Naked and jackin’ it in, among other late imperial civic messes, San Diego

Wow Finest city Much mayors Such corrupt Most filner Peddle influens Pretty policechief So gaslamp Very waterfront What contendah

Or, to translate the foregoing for the 18-35 single-and-ready-to-mingle female weekender crowd, meow! Purr! Here kitty kitty kitty! It’s hard to forget a neighborhood where one has at least twice encountered grown women communicating in public using nonverbal cat noises. That’s the Gaslamp for you.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for social and psychosexual regression among the dissolute wealthy in America’s Finest City (TM). It’s probably just as well that I didn’t make the police force, and not just because I’d have had to start wearing contact lenses. There’s Jason Russell, of course, forever obliquely commemorated in song by South Park for his erstwhile extracurricular activities, but also known for giving SoCal bruh-flavored bougies the curious notion that they had the power to bring down an African warlord who was beyond the sovereignty of the Ugandan government and its military. There’s Rattlife, the bro troll and soi-disant “musician” who notoriously bought lobster on food stamps for the moral and penile edification of Brett Baier.

Then there’s San Diego’s very seedy relationship with “human trafficking,” by which the locals invariably mean forced sex trafficking by latter-day white slavers, as opposed to the much more common forms of slave trafficking in construction, domestic, agricultural, and fishery workers. This spurious moral panic is probably as advanced in San Diego County as in any other county in the United States. It’s a huge deal in Orange County, too, and not coincidentally, both counties have more than their fair share of happy-clappy nondenominational churches devoted less to the spiritual guidance and edification of their flocks than to the cultivation, honor, and protection of Bougie’s precious fee-fees. True stories of Pakistanis dying in slavery on Gulf Arab construction sites for the enrichment of Eurotrash psychopaths aren’t as hawt as Nick Kristof-style cool stories about teenage Cambodian damsels in distress, plus the #PowerOfPride geopolitical implications of standing up to these amoral Gulf satrapies when they have us by the balls on account of the oil thing are a real buzzkill, so of course Bougie focuses on the hawt stuff.

These damsel-in-distress stories function in large part as cheap allegories for the bourgeois fear that some good girl from Solana Beach or La Jolla will fall for some abusive dirtbag and end up slumming it in some cheap motel in Chula Vista, enjoying a lifestyle of meth distribution, streetwalking, and domestic violence. In most cases like this, there’s a robust natural law solution: when homegirl gets well and truly sick of her dirtbag, she can call the cops on him, and maybe an attorney, and most ceremoniously kick him to the curb. This is all too much personal responsibility for a good stolid bougie bro, of course, so there has to be some quasistructural reason for why bad psychosexual things happen to good girls.

This is just the latest garbage that we’re projecting south of the border, and an excellent example of how Southern California is failing to adopt best practices from Mexico despite bordering Mexico and being swarmed by expatriate Mexicans. Ask a Tijuana streetwalker whether she was trafficked into prostitution, and she’ll probably say that she bought herself a fucking bus ticket up from Michoacan and will be buying herself another fucking bus ticket back to Michoacan when she figures that she made enough money for the time being. And why did she ever go into this degrading line of work? Uhh, for the money, madre de dios you’re a dumb cholo, and maybe because she likes sex.

Not that any of this stops bourgeois residents of one of the safest counties in the United States from going south of the border to concern-troll residents of some of the most violent countries on earth for their decision to go into the sex trades, and then preening about their great virtue on local television back home. Back when I was working for that crazy lady in East County, the NBC affiliate aired a piece on a church group that had just gotten  back from a trip to Costa Rica, if memory serves (or Nicaragua?), that involved group hugs with “rescued” former teen hookers at some sort of shelter-cum-summer camp for fallen women trying to get back on their feet. This mission trip to pester Latina sex workers and gringo sex tourists with a bunch of busybody puritanical bullshit is an excellent example of foreign police and immigration authorities being too lenient with ugly Americans. Entering a country as a nonresident alien for the purpose of harassing people already there for their involvement in a consensual and lawful business should be a summary deportation offense. The thing for the targets of this officiousness to do is to give one warning to piss off before they contact the police, and the thing for the police to do is to put the offenders on the next flight back to El Norte. This would be a good use of the currently empty return flights operated by the US Government to forcibly repatriate campesinos.

I know a number of people, and damned if most of them don’t have the same San Diego connection (hint: Sea Lions, and not in the sense of sea-lioning), who went on a mission trip to a Muslim village in northern Ghana in order to screen “the Jesus film,” months after their main local contact, a Christian preacher from the south, had been beaten nearly to death in the same village by a vigilante mob avenging the death of a mother and child who had been hit by the preacher’s car. Maybe it’s a bit parochial for me to say this as an American, but the Ghanaian immigration authorities should not have admitted this missionary group to the country. They were foreigners who swooped in for a week and a half, slummed it with some villagers, screened a crackpot religious movie, and caught a Superbird back to San Francisco, leaving behind a sectarian mess that most of them will never get involved in again and that I’m pretty sure none of them grok. They were agents of chaos. I don’t think they meant to be, but they were. Worse, a number of them were unemancipated minors whose chaperons were bringing them in loco parentis into the fray of this intermittently violent sectarian feud in a country that most of them had never visited and that none of them understood at all well.

This missionary group should have been ruled inadmissible to Ghana on account of the recklessness of its reason for visiting. The Ghanaian government had no more ethical or legal obligation to admit these foreigners than the US government had to admit foreign Rajneeshis, that they might continue to very literally poison rural Oregon politics. Disruptive foreign crackpots have no right to freedom of religion in a country where they have never lived or held citizenship. These are circumstances in which the civil authorities should tell missionary groups to bugger off with their goddamn martyrdom act and remind them that their inadmissibility is not a function of religious bigotry, but an attempt to safeguard basic public order.


Where San Diego suggests that there’s serious cultural trouble in the provinces, Washington, DC and its suburban satellites indicate that the fish is rotting from the head down and that the trouble affects much more than just nightlife or the foolish religious. Culturally, the wealthier parts of Washington are about as bad as the debased parts of San Diego, but San Diego has nothing on Washington for businesses that are obviously devoted to masturbatory fury. I don’t recall ever coming across an office tower in San Diego that was apparently the exclusive space of some fringe business or culture war lobby and that, by its size, implied a staff an order of magnitude or two larger than the lobby should reasonably have in one office. In parts of Washington, there’s one of these buildings practically every block.

San Diego has tacitly benefited from a large net infusion of federal money to operate the US Navy, but even though the US Armed Forces and their private contractors engage in rampant featherbedding and graft, there are at least credible purposes for maintaining a standing navy. If nothing else, it helps a country maintain its skill base in the construction, maintenance, and operation of big-ass ships, a skill base that any maritime power would be foolish to forsake. There’s much less use for the metastatic proliferation of standing political and business lobbies. It’s easy for these lobbies to outlive their purpose and go looking for ever more absurd raison d’être, without the practical upsides of maintaining, say, a standing military. It’s the difference between actually being in the Navy and being In the Navy with the Village People. They may be equally fun during Fleet Week, but seriously, if push really came to shove, where would you rather spend your tax dollars?

It’s impossible to think about the number and size of the standing lobbies that infest official Washington and believe that anyone in or attached to the federal government today sincerely believes in limited government, plain dealing, fiscal responsibility, or the pursuit of genuinely productive work. The revealed preferences are just too overpowering. If these lobbies didn’t have government sponsors, they’d be dressed in rags and hollering their word in front of Union Station alongside the nonverbal psychotic. Government money is what allows most of these lobbies to pay for prime office space and organize protests. A few of the permanent Washington lobbies fund themselves mainly through the parasitic attachment to a private donor base, but even these are deeply enough involved with members of Congress and party committees to imply that they too are suckling at Mama Sugar’s tit.

I have most prominently in mind the Washington operations of the pro-life movement, but it isn’t the only one. Domestic realpolitik and natural law both show that an annual agitation on the National Mall will not end abortion. Roe v. Wade isn’t about to be overturned, and if it were, abortion would go back underground in the states choosing to reinstate criminal penalties. The March for Life does exceedingly little to convince ordinary women to carry unintended pregnancies to term, but it’s probably more fun than reaching out to pregnant women in a never-ending ground war back home in Peoria or Joplin. Given what pro-life activists have accomplished when they haven’t just been yelling about dead babies, the March for Life is obviously a masturbatory street festival, a combination of cult indoctrination and road show political cosplay.

An exceptionally large number of people who make a living by infiltrating official Washington or attaching themselves to it are ultimately less interested in accomplishing any real goal than in maintaining their own permanent employment doing whatever they claim to be doing. There’s probably less of this in the federal bureaucracies than in the activist and industry lobbies. Aside from Defense and the civilian Homeland Security agencies, the federal bureaucracies have been made to do more with less in recent decades, or to do less with less. (Homeland Security, of course, is all about doing less with more.) Many of these agencies have always been employed a larger percentage of highly trained technical staff, and generally competent and diligent staff in all capacities, than the starve-the-beast crowd can even begin allowing itself to imagine.

Paradoxically, the only way to make these agencies leaner and more effective is to hire more employees, specifically inspectors general. Simply cutting an agency’s funding or authorized strength will result in valuable employees being shitcanned along with the useless and the destructive. This assumes, of course, that purging good employees from these agencies is a bug, not a feature. For several decades now, there have been enough Randroid psychopaths, mountebanks, and charlatans in federal elected office to indicate that there is a powerful, although usually two-faced, constituency that is violently opposed to the good administration of the federal government and more broadly to the very idea of the commonweal.

Even so, there’s too much organizational, cultural, and political inertia in and around the bureaucracies to allow a thorough trashing by the Go Galt barbarians. The civil service system endures, not only for the protection of federal employees from inappropriate personnel decisions but also for the protection of federal agencies from infestation by unfit employees. There are crass, self-dealing elements in American politics who want a full return to the spoils system and are furious that they’re being sandbagged by career bureaucrats who have existing law on their side, sympathetic politicians in their corner, and the will to survive many nights of the long knives.

The lobbies, by contrast, have never been subject to civil service protections, making them good places for the powerful to stash useless relatives who clean up well and don’t make complete asses of themselves all the time. Congressional and White House staff positions, having been designed as political positions in order to maintain the sovereignty of their host institutions, can also serve well as placements for scions of well-connected families who aren’t looking to advance in their careers strictly by their own merits. Likewise broadcast journalism, a field that neither Luke Russert, Jenna Bush, nor Chelsea Clinton entered via the normal process of application or audition. It’s not as if any of these people, or Monica Lewinsky, could have gotten anywhere by telling a Secret Service recruiter, “You know, my daddy knows people and has lots of money, and I hear you guys are hiring.” A ploy like this probably wouldn’t so much as have gotten them into the bottom tier of the clerical pool at the USDA. In specific circumstances, namedropping might help an applicant get a leg up on the competition after doing well on a civil service exam or secure a low-level bureaucratic position that is exempt from civil service regulations, but in these cases the networking and influence-peddling might well be with career bureaucrats, not political or journalistic bigshots.

I cannot envy anyone for growing up in or around DC power circles. The benefits are too fickle and the environment too amoral and corrosive to be worth the trouble. Washington is probably worse than Hollywood for nonconformists because none of the jobs that can be gotten by working family connections have guild protections and the workplaces are so aggressively politicized. Notwithstanding all the obnoxious limousine liberal activism that celebrities inflict on the public, the studios are willing to put up with extensive political dissent in any number of directions as long as the dissidents reliably show up on set ready to do their jobs adequately. Screenwriters and tradesmen probably enjoy even more latitude than actors since they work in the back of the house, the whole point being for the audience not to think about them.

One of the things that most pisses off authoritarians about movie stars is that they’re free, with limited Godwin’s Law-themed restrictions, to say whatever the hell they want about whatever the hell they want without career ramifications. By the time they’re stars, they’ve usually earned millions of dollars’ worth of fuck-you money, and if they’re popular with audiences, the studios aren’t likely to blacklist them just because they’re cranks or boors about some political shit. By the time Charlie Sheen had his Vatican warlock Chaim Liebowitz meltdown, he was well established on set as untenably disruptive, apparently power-assisted by that noble white powder on the Flying Tiger journey of life. In almost any other more or less meritocratic workplace, an employee acting so wildly and becoming so unreliable at work would be fired, or at least be placed on a leave of absence.

Institutionally, Hollywood is quite apolitical. There’s just too much money to be made by trafficking whatever fare is popular with audiences, regardless of its politics or lack thereof. The personal beliefs of actors are pretty much irrelevant. The whole point of acting by people other than Charlie Sheen is to portray someone else, and someone else likely has different political and philosophical beliefs than oneself. Duh.

Official Washington and its parasites are a different kettle of fish. The fare is inherently political, and federal politics today are morally repulsive. It’s imperative for the inauthentic to appear authentic, and the authenticity demanded includes overbearing moral rectitude. It’s like acting, except it’s real life, and the shoot never ends. For those who aren’t in the dark triad, it’s a bad place to stake a career. Many of the jobs on offer require nerves of steel, a bottomless capacity for lying and sycophancy, a preternatural ability to maintain a game face in public, and a moral compass that is out of order or entirely missing. Worse, it’s possible to meet these requirements for months or years and still be kicked to the curb over some trivially inappropriate off-duty comment or stunt that was seized on by a virtual lynch mob. Entire cottage industries are devoted to scrutinizing the political opposition for the faintest whiff of scandal and then orchestrating the firing of the offenders with maximum damage to their careers.

Meanwhile, there are practically no consequences for elected officials who are caught in moral turpitude. Remember Gary Condit, the Democrat representing Modesto who stayed in office for months while he was implicated in the disappearance of his mistress? At the time, Condit was widely suspected of murdering her. It later emerged that Chandra Levy had been raped and murdered by a stranger in Rock Creek Park and that Condit had committed no foul play against her, but no one else knew this at the time. It’s worth asking what on earth that fucker was doing that was wonderful enough for the House of Representatives and his constituents to tolerate his continued membership at a time when he was the closest thing to a suspect in a prominent case of apparent murder and surreptitious corpse disposal. Americans are not merciful towards murderers, suspected or convicted, and both houses of Congress had for decades been even less merciful than the American citizenry. There’s no way that the House was harboring Condit as a matter of principle; a few years later, it voted to expel James Traficant for having been convicted of engaging in graft and having a foul temper, in a 420-1 vote. You’ll never guess who the lone voice of mercy was.

It’s bizarre but true. Congress is so morally degraded that a shifty bastard implicated in the murder of his mistress and a loudmouthed crook in bellbottoms can’t help but improve its morals through their presence. People like Condit and Traficant are exactly the sort of low-functioning, disinhibited operators a sensible person wants in elected office in order to keep seats out of the hands of high-functioning psychopaths. What they offer may not be good, but if it’s bad, it’s probably bad in an aboveboard way. Now try arguing that there’s anything aboveboard about the Clintons. Or Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or John Boehner or Saxby Chambliss.

Some people argue that the problem with these smooth but amoral demagogues is basically an inherent problem with republican government, that democratic systems, whether direct or representative, inevitably bring scum to the top. The problem with this argument is that American representative democracy, in Washington if nowhere else, is dogged by confounding variables that make it a really shitty excuse for self-government. There’s a scale problem, to be sure: each member of the House, except for those from the smallest states, has a constituency of over half a million, making it really hard for the average voter to know who the fuck he’s electing. This cuts both ways: if the electorate in question is evil at heart, ignorance can be a godsend. The problem is that if voters would like to replicate New England town government at the national level, they’ll have difficulty discerning fit candidates from total dogs. This bewilderment is in addition to widespread voter apathy and demoralization, aggressive advertising at ever-more obscene volumes and price points (I’ve read that Hillary is projected to spend up to a billion dollars on her 2016 run for the presidency), and subversion of the individual franchise by politicized religious organizations and other unscrupulous collectives. It’s a Bernaysian nightmare. We may think we ordered Norman Rockwell, but we’ve been served the synthesis of Mad Men and House of Cards. 

Of course, all these asswipes who insinuate themselves into national elected office make sure to present themselves as scrupulous republicans. What most of them are really interested in running, however, is a seedy simulacrum of republican government, a really fucking insulting gesture of contempt if you think about it. A republican government is supposed to feature ongoing, vigorous oversight of the bureaucracies by the elected legislature. It certainly sounds nice. In practice, Congressional oversight degenerates into Benghazi, the Bill and Monica impeachment circus, and the extended browbeating of cooperative witnesses as a means of self-promotion on C-Span.

One of the most egregious recent examples of witness browbeating was the abuse heaped on Julia Pearson in her last days as director of the Secret Service. Pearson seems to have done poorly as the Secret Service’s commanding officer, but when Congressional grandstanding is involved, that’s not the real point. Most of Congress would fail the background investigation or the psychological tests for sworn employment with the Secret Service; many members would be rejected on both counts. One should expect elected officials who know that they’re dealing with the director of one of the most selective law enforcement agencies on the face of the earth to show its director some fucking decorum and civility while questioning her and to demand the same of their colleagues. This isn’t to say that they should be deferential in their oversight of a troubled agency. It’s just to say that they shouldn’t be a goddamned bunch of buffoons with no telling how many skeletons in their closets when they’re on a committee questioning the director of a law enforcement agency that would never hire their sorry asses. Congressmen getting up on their high horses in front of a Secret Service director is tantamount to a group of drunken bums cursing out a beat cop for hours on end. The bums have a right to insult the cop’s Christian womanhood, but beyond a certain point, probably measurable in seconds, not minutes, the cop has a prerogative to leave them to their own devices, since there are more important things to do than to repeatedly be called a bitch-ass fucking cunt by the same shambling company.

This is the sort of horseshit that federal agency directors have to submit to in the name of Congressional oversight. Superficially, it sounds better than some bum yelling obscenities at the police, but it really isn’t. If oversight were the purpose, they wouldn’t beat dead horses and interrupt witnesses’ answers to their questions in order to accuse them of evasiveness. Much of what goes on in Congressional oversight hearings is about humiliating and punishing the help. It’s obvious. It comes through in their voices. It can be seen in their eyes.

This is how they treat the heads of federal agencies. Imagine how rotten their are to waitresses.

With behavior that gratuitous, it’s no wonder that federal agencies don’t necessarily enjoy the career-length tenure of their A-team employees. The second-place prize is enduring obscurity at a modest pay grade, maybe in exchange for putting up with punishing hours and workplace conditions, and the first-place prize is being publicly spit on by disingenuous, grandstanding shysters. The United States is blessed with a palace guard that has been in continuous existence for over a century without a single one of its members having assassinated or attempted to assassinate a member of the government. Anyone who has studied world history knows that this is an unusually good streak for a palace guard, but most of Congress doesn’t give a damn if there are cheap points to be scored. No amount of loyalty or good faith can keep them from rubbing a servant’s face in the mud in front of the whole village.

People notice when the prevailing attitudes become so vile and amoral. Not everybody consciously processes the vileness, but it takes a real innocent or dolt not to have a sense that things are disordered. The result, on full ugly display in Washington, is a nasty positive feedback loop in which mercenaries, charlatans, and psychopaths attract more mercenaries, charlatans, and psychopaths, to the increasing exclusion of decent people. No patriot with a lick of sense wants the military, military contractors, or the police to be taken over by moles or by people with mercenary values. But what else can anyone expect of the federal government, given the debased morals of so many elected officials and staffers? It looks for all the world like they have a compulsion to poison the well with the remaining decent people in all areas of government. This sort of moral parasitism can’t go on indefinitely without degrading the competence and moral character of career staff in nonpolitical positions.

It’s no wonder that the DC area has produced at least two major manosphere players, Roissy and Roosh. What passes for liberalism around there is blatantly hypocritical and morally bankrupt. Skewering it is like shooting fish in a barrel. There’s hardly even a need to dig up dirt on the mini Stalin wannabes of political correctness; their arguments are so flimsy and thoroughly buttressed with threats to economically dispossess dissenters that their moral bankruptcy speaks for itself, if they’ll allow it to speak. It should be expected that the reaction to an overbearing, prissy style of SWPL liberalism as official ideology will be ugly, especially when day-to-day dissent by more sober observers is so ruthlessly chilled. The prevailing ethos in official Washington is center-left, so it’s to be expected that the trouble will erupt on right-wing fault lines. We’re probably lucky that the trouble hasn’t recently included a Breivik-style massacre or a redux of Oklahoma City.

I’m not sure how much of this joint is worth defending. Be very worried if military or Secret Service personnel express similar feelings.


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