Author: Alexander Blum

The Failed Hero’s Journey

There is no more quintessential a model of the failed hero than Elliot Rodger. Rodger, a young man who was promised the world, turned against it when it failed to provide him with eros, love, and romance. His open hand reaching for the future became a fist clenched in opposition, an inversion of the successful hero story. Consumed with jealousy, resentment, and a rejection of the very notion of a healthy human being, Rodger indiscriminately murdered three men in his apartment, and three women at a sorority house. At twenty-two years old, he had chosen to end his life in bitter disappointment, choosing malevolent violence and suicide over the hope of continual and incremental improvement. Carl Jung understood that those who ultimately reject life itself have failed to experience the archetypal ‘hero’s journey’. To Jung, every single young person who leaves their parents’ home and forages into the world has taken the path of the hero, whether they know it or not. A hero’s journey is simply the departure from comfort, warring against the chaos …

Free Speech Leftists Still Exist

In brighter times, the reprimanding of Lindsay Shepherd at Wilfrid Laurier University would have found strong condemnation among left intellectuals. Instead, left publications largely chose to ignore the issue. You will find no pieces on Vox covering Wilfrid Laurier or Bret Weinstein’s clash with overreaching faculty at Evergreen, nor will the incrimination of BDS activism by US lawmakers find exposure outside of niche outlets like The Intercept. The free speech debate, in other words, has become too partisan. When Lindsay Shepherd revealed that Jordan Peterson’s fears about Bill C16 were well-founded, and that pointing out that sex differences exist was considered by Wilfrid Laurier’s administration to be comparable to Adolf Hitler, the response of left publications was either disinterest or full-throated attacks on Peterson as a reactionary monster. If one sought to hear out Lindsay Shepherd, the outlets willing to speak with her were mainly conservative or libertarian YouTube channels belonging to figures like Stephen Crowder and Stefan Molyneux. The perception, understandably, follows that the right is in favor of free expression, and the left has become wholly illiberal. But the hyper-partisan atmosphere …

Using the Blockchain to Fight Corruption

The Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative, according to cofounder Tomicah Tillemann, has a plan to increase voter turnout and make election tampering impossible. A decentralized record of all votes cast in any election could be kept on blockchain ledgers, which cannot be altered or changed without leaving obvious traces of tampering across the entire ‘chain’. If votes are cast via smartphone, creating new blocks as thousands of votes pour in and are permanently recorded, then all the chaos of making it to a polling place, and hoping that your vote is actually counted, vanish entirely. In Myanmar and Indonesia, companies are using blockchain to eliminate high-level bribery and corruption – all financial transactions would be preserved on public ledgers of chains of information blocks, and subject to public scrutiny. Blockchain technology has the power to render the dealings of businesses and nation states into open books, purged of secrecy and the privacy of elite cabals. Microsoft and Accenture are already working on a blockchain system that would contain the fingerprints of refugees, to create a trans-national digital record of their existence that is as accessible to Turkey as it …

American Centrism Has Failed

Editor’s note: this essay is part of an ongoing series hosted by Quillette debating the merits and spirit of centrism. If you would like to contribute or respond to this essay or others in the series, please send a submission to pitch@quillette.com. The American political centre, which supported Hillary Clinton and rejected all arguments of her corruption, was hit last week hit with a political blow that, in ordinary times, would be a scandal capable of unwinding the entire Democratic Party. Donna Brazile, the former chairperson of the DNC, blew the whistle on the primary process a year and a half too late, telling many Sanders supporters exactly what they had suspected – that the Clinton campaign had been running the DNC since 2015. When Elizabeth Warren flatly stated on CNN that the primary was ‘rigged’, any notion of centrist unity around Hillary Clinton fell apart. Consider the two politicians who have arguably received the most disdain from Donald Trump: Hillary Clinton and John McCain. What do they have in common? Despite being supposed partisan rivals, they …

Jung and the Trumpian Shadow

Carl Jung was done a disservice by the sanitized spirituality of the New Age movement. Jungian archetypes were shoved into the same bucket as the zodiac, astrology, and healing crystals, lost in the blur of wishful thinking that had captured the late 1960s and 1970s and its desire to create a better society out of love and mercy alone. But the short-lived optimism of the sexual revolution and the hippie movement meant its demise in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration saw the rebels hang up their flowers and instead don suits, taking to Madison Avenue and extinguishing the flame of creative renaissance that wanted so badly to break free from the Cold War West. Perhaps there is some parallel here with the Obama years culminating in the election of Donald Trump. During the Obama Presidency, American progressives became pacified, trading economic arguments for cultural dissatisfaction, forsaking the ideas of the New Deal for an emotional and ideological clamp upon the unconscious forces of racism and sexism. There was a pervasive sense that history had …