Globalization, national sovereignty and democratic politics

Earlier this year, an economist named Dani Rodrik published an article of some importance, that in part helps explain Trump’s victory.

I am leaving aside the racial-cultural element of anti-whiteism discussed recently in Identity Politics, the Polite and Rude Versions. That explanation has real but limited application, just as has this economically-oriented approach.

Briefly, Rodrik called it the trilemma of the world economy, and the trick is: you can only have two of the three outcomes.

 

 

rodrik-trilemma

 

According to Rodrik, the choice is among the nation state, democratic politics, and international economic integration. You can get any two but not three, in full. I will question this assertion more fully below, because in the end I think one is left, in the globalized economic order, with neither state nor democracy. Let us begin with the issue of national sovereignty.

Rodrik cited the economic writer Andrew Evans Pritchard on why the latter  supported Brexit.

“Stripped of distractions, it comes down to an elemental choice: whether to restore the full self-government of this nation, or to continue living under a higher supranational regime, ruled by a European Council that we do not elect in any meaningful sense, and that the British people can never remove, even when it persists in error.

We are deciding whether to be guided by a Commission with quasi-executive powers that operates more like the priesthood of the 13th Century papacy than a modern civil service; and whether to submit to a European Court (ECJ) that claims sweeping supremacy, with no right of appeal.

It is whether you think the nation states of Europe are the only authentic fora of democracy, be it in this country, or Sweden, or the Netherlands, or France ….”

This is exactly the argument I have made about Brexit: that to remain in the EU was to revert England to a form of government last seen in the pre-Reformation Tudor era, where parliament had very limited jurisdiction and the Papacy (think Cardinal Wolsey) had very large jurisdiction. In this case replace the Papacy and Church with the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. Nowadays the Remainders get to play the role of Catholics in a protestantizing Britain. Think of Henry VIII as an early Brexiter.

Rodrik himself thought the the European Union could successfully combine a hyper-integrated common market with democratic politics. After the treatment that Greece received in the past couple of years, he no longer believed so.

_________________________________________________________________________

In regards to the United States and Trump, there is no ambiguity to be found. If the United States has to abandon deeper economic integration in order to preserve its nationhood, then it will do so. It will restrict illegal immigration, and raise the price of the labour of those already within its borders. If that means Americans will pay more at Wal-Mart, so be it. If economic integration with China requires some tougher enforcement of rules, then Trump will get China’s attention by beefing up the security and recognition of Taiwan.

Hillary Clinton stood for tighter economic integration and democratic politics, at the expense of the nation state.  Trump stands for a stronger assertion of the nation state and democratic politics, with economic integration the relatively less important.

To my mind, the degree of loss of national sovereignty implied in hyper-globalization ultimately means a lessening of the range and effect democratic politics as well., because in the modern age the state acts as the expression of the popular will, as transcribed and translated though constitutional arrangements. In order to make economic integration work, there must be dispute settlement, and for dispute settlement to work, the will of the people – as expressed through local legislatures – must be frustrated by the property rights of corporations and other economic actors to be compensated for any limitation on their treaty-based “rights” to earn money.

It is entirely possible to have states without democratic arrangements, as ancient and recent polities attest, but is difficult to conceive democratic arrangements without a stet in which they are housed and expressed.

Consider international copyright regimes. If Canada pursues a cultural policy favouring domestic television and movie production, it will inevitably limit, or try to limit, the economic presence of foreign copyright-holding interests on its airwaves. This is Canadian broadcasting policy, tout court.  Full economic integration of the kind foreseen in the Transpacific Partnership implies the right to sue for the violation of economic rights of a corporation by a host government. [See for example, investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, in the Wikipedia article just cited.]

Thus I arrive at the Dalwhinnie proposition: the perfection of global trade demands a degree of extra-parliamentary adjudication that puts and end to popular sovereignty. Democratic institutions become irrelevant.

In the long run, it is not a trilemma among state sovereignty, democratic politics, and globalization. You do not get a choice among any two, if global economic integration is to be perfected. You get one: transnational global economic and political integration. National level democracies and state sovereignties would be held down by a web of rule making that is extra-parliamentary. Votes would cease to matter – as they have in most national referenda in Europe about the European Union, whether to leave or join.

That would explain the recent revolts against the consensus of the Volvo-drivers.

Accordingly, the Trump victory is no small thing. It is, truly, an American Brexit.

 

 

 

 

Identity politics: The polite and the rude versions

Very strong Image Of a afro American woman Crying  isolated on B

 

 

 

Since the Trump victory a number of articles have been published decrying the left’s reliance on “identity politics” as a causative factor in the election. One of the politer versions is Matt Ridley’s in his blog here.  Jim Goad published the ruder version of this repudiation in TakiMag. Even the New York Times emerged from its doctrinal slumbers after the election and allowed the publication of Mark Lilla’s “The End of Identity Liberalism”.

Says Lilla:

“But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life.”

and later:

But it is at the level of electoral politics that identity liberalism has failed most spectacularly, as we have just seen. National politics in healthy periods is not about “difference,” it is about commonality. And it will be dominated by whoever best captures Americans’ imaginations about our shared destiny. Ronald Reagan did that very skillfully, whatever one may think of his vision. So did Bill Clinton, who took a page from Reagan’s playbook. He seized the Democratic Party away from its identity-conscious wing, concentrated his energies on domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance) and defined America’s role in the post-1989 world.

Unfortunately for the health of the polity, I see no end to the catering to identity politics. It has taken a blow to the head, but it retains its strength as an ideology. Why? Because blaming white people, males and Christians is the core of Leftist thought at this stage. Capitalism? an evil system devised by dead white males on the backs of slaves to erect an economy poisoning the earth with carbon dioxide. Racism? can only be exercised by white people, by definition, because only white people have hegemony. And so in self-referencing circular closed reasoning.

In the ruder version of Jim Goad, it goes like this:

“Listen up, dimwits: When you encourage racial pride in all groups except whites, you aren’t exactly making a case against “racism.” If you have even a semblance of a spine, sooner or later you’ll hear this nonstop sneering condescension about how you were born with a stain on your soul and say, “Hey, fuck you. I’ve done nothing wrong, but you’re really starting to bother me…”

Instead, a large swath of voters grew so tired of being actively hated, they struck back and said “enough.” They didn’t “vote against their interests,” as is so often patronizingly alleged; they voted against the condescending, scolding, sheltered creampuffs who try to dictate their interests to them.

I am not asserting that Trump won exclusively or even predominantly because white people got pissed off at the racial profiling of the Left, but it had to be a significant factor in the repudiation of their views which have accompanied the repudiation of Clinton.

I will go further, and venture onto ground which is sure to be attacked and supported for the wrong reasons. I read many news aggregators. One of them is American Renaissance, which goes well beyond Trump’s American nationalism to a confidently expressed white racial consciousness. By this I mean that it is based on a number of premises:
  • white people exist, and though a loose category, a fuzzy set, they have characteristics
  • they have made a disproportionate contribution, relative to their global numbers,  to the evolution of science, arts and politics for the past  millennium, maybe longer.
  • It may be the result of cultural, religious, or biological reasons, in any combination.
  • This heritage has been broadly beneficial to mankind

Now it should be stated that I have no idea whether there is a biological underpinning to this relative but not exclusive excellence, or not. I think the contribution of Christianity to this state of affairs is at present underrated, but biology may be a factor. I do not know.

I do not think that the relative accomplishments of white civilizations are the moral basis of superior rights for white people, whoever they may be. That way lies stagnation, slavery and its religious-political expression, Islam.

 My point is that such discussion is banned. The result is that many disadvantages of other peoples are treated as issues of wrongful discrimination rather than the obvious fact that some people are a few bricks short of a load. This could be permanent, or, as I believe, a result of the current stage of their cultural evolution.
 A racial viewpoint – whether cultural, biological or both – is inadequate to explain everything and perhaps even most things, but the total exclusion of this point of view from public and private  discourse is, and will be seen to be, insane. Like pretending the sexes are the same in every respect.
Now, back to the issue of what we have in common, which is where a sane politics must start from. Here is President-elect Trump talking about commonalities rather than diversities at his post victory rally in Cincinnati. [Skip the warm-up acts]. He gets the vital need to bring people together, as has every successful democrat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcKeilna2aM

“I am only the messenger”, he says at one point, and then in a moment of pure Donald, says: “but a pretty great messenger”.

IKEA: Our totalitarian present

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IKEA combines two things that when combined are simply odious. First: the architecture of the stores compel the shopper to snake  his was way through in a fully determined way from the moment he picks up his shopping cart to the final tally at the check out: first kitchen, then baths, then office and so forth, as a sheep going through the sheep-dip. One feels a total lack of control over one’s shopping experience. It is a one-way street through the cornucopia of cheap goods assembled from the poorer parts of the globe.

Second, while thoroughly capitalist, in the sense described above, the shopper is  confronted with self-congratulatory moral superiority from one end of the store to the other: from the garbage bins (sorry, I should say recycling) at the doors to puffery in signs announcing low-carbon this and ecologically sensitive that. And the Swedish self-congratulation smirks from every sign. “Hey! look at us: look at how kid-friendly we are, marvel at our sensible this and admire us for our no-nonsense return policy, and while you are here, sample our Swedish smoked herring and fried moose testicles at the cafeteria”.

Even the Wikipedia article seems to have swallowed the Kool-aid:

Older IKEA stores are usually blue buildings with yellow accents (also Sweden’s national colours) and few windows. They are often designed in a one-way layout, leading customers counter clockwise along what IKEA calls “the long natural way” designed to encourage the customer to see the store in its entirety (as opposed to a traditional retail store, which allows a customer to go directly to the section where the desired goods and services are displayed). There are often shortcuts to other parts of the showroom.

“The long natural way” is Ikeanese for doing exactly what the store architecture compels you to do. IKEA just can’t help but talk in self-congratulatory cant.

We have all spent much money at Ikea and learned to our frustration that, if Ikea can save money by drilling only one hole,when by drilling two the customer would find it easier to assemble the product, Ikea will cause its manufacturers to drill only one. It is as cheap and capitalist as Wallmart, but it has successfully occupied the commanding heights of virtue-signalling.

It is like eating at McDonald’s while the store reminds you that you are actually in a Michelin-rated restaurant.

And this attitude of being fully capitalist while pretending to be virtuous goes all the way to the top, if the corporate structure is anything to go by. I cite the Wikipedia article again:

 

IKEA is owned and operated by a complicated array of not-for-profit and for-profit corporations. The corporate structure is divided into two main parts: operations and franchising. Most of IKEA’s operations, including the management of the majority of its stores, the design and manufacture of its furniture, and purchasing and supply functions are overseen by INGKA Holding, a private, for-profit Dutch company. Of the IKEA stores in 43 countries, 303 are run by the INGKA Holding. The remaining 47 stores are run by franchisees outside of the INGKA Holding, with the exception of IKEA Delft which is not franchised.[83]

INGKA Holding is not an independent company, but is wholly owned by the Stichting INGKA Foundation, which Kamprad established in 1982 in the Netherlands as a tax-exempt, not-for-profit foundation. The INGKA Foundation is controlled by a five-member executive committee that is chaired by Kamprad and includes his wife and attorney.[84]

While most IKEA stores operate under the direct purview of INGKA Holding and the INGKA Foundation, the IKEA trademark and concept is owned by an entirely separate Dutch company Inter IKEA Systems, headquartered in Delft.[85] Every IKEA store, including those run by INGKA Holding, pays a franchise fee of 3% of revenue to Inter IKEA Systems. The ownership of Inter IKEA Systems is exceedingly complicated and not publicly known. Inter IKEA Systems is owned by Inter IKEA Holding, a company registered in Luxembourg. Inter IKEA Holding, in turn, belongs to an identically named company in the former Netherlands Antilles that is run by a trust company based in Curaçao.[84] In 2009 the company in Curaçao was liquidated and the company responsible for this liquidation traces back to the Interogo Foundation in Liechtenstein.[86] Ingvar Kamprad has confirmed that this foundation owns Inter IKEA Holding S.A. in Luxembourg and is controlled by the Kamprad family.[87] The IKEA food concessions that operate in IKEA stores are still directly owned by the Kamprad family and represent a major part of the family’s income.

I recommend that you read the Wikipedia article. The INGKA Foundations’s  not-for-profit status ensures that much of IKEA’s profits are untaxed. As you would expect. By contrast, the Waltons of Wall-Mart fame simply sell you stuff cheaply, and there is none of the smug moral posturing of IKEA.  Ingvar Kamprad’s INGKA Foundation has greater assets than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but gives away far less money.

To be clear, capitalism is good. But IKEA is selling  much more than cheap goods; it is selling to its clients a false moral posture, in the reflection of which the consumer is invited to bask.

Makes me ill to be there too long.

 

 

 

Never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake

justin-trudeau

 

So said Napoleon. And while I do not feel that Justin Trudeau is my enemy, I was not consulted by him about his Castro announcement, so I could not save him from embarrassment. Nor apparently could his oh-so-smart advisors.

 

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante,’ ” Trudeau’s statement said.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.”

The prime minister ended his statement by calling Castro a “remarkable leader.”

Let us substitute a few changes here.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Hitler’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the German people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘Der Führer,’ ” Trudeau’s statement said.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Der Führer when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three deputies and his wife during my recent visit to Berlin”

The prime minister ended his statement by calling Hitler a “remarkable leader.”

Additional parodies can be  found at Breitbart.

I have it on good authority from people who have done business in Cuba that the price for doing so were large cheques to Fidel Castro, made out personally, and not in trust or to the equivalent of the Receiver general of the Cuban government. This was a tyrant, a crook, a murderer, and a typical Latin caudillo. Nothing progressive here.

Poor Governor General David Johnson – he has to attend the funeral in Trudeau’s place. 

Justin Trudeau remains a very pleasant young man who will be Prime Minister for a long time, until something much more important than this airhead moment reveals him more clearly to the Canadian public.

Nevertheless, the man who executed, for political crimes,  between 4,000 and 33,000 Cubans out of a population of 7 million, or roughly 15,000  people (equivalent to 680,000 out of 318,000,000 Americans, or the same number as fell in the US Civil War) will be put into the ground  in the presence of the Queen’s Canadian representative.

 

 

The latest twaddle

I was at a speech given by a senior federal bureaucrat last week, a man not normally given over to political correctness, or complete folly for that matter, and to my astonishment I heard  him begin his speech by announcing piously that he was acknowledging standing on some tribe or other’s treaty territory. This seems to be the latest fad in virtue signaling.

As I write I am sitting in a chair on land that goes back to the time it emerged from retreating ice 9,000 years ago.  It used to be the hunting grounds of indigenous Ottawas, who emigrated to the Ottawa River from around Manitoulin Island in the upper Lake Huron, and thence to the Ohio River valley in the 17th century, where they were rivals, as were most Algonkian speakers, of the Iroquois Confederacy. My land has at various times been claimed by the King of France until the Treaty of Paris assigned it to the King of England in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years’ War.

 

The Ottawa [Or Odawa, Canadian] originally lived along the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and western Quebec at the time of European arrival in the early 1600s. Their historic homelands also included Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, and what is now Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Ottawa moved into northern Ohio around 1740. They spoke an Algonquian language; and are thus related to the Delaware (Lenape), the Miami, and the Shawnee. Historically, the Ottawa were enemies with the Iroquois nation, and with the Wyandot because of the former’s ties to the Iroquois.

The Ottawa’s political alliances were complicated and changed with the times. Some Ottawa were allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country in the early 1700s. Many Ottawa moved into northern Ohio so that they could participate in the fur trade with the British.

And so forth. Normal people: fighting, trading, and moving with the tides of history to greater safety or greater opportunity.

In short, why is the claim of the Ottawas memorialized by the federal bureaucrat in a speech downtown last week – in what ought to have embarrassed him –  over those of the King of France? Is anyone yet making a claim that I owe rent or acknowledgment to the remnants of the Ottawas or Hurons who still live around here? Or by contrast do I owe the same to the Bourbon pretender to the throne of France? Should I acknowledge  the claims of the Count of Paris to the former New France? Perhaps I can send my loyalty by bank transfers to the Stuart Pretenders to the throne of England? For some hundreds of years the Stuart claim has been held by the Ducal House of Wittelsbach of Bavaria, and according to a certain friend of mine they are the rightful sovereigns of Canada.

Is it any more absurd to start one’s speech acknowledging the traditional rights of the Bourbons or the Wittelsbachs to the ground I stand on than to a bunch of Canadian Indians?

And what about the claims of the Iroquois Confederacy to the lands of the Hurons, whom they exterminated in the 1650s? Do I owe recognizance to the heirs of Joseph Brant, Mason, Loyalist, and Mohawk, in preference to those of the Ottawas? Or is the Roman Catholic style of the House of Wittelsbach more to your liking? Your call. The next time you make a public speech, throw in some other claimants to the ground you walk on.

Joseph Brant

joseph_brant_painting_by_george_romney_1776_2

Franz, Herzog (Duke) von Bayern at his investiture as a Knight of the Holy Grail of Jerusalem

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Castro: the Media’s Favorite Tyrant

‘Fidel Castro is dead!’ tweeted President-Elect The Donald.  I like the exclamation point.  The rest of the media and, of course, some of the wormtongues of the political class were quick to show that their powers of grovelling have not suffered even in the New Era of Trump.  Boy Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Canuckistan averred:

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”

Just like his leftist father before him, the new Boy Leader of the DPRC gushes with praise for dictators, especially those that can poke a stick into the eye of the United States.  Canada’s Liberals often find execrable tyrants ‘remarkable leaders.’

Obsequiousness comes naturally to them, and the new, slimy leader leader of Canada is no exception.  As with Hussein in the United States, he enjoys adulation from a lapdog media, which, in the case of the CBC, is financed by fleecing the taxpayer.

In the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, senior commissar and drunk, has said,

“With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many….  Fidel Castro remains one of the revolutionary figures of the 20th century. His legacy will be judged by history.”

Juncker himself aspires to a similar legacy, and, as a leader of the semi-Soviet EU sees himself as a ‘revolutionary figure’ of the 20th century.  Juncker’s legacy will likewise be judged—as an aspiring tyrant and oligarch who had no sympathy with the average man or woman.  The EU has no respect for democracy, and neither did the thug and tyrant Castro.

Castro’s communist tyranny has left Cuba in a state of poverty and dictatorship after half a century of repression.  No mention of the political prosoners who suffered under him, or the tens of thousands ‘eliminated’ in the greater cause of communism.  No mention, either, of his bastard political offspring, Che Guevara, who rose to fame as Castro’s chief executioner.

The reactions of real people were shown by President-Elect The Donald and by Cubans on the streets of Miami. And from the Miami Cubans, I like this one the best….

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Rebel Yell

The persistent refusal to understand

desolate-town

Harlan County, Cumberland, Kentucky, 2015

One look at that photograph ought to tell you much about the state of America west of the Alleghenies. We have all watched the unfolding of the leftist blindness to Trump. We have watched friends and enemies, people we like and people we don’t, fail to figure out in what ways their navigation has led them onto the rocks of shipwrecked ideology. Mostly it takes the shape of the persistent refusal to understand that quite reasonable people can disagree in analysis and conclusions. I received the following article this morning from a dear friend, who shall be known as  Sixtus Publius Quintus Romulus who, for instance, is quite sound on anthropogenic global warming, but was apparently farther into the Hillary cult than I could have believed.

The article was by America’s poet laureate, Charles Simic, and appeared in the New York Times’ Review of Books.

It is copied below in its entirety so as to allow you to see what I am reacting to.

________

     Donald Trump “may not be good for America, but he’s damn good for CBS.”
     —Les Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS

The Ship of State is sinking and a rooster is chasing a hen in a neighbor’s yard. How can that be? A woman is hanging her husband’s underwear on the laundry line and singing to herself. The dead leaves are dancing on the ground while a few jump high in the air as if trying to get back on a branch they fell from. A strange dog in my driveway is looking off into the distance and wagging his tail. Don’t any of them have patriotic feelings? The Ship of State, festooned with Trump/Pence election signs, is sinking. Shouldn’t we all fall silent in awe? The bare trees look spooked though it’s past Halloween. The president-elect with a spyglass and his orange pompadour shouts from the crow’s nest that he can see thousands of Muslims on rooftops in New Jersey still celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers—unless I’m hallucinating, but who nowadays can be sure their eyes and ears work? If he is bonkers, as he surely is, many of us are too, like that woman hanging laundry to dry on a day cold enough to snow.

All of us who are familiar with rural areas and former industrial towns in this country know the impoverishment and hopelessness of many men and women who live there. Barely surviving by holding part-time jobs, since businesses now rarely hire full-time workers in order to avoid paying benefits, they are not just underpaid and constantly in debt, but know in their hearts that they and their children are expendable. Understandably, they are angry. When Democrats proclaimed that the economy was doing well and that we were still the greatest country in the world, they started listening to Trump, who told them what they could already plainly see, that we are in decline. These unfortunates, who’ve been cheated and swindled by bosses, mortgage banks, loan sharks, health insurance companies, and both political parties, have put all their hopes in a billionaire who has a long record of not paying taxes, cheating his workers and contractors out of their pay, and seemingly using his own “charitable” foundation as a slush fund. They voted for a buffoon who doesn’t care whether they live or die.

They got plenty of help in making that decision. Having a candidate as uninspiring as Hillary Clinton, whose weaknesses ought to have been obvious to the party that nominated her and even more so after she lost the white working classes and the young people to Bernie Sanders in the primaries, as it was to many other Americans, including those like me who voted for her, turned out to be a catastrophic error. Not that it is easy to run a national campaign in a country so polarized as ours, split between liberal and conservative voters, urban and rural, educated and uneducated, religious and secular, rich and poor, with the predictable class animosities between them; and with the Internet and social media as our main source of information, a medium ideal for spreading lies and brainwashing the gullible. Without it ISIS could not have gotten all those tens of thousands of recruits and an outright huckster could not have become president of the United States.

It took years of deliberate effort by vested interests to create this “proudly ignorant populism,” as someone called it, know-nothing voters who are easily led by the nose, incapable of distinguishing lies from truth, or an honest person from a crook. Easily duped, they can be depended on to act against their own self-interest again and again. Throw into the mix racism, misogyny, hatred of immigrants, gays, and other minorities, the dumbing down of the population by inadequate education, suspicion of learning, rejection of science and history, and dozens of other things like guns and violence, and you have the kind of environment in which people chose their next president.

“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will,” Goebbels said. Everywhere one turns one hears people parroting lies as if they were their own carefully considered personal opinions. The upshot is that an alternate reality has been constructed for millions in this country over the last couple of decades thanks to TV, talk radio, and the Internet. Spreading falsehoods, of course, is very profitable, as con artists of every type from mealy-mouthed preachers addressing their mega churches to those touting loans that require no background check can tell you. Lies sell everything from fattening foods to “your computer is damaged and we’ll help you fix it” scams. The basic requirement for democratic governance—that the majority of the population agrees on the parameters of what is true and what is false—has been deliberately obfuscated in this country. The absence of accountability for repeated fraud by those in power, both in government and in the private sector, the proliferation of fake grass-root organizations, think tanks, and lobbyist firms funded by the wealthy to deceive their fellow citizens and turn them against one another, has become the most characteristic feature of our political life. A genuinely functioning democracy endangers powerful interests and those working so hard and making so much money to destroy it, since they may sooner or later end up in jail.

To mislead one’s fellow citizens on such a vast scale is evil. We’ve seen it before. Never the good old days, of course, but the vile stuff we imagined we’d never see again. How is it possible that mass murder and torture, till yesterday universally condemned, now have their proponents, not just among religious fanatics, but among millions of Americans, including those running for the highest office in the land? The world seems to be divided today between those horrified to see history repeat itself and those who eagerly await its horrors.

In the meantime, I bet the fortune tellers in their storefronts are all depressed, since their prospective clients already know what the future holds. Once the new president settles in and brings the dregs of our society into his administration and they appoint other corrupt and worthless men and women to other positions in the government and start settling scores with their political and personal enemies and keeping their most rabid followers happy by deporting, persecuting, or physically abusing some minority, we won’t need a crystal ball to tell us what’s in store for us. Thank God, there are all these leaves still to rake in my yard and take my mind off this subject, and the quiet waters of the lake to reflect the setting sun just before a great dark night descends upon us bringing the kind of quiet that makes one hesitate to go indoors just yet, despite the chill, and turn on the first light in the house.

November 19, 2016, 9:00 am


 I responded to my friend  Sixtus Publius Quintus Romulus as follows:

Dear Sixtus:

Well, I reckon you have been waiting a while to find this one and send it to me. I cannot further proceed without disputing the dubious assertions of the article, in that they do not add up to what we recently saw in the States, which was a repudiation by the electorate of what they had been fed for years, and of a corrupt and distant elite, both Republican and Democratic, trading favours with each other since kindergarten. Curiously, the kind of Americans who come to our common country place: well dressed, well educated, well mannered, and – from what I have seen and heard this summer – quite contemptuous of their fellow citizens who live west of the Alleghenies and east of the Sierra Nevada.

 

The article asserts that the only plausible excuse or reason for Trump’s election is a profoundly misinformed electorate created by the powers that be to confuse people with fake news, corrupted research, and bought political campaigns.  It then ends with

 

In the meantime, I bet the fortune tellers in their storefronts are all depressed, since their prospective clients already know what the future holds. Once the new president settles in and brings the dregs of our society into his administration and they appoint other corrupt and worthless men and women to other positions in the government and start settling scores with their political and personal enemies and keeping their most rabid followers happy by deporting, persecuting, or physically abusing some minority, we won’t need a crystal ball to tell us what’s in store for us. Thank God, there are all these leaves still to rake in my yard and take my mind off this subject, and the quiet waters of the lake to reflect the setting sun just before a great dark night descends upon us bringing the kind of quiet that makes one hesitate to go indoors just yet, despite the chill, and turn on the first light in the house.

 

I join with Conrad Black and others in thinking this is hyperbolic twaddle.

 

Trump won because he addressed what was wrong with the current system and mobilized votes better than his opponent.

 

He spoke straight about national decline, with the result that  the chattering classes had the vapours. He has already caused a major change by refusing to kow-tow to political correctness, which is a thought-control program to isolate people from each other and from common sense. Without doing anything more he will have done us all a favour. And he has not even assumed office.

 The Democrats and their media wing have been humiliated and in consequence the media are scratching for excuses anywhere they can find them for their performance, and since no one can possibly disagree with their world view and still be rational, dark forces of irrationality are invoked to explain away their defeat.

 America has been in decline under the Bushes and the Clinton/Obama regimes. Factories and jobs have been lost on a massive scale. Some 12 million illegal immigrants are dragging down the skill level and the wages of the American working class. The American working class is in a drug, alcohol and mortality crisis the likes of which are actually causing declines in the age of death. If the same had happened to gays it would have the AIDS crisis, but since it was occurring to the cracker class it was of no political significance to those who count, namely people like you and me.

 As Michael Moore, the long-time Democrat rabble rouser pointed out, the system has taken away their jobs, their kids are doing worse than they did, their houses have been lost in the crash of 2008, or the value of their house has been lost, the hospitals won’t give them enough drugs – his words not mine- and they had one thing left: their votes. So they decided to stick it to the candidate who has sold herself hardest to Wall Street. That you, a soi-disant leftist, should be aroused to anger over the fate of the candidate most in hock to Lloyd Blankfein and his ilk, should be a cause for some reflection and self-examination.

 For thirty years the political left in the United States has been assuming it would continue to achieve electoral victories by balkanizing the vote into ethnic, sexual, national and racial disunities, by telling Americans they had more in common with their fellow members of such identitarian groups than they did with each other. They have been working assiduously to fragment the nation and to cheer on the supposed and projected disappearance of the majority which is composed of white people. The exultations of the multiculturalists at the decline of white America have been loud, mocking, and as racialist as anything happening in American society. Is it any wonder that some white people awoke to this and said: stuff and nonsense.

 The basic issue I have with all such analyses as you sent me is the arrogant presumption of the political left that no one may rationally disagree with their outlook. I saw it at university when this stuff started (it was then Marxist, but rapidly metastasizing into feminist)  and it has triumphed throughout academia and making its long march through the institutions. I recall some lady NDP leader in the Mulroney era, the scion of a wealthy family, let loose candidly on the evils of being conservative, and it was simply the honest expression of her profound conviction that by being left, she was morally superior, and that was really all that mattered. Armed with the righteousness of being left, she need not consider that her collectivist and authoritarian state-knows-best  policies might fail to achieve her stated goals of a more equal society. That would be one level of realization and that should suffice for more humility. Yet there is another, more profopnd, level of error, which is undiscussed, and that is, that an egalitarian society established and maintained without sufficient regard for the ways in which humans are not equal, can be a ghastly prison camp of the body and soul. Witness the USSR.

 The alternate reality that I would draw your attention to, in contradistinction to Simic’s fantasy America, is the one in which a high-minded group of well-intentioned people can govern society by replacing the judgments of the many with the collective wisdom of the Few. It is one that I suspect you live in most of the time. But even if you do not, the author of this piece, who I assume is a Charles Simic, clearly does.

 The Left has built Trump into a monster and they have created the conditions whereby this monster has come into power. I would like to suggest, for your careful consideration, that the political left has monsters in its own mind, and projects them outward onto its opponents. Much of what it says the right is or does is merely its own thinking and behavior projected outward.

 But in any case, Trump is the man who was elected to deal with the delusional politics of Obama, which sought to bring peace to our implacable enemies and stiff-armed our allies, which sought to substitute Wilsonian high-mindedness for appropriate demonstrations of military power, and which preached tribalism at home (remember “Trayvon Martin could be my son”) and the unity of man abroad, and which was feckless, lazy and arrogantly out of touch.

 When the officer class fails, the warrant officers and sergeants have to take over. This is what has just happened, and being a member of the officer class, you feel the revolution and loss of status greatly.  The peasants have revolted. Much of the hand wringing we see is the elite feeling its social inferiors have been rude and insubordinate. The lower orders have just begun to return what they have been receiving in kind.

 Again, what I just said might not be true, but I suspect it is. I hold in my wallet a crisp $100 Canadian bill from someone who was very willing to take my bet on Christmas 2015, as if he were taking candy from a baby. I feel vindicated in my judgment of reality, and I am aroused to the defence of what has happened from the vain, self-indulgent and vapid posturings of America’s poet laureate, Charles Simic.

  Thank you for so stimulating my Saturday morning, Sixtus. We will be down before, at, and after  Christmas and you may feel free to continue my re-education over more Scotch

 Veuillez accepter, mon cher, l’expression de mes sentiments les plus distingués

 

Dalwhinnie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aspiring Tyrants at the European Union

As you know, communism is dead in Russia. But its vampiric influence is growing in the European Union. The EU is becoming more like the old Soviet Union every day. For years, Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident expelled from the Soviet Union, warned Europeans of the insidious slide of the EU towards something resembling the USSR.  Recently, the EU Parliament, an institution as phony as any old Soviet Praesidium, passed a resolution based on a report ‘EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties’, that alleges that Moscow aims to:
“distort the truth, provoke doubt, divide the EU and its North American partners, paralyze the decision-making process, discredit the EU institutions and incite fear and uncertainty among EU citizens.”

Shock and horror. That sounds like something straight out of…that’s right, the Soviet Union!

Apparently, the EU commissars cannot stomach the fact that other countries, Russia one among many, have their own news agencies, their own political views, and their own criticisms of the overbearing, foundering, tottering monolith known as the EU. So this criticism, and news about the shady, dishonest dealings of that rotten and decrepit institution, must now be ‘countered’.
How? By suppressing access to Russia Today News? By suppressing access to any country’s news service if it invokes the displeasure of the bloated degenerates in Brussels?

After Brexit, they seem to be running scared, not of Russia or Iran or China, but their own citizens, who are rising up against liars of the international, and anti-national, political class. The Internet means their days of censorship and thought control are over. They belong in the trash can of history. The collapse of the EU will be a great day for Europe and freedom for the nations under its suffocating, reactionary control.

Rebel Yell

Females anti-war by nature? Not these gals!

Female vervet monkeys manipulate males into fighting battles by lavishing attention on brave soldiers while giving noncombatants the cold shoulder, researchers said Wednesday…They observed that after a skirmish with a rival gang, usually over food, females would groom males that had fought hardest, while snapping at those that abstained.

When the next battle came along, both those singled out for attention and those aggressively shunned would participate more vigorously in combat, the researchers reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Lunch Break at Learning-Factory 17

In the low-ceilinged FacClub canteen, deep under ground, the lunch queue jerked slowly forward. The room was already very full and deafeningly noisy. From the grille at the counter the steam of stew came pouring forth, with a sour metallic smell which did not quite overcome the fumes of Equality Gin.
‘Nex’, please’ yelled the white-aproned prole with the ladle.
Winston and Syme pushed their trays beneath the grille. Onto each was dumped the regulation lunch—a metal pannikin of pinkish-gray stew, probably some tofu preparation with the appearance of vomit, a few moldy kale chips, a hunk of gluten-free bread substitute, and a milkless cup of fair-trade Equality Coffee.

‘There’s a table over there, next to the telescreen,’ said Syme. They picked up a gin on the way, dispensed from a grimy hole in the wall. They finished their lunches in silence.

‘How is the Newthink curriculum getting on?’ said Winston, trying to be heard over the din and clatter.

‘Slowly,’ said Syme. ‘We’re working on the adjectives. The personal pronouns have been pretty much completed. It’s fascinating. I’m starting on the abstract ideas now.’

Syme was working in the Cultural Studies Department of Learning-Factory 17, formerly know as a ‘university’ in Oldspeak. Winston could only partially remember its old name, UofZero he thought, but could not be sure. Cultural Studies, or CultStud, governed everything in LearnFac17, even in departments little connected with CultStud. The Fizzix Department, under a cloud until recently, now taught that the law of gravitation unfairly discriminated against the gravitationally-challenged as it exerted greater force on their bodies.
One fizprof, having inadvertently referred to a dead white fizzisist named Nyutun, had successfully avoided denunciation by claiming that the law of gravitation was fully sensitive, as all bodies were accelerated equally in a gravitational field. Winston, even though he new very little of fizzix, had silently congratulated him on his brilliant reposte. But, as Syme reminded Winston, the law of gravitation was only a prejudice of white civilization.

‘We’ll soon be getting it in its final shape,’ said Syme eagerly. ‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of ideas. Of course, the great wastage is in the ideas of freedom, politics, consitutional government, republics, ideas of liberalism, socialism, fascism; the human vices and virtues that the ancient philosophers agonized over for thousands of years. What use are they now? Why clutter students minds with these when they are all hate speech anyway’?

His thin dark face had become animated, his eyes had lost their mocking expression and become almost dreamy.

‘They are still referred to now as socpol, fascpol, commpol, libpol, but even these terms will be redundant when Newthink is fully in control of the Edyukashun of our youth.’
‘The Party knows this and the newprofs in LearnFac17 are fully in agreement with our views. They know that when these ideas are finally expunged from the curriculum, thoughtcrime, now undesirable, will be impossible. Of course, we owe it all to PC and Boy Leader,’ he added as an afterthought.

A sort of vapid eagerness flitted across Winston’s face at the mention of Boy Leader. Nevertheless, Syme detected a certain lack of enthusiasm.

‘You haven’t a real appreciation of Newthink, Winston,’ he said almost sadly. ‘Even when you prepare your lectures, you’re thinking in Oldthink. I’ve noticed that you still call them lectures, instead of speakthinks. You haven’t been brought fully up to date yet. You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of ideas. Do you realize that Newthink is the only educational curriculum that gets smaller and more limited every year? As ideas are destroyed, and the range of consciousness shrinks, students will have fewer means to fall into the errors of thoughtcrime. Ideas are divisive, Winston, and divisions give rise to opinions. This is not desirable. Has it occurred to you, Winston, that in a few generations, no students will be able to understand what you are saying now’?

‘Except—‘, began Winston doubtfully, and then stopped. Syme, however, had divined what he was about to say.

‘Oldprofs are animals,’ he said carelessly. ‘They will be reformed or vaporized. Some time ago, LearnFac17 was led by one of our Outer Party members, I forget his name, an odious dwarf, but no matter, he served our purposes well. All he had to do to suppress undesirable ideas was to write sanctimonious letters to a visiting speaker and the students dutifully threatened violence and mayhem! All without any wasteful debates.

Currently, there is a woman in LearnFac17 being brought before one of our Social Justice tribunals for thoughtcrime. Don’t think we are violent people, Winston. There is no need, yet, for people to be taken to camps in boxcars at night. The communist Red Guards in China in the 1960s may have killed millions, but that is unnecessary history, best forgotten. Now we shame, intimidate, insult, and threaten. We demean freethinkers, as you used to call them. We will not defend thoughtcriminals, Winston, in fact, all our resources are for the accusers. The idea of defense is Oldthink. We do not want to destroy our enemies, but to crush their minds and fill them with ourselves. All the while, Boy Leader and the Party are smiling over our land.’

Syme continued, ‘And what use will be the Party slogan, Diversity is Conformity, when there is no diversity of ideas? Students will not be conscious of such things. They will then be orthodox— and unconscious. Then, we will have unity.’

‘And don’t think that any revival of Goldsteinism in a country nearby will give any give any help to the Oldthinkers. A flick of Boy Leader’s raven locks will generate endless adulations on Stateradio and will ensure our safety.’

Unquestionably Syme will be vaporized, Winston thought again. He thinks too clearly, lacking discretion and a sort of saving stupidity. Despite Syme’s orthodoxy, Winston felt sure that one day, arriving at LearnFac17, Syme’s name would be missing from the approved profs and their speakthinks.

He went outside for a vape before the afternoon’s speakthink.

Rebel Yell