Movie Review: The Circle

by Brad Nelson11/16/17
This is a documentary of Apple employees in their big new spaceship headquarters. Or a bird’s eye view of Facebook culture. Or a look at Google’s creepy campus culture. Or it is an unwritten short story by George Orwell. The worst case scenario is that you see nothing out of the ordinary.

The Circle stars Emma Watson as Mae (the newly-hired employee of a hi-tech company) and Tom Hanks as the company CEO. If you’ve ever watched the HBO comedy series, Silicon Valley — which spoofs all this stuff — you’re already familiar with the material.

This movie receives a very low 5.3 rating at Ratings there are notorious unreliable in the first place. But I will state that this movie is watchable. And surely a point in the rating is lost because of the mediocre performance of Emma Watson. But I don’t think that’s entirely what the low rating is about.

It probably hurts to see your lifestyle mocked for the vapid and increasingly dangerous lifestyle that it is. I would wager that half the yutes watching this movie don’t know what all the fuss is about. I’m sure they think everything said in this movie (such as “secrets are lies”) is perfectly reasonable.

In fact, we do know that most of the things (ridiculous to a conservative’s ears) that are said in this movie is standard fare on a college campus. The only question is not if, but how widespread these views have become.

The Circle takes a look at what could well be the inevitable outcome of a dumbed-down culture of politically progressive sheep who regularly believe entirely stupid things and who seem set to be a moral force for rubbing out individual rights in search of their utopia wherein all human beings are perfectible.

The mechanics of the movie itself are rough. Emma Watson is, frankly, horrible as the lead sheep. And the story itself is needlessly one-dimensional. There are other aspects of its own story it could have explored, such as the history and further views of the hi-tech company’s founder, Ty, played with all the charisma of a pet rock by John Boyega. He still hangs around, but is he in or is he out? He gives some appearances that he doesn’t necessarily “baahh” like the rest of them.

But Tom Hanks is good as the Steve-Jobs-like hi-tech guru who can say the most vapid things and receive boisterous cheers from his minions. His role is relatively small, but he’s good when he’s on screen.

You really should watch this with a friend. I watched it with my two brothers today and we were laughing out loud through the entire thing and making comments as to the distinct relevancy of all the issues raised. And we all agree that the brain-dead phone zombies might not be aware enough of the bizarreness of their lifestyles and ideas to be offended, although I’m sure many were, thus the strangely low rating at which typically gives 9-1/2 points to the latest comic-book-movie garbage.

The ending of this is somewhat clever, but again it seems to leave so many of the other possibilities untouched. And if you laugh inappropriately at some of the scenes that are likely supposed to generate at least a little pathos then you are in no danger of joining the sheep. (Yes, I laughed when the car went over the cliff.)

But there is a danger that we make a parody of ourselves as we bash the idiot cell phone zombies, Apple cult members, Google “nice” Nazis, et al. We are, after all, doing it online. That said, it’s hard not to have a sense of dread seeing how vapid many young people have become and how easily they are manipulated. Frankly, Harvey Weinstein must have had an exceptionally easy time of it. And now I see at least partly why. Hanks and his cohort come off as the Harvey Weinsteins of hi-tech, although, again, there is so little depth to this movie. It would have been interesting to learn what their real intentions were. Maybe a sequel is in the works.

Because the subject matter is so relevant, it’s worthy watching, if only for a laugh. But this could have and should have been so much better.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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48 Responses to Movie Review: The Circle

  1. Steve Lancaster says:

    I recall when this came out thinking that it was just too creepy and how a fine actor like Hanks could be associated with it.

    Amazon has the movie listed as science fiction. I would have put it in horror, right next to True Blood.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      To the vast credit of the film makers, it is indeed creepy. Imagine that, someone showing the creepiness of today’s Progressive yutes. For that, and other reasons, it’s worth watching. But Casablanca it is not. In fact, we sent my older brother home yesterday (who had brought over this movie) with Equilibrium which I think is a much better cinematic production of the same very general subject matter.

  2. pst4usa says:

    I would have given this a much lower rating Brad, I did laugh a few times, but mostly because of the truth and the vanity of the “I-Generation” I as in IPhone not I as in me, but I suppose you could see it either way. This whole movie is so accurate for the Self esteem crowd, what I do matters to so many people crowd, that it really pissed me off. But sometimes the truth really does hurt.
    The Mae character looks like she finally gets it, and then she completely loses her mind and falls right back into the trap. Very disappointing to me. I agree they could have done so much more, but I do not think that the makers of this film see any problem with the whole concept of this company, other than they believe that “secrets are lies”.
    Dennis Prager has said for years, when he asks young people what they want to be when they grow up, the answer more often then not is Famous, he says he always wants to ask, famous for what? But he does not.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a good movie. But neither is it a dog.

      The ending is interesting in that it’s dumb. Spoiler alert somewhat, so skip this if you want to be surprised. But the movie *does* show how gullible and stupid these hi-tech utopian cults are. And Tom Hanks exploits them, and for ends we’re not sure of.

      But then the barely-can-act Emma Watson (who suddenly turns into Steve Jobs in a horrible moment of bad plotting and inappropriate character development) turns the table on Hanks by declaring that *all* information (including Hanks’ super-secret email and files) are to be made public. (“Sharing is caring.”) Ty, who invented whatever time-wasting app that has made this company a mega-corporation, is the guy who engineers the hacking.

      Tom Hanks’ righthand man skadaddles off the stage but Hanks stays. Fade to black. So what triumphs in the end is Emma Watson’s creepy Leftist-Progressive viewpoint that “secrets are lies,” “sharing is caring,” and that all our lives should be completely transparent so that we never do any bad stuff and can be made into good people.

      Although much of the acting and direction is amateurish, there’s a core of some good themes here. And I wonder how many conservatives or Progressives pooh-pooh the movie either because it is creepy (it’s supposed to be) or because it shows Progressives in a bad light (it’s supposed to). The very end of the movie either points to a sequel or you can read it as the ultimate triumph of bad-acting Emma-Watson progressive stupidity.

      But this kind of creepy Progressivism is playing out all throughout our culture. No, except on college campuses and in hi-tech companies, it is usually not this concentrated. But if you are employed by someone, it’s almost a guarantee that “you’re soaking in it.” And I can guran-damn-tee you that 90% of “conservatives” who are all hot-and-bothered over the NFL kneelers will cave and go back and continue soaking in this stuff all the more.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        So this is the movie about the surveillance state — albeit by a Silicon Valley corporation. I suspect one’s opinion of it depends on what one thinks of that idea. But I can see why it would be called science fiction as well as why it might better be considered horror. But no doubt some would consider it a good idea. Does the movie make it clear which way the makers lean?

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          So this is the movie about the surveillance state — albeit by a Silicon Valley corporation.

          One of the hottest new products of Creepy Corp. is an eyeball-sized wireless hi-res camera. Tom Hanks has begun planting them everywhere.

          Spoilers coming, so don’t read on if you want vital plot points to remain a mystery. At one point, bad-acting Emma Watson is upset because her dumb-ass boyfriend drove his car off a tall bridge while trying to escape from a sort of treasure hunt instigated by the “sharing” and “caring” Tom Hanks. The boyfriend wants his privacy. So he gets in his car pursued by a bunch of treasure-hunters and drones. And then eventually over the guardrail and over the edge.

          Bad-acting Emma Watson, in a fit of despair, steals a kayak and goes kayaking in the dark. We see her sweep by some eyeball cameras that are planted out on a buoy. Her craft overturns and she’s toast. But a rescue helicopter comes out of nowhere and rescues her.

          The lesson for bad-acting Emma Watson? To not kayak at night? To not kayak without a life vest? No. She learns that being watched all the time is a good thing because it not only saved her, but had she known she was being watched she wouldn’t have stolen the kayak in the first place.

          So Step One to utopia is for no secrets, total transparency, and no privacy (“secrets are lies”).

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            So Step One to utopia is for no secrets, total transparency, and no privacy (“secrets are lies”).

            The security apparatuses of most States agree with this. The Gestapo, NKVD, Kempaitai in the Japanese conquered territories, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security are especially keen adherents of this philosophy.

            O’Brien of Ingsoc was a perfect literary example of the type which would emerge to enforce the philosophy.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The security apparatuses of most States agree with this. The Gestapo, NKVD, Kempaitai in the Japanese conquered territories, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security are especially keen adherents of this philosophy.

    Mr. Kung, what I think, we see playing out with all the “sexual misconduct” villain-of-the-hour drama could be interpreted not only as feminism sharpening its teeth but the idea that there is so such thing as a private life.

    Remember: All the useful idiots who went to college or listened to comedian-journalists as serious news sources and opinion-makers were taught to thoroughly and reflexively believe that it is conservatives and Christians who are uniquely and stridently concerned with what you are doing in the privacy of your bedroom. That is, those on the right are all invasive prudes while those on the Left are permissive types who see sex as ever only a beautiful thing that should be shared while old notions such exclusivity and shame are leftover ideas from the oppressive patriarchy.

    What we actually see playing out is the lack of the private sphere — which is the central idea of “The Circle” and has always been the central idea of Communist and totalitarian states. Benito Mussolini perhaps said it best: “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” A person exists for the state, and not vice versa. The notion of a private life does not exist as a legitimate thing.

    And here we run up against the mindlessness of The Daily Drama which makes all people dumb. I will say that, although a good case can be made that Edward Snowden is a traitor to this country, he did help highlight the fact that our own government has built the kind of massive data storage center that Tom Hanks was planning to build in an abandoned subway in “The Circle.”

    Any normal American, due to the threat of Islamic terrorism, can certainly understand why the FBI would need to be able to have extraordinary abilities to monitor communications. Your privacy rights aren’t worth all that much if the city you live in is nuked. But I can think of no reason why all this information gathered needs to be stored for years or decades in some concrete bunker.

    Having recently watched a Netflix series about the Unabomber, it’s clear that Ted Kaczynski has his emotional problems and was a villain of the first degree. But he wasn’t necessarily wrong about how technology was changing us.

    In somewhat a comical move, an Ohio Democrat candidate for governor has dumped his private life in the public arena by noting that he had been “sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females” in the last 50 years. Whether this is bragging or preemption, I don’t know. But when a Democrat makes more sense than Andy McCarthy, well, Houston, we have a problem. Candidate for Ohio governor Bill O’Neill writes:

    When a United States Senator commits a non criminal act of indiscretion, and when it is brought to his attention he immediately has the integrity to apologize, and the apology is accepted by the victim: IT IS WRONG for the dogs of war to leap onto his back and demand his resignation from the United States Senate.

    Granted, those immersed in The Daily Drama will want their pound of flesh, principles be damned. And nothing would be sweeter than for the idiot and juvenile Minnesota voters to elect a principled conservative instead of a Leftist nut such as Al Franken. They ought to throw this guy out merely for his politics. But O’Neill has a point, even if it is a self-serving one and even if I don’t believe for a minute that “integrity” had anything to do with Al Franken’s apology. But let us understand what is happening with The Daily Drama instead of being carried away by it: You are a man. You are guilty. You must confess, confess.

    We here always understood that liberals were not “liberal.” And we see that playing out. We need not take part. “The Circle” as a movie is a bit of a mixed bag of messages. But bad-acting Emma Watson is a near perfect incarnation of Friendly Fascism, which is the particular incarnation the Left brings us today. They’re not (yet) lining people up against the wall and shooting them. But we see one possible scenario playing out: Idiot women, in particular, such as the bad-acting Emma Watson, decide that the entire society must be a “safe space” and the way to make it so is to require people to have no secrets (which women such as bad-acting Emma Watson do not seem to understand means that government must be all-powerful, severe, and totalitiarian).

    But bad-acting Emma Watson, like so many other women and girly-men, put such a caring and nice face on their Friendly Fascism. They only mean to ameliorate harm. So let us put a camera in your office, your home, your car, and everywhere. Secrets are lies. Sharing is caring.

    On the bright side, country music star, Neal McCoy, has written a song that slams the anti-American Colin Kaepernick: Take a Knee My Ass.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course, Franken only confessed to what they had proof of his doing, and claimed it was merely a joke gone wrong. In essence, in his telling, he was guilty of nothing more than an error of judgment regarding what was funny, with no ill intent whatsoever.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        We conservatives understand that the Left is usually anchored in little more than a loosey-goosey idea of “let it all hang out.” They’re the good guys by definition because they’re not racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. They are for “diversity.”

        So it must come as a great shock to many of them that their genuflecting at the altar hasn’t bought them the usual immunity.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      I just finished watching this movie. I had only watched previews before and its even scarier than I thought it would be. The Circle is a cross between Jurassic Park and Scientology. Its not just low energy Emma but the whole cult like atmosphere of more information, more data and more eyes on our lives.

      I wonder how many of our current generation of minds full of mush are going to think this is not only ok but will just buy in without thinking about the consequences. At least Jurassic Park had Dr. Malcolm to caution that not only does life find a way, but just because you can do something does no mean that you should. I wonder if Orwell had known the current level of technology if he would have changed the title of his book to 2020?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I wonder how many of our current generation of minds full of mush are going to think this is not only ok but will just buy in without thinking about the consequences.

        That’s the catch then, isn’t it, Steve? As you said, how many see the final outcome of this movie as triumphant rather than a zero-degree douche-chill you should get like at the end of “Soylent Green”?

        It’s true that a man caught with his mind in Facebook might be less dangerous than one caught in the Koran. Modern man may be embarrassingly vapid and shallow, but he might not be in himself much of a danger.

        The subsidiary danger comes, as I think we might suppose, in that these yutes with skulls-full-of-mush regarding the supposedly unassailable good motives of their Progressive masters have no principled way to say no to them. As long as the battle cry is “forward,” where motion substitutes for wisdom and all resistance to one’s pure motives is deemed “racist” or “sexist,” there will be this seductive secular religion whereby a sense of uplifting transcendence is gained by one’s supposed good intentions or the supposed good intentions of those you mindlessly hand power over to while your nose and small concerns are buried in social media.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          “Always forward” is the cry of the progressive.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            This may be threading the needle, Timothy, but I distinguish between technological progress and moral progress. I think most of the skulls-full-of-mush (especially those imagining some kind of cyber utopia brought about by super-intelligent machines) conflate the two.

            It’s the same thing regarding help (the charity/welfare divide). I make a distinction between help that helps by truly empowering people and help that either ensnares people in dependency, rewards bad behavior, and/or is simply a tool of the political class for gaining and maintaining power.

            I also make the distinction between public work/basic infrastructure (sewers, garbage removal, law enforcement, national defense, the highway system, even museums and libraries) which undeniably (but always somewhat ambiguously) has an improving effect on the quality of life — and the billions spent on “social programs” that certainly do not have the same one-to-one correspondence with improvement-via-dollars and often has a negative relationship.

            I don’t see “forward” as a problem, per se, unless one thinks that somehow the next revision of the iPhone, or the next billion dollars spent by government toward “social justice,” is going to somehow improve mankind (and thus society) simply because of the newness or “forward” movement of government’s wallet.

            Any society pretending to be “progressive” must make these distinctions or else you simply empower delusion, complacency, and an entrenched political and social class — not to mention the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.

            The Left has completely altered and corrupted basic ethics until we have this ridiculous situation where illegal aliens are above the law while our own citizens must grin and bear the brunt of their lawlessness. But have some glib skull-full-of-mush engaged in such strident virtue-signalling that beams of rainbow colors shine forth from her ass and people, full of themselves and their own supposed munificence, will believe about anything. There must be an app for “gullible” that these yutes are downloading.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I think the forward progress seen by progressives today is mainly social progress (i.e., “social justice”) rather than moral progress, though they no doubt do expect technological progress — but at a big environmental cost, frequently.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                “Progress,” as broadly defined both by liberals and libertarians, is the eradication of all external constraints. The belief is that if man is set free from regressive (particularly religious…unless it’s Islam, of course) beliefs (particularly racism, sexism, homophobia, whiteness, and toxic masculinity — but you could ultimately include capitalism as well) that this will provide a Teflon-like social lubrication and all (or most) problems will vanish.

                Most criminals aren’t in prison for their bad deeds. They’re there because of a “racist” society. Most people aren’t poor because they refuse to work. They’re poor because the rich stole their money. The dysfunction and unhappiness that we see in the queer world (including a much higher rate of suicide) would disappear if only the stigma against boys wearing dresses would vanish.

                In order to be “free,” of course, we must first wrap ourselves in the most restrictive and intrusive government we can imagine. Man thereby becomes a creature not of God or even of himself but of the state. He is bought and paid for and he tries to forget this fact with his inflated assortment of hobgoblins that he obsesses upon. If one person somewhere refuses not to bake a cake for a queer couple, he must be made an example. As government constricts around this man like a boa, he will lash out, asking others to share his pain. We see this mindset all over Facebook which makes that particular place almost impossible to enjoy for anything but ritualized back-slapping.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                The left is so wrapped up in “social justice” that some universities now award degrees in “Social Justice.” The University of Washington is an example of such a place.

                That being said, there is something appropriate in a B.S. in Social Justice.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I suspect a degree in Social Justice would be a BA rather than a BS, though I can certainly see your point about how appropriate the latter would be.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                Any degree in social justice has to be BS 🙂

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              “There must be an app for “gullible” that these yutes are downloading.”

              Oh how I wish it were that easy. The lack of real knowledge of the current college generation is so profound and all encompassing that I question that anything short of a world catastrophe might change their attitude.

              I took a modern British history class last spring and the newly minted Ph.D actually said that George Bernard Shaw had no relevance to 20th century Britain. I told her that she must have left her Ph.D at home to think that and dropped the class. I can do that as I don’t need another degree or a job, but what of the 19 year old who must get a grade and someday graduate?

              This is the attitude of many of the current crop of Ph.d trained on the history of Howard Zinn and the problems of the world are the fault of Western civilization. I could understand if it were the university of Tehran, but the University of Arkansas?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                What makes this surprising is that Shaw was a Fabian Socialist. Admittedly, that meant opposition to violent revolution — their preference was to infiltrate and eventually control the communications media and education, so that in time everyone would be socialist almost by default. (For some reason, this sounds very familiar.)

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                We might call the present circumstances, Steve, “The Age of the Artificially Alienated” which has replaced “The Age of the Hopeful.”

                Granted, there are plenty of libtards who love baby seals, help clean up the beaches, raise money for cancer research, are nice to animals, and care for the environment. I don’t invalidate or refute any of that. There is a side to “Progressivism” in which some people are nice, accepting, etc., and actually help to make the world a better place.

                But the problem is, the very core of this Progressive engine is coarse, crass, angry, intolerant, definitely not-nice, and decidedly destructive. That many are basically “Cafeteria Progressives” and, like the so-called “Moderate Muslim,” abide by only the more innocuous bits and pieces from the dogma and not the worst bits, is cause for celebration. But never should we forget that those fouler parts remain and are the liturgy and dogma of many people with power and an awful lot of money and influence.

                But whatever the case may be — whether talking the Top Tier of the movers and shakers or the bottom tier of “Nice, But Useful Idiots” — the common denominator of Progressivism is a lack of humility in regards to human foibles. To believe that man is by nature good plays into everyone’s exotic beliefs about themselves. In the words of the defrocked Stuart Smalley, I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!

                Unbridled self-love has replaced our need for some self-critique. If there is critique it’s usually about external factors such as how one looks. This is all leading to an outwardly unserious and silly people. But deeper and darker ramifications will almost certainly come from this because there is basically now no one minding the store. We’ve all become so involved in self-love and therapeutic self-stroking — and abiding by it in others — that the basis for sorting (aka “discriminating”) between the good and the bad is being lost, and seems to have been totally lost by many.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                If Shaw was irrelevant, why did this idiot even bring up his name?

                This woman is further confirmation of my belief that even if Americans suddenly realized that our modern education system is a disaster and demanded it be changed, we wouldn’t have the required number of qualified teachers to instruct students.

                We have had close to 50 years of mis-education in this country, thus I think we lack the number of properly educated people to turn things around.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                I suspect that when most of us were growing up in the 50s and 60s the bulk of our teachers had been through depression and WWII. By in large they realized that western civilization had dodged a bullet from 1930-1955 and were dedicated to giving us the best education possible, and I think they were mostly successful.

                Today, it seems what they remember is the corruption of the 90s, the war without end or victory with 911 and more corruption of the BO years. Maybe its just my years but I despair for our country.

                KFZ, she didn’t mention Shaw, I brought him up because of his absence in the syllabus, but her response was staggering.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


                While I am no great admirer of Shaw, to claim that a playwright, who many consider to be second only to Shakespeare, had no relevance to 20th century Britain, shows a complete lack of understanding of both history and Britain. I won’t go into the other areas which he influences.

                It is a crime that such a nitwit could find a position in a State university.

  4. pst4usa says:

    Steve, I am not sure that the greatest generation should get any credit for educationg their kids. I am sure there were a lot of parents that did help educate the kids, but, as Dennis Prager likes to point out, the results speak for themselves. The baby boomers, (the kids of that generation), in general are the most self-centered America hating crop of miscreants to come along, obviously not all, but those that are not infected by the prosperity, given everything disease, are too far and few between. The greatest generation put us in the position we are in now by not teaching their kids what it means to be grateful to live in this country, or what this country stands for. Now those kids have taught two to three generations to hate America, blame America and to burn it down. After all, if it is as bad as they have been indoctrinated to believe it is, why wouldn’t they want to burn it down?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      The greatest generation put us in the position we are in now by not teaching their kids what it means to be grateful to live in this country, or what this country stands for.

      I quite agree, Pat, and we should probably get a grand panel discussion going to figure that one out. Suffice it to say that it was very easy to be a materialist when so many new and improved gadgets were flooding onto the market. Life in America became a free-for-all acquisition game where “keeping up with the Joneses” (if not surpassing and lapping them) was the game.

      One could posit that the spiritual and moral vacuum gave an opportunity for Leftism to be born as a secular religion that promised all things but an afterlife. “He who dies with the most toys wins.” And given the centrality of material goodies, the sacrament of “spreading the wealth” was born which preyed on the envy of those at the bottom and the guilt of those at the top.

  5. Steve Lancaster says:

    I grew up in Fayetteville AR. when it was one of the smallest of major university towns in the South, 1960 pop 12,000. However the school system was fully integrated in 1950, years before Brown v education. We had one high school and one jr. high. The teachers knew and respected the students and for the most part were given the same respect back. Not that we did not rebel but it was confined to drag racing, drinking and chasing cheer leaders, some of whom were all to willing to be caught.

    Growing up at that time in this place was a rare experience, we could hunt, fish, we often took our guns to school for hunting and shooting in the afternoon and we played football on Friday nights. The school band played Dixie loudly if sometimes not on key.

    I had teachers I liked and some I disliked, some who struggled to convey the subject matter, but overall I got a pretty good education, better than my youngest son got when we lived in Sacramento CA. Better than my daughter got and from what I can tell from the grandkids better than they are getting. I am making an effort to bridge the gap with real examples of how their teachers are full of feces.

    I really admit my frame of reference is somewhat small, and maybe isolated but of my high school class of 345 an amazing portion (about 60%) of those still vertical live within 50 miles of Fayetteville.

    I believe that my parents generation gave us the opportunity to grow in new ways because they were tempered by war and depression. That so many of my peers failed to understand is not the greatest generations fault but the fault of the boomers to utilize and teach their children what we had the opportunity to learn.

    The generation, whatevers X, P, Q, are uneducated, but not stupid. They have been indoctrinated into a world view that is incompatible with liberty, many will grow and change. Sadly, many will never know their potential as the anger they are expressing is not anger over injustice, but a much deeper anger over having been born. No philosophy can cure that anger.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      “Stop the world! I want to get off!” A popular saying in the 60s (and also the title of a musical), and evidently it still is, one way or another.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I believe that my parents generation gave us the opportunity to grow in new ways because they were tempered by war and depression.

      Steve, it sounds as if you were brought up in an environment where:

      + You were not taught to hate America.

      + Silly, stupid notions were openly laughed at and no one called the PC police if a Snowflake’s feelings were hurt because some boy identifying that day as some other gender couldn’t use the ladies room.

      + Men were men and stood up for the idea of hard work, self responsibility, and providing for one’s family.

      + You were not taught that life was always fair and thus you were equipped to deal with the bumps in the road which always come.

      + Although no man is perfect (we have tempers, are often too selfish, and tend toward crudeness), you were taught that there was a standard (God) by which one should measure oneself. And that God was not the butcher in the Koran but the loving, but just, God of the Bible (Old and New Testament, for sake of argument).

      + Wisdom, not Facebook “likes,” was generally considered the measure of a man as he progressed through life.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I seem to recall some show (it may have been Mr. Novak) in which a girl complained that she had never asked to be born — and the teacher pointed out that no one asked to be born. Few shows would do that today, I suspect.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Steve had another good point which speaks to what you’re saying:

          Sadly, many will never know their potential as the anger they are expressing is not anger over injustice, but a much deeper anger over having been born. No philosophy can cure that anger.

          Rush Limbaugh has often noted how kids have inflated their minor annoyances to grand dramas. Whether this is because there is no man in the house (and thus feminine emotions are allowed to run wild without even a hint that restraint is a good idea), I don’t know. But it is so.

          Kids are taught that we are ruining the planet, that America and the West are horrible places, that they have no chance against the entrenched “rich,” the racists, etc. They are taught despair as a way of life, not forgiveness, hope, and grace.

          To top it off, the materialist marketplace of magnificent excess has an inherent Princess and the Pea effect. We forget how easy things are now, what miracles (such as smart phones) are at our fingertips for a mere pittance. Thus every small pea, even if cushioned by five layers of mattress, becomes all the more annoying.

          For those who can still hang onto a worthwhile image of themselves and their lives (forgoing the self-serving drama of forever being angry and alienated), they can still be relatively happy. But even then, the 24/7 sights and sounds from movies, TV, Facebook, etc., of the Social Utopia of people living the good life adds further to the Princess and the Pea effect. No on can live up to that expectation…ironically, even including the rich and famous who so often hit the bottle or the pills.

          With no other measure of success but material success, that’s an awful burden. And many have seemingly unburdened themselves from the entire venture by finding the escape hatch of pessimism and alienation where they can pretend that their suffering is not a cheap “out” but is a sign of their deep camaraderie with the suffering of the environment, of the world’s poor, of whomever and whatever. The can stay safely in their bubble of self-martyrdom as one way to escape the mean and meaningless life implicitly left to them by all the doom-and-gloom and white-guilt teachings of their nefarious social masters.

          • Steve Lancaster says:

            I see many similarities between the progressives of the 21st century and the marxists/socialists of the 1880s, who were nihilistic before the term was invented.

            There are other examples in history like the terror of the French Revolution, even the English Civil War produced similar people. There are many others like the IRA and even I am sad to say even the Irgun. The political/religious philosophy does not matter.

            It seems to me that one of the causes is a feeling of misplacement in society. The anger that these people express is based on the belief that they are a misfit, not a part of the homogenous culture. As I said, anger about being born.

            This anger is a powerful force as the 20th century can well attest. It is the same anger that’s driving antifa as drives the Islamist and unscrupulous women and men take advantage to gain power. Forget the standard bug-a-boos of nationalism, fascism, naziism et al. The real culprit is the self defined misfit who will attach himself to any mass movement that promises to take the burden of everyday life from their shoulders and replace it with an awe inspiring hope of the future.

            This yearning for a grand future that can not and never will be attained in their lifetime replaces the norms of common society and justifies any action and hypocrisy be damned. Shut down free speech in the name of free speech, lie, cheat, steal in the name of law and order. And the ultimate is to remake the vast normal part of our culture into misfits so they can feel justified. Orwell did not write even half of it.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Judging from Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, the original idea of a nihilist was really a total skeptic, which in practice meant something more like the modern one-way secularist skeptic. Later it came to refer to those who delighted in an anarchistic lust for violence and chaos, but I don’t know exactly when that happened.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Nihilism as anarchism seems to have taken root in the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th century, latest.

                I think the high point of the movement was the assassination of Tsar Alexander II.

                I can’t recall how the movement developed in the later 19th/early 20th century, but you can bet it infected the Russian left-wing movement right up until the October Revolution.

                It is interesting how so much rot has historically come out of the Russian Empire.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Tue People’s Will demonstrate the nihilism of revolutionaries very well. Alexander II was the greatest reformer ever among the Tsars, but that wasn’t enough. So because he wasn’t perfect, they tried to kill him, and temporarily derailed his reform efforts.

                In the end he decided to resume them, and their assassination attempts finally succeeded. Edward Radzinsky, in his biography of Alexander II, suspects police help –an early example of the Deep State against a ruler they don’t like.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


              I saw your comment to Spengler’s article today. Frankly, I do not see how the conflict in the Middle East will ever end.

              As to the left, I have long said that to understand a leftist, one must understand his/her childhood so as to understand their psychology, i.e. why they are so unhappy and mad at the world.

              To my mind, leftism is not a coherent philosophy, but a catch-all for, among others, misfits, the unhappy, unbalanced, deviant, insecure and those who are mad that they lost their religion.

              This gives leftism a pretty broad base. Many, perhaps most, of these people have a huge sucking black void at their cores which can never be filled. This creates both despair and rage. Misery loves company.

              One of the reasons Marx was so popular was that he gave this disparate bunch of losers a phony “scientific” framework upon which they could hang their grievances and pretend they were rational instead of just resentful.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                I am going to quote what I said in Asia Times in response to Goldman’s article just so everyone is up to speed.

                “In the Islamist mind they only have to win once, we must win every time.”

                Yes, I agree the Islamic war with the west seems to be unending and instead of more and better options there seem to be fewer and fewer and less promising.

                Islamic countries have most, if not all, of the human conditions that we in the west have been struggling with and solving for the last 500 years. Aside from one critical resource, oil, they have nothing that a modern society could want, unless its slavery, autocratic government, high infant mortality, suppression of women and minorities and constant war.

                That is not to say that every moslem is racist, sexist and statist, but enough of them are content with that system that I doubt outside of a catastrophic event nothing will change.

                My second national loyalty is to Israel. I have an Israeli passport. On alternate days I bleed blue and white instead of red, white and blue. Israel is a modern consensual parliamentary democracy smack dab in the middle of the most regressive, backward region on the planet and somehow over the last 100 years we have made it work.

                It is not a paradise but it could be. The swamp land Arabs sold to us 100 years ago is now some of the most productive in the world. The cell phones we all have utilize software developed in TA and the water that is irrigating the Negev is desalinated right out of the Dead Sea.

                In 1948 we begged the moslems not to leave their homes and villages, but their leaders said they were going to murder all the Jews and take everything we built. That was a war we could not lose.

                In 1967 it was much the same. I was in high school and could and get out of the country to join the IDF. In 73 I was sent courtesy of Uncle Sam to TA the end of September along with several other agency intelligence officers with a war warning for Golda and another war we could not lose, but almost did. Richard Nixon saved our asses and for that I am willing to forgive Watergate.

                Israel is the front line in the war without end as an Israeli I appreciate everything the US has done to support my country. As an American with deep roots in the south I see that Trump is mostly keeping his promises to Israel and I am proud that the is. Its been a chaotic ride the last 8 years and I am glad BO is gone and Hillary is mortifying.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The IRA had a similar message for Margaret Thatcher in her day: “We only have to get lucky once, but you have be lucky every time.” Fortunately, she was (unlike Tsar Alexander II, who escaped numerous tries to assassinate him by the People’s Will, until one finally succeeded).

                Leon Uris’s The Haj deals with the Arab flight, with the title character being tricked by his double-crossing uncle into leading his family and most of the people of his time into fleeing.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


                How does one handle a people whose motto is, “me against my brother, my brother and me against my cousin, my cousin, brother and me against the world”?

                The best answer is to avoid them, but this not being possible, a good second best is to keep an eye on them and be ready to be screwed.

                The Arabs will not change. Their attempt to come into the modern world failed as it was based on intellectuals who believed socialism was the answer. Hah.

                As to the Arab/Israeli wars, I once spent some time with a Frenchman from an old aristocratic family (pre-revolution aristocracy) He was not Jewish, but had such sympathy with the cause of Israel, that he went to Israel in the 1970’s to fight with the Israeli army. I can’t recall the full details, but I believe he had been an officer in the French army or Foreign Legion, before going to Israel. He certainly looked the part of an ascetic warrior.

        • pst4usa says:

          Timothy, I am trying to think of any shows that would do that today?

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    That is not to say that every moslem is racist, sexist and statist, but enough of them are content with that system that I doubt outside of a catastrophic event nothing will change.

    That is to say, however, that every Moslem belongs to a racist, sexist, statist organization.

    My second national loyalty is to Israel. I have an Israeli passport. On alternate days I bleed blue and white instead of red, white and blue.

    Most Jews are idiots regarding conservatives and side with those who would sell them down the river. I bleed a little blue and white as well, Steve. I went to that Glenn Beck tele-rally a few years ago when he went to Israel in support of Jews. We stood when they played the Israeli national anthem.

    Rush Limbaugh is right: The only thing that will bring peace to the Middle East is if one side or the other is defeated. I pray the Palestinians are wiped off the earth. Short of that, I pray some Arab country with lots of land will take them in. But they’re too useful as a pawn right now. And they’ve been so radicalized, no one likely wants them.

    If I have to choose between the survival of Israel and the survival of so-called “Palestinians,” I’ll choose the Jews every time. That might sound harsh but this is not the situation that Israel created.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There has never been a functional Palestinian state, or for matter a Palestinian nation. Of course, no Arab state seems to be both functional and democratic, and even functionality often seems too much to ask for. Lebanon, when it was about evenly mixed between various Muslim and Christian groups, may have been an exception for a while, until the Muslims became too dominant demographically.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    It seems to me that one of the causes is a feeling of misplacement in society. The anger that these people express is based on the belief that they are a misfit, not a part of the homogenous culture. As I said, anger about being born.

    Steve, emotional dramatists, of course, need no cause for their show of alienation. “Alienation” can be just a tool or a type of tribal mentality itself. It can be a banner under which various grievances are nurtured and sustained with a general payback to society-as-a-whole the end game, for it is “society” that has caused my suffering. And just as society doesn’t care about me as a person, I need not return the favor as I re-persecute them. I need waste no time deciding between the innocent and the guilty, for they are all guilty.

    Still, with movements such as antifa, the Left, Progressivism, and whatnot, there is plenty of room for legitimate alienation. I don’t believe for a moment that most people living in this very open, free, and prosperous country have anything remotely approaching legitimate alienation. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be some exacerbating factors.

    I don’t know what’s going on with antifa, for example. But I have long suspected that there will be some movement that captures the legitimate alienation of the Western male who has been serially demonized and belittled. He is harmed by affirmative action, denuded by illegal immigration, impugned by idea of toxic masculinity, is a victim of racism under the term “white guilt,” and is basically bitch-slapped every which way until Sunday by a society trying to turn him into a girl. What’s not to like?

    There’s also the legitimate alienation of a culture torn by envy and materialism. One of the most under-rated Commandments is the one about envy, about not coveting. I’d say nearly every Christian and Jew is well aware of it. “Lip service” comes to mind in actual practice, though.

    If Mark and Barbara are vacationing in Cabo then we must too…even if we don’t make our mortgage payments (a real-world example of people I know). The so-called Prosperity Gospel is not based upon helping people value other than material goods. It’s basically about convincing people that God wants them to be materially prosperous, and would damn near give up another Son if he had one for beachfront property in Hawaii.

    And nearly every other significant element in our society — quite outside of religion — is oriented toward instilling in us the need to buy stuff that we didn’t have yesterday (and probably didn’t know that we needed).

    One could say the essence of being alive is wanting. We would be inanimate objects without needs, desires, and wanting. It may work for the Buddha (but I doubt it) that one can extinguish all desires, but why would anyone want that? Pursuit and chasing dreams and desires are a large part of what life is about. But what we want these days seems to be more and more shallow. Wanting isn’t the problem. It’s the way we fuss and obsess over mere trinkets while turning a blind eye toward more important subjects.

    And quite apart from the alienation from something more meaningful that Cultural Marxism instills (it’s a drug that keeps you forever dissatisfied), our commercial culture, although full of wonders, is taxing (in more ways than just governmental). Consider the bizarreness, for example, of a woman either forgoing children or shipping kids off to daycare so that she can have a career. And by the time you pay for daycare costs, you may not be that far ahead of the game. But we must have “careers,” if only to be able to buy all the stuff that everyone says one has to have in order to show success and normalcy.

    There is an aspect — and only an aspect — wherein the bum or vagrant is the saner member of the culture. Perhaps we need to hold our cups out for them to fill with something simpler. I don’t mean to glamorize “the homeless” as so many do. But surely one or two of them (and historically we know this is so in America, for we were a restless people who kept pushing West) simply did not like the rat race.

    And we do live in a rat race. There are many worse ways of living, of course. But there is a soulless aspect to our society. It is arguable that a part of the alienation felt by Snowflakes and yutes is justified rather than just complete ramped-up sensitivity and self-absorption. Many parents have abandoned any kind of meaning in their lives except accumulation. It makes it that much easier (after religion has been completely fumigated by Marxist college professors) to hug Gaia as a transcendent cause.

    Men, in particular, need meaning. Men must work. They must build something. For women it’s a “career choice.” And if the steps look too great to achieve fame, riches, or “stuff” then some men (perhaps a little twisted to begin with) will look for meaning from nefarious sources. And the problem is, there are a lot of grievances that are real. If I was a young man, I would have cause to be pissed off that that men and boys have been so demonized. I’d be pissed off if I was having trouble finding a job and saw illegal aliens getting not only jobs but “free stuff.” I’d be pissed off if affirmative action had hurt my chances at college admission or just getting a job. And if I had even half of a reasonable mind, I might be a little torqued to see the Zuckerbergs of the world — creators of a shallow industry — getting filthy rich while sending so many jobs to China.

    Thus Trump. I can’t say that antifa doesn’t have at least some beefs at least partially justified. But with racism now officially adopted in America as a good thing (although called by other names), how does this not open the door for others? And it all becomes a big blur (at least to me) when anyone who even questions letting hordes of Muslims in this country is deemed a racist or fascist.

    We basically lack a strong reason to feel good about ourselves, to be proud of our accomplishments as a people. The major factor is that the Left has been so successful in demonizing the West that few want to defend it. It’s much easier to go about the business of accumulating stuff and pretending that the most important issue in society is a boy being able to use the ladies room.

    Sorry for the ramble. Hopefully there is a a coherent thought in all that.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      In 2017, in this country and even the rest of the west. The real problems of human existence have been solved. Few people go to bed hungry; in a nation where even those of the most modest means are 30 pounds over weight. Will DJT in the White House be any warmer than the family off 4 living the suburbs–I doubt it.

      We are old enough to remember when there was real concern about the future. Real communists in the USSR and China threatened war on a massive scale. I participated in two REFORGER exercises (return of forces Europe). We war gamed the Soviet invasion of Germany through the Fuda gap and the subsequent nuclear response to stop them–a very scary time.

      Mankind has never had it so good as today. We live longer, our children are less likely to die before reaching maturity, our homes are air conditioned and heated. We have access to a broad library of information on the internet. I can dial my phone and talk face-to-face with my oldest son in TA at a cost that almost makes it free, in 1950s money a 5 minute call might cost $100. If there were no change that 5 minute call would be today over $1000. In spite of Obama care the world comes to the US when they need quality healthcare. Our air is cleaner than it was in the 50s, the rivers and lakes less polluted. Millions of lives are not only better because of the United States but they exist in eery part of the world better because of the US.

      I don’t blame anyone in any country if they want to be an American, but I don’t want someone who just wants to be in America. We have, what to much of the world wealth, power, and lifestyle that not only can not be imagined but even can be imagined.

      We also have a small cadre of spoiled, catered, and obnoxious brats who have never had to do real physical labor. I have always believed that the rioting is a few rather than any large number. I still think it is–just look. at the young men and women in our military. We sent our finest off to fight the very worst humanity can cough up. Perhaps, someday America will fall. History suggests that will happen, but not today.

      Obama/Bush and the democrat/republican party are the problem. Trump may not be the answer but at least he is entertaining and seems to be intent on keeping his word on important issues. The jobs report today was encouraging. If we get one quarter of 4% GDP before the midterms life for the establishment will be very difficult.

      Hang in there Brad, the glass may be half full or half empty, but someone is going to pour. We just need to be there when they do.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Good points, Steve. Hanging in there. Keeping the alienation wolves at bay. No way I appreciate how good I have it. That’s just human nature. We never lived in the kind of filth and degradation that much of the world knows now and has been the norm in the past.

        The new mission of StubbornThings (other than offering the most reliable book and movie reviews) is taking a fresh look at things, of gaining a bit of air over The Daily Drama so that we don’t become conservative Snowflakes (as so many are).

        You know, I really do think one reason I enjoy hiking and biking is the hardship aspect of it. A person has to be in touch with the immediacy of pain (if only in the reasonable form of exertion and exhaustion). We need to do real physical labor of some sort.

        There’s also a spiritual vacuum in this nation. I don’t claim to be the second coming of St. Francis. But much of religion in this country is of the style of a comic book. I miss the grand Catholic (and even Jewish) traditions which were deep, serious, and humbling.

        Here’s to a Christmas and Hanukkah season where we might connect again with the simple, the profound, the truthful, the beautiful, and the radiantly humble.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, I had my share of hiking and camping when I was in the Boy Scouts. I remember one camping trip, I think on Mt. Parnis (from which Xerxes watched his fleet lost at Salamis), in which we were in the middle of the cloud cover. Making a fire was rather difficult, to say the least.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This idea fits perfectly with the movie, “The Circle”:

    Inside China’s creepy ‘social credit’ system that analyses internet shopping and social media use in order to blacklist ‘lazy’ or wasteful citizens and allow those who behave well to borrow money

    As we become cogs of the state and the idea of individual liberty (and individual responsibility) become quaint and discredited notions, this kind of stuff is inevitable. We already see it in things such as states wanting to tax you per mile driven in your car. And although it’s a free enterprise system, it’s always bugged me how creepy eBay is about its credit system. Sure, I want to know which buyers are reliable. But I’ve gotten a real inside look at this watching my brother deal with eBay itself. It’s just creepy.

    The point is, people are already used to this way of thinking. I’ve tried to avoid an over-emphasis here on “Likes” and such. You can certainly “Like” an article here, share it on Facebook and elsewhere, and you have a “hits” count on article views. It’s a fine line between wanting to reward people for good work and getting sucked into this maelstrom of social media pathology.

    I want people to write stuff because they have something to say. I totally get that the world doesn’t work the way I think. The “Likes” matter enormously. But this article shows you where we are headed, taking the idea of social media and making it the driving force behind government. Like eBay, you can earn credit (stars, whatever) that give you certain privileges. This meshes well with the idea that rights are bestowed by the state instead of being God-given.

    However, there’s another side to this. How else are you going to manage the Progressive dolts? China, for example, gives disincentives if you spend a lot of time playing video games. But if you want your people to be productive, that’s not a bad idea. Same thing with drugs. If you provide a disincentive to using drugs (no access to higher eduction, to better jobs, etc.), that might be the most effective way to handle drug use.

    And that’s what we’re left with. It’s no secret that China has always had a very authoritarian system, especially with the Communists in charge. But how else to handle people? We are playing our own little perverse game in America. For now we give “social likes” and other privileges to those who toe the line on certain issues, no matter how insane or stupid. In any universe of real men and women, the Jimmy Kimmel would be an embarrassment to all. Instead, as an entertainer, he gets acclaim parroting the Social Justice Warrior issues for his easy “Likes” and “Disliking” all the right demons.

    And it’s not that stigma and social ostracizing is a bad thing. But when linked to nothing more than mob popularity fueled by adolescent fantasies, it’s silly and destructive.

    And I don’t know that China, per se, is experiencing problems with Progressivism turning their people into Libtards. But there can be no doubt, as we look to Europe, and especially Angela Merkel, the extreme, even Hitleresque in their own way, harms of naive utopian Progressive ideals. And from what I’ve heard, Japan is very much dealing with the Hipster Doofus phenomenon of Progressivism among their yutes. I wouldn’t be surprised in this global culture that China sees the writing on the wall as well.

    Obviously the Commies, including their new would-be dictator, have other reasons for control. But there is a real point here that perhaps the only way for government to function with a populace of Progressive dolts is some “creepy social credit system.” We already have non-governmental forerunners to this. It’s called “Facebook.” And I doubt the people (Mark Hodge, in this case) who write such articles warning of China’s use of “creepy social credit systems” consider the creepy social credit system of, say, Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscar or any number of other instances.

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