Friday, July 20, 2018

Why I Could Never Be an Appeals Court Judge

Two Republican United States Senators have just torpedoed the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the US Court of Appeals. They don't like something Bounds wrote 25 years ago as a student at Stanford University:
“During my years in our Multicultural Garden of Eden,” he wrote, “I have often marveled at the odd strategies that some of the more strident racial factions of the student body employ in their attempts to ‘heighten consciousness,’ ‘build tolerance,’ ‘promote diversity’ and otherwise convince us to partake of that fruit which promises to open our eyes to a PC version of the knowledge of good and evil. I am mystified because these tactics seem always to contribute more to restricting consciousness, aggravating intolerance and pigeonholing cultural identities than many a Nazi bookburning.”
Oh no! Bounds accused lefties of being Nazis! As a kid! Twenty-five years ago! Whoever heard of such a thing! I can't believe he wrote that! Why everybody knows that it is a crime against humanity to write such a thing. But it is OK to accuse anyone to the right of lovely Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of being a Nazi.

But really, we all know that there is one crime that cannot be forgiven, and that is the crime of telling the truth to the ruling class.

I mean: I write things like that every day! But then I can afford to, because I am not running for anything, and I am not hoping to get preferment to some black robed sinecure. So I can afford to tell the truth as I see it.

But to get back to Ryan Bounds. This guy wrote this truthful analysis of the utter folly of left-wing politics -- not to mention its vile reign of terror -- twenty-five years ago when he was a student at university. For this he is to be denied entrance to the Holy of Holies, a seat on the United States Court of Appeals? Come on Tim Scott and Marco Rubio! Surely you have more serious things to do than punish a guy for telling the truth 25 years ago! How about punishing someone for something true that he wrote last year!

Or maybe Scott and Rubio are playing Senate politics and paying back some other senator for meddling with some pet project of theirs. I hope there is some such good political payback reason for this.

If there is one thing this nation needs to do it is to banish the vile racism and divisions of identity politics, and to utterly demoralize and demonize the vile culture of "activism" that now reigns supreme in our universities. The frightening thing is that it is clear that the kids are doing this because they are being carefully taught to do so.

Indeed, given the apparent utter ignorance of the lovely Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about basic economics -- this from a Boston University BA graduate in Economics and International Relations -- it is clear what is going on in the university. Nothing. Except activism studies. Yes, apparently Ocasio-Cortez was active in student politics while at BU. And I imagine didn't have much time for economics, supply-and-demand, market prices and all that stuff.

This is surprising to me, because I once knew a Good Little Girl that went back to school to get an MBA and was flabbergasted by her economics courses. She had no idea! But apparently economics courses left absolutely no trace on Ocasio-Cortez. Does that mean that BU students can avoid capitalist economics and merely take courses in Marxist or Democratic-Socialist economics? Or does it mean that Ocasio-Cortez was a minority student active in activism on campus and that any grade lower than B+ was evidence of instructor racism? Or does it mean that Ocasio-Cortez is as dumb as a post and forgot  everything she learned the second after the final exam?

Yeah, what is going on at the university? If Ryan Bounds was writing about "strident racial factions of the student body" 25 years ago, what, do you suppose, is  going on today?

Well, we know.  The attitude of university administration to left-wing student activism clearly demonstrates that the university is right there with the activist  students and their non-negotiable demands and their mostly peaceful protests.

And there is only one way to stop it. To take away their money. That is what bureaucrats and time-servers understand.

Because here is the bigger problem, as told by Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore, also known as Harry Lee (his first language was English).
In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.
Or, to put it in a different way, on my maxim that politics is division, in a single-race society politicians divide people by class or religion or ethnic origin as used to be the case in the United States. In a multi-racial society politicians divide people by race and religion. QED.

The thing is, in the United States for the last century, the politicians were clearly dividing people by ethnicity and religion. Thus, if you read the history of presidential elections you find authors talking about the Irish vote, the Catholic vote. Or in Miami the Cuban vote. Now we talk about the black vote, the Latino vote, and the white working-class vote. Nothing has changed.

The other approach to politics, that Donald Trump has used, is to divide the electorate by loyalty to America, as in Make America Great Again. This is a transparent tactic to appeal to ordinary people that don't have any fancy ideas about activism and driving Priuses and saving the planet, and utterly to be deplored and banished from polite society.

And I would say that anyone with the least bit of education and evolvement should utterly condemn Trumpian divisive politics and completely eliminate from judicial preferment anyone that so much as whispers support for such racist sexist homophobia. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Of Course Trump Has "a Distorted Vision"

Yesterday I dispatched Steven Pinker and his Enlightenment Now for not realizing that his "reason" is a religion, or more exactly that science and wealth and long life are just artifacts and ways of looking at and understanding the world; they are not the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Today I am taking on conservative icon Roger Scruton, who takes to The New York Times to disparage Donald Trump. Let us let him have his say.
Conservative thinkers have on the whole praised the free market, but they do not think that market values are the only values there are. Their primary concern is with the aspects of society in which markets have little or no part to play: education, culture, religion, marriage and the family... [things that] cannot be bought and sold: things like love, loyalty, art and knowledge, which are not means to an end but ends in themselves.
Well, yes. Which is another way of saying with John C. Wright that politics [and the market economy] is downstream from culture is downstream from religion. But Trump is not a true vessel of conservatism, writes Scruton.
About such things it is fair to say that Mr. Trump has at best only a distorted vision. He is a product of the cultural decline that is rapidly consigning our artistic and philosophical inheritance to oblivion. And perhaps the principal reason for doubting Mr. Trump’s conservative credentials is that being a creation of social media, he has lost the sense that there is a civilization out there that stands above his deals and his tweets in a posture of disinterested judgment.
Well, bless my soul. Imagine! Trump is but a ordinary mortal, and does not have the magic answer that will bring "education, culture, religion, marriage and the family" into perfect harmony with our "artistic and philosophical" traditions.

But, in fact, on the testimony of Steve Bannon, Trump is consciously trying to move away from the technocratic market-only globalist vision towards some kind of populist nationalism that thinks about the actual cultural context of the people rather than the intellectual conceits of the ruling class. Here is Bannon (he really spanks the interviewer: gotta love it):



But here is my beef with Scruton, that Trump "is a product of the cultural decline that is rapidly consigning our artistic and philosophical inheritance to oblivion."

No doubt, Rog. But the fact is that the conservative heirs of Edmund Burke have singularly failed to provide the Trumps of the world with a bullet list on which to raise our "artistic and philosophical inheritance" back up to the level of a Goethe and a Beethoven, and then to raise it to greater heights still. We got Obama and his "fundamental transformation" because conservatives don't have a better idea that inspires  the best and brightest to leave progressivism and its echoing graveyards in droves and aspire to something higher and better.

The worst we can say about Trump is that he is a little Dutch boy with a finger in the dyke, trying to hold back the progressive flood. But he is just a politician, albeit a politician that "[keeps] your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you." Which means he is downstream from culture, which is already there and over which he has no control and which right now is in the hands of his political enemies. And that is to say nothing about religion.

See, the fundamental thing about our age is that it is an Axial Age in which new religions are aborning, just like the Axial Age of three thousand years ago. What do you think the SJWs are doing? What do you think the left has been all about? These are the rude and crude attempts to find a new religion, a meaning of life, the universe, and everything, or in Scruton's argot, rebuilding an "artistic and philosophical" tradition on the ashes of the old good-and-evil one that Nietzsche declared was dead over a century ago. And naturally, there is quite a lot of witch-hunting and naming and shaming as people get a little too enthusiastic for the New Truth.

As you know my view, on my Three Peoples theory, is that the religions of the People of the Subordinate Self and the People of the Responsible Self are fine. The problem is the religion of the People of the Creative Self, the people who are in Nietzsche's phrase trying to figure out what religion looks like "Beyond Good and Evil." Not surprisingly 97.2% of their efforts have been bloody failures, consigning hundreds of millions to death and devastation as is normal when people are trying to develop something new.

So what Trump is saying is that you globalists and progressives can get on with your glorious plans for a new religion, but not on our dime. We want to live in our nation states with our welfare states, and our families and jobs and children. Come back when you have something real. And it better be better than your Communism, your Socialism, your Nazism, your Stalinism, your Maoism, your Castroism, your Bolivarism, your globalism, oh, and your Obamism.

Just saying.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

People Don't Want to be Enlightened, They Just Want to Believe

I read a review of Steven Pinker's latest, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress on NRO, and realized that I ought to read the book. The reason? That Pinker went out after religion.

OK, I said to myself: so what is Pinker's religion? Fortunately, he answers the question on the first page of the book, by answering a question put to him by a young woman: "Why should I live?" Says he:
In the very act of asking that question, you are seeking reasons for your convictions, and so you are committed to reason as the means to discover and justify what is important to you. And there are so many reasons to live!
And the reasons? The "potential to flourish" and the "sense of sympathy." So,
[Y]ou have the responsibility to provide for others what you expect for yourself... life, health, knowledge, freedom, abundance, safety, beauty, and peace. History shows that when we sympathize with others and apply our ingenuity to improving the human condition, we can make progress in doing so, and you can help to continue that progress.
So, using Cathy Newman dialectics, what he is saying that if you have convictions around notions like flourishing and sympathy, then the reasons for your convictions are that they make a better world for you and everyone else.

This uses the word "reason" in its original pre-Greek sense, as a rationalization of your convictions. Yeah, Stevie, reason wasn't invented back in the Enlightenment with dear old Kant and his "Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Sketch." Reason is an integral part of all religion, pal. That's why we sneer today at Catholic theologians back in the day arguing about how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin. Or why the Jewish Torah typically features on each page a few verses in large type surrounded by tons of rabbinical argumentative commentary in small type.

So, I get it. Steven Pinker believes in basic human flourishing. So do I. He believes in "sympathy," or what we might call social animals. So do I.

So the difference between him and me is that I believe that my convictions, my sense of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, is my religion. And he does not. Because, I suppose, he imagines himself above all that.

He is wrong, of course. He is wrong because nobody knows the meaning of life, the universe, and everything -- if it has a meaning. But we humans cannot live without an answer to the question: "why should I live," and that answer, always and everywhere, is provided by religion.

To answer the religious question, some people immerse themselves in books, or go off into a wilderness to meditate, or "go into isolation" with Nietzsche's Zarathustra. But most people get their religion prepackaged from a church or a sect; they prefer it that way. Steven Pinker seems to want the prepackaged religion of the Kants and similar folk who wrote in the mid-to-late 18th century. And for him that has nothing to do with "the 19th-century Romantic belief in mystical forces, laws, dialectics, struggles, unfoldings, destinies, ages of man, and evolutionary forces that propel mankind ever upwards towards utopia."

OK. So the Romantics were half-crazed. But their basic religion was that Reason and Enlightenment could not be the whole story: it did not exhaust the possibilities of the meaning of life, the universe and everything. There had to be something else. But what is that "something else?" That's a good question, Senator.

The point is that nothing is carved in stone -- except what Jung carved in stone at his lakeside retreat at Bollingen -- and all our convictions that we protect with a bodyguard of reason are probably wrong, at least in part.

For instance, Pinker clearly thinks that material progress is a good thing, provided we protect against environmental damage, blah, blah, blah, because it promotes "life, health, knowledge, freedom, abundance, safety, beauty, and peace." And little children get to live, and people are not enslaved and women are not patriarched etc.

But the environmentalists correctly point out that this cannot go on forever. They tell us that we will run out of fossil fuels. And they are right, except it won't be next week. Or that we will "climate change" the Earth and destroy the planet. And they may be right. But it won't happen for a century or so, whatever the fake models tell us. Meanwhile, let us wive and thrive and survive, for tomorrow we die.

Here is something even more dreadful. I read years ago someone who said that the human use of energy, increasing at about 3 percent per year, will eventually exhaust all the energy in the universe --  in a few thousand years. Why, because 1.03**3000 equals 3 times 10**38, or 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Which is quite a lot. See, on the notion of entropy, we are stealing energy from other folk -- the animals we eat, the crops we grow, the fossil fuels we mine, the nuclear energy we generate. And it will all come to an end some day. If our notion of entropy is correct.

You can see that the scientists' notion of entropy has a lot in common with religious notions of the End of the World, Armageddon, and the Millennium.

Steven Pinker's answer to that good little girl is correct, as far as it goes. Wiving, thriving, surviving. Good idea. Social cooperation with other humans. Good idea. But, it might all turn out to be a dreadful mistake some time in the future. What he proposes, in my view, is a pretty decent religious testament, based on what we know today about life, the universe, and everything, only he lacks the intelligence and wisdom to realize that his "reason" is really religion. The missing link in his religious testament is that we do not know what we will know in the future. What we learn in the future may make us completely change our minds about what constitutes the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. And that may be too late for some people. Or all people. Or everything on the planet.

It makes complete sense that today's religion for educated people like Steven Pinker is different from the religion of chaps like Martin Luther half a millennium ago, and Luther's religion is different from the religions put together in the Axial Age three thousand years ago, and the Axial Age religions are different from the religion of the Greeks of the Iliad camping on the shore before the city of Troy. When we develop new knowledge then we change our religion.

I believe that Steven Pinker is a man stuck in the past, still infatuated with the religion of the Enlightenment and its superstitions while I have grown out of that benighted age, having read as much as I could of people that have lived since the Enlightenment and have produced credible critiques of the religion of the Enlightenment.

And what I have concluded with my infallible reason and intellect is that we need a religion for chaps like Steven Pinker that includes as a central doctrine a sense of compassion and understanding for all the folk that aren't quite as intelligent and creative as Steven Pinker.

Because, of course, I am right and he is wrong. And these are my reasons...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Left's Errors: The Programs

Do you know that today, July 17, 2018, is the centennial of the killing of the Russian Czar and his family. Marking the occasion , Seth Barron writes,
Studying the years that led to that savage night, it’s hard not to want to shout across time at the last Romanov, to wake him from his walking stupor. His feckless rule was marked by indecision and half-steps at political reform, the necessity of which was obvious to everyone. Sergei Witte, the brilliant diplomat and reformer who engineered Russia’s first constitution, warned Nicholas in 1905 that “Russia has outgrown its existing governmental forms. . . . You must give the people their constitution; otherwise, they will wrest one away.”
Well, yes. Of Course the Czar should have known. But it is in the nature of late-stage dynasties that they don't have a clue. Come to think of it, it is characteristic of mature capitalistic corporations that they never quite get around and Do Something to avoid decline and bankruptcy. This week, Hello Sears. My whole series on the Left's Errors is really about this, about the late-stage welfare state cluelessly going on its way even though "everyone knows" that things just can't go on like this.

Starting over a century ago, the left has been engaged on a project to fundamentally transform western society, from responsibility and liberty to equality, justice, emancipation and liberation. But the means to do that is always politics and government despite the abysmal record of politics and government down the ages in securing anything except death and domination.

Now the meaning of life, the universe and everything, for me, is to illuminate the errors of the left with every breath of my body, on the principle that everything about the left is a lie, including "and" and "the."

Above all, for me, is the truth that the left's agenda always creates roadblocks on the road to the middle class. I believe that the #1 agenda item for the modern world is to help people leaving the farm to learn the culture of the city, and this is profoundly difficult. The city requires us to cast off our culture that trusts only the kindred and learn to trust anyone that is trustworthy. It teaches us to cast off old feudal subordination and subordinate ourselves to the market economy and its prices. It teaches us stop trusting feudal lords to keep us safe and be individually responsible for our safety and welfare.

Yet everything our government does teaches people the opposite.

Social Security is a program that takes money from workers to give a retirement income to seniors. Instead we want to teach workers to save for their own retirement, and retire when they can afford it. But what about people that can't support themselves through no fault of their own? Well, for them there is family, then the charitable beneficence of billionaires, and then, perhaps, the enforced contribution of taxpayers as a last resort. But remember, everything that taxpayers contribute basically lets family off the hook.

Medicare is a program that takes money mostly from high income earners to give to seniors for lifetime health care. Is that a good idea, or would it be better to let the high-income earners keep more of their own money to create new jobs for working Americans? Speaking as a senior, it is nice to have the taxpayers pick up the tab for me. But should they? I mean, anyone that has raised their children to adulthood is not exactly a crucial part of the economy that must be kept healthy, wealthy and wise. Seniors like me are going to end up dying of something, whether a heart attack in our sixties or a combination of physical and mental disorders twenty years later. The point is: how much are the kids prepared to put up? Or billionaires? And what level of care is just? Heroic care? Or palliative care? Or the level of care for which the senior is willing to pay for out of his own savings? If I had my druthers there would be a range of options available to seniors that would allow them to determine just how much health care is enough -- for them.

Medicaid is a health care program for the poor. Yet we find, from the Oregon experiment, that Medicaid does not provide better outcomes than no provision. I'm all in favor of health care for the poor, but I'd would rather contribute to it voluntarily than through the political process.

Public Schools is the program that lets government educate our children in government child-custodial facilities. Do you think it is a good thing for government functionaries to do this job? Or do you think that it provides a way for the government to indoctrinate our children against us? And what about the moral welfare of mothers who would be much better employed educating each others' children than letting government lifers -- "our teachers" -- do the job.

Welfare is the notion that government rather than family, church, and charities should provide relief for the poor. After five centuries of government relief for the poor (starting, for Anglo Saxons, with the Elizabethan Poor Law) I think that the results are in. It is a terrible idea that demoralizes the poor, distorts the labor market, and enrages the taxpayers.

Economic Regulation is the idea that credentialed experts are better at filing down the rough corners of the market economy than prices, the need for corporations to maintain the goodwill of their customers, and the operation of the legal system. The science on this was settled with the theory of "regulatory capture" advanced by economist George Stigler. But for some reason the usual suspects have not yet lost their love for power and privilege.

Racial Preferences arises out of the natural tendency of all ruling classes to reward their supporters. In its cruder applications, government favors its supposedly helpless "little darlings" over the unlabeled Other. But of course, in any governmental enterprise it is natural to hire and reward your supporters rather than the best people for the job. This is because government is not in the business of satisfying the consumers and staying in business but winning elections, rewarding its supporters and keeping congressional appropriators on-side.

My point is that almost everything government does makes things worse. And yet nothing changes.

This is very dangerous because we are in late-stage dynasty where the rulers know that something must be done, but, like the Czar of All the Russias, just can't buckle down and figure what to do. What they do know is that Trump is the wrong man for the job.

The least we can do is talk down government programs every chance we get. Because you never know when a renegade will be elected president and proceed to cut the grass in the meadow.

Monday, July 16, 2018

One of These Victim Groups is Not Like the Others

The whole program of the Left focuses on the notion of victims. Looky here! Here are victims being marginalized and victimized by an unjust system! Everyone to the barricades!

I bring you four classes of victims. But one class is not like the other. Can you tell, before the end of the article?

Back at the end of the feudal era and the beginning of the 16th century, according to Karl Marx,
A mass of free proletarians was hurled on the labour market by the breaking-up of the bands of feudal retainers, who, as Sir James Steuart well says, “everywhere uselessly filled house and castle.” Although the royal power, itself a product of bourgeois development, in its strife after absolute sovereignty forcibly hastened on the dissolution of these bands of retainers, it was by no means the sole cause of it. In insolent conflict with king and parliament, the great feudal lords created an incomparably larger proletariat by the forcible driving of the peasantry from the land, to which the latter had the same feudal right as the lord himself, and by the usurpation of the common lands.
Whaddya mean: "same feudal right," Chuck?

See, what happened is that the Tudor kings in Britain disarmed the private armies of the nobles. And so the nobles decided they didn't need no stinkin' peasants hanging around on the off-chance they might be needed as soldiers in a private war.

Poor helpless victims. And permanent outrage from the Left.

Then in the early 19th century, according to Marxist Eric Hobsbawn and George Rudé in Captain Swing -- when there were three classes in agricultural England, the nobles, the independent farmers, and the wage-earning agricultural laborers -- the farmers stopped hiring laborers. The new threshing machines meant that the farmers didn't need laborers trimming hedges for most of the year so that there would be enough labor at harvest time. So they dumped their laborers. You can get a modern view of things down on the farm at the time from the recent movie of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. The farm laborers rioted and destroyed threshing machines in the Captain Swing riots of 1830. Yay!

More helpless victims. And permanent outrage from the Left.

Then, of course, we have the famous prophecy from Marx about how the capitalists and the bourgeoisie would "immiserate" the workers in the same way as the feudal lords exploited the peasants in the feudal era.

More helpless victims. And permanent outrage from the Left

Then, starting in the 1960s, the capitalists in America started to move industrial production from the United States to other parts of the world. This meant that the great white working class that had won decent wages and benefits with the help of the left found that the good old days were over. By 2016, The Washington Post reported, the white working class in the United States was "dying of despair."

More helpless victims. And raspberries from the Left.

Because, in 1971, Archie Bunker, white working class personified, was a racist sexist bigot. Yeah! Serves him right!

But why? Why did the Left abandon the white working class, sons and daughters of the "free proletarians," the "agricultural laborers," and the working stiffs of the 1930s?

Well, the simple answer is that the Left had moved on. It would now advocate and peacefully protest for women and minorities and gays and transgenders and illegal immigrants and the homeless and Muslims.

This is what I call the "little darlings" problem.

Mothers! Don't let your daughters grow up to become the "little darlings" of the ruling class!

That's because, as I have written in the past, the fate of little darling taken up by the ruling class and groomed as their supporters is that supporters of the ruling class end up like soldiers in Napoleon's army on the retreat from Moscow in 1812.

Same as the fate of the mistress of a wealthy scion. Or the working class girl in Rotherham, England.

The ruling class, any ruling class, needs bodies to fill the rank and file of its armies -- or its voting rolls. But the exigencies of power politics are not cast in stone for all time. Sometimes the path to power involves bread and circuses for the Roman mob. Sometimes it involves throwing good wages and benefits at newly enfranchised industrial workers. Sometimes it involves hyping up racial feelings and animosities between whites and blacks in the United States. Plus ça change.

And when the music changes, the former little darlings of the ruling class are thrown out in the garbage. As the song says:
She was poor, but she was honest
Though she came from 'umble stock
And an honest heart was beating
Underneath her tattered frock
The chorus goes like this:
It's the same the whole world over
It's the poor what gets the blame
It's the Left what gets the pleasure
Ain't it all a bloomin' shame?
Oh dear, I couldn't help myself.

OK. So now President Trump has taken up the cause of the white working class, left by the side of the road like Napoleon's soldiers in 1812 or Hitler's soldiers in 1945.

But, you mothers, Nothing Has Changed! Donald Trump has cunningly understood that there was a whole class of voters out there that neither party was mobilizing. And fortunately his Democratic opponent in 2016 Ivre de Chardonnay and her crack campaign staff didn't see what was happening. But Nothing Has Changed! The day will come when your daughters get sacrificed to political expediency just like the peasants, the laborers, the white working class and whoever is next for the chopping block. There is only one way to go. Keep your eye on the donut, and not upon the hole. Always be watching the winds of change and make sure that you and your family never get caught upon a lee shore.

E.g. my family's history. Father born in Russia. Got out in 1918 just in time. My mother, born in Japan. Got out in 1940, just in time. Me, born in India. Got out in 1948 right after independence.

Today, I and my descendants are right here in the good old US and A. But I don't believe nothing that  no politician says. There may come a time -- there will come a time -- when a chap like me and my descendants need to move on. Again.

For the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is really very simple. 
Wive and thrive and survive.
That is all.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Ruling Class and Art

I am in Philadelphia over the weekend and I am doing the culture thing, including the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, which has been a cultural presence in downtown Philly since 1805.

Naturally the Academy has exhibition space, that nods to all the current cultural trends in the Arts. But there is also a corner of the exhibition space with portraits of the Founders. There are a couple of portraits of George Washington, and a huge painting of William Penn and his treaty with the Indians.

And over in a corner is this little gem, "Colonialism and its Legacies."



Ah yes,  the "Colonial Gallery" with "portraits that celebrated wealthy white colonial elites" and "highlighting their class status." Then we get down to business. The narrative thread of "global trade" and the "traumas" it inflicted.
That thread also connects these images to the long history of traumas wrought by colonizers on the communities they controlled, though those darker histories often lie hidden behind myths and mahogany furniture.
Yes, and one of the portraits in the Colonial Gallery is of the richest slave trader in America. But you will be glad to know this.
Contemporary artists, on view in conversation with these works from from hundreds of years ago, challenge us to unravel these threads, to consider the legacy of empire, slavery, and colonialism in the 21st century.
Not quite, kiddo. The right narrative would be that "We have selected contemporary artists that we believe best challenge the white patriarchal narrative of the colonial era and throw a proper light on the crimes of the fathers."

There is a delicious, mindless conceit in the art world, indeed in liberal world in general, that "we" have attained to a higher, nobler truth that the money-grubbing, slave-holding, racist, sexist elite of olden times.

In fact, then and now, the art world is the mouthpiece of the ruling class. If yesterday artists painted portraits of plump, benevolent slave traders today they paint patronizing pictures of a diverse America or worse, patronizingly patronize artists from diverse communities, pick them out of the crowd and make their name for them.

If yesterday the ruling class built marble monuments to the Founding Fathers, today it builds Holocaust and African American Museums. Because that is the story it wants to tell us, and we'd all better know what is good for us.

But it is all, then and now, mere ruling class propaganda, representing the ruling class, then and now, as benevolent and wise rulers always concerned with bending the arc of history towards justice.

Here is what I think.

I think that ruling classes, then and now, are mostly idiots. Obviously, because they are rulers, they believe in the beneficence of political power. But political power to do what? Tame the frontier? Enable, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Right the wrongs of the workers? Celebrate the diversity of our communities while being careful to avoid cultural appropriation? Teach us about the sins of slavery? Make American Great Again?

I  think that the important thing to know is that nobody knows what they are doing. Five hundred years ago Europeans began sailing and trading and dominating all over the world. As a Chinese Christian put it, if you were on the receiving end of this, you kept wondering: is it the guns? The  science? The political ideas?  Christianity? Who knew?

But was there any white European grand plan to conquer the world?  Not at all, or at least, not much.

Then, a century ago and more, some people got the idea of transforming the world  to a new vision of  brotherhood, socialism, guided by an avant-garde elite.  More recently our  political and business  elites have coalesced around a vision of globalism --  under their continuing benevolent hegemony.

But the truth is that any regime, political or economic, picks winners and losers, and the losers don't like it. I mean really don't like it. And really, in advance, nobody knows what will happen, what the result of any political or economic regime will be, just as nobody knows, in advance, which businesses will succeed and which will fail.

For instance, the socialist experiment of the last century, the product of the best minds and the best and the brightest, has been a monstrous and tragic failure. Yet the fumbling and bumbling of business innovators, from slave traders to tech start-up wizards, has produced the most astonishing increase in human welfare ever. Is there really any notion of what went right, and what went wrong, and why? Are there majestic narratives in all the world's art galleries examining what happened and why? Not really.

What we have, and what we have always had, are ruling class apologists spinning facile narratives. At one time we celebrated mahogany furniture. Now we celebrate bike lanes.

The only thing we know for sure is that it is all rubbish.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Women and Agency

Back in the bad old days of the patriarchy, you may remember, women were notoriously lacking in agency. In the Victorian Era (which seems to have extended mysteriously beyond the boundaries of realm of the Queen and Empress of that name) women were put on pedestals and were worshiped as goddesses. But not allowed to have a bank account. Or something.

Now, of course, with women fully liberated, they are insisting on protection from microaggression and demanding safe spaces from "hate."

The consequence is that little Bari Weiss of Squirrel Hill and The New York Times can tell media sensation Jordan B. Peterson that she just doesn't go along with his Jungian association of women with Chaos. Well, I suppose that if you have been protected in safe spaces all your life, it would be easy to think that.

But Bari Weiss should read The Summer Wives, the latest by my daughter Beatriz Williams. There she will find plenty of female agency and also plenty of women and Chaos. Where you been all this time, Bari? And don't worry. In this tale of sex and class and murder, you get high-class women and Chaos and low-class women and Chaos. And cross-class women and Chaos too, I dare say.

Now, just in case you haven't quite got with the program, the main character in Summer Wives complains at one point about the problem of men writing most of the movie scripts: their women are unconvincing because men just don't get women. That is supposed to be a clue, Bari, that in this book, we are going to run the gamut of womanly behavior from the sweet innocence of virginal youth, to the ruthless use of sex by a woman to take a man away from a step-sister, to the usual thing of women not talking to each other for years at a time.

Did you see that that US Navy destroyer that collided with a container ship featured two women officers on duty that night that were not talking to each other?

I think the point here is that women are different than men. Their agency is a different kind of agency than the typical warrior agency of men, and it is not as visible. And, of course, women's agency is inextricable from that curious aspect of women's lives: the children that they bear and birth and raise.

In our age activist women and their supporters reduce the agency of women down to women and careers. Are enough women represented in certain professions, in corporate hierarchies, and in politics? And are women heroes in movies kicking ass like men heroes?

But this is to miss the point entirely.

The whole  point of  life, the universe, and everything is not who gets to be CEO or President. The whole point is who gets to create posterity. Babies, and stuff.

And that is why it is a monstrous perversion that the be all and end all of educated and evolved womanly politics appears to be abortion, as we see in the current mob politics around the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Put it this way. In the author not on the back flap of The Summer Wives Beatriz Williams notes that
She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

Ah yes. Laundry. A lot of energy, down the ages, has been devoted to off-loading the hum-drum chores of life onto servants, or, in our own time, onto baby sitters and government child-custodial facilities.

But that is odd, for what is more important in life than making the dinner, washing the clothes, and raising the children?

Why do we spend so much of our lives and agency figuring out ways not to do the basics?

And why is it that the philosophers have devoted so little of their incandescent wisdom to this important topic?

That feels like the topic for a novel.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Does #WalkAway Mean Anything?

We righties are getting a little excited about the #WalkAway thing, of supposed Democrats walking away from the ideological plantation. Is it just hype, or is it Something?

The answer is: wait until November, and then wait until President Trump wins reelection with 55-45 in the popular vote. Otherwise it ain't nothing.

Of course, I get what is  going on. Despite the ideological frenzy of Democrats and the usual abortion and gay suspects, most Americans are really not ideologically motivated. They just want to get on and wive and thrive.

And, most important of all, there is the market economy.

I think that we all profoundly underestimate what the market economy teaches people. In a way it is the polar opposite of the political culture. Politics is all about division, of heightening differences, of finding a way to damning the Other to a well-deserved hell. But the market economy teaches you to work with people and to trust them. Other people are not the Other, but potential customers, suppliers, and business partners.

Now the simple fact is that success in politics comes to those that are expert in the art of division, of motivating your side to turn out on election day and  demoralizing the Other so that they barely dare to show their heads above the parapet.

But success in business is different. To succeed in business you want the whole world to come to your door, and you want to expand your world so that everyone likes you and trusts you.

So if you are an ordinary person that is not ideologically motivated you are being tugged in two different directions. The question is: which of the two cultures tugging at you is going to win out? Are you going to be most influenced by the Us-vs-Them culture of politics that wants to divide and conquer? Or are you most influenced by the team culture of business and the market economy, where cooperation and working with everyone is most important?

My feeling is that for most people they are most influenced by the workplace culture where the primary focus is getting along and cooperating with other people.

And, of course, there is the settled science. Put Americans in a room to solve a problem and they will  do it, trying to accommodate everyone. But put Americans into silos supervised by politicians, and they will dutifully carry their protest signs and learn to hate and to fear.

Now, notice what President Trump is doing. His Make America Great Again is not a foolish and embarrassing ploy but a cunning political strategy that proposes to unify all Americans into celebrating and working for America. Of course it is cunning also in a conventional political way by identifying as Other anyone that thinks that "America was never great."

Hey, kid! What side are you on?  Are you for America or against it?

And really,  if you are an ordinary American which door do you choose? Pitch in and Make America Great Again or whine and complain and carry protest signs? If the market economy moves the needle for you then you choose the door that celebrates working with people and trusting them and helping Make America Great.

So, if the folks that were carefully taught to hate and to fear the Other start to feel that maybe they can't get quite as excited as their teachers and their diversity administrators want them to be because, well, outside of politics the culture is that you get on with people and stuff -- if they do -- then they will be experiencing something like that the #WalkAway folks are feeling.

But the thing about life is that you only know the answer after it's all over, and it is perfectly obvious that, e.g., #WalkAway, is the biggest thing since whenever.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Live by the Supreme Court, Die by the Court

President Trump had barely announced his pick for the United States Supreme Court last night before lefty peaceful protesters were protesting at the Supreme Court. They had "STOP XXX" protest signs already printed up for any of the four leading contenders for the nomination.

So. Whichever of the candidates it is, the lefties are going to be out in the streets, protesting.

Do you see the insanity in this? The idea of street protest, as I understand it, is for the unrepresented, the un-listened-to to get the attention of the ruling class. But the people demonstrating in front of the Supreme Court are not those kind of people at all. Indeed, their agenda: abortion, civil rights, gay marriage, are all supported by the ruling class. No need to protest, kids. It is the little people that have a problem with abortion, because of their adherence to traditional Christian teaching. It is the white working class that has a problem with the "civil rights" of affirmative action, diversity and inclusion, because they are its victims. It is the ordinary middle class that wonders what on earth all the fuss is about, pretending that gays and trans are helpless victims rather than scions of the educated class out for a bit of sexual creativity.

The problem is this: if you use the Supreme Court to implement your agenda because you do not want to take the trouble of persuading other Americans to support your agenda, then your opponents can use the Supreme Court to undo your agenda.

See Barack Obama and his "phone and pen" strategy after Democrats lost their majorities in Congress. If you use the administrative state to implement your agenda by executive orders, then your opponents can undo your executive orders as soon as their side wins the presidency, as President Trump's nominees have done. Hey, not such a good tactic!

The wisdom of the Founders was to erect a political system where it was difficult to pass any measure, because you needed to get both Houses of Congress and the President to approve it. But, on the other hand once you had passed a measure it became hard to repeal it, because repeal takes the vote of two Houses of Congress and the President.

So, in the system of the Founders, it is very difficult, say, to pass an abortion law. Maybe thirty years of advocacy and working to form coalitions with other interests. But if you submit to that kind of discipline the end result is worth it. You have a law passed by a majority of the representatives, and you spent all those years working with people to form a broad coalition. And once the law is passed the issue goes to sleep and disappears.

But look what happens when you use elite opinion to fight an ideological battle, and you eventually win your case in the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision with all the liberal justices in lock-step and a wavering conservative added in to make the majority. Why, then you have to stay ideologically mobilized forever, because you never know when a President TrumpHitler will nominate a justice to sweep away your pet issue with the stroke of a pen. And notice this: in the Supreme Court strategy you create enemies rather than friends.

So is it really such a great idea to implement your agenda through the Supreme Court?

So why do liberals do it?

Well, let us start with philosopher William James's "Moral Equivalent of War" article back in 1910. The idea was that since we weren't going to have any wars anymore(!) we needed to elevate the minds and lives of our young people with campaigns to raise their consciousness from the humdrum to the elevated. You can see where this leads: from military campaigns to political campaigns, yea, even to moral campaigns. Thus the scions of the ruling class would not grow up to be great military leaders, but great political leaders, or as we now say: "activists."

Hey, but James had a point. First of all, humans crave meaning in their lives.

The problem with this plan is that it naturally merges the state, which is charged with our physical security, with the church, which is charged with our moral welfare. But, as the Founders determined, a state church was not such a good idea, because it would tend to create a moral monopoly backed by the armed might of the state's monopoly of force.

My feeling is that lefties do not see this, not at all. What matters is the moral imperative of building a truly just society. That is all.

This was brought home to me recently from reading Leon Trotsky by Irving Howe. It is 1917 and all the various political factions are holding tumultuous meetings at the All-Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd. Then one day Trotsky gets up and announces that the Bolsheviks have seized power. Discussion over. Well, of course. How else would we Bolsheviks build the perfect society to create justice for the workers and peasants?

In other words, most people were trying to work out their differences in the Soviet. But then the Bolsheviks just upped and seized some government offices and said: discussion over. That meant, we now understand, that discussion was over forever, because any return to discussion would surely have meant that the Lenin or the Trotsky or Stalin in power would have had to surrender power to another politician.

By the way, Soviet, or Совет, is a perfectly anodyne Russian word, meaning, as a noun, "council" and, as a verb, to "counsel." But the Bolsheviks turned it into something completely different. That's because, right at the start, they smothered the democratic baby in its cradle, and the normal consultations in meetings of representatives of various interests became rubber stamps that knew to bow the knee to Bolshevik power, or else.

Do you see the problem with the liberal "discussion over" strategy with their rule by Supreme Court? It puts them in the same position as the Russian Bolsheviks. Once you have seized power you have started on the path of no return. You are permanently at ideological war, because you have opted for a policy of force: it is our way, and anyone that opposes us is Hitler. No issue is ever laid to rest, because every issue has been decided by force of ideology.

This, to me, is the explanation of the Democratic effort to derail the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987. Robert Bork was a known "originalist" who did not believe in deciding cases by discovering a right to privacy in "penumbras" and "emanations" in the Bill of Rights. In plain terms, he did not agree with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion. Liberals decided they had to demolish Bork as a candidate; otherwise all their pet Supreme Court decisions would be struck down by a return to the "original" meaning  of the Constitution. But conservatives have responded by teaching all conservative judges never to admit their political and moral opinions against the day that they will be up for confirmation in the US Senate and liable to a Borking.

Again, do you see the problem? Once you have started rule by Supreme Court and force marched your agenda through the court every Supreme Court nomination is a life-and-death matter. That is not the way that politics and representation and constitutions are meant to work.  The idea is to resolve differences and put them to bed so that they cease to become  a source of conflict.

Unless, of course, you believe in keeping moral issues alive forever. Because you like the smell of political gunpowder.

I come back to the science. Someone did a study and found that if you took a bunch of Americans and put them in a room to solve a problem they would do it, and they would do it by giving each person a piece of the solution. In other words, they threw a crumb out to the losers, so they would get something out of the meeting and own a part of the decision.

The whole point of liberal "activism" is that the losers are moral defectives: racists, sexists, homophobes, and they don't even deserve to eat in restaurants in peace.

The problem with that kind of politics is that it gives the moral defectives no alternative but to push back. And that, I think, is the way to understand the Trump phenomenon.

But liberals just don't get it.

Monday, July 9, 2018

I Vote for Amy Coney Barrett

I guess that President Trump will be announcing his Supreme Court pick any moment now. But I want to get my word in first.

I want him to nominate Appeals Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. I realize that she may not be the most conservative candidate in Illyria, but that's OK.

I want Barrett on the Court because I want a conservative women to set the three liberal Mean Girls a-buzzin'.

I want those liberal women judges to be saying to each other "I can't believe she has 7 children." Well, of course, they will, what with Ginsburg (2), Kagan (0), and Sotomayer (0) on the court.

Now, Nietzsche in Zarathustra says that women don't know friendship, only love. I'm not sure about that. But it is certainly true that women don't have buddies. It is certainly true, however, that women are manipulative and vengeful.

So when an Associate Justice Barrett would come on the Court she would face a whispering campaign from the other girls using all the highly developed cultural memes of the high-school clique.

But I believe that Barrett will end up teaching the liberal go-along girls a lesson.

See, it is my belief that women are more inclined than men to go with the program. Girls are good students and they dutifully learn and internalize all that they are taught. Men, in my view, are different. Any man worth his salt always has in the back of his mind, whenever he is in a subordinate student situation, some plan to show the teacher up as an idiot, and to expose everything the teacher is putting out as bullsh*t.

But here's the thing. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Corollary: hell hath no resentment like a woman who wakes up in her 50s and discovers that she has been lied to.

Again, it is my belief that anyone getting the left-liberal stuff in college is being lied to. Socialism is not the wave of the future, it is a Great Reaction back to pre-industrial religion and culture. If you drink the liberal KoolAid you are being taught how not to wive and thrive in the industrial era.

Here, in my view, are the lies that lefties are teaching today's Good Little Girls.

  1. Get a career, before marriage. This is all wrong. First of all, the purpose of a career is a male thing, a need to become some sort of a provider so that women will be attracted to you according to the settled science of hypergamy. So, for most women, career is kinda acting. And when women actually get children on the ground they want nothing more than a part-time job that gets them out of the house. Science.
  2. Live together before marriage. Trouble is that this is exactly what men like about the Sexual Revolution: get laid without getting hitched. In my view, for a woman to go through her 20s having "relationships" is soul-destroying (and resentment creating).
  3. Pro-choice. This is just going with the male excuse: get rid of it, honey. Whether or not abortion is legal, young people need to live believing that any child conceived in their "wild-oats" period gets to live. Otherwise, girls, you are just... well, never mind. As Peterson says, meaning comes before facts, and the meaning of sex is children.
  4. The patriarchy. Remember back in the bad old days of the patriarchy when they put women on pedestals as too weak and sensitive to be allowed out in the cold cruel world? So what is the difference with today's "microaggression" and "safe spaces" world advocated by women in the academy? So, just what is so toxic about that "toxic masculinity?"
In other words, everything the left says is a lie, including "and" and "the." Now, I don't know how much of this Any Coney Barrett believes, if any of it. But I am pretty sure, with 7 children under her belt, that she has a bunch of stuff to tell the mind-numbed liberal girl robots on the Court something to teach them a lesson.

And don't forget, all those women know, deep in their hearts even if they can't admit it to themselves, that they have been lied to. Big Time.

Of course, if I had those liberal women on my knee I would certainly be saying at every opportunity: "I can't believe that you believe that!" Here is my Perfect Plan for women.

  1. They get to go to school all their lives. They get to audit anything, anywhere, for a modest fee.
  2. They get serious about looking for a life partner at about 20, don't go to bed with anyone unless they have practically proposed marriage, get married at 25 and get kids started before 30.
  3. They don't send their kids to school, but home-school with the other women in the neighborhood. As for women that send their kids to government child-custodial facility: "I can't believe she did that."
  4. As the kids approach double-digits women start thinking about what they want to do after the kids leave home. They start to prepare for a post-kid "career." But most likely this career will involve some sort of community building with the community of women that they have bonded with as they educated their children in common.
  5. After the kids grow up women move out into the community to manage and maintain community institutions. Higher status women gravitate more to roles that involve "Lady Bountiful" activity.
  6. Then women look after their end-of-life parents and then their end-of-life husbands. In between they do a lot of traveling, including to married daughters and grandchildren.
  7. Then they place themselves in the hands of their adult daughters, and make their lives a living hell with their demands and needs until the end of life surrounded with pictures of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
  8. Of course, any woman, anywhere can get off this track, and be a doctor, a lawyer, a STEM, a teacher, professor, activist, lesbian, trans, have multiple sex partners, multiple abortions, multiple tattoos, whatever. You Go Girl. But for most of us, getting of the main line ends in tears. Just so everyone knows that.
But what about men? Men, we all know, are expendable. And that is all.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Activism Culture - Table of Contents

A Critical Theory of Leftist Activism Culture

1. How Does the Next President Beat the Left's Activism Culture
Proposing exactly what Trump has done.

2. If Every Young Liberal Longs to be an Activist, What About Conservatives?
If there were conservative activism, what would it look like?

3. The Left's Conceit About "Resistance"
One you have removed the laws that implement injustice, the job for politics is done.

4. The Democrats are Chained to Their Activist Base
And that is not very good for the Democrats

5. No Liberals, It is not 1848, or 1963. There is No Call for Riots
Usually, Revolution Baby is not the answer

6. Hello Berkeley, It is Time to Check Your Privilege

6. The Left Always Preys on People Outside the System
Because only people outside the system are not already represented

7. It is AstroTurf All the Way Down
The activism culture is fake

8. Joint Address Activism: The First Time as Tragedy...
Wearing white dresses to a presidential speech

9. The Folly of the Activism Culture
It assumes that all political issues should be advanced by peaceful protest

10. There is a Reason Why the Left is Always Attacking Middle Class Values
It is that middle-class responsibles don't need government to supervise them

11. Militarism vs. Activism: Ruling Class Culture Then and Now
Used to be that rulers were militarists; now they are activists

12. The Two Heads of the Forces of Lefty Reaction
We are talking about neo-tribalism and neo-feudalism

13. The Two Reactions: How Do We Deal With Them?
We already did, with nation states and corporations

14. When Lefty Comes to Visit
Really, we don't need lefty activism, because our society cares

15. My Critique of the Left. Again
A history of activism since 1848

16. The Downside of Activism -- for Its Advocates
It means you melt down when a conservative gets to appoint Supreme Court justices

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Downside of Activism -- for Its Advocates

The resignation of Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has thrown our lefty friends into a tizzy. And no wonder.

Their problem is that a change in the Supreme Court puts their whole bookshelf of pro-progressive Supreme Court decisions up for grabs. Abortion! Gay Marriage! Oh no! Fill the streets with rage! Remind the world, as Sen. Diane Feinstein did a while back, that Amy Coney Barrett belongs to a weird cultish Catholic group called People of Praise. Hey Diane! Can you spell anti-Catholic bigotry, kiddo?

I don't suppose a single liberal will get this, but here it is anyway.

It is really not a good strategic idea to implement your agenda through 5-4 Supreme Court decisions. Or regulatory decisions of the administrative state. Because there is no ballast there. There is no drag, no big political effort needed to overturn it. Because another president, another decision.

Take Obama. After the House of Representatives turned Republican in 2010 Obama began "legislating" with a phone and a pen. Great going, Barry! Only now Trump appointees have swept away bushels of administrative decisions with their own phones and pens. Including this week a reversal of all the administrative diversity and inclusion "Dear Colleague" letters in the Obama years that were happily kicking men out of college on the mere accusation of a woman. Because "rape culture."

But when an issue, your issue, is encoded in a Congress-approved law, then the Other Guys have a real problem overturning it.

But just about every liberal in the US believes in activism, using street action and pressure groups to force administrative action on the liberal agenda. Because? Because that is what good little girls are taught in college.

The problem is that when you do that you do not achieve a "deal," in the words of President Trump where all parties get a piece of the action. You surprise the opposition and roll over them. And people on the receiving end don't like that.

So I believe that government shouldn't be able to do regulatory quick fixes, and the Supreme Court shouldn't be able to decide social questions like abortion and gay marriage. That is what we have elections and legislatures for.

Yes but! Justice! And my reply is that, if we are talking about a question of justice then we need to change the hearts and minds of Americans; we need  to debate the issue fairly and squarely, and we need to come to a decision by the elected representatives of the people. Then, and only then, in the words of Calvin Coolidge, "it is final." Let me tell you how this works.

In Washington State, back in the 1980s, the newly energized Religious Right put Initiative 471 on the ballot to ban public funding of abortion. It went down 53-47. Since then, abortion has not really been an issue in Washington State. The people had voted, and that was final.

Here is another idea. We need alternation in office. In other words, at the presidential level, we need a couple of terms of a Democrat in the White House followed by a couple of terms of a Republican. Rinse and repeat. I learned this incandescent truth from a Greek-American, who schooled me about the Greek colonels leaving office in 1974 for a democratic government. What Greece needed, said my friend, was for the newly elected center-right government to get defeated in the next election and surrender power to the lefties. Then what was needed was for the elected center-left government to get defeated in its turn and surrender power to the righties.

Do you see the incandescent importance of this? Every time there is a peaceable transfer of power it defuses, for a while, the deep dark suspicion in the heart of every partisan that the other guys will just kick over the election results and say, you're outta here. The other deep dark suspicion in the heart of every partisan is that when our side loses an election, then we was robbed!

Let me illustrate. Back in Febuary 1950, one Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) began what we now call "McCarthyism" with the accusation that there were Communist spies in the State Department. It turned into the notorious witch hunt for Communists in government about which liberals remind us to this very day. But do you know the key thing to remember? It was that in 1950, in the year of the 1950 midterms, Republicans had lost the presidential election five times in a row. Imagine what Republicans were feeling back then!

Now imagine for a moment, that our liberal friends, here in the midterm year of 2018 two years after losing a presidential election after winning two in a row, had not won a presidential  election since 1992. How do you think they would feel? They would feel that the system was rigged. That the Russians were colluding with the Republicans, that right wing hate groups were everywhere, that the only thing to do was to Resist.

Do you see what I am saying? I am saying that even if Trump stole the election, even if the Russians were colluding, never mind. The Dems had won two in a row, and now it was time for a change. Because what is more important than election trickery and Russian collusion is that the opposition party gets its turn in power and the governing party goes quietly into opposition. And says "wait until next time."

The trouble with the activism culture is that this profound truth about government gets completely lost and forgotten, because in the activism culture politics becomes all about the Issue and the Peaceful Protest, and the Arc of History, and Justice. The idea that the Other Guys might have a right to exist gets completely lost in the rightness of our cause.

Well, sure. But there is something more important that having your way, and forcing your moral code upon other people, what liberals used to call "legislating morality." It is that we avoid civil war. And that is what elections are all about. Elections are a sham fight, a civil war by other means. Without killing, without rape, without plunder, without Marches Through Georgia. Without a generation of young men sent to their deaths.

You tell me which is more important.

Anyway, my Greek friend persuaded me. Starting in 1992, voting for Clinton, I have always voted for the party that has been out of power for two terms. Thus I voted for Clinton, for Bush, for Obama, and for Trump. And I am utterly convinced it was the right thing to do.

And if Trump wins reelection in 2020 this racist sexist homophobe will hold his nose and vote for the Democrat in 2024. So there.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Dems and Gangs: From KKK to AntiFa

Have you noticed something about our Democratic friends? They seem to be real relaxed about gangs. And that is odd because it is Democratic voters, as in inner cities, that suffer most from gangs. What is going on here?

Let us start with a text from St. Augustine:
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made of of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed upon. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it hold places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity.
I think it is worth thinking for a moment about the saint's words. I would say that they could be improved. I would say that the "addition of impunity" is a necessary but not a sufficient part of the definition. I would add the the notion of "the assumption of benevolence" is usual for the leader of a kingdom, for he is normally someone that "cares about people like me." The robber lord revels in his fearsome and evil reputation, but the kindly king wants to be loved by the people he rules and plunders. This is shown in the experience of Mao Zedong in his Red Base in China in the 1930s. He ruled then only by terror. After he became the emperor of China he began to take on the aura of a benevolent demi-god, a Son of Heaven. And when he leveled the country with the Great Leap Forward and purged it with his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, he was just trying to do the right thing. Right, lefties?

Let us not forget my definition of government:
Government is an armed minority, occupying territory, and taxing the people thereof to reward its supporters.
Notice that my definition includes a criminal gang that more-or-less occupies territory and more-or-less taxes the people by its "nice little business you got here, pity if something should happen to it" policy of extracting protection money from people within its territory.

So the point about governments and gangs in that they are in the same business. Now, you may observe that governments very often sign treaties of alliance with other governments. Or they might fight wars with other governments, as the mood takes them.

So it would not be surprising to learn that governments can form alliances with gangs, particularly if we accept my definition of a gang as a government merely lacking "the addition of impunity and the assumption of benevolence." In fact, you might easily come to the conclusion that it is convenient for a government to have a gang hanging around, to do the dirty work with what we now call "deniability" for the kindly king or president. Good cop, bad cop, and all that.

Now let us pass in review the gangs or paramilitary forces with which our Democratic friends have treated over the years. I suppose we should start with Boss Tweed, a Democratic politician of Scots-Irish descent who entered public life in 1848 when he organized Engine Company No.6 in Manhattan. All very harmless, no doubt, just handing out a few bennies to the helpless Irish tumbling off the coffin ships onto the Manhattan docks.

But let it be said that our Democratic friends had a relaxed attitude towards political looting and plundering, right at the start of the modern age.

Then comes the Civil War and Reconstruction. In the South the resistance to the Republican Reconstruction was a Democratic Party thing, and the armed wing of the Democrats -- what in Latin America our lefty friends call "death squads" and on the campus of University of Missouri Professor Melissa Click called "muscle" -- was the Ku Klux Klan. Hey! Call them "peaceful protesters!" They didn't really mean any harm, not unless they had to frighten someone. But the point is that when you are conducting a guerrilla war or an insurrection or a counter-revolution or whatever, you need an armed wing that is not too closely identified with the local notables. But it sure doesn't hurt to have those fearsome gang-landers in the background.

And what about labor unions? Back in the day, labor unions were illegal because they were regarded in common law as "conspiracies in restraint of trade." Which is, of course, what they are. We now permit labor unions because the workers wanted them and the workers have the vote. The power of a labor union is its ability to intimidate the workers at a place of work, to intimidate them not to be "scabs" or strikebreakers. Democrats have had a close relationship with labor unions since the late 19th century, and derive much of their money and organizational muscle from the unions. But really, a labor union is a gang of looters and plunderers. And the interesting thing about a labor union is that it usually gets to be the most motivated in the aftermath of a recession when employers are trying to cut wages in order to adapt to the new market conditions just to stay in business, and the workers are desperate to hang onto their jobs. I would say that this sort of thing is counter-productive, but what do I know.

All through the modern era Democrats have seemed to have a curious relationship with urban criminal gangs. We had Irish gangs, then Jewish gangs, then the Italian mafia. And who can forget the Prohibition era gangs in the 1920s and 1930s? All these gangs seemed to coexist rather comfortably with the Democrats running the big cities? How could this be? I couldn't possibly say.

Now here is an interesting thing: in the Kennedy administration, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy started a war on Organized Crime. How about that? Or was this just the newly respectable Irish beating up on the rather less respectable Eye-talians?

But in the post civil-rights era Democrats seemed to lose interest in fighting gangs. For instance, every big city with a large African American population seems to have a gang problem. And yet the Democratic politicians don't seem to want to "do something" about the problem. Why is this? And now we have Latin gangs and the fearsome MS-13 which, I understand, is a Salvadorean gang.

Today, I understand, the problem of the US border is intimately involved with the problem of gangs. Gangs bring drugs and people over the border; they are intimately intertwined because the people are used to carry drugs. Not only that, but it seems that the drug cartels amount to a de facto government in huge parts of Mexico outside Mexico City. You may have noticed that our Democratic friends want to disband ICE, and open the border. Hello?

Let us assume that the gangs and cartels are predominantly lower-class outfits, doing the dirty work of trafficking in drugs and people that more perfumed people are reluctant to do. But then we come to "activism" and "peaceful protest" which is an activity of the best and brightest. Here there is a whole universe of political activity from environmental groups to race-based activist organizations like Black Lives Matter and La Raza.

What then do you call the Occupy Movement, the Black-bloc, and AntiFa? These groups are obviously condoned by Democrats as "peaceful protesters" and activists whose hearts are in the right place. Unlike the truly peaceful protesters of the Tea Party that were deliberately harassed by the Obama administration acting through the IRS. Imagine the IRS harassing AntiFa!

So how do you make sense of this brief history of Democrats and gangs? I think the simple thing to understand is that Democrats and the left believe in the saving truth of political power, and political power spans the whole spectrum from upper-class politicians from Ivy League schools to the election-day muscle in the inner city, whether we are talking about the Irish carving out a place for themselves in the Gangs of New York period, or the KKK taking back the South from the Yankees, or the gangs that help organize and pacify the inner cities for the pols at City Hall. On this view I think that Occupy and AntiFa are just upper-class conceits, pretty boys and good little girls playing at "activism" while the dirty work is done by others lower down in the activism hierarchy.

See, if you are a middle-class professional, a businessman, or even a white working-class deplorable, you are really not interested in political power, because your life is mostly defined by your work in the market economy, and your family and work relations, and you can live pretty well the life you want by going along with the market and its prices and its trust. So, for you, there really is not point to intimidation and street action. Hey, let's work it out and make a deal. But our lefty friends believe in political power.

Here's the thing, expressed by a couple of folk today. We are going to be at war with Mexico, which is going to fail worse than usual under newly-elected AMLO. That means more gang action. And more Mexicans fleeing the violence to the US. And more violence at the border. What do we do about it? Invasion? Occupation? Exporting democracy that worked so well for Iraq? Special Forces hunting down gangs like ISIS? Yet the Democrats want to open the border and shut down ICE.

Here's the big thing that I think is coming down in the next few years. Do you notice that the law does not apply to Democrats? Hey, Occupy and AntiFa are just mostly peaceful protesters. Illegal aliens are to be protected from federal law enforcement. Hispanics in the Central Valley can strew garbage around, but don't you dare use a plastic straw. The homeless get to camp out in the cities against the law. Labor unions get to muscle workers, and it's OK. Hillary Clinton gets to expose national security secrets with her illegal emailing of classified documents, and hey, she was just careless. Oh, and diversity and inclusion administrators get to administer colleges and corporations according to race and sex in violation of the spirit of our civil rights laws.

I don't think that this lawlessness is going to end well for Democrats. And that is why I have created my maxim to explain it: "There is no such thing as justice, only injustice." See, liberals think that justice is something that their political action is going to create, and I think they have it backward. Government doesn't create justice. On the contrary, the primary product of government is injustice. Of course it is, because government is force: you want to work, to sell a product, to drive a car? First you gotta pay the government so it can reward its supporters.

And this injustice machine often needs the help from its informal "muscle," the chaps at the KKK or its modern instantiation AntiFa.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Proud of America on the Fourth of July

I have loved America since the first morning that I woke up in Denver in December 1965 after flying from England to spend Christmas with my parents. This is what I saw, from my parents' apartment at  8th and Clarkson, on that glorious morning as the sun prepared to rise into the gin-clear mile-high sky:


Hey! What is not to like! And pretty soon we were heading West on the 6th Avenue expressway into the mountings. That's the Rocky Mountains to you.

When I went back to Limeyland after my trip I was startled to find out that my fellow Brits were unimpressed. OK, I said to myself: I'm outta here.

Oh, all right. I didn't quite say that, because I hadn't yet learned to talk like a baseball umpire in the movies. But you get the point.

Ever since I have loved America, more and more. And I have often shed a tear for Britain, the land of my childhood.

Now, Reuters does an annual poll about Americans being Proud to be an American, and Reuters is anxious to tell us that, for the first time there is no longer a majority of Americans that are Extremely Proud of America. The poll question is thus:
How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, moderately proud, only a little proud, or not at all proud?
The all-time high was in 2003 after 9-11 when a full 70 percent of Americans declared themselves Very Proud. Ever since Very Proud has been going down. Even the existential moment of Barack Obama's first Fourth as president did not provide an uptick.

The folks least proud to be an American are Democrats, college graduates, and liberals. Gosh, I wonder what that is all about? I mean, Only In America can a crass real-estate developer from Queens get to be president! And yet only 23 percent of liberals are now Very Proud to be Americans.
Extreme pride among liberals has dropped nine points in the past year and 28 points since 2013.
What is wrong with these people? Don't they have compassion and respect for the ordinary real-estate stiff?

But really, this is not surprising. All my life I have observed that my liberal friends affect a supercilious skepticism with regard to the glory of America. You might say that among liberal college graduates it is fashionable to be skeptical about America. I mean. Whatabout slavery, racism, toxic masculinity?

And given that liberals run the schools and the university, what else would you expect but that Good Little Girls like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with BAs from Boston University would be non-patriotic Democratic Socialists. What Good Little Girls learn in school is to follow the neo-tribalism of identity politics rather than the more elevated tribe of the nation. Because Hitler.

And really, I can't say that I am particularly proud to be an American. Rather, I feel blessed beyond all measure to be an American, to enjoy the immense fortune of being an American and the residual legatee of chaps like George Washington, the man on a white horse than won the revolutionary war, served two terms as president and then went home; Alexander Hamilton, the "bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar" that served as Washington's chief of staff at age 25, wrote a good part of the Federalist Papers and founded the US financial system. And so on.

How could we deserve such political leaders?

To me, the terrifying thing about America is that, again and again, we have gotten just the leaders we needed: Reagan, to clear up the follies of the Johnson and Nixon and Carter years. And now Trump, to clean up the follies of the administrative state in the Obama years.

For my judgement is that we are dealing with a Great Reaction, that wants to return to the past, with the neo-tribalism of identity politics, the neo-feudalism of the welfare state, and the neo-piracy of using the government to loot and plunder your fellow men and women. What is so wrong in these hearts and minds that they return to the failures of the past for their inspiration?

In my view we are witnessing an almost titanic struggle in our time between the worship of politics-as-salvation and the emerging culture and economy that rewards people for simply contributing honestly and faithfully to the welfare of all in the market economy.

It is natural and physical that people should look to the past for inspiration, and natural and physical that they should be skeptical of the utter miracle of the last 200 years of the Great Enrichment.

But all of life is an act of faith, to live and grow in the hope that things will work out. And the greatest act of faith has perhaps been the faith of the Founders in their Declaration of Independence that a free people could govern themselves, and did not need to submit to the knout of a supercilious ruling class in order to secure safety.

And that is something to be really proud of.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Globalists Still Don't Get It

There's a perfect article from Der Spiegel castigating the German interior minister Horst Seehofer of the CSU for holding up Bundeskanzlerin Merkel over immigration. Why, they say, he could wreck the CDU-CSU relationship and let the right-wing populists, the Alternatif für Deutschland, into power. Says Der Spiegel:
The fallout from Sunday night's drama will have consequences that go far beyond the power-sharing agreement. It could have dramatic consequences for Germany's entire political party system. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have already sunk to below 20 percent in public opinion polls. And the CDU itself is now headed in the same direction.

The party that has emerged as the primary beneficiary from all this is the Alternative for Germany (AfD). There's no better gift the CDU and CSU could give the right-wing populists than to tear each other apart over refugee policy.
Oh no! Not that!

Notice the basic assumption. The junior  partner in the CDU-CSU coalition should not put the whole thing at risk, not if it means letting the AfD into power. Because fascists.

Or you could put  a different meaning on Seehofer's actions. You could say that unless the CDU-CSU coalition moves to accommodate the German people on immigration and their desire to keep Germany German, then it doesn't matter what Seehofer or Merkel does. The German voters will elect another party that does believe in protecting their homeland and their way of life. On this view you could say that Seehofer is desperately trying to jerk the CDU-CSU coalition in the direction of political survival before the hole in the side completely overwhelms the bilge pumps.

Today I was reading John Derbyshire marvel that there are actually 21 percent of white people in the US that are in favor of open borders. How can they possibly not see that open borders means the end of the US as they know it?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. Most people don't read, don't think, don't go beyond the conventional wisdom in their circle. And, I would say, this is particularly true of women, who are much more social than men and much more sensible and sensitive to other peoples' views in their social circle, and much less inclined to express unconventional thoughts.

Actually, I would go further, based on my personal experience. I have been reading and thinking about life, the universe and everything ever since, in 1974, my lefty cousin visited me down in Kent, Washington, and I realized that I needed to have ideas to counter the nonsense I was hearing from her. But I would say that I have only recently begun to have a personal world-view that is not just completely derivative from some other thinker.

OK. Let's suppose that I am a little above-average on IQ, etc., but not astonishingly so. It took me 30-35 years to get to the point where I could really synthesize ideas into my own personal framework. And I read a lot.

So of course 21 percent of white people in America are in favor of open borders. That's what they hear from the media, from their college professors, and from their fellow knowledge workers in corporate and deep-state America. And they know that expressing some idea a bit too far from the norm could cost them.

Why, for instance, would all the nice liberal ladies in my neighborhood be driving Toyota Priuses and Nissan Leafs, and displaying #WeBelieve yard signs? Not because they ever had a thought in their heads, but because they are Good Little Girls that pick up the Zeitgeist and appropriate it as their own.

The only reason that I am different is that I say to myself: what's the point of just parroting what everyone else is saying? Especially if I have the conceit of being some kind of a writer.

So of course the chaps at Der Spiegel still don't get it. Of course the 21 percent of whites in the US don't get it. That is the way of the world. It goes along in the same old way, until one day, it doesn't.

By the way, "Spiegel" is German for mirror. When you hold up a mirror, all you see is yourself.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Three Peoples: Table of Contents

The Three Peoples, a Reductive Theory of Modern Humanity

Table of Contents:

1. The Dance of the "Three Peoples"
Three kinds of people: subordinate, responsible, and creative

2. The Three Peoples: What If Most People Want to be Peasants?
Are we slaves, or do we just get on with it?

3. What Gods Do the Three Peoples Believe In?
We each worship a different God.

4. The Prehistory of the Three Peoples
What  of the world before the Three Peoples?

5. Religion and the Three Peoples: The Big Problem
Creatives don't have tolerance for responsibles

6. Sexual Harassment vs. Sexual Revolution and the Three Peoples
Analyzing sexual aggression with the Three Peoples theory

7. The Three Peoples Theory and Work
How each of the Three Peoples experiences work

8. The Politics of the Three Peoples
Obviously, they want different things from politics

9. Politics of the Three Peoples: The Trump Gambit
How Trump threatens the coalition between creatives and subordinates

10. Real Critical Theory: How About a Critique of Leftism?
Let's do critical theory on the left using Three Peoples theory

11. Ancient Myth and My Three Peoples Theory
Can Three Peoples be meshed with Great Mother, Great Father, and the Son?

12. Peterson and Jung and Nietzsche, Oh My!
Can the three peoples make sense of modern psychology?

13. Whither the Culture War Now?
Tell the left to stop beating up on the middle class.