Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Could the Smash-mouth Trump Era Have Room for Irony?

Despite the awful cruelty of the Trump era, featuring Trump gnawing on the hind legs of the new-born lambs of the mainstream media as they gambol innocently in First Amendment Meadow, and also featuring the entire liberal “community” and its bribed apologists in the Deep State attempting to grab Trump by the neck and scrag him, there still seems to be room in these United States for the delicate flower of irony.

In the first place I was intrigued by a piece on the Hells Angels motorcycle gang by Joe Bob Briggs. One fine day the Hells Angels showed up to award Briggs a gold-plated ball-peen hammer. But they couldn't just give it to him nice and sweetly. They had to demand that he show up on stage immediately to receive the award or they would know the reason why.

Briggs runs down the key attributes of a successful gang. The key to being a proper motorcycle gang is to have the reputation of being the roughest, toughest hombres west of the Pecos.

Motorcycle gangs are superpatriotic, writes Briggs; they defend their brothers in a fight, as “Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said to the president of Mexico last week.” They always have an enforcer, and so on.

Hmm. I wonder what Joe Bob Briggs is really talking about?

Then there is Victor Davis Hanson writing about “The Metaphysics of Trump.” How could a bad man select such good appointees, and how could they work for such a bad man? And if it is OK for these people to work for Trump then how come “nearly the entire diplomatic and security establishment in Washington refuses to work for such a reprobate?”

I am reminded of my departed mother, who recalled all her life being taught that King Charles I of England was a good man and a bad king, and Charles II was a bad man and a good king. In the end, of course, it didn't matter, not after Prince William of Orange invaded Britland with a 500-ship fleet and turned the Stuarts out of office.

And then we come to the Republican establishment with its globalist agenda of tax cuts and free trade agreements, but could never see around the corner to say “we love our miners, farmers, vets.”

Now that Trump has done it, it all seems so easy.

Golly, who would be dumb enough to figure that he could win a presidential election by making people feel that “he cares about people like me?” Or outfox the Democratic presidential candidate and her twentysomething whiz kids by executing on a sucessful Electoral College strategy to win the election decisively even though he lost the popular vote?

And what Republican has recently made such a bold outreach to African Americans?

I mean who are the dumb ones here? The ruling class Poo-Bahs? The Deep State time-servers? Or the guy with a combover that plays an idiot on TV?

See, I think that the key thing about Donald Trump is that there was a day in his life when he was in a room with 40 bankers trying to persuade them not to liquidate his bankrupt business empire. He managed to persuade them to take a haircut and let him live to rise again.

In my view you need a lot more smarts to hornswoggle a room full of bankers than to persuade Americans to vote for you.

Here is the big question facing the deep thinkers of America in the late winter of 2017. Is President Trump a political genius that figured out, finally, how to bring the white working class out of the wilderness? Or is he the leader of a biker gang that only knows the rules of intimidation?

You make the call.

Monday, February 27, 2017

What's All This About "Fourth Turnings"

Trump adviser Steve Bannon, we are told, is a devotee of a book by William Strauss and Neil Howe called The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy published back in 1997. Now the Washington Post has asked Neil Howe to write about his book.

As Neil Howe writes, his book proposes that society moves in "a recurring cycle of four-generation-long eras." The cycle culminates in "a time of civic and political crisis." The idea of the book was to "reject the deep premise of Western historians that social time is either linear... or chaotic[.]"

The Crisis could, of course, involve war, as in World War II, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. For the current Crisis, Strauss and Howe predicted a "'Great Devaluation' in financial markets" starting in about 2005. In other words, we are back in the 1930s, a decade that was resolved, you may remember, by a big old world war that healed the divisions in America by drafting all the young men from the great immigration wave at the turn of the 20th century into the armed forces.

Strauss and Howe were writing a book, so their cycle theory of history needed fancy names, with four Turnings that amount to a seasonal cycle, starting with the hope of High, followed by Awakenings, Unraveling, and Crisis. But their theory is not much more fanciful than the normal way of politics. A new ruling class gets power, mobilizes the nation in a new vision but, after a decade of two of looking after their supporters and blindly ignoring the fate of others, find that the natives are getting restless. That leads to a crisis, because the ruling class is usually too stupid or too proud to listen to the grievances of the "other," and allows grievances to fester. Anyway, they already spent all the money on their supporters.

My daughter recently alerted me to the work of Peter Turchin. In Ages of Discord he observes that the last time that the US experienced a partisan divide like the present was back in the 1850s. Same thing, different theory.

In the 1850s the issue was slavery. Imagine that the South had been willing to deal on slavery. The deal would have involved some sort of payoff, some sort of compensation to the plantation owners for the loss of their property. In retrospect that would have been a pretty good deal.

Now we have an issue between the idea of the nation-state community and the global elite. The global elite wants to get to the future in double quick time, and the people of the nation states don't want to lose what they have got. You would think there has to be a deal that would satisfy both parties before we get to fighting words.

The immediate question is: what does Steve Bannon want? Is he using the theory of Strauss and Howe to upset the apple cart, to force a crisis? Or is he trying to move President Trump to a deal that preserves the nation-state culture while still admitting the fact of a global economy where there is no place to hide, at least not for long?

Is the Trump era going to solve the Crisis, or is it going to intensify it?

The problem for our liberal friends, I suspect, is that they instinctively realize that the Trump era is not going to be good for liberals. That is why they are all piling up at their therapists.

But how bad could it be? At this stage of the game, all we deplorables want is for liberals to stop insisting on piloting the US solo. We want them to share power, and allow other hands upon the controls.

It is pretty obvious, since November 8, that our liberal friends are terrified by the idea of other hands on the controls. They seem to be preparing to fight to the knife to prevent Donald Trump from messing with their hegemony.

Either way, it seems that the US, and the rest of the West, is approaching a crisis, because something will have to change.

I would like the crisis to be resolved amicably. But I am not sure that we will get so lucky.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Have You Now, or Have You Ever Been a Creationist?

It was Douglas Adams in his remarkable Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who coined the felicitous phrase about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

For the fact is that we do not know the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. But we insist that life, the universe, and everything should have a meaning, and for that we humans have gods.

It is the conceit of many moderns that we have done away with gods, and have now determined to stand naked in the world clothed only in the truth of Darwin and evolution. God didn't create the world; evolution did. All this talk of God and Creation is mere creationism, the crude insertion of "skyhooks" into the world to explain what we cannot, at least not yet, explain.

Enter Matt Ridley and The Evolution of Everything: How Ideas Emerge. Ridley proposes that it is not just animals and plants that evolve through their selfish genes. It is everything.

And anyone that demands a higher authority for, e.g., managing the economy, is nothing but a creationist. And you know what those people are like. Think Canada's liberal darling Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid's Tale. Only, of course, Atwood sensibly confines her examination of creationists and fundamentalists to the religious ones.

We humans do not just demand gods to wisely direct our moral and political affairs from above. We imagine it in all corners of our life, from religion to culture to the economy to education. It cannot be that grubby and ordinary humans, combining together in voluntary cooperation, can improve on the edicts of kings, bishops, moralists, and professors.

Rubbish, writes Ridley. If you look around, you will find that everything in the universe proceeds in a bottom-up way, by felicitous combinations and innovations. And it is not usually some lone genius that makes the breakthrough, but several people, all trying to solve the problem du jour.

For instance, in addition to Darwin there was Wallace. And there were several people in addition to Einstein around 1900 that were trying to solve the problem that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. Einstein got there first, and to him the glory. But in no time there was quantum mechanics, an amazing collaboration of minds unlocking the secrets of the sub-atomic world.

And if you need a confirmation of the idea of evolution, here is a piece by Vaclav Smil from IEEE Spectrum about the five "Stages of Electronics," the evolution from Maxwell's unified theory of electricity, magnetism and light down to the present ubiquity of hand-held smart electronics. It is staggering that from the problem of figuring out light, magnetism, electricity, and everything, we have arrived in a little over a century at $100 smartphones that provide instant video communication across the world and a window on all the knowledge of the world. And nobody was in charge.

Matt Ridley, who is a climate skeptic, is making the argument against top-down wisdom from the right. But I am reading, courtesy of a liberal friend, The Master and his Emissary by Iain McGilchrist, about the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The left hemisphere is the abstract side and logical side and the right hemisphere is the experiential and emotional side. The book proceeds from a detailed exposition of the current science of the brain to a critique of culture. The left hemisphere, says the blurb,
has grabbed more than its fair share of power, resulting in a society where a rigid and bureaucratic obsession with structure, narrow self-interest and a mechanistic view of the world hold sway, at an enormous cost to human happiness and the world around us.
Yes, but, according to chaps like me, the problem is the usual suspects like the back page quotes from Huffington Post and the Times Literary Supplement. It is their conceits and their prejudices and their appetite for power from which issue all the problems of the world, including bureaucracy and mechanism. So I wonder how McGilchrist makes his argument which, according to chapter headings, goes through renaissance and reformation and  enlightenment and romanticism and industrial revolution and modernism and postmodernism. I can't believe that he takes too close a cut against our present evolved, educated, administrative ruling class and cultural elite. But we will see.

However, despite all the talk of creationism, of skyhooks and turtles-all-the-way-down to deal with the problem of what lies on the other side of the boundaries of knowledge, we humans still, as we ever, insist on the question of the meaning of it all, life, the universe, and everything.

And in my view the more knowledge we accumulate about the world and beyond it to the universe the bigger the question becomes. What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?

Because if life, the universe, and everything do not have a meaning, or an origin, or a design, or a purpose then what does that mean?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It Is AstroTurf All the Way Down

If you want to know the secret of life, the universe and everything, there is a problem. At some point, you hit a brick wall, the horizon of your knowledge.

So the deep thinkers of the world have come up with a useful skyhook. The world, they say, is sitting on a turtle. But what about the turtle? What is the turtle sitting on? There is only one answer to that. It is turtles, all the way down.

Conservatives have a similar problem when trying the analyze the meaning of the left and its peaceful protests. How much of it is real unprompted bottom-up assemblies of ordinary people presenting their grievances to the government? And how much of it is top-down AstroTurf ginned up by the ruling class and its bribed apologists, bought and paid for by the irrepressible George Soros.

There was a famous moment, during the rise of the Tea Party, when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the Tea Party of being AstroTurf, a creature of right-wing moneybags,
This [tea party] initiative is funded by the high end — we call call it astroturf, it’s not really a grassroots movement. It’s astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.
Well, it is certainly true that in due course the Tea Party got the support of Koch Brothers money. As you can imagine that the MSM was right on it. But in the beginning nobody had a clue where the Tea Party was coming from. Nancy Pelosi couldn't understand a peaceful protest that was not wholly owned by rich kids playing at revolution.

I am talking about folks like the young "Refuse Fascism" activist on Tucker Carlson, determined to protest and Resist the fascist Donald Trump.  As they sing on South Pacific, you have to be carefully taught, to hate and to fear, to protest and to Resist.

So now we learn that the spontaneous protests at the townhalls of Republican congressmen are the "Townhall Project" of Jimmy Dahman, a former Clinton campaign volunteer.
His Facebook page lists the youthful Dahman’s current position as Deputy Organizing Director at Ohio Together, and former positions as Regional Organizing Director at Hillary for America and Organizer (Party) at Hillary for Iowa.
Well, of course. It is AstroTurf all the way down when you are pushing back against the outrage of Republicans daring to roll back the administrative state's Obamacare project.

Not that I am surprised. The activists that I have seen on various video of GOP townhalls featured well-born women with well-born hairdos. I'm sorry, but women like that are not helpless people about to lose their Obamacare exchange health-insurance policies in the general meltdown of government health care.

But it is important for GOP elected representatives to know whether they are dealing with a genuine groundswell of opposition to Obamacare repeal and replace, or whether the protests are just the usual left-wing rent-a-mob featuring paid activists bused in by the deep state.

After all, the whole point of "activism" and "peaceful protest" and "resistance" is to make it look as if the grass roots are rising in rebellion, and that a tidal wave of rebellion will engulf the racists and sexists and homophobes unless they submit.

But what I would like to know is what that young woman talking over Tucker Carlson really thinks she is doing. I mean, it is all very well to talk about resisting, and brandishing manifestos featuring  NO! in 72 point type. But what is this young woman really proposing? Peaceful protests? Actual riots? Attacks on police stations? Armed insurrection? I could tell that Tucker Carlson was trying to get Sunsara Taylor to tell him what she was really proposing to do about Hitlerian Trumpian fascism. But the canny activist refused the bait and just kept talking about protest and resist and NO!

So Sunsara Taylor is probably just a pretty piece of AstroTurf wearing the obligatory Rachel Maddow eyeglasses.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Deep State or Paper Tiger?

The big question facing America is just how hard and how successfully the so-called "Deep State" will push to stop Donald Trump and his agenda.

We have seen it take out Gen. Flynn, President Trump's choice for National Security Advisor. And we have seen curious leaks of conversations between President Trump and foreign leaders. And we have seen the push-back against President Trump's refugee ban.

And presumably the Deep State was involved in the humiliation of gay controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos.

The telling thing to me about these actions is their penny-ante nature, the fact that the "Deep State" is identifying itself not in a sweeping coup against the president but in a minor-league score-settling acts.

I'm not an expert in bureaucratic process, but I would say, from a military strategy standpoint, that the president's opponents don't want to be IDing themselves so early and so unnecessarily. I'd say that the EPA bureaucrats do not want to be signalling their opposition to Trump by calling their congressmen to oppose Scott Pruitt; that just makes it easier for Trump to shut down whole areas of the EPA by executive order.

The Deep State may have the power to obstruct a lot of President Trump's effort to slow immigration and deport illegals. Only problem is that his policy is pretty popular with ordinary Americans and many legal immigrants.

Here's George Will saying that "conservatives will distance themselves from Trump by midsummer." Really?

Anything is possible, but I'd say that the very fact that President Trump is acting like a "strong leader" means that it will be very difficult for conservative waverers to jump ship in the near future. The whole point of strong leadership and military discipline is the get the troops committed to the leader and the cause so that they keep on battling, even when the tide of battle turns against them.

I'd say that the secret of Trump's success thus far is that he has been doing precisely what the Republican base and the basket of deplorables want him to do. He has been sticking it to the liberal ruling class and telling them to put it where the sun don't shine. The themes of his campaign -- America First, halt immigration, stop outsourcing, fix Obamacare -- are cunningly chosen to be popular with ordinary Americans and unpopular with the liberal ruling class.

Think about it:

Do ordinary Americans want low gas prices or do they want to save the planet?

Do ordinary American women want transgender bathrooms or do they want single-sex bathrooms where they feel safe from male predators?

Do ordinary Americans want to compete with illegal immigrants for entry-level jobs or do they want them to be sent home?

Do ordinary Americans want to fight microaggressions and create safe spaces, or do they want to be free of the fear that a careless word at work could cost them their job, courtesy of the harpies in HR?

I'd say that if the economy fails to take off, and we get a recession before 2020 then all bets are off.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that the Deep State is a paper tiger. When it comes to the crunch the folks in the bureaucracy are going to want to hold onto their life-time jobs and their pensions. And if there are a few with more imagination than sense, I would suggest the Bing doctrine for President Trump. A couple of high-profile firings of disobedient bureaucrats should, in Voltaire's words, suffice to encourager les autres.

The point is that many battles in history are decided by the side that gives up last. And in 2016 Republicans and Americans chose a leader who seems to be just the person to be the last to give up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mirror Mirror: Who is the Incompetent One in the Land

All of our liberal and lefty friends are chanting in unison, as if at a peaceful protest, that Trump is Incompetent.

Maybe they are right. Or maybe they haven't gotten out lately. Maybe they have been too protected by The New York Times and NPR from the dreadful record of President Obama's incompetence.

Here is D.C. McAllister going into chapter and verse about Obama's incompetence, as in

  • November 2010: Democratic senators say Obama "out of his league."
  • October 2010: Guardian reports officials "outside inner circle" leaving administration
  • June 2010: Mort Zuckerman says that "world sees Obama as incompetent and amateur."
And so on. Golly, who knew that wise heads were saying that back then? 

As Robert W. Merry writes, the fact is that the US and the world are facing an existential crisis. Here in the US it looks like this:
Wall Street dominates...  Public-employee unions utilize their power... Corporations foster tax-code provisions that allow them to game the system. “Crony capitalism’’ runs rampant. Members of Congress tilt the political system to favor incumbency. A national-debt burden threatens the country’s financial health. Uncontrolled immigration threatens... The nation’s industrial base has been hollowed out, and the vast American working class—the bedrock of the FDR coalition—is squeezed to the point of desperation.
And that is just the US. What about the world?
 China... wants to expunge American military power from Asia. The Middle East is aflame, largely as a result of mindless U.S. interventions there. Western civilization’s European heartland is threatened from without by mass immigration and from within by waves of populist nationalism bent on destroying the postwar experiment in political consolidation. Tensions are on the rise everywhere—between Sunnis and Shia in the Middle East, between the United States and Russia, between China and its neighbors, between southern and northern Europe over currency issues, between the United States and Iran. 
If you look back at 2015, Merry writes, just before Trump descended his escalator, "everyone" was expecting a status-quo election between the Bush clan and the Clinton clan.

Can you spell "incompetence?" As in SNAFU, Situation Normal, All F*cked Up?

Look, all government is incompetent, all the time. Government lurches from one disaster to another. But government has something that you don't have. It has apologists and flacks whose job is to spin dross into gold. This goes on until the regime collapses and then everyone agrees that the old regime was the worst political dynasty since the later Roman emperors, or the Bourbons in France after 1815 who had famously forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

Take the US. In the 1850s it failed to keep the nation together and descended into a bloody civil war. After the war it screwed up the aftermath, both in the Reconstruction of the South and in the resumption of gold payments that resulted in a huge crash in 1873 and a depression. Then there was another depression in the 1890s, followed by a crash in 1907, followed by the folly of World War I. Then the nations of the world screwed up the resumption of the peacetime economy, resulting in the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression and another World War! Since then there have been wars, riots, inflation, the tech bubble, the real-estate bubble, the Great Recession, and the great racial divides of the Obama era.

Who were the geniuses putting us through disaster after disaster?

Look at the United States right now. Here we have the white working class descending into despair. We have African Americans denied their proper entry into the middle class by a liberal plantation that has destroyed the African-American family, killed millions of its babies in utero, and kept them separate from the great American center. We have illegal immigrants that, on the one hand are exploited because of their illegal status, and on the other take jobs from ordinary Americans that don't want to accept slave-labor wages.

Meanwhile the ruling class of the United States is all worked up about global warming, spending tens of billions on "science" and crony capitalism. And it is really focused on gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, and the sexual distress of well-born women students in the nation's universities.

What could possibly go wrong?

And the experts are telling us that, after one month, President Trump is a failure?

The only thing to remember is the reply of Adam Smith to a young nobleman worried about the defeat of Gen. Burgoyne in the colonies back during the disaster of the revolt of the colonials in North America. He told his young friend that there is always a lot of ruin in a nation.

But don't tell that to your Venezuelan friend. Sometimes the isolated instances of ruin in a nation combine into a general ruin and conflagration.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Making Sense of Trump's Attack on the Media

With regard to President Trump I take the position that Trump is not an idiot; he only plays one on TV.

So what are we to think about Donald Trump's broad-based attack on the media, those chappies that Glenn Reynolds calls "Democratic operatives with bylines."

It all seems as plain as day to me. But maybe I have got it wrong.

Anyway, here goes.

The Republican base has been getting very angry lately that its leaders do not "fight." We mean that Republican politicians, at least since the first President Bush, tend to cave to the Democrats, so that Republican governance became Democrat-lite. During the George W. Bush administration this became official policy, with "compassionate conservatism" and the No Child Left Behind Act compromise with Sen. Ted Kennedy.

According to the conservative narrative this attempt to make nice with the Democrats was a failure. In the first place, Democrats never conceded the 2000 election and encouraged their partisans to believe that Bush was "selected no elected," and secondly the Democrats went into full anti-war mode when President Bush "did something" about 9/11 by executing on the bipartisan policy of "regime change" in Iraq.

The Obama administration, according to the conservative base, was a direct attack on America as we know it, pushing every liberal nostrum without attempting to do any bipartisan compromise. Particularly egregious, from my view, was the abandonment of welfare reform and its central policy of a work requirement. BIg-time government welfare, on my view, is not merely injustice; it is cultural genocide on the recipients.

Then, of course, there was the Obama administration's culture war agenda that amounted to cultural war on Christian conservatives, using the power of the state to punish conservatives for their views, from weaponizing the IRS on the Tea Party to the demand that Christian conservatives provide services for gay weddings.

(Parenthetically, this is why Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He felt, as a libertarian, that the civil rights acts should apply only to government. He wanted it to be illegal for government to discriminate by race, but not be illegal for business to discriminate by race. He just wanted to undo Jim Crow laws and Davis-Bacon Acts that forced business to discriminate by race.)

Fast-forward to the 2016 presidential race. The leading candidate after the extinguishing of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), turned out to be Ted Cruz, who had made a point about getting in the face of the Democrats as a rookie Senator. Oh, and then there was Donald Trump, but he was a joke.

It turned out that Donald Trump was way better at getting into peoples' faces than Ted Cruz. That's probably because Trump is a people person, and Ted Cruz is manifestly not. People just don't like Cruz, face to face.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of President Trump. He has been elected to stick it to the opposition. But Trump is a deal-maker; he knows that sooner or later he is going to have to make deals with Democrats over immigration, Obamacare, taxes, whatever. So it is not a very good idea to attack Democrats, the very people that he is going to have to deal with. Politicians are touchy about insults and slights. How did things work out for Obama, who made no bones about attacking Republicans?

So what does President Trump do, to stick it to the opposition, while still serving his supporters with red meat to snack upon?

Simple. He attacks the liberal media, the MSM of who you've heard tell, the Democratic operatives with bylines. He appoints the liberal elite media as the official opposition. Is that brilliant, or what?

Now look at what happened at last Thursday's press conference that was either a train wreck or the most amazing thing since sliced bread, according to your partisan affiliation. Trump took a question from a young black reporter that asked him about talking to the Congressional Black Caucus. Oh yeah, said Trump. He had thought he had a meeting with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), but Cummings backed out. Could the reporter arrange a meeting?

This is, as they say, trolling, Grandmaster Level. The result, after lots of huffing and puffing, is that Trump has a meeting set up with Cummings and the Congressional Black Caucus. Those were the chaps, you may remember, that boycotted his inauguration.

Fast forward to Trump's rally at Melbourne, FL on Saturday, Feb. 18. The warm-up was conducted by a couple of black women, using the cadences of the black churches, and around the podium were placards reading BlacksforTrumpt2020.com. Golly, what could that be all about?

Look, the longer that liberals keep insisting that Donald Trump is a fool and that his month-old administration is a train wreck the better. There is a new game in town, and liberals don't have a clue how to play it.

Could it be that the Trump administration is executing on a deliberate strategy to confuse the opposition with multiple initiatives, with noise and confusion, to make it difficult for the opposition to achieve strategic concentration in opposing the complete range of his policies?

It is a commonplace to remark that businessmen don't know how to operate in the political arena. But suppose that a businessman like Trump is more like an army general that has learned how to run a battle and keep a cool head despite the utter confusion and conflicting signals and fear and panic? Our modern politicians seem to like everything calm and quiet, with a somnolent bureaucracy to execute on policy in its own sweet time.

Obviously, the Trump administration is not going to be like that.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Finding Yourself "Outside the System"

Ever think that you are living in a different world than everyone else? Do you feel that you are "outside the system" looking in?

That's what one of my readers wrote to me, and it made me think.

Of course, there is every reason why my reader Brad would feel outside the system. As he writes,
I try do the right things, work taxes avoid trouble and generally avoid the system we are outside because we are self-sufficient. 
When you write something like that you are announcing yourself as a Person of the Responsible Self, according to my reductive Three Peoples theory. To be a Person of the Responsible Self is everything that is right and good, but it don't get no respect in our society, because our society is ruled by the People of the Creative Self, and our ruling class thinks that People of the Responsible Self are all racists, sexists, homophobes, haters, and xenophobes.

On the view of the People of the Creative Self the meaning of life, the universe and everything is about being a creative artist, challenging all boundaries, breaking the mold of the ordinary and crafting a new world out of the rubble of the old. Everything is up for grabs, from work, family, sex, you name it. A critical part of the agenda is the caring and compassionate advocacy for People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants and women and minorities and marginalized people, and protecting them from the hate and bigotry of the People of the Responsible Self.

No wonder that the People of the Responsible Self feel left "outside the system."

But I think that the world view of the People of the Creative Self is sick and wrong.

First of all, it is utterly mad to imagine that the creatives should have license to do anything they want. Most attempts at creating something new are hopeless failures. That is why so many people would like to become artists and writers but so few actually make it. That is why almost all business startups are failures. Society needs strong defenses against would-be creators, and my model for this is the Hero's Journey of Joseph Campbell. If you want to be a creative hero, then you will have to go down into the underworld and suffer many trials and setbacks. Only when you have proved your mettle can you return to society and benefit it with your hard-won wisdom. Obviously this concept is completely different from the current notion that society should pay for artists and creatives to learn their chops, and then listen in awe to to the pearls of wisdom falling from their lips of their betters.

Secondly, on the schema of developmental psychologists like Ken Wilber and Clare Graves, the proper relationship between supposedly advanced people and less advanced people is that the more advanced people should be understanding and compassionate of those less advanced. Thus the advanced and evolved People of the Creative Self should, using their advanced knowledge, understand the People of the Responsible Self, and accommodate their less-advanced culture and world view. But it is the usual practice among self-described advanced people to regard those less advanced as stupid and bigoted. And so we have, in the advanced West, an overclass of People of the Creative Self that works daily to marginalize and humiliate the People of the Responsible Self as racists, sexists, and homophobes.

There are two options for a people that find themselves dominated and humiliated by its ruling class. It can submit, according to the good old advice that "resistance is futile." Or it can mount a head of rebellion.

Rather obviously, according to my view, the Trump phenomenon is a rebellion of the People of the Responsible Self against its cruel and unjust overlords, the People of the Creative Self.

Will the rebellion succeed? Or will it be put down, with prejudice?

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of the Story of Mankind.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Worse Than Watergate? Really?

The usual Democratic suspects are right, of course. Any scandal is "worse than Watergate" because Watergate was not about the crime -- of over-eager operatives burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Richard Nixon had to leave office because he allowed himself to get involved in the coverup of the Watergate burglaries.

However, my Democratic friends should recall that the only reason we had a Watergate scandal was because Richard Nixon was a Republican president at a time when both houses of Congress were Democratic.

And then as now, Democrats just could not believe that the Republicans had beaten them in a presidential election. So they were striking out any way they could.

And back then they had the power to obstruct and impeach a president. Because they had majorities in Congress.

Remember the last time we heard from the intelligence community? It was during the Bush administration when an aide to Vice-President Cheney, Scooter Libby, was convicted of lying to investigators. Liberals at the time were outraged that the cover of CIA employee Valerie Plame had been blown by Bush administration officials.

Of course, there was no attempt by the intelligence community to embarrass the Obama administration during its eight years, not even when it sicced the IRS on the Tea Party. But now that the Republicans are back in power, it's Katie bar the door.

It will be interesting to see if the "deep state" succeeds in taking out more of President Trump's people. My guess is that, yes, they will.

But I also expect that they will fail to derail the Trump express. Why? Because they are small people. They are small people using their positions to embarrass the president. But I doubt if they have the cojones to come right out and kill the king.

And that is the point. When you go to kill a king you had better succeed. Otherwise you have merely taught him how to go after you.

I'd say that the leaks of presidential conversations with foreign leaders, and the leaks of conversations between Gen. Flynn and the Russians, are penny-ante stuff. Why would the president's enemies in the deep state tip their hand so soon?

They are behaving as though they are begging him to cut them off at the knees. They are giving him all the excuse he needs to clean house ruthlessly, from the CIA and the NSA down to the lowly EPA.

There's a piece in The Wall Street Journal right now about "Spies Keep Trump in Dark on Intelligence in Sign of Mistrust." Sorry pal. You don't get to "mistrust" the president. You are his creatures, and if you don't like it you can get out.

All I can say is that this is exactly why we racist, sexist, homophobic Republican base voters elected Donald Trump. We elected him to deal with the Cathedral, the Deep State, the administrative state, whatever you want to call it.

And it looks like that is exactly what he is going to do.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Left Always Preys on People Outside the System

A couple of weeks ago I published my "General Theory of Leftist Politics" in the American Thinker. My argument was that the whole program of the left is based on the notion that there are people left out of the system, for whom the only recourse is violent revolution, led by the rich kids of the left.

This was abundantly true in 1848 when rich kids Marx and Engels proposed a proletarian revolution. It was still true in the mid 20th century when rich kids Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse proposed revolution for women, minorities and gays.

But contrary to the revolutionary faith the bourgeoisie of 1848 and the white patriarchy of 1950 were not that interested in power. They were perfectly happy to bring the workers of 1848 and the women and minorities of 1950 into the system where they could bargain with the rest of us for their rights and their share of the loot of the modern state.

So it makes perfect sense that the left has found new clients for its violent revolution of the rich kids. These new clients are the migrants.

Migrants are, by definition, people who are outside the system. If they are refugees they are outside the system. If they are H1B visa holders they are the equivalent of indentured servants, who must return to their homelands the moment that they leave their jobs. They are outside the system. If they are illegal immigrants without papers, they are obviously outside the system.

This makes them the ideal clients of the rich-kid left. The whole point of leftist politics is not to solve the problems of its clients but to use them as cannon fodder in the revolution that is to come. And while the system was happy to bring the workers and women and minorities into the system it is naturally hesitant to do the same for migrants, especially illegal immigrants without papers.

There is a good reason for this, that migration is invasion. Case in point is the migration of the Lombards from out of Scandinavia through Burgundy and the upper Danube to what is now called "Lombardy."

How do you tell whether "migrants" might or might not be "invaders?" Answer is, you can't until it's too late.

Of course it is also true that migration and invasion and subjection and what we now call genocide is just the way of the world. Humans are a migratory species; migrate and invade is what we do. But the key thing in human history is to avoid getting on the wrong side of migration and invasion. Ask the Native Americans about that.

Our lefty friends and their center-left allies understand themselves as advanced and evolved people. They believe, based on the record of the last century, that they know how to lead and control the wretched of the earth. According their their own sacred history they triumphantly advocated for workers and women and minorities and were thus the overwhelming agents of history. Workers and women and minorities are therefore eternally grateful to their liege lords and will vote for them forever.

Only what workers and women and minorities want, once they have been brought into the system, is to be safe in their homelands from migration and invasion, and that is why, all across the west, the workers are starting to leave the center-left political parties for which they have voted for the last century. They understand that the left is now interested in new political flesh and that they are to be the sacrificial victims on the altar of 21st century leftist politics.

The point is that people already brought into the system are useless for leftist politics. They just want to be safe and to be able to bargain for their fair share of welfare state loot. It is only those outside the system that are open to the fiery revolutionary program of lefty rich kids.

Then there are the Muslims. They seem to be ideal clients of the left because their jihadist ideology keeps them separate from, and thus opposed to, the host culture.

So the politics of the next few years throughout the West will be a great sorting out, in which every group presently or formerly part of the left will have to decide which side they are on. Are they to continue to be the "little darlings" of the left, or will they find that, once they integrate into western democratic society, they are no longer any use as revolutionary cannon fodder and are cast aside by the rich kids of the left?

That is what we are going to find out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It's Not Quite a Valentine's Day Massacre, But...

I assume that an outsider like me cannot really penetrate to the wheels within wheels of the resignation of Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor.

Was it the CIA getting back at a critic? The Obama holdovers sowing mayhem? The misleading of Vice-President Pence? The bureaucratic incompetence of Flynn?

Who knows? I expect we will see a lot more of this in the Trump administration. His presidency is, after all, a direct challenge to the power of the "deep state" and the deep state is going to do its best to weaken him.

Over at RealClearPolitics.com, the liberals are all shocked as the chaos in the Trump administration, but I wonder. The whole Trump campaign has been a notorious chaos, so we have to wonder whether that is by design.

Normal politicians avoid the appearance of chaos and uncertainty in their image and actions, for an obvious reason. They want to project a notion of the steady, fatherly leader. Trump obviously doesn't.

Polymath Willis Eschenbach proposes a reason why, extrapolating from his own life experience. Donald Trump is a builder. He has spent his life building buildings. Builders, Eschenbach explains, cannot afford to take their eye off the donut. Everything they do must be about about building the building.
Once you start out on the path to the finished building, you stay focused on the finished building, ignoring everything else, and you do whatever it takes to get the building done. In other words, it’s all about the building first, the building second, and everything else is a distant third.
But there is another aspect of building that Willis leaves out. Every building project is a controlled crash. Everything that can go wrong probably will go wrong, but the builder in charge must keep his cool and keep solving problems until the building is done. And when it is done and signed off, nobody that wasn't there will have the least idea of all the toil and trouble it took to get the building built.

I think that is the key thing to understand about Trump and his critics. Trump is used to the controlled chaos of building buildings. Whatever his strengths and weaknesses he has been able to wive and thrive in the chaotic ups and downs of his career in developing and building buildings.

Compared to him, most of his ruling-class critics have had a quiet life. Maybe they came up through the elite colleges; maybe they advanced upon their parents' connections. Maybe their sheer talent has helped them along. But few of them can have experienced the chaotic life of ups and downs that Trump has apparently mastered.

As for me, I hate construction projects, even at the mild domestic level. I like an even-tempered life of routine, doing the same thing every day, and I hate being pushed off kilter by the whims and the needs of other people. So I get why Trump's critics are appalled by his modus operandi.

Of course, at this stage, nobody knows whether the Trump administration will be a success or a failure. But it would be foolish to think that the daily Sturm und Drang means that Trump is incompetent or out of his depth.

Trump is used to chaos. He is a builder.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Let's Talk About Dystopian Novels

In recent weeks liberals have shown a sudden interest in dystopian novels, and NPR has been interviewing Margaret Atwood, of The Handmaid's Tale. What's next in dystopia, asks NPR?
People have been devouring The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, Brave New World, It Can't Happen Here and The Plot Against America — so what's the next book we'll be reporting on?
Atwood thinks that things are moving too fast for book publishing. She looks for some newspaper serialization, week by week.

Now it happens that I went to Paris last week, and therefore endured a couple of 3-movie flights. That's how I measure long-distance flights. The important number is not the number of hours, but the number of movies you can watch in between meals and snack breaks.

So I watched Divergent, the movie adaptation of the dystopian Young Adult novel by Veronica Roth about a post-Armageddon Chicago where society is organized into five Factions and ne'er the five shall meet. It's the resolution of a blame game. Those that blame aggression for the sins of the world belong to Amity, those that blame ignorance belong to Erudite, those that blame duplicity belong to Candor, those that blame selfishness belong to Abnegation, and those that blame cowardice belong to Dauntless. Then there is the underclass; they are the rejected factionless.

Of course, the old dystopian novels were teaching us about mid-century totalitarianism in 1984, Animal Farm. And before that there was Brave New World that satirized the benevolent rule of the educated administrative expert. And they were peculiarly attractive to adolescents. "Everyone" read them as teenagers, and I would have read the SF juvenilia like Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Space Cadet as well if I had known about them.

Now, I have read Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, about a North America ruled by fundamentalist Christians that use handmaids to slake their sexual thirst when their wives become too old to be rogered. And I think it fundamentally misunderstands the world view of fundamentalist Christians, who are not that interested in power and would probably not imagine that they could create a fundamentalist Christian state. But what would Margaret Atwood know about real Christians, as opposed to the liberal bad dream about them?

What fascinates me is the new genre of dystopian novels, like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series, and Veronica Roth's  Divergent series, all of which have been made into blockbuster movies, and all written by women. What is going on?

I interpret Harry Potter as the simple angst of the creative artist in a world of ordinaries, wizards eternally bothered by muggles: the toils of the People of the Creative Self condemned to live in a world of the People of the Responsible (and dull) Self.

But The Hunger Games and Divergent seem to me to be darker, and satirizing the world that liberals have given us. What are we to think of the Capitol of corrupt superficial overlords and the miserable Districts dying of despair, forced to fight to the death in a humiliating reality show hosted by the awful Caesar Flickerman every year? Is that not today's liberal dystopia to a T?

What most affects me is that the heroes of these novels are teenage girls. Maybe this is just because the prime readership is teenage girls since the boys are all playing Minecraft. But why are the girls having to fight to the death? Is this just the feminism of the authors giving us diversity or is it something deeper?

See I think that the big untold story of society today is that young women are subjected to a cruel sexual predation, consequent upon the sexual revolution, for which young women everywhere are ill prepared and always were. The fact is that young women are helpless before the first man that comes to them whispering sweet words of love. I interpret the hysterical campus sexual assault movement as a reaction to the impossible position in which young women are placed by the campus hook-up culture which, with the sexual revolution, has removed romance from the dance of the sexes. The whole point of fathers protecting their daughters was not patriarchal oppression but experience protecting naiveté.

What is a young woman to do and how is she to live when male protection from sexual predation is removed? We see this in a limit case in the harrowing A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in a Conquered City by Anonymous. When women are left unprotected in a conquered city they try to protect themselves by prostituting themselves to the officers, the more senior the better. And they hide the teenage girls in the attic.

So what about today's scene in which you read about the ubiquity of sex before the first date? What have we done when we have stripped sex of its romance and its drama?

Maybe the great liberal contribution to the world is to drag the teenage girls out of the attic and make them into campus sex slaves. The result is Mattress Girl, a young woman enraged by the disappointments of hook-up sex.

I feel also for the rage and the humiliation that our liberal friends are feeling with the presidency of Donald Trump, I really do. I can see how they think that the election of Trump is equivalent to a rape and that it really could happen here and that 1984 proves it.

But I also think that liberals should get out a bit more. And see How the Other Half Lives.

To me it all comes down to the verdict of Charles Murray's Coming Apart. Life is good for liberals in today's America. Of course it is, they made it so.

But for the bottom 30 percent, the men don't work much, and the women don't marry much. I would call that dystopia, and I suspect that The Hunger Games and Divergent are telling us something about the world that liberals made.

As Colonel Pickering sang to Henry Higgins: You Did It!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Coming Implosion of Liberal Rule by Judiciary

So the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court's defiance of President Trump's immigration pause.

Reading the Bloomberg news item you clearly get the globalist line, the harm done to the ruling class by the order:
The two states, the judges said, showed “ample evidence” that they, their businesses, universities and citizens would be harmed if the ban were restored, even temporarily.
Really? Harmed by the pause in immigration from seven rather inconsequential Middle Eastern states?

But I get it. This is the liberal ruling class using its own particular branch of government to fight back against the populist wave represented by Donald Trump and Brexit. The current system works rather well for the trans-national globalist elite, of which I admit that I am a disloyal member.

We are talking about the kind of people that switch from corporate jobs in the US to corporate jobs in Europe, the academics that switch easily from a professorship in the US to a visiting professorship in Europe. It is, of course, intolerable that a President Trump should foul up the gears of this comfortable life for "businesses, universities and citizens" like me.

But never mind about all that. What I wonder about is where this judicial supremacy, piled on top of the already gigantic administrative state, ends up. It's all very well for the swells, up in the higher echelons. But what the people need is swift resolution. Let's figure out what the new policy is going to be and then let's get there. But the current system seems designed to frustrate the needs of the ordinary citizen, and instead create jobs for the supporters of the ruling class.

Let's take the example of Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann's suit against National Review and Mark Steyn Rand Simberg and others for defamation. You'd think that it should be a pretty open and shut case that could be quickly tried and resolved. But no; it is tied up in preliminary appeals that have been going on for three years! Here is Mark Steyn's latest bulletin on the progress of the suit. Three years, on a case about a relatively simple blog post?

The legal beagling may be great fun for the legal beagles and the lawyers and all, but what about the right to a speedy trial? What about the little guy, Mark Steyn, against Big Climate and all its billions, its "businesses" and its "universities?"

More than a century ago Charles Dickens used the power of satire to argue for a reform of the legal system in England in his novels. He satirized legal monopoly and Doctors Commons in David Copperfield and he sneered at the law's delays in Bleak House. The old system was great for lawyers. But for the people caught in the toils of the law it was soul destroying.

That's where we are in the developed West. We have a gigantic administrative state and a vast ponderous legal system chewing up ordinary people. Back when I was an immigrant, 50 years ago, I got my immigrant visa, my green card, and my citizenship with effortless ease. Today, I learn from acquaintances, it takes lawyers and piles of paper and years of delay.

The ruling class doesn't care. It is the administrative state. It is the legal profession. It likes the current system.

But change is coming. As a bellwether, you could start with Charles Murray's By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission. Murray delves into the injustices of the current administrative state and its lack of transparency and its dominatory hegemony. He proposes, as an interim solution, that some billionaire fund a foundation whose sole job would be to terrorize individual bureaucrats in the system, to make them fear for their pensions.

But obviously the problem is much bigger, and requires a much larger reform than a minor diversion using guerrilla tactics. In fact, by proposing guerrilla tactics, Murray signals just how powerful and dominatory the current ruling class is. Today, we are years away from a real broad-based movement that can take the state back from the ruling class.

And Murray was just talking about the administrative state. He had nothing to say about the power of an imperial judiciary to impose the will of the ruling class over the will of the people.

Nobody can tell where Trump's immigration pause will end up. Nobody can tell how long the ruling class's judicial imperialism will continue. Except for this.

The administrative state is a clumsy response to the impossibility of big government. It is trying to do the impossible, because economic life by administrative regulation cannot work. You cannot have a national pension system by administrative government hegemony; politicians and administrators just can't adapt to change and deal with the future. You cannot have a national health system by administrative bureaucracy. It will founder in the administrative overload of Obamacare. You cannot properly relieve the poor by administrative ukase. And you cannot supervise immigration by judicial meddling.

Our ruling class does not understand that. It only knows how to use the political levers at its command to push back against the rising movement of populist rejection that threatens its power and its sinecures. I'll bet a nickel that the ruling class has no idea where its pushback against Trump ends up.

That is all very well, but does Donald Trump know any better? Probably not, but the way of the world is that entrenched power does not last forever. Comes the day when the great edifice of ruling class power crumbles into dust and everyone realizes that it was all pretense and stupidity.

At some point the administrative state will grind to a halt. At some point the imperial judiciary will throttle itself on its own delays and contradictions.

If you are a naïve fool like me you hope that today's behemoth will be replaced by a smaller state and a responsive judiciary. But more likely the whole thing will be swept away in a general civilizational meltdown.

And neither you nor I will like what grows up it its place.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hello Berkeley, It is Time to Check Your Privilege

I have been making the point recently that the only people justified in using violence in domestic politics are people that are outside the system.

This was the situation of the working class in the 19th century before the workers got the vote, and the situation of blacks before the Civil Rights Acts rolled back the race-based laws of the post-Civil War South. Because these folks at that time were outside the system the only way they could get the ruling class to hear about their grievances was by shows of force, as in marches, demonstrations, and peaceful protest.

But at the University of California at Berkeley they think, in the student newspaper The Daily Californian, that violence, i.e., "radical acts against replaceable property at my school, UC Berkeley" is appropriate against "a Breitbart hatemonger's speech" on campus.

Which means that violence is appropriate against anyone you hate, er, dislike. Because anyone you hate or dislike, because you don't like their politics, is illegitimate and doesn't have a right to come to your campus and spew their hateful bile. Hey, how do you like that "radical acts against replaceable property" meme?

Presently, the UC Berkeley campus is decorated with banners from the Division of Equity and Inclusion that "raise awareness" about marginalized peoples down with the struggle and announce the admission of privilege by white males.

Earth to Berkeley: There is no place under God's blue heaven more privileged than Berkeley, and no people on this planet more privileged than those selected to study or work there.

If ever there was a place and a people that should "check their privilege" that place would be Berkeley. Let us count the ways.
  1. The young people that get to study at Berkeley are either young people privileged by their genes or the education and wealth and connections of their parents. That is why they can get into a highly selective college.
  2. Or the the young people get in because of diversity, a deliberate policy of the university administration to prefer young people of certain races or gender for study at the university before other young people of differing characteristics. Privilege by any other name.
  3. UC Berkeley is privileged by the manner of its funding. Instead of offering itself upon the marketplace of education, UC Berkeley is a creature of the state and enjoys its location, its wealth, and its prestige because the State of California and the United States of America have taxed ordinary people so that UC Berkeley can operate without the immediate spur of market realities. In other words, UC Berkeley relies for its creation and its continuance on government force. Otherwise known as privilege.
  4. At UC Berkeley, for my lifetime, liberal and left-wing speech has been protected and nurtured, while conservative and libertarian and religious speech has been marginalized and threatened. And this has been maintained by force symbolized by the protest against gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos on February 1, 2017. Yiannopoulos and his supporters were threatened with force and his supporters actually physically attacked while the university police stood by and did nothing.
  5. The people that work at UC Berkeley, in teaching and in administration, enjoy emoluments and tenure that ordinary mortals would die for. These are economic privileges, straight up, that are backed up by force.
It is salutary to read left-wing writers justifying their resort to force. Because it highlights the whole point of universal suffrage, regular elections, legislatures, and the whole paraphernalia of representative government.

The whole point of modern representative government is to remove the excuse for violence. Elections remove the excuse for partisan mobs fighting it out on the streets. Universal suffrage means that nobody is left outside the system. Legislatures mean that the representatives of all the interests, big and small, get a piece of the action when the government's spoils are handed out. A judicial system means that disputes are adjudicated based on honest interpretation of previous law and precedent.

Of course, everyone tends to interpret these things in their favor. Our side is peaceful and just, but the other side is cheating, and so our side may be justified in using force to prevent the other side from it unjust hijacking of the system.

It is natural that a ruling class should shine a light on the public square that illuminates its own ideas and actions in a pleasant way, and that shines a harsh light upon the opposition. Thus "we" are freedom fighters and "they" are fascists.

For many years, according to conservative narrative, conservatives have not pushed back against the power of the liberal lighting technicians to put their side in a good light and our side in a bad light. In part we have not wished to provoke a political crisis, and in part we have been intimidated into silence by the power of the liberal ruling class to name and shame us as racists, sexists, bigots, and fascists.

But the conservative base has been getting steadily more and more restless under this domination. And that is why we have Donald Trump as president.

It is natural that our liberal friends should experience Donald Trump as an affront against all that is good and decent. And it is natural that they should encourage their elected officials to push back against the president. It is also natural that the aristocratic branch of government, the judiciary, should support the liberal ruling class in this.

But the point of our modern representative government is that everyone observe the rules of non-violence, that differences are resolved by elections and legislation, not by "mostly peaceful protests" and intimidation. If one side feels justified in "radical acts against replaceable property" against the speech of "hatemongers" then the other side will sooner or later respond in kind.

That is why it is a good idea to pass major legislation with bipartisan majorities. That is why it is a good idea to confirm administration nominees without partisan name-calling. That is why it is a good idea to have a judiciary that refrains from legislating from the bench. The only reason for all that stuff is to restrain hot-heads from resorting to intimidation and force.

Do you not understand that, liberals?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Don't Panic!

On the one hand, argue Ross Kaminsky and Victor Davis Hanson, President Trump is risking a debacle with his insufficiently prepared attack upon the ruling class. They are talking about his immigration pause, presently getting shredded by a liberal judge in Seattle and the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

On the other hand, according to Richard Fernandez, Democrats are in danger of a descent into hysterical  irrelevance, equivalent to the decline of the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. Under the leadership of their current geriatric set they might get left behind the radicals of Berkeley and the inconsolable liberal women, and find the Democratic Party turning into a radical leftist organization.

So it is the best of times and the worst of times. Either Donald Trump is going to lead the Republican Party to ruin with the ill-considered rhetoric and insufficiently thought-out initiatives. Or the Democratic Party is going to lose its mind and forget that its power depends not on middle-class feminists and AntiFa street fighters but the loot it hands out to its people of the subordinate self.

Or you could say that Donald Trump is cunningly storming the ruling-class's citadel and overwhelming it with attacks from all directions. And the Democrats are cunningly getting their base riled up to overwhelm the Republicans who are, in the final analysis, squishes.

The simple answer is: we don't know. That's because both left and right are getting fed up that they are getting nowhere. The left is convinced that America is being held up by an evil cabal of fascists, sexist homophobes blocking the road to the Promised Land; the right is convinced that America is being ruined by a leftist ruling class that divides the nation up into warring identity factions.

The obvious answer to all that is that it is 84 years since the last real realigning election, featuring the 1932 presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is in the natural flow of things that, after 84 years of the basic New Deal politics things should now be getting out of joint, and that a political crisis will be needed to set the terms of US politics for the next 80 years.

So will the conflict be decided by a realignment election? If so, it would be the 2020 election with a 60-40 split in the vote. Frankly, I can see either a big Trump win in 2020 just as easily as I can see a Democratic revival.

Or will the conflict lead to civil war, either a hot war or the cold civil war proposed by Dennis Prager? He takes the position that up to now the right has not really been fighting. On his view the importance of Donald Trump is that he has responded to the call for the right to fight back against the left's march through the institutions. And he has done it by bringing a group into the Republican Party that was once the core of the New Deal coalition: the white working class.

Will Trump lead the right to victory? Or will the left, with its domination of the "deep state," frustrate the insurgency of Donald Trump?

I'd say it depends in great part upon whether Trump manages to appeal to African Americans, and persuade them that he has their back and that the Democrats have betrayed them.

I keep harping on the message of Charles Murray in Coming Apart. Today's America is pretty good for well-born liberals. No doubt, because they designed and built it. America is not so good for the non-college-educated middle class, and not at all good for the bottom 35 percent, where the men don't work much and the women don't marry much. So there has to be an opportunity for some populist to tell the bottom 35 percent that the current rulers don't care about people like them.

The fact is that President Trump is giving the Republican base what it asked for. It said it wanted a leader that would no longer truckle to the liberal establishment, afraid to be branded with the mark of Cain as racists and sexists and homophobes, and the base got what it asked for.

Now we will find out if the fight-back strategy is going to work.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Of Course the Techs Oppose Trump

So Uber backed away from collaborating with President Trump. So the tech giants are organizing against President Trump's immigration ban.

Of course they are. Uber's drivers, I have noticed, are predominantly immigrant. Which makes sense, since driving is a basic skill that doesn't require extended education and contacts, and Uber drivers really don't make that much money. The tech giants have imported tons of educated immigrants, via the H1B program, and now find themselves tied to the mast of unlimited immigration.

But I'd say that taking political sides is poison for capitalists and corporations. Corporations are a target for everyone in the political arena, and the simple reason is money.

Apple recently announced its quarterly earnings, and the Drudge Report symbolized the news with Apple's current cash hoard: $264,000,000,000. Talk about having a target on your back.

The fact of life for businesses and corporations is that they are where the money is. It is they that convert inventions into products and hunches into profits. It is they that function as the goverment's tax collector. And that means that while corporations may not be interested in politics, politics is interested in them. So Marx was interested in capitalists in 1850, and anti-trust politicians like Teddy Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century. Leftist politicians were interested in nationalizing corporations in the first half of the 20th century, and now social justice warriors are interested in "converging" corporations towards left-wing politics in the 21st century.

Today corporations are caught in the undertow between their need to truckle to the educated ruling class of the 20th century, and deal with the rising movement of populism that pushed Brexit and elected Donald Trump and is behind the rise of nationalism in Europe. Right now they are siding with the globalists. But I wonder how that will work out in the coming decade.

My daughter in Paris, who is just finishing up a Masters degree in international affairs, has introduced me to the cliodynamic theories of Peter Turchin and his books such as Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History. It may all be a bit "overdetermined," but hear this.

Back in the 1830s the "political stress index" started increasing. We may take the political stress index as a measure of partisanship. This index went straight up until the Civil War broke out in 1861. The point is that, starting with the election of Andrew Jackson as president, a profound divide appeared in US politics, between the order developed by Jefferson and Madison in the early 19th century and the "backwoodsmen" that supported Andrew Jackson.

In our own time a similar increase in political stress has developed, starting in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency, and getting rapidly worse in the last ten years. You can see what is happening. We are getting a movement that is dissenting from the post New Deal consensus, and the existing establishment is doing all it can to defuse and discredit the movement of rejection. Everyone is getting more and more angry, as nobody is willing to negotiate a common ground between the big-state establishment and the populist dissenters.

For instance: abortion. Could there not be a common ground that concedes a right of abortion in the first trimester, but not thereafter? Right now, it seems that pro-lifers insist of the total sanctity of life from conception and pro-choicers insist on the right to abort right up until (and sometimes after) actual birth.

Or immigration. Can we not agree that illegal or undocumented immigration is not to be endured, even while we accept a reasonable rate of immigration that is slow enough to allow assimilation of immigrants and avoid the establishment of oppositional enclaves that that might develop into incubators of rebellion. And is it not curious that, per Turchin p. 65, that real wages in the United States increased rapidly in the period 1920 to 1970 when immigration was restricted, and that real wages have stagnated since 1973, just after the Immigration Act of 1965 that started the current immigration surge?

So now we have the immigrant-heavy tech firms advocating against an immigration slowdown while the white working class of the Rust Belt wants to build the wall. How surprising is that?

In my view the partisan turmoil of the ante-bellum era issues from the same source as the current partisan divide. A ruling class gets to set the rules and like God, looks out over its creation and decides that it is good.

But in fact the programs and favors that the ruling class has handed out to its supporters have visited injustice to many others, and it may take a while before the sufferers identify their grievances and decide to do something about it. Facing a movement of rejection the ruling class, smug in the certainty that it is bending the arc of history towards justice, becomes angry and insulted when the movement of rejection damns the rulers' glorious work to hell and back again.

By the time that the movement of rejection has arisen and found leaders and got a leader elected to power, chances are that There is No More Money. As in the French Revolution, and as right now when the Federal Debt is up at 100 percent of GDP.

That makes it very difficult to square the circle and continue the benefits of the supporters of the Old Regime while responding to the demands of the rising movement of rejection.

It makes complete sense that the supporters of the Democratic Party are outraged by the election of Donald Trump. Why, if that guy gets his way he will destroy all the social change and benefits of the last century! Meanwhile the supporters of Donald Trump can see nothing but injustice from a ruling class that just assumes that whatever it does is good and just, and sneers at the troubles of the deplorables.

President Trump tells us that he is a great dealmaker and that he will make great deals for us.

But what if the two sides in America don't want a deal? What if they insist that their opponents are thoroughly defeated first?

That is why I don't think it is a good idea for corporations to take sides in the political wars. It is just not good business to paint a target on your back.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Here is Why MSM Is Not Serious

There is a piece up at CNN worrying about how "Democrats face their own powerlessness." But look at the assumption behind the following paragraph:
The party has no clear successor to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton who can speak with one voice for the party. And there is no consensus yet on a strategy to thwart Trump's legislative agenda -- or even how to prioritize the issues they plan to challenge him on.
Erm. Do not the Democrats and CNN realize that they lost the presidential election, and are minorities in the House and the Senate? And we will not talk about state governors and legislatures.

When you lose the White House and are the minority in Congress you are really not in a position to "thwart Trump's legislative agenda" any more than Republicans could thwart Obamacare in 2009-10. You can attempt to guide the majority's legislation into channels more comfortable to you. That is all.

Oh, I see the Democrats' problem. They are the nation's ruling-class party and so they kinda assume that it is their agenda that must be the basis of governance and legislation. It is offensive for them to deal with the fact that the people have elected the other party to power. That's not the way the world is supposed to work.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said -- and Barack Obama repeated -- the arc of history is long and it bends towards justice.

That's a very profound-sounding notion, but it misses out a lot. The point is that different people have rather different ideas of justice, and rather different ideas of how to get there. For the last century an educated administrative, cultural elite has been the ruling class and it has enforced its idea of how to bend the arc of history towards justice.

Chaps like me think that the ideas of the educational/administrative/cultural elite are all wet -- when they are not directly cruel and unjust -- and that history has shown that following its agenda does not bend the arc of history towards justice but to something rather different.

I like to use Coming Apart by Charles Murray at this point. He argues that the rule of the educated elite has been rather beneficial to the 25 percent of people in America in the political/cultural/economic elite. They have good satisfying jobs, successful merger marriages with little divorce, good children that do well in life. But life for the middle half is not so good, in the work-place and in the family. And the bottom 30 percent is decidedly in bad shape: the men don't work much and the women don't marry much.

Liberals like to argue that the leaders of the Republican Party are cynical corporate manipulators that use social issues to head fake the social conservative rubes while the corporate CEOs make piles of money. But maybe the opposite is true, where the Democratic Party is all about teachers' unions and government employee unions, and the social issues about abortion and gays is just a smokescreen to head-fake the NPR listeners and liberal faithful.

Here we are in 2017 with President Trump in the US and Brexit in the UK. Maybe, just maybe, the voters are sending a message that they don't think that the rule of the liberal/media/university elite is doing them much good.

Maybe the voters elected President Trump and a Republican Congress because they think it is time for a change.

Maybe it is time for the liberal ruling class to stop thinking about how to stop Trump and start thinking about how they could have misread the American people and misread the election, and got to their present state, where Democrats, despite owning the culture, owning the schools, owning the media, owning the universities, are facing their lowest electoral ebb since 1928.

But then maybe the liberal ruling class is right about everything and I am just a rube.

You never know.

Friday, February 3, 2017

So The Immigration Protests Were Carefully Planned

As if you didn't know, the left had carefully prepared to protest Trump's immigration actions. Here is the Daily Beast:
On the dark and cloudy morning in Brooklyn after Donald Trump’s Election Night upset, 20 members of the nonprofit Make the Road New York gathered in the conference room of their office for an all-hands emergency meeting.
Daniel Altschuler is "their director of civic engagement and research."

Can you spell AstroTurf?

Actually, according to my theory of politics, it is right and proper for the left to organize immigrants that are not legal, are not yet permanent residents, or are not yet citizens.

Because people like that do not have the vote. They are therefore not automatically considered in the councils of power. So there only recourse is the language of the streets.

And that is what the left is always looking for. The left believes in political violence; that is the left's religious faith.

But there is a problem for the left. Over the years, as the left has identified group after group of unfranchised and/or marginal people, the system has brought them into the system, by extending the franchise and enforcing civil rights.

As each group has been brought into the light the left has been forced to find new groups for whom violence and intimidation are the only ways to get respect.

When the left organized the workers they were organizing a majority of the nation. When they organized women and blacks, they organized half the nation. When they organized gays, they organized less than 3 percent of the nation. Now they are organizing immigrants and Muslims, a small minority. You could say they are running out of victims.

The natural instinct of the elected politician is to do a deal, to broker a compromise that will lower the ideological temperature. That is why, on immigration, the Washington establishment has tried to blur the issues and accede to the demands of the immigrants and their leftist organizers.

The problem is, of course, that immigrants start out in a new country by banding together for protection from the larger community, and the larger community starts to view the organized immigrants as a threat. Sometimes the migrants transform the host society. Then Normans that invaded Britain in 1066 were originally Vikings that had been harassing Normandy and the lands around the River Seine for decades. They were made into a dukedom by a Frankish king that wanted to turn them from raiders into defenders of France.

So the question for Europe and for the United States is where the nation of immigrants ends and the protection of the native population begins.

In US history a wave of immigration typically provokes a reaction to stall immigration, as the immigration wave of 1900 provoked the immigration restrictions of the 1920s.

We are presently engaged in a political battle to determine if the US will repeat the immigration restrictions of the 1920s or not. Obviously President Trump has been elected by people that are fearful of today's immigrants and want more protection from the government. The Democratic Party and the activist left has clearly chosen to champion the interest of the immigrants, legal and illegal, and to identify with Islam.

What will happen? We don't know. It all depends on how the coming battles precipitate out in the next elections, in 2018 and 2020.

If Democrats succeed in rallying the country against Trump and immigration restrictions, then immigration will go into high gear and America will be transformed. If Trump succeeds in rallying the country to build the wall and restrict family-unification immigration and sparks the economy, then Democrats will be in for a period in the wilderness until they moderate their agenda.

But right now, We Don't Know.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

No, Liberals, It is not 1848, or 1963. There is No Call for Riots

I was out in liberal North Seattle, minding my own business yesterday, just minutes before the UC Berkeley riots against free speech, when I passed this little item of free speech.


Isn't it precious! Isn't this the ultimate virtue signal? You can see that it covers the whole liberal waterfront, from support of black racism to climate alarmism. But hey, that's OK. Everyone is a hypocrite, and everyone is confident in their own virtue and goodness. I can live with rich liberals in the tony part of town.

I would take issue with the notion "Science is real." That is unscientific. I've looked into this a bit and have become a complete Kantian. All we know are sense impressions; we cannot know things-in-themselves. Which means that science is just the latest human attempt to get a handle on how the world works given that we don't know things-in-themselves, the reality hiding behind our sense impressions. Is science real? Maybe, but stay tuned for the next exciting science revolution that turns our view of the world upside down.

But then I got home and the Berkeley riots against the free-speech rights of Brit Milo Yiannopoulos, his ability to speak on the UC Berkeley campus, were in full swing.

Thanks liberals. Now we know who you really are. You are the People of the Lie. Here is an example, from the statement of Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin. He begins:
Destruction and violence are contrary to progressive values and have no place in our community.
Sorry, old chap, but that is a bald-faced lie. The whole point of the progressive movement is that force, through politics and government, is needed to bend the arc of history towards justice.

The basic Truth that good little girls are taught in college today is that politics is a march to City Hall. I know this because I heard it direct from a good little girl in a University of Washington class on David Hume.

The whole point of a march to City Hall, or a so-called "peaceful protest," is the threat of violence. That is why they used to call the "peaceful protest" a "demonstration." You Latin scholars will know that demonstration means a show, as in show of force. It says, in no uncertain terms, that we are angry, we are many, and if we get really angry, why we will advance from a show to force to actual force. Otherwise what is the point?

As was demonstrated last night, February 1, 2017, on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.

The basic faith of the left is that things are so bad that only revolution will resolve it.

You could have argued that revolution was needed in 1848 when rich kids Marx and Engels issued their Manifesto. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and it looked like it was immiserating the workers and that the capitalists didn't care. In fact, the political system took note of the plight of the workers and gave them the vote and legislated various protections for workers. Meanwhile the capitalists through successive innovation revolutions enacted the Great Enrichment that gave prosperity to the poor unlike anything ever dreamed of.

Sorry liberals, it isn't 1848 any more. Although you could argue that liberal legislation has made things worse for workers, by advertising with the welfare state that life is safer and more secure than it really is. Ask the white working class that dying of despair about that.

You could have argued that revolution was needed in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. lead his iconic March on Washington and gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Only the very next year the Congress passed the Civil Rights Acts enforcing full civil rights for African Americans.

Sorry liberals, it isn't 1963 any more. Although you could argue that liberal race politics has made things worse for blacks, by enslaving them on a liberal plantation in inner cities with gangs and anesthetizing welfare and Affirmative Action benefits. Ask Black Lives Matter about that.

You could, if you could hold back the snigger, argue that revolution was needed before women could get a no-fault divorce in the 1960s, and before they could get an abortion in the 1970s, and before they were able to participate in free sex courtesy of The Pill, and when women were expected to be wives and mothers and not have careers. But I don't judge this to be on the same level as the grievances of 1848-era workers and 1963-era blacks. These are not the concerns of marginalized women but well-born women of the middle class.

You could, if you really tried, argue that revolution was needed before gays could "come out" and get "married." But again, these are the concerns of well-born men and women that can afford to get creative with sex. This is not the grinding poverty of the masses that argues for "peaceful protests" and shows of force.

Meanwhile, the concerns of ordinary men and women -- for decent jobs, for decent homes and neighborhoods, for a decent education for their children  -- have been ignored and sneered at. And this is a growing and monstrous injustice.

The ordinary men and women do not choose to go into the streets with a show of force. They just want to elect representatives that will honestly represent their needs, and a president that understands and respects their problems.

Hello President Trump and the Republican Congress.

To understand the modern left I turn to Shakespeare -- who else? -- and his Wars of the Roses plays.

Huh? You will say. Just read on.

Let us just take Henry IV Part One. Part of the play, of course is the high jinks of Prince Hal and his pal Falstaff. But the guts of the play is about the rebellion of the rich kid, Harry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, and other well-born rebels. They are pissed off that they are not getting enough respect from King Henry, the chap they helped put on the throne of England. And he insists that they send to the King the prisoners they captured! So they form a head of rebellion against the King. That will show him.

Fast forward to the late 20th century and the revolutionary trilogy Empire-Multitude-Commonwealth where Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri realize that the old idea of the mass-producing "masses" is a bit old hat. They need revolution on behalf of a new "multitude."
They ache after a life "in common" in a multitude that creates a social product in creative "performance" rather than mechanical mass production.
Yes, well. Don't we all. Especially the principals in La La Land. But the modern leftie isn't content with a hope for creative accomplishment. They want more.
 Like Marx and Marcuse, their worldview reduces to a lust for the moment of Kairos, the "moment when a decision of action is made ... a radical insurrectionary demand" in the streets.
Well, of course. That is what all rich kids have lusted after, from the days of the endless border wars of the hunter-gatherers down Harry Hotspur to yesterday's AntiFa rioters in Berkeley, California. Yeah! Let's take our "radical insurrectionary demand" to the streets!

The basic lie of the left is that the capitalists and the middle class and the religious believers are cruel overlords that cannot be persuaded by anything less than force. But I would argue that the history of the last 200 years, when the middle class emerged as a world-historical movement, belies the faith of the left, that only radical insurrectionary force will bend the arc of history towards justice.

It is just not true that only force will persuade the middle class. And the reason is that the middle class, from the capitalists down to the religious believers are not that interested in power. You have a problem? Come into this conference room and give us the details. Maybe we can work something out.

Why would this be true? Because in the modern era, unlike all previous eras, everything is bought and sold on the market. No longer is wealth a question of land and the food that grows on it. Wealth now issues out of the mind of man, his ability to perform services for others and exchange his labor and his innovations for money. In such a world the need for force shrinks radically. Because it is almost always cheaper to negotiate and compromise on the differences between man and man rather than fight it out on the streets.

So what is the left all worked up about? I will tell you.

Much of what the left has achieved over the last century and more has been achieved with force: not always direct military force, but the force of political will rather than compromise and good will. So the left is terrified that any political change will bring all their "gains" into question.

They are right to fear that. They should have thought about that before they put their faith in politics and in force. Live by the sword of politics, die by the sword of politics.

But really they should not worry too much. That is because, here in America, the great middle class of racists, sexists, homophobes, and deplorables is just not that interested in power.