Thursday, April 14, 2016

Can We Teach the Corporate Elite Before it is Too Late?

I had always assumed that the US corporate elite were apolitical, and the reason that they slewed liberal was just taking care of business. If you are Warren Buffett with your oil trains you chime in with a call for tax increases because that's how you buy protection from the liberal ruling class.

But now comes David French to tell us, in the wake of Paypal deciding not to invest in North Carolina because the state doesn't like men in women's bathrooms, that the corporate elite is not liberal out of prudence but liberal out of conviction. He writes:
The business world’s turn toward progressivism is the result of peer pressure, not market forces. It reflects the personal values and interests of the corporate world’s liberal elite, not the values and interests of the country as a whole. Apple, Disney, and PayPal fish from the same cultural and academic pond as the elite media and elite universities. When I was at Harvard Law School, my classmates were recruited not just by top law firms but also by top consulting firms and multinational corporations. Very few of them were conservative. Barely any of them were social conservatives.
So it's war.

But before we open hostilities, let me tell you corporate barons how insulated and narrow-minded and bigoted you are for falling in with the left's cultural and religious orthodoxies. Maybe some of you will see the light.

Oh, and if you don't understand that leftism, progressivism, whatever, is a religion, and just as bigoted as the bitter clingers of Obama's report, then I have a bridge to sell you, cheap, because you look like an easy mark.

The central idea I want to get across is that enthusiastic Christianity, fundamentalism, the sawdust trail, whatever you want to call it, is the royal road to the middle class from the victim culture of workers and peasants. Hey, I even wrote a book about it, The Road to the Middle Class. You could start at Chapter 1.

What is the point? The point is that, to succeed in the industrial, capitalist age, people need to lose their age-old submission to fate and the local warrior lord, and take responsibility for their lives. Here is what a commentator said during the Great Awakening in the 18th century when a ton of people in the Anglosphere were doing just that.
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
Do you see that progressivism is the opposite of this? It says, oh, you poor victimized dears. There is no hope for you in this cruel and unjust world. Just vote for us, the progressives that care for you, and we will right your wrongs and feed you entitlements forever.

How did that work out for the white working class that got good jobs at good wages thanks to progressive legislation that empowered unions? It ended up with the extinction of the unionized corporations and the good jobs at good wages. And the extinction of the white working class in drink and drugs.

I call this "little darlings" syndrome. If you ever sign up to become the little darling of the ruling class you end up like anyone that cuddles up to a sugar daddy. You end up thrown away for something younger and sexier. How do you think it is working out for African Americans, one of the latest little darlings of the liberals? Even Al Sharpton is discouraged after seven years of a black president.

Hey, CEOs, that you be you! If you get in bed with the government, taking its subsidies and it set-asides, it could all end in tears. Do you ever wonder what will happen when it is politically convenient for the government and the ruling class to dump you and loot you?

Yes, but what about gays and trans and women and minorities?

Well, I have developed a reductive theory to 'splain it all so that Lucille Ball's Lucy character could get it. I call it Three Peoples theory.  Here's how it goes.

Throughout most of history, humans have lived as People of the Subordinate Self. They knew that the world was stacked against them unless they became the client of a powerful patron, such as the village Big Man or the lord of the manor. Even the heroes of The Iliad knew that they were merely the playthings of the gods on Mt. Olympus. But then came the Axial Age religions which advanced the idea that gods were predictable lawgivers. Follow the divine law as a responsible individual and you could go to Heaven. Notice that this applies across Hinduism (get reborn as  Brahmin for good behavior) and Judaism and Christianity. As Nicholas Wade writes in The Faith Instinct, it is a really powerful idea to say that, even if bad guys get away with it in this world, don't worry. Because there is no escaping divine justice after death in the next world.

So the people that bought into the new Axial Age religions became People of the Responsible Self, and they tended to live in cities and engage in trade. That makes sense, because when you are in business, you are in the responsibility business. But most people still lived out on the farm, subject to the vagaries of the weather and the local lord.

With the growth of capitalism in the last 500 years, almost everyone has had to come in off the farm and live in the city. This movement has been marked by notable religious revivals. The Reformation, that centered in the commercial Low Countries. The Puritans in 16/17th century England. The Great Awakening at the dawn of the industrial age. Did you know that the Second Great Awakening centered in the "burned-over district" of upstate New York where the cheap transportation of the Erie Canal had suddenly awakened the population from the sleep of ages?

Yes, but that was then, this is now. Well, now we have the People of the Creative Self. We creatives don't just want to be responsible, we want to make a mark with original and creative work. So we celebrate the courage of the rebel, in business, in culture, and in sex. We celebrate this, the People of the Creative Self. But not the rest of America.

And this is my point. If you are a truly advanced and evolved and compassionate person you will recognize that the creative life is not for everyone. Most people still want to live responsibly under rules, or subordinately under powerful patrons. And the laws should reflect this.

Back in the day advanced progressives said that it was cruel to chuck the working class into the capitalist crucible. They ought to be allowed to maintain their authentic working-class culture, and the state ought to honor this. In other words, if People of the Subordinate Self were not ready to enter the capitalist world of the People of the Responsible Self they had a right to stay where they were, and the laws should recognize this right.

But now the People of the Creative Self are saying that if you don't bend the knee to our creative culture that celebrates all kinds of genders and life styles then you are a bigot and we will name and shame you back to the stone age.

I don't think so. And you corporate chieftains had better get evolved and compassionate on this and step out of your Creative People bubble. Because the culture of progressives and their political correctness and their social media naming and shaming of anyone that dissents from the liberal line is narrow, and cruel, and unjust, and flat-out bigoted.

Progressivism celebrates the People of the Creative Self; it patronizes and manipulates the People of the Subordinate Self; and it anathematizes the People of the Responsible Self.

And two wrongs out of three don't make a right.

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