Friday, September 30, 2016

The Problem with the Obama-Clinton Administrative State

The problem with a Hillary Clinton presidency, according to Victor Davis Hanson, is that Clinton will continue the huge expansion of presidential power that President Obama has practiced over the last eight years.

OK, so what? If Congress won't go along with the president then surely it is up to the president to get things done. If Congress won't act to end the rape culture on campus, then the president must act through the federal administration. If Congress won't act to fight climate change then the EPA must act to shut down carbon polluting coal power plants.

This, of course, is the model of government championed by the educated elite since the Civil War. First, the idea was government by the "best men." Then, in the Progressive Era before World War I, the idea was government by educated experts who would apply natural and social science to the problems of the day. Now the idea is championed by the so-called "globalists" that want to marginalize nation states and replace them with an interlocking network of global institutions that will administer a kind of world government by piercing the shell of national sovereignty.

There are three things wrong with this model.

The first thing is the old, old question: quid custodiet custodes? Who will guard the guardians? Or, as I say, what happens when things go wrong, when the ruling class decides to implement a program that simply does not work, or does not work very well, or could work better? The problem with having government do complex tasks that need constant revision and adaptation is the government doesn't do revision and adaptation. The only thing it does is do or die. The top-down administrative nature of government means that government just keeps on doing what it is doing until it completely crashes and burns.

The second thing is that a top-down administrative government loses the consent of the governed. This is illustrated magnificently in Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the Revolution. France under Louis XIV and Louis XVI was a pure administrative system, run by the king's chief administrator in Paris. Nothing could be done, not the repair to a village church or the repair of a road, without the say-so from Paris. The result, according to Tocqueville, was that the French lost the art of working together to solve problems. And when the monarchy got into trouble and ran out of money, it found that it had no support among the people.

The third thing is that a top-down government just does not have the bandwidth to do all the things it wants to do. The reason that the administrative government gets started in the first place is, of course, that the ruling class gets frustrated by the very low amount of governance that is possible in a legislature of 535 prima donnas. So, just like President Obama, it decides to bypass the slow and corrupt Congress and rule by administrative fiat and by executive decree. But administrative government suffers from exactly the same problem as the legislature. In a nation of 300 million people there just is not enough bandwidth in a system of 1,000,000 bureaucrats to get things done. That's because the bureaucrats cannot act without the approval of the Big Boss, because the point of being the Big Boss is that you get to call all the Big Shots. That's why they call it Monarchy.

The solution is obvious. You don't do big administrative government, because of the three things above. You start by saying that anything that requires a complicated administrative apparatus is a bad idea, because a big complicated administrative government apparatus just won't work. You decide that, whatever the problem, it has to be solved through the market system which just happens to be a social system that constantly adjusts to deal with problems and changing situations. Then you say that anyway a centralized system is a bad idea because it reduces the people to the status of serfs waiting for the lord to give orders rather than treating them as competent responsible people that can and ought to work out their problems with each other without constant centralized supervision.

And finally, you say that the great complexity of national affairs cannot be concentrated in a central government because government cannot respond when things go wrong. We already have a system that responds instantly when things go wrong. It is called the market system and it constantly and daily forces people to fix their mistakes and improve their products and services. Or else they go out of business.

The way to understand government is that the only thing it knows to do is to fight a war. That is because government is force. Government is not the name for things we do together, as President Obama has said. Government is the name for things we do by force. You can tell that this is true because government has a habit of calling everything it does a war. On the military side this is obvious as we fight wars against fascism and Communism and now are pretending not to be fighting a war against violent Islamism. But the same is true in domestic politics. We fight wars against want, or ignorance, or injustice, or racism, or sexism or drugs, And now we are fighting a war against global warming.

The tiny little problem at the heart of modern administrative governance is that fighting a war is probably not the way to deal with poverty, ignorance, racism, sexism and climate change. Probably, the way to deal with these things is not to mobilize the people for war and enroll them in an army and pay them out of taxes for their support. Probably the way to deal with these things is for the best people to get together with the educated people to get together with the ordinary people to get together with the poor people to cooperate and work their differences out and keep politics and its division and government and its force out of it.

The tiny little problem with the modern administrative state is that the whole idea is to teach people to fight with each other for the spoils of the government's wars. Once the ruling class has taught people to fight with each other it becomes impossible for the government to rally all the squabbling factions together. That is what Louis XVI found out in the run-up to the French Revolution.

On my view we should see the government on the Obama type getting into more and more difficulties with its administrative model. Not only will it not have enough money to fix things but it won't be able to fix things because government doesn't do fixing. In fact, as we all know, what government does when things go wrong is not try to fix things but to look for a scapegoat instead.

If the government wants to fight a war it needs to foster unity. That's why World War II was such a success. If you don't succeed in fostering unity you get the Vietnam and the Iraq wars, where set-backs were immediately followed by division and name-calling. Indeed the opponents of the wars were waiting for setbacks so they could call the whole thing off. You can see that recent government initiatives that have been implemented without getting unity, from Obamacare to climate change, are bound to end in tears.

Working to foster unity is a big job. It has to start with the whole ruling class reading from the same page. There needs to be almost no opportunity for dissenting voices to sow dissent. And in World War II, after Pearl Harbor, there was no dissent. Men were drafted and sent to war and wounded and killed and nobody objected. Goods were rationed, wages were fixed, and nobody complained, not publicly. And after it was all over, everyone agreed that World War II was a Good Thing. Except for a few lefties who said that the A-bomb was a Bad Thing.

Today our present ruling class attempts to foster unity by name-calling. Anyone that disagrees with its race policy is a racist; everyone that disagrees with its women policy is a sexist; everyone that disagrees with its climate policy is a climate denier. You can see the difference between World War II and today. Back then unity was established by a process that seems to be a consensus; today unity is established by shaming the dissenters.

My argument is that people are going to start objecting to the name-calling policy, and then the ruling class will have to decide whether to ramp up the name-calling to actual repression.

I have one word of advice for the ruling class on that. Don't.

The problem is that our ruling class is already in too deep. It cannot retreat without losing face and power. And if it turns name-calling into repression is will multiply the number of its enemies.

So it is all bound to end in tears. And that is a tragedy. Because we know better.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What to do if a LIberal Talks Climate Change in the Hot Spring

I know I shouldn’t care when a liberal art historian from San Luis Obispo says that he’s known about climate change since 1998.

Because anything you say is just going to spoil the relaxed atmosphere around the steaming pool fed by sulphurous hot water at Sol Duc Hot Springs here in the Olympic National Park in western Washington.

What are you going to do? Everywhere you run into them the privileged members of the ruling class are going to do their cultural imperialism bit with a little microaggression to make you feel uncomfortable and to remind you who has the whip hand in America. And no safe spaces in sight.

And really, what good would it do to remind your friendly local art historian that according to settled science we are presently in an Ice Age. That’s why they call the current climate an “interglacial.” Or that you worked as an environmental engineer for 30 years. Or that you’ve created and worked with computer models man and boy, and you’ve always made sure that the computer model doesn’t make you do something stupid.

Because, after all, you can always tell a liberal, but you can’t tell him anything.

What about some other ripostes?

To the “97% of scientists agree” we could say that 97% of scientists like a big budget. The biggest budget they ever got was for making a bomb, and they only felt regret after they had spent the money and they knew that it worked.

To “climate deniers” we could ask if liberals really regard disagreement on science into the scientific equivalent of anti-semitism.

To the idea that the climate might spin out of control, we could argue that if so it would have done so billions of years ago when carbon dioxide was a much bigger proportion of the atmosphere.

When it’s all about saving the planet, we could say that we thought that salvation was a religious concept.

But all this is beside the point. Right now if you tell a liberal what you think they are going to be outraged, because the whole point about being a liberal is to be in the in-crowd. The truth is that we non-liberals are all Aunt Ems. For twenty years we have wanted to tell liberals what we think of them but because we are decent people we can’t.

And anyway, first we change the culture, then we stop the racist, sexist, homophobe insults. And then we win the politics. Anything else is just a meaningless culture of complaint.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Three Peoples: What If Most People Want to be Peasants?

In my Three Peoples theory, there is a basic assumption. In today's world, people start out as People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants. But each in their own way, people are not content with the life of the subordinate; they struggle upwards and become People of the Responsible Self, and start to contribute to society and the world as responsible individuals, not as subordinate peasants and working stiffs.

But what if this is wrong? What if people are perfectly content to sit on their behinds, doing what they are ordered to do and not a jot more, forever complaining about "them," yet forever waiting for "them" to solve their problems rather than solving them themselves?

That is what has crashed in upon me with the Trump phenomenon. Donald Trump is promising to Make America Great Again. Not the American People. Not business owners and entrepreneurs. Not responsible individuals each doing his or her share. And the white working class, dying of despair in the ruins of the old manufacturing economy, has rallied to his promise of good jobs at good wages.

Maybe this is the last hurrah of the white working class before it succumbs to the verdict of history, which is always oblivion. Because everything is born to die, humans, jobs, cities, towns, nations, civilizations, religions. Even gods die, Nicholas Wade has written, when people stop believing in them.

On this view, the People of the Responsible Self are a subculture, squeezed in between the vast rabble of subordinate workers and peasants. The real cultural and political action is the Patron/Client relationship between the People of the Creative Self -- who used to be warrior landowners but are now the ruling class of the educated elite and the Social Justice Warriors -- and the People of the Subordinate Self, the foot soldiers in the social justice army. The first provide the ideas and the leadership; the last provide the votes and the street muscle. The first enjoy the money, power, and the love of beautiful women that come with primacy; the second get a modest competence, and such free stuff as the social justice lords distribute to their loyal servitors.

Is that all there is? I would it were not so.

For instance, the whole point of the modern world and modern capitalism is that people go out and innovate; they create new products and services for their fellow men, acting without permission from the lords, and create the Great Enrichment. Where would we be without these creative, responsible souls that have brought us so much. And yet these inventors and business creators have been roundly excoriated as robber barons and exploiters.

And yet, as Eric Hoffer writes, there are two options in the world. Either people work to the command of a master, or they are responsible for figuring out what to do and doing it. Economics and the theory of the market and the experience of socialist states tell us that the boss-driven economy cannot work. Because, as Ludwig von Mises wrote, the socialist command economy cannot compute prices.

And yet, as Hegel says, in the Patron/Client or Master/Slave relationship, despite appearances, it is the Client or Slave that learns through his work how to master the world and make it serve his needs. The Master sits around, enjoying the perks of money, power, and the love of beautiful women while the Slave acutally learns how the world works.

And yet, as the market participant learns, the way of the world is to find something that other people want and give it to them, in products and services.

And yet, despite the rhetoric of the liberal Patrons that teaches everyone to kow-tow to their Masters or be flayed alive as racists, sexists, and homophobes, in fact almost everyone pitches in with a good grace, and with a live-and-let-live attitude, and almost everyone contributes willingly to the common good, and accepts with a good grace the verdict of the market.

In other words, despite the temptations of subordinate helplessness, people do not wait around for the boss to call the big shots, as bosses like to do. They get on with things and make decisions on their own without waiting for the big guy to tell them what to do. This has been the theme of the modern era both in the civil economy of the industrial revolution and latterly in the just-in-time culture developed by the Japanese. It is also the theme of military doctrine, because the lethal battlefield inaugurated with rifled guns has forced soldiers into hiding where they cannot easily be ordered around by officers and NCOs. Instead, soldiers must be resourceful and self-motivated; otherwise the army cannot function.

There is in this a profound contradiction, and expression of negativity, of two principles wrestling with each other. And that, according to Hegel, is how the world works

Indeed, if all the world's problem were resolved tomorrow it would be the end of life as we know it. The whole point of life is that we do not know the meaning of "life, the universe, and everything."

And we never will.

So it may be that, however much we humans seem to be tempted by the Patron/Client relationship, our fate is that we must, like Adam and Eve of old, leave the Garden of Eden and go forth into the world of uncertainty and risk. Because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge and can never go back to the bliss of ignorance and instinct.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Out In The Woods: America's Big Problem Is Liberals

Here I am out in the woods -- OK I am staying at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in the Olympic National Park -- and I don't have a clue what happened with The Debate last night.

Did The Donald raise the delicate question of the President and the Secretary of State emailing using an unsecured private server and lying about it? Did he mention how if anyone else working for the federal government had done such a thing they would be vacationing right now at Camp Fed?

Did Hillary push the line that all the Democratic operatives with bylines have been pushing: the desperate national problem of Trump Lies?

I don't have a clue, because I am out in the woods, with no cell signal and no wifi. The last hint of cell signal was about 10 miles back down the road. But what about data?

So I am going to write about the bigger question, the question that faces us whether Trump wins the election or Hillary wins the election.

It is the problem of liberal hegemony. Simply put, it is the problem that today in America if you dissent from the liberal line in thought, word, or deed, you are branded as a racist, sexist homophobe.

We conservatives have been joking about Hillary Clinton's "deplorables" remark, but we shouldn't.  What was amusing was the clumsiness of her remark. The way the pros do it is not to actually categorize half of Trump's supporters as deplorables and irredeemable. You are supposed to be much more vague, to make racism, sexim, homophobia into a vague infection of the body politic. Because Rule One in politics is that you don't insult the voters.

By the way, "irredeemable" is a religious term. It means that the people in question can't be saved by Christ the Redeemer. So what in the world is Hillary Clinton, the globalist progressive, doing using terms more appropriate for the sawdust trail? Is that her famous Methodism rearing its head?

Here's the problem. If you want to talk about racists, then the chaps you need to work on are the racist black Reverends and the well-born racist activists running Black Lives Matter. Only you wouldn't dare.

If you want to talk about sexists, then the chappettes you need to talk about are the feminists that have escalated the age-old war between the sexes into an all out Armageddon. And the problem with the feminists is not merely political; it is existential. Under the influence of the feminists and progressive politics women are having a ton less children. In fact, in most rich countries women are not having enough babies for population replacement. If you don't think that is a problem then you don't have a clue. But you better not mention this.

If you want to talk about bigots, then you need to talk about the virulent bigotry coming from the LGBT chaps. Look, the bushes may be full of homophobes, but they aren't organized politically. Gays and lesbians are organized, and they are ready to pounce on anyone that dissents from their LGBT orthodoxy.

As I have written in my latest AT piece, there is a reason that the globalist progressives do their racist, sexist, homophobic accusation thing. To make their globalist governance thing work they need to devalue and destroy the culture and the politics of the nation state. They need to destroy the loyalty that people have for the flag, and for the idea that America is the best country in the world and the American people are the best people in the world. That is why liberals insist on the right of a black football player to disrespect the national anthem but run a white baseball player out of town for tweets opposing the black Charlotte Rioters. That is why they are out accusing everyone of Islamophobia, to the extent that people are afraid to report suspicious Muslim terrorist behavior. That is why people don't have the guts to tell black racists to take it where the sun don't shine. The globalist-progressives need to divide America in order to conquer it.

Un bel di, one fine day, a politician is going to crack the code on this, and the corrupt and vicious globalist-progressive cabal will collapse like a house of cards.

But meanwhile, we are living under the cruel and unjust rule of the Hillary Clintons and the Barack Obamas, and the country is splitting apart.

What we need, of course, is a nice little war to unify us. Bismarck did it, first with a nice little war against Denmark(!), then a war against Austria-Hungary, then a war against the French. All very clean and surgical. At the end of it all, he had unified the many German states into one German nation. Here at home in World War II, FDR unified all the Irish and the Italians and the Jews, the immigrant wave of 1900, into a single American nation. It took 20 years, and the rising generation of the Sixties, to start the process of splitting us all apart.

Now we need someone to unify blacks and Hispanics into the single American nation, in the teeth of opposition from our globalist-progressive ruling class.

If you haven't figured it out, I will explain what is going to happen. Sooner or later, our leaders will have to unify us to fight a war against global Islam. What will happen is that, just like with the German-Americans in World War I, Muslim-Americans will go all quiet. Because, apart from a few crazies, they want what America provides; otherwise they wouldn't have come here.

In One of Ours about World War I, the incandescent writer Willa Cather creates an incident, in passing, with a couple of Germans out in the heartland that got a bit shirty during World War I, because they still had a loyalty to Germany. The local authorities brought these doughty German farmers up in court, and the judge was kind to them. He said to the German Americans: cut it out, or we will have to throw the book at you. And that was the end of that. I dare say the same thing would work with America's Muslims.

America's real problem is not racist, sexist homophobe conservatives; it is not racist blacks, or sexist femininsts, or bigoted LGBTs. And it is certainly not the poor bloody deplorable white working class.

America's Big Problem is liberals.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Downside of Government Programs

I hadn't heard of Edward Conard before, but apparently he worked with Mitt Romney at Bain Capital. So he should know a thing or two, being as how Bain was what you might call a corporate repair shop. Its job seemed to be taking in beat-up corporate jalopies and doing a complete makeover, before sending them back on the road, all fixed up and slicked up.

Conard's first book was Unintended Consequences, "which set the record straight about the financial crisis of 2008 and explained why U.S. growth was accelerating relative to other high-wage economies." In other words, it wasn't the banks' fault.

Now in The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class Conard shows how how pretty well all the standard nostrums won't work to get the economic moving again.

Yes, he says, inequality has been increasing, but only at the very top end. And how are the 0.0001 percent getting rich? We all know the reason. It is chaps like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates coming up with long-shot technology startups that can grow into $500 billion corporations with very little additional capital.

The thing to understand about today's knowledge-based economy, compared to the old manufacturing economy of old is that it doesn't take much to scale up to a global scale. In the old economy a Rockefeller or a Ford had to borrow money and/or sell shares to scale up; a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg doesn't. He gets to keep all the value for himself and his startup buddies and early VC investors.

Aside: Someone once told me that they had encountered Bill Gates in a store just after Microsoft had gone public. He asked Bill why he did it. Gates answered: to share the company with the employees.

But who cares about the inequality? Zuckerberg isn't hurting anyone except when he is buying the houses close to his place in Palo Alto. He is making money just like an entertainment star does, because people all over the world love his product.

The basic proposition in the modern economy, according to Conard, is this. To succeed in the modern economy you need two things, "properly trained talent" and a capacity for risk-taking.

And the reason that the US has been growing faster that our high-wage pals in Europe is that we have been doing the knowledge economy thing better than they.

That doesn't necessarily mean "education." Most people going to college are majoring in things that have nothing to do with the new economy. And according to Conard, pretty well all the usual suspects to fix education aren't going to make a difference. Most useful training takes place on the job.

And most people don't want to put their savings at risk. That is why we have banks. Banks take risk-averse savings and lend them to people that are taking a risk. Of course, lending is supposed to be properly collateralized and credit-worthy. But sometimes you get a Black Swan and the banks go south.

So how do you mobilize risk-averse savings? You have to balance it with equity. That just means that the startup guys need equity capital to provide a cushion against failure for the risk-averse folks. The more equity out there the more risk-taking propositions the economy can address.

Here is where Conard introduces something I didn't know. Apparently one of the provisions of Dodd-Frank is to make it harder for the Fed to act as lender of last resort.
Rather than strengthening the Fed's ability to act more effectively as a lender of last resort in a bank run, policy makers have done the opposite. They have made banks more responsible for bank runs by intentionally weakening the Fed's ability to act in a panic. Banks pulled back by raising credit standards.
Hello! The "Intellectual Yet Idiot" class provoked the Crash of 2008 because the Fed felt it could not rescue Lehman Brothers under current law. So the Fed is still stupid like it was in the 1929-33 crash. The whole point of the Fed is to be a lender of last resort that lends whatever it takes to keep the financial system afloat, as per Lombard Street by Walter Bagehot. And then worry about the fallout later. Period.

In the event, not just the Fed but the US government ended up guaranteeing just about everything in the financial system, as my shows.

The point about the banking system is that is really is doing a conjuring trick. It is taking risk-averse savings and making it into semi-risk capital. Of course that proposition goes south every now and again.

But the big message of The Upside of Inequality is that there really is not much that government can do about inequality or indeed anything else. Yes, we should help the poor, but we should not expect to get much result. We should fund education, but it is not going to have much result.

What we could do, in a chapter called "Real Solutions," is this:

  • Encourage "ultra high-skilled immigration." Because that would help the "properly trained talent" problem. 
  • Lower the marginal corporate tax rate, to attract employers back to the US. 
  • Demand balanced trade. Not to save manufacturing jobs but because when we run a trade deficit we import a lot of risk-averse capital that gets invested in government bonds. Not good. We need more risk capital. 
  • Increase bank guarantees, not reduce them. 
  • Don't enact a middle-class tax cut. That would slow growth.

Of course, after reading a 250-page policy book I rather wonder about the premise of policy analysis books. They are always recommending some sort of pushme-pullyou hydraulic replumbing of government to get the right pressure to force growth -- or equality or justice -- out of a sputtering jalopy.

But what do people really want? The working class of 200 years ago was walking from starvation to wage jobs in the city. The immigrants from Mexico have been doing the same.

But once everyone has got to the city and has got a half-decent job, what then? Most people just want to sit back and live a modest life and blame "them" if and when things go wrong. They don't care about "growth" except when their part of the world is declining, and the kids have to move away to get a job. But they do want that free stuff the politicians keep offering.

Really, nobody has thought about what comes next. What you might call the Downside of Government Programs and free stuff.

OK. We know what comes next. The whole big-government edifice crumbles to dust because its free-stuff concept has completely wrecked the economy and the culture.

But after that. What do we do then?

Come on geniuses. Give it your best.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Reticent Voter? I Don't Think So

The guardian of the conventional wisdom, Peggy Noonan, says that 2016 is "The Year of the Reticent Voter."

Not after this CBS News item about rust-belt Democrats leaving the sinking ship.

And not after yesterday. I was in line at the supermarket and a 50-ish white guy started rambling pro-Trump asides about Trump and Clinton. In the heart of Washington State's 7th Congressional District, one of the most Democratic districts in Congress! With women and minorities present!

Imagine someone daring to mention the name of Trump in the middle of Liberalville! Where the special snowflakes and the SJWs roam! The noive!

After leaving the store I realized that I should have sat him down, bought him a cup of coffee, and de-briefed him for the benefit of my readers.

No. I don't think this is the year of the reticent voter. I think this is the year that the Republican Party truly becomes the party of Middle America.

They used to talk about "country-club Republicans," and I suppose the insult had a grain of truth in it. Certainly, the GOP was heavily influenced by Buckley's National Review, by free-enterprise advocates, and latterly by the Religious Right.

And that meant that the "Reagan Democrats" could never really belong to the GOP, because, as we are seeing this year, the white working class wants the government to take care of it. It wants a degree of Patron/Client relationship, and if the old GOP stood for anything it was that it stood against Patron/Client politics.

(If you want an unsettling comparison of Patron/Client with Master/Slave and Lord/Serf, you could read this piece that a lefty calls a defense of slavery.)

But the truth is that in a country where the Patron/Client government programs of Social Security, Medicare, and government education are sacrosanct, then the championing of a government of personal responsibility is a dead letter.

That is what Donald Trump has demonstrated. And that is why the NeverTrumpers are so annoyed.

I've been watching recent Trump speeches, such as this one in Chester Township, PA, and can appreciate what he is doing. He is saying that when he is president he will care for everyone. He riffs off the Charlotte Riots by advocating for the decent folks that have to live in the riot-torn cities, trying to build a life of work and raising and educating children. Think of them, he says.

This line was startling to me, because the default conventional wisdom of the past decade has been to care about minorities and women -- as minorities and women -- and completely leaving out the ordinary non-minority-and-women people that are also struggling in these times. For Trump "inclusivity" means everyone, not just outreach to the previously "excluded."

You can see why the white guy at the supermarket would have been touched by this. Democrats haven't cared about people like him since before Archie Bunker was dispatched to Outer Slobbovia as a racist sexist bigot. But Republicans haven't cared either. They have appealed to people that obeyed the law, went to work, and followed the rules and didn't expect nuttin' from government. But people like my white guy want the government to care about people like him.

Well, Donald Trump has changed that, and he has changed the Republican Party.

It means, in the future, that the Republican Party won't be trying to do serious reform of the welfare state. Not until it is well and truly broken and the people demand that the government "do something" about it.

That's a pity, because when the welfare state breaks, it will be women and minorities -- and the white working class -- hardest hit. As usual.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charlotte Riots: But the MSM Calls Them "Protesters"

Let's start by telling it like it is. The last two nights were "The Charlotte Riots." Yet well into last night, September 21, the mainstream media were talking about "protesters."

This is the result of our center-left ruling class allowing the rhetoric of the left to colonize our political discourse.

It is simply misleading to characterize any street action as a "peaceful protest." All street action -- in fact all political activity -- is at least a show of force. Back in the day, in the Sixties, they used to call the street actions "demos" or "demonstrations." That at least had the virtue of being semi-honest. Demonstration does actually mean "show." It just misses out the force aspect.

We know how we got from "marching" to "demonstrations" to "peaceful protests." The ordinary woman in the street doesn't like street action. She understands, at a gut level, that street action is not good for women, because young men released from restraint turn quickly to raping and pillaging. Not because they are evil, but because that is how they are wired. The great achievement of civilization, and particularly capitalism, is to tame young men from the dawn raid to work and to sports.

But the problem with a successful social and cultural revolution like capitalism is that pretty soon a Pharaoh arises that knew not Joseph. Dull minds like Obama and Clinton arise in the political arena and don't get how fragile the peace is. So the young Obama gets all edgy about "community organizing," what used to be called street agitation. And good little girl Hillary Clinton goes all goo-goo about Saul Alinsky and writes a thesis about him.

And I run into good little girl liberal friends who say that they always wanted to get into "activism." Truly, these people know not what they say.

It really is a ridiculous hypocrisy that these people, that talk about peace processes and disarmament on one side of their mouths, can advocate domestic turbulence and riots out of the other side.

But that is nothing new. We humans are famously capable of complete mental blindness. Conservatives have our own blind spots.

The problem with the whole political project of the left is its politics. Politics is division; politics is violence. You can say that you are fighting for justice all you like, but the fact is that when you implement your government program to fight inequality or the rape culture or the minimum wage you are taking money, by force, from some people and giving it to other people. It cannot be any other way. Government is force, from the moment that the insurgent rebels take up arms against the evil old regime and take the capital to the annual budget where the ruling party decides who is to get what from the taxes it enforces, to the daily show of force by policemen and the daily show of force by the national armed forces.

The whole point of modern political science prior to Marx and Co. was to limit political power to the minimum needed to keep the peace. All those Hobbeses and Lockes and Humes and Montesquieux and Tocquevilles and whatnot were trying to discover just how much politics was needed to keep the peace. The great argument of The Federalist Papers was to argue that the new Constitution and its increased powers for the central United States government were the minimum necessary for a nation state to survive in the world.

The 200 year fantasy of the left has been to ignore the lessons learned by its predecessors. The left believes in a politics that would transform the world, a one final outburst of political power after which a world of peace and justice would obtain. But this is madness. Politics is power; politics is division. Government is force; government is injustice. And ever will be.

So, in the utter failure of the Obama years we are reduced to Donald Trump, a mere real-estate developer, becoming the voice of reason, saying after the Charlotte Riots:
Well, there really has to be – you have to have law and order, at the same time you have to have a certain spirit, a certain unity. There’s no unity. You look at the level of hatred – you know the rocks being thrown and everything happening, it’s so sad to see, you know, that this is so sad to see that this is the United States of America. And it’s so sad to see. But there’s just no unity. There has to be a unity message that has to get out and it starts with leadership.
Golly. Where are all the wise men when it takes an amateur to state the obvious?

I will tell you. The problem is that a ton of people in the liberal bubble do not understand that it is the president's job at all times to symbolize the unity of the American people, and to speak always against divisive voices. Because the unity of the nation is in fact a fragile thing; humans are always half a step from starting a quarrel, especially with their nearest and dearest. Obama is a fool; he thinks he can play one group off against another, divide and conquer. Maybe so, but you need to do it with the talent and the flair of a Bismarck or a Bill Clinton; otherwise, don't even start.

Our national elections are civil war by other means. The point of an election and its votes are to symbolize a fight over who gets to rule; we say that the candidate with the most votes wins. The election contest is a sublimation of an actual fight into a sham fight, and we declare the victor the candidate with the most votes rather than the winner of a bloody battle for the keys to the kingdom.

But after the election, the victor and the vanquished must get up and say that the election wars are all over, that we are not warring Democrats and Republicans, but Americans. And so each candidate congratulates the other candidate for a well-fought campaign, and they tell their supporters to stand down and resume normal life as Americans that all salute the same flag and the national anthem.

It shouldn't take a Donald Trump to remind us of that. And it shouldn't take riots to remind us that the first duty of every citizen is to keep the peace.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Everything the Left Believes is Wrong

I was thinking deep thoughts in the early morning today. Or rather, deep thoughts were suggesting themselves to me, in the sense that Puccini meant when he said that the music of Madama Butterfly "was dictated to me by God."

What came to me in the morning was this: Everything that the left advocates is poison for its clients.

The Working Class. The left invited the working class to rise up against the employers that had drawn starving peasants into the cities to jobs that, in the fullness of time, brought them to a decent competence. It steered the working class away from working with capitalism to fighting against it; it encouraged the working class in tribalism and a patron/client culture rather than to help the working class learn the ways of the responsibility culture of the bourgeoisie.

Blacks and Minorities. Let us just look at the latest outrage, the campaign against policing. The fact is that the police in inner cities represent the official government fighting against the unofficial government of the gangs. It is bound to be a war, and it has been ever since the Brits created the Metropolitan Police in London in 1829. Blacks and minorities cannot get ahead into the middle class until the gang culture is defeated, and peace is declared in the inner cities.

Women. The sexual revolution, abortion and divorce on demand, and the forced march of women into careers are all profoundly anti-woman. No woman that has been spared the full-on ideological training of the left likes a sexual free-for-all, or killing babies, or breaking up marriages, or forsaking her children for paid work. Yes, but what do women want? I hope that women get a chance to find out.

Gays. I get it. I get that sexual creativity kinda goes with the German cult of the creative, and my whole notion of the People of the Creative Self. The thing to remember is that most efforts at creativity fail: most business startups fail; most artists never have a career; most writers are forgettable; most scientists never produce anything original. Many are called but few are chosen. In other words, don't start out on a creative life unless you can handle rejection and failure. For liberals to pretend that LGBT is natural and physical is to lead millions of young people into the wilderness.

Force. Government is force, and the recipients of government action experience it as injustice. Now the two areas in which force is inevitable and necessary are defense: against enemies foreign and domestic. But liberals stigmatize national defense as imperialism, and policing as oppression. But it is perfectly OK to reduce the entire economy to rigid administrative systems directed by government force. Everyone must be driven into a single government pension plan; everyone must be corralled in a single government health plan; every child must be sent to a government school. Everyone must work according to centralized work-place rules set up by liberals. So liberals have the thing completely upside-down. They want to use force where it is optional, and they stigmatize force where it is essential.

Liberals. Yes, liberals are not just leading other people into the wilderness, but themselves as well. First of all there is the idea that they, liberals, should govern the rest of us because of their education and expertise. Then there is the conceit that liberals should be given lifetime sinecures as scholars and professors. Then there is the conceit that liberals should all be "activists" advocating political solutions to all problems. All this is a really bad idea, because liberals get the money for all this by taxing productive citizens so liberals can hang out enjoying comfortable sinecures that empower them to order the rest of us around. It will not end well, for us or for liberals.

I suppose that the unimaginable revolution we call capitalism and industrialism that has birthed the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years was bound to throw up a reactionary movement of resistance, and nostalgia for the old days of patrons and clients, slavery and serfdom (see Moldbug for heretical thoughts on this). I just wish it hadn't been so successful.

Because there is an awful lot of stuff that will have to be undone in the coming years. And unfortunately, nothing gets "undone" without a lot of misery and bloodshed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Never Mind NeverTrump

Today's little dust devil seems to be the NeverTrump crowd and the news that Bush 41 is probably voting for Clinton.

A lot of people are rather cross with the NeverTrumpers but I am not. I understand their situation; I feel their pain.

The best way to understand the whole thing is to shine the light of Mencius Moldbug's Cathedral concept on the 2016 situation. Moldbug's real name is Curtis Yarvin.

Moldbug's notion is that our present ruling class is a kind of Cathedral, a big church of which the universities, the media and the entertainment folks are the bishops and deans. And all the deans in their stalls in the Cathedral sing from the same hymnal and pray from the same prayer book. Politics, as Andrew Breitbart said, is downstream from culture, so politicians have to conform to the orthodoxies issued and enforced by the bishops at the Cathedral.

Under the rule, ideological and political, of the Cathedral there are two political parties. The Democrats are the Inner Party; when they are in power they rule. The Republicans are the Outer Party; when they are in office they govern.

The consequence of all this is that the Cathedral and the Inner Party decide what the Outer Party and its minions are allowed to say. They define, as we say, the Overton Window of acceptable discourse. Step outside the window and you are a racist sexist homophobe and may lose your job.

You can see where the NeverTrumpers fit in all this. They are intelligent people that have learned how to stoll around politely in the sacred precincts of the Cathedral close saying semi-conservative stuff knowing that their privileges could be withdrawn at any moment. Their careers depended on their good behavior and their proper genuflections before the altar of political correctness.

The point is that if they go with Trump and Trump loses, then what happens to the TV appearances and the book contracts? And as for the NeverTrump politicians, they have managed their careers in the knowledge that a careless word could be a career-ender. So why throw in with Trump? The potential downsides are too big.

So I understand the NeverTrumpers. They are just being careful, making the calculation that their careers depend more on sucking up to the Cathedral than taking a flyer on Trump.

And really. If Trump wins will the NeverTrumpers be out of a job? Probably not. But many of them probably won't get the plum jobs in the new administration. The A-listers will get jobs, because their presence in a Trump administration will add gravitas, but the mid-listers may miss out and molder away at their present policy-analyst jobs.

This is the way a revolution works, of course. Everything goes on in the good old way, with the wise heads of the old regime wisely stumbling from one mess to another and calling it progress. Everything goes on as before until the music stops, and the wise heads of the old regime are suddenly out of the swim, and new men, that nobody ever heard of, that were saying wild things that it was best not to know about, are suddenly in the saddle.

All of a sudden the place-holders of the old regime are scurrying around trying to find a berth in the new regime and trying to convince the new rulers that they are loyal and reliable.

Is that what is happening in 2016? Nobody knows, because we won't know what is happening until it has happened.

But meanwhile the prudent thing for Outer Party functionaries is to do the NeverTrump. They know the depth of cruelty in the present ruling class. The cruelty of the new ruling class is still just a possibility.

And Trump or no Trump, the Cathedral will still stand and the deans will still be singing in their old stalls.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Left: Teaching People How to Hate

Ever since a liberal friend mentioned, in the context of 2016 politics, the embarrassing Trumpian memes of "hate" and "xenophobia" my mind has been in overdrive.

Because we typical Americans need the language to push back against liberal condescension and virtue-shaming.

For instance, what in the world does Hillary Clinton get away with condescending against half of the Republican voters as a basket of deplorables?

Finally, last night, the light-bulb went off. The problem of the left is that it has taught its followers to hate.

That is bad enough. But the real crime -- and it is the crime of the century -- is that the leftist culture of hate has hived off its supporters from the mainstream of American life and monstrously betrayed them.

Let us count the ways of the war of hate.

First of all, the left mobilized the working class. Hey, there was a problem, for the working class, that was up until yesterday starving on the farm, came up to the city and suffered for a few decades in factories and slums.

The way that the left mobilized the working class politically was to teach the working class to hate their employers. That was bad enough, but in addition it taught the working class that it didn't need to acquire the culture of the city, the culture of trust and responsibility and surrender to the market that is the magic bullet that enables people to thrive in the city.

And then the left fell out of love for the working class, and left it to molder away in decaying factory towns. It took the white working class 50 years to find a champion in Donald Trump.

Then the left mobilized African Americans in the civil-rights era. It all started out innocently enough, especially with the non-violent protest culture that Dr. Martin Luther King borrowed from Mohandas Gandhi.

But with the civil rights laws passed, what was the left to do then? Perfectly simple. It would teach African Americans to hate, and so today African Americans are the angriest racists in America, as in Black Lives Matter.

Then the left mobilized women in the second-wave feminist era. Sexual liberation for women! With no more double standard, and abortion on demand. And how did the left mobilize women for this movement? It taught women how to hate men and the patriarchy. It assumed that the grass was greener on the other side and that women needed to be force-marched in the world of career and paid work and farm their children out to child-care just like rich women down the ages. Well, the result is that college women have to drink half a bottle of vodka before going out to college parties, and they find that they have to submit to cringing sexual humiliation in order to get the attention of high-status males. It is not surprising that feminists are the angriest sexists in America, as in female college diversity administrators.

Then the left mobilized gays and lesbians. I don't know how much gays and lesbians were oppressed in the bad old days. All I know, from personal experience, is that when I was a young man in the 1960s it was the left that was stigmatizing gays as upper-class poofters. Talk about hate. Now of course the left has turned 180 degrees. Instead of combining sexual and class hate in a war on upper-class poofters it has taught an entire generation of sexual experimenters to hate the straight world. Now we have government-empowered gays hatefully teaching Christian bakers and pizza parlors and wedding photographers that they will be made to care. So liberals have taught gays to be hetero-phobes, terrified that the straight world is out to crush them.

The big thing to understand about all this is not that liberals are scum. It is worse than that. It is that liberals have a fundamental misunderstanding about the uses and the scope of politics.

The basic faith of the left is that politics can be used to liberate the world, and that this liberated world can be structured and organized on political principles using political power.

But this is a lie. Politics is division, and political actors are people leading a political war in a war-by-other-means. How do you mobilize people for a political war? You teach them to hate the opposition, just like the leaders of World War I taught their people to hate the Brutal Hun.

So, the more politics you have, the more division you have, and the more hate you teach to your supporters.

That is why, in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation and its religious wars, wise heads started to think about how to dial down the hatred and the violence. They came up with a couple of genius ideas. One was the idea of the separation of church and state. It just was not a good idea to give ideological warriors the keys to the kingdom, because they would start religious wars.

But the wars of the Reformation were nothing to the wars of the secular reformation of the last 100 years, when ideological prophets and thugs got to lead Russia, and China, and Germany, and Italy, and plunged the world into two gigantic wars. And how did they mobilize their peoples for global war? They taught them to hate: the kulaks and the landlords and the Jews.

The second idea that the wise heads came up with was limited government and the separation of powers within government. What was the point? Well, I have explained it with my catchphrases that government is force, and government is injustice.

It doesn't matter what the ruling class and its supporters think about the government's agenda. The people on the receiving end will experience its program as brute force, making them pay taxes and submit to government initiatives that do nothing for them and their children. In fact, these victims of government force experience government as injustice, and they learn to hate the the people that oppress and exploit them.

So you can see what comes next. It is our response to the brutal put-down, so thoughtfully enunciated by Hillary Clinton, that we rubes are a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobes.

If only this latest from Hillary Clinton weren't a bunch of lies.

Hey, you ain't seen a racist until you've been on the receiving end of the racist thugs at Black Lives Matter.

You ain't seen a sexist until you've been bullied around by a sexist feminist college diversity administrator.

You ain't seen hate until you have been on the receiving end of the gay mafia and its corrosive war on bakers, pizza parlors, and wedding photographers.

And you ain't seen classism until you have seen the disdain from a politician like Hillary Clinton and her bribed apologists in the media for the people they all hate as "deplorables."

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Age of Atheists That Ignores Secular Religion

I have been over to Third Place Books a couple of times to look at Peter Watson's Age of Atheists. According to the publisher blurb on Amazon:
In 1882, Friedrich Nietzche declared that “God is dead” and ever since tens of thousands of brilliant, courageous, thoughtful individuals have devoted their creative energies to devising ways to live without God with self-reliance, invention, hope, wit, and enthusiasm. Now, for the first time, their story is revealed...

[It] sweeps up William James and the pragmatists; Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis; Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Albert Camus; the poets of World War One and the novelists of World War Two; scientists, from Albert Einstein to Stephen Hawking; and the rise of the new Atheists—Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens.
So I decided not to buy it.

Because the issue of the Age of Atheists, to me, is the question of the secular religious movements that have swept the globe like nothing else in history.

I mean, seriously. Sixty years after the publication of The Communist Manifesto Russia determined to try it, and 100 years after the Manifesto China tried it out, and India kinda, sorta tried it out.

When has there ever been an intellectual, or religious, or political movement that conquered the two most populous nations on the earth within a century?

Look, I am sure it is great fun to check out Picasso, Freud, Joyce, and even the second tier chaps like Dawkins and Harris and their courageousness. As if. As if they weren't boosted and celebrated in all the right places.

I've just finished a harrowing book about the youth of a believer, a believer in the secular religion of socialism. Child of the Revolution is the memoir of Wolfgang Leonhard, the son of a communist activist who fled Nazi Germany in 1935. This kid got the full indoctrination treatment at special schools, and he became enough of a true believer in the Marxist-Leninist theoretical system to become a member of the "Ulbricht Group" that followed the Red Army into eastern Germany and set up the communist East German state.

Yes, but what about freedom? To Leonhard, the west had no idea.
For us freedom meant insight into historical necessity. We were free because we were the only ones who possessed this insight on the basis of scientific theory[.]
The point is that for Leonhard and for many like him, ten years of the study of Marxism-Leninism provided him with a complete answer to life, the universe, and everything. He was appalled by the brutality of Stalinism but continued to believe in Marx's idea of every people finding its own independent way to socialism. But socialism was truth and truth socialism.

I have written that one aspect of this new secular religion is that today every well-born youth, male or female, wants to get into "activism," to do something for social justice. And that such activism gives meaning to their lives. You know, just like religion.

I want to read more about this, and understand it more. Because one thing I believe, that British social scientist Steve Bruce is wrong when he says in God is Dead that secularization means that "shared ideas are no longer as persuasive as they once were" and "a long-term decline in the power, popularity and prestige of religious beliefs and rituals."

Hum. If you confine "religious beliefs" to belief in God, I agree. But that misses the point completely. The question is, if God dies, then what takes His place. The answer is pretty obvious: transcendental religion gets replaced by secular religion that replaces a god-based religion with a secular religion that satisfies all the needs of what Nicholas Wade calls The Faith Instinct without actually enthroning a god in heaven.

And I want to know more about how this works.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Not Just Obama, But Liberals Created Trump

There is a lot of good clean commentary on the rise of Trump, keyed into Hillary Clinton's "deplorables" speech. Here's a good piece by Laura Hollis on the ten things that Obama did to create him, with advice on what not to do, including:
Stop pitting Americans against each other; focus on the positive; don't apologize for America.
And so on.

But let us cut to the chase. The reason the white working and middle class have gone for Trump is that his slogan, Make America Great Again, provides them with a place to belong.

Marx wrote, famously, that "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

No it isn't. That is complete rubbish. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of tribal warfare.

The class struggle arose in the context of the rise of the cities and the market economy, where the lower class migrated to the cities and their jobs, and there achieved enough strategic concentration that they could combine, for almost the first time in history since the fall of Rome, to agitate for their interests. The genius of Marx was to articulate this truth, and to teach the sons of the bourgeoisie that they could mobilize the working class for their own educated-class power project.

The rise of the bourgeoisie coincided with the rise of the nation state. I'm not sure that the bourgeoisie planned it that way. More likely the interests of the bourgeoisie coincided with the interests of the absolute monarchs because bourgeois merchant credit could be used to finance nation-state armies, and nation-state armies and navies could protect international bourgeois commerce.

I think it is fair to say that in the bourgeois era, the political question was who best deserved to represent the nation: the old landed aristocracy or the new merchant bourgeoisie.

In the last century the liberals, progressives, left, whatever, has tried to marginalize nation-state politics and replace it with class politics and now identity politics.

So the point of Hillary Clinton and her "basket of deplorables" is to marginalize the old nation-state politics and elevate the identity politics that the Democratic Party uses to gain power. Instead of doing a politics that heightens the idea of nation, and all people living in the United States as Americans united as one people, Hillary Clinton subscribes to a politics of identity, a race politics that heightens race identity, a gender politics that heightens the identity of women and LGBTs. The other side of this politics was to marginalize and anathematize nationalism as equivalent to Nazism or white identity politics.

And you have to give liberals credit on this. They have done an amazing job on a lot of Americans to get them to move their allegiance from America to their race or their gender.

But there is a problem with this. The United States is a nation state. The President of the United States is not just the administrative head of government, he is also the chief priest, if you like, of the national cult. There are, you will notice, several holidays -- holy days for the celebration of the national cult -- at which the president is expected to preside. He is expected to utter words that dignify the occasion and stir the national soul with the three principles of the national cult: that America is the best country in the world, and the American people are the best people in the world, and the American way of life is the best way of life in the world.

This is something that President Obama has not done. This is something that Hillary Clinton has not done. And so they have left a yuge opportunity for some fool candidate to run a campaign to Make America Great Again, and celebrate America as one nation and the American people as one people.

The point is that for the ordinary white middle class they have nowhere else to go. The ruling class has stopped celebrating the working class, and whites are not allowed to have a white identity politics. But what the white middle class can do is rally to the banner of America. And so they have.

This is the point to blame the GOP establishment that has failed to rally Americans to the flag in the last 20 years. But I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. The liberals and the media have made life very difficult for them, because, as Hillary Clinton has said, you are with us or against us. If you are with us you are all in favor of our identity politics. If not, you are a deplorable, and a racist, sexist homophobe besides.

It is not easy to figure out how to counter people that will stigmatize you as a racist for all time if you beg to differ with the liberal agenda. But in the end, someone would figure it out and that someone has done so. His name is Donald Trump.

Liberals like to think that they are beyond and above nationalism and the flummeries of celebrating America. To replace it they have chosen identity politics, which they will manage at home, balanced by a cosmopolitan globalism abroad. But that leaves the average American with nothing to believe in.

Maybe that is why a large majority of the American people have come to believe that America is on the "wrong track." Per David French it goes beyond a sour economy. He quotes Kellyanne Conway:
We noticed a number of years ago that the responses to the wrong track question are not purely economic . . . In fact, for many Americans, they are not connected to politics or policy at all.
Kellyanne Conway is now with the Trump campaign. Ahem.

When Al Gore lost the 2000 election I noticed that Gore, and following him, liberals, did not concede the election and say, OK, now we are all Americans. Instead they put bumper stickers on their cars to "ReDefeat Bush." But Bush sat down with Ted Kennedy to pass No Child Left Behind. Then in 2008 President-elect Obama did not reach out to Republicans and develop a program that both parties could support. He said "we won" and developed a program in Congress without a single Republican vote.

In the old days the candidates would say after the election that we are now all Americans and call for unity.

I am not saying that this sort of thing is bad for Republicans. I am not even saying that it is bad for America. Although it is. I am saying it is bad for Democrats.

It is bad for Democrats not to embrace the national cult. It is bad for Democrats not to say, after the election: we are now all Americans together. It is bad for Democrats to stigmatize your opponents as deplorables and racists.

This is something that progressivism, going back to Marx, does not appreciate. That's because Marxism and progressivism are really secular religions; they are using politics to implement their heaven on earth. There is a reason why the Founders proposed no establishment of religion, and Thomas Jefferson talked about a wall of separation between church and state. It is much harder to compromise questions of religious faith than to compromise questions of law and distribution of loot.

And the whole point of politics is to avoid civil war and compromise differences instead of fighting to the death.

Democrats and liberals are blind to this, probably because they do not understand that their progressive faith is in fact a religion.

My dearest hope is that African Americans and Hispanic Americans will rally to Trump's banner, and decide to think of themselves as Americans who happen to be black or Latino. Because then they will start to enjoy life in America instead of being shock troops for the liberal agenda.

One fine day, perhaps, we humans will rally worldwide, as merely humans, and not as tribes, or classes, or nations, or identities. But until that day the best thing going is the nation state and its supporting cult of the nation, the national people and the national homeland and the national government. The alternative that liberals propose, of warring sub-national identities presided over by a global elite of the educated and the evolved, is a royal road to conflict and the killing fields.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Yes, Inflation is Hidden in Govt.Health Care and Education. But Who Will Bell the Cat?

If you want to know where inflation went, given that it must be somewhere, what with zero-interest-rate-policy and all, the answer is simple, writes my man Kevin Williamson.

Inflation went to live in the sectors run by government. Housing price inflation. Education price inflation. Health care price inflation. And usually, each of these things screw the young and poor.

Obviously the Fannie/Freddie housing scam favors people that already have houses. Fannie and Freddie just make it easier for young people to waste their youthful energy on propping up the house prices of their elders with liar loans. In the ensuing crash, women and minorities hardest hit.

In lower education we have lifetime teachers failing to teach poor and minority students and in higher education we have "free money available to consumers in the form of loans with no underwriting standards and concessionary interest rates." So universities jack up their prices and hire lots more administrators. And the kids pay the bill.

In health care "Pouring an extra $1 trillion into health-care subsidies will not make medical care less expensive; it probably will end up making it more expensive." The big idea with Obamacare, you'll remember, was to force the kids to get health insurance once they got off their parents' policy at age 26.

But that doesn't stop a commenter from complaining about the system.
4. Except for hypothetical idealistic beliefs in the perfection of a market system, realize there is NO BENEFIT to having for-profit healthcare unless you are a doctor, pharmaceutical company or insurer.
As long as there are people like that there will be politicians offering "free" health care.

But enough of that. Wot I want to know is, how do we crash the system so that the government inflation is purged out of housing, education, and health care?

I think we could do it on housing, because nobody really understands Fannie/Freddie, and the government has inadvertently throttled the housing game with Dodd-Frank bureaucracy. Kids and minorities and women hardest hit.

On education, the lower education answer is school choice and homeschooling. And really, how dumb can the teachers be for putting all their political eggs in the basket of one party?

The real question is health care. How do we lance the boil? How do we start a parallel system, that is like Uber to the taxicab cartel, that quietly and inconspicuously starts undermining the whole horrible corrupt government-irradiated health care system?

Honestly I don't know. But that is why we have entrepreneurs and innovators and startups and venture capitalists. Get to work you guys, and no lunch at Il Fornaio until you launch the affordable health care app.

Hey, I know. How about health care on the home-delivery model used by the food-delivery apps. You hit the Health app on your smartphone, and wait for a health care provider to show up at your door. She could have a van all tricked out with the regular stuff you need to provide GP services.

Hmm. That would mean elbowing in on the Fire Department's aid car racket.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Will Happen to the Deplorables?

Let us suppose that Hillary Clinton and the elite Democrats actually believe that half of the Trump supporters are the "deplorables," the racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, Islamophobes, of liberal imagination.

It seems fairly obvious, given that Hillary Clinton used the same ideas in an interview with an Israeli media outlet, that anathematizing of the deplorables is part of basic campaign strategy, unveiled in Hillary Clinton's alt-right speech.

The next question is: what shall "we" do about them, the deplorables? Should they be sent to re-education camps? Fired from their jobs? Their children taken into care? Shall they be deported?

It's all very well to anathematize people in a political campaign, but what happens after? Well we know, because we have the liberal record of the last 50 years.

On race, after the success of the civil rights acts which basically resolved America's race problem, liberals made it worse by wrecking the black family and calling racists everyone that disagreed with them.

On sex, after the success of getting votes for women and making women into a majority of colleges students and graduates, liberals have conducted a war on men and boys to remove the last remaining vestiges of sexism.

On homophobia, after whisking gay marriage through the Supreme Court, liberal vigilantes are seeking out unredeemed Christians and destroying them with the power of the state.

On xenophobia, liberals ignore the law on immigration to advocate for unlimited immigration and the exemption of illegal immigrants from the law of the land.

On Islamophobia, liberals advocate for a religion that opposes everything they stand for.

And yet the deplorables are the other guys.

Look, I understand what is going on here. Liberals are just blindly executing on the Frankfurt School tactics that recommended the left to abandon the class politics of Marx that advocated for the working class, and switch to an identity politics that advocated for marginalized people everywhere, women, blacks, and gays. They are not realizing that they have basically won the culture war. Of course not, they are culture warriors and culture war is what they do.

You might say that the left followed Eisenhower's advice, that if you don't know how to solve a problem, make it bigger.

But my problem with this is that it is still a tactic, because when you look at the left's program together, its anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, etc., it runs up against a little problem. It is a totally incoherent mess.

It is fine to advocate for African Americans, and make up for centuries of exploitation, but in the end African Americans must make their peace with America and join the middle class as ordinary responsible citizens that follow the rules, go to work, and obey the law.

It is fine to advocate for women's education and advance in the labor force, but in the end women are the generators of the next generation; most women must have babies and raise them. It has long been a conceit of high-status women that they should be above mere child production. This is odd, because the production and the socialization of children is the only job in the world that really matters. Everything else is just frosting on the cake and providing the food and shelter to make the next generation possible.

It is fine to advocate for sexual minorities and allow people to veer off the mainstream of heterosexual mating and reproduction. But the vast majority of people must and will mate with the opposite sex and have children. It is a monstrous lie to pretend that gays and gay marriage is anything other than the extremes of the bell curve and anathematize people that live on the mainstream and believe in what they are doing.

And so on. It's fine to be nice to immigrants like me, but we cannot invite the whole world to America. It's fine to be nice to Islam, but it would be good to get some reciprocity from the imams.

So what is the problem? Why are the liberals trying to unmake America? What is their point?

I have attempted to explain this with my reductive Three Peoples theory. I understand liberals as People of the Creative Self. Liberals are communicants in the cult of creativity; they believe that the best life is the creative life, creating a work of art that blows the doors off the past, creating a new society liberated from the superstitions and injustices of the past They also think you are nothing unless you are creative.

It is that last place where liberals have gone off the rails. It is true that creative innovation is a wonderful thing, but it is not given to many of us. Creative people, genuinely creative people, are very few and far between. For the rest of us, we have to make the best fist of our modest talents and energies and participate as conforming members of human society. We cannot hope to be comets flaming across the sky; our only hope is to be steady points of light in the firmament, shining a little light on a dark and fallen world. Our contribution is to help things as they are, rather than to imagine and implement things that never were. Still, we can make a creative contribution to society by creating and raising children. And that is not nothing.

In my view, our liberal friends will eventually collide with the above reality. They will find that the deplorables will rise up against them and reassert the right to be ordinary and modest and conservative people that deserve the support of society even if they are horribly backward and unredeemable.

The funny thing is that the whole movement of the left arose precisely to give voice to a group that seemed to be left behind by the blinding changes of history. The left arose to advocate for the working class that did not have the market skills and the cultural skills to thrive in the early industrial age. The working class deserved special protections, the left argued, and should not be shamed and marginalized as backward and stupid.

The fact is that the bourgeoisie, the rising class of the time, listened to the left and acceded to the legislative program of the left. Whatever their faults, they were people of good will, and were willing to compromise with people struggling to cope with the new industrial world.

The difference today is that the left is now not willing to compromise with the people left behind by the creative revolution. The left thinks they are deplorables, not to be endured.

"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges." So said the Fool at the end of Twelfth Night.

That is what I would be worrying about, if I were a liberal and a Democrat and a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Politics is About Power. That is All

There's a long thumbsucker in National Review today about Hillary Clinton and what she stands for. William Voegeli tries to penetrate through the vapid rhetoric about change and meaning. Here is what Clinton said back in the 1990s:
Let us be willing to remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the 20th century, moving into a new millennium.
Rather obviously, this is not about government, but a totalitarian mash-up of politics and religion. And it is about the eternal quest of politicians to imagine that their profession is something higher and nobler than just using force to keep the natives quiet.

The truth is that anyone in politics is sniffing out an issue, any issue, that can be used as a means to power or a means to continue power.

And what hope is there for conservatives in this? We think that the whole point is to reduce political power because political power is normally a means to death and destruction. There seems to be no escape from understanding the world in terms of Power and Possession.

The conservative conundrum is the same as the pacifist's. What chance have you, in a world of war and conflict, to stand aside and merely pontificate that war never solves anything? Meanwhile, somebody's army drives right over you.

While you and I are working and attending to our families, a thousand liberal activists are dreaming up a new way to deploy government power. How can we hope to stop this unless we are opposing liberal activism with conservative activism?

Down at the city zoo it is not enough for them to take care of the animals. They must be saving the Red Wolf from extinction! They must be forming themselves into the number 350 to show that they are concerned about CO2 concentration and are working to save the planet!

Over the weekend conservatives have been chuckling about Hillary Clinton's "deplorables" comment. But the bigger question to me is the blind folly of Clinton. Here the liberals are: they have fought racism to its knees, taught women to shatter glass ceilings, cunningly pushed gay marriage through the Supreme Court, and they are worried about the mass of deplorables out there, the racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes. Don't liberals realize that they have won? That they have enacted just about every government program imaginable?

Really. Liberals have implemented a huge agenda over the last century, riding roughshod over the American people, and they seem to think that it's time to amp up the rhetoric to make sure that none of the gap-toothed primitives dare to move a finger.

Look, I get it. the point is political power. And political power always needs an emergency. It really doesn´t matter what the issue is. You just need to rally your supporters and remind them of the existential perils out there that are waiting to engulf them unless they follow you once more into the breach.

Which is to say that when the rule of the progressives ends it won't be with a whimper but with a bang. Because liberals won't give up their political and cultural hegemony without a fight.

And that means that whatever comes next, whatever its agenda, it will have to obtain political power to vanquish the old order of politics, politics, politics.

And so the cycle will begin again. Politics. Power. Force. Domination. Injustice.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Arabs, Power, and Charles Koch

An acquaintance told me a story about his college days in the 1970s in the UK. He opted to live in a student dorm for foreign students. The idea was that one Brit student should live with the foreign students to interpret British culture to the foreigners.

But he found that mostly he was trying to explain the foreign students to each other. The foreigners were just as confused about other foreigners as they were about the Brits!

But one group of students was different. The Arabs. The only thing that Arab students understood was power, power and possession.

That was back in the 1970s so I am sure that things are different now.

OK. Let us segue to a video featuring Charles Koch, he of the Koch Brothers, and Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs," who makes a living championing the "skill trades." Pull quote from Koch:
People who lead happy, fulfilling lives are ones that develop their abilities and figure out how they can best contribute … and they’re rewarded for it and respected for it.
Of course this is the basic contract of the exchange economy. Find something to do that other people will pay for, and do it. It is based on true altruism, thinking about the other and their needs before thinking about your own and setting forth your non-negotiable demands.

The other philosophy, the power philosophy, is based on the idea that you compel your welfare out of the sweat and the work of others. By the dawn raid on the neighboring village. By defeating the neighboring country and imposing an bone-chilling indemnity on it.

The great lesson of the last 200 years, the Great Enrichment, is that the way to human prosperity is the way of surrendering to the market, and doing what the market -- which is nothing but the aggregate expressed needs of other people -- demands with its price system.

Oh and one other thing. Innovation. The great thing about the last 200 years is that numberless nobodies had an idea for a product or a service that nobody else had thought of, and they went out and did it. When this idea was a true innovation, in technology or in organization, the innovator very often built a huge business making huge profits, while the business lowered prices of oil by 90 percent or steel by 67 percent.

The big thing about this age of innovation was that the powers that be did not, or could not, prevent it. That's why Charles Koch in the video talks about "permissionless innovation." You shouldn't need to ask someone's permission to try something new. You shouldn't have to get credentialed to do hair-braiding. Or even inventing a new pharmaceutical drug.

The big thing about all this is the retreat from power. The basic assumption is that humans can work together and do things for each other without the overweening threat of force. This, according to my acquaintance, is something that the Arabs in the 1970s did not understand.

And, of course, it is something that our liberal friends do not understand. They think that the economy must be dominated by a central administrative authority of credentialed experts, and that these powerful experts will lay down the parameters of human cooperation in the economy.

I wonder what it would take for our liberal friends to abandon their faith in power and surrender to the altruistic wisdom of the market.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Yes, But How Bad Is It?

Yesterday the jauntily optimistic Rush Limbaugh had a field day with a piece in The Claremont Review of Books on the 2016 election as "The Flight 93 Election." The piece argued that, if conservatives are right about our issues, then conservatism -- its gradualism, its respect for the rules -- must be wrong. It's time to say "let's roll," and accept that we have to crash the airplane, even if we die in the process.

We are getting to the point, writes the anonymous author, where the left doesn't think it needs us any more.
Among the many things the “Right” still doesn’t understand is that the Left has concluded that this particular show need no longer go on. They don’t think they need a foil anymore and would rather dispense with the whole bother of staging these phony contests in which each side ostensibly has a shot.
 Actually, I think it is better to compare this time with the Soviet Great Purge of 1936-38, and I just happen to be reading a book about it, Child of the Revolution by Wolfgang Leonhard. Leonard was a red-diaper baby whose lefty mother took him to the Soviet Union in the mid 1930s when Germany became too hot for her after Hitler came to power.

To illustrate my point, let us compare two texts. The first is from Portuguese-born SF writer Sarah Hoyt. She is writing about an American instructor at her Portuguese university giving a lecture in American literature.
Until in the middle of a lecture he said something like “When any writer sets out to do x, he–” And stopped, growing pale, and started apologizing profusely.

Apparently looking on that sea of female faces, he thought he was about to be crucified. When we got it through his head that we were not offended, he said “Oh, wow. American women would be. I’d have to say he or she.”
OK. Now let's switch to Leonhard in a class in Moscow in 1937. The teacher was reading "a passage out of a book by the anti-fascist author Georg Born." But a whisper ran around the class and then a kid stood up.
"Comrade teacher, my father told me that Georg Born was arrested a few days ago as an enemy of the people."

Our teacher went pale as ashes.
Now, my theory is that a revolution transitions into its Reign of Terror phase when it is clear that the millennium is not here, and ain't gonna be any time soon. That is when the party leader needs to start dealing with the "enemies of the people" before they start up a head of rebellion.

And really, why be surprised that liberals are amping up the terror? Things aren't going too well for them right now. Their high-handed assumption that the economy would bounce back with a quick kick in the stimulus has proved wrong, and so the introduction of Obamacare created double-trouble by weighing down the already deflating economy with the lead weight of regulation.

And the point is that, like lefties everywhere since the French Revolution, their religion is politics; they think that the way to solve the problems of the world is through politics. That means, to deploy my catch-phrases, they always think that a bit of government force is needed, a bit of political divisiveness is needed, and a few more of the bad people need to be crushed by government injustice.

The point is that, as we have seen with every lefty regime since the French Revolution, this is not going to end well. As in revolutionary France, as in fascist Germany, as in the Soviet Union, as in Castro's Cuba, as in Pol Pot's Cambodia, as in prostrate Venezuela.

Let us give Wolfgang Leonard another word. He is talking about the four types of members in the Komsomol, the Soviet youth movement, in the 1930s.
There were first the enthusiasts--young people bursting with activity and initiative[.]

[There were also members, like Leonhard, who] joined the organization from political conviction and found themselves principally attracted by questions of the organisation's programme and political discussions.

[There were "careerists,"] principally among the sons and daughters of officials of the Party, state, and economic organisations.

[Then there were young people who] had joined it because that was what everybody else did... because it was the thing to do. I found this type mostly among the girls in the Komsomol[.]
Nothing changes, does it.

Personally, I think that the Obama PC push has been a strategic error for the liberals. The future outlined in The Emerging Democratic Majority by Judis and Teixeira was that the new majority of women, minorities, the educated, and young people would rule for the next thirty years.

And so the new majority might have done if Obama & Co. hadn't pressed the pedal to the metal, and inspired the Republican base to rebel against leaders that weren't leading, and provoked the dying-of-despair white working class to get angry and follow the populist Trump.

Now the whole conservative movement is in ruins and nobody knows what comes next. Or, if you use Mencius Moldbug's formulation, the good old days of the Cathedral and the Inner Party ruling the nation and the folks in the Outer Party touching their forelocks are over.

Now of course, it's possible that the bishops of the Cathedral may turn into Jacobin monsters, mobilize their Black Lives Matter shock troops and wipe white middle-class Americans off the map.

Or not.

What is certain is that the politics of the last 30 years, since 1988 and the end of the Reagan era, is over. Something else is going to take its place.

And one thing more. However crazed the crazies may be, there is a moderating factor. It is that for a modern ruling class to rule successfully it must make capitalism work. The reason that 2016 is the end of an era is that the economy has not been doing well, and the people are restless.

Get the economy right, and all things are possible.

But that is a very hard lesson for religious enthusiasts, particularly our modern secular religious enthusiasts, to learn. Because, after all, when the question is saving souls, or saving the planet, who cares about stupid things like profit and loss and economic growth?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Reality Check on "Tax the Rich"

Hillary Clinton is proposing a ton of new federal spending, including free college. So where is she going to find the money? Here's how she explained it recently in Tampa:
We are going to the top one, ten percent, the millionaires, the billionaires, they are the ones that are going to have to start paying.
What's that? To start paying? Where have you been all this time Mrs. Clinton? Don't you ever stop by to check up on the facts? If you did you would find out that the top 1 percent already pay about 40% of the federal income tax.

And do you notice something else about the chart on "Income Tax and the Top One Percent?" It shows that the share paid by the rich has been going up. Except when we get big hunking recessions. Then the income tax share paid by the 1% goes down, as their share of income goes down.

But hey, what about the rest of the rich, the top ten percent? What about them?

OK, let's to to the IRS data on income tax collections, because that gives us income tax return data on the top 1%, top 10%, top 20%, and top 50%. Here's a table showing the latest tax return data, for 2013.

Tax share
Top 1%19.0%37.8%
Top 10%45.9%69.8%
Top 20%61.9%82.1%
Top 50%88.5%97.2%

Hello, Hillary Clinton? You say it's time for the rich to start paying? When the fabled One Percent is already paying 38 percent of all individual federal income tax receipts? When the top 50 Percent is paying 97.2% of income tax receipts? Which planet are you on, Madam Secretary?

Now stop me if I've got this wrong, but I thought that the central conceit of our ruling class that they were the educated ones; they were the informed ones. They knew the facts, and if they didn't they could get an expert to brief them. And I thought that the hit on Donald Trump was that he was a lying populist appealing to "hate" and "xenophobia." I thought that a politician that said Yeah! We're gonna make the rich pay! was a populist thug. Maybe even a demagogue. Maybe even a fascist demagogue.

Now, of course, I suppose there is a principled argument that the top 50% should really pay all of their income in tax, and that having them pay nearly all the income tax receipts doesn't really begin to provide the government with enough resources to meet human needs. Because, yeah! the rich can afford it.

Now Hillary Clinton, according to reports, wants to spend more money "for college education, child care, mental health, drug addiction, green energy, solar panels, and national infrastructure."

Really. Aren't we already spending a ton of money on all this stuff? And really, will spending more on all this stuff really make a difference? Isn't the problem with with government spending on colleges that it has alreadyramped up the cost of college so that students can't afford to go to college without loans? Child care? Isn't the problem that child care is already regulated out the wazoo? Aren't we already spending a crony capitalist's ransom on green energy and solar panels?

As I said. The conceit of our ruling class is that they are the smart guys.

Here is something even smarter. The Great Enrichment of the last 200 years came not from government programs and educated experts and politicians, but from nobodies with an idea that turned into a huge business that provided new products for the masses at low prices.

And I'd say we need to keep taxes low so that these inventive nobodies will keep doing more of it.