Archive for the ‘Skepticism’ Category

On the Poor Career Prospects for People with Postgraduate Degrees : 1

August 17, 2019 14 comments

A few years ago, I wrote a post about how the defined and stable career trajectory is now dead in west and west-aping countries such as Japan and South Korea. Some months after that, I wrote about how the hiring practices of corporations in west have shortened the length of semi-stable career for most people to about 15 years. Then, about a year ago, I wrote a series on the long term social, economic and cultural effects of career insecurity. While they don’t make cheerful reading, it is interesting to note that these and my other older posts (pre-2016) on this general area (link 1, link 2, link 3) anticipated the rise of pseudo-populists such as Trump, the alt-right and popularity of socialism among “Millennials”. Also, have a look at my post on why rich and well-off (even in USA) are barely having any kids.

But let us get back to the topic of this post, and talk about something which I have often hinted to in previous posts on this topic. Ever wonder about the real career prospects for those with proper postgraduate education in the sciences and other related areas such as engineering. And yes.. this is relevant to issues other than the immediate future of western countries. What I am now going to describe, based on personal observations, is going to vindicate many of your darkest suspicions but also make you feel depressed. But before we talk about my observations, you should know a couple of facts about me. Longtime readers are probably aware that I came here and started my MSc when I was 20 years old in the later half of 1990s. After finishing it, I worked a couple of jobs in my field and then started my PhD in a proper STEM subject in mid-2000s and finished at the beginning of this decade. The point is, I have seen a lot more change than many others have seen.

To be more precise, I had a ringside seat to the demise of career security for smart people with postgraduate education in western countries. And don’t worry about me, I am still doing OK and will (knock on wood) continue to do so. But back to the topic at hand- What do my personal observations about the career trajectories of others who graduated a few years before myself, or alongside me, say about the overall situation. The very short answer is that it is already very bad and getting worse- if that is possible. While there are many ways to describe what I have witnessed, a chronological account of the careers of people who graduated a few years before me provides the best (if somewhat disturbing) insight into how things have gone to to shit.

While biomedical sciences have notorious for overproduction of graduates, until the mid-1990s most of them could get some half-decent jobs or at least transition into careers where their skills were useful. Somewhere between mid-1990s and 2000, that became much harder or no longer possible. To make a long story short, only those who went into to medical or dental school now have anything approaching “normal” careers. And even for them, things are pretty dismal. For starters, most are single, divorced or unhappily married with a single child. Out of the ten or so guys I know who took that route, only one has more than 2 children- and half have none. Almost every woman who went to medical school (around my age or younger) has either zero kids or just managed to squeeze one out in their late-30s. And they all look older than they should.

But at least they have some semblance of a career trajectory, because most of the rest (aka the majority) who did not get into medical school have none. Sure.. there are a few who have done OK in either academia or industry (usually the later) but most of them just seem to disappear. Confused? Let me explain. Over the years I have followed the careers of many PhD students who were smart, liked by their supervisors and generally expected to do OK in later life. But things did not work that way and many of them after promising starts and careers lasting for a decade or so, just disappear. To be clear, I am not suggesting they are dead or have commited suicide (though the later cannot be ruled out). It is just that their career in science seem to end and they stop updating their LinkedIn profiles. In almost every case, detailed internet searches failed to reveal much more than their current addresses and some more recent photos.

While I am sure that most are still alive, it is clear that they do not have well-paid or marginally prestigious jobs. Maybe they are bagging groceries at the supermarket, driving for Uber, delivering Pizza, tutoring kids or in one of those mediocre administrative positions which have proliferated in past 15 years. My point is that most of them are now doing jobs that require nothing more than an undergraduate degree. Isn’t that a terrible and cruel waste of human potential and hope? But wait.. it gets worse. Let me talk about the fate of a few people I used to know well in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And it gets depressing real fast..

When I was just finishing my MSc, there was a new postdoc from UK in the adjacent lab who had come here with his then-GF (also a postdoc). The guy was bright and competent, because within a couple of years he got a decent academic position back in UK. So far so good. Based on mutual acquaintances and PubMed, it seemed he was doing well for a decade or so. Sure.. his GF dumped him after a few years, but he seemed set for an OK career. Somewhere in 2012, his research output just stopped. My guess is that his job loss might have something to with post-2008 austerity politics in UK. Anyway.. he reemerged a few years later as proprietor of a small businesses selling dietary supplements. So a guy with a PhD, over 30 papers in decent journals and an academic career lasting almost a decade ended up hawking supplements like one of those scummy Instagram and FakeBook influencers.

Another person who did his MSc in an adjacent lab ended up running cell-phone kiosks in malls and is now selling insurance. Yet another PhD student who was considered to be very smart ended up moving to his home-city for a postdoc. He then regressed to working as a lab tech and eventually as a freelancer, the last I heard. At least, he lives in a place where his parents own a house. Another ambitious PhD student, after a couple of stints at prestigious labs as a postdoc, seems to have ended as a part-time freelancer at some research institute in another large city. The women seemed to have done a bit better, and more than a few ended up as scientific writers or mediocre administrative positions in corporations with varying degrees of stability. But in almost every case, there had no defined career with the degree of stability expended by their parents generation. Also, many of them either have no kids or one token child squeezed out in their late-30s.

To be clear, all of this occurred to people who studied, or worked, at prestigious research groups in one of the top two universities in that state. But wait.. it get worse. In the next part, I will tell you what happened to the careers of people who worked in the pharma sector between 2001 and 2008-2009. It is really bad.. to put it mildly. In future posts, I will also go in some detail about the dismal career prospects of people with postgraduate degree from well-regarded universities in subject such as Chemistry and Physics. Also degrees in engineering (various disciplines) from well regarded universities are no longer the ticket to a stable career. I hope to show you how all of this ties with rise of neoliberalism, de-industrialization and increased financialization of economy in western countries- and the death of hope.

I have a feeling that some of you might say something the lines of these people being lucky since they are still employed in jobs which pay more than median wage. Funny thing.. that is not the way things work in countries which harbor any hope for a better future. What I have described is how things typically unfold in countries that are in a steep and likely irreversible decline.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting YouTube Channel: Lindsay Ellis

August 15, 2019 1 comment

A few years ago, I came across a YouTube channel about critical analysis of films and TV show. It is likely that some of you might have also heard about Lindsay Ellis or watched a clip or two on her channel. While I don’t agree with a significant minority of her views, she does a pretty good and through analysis of whatever she is talking about. One does not have to agree with every view of another person to appreciate their competence. In any case, she does a much better job than almost every film and TV show review site on YouTube.

Clip #1: The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes is the second in a series of reviews she made about GOT. In my opinion, this one and its previous part are two of the best analysis about GOT and other similar large-budget HBO shows on YouTube. They go into a lot of detail why show like GOT and Westworld start so promisingly only to become sad clusterfucks.

Clip #2: The Hobbit: Battle of Five Studios (Part 2/2) is the second in a three part series about why the Hobbit “trilogy” was such an epic clusterfuck.. and ya, it was due to insatiable greed of, and short-sighted decisions made by beancounters at, big movie studios. I would also highly recommend watching Part I and Part III of this series.

What do you think? Comments?

Quick Thoughts on Trump’s Upcoming Order About Internet Monopolies

August 13, 2019 3 comments

A few days ago, I started seeing articles about people within the Trump administration leaking various drafts of an upcoming executive order which would allegedly “break the internet”. Other presstitutes have written pieces about how this order would “censor” the internet, and still others claim it would be “illegal” or something along those lines. As usual, my thoughts on this topic are nuanced and about the larger picture as opposed to most clickbait-type ‘hot takes’ found on the internet. Also, I am not going to pretend knowledge about the final version of that executive order nor will my views on this topic be popular with everyone.

So let us start by talking about the real reason why we are even having this discussion. It is no secret that the public image of internet monopolies, tech companies and basically anything they touch has suffered an irreversible decline during the past decade. Remember how you used to believe about Google, Amazon, FakeBook, Twitter, Apple etc were “innovators” in 2008-2009? Remember that time when most of you believed that Google could make no mistake and how their search engine used to just work. It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when Google did not deliberately crappify their products through generations of bad design or shove unpopular and monopolistic changes down their user’s throats. They once even had OK customer service. I know the previous sentence is hard to believe.. but it is true.

While Google has gone down the proverbial shitter to become an inferior version of IBM from the 1960s, it is clearly not the only tech company which taken that route. Indeed, I cannot think of a single internet or tech company which has not become an unpopular, inferior and shittier version of itself over the past decade. Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, FakeBook, Cisco, Twitter, Apple and even Intel have become sorry excuses of what they used to be a decade ago. Sure.. they have become more profitable and made their upper management much richer, but have lost the battle for their public image. But why would this matter? After all, monopolies and oligopolies don’t have to care about what their customers think.. right?

Regrettably for their autistic founders and sterile drones.. I mean workers, public image matters- even if you are a monopoly or oligopoly. That is why totalitarian governments in “communist” eastern bloc countries fell so quickly in the late 1980s to early 1990s. That is also why ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ works so well in China. The ability to deliver adequately, on time and fulfill public expectations is the most important predictor of whether an organization or institution retains public trust and good will. But why is it important to retain good will, if (as some autists at Google believe) one can manipulate perceptions at will. Well.. for starters, you cannot manipulate public perception over any significant length of time. Isn’t that obvious by now?

The second reason is more important and, as you will soon see, goes to the heart of the issue. Turns out, popular legitimacy is extremely important for medium- to long- term survival of any institution. Without such legitimacy even the most tyrannical institutions become fragile and implode under the slightest external stresses. Ever wonder why people in China have a far higher opinion of their government than people in USA. Here is a clue.. look at photos of the same part of any city in China from 1990 and today. Now do the same for USA. It is important to note that people who grew up in USA between 1933 and 1974 have a far higher opinion of government because they saw it largely deliver what was promised.

But how is any of this relevant to a proposed executive order which would gut legal protection to large social media platforms currently granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. See.. if something like this had been proposed by even an allegedly popular president like Obama in 2008, 2012 or even 2014, it would have elicited massive public outrage. There would have a series of large movements against such an idea, and a groundswell of popular support for tech companies. Do you see anything like that now, and don’t forget that Trump is an unpopular president by historical standards. So what changed between 2012-2014 and 2019? Well.. a lot, and none of it has helped the public image of internet and tech monopolies.

The precise moment when people started hating internet and tech monopolies varies from person to person, but here are some important milestones. For some, it was the progressive crapification of google maps and email starting sometime in 2012. For others, it was the SJW-led censorship in the wake of Gamergate in 2013. Many detested the underhanded tactics used by Microsoft to push Windoze 10 (aka spyware as operating system) on its customer base starting 2015. Others were mortified by Snowden’s disclosure about the nexus between large tech corporations and government surveillance agencies in 2013. Others started hating them after learning about how most smartphone apps spy on their users without explicit consent.

Still others got tired of a seemingly endless series of hostile site redesigns. Some got burned by interactions with Amazon, Paypal, Yelp, Uber and other “darlings” of tech sector. Many others have come to hate these corporations because of how they constantly mistreat and abuse their customers and this includes everyone from Microsoft and Apple to all those “voice assistants” which spy on you 24/7. Then there is Internet of Shit.. I mean Internet of Things, an idea so horrendous from a security viewpoint that I am still not sure whether anybody who buys “connected” and “smart” devices has any capacity for rational thought. And we haven’t even talked about arbitrary censorship etc on social media and sites such as YouTube.

To make a very long story short, internet and tech monopolies are now so hated and despised that a significant minority would vote for a presidential candidate whose sole campaign promise was to torture and kill anybody and everybody associated with this deeply tainted sector of the economy. And this is the environment in which Trump is going to sign his executive order about regulation internet monopolies in the near future. Regardless of how bad a solution his stupid flunkies come up with, it will be widely seen as good- if only because it shits on the aspy losers in Silly Valley and Seattle. And we have seen this dynamic before.. in 2016.

As some of you might remember, I was able to predict Trump winning the republican nomination and presidency because of my ability to sense the depth of hatred, contempt and disgust most people felt towards all those establishment parasites.. I mean politicians. It was this popular hatred for, and lack of trust in, certain institutions which allowed that orange conman to defeat 16 republicans and then HRC. We are likely to see a repeat of this, where even the most ineffectual and counterproductive legislation by Trump will be welcomed by a majority of people just because they enjoy seeing somebody finally kick Silly Valley types in the balls.

I cannot resist pointing out that the democratic party had multiple opportunities over the last decade (and even past 2 years) to start reigning in internet and tech monopolies. But they did no such thing, given how much Silly Valley contributes to their party. In fact, Obama went further than doing nothing and encouraged consolidation in tech sector and turned a blind eye to their ever increasing abuses. Let me make another prediction.. most people are going to get boners watching the aspy losers of internet and tech monopolies squeal like a pig after such an executive order is passed- even if its bad, stupid and dangerous in the long-term.

What do you think? Comments?

Possible Medical Explanation for Joe Biden’s Obvious Cognitive Decline

August 11, 2019 3 comments

If you have watched more than a couple of Joe Biden’s recent public appearances where he had to speak extemporaneously, you might have noticed something peculiar. He often rambles about a topic without focus and also says stuff that highlights his inability to properly recall recent events. While everyone of us, regardless of age, will occasionally talk like that- Biden’s recent behavior is odd because it is far more frequently than would be the case for an otherwise healthy person of his age, especially one who has spent his life as a public figure. Compare him to Bernie Sanders, who is an year or two older than him, but still very sharp and in command of the facts. So this is not just about Biden’s age, something which becomes more obvious as we look deeper.

Compare his public speaking ability in 2019 to 2008 or even 2012. Go ahead and watch the entire vice-presidential debates from 2012 where he performs very well against Paul Ryan. Or watch his earlier speeches, debates or townhalls. My point is that Joe Biden was verbally adept (albeit ‘politically incorrect’) and mentally sharp for decades, even if he occasionally flubbed up things. Now see how he performed during the first two DNC debates and at numerous recent events since (link 1, link 2, link 3). Saying that poor kids are just as bright as white kids before hastily correcting himself, confusing Theresa May with Margaret Thatcher and claiming that he was VP during the Parkland school shooting in 2018 in spontaneous speeches during the past few days, combined with his performance during those debates is hard to dismiss as simple gaffes.

While I am no fan of diagnosing illness without properly examining a patient in person, there is a a plausible explanation for Joe Biden recently obvious cognitive decline. To understand what I am getting at, we have to first talk about an interesting but little known aspect of his medical history. In 1988, Joe Biden had surgery to treat a couple of aneurysms in his brain. The surgeries were apparently successful and after a 7-month absence from public life, he was back to normal and has had no more large aneurysms since then. All of this is good.. but have you ever wondered what causes cerebral or intra-cranial aneurysms? The short answer is that most are caused by certain cardiovascular conditions (hypertension, smoking, cocaine use etc) or they are genetic in nature. But a decent number of them are idiopathic aka without any apparent cause.

Regardless of the cause, the general mechanism of aneurysm formation in blood vessels is fairly similar and involves a section of some artery or arteriole becoming mechanically weaker than its neighbor because the underlying vascular wall is not being properly maintained by the body’s repair system. These weak segments usually develop in parts experiencing especially high blood pressure, near bifurcation points, within tight loops etc. The key point is that people who have one aneurysm have a significantly higher risk of getting another one, even if it is smaller. Emilia Clarke from ‘Game of Thrones’ suffered something like this years ago when she was in her 20s. To be clear, I am not claiming that Joe Biden has a large aneurysm in his brain right now.

What I am suggesting is a bit different. See.. people with one or more brain aneurysm, even after successful treatment, are at a significantly higher risk for microaneurysms, small subarachnoid bleeds and often have other cerebrovascular issues as they age. And this where things start get interesting or bad. The way your body reacts to small internal injuries and bleeds changes as you age. In the brain, even small and asymptomatic but repeated bleeds in old age leads to the increase in levels of soluble beta-amyloid and hyperphosphorylation of tau protein in neurons, which are calling cards of Alzheimer’s-type brain damage. The thing is.. most cases of Alzheimer’s display mixed vascular and neuronal pathology and there is tons of evidence that those processes feed into each other. Most cases of dementia in people over 75 are of the mixed type.

It is therefore likely that Biden is displaying symptoms of cerebrovascular dysfunction with a bit of classical Alzheimer’s type pathology. To reiterate, this is not unique to him, as those who have experienced mechanical cerebrovascular trauma (bad car accidents, aneurysms and other head injuries)when they were young or middle-aged have a significantly higher risk of senile dementia or impaired cerebrovascular function as they reach their 70s and beyond. In fact the same is true for any other organs or parts of the human body, from kidneys to bone joints, where damage or trauma in youth can often manifest itself as significantly reduced function in old age- even if the initial damage was treated and healed satisfactorily.

But why does any of this matter? Isn’t Trump not much better and probably on Adderall? Well.. here is why. At this moment, Biden is still the front-runner among those seeking the democratic party nomination for 2020 and older black primary voters are solidly behind a guy whose actions ruined the lives of their children and grandchildren, by the millions. At this moment, his handlers are shielding him from unscripted appearances and keeping his public exposure to a minimum. However keeping him away from unscripted appearances is going to become increasingly harder as we near the real campaign and election day. While other democratic contenders have, so far, not made his cognitive decline an issue- it is going to come out, one way or the other.

To make matters worse, if Biden ends up as the presidential nominee of democratic party, Trump is going to make his cognitive decline an issue for rest of the campaign. Between his obvious cognitive decline, inability of democarts to motivate voters beyond their base and sad obsession with ‘gun control’, it is likely we might see a repeat of 2016- where Trump loses the popular vote by somewhere between 3 and 5 million but ends up winning the electoral college and thus gets reelected. The question, then, is how do we avoid that outcome. In my opinion, Biden in 2020 is the equivalent of HRC in 2016, but with far more disastrous consequences.

What do you think? Comments?

Initial Thoughts on Jeffrey Epstein’s Suicide While Under Suicide Watch

August 10, 2019 5 comments

Just over a month ago the mysterious and reclusive billionaire, Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in NYC and charged with sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. At that time, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Epstein’s interactions with teenage girls. Anyway, there has been a lot of drama since he was re-arrested for something he was initially arrested, convicted in 2008 and released after 13 months of minimal jail time. Yes.. I am aware that it was in Florida, not NYC, but he was effectively charged with the same crime two times. Since then, a bunch of “moralistic” losers who thought his previous sentence was too light were trying to get him charged for those same ‘crimes’ for almost a decade. As you might also know, what Epstein was alleged to have done was no worse than what many famous rockstars did in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Since Epstein was rearrested and some previously sealed documents were released, the internet speculation mill had been in high gear. The names of his many famous and powerful “friends” who allegedly participated in certain activities on his private island in the Caribbean and various cities in USA had been the subject of discussion in many parts of the internet. These include people such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, Marvin Minsky, Bill Richardson, George Mitchell, Glenn Dubin and many more. One could go further and say that many super-rich people in USA from backgrounds as diverse as finance, business, politics and Hollywood have likely enjoyed the company of under-18 girls supplied by Epstein. And yes.. a rather high percentage belong to a certain minority ethno-religious group.

I was therefore not surprised when, earlier today, the news of Epstein’s suicide in jail while under suicide-watch started making the round on Twitter. It is very clear that too many famous and “powerful” people had a lot to lose if his case went to trial and resulted in the disclosure of even more evidence. In fact, this particular turn of events was predicted by many people on Twitter since the day he was re-arrested in NYC just over a month ago. I am sure many of you have heard theories about how Epstein was an intelligence asst for the Mossad or CIA. Frankly, this is unlikely for a number of reasons from the risk involved in such an operation to the sheer lack of creativity and competence in both those agencies. Yes.. you heard that right.

There is, however, a far more likely alternate explanation for why Epstein was “friends” with so many celebrities who shared his interests. Ever considered the possibility that Epstein operated an enterprise which procured under-18 teenage girls and over-18 but still young attractive girls for his rich and famous friends? These people in turn paid him by providing money for investing, which he likely did in safe and reliable index funds. Since such investments are very safe and perform as well as other targeted strategies over the long-term, his clients were perfectly fine with it. Moreover, their payments to him were perfectly legal and impossible to associate with the real services provided by his enterprise. In other words, Epstein was a pimp who provided a certain type of pussy for his rich “friends” in a manner that was discrete and not risky, for them.

So what do I make of his suicide in jail while on suicide watch? Was it really a suicide? While it is hard to rule out foul play, especially given the stakes for his and famous “friends” if they were exposed further, it still might still technically have been a suicide. Let me explain.. It is possible for his death to be due to suicide, even if the act was strongly encouraged and facilitated by his rich “friends” and their flunkies. Maybe they conveyed to him that he would be prosecuted to the full extent of law and end up in a nasty prison for the rest of his life. Maybe they told him that he would be imminently murdered in jail. So while they technically did not get him murdered to make it look like a suicide, it is still possible that he encouraged and facilitated the act.

What happens next? Nobody knows for sure, but is very likely that Epstein must have put plans to release incriminating information about his “friends” if something was to happen to him. you know.. a dead man’s switch. I would not be surprised if evidence of sexual encounters between under-18 girls and his famous “friends” starts being leaked at random on the internet. We have already seen his apparent suicide being tied to Bill and Hillary Clinton on Twitter. But this is just the beginning of this phase of the Epstein saga. It is going to get more interesting, to put it mildly. Finally let us talk about two stupid clowns associated with the Epstein saga, Alan Dershowitz and Mike Cernovich.

Given his unusually strident but most peculiar denials, Dershowitz almost certainly partook in the services provided by his friend and client. Sooner or later, we are very likely to see independent evidence implicating Dershowitz. As for Sternovich, his desire to be close to this case as well as previous history with PizzaGate, the alt-right, numerous dietary supplements scams and his own history with accusations of rape are very likely to catch up with him- regardless of whoever is paying him right now. His utility to foreign governments and intelligence agencies is over and Cernovich has now become a huge liability rather than an asset. I would not be surprised if some “mentally unstable” person goes after him in the upcoming months. It does not help that Cernovich cannot afford the type of personal security he could have, if he was really rich.

My prediction is that the Epstein saga is not over, and the next few months could be far more interesting than the past one. And ya.. and it is unlikely to end with Epstein’s death. And here is Michael Tracey’ take on Epstein’s “suicide”.

What do you think? Comments?

Mark Fischer’s Critique of Neoliberalism and the Death of Hope in West

August 8, 2019 3 comments

A couple of years ago I came across a short clip of a YouTube talk by a critic and cultural theorist named Mark Fischer. FYI, he committed suicide in 2017 at age 48. Anyway.. getting back to the topic, I first came across some of his ideas in 2010 or 2011, when his critique of Neoliberalism first became somewhat popular. There is however a good chance that many of you haven’t heard about him because he was not a big self promoter unlike some others.. David Graeber or Thomas Piketty. Fischer’s critique of Neoliberalism and its offshoots such as financialism, managerialism etc are far more interesting than those of Graeber or Piketty, since they focus on something most critics of Neoliberalism have largely ignored.

A few years ago, I made the point that the willingness to commit most crimes requires the person to have hopes for a better future. In that post, I also made the comment that decrease in crime rates in USA and the west over past 20-30 years have a peculiar connection to the loss of hope for a better future. Readers might have also noticed that dress and hair styles in the west have been fairly constant for almost the last 25 years (since the mid-1990s), which is odd when you compare this relative stagnation to the massive shifts which occurred between 1950s and 1970s or 1960s and 1980s. It is as if something changed during the 1990s which stopped any hope of a better or different future. And this applies to everything from life expectancy, treatment of common diseases to movies, music and literature.

It is as if the west, especially USA, is stuck in a terminal loop where it keeps reliving the 20th century but cannot seem to find a way forward. Fischer attributes this to the rise of neoliberalism and how its incentives, philosophy and hierachy has created a society which cannot dream, innovate or do much more than keep repeating the past. This ties in with what I wrote about late capitalism and the glut of movie prequels, sequels and remakes we have seen over the past decade or two. The point he makes in his book, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, is that the ideology of unrestricted capitalism which gained a fresh lease of life after 1991 has now infiltrated western culture to the point where it has destroyed hope for a better future.

Here is YT clip providing a quick overview of what Fischer wrote about..

I would also recommend reading an other book written by him, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures. In this one he goes into the connection between the extremely high levels of depression, anxiety and hopelessness seen in the declining west today and its connection to an embrace of capitalist ideology at the personal level.

Also, here are links to free versions of his two most well known works.

Capitalist Realism: Is there no alternative? – PDF of a scanned copy.


Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures – link to e-book version.

What do you think? Comments?

Why the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto is Relevant to Elections in 2020

August 7, 2019 6 comments

By now, most of you must have heard that the guy (Patrick Crusius) who shot up a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas posted his short manifesto on multiple social media sites. As regular readers will know, I like to read manifestos of mass killers since they provide an insight into their mind and the society they used to inhabit. For example, Elliot Rodger manifesto and videos gave us a view into the world of hapa male children as well as the social mores of rich white people in SoCal. Anders Breivik’s manifesto gave us an insight into how a rapidly increasing number of white men in some Nordic countries feel about the world around them. Some might want to dismiss these works of literature as the output of a deranged mind, and they are free to do so. But look at how well some manifestos anticipated changes in popular culture before they were obvious.

In the case of Elliot Rodgers aka ‘Supreme Gentleman’, his 2014 manifesto not only shone light on the unspoken racial hierarchy of sexuality in USA but also was the first instance of the general public becoming aware of a growing number of incels within western countries. Since then, many far more “respectable” outlets and “scholars” have repeatedly identified the same drop in sexual activity among young males without a corresponding drop in females of the same age group. Or take Anders Brevik’s manifesto. While he shot up those 69 children in 2011, many of his critiques about unrestricted immigration, mass influx of refugees and the publish backlash against them came true. If you don’t believe me, have a look at how many anti-immigration parties have either come to power or increased their vote share in west-European countries over past 5 years.

In other words, we should not ignore the manifestos of spree killers just because we find their actions icky. And this brings us to the contents of Patrick Crusius’s manifesto. Though short (4 pages long), that document verbalizes some ideas that are highly relevant to the 2020 elections. So what makes a guy who lived in Allen, Texas drive over a thousand km to El Paso for shooting up Hispanics. Also, here is an interesting fact about Allen, Texas.. it has more people of Asian than Hispanic ancestry. Anyway.. now let us talk about the main issues Crusius discusses in his manifesto. According to him, the current set of politicians (both republicans and democrats) want to import Hispanic immigrants in this country on a large scale for working in low-paid jobs and eventually changing the racial demographics of USA.

Democrats and their stooges in the corporate media are now calling it a conspiracy theory, even though they have repeatedly making the exact same claims for over a decade. Here is a book talking about that issue from 2004. The so-called ’emerging democratic majority’ or coalition of the ascendant’ has been masturbatory fantasy for democratic wonks for almost 15 years, which is especially ironic given how poorly they performed at the federal and state level during Obama’s presidency from 2009 to 2016. Despite what some would want to believe, the electoral setbacks suffered by republicans were largely due to fucking up on the ACA. All of which means that part of the ‘white replacement conspiracy’ is the official policy of the democratic, and to a lesser extent, republican party. And I, being non-white, am perfectly OK with that change.

He goes on to talk about issues such as job loss due to automation, outsourcing and competition from immigrants. Again.. his thoughts on these issues are pretty mainstream. He them moves to the issue of the educational credentialism race and how attaining more educational qualifications is becoming worthless as more people get them. He also mentions how corporations require ever more desperate immigrants to work at shitty and poorly paid jobs which american-born people won’t or cannot accept. Again.. most of this is pretty mainstream and also a significant part of the reason why a troll like Trump won against the establishment candidate, aka HRC, in 2016. He then goes off on a screed about how it is all damaging to the environment, which is a common “concern” among white people who want to be racist but cannot do so openly.

There is more in his manifesto such as how he chose guns and ammo, thoughts on race mixing, likely legacy etc. However, the thing which should really concern establishment politicians is how these sentiments, especially the more main-stream socioeconomic concerns are now so widespread that a young guy in some medium-sized city in Texas can effectively summarize them in a couple of pages. It is no secret that, for 90% of its population, life in this country has been a slow downward spiral since 2008. This is the reason Obama got fewer votes in 2012 than 2008 and why he would have lost in 2012 had the republicans selected someone less repulsive than Mitt Romney. Yet even today, establishment democrats spend more time and energy in chasing “RussiaGate” than even attempting to present a better vision of the future to potential voters.

To some extent, this is because the political establishment and elites are too incompetent and intellectually bankrupt to think creatively. But far too many of them also live in a social bubble where regurgitating self-validating bullshit and lies to each other is a way of life. That is why all their attacks on Trump have not decreased his approval ratings below 40-45%, which is where they were when he was elected in late-2016. And yet, after three years of consistent failure, these ivy-league credentialed losers are doubling down on strategies which don’t work. Perhaps, they might want to think a bit more about why the approval ratings for mainstream corporate media are now far lower than the orange troll they are trying to target.

But why do the consents of his manifesto matter for the 2020 elections. Well.. because it shows the depth and spread of hopelessness about the future and disenchantment with status quo. As some of you might remember, Trump was able to exploit these issues to win the presidency in 2016. The reaction to manifesto and shooting by establishment democrats highlights their lack of an alternate vision of the future. It is as if democrats have not learned a single useful thing from their humiliation in 2016. Everything they are doing in the wake of this shooting is a redux of what they have done in the past and failed at miserably (calls for banning guns, more useless and dangerous laws etc). And I am not even going to start talking about the clown car of mostly insipid and phony neoliberal candidates in the ongoing democratic presidential primary.

What do you think? Comments?