The New Bull Connor

For a long time, Bull Connor was the symbol of southern racism, because he famously used fire hoses and dogs on civil rights agitators in Birmingham Alabama. Like most white people in the 60’s, he opposed the idea of racial integration, but it was his way of doing it that got him labeled as the ultimate racist. It was one thing to believe that integration was a terrible idea. It was another to take pleasure in a hatred of blacks for no other reason than their race. Hatred, even of that which should be hated, always has an ugliness to it.

Today, the ugly face of racial hatred is directed at whites and worn by social justice warriors, claiming to be fighting white supremacy. In reality they are just anti-white bigots who compete with one another over how much they hate white people. One difference between the anti-white bigots of today and guys like Bull Connor is he was happy to live his life in obscurity. He never set out to be a famous racist. Today’s social justice warriors see racial hatred as a path to fame and glory. It’s the easy way into the high culture.

An example of this is Brandeis associate professor Dorothy Kim. She is someone passing herself off as a medievalist. In reality, she is a white-hating bigot and a social justice warrior, who lives to harass white people. Her current crusade is an attack on Rachel Fulton Brown, a tenured professor at the University of Chicago. Kim’s reason for attacking Dr. Brown is that she is a conservative white women, who does real scholarship, rather than agitate for nutty causes. Kim thinks she can get ahead by hating the white woman.

Rachel Fulton Brown is a serious scholar who has written award winning books on arcane medieval topics. She has written this book and this book. Even if you are a fan of medieval European history, these are esoteric subjects, but that’s how the stock of knowledge is developed and expanded. Dorothy Kim is a ridiculous person who writes nonsense like this. The only people talking about white supremacy are liars and lunatics. It does not matter which applies here, either should be disqualifying for an academic in civil society.

Dorothy Kim is not just focusing her attention on Rachel Brown. Kim is an all purpose white-hater who whores herself out to the daffy girls of Progressive media, hired to popularize academic racism. Not content with attacking white people in real-time, the social justice warriors are now determined to rewrite history to make Henry VIII into soul brother number one. In that Daily Beast post, Mx. Kim goes out of her way to fall for the Cheddar Man hoax, suggesting she is dumber than her sparse work product suggests.

That’s just the thing about the people like Mx. Kim. They are not just content to publicly attack white people for being white. There’s a suicidal nihilism to the modern racist. Their project is as much about decreasing the stock of human knowledge as it is chasing white people from the white societies that welcomed them. What’s offensive about Mx. Kim is not that she does not know things, it’s that she knows wrong things and demands that the rest of us, as a matter of social justice, accept falsehoods as fact, fiction as truth.

That’s another thing you see with the social justice warriors. They seek to replace accomplishment with moral fanaticism. Rachel Brown has reached her status by a long career of being good at her specialty. Mx. Kim is just not bright enough or willing to do the work, so she is attacking white people, in order to establish her bona fides as a culture warrior. Everything about Mx. Kim’s career to this point is a claim that she is a victim, by virtue of her DNA, and therefore must get free stuff from white people or else racism.

That’s why these people are so vicious. Being a virtue signalling loon is a highly competitive racket. There’s always someone out there preparing a nuttier claim than the most nutty claim of the moment. Because the ideology of the social justice warrior is completely empty, a pure negative ideology, the result is a version of the mob screaming “Goldstein” in 1984. It’s not enough to hate white people. What matters is that you are seen hating whitey and doing so with an enthusiasm that is without rival.

That is the ugliness that Mx. Kim shares with classic racists like Bull Connor from half a century ago. It was not that he opposed integration that made him ugly. It was that he was willing to abandon decency and order in his opposition to it. The willingness to sacrifice everything for a principle is fanaticism and it is just as much an enemy of civil society as the barbarian. That’s what you see with people like Mx. Kim. She is a fanatic, ready to burn it all down in the name of social justice. There’s nothing uglier than a fanatic.

Addendum: A commenter asked how people like Mx. Kim get into the academy. The reason the social justice warrior has success is that Progressives are always fighting themselves. By that, I mean they are are always at war with that which they fear about themselves or that which they are currently doing. The Left’s rage against Russian meddling corresponds with their own collaboration with Russian oligarchs in an effort to rig recent elections. Google the phrase “Opposite Rule Of Liberalism.”

In the case of the academy, the people hooting about racism and white supremacy are relying on the innate racism of the modern academy. “Oh look! We have an Asian applicant in medieval European studies!” The white liberals in the field are so desperate for multicultural status points, they fall all over themselves to find and embrace non-whites, purely on racial grounds. They embrace anti-racism, because they hate their own racism and the result is more of the self-loathing that drives the Progressive.

Multiculturalism has created a vast market for dull-witted grifters like Mx. Kim. She gets the attention that women naturally crave, but she gets to make a career out of it, thus making herself both a hero of feminism and multiculturalism. Her choice was working in a cubicle somewhere as a clerk or going into the promising world of social justice. it’s not hard to see why she chose to be a SJW. It’s also easy to see why she is so bitter and nasty. At some level, she knows she is a fraud and she hates herself even more.

Public-Private Tyranny

In the 1980’s, the term public-private partnership started to gain currency, as reformers tried to remedy the twin problems of spiraling public debt and dwindling public investment in infrastructure. Governments were too strapped to do things like build roads and schools, so they would alter the tax and regulatory system to encourage private enterprise to provide the necessary financing and expertise. A simple example is a city condemning a slum and then giving it over to a private developer, who would build new housing.

There is a formal definition of the concept. “A public-private partnership involves a private entity financing, constructing, or managing a project in return for a stream of payments directly from government or indirectly from users over the life of the project or some other specified period of time.” The laying down of cable and then fiber to provide broadband access is a great example of such an arrangement. The cable company or TelCo was granted a monopoly and they built out the infrastructure and charged subscriptions.

In theory, it sounds like a winning formula. Government has no incentive to be efficient, as government has no competition. Inevitably, this means government projects become slush funds for the connected and dumping grounds for the otherwise unemployable. The contractors bidding on government work or providing a service on behalf of government have an incentive to keep costs low. Given that future contracts will depend on performance of current contracts, they have an incentive to hit the performance goals.

It’s not without its obvious problems. Efforts to reform public education through public-private partnerships are the obvious example. The primary reason schools fail is they have poor students. The second most common reason is they have poor teachers. No amount of private provision can address the former and public sector unions will never permit reforming the latter. It’s why people move to good neighborhoods and send their kids to private schools. It’s a private solution to a private problem.

Of course, public-private partnerships are an effort to address a symptom of a problem, but not the source of the problem. Democratic government has no incentive to increase the capital of society, because office holders are just hired hands. For office holders, government is like a rental car. The renter does not wash the rental car and get the oil changed before returning it. Similarly, the office holder would have no reason to improve his office or the part of government he controls, before handing it over to the next guy.

The key to personal success in public life is quickly turning public goods into money and benefits that can be used to buy votes. It’s why state and municipal politicians are fond of increasing public sector benefits. They get the votes and support for their campaigns, while some unknown person downstream get the cost. In a democracy, government becomes a liquor warehouse during an urban riot. Everyone, even the naturally honest, has an incentive to rush in and carry off as much as they can as quickly as they can.

This is fairly obvious, but there are other problems. For example, getting and keeping office is difficult. Humans in all endeavors seek to prevent competition either through cooperation or domination. Constitutions and courts are intended to keep the competition for public offices open and reasonably fair. To the office holder, this is naturally viewed as a defect that needs to be remedied. That’s where the public-private partnership comes into the mix. Private firms can do things office holders are prevented from doing.

This is what we see with the efforts by the Democrats to rig the last presidential election and then set Trump up for removal. Team Obama could not simply have the FBI arrest him and Team Clinton could not provide electronic surveillance. They formed a public-private partnership, along with Glenn Simpson to get around both problems. The private entities would manufacture evidence that the public entity would use to get warrants, which would result in information they would give to Clinton and later the FISA court.

One of the worst kept secrets in Washington right now is that elements inside the Obama administration conspired with the Clinton campaign to rig the last election. It’s becoming increasingly clear they also conspired with foreign agents.The Mueller probe is just an elaborate ruse to shield this truth from the public, in an effort to preserve the reputation of the institutions and keep people out of prison. It is the thing everyone knows, because it is manifestly obvious. What no one knows is what to do about it.

Then we have the ongoing efforts to shut down political dissent. The law prohibits politicians from having critics arrested or from shuttering their publications. The law does not prevent private platforms from controlling content, thus we get the match made in heaven, from the perspective of the internet giants and the ruling class. The private firms get their monopolies protected by the state, while the office holders get their critics silenced by the internet giants. Outsourcing the public space gets around the law.

It’s not just the first amendment. Gun grabbers have failed for years to rally public support for gun grabbing. In fact, their efforts to push through gun bans and confiscation have resulted in booming gun sales and support for gun liberalization. To address this defect in government, public officials are now reaching out their their partners in the private sector to bankrupt the gun industry and the NRA. It will not be long before owning a firearm could result in you losing your insurance or being denied a bank account.

The defect of public ownership of government, what we call democracy, is that there are no incentives for office holders to invest in society. They are short term office holders, looking to get what they can while they can. This is the advantage of the monarchical system, where the aristocratic class has an incentive to build up the value of the society over which it rules. The down side is the risk of tyranny or gross ineptitude. This king may be just and wise, but his son could be an idiot or a fanatical lunatic.

The funny thing that is happening to our constitutional order is that the political class seems to understand the defects inherent in the system, but is choosing to make it worse by enlisting private interests to magnify the defects. They are accelerationists. America is just one giant bust out, where global companies, with the help of our government, are systematically looting the country, while undermining the legitimacy of our system of governance. The public-private partnership has quickly become a public-private tyranny.

Old Men Who Fear Change

One of the first things I learned about conservatism, way back in the before times, was that William F. Buckley made conservatism respectable. In the 1980’s, Buckley became a rock star, riding the wave of enthusiasm for Ronald Reagan. Like a lot of young men in that age, I was caught up in it. Being a conservative was suddenly cool and everyone credited Buckley for making it possible. It was hard to argue with the claim. Bill Buckley was a charming, intelligent and sophisticated guy. Who would not want to be like Bill?

The part that no one seemed to notice back then, at least not the people involved in the conservative movement, was that the whole point of the thing was to make the people in it respectable, as judged by their alleged opponents. Pretty much the only thing they really cared about was being seen as respectable. It’s why guys like George Will were not fans of Ronald Reagan initially. They worried that his earthy sense of humor and popularity with normal people would not go over well with their friends on the Left.

A big part of being respectable, at least in modern politics, is drawing the line between yourself and those who are not respectable. In the 80’s, when conservatism was booming, no one thought much about all the people that had been read out of the conservative movement in order for guys like Bill Buckley to be respectable. That was the thing though, by the 80’s, conservatism was nothing but drawing lines between the respectable and the unacceptable, in order to be in good standing with the Left.

That all came to mind when I read this post by the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty. It is the typical flip-flopping equivocation that is a Jonah Goldberg column. If there are two sides to an issue, he will find a way take four sides, all in the same post. Reading one of his columns is like watching a fish flop around on the deck. The basic point of the column is that he fears conservatives have not been vigilant enough in policing that line between themselves and the people the Left finds offensive. Thus the Alex Jones fiasco.

His follow up column is a call to war for his fellow conservatives. Well, it’s more like a long love letter to Bill Kristol and the other paranoids of the neoconservative cult. He provides a long bit of mythology about Buckley and his fights with the anti-Semites. The reader is obviously supposed to make the connection between those long dead bogeymen from the 1950’s and the bogeymen currently haunting conservatism. In Goldberg’s telling, his generation of conservatives are facing the same challenge as Buckley did 70 years ago.

The amusing part is how Goldberg keeps trying to connect himself to guys like James Burnham and Whittaker Chambers. Maybe being the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty is going to his head. In reality, it is just another example of the intellectual hollowness of Buckley Conservatism. Chambers was a man of great courage and integrity. Burnham was a brilliant thinker whose ideas are still relevant today. Jonah Goldberg is a feckless airhead. He would have been laughed out of the room by conservatives of their day.

That aside, there’s a weird cargo cult vibe to all this. The so-called conservatives don’t even bother to think about the arguments coming from the right. They don’t even pretend to know about them. There was not a single mention of the alt-right in National Review until Hillary Clinton mentioned them. Instead, they carry on as if it is 1955 and they are fighting a heroic battle against the John Birch Society. Goldberg’s post has the feel of a man hoping he can make it all go away just by performing all the old rituals.

It really is weird reading this stuff, given where we are now. These guys could be excused for living in the past when the GOP was right there with them. Five years ago, they had no reason to listen to their critics. Times were good and the living was easy. Now, after their audience has abandoned them and Trump is in the White House, their stubborn adherence to a defunct set of arguments is weird. The National Review crowd should be writing their columns while wearing leisure suits and listening to disco.

The thing is, there are two types of conservatives. There are those who seek only to maintain the status quo, regardless the current laws, morals and behavior norms. Then there are the those who believe there is transcendent moral order that corresponds to the natural order. The Buckleyites were always of the first type. The reason they opposed the Left was they feared losing their place at the table. It’s the same reason they oppose the emerging national populists. They’re old men who fear change.

Peisistratos

In the late 7th and early 6th century BC, ancient Athens fell into crisis. As is often the case with the classical period, historians disagree about the particular causes. One issue upon which everyone agrees is that economics played a part. The wealthy families had become an oligarchy, owning the majority of the land. Debt-bondage was common in the classical period. The collateral for loans in that age was the person. This meant that if the Athenian tenant farmers did not pay their rents, they and their children could be seized as slaves.

The way it worked is the farmer would borrow to finance the operations of the farm. If the farm did not produce enough to pay the debt , he would fall into debt bondage. In theory, he literally worked off his debt, so it was a temporary status. There was a special status in the law for someone in bondage for a debt, versus the normal type of slave. The reality at this time was that debt bondage was becoming a permanent state for a large fraction of the population. The result was increasing social strife between the classes.

Rivalry between the leading families was also a problem. As is always the case when there is social unrest, some factions tried to take advantage of it and gain power for themselves at the expense of their rivals. An Athenian nobleman named Cylon, made an unsuccessful attempt to seize power in Athens in 632 BC. Many Greek city-states had seen opportunistic noblemen take power on behalf of sectional interests. Factions sought to gain control of the state, in order to gain an edge over rivals.

There were also regional rivalries that exacerbated the personal and economic turmoils of the age. The rural population had different interests than the urban population. Traders had different interests than farmers. Since most Athenians lived in rural settlements, and debt bondage was an increasing problem, Attika was increasingly resembling Sparta, where a small elite ruled over a large population of helots. This exacerbated the personal and economic rivalries convulsing Athens at the time.

Regardless of the causes, Athens was at a crisis point and fear of a tyrant rising up to impose order, led the Athenians to turn to the wisest man in Athens. That man was Solon, a statesman, lawmaker and poet. He was of noble birth, but he was sometimes described as a self-made man, suggesting his family was of modest means. In 595 BC Solon had led the Athenian forces against the Megarians, resulting in a heroic victory. Allegedly, it was the power of his poetry that inspired the Athenians to carry the day.

By the time the Athenians turned to Solon, he was rich, a famous poet and a famous military leader. Solon was awarded temporary autocratic powers by Athenian citizens on the grounds that he had the “wisdom” to sort out their differences for them in a peaceful and equitable manner. His task was to find a way to resolve the factional rivalries. The result was a series of economic, legal and moral reforms that are remembered to this day as the Reforms of Solon. Once instituted, Solon gave up his position and left Athens.

The Athenians agreed to abide by these reforms for a period of ten years, but within a few years the old problems and rivalries were back. In addition to the old problems, the defects in the reforms created new problems. Some officials refused to perform their duties as described, while other posts were left vacant. The reforms worked as long as Solon was around to to lend his name to them. Once Solon was gone, the result was worse than before the reforms. As a result, the people blamed Solon for the break down of order.

Eventually one of Solon’s relatives, Peisistratos, ended the factionalism by force, becoming tyrant and confirming what everyone feared would happen prior to Solon’s reforms. Solon was still alive and he mocked the Athenians for allowing Peisistratos to seize power, by standing outside his home, wearing his uniform. Despite being driven into exile twice, Peisistratos was eventually able to impose order on Athens and he ruled as tyrant until his death. His sons succeeded him and ruled until 510 BC.

Solon gets positive treatment from history for having tried to preserve Athenian democracy and for having some success at curbing the power of the aristocrats. On the other hand, Aristotle credited Peisistratos with laying the foundation for the eventual rise of Athens. He changed the economy to be based on trade and he reformed agriculture, away from grains to olives. He did this by offering loans to farmers so they could make the transition. He also built a water system capable of sustaining a large population.

The lesson here is that reform is rarely successful, unless it is imposed by force. The reason is the status quo will always be preferable to those in power. Any reform through mutual consent must involved trade-offs that do nothing to alter the fundamental power arrangements. That was the defect of Solon’s reforms. While they temporarily alleviated the results of the power arrangements in Athenian society, they never attempted to alter them. The result of Solon’s reforms was nothing more than a pause in the factionalism.

This is something to keep in mind in the current age. The problems we see are not caused by errors in voting or mistakes in public policy. There is an underlying systemic problem that cannot be voted away. At the end of the Industrial Revolution, similar problems existed, but the political class was strong enough to impose reforms on the industrial barons and alter the power relationships in American society. That was possible because politics was a power center, one with the monopoly on violence.

Today, the political class is composed entirely of hired men, speaking on behalf of the interests that back their political careers. In fact, most are just actors, hired because they fit the right profile and look good on television. They have no power. This is the problem Trump is confronting as he tries to push through reforms. It’s not that Congress opposes these reforms. It’s that their paymasters oppose the reforms. He’s dealing with flunkies and errand boys. We don’t need a Solon right now. We need a Peisistratos.

Modest Proposals

The great paleo-conservative thinker, Sam Francis, introduced the term “anarcho-tyranny” into the dissident vocabulary. He defined it as “we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).” For example, the streets are littered with speed cameras, red-light cameras and other surveillance equipment to tax motorists. On the other hand, if your car is stolen, the cops cannot be bothered to look for it and you have to hope the insurance company is generous.

Francis focused on crime, but we see this all over our society. Because it has crept up slowly on us, the chaos of our age just feels normal, but so does the shrinking freedom of the surveillance state. A way to see this is to think about the small, relatively easy to impose rules our government could do now, that would make life better. Yet, these modest proposals are never mentioned, much less debated. In fact, the very idea of the state imposing quality of life measures is so far outside of normal, they now seem bizarre.

For example, the scourge of mobile phones is obvious to everyone. We have people walking into traffic while texting. Every summer, we are treated to stories of people coming to harm as they try to take a selfie. Even if those are rare exceptions, driving has become a stressful adventure, because of drivers talking and texting. Spend time around the Imperial Capital and you come to hate the cell phone. This is an easily remedied problem that the government could address tomorrow, but they have no interests.

For example, the Feds could tell mobile phone makers that their devices must shut off when they detect movement. Cars with media centers have this feature, so drivers are not fiddling with the thing while driving. If mobile phones were so equipped, the number of drivers smashing into one another over texting would drop to zero on a few years. Idiots and teenagers would hate this, but so what? There’s never a need for a human to talk and text while driving. If you need to talk, pull over and have your conversation.

Now, the massive assault on privacy by tech companies could be also addressed quite simply. Your picture, your name, your financial information, all the stuff that defines you is yours. It should be treated like any other property. Google is not allowed to build a surveillance point on your front lawn. Why are they allowed to spy on you and sell your information to the highest bidder? A law that requires written permission to possess and distribute private information would put an end to the abuse of privacy.

In case you think this is impossible, keep in mind it used to exist. Credit bureaus used to need permission to release your credit history. One of the things you signed in the loan process was a form giving the lender the right to pull your credit report and call on your references. The same is true of employers. The application process included you giving them permission to call former employers. Simply restoring a basic of civil society – property rights – would put an end to most of the privacy abuse we see with technology.

To get a sense of just how far we have gone down the road to serfdom, ask a normie friend about such a proposal. Ask them if the government should require FaceBook to get your written permission to use your data. The right leaning normie will recoil in horror at the state doing anything. The left leaning normie will most likely give you a blank look, as they are unable to process the concept of privacy. The very idea of you owning you, owning your name, you image and your habits, is now alien to most Americans.

On the other hand, the idea of transparency among the ruling class has become an artifact of a bygone age. Around the Imperial Capital are thousands of not-for-profit operations that are financed by rich people. You can look up some basic information about them, but you can rarely find out who pays the bills. Take, for example, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. This group harasses white people and is run by a white-hating woman named Kristen Clarke. Who pays for this? It is a mystery, but it does not have to be.

Politics is now a clash between these types of groups financed by shadowy characters that none of us see. Instead we see trained actors as spokesman for these front groups that essentially operate as money laundering operations. Because the billionaire class is unable to hire politicians directly, they funnel their bribes through non-profits. Cliff Asness gets to pay Jonah Goldberg to be his mouthpiece and he gets a tax break. He’s not just a member of the over-class, he’s a philanthropist!

Cliff Asness may be a civic minded patriot, but the only reason we can know his name is he chooses to let us know it. He could just as easily have made the gift anonymously or under some other name. Unless you are into dissident politics, you would never know that every utterance of Jonah Goldberg is paid for by some billionaire with interests that may or may not be your interests. Every nickle that comes into a not-for-profit should be public information, so we can actually know who is paying the paid actors.

The point is, there are probably a hundred small things that could be done today to significantly improve life in America, for the citizens of America. The increasing shrillness of public debate is closely linked to the lawlessness of modern life. There’s a reason the state is incapable of even small reform. It goes back to what Sam Francis observed with crime. The class-consciousness of the managerial class is the same phenomenon that we see with public bureaucracy. The result is a cycle of anarchy and tyranny.

The Russian Stain

During the Cold War, popular culture portrayed the Soviets in two ways, often at the same time. There was the ruthless ideologue, efficiently going about his business as an implacable enemy of freedom. The other type of Soviet character was the morally conflicted guy, whose honor compelled him to serve his country, but he also understood that communism was immoral. As far as villains go, both types of Soviet were given a lot of respect, mostly because liberals in Hollywood were sympathetic to Bolshevism.

Today, Hollywood never uses Russians as bad guys, but our political class sees them as the epicenter of evil in the modern world. Steve Sailer noted the other day that the pundit class has rewritten recent history to fit this narrative. The neocons are celebrating the tenth anniversary of something that never really happened, at least not in the way they currently tell it. In addition to the former neocon puppet Mikheil Saakashvili, we have Robert Kagan and here is Condoleezza Rice repeating the same whopper.

The funny thing about this myth-making is that it is unnecessary. The number of people in the political class who could locate South Ossetia is a very small number. Most normal Americans would be puzzled to learn that there is a country named after the peach state. As a public relations item, this ten year old non-event is useless. There’s also the fact that the actual events are easily accessible on-line. It looms large for the neocons, though, so they can’t stop thinking about it. In fact, they seem to be haunted by it.

The neocons have been mucking about in that part of the world for a long time. Some would say their interests go back to the pale of settlement days. That’s an amusing theory, but probably not very accurate. Still, there’s pretty good evidence that the American foreign policy establishment has been meddling in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Empire. The Boston Marathon bomber was probably recruited by US intelligence at some point. His uncle seems to know a lot of people in the CIA.

The thing that no one has yet to explain is why has the American ruling elite become fixated on Russia. Even if the reason for the neocon obsession is ancient hatreds, why is the America Left nuts about the Russians? It could simply be convenience, but there are better villains in the world for them to hate, at least in practical terms. China, for example, makes for a much better villain, given their economic and military status. Iran or Saudi Arabia work much better with the Left’s current deep dive into matriarchy.

Even if you want to believe that the Left has been infected by the ancient hatred that allegedly animates the neocons, the tenor of the Left’s hatred of the Russians is completely different. The neocons see Russia as a problem to be controlled so it does not revert back to its imperial habits. The Left now sees Russia as the manifestation of all that opposed the great Progressive project. Russia is not a problem to be managed. The very existence of Russia is seen as an affront to the neo-liberal world order.

This visceral hatred has some similarities to the Progressive loathing of the imperial governments of Europe prior to the Great War. Wilson and his people despised the old order, which is why they were so aggressively vengeful toward the Austrians and Germans after the war. American Progressives seem to have developed the same view of Russia and to a lesser degree the Visegrad counties. Their resistance to the neo-liberal order is viewed as an ideological challenge and that can never be tolerated.

The difference is that a century ago, Wilsonian democracy was ascendant, while the monarchical order was in decline. America and American leaders were the new kids on the world stage, pushing aside the old guard. Today, the neo-liberal order is in a defensive crouch, under assault from biological reality and populist revolts. Meanwhile, Russia and Eastern Europe are pretty much just normal countries. Perhaps part of the hatred for Russia is the need to find something to blame for the current troubles in the West.

Of course, it is a reminder of the absolute intolerance of secular religions. When people assign the natural order to divine forces, they can be indifferent to alternative forms of worship, as a part of the great mystery of life. When the natural order is a man made creation and  the moral code is created and maintained by man, any deviation must be viewed as a challenge to the creator’s legitimacy. The stubborn existence of European countries practicing the old ways is an insult to the neo-liberal creators.

There also may be the issue of reach. Russia is poor and relatively weak compared to the West, but it remains out of reach culturally and politically. It’s ability to thrive outside the new world order suggests the new world order cannot include the whole world. Central to the liberal impulse, going back to Wilson, has been the notion that it must conquer the globe. Russia is like a stain that they cannot get out of the fabric of global society. Putin is a new Tsar, the return of that same stubborn problem they cannot resolve.

The Great Questioning

A popular topic among the members of the alt-right is the red pill moment. This is the event or experience that opened the person’s eyes to some reality. In the case of the alt-right, it’s more often the JQ they have in mind, but it can be race or even just politics. I’ve talked to many people flying the alt-right flag, who came from libertarianism. The campaign of Ron Paul seems to have turned many people into dissidents. My bet is the biggest source of recruits into the Dissident Right is libertarianism, followed by Buckley Conservatism.

Something I’ve noticed about the world of dissident politics is it is increasingly cut-off from mainstream conservatism and maybe politics in general. I know in my own case, I stopped watching Sunday chat shows twenty years ago and stopped watching cable chat shows in the Bush years. About five years ago, when I started blogging, I stopped reading mainstream conservative sites. I still check in on National Review or the Weekly Standard once in a while, but I can’t remember the last time I found anything relevant.

It’s not that people on our side of the great divide are ghettoized, there is some of that, but that conventional politics no longer seems relevant. Progressive assaults on speech get a lot of discussion, but this barely registers in the mainstream political chatter. The far left media doxxing people gets some attention, but again, that never gets discussed in mainstream circles. Otherwise, the old time fights between “conservatives” and “liberals” that used to define politics seem to have lost all relevance to our side.

It’s hard to know about these things. In my daily life, I meet some people who think like me and mostly people on the far left. Friends will mention Tucker Carlson on occasion, but I can’t remember the last time someone mentioned Hannity to me or Rush Limbaugh. Yet, the former is the top cable talker and the latter remains the top radio talker. In other words, my perspective on these things could be warped by the fact that I spend my time reading dissident right web sites and following hate-thinkers on social media. I could be the weirdo.

That said, I can’t remember the last time a liberal friend or acquaintance mentioned someone on the conventional right. It’s all Trump and his secret allegiance with Putin for them. To a lesser degree they obsess over people like me and our plans to bring back slavery, roll back women’s rights and turn America into a medieval fortress. As a rule, the American Left has always obsessed over that which it sees as a genuine threat or that which is a mirror held up to them, forcing them to examine their own beliefs.

Anyway, this is a long wide up to something I was sent the other day. This piece by Michael Anton in the Claremont Review of Books is a long response to something in The Federalist. Apparently, the two writers are having a dispute about the social contract and how it is defined in America. The best I can tell, the Federalist guy is a NeverTrump loon still angry at Anton over his “Flight 93” article. Robert Tracinski appears to be a Rip Van Winkle sort of guy, struggling to come to terms with modern America.

There was a time, maybe, when a debate over social contract theory and its relevance to American politics, would have been interesting to me. Today, it seems about as relevant as a debate over the proper way to saddle a unicorn so Sasquatch can ride it without falling off. Like the state of nature model, popular with Enlightenment philosophers, we know without a doubt that there is no such thing as a social contract. The current American conception of it is most certainly nonsense. America is not an idea.

That’s a point I often write about here and others take up in other places. It’s not the conclusions of liberal democracy that are the problem. it is the premise of it. When you start from the social contract and the state of nature, the conclusion is inevitable. That’s the problem with liberal democracy. It can only lead to one end and that is the obliteration of culture, which is what defines a people. Once the culture dies, the people soon follow, which explains the falling fertility rates, marriage rates and the migrant invasions.

Now, the point of this post, if there is one, is not to argue for or against any particular conception of the social contract. It’s just an example of the growing divide between those in dissident politics and those who remain trapped in conventional politics. The project on our side is to ask how it is we have arrived at this point and to then question the premises upon which is built the old order. For example, if the natural order is not a voluntary agreement among men, then what is it and what would a modern version of it resemble?

The great divide may not simply be a dispute about the nature of man. That’s certainly a big part of what separates a reader here and a reader at Reason, National Review or The Nation. The one side embraces the diversity of man, while the other embraces the blank slate The difference also extends to topics that have long been considered axiomatic. As we seem to be heading into a denouement of the long Calvin – Rousseau dynamic, many of us are questioning the foundations of the liberal order and the Enlightenment itself.

Democracy Without Borders

Steve Sailer is fond of characterizing the Democrats as the “party of fringes” as they make their primary appeal to minority groups. When they run short of minorities, they create them by finding a way to slice off some portion of the majority, declaring it an oppressed minority. The result is we have one party that is the default for the white majority and another party that is for blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, depressed single women and sexual deviants. It’s the circus acts attacking the audience members.

This is an amusing way of putting it, but it misses a larger phenomenon that is a consequence of democracy. That is, democracies must always seek to expand the electorate. This is an easily observed pattern. In the 19th century, as the West began to experiment with limited democracy, the franchise was sharply limited. The vote was limited to men, usually over the age of 25, and limited to property holders. In the early years of political liberalism, less than 10% of the adult population could vote.

The franchise slowly expanded, even in places where monarchy was still the form of government. The German Empire had universal male suffrage by 1871. Italy expanded the franchise to all men over 30 by 1912 and then lowered the age to 21 in 1918. The British followed a similar pattern. Universal male suffrage became the norm and then it was the call for female suffrage. Unsurprisingly, women voting got going first in Germany, the birth place of every bad idea in human history, and then spread around the West.

In the United States, the presence of a large black population, as well as a sizable indigenous population, added another wrinkle to the process. The urban immigrant population of the early 20th was another group exuded from voting. Eventually, these groups were handed a ballot. Immigrants became a powerful political force, pushing aside the heritage population in major cities. Of course, blacks have become a key part of the Democratic constituency, once granted full voting rights in the 60’s.

The history of liberal democracy since the late 18th century has been a steady expansion of the voting base. At each turn, various arguments have been put forth in support of expanding the franchise, but the one thing that has always been true is there is never a move to narrow it. After every reform effort, every crisis and every war, the arguments are always in favor of expansion of the franchise. Today, the debate is over handing a ballot to children, the retarded and foreigners. San Francisco has now granted the vote to illegals.

As much as some people wish to believe that open borders is motivated by greed, the real reason is something more systemic. An official open borders policy for labor is actually bad for employers looking to game the rules. That’s the whole point of hiring non-citizens over citizens. The non-citizen, especially the illegal, is less likely to fight back at exploitative employers. Open the borders and it becomes possible to organize those migrants. They become a part of the normalized labor force available to everyone.

The real motivation behind open borders is systemic. In a democracy, all fights within the ruling class take place within the bounds of democracy. One side, let’s call them the reformers, wants to change things. The other side, presumably benefiting from the rules, resists these changes. Selling the status quo to existing beneficiaries is easy, because over time, democracy creates a prevailing consensus. This leaves the reformers at a disadvantage. They simply cannot make the math work to democratically enact reform.

The solution is to expand the voter base. Political reformers of the 19th century, looking to reform the legal and economic arrangements, could appeal to disenfranchised men, offering them access in exchange for a vote, if they could get he vote. Social reformers of the 19th and 20 century could appeal to the female vote, if they could get women the franchise. The last 50 years in America has been about creating a new class of voters, expanding the franchise by expanding race consciousness among non-white voters.

The fight over open borders today is actually a battle to expand the franchise by those seeking to push through a post-national agenda. Since the Cold War, the White House has been held by two Progressives and a neocon, which is just a hyper-violent variant of Progressivism. Despite a near total dominance of politics, the political center has not moved that much since the end of the Cold War. The consensus has the advantage of numbers, so the solution is to import millions of new voters to support the radicals.

The expansion of the electorate is a consequence of democracy. In the age of kings, the ruling class was narrow, closed and well defined. The interests of the king are the interest of the property classes. Disputes are narrow, as the ruling class is hierarchical, with the king having the final word. The ruling class of a monarchy or principality has a motivation to keep the numbers within the ruling elite small. Expansion of their class must necessarily dilute their power within the ruling class. No one wants to add new princes to the mix.

In a democracy, no one owns the state, so factionalism is the the inevitable result of disputes over the proceeds of government. By the logic of democracy, the fights between the factions are adjudicated by the public through elections. Eventually, a consensus forms and the major factions find an equilibrium. The minor factions and the losers of previous fights, have no other recourse than to undermine the consensus and alter the make up the voting public, hoping for a better result in the next elections.

It is axiomatic that democracy must be short-term oriented. This is not due to greedy voter, as much as the nature of democracy. The people holding office are temporary office holders with not investment in their position. Therefore, their goal is to squeeze every drop from their position as quickly as possible, Hillary Clinton is the ideal politicians in a democracy, because she wants to auction off every asset of the office she holds, as quickly as possible. This shortsightedness makes expanding the franchise attractive.

When seen in the light of democracy’s inevitable expansion of the franchise, open borders makes perfect sense as the next logical step in Western democracy. It is why the open borders advocates are endlessly chanting about “our democracy” requiring the free flow of people. Democracy becomes a gaping maw, into which everything that defines a people is thrown, in order to keep democracy growing. What starts as a system for the people to chart their own path becomes a system that eliminates the very concept of a people.

A Garden of Idiots

It is axiomatic that the political class of a society is a reflection of the culture. That culture is what grows out of the biology of the people, but there is an interplay between culture and biology. The ethnic differences between Swedes and Danes, or even Swedes and Prussians, are trivial, at least in the purely biological sense, but, the culture of Swedes, Danes and Prussians are different in important ways. For that matter, the culture that produced The Lion of the North was very different from that of modern Sweden.

Another way of looking at this is that the type of men in leadership of a society are a reflection of the political culture. At the Founding, the political class of the American colonies was fertile ground. Even adjusting for two plus centuries of propaganda, the men that birthed America were extraordinary in quality and quantity. One or two great minds makes for a special generation of men. The 18th century colonial political class produced many great minds, indicating an amazingly fertile political soil at the time.

On the other side of this, during the same period, is the French aristocracy. One of the remarkable things about that period is that the political class had no able men. The history of the French Revolution is the story of one missed opportunity after another to reform and respond to the changes sweeping the country. All the famous names from that period are from well outside the political elite. The only reason anyone remembers Marie Antoinette is she lost her head over remarks attributed to her that she most likely never said.

Anyway, this comes to mind when seeing a story like this one.

Conservatives should “fight back” against the alt-right and white nationalists, and do a better job reclaiming classic terms to stamp out identity politics, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Thursday.

“We have to go back and fight for our ground and re-win these ideas and marginalize these guys the best we can to the corners,” Ryan said. “Do everything you can to defeat it.”

Ryan made the comments in conversation with National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg. The two conservatives spoke at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. Ryan had harsh words for the alt-right, an umbrella term for extreme right-wing individuals who reject mainstream conservatism and often embrace racism and white supremacy.

“That is not conservatism. That is racism. That is nationalism. That is not what we believe in. That is not the founding vision, that is not the founders’ creed,” Ryan said.

That goes beyond stupid. It is offensively stupid. Even today, grammar school civics lessons make clear that the Founders were crafting a new nation. The entirely of the founding myth is based on “creating a new nation in the wildness.” The Founders were so nationalistic, they even wrote it into the preamble of the Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That is the very essence of nationalism. Now, Paul Ryan is entering that phase that reminds everyone why it is best to make a change as soon as it is clear a change must be made. When the employee puts in their notice, pay them their two weeks and send them home. Ryan is now unburdened from the need to lie about his true opinions, so he is speaking his mind, what little there is of it. That just underscores the fact that this feckless airhead is the best the current political class has been able to produce.

Ryan is not an isolated example. His predecessor was a raging alcoholic who would burst into tears at public events. Before him we had Nancy Pelosi, a women on so many psychiatric drugs she rattles when she walks. Look around at the elected officials and it is hard to find someone you would trust to run the second shift at a convenience store. Our political culture is not just a garden overrun with weeds. The weeds took over a long time ago and now there is nothing but weeds. It produces no men of merit.

It is not just a consequence of democracy. Take a look at the conspirators involved in the sedition scandal. Former CIA Director John Brennan, who helped form the conspiracy, is a former communist. He supported the Communist Party candidate in the 1976 election and it was not an act of protest. He was an actual communist. Today he is an unhinged fanatic who goes on social media demanding a military coup against the President. Again, this man was the head of the CIA under Obama. The CIA. How is this even possible?

It does not just stop there. Look at the “intellectual” side of the ruling culture. Paul Ryan gave that interview to Jonah Goldberg, who is waddling around with the title “Senior Fellow” at what is supposed to be a prestigious think tank. Probably the most famous public intellectual in the academy right now is Steven Pinker, who is prone to the most basic logical fallacies. The American college campus is a doctrinaire breeding ground for narrow minded fanatics hellbent on pulling the roof down on Western Civilization.

The political culture of a society can break off from the general culture or even start as an alien over class, as in the case of invasion. The French political class in the 18th century was so divorced from the rest of the kingdom, they as well have been foreigners. The Russian political class, what little there was of of it at the end of the 19th century, was wholly disconnected from the culture of the Russian Empire. There’s certainly a strong whiff of that in present day America. Our rulers are nothing like us now.

Even so, whatever the source material for the current ruling elite, what it is producing is of such poor quality, it suggest a very bad end. Donald Trump is our guy, but let’s face it, he should not be President. If he is what is necessary to prevent the country’s political class from strangling the rest of us through staggering idiocy, it is past time to think weeding the garden is enough. This garden of idiots is beyond the point where a good dose of weed killer will work. It’s time to plow it under and salt the earth, starting fresh elsewhere.

Vae Victis

The FTN guys posted a special podcast on the American Revolution and the process that resulted in the Constitution. Instead of reciting the standard mythology about the Founders and their alleged love of liberty, they get into the economic motivations of the men who met in Philadelphia to restructure post-colonial America. They also talk about the men who were excluded, as well as the interests they represented. It’s a well done episode that gets into the forgotten parts of the founding story, as well as the economic motivations.

The basis of their analysis is the historian Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Beard argued that the structure of the Constitution and the process that produced it, was the result of the personal financial interests of the Founders. For example, George Washington had provided significant financing for the revolution, so the Constitutional guarantee that the newly formed nation would pay its debts, worked out pretty well for people like Washington and the other bond holders.

Beard built on earlier Progressive interpretations of American history and can probably be described as a proto-Marxist historian. His analysis of the Founding is that it was first a revolt against the monarchy and then a counter revolution against democracy by the mercantile class located in the cities. It was not just the issue of repaying war debts. The financial class also saw the Articles of Confederation as a hindrance to trade, because there was no central authority to strike trade agreements with foreign governments.

Beard is an interesting guy, who was very popular with the Left into the Cold War, but then fell out of favor in the 1960’s. This seems like an odd thing, given that his reading of American history is based in class conflict. The New Left historians, however, rejected that interpretation in favor of  racial and sexual conflict, which meant abandoning facts and standards in favor of emotion and vengeance. Neo-conservative historians rejected all of that in favor of selling the narrative of Americanism as a vehicle for present policy.

One of Beard’s insights was that the people located in cities not only have a different set of economic interests, but they also have a different relationship with government. In the 19th century, that meant the city dweller was much more receptive to socialism than the citizens in the country. The main reason was that the city dweller gets used to bumping up against government on a daily basis. It feels natural to them. Citizens in the country, particularly in the 19th century, had little contact with the state, so it seemed alien to them.

This suggests something about the nature of socialism, as throughout history urban populations have supported authoritarians, while rural populations have not. In the ancient world, a savvy tyrant like Peisistratus could appeal to the masses of urban poor, to challenge the power of the aristocrats. On the other hand, authoritarian appeals work much better in high density environments. Still, daily familiarity with the power of the state makes people more trusting and comfortable with it. Socialism relies on that trust.

Of course, the defect of class-conflict historiography is that it tries to jam all facts into a model of society. Instead of the theory explaining history, history is used to explain the theory. There’s no question that the men who met in Philadelphia had direct financial interest in the outcome. They were also motivated by all the usual stuff like patriotism, regional loyalty and petty stupidity. That stuff is every bit as interesting as the economics and just as important. In other words, history is both particles and waves.

More important and related to the podcast, is the fact that the people who drive history have personal interests. The men who revolted against the king, did so because they saw an advantage in it. Once they gained control of the country, they were not about to give it away or arrange things to their disadvantage. After all, the whole point of the revolution was to get a better deal. The Articles of Confederation were simply an interregnum, while the new elite figured how they were going to lock in their position after evicting the old elite.

That was the point of the Constitution and the point of all subsequent changes to it, including the Civil War. Similarly, the mythology of the founding, as well as the “second founding” as neoconservative historians call the Civil War, is part of locking in that position via the miracle of propaganda. All of the soupy romanticism of American history is intended to convince the rest of us that the current arrangements are the result of Providence. Political arrangements are not about ideals. they are about power.

This is an important lesson for anyone in dissident politics. The first goal, that which everything bends toward, is to gain power. This is why the New Left has rolled through the culture. They first seized power and then cooked up timeless principles to justify their position. It’s also why the legacy Right’s appeal to principle must be rejected. Limiting your options by self-imposed rules and inviolable principles is a recipe for failure.  The truth of life is that politics is about power. First you seize power and then vae victis.