Monday, January 11, 2016

What Our Ruling Class Gets Wrong

So the latest news is that the Swedish media have been sitting for six months on a rape event at a summer concert in Stockholm. So the Cologne Syndrome has extended to Sweden. Who knew?

What, you may ask, is wrong with our ruling class? Isn't rape the very thing they care about? Not quite.

The Big Idea that animates our ruling class is "Never Again." Never again will they allow another Auschwitz. And since everybody knows that the ordinary man and woman in the street is capable of acts of extreme nationalism and right-wing oppression of minorities it is the sacred destiny of the ruling class to prevent another Auschwitz.

A good example of this conceit is the essay "Education After Auschwitz", part of a collection by Theodor Adorno in Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords. The problem seems to lie with the ordinary people. "One must come to know the mechanisms that render people capable of such deeds" and prevent them from being capable of doing it again.
When I speak of education after Auschwitz, then, I mean two areas: first children's education, especially in early childhood; then general enlightenment what provides an intellectual, cultural, and social climate in which a recurrence would no longer be possible[.]
 What absolute rubbish! I assume that Adorno is trying to say that, with proper education, it would be impossible to get people to become part of the genocide machine; they might even peacefully protest against it.

But of course, that's not the way it works at all. The Holocaust was not publicized like the Peace Corps, as in: come and save the world by eliminating the Jewish race. It was all done under a blanket. And each person with a part in the genocide had a minor, subordinate role to play. It is pompous to imagine that replacements could not be found for any functionary with a soft heart. The fact is that nearly everyone will do what they are told, because they are afraid. And that includes elite intellectuals.

If we are really serious about Never Again we must look to the real problem. It is politics, and the elite culture that frames politics. The ideas that coalesced in the Nazi horror were ideas imagined and developed not by brutish "young sons of farmers" that Adorno suggests were eager concentration camp guards but by the educated youth of the 19th century. A lot of the Nazi racism came out of the Romantic movement. Among other things Romanticism wanted to rediscover the local and the organic as a buffer against the rational and mechanical culture of the Age of Reason. (Hey kids! How about the current fad for local and organic?) This developed into a nostalgia for the volkisch ways of country folk. Then the second-rank intellectuals around the National Socialist German Workers Party found that could fashion various strands of Romanticism into the cult of das Volk. Volk good, Jews bad. Just like today's politics. For Democrats, it is abortion good, guns bad; for Republicans it is guns good, abortion bad. That's how politics works: good vs. evil. And it is intellectuals that provide the ammunition to load into the rhetorical guns.

The point is that any intellectual or political movement can do this. Right now, from the left, we have what conservatives like to call Cultural Marxism that  works to marginalize Christian and conservative voices. Its latest notion is to stigmatize college men that engage too enthusiastically in the sexual revolution that the left championed 50 years ago. So here we have a movement that insisted that sexual liberation was the only way, and then 50 years later starts to worry about a "rape culture." Here we have a movement that marginalizes opponents of gay marriage as bigots and homophobes. And is happy to use the power of the state to fine Christians that don't go with the Zeitgeist. Never again?

If you want to know what is wrong with the Muslim rape epidemic in Europe, you must start with the conceits of the European ruling class. On the one hand they have the conceit that they are Florence Nightingales compassionately bringing refugees from darkness into light, bringing the whole world into a single diverse global community. On the other hand they have the conceit that they must control and direct the opposition of the ordinary people in the various nations of Europe to this ruling-class sponsored invasion. What could go wrong?

Here´s another point. The reason that Germany, in particular, is importing immigrants is that the fertility rate of German women is now about the lowest in the world. Lifetime fertility per German woman is about 1.4 children. Thirty percent of German women are said to be childless.

Now, how could that happen? I will tell you. It is not because of brutishness in a certain class of rural people. It is because the ruling class, for over a century, has pushed a culture that sneers at childbearing and encourages women to "balance" their lives between family and work. The idea is that a career is a higher and more satisfying lifestyle that merely raising a family. So, of course, millions of women take the hint and devote themselves to education and paid work. Women put off marriage and family and have more sexual partners. But this is a problem because women that delay marriage have a shorter period to bear children, and women that have more sexual partners tend to have more STDs. And STDs like chlamydia tend to make women sterile. What could go wrong?

Conservatives say that the influence of intellectuals should be limited, as part of a general philosophy of limited government, and what I call the Greater Separation of Powers. Put it this way. Millions of people start businesses every year, and most of them fail, because the business idea was not up to snuff. The same is true of political and cultural ideas. Most of them deserve to end up in the ditch. But when intellectuals have a lot of influence on politics, and a powerful government can implement these ideas over the objection of opponents, then you are setting up a situation where bad ideas can take hold and cause social distress and injustice.

Well, here we are in 2016 and our conceited ruling class has got us into a fine mess on a number of fronts from immigration to spiraling health care costs to excessive government debt to the cultural sink of the lower 35 percent in America where the men don't work and the women don't marry.

And it's when things are in a mess that ordinary people turn to "strong leaders" that promise to "make America great again."

But the problem is not ordinary people turning to strong leaders. The problem is conceited rulers imposing their half-baked ideas on the rest of us.

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