TED: Social Gospel

I used to think TED Talks were just to provide me with material. When I first started this blog, I was riffing on these things once a week for a while. But, that’s not why they exist. They are the modern equivalent of the preaching circuit. Instead of educated men of the faith heading out into the boonies to convert the heathens, we have educated men of the faith telling their coevals in the managerial elite that they are special little snowflakes.

This one got my attention for a couple of reasons.

Since you probably don’t want to sit through it, here’s the transcript of interest:

When we think about mapping cities, we tend to think about roads and streets and buildings, and the settlement narrative that led to their creation, or you might think about the bold vision of an urban designer, but there’s other ways to think about mapping cities and how they got to be made. Today, I want to show you a new kind of map. This is not a geographic map. This is a map of the relationships between people in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, and what you can see here is that each dot represents a person, each line represents a relationship between those people, and each color represents a community within the network.

Now, I’m here on the green side, down on the far right where the geeks are, and TEDx also is down on the far right. (Laughter) Now, on the other side of the network, you tend to have primarily African-American and Latino folks who are really concerned about somewhat different things than the geeks are, but just to give some sense, the green part of the network we call Smalltimore, for those of us that inhabit it, because it seems as though we’re living in a very small town.

Managerial class types love the phrase “big data” and they really love these weird splatter graphs they claim are derived from the big data. These presentations often look like a Jackson Pollock work. Unlike the artist, the folks who do these today know their audience is uninterested in ambiguity. They want to see how they’re the best and it better be clear. The result is big bold blobs of goodness in friendly colors like green and blue.

In this case, the Ted Talker puts himself and by extension the audience in the friendly green blob he calls “geek” which is a favorite term of the managerial class. Every liberal arts major with a self-actualizing job now says they are a “nerd” or a “geek.” The whole point of this graphic is to make the audience feel good, but also feel bad, in a good way. That distance from the blacks is to work the old guilt complex.

The other thing I think worth mentioning is the great divide in Western intellectual life. It feels like we have reached a place similar to the late medieval period when science was just getting going. On the one hand you have members of the ruling elite heading off into the Church, which has reached its peak scholastically. On the other hand you have others heading into new, secular intellectual worlds like law, philosophy and science.

The Ted talkers are having a spiritual experience. Instead of eating mushrooms and looking into the stars, they are dressing up and hearing a preacher tell them they are the brightest starts in the heavens. They don’t think of it as a mystical experience, but that’s the draw. They are an elect, invited to The Thing of all SWPL’s. No one goes to these things to learn stuff. They go to experience them.

Compare that to the people doing real science and speculating about the nature of the world. Look at this from Razib Khan’s blog and imagine the Ted Talk types confronting those graphics. Everything about human sciences, our understanding of people, history and culture is now being reexamined in light of new information coming from genetics. The revolution in scientific understanding going on right now dwarfs what happened in the Renaissance.

Even so, vast swaths of the managerial class are both intellectually incapable of mastering the new material and ideologically disinclined to accept it. To borrow an idea from Marine Le Pen, the cultural elite of our age are using software designed for the industrial age. The new knowledge pouring in from genetics and neuroscience simply does not fit their mental model of the world.

Ironically, the cultural elites of today are still fond of mocking Christians about Galileo. Yet, the roles are clearly reversed. The science deniers are the sort of people watching Ted Talks with tears in their eyes. History says the clerical class does no fold up easily and they will try to keep the new dangerous knowledge about humanity from getting into the public domain. That’s why we get all the shrieking about HBD.

If history is any guide, the clerisy will try to co-opt the new knowledge. That’s what happened with the Church and science 500 years ago. How the Church of Modern Liberalism incorporates IQ and population genetics is a mystery to me. Maybe they just start burning heretics instead. Islam, when faced with challenges from science has chosen to kill the science. Maybe that’s where we’re heading. I don’t know.

Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra…

…and the famous backlash coming your way. For as long as I have been alive, the Left has been wringing their hands, on your behalf, over the coming backlash over your unwillingness to fall in-line. You heretics keep making demands and supporting extreme right-wing extremists of the most extreme kind and one day, the backlash is going to get you!

Sen. Ted Cruz announced a bid for the White House on Monday, drawing praise from grass-roots conservatives but a fierce backlash from Hispanic groups that said they were appalled at the prospect of the first Hispanic to announce for president this cycle being such a firm champion of a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The freshman lawmaker, whose father was Cuban, has been one of the most vocal opponents of President Obama’s immigration policy. He voted against a legalization bill in 2013 and helped lead opposition to the administration’s deportation amnesty over the past six months.

Announcing his candidacy at Liberty University, Mr. Cruz sounded familiar conservative themes and said he believes “God isn’t done with America yet.”

“I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise in America,” he said.

Mr. Cruz is the first elected Hispanic Republican in history to seek the White House, but Hispanic groups found little to celebrate in the groundbreaking moment.

“We reject Ted Cruz, which is sad, because while he is the first Latino to declare his candidacy, he may be the most anti-immigration candidate on stage during the debates,” Cesar Vargas and Erika Andiola, co-directors of the Dream Action Coalition, said in a joint statement. “While Ted Cruz has a Latino name and immigration in his past, that’s where the similarities between him and the Latino community end.”

At least they did not call him a coconut – yet. You know that’s coming. When Michael Steele ran in Maryland as a Republican, local black activist threw Oreo cookies at him. The local press applauded their efforts to expose a man who was not “authentically black.” They actually put it that way in one of the papers.

I love how these hacks are trying to define what is and what is not acceptable thought for Spanish speakers. The proof of their ignorance is right there. Anyone who has been around Latinos knows they hate it when people try and speak for them this way. They really hate it, almost as much as they hate being lumped in with blacks.

The fact is, most Hispanics agree with Cruz on immigration. Open borders and illegal immigration are bad for them. Talk to any legal immigrant and they will chew your ear off about the evils of amnesty and illegal immigration. In this regard, John Derbyshire is well within the mainstream.

I’m not a fan of Cruz for President. I think he makes a fine senator. I think he is right about a lot of things. His opinion on legal immigration is completely nuts, but maybe he is persuadable on that issue. We’ll see. The fact that a vociferous anti-amnesty candidate is going to be on the stage offers some hope.

Dave Brat was running on a number of issues, but what stuck was immigration. He rode that to a huge upset of Eric Cantor. If Cruz starts to get traction with immigration, events, as they say, can take over and we could see the other candidates jumping on the issue. It’s how issue shifts from fringe to acceptable.

The Gawker Veto

Last week the queer website Gawker bagged another crime-thinker when they “outed” Razib Khan as he was about to take up a space on the NYTimes website. Apparently it was assisted by the in-house racist of the NYTimes, Jamelle Bouie. That’s not surprising. The dumbest employee of the NYTimes is probably the best person to be their ambassador to the Gawker-verse.

As an aside, I always wonder how guys like Bouie and TN Coates live with themselves. They have to know they are ornaments and not taken seriously by their owners. None of the trust fund types running the Times and the Atlantic have any interest in what these guys are saying or doing. I guess it beats working the drive through.

Anyway, as Derb pointed out, it was a bit shocking to see the Times hiring someone like Khan in the first place. The religion of anti-racism pretty much precludes any discussion of genetics beyond the sort of stuff that turns up in grammar school text books. It just shows that the people at the NYTimes are completely unaware of what goes on outside their bubble.

Let me just say that I have read Khan for years and I enjoy his work. I don’t know him, but I suspect he and I would not get along very well. Therefore, my appreciation of him is purely intellectual. He is simply one of the best genetics bloggers/writers on earth. You cannot have an interest in population genetics and not read Razib Khan.

The fact that Gawker now has a veto over hiring at the NYTimes is not entirely surprising. One of the things about these leftists is they always end up handing power to the worst elements in their cult. From The Reign of Terror forward the pattern has always been the same. The movement grows increasingly fanatical until control is in the hands of psychotic lunatics.

The reason for this is that utopian religions have no natural limit. There’s no line that reads, “This is enough.” Christianity has those lines. Judaism has those lines. Once you do certain things, show you believe certain things, you are pious enough. Built into the religion is an upper bound and a caution about trying to go beyond it. The Catholic Church burned more than a few heretics for trying to immanentize eschaton.

On the Left, no such limit exists. They are premised on the firm belief that there is a way to arrange things just the right way to create heaven on earth. They don’t call it that, but the echos are there in discussion of health care or poverty programs, for example. Obama spent three years talking about his plan to have more people on government health services while also lowering the cost, a mathematical impossibility.

The dynamic that evolves is one where adherents compete with one another over who is the most pious. Since there’s no objective way to measure piety and no defined limit to piety, a weird race to the bottom ensues.The only way to “prove” yourself is to be more fanatical than the next guy. The following guy has to do more.

During the Reign of Terror, fear of being branded a counter-revolutionary led moderate men to embrace violence against their fellows. The result was an escalation of violence. The Nazis and Bolsheviks went through similar period of fervor during which members were purged and alleged enemies murdered. The Kmer Rouge is probably the most grisly example of how this process can quickly spiral into madness.

I think we’re seeing something similar happen with Progressives. I’m old enough to remember when respectable liberals would not be caught dead in the same room with a guy like Al Sharpton, for example. The ranting lunatics of MSNBC would have been confined to public access cable, not given their own nationwide platform. The face of Progressive America has grown increasing gnarled and ugly over the last two decades.

Now here we are with Gawker running the HR department of the NYTimes. If there are humans more odious than those who work at Gawker, I am unaware of them. These are the lowest of the low. Yet, the trust fund babies at the NYTimes fear them. Entertainment liberals tremble at the mention of Gawker. They have become the Sturmabteilung of the Progressive movement.

Handing authority of any kind to sociopaths is a terrible idea and it never ends well. The Obama coalition has always been fragile because it is a coalition of anti-social misfits and cultural anarchists. Turning over party discipline to sadists and borderline psychotics like Nick Denton is throwing a gas on the fire. Whether or not the remaining sensible elements of the Progressive church can take back control of their thing is unknown.

I’m not optimistic.

How Come These White Bigots Won’t Talk Race With Me?

Unintentional comedy. “After an Uneasy Start, Finding Common Ground to Discuss Race Relations at Work

Carl Jones brought it up over lunch in the company break room: the news of the shooting death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. “Did you read about it?” Mr. Jones, a software engineer who is black, remembers asking his colleagues. “How could this happen?”

He told his white and Asian-American co-workers about his feelings of outrage as they ate Korean takeout at the lunch table at their technology company in Manhattan. He described the waves of anger and anxiety sweeping over him.

Mr. Jones, the only black employee in his department, had always talked with his work friends about sports, movies and current events. But this conversation last summer was different. One white colleague challenged him, asking: “How do you know the shooting wasn’t justified?” Others averted their eyes and finished the meal in silence.

He knew then that he had crossed an invisible line. The discussion of race that day changed the social dynamics at the table, chilling his co-workers’ camaraderie.

“Everyone did their best to avoid the conversation,” Mr. Jones, 33, recalled last week as he described the day that he discussed the shooting in Ferguson, Mo. Race is often the elephant in the room, he said, and “a lot of times people feel uncomfortable talking about it.”

The reason they are uncomfortable would have nothing to do with the fact you can quickly get fired, if you are white, by talking about race. It has nothing to do with how guys like Razib Khan get sacked by the NYTimes for talking about race. Nope. Nothing to see here.

The universal attribute of all cults is a lack of self-awareness. The Times enforces a strict and ruthless set of speech codes at its offices. It works hard to enforce those codes outside its offices, by slandering people who violate those codes. Yet, they run stories like this one, totally unaware of how ridiculous it makes them look.

Too Much Neo in NRx

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am not much of a Moldbug fan. Maybe one day I’ll do an in-depth post on the subject, but for now just understand that I’m more than a bit skeptical about the NRx thing.There’s a whiff of Scientology to it, with Moldbug playing the L. Ron Hubbard role. To quote myself, I suspect some of these guys have spent too much time working on their Frodo costumes.

Anyway, Jayman and HBD Chick were discussing this, as it were, on twitter today and it touches on one of my complaints about the whole neo-reaction stuff. That is, it is inward looking and strangely immune to the vast storehouse of knowledge around them. They spend so much time talking to one another, they seem to have forgotten there’s a whole big world out there.

I’ll grant that many of the things discussed on the dark side are off-limits outside of the fringes of the Internet. Much of what I post here would get me tossed in jail if I were based in Europe and I’m pretty mild compared to some of the stuff, so I get why they would spend more time on the fringe stuff.  It is, however, an error to think that there’s nothing of value being discussed by mainstream sites.

All that said, the Puritan => Progressive idea is, to be blunt, ridiculous and Occam is correct to take issue with it. The Puritans cast a long shadow in the minds of Progressives only because they were a convenient foil. In the early 20th century no serious intellectual talked about the influence of the Puritans or Puritanical America. That was a fad that bubbled up in mid-century.

Early Progressives were overtly Protestant, mainly Episcopalian and Methodist. Go further back, and I can argue that the abolitionist movement was the first flowering of American Progressivism. It was a secular cause for spiritual reasons. Everything about American liberalism can be framed as a secular cause for spiritual reasons. This wonderful essay on the subject from The Weekly Standard is a nice introduction.

I think the way to look at it is this. On the Continent, the 30 Years War discredited Christianity as a legitimizing ideology. When vast swaths of civilization were plundered in the name of Christ, it was a tough sell as a legitimizing ideology. In its place began to flower nationalism as the source of legitimacy.

In America, something similar happened but much later. In the name of Christ millions of Americans were slaughtered in the Civil War to free a handful of black people from bondage. Both sides were sure God was on their side only to learn that God was not on either side. Onward Christian Soldier sounded a bit ghoulish after Sherman’s March. As a result, mainline Protestant Christianity lost its energizing appeal to the ruling classes.

Yet, those same crusading passions existed amongst both the victors and the vanquished. In the South, a uniquely American form of Christianity filled the void. In the North, a form of European socialism filled the void. Over the the last 150 years, both sides have battled a cold civil war over which side has the right answer to the Great Question.

The Southern model has one big advantage in that it is not Utopian. Evangelicals are under no illusions about the perfectibility of man. The great disadvantage is it relies on an an invisible man in the sky with whom you are required to have a personal relationship. In a world of increasing skepticism about the supernatural, this is a hard sell.

The Northern model has the advantage of being adaptable. Because it functions more like a cult or tribal network, the adherents need only worry about who is in and who is out. Early Progressives, for example, were all for neutering the poor. Then you know who came along and they had to shift gears. Since none of their scripture is written in a dead language, change is easy.

The big downside is that it is Utopian. The Abolitionists were sure they could recreate the city on the hill if they just killed off all the slave holders in the South. Wilsonians were sure they just needed to sterilize the unfit. Today they avoid talking about killing people, but nothing can be allowed to stop “progress.”

This is, I think, where many of the NRx types lose their footing. They simply don’t know enough about history. Instead, they rely on the mythologized version from the Left. The other day I had a right-winger complain to me about the persecution of gays by the GOP. I had to remind him that it never happened.

The other defect I sense is the need for a unified field theory of progressivism. That’s where the Frankfurt school, Marx, Rousseau and all the rest get in on the act. American Progressives certainly borrowed from their European counterparts, but they also made up their own things too. Eugenics, after all, was an American innovation. It’s better to look at European and American intellectual life as complimentary, stealing ideas from one another when practical.

The important thing, I think, is to not get trapped in the chain of causality. American Progressives developed in a different environment from their European counterparts. There’s no analog to the triumph of New Deal Democrats in European politics, for example. While they borrowed heavily from European intellectuals, it is a different branch with its own unique history.


Licencia y Registro Por Favor

A couple of years ago I was pulled over on way to the office by a cop who resembled an extra from a Sabado Gigante skit. He crept up on me with his hand on his gun and when he got to the window, he asked for my license and registration in broken English. I was tempted to just drive away, thinking it was some sort of new way of car jacking. But, the middle of the afternoon in a business park is not time for car jacking.

Eventually, my weak Spanish and his poor English allowed us to communicate. He was, in fact, a local cop doing traffic duty. I guess they figured having a Spanish speaker was necessary. I think he forgot what he was doing or simply got confused, but he handed me back my stuff and I went on my way without him telling me why he pulled me over.

It looks I was encountering a new trend.

Law enforcement agencies struggling to fill their ranks or connect with their increasingly diverse populations are turning to immigrants to fill the gap.

Most agencies in the country require officers or deputies to be U.S. citizens, but some are allowing immigrants who are legally in the country to wear the badge. From Hawaii to Vermont, agencies are allowing green-card holders and legal immigrants with work permits to join their ranks.

At a time when 25,000 non-U.S. citizens are serving in the U.S. military, some feel it’s time for more police and sheriff departments to do the same. That’s why the Nashville Police Department is joining other departments to push the state legislature to change a law that bars non-citizens from becoming law enforcement officers.

Department spokesman Don Aaron said they want immigrants who have been honorably discharged from the military to be eligible for service.

“Persons who have given of themselves in the service to this country potentially have much to offer Tennesseans,” he said. “We feel that … would benefit both the country and this city.”

Current rules vary across departments.

Some, like the Chicago and Hawaii police departments, allow any immigrant with a work authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to become an officer. That means people in the country on temporary visas or are applying for green cards can join.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Justin Mullins said the department usually struggles to fill trooper positions in less populous corners of the state, including patrol sectors high up in the mountains. He said immigrants from Canada, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Central America who are willing to live in those remote places have helped the agency fill those vacancies.

“People that want to live there and build a family there and work there is a little more difficult to find,” Mullins said. “People moving from out of state, or out of the country, if they’re willing to work in these areas, then that’s great for us.”

This will not end well.

Sunday Miscellany

To keep this blog interesting, I clip stories from Twitter and other places and save them for later use. Often, there’s simply not much that needs to be said about them so I thought I’d clear out the attic today and combine a bunch of them into a single post. There’s no theme here, other than I happen to notice them for some reason.

I saw this posted on Maggie’s Farm yesterday. I know a few people in the drug and alcohol treatment rackets. To a man, they say that their methods are entirely useless on people lacking the will or capacity to stop using. They also report that almost all addicts are more than a bit nuts and their drug and alcohol abuse is a symptom of that.

The question, of course, is whether these programs are anything more than a clearing house for addicts. Eventually, their drinking or drug taking gets them into trouble and they head off to treatment. Those with the will and ability to get sober do so and those lacking it fall down further. In other words, the treatment is irrelevant. It is the idea of it that works as a sorting mechanism…

The founder of Green Peace is a heretic. I was told by a Jewish friend that Jewish men naturally become more religious as they get older. He jokingly refers to Temple as God’s waiting room. It seems to me that Gentile men go the other way and become less religious in old age. Not only that, they become less tolerant of social codes and taboos.

British men seem to be famous for this last part. Something snaps and their words come raw and unvarnished. John Derbyshire is a good example. James Watson is another. Patrick Moore is Canadian, but either English or Irish ethnicity. I suspect that’s what is happening here. He has hit that stage where he is no longer willing to pretend and out comes the unvarnished truth…

I find the comments are often better than the content of news stories. Steve Sailer’s blog is mostly a comment magnate. Sailer seems to have figured out that he can throw some chum in the water and get a bunch of great feedback. It makes his blog one of the best on the Interwebs. Comment #13 in this thread is a good example.

It’s funny how most men are fine with homosexuals being homosexuals as long as they agree to the unwritten rule that they keep it out of public life. This seems to be our natural and default position and it’s the claim that “the personal is political” that is new and alien. A look at the origin of the word “idiot” is instructive:

Idiot is a word derived from the Greek ἰδιώτης, idiōtēs (“person lacking professional skill”, “a private citizen”, “individual”), from ἴδιος, idios (“private”, “one’s own”).[1] In Latin the word idiota (“ordinary person, layman”) preceded the Late Latin meaning “uneducated or ignorant person”.[2]

An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private—as opposed to public—affairs.[6] Idiocy was the natural state of ignorance into which all persons were born and its opposite, citizenship, was effected through formalized education.[6] In Athenian democracy, idiots were born and citizens were made through education…


“The personal is political” is a post-1960s concept that seems to be killing itself via Twitter as we speak. Give every silly girl the ability to broadcast her every passing thought via Twitter and the demand that we accept the personal as political drowns in its own waste.

I’m fond of pointing out that people join mass movements out of self-loathing. They seek to swap their natural identity for that of the group. It’s why the members of a movement compete with one another as to who is the most committed. Inevitably this zealotry contest ends with purges and maybe worse.

It’s also why Cultural Marxism so aggressively attacks the private space of citizens. Privacy is a challenge. Someone who wishes to maintain a private life has something to hide and therefore he may be a heretic. You never know until you turn him inside out and look. Islam has a similar suspicion of privacy, which is not a coincidence…

One of the things I love about Roman history is just how many incompetent rulers they were able to muster, yet survive. People on the rise accumulate a lot of cultural capital. In periods of bad rulers, they live off that excess capital from a previous age. The Roman Republic and a few early emperors accumulated a lot of cultural capital.

America is another story. The rulers from the Civil War through WW2 built a huge gap between America and the rest of the world. Conquering Europe and Asia in one shot is no small thing. But, it does appear the subsequent run of bad emperors is frittering it away. Obama will be remembered, I suspect, as a man thrust into a position for which he was unqualified, thus hastening the decline of the empire…

If you want to see how it ends for the Occident, it is right here in this story from Sweden. The religion of the West is a worship of the other. So much so the other now has a veto over the daily life of the European. In America, the cuckoldry is focused on black males, but in Europe it is the Mohammedan…

The following tweet was in my twitter feed for some reason:

I have never heard of Pharrell Williams. I’m always amazed by the number of famous people out there that are unknown to me. I bet I know no one who knows who this is either. But, someone does  as he has become fabulously rich at something…

Finally, the Cult has been tub thumping about this story for a week or more. Indian Wells has finally been redeemed as the steroidal Williams sisters made their triumphant return to the place formerly filled with black-hearted racists. I could not fathom why this was a such a big deal to the NYTimes. They have been covering it like an election.

Then it occurred to me that anti-racism has turned a corner. It is no longer about chasing after the blue-eyed devils. It is about the worship of black people now. They have become the chosen people of the American Left. The triumphant return of the Williams sisters is symbolic of the triumph of this weird new cult built around the worship of black people…

Corinthian 15

Shay’s Rebellion, The Whiskey Rebellion, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, The Know-Nothing Riot of 1856, The Boston Police Strike, Bonus Army March, Zoot Suit Riots, The Watts Riots. There’s a long tradition of men (and women!) taking matters into their own hands and striking out at the state or society over grievances.

Now, we have the Corinthian 15.

Mallory Heiney, a 21-year-old former student of the now-defunct Everest College, is part of a group of students refusing to pay back their student loans.

Heiney wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Post in which she described the lies Everest allegedly told her as well as the insufficient education she says she received.

Heiney called Everest a “debt trap.” When she explained to her adviser that she couldn’t afford student-loan payments while in school, she was assured she could defer the payments on her $24,000 in student loans until post-graduation, according to her article.

That ended up being untrue, she said. Heiney said she was on the hook to start paying interest payments on her loans two months into her program.

The program also allegedly failed to provide her with a quality education. She said her teachers did little more than read aloud from textbooks, and she was unaware of basic concepts required to pass her nursing licensing exam. She said she was able to pass only by “spending hours researching the test questions online and watching YouTube videos.”

Heiney and 15 other students who attended the Corinthian College system have banded together to fight what they describe as predatory student-loan tactics by the financial aid offices and a failure to provide quality education.

The members of the group, referred to as the Corinthian 15, feel justified in their refusal to pay back their loans. They believe they are fighting for students everywhere who are manipulated by unfair university practices and are riddled with student loan debt as a result.

“In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus,” Heiney wrote in her article. “This soon led to the revolutionary Montgomery bus boycott. If those who came before us can take a stand in the face of persecution, harassment, beatings, imprisonment and even death, I will certainly stand in the face of wage garnishment and a tarnished credit report.”

Ah yes, Rosa Parks. That’s who comes to mind whenever I think of former students not paying their school debts. At least she did not compare herself to Jesus. I guess that’s something to celebrate.

Other former students are joining in, at least publicly, so maybe it is a thing. Then again, default rates are through the roof, over 15% according to various sources. It seems to be a tough figure to pin down because of the blend of private and federal lending. This report is the best I could find in five minutes of searching. Banks look to keep default rates below 2% as a rule. Anything higher is considered a problem.

Howling lunatic Elizabeth Warren is back again with another scheme to hand tax payer money to students who are in debt. That’s really not quite right as her scheme is about transferring tax payer money to her pals in the academy. No one ever seems to ask why college has become so wildly expensive. It’s just assumed to be an unalloyed good. No price is too high for the laying on of hands at the academy.

The sad reality of American higher education is that it has become a workfare program for the lesser lights of the managerial elite. If you have something on the ball you head off to the law of finance. If you are not terribly bright you end up in the economics department at local college. Most of what goes on at our colleges has nothing to do with training young people for productive work. That’s why tuition rates have skyrocketed.

But, that’s a subject we’re not permitted to discuss.

Now, whatever sympathy I may have for young people and their families facing modern college costs, I’m having a tough time mustering empathy for Ms. Heiney. The outsized sense of self-importance displayed by this young woman, the ring leader of this micro-protest, is a bit much. She is an adult and she foolishly entered into a bad contract. That’s not the fault of the taxpayers or the people who lent her the money.

That’s the trouble with the moaning about college debt. The people doing the moaning seem to be in a perpetual state of adolescence. Generation Onesie, raised by helicopter parents, expects the rest of us to pick up after them, tend to their boo-boos and organize our lives around them. The vibe that comes through in these stories about school debt is an overweening sense of entitlement.

Ironically, the institution inculcating this solipsism in the young is the source of their troubles, the colleges and universities. Go onto a modern college campus and it is a weird Potemkin village that operates nothing like the world around it. I always get the same feel as I get when I’m at a resort. It’s West World for young adults.

Elite universities are the worst. Just look at the graduation rates of these places and it is clear that failure is not an option. No one ever bothers to notice that schools allegedly offering the most challenging and rigorous education, have a near zero attrition rate. BUD/S training prides itself on its 65% failure rate. Ranger school is similar. Duke, in contrast, takes pride in its 99% graduation rate.

Ms. Heiney, who no one would mistake for an Ivy League graduate, nevertheless assumed that all that was required of her was to sign some forms, show up as requested, repeat what was was told to her and the world would be her oyster. This is the thread that runs through all of the complaints about school debt. No one takes responsibility for anything. Instead, strangers are expected to pick up the bill for the mistakes of these people.

One of the best lines Penn Jillette ever uttered was that government makes weasels of us all. You see it with college. The massive government loan system has turned the colleges into dependency rackets. Everyone involved is looking to separate the suckers from their money. The process produces waves of young adults expecting a good life at the expense of others.

The simplest and quickest way to end the problem is to end the government role in financing college. In short order, colleges will get cheap again, so that young people from modest backgrounds can work their way through school. Of course, we’ll need to find something for the Womyn’s Studies gals to do, which is why this will never happen. The ruling class needs a place to dump its misfits and that’s the college campus.

The Bloodless Materialism of Elon Musk

The remarkable thing about Elon Musk, the only remarkable thing, is that sensible people take this silly man seriously. Judging from the news accounts and the cultural megaphones blasting away at us, Musk is regarded as some sort of seer, a man with a detailed working knowledge of the future. For reasons known only to him, he lets us in on it once in a while, usually at some big event where he is pitching all things Elon Musk.

According to Musk, Elon Musk is is a South-African–born, Canadian-American entrepreneur, engineer, inventor and investor. He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity. He is the founder of SpaceX and a cofounder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and Zip2. He has also envisioned a conceptual high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop.

That’s copied from his Wikipedia page, which I’m going to assume has been approved by Team Musk, as it were. Famous people today carefully manicure their Wiki pages. Rich famous people also have the power to sue Wiki into the stone age so they get to sign off on their Wiki entries.

The thing with Musk, like most of the Internet billionaires, is he never really invented anything. His first company was a service he cleverly sold to Compaq. Both are long gone. His second act was PayPal, but he did not “invent” that service. He bought the company and then cleverly sold it to eBay. SpaxeX and Tesla are both parasites, cleverly living off tax payer subsidies.

Musk is a clever and gifted pitch man, for sure. He is the P. T. Barnum of the Internet age, blazing new ground in the field of suckering the rubes, but that’s about it. I’m not even sure calling him an entrepreneur is the right way of putting things. His companies were all built to be sold, preferably to a greater fool with loads of cash. Mark Cuban got rich like this, too.

None of this is to say I have anything against the man. From what I can tell he made his money legally and did so without causing harm to others. It’s just that I have no interest in what he has to say about anything, unless he is giving tips on how to flip properties to rich suckers. That I might find interesting.

That makes me the weirdo as it seems the media falls all over itself to report on his every utterance. His latest is the claim that driverless cars will not just rule the future, they will make driving illegal. This is not the first time I’ve heard this claim. It and similar sorts of logic are popular with the Ray Kurzweil types. The robots will take over and humans will, well, no one really knows. Maybe live like Eloi tended to by robots.

For some reason, the futurists of today always remind of Whittaker Chamber’s take down of Ayn Rand. Chambers knew the authoritarian mind and he knew that man-made systems of human organization must always have coercion at their heart. The reason for this is that humans are not moist robots.

It is when a system of materialist ideas presumes to give positive answers to real problems of our real life that mischief starts. In an age like ours, in which a highly complex technological society is everywhere in a high state of instability, such answers, however philosophic, translate quickly into political realities. And in the degree to which problems of complexity and instability are most bewildering to masses of men, a temptation sets in to let some species of Big Brother solve and supervise them.

That’s the central issue with libertarianism in general and techno-libertarianism in particular. The only way it can work is if a benevolent dictator makes sure the people don’t do something stupid like vote for state provision of public goods. Guys like Musk imagine himself as the watch maker. His creations, the self-driving cars and personal robots, will implement his perfect society – or else.

Nor has the author, apparently, brooded on the degree to which, in a wicked world, a materialism of the Right and a materialism of the Left first surprisingly resemble, then, in action, tend to blend each with each, because, while differing at the top in avowed purpose, and possibly in conflict there, at bottom they are much the same thing. The embarrassing similarities between Hitler‘s National Socialism and Stalin’s brand of Communism are familiar. For the world, as seen in materialist view from the Right, scarcely differs from the same world seen in materialist view from the Left. The question becomes chiefly: who is to run that world in whose interests, or perhaps, at best, who can run it more efficiently?

There’s that magic word that comes to mind whenever these technologist cross my view. It sounds so reasonable. The managerial elite love to use the word “efficiency” when discussing their latest ideas for how to manage your affairs. How hard is it to imagine Elon Musk saying that it would be more “efficient” to recycle the old for their phosphorous? Turn deformed babies into animal feed?

After all, that would be more efficient.

A Gore For All Seasons

In an unreasonable age, when crazy people seem to be a feature of the dominant culture, who better to lead the Empire than a man suffering from mental illness? As a practical matter, it is a bad idea to put crazy people in charge, but given what’s happening it would be poetic to put a madman in charge. We often hold up guys like Caligula and Commodus as examples of what happens when the ruling class falls into chaos. America is now run by ululating fanatics so putting Al Gore on the throne makes sense.

Democrats need a debate about where their party goes next. Obamacare’s passage marked the rough completion of the social safety net that liberals began constructing during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency. The end of the Iraq War drained Democrats of their foreign policy fervor. The rapid acceptance of gay marriage has robbed them of the next civil rights fight. There is work left to be done in all these arenas, but over time, the party will need to discover new dreams, much as Republicans have found the Ryan budget.

I’m a bit torn on Ezra Klein. Serious people on the Left don’t seem to think much of him, but, but they don’t publicly trash him. I think of him a flaky millennial airhead, but I’m not his target audience. Even so, he does hit on something once in a while and this is a good example. Progressivism has been seriously short of practical ideas for a long time and now that they have exhausted health care, they are running on fumes.

They also need bogeymen. When this Progressive cycle started, they had Bush and the Iraq War to motivate them. Then it was the Tea Party and now it is white men. Hating the pale penis people is not without its merits, unless your a white man. Of course, Jewish males are finding out that they cannot play the victim card as they have been declared white.  So, the Tribe needs to  wind down the war on whitey and find a new villain.

The closest thing Democrats have to an organizing concern is income inequality. But their solutions are neither sufficient to the scale of the problem nor quickening to the pulse. Raising the marginal tax rate on dividend income is not the clay from which political movements are crafted.

To many Democrats, the fight the party needs is clear: Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren. But the differences between Warren and Clinton are less profound than they appear. Warren goes a bit further than Clinton does, both in rhetoric and policy, but her agenda is smaller and more traditional than she makes it sound: tightening financial regulation, redistributing a little more, tying up some loose ends in the social safety net. Given the near-certainty of a Republican House, there is little reason to believe there would be much difference between a Warren presidency and a Clinton one.

The most ambitious vision for the Democratic Party right now rests with a politician most have forgotten, and whom no one is mentioning for 2016: Al Gore.

Gore offers a genuinely different view of what the Democratic Party — and, by extension, American politics — should be about.

Climate change is a real and growing threat to the world’s future. In 2009, nearly every country in the world agreed that global warming must be held to less than 2 degrees Celsius. We’re on pace to blow through that — warming the planet four degrees or more is horrifyingly plausible. No one really knows what that kind of temperature change — a swing that approaches the difference between most of human history and the Ice Age — would mean for humankind. The World Bank says there is “no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.”

Income inequality is a serious problem. But climate change is an existential threat.

The key to picking a bogeyman is making sure you can control him. That means making sure the bad guys does not look too much like you. that’s even easier if the bogeyman is supernatural or imaginary. Villains are not much use if you can actually beat them. Imagine if in Barman #1 the police rounded up all the goofy villains in one shot. What’s the point of having Batman around? A good bad guy is alien and impossible to ever defeat.

Climate change has the advantage of being as fickle and elusive as the weather, because it is the weather. No matter what happens, the Gaia worshipers can point to the heavens and swear Gaia is angry with us. If it is unusually cold, man is causing global cooling. if it is too hot, it is global warming. If it is normal, it is a temporary respite, because climate change is always lurking around the corner. There’s a crisis for all seasons.

The thing with Gore, peace be upon him, is that he has purged himself of all the deviationism he picked up in the Clinton years. He has submitted himself to the self-criticism sessions and has emerged like a butterfly, a pure man of the one true faith. The big thing here is Gore could shift the focus from the corrosive war on whites, which is dangerous to guys like Ezra, and refocus attention on something less like Ezra.

As ridiculous as it sounds, Gore has won a lot of elections and he grew up in politics. If not for his nervous breakdown, Gore probably would have won in 2000. But, Gore is a white guy and it is hard to imagine the SJW’s standing aside while Hymie the Robot attacks Hillary Clinton in the primary. Vagina trumps Gaia on the piety pyramid. That’s just another reason to hope it happens. Moonbat on moonbat violence is the best.