Thought Experiment: Can MBS Succeed in Forming a Sovereign Sunni Bloc?

After reading dozens of articles on the current situ in KSA, I think I am beginning to see the nebulous shape of MBS plan for MENA.  Consider this as a thought experiment exploring whether MBS design for a sovereign Sunni bloc can work.  Obama’s plan for the ME was a “concert” system, a balance of powers to reduce the need for US to police the region.  Because, Africa is coming and US has already spent 5.6 trillion WoT taxpayer dollars in the region over the last 15 years with essentially nothing to show for it.

The chaos of the US election and the resultant divided country have offered a unique opportunity for MBS to wreck Obama’s plan.  Trump is eager to destroy Obama’s legacy, insecure about his presidency, desperate for some policy wins, and thirsty for flattery and praise.  MBS is exploiting all these weaknesses as rapidly as he can, because Trump’s presidency may be shortlived, the generals and State are not going to support MBS plan, and also to roll back Iran before it really becomes entrenched.   For example, Trump believed it was his idea to blockade Qatar, and the damage was done before Tillerson and the generals could stop it.  It looks like the blockade of Qatar may succeed, a win for MBS.

To gain Trump’s support MBS has to go full-frontal Rambo on “terrorism”, has to successfully headfake western style “reforms” while continuing to spread the approved version of wahhabism,  and has to ally with Israel.  That is why Kushner was there for the mass arrests.  Kushner is tasked with solving the Palestine problem.  Alliance with Israel is part of the cost of US support.

But MBS idea of reform is not cultural reform.  Thats a sop to the americans and the 70% youth population of the Kingdom, and its just another tool for consolidating power.  MBS is going for economic reform.  If Trump gained power through populism, why shouldnt MBS be able to pull it off?  Only it is youth populism in KSA, not old white people populism like the US.  Here is a good article on the situation, which should be be read in entirety.

Most efforts to comprehend the dynamics of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing political earthquake have focused on the psychology of the young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. But there are also structural reasons for Prince Mohammed’s brand of populism. Understanding these factors is key to finding a better path forward.  In the past, political stability in Saudi Arabia rested on three separate deals: within the royal family; between the royal family and the Kingdom’s traditional elites; and between the state and the population.

The deal within the Al Saud family is rooted in asabiyya – the ability of an ambitious tribe to stick together to monopolize power. But the royal family has grown too large and become too divided to justify the cost of maintaining its unity. Loosely estimated, the 5,000 or so third-generation princes and their entourage consume $30-50 billion per year.

The deal among traditional elites is also rooted in the Kingdom’s genesis. These notable families were encouraged to accumulate economic power. Privileged access to government contracts, subsidies, capital, protection from competition, and the ability to import labor freely have embedded their companies deeply in the economy.  This protected elite private sector grew to represent over 50% of Saudi GDP. But, because it is largely staffed by expats, it generates no trickle-down benefits to the local population, only negative externalities.

The population, meanwhile, was offered economic security in exchange for loyalty – an arrangement institutionalized through a patronage network of high-paying public-sector jobs and a broad array of generous welfare benefits and consumer subsidies. As a result, more than 75% of Saudi citizens work for the state, and much of the rest of the public budget is spent on cradle-to-grave social support.

But with per capita revenue from oil exports now only $5,000 a year for Saudi Arabia’s 20 million nationals, the system has become too costly. The challenge for Prince Mohammed is to oversee a transition to a less expensive political order, while generating sufficient economic efficiency gains to prevent the necessary adjustment from fueling instability and civil unrest.

Other autocratic regimes in the region, with larger populations and less oil – such as Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, and Syria – followed a “republican strategy” that appeased the poor with various forms of patronage, and repressed economic elites. This blocked the rise of any credible opposition, at the cost of entrenching an anemic, largely informal, and consumption-based economy.

Its true that most pundits are in the pearl clutching phase of their MBS analysis.  But I think MBS plan has a good chance of working, although there are many risks.  I think the alliance with Israel is the biggest risk.

But there are other reasons why MbS is naïve about the benefits of an alliance with Israel. After taking care of Iran, Israel will certainly not allow Saudi Arabia to become the de facto hegemon of the Middle East. According to the logic of balance of power, alliances made against a common enemy collapse once the enemy is eliminated. Saudi Arabia would not feel the same need for Israel once Iran is gone. It might even resume the Arab plan of liberating Palestine. Even worse, war might extend into Saudi territory itself, endangering and possibly even scuttling the current political order established on the basis of the supremacy of MbS.

Part of the Israel risk is it may generate a whole new bumper crop of outraged islamic insurgents.  Remember, the way we got Bin Laden and al Qaeda was the US attempt to put an airbase in the Land of the Two Holy Sites.  That is why the US has airbases in Qatar.  But Sisi has managed to control Egypt’s anti-Israel sentiments with extreme authoritarianism, so perhaps the greater risk is to Israel.  The only way US gets out of MENA is for KSA to become Israel’s partner and protector, but KSA has no AIPAC or jewish population to shape a pro-Israel position.  KSA does have palestinian sympathies and so may force a two-state solution on Israel once Iran is crushed.  Or throw Israel under the bus if it becomes necessary.

The next biggest risk is that Trump’s presidency ends too quickly, or that the Generals and State are able to restrain Trumps impulsive and chaotic FP style.  This is why Tillerson called Trump a moron.

Things MBS has going for him:

1) the internet– the ‘net is why populist movements can succeed in the 21st century, like Trump’s election.  Muslims are about to become 1/4 of the global population, and they all read the same book.  The internet connects them.

2) an internally weak and easily manipulated US president who desperately wants to look strong on FP and destroy all of Obama’s policies.

3) custodianship of Mecca and Medina

4) demographics– 70% youth population and popular support for anti-corruption programs

This route is feasible, thanks to Saudi Arabia’s abundance of low-hanging fruit: a youthful society clamoring for social emancipation, better-educated women yearning for more participation, and millions of jobs created for expats available for nationals to fill.

What clouds this scenario is the low productivity of the elite private sector. To break free of its middle-income trap, Saudi Arabia needs to democratize, if not its politics, then at least its markets, through greater reliance on the rule of law and fair competition. Viewed from this perspective, Prince Mohammed’s current anti-corruption campaign will need to be followed by efforts to establish more inclusive rules for the private sector.

If the Kingdom’s private sector can be made to work, the economic challenge becomes modest. About 200,000 young people enter the labor market every year. If as many jobs are needed to allow women to join and to slowly wind down the public sector, two million new jobs would be needed over the next five years. To put this in perspective, there are now nine million foreign workers employed in the Kingdom.

5) In the Visual Age, appearance is all– MBS looks the part.  I originally thought MBS wanted to be a new Ataturk…I no longer believe that.  I think he wants to be a new Salahudeen, a 21st century Salahudeen.  And maybe he will be.

Inshallah.

Dr. Atran’s Procrustean Bed of Radical Extremism

I have always admired Dr. Scott Atran.  That’s why I’m both shocked and puzzled by his new piece in Aeon magazine.  Because the Alt-right and islamic jihadists are hugely different.   Any superficial similiarities are dwarfed by scale, demographics, ideology and time and space.

Often when a researcher creates a model, they become overly invested in that model, eg:  when all you have is a hammer, the world is made of nails.  I think that this has happened with Dr. Atran and the idea that radical extremists can be unmade, that there is some universal recipe for radicalization.  The  hammer requires that all nails are morphologically and functionally similiar.  Dr. Atran has made a sort of ideological procrustean bed– he trims and stretches radical ideologies to get a uniform fit.  I violently disagree– but maybe that is my model bias–  because I think we are not the same.  If you doubt this consider Trump’s election and his voter base.  I think of Dr. Atran as a gaussian, smoothing the curves of radicalization, to get a uniform response template.  But I’m a fractalist, and I’m wildly bumpy.  It seems to me that a fractal representation of extremism is superior– the shape is the same, the scale is different.  And here is where we get to the scale problem– both islamic jihadists and alt-right neo-nazis desire a homeland.  The difference is the Alt-right white nationalists want a “white” homeland within culturally and racially diverse nation states and islamic jihadists want islamic nation-states within a vast islamic monoculture, Sunnistan.

To begin, the Alt-right has no analogy to the Quran.  In studying Quran and ahadith, it is apparent to me that jihad is in the memetic DNA of Islam.  Its easiest for me to think of jihad as a kind of cultural “gene expression” in response to environmental triggers.  The current explosion of jihadism represents a kind of gene drive, a “meme drive”, a reaction to environmental triggers.   Dr. Atran would have globalism and transition be the culprits– totally ignoring the endless war mono-culture of the unipolar power that creates the ongoing chaos fields blooming with hundreds of emergent islamic militias.  So no, Islam isnt separable into “radical Islam” and “moderate Islam” just as the Quran is not separable.  There is only one Islam.

The Alt-right has no analogy to global population dynamics– the youth bulge in Africa will deliver 1 billion youth to the global population by 2050, more than half will be Sunni muslim– we will likely see 100’s of millions moving North as economic and warzone refugees, and as victims of climate change.  Europe couldnt handle a million refugees– what will 20 million or 200 million do?  Dr. Atrans fragile outreach systems would be instantly overwhelmed.

This seems to me like the kind of  “whataboutism” so prevalent in the US– sure, Nazis, Proudboys and confederate revanchists are bad, but what about ISIS?  A very facile and superficial treatment of a horrific and burgeoning problem — that muslims are not allowed representative government since the collapse of the Ottoman empire.  Algeria, Chechnya, Egypt, Turkey, all attempts to impose top down control on emergent, organic systems of islamic government by the west.  Jihadism is a reaction to injustice, while white nationalism is actually a reaction to justice, the representation of multicultural and multiethnic citizens in racially diverse societies.

What Dr. Atran proposes is the same sort of weak feel-good patching that has precipitated the building problem– democracy is not a solution.  In fact, I think democracy is a terrible lie.  He was much more accurate here:

One quarter of the global population is going to be muslim.  US has spent 5.6 trillion dollars over the last 15 years for nothing in Syria, Pak, Iraq, and A-stan.  We could have built a freaking moon-base for that.  How much more effective to take Dr. Atran’s original sound advice and shape emergent sunni nations.   I do not think that will happen.

I think instead collapse is coming.

NOTE:  Apparently Aeon picked that awful title for sensationalist purposes.

Dr. Atran: It is not a title I would have picked and I had no choice in the matter. The title I wrote was “the collapse of cultures” and I didn’t see the other title until it was published.

I’m all about Collapse of Cultures!

Julian Assange Is Not Your Friend

Greenwald has a pretty good summary of the philosophy of Wikileaks (start here) — but he misses something I think is critically important.  I find this transcript of Assange’s Berkely video a lot more informative than the famous “state terrorism” essay Greenwald cites.  From the essential @zunguzungu of course.

Julian Assange in Berkeley

by zunguzungu

This is from a forum Julian Assange participated in when he was in Berkeley in April of this year. It’s quite illuminating — after his initial somewhat unfortunate effort at humor — sufficiently illuminating, in fact, that I’ve transcribed it and pasted the transcript below.

Moderator: The question has to do with the shift, alleged shift at Wikileaks from simply posting the material, having it crowdsourced, and people interpreting it, to actually interpreting what it means. Is that a change?

Julian Assange: No. That’s part of the right-wing reality distortion field (some laughs in audience). Mother Jones has had some changes in the past few years.

No, there hasn’t been a change, whatsoever. Although of course it was our hope that, initially, that because we had vastly more material than we could possibly go through, if we just put it out there, people would summarize it themselves. That very interestingly didn’t happen. Quite an extraordinary thing.

Our initial idea — which never got implemented — our initial idea was that, look at all those people editing Wikipedia. Look at all the junk that they’re working on. Surely, if you give them a fresh classified document about the human rights atrocities in Falluja, that the rest of the world has not seen before, that, you know, that’s a secret document, surely all those people that are busy working on articles about history and mathematics and so on, and all those bloggers that are busy pontificating about the abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan and other countries and other human rights disasters, who are complaining that they can only respond to the NY Times, because they don’t have sources of their own, surely those people will step forward, given fresh source material and do something.

No. It’s all bullshit. It’s ALL bullshit. In fact, people write about things, in general (if it’s not part of their career) because they want to display their values to their peers, who are already in the same group. Actually, they don’t give a fuck about the material. That’s the reality.

And its true.  So the Russian acquired DNC leaks presented Assange with a unique opportunity– a ready made citizen megaphone of low-information Trump supporters, easily churned by Alt-right edgelords and neonazis and the Russian troll army.

Here is another important part of WL philosophy– WL doesnt hack– they receive leaked data and maximize the impact.

But, we’re also, we’re an activist organization. The method is transparency, the goal is justice. Part of the method is journalism. But it is our end-goal to achieve justice, and it’s our sources’ goals, usually, to also achieve justice. So, when they give us material, what we promise is not just that we will protect them, but we will try and get maximum impact from the material. Whether that’s working with other journalists, whether that’s summarizing things ourselves, in the case of the video, whether that’s putting context in the initial part of the video, even if we then also provide the full thing.

In this case, working with Russia and the Trump election campaign.  Julian Assange’s idea of justice is not the same as yours.

Assange has predicted that data overcollection and overclassification will ultimately ossify the OODA loops of the US covert ops system and cause US to become a police state on the way to nonlinear system collapse.  Certainly (post Snowden & WL) USG has been wholly focused on internal leakage and paranoic spying on its own citizens– prioritized  over Russian and Chinese attacks.   Assange wanted Trump to be elected for the same reason that Russia and KSA and ISIS did– to accelerate the NLS collapse of American government.

Moderator: The raw data…

Julian Assange: You cannot do it. It will just fall into the gutter. In cases where I’ve understood the material is more complex, or other people in our group have understood the material is more complex (especially military material which has lots of acronyms), you understand, it’s not even enough to do a summary. You have to do an article, or we have to liaise with other journalists to give the material to them, some sort of exclusive basis, or semi-exclusive basis, to get them to extract it into easily understandable human readable form. Otherwise it goes nowhere.

In the run-up to the election Assange discovered an audience he didn’t need to summarize or curate for– low-information Trump supporters, massive consumers of fake-news.  An audience that became a megaphone.

So no, Julian Assange is not your friend.  And he may be correct in his prediction.  Perhaps he had noble goals in the beginning…or perhaps not.  But WL has evolved to maximize penetration and spread of selected data— and its brilliant how he got the red tribe to be his megaphone.  Assange’s exploitation of MAGA is actually a stealth plan for destroying US democratic institutions, a long term goal of Russia, and a new goal of Assanges.

The Male Malady, Misogyny, and the Human Condition

I was prescient in my Men Who Hate Women series (1 2 3), as it turns out.  Every day there are more allegations of rape, intimidation, and sexual misconduct brought against powerful men in our society.

Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore, Richard Dawkins, etc….all men who secretly hate women and exploit females and the young and regard them as property with less rights than adult males.   Reddit suspended r/incels today because of  extreme nasty.

The 40,000-strong community was nominally a “support group” for people who lack romantic relationships and sex. “They are involuntarily celibate or ‘incel’.” However, popular posts from the last few months include ones titled “all women are sluts”; “proof that girls are nothing but trash that use men” and “reasons why women are the embodiment of evil”.

Members describe women as “femoids” and the men they have sex with as “chads”. There are many examples, documented on a watchdog subreddit called IncelTears, where incels have condoned or advocated rape, or described it as a made-up construct.

The author of the boingboing piece decries “hypersensitivity” but the acts of some women coming forward have apparently lanced the boil.  Now the pus will come pouring out. It looks like Nagle was right in Kill All Normies in chapter six– from Quillette review–

– Ch 6. The driving force of the underbelly of the alt-right is misogyny fueled by sexual failure.

I think everyone should read Gilmores book– Misogyny, the Male Malady.  It explained a lot to me.

 

Prince Reckless

My favorite pic of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, aka MBS, aka Prince Reckless.  Tall and handsome, young yet poised and accomplished, intelligent and cunning.  The perfect representative of a Kingdom of 70% youth.

I didn’t start out as a fan.  I thought he actually wanted to be another Ataturk!  But that was just a headfake to win support from DC lobbyists.  One thing MBS isnt doing is any return to “moderate islam”.  In fact, there is an intensive KSA program to spread wahhabism in Indonesia, home to 202 million “moderate” muslims.

I do not think the joint US/Saud program to sanitize ahadith can possibly be successful– largely because of secular science and the internet, although there is also an islamic argument– but I will cover the n-gram (shannon) entropy of sacred texts in another post devoted to information theory.

MBS support of the rewriting ahadith program is consistent with throwing a sop to the Americans.  A “return to moderate Islam” is not even on the table.  Its something MBS used to get American support.  From the Intercept article–

The move marks a moment of reckoning for Washington’s foreign policy establishment, which struck a bargain of sorts with Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, and Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the U.S. who has been MBS’s leading advocate in Washington. The unspoken arrangement was clear: The UAE and Saudi Arabia would pump millions into Washington’s political ecosystem while mouthing a belief in “reform,” and Washington would pretend to believe that they meant it. MBS has won praise for some policies, like an openness to reconsidering Saudi Arabia’s ban on women drivers.

The always excellent Dr. Davidson– from the Qatar rift— it is sheer brilliance how Trump was manipulated by MBS and amusing how Tillerson et al have to scurry to mend fences.

Trump pointedly chose Saudi Arabia for his first official overseas visit, on which he signed several big-ticket arms deals. And just hours after Riyadh severed relations with Doha, he tweeted that, when it comes to terrorism funding, “all reference was pointing to Qatar” and that “perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism”.But the White House was soon apprised of the full extent of the US’s military facilities in Qatar, including the difficult-to-move forward headquarters of US Central Command (CENTCOM), and the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, hurriedly attempted to strike a more conciliatory tone. For a moment, it seemed any immediate danger to Doha had subsided. Indeed, as recently reported, Trump had apparently given an emphatic “no” to any military action, preferring to leave the quarrelling Gulf states to their own devices.

But its too late.  Trump has been more than happy to blowup any Obama legacy policy he could, and so has been wholly invested in the strategy to roll back Iranian influence, wreck the “concert” system of balance of power Obama was working on for the ME, and possibly withdraw from the Iran treaty.

The sheer genius of the MBS approach, to leave US and Israel with the Crown Prince as their only option, is breathtaking.  A proto-sovereign sunni bloc…can that happen?  A KSA independent of US yoke of servitude…an automous entity in MENA.  Plus, an entity equipped with all latest mecha…mirable dictu.

I don’t think Prince Reckless wants to be Ataturk… I think he wants to be Saladdin.

The Ataturk Gambit

bismallah

So Nadim said this in a convo about MBS and it started me thinking.

This Ataturk one hundred years out of sync

There are not one, but TWO! wannabe Ataturks right now– CP Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS, aka Prince Reckless) of KSA and Sisi (military dictator and putzchist-in-chief of Egypt).

Here they are, having laffs at an official function.   Ataturk was a handsome charismatic military dictator who forced a western style constitution on his people and outlawed the arabic alphabet.  Kemalism lasted a glorious ninety years or so, but then the basal islamic composition of turkish citizens began to assert itself through the rise of AKP.  The 21st century has witnessed the re-islamicization of Turkey.  eg: Erdogan has restored the teaching of arabic in schools.  And as we now know from the Rise of ISIS, arabic is just a gateway drug for Quran.

In Egypt, during the “Arab Spring”, Muhammed Morsi won a democratic election and then was promptly couped by Sisi, who was bankrolled and supported by KSA.   Sisi immediately jailed the opposition (40k of the Muslim Brotherhood), massacred protestors, set about suppressing student protests at al-Azhar, removing “radical” imams and  promoting a statist brand of Islam.  Sis is on record as saying that it could take “60 years” to moderate “radical Islam” in Egypt.

MBS is already operating from the Ataturk playbook in KSA.   There is a joint US/Saud program to “sanitize” the ahadith.  KSA will recall all the old textbooks and replace them with new textbooks with sanitized, western friendly  ahadith.  And any academic or religious teacher will face the new anti-terrorism law if they refuse or dissent.  Much like Ataturk banned the arabic alphabet to discourage quranic study.

The current newly minted KSA law has nothing to do with corruption — that is just a headfake.  Its an anti-dissent law, and any dissent can and will be framed as terrorism.

I’m not at all convinced an Ataturk Gambit can work in the 21st century.  Ataturk controlled the news media of the time, the printing presses, the military and the police.  And 100 years to implement the plan.  Sisi is on record as saying it could take 60 years in Egypt.  Sounds about right– 30 years of Mubarek stacking al-Azhar appointments + 60 years of Sisi style military junta.  Except I don’t think it will work.

The problem for wannabe Ataturks is twofold– the internet puts everything on high speed, and social media connections ensure the aggregation of shared ideologies.  There are already secret societies starting up to use tech to preserve ahadith.  And the constitution of the Kingdom is actually the Quran.   How does MBS escape being branded  an apostate and a poodle of Kushner and Trump?  In Gulf I, the US great error was in trying to establish US base on KSA soil, in the land of Mecca and Medina– the result of this botched attempt was Osama bin Laden and 9/11.  The US wars in Iraq and A-stan have given us the endless supersoldiers of ISIS and the Taliban.

This is really interesting am to me…the memetic integrity of ahadith and Quran have been fiercely guarded for a thousand years… I am not so sure meaning of ahadith can be bent or corrupted.   But I guess we shall see.

 

New Atheism Isn’t Dead Yet, But It’s Dying: Sexual Jealousy Edition

After Scott Alexander’s post, Why Did New Atheism Fail So Miserably? Jerry Coyne, Siderea, and Razib Khan all came out with rebuttals.  Razib’s problem seems to be that he is confusing “unaffiliated” with atheist, which is untrue.  “Secular” also does not mean atheist.  And its important to note that while “unaffiliated” is increasing in the US, “affiliated” is increasing in the rest of the world.

Nathan Robinson gives the best analysis of the current situ.

It’s not as much of a puzzle as Alexander thinks, though. The progressive critiques of New Atheism are mainly founded in the New Atheists’ violations of other left-wing values. New Atheism is attacked not solely for being arrogant, but for putting this arrogance in the service of right-wing tendencies like sexism, hawkishness, and bigotry against Muslims. And because leftists believe that holding prejudiced beliefs about women and religious minorities is fundamentally irrational, this makes New Atheists not just obnoxious, and not just right-wing, but also hypocritical: they state that they are committed to reason, logic, and evidence, yet they pervert the meaning of these terms by using them to describe ideas that are not reasonable, logical, or evidence-based.

Kindof like how “rationality” is perverted to support alt-right eumemes at SSC.  I also marked the unforced critical error of elevatorgate, Dawkins initial fusion of misogyny and Islamophobia.  As Robinson points out this fusion has become a pillar of the Alt-right movement.

So one reason why leftists have soured on New Atheism is obvious: it may be “secular,” but that is about all it has in common with leftism, and as “clash of civilizations” rhetoric about Islam has become more and more central to the New Atheist pitch, it has become far more closely aligned with the alt-right than the socialist left. Alexander is also correct, though, to point out that New Atheism simply didn’t offer very much to millennials to begin with. They are an unusually secular generation, and Christianity seems to be of decreasing importance in American public life, making it all somewhat irrelevant. In the Bush years, an unabashed atheist was refreshing. But now we live in the age of universal same-sex marriage, and the most recent two presidents have both placed little importance on religious matters. The country has grown so secular so quickly that one prominent Christian commentator has concluded that the faithful will need to segregate themselves into intentional communities if they are to keep their values alive.

This made me think about Nagle’s book, Kill All Normies.  While New Atheists, white supremacists, neo-nazis, confederate revanchists and the Alt-right are not synonymous, they are all surely fellow travellers.  An important synopsis from Quillette– I think this is really salient.

– Ch 6. The driving force of the underbelly of the alt-right is misogyny fueled by sexual failure.

I think this is very perceptive.  As a follow through read this– Your Refusal to Date Conservatives is Why We Have Donald Trump

If you frequent the r/theDonald and 4chan/8chan forums there is a lot of bitter ressentiment about the alt-right’s inability to get hot dates.  Who knew neo-nazi and incel misogynists would find themselves so unappealing to young contemporary women?

White Lives Matter protest in Shelbyville Tennesee.  See any women?  Afterwards an interracial couple was attacked by white supremacists in a bar in Brentwood.

The couple, a 30-year-old white woman and a 37-year-old black man, were dining inside the Corner Pub when a group of about 20 to 30 white men and women came in and sat at a table behind them, according to a statement by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

The 30-year-old woman later told police that one of the group members asked her to “guess” and that she responded “white lives matter,” police said.“Another said ‘that’s right’ and told her to join their table and leave her boyfriend,” police said in a statement. “The argument inside apparently escalated even after the female victim had gone outside to de-escalate the situation.”

Police said another woman from the self-identified “white lives matter” group began to argue with the 30-year-old woman, who was then reportedly punched in the face by a man, causing a cut above her eye. She did not seek medical treatment, police said.

Note, it was the white woman that got punched in the face by a white man, not her black partner.  I think male misogyny is part of the human condition since reading this book.  You can read it for free on Jstor.  Much like Gilmore I’m resigned to the deep roots of male misogyny and unsure of any remedy for it.  But an emergent phenomenon in the Alt-right is the assignment of blame for their collective failure to date and mate.  At SSC I saw a commenter accuse liberal women of supporting immigration to import young muslim males to date/mate.  At 4chan and r/the Donald feminism is blamed.  Roving mobs of internet trolls attack public feminists.  And both Islam and Black Lives Matter get grouped with Feminism in alt-right psychogenics.

Also at SSC there is now a +1000 comment thread on Scott’s new atheist post where no one actually points out the fusion of anti-Islam and anti-female sentiment that forms a pillar of the alt-right canon.

Peripherally this relates to Black Lives Matter through the enduring suspicion of white southern males that “the blacks are after our women”, sexual jealousy of black men is a founding principle of the KKK.  Consider the anti-miscegenation laws and segregation laws in this country.  This plays into the popular theme of “white genocide” so prevalent in the red tribe– that the blue tribe is going to outbreed them and outconvert them.  By stealing their women.  Probably true statements.

But right now the muslims are after their women.  I am not entirely sure why Dawkins and Harris are so fixated on Islam.  They certainly understand the lack of appeal of New Atheism.  Perhaps its the  amazing ability ISIS demonstrated in recruitment and proselytizing.  Or perhaps they view Islam v secularized  [cough, cough…judeoxian]capitalism as an existential conflict.  The Clash of Civilizations has already begun.  Dawkins at least is surely aware of the broad appeal and enormous constituency of Islam, the powerful memetic-integrity of the Quran, and the superior memetic fitness of Islam in islamic lands.  And they are perfectly willing to ally with the Alt-right and the “rationalists”.

At its peak ISIS recruited hundreds of foreign fighters, including many young women.  Only by enormous effort and expense has the US bombed, droned, blocked and suspended ISIS fighters, families and supporters out of public existence.  The US has “succeeded” by selling out its moral principles much like it fought the VietNam war— massive numbers of civilian deaths, scorched earth bombing campaigns even in populous cities or villes, massive collateral damage to infrastructure.  And also in the ME unwavering US support for “secular” dictators and tyrants.

I guess the difference between the Alt-right and ISIS is that ISIS got dates and mates.

Dawkins “Letter to Muslima” perfectly encapsulates the misogyny, xenophobia and white male priviledge of the right.

Dear Muslima,
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and… yawn… don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with. Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so… And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Just breathtakingly tone deaf to attack an ally like the Skepchick in that fashion, and the level of rage in the missive is just gobsmacking.  But it found an echo in the fury and frustration of the dateless incels, nazis and edgelords of the Alt-right.

Three years later Dawkins apologized.  But by then it was too late.  The schism was already established.

I mostly agree with Robinson here:

One of the central problems is that the main public ambassadors for New Atheism have been entirely intolerable people. Richard Dawkins is an asshole, who obsessively disparaged “clock boy,” and even managed to alienate prominent female atheists by mocking liberal feminism. Christopher Hitchens was an asshole, who supported one of the bloodiest atrocities of the 21st century and used to creepily fantasize about how steel pellets could kill someone even if they were bearing a Koran over their heart. Sam Harris and Bill Maher are massive assholes, who possess none of the qualities of open-mindedness and self-doubt that actually characterize the scientific enterprise. (Even biologist-blogger P.Z. Myers, far more compassionate than the rest, had a sick streak: when a Brazilian priest died in a ballooning accident while trying to raise money to build a rest stop for truckers, Myers wished more priests would be carried off by balloons.) These men, between them, managed to singlehandedly make New Atheism seem like a movement of incredibly pompous white men for whom Reason is just a word used to justify whatever stereotypes one already held in the first place.

So here is a movement that seemingly only includes white males in a world where 90% of the global village is non-white, 23% of the global village is muslim, and at least half of the global village is female.  Opportunities for recruitment are limited (to say the least), especially for an Islamophobic, anti-black/brown, and anti-female entity.  As are opportunities for procreation.

I don’t have the answers, but the one thing we can all learn from the nearly moribund New Atheists– braying about how smart you are and how stupid the godbotherers are is not a winning strategy.  This is a lesson that has made me personally cultivate self-doubt, humility, and a fresh dedication to searching for answers.   So perhaps the Komolgorov option is a good choice for the current socio-political climate after all.