Friday, November 30, 2018

All Politics is Identity Politics, Jonah

The subtitle of Jonah Goldberg's latest book, Suicide of the West, is "How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy."

So Jonah waffles into a column about people who have interviewed him on his book. Everyone is opposed to "tribalism" but "each side thinks only their opponents are guilty of it."
On nationalism, I get the most pushback from the right and the least from the left.
But what does he mean?

However on identity politics,
It's hard for many liberals to understand (or at least admit) that there might be something pernicious about dividing everybody up into categories of race, sex, ethnicity, etc. Meanwhile, many on the right struggle to see how their side might be guilty of doing the same thing.
 Of course the answer to this conundrum is that all politics is identity politics. All politics is division, dividing people up into our tribe and their tribe. Only, of course, our tribe/identity and its memes are good, while the other side's tribe/identity and its memes are bad and threaten the body politic.

All politics divides people into our tribe and their tribe, and all religion, including modern secular religion divides people up into the Chosen and the Rest.

Conservatives in general want to keep domestic politics down to a low roar, in accordance with their idea that government should be limited and politics just a disagreement among friends. But as for those Commies and those Islamofascists...

The left is the same only different.  For the left the question of justice is the only thing, and political power is the one best way to bend the arc of history. But as for the inordinate fear of communism and Islam, well, only racists, sexists, and bigots have a problem with that.

It all makes sense. On matters of life and death, or what we take to be matters of life and death, humans  are intensely tribal and deploy identity politics to rally supporters to their banner. On  other matters, we humans ask "what's your problem?"

It was the Founders and the writers that inspired them that proposed to build governmental institutions that would put roadblocks in the way of political and religious enthusiasts. Limited government and three co-equal branches of government were designed to keep the partisans busy reducing the other guy's idiotic plans to dust. And the separation of church and state were designed to prevent religious enthusiasts from invoking the power of the state in their establishment of a heaven on earth.

And, of course, there is the market, that puts its thumb very firmly on the scales of getting along and trusting the stranger.

I'd say that it's a shame that so many people cannot grasp the wisdom of the Founders and the market and instead live for the revolution and the triumph of the Chosen.

But nobody said that life was easy. And nobody is going to stop the other guys and their evil tribalism with the weapon of our sacred identity and vision of the truth.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Of Course Lefty UW Students Hate Conservatives

Imagine this: At the University of Washington in Seattle:
Many left-leaning students at the University of Washington-Seattle harbor feelings that Republicans and conservatives are "evil," "inhuman," or "not even a person," according to a new study led by a team of UW psychology professors.
Well, bust my buttons, who'd a-thunk it?

Well we know why. It's because the young heads full of mush were carefully taught exactly that! By their lefty professors. For college credit.

And by the way, let us not forget that forming a mob to take out some jerk you dislike is the most delicious thing in the world. And by the way, per Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the key tactics of the Bolsheviks was to portray their enemies as animals: insects, vermin.

Remember back in the day?

Back in the day, liberals were all wigged out about innocent Hollywood scriptwriters and directors being blacklisted -- blacklisted! -- because of their Communists sympathies. Back in the day liberal playgoers thrilled to lefty playwright Arthur Miller descanting on the horrors of witch-hunting in 17th century Salem with The Crucible -- not to mention the dead-end life of the salesman. Back in the day liberal musical-goers were nodding wisely at songs in South Pacifice about race and hate:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
Get it? Nudge, nudge? Back to the Future? Witch-hunting of noble progressives, or Communists or socialists, horrible racism, or whatever the nom-de-jour for fashionable lefties was back then?

Actually, that "carefully taught" thing is more liberal baloney. According to the "minimal group paradigm" getting people to hate and to fear the people in the out-group is the easiest thing in the world. Humans are pre-programmed to hate and to fear! Any fool lefty teacher can make it happen!

And notice how the report on left-wing student bigotry mentions that, while all students became more tolerant during the study as they were mixed together with out-group students:
But when re-surveyed a month later, the students, especially liberals — who reported stronger feelings of manichaeism in the first place — basically went back to hating their political opponents.
Today liberals are engaged in ideological warfare on anyone that steps out of the progressive line. On anything. And you may not express your hate speech on social media. Because hate. And it is perfectly obvious that our liberal friends are absolutely clueless about what they are doing.

But I think that liberals are going to be surprised at what happens down the road.

See, I think that the reason that folks back in the day developed the idea of innocent until proven guilty, and rules of evidence, and limited government and freedom of speech is not because they were good guys but because life in any settlement bigger than a face-to-face village requires it. If you don't have those rules then you can't have a successful, prosperous society.

It's fine to have your vicious little lefty cult at the university but when you get out into the real world of capitalism you have to face the fact that you will deal every day with people who are not in your in-group. Then what? Are you going to put on your AntiFa artistical black gear and spit in their face? The overwhelming fact of capitalism is the idea of amicable transactions with strangers, people who most likely are not like you and do not like people like you. And that goes double with foreign trade. If you do not deal pleasantly and amiably with everyone then you ain't gonna rake in the bucks, and your employer is going to say Sayonara, pal, I can't use you. In capitalism, the pressure is on, every day, to get on with people, all people.

So I think that, despite the predictions of gloom and doom and predictions of secession and the splitting up of the US, pretty soon our lefty friends will find that their ideological reign of terror is going to be costing them big time.

Look at it from the perspective of the ruling class. For the ruling class, law and rules of evidence are really good for keeping the plebs down on the farm feeling that they can get justice at your ruling-class courts of law, and thus not starting to chafe under the injustice of a regime that does not care about people like them.

For the ruling class free speech means that you get to know about the dumb hotheads and potential troublemakers out there without having to spend a lot of money on FBIs and infiltrators.

For the ruling class, it is not such a good idea to have raving witch-hunters running around looking for racists, sexists and homophobes behind every Twitter user. People feel really resentful when their in-group members are being targeted by the well-born thugs of the regime. They might even start to grumble about injustice. Most people want to put the high-school mean girls and jocks behind them once they get out of high school. (Actually, mean girls and jocks are a good reason to abolish high school).

Again, the fact is that liberal in-group members have no clue, no clue, how their shenanigans play to the normals and deplorables. Only one thing will convince them: that their totalitarian tactics -- totalitarian? who me? -- turn off American voters and prevent good progressive folks from getting their hands on the all-important levers of power.

I reckon that the lefty Kavanaugh shenanigans probably cost the Dems a couple of Senate seats, and maybe the chance of retaking the Senate. Was that really worth it?

And, of course, even when they do get their hands on the levers of power it all turns to dust, because in the market age we don't need so much stinkin' political power. You'd think they'd get the point: Bolshevism: disaster and famine and massacre. Maoism: famine and terror and poverty. Fidelism: endless poverty and enslavement. Chávism: 20 percent economic contraction last year and the same this year. Are lefties really that dumb that they don't no nothing about historee?

But the truth is that religious cults are the most amazing high. The leaders and their henchmen and their inquisitors just love it. How do you penetrate their tiny minds and teach them to be sadder and wiser engines?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Question is: What Us and Them Works for Us?

I've been writing recently about tribalism, and what I call "fake tribalism." I started out with the conventional notion that, in the old days, people were organized in tribes of the kindred, people related to each other by blood. I proposed that everything since then -- empires, nations, class politics, modern identity politics -- is fake tribalism, the transfer of the old idea of belonging from the tribe of the kindred to artificial tribes based on completely new ideas of belonging on a larger scale.

But then, reading C.R. Hallpike's How We Got Here, I realized that tribalism has always been a movable feast. Yes, the hunter-gatherer bands were defined by bands of the kindred, but if you got in a row with your band you could take off and join another one. Ditto with pre-state agricultural villages. Tribes were not cast in concrete, but merely sticky like porridge.

On Hallpike's narrative it was only with the invention of state-based agricultural empires that we get a rigidification of identity, and the mobilization of the various inhabitants of a region into a self-conscious people around whom arbitrary boundaries are set and from whom there is no exit. The boundaries were important, I suspect, because because most of the people in the agricultural era were serfs or slaves, a pretty universal characteristic of agricultural age culture.

Oh dear. That means that full-on tribalism only developed when it had already become fake, the various artificial creations of kings and Nietzsche's pals "the priests" of the great agricultural empires that were inventing fake tribes to match their glorious empires. Back to the drawing board. Now what?

Now what is the "minimal group paradigm" developed by Henri Tajfel. Tajfel discovered that you can set up any kind of artificial group -- say in a research project -- and the people in each group will immediately identify with and favor their in-group. That explains why, e.g., liberals all believe everything they read in the New York Times and NPR and know that everything in conservative land is racist sexist homophobic "hate" and conservative believe what they read on right-wing websites and know that all mainstream media news  is "fake news." Liberals know that people like them are outraged by Trump tear-gassing migrants at the border, and conservatives know that without a defended border you don't have a nation. Both groups define themselves in terms of the unconsciously agreed agenda among people like them.

I found this immensely liberating. For it means that you can create identity with anything. Identity doesn't have to be race or gender or class as we have been carefully taught. Identity can be anything. It is up to the founder of the identity to find people willing to identify with the new identity that he just created out of whole cloth. This happens most obviously with the founders of religious cults, a St. Paul or a Luther or a Calvin or a Joseph Smith. It also happens in politics with Marx inventing the new idea of "the workers."

It also happens with  the idea of "nation." Liah Greenfield proposes that the idea of the English nation began after Henry VII won the battle of Bosworth Field and created a bunch of nobles from the common folk. Used to be, in the "society of orders," that there were the higher orders like kings and nobles who defined the nation, and then there were the "people" in the lower orders. With Henry VII "people" and "nation" were merged. To put in in terms of my "fake tribalism" notion, Henry VII needed a new kind of fake tribalism to symbolize his new regime, and to define the boundaries of the in-group. He defined his fake tribe as the nation of England. Shortly thereafter Henry VIII completed the job of nation-building by disarming the nobles and creating a national army. Ever since, the national army in a nation has symbolized the nation.

In our time the global educated class wants to define identity as anything-but-nation. So they have invented a new "society of orders" with the educated ruling class as the savior activists, the middle class as the deplorable bigots, and the lower orders as helpless victims who the savior activists are called to save from racism, sexism, and homophobia.

If you want to dish the global educated ruling class you have to come up with something better, a political movement to which you can rally enough people to overpower the global educated ruling class. It is pretty obvious that this is going to be "nation." The only question is whether some damn politician can rally the middle-class deplorables beyond its base of the white male deplorables known for their racism, sexism, and homophobia by hiving off enough women and minorities into a larger identity of nation.

You can see that Donald Trump is trying to appeal to voters on  the basis of an identity politics of American nationalism while his opponents want to claim that his American identity politics is really the evil and divisive racist sexist bigotry of which you've heard tell.

The point that I get from the nationalism analysis of Liah Greenfield and the minimal group paradigm of Henri Tajfel is that you can create identity out of anything. Just get a bunch of people together and bind them together with a set of group identifiers. There is nothing that establishes for all time that kindred, or race, or sex, or nation is the natural form of identity. Humans are groupish and it is up to would-be group leaders to define the parameters of the group and create and grow that group.

Simply stated, all politics is tribal, and all politics is about "us" and "them." Humans are designed so that a leader can organize any group of them into a group of "us" and lead  them to war against the evil  "them." The only question is what works.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

There are Two Kinds of Liberal Programs

Way back in the dim and distant past Irving Kristol, the father of the one we know, wrote that if you want to help the poor with government programs, you have to deal in the middle class. Unfortunately, that piece of wisdom doesn't appear on Google Search, so everyone has forgotten about it. Except me.

The idea is that if you want to help the poor in old age with a pension program then you'd better make the pension program include the middle class, as Social Security did. Otherwise no-go.

The corollary of this theorem is that it is impossible to reform entitlement programs because doing so will negatively impact the middle class.

Armed with this vital knowledge I remember in 1993-94 thinking that HillaryCare would never fly because the middle class already had health insurance. In other words, there was no way that the Dems could deal in the middle class with their program to beef up health care delivery to the poor, because the middle class had already got what they wanted. I remember the day I heard on NPR the liberal women reporters marveling that ordinary Americans didn't like HillaryCare, because they didn't see how it would benefit them. In fact I remember exactly where my car was at that moment: it was on the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge in North Seattle.

Thus, in 2009-10, President Obama had to lie his head off about Obamacare promising that the average person would benefit and that they could keep their doctor. And Nancy Pelosi had to frog-march the moderate Dems through the lobbies to get them to vote for it. And the Dems had to do some shenanigans in the Senate to get it through. And then the Republicans won back the House  in  2010 with the biggest "wave" in decades and nearly all those moderate Dems lost their seats.

Now to the present time. Do you notice that almost all the stuff liberals are pushing is stuff that benefits some liberal identity group but that does not deal in the middle class?

There is illegal immigration and open borders. Almost no average American citizen, white, black, or Hispanic supports this. Really, only lefty activists and their billionaire supporters favor Open Borders.

There is Muslims. Ask any non-Muslim in America, and I bet they'd tell you that Muslims should get with the program. But all the liberals are running around expostulating about Islamophobia.

There is LGBTQ. Really, nobody outside the educated class has a clue what all the fuss is about. As I say, LGBTQ is about getting creative about sex (because we are all creative, right?) and the only people into that are the People of the Creative Self of my reductive Three Peoples theory. And now, according to Ben Shapiro, a transgender has insisting on joining a gym -- would that be Curves? -- that caters for women that prefer not to have men floating around. Of course the trans man-to-woman wants to change in the women's changing room. Of course. Ask any woman in America what she thinks of that!

There is climate change. This is yet another elite plan to kick the middle class out of their cars and force them into buses and trains. Who benefits?  All the scientists and regulators in the educated class that get grants and lifetime employment out of the scam, and also crony capitalists that know how to play the subsidy game for electric cars, wind and solar. But ordinary Americans get screwed.

See, I think that our liberal friends think that they got their pensions and health care and education programs enacted because of their glorious virtue, because justice and the arc of history. But really their programs were just bribes paid to the middle class. So our liberal friends don't really get that today's lefty agenda has a fatal flaw: it doesn't benefit the middle class.

Notice the left's response to their quandary: to deplatform anyone that disagrees with them and banish them from the public square as a racist, sexist homophobe. This strategy shows that instinctively, liberals understand that their agenda is unpopular and that the only way to advance it is by totalitarian oppression of the opposition. It may work for a while, but I predict that in the end it will create a huge movement of rejection, boiling with a sense of injustice, that overwhelms the left in a vast realignment of politics.

Yeah. There are two kinds of liberal programs: the ones that deal in the middle class and the ones that don't. And I think that a clever politician ought to be able to figure out how to take that all the way to the White House and a fundamental realignment of the electorate.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Understanding World History Through the Lens of Nationalism

Just as the foolish and superficial Emmanuel Macron of France declares nationalism bad, patriotism good, Liah Greenfield writes "The World That Nationalism Made" in American Affairs. "Nationalism is the cultural framework of modernity," she writes.

She also wrote a book about it: Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Harvard University Press, 1992) and The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth (Harvard University Press, 2001). Maybe I should take a look.

How did nationalism start, Greenfield asks? With Henry VII in England after the Wars of the Roses.
The [Wars of the Roses] was protracted, but it is enough to mention that, by the time it ended in 1485, both branches lost all their males, and the English feudal aristocracy was physically destroyed. A very distant relation of the Lancaster branch took the throne as the Tudor king Henry VII. In need of an upper class, he soon recruited a new aristocracy from the common people.
So, the old ideology of the "society of orders," of blue-blooded aristocrats versus the "lower orders," got ditched. Here were all those newly minted aristocrats, who just yesterday were just commoners. What did it all mean? The world demanded an answer.
Nationalism was the answer to this demand. It resulted from a linguistic-semantic innovation: the equation of two terms that had previously belonged to two unconnected semantic fields: people and nation. The specific meaning of the word “people,” as discussed above, was “commoners,” the lower classes. The word “nation,” meanwhile, meant an elite, representatives of cultural and political authority.
So in Britland "people" and "nation" became the same thing, because the people, the commoners, had become part of the elite, "representatives of cultural and political authority."

Jolly good fun for the Brits, but in due course other peoples got to feel resentful, because they were not organized as nations and they felt depraved on account of they were deprived: French, Germans, Russians, and now, of course, Arabs.

Want to understand the problems of the world for the last 200 years? It is about folks wanting to be nations and hating the world that don't give them no respect.

But what about China? China, writes Greenfield, is finally defining itself as a nation.
In the last three decades, nationalism has finally taken root within China’s giant population, animating this previously inert, enormous mass of humanity with competitive, nationalist motivation. For the first time in its long history, China demands from the world the dignity due to it, and insists on being recognized by all as the Middle Kingdom.
But China is not filled with Nietzschean ressentiment.
China, however, is different from most other participants in this competition: it belongs to another civilization. Unlike Russia, unlike Arab countries, it has never seen the West as a model. It does not envy the West, and so, ultimately, could never consider itself inferior to it. Its identity is self-sufficient, and its internal dignity does not depend on the respect accorded by the West. For this reason, it can borrow from the West piecemeal, customizing its imports in the process.
Well. That's encouraging. And what about India? My experience of Indians is that they are untroubled by comparison with the West. They seemed to shuck off British rule with remarkable sang-froid, inventing their own Indian National Movement that successfully threw off the British Raj with astonishingly little violence.

The problem is the western elite, which does not understand the national idea -- and the resentments felt by those playing catch-up -- and imagines itself high above such mean and pitiful things.
The spark that ignites the mixture of inferiority, envy, and desire for recognition, which feeds ethnic nationalism, is being lit by the delusional thinking of Western elites. These elites, ignorant of and unwilling to learn from history, refuse to understand nationalism, disregard the psychological dynamics behind it, and continue to rationalize their existence via a belief in a History with a grand purpose. 
So our western elite doesn't have a clue. But we knew that.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Liberal Ladies Can't Believe What Trump Said About Obama Judges

You may be surprised to learn that the liberal Jewish ladies at Thanksgiving dinner were outraged at President Trump's comment about "Obama judges."

Hey, I told 'em. I told them that the reason Donald Trump is president today is precisely because he talks back to the liberal Zeitgeist. They were not impressed.

And of course my riposte was nothing compared to the brilliant social-media comments, like the one countering Chief Justice Roberts. If there are no Obama judges, no Trump judges, no Bush judges, let all the judges appointed by President Obama resign to be replaced by judges appointed by President Trump.


But it illustrated for me my universal Law of the Incoming Rounds. Liberals are outraged, outraged, by President Trump's dirty mouth, but the liberal non-white lady writers at The New York Times prattle away endlessly about racism and white privilege, with not a care in the world about how this "feels" when you are on the receiving end.

What it "feels" like, liberals, is that someone just lobbed a mortar round into your fire base and half your buddies are now dead or dying.

After all, liberals go about their lives every day, without a care in the world, accusing other people of being racist, sexist homophobes, perfectly oblivious to the fact that a mere accusation can result in loss of job or career. Hello Brendan Eich. Of course they don't have a care in the world about accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia. Because you are not allowed to do that to liberals.

That is why liberal ladies get to be shocked, shocked, when President Trump lobs a mortar round into the liberal fire base. Why, you have no idea how hard Judge Woke von Liberal worked to become an accomplished ACLU lawyer and eventually get nominated to a federal district court judgeship. They can't believe Trump would say that about a guy with a #WeBelieve sign in front of his house.

Anyway, this all got me to thinking.

Everybody is talking about the day when whites become a minority in the good old USA. And how that will change the domination of the white race forever.

But what people are assuming is that the fake tribalism of 2018 will be the same in 2048. And you know what? I doubt it.

My reason is this. All tribalism is fake tribalism, ginned up by ambitious political activists. It has always been fake, always ginned up by the powerful. Because humans are groupish. They clump together into  groups, and the groups can be founded on any notion of membership or affinity. Anything.

In the hunter-gatherer era, tribalism was between individual bands of hunter-gatherers. In the pre-state agricultural era, between villages. OK. Maybe that is true tribalism, but I no longer think so. I think that all tribalism is made up to fit the groupishness of the time.

I am now beginning to think that real pedal-to-the-metal tribalism didn't get in the saddle until the dawn of the agricultural state, when tribalism was amplified and massaged by the kings and the priests. You can see why. In the pre-state era, people attached themselves to small groupings of humans that were mostly related by blood, and they naturally fought for their tribe in the border raids and massacres of the era. But the leaders of agricultural states needed to build identity on the larger and less closely related states that they built by conquest and domination. So they invented fake tribalism, with fake state-based tribes and fake state enemies. Because that is how you do politics, then and now. And it worked. Rulers have never lacked soldiers to go and fight their fake tribal wars.

In the pre-nation-state era in Europe identity was managed by the feudal monarch, and his enemies were your enemies. Sorta. On the ground the "feudal retainers" -- to use Marx's words -- actually owed loyalty to their immediate feudal lords, not to the king. Hello Wars of the Roses. So really, if you were a feudal retainer, a serf or whatnot, your "tribe" was you and the other feudal retainers of the duke or earl that ruled the countryside in which you lived. You were the duke's men, not the king's men.

When the nation state arose, in part due to the suppression of the nobility by the absolute monarchs, the basic tribe was the nation state: the Brits against the French, the French against the Germans. And the bribed apologists of the monarchs would write about the British "race." I propose that our modern notion of "race" didn't really start to develop until European navigators started exploring the world, and a new tribalism of us and them was needed to support the power narrative of global empires like Spain, Portugal, the Dutch, and the Brits. That's when the bribed apologists of the European states really started writing and talking about the "white" race, the Negro race, the "red" Indians of North America, and the "yellow" races of East Asia.

And so here we are, and every good little girl is writing articles for The New York Times that takes for granted the race tribalism that developed in the last half-millennium and maybe peaked with the abolition of slavery through the Civil Rights revolution. And they have taken like ducks to water as they broadcast the identity-politics tribalism launched by the Frankfurt School a century ago.

Let me emphasize. I think that all talk about racism, of nationalism, communism vs. free world: all political division is fake tribalism ginned up by ruling classes and would-be ruling classes in their pursuit of political power.

Now when you are a political entrepreneur bidding for power through the electoral process the obvious thing to do is to alter the configuration of tribal loyalties, to redivide the population in new ways, to get people to think of themselves in new ways that will get them to think again about their natural tribal home.

Used to be, for instance, that blacks voted Republican, because it was Republicans that freed the slaves. But starting with FDR, blacks became Democrats, because Democrats offered them loot -- even though the Democrats were also the party of Jim Crow!

Used to be that working people voted for Democrats, starting with the Irish in the mid-19th century that voted for Democrats because most British-born Americans voted Republican. So it was with the white working class until Ronald Reagan picked up the Reagan Democrats in 1980. Why was that? Because Democrats no longer cared about the white working class and no longer offered white workers any loot, preferring to bid for the votes of single women and blacks.

Today, we are all taught to believe that the Democrats will inherit the earth because whites will become a minority, and non-whites plus educated whites will be a majority. But that assumes that current loyalties are maintained.

What the conventional wisdom does not grasp is that political tribal membership changes, and usually because some political entrepreneur manages to assemble a political coalition based on some novel tribal grouping. Sure as eggs is eggs, this new tribal grouping will be based on some new sense of grievance and injustice experienced by some strategic sub-set of voters.

How about this? At some point a movement arises that is seething with resentment against the educated class for its ruthless and corrupt spoils system, that shovels billions and billions to the educated class for universities, for research, for grants, for climate change, for electric cars, for light rail, for bike lanes, etc. While "we," the new oppressed, get nothing.

If I were an average middle-class man or woman in a not-very-upscale suburb in America, I would be asking "when do I get my share of this loot?" But your average liberal lady doesn't have a clue about this. Because she is perfectly satisfied with things as they are, and feeling comfortably virtuous about all the wonderful things that liberal activists are doing for the traditionally marginalized.

I don't know how the political future will work out; I only know that it will go on being the same until it changes. And about half an hour after it changes, and the political world is organized by a new fake tribalism, everyone will realize that it was inevitable, and how could the liberal educated class possibly have been so blind -- and bigoted -- as not to see it.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

No, Critical Theorists, Creativity is Not The Only Thing

In a Thanksgiving Day piece, Michael Walsh accuses the Critical Theory chaps of "nihilism." If, by nihilism he means: "the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless," then I don't think so. The Critical Theorists do believe in something. They believe in the world-historical destiny of the creative individual -- the artist, the writer, the intellectual, the activist -- to change the world.

And crucially, as the Brit academics say, the Critical Theorists believe that the only way for a creative age to dawn is by destroying the bourgeois Christian European capitalist civilization of which we've heard tell.

Now I believe that this notion is worse than a blunder, worse than a crime, worse than a tragedy, worse than a disaster. It is, I would say, cosmically wrong; it leads to cultural extinction. This is because the creative individual stands on the shoulders of his former self, the middle-class responsible bourgeois. That is why, almost to a man, lefty Critical Theory intellectuals are children of the middle class. You have to be born middle-class to aspire to creative apotheosis.

So if your program is that to usher is a world of creative freedom you need to first destroy the responsible culture of the middle class I am here to tell you that you will destroy everything, because the creative culture is founded upon the rock of the middle-class culture.

I don't know when this creative cult got started. Was it with Descartes, and "I think, therefore I am?" Or Kant, who proposed that our minds are busy processing sense impressions into mental impressions and theories about the thing-in-itself? Or Hegel with his dialectic? Certainly by the time we get to Nietzsche we are definitely trying to understand who or what the creative individual is and how he should live. And Freud's Ego, das Ich, is clearly a creative ego trying to elbow its way past the unconscious Id and the cramping moral instincts of the Superego. In Jung we are trying to balance personal unconscious, collective unconscious with self-consciousness, and combining all the memes of cultural history into a meta-theory of existence, featuring a sacrificial hero exploring the boundary between order and chaos.

Now, it is my belief, drawing on my study of developmental psychology, that a good way to understand the world we humans live in today is with my reductive Three Peoples theory. Of course, the world isn't really that simple; but all theories of the world are simplifications of some kind or another. The question is: does the theory help me understand the world?

My Three Peoples theory begins with the idea that all peoples across the world are dealing with the challenge of living in the city, after millennia of "rural idiocy" as slaves or serfs in the agricultural age. When people arrive in the city as migrants from the countryside -- one of my great-grandfathers was a dairyman, another was a maltster -- we are People of the Subordinate Self, subordinate to some rural lord or squire. We are defined by our caste or rural role, and we are conservative in that we observe the traditional rules of farming, knowing that not to plant at the right time, not to rotate crops, not to preserve food with the traditional methods is to invite starvation and famine. But once we come to the city we have to learn personal responsibility and submission not to a lord but to the prices of the market, including the labor market. Then, after a struggle, we enter the world of the People of the Responsible Self; we become middle-class bourgeois, citizens rather than country folk.

The necessity of this journey, for every migrant to the city, is what the Marxist left denies, and they are wrong, cosmically wrong, and they have visited extinction upon the urban working class. That is why the white working class in the US is reportedly "dying of despair." Because the left led them into a cultural, economic, and political ditch.

But remember, for your average lefty sporting a #WeBelieve sign in the front yard, the question about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is no longer the question of adapting to the wrenching cultural challenge of making it in the city. Been there, done that, in your parents' or grandparents' generation. The challenge now is to find something creative, something original to do with your life.

Hey, I know! Champion the rights of women! The rights of minorities! Advocate for migrants! Fight the hate of xenophobes and Islamophobes! That was the genius of the Frankfurt School and the Critical Theorists: they adapted Marxism from advocating for the working class to advocating for every other victim class arriving at the gates of the city.

But the problem is that, as with the working class, the left is teaching these new migrants to the city culture and its public square not to adapt to bourgeois and middle-class norms but to maintain a separation; not to become Americans, but Feminist-Americans, African-Americans, Arab-Americans. And I believe that just as the left drove the white working class into the ditch of cultural despair, the left will do the same for its current clients.

In fact, I believe that the current female-driven movement of special snowflakes that object to microaggressions and insist on safe spaces and seeing sexual harassment everywhere are a harvest of the left's war on the bourgeoisie and the culture of the People of the Responsible Self. These women are saying that they do not want to become responsible individuals armed with the culture of the middle-class; they just want to be protected from scary things and scary people.

Right now I am reading Nietzsche, and what he is trying to do is to imagine what it means to be a creative individual and what it takes to become one. How do you make yourself into a person with the courage and the fortitude to do scary, original things? It is notable that Nietzsche was not very good at that. He had what we would now call "mental health issues." He could write about being a creative Übermensch -- just barely -- but lost his mind actually trying to be that sort of person. The truth is that being a true creative individual is a very hard thing to do, day to day, and most of us don't have the intestinal fortitude to do it, to live it day to day.

Really, when you think of it, this dreadful error of the left is nothing remarkable. You think that we humans would sally forth into the Creative Age without so much as a single glitch? I gotta bridge  to sell you, for that is not the way of the world, which advances through  the debris of disaster and failure.

The truth of the creative life is the truth demonstrated to us by Nietzsche, who said that the creative person needs to he hard, and Jung's hero whose personality only develops through struggle, suffering, and sacrifice. It is only after the creative hero descends into the underworld of his unconscious and confronts his personal demons and learns some wisdom from the encounter that he can return to the world of society and contribute to its welfare.

That is just to say that you don't get to be a creative hero and bend the arc of history towards justice and get your ticket to the People of the Creative Self until you have learned discipline and responsibility among the People of the Responsible Self.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Every Survivor Should Be Thankful

The older I get the more I realize that every story is a survivor story. I was walking with a friend today and he mentioned the time he was standing behind a donkey and it kicked him. Only he jumped out of the way just enough that the kick went right between his legs, and not his family jewels.

So for me, the center of my thankfulness is the appreciation of near-misses. I think Winston Churchill said that nothing is so exhilarating as being shot at without effect. Maybe so, although I would salt his remark with the old saw about the three stages of war experience. First you that it's never going to happen to you; then you accept that it is going to happen to you; finally you ask why it hasn't happened to you.

Never mind the question of deserts; that way lies what we now call mental-health problems and used to call madness.

The two most obvious dodges with death for me occurred to my parents: my father successfully getting out of Russia in 1918 and dodging the Germans on the way out, and my mother getting out of Japan in 1940.

I am deeply conscious and thankful that things could have gone the other way, and that I would not be here. Of course, I was doubly blessed because I never doubted for a moment that both my parents loved me. I am sure that is a priceless gift, although it is for me just the way it was.

I have only defied death once in my life, when I was flying a primary glider as a teenager and they gave me an extra pull on the bungee cord and I stalled the glider and came down with a bump. I remember thinking quite coolly that this might be "it" for me, what Bugs Bunny calls "coi-tuns." But everything turned out all right, except that the glider was a bit bent after the landing.

Otherwise my life has been "nominal" as they used to say at NASA: the love of women, two amazing daughters, six thriving grandchildren, and a life remarkably free of employment and health problems.

A lot to be thankful for.

And a lot more: to have the fortune and the opportunity to come to the United States, the most remarkable country in all history, and to have experienced nothing but kindness from the world. (Well, there was a guy once that called me a racist, but hey...)

We are, of course, living in the most remarkable era in all history, the abrupt transition out of the agricultural age and its slavery into an age of unimaginable ease and prosperity.

The only thing that bothers me is that the billionaires won't have got us to Mars in my lifetime. I would be interested to see what the economics of interplanetary and interstellar life will be. Will humans escape the gravity well and live up among the stars or will we leave it to the machines?

This is a time when everyone is complaining about the "other" and quaking with fear that the other guys will bring down the end of civilization as we know it. No doubt, but the last 25 years has lifted a billion people out of extreme poverty.

Well, once we get out of absolute poverty we humans start to worry about relative poverty. And when we no longer have to worry about a bad harvest starving us all to death we start to worry about greenhouse gases heating us all to death.

Of course we do, and what gets us up in the morning is the need to go and work in the garden.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Right to be Nationalist

One of the few things for which I honor the left was their defense of the working class back in the 19th century. Viewed charitably, the left's advocacy for the working class was to defend its right not to become bourgeois and middle class overnight, to remain within a tribal culture of the working man and his trade, a reality in which the working man experienced himself dignified by his work, defended by his labor union and exploited by his employer.

There is a good argument that, in the triumph of the bourgeoisie after the Napoleonic Wars, there was a tendency for the new middle class to legislate for and on behalf of the bourgeois view of the world, or as we would say, from inside the bourgeois bubble: markets, comparative advantage, anti-mercantilist, and anti all combinations in restraint of trade such as merchant guilds and labor unions. It's the science!

To put the left's critique of capitalism in the best light, we can argue that, whatever the economics of the case, most people shrink from offering themselves as naked individuals to the gods of the market. They want protection from the cold winds of economic fortune.

So the left made the point, in its critique of the bourgeois, that the bourgeoisie should not denigrate and demonize the natural instinct of working people to protect themselves from the hurricane winds of the market by forming into various collective organizations, and that it was perfectly natural and reasonable for them to prefer their working-class culture to the middle-class culture of the bourgeoisie.

Let us generalize this point, that people have a right to live according to their lights, and that it is cruel and unjust for fully enlightened people to demand that less-enlightened people abandon their modest inherited culture and accept the fully enlightened culture of the fully enlightened, on pain of marginalization as superstitious bigots and haters.

So. Today we have the fully enlightened class becoming impatient with, not to say contemptuous of, ordinary middle-class people that want to live in a middle-class culture of marriage, children, career, nation, and Christianity. These deplorables are racists, bigots, homophobes, haters, and xenophobes, and they should be thrown off social media and lose their jobs for expressing their hateful beliefs.

Hey kids! Remember when it was wrong, wrong, to penalize the working class for their somewhat less than enlightened and evolved beliefs? Back in the good old days? And wrong, wrong, to fire Communist school-teachers and to Hollywood-blacklist Communist movie directors?

That's the point about tolerance. It's about the right to be wrong, to live and believe in a benighted way universally condemned by all the best and brightest.

What upsets me is the way that the educated class is now voting for Democrats, i.e., the social-justice radical left. Do my educated and credentialed friends not understand that, after the left has finished dispatching the deplorables to Outer Slobbovia, it will then start to demonize anyone in the educated class that doesn't conform in all respects to the latest talking points from lefty central?

There's a piece today from Commentary laying out all the foolish identity politics pronouncements on the Kavanaugh nomination from all the usual MSM suspects. You wonder: do they really believe all that rubbish or are they tactically trimming their sails to the political wind?

The answer is that they are fools and cowards. Only when they themselves are the targets of the SJW mob will they begin to get a glimmer of understanding about the whole corpus of western wisdom such as due process, and presumption of innocence, and individual rights. And the right to be wrong.

The natural thing for social animals is to fly as a flock, just like birds do. Why does a flock of birds suddenly change direction? Who knows? It's instinctive. The conceit of humans is that we can act, not just on the basis of instinct or the unconscious, but also on the basis of reason and logic, not just on the accumulation of unconscious cultural practice, but conscious deliberation and judgment.

That is the whole point of law. When something goes wrong in the public square then we call up judges first to tease out the facts of the case from conflicting testimony, and then determine, after the fact, what should have happened, and who has been damaged and has the right to redress. It's all terribly boring and toxically masculine. It's much more fun, and emotionally satisfying, to get up a mob and have a witch hunt. Back in the day, everyone agreed that lynching, stringing people up without benefit of a trial, was monstrous and barbarous. But when it came to Clarence Thomas, his "high-tech lynching" by lefty activists was A-OK.

Anyone that goes along with the new witchcraft is a fool. Because sooner or later -- whether you are a man, woman or non-binary -- the witches are going to come for you.

But these days you won't have to suffer a ḧigh-tech lynching. That's for the birds. These days we prefer "social-media" lynching.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Democrats are the Party of the Rich. Now What?

It's official, according to The Hill. Democrats are the party of the richest kind. And the poorest kind.
Of the 10 percent of congressional districts with the highest poverty rates, the Democrats hold 38 of 43.
Of the 10-percent richest districts, the Democrats control 37 of 43, and of the six districts held by the GOP, all are marginal— only one held with more than 55 percent of the vote.
There is an OMG feeling about this, as though Republicans are losing the country by losing the rich. Because we all know that the Republican Party is the party of the rich and big business, and if they can't retain the support of the rich and the corporation, why, they cannot be long for this world.

But I thought it had been obvious for years that the Democratic Party is an over-under party, a coalition of the educated class and the underclass, with the educated class buying the support of the underclass with benefits. As I say:
Government is an armed minority, occupying territory and taxing the inhabitants thereof to reward its supporters.
If you are an educated ruling class the same rules apply as if you were the ruling class of aristocratic warriors in olden times. You retain the support of your supporters by rewarding them -- with taxpayers' money. Of course, the educated ruling class does not just reward its underclass supporters; it also rewards its educated class supporters, with grants and sinecures and save-the-climate policies.

Of course, in part the Democratic voting of the educated class is explained by its dutiful acceptance of whatever it has been carefully taught in schools and universities. The whole point of schools is to teach ruling-class ideology to the plebs, and the whole point of universities is to teach ruling-class ideology to future operatives of the ruling class.

But there is a practical aspect to the educated support of Democrats as well, and this was first suggested to me by the best-seller The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko. They argued that the millionaire next door was a successful businessman who maybe had built a chain of dry-cleaners or other small business that nobody had ever heard of. But what about his children? The fact is that any successful businessman got there partly or mostly on luck. Chances are that Lady Luck won't help the next generation. So what do rich parents do? Perfectly simple. They use their money to give their children an elite education with lots of credentials. There is a whole world out there where you need credentials, and where credentials are an entry pass to a good, reliable professional-class income.

You can imagine that anyone that has got where they are today with an elite education and professional credentials is going to be a supporter of the status quo. Imagine if the regulatory state collapsed and credentials were no longer a factor living prosperous and secure upper-middle-class life: not to be endured.

So why am I not a fully paid-up member of the educated ruling class? The answer is that I have never liked school, and never got beyond a bachelor's degree in engineering. So I am really not invested in the credentials game. I revere the startup businessman although I have never attempted to work in a startup. And I don't appreciate the musical chairs of the established corporate institution, public or private or non-profit.

Obviously, the job of the Republican Party is to become the party of the middle class, nudging its way upward to attract the seat-of-the-pants businessman and nudging downward to attract aspirational blacks and Latinos that are moving from dependency to responsibility. If you watch carefully you can see that President Trump is working on that, touting record low unemployment for blacks and a criminal reform bill.

Of course another prize would be millennials, that think right now that Medicare-for-all would be just the ticket. I had a friend whose millennial son was all obsessed with getting health insurance. He must have been carefully taught, because when you are a young person and don't have children and don't have assets you you really don't need health insurance. That's why Obamacare was all about forcing young people to pay big insurance premiums for health care.

And single women. At some point the women of the west are going to realize just what a crock the whole sexual revolution has been for women, and how abortion victimizes them rather than protects them. And then they will turn against the Democrats. But that time is not yet, and the average young woman has been carefully taught to believe that progressive politics is her lifeline to safety in a cruel, white patriarchal world.

Meanwhile the educated ruling class is busy trying to make it difficult for any unapproved voice to thrive in the public square. Because hate.

The thing to remember is that ruling classes tend to be pretty stupid. They do things to shore up their power, and convince themselves that it is the right thing to do. Of course, very often the people on the receiving end of their power plays experience the wise and evolved actions of the ruling class as simple injustice.

This is why I say that there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. The closest I would come to defining justice is the absence of injustice. But as soon as a ruling class starts using its ruling class power to make life for convenient for itself you can be pretty sure that it will be practicing injustice on the little people.

Why is the ruling class so tone-deaf to its unjust actions? It is explained by my Law of the Incoming Rounds. People are really sensitive to injustice landing on their heads, but really insensitive to injustice they are landing on other peoples' heads.

My point is that the educated class in its rich-bitch neighborhoods and congressional districts has absolutely no idea how its ruling-class ideology plays to ordinary middle-class Americans. It is like any religion or cult that lives in its own world and knows that everyone else is a bigot.

The question is when and if the people on the receiving end of the educated class's rule decide that they are not going to take it anymore.

And whether political entrepreneurs can raise a standard and rally the victims of ruling-class injustice to their banner.

I suppose you can look back on the rule of the Bushes as trying to square the circle between the middle-middle Republican voters and the educated class voters. Think of the Bush "compassionate conservative" thing in 2000 was an effort to do that. But maybe it won't work any longer because the interests of educated-class voters and deplorable class voters just can't be compromised any more.

Today's question really is whether in 2020 President Trump can rally more blacks and Latinos to vote for him than he loses in the rich and woke districts that are trending Democrat.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Egalitarianism is Neo-Meat-Sharing

My idea of the Great Reaction is that the left represents a return to the past. The left is forced to mine the past because its faith in politics means that it has to ancient emotions and instincts to trigger people into wanting political solutions.

Now the basic fact of politics is survival, to mobilize your band or group to confront an existential peril, most obviously to deal with the band nearby that would like to take over your territory because more territory means more food. Humans are clearly wired to respond to the call to arms and then willingly sacrifice themselves for the survival of the group.

But what if there is no existential peril? Why, then humans just live day to day taking care of business and do not rally to the banner of their Big Man feudal lord or fascist Führer. So what do the political leaders do then, poor things?

Perfectly simple. The political leaders punch the button on the good old ways to get people all riled up and ready to surrender themselves for the greater good and the safety of the band. And if they have to make up an existential peril out of whole cloth, well, that is what it takes.

Thus I call socialism neo-slavery, because slavery in one form or another was a universal culture of the agricultural age. And the welfare state is neo-feudalism, where people subordinate themselves to the protection of a liege lord. And identity politics is neo-tribalism, because humans are groupish. My point is that humans seem to love to dominate others; they seem to be ever ready to snuggle up to a powerful leader; they are suckers for Us vs. Them warfare.

So if you want to exploit these human traits for your own power and profit, you go for it, because you will always find people eager to enslave others, or seek protection of powerful people, or get into a bar fight.

There is also the ancient culture of egalitarianism, the counter-movement against the universal hierarchy and pecking order by which social animals reduce the amount of violence in their communities. And the taboo against hoarding.

The culture of equality, sharing, and no hoarding made complete sense in the good old days when the main job for men was hunting for meat. Ancient humans did not share the food gathered by women, the fruits and vegetables and grubs they obtained. But they did share the meat that the men won from the hunt.

The reason for meat-sharing was pretty obvious. Hunting, especially hunting large prey, is much more iffy than gathering. An individual man is not going to land a big antelope every day. Or even every other day. And he is probably going to have much better success in cooperation with other men. Plus, meat spoils rapidly. If hunters don't share their meat then the meat is going to spoil. So that is another reason to share.

Plus, one of the big things for any person to do is establish a reputation for trust and generosity. If someone is wondering whether to trust you and do business with you, it really helps to have a reputation for trustworthiness and generosity. But hello lefties: if you are forced to trust lefty activists, and forced to be generous through the tax system, then maybe you will get a society with less trust and less generosity. You think?

Today things are a bit different from the good old days of the hunter gatherers and the agricultural age, because of the market economy and property, and the reason is that your wealth and income are not a result of hunting or hoarding, but of your contribution to the economy. If you have a billion-dollar fortune it is not because you have a hoard of gold down at the bank but because you built a corporation that makes products and services that people value and want to buy. As the World Bank wealth survey puts it, 80 percent of wealth in advanced industrial countries is "intangible" wealth. Not physical wealth like oil and coal, not produced wealth like factories and homes, but intellectual and process knowledge, ideas and techniques. And the point of intangible wealth is that it only has monetary value if it is shared and implemented so as to benefit other people. The science of quantum  mechanics is worth nothing until it is shared in LED lights and smartphones.

But when the left raises the banner of equality, and rails against the selfishness of great corporate chieftains, they are ignoring the fact that all wealth today is social. It would have no value if it were not benefiting other people.

So I say that by returning us to the old ways of equality and the taboo against hoarding, the left is embracing the atavism of neo-meat-sharing, as if intangible capital is likely to spoil like a pile of unshared elephant meat, as if intangible capital is not always shared every day in the marketplace.

I tell you. We gotta do something about these lefty reactionaries before they destroy us all with the catastrophic atavisms of their Great Reaction.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nationalism is the Movement to Counter The Dictatorship of the Educated Class

Let us stipulate the cry of the globalists, that their agenda is the solution to all our problems: to subordinate our deplorable selves to educated, evolved leaders that will end forever the battle of race against race, of class against class, of religion against religion. Very well, to subordinate ourselves, in other words, to our all-wise and all-loving godly betters.

But that is not how the reality of the dictatorship of the educated class has worked out in practice. That's because our semi-divine rulers have had to rule just like every other sub-lunary ruler, by dividing the world into Us and Them: race against race, class against class, gender against gender.

But then what's the point? As I understand it, from the days of Marx, our educated class rulers have promised to lead us up from the dusty plains up to the mountain tops. Or as Trotsky wrote:
The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.
This, of course, is the marching song of the People of the Creative Self, the beating hope within every creative breast that xe will be the One to light the world with their creative brilliance. And then go on to bigger and better things.

Now I say there is a right way and a wrong way to go about the creative process. The right way is to dream your creative dream and then offer it to the world, on your knees. The wrong way is to dream your creative dream and then ram it down the throat of the rest of the world.

So what in the world is a chap like Emmanuel Macron smoking? His idea is that wise educated men like him from the Grande Écoles will get together in Brussels and issue edicts to the ordinary people of Europe. That's the only safe way, you see because the one time we tried something different we got Hitler. Therefore globalism good, nationalism bad.

The only problem, globalists, is the objection of the hated racist sexist homophobe Enoch Powell, who said, inter alia, that Europe could not work because there is no European demos. That's Greek for "European people."

Now Michael Walsh proposes we think of our educated class overlords as the devotees of a cult:
Rather, the demons are the Marxist and other Socialist millenarians who, since the middle of the 19th century, have promulgated their pernicious one-worldism, first as the dictatorship of the proletariat, then as ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer, the Soviet occupation and the fiction of the Warsaw Pact, and finally as the European Union—a kind of USSR-lite, but one centrally run from Brussels instead of Moscow, with an army of bureaucrats to keep its restive member states, farmers, workers, and peasantry in line.
Actually, the one-worlders do have a demos. It is people like them with advanced degrees and with sinecures in the universities and NGOs. For people like that the world is their oyster: they can always get the paperwork to live and work anywhere in the world. Hey, what's yer problem, deplorable?

But let us just think of the educated-class one-worlders as just another religion with a glorious vision of the world as it could be. Only thing is, that if their vision is a religion it almost always involves Us and Them. Matt Ridley in The Origins of Virtue:
[T]he universalism of the modern Christian message has tended to obscure the obvious fact about religious teaching -- that it almost always emphasizes the differences between the in-group and the out-group: us versus them; Israelite and Philistine; Jew and Gentile; saved and damned... Religion teaches its adherents that they are a chosen race and their nearest rivals are benighted fools or even subhumans. There is nothing especially surprising about this, given the origins of most religions as beleaguered cults in tribally divided, violent societies. [ p.191]
So, are we to understand that our progressive friends are a cult that is feeling rather beleaguered right now? But then the fact is that we deplorables are feeling rather beleaguered too, given the refusal of our lefty friends to let us dine in peace, go to college in peace, even elect a president in peace.

See I'd say that the sensible thing for our globalist friends to do would be to keep quiet, exchange their secret handshakes with their fellow globalists and get on with administering the world. We deplorables would never figure out what was going down until it was too late.

By launching their post-modern identity politics religion upon us they are crowding us into a corner, where the options are to submit or to create our own religion of beleaguered deplorability that can fight mano-a-mano with the cult of globalism.

And anyway, the globalists are wrong: they are fools, and maybe even subhuman. The One Big Thing of the last two centuries has been the Great Enrichment through capitalism that has taken us from $3 per person per day to $150 per person today, and our educated ruling-class has been fighting it all the way.

Because here is the amazing thing. If we all just keep our cotton-pickin' hands off politics and surrender to the market we all survive and prosper. Beyond our wildest dreams.

And all it takes is just two things. First, if you have a really cool creative idea you submit it to the verdict of the market; you do not go to your local politician and get him to force it on the rest of us. Second, if the market seems to be going against you, as in threatening your job or the salary you have become accustomed to, then the right thing to do is figure out another way to contribute to society; you do not go to your local politician and get him to keep your company or salary going by government subsidy or regulation.

But you know what? It is the hardest thing in the world for the People of the Creative Self not to force their brilliant ideas on the rest of us, and the hardest thing in the world for the People of the Subordinate Self not to follow some man on a white horse that promises to protect them from the market.

But meanwhile, what kind of a religion can we gen up to oppose the cruel and unjust religion of the educated ruling class, and "the priests" of the ruling class like Emmanuel Macron.

OK. It  obviously involves nationalism. What what else? Que más?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Emotion Rules the World, Scientists Say

One of the universals of our time is that both sides of the political battlefront insist that they are on the side of reason and logic, while the other guys are for feelings and emotion.

For instance conservatives offer the constitution and limited government as the acme of logic and reason, while the left with their "living constitution" are just trying to legislate their feelings. But liberals regard "nationalism" as a tribal atavism that appeals to clan loyalty, while ignoring the reality of centuries, millennia, of patriarchal and racial hegemony and domination.

In reality there has been a two-century-long argument about reason vs. emotion that is best represented by the two intellectual movements we call the Age of Reason and the Romantic Rebellion.

Crudely, the Age of Reason argued that wouldn't it be nice if we could all get together and discuss things rationally rather than through religious fanaticism, and the Romantics argued that all the important things come not from reason but creative inspiration.

Very good, you reply. But what do "scientists say?" Thank you senator. I'm glad you asked.

I am presently reading Matt Ridley's 1996 book The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation. In it is assembles a ton of science on cooperation, starting with the question of the Prisoner's Dilemma and the development of the winning Tit-For-Tat strategy for iterated Prisoner's Dilemma.

Well, it turns out that there is something better than Tit-for-Tat, which assumes you know nothing about the other person beyond their actions in the game. In fact when humans are acting in the world they are not going blind, but know the other person's reputation. And humans are very good at looking at another person's face and judging their honesty and reliability.

In other words, interpersonal relations are not just a question of the rational interplay of actions, but are guided by emotional and instinctive judgements.

The point of all this is that cultural values like the reputation for honesty and virtue are not just the detritus of the age of superstition or leftovers from Newtonian mechanics, but real, ongoing cultural goods that make human life better, both materially and spiritually, and also reduce the negative stuff of conflict and mayhem. Successful societies feature these cultural values and habits.

So, to get straight to the political point, the left's attack on all these so-called "bourgeois virtues" is something that goes against "science." But you knew that.

OK. So what is the bottom line here. I think that it is to change the basic world-view of our time and illuminate that the problem we are called to solve is not to battle against hegemony and injustice but to promote trust and virtue. The "science" of human behavior seems to suggest that, once you have rolled back gross domination and hegemony then you can dial back the force and allow a hundred flowers of trust and virtue to bloom, because trust and virtue are incredibly beneficial to humans, both individually and collectively.

And we need to look again at "who benefits." When the problem to be solved is hegemony and domination then, of course, the key problem is "who rules," who brings the right force to bear so that hegemony and domination are rolled back. But when the problem is to give space and opportunity to trust and virtue then the question of "who rules" recedes into the background and the individual development of character and virtue comes to the forefront. The culture of "who rules" obviously is the culture of a group that wants to be a ruling class. The culture of character and virtue is the culture of people that want to contribute individually to the whole, not as master, nor as slave, but as a responsible or creative person devoted to contribution and competence rather than dominance.

The point of the culture of competence, of trust and virtue, is that it is not necessarily logical and reasonable, but emotional. For whatever we determine by intellect and by reason we implement by habit and training so that it becomes "second nature."

Only, of course, it is reason and consciousness that is "second nature" and instinct and emotion and the unconsciousness that are the first nature.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Nietzsche Railed Against "The Priests." But Now "The Priests" are Wealthy Liberals

It's no secret that our lefty friends think that by importing tons of non-white immigrants to the US they will eventually turn America into a "majority-minority" country, where dead-white males no longer rule from the grave. Yesterday I proposed that probably the future won't be that simple, mainly because the old black-white binary is being complicated by yellows and browns -- who often identify as white, or non-black. Today Edward Ring at American Greatness writes that majority-minority will never happen.

Who knows? My view is that tribalism is a movable feast. "Race" used to mean the English race, the German race, etc. But then the Europeans became nations, as in the British nation. And race became Africans vs. the rest.

OK. So all these races and nations are what I call fake-tribalisms. Humans are tribal, so if you are going to do politics you need to enlist your supporters into some sort of fake tribe: fake because the original meaning of a tribe was a tribe of the kindred, people pretty closely related to each other. Then you lead your fake tribe to victory, or maybe oblivion.

But after World War II our global ruling class decided that Nation was a Bad Thing, because Hitler. So therefore "patriotism" good; "nationalism"  bad. The dull French president Macron is the latest to croak this ruling-class notion. What the ruling class is saying is that politics and tribalism are fine if the ruling class controls the narrative, but if a chap from the wrong side of the tracks shows up and creates a fake tribe that challenges the divine order of the educated ruling class, well, that is Bad.

Yeah, you gotta point there, Manny (short for Emmanuel). You are telling me that if we deplorables mean to overthrow the rule of the educated ruling class we need to change the tune. We have to send the globalist narrative into the basement and also blow up the globalists' identity politics that provides the ruing class with useful idiots to harass the ordinary non-victim folks that just want to get a job, get married and raise children.

In fact, what we need is a religious Reformation featuring some Luther chap with the balls to tack his "95 Theses" to the university doors and challenge "the priests" of the academy right where they live.

Oh wait. Someone is already doing this with "It's OK to be White" posters and t-shirts triggering our beloved academic bureau-cats something fierce.

But I think that is the whole point. We need to attack our ruling class and its "priests" in the academy and the media and the culture, and make complete fools of them. We need  to call out their corruption, their hypocrisy, and above all their vile system of indulgences.

Yes, you too can go to college and cleanse your white and male guilt by appropriate and generous contributions to the Holy Catholic Church of Left-liberalism. But if we catch you pasting up "It's OK to be Male/White" posters then we will hurl you headlong to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains who durst defy th'omnipotent to arms. Or something.

I'm reading Nietzsche at the moment, and he has nothing but bad things to say about "the priests" who get to order us around. Here is Nietzsche fulminating against "the priests" in The Anti-Christ. Who gets to define the "moral world-order", he asks? Who gets to be "everywhere indispensable... at birth, marriage, sickness, death, not to speak of 'sacrifice' (meal-times)[:]" the priest.
Supreme Law: 'God forgives him who repents' -- in plain language: who subjects himself to the priest. --
Are not our liberal and lefty friends now "the priests" at whom Nietzsche railed? Do they not everywhere interpose themselves in our lives, forcing us to pay tithes and obtain indulgences and support them in the manner to which they wish to become accustomed in divers offices and sinecures?

Here's a notion. The reason that e.g. wealthy neighborhoods are trending Democratic is that wealthy educated people are predominantly enrolled in the secular priesthood, as teachers, professors, government bureaucrats, government regulators, earning good money and lifetime tenure and paid from the public purse. Much easier than going out and failing with a couple of business startups: because that is hard.

Why do you think that 97 percent of climate scientists believe in global warming? It's because it pays their lunch ticket. More research is needed. And how!

But the thing about cloistered priesthoods and ruling classes and aristocracies is that their sons and daughters revert to the mean. The follow-on generations really don't have the talent and the drive of their founder ancestors. And so ambitious youngsters outside the magic circle start to challenge the eternal truths of the rulers and their priests.

And one fine day, when the rulers find themselves running short of cash...

So all I have to say is let's challenge the elite narrative, and enlist the deplorables in a new fake tribe that includes everyone except illegals and Muslims and the hoity-toity in their wealthy neighborhoods.

Let's call ourselves "Americans."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Suppose It's Liberals That Created Angry White Shooters

I know we are all supposed to join in the liberal group hate on angry white men that pop up all the time to commit mass shootings, in Las Vegas, in bars, and synagogues.

And the only solution is to ban all guns.

But what if liberals are to blame for the anger of angry white men?

I mean, if you spend your whole life nattering on about the patriarchy, white nationalism, toxic masculinity, And if you decide to blame all white men for the crime of slavery, and if you force young white male college students to go to lefty reeducation camp as part of their college orientation, and if you reserve police and fire slots for diversity, and if you empower the good little girls at Google to come out and peacefully protest the toxic masculinity at Google, and if...

Well, I don't  know what the liberal psychologists say, but I am sure that if we were talking about People of Color then our liberal masters would be telling us that the reason these same People of Color were erupting onto the streets in mostly peaceful protest was because they could no longer contain their "anger" at the oppression and injustice visited on them by the cruel and unjust white patriarchy.

So it could be that the anger among gun-toting white males might have been created out of whole cloth by liberals.

Right now, liberals are starting to amp up a campaign against white women who vote Republican. Can you believe it? A majority of white women voting for the Trump  Republicans? So we have the new memes coming out, of "Becky," of "basic white bitch," and other notions that are intended, I suppose, to shame white women into voting Democrat. But what if it has the opposite effect?

See, I think that at the moment we are at a critical inflection point in the arc of identity politics. Up to now white liberals have been pursuing identity politics for fun and profit to gin up anger and votes among minority voters, particularly blacks who vote about 90-10 for Democrats. And then there are the feminists and the LBGTQs. But the major liberal leaders are all white and over 68: Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer as of November 23, Hillary Clinton. But the next rank, and much younger, are Kamala Harris, Cory "Spartacus" Booker, and even Keith Ellison. And they are non-white.

I don't know what you think, but I believe that the next generation of Democrats are going to find it harder to get the votes of white women, and I think that the reason is fairly simple.

It is one thing for white liberals to descant upon the wonders of diversity and inclusion, walking, as they do, the privileged corridors of liberal power. But if you are an basic white male or a basic white bitch just trying to make a living you experience a different world. You experience a world in which you can lose your job for saying the wrong thing. You know that, when it comes to the lineup for lifer government jobs you go to the back of the line. You think that people like that are going to vote Democratic? If you do, I gotta bridge to sell you.

Oh I know. The liberal grand strategy is that whites will soon become the minority and that Democrats will rule forever after. Maybe. But there is nothing that says that the current coalition of the ascendant: the educated, the non-white, will stay together. Whatabout Latinos? They seem to be curiously non-political, just trying to get ahead doing the construction and restaurant jobs that working-class white did a generation ago. Are they really going to vote Democratic forever? And whatabout the various Asians? Plus there is another rather tricky question. Will the "browns" want to be in the same party as the "blacks?" In the last half-century the politics of race guilt has worked pretty well on middle-class whites and not so well on working-class whites. But how will it work on non-black non-whites?

And here is another question? Does the educated class, white and brown, continue forever as the party of big government and using the lower orders as their political cats-paws? Who knows? All we know is that humans are tribal, but that all modern forms of tribalism like "race" and "gender" and "class" are fake tribalisms, invented by political entrepreneurs to enlist people into their political armies and use them as political pawns. But, for sure, today's successful tribalisms will be replaced, in due time, by new tribalisms invented by new political entrepreneurs. And the purpose of the new tribalisms will be  to combine and divide the electorate in new ways with the simple goal of figuring out how to get to 51 percent.

Look, I'm no genius. All I know is that things won't turn out quite like the self-proclaimed political geniuses imagine.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Why Don't We Fix the Deficit? Part Two

A few days ago I proposed that fixing the deficit was impossible, because governments cannot cut spending, not until the Mongols appear on the horizon.

But suppose there really is an Easter Bunny, and we really could cut spending. What should we do?

I'm glad you asked. First of all, we should understand that we are starting in a currency or inflationary crisis. Despite what you have hears, it is quite easy to end an inflationary spiral. Just go look at Germany in 1923. At some point in 1923 the Weimar government appointed a chap to replace the currency with a new one "backed" by new debt, and there would be no unlimited printing of money. Bang. End of hyperinflation. Who knew it could be so easy? Venezuela, please copy. By the way, if you had your money in stocks or gold in  the post-WWI period in Germany, you did OK.

But then what? Here's what I propose:
  1. No government pension plan. In a nation with not just Fidelity, but Vanguard, there is no need for a government Social Security plan costing about a trillion a year. And government employee pension plans that are bankrupting the states. If you insist on compulsion, then force people to save 10 percent of their wages, each in their own Personal Wealth Account at Fidelity. Or Vanguard. But what happens if there is a crash and people can't afford to retire? Good question. People have to put off their retirement for a few years, that's all. Which means that they are contributing to the economy by working and creating products and services. But what about people that fall through the cracks? I have one word: billionaires.
  2. No government health care. Do you know what would happen? The girls would make sure that the man in their life had a decent health-insurance plan. Or they would just present themselves as helpless victims when they got sick and get some billionaire charity to take care of them. At end of life?  Well, it would depend on the daughters. But here is what I wonder. I wonder what health care would look like if it was run by Wal-Mart -- or Jeff Bezos -- instead of by rich-bitch doctors and political hacks.
  3. No government schooling. I tell you, if the government schools were run by and for conservatives our liberal  friends would be screaming the house down. But hey, if just about every teacher and every professor and every administrator is a Democrat: no problem. But, you ask, how could we afford to educate our own children when student debt is already ruining our young adults? Perfectly simple. We would reintroduce paid child labor. We already have unpaid child labor as children are forced to work every day in Government Child Custodial Facilities -- for nothing. I would have most kids leaving school before high school and entering employer-paid apprenticeship programs. And before that? Most mothers are up to the challenge of home-schooling. And for those that can't I recommend billionaires. By the way, don't forget that the poor  helpless Irish in the Catholic Church organized a complete education system for Catholics in the 19th century when Catholics in the US were the poorest kind. And then there are billionaires.
  4. No government welfare. In the 19th century "everyone" belonged to a mutual-aid society, whether a labor-union, the Masons, the Elks, or the Oddfellows. If you insist on compulsion, I suggest that people be forced, at the point of a government gun, to belong to a mutual-aid society. The thing about mutual-aid societies is that they have a way of dealing with the grifters and scam artists that want to take but not give. But what about people that have fallen into poverty through no fault of their own? I have two words for you: family and billionaires.
Yes I know I am being a bit naughty about billionaires stepping in to help the folks that have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. But really, wouldn't Tom Steyer and George Soros and the Koch Brothers and Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates and Beto O'Rourke's wife and Uncle Tom Moneybags be doing more for The People if they eased up a bit on politics and malaria in India and helped more people here at home?

If we did all what would it really save? I'm glad you asked that. Here are the US government spending numbers for 2016, the last year for which we have state and local data, from our good friends at The numbers are for total spending: federal, state  and local.

Function2016 Spending
Percent GDP
Health Care8.14

Now, since total spending in 2016 was 35.98 percent of GDP you can see that government spending would reduce to 12.93 percent of GDP if we cut out all the programs that people could easily do for themselves.

Wow! Imagine government spending at 13 percent of GDP. Imagine what it would be like living in an America like that!

The only problem is that it could never happen. Because Milton Friedman wrote many years ago that government always taxes up to the maximum that the people will tolerate. So the problem would be that even if we did "privatize" (actually "socialize," because "society," as in each on of us, will pay for pensions, health care, etc., instead of  government) all  the programs I propose the ruling class would still find ways to buy the support of the voters at election time and would still end up taxing us up the ying-yang.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What Will It Take to End the Progressive "Great Reaction?"

I suppose that the split decision of the midterms is the best outcome, although as a racist, sexist homophobe, I'd have preferred a GOP House. Our progressive friends really need to understand that their politics-is-everything schtick is a no-go. And the only way to do that is to give them the stage so that the American people can honestly and fairly decide if that is what they want.

Yeah! Imagine a 2020 election with a reelected Trump and a GOP Congress and the Notorious RBG replaced by another teenage rapist.

The dispiriting thing about the current progressive wave for me is the realization that this is what they  teach kids at school. When the girls at Google all come out on a protest it is not some desperate cry of the oppressed. It is good little professional-class girls acting out what they have been taught in school and university: activism, peaceful protest, demands. And professional-class liberal women are not victims. They are part of the ruling class, pal.

But this is all rubbish. There has never been a time in human history like the present. I am talking about the reality that today most people are able to satisfy their needs without kowtowing to their political lord and relying on his grace and favor. That's because of the market economy, which does not care about lords and ladies and the nobility of their grace and favor.

The problem with the market economy is that it doesn't provide the ego-stroking that the scions of the ruling class demand and expect. Time was when you had to stroke the pride of your lord because it was he that protected you from pirates and plunderers, and you paid for your protection with a bit of droit de seigneur. But now your average person can with modest effort acquire competences that free him from the need to attach to a powerful patron. So there are millions of people in the modern world living and going about their business having cut the humiliating bonds to the better sort.

But what will the better sort do then, poor things?

That is what the left is all about, glomming onto people that haven't yet learned the culture of the city and the market economy, people who still "know" that the way to get on is to connect into the power structure. That is why I call the left's welfare state "neo-feudalism." Back in the 19th century ordinary people developed their own welfare state through the huge culture of mutual-aid societies: everything from labor unions to Masons, Elks, and Odd Fellows. But then along came the left and the progressives with the need among those they called the "best men" to supervise the ordinary folk. They took the working class and diverted it off the road to the middle class and taught them to subordinate themselves to political parties and government programs.

Was that really a good idea for the working class? It seemed to look good for a while, until the factories and corporate bureaucracies started to hollow out with the rise of Japan, China and India and the global competition that put an end to the monopoly rents that, for a season, made worker aristocrats out of labor-union members.

In the last 50 years progressives have made blacks and women their special charge. How has that been working out? Perhaps the great benefit of Barack Obama, the First Black President, is for blacks in America to realize that, contra the wild enthusiasm of 2009, politics is not the answer. Certainly, we understand, blacks are disappointed with the results of the Obama presidency.

The situation of women, in my view, is similar but different, with attempts to mobilize women on the issue of pay parity and to push women towards the mechanical arts of STEM, and indeed that women should have "careers" just like men. I suspect that when women free themselves from the baleful influence of "the priests" of progressivism we will discover that "What Women Want" is very different from what "the priests" have been carefully teaching them.

At some point all of this "Great Reaction" foisted upon us by the rich kids of the left is going to collapse in moral and cultural bankruptcy, and then we can build cultural movements in genuine exploration of the market-economy world, and end the forced marches of political armies that are all about the glorious vision of entitled rich kids (Marx through Marcuse) where ordinary people are just  foot-soldiers rather than independent agents exploring the fascinating modern world on their own account.

I suspect that the inflection point in the modern era will be the moment when educated-class white women finally realize they have been had, and that the artificial attempt to elbow into the man's world of career and hierarchical status ends in nothing but tears for most women.

The problem is that the inflection point will not be the end of the Great Reaction, but perhaps the end of the beginning. Because there are going to be a lot of angry women on the day after they wake up from the Big Sleep of progressivism, and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

And we are going to have to get through all that anger before we can start to build the future.

Building the future? What will that look like?

I am here to tell you that Rule One is: nobody knows nuttin' about the future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Three Peoples and Power

It's all very well to talk about my reductive Three Peoples theory, but what about power? I told an acquaintance about my theory and he immediately started talking about being in meetings where people naturally genuflected towards the guy that exuded power.

Yeah. It's a problem. How do my Three Peoples -- the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants;  the People of the Responsible Self, middle-class bourgeois; and the People of the Creative Self, artists and writers -- stack up with respect to power?

My unconscious finally decided last night, and woke me up to tell me. I think that the determining factor was having lunch with a guy in Manhattan on Monday. He had come up through the Irish Bronx, and his dad had made it as a city bus driver. One day, he told me, the call came in from an Irish friend for his dad to be at the bus depot on Monday morning, and his dad was a made man.

That's how the People of the Subordinate Self relate to power. They don't expect to wield it; they just form up next to a power outlet and hope that one day they get to plug in. Of course the other side of it is that, when the power goes out in the power outlet, or the jobs leave town, or the political regime changes and abandons our subordinate chappies, then they just wither away, "die of despair" in the words of the Washington Post, or even stage a futile riot or uprising. But power, for the People of the Subordinate Self, is something that someone else does for them.

What about the People of the Responsible Self? I think it is pretty obvious that for responsible people, power is something you find and develop in yourself. In consequence, responsible people are in favor of limiting power in the human world: limiting the power of politicians and government, limiting the power of others. The only legitimate power, in the words of Jordan B. Peterson, is the power of competence; you acquire power and status not from force or intimidation but from the power of your competence. And of course competence is a positive power, that benefits the world rather than looting it.

Then we come to our friends, the People of the Creative Self. I've puzzled a bit about this, because I want to keep it simple, and really, power is not all that simple. But I think that the experience of power for People of the Creative Self is encapsulated in the notion "we are the power." Whether we are talking about a king or an elected politician, or a business magnate, or a rich-kid intellectual or a lefty "activist," we are experiencing a person that believes in power, the power of their creative genius to change the world. Now this power might be beneficial, as in the power of a technical innovation to transform peoples' lives or the intellectual power to reform society to reduce injustice. Or it might be the creative force of evil, such as the power of the Frankfurt School intellectuals to create an identity politics that teaches people a new form of hate or the power of a new government program to make people into subordinate drones. And there is the creative power of activism to get people fighting each other.

My point is that power in the People of the Subordinate Self is the power of sucking up to the powerful, using the power of others; power in the People of the Responsible Self is the power of competence, of being useful to other people, a two-way exchange of competence more than power; power in the People of the Creative Self is the power of transformation, transforming the world with the power of your originality, your charisma, your brilliance, projecting yourself upon the world as the source of power and light.

In my view, the power of sucking up, while annoying, is basically harmless; the power of competence is beneficial and social. It is the power of creativity that is the problem, for it drives forward with a self-confidence that is often conceit, secure in the faith of its brilliance but too proud to submit its creative brilliance to the judgement of its fellow men.

In my judgement the great problem of the world is the conceit of the People of the Creative Self and their faith in their own brilliance. For the problem is that there are many brilliant ideas in the world but only a few that are any good. So anyone with half a brain knows that every creative idea needs to go through the annealing fire of a blacksmith's forge and the tempering process of the hammer. The model that works is the business start-up, in which a brilliant technology or business idea is tried out by people that are willing to accept the verdict of the market and their fellow humans.

Right now the business model of the People of the Creative Self is that they enlist the People of the Subordinate Self in their brilliant ideas with visions of sugar-plums, not to mention jobs and pensions. But then, in due course, they tire of their feudal serfs and abandon them. We have seen how the People of the Creative Self seduced and abandoned the white working class, and then seduced in turn blacks and women.

It is my hope that when blacks and women find out how they have been seduced and abandoned they will be ready to enroll in the ranks of the People of the Responsible Self and found their lives upon the acquisition of competence rather than subordination. If and when that happens we will then be able to insist that the proud People of the Creative Self, also called "Cloud People," submit their grand and creative plans to the verdict of their fellow humans, and abandon their current creative model in which the Cloud People get to open their creative ideas on the Great White Way without an out-of-town tryout and then force the rest of us to buy tickets in perpetuity.