Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mailvox: WAR

This is not a book review by me, but rather, by an author who prefers to remain anonymous.

WAR by Janne Teller

If you want a relationship to last, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is this: never use emotional blackmail.  Saying ‘if you love me, you’ll do [whatever]’ is not a sweet romantic gesture, but an attempt to use someone’s emotions as a weapon.  Used repeatedly, it convinces the victim that you only care about his emotions insofar as you can manipulate him to get what you want.  In the end, it causes pushback - the victim decides that he doesn't care what you think or feel any longer.

On the larger scale, emotional blackmail has been replaced by ‘weaponised empathy.’  This is probably best described as an attempt to wring the public’s heartstrings to get them to support a policy that is almost certainly unwise.  (The proof it is unwise lies in the failure to put forward a coherent argument that doesn't rely on de facto emotional blackmail.)  Those who choose to oppose the policy are blasted as heartless monsters, causing others who might agree with them to shut up in a hurry.  Again, it causes pushback - in many ways, growing resistance to weaponised empathy helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump.

War is a piece of emotional blackmail that, in the end, is an unconvincing read.

It follows the story of a British refugee who has to leave his country and take up residence in the Middle East, following the collapse of British society.  One of the minor annoyances in this book is the lack of a coherent rational for either the collapse or war with Denmark - Denmark!  Doesn’t anyone know Britain’s historical enemies are the French? So far, so good - the author does a good job of making us feel for him and his family.  But, like so many other pieces of weaponised empathy, it only works by removing nuance from the equation.  The refugees are painted in a saintly light.  Cold experience tells us that this isn't true.

Yes, it is easy to feel sorry for people who are forced to flee their homes.  But that does not excuse bad behaviour in the host countries.  The author barely nods to this - she admits the existence of inter-refugee scrabbles, but not the epidemic of thief, assaults, rape and outright murder that has plagued Europe since the refugee crisis began.  It is easy to understand, even in the author’s limited presentation, why the local Egyptians might begin to tire of the British presence, perhaps even want them driven back to Britain.  And who could possibly blame them?

The author could, of course.  She is, like so many others of her ilk, safe and protected - to use Peggy Noonan’s term - from the realities of the world.  When they meet the ‘Other’ - if I can borrow an SJW term - they meet someone educated, someone polished in the way of the world - someone cosmopolitan in the truest possible sense.  They do not meet people with medieval ideas on women, people who believe that a woman who wears a short skirt is a whore who’s just asking for it.  Even with the best will in the world - and that is lacking - the cultural clash alone would cause far too much disruption.

The blunt truth is that sympathy has its limits.  It tends to fade - and vanish altogether - when someone feelings exploited.  Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you give your friend a loan to help him get back on his feet after a personal crisis.  How pleased are you going to be when you discover he’s wasting the money on booze, hookers and drugs?  And are you going to give him more money when he comes crawling back to you?

So-called ‘refugees’ - economic migrants would be a better term - in Europe have behaved badly, very badly.  If you happen to be dependent on someone, it is sheer insanity to alienate them.  And yet, they have managed to alienate vast numbers of the host population.   Just because someone got the short end of the stick, as SM Stirling put it, doesn't mean they’re automatically the good guys.

If I had to flee my country - God forbid - and go to a refugee camp, desperate to avoid returning home until it was safe, I like to believe that I would find a way to be useful.  I would hate the idea of doing menial work, but I would do it because I wouldn't have a choice.  The idea of just sitting around - or turning into a criminal - is absurd.  I have lived in a couple of very different countries to my own.  It isn’t that hard to avoid making myself unwelcome.

Why, then, should bad behaviour be tolerated?

The current problem now is that vast numbers of Europeans believe - and they might not be wrong - that a significant fraction of the migrants are moochers, looters, rapists, terrorists or generally unpleasant scumbags.  This alone would be bad enough.  But even worse, they have also become convinced that the governments are either unable or unwilling to address the crisis, when they’re not causing it.  Virtue-signaling by multi-millionaires like JK Rowling does not convince them they’re wrong.  They know that such millionaires are protected from the world.

BREXIT and Donald Trump - and the rise of nationalism across Europe - is a direct response to weaponised empathy.  No one feels sorry for refugees any longer.

In short, War is a piece of propaganda.  And a bad one.

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Anonymous Nathan February 26, 2017 9:34 PM  

"War is a piece of emotional blackmail that, in the end, is an unconvincing read."

This does not surprise me, as the book is endorsed by Amnesty International.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable February 26, 2017 9:48 PM  

Excellent and perceptive review.

Blogger RE February 26, 2017 9:50 PM  

Thank you for this post Vox.

Blogger scimitar February 26, 2017 10:06 PM  

Another great post thank you Vox Day , another gem. I am baffled why current GOP right wingers have not been using phrases like "weaponized empathy" or "pathologic altruism"to combat the Pelosi /lib/Proggy endless "for the children" garbage. The Dems have been using this weaponized empathy forever to get what they want and shame their enemies. Another phrase I heard elsewhere " altruism is a mailed fist covered in the velvet glove of self interest". "Weaponized immigration" is another... This is why the Dems so hate Bannon cause he's savvy to this kind of thinking...

Blogger IreneAthena February 26, 2017 10:11 PM  

Imagine if war broke out – not in Iraq or Afghanistan, somewhere far far away, but here, in our country. In War, Janne Teller embarks on a thought-provoking experiment: by simply turning the current crisis on its head, she reveals what it is like to flee your home country, to be exiled, and to fight for survival in a foreign country.

Why not embark on a "thought-provoking experiment" to reveal what it's like to have your country made unlivable by meddling superpowers who pour fuel on the flames on all sides of a civil conflict?

Such a tragic unintended cancellation of one's own merciful impulses: many who advocate for Syrian refugees concurrently cheer the Oscar-nominated war propaganda flick White Helmets.

Blogger SteelPalm February 26, 2017 10:12 PM  

Heh, the writer, Janne Teller, lives in Denmark but is of white Austrian-German lineage.

Maybe that's why she constructed the hilarious hypothetical about Britain being conquered by Denmark? Delusions of grandeur coupled with anger about losing both World Wars? Kek.

And yes, comparing a white Englishman or even more generally Britishman to a random savage immigrating from the Middle East or Africa is stupid on its face. Races and cultures are different.

Most don't mix well.

Anonymous grumblr February 26, 2017 10:24 PM  

Sorry, completely off topic, but DO NOT MISS THIS:

A complete musical education in one sitting.

It's interesting; Paul McCartney was in the business of making charming, soulful, interesting tunes. John Lennon was in the business of making masterpieces. Listen and learn. Plus it's a lot of fun, and these guys playing it are Italian, they clearly don't speak English very well, but they just LOVE this music. You should, too.

And now...... the Walrus, which is what they say, once ready for it.

Anonymous Anonymous February 26, 2017 10:33 PM  

@7 - No, because the Beatles sucked and are musical hacks. Only insipid Baby Boomers would like that garbage. And John Lennon, may he suffer in hell eternally, will always be a condemned SJW for "Imagine", the anthem of dirty, cultural commie hippies the world over.

Anonymous Anonymous February 26, 2017 10:35 PM  

Awesome review. I hope the author anonymously posts it on Amazon somehow.

And as Nathan said @1, you know it's propaganda when Amnesty International is behind it.

Anonymous BBGKB February 26, 2017 10:47 PM  

One of the minor annoyances in this book is the lack of a coherent rational for either the collapse

Not enough white people as a percentage of the population to keep the lights on. Remember mummies from Egypt had DNA tests that showed they are more closely related to Europeans than they are to the current population, in other words they lost the ability to read the language of the time for the same reason as Detroit.

It turns out the Middle East depends on whites foreigners to run everything nice water/power/hospitals. Khobar Towers was one of the foreign worker compounds but it still got bombed. People take contracts to work there for a year and leave with 3 years worth of normal wages saved up. You can't blame them for wanting foreign doctors/nurses given their other choice is brown ones.

Anonymous Red Cabbage February 26, 2017 10:48 PM  

@9 Well, Lennon wrote "Revolution" too, which lets him slightly off the hook.

And the Beatles were great, their music still astonishes me to this day, shut your pie hole.

--Gen Xer

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable February 26, 2017 10:57 PM  

And the Beatles were great

Meh. Neil Finn on his worst day IMITATING the Beatles is better than the Beatles.

Blogger Sweet One February 26, 2017 11:02 PM  

Interesting that he mentions Rowling. I thought of her half way through the review.

Anonymous Anonymous February 26, 2017 11:18 PM  

@11 - 20 monkeys locked in a room with typewriters wouldn't write a Shakespeare sonnet with all the time in the world. 20 monkeys locked in a room with guitars and drums would knock out a Beatles tune by the end of the week. They were popular merely because the most boorish, asinine generation happened to be ingrate teenagers who loved to celebrate all that ugly and false in order to reject all that was beautiful and true. The Beatles are more of a perfect storm rather than an prayer answered.

I'll drop it at that. Feel free to have the last word on how they were "geniuses". Whatever makes you feel cool and hip, old man.

Back to the subject, the review is great, especially the first two opening paragraphs. This concept seems intuitive, relatable, and yet, the Left simply cannot grok it.

Blogger totenhenchen February 26, 2017 11:24 PM  

The "compassion fatigue" of the 90s has become the fuck them and fuck you too of The Current Year.

Blogger Jose February 26, 2017 11:30 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Jose February 26, 2017 11:30 PM  

These books about migrants remind me of an old French novel, the roughly translated title would be "The field of the hallowed," where there's a migrant situation and a political situation similar to the description above. I'm sure there's an English translation somewhere.

Better in the original, though: the author uses a couple of French pronoun games, that don't translate well, to make a point about respect and responsibility (as in tu-vous and nous-on, for those who speak Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkeyese).

As for the Beatles, good God, people, grow up.

Blogger Cederq February 26, 2017 11:33 PM  

Durandel Almiras, I am an un cool un hip old man and I too hated the beatles, what a bunch of english freaks, they should have stayed in the dives and seedy bars of Liverpool.

Anonymous Monkey Boy February 26, 2017 11:52 PM  

Anyone who thinks the melodies of the Beatles could be written by a monkey is an intellectual simpleton with no understanding of music theory and composition.

Anonymous grumblr February 27, 2017 12:30 AM  

Wow, what a bunch of tone-deaf idiots. No aesthetic at all. Sheesh.

Sorry, OT. Back to your regularly scheduled stoush.

Blogger IreneAthena February 27, 2017 12:38 AM  

There's nothing you can know that isn't known. Nothing you can see that isn't shown. There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be. It's easy!

Blogger IreneAthena February 27, 2017 12:40 AM  

Or used to be.

Anonymous Anonymous February 27, 2017 12:52 AM  

the Beatles

Who or what is that?

Blogger weka February 27, 2017 1:12 AM  

@12. Nice to meet an Ilk with taste.

Anonymous grumblr February 27, 2017 1:17 AM  

@21: Yeah, you get it.

Ooompa, doompa, stick it up yer jumper. Everybody's got one! Everybody's got one! Slave, thou hast slain me. If ever thou would'st prosper... Bury my body, and take the letters which thou find'st upon me to Edmund, earl of Gloucester. Seek him out among the British party. O, untimely death! Everybody's got one! Everybody's got one! Oompa doompa, stick it up yer jumper! I know him well, a serviceable villain. Is he dead? Sit you down father, rest you.

Anonymous Booga February 27, 2017 1:19 AM  

grumblr wrote:@21: Yeah, you get it.

Ooompa, doompa, stick it up yer jumper. Everybody's got one! Everybody's got one! Slave, thou hast slain me. If ever thou would'st prosper... Bury my body, and take the letters which thou find'st upon me to Edmund, earl of Gloucester. Seek him out among the British party. O, untimely death! Everybody's got one! Everybody's got one! Oompa doompa, stick it up yer jumper! I know him well, a serviceable villain. Is he dead? Sit you down father, rest you.

You are not the Walrus...

Anonymous grumblr February 27, 2017 1:48 AM  

"You are not the Walrus..."

Who on earth said I was?

Anonymous Booga February 27, 2017 1:53 AM  

grumblr wrote:"You are not the Walrus..."

Who on earth said I was?

Not me...


Never mind me... I just had a couple of glasses of a nice dry red and I feel a little silly.

Blogger N Matheson February 27, 2017 1:56 AM  

Even accepting the authors premise that this is a direct reversal of the current situation, the idea that British military aged males would flee anywhere is a stunning misreading of the British mind set.

Of course we did have a catastrophic European war (and a very serious one in Eastern Europe recently) not that long ago, how many people fled to the ME?

No one in the world is going to accept European refugees No one is coming, it's up to us.

Anonymous Just another commenter February 27, 2017 2:50 AM  

@4 - The problem is that (1) establishment GOP sorts use the same tricks and don't want to call themselves out, (2) if they did use it the media wouldn't report on it because it's an effective rhetorical attack.

Now, if Trump were to start using it in tweets and live interactions, make "pathological altruism," "weaponized empathy," and "suicidal compassion" a part of the lexicon, it couldn't be avoided, and the average guy could have the right words handed to him to walk away from guilt-trip attacks.

Blogger weka February 27, 2017 3:03 AM  

I checked the book on Amazon. $6.70 for 64 pages?! That is an Amazon single. 50c at best. Not released until November. Not on my wish list.

Was the reason AI endorse it is that it is short enough that even SJW can read it in one sitting?

Anonymous Anonymous February 27, 2017 3:09 AM  

Former UN and EU official who believes the "Nation State as such is totally a construction: what we feel for it in terms of habits, traditions, countryside or nature could exist without the notion of Nation."

A good indication of her writing is that she wins awards that take no notice of whether people buy her books or not:

The review of WAR is a thing of beauty.

Anonymous grumblr February 27, 2017 3:13 AM  

"O, untimely death! Everybody's got one! Everybody's got one! Oompa doompa, stick it up yer jumper! I know him well, a serviceable villain. Is he dead? Sit you down father, rest you."

It's meant to be simultaneously funny, tragic, and shocking. That was Lennon's mode d'emploi. If you don't get it, just be quiet. Or better yet, enjoy the clip I posted, it's Italian musicians who don't speak very good English, playing this music brilliantly. It's wonderful, they clearly love it (and you should too), enjoy.

Anonymous Bukulu February 27, 2017 3:22 AM  


The book you are referring to is titled "The Camp of the Saints" in its official English translation.

Blogger lowercaseb February 27, 2017 3:39 AM  

Well...the one good thing about this novel is it posits a future where the Danes remembered where their great-great-great grandfather's axes are buried, decided to hell with socialism and go a-viking again.

Hell, I'd pay to read a sidequel in this world of the adventures of Thorfin Greataxe, ex-minister of Danish clean energy and now Jarl of London.

Blogger Stilicho February 27, 2017 5:08 AM  

If an SJW is in a hole, give him a shovel. If he already has a shovel, give him a drink of water so he can keep digging.

Blogger Johnny February 27, 2017 8:32 AM  

An old saw that may or may not be true is that prostitution is the oldest profession. In that category one could also place emotional manipulation for selfish gain as the oldest scam.

The thing about Republicans and propaganda is that the other side controls the media. That largely prohibits anything like a complex message. Costs too much and is too tedious. You have to go after the easy target, the low hanging fruit, and that is to run down the recipients of the largess as undesirables. The other side gets it way better than our side. That is why they so relentlessly present poor people, blacks, immigrants, etc. in a positive light. Why criticism is forbidden. This could easily be accomplished, but not in the current media environment. He who controls the broadcast controls the message.

Blogger Johnny February 27, 2017 8:37 AM  

I haven't read the book of course, but our current ideas about human nature are so ill informed and unlikely that it would be amazing if the viewpoint in the publication were sensible. What makes anybody think the Egyptians would want to take in Brits? In the Middle East what they commonly do to losers is to kill them off. Most countries won't even take in their own let alone a bunch of Brits.

Before France, Britain competed with Holland. Way back when Holland was an important trading country with a significant navy. Currently I doubt they would be up to taking over anybody, or would even want to.

Blogger Johnny February 27, 2017 8:45 AM  

>>The Nation State as such is totally a construction: what we feel for it in terms of habits, traditions, countryside or nature could exist without the notion of Nation.

>>Before becoming a writer she was educated as a macro-economist and has worked as an advisor for the EU and in the UN, working with humanitarian and conflict resolution matters in places as diverse as Tanzania, Mozambique and Bangladesh.

The Nation State is a construct, but it appeals to tribalism which is a very strong human tendency. One merely reconstructs the tribe into a larger group of similar people, add in property as a tribal right, and bingo, Nationalism.

Also, nationalism is very weak in Africa, perhaps this is why she doubts its strength. The African nations are essentially European constructs that were imposed on the locals.

Blogger Sheila4g February 27, 2017 8:46 AM  

While it's probably not new, I like "weaponised empathy = emotional blackmail writ large" better than pathological altruism. At least for rhetorical arguments with normies.

Other than that, this review convinces me the book is not worth my time, primarily because it entails the willing suspension of disbelief, and yet the book's purported setting itself requires a suspension of logic, reason, common sense, and historical knowledge.

Blogger Elder Rock February 27, 2017 9:50 AM  

"weaponized empathy" - Brilliant. That could be the rhetorical breakthrough of 2017... if people start using it enough.

Anonymous kfg February 27, 2017 10:13 AM  

Thing is, the British Isles have been wracked with civil unrest and war any number of times, so we know where displaced Brits go.

Canada, the US, Australia. One of the anglophone (former) colonies with a descended and thus compatible culture. Some smaller groups to the Netherlands or France, countries they have been at war with, but neighbors with whom they are, nonetheless, culturally tied.

Obvious propaganda is obvious, and stupid, left handedly actually making the point that middle eastern refugees should seek refuge in . . . the middle east/north Africa.

Blogger LBD February 27, 2017 3:16 PM  

@17: The book is The Camp of the Saints, author Jean Raspail, available in all the usual places. Great prescient tale of massive immigration from North Africa to Europe.

Blogger SirHamster February 27, 2017 7:41 PM  

grumblr wrote:Wow, what a bunch of tone-deaf idiots. No aesthetic at all. Sheesh.

We Don't Care.

Blogger Soothsayer February 28, 2017 12:09 PM  

Might is right. If you do not defend your home someone will take it from you. Look at history, the world is littered with places where people have been invaded and annihilated. Genocide has occurred again and again. The English took England from those that were there, the Americans took America from those that were their, the Arabs took much of the Middle-East and North-Africa from those that were there. Empires have risen and fallen, nations have come into being and disappeared from history. The soil is soaked with the blood of those that were weaker. Our ancestors built our nation with the sword and the plough and the anvil. Unless we defend our ground we will also disappear perhaps unrecorded from history, our lineage stopped by fiercer invaders. Inviting vast numbers of aliens into a nation produces the same result eventually that a violent and bloody invasion would have, as we passively surrender our right to ownership of the land. Our present situation is that serious and deadly dangerous.

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