Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Liberals Legislating Liberal Morality

One of the really frustrating things for a conservative these days is that our liberal friends are so busy "legislating morality."

Yeah. Remember the days when liberals were howling about conservatives "legislating morality?" The morality they were objecting to was what we would now call "Judeo-Christian" values: things like banning pornography and public nudity.

Today, of course we are drowning under a tidal wave of left-liberal attempts to legislate morality, from recycling and banning plastic bags, to the marginalization of Christian bakers that don't like gay marriage, to the whole ethos behind the Green New Deal that fossil fuels are eevil.

How do we get away from this universal rage to instantiate our values and morality into the statute book and utterly object to the other guys doing the same?

The answer is: we can't. That's because, as Jordan B. Peterson says, we see the world through the lens of our values. Our values imagine a world as it should be, not as it is, and humans are inclined to fight to the death to be able to fight for the world as it should be.

After the last great Wars of Religion, back in the 16th and 17th centuries, that culminated in the Thirty Years War that devastated Germany, the various parties agreed to ease back on the legislation of morality, and then, as the Enlightenment proceeded, various thinkers proposed devices such as religious toleration -- for other religions -- and the separation of church and state as means of avoiding the religious war of all against all.

Great idea, and it got instantiated in the US Constitution that was ratified in 1787. But right before Congress passed the Bill of Rights in Sepetember 1789 the French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille in July 1789. The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791 and guaranteed the right to free speech and denied the state the power to found a state "establishment of religion." That was two years before the beginning of the French Reign of Terror and Virtue in 1793 which established the cathedral of Notre Dame in September 1793 as a Temple of Reason not with fire and the sword as in olden times, but with guns and La Guillotine.

And as we know, the French Revolution was just a walk in the park compared with what came after it in Russia and China and Eastern Europe and Vietnam and Cambodia.

Of course, all these new secular religions are adamant that their beliefs are not religious but founded on reason and logic.

Actually everyone thinks that their beliefs, their world view, their religion -- call it what you will -- is founded on reason and logic. St. Thomas Aquinas deduced the whole of Christianity with Aristotelian reason and logic. Marx called his notions "scientific socialism." Our modern cult of environmentalists call their opponents "science deniers." Your alt-right chappies are also firm in their attachment to reason and logic.

What's the answer? Well, I would have everyone admit that their attachment to reason and logic is really their adherence to their religion, their faith in some cult leader's attempt to understand "the meaning of life, the universe and everything." But I don't expect that to happen any time soon.

The best that I can hope for is for all parties to sit down and ink out a peace treaty, that only the very worst acts are to be subject to the criminal law and the power of government. And that most anti-social -- or immoral or unethical -- acts be regulated by social disapproval.

It's the difference, if you like, between peacefully protesting the campus speaker you don't like and physically preventing the speaker from speaking on campus.

But what will it take for our SJW pals and campus safe-spacers to back off their current attempts to deplatform anyone that makes them feel "unsafe?"

It will take a Trumpian renaissance that starts shutting down universities that don't allow free speech. So that our liberal friends will start worrying about "legislating morality" again.

For nobody objects to their own side legislating morality. They only object to the other guys doing it.

And that is why I say that there is no such thing as justice: only injustice.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Melinda Gates Validates My Theory of the Sexes

Over the course of a rather sheltered life, I have come to believe two things about men and women. Men have a Culture of Insult; women have a Culture of Complaint. That is to say: men and women are not equal; they are different.

The men's Culture of Insult is obviously related to the question of Honor. As related by James Bowman, in Honor: a History, honor among men is the reputation for courage, the courage to stand in line with his brothers in battle. To publicly doubt a man's courage is an insult that must be defended. Thus the Culture of Insult, in which men cunningly doubt each other's courage, but below a threshold that must be defended by force of arms.

Women, as I said, are not equal; they are different. Honor among women is the reputation for chastity, and I mean this not just in the sexual sense, but in the larger sense of being a good little girl that never does anything wrong. Thus the women's Culture of Complaint, in which one woman complains to a second woman about a third woman's behavior.

Don't doubt me on this. Just go abroad with an open mind, and see how often I am right.

Enter good little girl Melinda Gates, wife of the billionaire. She's a feminist, dontcha know. (But not so much of a feminist that she has forsworn hypergamy). Oh no. Not that!

According to Nicholas Kristof (H/T Steve Sailer) Melinda found the office culture at Microsoft toxically masculine.
One of Melinda’s first challenges came in the harsh, male-dominated techie culture at Microsoft. “It was just so brash, so argumentative and competitive, with people fighting to the end on every point,” she writes.
See what I mean? Culture of Insult, going full throttle, pedal to the metal. And Melinda as a woman didn't like it.

So what did she do? She complained to another woman.
Then she found a woman colleague, Charlotte Guyman, who felt the same. “It’s not O.K. for women to cry at work, but it’s O.K. for men to yell at work?” Guyman once asked.
Or, as I like to put it, Charlotte complained to Melinda, "I can't believe the way that the men yell in meetings."

Believe me, I am not making this up.

Which brings me to my Georg Simmel gambit, that women coming into the public square would adapt it to suit "a more feminine sensibility." That is exactly what Charlotte and Melinda proceeded to do at Microsoft.
With other women employees, they began to create oases in Microsoft where courtesy was not seen as a sign of weakness. A critical mass of women employees helped civilize the company.
Am I right or am I right?

Now my second-hand take on Bill Gates -what I have heard -- is that he was a holy terror in meetings. If you brought some idea or project to him that wasn't up to snuff he would say that it was the most stupid thing he had ever heard. I dare say he is still like that, unless the fair Melinda is in the room.

But here is the question. Was it a good idea for Charlotte and Melinda to "civilize" Microsoft? I'd say: it depends.

The point about Bill Gates and also Steve Jobs is that they were both impossible people heading up tech startups that changed the world.

Bill Gates' effort with MS-DOS enabled IBM to put its PC into every office. I was there; it was transformative. And then Gates did it again with Windows. What about Microsoft in recent years? Well I'd have to say that it is steady as she goes. In the 15 years from 2000 to 2015 the stock went sideways. Now it is going exponential again, under South Asian management.

What about Apple? Under the turbulent leadership of Steve Jobs, it produced amazing products, and magnificent failures, but ended up with the earth-shattering technology in the iPod and the iPhone. All the evidence is that Jobs was impossible to work with: not "civilized" at all. And since Jobs' death? Well, right now it is doing fine under the civilized leadership of Tim Cook.

What does it all mean? I think it means this. If you are talking about business startups, you are talking about men. If you are talking about steady as she goes, you are talking about introducing a more feminine sensibility into corporate culture.

Then there is this. Joseph P. Schumpeter described capitalism as a process of "creative destruction." In other words each technological revolution that transforms our lives is built on the wreckage of the old technology and the old ways.

If women had been in charge we would not have experienced the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years.

In my view men are adapted to the creative destruction aspect of things, and women are more adapted to the preservation of things. This is unremarkable, since the job of men is to defend the border, even unto death, and the job of women is to bear children, to stay alive and keep the home fires burning until the children leave the nest.
“Bill and I are equal partners,” Melinda Gates said. “Men and women should be equal at work.”
That is not what Charles Dickens thought. His Mathew Bagnet, former soldier, basically deferred to his wife -- "the old girl" -- in all things. But never admitted it: "discipline must be maintained" he told his army pal Sgt. George in Bleak House.

And frankly I think that Chuck knew a lot more about the world than Good Little Girl Melinda Gates whose main claim to fame will always be that she married the richest man in the world. The old-fashioned way.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Limits of Free Stuff

Our Democratic friends are having a real festival of free stuff these days, offering the voters Medicare For All, free college for all, minimum wage, reparations, you name it.

Of course that is all in accordance with the principle enunciated in my aphorism:
Government is an armed minority, occupying territory and taxing the inhabitants thereof to reward its supporters.
Doesn't matter what the government is, as you can see from the following table:

Robber gangYour money or your life
City gangNice little business you got here. Pity if something should happen to it.
Lefty guerillasKill the capitalists!
Center leftMake the rich pay their share.
Center rightCut taxes now.
TrumpMexicans pay for the wall.

If you want a more philosophical take, there is the doctrine of Irving Kristol that if you want to help the poor, as with Social Security, you must deal in the middle class. That is why Social Security is called the "third rail" of US politics.

As I said, back in 1993, the problem with HillaryCare was that the middle class already had health insurance, so there was no way they could be included in the loot handed out to the folks that were suspended between Medicaid and employer-paid health insurance.

Then, with Obamacare, the Obama guys had to flat out lie, and tell us that we would save $2,500 and if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. All lies.

Now, the question is: Does the free-stuff program still work? Put it this way. Is there still something that government can give away for free for which the majority of people will think they are getting free stuff?

OK. Look at this chart of government spending in the US since 1900, expressed as percent of GDP. Do you see what I see?

Apart from the spending surge in response to the Crash of 2008 government spending in the US has been rocking along at about 35 percent of GDP since the early 1980s.

I wonder what that means. I wonder if it means that the majority of voters do not want any more government spending because they suspect that any increase in government spending is free stuff that will go to other people, and not to them.

Anyway, it seems to me that in 2020 we are going to get a test of my notion. The Democrats are out in full force offering free stuff to their primary voters. But will they be able to sell the general election voters on their free stuff?

Will general election voters think they will benefit from Medicare For All?

Will general election voters think they will benefit from free college, and college debt forgiveness?

Will general election voters think they will benefit from the Green New Deal?

Will general election voters think they will benefit from reparations to the descendants of slaves?

And so on.

My guess is that the average voter will think that all these ideas are going to cost them.

I wonder if I am right.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What the Three Peoples Should Reach For

There is no doubt that my reductive Three Peoples theory is as good as it comes. But what should the Three Peoples reach for? Of what should they dream? What should be their goals?

I'm glad you asked that, Senator. The answer is pretty simple. They should reach for what comes next.

Now, for the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants, they should strive for responsibility. And there happen to be convenient religions all over the place to help them with that. Evangelical Christianity is one such. The whole point of the religions that emerged in the Axial Age is that they propose a god that does not get involved in daily life like the gods of the Iliad, but set up the world with rules and roles, and you are supposed to live responsibly in the world that god has created for you, or else divine judgment.

For the People of the Responsible Self, the great middle class, they should strive for creativity. It is not enough just to go to work, obey the law, and follow the rules like a good bourgeois. Step out a little! And try something new.

As always, the big problem is with the People of the Creative Self. That's because they think so highly of themselves. I was thinking about this today, as I was reading about the Muslim terrorists that organized the terror bombings of Christian churches and slaughter of "Easter worshippers" in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. These were not helpless victims, according to Terry Glavin in The National Post.
At least two of the suicide bombers had law degrees. Two were brothers from a wealthy Colombo family, one of whom attended university in the United Kingdom and earned a postgraduate degree in Australia. There were nine of them altogether, eight men and a woman. Most were “well-educated and come from (the) middle or upper-middle class,” Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister, told reporters.
Well, well. Now there's creativity for you! And it is a creative act, to think up and plan a series of terror attacks on Christians and their churches. But obviously it is wrong.

Obviously, also, our Educated Youth has a problem with the problem of good and evil. In fact, one might even start to think that Nietzsche had it wrong when he wrote about the world Beyond Good and Evil. It is precisely when you are starting to think about what lies beyond good and evil that you need to get a grip on yourself about good and evil. Because obviously, some creative things are good, and some creative things are bad.

Obviously the key question here is power. Without power the question of good and evil does not arise. But with power, the question of good and evil does arise, and it becomes more important the more powerful you become.

Nietzsche railed against "the priests" for teaching us to hate ourselves with their notion of good and evil. But I think that it is natural that as people started to throng to the cities that the issue of good and evil should become more salient.

It's just that as we rise even further from mere city life to creative life we do not get beyond good and evil, but even deeper into the question of right and wrong. With great power comes great responsibility, as Ben Parker told Peter Parker, the Spider-Man. Power, responsibility.

Now, we might say that the People of the Subordinate Self have no power, and therefore have no opportunity to do evil. They can, I suppose be the unwitting agents of evil by subordinating themselves to an evil lord, and becoming his agents.

We might say that the People of the Responsible Self have little power, since all they do is follow the rules and act responsibly. But, of course, the responsible course of action is not always so obvious. And as Dickens makes clear in Bleak House, even the lower parts of the middle class like the Smallweeds can lord it cruelly over their one and only servant girl, Charley.

Obviously, when we come to the People of the Creative Self the issue of power and agency becomes overwhelming. The whole notion of Creativity is to hack a new path through the jungle. The new idea might work; it might not work. It might be a good idea; it might be an evil idea.

What is more, there is the temptation to think your idea is a good idea. Of course it is, a good plan, a most excellent plan; it is bound to succeed.

But, in fact the originator of a plan is not the best judge of its potential, or its value. In the marketplace ideas are judged by the market. In crime, the accused is judged by the jury. In politics the politicians are judged by the voters.

Of course, this is nothing new. It is right there in the aphorism of Juvenal: who will guard the guardians?

And so we may say that the People of the Creative Self should beware of power, and accept the verdict of the deplorables. They should turn away the offer of power, to listen to the verdict of the underlings.

It is all very well for Google to cry "Don't Be Evil," but who is to determine how and when Googlers might be evil?

The modern age is really the first era in which the People of the Creative Self have attained battalion strength, the ability to spread real damage. And so it comes to the deplorables to insist that our glorious betters -- the creatives, the artists, the writers, the activists, the generals, the politicians, the geniuses -- establish as their faith the importance of humility, and the need to refuse, and more than thrice, the kingly throne offered by Mark Anthony to Caesar.

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, said Henry Kissinger. And so Jesus, the creative Son of God, must refuse the offer of power over all the kingdoms of the world.

The People of the Creative Self must reach for humility.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Nietzsche on the Criminal Law

When we get beyond the lex talionis, an eye for an eye, to a more civilized form of law, what and how should it be? That's what Nietzsche looks at in The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 22. It's all about a "Principle of Equilibrium." And that goes for the brigand and the defender of the peace.
The brigand and the man of power... are probably at bottom very similar beings, except that the latter obtains what he wants in a different way from the former, namely through regular tributes paid to him by the community and not by imposts levied by force.
Hmm. Seems like an echo of St. Augustine who wrote that the only difference between a government and a band of outlaws is the addition of impunity. Notice that both the brigand and the prince levy their imposts by force. "But the essential thing is:"
this man of power promises to maintain an equilibrium with the brigand; in this the weaker perceive a possibility of living.
Equilibrium: that's the point of government and law. So, says Fritzi, when he gets down to our modern criminal law. The point of disgrace and punishment is to burden the criminal with burdens to equalize the burdens he has placed on his fellow citizens.
Within a community in which  all regard themselves as equivalent there exists disgrace and punishment as measure against transgressions, this is to say against disruptions of the principle of equilibrium: disgrace as a weight placed in the scales against the encroaching individual who has procured advantages for himself through his encroachment and now through the disgrace he incurs experiences disadvantages which abolish these earlier advantages and outweigh them. The same applies to punishment against the preponderance which every criminal promises himself it imposes a far greater counter-weight, enforced imprisonment for acts of violence, restitution and punitive fines for theft.
So, says Nietzsche, "the transgressor is reminded that... he has excluded himself from the community"; he is reminded of "the harshness of the state of nature" for those outside the beneficial meadow of human community.

It's an interesting idea: disgrace for the guy that can feel shame; punishment for the guy that doesn't; and for both a reminder of the blessings of the peace of society, in the curious middle ground between brigand and kindly father, where tribute paid to the powerful is at least predictable and bearable.

OK, here's more Nietzsche-ness. What about the punishment of criminals (in aphorism 23)? In our legal system we require the convicted criminal to be accountable for his deed, acting in a rational manner rather than "unconsciously or under compulsion."
For an offense to be punishable presupposes that its perpetrator intentionally acted contrary to the better dictates of his intelligence. But how can anyone intentionally be less intelligent than he has to be?
It must be "pure willfulness" wot done it. But that means free will, and the assumption of the philosophy of sentencing is that the criminal has to be rational and responsible to be punishable. But free will implies an action that takes place outside the rational use of intelligence. What's a mother to do?

So. Let's forget free will and responsibility. If someone offends, or breaks the equilibrium of society, then you punish them with disgrace to restore social equilibrium if they are capable of shame -- or of blushing. If the perpetrator is not capable of blushing with shame then you just simply punish them with fines and/or imprisonment. To restore the equilibrium disturbed by the criminal.

Well, it's something to think about.

Three Peoples Religion - Table of Contents

Three Peoples Religion: What Do the Three Peoples Believe In

Table of Contents:

1. What Gods do the "Three Peoples" Believe In?
Powerful patron, creator of universe and lord of divine law, and the creative self

2. Religion and the Three Peoples: The Big Problem
The creatives don't think that the responsibles have a right to their religion

3. Ancient Myth and my Three Peoples Theory
Trying to blend Three Peoples with post-Jungian archetypes.

4. Peterson and Jung and Nietzsche, Oh My!
Reconciling with the notion that reason is not the last word

5. Three Peoples: There is no One True Faith
What I think as right and true may be the royal road to disaster.

6. Searching for a New Religion: Leftism, Feminism, Wokeness, etc.
In a time of religious revolution you are bound to have crazy whacko cults

7. The Elite's Religion: We are Holier Than Thou because We Care about the Victims
But does the elite understand this?

8. It's Too Soon for a "Dissident Right"
First we need to get the left on the back foot and gasping for air.

9. What the Three Peoples Should Reach For
Subordinates for responsibility; responsibles for creativity; creatives for humility

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

It's Too Soon for a "Dissident Right"

Back from Finland, the Zman is thinking about what a post-Buckleyite right should call itself, now that the alt-right seems to have crashed and burned. He wants a "dissident right" to represent a non-blank slate view of human nature and society.

Above all, for him, the right should not be a clean-up crew after the latest lefty eruption of radicalism as most right-wing movements of the last 200 years have been.

What we need to found ourselves upon is English biologist William Donald Hamilton rather than Nietzsche, he writes. Hamilton's signature achievement was to show the limits of "altruism" and actually found Darwin's notions in biology.

Whereas the traditional right assumes that "traditions, customs and institutions are the result of accumulated wisdom."
The dissident right, in contrast, thinks of traditions, customs and institutions as evolved solutions to human organization that are peculiar to a people, because of their peculiar evolutionary arc.
So, students in a high school cafeteria self-segregate by gender race, intelligence, everything you can think of.
This is not the result of accumulated wisdom in the form of custom or the result of tradition. It is not the result of mystical forces like white privilege or social constructs. It is the nature of humans to attract to those with whom they share fundamental connections, which are rooted in biology. Their hierarchical relationships are similarly rooted in their biology. 
So politics and culture must deal with this reality. I think that Jordan B. Peterson was making this point with his famous lobster story.

Only I would say that human society is the result of all of the above: custom and tradition; privilege created by force; and the roots in biology. I would say that religion and culture and politics are social experiments that, if successful, will end up encoded in the biology.

You need both Hamilton and Nietzsche. But you probably also need the failed experiments of the left. Why? Because humans really do proceed through the debris of failed experiments. For instance, the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 was an attempt to learn the hard lessons of the wars of religion. You need the bloodbath of the 20th century socialist states to become sadder and wiser about Heaven on Earth politics. When will these hard lessons be encoded in the genes? Not any time soon.

I think that the failure of the right has been to concentrate its thinking and its politics on the social and cultural world view of the middle class and to ignore the interests of the workers and peasants of the world. Also to fail to understand what is going on in the minds of the creative class and the left.

That, of course is what my reductive Three Peoples theory is intended to demonstrate. There are people in the world that think and feel like subordinate peasants. Our politics and our economics must accommodate their needs at least to the point that they don't opt for bloody rebellion. But we middle-class deplorables also deserve a voice. Human culture and politics and economics must allow us middling ones to wive and thrive in the way that satisfies us. And the creative educated class deserves to live in their way, as artists, writers, activists, and LGBT, provided they don't pollute the water for the rest of us. Yes, every way of life has its toxic waste. Even artists and writers and LGBT and especially activists.

But. I think a true "dissident right" would focus on the needs of the non-deplorables. We know what we want, but we also want other people, people not like us, to get what they want too.

What do I mean by that?

I mean we should be thinking about what the People of the Subordinate Self want. They want someone that fights for them. They want job security. They want someone to do the thinking for them, provide them with the infrastructure to get an education for their kids, and get training for a job for themselves. And then there are women. I think that we need to do the thinking that will mend the sexual and family chaos that the welfare state has visited on the poor. That means creating a culture that helps women find a partner that will be a decent husband for them and a good father to their children. I feel that this should be done as much as possible outside government through labor unions and fraternal organizations and churches that socialize and raise up people that think of themselves as subordinate and powerless. That's because these community organizations can only thrive if they benefit their members every day. Government and politics seem unable to pull back from failure and stasis.

I mean we should be thinking about what the People of the Creative Self want. Actually, this is rather presumptuous, because, according to the developmental psychologists, we deplorables don't have a clue about the consciousness of the creative people. But I am conceited enough to believe that I can; this is because, I feel, I think and feel along snowy ridges way above the dusty plain of the thought of the People of the Creative Self.

But let us start with what the People of the Creative Self should not want. They should not want to be the saviors of the victims. That's because everything they have proposed thus far for the victims amounts to a Great Reaction to reinstate the worst features of the past. Their socialism is neo-slavery; their welfare state is neo-feudalism; their identity politics, from class to race to gender politics is neo-tribalism. So on the one hand we should damn the creative left to hell with a brutal narrative of assertion that blames them for all the sorrows of the world, and as the culprits for all the crimes of the last century. On the other hand we should neutralize the left's victim politics by offering a positive agenda for the People of the Subordinate Self that helps them integrate into the city culture and economy, on the road to the middle class from victims to responsibles, showing that we care about people like them.

Another thing we need to do for the People of the Creative Self is encourage them into creative lives that are actually beneficial rather than corrosive. I mean by this a narrative that tell the creatives that aspiring to be an artist or a writer is fine and dandy, but it is hard. Society does not owe them a living as a creative artist; indeed all the narratives down the ages tell us that if you want to be a hero, it means being a sacrificial hero, who really gives up his life that others may live. If this hero ends up the dictator or president for life then he is living a lie, the opposite of the hero and nothing but a villain.

In other words, the creative life as political activist is nothing but a lie. We know that for two reasons.

The first is that almost all the political activism of the last two centuries has been a mixed blessing at best and a crime against humanity at worst. I mean by this that the activism for the working class led directly to the white working class dying of despair because the creative class did not teach the working class how to wive and thrive in the city but merely to live on the liberal plantation as slaves or serfs that were abandoned when the political weather changed. Needless to say, any candid socialist politics has led to mass graves and/or starvation. Period, full-stop, end of story.

The second reason is that we now know, almost beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we need a lot less politics and government in the world than we used to. We humans thrive best in a self-adjusting and self-creating culture and economy that is governed by law rather than executive fiat and the price system rather than administrative regulation. But this is poison to our creative friends because in their dull world view they imagine that political power is the highest and noblest of callings. In this they are a weak echo of the faith of the feudal lords.

Obviously the effort to create a cultural narrative that can lord it over the People of the Creative Self is not going to be easy, but it is essential. We deplorables need to put the People of the Creative Self on the back foot, and develop a good cop bad cop narrative that on the one hand scorches them for their vile activism and reactionary faith in politics, and on the other dangles before them the truth about the creative life that it is not a free lunch but a descent into the underworld and a dangerous Hero's Journey along the boundary between Order and Chaos. To choose the creative life is not to idly "want to be an artist or writer" but to descend into the fearful underworld of the unconscious and live to tell the tale.

You can see that it is far too early to imagine that we can create a "dissident right" and push back against the left. Not right now. There is too much thinking to be done. But we can do it. And the effort to do it starts today.

What I have suggested is not new and untried. It is the accumulation of thinking and understanding among all kinds of thinkers in the past 200 years, of whom the only common denominator is that they are Not Left. They are all, I believe, thinkers that have asked the question: Now What? What is it about the modern age that has changed and how should we humans live in it? The only thing is that nobody has put it all together so that we have a combined narrative that makes sense of the past and its traditions, the present and its challenges, and the future with its unknowns.

It's not that hard, and it shouldn't be that hard to get the left on the back foot and gasping for air.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Suppose Liberalism and Communism are Just the Same, Only Different

Let us start with my quote from Roy Rappaport: that "No society known to anthropology or history is devoid of what reasonable observers would agree is religion."

Actually let's go a bit further than that. Every society since the dawn of time, and especially ours, is drenched in religion.

Why?  Because for humans, that self-consciously experience themselves as living for a purpose, there is always the question of what should be done. This question presents itself to every human every moment; that is why many humans dull their minds with drugs.

It follows from this that to suggest that ours is an era that is Beyond Religion, or for which God has Died, completely misunderstands the nature of humans and humanity.

Let's go further still and say this: Every human alive has a religion, a religion that explains for him, and especially her, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

So now let us discuss The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies
by Ryszard Legutko. I haven't yet read the book, only the review by Adrian Vermeule at First Things. For the Polish Legutko -- the chap too far-right for Middlebury College -- liberalism and communism are birds of the same feather.
Twin children of the Enlightenment, raised in the same nursery of the Revolution, communism and liberalism have the same inner logic, the same intellectual structure, and the same dynamics over time—such is Legutko’s main thesis. Both embody the secularized soteriology of the Enlightenment, the narrative of Progress. The liberal and communist polities are both perpetually poised in the now and not-yet, between the emergence from the dim night of unreason and the final triumph. 
If you want to boil liberalism and communism down to their essence, we are talking about the perpetual situation, “We have made progress, but there is still much to do.” That is why the rights of women come up as soon as the workers get theirs. And that is why transgender rights arise as a burning issue the moment after the Supreme Court puts gay marriage comfortably to bed.

There is always the next battle before us.

And, of course this "much to do," this next battle is a question of politics, of writing laws and regulations to hack progress out of the jungle, and a question of religion, of identifying saints and sinners and dispatching the latter to an auto-da-fé, real or metaphorical. And the whole thing is to be led by enlightened and compassionate activists free of the taint of Sin. That goes without saying.

The point is that all religion and all politics are about the existential fight against the forces of darkness, real and spiritual. And they always have been. Politics is concerned with the physical threat of the Commies, the capitalists, the racists, the sexists; religion is concerned with the spiritual threat of the Evil One that motivates the actions of evil humans.

The problem we face is that the current enthusiasts for the cults of liberalism and communism imagine themselves as something new in history, as a singular movement arising from the swamps of bigotry and superstition to lead the world to a Heaven on Earth. They do not understand that nothing has changed, that they are just the current crop of ambitious politicians and cult-creating religious leaders.

But let us try to think outside of the box on this. Let us propose that human society is based on the risk that something may come and destroy us all, and that this is perfectly natural and physical. If this threat materializes as from a human enemy mobilized into an army or a criminal gang, then we must rally under a political/military leader to defeat the foe and and prevent him from destroying our community from without. If this threat is from someone that wishes us ill but that represents something short of a physical danger, then naming and shaming will keep this Evil One from destroying our community from within.

OK, fine. But how do you know? How do you know if the enemy that the politicians are warning you against is real or just an excuse for them to increase their power? How do you know if the enemy that the moral crusaders are warning you against are real or just an excuse for them to name and shame people that think differently from themselves?

The answer is: you don't, not until it is too late. So all politics and all religion are battles against an existential peril that may or may not be real.

For instance, what about the Chinese? Is the Belt and Road initiative an existential threat to truth, justice and the American Way, that will destroy the world in 12 years unless we do something, or is it a stupid top-down excuse for political power that will self-destruct in 12 years or so?

For instance, what about feminists and gays? Are they a a moral/cultural movement that will destroy our market-based economy and Judeo-Christian culture  and ordinary wiving and thriving in 12 years unless we do something, or are they foolish cults that will self-destruct anyway because of their shallow foolishness?

You tell me.

Or are all political and religious ideologies with their One True Ring a symbol of evil forged by some monstrous Sauron to gain dominion over the ordinary harmless Hobbits of the Shire?

Because if the meaning of life, the universe, and everything cannot be solved by a militant politics or a militant religion, then what?

Back to the drawing board.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Yes, It is Really About the Elite's New Religion

I just finished a book about Jung that complained that Jung was not doing science, but founding a religious cult. And so, in The Jung Cult by Richard Noll, we get chapter and verse on how, clearly, Jung was veering away from the much more scientific approach of Freud, and consciously building a religious cult that would teach its cult members how to have transcendental experiences and become a cut above the ordinary mortals.

Good. So now I picked up a book on essays on Freud, by Bruno Bettelheim, in which he earnestly argues that Freud was not that interested in science. In the 1930s the Freudians in the US wanted to -- and succeeded in -- making psychoanalysis a monopoly for physicians, as a medical specialty. Not what Freud wanted, but there was not much he could do about it because Hitler had demolished the Freudian community in Germany.

Freud wanted psychoanalysis to be done by "lay analysts." So, referring to a couple of his books, according to Bettelheim -- The Question of Lay Analysis and The Future of an Illusion, Freud wrote:
I do not know whether you have guessed the hidden link between 'Lay-Analysis' and 'Illusion.' In the former I want to protect analysis from physicians, and in the latter from priests.
Further, says Bettelheim, Freud recommended psychoanalysis
not as therapy but rather because of what it reveals to us about what concerns man most closely; and because of the connections it uncovers between the widest variety of his actions.
He wanted his ideas to influence child raising, because it could free the largest number of people from
unnecessary repressions, unrealistic anxieties, and destructive hatreds... could help us, in short, become more human.
OK, I get it. We are talking about religion, just like Jung. Just like Christianity. Just like the social activists. Just like everyone of the People of the Creative Self who are trying to find meaning in life beyond the the white picket fence of the bourgeois middle class.

And one thing the creative class knows above all else is that they must lose their "repressions." Good point. The creative life is a voyage of self-discovery and you have got to get beyond the cramped life pettiness, of anxiety that prevents you from risking things, and hatreds that make your life small and mean.

So yeah. Of course the Jungians were trying to start a new religion. And so was Freud, only he didn't want his new religion to become ensnared in the coils of priests and experts. At least, not priests and experts of the old school.

I can relate to all that. I would like us to break free of the priests of the lefty education system and the experts of the lefty administrative state.

And this is the way to understand almost all the stuff coming out of our educated ruling class. Their politics, their cultural hegemony is not really about making a better society for us, the proles and the deplorables. It is about making the educated ruling class learn about themselves and feel good about themselves.

The interesting thing about Jung and Freud is that they both clearly are trying to find the source of meaning in the old myths. Jung's archetypes and his personal and collective unconscious are clearly trying to find some clue from the unconscious residue of the human past. Freud's recasting of the Oedipus myth -- turning it upside down, as I would  say -- is doing the same thing, only differently.

And, if you think of it, my line that the left amounts to a Great Reaction is mining similar territory. Our lefty friends are trying to find meaning in a lost idea of community in socialism, in providing social benefits and collective security with the welfare state as we used to do when the lord of the manor felt some sort of responsibility for the serfs on his domain, and in reviving the spirit of belonging with identity politics.

Only, I like to say, our lefty friends are blind to the benefits of the new world order that is aborning, and that is creating a new community of service and trust with the market economy. Their socialism has only ever resulted in slavery; their welfare state a clumsy return to feudalism, and their identity politics to a crude and divisive tribalism.

And we have to sit here while they slowly learn the facts of life -- on our dime.

There oughta be a law against a dull and foolish ruling class using us as their playground. In the old days, according to the myths rediscovered by Jung and Freud, your hero went on a personal journey into his unconscious -- into the underworld or the wilderness -- and only came back when, in the words of Joseph Campbell, he had become sadder and wiser so that he really could bring a boon to his fellow humans.

I think that the ancients may have stumbled on a piece of real wisdom there. Go and learn your stuff in the underworld and the wilderness, you foolish liberals, and let us get on with the vital business of wiving and thriving.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Little Darlings - Table of Contents

Little Darlings of the Ruling Class

Table of Contents

1. The Dance of the Three Peoples
Some of the subordinates get to be Little Darlings.

2. The Cruel Fate of the Ruling Class's "Little Darlings"
Eventually the ruling class casts them aside like an ageing lover.

3. Real Critical Theory: How About a Critique of Leftism?
Little darlings always end up in the garbage can of history.

4. The Plague of Fake Politics
When rich kids advocate for poor kids, watch out.

5. When a Lefty Comes to Visit
How to tell him that his Little Darlings would do fine without him.

6. One of These Victim Groups is Not Like The Others
But which one? Oh, of course: the deplorable white working class.

7. The Power of Nostaglia
Don't get all nostalgic for the Good Old Days. The nostalgia could kill you.

8. The Trouble is That Yellow Vests are Already Toast

9. Why I Think Jordan Peterson is Important
He says what I say, only better.

10. To What Do the Three Peoples Subordinate Themselves?
To earthly gods, to divine gods, and the creative process.

11. The Knotty Problem at the Center of Western Politics
How does the ruling class keep its old little darlings happy while romancing the new ones?

12. The Elite's Religion: We are Holier than Thou Because We Care About the Victims

What's an Elite Scion to Do with his Life?

One of the problems our ruling class has is that its concerns are not the concerns of ordinary Americans.

As a congressional candidate that I recall in the dim mists of memory said. It is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. That is the primary concern of ordinary people.

But the sons and daughters of the ruling class already have jobs. So they must find something else to do in order to find meaning in life.

It is, of course, a problem we would all like to have.

One thing that you can do if you are a wealthy Peter Buttigeig or a Beto O'Rourke is go into politics.

I'd say that it is a sensible and practical thing to do. I suspect that using family money to jump-start a political career is probably a good way to go, especially if you are a likable guy or gal.

(Hillary Clinton need not apply).

But, I would like to say, this is a pretty low-rent way to live.

Or put it another way.

If you are a creative person, as all educated people imagine themselves, what is the best way to be creative and benefit mankind? Artist? Writer? Business startup? Activist? Politician?

I suspect that if you ask a young head full of mush about this they would respond by putting activist first, followed by artist and writer, then politician, then business startup.

I think that I would probably order the list the other way around. If you want to benefit mankind, the most concrete way to do it is the business startup, to bring to market something that nobody ever thought of. But it is the hardest. Then I'd say artist and writer which is relatively harmless, but also much less likely to make a difference. Then politician, which is a way to muddle through with clumsy programs of compulsion because you are too dumb to figure out cultural changes that could do the same thing without force.

At the bottom I'd put the activist, which is 97.2 percent conceit and very little chance to "change lives." Why? Émile Zola made the point way back in 1885 with his novel Germinal. It's about the union activist, Étienne, that comes into a mining district, riles up the miners into striking and sabotaging the mines, bonks all the girls, and then heads out of town to his next activism gig.

Yep. That'll do the trick, Étienne, old chum.

So, I'd say that politics and activism are cheap ways for well-born youngsters to get their names up in lights. But politics and activism don't actually do anything to make human lives better.

Politics in its defensive aspect is protecting people from existential harm; in its offensive aspect it is loot and plunder. In practice politics and government is loot and plunder disguised as protecting us from existential peril. And the politicians are forever conjuring up existential perils, real and imagined, from which we need protection.

And then activism. I think the word on that was given by Barack Obama, who started an activism career organizing the laid-off steelworkers in South Chicago. He quit after a year, and went to law school. Why? Because there was nothing that could be done for the steelworkers. The jobs had gone, and were never coming back, at least not as basic steel union jobs. So all Barack the activist achieved was raising false hopes.

And this is a basic problem with activists and politicians in general. The facts of life are that nothing is forever. When the gig is up, you up-sticks and move on. Politicians and activists propagate the lie that, no, it's not necessary to move on. Instead it's the cruel corporations, the greedy bankers, the system. And we will fight the system and bring back your jobs.

No. Usually the jobs never come back. Not because of the perfidy of the capitalists, but because technology changed and it would cost too much to update the factory to utilize the new technology. Plus the workers were already getting paid well over the market rate, so, from the point of view of the capitalists, it is better to get out of town and start anew with workers that are not yet organized by activists and politicians to demand above market rates for their labor.

Remember this: the real per-capita income of Americans has gone up by 30 times in the last 200 years. There has never been anything like this Great Enrichment in human history, says economist Deirdre McCloskey. And what did it? Innovation. Guys with an idea that put it into a business and made peoples' lives better.

What politicians did do about that? They failed to stop the innovations, probably from ignorance and stupidity. Bully for them. What activists did is they failed to peacefully protest against the innovations until it was too late. Thank goodness for that.

And artists and writers? Maybe they occupy the sweet spot, between the grueling struggle of the business startup and the negative spiral of the politician and activist. And they create the narrative by which we attempt to understand the past and wonder about the future.

But it's a problem. What can elite scions do to make their lives meaningful?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Elite's Religion: We are Holier Than Thou Because We Care about the Victims

I had an email from a regular correspondent today reminding me that the "backlog of asylum cases at the US border stands at 855,000." Thanks Lon.

You may wonder: why? How in all the world did we get to a situation like this? I mean, come on, fellahs, a border is a border.

So why do we have 855,000 applications for asylum in these United States?

The reason is that the religion, the morality, the "ethics" of our elite educated class is that they care about "the victims."

And everyone in this world has a religion, particularly those people that deny they have a religion. Oh, you may say, with Nietzsche, that God is Dead. No doubt for our educated classes the God of Abraham is dead; the God of whom Christ was the Son is dead. Dead for them, the educated, the compassionate, the enlightened.

So, the fundamental thing to ask, when people say they don't believe in God is to ask: OK, so what do you believe in, that can answer the question of "the meaning of life, the universe, and everything."

For many of our nation's Subaru and Prius and Leaf drivers, the meaning of life, the universe and everything centers around advocating for the victims. That is their religion.

Like I say: first it was the workers, then it was women and blacks, then it was the indigenous, then it was gays. Victims for whom young well-born people advocated and peacefully protested. Now it is Palestinians, Muslims, and "refugees."

There is a double bonus in this religion. In the first place, you get to fight against sin, the sin of exploitation, oppression, genocide; so you get to virtue-signal your virtue to the world. But there is a bonus: you get the political support of the victims, and so your virtue-signaling is a royal road to political power. Really, what's not to like?

Well, you might look at the previous victims, antecedent to the current Little Darlings of the in-crowd: the workers now dying of despair, the women who are less happy than they were half a century ago, the 77 percent of black children not born to two married parents. You may wonder: what was the point of advocating for those victims if this is the payoff?

The point is that, as far as the Subaru and Prius and Leaf drivers are concerned, the system is working. They get to practice their religion and get the absolution of sins -- the sins of you and me -- and they get political power from representing the victims-du-jour.

As you may know, this is not new. Charles Dickens was making fun of this 170 years ago in Bleak House with Mrs. Jellyby, who was working hard on helping "the natives in Borrioboola-Gha, on the left bank of the Niger." While neglecting her own husband and children.

President Trump has been playing on this hypocrisy by proposing to dump illegal aliens in so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with federal authorities when it comes to illegal aliens. On cue, the singer Cher has tweeted in opposition to this, because in LA they are already overwhelmed.

I think there are a number of things going on here. There is the need for any upper class to differentiate itself from the common crowd: 100 years ago the rich were fat and the poor were thin; today the opposite is true. And today there is the whole idea of your car making a moral statement about you.

Now, I don't think I am different from anyone else on this. I consciously like to differentiate myself from the liberal hypocrites and their version of virtue-signaling. I think that the vilest, cheapest thing in the world is to be an activist. I think that the vilest, cheapest thing in the world is to advocate for the Green New Deal and kick the global poor out of their cars before they even get a chance to own one. I think that the vilest, cheapest thing in the world is to advocate for big government programs that keep the poor and a lot of the middle class in permanent subordination to government entitlement programs.

But hey! I don't pretend to be anything more than a racist sexist homophobe.

And I say to my betters: you are better than this. If you want to cut a dash in the world, to be a creative, compassionate person to whom everyone genuflects, then this victim game is the last thing you should be doing. Because it is vile and it is cheap. And it is advocated by the ruling-class stooges in the schools, in the universities, in the media, in politics, in the activism community, and in north Seattle.

Eeeuuw! Who would want to be like them?

Actually, I believe that the problem of what do the People of the Creative Self believe in when they no longer believe in God is the biggest problem in the world today.

And we need to solve the problem before the People of the Creative Self kill us all with their compassion and their virtue.

You can quote me on that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre Dame: Civilizations Fall When The Elite Scam Fails

OK, so the image of the Cathedral of Notre Dame burning seems to many of us to be a metaphor for our age.

When I was last in Paris I went to up to Notre Dame, but decided not to go in. I guess my experience with the cathedral in Florence, and the duomo in Siena, is that these buildings are monuments to civic pride, more an expression of "our team is better than yours" than religious devotion.

But it wasn't the burning of Rome that caused its downfall. It was simply that the rulers' economic game didn't work any more.

Rome had operated for centuries on a loot and plunder model. The Roman Army would conquer some place out in the hinterlands, and the loot and plunder would flow back to Rome and enrich the coffers of the state and the ruling class.

But by, let's say, 200 AD, the game was about played out, because the frontiers of the empire were too far out. It was just too hard to find new lands to plunder, keep control of the commanders of the legions, and get the loot back to Rome.

Of course the end of the feudal era was a bit different, but still, similar. The rise of manufacturing disturbed the loot and plunder model of the landed feudatories. And the agricultural revolution meant that wealth and power belonged to people that could adapt agriculture from conservative peasants sitting on the land to energetic improvers using land drainage and new methods to increase crop yields.

Even then in the later stages of the agricultural era the landed magnates still had a good thing going. A lot of their revenue was not from land rent, but from court fees in their manor courts from local farmers buying and selling the leases on the land they farmed.

But ruling classes are all alike. They want to set up a system to loot and plunder the people so they can reward and keep their supporters. As in my maxim:
Government is an armed minority, occupying land and taxing the people thereof to reward their supporters.
The problem is that the world is always changing, so a system of taxing and rewarding that has worked like a charm for centuries may cease to work, at some point. And, of course there is the little problem that the supporters always want "more."

The beautiful thing about our current system of the market economy is that it is the complete enemy of the fixed system, with some elite "farming" the nation for themselves and their supporters. The market insists of serving the consumers, and it insists on what we might call "permanent revolution," so that today's dominant corporation becomes tomorrow's basket case.

So the wise ruler rails and complains about the evil capitalists, but still lets things take their capitalist course. Our Bolivarian socialist pals in Venezuela show what happens when the rulers think they are smarter than the capitalists and staff the technostructure with political hacks: they can't even keep the lights on!

So, in the United States in the wake of the Crash of 2008, caused by the ruling-class policy of low-down and liar mortgages, which resulted in the nationalization of bankrupt General Motors and the bankrupt mortgage twins Fannie and Freddie, the government has sensibly let their nationalized basket cases return to private ownership, and they have eased up a bit on the liar loan thing.

But everyone in the ruling class believes -- and always has believed -- in command and control. That is the internal logic of political power. You rally the nation -- or tribe or army -- to face the foe, and of course that means that all the young men must be enlisted in the army, and the rest of the nation must be subordinated into a common effort that will save us from existential peril.

And jolly good fun it is for the ruling class, win or lose, and indeed for many down the chain of command that get to step out of the normal life of wiving and thriving and do their bit for the cause.

Yes, this is a crucial aspect of a ruling class. They get to thrive, most likely, win or lose. Did Napoleon die on the battlefield of Borodino? Not a bit. When the decision was made to retreat from Moscow, Napoleon rode home in his carriage; the rest of the army struggled and starved their way home to France -- if they got home at all.

We are in a situation today where all the cunning plans of our ruling class are coming to ruin, because they are inflexible top-down stupidities that cannot adjust to changing times.

The US rulers could have set up a pension plan that forced every worker to save ten percent of his wages in a private savings account. In a system like that the worker retires when he can afford to. If there is a nasty recession then maybe he has to put off retirement for a couple of years. But in the system our rulers did set up the pensions are fixed by the politicians, with no idea what will happen in 30 years, and we just hope that the money is there.

Our rulers could have set up a system for senior health care that allowed seniors to determine whether they wanted heroic care or palliative care at their end of life. Obviously, if the government is going to force the income taxpayers to pay for elderly care, as we do now, then everyone wants the gold-plated version. But, I tell you, if I were paying for my Medicare without government assistance, I don't think I would want to pay for heroic surgery up onto my late 80s. But the system our rulers gave us doesn't have that flexibility, at least, not on the surface. But below the radar they have done all kinds of cunning things to make Medicare viable by limiting care. Here's one little item. If you are on Medicare and you can no longer swallow, they don't put you on a feeding tube. The protocol is that you go on Medicare Hospice, and you die in a couple of weeks in a flurry of home health care aides.

Back to the top, and the ruin of Notre Dame and the threat of the end of the world.

The end of a civilization is generally not due to God's will or the sins of the people. It is usually due to the fact that the ruling class's loot and plunder system runs out of other peoples' money.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Transformations of Modern Life, for Men and for Women

Back in the day, real men were warriors. Or they were hunters.

OK. So most of us were serfs. So now you know the meaning of Cassius' sneer to Brutus, that "our" fault was that we were underlings.

To be an underling means not to be a real man. And only a real man gets the girl.

The fascinating thing, for me, about the modern era is the way that we men have replaced the old order with immensely ingenious social institutions that fill in for the annealing fire of war and the thrill of the chase.

Instead of the hunt we have careers, where the ability to stalk a deer is replaced by the skill to navigate the jungle of business. And instead of war we have team sports where we can all cheer our city's team in the eternal battle for dominance and venerate our heroes. Or maybe it is business that provides the war experience and sports that replicates the hunt. Who knows?

All so we can determine who is the real alpha male that gets the girl.

The remarkable thing is that this all happened in a flash. Back in 1700 the only thing to be was a warrior. By 1900 we had corporations -- which are really reflections of armies, with the same notion of rising through the ranks and doing battle with the competition -- and we had sports teams up the ying-yang.

But what about women, you ask? Exactly my point.

Back in the day, 1800, the lives of nearly all women were entirely engaged as wives and mothers. Their entire lives were consumed with getting a couple of kids out of the womb and keeping them alive until they were out of the nest.

This life was just as nasty, brutish and short as men's lives.

But now things are different. For one thing, women don't die in childbirth. For another children don't die like they used to. Yet another, women can control their fertility, and only get pregnant when they want to.

But I think that women have made a dreadful mistake. They have wanted to become as men, because, I assume, life as a man looks pretty good from the outside.

So women have wanted to become educated, as men. They have wanted to have careers, like men. They have wanted to become "independent women" as men. They have even wanted, some of them, to approach sex as men.

I think this is foolishness, and a dreadful mistake.

I don't think that women need to be sent to schools to learn stuff. I think that women and girls naturally learn everything needful. Indeed, in my experience, women love to go to school and learn stuff and will do so at the slightest excuse. In my view, the purpose of schools is to ram stuff down the throats of boys that, at least since Shakespeare's time, go "unwillingly to school." Shall we run the whole quote? I think we should:
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel.
And shining morning face, creeping like snail.
Unwillingly to school.
Exactly my point. Whoever heard of a girl creeping like a snail to school? Unless, of course, the Mean Girls are making her life a hell.

I don't think that women are that interested in climbing the greasy pole, and their natural way of socialization does not lend itself to the administrative hierarchy of the army and the bureaucracy. Many women complain of women bosses in business and in government. In my view, women practice a form of socialization where there is indeed a hierarchy, but where there is a conceit, at least, that all women in the neighborhood are equal. And then there are committees. If you are a man you assume that when you get on a board or a committee you shut up for a year until you have shown that you deserve to be listened to. But women expect to be able to "share" the moment they get on the board, and they get insulted if they are not treated as an equal from day one.

Sorry girls. I don't think that women in business makes much sense. But there is a lot that women could be doing instead: running neighborhood home schools, charities, and just maintaining a community of women in the neighborhood that keeps an eye on all the kids and the old people.

But here is a Good Thing. Women as writers. I'm all in favor of that. And health care. Let's give the whole health care system over to women. They live and die for health care.

I don't think that women want to be, or even can be "independent women" as Simone de Beauvoir proposed in The Second Sex. And the truth of this is in the absurdity of Oscar Wilde's question: What Do Women Want? No Oscar, old chap. It's not what do women want, it's What Do Women Expect. Just between you and me, anyone that "expects" things is someone that has a servant or a husband providing her with services. Because she expects it.

Then there is sex. I remember a unit on the Dennis Prager radio show years ago where he interviewed a bunch of college girls. What did they yearn for? To be romanced, rather than getting a booty call. No wonder educated women are going every which way except conventional sex and marriage. What they want -- what they expect -- is to be courted, cherished, and loved. What they do not want is to be picked up, pressured into sex, and then dumped after a few weeks: that is my takeaway from Mattress Girl and the frequent lying Title IX accusations of college women against their former lovers. They are dying of despair in the modern sex scene.

Then there is abortion. It is sad that women are joining men in the eternal refrain: "get rid of it."

Now I have kept the prophecy of German sociologist George Simmel close in recent years. He noted that "19th century technologies 'made for less labor in the household.'"
Obviously, Simmel wrote, the public sphere, the world outside the home, in the short term would still be defined by men for men, but in the long term women would transform the public square to suit "a more feminine sensibility."
This is fine and dandy, except that not everything in the world lends itself to "a more feminine sensibility." And I am afraid that we are going to have to find that out the hard way.

But there is plenty of human life in the "world outside the home" that would benefit from "a more feminine sensibility." It's just not where the feminists and their ilk think it is. And I am sure that, in the end, women will show us the way.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Searching for a New Religion: Leftism, Feminism, Wokeness, Etc.

What are we to do about the demoralization of young people? Why are the Kids so unhappy, The Atlantic worries? Christopher DeGroot answers that it's the "autonomy paradox," Yeah, sure, autonomy is great, but it brings new problems to life. For instance, after the sexual revolution, the Kids find themselves battered in a wild world of sexual licence, finding free sex to be a torpedo that has circled round and attacked them in a perfect storm of resentment and rage.

Or feminism. David Solway at PJMedia wonders how, in our amazing age of "the rule of law, scientific discovery, technological invention, educational opportunity for the masses" we have "radical feminism, which seeks the ruin of motherhood and the breakdown of the relation between the sexes." I mean, here we have women freed from the thankless toil of ages, and they are fit to be tied.

Suzanne Fields notes the curious dialectic between the #MeToo movement and the hypersexualized depiction of women in media and screen and notes that in
a provocative article in the conservative journal First Things, published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, Katherine Kersten blames "false feminism," where there has emerged a serious disconnect between women's feverish attention to sexual impropriety on the part of men at the same time they embrace the nation's sex-drenched popular culture that demeans and hypersexualizes women.
Stalwart David Limbaugh worries "how intolerant and filled with rage leftist extremists have become[.]" It's like the runup to the French Revolution, he thinks.

Well, I am not surprised by all this at all. Because you should understand that we are in a period of religious revolution, rather like the Reformation, in which people are all at sea about the "meaning of life, the universe and everything."

The reason that people don't get this is that they have been carefully taught to believe that, oh well, old-fashioned religious frenzy was then: witch hunts, Galileo imprisoned for daring to suggest that the Earth goes around the Sun. But now...

Well, now we have exactly the same situation. People are going off into crazy new sects, the ruling class is trying to clamp down, and people are chasing Evil Ones all over the place. Nothing new under the sun.

But, but, Science, you say. No doubt, but science doesn't tell you anything about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Just the facts, ma'am, and often not much of that.

Oh sure, "science is real" as the #WeBelieve yardsigns say. But it doesn't tell us what we really want to know, which is the meaning of reality. And right now, if you really believe science is real, science can't really tell us whether CO2 is a killer drug or the loving friend of plants and all living things.

What I am saying is that we humans are in the position we have always been in: we need to tell a story about who we are and what our lives mean. But we have a problem. The Great Enrichment of the last two hundred years, not to mention the stunning success of science in explaining how things work and how to use things as a source not just of food but of power, has, shall we say, invalidated the religious narratives of old.

Now, what would you expect of a sudden change in the experience of daily life? You would expect that it would show that the old narratives about the meaning of life, the universe and everything needed a spot of paint.

They might need more than a spot of paint. They might need paint remover, a vigorous sanding, and a complete do-over.

Now actually, most people are perfectly happy with the way things are. Only a few people are all riled up, and as you know, this is perfectly illustrated by my reductive Three Peoples theory.

The People of the Subordinate Self are perfectly happy. Their religion is that you need to stick together in your ethnic enclave and you need a strong leader to defend you from the employers and the fat-cats and the KKK. All they need to do is punch up their political Uber app and an activist will be right along to peacefully protest on their behalf.

The People of the Responsible Self are perfectly happy. Their religion is that you need to believe in the God of divine justice and live a moral and responsible life according to the precepts of their Axial Age religion.

The People of the Creative Self are not happy, and that is what all the fuss is about.

In my view all the fuss and feathers -- not to mention the death of the 100 million -- is about creative people thrashing around looking for a new religion, something that answers the need for a narrative that explains the meaning of life, the universe, and everything for them.

The French Revolution was all about a religion of Reason, only it ended in Terror and the Thermidorean Reaction and Napoleon.

Romanticism was a religion of feeling, that life was clearly not a mechanical thing of logic and reason and Newton. The Romantics believed in a religion "characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature." That's what La Wik says. But what about the workers?

The Communist Manifesto was all about Educated (and creative) Youth in the mid 19th century on a hero's quest to bring justice to the working class -- and more importantly find meaning in their own lives.

Nietzsche and the religion of "free spirits." Forget nationalism; forget the morality of "the priests;" forget socialism and its encouragement of big government. You wanna be a creative genius, a free spirit thinking and doing new things? Then you belong, like Zarathustra, all alone in a cave in the mountains. And that life is hard.

Blavatsky, spiritualism, the discovery of the "unconscious" with Freud and Jung. A religion that tries to mate the conscious mind with the buried unconscious of affect and instinct to solve the problem of the creative life. This is life after bourgeois Christianity, whether you are Freud blowing up the world with your infantile sexuality, or Jung bonking the babes in his Jung cult.

Bolshevism, and educated-class revolutionaries shall be as gods! And kill about 100 million innocents in their project to subordinate all humanity to the wisdom and knowledge of political activists.

Feminism, the religion of female creativeness above and beyond the crude creativity of making children.

Cultural Marxism, a new project for Educated Youth: to bring justice to women and minorities -- and more importantly find meaning in their own lives.

The sexual revolution: finding meaning by breaking the barriers of bourgeois respectability and getting creative about sex by letting it all hang out.

Intersectionality: finding meaning by demolishing the bourgeois culture and making everything into activists and victims -- and more importantly find meaning in their own lives.

What I think.

I think there is room in the world for the religions of subordination, responsibility, and creativity. What we need is the sense to realize that our own religion is not right for everyone.

We enlightened ones should be perfectly happy for People of the Subordinate Self to live in their tribal communities and imagine that the employer or the KKK or the patriarchy is out to get them. We just need to be smart enough to build political institutions around them that prevent the workers and peasants from empowering their leaders to plunder and/or demolish the rest of the world.

We enlightened ones should be perfectly happy for People of the Responsible Self to live their responsible lives and wive and thrive and go to work, obey the law, and follow the rules. We just need to be smart enough and wise enough to do our naughty creative stuff without frightening the horses in the street.

We enlightened ones need to understand that our religious activities and beliefs, in creativity, in breaking the mold, in doing the hero's journey down into the underworld of the unconscious, etc., is not for everyone. Indeed it is probably not for the overwhelming majority. So we should follow Nietzsche's hint and do it in a cave in the mountains. And when the adepts and the fans show up at our door, we should send them away, back, in the words of Lina Lamont, to their hum-drum little lives where they will be much happier than in our lonely cave of creativity where we hope to understand, one day, the meaning of the shadows on the wall.

The big lesson that we creative people need to understand is that we should not draft the rest of the world into our creative projects. We free spirits should have the wisdom to realize that we are not God's gift to humanity, but just a bunch of Educated Youth with more enthusiasm than sense.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

O-Kay! "Investigating" is not "Spying"

Thank goodness former Attorney General Eric Holder has 'splained the whole procedure to me. See, when Attorney General Barr replied to a senator's question.
"I think spying did occur," Barr said during the explosive hearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "The question is whether it was adequately predicated. …Spying on a political campaign is a big deal."
No, no, no, tweeted Holder.
When there is a predicate, a legitimate basis, it's called "investigating" not "spying."
O-Kay. But it is amazing, is it not, that a whole wall full of Democrats erupted onto Twitter saying what a monstrous thing it was for Barr to talk about "spying."

Hey kids! Isn't that what intelligence agencies do for a living? Spy on people? In fact isn't the fact that we call them "intelligence agencies" just another Orwellian lie? Because what they do is spy on people. S-P-Y. With a capital S.

What the spy agencies are supposed to do is spy on the nation's potential enemies, so we have an idea about what said enemies are up to.

But there is always that little problem, sports fans, that a spy agency might get used for the partisan political interests of the party in power, or the general interest of the ruling class, rather than in the national security interest of the nation.

'Cos it's all so easy to imagine that your own particular interest is the interest of the nation, particularly when the candidate of the Other party has yellow hair.

Of course we have laws and regulations and procedures to prevent the improper use of national spy assets for partisan political purposes. But the truth is that the system is no better than the folks operating it. And if you have the worst ruling class in living memory, full of knaves, crooks and people that got their political education in Chicago...

The point is that, back in 2016, there was nobody that said: "hey, wait a minute guys! We are getting awfully close to spying on the Republicans with this surveillance! Maybe we should just send a word to Trump Tower, word to the wise, and all that, that some of their campaign chappies are getting a bit too close to the Russkies, and maybe they better be careful in case they get compromised." Maybe there was someone that tried to hit the alarm. If so, we deplorables would like to hear from him.

I mean, that is how people of good faith would act. Because we are all Americans, all in this together, right? And we don't want to flush our nation down the toilet, not even by accident.

Only that is not what the Obama spy guys did back in 2016. That is not what the FBI/DOJ did in the presidential transition. That is not what the Democrats and the media and the deep state did in the two years of the Russian Collusion inquiry.

No, instead it was pedal-to-the-metal hysteria that Trump was a traitor. And should be removed from office! Impeached! Imprisoned!

And now all the Democrats in unison are tweeting their outrage that Attorney General Barr should compromise himself with a remark about "spying."

Hey kids! I think it is a bit too late for that. You guys started this whole spying thing.

And the question that lingers in the minds of all patriotic Americans is: what in Sam Blazes was going on in the Obama administration that they were "investigating" peripheral figures around the Trump campaign? Because it sure looks to many of us that there was some dirty pool going on. Not quite cricket, old chap. What do we do about it? As the Mikado put it, so elegantly:
The billiard-sharp whom anyone catches
His doom’s extremely hard—
He’s made to dwell
In a dungeon cell
On a spot that’s always barred.
And there he plays extravagant matches
In fitless finger-stalls,
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue
And elliptical billiard balls.
It just seems to some of us nerds that there was something rotten in the State of Denmark, Obama administration version, and it might be a good idea to give a few bad apples in the Deep State a real going over -- kinda like the two year pursuit of Trump -- pour encourager les autres.

Nothing personal, you understand.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Imagining "No Left Left" in the US

Over at This Week, sorta-centrist Damon Linker is writing, after the Israeli elections, that "There is no left left in Israel." Says he:
Center-left social democratic parties have been in sharp decline in recent years across the Western world. But nowhere has the collapse been more stunning than in Israel, whose founders and ruling class for the first 30 years of the country's existence were very deeply linked with the labor movement. Labor has been in retreat ever since the collapse of peace negotiations with the Palestinians in 2000. But its showing on Tuesday was truly astonishing: With 5 percent of the vote, the Israeli Labor Party is now less than two percentage points away from failing to clear the minimum threshold (3.25 percent) for winning seats in the Knesset. The party is approaching the possibility of extinction.
Oh no! How could that be? Never mind.
[The left] exists now primarily in the minds of the right — as an existential threat, a sort of suicidal impulse toward surrender to Israel's many blood-thirsty enemies that must be resisted at all costs.
Sounds delicious to me, but what do I know?

But "It Can't Happen Here," to coin a phrase. Or could it?

Of course, it makes sense that "social democratic parties have been in sharp decline in recent years" because, after all, the average voter is no longer a "woiker," of eternal memory. The average chap or chapette is an office worker, or a retail worker. He or she is no longer a factory worker that experiences the world in class terms. In fact today's average person probably owns a home -- in partnership, of course with the bank -- and a car and expects the kids to go to college.

So what? Well, I suspect that despite the effort of today's ruling class to panic us all into either climate crisis or intersectional crisis, the fact is that most people want a government that keeps the trains -- or rather the jobs -- on time, and the mortgages available and the SUVs on the dealer's lot.

On this view, the woke left in the academy and the media is a frantic effort to keep the old system going, and the more it seems like Trump is winning the more frantic the woke left gets.

Or what about the House Judiciary Committee hearings yesterday on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism." Huh? What is all this about? Maybe, as the Zman suggests, it is just
that our political class is simply consumed with rage to the point where they are defined by it. Who they are is entirely dependent upon how much they hate heritage America and native stock Americans.
There is the notion that, ever since World War II, the western elite has been obsessed with a "never again" attitude towards Nationalism. Because Hitler. And now the whole anti-nationalism culture is starting to break up. There is, after all, a "the Russians are coming" aspect to the ruling class marginalization of nationalism, as in "the fascists are coming." Really, you mean like those tiki-torch bearers of Charlottesville? The horror of peaceful protest Walmart-style?

Look, all politics is based on some version of "the Russians are coming." It might be "the capitalists are coming" if you are trying to scare the pants off the workers. It might be "the patriarchs are coming" if you are trying to scare the pants of women. It might be "the lynchers are coming" if you are trying to scare the pants off blacks.

The problem for our ruling class is that Trump has opened a pretty useful front with his Make America Great Again, where he is doing quite a good job of scaring the pants of us deplorables with "the illegals are coming," not to mention "the Chinese are coming" to take our jobs.

Hey what's yer problem ruling class? You've had a pretty good run with "the capitalists are coming" and "the racists are coming" and "the sexists are coming" and "the homophobes are coming." You think your game is going to last forever?

The point about all these political memes is "if it takes." If it takes, then you get to win the election and pass out the goodies to your supporters. If it doesn't take, then it is time for you to think again, and find some other meme to scare the pants off the voters.

But you can imagine that any ruling would get into a fine old rage when the good old memes don't seem to be working any more. How dare the peasants do a thing like that!

I always like to use the World War I notion of the next Big Push. That's how they represented the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele. Quite so, chaps. Only they were bloody useless and stupid, the products of minds without a strategic vision. And they killed off a generation of young men. Anyway, what on Earth were the European nations doing having a Great War?  To do what, exactly?

Yeah. So these days our ruling class is obsessed with another Big Push to stamp out White Nationalism, or Hate Speech, or whatever. Because they don't have any better ideas.

But what, dear leaders, does White Nationalism and Hate Speech have to do with the concerns of the average person, who is probably more interested in jobs, the price of health care, and the ruinous cost of college?

Nothing, but politicians gotta politick, and what the ruling class has succeeded in doing, over the last century, has been dividing people first by class and then by race and gender.

Obviously that works until it doesn't work.

As I say, humans are tribal, and so politics is all about which tribes we are going to be this week. Tribes can be anything: nations, families, races, religions, language speakers. The only question is which tribal notion is going to win the election this week.

Now I would love a world in which there is no left left in the US. But, I have to say, there is no telling if the replacement will make me yearn for the good old days when lefties ranged across the Earth like the dear old dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs seem pretty cute to us moderns; but I wonder what life was like with those chaps romping around needlessly. It might very well have been nasty, brutish, and short.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

You Want Conspiracy?

In a recent piece Victor Davis Hanson went through all the anti-Trump plots of the deep state -- "All the Progressive Plotters." So I think I should list them. Because. Because I want to get them straight in my mind.

  1. "Green Party candidate Jill Stein... sued in three states to recount votes and thereby overturn Donald Trump’s victory in the Electoral College."
  2. "B-list Hollywood celebrities mobilized... to shame electors in Trump-won states into not voting for the president-elect during the official Electoral College balloting in December 2016."
  3. "[M]ore than 60 Democratic House members voted to bring up Trump’s impeachment for vote. Trump had only been in office a few weeks."
  4. "[C]elebrities and politicians hit social media and the airwaves to so demonize Trump that culturally it would become taboo even to voice prior support for the elected president.
  5. "[D]uring the president’s first year in office, the Democrats and the media at various times sought to invoke the 25th Amendment, claiming Trump was so mentally or physically impaired that he was not able to carry out the duties of president. "
  6. "200 congressional Democrats in late 2018 sued in federal court to remove President Trump, claiming he had violated the esoteric Emoluments Clause of the Constitution."
  7. "[T]he ongoing “Resistance” both covertly and overtly sought ways to retard or destroy the Trump presidency—often by leaking presidential memos, conversations, and phone calls."
  8. "Michael Avenatti reintroduced pornographic film star Stormy Daniels to the public [because] supposedly improper and now invalid non-disclosure agreement."
  9. "[F]ederal law enforcement officials stormed the offices of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, in search of incriminating materials."
  10. "Russian collusion hysteria continued to sweep the country. The moribund phony Steele dossier... was reignited by the media and progressive politicos after the firing of FBI director James Comey,"
  11. "[C]ongressional committees and the left-wing mob next went after William Barr, Trump’s “hand-picked” attorney general... Barr’s crime was that he had followed the law to the letter."
  12. "[C]ongressional committees mobilized to sue and force Trump to release at least six years of his private income tax records, elements of which already in bits and pieces had been leaked."
Just sayin'. Of course, Hanson leaves out Brennan's use of the intelligence community to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016. Never mind, we will get back to that in good time.

Perhaps this little item tells us something about the whole procedure. That Donald Trump is now a survivor. He has been through political hell and lived to tell the tale. Dov Fischer, in The American Spectator told, back in January of his own experience as a survivor after three years of being attacked as a rabbi.
That vicious and despicable experience was so jarring, so disruptive to my core, my soul, and my essence — and also to my wife and my still-innocent then-adolescent son, both of whom personally were subjected directly to behavior that only G-d could punish — that I have not been the same person since... In short, the persecution and sustained three years of public efforts to destroy me — even to ruin my family — actually resulted in the opposite: they liberated me, and they persuaded me that there is no compromise with evil.
Then he goes on to list three other survivors: Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Donald Trump. As he says, after you have been through an experience like that, and are now a survivor, you learn to say about your tormentors: To heck with you.

And there is also the lesson of Crane Brinton's Anatomy of Revolution. He describes the typical arc of a political/cultural revolution, from extravagant hope, to disappointment, to enraged determination in a reign of terror and virtue, to the dénouement in a "Thermidorean Reaction."

The reaction comes, he asserts, because you cannot keep everyone living at fever pitch forever. At some point the vast majority of people just want to get back to normal life: wiving and thriving and all that. That is something that the committed activist -- Puritan, Jacobin, Bolshevik, intersectionalist -- does not understand.

Just sayin'.