Friday, June 28, 2019

Hey Financial CEOs! You Gotta Problem!

I am in the process of winding down my Chase Amazon Visa Card account. Because Chase decided to bow to the lefty activists that want to deplatform right-wing groups and even cut them off from the financial system. Because hate.

And of course, the easiest thing to do for the financial giants like J.P. Morgan Chase is to appease the lefty activists and beat up on some marginal right-wing group that nobody ever heard of before.

Now the lefties want MasterCard to do the same, demanding that it "put hate groups out of business."

So we can see where this is going. If one lefty activist group can "advocate" for Chase to put some haters out of business and another lefty activist group can "advocate" for MasterCard to put other hate groups out of business, pretty soon everyone to the right of Kamala Harris will have their financial accounts canceled and serve them right, eh, CEOs?

So I reckon that you chaps need to get together and form a committee to deal with this lefty movement. Because the particular right-wing groups are not the point. The point is that if you are a lefty activist the whole point of your existence, your hope for a spot in lefty paradise when the arc of history has finally bent towards justice, is to find some issue, any issue, upon which to advocate and then get out there and advocate.

Really, I don't know why you financial chaps are truckling to the lefty activists. They are not your friends! But ordinary Americans like me are your friends, if only you had the wit to see it. We understand that you financial chaps are caught in a political net, that, ever since the Dutch invented central banking -- hey, look it up -- the financial system has been plugged into government, its government debt, and its ability to be the "lender of last resort" in a financial panic.

So you guys have got used to bending to the political winds. It's inevitable given that modern governments all sit astride the financial system and exploit it to the max.

But sooner or later you are going to have to formulate a strategy to deal with the lefty groups that want you to annihilate the "haters." As I say, it's not really about the haters; it's about the activists' need to have an issue to advocate on and issue non-negotiable demands, and fill the Twitter-waves with frightful threats.

So here is my plan. It's really pretty simple. When any lefty activist group agitates for some "hate group" to be closed out of the financial system I suggest that you chaps get right in there and close the accounts of the lefty activist group.

After all, anyone that accuses someone else of being a "hater" is almost certain to be a "hater" themselves. Better to be safe.

You can make a simple point to justify your action. You can say that "anyone that wants to cut someone off from participating in the financial system is the kind of person that we, at Main Street Bank, do not want to do business with."

Otherwise the lefty groups will see that they are onto a good thing, and, guess what, they will escalate their demands.

Why, I wouldn't be surprised if next week they decide that the eevil Koch Brothers need to be cut off from the financial system.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Problem of Non-Profits and Risk

For some time I have been worrited about non-profits. It goes like this.

A proper actor in the market economy is owned by someone. For a mom-and-pop business it is the owner/manager. For a corporation it is the stockholders. For the government it is the bondholders and the people.

But what about a non-profit? Answer: nobody. OK, there's a Director, or some such. But he is just the manager.

This is important because in all economic transactions someone has to pick up the risk of everything going wrong. Or, more prosaically, someone has to pick up the losses, if there are any.

But a non-profit doesn't have anyone that picks up the profits or the losses. Except the institution itself.

So, imagine a non-profit institution that goes broke, like a university once the current education bubble has popped. Who picks up the losses?

The answer is pretty simple: it is the holders of the debt.

But wait! Debt is supposed to be covered by collateral. That is how debt works: you pledge collateral to guarantee that the debt will be repaid. The problem in, e.g., a financial panic, is that it turns out that the collateralized debt isn't fully collateralized, and as a consequence all the financial actors "lose confidence" in certain distressed financial institutions, and if the "lender of last resort" doesn't step in the whole economy goes down the toilet.

But obviously, someone must be responsible for the losses at any institution, whether a profit-seeking corporation, a non-profit foundation, or a government. In the corporation the stockholders are responsible for losses; in government the taxpayers and bondholders and bank-balances of ordinary citizens are responsible. And that is to say nothing of the holders of hyper-inflated cash. But what about the non-profit? Nobody. Unless you count the banks that loaned it money. But remember, the loans are supposed to be collateralized.

The other day I found out how it works. Non-profits have endowments. If they have a surplus, it goes into the endowment. If they happen to own a building and sell it for a big profit, the profit goes into the endowment. And if the non-profit has losses, the losses come out of the endowment.

Do you see that this is a Very Bad Thing? In a profit-seeking capitalist corporation the capital is the value of the stock: the present value of all future revenue from the corporation, as currently valued by the players in the market. It is not a pile of cash, or bonds or stocks in some other enterprise. The "savings" of the corporation is the very value of the corporation to the rest of the world.

But a non-profit just has a pile of cash. How much?
As of fiscal year 2015, there was some $547 billion tied up in university endowments in the United States. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton alone accounted for $86 billion of that figure.
The universities of the United States have over half a trillion dollars in endowments. And is that endowment contributing to the university? Is is the very sinew of the university? No. It is just a pile of just-in-case cash: money in a mattress. And it is sterile capital.

If I had my druthers I would make all non-profit institutions illegal. I would say that all institutions must be owned by someone, or some group, and that someone and that group should fully understand that they have signed up for the risk proposition connected with the institution.

And I would certainly forbid governments to engage in business.

Here's an idea. We could pass a law to mandate that all college administrators and tenured professors should own the equity in the university they serve. That way they would not just be interested in getting their share of the loot, as at present, but in the long-term welfare of the university.

You would know what a good idea this was by the absolute outcry from all university professors and administrators if this idea were ever proposed in the halls of Congress.

But sooner or later we are going to have to confront this issue: that in any organization, someone has to own the losses.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Both Dennis Prager and Vox Day are Wrong on Nationalism

Dennis Prager has a piece this week on good nationalism vs. bad nationalism. He starts with two dictionary definitions from Webster. Good nationalism:
[L]oyalty and devotion to a nation.
Bad nationalism:
[A] sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.
He goes on to say:
Nationalism is beautiful when it involves commitment to an essentially decent nation and when it welcomes other people’s commitment to their nations. Nationalism is evil when it is used to celebrate an evil regime, when it celebrates a nation as inherently superior to all others and when it denigrates all other national commitments.
Nationalism is evil when it is "conjoined" with racism, according to Dennis.

But Vox Day chimes in and says baloney:
Nationalism is, by logic, linguistics, and definition, a subset of racism because nation is a subset of race. 
And you better get used to it.

Well, I think they are both wrong.

Nationalism is the ideology, the "narrative," put together by the victor's tame intellectuals after a nation-creating war.

Let's take France. It 1000 it was a collection of princedoms, including Normandy, Flanders, Languedoc. Oh and the Ile de France, where the Capetians ruled. But the Capetians managed to dominate the other princes and force them into a kingdom of France. The language of Ile de France developed into what we would call "French." The Capetians and their successors the Valois achieved "absolute sovereignty over France in the 16th century." Says La Wik.

So when Charles de Gaulle wrote about his "certain idea of France"
Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France
Where do you think he got his "certain idea" from? The dictionary?

The same thing happened elsewhere in Europe during the early modern period. Dominant princes upped their game and made their lands into the kingdoms that today we call "nations."

The only guys that missed out were the Germans that didn't form a "nation" until Bismarck bashed them together in three wars from 1862 to 1870.

The US? The various Brit colonies rebelled against the Brits and then called ourselves a nation. Then we got together and started to write a narrative about the United States. But everyone understood that the war of liberation was the thing. Veterans of the Revolutionary War would forever after be called by their rank during the war, as in "Colo." Hamilton. Same thing happened after the Civil War. President McKinley was always "Major" McKinley to his buddies.

But, in my view, once the war of conquest or liberation is won, then ordinary politics takes over and various political actors start to divide the nation according to their own vision of a road to power. There is obviously a tendency for this division to end up in a civil war, as it did in the US in 1861. Or, you can unite the nation and do a war in Europe, as the US did in 1917, or in the Pacific, as the US did in 1941, and unify the country around your war. But after the war, the wartime unity starts to fade. So, with the end of the Cold War in 1990, we Yanks could afford to divide into two camps and start beating each other up.

The only way to avoid this division, I would say, is to have an overarching national ideology that beats competing ideologies into submission. For a while. Thus in the 1930s the Dems beat the GOP into submission with their New Deal ideology. After World War II, the McCarthy era had the Dems on the back foot for a while until they managed to make Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) into a scapegoat. But the escalation of the Cold War kinda meant that we had to unify to "contain" the Soviets before they contained us. Vietnam started as a unified effort to contain the Commies until the Dems figured out how to rile up college students against going to Vietnam as cannon fodder. 9/11 was a unifying moment for a year until the Dems figured it was safe to be anti-war again.

Is Trumpian Make America Great nationalism good or bad? You tell me.

Is politically correct Diversity and Inclusion good or bad? You tell me.

But the point of both Trumpian nationalism and Diversity and Inclusion of the Coalition of the Fringes is to unit Our supporters into a victorious political movement and to marginalize and deplatform Their people as contemptible bullies and deplorables.

So there is always a two-way struggle going on during normal times, between rivals jockeying for power. Who will define "who we are?"

But when there is an external threat, real or imagined, and our leaders manage to persuade us of the existential threat, then we all come together in national unity.

Yes, but what about the real baddies? What about Hitler's Nazis and Mussolini's Fascists?

Well, here's a little insight into Mussolini and the Fascists. Here's how Mussolini got his Fascists going. It was a pathetic rally right after World War I:
It was a ragbag of a gathering. On Sunday morning, March 23, [1919,] Mussolini addressed a group of perhaps 120 men and several women: dispirited socialists, ex-soldiers, futurists, anarchists, and other unclassifiable revolutionaries. What united them, among other things, was a belief that Italy’s horrific sacrifice for the Allied cause in the Great War — over 650,000 killed and 950,000 wounded — demanded national regeneration. She must not be denied the spoils of war: no vittoria mutilata, or mutilated victory.
In other words, Italy was a mess, and chaps like Mussolini determined to do something about it.

Same thing in Germany, with the hyperinflation of 1918-23 and then the debacle of the US Crash of 1929 in which the newly-minted bureaucrats of the Federal Reserve failed to act as "lender of last resort." What are you going to do when the whole place is falling apart?

My point is that Hitler is the idiot you get when the usual idiots have screwed up. Like our mammalian pals, the rats, we humans understand that when we are cornered, then it's Do or Die. When you are about to be killed, then you can either lie down and bare your neck for the descending scimitar, or you can gather your buddies together on Flight 93 and say "let's roll."

My point is that saying that this or that political narrative is good or bad misses the point. The point in practical politics is whatever works. After the event then the myth-making can begin, creating heroes out of the honored dead or vile monsters out of the defeated foe.

So, if you want history to be kind to you, then, like Churchill after World War II, you need to write it yourself. If you have the chops. Then the whole question of "good" nationalism or "bad" nationalism or this race or that race is beside the point.

You win; you write the history: our guys good, their guys bad. Then, you ask: Any questions?

I thought not.

And "race" is beside the point. Race just means "our guys."

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Three Peoples: Table of Contents

The Three Peoples, a Reductive Theory of Modern Humanity

Table of Contents:

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

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

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

4. Finding Yourself "Outside the System"

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

6. Is it the Sixties Again?

7. There is a Reason Why the Left is Always Attacking Middle-Class Values

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

9. Tribe vs. City: Which Will Win?

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

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

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

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

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

15. SOTU: Trump Celebrates Middle America
But not a word to the educated elite.

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

17. The Three Forms of Social Control

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

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

20. On Failing to Rewrite my "Three Peoples" in the Light of Lefty "Privilege" Notions

21. Meaning and the Three Peoples
The different meanings of meaning.

22. The Dilemma of the Well-born Human
How to rise above the herd.

23. The Three Peoples and Power
How the Three Peoples in different ways understand and interact with power.

24. No Critical Theorists, Creativity is not the Only Thing
Creativity is built on top of bourgeois responsibility, not in opposition to it.

25. The Trouble is that Yellow Vests are Already Toast

26. Why I Think Jordan Peterson is Important
He is saying what I am saying, only better.

27. Let Us Imagine a New Culture

28. Now the Psychologists Come Out Against Traditional Masculinity
My Three Peoples theory is not as reductive as lefty psychologists.

29. To What Do the Three Peoples Subordinate Themselves?
To Earthly lord, divine Lord, and the creative process.

30. Why Don't We Normals Have Anti-Left Pejoratives?
It would be nice, but it's not who we are.

31. My Three Peoples vs. the Left's Three Peoples
Lefties turn the Three Peoples upside down.

32. Let's Apply Three Peoples to This Week's Issues
Such as Covington Kids and Medicare For All

33. Three Peoples: There is No One True Faith
Because the People of the Creative Self should be tolerant

34. Government: Is Plunder All There Is?
The poverty of a regime that is only interested in power

35. The Problem of Creative People and Power
Too many people want to get the creative rush from political power.

36. Free Spirit vs. Fettered Spirit
Updating Nietzsche's notion for the 21st century

37. Searching for a New Religion: Leftism, Feminism, Wokeness, etc.

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

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

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

41. Lefties: Getting the Hero's Journey Upside Down
Where the lefties get to the Promised Land and the deplorables get sacrificed

42. What the Three Peoples Want From Society
Hey, they want society to make them meaningful

43. Reich: Three Consciousnesses is Not Enough
"Greening of America" guy leaves out the consciousness of the subordinates

Amazon and Google Don't Have a Clue

Yes. I know that we deplorables are right to be outraged at the Google Girl coming right out and saying what we already know. That Google knowingly and with malice aforethought is discriminating against anything that isn't right on with the woke agenda.

And it's hardly surprising that when Justin Danhof, General Counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, went to the Amazon general meeting to complain about anti-conservative discrimination in, e.g., their Amazon Smile program, the assembled lefties
booed and heckled me throughout my presentation. After my proposal, a representative from Arjuna Capital suggested that I was there to “protect white males.” Then, after the meeting, a representative from the Nathan Cummings Foundation tracked me down to suggest I should get going so I wouldn’t be late for my “next Klan meeting or book burning.” This is the guy who introduced a shareholder proposal calling on Amazon to ban content!
But I think that we need to understand that we are not facing a deep and dark conspiracy here. We are just talking about Good Little Girls and Good Little Boys in the top 20 percent -- the ruling class, for short -- that are reciting the lessons they were carefully taught.

The thing about ruling classes and their minions is that, a short time after the revolution that got them into power, they start to get out of touch with reality. They start to believe their own lies. And, of course, because they have political power they, almost without thinking, write law on law, regulation on regulation that fluffs their nest and fouls the nest of millions of others.

A prime example is the higher education system. Yeah, it seemed like a noble idea to expand higher education after World War II. But it sure gave a lot of liberals jobs. It seemed like a just thing to introduce student debt so poorer kids could afford to go to school. But it seems to have ended up creating a lot of jobs for women administrators -- scions of the ruling class and indentured servitude for millions of student debtors.

So the ruling class is thunderstruck when a Trump arises and mobilizes the folks that have been ignored by the ruling class for decades. And the truth of their surprise is the resort to the conspiracy theory of Russian collusion. This from the guys that have been dining out on McCarthyism for decades!

I got to read a piece on China and its wall-to-wall war on the least peep of political opposition. What I wonder is: what does the Chinese ruling class think it is doing?

Well, I know. They are politicians, rulers. And all people like that think about is staying in power, and doing whack-a-mole on any opposition.

Just like the Democrats who can't deal with the eevil Republicans winning ordinary change elections.

Actually, that was the idea of the separation of church and state. So that when you lost an election you didn't think it was the end of your belief system. But our liberal friends have built a political culture where their religious beliefs -- bending the arc of history towards justice -- are completely entangled with the ordinary governmental job of protecting people from the baddies.

The eternal problem of the elite is evoked in this piece on "What hope for America's deplorables?"
The great calamity of poverty in modern America is not the material distance between the comfortable and the struggling. It is the social, the spiritual distance – and the fact that the upper middle classes (to use the British terminology) have stolen everything – all the stuff that’s nice and all the ladders to get to it.
But one thing more. The "upper middle classes" have no idea what they have done to the ordinary deplorables from the "unanticipated consequences" of their brilliant ideas to bend the arc of history towards justice.

That's why I say that "there is no such thing as justice, only injustice." The idea is to tell the ruling class that all its ideas about justice tend not to deal with who gets accidentally hit in the solar plexus by its brilliant forced march to justice and equality.

My big thing is to ask the question. Suppose there is a problem with your brilliant idea for universal justice, or whatever? How does the system respond to this?

Because my belief is that government -- any government -- is uniquely incapable of responding to injustice, short of revolution. That's because the whole point of government is to make war on the baddies. And the ruling class, not the market or the people or the local notables, gets to define the baddies.

I would say that the nature of a ruling class is that it defines the "baddies" not as evil people but as the people threatening their power. Or rather: evil people are defined as people threatening ruling-class power. Of course.

So a ruling class is never going to deal with the problem of injustice. Just threats to its power.

And that is what we see with the Trump Russia thing, with the carefully taught top 20 percent in the Google and Amazon bureaucracies, with the Chinese Communist Party.

The only thing they understand is power and threats to their power.

Mind you, there is another side to this. And that is the folks that sign on to be supporters of the ruling class in exchange for loot and plunder. I always say that the supporters of a ruling class are like soldiers in an army. At some point, when the ruling class gets into a bind because second raters that don't have a clue have ascended to power, you will be left by the side of the road during the retreat. To die if you are lucky, or more likely to be killed.

So the deplorables are the walking wounded of the working class that once was the love of the ruling class's life. So watch out blacks, women, and sexual minorities. You are next to be left on the side of the road. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Reich: Three Consciousnesses is Not Enough

Well, so now Charles A. Reich, who enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame in 1970 with his Sixties manifesto The Greening of America recently passed on. Roger Kimball has a long piece about him at American Greatness.

What caught my attention was Reich's notion of the Three Consciousnesses, as follows, from La Wik:
Consciousness I applies to the typical values and opinions of rural farmers and small businesspeople which dominated society in 19th century America. 
Consciousness II represents a viewpoint of "an organizational society", featuring meritocracy and improvement through various large institutions, the ethos of the New Deal, World War II and the 1950s Silent Generation. 
Consciousness III represents the worldview of the 1960s counterculture, focusing on personal freedom, egalitarianism, and recreational drugs.
OK. So Consciousness I is the bourgeois ethos; Consciousness II is the educated ruling class ethos of socialism and the administrative state; Consciousness III is the ethos of creative artists and activists and stuff, the vision that our liberal friends have of themselves.

Do you see what is missing? Call it "Consciousness 0," except that I don't think there is a zero in Roman numerals. It's the consciousness of the People of the Subordinate Self, people who nestle up to a powerful leader -- in Consciousness II -- and surrender themselves as foot-soldiers in his power project.

But really, I find Reich's notion interesting, because of what it tells us about our liberal friends. It tells us that a gay professor like Reich knows that the welfare state is not the last word in human evolution. Who knew?

However, you will notice that our liberal friends have not proposed any reform of the liberal administrative welfare state they have built. So even though all evolved people have moved on to the creative project of Consciousness III they still need the structures of Consciousness II. And you can see why. Our liberal friends obtain their political power and the resources for their creative projects by staffing the bureaucratic slots of Consciousness II, keeping the peasants -- of Consciousness 0 that does not even exist in the world of the Three Consciousness slots! -- enslaved to entitlement programs and whacking deplorable racist sexist homophobes from their fire-bases in corporate HR. They must keep the sub-human rubes under control even as they explore the cosmos of intersectionality and creativity from their safe spaces.

Also, Reich leaves out what we might call Consciousness IV, which is the label I would put on the German notions from Nietzsche, Freud, and Jung, the understanding that consciousness is only a pimple stuck on the vast unknown of the unconsciousness, and that "personal freedom, egalitarianism, and recreational drugs" are a wet and adolescent first attempt at the Hero's Journey into the unconscious in which terrible monsters are experienced, and from which the creative person does not necessarily return. And only when the Hero has passed his trials in the underworld does he return as the Sacrificial Hero that has acquired the wisdom that empowers him to guide those left behind on the terrible border between Order and Chaos upon which he is called to sacrifice himself, to die so that others may live.

You can see that Reich's hot mess is nothing compared to the glorious vision afforded for the adepts of my Three Peoples notion. Let us express it in a way close to his own Three Consciousnesses notion.

Subordinate Consciousness applies to the dawning self-consciousness expressed in a felt lack of agency in the slave, the serf, the worker, the employee in a big bureaucracy. Their reality is the subordination to the will of the overlord who makes all the decisions and who we would say shamelessly exploits and sacrifices the subordinate in the pursuit of his power project.

Responsible Consciousness represents the viewpoint of people that experience themselves as responsible, usually to God, for the actions of their lives. The idea is to conform one's life not to the power of an earthly lord who eventually betrays those that follow him, but to a heavenly lord who a dispenses a perfect heavenly justice. These people are self-conscious as responsible agents before God.

Creative Consciousness represents the viewpoint of people that have come to believe tht it is not enough just to live a responsible life, but that humans are called to create, to be, in the words of Nietzsche, a free spirit. But, the creative realizes, the creative life is not a walk in the park with an occasional blast from a mind-altering drug, but a terrifying journey into the unexplored land of the unconscious, and the frightful temptations and monsters therein. Nor does the journey end with prizes and encomiums and "good jobs" and all, but with the sacrifice of which the Passion of Christ is the model. In fact, the sign that the hero is a false hero is that his life is a power project of self-worship rather than the equivocal fate of the Sacrificial Hero or the Scapegoat.

You can see the Big Problem with our liberal friends. Their project always ends up as self-worship, demanding that the world genuflect before their wonderfulness.

Sorry, dear liberals. The meaning of life, the universe, and everything is not like that at all.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Yeah, Let's Talk About Reparations, Concentration Camps, etc.

The problem with our lefty friends is that they don't really want to have what they call a "conversation." Their idea of conversation is the deployment of catchphrases by activists in ideological combat: words as weapons.

Let's take slavery and reparations. First, slavery.

Slavery was ubiquitious in human society up until the day before yesterday. Ancient Greeks? Slavery. Romans? Slavery. A thousand years ago in Europe? Here are a few words from The Year 1000 by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger.
Welleas, or Welshman, was one of the Old English words for slave -- which showed where the Anglo Saxons got their slaves... Bristol was a slave port, trading with the Viking slave merchants based in Ireland. According to contemporary chronicles, eleventh-century Dublin operated the largest slave market in western Europe.

People also surrendered themselves into bondage at times of famine and distress... [I]n the year 1000 the starving man had no other resort but to kneel before his lord or lady and place his head in their hands... It was a basic transaction -- heads for food.
And, of course, plantation slavery started right after the Crusades when western Europeans learned about sugar cane from their Muslim enemies. The first slave sugar plantations were established on Cyprus, were financed by Venetian merchants, and used local serfs and Muslim slaves as labor. I should say western capitalistic slave plantations. It was the beginning of a big business that spread westward to the Islas Canarias and then to South America. The Brits got involved in 1640 when they learned the business from the Dutch and set up slave plantations in Barbados.

And then, sometime in the 18th century, slave plantations started to become a scandal. Why? My take is: partly the populist moralism of the Great Awakening, and partly upper-class resentment of the new slave barons -- think the Bertrams of Mansfield Park -- that were building obscene mansions and pushing their way into the Brit Parliament. Also, I suspect, there is this. Slaves have to be guarded and disciplined with the cow-hide whip -- and fed, and housed. But free labor just has to be paid: must less bother. And, lefty politicians have been glad to take the workers off the hands of the ca-pittle-ists and make them into neo-serfs and neo-slaves in the great plantation -- or concentration camp -- of the welfare state. And then the biggest reason of all. With free labor the ca-pittle-ists make more money than with slave labor. Who knew?

What about reparations? Old as the hills. Back in the day, of course, the whole point of "conquest warfare" was loot and plunder. Reparations was the plundering of a defeated people. And it makes sense because back in the day wealth was equal to land and to grain stores and livestock. So the Vikings would visit the Brits every fall, sail up the rivers, take the grain, kill the men and transport the women and children to the slave market in Dublin. That'll teach 'em.

My take is that loot and plunder -- the noble and woke civilized looting operations of the big government welfare state excepted -- has only become scandalous because it does not pay in the modern world where something like 80 percent of wealth or capital is "intangible" capital, the kind that resides between human ears. And I predict that the days of the welfare state are numbered because it does not pay. Much better to have the workers save for their own retirement and health care. They will work a lot harder than when retirement and health care are managed neo-feudal style in entitlement programs run by the educated ruling class.

That's another reason why concentration camps are probably on their way out. (Modern concentration camps were invented by the Brits, by the way, in the Boer War in South Africa. They were not concentrating the innocent Bantu warriors of Shaka the Zulu, by the way, but the Dutch Boers, who were conducting a guerrilla war against the armies of Britland.) Just look at the absolute waste of the Nazi concentration/labor/death camps. I'd say that if you were conducting a global war for Lebensraum you would want to mobilize everyone in the glorious Reich to produce the sinews of war. And that means mobilize their minds. And who has sharper minds than the Jews? And let us not forget the labor/death camps of the Bolsheviks: the Gulag Archipelago; the White Sea Canal; the Kolyma goldfields.

Sorry, Mao ZeDong and Pol Pot. I didn't mean to insult you guys. You chaps had slavery and concentration camps that were tops. And your famines were the best. Made those white supremacists in Europe and North America look like pikers.

My point is that slavery and concentration camps and piles of skulls are as human as apple pie. The astonishing thing is that we moderns, for all our follies and faults, have come to think of slavery and concentration camps and Trails of Tears as scandalous.

But I do not think our modern ideas indicate a more advanced morality. Not at all. I just think that we are stumbling towards a realization that loot and plunder and slaves and camps are brutally inefficient ways for the ruling class to get rich off the labor of their deplorable subjects. Much better to let creative minds loose and turn responsible wage-earners to their jobs. And just tax 'em at the rate approved by Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Art Laffer according to his eponymous curve.

And then everyone will live happily ever after.

Reparations? I agree with Ryan Bomberger, who identifies as half-white half-black. Let the Democratic Party pay for reparations. They, after all, were the party of slavery, of Jim Crow, of the KKK, of Bull Connor, of the neo-slavery of the welfare state. Let the enthusiasts of the Great Awokening pay reparations, and save their activist souls.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Is Running Against Hillary a Mistake?

In President Trump's maga-rally in Orlando, Florida, announcing his candidacy for President of the United States in 2020, he took out after Hillary Clinton. And the usual suspect among the Democratic operatives with by-lines all took out after this as fighting yesterday's war. Hey, Mr. President, they tweeted, you want to redo 2016? Big mistake!

Maybe it's a good thing that our Democratic friends are finally ready to stop re-fighting the 2016 war

Maybe the critics have a point. Maybe it is time to put the whole Trump-Russia-Hillary-emails to bed and concentrate on The Issues. You remember them.

But obviously, I reckon, the Trump campaign has taken a strategic decision to be prosecuting deep state actors in the "intelligence community" all next year. I suppose the reason is to rally the faithful on the one hand, and to demoralize the Impeach Trump folks on the left.

After all, if the Trump administration is prosecuting bad actors in the intelligence community that spied on a presidential campaign, isn't that "draining the swamp?" Doesn't that mean that Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do in his 2016 campaign? And isn't that smart politics?

Look I don't know which end is up, but I suspect that having malfeasance of high government officials in the news during 2020 tells ordinary Americans what they want to hear, that someone is doing something about corrupt government officials. And I suspect that ii also insistently pricks the liberal bubble that our lefty friends have been living in over at MSNBC & Co. for the last two years and more. And it tells them something that they desperately do not want to hear, that their party is the most corrupt entity since Boss Tweed.

But whatabout our friends the "educated suburban women" that are definitely not Trump fans? Would they get turned off by trials and accusations? Well, maybe we can do something about them. I suggest that Trump enlist a corps of women to run around the world of suburban women repeating the refrain "I Can't Believe That Hillary/Brennan/Clapper/Comey/McCabe Said/Did That!" Everywhere. All the time. On TV. On social media.

That's the way you communicate to women. You inject yourself into their Culture of Complaint and let 'er rip!

Or, at least, that's what I think. I could, of course, be completely wrong.

For instance, the whole election could turn on whether or not it is a Bad Thing that Joe Biden once actually talked to a racist Democratic Senator from the racist South.

But then that might be a good thing if we can lay the "raciss" canard to rest. Along with literally Hitler.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Choose the Form of the Destructor

I don't really know what "choose the form of your destructor" means. I didn't even know it came from Ghostbusters till I looked it up.

But I am going to assume that it means that the very thing you set up to make yourself safe is the very thing that destroys you. As in:

Labor Unions. Yeah, pal. Labor unions are supposed to protect the workers from their rapscallionly employers. Only the trouble is that labor unions tend to raise the workers' wages above the market rate, and encourage the workers to concede nothing to their rapscallionly employers. So that one day the labor union has priced the workers out of the market and the corporation they work for collapses into bacnkruptcy. And the fact is that when there is a big downturn in the economy, everyone has to take a haircut: workers, ca-pittle-ists, widows, and orphans.

Liberal Arts Colleges. There was Bernie's wife's college, Burlington College, that went bupkis over some land deal or something. Because Jane Sanders, probably, is an idiot that don't know nothing. And then there was Newbury College of Brookline, Mass. The girl journalist Alia Wong writing in The Atlantic about the closure spent half the article talking about girl stuff like the "grieving process after hearing the news that went from shock to panic, curiosity to nostalgia, heartbreak to acceptance". And the college president talks about what he might have done to avoid bankruptcy. But hey, stuff happens. There is no "but critics say" paragraph about what the administration coulda woulda shoulda done. And why it should go to jail, like Trump.

Public High Schools. You've heard all about the shocking racism at New York City's specialized high schools where you have to pass a white supremacist test to get in. Did you know, writes Walter Williams, that
Dr. Thomas Sowell provides some interesting statistics about Stuyvesant High School in his book "Wealth, Poverty and Politics." He reports that, "In 1938, the proportion of blacks attending Stuyvesant High School, a specialized school, was almost as high as the proportion of blacks in the population of New York City." Since then, it has spiraled downward. In 1979, blacks were 12.9% of students at Stuyvesant, falling to 4.8% in 1995. By 2012, The New York Times reported that blacks were 1.2% of the student body.
No, Dr. Williams, I didn't know that. But I think it is probably close to the crime of the century that black educational performance has taken such a plunge. But hey, what can you do in the face of all those Tiger Mommed Asian kids? Who knew that those kids would ace the tests designed by white supremacists to racially institutionalize white supremacy? Yeah. Blend in a little government force, lefties; that should do it.

SJW Social Media. So social media SJWs are busily deplatorming anodyne conservatives, because hate speech, or something. And my usgovernmentspending.com organic search traffic from Google fell by 50 percent on April 2 when Google, presumably, changed the rules. Hey, Sergey, how yer doin', pal! It's too early to say what will actually precipitate out of all this. But I suspect that the result will be far different from what the SJW and ruling-class conventional wisdom thinks.

Welfare State. Yeah, we are all about helping the people. And we need Medicare-for-all, and free college for all, and Green New Deal, and justice for refugees and migrants, and all. Because Scandinavian countries. Except that did you know that the Scandi countries have been privatizing their state pensions plans, and education, and are now privatizing their health care? Who knew? Because, you see, if you really care about The People then you are going to make sure that there is actually a system around in 15 years to deliver the sacred benefits, and not just close up one day because, oh well, stuff happens.

Some of our Democratic friends like to rail at Republicans for failing to raise taxes to fund the welfare state. They get it wrong, because it is Democratic voters that depend of the welfare state. It is Democratic politicians that should be obsessively reforming and repairing the great monuments of the welfare state. But they aren't, because there are no votes in reform and repair; there are only votes in more free stuff.

And that means that one day the whole thing will collapse, and, to coin a phrase, it will be women and minorities hardest hurt. Because it is women and minorities that actually believe the promises that politicians make to get their vote.

The whole point of limited government is to limit the damage that politicians and their bribed apologists can do, and to try and have a cultural and political and economic system that is self-repairing.

But you knew that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What the Three Peoples Want from Society

The problem for our modern society is that we have three distinct kinds of people living around us, and many of those people are not "us" but "them." When we are confronted by the fact that other people are different and want different things out of life and society, we get mad.

But the beginning of wisdom is to understand why other people are different and why what they want -- and what they do not want -- makes complete sense, if you try to understand a little about what makes them tick. So let us think about what our Three Peoples -- the People of the Subordinate Self, the People of the Responsible Self, and the People of the Creative Self -- want from society and this life on Earth.

The People of the Subordinate Self, unquestionably, what someone to take charge and relieve them from the responsibility of making tough decisions -- that very likely will be wrong decisions -- in this life. But, as Georg Simmel reminds us, though people want to follow a leader they also resent the leader. So I dare say that the more you lust after a leader the more you are likely to rail against him for not providing perfection for you. No doubt people in a hierarchical organization like a big corporation or a government office choose that employment for the presumed safety. But once comfortably tucked up in bed they immediately complain if their needs are not met, and the well-deserved promotion is not obtained. And, of course, the presumed safety is often an illusion, for the safety promised by the organization lasts only so long as the subordinate remains useful to the organization's goals and timetables, and so long as the organization thrives.

Above all, I suspect, the People of the Subordinate Self want to live in a group that approximates the personal relationships of the village, where the Big Man runs things and the men know their position in the hierarchy. In such a world, a man knows who he is and where he stands among his brothers. And if he wants to change things then he has to have the courage of his fists.

The People of the Responsible Self are people that have reconciled themselves to living in the city. They understand that the only guy that's going to look after their interests is them. It is a curious thing to behold, for the main difference between the Subordinate and the Responsible is that the Responsible subordinates himself to the market and society and its norms in general rather than to a leader and his group in particular. The Responsible individual accepts responsibility for making his way in the world: choosing a job or career, a spouse, a home, to insure against the perils of life. And yet, for all that, he probably lives a pretty conventional life, accepting the norms dished out by society without question. One might very well ask: what really is the difference between life as a subordinate peasant and a responsible citizen? In the end they stand and fall by the success of the society and the group they live in.

So what is the difference? I think it is symbolized by the "get on your bike" phrase that made British politician Norman Tebbit famous and scandalized the North London luvvies.
I grew up in the 30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot; he got on his bike and looked for work and he kept looking 'til he found it.
The other version of this is "when the going gets tough the tough get going" quote attributed to football coach John Thomas of the Green Hornets. The truth is, of course, that we are all hostages to history, and there may be little each of us can do to change our lives and rise above our misfortunes. But for the People of the Responsible Self the idea that the individual has control of his fate is central to his faith.

If the People of the Subordinate Self are focused on what society should do for them, and the People of the Responsible Self are focused on what they can do for themselves, the People of the Creative Self have a different point of view. What gets them up in the morning is what society should do for them so that they can gloriously transform society with amazing creative innovation.

It's obvious. The entrepreneur wants to amaze us with his amazing startup. But without society right there as unformed clay and willing consumers, the poor chap is just mucking around in his garage. And what kind of a life is that, Steve? The activist wants to amaze us with his activism and his organization of helpless victims into a peaceful protest that will awake the conscience of the world. But unless society is a vast impersonal mass, what kind of scope does this ambitious little Hitler have to wield the power of activism in the world? The artist and writer wants to paint a picture of some imagined world that either evokes timeless verities or imagines verities waiting to be born. What would be the use of living in a little village that does not afford the genius global scope? The politician is just a village Big Man or a local yokel unless he gets to become a United States Senator and hector witnesses from on high, or run for President and direct traffic across the entire world. If you want power you have to have power over something, and the bigger the better.

Let's look at things the other way. Suppose you wanted to rile up the People of the Subordinate Self, what would you do? You would show them the man behind the curtain and show them what they don't want to know, that this world is uncertain and contingent, and the people in charge really don't know what they are doing, and will abandon them when the going gets tough.

Suppose you wanted to rile up the People of the Responsible Self, what would you do? You would force them to contribute to all kinds of government programs and take away their imagined agency. And you would criminalize their religious faith and make life difficult for voluntary organizations. And you would call them racists, sexists, and homophobes.

How to rile up the People of the Creative Self? I know! Enforce the First and Second Amendments. End government subsidies for the arts. Make activists pay for the "hate" they stir up. End government education. Make colleges personally responsible for the "mostly" part of their peaceful protests. And reduce government so that politicians are playing with nickels and dimes instead of billions and trillions.

But there is a serious side to this. The more we understand that there is a good reason why other people are different, the more we will put teeth in the notion "why don't we all just get along."

And in the end, people are people.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Lefties: Getting the Hero's Journey Upside Down

I believe, following the logic of my reductive Three Peoples theory, that the tripartite nature of our modern society requires that the elites realize that each of the Three Peoples really does live in a different world, and that the essence of wise governance is to respect that different People will want and need -- and deserve -- the right the live their lives according to their lights.

Of course if you believe, as I do, that the fundamental nature of the creative person is that they must follow the Hero's Journey, first into the underworld of the unconscious and then into the sacrificial role of exploring the boundary between Order and Chaos, between the known and the unknown, then you will understand this. The Hero is the sacrificial Christ-like figure, reprising the role of the Son, like Marduk, Horus, and Co.

The antithesis of the Sacrificial Hero is what John Ralston Saul in Voltaire's Bastards calls the Egoistic Hero. You can see what is going on here. The man that works on the border between Order and Chaos, discovering new knowledge and power, is a very dangerous person. So it is bad enough if he is a modest sort of chap. But if he has delusions of grandeur, then it is Katy bar the door.

And, if you didn't get the point, the 20th century has produced magnificent specimens of the genus Egoistic Hero, from Lenin to Stalin to Hitler to Mao and beyond.

Our problem today is that the more influential members of our ruling class, as People of the Creative Self, have institutionalized the Egoistic Hero as the best and most wonderful thing in the world, unless he is a businessman or a right-wing politician.

Creatives of all kinds: artists, writers, intellectuals, activists, politicians, gurus; these are celebrated as the highest and best of all humans and deserving prizes, accolades, pensions, and human material on which to experiment. Every youngster from an educated home dreams of a life of creativity; that is what he has been carefully taught.

But I think the opposite is true. I think that young people should be discouraged from a life of creativity. The truth is that most people should just do the right thing and live lives of wiving and thriving. The whole creativity thing just encourages people to shortchange their life on the wiving and thriving front, and this is a great social danger, because Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

You can see the result of the celebration of the creative life. People are encouraged to think contributing to the economy, finding a life partner, and having children is not all that great shakes. They are encouraged to dream up some creative sexual identity for themselves that is a lot funner than the dull routine of selecting a life partner and being true to her through thick and thin. They are encouraged to spend their twenties "finding themselves" in some yeasty urban safe space rather than getting a job.

The truth is that the creative Hero's Journey is, in great part, an anti-social path, which will probably end in failure and misery. Because many are called but few are chosen. He who descends into the underworld of the unconsciousness will probably disappear forever, mourned only by his mother. Only he who can get through the descent into the underworld and learn its lessons can hope to return to the social world and bestow on his fellows the benison of the wisdom he learned in the darkness of the underworld.

In other words: you really don't want to try out for the Hero's Journey. You have no idea what you are signing up for.

The truth, I think is contained in the notion expressed in my latest American Thinker piece:
The Jungians, guys like Jordan Peterson, say that the crux of all religion is the hero, the Christ-like figure, that sacrifices himself exploring the border between Order and Chaos, between the known and the unknown, so that the rest of us get to the Promised Land.

But our lefty creative friends think that they get to go to the Promised Land, and the deplorables get to be sacrificed.
No, no. True religion is not like that, lefties. Trouble is that, so long as you chaps live like Alice in your Wonderland, so long will millions suffer and die for your conceit and your folly. Because that is what happens when an egoistic activist organizes millions of victims and then fails to deliver, as Lenin and Stalin and Hitler and Mao and Castro and Chávez and Maduro failed to deliver.

Oh and don't forget Barack Obama. He went down to South Chicago for a year to organize the laid-off steelworkers. Only he discovered it was too hard. So he went to graduate school instead.

If you want to be an activist and save the victims; an artist to discover a whole new vision; a writer to describe a whole new world, you should understand that this is hard, much harder than you can possibly imagine.

And at the end of it you must submit to the Sacrifice and become a scapegoat. Because that is the fate of he that toils at the border between Order and Chaos, between the Known and the Unknown.

Until you understand that, you understand nothing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Oberlin: Generals Fighting the Last War

I don't think that the president and administration of Oberlin College is evil for defaming and libeling the good folks at the Gibson Bakery.

I just think they are fools and knaves. And this is a much bigger problem than we think.

Back in the day, in the Cold War, our liberal friends used to virtue-signal about "generals fighting the last war." That was in the days, if you remember, when Pentagon generals were represented in the average newspaper cartoon as cartoon figures with dark glasses, an expressionless and craggy face, and a chest full of ribbons: military robots.

Not that liberals have ever bothered to educate themselves about war and strategy or anything like that.

Anyone that has thought a minute about war would recognize that it is almost inevitable that generals would be preparing the fight the last war all over again. What else are they going to do until the next war actually starts and they find out what works and what doesn't in the new situation.

Moreover there is the bureaucratic effect, for bureaucracies are top-down entities, designed and implemented to get the poor suckers at the point of the spear to risk their lives for:-- something or other. So no bureaucracy, including an army, is going to change unless forced to by the immediate threat of defeat and disgrace.

Now, I think that in the modern world this "generals fighting the last war" applies to nothing so much as all the institutions of the left and the welfare state. If you come up with a plan for reforming anything that deviates from just spreading out more money you come up against a brick wall of opposition, from everyone. The voters don't like it because they have arranged their lives around the status quo. The politicians don't like it because the voters don't like it, and the bureaucrats don't like it because all they know is how the program works right now and they risk getting the blame if anything changes.

So I look at the women administrators at Oberlin College -- Carmen Twillie Ambar, president; Meredith Raimondo, vice-president and dean of students; etc. -- and understand exactly what is going on. These women are idiots that have acquired their positions without a clue about what in the world a college is for and, more important, what it will have to become in the future. They are just bureaucratic numbskulls that have been carefully taught in the current culture of lefty diversity and inclusion and that is all they know.

Now, because I am a sexist, I believe that women are peculiarly ill-adapted to the governance of institutions. Their culture of complaint and their instinct for manipulation are excellent for the primary function of women, which is to keep their kids alive, and for community-of-women relationships. But women very seldom have any strategic sense -- beyond the obvious one of knowing how to manipulate personal and social relationships.

So if you are a woman administrator at a college like Oberlin you really have no idea, beyond performing the rituals set forth by your liberal predecessors. Intersectionality and diversity and inclusion and safe spaces and microaggressions are the meat and drink of a good little girl that has graduated into college administration and she has no idea, and no inkling of an idea, that she has any responsibility beyond the proper observance of the Elevation of the Host during the liberal Eucharist.

When people express their pessimism about the future of America, I instinctively agree, but I also know, because I have studied it, that rulers that have inherited their thrones -- and their courtiers too -- tend to have no idea what they are doing. They go through the motions of the celebrations of pomp and majesty and they punish dissenters and rebels, but really don't understand what they are doing at a deep level.

Now I think that the founders of the left were geniuses. Marx's idea of forming a coalition between well-born rich kids and the workers was brilliant, especially since the middle class then and now is a tolerant and kindly bunch that can be persuaded to be sorry for the folks that do the dirty work and don't get much in return. And it didn't hurt that the working class was the biggest class.

It was also brilliant for the Frankfurt School to realize that the left needed new recruits as the middle class expanded and workers started movin' on up. Thus women and minorities.

But the problem is that lefty politics doesn't really do much for its clients, other than passing out loot taken from the middle class. It is really cool, of course, for the well-born scions of the educated class, who get to staff the bureaucracy and run the universities. Not only that, but the record of the last century is unequivocal: if lefty politics actually results in a socialist state, it ends in ruin.

And lefty politics works by demonizing the middle class as white patriarchal supremacists, or whatever the pejorative du jour is.

You get to the point where the major institutions of lefty supremacy are run by scions, sons and daughters of the dynastic founders, that really don't have a strategic sense of what they are doing, and how the world really works outside their ruling-class bubble.

It is my suspicion -- nay, hope -- that we are at that point now. That the liberal elite really doesn't understand the way the world works nowadays, and that we are gong to see them flailing around helplessly as the world turns.

And so I think we are going to see more Oberlins: clueless liberal administrators flying up box canyons and terrified when they realize that there is no way out, no way back, nothing but the hope that everyone doesn't get killed when the plane crashes into the canyon wall.

Because the joke about "generals fighting the last war" is a pretty sad joke. Fighting the last war is what all of us do. All of us. even well-born liberals. It is only the crazies and the whackos that can see round corners. And usually they are wrong.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Problem with Legislating Through the Courts

What is the Constitution for? And the courts of law?

It's a good question, and I doubt if anyone has a firm answer.

We can see, however, that the Constitution is still a bloody miracle, and its Electoral College a proof of God's existence. Why? Because the Electoral College is an immensely cunning institution that forces presidential candidates to campaign in the tossup states. So, to win the election you have to put together a coalition of states. And remember this here is the United STATES of America.

The courts of law, I would argue, are for the discovery of issues. Every suit at law is a mess of dashed expectations, and it is the job of the lawyers and judges to try and clear away the brushwood and figure out how to limit the damage.

But our modern elite has decided to use the Constitution and the courts to legislate issues that could not pass in the legislature. It's not surprising. The Founders called the judicial branch of government the aristocratic branch. There's a natural temptation among the best people to push their agenda through the courts because they have the inside track on smart people that have a way with words.

The problem is that judicial decisions aren't really dispositive. Here's an issue that is dispositive. Back in the 1980s, with the rise of the religious right, the religious right in Washington State put up a couple of Initiatives to limit abortion. The Initiatives failed to pass. So abortion is not an issue in Washington State, because the people have spoken.

The problem with Roe v. Wadeισ is that the people have not spoken. Abortion, if you ask me, should be decided in the legislature, not in the courts. See, one thing about legislation is that in order to pass it you have to put together a coalition of interests, and you have to negotiate with all the interests before you cobble together the ugly thing we call a compromise.

Right now, with Roe v. Wade, we have an abortion law that suits the well-born white women that need to control their baby-making so it doesn't interfere with their careers. For lower class women it is different.
Often, the decision to terminate a pregnancy is encouraged by the “sperm donor” who threatens abandonment when faced with the responsibilities of child rearing. The patient is often subjected to family pressure... [to] "make others happy".
What current abortion law does not do it suit the tastes and morals of ordinary middle-class women for whom family and children are the meaning of life. Notice the difference between classes. For the well-born the issue is fitting child-bearing in with all the other things in a rich and blended life. For the lower class it is about deferring to other peoples' needs.

And that is a microcosm of life today in the good old USA. The left is all about implementing its version of the good life, and feeling good about advocating for victims. The middle class is just trying to live its life of following the rules, going to work, obeying the law and wiving and thriving.

And right now the middle class thinks it don't get no respect.

The problem is that the middle class has not really had a say in a bunch of things because they have been decided in the courts, the aristocratic branch of government, rather than in the legislature, the democratic branch of government.

And the ruling class of the better educated and their clients among the traditionally marginalized are terrified that if they lose control of the courts then their whole world view comes crashing down: abortion, gay marriage, diversity and inclusion, government-worker pensions.

Hey, ruling class. Maybe it wasn't so smart of you to found your house upon the shifting sands of the courts rather than the rock of the legislature.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Trump Russia is a Case of Government Operating as Designed

In a piece about the culture at the FBI during the late spying operation on the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump, Victor Davis Hanson asks the question about the culture at the FBI.
[If the culture of the FBI is] exempt from the widespread wrongdoing at the top... where exactly [did] Peter Strzok (22 years in the FBI) learned that he had a right to interfere in a U.S. election to damage a candidate that he opposed.
And
why would an Andrew McCabe (over 21 years in the FBI) think he had the duty to formulate an “insurance policy” to take out a presidential candidate?
The answer, of course, is quite simple. The whole point of an administrative bureaucracy like an army or a government department is to put the chaps in the hierarchy and especially on the front line into a situation where the natural and obvious thing is to follow the orders from on high.

So if someone in the hierarchy decides upon some course of action, it is sensible for everyone under him to follow orders. Indeed, it would be crazy for anyone not to follow orders. That way leads to a quick exit from the bureaucracy and no pension thank you very much.

So the "widespread wrongdoing at the top" is probably merely "the top" following orders from their superiors in the White House -- or perhaps following the nods and winks from the White House.

Plus, given that everyone knew that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, it would be career suicide to start balking at the effort to keep an eye on Trump, just in case. People in the new Clinton White House would know about the problem chappie at the FBI that wasn't on the team.

The unusual thing is for the director of some bureau to ignore orders from on high, as the guy in charge of the Venona project intercepting and decrypting Soviet communications did back in the 1940s.
The only reason that Venona survived, allowing us to later reconstruct the fateful politics of that era, was that the determined Military Intelligence officer in charge of the project risked a court-martial by directly disobeying the explicit Presidential order and continuing his work.
Normally the bureaucrat in question will go with the flow, because that is the natural and physical thing for a guy in an administrative hierarchy to do.

So, before criticizing any government department or program for its failures, one must start from the fact that 97.2 percent of bureaucrats are going to go with the flow and do whatever they are told. Because they know what is good for them.

Thus, it is laughable to criticize, for example, former Nazi officials for "following orders." Anyone saying that hasn't stopped for a moment to think about the nature of an administrative hierarchy. What is remarkable is to discover a mid-level bureaucrat that is not following orders.

And on that front the case of Bruce and Nellie Ohr is instructive.
Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr was perfectly positioned to advance the Russia collusion narrative. He had a rare set of relationships -- ties to opposition researchers and the FBI -- and would use his links to both in 2016 to connect federal law enforcement to those advancing Trump-Russia conspiracy theories.
See, his wife Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS, the chaps that were financing the Steele dossier. So
when Steele invited her [Nellie] and her husband [Bruce] to breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel on July 30, 2016. “Chris Steele was hoping that Bruce would put in a word with the FBI to follow up on the information in some way.”
And he did, because he knew FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page. Yeah. So personal relationships can trump the hierarchical relationships of the bureaucracy.

How dare, how dare those scumbags hold that meeting on My Birthday!

And, wouldn't you know, Bruce Ohr never mentioned on his Form 278e Public Financial Disclosure Report, as he was required to do, that his wife was something more than an "independent contractor."

My point is that if you don't want government functionaries spying on political campaigns or putting a word in with a friend among the higher-ups then you shouldn't give government the power in the first place.

Because the mid-level functionary is normally going to "follow orders" from the chap at the top. And the only time he is likely to deviate from that rule is when he has some personal relationship that encourages him to inject that into the bureaucratic process.

That's what happened in the Trump Russia spying operation and that is what will happen next time. Because that is how administrative bureaucracies operate and that is how the guys at the top want them to operate.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why Have Humans Taught Ourselves to Hate Sex and Ourselves?

One the the benefits of reading Nietzsche is that he throws up ideas as a challenge. He makes an outrageous comment, and he makes you think.

The major thing for me is Nietzsche's attack on Good and Evil and "the priests" that taught us to hate ourselves.

In the old days, Nietzsche proposes, we hated our enemies as good manly men should do. But now we are wimps and last men.

That made me think: What is the point of things like Original Sin? And then I decided that the reason was probably that when people live in large communities, cities even, the men can't go around hating their enemies all the time. The city is about cooperation and the division of labor, in which no man is an island, entire of itself. So quarrelsome men are a problem.

Back-biting women are something else, but we are not talking about that today.

So I would say that, in a city, it is social beneficial if people look at themselves and blame themselves occasionally rather than doing the usual thing and blaming other people for everything. OK, maybe, maybe not. Do you have a better idea?

So now I am reading Robertson Davies' Fifth Business, part one of his Deptford trilogy. (I bought the book at a used bookstore in Coupeville, WA, and the guy in the store wanted to look at the first page: Yes, he said, this is the very book I first read 40 years ago). The first part of the book deals with small-town life in Deptford, near Toronto, and the whole question of dirty sex.

Why, I thought, has this notion of sex being dirty come about? And then I came up with an answer. If you teach women that sex is dirty then they will believe it is dirty like the Good Little Girls they are. And that means that they will have a lot less sex than if they have been carefully taught to look forward to a nightly roll in the hay with hubby. And they will likely have less children. So maybe the "sex is dirty" meme is merely the birth control of olden times. It is curious, is it not, that the modern era celebrates sex-is-fun with the full benefit of the Pill and abortion on demand. OK. Maybe, maybe not. Do you have a better idea?

Another interesting meme in Fifth Business is that the women -- in 1908 -- run the village, mainly because the men do not want to ruin their home lives by disagreeing with their wives. Hello patriarchy?

Do you men connect with this? That it is just not worth proving your point with your wife? Because domestic tranquility? I talked with a guy 15 years ago that spoke about The Catalog. Every time he and his wife had a disagreement his wife would recite The Catalog: all the bad things he had done since they had first met.

OK. I admit I am not impartial in this. I take the position that everything the left proposes is a Bad Idea. The only question is to determine Why.

So there you have it. We think used to think sex is dirty because it helped control over-population, and we hate ourselves because it helps us live in a city of strangers.

There is more stuff like this out there. I know it.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Left's Practice of Politics

Let us try to understand what the left is doing with its political practice.

I maintain that politics is all about protection. The only warrant for government is existential peril, meaning usually that "our people" are threatened by some invader and conqueror. A people thus threatened are going to coalesce around some leader that promises to protect them from the invader.

When I say "our people" I invoke my theory of "fake tribalism" from my reading of H.R. Hallpike in How We Got Here and On Primitive Society. Hallpike represents modern anthropology as finding that tribalism is a new human invention. The hunter-gatherers didn't have it; members of a hunter-gatherer band that got into an argument with their brothers would just leave and join another band. Tribalism didn't really start until humans started living in villages where they didn't all know each other, and started to coalesce into groups of "we" that protected each other against some "they" in the village. Human tribalism is a recent phenomenon, that probably goes back a mere 15,000 years, max.

In other words, humans in villages that exceeded about 2,500 inhabitants organized themselves exactly like a modern city of immigrants that sorts itself out into ethnic neighborhoods. So I interpret the ethnic neighborhoods of modern cities as people of a previous political entity coming together in a strange land for self-protection.

So I maintain that if you are a would-be leader your task is to define a threat and organize an "our people" to fight that threat. Equally, if you are a group of people that find yourselves under threat then you need to find a leader and a means to forge common identity and interest and use that as a basis for organizing a new tribe.

I propose that the formation of nation states in Europe was a response to a threat, that if the groups of principalities in an area did not combine into a nation then they would be vulnerable to conquest and domination by the neighbor that was so organized.

I argue that the fundamental invention of the left is to convert this notion into organization of sub-national tribes. Thus Marx proposed the tribe of "the workers" that needed to combine under the leadership of vanguard intellectuals and activists in order to avoid being annihilated -- "immiserated" --by bourgeois capitalist predators. I am not arguing here about whether Marx was right in his analysis, but that he certainly succeeded in persuading a bunch of people that he was right.

Notice that there are two possibilities for the emergence of a tribe of "the workers." First would be the spontaneous eruption of a sense of threat among the workers resulting in a search for a leader to protect them. The other possibility is for someone wanting to lead the workers reaching out to them and teaching them to experience themselves as a group under threat.

In my judgment the spontaneous organization of the workers would only occur in a period when the workers were experiencing serious existential peril, such a decline in their industry that would encourage their employers to cut wage rates, or in a general economic crisis. The first kind of action has historically occurred in riots of "saboteurs," or workers making "sabots," or in the riots of agricultural workers in England during the "Captain Swing" riots in the 1820s when landless agricultural laborers were finding themselves replaced by threshing machines. A general economic crisis involving universal suffering tended, in olden times to involve "bread riots," or the lower orders looting food to stay alive.

Leftists have amended and extended the Marxian notion into a general politics of victimhood, in which well-born activists scour the world for a new victim class to represent. This usually involves actual outreach by the activist in question and "raising the consciousness" of the individuals in the target group to teach them how they are victims and how political action would improve their situation. In other words, activists do not wait for people to discover their oppression; it is the job of the activist to discover oppression and then organize the oppressed into a political movement. This was the script being followed by "community organizer" Barack Obama when he went as a young man to South Chicago to organize the laid-off steelworkers there.

Of interest is whether the well-born activist actually helps. Does he identify a problem? Is it a problem that politics can help rectify? Does he propose a solution that would actually help? Will his solution help long-term, or only short-term? And how would he or anyone else know?

We shall return to investigate various left-wing organizing attempts and see whether leftism works.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Usually the Pessimists Are Right

Our age is an Age of Progress. We all live in the confident hope that things are getting better. But, as Nicholas Phillips argues in "The Fallacy of Techno-Optimism," progress is the rare moment of calm after a storm of failure. Great products do not appear by magic; they are the net result of many failed experiments.
Ninety percent of startups and 70 percent of small businesses fail. Just 56 percent of patent applications are granted, and over 90 percent of those patents never make any money. Each year, 30,000 new consumer products are brought to market, and 95 percent of them fail.
Actually, we should rather say that we humans are the complete slaves of prophecy. We are either predicting the End of the World, or the Beginning of the Millennium. In fact, what really happens is that we muddle through, with "we" being the survivors. What happened to the failed businesses, the 95 percent of new consumer products? The soldiers of the defeated empire? They disappear into the void.

What is interesting, I have come to believe in the last few weeks, is "disconfirmation." What happens as you are running a business startup and the numbers just aren't adding up? Initially, you redouble you efforts. What happens if you are predicting runaway global warming and the global temperature readings fail to confirm the predictions of your climate models? Initially, you damn all doubters to hell as "climate deniers."

But at some point...

I think that is the way to understand our liberal and lefty friends. They have been taught, from an early age, to believe in the progressive arc of history, that their political ideas -- all of them -- would inevitably lead to a just and peaceful society. But of course they haven't, for that is not the way of the world. It may be, indeed, that hidden in the pile of lefty doctrine is a good idea that will save the world. But probably, if we apply the lesson of "70 percent of small businesses fail," it is likely that there is only a small chance that leftism will really redeem the world.

Probably, the real outcome will be that a couple of lefty ideas get to be permanent and the rest of its ideology gets thrown out and forgotten. After a bloody and vengeful transition.

But meanwhile our lefty friends are living in the throes of "disconfirmation." The workers aren't living happily ever after, despite a century of the welfare state. Women aren't happy campers, despite the vote and abortion and the sexual revolution and careers. Blacks aren't vaulting into the middle class, despite a half-century of quotas and preferences since the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. And now Trump.

What would you do if you were a lefty? It's easy for a conservative to say that the only sensible thing to do is "give it up, lefty." But, according to the notion of prophecy, people don't give up on their cherished beliefs. Not yet. And so our lefty friends are running around blaming Russia and "hate" and "extremism" and racism, sexism, homophobia and every other -ism and -phobia they can think of.

And of course they are covering their ears, shouting I can't hear you, and deplatforming people they don't like. Of course they are. That is what humans do when things start going wrong.

The one thing they are not ready to do is give it up. And they are right not to. After all, when you don't succeed, try, try again. And so urges every prophet, every startup CEO, every general exhorting his troops, every hopeful inventor.

But if you redouble your efforts, and borrow more money to get across the finish line, and finally send the Old Guard against the British squares at the Battle of Waterloo, and then you lose, the failure is complete and all hopes die in the maelstrom of defeat.

Notice that all the old rules, about not using police power to spy on the opponent's campaign, about conceding elections, about not gaming the voting system, about avoiding insults, are all devices to keep the natural human prophetic and conspiratorial instincts in check. Because the prophetic style ends in witch hunts and Inquisitions and massacres, and we don't want that.

Easy for you to say.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Always Celebrate Our Soldiers on D-Day

Rule One for me is always celebrate the soldiers that we sent into our wars. So President Trump exactly hit the spot in Portsmouth and in Normandy when he eulogized the brave men that did their bit in that remarkable seaborne invasion.

Doesn't matter if they were conscripts or volunteers, men or women, black or white, good or bad. We honor our veterans and we especially honor the fallen.

But what gets obscured in the celebration of the ordinary soldier and his extraordinary sacrifice is the bigger question. How come you ruling-class geniuses screwed up?

We elect and then put up with political leaders because we need them to keep us safe. So, whenever there is a war, especially in the modern era, it is because the leaders screwed up.

How come World War I? If the Brit and French leaders had an ounce of sense they would have accommodated the rise of Germany without a stupid bloody war.

How come World War II? If the Allies hadn't humiliated and plundered Germany, and if the US Federal Reserve hadn't blundered in 1929-33 in its first outing as "lender of last resort" then the Germans would never have turned to an Adolf Hitler.

Like I say. Hitler -- and Literally-Hitler in his various GOP incarnations -- is the idiot you get when the usual idiots have failed. And do they ever!

Hey kids! Notice that Germany is now the hegemon of Europe, with France as its comical sidekick, for "there is no slander in an allowed fool." So what were all those wars about? We could have had Germany as the hegemon in 1920 and there is no telling what the Germans might have invented after Kantian and Nietzschean philosophy, modern chemistry, relativity, and quantum mechanics. And don't forget Wagner, the guy that invented movie music.

We properly remember those brave Americans that gave their youth, and often their lives, to the nation's wars. But I also want to remember the millions of others that suffered and died. The millions of poor bloody Germans. The tens of millions of poor bloody Russians. The millions of Jews.

Because all the ordinary people, good, bad and ugly, anywhere, have no option. They get swept up into the power projects of their leaders and they are the ones that suffer and die.

And if they die, it is curtains, the snuffing out of all that might have been.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

AirPods, EarPods: Can You Spell Privilege?

Up until a month or two ago, I had no idea about the modern world, that you are nobody unless you have AirPods, those skinny white Bluetooth earbuds from Apple that seem to cost about $139.99 on Amazon. And that say so much about you and your impeccable taste.

As opposed to earbuds for ordinary mortals that seem to range from $19.99 to $49.99. Really! I had no idea.

And then yesterday I was driving in Seattle's yeasty Capitol Hill, where all the gays and lesbians hang out -- and the millennial wannabees wearing artistical black. And there was this guy, wearing an artistical black tee-shirt with "Equality." in big letters across the front.

And guess what! This young man, mad for Equality, was wearing AirPods. (Or maybe he was wearing fake AirPods. You never know.)

I almost rolled down the window to shout "Hey, pal. AirPods have nothing to do with Equality."

Now I like to say to all my liberal friends that Only Use Apple, that I know my place, and that Apple is Not for the Likes of Me.

Because the whole point of Apple, whether iPhones or MacBook Airs -- which have those discreet illuminated Apple logos on the back -- or Apple TV, is that You Can't Afford It.

$1,000 for an iPhone? How about $200 for my Moto 6?

$1,000 for a MacBook Air? How about $139.99 for my Dell Chromebook?

$200 for an Apple TV? How about Amazon's Fire Stick which was $50 and has just dropped to $27 "which is completely unheard of."

$1,000 for an iMac? How about $115 for a refurbished Windows PC?

And now some babe has written a girly article in The Atlantic about "Airpods and the Case for Constant Wear" in case some guy ejaculates in front of you on the subway. It seems that the white Beckies are using their AirPods to avoid interacting with the POCs. Who Knew?

I know. My thought exactly. Talk about White Privilege, darling. You Beckies have No Idea. None.

But the most delicious thing is that these liberal snobs have No Idea what utter snobs and shallow conventional-wisdom repeater stations they are. They think they are the Special People on the cutting edge. Why, all the best people think like them.

Really, all this is good. It shows that our liberals friends have No Idea.

But we already knew that.

Hmm. I just checked on the Apple site. AirPods are $159 with the regular charging case and $199 with the wireless charging case.  Who knew?

OK, I know. There is such a thing as Reverse Snobbery. To tell the world that you are not one of the Special People that wear all the right brands, but an even more Special Person that takes care not to wear all the right brands..

But that is another story.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How Do We Push Back: Left, China, Germany?

I just saw a piece by Victor Davis Hanson, basically arguing that Germany was up to its old tricks. He quotes Angela Merkel:
She insisted that Germany views the democratic United States as not much different from autocratic Russia and Communist China: Urging Europe to present a united front in the face of Russia, China, and the U.S., she said, “They are forcing us, time and again, to find common positions.” And Merkel concluded that therefore Germany must find “political power” commensurate with its economic clout to forge a new independent European path.
Or China. Stephen Hayward wonders whether the cool way to stop China would be to ban its students from US universities, rather than by tariff wars. This would also hit elite Chinese who like to get capital out of China by getting their student children to buy expensive houses and cars in the US. Oh, and
This would have the added bonus of depriving many liberal universities of revenue, since they love Chinese students because they pay the full tuition sticker price.
 And what about the left? Funny, isn't it, how the left is everlastingly peaceful protesting all and sundry -- right now Trump in the UK -- yet yells "hate" and "white supremacy" when some rightist nobodies march with tiki torches around the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville.

Hey, lefties! How come you guys get to have "mostly peaceful protests" but the white nationalists are always rioting?

See today we are celebrating the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which the US won due to staggering luck and staggering initiative from a couple of flight leaders. And also the 75th anniversary of D-Day. And the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacres. But I argue that the way to deal with today's frenemies like Germany and China probably should not include actual armed conflict.

Why? My argument is that the good old days of conquest, loot, and plunder are over, because laying waste to Germany and China doesn't help us. We can't loot the only thing that matters, which is the "intangible capital" in those countries, the capital that exists between the ears of the German and the Chinese people.

And the same thing applies to our frenemies here at home. Some people are proposing to end universities as we know them. Then there is the question of what to do about abortion. And really, what is the point of looting the market economy of 35 percent of GDP to fund old-age pensions and health care, something that average people should be doing for themselves? OK. But how do we push back against the lefty idiots?

Honestly, I don't know what we should do. But there is my maxim: there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. I take that to mean that the trouble with politics and government is that they are always mobilizing against enemies, because that is what political leaders are for. But all government action, in my view, is creating injustice, because government is force.

Now right now our Chinese friends imagine that they can dominate the world with Huawei dominating g5 and dominating Africa with port and infrastructure deals. The Germans are dominating Europe, because their alter ego, France, doesn't have a clue. And the left in the US is mounting a reign of terror and virtue against "hate" and "toxic masculinity"as their cultural revolution seems to be falling short of its promise.

I guess that my notion is that it is the injustice that the Chinese and the Germans and the left here at home deal out that creates the movement of rejection. And the more that they think that power is the answer the bigger movement of rejection they inspire.

The point is that in the interaction of power politics and market economics we have two opposing notions. Politics is all about domination and hegemony and loot and plunder. Economics is all about cooperation and trust and finding out how to serve the other guy with products and services.

Actually, they are not really opposites, in the sense that Hegel uses when talking about the opposition of the two poles of a magnet. Politics and economics are really orthogonal, operating at right angles. One says that there gotta be an enemy out there. The other says there gotta be a customer out there.

So I think the strategic thing to do is to highlight the monstrous injustice that, e.g., Germany, deals out in Europe; that China deals out to its people and its trading partners; that the left deals out in its domination of media, education, and culture.

But some people will have to go to jail or exile, courtesy of the ruling class, just like the Voltaires did in the waning days of the ancien régime. And in China, per the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, there will probably have to be actual martyrs. That's just part of the experience of injustice.

Maybe there's a better way. But not yet.