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The Decadence of Academia

Two videos, one by Roger Scruton, one by Jordan Peterson. Both say the same  thing, that the invasion of Foucault and Derrida and the French Nonsense Machine has triumphed, and the only point of inquiry in academia is to ask who has power. That is the sum and substance of the agenda. It is not scholarship, it is anti-scholarship. It is anti-civilization and anti-culture.  But this is where we go when equality of outcome is the only thing that matters.

Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia, two heretics from post-modernism (warmed over Marxism), discuss their common enemies.

 

 

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.

 

Luttwak again

From Edward Luttwak’s recent articleWhy the Trump Dynasty will last 16 years” on the root causes of Trump’s win, in case you missed it:

……..That gathering of lean and hungry Clint­onians is the world mercilessly exposed in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s doomed campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Meticulously researched and strenuously un­biased, it is the most useful book published so far on the 2016 Presidential election as a whole, as well as the Clinton campaign specifically. It certainly convinced me that Clinton did not understand in what country she was running for election: not one populated by black women (they dominated her convention), environmental activists, patriotic Muslims, vegans, committed free-traders and social engineers, but chiefly a country of car owners and bitterly frustrated would-be new car owners, a far better categorization than Clinton’s own “deplorables”.

That is why the car affordability numbers revealed in June 2016 were so vastly significant in determining the outcome of the elections. Going by metropolitan areas, they extracted maximum affordable car prices from median incomes. The latter ranged from the stellar $87,210 of San Jose in the opulence of California’s Silicon Valley, all the way down to the $24,701 of deindustrialized Cleveland, Ohio, numbers that in turn yielded maximum affordable price limits of $32,855 in San Jose, and $7,558 in Cleveland – not actually the lowest number, which was Detroit’s $6,174, owing to high average insurance costs in that crime-afflicted city (at $1,131.40 per annum, as compared to Cleveland’s $659.47).

What made these seemingly obscure numbers nothing less than momentous was that the cheapest new car on sale in the United States in 2016 was the Nissan Versa sedan at $12,825, twice the level that average households could afford in Detroit or Cleveland, and more than average households could afford in cities ranging from Philadelphia, Orlando, Milwaukee, Memphis, Providence, New Orleans, Miami and Buffalo, as well as, a fortiori, in a very great number of smaller localities across the United States, even in high-income states such as California and Oregon, as well much more commonly in the lower-income Southern and rust-belt states.

The mass exclusion of Americans from new car ownership is the result of two converging phenomena, only one of which was recognized by Hillary Clinton, though scarcely emphasized in her identity-focused campaign: wage stag­nation. Sanders and Trump did not hesitate to blame that relative impoverishment on the exposure of the least agile of Americans to international competition, with the resulting de-industrialization that translated millions of Americans from $20-to-40-an-hour factory jobs to miserably paid service jobs. Beholden to the sanctity of free trade, the Clinton crowd even more than the candidate herself blamed the lethargy of the TV-watching, beer-drinking, gun-owning, church-going, and cigarette-smoking “deplorables”, who unaccountably failed to avail themselves of the wonderful opportunity to leave boring assembly-line jobs or downright dangerous coal-face or oil drilling jobs to become fashion designers, foreign-exchange traders, software engineers, or even political campaign operatives.

 

Quantum hocus pocus

 

Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian science fiction writer, one of only three science fiction writers ever to win the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Accordingly, when I saw his book, Quantum Night, dealing with consciousness and quantum physics, I took the risk and bought it. The book started well, but its principal virtue – if that is the word – is how it reveals the essential conceits of the leftist mind.

The protagonist is a psychology professor at the University of Manitoba who has, it appears, developed a foolproof technique for discovering psychopaths. He is also a vegetarian, is highly ethically motivated, teaches the greatest good for the greatest number, and worries about world problems. He is earnest, charmless, and bright, and worries about deniers of anthropogenic global warming, among other things. Very conventional NDP attitudes, as the plot reveals.

The science-fictional basis of the plot  is that through quantum science principles it has been determined that the mind is generated out of quantum processes rather than classical physical processes. Okay so far. It is very unlikely that mind could be generated out of meat machines.

A word of explanation more. Have you ever driven to work, navigated the traffic, got out of your car and were climbing the steps into your building and suddenly realized that you drove to work on autopilot? That while you handled the steering braking and signalling, your consciousness – understood as the focus of attention – was elsewhere?

If you can imagine there are people who are like this all the time, then you can envisage the philosophical zombie. The difference between the philosopher’s zombie and my  example is that the zombies do not have thoughts that are elsewhere while they perform the tasks of life. There is no inner dialogue. There is no attention directed elsewhere while they manage to iron a shirt. They do not wake up and marvel that they got to work by driving while their thoughts were working on other problems.

In essence, the McGuffin of the book – the plot driver – is that, through quantum hocus pocus, it has been determined that there is a strict division of the human species into zombies (mindless conformists) , psychopaths (who are conscious but have no conscience) and the awakened, who have both consciousness (inner dialogue) and conscience (they empathize, feel regrets, and take the larger view). The ratio is something like 70/20/10.

The protagonist of the story is the man of conscience, as are most of the the other major characters. They belong to the top 10%, the psychological and moral elite.

The author, Mr. Sawyer, through his protagonist, fights racism, sexism and every bad political and moral tendency, yet he posits the strictest division of the human species into an immutable division more severe than the Hindu caste system.

The zombies obey, and fake their way through life adapting to the rules, like flocking birds. The psychos run businesses, governments and armies and exploit the zombies, and the enlightened try to clean up the mess created by the denizens of the unconscious and less conscious states of mind.

In this world view then, Putin and Trump belong to the 20% who are psychopaths. No question of moral choice arises in this vision. It is all biological. The superior class is more morally aware, perhaps, but the quantum construction of their minds makes them so. It is deeply un-Christian, and it is a kinder and gentler version of Hitler’s biological/racial determinism.

I know it is only science fiction, and that too much weight cannot be placed on it. But I think Sawyer’s work illustrates the Hindu-like caste system at the core of leftist thinking: the led, the exploiters, and the enlightened.

You are never allowed to disagree with people of this sort. Disagreement is merely the evidence for your lower level of spiritual and moral development. One is not allowed to have different views based on different interests, views, or tendencies of mind.

It is ironic – to say the least – that the people who are the most opposed in their ideology to the biological as the basis for explaining differences in historical outcomes between individuals and cultures find it convenient to imagine that the biological is the basis for human moral differences. This is a new caste system indeed, brought to you by an earnest NDPer out to do good in the world. And while Sawyer is a million miles from Hitler in decency and social concern, they both expound a deeply and I would say exclusively biological explanation of human differences.

 

Liberalism: a broad church

 

 

I have bad news for most readers of Barrelstrength. According to Edmund Fawcett’s comprehensive and insightful review of liberal thought, Liberalism, the Life of an Idea, we are all liberals.

Not Liberals, as in the Supreme Governing Party of Canada. And not ‘liberals’, that assemblage of social justice warriors, grievance identitarians, statists, and special interest groups that compose the left wing of the US Democratic party.

That’s okay with me. I am not a throne-and-altar reactionary, a racial supremacist, a Marxist, a Muslim supremacist or any species of totalitarian.  Any label that can encompass Friedrich Hayek, J.S. Mill, Karl Popper, J.M. Keynes, Isaiah Berlin, Milton Friedman, and a host of practicing politicians of the 19th and 20th centuries, encompasses me.

Fawcett in his introduction writes:

“…There is no uncontested and purely philosophical test I can think of for the descriptive adequacy of an account of liberalism, and looking for one strikes me as a level confusion. Rich as liberalism is in ideas, liberals in history were not pursuing a philosophical theory. They were not doing applied philosophy. The philosophy of liberalism is an exhilirating, fruitful endeavour, but is beyond the range of this book, which is to tell an undertold political story.

“Looked at from the point of view of citizens, liberalism is a practice of politics for people who will not be bossed about or pushed around by a superior power, whether the power of the state, the power of wealth or the power of society . Looked at from the point of view of government, liberalism is a practical response by state and law to the predicament of capitalist modernity. From either point of view , my story takes liberalism naturalistically as a norm generated adaptation to historical circumstances, not as speculative anthropology, politico-moral philosophy, or social biology.” (pp.24-25)

Fawcett says it is pointless to seek enemies within the liberal tent; they have enough without.

His views of what constitutes liberalism is more akin to a pack of dogs each pulling one sled in loose fan-shaped harnesses, than a team harnessed in one direction. Sometimes one dog prevails over the others, sometimes they run smoothly together. “I take liberalism for a practice governed by four loose ideas” (p.11).

  • Conflicts of interests or ideas are inescapable;
  • Human power cannot be counted on to behave well;
  • Human character and human society are not static but dynamic;
  • Power is obliged to respect moral limits on what it compel people to do

His views of conservatism are  less important and  significantly misguided, but his focus is not on that topic.

Conservatives, to schematize, believed in the unchallengeable authority of rulers and custom. They thought of human character as largely set and of society’s scope for wholesale improvement as small or non-existent. They took liberal respect for people’s chosen enterprises and opinions. especially of they took unfamiliar or disruptive form, as harmful to orthodoxy and social order. It shortchanged duty, deference and obedience. Conservatives took society for a harmonious, orderly whole  before critical modernity promoted self-seeking disaffection and liberal capitalism sowed discord between the classes.

By far the best analysis of the emotional bases of political differences is set out in Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind and we need not dilate upon Fawcett’s impoverished understanding  of what makes ‘conservatives’ feel and think differently than ‘liberals’. From the point of view of Fawcett, it is highly likely that everyone reading this article is a ‘liberal’, as he understands the term, including all the people who consider themselves ‘conservative’. Each book has a different subject matter, and Haidt’s examines the differences among the sled dogs, not their common harness.

Insofar as Fawcett situates liberalism as an ongoing political response to the technological, social, and economic revolutions we have been experiencing since 1800, I think he is broadly right in the catholicity of his understanding of the phenomenon.

In short, Edmund Fawcett has produced a richly informative, concise, and badly needed review of the main streams of western thought since 1800. I urge any self-identified conservative not to concern himself with Fawcett’s limitations, and to enjoy a well-written, stimulating expansion of one’s understanding of two centuries’ worth of history and progress.

 

I am a liberal, and therefore am a conservative

 

I am linking you to a long and heartfelt article by a former American Democrat who, over the course of 25 years, has become inclined to vote Republican without any change in his political views. How can this be?

I think many people who once voted liberal or for left-wing candidates have experienced the same emotions and the same evolution. They may smoke dope; they may support abortion rights, limited or not; they may even sort their garbage and take global warming seriously, but they have one thing in common with me, George Orwell, and you, dear reader. They can smell the totalitarianism emanating from the political left these days, the “smelly little orthodoxies” as Orwell called them.

In the 1930s these virulent intolerances and dreams of social control were in some fashion channelled by the Communist Party and its near equivalents. After the fall of Soviet Communism, we found that the same human impulses to control and domination were liberated from the discipline, such as it was, of Marxist thought. Thus without the discipline of Marxism and the Party, leftist totalitarian behaviour and thought spread out of its Petri dish to infect wider and wider sectors of society. The impulse to grievance and victimhood remains, even as the theory that gave it a semblance of coherence lies rotting in its grave. Which only demonstrates the truth that Leftism is an urge of the soul and ontologically prior to Marxism, which was a particular economic theory seeking to justify the Leftism.

I quote from Brad Torgerson’s article (the one I recommend you read):

 

A good friend of mine, who also happens to be an outstanding author, once quipped, “If I am forced to choose a side, I choose the side which is not forcing me to choose sides.”

Seldom have I ever encountered phrasing more apt. Because that’s precisely how I feel. I’ve been feeling that way, for years now. It was not a sudden thing. It was a gradual realization. The slow clarity of an underlying sentiment, incrementally surfacing…..

And later in his essay –

And I have been reminded every single day, just how far I’ve been pushed away — by so-called progressives in this country.

Sure, some of that is me walking my talk. I am not exactly the same guy I was 25 years ago. And not because I don’t think some of the idealism of liberal thought is not worthy, or even evocatively beautiful.

It is.

Liberalism — the kind I was attracted to in my teens, and early twenties — mostly focuses on brighter futures with better choices.

Yet at many points over the past quarter century, that shining picture of what the Left supposedly stands for, has been undermined again, and again, and again, and again, by the behavior of self-styled Leftists.

Maybe it all comes down to the fact that I decided Alinsky’s ballyhooed rules are pernicious. Not once do they involve self-reflection, nor questions of higher moral obligation to a power or a need beyond simple political expediency. Like with the 2004 Washington State governors race, the ends justify the means. If you’re a Leftist and you have to lie to get what you want, then lie. If you’re a Leftist and you have to cheat to get what you want, then cheat. If you’re a Leftist and you have to hurt people to get what you want, or if you have to frighten people into not opposing you, then hurt and frighten people.

Never doubt that everything you — the Leftist — says or does, is done justifiably.

Everyone and everything is a fair target. Lash out. Incriminate. Slander. Punish. Make them quake in their boots. They deserve it, the jerks. “If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists!” Oops, Leftists excoriated Bush 43 for saying that. Now they themselves live it every day. “If you didn’t vote for Hillary, you’re with the KKK and the Nazis!”

Torgerson’s article speaks for itself. He joins a long list of people disillusioned with Leftist totalitarianism: if you are interested in the 1930s version I recommend “The God that Failed”, written by several important former European communists, and if the 1960s is your thing, you can try David Horowitz’ “Radical Son”.

I would say that, now, more than ever, we need an Orwell,  to remind us once again that patriotism and loyalty to one’s own people trumps (yes, that word) abstract professions of loyalty to the future, the road to which is made of human skulls.

 

The imperturbable smugness

smugness1

 

 

The sad decline of the National Post from a conservative newspaper into the Canadian voice of Wall Street continues. I take some comfort that the first rate minds, such as Conrad Black’s and Rex Murphy’s, continue to see that the impetus behind Trump is the conclusion that things have gone seriously wrong in the United States and in the world more generally. Whether they support Trump, as Conrad does, or sympathize with the reasons why others do, as Rex Murphy does, they are at least talking about the world that we see before us.

To highlight the bad news and the nonsense:

  • incomes have stagnated since 2007, and there has been no robust recovery from the looting of the economy by Wall Street;
  • factories have closed to foreign competition and those jobs are not coming back;
  • the elites seem more concerned with non-existent global warming and the benign effects of more CO2 in the atmosphere than they are with Islamic terrorism and jihad;
  • consequent to the global warming fixation, our energy polices are needlessly raising prices of home heating and lighting as massive amounts of money are transferred from ratepayers to agencies favoured by the political class;
  • American black males are killing each other in large numbers, but this has become unmentionable; it is all the white man’s fault, especially the cops’, hence the doublespeak coming out of Obama’s mouth on the subject of violence directed at American  policemen;
  • worst, the moral inversion of the ruling classes has reached such a point that right has become wrong, so for example, citing a statistic about anything contrary to the “Narrative” is a firing offence. The Narrative has become the agreed set of lies, and the agreement lasts for but a  moment. The Narrative changes, weekly if necessary, to the interests of the ruling classes, which happen to be ‘liberal’ in the American sense of the word and Democratic.
  • hence, in the Narrative, white people, particularly Christian white people, are the epicentre of the world’s evil, and they are to be held to account for the criminality, laziness, and uselessness of large portions of America’s black population, and much else besides.
  • Other people are in general, accounted to be Victims, and Victims are sacred to the leftist mind. Hence the sacralization of American blacks proceeds, despite all evidence of  disproportionate criminality and uselessness of a large portion of the African American tribe. The criminality is only the expression of resistance to white hegemony.

Today’s Post carries a clever article by Michael den Tandt, which praises Donald Trump as the ultimate scaremonger.

Quite the contrary; the United States I know is a land of peace, plenty and generosity, populated by people who are with very few exceptions friendly, courteous, law-abiding and kind to strangers.

The northeastern economy has been hit hard by factory closings, no question, and income inequality has spiked since 2008. But even so the U.S. remains the world’s most vibrant democracy and largest economy, possessed of the world’s most powerful military, by far. It has no enemy, foreign or domestic, that comes close to posing a threat to its existence.

Yet you, through the alchemy of your rage and the echo chamber of social media, have managed to persuade millions of your fellow citizens that the opposite is true. You are the first American politician to tap into the millennialism that has infused Western culture for the past 25 years. And you may just turn the world upside down as a result. Bravo sir. Bravo.

It is not what the United States is or remains, it is the perceived direction, Mr. den Tandt. It may seem to you, from the deck of whatever club you drink at in summer, that all is well in the best of all possible worlds. Maybe after a drink or two you might be compelled to admit that the Muslim Thing is worrying, or maybe not. Maybe you could be induced to admit that family incomes have been stagnant or declining in real terms for a decade. Maybe the cop assassinations in the United States would concern you.  Perhaps the energy policies being pursued to save us all from what is, to you and your kind, scientifically proven global warming might seem expensive or even foolish. Yet nothing that happens seems to penetrate the imperturbable smugness.

I have arrived at a deeper mystery than the depressing fatuity of most of the National Post. I have arrived at the core  of the question that disturbs me about politics in this time. Why, despite everything happening: stagnation, jihadist killings in Europe, uncontrolled immigration in the United States, to name the principal causative factors, why is the governing class so smug? Why?

Is my trigger level extraordinarily low? Do I perceive threats earlier than others? Is a conservative in my sense a person who smells the smoke before others, who hears the footfalls of the intruder before his sleeping wife? That could well be true. I do not deny my alarms are always ready to go off, that I am, in Mrs. Dalwhinnie’s phrase, ‘the canary in the coal mine’.

But I do not think it takes some special degree of perspicacity to be alarmed at massive Muslim immigration into Europe, or the fact that, because of Islamic immigration,  everywhere is becoming like Israel. I do not think it takes special insight to see that our children are having a tougher time than we did to establish themselves economically. I do not see how one can fail to perceive that “white people need not apply” has become unremarkable.

The left wing thing, whatever it is – and I do not really understand it – seems to think that we can invert the moral hierarchy of Victorian England: male, white, Christian, protestant, and somehow reach the egalitarian Utopia they claim to love. On the contrary, the newly inverted moral order that proclaims the female, the coloured, the pagan or the Islamic as the highest expression of humanity has merely inverted the moral order without changing it. Equality for everyone except white males, who have a special penance to perform for having invented the modern world.

The further effrontery of the Left is that we are all supposed to celebrate the end of “white privilege” that is to say, the liberal market democratic order we have built for the last two hundred years, and join in the slide into anarchy, poverty, racialism, and Venezuelan politics that Trump is fighting against.

Perhaps, when Mr. den Tandt considers politics from this perspective, he might agree with me that Trump is at least talking to some broadly shared concerns that do not derive from scaremongering by Trump, but from objective conditions in the political sphere.

But then he would not be so imperturbably smug.

 

 

 

Elites and Brexit

marie-antoinette

 

 

There is a strange notion going about, which has only been gathering strength for twenty years or more, that common people do not have a right to be concerned, let alone express concern, for the enormous hidden (to the upper classes) costs of living with aggressively intolerant minorities, of having one’s peace disturbed by the over-privileged spokespeople for those minorities, for the decayed social trust, the increased need to lock your house,  for the inability to enforce social norms – like taking out the garbage in a timely way or keeping the common halls clean – for fear of being accused and taken away to the police station for racist incitement. Not to mention the costs of de-Christianization in terms of tribal/national solidarity, and the increasing atomization of society under the impact of multi-culturalism, and its intolerant legal requirements imposed on the native population. What else? A general contempt for the native working classes and an apparent desire to see them replaced with cheaper foreign workers.

There has been, and continues to be, a stupefaction as to why people are becoming upset, and Marie-Antoinette’s “Qu’ils mangent du gâteau” seems to be a widespread reaction among  the beneficiaries of these changes.

The people have just told the elites to stuff it, and the elites are flabbergasted at their effrontery.

 

 

Tribe

Jospech brant

 

Sebastian Junger has written several books of lasting importance, including War and his latest, Tribe, on Homecoming and Belonging. I recommend you read both.

This from Tribe:

The most alarming rhetoric comes out of the dispute between liberals and conservatives, and it’s a dangerous waste of time because they’re both right. The perennial conservative concern about high taxes supporting a non-working underclass has entirely legitimate roots in our evolutionary past and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Early hominids lived a precarious existence where freeloaders were a direct threat to survival, and so they developed an exceedingly acute sense of whether they were being taken advantage of by members of their own group. By the same token, one of the hallmarks of early human society was the emergence of a culture of compassion that cared for the ill, the elderly, the wounded and the unlucky. In today’s terms that is a common liberal concern that also has to be taken into account. These two driving forces have coexisted for hundreds of thousands of year in human society and have been duly codified in this country as a two-party political system. The eternal argument over so-called entitlement programs –and more broadly, over liberal and conservative thought — will never be resolved because each side represents an ancient and absolutely essential component of our evolutionary past.”

Sex: we are having more of all kinds

A statistically robust study reports that more Americans are engaging or have engaged in homosexual activity over the course of the last  forty years. The change is caused by people who report having had sex with both men and women and not by the growth of the exclusively homosexual.

 “People over time are reporting more same-sex sexual experiences than ever before,” said Brooke Wells, a social psychologist at Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies.

The behavioral trend, reflected in an annual survey conducted between 1973 and 2014, was fueled largely by people who had sex with both men and women. There has been little change in the number of people reporting exclusively homosexual behavior.

The changes were reported Wednesday in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The research team included faculty from Widener, Florida Atlantic and San Diego State universities. A total of 33,728 people answered the survey over the 41-year period.

The number of U.S. adults who said they had at least one same-sex sexual partner doubled between the early 1990s – that question wasn’t asked earlier – and the early 2010s, from 3.6 to 8.7 percent for women and from 4.5 to 8.2 percent for men. Bisexual behavior rose from 3.1 to 7.7 percent, accounting for most of the change.

The survey found that only 1.7 percent of men and 0.9 percent of women said they had exclusively homosexual sex.

This study discredits the figure of 10% that was given for homosexual population, which was a political fiction of the gay lobby.

The surprise for some will be how to reconcile ideas of gay and straight with the fact that some people, a growing minority, report engaging in sex with both men and women. The difficulty lies in deep- rooted ideas which  are held by the straight and the gay alike.

People have been brought up in a language that defines us as either gay or straight, like an immutable Platonic ideal. Some are spheres, some are cones. No cross over, ever. So sexual orientation is a category, a classification,  rather than an activity. The gay movement has never, to my knowledge, deviated from this ideological stance, and neither has the Anita Bryant crowd.

The line the Gay Lobby peddles is that people are immutably gay or straight,  that homosexuality is an innate condition, that one is born that way, and that to deviate from this view is a heresy.

I recall Cynthia Nixon, a star of the late series Sex and the City, once dared to offer some non-conforming views. She has had both male and female lovers. She expressed herself this way about it:

She recently caused controversy among the gay community when she told The New York Times that homosexuality was a personal choice for her.

The notion that she had a choice in the matter outraged the ideological orthodoxy of the gay movement. [Yes, Dorothy, there is such a thing}.

But now, Cynthia Nixon has sought to clarify her comments further in a statement to The Advocate, telling them that bisexuality is not a choice, but her decision to be in a homosexual relationship is.

The same people who would be outraged to hear that intelligence is 75% inherited, for instance, foam at the mouth when it is suggested that some people might exercize choice in the sex of their partners. How can bisexuality not be a choice, when the sex of one’s partner is a choice? How can free will have a role if the one’s sexual orientation is 100% inherited?

The only way to make sense of this distinction between an inherent ‘bisexuality’, and a free choice of a person to bed a man or a woman, is that ‘bisexuality’ is being abstracted into another kind of Platonic essence distinct from one’s actual choice of bed partner, which is an activity. So we are back to the Platonic solids again, and we simply add a dodecahedron to the sphere and the cone.

I object to the abstracting of an essence from a pattern of activity.

At various times and  places, in various cultures and religions, homosexual and heterosexual relations have been practiced by one and the same person without any social stigma, and at other times and places, in other cultures and religions, homosexual activities and desires have been repressed by force of law, religion and culture, and self-repressed in consequence.

We happen to be in one of those rare moments in time when we can observe  that our culture, for better or worse, is transforming from an extremely homophobic one to something somewhat more tolerant. But we are still carrying around two incompatible ideas in our heads: that homosexual activity is not a choice, but is the expression of an immutable pre-existing condition,  and that somehow the fact that it is not really a choice makes it all right. It is okay to have same-sex sex if we belong to Team B, but not if we belong to Team A. That would be wrong. Team A should never cross over into Team B. That would be like going to the dark side. If people choose to have homosexual sex, then somehow it is wrong, but if they have no choice in their orientation, then somehow it is okay.

The gay political movement has accepted this specious argument. So have most straight people. The data reveal that, as sexual attitudes change, and repression lifts, more people either admit to homosexual activity or, as I think, feel free enough to indulge in it. There cannot be a near doubling of ‘bisexuals’ in forty years if sexual orientation is genetically immutable, like eye colour. But if our behaviour is mutable according to fashion, and  levels of repression, or the absence of repression, then we can and do change.  To ascribe the propensity to have sex with one sex rather than with the other as ‘genetic’ seems a completely unnecessary stretch.

Our language and thinking are still embedded in the previous era. Even if we have become more accepting of ‘gays’, we still firmly believe that people ought to be one or the other.

To use the word ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ in this sense is to use the language of Platonic abstractions. I do not think for second that all those men and women , those 8.2 percent of men and 8.7% of women in 2014, are ‘gay’. Neither does calling them ‘straight’ add to our understanding. They are just people having sex.

Except for that small minority of people who are exclusively homosexual (1.7% of men and 0.9% of women), I think it is misleading to categorize people who have had sex with their own as well as with the opposite sex as ‘gay’. Sex is an activity, not a condition. Something we do, not something we are.

This is Heresy #1 to both Team A and Team B. If sex is something we do, rather than a condition that we are, then sexual activity is rather more like preferring golf to tennis, than it is like being Protestant rather than Catholic, and more like both of them than it is to be blue-eyed or brown eyed.  “He’s a golfer, but plays good tennis too”. Why do we have no trouble with this formulation, but feel awkward with “he likes women, but plays with the men too”? Why is sexual orientation treated as the Big Deal of identity politics? Because we are uncomfortable with sex.

I can see a strictly Christian view of the matter would say that sex should only occur inside marriage. (I do not agree but I can see the consistency of the claim). I can see a socially conservative view that would prioritize the claims of children to a stable home environment over the claims of parents to sexual freedom, and thus that, regardless of sexual activities,  child-rearing must prevail over all other claims. I agree with this view.

That society must give priority to child raising is not in question. What ought to be in question is our either/or attitudes, held by Team A and Team B alike, that one’s choice of sex partner is the exclusive result of an  immutable genetic disposition. The right of people to engage in sex with their own sex, or with the opposite sex, should be a free choice of the will and not, as gay identity politics would have it, an expression of something as unchangeable as eye colour.

We have bought into the existence of pain-inducing and false abstractions, which hinder our understanding of ourselves and the human species. Both sides of the gay/anti-gay debate seem to have accepted these Platonic abstractions as real . Contrary to ideology, many more people seem to be acting on the realization that one’s sex partner is a choice of the heart and the will, and not the expression of an immutable biological condition. A future age will wonder what on earth we meant to do when we divided the world  into ‘gay’ and ‘straight’. We are just human. We can be sexually attracted to almost anyone in some conditions, and attracted to no one in others. Dividing the world into the Platonic abstractions of gay and straight hinders us from understanding both ourselves and other people.