Clause 61: The Pushback Blog

Because ideas have consequences

Archive for December 2015

The Roots of Republican Populism

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In more than fifty years of living, I have listened to a lot of people. While my sample is unscientific, it is not deliberately biased. I have heard from a lot of people who are not like me. What I have consistently heard is that the American people are generous, not mean-spirited. This includes Americans who are also Republicans.

So what is going on with the Republican Party lately? One watches or reads the news and one would believe that the Republican Party is made up of haters. On the debate stage, the candidates’ language was certainly strident, with key exceptions such as Rand Paul and John Kasich who are, to put it charitably, not leading the pack.

Writing in The Atlantic, David Frum has contributed to our understanding with a thoughtful analysis that avoids commonplace stereotypes (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-great-republican-revolt/419118/). The best part of the article is his analysis of populist sentiment:

These populists seek to defend what the French call “acquired rights”—health care, pensions, and other programs that benefit older people—against bankers and technocrats who endlessly demand austerity; against migrants who make new claims and challenge accustomed ways; against a globalized market that depresses wages and benefits. In the United States, they lean Republican because they fear the Democrats want to take from them and redistribute to Americans who are newer, poorer, and in their view less deserving—to “spread the wealth around,” in candidate Barack Obama’s words to “Joe the Plumber” back in 2008. Yet they have come to fear more and more strongly that their party does not have their best interests at heart.

The roots of this populism go back to, of all things, the New Deal. Back in the 30s, people were talking about the “common man”, the “little guy”. Yes, there was a high smoke-and-mirrors factor to the rhetoric, but that was the central theme that obtained broad support among the American people. It resonated with people’s beliefs. FDR did not win four terms in office by publicly dismissing the concerns of ordinary people. Whatever he actually implemented, he spoke to them in his addresses, including his fireside chats.

In a 2013 article (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/12/the-past-and-future-of-americas-social-contract/282511/), Josh Freedman and Michael Lind set the breakdown of the New Deal social contract around 1980. When Elizabeth Warren discusses the decline of the middle class, the baseline she uses for comparison is 1970. However, the consensus supporting the social contract was already unraveling in 1970.

To Deserve Help

During the 1960s, the Democratic Party shifted focus from the “common man” to the permanent underclass. In this view, everyone deserved help; no one should live in poverty. Help became an entitlement.

However, the New Deal was a social contract, not merely an economic contract. We’re going to help you as long as you deserve it. I am my brother’s keeper, but my brother has to be someone I would want to keep. It’s not OK for my brother to do nothing to help himself and demand that I help him, and it’s not OK for the government to speak for him and require me to help him unconditionally.

Note that whether or not the people receiving help actually are doing the best they can to help themselves is irrelevant. It is not my intention to argue what the recipients of help actually are or are not doing to help themselves. Maybe they are helping themselves in ways others don’t recognize. The point is that others who were fighting to hang on to their own socio-economic position perceived that help was being extended to those who did not deserve it, and did not like this direction one bit. Archie Bunker didn’t like it, and neither did my mother.

The ascent of Nixon is typically attributed to factors such as the Republican southern strategy, intended to exploit racial divisions after LBJ put civil rights legislation through. However, a very real motivation for those who mourned for FDR in 1945 to turn their backs on the Democratic party in the 60s was the breakdown of the New Deal social contract.

It was these pessimistic Republicans who powered the Tea Party movement of 2009 and 2010. They were not, as a rule, libertarians looking for an ultraminimal government. The closest study we have of the beliefs of Tea Party supporters, led by Theda Skocpol, a Harvard political scientist, found that “Tea Partiers judge entitlement programs not in terms of abstract free-market orthodoxy, but according to the perceived deservingness of recipients [italics in original]. The distinction between ‘workers’ and ‘people who don’t work’ is fundamental to Tea Party ideology.”

That distinction was always fundamental, and was woven into the New Deal social contract. You even had to work to get federal old age benefits (a.k.a. Social Security).

The Unraveling Coalition

The people I have met who go to Tea Party events are not ideologues. They would much prefer to use their disposable time in the same ways that they had always been using it in years past: primarily for recreation, leisure and social activities. They were motivated by the sense that the direction in which the country is going is intolerable to them, and this reality politicized them.

Yet even as the Republican Main Street protested Obamacare, it rejected the hardening ideological orthodoxy of Republican donors and elected officials. A substantial minority of Republicans—almost 30 percent—said they would welcome “heavy” taxes on the wealthy, according to Gallup. Within the party that made Paul Ryan’s entitlement-slashing budget plan a centerpiece of policy, only 21 percent favored cuts in Medicare and only 17 percent wanted to see spending on Social Security reduced, according to Pew. Less than a third of ordinary Republicans supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants (again according to Pew); a majority, by contrast, favored stepped-up deportation.

The pundits, donors and thought leaders of the Republican Party did not get it:

As a class, big Republican donors could not see any of this, or would not. So neither did the politicians who depend upon them. Against all evidence, both groups interpreted the Tea Party as a mass movement in favor of the agenda of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. One of the more dangerous pleasures of great wealth is that you never have to hear anyone tell you that you are completely wrong.

Much like the intelligence officers in the US Army were competing to analyze the Germans out of the war in late 1944, the Republican Party establishment marginalizes and dismisses the Tea Party. The establishment doesn’t want to hear it, thinks it can ride out the storm and keeps monopolizing the conversation. Yet the casualty list grows — Bob Bennett, David Dewhurst, Eric Cantor, John Boehner.

Cantor’s loss to Brat jolted House leaders. Immigration reform slipped off their agenda. Marco Rubio repudiated his own deal. But Republican elites outside Congress did not get the message. They rationalized Cantor’s defeat as a freak event, the sad consequence of a nationally minded politician’s neglect of his district. They continued to fill the coffers of Jeb Bush and, to a lesser extent, Rubio and Scott Walker, all reliable purveyors of Conservatism Classic.

The Immigrant Thing

What is the great animus toward immigrants? Didn’t everyone descend from someone who came here from someone else? Frum identifies more immediate concerns on people’s minds:

Owners of capital assets, employers of low-skill laborers, and highly compensated professionals tend to benefit economically from the arrival of immigrants. They are better positioned to enjoy the attractive cultural and social results of migration (more-interesting food!) and to protect themselves against the burdensome impacts (surges in non-English-proficient pupils in public schools). A pro-immigration policy shift was one more assertion of class interest in a party program already brimful of them.

The Peasants Are Revolting
(I’ll Say They Are!)

Into this seething brew Donald Trump inserts himself.

When Trump first erupted into the Republican race in June, he did so with a message of grim pessimism. “We got $18 trillion in debt. We got nothing but problems … We’re dying. We’re dying. We need money … We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain … The American dream is dead.”

That message did not resonate with those who’d ridden the S&P 500 from less than 900 in 2009 to more than 2,000 in 2015. But it found an audience all the same. Half of Trump’s supporters within the GOP had stopped their education at or before high-school graduation, according to the polling firm YouGov. Only 19 percent had a college or postcollege degree. Thirty-eight percent earned less than $50,000. Only 11 percent earned more than $100,000.

The media, obsessed with demographics and identity politics, was completely blindsided by this development. He’s arrogant, he’s adolescent, he’s crass, he’s rude. He doesn’t play by the rules. He invited Hillary Clinton to his 2005 wedding; how much of an outsider can he really be? Are these people blind, deluded or just stupid?

The people we are talking about already know that journalists and political insiders are condescending toward them. It’s a dog-bites-man story by now.

It’s uncertain whether any Tea Partier ever really carried a placard that read keep your government hands off my medicare. But if so, that person wasn’t spouting gibberish. The Obama administration had laid hands on Medicare. It hoped to squeeze $500 billion out of the program from 2010 to 2020 to finance health insurance for the uninsured. You didn’t have to look up the figures to have a sense that many of the uninsured were noncitizens (20 percent), or that even more were foreign-born (27 percent). In the Tea Party’s angry town-hall meetings, this issue resonated perhaps more loudly than any other—the ultimate example of redistribution from a deserving “us” to an undeserving “them.”

Seen from a viewpoint of conservative political orthodoxy, “Keep your government hands off my medicare” doesn’t make any sense; who created Medicare in the first place? The government can modify it anytime they want to; it’s their program. When you dine with the devil, you had best use a long spoon.

But spin around and look at it from the point of view of the New Deal social contract. Over the past eighty years, people made sacrifices and accepted obligations in the expectations that they would get certain benefits. That’s the contract part of social contract. The social part is tied to the idea of deserving. If “undeserving” people — however defined — can jump the queue and have prior claim to benefits, then the social contract is rubbish, a device to sucker the rubes.

One could argue that, once the New Deal contract was extended to all deserving Americans — most notably blacks, who were substantially excluded by design in the 30s — the cost soared out of reach. One could argue that the social contract was never adequately defined; it exists in the eye of the beholder, an agreement with yourself. But nobody of any note is making these arguments. Instead, they view Tea Partiers and Trump supporters as a circus freak show and dismiss their dissatisfaction.

Whatever Donald Trump’s limitations are, the people who are supporting him have their own ideas. David Frum is the first public person I have encountered who takes them seriously instead of trying to delegitimize them.

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Written by srojak

December 24, 2015 at 1:40 pm

The Sin Bin

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As a citizen who gave up a night of watching ice hockey to watch the Republican debate, I believe I have earned the right to put forward a Modest Proposal for improving political debates: create a penalty box.

There were several incidents during the debate where various candidates continued to talk over the moderators or attempt to insert themselves when someone else had the floor. At one point, Wolf Blitzer even reminded the candidates of the ground rules that they had agreed upon, but the reminder did no good. This situation rewards the boorish at the expense of the well-behaved. A parallel of Gresham’s Law sets in where bad behavior drives out good behavior.

Let Moderators Moderate

I thought that Mr. Blitzer behaved appropriately as a moderator. He did not assert himself in a nitpicky way every time a candidate went past the bell. He only spoke out when there was a serious infraction of the rules. But he had no recourse when candidates refused to observe the rules. Since we have ample evidence that this will happen unless there are consequences, we need to impose consequences.

A penalty box would be an unlighted and soundproof booth into which a candidate would be sent for an interval after committing a serious infraction of the rules. Not only would the candidate not be able to speak during the interval; he would also not be able to hear what others were saying in order to rebut their points later. He would be in the dark, so that no one would be able to see his adolescent gestures (a certain candidate that I don’t want to provide free publicity likes to do this). This would provide real, significant negative reinforcement to dissuade the candidates from blowing off the moderators.

A minor penalty, such as ignoring the moderator when called upon to stand down, would result in five minutes in the box. Shutting off their ability to dominate the debate would hit the offending candidates where they live.

It would not be necessary to call infractions for behaviors such as Ben Carson complaining about not getting air time. He publicly shot himself in the foot for all to see, and responding to that would only be piling on.

Cleaning up the Debates

I would even go further. I would like to see a list of informal fallacies distributed to the candidates and made available to the public. Reliance on these fallacies in argument would draw a five-minute minor. Flagrant fouls, such as abusive remarks, would result in a ten-minute misconduct penalty.

By imposing these penalties, we could raise the debates to a meaningful conversation that citizens would actually get something useful from. My primary concern is whether one penalty box would be sufficient.

 

Written by srojak

December 16, 2015 at 10:37 am

Posted in Politics

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Collective Guilt

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How would you like to be arrested and imprisoned because of your ethnic background, your faith or your parents’ economic class? You as an individual haven’t done anything wrong; we are just going to take action because, given your membership in suspect groups, we think you are likely to commit a crime. It happened in the Soviet Union:

Lazar Kogan, one of the bosses of the White Sea Canal construction, would, in fact, soon say: “I believe that you personally were not guilty of anything. But, as an educated person, you have to understand that social prophylaxis was being widely applied!”
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, vol. I.

This is an extreme form of collectivism; you can be guilty of a crime in the collective sense. We don’t have to wait around for you to commit the crime — or not; we can get out in front of this because you are a member of a group likely to commit a crime.

Given that we are fighting for individualism and against collectivism, we must not adopt collectivist methods ourselves. To fail to make this distinction is to become the enemy.

To label all believers in Islam as potential terrorists is to impose collective guilt. Even before examining the practical problems of implementation or considering how the behavior would play into the hands of our enemies, it is just plain wrong to adopt such methods. It is an instance of what we are fighting against.

We cannot have free government without elections and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.
— Abraham Lincoln, 1864, on the necessity of carrying out the election during the war

When Lincoln said this, he and other informed politicians expected he would lose the upcoming election. “Everybody” knew that you could not have an election during a civil war. Yet Lincoln persisted, because he saw what was most important.

We cannot have a free society without individual accountability. If the threat of terror from radical collectivist Islam could force us to impose collective guilt on innocent people, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.

Written by srojak

December 13, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Donald Trump, Political Troll

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I have been avoiding commenting on Donald Trump because of a very simple rule:

Do not feed the trolls.

Wikipedia gives this definition of an internet troll:

.. a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

You can’t win with internet trolls. If you engage them, they win. If you discuss them, they win. If you even reply to them, they win. Hence the rule: do not feed the trolls.

Unfortunately, it is now my duty to my country to break this rule and take the consequences.

The Political Troll

In Donald Trump, we are seeing the development of a political troll, which we can define as a person who sows discord in the public square by starting arguments or upsetting people, by making inflammatory, extraneous, off-topic, unsupported or even incoherent statements in a race for public elected office with the deliberate intent of provoking listeners into an emotional response or otherwise disrupting normal, earnest on-topic discussion, often for his own amusement.

All through my adult life, I have seen American political discourse become increasingly strident, substituting heated repetition of clichés and ad hominem attacks for meaningful content. One wants to believe that the current experience is just more of the same and that this, too, shall pass. But somewhere over the past year, we have seen Donald Trump become a phenomenon. Saner heads confidently predict he will implode — and he doesn’t do so. Instead, he rolls on, gathering attention to himself, sucking oxygen out of the room. One news commentator this summer even said, “Donald Trump is the oxygen.”

It is not my purpose in this post to debate his agenda. I can barely even understand his agenda because of the way he communicates. He basically loads up the shotgun with sound bites and fires. He deals in loaded phrases and innuendoes that he thinks he can disown when the chips are down; he didn’t actually make his point, so he can say he was misinterpreted, although most people know full well what he meant. It would be practically impossible to have a sit-down debate with him; it’s like nailing Jello to the wall. It is this aspect of his candidacy, rather than any specific idea he has put out — such as they are — that I will discuss.

The Chris Cuomo Interview

As representative evidence, I shall use an interview broadcast on CNN on 8 Dec 2015 of Donald Trump by Chris Cuomo. The video can be found here, and there is a transcript. All excerpts are taken from the transcript.

Or you can go see the video on Donald Trump’s campaign website. The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, right?

Understand that this is not going to be the most favorable setting for any Republican candidate. After the interview, Cuomo preened about his secret to journalistic success being his ability to listen to people, which is comical. Nevertheless, Trump managed to make Cuomo look like the measured, rational adult in the conversation by comparison.

Fact Check, Someone?

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have no doubt that we have no choice but to do exactly what I said until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on, because we have a problem in this country. You look at Paris. You look at the carnage that took place in Paris. But look at Paris beyond that. Paris is no longer the beautiful, gorgeous city. Paris has a tremendous lot of problems. They have areas in Paris that have been radicalized where the police refuse to go in and look at it.

Really? A modern Western nation state has areas within its borders where anarchy reigns? It tolerates a situation where the police actively refuse to enter these areas and enforce the laws? Can we get some verification on this?

Do US police refuse to go into some parts of inner cities? Not just actively dislike duty, but refuse to go?

Spray and Pray

TRUMP: We have a president that made a fool out of himself the other night. He doesn’t even mention the term. He refuses to use the term. Nobody understands why. Hillary Clinton because she’s afraid of the president because of her e-mail scandal, Hillary Clinton refuses to use the term. If you are not going to even use the term you are not going to solve the problem.

CUOMO: I don’t get how you connect these dots —

I don’t get it either, Chris. I am not confident that there even is a connection. You can’t pin Trump down; he just scoots from soundbite to soundbite with no reasonable linkage. He wants to say that Clinton is afraid of the president and he wants to remind us that Congress is investigating her use of classified e-mail, so he just strings the two together, inserting them in his monologue whether there is any justification or not.

It’s Going to Be Really, Really Bad

TRUMP: — and we should solve it because you can have many more World Trade Centers if you don’t solve it, many, many more, and probably beyond the World Trade Center.

Of course, we’re still waiting for Trump’s explanation of what the solution is, but never mind that. Having said this, he can now point to any future news item relating to terrorism that occurs and say: See, I told you so!

The Best Defense

CUOMO: What does that mean, “they want the jihad?” You can’t just throw out notions without any kind of checking on them. This is what got you wound up on “The Philadelphia Inquirer” front page like Hitler. They’ve got you in a personage of Hitler right now, a characterization of that —

TRUMP: “The Philadelphia Inquirer,” another newspaper going out of business.

The point being made really doesn’t matter. The key is to have something to say back and say it, without regard for merit or relevance. Maintain the initiative at all times. The best defense is a good offense, so be as offensive as you possibly can.

Artificial Intelligence

You could write a simple computer program to create Trump speeches. Just make three columns:

  • List the names of competing politicians;
  • List some unflattering adjective phrases (e.g., weak, low energy, stupid);
  • List some high-recognition contemporary issues and abstract phrases (e.g., political correctness, Islam, e-mail scandal).

Then randomly pick from the lists to make sentences using these patterns:

  • X is Y;
  • X is Y because of Z.

See how easy it is? Jeb Bush is low energy. Carly Fiorina is ugly. Hillary Clinton is scared because of the e-mail scandal. No need to worry about whether the statement is factually incorrect, a completely inappropriate ad hominem attack or even abusive. Just keep churning them out and take over the airwaves.

I can’t follow Trump’s pronouncements and find common themes other than, “Look, Ma, no hands.” I can’t determine what he really believes. I am not confident that he knows truth from falsehood, or really even cares about the distinction between the two.

This whole misadventure appears to be just a monumental ego trip, indulging a man who has time on his hands and more money than he knows what to do with. When the results are good, people love me; when the results are unfavorable, people are stupid. We can’t afford to lavish our attention on such an unserious person at this time.

If it’s any comfort, we have been down this road before in our history. Ninety years ago, there was this newspaper baron named William Randolph Hearst. He didn’t last long in politics.

 

 

 

 

Written by srojak

December 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Defending the West

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As is so often true, the nature of our civilization has been seen more clearly by its enemies than by most of its friends …
— F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)

Several people have asked why Tashfeen Malik, the woman who participated with her husband in the San Bernardino attack last week, would abandon her infant daughter to go on a shooting rampage that was certain to lead to her death. It is a good question, provided we don’t settle for a platitude as an answer.

We will never know for sure what was going on in her mind; Tashfeen took her secrets with her to her demise. However, the current thinking is that she “self-radicalized,” meaning that she raised her hand into the ether and said, “Here I am; give me a mission.”

What would a person be thinking that she would do this?

Individualism

Her behavior doesn’t make sense to us, because we believe that it is wrong:

  • To throw your life away on a suicide mission;
  • To demand of another person to undertake a suicide mission except in a military combat situation (and then with restrictions);
  • To kill innocent people.

However, many people don’t know where these believes came from, or realize that through most of recorded history these principles were not accepted.

The idea that every person’s life is an end in itself — that your life is not the property of a king, priest or chieftain to preserve or end as he thinks best — is a Western idea. Most of the people who have ever lived did not live and die in societies that accepted this belief.

Even in the West, there have been retrograde movements. The Nazis did not believe these principles, and temporarily removed Germany from Western Civilization. To them, everyone’s life belonged to the Führer. The people of the master race existed so that he could work his will through them; everyone else existed to be used by the master race for their purposes. Even being in the master race was no shield; you could be called upon to sacrifice your life, and you should do so gladly. Yes, they mourned their family members who died, but in the Nazi belief system they had no moral leg to stand on to claim that the deaths were wrong.

What is life? Life is the Nation. The individual must die anyway. Beyond the life of the individual is the life of the Nation.
— Adolf Hitler, February 1943, speaking on the defeat at Stalingrad.

We don’t accept this thinking. While we recognize that the individual will die anyway, we don’t look at the nation — or the faith, or the ethnic group — as the source of meaning to which individuals are fungible members. We don’t consider the Nation to exist beyond the individual, and certainly not above the individual.

The proper definition of individualism is the belief in weighting the value of the individual over the value of the group, society or nation where these conflict. There is a spread range of individualistic beliefs, but all of them at their core assert that the default position is that it is not OK to sacrifice individual people for the good of the group.

People who do not hold individualists beliefs often have a simplistic way of viewing individualism, convincing themselves that there is no heroism possible in an individualistic society. This is not true. We have police and firefighters who put their lives on the line for others every day. We have soldiers, sailors and airmen with continuing traditions of heroism and sacrifice.

Autonomy

As individuals whose lives have value in and of themselves, we get to choose how we live, within certain parameters. We get to choose our own beliefs. We get to choose what we will do to earn a living and what we will do in our free time. We can choose where we will live and with whom we will associate. All this ability to choose is called autonomy. Provided we do not break the law or injure others, we are sovereign over ourselves.

Autonomy is fun when I get the benefit of it. It is less fun when my adult children assert their autonomy and they won’t listen to me. But they have to earn their own beliefs. Furthermore, they are individuals, too. In an individualist society, they get to choose for themselves what their lives will be like. Even if they have to learn things the hard way, it’s their way.

Periodically, people in the West get all misty-eyed about clans and folk community, with a sentimental idea of the benefits of giving up autonomy in order to belong. However, we have real, living examples of folk communities with low autonomy, such as the Pashtuns of Afghanistan:

Their ancient and eternal code of conduct is Pashtunwali, or “The Pashtun Way.” The reason for following Pashtunwali is to be a good Pashtun. In turn, what a good Pashtun does is follow Pashtunwali. It is self-reinforcing because any Pashtun who does not follow Pashtunwali is unable to secure the cooperation of other Pashtuns, and has very low life expectancy, because ostracism is generally equivalent to a death sentence. Among the Pashtuns, there is no such thing as the right to life; there is only the reason for not killing someone right there and then. If this seems unnecessarily harsh to you, then what did you expect? A trip to Disneyland?
— Dmitri Orlov, The Five Stages of Collapse

Yes, most of the Western-born detractors of Western Civilization do expect a trip to Disneyland, and if they ever got what they were asking for, they would be fatally disappointed. In a society such as the Pashtun, there is no autonomy for the individual. For example, you don’t get to choose not to carry out a vendetta; to fail to fulfill your obligation would make you less than a man and unworthy of respect from anyone. You do what the community demands you do if you want to belong to the community. Otherwise, you can go out on your own, where life is mean, solitary, nasty, brutish and short (not that the quality of life inside the community is all that great, either).

However, autonomy is complicated and somewhat scary, which is why there are Western-born thinkers who long for folk communities and other ways to lose oneself in the collective. There is no grace in autonomy; it’s just you, your choices and their consequences. If you succeed, however you define that, it is you that has succeeded. But if you fail, what then? Is it your fault? That does not appeal.

Autonomy Fail

Autonomy means you select your mission for your life. What if you can’t find one, or think of one? What if you want someone else to take the responsibility? What if you are looking for something greater than yourself to be a part of? You’re sitting around with your life in shambles, when a voice says, “Go kill the slaveowners.” No, sorry, that’s not Tashfeen Malik, but John Brown.

There are people who are don’t want to live in societies based on individualism and autonomy. They find themselves isolated, alienated and adrift. They want structure, cohesion and belonging. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Some are even prepared to die rather than live in a society that does not offer this.

We just got done fighting a series of wars against the Total State. In the 1990’s, there was a certain amount of wishful thinking that all the ideological questions were now settled in favor of individualism, autonomy and the liberal state. Think again. There will probably always be people who don’t accept that outcome. Where we are going in the West is untried, uncertain and can be downright forbidding. Not everyone wants to go there with us.

The Next War

Individualist and collective societies cannot coexist peacefully along side one another. The individualist, autonomous society intrudes on the various true believers of the collectivist world. It did on the Soviets, it does on the radical Islamists and it always will on the collectivists. Over time, disaffected members of the collectivist society will leak out to the individualists, just like my father did in 1956. One must prevail and the other must go under.

The enemy is not Islam. There are Moslems who are not radical enemies of societies based on autonomy, and there are enemies of autonomy-based societies who are not Islamic.

The enemies are collectivists of all stripes who cannot tolerate our continuing to exist as an society that values individualism and autonomy. They think we are so chaotic and individualistic we can’t come together. They think we are too weak to prevail against them, despite our material advantages, because we do not have the will to fight.

They have never been right before. Are they right this time?

Written by srojak

December 7, 2015 at 11:59 am