Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cluelesside in Wisconsin

I think the deadly problem of suicide is similar to the suicidal problem of socialism, in that in both cases one is prevented from rational calculation.

In order to be a rational economic actor, we must begin with the principle of self-interest, upon which all else depends. People who are not-self interested cannot be relied upon to behave in a rational or predictable manner. They do all sorts of things we would never dream of doing, everything from flying planes into buildings to driving our healthcare system into a ditch. All for you!

One wants to say to Obama: mind your own frakking business. But here is a man who has made a virtue of meddling in everyone else's business his entire adult life, and who has never simply looked after himself. But then, The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

Isn't self-governance a big enough job for anyone? Isn't the order of the self prior to the organization of the community? Why skip that stage in favor of bossing other people around? This only results in systematic governance by the ungovernable, which is what we are seeing in Wisconsin.

These selfless protesters are not protesting in the name of their rights, but of your obligations.

My friends, if only you knew. If only you knew the extent of the human dysfunction embedded in the very concept of "public employee" (I hope it goes without saying that we are dealing in generalizations). For such people, there is no feedback from the world that says: you are a failure. Or, accurate feedback is experienced as persecution, harassment, "stress."

Please note that it is unfair to compare their wages to those in the private sector, since so many of these selfless idealists are unemployable. They cannot care for themselves, so we must. Thus, they are engaged in the type of bold adolescent rebellion that pits dependent children against their parents. You say you can earn more in the private sector? Okay, let's see you try!

My house, my rules. If you think you can find a better deal elsewhere, go for it! But for public employee unions, it is always Mom and Dad I hate you! Now can you drive me and Cheryl to the Capitol mall protest?

Von Mises' great insight was that economics -- like human beings -- is intrinsically intersubjective. Value -- i.e., prices -- is determined in the space between two free subjects who agree upon what something is worth. Nothing has intrinsic value except the valuing subjects.

Remove the valuing subjects from the equation, and there is no way to know what anything is worth. An economy degenerates into chaos when prices are not allowed to spontaneously emerge in this way. To paraphrase the rabbi, there is no relief from the confusion when none of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

Now, in a suicidal culture the self is obviously of no value. Therefore, soon enough, nothing else is of any value (except perhaps the prince at the top).

In short, such a culture quickly descends into abject nihilism, as we were discussing yesterday vis-a-vis imperial Japan. I mean, if you don't even care about yourself, what can you possibly be relied upon to care about? And as the rabbi said, If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

God help us the from selfless public servants! Barney Frank. Harry Reid. Nancy Pelosi. Jesse Jackson. Public employee unions. NPR.

In contrast, America's founding principle is the infinite worth of the individual. One wonders, therefore, if the systematic erosion of this inalienable principle by the left is making us a more "suicidal" culture?

I don't think there's any doubt about that. For a preview of coming attractions, just look at Europe, which is in the midst of demographic suicide as a consequence of its cultural, political, economic and spiritual suicide.

Ironically, just as Germany, France, and the UK are beginning to draw back from the abyss, we have a president who is hurtling us toward it. Will we awaken from the nightmare of socialism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism before it is too late? (Note that multiculturalism is another suicidal doctrine, or rather, the same doctrine applied to the collective -- self-hatred disguised as the love of others.)

Note the problem at the root of it all: all of these supposedly selfless leftists who presume to know better how to run your life, thus removing your own rational self-interest -- and therefore self -- and therefore rational calculation -- from the equation. Is it homicide or suicide? Does it matter?

Our victim culture systematically robs people of their agency and therefore dignity. Or, people are sold victimhood at the cost of their humanity.

Here again, in abrogating one's agency, one abdicates the self, except that a monstrous shadow rushes in to fill the void. This is the omnipotent and entitled narcissistic double who can only make demands upon others. It is a caricature of rational self-interest. It is Entitlement personified, or human rights devoid of the human duties that define Man.

But what is Man, in essence? As Don Colacho aphirms, the permanent possibility of initiating a causal series is what we call a person.

And what is a demon? It is none other than The permanent possibility of undermining and denying man's power to initiate a causal series in pursuit of his own rational interests.

*****

"Think of 'public service' for what it really is, a secondary form of welfare, in which 'workers' pretend to work and the government pretends to 'pay' them — just like in the old Soviet Union! I mean, if it weren’t for government jobs, all of these 'non-essential' personnel would be lounging around on their porches, drinking beer and firing unregulated handguns into the air or at each other — or, even worse, at us — unable to deal with the vicissitudes of life and therefore deserving of our public charity. Without public service, politicians such as Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd would have been just another couple of Irish barroom horndogs; Governor Moonbeam, Jerry Brown, another Buddhist moonbat; and Robert Byrd a humble white-sheeted follower of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Public service gave these men jobs — real jobs — and meaning to their lives. And you malevolent capitalists want to take it all away" (David Kahane, HT American Digest).

38 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Oooo...

Now, in a suicidal culture the self is obviously of no value.
***
For a preview of coming attractions, just look at Europe, which is in the midst of demographic suicide as a consequence of its cultural, political, economic and spiritual suicide.
***
Our victim culture systematically robs people of their agency and therefore dignity. Or, people are sold victimhood at the cost of their humanity.


I feel like I may be getting perilously close to beating a dead horse these days. At the risk of sounding like a complete nut, I have come to believe that many of our current cultural problems developed as a result of several truly life-altering events back in the mid-twentieth century: No-fault divorce, legalized abortion, and birth control.

DH has observed, on a few occasions lately, that women these days only value themselves as sex objects. Well, that's not exactly what he said, but that's the gist. Looking at the endless parade of frankenbabes, miserable single women, bitter divorced men, and misogynistic pickup artists, I can only agree.

How did we get here? When sexuality became an end in itself, separate from marriage and completely removed from the purpose of creating children, when pregnancy (unless it's wanted) began to be treated as an STD, the dynamics of interpersonal relationships underwent a devastating change. After several generations, we see the fruits: failures of love, demographic collapse, extended adolescence, the list goes on and on.

There is simultaneously an elevated sense of narcissistic self-importance and a devaluation of anyone other, such that it seems perfectly justifiable and right to make demands that other people must support one's own comfortable lifestyle.

People don't know what they're for anymore. Except that they want to feel good. Unmoored from any higher purpose, though, "feeling good" as a cultural ideal is in fact a path to cultural depression and suicide.

2/23/2011 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

self-hatred disguised as the love of others

The prime directive is love the the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.

First corollary is love your neighbor as yourself. That is, as you love yourself so love your neighbor.

But, obviously, if a person is full of self-hatred and self-loathing -- possibly because the only job he or she can handle is pubik skool adminustraper -- there's not much love going out to the rest of us.

2/23/2011 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

People don't know what they're for anymore.

Wow, sad-but-true.

Frankenbabes reminds me of the new fashionable cause of death -- back-alley butt enhancements.

2/23/2011 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Heh. During my grad school experience back in the 80's, I was thunderstruck at just how socially dysfunctional were most of the professorate. In the academic realm they were kings and queens, most of them pulling in 6-figure incomes - but they would have been paralyzed in the regular workaday world, paralyzed by their technicolor eccentricities, their hatred of "the Man" and what they regarded as bourgeois conformity, and often by their unwillingness to change their clothes or to use deodorant.

Might I add, these were a vicious bunch. Jackals treat their colleagues with more respect than did these losers.

The whole thing was like a zoo. Ideally, these academic bozos would be like exotic animals sealed away from the public for their - and our - own good. Ideally, they would be on display with feeding times (brie and white wine) posted for the public.

2/23/2011 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Speaking of butt enhancements, I remember a minor sign of the apocalypse back in the 1990s. As it so happens, OJ Simpson's father-in-law had four daughters, none of whom attended college, but each of whom had breast implants at college age.

2/23/2011 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep. Or heck, just look at Lindsay Lohan (if you can bear it; actually, I don't really recommend it). She's in her early 20s, and looks like she's hitting her mid-40s. Apparently intentionally.

WTF?

Women aren't even trying to be more beautiful anymore, they're just trying to look fake. Nauseating.

2/23/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Julie -

>>I feel like I may be getting perilously close to beating a dead horse these days<<

Do what I did and switch over to a mule!

>>I have come to believe that many of our current cultural problems developed as a result of several truly life-altering events back in the mid-twentieth century: No-fault divorce, legalized abortion, and birth control<<

Agreed. And it was the "elite's" embrace of such that trickled down to the public and sadly took root. I read somewhere that an ascending civilation is one in which the lower "classes" seek to imitate the higher classes. Just the opposite in a descending civilization - the higher seeks to imitate the lower.

2/23/2011 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Will we awaken from the nightmare of socialism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism before it is too late?

Good thing 2012 is right around the bend.

2/23/2011 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In other news, SF to vote on a circumcision ban. As DH noted last night (though he may have been relaying an observation he saw elsewhere), in San Francisco it's okay to kill your infant up until he exits his mother's body, but don't you dare touch that foreskin eight days later.

2/23/2011 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So much for the separation of crotch and state.

2/23/2011 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

When circumcision is outlawed, only outlaws will be circumcised.

Didn't this happen before?

I started to paraphrase the great Charleton Heston, "...from my cold, dead hand", but that seemed wrong somehow.

2/23/2011 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

:D
Mush, I think you were just reading my mind with that Heston line, only I was thinking of how it applies to phosphates.

When clean dishes are outlawed, only outlaws will have clean dishes.

2/23/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

As an asnide, what do hippies have against hygiene? Is it because cleanliness is next to Godliness?

The mind boggles...

2/23/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Value -- i.e., prices -- is determined in the space between two free subjects who agree upon what something is worth. Nothing has intrinsic value except the valuing subjects."

Which of course isn't the same thing as saying that value and pricing is subjective. Two moonbats can agree that the price and value of their surgery will be an amazingly affordable $1.75 ($2.05 with day-glo stiching)... but the objective costs of various materials and sacrificial doctors & nurses will have to be factored in... or financial ruin and other bad things will follow.

Finally getting caught back up after a nice extended weekend getaway with extended family to the beach... sadly this post brings me fully back in synch with the real world.

2/23/2011 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"One wants to say to Obama: mind your own frakking business. But here is a man who has made a virtue of meddling in everyone else's business his entire adult life, and who has never simply looked after himself. But then, The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues (Don Colacho's Aphorisms)."

No doubt. I especially like the last A. from D.C. "...without the careless collaboration of the virtues", captures it so well. Where the leftist likes to posture about, draped in virtues like 'generosity', carelessly Donned without any integration to Truth, Self, Reality or 'other' pesky issues like honesty, property, Rights... as if they were possible to separate.

It’d be an interesting world if Virtues were as visible as clothing and what you attempted to parade around in could be seen to clash with what else you did or didn’t have? Leftist’s would be the Herb Tarlek of the catwalk.

On second though... that’d be a sight I’d rather not see.

2/23/2011 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re objective costs -- That's not exactly true, since value is subjectively determined at every step along the way. Von Mises would say there are no objective costs, and that everything is in flux, subject to the laws of supply and demand, scarcity and utility, etc. Surgery is worthless if I don't need it.

2/23/2011 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "I feel like I may be getting perilously close to beating a dead horse these days. At the risk of sounding like a complete nut, I have come to believe that many of our current cultural problems developed as a result of several truly life-altering events back in the mid-twentieth century: No-fault divorce, legalized abortion, and birth control."

Julie, I'll chime in on your One note with a gong from mine. I'm working on another education oriented post, prompted by many well meaning efforts from my fellows who want to return our system of public education back to the halcyon days of the 20's & 30's... IMHO that's like moving your ladder from leaning against the edge of an abyss to the wall of a raging inferno. If you're going to bother with changing it at all, why not move it to where it can help you climb up and out to the clear highlands?

I've been digging around in commentary from 'back in the day' and came across this from the opening chapter of a book a Priest wrote on 'Public Education',

"... It is indeed but too true that we live in a most anti-Christian age; principles are disregarded, and iniquity is held in veneration. We see nothing but confusion in religion, in government, in the family circle. Sects spring up and swarm like locusts, destroying not only revealed religion, but rejecting even the law of nature. Fraud, theft, and robbery are practised almost as a common trade. The press justifies rebellion, secret societies, and plots for the overthrow of established governments. The civil law, by granting divorce, has broken the family tie. Children are allowed to grow up in ignorance of true religious principles, and thereby become regardless of their parents....."

That’s only a portion from the opening paragraph. As you read it you're tempted to think he's going a bit over the top... but ... well... seeing as how things have played out... maybe not. Oh, guess when he wrote this? 1930? 1920? 1900?...

... wait for it...


1870.

A decade later, a popular essayist of the time, Charles Dudley Warner, noted on the same subject, about how the move to 'textbooks' was robbing children of an Education in the Good, the Beautiful and the True,

The notion that literature can be taken up as a branch of education, and learned at the proper time and when studies permit, is one of the most farcical in our scheme of education. It is only matched in absurdity by the other current idea, that literature is something separate and apart from general knowledge.... No text-book, no one reading-book or series of reading-books, will do it. If the teacher is only the text-book orally delivered, the teacher is an uninspired machine... The teacher is to present evidence of truth, beauty, art. Where will he or she find it? ..."

When Education changed from teaching what a person needed to know in order to be a virtuous, self governing person, to an efficient skilled member of the workplace... we moved our ladders from the wall of the building with windows upon the virtuous and saintly, to the one of bums and psychopaths.

It is an either or proposition.

And sounding the bottom bass note, Philosophy led the way away....

2/23/2011 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>It’d be an interesting world if Virtues were as visible as clothing and what you attempted to parade around in could be seen to clash with what else you did or didn’t have . . <<

That day, that world, is coming.

2/23/2011 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "Surgery is worthless if I don't need it."

That is true, but if you Do need it, then reality steps into the picture with some very objective costs, objective realities which must be met... surgical knives made of surgical steel, anesthesia rather than a club, and the laws of "supply and demand, scarcity and utility, etc." deal with realities which ultimately can't be fudged by preference, except by negation.

The old service saw of you can have it "good, fast, cheap: pick any two" won't easily be thwarted.

2/23/2011 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Will said "That day, that world, is coming."

Yep. And for some it's been here... the tendency to hermithood being proportional to their inability to not see.

2/23/2011 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Van - I think it's objective according to what it is intersubjectively at the moment. It is an objective situation that things are decided intersubjectively, determining worth, in other words.

2/23/2011 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anna, yeah, I'd say the value is intrinsically intersubjective, within the constraints of an objective environment.

I'm probably the only one who'd want to nail it down, what with the part I see missing not being the point of the post, but it's the sort of thing I run into a lot... and of course if I'm missing something...


wv:fixessi
(I think Von Mises is whispering something, but with that accent....)

2/23/2011 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Van -

That cracked me up... the Von Mises whisper.

"...the constraints of an objective environment."

I thought that might have been to what you were pointing, and to be honest, it is something I'm still working through, trying to understand.

2/23/2011 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Hayek exposes it as still not relevant, I think(?).

2/23/2011 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger RedCarolina said...

I think we are finding out what it must have felt like to be one of the remorseful victims of Jim Jones' cult in Jonestown just before he passed around the cyanide FlaVor-aid shooters. It's not technically suicide or homicide. Kind of a henious hybrid of the two. Hybrid? Or it that inbreeding? Inbreeding. Clearly. We can always make a run for the jungle.

2/23/2011 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Etienne Gilson in an excellent book called "The Unity of Philosophical Experience" (1937) noted that every attempt to convert philosophical questions into questions that can be solved by other disciplines has failed.

He asserts that this tells us something about the nature of philosophy. It tells us that it is foundational i.e. that it is the place where explanations give out and we encounter fundamental assumptions.

It is in the nature of such assumptions that although they determine how we understand the world, they cannot (without circularity or an infinite regress) be subject to proof.

What value "is" has a meaning within the discipline of economics (or at least within the dominant school of economic thought) but that does not solve the philosophical problem of what value "is" i.e. although value in economics may be defined as what we are prepared to pay for something, it would be a mistake to assert that this solves the problem of what is a value.

If value in economics is determined by price, and that price is subjective, that does not mean that value is always subjective.

I take Bob to be arguing that in economics value is subjective, but that not all value is subjective. It is evident for example that he believes that there right and wrong (or at least better and worse) solutions to moral problems.

2/23/2011 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anna said "Hayek exposes it as still not relevant, I think(?)."

Late for class, but wanted to say that the more philosophical the issue, the less reliable Hayek becomes. Von Mises is mostly good, his followers though, particularly Rothbard are disasters in nearly anything beyond simple economic transactions.

2/23/2011 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger RedCarolina said...

Follow this up with the exceptionalism of our system as it was intended and the Judeo-Christian foundations that inspired it. I believe that is what we have lost. Have you noticed the "evangelical" tone the Left is using to sell their Godless causes? Forget trying to protect our kids from the ever-prevalent subliminal and often blatant invitation & unapologetic indoctrination in pop-culture and academia. Thanks for this post. I wish I had the experience and/or intuition to tell me if it's too late. It's the limbo that's driving me crazy. :/

2/23/2011 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Hayek is a moral relativist. He views himself as a Classical Liberal. He sees free markets as the optimum way of delivering what people want - whatever that might be.

The conclusion of the "Socialist Calculation Debate" was that a complex economy without free markets will always be an economic failure.

The Socialist response to this is to say that we ought to go back to a simpler economy (Socialists admire hunter gatherer societies for example) i.e. they assert that Socialism may be an economic failure but it is a moral truimph.

It is a moral truimph because people in Socialist societies are more equal. They may have less but it is more equally distributed.

Hayek points out that all distribution systems in complex societies rely upon inequalities of power. Socialist societies (in anything other than in small communities) are is not only poorer than free societies. they are also more unequal.

So what is the appeal? For politicians Socialist societies may be poorer, and more unequal, but they give career politicians more power.

For their supporters of Socialism it offers the prospect of plundering or destroying the wealth of others, on the grounds of an appeal to equality.

A Socialist society in other words is may poorer, less equal, and less just, but it is very effective at giving malignant narcissists a way of destroying other peoples lives.

On strict Classical Liberal grounds however Hayek is unable to address the immorality of Socialism, because morality is external to the market.

Conservatives (and Hayek himself came to acknowledge this) point out that free societies (including free markets) rely upon moral commitments. But what grounds these moral commitments? This is not a problem that can be addressed by economics. To look for an answer to this question you have to go beyond Hayek.

2/23/2011 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Concur. Like democracy, a free market without a virtuous population is deeply problematic. Human nature is what it is, but at least the market sublimates it to a certain extent. The market is also full of unexpected nonlinearities that no one could have anticipated. I guess it's like nature, which loves us ruthlessly.

2/23/2011 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Exactly Bob,

What is real is precisely that which has a life of its own beyond our control.

This is why the real is such an affront to the Left, who want to have the measure of, and not be unequal to, everything, indeed to be the master of it.

It is why the Post-Modern Left is anti-realist. When the Left advocates materialism, they do so only because they can use it to undermine every standard of excellence.

That is why it is so pointless arguing with a Leftist. They have no interest in truth. The only thing they are interested in is their own feelings.

2/23/2011 07:29:00 PM  
Anonymous escalante blogger said...

Well, that's a bad idea, I think.

2/23/2011 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Wild, good summary of Hayek.

I'll just add that his ideas of right and wrong, of individuality, involve little more than transactional assessments at best, and in such places his admiration for Hume shows through, Hume's thin, appearances only depth of materialism, where people cannot really know reality, except through appearances, such this from his Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary

"...I.XVIII.10
Nature has given all animals a like prejudice in favour of their offspring. As soon as the helpless infant sees the light, though in every other eye it appears a despicable and a miserable creature, it is regarded by its fond parent with the utmost affection, and is preferred to every other object, however perfect and accomplished. The passion alone, arising from the original structure and formation of human nature, bestows a value on the most insignificant object.

I.XVIII.11
We may push the same observation further, and may conclude, that, even when the mind operates alone, and feeling the sentiment of blame or approbation, pronounces one object deformed and odious, another beautiful and amiable; I say, that, even in this case, those qualities are not really in the objects, but belong entirely to the sentiment of that mind which blames or praises....
"


, fits right in with Hayek's views. I think it wouldn't quite be fair to call him a moral relativist, at least as that's usually taken today - tolerant of all things, no good no bad - because he did think that established custom established norms for societies and became it's 'goods', and he felt that coercion by the state for those 'goods' was just fine, he "... distinguished his classical liberalism from conservatism. Among his grounds for rejecting conservatism were that moral and religious ideals are not “proper objects of coercion” and that conservatism is hostile to internationalism and prone to a strident nationalism."

The classical liberalism Hayek espoused, was the later frencified variant following Hume, Godwin, Mill, etc, and in subversive opposition to the Classical Liberalism of Locke, Blackstone and that which formed the main of our Founders.

2/23/2011 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"...in San Francisco it's okay to kill your infant up until he exits his mother's body, but don't you dare touch that foreskin eight days later."

It is a strang religion.

Good on, DH.
A truthfill bumper sticker to boot.

2/24/2011 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous DaniGirl said...

@ Julie 9:31Am
I can tell you it is not a dead horse at all... just a very very big and amorphous one. I have been reading a very knowledgeable woman by the name of Judith A. Reisman. Her book "Sexual Sabotage" is a very careful documentation of Alfred Kinsey, his so called "work", and its continuing repercussions in our society today. It will make you sick to your stomach, so the faint of digestion beware, but it is well worth it for the information she has to give. And according to her research you are right on the money with your assessment, and in fact all of the things you mentioned and more are part of the same monstrous and ever growing sickness foisted on our society by a truly sick individual and his minions.

@ Gagdad Bob
I have only recently found your blog (about 2 weeks ago or so), but it provides me with a much needed daily mental frolic and great new insights to kick around the playground. Thank you so very much and keep it up!

2/24/2011 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

DaniGirl: Thanks for the tip -- looks like a very worthwhile book.

2/25/2011 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger philmon said...

Julie, you are one astute woman.

[first comment]

3/07/2011 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Thanks, Philmon :)

I suppose I have my moments.

3/07/2011 06:33:00 PM  

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