Thursday, November 21, 2019

Pejorative Politics: Nothing New Under the Sun

Are you a racist? Are you a sexist? A homophobe? Etc? It's the thing of the moment, what every fashionable and Woke American does: using pejoratives to shut people up -- or even get them fired from their jobs.

The truth is: everybody does it. It's just that, according to my Law of the Incoming Rounds, we only notice when the mortar rounds are descending upon us and ours.

For instance, the nicknames for the political parties in Britain, Whigs and Tories, were both originally pejoratives. "Tory" was a name for dispossessed Irish peasants and became the name for supporters of the Catholic King James II of England. "Whig" is probably a shortening of the word "whiggamore," the nickname of 17th century Scottish rebels.

When we deplorables talk about "lefties" and "commies" we are using pejoratives; we are using the words as insults.

And here is the real genius. Our liberal friends have to change their name every generation or so, because their normal name turns into a pejorative. Thus the Progressives of the turn of the 20th century reinvented themselves as "liberals" in the New Deal. And then, about 15 years ago they reinvented themselves as "progressives." Because in the hands of chaps like Ronald Reagan the word "liberal" had become radioactive, an insult.

But hey, politics is a game of insults, whatever Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says about "people don't insult people." Yes they do, Nancy. All the time. Now, as I observe, the insult direct is a male thing. I encountered probably the base experience of this in Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage. The whole thing is about a young soldier wondering if he will have the necessary courage to get going when the going gets tough, and about the bravado and insults uttered by the soldiers as they are hanging around in camp in-between marches and battles.

What Our Nance is talking about is that women do not use the insult direct. In women's culture, insults are made indirectly, when two women have a conversation about a third woman not present: "I can't believe she said/did that." But the intention and the intended effect is just the same as the insult direct. Isn't it, Nance?

The purpose of an insult direct or an insult indirect is to take out someone. In men's culture you do that directly, basically challenging an opponent to put up or shut up. In women's culture it is done indirectly, by the community of women, in a series of one-on-one convsersations, coming to a collective decision that some targeted woman is to be named and shamed and shunned. Anthony Trollope does a beautiful number on a step-mother naming and shaming and shunning her step-daughter in An American Senator. Of course, her vile actions didn't work because her step-daughter was the heroine of the story!

Ain't I a sexist? As Bugs Bunny might have said.

Back to the use of "deplorable" as a pejorative. The insult was coined by the matchless Hillary Clinton when she said to an LGBT audience during the 2016 presidential campaign:
You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?
 [Laughter/applause]
The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric.
Well yeah. Of course I would say that you ain't seen haters until you've been around LGBT activists. And that is why Hillary Clinton talked about deplorables in her speech at the LGBT fundraiser. Because that's what the gays and the lesbians wanted to hear. That's why they laughed. That's why they cheered. Because Hillary Clinton was telling them that they were the good guys and the Other was the bad guys.

But here's the thing. We deplorables loved it! We marched right out and owned that "deplorable" pejorative. So that now, it really isn't a pejorative any more, it's a badge of honor. The next day some wag had culturally appropriated Les Mis and designed a poster of Les Déplorables and the song "Do You Hear the People Sing."

Same thing with Whigs and Tories. Back in the day, the parties in the British Parliament were referred to by all and sundry as Whigs and Tories, and Conservative Party voters are to this day called Tories.

So I say that the only way to detoxify the dread accusation of racist-sexist-homophobe is to own it.

Yes, I'm a racist. What's it to you?

And, of course, if I was dealing with a real sophisticate, I would say that, according to Hegel, the thing and its opposite are really the same. So the racist and the anti-racist are united by their obsession with race. You might even say they deserve each other.

Whaddya think about that, pardner?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Of Course I'm a Homophobe. How About You?

The third worst thing in the world is to be called a homophobe. Or maybe it is the first worst thing. Because the gay mafia is really better at the "cancel" culture than the race mafia.

And I have to say that, thinking about this post over the past day, I thought: Hmm. This is the one that could get me into trouble. Except, of course, that I am nobody, and nobody cares what Chris Chantrill thinks or writes.

Of course, I would say, today, that anyone that is not a homophobe is a fool. Phobia -- or φοβία -- is Greek for fear. But in English, according to Google, it is "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something." Presumably that is the meaning that Freud came up with. So "homophobia" means an extreme or irrational feat or aversion to homosexuals.

Hmm. Again, I'd say that anyone that wasn't really afraid of homosexuals is a fool. Because the gay mafia -- pace the trans mafia -- is a very powerful political weapon that can put you out of a job in 15 minutes flat.

So yeah, I'm a homophobe. Anyone who is anyone ought to be afraid of the gay mafia. But what about homosexuals as individuals and homosexuality in general?

First of all, my experience with homosexuality.

I went to an English public school, and there was a lot of what the Brits would call "wanking" going on. But when I went to university I decided that I'd better stay on the hetero side. My reason? Well, back in those days the left was pretty hard on gays because, they said, homosexuality was all about upper-class "poofters." Better keep my nails clean, I thought.

But then I applied to enter the University Air Squadron at my university. And the officer conducting my physical decided, after I had failed the color pattern test, to check my color vision by having me look at a light source and call the color. So I got in to train as a pilot even though I am color blind. This same officer became my flight instructor, and one day, in the air, asked me if I had ever thought about homosexuality. No, I replied, I hadn't. So he proposed that there was no need to tell anyone about the conversation. So what did I do? I did nothing except continue my flight training.

Here's the thing. If that gay guy hadn't fixed my physical I would never have done flight training at the university, and I consider my flight training in the University Air Squadron one of the more meaningful and satisfying experiences of my life.

So the question for me is: should society gently condone the fact of homosexuals and other non-hetero folk in our society? Should society name and shame and shun them? Or should homosexuality be institutionalized with, e.g., gay marriage?

Let's turn to my pal Fritzi for advice. He observes, in The Will to Power, that Christianity rather overdoes it on the morality front. For Nietzsche, moral rules should be regarded more as common sense than divine commandments. Which is fine, except, as others point out, it is much more effective to propose that God knows everything, and will judge you at the last trump, than to leave the moral ordering of society to earthly moral arbiters like policemen and judges, and God forbid, politicians.

So I would suggest that it is probably best if young people are taught to avoid homosexuality.

Because?

Because of all kinds of practical reasons, starting with the basic function of sexuality, to put the next generation on the ground.

Because it is not true that, hey, you can choose your sexual preference, because human rights, and everybody should be who they want to be. The fact is that if you depart from the main road of life in which you fall in love with a young person of the opposite sex, get married, have kids, and then after 20 years realize that the meaning of life is grandchildren, you are much more likely to end up in the bushes or the wilderness. That is the point of moral rules and cultural guidelines. They are guard rails to point you in the direction that will, hopefully, keep you out of the ditch.

The fact is that kids today are being taught that non-hetero lifestyle is normal, is cool, is exciting. Er, not really. In fact, per Nietzsche, getting off the main road of life is hard to become an Übermensch is challenging, and requires enormous fortitude. Ir is not for the faint of heart.

On Nietzsche's reckoning, to be one of "we free spirits" is the whole point of life. It is creative, but it is hard. Any creative life is hard. And I agree with him.

But that is not how gay activists present the case. For them, it is all explainable in the leftist matrix of oppressors vs. helpless victims. Gays are helpless victims and must be rescued from the homophobic oppressors by law, by diversity and inclusion administrators, and by gay activists.

Sorry Charlie. Like everything to do with the left, this is a lie, including "and" and "the." If you choose to leave the main road of life you will need enormous reserves of courage and energy and fortitude, whatever the law, whatever the D&I administrators, whatever the power of gay activists.

And on top of everything, we have the problem that once the activists get their Civil Rights law or their gay marriage, they don't go home. That's because their identity is their life as an activist. And activists must go out there peacefully protesting every day, otherwise where is the meaning of life?

And there is the peculiar nature of activism that, when you are fighting for your rights, you must act the role of the helpless victim that is just asking for justice. But after you have achieved your goal your meek activist turns into an avenging angel, dispensing justice with fire and sword. What's that all about?

So yeah. Call me a homophobe. I don't care. Because all the vile accusations flying around are merely the crude attempts of political activists to divide people and conquer them. But accusations only work when we cringe. If we do not cringe, then the accusation starts to lose its power.

OK, OK. It's easy for me to say that, because I don't earn my living in the public square: I can't be "canceled."

But right now the accusation of homophobia is an accusation that can hurt your career big time. You cannot say: No I'm Not! Because that won't fly with the safe-space girls in HR.

So really, the only thing to do is to own it. Yes. I'm a homophobe. Because my job as the adult in the room is let the kids know that if you choose live as LGBT you better look before you leap.

Pejorative Politics - Table of Contents

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Of Course I'm a Sexist, How About You?

The second worst thing in the world is to be called a sexist. Because. But really what is a sexist?

Is it someone that believes that men and women are different? Is it someone that supports the patriarchy or toxic masculinity? Is it someone that believes women should be kept barefoot and pregnant?

Or maybe it is just someone that believes that the Civil Rights Acts mean what they say, that the government shall not discriminate on the basis of sex.

Actually I get it. It is all understood in Eric Hoffer's famous aphorism that "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."

Or more directly, the problem with every great cause is that after it succeeds it never goes home. But sticks around doing more of what worked to advance in the cause in the days of its innocence. Thus, says Google's Ngram Viewer.
Come on, feminists! You mean to say that we need to talk more about sexism after the government passed a law to make it illegal for government and most private organizations to discriminate against women. I don't think so. I mean: shouldn't we have been having a conversation about sexism before the Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s?

Actually, I believe that the government should discriminate in favor of women. Women are peculiarly vulnerable, and not because of millennia of patriarchy, but because women are physically weaker, because women are particularly vulnerable when they are pregnant or caring for young children. And because Oscar Wilde's question about what women want is flat wrong. It is not what women want, but what they expect. And primarily what they expect is to be protected.

Let me give you an example. Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently criticized President Trump for a tweet criticizing impeachment witness Marie Yovanovich. She praised the former ambassador's "strength" and then went on to say that "people don't insult people."

This is, as we say, just like a woman. Guess what: you never praise a man for his strength. You only criticize him in the event of weakness. So our Nance is a sexist. Then the insult thing. It's true. Women don't insult other women to their face. What they do is complain about a third-person woman in an intimate one-on-one conversation with another woman, as in "I can't believe she said that." And at some point the women's culture of name and shame and shun kicks in. And the woman in question finds that she doesn't have any "friends" any more. You tell me which is worse.

Here's more sexist stuff.

I believe that votes for women is a bad idea, because the only valid job for government is protecting us from dangers, and women don't do that.

I believe that abortion is a bad idea, because no man should have the option of saying "get rid of it."

I believe the sexual revolution was a bad idea, because women just don't do hookup culture, not unless they have drunk half a bottle of vodka before the party.

I believe that no-fault divorce is a bad idea, because it encourages men to dump their wives for a newer model; and it encourages women to act on the advice of their friends to ditch the loser.

I believe that careers for women is a bad idea because I think young women should be thinking about marriage and children and married women should be working with other mothers in the community to raise the children together, and that older women should be regulating the neighborhood with their name and shame and shun culture.

I believe that women are learners and carers and teachers, and their instinct is to keep things going. I believe that men are creators, fighters, and destroyers, and their instinct is to march towards the sound of the guns.

I believe that we can see women starting to push back against the follies of the last century, that women can live and work "just like a man." I believe that the reaction against the hookup culture is a start, that the #MeToo hashtag is a realization that women do too need protection in the public square. And I believe that microaggressions and safe spaces are an indicator that women don't do face to face challenge.

And what I think is that men are in the early stages of creating a new men-only culture where courage is expected, insults are just a fact of life, and rebelling against conventional wisdom is a sign of manliness.

So yeah. Call me a sexist. I don't care. Because all the vile accusations flying around are merely the crude attempts of political activists to divide people and conquer them. But accusations only work when we cringe. If we do not cringe, then the accusation starts to lose its power.

OK, OK. It's easy for me to say that, because I don't earn my living in the public square: I can't be "canceled."

But right now the accusation of sexism is an accusation that can hurt your career big time. You cannot say: so's your father, because women don't do face-to-face insult -- the Noble Society of Fish Wives excepted, God bless 'em.

So really, the only thing to do is to own it. Yes. I'm a sexist. Because I'm a man, and a man has to bravely outdare the dangers of the time. Whatever the cost.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Of Course I'm a Racist. How About You?

The worst thing in the world is to be called a racist. Because there is no defense against this pejorative. Oh, you can say: No I'm Not. Good luck with that, pal. Obviously, that answer is not working. So I propose the opposite idea.

Of course I'm a racist. Isn't everyone?

Doesn't everyone prefer their own kind best? For instance, your liberal anti-racist may sneer and be ashamed of his rich-kid whiteness. But that's because his whiteness is not his identity. For a lefty xir leftiness is xir identity. Call him a lefty and he feels the compliment.

I'm a racist because I like my own kind best. As a family I am deeply conscious of how my family dodged the bullets of the 20th century that mowed down tens of millions and enslaved hundreds of millions: how my dad, born in Russia, got out in 1918 just in time; how my mother, born in Japan, got out in 1940 just in time; how I, born in India, got out in 1948 after Indian Independence because the Indians were too busy killing each other to bother about the left-over Brits.

As a man descended from northwest Europeans I am deeply conscious and proud of the remarkable contributions to humanity made by northwest Europeans, from limited government to finance to science to understanding and developing the concepts of the market economy and the nation state, and getting embarrassed about slavery, that ultimate expression of hierarchy, and doing something about it.

As an American I am deeply proud of the Founders, those remarkable men that seized political power and then walked away from it, in part with their separation of powers doctrine and in part with the repeated action of George Washington, man on a white horse that twice walked away from a kingly crown: first as the victorious commanding general of a revolutionary war; and second as a two-term president.

As a white person I am deeply proud of the civil rights revolution that extended to a subordinate minority, blacks, the promise of equal rights under the law. In what country, ever, has the dominant majority ever extended the hand as the Americans of the 1950s and 1960s extended the hand of equal rights to African Americans, because they thought it was the right thing to do?

Look, I get it. In politics, the whole point is to divide the world up into Us and Them, and we humans are groupish, we identify with groups: with our immediate family, with our kindred, with our city, with our nation, with our identity as educated globalists. I like to say that we are all tribesmen, except that back in the day of the hunter-gatherer the boundaries of tribe were much more flexible than, say, the boundaries of American citizenship.

Every war leader, rallying his people to the defense of the homeland, automatically encourages his people to identify as members of a fake tribe, the community of people that need to band together to defend the homeland. The tribe might be a hunter-gatherer band; it might be a horticultural village; it might be an agricultural fiefdom; it might be a nation state. And in the modern era of identity politics, the war leader may call upon our identity as black, or white, or male, or female or gay. Doesn't really matter. Humans respond to the call to arms, and form themselves by instinct into ranks and files, and believe the things that their leaders tell them. Ther is no difference between any of these tribes, called into existence to meet the threat. We humans are groupish; we establish our identity with our group memberships, especially in the hour of need.

Our lefty friends, it must be said, have become the world champs when it comes to discovering new ways in which to form humans into ranks and files and set them against each other. And what they have learned from the military leaders, or instinctively stumbled upon, is that you cannot really form a strong group unless that group is experienced as being under attack. Thus, to get African Americans to vote 90 percent for Democrats, you must terrify African Americans into believing that Jim Crow is just around the corner. This is, of course, no different that rallying Americans to fight in World War II by terrifying them about Nazis. Or rallying them to fight the Cold War by terrifying them about Commies. Or rallying them to occupy the Middle East by terrifying them about Muslims. Or rallying rich-kid white activists for the #Resistance by terrifying them about white supremacy and toxic masculinity.

So yeah. Call me a racist. I don't care. Because all the vile accusations flying around are merely the crude attempts of political activists to divide people and conquer them. But accusations only work when we cringe. If we do not cringe, then the accusation starts to lose its power.

OK, OK. It's easy for me to say that, because I don't earn my living in the public square: I can't be "canceled."

But right now the accusation of racism is an accusation against which there is no defense. You cannot say: no I'm not! And you certainly cannot throw the accusation back into the face of an African American.

So really, the only thing to do is to own it. Yes. I'm a racist. Whaddya going to do about it, pal?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Seize the Commanding Heights of Media and Education!

Here's Hunter Hearns telling us in "The Flight 93 Election Crashed" that we are doomed. So long as the left runs the media and the schools.

Trump has changed nothing, he tells us. Next time the Democrats get in power,
we will see universal healthcare, the release of violent criminals, open borders, the stamping out of religious liberty, and a government that sees its citizens less as the American founders did, and more as communist leaders who divided the population into classes of oppressors and oppressed for purposes of implementing policy.
 Why? Because conservatives have not understood the basic lesson of politics, that
most people do not have the time, motivation or inclination to think deeply about political and social issues. They will take the opinions that have been prepared for them by higher status individuals and institutions. If these opinion shapers are liberal, the public will be liberal, and this includes intelligent people naturally inclined to live in accordance with moral ideals.
How do we get to do that instead of the liberals?
There are two major cultural institutions which have generally been used to shape public opinion: the education system, and the media. In America, both have been wholly dominated by the Left.
As Hunter points out, the massive leftward shift of educated women is testimony to this. Women are good little girls and believe what they have been carefully taught. And what they have been carefully taught by schools and media is the left turn and its subjection of everything to identity politics and group explanations. They are not like Bronze Age Pervert of Bronze Age Mindset who celebrates the pirate culture of the Bronze Age and a Nietzschean love for "a fair amount of accidents and nonsense." In fact educated women are horrified by the chaotic nonsense that is the modus operandi of Donald Trump.

OK. So we have to seize control of education and media. Don't tell me how we do this, because I haven't a clue. But what should we teach in the schools and the media?

Now it happens that I've been reading all about the Protestant Revolution, Christianity's Dangerous Idea by Alister McGrath, and the centuries of ideological conflict that went with it. At the same time I am reading Will in the World by Steen Greenblatt and he writes tellingly about how the religious conflicts in England in the 16th century affected the folks on the ground in Stratford on Avon. See, most people were Catholic in their faith, whatever was coming down from Henry VIII and his dissolution (and spoilation) of the monasteries, and then Mary who reverted England to Catholicism, and then Elizabeth I who switched back to Protestantism.

If you were a lowly municipal official -- like Shakespeare's father -- you had to keep your wits about you to stay on the right side of the regime as it swtiched to and fro even if you thought it was madness. Yet, maybe you could do your little bit to hang onto the old ways. For instance, when Shakespeare was in school in the mid 16th century it seems that the schoolmaster was probably a crypto-Catholic even though, in the Elizabethan age, no Catholics need apply.

But meanwhile the non-crypto Catholics were being arrested, imprisoned, tortured, disembowelled, and executed. Just to keep it fair. Yes, you may very well think that a simple "canceling" on the modern Woke agenda would have been sufficient.

OK, so then I got reading a piece in The Tablet by Blake Smith about Émile Durkheim and the Dreyfus affair. Durkheim had begun his sociological career analyzing the capitalist economy and despairing about the anomie of individualism. But then he found hope.
For the next two decades, until his death in 1917, he would devote himself to proving that all societies have a religious basis (in his Elementary Forms of Religious Life, 1913) and to providing French teachers with the courage to embrace their role as priests of the republic.
Teachers: priests of the Republic of France.
They must instill in children a “democratic morality,” built of respect for individual rights and love for the nation.
Well, well, well. Isn't that exactly what chaps like us are all about? Individual rights, as a sacred truth. The nation as the only form of fake tribalism that works "at scale."
History, for example, should be taught as the achievement of the former by the latter: “the child, and later the adult, will learn that the rights that are granted to them, the freedom that they enjoy, the moral dignity that they believe themselves to possess, all of these are the creation … of that personal but impersonal being we call France. 
Meanwhile our liberal friends are teaching The Kidz that America is bad and we -- apart from the toxic white nationalist patriarchs -- are all victims.

So all we have to do is teach the kids to love individual rights and the good old United States of America, the nation.

And never mind the left, the media, and the schools. We will overcome.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Of Course America is Materialistic. Also Nationalistic

Our good friend the Zman is indicting America for its materialism.
This is particularly true of conservative white people, who have been trained their whole lives to define their existence by the amount of stuff their heirs will throw away when they die. Theirs is an entirely materialist existence, so the transition to cultural thinking is going to be difficult.
The great challenge, he avers, "will be re-conditioning people to think culturally, rather than materially."

Well yes, but not because of conservative white people. Our white culture is bound around the notion expressed in the Founding that we want to put a short leash on government and political power through the separation of powers. And that the normal day-to-day acquisition of material goods should be regulated throught the market economy where people labor to provide goods and services to meet other peoples' needs and that the material problem is solved by mutual service.

This is a cultural agenda that works pretty well for people that feel materially secure. But what about the rest of us?

I'd say that the success of leftist politics over the last 200 years is founded on the fact that, for the workers in 1848, and the blacks in 1958, the material question was front and center. As it had been for nearly everybody down the ages.

And really, it doesn't take much of a genius to convert the age-old culture of loot and plunder from looting the neihboring princedom to looting the princes of commerce.

When the lefties have adapted the old loot-and-plunder culture for use in democratic politics, then that is only game in town, until it isn't. We have seen how the polite conservatism of the last 50 years worked out. It didn't. Lefties always come up with a new reason to loot the capitalists and plunder the middle class and divide the nation into Us and Them.

And even if the left left off proposing new ways to tax and loot businesses and billionaires there would always be the backup: protecting the existing loot and plunder in entitlements and government employee pensions and stuff: don't let Republicans take it all away!

The problem -- and it is a gigantic problem -- is not "re-conditioning people to think culturally." The problem is to "condition" the workers and the minorities to think in cultural terms rather than material terms for the first time in history. Now there is a project for the ages!

And what better way to do that than to work on what the Zman in another piece calls the false idea of America as one nation.
The United States was never a nation in the tradition[al] sense. It was always a federation of nations. The structure the Founders created was an explicit acknowledgement of it. The regional difference in the colonies at the time of the founding were not superficial. Those regional differences are still with us today, despite the migrant wave unleashed on many parts by the ruling class. America was always a house with many mansions. 
Therefore, to speak of national character, other than in the most general terms, is to misunderstand the country and its people.
Baloney and balderdash! For sure, the Founders understood that to create the United States they had to condone the various localisms in the various colonies. But that was then; this is now.

In my view all nationalisms and tribalisms are fake tribalisms; they are the cooked up idea that "we," whoever "we" are, are a single People. But nothing is cast in stone. People change, and if you play your cards right you can persuade people to switch from one fake tribalism to another. When are disaparate peoples most likely to be persuaded that they are one People? Exactly, when their leaders unite them to fight a war.

So let us accept the idea that the United States started out as a federation of nations. After the Civil War, it was two nations, North and South. But then in the later 19th century it split up again, particularly on class and ethnic lines. World War II, I argue, united the disparate quarreling parts into a single nation. But in the Sixties the New Left split us apart again.

Let us be clear. The left believes in salvation by politics. But politics is division, into Us and Them. So inevitably everything the left does results in division and splitting. And one thing that our lefty ruling class is always working on is the fundamental Original Sin of America in slavery and racism and now toxic masculinity. It is a world view of division, between innocent slaves and evil racists, between innocent women and monstrous men.

The idea of the Nation is to unite all the peoples in America into a single People. And that is what Donald Trump is trying to do, to make people think of themselves as Americans rather than hyphenated Americans.

The question is whether anyone can unite us from our squabbling tribes without uniting us into a new tribe to fight a war.