Monday, August 31, 2015

NYT Readers Aren't Buying Trump

Conservative pundits at the New York Times like Ross Douthat and David Brooks have a delicate task. They are talking to people that live in a liberal echo chamber, hearing nothing but Democratic talking points all day long, from the New York Times and from NPR and from all their liberal friends. They have to introduce conservative themes very carefully, otherwise they'll lose their readers at the first fence.

So what does Douthat do when he wants to talk about Donald Trump? He compares him to Franklin D. Roosevelt as "Donald Trump, Traitor to his Class." Having got that out of the way he talks about the failure of third parties recently to get their agenda adopted by either of the two major parties.
Across the latter twenty years, the country has endured a series of disasters that had bipartisan fingerprints all over them. Yet the various movements that have arisen in reaction to those failures — the antiwar left, the Tea Party right, Occupy Wall Street – have yet to even unseat an incumbent president, let alone change the basic lines along which the two parties debate.
The question is: will the GOP elite adjust its message to the Trumpian evidence that the base is restless, or will it crush him and ignore his message.
In which case the pressure the Donald has tapped will continue to build — and when it bursts, the G.O.P. as we know it may go with it.
Fair enough. But when you read the comments of the NYT faithful you get nothing but Democratic talking points. They basically think that Trump will destroy the GOP and a good thing too.
Trumps rebellion against the Establishment is not merely rebellion against his class, it is rebellion in favor of all the insanity the Republicans have fed for decades now. It is come for them, like Frankenstein's monster. 
To the NYT reader, the GOP is a despicable institution that has been mis-leading its voters with "code words and dog whistles" and Trump is just saying it "loud and proud."

Needless to say, the NYT readers do not think that Trump is in the same league as FDR!

So, the NYT chappies are all sitting as contentedly as cuddly teddy bears in a safe space. What about the real world?

The truth is that we don't know. We have polls showing that the American people definitely think that things are on the wrong track. And 71 percent think that "political correctness" is a problem.

Meanwhile over at the American Spectator David Catron is warning that the GOP is terrifying Hispanic voters over immigration and if Trump wins he'll hand the election to the Democrats.

OK. Let's look at the last few decades using the "I can't take it anymore" philosophy of George Maroutsos.

In the Seventies conservatives decided they couldn't take it any more and overrode the liberal consensus and elected Ronald Reagan. Reagan was so successful that the Dems in 1992 had to pretend they were New Democrats that had learned the Reagan lesson.

But by 1998 and the impeachment they decided they couldn't take it any more and reverted to type. In the early 2000s we had a sort of truce and passed Medicare Modernization with Medicare Part D Drugs and No Child Left Behind. But with George Soros egging them on and the Iraq War and the Netroots and all, the Democrats decided they couldn't take it any more and they elected a real lefty in 2008 (who pretended to be a centrist until he was elected).

In the wake of the Crash of 2008 Tea Party types decided that they couldn't take it any more and anchored the big Republican swing in 2010. But the wave was rather diminished by attacks from both sides of the establishment -- Hello Lois!

But now in 2016 both Democrats and Republicans have decided that they can't take it any more. So candidates on both sides are swinging for the stands hoping for a two or three run homer -- or a strikeout.

The point is that the political establishment in both parties would rather avoid putting the big hitters up to bat. That sort of a game is too risky. That's what Clintons and Bushes and Romneys are all about.

But sometimes the voters just get so pissed of that they say, channeling Vox Day: We Don't Care.

And I have a feeling that is what is happening for 2016. NYT readers are in their safe space and conservatives are all watching Fox and The Five. What do the LoFos in the middle think? We don't know, and they won't know until the summer of 2016.

But remember this: people may be all upset, but they still want their Social Security, their Medicare, and their mortgage deduction. And that means they still want Big Government.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Uh Oh. Peggy Noonan Goes Trump

For years I've used Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan as a weathervane. When Peggy writes about something in her weekly Wall Street Journal column then it's just gone mainstream.

Today she's writing about Donald Trump and how Hispanics aren't offended by him. She talked to her friend Cesar after the first GOP debate and he told her about a Hispanic call-in show right after the debate.
More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts.
What about after Trump dissed Jorge Ramos? A majority of callers backed Trump. What is going on here? Aren't Hispanics supposed to be offended by Trump?
Cesar shook his head: No, you have it wrong. Immigrants, he said, don’t like illegal immigration, and they’re with Mr. Trump on anchor babies. “They are coming in from other countries to give birth to take advantage of the system. We are saying that! When you come to this country, you pledge loyalty to the country that opened the doors to help you.”
Makes sense to me. After all, if you've gone through all the horrible bureaucratic process to immigrate legally, you sure don't appreciate people that are crashing the line.

On the other side we have chaps like Sam Tanenhaus talking about the Jesse Jackson party that the Democrats have become. And then there's Howard Fineman. Talking about Joe Biden, who's from the old labor-union Democratic Party, he writes:
He’d also have to somehow reach out to a new version of the party that is out there waiting to be born. It is a yet-to-be-defined mashup of Black Lives Matter; pro-immigration activism; non-European cultural consciousness; tolerance of all religions, lifestyles and genders; genuine urgency about the fate of the planet; confidence in technology, social media and the sharing economy; and skepticism about America’s right, power and duty to lead the world.
Hmm. Richard Fernandez writes that Fineman's "vision of the Democratic Party hoping to be born is actually the one waiting to die." Come on, Howard. The Democrats have been doing the whole "progressive" thing since 1998 and the Clinton impeachment and the birth of MoveOn.org. The problem is that, given the decline in Democratic strength in legislatures all across the nation, it looks like the American people really don't like the Democratic Party "waiting to be born."

All I know is our Mexican mailman's family. He was a high-school dropout back in Mexico. One way or another he's got his whole family over here, legally. His two daughters are going to college here in Washington state. I don't think that his children will find much in common with Black Lives Matter, for a start.

Peggy writes that "America Is So in Play." That means, of course that the whole vision of the emerging Democratic majority is baloney. And you can see why. President Obama's divisive presidency has riled up the people that thought that race politics was over now that we had elected our First Black President. And now they want out.

The Democratic Party is an over-under coalition in which the People of the Creative Self angry up the People of the Subordinate Self to stay on the liberal plantation as clients of their liberal patrons and give power to the creative elite. This cunning plan founders on the fact that most subordinate, marginalized people want to get out of the liberal plantation, get a good job, buy a modest home, and live in the suburbs, and hope that their kids will do better than they did.

Sooner or later, most immigrants become the African American woman I profiled yesterday: Peggy Hubbard. They become People of the Responsible Self. That is why Democrats are so pro-immigration. They need a new supply of People of the Subordinate Self from pre-industrial nations to replace folks like Peggy Hubbard.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Black Poster Girl for my "Three Peoples" Theory

My Big Idea to explain everything is to say that there are three kinds of people in the world. Let us call it the Three Peoples Theory.

There are the People of the Subordinate Self, your eternal peasants, the clients in the patron-client relationship. They are people that experience themselves as victims, tossed about by irresistible forces.

Then there are the People of the Responsible Self, the classic bourgeois, that experience themselves as responsible individuals. Finally there are the People of the Creative Self, your artists, intellectuals, political activists, and such.

We know what a person of the subordinate self looks like. He looks like the clueless African-American failed TV journalist that shot two white TV journalists to start a race war. Just like the clueless white guy that shot and killed people in Charleston, South Carolina, in order to start a race war.

Hey, how about that iconic tweet:
The best part about the Obama era is all the racial healing.
But here's a rant by a black woman, Peggy Hubbard, who is about as clear a card-carrying member of the People of the Responsible Self as you could imagine.
Police brutality? How about black brutality? You black people, my black people, you are the . . . most violent [people] I have ever seen in my life. A little girl is dead. You say black lives matter? Her life mattered.
Notice one little thing in that quote. Peggy doesn't say Black Lives Matter. Or even All Lives Matter. She says Her Life Mattered, that individual that just got killed. But here is the money quote:
Excuse me, but I didn’t know there was a side to be on. Only thing I know is I see right, and I see wrong. I see good, I see bad. This is not a race issue, and it never has been a race issue. People made it about race. This is not about race. This is about morals. This is about accountability and responsibility. We have to be responsible for the things we do and the things we say.
 See that? "I see right, and I see wrong." And then "This is about accountability and responsibility. We have to be responsible for the things we do and the things we say."

Of course, as the People of the Creative Self are so fond of telling us, there is no such thing as right and wrong. Moral codes are social constructions, just like everything else except climate change and racism, sexism and homophobia, which are just Wrong and Hateful and Divisive. And nobody can truly be accountable and responsible in this world of oppressions and exploitations.

People that belong in each of the Three Peoples buckets are all living a fantasy. Subordinate people are not as helpless as they think. Responsible people are not as individual as they think. Creative people are not as creative as they think. We are all bound to the facts of the material world. John Gray in The Silence of Animals addresses this. He writes that the "dystopia of power," that "two and two is five" if the Party says so, "is a fantasy." Nor is Dostoyevsky right when he argues in Notes from the Underground that freedom is nothing if we can't push back against the laws of nature.
Yet the two projects serve the same infantile fantasy: the magical omnipotence of thought. Whether affirmed in terms of classical logic or denied in those of romantic will, the message is the same: the human mind is the measure of reality. 
And yet the human mind is the means by which we negotiate reality; in order to act in the real world we must each of us develop a world-view that pretends to understand that reality and its meaning.

Some people say that only Black Lives Matter and the police are out to get black people. Some people say that individual accountability and responsibility for individual acts are the only thing. Some people say that creative or romantic will is the only thing.

But I say that the first thing is to teach the People of the Subordinate Self how to grow out of clientism into the bigger world of individual responsibility. The second thing is to teach the People of the Responsible Self that the world is not just about good and bad and responsible acts; it is also about the liberating serendipity of the creative act. The third thing is to teach the People of the Creative Self to stop exploiting subordinate people by inflaming their tribal instincts with social-justice politics, and to learn a little compassion and understanding for the worthy, if narrow, People of the Responsible Self.

But the words of Peggy Hubbard are a start.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rap, Race, and Homicide Rates

If you read the excellent The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker you will learn three important historical facts about homicidal violence.

Fact One is that death by violence in the hunter-gatherer age was about 500 per 100,000 population, or about 0.5 percent per year.

Fact Two is that death by violence in the late agricultural age was about 50 per 100,000 population, or about 0.05 percent per year.

Fact Three is that death by violence in the mid 20th century (after World War II) was about 5 per 100,000 population, or about 0.005 percent per year.

I discuss all this in my "Government and the Technology of Power."

It makes sense, because in the hunter-gatherer age practically every adult male was involved in defending the tribe from the next tribe over, and Pinker tells us that each tribe was more or less constantly at war.

But in the agricultural age the political units were bigger and most of the fighting was done by "marcher lords" and their retainers. Think the Percys, Dukes of Northumberland, keeping the pesky Scots out of England.

In the industrial age political units were bigger still, and with wealth now consisting of ideas in peoples' minds rather than broad rich acres, violence went down again.

But not, as Steve Sailer writes, in Straight Outta Compton during the crack age around 1990. He shows Figure 22b Black male homicide offending rates by age, 1980-2008 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics "Homicide Trends in the United States 1980-2008." He shows black homicide offending rates for age 18-24 at about 350 per 100,000 during the early 1990s and the peak of the crack epidemic and gang wars and gansta rap craze.

Which makes sense, because huge numbers of young black males were probably engaged in or affected by the crack business and living in a small tribe that had to defend itself against all comers.

The black male homicide rate in the early 1990s was about ten times the white male rate, which peaked at a little under 35 per 100,000 in the early 1990s. The black female homicide rate was about the same as the white male rate. The white female rate showed no bump during the crack age and remained under 3 per 100,000.

Really, the homicide rate is an inverse measure of embourgeoisification. Bourgeois males don't kill each other, they compete instead for promotions and market share.

Of course they do take on gunmen in trains, some of them. But that is another story.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Politicians Wreck Economies, Chinese and US

After the three-day market rout it's time for an I Told You So article on the follies of the politician-driven Chinese economy. Writes Rich Lowry:
China might have bright, shiny airports and gauzy GDP numbers, but that is window dressing on a badly distorted economic system that is being managed about as well as you’d expect by a group of corrupt, self-interested statists, which is to say not well at all.
Hmm. Politicians distorting the economic system, with the result that "A country famous for its 'ghost cities,' massive unoccupied developments, obviously has a huge malinvestment problem." Where have I heard that before? Which country has a huge problem with politicians throwing government subsidies at malinvestments in, e.g., "affordable housing" and "green energy?"

Rich Lowry says that at least the Chinese government knows it has a problem.
The Chinese government has talked up reforms as it seeks to put the economy on a sounder long-term footing. The list of necessary changes is incredibly long. For a truly modern economy, China needs a commercial banking system, less powerful state-owned enterprises, free capital flows, greater labor mobility, and a proper retirement system, not to mention the rule of law, property rights, and an independent judiciary, among other things.
What Lowry is saying is that the politicians everywhere need to get out of picking winners and losers and directing the economy with their corrupt (and probably economically incompetent) nominees.

What about the United States? Where is the groundswell of political opinion from the heartland demanding that the government get out of its endless interventions in the economy? For instance, libertarian activist Stephen Moore can't get a mortgage, because Dodd-Frank, even though he's putting 25 percent down, and people that put 25 percent down don't walk away from their mortgages.
Virtually all the defaulted loans had low down payments, with many having less than 5 percent down, thanks to government "affordable housing" mandates.
Moore is being denied because he has a low credit score -- for two late credit card payments and $300 in unpaid parking tickets. Meanwhile the government is still on its "affordable housing" kick.
While I'm making a 25 percent down payment, the government insurance underwriters -- the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are backing with taxpayer dollars hundreds of thousands of loans made with as little as 3 percent down. These are the loans that will likely default. And taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars.
What could go wrong? If you add in the tens of thousands of crony-green wind turbines that unroll beneath you as you fly across the fruited plain, you remind yourself that there is plenty of ruin in the United States.

We should be careful in sneering at China. We have plenty of screwed up economic nightmares waiting to happen right here at home.

The reason that China has a screwed-up economy is that its corrupt Communist Party un-elected oligarchy doesn't have a clue about how to run the economy. The reason that the US has a screwed-up economy is that the voters keep electing politicians to office that don't have a clue about how to run the economy.

Hello people! If you want to know what to do about the economy, don't listen to a word the politicians say. They will say anything to get your vote.

The people to trust with the economy are the businessmen. They are idiots, of course, but unless they have politicians in their pocket they are forced to adjust their businesses to the reality of the market every day. And that is what makes them grow the economy.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Unwinding Obama's Transformation of America

In The Politico, old hand Jeff Greenfield in "Democratic Blues" told fellow Democrats that the verdict was still out on the "policy" of the Obama era. But the Obama "politics" had reduced the Democratic party to "its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins."

Now that I think about it I'm not too sure just what Greenfield means by "policy" and "politics." I suppose he means by "policy" the things that Obama has done with the government, and by "politics" his party's electoral fortunes. Of course Greenfield is writing for Democrats and bucking up their spirits by telling them that, just because the Republicans have captured majorities in both houses of Congress and the majority of state houses, not everything is lost. Historians could one day praise Obama for his controversial policy initiatives.

But I think that old hand Phil Gramm has a better grasp of the situation when he critiques the Obama "policy" in "How Obama Transformed America."

Obama "learned" from previous progressive failures that the way to push the progressive agenda was to hide controversial details that could provoke opposition, and then ram the details through with administrative and executive action. This was what Democrats learned from the abortive Clinton intitiatives. Gramm writes:
Americans have always found progressivism appealing in the abstract, but they have revolted when they saw the details. President Clinton’s very progressive agenda—to nationalize health care and use private pensions to promote social goals—was hardly controversial during the 1992 election. But once the debate turned to the details, Americans quickly understood that his health-care plan would take away their freedom. 
So the Obamis "learned" to hide the details, as in Nancy Pelosi's famous sound bite that we could find out what was in Obamacare once we had passed it.

But Gramm points out the flaw in this strategy.
The means by which Mr. Obama wrought his transformation imperil its ability to stand the test of time. All of his executive orders can be overturned by a new president. ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank can be largely circumvented using exactly the same discretionary powers Mr. Obama used to implement them in the first place. Republicans, who never supported his program, are now united in their commitment to repeal it.
It's easy to see where the Obama strategy came from. It came from the leftist revolutionary tradition, which is all about seizing power and then just implementing the leftist agenda without benefit of a "conversation." In the original formulation implemented by Lenin the seizure of power was accomplished by armed revolution and brutal suppression of dissent. In the Gramscian "long march through the institutions" it is accomplished by a kind of office politics writ large backed up by the "political correctness" culture that makes ordinary bourgeois ideas into forbidden hate speech. There's a good piece on the whole leftist process in the American Thinker here from Scott S. Powell of Seattle's Discovery Institute.

But in the face of all this gloom and doom, I remain optimistic.

I think that the leftist model is fundamentally flawed. It negates the whole idea of humans as social animals, for all it wants to do is to conquer and dominate; all it aspires to is making its targets into enemies. All it achieves is the silence of the gaol and the wasteland of places like the former Soviet Union, the Castro brothers' Cuba, and Maduro's Venezuela.

That's why I think that the current book on the 2016 election, that Hillary Clinton has a 60% chance of winning, is a fantasy. Obama and his acolytes have humiliated too many people, have broken too many laws, have ridden roughshod over too many settled agreements. Obama has turned too many neutrals into opponents.

The reason for elections is to confine the warring spirit to defined election seasons, and agree to disagree the rest of the time. The reason for seeking the "consent of the governed" is to keep the minority moderately happy. The reason for the government to obey its own laws is to prevent the victims of government power from forming a head of rebellion. The reason for the president to assemble bipartisan majorities for his legislation is to prevent the opposition from coming to power and repealing everything he has done.

The failure of President Obama to do this is a profound misunderstanding of the nature of the human condition and the roots of peaceable human society. And we know why. Obama learned his politics from Gramsci and Alinsky, which says nothing about cooperation and everything about fighting.

It is my hope that the American people will revolt electorally against the Obama and the leftist culture in 2016. That revolt will provide a chance to heal the social wounds inflicted in the Obama era.

If we don't heal the wounds now, then we will find ourselves doing radical surgery later. And that would be a human tragedy.

Friday, August 21, 2015

When the Narrative Stops

Many conservatives like to rail against "cultural Marxism," the product of the Frankfurt School that transformed Marxism from a class-warfare argument to a culture-warfare argument.

The Frankfurt School realized after World War I that the class-warfare argument had been proved wrong, for the working class was thriving instead of "immiserating." So they proposed changing the narrative to a culture-war argument -- that certain minorities, such as blacks, women, and gays, had been exploited and oppressed by the majority white culture.

In parallel with this argument the Frankfurters developed the whole political armory we call "political correctness" in which they made explicit what had been merely implicit. They developed a political culture that would consciously control the narrative, use Marcuse's notion of "repressive tolerance" to shut up your political opponents, and execute on Gramsci's "long march through the institutions." Every ruling class does this, but nobody had really thought about it rationally, instead of merely executing on it instinctively.

The point about the "Narrative" is that it works beautifully to control what politicians are allowed to say and not say. It executes on the teenage mean-girls line "I can't believe you said that!" Also called the Overton Window.

Now the trouble about enforcing the "narrative" and shaming people that speak thoughts outside the Overton Window is that it is all a lie. You are enforcing a particular world view and forbidding anyone to think or speak outside it.

There is a -ism for that. Totalitarianism.

There's an irony here. Conservatives rail against "relativism," meaning the idea that world-views come in different shapes and sizes, while liberals celebrate their open minds and their willingness to tolerate diverse views. But in fact in today's political and cultural climate it is liberals that want to forbid any speech that threatens their monolithic liberal absolutism, while conservatives want to expand the conversation beyond the simplistic totalitarian narrative that the educated ruling class knows best and we want to acknowledge our basic ignorance about what works best.

So for the last couple of decades we have been confined within what we might call a Beltway Narrative. Propose a tough America-first narrative on immigration and you are a bigot. Oppose abortion on demand and you are warring on women. Propose to reform entitlements and you are proposing to push granny off a cliff. Regulate home mortgages with sensible limits on borrowing and credit scores and you are redlining minorities out of "affordable housing."

But of course it has all been a lie, a lie enforced by the Cathedral: the cultural and political ruling class of the media, the academy, the entertainment world, and the activism culture. It is a lie that is all about maintaining the power of the present ruling class, the post-1848 generation. Here is Deirdre McCloskey expanding on our present ruling class in the front matter to her forthcoming Bourgeois Equality.
Yet after 1848 a virulent aversion to the bourgeoisie infected the mass of artists, journalists, professionals, bureaucrats, and intellectuals, the “clerisy” as it was called in 1818 by Coleridge. The Germans called it the Clerisei or later the Bildungsb├╝rgertum, the cultivated and reading as against the commercial and bettering bourgeoisie. In the eighteenth century the members of the clerisy such as Voltaire and Tom Paine had courageously advocated our liberties. But in the 1830s and 1840s a much enlarged clerisy, mostly the sons of bourgeois fathers, commenced sneering at the liberties the fathers exercised so vigorously in the market and the factory.
(Bildungsb├╝rgertum means "educated/cultured bourgeoisie." We would say "gentry liberal.")

The point about a "narrative" is that, as the Frankfurt School explained, it is an apology for power, the ruling class's power. And it works to protect the ruling class from attempts to dislodge it and delegitimize it. Until it doesn't.

I think, with the explosion of Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left, that the current narrative has broken down. Semi-political America, the people just below the Cathedral, have stopped buying the current narrative because it is there is just too much of a disconnect between the narrative and the reality that they experience in their lives.

Barack Obama is the living embodiment of this disconnect, and you can see it in the whole story of his rise, his election, and his governance.

The point about government, any government, is that it is founded on the "consent of the governed." Government works so long as the governed are willing to put up with it. People may not actually support the government, but they do "consent" to the government's rule.

A wise and worthy ruling class uses its control of the "narrative" to develop a genuine consent of the governed in which it persuades the governed to accept its version of reality and what to do about it. In other words, it does not try to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.

Barack Obama has not done this. He has not tried to build a consensus for his policies. He always does a cramdown, or paints his policy with false equivalences, or just flat-out lies. Then he takes out after his opponents as being almost unpatriotic.

Dr. Johnson famously proposed that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Perhaps he meant that attacks on other peoples' patriotism is the lame resort of a tyrant that can't be bothered to cajole and persuade.

At any rate, I think that the political trench warfare of the last two decades is over, because the narrative that enforced the power of the Cathedral has broken down. The political armies are operating in open country, and that means that nobody knows how it will all turn out. We are no longer talking about frontal attacks and their wars of attrition, but flanking movements, double envelopments, and the Kesselschlacht.

Nobody knows how it will all turn out.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pippin, A Post Sexual Revolution Musical

What do you do with the Broadway musical after the sexual revolution of the Sixties, now that it is assumed that kids get it on from a very early age -- as in: they are going to do it anyway -- and you can't have heroines as ingenues?

It's a problem, and maybe that's why the Broadway musical has gone into something of a decline since The Sound of Music that debuted on Broadway in 1959 and ran as a movie in 1965 when I was in college.

(And I remember that I studiously did not go to the movie. I was far too sophisticated for boy-meets-girl musicals back then.)

But yesterday we went to a performance of the revived Pippin road show here in Seattle. In case you didn't know the show puts notional scenes in the life of Pippin, the son of Charlemagne, King of the Franks, in the context of a circus. It breaks the "fourth wall" in the manner of Brecht, and its songs are unmemorable Seventies pop.

Since we can't have boy-meets-girl anymore, what do we do? Well, Pippin is a twenty-something lad who has just graduated from university in Padua (no wiving and thriving there for him). He doesn't know what he wants to do, but he wants it to do something "extraordinary."

In other words, to use my taxonomy, the musical Pippin character is a person of the creative self. He does not just propose to exist as a person of the subordinate self, as a client to some great patron. He does not want to live as a bourgeois responsible individual. He wants to "make a difference." He is, in other words, thoroughly modern.

But since he is the title role of a post-sexual-revolution musical he can't just meet a girl and fall in love. Oh no. Because nowadays people don't do that (do they?). No, they have relationships and then after "finding themselves" they, well who knows what they might do. They might get married. Or they might realize they are gay. Or, what with Rachel Dolezal and all, they might fake being black! They might even become a world-renowned creative artist (in your dreams).

In the end, of course, most of today's twentysomething people of the creative self, living in lofts and wearing artistical black, end up living conventional lives, and that is what Pippin does.

But first there must be sex, because you always have sex, I mean love, in musicals. In this case the Leading Player runs Pippin through a series of sexual experimentations, including one in a circus animal cage with some (human) circus animals.

I kept wondering, as I sat through these crudities, sitting next to a young woman who will be a sophomore in college this year, where is the "safe space?" Suppose this young woman got triggered by the burlesque tableaux on stage? Surely, the special snowflakes now attending college are not just triggered by, e.g., a conservative feminist showing up on campus and daring to speak non-liberal thoughts and ideas? Surely the players on stage should get affirmative permission from the audience before they potentially "trigger" then with scenes that some audience members might have experienced in some regretted sexual episode.

Well, no. No "safe spaces." Which reminds us, as if we need reminding, that the whole triggering and microaggression thing is nothing but left-liberal political bullying designed to name and shame anyone that doesn't think the right thoughts and recite the right catchphrases.

Anyway, eventually Pippin does meet his blonde ingenue, only she is a young widow with a son. And because he has mental health issues on account of he can't find anything "extraordinary" to do, she has to nurse him back to mental health.

I am not kidding.

After a year of this nursing Pippin does the fatherly thing by the young blonde widow's son when the son's duck "Otto" dies. Then they kiss. Then they immediately jump in the sack right there on stage.

I don't know about you, but I don't find this post-sexual revolution world all that compelling. And I don't think it makes for a very compelling musical.

Really, of course, the whole point of the old Broadway musical was to tell the story of the immigrant girl from the 1900 immigrant wave and the great question of her coming of age: whether she dares to "marry out" of her ethnic group.

You could say that the old Broadway certainly ended on a high note in The Sound of Music when a nobody governess from the local convent beats out the rich bitch for the love of the fabulously rich Georg von Trapp by winning the love of his children using old discarded curtains for play clothes and teaching them silly songs.

I think that the whole post sexual revolution thing will eventually collapse. Because it is a really bad deal for women. In my view the current "rape culture" hysteria shows that women are finally starting to push back on the sexual revolution. But since the "rape culture" pushback is led by clueless liberal post-bourgeois feminists that never thought an original thought in their lives it has completely lost the plot.

The current "rape culture" hysteria is saying that young women can't be trusted to make sensible decisions about sex. They must be supervised by wise and caring college administrators. But that is no different from the old days, when young women were sexually supervised by their fathers.

Er, no. Sorry I got that wrong. in the old days young women were really supervised by their mothers and other mature women. But that would ruin the feminist thing about the "patriarchy." And that would never do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lefty Fundamentalists in Britain

Right now the Labour Party in Britain is conducting a party leadership election and the leading candidate is hard left Jeremy Corbyn. He hits all the left notes including Palestinians and the IRA.

And one thing he wants to do is "renationalize" the railways.

The British railways were privatized back in 1994 during the time that John Major was Prime Minister. But in the wake of an accident just north of London due to faulty rails, the ownership of the track was returned to a nationalized corporation. Meanwhile passenger and freight services are delivered in a complicated crony capitalist system thus, from La Wik:
Ownership of the infrastructure including the larger stations passed to Railtrack, while track maintenance and renewal assets were sold to 13 companies across the network. Ownership of passenger trains passed to three rolling stock operating companies (ROSCOs) - the stock being leased out to passenger train operating companies (TOCs) awarded contracts through a new system of rail franchising overseen by the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF). Ownership and operation of freight trains passed to two companies - English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) and Freightliner, less than the originally intended six.
Yay! Earlier this week The Telegraph ran an come-on-fellahs article "A state-owned railway would be a costly mistake" that weakly pleaded that the Brits not renationalize the railways. OK, nothing much to see there. Except when you get to the comments. You see, 60 percent of Brits think the railways should be renationalized, and the comments tell you why.

Profits, The City, Foreigners, Things were great in the old days: You name it. People don't like private enterprise. They want the nice cozy government to take care of everything.

As Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the Black Swan guy, recently tweeted. "The free-market system has salient flaws and hidden benefits. All other systems have hidden flaws and salient benefits." Everyone is pissed off with the corporations that sell them amazing products and services. But they stubbornly defend the government health care and education systems that barely function.

OK, we know why people support the government systems that barely function. It's the free stuff.

I was reading the front matter for the upcoming volume three, Bourgeois Equality, of Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Era trilogy. And she's talking now about how the educated elite turned against capitalism following the failed revolutions of 1848. But the big point, that she makes over and over, is that the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years has made the average person  between 30 times and 100 times richer. There has been nothing like this, ever.

McCloskey's insists that this was not due to "capital accumulation" (as in "capitalism") but from new ideas that transformed the production and delivery of products and services.

So let's rehearse the reasons why government is no good and making things and delivering services.

  1. Socialism can't work because it can't compute prices.
  2. The bureaucrat in the national government cannot know what a million producers and consumers know through the price system. Not even close.
  3. Government does not come up with new ideas. In fact the whole purpose of government is to stop new ideas.
These notions are, or ought to be, settled science. Every child should be taught them in school as a matter of course. And yet, patently, the vast majority of people have no clue about this, no clue about the fundamentals about our amazing and unprecedented wealth and prosperity.

As you can see in the comments section of The Telegraph in Britain.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Expecting Too Much of the Beltway Republicans

I'm a little confused by the whole "cuckservative" meme, the idea that Beltway Republicans -- and their bribed neocons in the media -- have betrayed conservatives, Republicans, and the nation with their timid acquiescence to President Obama and the PC culture.

So therefore Donald Trump, who ain't afeered to tell it like it is.

I suppose that the angry Republican base, at this stage of the political cycle, has no target for our anger but our own politicians. And politics is about nothing if it is not about anger.

OK, let's think about politics as civil war by other means. The number one thing to remember about war is that you don't want to give battle unless you think you have a really good chance of winning. Otherwise you keep marching.

There are always hot-heads in any army that want to give battle, but the wise general usually denies their request, or sends them off to some inconsequential skirmish.

Anyway, what the hot-heads are really signalling is that they have the cojones to lead. As in Ted Cruz and his filibuster over Obamacare. As in Donald Trump going very un-PC. As in Scott Walker telling a union protester: "I am not intimidated by you."

(Really. What do those union protesters think they are doing? Scott Walker would probably pay to have his speeches disrupted by union thugs.)

The problem that Republicans have is that every time they stage a public confrontation with the Democrats the mainstream media lines up with the Democrats and make the Republicans look like the bad guys. As in government shutdowns. But, it turns out, the Republicans can do a lot of damage to the Democrats by operating below the radar. For instance, they can provoke a budget battle and cave on the headline issue while putting through tens of other issues. And they do. Because the public square only has the bandwidth for about one and a half issues at one time.

But it all happens below the radar.

And the other thing is that when you want to pass something big you don't want to do what the Obama Democrats have done and ram it down your opponents' throat. You want to stage a "bipartisan consensus" to make it look like everyone agrees with your reform. Otherwise you just gin up the opposition.

Of course today everything is up in the air. All we have are the egregious policies and naked illegalities of the Obama administration. How can we stand around and allow this to continue?

We stand around because we don't want to give battle and suffer a humiliating defeat.

There are, after all, two possible outcomes. One is that the Obama cramdowns will mostly stick, and become settled law. The other is that the next Republican administration will knock them all down and chart a new course for America.

My money goes on the idea that the Obama cramdowns will prove to be a strategic blunder that will set the stage for massive Republican reforms. That's based on my readings of the great political texts.

And don't forget that if the Republican base is pissed off the Democratic base must be just as pissed off. African-Americans were promised a new era, a Promised Land, with the election of the First Black President. Instead, nothing has changed. And I wonder what Hispanics are thinking right now.

And notice that while gentry liberals can put Bernie stickers on their Nissan Leafs, the Black Lives Matter is just a Soros AstroTurf outfit. Where is the actual candidate that is speaking to black frustrations? Hillary? Martin O'Malley? Elizabeth Warren? Please.

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Worse the Better

Why doesn't everyone agree that capitalism is the biggest boon to humans ever and let it flourish? With a little law in there to punish frauds and thieves.

I mean, in the 200 years of the Great Enrichment per capita income in the areas under the sway of capitalist ideology has gone from $1-3 per day to $120 per day. That's inflation-corrected dollars. You can see this in a chart from lefty Vox.

Glenn Reynolds has a quick answer to this. Capitalism gets a bad press because capitalism has "insufficient opportunities for graft."

I like to be a little more sophisticated. We humans have survived down the ages partly by cooperating, doing things for other people. But we have also survived by loot and plunder, with the dawn raid, with buccaneering and freeloading.

Wilfred Thesiger tells how loot and plunder really do have a place in the human story in his travel book, Arabian Sands. In southern Arabia people live by grazing sheep and goats in a land where a particular patch of land may only get rain once in two years. So the trick to survival is to know where the rain just fell so you can get your flocks there when the grass sprouts and the desert grows green for a season.

But suppose you are just unlucky and your sheep all die of hunger. What then? Well, southern Arabia has a culture of raiding. So your last resort is to raid your luckier neighbor and take off with some of his animals. But the rules say that you don't touch the women and children.

Hey. It works.

But how much of that do we need in the modern economy where there is real abundance and nobody need go without?

Not much, but there are still plenty of people that like the adventurous life, and the thrill of the chase, not to mention the lamentation of the women. Many people, particularly the people that go into activism and politics, like to lord it over other people. Because.

We have intellectuals that want to look down on businessmen, as Whole Foods CEO John Mackey observes:
Intellectuals have always disdained commerce... So the intellectuals have always sided kind of with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kind of kept down.
We have an example of this in a recent New York Times article painting a lurid picture of life "Inside Amazon." Well, I dare say it is a "bruising workplace," even if an Amazonian like Nick Ciubotariu disagrees in a flood of corporate-speak. People go work at a place like Amazon because they want to be in a challenging group where only the best need apply. Think the corporate equivalent of Special Forces. If you don't like that sort of challenge then don't go work for Amazon.

And that's the miracle of capitalism. It takes ambitious aggressive guys like Nick Ciubotariu and puts him to work creating an amazing company that is revolutionizing retail. Just think: in former ages he might have been stealing cattle. Or marching across Europe. Or fomenting political revolution.

But there are always people that want to resort to force. Just now in America they are people like the gay marriage advocates that want to punish Christians that don't agree with their religious views on marriage.

Oh, of course, nearly everyone that supports gay marriage agrees that gays ought to be allowed to marry like everybody else. But Matt Barber reminds us that the core activists have another agenda: to "render marriage reality meaningless."
Masha Gessen, a lesbian journalist, activist and author, expressly admitted this fact in a 2012 interview with ABC Radio: “It’s a no-brainer that [homosexuals] should have the right to marry,” she said. “But I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. … [F]ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there – because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.”
So that's not going to end well.

Glenn Reynolds also likes to rehearse the tweet from Jon Gabriel: "The best part about the Obama era is all the racial healing."

Our progressive friends have had a pretty good run in the Obama era, because President Obama has encouraged his supporters to go for the gold. They haven't tried to build consensus; they've just pushed their cultural and political power to the max and rolled over their opponents.

The thing about limited government and the rule of law is that it is designed to stop that sort of thing, because the abuse of power builds rage and resentment in the people on the receiving end.

For a conservative like me there is a Leninist quality to the Obama overreach: the worse the better. The American people need to really see that they don't like what Obama and the Obamis have done to America, so we can build a movement of reform.

But how do you roll back the oppressions and the injustices of the Obamis without making yet another "community" angry?

I don't know. Because the whole point of the left is to exploit anger and blow it up into a political movement.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Can You Blame Women for Pushing Back Against Hookups?

All good conservatives are opposed to the college campaign against "rape culture." Inspired by a "Dear Colleague" letter from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, the nation's college campi have now become a due-process-free zone as college administrators harass college men for failing to observe the new liberal rules of "yes means yes" where sexual relations are concerned.

But then I read this click-bait article in Vanity Fair, "Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse" by Justin Bishop, about young millennial professionals hooking up in New York City using Tinder and similar social media tools.

It is, as they say, a meat market out there, and the girls don't like it.

Now it is my experience with women that when they don't like something they "share" with their friends and then they get angry about it, and then they find manipulative ways of getting back at the source of the anger.

Call me sexist if you like.

It is clear from Justin Bishop's article that Tinder and the other hookup apps play directly into the male lust for the hunt. And it seems that girls have to play along, because. Well, because women always play along.

But then the girls go back to their apartments and their dorms and their sororities, whatever, and they talk and text with their friends. Or they run into an activist from the Womens Studies department.

And this gives the angry young girl, whether a "Jackie", a Mattress Girl, or just a nobody Jane Doe, a way to do something about the nameless anger she is feeling on account of being treated like a piece of meat.

And really, who can blame her? All young women carry within them the very fount of human life, the most precious thing that humans possess. And yet these days young women are treated like sexual prey, courtesy of smartphones and smartphone apps, and are led to believe that unless they submit to this oppression they won't ever get a man. Or be popular. Or something.

Now a sensible person would say that maybe the recreational sex meme of the sexual revolution is a big part of the problem. Sex is serious, dead serious, and the rituals and culture around sex lies at the very center of any human culture. You mess with sex and you mess with the very center of human existence.

A sensible person would say that if you throw off all the rules around sex that the ensuing chaos will demand new rules. And it is telling that the new rules now being enforced on campus essentially say that a young woman cannot be considered a responsible actor where sex is concerned. She must be protected by older and wiser people and shielded from the consequences of imprudence or a desire to be nice. Which is exactly what the old rules under the evil old patriarchy said.

So maybe every human society ends up with some sort of culture of female innocence and modesty. Because in every human society young unmated women and women with children really do need protection from male predation.

Ya think?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Reagan Democrats and Trump Democrats and the End of Free Stuff

In the fall of 1979, writes Jeffrey Lord, nobody took Ronald Reagan seriously. “The American people are not going to elect a seventy-year-old, right-wing, ex-movie actor to be president.” said Carter chief-of-staff Hamilton Jordan.

But in November 1980 Ronald Reagan won the presidency by nearly 10 points over Jimmy Carter even though liberal Republican John Anderson ran as an independent. How did Reagan win? With the "Reagan Democrats." They were "Blue collar, working class, largely Catholic and ethnic" that had voted 20 years earlier for Jack Kennedy.

The Reagan Democrats were pissed off. And why? Because all the free-stuff promises the Democrats had been using to buy their votes for the previous 50 years were crumbling into dust Stagflation, they called it. So they were angry. So they voted for the Eevil Republicans.

Jeffrey Lord cites a poll showing Donald Trump doing well in Iowa.
But as in 1980 with Reagan, it doesn’t take much imagination to think that Trump’s overwhelming lead in categories like those with less than a college education or those earning less than $50,000 bodes well for his ability to win Democratic votes in considerable numbers.
 In other words there's a good chance that a lot of Democrats are really pissed off this election cycle. So there's a good chance they will vote for the Eevil Republican.

It makes sense, because it's hard to see the genuine Republican base -- national security conservatives, economic conservatives, and social conservatives -- getting excited about Trump.

But really, what did those Trump Democrats think would happen when Obama went ahead with a job-throttling Obamacare, a job-throttling payoff to state and local governments with the stimulus, a job-throttling Dodd-Frank regulation of the banks, and a job-killing green energy agenda?

Kevin D. Williamson puts the question squarely in a piece on the China meltdown. He talks about how the Ex-Im Bank lent money for top employees of China's biggest bank to fly executive jets built by a company owned by Goldman Sachs.

The way the game works is that
Money is lent on concessionary terms to make transactions happen for politically favored businesses and investors on the theory that the resulting economic activity will be worth the costs.
As in student loans and Chinese apartment blocks and 100% mortgage loans to sub-prime borrowers and solar power and wind turbines and solar roof collectors and farm subsidies and so on.

The point is that eventually any market distortion is going to bite someone in the butt. Hard. And it is not rocket science.
There isn’t any way around this: If you distort markets, you will, eventually, discover that everybody has taken out second mortgages on their Chinese ghost-town vacation condos to invest in tulip bulbs.
And then everybody gets really pissed off and demands that the government Do Something.

When it was the Doing Something that caused the problem in the first place.

Hey, people, this is not that hard. Everything the government does, everything, is a distortion of the economy and will damage people and their livelihoods. Especially when the music stops and it turns out that their aren't enough chairs to go around. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Opt Me Out, Baby!

OK, you tell me. How do we get out of the vicious circle of the modern administrative state. We are all pissed off by intrusive bossy government. But hands off my Medicare! That's the way the world-wide Trump phenomenon works.

We talk about African Americans trapped on the liberal plantation, but what about the rest of us?

The truth is that we are all trapped in subordination to the administrative state, because we are all forced to pay for the benefits in our payroll taxes whether we like it or not, and then we all demand that we get our payoff.

Which means that we are all chained to The Man. We are trapped by the System.

Mencius Moldbug of the Dark Enlightenment has some uncomfortable words about this.
First, the King's law is that either a human being is a free, taxpaying yeoman, or a ward. A ward is any dependent - anyone not responsible to provide for his or her support. The general principle of wardship is that every ward must have a patron, who is responsible for supporting the ward, authorized to direct and discipline the ward, and liable for the ward's offenses. This is not my idea - it is straight out of Roman law.
Note how in the administrative state the patron/ward relationship has got all messed up. The patrons, Poo-Bahs of the administrative state, make the rest us pay for their wards, but they don't properly "direct and discipline" their wards. They tell the rest of us that we are "liable for the ward's offenses" because racism, or injustice, or something.

You can see the problem. These days we are all wards, because we are all, every one of us, dependent on the state. We depend of free education for our kids. And free education has made education so expensive that most ordinary middle-class people can't imagine finding the money for private school. Tied to the payroll taxes of Social Security we don't have any money left over for saving for retirement (or any other purpose) so we are grateful for the security of that government check when we hit our 60s. We can't imagine doing without it. And so on.

So we can't get started in the quest to get free of the fetters of the liberal administrative state because we can't imagine bearing the expense of freedom.

The solution is staring us right in the face. We have to have the courage to demand the right to "opt out." Mothers are already doing this with home-schooling. They look at what the government school does to their children and they can't allow it to continue. So they take their kids out of school and teach them at home. These mothers find, of course, that children are programmed to grow up and learn the things they need to become responsible adults. Home-schooled children turn in better test results and as for being "socialized," well since they have been around adults all their lives instead of bullies and mean girls at school, they have been socialized to operate in the adult world, not the Lord of the Flies world of the government school.

Now we need to extend the "opt out" concept to Social Security and Unemployment and Workers Comp. on the model that I am a free person and I have the right to provide for myself and for my family without the government forcing me to do it the "Navy way" like they forced John Wayne in The Fighting Seabees.

But isn't that kinda selfish? Yes, it is. And if you look at politics you find that everyone, from the noblest ruling-class scion down to the most helpless teenaged single mother, wants the government to give money or power to them, and screw everybody else.

Never mind selfish: would it work? Well, it would certainly work. Just as home-schoolers have found that children naturally want to grow up to independence, we know that adult humans naturally want to save against a rainy day. It takes government education to make children hate learning and it takes government payroll taxes to get adults to stop saving from their wages.

No, the real point is: How many people would actually buy into the "opt out" concept and demand to fund their own rainy-day fund and their own retirement? Are there enough people to make this into a winning political issue?

That is the question. The only way to find out is to try.

Because the alternative, to live lif as a dependent ward, means that you live under the authority of a patron. And the patron gets to tell you when it is time to work, when it is time to eat, when it is time to go home.

Just like Verdi's father insists, far too late, in The Life of Verdi. "I am the father, and I decide when it is time to go."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tying Trump, Berlusconi, UKIP, Le Pen Together

On the view of Reihan Salam of National Review, Donald Trump is just one of a number of protest candidates and parties that have been emerging in recent years in western democracies (H/T PowerLine). Here's the money quote in "Why Donald Trump Isn't Going Away" in Slate.
Britain’s Labour Party has been devastated by the rise not only of the leftist Scottish National Party, but also by UKIP, a movement of the right that has been growing at Labour’s expense by campaigning against mass immigration, and by largely abandoning what had been its more libertarian line on the welfare state.
Or this:
The Danish People’s Party went from the far-right fringe to become Denmark’s second-largest party by combining anti-immigration sentiment with a commitment to protecting social programs that serve native Danes. 
See what is going on here? The electorates of the western democracies were promised cradle-to-grave social benefits forever. That's what they thought was the deal. But really, the educated Ruling Class had other ideas, because no ruling class wants to just sit there a manage Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid for the rest of time. So we had to have green energy; we had to have gay marriage; we had to have immigration; we had to have sanctuary cities.

The electorate of the western democracies look at all this and they see the shaking of the foundations.

Now the right thing for the electorate to do would be to say: take your social benefits and shove it. Take your immigration and shove it. Take your everything else and shove it. We are a free people, you and I.

But they can't. They can't give up on the benefits. And why should they? They've paid those swingeing taxes on labor all their working lives. Why should they give it all up when they paid their dues?

The Trumps and the Berlcusconis and the Farages and the Le Pens are all saying that you can keep your benefits and dump immigration and dump political correctness too.

But they are lying. The problem is not immigration. It is not even political correctness. The problem is the benefit state. Unless you reform that and contract the size of the state then you haven't started to solve anything.

The telling point is Britain's UKIP and its drift towards "largely abandoning what had been its more libertarian line on the welfare state." UKIP understands that it doesn't get to compete as a major party unless it promises to keep the benefit checks coming.

Back in 2010 our liberal friends were wont to sneer at the Tea Party. The Tea Partiers were talking a big line about limited government and the Constitution, they said, but it was still "hands off my benefits." They were right to sneer. Reform of the current mess begins and ends with the shrinking of the benefit state.

Instead we have Hillary Clinton promising to solve the problem of student debt by increasing government spending and regulation on higher education to make higher education more "affordable."

The Trump phenomenon shows that people are all exercised that "something is wrong." But the people are still a country mile away from doing anything about it.

The market economy is a system -- and it is a brutal system -- whereby you must adjust yourself to the market every day if you want to prosper. There is no free lunch and no place to hide, but the market economy delivers prosperity and a rough sort of justice for those that submit to its hegemony.

The government is a system -- and it is a brutal system -- whereby you capture political power and promise yourself and your supporters perpetual pensions that continue forever without regard to the economic facts on the ground. Free lunches all round, and don't worry about the future! It ends like Greece and Argentina, or even Venezuela.

Every day each of us makes the choice, whether to serve our fellow humans and hope for a reward, or vote for a politician that offers free stuff. Most of us, most of the time, choose the latter.

We all will, of course, get exactly what we deserve.

Monday, August 10, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter Means More Race Politics

If you are sick to death of Donald Trump I have a proposition for you. Let's talk about Black Lives Matter instead. Did you know that Black Lives Matter is George Soros funded?

I get the problem. Blacks are disproportionately arrested by police. If you are black or liberal or both you figure this disproportion is a manifestation of institutional racism, and you want it to end. You demand that it end.

And now we read about a detention center in deep blue Chicago that visits horrible indignities on the 82% of its inmates that are black. How's that Blue Model working out for ya?

The problem is best illustrated by my American Thinker piece "Why Don't Liberals Care about Black-on-Black Killing" on Jill Leovy's book Ghettoside about murder in the black LA ghetto. Even as a card-carrying liberal, Leovy tells how hard it is to get witnesses to testify against gang members when they shoot and murder. The police are really frustrated that the folks in the ghetto won't testify against the gang members. So the police compensate by arresting young blacks for "broken windows" offences. The black community gets really frustrated by that.

But liberals like New York mayor Bill de Blasio really hate "broken windows" policing. They think it is racist. Only trouble is that "broken windows" policing lowered the crime rate in big cities wherever it was tried, big time. Murder in New York City peaked at 2,605 in 1990 and was then brought down to 648 in 2013 by police chiefs like Bill Bratton and mayors like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg.

Now, under liberal Bill de Blasio, crime is up. Why? Because liberals are harassing the police for harassing the hoodlums, and so the police aren't keeping the hoodlums off the street.

But yesterday, on the anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, police in Ferguson, Missouri shot a black man they say was shooting at them.

So, if Black Lives Matter, what do we do? Do we clamp down on the police and tell them to stop harassing young black men for street misdemeanors? Or do we double down on "broken windows" policing?

The truth is that, ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a vicious circle about the oppression of the lower class in the city. On the one hand, the new immigrants to the city tend to be unskilled and more violent than seasoned city dwellers. So they are low paid and discriminated against by employers. On the other hand, the violent young men provoke demands for a police crackdown on hoodlums, and the crackdown is used by radical activists to mobilize the lower class for marching and protesting.

My solution is to help the lower class socialize to the ways of the city and the market economy. Then they will all become boring middle-class jobholders and householders. But there are always radical organizers that believe the problem is injustice. And there are always marginal young men drawn to the excitement of the dawn raid.

Last weekend we saw the disruption of a Bernie Sanders rally by Black Lives Matter protesters. Does that mean that the Democratic Party will be pushed left by a new outbreak of radicalism?

But the last time we had a lot of black protest was back in 1967-68, and we know how that turned out for the Democrats.

One fine day America's blacks will all be boringly bourgeois and working and married-with-children, and we will be worrying about something else.

But that time is not yet.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Is This The Obama Sinking-Ship Moment

Immediately after the 2014 midterms I predicted that, at some point in his last two years in office, Democrats would desert President Obama to save their political skins as they contemplated life after Obama. The extraordinary Democratic Party discipline would break down.

Could the Iran deal be the straw that breaks the camel's back? I say that because of today's news that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is breaking ranks and deciding to vote against the president's Iran deal.
"After deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval," Schumer wrote in a 1,600-word post on the website Medium.
OK. It could be that the fix is in and that Obama doesn't need Schumer's -- or any other Jewish Democratic vote.

Or it could be that the dam is breaking and Democratic legislators are jumping ship. 

Crude Insults to Women a Blow Against PC, Donald?

Back in the day, a gentleman never made crude comments about women. Because he just didn't.

Then came the Sexual Revolution and suddenly everyone was talking about sex.

But you know what? Women don't like talk about body parts. They didn't like it in the old days in the Age of Modesty and they don't like it now in the Age of the Hookup.

One of the reasons for the strength of Political Correctness is that something had to be done about the "let it all hang out" attitude of the Sixties. Oh, of course, the left exploits it mercilessly as part of their project to destroy bourgeois culture. But that's what they do: exploit anything to score a political point and name and shame the opposition.

The whole "rape culture" and "microaggression" game works because women really don't like the male culture of the public square. They don't like public knock-down drag out fights; they don't like public insults. Women prefer to fight at one remove, talking about people confidentially behind their backs. So if men won't curb their tongues and their hands out of a male code of honor then women will arise and write sexual harassment into law.

So when Donald Trump explains away his gratuitous insults to women with "I don't frankly have time for total political correctness" he is blowing smoke.

Gratuitous insults to women are bad behavior, in any culture. Period.

The man who insults women publically is not a sexist. He is just a boor.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

President Obama and Patriotism

Patriotism, you may have noticed, is just a polite word for near-fascist nationalism. Except when our side does it.

So President Obama, trying to push his unpopular Iran deal over the finish line, is reduced to painting opponents of his deal as unpatriotic when he says that:
It’s those hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican Caucus[.]
The only thing to do is quote Hillary Clinton back in 2003:
I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.
Yes. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, except when it isn't.

Look, I understand that liberals and Democrats and progressives have a bit of a problem with the patriotism thing. Strictly speaking, they don't like patriotism. They don't like the nation state, because they associate it with aggressive nationalism, as in Fascism and Nazism and the Pax Americana.

The only problem is that the United States of America is a nation state. You appeal to its people by appealing to their patriotism.

The solution for the problem of nationalism, in the minds of liberals, Democrats, and progressives, is the supra-national organization, like the European Union and the United Nations. They are better than nation states because they are run by educated, evolved people that live above the petty hates and passions of the nationalist demagogue and his uncouth followers.

But of course this is rubbish. Liberals and Democrats and progressives deal in demagoguery and uncouth followers too. What do you think their rent-a-mobs are all about? Or their Soros-funded #BlackLivesMatter chappies? Or Occupy? What do you think all the stink about racism, sexism, and homophobia is about? They get to put their supporters in the street for the least little thing, and they call it "peaceful protest" when it is really a show of force. And they are eager to name and shame anyone that disagrees with them.

The thing is that people will want to "belong" to something, and political leaders know that they have to appeal to people as members of groups.  If the group isn't a nation state then it will be a religion, a clan, a race, a gender, a class.

The reason that conservatives believe in limited government is that we believe that politics should be limited. And if politics is limited then the gangs of uncouth followers will be limited. And the amount of hate will be limited. And the amount of government force will be limited.

But President Obama believes in politics with everything. That's why he pushed Obamacare. That's why he mewed up with financial system with Dodd-Frank. That's why he's just put out an excruciatingly bureaucratic climate plan. But the thing is that whenever you do politics you get people riled up, people that are going to have to pay for your wonderful bureaucratic plan. It's shocking, of course, that anyone could object to the rational, expert, bureaucratic plans of an educated, evolved elite, but there it is.

And then when President Obama encounters opposition he finds himself questioning the motives of his opponents.

See, the way that most presidents operate is that they get on the phone and do a bit of arm-twisting. They line up the votes beforehand and then present their latest excruciatingly bureaucratic plan as a bipartisan consensus. But not this president.

I think that the result of President Obama and his accusatory style of politics will be a Republican president and a solid Republican Congress. Because I believe that anyone in America that's not a liberal, Democratic, progressive partisan is fit to be tied right now.

But what do I know?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One Thing, Bob. Professors Like You are Part of the Ruling Class

If there were ever a mind-numbed liberal robot spewing liberal talking points without prompting, it would have to be Robert Reich, Labor Secretary in the Clinton Administration.

Now Reich is warning about "a revolt against the 'ruling class' of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades." Says he:
What’s new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic and political system since the start of the 1980s.

Included are presidents and congressional leaders from both parties, along with their retinues of policy advisors, political strategists, and spin-doctors.

Most have remained in Washington even when not in power, as lobbyists, campaign consultants, go-to lawyers, financial bundlers, and power brokers.

The other half of the ruling class comprises the corporate executives, Wall Street chiefs, and multi-millionaires who have assisted and enabled these political leaders – and for whom the politicians have provided political favors in return.
Notice who doesn't get included in this tableau of the ruling class? It is the Cathedral, the cultural ruling class of professors and media that is probably more powerful that all the insiders and what-nots that Reich tags as the guys to blame.

Robert Reich is telling us that chaps like him, that write op-eds and pontificate as "Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy" at UCal Berkeley and formulate public policy as cabinet members, aren't really part of the problem.

Let us give Bob Reich the benefit of the doubt. I'll bet that it never occurred to him that he is a ruling-class member and part of the problem. My argument for that issues from his comical comparison of the Tea Party and the Occupy movement.
On the right are the wreckers. The Tea Party, which emerged soon after the Wall Street bailout, has been intent on stopping government in its tracks and overthrowing a ruling class it sees as rotten to the core.
OK. But wait!
On the left are the rebuilders. The Occupy movement, which also emerged from the Wall Street bailout, was intent on displacing the ruling class and rebuilding our political-economic system from the ground up.
Oh please! No-one but a purblind partisan could write two paragraphs like that.

If we want to differentiate between wreckers and rebuilders we'd have to pay some attention to the Great Enrichment under capitalism and limited government which has taken the world from $3 income per head per day to $120 per head per day in 200 years. I don't think that the Tea Party plans to do too much to that operation. But the Occupiers? "[R]ebuilding our political-economic system from the ground up" sounds suspiciously like the program of Lenin and Castro and Pol Pot. Would you call those chaps "rebuilders" or "wreckers?"

Just asking, Bob Reich, what with you being a member of the ruling class and the Cathedral and all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Women and the Sexual Revolution

I may as well come out and say it. I think that the best way for most people to live is the Bourgeois Ethos. It means living life responsibly, from work to family to community to sex. Bourgeois education, bourgeois achievement, bourgeois surrender to the market, and bourgeois love and marriage.

But over the last 150 years of the Great Reaction to bourgeois culture, many of the best and brightest have argued against the bourgeois ethos as too patriarchal, too restrictive, too oppressive. They want sexual liberation -- or at least liberation from the values of the bourgeois ethos.

And so the best and brightest have succeeded in normalizing divorce, normalizing sex without commitment, normalizing abortion, normalizing single parenthood, normalizing non-heterosexual behaviors, normalizing gay marriage.

If you think about it, all these normalizations amount to the social endorsement of what comes naturally to young men. They want sex with anything; they don't want to consider the consequence of anything. They just want to get laid. We are talking about the universal male appetite for loot and plunder.

But women are different. They are different because, as I like to say, men are fighters and women are lovers.

Of course down the ages humans recognized two kinds of women: modest women and immodest women. It is my experience that the overwhelming majority of women are modest women, and their whole lives are oriented around their circle of love.

So in my view the implied notion of the Sexual Revolution, that most women were straining at the leash wanting to become immodest and let it all hang out, is a lie.

Oh, modern women will tell you different. They will tell you about their careers, about work, about their liberation. Women are overwhelmingly conformable Kates: they do not have to be told to get with the program; they already did. And the women that tell you this are upper-class women, and upper-class women have tended, down the ages, to have more important things to do than look after babies and raise children.

In my view we are seeing with the "rape culture" activism on the one hand, and the Planned Parenthood video activism on the other an inchoate sense among women that the Sexual Revolution was bad for women. It reduces the central fact of woman as the miraculous fount of life to a sordid thing of meat and butchery.

When you read between the lines about the campus "rape culture" you read about the young woman that drank half a bottle of vodka before she turned up at the young man's dorm room. You read about Mattress Girl getting angry, months later, with her German lover because he didn't want to continue their relationship beyond the rough sex of their early couplings.

You mean to say, as the late Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes would intone, you mean to say that women have to drug themselves into near insensibility to dull themselves enough to do a booty call? You mean to say that women get angry when the early sex they have submitted to doesn't cement a relationship but merely hastens its end?

You mean to say that the old rules of courtship were better tuned to the rhythm of life and the needs of women?

The fact is that Planned Parenthood and its abortions are the necessary plumbing to flush away the back-flow of the sexual revolution. Free sex is all very well, but what sort of a guy would couple with a girl if he didn't want to father her baby? And what are we doing to women when we normalize the obliteration of the unwanted baby? Unwanted by whom?

Our liberal friends like to think of their progressivism as a one-way road to the future, and their sexual revolution the once-for-all liberation from centuries of oppression. But history also goes in cycles, and sexual attitudes seem to fluctuate between what we might call prudery and license. I have a suspicion that we are reaching the end of the current licentious period, and things are starting to swing back to prudery.

The problem is that the leading prudes are the feminists whose mothers helped lead the sexual revolution, so their solution will attempt to return to prudery without actually facing up to the follies of their own sexual revolution.

That won't end well, as we like to say.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Do Liberals Know Their Slip is Showing?

Over the years, in numerous "national conversations" liberals have stated over and over again that they, liberals, are the educated ones, the evolved ones, the ethical ones. And conservatives are just patriarchal bullies, and probably racists, sexists and homophobes for disagreeing with them.

So it was in the great Nixon impeachment drama. Oh, the outrage of the president's men burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Oh, the injustice of using the FBI to spy on the president's enemies! Oh, the venality of trying to get the IRS to audit the president's political enemies! Oh, the disgrace of the president's lies! Everyone that had half a thought in their brain knew what to think of all that. The president had to go.

Remember Iran-Contra? Where aides in the White House took money from arms delivered to Iran in defiance of an embargo and gave the money to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Oh, the outrage!

But then we got to the Clinton administration and somehow the mainstream media was not as outraged by Clinton scandals as Nixon and Reagan scandals. Under Nixon and Reagan, administration lies had been the worst of the worst. Under Clinton, everyone lied about sex. In 1991 everyone had been outraged about alleged smutty talk by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. In 1998, everyone was allowed one free grope.

In the Bush era, we got to be outraged again. By the "lies" told to the UN to justify the invasion of Iraq.  And Scooter Libby. What exactly did Libby do that deserved a federal prosecution? Never mind: he worked for Vice-President Cheney.

Now we have the Obama era, featuring the monstrous lie that "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Followed by flagrant administrative rewriting of the Affordable Care Act on the fly. Followed by the IRS targeting Tea Party groups. Followed by Hillary Clinton conducting official business with a private email server.

And what do we hear from the mainstream media? Crickets.

Now we have the Planned Parenthood videos where Planned Parenthood officials or their contractors are shown by undercover videos to be bargaining over the sale of fetal organs.

And what do we get from the Cathedral? We get an Obama judge placing prior restraint on the Center for Medical Progress activist group enjoining them from publishing future videos featuring StemExpress employees. We get calls for a Justice Department investigation -- of The Center for Medical Progress! Imagine that happening to a liberal group.

Now my Greek philosopher friend, George Maroutsos has always said: You don't have power unless you abuse it. Otherwise, you just have responsibility. So abuse goes with power like ham and eggs.

But the point of government under law is that abuses don't just go with the territory. There is recourse under law. Flagrant abuses of power get punished.

And the reason for this is simple. All government is force, and all government is experienced by the "out" party as injustice. If the abuse of power is too egregious then people in the "out" party start to mutter under their breaths. If the abuse continues then they start to get angry. If the abuse continues some more then they start to organize.

I don't think my liberal friends have a clue just how much rage they are stirring up with their abuses of power. You can understand why. Every ruling class imagines itself the acme of virtue. If today the elite doesn't think itself chosen by God it certainly thinks it has been chosen by History. So it thinks of its abuses of power as little things, the inevitable shortcuts you have to make to get things done in the name of progress.

But the "out" party doesn't think that way. Liberals certainly don't think that when they are in opposition. And so, in due course, you get the formation of a head of opposition. You might even get the formation of a head of rebellion.

The whole point of government under law, with the rulers actually obeying the law on email correspondence, Hillary Clinton, is to redress the grievances before it is too late.

And that is something that our liberal friends are going to have to learn the hard way, when things have got way past the embarrassment of someone's slip showing.