Archive for the ‘Conservatism’ Category

Freakout Culture


We’ve heard stories and personally seen a level of political and cultural friction in recent months that is remarkable.  A congressional intern screaming “f**k you” to the President.  FBI agents talking on official workplace computers about “Viva le Resistance.”  Career customs agents being threatened and having their personal information distributed by otherwise respectable college professors.

Why is this happening?   I think the reason is the different life experiences of conservatives and liberals.   Right wingers, even extreme ones, mostly have limited goals.  They want to be left alone, and they don’t want their country deliberately changed.  I’m one of the more far right people I know, but I can’t imagine getting angry or in the face of a liberal.  They do their thing, I do mine.

I think liberals especially younger ones are coddled and entitled.  They assume things are moving in a certain direction and that all decent people agree with them.  This is the implicit assumption of their adoption of the term “progressive.”

So Trump has caused them all to lose it.  Whereas conservatives, especially those not from super-conservative places like the Deep South, are used to lots of people disagreeing with them, the culture being hostile to them, and the fact that other smart people, such as their teachers and relatives who move to the “big city,” disagree with them.  It’s just something they’ve adjusted to.

I don’t think these liberals realize it or have encountered it as much, and they’re completely convinced of their righteousness.  Conservatives learn to argue and debate; it’s one of the reasons why talk radio is so popular.  Liberals, by contrast, say things like “wow, just wow” and “that’s racist” and feel as if they are saying something.  They’re in the same position as conservatives were when the 60s rolled along:  they are the establishment, the world around them is changing, and they’re confused and angry.


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I’ve been doing writing elsewhere (and also got into a little brouhaha with the authorities at Twitter), so I’m giving a little attention to the blog with a roundup.

Great article on the criminality at the FBI–at least at the top–and how it’s increasingly on display, particularly with McCabe seeking immunity.  I can’t recommend enough the various takes at The Conservative Treehouse.

A powerful description of the wages of the Sex in the City lifestyle (hint: it doesn’t end happily).

Good piece on the impossibility of freedom and diversity, as evidenced by the recent Supreme Court cake decision. When you have a homogeneous and democratic society, the laws fall lightly and mostly on the margins.  They represent a preexisting consensus.  When you have dissensus about the most basic issues of how to live and what government should do, the laws will make a much larger fraction of society unhappy, as Christians who bake cakes have learned.

A book I recently bought: Bronze Age Mindset.  And you thought I was reactionary!  This twitter account is interesting, and his take on Darwinism, teleology, and science more generally, so far, seems profound and insightful.

Brett Stephens makes a modest proposal on immigration:  Ban Jews.  He’s joking; he’s Jewish.  And he thinks on balance the massive Jewish immigration of the early 20th Century was good.  But was that wave of immigration so good for the people already here?  Were we better off for the contributions of the Rosenbergs, Abbie Hoffmans, and Mark Ruuds of the world. Less dramatically, what about people like Chuck Schumer? No one misses the nonexistent wave of immigrants who didn’t come here back then, e.g., the Third World immigrants who dominate today.  And the immigrants, even then, created a lot of problems at the time, as I wrote about here. Would we be so worse off if the native stock were more dominant?  Places like Nashville, Dallas, and Omaha suggest it wouldn’t be so bad.  Dan Rather made this point recently on Twitter, and the comments are hilarious.   My point is simple: immigration is not the heart of America’s identity, it’s had costs as well as benefits, and it has changed our culture and political life mostly for the worse.

The recent news about Kate Spade, who I didn’t know or follow, left me kind of sad.  She is an impressive person who built a business empire through a quality, elegant product.  She was married, wealthy, and had a young daughter.  She had a great many things that others aspire to and envy.  And she killed herself.  How terrible.  While the focus will be on depression and her mental health, one wonders how much cases like this are emblematic of a broader sickness in our society.  One can say the same of nihilistic rages like school shootings.  The founder of modern sociology, Emile Durkheim, rose to fame, in part, by tracking suicides by various demographic characteristics, and attributed the rise of suicide to social atomism and the pressures of modern life.  In the age of social media and diversity, maybe the story is the same . . . and it’s worse.  

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Deep State Meltdown


One has a sense that things are coming to a head on the shennanigans that occurred during the 2016 presidential election.

The New York Times ran a puff piece, and it buried the lede: namely, there was at least one FBI spy in the Trump campaign.  Editorial writers who laughed at Trump last year when he said this is what happened, now say it was for Trump’s own good (though they failed to inform him of this favor) and that wasn’t a spy, it was merely an informant.  Oh.  Nothing to see here.

The FBI and intelligence community did their usual redaction routine, claiming lives were at stake and thus they had to keep the whole business hidden.  Turns out it’s an old Deep State hand, Stefan Halper, who also spied on behalf of former CIA director George H.W. Bush back in 1980. The professor has not concealed his identity or his numerous government contracts.  Like the Plame Affair, the importance of his identity is that it may embarrass or incriminate some very powerful people.  It looks like the CIA, which spent much of the Cold War rigging elections and fomenting coups, has turned inward.

The basic facts are now apparent.  Thinking Hillary would win, the highest officials at FBI (Comey, Strzok, Lisa Page, McCabe), DNI (Clapper), NSA (Indirectly through Susan Rice), and CIA (Brennan) used the pretext of a Russian Collusion investigation to obtain dirt on Trump.  The exact origins and timeline of the beginning of this investigation have been kept deliberately vague, but the various cover stories have started to be exposed as false, such as the Australian diplomat meeting with Papadopolous, or the use of the Steele Dossier to look into Carter Page.

The mechanisms and purported reasons were all basic frauds, and one pretty obvious reason is that the FBI never looked seriously into the hacking of the DNC, which appears to be the result of John Podesta’s shoddy knowledge of internet security . . . and little more.

In a desperate attempt to cover things up, the Comey-Rosenstein engineered Mueller Investigation has brought some indictments on random tax offenses (against Manafort) and process crimes (against Flynn and Papadopolous).  Missing, during the election campaign and after, is any evidence of collusion by the Trump Campain with Russia.  Indeed, this evidence is missing even when they tried to gin it up with entrapment-oriented talks with Halper and possibly the infamous Russian Lawyer meeting, which I suspect the FBI or someone in on the conspiracy arranged to entrap the participants.

As far as collusion, it’s increasingly clear that it happened, but the guilty party is Hillary Clinton and her campaign.   We now know that her campaign, using various intermediaries, colluded with domestic intelligence agencies, foreign intelligence agencies (particularly in the UK), employed laundered money that Steele passed on to Russia to obtain dirt, and generally behaved with the sort of ethics one would expect from a super-leftist from the South Side of Chicago who “palled around with [Weather Underground] terrorists.”

In short, all of the normal unwritten restrains on the abuse of sensitive intelligence gathering tools were thrown out the window by Obama’s people, and now at least some of them appear guilty of genuine interference in an election and a presidency.

In other words, what has happened here is nothing short of treason.

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Comey is the Worst

Comey is the absolute worst:  self-promoting, dishonest, law-breaking, and totally in love with his image as “The Last Honest Man in Washington.”

His leaked memos are out; they show nothing, other than he tries to read minds, and doesn’t explain why he hides key facts from his boss, like the fact that the Steele Dossier was funded by the Clinton Campaign.  He also doesn’t explain a good reason, to either the President or anyone else, why he had to keep mum about the fact that the President wasn’t being investigated.

But the worst part is his utter cowardice. He has plenty of times to say, “I can’t do that” or “this is not how things are done” by he shares how he struggles and worries and feels sick and all the rest.  He’s clearly ill suited to be an FBI Director or have any other important jobs.  Trump had to fire him, one way or another.

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Happy Easter

This has always been on my favorite hymns.  Happy Easter everyone.  He is Risen.

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Things Afoot

Great comprehensive article on the entire scope of FBI corruption.

Some push back on the sacred Parkland Survivors and their abusive rhetoric here, here, and here.  It seems to me the Democrats are absolutely radical on this issue, many wanting to ban all guns, and this (along with immigration) will be the most important fault line issue in the years ahead.  It is a political loser, but the scales may tip, and also the driving force is more class resentment and hatred than it is good politics.

A takedown on the disappointing budget.  It almost looks to me like the entire GOP got nothing except pork, and then intends to hate on Trump for not vetoing it.  It’s one thing if it’s infrastructure, the Wall, and the like.  But it just seems like for a big defense budget and foreign policy dollars for the Middle East, the Democrats got whatever they wanted.  Sad.

It’s been a crazy week.  Trump has gone from one neocon to another with the replacement of McMaster with Bolton; it seems to me all of these guys do not share Trump’s minimalist instincts.  Trump is governing as a standard-issue Republican, with the notable exceptions of immigration and tariffs, but even there he has not followed through on a big tangible promise to Build the Wall.  Ann Coulter has been on his case about this, and she’s right.

Some interesting articles on tariffs here, here, here, and here.  Long story short, I think they’re a good policy, particularly when applied to essential goods for our national independence like steel and aluminium.  I wrote about why it was the key to Trump’s victory and also good policy here.



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Like anyone who observes the world, sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, and often I’m not sure.  I try to always learn, gather information, and make as much sense as I can.  That said, I have put a lot of energy into both politics and being an armchair sociologist over the years and am encouraged by those times when I get it right.

I was never more right and endured more abuse than in my enthusiasm for and predictions regarding the likely success of Trump, both electorally and as President.  On the whole, I’ve not been disappointed.  Below are some thoughts I had as the events unfolded, as well as more abstract ones about why his deviation from “True Conservatism” as expressed by places like the National Review and the Weekly Standard makes sense as a more authentic expression of conservatism.

First, his basic appeal, then and now, remains the same.

Trump’s appeal comes down to a few things, but more than anything else, its source is his refusal to speak in the idiom of the ruling class, and his willingness to speak to the Republican base about things they have repeatedly expressed concern about, which the mainstream leaders pay some minimal lip service too, and then forget as soon as they’re elected.  We hate political correctness, are concerned about the third world reengineering of America’s people, and think the ruling class could care less about our economic prospects.

Even before he appeared, I predicted someone like him could win.

[A] revamped Republican party should trend nationalistic, abandoning its ideology of free trade, militarism, and uncritical support of big business, in favor of a genuine concern for the working, productive classes who face predations from a motley crew of the super poor, the super rich, idiotic campaigns of nation building abroad, and hostile newcomers at home. If not the GOP, then a new party might fill this space. The GOP appears finished if it follows the idiotic counsel [of moderation] coming from the RNC’s pathologists.

His style, far from being a liability, is part of his appeal to the put-upon people of Middle America, who felt particularly beleaguered during the Obama years:

[H]is style is part of the message.  It translates into how we would expect a President Trump to deal with the media and Washington elite’s neverending campaign of shaming language, trying to force leaders to compromise on core beliefs.  Bush the elder succumbed and violated his “no new taxes” pledge, the McCains of the world have shown this on such varied issues as gay marriage and immigration, and we see it now with all of the candidates, save Trump, in their totally bizarre obeisance to Israel and its lobby, as if they were running for Mayor of Tel Aviv and not President of the United States.

Trump’s harsh tone and his failure to back down from it show a certain kind of strength that signals immunity from the usual Stockholm syndrome we can expect of any American president. In other words, he may be appear a bully, but he’s not; he’s more like a bodyguard, fighting the various bullies and charlatans who have bullied the American people for two generations. His contempt for political correctness is bracing and a testament to the fragility of the current kultursmog, and that level of contempt for the usual pieties of our political culture is part of his appeal.

Having now failed definitively on Russian Collusion, the latest Trump Scandal is getting little traction, his alleged tete a tete (a decade or so ago) with the ridiculously buxom, Stormy Daniels.  But most of his supporters are shrugging, and the reason is pretty plain that this was all baked in the cake.  His love for the ladies, like Bill Clinton’s, was already widely known. We saw hints of all this when the Cruz affair rumors were rampant during the primaries.

Now that Rubio is gone, someone with an axe to grind got this to the National Enquirer, and here we are.  It does matter if it’s true, particularly to Cruz’s supporters, because his alleged virtue is the raison d’etre of his campaign and the keystone of his message.  Trump, by contrast, is anti-fragile to the usual attacks because he does not claim to be Mr. Virtue, his Christianity is toned down and nominal (like many Americans today, incidentally), and his whole schtick is that he does not play by the usual rules and is politically incorrect

While many conservatives today hearken back to Reagan, I think Trump’s man is Nixon.  He was Trump’s president as Trump was starting out in business, and he won massively.  On domestic policy, they are almost perfectly matched, and both mystify, annoy, and strike fear in the Ruling Class, broadly understood.

[Nixon] won massively against McGovern in ’72, but was hated by elites, who truly did not understand him and his appeal.

He governed from the center, angering free market types with his price controls during the inflation episodes of the early 70s and angering movement conservatives with his pragmatic approach to the Cold War.  He enlisted he help of China for realpolitik reasons against the Soviet Union and rammed through a “peace treaty” to allow a swift withdrawal from the failing Vietnam War.  He was something of a foreign policy minimalist, in contrast to the more grandiose fantasies of hardcore “movement conservative” Cold Warriors who wanted to risk nuclear war to roll back Soviet communism.

Nixon stood for a basic, somewhat authoritarian cultural conservatism, but was economically pragmatic and centrist, and made largely symbolic gestures against the growing disorder of the times.

It remains to be seen if the latest rapprochement with North Korea is a trick or will be a master stroke, like Nixon going to China.  But one area where Trump has succeeded wildly so far is the economy with a mixture of Reaganite cutting of regulations and nationalism on trade. The anemic Obama recovery, which we all took for granted as “the way things are” has given way to real growth, particularly in the area of manufacturing and in places like the Midwest and rural America, which were consigned to oblivion by the elites of both parties.

I’ve supported something like this for a long time, writing in 2012:

I notice outside of DC, lots of conservatives are nationalistic and mildly protectionist. At the same time, Free Trade is an article of religious faith among economists and certain social classes, but it’s not clear how empirically supported it is. Indeed, much of economic “science” consists of a priori deductive reasoning based on hypothesis of how people behave and why they can be viewed artificially as mere consumers and not also as citizens, potential soldiers, countrymen, enemies, potential welfare cases, etc.  At the most basic level, people are both producers and consumers. They need to earn and make wages to consume.  So it matters if our consumption temporarily goes up while our productive capacity goes down.

We also face competition in other areas of life with our free trade partners, such as China, and may find we’ve built up their wealth only to empower their military expansion. It’s notable that the most vociferous supporters of free trade often work in jobs little impacted by global competition, or that are otherwise supported by substantial protections.

Romney is worrisome in this regard, as he appears to have the cosmopolitan businessman’s view of this. He also has the skills to be a potentially very useful president. I believe our president should behave like the CEO of Walmart, driving extremely hard bargains with all of our trading partners in order to benefit Americans as a whole. And we should hobble communist countries like China and slowly strangle them economically, as they are hostile nations.  Their growth has done nothing to liberalize them and much to endanger us.  At the same time, it has also done much to weaken us and impoverish our formerly high wage industrial workers.

Our nation is too important and the writing on the wall too apparent to allow the ill supported ideology of free trade to stop us from taking sensible measures to strengthen ourselves relative to our global competitors.

Trump’s electoral win, his success as President, and the devolution of  checklist conservatism dominant for the last eight years all come from a common source:  opposition to globalism, with which elites of both parties are complicit, and the explicit offering of the alternative of nationalism.

Nationalism is the truest conservative impulse today, just as the anti-socialism was in yesteryear.  Conservatism is dynamic, because it is fundamentally an approach to change and an attempt to preserve or restore a known way of life.  The threat then was Soviet Communism and a homogenizing welfare state at home, but the threat today is homogenizing multiculturalism, mass immigration, and unrestrained global trade.  Changes along these axes form the core anxiety of Middle America, and this is the problem for which only candidate Donald Trump had any concern or antidote.  Let us hope he remembers how he was elected and to what end.


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