Monday, October 31, 2016

Another Proof of God's Existence

Obviously, in retrospect, the Clintons bet the election on the 11-year-old tape of Donald Trump doing locker-room talk with a Bush scion. And it worked, as women all over America reacted, as they were supposed to, with eye-rolling "I can't believe he said that."

But now we have a Clinton scandal that combines the Clinton e-mail scandal with sexual salaciousness. You remember the Clinton e-mail scandal, how Hillary Clinton set up a private email system in violation of the law and common sense. And then the FBI let her off the hook.

But now God has intervened, with the discovery of Huma Abedin's emails on her husband's desktop computer that the government seized in connection a sex crime allegedly committed by her husband, the former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner.

I tell you, only God would think of that: neutralizing the Clinton campaign sex meme with another that combines the sex meme with the e-mail meme. And it certainly goes to prove that God has a sense of humor, and a kindly regard for the NY Post and its love of a good headline.

OK, I know. The guys behind the latest bombshell are the FBI rank-and-file. Their esprit de corps has enraged them into forcing the hand of the FBI Director. They hate, absolutely hate, the Clintonian corruption of their agency, and they have obviously maneuvered FBI director James Comey into a position where he understands that he has a nice little job here, pity if something would happen to it.

And wouldn't you know, today we have PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel making a speech at the National Press Club where he articulates his support of Trump with an analysis of the last 20 years as three big bubbles: the tech bubble, the war bubble and the real-estate bubble. And since it was the best and brightest, the experienced and the seasoned, that got us into the three bubbles, maybe it is time to go with an outsider. Because maybe the insiders in the ruling class don't know what they are doing.

Of course I think it is worse than that. I think that our present liberal ruling class has gone completely off the rails with both Obama and Clinton being enthusiasts for Saul Alinsky. Alinsky, and the left generally, believes that there is a profound difference between good lefty activists and the system and that permanent street war on the system is the answer. The opposing Anglo-Saxon tradition is that while there are obviously injustices and oppressions, the idea is to soften the conflict by formal elections and that in between elections we put our political weapons away and compromise based on the relative political strength of each party established at the last election.

And the whole point of having a First Amendment is that people with unpopular ideas get to spout them without being named and shamed into silence. And this is not soft-hearted but as Macchiavellian as can be. We don't want dissenters pushed into the shadows where we have no idea what they are doing. We want them to announce their marginal ideas in the full light of day, on Facebook, Twitter, and conspiracy websites.

Let us remember every day that the present political stance of the Democratic Party and its elite supporters in the Cathedral of the media, education and the bureaucracies is based on the Frankfurt School modification of Marxian class politics into race and gender identity politics. The idea is that there are unresolvable differences between the races and the genders that can only be resolved by force.

This is of course a recipe for the Hobbsian war of all against all, and utter folly in the industrial world of today where everything is for sale and everyone is treated as a responsible agent, and there is no need to attack the neighboring tribe to get our hands on their food-bearing land.

And, the way that the election is turning out, it looks like God thinks that a bit of divine intervention is warranted. Never forget, as Bismarck noted, there seems to be a special Providence that looks after children, drunkards, and the good old US of A.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Max Weber and the End of the German Miracle

We have all been taught to believe that Germans are Nazis and anti-semites, potential Teutonic brutes every one.

So it has taken me a lifetime to build a full appreciation of the Germans. The fact is that after the Brits maxed out with David Hume and Adam Smith in the late 18th century, it was the Germans that took over and invented the modern world: not just in philosophy but in automobiles, diesels, relativity, quantum mechanics.

Hume said that we cannot prove causation, only correlation. But it was Kant that made sense out of that and proposed that even though we can't prove cause and effect we operate in the world create a mental model of the world in our brains, in concepts by intuition and concepts of understanding. By proposing that the world outside could be different from the world inside the brain, I think that Kant laid the foundation for the German-led physics revolution in the early 20th century. Then Fichte proposed that the entity building the mental model of the world was das Ich, the Ego, and we were off to Freud and modern psychology.

Adam Smith started economics on its modern journey, but it was mostly Germans like Karl Menger that solved the problem of the dual track of use value and exchange value in the marginal revolution of 1870 -- which Marxists have still not dealt with.

The last two bright stars in the German firmament were Georg Simmel and Max Weber, sociologists that died in 1918 and 1920 and that did their best work in the years before World War I. If they had lived... Well the world might have been very different. Or maybe, like the rest of the German intelligentsia, they would have been forced to flee to Britain and the US.

Right now I am reading a translation of Max Weber's introduction to his sociology, titled The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. It is part of the work that was unfinished at the time of Weber's death, so it tends to be fragmentary and sometimes confusing.

But Weber's work is clearly post-Marxist. He has read and understood Marx, but knows that Marx is stuck in a time-warp of pre-marginal economics. In Weber's Theory he fully understands the marginal revolution of 1870 and entertains and discusses the theory put forward by Dr. Otto Neurath about the possibility of economic calculation under socialism. There is a footnote about Ludwig von Mises' paper of 1920, "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" that denied the possibility of economic calculation under socialism and that developed into Mises' book Socialism.

It makes you think: what if Weber had lived and put his encyclopedic authority on elite German thought in the 1920s?

All that stuff went into the shadows in the inter-war years, and only flourished again when German refugees like Mises and Hayek got noticed in the Anglo-Saxon world after World War II. Meanwhile, the biggest contribution we got from Germany has been the identity politics of race and gender ginned up by the Frankfurt School as a substitute for the failed class politics of Marx.

Yet there is hope, and today you can read about a successful entrepreneur like Bob Luddy, CEO of CaptiveAire, talking about learning Austrian economics and unlearning Galbraith.

In recent years we have heard a lot from liberals talking about settled science and the deniers that deny it. Only, of course, climate science is a very new science and is full of uncertainties and dueling theories. It isn't settled, and the proof is that the climate models can't model the climate.

But our liberal friends are remarkably uninterested in any science that challenges their faith in top-down administration of society by a corps of unelected experts. Who would guess that the science is settled on most of this. We know that top-down government-administered programs are a nightmare. Government programs can't adapt to changing situations, and they cannot be reformed short of disaster. And they are brutally wasteful, both of human talent and national treasure. And that is because of the German ideas that socialism cannot work because it cannot compute prices, and bureaucratic government cannot work because it just does not have the bandwidth to, e.g. administer the whole health-care system.

The point of knowledge, I feel, is that it offers a more efficient model for human action than raw trial-and-error. When you ignore or deny knowledge, you are insisting on doing it the hard way, in war, and famine, and revolution.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Yes, But What Do We Do About It?

Here's George McGovern´s pollster Pat Caddell speaking at Hillsdale College. Yeah, he's now almost a conservative. His February 2016 poll reported that:

  • 72 percent of Americans think there is a two-track economy, where "most Americans struggle... and where the huge corporations get all the rewards." 
  • 66 percent of American believe the country is in decline.
  • 78 percent of Americans think the two main parties are too beholden to special interests to do meaningful change.
  • 72 percent agree that the problem comes from "corruption and crony capitalism" in Washington D.C.
  • 74 percent think that the biased media is part of the problem.
Well, yes. But what do we do about it? Do we smash the corporations, as bankruptcy attorney Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wants us to do? Or do we renegotiate NAFTA and fine corporations for sending good jobs abroad, as Donald Trump wants us to do?

Or is the problem that government taxes corporations and individuals a total of $6 trillion per year? Could it be that entitlement spending has pounded the heart out of America? Could it be that $1.5 trillion a year in dysfunctional government health-care spending and $1.0 trillion a year in dysfunctional education spending are part of the problem?

Could it be that we have not got a foot out of the Garden of Eden since the dawn of history, where the politician "tempted me and I did eat?"

Let us think about what politics would naturally look like when the politicians had given us all the seed corn to eat and there were no more cheap answers, not even "smash the corporations."

The politicians would be distracting us and dividing us by tribe and by identity. They would be telling workers that the corporations were robbing them blind and giving their jobs away to China and India. They would be telling women that all men were filthy sexual harassers. They would be telling blacks that the police were out to get them. They would be telling gays that haters were out to get them. They would be telling the poor that the rich should be made to pay their fair share. They would be telling the taxpayers that the poor should get out and get a job.

But the people would never believe rubbish like that...

Notice what nobody is saying?

Nobody is saying that maybe all these entitlements were a mistake. Maybe we should gradually scale them down, so that almost everyone funds their own retirement, that almost everyone pays for their own health care, that all the mothers in the neighborhood get together to educate their children, that we relieve the poor with the old ABCDEFG method used by charity workers in the 19th century.

Nobody is saying that we should think about the universal garnishing of workers' wages with payroll taxes and income tax withholding.

Nobody is proposing to lift the huge weight of government wage-and-hour regulation, including the minimum wage, from off the brow of labor.

Nobody is proposing to stop corporate subsidies for their favorite projects.

Nobody is saying that we need a constitutional amendment to stop government dangling free stuff in our faces.

Nobody is saying that we should get government out of the pension business completely and make government bureaucrats fund their own retirement.

Nobody is musing that maybe more government force will not be the answer to the accumulation of a century of government force where business and the economy are concerned.

None of this should be surprising. It is, after all, only a couple hundred years since the eternal advice of Gerald O'Hara that "land is life" has been invalidated by the rise of capitalism and the market economy. Now it doesn't matter who owns the land. The only thing that matters is that everything is available to buy and sell in the marketplace. So the need to aggressive defend your land or conquer other land is no longer important. All you need to do is to offer your services and ideas on the market.

But we humans still instinctively know that it is force, and force only, that rules. Power and possession are the only realities. Smash the invader! Smash the corporations! Smash the cops! Smash the patriarchy! Smash the lesser races! Smash the racists! Smash the ruling class! Smash the politicians! Oh, and smash the media!

Obviously, we are not yet near the End of History, whoever wins the election on November 8, 2016.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A House Divided Cannot Stand

In his Clash of Civilizations Samuel Huntington argues that the world, following the centuries of western hegemony, is now divided along civilizational lines. So if you are a politician in Singapore or China, you extol the obvious superiority of Confucianism, and if you are a political leader in a Muslim country you extol the obvious truth of Islam and the Prophet, peace be upon him.

Huntington believes that the ideological age, in which half the world was run on socialist ideas, is over, and that we are reverting to a religious age, with cultural rather than ideological cues. International and intranational conflict, he writes, now occurs along civilizational -- actually religious -- fault lines, not ideological fault lines, as during the Cold War.

Except that the ideological fault lines were religious, if we accept that socialism/communism/progressivism is a secular religion.

On this view, the leaders of the West should be extolling the virtues of Christianity, as the rest of the world extols their Axial Age religions; only they are not. In fact, the West is divided between a nominally Christian capitalist side and a progressive/secular religious side.

The interesting thing is that the progressives use not their religion, but tribal cues, to rally their voters. Thus they have spent the last 50 years raising racial and sexual consciousness among women and minorities. This is palpable in the current 2016 election cycle as Democrats rally women against the sexual harasser Donald Trump and blacks against the police with Black Lives Matter.

Notice that our Democratic friends are not raising issues; they are raising race and gender identity. Now, nominally, this race and gender politics proposes the white male as an "other." But really, behind the screen, they are attacking our Christian, capitalist, limited government culture.

Against this progressive push, Donald Trump openly wraps himself in the flag and the nation. Although, of course, his core voters that show up at his rallies are overwhelmingly white and ordinary middle-class.

If Trump were the racist, sexist that our Democratic friends want him to be then he should be openly making a racist, sexist pitch for his Trumpster votes just as Democrats are unashamed as making a sexist pitch for "nasty women" and a racist pitch by endorsing the racist Black Lives Matter.

But here is the thing. If Huntington is right, and the coming fault lines across the world are going to be religious, then the divided West better get its act together. Because in any conflict the side that is united has a huge advantage over the side that is divided.

To raise the question is to answer it. Right now, native Westerners across the West are starting to rise up against their globalist rulers, and they are doing it over the question of religion. People in the west are clearly stating that they do not want a Muslim minority in the West that achieves strategic concentration.

As this Muslim issue develops it will put pressure on the western women who are clutching their pearls this season over Donald Trump's locker-room talk. And the Muslim issue will put pressure on African Americans that are more worried about police shootings than about the cultural collapse in the black majority inner cities and the threat that rising Hispanic and Muslim numbers represent to their special status as liberals' favorite victims.

For years I have worried about how conservatives can possibly push back against liberal identity politics -- i.e. sub-national tribalism -- because how can you do the politics of division when your basic line is that Americans are the best people in the world and America is the best country in the world? Where is the encouragement for rage and coming out to vote out the corrupt rascals?

The basic thrust of Huntington's Clash of Civilizations argument is that wars on the fault lines between civilizations force secondary actors to decide which side they are on, and usually they side with their co-religionists. So you can see that as the fault lines develop in the coming years, they are going to force the West to decide which side it is on, and the current divide between Christian capitalists and progressive identity believers will have to be resolved one way or another.

But there is another question, that Huntington doesn't address. He talks about fully westernized politicians like Lee Kuan Yew putting on the armor of Confucianism when running for office in Singapore. But was that just a blind?

Put it this way. How much of the western cultural agenda is optional if you want to be a leading civilization that can carry a big stick in the world and win fault-line wars? Capitalism? Limited government? Democracy? Rule of Law? Christianity? Tolerance? Science? Free speech? You tell me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Ruling Class Looked After Tom Hayden

Radical leftist Tom Hayden, founder of the Students for a Democratic Society and author of the Port Huron Statement, is dead.

The New York Times obituary shows what a great gig being a lefty radical was in our times. Given that Hayden was, at least in his early years, a revolutionary, he got pretty gentle treatment from the ruling class.

Which, I suppose, goes to show that Tom Hayden was never a revolutionary, but just the cat's paw of the educated ruling class. Here is how the NYT obit handles this:
Like his allies the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated in 1968, Mr. Hayden opposed violent protests but backed militant demonstrations, like the occupation of Columbia University campus buildings by students and the burning of draft cards. He also helped plan protests that, as it happened, turned into clashes with the Chicago police outside the Democratic convention.
Isn't that cute: "opposed violent protests but backed militant demonstrations." You have to admire our liberal friends for the way they make their aggressive political activists into peaceful protesters.

But if you are a millimeter to the right of Tom Hayden, don't try this at home. As we have seen with the Trump campaign, when our lefty friends send protesters to attack a right-wing racist like Trump it is the right-wingers that are to blame for any violence. Just for being there.

What is all this about? I boiled it all down a while back when I was having a dialog with lefty Fredrick deBoer. He argued that:
a progressive is “someone who is interested in power, specifically, the empowering of other people.” So, for him, the question is “how far to get the government involved in empowering people.”
You can see the problem. It is government empowering people. Who in the world can think that government can do much in the empowering people department once it takes the shackles off the slave?

Really, government can do two things. It can emancipate the slave, and it can give people pensions. That is all. So the government can successfully free the African slave and eliminate residual servile injustices. But once the government gets into the quotas and diversity business it starts a new arc of slavery.

And then I came up with the notion that the thing about conservatives is that we are people that are not that interested in power. There is a reason for this, and that is that the way the modern economy rewards people that are more interested in serving other people through the market rather than dominating them with political power. And it refuses to believe that government can empower people.

That's the thing about a life like Tom Hayden. Tom Hayden was interested in power, and he thought that government power could be used to empower people. So all his life he was seeking political office and power so he could use it to help people.

The last word on Tom Hayden, I think, is provided by his pal Jeff Greenfield. He writes.
In the Port Huron Statement, Hayden wrote: “We would replace power rooted in possession, privilege or circumstance by power and uniqueness rooted in love, reflectiveness, reason and creativity.”
Do you see what is going on here? It is explained by my reductive Three Peoples theory. Tom Hayden wanted to replace the Patron/Client culture of the People of the Subordinate Self and its power and possession and privilege and feudalism with the culture of the People of the Creative Self and its roots in "love, reflectiveness, reason, and creativity." Charles Taylor calls this attitude "expressive individualism."

But my problem with Tom Hayden and the entire leftist secular religion is that they are missing the middle term, the responsibility culture of the People of the Responsible Self. There can be no love, creativity, reflectiveness, reason and creativity until the power-only culture of Patrons and Clients is mitigated by freedom and responsibility.

And then it why the left comes to ruin every time. They cannot get away from their millennarian faith in political power. They think they can direct traffic into the right lanes with political power.

They are wrong, and millions of people have died because of the left's faith in political power.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Let's Call It All "The Big Fork"

Over at Vox Popoli, I am reading about Infogalactic, which is Vox Day calls the Big Fork of Wikipedia. The idea is to take all Wikipedia content and then remove the influence of the 500 gatekeepers that make sure that, e.g. the notion of "cultural Marxism" is merely a right-wing conspiracy theory. (Really, go read the Frankfurt School at La Wik.)

The Big Fork seems like a ludicrous notion. Replace Wikipedia? What are these people smoking? But why not?

For you chaps and chapettes not familiar with software jargon, a "fork" in a software system is where you divide a software system, with one version going one way, and another version going another. Here is La Wik. And here is Infogalactic.

Also in progress is Brave, a browser project headed up by Firefox reject Brendan Eich, and Gab, a replacement for lefty-run Twitter.

But really, as worthy as this is, it is just bagatelle, and doesn't solve anything. Let's do an Ike and make the problem bigger.

One of painful realities of the Trump phenomenon, for me, is the end of the hope that "we" might reform the welfare state. The reason that Trump has brought the Trumpers into the GOP is that he is pandering to the grievances of the white working class. The old pre-Trump GOP did not pander to the longing for the good old jobs at good wages and so the white working class moldered away in a political no-mans-land. And the white working class is not interested in the Ryan agenda, the privatization of Social Security, or the replacement of Medicare with a premium support program that would give every senior a fixed amount of money to apply to their individual health insurance plan. So don't look for any of that in a Trump presidency.

So what do we do now? It's obvious. We don't propose comprehensive and mandatory reform programs. We demand the right to do a Fork. Right in their unjust liberal faces.

Now any Fork must address itself to the Four Bigs in government spending. That is what usgovernmentspending.com is all about. As I am sure you know, government spending for 2017 for the Four Bigs looks like this:

The Four Big Programs in 2017
Government Pensions$1.3 trillion
Government Health Care$1.5 trillion
Government Education$1.0 trillion
Government Welfare$0.5 trillion

It is pretty obvious how to fork education. We are already doing it with "school choice" and home-schooling. But we need to revamp the education fork in terms of rights. That's the language that liberals understand:
We parents demand the right to educate our children. Period.
There are already minor efforts to fork health care.  Christian churches have developed Medi-share, a health-care sharing cooperative, where members share health expenses. It's a great idea, quietly going off and doing it your way, recreating the concepts of the mutual-aid movement of the 19th century. But I think that something a bit more aggressive is called for.
We demand the right to direct our own health care. Period.
Instead of dutifully going along with Medicare and or Obamacare, or some comprehensive reform which the Democrats will never agree to, we should demand the right to make our own arrangements, while agreeing to pay our share of those who can't afford to do so by-no-fault-of-their-own.

What about pensions? Of course every middle-class person has some sort of an IRA or a 401k account. But that is in addition to Social Security. Everyone has to pay into Social Security. Baloney.
We demand the right to make our own arrangements for retirement. Period.
Instead of dutifully going along with the Social Security scam, or some comprehensive reform that the Democrats will never agree to, we should demand the right to opt out and make our own arrangements while still paying the pensions of people unable to fund retirement through-no-fault-of-their-own.

You can see the point here. It ties into my concept of "Cut the Cringe." We have got to stop the culture of appeasement, of being nice about our principles and our rights. We have got to demand our rights. Period. Because these basic things are too important to be left to politicians and bureaucrats.

The point is that, in the end, the government entitlement programs will all go broke. People that relied on them will be in a world of hurt. But we are Americans; we are not under martial discipline, we are not soldiers in an army. So we should not be forced to send our children to government schools, get our health care from government bureaucrats, or give our savings to politicians to spend and hope that there is money left when we are too old to work.

OK. There is one thing left. Welfare. What do we do about that? I think that we the people need to take the relief of the poor away from the government and do it ourselves. This is, of course, a radical notion, but what is the problem with that?
We demand the right to care for the poor in our own way.
I see an America in which rich Americans set up foundations to provide a way up for the poor, and in which middle-class Americans of all kinds pitch in to help poor people get on their feet again. The mechanical point would be to get the poor out of their current "poverty trap" where every dollar they make at work takes about 50 cents of benefits away. In a world where welfare is private, that wouldn't be a problem, because the question of benefits and work would be completely separate. The cultural point is that we are each our brother's keeper and ought to do something about it.

OK. So all this is crazy radical stuff that would never work. So what? Let us take Vox Day's Big Fork and make it bigger.

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Gods Do the "Three Peoples" Believe In

In my reductive Three Peoples theory I propose that three kinds of people live in the modern world. There are the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants who are clients to some great lord. There are People of the Responsible Self, citizens that work in the city as responsible individuals. And then there are People of the Creative Self, that believe life should be more than just responsible; it should aim for a work of original creation.

But no man is an island; each of us must life in society. That is the point of social animals, that we work together. So what does that mean to each of the Three Peoples?

We humans symbolize this situation with the notion of "gods." Our God is the something to which we surrender and bend the knee, and that is what makes us social and connected rather than alone on an island.

The God of the People of the Subordinate Self is the great lord or patron. In return for his Patron's patronage he must surrender to the power and might of his lord, his political boss, his work supervisor. And the Patron distributes loot and plunder as the mood takes him. I have argued, in my "little darlings" notion, that in the end the People of the Subordinate Self get left by the roadside, for they are, in effect, the soldiers in the great lord's army, and when they are no longer useful, the lord will abandon them, as Napoleon abandoned his troops on the retreat from Moscow.

The subordination to a fickle lord or Patron is not an easy life, and so from time to time the peasants arm themselves with their pitchforks and rebel. But they are always too late.

The God of the People of the Responsible Self is the abstract, though personal, God of the Axial Age religions. He is no longer sitting in the middle of the village or on Mt. Olympus playing power games with the human lives under his charge. Now God is retiring from active rule, and setting forth abstract rules for humans to follow. The problem for humans is no longer to submit to the actual power and might of the ruler, but to submit to the abstract rules of the Law. This was incredibly sexist, for it is men that demand to be told the rules, so the new God came out with a girl concept as well. Now the thing to do was to submit to God's love, for God offered the perfect relationship: love God and God would love you right back. In our latter days, People of the Responsible Self have learned to submit to the market, that remarkable human notion, and offer themselves and the work to the rest of society in return for the hope of reward. Of course, the market also has its girl aspect, as in the long-term relationships between businesses and their customers.

The submission to an abstract God or to the market is a hard and challenging life, for all its rewards. And so the People of the Responsible Self are always tempted to take the easy way and return into the orbit and the protection of some new Patron. But they betray their responsibility when they do.

The God of the People of the Creative Self is the the Creative Self. If the old God was the creator of the universe, or at least in on the design, the modern creative self aims to become as God. The nature and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is not a mystery known only to God, but a Gordian Knot that creative man himself is unraveling and will eventually master. That is why our modern ruling class is full of plans for improvement and bending the arc of history towards justice. Society is, for them, a creative project.

The relation of the Creative Self to society has almost come full circle to the great lord or the Patron god. It is a temptation that few creative people seem able to resist, to sit on Mt. Olympus and order around the humans under their rule as the mood takes them. But I would say that the essence of the creative life is to submit to the verdict of the creative Muse. The fact of a life devoted to creation is that is is a failure: many are called, but few are chosen. Many people aspire to become artists and writers, but few make the grade. Many people start businesses and tech startups, but almost all of them are failures. If it is hard to be a peasant, and harder to stay responsible in the face of setbacks, it is harder still to aspire to creative notability.

You can see that there is a common theme here. A true and faithful person must surrender and submit to his chosen God, and not to do so is to betray your God and become antisocial and corrupted. A Person of the Subordinate Self has surrendered his life to the pleasure of his great lord, and the subsequent cruel fate that awaits him. A Person of the Responsible Self has surrendered himself to obeying God's laws and the verdict of the market. If it seems hard, well, it is. A Person of the Creative Self must submit to the creative process, and accept that very few people that aspire to works of original creation actually succeed in that Olympian ambition, just as very few aspiring Olympic athletes get to participate in the Olympic Games.

The whole point of this little exercise is, of course, to point out that humanity's Big Problem right now is the globalist Creative Class and its overweening conceit that it is called, like the peerless Lina Lamont, to bring a little joy to our humdrum little lives, so that all its hard work "ain't been in vain for nothin'."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Zuckerberg in the Pulpit over Peter Thiel

You won't get a better summary of the liberal line this week than this from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. He's defending Facebook's early investor Peter Thiel, a gay that has committed the h-heresy of supporting and contributing to Donald Trump.
There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault. It may be because they believe in smaller government, a different tax policy, health care system, religious issues, gun rights or any other issue where he disagrees with Hillary.
Look at that paragraph. What Zuck is talking about is the thoughtcrime of thinking racist, sexist, xenophobic thoughts. Everyone agrees, he implies, that they must be stamped out with the utmost ruthlessness. But hey, on the issues, people have a right to advocate. At least for now.

OK, racism. Think about it. The time to be anti-racist was when government mandated that blacks should sit in the back of the bus -- and the bus companies went along, just as today Silicon Valley companies go along with political correctness. To be anti-racist at the end of the second term of the First/Worst Black President is to be a mind-numbed robot of the liberal line. The only problem with racism right now is that blacks with no jobs are killing each other in the inner cities and blaming the police, and the white victims of 50 years of liberal racist politics are finally deciding that they can't take it any more.

And sexual harassment! Honey, it's a bit late for that. That was the whole point of the sexual revolution, which posited the idea that men and women should get it on, irregardless. The unanticipated consequence was that women felt pressured to have sex on the notion that if they didn't give in they wouldn't get a boy-friend/husband/partner. The whole sexual-harassment game is an attempt by feminists to put the horse back in the barn again, the horse that they helped let out fifty years ago.

OK, let's get all Hegelian about this. Hegel says that opposites are really the same thing, as in the north and south poles of a magnet. If you have the notion of an Ego then you have a notion of an Other. But the Other is just another person's Ego (das Ich in German). So racism and anti-racism are just two sides of the same coin. If you make race into a big thing then you are a race-obsessed, whether you are racist or anti-racist.

Yeah. And what about this Othering of Peter Thiel. First of all he´s gay, so by going after him you are Othering a gay, i.e., you are a hater and a homophobe. Then, on top of that, he's a Republican, which in Silicon Valley is very Other. So Othering a Republican is flat out "hate." But wait! Thiel is gay and Republican! So Othering Peter Thiel must be racist, sexist, hate-ist, Other-ist, homophobic, whatever lefty pejorative you can dream up.

Not to get all sexist on this, although I am a profound sexist, all this Othering is really high-school Mean Girls stuff, as in "I can't believe she said that." It is tremendous fun if you are one of the Mean Girls but not so much fun if you aren't. And, of course, it is punching down, oppressing people that can't answer back. And we know that punching-down is bad, really bad.

But the thing is that high-school Mean Girls stuff is cat-nip for high-statue women. That is why the Trump pussy-tape was such a big hit. Every woman in America is telling her friends: "I can't believe he said that!"

Of course, the woman's culture of complaint, and talking about people behind their backs, is probably the most important human survival trait out there.

So I suppose we should just shut up and let the Mean Girls take over.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Comes After Trump

Let us assume that the pundits and the polls are right and that Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States.

What happens next?

Obviously we will see an intensification of the left's cultural hegemony. I do not mean, as I read in Child of the Revolution, that we will be arresting people for wrongthink and that people will go "pale as ashes" for saying the wrong thing. I do mean that we will all be more careful what we say, and we will get more angry.

I just think that we are probably reaching Peak PC. After the nonsense of the First Black President and the First Woman President we will wake up in four or eight years and ask "what was the point?" And Hegelians like me will say that the thing is really the same as its opposite, as in racism vs. anti-racism, just as, in Hegel's words, the north pole of a magnet is the same as its opposite, the south pole.

What will come next? Well it won't be anything I am thinking, because at 70 I am in the exit lane. It all depends on what aggressive young men in their 20s and 30s are thinking and doing.

And really, what is the point of getting on board the Hillary train at the back of the bus and waiting for all the well-born scions of rich liberals to get theirs first?

Now, I am a profound sexist, and I believe that women are cultural curators, keeping the old ways alive and remembered as long as possible. Men are creators and destructors. Young men are being kicked out of education as it gets taken over by women. Men are being pushed aside as women come into the mature Silicon Valley and dissolve its reckless culture for something more kind and gentle. Good. It couldn't come at a better time.

So men are out there, right now, creating a new world about which we know nothing but nods and winks. Is the future in the fusion power startup the chap across the street is running? Is the future with a young guy I know that dropped out of college to get into a BitCoin startup and general software consulting? Is the future in creating a whole alt-right infrastructure by forking Wikepedia into Infogalactic and Twitter into Gab?

There is a simple answer to that. We Don't Know.

Donald Trump effectively demolished the old conservative infrastructure that had been tottering on since the end of the Reagan era. He could do it because the conservative infrastructure couldn't effectively represent people that were non-progressive, that wanted to be typical Americans and left alone by government and its enthusiasts, and wanted someone to lead them.

There will be life after Trump, and life after Clinton. That's because government is force, and force is injustice, and one of the strongest human emotions is the burning sense of injustice, the rage against the Man. It need not be egregious injustice, just the feeling that we are not going to take it any more.

At some point a bunch of young men show up and determine to put their feelings into action.

In many ways I fear that a Trump win puts off the Turn from the moment of Peak PC, that we need a continuance of Bush followed by Obama followed by Clinton, the dull routine of the old regime counting out its shrinking pile of political authority, until the old ways just cannot continue any more.

The Trumpers are mourning the end of the 1950s good jobs at good wages; the baby boomers are mourning the end of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And women are mourning the bitter aftertaste of the sexual revolution.

A new world is aborning, but you probably won't like it, and neither will I.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What About the Victims of Politics?

Conservative scholar Thomas Sowell has a three part piece on The Left and the Masses, essentially arguing that the Left never stops to wonder whether their ideas really do benefit the masses.
[T]he left is so invested in the idea that they are helping the disadvantaged that they seldom bother to check the actual consequences of what they are doing...

Surely the intelligentsia of the left have access to empirical evidence and the wit to understand such evidence. But the real question is whether they have the stomach to face the prospect that their crusades have hurt the very people they claim to be helping.

Examining hard evidence would mean gambling a whole vision of the world -- and of their own role in that world -- on a single throw of the dice, which is what looking at hard evidence amounts to. The path of least resistance is to continue going through life feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.
Of course, this is not remarkable. All humans embark on projects without serious thought about the consequences, and when they fail, and ruin other peoples' lives in the process, they rarely stop and think about how cruel and thoughtless they were to spread ruin and disaster in their wake.

It is obvious why this is so. The show must go on, and so, like sharks, humans must always be going forwards, and so the losers get trapped in the undertow.

But it is the conceit of the left that it is uniquely concerned with advocating for the poor, and morally empowered thereby to force its saving political agenda upon an oppressive and exploitative world.

Now you would think that those that make special claims, as the left does, should be subject to special review, in the same way that the government regulates the way that promoters of financial securities should follow detailed regulatory requirements in the official statements about their projections.

But political projectors are not subject to regulatory review. The only review is history, the record of the victims of political leaders left to rot by the wayside of time.

I have made a special point of "little darlings" abandoned by politicians when the mood takes them in the modern era, going all the way back to the European peasants that were kicked off the land when the nation state disarmed the private armies of the nobles. But then there are the other people that got blindsided by history, that were never the favorites of the politicians, and disappeared, never to rise again. We know all about the indigenous tribes and civilizations murdered by western capitalism and imperialism over the last 500 years, because the left never lets us forget them. But what about the rest: victims of wars, victims of local feuds, or just some group that took a wrong turn?

Who cares about the kulaks eliminated by Joe Stalin, and who cares about the millions that died in Mao's Great Leap Forward?

The temptation for modern man is to believe the promises of the politician and believe that he cares about you. But the truth is that the politician only cares for people that can serve his power project, and only so long as they prove to be useful.

Nobody should think that a pension from the state is any good. There is no substitute for the ability to survive when the state gets into a jam and the promises of the politicians melt into air. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Muddle of Liberal Thinking

What if the Trump Locker-room-gate ends up a damp squib? What if, instead, the voters really don't like Hillary Clinton exposing all our national secrets to the Russians and the Chinese not because they care about national security, but just because they know that they would go to jail if they tried that stuff?

So what about these two Chinese-American women, one who took a lot of abuse as a political prisoner in China and one who has taken a lot of abuse for her conservative views in America? Jeremy Carl:
These women aren’t just Americans, they’re super-patriots — and as you’ll soon see, neither is a fan of political correctness.
Imagine: two women from the culture of Confucius voting for the vulgar Tr\ump!

Conservatives have blathered a lot about political correctness over the years. And I am not sure exactly what good it has done, because the liberals are still here humiliating people with the wrong views, and ruthlessly dividing the country.

And did you know that, over at La Wik, they have deleted their entry on "Cultural Marxism." You can see why in their article on the Frankfurt School. The term Cultural Marxism is an artefact of conspiracy theorizing, don'tcha know. Only, dear liberal friends, the term is appropriate because the Frankfurt School is a change from the economic Marxism of Marx to a cultural Marxism of cultural identity where the helpless victims are no longer marginalized economically, but culturally.

So the term Cultural Marxism is perfectly appropriate.

The problem with cultural Marxism and political correctness and Alinsky tactics is that it is the tactics of war. And the point of social animals like humans is to minimize the occasion for war.

Let's go back to the original Marxism which posited that there was a basic divide between the employers and the workers of the Industrial Revolution. Really? The factories were taking starving people kicked off the land by the agricultural revolution and putting them to work making cheap cotton textiles for other poor people. The employers were organizing the process and the workers were making the textiles that were designed to be bought by people like them. I don't see the fundamental conflict of interest between the employer class and the working class.

Now the original Marxism saw a fundamental exploitative relation between employers and employees. Which meant that class war was the inevitable result.

The new Marxism, inspired by the Frankfurt School that we will call cultural Marxism, saw a fundamental exploitative situation between black and white, between men and women, between gays and straights. So the only solution was culture war.

But humans are social animals. We cannot afford to be at war all the time because war drains society of all its resources in a climactic battle with the other. In fact, in War before Civilization the point is made that primitive tribes could not afford to be having full-scale battles, because it would kill off the men and that would mean that the women and children would have to join another tribe -- no doubt as slaves or concubines like the princess Briseis in The Iliad.

So the idea of all politics all the time is a culture of collapse, because people cannot be at war all the time. They must, most of the time, be doing their daily business of working and earning and wiving and thriving. Because that is how you stay alive and bear children and pass the baton from one generation to the next.

Actually we know what happens with all politics all the time. And it is not a pretty sight. The Soviet Union. Maoist China. Castro Brothers Cuba. Venezuela. Obamacare.

Look, I get it. I get that, in the turmoil of the industrial revolution, some sons of the bourgeoisie imagined something higher and better than the desperate struggle of the working class to scratch out a living. Only their vision did not work, and that is why the Frankfurt School chappies had to come up with another brilliant idea to keep the Marxist flame burning bright.

The only trouble is that the battle of the races and the battle of the genders is just as sterile and destructive as the battle of the classes. We cannot be always fighting. As Voltaire's Candide said: I must go and work in the garden.

To me, the fascinating thing is that the market economy is an astonishing solution to the age-old problem of domination. In the old days you had to subordinate yourself to a powerful lord to survive. But now all you have to do is subordinate yourself to the verdict of the market. Because if you can find yourself something useful to do you will find that the market will pay you for it. Oh, for sure, if you are black, you may have to work for less for a while to prove your worth to a skeptical, racist employer. If you are a woman you may work for less than a man prepared to work 60 hour weeks. But you still get to participate. And the employer willing to risk employing marginalized groups may end up making a killing, because his costs may end up lower. Imagine that!

And all this works itself out in the market without the expensive necessity of well-born activists bullying their way around and humiliating people that dare to object to their ideological hegemony and their cheap idea of enforcing Peace and Justice or else.

So here is the profound weakness of the progressive agenda. It is that we cannot always be fighting, not on the battlefield of armies, and not on the battlefield of ideas. Eventually, the war stops because everyone is exhausted. And then the only thing left to do is to go out and work in the garden.

At some point every religious, cultural, political, economic system must have a notion about how ordinary life goes on, without the clunking fist of power and domination. Because power and domination are all about destruction, not about construction. The longer you keep at war, the more you reduce the human landscape to rubble, so that at the last your power plays do nothing more than make the rubble bounce.

And that is something that our liberal friends are going to have to learn the hard way.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The End of My Fantasy of Welfare State Reform

I like to imagine all the cutting things I could say to my liberal friends, but in the end I don't use them. So, when dining with a liberal couple recently, I merely said that, with Trump, I see the end of my libertarian-conservative dream.

The point is that Trump is bringing a bunch of people into the Republican Party that don't care about reducing the weight of government. They just want it to act for them and give them back their good old good jobs at good wages. Oh, and treat them with respect. 

So what does it matter that Paul Ryan wants to privatize Social Security? Good luck on that, pal. Nobody is talking about entitlement reform: not Clinton, and not Trump. Why? Because everybody getting the entitlements already paid in. And the young are too stupid to understand how they are getting ripped off.

So if the white working class stays in the Republican Party after Trump, the old agenda -- of limited government and grow the economy -- is dead.

And why not? Government is all about rewarding its supporters with loot and plunder. And Social Security and Medicare are the loot that the great middle class expects in return for its support of the ruling class. Or at least in return for turning out and confirming the ruling class in its power and privilege. So what government in its right mind would even consider meddling with the basic entitlement loot that the government offers to its supporters?

That saddens me, because I believe in an America that is higher and nobler than a neo-feudal Patron/Client regime, where the ruling class struts its stuff  and strips the land of its increase, and the peasants touch their forelocks, grateful for the crumbs that fall from the lord's table.

Yet obviously you can't elect a mouse based on what used to be called retrenchment and reform. People expect loot from their politicians, and the politicians tell them what they want to hear.

Why do I care about limited government?  How am I different from the average bear? Is it because my father's family in Russia got cleaned out by the Bolshevik revolution, and ended up in Britain depending, for a season, on the kindness of relatives? Is it because my mother's family was cleaned out by the start of World War II right after the Great Depression when her father had to sell his business in Japan in 1940 to a Czech Jew that had no place else to go and my grandfather lived his last years in a boarding-house in Kent?

That kind of family history does tend to make you think on the lines of the emperor Claudius's friend and aide in Robert Graves' I, Claudius who told the Roman emperor: "Trust no-one, not even me."

So I do not believe the blandishments of politicians and their promises of loot. In the end the loot will vanish and the promises will evaporate in the desperate measures of the next emergency. It is up to me to keep a sturdy ship that can survive the gales and the storms of government folly.

The example of Venezuela is front and center. President Chavez sets up programs to delight his supporters in the bright glare of the noon-day sun, when oil prices are high and revenue abundant. But when the storm appears over the horizon and the winds begin to blow, the government is hog-tied. Because the one thing a government cannot do is reef its sails and cut the spending and disappoint its supporters. So instead of sensible retrenchment of unaffordable programs it bellows "steady as she goes" to the helmsman and piles the ship of state on the rocks. And now the government's supporters are starving.

People like me complain and yearn for another Reagan. But the time is not yet for another Reagan. We are not yet thrashing in the toils of "stagflation," the Carter-era combination of inflation, sky-high interest rates and a no-growth economy. In the 1970s Ronald Reagan was perceived as a fool, an extremist, a light-weight, and anything else the liberal ruling class could use to anathematize him. Even I, in early 1980, rallied to good safe George H.W. Bush until I went to a precinct caucus and encountered the Reagan supporters, the deplorables and bitter clingers of that time, and got to understand that something was afoot. Things are not yet bad enough for voters to rally to a Reagan.

So I told my liberal friend about the end of my libertarian-conservative fantasies. And I did not segue into my "little darlings" meme, how the white working class Trump supporters are the little darlings betrayed by the liberals of 50 years ago, who switched from pouring benefits over the heads of working stiffs and decided that they liked women and minorities much more. Because the white working class was, after all, merely a bunch of Archie Bunker racist, sexist bigots.

(I'm sure that they would have called Archie a homophobe, but the word hadn't been invented back then. Leastways, I don't think so.)

And I did not say that the next group to show up at the Republican Party, turned out of the lord's Democratic estate, would probably be Catholics, followed by the Jews.

Going forward with Trump, we aren't going to reform entitlements. And with Clinton we aren't going to reform health care, education, and end the climate change boondoggle. So nothing changes, and the rocks get closer. And Lord knows what happens with the Russians the the Chinese and the Muslims.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

How to Unify America and the West

For years I couldn't figure out why Bismarck decided to unify the German states with wars. What was the point? Why didn't he just get everyone in a room together and work it out?

Silly me. There is only one way to unify a nation -- or indeed any human grouping. You have to go to war. The only thing that unifies fractious humans is war. If you are a leader you have to figure out just the right war you need in order to get everyone on board and reading from the same page.

The genius of Bismarck was that he executed just about the perfect Goldilocks and the Three Bears operation. Neither too hot or two cold. First he went to war against the Danes over the Schleswig-Holstein question. Presumably this was just for practice, to see if he could get everyone on board for a dry run.

Round Two was Austria. I suppose this was a dress rehearsal to see if all the planning and concentration of troops with railways would work.

Round Three was the real thing, where Prussia and the North German Federation went up against Germany's traditional enemy, France. And the result was a humiliation for the French and the announcement of a new German Reich, uniting all the German states except Austria.

In my view World War II united the fractious America resulting from the huge immigration from southern and eastern Europe around 1900. All the trials and divisions of the Great Depression and the 1930s were forgetten as all Americans united to fight Nazism. The result was 20 years of unity until the baby boomers grew up and decided to get rebellious. Of course, it wasn't just them getting rebellious. Our lefty friends in the US were all in favor of fighting Nazism, at least they did after they got their marching orders from Uncle Joe in 1941. But fighting the Cold War against the arc of history? The left and the fashionable liberals begged to dissent on that one.

So here we are in 2016 with new existential threats. Shall we all join up and fight "hate" and "xenophobia" as a liberal friend implied to me? Or fight against the existential threat of climate change before we get fried? Or shall we all join up in the West to fight the Muslim threat?

From time to time I bring up Enoch Powell, who warned that the European project would fail because there was no European demos, no European people. He is right, of course. The European project is a top-down ruling-class project that imagines it can order the peasants around at its pleasure.

But there is a way to create a European demos, and for that matter a Western demos. And that is to fight a world war against Islam.

No doubt we will have to do it, eventually. But not just yet. Right now, the ruling class is on one page and the people are on another. So things will have to get worse before they get better and the ruling class decides to bravely lead the West against Islam and create a western demos.

In a way, our jihadi friends are doing us a favor. They are creating the feeling that we are not safe. And that will eventually create the feeling that we need to do something about it. Reporters will be sticking microphones in presidents' faces and demanding to know: "Mr President, is it safe?"

And then the ruling class will have the warrant to gin up a lovely war. Which is tremendous fun for all ruling classes, ancient and modern.

Just make sure you win, you rulers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Five Books for Liberals to Worry About

Cass Sunstein, the advocate of "nudge," is warning liberals that they may have a problem. He puts it politely, suggesting that even though Obama and Clinton are the best thing since sliced bread, liberals might want to read some books. Not that it would change their minds, but that it might help them understand why some people down there among the deplorables and the irredeemables  might disagree with them.

He starts with James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State. He tells his readers that
Scott argues that modern governments, relying on top-down knowledge, tend to be clueless, because they depend on “thin simplifications” of complex systems -- and hence lack an understanding of how human beings actually organize themselves.
Hmm. But Scott also says that the basic plan of the modern state started with the absolute monarchs, who needed to break through the mediating institutions of the time, the guilds and land-owners, so that they could tax and draft individuals rather than merely deal with intermediate notables and power-holders. The same plan is going into effect as the globalists attempt to "piece the shell of national sovereignty."

Hey, liberals could also read Tocqueville's French Revolution and the Old Regime, which tells how the top-down administrative system of the French ancien rĂ©gime killed all sense of belonging and loyalty to the regime and thus set up France for the debacle of the Revolution and the Terror.

Then Sunstein moves on to A Matter of Interpretation by Antonin Scalia, which I have not read. Progressives don't like Scalia, writes Sunstein, because he was an opponent "of affirmative action, abortion, gun control, and campaign finance legislation."
But what Scalia cared most about was clear, predictable rules, laid down in advance. In this book, he argues for approaches to interpretation that produce clarity, generality, and fair notice, and that sharply constrain the discretion of federal judges.
Yeah, well, that's the problem innit? What liberals want is complete freedom for their nominees to be able to administer as needed, without regard to any rules laid down in advance. And that issues from the very nature of top-down administrative government. Just like with Obamacare, the ruling class cannot predict in advance what unanticipated problems will occur, so it needs complete discretion for the administrators to clean up the problems and patch them with additional billions without having to go back to Congress for additional legislation.

And that leads Sunstein into Side Effects and Complications: The Economic Consequences of Health-Care Reform by Casey Mulligan.
Mulligan’s central claim is that the Affordable Care Act is imposing large implicit taxes on full-time employment, producing real reductions in wages. The result, he argues, is that many employees would do far better if they worked fewer hours per week -- and in some cases, if they didn't work at all. 
Actually, this is true of the entire welfare state. It is an enormous tax on work, starting with the payroll tax, and then going onto all the other taxes on work, like unemployment and workers compensation taxes. Some people might actually call the welfare state unjust, in that it weighs so heavily on the brow of labor.

Then Sunstein comes to The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haight, which I have read.
Do conservatives have moral commitments that progressives may not even recognize? Haidt says yes, and he identifies three: authority, loyalty and sanctity. If, for example, someone has betrayed a trust, or treated a boss or a parent disrespectfully, conservatives are far more likely to be outraged than progressives.
The interesting thing here is that liberals do too believe in "authority, loyalty and sanctity." Liberals are really big on the authority of big government and the moral authority of peaceful protesters. Liberals are crazy loyal to their side in the culture wars, and demonstrate their loyalty by defenestrating any heretics on the spot with their naming and shaming. But they think of themselves as independent thinkers bravely speaking truth to power. And as for sanctity, liberals believe absolutely in the sanctity of the environment and the planet and a woman's right to choose. So liberals are living in a dream world. They don't understand what they believe.

Finally, Sunstein wants his liberal friends to read Order Without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes by Robert Ellickson.
Progressives tend to believe that without a strong government, social order just isn’t possible; you would have anarchy. An impressive body of research -- much of it by Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom -- demonstrates that this belief is wrong. Sometimes people can sort things out well enough on their own, benefiting from social norms that have nothing to do with government.
Oh really! "Sometimes" is it? Where I come from the settled science says that if you put a group of Americans into a room to solve a problem they will do so, attempting to resolve it by giving each party to the problem something to take away. That agrees with the notion in Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent that the best form of legislating is the rule of unanimous consent. That way the proposers of any government program have to buy the votes of the people that will lose out on the program by compensating them for their losses.

The point is that in order to get people to fight, most of the time, you need a politician. As I say, politics is division.

I don't know what Cass Sunstein really believes. In any case, he lives in the world where he might get a government gig in any Democratic administration, so of course he believes that "Barack Obama has been a terrific president... and that Hillary Clinton would be an excellent successor." Jobs, jobs, jobs.

But I suspect that the subtext of his article is a warning to liberals, as in: You may think that everything is copacetic, dear liberal friends, but you need to know that there is "trouble at t'mill," not just because the rubes are deploring, but because a lot of what we liberals take for granted just isn't so. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Real Clash Isn't "Civilizations"

The argument of Sam Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations is that the real divide isn't between nations, as in the post 1848 nation-state system. It isn't between ideologies, as in capitalism vs. socialism.

No, the real large-scale conflicts are between civilizations, meaning the extended expression of "blood, language, religion, way of life" that people in a civilizational area have in common.
The crucial distinctions in religion among human groups concern their values, beliefs, institutions, and social structures, not their physical size, head shapes, and skin colors.
On Huntington's view the last century was a failed age of ideology, which aimed to replace the dominant European hegemony with a new world secular religion. But the failure of the Soviet Union put an end to that and resulted in a West-and-the-rest in which the basic civilizations reasserted themselves. Post 1990 and the collapse of communism we have: Western, Latin American, African, Islamic, Sinic, Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist, Japanese civilizations.

Which is to say that the peoples of the Earth have returned to their Axial Age religions after the failure of the proposed secular religion and culture of the Class of 1848 and socialism. Of course they have. When a new god fails, people go back to the old gods.

Now I agree with Huntington that the world of global politics is certainly a clash of civilizations, but I think that he misses the larger point. Something else is trying to be born, something that nobody understands and nobody wants to look in the face. Call it the opening of a new Pandora's Box.

And so the story of the last century and more is an attempt to stuff these new demons back into the box. Or an attempt to return to the pre-industrial Garden of Eden.

But, of course, there is no going back to the Garden of Eden. It was Eve eating of the Tree of Knowledge that did it, or in Hegelian terms, the beginning of self-consciousness.

In my view the secular religions and politics of the last century or so since 1848 has been the effort, both by elites and the lower orders, to turn away from the new order of markets and innovation,, because they hate it and fear it.

That was the point of the socialist revolution; it would put the genie of capitalism and freedom back in the bottle. And that is why ideological revolutionaries all across the world flocked to socialism's banner and erected socialist regimes everywhere from Russia to China to India. They were threatened by capitalism and freedom too just like Europeans. But it all failed because it was an attempt to deny the new reality, that people were now going to interact with each other in their daily business through markets rather than through vertical power relationships with a lord or priest or patron.

What we see in the world today, after the death of the socialist god that failed, is a grudging acceptance of capitalism and markets, up to a point. But everyone is agreed that it must be kept in its bottle, as far as possible, and subordinated to the age-old wisdom of the culture, the Sinic culture in China, the Hindu culture in India, etc. So Huntington quotes political leaders like Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore, about how Sinic culture is much superior to Western culture and its corrosive individualism.

But there is a profound conjuring trick going on here. Many of the new leaders in the post-colonial nations were products of western education, like Pakistan's Jinnah, Singapore's Lee, and Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike. When they rose to power they had to "indigenize" to appeal to their countrymen and get elected.
They reverted to their ancestral cultures, and in the process at times changed identities, names, dress, and beliefs.
So what they are really doing is changing their nations while pretending to adhere to the old ways. Because you just can't expect most people to, e.g., get on a rocket ship to Mars knowing that they will never come home again. Just because Elon Musk is selling tickets.

I wonder if that is what Donald Trump is doing, promising to Make America Great Again in a return to good manufacturing jobs at good wages. Trump is a businessman; he knows you can never go back. But I am sure that Moses never told the Israelites that he would keep them in the wilderness for 40 years.

In Jesus in Beijing a Chinese Christian speaks of the experience of the Chinese confronting the West. First the Chinese thought the West was all about its military power, then its science, then its politics, then its Christianity. All true, but notice what he misses out: the West's markets and its permissionless innovation.

It is the last thing, markets and innovation, that all politics is presently organized to control and to neuter. That is what the six or so civilizations are trying to do all over the world. Or, at least, that is what their leaders are telling their peoples.

But the real clash is between the old ways of vertical allegiance and its Patron/Client (or Hegelian Master/Slave) culture and the new ways of horizontal cooperation through the market. That is what scares everyone half to death even as it has brought forth the Great Enrichment of per-capita income from $3 to $100 per day.

All across the world politicians and wise men are promising to protect people in their vertical silos against the fearful rising of the oceans that will marketize everything it its path. But they are lying, either to themselves or to the people they lead.

All religions ask their adherents for surrender: to God, to the ancestors, or to God's love. The god of the new world asks us to surrender to the market, to search out, each individual, how to contribute to society and its prosperity. And the whole world is united in determination to stop such a shocking and radical break with the past.

What will be the result of this real clash? Nobody knows. That is what we are all trying to figure out: the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Government Will Defend Its Power to the Last Dollar and the Last Soldier

I was reading John Mosier's Verdun: The Lost History of the Most Important Battle of World War I, 1914-1918 last week. And one item shot out at me.

Mosier has made a career as a contrarian historian of the World Wars, starting with The Myth of the Great War. His line is that the Germans really knew what they were doing, militarily, and solved the problem of the "lethal battlefield." They did it with their infiltration and storm-trooper tactics. Instead of storming across No-mans-land in serried ranks into the teeth of the machine guns they infiltrated in small squads, bypassing strong points if possible. Only the entry of the US into the war allowed the allies to win.

In Verdun Mosier returns to the Great War and the incompetence of the allied generals and politicians, and the basic German strategy in attacking Verdun in 1916. The German idea was not to "bleed France white" but to destroy French morale by engaging the French army in a dispiriting fight for an iconic border town. This strategy failed in the short term; by the end of 1916 nothing had changed.

The strategy failed because the French army and government lied about the battles on the front line, so people really didn't know what was going on. What the German general von Falkenhayn had not taken into account was that
governments frequently lie to their citizens, generally when the lies are necessary to keep the members of the government in power[.]
In other words, to stay in power in World War I the French army was quite happy to lie to the French government, and the government was quite happy to lie to their people and keep fighting, down the life of the last Frenchman, if that was what it took.

So even though the French army was abominably led right through the war it took until 1917 for the soldiers to say: enough, and until 1918 for the people to say: enough.

I am waffling through all this to get to a point. World War I was not the last gasp of the old order, as we are carefully taught. It was the first cock-up of the new world order. Britain and France were democracies, led by average elected politicians, and Wilhelm II was a a less-than-average constitutional monarch, even though we have been carefully taught to think of him as a militarist monster. Germany had the most advanced welfare state in Europe in 1914.

Whatever had been the point of the old European wars there was certainly no point in the richest countries in the world getting at each others' throats like competing robber bands.

Today we are a century on after the First Cock-up of the new world order, and the educated ruling class seems to have learned nothing.

Of course not. That's because, as Mosier wrote above, the ruling class is composed of people that are interested in power, and will do and say anything to stay in power. And they will do it with your money without a qualm.

That's why we have Trump. Because the GOP base is fed up with its leaders. Because the white working class has finally given up on the Democrats. Of course Trump is no better than the established rulers. He is lying about bringing back those good manufacturing jobs at good wages. Etc.

I didn't watch the debate last night but here is the item that spoke to me. One commentator faulted the pathetic questions from the audience, that all seemed to be saying: show that you care about me.

That's the problem, folks. They don't care about you. They only care about your vote. And they are quite happy to keep bribing you with your own money so long as you keep falling for the con.

The first step to political sanity is to tell the politicians to take their free stuff and the taxes that support it where the sun don't shine.

But we don't, and we never will. Because when we, e.g., face big medical bills after an accident, our first reaction is to think that "single payer" is the answer. Our first instinct is to get other people to pay for our problems.

Because, I guess, we are human.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Education: What Do Mothers Want?

Given that government education is a mess, what do we do now?

From the policy analysis shops come a couple of articles arguing for more school choice: Lennie Jarratt argues for "The Right of Parents to Choose Their Child's Education." And Michelle Ray writes that "The Children Have Been Left Behind." These ladies get into the weeds about school choice and bureaucrats and dilapidated buildings. If that is your thing.

Then there is Rhonda Robinson with "Why Self-Directed Education Has More to Offer Than Public Education" making the home-school argument. Not that she started out as a home-school advocate. Her son was failing in school, not learning to read until he found his father's military training manual. Then it was Katy bar the door, and home-schooling and now her son "is a conservative business owner and a self-made man."

It all depends on what you think education -- or indeed childhood -- is for.

The fact is that education activists have always had an ulterior motive: they want to substitute their judgement for yours on the raising of your child. If it's the Jesuits, it is "give me the boy before he is seven and I will give you the man." If it was the French revolutionaries, it was to get the kids away from the Jesuits. If it was the Germans it was to make soldiers for Germany. If it was Horace Mann it was to turn Boston Irish Catholic boys into Protestants and to cut the crime rate by 90%. If it was education experts in the US at the turn of the 20th century the idea was to prepare children to be obedient workers in factories.

The problem is that when these activists come with free education for your children they are not doing it to help you and your child; they merely want to enlist your child in their ideological army.

So if you are not paying for your kid's education you are probably surrendering your kid to somebody else's agenda, making them into somebody else's mind-numbed robot.

The point is that one-size-fits-all is probably not a good idea, because,

If you are a mother that is barely literate you probably should want a KIPP-style education that force-marches your kid into the literate middle class.

If you are an ordinary middle-class mother you probably want an ordinary middle-class education.

If you are an elite mother you probably want your kid hot-house educated into one of the elite professions.

If you are a creative mother you probably want your kid to educate him/herself at home and follow his/her bliss and create a life on their own energy and will.

And if you are a liberal mother you probably want your kid to grow up to be an activist.

Meanwhile the current wreck of a government education system will continue to go down, year after year, and it will be left mostly to fail to educate the children of the poor. That, of course, is a crime, but you don't see many in our ruling class that concerned.

Then there is another question. Should mothers direct childhood education, or fathers? I wish I knew.

I'm inclined to believe that we should bring back child labor and chuck kids out of the home at age 13 and only let them stay in school if they are willing to crawl over broken glass.

But I could be wrong about that.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Fundamental Error of the Left

I went to a neighborhood dinner with a bunch of liberals, and they all knew the hits on Trump. So they are empty headed idiots. I lunched with a liberal friend a couple months ago and she asked about "hate" and "xenophobia." So she is repeating the liberal pejoratives du jour. I lunched with another liberal friend and found, as I expected, that she is engaged in the First Woman President thing, just as she was proud of the First Black President thing back in 2008.

All very innocent. But then you get the woman novelist, Lionel Shriver, that argued against the sin of "cultural appropriation" at a writers' festival in Australia and set off a storm of controversy.

This is not going to end well, writes Kurt Schlichter. Remember the guy in the Rockwell "Freedom of Speech" painting? You can tell he is supposed to be an ordinary young working stiff, standing up in a meeting to speak his piece to the approval of the older men around him. That was then; but today liberals are all against freedom of speech by working stiffs.
You see, to liberals, what our guy has to say isn’t important – what’s important to liberals is to shut him up. It’s to punch down upon him with cheap mockery so he’s beaten into submission. It’s to use shame to silence him and every other irredeemable deplorable in order to consolidate their progressive death grip upon America’s throat.
The problem is that liberals have convinced themselves that they are the good guys and the white working stiff is deplorable and irredeemable. And naturally, if these people are racists and sexists it is one step for liberals to give themselves permission to use force to shut them up and deny them the right to participate in politics.

They think this way because they believe that the way to a just and peaceful world is through politics and activism. Therefore anyone that opposes them is evil and should be suppressed.

There is a fundamental error here, and it is this. You cannot achieve justice with politics. What you can do, you hope, is to avoid civil war with politics. You can give people the notion that they have a voice, that their grievances will be heard, and that the most egregious outrages may be redressed. That is all.

Politics cannot create a heaven on earth, or anything close to it. Anyone that thinks that politics and government programs are solving anything has got a screw loose. The reason is simple. Politics is division; government is force, and force is the sharp end of injustice. So when you use government to correct injustice you are using the very weapon that is used to create injustice. You are diffusing one head of rebellion and creating another.

The whole point of the constitutional age of Montesquieu and the Federalist Papers back in the 18th century was to figure out how to create a government that could do the basic things needed, like keep the peace and make the state strong enough that it would not attract the attention of international predators. But they wanted to make it really hard for any group to make the state and its power into their personal power project and force its agenda on the rest of the nation.

And the first thing that happened after the US Constitution was ratified in 1787 was a demonstration by the French, starting in 1789, as to why good constitutional institutions were such a good idea.

Because the French had a revolution that spun completely out of control and ended up in a Reign of Terror. Worse than that, it got France into a war that ended France's centuries-long reign as the top dog in Europe.

What happens in a Reign of Terror is that government gets really interested not just in punishing wrong actions but punishing wrong thinking and wrong speaking.

Yes, but why? Why do these lefty revolutions always end up in a Reign of Terror, or a Great Purge, or a Cultural Revolution? I will tell you why.

A new lefty government thinks that its enlightened program of government spending and taxation, of forcing Adam to pay for Bruce, will work and create justice and equality. But of course it doesn't because the economy is much too complicated for a government bureaucracy to make sense out of it. So the program starts to go off the rails.

But how could this be? It was formulated by the best minds and executed in exact detail. How could it go wrong? The answer is obvious: saboteurs and wreckers, opponents of the regime that are trying to destroy it. It couldn't be anything else.

Actually, settled science says that socialism can't work because it can't compute prices, and administrative government can't work because 10,000 bureaucrats can't out-think 1,000,000 producers and consumers: there just isn't enough bandwidth. Well, it would be settled science if liberals and lefties weren't in denial. Actually it isn't really denial, it is faith, the leftist faith in politics and activism and government. That is the problem.

My judgement is that the current leftist program of intimidation and punishment of thought-crimes, calling out Trump voters as deplorables and irredeemables, is a sign that liberals know their program is going off the rails. If the program is going off the rails, there can only be one reason: racists and sexists are wrecking and sabotaging it.

Give it up, liberals! Your program is rubbish! Yeah. If only.

The faithful believers never give up after falling at the first fence. They call for another mount and continue; they know that they are going to win. Because after all, everyone agrees that leftism is the only way to bend the arc of history towards justice, and government is the name for things we do together.

Yeah. Maybe so. But the weight of government force bends the minds of men towards rebellion. Unless the mind of government lurches towards terror. That's what Mao and Chou discovered in their guerrilla Red Base in the 1930s. If they relaxed their terror, the people that they had taxed and enslaved would start combining against them. So the only way they could keep their non-popular government going was with terror.

And that is what liberals just do not understand. Unless they are on the receiving end of, e.g., George W. Bush. Then they get it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Post-Conservative Right

Over in Britland the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, spoke at the Tory party conference about what the post-Brexit Conservative Party would be all about.
Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find your patriotism distasteful, your concerns about immigration parochial, your views about crime illiberal, your attachment to your job security inconvenient. They find the fact that more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering.
And the new party would be a center party.
Time to reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and to embrace a new centre-ground in which government steps up – and not back – to act on behalf of us all.
And so that would still mean big government.
Supporting free markets, but stepping in to repair them when they aren’t working as they should. Encouraging business and supporting free trade, but not accepting one set of rules for some and another for everyone else... [provide] security from crime, but from ill health and unemployment too.
So the new Tory party in Britain is shaping up pretty well the same as the Trumpian GOP in the US. Of course it is, because it is trimming its sails to the same political winds.

Why? It is because the left is driving the white working class out of the leftist parties both in the UK and the US.

The reason for this is the same both in the UK and the US. The left has tired of its white working class little darlings, and now is leading a new tribe of victims -- minorities and women. And gays, and Muslims! Yeah, you tell me how the left is going to square that little circle.

It's easy to sneer at the parties of the right and ask why they didn't rope in the white working class a generation ago. The answer, of course, is pretty simple. The right is not out looking for voters to bribe with offers of shining sparkling free stuff. That is because the right is not that interested in power.

So the right wasn't thinking about abortion and school prayer back in the Sixties. In fact Ronald Reagan as the governor of California signed divorce and abortion laws.

But when the Christian Right revolted against Roe v. Wade and the left's war on religion it had only one place to go. The result is that the GOP is now not the country-club party of the houte bourgeoisie but the pro-life family party of the ordinary middle class.

Now the white working class is coming into the GOP out of the political wilderness. And the GOP is changing to accommodate the new arrivals, becoming more nationalist and less libertarian. Frankly, if I had my druthers, I would like more libertarian and less nationalism. But that is water under the bridge.

Over a century ago in Britain, Benjamin Disraeli tried to rally the working class to the Conservative Party with his "Tory Democracy." Something went wrong there, and the working class went Liberal and then Labour. But now it looks like, a century and more later, the working class in Britain is giving the Tories a look.

Of course that is because the white working class is not really working class any more. It is solidly middle class and wants what middle-class people want: the chance to work and to wive and thrive without having to truckle to the lord in his manor or the political boss in his Chappaqua compound.

Michael Barone has written that the Republican Party has always consisted of people that think of themselves as "typical Americans." When you look at videos of folks attending Trump rallies that is what you see. Just ordinary typical Americans rallying to the notion of making America great again.

And that, to our liberal friends, is a triumph of hate and xenophobia.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hey Globalists: Here is Why Your Program is in Trouble

If politics is division, then how can you get people unified?

Simple. You fight a war.

The nation states of Europe solved a problem. How do you stop the feudal nobles from squabbling with each other? Answer: you disarm the nobles and unify the people to fight wars with other nation states.

This was all very well, but it led to the two World Wars in the 20th century.

So the global educated elite decided to marginalize the nation states and erect supranational and global institutions to supervise the nations.

The way the elite has done it is by getting the sub-nations -- the races, sexes, and classes -- to fight with each other. Then the global elite can divide and conquer, and rule over all. Thus George Soros funds Black Lives Matter to rail against the police, because racism, as I wrote at AT last week.

But the classical scholar and failed British politician Enoch Powell argued that this won't work. The European Union could not work because there was no European demos, no self-identified European people.

That is a problem, because, see above, the only way to create a European people that would feel loyalty towards European leaders would be to get them into a war. With who? Russia? The Middle East?

You can see that the global problem is even bigger. How in the world do you create a global demos, a sense of the whole human race here on Earth. How do you rally the people of the Earth for a global unifying war?

I suppose that is what Maurice Strong's war to save the world from climate change is all about: rally the people of the world to fight the existential peril of global warming.

However, I suspect that the peril of global warming is not really direct and immediately threatening enough to rally the people of the Earth to the global banner, although my liberal neighbor around the corner sighs frequently about "global warming." All the globalists are doing is dividing people without having a practical program to unify us.

Anyway, the globalist program seems to be running into trouble over immigration. Ordinary people seem to think that the job of their ruling class is not to mix all the people of the world together, but to defend and protect their own homeland from the immigrant hordes. You can see that people are merely responding to the age-old territorial imperative. A group of humans, just like a group of apes, must have a territory to call its own, because the group needs territory with food on it in order to survive, and the men in the group must defend the territory from invaders that would take territory and its food -- and women -- from them.

Now, of course, in the modern era with capitalism the existential necessity of territory with food on it is not so pressing, because in the capitalist world everything is for sale. You do not grow your own food; you buy it. Exhibit A: the outer harbor at Vancouver, BC, which always features about 15 grain ships waiting to go upriver to load up on good Canadian grain and transport it across the Pacific Ocean to ports unknown.

However, not everyone has bought into the capitalist proposition. The principle of loot and plunder is still very much alive: witness the western nation state that plunders its people of 35-45 percent of their income to reward its supporters. And in the immigration waves of the last century or so, each immigrant group has set up quasi-states in the cities where the writ of the host government does not work. For instance the 19th century Gangs of New York, the Mafia, the Crips and the Bloods, and now the Latino gangs and Muslim no-go areas. These gang-ruled areas are beachheads of an immigrant army, and they are governments in everything but name: they occupy and defend territory, they tax, they reward their supporters. Up to now the immigrants have tended to learn how to thrive in the capitalist economy and abandoned the gang culture when they learned how to connect with the new culture.

Today the people of the western nation states are experiencing the globalist-sponsored groups, from Black Lives Matter to the Muslim no-go areas, as an existential threat to their national cultures and national homelands and personal safety. And they are right. The whole purpose of the globalist program is to pierce the shell of national sovereignty to rule through the nation state down to the local level. The globalists want to destroy the nation state.

But the gaping error of the globalists is that they have not created a globalist culture to replace the nation-state culture, a new form of belonging that can stir the hearts of men and women in a new, expanded notion of solidarity, a new place to belong. Why? I'd say because the globalists are secure in their own culture of jet-setting globalism. Everyone they know is content to belong in the global village, and they are all with the globalist program. So why are the rubes rebelling?

Well, the rubes are rebelling because they are afraid. And they should be. The globalists, like all politicians and leaders down the ages, are clueless, and they are using the peoples of the nations as cannon fodder for their globalist project without dangling some promise of loot and plunder to entice the peoples of the nations to support them.

In my view the nation state, bad as it is, remains the best thing on offer for the protection of the ordinary people of the West. That is the immovable object into which the irresistible force of the globalist project is crashing.