Friday, January 18, 2019

The Knotty Problem at the Center of Western Politics

I've been reading the autobiographical look at the glory days of Vienna before World War I by Stefan Zweig: The World of Yesterday. The book depicts the glorious summer afternoon of bourgeois luxuriance, before working-class politics took over and built the welfare state, and before the Great War and its ruinous post-war inflation unleashed Bolshevism and Nazism.

Well, there was the terrifying day that the workers staged their first May Day parade and marched to the Prater, the great public park in the center of Vienna -- and nothing happened! The workers and their wives marched "four abreast" singing the Internationale and their kids sang school songs. Just a Sunday afternoon at the park!

Zweig and all his buddies in high school were absolutely transfixed and intoxicated by the ongoing revolution in the arts, from Nietzsche to Hofmannstahl to Mahler. But at the same time, there was this young chap, son of a customs official, who experienced fin de siècle Vienna as a mortal threat to ethnic Germans because in the Austrian-Hungarian empire ethnic Germans were a divided minority fighting against all the other ethnic nationalities: Czechs, Hungarians, Jews, you name it. You may know his name; it begins with an "H."

The point is that the Hapsburg imperial regime had been playing mild ethnic politics with all the various ethnic identities for decades, and thought it had the whole thing pretty well in hand. No doubt it did, provided it did not get into a losing war and lose most of its revenue and therefore find itself unable to reward its supporters in the manner they expected.

In many ways we are in a similar position all across the West. Our ruling class successfully marshalled the working class into the bourgeois state decades ago by rewarding it with a broad array of neo-feudal benefits while warping the bourgeois state of individual rights and limited government almost out of recognition -- and dealing itself lots of lovely sinecures.

Then our ruling class brought high-born women and blacks into the room with the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. This was a great idea except that the supporters of political parties are not really interested in rights: they are interested in loot, which was delivered first as Affirmative Action, then diversity, and now diversity and inclusion. Hey, handing out loot and privilege is what politicians do, whether they wear kingly crowns or merely facelifts.

The problem is that, first, people are insatiable: what have you done for me lately; second, at some point you run out of other peoples' money; and third, the ruling class tends to forget who deserves what loot and why.

That's how I understand the rage of the white working class here in the US, of the gilets jaunes in France, and of the White Van Man in Britain. Was a time when these folks were the little darlings of the ruling class. Well, when you are a little darling you are supposed to get regular presents from your sugar daddy, right? How come the presents stopped coming?

Of course, from the ruling class things look different. Hey, pal, you are still getting your Social Security, your Medicare, your health insurance, so what's yer problem? Well, any little darling knows the answer to that. How come you don't look at me the way you used to, Daddykins? And it's Sugar-Puff, not "pal."

But the thing is that the ruling class promised a perfect world of safety and justice and benefits, and that the working class and the gilets jaunes would live happily ever after. And the little darlings, starting to get lonely in their love-nests remember every loving word, every promise, every gorgeous present of jewelry from Sugar Daddy as if it were yesterday.

The answer, to chaps like me is to tell the little darlings that their first mistake was that first date with the married Sugar Daddy. Sooner or later, you have to get with the bourgeois program,  and stop believing in the blandishments of every damn politician to show up on the hustings.

But, as Stefan Zweig points out, all good things come to and end. That long-ago glorious summer of the Viennese bourgeoisie, particularly including the Jewish bourgeoisie, came to a crashing end -- through no fault, really, of the bourgeoisie. The Hapsburgs got reduced to Dukes. And after the crash, you have to suck it in, and get with the program.

So I dare say that the knotty problem at the center of  western politics: how does the wise and worthy ruling class take care of the ageing stable of little darlings while beguiling the pretty new faces at  the same time and still keeping a credit balance at the bank?

I  don't  know. I just don't want  to be the fall guy that has the pay the bill for the ruling class's many follies and injustices.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

To What Do The Three Peoples Subordinate Themselves?

One of the delicious things about my reductive Three Peoples theory, that there are three kinds of people -- People of the Subordinate Self, People of the Responsible Self, and People of the Creative Self -- is that it makes me think.

For instance, the whole point of the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants, is that they consciously subordinate themselves to some loving -- or not so loving -- lord. If you are a peasant you hope that the landowner from who you rent your land, or whose serf you are, will protect you from the usual looters and plunderers that range across the fertile plains you farm.

But will he come to your aid when you do call him? Obviously, he will come -- if it makes sense to him. But what if he does not? What recourse do you, a lowly peasant, have to ensure that he protects you? It is pretty obvious that the serf only gets protection from his loving lord if the mood takes him.

What about the workers? Same thing. Their employers tend to make all kinds of comforting promises in their employee manuals. But when the profits turn to losses, then the bosses will start cutting costs, doing the tough job of management that maybe they had been neglecting in the fat years. Yeah! But what about the labor union? Yes indeed. The union does make a difference; it makes it much more difficult for the management to manage and make hard decisions about laying off the workers. But the result of that difficulty is that the employer will fail to take tough action until his back is up against the wall. So probably the whole enterprise will go down in one big implosion and bankruptcy. And instead of a trickle of workers getting laid off over a period of time, they will all be laid off together, making it much more difficult for them to get a job.

OK, so the People of the Subordinate Self are screwed, any way you look at it, because they have trusted themselves to employers and union leaders that cannot protect them when the going gets tough. I have memorialized the unenviable position subordinate people with my notion of "Little Darlings."

What about the People of the Responsible Self? They experience themselves as individuals, responsible for their lives. So, strictly speaking they should be wary of landlords, knowing that the landlord doesn't care about them, but only about his rents. They should be wary of employers, knowing that employers are going to save the corporation, not the workers, when the going gets tough.

It seems to me that the responsible person must subordinate himself to the will of the market. Let us just think in terms of work skills. If our responsible worker sees his wages increasing that is a sign that the labor market is bidding up the wages of people like him. But if he sees that his wages are stagnant, that is a warning signal. Look out, pal: Red light ahead. And so our responsible person would set about improving skills, or maybe acquiring new skills.

The point is that the responsible person does not imagine that anyone cares about people like him. All they care about is that he can do the job, and does his work to benefit the company.

Now we come to our friends the People of the Creative Self. They experience themselves, as Nietzsche pointed out, as the Übermensch, the "overman," or "superman," or however you want to translate the untranslatable word from the German.

Then there is Joseph Campbell and his Hero's Journey, where the hero, if he is up to scratch, returns sadder and wiser from his journey into the underworld of his unconscious to deliver a boon to mankind. Or if we prefer, we can use the concepts from Jung, lately popularized by Jordan Peterson, and see the creative person as the Sacrificial Hero exploring the boundary between Order and Chaos.

It seems to me that the creative person, the truly creative person, surrenders himself to the creative process, knowing that, in making the journey into the unconscious, into the exploration of the boundary between Chaos and Order, the chances are he will never come back. Because in creativity, many are called and few are chosen.

I think that one of the great facts of our current era is that many people that think of themselves as evolved and creative are not really willing to make the sacrifice needed. They want their cake and eat it too. They want to be creative, but at the same time strut their stuff as if they were already returned from the Hero's Journey with that creative boon to mankind. Sorry Charlie. If you want to be a true creative, you must surrender yourself to the creative process, and accept that you will probably disappear into the trackless waste of the underworld of your unconscious, never to return.

Now, this does not exhaust the possibilities. What about people that are living on the borderlands between the Three Peoples? What about the people, for instance, that are half way between being People of the Subordinate Self and People of the Responsible Self.

It is my notion that the whole point of religion since the Axial Age is to guide people that are making the perilous journey from subordination to responsibility. That is the whole point of the Divine Lord with his Divine Law and his Divine Justice and his Divine Love. He is saying, go forth into the world and take up the Cross of responsibility. Here are the Rules you need to guide you. And know that, as you struggle in the world, my Divine Love is there to keep your spirits up. But don't think you can run off the road into the weeds, because at the end of the day, St. Peter and I will be judging your life from the Book of Divine Justice at the Gates of Paradise. The person on the border between subordination and responsibility is subordinating himself to God, and also to his representative on Earth, the priest whose job it is to make the Divine comprehensible.

OK, what about the folks living on the border between responsibility and creativity? How should they live?

In my view this question is the Big Question we are all struggling with. I think that the Big Error is to think that a life of creativity replaces the life of responsibility. This is the Big Error of the left, from Marxists to intersectionalists and safe spacers. They are saying that there is only subordination and victimhood on the one hand and creative activism on the other. Do you see what they are missing out of the equation? Yep: The Big "R."

I think that the creative life can only be lived in humble acceptance of the responsibility of the creative person. To borrow the environmentalists' notion of the Precautionary Principle: don't impose anything new on the rest of society unless you know that it is not going to make things worse. Funny how our lefty friends never apply this principle to their activism and their government programs and subsidies and confident predictions of the End of the World unless we act now.

Yes, on the border between responsibility and creativity, the watchword is that the creative process can only succeed if the creative ego accepts the awful responsibility of creating something new. The creative person must live a life of tolerance for those who choose to be merely subordinate, and those who choose to be merely responsible.

And the Great Fact about our era is that our lefty friends do not get it, that every creative person must practice tolerance for the merely responsible.

Because what our lefty friends have been carefully taught is to hate and to fear is people that merely live lives of conventional responsibility, as responsible workers, heterosexual husbands and wives and parents, and as responsible citizens.

And that is a monumental error.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition

The marvelous thing, to me, about the  whole Trump-Russia thing is that our liberal friends don't see what is sitting there right in front of us.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

In 2016 the Obama administration decided to spy on the opposition party's presidential campaign. And when it went to the FISA court to get permission for spying it justified this surveillance on the basis of cooked-up opposition research paid for by the Hillary campaign.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Can you spell police state? Do you liberals not understand what was done? Using the national police force -- the FBI -- and intelligence agencies -- CIA etc. -- to spy on the opposition? Hello liberals! That is what F-A-S-C-I-S-T-S do! Not to mention right-wing authoritarians, totalitarians, communists, tin-pot dictators, caudillos, etc. Let's replay this in words of one syllable.
In 2016 the Obama administration spied on the opposition's presidential campaign, using the government police force and the government's spy agencies.
And what did they use to justify this oppressive and illegal action? Cooked up oppo. research paid for by the Hillary campaign.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

And then, for the last two years, the FBIs and DOJs and ruling-class media have been kicking sand in our eyes to cover up what was done. That's what that Friday night New York Times piece about the FBI investigating Trump for possible illegal motives in firing James Comey was all about. Way down in the article it comes out that the FBI did't really have any evidence of wrongdoing: just a suspicion. Yeah! Round up the usual suspects, as the saying goes.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Way to go FBIs and DOJs and CIAs. Just open an investigation on anyone, based on a suspicion! Hey, why not the president? Just defending our national honor, or national morality, or whatever it is you chaps are defending today.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Hello liberals! This is as bad as bad can be! Remember Watergate? That was about some campaign operatives, ex-intelligence employees, doing a bit of freelancing to place a bug in headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Why, that was innocent joy-riding in the family car compared to actual spying, by actual government agencies, on the political campaign of the opposition party.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Oh I know why you liberals don't get it. It's because you live in the ruling-class media's walled garden, where you never get to hear a discouraging word about the ruling class and its governance. And even if you did accidentally hear some bird trilling outside the garden, you still know not to believe a word, because racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, or whatever.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Now I know that there are people out there saying that, if you liberals get away with it this time, then the way is open for Republicans to return the favor and spy on the opposition.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Won't happen, because the moment that any liberal gets word of some eevil Trumpist using the FBI or intelligence agency to massage the opposition the whole sky will explode in a fireworks display. Every gorgeous big-breasted newsreader from Nome to San Antonio, from San Diego to Bangor, Maine, will be expiring on a fainting couch wailing "I Can't Believe Trump Did That!" And as for the Soros-funded activist groups! Imagine their fury!

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

So we are left with trying to explain to the two or three liberals in late-stage administrative-state America with half a brain why it is not a good idea to use the government to spy on the opposition.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

It is because when the government, any government, uses the police and intelligence agencies to spy on the opposition then the opposition starts to realize that, in the words of Shakespeare's Cassius, "speak, hands for me." The opposition starts to think that there is no way it is going to get a fair shake, and that the only option is armed resistance.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

And you know, liberals, you  really don't want to go there. You know why? Because you chaps are soft, scions of the regime, wafted aloft because of your well-connected parents, and tutored in left-wing folly at the university, but knowing nothing else. If things start to go south you will discover that, out of the bushes, a whole generation of hard men will appear that will eat you chaps for breakfast.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Back in the day, young men of ruling-class family went to Oxford to study "Greats," or Greek and Roman classics and philosophy in the original language. The idea was to educate the young skulls full of mush in the great political and philosophical issues of governance as experienced in the days of Ancient Greece and Rome so that they would enter Parliament with
half a brain.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Then rather later, young men of ruling-class family went to Oxford to study "Modern Greats," or philosophy, politics, and economics, so that when they went into Parliament or the Civil Service they would have half a clue about how to govern a modern state.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

When Calvin Coolidge went to Amherst in 1890ish, it was understood that graduates of Amherst needed to be prepared for careers in politics and government. La Wik:
While at Amherst, Coolidge was profoundly influenced by philosophy professor Charles Edward Garman, a Congregational mystic, with a neo-Hegelian philosophy.
The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went to college at Boston University, it seems that the only thing she learned was activism. So that is what our ruling class thinks that young skulls full of mush need to know to prepare them for a life of politics and governance.

The Obama Administration Spied on the Opposition.

Do I make myself clear?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Is China' s President Xi Dumb or Something?

I've been wondering about China lately; well doesn't everyone. Because it seemed to me that President Xi's promotion to President-for-life seems to indicate that the rulers of China don't get it.

Then I wondered about the Belt and Road initiative, which seemed to me to be a return to the ancient Silk Road and imperial China's policy of having tributary states. And given that it is a big government infrastructure initiative, I figured it was bound to be a bottomless pit of waste and fraud. Like all government programs.

Now I  read that under President Xi, who gained power in 2012, Chinese domestic lending has switched from mostly private sector to mostly state sector.
In 2013, 57 percent of loans went to private firms and 35 percent to state-controlled firms. By 2016, there had been a stunning reversal; state firms received 83 percent of loans, compared with 11 percent for private firms. Much of this lending came from state-owned banks.
There are reports that Chinese growth is declining rapidly, maybe to zero. And I recently saw a graph showing Chinese energy consumption flatlining since 2013.

I wonder what President Xi is thinking.

Well, obviously he is thinking about his power. Maybe he thinks that his power depends on maintaining the state-owned companies and their jobs because otherwise he will face too much opposition from disappointed lifers in the state industries. Maybe he thinks that state economic power translates into regime power.

Maybe widespread unrest and the 5,000 or so annual violent protests that we sorta hear about have taught the Chinese Communist Party to hunker down and stick to regime defense.

Maybe the stock market decline in third quarter 2018 was about factoring in economic decline in China.

Maybe the political hunkering down by the Xi regime may have the reverse effect and provoke anti-regime protests.

Maybe the Belt and Road initiative is turning out to be a staggering mess that is bleeding Chinese wealth into stupid boondoggles that don't have a hope of profitability.

Maybe the next big challenge for the US President is to bail out China from a Xi-provoked nose-dive.

OK, I know that my view of this is colored by my maxim, that
government is an armed minority, occupying territory, and taxing the people to reward its supporters.
In my view what this maxim tells us is that you can't expect a damn politician to understand anything more than getting power and keeping it by plundering the people to reward the supporters. Given how long loot and plunder has been going on in human history it would be naive to expect that your average politician would grasp that to head up a big and powerful world-conquering state today requires first of all a world-conquering economy, and you don't get a world-conquering economy unless the state keeps its cotton-picking debt-drenched hands off the private sector.

And it would be even more naive to expect lefty politicians to grasp such a notion, when they have been carefully taught to hate and to fear the market-based economy since they graduated out of their red diapers.

It's a wonder. In the last 200 years we have seen a Great Enrichment all across the world whereever the market has been allowed to work its magic. And 97.2 percent -- my crude estimate -- of people in the richest countries don't have a clue about that.

All across the USA we are shaming people for not being sufficiently lefty and woke. When we should be shaming them for not knowing where their prosperity comes from.

And it would be a global tragedy if China's present rulers dump its excellent people back into the toilet, back to the days of the genius Mao Zedong.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Liberal Equivalent of Fancy Cars

If you are a upper-middle-class political professional these days, you need to be something other than white. That's what Victor Davis Hanson argues in "The Game of Pseudo-Authenticity." It's like cars for successful guys:
Minority identity has become a brand for the upper middle class in the manner of a luxury car. One strives to drive a Mercedes or Jaguar not because it is more reliable or even all that much more drivable than a Toyota or Honda, but because it signals a particular cachet. And so too wealthy suburbanites often find emphasizing non-white identities useful even if it means occasionally constructing them.
Hey Victor! Whatabout Hyundai drivers? I mean, there is a sense in which Toyota and Honda drivers consider themselves a cut above Hyundai drivers -- not to mention, er, Kia.

But when you think about it, it all makes sense. We all use ways to sort ourselves into the hierarchy to demonstrate "where we are" -- as opposed to "who we are" -- and just as rising corporate stars seem to gravitate to Audis and BMWs it seems eminently sensible for rising political and academic stars to emphasize their specialness with ethnic identity, as everyone from Elizabeth Warren to Beto O'Rourke does.

But my claim to specialness is the conceit to see around the corner, to be wise to epiphenomena like rich kids appropriating minority status -- or luxury car brands, but seeing beyond all that to the real data. I remember, years ago a colleague at work winking that his father, an accountant, reckoned that 90 percent of Mercedes owners couldn't afford it. On the other hand The Millionaire Next Door that owns a few small businesses probably lives in an unexceptional house and drives an unexceptional car. So, if you look at the Mercedes driver, you are probably looking at a faker. I wonder what car Jeff Bezos drives.

The fact that ambitious liberals in politics are faking minority identity is nothing new. I am reading Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn and the truth is that Henry VII made it all up. He was an upstart that got lucky and won the Battle of Bosworth, and then set about creating the notion that the Tudors squared the circle between Lancaster and York to create a new, glorious Tudor dynasty. Actually what Henry did was root out and eliminate all possible claimants to the throne of England and repress anyone that dared to challenge him.

I had known before that Henry VIII nationalized the armed forces of England and thus disarmed the nobles. But it is clear that his father started the process of, shall we say, neutering the power of possible noble rivals. Also, it is clear that Henry VII understood that in England the City of London was where the money was.

What I am interested in is digging up true narratives that lie buried beneath the fake narratives of the ruling class. Obviously, the rise of populist nativists in the US and Europe is one such. The ruling class lost interest in the working class/lower middle class fifty years ago, and has inadvertently, through its celebration of minority rights, visited injustice upon the old working class for whom the welfare state was built. And now, finally, the old working class is revolting, probably too late.

Then just today I read iconoclast Ron Unz declaring that illegal immigration is a lot less of a problem that we are all led to believe, and thus that The Wall is a pseudo-issue. Moreover, Hispanic crime is a lot lower than people think, almost indistinguishable from white crime if you allow for the fact that the overall population of Hispanic males is younger (and thus more criminal) that the population of white males.

Which means..

Which means that probably Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) is right, that a politician should aim to win the support of any and all voters on the premise that all voters want a job, an education for their children, and a safe community.

And that if a politician works hard on that angle, it doesn't matter what car he drives, or what ethnic identity he impersonates.

However, there is this. People don't go into politics to watch the grass grow. The whole point of politics is to rally the people against an existential threat. And if there isn't a genuine existential threat, we can invent one, can't we, climate change activists?

And maybe this is a requirement for a successful Homo Sapiens. For maybe if we all got our wish, and got jobs, and good education for the kids, and safe communities, we would all get weak and flabby, and then, when a true existential threat appeared, we wouldn't have the cojones to deal with it.

On this notion, we need to have troublemakers stirring us up to action and inventing fake existential threats. Just as an army needs to train for war in peacetime, maybe we humans need to live as if Armagedon was just around the corner.

Friday, January 11, 2019

"I Refuse to Answer, Senator, on the Grounds that Your Question is a Religious Test"

In the good old days, Commie lefties hauled up before Congressional committees to confess their commie-ness used to refused to testify. First they refused to testify on the grounds of the First Amendment, but when the Supreme Court didn't back them up they switched to refusing to testify on the grounds of the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination.

All educated evolved people agreed that these Commies and Hollywood lefties, particularly including the Hollywood Ten, were taking it to The Man, or what would become The Man a couple of meme cycles later. And their names ought to be up in lights.

Because, Oh My, the horror of it! McCarthyite witch-hunts! Reds Under the Bed! Nobody in McCarthyite America was safe to express unpopular opinions! Oh! the Hollywood scriptwriters that suffered under the Hollywood Blacklist! Never again! Never, never again would America descend to the low it reached during the McCarthy Era!

Only now you are not allowed to speak a word that liberals dislike on America's college campi. You are not allowed to text a word that activist groups dislike on Twitter. And good luck with an academic career if you are to the right of Hillary Clinton. You are blacklisted, because of your racist sexist homophobic bigotry. And serve you right. Hanging is too good for some people, as Captain Hastings once said when some thug damaged his Lagonda.

The latest stop on this neo-McCarthy tour is the religious test for judicial nominees. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked nominee Brian Buescher about his membership in the Catholic fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus.
"Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?" and "Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women's reproductive rights?"
Buescher "replied that he joined the Knights when he was 18 years old; that his involvement includes charitable work; and that his job as a judge is to apply the law regardless of his personal convictions."

I say baloney to that answer. I say that the proper response is:
Senator, I refuse to answer the question on the grounds that it constitutes a religious test for public office which is forbidden by Article Six of the United States Constitution thus: that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." And Senator, because I value your continuance in an office of public trust I hesitate to answer this question and thus perhaps put you in possible criminal liability for monstrously violating the spirit and the letter of the Sixth Article.
Of course, the last thing our liberal friends ever imagine is that they are the McCarthyite witch-hunters of the 21st century. Hey, I doubt even that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is old enough that maybe he was around during the McCarthy era, has the smallest smidgen of a suspicion that his questioning of nominee Russell Vought for Islamophobia might amount to a religious test. Said Sanders:
Sanders said, "I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about." Vought is an elder in his church, married, and has two daughters.
I would simply say that anyone that doesn't have an least a question in their minds about the suitability of Islam in a modern society, not to mention the suitability of left-wing thought in a modern society, is a fool and a knave that never ventures outside the walled garden of NPR and The New York Times.

It has been said that "Nietzsche was the Nazi's favorite intellectual," as if such a statement was an automatic disqualification of Nietzsche's thought. Why is it then that the statement "Marx was Stalin's favorite intellectual" is not an automatic disqualification for any and all left-wing ideas from the Equator to the Antipodes from now until eternity. After all, Stalin was perhaps the most blood-thirsty ruler since Genghis Khan. Unless you figure that Mao Zedong has Uncle Joe beat in the killing department. If the notion that Marx leads to Lenin leads to Stalin is not a red flag about leftism wherever it may be found, I don't know nothing.

But somehow, in 21st century America it is routine for politicians and activists of a certain stripe to marginalize mainstream Christianity while privileging the latest in kooky left-wing ideology.

I don't get it.

But still, it would be fun for nominees to start invoking the Article Six prohibition of religious tests.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Now the Psychologists Come Out Against Traditional Masculinity

When viewing the actions of the left, the charitable thing to do is to echo Christ, and say: "forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." The less charitable thing is to tell the truth, that the left is a sink of cruelty and injustice, and that every word uttered by a lefty is a lie, including "and" and "the."

So  now the American Psychological Association has come out and declared traditional masculinity to be harmful -- to men, as reported by US News.
Traditional masculinity ideology – which the APA says includes elements of "anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence" – can be psychologically harmful to men and boys, the association noted in its 36-page "APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men" that's highlighted in the latest issue of its Monitor on Psychology magazine.
Well, yes. If you are a lefty, and believe in the left's reactionary secular faith, and think that middle-class mores of resilience and responsibility are sick and wrong, and believe that the exploration of sexuality in a creative manner is the right and true and only way to live -- provided you are not a certified victim of the patriarchy -- then of course you would think that traditional masculinity "can be" harmful to boys and men.

On the other hand if you believe like me that a fruitful way of understanding modern humans is with my reductive Three Peoples theory then you might have a more nuanced view of masculinity.

You might think that, for boys and men in the ghetto, who are People of the Subordinate Self, the notion of masculinity -- as not takin' no dissin' from The Man "can be psychologically harmful," not to say physically harmful. Because the way the world works in the city is that you do not reduce it to gang warfare, but go forth to find out if you can be useful in the economy of the city, and you offer your services on the labor market of that city. An excessive attachment to "risk, and violence" might make that adaptation very difficult.

On the other hand, like Jordan Peterson, you might think that, for middle-class twentysomething men hiding in their parents' basement, a little courage and risk-taking might be a good thing. When BCC North London luvvie Stephen Sackur talks to Jordan Peterson on BBC HARDTalk he wants to link Peterson's responsibility mantra to alt-right anger. Says Sackur:
Anger is a powerful force in politics, and there is a lot of it about. Donald Trump, Brexit, and a host of populist movements have been fueled with anger by the way things are.
No kidding, Stevie! I remember when the left celebrated the anger of the workers, of the  feminists, of the civil rights marchers, of  the Stonewall rioters. But that was then. This is now.

Hey, Stevie, why do you think that Peterson has struck such a chord (especially with men)? Peterson:
Because I'm having a serious conversation with my viewers and listeners and readers about how to structure their lives individually and the relationship between responsibility and meaning. And it's a level of discourse, or, I would say, of analysis, that people don't often have an opportunity to participate in.
But is it reaching out to men who are angry, replies Stephen Sacker?

Well, no, not exactly. It is giving men who belong to the People of the Responsible Self what they are looking for, a program for them to get out of their parents' basement and become strong and responsible men. Not toxic masculine men, but men programmed and ready to be responsible workers, husbands, and fathers.

You can see the problem, for North London luvvies and lefties on all the ships at sea. Their whole world view is built upon the notion that the responsible middle class is is fact a vast conspiracy to visit injustice on women, minorities, and the victims of all patriarchs and white supremacists. That was what Marxism was about. It appointed itself to the holy task of stopping the bourgeoisie in the act of descending like the angel of vengeance on the poor helpless workers who were toiling away for peanuts in the dark satanic mills and reducing them to "immiseration."

Therefore there must be something wrong with all the culture around the middle-class cult of responsibility: something toxic, something patriarchal, something supremacist. Eeuww!

Only, of course, the workers had migrated from the farm to the mills in the city because they were starving on the farm, and hoped at least to earn enough for bread in the city. And they did earn bread in the city, and much more, because the bourgeois system, of markets and wage labor, by its internal logic, poured a benison of prosperity upon the workers that were formerly starving on the farm.

In fact, of course, my reductive Three Peoples theory -- which is certainly not as reductive as every word out of a lefty's mouth, including "and" and "the" -- also has something to say about the ideology and anger and hate of the average North London media luvvie and the anger and hate in all the lefties in all the ships at sea. These lefties are People of the Creative Self, and their god is the creative self. That is why Nietzsche said that God is Dead. He meant that the old god of responsibility and divine justice was dead because chaps like him -- and well-born scions in Europe everywhere -- no longer believed in responsibility and divine justice as the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. What they believed in, instead, was to be the creator God Himself, creating art, literature, and above all, justice.

Yes, there are a ton of people out there that believe that the most creative thing in the world is to use political power to create a perfect state with perfect equality and perfect justice, ruled over by them and their cronies. Their record thus far is 100 million dead. Way to go, lefties!

As I said, everything lefties say and believe is a lie, including "and" and "the."

Now, it happens that I believe, in part, in the ukase of the American Psychological Association. I agree that if you are a would-be creative then the traditional masculine culture of "anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence" is not for you. You are not planning to be a warrior, willing to risk your life defending the borders of your patch of land against the village next door, or even a soldier in a national army defending the borders of the nation state from foreign marauders. So it doesn't make any sense for a would-be creative to train in the martial arts, to work hard at attaining a reputation for courage, to be adventurous, and make people fear your terrible swift sword. OK, bully for you, creatives. Although you might want to look into Nietzsche, who said that to become an Übermensch, a superior man, you had to be hard. I think he means that the path of a creative artist is not for the faint of heart, in particular because in the creative arts many are called but few are chosen.

But not all people in the world are People of the Creative Self. The qualities that a creative person must develop are not the qualities that People of the Responsible Self and People of the Subordinate Self must develop. And it is cruel and ignorant to marginalize the qualities that these other people must develop if they are to understand the "relationship between responsibility and meaning" in their lives, and so on.

The great contribution that lefties made to the world was to say to the bourgeoisie, back in the 19th century: you chaps should not create a society just to suit yourselves, the responsible middle class. what about the workers? They want and need protective social structures, things like labor unions and wage and hour laws, that may mean nothing to you bourgeois chaps, but are very important to them.

Good point lefties. Now, a word. Have you not noticed that the dreaded bourgeoisie has acceded to the demands of the workers, and permitted a huge welfare state go grow up, even though it is not in the interest and the culture of the middle class, and even though the middle class has to bear most of the cost of the welfare state, which does nothing for them except make it more difficult to afford a house, to start a business, and to provide for the future? You haven't noticed? Dear me, where have you been, leftie?

Now I say this. You lefties and luvvies and creative bigots have basically said: we are going to build a  society that is suitable and comfortable for us, the People of the Creative Self, and you racist sexist homophobic bigots of the People of the Responsible Self can go pound sand.

Do you not see, lefties, and luvvies and creative bigots, that this is cruel and unjust? Because it says that there is no room in the world except for people like you? Is not this the argument you made against the middle class 150 years ago, that the middle class was making a world to suit itself without a thought for the poor helpless working class?

Until you lefties and luvvies and creative bigots start to get a glimmer of this, you are going to find, in the words of leftie luvvie Stephen Sackur, that there is going  to be a lot of anger comin' on. And unless you lefties and luvvies and creative bigots allow a space for other kinds of people, the notorious "other" of which we've heard tell, then the anger is going to grow and grow.

Because most people aspire no higher than a modest life of responsibility and work and family and children and grandchildren. They don't want to get all creative about sex, or about morality,  or about art, or about anything in particular. And they deserve a place at the table too, one little place alongside all the magnificent gilded thrones reserved for activists and artists and politicians, and writers and intellectuals and all the rest of the People of the Creative Self.

I say that this is the defining issue of our age: that the People of the Creative Self learn tolerance for people who are not like them. Or else.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Why Do Millenials Like AOC Believe in Big Government?

How in the world can a young woman like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believe in Medicare for all? Or her Green New Deal that would forcibly convert the US to green energy in ten years? How indeed can she possibly be a "democratic socialist" given the track record of socialism for the last 150 years?

I mean. Socialism has resulted in 100 million deaths in the last century. And the latest socialist country to show us the way, Venezuela, is in the middle of going down the tubes, with hunger and misery all around as its national oil company also goes down the tubes.

And why is Venezuela's national oil company going down the tubes? Because, dear friend, then-President Hugo Chávez replaced the oil company executives with political placemen, and the engineers  that worked for the national oil company all got up and left and went to work for the oil industry in Columbia.

Why do the millennials believe such rubbish? The answer is that the millennials have all been carefully taught. Universities have always really been seminaries to teach the rising ruling class the ruling-class ideology. Back in the day, the whole point of Britain's Oxford and Cambridge was to teach "Greats," meaning Greek, Latin, and Philosophy, and "Modern Greats," meaning Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. The idea was that rising politicians needed to know the classic texts about politics, from Plato to Aristotle and the Roman writers from Seneca to Caesar to Livy to Marcus Aurelius. Because if you read those chaps then you got a feel for how to be a  successful ruler. And in the modern era you needed to tack on modern political science and economics because a successful government needed to know how to manipulate those factors in order to rule successfully.

And in Germany they invented the research university in the era of German liberation during the Napoleonic Wars as a strategy to make Germany strong so that it would no longer be conquered by the French whenever the mood took them, as it did during the Thirty Years War, the Wars of the Spanish Succession, and the Napoleonic Wars. You will recall that this German national effort was remarkably successful, and the Germans beat the French in the Franco-Prussian war, World War I and World War II. Only problem was that in WWI and WWII the French got the rest of the world to help them and so the Germans got demolished in the process.

This just shows that the plans of ruling classes often go upside down. As Burns put it:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley.
Who knew?

In our day our ruling class rules by dividing the middle class from the victim class. It teaches the victims to hate the middle class using victim politics. It teaches the latest migrants to the city that the bourgeoisie is out to get them. This worked for the working class, for the blacks, and for upscale women. Now the ruling class is teaching the young heads full of mush to advocate for poor helpless gays, transgenders, illegal aliens, and Muslims against the awful forces of white supremacy.

Who knows, it might work.

But the rise of nationalist "populism" in many western countries suggests that this ruling-class strategy may be reaching its sell-by date.

Meanwhile, well-born youngsters like AOC are being carefully taught in our universities to advocate for big government programs like one-size-fits-all government health-care systems and one-size-fits-all government higher-education systems. Oh and one-size-fits-all renewable energy systems.

It is really not surprising that these youngsters -- especially the women -- innocently believe what they have been carefully taught. Despite the  notion of rebellious youth -- very popular when the left  saw itself as the rebellious sector -- young people are not, in fact, very rebellious. They usually go with the zeitgeist because young people are genetically coded to go with the zeitgeist. This zeitgeist thing is especially important for the ruling class when it wants to send a whole generation of young'uns to war as in WWI and WWII.

The problem is that what the young have been carefully taught, in my view, is the orthodoxy of a reactionary movement, a movement I call the Great Reaction, that rejects the fundamental tenets of the modern age, which is to reduce political power in favor of market power, and to institute a separation of church and state, that is, religion and politics, which have usually, down the ages, been joined at the hip. In The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism author Michael Novak proposes what I call a Greater Separation of Powers between not just the branches of government but between the great sectors of society: the political, economic, and cultural/religious sectors. The idea is to prevent two sectors from ganging up on the other sector.

And I believe that this Great Reaction is not just cruel and unjust, but a strategic error that buries humans in misery and death and destruction wherever it is tried. In other words, every ruling class that tries to enact the agenda of the Great Reaction tends to walk itself and its subjects right off a cliff. You would think that ruling classes would have got the message by now. But they haven't and I think the reason why is that the temptation of temporary political power in the here and now is just too enticing for them. I mean, if you were AOC right now, you would think that everything is coming up roses.

The only question is whether the American people think so too. My guess is that they will not, because life, the universe and everything looks a lot different to an ordinary person just trying to get along with a job, a family, and a mortgaged home than it does to a well-born young person that has graduated from a selective college and has been suddenly vaulted into Congress or is otherwise advocating at some activism NGO.

But we shall see. For me, all this looks like rewind city. Back in the Sixties "the kids" thought that they were bringing in a new era. They were shocked, shocked, when Richard Nixon representing the "silent majority" won two elections in a row against them. So they decided to remove him from office.

Sound familiar?

Only this time, I feel, the Republicans are not going to let Democrats manipulate the system with phoney charges and boot the president out. Been there, done that.

But you never know.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

When Things Go Wrong: Humanity's Basic Challenge

Yesterday I struck back against Tucker Carlson's attack on Mitt Romney's Bain Capital. When a corporation is in decline, someone has to do something, because most likely the current management ain't up to the job.

So what do you do? Do nothing and let the corporation go broke? Have the government do a bailout, as per "Government Motors" in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008? Have NGO activists take it over? Take a poll of financial journalists?

The bigger question is what do you do when anything goes wrong? Years ago, I learned this at work discussing communications protocols with other engineers. The point is, the other guy said, the only interesting question with data communications is what do you do when there is an error? The case where no error occurs is trivial. The question is: what do you do when something goes wrong? This is a gigantic issue: everyone of us is connected into the internet, and believe me, there are errors going on all the time, and yet you and I are almost unaware of this. As far as we are concerned, the internet "just works."

Believe me, the internet does not "just work." Indeed, the internet was invented by the Defense Department's DARPA precisely to solve the problem of what would happen if a nuclear blast knocked out a section of the nation's communications system so that it didn't work. They had no idea that the protocols they developed would be robust enough to work under conditions of billions of global thermonuclear smartphones, but they were.

Now, the fact about humans is that we don't like it when things don't work. But neither do we like to prepare for disaster. We just prefer to do nothing to prepare for a rainy day and then blame politicians and corporations when something does go wrong.

However, you will note that, when disaster does strike, humans immediately jump in to help. The so-called "Cajun Navy" that helps people in the floods after hurricanes is an example of this. And I am not judging the virtue of the bass-boat guys that man the Cajun Navy. The fact is that, instinctively, many men feel that the coolest thing to do after a hurricane is to launch the bass-boat and get out there to help.

This is the biggest problem with government programs. When advocated and passed, nobody thinks of what to do when things go wrong. And the fact is that it is almost impossible to reform a government program while it is starting to go wrong. Only after it is dead on the floor is it possible to change things, and this is not a bug but a feature. We want the laws to be, ideally, unchanging: an immutable statement of justice and redress. But how do you write a law for something that will change over time, like, for instance, education? The answer is that you can't. What you create, when you create a government program, is a great big expensive monster that cannot respond to change and cannot fix itself when things go wrong. Our government education system was set up over a century ago to educated immigrants to literacy and teach them to be conformable factory employees. But what about the children of people already literate and adapted to the wage economy? What about adapting education to deal with online teaching and knowledge? And so on.

But people, when things go wrong, do something about it. They hate to do it, but they do. And the market economy is infinitely adaptable to change, and is full of emergency protocols, like bankrutpcy, for the time when things go wrong. Probably one of the reasons we all hate the market economy is that we don't like it sounding warning signals way before we are ready to respond.

So why do progressives respond to the mess of health care by proposing a bigger, more expensive, more centralized system, when all the problems are caused by the existing centralized administrative system that creates new special interests for breakfast and is inevitably destined to control costs by rationing?

You can ration the economy with prices, or with rationing. If health care is rationed by price, then it will be constantly trying to deliver more service at less price, as with Wal-Mart and consumer products. But if health care is free at the point of delivery, there will be no price rationing and no attempt to improve and streamline service delivery. Health care will be rationed by rationing. That is all.

Why do progressives refuse to learn the lesson of the market economy? It is because their trade is politics and power. And the way to wield power is to control a resource that people want, and have the power to deal it out to your supporters.

And if you are a Person of the Subordinate Self it never occurs to you that there is any other way to order affairs. If you need something, you go to you lord or your political boss and ask for it. Hey, that's the way the world works -- if you are a serf or a slave.

That is the basic question of our time, and any time. When things go wrong, what do you do? Do you go to your overlord? Do you call in Mitt Romney and Bain Capital? Or do you try to figure it out yourself with your fellow humans?

Our problem is that, in last two centuries, incredible new ways have been invented to solve problems short of waiting for disaster to strike. But most of us still practice the culture of the feudal peasant. We expect our lord to solve the problem for us.

But as I say: when you are an underling, or even a spoiled "little darling" of some political power, there comes a day when your lord leaves you by the side of the road because you are no longer of use to him, and all his promises of protection lie broken in the dust.

And what will the robin do then, poor thing?

Monday, January 7, 2019

No, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Was Not a Scam

Tucker Carlson takes out after Mitt Romney and Mitt's foolish op-ed in the Washington Post. And there  is plenty to criticize, as I did in my latest American Thinker piece.

But then he starts in on Romney's Bain Capital.
Bain Capital all but invented what is now a familiar business strategy: Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth, and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions. Romney became fantastically rich doing this.

Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct. This is the private equity model. Our ruling class sees nothing wrong with it. It’s how they run the country.
I'd say that was the Democratic version of Bain Capital. Here's my version.

There are, in the economy, many corporations that are past their sell-by date. They hobble along, racking up debt to keep going, but get deeper and deeper in debt. Maybe they expanded too much in the good times; maybe they cranked up employee benefits too much. Maybe the management sucks. Maybe the employee union has plundered the company to deliver unaffordable benefits. Think of Sears, once the best of the best, showing the world how to do retail and also catalog. But the world has passed Sears by, and now it is going into bankruptcy or a sale to its CEO.

There is nothing remarkable about this. People do it too. They get into debt, and then don't get the pay-raise they were banking on. So they take on more debt in the hope that things will turn around. Only, usually, they don't. And most people lack the intestinal fortitude to make tough decisions to stop the rot: sell the dream home; dump the luxury car.

Same with CEOs. The CEO that inherits a company from the guy that built it into a colossus is probably a man without the vision and the guts to make tough decisions. So he lets the corporation borrow to keep things going, in the hope that things will not come to a crisis on his watch. But if you let a company like Sears keep going down it will eventually cease to exist, all its assets mortgaged, and its employees turned out on the street.

The business model of an outfit like Bain Capital is to buy a troubled corporation for a song and take it private, paying off the public stockholders. Then the Bain guys develop a turn-around plan and present it to the bondholders and creditors: try this or lose everything. The plan will probably involve shedding a ton of employees, employee benefits, money-losing divisions, and haircuts for the creditors. And probably it involves additional debt and new equity investors to finance the turnaround.

The Bain turn-around plan may work, or it may not. If it fails, then the employees and creditors are probably no worse off than if the corporation just subsided into bankruptcy under the old, tired management.  If it succeeds, then most of the employees keep their jobs, but probably not the above-market benefits they used to enjoy. And Bain and its investors make a ton of money.

That is how capitalism works. If you accept a risk proposition, then you lose everything if the proposition fails, and make a ton of money if it succeeds.

In capitalist societies there is a class of people that says: trust us, and we will protect you no matter what. These people are called politicians and activists, and they are liars. Nobody can protect you, no matter what. Not a nation state. Not a corporation.

But capitalism offers options on the risk proposition. You can be a business owner, and accept a heavy risk proposition: maybe enormous profits, or, more likely, losses that put you out of business. Or you can go to work as an employee for a fixed wage. When you do that you are saying to your employer: profits and losses, that's your affair; I just want my paycheck. But it never ends there. If the employer makes a ton of money, the employees will start grumbling: hey, how come I don't get some of da loot? If the employer suffers losses, the employees will resist cuts to benefits: hey, you promised me health care benefits, and now you want to renege just when my wife needs life-saving drugs?

In the old days, people were serfs and peasants; they relied on their lords to protect them from the Mongols and the army of the lord next  door. The lord offered this protection -- until he didn't.

In these days, the people have options. You can go work for government, with life tenure and pensions, but a soul-destroying work environment. You can go work for a  corporation, and hope that it keeps on the up and up.  But hey, even Apple experiences reverses, as its stock has plunged 40 percent in a few months. Or you can work on the assumption that your value fluctuates in the market like everything else. So you keep your eyes open, and adjust your skills to match the economy. And hope that when you plan to retire the stock market is on the up and up and not in the middle of a generational crash like 1929 or 2008.

But the truth  is that the basic feature of humans is that we want our cake and to eat it too. So we are always ready to blame "them" when things go wrong.

So people run around blaming "finance capital" and "robber barons" for the inevitable reverses in life and work. Of course, it is true that the bushes are full of knaves and scoundrels. And some of those scoundrels run private equity outfits.

Meanwhile,  in the last 200 years, the per-capita income of the American people has gone up by 3,000 percent in real terms. There has never been anything like it, ever.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Most Voters are Tribal

There's a piece in National Review by J.J. McCullough warning the anti-Trumpists that his supporters aren't "transactional," supporting him merely for his positions on "the issues."

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that the vast majority of Republicans have enormous, across-the-board confidence in everything about Trump: 82 percent said he had good leadership skills, 77 percent said he was honest, 92 percent said he was intelligent, and 80 percent agreed he was someone who “shares your values.” Trump was given astronomically high approval on the management of basically every issue as well, including 86 percent approval for his handling of “immigration issues.”

Do you see what this means? It means that Trump's core supporters are not basing their support on "what have you done for me lately" but on an overall view of him as their tribal leader.

I should say "our," because my support for Trump has a lot to do with his courage in going up against the educated ruling class tribe, fearlessly defending our tribe of deplorables after the manner of a mythical hero.

And humans have a real yearning for a hero. I wonder why? Not.

Indeed, for me, Trump has been something of a surprise, particularly on the taxes and regulations front. I had no idea that the populist Trump would risk a tax cut that mostly gives a big tax rate cut to corporations. And I had no idea that he had a plan to send in the Grim Reaper to scythe away at administrative-state regulations.

And, he stood firm with the band of brothers on the firing line when the entire left went nuclear on Brett Kavanaugh in the most disgraceful display of fascist tactics in my lifetime.

Yeah, lefty friends. You wanna know what fascism looks like in real life -- as opposed to your fever dreams of the nightmare of right-wing supremacy that you have been carefully taught to hate and to fear by your hard-left teachers and professors? It's you chaps during the nomination fight. I mean, what's more fascist than convicting a guy on a mere decades-old accusation?

And now, dare I say, it may be that the Notorious RBG may not be long on the Court. How do you like them apples, lefties?

The truth is that although plenty of people say they vote "on the issues" we nearly all vote with our tribe.

It's true that, on the left, young worthies like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez are all down for free Medicare-for-all and the forgiveness of student debt. (Notice that the former arises out of the insanely expensive and government-regulated third-party health care payment system and the latter arises because of college fee inflation triggered by the gocerent's student loan system.)

But these are not really transactional "issues" but tribal battle cries. Every liberal voter knows that ICE is xenophobia, every word of concern about Islamic terrorism is Islamophobia, every conservative speaking on campus should be de-platformed.

The bottom line on politics is not the tribalism, but how long the loyal rank-and-file hangs on after their leaders have betrayed them.

In the case of the white working class it has taken 50 years after the Democrats abandoned them for a politician to figure out how to lead them -- with a brief intermission for the Reagan Democrats.

But now, I'd say, the white working class is solid for Trump for the foreseeable future. The only question is whether he can tempt in some blacks and Latinos.

And the tribiest tribe in America is the progressive tribe whose natural habitat is the college town or the gentrified close-in suburb. Talk about tribal dances and witch burnings and sacrifices of scapegoats!

I wonder if the Democrats have backed themselves into a corner on Trump. They have taught their tribe to hate and to fear Donald Trump and his tribe of deplorables. Can that win them the 2020 election? Only time will tell.

What If Everything We Know About Education is Wrong?

We saw a kid performing handstands on the sidewalk as the bus took us to the Delhi Garden of Five Senses, and one of the women in the party mourned that the kid was not in school.

Yes, I know we are all supposed to believe that kids in government school are the best thing since sliced bread. But is it?

We know, for instance, that throughout the 19th century Europe literacy increased enormously, and it isn't clear to me that government schools were the reason. And female literacy was about a generation behind male literacy.

In addition, I understand, parents stopped sending their kids out to work once they didn't need the wages for food.

But we all believe -- and that means especially that women believe -- that all kids should be in school throughout childhood.

I don't think so. I suspect that we would do much better dumping the responsibility for their children's education on the parents.

What about this idea? We repeal all child labor laws; we close all the government schools. What would happen?

My question is this. If corporations started employing children again, would they revive the apprenticeship system? Would they educate the children in their charge?

The simple answer is: We Don't Know.

But we do know that when a foundation took computer tablets to an Ethiopian village, the kids had the tablets charged while the adults were congratulating each other, were singing the ABC song in two weeks, and had hacked the tablet to re-enable the camera within six months.

We do know that every girl in the world desperately needs to be literate enough to compete in the social media world of smartphones, and the boys need to be literate enough to master video games like Minecraft.

Maybe they can only really do this in school. But maybe not. Maybe if we evil geniuses figure out how to grab their attention, maybe we can get kids literate, numerate, market-aware, etc., without the trillion dollar a year expense of government education.

Of course, I understand the allure of free stuff. Free education: Yay! And maybe we should have a free system, just on principle, to keep the slaves to free-stuff happy

But I think the future requires getting away from the government model, and demands an education that responds to the needs of parents that want the best for their children and corporations that want good productive employees in their future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What If Liberals Abolished the Middle Class?

In his latest piece bemoaning the state of California, Victor Davis Hanson suggests that the liberal masters of California are quite comfortable with the fact that the middle class is leaving California in the millions.

Would-be Calexit leader Shankar Singam, in a recent television appearance, was unapologetically candid in celebrating the departure of the middle class from California. Indeed, he saw it as a sort of win-win bargain for the state: The tired people are leaving, and the energetic people are replacing them. 

I don't think liberals really understand what they are doing. Their whole shtick is to play ruling class saviors of the helpless victims against the the cruel oppression of the evil white middle class. Do they not realize that if they abolish the evil middle class they will have abolished the enemy by which they rally the helpless victims to their sideq? If there is no middle class left in California then who will be the enemy of lefty politics?

I will tell you, based on Lee Kwan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore.p In a multicultural society, people vote according to their race and religion. And I bet that the old politics that has served our liberal friends so well will convert into a politics in which liberals don't get to direct traffic as in the olden time. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to see a politics of the lower class against the precious -- and rich -- people of San Francisco, Marin County, and Silicon Valley. Of course, I could be wrong about that.

Yep. Liberals may be patting themselves on the back for teaching those racist sexist homophobic middle-class Californians a lesson and sending them packing out of state, and reducing the Republican Party in the state to a shell. But I don't think they will like what comes next.

But then we all know that liberals are clueless about politics. They all know and can recite the latest lefty meme. But they don't have a clue about why we have three branches of government, about why we have the electoral college. And if it comes to that they don't  understand the First Amendment. The whole point, liberals, is to permit unpopular and bigoted speech. So it is right out in the open. But liberals think that the First Amendment is there to allow liberals to advance their progressive religion to bend the arc of history towards justice. And then shut the bigots up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Creating a New Cultural Narrative

A few posts ago I wrote about the need for a new culture, one that would speak to the educated creative classes and five them a new birth of meaning to replace their current evil religion of activism and identity politics.

But then today I read a piece by David Marcus bemoaning that we don't have original movies and TV shows today that everybody gets to see and share that creates a common cultural narrative. We don't get big audience for landmark TV shows like All in the Family and M.A.S.H because the TV audience is fragmented, and the top ten movies are overwhelmingly Marvel-type superhero movies.

To which I say: thank goodness. All in the Family and M.A.S.H were supercilious products that are taught a generation to sneer at the white working class and the Cold War. And they succeeded. Today you can only reach a mass audience with simplistic superhero movies, because the mass audience is not that interested in the usual lefty dreck that is drenched in lefty politics and approved identity-politics role mandates. What a good thing that people just aren't interested in that stuff. Because it means that the stage is empty. All we need to do is invent a new cultural narrative, one that resonates with peoples' lives and help them make sense of the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

(You may think that I am making a joke with this oft-repeated quote from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but I assure you that I am not. It is a deadly serious statement that explains why every human society has a religion.)

One email response to my culture post said that the answer was direct spiritual encounter with God

My own experience has been that anyone who tries to use religion as a middleman between themselves and Spirit is going to be deceived.

Agreed, but only a few people have the spiritual chops for a direct encounter neither Spirit. That is why most people want gurus and religious leaders to do the heavy lifting.

On Instapundit Sarah Hoyt says not to panic. We'll get indie movies in due course and everything will be all right.

And we will all get to share a new cultural narrative.