Friday, September 22, 2017

Who Will Be Thrown Out Of the Dems Next?

A reader just sent me a puzzler. He agreed with my notion of "Fake Protest." But then what?
[W]hat to do about the throngs of self-proclaimed anarchist or anarcho-communists (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one), who state that ANY hierarchy is oppressive and need be subverted in order to empower the individual?  
He continues:
I find these types most frustrating of all since they are ostensibly fighting for the same general concept as me, a libertarian, but in practice walk and quack like standard-issue authoritarians.  As infuriating as these people can be, I think they represent an opportunity as recruits in the ongoing battle of individualists vs collectivists.
The frustrating thing for him is that the refugees from the Democratic Party -- lately, the Trumpists -- have "diluted the Right" and prevented the Republican Party from making a course correction away from the welfare state.

Yeah. What about the anarchist left? Who are they and what do they really want? How do we talk them off the lefty ledge?

This is where I roll out my politics-as-war metaphor. The fact is that once you enlist young men in your army, whether as a 19th century recruiting sergeant or as an Activism 101 prof at the U, the soldiers you enlist will be enrolled also in your ideological army, and they will keep believing until, as I like to say, Napoleon leaves them wounded, hungry, and dying on the road back from Moscow.

That is the whole point of armies; you make sure that the soldiers have no place else to go, except continuing on the line of march and following the orders of their officers.

And that is why the recent additions to the Republican Party have been Democrats cast out of the party, left by the side of the road by a progressive army that had used them up. First it was the fundamentalist Christians who found out they were not wanted in the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the Sixties. Then, in the Trump election, the white working class finally found a home in the Republican Party in the anti-immigrant, pro-patriot campaign of Donald Trump.

And the point is that, as Ronald Reagan said all those years ago: he didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left him. More generally, the Republicans and libertarians do not recruit people into a movement for, yay, justice or something. The Republican Party and libertarians are People of the Responsible Self; we do not do movements and cults and bending the arc of history towards justice.

So where does that put the anarcho-Communists? Nowhere close to giving up on the leftist project.

I suppose that anarcho-Communism is basically a young man's game. It appeals to the natural instinct in young men that is looking for trouble, the rebellion against the father. Maybe what happens to these radicals is that they grow up and get jobs and wives. And then they find themselves voting Republican.

And after all, Antifa and Black Block is great fun; you get to rumble and break things and fulminate against the Man, and the ruling class pats you on the head for being anti-fascist. Where in this story is anything pushing these youngsters away from their gang-like lifestyle?

No, I think the next candidates for Deplorability would be blacks and women. At some point, more and more blacks are going to tumble into the truth that liberals don't care about them; they only care about their votes and stirring up their hate. And women are going to tumble to the fact that abortion and the sexual revolution are denials of the very truth about womanhood.

Rightly or wrongly, I take the larger view. Our era is the most astonishing cultural revolution in human history, from the necessarily hierarchical agricultural age to the individual responsibility of the bourgeois age. We should expect, we should know, that the transition would not occur in a divine flash of light, but in an endless to-and-fro of trial-and-error.

But underneath all the Sturm und Drang is a profound truth. The exchange economy rewards people for serving other people faithfully and cheerfully. The more you accept this culture in your work and in your life, the better your life will be. And places that try to restore the old hierarchy in new clothes end up cratering, not just at the national level but at any level.

And that is my faith. We have an exchange economy and the prosperity of the Great Enrichment not because of wise rulers that cunningly executed on the bourgeois agenda. We just stumbled into it, and we thrived because the bourgeois agenda works for today's city economy.

As Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, the bottom line is survival. If you do things that enhance survival you survive. If you don't, you won't. Survive.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

What Fools These Liberals Be

If my concept of Fake Protest means anything, it must issue from a Great Error, a profound misunderstanding about the meaning of life, the universe and everything on the part of our liberal friends.

Because, as we observe the fatuous conceit of liberal Fake Protest, we have to ask ourselves: what went wrong? Why are these people making such fools of themselves? Why, at the end of two centuries of The Great Enrichment in which nearly all humans, North Koreans excepted, have enjoyed part or all of the increase in income from $1-3 per day to $100 per day, inflation adjusted, why are there people running around insisting that great swathes of humans are the most abject victims of racists, sexists, homophobes, etc., and that the only recourse is more government power, more administrators, more regulatory intervention in the normal to and fro of human exchange?

Now, I am something of a Lone Wolf, tending my garden without much regard for others and how they do it. But I am social enough to know that the one thing I hate is making a fool of myself. So we must ask ourselves: why are liberals making such fools of themselves? Or let us ask another question during the current madness of tearing down Confederate war memorials. Do not liberals understand that they in their turn will be the target of the iconoclasts, as a new generation judges them as the most foul and most ignorant oppressors and exploiters since the dawn of time. Have they not read Charles Murray's Coming Apart in which he judges that the top 20 percent of white Americans are doin' fine, with university degrees, satisfying careers, and merger marriages, that the middle 50 percent is doing just so-so, and that the bottom 30 percent is not so good, with the men not working much and the women not marrying much? What about "the children" of that bottom 30 percent?

So what have our liberal friends got wrong? What has led them into their folly and, by hanging onto their folly, what has driven them to commit injustice and oppression and call it bending the arc of history towards justice?

I think that their fundamental error is to believe that the hierarchical society of the agricultural age can and should continue as the model for the industrial and post-industrial age, that the only problem was that the wrong people were in charge. In the agricultural age, the fundamental fact was that land equals life, and the only thing to do is to defend your patch of land against the world. In reality, of course, it turned out that the farmers had to subordinate themselves to a warrior lord in order to defend that land, and the warrior lords took full advantage of the situation. subordinating the farmers to their rule in exchange for the offer of security. Thus the hierarchical feudal society. But in the new world, the evil and ignorant lords and the superstitious churches would be replaced by educated and evolved activists and experts: totally different, man; totally.

But in the industrial city the old culture of hierarchy cannot serve. This means that city people must learn how to conduct their lives in a different kind of subordination: to the market and its prices, rather than the lord and his lordly rules.

When the waves of people first arrive in the city the individuals are still peasants that know subordination to a lord; they have not yet learned the culture of individual responsibility and subordination to the market. So they subordinate themselves to urban political machines, to labor unions, to big corporate bureaucracies rather than to the market, for that is all that they know.

But what they need, in order the wive and thrive in the city, is to slough off the old ways of the subordinate peasant and put on the armor of a new culture, the culture of individual responsibility, and this is the only way because the city economy is too complicated to be directed by some lord, whether the lord of the land or the lord of the bureaucracy.

In my view the great error of the liberals and the socialist and progressive project has been that the leftists have hindered rather than helped the new arrivals to the city, by confirming them in their subordination to some great lord, or political big-shot, or corporate machine, rather than putting on the armor of light, the culture of individual responsibility that alone prepares the city dweller to wive and thrive in the new order. And as the years go by, the error is deepening into a crime, a crime of willful ignorance, at best.

I have written a book about the four skills people must learn on The Road to the Middle Class. Those cultural skills are: education, religion, mutual aid, and law. By education I mean the basic skills of literacy and numeracy that first emerged in the Fertile Crescent 3,000 years ago and more in the counting houses of the merchants and temples. By religion I mean in particular the cult of enthusiastic Christianity which has been down the ages the religion of people learning the ways of the city. It teaches people that they can be responsible beings bathed in the love of God. By mutual aid I mean the culture of social insurance in fraternal associations that grew up in the 19th century before it was blindsided by the welfare state. By law I mean the replacement of the traditional culture of feud with the culture of submission to the authority of the law.

In different ways our liberal lords have queered these four pitches. In education they have substituted regime propaganda for the basic skills needed for city life, and separated learning from working to a degree they never were before except for rich kids. In religion they have substituted their cults of creativity and victimhood for the city religion of Christianity. In mutual aid they have substituted top-down government programs for the social and mutual culture of fraternal association, the charming and cunning pretense of brother- and sisterhood among people that are no longer living in and around their blood kindred. In law they have substituted top-down administrative law for the reciprocal judge-made law common law. What all these actions do is put roadblocks and barriers on the Road to the Middle Class, and sequester the new arrivals to the city in ethnic, pre-middle-class ghettos. And this is no longer merely a dreadful mistake as it might have been a century ago, but a stupid crime against humanity, a willful blindness about the facts of the matter. It is, of course, unthinkable that our liberals lords have fought to block the Road to the Middle Class not because of folly and ignorance, but cynically and consciously in the knowledge that it enhances their political and economic and cultural power. Surely they are not that evil.

Because if the liberal barriers on the Road to the Middle Class are not accidents of stupidity, but planned and thought through, then the culture of Fake Protest is not just a foolish knee-jerk, a nostalgic attempt to re-create the world of 1850 when all the world was new, but a cynical ploy to enact a fake Theater of Protest that has nothing to do with the facts of the matter.

The basic science was set forth a century ago that socialism -- and by implication any administrative system -- could not work because it could not compute prices.

And so the question that every disciple of power must answer is to show why their new power proposal can possibly hope to outperform the individual actions of millions of consumers and thousands of producers as they interact with each other through the price system.

And that is why they resort to Fake Protest and invoke the power of government by a thousand dodges and catch-phrases, for they cannot answer the question.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Three Stages of Fake Protest

Yesterday I first developed my idea of Fake Protest, the idea that any protest accepted with equanimity by the ruling class and its supporters is "fake protest," really the ruling class and its supporters pretending that they are the wretched of the earth, desperately crying for justice, when all they are doing is demanding new privileges and free stuff for themselves and their supporters to be taken by force from the unorganized middle class.

The idea of Fake Protest sharpens my previously developed idea that the left is founded on the idea of advocating for those left outside of the political system. Obviously,on this view, the political grievances of the "left-out" cannot be redressed by the normal process of representative government, because the "left-out" are not represented.

I also argue that the Left is a messianic faith that believes that they are the "chosen ones" called to represent, to lead, to advocate, and even to mount bloody revolution on behalf of the wretched of the earth left out of the system. That is the logic underneath the left's culture of Protest.

In 1850 the left was right. Here we had a profound economic revolution that had sucked starving peasants from the countryside and fed them into factories; and the system knew them not. So the workers rioted and presented Charters to the ruling class. Fanatics like Karl Marx prophesied bloody revolution, and the immiseration of the working class, but in the event the rising bourgeoisie listened to the cry of the oppressed and willingly gave them the vote and adjusting the law of the workplace to redress many of their grievances. This was Genuine Protest, and it worked because the bourgeoisie was not that interested in power.

Fast forward to the 1950s and the civil-rights revolution. Here we had blacks, that in the South were genuinely excluded from the system by the gentle persuasion of the KKK and Jim Crow laws. And we had women that had the vote but had read Chapter XXV of The Second Sex and wanted to be "The Independent Woman." And we had well-born college kids that didn't want to fight Communism in South-east Asia. Black leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King had learned from Gandhi and the Indian National Movement and understood that under the rule of the bourgeoisie the people outside the system didn't need to actually riot in the streets to get the attention of the ruling class. Non-violent protest was sufficient, because the bourgeoisie is sensitive to the cry of the oppressed. Why? Because the bourgeoisie is not that interested in power. But note this: the well-born women that wanted careers and abortion and the well-born kids that didn't want to go to war were already in the system. They just wanted in on the protest action, or had read their Marx and Marcuse and wanted to practice a little intolerant tolerance for the fun of it.

So this was Semi-Fake Protest. Part of the Sixties civil-rights protesting was the genuine cry of the oppressed; part of it was the well-born supporters of the ruling class faking it.

Now we have the progressives of the 21st century that are running around marchin' and protestin' about everything. But there is a problem. Because the bourgeoisie is not that interested in power just about everyone that was outside the system in now inside the system. No need for protest, kids: just call your congressman. But wait! Illegal immigrants and Muslims are not in the system. Yay! So let's all protest for the poor helpless illegal immigrants and Muslims of the world. And let's bring them here, because it is a little tricky to protest for people that aren't actually here in the United States. And let's teach all the Good Little Girls that go to government schools and government universities all about protesting, and teach them how to be activists just as we taught the working class to read a write and vote and protest a century and more ago. So now we have a protest culture that is almost entirely about the creative ruling class that is interested in power. And they are protesting in support of people outside the system that they actually had to import into the United States in order to say: Look, here are the wretched of the earth and we demand that the racist sexist homopbobic deplorables of the United States give them their rights!

This is Fake Protest. It is practiced by people inside the system that have the ear and the support of the ruling class -- that is when they are not in fact paid-up members of the ruling class -- and they are pretending to advocate for those outside the system, whereas in fact they have invented and imported these supposed victims in order to have something to protest about. Look, I don't blame these unfortunate scions of the ruling class. For all their lives they have been taught that activism is the highest form of human life when in fact all the heavy lifting was done a century ago. What are the poor things to do? Go and get an ordinary job doing useful things for other people?

Worse, there was never any need for heavy lifting at all, because the bourgeoisie, then and now, is not that interested in power. This has nothing to do with any supposed virtue of bourgeois people, not at all. It is simply that life in the burgs, the 'burbs, the cities, the trading centers of the world, does not require the operation of political power to succeed. Its differences and quarrels are adjudicated by the price system, the marketplace. All that is needed is for people to surrender to the verdict of the marketplace rather than the political process, and everything turns out copacetic.

Alas, for our liberal friends, for the mainstream media, for the belted knights of the academy and the princesses of the academic administration, this must not be true. It cannot be true. If it is true then their lives, every they believe, everything they have protested about is meaningless.

And so they are embarked upon a monstrous journey of piracy, plunder and injustice, where they seek injustice for ordinary people in the name of justice, and silence those who have every right to have their voices heard.

You might say that these people are evil, and you might be right. But I rather prefer to think that they are idiots, people that have never for a moment had a single thought un-curated by the academy, the popular culture, or the mainstream media.

If these people have committed a crime it is that they have been, for over a century, teaching people newly arrived in the city that the way to wive and thrive in the city is not to take on the raiment of responsibility, to go to work, obey, the law, and follow the rules of the marketplace, but to Protest, to have faith in the saving grace of politics.

In the age of Genuine Protest, in the 1850s, this attitude was understandable. Who knew that the new industrial system would, in the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years, bring everyone to unimaginable prosperity?

In the Age of Semi-Fake Protest there was at least an excuse. Who knew if the bourgeoisie would in fact extend its enrichment and its arms around the black and the brown?

But now there is no excuse, and the proof is that the Fake Protesters have had to import their victims from abroad and gin up the idea that these imports are the same as the factory workers of 1850 and the oppressed Negroes of the 1950s and that anyone that disagrees is a xenophobe and an Islamophobe and a white supremacist to boot.

History will not treat kindly with these mind-numbed robots of the ruling class.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Introducing "Fake Protest," the Newest Thing in America

On Monday, September 18, a speech of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was interrupted by "peaceful protesters" chanting their non-negotiable demands about the rights of the undocumented children of undocumented immigrants. Or, you might say, if you wanted to avoid cowardly euphemism, the illegal immigrant children of illegal immigrant parents.

I only heard the protest in an audio clip, but I did notice that the protest chants were led by a young woman.

Now according to my theory of politics, it is entirely appropriate for these young people, who are outside the system as extra-legal residents of the US without proper documentation and without the right to vote, to stage a demonstration, a show of force, to suggest to the powers that be that they better give them their rights or they will take their grievances to the streets. Because they don't have the right to vote.

But, as Eric Hoffer wrote years ago about movements in the US, "What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation."

In this case we are talking about a racket, because the "peaceful protests" of the so-called Dreamers, even when they disrupt the speech of the august Nancy Pelosi, are not the demonstrations of people genuinely outside the system. The Dreamers are in fact fully represented and supported by the Democratic Party, its office-holders and its supporters; they are the little darlings of the Democrats. That is why their shows of force are reported by the MSM as "peaceful protests." And that is why, incidentally, the MSM reported the riots of Black Lives Matter in St. Louis after the not-guilty verdict on a white policeman that shot to death a black drug dealer in 2011 as "mostly peaceful" with plenty of use of the passive voice.

You might say that "peaceful protest" is code for a street action that is tacitly approved by supporters of the regime.

You will remember that the activities of the tiki-torch wielding white supremacists in Charlottesville recently were not reported as "mostly peaceful" in the mainstream media.

By the way, I thought the tiki-torch march to the statue of Robert E. Lee was rather cute, a demonstration catered, you might say, by K-Mart. And what is more demotic than K-Mart? But I have a question. How come our lefty friends have never thought of tiki torches as appropriate illumination for their mostly peaceful protests? I am sure that there is some kind of equivalent, but rather more tasteful, illumination available at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or Restoration Hardware.

But the real "tell" about the Dreamer peaceful protest against Nancy Pelosi was that the chants were led by a young woman. Rosa Luxemburg excepted, women do not do revolution. They do what they have been carefully taught at government schools and colleges. The reason that you see mostly young women in college protests these days is that only young women are foolish enough to go into debt to take Activism 101 courses. No young man who is not a Pajama Boy would be seen within a country mile of an Activism class. For one thing, who needs to pay good money to earn college credit for something that makes you less rather than more employable? For another, what fool of a young man would take a course that requires him to enthusiastically agree that white males are guilty! Of patriarchy! Of white privilege! Of white supremacy! Of injustice! Can anyone spell Stockholm Syndrome?

So if a group of young women were protesting right in the face of Nancy Pelosi, you can bet your bottom dollar that the protest is basically condoned by the liberal ruling class and their bribed apologists in the mainstream media.

So Monday's protest was not really the revolutionary cry of the wretched of the earth, but Fake Protest, bought and paid for and stamped "Approved" by the ruling class, and echoed by their bribed apologists in the mainstream media.

Like Black Lives Matter, like Antifa, like Black Block, etc.

Here's another test for Fake Protest. Are the protesters going to be expelled from school or lose their jobs as a result of the protest? If they are, they are genuine protesters. If not, they are the shock troops of the regime.

At some point, I think that Chuck and Nancy will realize that Fake Protest is just as much of a problem for the right kind of people and a rallying cry for the deplorable opposition as Fake News.

I think they will find that it will be a bit difficult to shut down their pet Fake Protesters, because the truth is that protest is great fun for youngsters: why, it is even fun for ageing baby boomers with graying ponytails. It's kinda like a drug -- or even eevil carbs -- easy to try, but hard to give up.

But wait! How do we know the difference between a Fake Protest and the genuine cry of the wretched of the earth? I think that the answer is quite simple. If the great and the good all disapprove, if the protesters are universally reviled with ready-to-hand pejoratives, then you know it is the genuine cry of the oppressed.

You will notice that both Houses of Congress sent a resolution to the president condemning the white supremacists at Charlottesville, and the president signed it.

So now we know that the tiki-torch white supremacists are the genuine article. The ruling class utterly deplores them.

Let's face it. The only people that really need to get into the street to advertise their grievances are the people of whom all respectable people that take their cue from the ruling class strongly disapprove. The rest are just faking it.

And I suggest that next time you encounter a protest led by a young woman or some group funded in part by George Soros or some other lefty billionaire, you speak truth to power and shout "Fake Protest" at the little darlings of the ruling class.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Maybe The Frankfurt School Guys were Charlatans

In the last few years I've taken the time to read the landmark titles of the Frankfurt School, principally The Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, and The One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse.

So I have a rough idea of what they were all about.

Now I am reading The Frankfurt School by Zolt├ín Tar, a 1985 book by a chap from CCNY. And as I come towards the end of the book, I am coming to think that Dr. Tar regards the Frankfurters as lightweights, that were really writing about their exile than about the world as such.

That's because the Frankfurt School guys were mostly Jewish, and had to get out of Germany in 1933. Horkheimer and Adorno found their exile in the US particularly trying. I suspect it was because in Germany they were Somebodies, but in the US they were Nobodies.

For my money, the important book is Dialectic of Enlightenment. It looks back at the Enlightenment and realizes that the knowledge it brought was not just sweetness and light. "What men want to learn from nature is how to use it in order wholly to dominate it and other men." That's the money quote from Dialectic. You could say that it is hauntingly familiar.

It is really the same story as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You cannot stay in the Garden of Eden once you have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge.

Actually, we humans mostly recognize that our knowledge is a double-edged sword, for knowledge is the ability to destroy as well as create. That is why we moderns are deeply concerned with out impacts on The Climate, although humans have been mucking about with the environment ever since the first human set fire to the forest to make a convenient habitat for the animals he hunted.

Aside from the restatement of the Garden of Eden myth, the Frankfurters tended to shallowness. That is what I get from Tar. There is the effort to hang onto Marxism. I think that intelligent people should have started to move away from Marxism about the time that the marginal revolution exploded Marxist economics. And certainly by 1920 when it was clear that the proletarians identified with their nations before their class.

But the events of the years between the World Wars were so distressing to lefty intellectuals that they had to invent a narrative to explain it all away. That narrative is Fascism.

I suppose that if you believe that your ideas are a perfect reflection of the arc of history then the utter bungling and nightmare of the interwar years demands an explanation, and that explanation must explain the disaster as an outburst of demonic forces rather than the utter uselessness of lefty politics.

For instance, it is clear that the Frankfurt School intellectuals thought of themselves as standing athwart bourgeois-capitalist history shouting stop. In fact, the bourgeois-capitalist system had co-opted many of the ideas of the left and put them into practice in government social-insurance programs. Bismarck's social insurance legislation dates from the 1880s, and the British National Insurance Act from the 1906 Liberal government. In other words, lefty ideas were getting a fair shake, even before 1914.

But after World War I the politicians made a hash of things. In Germany they failed to match spending with revenue (a real problem for all social-democratic regimes) and put the nation through a ruinous inflation. In Britain they tried to return the pound to its pre-war parity with a ruinous deflation. In the US the politicians and placemen at the new Federal Reserve Board mucked up their first stock market crash by not acting as the lender of last resort, and thus precipitated the Great Depression.

Great going, guys!

So the average person was looking for someone to get them out of this mess. I suspect this urge is embedded deeply in the human consciousness: when your patch of land is threatened by an existential peril your little tribe unites around a strong leader that can mobilize the tribe in a fight for survival. That is all that is needed to explain interwar fascism.

But the lefty Frankfurt School intellectuals, like lefties everywhere, needed a different explanation. They wanted to blame it all on bourgeois capitalism and the middle class. They needed to know that but for the bloody bourgeoisie, everything would have turned out right. Of course they did. The left's one and only narrative is that the middle class -- from which they come -- is to blame for everything.

So Adorno got some money to do a survey and published The Authoritarian Personality. It found that the middle class was responsible for fascism, because of its tendency towards authoritarianism. Here is the blurb from Personality's Amazon product page.
Bringing together the findings of psychoanalysis and social science, this book grew out of an urgent commitment to study the origins of anti-Semitism in the aftermath of Hitler's Germany. First published in 1951, it was greeted as a monumental study blazing new trails in the investigation of prejudice.
They used a survey of 2099 people to construct various personality scales, including an Anti-Semitism Scale and a Politico-Economic Conservatism Scale, adding up to an overall F-Scale, or Fascism Scale.

The authors detected nine different facets of the authoritarian personality: Conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, antiintroception, superstition and stereotypy, power and "toughness," destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and sex.

Well. And can you spell Antifa? If the idea weren't taken already, I think some chap would write a play about 21st century leftist activism and its witch hunts and call it The Crucible.

Of course, we are seeing a repeat of the leftist obsession with interwar fascism in the move to explain Trump. For years liberals have been deaf to the concerns of everyone except their social issues chorus and their marginalized minorities, and now they are shocked, shocked, that a guy has come along and told the great unwashed middle class that he cares about people like them. No kidding! You think that people might rally to a chap like that?

That is all the narrative needs to be! You don't need a lumbering great theory with a tendentious survey. You don't even need a fancy theory to explain the anti-Semitism of the Nazis. Any politician understands that to unify your people you need to raise up the spectre of an enemy. If the Jews had not been close to hand, the Nazis would have demonized some other group. Liberals do this all the time with their relentless attack on racists, sexists, and homophobes. And now "white supremacists."

The great problem of our age is that, with the constant demolition of left-wing ideas in the remorseless cockpit of real life, lefty intellectuals keep grabbing for a straw that restores for a moment their need for a system to satisfy their deep longing for liberation and emancipation, and above all, justice.

And it just gets us deeper and deeper in a mess.

I picked up a piece by Black Swan guy Nassim Nicholas Taleb where he writes:
Survival comes first, truth, understanding, and science later[.]
But our modern welfare state and everything left of center is devoted to the idea that we don't have to put survival first: the economic problem is solved. And so lefties encourage millions of people to just suck on the milk-teat of government, rather than work out their own survival and prosperity.

Obviously, if Taleb is right, then the folks relying on government to solve the survival thing for them are going to be the first that get wiped out when the balloon goes up.

As in Venezuela, where the sensible got out years ago -- to the US, to Panama, to Chile, anywhere -- leaving only the folks that put their trust in princes to starve and suffer in the present economic disaster.

And then the left will come out with a new reboot of leftism to explain it all away.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Rape Victim's Lament

In the aftermath of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's decision to end the unjust Obama policy of that removed sexual assault from the criminal justice system and assigning it to the tender mercies of lefty college administrators, we are getting the response you would expect from the national victim community.

A rape victim writes to NYT columnist Bret Stephens to complain that:
I’ve seen many pieces by sensible people on the violated rights of accused rapists. I have seen zero pieces from the center-right on the rights of sexual-assault victims. I have seen zero pieces that take the problem of sexual assault seriously.
Then this young head full of mush goes on to share her story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
In college, I once blacked out drunk at a party and someone offered to walk me home. I don’t remember what happened after that, but when I woke up my clothes were on inside out. I started screaming.
This young lady may have seen "zero pieces that take the problem of sexual assault seriously," but then she is young and foolish, and she talks in the language of left-wing "rights" so we know that she knows nothing about the world because, through no fault of her own, we assume, she has heard nothing, and learned nothing, about anything except tendentious rubbish filtered through the distorting filter of left-wing propaganda in her government schooling.

Contra this unfortnate young woman, I would say that the basic attitude of the center-right on sexual assault, particularly as it relates to college campi, is that the problem begins and ends with the "hookup" culture, in which young people get themselves blind drunk. In which the idea of courtship and dating goes out the window. In which young women are treated like meat. In which foolish young women find out, too late, that they are not cut out for the hookup scene. Because, as this young woman relates, "some part of me had died forever, and that I had been violated."

OK, now let's fill in the holes in that young woman's sexual education; let's talk about sexual assault down the ages.

In the hunter-gatherer era, according to War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage by Lawrence H Keeley, a tribe could only exist while the men existed to defend the borders. If there weren't enough men to defend the border the tribe dissolved and the women and children got picked up by other tribes. And you know what that means.

In The Iliad the whole story revolves about the argument between Achilles and Agamemnon about who gets to keep Briseis, the princess Achilles captured when he sacked the city of Lyrnessus. If you read The Iliad, you will note that there is not the least mention of what Briseis thought about all this.

In the Odyssey the plot turns on Odysseus returning to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Along the way he is pursued by numerous hot immortal babes, goddesses and whatnot, and enjoys their favors. But his faithful wife Penelope is stuck at home being harassed by The Suitors. No fun and games for her. There is not the least whisper in the Odyssey about how this double standard is a monstrous demonstration of the power of the patriarchy.

If you read about the Vikings you will discover that their modus operandi was to sail their longships up the rivers of France and Britain and raid the villages and kill the men and sell the women and children into slavery. If these Vikings were selling their slaves on the great rivers of Russia, they might refresh themselves on the slaves they had for sale while waiting for a likely customer.

If you read about the end of World War II you will discover that it is reckoned that probably every German woman caught in the path of the Red Army was raped. Then there were the lucky ones, as told in A Woman in Berlin. They were able to survive by taking Russians, preferably officers, as lovers in the lawless month when Berlin was occupied by the Red Army and normal civilian government and civilian policing had collapsed.

Then there is the modern campus where, in the interest of sexual liberation, the whole culture of bourgeois courting has been thrown onto the dustheap of history, and the old rules, where men were expected to treat women with respect and women were expected to avoid being alone with a man, were abolished and replaced in due time with the absurd bureaucratic rules currently in force at universities which treat sexual encounter as a multiple-choice test.

The old rules, as suffocating and bourgeois and patriarchal as they were, were based on the eternal truth that men are beasts and will couple with anything that moves, and also on the eternal truth that women are suckers for any man that shows up and makes love to them. So the old rules put roadblocks in the way of beastly men, and insisted that young women be very careful about bestowing their favors.

We now know also that the value of the old rules lay not just in protecting women from sexual assault, after which something inside them would die. They also protected women from the scourge of sexually transmitted disease. We have found, in the aftermath of the sexual revolution, that STIs run rampant in a population where many people have multiple sexual partners. And the burden of STIs fall heaviest upon women, because many STIs make women infertile.

So the silly old culture in which young women "saved" themselves for the man of their dreams turns out to have a practical value, arising out of the basic science of epidemiology. A disease, any disease, needs "vectors" to infect others in order for the disease to multiply. The fewer the vectors the less chance there will be for an epidemic. So if the STI vectors stop dead before the implacable chastity of the vast majority of young women, so much the better for posterity. Settled science, old chap.

Unfortunately, the young woman that wrote to Bret Stephens probably doesn't know any of this stuff. I wonder why.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Great Enrichment Means Creative Destruction

Here's a piece about how in California the union-backed legislature is pushing unionization on the tech industry and Mr. Subsidy Musk's Tesla electric-car gig. California Governor Jerry Brown tells Trump to keep his hands off California, Steven Greenhut writes, because, Brown says:
We’re the innovation capital, high-tech, agriculture, $40 to $50 billion industry. You don’t want to mess with California, because you’re going to mess with the economy.
Well there ain't gonna be no economy in California if you chumps keep piling costs and regulations on the tech industry, as in:
California is mucking around with billions in electric car subsidies, but amendments to the subsidy bill "would inject the state into an increasingly acrimonious union organizing campaign at automaker Tesla’s Fremont plant."
But suppose Tesla moves all  its operations to Nevada, where is is already building a battery plant?

Hey, what about  the unionized port workers, where
subsidies for cleaner equipment at the ports “cannot be spent on automated cargo-handling equipment,” reported the Bee, because “increasing port automation has been a major concern of port workers’ unions.”
 Here's another, where the food-workers union wants a bill that
would impose a new set of regulations on internet-based firms that deliver gourmet meals to a subscriber’s doorstep. The goal is to force these firms, which already are highly regulated by the state and feds, to be regulated by local health inspectors.
Then there are proposals that would force home-health workers to divulge their cellphone numbers, to make them easier to organize in unions.

The funny thing is that the left began with the line from Marx about the free proletarians being "hurled" off the feudal estates in the agricultural revolution. That is the problem whenever you are a serf working and living on some lord's estate. It may feel secure, because the lord observes all kinds of traditional rights of the peasants. But the day will come when  he doesn't need his peasants any more.

And yet their entire politics is based on pretending that now things are different. Only they aren't.

The day would come when the steel industry wouldn't need their overpriced workers any more.

The day would come when the manufacturers didn't need their unionized factory workers any more.

The day would come when the Democratic party didn't need its white working stiffs any more.

The day will come when the ports don't need their $150,000 crane operators any more.

And this is not to say that the world is a cruel place that always screws the working stiff.

It is to say that the Great Enrichment of the last two centuries occurred because of innovation that was not stopped by the political system. Or, to use a less polite word, the Great Enrichment was a process of "creative destruction," as proposed by Joseph Schumpeter. Or, to put it even more plainly, the great innovations of the last two centuries, on which our modern prosperity is founded, caused hardship  and misery to a bunch of people that had a pretty good gig going.

As often as not, the people affected by "creative destruction" have gone to the politicians to save them from the end of their good times. And as often as not, the politicians have helped stave off the inevitable for a few years.

In fact, there is no escape from the creative destruction of the price system. You may think that you are safe in your government job, or your corporate bureaucracy. And you might be; the good times may just roll long enough for you to exit in style.

But sooner or later the market will have its way, and the hardest hit will be the people that have succeeded in hiding from the market in big institutions that seem to protect them from the tides of the market system. That's because when you are hidden away in a big institution you may not developed skills that will serve when the balloon goes up and the big institution has to lay off its employees to stay solvent.

Outside of big institutions you have to mark your skills to market every day.

It's a pity that our ruling class refuses to teach the people this vital life lesson. Do not think you can hide from the market in some big bureaucracy. You are subordinating yourself to the agenda of some Big Man, and the day will come when he doesn't need you any more.

Trumpers beware.