Senior educated white male.

Senior educated white male.

Let me now praise a forgotten Liberal

I have been mildly dismayed by the paucity  of public recognition and outpouring for Donald Stovel MacDonald on his death this past Sunday October 14th, at the age of 86.

Donald Macdonald exemplified a certain code of public service which used to animate the upper reaches of Canadian society. He had been Minister of many important portfolios in the first Trudeau governments. He was a modest, accomplished, self-effacing, and highly capable man.

I think his most important accomplishment was his chairing of the Macdonald Royal Commission on the Economic Union and the Prospects for Canada. Its conclusions reversed a century of Canadian protectionism and opened the door for Prime Minister Mulroney to advance the negotiations that led to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has led to a vast increase in Canadian prosperity, and opened Canada’s conception of itself. I think it took a Liberal of his status to point out that the nation had been following the wrong path and to recommend the necessary change. He did not fail to encourage necessary reforms.

We do not appreciate these sorts of people enough. They are the backbone of the nation.

Andrew Cohen has recollected his life more completely here.

His family’s eulogy is here.

 

Stages in the acceptance of Bannonism

JBS Haldane wrote

“The four stages of acceptance:
1. This is worthless nonsense.
2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
3. This is true, but quite unimportant.
4. I always said so.”

(Review of The Truth About Death, in: Journal of Genetics 1963, Vol. 58, p.464)”

I have noticed that the arguments of Steve Bannon are gaining traction in broader and more polite circles. Essentially, Bannon claims that the working class of the United States had been abandoned by governments of the right and the left, and that while globalization and its attendant philosophy of globalism have benefitted the top 1%, the people who actually compose the United States, fight its wars,and serve in its factories and police forces, have been abandoned to excessive immigration, held up for ridicule as “white”, “male” and old, and have been the subjects of an opiod crisis that, if it had occurred in a sexual or coloured minority, would have been treated as a second AIDS crisis.

The average age of death of American whites was declining: people are dying younger. As the study hyperlinked above wrote:

“The unfavorable recent trends in premature death rate among non-Hispanic Whites outside large urban areas were primarily caused by self-destructive health behaviors likely related to underlying social and economic factors in these communities.”

Bannon calls the policies and the situation he opposes the product of Davos man.

Steven Harper has taken up the same message in his latest book, Right Here, Right Now, excerpted here. Harper is a much more respectable figure than Bannon, and the fact that the same arguments are being propagated by both men is a sign that Bannon’s analysis is seeping through the defences into higher plateaux of acceptance. As Harper writes:

Trump, Brexit, and the European populist movements are exposing a fault line in modern Western societies. The division is between, as David Goodhart describes: those who live “anywhere” and those who live “somewhere.” The rise of globalization in the past quarter-century has transformed an element of the population. Segments of urban and university-educated professionals have become genuinely globally oriented in their careers and personal lives.

 

Harper cleverly speaks of the gap between the ‘anywheres’ and the ‘somewheres’: those who might work anywhere on the planet and those who could not work outside the country of their birth.

Imagine yourself as someone who works for an international consulting firm or in a globally focused academic career. You can wake up in New York, London, or Singapore and feel at home. You may rent or even own regular accommodation in all of these places. Your work is not subjected to import competition or threat of technological dislocation. You may attend (or aspire to attend) the Davos conference. You probably read The Economist and, like Thomas Friedman, believe that the world really is flat. Your spouse or partner has a similar professional background, although he or she is from somewhere else in the world. You are motivated by climate change and suspicious of religion. You are unequivocally pro–free trade and support high levels of immigration. Your values can broadly be described as “cosmopolitan.”

Such cosmopolitans, or “Anywheres,” or just plain “globalists” have an increasingly weak attachment to the nation-state. Their professional, personal, and even familial relationships are increasingly with people like themselves from a range of countries. 

Harper correctly predicts that populist movements will only grow. “My diagnosis is simple: the populist trend will not stop until the issues driving it are being effectively addressed.”

Amen. Yet the resistance to realization is extremely powerful. This brings me to the second theme of this essay, that the Democrats are still at stage one: “This is all worthless nonsense”.

I continue to be amazed and not a little disturbed by the degree of heat, denial, snobbery, and plain mendacity in the reaction of the bien-pensants to what is going on. For them, it appears to be something about Trump. Bad boy! Rude man! Going into the kitchen and breaking dishes. Fighting with NATO allies. Being too cozy with Putin (for which there is no evidence whatever). I can understand why Trump is not one’s cup of tea, but I have greater difficulty understanding why the opposition to him is so slow to understand why he came to power. I do not mean the technical reasons of campaigning and messaging; I mean the underlying economic and social malaise to which his policies were appearing to be remedies.

The Democrats have been in complete denial that they even lost the election. The last time this happened, during Bush Junior,  they withdrew into The West Wing, where a Democratic President Jeb Bartlett ruled an imaginary United States as an all-wise avatar of decency and enlightenment. This time they have no West Wing to occupy their minds. Now they find themselves in the wrestling ring with a mad orange-haired troll in a weird suit who keeps slamming them into the floor and throwing them against the ropes, while the mob howls for more.

The Democrats will be equally shocked when they lose the midterms. I fail to see is any sign that they have a capacity to understand and adapt to what has hit them. They seem to prefer the fictional world of a Putin-Facebook- targeted ad campaign that deprived them of their rightful place as the permanent government of the United States. On the face of it, the claim is absurd: that a few hundred thousand dollars, if that much, of targeted Facebook ads could overcome the billion or two that Hillary Clinton spent on her campaign, the bad messaging, the self-regard, the bad campaigning, and the complete inability to see that the world she thought existed, did not.

Drowning men clutch straws, we are told. I do not see the Democrats recovering until they come to grip with why they lost.  Right now, they are both denying that they lost and asserting that that any argument that they lost for a reason is worthless rubbish.

 

Right Here, Right Now: Politics And Leadership In The Age Of Disruption by Stephen J. Harper

 

 

I work for government

Scene: Ron Swansons’s office in Parks and Recreation

Secretary opens door and asks: “Am I interrupting anything important?”

Ron Swanson: “Impossible, I work for the government”.

While not exactly true, Ron Swanson still delivers a good line. Lower layers of government can use a few staunch libertarians. Higher levels of government can use some conservatives, if by that you mean people with the tragic view of life. The limited vision of government praised by Thomas Sowell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males woes: Charles Murray, Francis Fukuyama, and Heather MacDonald

Charles Murray is the author of The Bell Curve, Human Accomplishment and Coming Apart, among other works. Any conservative minded person ought to have read these books, and liberals who want to inquire into why we think them mostly wrong. His insights into why things are getting worse, for men, for family formation, for society, and then for women, provides a necessary corrective to Steven Pinker’s rosy view set forth in Enlightenment Now.

There is a moment in the interview below which prompted a blog posting this morning. The issue was the sorting of society on the basis of cognitive ability, which is the essential claim of The Bell Curve. Murray remarks (at 15:30) that “What we are doing now is creating a world which is congenial to people of high IQs. People of high IQ love complexity. They think complexity is fun. That’s why you have Kohlberg at Harvard coming up with his seven stages of moral reasoning….. But, a world governed by that kind of complexity is difficult to deal with if you are not very smart”.

The interview is well  worth watching. He preaches the idea that the point of law should be to provide a clear moral compass so as to allow people the maximum moral autonomy which is what he calls “libertarianism”.

I bring up this issue of simplicity and complexity because I spent an evening with liberals last night, possibly wrecking their digestion and certainly providing them with a memorable conflict. At the basis of much of the disagreement was the idea that social democracy – assuming we know what that means  – is a morally superior system because it displays the highest levels of compassion. Hence belief in social democracy means necessarily that one is morally superior, because one has more compassion. Thus if I hold that 53% of GDP should be spent by government, and my political opponent says 46%, or 36%, I do not have to think hard about the consequences of a bloated state sector because I have a superior measure of compassion.

Since the criterion of political virtue is compassion, and compassion is best judged by how well society takes care of the poor and the indigent, and thirdly, that this compassion is accomplished through Scandinavian style state intervention, then in substance there is not much further one needs to think about politics.

Forget for a moment the doubtful superiority of Scandinavian welfare statism for showing compassion. My objection is deeper, and less fact-based.

I find such a one-dimensional view of the purposes of political life repugnant. What about virtue, accomplishment, achievement, belonging, and greatness, collective or individual, in a society that understands and appreciates what greatness is?

I have just begun reading Francis Fukuyama’s Identity, the Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, and already it is evident that he is talking about the real issues of our time.

“But as important as material self interest is, human beings are motivated by other things as well, motives that better explain the disparate events of the present. This might be called the politics of resentment. In a wide variety of cases, a political leader has mobilized followers around the perception that the group’s dignity has been affronted , disparaged, or otherwise disregarded. This resentment engenders demands for public recognition of the dignity of the group in question. A humiliated group seeking restitution of its dignity carries far more weight than people simply pursuing their economic advantage”. (at page 7)

And what group has undergone a persistent social decline of status in the past thirty years? All men? Men of the American working class? Take your pick. This leads us to what Scott Adams and I have been talking about in relation to the Kavanaugh witch hunt. It is not merely the American working class male that is taking a beating, it is all males.

Heather MacDonald writes about the feminist industrial complex  in City Journal:

Our booze-fueled hook-up culture has made relations between men and women messier than ever, leaving many girls and women with pangs of regret—but those regrets do not equal rape. If we were actually in the midst of an “epidemic of sexual assault,” as New Jersey senator Cory Booker asserted the evening of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, we would presumably have seen women and girls take protective actions, such as avoiding frat parties and flocking to single-sex schools. None of those protective actions has occurred, however. Either women are too clueless to avoid patent danger, or the epidemic of sexual assault is a fiction. All evidence points to the latter conclusion. Judge Brett Kavanaugh may be the latest male to have his life torn apart by that fiction, but he won’t be the last.

Accordingly, I think a male backlash is finally going to manifest itself, not just by dropping out, as young men have been doing, but by male identitarian politics at the ballot box. It cannot start too soon. Compassion and social democracy will take back seat to a necessary social change that is long overdue.

Fukuyama on Identity

 

 

 

The only critique of Trump that has ever caught my attention

David Warren is more than usually brilliant in this caricature of Trump as a modern Mussolini. I do not think so myself, and remain to be persuaded. But it is an interesting suggestion. I prefer the Conrad Black interpretation, that Trump is actually draining the swamp. Warren writes:

Let us compare Donald Trump to Benito Mussolini. The comparison works better than one might expect. Both want the trains to run on time. Both are total pragmatists when it comes to making this happen. Both realize that “pure” socialism cannot work, ever. Both then think: surely dirigiste something. Mussolini swoons to the siren song of Pareto, actually attending his classes in economics at Lausanne. Trump forms his Pareto view of unions in the New York City real estate market. The ideal of unobstructed economic growth is shared. The application of a sledgehammer to perceived obstructions is also in common. Where both deviate sharply from Pareto is in their further fondness for unobstructed nationalism.

Now, Mussolini is reputed to be a Fascist. This seems fair, for he invented the term, as a party label for his masterplan to Make Italy Great Again. Yet, insofar as the term is used more broadly, to convey the centralized application of sledgehammer reforms, he was also an anti-fascist. It is a little-remembered fact that Mussolini was a deadly enemy of inefficient bureaucracies. (I myself much prefer them to efficient bureaucracies.)

By descent from Pareto, it could be said, both Trump and Mussolini acquired an obsession with numbers. All efforts are focused on making the national statistics move the right way. In material terms, this works for a while. Everyone in the 1930s, including all progressive politicians, thought Mussolini’s Italy an economic and social success story. Superficially it was: productivity up, unemployment down, and so forth.

But here I will stop my provocation, with a reminder that history never repeats itself. Only the laugh track is on a perpetual loop.

As (I think) a New York Jewish lesbian, Fran Lebowitz,  once said, “Fascism is too exciting, communism is too boring”.

A propos Trump and fascism, we will know when Trump is acting as a true fascist when Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are shot by firing squads, the Democratic Party declared an illegal organization, its members rounded up for beatings and arrests, and thousands of box cars dump hordes of wimmyn and pansies in the deserts of Utah to build their own prison camps, under guard towers with barbed wire, vicious dogs and tattooed bearded hillbillies as  . overseers. Now that, in my terms, is fascism.

Anytime you can vote the fucker out of power, and the vote will be respected, then you do not have fascism, you have democracy. As surely as George Washington was the first President, who left after two terms, Trump will leave office after his second term expires in 2024.

 

Image result for fascism is too exciting, communism too boring fran lebowitz

 

Kavanaugh, men and the Democrats

 

“Some people regard rape as so heinous an offense that they would not even regard innocence as a defense.” – attributed to Alan Dershowitz

People! You have seen the wimmyn’s mob try to take down a man whom I and most men believe to be innocent. You have experienced the expression of the racist and sexist notions that a group of white men are, by nature of their race and sex, disqualified from ruling on any matter. You have experienced the unleashing of witch hunts. As Senator Lindsey Graham said to two wimmyn “Why don’t we just dunk him in water and see if he floats?”.

I shall make a few predictions this morning.

  • As a result of what men have witnessed over the past month, they are beginning to realize that innocence is no defence; that their lives can be destroyed at any time by any woman recollecting any indiscretion, advance, or any figment of their (florid) imaginations, which may have occurred, or not occurred, at any point in their lives, including before they were legally adult;
  • that these accusations will cripple and scar their future existence, reputations and earning power, and that they will be held to mob shaming in a pillory of feminist vengeance;
  • That the Democrats have become officially anti-male, not merely pro-female;
  • That men have an interest to defend, that the male sex as a sex has an interest to defend itself from this calumny, harassment, denigration and illegal discrimination;
  • That men as a sex are realizing this fact;
  • That men will shun the Democrats in droves for a decade to come, and that the sex difference in voting Republican or Democrat will get larger, not smaller.
  • Finally, I think that enough people have seen what their future will be under the Democrats that they will provide enough votes for the Republicans to maintain their majorities in House and Senate.

I will say to all men, as males, your future is bleak unless you start resisting, in every dimension of your existence, the insistent, constant, ubiquitous denigration of your sex by the Feminist Thing.

I observe that Scott Adams, in milder but equally emphatic tones, is saying the same thing.

I think people, men especially but not limited to men, have reached their moment of reckoning.

Bret Kavanaugh will be confirmed and appointed. I do not wonder what mood he will be in for the next fifty years.

Ideological deviation at CERN

These are the power point slides that got Alessandro Frumia fired from CERN yesterday.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c_NyUhOZ8erdqU2AGZJZtNfFeA91Kefj/view

Naturally, he was fired from CERN that very day. CERN explains as follows:

CERN is a culturally diverse organisation bringing together people of many different nationalities. It is a place where everyone is welcome, and all have the same opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, beliefs, gender or sexual orientation. Indeed, diversity is one of the core values underpinning our Code of Conduct and the Organization is fully committed to promoting diversity and equality at all levels.

CERN always strives to carry out its scientific mission in a peaceful and inclusive environment.

CERN considers the presentation delivered by an invited scientist during a workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender as highly offensive. It has therefore decided to remove the slides from the online repository, in line with a Code of Conduct that does not tolerate personal attacks and insults.

The organisers from CERN and several collaborating universities were not aware of the content of the talk prior to the workshop. CERN supports the many members of the community that have expressed their indignation for the unacceptable statements contained in the presentation.

CERN is a culturally diverse organisation bringing together people of many different nationalities. It is a place where everyone is welcome, and all have the same opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, beliefs, gender or sexual orientation.

How can you be welcome, regardless of beliefs, and be fired for views that amount to beliefs? Easy. They just have to attack the idea that women are held back in physics because of some male conspiracy.

Different outcomes can only be explained by sexism and racism, never by differences in aptitudes, propensities and drives.

Question diversity.

 

More on the genetic basis of everything

David Reich, a geneticist, wrote in a recent New York Times op ed the following:

I am worried that well-meaning people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science. I am also worried that whatever discoveries are made — and we truly have no idea yet what they will be — will be cited as “scientific proof” that racist prejudices and agendas have been correct all along, and that those well-meaning people will not understand the science well enough to push back against these claims.

This is why it is important, even urgent, that we develop a candid and scientifically up-to-date way of discussing any such differences, instead of sticking our heads in the sand and being caught unprepared when they are found.

Also covered at : https://medium.com/new-york-magazine/denying-genetics-isnt-shutting-down-racism-it-s-fueling-it-5e5ccaca684e

And in response to this, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

Last weekend, a rather seismic op-ed appeared in the New York Times, and it was for a while one of the most popular pieces in the newspaper. It’s by David Reich, a professor of genetics at Harvard, who carefully advanced the case that there are genetic variations between subpopulations of humans, that these are caused, as in every other species, by natural selection, and that some of these variations are not entirely superficial and do indeed overlap with our idea of race. This argument should not be so controversial — every species is subject to these variations — and yet it is. For many on the academic and journalistic left, genetics are deemed largely irrelevant when it comes to humans. Our large brains and the societies we have constructed with them, many argue, swamp almost all genetic influences….

 

(Vox editor Ezra) Klein cannot seem to hold the following two thoughts in his brain at the same time: that past racism and sexism are foul, disgusting, and have wrought enormous damage and pain and that unavoidable natural differences between races and genders can still exist.

I know this is a touchy, fraught, difficult subject. I completely understand the reluctance to discuss it, and the hideous history of similar ideas in the past. But when people seeking the truth are immediately targeted for abuse and stigma, it matters. When genetics are in a golden age, when neuroscience is maturing as a discipline, and when the truth about these things will emerge soon enough, it matters that we establish a liberalism that is immune to such genetic revelations, that can strive for equality of opportunity, and can affirm the moral and civic equality of every human being on the planet. Liberalism has never promised equality of outcomes, merely equality of rights. It’s a procedural political philosophy rooted in means, not a substantive one justified by achieving certain ends.

That liberalism is integral to our future as a free society — and it should not falsely be made contingent on something that can be empirically disproven. It must allow for the truth of genetics to be embraced, while drawing the firmest of lines against any moral or political abuse of it. When that classical liberalism is tarred as inherently racist because it cannot guarantee equality of outcomes, and when scientific research is under attack for revealing the fuller truth about our world, we are in deep trouble. Because we are robbing liberalism of the knowledge and the moderation it will soon desperately need to defend itself.

What Sullivan concludes is true. The Left is only interested in science to the extent it appears to support their preconceived notions, not because they have the slightest regard for the scientific process, which involves rational skepticism and full debate. The Left cannot abide the notion that we are not somehow infinitely plastic and only made unequal but human institutions. Science is not on their side.

 

Good bye, Dr. Couillard

 

 

Everywhere I looked yesterday, which was election day in Quebec, factories, dairies, and shops had signs saying “nous embauchons” – we are hiring.  Despite the surge of employment and investment , the people of Quebec decided to replace the governing Liberals under Phillippe Couillard, a former thoracic surgeon, with  Francois Legault, of Coalition Avenir Quebec. The CAQ is said to be “populist” but what that might mean in the Quebec context is less than clear, since Quebec politics is always “populist”.

French Canada takes for granted that the purpose of politics is the preservation and enhancement of the French Canadian nation, to which all other considerations are subordinate. I frequently describe Quebec politics as “national socialism without the interesting uniforms” but like many a good jab it is unfair to say so. There is no secret police, totalizing ideology, or lack of personal tolerance, yet the shared and assumed goal is that politics has no other purpose.

When nationalism of this kind is even suggested, let alone practised, in English Canada and the United States, it is denounced by all enlightened opinion. Hence Trump and his opposition. But nationalism is taken for granted in Quebec. Thus the idea that Quebec is following any trend started elsewhere is rubbish. Maybe the rest of North America is catching up to Quebec.

I have not seen Quebec look so prosperous since I was a teenager in the 1960s. Huge factories and industrial installations are being erected near highways. I see projects abandoned since the 1970s that are under construction again.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_provinces_by_unemployment_rate

After 15 years of Liberal government, I understand why the Quebecois decided to end the provincial Liberal regime. Clearly they did so without concern that the prosperity would fail to continue under the new guys.

I have remarked in various postings over the past year or so that Quebec’s forty year long bad mood is over. Maybe this is another sign that this is so. Let us hope the CAQ continues the drive to prosperity. After forty years of economic decline, of and people being depressed and rude, prosperity and happiness make a welcome change.