Oops. We were wrong about global warming. Sorry about that.

 

Alarmism over  global warming has been based on faulty (erroneously assumed) feedback loops between CO2 concentrations and rises in atmospheric temperatures.  So it says this morning in several places.   The entirety of global warming ideology is generated by computer models, where the assumptions are fed in by ideologically driven scientists The Global Warming Policy Forums reports:

The world has warmed more slowly than had been predicted by computer models, which were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions on average temperature, research has found. Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London and one of the study’s authors, admitted that his previous prediction had been wrong. He stated during the climate summit in Paris in December 2015: “All the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5C is simply incompatible with democracy.” Speaking to The Times, he said: “When the facts change, I change my mind, as Keynes said. —Ben Webster, The Times, 19 September 2017

The importance of this confession was that it was made by a leading warmist, not be a skeptic.

Toldja.  Only it is not that the facts have changed. The facts have always been the same; the ideological interpretation of the facts through computer models (garbage in, garbage out) has changed. What was Established Truth is now Fake News. Could we please unburn the heretics? Can we restore wrecked careers?

Ptolemaic cosmology, phlogiston, the aether, materialism à la Boltzmann, the missing planet between Mars and Jupiter, cholesterol and heart disease: the list of erroneous theories deeply believed in their day is as old as science and will not cease to grow. The struggles to get to the truth when science is politicized will never cease, unfortunately.

Don’t worry though. The catastrophists have a new one up their sleeve: CO2 increases are causing a lessening of plant nutrients.

The data we have, which look at how plants would respond to the kind of CO2 concentrations we may see in our lifetimes, show these important minerals drop by 8 percent, on average. The same conditions have been shown to drive down the protein content of C3 crops, in some cases significantly, with wheat and rice dropping 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

So if we get 15% more rice overall, hypothetically, and its nutrient value has dropped by 6%, could someone please do the arithmetic for me? I get 1.08 more food value, on that assumption (which has about as much validity as the CO2 feedback loops that were postulated by the alarmists).

In any case, as Einstein observed, theory determines what is observed. If the theory is that global warming is exclusively or predominantly man-caused, then  global warming will be observed and its relationship to human activity will be assumed. The trick for a real scientist would be to show that all causes of global warming, other than humans, were insignificant. Nowhere has this been tried. Nor will it be.

 

 

A Letter to SJWs

This letter is a response to Black Students attending Oxford as Rhodes Scholars wanting to remove the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes. It should be read on every campus in the U.S. as well. I’ve no idea of the author, but it’s right on…Thanks, whoever you are.

Dear Scrotty Students,

Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has contributed greatly to the comfort and well being of many generations of Oxford students – a good many of them, dare we say it, better, brighter and more deserving than you.

This does not necessarily mean we approve of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime – but then we don’t have to. Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago. Autres temps, autres moeurs*. If you don’t understand what this means – and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case – then we really think you should ask yourself the question: “Why am I at Oxford?”

Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respect and revere her accordingly.

And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.

You’ll probably say that’s “racist”. But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.” Perhaps the rules are different at other universities. In fact, we know things are different at other universities. We’ve watched with horror at what has been happening across the pond from the University of Missouri to the University of Virginia and even to revered institutions like Harvard and Yale: the “safe spaces”; blacklivesmatter; the creeping cultural relativism; the stifling political correctness; what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind”. At Oxford however, we will always prefer facts and free, open debate to petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering. The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s greatest university.

Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns. (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships) We are well used to seeing undergraduates – or, in your case – postgraduates, making idiots of themselves. Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it. You may be black – “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it – but we are colour blind. We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, our Empire, our Commonwealth and beyond for many generations. We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect.

That means, inter alia, that when our undergrads or postgrads come up with fatuous ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say: “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa. What a clever chap you are!” No. We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate.

That’s another key part of the Oxford intellectual tradition you see: you can argue any damn thing you like but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic – otherwise your idea is worthless.

This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College, because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery”. Well even if it is – which we dispute – so bloody what? Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated really does not deserve to be here. And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s statue on the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop? As one of our alumni Dan Hannan has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful – Edward II and Charles I – that their subjects had them killed. The college opposite – Christ Church – was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution? Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?” (COMMENT BY BACHERT: History and recent events — and even a cursory reading of the Koran — indicates that Churchill actually got it right!)

Actually, we’ll go further than that. Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous. We agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and the Al-Qaeda have been doing to artifacts in places like Mali and Syria. You are murdering history.

And who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? Your rhodesmustfall campaign, we understand, originates in South Africa and was initiated by a black activist who told one of his lecturers “whites have to be killed”. One of you – Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh – is the privileged son of a rich politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer”; another of you, Ntokozo Qwabe, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively!”

Great. That’s just what Oxford University needs. Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tyre necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, institutionalised corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism and a collapsing economy. Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford.

And then please explain what it is that makes your attention grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent, more deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoiled, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships they clearly don’t merit using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university.

Understand us and understand this clearly: You have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.

Yours, Oriel College, Oxford

*Autres temps, autres moeurs – Other times, other customs: in other eras people behaved differently.

Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday on precisely the same topic. The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”.

Patten commented “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice”

 

Forwarded as a public service by

Rebel Yell

America’s PC Plague

 

As the cultural Bolshevist tsunami sweeps across America erasing knowledge and attempting to rewrite history at the behest of Marxist prigs and morons swarming in the colleges and Fake News Media, a perceptive, and ruthlessly accurate, analysis of the tragic American scene from Dmitry Kiselyov, a leading news analyst on Russia Today, provides the best commentary you are likely to see anywhere (scroll down and watch the video; it has English subtitles). An example:

Racial tensions are at an all-time high in the United States. It was during Obama’s presidency that the first monument in a larger campaign to remove monuments to White heroes was taken down, the statue of the hero of the South, General Lee, in New Orleans. The decision was finally executed last May during Trump’s administration. But this was only done by labeling the General Lee monument a symbol of the superiority of the White race or, to translate it into PC-speak, a symbol to “White Supremacy.”
However, it is impossible to speak today in the United States about the atrocities of the northerners, in particular, about the “scorched earth” tactics of General Sherman during the American Civil War. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the monument to the president of the Southern Confederation, Jefferson Davis, has already fallen, followed by a monument to the fighters for the freedom of the South.
Another general for the South, Pierre de Beauregard, was taken down as well. Later, the monument to General Lee was slated for demolishing in Charlottesville. This is similar to the mass toppling of Lenin statues, only done in the American way and it quickly spread to Baltimore. There, they brought down the monuments to four generals of the Confederation and other figures of the South of the Civil War period. A monument to the soldiers of the South was removed in North Carolina.
The fervor is so contagious that desecration operations are now planned for monuments all over the US. Moreover, not only memorials and monuments to the Southerners will be removed, of which there are more than 1,500 in the country, but their names will also be erased from the names of streets, schools, and public institutions.
With a red-hot iron against history.

 

And more, relating to movie censorship:

 

The cinema’s turn has now come. Now, the brilliant movie “Gone with the Wind” runs the risk of disappearing from all American screens. The Memphis precedent will work. And they will certainly never ever show one of the first US full-length films, “The Birth of a Nation,” directed by David Griffith, who, by the way, is considered the father of American cinema.
It was he who laid the foundations for sensible editing and even special effects. “Birth of a Nation.” 1915. Three hours. The historical period the movie was set in was the Civil War in the US and the events immediately after.
The film had unprecedented battle scenes for cinema of that time. The drama lay in a gripping account of a fratricidal war and the drama of the defeated where “the White South was crushed by the Black heel of the North.” Without regard to rules of war and decency. The North unleashed Black brutality on the Southern Whites in the name of revenge for the past.
How can this film be shown now, especially since the birth of the awful Ku Klux Klan is also realistically depicted in the movie as well? It emerged as a necessary organization for the self-defense of Whites. And, the cavalry charges while “Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner is playing as the score. All of this is unacceptable now, so this picture will be permanently banned from American cinemas. All of this even though the US President, Woodrow Wilson, who was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, but who was also considered an authoritative historian, called the film “Birth of a Nation” a “terrible truth.”
President Wilson made this statement right after he organized a review of Griffith’s new movie in the White House, where he invited both his ministers and foreign ambassadors.
Surprisingly, it turns out that a hundred years ago America coped with its past and was ready to comprehend it and accept it as it is. Now, this ability has been lost, and a war has been declared on the past. And so far it proceeds in a very primitive fashion, through the destruction of monuments and censorship. And no one knows where it will stop.

 

The Russians, who endured decades of communist tyranny and historical falsification, know what it’s all about. They are not about to repeat that. Russia has shown, after twenty-five years, that it is possible to recover from tyranny, brainwashing and institutional lying. Will America and the West have the same fortitude?

Rebel Yell

The sins of the economics profession

Deirdre McCloskey is the author of several important books, she is an economist of renown, and she is a proud defender of the bourgeois deal: you get to keep what you make and you are allowed, indeed encouraged, to innovate. She locates several inadequacies in the mindset of economists, in a little pamphlet available off the Intertubes. I recommend it, especially if you are economist. She describes her fellow practitioners in the following terms.

  • Economists, for example, are Institutionally Ignorant,which is to say that they don’t have much curiosity
    about the world they are trying to explain. For example—this will surprise you—academic economists, especially since Samuelsonianism took over, have come to think it is simply irrelevant, a waste of time, to do actual field work in the businesses they talk about.
  • Outsiders would likewise be amazed at the Historical Ignorance of the economist. They think that the scientific evidence about economies before the past few years would surely figure in an economist’s data. It doesn’t…. People call themselves economists who have never read a page of Adam Smith or Karl Marx or John Maynard Keynes. It would be like being an anthropologist who had never heard of Malinowski or an evolutionary biologist who had never heard of Darwin.

     

  • The more general Cultural Barbarism of economists is well illustrated by their Philosophical Naïveté. Few economists read outside economics. It is unnerving to gaze about the library of a distinguished professor of economics and find no books at all except on applied math and statistics: these are the worldly philosophers who run our nation? Uh-oh. So naturally the professors of economics have childish ideas about, say, epistemology….

    The economists know nothing of the main finding of linguistics, philosophy, and literary criticism in the twentieth century, namely, that we have ways of world making, language games, senses of an ending that cannot be reduced to formal grammars, even in principle (economists have themselves stumbled on analogous findings in their own highly non-humanistic work,such as the finding of “rational expectations” or “the cheap talk paradox”).
  • And economists are tempted to arrogance in social engineering….
  •  And I have to mention finally the very widespread opinion that economists are prone to the sin of pride: personal arrogance. Some names that come up in this connection are: Paul Krugman (gold medal in this category), Robert Lucas (Nobel 1995), and Deirdre McCloskey (bronze). Lots of intellectual professions are arrogant. Physicists, for example, are
    contemptuous of chemists, whom they regard as imperfect versions of themselves. In fact physicists are  contemptuous of most people. But when a physicist at North Carolina named Robert Palmer went in 1989 to a conference in which physicists and economists were to educate each other he remarked, “I used to think that physicists were the most arrogant people in the world. The economists were, if anything, more arrogant.” I’m afraid he’s right on this score. Though of course in general he’s a dope: a mere physicist.

McCloskey’s deepest argument with her profession is that it neither theorizes nor observes, though it believes it is doing both. The arguments are longer than are suitable for this space, and I commend you to read The Secret Sins of Economics in its brief entirety. In essence she says it is not enough to demonstrate whether some thing has some effect, you have to ask how much is the effect. How much? is the critical question, not whether? Most economists avoid interrogating the real world in all its messiness to find out. Her conclusions are:

 

  • Until economics stops believing, contrary to its own principles, that an intellectual free lunch is to be gotten from
    qualitative theorems [whether questions] and statistical significance it will be stuck on the ground waiting at the cargo-cult airport, at any rate in its high-end activities uninterested in (Really) How Much. High-end theoretical and econometric papers will be published. Careers will be made, thank you very much. Many outstanding fellows (and no women) will get chairs at Princeton and Chicago. But our understanding of the economic world will continue to be crippled by the spreading, ramifying, hideous sins.
    Woe, woe is me.
    Oy vey ist mir.
    Pity the poor economists. The sins of economics come from pride in formalization, the making of great machines and
    monsters.

 

A sample of McCloskey is found at Youtube:

 

How Piketty misses the point

 

Thomas Piketty is a French economist who obsesses about the distribution of wealth. Deirdre McCloskey is an economist and philosopher who emphasizes the moral and ideational aspects of how we became so wealthy over the last several centuries. She calls it the Great Enrichment. She chastizes her fellow economists in how they have failed to explain the most salient feature of human existence since 1700: why is it that humans are sixty times wealthier than they were in 1700? Why is world poverty falling? This, she says, is the vital question. Economists who fuss about income inequality are missing the vital point.

McCloskey is the author of Bourgeois Dignity and many other great books.

Here she is on Piketty:

 

The most fundamental problem in Piketty’s book, then, is that he misses the main act. In focusing solely on the distribution of income, he overlooks the most surprising secular event in history: the Great Enrichment of the average individual on the planet by a factor of 10 and in rich countries by a factor of 30 or more. Many humans are now stunningly better off than their ancestors were.

This includes a gigantic improvement of the poorest — your ancestors and mine. By dramatic increases in the size of the pie, the poor have been lifted to 90 or 95 percent of equal sustenance and dignity, as against the 10 or 5 percent attainable by redistribution without enlarging the pie.

What caused the Great Enrichment? It cannot be explained by the accumulation of capital, as the very name “capitalism” implies. Our riches were not made by piling brick upon brick, bachelor’s degree upon bachelor’s degree, bank balance upon bank balance, but by piling idea upon idea. The bricks, BAs, and bank balances were of course necessary. Oxygen is necessary for a fire. But it would be unenlightening to explain the Chicago Fire of 1871 by the presence of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere.

The original and sustaining causes of the modern world were indeed ethical, not material. They were the widening adoption of two new ideas: the liberal economic idea of liberty for ordinary people and the democratic social idea of dignity for them. This, in turn, released human creativity from its ancient trammels. Radically creative destruction piled up ideas, such as the railways creatively destroying walking and the stage coaches, or electricity creatively destroying kerosene lighting and the hand washing of clothes, or universities creatively destroying literary ignorance and low productivity in agriculture. The Great Enrichment requires not accumulation of capital or the exploitation of workers but what I call the Bourgeois Deal. In the historical lottery the idea of an equalizing liberty and dignity was the winning ticket, and the bourgeoisie held it.

That even over the long run there remain some poor people does not mean the system is not working for the poor, so long as their condition is continuing to improve, as it is, and so long as the percentage of the desperately poor is heading toward zero, as it is. That people still sometimes die in hospitals does not mean that medicine is to be replaced by witch doctors, so long as death rates are falling and so long as the death rate would not fall under the care of the witch doctors. It is a brave book Thomas Piketty has written. But it is mistaken.

Deirdre N. McCloskey, “How Piketty Misses the Point”, Cato Policy Report, 2015-07.

“The idea of equalizing liberty and dignity” – emblazon that idea into your memory, and save it for your next argument with some twee leftist.

 

 

 

 

Evolution is rapid and happening now: everyone take a valium

 

 

Chris D. Thomas is an English biologist. His book, “Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature is Thriving in an Age of Extinction”, takes a line wholly contrary to that of eco-catastrophists. His argument is particularly effective because he adopts the orthodox view that humans are causing significant global warming. It makes no difference to your appreciation of this book whether you may be a skeptic of or a believer in anthropogenic global warming.

His argument is simple and based in plenty of observations. Animals and plants adapt by moving. Humans assist that movement greatly. Animals and plants hybridize, interbreed, form new variants, new species, new ways of living. This adaptation is happening right now, all over the world. For every species we have wiped out – usually predators and prey larger than us – we have assisted the creation of many more new species and hybrids. This is what nature does, and we humans are powerfully assisting those processes.

Thomas believes that we are living through the most rapid period of evolution since the aftermath of the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. “We are living through a period of  the rapid formation of new populations, races and species” (at p.197)

He justly derides most efforts of humans to stop “invasive” species. He says there is no reason to believe that species should stay frozen in place where they were when Europeans “discovered” them in the 17 and 18 hundreds.

What applies to plants and animals, applies to us humans. As we spread across the world, we separated into different races, bred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, and became more different from each other, not less.  (Your genetic make-up is most likely to be about 2.5% Neanderthal if you have not recently been African).

“This separation into many different species could have been our destiny, had it not been for the torrent of human movement around the world that we have seen in recent times, the consequence of which is that the world’s human genes are ending up back in one big Pangean melting pot.”

Later, at page 213:

“We must contemplate life as a never ending sequence of events, not as a single fixed image of how it looks today. This dynamic perspective of life on Earth allows us to put aside most of our doom-laden rhetric and recognize that the changes that we see around us, including those that have been directly or indirectly engineered by people, are not fundamentally better or worse thanthe ones that went before….We do not need to fix things simply because they are different.”

In a curious way Thomas is saying much the same thing as Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending did in The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution”, which was published in 2009. Harpending and Cochran dealt with human evolution exclusively, and asserted that it had to be accelerating as population densities increased.

They wrote:

The explosion is ongoing; Human evolution didn’t stop when anatomically modern humans appeared, or when they expanded out of Africa. It never stopped – and why would it? Evolutionary stasis requires a static environment, whereas behavioral modernity is all about innovation and change. Stability is exactly what we have not had. This should be obvious, but instead the human sciences have labored under the strange idea that evolution stopped 40,000 years ago.” (p.226)

The argument of Chris Thomas is that humans have had, and continue to have, irreversible effects on nature, and that there is no place on earth where our influence has failed to reach. More importantly, there is no “ought to be” in how species move, adapt, die out, hybridize, or prosper. Thomas warns against  the common attitude of many biologists that humans are uniquely responsible for trying to arrest the millions of changes by which plants, animals, and humans adapt to the changes we are working on the planet.

‘No change’ is not an option when we contemplate the future: our choices are all about the direction and speed of future change. (at page 219)

More Google Bias detected

 

 

Google’s search bias against conservative news sites has been quantified

This is a posting in Watts up with That by Leon Goldstein.

Google Search is found to be extremely biased in favor of climate alarmism and against climate realism.  The PGSTN ranges for climate realism and climate alarmism do not even overlap!  Some of the most important climate realist domains, including low-controversial judithcurry.com, have such a low PGSTN that they can be considered blacklisted by Google.

Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%.  Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high PGSTN that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement.  Certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted.

And Google wants us to trust their results? Gosh, I get all googly at the thought, entrusting the categorization of all knowledge to a bunch of PC wankers in Silicon Valley.

In Praise of the British Empire

The British Empire

While it is fashionable to denigrate the British Empire, especially among the ranks of the chattering classes and the fatuous pseuds that pollute our college campuses, it’s worthwhile remembering some salient facts about the civilizing effects of the British Empire (see here)—facts you are unlikely to hear about in schools, the Fake News Media and the dead tree press. Watch this vid from Prager U—facts always cause liberal heads to explode.

Enjoy.

Rebel Yell

Calls to end identity politics

 

 

A left wing writer called Anis Shivani has written a piece in Salon which I commend to your most serious attention. It is entitled “Time to give up on identity politics: It’s dragging the progressive agenda down”. Salon is not normally my preferred reading, but Shivani puts his fingers on some very large issues and says some quite interesting things that have helped me understand the Left’s strange behaviours.

His contention is that the Left’s obsession with identity politics occurred during a period when the owners of this planet got away with the most massive concentration of wealth in their hands, and that this identity obsession was a futile distraction from the real business of politics.

 

….identity politics, wherever it has manifested, has been absolutely devastating to the cause of liberty.

  1. It privileges culture, instead of politics. My first point is that when you fight for identity, you’re giving up politics in favor of culture. And that’s exactly where neoliberalism wants you, fighting for your culture (or what you imagine is your culture), rather than the arena of policies, where the real consequences occur. You may gain some recognition of your identity, but you may also have to pay the price of losing everything else that makes life worth living.
  2. Not only politics, but economics is taken out of the equation. It’s astonishing, even after living under the principles of neoliberalism for around 40 years, how few liberals, even activists, are able to define our economic system with any sense of accuracy. They keep acting as if the fight is still on between the old New Deal liberalism (laissez-faire economics slightly moderated by some half-hearted welfare programs) and a right that wants to shred those welfare mechanisms. In fact, both parties are committed to slightly different versions of neoliberalism, and their transformation proceeded apace with the rise of identity politics. Politics was freed to take its course, because culture became the site of contestation, and this meant an unobstructed opportunity to redefine economics to the benefit of the elites.What identity politics has done is to take the shine off the political process itself. This is more than a consequence of identity politics. It is because identity politics has garnered so much attention that political reform, which needs to be ongoing and consistent, has stalled for nearly 30 years. Instead of campaign finance reform of the McCain-Feingold brand, which sought to make a little advance toward taking money out of politics, we went, during the period of identity politics’ ascendancy, to the total capitulation of politics to money. The same process has held true in every arena of policymaking. Even issues like climate change are framed in cultural terms — i.e., as identity politics, because today culture cannot be spoken of without being defined by identity politics — and therefore overwhelmed by paralysis.
  3. Identity politics always breeds its equal and opposite reaction. Identity politics is in fact the father, or the Great Mother, of white nationalism, rather than white nationalism being an independent force that has arisen from quite different sources. At root, both share the same particularistic, extralegal, extra-constitutional, anti-democratic, metaphysical, folkish impulse. Whenever a misguided movement tries to alter people’s thoughts and intentions, rather than limiting itself to people’s performance and action in the transparent democratic arena, then totalitarianism is the necessary result. Even when we dream of an anarchist utopia, we do not try to alter people’s souls, we aim to alter economic arrangements in such a way as to allow people the maximum possible room for freedom. We cannot be readers and interpreters of people’s hearts and minds; such a venture has no business in politics. (emphasis mine)
  4. Identity politics is not winnable. The idea of the nation, in a post-Cold War world, as my generation imagined for a moment, should have led to a redefinition of the concept in rational, empirical, scientific, utopian and ultimately anarchist terms. The founding principles of the Enlightenment were available all over again, in that brief moment, to be recharged with potent liberal energy, extending across the globe. Instead we got neoliberal globalization, dedicated entirely to consumerism and shallow identity politics, working in sync to enervate democracy to the point of nonexistence.

It pleases me to read a leftist who is clearly NOT a totalitarian engineer of souls, who thinks the entire leftist project of the current time (identity politics) is fundamentally mistaken. Of course, if you reduce politics to tribes, you end up in a sort of Afrikaner state, with the dominant tribe being – guess what? – whites. This is not Enlightenment politics; this is a form of polity we thought we had escaped from centuries ago.

Another interesting read is a book by Mark Lilla, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, which was based on an article in the New York Times  of November 2016 from which I quote here.

“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. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country. (The achievements of women’s rights movements, for instance, were real and important, but you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers’ achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.)”

Precisely.

Oliver Traidi reviews Mark Lilla’s book in Quillette, here.

 

Shivani thinks that young people have been so indoctrinated in identity politics by thirty years of unceasing propaganda that it cannot be broken out of, except by economic or foreign policy disaster. I am not so pessimistic. I think electoral defeat at the hands of Republicans will cause the Dems to rethink a great deal.

It also explains to me why the Left has been branding Trump a racist and a fascist and so forth: since identity politics is the way they conceive what they are doing, then all political opposition to their project looks like identity politics of a different tribe. As always, the Left projects onto the Right – really, all forms of opposition – what is on the minds of the Left; it sees only itself.  It reminds me of a thought from a book written by David Horowitz, the son of two American Communists, that he did not actually find freedom of discussion until be broke with Leftism, whereupon he discovered that all sorts of conservatives exist, few of whom agree with each other about anything. Horowitz’ Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey is  a must read for all those who are curious about the strange mental prison which is Leftism.

Further prison breakouts may be expected soon.