Friday, October 20, 2017

What Do "Toxic Masculinity" and "White Supremacist" Have in Common?

Whenever the name "Richard Spencer" appears in print it is always as "white supremacist Richard Spencer."

But my question is: what does Richard Spencer call himself? I'm glad you asked. Here is La Wik:
Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white supremacist... Spencer has stated that he rejects the label of white supremacist, and prefers to describe himself as an identitarian.
So that's all right. Or alt-right.

Now, of course, this is a very bad thing, because if Richard Spencer is allowed to call himself an identitarian that puts a rather bad spin on what we have all learned to call "identity politics."

Because, as someone recently remarked, if you liberals are going to go all-in on identity politics, sooner or later whites in America are going to play the identity politics themselves.

But, as they say, whites will probably sign on too late to avoid being thrown on the ash-heap of history. Because most cornered rats don't realize they are cornered until they are well and truly cornered, and that means it is really too late to fight your way out of the corner.

But what is "white supremacy?"  I'm glad you asked. La Wik.
White supremacy or white supremacism is a racist ideology based upon the belief that white people are superior in many ways to people of other races and that therefore white people should be dominant over other races.
But is that the doctrine of Richard Spencer? Or is Richard Spencer merely a cornered rat trying to find a way for whites to fit into the identity politics framework advanced by our liberal and lefty friends? Or is Richard Spencer just like everyone else, he likes his kind best.

I mean, what would you call the current leftist academic culture that favors left wing over everything and consciously discriminates against anything else? Academic supremacy?

As I understand history, even the fascists and Nazis were not movements of confidently superior Italians and Germans. Instead they were experiencing after World War I what seemed to them to be a real danger of national annihilation. In fact, they thought of themselves as corned rats. My favorite quote is that of a woman in a train in Germany in 1920 in the middle of the post-WWI hyperinflation. She said, as I recall, how can this be happening to Germany, the most advanced country in the world?

I like to suggest that Germany invented just about everything in the modern era, from modern philosophy to relativity and quantum mechanics and nationalism, as in the most advanced country in the world. Oh, and the Germans invented Nazism, from a congeries of Romanticism and Nationalism. Yeah, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Recently, with the Harvey Weinstein episode we have had a flood tide of "toxic masculinity." What is that? OK, back to La Wik, which explains the "concept of toxic masculinity as used in the social sciences":
According to [Professor Terry] Kupers, the term toxic masculinity serves to outline aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive, “such as misogyny, homophobia, greed, and violent domination”. Kupers states that other aspects of hegemonic masculinity such as “pride in [one’s] ability to win at sports, to maintain solidarity with a friend, to succeed at work, or to provide for [one’s] family”, are not part of the concept of toxic masculinity.
 Excuse me, Wikipedia, liberals, and all the lefty ships at sea, but from my corner terms such as "white supremacy" and "toxic masculinity" have nothing to do with social science; they are left-wing terms whose purpose is to marginalize and delegitimize non-lefty people and ideas.

Hey kids, I think that is a bit of a problem. But it goes with the normal day-to-day stigmatization of any non-leftist political actor as a racist, sexist, homophobe.

I must say that it is an astonishingly successful tactic. You can marginalize and stigmatize just about anyone by pasting a lefty pejorative on them. And it works! What is not to like, if you are a lefty?

OK. But what about the rest of us?

I would say that the first thing in political discourse would be to give people the decency of letting them define themselves, in their own terms, so that their ideas can succeed or fail in the cockpit of political combat.

So pasting a lefty pejorative on someone is No Fair.

But, of course, it is impossible for lefties to do this, because with the left politics and power is everything. Lefties are going to save the world with politics and political power, bending the arc of history towards justice.

And politics is always about us and them. "We" are always the good guys, gathering the good people together in a protective association against "Them," the bad guys.

From the point of view of the non-left, this is a problem.

The problem is that in politics you end up becoming like your adversary. The problem is that in order to end the left's use of pejoratives to marginalize and stigmatize ideas and people that are opposed to them, you have to find leaders like Donald Trump who can fling the pejoratives right back in the lefty faces with the best of them.

And then the lefties amp up the pejoratives, because "activism" and political rhetoric are the only things they know. So where will it end?

At this point I usually cite Crane Brinton and his Anatomy of Revolution. He argues that amped up ideological warfare is a necessarily temporary period, as he rehearses the ideological frenzies of the  British Puritan revolution, the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, the Bolshevik Great Terror in the 1930s, and the recurrent upheavals of Mao's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Eventually they collapse in exhaustion in the so-called Thermidorean reaction, because people cannot be kept forever in an ideological frenzy, any more that armies can be kept fighting on the front forever. Eventually people need to get back to wiving and thriving.

It's nice to think that all this rubbish about white supremacy and toxic masculinity will subside and be thrown on the ash-heap of history.

Trouble is that, like in the previous ideological frenzies, a lot of ordinary people are going to get drowned in the undertow. And it might be you. Or worst of all, me!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What Do We Know? No, Really!

Theodore Dalrymple, the British doctor writer, keeps bringing up the name of Belgian Simon Leys, the sinologist writer who was born Pierre Ryckmans and died recently in Australia.

So I looked him up and bought Chinese Shadows, his book on the Cultural Revolution in China. The book mostly covers Leys' travels in China in 1972 after the worst of the Cultural Revolution was over and the army and the bureaucracy had regained control from Mao's teenaged Red Guards.

Of course what Leys wanted to look at in his travels, given that the average Chinese wouldn't talk to a foreigner at that time, was museums and temples and rare Chinese manuscripts. Not to mention books. Trouble was that all the museums were closed, most of the temples had been destroyed by the Red Guards, and the bookstores had nothing in them except the collected works of Mao, Stalin, and Enver Hoxha.

And the arts? The great tradition of Chinese opera had been reduced to Madame Mao's (she of the Gang of Four) six utterly dreadful Revolutionary Model operas.

There's a touching scene where Leys talks his guide into getting him to a bookstore that has some ancient manuscripts rolled up in the back room. When he shows up to look at the manuscripts a quiet assembly of other connoisseurs has gathered to look and appreciate this hidden treasure.

But I thought about the utter folly of thinking you can order society and its culture from the top with appropriate buzz-words and directives. There's a page where Leys rehearses a few slogans of Maoist China: "the five stories," the "Tachai spirit," "the four cleanups," "the eight-word constitution," "the three rightisms," and so on. And there is a description of an impossibly foolish irrigation project, that was supposed to have been conceived and executed by the workers, without a lick of help from engineers and technicians -- or earth-moving equipment.

Of course I think immediately about the utter folly of our social justice warriors, and the kiddies being taught Activism 101 at the university. As though the problems of the world can be solved by peaceful protests and political chants.

I mean, after the example of the Soviet Union and Maoist China, not to mention that black hole without electric light at night, North Korea, who can possibly think that activists can remake a country in the image of its revolutionary leaders with the help of chanted slogans?

The answer is, of course, that every new generation of kiddies can easily be taught to go out into the adult world and tear everything up, and they will do it willingly and vigorously without a clue about what they are doing on the strength of a few slogans and a rage to set the world right.

So I woke up in the night trying to think of a word to describe what we think we know.

Because really, we know nothing, and that has been confirmed for my by reading Werner Heisenberg's (he of the uncertainty principle that bears his name) Physics and Philosophy with an introduction by My Guy F.S.C. Northrop. Heisenberg talks about the difficulty of talking about the micro-world when the micro-world is just not like the normal world of everyday life that our brains and our language are programmed to deal with. He writes of the paradox of quantum mechanics:
It starts from the fact that we describe our experiments in the terms of classical physics  and at the same time from the knowledge that these concepts do not fit nature accurately.
We have to do that, because classical physics is merely a "refinement of the concepts of daily life and are an essential part of the language which forms the basis of all natural science." This is a pretty mind-blowing thing. We know that the sub-atomic world is nothing like the everyday world, and yet we use our everyday concepts to describe it. How crazy is that?

But, the thing is that our knowledge about quantum mechanics works. The smartphone in your hand is proof of that. Take this equation:
.
What is it? I don't know. But you can check it out. But I will tell you what I think. I think it is an "incantation." Or even a line of poetry, written in the ideograms of mathematics. The only people that would know what it means are people with a deep and esoteric knowledge of math and quantum mechanics. But that is no different from temple priests in ancient Egypt with an esoteric knowledge of the scriptures.

All equations, all catchphrases, all political slogans, all religious beliefs, all of them are incantations. The question is: do they work? Shakespeare has the last word on this, in Henry IV Part One.
GLENDOWER
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
HOTSPUR
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them? 
Do you see what I am getting at? The fact of modern physics is that we cannot imagine what is going on at the sub-atomic level; we only have the equations, which issued from the problem of black body radiation and the discovery that energy is discharged in "quanta" and yet behave like a wave. In other words, it takes two "concepts of daily life" to begin to get a handle of the concept of what is going on. But these two concepts, of a particle and a wave are, for us, contradictory. In our concepts of everyday life, we think that a thing can be either a wave or a particle, but not both. Until now. We talk about the sub-atomic realm using our "concepts of daily life" even though we know it is nothing like the everyday world or earth, air, fire and water.

But the same thing applies to God, to politics, to the economy, to the dance of the sexes. We know nothing, but our incantations: God is love; power to the people; supply and demand; boy meets girl. These are all incantations, they are all attempts to call spirits from the vasty deep. But do they work? Will they come when you do call for them?

You will note that I have my own set of incantations: Government is Force; Politics is Division; System is Domination. The liberals down the street have their incantations in their #WeBelieve yardsigns: Black Lives Matter; Science is Real; Love is Love; Kindness is Everything. And the point is exactly the same as for Glendower or quantum mechanics. Does the concept work? Does it illuminate? Does it help you avoid the big beasts when you walk out in the world?

What is clear about all the incantations of the Maoist Cultural Revolution is that they were all rubbish. The world doesn't work that way, and never did. But this is nothing new. Most human incantations are rubbish, and soon get liquidated and sent to the ash-heap of history, because they don't work.

But some incantations are supported and enforced by political power, and they take longer to prove whether they can summon spirits from the vasty deep. When you have political power you can force people to repeat your incantation, and you can tell them that they better believe it or else.

And most of the people, most of the time, including me, will go along to get along, and even come to believe the incantations that their leaders have commanded them to recite.

But in the end, all knowledge is an incantation, that anyone can recite, and that few ever understand. The question is: does it work?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Bannon Conspiracy Theory

I have a theory, that when Steve Bannon resigned as White House Chief Strategist in August under a cloud, there wasn't a cloud at all.

It was all a strategic play by Trump and Bannon to play the Washington establishment and advance the Trump agenda.

I think that they decided for Bannon to leave under a cloud to provide a mis-direction to the swamp.

And the first thing that happened after Bannon left the White House was that he went 100% rogue, threatening to primary every senator that didn't support Trump. Oh No! How could he?

The next event was that Bannon backed Roy Moore, the chap that put the Ten Commandments up outside the Alabama Supreme Court, and took partial credit for Moore beating the establishment Strange in the primary runoff to win an election to serve the rest of Attorney General Sessions term in the Senate.

The next event was the "best pals"joint presser between Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday October 16. McConnell got in a word to say that we all wanted the same thing, to get electable candidates to the Senate and avoid the Tea Party amateurs of 2010 and 2912.

Conservative radio host Michael Medved was encouraged by this, a return to sanity, because he thinks Bannon is a loose cannon that will lose the Senate in 2018.

But the next day Bannon was pointing out that he is vetting the candidates he supports to make sure they have the smarts and the savvy to win the general as well as knock off the GOPe guys in the primary.

What is going on here?

Of course, nobody can know.

But I think it is a conspiracy between Trump and Bannon to knock off the old GOP establishment and at the same time tame the survivors into supporting the Trump agenda.

Really it doesn't take a conspiracy theory to understand that Trump and Bannon are playing a game of good cop/bad cop. And if you ask me it is working.

On the one hand, it looks like Mitch McConnell is finally working with Trump. Who woulda thunk it? On the other hand Bannon is thundering around in the bushes stirring up the deplorables.

So on the one hand we have an indication that the swamp is getting ready to work with Trump. On the other hand we have his operative making a big noise in the bushes and that forces the swamp incumbents to move right, both now when votes come up in Congress and next fall when they are up for reelection. Just to be safe.

The problem for conservatives, libertarians and every other form of white supremacist is that liberals have created a convenient path of non-resistance for conservative pols that come to Washington. Just get moderate and we won't demonize you as a racist, sexist homophone. Tom Bethell at the American Spectator defined that as the phenomenon of "strange new respect. Once a Republican firebrand put out the fire he suddenly got accepted into the DC in crowd as journalists started to express their strange new respect for the former Neanderthal.

So how to conservatives and libertarians get any conservative and libertarian agenda through Congress? The answer is: they don't, because if they do they get attacked as racist sexist homophobes and they lose their strange new respect props.

The point about Trump is that he has apparently cut this Gordian knot. He has found that his social media skills have conquered the old regime where conservatives and libertarians behaved themselves, or else.

You see this happening all the time, most notably with Charlottesville and the NFL anthem controversies. Under the old rules, a President Bush would have known to only attack the white supremacists in Charlottesville and not the Antifa "mostly peaceful protesters" as well. And he would never have waded into the NFL anthem controversy.

Of course the whole thing may collapse next week, and Trump will then go down in history as a bumptious failure, and his attack on the liberal worldview will end in a glorious victory for the liberal secular religion of political correctness. Of course. But if we normals do nothing we are still dead. That is why there are numerous catchphrases about: do or die, dying with your boots on, nothing ventured nothing gained.

But back to my conspiracy theory. Think about Bannon's title in the White House: Chief Strategist.

Now what do you think is the job of Chief Strategist? I'd say it is pretty obvious. Find recruits for the Trump Army that can win elections in 2018 and support the president when he runs for reelection in 2020. Because without a more Republican Senate the Trump agenda is in trouble and Trump's reelection is in trouble.

So I'd say that Steve Bannon is doing exactly what President Trump wants him to do.

And I'd say that it serves their joint purpose for liberals and NeverTrumpers to think that Trump and Bannon have parted ways. That way Bannon can make mischief and mayhem in the boondocks and Trump can keep a bit of distance between him and Bannon to make it easier for him to make Great Deals with Mitch McConnell and the Democrats in Washington DC.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why Won't Congress Fix the Tax System?

I had an email from a reader yesterday who asked why Congress won't fix the tax system. He writes:
I have never heard it explained clearly. If all personal income over the federal poverty level, and all corporate income, provided it does not cause double taxation, is taxed at 20% wouldn’t that work? If not, why not? 
Yeah! Why not?

I think the simplest answer to this question is to quote my catchphrase: there is no such thing as justice, only injustice.

For the individual congresscritter there is no percentage in writing wise laws that dispense justice far and wide. That sort of thing won't get a dog-catcher reelected.

What people want, when they are all stirred up about justice, is the removal of the monstrous injustice that is keeping them up at nights. So if you are a middle-class taxpayer and you pay your payroll tax and your income tax you feel the system is monstrously unjust. On the one hand there are welfare recipients in line before you at the market with their EBT cards; on the other hand there are fat-cat corporate lobbyists getting carve-outs from the pols in return for campaign contributions. It's an outrage! There oughta be a law!

Now the right and proper thing to do, when exercised by government injustice, is to say to yourself: wow, if I am pissed off about the government's Harvey hand in my pocket, what about everyone else? If I am suffering; I expect the whole world is suffering too. We should all get together and make the system truly just!

But people don't think like that. We only think about our personal troubles, the cruel spur of injustice in our own side, and we demand that our congressman fix it. We don't care about other people. In fact we are happy for them to pay more, if only we get to pay less.

This sort of thinking is catnip to politicians. because the art of politics is the art of division. To rile up one group of voters against another, and confirm a voter's rage against the system is the very heart of the politician's profession. Because he cares!

And since the clumsiness of government is eternal, for government is force and force is not particular where it lands its punch, there is never a shortage of injustice for people to rage about and for politicians to promise to do something about.

It sometimes happens, of course, that our rage about the injustice of it all actually pays a dividend, and we actually get government to enact our little subsidy or tax loophole. Yay! Then we discover the truth of the old story about the dog in the manger, for hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. No, wait. Hell hath no fury like the beneficiary of a government handout facing the minuscule diminution of that handout. The injustice! The outrage!

Charles Dickens knew all about this when he had David Copperfield's lawyer employer, Mr. Spenlow, cry that if you touched "Doctors Commons" you would bring down the country. Doctors Commons, for you young 'uns, was a cosy little lawyer monopoly in 19th century Britain that had the exclusive right to deal in wills and stuff. No wonder Mr. Spenlow was exercised about his own special little carve-out. Why, if you touched Doctors Commons then Spenlow, who kept a carriage, would have to go out and get a real job! "Keeping a carriage" in the 19th century was the equivalent of "flying private" in today's world. It wasn't cheap then and it ain't cheap now!

And that is the point of all government subsidies and spending and tax loopholes and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. Every little carve-out allows some worthy citizen, you or I, to ease off a little on the neverending task of making a living. Backed by the government's men with guns. What's not to like?

It's nice work, if you can get it. And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges. And the most significant revenge is that government here in the United States has its hands in your pocket to the extent of 35 cents on every dollar you earn. Yes, you get your own little carve-out, that you are determined to defend to the death. But everyone else has there own little benny, and the total adds up to about $3.5 trillion a year, here in these United States, in the frenzy of everyone having a hand in someone else's pocket.

And it all starts with the really big carveouts, $1 trillion a year for grandpa's Social Security and $700 billion for grandma's Medicare. Don't you dare touch that, because we already paid in!

All just because you and I are much more focused on our own suffering from injustice than the sufferings of others.

And that's why nobody is going to pass a simple tax reform that just tax income, corporate and individual, at a simple and just 20 percent.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Exactly Who Calls Himself a White Supremacist?

One of our modern injustices is that our liberal friends seem to think it is perfectly normal for them to cloak their political opponents with pejoratives.

I mean, nobody out there calls themselves a racist, a sexist, or a homophobe. It is liberals that invent these damnations.

In fact years ago I remember reading someone who said that liberals keep changing their name, because it keeps getting radio-active. So the Progressives of the Progressive Era became the liberals of the New Deal, and now the progressives of the 21st century after "liberal" became a dirty word. But if you are on the right, the pejoratives reign. You  are a Nazi, a fascist, a xenophobe, and now a white supremacist.

I  believe there are some folks of the right calling themselves White Nationalists. But "white supremacists?" The left thought that one up and then labeled their opponents with it.

Now, if I remember the article from long ago, the writer recommended that we on the right should not shrink from the pejoratives that our liberal friends have labeled us with. We should step up  and own them. Because that is the way to detoxify the label.

Racist? Who doesn't prefer their own kind? And what is Black Lives Matter if not racism, straight up?

Sexist? Who doesn't prefer their own sex? Or gender. And what is feminism, but sexism, straight up?

Homophobe? Who shouldn't be afraid of the Gay Mafia? (Phobia comes from fear in Greek)

And what about Nazi and fascist? Well, dear liberal friends, you should know, if you ever did any reading beyond the New York Times, that Nazism and fascism are what you get when the usual social democratic squishes fail to keep the economy perking along in a half decent fashion. Because it is natural in every mammal from rats to humans to strike back with desperation when cornered in a desperate situation. It's in the genes, no doubt a natural and proper artifact of evolution and natural selection. Settled Science.

And then we get to white supremacist. What is not to like? I take white supremacy to mean the culture and the people of Northwest Europe that developed the modern citified, market-based, trust anyone that is trustworthy modern culture and economy. And they developed what I call "language nationalism," the utterly fictitious but utterly efficacious notion of the people of a language as the proper basis of political community.

Now I tend to think of the bourgeois culture of Northwest Europe as something close to divine intervention in the affairs of humans and a proof of God's existence. And, of course, I give most of the credit to the Dutch who took over from the Italians and their city states. The Dutch had to do it because the great trading empires of Venice and Genoa were struck a nasty blow when the Muslims took Constantinople in 1453 and mucked up the slave trade from Kaffa in the Crimea to the harems of the Middle East.

And so the Dutch invented the Dutch school in art with nice contented housewives strongly lit by the neighboring window, and even more important, invented central banking so they could drive out the Spanish like Verdi's Don Carlo. But the Dutch knew that driving out the Spanish wasn't enough, so they invaded Britain and kicked out the Scottish Stuarts so that they and the Brits could stand up against the bloody French. Then came the Second Hundred Years War and the end of French hegemony in Europe. And so these Northwestern Europeans ran riot all over the world and utterly transformed it.

What is not to like?

I guess you could call that white supremacy, if you had had a way with words.

And really, how beneficial can you get? The Brits dominated India for a couple of centuries, and that enabled the Hindus to cast off the Muslim yoke. The Brits gave the Chinese the shock of their lives, so that now a Chinese Christian can say that the Chinese now understand that the center of Western power is its Christianity and the Chinese are Christianizing so rapidly that the Commie government is trying to make it illegal. By the way, the fact that Chinese Christianity is characterized by its "house churches" is a clue that it is Chinese women that are running the show.

And let it not be forgotten that it was Northwest Europeans that suddenly decided that slavery was a Bad Thing, and set out to abolish it. The only question that remains is: Why? Was it because they truly hated its injustice, or was it that the average upper-class Brit didn't like the upstart Sugar Barons from the West Indies swinging their wealth around? My own suspicion is that slavery was too much of a bother. Why not free the slaves and make them responsible for their own lives instead of having to guard them and scourge them and feed them?

Hey! Why don't we apply the same principle to the welfare state? Why don't we free the people to get their own education and health care and pensions so we the elite can concentrate on the really important problems like Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming?

So yeah. Let's own the pejoratives that liberals fling at us. Racist? Who is more racist than a black NFL protester? Sexist? Who is more sexist than a Silicon Valley Diversity and Inclusion administrator?

White Supremacist? Who was responsible for the Great Enrichment of the last two centuries from $1-3 per person per day to the present $100 per person per day? The Queen of Sheba?

Friday, October 13, 2017

My Solution is Language Nationalism

In "Myths Die Slowly" the Z-Man looks into the abyss. Or rather, he lists the myths that ordinary white Americans believe in so that they don't have to look into the abyss.

By myths he means everything from cutting taxes, spending, and immigration, to the belief in the "great black hope," the "propositional nation," and patriotism itself.

For instance, he writes, the alt-right is really a post-nationalist identity movement. What does that mean?

It made me think a little about what I believe.

The answer, I think, is "language nationalism."

Now I believe that Politics is Division. By that I mean that any politician, from war lord to presidential candidate down to race hustler, unifies his supporters to fight the existential peril by dividing them from the rest of the world.

The war lord unifies his warrior band by persuading his band of brothers to stand together against the hated enemy over the border. The race hustler unites his race brothers against the threats of the other races. The presidential candidate unites all patriotic Americans against the threat of a horde of immigrants and unfair trade treaties.

Our liberal friends, of course, unite all correct-thinking people plus their identity politics clients against the racist sexist homophobes -- and now white supremacists -- of deplorable flyover country.

The question that the Z-Man raises is whether we can do anything right now to preserve America without going through a maelstrom of politics-as-division that consumes everything in a rerun of the French or the Bolshevik Revolution.

To look at this let us temporarily leave go of the idea that there are good guys and bad guys. Every political culture is a Hegelian dialectic of unity and division. The only difference is where you draw the line between Us and Them and where the bodies are buried.

Our liberal friends like to be horrified by Trump's Make America Great Again nationalism. That's because their Us is a transnational elite nobly and wisely governing the helpless victims while demonizing the Them of patriots and nationalists wherever they may be found.

A Trump nationalist likes to be horrified by feckless and conceited global elites that have nothing to be conceited about and also looks at the liberal identity groups of helpless victims as unfortunates deluded by the local lefty Alinsky practitioner. Steve Bannon, Trump's evil twin, promotes "economic nationalism," of America First, etc., to unite the Trump followers into a sacred American patriotic and economic community.

Here's a chap at National Review that is all worked up with Steve Bannon's references to fascist thinker Julius Evola, a Dadaist and Nietzschean whose whose thought embraced "several schools and traditions, including German idealism, Eastern doctrines, traditionalism, and the all-embracing Weltanschauung of the interwar conservative Revolution with which Evola had a deep personal involvement."

All this rather occludes the basic fact of our modern age that the real principle unifying the modern nation state is what I hereby call "language nationalism," the conceit and myth that the people within "our" present nation state are a language community, unified by their common language and the culture that has existed in its language since the dawn of time, or at least, in the case of Anglo-Saxons, since the time of Shakespeare.

Of course this is all a lie. The United Kingdom and its Britishness were created by fire and the sword. Back in the Good Old Days there were separate kingdoms all over the British Isles. There was for a time a Danegeld in which perfidious Danes lived and were paid for their trouble. Naturally, in the old days, there were a whole cauldron of languages in the British Isles. But as the British Isles were slowly unified by hook or by crook, the number of languages dwindled. Of course, the unifying  process didn't work in the case of the Irish. It didn't matter how many times the Brits sent punishment expeditions into Ireland to teach 'em a lesson; the Irish remained Catholic and determined to be independent.

France got to be a nation by a similar shameful process. French is the language of the folks in and around Paris, not Brittany and not Provence, etc. That's because the lords of Paris conquered and subdued the other folks in France and eventually taught them to like it.

The Germans taught themselves to believe in a German nation for centuries before the brilliant Bismarck figured out how to make the German nation an actual fact by making war on the French in 1870.

So the question with regard to the United States of America, that everyone agrees is sorely divided right now, is: who will bell the cat? Who will make up a story about America and gussy up a narrative about the glory of America that was and that could be, and banish the other guys to "bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire, who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms."

In the liberal version of this it is racist sexist homophobes and white supremacists that get sent to bottomless perdition, etc. In the Trumpist version it is Black Lives Matter and Antifa and the fake news media that sat on the Harvey Weinstein story for 25 years.

Years ago I read a story by, I think, a holocaust survivor who used to amaze the guards in his camp by tapping a rock in the rock quarry in just the right place so it would split into two. He turned this into a performance to which the guards brought visiting firemen. But the rest of the prisoners just banged away uselessly at the rocks; they could not bring themselves to transform their labor into an art.

My point is that we are always going to have politicians and activists trying to divide us. Like any stone mason, these guys are experts at finding the crack in the rock that can split it in twain with the slightest tap to the amazement of the suckers.

The point about President Trump is that, all of a sudden, he stepped up to the rock of America and with a modest tap split in along a fault line that nobody had thought of before. Maybe he had help from a cunning Russian stone mason!

The question is whether he can unify the country around a new principle of unity and division that banishes the liberal principle that has been slowly gaining strength in the last decades because movement conservatives didn't know where to tap.

If he is to succeed, then I think he needs to banish the whole liberal culture that we are not one culture but a multiculture, and you should not appropriate other peoples' culture and or assimilate into other peoples culture because every culture is equal and should be respected.

I'd say the opposite is true. America is great because it has been absolutely ruthless in cultural appropriation and also in pretty strongly leaning on immigrants to assimilate to the majority culture even as it appropriated the choice bits out of the immigrants' culture.

Having a language nation allows a continuous process of cultural appropriation and cultural assimilation to proceed 24-7 because the single language makes it difficult for would-be secessionists to hide, and makes the process of appropriation and assimilation irresistible.

And by the way, the biggest cultural appropriation and assimilation going is the economic culture of capitalism and the Great Enrichment. Listen kids! You wanna wive and thrive in the 21st century? Then forget your sacred ancient culture and become skilled and competent in the skills of working and excelling in the market economy. The modern capitalist economy is of course a hurricane of economic appropriation and assimilation.

The big untold story of our time is how, despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, people by the tens of millions simply go with the market economy: they may not like it much, but they get jobs, they learn how to make it, and if they don't live happily ever after they do manage to partake of the feast.

All because they live in a language nation where there is no place to hide.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Stop the Campus Shoutdowns

So, yesterday the campus fascists, the ordinary regime thugs, shouted down Charles Murray for 40 minutes at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Hey, why not? Everybody says that Murray is a racist, so why not?

It happened that yesterday I watched part of a livestream on "Viewpoint Diversity on Campus" conducted by Jonathan Haight's Heterodox Academy at New York University. Of course the discussion of these academics was about freedom of thought and that free speech means giving to people you hate the right to speak.

But I was unsatisfied with that. Here's why. In my view, universities have always been, and still are, seminaries for training priests in the regime's established religion. The purpose was to legitimate the regime and its right to rule. So, in the early modern era, the established religion taught in the universities spent a lot of time talking about the divine right of the present royal dynasty to rule.

I am reading a biography of Jane Austen and her gentry class was clearly the class of ideological and legal enforcers. Bright young sons would go to Oxbridge, take holy orders,  and get a living at some rectory through family influence, where they would preach regime orthodoxy. The local squire would be a judge at the Quarter Sessions to ensure regime legal legitimacy, and most of the Austen sons went into the military and the navy to fight the Napoleonic Wars. Pretty neat system!

This occurred in a period where kings were no longer military chieftains whose right to rule stemmed rather obviously from their military prowess and power to make their rule stick.

Then came a period where a new ruling class started to appear, the new intellectual elite that drove the Enlightenment and wanted to advance a new religion, a secular religion, and this religion would advance the notion that revolutionaries, thinkers and experts were the chaps with the right to rule. One of the ideas of the new secular religion was to educate young men in the humanities and liberal arts -- in Oxbridge, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics -- to prepare them in the arts and practice of governane so they could to enter the charmed circle of the ruling class and keep the dynasty going.

For a while this rising elite had to hide its ideology; even chaps like Hume and Hegel had to pretend that they were Christians, for to teach in a university you had to be a Christian. Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion was published after his death.

What would be a good strategy for the new elite to advance its non-Christian world view? Why, freedom of speech, of course. That way the rising elite could be licensed to advertise its wares and the old elite would just have to sit and take it.

In the United States I would say that this situation lasted until just after the Sixties. Until the Sixties the rising educated elite saw itself as an insurgency needing the camouflage of freedom of speech. But after its Gramscian march through the institutions was complete, then it did not see the need for freedom of speech. Indeed, it was obvious to everyone that the wrong kind of speech was hate speech, more or less equivalent to violence, and thus beyond the Pale.

There is nothing scandalous about this. Nobody believes in freedom of speech, not really. And especially nobody believes in freedom of speech for societal saboteurs and wreckers. You  know who they are.

The only people that believe in freedom of speech are the "outs," for obvious reasons. So right now conservatives and libertarians and deplorables are rather obviously all in favor of freedom of speech.

Of course, it is not just universities that function as seminaries, preparing youngsters to go forth and teach regime apologetics and practice its teachings in their daily lives. There is, and has always been, a whole system of feeder schools, preparatory seminaries, to instruct the kiddies in the right religion.

Unfortunately, the demands of political power mean that education -- rather than rewarding of regime supporters with well deserved sinecures -- in schools and universities comes off second best, and the regime's ideological syllabus ends up wrecking the schools. In the mid 19th century the British universities were still cranking out priests while the Germans had transformed the university into an incubator of young men that would come forth and lead the German nation against the perfidious French. Eventually, the British universities copied the German model just in time to beat the perfidious Germans in World War I.

So now the education system in the US and elsewhere is a pathetic secular seminary inculcating regime orthodoxy on everything from class to race, everything, in fact, that the left has cooked up in order to defeat the most remarkable notion in history, the minimal state, the language nation, and the economic revolution we call the Great Enrichment.

We could fix this with a deplorables' Alinsky tactic, to make the progressives live up to their own rules and all the other poisonous brew of Rules for Radicals and drive them from the temple, but I would prefer something better.

My point is this. The current education system was built in an age when books and information were very expensive, and literacy was still not universal. Meanwhile labor was cheap. So the school system was a good way of making texts available, to be shared in schools, and in forced marching the working class towards literacy.

That was then; this is now.

Now labor is expensive, information is cheap, and most mothers are literate, meaning that children are likely to get literacy in their mother's milk. Moreover, the modern smartphone, which every youth must have and master, requires a basic literacy. Used to be that you could not get some boys interested in literacy until you tempted them with books about guns and motorcycles. Not any more.

So my solution to the campus shoutdowns is to leave the campi to the liberals and build a new world outside it.

On my plan elementary education would be conducted by mothers in their neighborhoods, supplemented by resources supplied by billionaires that the mothers would control.

On my plan teenagers would mostly have jobs, and it would be the responsibility (and the advantage) of their employers to advance their education to make them into more useful, responsible, and creative employees. This is how education worked for most people before the advent of government child-custodial facilities with the apprentice system.

And advanced education? We are already seeing it develop in the notion of the online university. One good thing about the online university. If you don't like your rude, crude lefty instructor cramming his reactionary pre-modern ideas down your throat you can change him for a better one.

The principle of evolution, that our liberal rulers revere as "science" when it serves their purpose, is that all things die out, sooner or later. The things that die out later are the things that learn to adapt. The curious thing about all institutions is that they are designed not to adapt, whether a royal dynasty, a church, or a corporation. Nobody cares much if churches and corporations die out when they fail to adapt; people just invent new ones. But political dynasties are different. They generally do not go peacefully. They try to stay in business by force and prefer to sacrifice the livelihood and sometimes the lives of millions rather than exit followed by a bear. But in their latter daysw they find it very difficult to stay in power because they have to keep paying out pensions to their loyal supporters even if they are useless bureaucrats or tenured faculty in charge of failing institutions.

The question for us today is how to let our institutions evolve to serve the needs of the 21st century. But the first thing to acknowledge is to admit that we don't know what is needed. All of our educational institutions were designed for another age. It is said that automation is going to make the current notion of a job extinct. So we really don't have a clue how to prepare the kiddies for the future. We do not know what the future will look like.

That means that we need to stand back and let a thousand ideas about education and childhood bloom, and let the best ideas take over the world.

Yes, but what about the poor and marginalized? Exactly. The poor are the ones most cheated by the current system, which sends the worst teachers to the worst schools, and prevents poor parents from getting their kids out of the gutter.

On my system, most parents will  be educating their own kids, or sending them off to work as they used to do, and this would free up a lot of money to help the poor educate their children.

And anyway, don't you believe in Change?

And along the way we would solve the problem of little lefty regime thugs shouting down honorable and worthy men like Charles Murray, whose only sin is that he has shone a light on the fact that modern education privileges the intelligent over the less intelligent.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Let's Talk about the Bannon Conspiracy!

Now that Steve Bannon is openly taking on the Republican establishment for the 2018 mid-term elections in open opposition to dear old Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), I am suspicious.

Not about whether Steve Bannon is really going to take on the good old boys of the Senate and the Deep State. Talk about a happy warrior!

No, what I am wondering about is the whole story about his departure from the White House, back in... wow, it was just yesterday, in August! That's when Maggie Haberman and her team at the New York Times wrote their piece headlined "Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run."
Conservatives groused that they lost a key advocate inside the White House and worried aloud that Mr. Trump would shift left, while cheers erupted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when headlines about Mr. Bannon’s ouster appeared. Both the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average immediately rose, though they ended the day slightly down.
Hey kids! When did the Times ever care what the Dow did? But the point is that the Times clearly thought that it was good riddance to bad rubbish, now that someone had rid the White House of its troublesome monk.

But I think that dear old Maggie missed the real story. Here's what I think went down in the Oval Office.
Bannon: Hey, Mr. President, I don't think I'm really achieving much here at the White House playing bureaucratic games with pygmies.

The President: OK, Steve, Big Boy. What do you suggest?

Bannon: I think I would do better getting outside the White House and taking the battle to your opponents out in the public square.

The President: Terrific, Steve, what's the deal?

Bannon: Here's what I want to do. I want to get out and rev Breitbart News back up to ramming speed, and I want to steal all the GOP donors from Mitch and Paul and the rest of the usual suspects. Then we can back a bunch of non-establishment candidates and really turn the Senate.

The President: Outstanding, Steve! Tell me more.

Bannon: See, I think that your problem is that the average GOP senator needs to think twice or thrice before he or she votes against your agenda. And right now, they feel they can get away with voting against you.

The President: Tremendous! When can you start? But you can't just leave with my approval. That would set the wrong tone. Sad!

Bannon: Exactly, Mr. President, you are a genius. I think that I should leave under a cloud, as the mad genius that couldn't quite fit in. Maybe we should tee up Maggie Haberman to do a too-hot-to-handle piece.

The President: Steve, that's fantastic! Then I could be the good cop to your bad cop. Imagine me as the good cop! Incredible! Imagine you running around pissing everybody off instead of me. That would really line us up for an amazing mid-term.

Bannon: You said it, Mr, President. I'll coordinate with Gen. Kelly to choose the best way to get out the door.

The President: Terrific, Steve. Go get 'em!
Is that what happened? We will never know. But let us think about the facts of the case.

In fact what about the Harvey Weinstein case? Rush Limbaugh was complaining today. He said that if Weinstein had been a Republican the whole Democratic-MSM complex would have come out in unison chorus saying that every Republican was a party to this unjust example of white male supremacy ruthlessly victimizing innocent young female and LGBTQ hopefuls in the entertainment industry. But when it's the Democrat's bigfoot contributor and pal, we hear crickets from the GOP NeverTrump chaps.

The whole point of the Trump candidacy and the Bannon phenomenon is that the days of gentlemanly conservatism are over. Now we are going to take it straight to the lefty solar plexus and they ain't gonna like it. Nor are the GOP fossils that learned their politics in the days when it was death to get on the wrong side of the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media.

And obviously, one of the big jobs is to persuade the vacillators to choose sides. Sen. Corker recently chose the anti-Trump side after deciding that reelection in 2018 might be too hard for him. But if 2018 turns a few of the 21 Democratic seats up for reelection and elects a few Trumpists on the GOP side there will be more senators choosing to go along and get along with the Trump project.

Don't forget my catchphrase: There is no such thing as justice, only injustice. At least not as far as politics is concerned. That's because Government is Force, and anyone on the receiving end of government force experiences it as injustice.

My point is that there are tons of people that have suffered injustice under the cultural and political reign of liberals. Most of them are in the Republican Party, and the white working class is the latest to join the colors. But then there are the cat ladies, the women that believed the feminist rhetoric, and now find themselves single and alone and seeing therapists about depression and wondering what went wrong. Then there are African Americans that have been incredibly loyal Democrats for half a century, for what? So America could pat itself on the back that it elected a black president? So the average black kid could grow up in a single-parent household watching a parade of mom's lovers? So inner-city black kids could go the the worst schools?

For half a century these people have been suffering from liberal injustice but the Republican Party did not know how to talk to them and do something about the injustice. Until Trump.

And Bannon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This is How Your World Ends, Liberals.

There is a delicious piece in Taki mag today about how liberal race politics is hoist with its own petard.

According to David Cole, in the LA school system a high school loses extra bennies if the white percentage of students goes above 30 percent. I know: can you spell racism.

But there is a problem! Some of the Hispanic parents are reporting their children as white, because Trump and deportation. So the white student numbers at Hamilton High  School are about 50 students above the 30 percent limit.

Guess what! Tearful white moms are deciding to re-identify their kids as Hispanic!

Then there is the delicious irony of millionaire black NFL players "taking a knee" during the national anthem because racism, or something. I understand their concern, but I tell you, fellas, the heavy lifting on marching and protesting was done in the 1950s and 1960s. Your present efforts amount to nothing more than nostalgia and posturing.

And that says nothing about the pathetic effort at colleges to "do something" about sexual harassment on campus, which is a direct consequence of the sexual revolution that dumped the traditional rules about courting with a complete free-for-all. Although, it is clear that the kiddies have retained a certain instinctive reluctance to hop in bed at the first opportunity, since nice middle-class kids seem to need to get blind drunk before they do the dirty. I figure that the truth is that women want to be protected from male aggression, but we can't go back to the old rules because that would be too humiliating for liberals.

And that is to say nothing of the effort to erase history by removing statues of colonial conquerors and southern rebel generals. Really, you lefty idiots. We need the statues so that we have the record of our history out there, the good the bad and the ugly.

What really is going on here, anyway? I will tell you.

Liberals are running up against the fact that you cannot solve everything in this world with politics and government. An example of this is the reporting on the Nobel Economics prize for Richard Thaler, who made the obvious point that humans do not necessarily act as rational actors. They tend, for instance, to "have an outsized fear of losses." But then the writer goes a step too far.
More recently, thanks to the efforts of Thaler and his collaborators, companies and governments around the world have tried to use them for people's benefit. They've looked for ways to "nudge" people to save more for retirement, drive safely, go to better colleges and participate in free school-lunch programs.
Oh really. So we -- the ruling class -- are going to use Richard Thaler's insights to manipulate people into doing the right thing, as we wise heads have determined. But what  if our "nudges" are affected by our own ruling-class instinct to have "an outsized fear off losses" to ruling-class power?

In my view, a big problem with economics is that it has encouraged politicians and moralists to believe they can use government to manipulate the culture, the politics, and the economy. Because science. But the trouble is that political actors do not use knowledge to calm the waters and apply science in an even-handed way. They use economic knowledge to manipulate things in their quest for power.

Maybe we should just leave the "nudging" and manipulating to the moral/cultural folks, religious leaders and what-not. You, see, that was the big idea in the First Amendment prohibition of an establishment of religion. You didn't want one religious sect in control of legislating morality.

But our liberal friends are utterly blind to the fact that their movement, the progressive movement in all its facets from Communism to socialism to Social Gospel, is a movement that amounts to promoting an establishment of religion. Only progressive values will be allowed in the public square; only progressive will inform government policy. All other ideas are "hate speech."

The argument against a state establishment of religion in the First Amendment came partly from the fear of New England Puritanism in the non-New England states, and partly from the bitter lesson of the Reformation and the Thirty Years War over Germany in 1618-48, what we now call "religious wars." The Founders understood that religion needed to be a step removed from government. (Yes, but where is the liberal that understands that World War II and the Cold War were also religious wars, as in democracy against fascism, and democracy against communism.)

In my view the whole liberal culture war will eventually collapse in contradiction and stupidity, in part because ordinary people cannot be flogged and kept at ideological fever pitch forever, as Crane Brinton argues in The Anatomy of Revolution. Eventually everyone goes back to wiving and thriving.

The problem is that lots of people, maybe millions, will have their lives ruined in the process. And where will we see the statues of the liberal idiots that failed to see where their idiotic politics would lead?

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Real Reason Columbus is a Scandal

We know the proximate reason why Christopher Columbus is a scandal and his holiday is in the middle of being replaced by Indigenous Peoples Day.

It's because the left has chosen to do so. Because, see, Columbus was a white supremacist oppressor and the people of the Americas were his victims.

Actually, I learned today, this campaign against Columbus goes all the way back to Friedrich Engels in 1847.
According to Engels, Columbus’s westward journeys unleashed the era of “big commerce,” the world market, and the birth of the bourgeoisie. “The discovery of America was connected with the advent of machinery,” he wrote in 1847, “and with that the struggle became necessary which we are conducting today, the struggle of the propertyless against the property owners.”
The KKK were anti-Columbus too, because Catholicism.

But what's the big deal? Conquest and empire has been the song of the Earth for since the dawn of time. Those helpless savages in Hispaniola that Columbus infected with his merry men weren't just parachuted in by God. They had conquered the island in their turn and taken it from some other tribe that is, like the Unknown Soldier, known only to God.

OK, let us conjure up a different Narrative, one that retreats from the delicious culture of name and shame, and looks with a more neutral eye on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

The go-to book is War Before Civilization by Lawrence H. Keeley. He tells us what life was like in the good old days, that happy time, according to Shaw in Fabian Essays, shortly after the first man, Adam, seized the best patch of land he could find. But actually, pace Bernie, the big question about patches of land in the good old days was defense. Each little tribe defended its patch of land from all others. Or, with the dawn raid or a massacre, it might attempt to wipe out the neighbors and take over their patch of land and their women.

The rule was simple. Land was life in the food that could be hunted or grown on it. Lose your land and you lost your food, your tribe, your women, and your life. Actually, the same applies to chimpanzees and, I dare say, lions and tigers and bears oh my.

Notice that our pal Fritz above has it half right. Columbus does represent the unleashing of big commerce and the world market. And he spelled the end of the little tribe on its little patch of land.

It seemed to Educated Youth in the mid 19th century that in the future the old fight between one tribe and another, or one feudal lord against another, would be replaced by the fight between the bourgeoisie and the proletarians, and property owners against the propertyless.

Only they were wrong. That is the fundamental fact of our age. They were pontificating at Year 50 of the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years in which per-capita income has increased by 30 times. And there has never been anything like it, ever. But why were they wrong?

They were wrong because the modern exchange economy has fundamentally changed the relationship between man and man -- and man and woman. Life is no longer a question of defending your patch of land and its life-giving food from all comers, as it was in the hunter-gatherer age. Nor is it a question of attaching yourself to a powerful landowner who would protect you from the armies of other powerful landowners in return for your surrender to his power. Today landowners and their land and its food is an afterthought, a footnote to history. Now the reality is big commerce, the exchange economy.

But now the propertyless are no longer extra mouths to feed; they are now consumers and producers. Now the key to riches is no longer the accumulation of land and the power of an army to defend the borders. Now the key to riches is the latest innovation that can conquer world markets with some new generation of products that every person in the world can buy: something like cheap cotton textiles that the poor could afford; steam transportation that the poor could almost afford. Now we have cell-phones that the sardine fishermen on the west coast of India can afford. The point is that the property owners can only profit from their property if the property can be put to use making products and services for the propertyless.

And so it is that the old necessities of power -- the power to defend your patch of earth -- have dissolved. Now power issues from the ability to deliver products and services to the masses, so there is no longer a "struggle of the propertyless against the property owners." Instead all people are bound to other people in the vast arena of producing the products and services to be sold or delivered to others.

The transition period in all this that illustrates the point was the era of the British Empire. It was not a traditional empire that controlled a great land mass. It was not a marauding host like the host of Genghis Khan. It was a trading, commercial empire. The jewel in this crown was, of course, India, which started out as a few trading posts, at Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta. But then local Indian traders wanted to enjoy the benefits of living within the walls and under the law of a trading polity, and the Brits started playing politics and war with the neighboring princes, and then the British in India developed into that curious, and amazing thing where 100,000 British administrators bestrode India like a colossus until, with the 20th century and the Amritsar massacre, it all became scandalous.

It was not just scandalous, but expensive. Never mind about patches of land and armies to defend them. Try global commerce and navies to keep the pirates under control.

Ironically the socialists, that abhorred empire, were the proprietors of the two last great land empires, the Soviet Union and Maoist China. They set up impenetrable borders with the rest of the world and starved. Now both empires have transitioned into something less on the border front, and a lot more on the exchange and global commerce front.

And this is the irony with socialism and progressivism and all its works. The fact of the world today is that political and military power is no longer the vital element that keeps a people from annihilation by invasion or massacre, and that is why the bourgeoisie and the billionaire are not that interested in power.

In this video with feminist rebel Camille Paglia psychologist Jordan Peterson continually puzzles over the left's worship of power. He shakes his head and doesn't understand it.

The answer is, of course, right in front of us. The left worships power because it can't believe that the modern world is not like all other worlds, where power was everything, indeed, the only thing. It cannot believe that the propertyless and the property owners are not in an existential fight to the death.

They should read their Hegel, whose Master and Slave narrative teaches us that the relation of Master and Slave is not as simple as we might think.

But the truth is that the nature of wealth and power has changed utterly. Wealth and power are no longer good rich acres, or a pile of gold. Wealth today is the present value of products and services that a corporation such as Apple or Amazon can deliver to the world in the next few years. And as for power, who cares? Why not spend the pile of gold on spaceships and go to Mars?

Meanwhile, what should we do about the Antifa idiots that want to erase history and make Columbus into a scandal, when he was actually the beacon of the future?

Friday, October 6, 2017

They Are All Idiots!

Some people are wondering just what the point of NFL players of "taking a knee" is supposed to be all about. Apart from letting NFL players feel they are relevant.

Or what about this? It turns out that, as Bolivarian socialist Venezuela replaced staffers in its national oil company with political hacks, the replaced workers mostly headed for Colombia, with the result that Colombia's oil production is up, hitting almost one million barrels per day, and Venezuela's oil production is down, from 3.5 million to 1.9 million barrels per day.

Or what about here in the United States? Instead of getting Americans to save their own money for the great expenses of life, we have government programs that put lifer bureaucrats in charge of everything from retirement to health care and education, according to systems that were old a century ago.

In California, Governor Brown has signed legislation declaring California a sanctuary state, doing a spot of nullification just like the slave South. By the way, California has the most tech billionaires and the highest poverty rate, and the rich live is glorious comfort on the temperate coast while the peons live in the sweltering Inland Empire and Central Valley. So history does repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Then liberals these days are running around calling people not just "racists" but "white supremacists." Actually, in this case I think they are right. The culture and politics of the lily white folks from Northern  Europe have transformed the world in the last half millennium, and we ought to be proud of what we have done. Anyone of North European extraction that does not marvel at the achievements of her North European ancestors is a fool and a knave.

And of course our liberal friends are determined that we should "do something" about gun violence in the aftermath of the Las Vegas attack. Do you know why they use the word "gun violence?" It is because two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides.

For me, the best way to deal with all this is to say they are all idiots. Why are millionaires taking a knee when they could be contributing their time and money to personally solve social problems? What was the Bolivarian socialist Chávez thinking when he staffed the Venezuelan national oil company with political cronies? What were the Democrats thinking when they replaced healthy saving with government compulsion on retirement savings? What is Governor Brown doing when he declared that the writ of the federal government does not extend to California? What are liberals doing ramping up the race rhetoric 50 years after the civil rights acts of the 1960s?

Really, there is no answer except to say they are idiots. Because was it not worse than a crime, a blunder for socialist Venezuela to politicize its oil industry? Worse than a crime to weigh down the modern state with vast ineffective social programs? Worse than a crime to lower the wages of American citizens with a flood tide of illegal immigrants that live partly outside the law? Worse than a crime to divide the races with race politics half a century after doing the heavy lifting of removing governemnt racial discrimination?

Over at the Z blog, the Zman is pondering the likelihood that we are coming to the end of an age. Our present age was trying to solve the problem of "how whites would deal with whites" over borders, peoples, and commerce. But now we are entering an age of great migrations -- such as 4 billion Africans on the move -- and great migrations happened to coincide with the end of the Roman Empire. To murder an old song,"comes migration, nothing can be done."

We are all like the coward Falstaff, that whimpered before a battle that he wished it were evening, and all well.

When you think about it, it is impossible that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything could be tucked up into bed each night.

Stupidity, mistakes, evil, storms, hurricanes, massacres are all part of the inscrutable mystery of life. For the only constant in life is that is stumbles from one disaster to another. And yet the world keeps turning.

And after all, what is a little hurricane and a few feet of rainfall compared to the Armageddon of a supernova?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Or Is It Just Well-to-do Women That Are The Problem?

Yesterday I raised the outrageous suggestion that maybe it ain't men that are the problem, but women. Of course this is nonsense; everybody knows that women are helpless victims, Lady de Courcy and Lady Arabella excluded, since the dawn of time and the invention of patriarchy by a clique of men within the inner ring of Stonehenge. Or something.

But now I just started a biography, Jane Austen: A Life, by Claire Tomalin and I have to admit I was wrong. It is not all women; it is rich women.

You see, back in Jane Austen's time, the normal thing for gentry women to do was to suckle their babies for about three months, and then send their babies out to some woman in the village to raise the baby for the next couple years. Only when the baby was properly civilized was it returned to the maternal nest.

So Charles Dickens was not making it up! Little kiddies were subject to the most frightful and routine abuse in the good old days -- at least from our modern and enlightened perspective with its proper and necessary substitution of scientific peer review for the old ways of wives tales.

Actually, I would say that, down the ages, rich women have routinely handed off the raising of their children to the servants: nurses, governesses, etc. And this has caused not a little sorrow to their children.

Now comes the New York Times with its celebration of 100 years of communism. You see, communism liberated women, but only in part. It got them out of the home but didn't really allow them to rise to executive positions on the collective farm and the factory.

In other words, communism didn't really raise women to the level demanded by the feminist revolution and make them into Simone de Beauvoir's "Independent Woman," with her career and all.

And they talk about male privilege!

The reason that men work, girls, is that, down the ages, that was the only way they could get laid. If men, in the last 200 years, have sought careers, it is because that was the way to get laid with high-status babes. Settled science: hypergamy.

Also, of course, upper-class men work these days because the poor do not. The whole point of being rich is to differentiate yourself from the poor. Back in the good old days the poor worked their tails off, at least that is what we are told. So it was shameful for a rich man to work. But now the poor don't have to work, what with welfare and disability and all, and so now all rich people are busy, busy, busy morning to night. Those that don't have a proper job work their tails off in the family charitable foundation.

Before I get back to women, a word from my old liberal boss. He was frustrated by the folks working for him, especially the programmers, because they were always going off on tangents, such as rewriting subroutines that already worked to make them more elegant.

Of course, this was never true about me. Oh no.

Now it is my view that the job of women on this earth is to bear children and raise them to adulthood, to "keep them alive," as my daughter says. Everything else is tangents.

The job of men is to make themselves useful, as in keeping women safe so they can bear children and keep them alive. Everything else is tangents.

Since our age, thanks to the Great Enrichment, is the richest age ever, you would expect more people than ever before going off on tangents. You would expect to see women schucking off the kids on day-care and government child-custodial facilities so they can go out and have a career. You would expect to see men filling their lives up with meaningless hobbies and all-night video game sessions.

And you would expect a lot of people to be opting out of the whole mating and raising the next generation thing. Because they can.

In my view, following my reductive Three Peoples theory, this is a particular problem for People of the Creative Self. In fact I believe that the cult of creativity is precisely a tangent, a distraction, from the real job of creation, which is creating children. It is just the sort of thing you would expect well-to-do women and well-to-do men to do to differentiate themselves from the common herd and its necessary wiving and thriving. The clue, I think is in Charles Taylor's notion of "expressive individualism," or George Simmel's "qualitative individualism" in which individuals would want to differentiate themselves from other individuals.

Of course, it may be that in the future well-to-do and high-status women will want to differentiate themselves from the common herd that goes out to work as assistant director of diversity and inclusion at Amazon's HR department and drops the kiddies off at school. I suspect that the home school movement and similar cultural developments are signaling this.

Here is another thing. If you are a well-to-do woman, educated, liberated, and independent, why would you want your little kiddie rolling in the mire, getting polluted by the lower-class culture of the child-minder and the government teacher?

But then there is the bigger question: how should we raise our children, given that we still do not know the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, despite the best efforts of prophets, divines, ideologues, and our modern social justice warriors?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Are Women The Big Problem?

Dear old Ben Stein is upset that a long-time liberal friend, Mrs. B., has cut off their friendship after the 2016 election. Apparently her "daughter had apparently undergone an incident in Carmel in which she felt threatened by a Trump supporter because she was wearing a Hillary T-shirt."

As for why Ben should choose the initial "B" for his onetime friend, I couldn't possibly comment.

Then there is the CBS lawyer, Hayley Geftman-Gold, who on Facebook inadvertently advertised after the Las Vegas shooting her contempt for country-music fans. Frankly, I don't think she should have been fired. All she was doing was expressing the conventional wisdom that all Good Little Girls share in the liberal bubble. Like Mrs. "B."

It's interesting that one concert goer said she likes country music concerts because everyone there acts like family.

Is this the new woman, roughed up by the sexual revolution and radicalized by the feminist movement?

Not at all. I'm happily re-reading Anthony Trollope's Dr. Thorne right now (available on DVD, etc.) and the two notable adult woman are both "Bs." There's Lady de Courcy of Courcy Castle. What a piece of work she is. And then there is Lady Arabella Gresham of Greshambury. So I suppose we should talk  about "Lady Bs." The big thing about these two women is the rules about the young marriageable women they allow in their august houses. The rich Miss Dunstable, heir to the oil of Lebanon cosmetic fortune, is invited to Courcy Castle, because son-of-the-house Frank Gresham must marry money. But the sweet innocent Mary Thorne, our beloved heroine, the girl next door that Frank really loves, must be banished from Lady Arabella's house, because she has no money and, worse, she is a bastard with no breeding, no bloodlines, darling, for all that she is Dr. Thorne's niece.

Yep. Women may not commit horrendous mass shootings, but they sure know how to stick in the knife, and they always have.

Now, if you ask me, this is a Big Problem in our global society going forward. The whole point of the Great Enrichment is that people consort with all kinds, anyone that can be trusted. Playing high school or aristocratic Mean Girls is not what it's all about. Any more than lifetime employment. Any more than affirmative action and quotas and diversity and inclusion and all the other reactionary government policies that liberal force on us.

You can see the problem in the basic difference between male honor and women's honor, as explicated by James Bowman in Honor: a History. Honor among men is the reputation for physical courage, standing in line with his brothers and not acting like a coward and breaking and running. But honor among women is different. Honor among women is the reputation for chastity, and I mean that in the broadest sense of being pure and undefiled.

The thing is that our modern societies need the kind of person willing to do stuff and make mistakes, and then get up, sadder and wiser, and do it all over again. It does not really want the reckless courage of the soldier; neither does it want the person that will not act because she does not want to make a mistake.

Sociologist Georg Simmel wrote over a century ago that the entrance of women into the public square would transform it to "suit a more feminine sensibility."

Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to that. My view is that some things are better left to men, such as software startups, which require a certain recklessness and standing with the brothers in the chaos of startup battle. But other things are better left to women. Caring for grandma, for instance. Men do a pretty sketchy job of that, if they can be persuaded to do anything at all.

I suspect that men and women have starkly different ideas about mass shootings. Men are perhaps too cavalier about the inevitability of mass carnage, as in battle. Women are perhaps naive in imagining that presidents can "make us safe."

Meanwhile I must get back to Dr. Thorne. We are approaching the denouement, when...

Well, I can't possible give the ending away. Let us say, following Trollope, who is always breaking the fourth wall, that Mary Thorne will either die of a broken heart or life happily ever after.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, A White Supremacist?

Since the new liberal insult-du-jour is "white supremacist," I think that, to paraphrase the words of Marx,
It is high time that White Supremacists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of White Supremacy with a manifesto of the White Supremacy itself.
Yes, Chuck, I couldn't agree more. Let us unmask the spectre of White Supremacy and see it for what it is: the most extraordinary breakthrough in human socialization since the beginning of agriculture. And, naturally, it has provoked the most horrendous movement of nostalgia and reaction for the Good Old Days of tribalism and hierarchy since whenever.

Call the reactionaries and nostalgists anything you want: Communists, socialists, progressives, activists, peaceful protesters, idiots.

As Marx so perspicaciously noted, a very large part of human socialization is driven by the underlying economic realities, and a lot of human culture is in fact a superstructure built atop the economic realities of the age.

The reality used to be that land was life, and you protected the food-growing land of your tribe or your lord to the death. Much of what we think of as natural human behavior is predicated upon this truth that is no longer true.

Today the reality is that food is cheap and available everywhere for money. Great ships are constantly lying in the outer harbor in Vancouver, BC, ready to steam into the inner harbor and load up each of them with 100,000 tons of grain from the Canadian prairie provinces and then transport that grain to the ends of the earth. So the food problem has been solved.

Thus it is no longer a matter of moment to defend our food-growing land to the last warrior. Now the question what each of us can do to serve other people so they can pay us the money we need to obtain the necessaries and the abundant non-necessaries of life, at Walmart or at Nieman Marcus according to taste.

Where once the boundaries of trust ended at the border of our food-growing land, now the boundary of trust extends across all the world to include all people that demonstrate their trustworthiness. See here.

This extension of the Culture of Trust from our own comfortable tribe to the whole world of people that demonstrate trustworthiness is the most mind-blowing development in human history. It is the foundation of what our lefty friends call White Supremacy, the culture that trust is universal and should be extended to all that are trustworthy. No wonder the people that believe in this new belief system have surrendered to the notion that they are the lords of creation and the last best hope of mankind on Earth, and superior to whatever came before.

But the old culture of mistrust still obtains. That is what government and politics is all about, to define the divide between "us" and "them" and to defend "us" to the last young 20-year-old soldier, or in our own time, the last "mostly peaceful protester."

And so the great worldwide movement of reaction and regression arose, to honor and revere the good old practices of divide and rule to maintain the old tribes and the old borders. Of course it did; that was the way that political leaders had always acted, in the good old way in which they had served humans well for tens of thousands of years. First it tried class politics to divide the bourgeoisie from the proletariat; then it proceeded to what we call identity politics, dividing race from race and sex from sex.

But this is all rubbish, because the old territorial imperative no longer operates. These folk are, we might say, superstitious believers in the old gods, Homeric heroes still looking to Mount Olympus for the word from on high.

And why not? The old divide-and-conquer, hierarchical culture worked pretty well for the rulers, from their legalized plunder of the farmers to their delicious droit de seigneur that would have made Hugh Hefner blush.

But what about right now? How does the divide-to-conquer culture work in the modern age? I am glad you asked me that. Fortunately thoughtful and caring people, inspired by arch-reactionary Karl Marx, went to work in Russia and China to see if the hierarchical divide-and-conquer culture could still work in the modern age. After 100 million human deaths and unimaginable suffering the verdict came in. The old way just doesn't work in the modern age. In fact, the old way makes things worse, much worse, for ordinary humans in the modern age, because the modern age has opened a new social contract: in return for the unimaginable prosperity of the Great Enrichment, people must surrender to the hegemony of the market, accepting the movement of prices and markets without demur, from the proudest billionaire down to the lowliest worker. Anyone that resists the new culture is doomed to disappointment and the killing fields.

Hey, I call that a pretty good deal. Instead of subordination to a proud and powerful lord we humans merely get to accept the collective decisions of our fellow humans as expressed through the intermediation of the price system and its markets. In return we get the prosperity of the Great Transformation, which has increased per-capita income from $3 to over $100 per day in 200 years.

Yep, I reckon that White Supremacy thing has been the most amazing thing in human history. And anyone with half a clue in their brain has got on board. In particular I notice that the folks in South and East Asia, the great civilizations of the old days, are getting on board the White Supremacy train, after a bit of a slow start, and are adapting their societies as best they may to the new order.

I always like to quote a Chinese Christian on what White Supremacy has meant to the Han people.
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
Wow. Imagine that. Christianity. What is it about Christianity, do you think, that has enabled the rise of White Supremacy? Could it be that the central concept of love, that you love God and God loves you right back, is exactly the right culture for the new age and its culture of universal trust for people that demonstrate their trustworthiness?

And that people that accept the culture of trust become unimaginably wealthy and powerful and almost by accident grind the old ways of tribe and borders into dust?

You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Trump the Insult President

I always get inspired when I lunch with my liberal friends. Something about their conversation opens doors in my mind to the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything.

And something happened last week to help me understand the fact that Trump is the Insult President and that is what we elected him to do.

OK, so I've been writing about this at least since "All I Know is That Gentlemanly Conservatism is Dead."

The point is that for fifty years liberals have been insulting ordinary white middle-class Americans as racist sexist homophobes and our political and cultural leaders have failed to defend us.

And now the preferred liberal insult is "white supremacist."

Last week "protesters" invaded a speech given by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and you can see a protester next to her with a huge sign "WHITE SUPREMACIST".

Imagine Harvard allowing an alt-right protester to stand right next to Al Sharpton with a huge "BLACK RACIST" sign. That kid would have been gone before you know it.

Hey, you know what real white supremacy looks like? It looks like lefty protesters not even thinking of daring to insult a Secretary of Education with a lefty insult slogan, because the enforcers of White Supremacy would make sure that they would pay, big time, for such  an insult.

Also, there is the little problem that the people most shortchanged by the bureaucracy-is-everything government school system are minority kids in the inner city. And that is the boil that Betsy DeVos is trying to lance. So what do those protesters know about anything?

And last week President Trump had an insult interaction with the blonde mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yeah, the sweetie pie was trying to Katrina him, and naturally Trump punched right back.

It makes you think of Martin Niemöller. First they called us racists, and conservative leaders did nothing. Then they called us sexists, and conservative leaders did nothing.

Well, the purpose of government is to protect people from existential dangers, and I'd say that failing to counter the left's propaganda machine counts as a failure to protect.

When the usual idiots can't or won't protect us from the lefty thugs then we are forced to look for other idiots to protect us.

Yep. What made Trump stand out in the Republican debates was his willingness, and his shameless talent for insult. And the Republican voters liked it. They obviously wanted a candidate with the talent and the cojones to tell his opponents to take it where the sun don't shine.

I don't blame liberals for being embarrassed and insulted by the Trump presidency. Why, the whole point of the Constitution and civil rights is that liberals can insult anyone they like and, when losing an argument on the merits, play the race card.

And for fifty years, Republican politicians didn't know how to respond. Until Trump.

And still, a bunch of Republican officeholders still don't get it. Here is Speak Paul Ryan saying that Trump needs to be more "inclusive with people." No, Speaker Ryan, you do not use lefty catchphrases like "inclusive" except ironically and sarcastically as a way to reverse and denormalize the left's culture of name and shame. In fact, the left's notion of "diversity and inclusion" is a lie, part of a political grand strategy to divide the American people into silos of race and gender identity so that liberals can conquer. And you, Paul Ryan, should know it.

Bottom line: We elected Donald Trump to take it to liberals and tell them to put it where the sun don't shine. It may all turn out to be a disaster, returning Democrats to power for a generation. Or it may not.

But if Democrats return to govern for a generation we are basically returning to the old trajectory, of what Margaret Thatcher called the "ratchet" where each lefty program ratchets us another step to the complete administrative state, and the succeeding conservative administration fails to restore the status-quo ante, let alone actually letting freedom and limited government unfold its wings. Hello Obamacare.

So why not try Trump the Insult President? He might lift morale among us normals and actually alter the course of civilization as we know it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Three Reasons Why Protest is Poppycock

Yes, it was Marx that said "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

Thanks Chuck, I needed that. I think you will agree, old chap, that we are certainly in the farce era where leftist "protest" is concerned.

Because when millionaire black football players are "taking a knee" to protest police brutality against African Americans we are not talking about the wretched of the earth desperately trying to get the ear of the ruling class. We are talking about privileged young men who, like a young woman I once knew, want to get into "activism."

And African Americans are not the wretched of the earth. They are a "protected class," a race specifically called out in the laws of the United States for special consideration. I know: can you spell racism?

Hey, Hegel "remarks somewhere" -- actually in The Phenomenology of Mind -- that the thing and its opposite are really the same, as in the north pole and the south pole of a magnet. So racism and anti-racism are really one and the same. Ask the anti-fascists of Antifa about that.

But the basic thing about "protest" is that it is a show of force. Every protest says: accede to our non-negotiable demands or we will fill the streets with real violence. That is why they used to talk about "marches" and "demonstrations" before the advent of that peculiar catchphrase "peaceful protest."

There are three things wrong with the left-wing culture of protest.

The first is that the threat of violence is only appropriate for individuals and groups outside the system, that do not have a vote and a representative in the councils of power. That is the whole point of universal suffrage and representative government, to make sure that everyone has a right to be heard in the councils of government. And you will notice that our liberal ruling class makes it its business to represent everyone that might possibly be regarded as "marginalized," and outside the system. In other words, even illegal immigrants are represented by the system. So no need for protest. But note well, dear liberals, that the right to be heard is not the same as getting your way.

The second is that protest, shows of force, by people inside the system, like NFL players, is in fact a betrayal of the whole point of having representative government. The idea is that we will not resort to threats of violence or violence itself or the hell of civil war. Instead we will resolve our disagreements by bargaining and votes in the various representative councils, and the loser accepts the verdict and goes home in peace, resolved to "fight" at the next election. But as soon as you have a protest you are saying, forget it. If I don't get my way I'm going to resort to force. The point of protest is to intimidate the supposed ruling class. But notice that in today's world almost all protests are in fact endorsed by the liberal ruling class. It is considered scandalous for conservatives to protest about anything, because white privilege.

The third is that every wrong in the world cannot be solved by politics. It is one thing to use politics to stop government actively discriminating against people by race, as was done in the Jim Crow era. "Everyone" can agree to stop that. But what about forbidding people to discriminate in the private sector? That's what Barry Goldwater was voting against when he voted against the Civil Rights Act; but Barry Goldwater was a libertarian. And then what about mandating representative percentages of traditionally marginalized groups in corporations, through polices of diversity and inclusion. I would say, following Hegel and Marx that "diversity and inclusion" are the farcical end-point of the whole idea that you can legislate equality, and prove Hegel's point that the thing and its opposite are really the same, for "diversity" seems to be a doctrine of suffocating uniformity and "inclusion" seems to be profoundly exclusive. To me, at least.

So let's get back to first principles. The whole point of the 18th century ideas of limited government was that the powers of government should be limited, so that people of different opinions and faith had a space to live and were not commanded by the force of government in every detail of their lives. Also, they thought, if you allowed government greater powers it would cause people disadvantaged by the petty authoritarianism of government officials to form a head of rebellion.

Now it is my view that it is pretty grand of liberals to complain about the abusive tweets of President Trump. Have not liberals been calling their opponents names these 50 years and more, as racist, sexist, homophobes, and now "white supremacists?" What is the vile accusation of "racist" next to "sons-of-bitches?"

What do you think happens when you stigmatize people, day after day, year after year, with your vile pejoratives, liberals? Why, I'd say that one day people will get fed up with representatives that won't stand up to liberals and they will elect a president that can dish it out to liberals and tell 'em to put it where the sun don't shine.

So don't be surprised if the liberal "protest" culture inspires a countervailing protest culture in the nation's normals. The only thing I know about such a culture is that liberals will hate it and be completely bewildered about where it came from.