Tuesday, October 31, 2017

All Politics is Identity Politics

I was looking at a long thumb-sucker at Weekly Standard about identity politics: "The Primal Scream of Identity Politics," by Mary Eberstadt.

I was thinking how to write about it and shine my sharp light upon the question of identity politics when my attention was drawn to another, similar thumb-sucker at Clarement Review of Books, "The Democrats' Dilemma" by William Voegeli.

I realized that, for people like you and me, there is something scandalous about identity politics. That, of course, is because we are live-and-let-live middle-class people that are pretty comfortable with the Bourgeois Deal: work hard, be responsible, obey the law. We really don't want to enlist in anyone's political army, let alone an identity-politics army.

But politics is always identity politics. Let us take Britain, which I know best. You can say that in the Plantagenet era, politics was about whacking the French in the Hundred Years War. Were you for or against the king's just claims in the north and the west of France. Then in the War of the Roses, it was whose side were you on: the Yorkists or the Lancastrians.

Once you get into the Elizabethan era we start to get into religious identity politics. Protestant vs. Catholic, and this religious conflict went right on until 1688 when the Dutch invaded Britland and modified the politics to fight the French and their Catholic religion. Now we enter the age of patriotism: are you for or against the nation?

Then, after the Battle of Waterloo, the music changed. Politics became about class identity. Luddites had already been breaking machines; then there was a worker rising in Scotland in 1820 and the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1832. Politics started to become a question of for-or-against the workers, and we started to experience the modern division, in which the intellectuals side with the workers against the middle class. This class identity politics continued for over a century until 2000, after which, in Britain, the division became between the middle class and a coalition of intellectuals and immigrants. The white working class "white van man" started to move away from the Labour Party.

I am saying that there is nothing remarkable or scandalous about this. Politics is division, and people will divide according to some divisive principle: court intrigue, class, religion, race, nation, whatever.

In the United States, since 1933, there was clearly a class politics, with the intellectual elite bidding to lead the workers against the middle class, and providing the intellectual power to use political power to load up the workers with various economic benefits, from pensions to health care to labor union privileges, all to be paid for by the middle class and the rich. That was what the New Deal Democrats were all about.

But the music stopped in the Sixties, when the intellectual elite, basking in the glow of the Civil Rights Acts, decided to make politics about race and gender identity rather than class identity. Now politics was no longer about whether you were for or against the workers; it was whether you were for or against women and minorities.

But nobody thought about what would happen to the workers with this new political alignment. We do now.

In her piece on identity politics Mary Eberhardt notes how the leaders of race and gender identity politics are becoming more and more strident. Eight years after America elected its First Black President Salon executive editor Andrew O’Hehir writes about Trump as America's First White President, "the first president defined by whiteness, the first whose glaring and overwhelming whiteness is a salient issue that lies at the core of his appeal."

OK, fine. But wouldn't the white working class, after being abandoned and humiliated by the intellectual class, find some other means of connecting into the political system? And since we are now in an era of race identity rather than class identity, wouldn't they eventually get with the program, with the New Thing of race identity?

In his identity politics piece, William Voegeli goes heavily into the fact, popularized by Charles Murray, that the intellectual class done pretty well for itself out of its political leadership, economically and status-wise. And he notes the white electoral divide.
According to CNN, voters of all races with a postgraduate education accounted for 18% of the 2016 electorate, and favored Clinton by a margin of 58% to 37%.
The white working class, by the way, hates the credentialed managerial elite. It "resents professionals" because its interaction with the educated elite mainly consists of "being bossed around, second-guessed, and condescended to."

It is comical to see the hysteria on the left with regard to race and gender.
Slate’s L.V. Anderson spoke for many upper-quintile Democrats when she stated that Trump’s victory caused white liberals to "see our unjust, racist, sexist country for what it is."
Translation: Oh boy, our race and gender identity politics is starting to look like a loser. Oh no!

Notice how conveniently my reductive Three Peoples theory explains all this. If there are three peoples then it is natural that in politics the three will divide up into two against one, and the politics of the last 200 years has been about the intellectual elite People of the Creative Self, the 18 percent with graduate degrees, enjoying life as professionals working at Dickens' Circumlocution Office to back the People of the Subordinate Self against the People of the Responsible Self.

For some reason, though, the People of the Creative Self can't bring themselves to represent the whole of the People of the Subordinate Self. They have to play favorites. This I do not understand.

I have frequently affirmed the fundamental injustice of the intellectual elite's program, which was to enroll the People of the Subordinate Self in their political army with promises of loot and plunder and lifetime employment and pensions, and then abandon them when they were no longer any use. And this is doubly wrong because in the Great Enrichment, people don't really need to organize in political armies; economic growth just falls into our laps if we allow the innovators to innovate.

And what were their erstwhile political soldiers to do, when they had been taught to repose on their benefices and not keep themselves up to scratch in the skills needed in the ever-changing economy, and the economy changed, and it was no longer possible to sit life out as a unionized manufacturing worker with a union pension?

Obviously, the era of race-and-gender politics is reaching what the Brits call its sell-by date. But don't worry, we will find another way to divide and keep tempers and emotions high.

If nothing else, this is because men have a culture of insult, and like to insult people to their face; women have a culture of complaint, and like to complain to their friends about other friends who are conveniently not present. Why change when we are all having so much fun?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Did You Know that the Pill Helps Economic Growth?

According to The New York Times President Trump's policy reversal on Obamacare, rescinding the no-cost birth control mandate, is going to slow economic growth.

That's because the pill increased women's participation in the workforce back in the 1970s. By 8  percent. "In fact, about a third of the increase in how many women attained careers in fields like law and business was due to birth control." And rescinding free birth control is a burden on women, to the tune of $1.4 billion a year.

President Trump wants 4 percent growth. But that won't be possible without "policy interventions, and tax changes or tough talk on trade won’t cut it."

Sorry NYT. You are clueless. It is the "policy interventions" like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank and regulation up the ying-yang on everything from renewable energy to labor law that put the kibosh  on growth. And it is a global tragedy that folks like you don't get it.

Finally, says the Times:
If contraception goes back to costing hundreds of dollars a year, women will feel the financial pinch. If that happens, we’ll all suffer the economic consequences.
Imagine that! a few hundred dollars a year is going to sink the economy! Start the policy interventions this afternoon!

Actually, of course, these liberals are clueless. It is policy interventions and clueless free stuff that hinders economic growth, not products and services priced in the market. And young women that push for careers in law and business can certainly afford to pay for their contraceptives, and if they can't I'm sure that Daddy can.

Really, of course, the cluelessness goes deeper. The purpose of women on this Earth is not to boost economic growth. It is to put the next generation on the ground and then get them off the nest. You can have all the economic growth in the world, but if women don't have 2.1 children, on average, then your country and your people are going into the toilet. Or you will have to import millions of the uneducated and un-cultured to the market economy, and those immigrants are going to cost a bundle. See California and Germany.

And then there is the whole question of What Do Women Want? What upscale women want, far too often, is to pay someone else to raise their kids while they do high-status stuff instead. These days high-status stuff means a professional career, or activism. But the studies show that ordinary women want to concentrate on their families. They like to work, but their preference is part-time work so they can concentrate on raising their children.

But who cares about what ordinary women want?

The funny thing is that liberals are sitting here in the ruin of their cultural and economic ideas, and still asking for more. John C. Wright, the sci-fi author, has just put out, in the aftermath of Harveywood, a withering critique of the sexual revolution, and how it leads directly to young women getting exploited and then blaming everything in sight for their misery but the misery of being flung around in the pitiless culture of sex by "consent."
She has been taught that consent, just consent, and nothing else, is the sole measure of whether sex is licit or illicit. Whatever is without consent is rape, even if she consented at the time. Whatever is with consent is legitimate, even if she is not married to the man she is servicing sexually. But the whole point of luring and tempting a young girl with offers she lacks the strength of will to resist is to obviate her consent.

You see, if you live in a society where consent is the sole measure of right and wrong in matters of sex, then consent also does not matter. Only power matters.
In other words, "consent" is meaningless, a band-aid plastered over the debased culture of the sexual revolution. The simple fact is that men are sexual predators, and every society needs to enact cultural norms and guardrails to restrain that predation. In the old days of the "double standard" women who observed the niceties were not be the object of sexual predation, and there were penalties for men that violated the norm.

We are now, of course, trying to recover something similar today. That's what all the fuss about rape culture is about. It is recognizing that "consent" is not enough. But it is trying to enact a culture to protect young women without admitting, and declaring before all the world, that the sexual revolution is a failure. Because we People of the Creative Self cannot admit that the old bourgeois culture of the People of the Responsible Self was right after all.

And this is to say nothing about the real drawbacks of the sexual revolution, that STDs very often lead to sterility, particularly in women, that delayed childbearing past 30 means difficulty getting pregnant, and that the Pill often results in depression in women (like 20 to 30 percent more than those not using the Pill).

But what is that compared to to vital importance of women in the workforce contributing to economic growth and the transcendental truth of the sexual revolution?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Religion and the Three Peoples: The Big Problem

Ever since I read John C. Wright's blog about "politics is downstream of culture and culture is downstream of religion," my mind has been in a tizzy. I wrote about it on Tuesday, but that is not enough.

See, I agree with John C. Wright, but I lacked the chops to put the issue in such stark terms. I mean, I've said that ours is a great age of religion, in which militant religions have been sweeping the world. Only, of course, the most obvious case has been socialism. But I have not had the genius to put my notions with such clarity.

But the story of religion is not just  the story of the transformation of divine religion into  secular religion. While we are not looking, Christianity has been making huge gains in China, in Africa, and in South America. Of course it has, because Christianity, like all the Axial Age religions is a response to urbanization. People need a new religion when they move from the country to the city.

Now, socialism and all the other modern secular religions are religions by and for the People of the Creative Self. But there is a Big Problem. To show why, we should start with the most characteristic religion of the Axial Age.

The religion of the People of the Subordinate Self is a religion of protection. You submit yourself to your Great Lord because he is the only way you can get protection from the dangerous, pitiless world. But this Great Lord, whether divine or mortal, does not really care about you, he only cares about his court politics in heaven. It's just the same in your hunter-gatherer village or landed estate. The Big Man doesn't care about you, but he protects you as his kinsman or his sword fodder, because it is convenient.

The religion of the People of the Responsible Self is a religion of responsibility, in which people are not helpless before the might of the Great Lord but able to do something about it. This is because when people move to the city, or enter the market economy, they must shift for themselves. Thus, Finke and Stark in The Churching of America, quoting a preacher during the Great Awakening in the 18th century:
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
On this view God has created the world and handed down his Law, and it is up to responsible city dwellers to figure out how to do it. But there is an interesting twist. The Religion of the People of the Responsible Self also charges its believers to care for the poor, the People of the Subordinate Self. The People of the Responsible Self are not to reorganize the world purely for themselves; they must also look after the folks that have not yet seen the light.

Enter the People of the Creative Self. The God of their religion is the Creative Ego, so, to a great extent, the religion of the People of the Creative Self is self-worship. You can tell what this religion is all about; it is all about becoming a writer or an artist, an activist or a revolutionary. Every young sprout of the People of the Creative Self wants to construct some original work of the mind, to create the world anew. And that includes human society.

And the religion of the People of the Creative Self is also concerned with the People of the Subordinate Self. It demands that society remake itself to care for the marginalized and the oppressed by promoting equality and justice.

But what the religion of the People of the Creative Self does not do is show any compassion for the People of the Responsible Self. In fact, from the beginning the People of the Creative Self have regarded the People of the Responsible Self as the problem.

That was what Marx and Engels were all about. They assumed that the new world aborning in 1850 was a world in which the old world of lords exploiting and oppressing peasants was in the process of transforming into a world in which capitalists would oppress workers. And so the religion they created declared holy war on the capitalists and the bourgeoisie that did not care for the workers.

Since then the People of the Creative Self have declared war on everything about the People of the Responsible Self, in everything from the market economy to the bourgeois family, to the idea of personal responsibility to Christianity itself.

And this is worse that a crime -- and it is a monstrous crime, perhaps the crime of the millennium -- but a blunder. I have descanted on this a number of times. In the first place, the bourgeoisie was perfectly happy to bring the working class, and women, and minorities into the political system and give them a vote. And then it turned out that the capitalists were not that interested in political power. So, despite the prophecy of Marx and Engels, the new world did not become a world in which the rising bourgeoisie ground the working class into the dust.

But the People of the Creative Self have assumed from 1850 to now that the People of the Responsible Self must be suppressed and their world view demonized as racist, sexist, homophobic. Because.

I think this is a monstrous blunder, as well as a monstrous crime.

And nothing will change until the People of the Creative Self reform their religion to tolerate the religion of the People of the Responsible Self. In other words, the religion of creativity should sit upon the shoulders of the religion of responsibility rather than attempt to replace it.

This ought to be so obvious that even a college snowflake terrified of microaggression should get it.

In my view, the notion of the creative ego is an outgrowth of the notion of the responsible ego, and obviously anyone proposing to change the world with their wonderful art and literature and politics and cool products should be deeply concerned about what their brilliant ideas will do to ordinary people just going about their business. Just as we all agree that the revolutionary bourgeoisie of 1850 should have been concerned about what their factories and railways and steamships should do to ordinary country folk and the country folk that journeyed to the city to plunge into the most reckless experiment in human history.

Let the record show that the Great Enrichment of the bourgeoisie has been the most sustained growth  in human prosperity ever, from $1-3 per person per day to $100 per person per day in 200 years.

Let the record show that the most significant project of the People of the Creative Self, socialism and communism, have been among the most cruel and violent disasters in human history.

So the time is now for the best creative minds of the People of the Creative Self to reform their religion and make the most obvious and sensible change possible. Learn compassion and tolerance for the People of the Responsible Self.

I argue this not just to take care of my kind, the People of the Responsible Self. I argue it because the next step for the People of the Subordinate Self is not to become artists and writers and activists. The next step is to become responsible members of the middle class n the city, according to the tenets of the religions that emerged 3,000 years ago with the birth of the city.

And on my view, the Creative Class warriors battling the People of the Responsible Self have set up barricades on the Road to the Middle Class that make it very difficult for people arriving in the city from the country to convert from their Subordinate culture to the Responsible culture that they need in order to wive and thrive in the city.

I would call that a Big Problem.

But fortunately it has an easy solution. Stop beating up on the People of the Responsible Self! Reform your creative religion so that it is compassionate to the People of the Responsible Self.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hey Whites! What Took You So Long!

The goodwhites at NPR have just released a bombshell study; it says that a "Majority of Whites Say They Believe Whites Face Discrimination." It's 55% according to the poll.

Golly, fellas. What took you so long? I mean, the ruling class has been running a protection racket for women and minorities for the last 50 years telling them that if they vote Democratic then they'll give them lots of affirmation action/diversity/inclusion.

On the other hand here are the full results of the poll, by race and sexual orientation ('cos we are all racist sexist homophobes now).

GroupPercent of each group saying that discrimination against their own group exists in America today
African Americans92%
Latinos78%
Native Americans75%
Asian Americans61%
Whites (non Hispanic)55%
Gays90%

Now the question is: what is the poll measuring?

I will tell you. The poll is measuring what the ruling class has been telling people for the last 50 years.

The really big message that the ruling class has been sending, through the schools, the universities, Hollywood, the Democratic operatives with bylines, and through elected politics, is that blacks and gays are the most discriminated-against groups in history.

So of course gays and blacks think that they have been monstrously treated. Of course they do. Teacher told them! Freshman orientation told them! John Stewart told them! CNN told them!

Hey! What about  women? How come women got  left out of the poll? It just shows NPR is a tool of the patriarchy! Sexism!

Look, let's get things straight here.

Affirmative Action is racism, straight up.

Diversity is racism, straight up.

Inclusion is racism, straight up.

Why? Because all of these government programs count by race and gender. They presume to say what the right number of non-whites should be in every classroom and every job. Hey kids! Guess what racists do! They run everything in life through the lens of race.

Raacism!

Let's look at what has actually happened over the last 50 years. First of all, there were the Civil Rights Acts which forbade discrimination by government and businesses on the basis of race. On top of that the ruling class made the accusation of racism into the worst thing in the world against which there was no defense. Can you say witch hunt?

Then, following the Stonewall riots, the government folded gays into the civil rights revolution, and spent billions on AIDS research. And then the Supreme Court legislated gay marriage into existence in the face of votes in many states against gay marriage. And you better not say anything negative about gays, because homophobia.

So the United States is a country that discriminates against blacks and gays?

I don't think so. I think that America is a country where if you have a discouraging thought about blacks and/or gays or diversity or inclusion you better have a nice little nest egg handy in case you lose your job for badthoughts. Hello James Damore.

Let's see what the Supreme Court has been saying on this lately in Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District.
[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. 
Gosh. Who could have come out with an idea like that?

But really this is the way the world works. The ruling class, through its control of the churches (divine and/or secular) and its control of the national dialog, is always tempted to force the subjects to repeat their lessons verbatim or they will regret it. This works well for years, decades, or even centuries if the ruling class is both lucky and smart.

But then comes a day when the deplorables just can't ignore the evidence of their own lying eyes. Or some man on a white horse tells it like it is.

And then you get 55% of whites believing that the government programs of diversity and inclusion are actually programs to discriminate against ordinary run-of-the-mill whites.

Oh well, it was great while it lasted, eh, ruling class?

Another thing. How come there wasn't a category for transgenders and non-binary gendered in the poll? Transphobes!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How Does Trump Do It?

For the benefit of the young 'uns, you should know that it's not just Trump. Republican Presidents have always been represented as idiots. Yes, President Eisenhower was thought to be a bumbler that couldn't speak a coherent sentence. Of course some presidents were exempt: they were evil, like Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon.

(Then it turned out, years later, that Eisenhower deliberately fumbled and bumbled at his press conferences, to put the newsmen off the scent.)

So back in the days of St. Ronnie, before the glorious economic boom, before the end of the Cold War, before the official canonization, we Reaganites always had in the back of our minds the fear that Reagan might indeed be the mad bomber and the amiable dunce of liberal imagination.

It's the same thing with President Trump. Is he really up to the job or is the liberal caricature, of a bumbling pussy-grabbing reality show actor, true?

Well, we just had an interesting retrospective on Trump and regulations from Reagan appointee Donald Devine. Devine writes that Trump seems to have done the impossible.
He has withdrawn 469 regulations at this early stage of his term compared to half that for second best regulation-cutter Ronald Reagan at 200 for the same point in his administration (although the measures are a bit different).
And he has done it without staffing up his administration with the requisite undersecretaries and pooh-bahs. Back in the Reagan days the idea was that you could not get anything out of the Democrat-dominated bureaucracy without invading it with take-no-prisoners appointees to knock some sense into what we now call the Deep State. So how did Trump do it?

The point is that Donald Trump can't do all the regulation cutting all on his lonesome. But somehow, sometime, somewhere, somebody put together the plan for this regulation harvesting, and the purchase of the requisite combine harvester, and the deployment of the elite regulation-cutting special forces. And someone also thought of the Oval Office ceremony complete with photo of a frowning Trump showing the signed Executive Order in a leather binder for the benefit of the Fake News devotees. And at the very least, Trump signed off on it.

Now, we don't know if Trump is a genius or an idiot, and we won't know until after he is gone. But if you are a guy like me, that imagines he understands something about strategy, you say to yourself: Hmm. Wheels within wheels. Something is going on here, and it is highly significant that we know nothing about the whys, the wherefores, and the whatevers.

It's like the whole business of Trump's tweets. I was talking with a protest liberal over the weekend, a guy that thinks "protest" whenever any issue comes up. And he, like the Lady Marjorie, is disturbed about the Trump tweeting and the insults.

Well, yes. But maybe there's a method in the madness. It could be that Trump's tweets are an essential way to keep up the morale of his supporters, not to mention a tripwire for the Very Fake News guys that are always running the president and the country down when there is a Republican president.

Remember the Bush administration? The liberal cars here in Seattle were driving around for years with ReDefeat Bush bumperstickers. The media had him as an idiot, when he wasn't a Christian fundamentalist. If you ask me someone, somehow, somewhere decided that Trump needed a way to fight back. And of course all the nice people are a bit nonplussed by this, because Republicans never do this, and when they do it always boomerangs. Until now.

Hey, maybe there is genius in the tweet policy. Maybe a political leader needs to throw his weight around a bit. He is, after all, the guy whose job is to protect us from the existential dangers of a cold, heartless world. Maybe a lot of people in America are looking for a guy that you don't want to mess with.

Think of the Clintons. It is certainly true that, if you were a Democrat, that any time in the last 30 years you didn't want to mess with the Clintons. Oh, until yesterday afternoon when the Washington Post allowed as how it was the Clinton campaign and the DNC that paid for Fusion GPS to gin up the Trump Dossier. Golly Geewillikins! How could that be!

More important, what took them so long?

But look what is now in prospect. There is the whole Uranium One issue, that was going on when Robert Mueller was FBI chief. Then there is the question of the intelligence community treating the very fake Fusion GPS dossier as intelligence and maybe using that as an excuse to unmask Republican phone calls during the presidential campaign of 2016.

So why is Robert Mueller heading up an investigation into possible Trump collusion with Russia? Shouldn't he be recusing himself, like right now, 3:00pm EDT, on October 25, 2017, from the investigation because he was involved in the whole procedure back in 2009?

And why did the Trumpists allow Mueller to head up the investigation? Was it because they knew (remember, everyone knows, except us rubes) that Mueller was mixed up in it, and that would wreck the whole Trump collusion narrative?

Rule One in politics is: Don't believe a word of what the liberals are shoveling. Rule Two is: Keep your powder dry.

And we won't know if Trump is a genius or a bumpkin until the last dog is hung.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Politics is Downstream from Culture is Downstream from Religion

Over at his blog, scifi writer John C. Wright is writing about his Last Crusade. No not the Ninth Crusade in 1271, but right now, to save Christian civilization from the new menace that is threatening our modern Jerusalem. Wright began in January with "The Last Crusade."

But a week ago he wrote "Last Crusade: Fighting the Wrong Battle," in which the basic argument is to extend Andrew Breitbart's catchphrase that "politics is downstream from culture."

Yes, he writes, "politics is downstream of culture" and that is why conservatives have been losing to liberals, because we have been concentrating on politics rather than culture.

But the White Identitarians, he writes, also have it wrong, because they think that "culture is downstream of race".

Wrong! They are missing the point, for "culture is downstream of religion." You can't change the culture unless you change the religion.
One cannot change a man’s mind unless his heart allows it. But one cannot change a man’s heart unless his soul allows it.

In the same way politics is downstream of culture, culture is downstream of religion. In the same way a man’s actions are dependent on his beliefs, his beliefs are dependent upon his primal and fundamental assumptions that form his character.
What we are fighting is not a culture war but a religious war, for leftism is not a culture, it is a religion. Wright's answer is to raise high the banner of Christianity against the leftist hordes: the Last Crusade.

But I think that Wright misunderstands the problem. And I come to this from my reductive Three Peoples theory. Back on October 21, 2016 I wrote "What Gods Do the 'Three Peoples' Believe In?"

I said that the People of the Subordinate Self believe in "a great lord or patron." This god, may be an earthly or a divine god but, I think, is a false god because sooner or later the People of the Subordinate Self get left by the roadside, like the soldiers of Napoleon on the road back from Russia.

I said that the God of the People of the Responsible Self is "the abstract, though personal, God of the Axial Age religions." In these religions it is up to each person to take the world that God created and make the most of it, as a thoughtful, responsible individual. The most intense moment of this religion is people experiencing the transition from Subordination to Responsibility. Here is a young woman that just made the transition, after six abortions:
When I came to church, I had no reservations about Jesus because I hadn’t heard much about Him. I was tired of giving my body to men, but I was weak and lacked self-control. I hated that I got those abortions and couldn’t stop myself. Jesus was my only hope, a hope I didn’t know existed. His love warmed my cold heart and the forgiveness available to me quickly became my greatest desire. My sin became more evident each Sunday I showed up and it wasn’t more than two months before I was ready to surrender my life to Jesus, making Him the Lord of my life.
There is a reason I call Christianity a "girl religion." It is because Christianity promises the ultimate love relationship: you give your love to God and God loves you right back with the best love you will ever know. So, to me, it is utterly right and proper that this young woman, child of a single mother, should come to Jesus and his perfect love.

But what about the People of the Creative Self? Here is what I wrote:
The God of the People of the Creative Self is the Creative Self. If the old God was the creator of the universe, or at least in on the design, the modern creative self aims to become as God. The nature and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is not a mystery known only to God, but a Gordian Knot that creative man himself is unraveling and will eventually master. That is why our modern ruling class is full of plans for improvement and bending the arc of history towards justice. Society is, for them, a creative project.
Charles Taylor has a slightly different take; he talks about "expressive individualism."

Here are some People of the Creative Self on a journey to understand the heartlands after the shocking Trump victory in 2016, with ├╝berliberal Molly Ball coming along for the ride. She introduces us to Nancy Hale, the leader of the team:
Hale, who is 65 and lives in San Francisco, is a career activist who got her start protesting nuclear plants and nuclear testing in the 1970s...

Hale, a tall woman with a breathy voice and a mop of curly red hair, had come to Wisconsin fresh off a silent Zen meditation retreat in California. She had spent her career building organizations and training activists to work for social change. 
There are people like this all over the nation, diligently and worthily practicing their religion of creating a new and juster America, in America's own best interest. I was in a liberal bookstore in Winslow, Washington, on Sunday and there was a 60-something woman giving a talk about climate change. (Good news: the Chinese are committed to renewables!)

Do you see the problem here? The People of the Creative Self want to live creative lives, to make original works of art, to imagine new ideas and then to instantiate them. That is what they believe in.

So far so good. I think it is a good thing that well-educated people are out there trying to do good in the world.

But very often their creative project is other people.

What I do not like is the narrowness of their vision. They do not think past their own need for creative projects. They do not think that other people have a right to live in other ways and not be subordinate to their goodness. It does not occur to them that other people have rights, except the "little darlings" they patronize, and that one of the rights that other people have is to have nothing to do with the creative projects of the People of the Creative Self.

Then there is the intolerance for the religion of the People of the Responsible Self. And that is our Big Problem, that the People of the Creative Self are trying to impose their religion upon the rest of us, and are trying to drive the religion of the rest of us out of the public square.

See, I think it is great that our most educated are interested in living creative lives. That's my religion too. But how do we deal the creative appetite for power, and the natural tendency in all religions to anathematize the unbelievers and the heretics? We are probably three-quarters of the way to a full-on state religion of progressivism, and that is not good. But how to persuade these folks that they have a problem? How do persuade them to live and let live?

This is where I bring up Charles Murray and Coming Apart. In white America, the top 25 percent, mostly, I imagine, People of the Creative Self, are doing fine with great careers and merger marriages. Then there are the middle 40 percent, and things are not so well with them. Finally there are the bottom 30 percent, where the men don't work much and the women don't marry much.

Our progressive friends in the People of the Creative Self do not understand that this is the world they have created, with their religion to create a new society, with their culture of expressive individualism for them, but better-behave culture for the People of the Responsible Self and a no-guardrails culture for their "little darlings," the People of the Subordinate Self. Right now, it's a wonderful world for 65-year-olds from San Francisco coming off a silent retreat for a cross-country trip to interview America. But it is not so great for the rest of us.

So what can we do about it? Honestly, I don't know, short of an all-out religious war. Because the People of the Creative Self driving around America wondering What Happened a year ago do not understand that the problem is them.

In the first place they do not even understand that their faith in creativity is a religion. They do not understand that they are using the public schools as "parochial" schools of social justice, and universities as secular seminaries.

They do not understand that their whole culture of political correctness and "cultural appropriation" is a totalitarian movement that makes the Puritans look like pikers.

They do not understand that their political culture of top-down administration and regulation was exploded as deficient a century ago by Ludwig von Mises.

They do not understand that their entitlement programs are bound to fail and then the people hurt will be precisely the victims and marginalized that they claim to represent and care about.

They do not understand that their identity politics will descend into mayhem when the white middle class starts voting for their race as liberals and progressives have encouraged blacks and Hispanics to do for 50 years.

What we need is for 65-year-olds from San Francisco to develop a little bit of compassion for ordinary middle-class Americans in addition to their their much advertised compassion for the marginalized and the exploited.

What we need is for the children of the Creative Self to mend their practice of hanging out in their twenties wandering in and out of university and dabbling with a career in the arts, and get a life.

What we need is for people like me to construct and practice and advertise a Reformed religion of Creativity that is purged of the conceits of the Romantics of 1820, the Communists of 1850, the Progressives of 1910, the New Dealers of 1933, the Kids of the Sixties, the Feminists of the 1970s, the Gays of the 1980s, and the Antifa of the 2010s.

Hey! Should be no problem!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Freedom is Great! Or is it?

We conservatives and American patriots declare before all the world that Freedom is the bestest thing ever.

But is it? Is Freedom really the glorious dawn that opens up all vistas?

I think that it is important for anyone promoting Freedom to recognize that Freedom comes with a terrible cost. Who better to explain that to us than lefty Herbert Marcuse?

In Five Lectures Marcuse argues, from Freudianism, that the sublimation of instinct from the repression of sexuality releases human energy to be expended in work. In other words, society dominates us by forcing us to repress our sexuality and channel that energy into work.
As soon as civilized society establishes itself the repressive transformation of the instincts becomes the psychological basis of a threefold domination: first, domination over oneself, over one's nature, over the sensual drives that want only pleasure and gratification; second, domination of the labor achieved by such disciplined and controlled individuals; and third, domination of outward nature, science, and technology.
These dominations are in a dialectic with the freedoms:
And to domination subdivided in this way belongs the threefold freedom proper to it: first, freedom from the mere necessity of satisfying one's desires, that is, freedom for renunciation and thus for socially acceptable pleasure--moral freedom; second, freedom from arbitrary violence and from the anarchy of the struggle for existence, social freedom characterized by the division of labor with legal rights and duties--political freedom; and third, freedom from the power of nature, that is, the mastery of nature, freedom to change the world through human reason--intellectual freedom.
But Marcuse is not finished:
The psychic substance common to these three aspects of freedom is unfreedom: domination of one's instincts, domination that society makes into second nature and that perpetuates the institutions of domination. But civilized unfreedom is oppression of a particular kind: it is rational unfreedom, rational domination. It is rational to the extent that is makes possible the ascent from a human animal to a human being, from nature to civilization.
The dread truth of this reminds us that many people will not want to make this Faustian bargain. To insist on Freedom in civilization is to bind yourself to self-governance, to repressing your instincts in living as a social animal that is not directly dominated by a Master and must therefore take on oneself the responsibility of being useful in the world. It is to renounce the limited kind of freedom in being a Slave, that you do not need to take responsibility for yourself. You do your Master's bidding, and in absence of direct instruction, you relax and follow your instincts, which is freedom of a certain kind.

Now, on my reductive Three Peoples theory,  the ascent to Freedom occurs at the boundary between life as People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants, and life as People of the Responsible Self, city people, and that agrees with Marcuse's notion, except that what he calls Freedom I call Responsibility.

And the notion of Responsibility correctly understands that Freedom is not free. Actually it is the opposite. Freedom comes at the cost of Responsibility, and that is a very high cost, and that is why a lot of people don't want it, and prefer the freedom from Responsibility by choosing Hayek's Road to Serfdom in the welfare state.

In fact you can explain the history of the last 150 years as the working class dissenting from the middle-class culture of Freedom and the Limited Government that set up the modern state and its representative government, and clearly telling the world that it preferred a much lower level of responsibility than advertised in the culture of the middle class. Ditto women half a century later and ditto African Americans a century later.

Then you add into this mix the cult of the Creative Ego in the People of the Creative Self who seem to want absolute Freedom for themselves to be creative and want the People of the Responsible Self to pay for it.

OK, so where I am going with this? Well, I'd say that with the failure of gentlemanly conservatism of which you've heard tell, we now have to pick ourselves us and figure what to do next.

For me, the desideratum is to live as a Responsible person without truckling to a beneficent Oz of a Master, be he a political boss or a Social Justice Warrior. But the fact of life is that there is a ton of people that don't want to be Responsible: they just want to write that novel or do Activism as taught in their secular seminary. Or they just want to get their share of the loot and live their life around the free stuff that is handed out to faithful servants of the regime.

So the challenge is to stake out a patch of land, in a world where tons of people want free stuff, and make our non-negotiable demands that we demand the right to live our lives as Responsible individuals, and if we don't get it we are going to make life very difficult for the current ruling class, what Glenn Reynolds calls the Front Row Kids, and what I call the People of the Responsible Self. In fact, we might even toss the ruling class out if we have a mind to do it.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said that Obamacare would be great for artists and writers, 'cos they wouldn't have to work any more, but follow their bliss in creative work? We People of the Responsible  Self demand as of ancient and immemorial right that the bloody artists and writers get a job, and stop pretending to be helpless People of the Subordinate Self. Because artists and writers are Cloud People and should not be free-riding on the Dirt People of the Responsible Self.

As they say in China, the first step is a modern Rectification of Names, to make sure that we know what we mean and mean what we say. And that goes double for Freedom and Responsibility.

Friday, October 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK. But what about the rest of us?

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

So pasting a lefty pejorative on someone is No Fair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What Do We Know? No, Really!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Bannon Conspiracy Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is going on here?

Of course, nobody can know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why Won't Congress Fix the Tax System?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Exactly Who Calls Himself a White Supremacist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is not to like?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

My Solution is Language Nationalism

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

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

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

It made me think a little about what I believe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Stop the Campus Shoutdowns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was then; this is now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And anyway, don't you believe in Change?

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