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From OneZero:

The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet

This is also what the internet is becoming: a dark forest

Yancey Strickler
May 20

In his sci-fi trilogy The Three Body Problem, author Liu Cixin presents the dark forest theory of the universe.

I haven’t read it, but this is one of the bigger science fiction works of the century.

When we look out into space, the theory goes, we’re struck by its silence. It seems like we’re the only ones here. After all, if other forms of life existed, wouldn’t they show themselves? Since they haven’t, we assume there’s no one else out there.

Liu invites us to think about this a different way.

Imagine a dark forest at night. It’s deathly quiet. Nothing moves. Nothing stirs. This could lead one to assume that the forest is devoid of life. But of course, it’s not. The dark forest is full of life. It’s quiet because night is when the predators come out. To survive, the animals stay silent.

Is our universe an empty forest or a dark one? If it’s a dark forest, then only Earth is foolish enough to ping the heavens and announce its presence. The rest of the universe already knows the real reason why the forest stays dark. It’s only a matter of time before the Earth learns as well.

Cool … Except … are dark forests deathly quiet? It turns out that there are a huge number of videos of the sounds of forests at night and they aren’t all that quiet:

This is also what the internet is becoming: a dark forest.

In response to the ads, the tracking, the trolling, the hype, and other predatory behaviors, we’re retreating to our dark forests of the internet, and away from the mainstream. …

Dark forests like newsletters and podcasts are growing areas of activity.

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  1. The internet–like humanity itself–is a bit of a mess. But I can’t help but notice a retrograde element who lament the passing of the 100% controlled media and who wish we could just go back to the old ways.

    And the universe seems (and is) quiet because it’s large, incredibly large, and almost entirely empty. That someone likens it to a forest makes me wonder about his grasp.

    • Agree: Cagey Beast
    • Replies: @Prester John
    , @anon
  2. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Yeah, forests aren’t literally that quiet at night. But the Three-Body Trilogy is great and you will probably like it, Steve. Liu is influenced by the sci-fi greats like Clarke.

    The appeal of podcasts I think is just an extension of the appeal of non-call in talk radio. John Batchelor has been doing it on the radio for years.

  3. OK well, that was pre-rationally terrifying to read, many thanks to Sailer for injecting a bit of post-rational common sense into my squirrelly consciousness. Certainly most things making noise in a forest at night, e.g. owls, are themselves superpredators, but his criticism still stands.

    OT: new Netflix Original is about a teenaged black female supergenius who disproves Einstein by going back in time to stop a white cop from killing her older brother for dindunuffin— have Netflix Originals attained peak current year?

  4. Metaphors work because they mark differences. And this is an existential thing – we too work, without being too knowledgeable and perfectly right = we, as individuals and (suffering) humans, never fit perfectly into life. The forest metaphor allows us to daydream, – for example about our situation on earth – and in the universe. A Never Ending Story (Michael Ende). The Newsletter in all its tiny imperfectness reflects this situation – it can be understood as a “reality symbol” (Ernst Bloch) of our ever so imperfect (=humble) human activities. We’re small and (almost) meaningless, alright, but we nevertheless don’t have to surrender to the vast stretches of darkness and meaninglessness in the cosmic night out there – not as long as we think of it as a silent forest at night…or a work of God, which is not yet (utopian philosopher Ernst Bloch again) deciphered.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @JMcG
  5. @Roderick Spode

    Have you ever been in a dark forest at night? – There are gazillions of things that make noises and most of them are no predators. If I might just mention plants, moved by the wind? Ahh, just in case you might wonder: Yep, there is wind in forests at night, if this fact would soothe your squirrelly consciousness a little bit, that would be fine with me.

  6. anon[254] • Disclaimer says:

    I suppose this sort of thing is only a marginal improvement, since your e-mail provider and the NSA can both still read what you’re writing.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  7. @Dave Pinsen

    It truly sucked when a local station went back to music, and I couldn’t hear Batchelor anymore. If conditions are right though, 770 out of NYC can be picked up where I live, so I occasionally get my fix.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  8. Maybe because some newsletters and podcasts are more informative, and a lot of the rest more entertaining, than the “mainstream” stuff?

  9. @Roderick Spode

    We are not living in a time that savours subtlety, to put it mildly. Check out this ad I saw last night for one of Canada’s big five banks, the Bank of Montreal:

    That obviously comes from the hive mind of a bunch of silly White girls. We teach our girls to celebrate the non-White, non-male and non-straight and they take to it with the gusto of party planners or the cheerful housewives of earlier generations.

    • LOL: jim jones
  10. About this tracking, trolling, and hype, it seems like it’s the usual suspects, the legacy Lyin’ Press, who continue to provide much of the hype. Even when I do want to read something quickly on a TV-station’s web site, the amount of flashing, popping-up, and moving-around on the screen is just too damn much. It is not worth putting up with waiting for 15 or 30 seconds for the site to just calm down, then finding and clicking a small x or two, just in order to read a couple of paragraphs.

    The MSM sites are the discotechs of the internet, and we all know DISCO IS DEAD!

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  11. Bill P says:

    Yeah this guy doesn’t know much about dark forests. They are scary because they are not quiet. Also the glowing eyes lurking at the edge of the firelight can be disconcerting.

    I live in a very dark-foresty area, so I have quite a bit of experience with them. You hear things scurrying around, hoots, coyotes yapping and on the east side wolves howling (which is both cool and spooky at the same time). Sometimes during mating season you can hear wildcats (cougars, bobcats, lynx) screaming, which is like when domestic cats do it but much more blood-curdling.

    If you’re a kid and have young ears you can hear the ultrasonic squeaks of rodents, and sometimes you can catch the weird, electronic buzzing of echolocating bats (I could still hear supposedly ultrasonic animal deterrant devices well into my teens). To be fair, there are also nice sounds, like the rain falling on a pond, the Pacific tree frogs singing, the breeze in the alder leaves and the shushing of whitewater down the way.

    But Liu may be trying to make another point here; as inept as his metaphor may be there’s a legitimate fear of what can be done to those who expose themselves to the hyenas (another loud nocturnal animal) of the Internet. But I’d say to Liu: “then why don’t you go into the real dark forest and leave the Internet alone for a while?”

    There are real people there living full lives, some of the most culturally isolated of all Americans, which is great. From western Montana to La Push, and SE Alaska down to someplace in godforsaken California, there’s a culture that still exists, even in West Coast America, going its own way. And it isn’t all meth trailers and drunken Indians (although both exist and are a tragedy), but rather a state of nature creating its own frontier by the power of wind and water, analogous to the desert and sun of the Bedouin cultural landscape.

    • Agree: Dieter kief
  12. @anon

    We have to assume “our” Five Eyes friends can data-mine everything we send electronically but we also need to carry on regardless. From what we can see, they’re still not quite powerful enough to drive Trump out of office, so there’s hope.

    I was disappointed to see the theory of Russian interference repeated in the article Steve posted above:

    “There’s a reason why Russian military focused on these platforms when they wanted to manipulate public opinion: they have a real impact”.

    I simply don’t believe it. I also know the permanent governing class is trying to use supposed Russian online interference in order to shut down their “far right” and “populist” opponents.

  13. Anon[294] • Disclaimer says:

    Forests at night are cacophonous with insect noise. At least for the first few hours, at lower elevations. Frogs also come into play. I would sometimes get caught out after dark when hiking. It’s truly frightening. I can understand how religion developed. And when I say insect noise, I hoped it was all insect noise. Some of it is not exactly insect like.

  14. @Bill P

    Hey, thanks for that shout-out to La Push, Bill. How about Stehekin, Washington, likely the most isolated town in the lower 48 – got to take a boat or plane to get there.

    You do live in one of the most beautiful areas of this land, but there are lots more.

  15. The metaphor of the dark forest is inadvertently apt. The web is like a cacophonous forest at night. So many little creatures struggling to get their message out over the noise of so many mating calls and the constant danger of giving away too much information to a predator or rival.

  16. CAL2 says:

    It kind of works because most living things will stop making noise when they sense a predator about. The wind and other non-living sounds don’t count. Think of them as background signals from stars and the rest.

  17. Sean says:

    There is nothing is the accessible part of the Universe. So any aliens out there are scared/ obeying the Federations Prime Directive unless we are unique in the history of the Universe, or we are just the latest to think we are unique, and then get taken out a la Forbidden Planet by an invention of our own, which will be along presently.

    The cotton gin caused the Civil war, which made poor white labour in the South competitive again.

    The technology made producing newsletters simple, and you can make money off newsletter much more easily. You need about 4 million subscribers to make a middle class income from YouTube.

  18. what I am noticing is the scarcity of intelligence in the media, on the web. Fox really misses Roger Ailles . That network is becoming more and more dumb.

    The ignored and overlooked web needs web sites that point out where good content is to be found. Instapundit was good at that for a few years.

    John Batchelor has a terrific podcast. Anthony Cumia is a flawed genius and has as few talented people on his network. Larry Johnson is back with sic semper tyrannis after it looked like the deep state was going to put him in jail.

    Carson podcast is really good. But that illustrates a big problem I see. There is no smart person in the control room, editing the final product, telling the interviewer to notice that the retired person they are talking to just said something very interesting or important that should be highlighted.

  19. Strickler:

    The internet of today is a battleground. The idealism of the ’90s web is gone. The web 2.0 utopia — where we all lived in rounded filter bubbles of happiness — ended with the 2016 Presidential election when we learned that the tools we thought were only life-giving could be weaponized too.

    The article is basically a subtle “shut it down” lament from a guy is wary of Schwarzwald echo-location.

  20. “… only Earth is foolish enough to ping the heavens and announce its presence.”

    When you consider most meaningful science comes from the developed world, and whe you consider the immigration policies of most of the developed world, and when you further consider the ramifications for the developed world of its immigration policies, should one really be surprised that Earth would invite its own destruction?

    Cool … Except … are dark forests deathly quiet? It turns out that there are a huge number of videos of the sounds of forests at night and they aren’t all that quiet.

    It is eerie to go into the forest on Guam and not hear birds, which were wiped out by Brown Snakes, which were brought in by man to control the rats that were inadvertantly brough in by man.

  21. @Dave Pinsen

    Dave, hasn’t the Three Body Problem already been solved by turducken?

    Seriously, though, Steve hasn’t the time to read lengthy sci-fi. I mean, he can get into some wonky, dorky stuff (and oh boy this is super dorky stuff), but the character names in aggregate are headache-inducing (The Three Body Problem, via Wikipedia):

    Ye Zhetai, Shao Lin, Ye Wenjie, Ye Wenxue, Lei Zhicheng, Yang Weining, Wang Miao, Yang Dong, Ding Yi, Shi Qiang, Chang Weisi, Shen Yufei, Wei Cheng, Pan Han, Sha Ruishan, Bang Ding Ow

    These books are really for The Derb or maybe insatiable Trekkies who want to theorize about hostile extraterrestrials and magic technology. Also, the cover art blows—not a good sign, considering the no-limits-to-the-imagination genre.

    Steve, if you’re actually curious, do the Tom Townsend thing and read this sympathetic enough review (google the title if you hit the paywall):

    Even better, just listen to this serene theme of hope from Queen Starsha, keeper of life-preserving Cosmo DNA.

  22. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    That is: “a guy who is wary…” who who who


  23. Bitfu says:

    These comments are literally taking this metaphor way too literally. It’s a f*ing metaphor. You get the idea, and can either accept or reject without the need for think comments on Nocturnally Audible Dark Forest Theory.

    You know what comes next? A brooding NYT Opinion writer will see this thread, note an obsession with ‘darkness’. Then, he’ll ‘connect the dots’ with a think piece on how ‘their whiteness compels them to fear my darkness’. Hell, the damn thing writes itself.

    Does NYT pay these writers? I might just submit it myself…Ta’ NeBitfu has a good ring to it.

    • LOL: Daniel H, Buffalo Joe
  24. Whitney says:

    Well there’s no reason for him ever to have been in a forest at night because, haven’t you heard, camping is white privilege. Yes, forests are incredibly noisy at night and roosters crow 24/7. The rooster thing was a surprise to me. I lived in Mexico for a little bit everyone has a few chickens and a rooster. They never shut up

  25. BB753 says:

    Yeah, the guy, Yancey Strickler, has probably never seen a scary dark forest in his life. In equatorial or tropical jungles you can barely sleep at night because of all the noises of the myriad of animals busy in the dark.

  26. @Roderick Spode

    Roderick, maybe she can go further back and prevent her ancestors from signing up for those cruises to the New World.

    • LOL: Redneck farmer, TWS
  27. Arclight says:

    It’s an interesting concept even if forests are not literally quiet at any part of the day…I often wonder how much influence bloggers/podcasters like Zman have that is hard to pick up. Obviously he can see pageviews and downloaded podcasts as one measure, but I suspect a lot of listeners are like me in that I don’t go around talking to friends and mention his (or Sailer) by name but do work their ideas or commentary into conversations with others. That’s harder to measure but I do think it’s very important as a way to counteract the insane garbage that emanates from the social media realm.

    • Agree: Desiderius
  28. This guy needs to spend sone time watching “Ancient Aliens” so he will understand that almost everything monumental on earth was built by aliens, except for what the Greeks and Romans and Europeans built.

  29. Realist says:

    One hour and six minutes of forest sounds…what more could you want?

  30. @Dieter kief

    I think the issue may come from people’s perception that the forest is quiet when they’re in it.

    While bow hunting, you’ll notice that the forest is quiet while you’re moving through it and setting up. Then, if you remain still and silent yourself for a long enough period of time, the forest returns to its former state of life, the birds and animals oblivious to your presence.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  31. I haven’t read it, but this is one of the bigger science fiction works of the century.

    Well, they have been trying to get rid of white men from Science Fiction.

    I started reading the first in the series, and the writing was so florid I simply could not continue, and I paid for the damn thing.

    Anonymous Conservative points out a series that started in 2016 that is perhaps more relevant to our times:

    Talk about good timing, a commenter brought to my attention there is a new Science Fiction series about a young student who stumbles on a history-altering conspiracy by a global Cabal with its sights on world domination, written by a physicist who has apparently kept up on r/K Theory and cites it in his notes in one of the books. Bookhorde said, “This is really such an original series of books that it’s hard to describe it properly. Like Da Vinci Code meets Harry Potter meets Cryptonomicon by way of Michael Crichton. The author really knows his science and tech AND can spin a fantastic tale.”

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  32. @Dieter kief

    A universe which is in fact entirely empty (so far) except for us makes religion instantly non-absurd again so can’t really be allowed to be plausible.

    • Replies: @Carol
    , @Dieter kief
  33. Grumpy says:


    The Wall Street Journal has a story today about the declining number of visitors at Civil War battlefields. No mention is made of the changing demographics of the United States, where a smaller and smaller share of the population has any historical connection to 19th-century America.

    At the enormous Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia, where Civil War veterans worked so hard to preserve and honor the site of so much bloodshed, I was saddened by how run-down modern America looked around the edges of the park.

  34. Years ago, I hiked the Hoh River trail in the Olympic National Park, which is known for its temperate rain forest, and I can report that the silence in that forest was “deafening”– to the point where it became downright eerie.

    “Where the green, dark forest stood too silent to be real”
    -“Canadian Railroad Trilogy”(Gordon Lightfoot)

  35. @HammerJack

    Not many people can wrap their heads around the fact that that the universe is “incredibly empty” . It becomes more palatable, however, if they are told that Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun, is 4.2 light years away. Since a light year is about 6 trillion miles, that means PC is over 25 trillion miles from our sun. When one considers that the Milky Way galaxy is 100 thousand light years in diameter and that the nearest galaxy to ours, Andromeda, is 1 MILLION light years awat, then it becomes a little easier to grasp the concept that the universe is indeed composed mainly of empty space.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Buffalo Joe
    , @JimS
  36. Carol says:

    Exactly. And who doesn’t think there is life out there? Seems a common assumption now. If there is, it’s so far away as to not matter anyway so it’s irrelevant.

    I swear these seekers are looking for some new gods to worship.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  37. Polynices says:

    Three Body Problem starts REALLY slow and goes on for chapters with flashbacks to China’s cultural revolution in the 60s. I got bored and stopped reading it. I suppose I should force myself to continue since supposedly it’s so good but eh…

  38. fish says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hey……Jerry Nadler is out of the hospital already!?

  39. Klesko says:

    “black female supergenius who disproves Einstein”

    More of this, please. I want Jewish icons to get the same treatment as ours.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  40. KunioKun says:

    I hope the next step is the normalization of anonymous message boards for everything.

  41. @Desiderius

    A universe which is in fact entirely empty (so far) except for us makes religion instantly non-absurd again so can’t really be allowed to be plausible.

    In no special order

    1) “He felt the heat of the night (…)

    Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate

    Brought on by a simple twist of fate”

    2) – And wouldn’t that make for a nice phrase in the Dylan-state-of-mind:

    A universe can neither be forbidden
    Nor wished upon since they don’t care

    3) Somewhere in this universe there’s
    A place that you can call home
    (Dylan again – on Slow Train Coming)

    Ernst Bloch again: And this place, where you feel at home, shone into your childhood – and at times you know, that this is true, even though no one has ever been there…

  42. @Dieter kief

    I question whether Mother Nature or God—if it must be another white-privileged male—made that intense blue-violet / yellow-green light falling on the nighttime forest, albeit that span of hues evokes nighttime.

    I have noticed the newsletter push. I can’t tell how much money is required. I don’t have it at the moment.

    I also notice things like a national—no a worldwide—reduction in new smartphones sales. It isn’t surprising if you follow the financial press, the bonafide economists & and the alternative economists, yelling into the dark forest of the bought-off politicians’ hive mind to no avail.

    The US economy, even the world economy, is full of mammouth consumer debt (auto, student, credit card), insurmountable national debt and zombie corporations that can’t service the interest on their loans with profit, even though they’ve been fed a steady diet of printed money at low or zero interest rates while employing mostly low-cost, offshored, outsourced or welfare-fed legal / illegal immigrant labor.

    Politicians are lighting up the dark and gloomy forest, bragging about their bubble-blowing skills, as central banks keep the stock market afloat for dual-high-earner crony parents in the top 20%.

    The US is wildly un and underemployed if you count the 95 million citizens (16 to 65) out of the labor force and some 7 million more applying for Unemployment Compensation each month, while refusing to over count the half of all employed persons in the USA who just work part time.

    Many are doing it to stay under the earned-income limits for welfare programs that cover their groceries, rent and electricity bills, as Uncle Sam hands them additional monthly cash assistance and up to $6,431 in refundable child tax credit cash.

    Since their major monthly bills are covered by Uncle Sam, those single-breadwinner moms could use their up to $6,431 in child tax credit money on new smartphones, apps, newsletters or any number of products peddled by the internet marketers.

    Some might be pulling back, seeing that internet marketers are checking under the hood of their lives in some very anti-Fourth-Amendment ways to detect signs in contacts, financial transactions and workplace FB baby-pic posting, determining which ad to serve up to them.

    In addition to being dead broke—not the Hillary-multi-millionaire-kind-of-dead-broke—Americans are lifting their heads up out of the dark, slumberous forest of the intentionally vague internet fog, asking themselves a few questions about what these tech products mean.

    Some things are great about the Internet and advanced computing, including the ability to challenge the lying, self-serving narratives of Establishment Elites. Being able to write fast in these text editors and to manipulate images of dark forests, giving them a supernatural glaze in ultra-violet and neon-green, is enchanting.

    But many things are Constitution-thwarting—damaging to the individual liberties detailed in the US Constitution, kind of violative especially if done with bad intentions. And given what humans are, what are the chances much of it is well-intentioned?

    None of these things are being addressed, of course, no more than the real economy since our elected elites are bought off by big corporations. Ironically, the Internet is the only place where the bad side of the Internet is being discussed. The broadcast media is owned by bigly corporations that see only potential dollar signs in the Internet.

    With the exception of welfare-eligible single womb producers and the dual-earner parents in above-firing, family-friendly, vacation-friendly, absenteeism-friendly jobs, the Internet retreat is economic in motivation. It is also increased wariness, not that wariness at the back end of a trend does people much good.

    • Replies: @Dieter kief
  43. Cool … Except … are dark forests deathly quiet?

    Steve is right to ask.

    Sometimes, late at night when I can’t sleep, I will be reading something like iSteve. Suddenly, out of the woods, there will be a loud commotion. Screaming and screeching, there will be the sounds of animals. Wolves, foxes and who knows what else. They live here, but you seldom see them.

    They have their own family arguments. That is what it sounds like at 2AM.

    In August, there is the constant noise of Katydids. All night long.

    “Imagine a dark forest at night. It’s deathly quiet. Nothing moves. Nothing stirs.”

    Yancey Strickler does not know what he is writing about. Like most contemporary writers, he probably has never spent any time in the woods.

  44. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Some spoilers in that review (as there are in most reviews), so I would avoid it if you plan to read the books. I think I mentioned the trilogy to the Derb before and he was too pessimistic about Chinese literature to read it.

  45. IP Freely says:

    Oh look! More intellectual circle jerking from a modern atheist terrified about the meaning of his existence and what’s going to happen after death.

  46. Ragno says:

    Found the title of this entry provocative, but the body of it more-or-less a waste of time.

    If newsletters are growing in popularity (as I strongly suspect they are), it’s because the damn forest (ie, internet) isn’t dark or quiet enough. Almost all of it has been mapped, identified and coded, and is constantly monitored for infractions to the ruling ideology of our age. Once upon a time, you could speak your mind on social media or on private blogs, and devil take the hindmost – … then PayPal and Patreon started cutting people off, the ultimate instrument of democratic pluralism and self-rule – crowdfunding – turned out to be no such thing, and major banks and lending institutions began shutting down and turning out certain of their own customers, whose accounts had been perfectly legal and not in arrears, for reasons they chose not to share with the very people they were intentionally reducing to beggary.

    Newsletters are popular again because Americans are not used to being cowed into silent submission, and will communicate via mimeograph, smoke signals and/or coded phrases and hand-gestures if tyranny denies them every other means; specifically, they’re popular again because the Internet has not merely been corrupted beyond repair – it’s now the most meticuously-watched and spied-on “dark forest” in human history. And it’s not the evil aliens out in space being pinged – it’s the ones already here, ruling us.

    • Replies: @Simon in London
  47. @Alec Leamas

    Alec, and then you hear a commotion and think Big Foot is headed your way. Turns out to be a couple of chipmonks wrestling.

  48. @Buzz Mohawk

    Buzz, we used to have Green Tree frogs, what a racket they made. You can go on line and hear a recording. We have a lot of coyotes around here, howl all night.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  49. MEH 0910 says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Ye Zhetai, Shao Lin, Ye Wenjie, Ye Wenxue, Lei Zhicheng, Yang Weining, Wang Miao, Yang Dong, Ding Yi, Shi Qiang, Chang Weisi, Shen Yufei, Wei Cheng, Pan Han, Sha Ruishan, Bang Ding Ow

  50. @Endgame Napoleon

    my wife just left
    my mule got lame
    lost all my money
    in a – – – – poker=computer? – – – – game

    house burnt down
    just the other day
    windstorm came
    ‘n’ blew it away

    Yours for sure for sure is an impressive – – – – text. – What’s next in this deep black forest – listen to – – – – whom?

  51. x361267 says:

    I’d also expect some it has to do with how the Civil War is taught now. There used to be nuance. The Ken Burn’s doc likely could not be made today. Shelbey Foote would be excised.

    You want to visit a Civil War battlefield? What are you, some kind of Nazi?

  52. @Buffalo Joe

    then you hear a commotion and think Big Foot is headed your way. Turns out to be a couple of chipmunks wrestling.

    – – – or a sleepy ousel, caught between a little branch amidst dried leaves, trying to get away…

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  53. @Grumpy

    Aside from the demographics issue, even among heritage Americans we are in the midst of a cultural shift that tends to make both sides less interested in remembering that bloodbath.

    For heritage Yankees, they look at the war and say, my ancestors fought to end slavery. At one time maybe they thought this was a good thing. But now it is clear that the emancipated Negro has been a disaster: contributing essentially nothing to society other than some pointless entertainment around the fringes (sportsball, some music…) Coddled with affirmative action for the last 50 years with no signs of improvement. What was the point of the war?

    For heritage Southrons, they look at the war and say, why in god’s name did they bring these people over? It’s great that my ancestors fought bravely, but imported blacks have caused nothing but trouble in North America. Perhaps discretion would have been the better part of valor.

    Now there is a genuine sense that the republic might disintegrate at some point in this century, and one of the root causes is likely to be racial disharmony. In this context, people are more likely to look at the Civil War as a pointless bloodbath precipitated by multiple failures of leadership than some sort of romantic struggle.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Buzz Mohawk
  54. Bee Clea says:
    @Roderick Spode

    OT: new Netflix Original is about a teenaged black female supergenius who disproves Einstein by going back in time to stop a white cop from killing her older brother for dindunuffin— have Netflix Originals attained peak current year?

    Balderdash! In real life, A brother would be waiting outside the time portal to bring the pimp hand down on the IQ wavin’ Ho! Ain’t no bitch who can outsmart her daddy!!


  55. @Klesko

    Then you’d enjoy the recent Russian Netflix drama, Trotsky.

  56. @Dieter kief

    or a sleepy ousel

    The would serve as a fine name for Frank Zappa’s granddaughter.

  57. @Buffalo Joe

    I can imagine how loud those frogs are. I hate the Katydids here. Love the crickets. It’s the musical difference between rap and a pretty girl signing jazz next to a piano.

    SAT question: Katydids are to crickets as:

    Answer: As rap music is to a nightclub jazz girl in her little black dress.

    The only quiet outdoor places I know are where I bivouacked above timberline in the Rockies. I absolutely loved it. Incredible views of our galaxy. Not, however, devoid of life. I remember waking up on the side of Mt. Massive at about 12,000 feet and seeing a herd of elk, probably 40 or 50 of them, on the next ridge over. I started walking that way, and they saw me and ran away. Wild animals are very observant. They don’t want to have anything to do with us. They are wise in their own way.

  58. Dtbb says:

    Cicadas are really loud and it is quite eerie to hear them go silent one oak tree at a time east to west at sunset. I swear they can be heard for 2 or 3 miles.

  59. It was a bit unnerving when I got contacted by a journalist recently re an article from 13 years ago. I’m still on bulletin boards where your every post is archived forever but again it’s unnerving when I google a topic and my own posts are in the top results.

  60. @Ragno

    That was the article’s point.

  61. Why Are Newsletters Popular Again?

    Because it’s a lot harder to search, dox, or hack the postal system. Paper has its advantages.

  62. @Roderick Spode

    ” … have Netflix Originals attained peak current year?”

    Try decade, or longer. The pipeline is jammed with black body worship which nobody except for narcissistic negroes and masochistic white progressives want to watch.

  63. @Buzz Mohawk

    Wild animals are very observant. They don’t want to have anything to do with us. They are wise in their own way.

    When you make contact with a cockroach, you are not the only one who goes off and washes himself.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @El Dato
  64. @Buzz Mohawk

    Yancey Strickler does not know what he is writing about. Like most contemporary writers, he probably has never spent any time in the woods.

    Yancey’s a little too fancy.
    Even should be get antsy,
    He won’t leave the ‘hood
    And head for the wood
    To go hiking with Chauncey and Clancy.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  65. @Reg Cæsar

    I believe it.

    I mean, c’mon. Primates are pretty disgusting, and we are primates. Don’t notice too much, or you might end up with hair like Steve’s.

  66. @Bill P

    Interesting comment; especially your last paragraph.

  67. El Dato says:
    @Prester John

    But “large” is a relative concept. Large becomes small when you have enough time.

    Indeed, life may naturally transfer between solar systems. I would be surprised if this doesn’t happen; this universe looks as if it was designed to be a theatre for such fun.

    Now, inter-stellar voyages by fleshbags seems a dicey proposition at best. However, you can cover the whole Galaxy with self-reproducing machines in about 1 million years, which, relatively, is not much time.

    Seven ways to control the Galaxy with self-replicating probes

    Someone might have started this public works project 5000 million years ago.

    OTOH any civilization who would do this might be called foolhardy. Natural mutation would change those probes over generations. Who knows what could happen! It might result in an “aggressive, semi-intelligent, cancerous, galactic litter” situation. Imagine getting attacked by self-reproducing furbys with teeth. Not good.

    So there hasn’t been anyone so far, everyone died before attempting it, it was a low-key project that isn’t immediately detectable (environmentally friendly!) or it is in progress as we speak. Who knows!

    • Replies: @Clyde
  68. @Carol

    “I swear these seekers are looking for some new gods to worship.”

    We worship our creators and they give us another life. It’s part of the deal.

  69. El Dato says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Damn the Japanese and their gloriously poetic interstellar Yamatos!

  70. El Dato says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I will just cite from Charles Stross’ “Missile Gap” again

    “I can neither confirm nor deny that,” says Gregor.

    Sagan sighs. “Okay, play it your way.” He closes his menu. “Ready to order?”

    “I believe so.” Gregor looks at him. “The spaghetti al’ polpette is really good here,” he adds.

    “Really?” Sagan smiles. “Then I’ll try it.”

    They order, and Gregor waits for the waiter to depart before he continues. “Suppose there’s an alien race out there. More than one. You know about the multiple copies of Earth. The uninhabited ones. We’ve been here before. Now let’s see…suppose the aliens aren’t like us. Some of them are recognizable, tribal primates who use tools made out of metal, sea-dwelling ensemble entities who communicate by ultrasound. But others–most of them–are social insects who use amazingly advanced biological engineering to grow what they need. There’s some evidence that they’ve colonized some of the empty Earths. They’re aggressive and territorial and they’re so different that…well, for one thing we think they don’t actually have conscious minds except when they need them. They control their own genetic code and build living organisms tailored to whatever tasks they want carrying out. There’s no evidence that they want to talk to us, and some evidence that they may have emptied some of those empty Earths of their human population. And because of their, um, decentralized ecosystem and biological engineering, conventional policy solutions won’t work. The military ones, I mean.”

    Gregor watches Sagan’s face intently as he describes the scenario. There is a slight cooling of the exobiologist’s cheeks as his peripheral arteries contract with shock: his pupils dilate and his respiration rate increases. Sour pheromones begin to diffuse from his sweat ducts and organs in Gregor’s nasal sinuses respond to them.

    “You’re kidding?” Sagan half-asks. He sounds disappointed about something.

  71. @Reg Cæsar

    The Gell-Mann Effect holds true here. Yancey Strickler (Honestly, is that a real name?) is not “American” as anybody would know it, and American is an HBD category.) knows nothing about the analogy he is using.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  72. @SimpleSong

    Now there is a genuine sense that the republic might disintegrate at some point in this century, and one of the root causes is likely to be racial disharmony.

    Just as Lincoln predicted. Not that anyone gives him credit.

    Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes

    My favorite part of the war is the occasional reunions that followed. My guess is that the common soldier on both sides had the feelings you just described. A lot of the official justifications for the war are simply postbellum mission creep.

  73. Imagine a dark forest at night. It’s deathly quiet.

    Even shrubbery has white noise:

    Though the more citified might prefer Casper’s other bore-you-to-sleep videos such as Shipping Forecast, Whispering Windshield Wipers, and the legalese of Patent Yawns.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  74. @SimpleSong

    You are very observant in your observations of both sides of that conflict. The common denominator that we, the descendants of both sides, can agree on is the overall negative value that one group of people has had for the great country we share.

    The biggest question of all is, as you wrote it:

    “…why in god’s name did they bring these people over?”

    That should be the same question today, with regard to immigration, yet still our business and political leaders continue to “bring these people over” for cheap labor.

    Cheap labor IS NOT CHEAP. I wish I could tattoo that onto every leader’s forearm where he could read it every day.

  75. map says:

    “Dark Forest Analogy”….and it turns out the forest is not quiet.


    Sci-fi tropes are so pedestrian. Why don’t we see other civilizations? Because they blew themselves up at a point of technological advancement. Or, hey, why don’t we solve the complex alien puzzle that turns out to be a giant bomb that destroys competing civilizations? Hey, maybe humanity exists to be harvested?

    I have a new one. The purpose of intelligent life is to signal to an advanced civilization that a planet is habitable, can provide enough resources to support billions, and provide an environment where technological advancement can flourish. They then beam a signal out to the universe where the advanced race that seeded the planet can then come an claim it. It is far more efficient than space exploration.

    • Agree: Craig Nelsen
  76. @Roderick Spode

    Cixin makes a valid point, as far as it goes. The dark forest metaphor is meant to be illustrative. We shouldn’t take it too literally.

    Your superpredator assertion is unconvincing. Crickets and frogs make lots of noise at night, and neither of these are *super*predators.

    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
  77. @Grumpy

    Grumpy, it is to be expected. They are tearing down statues and monuments to Confederate heroes all over the South. You would be an internet hero if some one filmed you pissing on a Confederate grave. Sad.

  78. @Prester John

    Prestor, you too funny. Time and spacial dimensions are beyond the grasp of Millennials, who need remedial help with basic college math.

  79. @Buzz Mohawk

    Buzz, “night club jazz girl in her little black dress”…hair akimbo as she stretches out across the piano.

  80. Franz says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Yancey Strickler does not know what he is writing about. Like most contemporary writers, he probably has never spent any time in the woods.

    Only a comment, not really disagreement.

    I grew up and spent maybe 80% of my early days in very wooded country, and there are situations where the forest can go dead quiet. Often just prior and after an electric storm the silence was seen as a steep warning, and on winter mornings the silence is so carressing you want to just doff the boots and shovel and crawl back to the sack.

    In fairness, the author said “imagine” and that’s key. Still and all you don’t have to. There’s a period in the North Lake country in autumn when the birds are mostly gone, the squirrels and others have mostly packed it in, the leaves have mostly dropped and it can develop a preternaturl silence. You “hear” silence when you’ve been working or hiking and suddenly stop to notice.

    It used to be called “Indian summer” but you know where that went.

    Point being, though, it does happen and some of us have stopped to imagine our primeval ancestors noticing the stillness and something quickens. We still carry their reflexes and know silence is the most potent warning there is.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  81. Kyle says:

    On hot summer nights after cold winters the cicadas are deafeningly loud. Sometimes it sounds like a train is passing close by.

  82. JimS says:
    @Prester John

    Prester John,

    I think talking in trillions of miles just makes everyone’s eyes glaze over. I prefer to think of the Sun as the size of a US quarter dollar, about an inch in diameter. The earth would be about 10 thousandths of an inch, or maybe a single grain of salt, and a distance of around 100 inches from the Sun (a few feet). So where is the Alpha Centauri system? Well, starting with the quarter in Mr. Sailer’s native Los Angeles, it would be in the vicinity of Phoenix, Arizona, also around the size of a quarter.

    Considering any of this anything like a forest is mind-bogglingly inaccurate. Unless one tree per continent makes a forest.

  83. @inntrinzyk

    Did someone say superpredators?

    • Replies: @Not Raul
  84. @Peripatetic Commenter

    Sounds a bit like Michael F. Flynn’s “In The Country Of The Blind”.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic Commenter
  85. @Buzz Mohawk

    Actually, Yancy Strickler sounds like a Louis L’amour character. Can’t get more American than that!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Buzz Mohawk
  86. Anon[389] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Bang Ding Ow was seriously injured in a plane crash.

  87. @Redneck farmer

    Right, Yancy Strickler sounds like a Robber Baron’s name.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  88. Anon[133] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill P

    I love Bellingham too. Awesome place.

  89. JMcG says:
    @Dieter kief

    What a beautiful comment. Thanks.

  90. @Buzz Mohawk

    Ages and ages ago I was walking alone somewhere on the California side of the Rockies. Summer, very warm: I sweated along in the almost oppressive silence.
    And then an immense thud as something behind me hit the ground hard. I turned, and there not ten feet from me was a huge muscular buck bounding, thank God, away from rather than towards my astonished but appreciative form.

    My abidng impression was of beauty combined with annihilating force – a force, thank God (again), of which it was blissfully unaware.

    • Replies: @Dieter kief
  91. @Redneck farmer

    Well, I guess I will have to take your word for it until I have read the three that are in that series.

  92. I’ll see your night club jazz girl in her little black dress and raise you a cocktail waitress shimmying up to the table to pick up the tip without using her hands.

  93. anon[218] • Disclaimer says:

    And incredibly long in the tooth. How many civilizations had their exits and entrances billions of years before Earth was even a gleam in the cosmic eye? And how many civilizations on other planets in other galaxies billions of years from now – long after Earth has returned to dust – will wonder if they’re alone in the universe?

    And stuff like eternal recurrence, the nature of time and multiverses simply gives me a headache, so enough about that, already.

  94. I wonder what Edward Abbey would have to say about this.

  95. Not Raul says:

    It’s probably just a coincidence that the term “superpredator” went out of style once the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans were squeezed out of Williamsburg.

  96. @Achmed E. Newman

    The MSM sites are the discotechs of the internet, and we all know DISCO IS DEAD!

    Oh, I dunno, Achmed. Our AM/FM/TV broadcasts of Stayin’ Alive are roughly 45 light years in space. Our ‘ping’ of the universe is all our broadcasts, the first of them, what, 120 years ago? That’s a fair distance, flights of other folks might be receiving and being revolted by Travolta, laughing with Jack Benny, hearing of the great wars and mostly wondering if contacting us is even a good idea. I would.

    They better have damned good armor and radar and collision-avoidance skills if they approach this planet, it’s a hell of a traffic jam up there from 22,000 miles in.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  97. @Reg Cæsar

    Though the more citified might prefer Casper’s other bore-you-to-sleep videos such as Shipping Forecast, Whispering Windshield Wipers, and the legalese of Patent Yawns.

    Reg, that’s cozy poetry right there. Well done.

  98. @Cagey Beast

    “…silly White girls”??

    More likely it came from the hive mind of a bunch of ad industry Jews, in their relentless tribal quest for White replacement.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  99. Anonymous[159] • Disclaimer says:

    20 years later and the Internet is still trying to discover what it can/should/will be in terms of medium. I remember reading Burn Rate and all the discussion by people who thought it would be like TV or magazines. But even then you could see that interaction, chatm is a big part of the draw. Similarly blogs with commenting ave some advantages, but message boards have others. And now we have the mess of Twitter (arguments are unreadable) and the like.

  100. Whiskey says: • Website
    @Cagey Beast

    Put yourself in the shoes of an average single White woman in her twenties or thirties. Her greatest threat is the false Alpha, a beta male who appears Alpha but really isn’t, lacking the charisma, charm, and demand from every other woman. No woman wants to be seen in public with a man that every other girl … ignores instead of wants.

    So women dont’ have to be told to like this any more than a duck needs to be trained to like water. Its natural. If White women could turn every non natural Alpha male gay, or dead, or Black, they would. The goal for a White woman absent much higher earnings of a beta male and with the welfare state, pill, condom, and higher earnings for women is to play the lottery.

    Women are far, FAR more risk tolerant and indeed risk loving than men. Its just that the risk appetite runs in only outlet: men. That loud, talkative Black dude who is highly aggressive and room temperature IQ? A much better bet than the nerdy chemical engineer. Unless said Chemical Engineer looks like Dolph Lungren. Then all bets are off.

  101. @Old Palo Altan

    A few years ago, I was hiking with a friend at a hot August day on the Baar near Donaueschingen (southern Germany near the Black Forest, just in case someone else reads, too), when all of a sudden a roebuck stood in front of us, about five meters away. My company hadn’t noticed yet and I whispered to him to stand still and not move. So we stood there for at least one minute, maybe two, as did the buck, when my company turned to me to ask what’s up?!! – And – while the buck – then noticing us, slowly disappeared into the forest, he called out: Look, there’s a buck!
    He hadn’t seen him – not at all. – The same with the sleepy buck, who hadn’t seen us all along, he only heard us, when my company started talking.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  102. @Buffalo Joe

    In the northeast, I always assume it is a giant black bear and I have zero confidence in my ability to defend myself with the bow.

  103. @Redneck farmer

    My mistake. It’s as English as bad teeth.

    • Replies: @jim jones
  104. @Franz

    Yes, you are right. If you want to find the quietest quiet, then go away from Urban Man and his environs. I know the quiet of which you write. My comment was an oversimplification.

  105. Noman says:

    Wailing and gnashing teeth about the 2016 elections, revealing the dark side that has always been built into US elections long before the Internet.

    “The idealism of the ’90s web is gone. The web 2.0 utopia — where we all lived in rounded filter bubbles of happiness — ended with the 2016 Presidential election when we learned that the tools we thought were only life-giving could be weaponized too.”

    The 1860 elections were rigged by the corporate Media giants of the day for their man, Honest Abe Lincoln, to win. They promoted a losing opponent through the primaries. Then they got their profitable war.

    Became an issue only because Hillary lost.

    They do not care that the primaries were hijacked and Sanders was dumped on the roadside.

    Notice the difference between Repubs who voted for Dr. Ron Paul in 2012 primaries and their subsequent rejection of the RNC and Mitt Romney.

    The D’s hardly ever think that the DNC could be the problem when Hillary was crowned the heir apparent. Party apparatchiks to the end.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  106. @Dieter kief

    Great story.
    My wish is one day to see a troop of wild boar charging through the forest – within the environs of Berlin, as some friends of mine once did.

    I don’t need to tell you that Donaueschingen is the seat of the Princes Fuerstenberg. I prefer their castle Heiligenberg. Some ten years ago I was told by someone who had been present that at the end of the war, members of the family and their cousins from all over the collapsing Reich forgathered there, to the number of around one hundred, sleeping in every nook and cranny, while they decided how to survive the coming Red Army tidal wave. They fully expected, she said, to see it fetch up only at the Channel.

    She, whose grandmother was a Fuerstenberg, and who was only eight years old at the time, solved her own personal problem by marrying a rich Scotsman. “We’re survivors”, she laughed.

    • Replies: @Dieter kief
  107. @Old Palo Altan

    One of the truly great German museums is in Donaueschingen – unfortunately, the Fuerstenbergs got pretty much hooked up on coke and stuff… and had to sell not only their brewery (that’s no joke, even though I do laugh now, while typing), they also sold quite a bit of their art collection – not least of medieval paintings, which was a big loss for our region. SHAME on them Fuerstenberger dope heads!

    My story happened while we were hiking along the Thurn&Taxis Postweg from – you’ve already guessed it, haven’t you? – Augsburg via Stockach to Freiburg, Basel, and Paris.

    The hardly visited Fuerstenberg-museum in Donaueschingen is now stripped off of quite a few of its medieval treasures, but it is still one of a kind – and visited nowadays not least by museums-experts from all over the world, because nobody at the old Fuerstenberg tribe really cared much for it and that, this ignorance kept the museum extraordinarily – – – original, because the désinvolture of its owners kept progress and modernization at safe distances from this house. – “Was sind wir Menschenkinder, doch eitel arme Sünder, und wissen gar nicht viel…”

    MERKUR-editor Kurt Scheel wrote incredibly lovely blog posts about wild animals in Berlin, before he – – – took his live, last year, aged 70, after his friends Katharina and Michael Rutschky had died…You might still find Kurt Scheel’s posts on Michael Rutschkys blog Das Schema.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  108. @Cagey Beast

    “…silly White girls”??

    More likely it came from the hive mind of a bunch of ad industry (((shysters))), in their relentless tribal quest for White replacement.

  109. @Dieter kief

    I visited the museum before the sales, and was utterly enchanted. The later stories of the family’s decline and artistic fall disgusted me – such families are playing with fire when they play around and loose the respect of the locals who, after all, have accompanied them through the centuries.

    I shall look up the Kurt Scheel articles – Berlin is a source of endless fascination to me, however much I would rather live, say, in Munich.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  110. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    I voted Ron Paul in the 2012 primary and 3d pty in the general, but Romney handily carried my state as I knew he would. I’d have voted for Romney despite his being a corporate turd if it had been in play, to get rid of Obama. Never would have voted for a Bush or for Mad Dog McCain.

  111. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Christian

    If they have mastered interstellar spaceflight the gantlet of satellites won’t trouble them.
    For interstellar spaceflight to be possible, there would have to be a level of physics as beyond the Einsteinin, as the Einsteinian is beyond the Newtonian. Our scientists have gotten more and more confident there isn’t in the 50+ years since science fiction made ideas of superluminal spaceflight popular (e.g., Star Trek).

  112. @Redneck farmer

    770 out of NYC can be picked up where I live

    Same with me, but then again I live in Dave Pinsen’s neck of the woods, so that’s not a surprise. WABC streams, so you could try that.

    I used to listen to him when he co-hosted with Paul Alexander. I used to called them the serious Ron & Fez.

  113. @Old Palo Altan

    Been in Berlin for a few days recently with my wife and – was delighted really, to be able to be southbound again (Allman Brothers Band) after just a few days.

    There is an overwhelming exhibition at the Nationalgalerie right now – Mantegna and Bellini – up until the 26th of June (we’ve been there twice) and there is an incredibly silly exhibition of the works of the (black…) American painter Jack Whitten in the Hamburger Bahnhof, touted as the “exhibition of the year” by the ever dumber & zeitgeisty FAZ.

    Kurt Scheel wrote about wild boars in Berlin, too. There are too many of them now around here – not least because the Green Party and the CDU turned Germany into a corn-paradise (=nightmare). This corn – mostly used to produce – – eco-fuel – – is now so affluent that the boars are severely overfed. Their meat gets watery and – – it’s not tasty anymore, because a) the boars don’t move enough (they don’t have to – there’s food aplenty in the ever more expanding cornfields…) and b) their diet is reduced to corn, which is just there in front of their noses and has not to searched for …. I discovered the lack of tasty boar’s meat myself but was confirmed just a few days ago at our lovely family restaurant – – – Germania – – – in Liggeringen by the cook and owner and his wife ( as down to earth and charming as you can get… – Herz am rechten Fleck!).

    The time when the Fürstenberger played with fire is over – that would be my guess; what they do is not that important any longer – for the better or worse (call that progress – or the ever changing times).

  114. It is the museums which draw me to Berlin, as well as the fact that a branch of my family lived there, as part of the Schumann-Joachim-Brahms circle (only Joachim of that trio lived in Berlin of course) oddly allied by marriage to a family of Prussian generals. The last of that line was born in the city in 1915, and died there in 2000. Her house (it was hers, and her husband lived with her) became a centre of cultured conservative thinking in a West Berlin which saw precious little of either under too much American influence.
    Does the newly rebuilt Stadtschloss look as unsuccessful a creation in reality as it does in photographs? I say that as someone who is certainly not unhappy to see the Volkspalais (or whatever they called it) gone for good.
    I’m sorry to hear about the boar having lost their succulence. I guess I’ll just have to watch them run (or totter?) by if I do indeed visit Berlin again.

  115. @Pat Kittle

    There would be one or two Jews involved in the production of that ad but it clearly comes from the mind of silly White girls. The “cute” n’ safe gay couple interacting with a “cute” n’ safe Black guy is straight out of their daydreams.

    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
  116. @Cagey Beast

    There would be one or two Jews involved in the production of that ad but it clearly comes from the mind of silly White girls. The “cute” n’ safe gay couple interacting with a “cute” n’ safe Black guy is straight out of their daydreams.

    Nice try, but silly White girls (“shiksas” to you) don’t run the advertising industry, or set its anti-White agenda.

    Of course you know (((who))) do.

    • Replies: @Anon
  117. Anon[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pat Kittle

    Are Jews as prominent in the advertising industry as they are in movies and TV?

    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
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