Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Left Has Always Been Totalitarian, Robert Erlich

In NRO today, Robert Ehrlich, former Republican governor of Maryland, has some sensible things to say about the ungenerous and anti-democratic Left in America. His piece is titled "A Syllabus of the Dangerous Errors of the Left." (The link and the tag say things like "Progressivism and Democratic Party: Exteme and Dangerous" so you can see that the editors had a bit of a struggle with the lead.)</p> <p> <br></p> <p> Robert Ehrlich is a professional politician, so he knows how to be nice. I think he is being too kind by suggesting that today's liberals are out of sync. In my view the Left has always been totalitarian and extreme and intolerant. The only reason that we think of it in rose-tinted nostalgic terms is that the Left has always had a good press. </p> <p> <br></p> <p> Let's look at Ehrlich's points.</p> <p> <br></p> <p> <i>Possibly the most perplexing aspect of modern progressivism is its intolerance of alternative viewpoints.</i></p> <p> <i><br></i></p> <p> I'd say that was too generous. The Left has always been intolerant of alternative viewpoints, starting with the origin of the word "left" in the French Revolution and its Terror and certainly beginning not later than Marx with his no-holds-barred rhetoric about the bourgeoisie and "bribed apologists" and his idea that capitalism was a continuation of the exploitation of the feudal era, only worse. Then we got the Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse and the notion that intolerance from the left wasn't intolerance, because the left cared, which basically gave the left a "00" prefix to hunt down its enemies. Now we have the utter folly of safe spaces, microagressions, and hate speech. This is nothing new, just leftist politics by other means.</p> <p> <br></p> <p> <i>A progressive anti-Israel bias has been clear since Day One of the Obama administration.</i></p> <p> <br></p> <p> Well, since the left has been anti-capitalist since Day One, I'd say that anti-Israel bias fits it like a glove. Actually, the left has been against Israel for decades, because the left always chooses the "exploited" party in any political dyad. Palestinians equal oppressed; Israelis equal colonizers. QED.</p> <p> <br></p> <p> <i>You know the old saying that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that some people aren’t out to get you.</i></p> <p> <br></p> <p> This is a reference to the John Doe investigation of Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker, and little Lois Lerner at the IRS throwing mud in the eyes of conservative non-profit groups. I have to admit that this is new, at least in its egregious violation of the letter and the spirit of US law. But it clearly issues from the Left's war on western law, that it is just a means to assist the propertied and make war on the powerless. It's easy to proceed from there to the idea that all Republicans are evil, because they oppose us, the virtuous left, and because, anyway, Republicans are all racists, sexists, and homophobes.</p> <p> <br></p> <p> <span style="font-size: 16px; line-height: 16px;"><i>We throw the term “sanctuary city” around so lightly today, it’s now part of our lexicon.</i></span><br style="outline: 0px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 16px;"><br></p> <p> Hey kids, this is nothing more than liberals arrogating to themselves a "selective approach to federal immigration law," writes Ehrlich. But I'd paint the sanctuary city movement in darker hues. In the old days, after all, this selective approach to federal law was called "nullification." But, of course, every ruling class arrogates to itself the right to bend the law a little in its own interest. This is nothing new. </p> <p> <br></p> <p> <i>Black Lives Matter!</i></p> <p> <br></p> <p> Ehrlich is really too polite about this. The Black Lives Matter movement is racism, straight up. Period. And the encouragement of black racism by ruling class white liberals is the crime of the century, because it makes blacks sequester themselves into a racial ghetto instead of getting out and "fitting in."</p> <p> <br></p> <p> Really, I think that liberals, sealed off in their ideological echo chamber, are fools. By their shameless use of government power they are setting up America for a decade of Republican rule. They do not understand that <i>all government is injustice</i>. They think that the way to right injustice is with government power, when really the way to right injustice is by reducing government power. Everyone understands about protesting against government injustice; they do not understand that once they get government power they are immediately doing what they protested against.</p> <p> <br></p> <p> The point is that any government will do things that a lot of people will experience as injustice. The wise politicians knows this and tries to structure programs to minimize injustice to the minority, or at least hide it from view. When liberals impose affirmative action or speech codes they imagine they are redressing age-old grievances. Maybe they are. But they are also crushing innocents under the millstones of government power, and the innocents don't take that sort of treatment lightly.</p> </div>

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why Working Class Whites Vote GOP

The New York Times has finally committed journalism on the topic of What's the Matter With Kansas, the fact that the white working class is not voting for its economic interest as it should, but is voting instead for racist, sexist, homophobe Republicans that don't give a good goddam about them and their real interests, as properly understood by elite liberals. Alex MacGillis writes,
The temptation for coastal liberals is to shake their heads over those godforsaken white-working-class provincials who are voting against their own interests.
Why do they do it, those "godforsaken white-working-class provincials"?

It's because they want to draw a line between themselves and the folks on welfare. First, of all, the folks on welfare and Medicaid don't really vote at all, so there's that.
The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.
This confirms with what I was reading and writing about years ago in The Road to the Middle Class. I focused on a woman that feminist liberal Hanna Rosin condescendingly interviewed in a 2000 article about the Christian Right. Mary Johnston, a resident of the striver suburbs around Charlotte, NC., was ashamed of her cracker origins in the red-neck town of Chester.

It's not just snobbery in the Mary Johnstons. It's the fear, the nagging fear that they could one day slip back into the helplessness and squalor of the underclass life.

MacGillis writes about a nurse, Pamela Dougherty, who had married as a teenager, had a child, divorced, went on welfare, and then trained as a nurse -- with the help of government benefits. Now she's remarried and has a steady job at a kidney dialysis center. But is she a supporter of the programs that had helped her? Not a bit of it.
She was reacting, she said, against the sense of entitlement she saw on display at the dialysis center. The federal government has for years covered kidney dialysis treatment in outpatient centers through Medicare, regardless of patients’ age, partly on the logic that treatment allows people with kidney disease to remain productive. But, Ms. Dougherty said, only a small fraction of the 54 people getting dialysis at her center had regular jobs.
This is something that liberals have a problem understanding: the fear of slipping back into dependency. That's why the responsible lower middle class is so anti-welfare. It's not so much that they want to pull up that ladder to stop other people benefiting from the programs they used. It's to cut off the option of retreat back into dependency for themselves. 

OK, so what are Democrats to do about this? Here is MacGillis' peroration.
The best way to reduce resentment, though, would be to bring about true economic growth in the areas where the use of government benefits is on the rise, the sort of improvement that is now belatedly being discussed for coal country, including on the presidential campaign trail. If fewer people need the safety net to get by, the stigma will fade, and low-income citizens will be more likely to re-engage in their communities — not least by turning out to vote.
Oh yeah. That should do it: big government at its best. But here is what I think. I think that with President Obama off the ballot we are going to see a big falloff in black voting in November 2016. It's just going to be very hard to get low-income blacks all riled up to vote, especially after the collapse of the millennial hopes of 2008. I just don't think that Black Lives Matter is going to get the job done.

And I wonder when the working blacks of America will follow the Mary Johnstons and the Pamela Doughertys into the GOP. Every now and again you read a piece that indicates that the black church ladies are not that different in outlook and philosophy from the white working class ladies. Come on in ladies, the water's fine.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Short History of Safe Spaces

All of us bitter clingers are pretty pissed off by the liberal safe-spacers, the young college students that need a place to go and cry when they hear anything that offends their delicate sensibilities.

But let us not pretend that this is anything new under the sun. This safe space culture started way, way before liberal cultural Marxists and their bribed apologists, the community organizers cast their dark shadow across the land.

It all started with the Garden of Eden. Yeah, what would you call the place where Adam and Eve gamboled together in perfect innocence other than the First Safe Space? Then the Serpent showed up and that was the end of the First Safe Space.

One day, agriculture showed up and it looked like ordinary people could shelter in the benevolent safe space of the king. Only, of course, the kings tended to take advantage of the farmers and peasants under their protection, and needed them as spear fodder in their endless wars. So life wasn't quite as safe as the farmers hoped when they came in from the steppe.

Fast forward to the feudal era, and well-born sons and daughters of the nobility liked to shelter in the safe spaces of monasteries to get away from the knightly challenges of the Dark Ages. The monastic safe spaces might have gone on forever if merchants across Europe hadn't wrecked the monastic economic model with their global commerce. The safe-spacing peasants also found themselves hurled onto the labor market in consequence of the agricultural revolution that needed a lot fewer "useless retainers."

It took a while but finally the sons of the bourgeoisie came up with a new safe space. They would provide "social protection" for the factory workers traumatized by the industrial revolution. All the workers had to do was vote for lefties and all their problems would be taken care of by community organizers and educated experts. This new safe-space model worked like a charm for a while until the factory system was replaced by automated manufacturing and the white working class collapsed into drink and drugs.

Now we have a new safe-space movement. It provides protection for college students traumatized by hate speech and bigotry. It provides racism-free zones for African Americans. And it provides Muslims with safe spaces purged of Islamophobia.

I wonder if the new safe spaces will prove any better than the old ones.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Is This the Fall of the Euro Empire?

Good old Niall Ferguson is telling the Boston Brahmins today that this might be the End. As in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.
And, of course, as 1,600 years ago, the ruling class is clueless. Ferguson recalls his youth, 30 years ago at Oxford.
We learned nothing that mattered. Indeed, we learned a lot of nonsense to the effect that nationalism was a bad thing, nation-states worse, and empires the worst things of all.
This was the lesson that the educated and evolved ruling class learned from Hitler and Mussolini. The people could not be trusted; they would fall for the man on the white horse. That's what the European Union is all about. The wise elite extracts the levers of power away from the hoi-polloi and concentrates it in the hands of the educated, evolved, and expert elite that has the wisdom and the knowledge to rule.

This lesson is, of course, the wrong lesson. The lesson of the inter-war era is that, when the normal ruling class fails to keep the wheels of commerce and prosperity turning and people look down and don't see the floor but a gaping precipice, then and only then do the people look to a Hitler, a Mussolini or a Trump.

In other words, fascism is a product of ruling-class failure. Period. Today, ruling class means liberal politicians, liberal media, liberal corporate elite, liberal Hollywood, liberal professors, liberal teachers that, e.g., won't let little boys play with Legos.

Right now, everyone -- especially women -- is trending on the Paris massacre, and now the Mali massacre. But frankly I am not paying attention out here in Oz. I don't need to pay attention. Instead, I am feeling serene. We were never going to be able to deal with the Islamic reaction until the anti-nationalist, anti-nation-state, educated and evolved ruling class was utterly discredited. Now it starts to seem to me that Barack Obama and Angela Merkel were sent by God to do the dirty work, and clear the decks with their follies for a response to the Islamist challenge.

Of course, as Winston Churchill famously said, in 1942, after Monty's victory at El Alamein:
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
We are certainly nowhere near the End of the Beginning. But we are approaching the real Beginning of the Beginning, and that is why I am feeling serene. "Events, dear boy, events" are starting to cook the goose of our liberal ruling class. And we can't get to the middle, let alone the beginning of the end of the current World Crisis until the liberal goose is well and truly cooked, served, eaten and the bones thrown to the Tasmanian Devils. (Little bit of Tassie stuff there).

Europe may still fall the to Islamic revolt against the modern culture and economy; this may indeed be the End of the European Empire. But it won't fall without a fight.

Don't Let Your Kid Grow Up to Be An Environmental Cop

We had a very nice trip to the good old convict prison at Port Arthur in Tasmania. It flourished between the 1830 and 1877. And it was trying to reform prisoners with sensible solitary confinement and other methods out of Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian playbook.

I'm afraid I was pretty cavalier with the guide by treating the whole thing as a joke, a bureaucratic monstrosity, and implying that things are no different today.

Because really, imagine what future earnest critics will say about today's policing and prisons and welfare and education. And environmental politics.

Our guide was a good chap, but it turned out that two of his kids are well-educated environmental cops, runnin' around making sure the farmers aren't killing Tasmamian Devils and stuff. There's a bit of a problem with Tasmanian Devils because, as carrion eaters and not very fast on their feet, they tend to end up as road kill when they are helpfully eating road kill on Tasmania's highways. Something must be done.

But it all got me to thinking about how many of our well-educated kids are ending up as Give-me-the-facts-ma'am environmental gumshoes. Or shall we call them enforcement officers willingly doing the dirty work of stopping people from growing food and building roads and making products and services, because saving the planet.

But that is not really my problem. I am thinking about what will happen when the people finally rebel against their empoverishment by the ruling class's environmental cops and regulators. All those educated gumshoes are going to be really pissed off when the peasants with pitchforks start coming for their careers and their pensions. They won't understand that they have been blindly squeezing ordinary people as thoughtlessly as the overseers and constables of the old Port Arthur convict settlement.

Because most people most of the time just accept that working people were horribly treated back in the 19th century but that things are much more evolved and advanced today.

The point is that there are shoals and shoals of these educated fish in the US in the state and local environmental bureaucracies and they have all drunk the KoolAid. What are we going to do with them after the revolution?

Maybe they don't all believe the lies. Maybe they are just going along to get along. I just finished a rant by Sarah Hoyt about the lies in YA fiction, with "100 lb girls taking out men four times their size in books and movies." It got to the point where her son wanted to be a girl because they had all the fun.

But years later at the grocery store, she asked him about this.
I don’t remember why I reminded him of his “I want to be a girl moment.”  He looked at me and curled his lip.  “Yeah, I got over it.  I realized it wasn’t real.  There was no relation between girls on TV and in books and real girls.  Most real girls just want to talk about hair and clothes and go shopping.  The fun ones will play space-games, but mostly they just want to treated like they’re a space-princess and rescued and stuff.  I’ve yet to meet one who likes fighting and running.”
So there really is hope for the young generation. But the problem is, as Sarah Hoyt writes, that to break out of the Port Arthurs that today's liberal Jeremy Benthams have imprisoned us in is going to take a lot of busting out. And it ain't gonna be pretty.

Did you know that at the narrow neck of land between Port Arthur and the Tasmanian mainland they set up a "dog line." They chained dogs there at night on the assumption that the dogs would bark and attack any convicts trying to escape.

The wonders of the bureaucratic mind.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Liberal Syllabus of Errors

What with ISIS and the slow death of Obamacare, not to mention the mess in education and the White Death of the white working class, it's a good time to take a look at the pile-up of errors committed by our liberal friends. What went wrong, and why?

As you may know, my conceit is that I have developed a strategic view of the modern politics and government. I argue that politics is violence (real or threatened) and government is force. Put another way, politics comes down to the mob threatening someone with a "peaceful protest" or actual street riot, and government always comes down to men with guns.

The corollary (or whatever you want to call it) of this argument is that political activists and government re like sharks; they must keep moving on some project that threatens violence, or needs force, or they will die.

In the good old days government concentrated on two things. The first thing was the domestic threat to its rule, usually from barons and marcher lords. The second thing was the foreign threat from evil foreigners and/or barbarians. This was all natural and physical, because there can only be one ruler in a territory, and as land and its food was life, the survival of the group, or clan, or nation, depended on keeping other people away from the sacred food that grew on our sacred land.

But capitalism changed all that. Natural resources, including food, were still important, but you didn't have to sit on them; you could always buy them.

So it was natural that a movement should arise that took a stand against the old "hit them before they hit us" approach to foreign policy. People started to ask what armies and borders were all about, when all we needed to do was buy the things we needed. Arms are for hugging; war is not the answer. That is what they said then and they still do today.

But if the foreign threat had dissipated and the old marcher lords had been replaced by corporate barons that fought for market share rather than territory, what need of government?

Good question, senator.

The answer is that advanced people came to realize that all was not well with the world after all. They discovered that the most frightful exploitations were being perpetrated against the workers, the people that toiled in factories in the early industrial revolution. Something must be done, they cried. And they taught the rising working class to organize and "smash the bosses." Not just the workers, in peaceful protests and work stoppages, but government was needed to force the bosses to give the workers an even break.

And so the advanced people led the working people in a century-long campaign of "social protection" to provide a safe space for the factory workers. The advanced people had lots of ideas and they used their political power to implement their ideas in beneficial social legislation and regulations.

But then a century later the economy changed and life-long factory jobs disappeared from the economy. The social model constructed in landmark legislation by the advanced people for factory workers didn't apply any more. The workers were used to be taken care of by the advanced people and didn't know what to do. So they gave up and took to drink and opiates.

Anyway the advanced people had moved on from helping working people. Now they wanted to help women and racial minorities and sexual minorities.

Nowadays the advanced people have become deeply concerned about frightful oppressions perpetrated against women, against racial minorities, and against sexual minorities. Something must be done, they cried. And they taught women and racial minorities and sexual minorities to organize and speak truth to the power of the white heterosexual patriarchy, and smash the glass ceiling, and demand their representative share of jobs, and the respectability of marriage equality.

You can see that the advanced people are using the same strategy against the powerful patriarchy as they did a century ago against the powerful capitalists.

But what was the point of helping the workers? The advanced people set up a rigid system of government protection that the advanced people thought would help the workers in their fight with the employers and provide them with decent pensions and health benefits. Unfortunately the advanced people fenced the workers into a rigid system that fell apart when globalization and unionization had made factory labor in the western world too expensive.

What would have really helped the workers? I'd say that it would have been more helpful to let the workers work out their own destiny, to involve the state in some of the most egregious problems but not to create such a rigid regulatory system that protected the workers so well that they lost the get-up-and-go needed to adapt and thrive. It is clear now that when the world changed it left them high and dry.

Now the advanced people are doing the same thing with women, racial minorities, and sexual minorities. Are they really helping them? I'd say that it would be more helpful to let women, racial minorities and sexual minorities to work out their own destiny, to involve the state in some of the most egregious problems, but not create a rigid regulatory system in which employers are considered to be discriminating against minorities unless they employ government-mandated quotas of protected minorities.

One day the world will change, and when it does the protected minorities will find out, just like the workers, that the social protections they were given don't protect them at all when the world changes, and everyone has to scramble to adapt to the new reality.

So I argue that the governing strategy of the advanced people, the modern ruling class, is cruel and unjust. It cocoons its favored clients with benefits and free stuff, but it condemns them to live in dependency without maintaining the robust skills that people need to thrive in a market system that is always changing, always improving, always adapting, always learning.

Our advanced people, our ruling class, are not evil: just conceited and wrong. They imagine that they are intelligent and wise enough to determine what is best for other people.

In this conceit they are wrong. Probably it is best for humans in this sub-lunar world to stick to taking responsibility for themselves. Because when they decide that they are smart enough to take responsibility for others, they are probably only doing what will help themselves.

When you think you are god's gift to the working class, or to women, or to minorities, you are probably going to find yourself piling error upon error, and spreading misery instead of content, because you probably don't know what is best for other people.

But where is the human that can ever admit such a thing to himself, let alone to others?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is Obama Actually Trying to Destroy the Democratic Party?

Conservatives look at President Obama and wonder who the real Obama is. Or rather, we wonder if our instincts, that he is a full-on cultural Marxist lefty, can really be true -- in this day and age. Because surely in 2015, after a century and a half of Marxist mayhem and stupidity, nobody can really believe this stuff.

But here is Paul Sperry writing in the New York Post about the doings of Organizing for Action, the daughter organization of Obama's campaign organization Obama for America. OfA is out there organizing hundreds of thousands of newly minted community organizers.
Through social media, they mobilize flash mobs against “biased cops,” “climate-change deniers,” “Wall Street predators” and “gun extremists.” They hold rallies against conservative foes of gay marriage, LGBT rights, abortion and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
See, I think that this is a suicide cult,  strategic error of monumental proportions. I think this is replaying the disastrous New Left politics of the 1960s that created the Nixonian Silent Majority and the Reagan Democrats. I think that this leftism is a fantasy ideology, created out of the desperate need, in a peaceful world, for something to fight against and require the sweet use of political violence and government force.

In my telling, the Democrats of the 1970s learned a terrible lesson. They learned that the average American hated their Cloward-Piven tactics and their internal colonization of middle-class culture with Alinskyism. And then when Ronald Reagan, the B-movie actor, cleaned their clocks not once but twice... Well, it led to Bill Clinton and the New Democrats who assured us that they were as patriotic as the next man and who declared that the era of big government was over.

In the event, once Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, he pivoted sharp left and got his face handed to him in the midterms of 1994. Thereafter the liberal Bill Clinton kept handlers like Dick Morris around to keep him in the safety zone.

But the real Democrats couldn't stay hidden, not forever, so after the mistakes of the Bush administration and the mortgage meltdown, they returned in full force under the leadership of Barack Obama, taught from his cradle by liberals and advised by red-diaper babies. Like David Axelrod.

Now we have the absurd antics of the feminist-inspired "rape culture" and "microaggression" activists, which I think is the particularly feminine contribution to leftist politics. Because while you could say that young men thrill to the cry of "smash the bosses" (or sexists or racists), the cry for safe spaces and "I can't believe I heard you say that" are obviously the product of a Double-X coded brain.

I suppose we have to go through this every generation. But it would really be cool if we could draw a line under this fantasy ideology, this nostalgia for a time of perfect social solidarity that never was, that has hag-ridden the modern era and sent millions of innocents to an early grave.

The encouraging thing is that it looks like the average American absolutely hates where the community-organizer tactics of Obama have brought us. They are actively yearning for something different.

And my guess is that, come November 2016 they are going to get it, probably by a decisive 55-45 election. And that should inoculate America against unashamed leftism for a generation. If we are lucky.