Thursday, April 30, 2015

Obama Has Ended Race Conflict, But Not the Way You Think

Here's a prognostication. We will look back at all the race-hyping of the Obama era -- the beer summit, "cowards on race," Trayvon, Ferguson, "loosies," Baltimore -- as the straws that broke the camel's back on race.

Here we are today with two Republicans pushing back on race. First there is good old Donald Trump pushing back on the Freddie Gray episode. Then we have Ted Cruz accusing the president of enflaming race relations:
I think he has not used his role as president to bring us together. He has exacerbated racial misunderstandings, racial tensions, from back at the beer summit to a series of efforts to pit Americans against each other. And, part of the problem is the way he advocates for any given plan, is to build a straw man of the opposition and then to vilify their position.
The whole point of America's First Black President was that we would compose our racial differences and enter a post-racial era. Remember that?

But we pretty soon found out that Obama wasn't the guy to deliver on that. We now know why. First of all, Obama thinks like a lefty racist, using the identity politics invented by the Frankfurt School chappies. But the really important reason is the Democratic Party, the Coalition of the Fringes. It needs to have racial, sexual, and class divisions in order to win elections. So race politics was never going to go away as long as it worked as a club to beat white Americans.

Donald Trump is who he is, but Ted Cruz is a sharp operator. If he thinks he can work the Obama race angle to win the Republican nomination and then the presidency, then we may be entering a new era.

We'll be entering the new era not because Obama reconciled the races, but because decent Americans are sick to the back teeth of race cards and race bullying, and the "angrying up" of African Americans right before elections so they'll get out to vote.

This Baltimore thing has turned a corner. After all, it couldn't be racism because the mayor is black, the police chief is black, and the cops are majority-minority. So Obama and Hillary Clinton are out waffling about too many people in jail and programs to help.

But you know what? If the Democrats go into 2016 arguing for special programs for blacks the rest of the country is going to be asking: what about us?

In the Obama economy it's not just the usually marginalized and historically oppressed that are feeling the bad economy and the failure to thrive. It's the average American.

Now we are hearing that the economy may be in a soft patch and the Fed has decided not to come off its zero interest rate policy, not just yet. You mean to say that after all the bailouts and stimulus and special deals for special interests the economy still isn't growing? Maybe it's the bad weather. Or maybe it's global warming.

Or maybe it's the grow-government policy of the Obama administration.

This isn't that hard. All government, all of it, is a weight on the economy. The more government, the more regulation, the more subsidy, the more that the attention of Americans is diverted away from working to provide for others and the more that Americans learn to go to government to get a special carve-out. And each carve-out takes a little bit from economic growth and allocates the resources, human or natural, that might have grown the economy to some special interest on the basis of political power and force.

In 2016 the American people won't be thinking economics or spending cuts or flat taxes or roll-backs of expensive regulation like Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank. They'll just be thinking it is Time for a Change. On race, on jobs, on everything.

Because, Americans will say, under Obama things just aren't working.

And so, President Obama will be the most consequential president in modern times. He will be the Jimmy Carter of the early 21st century, the man that drove his party into a ditch: on jobs, on race, on everything.

And he will have ended race conflict because people will just say: "We Don't Care."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Liberalism is Revolution Theme Park

It's taken half a century, but I finally got to stumble over Crane Brinton's Anatomy of a Revolution. It's a comparative study of the four great European revolutions: English, American, French, and Russian.

And it's helped me understand liberals better.

Crane's analysis is that the four revolutions follow a similar script. First there's the failure of the old regime, usually involving running out of other peoples' money. Then there's the moderate phase, where the moderates take over from the old regime. Then there's the radical coup d'etat and the Terror. Finally there's the Thermidorean reaction where the new regime settles into a military dictatorship.

How do liberals fit into this? They want to play at radicals, strut around like Jacobins, acting in bold strokes in a dangerous moment when everything is up for grabs and nobody is safe.

But, of course, they are completely delusional; they are constructing a Disney World of radicalism for themselves. They are not Lenins and Robespierres pulling off a daring coup d'etat in the face of the muddlesome moderates and general confusion of a revolutionary period. They are playing at radicalism and revolution.

We see this first of all in Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Alinsky's Rules for community organizing only work because the revolution is over and liberals own the culture and the legal system. Don't you try making the liberals follow their own rules.

We see it in the foolish virgins running the campus "rape culture" activism, and in this young woman who organized a diversity meeting at which whites and males were disinvited (H/T Instapundit).
I am particularly interested in looking at the gendered body in Japanese pornographic anime and horror through a Foucauldian framework in order to analyse the West’s gaze upon a world it attempts to categorize.  My politics are intersectional, queer, feminist, anti-racist . . . I am a working class, Turkish Cypriot, queer, disabled woman and activist.
You can't just be an "activist" these days; you have to amp it up.

We see it in the whole LGBT circus from gay marriage to transsexualism. I get it. Who would want to be a boring heterosexual and get married and have children? But let's not just go off into a corner and get creative about sex. Oh no. That would never do. Let us take our hunger for adventure and danger and make it into a political movement. Gays have been marginalized and oppressed for centuries! Transphobia is oppression and must be stamped out! Teach the bigoted Christian bakers a lesson they will never forget!

We see it in the pathetic "Black Lives Matter" movement, apparently funded by Soros money, that is stupidly destroying black neighborhoods in Missouri and now Baltimore. It may be dandy for liberals to shake their heads about institutional racism and think up new programs to end generational injustice. But this sort of activism has been failing to improve black lives for fifty years.

All these people are playing at Jacobins -- or, if you like, Puritans of the English revolution from 1642 to 1660. They want the purity, the excitement of revolution! A battle against evil! They want to humble the bigots and the hypocrites, and teach them a lesson! And above all, they want to be relevant.

But there's only one little problem. They are not radicals; they are not revolutionaries. They are the little darlings of the ruling class. They are doing exactly what they have been taught by their government teachers, their government professors, and government-paid activists.

And so really they are just the educated-class equivalent of Disney enthusiasts, taking the kids down to a plastic theme park for some thrills.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Liberal Fascism: "The Worse the Better"

This morning Rush Limbaugh started out his program saying that, as a 64-year-old, he's seen it all before. He was talking about the black rioting in Baltimore. And Watts in 1965. And Los Angeles in 1992.

But how could this be happening? Didn't President Obama promise to end the decades of partisanship, red states and blue states, and stuff?

So how come blacks are rioting, six years after the election of the First Black President?

Well, the first "how come" is that politics changes nothing. This is the age of responsible individualism, bub, and you aren't a serf or a slave anymore. It's up to you to make your life work, "on your own," as the saying goes.

Of course blacks were angry in 1965 after the civil rights acts passed, and nothing changed. Of course they were angry in 1992 with the Rodney King beating. Nothing had changed. Of course blacks are angry in 2015. Here we are, fifty years after the civil rights acts and nothing has changed.

Nothing will change until the day that blacks decide to stop being the little darlings of the liberals and take responsibility for their own lives, as other oppressed peoples have done before them. Think Irish from rack-rented Ireland, Italians from the beaten-down Mezzogiorno, Jews from the pogroms in Russia.

But that's their problem. What about us? What are we going to do about the end-game Obama era where liberal fascism is in full cry?

Liberal fascism? There a book about it. You could read it or go Wiki.

You'll remember Mussolini's definition of fascism. His line was this:
Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato
(Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State)
Really, what is there about modern liberalism that goes against Il Duce's demand?

Here's the way it works in America today. Everything for liberalism, nothing outside liberalism, nothing against liberalism.

If you speak against liberalism, say on gay marriage or on "rape culture," you can lose your job.

If you act against liberalism, say by declining to provide services for a gay wedding, you can lose your business.

And anything you say or do can immediately be attacked as a racist, sexist, homophobic "microaggression" that could get you sanctioned, if you are a white male in college that offends some liberal activist-in-training.

But my feeling is that all this is good news. Like Rush Limbaugh said at the top, we've seen all this before. And ordinary middle-class Americans hate it. They hated it in the aftermath of the Sixties when the passage of civil rights meant that they, not the southern racists, had to pay for the sins of the fathers. They hated the kids rioting over the Vietnam War. They hated the race riots (which weren't race riots, but just black kids destroying their neighborhoods).

Now we have the aftermath of the First Black President. Instead of Americans getting kudos for their openness and anti-racism, we have the First Black President and the First Black Attorney General ginning up riots and protests in Florida, in Missouri, in New York, and now in Baltimore, and loosing Social Justice Warriors on all and sundry.

The thing to remember is that this is all great fun if you are a liberal living far, far from the scene of the crime. But if you are a white working class family, commuting long hours because that's the only way you can buy a house you can almost afford and get decent schools for your kids, then you are looking at America and wondering if you are going to lose your job for a careless word.

It's easy for me: I'm a racist, sexist, homophobe, but I can afford to be, because I'm retired and I can't be fired from my job. But ordinary folks know that they'd better button their lips, or else.

People in the political class don't get the social and cultural fears of the working and sub-college educated middle class, because they feel safe and in control. They have the education and the culture to succeed in post-industrial America. All the fuss and feathers about gay marriage and college rape and climate change is stuff that isn't going to wreck their lives. But to the ordinary schmuck things aren't quite so copacetic.

And that's why I say: go for it liberal fascists. The worse the better.

Really, there is no better way to get a Republican elected in 2016.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Liberal Warns: The End is Near

Whenever liberals get into a mess and face the likelihood of losing you start to see articles that ask "Is Democracy Unraveling" by E.J. Dionne.

Translation: It's not democracy that's unraveling, E.J.; it's the just the latest liberal meltdown.

E.J.'s particular concern this week is the upcoming election in Britain. Problem is that the two major parties, Conservative and Labour, are expected to get only about 70 percent of the vote, thus empowering minor parties.
In Scotland, long a Labour stronghold, the pro-independence Scottish National Party could take as many as 50 of the region's 59 seats, which would block British Labour leader Ed Miliband from securing a majority. 
But the Conservatives have their own problems, with the UK Independence Party taking conservative votes away from them.

And don't get E.J. started on the fractures in the United States.

Fortunately, E.J. Dionne has found a book that explains what is happening.
The title of Princeton University historian Daniel T. Rodgers' revelatory 2011 book, "Age of Fracture," captured what's happening to us. In our era, he wrote, "Identities become fluid and elective," and if the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were a time of political and social "consolidation," the dominant tendency now is toward "disaggregation."
No kidding! The nightmare of "disaggregation!" It couldn't be, could it, that the nation is falling apart because liberals have championed identity politics that encourages voters in the Democratic Party to think of themselves not as Americans that could contribute to America but as helpless victims that deserve unlimited free stuff, because injustice?

The last big time mehltdown in liberal morale was in the 1970s when their enthusiasm for social programs and wage-and-price controls led to "stagflation" and a sense that America was ungovernable.  The best days were over, liberals said, and we just had to get used to decline.

Now we are in a similar situation. Liberals have spent the last 15 years pushing foolishness on all fronts, starting with the bureaucratization of healthcare, the annihilation of homeownership with their "affordable housing" mania, the fantasy of green energy, the superregulation of business in Sarbanes-Oxley and finance in Dodd-Frank. And that leaves out the insanity of left-wing cultural madness in everything from gay marriage to "rape culture."

On top of that, of course, the great entitlement programs, from Social Security to Medicare to education to welfare encourage people to work less and demand more. And the programs are going broke.

You'd expect, after a century of this, that people would start to become pissed off. Everyone naturally feels justified in getting the entitlements to which they are entitled, but they are not at all sure about everyone else. In the blare of identity politics, people retreat into tribal identities and demand their rights.

You can call it the Age of Fracture or anything else you want. But the whole point of politics is to divide people. The whole point of the welfare state that liberals have championed is to hive people off into tribal silos where liberals can manipulate them with promises of free stuff on the one hand and outrage over "austerity" on the other.

Yep. We are getting exactly what liberals set us up for. The trouble is that liberals can't see far enough ahead to grasp the "unanticipated consequences" of their politics. They encourage division; they subsidize dependency, and then they are amazed when everything flies apart.

I have rather a simple mind, and so I like to simplify things so I can understand them. The point about government is that it turns everything into a war. Because government is force, and war is the application of force.

But most things is this world can't be resolved by a war. You can't educate children with a political war over Common Core. You can't get economic growth when you are blaming CEOs for everything. You can't get ordinary people into affordable homes of their own by flogging the mortgage market with subsidies. You can't get a flexible, adaptable, affordable health care system if you put the government in charge and start beating up on insurance companies and drug companies.

This shouldn't be rocket science, but for liberals, power comes before everything.

And so the people suffer.

Thirty years ago and more, liberals said that American was ungovernable. Then came a political leader that showed liberals how to govern. Now liberals say that Democracy is unraveling.

Let's show them how wrong they are.

Friday, April 24, 2015

There's Always a Need for Organization and Political Discipline

I don't know where Kevin D. Williamson came from but, as my grandfather used to say, I like the cut of his jib. Writing about the California drought crisis he opines:
The Left, with the prominent advocacy of President Barack Obama, has argued that the challenge of global warming necessitates a new form of economic organization under political discipline.
Golly! What an astonishing idea, that a ginned up crisis requires a ginned up political response. The thing is, of course, that "organization" and "discipline" are two words that suggest "army" and "war." And as I say, politics and government are always looking for a war. Republicans tend to favor wars on non-Americans, as in wars on Commies and Terror. Democrats prefer wars on domestic enemies, like robber barons and conservative Christians, wars on want and accusing Republicans of wars on women. But Williamson isn't finished.
Never mind, for the moment, that the Left has been arguing for a new form of economic organization under political discipline for more than a century (the crisis changes every generation, but the identical solution endures)[.]
Yeah, it really doesn't change. Politics wants power and power wants politics: Organization! Discipline! Obey the leader! The only saving grace about our liberal friends is that they all live under the charming illusion that they are all short-sighted librarians that would never hurt a fly and just want us all to work together. For the children.

Trouble is that they are wrong. About the need for organization and political discipline.

If there is one surprising thing about the modern era it is that we seem to have discovered that many things, particularly in the economic sphere, can best be done without "economic organization under political discipline." In fact, given the record of the modern era you might be excused for feeling that economic organization under political discipline is precisely the wrong way for social humans to get economic things done. The Soviet Union, Maoist China, and even Nehru's India come to mind.

But that doesn't seem to matter to many people. Because if you have an appetite for politics, you can also smell things that need organization from a mile away. Or if you can't smell anything you'll go out and find something, dammit, that needs organization and political discipline.

Nicholas Wade in The Faith Instinct:
Men like power and will seize it if they can. But if they cannot rule their next preference is that no one rule over them.
If there is one thing that liberals all believe it is that they are born to be the one benevolent and beneficent Oz to rule over us. If there is one other thing that liberals believe it is that no racist, sexist, homophobe conservative should ever rule over them.

If there is one thing about the current scene that disturbs me it is that our liberal friends don't seem to be that concerned about the possibility that one day, maybe as soon as January 20, 2017, an evil Republican president, evilly assisted by a evil Republican Congress full of gap-toothed fundamentalist Christians, will be in power, hell-bent on destroying every good thing that progressives have striven for over a century to bring to the American people.

I mean, are they dumb or something?

The answer, I fear, is: Yes they are. They talk to each other in their little liberal bubble and don't appreciate that there are millions of people out there who are fit to be tied by the ethos and the actions of the Obama liberals. Liberals really don't have a clue.

The amazing thing about the modern era is that government has never been so powerful. And yet it has never been so clear that limits on government are essential to promote human welfare. Never have humans come up with more ways to justify more government. Yet never has it been more obvious that we the people should say "stuff it" to 97% of today's political projectors and their wonderful plans for organization and political discipline.

OK, Wiki says that Kevin Williamson was born in Texas. I guess that explains a lot.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton the Poster Girl for Income Inequality

The liberal Hive has been buzzing louder and louder in recent years about "income inequality," and I understand why. Things aren't going too well in the US, economically speaking, and the solution, for a liberal, is obviously more government spending on Democratic clients and more taxes on "the rich."

But that runs up against a little problem. The really big bucks in government spending go for programs for seniors: Social Security, Medicare, and a big chuck of Medicaid. And seniors aren't interested in redistribution. We already got ours and we aren't about to give anything away to politicians in Washington.

Then there is the little problem of Hillary Clinton. She has been out recently descanting on "income inequality" and talking about how she has always fought for everyday Americans. She's even suggesting "toppling" the rich and dealing with hedge fund moguls. What a pity that her daughter is married to a Goldman Sachs alum, Marc Mezvinsky, who runs a hedge fund with two Goldman Sachs pals. My pal tells me that up-and-coming Goldman Sachs chappies are encouraged to marry into politics.

Then there's all the influence peddling Hillary Clinton's done that's exposed in Peter Schweizer's Clinton Cash.

Really, this almost amounts to divine intervention. Who would expect that the 2016 designated hitter for the Dems would be tied hand and foot to eevil Wall Street and the hedgies? Apparently Chelsea Clinton is now worth $15 million and doesn't care about money.

Of course the whole business about "income inequality" misses the point.

The whole point of the modern era is that it's no longer about dividing up the pie, equally or unequally. Here's what actor Terry Crews said to Adam Carolla on the subject (H/T Derek Hunter).
Everybody says they’re trying to get their piece of the pie. They don’t understand that the world is a kitchen. You can make your own pie.
Just a minute, pal. It used to be that the pie was pretty fixed. Nobody knew how to make their own pie. You either had land or you didn't; if you had land then you had pie. If not, not. But in the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years, people have been amazing the world with the most astonishing pies, starting with the textile revolution that invented cheap cotton clothes for the multitude. The chaps that baked that textile pie made a ton of money; but the real benefit was cheap cotton clothes for the millions.

Fast forward to Bill Gates. He made tens of billions from Microsoft creating software for personal computers; but the real benefit was cheap computers for the millions. Or Steve Jobs. He made billions from Apple, but the real benefit was cheap iPods for the tens of millions and iPhones for the hundreds of millions.

Bill Gates's billions don't take anything from my share of the pie. Bill Gates created a staggering new pie, a complete surprise. IBM thought they'd sell a few computers with Gates's software. They had no idea that they would take over the world. Ditto Jobs. He created that staggering pie, the smartphone, that is in the hands of billions of people worldwide.

But Hillary Clinton is different. The money she makes is influence money. People give money to her in the hope of a quid pro quo from the political power of the Clinton machine. Chelsea Clinton got a $600,000 job from NBC because NBC honchos wanted to be in good with the Clintons. In the Clinton business, nobody is making an incredible new pie that creates wealth for millions or even billions. What Hillary Clinton does when she collects $300,000 for a speech is collect tribute from a tributary power.

And the bottom line is this: If the Republican candidates for president can't make hay out of the Clinton influence machine and make a laughing stock of the Hillary Clinton then they ought to go into a different business.

If we are talking about redistributing the pie then the people with political power are going to be first in line.

The best hope for the non-powerful is for them or for someone else to invent a new pie. And then what they need is to keep the cotton-picking hands of the powerful off that pie for a while. Because when the powerful do get their hands on it, as in net neutrality, then it's Pie Nazi time: no more pie for you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Women and Careers and Children and Overpopulation

One of the standard memes of the feminist movement is the marginalization of childbearing. Educated evolved women are so much better than barefoot and pregnant: they can have careers; they can be, as with Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex, "independent women."

It is without doubt a wonderful thing in our age that well-born women have choices. They are not, as they used to be, mere chattels in some "household." They are not, as they used to be, mere partners in some bourgeois household. But then we get to this, in The Atlantic's review of a collection of essays, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision not to have Kids.
Not having children isn't selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.
Well, yes. If you have decided that humans are parasites, etc., then who would want to have children?

But I contest the "rational and reasonable" line. All religious and ideological notions are really rationalizations of a world view. They are not science; they are attempts to understand the mystery and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. That is why in The Faith Instinct Nicholas Wade writes that no human society we know of has ever done without religion. I would include in the notion of "religion" our modern secular religions from rationalism to socialism to feminism to environmentalism.

That's where that stuff about "parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet" comes from. It comes from the adaptation of the Christian doctrine of sin and salvation for the purposes of the salvific secular religion of environmentalism. The "rational and reasonable" line comes after you have made the religious leap of faith into the need to save the planet from its evil human "parasites." And from that it's just a small step for woman to decide that having children is a terrible thing to do.

Look, I believe in freedom. I believe that people should be allowed to make mistakes without government stepping in with law enforcement officials and their court orders or SJWs stepping in with their naming and shaming.

But to me this notion of educated women being too good for bearing and raising children is self-serving rubbish. Quite simply, if you are not having children then you are voting you and yours off the planet. How smart and educated is that?

For sure, it may be that we humans are parasites. It may be that our activities may destroy some life on the planet. Maybe. What is almost certain is that, give a couple of million years or so, humans will go the way of all other species since time began: to extinction. That is what the theory of natural selection means.

Oh and by the way: the great extinctions in the past have not extinguished all life on the planet. Some life has always survived. When we talk about saving the planet we are really talking about saving it for ourselves.

Meanwhile we are left wondering about the meaning of life and the mystery of the universe.

But back to religion. One thing that is striking about religions, prior to the modern secular religions, was how pro-natal they were. Go forth and multiply; prohibition of homosexuality. What could be going on?

How about this. Any world view or religion that does not direct humans, male and female, towards procreation may not be long for this world. One thinks immediately about the Shakers. Fabuloso religion and all that. But the Shakers died out, because they preached celibacy. says Wiki:
Shakers were celibate; procreation was forbidden after they joined the society (except for women who were already pregnant at admission).
The result, of course, is that there aren't any Shakers around these days, not so you'd notice. The Mormons, on the other hand, are strongly pro-natal, and they are growing all around the world.

Could it be that all the non-natal religions that flourished down the ages are now, so to speak, extinct? And may that happen to liberalism, environmentalism, feminism, etc.?

Let me just close with the words of liberal Christian Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. He says you gotta have both. Not just breeding, not just noble thoughts, but both. Here is how I put it in An American Manifesto.
First, we recognize the importance of ordinary human flourishing: forming families, owning property, doing it for the children. Second, we recognize that we all search for something higher and fuller.
The problem with Ayn Rand's "virtue of selfishness" is that it misses out on the higher and fuller. The problem with what Rodney Stark calls "upper-class asceticism" is that it misses out on ordinary human flourishing. You gotta have both or you are not long for this world.

The feminists at The Atlantic think that the only thing that matters is the higher and fuller bit. It's higher and fuller, on their account, to rise above mere reproduction and have a career, or do something creative, or be an activist fighting for Anita Sarkeesian's "collective liberation for all women."

And as for overpopulation, the bane of the early 20th century eugenicists and right-on liberals ever since, there is this little problem. Right now in Russia, in China, in Europe, in Japan, women are having less than 2.1 children per lifetime. That is the road to social and cultural extinction, and I, for one, want none of it.

So don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tie Clintons and Dems to the Rich, Writes Jay Cost

In the good old days, writes Jay Cost, the Democrats were for the little guy and the Republicans for the fat cats.
It used to be that the Republicans were the party of big business and Democrats the party of organized labor. The GOP charged that the Democrats were a bunch of socialists, and the Democrats responded that the GOP was a pack of plutocrats. But about 40 years ago, things started to change; labor began to decline, and new campaign finance laws allowed business to subsidize politics more thoroughly. In the 1980s, the Democrats responded by courting business energetically—yet they never ditched their claim that the GOP alone is elitist.
Nobody has done this better than the Clintons and their Clinton foundation which has hoovered up money from the rich and powerful all over the world. And yet Hillary Clinton has opened her campaign with the statement that
Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.
 The trouble is that while Republicans have argued against Big Government, Democrats have defined that as arguing against Social Security, Medicare and help for the downtrodden.

Republicans have signally failed to define Big Government as the friend of the 1%.
But what about corporate tax payouts? Or farm subsidies for the largest agribusinesses? Or regulations that effectively subsidize big companies by crowding out competitors? These issues would put Democrats in a quandary, for they would force Democratic candidates to defend the big-government programs that favor not the poor or the middle class, but the social and economic elites who have purchased seats at their party’s table.
Jefferson and Jackson built the Democratic Party on the idea that "big government inevitably favors the most powerful interests in society." Ronald Reagan ran on the same premise.

Jay Cost proposes that Hillary Clinton is offering the presidency on a platter to a Republican Party that could define her has the handmaiden of the rich and powerful.

And really why not? Big business, from Gates and Buffett to the high tech Tim Scotts and Google guys are all in the pocket of the Democrats. What's not to like about a Republican Party that scorns Big Business and the Clintons as out of touch elitists -- and their little media dogs too?

Yeah! Why not?

Because the dirty little secret is that the big programs in Big Government are in fact programs for the middle class: Social Security and Medicare. See usgovernmentspending.com for details.

Sure, there are tons of corporate welfare programs sucking billions out of the government and the economy. But the real money is in middle-class entitlements. And nobody wants to do anything about them, except crazed Republicans like small-town guy Paul Ryan that want them reformed before they run out of money.

I mean, are Republicans dumb or something? Why would anyone try to reform the entitlements before they had actually bankrupted the country and shot grandma off a cliff?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dems' Cringe-worthy Hunt for White Working-Class Votes

One of the staples of modern political life is the cringe-worthy attempt of some Republican politician to appeal to black and/or Hispanic voters. Republicans would like to appeal to blacks and Hispanics but they don't know where to start.

The other side of the coin is the cringe-worthy attempt by the Democratic Party to appeal to the white working class, particularly the male white working class. That's what What's the Matter with Kansas was all about. How could the white working class vote for the dastardly country-club Republicans when everybody knows that the folks that really care about the white working class live in the Democratic Party. Here's liberal loyalist Doyle McManus at the LA Times faithfully reporting on the latest Democratic efforts to recapture the white working class.
Democrats were once the party of the white working man — but that was a long time ago.

In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won only one-third of the votes of white working-class men, a modern-day low. Mitt Romney, who didn't seem much like a blue-collar guy, swept the votes of those working stiffs by a huge margin.
And it got worse in 2014. Apparently, "some white noncollege voters have come to view Democrats as a party that cares about women and minorities more than it cares about them." No kidding!

So what's the solution. It's Hillary Clinton. No kidding!

Sainted Hillary is, first of all, doing the populist thing by railing at Wall Street. Says she: "And there's something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses."

But that's not all. Saint Hillary is also calling for a cleanup in government. She "called last week for outlawing campaign spending by undisclosed donors, 'even if that takes a constitutional amendment.'"

That last sound bite, of course, is about the great white whale of Democratic concerns, the outrageous idea, approved by the US Supreme Court in Citizens United, that conservatives ought to be allowed to band together in corporations and fund videos critical of Hillary Clinton.

Good luck with all that, fellas.

But let us step back and think a little. How was it that the liberals and the Democrats, staunch protectors of the working stiff in the Great Depression, came to lose their support?

Was it a conspiracy? Mere stupidity? The evil Frankfurt School? Or what?

I think that the First Cause was civil rights. For liberals ever since the 1960s, the fight for black civil rights defines who they are. Bliss it was to live in that time when liberals held off the racist, sexist, homophobic bigots in the Republican Party and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In fact, of course, Republicans also voted for the civil rights acts. It was Southern Democrats that voted against them.

Unfortunately the civil rights revolution and the notion of equal opportunity was followed by Affirmative Action and de-facto quotas in government hiring. Nobody seemed to realize that the burden of this policy would fall not on evil Southern white bigots and the sons of slaveowners but on working class whites in the North: Irish and Italian ethnics that probably arrived in the US in the 19th century after the end of slavery.

But if you were a white working-class man you'd probably notice that it suddenly became much harder to get hired on at the local police or fire department. Because Affirmative Action.

These days it's even worse for the white working class because you need academic credentials to get a police or fire department job. Sons of white professionals are lining up for those lifer government jobs.

Then there was forced busing, a gentry liberal idea to bus children across town so that schools would be properly racially integrated. The Irish in South Boston took extreme exception to this notion.

Then there was Archie Bunker. When Norman Lear adapted the British series Till Death Do Us Part from London to Queens in New York City in 1971 he probably wasn't planning to make Archie Bunker a stereotype for white bigotry and racism. But he did. And he made it seem as though the white working class was responsible for all the racial sins of the world, and so he ended up loading all the sins of the eternal white racist ruling class upon a simple union worker on a loading dock in Queens.

By the end of the 1970s, every liberal knew to sneer at the white working class, and the die was cast.

But did the Dems have to demonize the white working class? Probably not, but that's the way it turned out. Perhaps it was inevitable. If you are going to concentrate on delivering benefits to women and minorities, then you probably find that you have to demonize the old beneficiaries of your political power, the white ethnic working class.

Will the Dems be able to recover in 2016 some of the ground lost in 50 years of advancing the interests of women and minorities? Probably. But if they pander to the white working class, won't that dilute their message to the other victims?

Steve Sailer likes to describe the Democratic Party as a Coalition of the Fringes. Their problem is that each Fringe in the coalition is competing for the loot with the other Fringes. You have to get them to focus on an external enemy, or they will start to fight among themselves. Will Wall Street, greedy bankers, and the horror of conservatives banding together to commit politics really get the goat of the white working class?

I wonder.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Presidential Campaign is for the Young and Hungry

If there is one thing that's obvious about Hillary Clinton's campaign for President of the United States and her recent trip to Iowa it is that it is old and tired.

It makes you think of a long-established corporation, headed by a CEO that's worked his way up, marketing yet another product. Or maybe a long established TV network pushing out a new sitcom on "Linear TV" in a world going Netflix.

The point is that Hillary Clinton is the head of a political machine that's at least 20 years old. The machine is full of lifers jockeying for position and backbiting and gaming the system just like the employees in any corporate or government bureaucracy. It's Clinton's job to keep the machine going, and keep the benefits going for the lifers.

That's not the way that politics works. A political campaign is more like a revolutionary movement or a business startup. A charismatic leader gathers young and energetic people around him. They work insane hours and come up with amazing new ideas and manage to achieve the impossible. Suddenly it all catches fire and takes the world by storm.

Think Barack Obama and 2008 and all the talk about Data. His campaign pushed way out in front on using the internet and Big Data to tailor its message and reach more voters. But you hear now that the GOP has caught up and reckons that one of the reasons it won the the US Senate last fall was Data.

Of course there are all kinds of other problems with the Clinton campaign. One of them is that the Democratic agenda over the last decade had been bad for the ordinary unorganized middle class. The whole Democratic and liberal politics revolves around organizing people into interest groups and servicing them as clients of the political system. If you are not an established interest, like a corporation or an interest or an approved victim group, then you don't have a seat at the table.

The whole point of politics down the ages has been to organize people into a political army to fight for political power and then reward them with the spoils of victory. The whole point of capitalism in the last 500 years has been to limit that predatory approach to human cooperation and governance and encourage and reward people to serve their fellow humans outside the force-field of government and politics.

The question is: can anyone persuade a majority of the American people to abandon the apparent safety of clientage and entitlement for the uncertainty of freedom and responsible individualism?

Who knows?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yes, But Suppose It's the Democrats in Trouble

Everyone who is anyone likes to pontificate about the divisions of the Republicans and their narrow demographics. Why, pretty soon only dead white males will be voting for Republicans!

Of course, that's silly ruling-class groupthink, and mind-numbed robots believing their own talking points. The truth is that the Republican Party is not the party of the rich: billionaires like Gates and Buffett and Cook make it perfectly clear that they are liberals. The Republican Party is not the party of the whites; it is simply the party of people that think of themselves as typical Americans, people that don't put a hyphen in front of their American identity, as in African- Jewish- Latino- Gay- Evolved-American. And that's leaving out the people that scorn the hyphen and think themselves as just, e.g., feminists.

Steve Sailer cunningly calls the Democratic Party the Coalition of the Fringes.
As long as Democrats keeps assuming that 2016 is of course Hillary’s Turn, both personally and as the Designated First Woman President, that kicks a lot of cans down the road for the Democrats in keeping their Coalition of the Fringes from turning to full circular firing squad mode on each other quite yet.
Now Richard Fernandez has weighed in. He quotes  Jamelle Boule of Slate who thinks that liberals need Hillary to win in 2016 and nail down the "gains" from the Obama years.
Hillary alone has a chance of winning and she must win in order to preserve the gains of the Obama era and second, only Hillary the figurehead can hold together a Democratic party seriously split by Obama’s shift to the Left.
Then, Fernandez reminds us, there are the pardons that will be needed, and Hillary is probably the only candidate that can bring the Jews back to the fold.
She must function like a monarch, a unifying figurehead who will keep all the Big Tent’s identity groups from ripping each other’s guts out over the last remaining piles of other people’s money.
Hello Chicago where the money has already run out; they just haven't hit the wall yet.

In my view it is better to think of the Democrat coalition as the Coalition of the Demented. Here we are, after two hundred years of Deirdre McCloskey's "Great Enrichment" founded on capitalism, limited government, and responsible individualism, and every group in the Coalition of the Demented insists that the whole thing has been a great mistake, or at least desperately flawed and needing radical change.

Ruling-class liberals say that it will all go to ruin unless they are there on the ramparts holding out against the barbarian Robber Barons. Feminists say that we need to defeat the patriarchy and liberate women from marriage and children or we will all go to ruin. Workers say that we need to hog-tie employers or we will all go to ruin. Minority race-baiters say we must privilege minorities or we will all go to ruin. Environmentalists say we must stop using fossil fuels or we will all go to ruin.

How is it possible that these demented souls are not laughed out of court? And how come that Hispanics and blacks don't get that environmentalism is taking money directly out of their pockets in high electricity rates and fewer jobs? How long before they get that the anti-natalism of the feminists goes against everything they instinctively feel about family?

The answer is: not until they stop thinking of themselves as hyphenated Americans and start thinking of themselves as typical Americans. Obviously our liberal friends will fight hand-to-hand to keep all these people on the fringes, experiencing themselves as victims and Fringe-Americans.

Here's the thing. We conservatives and Republicans have got to get our story out. That this Great Enrichment is the most amazing miracle ever. That capitalism is the best thing since sliced bread. That the responsible individual of the modern era is an astonishing person that has pacified the world. That big government is a rolling disaster that screws up everything. That government is a temptation for bullies to bully. And so on.

My point is this. How in the world have we got to a point where the people that deny the marvel of the Great Enrichment are the dominant influence on the culture? How could they ever have persuaded us?

Never mind. Let us not think about what has gone wrong. Let us think of what to do next.

It is our job and our destiny to push back against the madness of the Coalition of the Demented and persuade good people to accept what is right in front of their eyes: that this world is a wonderful world, and we should do all we can to preserve its wonders and stop wrecking it.

Like I keep saying: Obama and his left turn are the biggest gift to typical Americans that believe in responsible individualism. Because Americans have, right in front of their eyes, that liberalism doesn't work, and that liberals don't care about people like them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hiding from the Truth on: Government is Force

If you haven't got that I have a real thing about "Government is force" then now is the time to get it.

Many liberals don't get it, and I understand why. If you read The New York Times and listen to NPR you'd easily get the impression that government is a matter of nice librarians trying to help our kids.

Ruling classes tend to do this sort of thing. They don't like to look at the dirtier side of political power, and they don't want you to do that either. They'd rather concentrate on telling you about the wonderful things their kindly librarians are doing for the people.

Now comes a delicious article from Robert Tracinski at The Federalist: "The Party of Coercion Doesn't Understand It." Says he:
[Y]ou would think they would have highly developed thoughts about what a law is and how laws are actually enforced.
But you would be wrong.
Sally Kohn recently argued, bizarrely [at Talking Points Memo], that law as such is not coercive.
But, of course, it serves the liberal purpose not to think too deeply about the subject. If they ever thought about how government is force and law is coercive they would find it more difficult to justify new government programs and coercions.

I'm slowly reading J├╝rgen Habermas' Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy at the gym. And he has the same problem as Sally Kohn.

Habermas developed a beautiful idea in The Theory of Communicative Action that, in a world of big business and big government with their dominatory systems, we need a place free of domination where people can communicate by exchanging truth values with sincerity and free of the threat of force.

But when he starts to write about his discourse ethic in the context of law and democracy he seems to forget that law and democratic politics are about coercion and domination. He talks, on page 314, about the long struggle to bring issues such as "the question of spousal abuse or the question of day-care facilities for the children of working parents" to public notice and then finally "worked into legislative proposals and binding decisions."

In fact, such issues are never discussed according to Habermas' ideas about discourse ethics.  Great public issues are always promoted as monstrous public scandals and injustices. The opposition is always treated as beneath contempt. And, of course, the "binding decision" is a majority vote that always involves log-rolling as explained in Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent where the majority is created by buying the votes of the legislators on the fence, and then rolls over the minority and forces the majority decision on the minority.

Suits at law also have the color of coercion. You go to law when you feel you have been damaged by another person, and you are trying to persuade the government's law courts to agree with you and force your opponent to compensate you for the tort you believe he has committed.

After criticizing liberal cluelessness on coercion for a few hundred words, Robert Tracinski comes to this:
This is precisely why we need a principle that helps us figure out what really is coercion, who is the aggressor and who isn’t, and when force is permitted to protect us against an aggressor. If only there were some principle to determine when government force is legitimate and when it is not, a principle long recognized in common law and extensively examined by political philosophers. If only someone were to write this down in a document. Something like, “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”
Liberals don't want to do this, because pretty obviously it would go against them. Does the government have the right to force you to send your kid to school? Does it have the right to harass you if you let your kid play in the park unsupervised? Does the government have the right to force everyone to pay for day-care for working parents?

When you look at political issues in that way it puts a different color on them. And liberals would rather not have any non-liberal view of political issues freely and openly discussed in America. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ted Cruz's Talking Points at the NRA Convention

If you are running for president there are two sides to the campaign. There is detailed development of granular policy analysts and policies. Then there is the sound-bite campaign, the carefully prepared talking points, the tape that the candidate rolls when he's asked a question.

So here's Ted Cruz, delighted to be at the NRA Convention in Nashville, TN, answering questions from a friendly reporter, PJTV's Amber Smith. Of course, he's inspired by the energy and the passion of the people at the NRA Convention, and millions of Americans across the country.
We've gotta get back to the commonsense principles the country was built on, the free market principles and constitutional liberties that made America great...
Here's what Cruz has to say to a softball question about "trust."
At the end of the day trust comes from two things: Do you tell the truth and do you do what you say you're gonna do?
Then he lays out his three point program:
  1. Bring back jobs, growth, opportunity.
  2. Defend constitutional liberties.
  3. Restore American leadership in the world.
Here's how he actually laid it out.
I think the central challenge in this next election is to reignite the promise of America, turn that around, and I think there are three broad principles that, if we follow, will do exactly that: #1 we gotta bring back jobs and growth and opportunity, get back to small businesses growing, robust opp[ortunities], so that young people, when they come out of school, aren't up to their eyeballs in debt, scared if they're gonna get a job, worried if they'll be a barista at Starbucks, and not gaining skills for their career. We gotta get back to where young people come out of school and they got three, four, five job opportunities. And the way you do that is tax reform and regulatory reform. I'm running on a simple flat tax, so that every American can fill out his or her taxes on a postcard, and we can abolish the IRS. And regulatory reform: getting the federal regulators off the back of small businesses. The most important regulatory reform? We need to repeal every word of Obamacare. 
That's step #1. Step #2 is defending our constitutional liberties which the federal government has been assaulting in an unprecedented manner.
And then step #3 is we need to restore America's leadership in the world. Get back to [an] America where our friends trust us and our enemies fear us.
 Interesting. He seems to be pitching to small business moms and dads that are worried about their businesses, the regulatory nightmare, the strangulation of Obamacare, and the future of their college-bound children. Really, he's not even beginning to make a pitch for the great unwashed middle. Not yet.

And that makes sense, because at this stage of the campaign you are looking to hook up with voters that are fit to be tied by the Obama years.

And yet somewhere in the campaign are the policy guys that are working up the granular details of a future Cruz administration. What are they going to do about the financial system and the financial repression since the Crash of 2008? What are they going to do about labor law and the out of control NLRB? What about the FCC and internet regulation? What about the FEC and election regulation? What are they going to do about the environment and climate change and what are they going to do about the use of the federal government to steam-roller the social justice agenda of the left-liberal feminist and gay groups? What about immigration, and restoring the rule of law in the treatment of illegal immigrants. What about race relations? Do they have the balls to roll back the racist "diversity" agenda? To be continued...

In the days to come we'll take a look at the talking points of the other Republican candidates.



Monday, April 13, 2015

Liberals Know They're in a Box Canyon

I got directed over to a New York Times editorial "A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks" yesterday. It blamed the Republicans for everything. And the commenters agreed.

What's not to like? If I were a liberal who'd climbed aboard the Obama Airtours excursion back in 2008, I'd be getting cranky too. I'd be looking at the canyon walls and wondering how the plane was going to be able to turn and get out of the narrowing canyon. I'd be blaming the Republicans for forcing the Airtours plane into that box canyon. Because it couldn't be my fault for believing all that hope and change rubbish.

Now here comes Salon into the conversation. Salon, in the person of Clintonite Bill Curry in "Hillary Clinton just doesn't get it...," is underwhelmed by Hillary Clinton's campaign. Here's the money quote:
Like Bill Clinton’s 1992 race, this election is about the economy. But this one’s about how to reform the economy, not just jumpstart it. Our political system isn’t set up to debate whether or not our economic system needs real reform. It will take a very different kind of politics, and leader, to spark that debate. 
This just shows the limitation of liberal politics and what a mess the Democrats have got themselves (and us) into.

The problem is that, for Democrats ever since whenever, "reform" has always meant giving more free stuff to their voters. That's what Obamacare is all about: Subsidies for Democratic voters squeezed out of the hide of that voter over there behind the tree.

Democrat-led "reform" isn't so much reforming as recasting, in concrete. Instead of a flexible, adaptable non-system of working people saving for their retirement, we have a rigid government-enforced Social Security system that takes 12 percent of wage income right out of the pockets of wage earners and gives it to politicians. What could go wrong? Instead of a flexible education non-system we have a rigid system of child incarceration and lifer educrats with $1 trillion a year spent by politicians.

The real meaning of reform is to break up the structures of privilege, discredit the dogs-in-a-manger defending their lifetime sinecures, and get everyone to earn a living by offering their labor and ideas to the world without the government getting in the middle and screwing things up. For that job the Democratic Party and everything it stands for is peculiarly unfit for purpose.

The way that Democrats have conducted their politics over the past century has been based on the assumption that "we" know what to do: Education for children to make them ready for the industrial workforce; Social protections for workers from the boom-and-bust cycle of capitalism; Pensions for ageing workers; Health care so nobody dies because they can't afford a doctor.

Yes. But what do we do now, when Social Security and Medicare have promised trillions in dollars of benefits more than the taxes to pay for them? What to do about the marginal workers that have been bounced out of the post-crash economy? What to do about the broken families in the inner city?

Democrats are proposing mindless retread policies: like raising the minimum wage; Universal pre-school; Free community college. All familiar administrative state solutions.

But what if the solution is to switch to a non-governmental approach: returning to apprenticeships and on-the-job training? Freeing children from the schools and putting them to work in offices at computers? Reducing the weight of payroll taxes on working people? Putting Fidelity and Vanguard in charge of retirement instead of the Social Security Administration?

What New York Times commenter could ever imagine such a demolition of everything she holds dear?

Let's imagine that high up there in the councils of the meritocracy there are people thinking thoughts like that? How could any Democratic politician listen to them? Because the first and most obvious result of a restructuring of the liberal welfare state would be less jobs for elite liberals.

So it stands to reason that only a party without support from the elite bureaucracies could ever dare to "reform the economy."

The reason that "Our political system isn’t set up to debate whether or not our economic system needs real reform" is that Democrats shout down anyone that tries. So it's bootless to talk about a "different kind of politics, and leader, to spark that debate" when it is the Democrats that have been preventing the debate from starting, let along "sparking," from at least the time that Democrats decided to anathematize Reagan's supply-side economic policies as "Reaganomics" and "trickle-down economics."

The only solution to our problem is for Democrats to get trounced in 2016 by the first landslide election since Reagan, and face in addition the first solid Republican President & Congress since the 1920s. And again in 2020. Then they'll be ready by 2024 to put forward a new Clinton talking about another "Third Way" or "New Democrats" whatever they call it then.

But you'll remember that the Third Way was a deceit. As soon as he got into the White House Clinton raised taxes and proposed HillaryCare. And the voters elected the first Republican Congress since right after World War II.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How Do You Tell Voters That Everything They Know is Wrong?

Donald Lambro is out complaining that, while Gallup tells us that while their polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about the "economy and jobs," the Republican candidates are merely descanting on abstract principles.
Talking about "liberty," "freedom" and the Constitution are fine and deserve their rightful place in the conversation about where are country is headed. But it doesn't address the bread-and-butter issues that Americans are worrying most about.
Yay! And all that. But there's a problem. Most Americans, while they want more jobs and a better economy, don't want the means that science tells us will achieve that end.

Most Americans and Democrats think it is a good idea to raise the minimum wage. Science and Republicans say that minimum wages shut young, inexperienced, minority workers out of the job market. So what candidate is going to school the American people on that?

Most Americans and Democrats blame "greedy bankers" and Wall Street for the Crash of 2008. Science and Republicans say that it was the government policy that funneled mortgages to people that couldn't afford them. So who is going to buck the mainstream media and set the American people right on that?

Let's look at the lousy Obama jobs record. Mike Shedlock writes that if you want to drive people out of the work force here's what you'd do.

  1. Raise the minimum wage.
  2. Hand out lots of welfare benefits.
  3. Look the other way on disability fraud.
So who will be the first to call for lowering the minimum wage, cutting welfare, and cracking down on disability fraud? Democrats and a lot of the American people say that we need to be compassionate to the marginalized. So who will bell the cat on this?

The fact is that political candidates cannot reeducate the American people. Rule One in politics is that you cannot tell the American people they are wrong on anything. If you wonder why politicians never answer a question straight, that is the reason. Voters will punish you for questioning their beliefs.

The problem for the candidates running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 is that they really cannot go into detail much beyond "time for a change" and "let's get this country moving." Once you get into specifics then many voters will start to realize that their ox is getting gored. That was the problem that Mitt Romney faced with his "47 percent" moment. How do you reform the welfare state when 47 percent of the voters are already getting checks from the government?

Then there's the media problem. The "Democratic operatives with bylines" tend to "white knight" the Democrats' proposals. They don't ask how the Democrat can possibly promise to expand health insurance coverage to the uninsured while still lowering average premiums. But when Republicans are running, the media fight each other to see who can ask the toughest questions. We saw this earlier this week when Rand Paul got into trouble when he pushed back at reporterette Savannah Guthrie on NBC's venerable Today Show. Guthrie was all worried about his flip-flops on the issues. Already!

Yeah, like when has any mainstream media personality like asked President Obama about his flip-flops. Whatever.

There's another, even bigger problem. It comes out of my line that every government is an armed minority that remains in power by offering loot to its supporters. This is what the Democrats do, every day in every way. All the great government programs are some form of loot, from Social Security to Medicare, to "free" education to welfare. And don't forget subsidies for crony capitalists.

The average Republican voter doesn't want much in the way of loot. He or she just wants to be left alone to go to work, follow the rules, and obey the law. How can you get elected when you aren't offering much in the way of loot? Oh, by the way. Don't even think of touching the average Republican voter's Social Security benefits.

Rather than sneer at the Republican candidates for their rhetoric about liberty and the constitution, we should appreciate just how hard it is to do politics that wants to get government out of our lives.

We should instead look for an opportunity to cheer when our politicians, against all the odds, find a way to make liberty and the constitution appealing to ordinary folks, and actually take a step or two, for a moment, against the hurricane of liberal shibboleths.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Voting Yourself Off the Planet

My mother always used to worry about "overpopulation." Still, she had two children that each had two children. And I'm afraid that towards the end of her life I used to tease her a little about the birth dearth in Europe.

But why torment her? She picked up the zeitgeist of her youth, which was heavily into eugenics and the problem of the "unfit." Darwin, Spencer, Margaret Sanger and all. My mother was human; she believed what others believed.

But I have come to wonder about the population-control folks. What are they thinking? Don't they realize that, when they decide not to breed, they are voting themselves off the planet? Poster boy #1 is China, with their mad Mao-inspired One Child policy that only now is getting quietly shelved too late to prevent a massive collapse in China's population.

Now, according to James Lileks, there's a fashionable Manhattan trend celebrating childlessness. OK, there's a fashionable New York Times boomlet with a ton of articles and books celebrating childlessness. Here's a quote from Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids.
According to the NYT review, it “concludes with Tim Kreider’s rousing defense of the child-free as ‘an experiment unprecedented in human history . . . A kind of existential vanguard, forced by our own choices to face the naked question of existence with fewer illusions, or at least fewer consolations, than the rest of humanity, forced to prove ourselves anew every day that extinction does not negate meaning.’”
Here's an idea, Tim old boy. Extinction does negate meaning.

The guy I like on this is "Spengler," David Goldman. Here he is defending his book How Civilizations Die from the liberals at Ha'aretz.
Iran has an apocalyptic regime with a great deal to be apocalyptic about. As I have argued in these pages since 2005, no poor country in the entire troubled history of the world has seen its fertility rate plunge from 7 children per female just one generation ago to only 1.6 children per female today. There is no explanation for mass rejection of a nation’s demographic future except for deep cultural pessimism... Its unsuccessful engagement with modernity has left a childless country plagued by social pathologies, including some of the world’s highest rates of opium addiction, venereal disease, and prostitution.
 OK. Let's do a jump from here to gay marriage. As everyone knows, the traditional Axial Age religions all take a rather firm line on homosexuality. You could say that they are homophobic in the strict sense of being afraid of homosexuality. It's interesting to wonder why.

My take is that religion is the social lubricant that keeps the human project from seizing up. It is not just about scaring people straight with the threat of divine punishment. I think that the Axial Age religions are anti-gay because any religion that supports (or even celebrates gayness, as modern secular religious liberals do) is not long for this world. Because pretty soon there won't be any people in this world.

Every society must celebrate work, marriage, children, raising the next generation, and it needs to channel not just the economic incentives but the zeitgeist towards the pro-work, pro-natal culture. Otherwise people are going to decide that work is just too hard; they would rather follow their bliss. They will decide that marriage is too much of a risk and just tag along with the odd "relationship." They will agree with some of James Lileks' commenters:
Given the direction the world, especially America, is clearly takng, why would you have any children? Who is more selfish, vain or entirely oblivious: those who consign their offspring to less prosperous, less free futures, or those who eschew the blessings of replicating themselves?
 Of course that is why religions are also into hope, big time. They need to stop that sort of attitude right now.

Childlessness is a bit like fat. A century ago the rich were fat and the poor were thin. Now the opposite is true.

Two centuries ago, childlessness was the fate of the poor. If you were a poor woman without a dowry nobody would marry you and if you were a man without land, ditto. The rich had all the children, because they could afford it, and their abundant children crowded out the middling and the poor. But ever since the Industrial Revolution the poor have mostly been able to afford children, and those children have mostly survived. And so the rich, darling, have decided to be different.

Think about it: if you've inherited enough to support yourself as a writer or an artist, why wouldn't you stay single and develop your creativity rather than get down and dirty by creating children and putting your inheritance at risk?

Rodney Stark calls this "upper class asceticism," and he says it started with Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who dumped his wife and kids for the spiritual life.

None of this is rocket science. If you like your civilization, you can keep your civilization. But first you must have children.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why Nobody is Getting Fired over UVA Rape Hoax

Now that the official word from the Columbia Journalism School has been handed down on the UVA Rape Hoax, the Rolling Stone article on the rape of "Jackie" by seven frat boys at the University of Virginia, the world wonders: why is nobody getting fired?

Why is the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, still writing for Rolling Stone? Why does UVA President Teresa Sullivan still have a job? Why is "Jackie" not in the coils of the law?

The New York Times takes a philosophical view of the whole matter. It quotes Rolling Stone  managing editor Will Dana:
Mr. Dana said that the report was punishment enough for those involved, and that they did not deserve to lose their jobs because the article “was not the result of patterns in the work of these people.”
So that's all right. Nothing to see here.

Jonah Goldberg ain't too happy either. This is not just about a rogue journalist and fabulist, he writes, like the good old days of Stephen Glass at The New Republic and Janet Cooke at the Washington Post. Everyone at Rolling Stone was in on it. But he knows why the liberals can't quite get it together and punish the wrongdoers. It's because they don't think anyone really did anything wrong.
Why? Because in their hearts they’re sure they were right, and that’s all that matters.
The narrative is right, and that's all that matters. There is a problem with sexual harassment on campus, and liberals need to teach America about it and cure the sick racist sexist homophobic culture that condones it.

But Ben Shapiro takes the notion of the all-important "narrative" to a new insight. He reckons that it's actually beneficial for the "narrative" when activists use a lie to advance it. The point is that a "narrative can only be forwarded if there is controversy over the facts." If "everyone agreed that Jackie had been gang raped" then no controversy. We send the guilty off to jail. End of Story.
But the leftist narrative requires an opposition, a group of evil haters who take rape less than seriously...

So the left specifically chooses to feature situations in which facts are under dispute. Then leftists claim that no one could reasonably dispute the facts; the only people who would dispute facts about the occurrence of an evil are those who sympathize with the evil.
On this view the tendentious claim, from a survey of two colleges that one in five women experience harassment during their time is college, is much better than the official Department of Justice numbers that the rate is more like 0.03 in five. Then you can claim that anyone opposing your narrative is a potential rapist, and not taking the issue seriously.

Hello climate change, where the skeptics of catastrophic global warming are associated with Holocaust "deniers."

You can see that this strategy goes all the way back to Marx and his argument about the bourgeoisie and the working class. Having waved his hands and declared that the working class was being grievously exploited by the capitalists, then any objector to his program could be dismissed as merely the bribed apologist of the bourgeoisie.

The truth is that after 170 years of this, we responsible individuals of the middle class still haven't come up with a way to neutralize it.

And that is the real scandal.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Am I Crazy -- Like a Fox?

My line, ever since the Obama administration decided to go ahead with their entire lefty agenda in 2009, is that the Democrats were making a strategic error for the ages.

I thought then that the right thing to do, for the Democratic Party's power down the years, would have been to push a moderate agenda, focused on fixing the economy and cementing the youth, women, and minorities into the Emerging Democratic Majority.

Instead, the Obamis figured that this was their once in a generation chance to ram through their lefty wish list, featuring a "stimulus" that paid off Democratic constituencies, Obamacare that hammered the middle class, green energy that ran up electricity bills, and Dodd-Frank that enmeshed the financial industry in stupid regulation and hampered its role of getting money from people who have it to people that want it.

But it got worse. Instead of reaching out to the middle and picking off moderate Republicans into the emerging Democratic consensus, Obama has been openly combative towards Republicans, thus heightening divisions. And he has clearly encouraged all the left-wing activist groups to go for the gold.

My understanding of conflict, politics, and strategy, such as it is, tells me that almost all the actions of the Obama administration have been strategically foolish: they hurt the long-term interest of the United States, the Democratic party, and the liberal movement.

Now we learn from Jonah Goldberg that the strategic vision of President Obama towards Iran is to help them:
He says he wants to bring Iran out of the cold, to "break through (their) isolation" and help them become a "very successful regional power."
But Iran is a revolutionary power. I doubt that treating it as a status-quo power and a partner in the concert of nations is really in anyone's interest.

And anyway, let's adjust the president's rhetoric and imagine him applying it to the Republicans.
He says he wants to bring Tea Party activists out of the cold, to "break through (their) isolation" and help them contribute to the emerging consensus. 
In fact the president is talking nonsense. In no sensible world would a status-quo power like the US want to encourage a revolutionary expansionist power like Iran. What we want, and what the rest of the world probably wants, is for no single power in the Middle East to dominate the rest of the region. That was the point of interfering in Iraq: to put a block in the path of Iranian expansion. The strategic interest of the US in the Middle East is to make sure that no single power gets its hands on all the oil.

On the other hand it would be immensely cunning for the president to cut out the moderate wing of the Republican Party, wine and dine the "beltway" Republicans and get them on board, say, with his immigration reform. Imagine the rage, the bloodletting in the Republican Party! Why, that way he might even succeed in dividing the Republican Party and set up Hillary Clinton for a win in 2016.

You see, I think that the business with Lois Lerner running interference on the Tea Party was a strategic mistake. I think that the race activism on Trayvon Martin and Ferguson are strategic mistakes. I think that the whole "rape crisis" effort is a strategic mistake. I think that the ruckus on the Indiana RFRA act is a strategic mistake. That's because if I were a moderate non-political woman I would wonder what on earth was going on. (And if I were a working-class white man I'd vow never to vote for a Democrat again.)

Today the intrepid Vox Day is invoking the wisdom of Sun Tzu, the First Strategist.
If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
If I were to describe President Obama and the liberals I would say that they know themselves, particularly their vision of themselves. But they don't know too much about others, except that they are racists, sexists, homophobes, and they don't seem to know much about what other people think about them.

The strength of President Clinton was that, as a governor of a state that was trending conservative, and as a brilliant politician, he knew how to present himself to the great middle of America. And he learned it the hard way by losing reelection as governor of Arkansas in 1980.

Maybe the Obamis are geniuses, and everything I know about politics and conflict is wrong.

We'll See. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

When Politics Comes to SFF

The science-fiction/fantasy genre is reckoned a small pond. It's not, after all, an important "literary" genre where the good people go. Important or not, the SFF publishers and editors have tended to be conventional liberals. They have had a tendency to whisper that so-and-so was a conservative, darling.

That meant that the libertarian Sarah Hoyt used to live in fear that she'd say something wrong somehow and it would wreck her career. Hey, join the club! Who doesn't worry that stepping out of the liberal line at work could cost them?

Because SFF was a cozy little liberal club, the editors and publishers tended to favor their favorites at award time. And then, being liberals, they decided that SFF ought to show a bit of leg in the diversity department. Perfectly harmless, if you're a liberal.

Now my #2 dictum -- right after #1 "government is force" -- is "politics is division." Humans are naturally social animals, but if you start getting political, then you are setting yourself up to divide your community in two.

In other words, if you and your liberal pals in SFF decide that such-and-such a writer is, eeuw, conservative, and that it is time to give women and people of color a chance, it may all sound perfectly harmless to you, but it might strike terror into the heart of a Sarah Hoyt and rage into the heart of a Vox Day.

In recent years a couple of conservative SF writers, Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia, decided to develop a slate of non-liberal nominees for the SFF Hugo awards. Last week their slate, "Sad Puppies," swept the Hugo nominations. Not surprisingly the liberal SFF rump isn't too pleased. At io9, Charlie Jane Anders wrote:
Last August, the Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy were swept by a younger group of women and people of color. At the time, we said "This was really a year that underscored that a younger generation of diverse writers are becoming central to the genre." So maybe it's not surprising that there was an organized backlash.
Note the innocent use of the passive voice. If you read the other side, they say that it has been people like Anders that have been pushing women and people of color on SFF, whether the SFF fans liked it or not, and that conservative voices were being shut out.

Anders' piece is titled: "The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They're Only Political." Well, yes, honey. But see my dictum #2 above: politics is division. Once you start down the slippery slope of politics, even for the obviously sensible reason, with which all evolved people agree, that women and people of color have been marginalized in government/office/boardroom/university/SFF or whatever, then sooner or later you are going to inspire a movement of rejection against your noble and ethical attempt to level the playing field.

Convinced of their own benignity, liberals have come to think of government and politics steered by liberals as a similarly benign influence on the modern world. All they are doing is trying to reduce violence and inequality and neo-colonialism and marginalization: what could be wrong with that?

But everyone thinks that their own ideas and proposals are benign and beneficial. It's the other guys that are cruel and unjust. The question that the really evolved person asks is: what does this benign proposal we are advancing look like to the "other" guys? Does it gore their oxen?

Usually, when any government program or political proposal is advanced, the answer to the question "does it gore the other guys' oxen?" is "Yes."

Why? Because government is force. Any government program is going to forcibly take money from someone through taxes and give it to someone else. The guy whose money is being forcibly taken isn't going to like it. And politics is division; it's about saying that our guys are deserving and their guys are undeserving. Having divided up the world, you are now morally and ethically justified in handing out loot to your deserving supporters and taking it away from the undeserving non-supporters.

Why are you then shocked, shocked when the un-deserving object?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Does Ted Cruz Have Bad Breath?

You'd expect that liberals would be foaming at the mouth at Ted Cruz's announcement last week that we was going to run for President of the United States, and you wouldn't be disappointed.

But why are so many conservatives badmouthing him? They seem to be suggesting that Ted Cruz doesn't have a hope of winning the nomination. And even if he did, he wouldn't have a hope of winning the election. Here's George Will disputing Cruz's electoral math:
By disdaining “the mushy middle,” Cruz evidently assumes that the electorate’s middle — lightly partisan and only mildly ideological — is too minuscule to matter.
The point is Pennsylvania.
Cruz, and all other Republican aspirants, must be measured against Pennsylvania. It is one of the 18 states that have voted Democratic in six consecutive elections and that, with the District of Columbia, total 242 electoral votes, and Pennsylvania was redder in 2012 than in 2008. Which Republican is most apt to flip Pennsylvania by accumulating large majorities in Philadelphia’s suburbs?
Then there's the hit on Cruz in the Senate. He's a mad bomber. Nobody likes him. Cruz can't work with other people.

Why is everyone ganging up on Cruz?

Look, everyone understands that the 2016 election will be won in the "five states that have been competitive since 1992 — Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia." You think Ted Cruz hasn't thought of that? You think he doesn't have a plan for winning those states? You think that Ted Cruz doesn't have a plan for winning the "mushy middle?"

Here's a thought about the "mushy middle." I'll bet that millions of them are really ticked off right about the impact of Obamacare. If you are a "mushy middle" you probably already had health insurance, and now you find out that premiums are going up, deductibles are going up, and you want someone to fight for you to bring sanity to health care.

Who's the one guy that stood up and fought back against Obamacare? Oh yeah, I know. Ted Cruz's filibuster against Obamacare in 2013 was a purely symbolic act; his quixotic speech wasn't going to go anywhere.

But if you are a mushy middle American, you might get the impression that Ted Cruz cares about people like you and is prepared to take a risk and stand up and fight for you.

Here's another thing. In his announcement speech, Ted Cruz did the usual born-in-a-log-cabin thing. In his case, he told the story of his father battling Batista in Cuba and then struggling his way up in America. Oh, and his mother was the first in her family to go to college and became a programmer in the 1950s.

You know what I call that? I call that appealing to the mushy middle.

So is Ted Cruz too extreme? Is he too abrasive? Is he too young and inexperienced? Who knows? All I know about Ted Cruz is what I read in the newspaper. Which means that I know nothing about Ted Cruz except what someone wants me to know.

But here is what I suspect. I suspect that Ted Cruz has a strategic mind.

Let's Bring It On. I'd say that any of the leading Republican candidates -- I am thinking Cruz, Walker, Rubio (sorry, no more Bushes for me) -- would be better than the corrupt and undistinguished Hillary Clinton. I say, let the best man win, the one that can appeal to the ordinary responsible individual American in the mushy middle.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

When Does the Fight for Justice Become In-Justice?

If you are a liberal you have the comfortable knowledge that you are the good guy and you know that you are opposed in your fight for justice by the racists, sexists, and homophobes of the world. To say nothing of the classists.

Conservatives not so much, because we know that we can get into trouble for being conservative. Just read what it was like for SF writer Sarah Hoyt tiptoeing through the liberal tulips and editors at SF conventions.

Let's say that the liberals, the angels of light, get the political power they need to implement their program to fight injustice and punish the oppressors on all fronts. Then what? At what point does the fight against injustice become frank oppression as the new rulers hunt out and punish anyone that disagrees with their rage for justice?

We can agree, I suppose, that the last, final form of justice is still waiting to be found.

The problem is that in any society there are likely to be dueling agendas, competing conceptions of justice. There certainly are competing ideas of justice in the United States. So which conception do we choose? Does it come down to who has a majority in the Congress on in the Supreme Court?

But then it's not a matter of justice, it's a matter of political or judicial power.

There is, of course, an answer to this problem. It is the idea of limited government, and the separation of church and state.

The point of limited government is that not all questions of justice should be dealt with by legislation and judges. Some things, we may be pardoned for suggesting, are merely indignities, and should not be dealt with by legislatures. In other words, some things, objectionable as they may be, do not need to be settled by force. And let us be clear: when you resort to the legal system, you are invoking force and compulsion; you are saying that if the judge agrees with you and renders a verdict at trial, you want the judge to force the government's will on your legal opponent.

The separation of church and state is a bit different. Here we are saying that the formulation of rights and norms, of transcendental truths and meanings of life, should be separate from the government, which is the agent of force. Bluntly put, when we get the government into rights and norms and meanings of life, we are legislating somebody's morality. In most cases, that would be the ruling class's morality.

That's easy to say. In practice, of course, everything the government does that deviates from its core function of rewarding its supporters amounts to the legislation of morality.

And whenever the government legislates a morality that you disagree with, you experience that legislation as injustice directed against you.

In our present society we have the additional problem that our liberal friends don't think they are legislating morality when they legislate their social agenda. They can't be legislating morality because morality comes with religion and liberals are secularists and don't have a religion and don't have a morality. What they have, according to atheist Sam Harris, is "rational ethics." And of course when you implement rational ethics in legislation you aren't legislating morality but reason. Fred Bauer calls this attitude "sectarian secularism."

So now we come to the question of what to do about Christian bakers that don't want to bake for a gay wedding, at least not when they are required to put gay catchphrases on the cake. And what about Muslim bakers?

In the end, the law usually figures out what to do in cases like this. It would probably say that to deny service to a gay couple that just wanted to buy a cake off the shelf is illegal, just as it would be illegal to refuse service to a gay couple at a restaurant. But a Christian baker would have the right to refuse to decorate a cake with slogans that went against her religion.

The real answer to this is live and let live. Some things -- most things -- should not be brought to law. Only egregious, monstrous things should be resolved by government force.

And this is something that we should all practice. Not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is the practical thing to do. When you use government power to enforce your will on other people, the other people get really pissed off. If they get pissed off enough they may form a head of rebellion to remove your cruel and unjust rule.

Oh, I know. "Cruel and unjust" doesn't apply to you and me; it just applies to that fellow behind the tree.

It is the beginning of wisdom to know that in every breast beats the heart of a would-be tyrant.