So I found the libertard motherlode

Monday, 09 March, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Ok, maybe not the motherlode, but check this shit out :

The banality and sense of entitlement of rich students at Harvard left John H. Summers feeling his teaching had been degraded to little more than a service to prepare clients for monied careers.

john-summersIf you're curious, he's the derp on the right. Nobody in particular, he was "assistant professor" which is how they call the bus boys nowadays, since they made all the waitresses "associates".i He's most recently been "launching a magazine" like everyone else and trying to make the most of not very much at all.ii Needless to say it's not going all that very well.iii

But let us not dwell on the sadness of youth all squanderediv, and instead consider the remnants of yore, when the world seemed brimming with "possibilities" for the youthful "assistant" of Derpy Studiesv.

I joined the staff of the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University in 2000. As tutor, then as lecturer, I advised senior theses, conceived and conducted freshman and junior seminars and taught the year-long sophomore tutorial, Social Studies 10, six times. The fractured nature of my appointment, renewed annually for six successive years while never amounting to more than 65 per cent of a full-time position in any one year, kept me on the margins of prestige and promotion even as it kept me there long enough to serve three chairmen of social studies, two directors of study and three presidents of Harvard.

Writing exists primarily so that the reader may experience vicariously the biterness of the author's life, and spare himself the actual Can you taste the bitter libertard tears ? So then remember : SSDNW.

The post-pubescent children of notables for whom I found myself holding curricular responsibility included the offspring of an important political figure, of a player in the show business world and the son of real-estate developer Charles Kushner.

The remonstrant eunuch is affraid of two out of three powerful agents he vaguely almost met back when he was still tolerated at a small table in the corner of the palatial mess hall. The one he's not affraid of is Charles Kushner. Do you know why ?vii

In the first meeting of my first seminar of my first year, Kushner's son Jared entered my classroom and promptly took the seat across from mine, sharing the room, so to speak. I was drawing an annual salary of $15,500 (£7,700) and borrowing the remainder for survival in Cambridge, in order that he might be given the best possible education. Jared later purchased The New York Observer for $10 million, part of which he made buying and selling real estate while also attending my seminar. As publisher, one of his first moves was to reduce pay for the Observer's stable of book reviewers. I had been writing reviews for the Observer in an effort to pay my debts.


No, seriously, it's not because the stable is worthless that their pay got cut. It's because Jared is mean.

Most of the students I encountered had already embraced the perspectives of the rich, the powerful and the unalienated, and they seemed to have done so with appalling ease. In keeping with the tradition of the American rich they worked exceptionally long hours, they were aggressive in exercising their talents, and on the ideological features of market capitalism they were unanimous. Their written work disclosed the core components of the consensus upheld by their liberal parents: the meaning of liberty lies in the personal choice of consumers; free competition in goods and morals regulates value; technological progress is an unmixed good; war is unfortunate.

Interesting that there'd be someone in this world to be bitter about that.

O wait. The "perspectives" of the losers. Sorry, I forget.

Around this consensus crystallised an ethos. One of my less affluent students, the son of a postman, asked me once for advice about a financial investment. He said his friends had told him to invest "in prisons", meaning one of the private companies winning the management contracts for correctional facilities. I told him what I thought about this recommendation; but only later, when I learnt how little he had to invest ($2,000 was his total savings), did I allow myself to think I understood the significance of his question. No amount of money may be permitted to lie idle if something may be got for nothing. The capitalist theory of life as a game disallows uncapitalised advantages.

Wait, for nothing ? Seriously ?

The drama of the libertard unravels before your very eyes. On one hand, the rich New York (or New Jersey, as the case may be these days) Jew, doing what you're supposed to do. (Yes, you too.) On the other... Well on the other, drama!

If you have no money, you in fact confront the horns of a very stringent dilemma. Either you put yourself to work at the real task of resolving this difficulty, to the exclusion of all other considerations, or else you dedicate yourself to the imaginary job of "thinking about it".

The problem with the latter approach is that there are two kinds of thinking, and only one's thinking. The mouse example is perfectly illustrative of this distinction, but there can readily be had others. For instance : if you're hungry, devising a means to obtain food is thinking. Considering whether you're really hungry or not, and "thinking" ie, calling to mind previous moments of your own history when you were hungry (inasmuch as they're not summoned to be mined for practical suggestions), the idle churn of the brain going through cat picures is not thinking. It is called thinking, through linguistic abuse, but otherwise it's "women in tech" and "black people at Harvard" sort of "thinking".

Meanwhile the problem with the former approach is that... shit. Two thousand in savings ? That's almost as much as John H. Summers had himself!

Do you see the problem here ? This son of a postman, finding himself at an impressionable age among some cvasi-peers that understand the difference is willing, under their influence, to try. To actually do something, something real. To try to matter. This fundamentally invalidates identitarian choices made by Summers himself, who is not either young enough to be still educable, nor in the correct contextviii and so it predictably sticks in his memory - and it predictably requires aggression. That nonsensical "something for nothing" stuck in there isn't, as you might be tempted to see it, some sort of metastatic communism blown beyond all sense. No, it is just the laughably ineffectual swing of a fighter off balance. The postman's son hit him so hard it winded him, and as he's falling over he's also flailing his papier mache lance is all.

The problem with the former approach is, in the immortal words of Tennessee Williams,

Mendacity! You won't... you won't live with mendacity, but you're an expert at it. The truth is pain and sweat... it's paying bills and making love to a woman that you don't love anymore. The truth is dreams that don't come true...and nobody prints your name in the paper till you die.ix Now, here. The truth is you never growed up. Grown-ups don't hang up on friends. And they don't hang up on their wives. They don't hang up on life. Now that's the truth that you can't face.

The problem with the former approach is this : you work your ass off to turn a buck into a buck and a half. And then, all the while, you work your butt off at turning your kid into the sort of kid that'll turn a buck and a half into two and a quarter, rather than into a nickle or dime. And you work your butt off at turning some woman into a woman that'll have that sort of kid. And then, if you succeed, your name'll have two bucks and change to it, in three decades. And then, if your kid also tries, and if he also succeeds, there's going to be three and then five and ten and fifty eight generations later there's going to be enough small change around to pay 1.8 billion for an office building in some other place. Because no, you won't make it in New York, that's already taken.

And then, things suddenly start making sense. Yes, the attack on marriage is an attack by the rich on the poor, trying to maintain their relative situations. If you can't find the sort of woman that you need, you can't move from one to two and there you rot. Yes, the attack on savingsx, through taxation and through inflation and through the patently insane ideology of consumerism is an attack by the rich on the poor, trying to maintain their relative situations.

Biseptol works exceptionally well against a wide spectrum of bacteria on the same principle : sulfamethoxazole inhibits one particular spot in bacterial folate synthesisxi, while trimethoprim inhibits anotherxii. The combination of "education" with state controlled economy works precisely the same way : if it can be made sure you need a long time to become powerfulxiii, all the better. If that time can be extended past the duration of one lifetime, and especially if the likeliness of finding adequate women can be significantly lowered, then it is almost a guarantee that you will never come to matter. Even if you personally manage to escape the Scylla & Charybdis of college and divorce, your kid probably won't, and even if you get two in a row it does nothing should you need seven straight wins. So...

So you come to become John H. Summers : you can't matter, or so you believe, and therefore you dream. What do you dream if you were one that had no real impact ? What do dreams themselves dream ?

I happen to know. It's quite visible, isn't it ? They dream that they will change the world!

Exactly so. A ghost is immaterial, which means that no matter what it may do, it may never interact with matter. But it tries, and in its tortured, hopeless id perhaps even convinces itself of something or the other. Success, perhaps, as an actuality, as a virtuality, as a future thing... who knows. Who cares ?

John H. Summers imagines that his impotent hands, his impotent words, his dreamed existence - not even real to the degree of cardboard cutouts made in the shape porn actresses - will impact, will alter, will change!!11 that which they who can, they who do, they who actually exist bring forth in the world. Exactly like the fat girl who thinks imagines "it's all genetic" : he has no other choice.

The drama of the libertard : he knows enough to know he will never matter, and he pretends to not understand what the implications are. Because... what else ? What would you have him do ?

Why do you insult him so ?

I asked each of my seminars whether they had so far encountered a teacher they genuinely appreciated. If so, what aspects did they most admire? Invariably they said good teachers made them "feel comfortable". To sense the sterility one had only to listen: "shopping period" was the name of the week they selected their classes. Once, when I proposed to teach a junior seminar entitled "Anarchist cultural criticism in America", I was instructed to go ahead only if I first changed the title to "America and its critics". Here was the same method of cultural hygiene that has transformed Harvard Square from a bohemian enclave into an outdoor mall.

What else is to be expected of servants ? Of course the waitress is there for my comfort, why else ?

The argument is constructed to serve a certain set of sensibilities, of waitresses that perceive themselves "really artistes", who faintly heard of the entire "epater le bourgeois" thing and delude themselves, on the route from the workplace to the rubber ball place that hey, "one day". Right ?

So they called it "shopping period", big whoop. How is it "sterile" rather than "irreverent" ?

(But on the topic of "Anarchist cultural criticism" : I'm kind of curious how many people are teaching #bitcoin-assets. If the answer is, as I well expectxiv, zero, it is directly evident why the waitresses are not regarded as anything else by the patrons. Because they aren't, that's why! What would you think of a waitress posing as a "financial expert" that had never heard or ever mentioned compound interest ? Not a very convincing pose, is it ?)

Grading, the one instrument of power I wielded

You see ? I rest.


  1. ELAINE: (Gives Jerry a look) Do you know how embarrassing this is to someone in my position?
    JERRY: (Confused) What's your position?
    ELAINE: I am an associate!
    GEORGE: Hey, me too.
    (A waitress, passing their table, speaks up)
    WAITRESS: Yeah, me too. []
  2. Speaking of this, here's a little convo from earlier today :

    On Sun, March 8, 2015 9:44 am, wrote:

      > Hi,
      > My name is Jonathan Millet, CEO of NewsBTC
      > I am writing you you to let you know that we will soon be having a live
      > trading room on our website where your clients and other traders will be
      > able to see live trades
      > We have about 5k daily visitors and 61k on alexa
      > We will soon be the biggest BTC news website
      > I am inquiring if you want to sponsor the trading room for 3 months. We
      > will have 2 exchanges/brokers sponsoring the trading room overall
      > I look forward to your response
      > Best Regards
      > Jonathan Millet
      > CEO
      > NewsBTC

    It's not clear either why you think I would want to support your ill hatched scheme, or why you imagine your venue has any sort of chance in this space given my support for qntra.

    For that matter, why are you writing privately to me when you don't even know me, while ignoring the correct avenue for aspiring nobodies such as yourself ? Go join the WoT, do your #bitcoin-assets log reading for a year like every other BTC noob and so forth.

    All the best,
    Mircea Popescu

    OP CEO of NewsBTC... initiate headdesk... heddesk intensifies... I wonder how many minutes pass by now between instances of people deciding to sling pretense for a living. They've got counters like that for cancer diagnoses and live births and whatnot.

    MP Heh. I wonder what dood does next.
    OP He'll show you!!1 Big newsbtc reveal that mircea popescu is FROM LATINIA. Thus freed from the mystery, your clients(tm) can now proceed to look at his rounded corners at the much more reasonable rate of whoopsit'sgone.

    MP Hahaha
    OP Srsly tho, tried and true, hissyfit + gives up in a coupla to a few months. What else. []

  3. Remember the inept newsweek goon, Leah McGrath Goodman ? The chick with the mortgage she can't pay on her own ? Like that other chick, like each and every other chick in this quagmire of chickdom ?

    That's the thing. It looks like it should work, on the surface. If you don't dig too deeply, you may even come to the mistaken belief it worked for others. Meanwhile... Social Studies Do Not Work.

    Understand this, as the principal thing your future survival depends on : crime may or may not pay - but a lifetime dedicated to "social studies" is exactly, precisely, necessarily and unavoidably a life surrendered to failure. And you'll find yourself one day, naked on a medicine ball, no longer all that fresh, blindfolded and with your father dressed as a clown propping you from behind.

    This isn't a "maybe". This is a certainty. []

  4. Or on the banality of the man's statement - in particular the observation that all this "scholarship in nonsense" exists primarily as a merit washing device is anything but novel or for that matter controversial. []
  5. Which somehow brings to mind Lieberman's resounding "it is forbidden to have a course in nonsense - but the history of nonsense, that is scholarship." []
  6. If you care, after being dumped by Harvard the author moved on to a prestigious position as "visiting scholar" at Boston College's Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life. You know, just like in Sex and the City.

    Oh, and he also writes books. You know, also just like... []

  7. Because he was meanwhile convicted. "Tax evasion", which is what the current Ottomans call "treason". Well... treason that didn't succeed, at any rate.

    And since we're on it, the son John Summers probably met would be Joshua Kushner, who actually graduated in 2008. The whopper of that pack, Jared, for whom daddy Kushner had to make a 2.5 mn donation (to Harvard, mind, not to the dishwashers working there) was out by 2003. And remember Ivanka Trump ?

    Oh and by the way : Josh raised 40mn for some nutty "reinventing health insurance" thingee. Almost as much as coinbase! And almost from the same people! []

  8. Those kids despise him, like they don't despise their classmate - and for a very good reason : the classmate's yet educable. The failure - no longer. []
  9. Oh, and you thought this "conspiracy" of the State confederacy of dounces against the individual is new ? Ha. []
  10. Remember Buffett v2.0 with rounded corners and an etatist agenda going on about how "his secretary is paying more in tax than he is" ?

    All the while omitting to point out that the secretary makes a salary, which he doesn't make. Because he has the option of whether to pay himself a salary or not, an option the secretary does't have, as he's not about to work for free. And Buffett deliberately exercises this option in such a manner as to not pay taxes. Just like he exercises his option of sending the IRS a check as large as he feels like, also in a manner so as to not pay any taxes. And just as he exercises his option to omit to mention that higher taxes wouldn't hit him anyway, like they don't hit me, or Soros, or any of the Kushners. They'd just hit all the young wolves who choose not to be secretaries, and choose not to be loser "assistant professors" in the shared delusion of institutional life of schools, prisons and insane asylums. The ones that are trying to actually matter. []

  11. Much like humans, bacterias need folate to survive. Unlike humans, bacterias also synthesize their own. Sulfonamides (like sulfamethoxazole) are structural analogs and competitive antagonists of para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), thus interfering with the functioning of the dihydropteroate synthetase enzyme, while trimethoprim interferes with the functioning of the dihydrofolate reductase enzyme. Together, they manage to grind the folate cycle to a complete halt. []
  12. Amusingly enough - much like is the case with "a college education", the affinity of trimethoprim for specifically bacterial dihydrofolate reductase is about three to four thousand times greater than its affinity for human dihydrofolate reductase. Which is to say : Harvard ruins poor kids way way way more than it ruins rich kids. []
  13. Not get rich. Very different things. []
  14. Why do I so expect ? Here's a bit from an older offering by the same author (in Counterpunch) :

    Chomsky and Academic History

    Noam Chomsky has written more than 30 books over the last three decades. Yet neither the Journal of American History, nor the American Historical Review, nor Reviews in American History has reviewed them. If the journals had overlooked one or two of Chomsky’s books, then the omissions might not rise to the status of a problem, and could be attributed to a combination of reasons each of them incidental to Chomsky himself. If the journals had in fact devoted attention to him, but the preponderance of the attention had been hostile, then they might stand accused of harboring a bias. This is the most respectable way to disagree about such matters. But the journals have not done enough to deserve the accusation. They have not reviewed a single one of his books. Chomsky is one of most widely read political intellectuals in the world*. Academic history pretends he does not exist.

    Why is this so? **

    A moment’s reflection rules out the easiest explanations. No formal policy could have held up against multiple changes in the editorships of the journals. Even a tacit conspiracy is unthinkable given the upheavals of the last three decades. The journals have absorbed, presented, and guided an explosion of historical writing on dozens of subjects. How skillfully they have done so is open to debate. But their formal commitment to intellectual pluralism has remained intact. As the editor of the Journal of American History wrote in 2004, "Through our book reviews, we aim to serve as the journal of record for American history."

    Could it be that Chomsky does not figure in the record because he writes about topics of little interest to historians? His books contain arresting arguments about the history of the Cold War, genocide, terrorism, democracy, international affairs, nationalism, social policy, public opinion, health care, and militarism, and this merely begins the list. In addressing these subjects he ranges across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, paying special attention to the emergence of the United States. Two of his major themes, namely, the "rise of the West" in the context of comparative "global history," are also major areas of interest for professional historians, never more so than today.

    Could it be that Chomsky is left out because he does not qualify as a professional historian? The journals have reviewed such nonhistorians as Robert Bellah, Randall Collins, Michel Foucault, Clifford Geertz, Nathan Glazer, Irving Howe, Seymour Martin Lipset, Richard Rorty, Edward Said, Garry Wills, and John Updike because the books in question show a strong historical component, or contain implications for historiography. (Would it be cheap to add that Chomsky obeys a stricter method than some professional historians have obeyed lately? He presents evidence with an extensive record of citation, and keeps the rhetorical content of his writings extremely low.)

    Could it be that Chomsky is left out because he does not divorce his politics from his history? Academic historians regularly use their skills as instruments of political abuse and intimidation, as Sean Wilentz did in his testimony before Congress a few years ago, or as David Landes did in a letter to the New York Times in 2000, in which he wrote, "If Mr. Nader thinks people will forget that he has been willing to bring grave harm to his country, he is in for a big surprise."

    If this sort of thing suggested acceptable grounds for exclusion from the community of scholars, few historians would have learned to honor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.. Not only is Schlesinger manifestly a liberal historian. He has put his skills at the direct service of a great political power. A profession that made the divorce of politics and history a condition of entry would have packed away Schlesinger, Landes, and Wilentz in disgrace a long time ago. Professional history does not (and should not) do anything of the kind. The same point holds with only slightly less force in the case of Henry Kissinger. Reviews in American History, having passed up all opportunities to review Chomsky’s books, described Kissinger’s Diplomacy (1994) as "a masterful, brilliant, and provocative account of world politics and American foreign policy from Cardinal Richelieu to the end of the Cold War." The review did not take up the question of Kissinger’s war crimes.

    Schlesinger’s liberalism mirrors the dominant ideology in history writing. But to stop here would be to dump the whole question into the realm of biases. It would be to employ a loose sociology of knowledge to argue that the journals serve some ideologies to the exclusion of other ideologies. The trouble with this reasoning is that the journals in fact have become open to ideas that claim to have surpassed liberalism: postcolonalism, poststructuralism, and so on. More to the point, they have not been shy in throwing open their pages to Marxism. To speak "objectively," Eric Hobsbawm remains a member of one of the most murderous political parties of the twentieth century, and his books are vigorously discussed. Why Schlesinger and Hobsbawm, but not Chomsky?


    * He is, notably, exactly the only USian who had the common decency to publicly admit that the quite very heroic Joe Stack had legitimate grievances, and should they not be resolved they will then necessarily bring about the end of that miserable system. In this, we agree.

    ** One used to wonder why "academic business" ignored Warren Buffett for most of his life - certainly the part of his life where he was still personally important. One wonders all sorts of silly things, while the answers lie directly visible in plain sight.

    "Academic", which is to say institutionalized, which is to say statal anything will forever ignore individuals. It has to. It depends, for its continued existence, on the continued slumber of reason. The one thing that is antithetical to State (called "the Devil" in older texts) is the awake conscience.

    For as long as anyone is personally powerful, for as long as any one's own individuality speaks, the State will do its very best to ignore. Again, it has to : the conclave of the mediocre can not put forth any pretense to existence outside of the pretense that exceptional individuals are absent. []

Category: Meta psihoza
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4 Responses

  1. Your jealousy speaks volumes. You are so transparent, it is embarassing.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 9 March 2015

    What am I supposed to be jealous on, here ?

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 10 March 2015

    Gigaom is winding down and its assets are now controlled by the company’s lenders. It is not how you want the story of a company you founded to end.

    Talk about note iii in a grand way.

  1. [...] yes, I am aware some people draw breath in caves and crevices here and there that imagine "liberalism" is a thing and California a cultural capital and so on and so forth. The tendency of idiots to [...]

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