Friday, December 29, 2017

The Two Heads of the Forces of Lefty Reaction

A while back I introduced the idea of the Double Revolution of the modern era. In my view this is a revolution in physics, from the mechanical model of the Newtonian era to the uncertainty model of the quantum era, and a revolution in economics from the mechanical supervisory model of the feudal era to the emergent price-driven economy of the post-industrial revolution.

And I said that, inevitably there arose a reactionary movement opposing the Double Revolution, what we call the left. I called out the communist-socialist reaction as the example of this.

But this morning I was re-reading Jonathan Haidt on the current political divisions, his "Age of Outrage" in which he worries about the outrage culture on campus, and I clarified my thinking.

The reaction against the economic part of the Double Revolution comes in two flavors. The first is what I call "activism," a faith in politics as a form of salvation. This reactionary movement is best seen as neo-tribalism, as it uses the unconscious drives of the tribe against the threat of the Other to motivate and to inspire. The second is the hierarchical practice of the administrative state, the rule by educated expert and administrative bureaucracy which has precipitated into the modern welfare state. I consider this part of the reactionary movement to be a neo-feudalism.

There is nothing scandalous, nothing monstrous about this movement of reaction. It is what you would expect to happen in response to the utterly transformative Double Revolution in its economic manifestation. This is confirmed by the developmental psychologists and their epigones like the New Age philosopher Ken Wilber. When people are frightened and disoriented by trials and setbacks while living the higher levels of consciousness they turn to the tried and true of the old, lower, levels of consciousness.  That is why Hitler was able to appeal to the German people, the most advanced country in the world but frightened by the post-World War I convulsions and failures, with a program of blood and soil.

Yes, of course the reactionary movement of "activism" appeals to tribalism. We are, as Jonathan Haidt writes, profoundly tribal.
We are exquisitely designed and adapted by evolution for life in small societies with intense, animistic religion and violent intergroup conflict over territory. We love tribal living so much that we invented sports, fraternities, street gangs, fan clubs, and tattoos. Tribalism is in our hearts and minds.
Anyone that wants to bring humans together in any enterprise or project is going to appeal to their tribalism, for good or ill. The problem with tribalism is that it is designed to raise consciousness for the inevitable conflict with the neighboring tribe, for death or glory, and this is very seldom required in the modern economy and society where the fundamental requirement is for people to submit to the notion that they are obtaining their livelihood by serving others, not fighting others. The fight, if there is one, is between different businesses to see which one will win in the fight to serve the consumer.

The problem is that over the last 150 years the left has marched through the institutions and taught every Good Little Boy and Good Little Girl that "activism" is the highest way of life, so even though almost every Good Little Boy and Good Little Girl is really not cut out to be a Social Justice Warrior, everyone of them has a yearning to "get into activism."

I wrote a week or so ago in "Militarism vs. Activism: Ruling Class Culture Then and Now" that I thought that "activism" was just as harmful a culture as the "militarism" culture that led the leaders of 1914 into World War I. Too many people now are instinctive "activists" and don't really understand the awful consequences, just as too many people in 1914 were instinctive "militarists" and really did not understand the consequences.

Somehow, some way, some day we are going to have to lance the boil of modern "activism."

The other reactionary movement is the neo-feudalism of the welfare state and the administrative state. It is telling that in The Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels prophesied that capitalism would rehearse the subjection of peasant to lord with the subjection of proletarian to bourgeois capitalist. Only that is not what happened, because subordinate peasants and serfs were not particularly useful to the capitalists. They found that they needed responsible, resourceful employees not dumb-as-dirt peasants and slaves.

I am trying to think of a single word to describe the neo-feudalism movement, but it hasn't come yet. Serfism, subordinism, administratism, expertism, manorialism, patronism? I can't figure it out yet, but I will.

While the "activism" culture organizes humans into a permanent war of all against all, just like the old "militarism" of the dynastic monarchs and the tribalism of the hunter-gatherers, the neo-feudalism puts people into a permanent subjection to an administrative system that has significant powers over their lives but is usually unable to adjust to changing conditions. In other words, it promises security and safety but in fact cannot deliver them, because security and safety can only be delivered by reacting to dangers and threats, and the bureaucratic welfare state cannot do that, not until it is too late.

It is remarkable, but the model for how things ought to be in society are present daily in the life of the human body. Some of the larger, cruder things are directed by the brain and the central nervous system, but the moment-to-moment, day-to-day life of the body is conducted cell by cell in exquisite instinctive individual responses by each individual cell to the overall needs of the body according to chemical codes and operations that we barely understand.

That is what the modern economy and society asks of us: to respond to the prompts of prices of goods and the needs of other people that we can serve, each of us individually and without the clunking fist of some political or economic overlord telling us what to do and when, or the rage of tribalism inspiring us to fight to the last man against the hated Other.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Politics of the Three Peoples: The Trump Gambit

In yesterday's piece, "The Politics of the Three Peoples," I attempted to describe the natural political tastes of the the three kinds of people in the modern era. How the People of the Subordinate Self want a neo-feudal welfare state to take care of them; how the People of the Responsible Self want a minimal state that protects life and liberty and defends a law-based people going about their business; how the People of the Creative Self want to run things, to create a perfect state abounding with compassion and justice, as a witness to their wonderfulness.

But what, you may ask, is the consequence of these Three Peoples with their conflicting ideas about government and justice?

The first, and obvious thing, is that the People of the Subordinate Self and the People of the Creative Self are natural allies. The People of the Subordinate Self want stuff in return for their support of their liege lord, and the People of the Creative Self are glad to give away Other Peoples' Money in return for the support of the People of the Subordinate Self so they can creatively create the perfect state with Hope and Change.

This is clearly demonstrated in my catchphrase that government is an armed minority occupying territory and taxing the inhabitants thereof to reward its supporters, with the "supporters" as the People of the Subordinate Self, the "inhabitants" the People of the Responsible Self, and the "armed minority" the People of the Creative Self.

The only problem with the happy dance between the People of the Creative Self and the People of the Subordinate Self is that it is not a self-regulating system. This is brought out by Ilana Mercer in a recent piece on African politics. There is no regulating system to tell African dictators just how much loot and plunder to reward their supporters is too much, so they tend to loot the place to the bare walls. This is obviously true also in lefty dictatorships like Venezuela. Any country experiencing hyper-inflation has a ruling class that has seriously screwed up its sums: the amount of loot that can be consistently extracted from the populace to give to its supporters. In countries like the United States we merely have an obvious prediction that things cannot go on as they have forever: the entitlements will run out of Other Peoples' Money at some point, but not yet.

The dance between the People of the Creative Self and the People of the Subordinate Self is a big problem for the People of the Responsible Self. We really do not want to play the game of taxing the inhabitants to reward our supporters. We think that such a philosophy of politics is stupid. The world is much too complicated to reduce it to a matter of loot and plunder. We do not really want to live at the expense of our fellow citizens and we do not thrill to the orgasm of ordering our fellow citizens about and putting our hands in their pockets. We do not boil with a rage to be revenged upon corporate profits or greedy bankers, and we do not thrill with the prospect of fundamentally transforming society.

And that is why conservatives have been in retreat for the last century. We do not want to use the state to advance our power project, because we have no power project. We just want to let the exchange economy have its way and keep a sharp eye out for the occasional egregious injustice that might be correctable by beneficial legislation.

That is why Donald Trump is such a phenomenon. He has cut this Gordian Knot by the simple expedient of exploiting the egregious injustice suffered by the white working class in the past generation and linking it to the negative agenda of the libertarian, conservative Right.

The Trump phenomenon is perfectly simple, in retrospect. In their enthusiasm to right the wrongs of the past, our liberal friends determined to help the women and minorities that had been marginalized under the regime of "white privilege." But they forgot to check the possible operation of the Law of Unintended Consequences. It turned out that their post Sixties identity politics harmed not the scions of "white privilege"-- people like me -- but the white working class, the sons and daughters of the Irish, the Italians, and Scotch Irish, that in 1900 and through the Great Depression were considered to be the working stiffs of the marginalized working class.

So today the cunning President Trump is standing up for the rights of the white working class by passing a tax bill that lowers federal income tax for the broad middle class, including the white working class, and puts a cat among the international pigeons by lowering the rate on the corporate income tax below the rate in most First World countries.

Do you see what he has done? He has put himself at the head of the white working class, giving voice to its feeling that it was robbed, but is actually going to help it by reviving the whole economy through reduction of business regulation and taxes. If he can pull it off this ploy he will go down in history as another Ronald Reagan.

So, on my view, the Politics of the Three Peoples plays out with the People of the Creative Self and the People of the Subordinate Self ganging up on the People of the Responsible Self and milking them dry. And so it will continue unless the People of the Responsible Self can find a group that has been lately shafted by the criminal conspiracy between the People of the Creative Self and the People of the Subordinate Self and offer that group assistance, as in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

See? Life is not that complicated after all.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Politics of the Three Peoples

In my reductive Three Peoples theory I propose that humans come in three flavors. First there are the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants, that understand life as subordination to some lord or patron. Then there are the People of the Responsible Self that first emerged in the cities of the Fertile Crescent some 3,000 years ago. Cities require their inhabitants to be independent and responsible rather than waiting around for instructions, and so they are. Then we have the People of the Creative Self, that believe in creating something new in the world. I first developed this notion in "The Dance of the Three Peoples."

Obviously each of these three peoples have different ideas of politics.

Let us begin with the political agenda of the People of the Responsible Self. These people obviously want a minimal state that will provide a law-based framework for them to work and trade in the market economy. So the political program is what developed in the late 18th century during the rise of the bourgeoisie: constitutions, limited powers, defense of trading networks, sound money, government limited to defense and infrastructure and defense of property rights. But this political regime started to break up when the working class obtained political power after the industrial revolution; the working class did not experience themselves as responsible individuals but as a subordinate class of victims. They wanted education for their children, and social insurance for themselves, and they wanted somebody else to organize it for them.

The People of the Subordinate Self experience themselves as victims. They are looking to powerful leaders to protect them from the vicissitudes of the world, both natural and man-made. During the feudal era these people were serfs and peasants, living on land "owned" by some warrior lord. This lord protected his serfs from predators, but the price of this protection was that the lord got to predate on his serfs. In addition, the serfs were expected to serve in their lord's army. Between lord and serf there grew up a culture of expectation. The lord expected the serfs to loyally serve him, work his land, and fight his wars, and in return, with his "grace," he looked after his loyal retainers. It is obvious that this culture has been reborn in the western world in the neo-feudal welfare state, where the people expect benefits because of their status as supporters of their political liege lords. Rather than responsibly provide for their own welfare against a rainy day they submit to a system of welfare organized and administered by their betters.

The People of the Creative Self experience themselves as creators. They might be artist and writer creators; they might be business entrepreneurs creating a tech startup. Or they might be "activists" that want to create a just society through the process of "change" or revolution. These creators in their different realms all want to be the agent of change, with a world-changing book, a world-changing business, or a world-changing political system. 

There is nothing problematic in wanting to make a great movie; you can recruit tons of people willing to finance and work on it, and after it is finished the creative team will disband and coalesce again on another creative project. There is nothing problematic in wanting to creative a great business; the great business creators of the last 200 years have assembled teams of people to help them make great products. When the business was a success, the investors and employees shared in the success; when the business failed they used their experience and their skills to help them in a new venture. But political creativity is problematic. That's because government is force, politics is the art of division, and administrative system is domination. When you create a new political project, by election or revolution, your supporters expect to benefit forever, and rebel and mutiny if their checks fail to arrive. Plus, despite the vision of "change" in the service of justice, the fact is that there no such thing as justice, only injustice. So if your vision of change imagines anything more than the reduction of a few egregious injustices, you are probably changing old injustices for new ones.

So the great problem of the modern age is creative political elites thinking they can design and implement some perfect plan to change society from a state of injustice to a new regime of justice -- for the workers, for women, for minorities, etc. All the great creative political projects of the last century have been disasters: communism, which turns out to be a sort of holy war against the bourgeoisie; the welfare state, which is really a neo-feudalism with the creative class strutting around as modern squires and barons of the bureaucracy;  fascism, which is a desperate populism against the previous failure of the creative class to provide a stable and prosperous society; globalism, which is a kind of monarchical absolutism, with a global elite perpetuating itself in power like a high-class crime family.

You can see that there is no easy solution to the problem of the competing political agendas of the Three Peoples. The People of the Subordinate Self are condemned to disappointment, because they cannot live forever as the serfs, the "little darlings" of some lord. Eventually the lord will discard them. The People of the Responsible Self cannot have their minimal state, because the People of the Subordinate Self want more protection than the minimal state affords. And the People of the Creative Self desperately want a starring role for themselves, forgetting that almost all creative projects end in failure, which is a big problem when the lives of millions of people are at stake.

There is a solution, of course: it is my Perfect Plan. Part One is that we should encourage the People of the Subordinate Self to become responsible, and reward them when they do. Part Two is for the People of the Creative Self to practice compassion and tolerance when it comes to the People of the Responsible Self. 

OK, my Perfect Plan is not really a perfect plan. It is just a couple of really sensible ideas that could help us move forward without descending further into a brawl of all against all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Civil Rights Vs. the Right to Discriminate

As I understand it, in the dark days before the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, ordinary Americans could discriminate on the basis of race, sex, and sexual orientation. The government could too, although strictly speaking it was hindered by the Constitution and the post-Civil War Amendments. In the South, of course, Jim Crow laws required that ordinary Southerners discriminate on the basis of race, or the KKK would know the reason why.

Did you know? The main job of the KKK was not to lynch uppity blacks, but to intimidate whites that did not want to get with the Jim Crow program.

So we had an America with anti-Jewish covenants to keep the Jews of upscale WASP neighborhoods and country clubs, you had "Irish Need Not Apply," you had a Davis-Bacon Act to make it difficult for colored labor to compete with white labor, and a Harvard with a Jewish quota, and a South with Jim Crow laws to keep Negroes at the back of the bus, because you couldn't be sure that the bus companies would treat their black passengers like dirt without the sanction of law.

Then we got the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. What did they do? Well, they forbade government from discriminating on the basis of race and sex.

And the Civil Rights Acts also forbade individual Americans from discriminating on the basis of race and sex where a public accommodation was concerned. That is why Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) voted against the bill in the US Senate. As a libertarian he thought that while government should not be allowed to discriminate, a free person should be allowed to do so.

This is all very nice, what what has actually happened?

Well, it is perfectly clear that individuals are forbidden to discriminate on the basis or race or sex or particularly, sexual orientation, as the gay wedding cake issue proves.

But government, under the rubric of "protected classes" is back to its old Jim Crow tricks of discriminating on the basis of race and sex. Actually, its policy is more flexible than that. Today government discriminates on the basis of whatever liberals of the day want it to discriminate.

More than that, government applies considerable pressure on private institutions such as corporations and universities to discriminate in favor of "protected classes" under the notion of "diversity and inclusion." And it teaches little children to grow up and become "social justice warriors" so that they can go out into government and public institutions and implement the discriminatory policies of the ruling class.

That is why I say that there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. Injustice is the main product of government, and the more power you give government, the more injustice it will create because, after all, government is force.

But what do we do about it?

Right now, all we do is excoriate liberals left and right for their monstrous injustice and hypocrisy. These supposed Sir Launcelots or Parsifals, white knights of justice, are in fact the evil Sir Mordreds or Klingsors, black knights of injustice, they are bad people imagining they are good people. This is not the worst of the worst, for those are bad people posing as good people -- knowing they are bad. They really are the worst of the worst. In fact, of course, there are no bad people posing as good. The baddies all believe they are good. There are no Iagos in real life.

But what does Schopenhauer say? I am glad you asked. He says that "bad" refers to the individual that wills his own good without willing the "other's" good.
[S]uch a man does not merely assert the will to live as it appears in his own body, but in this assertion goes so far that he denies the will which appears in other individuals. This is shown by the fact that he desires their powers for the service of his own will, and seeks to destroy their existence when they stand in the way of its efforts.
It is interesting to me that the market economy requires every participant to think of others' needs and will, and forces him to balance other peoples' needs and will against his own needs and will. Yet our liberal friends think they have a better idea than the market economy: what is their problem?

You may not want to know what glorious vision of justice would conservatives want to enact when the liberal beast is finally slain and we all get to live in eternal sunlit uplands?

Well, the first thing is that we do not attempt to implement some glorious vision of conservative justice. All we do is attempt to remove the worst injustice, on the notion that there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. So my Injustice (Liberal) Removal Act would simply forbid government from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, viewpoint, of any kind, whatever. And it would permit individuals to discriminate how they will. Large institutions would have limited rights to discriminate, but not much. In my world the hounds of hell would descend on the Apples and Googles that humiliated ordinary nerds on the spectrum.

Yes, but what about the poor black inner-city homeboy that nobody wants to hire, what about him? Would he not go to the wall? Actually, no. My point is that the right of the individual to discriminate helps that guy. He cannot compete one-on-one with a nice well-behaved white or Asian kid that wears pants that do not expose his butt crack. But what he can do is lower the asking price for his labor. In other words, on my view, each labor-market entrant gets evaluated solely on his overall value to the employer, not the idea of some lefty deep-state bureaucrat or some gender-studies adjunct professor. And if he gets with the program and abandons his low-rider pants and gets a good bourgeois attitude about treating customers and other employees, why then he becomes more valuable and may push for better terms of employment that might, in time, come to equal the remuneration of the lucky kids that got taught the ways of the market economy culture while still wee bairns.

My principle is simply this. Individuals should be allowed to discriminate, but governments should not be allowed to discriminate.

But what do we do about the miscreants in the deep state that continue to discriminate and invent new excuses for discrimination for which the term "protected class" seems like simple naïvété? I should think that the example of the Communist Manifesto should do the trick: "Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels." Yay!

No, we are too soft-hearted for that. Maybe all we will do is suspend their Twitter accounts over the Christmas season, or, for the worst offenders, confiscate their blue checkmarks until after the end of the next Democratic presidency.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Militarism vs. Activism: Ruling Class Culture Then and Now

In his Volume 3 of The Sources of Social Power lefty historian Michael Mann makes a strong argument that the European powers got into World War I because of "militarism."
To understand why they started the war, we must place ourselves back in a culture in which war was considered normal and legitimate, in which states were believed to have survival and security interests that ordinary male citizens were expected to defend with their lives, and in which all obeyed authority figures regardless of how stupid these were -- unto death.(p.165)
Mann has a point. The culture of militarism a century ago was strongest in the Central Powers like Germany, Austria, and Russia, and "these old regimes decided to stick with what they knew well: militarism" with its culture of "honor, glory, status, credibility, and shame[.]"

So Mann thinks that the politicians of the time were idiots still marinated in the old culture of war and diplomacy, a world of states perpetually threatened by the aggressive neighbor, and ruled by men who were steeled in the warrior culture needed to keep a people safe from harm in a dangerous world.

But really, is it sensible to imagine that the old warrior culture, that went all the way back to hunter-gatherers protecting their tribal patch of land from the dawn raids of the neighboring tribes, would end without a staggering demonstration of its futility?

My line is that the modern world of production, manufacturing and exchange is a stunning revolution that completely changes the nature and the rules of human social cooperation and competition. Is it reasonable to expect that all the rulers would go to capitalism school and learn the new culture and thus reject the old ways of martial honor and glory? That old culture was absolutely necessary for community survival all the way down to the day before yesterday. And that culture was a superstructure built upon the economic base of growing food. You had to occupy -- and thus defend -- a patch of land that was able to grow the food to feed your people. Otherwise you were out of luck, pal.

Let us think, contra Mann, of the recent history of the world as a normal and inevitable catalog of errors, that visited enough disaster upon humans to persuade them to become sadder and wiser. First the old dynastic regimes and their warrior culture went down in the folly of World War I. Then the folly of race and Lebensraum (i.e. patch of land) won by military expansion and conquest went down to utter defeat in World War II. Then the reactionary dream of a socialist empire went down to double defeat for socialist Russia and socialist China in the Cold War era. Then the globalist dream of teaching the natives democracy went down in the Bush Middle East wars. God knows what follies will go down to humiliating defeat in the next few decades.

But the point is that this history of horror is not a scandal. Of course things would work out in a succession of disasters. That is the way of the world. Humans do not give up on their projects after a minor setback. Almost all people start projects, whether families or businesses or wars, "breez[ing] confidence of victory[.]"  But, Mann asks in the case of war, "how can this be when there are always at least as many losers as winners?" Because, dear sir, all living things conduct their affairs with a breezy confidence of a happy ending, from the tree growing precariously out of a crack in a rock to marcher lord Harry Percy predicting victory over King Henry IV to the CEO of a tech startup expecting to create the next Big Thing on the internet. Breezy confidence is the way of the world.

Now, I would say that the old culture of "militarism" and "imperialism" is pretty well and truly buried in the cold ground. Nobody thinks of national martial glory or the loot and plunder of empire. The disasters of the last century have taught us to say goodbye to all that.

Instead there is a new spectre haunting the world, the spectre of "activism." In the old days young men were indoctrinated in the warrior culture of militarism, of honor and glory, of war and diplomacy as natural and physical, and the necessity of every political entity holding up its head in the dog-eat-dog world of international rivalries and power. But now young men and women are all carefully taught the culture of "activism," the idea that politics can solve the problems of the world, that a campaign of activists, utilizing the protocols of legal process and the peaceful protest, can direct the arc of history towards justice and peace.

People like me believe that this culture of "activism" is a tragic error, a mindless reaction against the new culture of global enterprise, because government is force, and politics is division, and government systems are domination, and there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. People like me believe that there are only a few things that can be achieved by government force and the political division of us versus them, and that if you try to bulk up government to deliver "justice" you will be sadly disappointed.

But millions of young men and women are taught the faith of "activism" in our schools and universities, and develop a vocation to "do something in activism." That is the meaning of the left, from the social insurance government programs of 19th century socialism to the political correctness and "intersectionalism" of today. It is a tragic error because as soon as you start using government power to right the injustices of the past you begin to create new injustices with your rage for justice and your deployment of government force.

The one thing that is obvious as we look at our liberal friends is that they have not even begun to doubt their progressive faith and their practice of "activism." If anything the election of Donald Trump, like any Big Push in World War I, has intensified their determination to push forward with their agenda of politics, politics, politics. Obviously nothing less that utter defeat and humiliation will change their minds.

So that means that we can look to a future punctuated by horrible "wars of activism," and the only thing that will get us through to green and pleasant uplands warmed by the sunshine of a post-"activist" world will be humiliating and demoralizing defeat for the forces of "activism."

The big problem that I see, and the source of enormous suffering for ordinary people, is the problem that no government in this world dares to reduce spending, because hell hath no fury like a government program beneficiary facing a reduction in her benefits. If you look back over the last century the only way that spending gets reduced is in the magic show of "devaluation" or the tornado of hyperinflation. No legislature worth its salt will come up with a program to reduce "entitlements." The Liberals in Canada tried that in the 1990s and were shut out of power for almost two decades. The Social Democrats in Germany tried it, by loosening up labor market regulations in the mid 2000s. They lost the next election and are now reduced to a shadow of their former selves. So much for a frank discussion of the issues. The way things really get decided is the Greek way, reducing spending under the knout of the EU, or the meltdown of Venezuela, which could not bring itself to reduce spending when the oil price collapsed in the fracking boom.

And indeed, fixing things by modest adjustments to entitlements and government spending is not going to invalidate the elite culture of "activism" any more than the industrial revolution and the rise of the bourgeoisie and working class in the 19th century taught the aristocratic ruling class to mend its ways. (except, of course, Lord Salisbury). The only thing that changes hearts and minds is humiliating defeat and despair.

So I chuckle about lefty Michael Mann and his haughty pronouncements upon the old military elite of 1914 that brought about its own liquidation in the war that was going to be over by Christmas.

Because my question is: what will it take for haughty lefties -- like Michael Mann and every Good Little Girl intersectional feminist tweeting lefty inanities to the world -- to cry "uncle" on their progressive project?

The answer is sobering. Obviously nothing less than utter ruin will change those lefty minds.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Yes, Why Are We Having This Harassment Panic?

Writer Christopher DeGroot is pissed off that the centrist ladies at Quillette dumped him when they found out that he linked to American Greatness and that he "distinguish[ed] between white supremacists and nationalists who happen to be white." They are all cowards, he complains.

He then links to a piece by Claire Berlinski on the current sexual harassment panic in which she writes about her amusement at the Oxford don that grabbed her butt at a party when she was 20. Then she wonders aloud why we are having this sexual harassment panic. Is it because, per uber-liberal Hanna Rosin, men are becoming expendable in the post-industrial economy? Is it because, per Freud, women are castrating men en masse? But here's a plausible reason: "The President of the United States is Donald J. Trump."

I admit, she does have a point. Suppose you are an average college-educated woman that has been taught lefty lies K thru grad. school and believed them. Suppose you believed that the bad old days of the patriarchy were behind us and that America was finally Ready to Elect a Woman President. Supposed you believed the lefty reactionary faith that political power was the royal road to emancipation and liberation. Suppose you believed the lefty Big Lie about women as helpless victims of the patriarchy since the dawn of time.

Well yeah. Then I expect you'd be terrified by the election of Donald Trump. You'd suddenly worry, deep in your collective unconscious, that the world view you had been carefully taught was all wrong. You'd marinate in your Culture of Complaint and tell all your friends that "I can't believe we elected a man like Trump." You'd be all ginned up to destroy any and every man that overplayed his hand in the dance of the sexes. Because if you can't trust the voters to elect the First Woman President who can you trust?

But your real problem would be that you have been taught and believed in a lie. Because everything taught by the left is a lie, including "and" and "the." It is not true that women can be an "independent woman," per Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex. Women need protection, for a bunch of reasons. It is not true that women can be like men where sex is concerned, per the sexual revolution. It is not true that women can blithely destroy their in-utero babies without the guilt pursuing them for the rest of their lives, and above all it is not true that beneficial legislation can do anything for women except make them the subordinate slaves of the state.

What feminists call the patriarchy is merely the bald fact that women need protection from sexual predation, and I dare say that down the ages well-born women have been better protected than lower-class women. What feminists call the patriarchy is merely the eternal fact that women need support when they are bearing and raising children, and they always will. What feminists call the patriarchy is simply that men are more programmed for taking risks than women, so women in the current work-force tend to choose jobs in well-established companies, and singularly avoid tech startups.

But the worst thing of all is that the feminist Good Little Girls have adopted the leftist faith in politics, the faith that life is a dog-eat-dog battle and that without political power you go to the back of the line.

Wrong! In the first place, humans are called social animals for a reason. We make our way in the world by suspending the war of all against all within our communities. No really!

Then there is the modern miracle. The last two hundred years has seen an astonishing transformation in life, and foremost among the changes is that instead of a strictly hierarchical society where you nestled up as a helpless victim to some powerful patron for protection from rapists, looters, and plunderers, today you can go forth into the world of the market economy, and in the market economy force does not rule. Instead trust rules.

By the way. Back in the bad old days when people needed powerful patrons, they had this cozy cultural thing called the droit de seigneur. If you don't already know what that means you better not ask.

Do you see how important trust is for a woman in the public square? It means that Claire Berlinski can laugh off the Oxford don that grabbed her butt at a party, because she trusts that she can make him behave. It means that a starlet that gets the Weinstein treatment heads out and never comes back, because to submit to the Harvey treatment after the first time means to accept the role of subordinate slave to his slavering revoltingness.

Oh yes, you can have your laws to punish harassers, and sometimes it comes to that: the heavy-handed application of the criminal law in order to keep lawless men in check.

But the real secret of our present prosperity and our present freedom is the simple application of the TIT FOR TAT rule from the Prisoner's Dilemma. You trust people that establish a track record of trustworthiness with you and you continue to transact with them; you dump the untrustworthy right now and forever. Otherwise you are a subordinate slave.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

That White House "Celebration" of Tax Cut Passage

Look, I'm a Trump enthusiast, mostly because I think we need a genuine saboteur and wrecker at the helm of the federal government right now.

But I realize that you can't believe nuttin' that you see and hear on TV and the web, whether it's the crazed lefties at The Nation, the educated elite at The New York Times, the tame regime operatives at NPR, the NeverTrump folks in old conservative media, the middle-America mouthpieces on FoxNews, or the BannonBots on Breitbart, or whether it's a politician with an ax to grind.

So I am always looking for the message coming through in spite of all the spinmeisters.

So when I watched the Trump-led celebration of the passage of the tax cut bill at the White House yesterday, December 20, 2017, it was obvious that everybody was pretty happy. And, of course, Trump called out all the major players, the leaders and the committee chairmen that were part of the action.

It was also clear that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was there as a mascot, to show that Trump cares about black people too. On the other hand, Scott was there to recite that the tax bill also delivered for blacks. Somebody had to do it.

But what came through loud and clear to me is that Trump has been working with congressional leaders to get this thing passed. Who knew? I thought that Trump was a complete insult machine that had everybody on Capitol Hill as mad as hell. Apparently not. Apparently Trump has been on the phone to them. who knew?

Ii also thought that chaps like Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) went out of their way to lavish praise on the president and the moment.

Oh yes, of course the parade of corporations announcing $1,000 bonuses and investment programs was orchestrated and staged. But why wouldn't they play along? The reduction of the corporate income tax rate to 21 percent means that they can spend less time and money on tax avoidance, pushing for tax loopholes and keeping money offshore, and more time and money on doing business. What a concept!

The interesting thing to me is that most Americans think, right now, that they are going to be paying more in taxes. Gosh. I wonder where they got that idea! Surely not from the professional journalists doing their job in the national media! So it will be interesting to see what happens when Americans actually start seeing larger paychecks when the new tax-withholding tables take effect in February. Hey, maybe they won't even notice for a month or two, since most paychecks are paid electronically.

The bottom line is that the White House celebration showed a bunch of politicians patting themselves on the back for working together and getting something done. I get the feeling that the process brought the president and the congressional leaders together.

I say that we could do with a little more where that came from.

But now, let's get interest rates back to normal and let's start getting the bubble fodder out of the mortgage subsidies, so we can prick the next bubble early and often.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

OK, Mr President. Now Stop the Next Bubble

After the usual Keystone Kops shuffle, with the Senate parliamentarian nixing a couple items in the House Bill, the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act heads to the president for signature.

Right here, right now, Mr. President, there are two things to do.

1. Get interest rates back to normal. After the Crash of 2008 we have had ten(!) years of low interest rates. And no wonder, for the economy took a while to recover from the credit meltdown. But now we have sensible supply-side policy in place, instead of stupid subsidize-and-regulate. My guess is that the invigoration in economic growth -- already forecast to hit 4% annually in the current quarter -- means that we need to get in front of the business cycle, and increase interest rates now so that we don't have to play catch-up as usual to kill an overheating bubble economy. This time there is going to be an unusual factor, the repatriation of perhaps trillions of dollars in profits of US corporations, that I expect is going to unleash a huge credit boom in the US. Please, Mr. President, get the word out to the Federal Reserve Board that you will give them cover as they bring interest rates back to normal and maybe pitch them up 0.5-1 percent above normal to cool the over-excitement. Oh, and yes, the spending on interest on the National Debt will go from $314 billion a year in FY 2018 to $900 billion and very likely more. You can check out what will happen on my Interest Analysis page at usgovernmentspending.com. But I am sure that your chaps at the Treasury are already eager users of the Interest Analysis page.

2. Start increasing the down-payments on home mortgages. The main cause of the Great Recession was the violation of Walter Bagehot's dicta in Lombard Street about credit. First, all credit should be properly collateralized, meaning that if a loan is terminated, the value of the collateral is sufficient to pay the balance of the loan. Second, borrowers should be able to pay their payments. In the 2000s, as a result of US government policy, people got 100 percent loans, meaning that in any downturn they went underwater and couldn't liquidate their mortgage without somebody getting a haircut, and sub-prime borrowers got about half of the loans, meaning that in a downturn a ton of borrowers would not be able to make their payments. Hello! The whole policy of subsidizing home mortgages has been a disaster, because quite simply the easier you make it for people to get mortgages the higher house prices will go and the more difficult it becomes for young people to buy their first home. And the bigger the financial panic when the music stops, housing prices crater, and the sub-prime borrowers go to the wall.

I don't know whether this policy is possible, or if you care about it, Mr. President. And if you pursue it the Democrats will be all over you as a pal of The Rich, because high interest rates, and a racist sexist homophobe, because sub-prime minority home-buyers. So you will never get the credit you deserve.

But there is such a thing as doing the right thing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How Come All Those GOPe Senators are Voting For the Tax Bill

If there has been one constant in the first year of the Trump presidency it is that there are quite a few GOP senators eager to announce to the world their independence from the hated Trump. Your McCains, your Flakes, your Corkers have all been a thorn in the side of the Trump agenda.

But now it looks like they are all voting for the Trump tax package. What gives?

I admit that the settled science on this is not very helpful. The book on this was written by James Buchanan and Gordon Turlock, an American and a Brit, in The Calculus of Consent. Their line was that, in any legislative initiative, the folks in favor of the proposal would expect a material benefit for their constituents, and those against would expect a material cost for their constituents.

So if the proponents lacked a majority of representatives for passage they would have to buy votes from the waverers, putting sweeteners in the proposal to get to 51 percent and passage.

So what is the game that the GOP waverers are playing on the tax bill? I will tell you.

There is an additional factor that is not covered in The Calculus of Consent. It is this. If you are a GOP senator you need to show to the world that you are a big enough and powerful enough that the president and the congressional leaders will need to give you your own special Christmas ornament on the bill's Christmas tree. For if you are not big enough to get your own special deal, what are you? Chopped liver?

So now, miraculously, all the guys that were causing trouble and saying that they would not support the tax bill are now all in favor. And it looks like the final tax bill will pass in the House and in the Senate if they can drag ailing senators like McCain (R-AZ) and Cochran (R-MS) into the Senate to vote for final passage.

So nothing has changed since the times of the good old barons of old, who would sulk in their castles until the king showed them some respect and ransomed home their captives, or not.

The signal finding of The Calculus of Consent was that the only just form of voting was unanimous consent. That way the proponents of a measure would have to pay the costs to be borne by the opponents of the measure. The example they used was a new county road. The proponents would believe that the road would benefit them; the opponents would be opposed to paying for something that would not benefit them. So unanimous consent would have to pay the opponents or give them a benefit in lieu.

Either way, you can see that the whole procedure is still robbery, the same as a gang of robbers -- with the addition of impunity, according to St. Augustine.

Look, it is tremendous fun to have stick it to people you don't like and make them pay for your stuff. That is the whole principle of the left. I can understand that, as per Conan the Barbarian, the best thing in life is "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!" Yay! And he got it from Genghis Khan.

But I think we are coming to a point in history when it is time to put away childish things, and say that nearly everything should be done, not by force, but by cooperation and consent.

But I don't see my liberal friends being within a country mile of understanding this, nor women in general. Yes, women are in favor of big government, per this. Which means that women are in favor of forcing other people to pay for their stuff.

And you thought women were all sweetness and light.

Like I say, government is force, and politics is division, and system is domination.

Oh, and there is no such thing as justice, only injustice.

And you have to give each GOP senator their own special goodie in order to get their vote for a tax bill.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Five Worst Injustices of the Liberal Domination

For a while now I've been writing that "there is no such thing as justice, only injustice." And the justification I would come up with that, once your rebellion against injustice succeeds and you wield the levers of political power, then you get to impose, by force, what your tormentors used to do to you. And you have the nerve to call it justice.

Imagine my shock and surprise when I found that the philosopher Schopenhauer agrees with me! He argues in The World as Will and Idea under §62 that right is merely the absence of a wrong.
[T]he concept of wrong is the original and positive, and the concept of right, which is opposed to it, is the derivative and negative; for we must keep to the concepts and not to the words.
So that's all right.

Thus energized, let us think a bit about the wrongs, the injustices forced upon us by our left-liberal ruling class in the name of justice.

The first two are obviously the negative and the derivative of my Perfect Plan.

The liberal ruling class has confirmed workers and peasants in their pre-urban tribal, racist, subordinate culture, instead of leading them to the Promised Land of middle-class responsibility, and this is unjust. This has obviously been really cool for liberals, because they have acted as the patrons and the champions of the working class and marginalized minorities, and reaped the political power of giving people free stuff. But it has not been so good for their clients: the working class that right now is dying of despair, and the blacks that are alienated from the rest of society and encouraged to be racists and maintain a separate culture from the rest of America.

The liberal ruling class has attacked and marginalized the middle class, especially with its experimental and creative intersectional sexual culture that it forces upon everyone, instead of allowing the middle class its own space for Christianity, marriage, family, and individual responsibility.

The liberal ruling class has wrecked education. Government compulsory K-12 education has worked well for the children of the educated and for the folks with lifetime tenure as employees and administrators of the government education system. But the government education system has always operated as the agent of the ruling class, implementing its latest power project. First it was to marginalize the Catholic Irish; then it was to prepare children to be good obedient factory and office workers. You could see that this agenda a rough kind of sense to it, making the children of the immigrants and the working class numerate and literate whether they liked it or not. But in recent years the education system has veered towards educating children as little liberals. The result has been utter mayhem in schools in minority-dominated inner cities. And that is to say nothing of higher education, with which liberals have made debt slaves out of university students.

The liberal ruling class has wrecked health care. Back in the day, ordinary people got health care from the "lodge doctor" at their mutual aid association: the Masons, the Elks, or their union. Young doctors just out of medical school would work almost for free serving the lodge members while they were starting their careers. But now health care is crony capitalized, as the health care professionals insist on their pound of flesh every time the politicians offer new free stuff to the voters.

The liberal ruling class has wrecked retirement. The Social Security system is not a pension system, but an income transfer system that takes money from young workers with families and pays their well-to-do parents. It is generational injustice, where the beneficiaries get to determine how much the kids have to pay. And worst of all it denies workers without family wealth the chance to build wealth that can be then used partly as retirement income and partly as wealth to transfer to the kids.

The liberal ruling class has wrecked charity. Back in the old days, before the welfare state, the poor really were starving and dying. But in those days the only effective charity was voluntary charity from charitable women and organizations. Today the hunger problem has been solved, and welfare excuses the poor from work and marriage. This is a vile injustice, both on the welfare recipients that do not take responsibility for their own lives, and on the ordinary middle class people that pay for government officials to buy the votes of the poor with the middle-class's money.

Aside from these five injustices, I'd say that the Liberal Domination has been going swimmingly.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Pervnado Meets OxyContin

What do the current enthusiasms about sexual harassment in the workplace and college campi and the opioid crisis have in common?

In regard to the Pervnado of mostly liberal icons having their wicked way with innocent Good Little Girls, you can easily miss the point, as Suzanne Fields does when she writes that
Nobody wants to return to the artificial morality of the 1950s, when women were denied the freedom to be their sexual selves and harassment was often accepted as the way of life for men in power and left women powerless.
Hmm. What exactly does it mean to say "women were denied the freedom to be their sexual selves?" And really, did women in offices suffer sexual harassment in those days, or was it only on Hollywood's casting couch and in Mad Men's fictional advertising agency?

I'd say that "the rules" right now are that women are free to use their "women's wiles" including their sexual power but they are also able to turn around and change their minds. That is what the whole game of "microaggressions" and "safe spaces" is all about. The fact is that women expect to be protected. Women may demand the right to be "intersectional feminists" and be gender queer black women bisexuals, but if something goes wrong they are going to expect "justice." If there are not enough women in the executive suite then women expect the rules to be changed to help and protect them.

One way or another -- sexual revolution, women in the workplace, or whatever -- women expect to be able to strut their stuff and also get protection. It's coded in the genes. The question is, half a century after the sexual revolution with its promise of pregnancy-free sex, what does it mean for women to be their sexual selves and be protected from the preverts of Gen. Jack D. Ripper's memorable obsession?

My guess is that feminists are going to be no help at all, so it is going to be up to female normals to reestablish some sort of sexual code. I have an idea that it will mean something like the old code that, when a man proposed to a woman, he was on the hook unless and until she broke it off.

But I tell you, politics and politicians and gender activists are not going to be the ones to lead us to the Promised Land. It has to be a cultural thing outside the arena of politics and government. Because politics is division and government is force.

Then there is the opioid crisis, with the white working class dying of despair. One of the chroniclers of the problem, Angus Deaton, proposes a new "social contract."
That is, the basic positive relationship between people and society, starting with a good job that pays good wages. That’s how one gets going on the American Dream.
But that is what got us into the mess in the first place. Educated elitists, activists and politicians created the welfare state and work-place rules that taught the American people to believe that all they had to do was to get a good job with benefits and then they could repose upon their benefice for the rest of their days and get a defined-benefit pension to boot.

Sound really copacetic, right? Except that some people used political power to deal themselves a better deal that the market really justified, as in unions, and deal themselves defined pensions in an unknown future, and the economy and the world changed. Right now we have government employees using their union power to deliver princely pensions. Only it is bankrupting state and local government, particularly in liberal states like Connecticut and California.

If you guarantee somebody something, then somebody else has to pick up the risk proposition. In a political system it means that the powerful get to decide who gets the goodies and who pays the price. There is only one just way to proceed. Everyone must be subject to market changes and accept that it might move against them and force them to look for another job. You wanna pension? Then save your money. You want medical care when your body starts to give out in your fifties? Then go out and get health insurance now. Yeah, we will look after you, pal, if you make all the wrong decisions, but you won't much like it. The wonderful thing about human society is that we can take care of each other. The horrible thing about human society is that most of us, including me, freeload off the rest of society, in ways we often don't appreciate.

But the one thing to avoid is a comprehensive and mandatory government program to take care of us. Because at the latest in 50 years, you will be suffering with an expensive, inefficient system that is being scammed fifty ways from Sunday, and that is impossible to reform because of the fierce opposition of the scammers and other dogs-in-a-manger.

Yeah, we all want our cake and to eat it too. And that applies to every area of human life, but in particular to sex and work. The challenge, and it is eternal, is to limit the power and the looting of the freeloaders and the folks that want to get their money back when the cards go against them.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Another Year of the Woman

Remember 1992? I do. It was the Year of the Woman. The idea was that women had been horribly treated, e.g., by Clarence Thomas talking about pubic hairs and coke cans, according to star witness Anita Hill. And therefore we needed to elect women up and down the ballot.

Funny, isn't it that in the Year of the Woman we also elected a notorious womanizer as president, and when it came to examining his peccadillos the Women were nowhere to be found.

Nothing has changed, has it, in 25 years. If Democratic women all get in a twitter and "can't believe he said/did that," then the Republican in question is guilty until proven innocent and a bunch of independent women buy into the latest slur and don't show up to the polls. Hey! It works every time.

And now, with three accusers of Donald Trump renewing their accusations of sexual harassment, going back to the 1980s, we can see the meaning of the whole Weinstein mess and the current mayhem in liberal media on the sexual harassment front.

This is all about another Year of the Woman in 2018 -- hey it's about time, for the last Year of the Woman was a quarter of a century ago. The idea, once again, is that Republicans don't care about women, indeed treat them like dirt, and therefore women should vote for good caring Democrats that care about people like you. So if we elect a Democratic House we can have a nice Trump impeachment, and if we elect a Democratic Senate as well we can have a nice Trump trial in the Senate. Also, there is an additional benefit that the mainlining of the question of sexual harassment conveniently pushes the Clintons away from front-rank politics. I suspect that until recently, the Clinton Crime Syndicate called all the shots in the Democratic Party universe, and you didn't cross the Clintons, not on anything, if you knew what was good for you.

The sweet article in the New York Times about movie star Salma Hayek's horrible experience with Weinstein shows how the system works. Yes, her problem with Weinstein was all about him wanting a piece of her action, and making her life a hell because she wouldn't lift her skirts. But believe me, I think you would find that's how the whole liberal politics-media-entertainment works, if you ever got a chance to look on the inside. Nice little body/career you got here. Pity if something should happen to it.

Notice how in the Republican Party all the disagreements seem to be out in the open between the McCains and the Flakes and the Trumps and the Bannons? Notice how you never seem to hear about any problems and disagreements on the Democratic side? Ever wonder why? It's not because they all get along in Demo-land. It's because they are all afraid.

But I think that the whole Year of the Woman operation is getting out of control. Because when you are getting beloved names in the New York Times and NPR bubble getting swept away, why then you are getting into a little bit of a witch hunt. Which is shocking, because as everyone knows, from watching Arthur Miller's The Crucible, it is only crazed 7th century Puritans and 20th century anti-Communist McCarthyites that you need to worry about on the witch-hunt front.

Hey, remember when Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 and tried in the Senate? Democrats all closed ranks around this serial abuser of women. And won seats in the 1998 off-year election, which is extraordinary for the second term of a two-term president.

Is this a conspiracy, deep down in the deep state and the office of Mr. Big of the Democratic Party? I suspect not. I suspect that it is all what Jung calls the collective unconscious. You don't need a Mr. Big to tell everyone what to do. Look at the good little boys and good little girls at the FBI that just automatically knew what to do to protect Hillary Clinton and automatically knew how to spy on the Trump campaign using the FISA court. Nobody told them what to do. Nobody needed to tell them what to do. They just knew that Donald Trump had to be stopped and so they did what it took to do that.

Only, of course, they didn't quite succeed in 2016.

But will they succeed in 2018? We don't know. My guess -- and my hope -- is that our current ruling class is too soft to make this latest Year of the Woman work. I suspect that they are like the regime in France before the French Revolution. They are scions, and don't have the street toughness that real guardians of the regime need to have.

But I could be wrong.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Three Peoples Theory and Work

I was walking down the Yellow Brick Road reading a lecture on work by dear old lefty Herbert Marcuse entitled "The End of Utopia" and I had a thought.

My reductive Three Peoples theory does not directly address the question of human work, not yet. And that is wrong.

In his lecture, from Five Lectures, Marcuse looks forward to a time, after the revolution, when "alienated labor" will be a thing of the past, and liberation and happiness will reign. He makes a distinction between "the realm of freedom" and "the realm of necessity." True freedom can only exist in a world in which the question of necessity has been removed. He look to a "new theory of man" that posits
a freedom no longer based on and limited by scarcity and the necessity of alienated labor... the negation of the need for the struggle for existence... the negation of the need to earn one's living; the negation of the performance principle, of competition; the negation of the need for wasteful, ruinous productivity[.]
In a world freed from necessity, Marcuse sees a flowering of the "aesthetic," featuring "a convergence of technology and art and the convergence of work and play... a society in which even socially necessary labor can be organized in harmony with the liberated, genuine needs of men."

Now, I don't know how that plays to you, but I immediately thought: this is how a young twentysomething thinks, the sort of chap that lives in some trendy urban district and dresses in artistical black. This representative of the People of the Creative Self thinks of work as a creative endeavor. In response to a question from his grandfather in respect of his career plans, he might say that he "wants to do something creative." He thinks, in other words, exactly like Herbert Marcuse, without the Marxist jargon.

Now it is no surprise that some lefty artistical kid from the People of the Creative Self would believe in work as creative play, but I immediately thought: what about the rest of us?

Obviously, when we talk about the People of the Subordinate Self then we are talking about people that work because they have to: this is "alienated labor" in the full Marxian sense of the word. The lowest level of this approach to work is the slave who does not do a stitch of work unless directly ordered by his overseer with the encouragement of his cowskin whip.

But it is interesting to recognize that this is not the way that work works in the real world. Nobody is a complete subordinate slave. Even the lowliest worker has some responsibility. And the record of slave plantations is that the slave-owner prefers to give the slave a certain amount of responsibility, such as growing his own food, rather than bear the burden himself of ordering the slave's every movement and providing every need. The slave-owner might even rent the slave, e.g., Frederick Douglass, to somebody else. You can see that the same thing applies to serfdom. The serfs are not slaves; their lords do not direct their every move, and the self needs to figure out how to farm and make his own food for his own family.

The record of capitalist employers in the wake of the industrial revolution is that they want and prefer, more and more, responsible and flexible employees. They do not want drones that work like automatons on the assembly line; for one thing, such workin' stiffs tend to join unions. Wal-Mart, for instance,  encourages its employees to take on-line courses in the back room, and it rewards them for upping their game.

Of course there is an exception to this. The socialist state likes its people dumb and stupid and subordinate. It doesn't want responsible, independent citizens, but subordinate subjects that can be ordered around by socialist managers with a taste for power. Anyone else is a wrecker and a saboteur.

What about the People of the Responsible Self? How do they think about work? It is obvious. People of the Responsible Self recognize that work, their contribution to society, is what enables them to hold their heads up in the world. For them, it is a thing of pride to have marketable skills that enable them to live a decent and independent life, serving their fellow men and respected by their fellow humans.

Notice how this attitude towards work is not comprehended by the Marcuse approach to work. In his world you are either working under the knout, in "alienated labor," or you are living in sunlit uplands in a "convergence of work and play." This is why my Three Peoples theory is so superior to the Two Peoples narrative of the left that does not even rise to the sophistication of Hegel's Master and Slave dialectic. My theory, reductive as it is, understands the great human middle, and not just the two extremes.

Now we come to the question of work for the People of the Creative Self. Here, of course, work is not something you do because you have to in order to get bread on the table. It is not even something you do to hold your head up in the world as a respectable bourgeois that pulls his weight. Your work is a creative project, something that is new and original. This is an individualism different from the responsible individualism that is celebrated by economics and sneered at by the Fabians. It is, as Charles Taylor writes, "expressive individualism," that expresses the individuality of its person as a efflorescence, a flowering, rather than merely as a separate atom.

There is one little problem with the notion of work as a creative enterprise. It is that, as Schopenhauer writes in The World as Will and Idea, that the creative individual is one in a million.
[E]verything that is excellent is always a mere exception, one case in millions, and therefore, if it presents itself as a lasting work... exists in isolation, is preserved like a meteoric stone, sprung from an order of things different from that which prevails here. (p.335)
Think Michelangelo, think Einstein. But the People of the Creative Self want to believe that creativity can become routine and unexceptionable, as least for special people like themselves.

You can see that my Perfect Plan fits into all this. First, it wants to encourage all People of the Subordinate Self to take on something of the armor of light, and become as responsible as possible, each according to his ability. Secondly, it recognizes that in the arena of creativity many are called but few are chosen, and thus many would-be creatives cannot really expect to be much more than merely People of the Responsible Self with a certain flair not given to the ordinary deplorable. Perhaps all they can aspire to is to drive a Subaru rather than a Honda. It therefore behooves the creative to treat the People of the Responsible Self with respect and compassion, for there but for the Grace of the God of Creativity go I.

The other thing about work is that, without work, most people go to the bad. This is because, as Schopehnauer writes, most of our life is lived in trying to obtain the satisfaction of some desire. But once the desire is achieved, we are back to zero, either overcome with "ennui" because suddenly our life has no purpose, or seized by a new desire and the need to obtain satisfaction. Thus it is that we work all our lives towards the shining goal of "success" or "retirement" only to find that success doesn't solve anything and that life in retirement still needs a purpose. There is no land of freedom in which work and play converge in some kind of aesthetic experience and everything is "organized in harmony with the liberated, genuine needs of men."

So it is that most moralists and philosophers have recognized that life in this world is always going to be a vale of tears. Only in the Happy Land of eternity can Eternal Bliss be found. Anything else is to "immanentize the eschaton."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Question of Women in the Public Square

Over a century ago German sociologist George Simmel, observing the emergence of women into the public square, wrote that women would over the coming years reshape the public square to suit a more feminine sensibility.

And so they have.

Now I would argue that the shape of our political institutions reflect the age-old need to curb the power projects of men. As politics is civil war by other means, the whole point of politics is in fact to direct the male aggressive instinct into political wars rather than actual fighting wars. And then, since men tend to abuse the rules of any political system there is a need for checks and balances to limit the harm that can be caused by men of overvaulting ambition.

But what we have not done is design institutions to deal with the way that women tend to abuse power.

I was reading a piece a couple of days ago by a conservative woman in tech that was helping with coding camps for young women. But she became embroiled in a political war with liberal women for whom the teaching of technical skills was of secondary importance to teaching creativity, networking,  feminist politics and beating up on conservative women. And these women were damaging this conservative woman's business.

At this point, I think it is important to note that so-called "witch hunts" are typically hunts of women by women. Even in the prototypical Scarlet Letter about the poor helpless Hester Prynne, it is clear that the folks giving her trouble are the other women in the New England village.

And in a book I read about witch hunts -- which typically occurred in borderlands where central government power barely projects -- the witch hunt usually ended when the witch hunt started to involve the wives of respected notables. At that point it was time for the ruling class to intervene.

So the question that I have is how we adapt our institutions to deal with the way that women typically project power and abuse power. How do we "regulate" the Culture of Complaint in which women meeting together typically dish the dirt on another woman that is not present when that culture extends beyond the neighborhood community of women into HR departments and university administration?  How do we deal with the teenaged "mean girl" culture when it metastasizes into feminism and the naming and shaming of victims on the say-so of the accuser? How do we deal with the HR mentality that is focused on "codes of conduct" and diversity and inclusion rather than getting the job done?

Now, everybody know that it is a wonderful thing that women have entered into the public square, into politics, into "careers" and that women can now control their own reproduction. But I wonder. I don't know whether it is a good idea for women to be encouraged and accommodated into public life. I don't know if abortion and divorce and gay marriage and the sexual revolution are a good idea. For all we know they might be the high road to civilizational oblivion.

We are doing all this because we are now ruled by the religious and cultural norms of the educated class's culture of creativity rather than the old bourgeois culture of responsibility.

But my guess is that there is plenty of life left in the bourgeois culture of responsibility before it will be time to throw it on the dust-heap of history. Because we still need it.

I suspect that cultural and religious norms are important for one simple reason. Survival. I don't know the meaning of life, the universe and everything, but I believe that all the religions and the cultures and the politics of the world are attempts to guess the actions and the strategies that will put children on the ground and help the community thrive. Some guesses are better than others.

For instance, I think that the lefty guess in the Communist Manifesto was a bad guess that has resulted in millions of deaths and misery wherever it is tried.

I think that the religions and cultures of responsibility that started up when cities first started up 3,000 years ago are telling us that the culture of individual responsibility is a part of the necessary culture of the city. So I think that the cultures that exist to mess with the culture of individual responsibility are probably playing with fire.

In other words I think that everything in left-wing religion and culture that is trying to smash and demoralize the bourgeois culture of individual responsibility is probably a dreadful mistake that will lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

Of course, everything in this life, this world, this universe, goes in a cycle of birth, growth, decline, and death, and ultimate renewal.

So the left-wing culture that seems determined to destroy the bourgeois culture of responsibility is maybe nothing but a refiner's fire that will clear the decks for the emergence of the next big thing in the human story.

Maybe so. And maybe it all seems perfectly sensible and reasonable if you are a Martian observing events on the Earth from the intergalactic bleachers.

But for us here in the middle of things, it would sure be a shame if the whole thing -- our thing -- got wiped out by a bunch of lefties that want government to control everything and a bunch of feminists complaining that "I Can't Believe She Said That."

So I say we need checks and balances on the woman's Culture of Complaint if women are to continue in the public square.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Counter Revolutions of the Modern Age

Every revolution inspires its counter-revolution. The great revolution of our age is the Double Revolution in physics and in economy. The counter-revolution is the great movement of the left.

I first developed my notion of the Double Revolution in my "Communism Week: The Real Revolution of the Modern Age." My idea is that through two revolutions of ideas we moderns have radically changed our fundamental understandings of reality, and both revolutions have unmoored us from old certainties more than any previous revolutions because their descriptions of reality that cannot be described in terms of everyday experience, of the things that we see and hear and touch with our five senses.

This fact is most obvious in the case of the physics revolution. During the 19th century there was a continuing battle over two conflicting theories of the nature of light: the corpuscular theory and the wave theory. Was light a stream of particles, or an emanation of waves? Particles and waves are both everyday experiences for humans. We understand that light bounces off a mirror like a billiard ball off a cushion and we understand the waves in the ocean, by direct experience. But which was it?

The answer developed during the relativity and quantum mechanics revolution was: neither. Or both. The fact is that, whatever is going on at the level of the atom, it is nothing like what we experience in our everyday experience of everyday life. We have mathematical theories to predict behavior and we have a sub-atomic "zoo" of metaphors and stories to talk about what is going on. An example of the mystery of the sub atomic world is the two slit experiment. If you shine white light through a slit it shines as a white slit when it hits a screen. If you shine a light through two close slits you get a wave pattern. But if you shine single quanta of light, one by one through one of two slits you still get a wave pattern. What does it mean? It means that we cannot experience the basic elements of reality as direct correspondences of human-scale phenomena.

But the same thing is true with the economics revolution, the conversion of economic life from face-to-face relations to the abstract coordination of the price system. This fact is illustrated by the story of market value. The classical economists first differentiated between use value, the value of a useful object like food, and exchange value, the value of e.g., "useless" but precious metals like gold. But in fact a price is a price, it reflects the accumulation of individual acts of buying and selling of perhaps millions of consumers and producers. An individual human can grasp the notion of use value: obviously useful things have value; and we can understand the notion of exchange value: grain prices go up and down with the weather. But the truth is that a price is a price; the only thing that is concrete is actual market transactions and their prices.

It is not surprising that this radical and overwhelming Double Revolution has spawned counter-revolutions. The most obvious one is the Communist-socialist counter-revolution. While advertising itself as the acme of progress it is in fact a nostalgic attempt to return to the good old days.

In its communist version the counter-revolution idealizes the supposed unity and equality of the village community. In its welfare-state version it re-enacts the lord-and-serf relation of feudalism. Both reactions advertise that Communism or welfare-state subjection is safer than the uncertainty of life under the market. But both of these assertions are a lie. In the village community, you better get with the program of the male village elders or the community of women or you are out of luck. In the feudal subjection you are only safe while you are useful to your lord, either producing revenue for him with your farming, or fighting and dying for him in his quarrels with the neighboring lords. If you live in a communist state, then your welfare depends on the decisions of men whose talent is for politics rather than production, and the record is that politicians are lousy at creating prosperity. If you live as a subordinate worker or beneficiary in the welfare state then your prosperity hangs on the continued power of your patron. If you work for the government you depend on your program continuing; if you work for a corporation you depend on the corporation continuing to expand and prosper.

Really, the only thing to do is to expose yourself to the market and obey its signals. As a worker you will be forced to update and improve your skills as the labor market changes. As a business you will be forced to respond to the changes in the market for your product. That way you won't wake up one day and find out that your secure job or secure government benefit isn't secure after all, because you never had a chance to go to sleep.

The truth is that politicians do not care about you; they only care about your vote. Corporate CEOs don't care about you; they only care about the bottom line. The only person that cares about you is you.

Another reactionary counter-revolution is the environmental movement, which yearns really for a world before the Newtonian mechanical age and a return to a rural idyll before the invention of heat engines and power-assisted everything. Of course, life was always great for well-born scions, then as now. Well, it is great until the tumbrels start to roll.

The question is, how long are these counter-revolutions going to continue, and what will be the net effect of them a century from now?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tax That Fellow Behind the Tree

Low and behold! Polling on the Trump tax plan shows that most voters are against it.

Well, they would be, of course, because about half of Americans don't pay federal income tax. Why would you be in favor of a tax cut that doesn't cut your taxes?

So even on the American Spectator website the bubbas in the comments section are hollering to cut the payroll tax rather than the income tax that Jeff Bezos is paying, and rightly so.

Sorry fellahs, but when you are evaluating policy change in terms of "what's in it for me" you amount to nothing more or less than the willing dupes of the ruling class. The ruling class likes its subjects to be quarreling about who gets the goodies. It is called Divide and Conquer.

Now I claim a certain expertise on government spending and revenue, 'cos I wrote the book with usgovernmentspending.com and its pal usgovernmentrevenue.com. And I say, cut it. Cut it all. Do not cut until the pips squeak. Cut until the pips stop squeaking.

Let us review federal spending. Out of the total of about $4.1 trillion budgeted for FY 2018, there is $1 trillion in Social Security, $1 trillion in Medicare/Medicaid, $0.8 trillion in Defense, $0.35 trillion on Welfare-other-than-Medicaid, and a trillion for everything from Education to interest on the national debt. You could look it up.

So, apart from Defense, which is the proper function of a national government, there is about $2 trillion spending on geezers like me. Everything else is loose change.

Then there is federal revenue. Out of the total of $3.6 trillion budgeted for FY2018, there is $2.2 trillion in federal income tax, $1.2 trillion in payroll taxes, and $0.3 trillion for everything else.

So the real money is in the federal income tax. You can see that the payroll tax about covers Social Security, and the federal income tax pays for everything else, including most notably geezer Medicare for chaps like me.

Now, I ask you, is it a good idea to spend so much of government spending on geezers like me? I say no, for the following selfish -- I mean deeply philosophical -- reasons.
  • Average people would do much better if, instead of paying payroll taxes they saved for their own retirement. First, they would have real personal wealth, which could be inherited by their children; second, they could leverage their gradually accumulating wealth for down payments on houses, startup money for a business, education for the kids. Right now the government gets to keep the payroll tax monies until it decides you are eligible to get your Social Security check. Why? You think government can spend your money better than you can? Of course, there would be idiots that did not save a penny for retirement. No doubt they would be thrown upon the mercy of their children, although I read that in China, where there is no Social Security, people save like fiends.
  • Are we really doing grandma a favor by throwing money at her health care at end-of-life? They say that we consume one half of our life's medical expenses in the last year of life. Is that just?  The truth is that few of us have a clue about what could be done to extend our lives. We go to the doctor and she gives us a pill. Is that really the best treatment? Few people could know unless they have the smarts to research their condition on the Internet.
The point is that, where government is concerned, we each of us act like Genghis Khan or Caribbean pirates. Loot and plunder is our philosophy. We are in favor of government action that puts money in our pocket, and we are against government action that favors other people. We dress up our greed in hypocritical appeals to helping seniors, the poor, and the children, but really it all comes down to whether we benefit, personally. Right now, our Democratic friends are declaring the end of the world because of the end of deductions for state and local taxes. But really, the people that benefit from the state and local tax deduction are the Rich in blue states. Hey Dems! You shilling for the rich today?

Of course, the looter culture used to make sense for humans. You invaded the neighboring tribal lands, killed the men, did a Rape of the Sabine Women on the females, and you got a larger food-growing territory. What was not to like?

Not any more. The industrial economy is based on a mutual-benefit equation. You do something for someone and they pay you for it. You invent something that transforms the world and you become insanely rich on a fraction of the present value of the invention to the rest of the world.

So any time that a corporate predator or a government program resorts to the old culture of loot and plunder -- and just about every government program does this -- they are busily impoverishing their fellow men and women, just like Genghis Khan, and they are monsters.

Now I am not hopeless for the future, because I think that the looter culture will gradually fade away. As proof I offer the actions of the West after winning World War II. What did the winners do after getting the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan?

No, we did not loot them to the bare walls. Instead, after a couple years of futzing around we lent them money to rebuild their economies, and we did not impoverish them with the traditional indemnities that used to be applied to the losers right up to and including World War I. Why?  Because the German and Japanese factories were no use to us as loot. Moreover, since we thought of ourselves as humanists, we were faced with the little problem of feeding the Germans and Japanese camping out in the ruins of their empires until they all got a job. In fact, we were right. Within 20 years the German and the Japanese economies were the envy of the world and -- this is important -- their products enriched us all, and challenged us to up our game.

(But the Soviets looted East Germany to the bare walls, transplanting all the factories in East Germany back to Russia in accordance with the reactionary loot-and-plunder philosophy of socialism. A lot of good it did them.)

Yes. I am a true radical. I believe that the only thing the national government should spend money on is defense. All the rest is merely loot and plunder that impoverishes us all.

Oh yes, there are some genuine public goods that cannot be delivered by the private sector. But I would say that the burden of proof, and it should be a heavy burden, should be on the chaps that say that that more government spending is needed to "help."

No, the only thing the government should be doing outside of defense is executing on my Perfect Plan. First, teach the workers and peasants newly arrived in the city how to become middle class. Second, stop ragging on the middle class and stigmatizing them as "deplorables." That is all.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Conventional Wisdom and Women Presidents

I am still descanting on my lefty pal Michael Mann's summary dismissal of the leaders of the central powers before World War I. They suffered, he wrote, from a culture of "militarism." They thought that all real men resolved their disputes with a nice little war complete, I imagine, with flashy uniforms and glittering medals.

Yes, of course the emperors and the generals of the time were idiots. But they were just average guys doing the average thing that they learned in emperor school.

Now we today have a different problem. Instead of the reflexive culture of "militarism" in our political elites -- which you still see in vestigial form, e.g., with the British royal family whose men still dress up in military uniforms -- we have the culture of "activism." Today all people in the educated elite think that they solve problems with political activism and beneficial legislation and identity politics.

So 90 percent of your politicians and your activists and your media personalities and your academic experts are just consumers and producers of the conventional wisdom of the cult of "activism."

But that is normal; that is the way the world works.

What is interesting is the man that breaks the mold. Never mind the guy that inherits a corporation as CEO, or that inherits a monarchy when his dad dies. Never mind the Buggins Turn in the US Republican Party that always seems to nominate for president the guy that lost the nomination last time.

The interesting people are the successful startups: the Gateses, the Jobs, the Google guys. Because they invented something that wasn't there before. What about the Founders, from Washington to my man Hamilton, that invented a new form of government based on their reading of the Montesquieus and the Hobbses and their actual experience of fighting and winning a revolution?

And what about the folks running for president in our own time? Jack Kennedy? Pretty conventional guy that succeeded in convincing everyone he was a genius. Lyndon Johnson? A master political operator. Nixon? A conventional man of his time that managed to derail the left-leaning Democrats. Carter? Utterly conventional, but played beautifully to the liberal desire for a faux populist with a big smile. Reagan? A man that had done his reading, formulated a strategy, and successfully ran against his party's conventional wisdom and won. Bill Clinton? A political genius that managed to steer his party away from its knee-jerk liberalism. Bush, father and son? Both utterly conventional. Obama? Utterly conventional lefty, but made to seem like a genius. Hillary Clinton? Utterly conventional without an idea in her head.

Then we come to Trump who found the white working class wounded by the side of the road and decided to act like the Good Samaritan. The point about Trump is not that he is a genius, which he probably is, but that he was the first person after Reagan to see the political potential in the white working class and figure out how to appeal to it. Today his strategy looks obvious: make a populist appeal to the broad middle: Make America Great Again. Hey, I couldha come up with that! Only I didn't.

Here's what I wonder. I wonder how long it is going to take for the Democrats shake off their politically correct microaggression anti-hate conventional wisdom and actually figure out how to appeal to the broad middle of America like Bill Clinton did.

I think it will take a couple of election cycles, just like it did after Ronald Reagan got elected. I think that the Democrats will have to burn through a couple of diversity candidates, starting with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) in 2020 who came up the old-fashioned way through the grace and favor of Willie Brown, before they decide to become New Democrats again and earnestly tell us that they have changed. No really!

Here's what I think. I think that at some point the women of America, the blacks of America, and the Latinos of America are going to find our that, despite what the Democrats tell them, they are really Americans first, and helpless victims second.

It only needs a political genius, that can wrap up the current educated elite's "activism" conventional wisdom in a paper bag and throw it in the dumpster, to figure this out and then America will be first-and-ten on the forty yard line.

I also think that Democrats will go through hell trying again and again to elect the First Woman President.

Here's my reasoning, which I can make because I am a sexist. I don't think that women are cut out for rejecting conventional wisdom, which is what it often takes to win a presidential election. More than boys, girls tend to be Good Little Girls that make their way in the world by following the rules and expectations. Hey, most men are like that too, but I suspect that there are more rebels in the ranks of men than in women, just as the IQ bell curve for men is flatter, with more men than women at the extremes.

I think that Margaret Thatcher is the exception that proves the rule. It took her ten years in the 1950s to find herself a parliamentary constituency. I think that she reinvented herself as a man in order to do it. Old videos of her speaking as Prime Minister in the House of Commons show how she learned to master the male Culture of Insult in the very masculine bear-garden of Parliament. Hillary Clinton was not that kind of woman. Nor, as far as I can tell, are any of the women senators on either side of the aisle.

Not to be militaristic about it, but a presidential candidate is trying out for the position of Warrior-in-Chief. He needs to present himself as a brave fighter. As Reagan did, as Trump did. And as Hillary Clinton did not.