Friday, April 20, 2018

Powell 50 Years Later: Migration and Invasion

The standard liberal line about racism in housing is that, as soon as a black family shows up on the street, the white people start to head for the exits. Raacism!

But Enoch Powell's infamous "Rivers of Blood" speech now enjoying its 50th anniversary, shows how the game really works. He tells the story of a WWII war widow that turned her house into a boarding house as widows have done since time immemorial.
She lost her husband and both her sons in the war. So she turned her seven-roomed house, her only asset, into a boarding house. She worked hard and did well, paid off her mortgage and began to put something by for her old age. Then the immigrants moved in. With growing fear, she saw one house after another taken over. The quiet street became a place of noise and confusion. Regretfully, her white tenants moved out.
But the widow was not willing to rent rooms out to black immigrants. So her house stayed empty, and she started to experience aggression and hostility from her new neighbors. We do not know her eventual fate. We do know there are now rape gangs in Rotherham and Telford in England, and the authorities are hesitant to act, because racism.

Let us convert this into the US experience. Every wave of immigrants establishes itself in an urban neighborhood that has seen its best days, and is starting to decline. Or maybe the neighborhood is ageing, and all the ambitious young people have already moved out to fancier neighborhoods leaving their ageing parents in the old family home. The immigrant new wave, being as yet unadapted to city life and city skills, uses physical aggression to establish itself, and of course usually has a gang component, as in Irish, Jewish, Italian, black, Mexican, and now Salvadorean gangs. So anyone with half a clue gets the hell out while they still have equity in their homes. The last to leave are widows, because.

Of course, this is the way that wars and migration have always operated, since the dawn of time. I am reading today about the expansion of the Bantu tribes out of West Africa.
When the Bantu first expanded out of west-central Africa several thousand years ago, they had a profound influence on the indigenous rainforest hunter-gatherer populations they encountered … Even today, the overwhelming pattern is that Bantu men mix with pygmy women …
This aligns with my own reading, about hunter-gatherer tribes, in War Before Cilivization. A tribe existed as long as it had men to defend the border; after that the women got distributed into neighboring tribes. Then there were the Vikings sailing up the rivers of Britain 1,000 years ago. They took the food, killed the men, and sold the women and children into slavery in the regional slave market  in Dublin, Ireland. Until 1066 and all that. But the Normans were Vikings!

Today, the black LA suburb of Compton is fast transforming into a Latino community, and the Latino gangs are helping to intimidate the black women householders into getting out of town.

Of course, it's easy for a rich bitch like me to take a lordly view of all this. I left Britland fifty years ago for the greener pastures of the US and Seattle. And what with one thing and another, Seattle has transformed itself from a Boeing and Weyerhauser town to booming Amazon City, via Microsoft. So, if you are already a resident, your boat gets lifted by the rising tide. That makes life easy.

But what about the folks on the wrong side of the curve? Hey, maybe for a season the ruling class makes a fuss about them. Like it did for the working class. Like it did for blacks. For women.

But politics is a moveable feast. Yesterday the working class was worthy and deserving; today it is racist and bigoted and deserves to die. For a hundred years Democrats held the line for the white racist South. Now it agitates for the northern black racists. Tomorrow?

Rule One about life, the universe, race, class, gender, and everything is that the politicians and the culture warriors don't care about you. They only care about your vote. And they only care about your vote if it will help them to win this November.

I like to say that all stories are survivor stories. That's because the stories of the dead die with them. I realize that the story of my own family is also a survivor story. My father's family got out of Russia in 1918. So what would have happened if they had stayed? My mother's family was in Japan up until 1940 and got out to Australia. My own parents married and had their children in India, and then migrated to Britain in 1948 after Indian independence. All this seems unexceptional and anodyne, but only because my family always had the sense, or received sensible advice, or the pure luck to get out while the going was good.

So here am I, in Seattle in 2018, as the murder rate in London, England starts to surge about the murder rate in New York City.

All in all, I think I am the luckiest guy in the world. But other people are not so lucky. And the truth is that the unlucky people just slide below the waves and are never heard from again.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Problem is not just the Tyranny of Experts

I think all of us except Bill Gates and the World Bank can agree that the post WWII global development shtick has been a mixed blessing. At the very least it has signally failed to raise its beloved beneficiaries out of poverty.

So William Easterly's The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor is a good way to stroll through the efforts throughout the last century to bring less-developed countries into the modern era with the help of experts and development banks and government programs.

Today, anyone can tell that the combination of liberal experts, charitable foundations, international organizations, free money, and local dictators is bound to end it tears every time it is tried.

But Easterly introduces us to a few wrinkles in the story that I did now know. For instance, back in the 1920s a group of Yalies, YMCAers, and the Rockefeller Foundation got together to have a conference about race relations between the US and the Orient in the wake of the US Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924. But the US government didn't want a lot of negative publicity about race so when the Institute for Pacific Relations opened its first conference in Honolulu on June 30, 1925, the US side was committed to lowering the rhetoric on race, not to mention the extraterritorial rights of the white man in Hong Kong, Shanghai, etc. that the Chinese wanted to talk about.

So in the end they settled on development. Rather than talk about racism the western elitists would form a condominium with the local power structure and plan technological improvements directed from above and, after World War II, financed by international organizations like the World Bank.

After World War II there was a new reason not to talk about race. The US agreed not to talk about colonialism if the Europeans agreed not to talk about segregation. Everyone could agree on more jobs for experts and more development loans for the Third World. Very civilized.

But since the development plans were executed through the local post-colonial power structure they got hopelessly tangled up in the tribal politics of the former colonies. For instance in Ghana the cocoa planters were mostly from the inland Ashanti tribe while President Nkrumah was from the coastal Akan tribe. Hey kids! How about we fund the development plan with a tax on cocoa growers! Oh by the way, back in the old days:
The Ashanti were among the African kingdoms that sold slaves to the Europeans; the coastal Akan people were among their victims.
So the Ashanti deserved to be taxed into oblivion.

But what about the people? Easterly returns again and again to the "rights of the poor" that the experts and the local dictators blithely ignored as they divvied up the world between them.

Sorry chum. The rights of the poor have nothing to do with the case. That's because in tribal and/or agricultural societies there is no such thing as "the rights of the poor." In a tribe you sit somewhere in the local tribal hierarchy and you are completely defined by that and by traditional ideas of what anyone is owed by the tribe. In agriculture you are the creature of your feudal lord, and enjoy "rights" only in an informal way: you accept the suzerainty of your feudal lord, and he observes when convenient the customary rights such as grazing rights on the so-called "commons" that you have gradually obtained through his inattention.

The problem of "development," of helping the folks that have not yet made the transition from an income of $3 per day to the present US $140 per day, all in today's dollars, it not a problem of expert technique or of rights. It is a question of culture.

Simply put, if you want to wive and thrive in the modern economy you must transform your culture utterly from the normal subordinate culture of the agricultural age and the simple hierarchy of the tribal culture into the responsibility culture of the city. Instead of working to grow food on a patch of land you will work for wages in the market economy. Instead of marrying if you get to inherit someone's land or get some land from the feudal lord, you will need to establish yourself in some job in order to attract the babes. Instead of just following traditional folkways you will need to be able to buy and sell, rent and borrow in the market economy of the city. And you will have to transition from the old rights of membership to the new rights under law.

This is a huge transition, the biggest transition that humans have ever encountered. The marvel is not that billions are still living at $3 per day. The miracle is that, in 200 years, the people of Europe managed to go from $3 to $140 without blowing up and failing utterly. Really, a couple of world wars was a small price to pay.

Now, I have some interest in this. I wrote a book The Road to the Middle Class which argues that if you want to make the transition from country to city in double-quick-time you need to acquire the culture of modern religion, education, mutual aid, and law. If you get propped up by the neo-feudal welfare state you get stuck in limbo and don't really become a "citizen," one who has acquired the culture of the city. Hello African Americans.

My book is brilliant, of course, and you should read it. But the truth is that what most people do when they migrate to the city is to congregate in ethnic ghettos in the city where they can live in the comfort of their own while they learn how to make it in the city. And they gravitate to the neo-tribal politics of the big city political machine with its tasty garnish of criminal gang. Only after a generation or two in the tribal ghetto do people emerge into the great global upper-middle class of the university degree and the life-long career. At which point they are now ready to become tyrannical experts and tell the newbies how to do it.

The welfare state is a prettied-up version of the big-city machine. You may think of it as a friendly takeover of the machine by administrative experts with elite educations and credentials.

Notice that the welfare state is really the global development expert model executed in one country.

But the welfare state is hopeless, because government cannot reform. Government is an armed minority, occupying territory and taxing the inhabitants to reward its supporters. And the funny thing about supporters is that the one thing not to be endured is any reduction in their rewards. I have written a book, An American Manifesto, that proposes a political arrangement to replace the welfare state, based on the notion of Michael Novak, proposed in The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, of what I call the Greater Separation of Powers between the political sector, the economic sector, and the moral/cultural sector. But is doesn't have a hope until we the people are lying dazed and helpless on the ground, finally willing to give up our sacred right to Social Security, Medicare, and free education.

Yep. There is no doubt that experts are easily persuaded into tyranny. But that is only half the problem. The other half of the problem is that we humans, all of us, want free stuff rather than do the hard work of adapting to the new facts on the ground. And we are perfectly happy to elect politicians who will empower the IRS to take the money for the free stuff out of the other guy's pocket so we don't have to change. We call it bending the arc of history towards justice.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Is This Peak Activism?

A couple black guys get all riled up because the Starbucks manager called the cops on them: for using the rest room and sitting around without buying anything.

And then, of course, the black guys called BLM on Starbucks.

As conservatives, we think this is all pretty funny, because Starbucks is a lefty place that usually likes to lecture the rest of us on race and gender. Now they are hoist with their own petard. (Hmm. Who knew that was a Hamlet quote?)

Anyway, our fury over St. David's Media-Matters-directed war on conservative media figures is moderated now that Laura Ingraham is getting a bigger audience after the Hogg boycott. And Ace Hardware is going to advertise on Laura's show after all.

(Good show, Ace Hardware. Because home improvement is such a white guy thing. You really don't want to rile up the white guys that are the core of your business.)

And what about the utter confusion of the "activists" at Duke shocked, shocked that the alumni booed them when they peacefully protested the Duke University president's speech.

Do you not realize, Duke University peaceful protesters, that there are millions of deplorables out there absolutely slobbering for the chance to stick it to you insufferable lefty protesters, but because they have jobs and children and all, know that they need the comfortable anonymity of a big gathering in order to safely vent their "hate speech" on you?

I got an email from a reader today, responding to my AT piece asking "Why Don't WE Turn Populist" and start throwing our weight around at peaceful protests? He agreed, and fantasized about 50 million of  us "emailing protests" making life difficult for the ruling class at "county seats, city halls, congressional and senatorial district offices."

The problem is, of course, that we deplorables don't really believe in politics. We are not like the "mob" that knows nothing but to follow some leader into the streets. And we are not like the college-trained "activists" learning activism at their college seminaries the way that an earlier generation learned how to become Christian ministers.

That is understood in my reductive Three Peoples theory. Sure, the People of the Subordinate Self are going to follow some leader, some powerful patron, that promises them a mess of pottage. Sure the People of the Creative Self see the percentage in getting into the leadership side of politics and leading workers and peasants along a glorious arc of history towards justice. But if you are a Person of the Responsible Self then your whole world view is centered around your individual responsibility to attend to the challenges of your own life, to live, as Jordan B. Peterson writes, at the borderland between the comforting known and the terrifying unknown, and bravely explore the unknown and bring it into the known world.

For the People of the Responsible Self it makes no sense to sit there railing against the bosses and corporate greed. Because there is work to do at the office and a family to attend to at home.

For the People of the Responsible Self it makes no sense to organize the people in "peaceful protests" to fight for justice. Long term, it doesn't help subordinate people to herd them into a neo-feudal estate as "little darlings" of the ruling class. They are no more than soldiers in a political army that will be eventually abandoned, sick and wounded, by the side of the route of march.

But I gotta say that the current febrile moment, where the Good Little Girls and Boys from the activism seminaries are protesting anything and everything, has the feeling of Peak Activism. Their problem is that politics has a very narrow bandwidth. As I like to say, there is only enough bandwidth in a political season for about one and a half issues before you overwhelm the public airwaves and confuse the punters. This is a problem for the activists, because the whole point of activism is to transfix the nation, to stop the clocks for a moment as everyone is overwhelmed for a transformative epiphany of political drama. So, how long can you keep it up at Peak Activism before everyone gets jaded and moves on to the next political attraction?

Hey liberals! Don't forget that the issue of the century is supposed to be the once-in-a-thousand-years tragedy of Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016. And the horror of Trump-Russia collusion.

I am afraid for our liberal friends. What happens over the next few months when the DOJ IG reports dribble out and show that the problem was not Trump-Russia collusion but Obama-Clinton conspiracy to spy on the Trump campaign and gussie up a Steele Dossier on Trump dirt with help from the Russians? I am afraid that the IG reports will demolish the liberal determination to #Resist the Trump administration and throw the rascals out at the midterms.

And what will the Activists do then, poor things?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I Bring You the Coolidge-Mellon Show

Back in the day, after President Harding died in office on August 2, 1923, we Yanks got a couple of chaps in government that you don't see nowadays.

There was President Coolidge, weaned on a pickle according to Alice Longworth Roosevelt. What with the new budget law and all, Coolidge set to work with his budget director, Gen. Lord, to cut the federal budget. His notion was to get it down to $3 billion a year, but as you can see, he never got there.

The reason is that as soon as President Coolidge announced, in the summer of 1927, that he was not going to run again, it was Katy bar the door as congress-critters all converged to Spend More Money, particularly on dams and flood relief.

The other chappie in charge of the nation's finances in those days was Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, and he believed in "scientific taxation." From our point of view, this might be considered to be nothing more than cutting tax rates, particularly high surtax rates on high incomes. So, with President Coolidge helping, particularly on the spending front, cut is what Mellon did. Here is what happened.

You can see what happened. Despite the swingeing tax rate cuts, tax revenue actually went up by FY 1927. Imagine that. So what happened to the Deficit? Here is what happened.

Golly. Imagine. Surpluses of up to a billion dollars in an age when federal spending was in the $3 billion to $4 billion range.

Well, it was all over pretty soon. Because all those surpluses infected everyone with itchy palms. For you don't get elected to watch the national debt shrink. You get elected to make the good times roll, baby.

And so the feds got into flood control -- after monstrous floods on the Mississippi -- and good old dam building. Hence the Hoover Dam on the Colorado.

The point is, it doesn't matter what the money is spent on. In our era the mania is to spend money on bullet trains and light rail. Oh, and wonderful wind farms. But spend we must.

I guess the point is that Pharaohs, ever since the days of the pyramids, have just loved spending money on gigantic monuments.

But I rather like the government style of the Mellons and the Coolidges. To just sit there and cut spending and taxes. Whatever the beautiful people say.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Fish Rots from the Head Down

So now, with the first installment of the DOJ inspector general report, the one on former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, we are reminded that the problem all along was the Hillary Clinton private email problem. Presumably, the word from the top was that the FBI was not to treat her like an ordinary violator of classified information rules. And so the top echelons of the DOJ got twisted up like pretzels in order to avoid doing their jobs and prosecuting her violation of the law. There are all kinds of tags about this: Oh what a tangled web we weave... A fish rots from the head. Honesty is the best policy. They all tell us about the difficulty that humans get into once they start to depart from the straight and narrow.

You can see what is going on here. Chicago Rules.

Government, as St. Augustine understood, is the same as a criminal gang, only with the "addition of impunity," for government is, as we say, "sovereign:" nobody gets to boss it around. So the question for any government is how much it approximates to a real criminal gang, and how much it tries to run itself according to the fantasy we all have of a government of laws, not of men. Chicago, the city that wafted Barack Obama aloft, is about as close as you get to government by criminal gang.

It was obvious, from an early time, that government under President Obama was not going to make much effort to be a government of laws. And why should it? The mainstream media would give it the benefit of the doubt, and everybody knew that the opposition was just a bunch of racist, sexist homophobes.

So whenever there was a scandal, of incompetence or of venality, the Obama guys got a pass. You would have to be a saint not to take advantage of that situation and the truth is that President Obama was not a saint. Sorry about that. Anyway, he knows that he and his are on the right side of history, bending the arc towards justice, so the rules are for other people.

Of course the essence of politics is that, as with armies, it is the rank-and-file that take the bullets, not the generals. And so when the word comes down that Hillary Clinton is not to be prosecuted for gross violations of the laws and regulations on classified information, it is the poor saps like Andrew McCabe that get left with the actual dirty work for which people may go to jail. So we have meetings between the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, McCabe, and others trying to figure out what to do about, e.g., the emails on the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner laptop.

By the way, there seems to me to be a common trait among the Comeys, the McCabes, the Lynches, the Abedins, the Weiners: weaklings. You don't get the feeling they are cut out for noble deeds. Fixers, maybe, and not very good ones.

See, if the Obama guys down the line knew that, as far as the boss was concerned, the law was the law, and they had to go where the evidence led, then we would never have had Hillary Clinton get away with her private email system, the email scandal, the attempt to spy on the Trump campaign, and the need for a whole tissue of lies to make it look like there really was a Trump Russia connection. Because the word would have gone out from the Oval Office: no private emails: here we follow the law.

Oh well. It's obvious now what Obama should have done, but then, Obama is a weakling too.

But the fact of the IG investigation and the rollouts of its reports seems to suggest that there are folk in the Deep State that think the Obama guys crossed a line. Maybe they have some sort of institutional pride; or maybe they have a kind of elite snobbery, that regards the Obama people as not quite out of the top drawer, old chap. Otherwise everyone would just clam up and let the crooks do their thing and avert their eyes.

The larger truth is that the Liberal Hour is reaching its conclusion, the Emperor has lost the Mandate of Heaven, and we are heading into a Time of Troubles. And so the rats are scrambling around biting off each others' tails. Whether or not the Trump Russia thing dissolves into chaos and whether the IG report gets better than Page A21 in The New York Times you can see fin de siècle written all over our liberal friends.

But they will be the last to know. Because a fish rots from the head down, and the rot hasn't reached them yet.

Hey, most of my liberal friends are good people. But they would rather stay plugged into NPR and MSNBC and not know the nasty details. People are like that.

Friday, April 13, 2018

When a Lefty Comes to Visit

We have a friend of Lady Marjorie visiting next week: a really nice guy, but a lefty from way back.

The question is: what is the one thing I should communicate to this guy?

I think that the one thing would be my brilliant notion that the whole of left's world view is found in the justification of the left's revolutionary praxis.

My idea is that every new generation of well-born lefties, starting not later than son-of-a-lawyer Marx and son-of-a-businessman Engels, is looking for a reason, a justification, for revolution.

But how? What can justify bloody revolution, or at least "peaceful protest," accusing visiting conservatives of "hate speech" and condemning them to the seventh hell of racism, sexism, and homophobia?

The answer came to me while reading a center-left history of the 19th century, The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi. Polanyi wrote that, once the working class in England had got the vote in the latter decades of the 19th century, they stopped rioting and demonstrating. Now, they understood, with the vote, they were inside the system, and the political system was paying attention to their political agenda. No need to take to the streets.

Do you see the point here? If you are a traditionally marginalized group, but you have the vote, then you don't need to riot in the streets, because politicians are interested in serving your interests to get your vote. In that case, there is no need  for "activism" and "peaceful protest," enacting a proposed revolution. The politicians will take care of everything.

Oh no! What will the activists do then, poor things? The answer is simple. They will find a group that is still outside the system, and do activism and peaceful protest on its behalf. That is what the Frankfurt School realized back in the 1920s, when they recast Marxism as a movement not just to bring about a perfect world for workers, but for women and minorities. Thank goodness! The millennarian movement of the left could continue!

And so it goes. After blacks and women, Latinos. And gays, and transgender, and any gender non-binary. But the problem is that, even with transgenders, the left is getting its agenda through; that's because the average western citizen  is really not  that interested in politics. If someone feels aggrieved, maybe they have a point.

So who  is left, outside the system? The answer is right before our eyes. Illegal immigrants and Muslims! Brilliant!

So that is what all the peaceful protesting and activism is about today.

But you can see that there is a bit of a problem where illegal immigrants are concerned. They take jobs away from the white working class, and lower the wages of everyone. Oh yeah! The working class! Whatever happened to those guys?

Well we know. Liberals did a number on the white working class back in the 1970s by showing, in Archie Bunker, that they were all racist, sexist bigots. Thanks Norman Lear!

The question for us normals and deplorables is: do we just fold like we did for workers, for women, for minorities, for gays, for transgenders. Or do we cry Enough?

That is the great question of our time, and that is what I will try to explore with my lefty visitor.

And the bigger question, after 200 years of attending to the grievances of just about everyone -- except fundamentalist Christians -- is it not time to say that the western world has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it listens, through normal political channels, to the grievances of the people. And the problem is really the activists that think that anything in this world can by solved by political power.

Is it not time to admit that the whole question of "activism" is more about the need for well-born lefties to explore the meaning of life, the universe, and everything -- for themselves -- and that the "little darlings" they constantly throw in our faces are doing just fine.

Except that the "little darlings" are not in such great shape these days: white working class dying of despair, women reporting less happiness than back in the 1950s.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Why I am a US Nationalist

Probably the No.1 reason I am not a liberal globalist is that I never went to a selective US college, so I never got the indoctrination and the initiation into the educated globalist elite secret society. Instead I got a Civil Engineering degree at what was then called a "red-brick" university in England. There was no liberal arts curriculum at Brit universities back then to produce well-rounded, i.e., liberalized, STEM graduates as there would be in the United States.

This means that I am an autodidact, one who has educated himself. Indeed, the only time I have taken a course at a university since I graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1968 was a few years ago  when I audited four philosophy courses at the University of Washington: one each in Aristotle, Plato, Kant, and Hume. I took them so I could know the official received version on these greats.

Even without an official government-sponsored minor in ruling-class apologetics I still had conventional liberal ideas when I arrived in the United States. I remember going to a Democratic presidential rally at the Seattle Arena in 1968. And in 1972 I remember watching PBS as they lovingly visited George McGovern at the family ranch in July.

I suppose that my wake-up call was the 60-40 Nixon win in 1972. What was going on when all the right people were for McGovern and the negative income tax?

Eight years later I went to a presidential caucus in Kent, Washington and discovered the folks we would now call the "deplorables," ordinary middle-class Americans, technicians and whatnot, who were alive to Ronald Reagan.

But meanwhile, through reading the Wall Street Journal that was available at the office and its Bob Bartley editorial page, I had learned about Austrian economics and Mises and Hayek.

Did you know that Ronald Reagan, the amiable dunce, left behind him well-annotated editions of Mises and Hayek? Imagine that!

So, ever since, I have been most of the way to being libertarian. But over the years I have slowly grown to appreciate that the thing about the price system and the free market is that there are no safe spaces. Capitalism makes clear, what religion and politics do not, is that we get to thrive in the free market economy only so long as we offer a service that other people want. There is no way that most people are going to be able to graduate from high school, get a job at the plant down the road, and work there for the rest of their lives.

But government is in the protection business, mainly to protect from pirates and plunderers. It doesn't take too much imagination to extend this idea to economic protection, to protect me -- and maybe you -- from the economic hurricane that might appear one day out of a clear blue sky. And people want safe spaces.

The very idea that government could protect from economic vicissitude is new. In the old days, when nature delivered a drought or a flood there was nothing to be done: people starved. It wasn't until the 19th century that it became possible, with steamships and railroads, to move grain in quantity from the abundant to the starving areas of the world.

But there is another reason for government to provide economic protection. It is that most financial crises and panics are a precipitate of government economic policy. Crash of 1873: result of deflation after the civil war. Panic of 1907: result of Alaska gold rush supplying gold (and thus credit) during the time of the Gold Standard. Deflation of 1920s and 1929 Crash: result of governments deflating after World War I and clumsily trying to fix the problem. Crash of 2008: result of government forcing mortgage issuers to lend to bad credit risks. So yeah. Given how government economic policy can ruin peoples' lives, there oughta be a safe space.

In general, governments don't have a clue what they are doing. They are, indeed, armed minorities occupying territory, taxing the people to reward their supporters and borrowing to fund their wars. So when they make a mistake, as they usually do, they have a duty of care, to look after the people whose lives they ruined.

At least, in say the United States, when the people get pissed off with the follies of the current lot they can throw the rascals out and let the other guys have a go.

But with supra-national organizations that option is not available. This has two bad effects. The first problem is that the bureaucrats and failed politicians that run them are not looking over their shoulders to wonder what the political backlash is likely to be. The second problem is that, when things go wrong, the bureaucrats and time servers do not really represent anyone but themselves. This last fact was illuminated by the classical scholar and politician Enoch Powell when he said that the European Union could not work because there was no European demos, no European people.

Powell was saying, in other words, that  a government must be associated with a people, and feel itself responsible to that people, and look to that people for its support, and its cannon fodder in time of war. Now, if you are part of the global elite you do in fact experience the EU bureaucrats as representing you. I  remember attending an engineering conference in Davos, Switzerland, in 1990. It was telling that all the European scientists there seemed to have grants from the EU: their kind of people.

Now, in the good old days of tribalism, and even of feudalism,  the Big Man of the tribe and the feudal lord indeed did lead a people. But feudalism fell to the absolute monarchs, who learned how to disarm their nobles, make them into courtiers, and fund their states not on the revenue from the royal estates but by taxing commerce. They learned to fund their wars by borrowing from a commercial sector anchored by a central bank.

In nationalizing their nobles, the absolute monarchs also nationalized their peoples. It was, of course, a cultural aggression. England colonized and nationalized Wales and Scotland, but failed to nationalize Ireland. The Île de France around Paris colonized and nationalized the rest of France. The Prussians manipulated the rest of the German princes into wars against Denmark, Austria, and France, and unified the German Nation as a result. With Italy, the folks around Tuscany colonized the rest of Italy and Sicily, and the southerners are still not too happy about that.

What with a war or two, here and there, most people in Europe came to identify with their nations more than their old region. Look at Germany the other way up. It is astonishing that Hitler was able to lead the Germans, unified into a single nation for only 65 years, into a war to end all wars in 1939. How did he do it? He persuaded the German people that they were a German people rather than Prussians and Bavarians and Rhine-Palatinatians.

Now in my view the globalist agenda to denormalize the nation state and replace it with global governance and identity politics is a bad idea. First of all, the only globalist demos is the upper class that swims across the world between corporate and academic NGO gigs. Everyone else is a deplorable, and need not apply for full citizenship.

Secondly, I think that the identity politics of class and race and gender and large-scale immigration promoted by the global elite is a deadly virus that is killing the nation state. Well, you may say, and a good thing too, given the record of aggressive nationalism, fascism, and wars between nation states.

And what is your cunning plan to replace the nation state, Baldrick? Global governance? Gender politics? Safe spaces? A global ban on cultural appropriation?

Let us merely remember Winston Churchill's dictum:
Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Let us merely adapt this dictum. The nation state is the worst form of state organization, except for all the others.

The astonishing success of the nation state consists in this: it has successfully engaged peoples' loyalty away from their family, race or tribe, which is the natural way in which humans identify themselves, and directed it towards a totally artificial and fake abstract concept: the nation, which is unified by its language.

Of course, the nation state is a shameful thing, born in aggressive conquest of neighboring principalities, completed in cultural linguistic domination over regional dialects and cultures. And its economic hegemony over its people, by commandeering up to 50 percent of their income for use in buying the loyalty of its supporters, is monstrous.

But the alternatives! Our big problem these days is that, in its campaign to weaken the idea of the nation state the educated ruling class has strengthened the idea of race and region, encouraging people to identify with smaller cultural units than the nation state.

In my view, all the proposed alternatives to the nation state are roads to ruin. And that is why I am a US Nationalist.

And that is not to say anything about our national heroes: Washington, the man on the white horse that went home rather that appointing himself president-for-life; Hamilton, the man that founded the US economy and inspired a musical; Lincoln, the reluctant warrior; Coolidge, the mild man from hard-scrabble Vermont; Reagan, the amiable dunce that won the Cold War without firing a shot.

Sorry if your hero didn't get a mention.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Three Forms of Social Control

The biggest takeaway in Jordan B. Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is the lobster story. Even the lefty Cathy Newman had to take a rest from her "so what you are saying..." shtick and its mis-characterization of Peterson's ideas to ask about that. It is an argument against the fantasy of equality. Lobsters, he relates, have a hierarchy. It is built into their DNA (or their brain stem or something) and it works with the chemical serotonin.

And what is the purpose of this hierarchy in lobsters? It is to prevent violence among the lobsters.

The point that Peterson wants to make is that inequality, hierarchy, pecking order, are not just oppressive, exploitative, and evil. They really have a purpose, even way down the animal kingdom with primitive animals like lobsters.

The point, I suppose, is that if you are going to impose equality it is going to take force. So, Kemosabe, your equality program is going to replace a concept that is universal in the animal kingdom, because it reduces the resort to force, with a forcible imposition of equality from the top? How does that compute? And how, anyway, do you get equality when some monarch at the top, with his pure and devoted henchmen, is going to have the power to impose equality on everyone except himself and the henchmen? Sounds like good old lobsterian hierarchy to me.

So I take away from this the notion that all politics and culture and social cooperation is a means of reducing force, starting with the most  primitive of all culture, the pecking order.

Obviously, the simple pecking order is not the answer to all our social cooperation problems. In his Why God? Rodney Stark provides two improvements on the simple hierarchy. One is "informal social control;" the other is "formal social control." His line is that informal social control is appropriate for the small face-to-face community, but that when humans started assembling in larger communities we needed something else. Enter the monotheistic religions with their doctrines of good and evil, gods with their divine law, and rulers and priests that dispense formal justice.

But also, I realize, informal social control continues in a condominium with formal social control. I realize this from James M. Ault's Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. Ault reports that in the fundamentalist church he researched all the offices were held by men but the whole religious community was run by the wives of said men, because of their influence in the women's gossip network that gets to define  "a common grid of 'what everybody sees' and 'what everybody knows.'" This, in my opinion, is the good old informal social control now integrated with the formal social control institutionalized in the fundamentalist church and its rigid rules and roles.

My point here is to realize to myself that informal social control and formal social control are not separate; it is not the case that formal social control, required because of the growth in size of human communities, has replaced informal social control. Instead the patriarchal formal social control sits on top of the older informal social control and augments it. In fact, I would guess, under normal circumstances the informal social control network pretty well runs things. Only when some big issue arises, or some rupture of the normal women's common grid occurs, does the formal social control network swing into action. One of the ways in which this occurs is when there is a critical mass of young men in a city not yet assimilated to the city culture that forms criminal gangs and requires a countervailing force of city policemen.

Note that our liberal friends are also invested in the formal social control concept. Their model seems to be for the formal social control structure to completely take over society, replacing family, church, and also the market with a single total political and administrative structure. Run by them.

But what do we call the market relationship? I propose that we call this "indirect social control." Let us suppose that informal social control is the women's gossip network that regulates ordinary face-to-face social relations. Let us say that formal social control is a patriarchal hierarchy that defines good and bad and takes care of egregious bad actors that are not amenable to the influence of the women's network. But the operation of the market system is obviously something else again. And yet it involves both face-to-face relationships of the informal social control culture and also the rules and regulations of the patriarchal formal social control culture.

And something more. This something more is the influence of the price system which is an independent influence in addition to the relationships of face-to-face and the rules of commercial law. I would say that it is a third level that sits on top of the rules of formal social control that sits on top of the relationships of informal social control. The influence of the price system is indirect. It is a moment to moment commentary on transactions; it is constantly nudging everyone to serve each other; and it is constantly issuing balance sheets that tell us what is working and what is not working in the moment to moment pecuniary transactions of life.

Let us now take a further step and say that we humans have a tendency to plump for one or other of these cultures of social control and "privilege" it over the others.

Right now we have the educated women of the world that are intent on privileging the informal social control culture of women: they want to anathematize "microaggressions" and provide "safe spaces." This is such a girl thing! Then we have the lefties of the world that want to privilege the formal social control of the educated expert in top down government and administrative bureaucracy then reorders the world in accordance with the lefty vision of equality, liberation, and emancipation. Such a boy thing! Finally we have the libertarians that want a market-only regulation of society with the price system determining everything.

But I am better, higher than all this flat-earth fol-der-ol. Well, of course.

I see above the dusty plain to the mountains and above them to ridges higher still! What is needed is all three of these methods of social control, with the patriarchal formal control incorporating and extending the matriarchal relational social control, and the market's indirect social control incorporating and extending the patriarchal formal social control system. And beyond that, who knows what some genius is presently cooking up to amaze us all with a fourth system, higher and better than anything we can presently understand.

Now, in my view this Three Cultures notion dovetails brilliantly into my reductive Three Peoples concept. Of course it does. But that is a question for another post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Who Will Be the Angriest of All?

I get that the whole point of politics is to get your side angried up so that they will all go out to the polls and vote.

That, I presume, was the whole point of Al Gore not conceding the 2000 election and the subsequent Redefeat Bush bumper stickers on the backs of Subarus everywhere for the next few years.

And that, obviously, is the plan with Hillary Clinton's Russia Collusion excuse for losing the 2016 election.

But I thought that the candidate's lawyers were off-limits. That's so that all shady deals can be run through the candidate's lawyer's office. See the Steele Dossier, for which the financing was run through Hillary Clinton's lawyer.

But with the raid on Donald Trump's lawyer I'd say that the good old rules are finished. Apparently, a special team will go through all the documents to determine which are covered by attorney-client privilege. Perfectly fair and just. But I doubt if Hillary Clinton would like any government  team rummaging through her attorney's files on such a mission. After all, it's nothing to exempt evidence because of attorney-client privilege if your gum-shoes have already been through it all and understand what has been going on and where the bodies are buried.

But the question that I have about all of this is: who will get the angriest? Will it be Trump supporters enraged that, yet again, the Deep State gets to do what it wants when it wants and how it wants? Or will it be educated women confirmed once again in their outrage that Trump has been #MeToo-ing around when everybody knows that the Harvey Weinstein era is over?

Or do the Trump supporters, content with the good-jobs regime of the Trump economy stay home while the woke SJWs all flock to the polls?

The simple answer is: we don't know. All I know is that I put out a substantial contribution to Dino Rossi, who's running for the open Republican toss-up WA-08 district. The last time I got that engaged, and put up real money, was in 1994 in the great mid-term that elected the first Republican Congress in 40 years. And what got me all riled up was the hypocrisy of the 1992 Year of the Woman.

So the question in 2018 is: who is angriest? Is it the lefty liberals, outraged at the inexplicable election of Trump when everyone agreed it was time for the First Woman President? Or is it the deplorables, enraged at the manifold injustices and indignities that they receive every day at the hand of the their local liberal?

You call it.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sure We Fight, But Then What?

Right now the mad-caps on the conservative right are all singing the same tune. First the liberals want to take our guns and then they want to take our free-speech rights. #1A and #2A.

OK, so we fight. We fight for our gun rights, and the right of self-defense. And we fight for free speech rights; the right to publish our ideas, right and wrong, and petition the government for a redress of grievances, right or wrong.

But then what?

See, my Big Thing is that we conservatives really don't have an answer to the left's program.

The left, as I see it, is filling the hole left by the death of God in the 19th century. But its program is totalitarian: we will bend the arc of history towards justice with a condominium of secular religion and government power and economic power.

The verdict on that is the mass graves of the 20th century. When ideology, government, and economic power are condensed into one entity the result is disaster.

But people still want the consolation of religious hope; they still want government to protect them from pirates and predators, and they still want economic security. And that is the package deal that the left keeps offering. And that is the attraction of "activism" for the well-born crusader. He can be the agent to bring hope and safety and security to the eternally marginalized.

In his Maps of Meaning Jordan B. Peterson tells us exactly what this is about. We live in the Unbearable Present; our constant need is to formulate a solution to this misery, to heal the gaping wound in our society and advance to an Ideal Future.

You will notice that the left has exactly formulated its program on this axis whether with the unbearable exploitation of labor or minorities or women. And they formulate a vision of an ideal future, liberated and emancipated from oppression and exploitation.

Only the left always leads to the silence of the mass grave. So something is wrong.

Peterson symbolizes the problem of redemption from the unbearable present to an ideal future as the opposition between two Hostile Brothers: the Hero and the Adversary.
[The hero] stands on the border between order and chaos, and serves the group as creator and agent of renewal... The hero rejects identification with the group as the ideal of life, preferring to follow the dictates of his conscience and his heart. His identification with meaning--and his refusal to sacrifice meaning for security--renders existence acceptable, despite its tragedy.
But then there is the Adversary. He comes in two forms, the fascist and the decadent.
The fascist wants to crush everything different, and then everything. The decadent immolates himself, and then builds the fascist from his ashes. The bloody excesses of the twentieth century, manifest most evidently in the concentration camp, stand as testimony to the desires of the adversary and as monument to his power.
The problem is, of course, that every self-styled savior represents himself as the true hero, and the other guy as the fascist, decadent adversary. So how is a mother to tell the difference? How do we identify the false hero, who is really a fascist in disguise? How do we see the heroism in the man that "everyone" calls a fascist?

In our current world we have the globalists, who see themselves as arching above the fascist tendencies of the nation state. Then we have the nationalists that see themselves as representing the only practical form of large-scale human representation, because, to paraphrase Enoch Powell, globalism cannot work because there is no global demos, no global people: thus all current attempts at supra-nationalism must fail. Then we have the left that experiences itself as the voice from below, giving voice to the silenced, the oppressed and the exploited.

Which of these is the hero, and which the adversary?

That is the great question of our time.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Women, Kevin, Can Be As Mean As Pepper

Right now I am struggling with the assertion in Jordan B. Peterson's Maps of Meaning that the Great Mother represents both creation and destruction. We seem to be getting all Hegelian here, where a thing is the same as its opposite, or very nearly.

But really? Women are destructive?

You see, I am really your average squish and I have been taught to be a gentleman, where women are concerned. So I find it really difficult to deal with the idea of women as destructive.

So you can imagine that I am really interested in the travails of Kevin D. Williamson and the women of The Atlantic. Here is a good set of links from PowerLine. Is the defenestration of Kevin the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything where women are concerned?

Could it be that women are not the innocent virgins and suffering mothers of legend?

You think?

Don't forget the fact that the main actors in all those religious witch-hunts of which we've heard tell were women.

And there is the fact reported by James M. Ault Jr. in Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. Men hold all the offices in these racist, sexist, homophobic churches, but women control the church through manipulation of their office-holding husbands. How? Well in part it is because the women's gossip network creates "a common grid of 'what everybody sees' and 'what everybody knows.'" In other words, women get to define social reality through their daily conversations and interactions with each other.

Hey, here is something more, that I just read yesterday. It's the lament of a "really beautiful woman" about how hard life has been for her. It's not the men that make it rough. Oh no. It's the women that all hate her.
One of the worst things about being beautiful is that other women absolutely despise you. Women have made me cry my whole life. When I try to make friends with a woman, I feel like I’m a guy trying to woo her. Women don’t trust me. They don’t want me around their husbands. I’m often excluded from parties, with no explanation.
Well, bust my buttons! Who knew?

So really, why be surprised that the women at The Atlantic all ganged up on poor Kevin Williamson. It could not be, it must not be that a man who was adopted as a baby -- and therefore might easily have been aborted, but wasn't -- would have strong feelings in a pro-life direction with respect to abortion.

No! Not to be endured! Nobody is allowed to to tell well-born women the facts of life. After all, what is the point of being a well-born woman working at a prestige media title unless you can define the common grid of what everybody sees and everybody knows, and make it stick.

Oh, and in the same week we have the kerfuffle at YouTube, run by Susan Wojcicki, who is connected with the founders of Google. The problem at YouTube seems to be that while conservatives and alt-right whackos kinds expect to be demonetized and censored, immigrant Iranian women vegans get really angry! How dare anyone censor them or demonetize them? What about their rights!

So here's the basic facts of life from Jordan B. Peterson, as I understand them right now, to help it all make sense.

First of all, our modern scientific world view, of facts, facts, facts, has nothing to do with the case. We do not go through life making rational decisions based on data input and strategic processing of data. Not at all. We -- and all living things -- live moment to moment on auto-pilot, flying along as unconcerned as a seagull. But then something unexpected happens. Enter fear. It means that you have to suspend auto-pilot, stop your life right there until you can figure out what happened and why, and figure out how to deal with it. Until then, you are paralyzed with fear. Reason has nothing to do with the case. It is emotion that rules the world.

In a societal context, where a whole society has been rocked on its heels by an unexpected event, the problem can only be solved by a "sacrificial hero," who does the work of figuring out what happened and how to change society so that it can deal with the new and the unexpected. As we know, these figures are only venerated when they have departed the scene, often tragically. Think Lincoln, JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. Or, if you are a lefty, Rosa Luxemburg, Sacco and Vanzetti, Trotsky, the Rosenbergs, Che.

Really, if you want to make a difference, you probably have to die upon the Cross.

But this is not the way of women, as The Atlantic has just demonstrated. And this is not surprising. Women are the agents of creation and destruction; it is men that are the agents of order and tyranny, and specifically restoring order after the lingering death of tyranny, which is the world of the dying king, holding on to his throne with white knuckles while the world crumbles around him.

You can see this in the way that political scientists frame presidential elections. Elections are either Four More Years -- a continuation of order -- or Time for a Change. Time for a Change tells us that the voters think that the order of the previous regime has tended towards tyranny and the political order must be refreshed. That is a man's job. It cannot be the job of people that insist on their safe space and the exclusion of all discouraging words that might upset them.

Meanwhile, our liberal women friends like Jennifer Palmieri are still emoting about the idea of a woman president.

Only thing is that the great women political leaders of our time, Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher, pretty well reinvented themselves as men. Theresa May and Mutti Merkel, not so much.

Because the job of a political leader is not to cuddle in a safe space but to boldly outdare the dangers of the time, the eternal black cloud of the Dragon of Chaos. And that is what men were put on this Earth to do. Women? Not so much.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Plague of Fake Politics

When you are part of the ruling class -- or even a ruling-class wannabe -- you want to do ruling class things. And what a ruling class does is politics.

In our age the ruling class is the so-called educated class that first emerged in the Enlightenment and first got its hands dirty in the French Revolution. Then, in the 19th Century we saw the emergence of Educated Youth, the Marxes and the Engels of the time, well-born young men that chose politics as a way to advocate for the lower class.

Thus was born today's over-under politics where the wealthy and the well-connected use the underclass as a tiger-paw to maul the middle class. Marx was the son of the best lawyer in Trier and Engels was the son of a textile baron sent to England to keep an eye on Daddy's business.

The thing is that this sort of politics is fake. Marx and Engels were not advocating for the rights of well-born scions, they were advocating for the workers. Er, what would rich kids like that know about the needs of the workers? Because the telling thing about Educated-Youth activism is that it seems to require All Power to the Scions! In our day we are talking about graduates of selective colleges making their chops as "community organizers" for a year before moving on to a liberal foundation and then a career in electoral politics. Fake politics is great for the well-born scions. And that is the point.

So now we have the fake "caravan of Central American migrants" organized by the usual crew of liberal church groups. Sorry fellahs, but glomming onto a group of Central Americans and using them as camera bait is not "activism;" it is fake politics. It is US liberals looking for an issue on which to perform activism and create meaning for themselves.

And the same goes for the March for our Lives movement that features the teenagers from Parkland as its media bait. Kids don't have the experience and the connections to mount huge rallies in Washington DC. It takes well-connected professional activists and well-connected billionaires. It is fake politics. It is not about "gun violence," which is mainly a problem in black inner cities; it is all about creating meaning in the lives of well-born, well-connected liberals: fake politics.

Next week is going to be Town Hall for our Lives, featuring the same stand-up kids in front of cameras. Sorry liberals; this is fake politics, once again.

If all this stuff is fake politics, what is real politics? I will tell you. It is some whacko guy running for president and discovering a whole demographic that none of the fake activists had ever thought of representing.

The problem with all this educated-class fake politics is what comes later. It is what I call the "little darlings" problem.

Suppose you are Marx and Engels and you want revolution for the working class. Or you are Beatrice Webb and you want legislation mandating labor unions and social services for the working class. Just trust us, they said, and we will change the world for you and protect you.

Only they didn't. Marx and Engels and their adepts Lenin and Stalin and Mao and Castro and Chavez led the workers into a maelstrom of starvation and killing. Beatrice Webb and US liberals led the workers into a box canyon by promising cradle-to-grave jobs and welfare. But now the working class in England and the US is dying of despair because the world they were taught to live in has collapsed. Go watch the Up Series if you want to see this happen in real time. There are no more lifetime jobs in manufacturing; there are no more secure union jobs except in government. The glorious movement to lift up the working class was not about the working class at all; it was all about the power and the glory of the Marxes, the Lenins, the Webbs, and the college-taught "activists" luxuriating in the activism culture of today.

The same thing has been happening with the women's movement, run by well-born women that fancied a life that was more than marriage and children. No problem, girls, except that, for some reason, the women of today are less happy that the women of the Fifties. Why would that be? Could it be that most women -- well-born women educated at selective colleges excepted -- want marriage and children and a part-time job? Has anyone asked them?

Here's what I keep coming back to. It is that, in this age of politics-with-everything we have grasped the wrong end of the stick. The record of the last 200 years is that the day-to-day work of human social cooperation can best be left to the market in goods and labor, with sensible laws to encourage faithful dealings and reward trust. It is not a good idea to marshal people into political tribes and teach them to trust their leaders. Political leaders are like the generals of armies. They get to go home to a well-earned retirement; it is their foot soldiers and caravaner migrants that get to pay the bills of their leaders with their lives.

Instead of teaching gullible teenagers and migrants to trust in their leaders we should be teaching people to understand and master the bourgeois bargain. It is simple: it is your job to figure out how to contribute to society with your mind and your body, and then do something about it. And don't think that the job is over once you have found your first job. The world changes, and we all need to change with it, or else end up on the dust-heap of history. Sure, "society" can help, and government has role to help. But what if the government is wrong? What if government's health care programs make health care impossibly expensive?  What if government schools don't prepare our children for the real world? What then?

There's a cute piece today by Christopher DeGroot, who sneers at Kevin D. Williamson for sneering at the white working class for not getting with the program and doing something about it when the good old jobs started to fade away.

The problem is that the white working class made its mistake a generation before the jobs started drying up in the Seventies. Their mistake was the trust the activists of fake politics who "cared about people like you."

No they didn't. All politicians care about is your vote. All the activists care about is your body showing up at their "peaceful protest." And that is all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What Do We Do About the Experts?

I was recommended to read The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by economics professor William Easterly.

Easterly tells a story familiar to the rebels that don't like being dictated to by the educated elite. The way of the world is for the best and the brightest to decide what is good for us, and then implement it, for our own good, of course.

Easterly approaches the issue with a review of development economics, the notion that experts and administrators know how to bring the backward nations of the world into the modern age with targeted plans formulated and executed by a central government advised by international experts.

On Easterly's telling, this all began a century ago at the intersection of economics and colonialism. The western colonial governments were starting to get a bit uncomfortable with the western domination of the rest of the world. How did democracy and self government mesh with the colonial domination of Africa and Asia? The answer was a clever one.

The backward people governed by the western colonialists were really too backward to be able to govern themselves and come up with ideas and plans for their own development, so the answer was for autocratic governments, colonial or post-colonial, to execute on economic development plans developed by European experts, the chaps who knew what they were doing. Politics was the answer.

It actually makes a lot of sense. If you are the ruling class the last thing you can countenance is to get up and abandon the levers of political power, and say to yourself, OK, our rule is unjust and we should just get the heck out of here. Instead what you do is elide the truth of your unjust rule, and perform a misdirection play. You say to yourself and to the world that, well, these backward people aren't really interested in political rights. So the best thing to do for them is to implement a targeted plan of economic development created and executed by us, the knowledgeable ones.

This is smarter than you might think. It appeals to the existing colonialists, and it appeals to any budding local nationalist revolutionary cadres. It flatters liberal reformers and it sidesteps the whole question of political legitimacy. Thus, between the world wars, there was a big effort to come up with a development plan for China, in which both the Rockefeller Foundation and Sun Yat-sen/Chiang Kai-Shek supporters collaborated. It conveniently dropped the question in which ordinary Chinese people were intensely interested, of western enclaves in China where western law superseded Chinese law.

Or in Africa, the colonialists came up with development plans after World War II to benefit "the natives" without really tackling the who-whom question of whether the western colonialists should be the ones to dictate such matters.

Of course, there were people that questioned the technocratic development model, and Easterly frames this opposition in the contrast between the two winners of the 1974 Nobel Economics prize,  F.A. Hayek and Gunnar Myrdal. Hayek is famous for his opposition to the expert technocratic model; Myrdal was a full-on supporter of the technocratic model. But guess what: the technocratic model enthusiasts refused to engage with the Hayekians, saying that everyone agreed that the technocratic model with its carefully-crafted plans was the way to go. Somehow that sounds familiar.

In other words, people in the political world cannot coutenance anything unless it is a political solution, directed by the powerful. We know what is best, say the colonialist oppressors; We know what is best, say the post-colonialist autocrats. And why not? If you have managed to get yourself to the top of the political heap, you must be a genius, right?

No doubt, but what is interesting me, at the half-way point in the book, is that Easterly is carefully making his case on the argument from racism, that the western colonialists and experts were and are racists that operated on the assumption that ordinary people in the Third World just did not have the chops to develop their countries on their own.

But I want to make the problem bigger. After all, the whole point of the western welfare state is that ordinary western people just don't have the chops to manage their retirement, their end-of-life health care, their children's education on their own. They need the support of technocratic government programs.

I suspect that Easterly will get around to that, but he understands that to persuade the political and cultural elite he must argue from racism and not from economics.

For the extraordinary Great Enrichment of the last two hundred years took place in spite of everything and everybody. In my view nobody knew what was happening in the west 200 years ago, and if they had they would have stopped it. Ruling classes want to rule, and that is all. Ordinary people want to hang on to what they have, and that is all. Both are lemmings, that keep on going until they go over the cliff.

We have increased per-capita income by 30 times in 200 years, yet we can still get a Venezuela. How come?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How to Solve the Lefty Boycott Problem

What do we do about the lefty habit of launching boycotts against conservative media types?

This week it's Laura Ingraham's turn as young teenage activist David Hogg, presumably prompted all the way by David Brock's Media Matters outfit, has successlfully scared most of the Laura's advertisers to stop advertising on her FoxNews TV show.

Oh, and don't forget the NRA. Lefties love to launch boycotts against the eevil NRA.

Of course before Laura it was Sean Hannity,  and before him Bill O'Reilly. And they have tried a few times to scare Rush Limbaugh's advertisers off his program.

So what do we DO about it?

Do we return fire, and punch back twice as hard, as a famous community organizer once said, and target advertisers on lefty shows? Do we ignore the lefties? Do we turn the other cheek?

Or do we adopt the strategy of Vox Day, advertised in his SJWs Always Lie and SJWs Always Double Down ebooks. Here is the SJW Survival Guide from SJWs Always Lie. Rule Three is:  never apologize, because it only encourages them.  Rule Seven is: make the rubble bounce.

So Laura Ingraham should not have apologized to David Hogg.

Vox Day's bigger agenda is that, if you don't like social media deplatforming you then you need to take action and make your own platforms. That's why Day has produced a "fork" to Wikipedia, calling it Infogalactic. Only trouble is that Infogalactic's traffic is going down, not up.

The problem for conservatives and non-lefties is that we don't believe in boycotts. That's because we don't believe in the basic faith of the left in political action. We don't believe that labor unions are the solution for the workers. We don't believe in the wonders of the welfare state. We don't believe in the efficacy of government experts. We don't believe that Affirmative Action or "inclusion and diversity" is going to correct historical discrimination.

So, while everyone on the left believes in the use of activism and "peaceful protest" to fight against injustice, we don't. Oh, we believe in laws against major discrimination, but not much more.

Actually, we believe that only government should be forbidden to discriminate on the basis of race and sex. Because the whole point of freedom is the freedom to discriminate. So, on this view, if Google and Facebook want to drive conservatives out of the public square, go ahead fellahs. Of course it might not be a good strategic plan and good for business to piss off half of the country, but, as they say, it's a free country, and the whole point of freedom is the right to make mistakes.

The big risk for companies that bail on conservative media advertising is that sometimes the boycott backfires as the listeners and viewers decide to boycott the boycotters and, sometimes, the conservative show won't have the advertisers back if they suddenly get sadder and wiser.

The best thing to happen would be that all the rumpus and accusations the 2018 activist wave result in the reelection of the GOP Congress in November. Because what cooled the jets of the last lefty activist era, the fabled Sixties, was that the voters elected Republican Presidents five times out of six between 1968 and 1988. It was only when Bill Clinton declared himself a New Democrat that the voters elected a Democrat. And then, after he sicced Hillary on the health care system, the voters elected the first GOP Congress in 40-odd years.

That is the sort of thing that people with a faith in the saving grace of political power really understand. The trouble is that there is always a new generation of well-born youngsters with a desperate hunger for revolution, baby.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Myth and Religion in an Age of Science

I sent a piece to American Thinker last night to urge that we reclassify all lefty ideologies as religions. The idea was to be able to apply the First Amendment to our lefty friends respecting establishments of religion.

Because if the US has an official religion right now it is the congeries of lefty ideologies, and don't you dare question the experts on their political correctness.

However, I was also reading Jordan B. Peterson yesterday, and he says this about your modern ideologies. And he means all of them, from the story of "benevolent nature threatened by the rapacious forces of the corrupt individual and the society of the machine" to the brave pioneer "wresting the good life... from the intransigent forces of nature."
These stories are all ideologies... [But they] are dangerous. Their power stems from their incomplete but effective appropriation of mythical ideas... Ideologies only tell part of the story, but tell that part as if it were complete.
Peterson wants us to understand that everything is two-edged. BVenvolent nature? Yes, but it includes malarial mosquitos. Noble pioneers? But what about the original inhabitants? The Great Mother is creation and destruction. The Great Father is security and tyranny, and if your appropriated myth doesn't weave that into the story then, in the words of Mary McCarthy, every word is a lie, including "and" and "the."

Yes, but isn't myth and religion old hat, because science? Well, I quoted Rodney Stark in my AT piece to the effect that
The everlasting basis for religion will be the human conviction and hope that life has meaning.
Or, as I like to quote from Douglas Adams, it is all about "the meaning of life, the universe, and everything." I think the point is that the reason that all living things do what they do is that they act as if their life has hope and meaning. Maybe there is no meaning of life in this universe. But it seems to me that everything in the universe seems to be acting as if there is. Or, to put it in terms of Jordan Peterson, our lives are based on affect, responding to unexpected stimuli with the response we call "emotion."

I see that he gets some of this from Nietzsche. I am reading Beyond Good and Evil at the gym and Nietzsche is pretty clear on science, philosophy, and everything. Kant and his categories? Sure, but suppose he was mistaken? Schopenhauer and his "will?" So let's unpack it:  the fact is that "will" is not something simple and certain, but complicated unit into which a whole world of meaning has been packed. Cause and effect? We should use them "as conventional fictions for the purpose of designation and communication -- not for explanation." Or,
It is perhaps just dawning on five or six minds that physics, too, is only an interpretation and exegesis of the world (to suit us, if I may say so!) and not a world explanation[.]
That is to say that science demonstrates the world; it does not explain it.

Actually I think the whole thing can be understood by turning Marx on his head. In his Theses on Feuerbach he famously writes:
Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.
Er, no Chuck. Let's look at this from the Peterson point of view. We achieve new interpretations of the world from experiencing the unexpected as an irruption of the dangerous unknown. There is a whole universe out there of which we know nothing, because it does not affect our lives. But when the universe whacks us upside the head we struggle to achieve a hard-won new interpretation the world. The point is not to change the world but to change  ourselves so we can better continue our lives in a less dangerous and more effective way.

Going along in the old way and ignoring new interpretations of the world may be sensible, or it may be suffocating. Going off in a new way may be beneficial, or it may be suicidal.

Changing the world, Chuck, might be the point or it might be a recipe for 100 million dead humans.

The point is to figure out the difference. And that is the job of myth and religion, not science, and not half-baked lefty ideology.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Why Pope Francis is Wrecking Catholicism

Here we are on Good Friday, and the big story is Pope Francis telling an atheist journalist that he is not  that into Hell. Writes George Neumayr,
In an interview with the Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis declared that the unrepentant don’t suffer in hell but simply “disappear.”
Of course, nobody really has a right to be scandalized by this. The Catholic Church operates as a "magisterium" which means more or less that what the pope says goes. So if the pope says that you don't get to burn in Hell for your sins but instead disappear into oblivion, hey, that's the plan.

However, in my judgement, what the pope is doing  is destroying the Catholic Church as an institution where people go to get an answer to the "meaning of life, the universe, and everything" in the felicitous phrase of Douglas Adams.

Ever since the Axial Age, humans have approached this problem through the cultural notion of a God that cares about good and evil.

(Did you know that before the Axial Age gods did not care too much about good and evil? A good place to start is Homer's Iliad. Those gods were playing politics, using humans as their chess pieces on the chess-board of the plains of Ilium).

The reason that gods suddenly became interested in good and evil in about 600 BC was that the "informal social control" of the village was breaking down as humans started moving into larger, and more impersonal communities. That's from sociologist of religion Rodney Stark.

But Rodney Stark has also analyzed the workings of what we might call the religious marketplace. What do believers want, and what do religious entrepreneurs offer them?

The answer is that people want a religion that enacts the drama of good and evil, but they want it tailored to their specific needs. Some people want a very strict and demanding religion; others want a medium strict religion (and this is the sweet spot where most people live); some people want a very liberal religion. In times of trouble, people tend to want more strict religion. That is why, for instance, western New York State during the chaos of building the Erie Canal was called the "burned over district" and birthed a lot of religious movements including the Church of Latter Day Saints.

There is a tendency for religious entrepreneurs -- the Wesley brothers, Joseph Smith & Co -- to start fairly strict religions. There is also a tendency for religious bureaucrats to gradually ease up on the strictness of the church they direct. This is because, like all bureaucrats, religious bureaucrats tend, over time, to focus on the emoluments and perquisites of office rather than the actual mission of the church.

So it makes complete sense that during our lives the Catholic Church has de-emphasized the strictness of good vs. evil. But there is a problem, according to Rodney Stark. When ecclesiastics liberalize their churches and soften their doctrine the believers tend not to like it, and the ecclesiastics pretty soon start preaching to empty churches. On Rodney Stark's view this is exactly what happened to the Catholic  Church after Vatican II. Used to be that both clergy and laity were enthused by the specialness of their faith: the priests and nuns in their distinctive uniforms and status, the laity in their strict requirements for fidelity and observance.

Now, if you believe in the ideas of Rodney Stark you would think that, if the Christian churches are relaxing their religious discipline, then something would be likely to come along and fill in the gap left by the churches that were reducing the level of enthusiasm for the drama of good and evil. And of course this is exactly what has happened. The Gospel has been replaced by the Social Gospel. The moral drama of personal good and evil has been replaced, especially for educated people, by the moral drama of social good and evil, the plight of the poor, inequality, and the blight of capitalism.

There are many people that assert that the secular movements of the last two centuries are not religions, but I am not one of them. All these movements -- from the Jacobins of the French Revolution to the Communists of early to mid 20th century to the postmodernist SJWs of today -- are all running religions, that are intensely concerned with the moral drama of good vs. evil.

For instance, you may be concerned with the violence of Good Friday, the sacrifice of the Son of God in expiation of our Sins, and the almost melodramatic resolution of the Passion of Christ on Easter Sunday when Christ rises again from the dead. But surely the secular-religious passion of AntiFa, the anti-gun movement, and the campus SJWs show that ideological passion is alive and well, and that all over the world, people are motivated by the passion to fight for good against evil.

You might think, for example, that martyrdom is a dead-end. But in fact people are highly motivated to become martyrs. We see that in the Islamic movement -- and we see it with the mass shooters. Hey, the easiest way to go down in history is to get your 15 minutes of fame with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

And the proof of this is the reverse of it. During the Great Purges of the Stalinist Soviet Union, according to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the most effective ways of breaking down non-believers was to tell them, in the isolation of the interrogation room, that they would disappear without a trace so they might as well give in and confess. This tactic did not work for religious believers, who already knew that they would go to Heaven.

For me, the current moral drama of the left and the SJWs is a dead end, for the simple reason that it has not confronted the "indirect social control" culture of the market economy. In my view, the true religion of today must blend the good vs. evil culture of the monotheisms with the "service is perfect freedom" culture of the market. For this is the basic proposition of the market economy. Think of some service, some product that other people want, and deliver it. Deliver it not just to your tribe, your clan, but to all the people, all over the world. What a concept!

So my idea is that the Religion of the Future must blend the women's culture that is best adapted to the culture of informal social control with the men's culture that is best for running the culture of formal social control with the impersonal culture of indirect social control that comes with the market and its prices.

Hey, it should be no problem. We will wake up on some Sunday soon and find that we have all risen as if from the dead and that all the world is new again.

But I wish that Pope Francis were a sadder and wiser man.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

"Informal Social Control" and "Formal Social Control" and the Left

I  was reading a piece today by ZMan about "Puritans and Progressives" and how similar they are.
[Just like the Puritans] [t]he modern Left is consumed with defining who is inside and who is outside their thing. The people inside are the righteous, while the people outside are all evil.
And it happens that today David French is reporting on the liberal rage at the idea -- the idea! -- of hiring National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson to write for The Atlantic. And then there is John Derbyshire writing about the travails of Amy Wax, a law professor who is getting in trouble for suggesting that “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely in the top half” at the law school at the University of Pennsylvania.

What is going on here? I think that the way to understand it is to use Rodney Stark's concepts of "informal social control" and "formal social control" from his book Why God?

Stark argues that the appearance of monotheistic religions in the Axial Age occurred because people were starting to live in communities that were too big to be regulated by the face-to-face informal social control of the village. In the village everyone knows everyone else and the community of women determine who is naughty or nice, as in my immortal catchphrase: "I can't believe she said/did that."

But when the world gets too big you need the impersonal authority of formal social control with governments for the external control of people's acts and monotheistic gods that can  peer into your soul to control your mental acts.

But the thing is that we are all programmed for the intimate world of the village and informal social control. So we are outraged, outraged that there are people out there actually allowed to write stuff that we know is evil and opposed to everything we believe. The nerve! And so we get the Puritan witch hunts of Salem, Massachusetts, of which everyone has heard tell. And we get the Reign of Terror witch hunts of the French Revolution, of which everyone has also heard tell, but with which some of our lefty friends fail to make the connection. Oh and the Great Purge of 1930s Soviet Union, and the McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950s, and the Maoist Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

Today we are having a similar experience with the postmodernists and "political correctness." And this witch-hunt was specifically recommended by left Herbert Marcuse in his 1965 essay on "Repressive Tolerance."

Our Big Problem, I think, is that there is another social control concept that has taken hold in the last 200 years. It is what we might call the "indirect social control" of the market economy. The market economy does not directly say: "Thou Shalt" and "Thou Shalt Not." It only gives you a nudge.

In my view there is a problem with the indirect social control of the market. It does not have enough valence, enough moral drama of good against evil. People want to live in the moral drama of the battle of good against evil, and they think something is missing in their lives if the moral drama is missing.

Against this appetite for moral drama is the opinion of Crane Brinton in The Anatomy of Revolution. In his view humans cannot handle the heightened drama of a witch-hunt or a Reign of Terror for too long. And so there is always a return to normalcy, what the left calls "Thermidorean Reaction" because the French Reign of Terror ended in the revolutionary month of Thermidor.

There is also a theory that witch-hunts stop when the hunters start coming for respectable women that are wives of local notables. It is one thing to sweep up witches on the margins of society, but quite another when high-born women are involved, darling. So does Prof. Amy Wax count as a high-born notable? Does the reign of microaggressions stop with her?

We shall see.

But I think that the key to the whole matter is to understand the interplay of the cultures of "informal social control," "formal social control," and "indirect social control."

And remember what Harry Hotspur said about the claim of Henry IV to be the King of England.
[The king]
Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong;
And, in conclusion, drove us to seek out
This head of safety; and withal to pry
Into his title, the which now we find
Too indirect for long continuance.
Yeah! You give 'em hell Harry.

Because that is what the left has been doing in respect  of the market  economy for a century and a half: prying out the title of capitalism, which  they find too indirect, too lacking in moral drama, for long continuance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Omnibus Bills and Us

My American Thinker piece this week made fun of the girlish horror at President Trump signing the bulging omnibus bill: "I Can't Believe He Signed That Omnibus Bill." But some people took me seriously; they thought I was tearing my hair out at the folly of Trump signing such a bill.

Actually, it was a joke, son. My notion is that whenever two women are gathered together, a lot of their conversation is about other women not present, as in: "I can't believe she said/did that." This ganging up on other women is probably why we humans still survive. It is, as Jordan B. Peterson writes,  "informal social control" by the community of women in a face-to-face community. As opposed to the "formal social control" of governments and men with guns.

But the Bigger Point is the point of the cartoon character Pogo: we have seen the enemy and he is us.

The reason for omnibus bills is the same as the reason for big government, and liberals wanting to take our guns "for the children" and the government taking 35 percent of our income every year and the Trump administration advertising special exemptions to its tariff proposals. We are all of us inclined to resort to force when our own interests are involved.

I was talking to a political candidate the other day and he complained lightly that too many people  in  politics are in it for the power. We agreed that power is an empty shell. This guy is a very personable man, who has been able to bring people together to do impossible things.

Very nice. But government, all government, is force. And once it gets beyond the simple acts of "formal social control" of repelling invaders and cracking the heads of thieves and robbers, then it is frankly serving the agenda of people that want something for nothing. Which is all of us.

Walter Williams had a characteristic piece today about this. Said he:
Suppose you are a 22-year-old healthy person. Rather than be forced to spend $3,000 a year for health insurance and have $7,000 deducted from your salary for Social Security, you'd prefer investing that money to buy equipment to start a landscaping business.
Well? What would be the best use of the money? The answer is obvious. The young man should use the $10,000 a year to start a landscaping business. The idea of surrendering the money to insurance  companies and politicians is utter folly. It is, in the biblical phrase, surrendering your birthright for a mess of pottage.

But what if you get ill and need expensive cancer surgery? Yes. It's a problem. Of course there are options. You could protect yourself with a true catastrophic insurance policy. Or you could hope to pile it all on your credit card. Or mortgage your business or your house.

And what if you ended up at 65 without any savings? Well, you might. But you would probably not have been so foolish. Instead, like the overwhelming number of people you would have saved for the rainy day. Plus, if you had any sense, you would have children.

And there is another reason. It is the secret of capitalism. Money given to the government is dead money, the same as the value of capital assets owned by the government in a dam or a municipal electric system. But private assets are the basis of credit, the means by which ordinary people lubricate each other's economic lives. They are what makes the world go round. Young people are usually on the receiving end of credit, to start businesses and pay for schooling. Older people are on the giving end of credit: advancing money and/or equity to young people to get a leg up on life. There is a word for this: generational justice. And the point is that there is no compulsion, only trust and reciprocity, and hard feelings if the deal goes wrong.

But when people engage with government, then we are talking about force. Of course, we do not talk about force in this context, oh no. We talk about the children, the workers, the disabled, the elderly. So we do. But conveniently forget that there are two ways to help people: with force and without force.

There is, of course,a certain frisson that comes from getting your share of the government loot. If you are Chuck Schumer, it says something about you and your power that you can get $30 billion for a tunnel across the Hudson River. The same goes for the chap that wants a new Air Force fighter jet, or the liberal that wants more money for "choice." But then there is also the frisson that comes from sailing up the rivers of Britain in the year 1000 and grabbing all the grain, killing all the men, and selling all the women and children into slavery. What is the difference.

And we are all players in this game, from the grandpa that paid into Social Security all those years, and the daughter that needs Medicare for her end-of-life mother, to the liberal all proud about the grant they just got for their activism.

And what exactly are we deplorables all upset about with the omnibus bill? Are we upset that it didn't slay enough liberal cows? That it didn't end Obamacare as we know it? The real money in the federal budget is the troika of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Defense.  That is $3 trillion a year. The entire rest of the budget, including interest on the national debt, is $1 trillion. Here:
Federal Government Spending
Fiscal Year 2018
Federal Pensions$1.0 trillion
Federal Health Care$1.2 trillion
Federal Education$0.1 trillion
National Defense$0.9 trillion
Federal Welfare$0.4 trillion
All Other Spending$0.6 trillion

So what's your problem, pal?