Friday, July 29, 2016

Hillary's Speech: One More "Big Push" for The Narrative

A lot of people seem to think that Hillary Clinton's speech accepting the nomination for president from the Democratic Party was second rate.

Obviously, it wasn't great, but it did what it needed to do. It needed to roll out The Narrative, one more time.

What is The Narrative? It has two parts, of course. One part is that government and progressive liberals have smashed one injustice after another to enable us to work at a decent job and be protected from injustice and hardship. The other is that if you don't agree with us you don't deserve a voice, because you are a racist, sexist homophobe.

Obviously the second part of The Narrative is what really gores conservative oxen. But the first part is the one that keeps 'em coming and voting for Democrats.

Last night The Narrative was clearly pitched to women, what with all the emphasis on glass ceilings and creating a world where women can be whatever they want to be.

But how?

If we pivot to the economic part of Hillary's speech it is about government creating good jobs and good wages for people.
My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States.
But how?

Clinton will reverse Citizens United, fix corporate tax breaks, big bad Wall Street, clean energy jobs, allow immigrants to stay, kick China, increase Social Security checks, and build infrastructure.
Now, here’s the thing, we’re not only going to make all these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them.

And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.
The funny thing is that it is Wall Street, corporations, and the super rich that provide the funding for the Democratic Party, even as the Bernie bros supply the foot-power. And we are going to tax them more? I wonder how that will work.

In the same week as the Democratic National Convention we have seen a couple of news items that puts this into relief.

First, here's news item from Bloomberg about home ownership falling to the levels of the 1960s. Actually, if you look at the graph, it shows a flattish line from the 1960s to the 1990s, a huge increase from the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s, followed by a huge decrease from the mid 2000s to the mid 2010s that erases the gains of the previous ten years. So, the whole CRA/Fannie/Freddie effort to lower loan origination standards to help inner-city residents was a complete wash. What goes up must come down.

Then, here's an opinion item about the concerns of construction company CEOs and CFOs. Do they care about taxes and regulation? No, their big concern is the shortage of skilled labor, "welders, carpenters, HVAC technicians." The article goes on to talk about the lack of vocational training and the "boys adrift" problem.

So. What does this tell us. My point is that when government gets the bit between its teeth it can repipe the plumbing of the economy. But it cannot force outcomes.

The government can force money into housing. So it pushed a bunch of lower-income people into their own homes for a season. But now the poor bloody millennials can't afford a house and the lower-income people are back to renting.

The government can force money into favoring the education of girls and make them all into college graduates. But it doesn't think about what making education girl-friendly does to boys.

The speech of Hillary Clinton gave no nod at all to the damage government does. In her Narrative government is the wonderful beneficent Oz breaking down barriers and making us Stronger Together. Nothing about the Law of Unintended Consequences.

That's why I bang away with my talking points: Government is Force, Politics is Violence, System is Domination, Government is Injustice.

Until the ruling class starts to think seriously about the damage its rule has done, the only thing ordinary people can do is vote to tear it all down.

Because the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years was from innovation, not from government, and we have seen in the last ten years a perfect illustration of this. Government and the ruling class have forced "clean energy jobs" on us as a solution to climate change. It has been a disaster. Meanwhile, completely unheralded and unsung, the "fossil fuel industry" has conducted the innovative fracking revolution with hard work on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of rock around well bores. The result of the fracking revolution is a 50 percent drop in energy prices.

Obviously the ruling class will not change its mind until it has been well and truly humiliated, again and again. Because until then the ruling class will not see that it has a problem.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The 2016 Election is a Test

One of my recurrent themes is that the Obama "fundamental change" strategy is not just wrong from a conservative point of view, because it re-feudalizes the American people and a lot more besides.

No, my argument is that, from the point of view of liberals themselves, you don't want to push the liberal agenda Obama-style, by a partisan vote on Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, by executive actions, by Dear Colleague letters on campus rape and transgender bathrooms, by Supreme Court ukases on gay marriage.

Why? Because government is injustice, at least to the people on the receiving end of government force.

Now when you are on the receiving end of force you have the options of Hegel's Master/Slave Fight to the Death. You can fight or you can surrender. But when you surrender you are not entering into consensus with the victor; you are just bowing to his superior force, for now.

That is why Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that to pass a program like Medicare you needed a 70-30 bipartisan vote in the Senate. The point is that to make a program part of America rather than just the Democrat agenda you needed the opposition, or at least a part of the opposition, to sign off on the bill. You needed the appearance of consensus.

When you pass transformative bills like Obamacare without a single Republican vote and you push your agenda with unilateral executive or regulatory actions, and you use your cultural hegemony to pass your agenda on abortion or gay marriage through the aristocratic branch of government, the US Supreme Court, you are pursuing a strategic policy of force. You are saying, whether you know it or not, that your power play is irreversible, that the peasants better shut up and tug their forelocks or else.

My theory is that all government action, particularly action that does not have the penumbra of "consensus," provokes a head of rebellion. Because government is force, because government is injustice. We certainly saw how liberals experienced government as injustice when the Bush administration was in power. It inspired them to rise up and elect the First Black President and the most Democratic Congress since 1964.

But now we have the most Republican Congress since 1928. Could that be because the Obama administration made no effort to cobble together bipartisan "consensus" for its marquee legislation? Could that be because the Obama administration weaponized the IRS against the Tea Party groups?

We conservatives have made much of the cultural Marxist strategy of the Frankfurt School, featuring Antonio Gramsci's march through the institutions and Herbert Marcuse's intolerant tolerance. We like to characterize them as unstoppable and inevitable. But the problem with them is that they are pure power plays. They can only work in the long term if the people just lie down and surrender in the Hegelian Master/Slave Fight to the Death. In the long term, though, it is also possible that the people will rise up against the Masters and rebel, or through the knowledge they have acquired through their Work demand that the Masters accord them recognition.

That is why I say that the 2016 election is a test. It is a test to see whether Donald Trump's social media savvy can upend thirty years of the cultural hegemony inspired by Marcuse. Up to now, if you disagreed with liberals on anything you were branded a racist, sexist homophobe. If you disagree with gays you are a hater. If you worry about immigration, you are a xenophobe. But Trump has turned the tables on the liberals, as no conservative has been able to do since Ronald Reagan. As Newt Gingrich keeps saying: he has never seen anything like it.

Because the basic question is: will the March Through the Institutions and Political Correctness fundamentally transform our western society, or will the people rise up and destroy it?

I was out and about yesterday in Seattle as my daughter and husband and grandchildren were in town. I looked around at all the ordinary white people and thought: did all these ordinary people deserve this abuse from their educated and evolved betters?

I don't think so. But I don't know if those ordinary people will stand up rebel against their Masters and Make America Great Again.

But that's why we have elections.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When Will Liberals Lose Control of their Identity Politics?

Our liberal friends live under the sure knowledge that they can control events.

First, their big government administrative state is based on the assumption that rational experts can mold society through government programs. Their faith is a big conceit if wise experts do not in fact able to administer society like a bureaucracy from their perches of power in government.

Second, their identity politics is based on the faith that cunning liberals can always manipulate their client identity groups and turn them out at the next election.

We know that the first assumption is baloney. The liberal administrative state has hollowed out society and severely damaged the "little darlings" it was supposed to help, starting with the working class and now the black underclass. Women and other minorities to follow in due course.

But what about the second assumption, that clever liberals will always be able to manipulate their various identity groups into docility, marchin' and protestin' in accordance with their AstroTurf suppliers, voting the Democratic line, and following the leadership of their liberal betters?

Let us suppose that the Black Lives Matter movement started out as pure AstroTurf, or if it did indeed start out as pure spontaneous rage it soon acquired well-born leaders and money from Soros. There is a real question as to whether it is getting out of control. I don't suppose that the wise experts that have advised the movement imagined that young hot-heads might take the movement's rhetoric literally and start shooting cops. After all, we are all advanced and evolved and working for common-sense gun control. But now at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia we have a few activists going off script and bad-mouthing Hillary Clinton.

I suspect that when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were getting all enthusiastic about Saul Alinsky in their youth they were not thinking that the marchers and protesters that they community-organized might one day get ideas of their own and reject the wise and evolved leadership of their educated community organizers.

Nor, I suspect, did liberals imagine that the day would come when liberalism would be led by the gay mafia, and that gays would not be grateful for "marriage equality" but determined to continue gender politics to transgender bathrooms and polyamory.

And then there are the Muslims. I'm sure that the vasts majority of Muslims living in the West are good docile followers of their evolved liberal activist bosses. But then there are the others.

Maybe liberals got the wrong impression from their experience with the white working class. The white working class was glad to strike and riot when the rich-kid Class of 1848 ordered it. The white working class was glad to sit back and pick up the free stuff when the New Deal gave it the CCC and Social Security. The white working class was glad to walk down the street from high school at get a good lifetime union job at good wages in the 1950s. And when the liberals deserted the white working class and started dating the new fresh meat of women and minorities in the Sixties the white working class obligingly went home and died of despair, as per the Washington Post.

It was all so simple in those days. But now, influenced by the Frankfurt School, liberals have, after the style of President Eisenhower, made the problem bigger. Now they don't just have the white working class to manipulate but a huge Coalition of the Fringes. I'd say that the huge coalition of victims is getting a bit too hot to handle.

Just what is the evolved educated plan for damping down the black hot-heads? That has always been Society's Big Problem, converting young men from war to marriage and work. Liberals seem to think that the opposite is true. Meanwhile Michelle Malkin has started #BlueLightFridays to honor the blue lives that protect us.

Just what is the evolved educated plan for dealing with the Alluha Akbar fanatics from doing what comes naturally, according to Lawrence H. Keeley in War Before Civilization: TGhe Myth of the Peaceful Savag. Yes, you wouldn't believe the number of skulls that archaeologists have dug up that show signs of having been severed from the rest of the body.

One of the things I'm getting from War Before Civilization is an appreciation of the difficulty of getting humans to live next to each other in peace. For instance, Keeley writes that humans have always been a bit leery of military heroes, and have tended not to choose them as leaders, preferring instead men of wealth and substance and negotiating skills.

The whole idea of liberal activism and identity politics is to stir up division and resentment and use people as weapons in the political wars, leading willing followers to peace and justice against their slave masters and patriarchs. That sort of thing can work when you have, e.g., Bill Clinton, the most talented politician of his generation leading the identity politics brigade. But lesser lights, like Obama and Hillary, don't seem to have the chops for that.

It reminds me of the German problem. Under the genius Bismarck the Germans unified themselves in three short, sharp foreign wars. But then came Wilhelm II, a man without any genius and without the sense to put Germany's destiny in the hands of another Bismarck. The rest is history.

This problem is as old as the hills. The son of the guy that creates a dynasty whether corporate or political, usually isn't up to the mark. And then things start to go wrong.

Will 2016 be the year that the scions of the giants that made the West lose control? I can't say I'm confident that they have the wisdom to cede control to someone that knows better.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It is not "Good Government" Reforms that Wrecked the System

No, Megan McArdle, it is not "good government" reforms that have wrecked the political parties and made them dysfunctional. It is the nature of government itself. McArdle writes, bemoaning the way that the Democrats foisted Clinton upon us:
How can we explain this? For one thing, I think Clinton’s candidacy -- like Trump’s candidacy, in its own, very different way -- points to the fatal weakness of the political parties. Decades of “good government” reforms have systematically stripped the power that parties once had: to control money, to control committee assignments, to control how much pork politicians get to brag about to the voters back home. What’s left is a hollow shell that cannot effectively respond to either grassroots insurgencies or to outsize figures who effectively turn the party apparatus to their own ends. If you think, as I do, that parties play a vital role in organizing political action toward coherent goals and long-term accountability, that’s something that should worry you.
Sorry, but I don't think that political parties, strong or weak, are much good at "organizing political action toward coherent goals and long-term accountability." See I don't think that "political action" is much good at anything except fighting enemies in the here and now. And when they do have coherent goals they have no clue about the damage their goals might cause. I don't think that political actors think much beyond fighting the next election and rewarding their supporters.

Correction. I do think that the Democrats have thought about the long-term advantage of immigration in creating new Democrats. It has worked pretty well for them up to now, but I think that in the near future it is going to blow up in their faces over the Muslim Question.

But, seriously, Megan. The big question is what politics is good for, anyway, beyond protecting us from enemies foreign and domestic. And really it doesn´t do that good a job of protection anyway. We get existential perils like fascism and communism rising up and our leaders usually fail to act before we get dumped into bloody big world war. And we get full-scale crime waves before our leaders settle on anything approaching coherent goals for dealing with them.

We are in a mess today not from the wrong type of politics but from politics in general. We are reaching the limit of the progressive politics advocated by the Progressives of a century ago, where rational experts would administer the society based on the best ideas of social science. The product of this elite movement is today's gigantic government that cannot act to fix anything. That's because once government sets a program in motion it cannot effectively reform it because the people benefiting from the program will organize to prevent any change that reduces their checks.

If you look at the world and its affairs it is pretty obvious that the important work of the world is to fix problems and clean up after them. What happens when a corporation starts to lose money because its products aren't selling too well in the market? It makes hard choices, probably laying off employees and redirecting resources to get the company profitable again. (Here we are using profit in the sense of using resources, human and natural, wisely).

But when does a government ever do that? Typically whenever a government faces making spending cuts it advertises its program as a balance between spending cuts and tax increases, to "share the burden." In other words the people facing a cut in their free stuff have to be rewarded by seeing other people suffer with an increased tax burden.

And the point is that the key is not whether or not to start some wonderful new program. The key is what do you do when things go wrong. The problem is that the answer is usually: Nothing. The Greeks did nothing until the nasty Germans forced them to enact spending cuts. The Argentines did nothing in 2002 until they devalued and replaced dollar accounts with peso accounts, wiping out middle-class savings. The Venezuelans are letting the whole economy go down the toilet rather than cut back on spending programs for its supporters when the oil price crash unbalanced the government's budget.

What are our political parties doing to deal with the fact that entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are going to eat the federal budget? What are they doing to fix the lousy education that kids get in the inner city? Democrats want to increase Social Security payments and reduce the disciplining of minority students in schools. So their solution is to make the problem worse. And Republicans aren't much better.

The fact is that the "coherent goals and long-term accountability" of the Progressives a century ago is what has brought us the election of 2016 in which the electorate is in a foul mood because it knows that something in rotten in the state of Denmark.

The problem is that nobody dare even think about what should be done. That's because we the American people will string up on a lamppost anyone that suggests that we start to dismantle the entitlement state and the free stuff that we were promised.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Let's Get a Few Things Straight About "Free Trade"

Everyone seems to be ganging up on "free trade" right now, from Donald Trump to alt-right chappies like Vox Day.

They are arguing that the market is soulless, and doesn't care a whit if communities are hollowed out when the market moves on or when cheap products produced by low-wage Chinese take American jobs. Here is Day quoting SF old master Jerry Pournelle:
But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life. Indeed those are often disrupted; it’s part of the economic model. Under free trade theory, it’s better to have free trade than community preservation, better to have ghost towns of people displaced because their jobs have been shipped overseas; better to have Detroit as a wasteland than a thriving dynamic industrial society turning out tail finned Cadillacs and insolent chariots and supporting workers represented by rapacious unions in conflict with pitiless corporate executives.
First of all, we don't have completely free trade, never have. Secondly, as Deirdre McCloskey makes very clear in her Bourgeois Era books, the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years is founded not on accumulation, not on "free trade" but on innovation.

Wait, she was wrong. It was not "innovation" that did it but the failure to block innovation.

You can have all the capitalist accumulation, the freest trade in the world, and the world full of innovators. But if you allow the ruling class and its supporters to block innovation -- and they will if you give them half a chance -- then you are back to the good old days of economic stasis.

When the innovators are allowed to sell their innovations then you get disruption, because the folks doing stuff the old way are going to have to accept lower wages and even get put out of work. We humans hate that and will do anything to block the innovators and continue to enjoy our customary way of life and income.

I would argue that the history of the last 200 years is the history of the failed attempts to block the innovators. They tried to stop the machine spinners. They went in for machine wrecking in the Luddite riots. They forced automobiles to a speed limit of 6 mph. They licensed labor unions to prevent management from changing working conditions. Communism is an attempt to return to the Eden of perfect community before its disruption by Modern Industry. Fascism is an attempt to return to the Eden of blood and tribe. Environmentalism is an attempt to return to an Eden of an unspoiled Earth, and that is why environmentalists want to block the innovations of fracking and GMO foods.

Yes, Jerry Pournelle is right. Unblocked innovation means an end to social stability. But you can't have that social stability unless the rulers have the power to block innovation. And we are to understand that in the days when the ruling class had the power to block innovation society practiced a downward mobility where second sons of the nobility shoved aside the middle class and the second sons of the middle class shoved aside the lower class, who just had fewer babies and died faster than the higher classes. You can have your stability, but it comes at a price that is paid by the traditionally marginalized.

And let us not forget what happened in Detroit. It wasn't free trade that killed Detroit but political power. The ruling class gave the auto companies and the labor unions special privileges that allowed them to jack their prices and wages way up above the market. It was great fun, for the workers and the managers, while it lasted.

You can say if you like that it was free trade that killed Detroit. But what would it have taken to save it? 15% tariffs on imports, or 50% tariffs? What about a suspension of labor laws to force wages down? And what about if and when the import car companies started building cars in the non-union South?

The point is that the argument about "free trade" misses the point. The point is that reality always wins in the end. You can take your pick. Do you want to surrender to market prices and let overpriced and overprivileged Detroit go to the wall? Or do you want to wait for a Great Depression or an invasion? That's the way things used to be settled. If your ruler wasn't up to the mark then sooner or later some warrior lord would invade and loot and plunder his good rich acres. These days we do it metaphorically. We fail to keep up with the market at our peril. But our modern peril is not the old peril where all the men are killed and the women sent away into slavery. The peril is that we must accept the verdict of the market and work for less wages that in the past.

And there is more. The campaign against "free trade" makes a rather big assumption. It assumes that politicians and regulators can engineer a better social outcome than market prices. Really? I'd say that the record is pretty clear. It is that politicians and regulators suck at delivering anything except dividing the electorate and promising free stuff to their supporters.

Why in the world, in the decade after the real-estate meltdown and the Obamacare disaster, can anyone suggest that monkeying with the market is going to produce a good outcome for America and American workers?

I have a better idea! Let's unwind some of the government programs that make it difficult for workers to get jobs. Let's abolish the minimum wage, credentialism, child labor laws, payroll taxes and their unjust pension programs. Let's make it easy for employers to hire workers and let's make it easy to fire them. Let's encourage workers to save for a rainy day and for their retirement without the government getting in the middle.

In the old days, before the welfare state, in the dark and savage days of the 19th century, almost every worker, high and low, belonged to a fraternal association or a mutual-aid society. These organizations sprang up, starting in the 18th century, when the dispersion of people across the wide world encouraged them to create an artificial notion of brotherhood beyond the boundaries of blood kin. So they imagined themselves in a brotherhood of Masons, who were not manual workers; Elks and Eagles, who were not beasts of the field. And they created a virtual community, so that an itinerant worker could find a friend wherever he showed up, and also buy insurance against death and a helping hand for his widow. But the welfare state put all that out of business.

Let's get things straight. It is utter folly to bet against the market. The market is today's economic reality and the only thing we know is that the reality and the prices will change tomorrow. The way to preserve community and family is to preserve community and family, which were and are the best bulwarks against the cruel winds of change.

The only certain thing is that if you let government start messing around with the market process it will screw things up and make them worse. Deteroit's problem started when the government repealed the laws against combinations and allowed the auto cartel to flourish and jack its wages and prices into the stratosphere. Without that very unfree trade policy then maybe Detroit wouldn't have crashed, but only declined into an impecunious old age.

Still, if we didn't have economic ruin and collapse what would government do then, poor thing?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump Night: What You Are Not Allowed to Say

Despite my disinterest in the Republican National Convention I did get to hear most of the speeches of Peter Thiel, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump in Cleveland on July 21, 2016.

I listened through my particular virtual noise canceling device, which says that, once government has got past protecting us from enemies foreign and domestic, it is tempting us with things we shouldn't have. So most of what poltical speakers say is nothing less than the voice of Satan.

Peter Thiel asked why we are stuck in the middle of fake culture wars while also speaking about how government could once do science and software. As in go to the moon. Well, we know why. Our liberal friends are running the culture war to stamp out all the dangerous sects and cults that oppose their cultural hegemony. These chaps that insist on the separation of church and state are determined to unite the state with their secular church of political correctness and silence all other voices. The culture war is not fake; it is real and deadly serious.

Ivanka Trump spoke to try and neutralize the "war on women" meme that Democrats have used so successfully in recent years. She worried about the fact that while single women earn about the same as men, married women with children earn much less. As if career and working and earning money is the most important thing in the world for women. Barbara Bush said it many years ago: at the end of your life you don't wish that you had spent more time at the office. We make men have careers because it is much better than having them do what comes naturally, which is rape and pillage and brawl in the streets. We've decided that women need careers because well-born women have always needed a way to differentiate themselves from ordinary baby machines. Used to be they differentiated themselves by doing nothing except sitting and sewing. Now they differentiate themselves by worrying about work/life balance.

Donald Trump showed that he has completely blown away the old Republican Party of gentlemanly conservatism. Gone is the old triad of social conservatism, economic conservatism, and national security conservatism. In its stead is a populist conservatism to "make it like it was." Except that the 1950s era of "good jobs at good wages" for high-school graduates that just stepped down the street to the unionized manufacturing corporation for a lifetime job is gone forever. But the fault is not the global corporations. The wicked globalist corporations that are shipping jobs to the Third World are just taking care of business. They know that a corporation can never stand still; it must always be preparing for the future. Today's profitable product is tomorrow's sad loser. And so it goes.

Politicians like Trump and Clinton can muck around a bit with the market; they can make things a bit more difficult for the Chinese, and harass illegal immigrants and people over-staying their visas, and reduce legal immigration, but they'd better not try too hard, or they will make a bigger mess than we started with. As in mortgage subsidies that ended up hurting the very people, women and minorities, that they were designed to help.

President Coolidge that that 90 percent of the people coming into his office were asking for things they shouldn't. They still are.

The Trump and Brexit phenomena tell us that something is wrong. The average person isn't doing so well. I say that is because of everything from the sexual revolution to education to family formation to the taxation and regulation of labor to the government's regulatory distortions. So we should unwind just about everything we have done politically in the last century except the civil rights acts of the 1960s.

But that won't happen because every market distortion and every government program has its powerful supporters. That's why nothing changes until the economy hits the wall, and probably not even then.

But there is this. All government is injustice, particularly for those on the receiving end of government force. Usually the ruling class and its supporters have no clue that their self-dealing is causing rage and frustration out among the boo-boisie. Until all of a sudden the boo-boisie just can't take it any more.

Is 2016 a year in which the people decide they just can't take it any more? Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cop Killers Target White Working Class

I just had another epiphany.

The first one this year was to realize that the liberal turn in the 1960s to race and gender politics had an unanticipated consequence. After the turn the white working class would be the poster boys for white racism. That's what Archie Bunker was all about in All in the Family. This nobody living in a small home in Queens became the poster boy for racism, sexism, and bigotry.

But how could Archie be racist, sexist and a bigot? He didn't have the power: that's what liberals tell us. He was just a nobody working at a warehouse, albeit as a supervisor.

But the logic of the situation required that the white working class pay the costs of the racist sexist government Affirmative Action and later diversity programs. It has to be that way, right? Government is force; action and reaction are equal and opposite and all the rest of the Newtonian system. If the government were going to favor minorities and women, then someone had to be on the losing side. And it turned out to be the white working class.

When you think about it, it couldn't have been any other way. Liberals weren't going to cut themselves out of the gravy train, they were too important with their sharing and caring and activism. Ordinary middle-class People of the Responsible Self weren't relying on government goodies, except don't touch my Social Security and Medicare. So the residual victim had to be the white working class.

This is the eternal fate of the "little darlings" of the ruling class down the ages, here here and here.

Now we come to epiphany #2. The current Black Lives Matter war on the cops, now reaching a crescendo with black shooters killing policemen, is a war on the white working class.

Who do you think works the streets in America's police departments? Graduates of "Studies" programs?Yeah, wherever working class whites have not yet been chased out by "diversity" programs, they naturally go for police jobs. Given that factory jobs have gone the way of the horse-and-buggy, getting a job at a police department is a natural for a white working class guy or gal.

Only now the police are the target of the latest fashionable liberal activism craze. The police are killing young black men, because they are racist.

Hello! Doesn't that just sound like 1971 and Archie Bunker all over again? But the point is that the police constable on the street is not the reincarnation of Bull Connor. Or even In the Heat of the Night's  Police Chief Bill Gillespie, played by Rod Steiger in the movie and -- hello -- Caroll O'Connor in the TV series.

The average policeman on the street is just a guy trying to stay out of trouble so he can retire and get his pension.

But now comes Steven Greenhut writing that the problem with police violence is police unions, that dominate local politics and jack up police salaries and work to reduce police accountability.

Do you see the parallel? Back in the 1950s the white working class was flying high with union protected "good jobs at good wages." Then Stein's Law -- if something cannot go on forever, it will stop -- kicked in. World competition started to wash away the foundations of the union game, because big corporations could no longer pass increased costs onto the consumer. So the great unionized industrial corporations went into decline, and the white working class lost their above-market wages and benefits. In fact, the old union game was a bubble and crashed, and so many folks in the white working class lost everything, the women and minorities hardest hit in the housing crash of 2008 and just like Joe Soptic in 2012. Now the white working class is dying of despair, according to the Washington Post.

Now the rot is setting in for the white working class in police departments. Police unions have jacked wages up above market levels. Police unions have made police less accountable so that activists are mobilizing against the police. And anyway, state and local governments are all going to go broke in the next couple of decades.

So the white working class is going to get hammered again. Not just from the well-born activists running Black Lives Matter who want to make them the scapegoats for the social disaster of the black underclass. But also from the "cannot go on forever" aspect of police wages and pensions.

But if you are a liberal living in your NPR/NYT bubble getting all excited about electing the First Woman President, or a good little girl working as an administrator in a university bureaucracy, you know nothing about all this. And you won't until the sh*t hits the fan.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Fault is Not In Our Elites, But in the World They Made

For some reason, I can't get excited enough about the Republican National Convention to watch it. Perhaps it's because I am going to observe my 70th birthday at the end of the month.

Or maybe it's because much bigger things are afoot than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

I wrote some disparaging words about the failures of the "administrative faction of the ruling class" at American Thinker this week, including blaming it for World War I and its failed aftermath.

Looking at the big picture, I guess you could say that World War I tore apart the 19th century world and World War II put the world together again. Except for the Soviet Union.

That's because in the US and UK, the ruling class came together on World War II and forged their peoples, broken by 20 years of misery, back into a nation again. Talk to a person in their 80s, the generation that was young in the 1940s, and they are all pretty good with going along to get along with big government. Hey, big government had its finest hour in World War II.

The ruling class was so pleased with itself that it went to sleep and figured it would rule forever. But obviously with the Crash of 2008, political correctness, the rise of radical Islam, and Brexit and Trump, something has changed. The post-World War II world is coming to an end, and we don't know what will come next.

Here's a piece about the failures of the GOP elite by Jeffrey H. Anderson. He lists four failures: failure to listen to the citizenry, getting suckered into the Democrats' model for nominating presidential candidates (primaries instead of smoke-filled rooms), failing to make a big picture case, failing to back the viable challenger (i.e., Walker, Cruz). All in all, he writes, "the problems in our politics lie more with the elites than with the citizenry."

All true, but all ground level, tactical stuff.

And really meaningless, because the GOP elite doesn't have real power. They don't get to make the world; they just live in it. Their failure is really the failure to take down the political and cultural worldconstructed by the Democrats. Yet how are the GOPers to do that, since politics is downstream from culture?

Let us try and construct a big picture to explain our situation.

Back in the 19th century the Left, in what we will call a genuine concern for the plight of the workers, built a political movement by splitting off the working class from an identity with the nation. This project failed in World War I when the working class identified with their nations and fought in the trenches against each other. Anyway, it had turned out, capitalism wasn't "immiserating" the working class, it was enriching it.

Still, you had to hand it to the Left. Their project worked pretty well. It is only now, a century after World War I, that the working class, in Brexit and Trump, has become disenchanted with the leadership of the Left.

The point is that people respond to divisive politics, and are easily persuaded that "they" are out to exploit "us." And everyone is in favor of government putting its thumb on the scales of justice if it benefits "us." So it took a while for the workers to realize that the Left didn't care about people like them.

But the Left had another card up its sleeve. It went from class politics to identity politics. Now instead of splitting the working class off from the nation it would split off all kinds of groups, from women to racial minorities to sexual minorities. Looking at the result, it is clear that divide and conquer is not that hard to do. You can get women to believe that they have been kept down by the patriarchy, blacks to believe that they have been kept down by the police, gays that they have been kept down by Christian bigots, and so on.

Conservatives have reacted by fingering the tactics of this cultural Marxism, the community organizer tactics of chaps like Saul Alinsky and the activism culture that all good little girls learn in government schools. And we are outraged.

But from a big picture view we must understand that all politics is division: that is the politician's stock in trade. It is just that lefties are so much better at it. And they have set the rules so that their divisive tactics are all about communities coming together while their opponents' divisive tactics are bigotry and racism.

In addition the Left has grown the government from 7 percent of GDP to 35 percent of GDP as it has rewarded its supporters with government loot. But the more loot is handed out the less that capitalism can innovate and create new wealth. And the more that the losers get angry.

That gets us to Stein's Law. If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

Obviously, today's division cannot go on forever. So how can we stop all this division? The answer is right in front of us. The only time humans come together is during an existential emergency, like a flood or a war.

The only way we are going to be able to heal all the divisions provoked by the Left since World War II is by having us a great big war.

And it is pretty obvious what that war is going to be all about. Muslims.

Of course it's going to be pretty hard on Muslims who are, after all, just people. But the fact is that today's radical Islam is implacably opposed to everything that made the West great. Islam is opposed to the separation of church and state; it is tribal rather than national; it is opposed to social and economic innovation, the foundation of the Great Enrichment; it is social and religiously intolerant. It denies women a public life.

Suppose you were a populist leader looking for a way to unify a nation or a culture under your leadership. What would you do? You would look for an enemy that you could use to unify your people. Hey, liberals do it all the time, only their enemies are the racists, sexists, homophobes right here at home.

Don't like it? Neither do I. But the fact is that you cannot unify people around the concept of rainbows and unicorns. You can only unify them to face and to fight an existential threat to their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

So maybe that's why I can't get too excited about the political conventions. I think that much bigger things are afoot, but we are only in the early stages of this sea change in our politics and our culture, and the great events of the political season are meaningless skirmishes as great movements arise to deal with our existential crisis, and mobilize us, willy nilly, for war.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Everyone is Playing "Time for a Change"

When you think about it, it is remarkable how much of politics is the Blame Game. In the 2000s liberals liked to blame George W. Bush for everything, although his Iraq policy was the consensus ruling-class "regime-change" policy. Now conservatives are blaming Barack Obama for everything, even though liberals are confident that the problem is that conservatives opposed everything that Obama proposed.

There is a reason why so much blame goes in in politics. It's because government is force, and force is a very blunt instrument. So politics always comes down to our guys shoving around their guys. But the question always is: what happens if something goes wrong with our plan to shove the other guys around?

Here's a chap who says that the problem is that "the center-left has told the bottom 60% of the income distribution in their countries the following story: 'Globalization is good for you. It’s awesome. It’s really great...'" and so on. Only, of course, it hasn't been so great for a whole bunch of people, and now they are angry.

Here's a chapette who says that the problem is that "America has been rocked by a series of semi-coherent social movements that blend some real and compelling grievances with a great deal of confusion, cinematic victim-mongering, and wildly imprudent demands."

But don't forget that the last 200 years has seen a Great Enrichment of 3000 percent, and it has been lifting billions out of poverty in the last couple of decades. You'd think that everyone would be over the moon.

They aren't over the moon because at the street level life is always hard and full of disappointment. I like to say that the most disappointed are the "little darlings" of the ruling class that have been promised goodies and are now disappointed that the goodies haven't changed their lives and, anyway, the ruling class didn't deliver on its promises.

So the global elite promised wonders from globalization. Actually, they were right. Cheap everything from China has been a global miracle. But plenty of people have been hurt, starting with unionized workers that priced themselves out of a job. Whatever the advantages of "free trade" (which is just another term for market prices) the constant innovation of the market through market prices creates plenty of angry losers.

So the angry losers are rallying to politicians promising to punish the evildoers. Of course they are. Governments always promise to protect us from existential dangers and what is more existential than losing your job to a foreigner?

Yes, but what about the future? How can anyone expect Donald Trump to deliver on his promises of curbing immigration and teaching the Chinese a lesson? Good point. How can anyone expect Hillary Clinton to deliver on the fatuous promise of universal government health care and keeping all the Democratic victim groups onside? Everything the government touches turns to dysfunction, because government is force, and force is useful only for breaking things.

The truth is that we only advance by trying stuff, and most innovation is a mistake. So we bumble along from mistake to mistake, and turn around to find that, after 200 years of mistakes, we have increased per capita income by 30 times! And there has never been anything like it, ever.

We all wish confusion on our enemies, to teach them a lesson, and so we demand that it is Time for a Change. But the way to the future is by finding a useful way to serve our fellow humans, and not to demand our pound of flesh up front.

In the real world, humans demand to get their pound of flesh, their government check, up until the moment that the government runs out of money. Governments know this, so they do anything rather than disappoint their followers with "cuts" or "austerity." Until it is too late, Venezuela.

It is easy to say: Don't rely on government, but the truth is that the government takes 35 percent of everything we produce, so we have to take the government's dime and go along to get along. When the crash comes, of course, it will be minorities and women hardest hit, although in the Crash of 2008 it was probably minorities and white working class men hardest hit. Those folks are hardest hit because they have no option than to play the government's game. It is only people up the food chain that can afford to save for a rainy day against the government running out of money.

Meanwhile, I'm angry, I blame President Obama and politically correct liberals, and I think it is Time for a Change.

Monday, July 18, 2016

When Will Democrats Realize That Obama is Killing Them?

Government has only two things to do in this world. First, its job is to protect us against foreign enemies, pirates and plunderers and such. Second, its job it so protect us against domestic enemies, thieves and murderers and such. All else doth err.

But the whole program of the left is based on a denial of this. On foreign enemies they say that it is our aggressive foreign policy that incites anger across the world. Not the mention the precipitate of western colonialism. On domestic enemies they accuse the police of "brutality."

Hillary Clinton was playing that game a while back when she tweeted:
Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.
President Obama was playing that game a week ago when he said the police could make their job safer by admitting their failures.

This sort of liberal jaw-flapping is annoying at the best of times, but when we have a Muslim global terror problem in the world, and a Black Lives Matter anti-cop program at home, it becomes unendurable.

At some point reality breaks through the liberal propaganda screen and people will start to demand that the government does its job, and protect us from enemies, foreign and domestic. They will start to say that they don't care whether Muslims are peaceful and tolerant, just kill the terrorists; they will start to say that they don't care if the police have it in for young black men, just stop the cop killers.

At some point this election year, I predict, Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media are going to wake up and realize that they are losing the American people and losing the election. It will break through Hillary Clinton's skull that President Obama and his lefty rhetoric are enraging ordinary Americans and that they are going to vote for change over four more wonderful years of Obama.

By then, of course, it will be too late.

You may ask: why do the Democrats do this? The answer, I think, is that the Democrats and liberals want to use politics to fight a different war than the war against street thugs and foreign thugs. They want to fight inequality domestically and internationally. Not to mention save the planet from climate change. It stands to reason that nobody is going to allow them to do that while there are still street thugs killing people and foreign thugs mowing down French people watching patriotic fireworks shows.

So, in order to do the fun things that liberals want to do with their political power, they first have to say that there is no need to do the basic stuff of protection. That stuff is old hat, and anyway racist and colonialist and irrelevant.

Of course, they are lying about this, and worst of all, have come to believe their lies. The only thing that government is warranted to do in this world is protect us against enemies, foreign and domestic. Everything else is just domestic loot and plunder, the armed minority of the ruling class taxing the inhabitants to reward its supporters.

OK. I've made my prediction. Now let's see how it turns out.

Friday, July 15, 2016

President Obama's Divisiveness: What Does He Mean?

My question about President Obama is this. Is his divisive rhetoric just his inner leftiness? Or is it cynical and strategic, based on a hard look at the polls?

I would have thought that his speech in Dallas at a service for the five slain Dallas cops would have been not just in bad taste, but bound to stir up feeling against the Democratic candidate for president in 2016. Why lecture his opponents as racists and haters at a funeral service?

But David Harsanyi writes that, "like most people on the left these days, [the president] no longer bothers to make a distinction between a policy position and a moral struggle."

But, of course, the left's collapse of politics into a moral struggle is not the whole story. Politics is violence, so the moral struggle can only be effected by a violent struggle. Thus it makes complete sense for the left to escalate the struggle for civil rights into an armed struggle, as in Black Lives Matter.

Scott McKay writes about Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson. After "rabble-rousing" in Ferguson, Missouri, he is how earning $165,000 a year as a community organizer for Baltimore's public schools, and living "in an 8,000 square foot house owned by board members of George Soros' Open Society Institute." Now he has been "feted for three hours at the White House."

See, I would have thought that Hillary Clinton, running for president, would want to damp down the lefty crazies for the duration of the campaign. I would have thought that she and Obama would have got together to keep the rowdies out of sight until after the glorious victory in November. After all, Hillary is the wife of the guy that ran as a New Democrat assuring us that there was nobody here except us moderates.

But maybe they have decided that the "we are all moderates strategy" can't win.

That leads to the other strategic idea, which would argue in favor of encouraging the thuggish Black Lives Matter. On this view you need to get 90 percent of blacks voting Democrat, and that means you need to get them frightened that Jim Crow is just around the corner and angry that the cops are killing their sons. If the Dems don't get 90 percent of the black vote and don't get a big turnout then they can't win a national election. As Steve Sailer puts it, the Dems need to "angry up" the various elements of their "Coalition of the Fringes" to keep them on the team.

I suppose the answer is: all of the above. The flaw in any conspiracy theory is to believe that the supposed conspirators really know what they are doing, and that the organizer of the conspiracy, the Mr. Big, also knows what he is doing. In reality Mr. Big is not as big as he seems. He is not master of all he surveys; he has to play politics with all the factions of his gang, and cannot just order them all into line for the good of the order. He has to temporize, and reward his hot-heads for their activism, and try to keep everyone happily fighting to bend the arc of history towards justice.

But there is a problem with the left's view of politics.

Let's think back to 1968. The New Deal wing of the Democratic Party just wanted to win the election on the old model of the New Deal coalition. But the New Left radicals and the peace faction would not agree to shut up, so they disrupted the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and represented that the police "rioted" against protesters in the park near the convention. In response the Republican Party became the party of "law and order" and won four of the next five presidential elections, and the Democratic Party had to claw back to the middle, using the astonishing political skills of Bill Clinton.

Stop press. Donald Trump just announced that he was the "law and order" candidate for president.

We racist sexist homophobes fail to understand that our liberal friends do not think like us. They really believe that their leftist politics is going to save the world, and they believe that the techniques of their politics, the division, the protests, the marches, the silencing of opponents are the right and proper thing to do. And above all they do not think that government is a necessary evil, on the idea that government is force and the point of social animals is to reduce the human and the material cost of force. They think that politics, emancipative and liberatory politics, is salvific.

So let's give President Obama the benefit of the doubt and accept that he actually believes the rubbish he spouts all the time. And the same for the rest of our liberal friends. What the president does not understand is that millions of Americans hate the continual division and hate the praise heaped upon low-rent community organizers. They just want to follow the rules, go to work, and obey the law.

And they want the government to protect them from enemies, foreign and domestic.

The only thing that will force the liberals to moderate their leftiness is defeat, repeated defeat, at the ballot box. That is all.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Learning from Haidt: Trumpism is the Natural Outcome of Ruling Class Failure

Yesterday I blogged a piece on Jonathan Haidt's analysis of Brexit and Trump and the confrontation of globalism and nationalism.

In Haidt's analysis, globalism is a little bit too far out in front and is provoking a nationalist and authoritarian backlash. I wrote that it was the globalists who were the authoritarians. After all, it is the globalists that have cunningly set up all kinds of global institutions from which there is no dissent and no means to petition for a redress of grievances. Can you spell Authoritarian?

But what really caught my eye was an analysis of how the world got here, looking at World Values Survey data. Haidt wrote that:
as they [countries] industrialize, they move away from “traditional values” in which religion, ritual, and deference to authorities are important, and toward “secular rational” values that are more open to change, progress, and social engineering based on rational considerations.
This is rather obviously an analysis from the globalist elite; it feels a bit like a 19th century colonial governor in his magnificent plumed hat talking about the natives. Compassionate caring social engineers will raise up the benighted heathen towards the rational world of social programs and reason.

Of course, I think that this attitude is precisely what creates Trumpism. People carefully relieved of their religion and ritual their "deference to authorities" are being taught to defer to their globalist authorities and their social-engineering experts. So the only way they have to petition their global overlords for a redress of grievances is through Trumpism or its local affiliates. I don't call that authoritarian; I call it rebellion.

But beyond that I think that the globalist approach misunderstands what it takes for an individual to enter into the industrial world order and succeed in it. It is not a process of advancing from "religion, ritual, and deference to authorities" to "'secular rational' values that are more open to change, progress, and social engineering." It is, I believe a process that must occur in every human heart to change from the rural subordinate culture of the peasant, with its deference to unpredictable lords and gods, to the responsible culture of the city, with its God that sets the world up to run by rules and divine justice, and its rulers that are accountable to the citizens. In other words, on my Three Peoples theory, the transformation occurs as people transition from being People of the Subordinate Self to People of the Responsible Self.

Trumpism, on my theory, is an inevitable result of a top-down transition to industrial capitalism where people are shuffled around into factories, promised life-time employment, kept shuttered up in labor unions, kept quiet with entitlements, educated in government child-custodial facilities, and protected from unemployment and de-skilling by social engineering programs run by the elite rather than by mutual-aid societies run by the people themselves.

Sooner or later, under the top-down system, the elite is going to make a mistake and will not have foreseen some social, economic, or cultural development, and the still-subordinate people are going to wake up and find out that their kind and compassionate political elite has not compassionately provided for them. In the particular case of the Trumpkins the white working class that was taught to expect a prosperous future by sitting back and following orders from its betters has woken up to find that their betters lied. The good old days of good jobs at good wages in the industrial sector are gone, never to return, and the skills that sustained the white working class half a century ago are no longer valuable.

Now, if the white working class had been raised to the culture of the responsible self they would never have got into this situation. They would never have believed in the lie of permanent lifetime employment. They would not have joined labor unions that ended up looting the companies they organized into bankruptcy. And when the world started to move on from Taylorist manufacturing the white working class would have moved on too. But they didn't. They believed the lies told them by the political left; they enjoyed their moment in the sun as political power forced prosperity on them for a season. And now they are angry; of course they are.

My theory of life, the universe, and everything, is that the old country way of "traditional values" was not in fact traditional values, because it was not self-conscious about values. People lived the way they had always done because that is what they did. They lived under a powerful lord as his serfs and underlings. And they worshipped terrible gods that might punish them for nothing. The worst thing was to change; that would almost certainly end in disaster. These people were People of the Subordinate Self.

But starting about 3,000 years ago, in and around cities and towns, people started to change. They started to live and work in a market economy, because that is what people do in towns. And they started to believe in a new kind of God, that ruled over an understandable world and dispensed not divine power but divine justice. They started to believe that to thrive they had to change and adjust to the changes in the market. They started to believe that they were responsible for their lives, and were responsible for doing something about it. These people were People of the Responsible Self.

Pretty obviously, these People of the Responsible Self are not going to wake up one day and say "we was robbed." Because they never would have gone to sleep. Of course they would not have done a lot of things. They would not have voted for politicians to loot other people to give them money for pensions. They would not have sat by while child education went from bad to worse. They would have voted out corrupt politicians on principle, never mind whether they were "ours" or "theirs."

But now our globalist leaders are shocked, shocked that the people they anesthetized a generation ago and more have woken up with a fearful headache. How could their rational secular governance have gone wrong? The science!

Yep. It's not just the white working class that has been living in the dream world. Hello ruling class! This is the future that you created with your top-down politics. You sowed the wind and now you are reaping the whirlwind. Get used to it.

And as for the science, it has been telling us for over a half century that top-down bureaucratic rule cannot work because there just isn't enough bandwidth in bureaucratic rule to fix problems in real time. Only the market can do that, and even then it typically does it with a nasty recession. But at least the recession is better than what they are experiencing in Bolivarian socialist Venezuela.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jonathan Haidt's Nationalists and Globalists: Who are the Real Authoritarians?

In the turmoil of Brexit and Trump political intellectuals are trying to understand what is happening. So Jonathan Haidt writes in The American Interest that we must think of the warring sides as Nationalists and Globalists. He writes that
I’ll show how globalization and rising prosperity have changed the values and behavior of the urban elite, leading them to talk and act in ways that unwittingly activate authoritarian tendencies in a subset of the nationalists.
I will propose that the opposite is true, that the problem is the authoritarian tendencies of the globalists.

Here is how Jonathan Haidt sets this up. He refers to the World Values Survey that tells a story about how people socialize to the modern capitalist global economy.
[F]irst, as they industrialize, they move away from “traditional values” in which religion, ritual, and deference to authorities are important, and toward “secular rational” values that are more open to change, progress, and social engineering based on rational considerations. Second, as they grow wealthier and more citizens move into the service sector, nations move away from “survival values” emphasizing the economic and physical security found in one’s family, tribe, and other parochial groups, toward “self-expression” or “emancipative values” that emphasize individual rights and protections—not just for oneself, but as a matter of principle, for everyone.
Yes. Well. That's how liberals look at it, because it validates their welfare-state-run-by-liberals world view. And about that business of individual rights and protections "for everyone." Can you spell "authoritarian?"

And it is not true that people move away from traditional values as they industrialize. In fact they move from pagan and world-of-spirits religions to the Axial Age religions, most notably Christianity. Then, after they have mastered life in the city, then they start to shed their religion and the cultural traditions of Axial Age religion.

My world view says
First, as nations industrialize people start to move away from "subordinate values" where the name of the game is finding a powerful patron, from a pantheon of power-driven gods or a warrior lord or a labor union boss or a precinct captain, to "responsible values" championed by the Axial Age religions, where people are open to adapting themselves to the needs of other people and taking on the responsibility of serving others in order to serve themselves. Second, as they grow wealthier and move into the service sector they start to move from "responsible values"  to "creative values". In particular, many of these people of the creative self find in themselves a vocation to order around the people of the responsible self in order to force them to fund government programs to "emancipate" and "liberate" the remnant population of people of the subordinate self. Which they usually fail to do.
And when the plans of the creative elite fail to produce the requisite result the elite blames racists and xenophobes and redoubles its efforts to extend rights and protections through free-stuff government programs. And the elite encourages race-based divisive politics in the remnant population of the subordinate self and gender-based divisive politics in the creative elite in order to retain their grip on political power.

If the world view proposed by Jonathan Haidt above has relevance it would recognize that an evolved elite cannot really expect the middle ground of people that have come up from survival values to be enthusiastic about transitioning into "self-expression" and "emancipative values," and these folks probably should not be poked in the ribs about their backwardness and bigotry and racism and sexism and homophobia. The elite would realize that these people and their children would come to those values in due course and that it would be unjust and wrong to marginalize them for values that, for people in their stage of cultural evolution, are perfectly valid and appropriate.

But there is another thing to consider, one that the global elite really hasn't thought about. It is the old question: quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- who will guard the guardians? It is all very well to have an elite of creative caring experts busily extending emancipation and protection to everyone, according to their lights. But who will correct them when they make a mistake? And everyone makes mistakes. And who will punish them when they are corrupt? If you give people the power to emancipate and protect the world, but power corrupts, as the saying goes, and if you give people the opportunity to feather their beds with public funds they will usually do it. Look at the folks presently building and operating wind farms. Oh yes, wind and solar are going to save the planet. But meanwhile a well-connected elite is making a bundle in grants and subsidies and the average person is paying a bundle in increased energy costs. Is there anyone that can not see a problem here?

The way that the global elite has set things up there is really no way for the people to vote them out of office and change the rulers. There is no legitimate channel by which ordinary people can register their cultural dissent from the global elite, and no way to correct the global elite for malfeasance in office.

You can see that in the current flap over Brexit and Trump. The fact is that the Crash of 2008 was a failure of the global elite, however you look at it. If you take the official liberal line that it was greedy bankers wot done it, then the global elite is to blame. If you take the conservative line that is was liberal housing policy designed to emancipate minorities and women into homeownership by lowering lending standards, then the global elite is to blame. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Where is the banker that went to jail, if you are a liberal? Or, where is the political activist that went to jail, if you are a conservative?

Here's an issue. How come the global experts haven't been able to restart the economy at full speed in the eight years since the Crash? Is this "bad luck" or does it tell us that the global elite really don't have a clue?

Here's another issue. Supposing the World Values Survey approach is right and people move from "traditional values" and "survival values" to "secular rational" and "self-expression" values. Isn't it rather pushing it to import tens of millions of people into Europe and the US who are right at the starting gate in the values progression? Won'r this influx of people swing the cultural balance significantly towards the less advanced cultural context and "turn back the clock?" Do not the secular rationalists realize that this might be a bit of a problem, from their point of view?

Or, to put it less charitably, do not US liberals see a problem in importing a ton of Muslims with their traditional approach to women and gays? Let alone dealing with disaffected Black Lives Matter people that are regressing to a naked racist program (survival values anyone) and wanting to curb the police that ineffectively police the black areas of America's cities? Liberals tend to think of conservative Christians and right-wing extremists as the only thing between us and the millennium. But conservative Christians and right-wing extremists really only want to be left alone and not dragged into liberal plans to march in double-time along the arc of history towards justice, especially since this march to the future looks profoundly like straight-up injustice to them.

And that brings us to the final point. According to the liberal World Values Survey view, the educated cosmopolitans "embrace diversity." That is a lie. The educated elite demands that the rest of us embrace their particular cultural values and abandon our more traditional values forthwith. That is why my liberal friend muttered about "hate" and "xenophobia" last week. If you don't get on the team with gay marriage right now you are a hater. If you don't get on board with large-scale migration then you are a xenophobe. This doesn't sound like an embrace of diversity to me. It sounds like an authoritarian program of cultural imperialism, and you will be made to care.

But no. It is the nationalists who are the authoritarians. Sez the global elite.

Here is reality. Globalization is great for the global elite; they and their children get to traipse around the world from gig to gig, and for moral release, they get to help the marginalized and the underprivileged with other peoples' money. Globalization has brought billions of the world's poor out of indigence. Globalization is also good for people that have been able to migrate to western countries and pick up the work that ordinary western people don't want to do. But globalization is not so great for the people in the middle, because they are being forced to raise their game from being subordinate factory workers and office workers with lifetime tenure to become creative workers that must reinvent themselves all the time.

For some reason, the global elite has been blind to the effect of all this on the people in the middle who had become used to "good jobs at good wages" and all the thumbs on the political scales that helped them in the past. It stands to reason that the global elite should pay for their mistake, for they have been thoughtless authoritarians that did not consider the possibility of error. They did not consider that there might be glitches in their program, as would be natural in any human endeavor. And they certainly did not consider that their whole program might be folly.

As Dr. No told James Bond. You are a fool Mr. Bond, and a fool must pay for his folly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Solution to the Race Problem

So here we are, fifty years after the Civil Rights Era, and African-Americans are mad as hell and they are not going to take it any more.

How is this possible? Kindly liberals have spent the last half century battling the racists and thinking about nothing except America’s race problem and its legacy of slavery and racism, How is it possible, after all the wonderful programs to empower people, to fight ordinary racism, institutional racism, hidden racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and every other kind of pejorative that liberals bestow upon the “other” with remarkable facility?

Is the answer that we must redouble our efforts, that racism is like a weed, that has still not died off after 50 years of the application of liberal weedkiller, and that now we need to increase the strength of the weedkiller?

Or is it possible that the problem is not the racist weed, but the very approach the liberals have used, the idea that the application of political force can change minds and lives. Could it be possible that apart from the most egregious situations of exploitations, oppressions, and marginalizations, political power and government force are not the answer, that apart from the removal of the most egregious obstacles to ordinary human flourishing, political power and government programs cannot raise people up from slavery to freedom?

Now I have just about finished a book that is a translation of a number of lectures on Hegel given in the 1930s by Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit. Some time ago I read that this books was once the bible of mid-20th-century lefties like Sartre and the rest of the Frenchie lefties like Lacan and Althusser. So I knew I had to read it. I don’t know what Hegel really wrote -- maybe I’ll read the Phenomenology straight from the horse's mouth and get a different angle on it and report on it. But I do think that I understand what Kojève has to say about Hegel, in particular about Hegel’s famous Master and Slave narrative.

In the original German, Master is “Herr” which is a word with multiple meanings, including lord. So when we talk about “Mastery” we are talking about the German “Herrschaft” which means lordship and very likely more. The German for Slave is “Knecht.” Again, this must have multiple meanings and connotations for a German. My own relation to the word is in Wagner’s Die Walküre, where Wotan dispatches Hunding, brutish husband of our darling Sieglinde, with a word: “Knecht.” You can tell from Wotan's tone that Knecht is not a good place to be.

Now Hegel’s Master and Slave narrative begins with two warriors confronting each other in the Fight to the Death, because that is the only way to compel Recognition from the other. Slavery begins with one of the fighters deciding not to fight to the death and accept Slavery instead of death.

Horrors, you may say, and you may be right. But all is not lost for the Slave. For now the Slave must work, and in his Work he learns how to transform the world, while the Master just reposes on his masterful power and learns nothing. And in transforming the world the Slave slowly attains to Freedom.

Now, the original Fight to the Death is a struggle not just for Mastery but for Recognition, and the Slave loses the initial struggle for Recognition when he loses the Fight to the Death. But as he works for the Master and learns how to transform the world he starts to earn Recognition from other Slaves and eventually from the Master. It is his Work that achieves this Freedom and Recognition.

Now look what has happened with African Americans. It is not a pretty story.

Let us go back to the Civil War. The African American slaves got their freedom, but not really through their Work or even their Fight to the Death, although Frederick Douglass gave a pretty good impression of it when he was sent to a slavebreaker and fought him to a standstill. The slaves got freedom handed to them on a plate by the North; they were, in my concept, merely the little darlings, the political favorites of the ruling class, or perhaps merely an excuse to beat up on the South. After the war the Republicans sent a bunch of carpetbaggers and scalawags down to the South to keep things honest, and the freedmen were grateful and voted for the Republicans, but didn't get to really experience Freedom. And ten years after the Civil War the Republicans abandoned the freedmen to the tender mercies of the South and Jim Crow. In the century that followed African Americans struggled and worked in near Slavery, and then rallied the non-violent politics of Reverend Martin Luther King.

The Civil Rights Acts were a stunning victory for African Americans, but was it a Recognition for a century of Work or merely a political victory that depended on a political alliance between white liberals and African Americans?

After the Civil Rights era, liberals told African Americans that the need for Work was over. All they had to do was plight their troth with the Democratic Party and all their worries would be over, as liberals would fight in their corner for peace and justice. Bad move. Because the struggle of the previous century, since African Americans were freed from Slavery, went up in smoke. You don’t get Recognition and respect from having a powerful patron, or Master. You get it because of your Work, your track record in transforming nature and understanding the world. At least that's what Hegel, interpreted by Kojève, thought.

So today we have African Americans in a fine rage, ready like the warriors of old to achieve Recognition through a Fight to the Death with the police, and Iḿ not surprised. All the promises and the hopes of 50 years seem to have added up to bupkis. Even the election of America's First Black President hasn't changed things. In the new black activism there is, alas, no thought of Work, of achieving Freedom by Work and understanding and transforming the world. And indeed out in the world we normals sneer at African Americans for their dependent status as virtual Slaves on the liberal plantation. What can there be of respect or Recognition for people that have relapsed back into Slavery after all the struggles following on their enslavement in the tribal wars of West Africa, their deportation beyond the seas to the Americas, their centuries of slave labor? At this point, what difference does it make? Oops. At this point, what was the point of all the struggle and the heartache if it ends as dependency as the convenient little darlings of the liberals providing the votes for them to acquire political power and boss everyone else around?

And how long will African Americans stay the little darlings of the liberals? Until liberals don't need African American votes any more, or liberals fall from power to the Trumpification of America? Or the money runs out and Social Security and Medicare get first dibs on the reduced revenues?

The solution to the rage and the anger of black people is obvious. All the politics of the last 50 years has done nothing for African Americans, except keep them cunningly separated from the rest of America. So African Americans must start over. They must escape from the liberal plantation and devote themselves to Work and accept that the last 50 years were wasted in dependence as little darlings of the liberals, and that Day One is right now, as the First Black President leaves office having conclusively proved that empowerment through politics and quotas and diversity and political dealmaking is no Freedom at all, but a renewed descent into Slavery.

And the time is running out. Already the South and East Asian immigrants of the last half century are thriving so well that they are demolishing the Jews when it comes to getting into non-diversity universities like Caltech. And meanwhile elite universities have to enforce an Asian quota to keep the Asians down. It is not African Americans that you see doing the dirty construction jobs around Seattle, but Hispanics. I don’t know how the Black Lives Matter movement is going down with Hispanics and Asians, but I suspect that they are coming alive to the fact that the evil policemen whose lives are ruined by supposedly wiping out African Americans are frequently Hispanics and Asians. It complicates liberal race politics when policemen are no longer the stereotypical Southern racists with cattle prods. He who lives by the race card will die by the race card.

But I don't believe that the anger of Black Lives Matter is the whole story of non-white America. That's because when I go to Florida to accompany Lady Marjorie on her trips to care for her mother I interact with the hardworking aides. These aides, non-whites all, are mostly Bible-believing Christians. The black security guard down at the front desk is reading a religious tract on his smartphone. These people are doing Work, and they are all on the road to the middle class, if we give them half a chance. If only we can stop the community organizers from angrying them up and turning them into political cannon fodder.

Of course, Hegel's Master and Slave narrative basically validates the bourgeois narrative, that the way to the future is by serving other people not dominating other people. But the Educated Youth of 1848 rejected the bourgeois narrative of service and Work and returned to the age-old narrative of the Fight to the Death and domination.

All I can say is that the Fight to the Death narrative has failed every time that the Educated Youth of 1848 has tried it. Usually, it has failed for the very people they were trying to help.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Politicians are Stupid

President Obama says that we cannot know the motive of the shooter that ranted racist catchphrases at Dallas police negotiators. So we are faced with deciding whether liberals are evil or stupid.

I vote for stupid. I'm reading a book on the German hyperinflation of 1913-1923, When Money Dies by Adam Fergusson, and it gave me a new appreciation of political stupidity.

It's all there, back in Weimar Germany. The crass political opportunists spinning lies. The false predictions that it can't get much worse. But above all, it seems to me, there is the fundamental inability of any government to take tough action in a crisis.

That's because usually it is the government's supporters that are the problem. They demand the rewards for their support of the government, and they refuse to permit a reduction in their benefits. Because they earned them.

My point is that when the government's finances get into a mess, governments will do anything rather than cut spending. Think Greece. The only reason that Greece has cut spending in the past few years is because the Germans held a gun to their head.

Venezuela? Their problem is simple. When oil prices were high they put all the oil revenues into Bolivarian socialist free stuff. Well, now that the price of oil has been cut in half there is no more money. But does the government say, Look, chaps, we screwed up. There Is No More Money, so you are all going to have to get jobs? Not a bit of it. They proceed to wreck the economy printing money and still fail to deliver the benefits to their supporters. Think about it. Who suffers most from the collapse of the Venezuelan economy in hyperinflation? The poor. Yet why does the ruling class not Do Something to fix the problem? Because it is afraid of the poor. It is afraid to cut spending on its supporters.

All governments are all afraid of cutting spending on their supporters. And that is why governments, time after time, get into a jam and don't do anything until they are forced to devalue or forced to restart the monetary system after a complete collapse. The reason the Germans are so rigid about money is that they have had two monetary collapses in the last century: after World War I and World War II. They know that you don't want to do that, not ever again. You may say that when a nation has lost a war it has an excuse to lose its monetary system, whereas a Venezuela has an excuse, given the difficulty of persuading its supporters to accept "cuts" or "austerity" absent a military defeat. But I think the opposite is true. After a military defeat, it stands to reason that the people are going to suffer, as in enemy soldiers occupying the country. So they are likely to accept that they must give up their goodies to save the nation.

So I don't think that our liberal friends with their corrosive identity politics and their divisive "peaceful protest" politics are evil. I think that they are like any faithful religious believers, sincerely repeating the rubrics of their faith. I was listening to NPR this morning faithfully repeating the liberal memes about racism and gun violence to their faithful listeners after the Dallas police shootings. I give them credit for believing in their faith, and their faith goes all the way back to the noble days of the Sixties when young liberals were risking life and limb as Freedom Riders in the Jim Crow South.

And I think the same applies to President Obama and Hillary Clinton. They didn't imbibe the dreadful doctrines of Saul Alinsky and his street protest à outrance out of cynicism, but out of faith that protest was the way to fight injustice and bend the arc of history towards justice. They really believe this stuff.

And they are stupid. They are stupid because they refuse to see that their politics of protest brings misery and hate wherever it is tried. That's because politics is violence and government is injustice. The less politics and the less government the more that people will be able to live in amity.

And the bourgeoisie is basically good, because the bourgeoisie is not that interested in power. Yes. The first thing to be said is that the prophecy of Marx was wrong, as wrong as any second-rate millennial preacher prophesying the end of the world. The bourgeoisie did not inaugurate a second feudal era, because unlike the feudal barons whose trade was war and power, the bourgeoisie was interested in products and services, producing and trading and trusting and serving. Not fighting and exploiting.

The proof, as I like to say, is that the great "robber barons" anathematized by Matthew Josephson in The Robber Barons were men that were interested in business, not in power. Even the most famous titan of all, J.P. Morgan, was a banker, expert in railroad bankruptcies, of which there were a lot in the 19th century. And when they were finished with business, these robber barons invented modern philanthropy. Compare with the Clintons, whose Clinton foundation is merely a vehicle to fund their political operation.

President Obama and his movement are the residual legatees of the Educated Youth of 1848, when young chaps like Karl Marx, son of the top lawyer in Trier, Germany, looked at the misery of the Crash of 1847, when the working class didn't have the vote, and decreed revolution. Back then, it made sense. But as soon as the working class got the vote the political system started responding to their agenda. So they didn't need to riot in the streets.

But 2016 is not 1848. Let's look at the race problem today. We have pro-black government programs, we have pro-black government officials, we have Democratic politicians running all the major cities in America where the poor live. Just what is going to be achieved by protesting in the streets? Because cops are killing blacks? What about blacks killing blacks?

The fact is that we are coming to the end of the era of peaceful protest, the politics of "it's always 1848, always 1968." That's because politics ain't gonna solve the problems of African Americans. Politics ain't gonna solve the problems of women. Nor gays and trans and the rest. In fact, I dare to say, politics is the problem.

But liberals are going to be the last to know. That's because their world view, their faith, is that politics can be used to empower the marginalized, liberate the exploited, free the oppressed. Sure, they can, up to a point. Governments, all governments, are in the business of rewarding their supporters by marginalizing their opponents. For the last 50 years, in America, the ruling class has been marginalizing the white working class in order to empower and liberate and free various groups that they judged had been marginalized, exploited, and oppressed in the past. But all government is injustice, so by getting in the middle of things to help their little darlings they have just exchanged one set of injustices with another.

And now they are going to reap the whirlwind. Because they are stupid.

Friday, July 8, 2016

After Dallas: Are Liberals Evil or Stupid?

If you are a conservative the Obama years put you into a bit of a quandary. You have to wonder, did Obama and the whole liberal universe plan this, or are they, in the immortal words of Lina Lamont, dumb or something?

My personal opinion is Lina Lamont's. Only, you'll remember, when she would say: "What do you think I am, dumb or something," she was acting in a way that she thought was smart, but in fact sabotaged her interests.

That's what I think liberals do. They think they are really smart, but in fact they mess things up, especially for their own supporters.

Correction: Liberal politics is usually calculated to benefit liberal elite interests, and create lots of powerful jobs for liberal elitists, and get liberals political power. But the bottom line for Democratic voters is not so good.

That is why the sniper shootings in Dallas, July 7, 2016, demonstrate to me the folly and the stupidity of liberal politics.

Gosh, liberals, don't you think that all your race politics of the last 50 years, culminating in the Black Lives Matter movement, tends to encourage idiots like Micah X. Johnson who "wanted to kill white people."

Of course they don't. It's conservatives who are the racists. Liberals are the ones advocating for civil rights. Right?

I tell you what I think is the problem. It is the liberal "activism" culture. For liberals, the give and take of electoral politics isn't enough. There has to be something higher and fuller for politics than just elections and routine government. There has to be a movement. There have to be marches, and manifestos, and non-negotiable demands, and peaceful protests. Because injustice.

And sometimes there is a justification for the stylized violence of the street protest. Back in the 19th century, the workers were out of the system, and they rioted until they got the vote. In the 20th century African Americans in the Jim Crow South were denied the vote, and they marched until they got it.

But today every good little girl in college is taught about the moral virtue of marching on City Hall if you have a grievance. Every well-born youngster dreams of a life in "activism." That is what politics means to the youngster that has been carefully taught. What the good little girls are not carefully taught is that the street protest is a show of force. It is a threat of violence; it is the first stirring of civil war. So there is a question that ought to be asked before every campaign: is this issue really so important that the resort to actual violence is justified?

For the liberal, the answer is yes, because, as I have written, it is always 1848, when the working class had just arrived in the city and was suffering from the crash after the great railway boom, and it didn't have the vote.

Yes, but what about white cops killing young blacks, what about institutional racism, what about the militarization of the police, what about...?

Good point. Does that justify trashing Ferguson, Missouri, and inner city neighborhoods in Baltimore, Ohio, and driving jobs out of the city? Does that justify killing cops in Dallas?

Because that's where we end up with the activism culture. It's one thing when liberals use it to demonstrate decorously against evil fossil fuels and the Keystone XL pipeline. All very civilized, darling. But the civilized liberal activism culture gets translated on the way to the street. First of all the trained community organizer needs to use more vivid means to lead his street demonstrations in the inner city. And then there is the little problem that young men are wired for mayhem. The great challenge of civilized society is to reverse the instincts for violence in young men and divert them into career competition and sports.

Are you shocked and appalled that young men from the West are traveling to the Middle East to sign up with ISIS? I am not. Of course young men will march to the sound of the guns. That is what young men do. So it doesn't at all surprise me that a couple of young black men (or more) decided to shoot up the cops in Dallas. That is where the street rhetoric of Black Lives Matter leads. Liberals used to call it "escalation" when they were objecting to the Vietnam war.

I understand, of course, that the Democrats are playing on a bit of a sticky wicket right now. African Americans were promised a new era of Hope and Change in 2008. Instead they have suffered much more than most from the housing bust, and the subsequent slow recovery. (Remember, the whole point of loosey-goosey home mortgages was to benefit minorities, who ended up hardest hit in the crash). Imagine what would happen if African Americans don't turn out to vote in November. Imagine if instead of voting 90-10 for Democrats blacks only voted 85-15, or worse.

Now imagine what the other members of the Democratic Coalition of the Fringes are thinking about black violence, especially now that Asian and Hispanic officers are getting sucked into the meat grinder of blame and recrimination.

Like I said. I don't think that liberals are evil. I just think they are human, all too human. Like Lina Lamont.

And liberals don't seem to realize that when you let slip the dogs of activism you really can have no idea where it will all end up. Liberals have the idea that their "activism" is civilized and noble. But it is still a show of force. Its purpose is to threaten and intimidate, and you never know where any campaign of force will end up.