Friday, January 24, 2014

Liberal Patronage and Fugitive Slaves

I'm not quite ready to leave The Betrayal of the Masses behind. There's just too much fine insultainment to let pass, such as the crack that liberalism is the doctrine that dedicates itself "to preserving the problems for which it presents itself as the solution."

For example, there are some major cities that have had uninterrupted Democrat rule since, I don't know, World War II, or even World War I. A quick search reveals that most of the poorest cities in the country -- i.e., those with the highest poverty rates -- have been controlled by Democrats for over fifty years. This has to be the ultimate instance of the Butterfield Fallacy: Urban Poverty Soars Despite Liberal Governance. Ironic, no?

Consider the spiritual home of our Dear Leader, Chicago. Let's call in Mr. Butterfield again: Leading the Nation in Murdered Blacks Despite Powerful Black Political Establishment. But for the left, politics is a patronage machine dressed up in an ideology. There is no ideology per se, in the sense that Democrats must cobble together electoral groups based upon the gift of victimization, not the truth of ideas.

To put it another way, the only way to unify such disparate groups is through the vehicle of oppression-entitlement. Otherwise, an ovary tower feminist, say, has little in common with the Central Park thug who would just as soon mug her for her jewelry.

According to Siegel, the largest employers in Chicago are the federal government, its abysmal school system, the city government, the CTA, the Cook County government, and the Chicago Park District. And you can be sure that the machine hires only the very best and brightest parasites!

It's the same in my failed state, California. Yesterday we spoke of the iron triangle of Big Government, Big Media, and Big Stupid. Regarding the latter, Siegel notes that in the Cal State University system, there is a ratio of one administrator per one professor. And we all know their political affiliation. That is what you call grotesque and in-your-face patronage.

In fact, every couple of years we see student demonstrations over the high cost of tuition. Ironically -- ironically? -- they always direct their ire at the greedy citizens who don't want to waste more money on public education, instead of toward a corrupt system of political patronage that stocks our universities with mid-level hacks and free-riders.

Back in 1981, when I graduated from Cal State Northridge -- the Harvard of the west San Fernando Valley, the same venerable institution from which the great James Taranto nearly graduated -- tuition was like $105 a semester. Now it is $5,472 per year, which I believe represents a what -- 2,600% increase? Did I do that right? I should know this, since I received a Gentleman Loafer's C in Business Math at CSUN, which means I was definitely breathing in class.

At any rate, liberal governance is an expensive proposition, and not just because of taxes. Those parasites don't suck themselves, you know.

Speaking of irony and fine insultainment, Ann Coulter, in cataloging the wondrous deeds of feminist icon Wendy Davis, notes how very ironic it is that she left her sugar daddy-husband the very same day he made the last payment on her Harvard Law School loan. Iconic and ironic! -- as in It's ironic -- my car stopped running right after I ran out of gas.... It's ironic -- my house was broken into, and the next thing I knew all my valuables were missing.... It's ironic -- I was punched in the face right before my nose broke.

Ironic, isn't it, that a feminist hero should get to the top the old fashioned way, by sleeping with a wealthy or influential man? That's how Hillary did it, except for the sleeping part.

When we consider the list of Failed 20th Century Ideologies, only liberalism has survived. Why is this? Again, it must be because of its most excellent system of patronage, not because of the ideology, because when Americans hear the ideology in its naked form, without a fogleaf of pandering, bogus compassion, or intellectual dishonesty, they don't like it.

Thus, without the constant payoffs, liberalism might have gone the way of its cousins, fascism, socialism, and communism. The problem with those latter three is that they didn't involve enough people in the scam; or, to be precise, they didn't allow enough pigs at the trough.

Now, we all know liberalism is a status-centered belief system rooted in snobbery, moral superiority, and intellectual one-upsmanship. But again, in America, that just won't sell. And from the elite side of things, it is understood that not everyone can be an elite. Besides, if everyone can be one, then the elitism has no status value.

What to do? This is one of the themes of the Betrayal of the Masses, that in contemporary liberalism we see this otherwise inexplicable alliance of wealthy status seekers and overeducated mediocrities at one end, and various victim groups at the other. The latter have no personal identity, only a group identity. Only the people at the top are permitted to be pseudo-individuals, whereas the rabble is only permitted to go along with the elites. (Rush touched on this very theme in yesterday's program.)

As such, the greatest threat to the left is rampant individualism in the boobeoisie, because then they are not subject to top-down control by elites. This is why uppity blacks who stray from the liberal plantation are treated so cruelly, in an intellectual version of the old Fugitive Slave Laws. If you find one hiding somewhere, by all means turn him in! The same goes for fugitive women, fugitive homosexuals, fugitive journalists... and fugitive filmmakers, for revenge is a Dinesh pest served a cold indictment.

Then again, I suppose D'Souza could be just another victim of liberal irony. Nevertheless, it does resemble one of those Libyan film reviews we've heard so much about.


Via Maggie's Farm, we are number two in soft tyranny. All others are number three or lower (click to embiggen):

Looks like the first seven are perma-blue states. Ironic!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Obama: The Three They've Been Waiting For

A few more thoughts on The Betrayal of the Masses before we return to whatever it was we were talking about.

One thing that occurs to me is that there must be a sort of political deep structure that shapes people's outward beliefs. In other words, politics can only be thought about in so many ways, so the same patterns recur from antiquity to the present. I know, Big Whoop, since no reader of Aristotle's Politics will be surprised to discover this truth.

I noticed the same thing in a book I recently read on The Rise of American Democracy from the time of the founding until Lincoln. Jefferson, for example, hated the Federalists, based upon his belief that they were just trying to create a new aristocracy.

Thus, like the liberals of today, Jefferson engaged in (small-d) democratic demagoguery in order to attain power. But once in power, he had little use for true democracy. Rather, he just wanted a new kind of aristocracy: his kind. The dispute between Washington/Hamilton and Jefferson/Madison was between elites, not the rubes, for no one believes 2+2=5 just because the mob says it is. But an aristocracy of men is quite different from an aristocracy of truth.

The bottom line is that aristocracy is a permanent temptation for the human being. As is its mirror image, democracy, AKA mob rule. Since these represent permanent possibilities, the founders built them into the system, with the executive branch being an expression of royalist tendencies, the senate for the contemplative and slow-to-change aristocratic trend, and the house for the hotheaded and mercurial rabble.

None of these, it should go without saying, is the locus of "political truth." Rather, they are only centers of power, and power is at a right angle to truth. Therefore, a man without truth on his side may appeal to the demos. Conversely, if he doesn't have the demos on his side, then he may appeal to royal decree. We see how Obama engages in both, depending upon the needs of the day.

(Obama reminds me of what Carson Wells said about Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men: "No no. No. You don't understand. You can't make a deal with him. Even if you gave him the money he'd still kill you. He's a peculiar man. You could even say that he has principles. Principles that transcend money or drugs or anything like that. He's not like you. He's not even like me.")

Or, as Siegel points out, the history of liberalism shows that liberals are principled, loudmouthed authoritarians, or principled, loudmouthed anti-authoritarians, depending upon who is in charge. When it was Bush, they were reactionary anti-authoritarians. Now they are reactionary authoritarians (with a few principled exceptions).

This janus-faced attitude toward state power should not be surprising for a doctrine that rejects truth a priori, as does Obama i.e., "we hold this truth to be self-evident, that our nation is founded upon a rejection of absolute truth." In this context the adjective "absolute" is just an evasion, since truth is by definition absolute (or a reflection of the Absolute).

But leftists just want to tar truth with "absolutism," to imply that anyone who affirms it is some sort of extremist. Such extremists do exist, of course, but the problem is that they insist upon absolute lies, on things that cannot possibly be true. And leftism revolves around a number of such "impossible truths" such as multiculturalism, moral relativism, homosexual marriage, and all the rest.

Allied with this is the left's insistence upon equality unless equal treatment results in inequality, in which case they are all for unequal treatment. Not enough female firemen or marines? Okay, let 'em take the test. Oops! Even a strapping hulk like Michelle Obama can't pass it. Therefore, the law must treat men and women differently. Likewise, not enough blacks in law school? Easy. Just systematically treat them as inferiors.

The point is, just as the left is authoritarian or rebellious, depending upon whether they are in or out of power, they are egalitarian or discriminatory, depending upon how it effects one of their client groups, i.e., how it redounds to their power. Which is why they have no concerns about under-representation of groups that do not contribute to their power, say, Asians or Cubans or Raccoons.

Again, at the time the Constitution was written, the founders were mindful of the different ways of ordering power, i.e., royalty, aristocracy, and democracy. For the most part, the story of the left is the story of a new aristocracy/priesthood pretending to be an expression of the demos. This aristocracy is composed of groups that didn't exist at the time of the founding, i.e., Big Media, Big Government (especially the cancerous public sector unions), and Big Stupid (i.e., academia).

This is the iron triangle of the left, replacing the triangle intended by the framers. Looked at in this way, academia is the priesthood/church, the state is royalty, and old media is the elite/aristocracy.

Which is why Obama was so tough to defeat, what with (to paraphrase Siegel) his TV looks, his radio voice, his phony preacher's cadences, and his pseudo-intellectualism. He is the total package, three frauds in One. Thus, he is the three they've been waiting for since JFK, who also had the media looks, the royalist glow, and the superfical, liberal-approved intellectualism.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Unrealpolitik: Power is the New Truth

The Betrayal of the Masses is so rich with insights and provokes so many thoughtstreams that it may surpass my ability to blog about it.

I see that many of my obscure notes to myself would serve as decent titles, such as:

Escape From Human Nature

Intellectual Fraudevillians

The First Law of Liberal Thermodynamics: The Conservation of Failure

How to Boost Self-Esteem by Sucking Dignity from Your Constituents

The Way of the Superior Mediocrity

Daddy, What Did You Tax in the War on Poverty?

Amnesty and Electoral Success: The Juans We've Been Waiting For

The New Indulgence System: Purchasing White Redemption by Giving to the Church of Racial Grievance

One theme that emerges from the book is just how wrong, and even deranged, various liberal luminaries have always been, e.g., Herbert Croly, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Malcolm Cowley, G.B. Shaw, Sinclair Lewis, and all the Frankfurt School weenies, e.g. Adorno, Marcuse, Norman Brown, and many others.

As I said, Siegel has a much better mastery of their own literature than they do. Rather, contemporary liberals simply project into the past and cherry-pick absurdly self-flattering items. They are, of course, the originators of self-esteem via revisionism: unattractive women's history, homosexual history, black history, and all their other agenda-driven intellectual ghettos.

Of the latter, Siegel writes of how liberals found a way out of their own nonsense via deconstruction. Just when reality had caught up with them in the late '70s, they slipped through the linguistic net with postmodern antithinkers and philosophical celebrities such as Foucault, de Man, Derrida, and the rest of that sinister rabble.

Because social science had been such an epic fail for them, they switched over to this new literary "French-influenced romantic irrationalism" featuring "priestly truths much beyond the ken of the general public."

You might say that postmodernism is to thinking what climate change is to global warming -- a way to stay one step ahead of an inconvenient truth via word magic. This is why no conservative embraces deconstruction: because we believe language is a function of reality, not vice versa.

You know the drill, at least if you've been to college: there are "no objective truths," only the "truth-effects created by the workings of power" and the manipulation of language. Since All is Power, there is nothing wrong with seizing it and using the state "to break through the invisible web of coercion spun by everyday fascism."

You are either oppressor or oppressed, and if you are a fan of this blog, then you are the former, you Nazi bastard!

Speaking of intellectual fraudevillians, it's a great gig, because they somehow transform what can only be called "epistemological nihilism" into "political certainty." How do they do that?

For example, how did Obama arrive at the confident but utterly absurd conclusion that our nation is founded upon (in his words), "a rejection of absolute truth" and the dismissal of "any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations [read: ME] into a single, unalterable course..."

In other words, the Constitution is designed to ignore itself, to make way for the Rule of Man. At least the Right Man, i.e., the Divine Lightbringer. But... isn't that what we were fighting against from '76 to '83?

Insolence! As we know, if there is no truth, then power rushes in to fill the vacuum. Like all postmodernists, Obama wants it both ways: "there is no truth, only the truth that there is only power, so I will seize that power, thank you, and use it to impose my truth."

Where on earth did he get such a crazy idea, and why did no one ever correct his misunderstanding?

What a naive question. Such ideas are not subject to correction, but to tenure. He was, after all, an associate professor of constitutional law, so he knows better than anyone else that the law means what he wants it to mean.

Note that in order to harbor such an illusion, Obama must place himself above the Framers, just as he knows better than you do how to run your affairs. Obama must actually believe he never faced failure in life thanks to his own abilities, instead of being wafted to the top via upward political mobility: the right ideology wrapped in the right color. Thus, he is the epitome of illegitimate political power, so I guess he's right about that.

Like their dear leader, today's college students learn "that alternative opinions [are] merely masks for racism, sexism, and homophobia," and that America is "objectively racist, evil, imperialist, sexist (pick your term of opprobrium)."

So, how is the postmodernist exempt from his own sweeping verdict?

Easy: shut up! As we know, there is no place where speech is less free than on a college campus, since the ideas that predominate there cannot withstand scrutiny, and even the tenured know enough to know that.

Speaking of titles, this post could also have been called Feelpolitik, since liberal positions are felt and not thought.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wanted: One Honest Liberal

Apropos of yesterday's post, Jay Nordlinger has a piece in the latest National Review in which he asks if anyone out there has a "go to" liberal writer or thinker, someone who is actually intellectually serious -- and honest -- and "who will give me the best arguments of the other side," without the usual smugness, comic evasiveness, girlish hysteria, high-minded name-calling, educated ignorance, Timesworthy narrow-mindedness, Koch-headed bigotry, and deep shallowness -- all of it with the best of intentions, of course.

I can't think of any. Perhaps you can. But in order to qualify for the role, one must not only be able to put forth rational and factually supported arguments for one's own positions, but just as important, make the best possible arguments for the opposing position. If one can't do that, then one is not being intellectually honest, but simply engaging in a logical fallacy, i.e., the straw man.

For example, Nordlinger mentions Richard Cohen -- who is a fairly innocuous middlebrow hack, and not even close to being one of the worst offenders -- and yet, he "imagines conservatives who do not exist. He seems unwilling to debate, or consider, conservatives as we truly are. He is a caricaturist..."

As are nearly all of them. MSNBC is really a cartoon network, not a news operation.

One exception who comes to mind is Lanny Davis. I've actually heard him be fair, honest, and self-critical. Still way wrong, but that's okay. Wrong is educable. And he seems to have a conscience, i.e., a capacity for shame which is totally missing in a Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and all the rest. The problem is (for I remember it well), snobbery, projection, smearing, superiority, intellectual dishonesty -- these are addictive, and not susceptible to correction, since the person who wants to correct you is an evil racist, or homophobe, or one-percenter, etc.

I am quite sure I can make the pro-abortion case in a dispassionate manner -- well, not the constitutional case, which is impossible -- but simply the argument that abortion should be available to a woman in the early stages of pregnancy. The problem is, they even lie about that, for example, by suggesting that abortion is only legal during the first trimester, when the fact of the matter is that there is no such practical or enforceable limit. There is a huge difference between what liberals say they believe vs. what they actually believe. They only discuss the latter amongst themselves, since they know the average person would be offended if not disgusted.

At any rate, you never hear a liberal abortion advocate acknowledge the unassailable principle that animates the pro-life position -- that it is unjust to take the life of an innocent human being. Instead, they will accuse the person of wanting to "control women's bodies," or some other nonsense.

Back to the OUTSTANDING book under review, The Betrayal of the Masses. I'm thinking Siegel must be an ex-liberal, because he is so thoroughly familiar with their literature of the past 100 years. No way would I want to voluntarily enter that swamp, for which reason alone we should thank him for his yeoman sewer service.

Another reason is that the left is deeply ahistorical about itself. If we treat the left as a "collective patient," so to speak, it is very much like a neurotic person in denial about his own past, and thus compelled to make the same mistakes over and over (the "repetition compulsion"), without in-sight. But in all honesty, "neurotic" is too mild a term.

Without getting too pedantic, a neurotic person has intrapsychic conflicts of which he is at least dimly aware, and which cause him pain. At the other extreme of psychopathology are psychotic individuals, who are frankly out of touch with reality, subject to delusions, hallucinations, and the like.

In between are borderline personalities -- not necessarily Borderline Personality Disorder per se -- but rather, people who rely upon more primitive defense mechanisms because of structural deficits in the psyche (generally rooted in early attachment).

Where is Dr. Sanity when you need her? Oh. Here she is. I forgot about the google machine. At any rate, she used to write a lot of good stuff on this very subject.

To simplify, there are neurotic and relatively healthy defense mechanisms such as repression, sublimation, and intellectualization; and intrinsically unhealthy ones such as denial, splitting, and projective identification.

One of the problems with the latter is that, instead of being intrapsychic, they tend to be intersubjective, meaning that they are acted out with other people or with the wider culture. They always induct others into their psychodramas, and cast other people as either villain (e.g., Koch Brothers), or savior (Obama), or some other primitive archetype yoinked from their intrapsychic swamp.

Siegel touches on this in the book, quoting Edmund Wilson, who wrote of how the liberal/progressive has "evolved a psychological mechanism which enables him to turn moral judgments against himself into moral judgments against society."

The liberal converts personal problems into collective ones -- conveniently located outside himself -- so the real problem can never be addressed, which leads to the cycle of repetition compulsion, in which we see the same discredited arguments time and again. For the left, it's always the same old whining in new battles.

Thus, "Liberal social programs to combat poverty and reform the schools, their failures long institutionalized, have produced a government whose grasp far exceeds its competence and whose costs are carried by the private-sector middle class" (Siegel). Nevertheless, "Liberalism, as a search for status, is sufficiently adaptable that even in failure, self-satisfaction trumps self-examination."

That is a perfect example of a primitive defense mechanism analogous to addiction: deny the reality, project the problem into others, and generate dopey good feelings via a dopamine rush -- e.g., sanctimony, self-righteousness, and intellectual superiority, not to mention the high from acquiring and wielding power over the contemptible citizenry -- so we're really dealing with a dual-diagnosis involving addiction and structural (i.e., borderline) deficits in the psyche.

No wonder they hate us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Liberal Coalition: Snobbish Robbers & the Slobbering Mob

Well, that's annoying. Lost most of today's post, so this is all we get. I'll have to continue it tomorrow. Never mind. Saved by the belle, Julie, who used some kind of computer magic to recover it.

What an opportune time, on this national day of liberal pandering, to review one of the best books on the spiritual pathology of liberalism I have ever read, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class.

Wait a minute: "spiritual pathology?" Isn't such bobnoxious language just going to guarantee no liberal takes the book seriously? Well, first of all, those are my words. Thus far, Siegel hasn't used the word "pathology," although he does often touch on the deranged and displaced -- what I would call gno-nothing -- spirituality at the sclerotic heart the liberal project.

But what do you call someone who will accuse me of racism for merely pointing out the elementary truth that liberal elites pander to various interest groups -- they all know it -- in order to garner their support at the ballot box? And at the same time, smear as racist anyone who points out this elementary truth? That's right: deeply sick.

The world created by such pandering slanderers is called hell, for hell is anyplace where truth cannot be uttered, or where one is punished for expressing it. Such hells can appear anywhere from the childhood home to the politico-media-academic complex (although one suspects the latter is rooted in the former, for what kind of living human being would want to cash in his humanness in exchange for membership in a zombie cult of politically correct hell?).

Lately we've been discussing the confluence of high and low, abstract and concrete, psyche and soma, that we see in Catholicism and developmental psychoanalysis. We see something similar in contemporary liberalism, albeit in a perverse way, with the alliance of ideological malefactors of great wealth -- the deserving rich, e.g., entertainers, global warming alarmists, trial lawyers -- at the top, and what used to be called the proletariat, or working class, at the bottom, leaving out the eighty percent of the restavus -- that would be the middle class referred to in the title.

But the left doesn't really bother with the proletariat anymore. Rather, it is simply a coalition of the willing-to-be-victimized, and one needn't be poor to be a member.

Homosexuals, for example, are more affluent than the average, and girls do much better than boys on most measures, e.g., high school graduation, college, health, mortality, mental illness, drug abuse, suicide, imprisonment, etc. Latinos who hit the jackpot by making it to America have to be taught to think of themselves as victims, and what's up with Jews? This book provides some clues to that canaandrum, but I still plan to read Podhoretz's Why Are Jews Liberals?

Likewise, Obamacare actually discriminates against the young-and-poor, regarding them as selfish malefactors of great health, i.e., ATMs for authorized victims.

Siegel's book is short but extremely rich. There is hardly a wasted word, and there are provocative insights on nearly every page. Among other virtues, it provides a real history of 20th century liberalism, to counter the fraudulent, self-flattering one invented by themselves. Remember, most history is written by the winners. Of tenure. The rest is written by the whiners, e.g., feminist history and all the other subhumanities.

Siegel notes that the top-bottom coalition alluded to above didn't start with pre-WWI progressivism -- which was another beast entirely, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans such as TR, mostly rooted in the Christian "social gospel" -- nor did it begin with FDR's extra-constitutional statism.

Rather, the bitter roots of our contemporary liberalism are distinctly smelled "in the wake of the post-World War I disillusionment with American society. In the Twenties, the first writers and thinkers to call themselves liberals adopted the hostility to bourgeois life that had long characterized European intellectuals of both the left and the right."

Very much contrary to their autoerotic self-image, this hostility revolved around an undisguised contempt for those they would presume to rescue via the creation of "an American aristocracy of sorts, to provide the same sense of hierarchy and order long associated with European statism."

So the story of how we have arrived at our liberal aristocracy is a long one, but Obama is its logical endpoint. Note that the aristocrats are by their nature contemptuous of anyone who isn't a member, but they are not permitted to express this toward the voting groups they need in order to retain power. Thus, it seeps from their every pore when discussing any group they don't need, e.g., "bitter clingers," or just white men (accent on both words) in general. White male grown ups supported Romney, just as they did McCain. Such a banality (and inevitability, given male nature) must be converted into a "war on women," or various other smears.

But liberals -- including auto-castrated white males -- can't even use the term without sneering. You will never hear a liberal strategist wondering how to garner more support from men, because not only do they not need it, they need to cling to their dehumanizing caricature in order to fire up one of their key constituencies, i.e., losers with a father complex.

Speaking of aristocracy and contempt, it is interesting to me that we actually see these on both sides of the political spectrum. For example, our good-natured contempt is directed at, say "LoFos," or college students with skulls full of mush, or tenured mediocrities, whereas liberal contempt is directed at white males (and male virtues in general), or Kansas dwellers ("what's the matter with them?"), or conservative blacks, or any woman who likes being one.

As for the aristocracy, the left's is again a combination of high and low, of properly overeducated fools at one end, and sanctified victims at the other. Thus, even a smart cookie as grotesquely undercooked as Rachel Jeantel can join the club, at least for 15 minutes: Oprah for a day!

But just because one is an aristocrat doesn't mean one has to be an affected, contemptuous, sneering snob, right? In fact, when one of these aristos comes off this way, one suspects that something else is going on. If I were a psychologist, I might suspect that the brittle snobbery is a defense mechanism against some sort of insecurity -- for a secure person doesn't need others to see him as special.

There are true aristocrats in this world -- people of Light -- and it has nothing to do with class, money, or education. Rather, one may discern them by the manner in which they tie their shoes. And the way they treat the help.

Can you even imagine liberalism without snobbery? I can't. It seems to be an addiction for them, and I can understand why, since I used to be one. All one has to do is affect the required intellectual posture in order to put down the Other -- something like, "can you believe that in this day and age, there are people who don't believe in global warming?" There is a 99% chance that such a person knows precisely nothing about global warming, and yet, by saying it, he is able to feel a charge of self-righteousness and intellectual superiority. That's a cheap high, and it is difficult to give up.

Likewise, what a thrill to call someone a racist! It's a thrill because one is really boasting of one's own non-racism, but what morally sane person would boast of his rudimentary decency? There's no thrill there, which is why the projection of evil is necessary in order to create that extra frisson, for hatred is more bracing than mere decency.

This ended up not being a review, just a standard-issue rant. I will get more deeply into the book tomorrow, and ratchet up the rant.