being displaced in their communities by foreign invaders who speak a different language, who don’t care about our Constitution, and who don’t want to adopt our hard-won culture of liberty.  It took from 1215 to 1776 to get from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence; do we really want to throw away 561 years of Anglo-Saxon common law and careful cultural-political development in the name of multiculturalism?

  • The Invasion and Alienation of the South” – The Abbeville Institute is the gift that keeps on giving.  This post discussed an essay called “A Stranger in a Strange Land,” about a young Louisiana woman’s sense of total alienation in an ostensibly Southern city, Dallas.  She also details the leftward shift, politically, of Southern cities, which I have observed in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina—increasingly a colony of Ohio.
  • The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War” – An instant-classic in the TPP archives, this post originated as a LONG comment on “What Do You Think?,” a post on NEO’s Anglophilic blog Nebraska Energy Observer.  I make some bold claims about the good that was lost following the Civil War—like liberty.

Bless your heart,

TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: The Conservative Revolution

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Friday’s post, “The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War,” has enjoyed more traffic than my usual posts thanks to a.) the controversial topic of the American Civil War (gasp!—someone’s not denouncing the South!) and b.) and Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown graciously sharing the post far and wide.  Thanks, Doc!

It’s put me in a bit of a historical mood.  In history, the important points—the Truth—is often in the details, but I’ve always appreciated the contemplation of the philosophical implications of historical events.  Thus, my mini-essay on the American Civil War focused more on the cultural and political costs of the war than the nitty-gritty details.

The costs were, of course, considerable.  Historians of a conservative bent will sometimes refer to “reconstitutions” in United States history, with the Progressive Era and its immediate offspring, the New Deal, often cited as a major “reconstitution.”  The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which elevated anti-racism and social justice above the freedom of association, was another such reconstitution.

Similarly, the American Civil War, as I detailed yesterday, resulted in a reconstitution of the Constitution, as it served to centralize more power in the hands of the federal government, curtailing States’ rights in the process.

An observant reader will note that each of these “reconstitutions” reflected some revolutionary fervor or upheaval:  the horror of war, the agitation of Progressive reformers, the privations of the Depression, and the struggle for equal rights.  They almost all resulted in an increase in federal power, too, often to intrusive degrees.  In each instance, the ratchet turned towards more centralization and fewer liberties overall.

But the American Revolution—which made the Constitution possible—is nearly unique in the annals of modern history—much less American history—in that it was a conservative revolution.  That is, it was a revolution that sought to conserve—or, perhaps more accurately, to preserve—a set of traditions and privileges, rather than to tear them up, root and branch.

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The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War

On Wednesday, 13 May 2020, blogger Audre Myers posted a piece at Nebraska Energy Observer entitled “What Do You Think?”  The piece prompted readers to answer the question “Would we be the America we are if the Civil War had never been fought?”

Below is my response, which you can also view here.  The TL;DR summary of my answer is that, while it was good that the Union was preserved and that slavery was abolished, it came with some heavy fees—the expansion of federal power (and the loss of liberty inverse to federal expansion), the erosion of States’ rights, and—most importantly—the triumph of Yankee progressivism over Southern traditionalism.

The temptation is always to reduce the American Civil War to being ONLY about slavery.  Slavery was, obviously, a huge part of the Southern economy and culture, and motivated a great deal of Southern politics at the national level.  But slavery was not the be-all, end-all of the “Lost Cause.”  There were legitimate constitutional questions at play.  Indeed, an open question—one the American Civil War closed by force of arms—was that, having opted into the Constitution, could States later opt out?  John Randolph of Roanoke, among others, seemed to believe this question was legitimate, and such an exit was allowed—even acknowledged.

Of course, the slavery narrative serves modern progressive ends.  It allows for throwing the baby—States’ rights—out with the bathwater.  Suddenly, States’ rights becomes “code,” in the progressive mind, for justifying slavery or segregation.  Yes, States’ rights was invoked to support wicked things.  Nevertheless, it is fully constitutional—just ask the Tenth Amendment.

Nullification and secession were dangerous doctrines, but the loss of them also meant that the federal government could expand with far fewer limits on its power.  The States lost the nuclear option, so to speak, of bucking unconstitutional acts (although, to be fair, States can challenge such acts more peacefully through lawsuits against the federal government—even if those cases are heard in federal courts).  Seeing as we’re living in times when a peaceful separation between fundamentally opposed ideologies may be the most attractive option for the future of our nation, it’s worth reviewing the history of these ideas.

Well, that’s enough preamble.  After two days of self-indulgent, girly navel-gazing, it’s time for some substance:

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The Spectator Turns 10,000

The British libertarian magazine The Spectator reached its 10,000th issue.  It is the only magazine ever to reach this milestone.  It began life as a newspaper in July 1828, becoming a magazine “more than 100 years” later, although it was apparently always a weekly.

Throughout its history, The Spectator took radical positions for the times.  They supported the expansion of the franchise in Britain in 1832, and supported the Union in the American Civil War at a time when many Britons were concerned about the impact of cotton shortages on the British textile industry than they were about slavery (correctly or not, The Spectator cast the American Civil War in moral terms).

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