Thursday, August 31, 2017

What a Nice Little Nazi Movie Taught Me

I was on a flight yesterday and got to watch the Emily Watson vehicle The Book Thief. It's all about a nice little illiterate girl in a small German town in the 1930s who steals a book at the grave site of her dead brother.

But then she is inexplicably delivered by a Nazi social worker to a older couple in town. The stepmother is cold and severe and the husband is a lovable sign-painter, but not much in the get-out-and-get-me-some-money department.

But why did Liesl's real mother give her up? Is she dead? Was she a Communist?

Pretty soon the girl Liesl learns to read, thanks to the lovable sign-painter, and starts happily singing Nazi songs at school in her Bund Deutscher Mädel uniform at school.

Her blond protector at school, Rudy, is crazy about Jesse Owens, to the extent of daubing himself darker with boot polish. That causes a lot of worry and embarrassment.

Everything goes along fine, although sign-painter Hans is a bit slow getting his Nazi flag displayed on the Führer's birthday.

But then the Jew shows up. Max is the son of a guy that saved sign-painter Hans' life in WWI, so Hans has to take him in. That's a problem, not just from the risk of discovery, but from the food point of view. But the foster-mother takes in laundry, and Liesl gets to deliver the finished laundry, including at the fancy house of the Nazi mayor, whose wife takes a shine to her and lets her look at her dead son's books in the mayor's family library.

Everything goes fine until the evil Nazi mayor stops Liesl from going to read in his library and now there is less money from laundry. But Max the Jew in the basement is an intellectual, and he starts teaching Liesl how to express her thoughts.

After a close shave, Max decides to stop living in the basement and risking the lives of the whole family, so he disappears. Still the experience of caring for Max has brought Liesl and her cold stepmother together.

Then comes the war and bombing and everybody gets killed one night except Liesl.

Then the Yanks appear and the war is over and Max shows up at the door of the tailor that took Liesl in after the death of her stepparents. Liesl lives to be 90 and is a famous author. She has children and grandchildren and lots of photos on the side tables.

Do you notice how the movie carefully tends every liberal meme about Nazis and writers and artists (even lowly sign-painters) and Communists? Gee, it's almost as if these days in the West you better mind your Ps and Qs when you write screenplays if you know what is good for you. Just like in the bad old days of Nazi Germany.

Now let us imagine a similar movie set not in Nazi Germany but in the land of the free and the brave.

Tyler grew up in Ohio's Mahoning County, where the jobs left decades ago and the white working class is dying of despair. His father seems to have disappeared when he was a little boy, but his mother worked two and three jobs and Tyler had knack for Math and got into a selective college, though nobody knows how.

But in his first year at college Tyler got accused of rape by a girl majoring in Gender Studies and was expelled from school after a hearing by a Title IX administrator. Still, Tyler got a job at a computer store and continued developing his software and tech skills so that he got hired by a start-up where he was maintaining the computer equipment.

The startup failed, but Tyler's experience there got him a job at a swell Silicon Valley firm and all went well until he went to Japan for a diversity seminar. The experience upset him so much that he wrote a thesis on the folly of mandated diversity, given the science on sexual differences and the whole idea of individual responsibility and the wide range of abilities and talents in humans.

Tyler was fired by a female diversity VP whose main leg up was a legacy admission at Harvard. And now Tyler needed to help support his mom. After years of night school she had become a math teacher at a local community college, but got fired when the dean found out about Tyler.

But it all ended happily ever after when Tyler was hired by Gab, his mother got asked by a bunch of local home-school mothers to tutor their kids, and Tyler married a stunning blonde yoga instructor who fell in love with his manly courage and his love for his mother.

Yeah. Good luck getting this movie green-lighted. Good luck getting it in movie theaters. And good luck with Antifa protesting against "hate."

But really? What is the difference between today and the Nazi 1930s, except that nobody is getting put in concentration camps. Yet.

But they are banning movies. And they are breaking windows. And people are losing their jobs for having the wrong politics.

And our liberal friends will be the last to know.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Is It The Sixties Again

One of my current obsessions is that this "Resistance" from the left is the Sixties all over again, really another Awakening of secular religious enthusiasm on the left. And my hope is that ordinary Americans will hate it just as much as they did in the Sixties.

Today there's a thumb-sucker from Charles R. Kesler at the Claremont Review of Books that fully rehearses the Sixties Left and tries to make sense of the Teens Left.

On Kesler´s telling the Sixties Awakening correlated with the switch at elite colleges from "legacy" admissions of WASP scions to SAT-based admissions of bright youngsters of every background.

So by the early Sixties these young heads full of mush were writing the Port Huron Statement that featured enthusiasms like this
We regard men as infinitely precious and possessed of unfilled capacities for reason, freedom, and love, [where freedom meant] finding a meaning in life that is personally authentic. [The object was not] to have one's own way so much as it is to have a way that is one's own.
Now this is very interesting to me because it fits my reductive Three Peoples theory, that there are three kinds of people: the People of the Creative Self (artists and writers); People of the Responsible Self (bourgeois middle class); and People of the Subordinate Self (marginalized victims).

But now I make a new departure in my theory. I now announce that the traditional Great Awakening of religious enthusiasm arises when a large cohort in society goes through the subordinate-to-responsible transition. Thus the Puritan Awakening in 1600ish, the Great Awakening in New England in 1745ish, the Second Great Awakening in upstate New York from 1790 to 1820. These people were all becoming responsible middle-class and needed a religious faith and community to make sense of it all and help them make the transition.

But obviously the same applies to the responsible-to-creative transition. The transition here is from a life in which you try to adapt responsibly to a world laid down by a Divine Artificer to a life you create for yourself. So while the folks in upstate New York were going through the transition from subordinate helplessness to individual responsibility the Romantics were experiencing their uniqueness and developing a culture of what Charles Taylor called expressive individualism.

Let us call this responsible-to-creative transition a Creative Awakening.

I reckon that you could call the 1840s one of these Creative Awakenings, with Marx and all, and also the 1920s youth culture after World War I. And also the Sixties with the Port Huron lefties talking about "finding a meaning in life that is personally authentic... [and] one's own."

Of course one of the problems with these Awakenings, whether subordinate-to-responsible or responsible-to-creative, is that its enthusiasts are enthusiasts. They are not content just to experience the epiphany themselves; they want to share it with the whole world. Indeed, the impulse to share very easily becomes an instinct to compel.

When the Great Awakenings of the subordinate-to-responsible transition get a little over-enthusiastic our lefty friends start to rage about "theocracy," where the churches of the enthusiasts start to "legislate morality" on the likes of liberals. When the Creative Awakenings start to get over-enthusiastic we racist sexist homophobes start to talk about totalitarianism. The point is that in each case the enthusiasts are trying to combine the political with the moral/cultural, and you are a heretic or a class enemy if you don't go with the flow.

The wise men of the modern era decided many moons ago that a separation of church and state was a requirement of a modern society, a protection so that one dominant sect would not get exclusive control of the levers of power.

Because all power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You can see the problem with the current Creative Awakening, which I think has a uniquely feminine flavor on account of the fact that universities are now dominated by women. It is not just that there will be diversity, but that anyone disagreeing with the diversity mantra gets fired from Google. It is not acceptable for a few extreme white right-wingers to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate generalissimo Robert E. Lee. The protesters must be smashed. No disagreement is allowed because we Resisters are easily triggered and require our safe-spaces free from hate.

The problem for all enthusiasts is that their glorious vision of heaven scares the hell out of everyone else. Oh, your average liberal that reads her New York Times cover-to-cover judges that the BLM and Antifa extremists are overenthusiastic, but at least their hearts are in the right place. But everyone else wonders when the street thugs are going to come for them.

Thus in the Sixties, the liberal media put an avuncular arm around the "kids" while the rest of us curled up in disgust at these privileged youngsters daring to lecture the rest of us on freedom and love. (OK, I was one of the youngsters, but you get the point.)

Today we seem to be getting a repeat performance, with Gilbert T. Sewall writing about a "quasi-religious caste and its diversity catechism now directing the nation's institutions."
Not only in media, academe, advertising, and entertainment but also in corporations, government, and the military, chaplains of diversity enforce the new canon law.
But if you ask a liberal about what amounts to a "secular religion" they will look at you in blind disbelief. The last thing in their minds is that their belief system -- their "values," their "ethics," -- amounts to a religion in everything but name.

Actually nobody regards their view of "life, the universe, and everything" as a religion. They think of it as "the way things are." Other people have religions, and they are wrong to impose their religion on the rest of us.

Will the Teens turn out to be a rerun of the Sixties, with the ordinary normals rebelling against a new Creative Awakening that is turning into a secular Inquisition: "are you now, or have you ever been, a racist?"

Nobody knows. But obviously President Trump with his call to nation and patriotism, is consciously trying to lead America away from the secular religious state of the liberals, and protect it from the crusading Creative Awakening of the progressives.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Yes, But Is China Right to Fund Hi-tech Manufacturing?

What do we do about China? That's the question behind the North Korea problem, and David P. Goldman, "Spengler," has commended Steve Bannon for his strategic understanding of the issue. The Norks aren't the problem; China is the problem and the economic war it is waging.
China is establishing a dominant position in high-tech manufacturing, including a new US$50 billion plan to build a domestic semiconductor industry.
Etc. Well. Is that a problem or not?

I would say it is not. I'd say that semiconductor manufacturing is already a low-margin industry where you have to swim like mad just to stay afloat. Why would China want to put money like that into semiconductors just to play catch-up?

I will tell you why. It is because that is the only way that politicians and their crony-capitalist toadies know how to act. Oh wow! we gotta be big in semiconductors, else we'll be second-class citizens in the world.

Against this attitude is the story of commerce since the industrial revolution. Again and again an innovation has completely altered the terms of trade, and the surviving early adopters made gigantic fortunes, because they embraced the innovations and did the right thing at the right time. But sooner or later the new industry became just another big industry, not making enormous profits, and not changing the world. But, of course, it is precisely at this point, possibly in the wake of an economic downturn, that government steps in, "to save our (already mature) industry!"

The point is that politicians and activists and crony-capitalists are idiots. It is not just generals that are always fighting the last war. It is everybody in the ruling class. Because that is all that they know.

Now I have been reading a biography by Andrew Roberts of Lord Salisbury, British Prime Minister at the end of the 19th century. The Brits were facing the rise of Germany: what to do?

Well, Lord Salisbury was pretty good at it, jousting and fencing with the brash German state, as it came to world-historical relevance. Then there were the French, mad as hell after losing the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. Then there was Russia that was always making a nuisance of itself knocking at the door of the rotten Ottoman Empire in Istanbul.

But Lord Salisbury's successors obviously were not up to the mark, because 1914.

Of course there was plenty of blame to go around, from the growing protectionism, to the shallow folly of Kaiser Wilhelm II, to the general failure to learn the lessons of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, that warfare with rifled artillery and machine guns was going to be really horrific.

My point is that in the 21st century, national power and greatness is not served by national fisticuffs, nor is it served by backing last year's horse in this year's Kentucky Derby.

America's greatness has been fed by its open society and the fact that many of the commercial, industrial, knowledge, and technical innovations got seeded and grown right here, making enormous fortunes (which are the flip side of enormous benefits to consumers).

If China is to take its place at the forefront of nations it will not do it with political intervention in the markets or backing yesterday's technology. It will come because Chinese inventors and entrepreneurs will invent things that nobody had thought of before. And that will create unimaginable wealth that will spread across the globe, starting in China.

I'd say that in the strategic future, the key issue will be the relation between a billion Chinese, innovating and producing and consuming, and a billion Indians doing the same thing. The US, I'd say, is likely to be a bystander as the two great ancient civilizations of the world truly burst through into the modern era.

In such a strategic environment it seems to me that the sensible policy is a gradual retreat, trying to manage the expansion of China and India to world dominance in a way that leaves us in a good position.

But what we really want to avoid is a repeat of 1914 when a adolescent Germany wanted to flex its muscles and the brilliant minds in Europe couldn't think of a way of containing a rambunctious Germany without sacrificing a generation of young men on Flanders fields.

I mean really. A century ago Germany was bidding to be the leading nation in Europe, and after two world wars and a Cold War, guess what: Germany is the leading nation in Europe. Just what was all that warring and sound and fury about, chaps?

So here we are a century later. China is bidding to be the leading nation in the world. And even the "white supremacist" Jared Taylor says that Asians are superior to Americans.

Let's do this sensibly, and let's not do the Rise of China to the drumbeat of a couple of world wars.

I tell you what I wonder. I wonder if the rise of China will take place mostly with overseas Chinese that have moved away from China because they feared what might happen to their wealth, what with a Communist Party dictatorship and all in China.

And then there are the Indians. The interesting thing about India is that it has been invaded and mucked around with time and again over the past few thousand years, most lately by the Mughals and the Brits. But it doesn't seem to matter to Hindu culture. It still goes on rocking.

Look at the Indian National Movement. It got rid of the Brits and also confined most of the Muslims into East and West Pakistan. It could do that because the Brits had kindly located all the Muslims with its various Censuses. Is that strategic brilliance or what?

Here's a question. What is the real secret of Hindu culture? Hey, maybe we "white supremacists" could learn something from the Hindus!

And let's use the rise of China as a challenge to Americans to up our game, so that we and China and India can all fight like mad to give the best products and services and culture and politics and prosperity to the world without having the whole thing degenerate into a street fight between rival gangs.

Monday, August 28, 2017

BLM Practices Vile Cultural Appropriation

Everybody knows that cultural appropriation is just about the worst sin imaginable. Because.

Yeah, why is that, exactly? I mean, isn't it a compliment if you pick up somebody else's cultural practice? What about Jazz? What started out as black music, and then crossed over to white guys, eventually has become a white-bread thing. You don't see many blacks these days at downtown jazz clubs. Why, there was even a dumbed-down Jazz for whitey, called Swing.

Anyway, now we have this beautiful bit of cultural appropriation by Black Lives Matter.
White people, if you don’t have any descendants, will your property to a black or brown family. 
What's this about "will" and "property," homeboys? Are not the cultural phenomena of "last will and testament" and "alienable private property" white things?  So how come that BLM activists are culturally appropriating these western cultural traditions? What will be left of the Western Canon by the time that BLM activists have done with it? I dare say that back in the day in West Africa the descendants of a deceased man got to inherit the movables, but I dare say that land and all the important things belonged to the tribe and could not be willed, as we do in the west.

Willing and alienation of property are western things, and should not be casually appropriated by leftist activists that don't know nothing about nothing, except the latest vile protest chants from their liberal masters.

Look, the fact is that everything human, except genes, is cultural appropriation. We humans see a cool idea and we copy it.

OK. Steal is more like it.

Of course, I get it. What people are really getting at with the cultural appropriation gig is that, in this global world, our own little corner of paradise is only years, maybe months, away from being submerged in the flood tide of modernity and whirled away into oblivion.

Moreover, the whole point of practical politics is to keep our voters divided from their voters. Thus, cultural markers are a good way of defining the border. If you allow other people to recklessly appropriate our people's cultural markers how soon will it be before the vitally important divisions, upon which political careers and political power depend, are blurred over and people forget what they are so angry about?

I will tell you the  real grounds for the left's cultural appropriation obsession. The whole point of the left, since at least 1848, is to be a nostalgic and reactionary movement against the cultural and economic tsunami of capitalism. Leftism is a neo-feudalism that returns responsible individuals into the serfdom of the agricultural age, doffing their caps to government teachers, government pensions, and government health care  administrators. We often think that the cultural and economic ferment of the modern era is damaging to the bourgeois ethos of individual responsibility. But probably the opposite is true. The modern economy and the modern service culture are probably more damaging to the old agricultural  patron-client culture of lordly power and peasant subordination that we now see continued in the neo-feudal welfare state.

We live in interesting times, and nobody can know how it will all turn out. All across the political scene reckless activists are pursuing agendas based on their fervent idea of the truth. But suppose their rage is all sound and fury signifying nothing? Suppose they are energizing the opposition more than mobilizing their own supporters?

Practical politicians know you need to be careful. They know that you need to be really careful about how you go poking around riling people up. You never know when you might poke a hornet's nest and rile up the opposition rather than your own supporters.

Right now we have all kinds of activist groups, from left and right, issuing ringing declarations and damning their opponents to hell and back again.

On the left, the accusation of cultural appropriation seems to be one of the preferred ways of marginalizing opponents, right there alongside "white supremacist" and "racist." And so that's what the lefty activists do.

But I think the lefties over at BLM should stick with their neo-feudalism, and stop their vile appropriation of western cultural practices.

I mean, once you start appropriating western concepts like "wills" and "private property" where will it  end?


Friday, August 25, 2017

No, Political Power Does Not Effect Beneficial Change

I was looking for a quote to hang today's post on, and here it is, from William Voegeli. He is reviewing The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics by Mark Lilla:
[Lilla] wants the Democratic Party to abandon identity politics for the sake of its electoral viability. Effecting beneficial changes requires wielding power, he argues, and in democracies, securing power means winning elections.
The current liberal politics of "prayer meetings", "therapy sessions", and "seminars" are not the way to do it. And the problem is that once you open the can of identity politics sooner or later the whites are going to want in.

Thus Mark Lilla, who wants liberalism to return to a golden age before identity politics. No doubt, but the age of liberalism without identity politics was the age of Big Thinkers imagining a glorious future without having to deal with the grubby reality of getting elected by democratic majorities. Then came the birth of working-class identity politics in the mid-19th century, invented by the left. By the end of the 19th century practical politicians like the conservative Lord Salisbury understood that you did not get to the Happy Land of "wielding power" unless you had first bribed the voters right before the election. For someone to imagine that liberals can dispense with identity politics is a fantasy.

But that is not my point. My point is to point out another fantasy, that the whole notion of "effecting beneficial changes" with political power is a chimera.

Oh yes. There are some things you can do with political power. You can write laws to make it difficult for the politically powerful to use their power to fill their pockets with loot. You can write laws to make it easy for ordinary people without connections to get good jobs without hacking through a forest of credentialism and having to pile up a mountain of debt. You can make it illegal for government to discriminate on the basis of race or gender. And you can get serious about the notion that government exists to protect its people from enemies foreign and domestic rather than line the pockets of its supporters.

But beneficial changes? How do you know, pal? What makes you think that your beneficial changes are going to do anything more than put some money in the pockets of your supporters? And what about the people that think your so-called beneficial changes are going to make things worse? Got any settled science on that?

Let's look at the most consequential beneficial change effected in the modern era. It is, as I keep saying, the Great Enrichment that has brought us in 200 years from $1 a day per-capita income to $100 a day and very likely more.

Which politician did that? Which political party did that? Which Big Thinker did that? I am talking about the process of winning elections and then writing laws to effect beneficial change.

The answer is: none of the above. OK, there was a chappie back in 1688 in Britland that said: wow, with all this new manufacturing we could be ten times richer than we are. But I think it is ridiculous to suggest that anyone in Britland then or later actually went into office determined to effect beneficial change to make us ten times richer. Let us take the followers of the classical economists that rolled back the English Poor Laws right after the Great Reform Bill of 1832. They thought they were abolishing a great evil; their opponents ever since have regarded such economism as a monstrous evil.

When Britain repealed the Corn Laws in the 1840s, it was at least partly a street fight between the new cities that wanted "the cheap loaf" and the country gentry and peasantry that wanted a high price for grain. And when child labor was prohibited it was at least partly about adults wanting to remove the competition of low-wage children from the labor pool.

And what  about the glory of New Deal liberalism, with its Social Security and its Medicare? What happens when those beneficial changes run out of other people's money?

In other words, when it comes to politics, beneficial changes take a back seat to simple power plays, because that's all most people understand, and that's what drives most people's votes.

In fact, I would argue, most of the beneficial changes of the last 200 years happened by accident, and if the political players had known what was happening they would have strangled the changes in their cradles. That stands to reason, because the powerful tend to be people benefiting from the current correlation of economic forces. Any change is likely to demote the current ruling class ever so slightly from its current hegemony. And the whole point of a ruling class is to stop that sort of thing cold.

The left belongs to a tradition with a faith in the ability of politics to transform the world. Instead of creating a voluntary community of the like-minded and working on good and evil within that community and reaching out to others to persuade them in the truth of their vision, the left has another vision. Its way of transforming the world is to implement a vision of good and evil is through force, the force of government.

And the way you get to do that these days is that you bribe your favorite identities with identity politics, and then persuade yourself that you are "effecting beneficial changes" as you distribute the loot to your followers.

But where in this philosophy do you get to decide how much is enough? When you you decide that all your effecting beneficial changes have gone a bit too far? Is it when your entitlement boards of trustees report that in 20 years benefits will have to be cut? Or when your National Debt goes over 100 percent of GDP? Or when inflation starts picking up as the government has to print money to pay the benefits? Or does it take a vote of the people to cut their benefits?

One little thing you might like to take into consideration is that, on my superficial investigation of government spending, the only spending that ever gets cut is military spending. It's amazing. After the war, governments do tend to cut military spending. But health care spending? Education spending? Pensions spending?

Good luck on that pal. Nobody thinks that cutting their own richly deserved government benefits amounts to "effecting beneficial changes."

I can't imagine why.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Folly of Exhuming the Graves of the Past

If you are sitting there wondering what all the fuss about Confederate statues is all about, then I have a simple answer for you.

It is all about virtue-signalling.

Or more exactly, it is all about calling out people that turned out to be on the wrong side of history.

And, of course, it is all about the fact that modern leftism is a secular religion, in which public deeds are judged as personal moral actions.

In other words, in lefty world, your political positions and acts are judged as though they were personal moral positions and acts.

And that, in my view, is utter stupidity, since politics is division and government is force, and therefore nobody involved in politics should cast the first stone.

This came out rather clearly to me in a book by a recovering French lefty, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Left in Dark Times. He opens the book with a conversation he had with Nicholas Sarkozy, in the run-up to Sarkozy's successful campaign for the French presidency. Sarkozy was a friend, but Lévy couldn't vote for the center-right politician. Why not? Well, because of the four political events that define Lévy as a political person.

And what are those four events? Thank you for asking.

First, the Vichy regime. Should we "forget Vichy's crimes...?" Of course not.

Second, the Algerian War. That was the last colonial gasp of the West in the 1950s in which France put down an insurrection in its North African colony, and then walked away from the mess it created. Should we stop "beating our breasts" about this criminal brutality? Certainly not.

Third, May 1968, the student rebellion in Paris. Should we judge it a black hole "sucking up everything that was solid" in traditional and Gaullist France? Certainly not: it was a "happy moment: new freedoms, novel power for women to do what they wanted with their bodies... modernity."

Finally, The Dreyfus Affair in the early 20th century. That was about the Jewish army officer that was degraded and imprisoned for espionage. Dreyfus was almost certainly innocent. Was this about "Tradition, Authority, Nation" or a case of the reason of state losing its way?

Do you see what I see? I see a mindless attempt to separate the sheep from the goats. It wants to know: Do you have the right thoughts? Or are you a deplorable?

Just for contrast, here is what I think are the Big Issues for France over the last century.

One, the incompetent failure to manage the rise of Germany. France got into three wars with Germany, in 1870, in 1914, and in 1939 and lost them all. Well, it would have lost them all if it weren't for the good old USA. Now I would say that the big question is: what went wrong that France could be so stupid?

Two, the folly of France's corporatist, managerialist state and economy in which nobody can be fired, and that nobody can be hired, and France's farmers get to loot the rest of the country. It actually works OK for the top 25 percent with good college degrees. But anyone else better get a government job and hang on tight.

Three, the folly of Muslim immigration. The record on immigration in the US over the past century and a half is that, in the early stages, a new immigrant group barricades itself in an ethnic ghetto until its members acquire the skills and cultural knowledge to venture out into the wide world.  It was nip-and-tuck that the US managed to integrate the Irish, the Germans, the Italians into the Anglo-Saxon culture, and I think that World War II did it. But now the best and the brightest encourage immigrant groups in their instinctive separatism.

See, my idea is that the correct policy for the last 150 years would have been: first, encouragement of a moderate nationalism; second, education of the working class and immigrants to understand and accept the market economy and submission to the verdict of the market in prices and wages; and third, a moderation of immigration to make sure that assimilation is the only strategy that pays for immigrants.

And the left has been on the wrong side on all these issues.

Now I do not say that the moderate left is as bad as the leftist monsters -- the Lenins, Stalins, Maos, Pol Pots, Castros -- that created a river of blood and a harvest of sorrow for at least 100 million humans in the 20th century. But I still think that the butcher's bill for moderate leftism will be horrendous.

But meanwhile we are busy exhuming the graves of the past instead of preparing sensibly for the life of the future.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

President Trump Makes it Double Clear on Race

If you hadn't got the message from President Trump's first response to Charlottesville, or the second, or the third, the president made it official last night at a rally in Phoenix. The mainstream media take is that he "ranted and raged."

Trump told us don't hold with no liberal demonization and race-ification on race. He thinks we should all love each other as Americans. Whoever we are, wherever we are from. Just to be sure, he quoted liberally from his previous remarks, just so we all get the point that, on Charlottesville, the fake media has been doing all it can to find fault with him.

Of course it has.

It is becoming clear that President Trump did something strategic with his response to Charlottesville. It is almost as though he had been waiting for an opportunity to change the national rules on race.

The president's line is that both sides in Charlottesville were thugs and that we are Americans, we should love each other, and we should not give into the haters on each side.

You would think this is a narrative that all Americans could rally around, but you would be wrong. If you were listening to NPR this morning, as I did in Uber on the way to the airport, you would be listening to the morning Activism Report with the usual stuff about the eevils of Monsanto and PCPs. And you would also hear about Black Lives activists as though they were the most moderate folks in the world.

Of course, according to NPR, every left-wing extremist is the most moderate person in the world, just doing their activism as every other liberal in the land. And everyone right of center is dabbling with right-wing extremism, maybe even Fascism!

President Trump has basically declared war on that ideological line. No wonder the mainstream media is pissed off.

And really, it only makes sense. The whole point of the Trump candidacy and presidency, as I keep saying, is that ordinary middle-class whites and working-class whites have been the liberal whipping-boys for the last 40 years, and that is monstrous and unjust. On the other hand liberal whites are special, on the liberal view, because they are activists. So they are not included among the Deplorables, that we all deplore as racists, sexists, and homophobes and eevil enablers of Monsanto.

Of course, Trump is taking a risk here. The safe thing to do for Republican and conservative notables for the last 50 years, ever since the Democrats switched from white racism to black racism, is to cringe before the liberal accusation of racism and avoid getting stamped with the scarlet letter R.

Yes, it's comical how everything old is new again. Back in the day, we were all taught by our college teachers what an innocent victim Hester Prynne was, when all she did was fall in love. But now, the women in the liberal village are busily plastering other people with scarlet letters. Who could have predicted it?

Of course, liberals are bound to fight to the death on the race and fascism issue. It is their nuclear weapon, the very foundation of their ideological firepower. Without the ability to demonize ordinary Americans as racists and fascists and drive them out of the public square liberal power would deflate to nothing, If that happens liberals would have to persuade rather than demonize. And that would be too hard.

So I'm right behind President Trump as he battles to change the rules on race. As I wrote a few days ago, there are laws against discrimination of the basis of race. So I'd say that if there is a problem on race it must be because the enforcement bureaucracies are asleep on the job.

And the point is that the passage of anti-discrimination laws misses the point. The big deal about Jim Crow was that government actually passed laws mandating discrimination by race. The problem in the South was that eevil businessmen were too inclined to treat people as people, not as members of races. So there had to be a law to stop them from mixing up the races in the pursuit of profit.

If, today, the average employer is disinclined to hire young black men in baggy pants, so that their wage rate falls below that of young black men and others that do not dress like gang members, then a market opportunity arises for employers to hire such young men at a lower wage, and maybe make big profits. Maybe.

And the dirty little secret is that employers are more interested in profits than in race. That's why the South had to pass those Jim Crow laws.

So I'm all in favor of President Trump's policy of a pox on both their houses. I imagine that he is banking on some poll data that shows the average American is sick to death of watching rich-kid liberals doing their activism thing and getting fawning coverage from the mainstream media.

And here is my big prediction. I think that all the Trumpian emphasis on love and everyone coming together as Americans is going to play particularly well among women. Women really don't like young men marching and rioting in the streets. It makes them feel unsafe.

I can't imagine why.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Is This the Sixties All Over Again?

When I was a lad, I came to the United States in 1968 and of course I was a Democrat. I went to a Humphrey rally in Seattle at the old Arena in the Seattle Center.

But Nixon won.

Then, four years later I remember watching PBS as they lovingly attended George McGovern at his family's summer place right before the Democratic National Convention.

Then Nixon won 60-40.

I started to think that maybe there was something here that I didn't understand.

By 1976 I was a US citizen and I voted for President Ford.

In 1980 I attended a Republican presidential caucus out in the suburbs leaning to Bush, and was startled by the Reagan contingent, of men that looked like they were technicians of some kind.

So really, nothing has changed. We still have rich kids going to college and getting radicalized by their lefty professors, and rioting in the streets. And we still have the white working class and the ordinary middle class who want nothing to do with rich kids playing at revolution in the street.

I am talking about Black Lives Matter and Antifa. These groups are not the desperate cry of the downtrodden masses, but rich kids playing politics with other peoples' lives, as rich kids have always done down the ages, whether Harry Percy mixing it up with Prince Hal or Karl Marx issuing a fatwa against capitalism.

The question is: will the Left walk off a cliff like it did in the Sixties and Seventies? Or will it be different this time?

The answer of course is that history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

Let us look at it this way. Leftism is the religion of the educated classes in the West. The Sixties was an eruption of left-wing secular-religious enthusiasm that was not shared by the average American. It took two Nixon presidential wins, and two Reagan wins and one Bush win before the Democrats realized that they had to tack back to the middle, with the most talented politician of his generation, Bill Clinton.

Looking back it is pretty obvious that, once Bill Clinton was elected, the educated class started moving back left. Because it's their religion. The left demonized George W. Bush just like they demonized Richard Nixon.

Then came Barack Obama, sold as a bright young moderate African American, although we now know that we was pretty far left. I dare say that if Obama hadn't been African American his leftist policies would have led to defeat in 2012. But to oppose Obama meant that you were a racist, and so Obama won reelection, but with less of a majority that in 2008.

So now we have a Republican president reviled by the left, again, and one that the left is openly proposing to impeach, again.

So, if history rhymes, we should expect that it will take five or six presidential elections before the Democrats get the message, again.

Here's what I think. I think that the reality of modern democratic politics is bribing the electorate. Arch-conservative Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister of Britain in the late 19th century knew this, and was happy to pass a free-education bill right before an election to garner working-class votes.

But I think that the ruling class wrinkles its nose at this unpleasant smell. It would rather inhale the sweet smell of noble intent: to rescue women and minorities from exploitation; to save the planet from climate change. It would rather not think of the reality of its entitlement politics.

But really governing is just the shabby deal of bribing the electorate with their own money, and giving the scions of the ruling class cool jobs in the State Department or the EPA.

And the average voter just wants a quiet life unperturbed by wars and financial crashes.

You can see that there is a profound gulf between the agenda of the ruling class and the ordinary voter. The ruling class wants to strut and fret its hour upon the stage; the voter just wants a quiet life improved by some free stuff from the government.

Who will win out this time? Nobody knows.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Teaching Young Men NOT to Fight

The big problem of the human race, ever since the dawn of agriculture, is giving young men something else to do.

You see, in the hunter-gatherer age every young man was enrolled in the Border Patrol. When he wasn't patrolling the border he was probably making and repairing weapons.

But then came the agricultural age and a lot fewer young men were needed to patrol the border, which was now assigned to border specialists, called "marcher lords," that retained the necessary fierceness required for survival in borderlands.

But what about the rest of the men? What would they do, now that their services were only occasionally needed for warfare? The answer was simple. They would be needed for plowing. It turned out that women, who were perfectly good at most agricultural tasks, suffered miscarriages if they attempted the heavy work of plowing. And so, indeed, throughout the agricultural age, men found new roles doing the heavy and dangerous work. What a relief.

But then came the industrial age and much bigger political units, featuring the nation state. Now even fewer men were needed to be soldiers, and very few were needed for the backbreaking labor on the farm. For a while, at least, men were used in the backbreaking work of mining and work in iron smelters and steelworks. But then came the day when machines started taking over most of the heavy work from men. Now what? Perfectly simple. Men would now sit staring at computers all day building computer models rather than actual buildings and models.

But the truth is that all along, what young men really like to do is get out in the street and break a few heads, and there are always older men encouraging them in this reversion to instinct.

Here's another problem. For the last two hundred years, in the Great Enrichment, a new idea has sprung upon the world. It is that people should negotiate their differences through the price system instead of by war or by government force. But almost immediately a reactionary movement arose, that we call the Left. It argued that the peace of the price system was a sham. In fact, the left argued, revolutionary force would be needed to abolish the price system and its exploitations so that people could live in perfect harmony without the malevolent influence of prices.

No doubt. Except that the Southern racists found it necessary to write segregation laws to prevent businessmen from treating people like people on buses, and in the job market.

And where there is discrimination in the workplace, is there not an opportunity for a canny entrepreneur? Suppose that an evil software company refused to hire women software engineers? Would it not pay an entrepreneur to hire women, and pay them less because of the market marginalization of women, and make bigger profits than the companies that only hired men software engineers? Or is something else at work?

The truth is that none of us really like the results of the price system. And so we get government to rectify the situation, by force. And another truth is that men are natural warriors and rather like being called to the colors and having a nice big dust-up. The price system makes it very difficult to have regular, satisfying dust-ups.

No doubt that is why the left keeps erupting every generation onto the streets. That male fighting instinct keeps erupting in another cohort of human males. Right now we have Black Lives Matter that enacts not very peaceful protests because it doesn't like the way that the police harass young black men on the street. And we have Antifa that believes that violence is the only response to hate speech. Of course they do. There are always young men coming up that can rationalize their natural instinct for war. Only these days they say that they are fighting for peace and justice.

And there will always be new grievances. That's because the price system doesn't care. If employers are mildly prejudiced against young black men in baggy pants, then the wages for young black men in baggy pants will be a bit lower than for white young men that look like they will follow instructions. It ain't fair, but it isn't the end of the world. Then there are the little old ladies that insist on hiring only female certified nurse's assistants to look after them. What about the perfectly nice male CNAs? Distcrimination!

But after all the Sturm und Drang, there is still the problem of what to do with young men and their natural instinct to march towards the sound of the guns.

That is the basic problem of civilization: how to tame the young men from fighting and turn them to working, from military victory to market share victory.

And when our liberal ruling class turns a blind eye to the violence of left-wing activist groups that are trying to subvert the price system, or blow up minor cases of discrimination into major political conflagrations, they are turning the clock back to a more violent world.

Even as they pat each other on the back for their devotion to justice and compassion.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trump is Doing What He Was Elected To Do

In all the left-generated outrage about Charlottesville, let us not take our eyes off the ball.

Donald Trump was nominated to be the presidential candidate of the Republican Party because he did what national Republicans had been afraid to do. He took out after the politically correct, and said things you are not allowed to say on race and sex. For that even Ted Cruz, who was running as the bad boy of the Republican Party, attacked him.

Then Nominee Trump ran against the Hillary Clinton, who represents everything about the corrupt status-quo, and beat her by running up majorities in states that the Democrats assumed were safe for them, attracting votes from the nominally Democrat white working class and other deplorables.

Given how he ran for president, his response to Charlottesville was right down the middle, blaming both sides and saying that there are good people on both sides.

One thing he did not say: even Trump dared not say it. White nationalist and neo-Nazi and KKK groups are a minor problem, because they have no support from the intellectual elite. But a racist group like Black Lives Matter is a problem, because it gets fawning coverage from the mainstream media and the intellectual elite, not to mention funding from the like of George Soros's foundations. But you will notice that the president did not call out Black Lives Matter by name.

And then there is Antifa. You will note that our liberal friends used to write about "peaceful protesters." Then when activists started attacking Trump supporters they began to write about "mostly peaceful protesters." Now they write about violence on both sides. However, do not doubt that white supremacists and KKK and neo-Nazis are the worst things in the world.

It would be funny, if it weren't so sad. Liberals condemn loser white racism yet actually encourage black racism led by rich-kid blacks. And the rank-and-file liberals go along and nod their heads to the utter incoherence of the political catch-phrases that are ladled out by their leaders and thinkers.

Look, I get it. Politics is Division. The stock-in-trade of political activists is to find issues with which to divide people, because that is how you get votes and get elected. Wealth is a hardy perennial. Class had its day for about a century. Race is as good as anything. Hey, you can even exploit the eternal battle of the sexes. Nobody ever went wrong by attacking greedy bankers and oily moneylenders. And you can get a lot of mileage out of the charge of treason and collusion with the Russians.

The whole idea of social animals is that we do not use force against the people in our community. Thus politics is always a threat against the peace within the community as we enact threats and accusations against the Other in our community during the sham fight of an election or a "peaceful protest."

The big problem in our age is not the resentful remains of the Confederate South, or the yahoos that have learned that the way to get attention is to wave swastikas around. The big problem is the reactionary movement of the left that believes race and gender politics, dividing the races and sexes, is the way to bring on a paradise on earth. Hey, I thought that the whole idea of the nation was to get beyond tribalism.

And this after 200 years of the Great Enrichment, in which the culture of surrender to the will of the market and its upstart innovators rather than to feudal barons and ideological buccaneers has increased per-capita income by 3,000 percent for everyone.

Like I say. The great achievement of civilization is to wean young men away from their instinctive love  of threat displays and border warfare and channel their energy into plowing, and latterly into work for wages and the titanic battle for market share.

But when young thugs are battling in the streets for bragging rights about Confederate monuments then something is going wrong.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Yes, So Who Will Win in the Battle of Identity vs. Nation

So this week I read that Fox couldn't get Republicans to come on TV and support President Trump on Charlottesville. But I also read that Steve Bannon told a lefty journalist:
The Democrats … the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.
Meanwhile the Z-Man analyzes the globalists and their notion that when the migrants have migrated all over the world (i.e., into the West) that a global government would be staffed by the same folks that staff the UN: the "rich brats of the world’s political elite."

There also seems to be a suggestion out there that the left's attack on Confederate, and now Founders monuments, is part of some cunning plan from deep down in the liberal-Democratic nexus. The idea is that blacks believed that the Obama presidency would unload tons of loot on them, and it didn't happen. So now they are hopping mad and the Dems need to channel their rage into something.

Or it might lead blacks to give up on politics and start dying of despair, like the last lot that were betrayed by the progressive elite: the white working class.

But it does raise the question of which is better at winning the hearts and minds of the people: identity politics or nationalism?

Let the world note that the three great evil geniuses of the 20th century, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, all found the need to combine their millennial socialism with nationalism. For Hitler, it was National Socialism; for Stalin it was Socialism in one Country. And Mao stood at the Gate of the Forbidden City and apparently did not tell the Han people that "the Chinese People have stood up."

But these were practical men, who would do anything to seize power and then keep it. The theoreticians of the left have always been opposed to the nation state, believing in a single paradise on Earth without boundaries and nations. And so they have always been working on undermining the notion and the fact of the nation by organizing people into sub-national groups: class, race, gender; or supranational groups like the UN and the EU.

On both cases, note that the same people will get to be the rulers.

My idea is that this war on the nation is the most foolish thing in the world, and I like to say that the world-be global ruling class took exactly the wrong lesson from all the nationalism and the fascism of the 1920s and 1930s.

My point is that, despite the stupid World War I, the inflations of the 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s, the suffering peoples of the west were successfully rallied to support and fight for their nations. The German workers, perhaps the most radicalized of any by the socialist wave, all rallied to Germany and fought for the Fatherland, twice. The British working class that had gone on a General Strike in the 1920s nevertheless rallied to Britain in World War II. In the US all  the divisions of the 1930s were healed and everyone rallied to fight for victory over the Nazis and the Japs. I have a 12-CD set of World War II songs put out by Tin Pan Alley, all singing the praises of the war.

Yet after World War II the global elite decided "never again." The people cannot be trusted not to be fascists, they decided, so we must step in and neutralize the fascist bug.

Actually, what the first half of the century proved was that, no matter how badly they were governed, and how badly the ruling class screwed up, the people could still be rallied and unified to support and fight for their nations.

It is clear from President Trump's actions, and from the words of Steve Bannon, that the president is trying to rally the people once again to the notion of nation. And that the rest of the ruling class is opposed to the idea.

Are Trump and Bannon right? Or is the rest of the ruling class? I don't know. All I know is that "nation" is a very powerful idea.

Maybe it is too powerful for some people, and that is why they want to knock it down.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump Puts a Stake in the Ground on Race

Whoever said that the mainstream media were good for nothing? Their lefty frenzy over the Saturday Charlottesville riot has forced President Trump to clarify his position on the race question.

On Saturday, President Trump issued a statement that blamed "many sides" for the riot. He then proceeded to stake out a position that we are all Americans etc.

But the liberals in the media didn't like that, and neither did the old GOP establishment, like Attorney General Sessions and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). What all  these people demanded was a condemnation of white racism. OK, so on Monday Trump gave it to them, and they didn't like it.

But then, on Tuesday, at a press conference in Trump Tower about his infrastructure initiatives, Trump made it clear that he blames both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Meanwhile Mitt Romney tweeted a condemnation of the white nationalists.

OK. So Trump didn't call out Black Lives Matter as black racists, and he didn't call out the Antifa as fascists by any other name. But he has made it perfectly clear where he stands. He stands in the middle and condemns racists and rioters of both the left and the right.

So let me return to Trump's remarks that I posted on Monday.
Above all else we must remember this truth: no matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country, we love our God, we love our flag, we're proud of our country, we're proud of who we are. So we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we are doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen. 
My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other, ideally we have to love each other.
Do you see what the president (or Stephen Miller or Steve Bannon or whoever) is doing? He is doing the only thing that can stave off a ruinous white identity politics. He is saying: enough off all this division and hate; we are Americans; we are a nation. We must restore the bonds of trust and loyalty. We must cherish our history and our future together.

We must come back together as a nation.

And the extremists of both sides are to blame.

Frankly, if you are a racist, sexist homophobe like me you have been waiting 40 years for a Republican to have the guts to say this. But for 40 years Republicans and conservatives have been afraid, afraid of the accusation of racism and automatic conviction from which there is no appeal.

Now comes Trump, and he has made his position clear. He stands right in the middle, an American president for Americans. Can he succeed? Can he tempt the victims out of their identity ghettos, and get all of us to stand together on the glorious fruited plain of America and Americanism?

Nobody knows. But here are a couple of points.

First, Trump may be doing himself a favor by getting into a pissing match with the CEOs that have been resigning from his manufacturing council over the Charlottesville flap. If Trump has a weak spot, it is the suspicion that Trump, the billionaire, is probably in bed with the CEOs and the rest of the billionaires.

Second, Trump may be doing himself a favor with women. Women do not like street riots, any more than they understand hunting and the crunch of beef in football. Women do not settle their arguments with fists, their dirty work by naming and shaming. And women understand that when rioters are in the streets women are particularly vulnerable.

But the basic point is that Trump has done what no other Republican has dared to do. He has plunged his hand into the radioactive bath of race. Time will tell whether he will live to tell the tale.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Left's Syllabus of Errors: Postmodernism

A typical critique of postmodernism from the right is that it flies in the face of "logic, reason, and objective truth." The idea that everything is relative, a "narrative," is offensive to those of us that adhere to traditional ideas of politics and culture.

On the contrary, the postmodernists are exactly right that there is no objective truth, and that everything is a narrative, and usually a narrative for power.

Presumably ever since mankind began to be self-conscious we have searched for the truth and the meaning of life, the universe and everything. And in every religion, every culture, every philosophy, every political program, we think we have found it.

But our present astonishing civilization is built on the realization, that began, let us say, with Descartes, that "we don't know." Descartes thought he had solved the problem with "I think, therefore I am." But he didn't.

To me, the central insight is that of Kant, who argued -- using reason and logic -- that we cannot know "things-in-themselves" but only sense impressions. When you "see" an object out there, according to post-Kantian theory, you are interpreting in your brain the response of the rods and cones in your eyes that were irritated by lots of quanta of electromagnetic radiation, photons that were transmitted from the surface of the object and then processed and concentrated by the lens in your eye. So what is really real in all that?

Probably there is something really real out there, but my interpretation of Kant is that we should be really careful before we announce that, here, finally, is the final word on that object out there. In my view the whole success of modern science from relativity -- hey, space and time are relative -- to quantum mechanics -- hey, the basic unit of the universe is a probability -- is based on the narrative that we are not observing things-in-themselves but only sense impressions processed by our brains.

On this view, relativity is a "narrative," but it is a really good narrative, and if you believe it is true you can launch GPS satellites into orbit that let you use a map app on your smartphone and get where you want to go.

On this view, capitalism is also a "narrative," and a really good narrative. Following the narrative we humans have increased per-capita income by 30 times, 3,000 percent, in the 200 years of the Great Enrichment. There has been nothing like it, ever.

On this view, socialism is a "narrative," and a really bad one. Following its narrative socialist leaders have plunged their peoples again and again into poverty, famine, and death. See the Soviet Union, Maoist China, and now Venezuela.

In other words, everyone has a narrative. The question is, does it work? Here's Shakespeare's Harry
Hotspur.
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?
Now, the narrative of the postmodernists is that under the rule of the patriarchy white males have accumulated "white privilege" that has harmed and marginalized everyone else, from white women to "people of color" to LGBT sexual minorities. The postmodernists offer a range of government policies that they argue will rectify the marginalization and injustice suffered by these victims of the patriarchy. One of their central policies is to us government power to rectify "under-representation." It is argued, for instance, that white and Asian men are over-represented in Silicon Valley tech companies, and that the tech companies should make a special effort to hire women and non-Asian minorities to redress the balance.

The narrative of the postmodernists is that the fact that some 80 percent of tech company employees are white or Asian men is an injustice, and that government force should be used to redress it. But what about a counter-narrative? There are, you might argue, a lot of innocent reasons why white and Asian men might dominate tech employment, but you are not allowed to raise those questions, as the defenestration of Google employee James Damore demonstrated.

So, on the one hand we have a narrative that says, in effect, that we should let the white and Asian male nerds do their thing in Tech-land and not get too exercised about the gender and race statistics, although certainly it would be nice for all walks of life to participate in the tech experience, and there is plenty of room to disagree.

On the other hand we have a narrative that says that any gender or racial imbalance in the workplace is an injustice that must be rectified by government power and you are not allowed to disagree.

Since all narratives are relative and a narrative for power, you figure out which narrative you would like to live under.

So what does this all mean?

In my view, it all makes sense if you regard the left as a reactionary movement that believes that political power and government force are the means to create a just and peaceful world. This used to be true before the industrial revolution when food was life and the only way to survive in the world was to find land on which you could grow food and defend your land against all comers.

Today, all that has changed. Today it doesn't matter who owns the food-growing land. All that matters is that food is available to buy and sell on the market. All that matters is that everything is available to buy and sell on the market, because then there is no need to use force.

But if the world doesn't need so much political power and force, what happens to people that are interested in power? Perfectly simple. They start looking in dark corners for occasions where force is the only answer. Back in the 19th century Marx decided that force was the only answer to the inevitable immiseration of the workers under capitalism. But in fact the workers thrived under capitalism. Then came the Frankfurt School and postmodernism and decided that women and blacks and colonized peoples were horribly exploited and marginalized. So the white patriarchs gave women the vote and got out of imperialism, and gave civil rights to blacks and other racial and sexual minorities. So what's the problem?

The problem is that some people still believe, after all the evidence of the last 200 years, that force is the answer. On my narrative, they are dead wrong.

My narrative is that, while government force and political power are still needed, because there are still people that worship power and want to dominate other men, there is only a very narrow area where political power and government force are beneficial. That's because in the market system, anyone suffering under exploitation and marginalization can quit and go down the street and get a job somewhere else.

And Marx's basic prophecy turned out to be wrong. He thought that the new industrial era would replace the lord's domination of the peasantry with the bourgeoisie's domination of the workers. But he was wrong, and for a curious reason. It turned out that the bourgeoisie was not that interested in power. It was more interested in building businesses in transportation, energy, electricity, manufacturing, computers, and the internet. Hey, let's go to Mars, say the billionaires.

But some people are still interested in power, and they worship it. Instead of the bourgeoisie bidding for political power we got a New Class of educated youth that wanted power and that developed a narrative to justify it.

I would say that wherever this New Class has obtained power it has rained misery and division upon ordinary people, because of one simple fact. We humans are social animals, and we thrive by minimizing the need for force. The whole point of social animals is reducing the need for force. Any narrative that wants to increase the use of force is going against the fundamental proposition of social animals, to reduce the use of force among "us."

Let us tell a story.

In the story of humanity, initially hunter-gatherers, the range of social cooperation was small, just an extended family. Every male was involved in defending the territory by force and the result was that 500 people per 100,000 died a violent death each year. But then humans invented agriculture. Now the size of the territory was much bigger and only marcher lords and their retainers were needed to defend the territory. A lot more people could engage in the social cooperation of growing food and building temples and pyramids and cathedrals. The annual violent death rate dropped to 50 people per 100,000 population. But then humans invented manufacturing and global trade and steam transportation and on and on. Now only a small professional army was needed to defend the borders, and a navy to patrol the sea lanes, and nearly everyone could work in the market system in peace. The annual violent death rate dropped to 5 people per 100,000 population. Oh, and the per capita income grew by 30 times in 200 years.

On this narrative the progressive left is a vile and evil band of troublemakers, picking at the few remaining scabs of injustice in a society that is otherwise astonishingly just and peaceful.

It is up to us to rise up and send them packing.

Monday, August 14, 2017

With White Identity Politics, What Becomes of White Liberals?

A basic prediction of the alt-right is that, at some point, despite all the naming and shaming, whites in America will have to organize politically according to the rules of identity politics.

From the point of view of American whites, and especially white males, the identity politics of blacks, Hispanics, women and LGBT is reaching the point where, unless we organize politically as white males, we will be thrown under the bus.

In that process, people like me, that really don't like to identify by race, will be forced to join the white party, or perish in the wilderness.

But what about white liberals?

Up to now, white liberals have presented themselves as Homeric gods -- way above the earthly realms of humans -- dispensing divine justice, according to their whims or their deeply felt sense of justice.

But liberals have been teaching the world for 50 years about white privilege and the male gaze. Where does that leave male white liberals when whites are forced into white identity politics.

There have been some murmurings that the minorities in the Democrat Party are getting restive under the tutelage of white leaders. What is it that makes Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer so special? What makes them think they can represent the traditionally marginalized victims of white privilege in the future? According to current liberal doctrine it is monstrous for men to write about women and whites to write about blacks. How can any man presume to know about the female experience, or a white presume to understand the black experience?

Well, if that applies to writers of fiction then it has to apply to politicians. So how can Chuck Schumer, a white straight man, presume to speak for the voters in his Democratic Party that are overwhelmingly female, non-white, and LGBT.

At the moment, as indicated by Rebels of Google dumping to Breitbart, elite white males do pretty well at Google, because Google recruits from top Ivy League universities and finds a lot of elite white males. Then it recruits at lesser institutions to fill up the quotas with females and minorities. On this view elite white liberals are doing pretty well. And the Rebels say that to succeed as an ordinary middle-class white male you have to be really good.

Yeah and what about the unbearable whiteness of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google? Shouldn't they give way to real and genuine underrepresentated minorities. And I do not mean Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who according to reports is a Brahmin, the top caste in India that has been top caste for thousands of years. How about an untouchable next time, Larry and Sergey?

What happens to elite white males when identity politics takes over everything and elite white males are the only white males left un-conquered?

As I write in my latest American Thinker piece, there is only one workable alternative on offer to the war of all against all implied in the racist and tribal practice of identity politics. And that is nationalism.

In this, as in many things, our liberal friends have got the wrong end of the stick.

The correct judgment for the elite to make at the end of World War II was not to decide "never again" will we allow the ghost of nationalism to rise from Hitler's grave. It should have been to realize how remarkable it was, after the mess of World War I and the elite failures of the 1920s in Germany and in the US in the wake of the 1929 Crash, that ordinary people still stayed loyal to the completely artificial and cooked-up idea of nation, and did not revert to their more natural tribal and kindred instincts.

And yet the bottom line of elite politics for the last 50 or so years is to encourage tribalism and racism in their little darlings, the women, the blacks, the Hispanics, and more. It worked so long as they could name and shame middle-class whites into silence.

But of course, this elite politics was and is profoundly unjust. Nothing remarkable about this: that's what always happens when a ruling class rules and the inheritors of their dynasty exhibit a certain conceit for being, as they say, born on third base and thinking they hit a triple.

So last Saturday, after the Charlottesville riot, President Trump invoked our common identity as Americans.
Above all else we must remember this truth: no matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country, we love our God, we love our flag, we're proud of our country, we're proud of who we are. So we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we are doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.

My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history an our future together. So important. We have to respect each other, ideally we have to love each other.
In liberal-land this is called a weak stance against racism.

I'd call it a strong statement in favor of the only idea that is going to stop the United States crumbling into dust.

And it is the last best hope of elite white male liberals. Only nationalism can save them from the humiliation of have to join the white party in the identity politics of all against all.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Damore Case: What Do Liberals Want

The Damore case, of the 28-year-old nerd-head that got mad after a diversity training session at Google, has entered a new phase.

Yes, the new critics say, Damore had a point, but he is naive. He really doesn't get the bigger picture.

One of them, Nicole Gelinas, from the Manhattan Institute says that "the contents of his memo are nothing to celebrate; He said nothing that hasn’t already been said, in tiresome fashion, for decades." And his memo has made Google's job, to "manage the people who make up its business... harder."

Then there is Megan McArdle, who writes that, after working in IT for years with the guys she decided one day at a Monday morning meeting that "fundamentally, these are not my people." It was after her account of a doomed romance and a Saturday concert had been met with dead silence and a guy's account of spending the weekend building a fiber network in his basement. So then she segues into "Sexism is a process" and working in tech is going to be pretty rough for women unless "some pretty heroic efforts are made to counteract all that free-floating testosterone.¨

All of which is fine. But the point is whether the government should be in there with its mailed fist nailing down the details of managing people in every workplace. It is one thing to fine and imprison people for not hiring and promoting women and minorities. It is another thing to bully them into making life comfortable for the pets of liberal activists.

Government is force. Is government force the right tool to manage and regulate corporate cultures? Must the tech industry be made to be comfortable for well-born women, or else? Or does that amount to treating well-born women like children?

Now, I do not doubt that one of the most important things in the world right now is that well-born and well-educated women should all get to feel comfortable in the workplace and able to discuss their relationships in Monday morning meetings, and that the Goolag should be able to force its corporate culture on its employees to protect its $90 billion in the bank.

But let us get down to the nitty gritty. And that means Charles Murray and his Coming Apart. Right now, things are pretty copacetic for the top 25 percent of whites in America, of which well-born women at Google are probably in the One Percent. They have great careers and merger marriages, and the divorce rate is down. But things are not so great for the 40 percent in the middle, where the jobs are not so great and the marriages don't always last. And things are really grim for the bottom 30 percent where the men don't work much and the women don't marry much.

Now, I declare before all the world that I don't think that any of the well-born women and diversity hires at Google have a leg to stand on when we are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to help the bottom 75 percent find a more secure life.

And no. Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and doing single-payer health care and saving the planet from climate change and moving to gender-neutral bathrooms, and all the rest of the progressive liberal rubbish, ain't gonna do it.

The fact is that liberals are totally obsessed with fluffing the pillows in their own liberal Bubble World where things are already pretty comfy. And if you look at the things that liberals say they want, the one thing that comes through is that liberals do not have a clue about what other people want, nor do they care, unless you are a liberal pet and sit up and beg for a doggy treat on command.

The whole Google flap shows that liberals are just like every late-stage ruling class. They are totally obsessed with their tiny aristocratic world and its competitive social events, its liberal equivalents of Royal Ascot, and the one thing they are sure about is that they are better than other people are, publicans and sinners.

Friday, August 11, 2017

I Do Remember the Curve of Hotspur's Butt

Hey kids! Yesterday I went to a performance of Henry IV Part One at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, in which the notorious marcher lord Harry Percy was played by a woman. As was his/her relative the poisonous Earl of Worcester, and Sir Richard Vernon.

In other words, the rebel alliance were all played by women! Hello liberal woman director Lileana Blain-Cruz. You really don't get women as marcher lords raging about everything and damning everyone to hell and back again while they work up a head of rebellion. Not in the real world. Women don't operate that way, which anyone would know unless their education had been confined to sex-denialism at an Ivy League university.

Women get their way in the world by manipulating the current system, as in manipulating tech companies like Google into hiring more women software engineers. They rarely get their way in the world by overturning the system or working at a tech startup. It's the science, baby.

But the bigger problem is that it really doesn't make sense to cast a woman into a role where she is having a knife fight with a man. And it really doesn't make sense to cast a woman into a role where the most notable thing about her is the snug fit of her camo pants. And it really doesn't make the point when the said woman, cast in a role as a quarrelsome troublemaking marcher lord, gets killed and dragged off stage by the coward Falstaff. You see, m'lady, men are expendable, so it doesn't matter if the Percys lose a son or two. But the death of every woman is a debit against posterity. Because the most notable thing about women is that they bear children, and men do not.

And again, why do we have two or three babes in skimpy white-trash low-cut bar-girl getups with a Dolly Parton lookalike Mistress Quickly? Isn't that, like, sexist? Isn't it, like, propagating vile liberal race and gender stereotypes? Shouldn't there, like, be a black rent-boy at the Boar's Head Tavern, just to make it diverse and inclusive? Whatever.

Of course, why would we expect a liberal woman with a double-barrel surname and an Ivy League MFA degree to have the least clue about high politics and aristocratic warfare in the late Middle Ages? Where would she learn such stuff? What masters degrees would be out there? What intern opportunities? What grant prospects? Imagine the microaggressions and unsafe spaces she would encounter in the process!

Never mind. Because after two clueless productions from two clueless directors with Ivy League MFA degrees that mangled two great cultural monuments of western culture into silly putty we got to see, here at Ashland, a numinous performance of The Odyssey, adapted and produced by Mary Zimmerman.

It may truly be said that Zimmerman lived up to the OSF's Mission Statement to produce "illuminating interpretations" on its stages.

Really, it wasn't more than ten minutes into The Odyssey that I turned and said "now we're talking."

Of course, The Odyssey is a corker of a story, with the universal themes of loss and the heartbreak of separation and the emotion supercharge of reunion. But then The Merry Wives of Windsor is a magnificent romp, and Henry IV Part One is a magnificent disquisition on ambition and betrayal and coming-of-age and I know not what.

The point is that the usual idiots can wreck a cultural icon as well as any man in Illyria.  To make the cultural icon come alive and move and illuminate the hearts and minds of the audience takes something more.

And my feeling is that the liberal rage for diversity and inclusion is not just going to vandalize the great monuments of western culture. It is going to end up by ruining liberalism itself. Let us take our text from Eric Hoffer:
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
I think that our liberal friends have got right through the movement stage, have burned through most of the business stage, and are deep in the racket stage. And really, when you are in the racket stage you are  just a bunch of gang-bangers with more testosterone than sense.

As in: three of the plays I have watched here at Ashland over the past three days have been directed by women and minorities with Ivy League MFA degrees.

Does not that smell like a bit of a racket? As in the interview policy of Google with softball interviews for Ivy Leaguers and diversity hires. Only the three directors here at Ashland are minority/women and Ivy Leaguers.

Mary Zimmerman is the daughter of a physics professor and a comparative literature professor. And she went to Northwestern. So strictly speaking, she is not an Ivy Leaguer, although with two professor parents it does count as two strikes against her.

But maybe that Northwestern bit makes a difference. Or maybe it is that Mary Zimmerman has found a way to break out of the liberal bubble and speak to us all.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Cultural Problem at the Heart of Ashland

Here at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, the festival program declares that
We include a diversity of people, ideas and cultures in our work, enriching our art, our relationships with each other, our audiences and our community.
That means that OSF is always careful to include black actors and a black play every year -- August Wilson seems to be a go-to playwright, as elsewhere in the liberal drama world. And last night, at a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor played with a female Sir John Falstaff,  there were blacks, Hispanics, and East Asians playing minor parts and an occasional Spanish phrase to demonstrate diversity and inclusion.

But really, should a Shakespeare festival give a damn about "other cultures?" Shouldn't its Mission Statement say that "we celebrate Shakespeare" rather than
Inspired by Shakespeare's work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays [etc].
Which is to say that "we are liberals" and our job as white educated liberals is to treat everyone else on the planet as our beloved pets, except for nasty cis-hetero-white deplorables who violate our Code of Conduct. They will be named and shamed and fired like Google's James Damore. Probably, that would never happen at a place like OSF because Deplorables don't have a chance in racist sexist homophobic hell of being hired in the first place.

I know. It really isn't as simple as that. OSF's audience is politically liberal and it expects the proper genuflection to liberal gods, and the artistic and administrative corps of the festival are also liberals that naturally enact and celebrate the canons of the liberal faith. So stop complaining, you whiner.

And the reality is that OSF doesn't do illuminating adaptions of anything. What it does, especially in these latter days, is dumb the plays down, and indicate, by a wafting a hand past the backside, when a fart joke has been made in Elizabethan English.

And because all its practitioners live and worship in the liberal bubble, OSF puts up stone-blind productions like a recent Julius Caesar as a woman CEO surrounded by Roman senators dressed as actors attending rehearsal in artistical black. Yeah. That's real illuminating. For rather more illumination try HBO's Rome on Netflix, which somehow, even though designed for a TV audience, manages to get the power politics of the patricians of Rome. No women CEOs, just aristocratic rich bitches manipulating things from behind the scene, as the aristocratic rich bitches have attempted to do from time immemorial.

Oh well. Today in Henry IV Part One, the Falstaff will be a man. But the Hotspur will be a woman.

Yeah. The most testosterone-fueled character in all of Shakespeare, including a duel to the death with who's-a-naughty-boy-then Prince Hal, will be a girl. Hey, why not? Wonder Woman can outfight any man in Illyria. So why not a woman as the Great Northern Hope of the Percy's, the Earls of Northumberland, marcher lords since whenever whose job was to keep out the Scots.

Well, you really can't expect these liberals to know anything. They are idiots and they are faithful communicants at the Church of Diversity and Inclusion, or you lose your job.

Meanwhile, I was reading that the later Dukes of Northumberland, no relations, assumed the surname Percy. Gee, I wonder why.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why Is Our Ruling Class Denying Reality?

Why did Google fire that guy that dared to question corporate orthodoxy on diversity? Why did the Google diversity heretic's HR abbess insist that he was wrong on diversity and inclusion?

In fact, why do our rulers insist that we are all equal, or they will make us so, per equality politics? And why is it heating up?

Because the ruling-class denial of racial differences is going right into the toilet because of gene science. ZMan:
As people come to accept the reality of gene editing, even if it is just to make better dog breeds, it is much more difficult to maintain the mythologies of the blank slate.
The point is that gene editing is coming. That means that we will be able to make babies with a genetic makeup that differs from the possibilities they could have inherited from their parents. That means that the insistence on equality of results by government force will be ridiculous when you can adjust genetic inheritances with just a little tweaking.

And yet right now our ruling class is going crazy forbidding anyone from mentioning sex and race differences.
As science makes clear the realities of human biology, our rulers scream ever louder to the contrary. Instead of simply ignoring the new information, they are waging pogroms too root out anyone not fully committed to their biological denialism. Every week were treated to some new scandal where a heretic is brought forth and punished for acknowledging reality.
What is going on here? ZMan reminds us of the growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire.
As the people began to embrace the new religion, the rulers tried to crack down on it. This only made the new religion more popular. 
It was the genius of Constantine to reverse course and put the ruling class on the side of the new religion. And so some politician is going to do the same with regard to biological denialism, the blank slate, diversity politics etc. Because why get all worked up about inequality when a little DNA editing can solve the problem with a nip and a tuck?

OK, but why is our ruling class so committed to diversity politics and why are they bullying the Googles of the world and the wedding cake bakers and Uncle Tom Cobbley and forcing everyone to bow the head to their ideology? What's the point?

I guess there isn't a point really. It's just that the rulers, by instinct, always want us to bow the knee  to them, as a ceremony of their power. They are the rulers; we are the subjects. Rulers rule, and subjects bend the knee. There has to be some issue around which this ceremony of domination is solemnized.

Right now it is diversity, and I wish it wasn't.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Convergence of Tech

I suppose it is inevitable that the left would want to conquer and subdue the tech industry. After all, that's where the power is.

And the central fact about business and politics since the industrial revolution is that business is a sitting duck for politics. Or rather the goose that laid the golden egg.

And if you are in the political power game, conquering and subduing is what you do.

Used to be that kings and emperors went a-conquering of land. But now the new political power, the educated ruling class, wants to conquer business. Because that's where the money is.

So of course Google would knuckle under to the SJW warriors and make itself into a "converged" company where speech is free as long as you don't speak a word against the secular religious orthodoxy of "diversity and inclusion."

And so it is inevitable and appropriate that Google's VP of diversity and inclusion would email a screed saying that Google is all in favor of free speech, but not speech that is wrong with respect to diversity and inclusion. Of course she did. And of course Google CEO Sundar Pichai fired James Damore for his rather tame piece on diversity.

Hey, apart from the fact that the Obama administration paid Google's loyalty and assistance over the last eight years by a Department of Labor diversity suit in January 2017, these tech  guys are tame followers of the conventional wisdom.

Of course they are. They have put their life energy into tech, not into politics and philosophy. So they just pick up the conventional wisdom and the orthodoxy of the ruling class with their breakfast latte.

And when they hit the big time, they learn pretty quick that they have to play ball  with the politicians and activists, or suffer the fate of the Koch Brothers, and become the whipping boys of the left.

Poor naive Bill Gates thought he was going  to keep Microsoft out of politics. But then the politicians came calling, and the Justice Department sicced an antitrust suit on Microsoft, and Bill Gates immediately understood who was boss.

I think it is a shame, a monstrous shame, that we are being named and shamed for politically incorrect speech. Oh, and fired from our jobs.

Remember when? Remember when the left was outraged about the Hollywood Ten, blacklisted (sorta) back in the early days of the Cold War for being a little too close to the Communist Party. Hey who cares about Brendan Eich or James Damore or Tim Hunt? They had it coming, good and hard.

Well, we know where we stand. It is up to us to change the culture and re-create an America where a guy is free to publish a screed about science and not get fired from his job.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Google Diversity: The Rage for Meaning

We humans insist that life has a meaning. We are not satisfied to be born and to die, to be a link in the Great Chain of Being. We want to be the link in the Great Chain of Being.

Thus is it not enough for Google to be a hugely successful tech company that provides knowledge to the world through its search technology.

No, Google longs for something fuller, higher than that. Indeed Google follows the instruction  of liberal Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. We humans, he argues must follow a dual track, as I retail in An American Manifesto.
 First, we recognize the importance of ordinary human flourishing: forming families, owning property, doing it for the children. Second, we recognize that we all search for something higher and fuller.
So it is not enough for Google to assist in ordinary human flourishing with cool technology and Google Photos and Google Drive and Android and Uncle Tom Cobbley. Google searches for something higher and fuller.

And if you are an ordinary successful tech billionaire in tune with the Zeitgeist, that means diversity. But, argues Taylor
To balance these goals, we must define our moral aspirations in terms that do not “crush, mutilate or deny what is essential to our humanity... [and] fully respect ordinary human flourishing.” He proposes to balance the ideal with the practical, to recognize that secular utopianism belongs in the same bin as religious millennarianism: Plato’s Republic, medieval monasticism and the Bolshevik “new Soviet man;” all of them crush and mutilate ordinary human flourishing. 
Hello SJWs!

Back in the old days, liberals used to fulminate about conservatives "legislating morality." Today, we read of people anxious that the Google guy that issued a ten-page manifesto that was equivocal about diversity should be named and shamed and fired for his apostasy.

The French have a  word for this: Plus ça change. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.

What I say is that diversity is a grand and noble idea. Except when it is accompanied by force. So, I don't like the idea of government universities playing race and gender politics, because  that means enforcing someone's idea of diversity with force.

And it is the most pathetic conceit for a big corporation like Google to imagine that it is in the business  of anything other than ordinary human flourishing.

It is very hard to balance ordinary human flourishing with something higher and fuller. Time and time again in human history, the folks longing for something higher have spindled and mutilated the folks that disagree with them.

But you knew that.