Friday, June 24, 2016

Post Brexit: The Eternal Contradictions of Politics

Yesterday, June 24, 2016, the voters in Britain elected to leave the European Union. I think it is time to recall Enoch Powell, of the "Rivers of Blood" speech, who said that the European Union could never work because there is no European demos.

He meant that a pan-European state required, to succeed, a pan-European people.

However, the Brexit election showed that there isn't a British people either. The English voted to get out of the EU but the Scots voted to stay in. England and Scotland have been Britain since the Acts of Union in 1707. But of course the Act of Union was a lie; it was the forcible joining together of two dynastic states, and the English and the Scots have quarreled ever since.

France? Put together by force. Germany? Force, in the wars provoked by Bismarck against Denmark, Austria, and France. Italy? A forcible takeover of the south.

The United States? Conquest of North America, followed by a rebellion by hot-heads against the Brits, followed by a split between North and South that ended in a bloody Civil War that restored the Union but divided North and South for a century.

My point is that nations and peoples do not just happen. There is always politics, and politics is violence. Every nation is some guy's power project. The European Union is the power project of a trans-national elite that decided after World War II that it would end the wars of nationalism by imposing a superstate over the eternally warring nation states. The current liberal project of a diverse America is a power project to end the dominance of white males and replace it with a new demos of women, minorities and immigrants who would vote for big government and empower Democrats to rule forever.

The point is that these power projects sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. Sometimes the political activists create a new demos and rule forever. Sometimes they fail and get thrown onto the dust heap of history.

But here is the problem. When the power projectors successfully establish their power project and create a demos the demos expects something in return. They expect the ruling class to protect them from the swirling winds of power in the world. But what that means in the modern world is protection from the verdict of the market. That's what labor unions are for; that's what crony capitalists are for. They go to government for a sweet application of force to protect them from the market.

So everyone is is favor of freedom; but everyone wants to be protected from harm. Everyone wants the right to work and trade anywhere in the world. But they don't want everyone to come here and compete with them in the labor market. And they certainly don't want foreigners to come here and use government benefits that ought, by right, to belong to people born here.

So the Brits want to get out of Europe and restrict immigration and keep the NHS for Brits. But what about trade with Europe and the rest of the world?

So Trump wants to restrict immigration and bring manufacturing back home to America. And Make America Great Again.

But the point about the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years is that, one way or another, the established powers were unable, time after time, to stop the "trade-tested betterments" that various nobodies launched upon the market. So we got the Great Enrichment in spite of ourselves. If you listen to people, they tell you that they don't want to have to change and they are saying that they want government to protect them from the rest of the world. They want the goodies the market brings them, but not if the goodies put them out of business. So people want the betterment of the Great Enrichment, but not if they have to change.

I like to say that the decisive change of the modern era is that Gerald O'Hara's comment that "land is the only thing that lasts" is no longer true. In the old days you occupied land with your chimp troop, or agricultural empire, against the world, because land was life and the very definition of survival. But not any more. Today you can buy and sell food on the global market as grain travels around the world in giant 100,000 ton grain ships. Today what matters is the innovation of new products and technologies, new applications of technical knowledge.

But we humans are still living in the old world of Gerald O'Hara. We still believe in the permanence of land, even as we all move to the city and the suburb and work in offices rather than down on the farm.

Ever since the start of the industrial revolution we have been dealing with the problem of rural people moving to the city with their rural, tribal culture and confronting the urban, bourgeois market order. The Muslim hordes that are presently terrifying us all are just the latest wave in the migration to the city.

The migrants to the city come to the city with their culture of land, of defending their land from all outsiders. and they look to a powerful patron to protect them from the pirates and the pillagers that want to plunder their tribal lands. Only the city does not work like that. The city is not a world of separate landed estates; it is a world of trust and exchange and innovation.

How people adapt to the bourgeois culture of trust and innovation, and learn to be not that interested in power, is the great story that is never told.

Meanwhile we live in a contradictory world in which we all work in a world of trust the stranger, but we still want politicians to bash the stranger. That's a contradiction that won't change any time soon.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two Cheers for Consumerism

One thing the left whines about all the time is consumerism. Their problem is the combination of corporations and advertising and waste. And liberals really don't like the things that people can be persuaded to buy.

Corporations are always trying to convince consumers to buy stuff they don't need, and then, with "planned obsolescence," they design products to wear out so that consumers will be forced to buy them all over again. And what about the blandness of "standardized mass consumption?"

I suppose this is just what Rodney Stark calls "upper-class asceticism." People raised to a middle-class competence are used to abundance, and they are already looking beyond abundance to a more nuanced relationship to "stuff."

These upper-class snobs tend not to understand how gorgeous it is for people living in their first prosperity after the eternal fears of rural indigence and the forced march of learning how to make it in the city: now they can afford to go out and buy stuff. They forget how young Americans loved getting out of the city after World War II and going to live in the quick-and-dirty Levittowns out in the suburbs. With a Ford or a Chevy that might, if you pushed it, have a V8.

The whole phenomenon of consumerism is not that hard to understand. It is almost all about women, and what they want.

First of all, women want pretty clothes that advertise their sexual desirability. Not that women think about what cleavage or tapered legs or dainty ankles mean to men. It's just that they instinctively want to dress so that they are noticed by men. I know a woman in her 80s that still cares about looking good when she goes out. The fact is that women like to ring the changes on their clothes, with different colors, different patterns, different textiles. Corporations and advertisers and taste makers are just giving women what they want.

Then there is cleaning. Once they have a kid on the ground, women get really interested in cleaning. There is no mystery about that; clean helps keep children alive. So women are eager for anything that cleans or makes cleaning easier. No wonder the supermarket shelves groan with cleaning and paper products that are designed to make the cleaning operation easier.

Then there is house and home. Women like houses, and they like them to be pretty and comfortable inside. So corporations and advertisers oblige them with beds and baths and cute little villages about an hour out of town where you can go and shop with a friend and bring home some knick-knacks.

And let's not forget food. The fashions and government mandates on food reflect the profound concern that women feel for the health of their loved ones. So if the government comes out and says that fat is bad, then women believe them and shift their eating habits to non-fat. If the government comes out and says that trans-fatty acids are a problem, women will act on that information. Because food and health are important to them.

If the left sneers at all this, and maintains that the sheeple are the victims of eevil corporations, I say that they are missing the point. And they may even be anti-woman. Because women are interested in clothes and cleaning and house and home and food, and they always will be.

But what about guys? For guys there is Cabela's, "the world's foremost outfitter." Because a man never knows when he may need to go out on an expedition to parts unknown. He never knows when he may need a gun, or a commercial-grade meat grinder, or a smoker, or a commercial-grade deep fryer. And then there are cars, with dials and gadgets and insane amounts of horsepower, but you never know when you may need it. And trucks. And sporting gear.

Then there is the great liberator of the modern age. Power tools. No modern man can or should resist the urge to possess power tools. In fact, most men need a building where they can store and use their vital and important power tools. The advent of inexpensive power washers means that men are now eager to go out ant scour the sidewalk outside their home.

All of this guy stuff is completely unnecessary, but it sure is fun.

Back in the day the left was outraged at capitalism because of the poverty of the working class. Now that the working class is rolling around in excess, they blame capitalism for the excess.

Really, when are we going to retire these whiners and all just go to work and get along?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How to Turn Left Through Modernism and Postmodernism

For straight lefties the "postmodern turn" is a bit of a puzzler. When you attack "meta-theory" as a form of domination, what is left of the granddaddy of all "meta-theories," Marxism?

That is the problem that David Harvey sets out to solve in The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. And he is a solid Marxist, in the sense that his chapter on "Modernization," meaning the modern industrial market economy, is pure Marxism.

But in the end, he manages to privilege his own meta-theory above all others in a chapter headed "The Crisis of Historical Materialism," i.e., Marxism. And his judgement is: Not to Worry; our faith is good.

After all, he writes, what problem could historical materialism have with a postmodernism
that is anti-authoritarian and iconoclastic, that insists on the authenticity of other voices, that celebrates difference, decentralization, and democratization of taste, as well as the power of imagination over materiality[?]
What indeed? The only problem is that the left is profoundly authoritarian, totalitarian even, and raises the most fantastical icons to the sky, and denies the authenticity of any voices opposed to it, and criminalizes difference, abolishes decentralization, rides over ordinary middle-class taste with an M-1 tank.

But the really helpful thing about the chapter is that Harvey lays out his basic lefty Articles of Faith. For instance, the problem with the New Left of the 1960s was that the "push into cultural politics... set the New Left against traditional working-class attitudes and institutions." It was great that the New Left moved into "race and gender issues, of difference, and of the pronlems of colonized peoples and repressed minorities, of ecological and aesthetic issues". But what about the workers? The "New Left tended to abandon its faith both in the proletariat as an instrument of progressive change and in historical materialism as a mode of analysis." It is a central conceit of the left that its politics supports working classes and their needs rather than, as Samuel Gompers warned, substituting their own agenda and demolishing authentic working-class institutions.

But now, with postmodernism, the left has extended its conceit to imagining that it supports all marginalized people and their "traditional... attitudes and institutions," rather than imposing its own world view everywhere from the movies to marriage by force.

But the "interrogation of 'orthodox' Marxian formulations" was a good thing for Harvey as it forced the orthodox to consider new developments in the economy and state functions and culture. It taught the left the following lessons.
Difference and "otherness" This should not be tacked onto Marxism but be a part of its core.
Images and discourses "Aesthetic and cultural practices matter, and the conditions of their production deserve the closest attention."
Time and space matter Lefties need to take note of the way that modern art jumbles up space and time, and also how global capitalism exploits space, place and time in ways that lefties must challenge.
Marxism must be open-ended The postmodernist attack on "meta-theory" (i.e, the one true theory) should teach lefties to avoid their once-for-all approach to theory. "Meta-theory is not a statement of total truth" but must be a constantly updated battle plan to understand and take the fight to global capitalism.
 You can see what is going on here. Harvey understands that the expansion of victimhood from the working class to all the other marginalized groups of the world is a necessary part of any leftist future. And the control of the culture, what is allowed to be thought and saide, is vital. Lefties need to adapt to the new global, instant, pervasive culture of capitalism so they can compete mano-a-mano with the evil CEOs and fascists. And Marxists can't just keep spouting original Marxian chapter and verse forever (Although Harvey's economics is almost pure 1860 Capital); they need to update their theory as the cunning capitalists find new ways to exploit and to immiserate.

The sad thing about this is that lefty David Harvey is determined to keep the shackles on the economic and political and social phenomenon that has increased human prosperity from $3 per day to $100 per day in 200 years wherever it has been tried. He is like the slaveowner that feels he has to abuse his slaves just to make sure that they never even think about the possibility of rebellion.

In the end, Harvey wants the good old time religion, but informed by the postmodern turn into not just an updated historical materialism but a "historical-geographical materialism."
On that critical basis is becomes possible to launch a counterattack of narrative against the image, of ethics against aesthetics, of a project of Becoming rather than Being, and so search for unity within difference[.]
And thus "promote adherence to a new version of the Enlightenment project."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Think of Liberals as Trapped Rats

The political situation in the US would be obvious if the ruling class of educated liberals weren't so determined to deny it.

The whole progressive project of class politics and race politics and identity politics, and liberals running the place as their administrative fiefdom, is dissolving in chaos, and liberals are having to resort to more and more desperate measures in order to keep their troops in the front line. They need to silence their critics because the news is getting worse and worse for the liberal project.

And hey, why not bump up Social Security benefit payments to keep the racket going for one more election cycle?

You can get the feel of this by checking out any embattled ruling class in its last days. The Nazis would be a good start. It means saying black is white, that our troops are merely experiencing a setback, that the old totemic texts are as good as ever to explain life, the universe, and everything.

Greg Gutfeld of FoxNews has a piece bemoaning this mess. After Orlando, why do half of us insist the problem is gun control and the other half terrorism? Why would half of us insist that "a black person, or a gay person, or a fat white male, see a terror attack differently?" We are divided on who deserves to be punished: liberals blamed Republicans and Christians and guns for Orlando. We are "divorcing cause from effect" by pretending that Christians or guns caused Orlando.

Of course, Gutfeld doesn't make the obvious judgment, which I make in my American Thinker piece today. The liberal world view is collapsing around its progressive ears but the liberal file closers are still busily whacking their troops into line and successfully maintaining ideological discipline.

And they will do that until the troops finally break and run. Because their whole world view is based on errors compounded by conceit irradiated by lies. And every year that passes requires them to compound the lies in order to keep their troops in the trenches. But the truth is that the troops probably won't break and run until the mobs start looting the supermarkets because the checks have stopped coming.

I've just about finished The Condition of Postmodernity by Brit lefty David Harvey. It's really been an education for me in lefty self-delusion. Every economic problem is blown up into an outrage and a fundamental flaw of capitalism; every liberal intervention is reported as saving capitalism from itself. And the biggest conceit is the idea that political action can significantly change anything. It is astonishing, really, three hundred years after Hume said you can't infer cause and effect from two events, that our lefty friends are blandly assuming that political program B solves the problem of capitalist exploitation A, because it's obvious and needs no justification. Again and again.

I'm in the middle of a 90 minute YouTube of a colloquium between lefty Terry Eagleton and righty Sir Roger Scruton. Towards the end a South Asian girl gets up and spouts what her teachers told her about colonialism and cultural hegemony. Scruton obviously was prepared because he told her how amazed the Brits were when their apparatchiks discovered Bengali culture in the 18th century and set about studying it and preserving its texts which were getting lost. These colonialists were enthralled by Bengali ancient culture, something they had never known. Well, said Terry Eagleton, you have a point, but it is outrageously tendentious. Because racism, sexism, exploitation, colonialism.

OK, Terry. Good point. But the problem with the left is that almost everything it asserts, while having a grain of truth, is outrageously tendentious. It assumes, again and again, that everything bad is due to structural contradictions of capitalism and everything good is due to left-wing modifications of capitalism. I get it. The point is to keep the faithful on-side, to feed them some pablum to make sure they keep the faith, and to mumble through the responses so that your own doubts are repressed.

But the problem is that the thinkers and the leaders get to believe their own lies. For instance, David Harvey reports all the radical revolts of the last 200 years as noble working-class fights for freedom and justice, from the 1830s machine-wreckings and rick-burnings to the 1848 revolutions to the 1877 US railroad strike or the 1980s UK coal strike.

Maybe the struggles of the workers are an arc of justice without precedent in human history. But you can also understand them less heroically merely as people reacting violently to a sudden reverse in their economic prospects. Workers do not riot when they are being recruited to staff a new plant. They riot when their highly-paid artisan skills get replaced by machines, when their employer tries to reduce wages during a business downturn or tries to retrain the workers when their skills no longer serve, or makes lame efforts to make the workforce more "efficient" in response to market forces. Yet the left has developed shibboleths to explain everything as exploitation and market failure, from capital accumulation to overaccumulation to socially necessary labor to immiseration to speed-up to de-skilling to union-busting. But the lefties ignore the useful knowledge that is staring them in the face. People hate to face up to losses, and they blame everyone else instead. Then they start to get mad. Then they get desperate.

Let us remember, every moment, that these geniuses are telling us that the social and economic innovations that have taken humans from $3 per day to $100 per day in 200 years are a murrain and a nightmare, and ought to be replaced with the good old recipe of ruling-class power and expertise.

What, you wonder, will these trapped liberal rats do next? Abolish the First and Second Amendments? To stop the peasants from talking back and fighting back?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Capitalist Innovation vs. Capitalist Accumulation

For me it's a no brainer that Deirdre McCloskey is right when she insists that capitalism is innovation rather than accumulation. It is not the conversion of profits into a pile of new capital that creates economic growth, it is the power of new ideas tested in the market. But here is La Wik:
Capital accumuluation... is the dynamic that motivates the pursuit of profits, involving the investment of money of any financial asset with the goal of increasing the initiaul monetary value of said asset...
 This might be "a net addition to existing wealth" or "a redistribution of wealth" says La Wik.

This obviously comes from the Marxist theory of capital in which (again La Wik):
[C]apital accumulation is the operation whereby profits are reinvested into the economy, increasing the total quantity of capital. Capital was understood by Marx to be expanding value, that is... transformed through human labor into a larger value, extracted as profits and expressed as money.
The "extracted" profits are the difference betwen the social value of labor and the wages actually paid to the workers.

I came to the point of really digging into this from reading The Condition of Postmodernity by a Brit, David Harvey. He takes the idea of capital accumulation as holy writ, and the danger of overaccumulation as the justification for political power over the capitalists.

Actually, the investment of monies into a project has nothing to do with accumulation. If you lend money to someone then they pay you interest based on the concept of originary interest or time preference. Money repaid after ten years is worth less than money in the hand now. Money invested as equity is a risk proposition. The future is uncertain, so the assumption of risk about the future deserves a premium, which might or might not happen.

In the old days this process went on without growth, without an increase in wealth. Why? Because the money invested did not involve the development and implementation of an innovative idea that worked out. So the capital accounting merely recorded the time preference and risk premiums of a static world.

But things were different when people started to invest in innovations like machine cotton spinning. All of a sudden, using mechanical devices and water power, humans could produce a ton more cotton for weaving. This lowered the cost of cotton goods and made a ton of money for cotton spinners. But no accumulation.

Let's look at a more recent and familiar example. In the 1990s Apple was almost bankrupt. But then Steve Jobs returned and put several innovative ideas together to produce the iPod music player. These ideas included the new Lithium battery technology plus a miniature disk drive. An innovative idea. But who would buy it, I wondered, skeptically? A ton of kids. And so Apple started selling millions of iPods and Apple stock went through the roof. Accumulation? No. Innovation and the realization among investors that Apple would be making money for years off this idea. But then came the iPhone, combining the iPod concept with a large video screen and cell-phone technology. A staggering innovative success to put all that technology in a pocket-sized device. But would people spend hundreds of dollars on a pocket phone? Yes they would, and Apple stock went through the roof again. Accumulation? No, innovation.

The point is that when people see an innovation taking off they don't take their accumulated profits and invest in the new thing. They sell their old investments to buy into the new hot thing. And the value of the new thing is expressed not in the cost of its inputs but in the present value of the future profits likely to result from the deployment of the new thing. Not accumulation. Innovation.

The operation of the modern venture capitalist community demonstrates this. A new idea is financed by investors that are consciously taking a big risk. They know that the innovative idea has promise, but know that there is many a slip between cup and lip. If the idea starts to take off then the investors seek a new round of investment, but the new investors get less of the company for their money than the first round investors. And that is as it should be since the second-round chaps aren't bucking the odds as much as the first-round chappies. Eventually, if it is successful, the company goes public, raising a ton of money from the public in return for a small share of the company.

The current poster-boy of this concept is Uber, the innovative ride-sharing company that is demolishing the taxi-cab industry with its ride-sharing app that joins riders and drivers and maximizes safety and convenience with no cash and two-way ratings. This company recently did a $50 billion private financing, and is still a private company. Uber keeps innovating. On my last ride to the airport, Uber was advertising package delivery and also a standard meal delivery. Uber drivers will carry around a limited set of hot and cold meals and deliver in minutes. The whole point is innovation. It is innovation that demolishes the taxi-cab industry; it is innovation that brings in the investors, first with their millions and then with their billions.

And what is it that innovation delivers? It delivers more cotton goods for less money. It delivers more illuminating oil for 90 percent less money. It delivers more steel for one third the money. It delivers electric power out of understanding the science of electricity. It delivers automobiles out of the development of heat engine physics. It develops electronics out of the understanding of quantum mechanics. It develops cell phones and GPS out of the understanding of pseudo-random noise communications. All this is only tangential to the idea of investing your profits in a new venture and accumulating capital.

The Great Enrichment of the last 200 years, from $3 to $100 per day is not from accumulation. It is from innovations -- staggering, mind-blowing innovations that nobody had even thought of. Not until somebody did.

And the innovation works both ways. Cell-phones are based on staggering innovation, but can be leveraged in the most mundane ways. A sardine fisherman in his boat off the west coast of India can call buyers with his cellphone in different ports to determine which has the best price for his catch.

In The Condition of Postmodernity Harvey uses the idea of capital accumulation and overaccumulation to justify the supervision of the capitalists by the politicians. This shows the value of the capital accumulation hypothesis. It advances the conceit that political minds can understand the market system enough to regulate and command it.

I'd say that the history of the last 200 years shows that the politicians and their bribed apologists really haven't a clue about the market economy, and only make a mess when they crash in with their regulations and their coercions.

Like right now. The Democrats and the Obama administration thought they were geniuses with their Obamacare and Dodd-Frank bills. But Obamacare seems to been on the way to abolishing the full-time job and Dodd-Frank has put a bureaucrat in charge of every bank loan.

And people wonder why the economy isn't growing.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Innovation vs. Immiseration

Larry Kramer is doing his usual self,  promoting the idea of Trump as “a disrupter.”
The last 15 years of economic policy, especially the last eight years, represent a relapse that harks back to the 1970s… It's a government-planning approach in the U.S. and around the world.
And a government planning approach to the economy means a special-interest carve-out, with the powerful sitting around a table in a room just off the corridors of power deciding who will get what. That’s how they did Obamacare, buying the support of the insurance companies and the medical system and the drug companies so they could get the votes to put it over the top. And you thought that the Democrats were the sworn enemies of insurance companies and drug companies.

What is needed is Growth, writes Larry. “Growth is the key, not inequality.” Yes, but “growth” is not the right word to use.

That’s why I think that “innovation,” the word used by Deirdre McCloskey, is the right one. Not growth. 

Why? Because growth is too close in meaning to “accumulation” as in the left’s catchphrase about the “accumulation of capital.” The assumption in both cases is that you are growing a new bud from an existing tree, or accumulating a bigger heap of gold coins.

And that is wrong. It is the innovation, the disruption, the permissionless economy that powers the Great Enrichment in 200 years from $3 per day to $100 per day. And that means an economy where the established players do not have the power to order a special interest stitch-up and a government man with a gun shouting Stop.

Right now we are seeing an attempt, ordered by the Obama administration, to start bringing the internet under the control of the regulators. And this "is beginning to strangle a great engine of freedom," says Wayne T. Brough in The American Spectator.
[A]s the internet matures, it is becoming the target of special interests and overzealous regulators seeking to control the bounty that the internet provides.
And the trouble is that our liberal friends, from President Obama on down, believe in a managerial solution to most problems. They want to control and regulate to avoid sharp swings in the economy and to prevent large extremes of wealth and poverty. Their faith is a faith that of Napoleon, après moi, le dèluge

I am reading a conventional-wisdom history of postmodernism, The Condition of Postmodernity by a Brit, David Harvey, written in the late 1980s. Harvey is knowledgeable about architecture and urban planning and Jane Jacobs. But his account of modernization is pure Marx. Really? 150 years after Marx, with detailed histories and accounts available, and he goes back to the largely mythical accounts in The Communist Manifesto and Capital?

Now the big thing about Marx is that he got a lot right. He got the idea of innovation, the “constant revolutionizing of production” and that the bourgeoisie did it.  But then he goes off the rails and assumes that the benefits will all go to the rich while the working class and the petite-bourgeoisie will suffer from immiseration. He thinks that someone needs to control and regulate capitalism. In the event, that is not what happened; that is not what is needed. And that is a big deal.

Following this setup, Harvey goes on to talk about Fordism and Keynesianism and a post 1970s era of “flexible accumulation” which may or may not rescue capitalism from its contradictions. Always the question is, who will control the capitalists?

I am not reading Harvey to gain any new insights into life, the universe, and everything. I am reading him to look into the conventional leftist account of the postmodern turn. What does he and his lefty buddies think is going on?

The point is that the left has a static view of the economy. They see workers being thrown out on the street while moneybag capitalists accumulate wealth by stealing from the workers part of the socially necessary labor needed for production.

But that’s not how it really works. What really happens is that an entrepreneur makes a breakthrough in something that radically reduces cost or provides a completely new product or service. If the idea works then he starts to hire people and swamps the market with his new innovation. At this point the established players start trying to compete by lowering prices and trying to lower labor costs, so the workers of the established players find that their apparently secure jobs at good wages are not secure at all. But that doesn solve their problem, so the workers strike, and the CEOs go to the government for help, perhaps by hobbling the new entrant. It is the wailings of the disappointed that Marx and Co interpret as the exploitation and immiseration of the working class.

In fact, even as the workers of established businesses suffer and the old-line businesses get taken over and repurposed, the overall income of society increases, because the new innovation benefits nearly everyone. But that doesn’t make it any easier for the disappointed and the impoverished.

So that is why it is vital to keep the eye upon the prize. Our present prosperity is built upon innovation, not accumulation, on people having a go and not being stopped by the powers-that-be. Or, if you like, by growth and not by government programs to promote equality.

This is very hard for many, even most, people to understand. So it cannot be said enough.

Innovation, new ideas, new products, new services. That’s the key. Management, regulation, accumulation, special-interest carve-outs. That’s the problem.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

End the Cringe Now!

Back in 2014 Paul Krugman was happily celebrating the news that "Democrats have lost their post-Reagan cringe." And here I thought that the only problem was the conservative Cringe where race, women, and gays are concerned. Every conservative public figure knows that a clumsy word can end a career. So anyone to the right of Elizabeth Warren knows they better zip that lip, or the liberal speech police will zip it for them. And zip their job as well.

Now I can't say that the Cringe has hurt me, not too much. The CEO of the consulting firm i used to work for did ask "where did he come from" when I made a WrongThink remark at a diversity training session. But I did keep my job. So there's that. But then I'm a sensitive guy and am pretty careful to tailor my remarks to my audience.

And yes, Krugman has a point about the Democratic post-Reagan cringe. The Democrats realized after Reagan's Morning in America 1984 blowout election that their hippy-dippy days from the Sixties were over. They discovered, rather late, that Americans hated the fascist left of the Weathermen and the campus rebels. They hated riots in the cities; they hated inflation; they hated recession; they hated gas lines;and they hated being bossed around by liberal hypocrites.

So yeah. Democrats have lost their post-Reagan cringe. But I think that Krugman's assertion that it is "the craziness of the right in some ways empowers the moderate left" is clue-less. The point is that a new generation of "progressives" has arisen that knew not Reagan. Just like it says in South Pacific, almost, you've got to be carefully taught, K thru grad school, to believe in lefty rubbish, and they have. So the new generation of lefties has put the pedal to the metal, even though, since Obama's election in 2008, we have seen two Republican wave elections and the unusual 2012 election where a president running for re-election got a smaller share of the vote than when he was first elected. And now we have Donald Trump.

No the Real Cringe is the receiving end of the cultural hegemony of the left's racist, sexist, homophobic naming and shaming aggression. Do not, repeat, do not get caught making a remark that the left can use to accuse you of racism, sexism, or homophobia. It is laughable that Krugman does not get this, and imagines that the moderation in leftist rhetoric demanded by the election of Ronald Reagan is any way comparable to the relentless leftist cultural war that can cost a typical American his job for a careless word. You have to be a regime insider in the ruling class bubble to write as Krugman writes.

Notice that the cringe, for Krugman, has to do with losing elections. The Cringe, for conservatives, has to do with liberal cultural imperialism that seeps into every corner of American life.

The problem for Republicans and for conservatives in 2016 is that their voters are fed up with the Cringe. Fed up to the back teeth, as the Brits say. And the fed-upness extends beyond the rebel voters of Ted Cruz. Thus Donald Trump.

The point about Donald Trump is that he offers the hope of a possibility of the End of the Cringe. Even though he recently did a cringe on the Judge Curiel issue.

The problem for conservatives and Republicans is that the Trump tactics to End the Cringe rather go against our People of the Responsible Self culture of politeness and decorum. Not to go all Hegel on this, but the Trump tactics return to the hunter-gatherer Fight to the Death instead of the mutual recognition of the "other" that is required of the Slaves who Work in the global economy.

The question that should exercise the Trump skeptics and other #NeverTrump-ers is simple. Where is your plan to End the Cringe? If you chaps have a plan to reverse or outflank or double-envelop the liberal cultural imperialist army, let's hear it.

The fact is that Donald Trump is the only guy in town that has demonstrated the ability and the stamina to End the Cringe. He even has the cojones to call out The Washington Post on a blatant Democratic-operatives-with-bylines headline that monstrously misrepresented Trump. Imagine!

It doesn't hurt that just about now the whole ruling class agenda is crumbling around its ears. Its top-down regulation-by-experts model is crumbling; its buy-the-voters-with-their-own-money entitlements are tottering. And the immigration surge has provoked a terrorism surge rather like the anarchist surge of a century ago, recently discussed by Steve Sailer.

Did you know there were recent immigrants running around bombing people in the Good Old USA a century ago, and eventually, the government "did something" about it? Go read about it; it's fascinating.

And now an Afghan American gay has murdered a bunch of Hispanic gays in Orlando.

Mr. President, is it safe? Because some of us think it is time to End the Cringe Now!