The Democratic Republic of My Condo
“Civilization recedes to the mean. Always.”-Paul Kersey
According to Business Insider’s Social Progress Index (SPI), which accounts for and collates the three primary indexes of Basic Human Needs (medical care, shelter, and sanitation), Foundations of Well-Being (education, technology, and life expectancy/quality of life), and Opportunity (freedoms, rights, and general tolerance), the following countries, in reverse order, score the worst among all global nations in SPI:
1. Ivory Coast
9. Sierra Leone
17. The Central African Republic
The following countries, in reverse order, score the best among all global nations in SPI:
1. The United States of America
9. New Zealand
11. The United Kingdom
12. The Netherlands
Something might be off in my ability to track patterns, but I think I’m noticing something here. Is the message to always bet on black? This is going to get really dense for a couple of paragraphs, but bear with me:
The modern critical theorist engages with orthodox narratives of history and ideology, critiquing them, working against linear expectation, and identifying and dramatizing margins of society that are often subordinated or neglected in such discourses. By engaging with critical theory via New Historicist theory and materialist reconstructions, in addition to post-modernism, neo-feminism, and many other “isms,” the would-be theorist aligns himself with a critical praxis, though it is crucial to note here the many valid criticisms of this “reading by context” in the scholarly realm dating at least to Karl Kroeber’s Romantic Poetry: Recent Revisionary Criticism (1993).  Borrowing from Simon Kovesi, the “critical situation is far from the pseudo-objective historicizing interviewer’s glare” where the theorist is not so much “truffling for hard historical facts amidst the irritating mud and clutter of ideological art,” but rather investigating what Stephen Greenblatt describes as “a subtle, elusive set of exchanges, a network of trades and trade-offs, a jostling of competing representations, a negotiation between joint stock companies.” The historicist method for Kovesi “allow(s) our historical prejudices, our critical horizons, to be openly assessed alongside the creative present (note: my emphasis) as a way of complicating our recourse to the historical past.”
New Historicism as applied to critical practice as a discipline has the potential to interrogate texts and ideas that readers may traditionally have assumed were fully comprehensible on their own terms. A poem written in the past that perhaps seemed to dwell on a certain idea almost to an excess or exclusion of something else enables the reader to consider when interrogating this, or any, poem: what was the subtext? What was the poem not saying that was so important to understanding what was actually on the page? Though the author could never anticipate the myriad ways a reader may approach their text, the ability to embed “clues” and textual traces that suggest interpretation is key. The post-modernists believe in an almost infinite number of possible interpretations, and unlike what we may call more traditional notions of interpretation that are constrained by specific types of evidence or expectations of reality, the post-moderns view texts through this lens (and you can extrapolate this out “into the world” through societal structures and norms, the economy, inter-personal relationships—the possibilities, like the interpretations, are endless).
The post-modern leap from the page to the “real world,” however, must eventually run head-on into reality. As much as intellectuals may want to conceptualize and theorize, at a certain point it should become obvious no amount of “should be” will apply to a given situation. And yet these Leftist academics and theorists continue to push forward, stretching the bounds of logic past snapping. If the Central African Republic, despite vast mineral and oil reserves, is by SPI the worst country on earth to live in, it must be the fault of the French. Finland scoring highest on SPI can’t have anything to do with having among the highest average IQs in the world, can it? Plus, the colonialism argument doesn’t really hold up there—the Central African Republic has been independent since 1960, but Finland lost territory to the USSR in the Winter War and was in many ways a Soviet client state until late in the 20th century. And anyway, if colonialism is the cause of contemporary post-colonial struggles, why, without fail, did every single African country see its standard of living plunge after gaining independence? Why did Haiti become a living hell after executing all their whites and “writing the constitution in their blood”?
It’s the same thought process that says if we can’t find instances of actual bigotry, it must be unconscious bias! Bias training in the workplace, for example, is not only based on extremely flimsy and dubious ideas of what constitutes bias and how that might manifest itself, but even the creator of the test most commonly used in the workplace admitted there are deep flaws and it probably should not be used. What’s more, several studies have proven that unconscious bias training has the exact opposite effect of what it is supposed to accomplish, like so much else employed by the Left.
Beneath the civilizing veneer and constraints of society, individuals retain the latitude—or in certain circumstances are encouraged—to act in ways that seem brutal or even savage. The figure of Attila and his barbarian cohorts I’ve discussed in earlier pieces presented themselves as a vehicle for exploring this insight. The romanticizing of the Other and the mysterious and certainly mis-understood figure of Attila the Hun suggested a view that would offer multiple lenses through which to examine a range of actual issues associated with gender, the politics of acquisition (resources, land, influence), identity, and location. In short, I endeavored to view Attila through the myriad lenses of critical theory in order to understand how the Left frames their worldview. I did not lose sight, however, of other, and in my estimation more valid (but certainly not without nuance), ways of viewing Attila, barbarians, and Western civilization. The literary and historical contexts from Rome to modern-day nations serve as critical dividing lines, where an incomplete understanding of historical and contemporary events—or subscribing to a different paradigm, including ideological—can seriously impinge on one’s ability to frame and process both singular events and broader narratives.
Inspecting the precise intersections—yes, there’s that buzzword again!—of critical and creative is perhaps not as essential as understanding the processes of reflexive criticism. There would seem to be an inherent over-lay between co-texts, both with authorial intent and contexts. Can one help but be influenced by the political climate of the day? Even if a certain engagement with politics and world events is not explicit within a text, we should consider the environment the author is writing in and how this may impact their world-view and the type of text, or indeed any writing, including criticism, which they may produce.
In my own work this move toward the margins is consciously and quite literally accomplished through the exploration of Rome’s interaction with the “barbarians” along an increasingly fluid border as the empire declined. Our current notions of borders and boundaries have become even more fluid in many ways—and more fixed in others—and yet perhaps a positive perception of the Other, of the barbarian, is more pronounced than ever. The Left’s erasure of native populations as a kind of penance, while vehemently protecting others, is claimed to be a foil to the Western hetero-patriarchal linear through-line, engaging with modernity, but complicating it; engaging with history, but complicating it. Certainly what happens when the barbarians come through the open gate is not considered, and even in the face of mounting evidence that we have borders for good reason, the barbarism at home must be minimized, ignored, or, even better for the Left somehow twisted to reflect the unique evils of Western civilization and its white progenitors.
If whites were so bad, though, why do “People of Color” flock to their nations, cities, and neighborhoods? And why don’t whites stick around to enjoy the abundant benefits of diversity once a municipality or neighborhood hits 30% non-white? At this tipping point, “white flight” increases exponentially. This isn’t always attributable to crime, but it often revolves around an increase in degeneracy and the declining standard of living due to the in-coming non-white populations, East Asians generally excepted (that said, though less violent even than whites, the importation of their alien customs and the demographic transformation of the locale in question remains the driving factor behind “white flight” in many cities with large Asian populations, most pronounced in California). Here are the top ten most violent cities in America according to Forbes, ranked by the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, and their attendant demographics:
1. Detroit, Michigan (82% black)
2. St. Louis, Missouri (49% black)
3. Oakland, California (27% black, 25% Hispanic)
4. Memphis, Tennessee (65% black)
5. Birmingham, Alabama (74% black)
6. Atlanta, Georgia (54% black)
7. Baltimore, Maryland (64% black)
8. Stockton, California (40% Hispanic, 11% black)
9. Cleveland, Ohio (53% black)
10. Buffalo, New York (39% black, 10% Hispanic)
By murder rate per 100,000 residents, forty-three of the top fifty are in Central and South America (wonder why so many Americans want the southern border enforced?), and the rest are either in South Africa or, embarrassingly, the United States. There are other considerations of violence here in the West, such as the rampant sexual assaults, sex trafficking, and female genital mutilation propagated by the Muslim community in No-Go Zones, and other metrics of criminality and degeneracy, such as illiteracy, drug abuse, and the like, but this data should help illustrate that barbarism isn’t some relic of Genghis Khan, or confined to war-torn countries abroad, but it walks among us in our supposedly civilized societies and can often erupt without warning—and what’s worse is we often enable it.
Critical theorists in their many colors want to make the familiar foreign, subvert the status quo, and work against the chronological through-line so that the reader is meant not only to question the accepted “truths” of the past, but also those we inhabit today, which can be a double-edged sword. With New Historicism added to the palette, the approach may work to create a space where there is space. The reader must do the work to find the text “in negative.” For example, when a Roman patrician is praising the empire and speaking in generalities and platitudes, what is he is really saying? In this double-speak, where is the attitude toward the empire, where is the relationship with power, what kind of voice is this? When modern references to cultural touch-stones enter the New Historicist “biographies,” what is being communicated? Is a pop culture reference the kind of extrapolative sign-post of which Nicholas Roe saw in Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” with relation to Shakespeare or Milton?
What is most important about New Historicism, but can also work against it, is this method of complication; it does not have to be employed at the exclusion of everything else, and yet it often is. It becomes one more tool available to the critical theorist, and it is a versatile one. It affords the critic a tremendous amount of freedom divorced from constraint. Our cognizance of what is going on in the text and the threads that we want to pull out of the texts—whether or not we “choose” to construct the text around absence—can be reinforced by historicist theory and encourage a rigorous attention to detail but not necessarily at the exclusion or at the expense of interpretive lateral movement.
Credit where credit is due, there are some aspects of critical theory that, if harnessed, can indeed be useful, particularly in the fledgling realm of creative writing in the academy. But with a thoroughly corrupted academic environment that makes a mockery of peer review and a culture of intellectual excess and indulgence, not to mention extreme censorship and group-think, any potential for serious scholarship in certain disciplines, if it was ever there, was severely damaged decades ago. I’ve mentioned a few times before that the various disciplines—Cultural Marxists, neo-feminists, and yes, New Historicists—are bleeding into each other and are melding into what I’ve often referred to as a kind of Leftist stew utterly lacking in coherence, hence why I often use many of these terms interchangeably. I believe that you could borrow select elements from critical theory, as I’ve done, but for someone to adhere totally to, say, “a post-colonial perspective” should automatically invalidate that person’s opinion, as they are nothing more than an ideologue regurgitating moribund ideas and a static worldview that is tethered completely to a discipline that, to quote Peter Boghossian, “Manufactures its own epistemology.” It is intellectually bankrupt and has a tenuous, at best, relationship to serious scholarship.
Critical theory has become a self-justifying morass of bad ideas that continue to be amplified and distorted into even worse ones, and they are shoved down college students’ throats in mandatory junk science classes by Affirmative Action hires, ethno-masochists, and dykes with a massive collective chip on their shoulders. Having an axe to grind and perpetuating fictitious concepts like “micro-aggressions” doesn’t make you an intellectual, sorry to break it to you.
It is in this environment of un-challenged and un-substantiated dogma that myths such as the Noble Savage and its attendant anti-white rhetoric are embraced and are able to take root and blossom in new, mutated forms. If only these terrible whites hadn’t come and taken everything then Africa today would look like Wakanda! To quote Ice Cube, “Not hardly.” Take it away, Thomas Jackson:
Part of the anti-white mentality now prevailing in academic circles is the view that war and its attendant horrors are recent, largely European inventions. Before contact with the West, we are told, primitive man lived in harmony with nature and at peace with his neighbors. Even prehistoric Europeans were happy and peace-loving until their own civilization corrupted them…The myth of the noble primitive is now a central part of the multicultural assault on the West… Now that tribalism has been pushed so far into the jungle that whites almost never encounter it, they can all get sentimental over a bogus, idyllic past. As Professor [Lawrence] Keeley notes, “the privileged few who . . . are most cushioned from physical discomfort and inconvenience by industrial technology are the most nostalgic about the primitive world.”…High mobilization rates and frequent battles mean very high cumulative casualty rates. Prof. Keeley calculates that every year during the 20th century, Germany and Russia lost an average 0.15 percent of their populations to combat. No other modern countries come close. For primitive societies, however—the Chippewa Indians, Fiji islanders, the Dinka of West Africa, and certain New Guinean tribes—annual battle deaths could exceed one percent, or seven times the most lethal “civilized” rate. Prof. Keeley notes that as a result it was not uncommon for tribes and sub-tribes to be driven to extinction by warfare.
Prof. Keeley leaves no doubt that warfare among the savages was cruel business. Surrender was never an option, since captives were always killed on the spot or tortured. The Iroquois, for example, liked to let women and children torture captives to death over a period of several days. Then they would eat parts of the body—often the heart. Mutilation and trophy-taking were common, and some tribes left a distinctive “signature” on enemy corpses. Some New Guineans, for example, sliced off enemy genitals and stuffed them into the body’s mouth…Prof. Keeley says that both ethnographic and archaeological evidence for indigenous scalping is overwhelming. Scalping had a double purpose: Primitives often thought that mutilating an enemy would inconvenience him in the after-life, and battle trophies were proof of work well done. Captive women were sometimes taken home as wives. In some societies women also had an economic value because they provided most of the farm labor. The Maoris of New Zealand, however, were not so chivalrous. During battle they disabled women so they could later rape, kill, and eat them at leisure. Prof. Keeley notes that although it is fashionable to claim that cannibalism is the stuff of hysterical missionary tales, it was unquestionably practiced by Maoris, some American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Aztecs, and some Africans.
Cannibalism is indeed still prevalent in many parts of Asia and Oceania and especially Africa today, and thanks to multi-culturalism and open borders, it hasn’t stayed confined there. You can read all about that in my article entitled “Not 28 Days Later, but Paris in 2018” at Defendevropa.org.
 Karl Kroeber and Gene W. Ruoff, Romantic Poetry: Recent Revisionary Criticism (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993).
 Simon Kovesi, “John Clare’s Horizons”, Essays in Criticism LXIII.4 (October 2013), pp. 375-92, at p. 379.
 Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley: University of California, 1988), p. 7.
 Kovesi, pp. 389-90.
 Wakanda is a futuristic, independent nation situated within the boundaries of Ethiopia in the Black Panther universe, but the irony of such a location is that Ethiopia is that rarest of African nations that was never colonized by Europeans, though the Italians briefly occupied the kingdom from 1936-1941.