Friday, March 29, 2019

Yes, But Don't Mess with Obama and Hillary

Now that we know that Collusion is Schmollusion, the hounds are yelping to go after the real crooks. And one thing we can put money on is that President Obama knew that his chappies were spying on the Trump campaign. And Hillary. Well, after a lifetime of corrupt dealings she sure knows how to insert multiple cut-outs between her and the dirty deed.

Except, of course, that Hillary Clinton is dumb enough not to realize just how monumentally stupid it is to have a private e-mail server.

So now let Hercules go to work and clean the Augean stables of DC swamp-dwellers.

But one thing, Herky baby: Leave Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton alone.

Know why? Of course you do.

If we put Barack Obama in the dock, it is racism, straight up. I mean everyone knows that the First Black President is half way to canonization, and anything that besmirches his reputation is the worst thing that ever came down the pike.

Plus, it would make blacks furious, and delay by at least a decade their inevitable Blexit.

If we put Hillary Clinton in the dock, it is sexism, straight up. I mean everyone knows that the shoulda-coulda-woulda-been First Woman President is a national treasure, and anything that besmirches her reputation is the worst thing that ever came down the pike.

Plus, it would make liberal women mad as hell, and send them out to vote in their tens of millions.

No. I'd say we should stop our stable-cleaning at the Brennans, the Clappers, the Comeys, the Susan Rices. And really, it is they, and others of their ilk, that need to fear the arm of the law. It might -- might -- discourage some future swamp creature from acting like a courtier of an absolute monarch and betraying the Constitution, the Nation of Laws, and basic human decency upon the recommendation of the monarch to rid him of that troublesome interloper.

Also, there is a certain advantage to the political insurgent when justice is not done. That is the point of my maxim: "there is no such thing as justice, only injustice." Or, if you prefer, that justice is merely the absence of injustice.

What I mean is that what keeps people enraged and ready to go out and vote is a burning sense of injustice, that the system is rigged, and they are not going to take it any more. But if you bring the crooks to justice then the sting is removed and everyone goes home, fluffs up the pillow, and gets a good night's rest.

What President Trump needs for a blowout 2020 election is that people remember the Collusion scandal and that all the real culprits got away scot free, that they remember the scandal of Jussie Smollett's black-gay-Hollywood Get Out of Jail Free card, that they remember the crooked college admissions system and nobody went to jail.

Oh and Trump also needs AOC and Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib running free all over the media. Because those three young ladies are a constant reminder to the average American that the system is rigged. Hey Social Media! How about enforcing your glorious "community standards" on your lefty pals!

One thing that comes out clear to me over the last years is that the lefties are clueless. They have, as I say, been carefully taught to hate and to fear, but they lack a strategic sense of how to play the game; they just know which buttons to press. And it has also become clear that all the swamp creatures are small-minded bureaucrats, Barnacles and Stiltstockings, that know how to play the bureaucratic game, but cannot think outside of the box.

And the media: well, they are beneath the gaze of we free-spirits.

The thing to remember is that while all these sheltered snowflakes have been ascending the greasy pole (which for many of them has been cleaned up to make it less hazardous) guys like Donald Trump have been living in the real world, building buildings in Manhattan and living to tell the tale, going through corporate bankruptcy and living to tell the tale.

And now he has through a three-year effort by the educated ruling class to knock him out of the presidency -- and lived to tell the tale.

As I told my liberal yoga instructor on the occasion of the end of Collusion: Nietzsche, I said. What does not kill me makes me stronger. (Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker, for you German scholars.)

Hello liberals. Was that Collusion game really such a good idea, or just another mindless activism culture action that was such a feature of the Obama years?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Strange Death of Europe: But Why?

I spent an hour watching Mark Steyn interview Douglas Murray on his new book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Mark titles his piece "The West in Existential Crisis."

I think I'd rather say that the problem is that the western elite is bollixed up in the internal contradictions of its ruling-class ideology. Why not? Marx predicted that the internal contradictions of capitalism would lead to its fall. Couldn't we apply his wisdom to all rulers and oppressors?

Just what Marx meant by the internal contradictions of capitalism, I'm not sure. After all, as a Hegelian he ought to think that capitalism will go from strength to strength as it overcame the antithesis of every contradiction with a new synthesis. Which it has.

But listening to Murray and Steyn talk about the sad decline of Europe, it seemed to me that they were tip-toeing around the elephant in the room. Why, for instance, would Swedes say that they are all in favor of diversity while they remove from the vibrantly diverse center cities of Sweden for rural whitey-ness?

The answer is, of course, that they are good little boys and good little girls that know the correct -- orthodox -- opinion they are supposed to hold if they know what is good for them at work and on social media.

Now, I take it as given that whatever is the correct and orthodox opinion in society will have something to do with the class interest of the ruling class. I hope you will not think this is a bridge too far.

So, what is the class interest of the ruling class?

Thank you, senator, I'm glad you asked that.

The class interest of the ruling class is to stay in power, and about a century ago -- and in the US no later than the New Deal -- young educated folk decided that the royal road to political power was to put themselves at the head of the working class, then struggling to convert from the rural culture of feudal -- actual post-feudal -- agriculture to the market economy of the city.

Now I believe, following my reductive Three Peoples theory, that the thing for the working class to do would be to lose the subordinate culture of the feudal peasant and learn how to be a responsible middle class participant in the wage economy of the city. But the working class did not feel that way. It experienced the vibrancy of the city economy as a frightening burden and a loss of all security. So its instinct was to take arms against a sea of troubles by forming labor unions as a means of protection and fighting back against the bad faith of the bosses.

It was the historic role of the Educated Youth of the 19th century to say Yeah! Those stinkin' bosses! Vote for us and we will save you from the exploitation and oppression of the capitalist economic system. Hey, how about Free Education?

This, in my view, is one of the great crimes of the last half millennium. What the Educated Youth should have done is give the working class temporary aid while doing everything to help them assimilate to a middle-class culture. For, to get all Hegelian on you, I believe that the way to get on in the city and obtain a lasting prosperity is to utterly surrender to the market and its prices. To admit that no job, no skill is forever, and the only security is to never settle into a secure job, but always be ready to acquire a new skill as the market economy continually renews itself and puts the "buggy-whip makers" of the day out of business. Instead, the Educated Youth confirmed the workers in their feudal habits, and told them that their neo-feudal capitalist bosses should protect them from economic storms just like the feudal lords protecting the peasants from the Mongols. (Not!)

But you can see what a grand ride it has been for the Educated Youth of the 19th century and their sons, the educated ruling class of today. Political power, administrative state sinecures, social science research grants, activism, peaceful protest: what a ride!

Nothing lasts forever, of course, and when the educated ruling class got tired of telling lies to the working class. There, all of a sudden, were Negroes, victims of a century of Jim Crow in the South. And women: dying of despair in the suburbs, if we were to believe Betty Friedan! So just as the old gig was getting past its sell-by date, up came a new gig, and the educated class jumped in with both feet, promoting special privileges for blacks and women and a delicious expansion of the administrative state and with postmodernism opening up a whole new horizon for academic research, and expanding the old game of class politics into gender and race politics.

Of course, the educated ruling class lied to women and minorities too. Instead of passing the civil-rights laws and letting people get on with it, the ruling class has riled up women and minorities for the last half century with the notion of "institutional racism" and a "glass ceiling" and "white supremacy" and "toxic masculinity" preventing their final arrival in a perfect world. So instead of letting women and minorities find their own way in an economy where government would not discriminate against them, they made women and minorities into their special charges, or what I call "Little Darlings" and fed them a constant narrative of oppression and exploitation.

Well, now the United States has enjoyed its First Black President. What is the educated ruling class to do now? Perfectly simple: encourage migration of the poor from the South and the Muslim lands to immigrate to the city. With any luck they will become the favored political clients of the educated ruling class and continue its rule for another half century. Yay!

You can see that all this is catnip to you if you are an educated person with an advanced degree and interested in a job in the administrative state or social science research or if you are a "woke" twenty-something that has been carefully taught to want nothing so much as a life in activism. But if you are just an average Joe or Jane you might not be quite as enthusiastic. For it might seem to you that you have become a second-class citizen. You might even start to act like the embittered and discarded mistress of a rich guy that likes to trade in last year's model for a hot young thing.

Also, as a disinterested observer, you may feel that we are darn lucky that so far, with the educated ruling class endlessly riling up the latest arrivals to the city, we haven't had any serious political unrest. You would probably have noticed that the educated-class power rests on an immensely cunning and astonishingly successful narrative of naming and shaming any dissent from its agenda as racism, sexism, and homophobia, and now Islamophobia. In 2019 no educated white person wants to have the Scarlet Letter of "Racist" embroidered onto his clothes.

And so the beat goes on. And you gotta say, it has been an astonishingly successful gig for the educated class.

But now we have a cloud on the horizon: Trump, and Brexit, and nationalism in Eastern Europe: ordinary people proposing that government is supposed to serve them and not the latest hot number from wherever.

Of course, if the Trumps and the Brexits and the Eastern European nationalists succeed then it could be "curtains" for our beloved educated ruling class. So it makes complete sense that the educated ruling class has mounted a soft coup to kick President Trump out of office, or at least discredit him enough to prevent his reelection. Same with Brexit: the British ruling class is doing its best to muddy the waters and stay under the rule of the European Commission in Brussels and its army corps of educated administrators.

What would be nice is if we could get onto the "next thing," whatever it is, without blood in the streets.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Our Real Problem is Religious

In the aftermath of the Trump Collusion flameout and the Senate Democrats voting "present" on the Green New Deal, one might ask what is happening?

My answer is: religion. My reason: This quote from anthropologist Roy Rappaport: "No society known to anthropology or history is devoid of what reasonable observers would agree is religion."

So, if the educated class since the early 19th century has reckoned, after Nietzsche, that "God is Dead," what comes next?

What comes next is the educated class finding a new religion under every rock. I am reading The Jung Cult by Richard Noll right now. It is, frankly, an anti-Jung screed, saying that Jung was dabbling in all the hazy-crazy religious and spiritualist stuff in the German world around 1900, especially the völkisch movement, and that leads straight to anti-semitism, which, by the 1930s, Jung and his followers were anxious to obscure.

OK, fine. So, on the one hand we have the spiritualist-crystals-cultish-back-to-nature thing -- which is always in danger of anti-semitism and 6 million dead Jews. And on the other we have the rationalist-materialist-administrative-state thing which is always in danger of big government and 100 million deaths and counting. Choose your poison: Jung or Freud. Yes. If you say that Jung is the inspiration for anti-semitism, then it is remarkable how lefties still like Freud.

Let's back up a step. In my view, universities have always been about the education of what Nietzsche calls "the priests." Read Middlemarch and Fred Vincy, son the the mayor of Middlemarch, gets sent off in, I suppose, the 1820s to the University of Cambridge to become a priest. The point is that, for the local businessman Walter Vincy, sending his kid to Cambridge to take holy orders is a step up, socially. Or the university was for the education of the political elite: that's what education in the classics -- "Greats" -- was all about.

Nothing has changed. Only now young heads full of mush are educated in the religion of today's political elite, which means a farrago of lefty cant and postmodernism and identity politics.

So if you wonder about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, stop wondering. She is a perfect product of today's elite education system. She believes exactly what she has been taught to believe.

Now I believe that the big human problem down the ages has been the dance between religion and politics. Let us say that politics, or government, is the need for humans in a community to combine against an existential peril, which might be a flood or an invasion. Religion is the existential need to come to some sort of a common understanding about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Both of these, in my view, are essential to the human condition.

But there is a problem. What happens when the political power of the kings and the religious power of "the priests" are combined? What you get is totalitarianism.

But you also get two rival centers of power, as the political elite and the religious elite jockey around each other, jealous of the other's power. Thus you get "the priests" of Egypt doing for the Pharaoh Akhnaten who wanted to shift Egypt's religion. You get the Catholic Church in Rome in a curious dance with the kings of the Franks in Trier in the era of Charlemagne. And you get King Henry II allegedly asking someone to rid him of the turbulent priest, St. Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

When there is turbulence in the political sphere you get civil war, with rebels determined to replace the corrupt and ineffective ruling class; people get all riled up about collusions and traitors. When there is turbulence in the religious sphere you get witch hunts and Inquisitions; people get all riled up about agents of the Devil and other heretics.

When you get political and religious turbulence combining you get the killing fields; you get the police states of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia and their descendants.

Now it is my belief that the whole phenomenon of The Left is a gigantic effort to create a religion to replace the Christianity that the western educated class has abandoned. But our lefty friends know no way to save the world from sin than through politics. This is the meaning of the obscure phrase invented by Eric Voegelin: "the immanentizing of the eschaton." It means creating heaven on Earth, rather than leaving heaven to the next life. The point is that if the notion of death meaning "going to heaven" no longer has traction, because you don't believe in God and the afterlife, then humans will try to create heaven on Earth instead. And, conservatives say, when you do that you pretty soon create a totalitarian political-religious system that mobilizes the entire society to bring heaven to Earth. Or else.

You will notice that the Green New Deal combines both political and religious themes, and Good Little Girls like AOC have been perfectly taught to believe both in the religion and the politics of the Green faith. The world is going to hell, unless we repent. The world will burn up, unless we replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

In the old days of the West, subsequent to the Peace of Westphalia, a certain distance was established between church and state, so that religion dealt with heavenly matters and politics with mundane matters. This worked, sorta, until Zarathustra came to preach the Death of God. And until the murderous efficiency of modern technology made war into a rather dicey affair that carpet-bombed everything in sight so that there was very little loot left for the winner.

The left's solution to this problem, that God is Dead and war is hell, is "activism." If you are a young person with a burning desire to do good in the world, then you become an activist and organize the oppressed and the marginalized in a political movement to demand their rights. You do not actually practice a religion, but you certainly have your Articles of Faith; you do not actually conduct a civil war, but you do enact shows of force that you call "peaceful protest."

Now my belief is that the left has got it all wrong on the religious front. If you have a burning need to learn the meaning of life, the universe, and everything you should do as Nietzsche's Zarathustra did, and go off into the mountains and live in a cave as a "free spirit," and when a bunch of followers show up at your cave to get the Truth from the Master you send them all packing.

And the left has it all wrong on the political front. If you want people to live in peace and prosperity then you should enable the market system to work its magic, and you should keep government and its administrative state down to a bare minimum. Wanna help your fellow humans on the material front? Go invent something, create a startup, hire a bunch of workers, and try to sell your brilliant to the world. Oh, and do it all without benefit of the dead hand of government compulsion.

One fine day, maybe, we will get to a world in which our educated elite has abandoned its Great Reactionary faith in a poisonous combination of secular religion and big government. But that day is not yet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

When You Strike at a King...

"When you strike at a king, you must kill him."

That remark was made by Emerson to young punk Oliver Wendell Holmes in respect of an article the young fellow had written attacking Plato.

But what about Donald Trump?

Did the swampies think about that when they launched the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Robert Mueller, Grand Inquisitor, on President Trump? I don't think so. I think that the whole Russia Collusion narrative was a weak and feeble attempt to cover up the use of the US intelligence community's powers of surveillance to spy on the Trump campaign.

Because, like, that's illegal, like, whatever.

As they say: "What did the president know, and when did he know it." Obama, that is.

The thing about Obama, I think, is that Margaret Thatcher's famous remark about European leaders applies: "Weak. Feeble." And weak and feeble leaders and weak and feeble swampies do stupid underhanded things that end up biting them in the you know where.

"What does not kill me makes me stronger." That's my pal Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols. Nietzsche, you will know if you are a north London luvvie with a TV media gig, is "the Nazis' favorite intellectual."

Yes, dear liberal friends: what happens now? What happens to all those nice moderate Democrats that got elected to Congress in 2018 on the strength of the false accusations against the president? What will the nice suburban women that just instinctively went with the Mean Girls on the block? Will they now turn on the Mean Girls "I can't believe they said that" about the president?

What happens to the noble objective media with its layers of fact-checkers now? After they have acted like Democratic operatives with by-lines for the last three years?

What happens to all the Democratic House chairmen that are all cranked up for impeachment with nowhere to go?

What about all the Subaru drivers with their COEXIST bumper stickers? Can they coexist with Trump? Perhaps they should sell the Subaru and take the bus.

Well, we old time conservatives are revved up by a president of whom it may be said, after President Lincoln speaking about Gen. Grant, "I can't spare this man: he fights."

It really is an extraordinary feeling, and helps me understand the campaign website of, I think Hillary Clinton way back. It was a list of warlike messages: fighting for women; fighting for children; fighting for workers, etc.

But, of course, that is exactly what people want in a politician, someone fighting for them in the eternal battle of life.

Of course, in the end such heroes end up betraying the people that trusted them. Or they get betrayed. Or they get defeated.

And the play goes on.

But the fact is that, after the submission of the Special Prosecutor's report, the swampies have lost. For now.

But take courage, lefties. There are no final victories. There is only: wait until next time.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Yes, Our Ruling Class Stinks, But...

OK, so now Mueller Time is over and it's time to get back to...

Politics as usual?

Yes, but that means that the politicians just get back to bribing us election time with our own money, as prescribed in my definition of government:
Government is an armed minority, occupying territory and taxing the people thereof to reward its supporters.
There is only one way out. You say to the government: you can take your rewards -- your pensions, your free health cares, your free educations, your relief of the poor, and put 'em where the sun don't shine.

Anything short of this means that the game goes on. Because if you are taking money from the politicians then you are just another serf.

Of course, as indicated by my reductive Three Peoples theory, there will always be serfs, People of the Subordinate Self, who want only to live under the protection of a great lord. More, there is something in all of us that just wants to be safe. As Cassius put it:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Shakespeare, don'tcha know.

See, in my better world, we would all have pensions; only we would get them from saving all our lives at Fidelity and Vanguard. And all of us would voluntarily kick in for people "without the means to retire through no fault of their own." Perhaps some billionaire would thoughtfully put himself at the head of Pensions For No Fault of Their Own.

In my better world, we would all have health care; only we would get it, we cheapskates, at Health-Mart: Low health prices, always. And some billionaire would run Health Care Through No Fault of Their Own and we would all kick in to help widows and orphans.

In my better world, we would all educate our kids; only we would do it through all the moms in the neighborhood home-schooling together. And Google would provide a complete smorgasbord of educational tools for the moms and the kids to use. Conservative billionaires would provide conservative alternatives to the sickeningly woke lefty Google material. Game designers would provide addictive games that got kids to learn everything they needed, just by "playing" a silly game. And some billionaire would run Education Through No Fault of Their Own for kids with lousy or ignorant parents. And the neighborhood moms would attach the odd kid, ignorant through no fault of its own, to the neighborhood home-school.

And so on, with welfare. Only, I suspect that the relief of the poor without government would not just be about dishing out money for nothing.

It wouldn't be that hard, and it would be very good for us, because it would exercise our humans-as-social-animals instincts. It would force us, as the lefties say, to be more "ethical" and "altruistic."

And we would all spend a part of each day telling some damn politician to go put his free stuff where the sun don't shine. This would be mandatory, subject to a fine for defaulters that went three or more days without telling some politician where to put it.

See, unless we all get together and "collude" and decide not to take the bait from the damn politician offering free stuff, then the fault, dear reader, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

If we said No to all the free stuff, then we could say No to all the taxes. And maybe get from the current taxation of about 35 percent of GDP down to 10 percent GDP or less.

Imagine an America with taxes at 10 percent of GDP. You can do it if you try. We did have an America like that in 1900, and for some reason immigrants came over to that mean-spirited America by the ship-load.

Gosh, I wonder why.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Thoughts on the Culture War

In the current culture war we cannot expect "the other" to understand our point of view. That is because, as Christopher DeGroot writes, all living things live by prejudice. He quotes anthropologist Mary Douglas, who points out that we all need to evaluate new experiences in the light of what we already know and believe.

In other words, it is a waste of time to start from the beginning whenever something new shows up. Life goes on, and we use our experience and our knowledge, and our cultural inheritance, to navigate past each new event in our world.

So it is not surprising that our Democratic friends are fit to be tied by the Trump phenomenon. Remember, from back in the 2000s, Democrats have believed, with John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira in The Emerging Democratic Majority, that they owned the future, with minorities, the educated, and women all coalescing in a glorious new political hegemony.

Their notion, their ideology -- prejudice if you like -- saw them ruling wisely and well over a populace of diminished ability, partly of prejudice and superstition in the religious middle class, and partly of ignorance and marginalization in the lower orders. No problem, because our educated rulers were notably free of prejudice and superstition and also notably full of care and compassion for the marginalized.

But here comes Trump with "tropes" from another era: nationalism instead of cosmopolitanism; protectionism instead of free trade; insult instead of urbanity. Our Democratic friends thought all that was well and truly buried with Hitler and the disaster of Smoot-Hawley.

Of course, in the comfort of their ideology -- their prejudice if you like -- they cannot see how they have replaced the us-and-them of nationalism with the us-and-them of identity politics. They cannot see that they practice their own form of protectionism with the help-our-friends activities of the administrative and regulatory state. And they cannot see how their activism culture licenses them and their clients to insult anyone they please while criminalizing their opponents for "hate speech."

Thus, for DeGroot, "winning the culture war" will not involve what our liberal friends like to call "a conversation" but the usual incidents of war: "strategy, manipulation, and, perhaps, sheer force."

After all, that is what the whole Russian collusion operation of the last two years has been about: the current ruling class trying to overcome the cognitive dissonance of the Trump presidency by combining to undermine President Trump and demoralize his supporters.

As DeGroot writes: "all moral systems and all political systems require some concept of an enemy". It could be the Devil; it could be the Jews. It could be the "robber barons." It could be illegal aliens; it could be white nationalists.

But in a world of enemies, there must be friends, the bonds of trust that we call social capital.
According to sociologist Robert Putnam there are two types of social capital:
bridging capital refers to trust between groups, between people who have different values and identities, while bonding capital refers to trust within groups.
And, according to Putnam, "diversity" tends to reduce both "bridging capital" and "bonding capital." In other words, people need to be secure in like-living-with-like communities if they are to start building social structures of trust, both within their community and without.

But, of course, the whole point of identity politics and political correctness is to create distrust in the national community.

The only good thing about our ruling class is that they are idiots. Imagine if they really knew what they were doing!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2020 Election: What I Hope For

It was strange listening to the audio of Elizabeth Warren's recent townhall on CNN. Medicare for All? Yay! Wealth Tax? Yay! Climate change? Yay! All her lefty proposals were met with (a preponderantly female) cheer, as in: what universe do these women live in?

Well, we know. They live in Liberal-land, and they believe. They believe what "the priests" tell them. As I've said before, when you peruse the #WeBelieve yard signs, you are reading a liberal Ten Commandments, brought down from the mountain-top by a liberal Moses.
The point about the sentiments in #WeBelieve is that they are religious. And in every case where these religious sentiments enter into politics they amount to the legislation of morality. Religious freedom? Then why are liberals harassing Christian bakers that don't want to bake cakes for gay weddings?

Yes, but what does it mean? What does all the legislation of morality, plus the total socialization of health care, plus the climate change cult, mean?

It means, I think, that despite all the excitement of the last 500 years, with science, technology, capitalism, the Great Enrichment, and all, we are still humans, living animals that live by our feelings -- or instincts, or "the unconscious."

And one of our "feelings" is the dream of "altruism." Yeah, like back in the good old days when human community was truly egalitarian, and share-and-share alike.

Only, according to C.R. Hallpike in On Primitive Society, here is how things worked out in the Tauade tribe in New Guinea. They had "big-men" at the top of the social hierarchy, with two or three wives, and "rubbish-men" at the bottom, with no wives.
The principal roles of the chiefs are the organization of feats and dances, at which they make speeches on behalf of their group; the negotiation of peace between their group and others; and, to some extent, leadership in war. Their essential personal attributes are generosity, oratory, and political skills, and a willingness to accept compensation for wrongs rather than resort to violence at the slightest provocation.
What about the "rubbish-men?"
[They] are the poorest and least effectual members of society; often unmarried, they are mean and avaricious, attempt to renege on their co-operative responsibilities such as contributing to feasts or making gifts on appropriate occasions, and are also said to be the worst thieves (theft being below the dignity of chiefs) and to be generally irresponsible.
The point is that the notion of selfishness or altruism is beside the point. The chiefs are rich -- and also generous. It is part of their self-image and reputation to be noble and above the common ruck of men, and their nobility and generosity pays them back in prestige and popularity. The rubbish-men are ineffective because they think in terms of immediate benefit and cost.

It seems pretty clear to me that the big-men are more social, and the rubbish-men are more selfish. But the big-men are not "altruistic." It is just that they can see around corners, and understand, either instinctively or strategically, that generosity and nobility of manner pays off in wives and reputation.

Now, I would say that the chap that is going to win the 2020 presidential election is the candidate that looks most like the tribal big-man and least like the tribal rubbish-man.

You will notice that the Democrats and the mainstream media have been doing their best to represent President Trump as a rubbish-man, a vile monsters that is cheating and treating with the hated Russians.

And yet what is the best way to characterize our liberal friends, with their haughty demeanor, their attacks on free speech, their social media frenzies, and their over-the-top spending proposals? How about mean, often unmarried, refusing to contribute to feasts, etc.?

You'll forgive an old man if I say that this looks like a replay of the Sixties, when The Kidz thought they were remaking the world in the image of Herbert Marcuse, and nothing could stop them. Only Richard Nixon did, appealing to the Silent Majority that just wanted a job, a family, a house, and a car. And then, just to make things clear, the man that liberals called an amiable dunce won two presidential elections going away. This B-movie actor was called Ronald Reagan.

Is the US electorate still a bunch of deplorables that can't see further than a job, a family, and a house and car, unable to lift their eyes to the mountain-top of Medicare For All and renewable energy?

I have no idea, and neither does anyone else.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Me and the Boeing 737 Max Crisis

I don't know nothing about the current flap about the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, but I am a pilot, and so I think I know a thing or two about flying and airplanes, such as:

One More For the Gipper. As I understand it, it is much cheaper for Boeing to modify an existing airplane model than to develop and entirely new one. From the regulatory standpoint. In other words, it makes much more financial sense for Boeing to tell the FAA that its 737 MAX model is merely a development of the 737 model line than to call it a new model. So there is a big temptation to squeeze one more modification out of an existing model rather than to break new ground on a new model.

And I've read that the problem with the 737 MAX is that the engines are much bigger/heavier/powerful than the previous non-MAX and this has created problems on the center-of-gravity of the airplane.

Regulatory Capture. The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for the airworthiness of US-built airplanes. But the settled science of "regulatory capture" says that a government regulator eventually becomes captured by the corporations it is supposed to regulate. Could that be a problem here?

Why can't Boeing's insurance company be in charge of airworthiness? It would have, after all, "Skin in the Game" as Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues in his latest book.

Pilots and Emergencies. When a pilot experiences an emergency situation in flight his response is to follow his training. But there is a problem. If an emergency has not been covered in training the pilot will not have any training to follow. And he will probably not have time to figure out what went wrong, consult his flight manuals, and then decide what to do. When I was a glider pilot I had been trained in what do do if my altitude was too low to glide back to the airport. On the two occasions when this happened to me it was remarkable how I dutifully followed my training.

Now it seems that in the 737 MAX accidents it may well be that the problem was a failed angle-of-attack indicator that prompted an AI system to assume the plane was in a stall when it wasn't. No problem if pilots are trained for such an event; big problem if they are not.

Corporate bureaucracy. I was talking to a guy the other day that spent most of his working life in small print shops. But he ended his career doing printing for a big corporation. He found the big corporation to be crazy-making with all their rules. Life was much simpler when he just worked for the owner. For me, living in Seattle, it has always been impressive to me how Boeing has a huge depth of knowledge and experience in plane-making. No doubt part of this is all the rules that keep people from doing stupid stuff. But then there is the situation where all the rules don't protect you. And maybe that stems from the fact that the bottom line of flight-testing is a process of getting sign-offs from the FAA rather than the deep thought of "what could go wrong?" I am not saying here that the Boeing flight-test guys don't care about safety; I am just saying that their job is to follow the rules and get the signoff and not to think deep thoughts. And even if some guy half way up the food-chain wanted to do a bunch of testing around the angle-of-attack indicator and the AI systems, he would still have to get his superiors to sign off on a budget. And the problem with all corporate bureaucrats is that, over time, the bureaucrats end up taking care of themselves, not the mission of the corporation, because that's how bureaucracies work.

Don't forget the lawyers. I'll bet that Boeing and the FAA have known for months that they have a problem. But being humans they would not want to admit to it until they had a solution -- proposed, implemented and tested. Why? Probably because of the lawyers, that would extract damages for all the folks killed in the two crashes thus far. Oh, and of course to save the airlines money, because there is nothing more expensive than an expensive airplane being grounded for months while the wheels of bureaucracy and regulation grind away on a corporate and regulatory solution.

Don't Panic! If we have a pretty good idea what the problem is, and we can, in ten minutes, train all the 737 MAX pilots what to do when the plane gets a false stall warning, then problem solved, right? Alas, no. Because our faith in bureaucracy and regulation means that we can't return the 737 MAX to service until all the bureaucratic and regulatory hoops have been jumped through. Because everything in this world has to pass the "Is it safe, Mr. President?" test.

In a better world, we would trust airplane manufacturers and airlines to be responsible, and let them get on with it.

But we do not live in that world. I doubt if we ever will.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Democracy, Schmocracy, or What Do You Expect?

Everyone is all upset at their governments: Ann Coulter with Donald Trump. And the bloody Brits with Brexit. The Zman complains about "The Fiction of Democracy."

Well, yeah. But what do you expect? Do you expect that the ruling class of the last 100 odd years would just fold their tents and.. what, exactly?

The fact is that government offers "protection." This protection might be protection from the invading Mongols, protection from invading hordes on the southern border, or it might be protection from racist sexist homophobes. Who cares?

Above all, of course, government offers rewards to its supporters, as in pensions, health care, education, welfare, tariffs, you name it. And there are precious few folks that are determined not to accept any goodies from government.

I am presently in the middle of updating my site with the latest data from the federal government: the federal budget for FY2020. Guess what: the feds are projecting trillion dollar deficits through the 2020 election and beyond:

Ain't that cute? So President Trump will have the deficit down by the time he leaves office in his second term! Providing we don't have a recession first.

Actually, I think the proper way to look at government is "spending as percent of GDP." That shows how much of our commonweal the government is spending on its supporters. Here is the spending data since 1900. Federal plus state plus local.

I think that this chart shows something really important, that government spending seems to be topping out at 35ish percent of GDP. That's assuming that the Dems don't get to enact their Green New Deal any time soon.

But why? Why is government spending topping out, really since about 1980? Well, I'd say because at a deep level -- say the Jungian "collective unconscious" -- modern government has gone about as far as it can go.

That doesn't mean that we won't stumble-bum our way into a Venezuela-style meltdown. Anything can happen.

But the point is that we stumble-bummed our way into the Great Enrichment, the increase in per-capita income by 30 times in the last 200 years. Didn't have a clue what we were doing, and some people, like the AOCs of the world, still don't get it.

I've been reading a book of essays On Primitive Society by anthropologist C.R. Hallpike. He takes out strongly against the idea that there is any Darwinian evolution involved with human society as in the survival of the fittest. In his view, the way to understand human society is the survival of the average.

Most human societies, on his view, are wasteful, vengeful, stupid, and lazy. But they usually stumble-bum their way to survival. So what is the key to survival? Don't look now, but it just might be God playing dice, even though Einstein said it couldn't be so.

Right now, our right-wing friends are advancing the idea that "migration is invasion." And over at Vox Day we are looking at DNA studies of the Iberian peninsula where Spain and Portugal presently reside. A while back, 4,500 years ago, the Iberian peninsula experienced a substantial change in DNA.
Though 60 percent of the region’s total DNA remained the same, the Y chromosomes of the inhabitants were almost entirely replaced by 2,000 B.C. That suggests a massive influx of men from the steppes, since Y chromosomes are carried only by men.
Well, bless my buttons. As they say: men are expendable. Survival? Only the women survive.

As I have been reading Hallpike I have been thinking that maybe our Great Enrichment society is too efficient, too hard-working, too focused, for long continuance. The point is that when you are efficient and focused then maybe you are not leaving enough room for error.

After all, if the story of primitive humans is the "survival of the average" then maybe our Great Enrichment is not such a good idea. Instead of being so efficient, maybe we should just chill out for a while and revert to the mean. In a way, that is what our environmentalist friends are saying. Except, of course, that they are not proposing that they should be the first to get their Y chromosomes replaced.

Meanwhile, don't expect Trump or Brexit or AOC or Beto or anyone to solve all our problems. That ain't the way of the world, old chum.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Leftism: First the Fear, Then the Hate

About three weeks ago I had a brainwave about the left. It is a school of hate, I realized. But then, yesterday, I had another epiphany. It is this.

First the left teaches its clients to fear; then it teaches them to hate. This is a natural progression that is entirely consonant with the logic of leftist politics.

The whole arc of leftist politics is to identify a class of helpless victims, about to be demolished by some class of oppressors and exploiters, and to lead them to justice and safety.

Obviously, this class of victims will be people that are afraid. So the lefties will play upon their fear.

But what happens when the left has led their victims to victory, and won their victims by peaceful protest their own pot of gold from the modern state? Obviously, following the famous victory the time for fear is now over. But the left will not want to disband its merry band of activists and protesters. What? Surrender that hard won power and prestige? No, in Phase 2, the left switches to hate, and teaches its Little Darlings to hate the oppressors and exploiters it formerly feared.

As Eric Hoffer wrote in The True Believer, the movement becomes a racket.

So let us begin with Marx. After extolling the rise of the bourgeoisie, he exposes its soft underbelly, in The Communist Manifesto:
Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.
Slaves, they are, the proletarians, embittered slaves. And not just the workers, but the lower middle class, " the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants," they "sink gradually into the proletariat" immiserated by the monster of capitalism and the neo-feudal overclass, the bourgeoisie.

And so the workers got the vote. Why was this? Because the bourgeoisie was persuaded that it was right and just that the workers should get the vote, even though the middle class could see that the workers would not want the same things that they did. And the workers got free education, and labor unions, and then government pensions and health care. Again, the middle class didn't really like the welfare state; it wasn't going to help them, who already saved their money for pensions, and got health care, at the very least, through the local "lodge doctor."

But if the workers were getting what they wanted, what would be the point of voting for lefty politicians? That was when the left started teaching the workers to hate. The workers were part of the center-left coalition, and they had to be kept in a fever of hate against the bosses, who might at any time force the workers to "give back" their benefits. And so it went, until the left started to tire of the workers in about 1970.

With women, early feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft argued for men to tender rights to women out of the goodness of their hearts, as an expression of goodwill of the males to the females of the middle class. But by the end of the 19th century, the tone of feminism turned darker. Mrs. Pankhurst spoke of the women's franchise not as "a right, but as a desperate necessity:" women as victims. Well, women did get the vote, and careers, and divorce, and abortion. And that's when they started to hate.

It cannot be an accident that all the vile hate of the modern feminists occurred after the great political milestones. How could that be? Because, once the political marginaliztion of women had been removed, the mobilization of women as feminists had to be conducted on a program of hate. It must follow from the logic of left-wing politics.

In the campaign for civil rights, the early narrative was clearly fear. Jim Crow could work his evil power on southern Negroes as the mood took him. And if the government didn't do its thing, a lynch mob from the local KKK lodge could make the point instead. Just look at how the police beat up civil-rights marchers in the great Selma march on Bloody Sunday, in which Alabama State Troopers clubbed and tear-gassed civil-rights marchers on the road from Selma to the Alabama state capital in Alabama!

But in fact the 1965 Selma marches proved that blacks were no longer helpless victims of Southern racism, because after Bloody Sunday, a subsequent march was protected by "1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals".

Thus it makes complete sense for a new generation of black leaders to realize that hate, not fear, should be the face of black America, and the age of Martin Luther King, Jr., gave way to Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton.

The point is that, when your peaceful protests are protected by the federal government it is time to put away fear. But what happens to the movement then? Perfectly simple, you substitute hate for fear, and the movement can go on from strength to strength!

Clearly, the movement for gay rights follows a similar arc. We begin with the terror of the New York City police attacking the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, in June 1969. So gays are taught to fear and we are taught that gays live in fear, of being "outed." But now that gay marriage is a fait accompli, courtesy of the US Supreme Court, the days of fear are over, and gay activists can deploy their hate without fear upon hateful Christian bakers.

There is one startling question about this century and a half of left-wing fear and hate. Was it necessary? These incessant campaigns against the bourgeoisie, against men, against whites, against straights: were they needed to get the rights the helpless victims demanded? For the fact is that, almost without exception they were achieved without a violent counterattack by the bourgeoisie, the men, the whites, the straights in question. Which suggests that maybe all the Sturm und Drang was purely for effect. It could all have been achieved by conversation and persuasion, not by the agency of activism and peaceful protest.

Who knows? But without the activism, the protests, the non-negotiable demands, what would have been the point?

We have now entered into a new phase in left-wing activism: the campaign of hate against the white working class.

As the need for activism continues, even though the rights of workers, women, blacks, and gays have been confirmed by the political system, there is still a need for an enemy, because without an enemy there is no need for politics. And so the left has coalesced upon a campaign of hate and fear on the men of the white working class. This is perhaps the terminal campaign of the longue durée of the left. Because the working hypothesis of the new campaign of hate is that all the Coalition of the Fringes -- the erstwhile marginalized and oppressed victims of what we now call the patriarchy and toxic masculinity and white supremacy -- should combine together in a campaign of activism and peaceful protest against white males.

Notice that this campaign cannot be against all white males because educated white males are down for the struggle; that is how they make their bones. No, it is the working class males that don't get to college on diversity and inclusion, that don't get the government jobs because of being a woman or minority, that don't get into STEM because they don't like school: these are the monsters that the left is now attacking as the far right, as white nationalists, as fascists.

Only thing is that the white working class are not civilized and successful middle class professionals that could be persuaded to give the workers a break, to give well-born women a leg up, to give the former slaves their dignity. And this is because, as I say, the middle class is not that interested in power, and not for reasons of virtue.  It is because in the middle class universe the magic bullet is not political power but, as Jordan Peterson points out, competence. If a middle-class person fails to get ahead, he does not blame the system; he blames himself. He understands that the economy ebbs and flows, that failure is a part of life, and that following failure you just have to get up and get going again.

Then there is the little problem that the white working class is not a privileged elite that has been keeping the people down since time immemorial. The white working class is the former Little Darling of the ruling class that has now been cast aside like an ageing mistress. So the white working class is not likely to gracefully concede as the targets of the left have done in former times.

In other words, the game has changed, and it may be that the courses in activism in the left's school of fear and hate no longer prepare activists for the future, but for the past.

For it seems to me that, while it was fair to characterize the left's politics up to now as a coalition of the powerful and the powerless against the middle class, today I think that it is better understood as a campaign of the powerful against the powerless. And I don't think that our lefty friends have a clue about that.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Worm in the Apple of all Administrative Institutions

Oh dearie me, so wealthy parents were trying to get their little darlings into fancy-pants colleges. So what else is new? And they used their wealth to corrupt college administrators. I can't believe they did that!

Look, the problem is not that university administrators are corrupt, or that parents will use money and influence -- even cheat -- to get their kiddies into name colleges. Of course they do! That's what the Barnacles and Stiltstockings at the Circumlocution Office do with their working hours. And that is what wealthy women do to get their children ahead.

This was illuminated for me originally in The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko, two profs that thought to publish their findings on the wealthy in a bestseller rather than in an academic journal.

According to Stanley and Danko, the average millionaire is not the robber baron of legend, but the chap next door that has built a small fortune out of humdrum businesses like dry-cleaning stores.

But, if you are such a successful businessman, what about your children? For every businessman knows that to make a fortune you have to beat the odds. It is not just enough to be a hard worker with a good idea; you need to get lucky. Chances are that your children won't beat the odds. What do you do?

Well, the answer is that you send your kids to a good college to prepare them for the professions. The fact is that the professions -- lawyering, doctoring, corporate administration -- provide a much better chance of a prosperous life than starting a business, and that is what wealthy people do for their children.

And obviously, today, the fanciest college offers the best chances and the best connections. The point about the Harvards and the Yales, I've learned, is not the education but the "extracurriculars," the lifelong connections that you make.

But what about the education? I'm glad you asked. I've been worrying about education for a while so I picked up a book by British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead on The Aims of Education. He starts out with this:
In the history of education, the most striking phenomenon is that schools of learning, which at one epoch are alive with a ferment of genius, in a succeeding generation exhibit merely pedantry and routine.
Well! Who could have foreseen that!

It stands to reason, of course, that education in our time would exhibit "pedantry and routine" because under the influence of the educated class of the last century, they have been made into palaces of administration, and no more so than in the last 50 years. I read a chap recently who recalled that, in the schools of his youth, there would be a headmaster, a second master, a secretary for the headmaster, and a bursar. All the rest of the administration would be teachers. This, I confess, was my experience with the British private schools of my youth. But now? You tell me!

The whole point of administration is to prevent change. The whole point of a government program and its administrative bureaucracy is to make change impossible. But that is a problem.

The problem is that although we humans all dream of a world where our comfort and prosperity is guaranteed forever, the only workable world is one in which we are not allowed to deploy our own personal police force to guarantee our emoluments forever. Or, needless to say, deputize that police power to some damn politician.

We need, instead, to get with the program, Jenkins, however upsetting it is to our digestion.

This should not be a mystery to you, unless you read a newspaper fed daily scandals by Media Matters for America or the Southern Poverty Law Center. There have been, over the past century or so, real life scientific experiments in this which have yielded staggering results.

One scientific experiment has been the Great Enrichment, in which complete nobodies have revolutionized the economy countless times and yielded real per capita incomes 30 times larger than 200 years ago.

The other scientific experiment has been the Great Reaction, in which demi-gods, praised to the heavens by their publicists and supporters, have yielded poverty and death on a staggering scale. Why? Because they led revolutions that instituted top-down administrative control of the economy that did not have a clue how to deliver prosperity. And that blamed "wreckers and saboteurs" when things went wrong, as the government of Venezuela is presently doing.

In another proof of God's existence and sense of humor, there is a germ of truth in the "wreckers and saboteurs" remark. For the nobodies, the start-up entrepreneurs of textiles, steam, electricity, oil, transportation, computers, did indeed "wreck and sabotage" the existing economy. Hand-loom weavers were wrecked by mechanical weaving; stage-coaches were sabotaged by railroads; whalers were wrecked by mineral oil providers; ten-key adder experts were sabotaged by spreadsheet programs.

It's all so unjust, and in a perfect world of administrative hierarchy, it would never have been allowed to happen. And we would be as poor as we were two centuries ago, and women would be dying in childbirth, and agricultural laborers would still be threshing corn by hand instead of being starved out by those evil threshing machines.

However all is not well, because we are buried in all kinds of administrative government programs that cannot be reformed and cannot be changed, in pensions, in health care, in education, in welfare.

So, we see how the government infestation of higher education has turned it into a corrupt administrative nightmare. What did you expect?

So, Social Security is going to run out of money? I can't believe they allow that!

So government health care is ruinously expensive? No kidding!

So welfare demoralizes the lower orders. Amazing!

And as the notorious racist Charles Murray has observed in Coming Apart, things work pretty well for the folks that run the administrative apparatus, the educated top 25 percent of America. But at the bottom, the men don't work and the women don't marry.

I just can't believe that the politicians and experts have allowed this to happen.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Oh. So the Swamp was Afraid of Crossing Hillary

All along, during the Obama administration, I had this nagging feeling that the enormous latitude given to President Obama was not just because people were in awe of his First Black Presidentness, but because of fear.

Everyone, from media hacks to middle-to-high level federal bureaucrats, knew that you'd better not cross Obama's people if you knew what was good for you.

After all: the royal road to media glory is to ask the president a Tough Question. Right?

Wrong, when the president is Obama.

And it goes without saying that, for the last 25 years, you'd better not cross the Clintons.

Because, beneath the veneer of "our democracy" and equal protection of the laws, and due process, is the jungle of political enforcers and fixers. Because that's the way power, and rulers, and politics work.

The whole point of the limited-government movement way back in the 18th century was to curb the violence of nature red in tooth and claw that always obtained to kingly power.

But then came the Left and its religion of politics and its faith in political power.

So now we learn, from the transcript of Lisa Page's testimony to Congress last summer, the reason the FBI went soft on Hillary Clinton. As she texted to her lover Peter Strzok:
One more thing: She might be our next President. The last thing you need is us going in there [to Clinton’s interview] loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more DOJ than FBI?
In other words, as David Catron writes:
Page was clearly worried about the unhappy fate that inevitably befalls anyone who crosses Hillary Clinton — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) verified that the “she” referred to in the text was indeed Clinton. She obviously knows the mere fact that it is the FBI’s job to investigate such cases will carry zero weight when Her Majesty glares balefully around the Cabinet Room and demands to know, “Who will rid me of these turbulent G-Men?”
That is the currency of the left. Fear. That is the point of the Clintons running their Clinton Crime Syndicate all these years. Because that is what most politics down the ages has been about.

Indeed, part of my notion of the left as a Great Reaction is the return of politics to simple civil war by other means, to pursue and defeat your political opponents by any means short of overt civil war.

And the reason why racist, sexist, homophobe deplorables like me ended up supporting Donald Trump is that we are fed up with a generation of gentlemanly conservatives from the Bushes to McCain to Romney. We want someone to put fear in the hearts of the left.

Yes, but what about avuncular Ronald Reagan? Let me tell you, the avuncular bit came after he was elected. In the run-up to the 1980 election Reagan used to do regular radio commentaries. And the Reagan of those commentaries was angry.

So, the task ahead of us is to put the fear on the lefties. Campus protesters should be afraid, not the helpless targets of their rage. Lefty hack outfit Media Matters, that runs campaigns to frighten the advertisers on conservative radio and TV, needs to be shown the door. The fake SPLC, that brands mainstream conservatives as hate groups, needs to be humiliated, and the social-media outfits that use its accusations to censor conservatives need to be taught the facts of life. Racist and anti-semitic politicians need to be humiliated and shamed.

But who will bell the cat?

The problem is that a conservatism with the rage to fight leftist fear mongers is also a conservatism that can lose sight of the basic wisdom of the modern era, that government power should be limited and politics is not the way to salvation.

Well, that is really yesterday's problem. We are in a fight, whether we like it or not.

So, it will certainly settle matters to win the 2020 election with the nice suburban housewives recoiling from the radical politics of the Democrats. For a while.

But here we are, nearly 50 years since the Sixties Kidz were shocked by the Silent Majority reelecting Richard Nixon in a 60-40 election. And the left is still not demolished.

Indeed a whole new generation has been raised up through the government education system to believe in socialism and identity politics. As if there had never been a Nixon or a Reagan. As if the 100 million deaths of socialism and the Maoist cultural revolution meant nothing.

And it is not know-nothing idiots pushing this, but the educated ruling class that believes in the saving grace of political power -- their political power. Oh, of course, it is horrified by other people -- Trumps, publicans and sinners -- getting political power.

Like I say. There is no solution to our problem until the educated class gets religion. That would be a religion that decides that the way to salvation in not through political power.

And I suppose that the only way it will learn that truth is when a political regime arises in America and elsewhere that owes nothing to the educated class, and indeed, threatens to separate the educated class from all its privileges and perquisites, its sinecures and its pensions, and above all separate it from the intoxication of whispering into the ear of the powerful.

Then, and only then, will our educated ruling class decide that political power is a very dangerous thing that needs to be limited by legislation and Notorious RBG Supreme Court justices.

We need to make our liberal swamp creatures afraid, not of Hillary, but us.

Meanwhile, as I like to say: there is only one privilege in America: liberal privilege.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Curse of the Educated Class's Religion of Power

Yesterday I proposed that "we needed" a new religion for the educated, now that Christianity doesn't "do it" for the educated.

Perhaps I should have started with what we do not need in a religion for the educated.

What we do not need is a religion that proposes that the educated should be given plenipotentiary powers -- political, economic, and moral-cultural -- to solve the problems of the world.

Because what we see today among the educated is what seems to be a religion of entitlement, that the educated are the only people with the moral and intellectual standing to decide matters of right and wrong for the rest of us.

Moreover, what our educated friends all seem to gravitate towards is the notion that all matters of right and wrong should be decided by them and their political power.

Of course, down the ages, political and moral power have tended to be combined, although I suppose there is an argument that back in the pre-state era, the religious and the political were divided, between the shaman and the Big Man.

But at least in the state era, there has been a strong tendency for a condominium between the political and the religious, between king and temple. Also, we may say, following Nietzsche, "the priests" did the king a favor by teaching us to hate ourselves. What kind of rebellion is possible from people taught to hate themselves?

And yet. One magnificent feature of the Catholic Church is that it represented a power structure independent of and competing with the various political powers in Europe. This was clearly evident in the era of the Franks, Charlemagne and all that. Hey, why do you think that Henry VIII broke off relations with the Catholic Church and founded the national Church of England. Yes, apart from the opportunity to loot the monasteries. It was very convenient and helpful for Henry to have the priests as functionaries of the state.


In my view the crucial turn in the modern era has been the notion of the separation of church and state, of the moral and the political. This is what all the political theorists of the post-1648 Treaty of Westphalia, post religious wars era, were getting at with their three branches of government, their toleration, their limitation of government powers.

Indeed, I would go further. I say that the Great Enrichment of the last two centuries is founded on the limitation of political and religious power. The fact is that all along, the political and religious elites have hated the new manufacturies and rising bourgeoisie. But they were too blind and too ineffective to put a stop to it until it was too late. And where they did succeed, as in revolutionary France and Bolshevik Russia, they made a complete hash of things.

This to say that, in the modern era, political and religious power is not that important. Indeed, where political and/or religious power dominates, it creates a mess. That is, after all, the lesson of socialism, the idea that we can create the perfect society if the right politics and moral agenda is enforced from on high by the educated class.

Why is that? There are many reasons, but the main ones are that the modern society and economy are so complicated that a political and religious elite just doesn't have the knowledge, the wisdom, the bandwidth to control it all. And even if they do, they still get it wrong.

Indeed I would say that the lesson of the last 200 years is that political and moral leadership is not that important any more. The first reason is that the defense of food-growing land is not that important any more, so the political-military elite is not that important any more. The second reason is that the modern economy places a huge benefit on trust, from trustworthy people to trustworthy transactions. And the pressure upon us all to be trustworthy makes us into better, more moral, people, much more than invocations from the pulpit.

Let us interpret the question of religion in the modern era in these terms. On the one hand there are totalizing ideologies, from socialism to fascism, to postmodernism, which seek to totalize all power into the educated elite, and which lead every time to death and disaster. On the other hand there are attempts to find meaning for the educated elite -- and creative people generally -- from Kierkegaard to Nietzsche to Jung, that proposes to Heal Thyself and avoid the corrupting temptations of political and moral leadership.

For this is the great challenge for our educated class: to find meaning in the world without having to be the wise kings and priests with the answer to everything.

Yes, imagine such a world, in which the educated were not puffed up with conceit about the value of their contribution to the world.

It's easy if you try.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Global Problem #1: Birthing a Religion for the Educated

Ever since modern science changed the world 200 years ago, the educated class has been thrashing around looking for a new religion.

With Newton's mechanics educated people learned that we didn't need God to run the world. All the Axial Age religions that began about 3,000 years ago propose a world in which God sets things up, physically and morally, and then leaves humans to get on with it.

Don't rag on those religions. It was a brilliant way to understand the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, back then. But not After Newton.

In my view the best way to understand the intellectual world After Newton is to experience the educated folks of the world casting around for a new religion to tie the inconvenient ends together so that we can once again understand the meaning of life, the universe, and everything -- in the light of the modern scientific revolutions in mechanics, biology, and physics.

So when I was back in Limeyland a week ago I availed myself of the opportunity to scan the shelves in a university library. And one of the books I noticed was a naughty volume about The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement by Richard Noll. In came out 1994.

(Wouldn't you know, my pals at HalfPriceBooks had a copy: thanks fellahs!)

Well yes. In my view Freud said that all religions were rubbish, and Jung said that all religions were circling around the same truth.

Indeed, my Big Idea is that, for the last 200 years we educated people have been frantically looking for a new religion to help us understand the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Only we still haven't got there.

Socialism is merely the biggest, and most deadly, and most failed effort to fill the religious hole left by the Death of God.

The benefit, to me, of The Jung Cult is that it puts Jung and Freud in the context of all the intellectual cults that were blazing away at the end of the 19th century. A lot of people were worried about a fin de siècle, really an end of times caused by degeneration. But then there were the regenerative notions like nationalism, the Volk, Lebensphilsophie, Nietzsche, Wagner, the effort by evolutionary biologist Ernst Haeckel to produce a "natural religion." And then there was Spiritualism, Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy, etc.

So both Freud and Jung were trying to make sense of the world in the context of all this intellectual ferment that was sweeping around them at that time, especially in the German world.

And it is clear that both Freud and Jung inspired movements that cannot be described as other than religious cults. To me, this is not scandalous, but natural and physical. Of course charismatic people like Freud and Jung found themselves founding religious cults. They were, after all, proposing a new way to understand the mysteries and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

And, I would argue, we, the educated, are still looking for a religion that gives meaning to our lives. I think that this is Global Problem #1.

But, you may ask, why does Christianity still survive, two centuries, give or take, since the Death of God? My answer is that Christianity, and the rest of the Axial Age religions, provide the meaning of life, the universe, and everything to people just entering into the life of the city. That is why it thrives in Africa, in Latin America, in the black community. It is the religion of responsibility, appealing directly to people on the cusp between subordinate peasantry and bourgeois responsibility. In my reductive Three Peoples theory it all makes sense.

But for the People of the Creative Self, Christianity now offers nothing. It is the Marxes, the Nietzsches, the Freuds, the Jungs, that provide meaning to educated creative people.

What I would like is for my fellow creatives to plump for a religion that does not make us into demi-gods, as with Marx licensing creative activists to remake the world, and with Nietzsche proposing an aristocracy of talent -- to do what, exactly? Whatever the new religion is, I think it must soft-pedal the idea that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything should be founded on the glorious power of educated creative people to remake the world for their greater glory.

That's why I return, again and again, to Charles Murray's Coming Apart. Things are pretty good for the top 25 percent, he wrote; not too good for the middle 50 percent; and in the bottom 25 percent, the men don't work and the women don't marry.

That is what you get when you let the educated creative elite make all the rules.

Monday, March 11, 2019

LGBTQ is a Bigger Problem Than I Thought

Up until yesterday I had thought that the LGBT cult was marginal, with about 3% of adults "identifying" as gay or lesbian, and 0.5 percent identifying as transgender.

But now the Audacious Epigone says that the numbers for millennials, Americans under 30 from a Reuters-Ipsos poll, are much higher. As in:
White men12.0%
Black men11.4%
Hispanic men15.0%
Asian men12.4%
Jewish men18.3%
White women16.9%
Black women20.4%
Hispanic women20.0%
Asian women13.9%
Jewish women25.2%

All I can say is Oy. This is foolishness on an intergalactic scale.

Oh, I get it. These youngsters are doing what they have been carefully taught. Just as my baby-boom generation was carefully fed a menu of drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll, today's young'uns are being carefully taught the ins and outs of non-binary heterosexual genderology.

And I get why. Getting creative about sex is the easiest way to get creative, if you self-identify as a Person of the Creative Self according to my reductive Three Peoples theory.

And non-binary genderology fits the left's desire to re-classify the human experience as one of oppression-marginalization. Therefore supposed minorities -- or those counted as The Wretched of the Earth -- are to be honored and celebrated, and used as a weapon against the white married-with-children middle class.

Thus, the college-educated urban white LBGTQ people -- the upper class if anyone is -- are to be considered helpless victims and given license to lord it over Christians and the white working class, among others.

Can you spell injustice?

Of course, but don't forget that the nice educated liberals you know have absolutely no idea about how their world view is a monstrous blight upon our society.

It is not just the 100 million dead as a result of socialism. It is the millions of the working class that were taught to hate their middle-class bosses, and to stay becalmed in the subordinate working class instead of learning the culture of the middle class and responsibility.

And it is the left that has taught the working class to hate the middle class.

Then there are the black Americans that have been taught to wallow in victimhood, imagining a racist white cabal determined to do them down. Forgetting that the whole point of the Jim Crow South was to force the private sector to discriminate against blacks. Oh and the Davis-Bacon Act. The dirty little secret? Eevil capitalists don't really care much about race; they just want to buy low and sell high.

And it is the left that has taught black Americans to hate white Americans.

Then there are women that are taught that abortion and careers are the very summit of feminine liberation, and that the confusion they feel about sex and marriage and children is an artifact of the eevil patriarchy. Alas, this is going to get worse before it gets better.

And it is the left that has taught women to hate men.

And what about LGBT? In my youth in Britain I understood completely that gays were upper-class poofters. That is what the enlightened left taught the young skulls full of mush back in the day. Thus Brideshead Revisited. Now, gays are not corrupted upper-class twits, any more, but helpless victims! Who knew? And who cared?

And it is the left that teaches LBGTQ+ to hate straights.

Look, I get it. Politics is division, and that means that every politician is trying to line up 51% of the voters on his side and use the remaining 49% as a punching bag. When you are a white-guy conservative like me you understand the need of our lefty friends to cover us with hate. When you are a politician you gin up hate wherever you can find it. And doubtless the reason that liberals are beside themselves about Trump is that Trump is dog-whistling that liberals are not your friend, America: how dare he!

But to me the overriding truth about life, the universe, and everything, apart from the importance of grandchildren, is that you never want to become the Little Darling of the ruling class.

Here's a piece in The Intercept mourning how blacks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have had their community blown to bits by the closing of the A.O. Smith factory on West Hopkins Street. And how Democrats have done nothing about it.

Well, in my view, the problem starts with the whole idea of lifetime union jobs. Because nothing lasts forever. Thus, the more you prop up some class of voters with special privileges -- like pro-union legislation that legitimizes restraints against trade and pushes wages above the market -- then the nastier the crash will be when the market changes and the world moves on.

Trump is promising to Make America Great Again. But whatever folks in the old Rust Belt think, Trump is not going to bring back lifetime union jobs at good wages and guaranteed pensions. That whole promise of union jobs as good wages was a lie, and gave workers a false sense of security.

Just as much a lie as the notion that Affirmative Action would raise blacks out of their marginalized state. Or that diversity and inclusion will transform the lives of women. Or that gay marriage will transform the lives of gays.

I like to say, at the ripe old age of 72, that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, is: grandchildren.

If that statement does not bring forth a chuckle in you, dear Reader, then you don't get it. Not at all.

And if you don't think that 25% of Jewish women millennials identifying as LGBTQ+ is a problem, I gotta bridge to sell you. Cheap.

Friday, March 8, 2019

So, Are the Jews Now "Us" or "Them"?

With the resolution passed in the House of Representatives Thursday opposing all "hate" (except hate on white nationalists) -- but not censoring the anti-semitism of Rep. Ihlan Omar -- the question for conservatives is whether Jews in America are for us or against us.

If you read alt-right chappies like Christopher DeGroot and Vox Day, the answer is no. Jewish Americans want the US tied to defense of Israel; Jews will never assimilate into one-hundred-percent Americans.

No doubt. Or maybe in politics there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies: only permanent interests. If Jews have been chucked out of the Democratic Party, because black and Muslim anti-semitism, do we deplorables refuse to give them succor when they show up as refugees at our camp of the "haters"?

All I can say is that I am a sucker for a chap like the American Spectator's Dov Fischer, an orthodox Jewish laywer who 'splains it all by tribalism: It takes a trauma for people to abandon the political party -- or the sports team -- of their ancestors.

Anyway, people in politics are looking for protection, and when you first arrive in America that protection is your ethnic group, and the left has made book out of that going back to Marx offering protection to the working class.

Back in the day Jews in America felt threatened by the WASP elite, so they naturally voted for Democrats, that represented all the groups that felt threatened by the established middle class.

Just like the white working class that back in the day was Irish, Italian, Polish, even German ethnics that felt threatened by the snobs that came over on the Mayflower.

It took 50 years for the white working class to realize that the Democrats did not care for people like them and for a presidential candidate to connect with them.

Now it's the turn of the Jews. I know some young Jews that were implying to me that they would vote Republican if it weren't for the Bible-thumpers. Hey, I don't know: if it comes to a choice between the Bible-thumpers and the Koran-thumpers -- not to mention the Torah-thumpers -- what's a girl to do?

Yes, but won't the Jews turn on "us" like they did when they helped power the left from 1850 to 1950? Maybe. But right now it looks like it is whites against the Democratic Coalition of the Fringes, and the Fringes are making it perfectly clear in Congress, from the Black Caucus to the Muslims and the young progressives, that Jews are not welcome in today's Democratic Party. Nor, Nance my dear, are white Italian Catholics.

So I'd say that when Vox Day writes that, in due course, the Jews will find themselves unwelcome in both the US and UK and will have to emigrate, I say it doesn't matter. Right now Jews are going to be making common cause with middle-class whites in the US and UK, and that is good enough for me.

Look, I'm not that enamored of the politics of the white working class, because, for my taste, the white working class has far too much faith in big-government entitlements. But the fact is that middle-class conservatives like me are, willy-nilly, in the same boat with the white working class. So it makes sense that we should all pull our oars together.

Look, I feel the pain of the white working class. My Little Darlings notion says that if you become the Little Darling of the ruling class, you are like any draftee in an army. You don't get to decide when to demobilize and go home. The way the world works is that, at some point, the power interest of the ruling class no longer includes you. So the ruling class just abandons you. Sorry Doreen, the sex was great, but now...

So the white working class Little Darlings got left by the side of the road and reviled as deplorables, and now it looks like Jewish Little Darlings get left by the side of the road as well.

OK. So let's all us deplorables get together and see if we can't make a little political music together. You never know, it could end up as a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Why Government Can't Be Trusted With Entitlements

The iconic job of governments is to fight wars of national defense. It's a short term thing, and the government commandeers all the resources of the nation, by taxation, inflation, debt to fight the war.

Then the war is over and the nation is saddled with the debt and the taxes and the inflated money supply. Time, as they used to say, for retrenchment.

But now government uses the tools of national mobilization to give seniors pensions and health care, to educate youngsters, and to relieve the poor.

I say this is wrong: morally, epistemologically, and logically. It is especially wrong to inflate the currency and increase the debt to pay for current programs.

First, the moral objection. The care of ageing parents is the responsibility of children. It is a moral horror to shift the burden of caring for the aged onto other peoples' children. It is a moral horror for middle-class people to shift the relief of the poor onto government functionaries. We should be relieving the poor and making the age-old distinction between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor as iconically represented by the drunkard dustman Alfred P. Doolittle. It is a moral horror to have government functionaries educating children in government child-custodial facilities. Instead, children should be educated by their parents in a collective effort among all the neighborhood parents -- and that usually means the neighborhood mothers.

OK, maybe we could have a government program to educate the children of illiterate parents, although I would much prefer the approach of the Catholic Church, and other voluntary approaches that might even include the assistance of billionaires.

Government is force. Are we moderns so depraved that we will not look after our ageing parents or relieve the poor or educate our children unless under the lash of government compulsion? I hope not.

Then there is the mal-appropriation of financial instruments for use by government. For instance, debt in the private sector is the loan of money usually backed by the commitment of collateral in case of failure to pay. Thus a car loan or a home mortgage is guaranteed by the use of the car or home as collateral. The car or home is seized by the creditor in case of non-payment. In the case of corporate debt, the bondholders have the power, specified in the bond covenant, to seize corporate assets in the case of failure to service the loan.

But this is impossible in the case of a government. For government is sovereign; it pays what it chooses, and the devil take the hindmost. Of course, it is usually foolish of a government not to pay on its obligations. But plenty of governments get away with it.

The basic situation of government is that it bets the nation as collateral when it runs up government debt. This makes sense in the case of a war, except that the government should really issue equity rather than debt to finance wars. But if you look at the US's federal debt, now north of $22 trillion, it is really playing poker with our money. Hey, I got your money, sucker! What yer goin' to do about it?

All these entitlement programs are also wrong from a logical standpoint. Governments cannot legally bind themselves -- or the entitlement beneficiaries -- the way that the law allows for private pensions and health care. In other words, if I sign up for a private pension scheme I have a contractual obligation with the corporation offering the scheme, and that puts burdens both on me and the corporation. What happens if I can't make the payments in the future? What happens if there is a great recession? What happens if the climate changes? What happens is that my pension provider and I make prudent adjustments to our mutual obligations. And the one thing that cannot be guaranteed is a fixed pension thirty years into the future. But government? It can change the law any time it wants. Thus every government entitlement program is not what it advertises, a "social insurance" program. It is simply government paying off its supporters with the cover of decent draperies. And, of course, with future pensions and health care "guaranteed" to the voters, the whole thing depends on the ability of the government to apply force in future years to make good its promises.

It really is astonishing how much faith people have in government. I suppose it is a faith in force, a natural human instinct to solve intractable problems by the magic of binding other people to obligations to look after us, and to punish them if they offend us.

I just want us to be better than that.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Solving the National Debt Problem

What are we going to do about the National Debt? Right now, the US Federal Debt is about 100 percent of GDP. Back before the Crash of 2008 it was about 60 percent of GDP.

And that's not really the whole story, because Social Security and Medicare have unfunded liabilities estimated at $50 trillion on up. $50 trillion is about 250 percent of GDP right now.

And then, bless her heart, AOC wants to spend $90 trillion on the Green New Deal; that's 450 percent of GDP.

Actually, national debt at over 100 percent of GDP is not that scandalous. US Federal Debt went up to 120 percent in World War II.
And then it went down.

The Brits took their national debt above 250 percent of GDP twice. The first time was at the end of the Napoleonic Wars; the second time was at the end of World War II. No problem -- if you win the war!

Running the federal debt up to 120 percent of GDP in World War II worked because the US ruling class of the the 1940s decided to go fight the war, and then after the war inflated and/or ran surpluses until they got the debt down. The ruling class was more or less united on all this, so The People didn't really have a voice as to whether they wanted to go to war, or whether in the aftermath they wanted more spending on programs or to drive down the debt as a percent of GDP. The ruling class decided for them.

But, in the 1970s, the ruling class split. The lefty side had started the Great Society in the 1960s to use government spending on programs and wanted that to continue, and the righty side wanted to cut tax rates but knew they could never persuade the American people to cut spending. It's been that way ever since.

Then we had the generational financial Crash of 2008, when the federal debt doubled as a percent of GDP. If you read books like This Time is Different by Reinhart and Rogoff they will tell you that this doubling of national debt in in the aftermath of an economic meltdown is typical.

But what do we do about the debt? I argue that if the ruling class is united it will pay down the national debt. If it is divided then it won't.

This makes sense, because if a united ruling class keeps the debt down then they keep the people fat and happy. But if the ruling class is divided and things start to go wrong, as they might when the state's finances are stressed by high levels of government debt, then there is always the possibility of revolution and riots in the streets.

Not good. For the ruling class or anyone else.

But why is the ruling class divided today? It is divided because one part of the ruling class has supporters that expect rewards in the form of government spending, and because another part of the ruling class has supporters that expect rewards in the form of tax cuts. And right now there is a standoff.

So really, the debt problem is really a symptom of a bigger problem, that the American people are divided on the question of spending and taxes. And really there is no solution until the rubber hits the road in inflation and/or debt default. That's because no red-blooded American right now is about to agree to cuts in spending on his Social Security or her Medicare. And no Republican can run for president without promising tax cuts.

So it will have to get worse, so that people have bigger things to worry about than their government checks or their tax bill.

Only then will our ruling class "do something" about the debt.

But note this: The Canadian Liberal government Did Something about the debt in the 1990s -- and got shut out of power for a couple of decades. The German Social Democratic government liberalized labor-market rules in the 2000s, and the SDP is now close to being the third largest party in Germany.

If you do the right thing, the voters will probably punish you at the ballot box. But at least you did the right thing.