Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2009

And another thing.

I hope you don’t mind that I’ve gone from posting a couple of times a month to bombarding you with everything economists don’t understand about economics. These books are simply frustrating me so much that if I didn’t talk about what they’ve got wrong, I would have to track down their authors and smack them all. Actually, that might be a more socially useful response.

So, another thing they don’t seem to see as an unnecessary cost is excessive education. A century ago we did just fine with one-room schoolhouses where most children only went for a couple of years, until they could read, right and figger. Now, children are forced to attend school until adulthood and frequently complete their twelve-year sentences without having learned these things. And then there’s college.

People try to claim that this extended education is necessary for our “complex” or “technologically advanced” society, but I certainly didn’t learn anything about technology in school. It took me years to learn to program my VCR, and I can’t do any appliance repair beyond changing light bulbs. I will rant about the uselessness of our educational system another time; it’s doubtless well known to most of you anyway.

Extended education was invented for two reasons. First, to keep people out of the workplace so that there would be fewer unemployed people. (As a matter of fact, in the U.S., compulsory education was brought about by labor unions so that their adult union members could take the jobs that were being done by children.)

Second, so that the spawn of the Frankfurt School could indoctrinate people as much as possible. Young people aren’t in school to actually learn anything concrete. Quick, list all the states and their capitals. What’s the atomic weight of zinc? How many buttons were on Ahab’s coat? Unless these things are relevant to your profession, you probably don’t remember, but in school you were likely required to memorize it. Heck, you probably forgot it within a month. No, teenagers and young adults are kept in school so that they will absorb progressive attitudes.

Frankly, if you’re not going in for the hard sciences, you don’t need that much formal education. Especially in light of how much education has degenerated. If you were going to learn Latin and Greek and study the laws of logic and the great works of literature, then it would be useful to society if not the marketplace. But, well, when I asked a philosophy professor why my college did not have a course on Aristotle, she said, with no hint of irony, “That’s too difficult.”

Again, excessive useless education is something we can support when the economy is healthy. But now that it isn’t, how long can we afford to keep healthy, capable young people out of the workforce? Even if we leave out of the equation the social pathologies, such as drug use and promiscuity and suicide, caused by this unhealthy extension of childhood into the 20’s. We need their energy to be put to use.

Read Full Post »

I’m continuing to work my way through this stack of financial crisis books. Some of them do have sound advice or insights, but are filled with wrong-headed notions.

Some of them predict, correctly in my view, that the U.S. will use the financial crisis as an excuse to expand government programs and regulations, another “New Deal”. Unlike me, many of them look forward to this with relish, and they actually seem unaware that the original New Deal and Square Deal were not only very damaging to our economy, but still cripple it today.

Some of them refer to our transition from an industrial to a service economy as if this were a natural process, rather than something we caused to happen. It isn’t. Many people blame feminism for the change, but while feminists did benefit from an economy that provided more jobs that involve talking to people and filling out papers than doing unpleasant manual labor – that is, jobs that call for feminine rather than masculine aptitudes – it isn’t their fault the change happened. The real culprit was ever-increasing government regulation. This raises the cost of production and the risk of legal trouble unacceptably. It’s only to be expected that companies will move their manufacturing to foreign countries with no labor laws to speak of. (That’s right, Democrats: your constant efforts to strangle industry here at home leads to the inhumane exploitation of laborers in the Third World.) This isn’t only the thought of Americans who manufacture things overseas. Foreign companies can also produce cheaper goods in their sweatshops, and domestic companies using expensive, highly litigious American workers couldn’t compete. Once, after reading a horrifying article about conditions in Chinese labor camps, I tried for a few weeks not to buy anything that was made in China. I was forced to give up the effort, because it was damn near impossible. I would need to buy a simple item, say a new wallet, and literally would not be able to find any that wasn’t made in China… except for expensive ones made in places like Italy, which I couldn’t possibly afford.

(This, by the way, is one more reason to buy aesthetically pleasing antiques instead of the hideous things manufactured nowadays, though it was a couple of years more before I thought of that.)

These books keep discussing the demographic crisis in America and Europe, but their proposed solutions are completely off the mark. They blithely suggest we increase immigration from the Third World even more, as if all workers were interchangeable. They are so terrified of being seen as racist that they dare not even think that, never mind involving genetics, but background makes a vital difference. Europeans and their American descendants spent centuries developing the values and habits of thought and customs that made the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution possible. These cannot be replaced simply by crossing the Rio Grande. The contribution parents make is subtle and important. The profit motive by itself will not make a good worker, let alone an innovator. A major factor is the attitude towards life we pick up from our parents, the assumptions they operate on and implicitly impart to us, the demands they make upon us, the behavior we observe in them, the stories they read us before bedtime. Notice that those black Americans who have not chosen a life of crime or welfare are some of the most hard-working, family-oriented, honest people in this country. Despite their unpleasant introduction to this country, they have had enough generations to acquire the good aspects of its culture. Importing a lot of South Americans or Arabs is simply not going to give us a workforce comparable to what we could produce ourselves.

Their other big suggestion is to raise taxes even more, to pay for government-subsidized child care. The damage we will see after a couple of decades of our children being cared for and raised by adults who are indifferent to them does not figure into their calculations; they probably believe that babysitters are just as interchangeable as laborers. None of them so far have suggested lowering taxes enough that more women can stay home and take care of their own children, which would certainly increase the birthrate. Indeed, one of them said that to weather the current crisis, Hispanic and Muslim countries need to overcome their “outmoded” gender roles.

I have to wonder if the author is truly unaware of how disastrous doing away with “outmoded” gender roles has been here in the West. There’s the terrible effect upon children, for one thing. And another of my pet obsessions, which I shall post about in detail at some point: health. Most of the health problems that are on the increase in America and Europe are caused by poor nutrition, which is caused by living on fast food or processed premade foods that only need to be heated up. A working mother does not have time or energy to cook healthy food for her family or herself after spending all day in the office or store and then trying to spend some time with her children and have a little fun before collapsing into bed. This keeps the dentists and the heart specialists and the diet hucksters in business, but at what cost? In personal happiness and in productivity?

There’s something else, which few authors would dare to mention, and that is that women are, by and large, a liability in the workplace. Before feminism, employers didn’t have to employ women if they didn’t feel like it, and couldn’t be sued for refusing to do so. If they did hire a woman and found she couldn’t do the job, they could fire her without worrying about being dragged into court.

To be blunt, every workplace has women who don’t pull their weight. They wouldn’t be there at all if they couldn’t sue companies into hiring them. Nature gives women a natural inclination to induce other people to do work for them. This is useful for getting men to provide for her when she’s pregnant or has small children, but in a modern workplace, it’s a nuisance. Perhaps ironically, the women who actually do have a strong work ethic, who actually can do their jobs and do so, are almost always the most patriarchal of women, women who have internalized the codes of Judeo-Christian religion and Hellenistic humanism and capitalism. Feminists have deliberately cast off and rejected all of these codes as much as is in their power, but instead of making them into the enlightened higher beings they expected, it sends them back to the base instincts we share with lower animals. Most of the women who are useful in a workplace have the sensible values that will make them quit when they have their first baby. Meanwhile, companies make sure to employ some women, even give them promotions, knowing full well that most of them aren’t doing their jobs, but their salaries are cheaper than sex discrimination lawsuits and the attendant bad publicity. Most female executives and supervisors are there solely as insurance against litigation. This is the great achievement of feminism!

Employing large numbers of people who either can’t or won’t do their jobs is all very well when the economy’s healthy. Now that it isn’t, can we really afford to keep forcing workplaces to employ women? Keeping offices and factories stocked with a quota of females is going to become too expensive.

A large part of the cause of our financial crisis was Political Correctness. Someone has to actually do the work that we’re paying incompetent feminists to pretend to do. Someone has to pay the taxes for welfare. Someone has to pay for the prisons to lock up the felons bred by fatherless homes. We aren’t even supposed to mention these things, because pointing them out is “prejudiced”. But not mentioning them doesn’t change the fact that someone has to do the work and pay the bills.

These authors are mostly blithely unaware that Political Correctness is a luxury we cannot afford for very much longer.

Read Full Post »

We cannot expect to ever have a free market utopia. Americans (and no one else, so far as I can tell) are inclined to the illusion that we can because for a time, we had the closest thing possible. Our ancestors crossed the ocean on a leaky boat and had to carve a civilization out of the wilderness. Their government was more than two thousand miles away. Conditions were, in the beginning, so harsh that everyone worked and no one who was unable (or unwilling) to do so would have survived. And the struggle for survival was so difficult that few people even had time for crime. There was nothing to steal anyway. After a few generations of governing themselves and supporting only their own families and relying only on themselves, Americans were disinclined to give up much of their money to support governments or layabouts, and for centuries, we didn’t. This, incidentally, was one of the elements that caused the colonists to respond to the mostly quite reasonable demands of England with the excessive and regrettable response of revolution.

But what is possible on a frontier is not in a settled civilization. On a frontier, people too shiftless or stupid to provide the essentials for themselves are apt to be eaten by wolves before they reach adulthood. Urban civilizations have their predators, but they don’t eat the unfit.

Further, while it is an inescapable fact that when the wilderness is close at hand people will be eaten by wolves, this does not mean that the more able people want them eaten by wolves. We lower the wolf population, we teach them fear of man, we chase them away, we build fences. When we can, we protect human parasites from the predators who would otherwise relieve us of their care. This is why only socialists are able to seriously propose killing people so that they will not be a burden upon the state – though they are of course selective about what sort of burden they want to kill and what sort they want supported on the public purse indefinitely. (For more on this, google “euthanasia”.)

Humans, like animals, will survive if they can figure out any way for them to do so. It is thus inevitable that some degree of welfare, of people getting the government to rob others on their behalf, is going to develop over time. It is also inevitable that not everyone is going to have the innate ability and the confidence in that ability to become a capitalist idealist, as I discussed last night.

In short, human parasites are inevitable as death and taxes. What we have to be asking ourselves is, how can we minimize the unavoidable damage.

We must reward those who do the real work, and limit the amount that we exploit them.

For ways to do this, we can look at history. To begin with, in all civilizations, men do most of the productive work. (In primitive and Third World countries, men force women to do most of the work. This is possible partly because agricultural labor is almost all there is in such societies.) There are numerous reasons that men do most of the work, ranging from brawn to temperament to the fact that they don’t spend years getting pregnant and looking after their toddlers. Every society needs its women to bear children and to take care of them; if they don’t bother to do the latter, as many are not bothering today, the children will not grow up mentally healthy enough to become productive and law-abiding citizens, and will not absorb the values and codes of their culture. The only way to free women from the necessity of earning a living so that they can do this important job is to have men create the goods and do the labor necessary. For all of Western history until the last few decades, men have been induced to do this by offering them important rewards. Female companionship. The confidence of paternity, and the right to teach one’s own children one’s own values and leave them the wealth (however small) one has created. The guarantee that, however small and humble it might be, a man’s home is his castle.

Today an ever-increasing percentage of men is deprived of these basic rewards, yet are still expected to provide from women and children, through welfare and alimony. How long will they surrender to this exploitation? The only thing that keeps many of them working is that their temperaments will not allow them to be idle and unproductive.

What political power is not invested in the Crown properly belongs with those who can and do produce. This, by the way, is a major reason that for most of known history, women have been allowed little place in government. This is sensible if only because women have, as I keep pointing out, a much more important job to do than mess about with campaigns and policies. One of the reasons democracies become corrupt is that politicians are eternally tempted to give votes to new classes of people, counting on their gratitude to win the next election or two, without regard to whether these classes are qualified for or entitled to any say in government. Thus, for example, left-wing politicians keep importing outrageous numbers of Third World immigrants; they are importing voters for themselves! This is a slap in the face to those who built these countries with their sweat and defended them with their blood, and the descendants of those men. They are the ones who are qualified to direct the nation, not new arrivals who have as of yet contributed nothing. Voting is viewed these days as a basic human right, but it is not one. It is a privilege, and today it is being given to people who have done nothing to merit it.

We must also, out of simple decency to those who do the work, limit the number of people on welfare. The current system encourages unmarried women to start producing bastards before they are even old enough to drive. Three-fourths of violent criminals come from fatherless homes, as do the majority of substance abusers and other dysfunctional people. That the majority of women having illegitimate children on welfare are black or Hispanic only perpetuates racism and handicaps the groups which can least afford it.

To limit this burgeoning dependent class, I make a reasonable suggestion which is guaranteed to induce a stroke in any Democrat: require any woman who wishes to receive welfare to have a tubal ligation and to surrender any children she has for adoption by a married, employed couple. This will be good for the taxpayers, good for the children who will be given a stable home, good for the citizens the children will not grow up to assault, and good for the mother who will be forced into a measure of responsible behavior. Democrats, naturally, will be outraged at the idea. Even though this doesn’t have a prayer of being implemented.

(“Anchor babies” are a parallel phenomenon that also needs to be done away with.)

Children with high intelligence, creativity and morals should be sent to separate schools, with classmates who are their equals. These days, the idea is that if we shove duller children into a classroom with smart ones, the dull children will catch up by osmosis. What it does in practice is robs the smart children of their due, as the teachers are forced to dumb everything down so that the dull children can keep up.

The teachers themselves are also a huge problem. Today they are chosen from the lowest common denominator of society. Nearly all teachers are below average in intelligence and far below average in morals. They are chosen by their readiness to recite Marxist propaganda. It is unavoidable that the profession will attract people of low moral character; it always has, which is why old novels are so full of complaints about the incompetence of governesses and tutors. Remember how fiercely the gentlefolk snubbed governesses in Jane Eyre? There was a reason for that. Naturally inferior people will gravitate towards the only people to whom they can ever feel superior: children. They cannot cope with other adults, with people they must deal with on equal footing. Only a deeply unhealthy person is likely to have any desire to spend large amounts of time with children who are not their own. Being around children who have not had enough time to acquire information or make achievements enables these inferior adults to experience a temporary illusion of self-respect. That even well-raised children have imperfect self-control enhances that illusion, and since so few children today are well-raised, most teachers have many opportunities to gloat over their own nonexistent maturity and high moral character.

The problem comes when they encounter an intelligent and moral child. Encountering someone less than four feet tall who is obviously your intellectual and moral superior handily destroys delusions of self-worth. Not only are these children deprived of adults who comprehend subjects well enough to teach them, who are moral enough enough to be able to guide the development of the children’s nascent integrity, they are actually imprisoned with adult scum who enviously hate them for their best qualities. And in a classroom, for the most part unsupervised and unanswerable to their charges’ parents, teachers have a great many ways to inflict revenge on children whose mere existence shows the teachers their own worthlessness. By the time these children are in their teens, they are frequently permanently emotionally damaged, and many turn to drugs to dull the pain or to suicide. And these are the best of our young to whom we are allowing this to happen. It is bad enough to put the average and below average children in the clutches of these women; at least they will not be as harmed by it. But putting the best children, the people we need to grow up to be leaders and innovators, where these harpies can get at them is civilizational suicide.

Smart parasites don’t kill their hosts. That is exactly what we seem set on doing today, however.

Finally, to keep government growth and bureaucracy in reasonable bounds so as not to overburden the productive, elected government must be abolished and power returned to hereditary aristocracy. No king ever burdened the public purse by showering his mistress with jewels or building new palaces a fraction as much as the useless bureaucracy spawned by democracies does. A king can only manage a handful of mistresses, even if he’s Charles II. There is no limit to the amount of useless paper-shufflers a bureaucracy can spawn to inhibit productive work in the suckers who do it. For more on why monarchy is a less costly form of government, consult the monarchist blogs in my sidebar and read the essays and books in their sidebars. They have done a good enough job of explaining it that I see no reason to cover that ground again.

Read Full Post »

Note: After reading this over, I see that it jumps back and forth a bit. I’ll have to ask you all to bear with me; I’m still working these ideas out.

I’m sitting in front of the television with a stack of financial-crisis books beside me (three of them have the word “crash” in the titles). I’m not any kind of financial professional, just a stiff like you who’s worried about the future and is trying to figure out what the hell is going on and what I should do.

It doesn’t help that many of the experts don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. That is, many of them are unaware of, or unwilling to acknowledge, some pretty major factors. One book I just tossed aside, for example, blithely talks about countries that are currently the Third World becoming the next centers of industry and technological advance, as if all they needed was a few schools and a market niche, not centuries of cultural tradition laying the necessary foundation. The author also seems to believe that bloated bureaucracies are useful and necessary for prosperity and advanced technology. You see what I mean about people who didn’t read Atlas Shrugged when they were sixteen? Finally, the author predicts with optimism that the imminent financial collapse will force Western societies to become “less hierarchical” and make the “distribution of resources” more equal. Well, we all know that financial difficulties make human nature vanish, so why not.

Another book, which has already found its way into my “trade in at the used bookstore” box, advised growing your favorite fruits and vegetables in your own backyard, in terms that made it clear that the author thought this was an incredibly clever and original idea on his part. As an enthusiastic gardener, I had quite a chuckle over this. Having a lawn service till up space for my vegetable garden, buying the plants, putting up a fence to keep the critters out, and acquiring the various tools and pesticides and mulch and fertilizers and stuff… it’s an expensive hobby. I haven’t done the math, but I know it would have been far more economical to just buy all my squash at the store. The only way to save money by gardening is to grow everything from seed (seeds are cheap) and do every single lick of work yourself, including tilling up your lawn with a shovel. This, for the record, is very hard work.

Most of these books ignore important factors such as welfare and taxpayers’ growing anger over it. Another of the books beside me has a long chapter on demographics, but it doesn’t mention that our welfare and immigration systems (in both America and Europe) are encouraging the underclass to reproduce with abandon, passing on their genetically low IQs and their lack of opportunity and their propensity to crime, while discouraging the middle classes from passing on their higher IQs and their more solid values. (The upper class will do what they damn well please right up until they’re carted to the guillotines.)

None of them mention the huge seismic shift in the economy caused by feminism. When a large number of women insisted on staying in the workplace even after they had husbands and children, this caused a large increase in prices of major purchases. A two-income family could afford to pay more for a car or house, and prices rose accordingly. Prices became so bloated that soon, women who wanted to be full-time homemakers couldn’t afford to. Ironically, a century ago, one of the demands labor unions made was for a “family wage” so that men could support their wives and children themselves, instead of the women and children having to hold jobs as well. “Equal pay for equal work” was a deceptive feminist slogan. It covers up why married men were routinely paid more than women or single men by many companies. Single men didn’t complain about this, because they understood perfectly well that the extra money was being spent on clothes, tuition, braces, pediatricians, and all the other things a family requires. Our economy was structured to support families. Feminists destroyed this in order to force women out of the home. But there is simply no way for any economy to create enough jobs for every adult. Keeping most women out of the workplace would create a far less turbulent, more sustainable economy, but there is nary a whisper about such matters in these books.

What these books talk about is P/E ratios and whether we can expect inflation or deflation and innovation curves and a lot of other things a liberal arts major such as myself has to concentrate hard to comprehend. These authors would be more reassuring if they talked about some things I really understand, like the above.

I am, of course, a free marketeer, a follower of the Austrian school of economics. I hasten to add that capitalism by itself is not enough. Perhaps at some other time I will go into more detail about this, but for now, suffice it to say that capitalism will not automatically lead to good morals or even productive behavior. For that, transcendent values are required. Capitalism is, properly, a subordinate ingredient in creating a healthy society.

The real problem is that many capitalist theorists, including some of the most brilliant, miss important things about human nature, just as the socialist-leaning wishful thinker I discussed in my second paragraph does. Among other things, it means that they do not comprehend why so many people vote for and otherwise support socialist policies, despite all history and logic showing them to be disastrous. (The better books, such as Crash Profits, chronicle the ways that democratic, socialist “solutions” to economic woes set us up for greater catastrophes.)

The television is playing one of the five trillion WWII documentaries that have been airing for the last week or so in preparation for Memorial Day. I’ve gotten fairly sick of hearing about it, frankly, but a throwaway remark in this one threw more light on why people support the financial measures that they do. Hurrying through the explanation of how Hitler got elected so that they can get on to the shiny uniforms and flashy parades and occult theories, all the things which make Nazism such good theatre, the announcer mentions in passing how depressed Germany’s economy was, thanks to the Treaty of Versailles. Of course Germans voted for a party that promised to take care of them financially, to provide for them materially.

Right-wing bloggers gleefully pointed out that when California had its recent referendum on gay marriage, black and Hispanic voters, both of which Democrats have chosen as their protected groups, voted against gay marriage. You know, the way those evil white religious right bigots voted! Unfortunately, these right-wingers mostly misinterpreted this as meaning that all we have to do to get persons of color to vote Republican is get out our message about the social conservative values they share with us. It won’t work. They aren’t going to vote Republican to stop gays from getting married or roll back feminist excesses. Like almost everybody, they are voting for their own financial survival. Toothless as Republican attempts to reform welfare and slow immigration have been, black and Hispanic voters will support the party which has a solid record of promoting these things.

Capitalist idealists are short-sighted about this. “How could they vote for affirmative action? It deprives them of the satisfaction of knowing their achievements are valid! It deprives them of the respect of other people, who suspect they aren’t competent at their jobs!” They make similar arguments about welfare.

What these idealists really fail to understand is themselves. They are in favor of a level playing field and personal achievement and standing on their own feet because they can afford to be.

People who support laissez-faire are generally, for one thing, highly intelligent. They are capable of inventing things or learning skills. They also tend not to be particularly neurotic; psychological problems prevent a lot of very bright or creative people from earning a living. They know, or believe, that they are endowed with such qualities that were they turned out of their realm in their petticoats, they would prosper anywhere.

In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, they have a cultural tradition of being free to provide for themselves. In most cases, not only were they never barred from professions or colleges because of their race or creed or anything else, neither were their grandfathers. Today people of any race cannot be barred from anything in America or Europe, and they can file lawsuits if they even suspect they are being barred on the basis of their race, but it is not surprising if they do not feel complacent about this prerogative. How certain can they be that Jim Crow laws will never come back? Small wonder that they vote for an unfair advantage; they have clear memories of an unfair disadvantage.

One of the most influential capitalist ideologues, Ayn Rand, was a Jew born in Russia in 1905. At that time many Russian Jews were still required to live in the Pale of Settlement, but her parents were among those who secured permission to live outside it. Her father was a chemist; he had wanted to enter another profession, but universities had quotas limiting how many Jews could enter each program of study, and the one he wanted was already full, so he entered chemistry instead. Today quotas consist of forcing universities or workplaces to hire a minimum number of members of protected groups, but a century ago, they consisted of limiting the number of Jews who got in. Of course, given our cultural tradition of study and rigorous thought (honed over generations of studying the Talmud), and our genetic tendency to higher IQs, whenever an arena was opened to us, we did quite well in it. Miss Rand saw quotas and other regulations as things that prevented the able from achieving, and she was right. What she couldn’t really understand was that not everyone had her confidence in her own ability to achieve if others would just stay the hell out of her way.

I don’t have a solution to propose. But we’re going to have to understand all this and cope with it if we’re going to preserve enough capitalism to keep a decent standard of living. Or even feed the unprecedentedly large human population we now have.

One more thought before I close. I believe that this is probably closely related to something Mencius Moldbug outlined in a recent post:

While the continuity between John Stuart Mill and Barack Obama may not be obvious – considering as their preferred policies are almost opposite – it is there. They are part of the same great movement, which it is perfectly fair to describe as “liberal,” a word which both gentlemen would have used to describe themselves.

The policies changed. But the movement is one. 19th-century Radicalism and 20th-century progressivism are unified by a single force: the collective quest for power.

19th-century Radicals favored libertarian policies because they faced an ancien regime which still, to some extent, existed. This was the old regime of Throne and Altar, of mercantilism, Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism, imperialism and colonialism – in a word, Toryism.

When Toryism was a reality rather than a bugaboo, liberals could only seek power by destroying it. Thus they sought to cut off its air supply, destroying its sources of profit: protectionism, venal offices, chartered companies, and so forth. They favored rigorous economies of government, and other such ideals quite foreign to the modern liberal.

As they gained power through these aggressive measures, the liberals entered government itself. Thus their interests naturally shifted, toward enlarging and empowering the State. A State that had become “us,” rather than “them.” And thus, the Left went from libertarian to statist.

The Left had to begin by destroying legitimate power and legitimate property. That is, hereditary power, and entailed or created property. That is, barons and robber barons. With those effectively crippled, the rest of us have no defenders from statists.

Read Full Post »

Psychology: Follow the Money

I had intended to wait a few days before posting again, but as so often happens, my last post made me think of things.

When I was in my teens and twenties, I visited therapists of various types from time to time. Not one of them did me the slightest good. I also read all the major works of psychology, ranging from Freud and Jung to Maslow and Glasser and Branden and many more. I probably read at least two hundred books of psychology, only to later conclude as I gained life experience and observed more human behavior that they were all poppycock.

When I was nearly thirty, my lifelong habit of compulsive reading led me to finally find something useful in a psychology book. The book was The Quest for Personal Power. If you choose to read it, ignore Dr. Nuernberger’s attempted insights about how life should be viewed (he’s a Buddhist) and his rather mean-spirited diagnoses of basic human needs (he claims that people who say they want to be loved “really” want someone to make them feel important). Pay attention to the techniques for meditation and yogic breath exercises.

That book set me on a search for more such useful techniques. Over the next year I learned other methods of meditation as well as self-hypnosis. I also discovered that the normal modern diet I had been subsisting upon since infancy was contributing to my emotional distress. With self-hypnosis, I was able to give up most of the unhealthy foods I had been eating and give myself higher quality fuel… until I had my heart broken some years later and for a couple of years didn’t care if I was poisoning myself or not, but that’s another story.

These techniques will not solve all of your problems. What they will do is help you with feelings of stress or depression. I emphasize “help”; a traditionalist despairing as he surveys the wreckage of Western civilization is not going to feel like everything’s just dandy if he regulates his breathing and meditates regularly. A lonely modern person who cannot form a satisfying relationship because his entire generation has been taught that flitting from one relationship to another is normal behavior is not going to be any less lonely. These practices will, however, help him to cope with more mundane, day-to-day problems. A stressful job, for example, or giving up unhealthy foods.

As I read these books and practiced these techniques, I felt tremendously angry at all the therapists I had seen. They all had doctorates, some were M.D.s, and they charged me an arm and a leg, and none of them ever told me that any of these techniques existed. Why didn’t they teach me any of this? It would have helped me immeasurably when I was in college. My grade school years would have been somewhat less horrific if someone had told my parents, “You know, 150 mg of caffeine isn’t really ideal for a nine-year-old to be consuming every day.” There still would have been the other problems, but at least that criminal amount of caffeine wouldn’t have been contributing to my anxiety, plus my growth might not have been so stunted, making me a somewhat less attractive target for bullies. (I was usually the second smallest kid in my class. Most of my family is tall.)

If therapists want to be useful members of society, then instead of encouraging us to “feel our feelings”, babbling about self-esteem, and making up bogus personality tests and lying about their scientific validity, they need to teach their clients breathing exercises and self-hypnosis.

However, as one of the hypnotists who taught me remarked ruefully, there isn’t much profit in those endeavours. She prided herself on being able to make most of her clients quit smoking after only two sessions. But it would have been far more profitable for her to get a Twinkie degree in psychology and then have her clients come in once a week for five years to dredge up every bad thing that happened during their childhoods with the idea that “facing” and “owning” and “integrating” all those painful memories would eventually magically free them from the desire for nicotine, or cheesecake, or whiskey, or heroin.

Read Full Post »

One thing about being a bookworm is that eventually you become aware of intellectual fads. And wary of them. A century ago communism was an intellectual fad. A lot of very smart and ethical people were taken in by it. (Nowadays only very smart but unethical people are taken in by it.)

A lot of intellectual fads, past and present, must have caused great despair to intelligent people who weren’t protected from them by religious faith. For example, the whole mechanistic theory of the universe, the theory that it is basically a machine like a watch (hence the expression “blind watchmaker”). This theory could not have existed before there was such a thing as a watch. The concept of the universe as a large sundial or hourglass just isn’t the same. But the theory implies that, as in a watch, nothing new can happen, all the components – including living beings – are just doing what they are designed to do, thus free will and souls are an illusion. And eventually, the watch will run down.

Nowadays the physical sciences have grasped such things as the law of increasing returns and the concept of complexity, so we’re no longer stuck thinking of ourselves as cogs in a gigantic watch. (Well, theists never were stuck with that, but now no one else is either.)

Another example is the theories of Freud. He was off his head, but he wasn’t stupid, and his theories were quite compelling, especially after he submitted to public pressure to pretend that the many stories of child molestation his patients related to him were delusions and concocted the hare-brained theory that children want their parents to molest them and fantasize that they did. Anyway, by now pretty much all of his theories have been thoroughly discredited, but for decades smart people must have gone around wringing their hands believing that their lives were doomed because their parents hadn’t known how to properly handle their Oedipus complexes and penis envy and other imaginary neuroses. The spawn of Freud’s ideas are still wreaking havoc on society and on people’s peace of mind. People believe that their lives are hopeless because they had lousy parents and have low self-esteem.

It’s a great game to look at the past, at an unscientific era, look at something there, and say have we got the same thing now, and where is it? So I would like to amuse myself with this game. First, we take witch doctors. The witch doctor says he knows how to cure. There are spirits inside which are trying to get out. … Put a snakeskin on and take quinine from the bark of a tree. The quinine works. He doesn’t know he’s got the wrong theory of what happens. If I’m in the tribe and I’m sick, I go to the witch doctor. He knows more about it than anyone else. But I keep trying to tell him he doesn’t know what he’s doing and that someday when people investigate the thing freely and get free of all his complicated ideas they’ll learn much better ways of doing it. Who are the witch doctors? Psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, of course.
~Richard Feynman

A while back an acquaintance and I had lunch in a bar & grill, and the TV was tuned to *groan* Oprah. Why do we Americans waste such a huge amount of time and energy on legislation banning smoking in public places when some of those resources could be channeled into something of far greater social benefit: legislation banning television in public places?

Fortunately there was just enough noise in the place that I couldn’t hear the interview clearly, otherwise I would have had to ask the waitress to switch the channel to some ball game. I could care less about sports, but ball games are a lot easier to tune out, and I have no stake in whether the Quartermasters beat the Lemurs or vice versa. But what I could hear of the interview started to attract my attention. I think the guest was an actress; I didn’t recognize her or catch her name, but she looked vaguely familiar.

She was telling Oprah all about Her Battle With Depression, and Oprah invited her to give the viewers her advice on coping with depression. She said that depressed people should “feel your feelings” and express them freely to everyone else, and more in that vein. I think she said something about her therapist or rehab program, but just then the waitress showed up with one of my own preferred strategies for dealing with depression. (One part Jack Daniels, one part Coca-Cola, ice, garnish with lime.) With the waitress gone and my fortitude fortified by the wondrous American invention she’d brought, I strained my ears to hear more, and caught something about how the actress was “so grateful” that she was now in touch with her feelings, yada yada.

I have been depressed, and I know from personal experience that this actress’s advice is worthless. Naturally I couldn’t help but think of how disastrous her advice was. And it occurred to me that I don’t see any reason to give the slightest credence to a movie star’s opinions on anything except maybe who to see if I ever want to get my lips puffed. But also, I thought about how boring this was. I don’t watch Oprah, but since I don’t live on a desert island I can hardly help knowing the kind of stuff that’s on her show, so I don’t doubt that she has a different puffy-lipped actress saying this every week. And I bet lots of the other talk shows I refuse to watch do too. Why do we want to watch rich famous beautiful people whine about their problems and recite the usual tripe about being in touch with one’s feelings over and over again? When stars like Lana Turner went on talk shows, they didn’t sniffle while telling us all about their emotional states or their therapy, they made witty remarks or told glamourous stories about life in Hollywood. Who cares that they were probably made up? It was much more interesting and fun and didn’t endanger our own emotional health with dubious advice from people who aren’t qualified to give it anyway. That was entertainment.

August 18th: Discover that Robin is wearing last available pair of shorts, and that these are badly torn, which necessitates visit to Dinard to take white shorts to cleaners and buy material with which to patch grey ones. No one shows any eagerness to escort me on this expedition and I finally depart alone.

French gentleman with moustache occupies one side of bus and I the other, and we look at one another. Extraordinary and quite unheralded idea springs into my mind to the effect that it is definitely agreeable to find myself travelling anywhere, for any purpose, without dear Robert or either of the children. Am extremely aghast at this unnatural outbreak and try to ignore it.

(Query: Does not modern psychology teach that definite danger attaches to deliberate stifling of any impulse, however unhallowed? Answer probably Yes. Cannot, however, ignore the fact that even more definite danger probably attached to encouragement of unhallowed impulse. Can only conclude that peril lies in more or less every direction.)

From The Provincial Lady in London, sequel to the charming Diary of a Provincial Lady and a far better choice for those who enjoy journal-style novels than that Bridget Jones thing.

For a century now, the West has been infected with the thought system known as “psychology”. Its tenets are treated as if they are established facts and its study treated as a science, even though there is no evidence that it has any validity whatever.

Therapists (of whatever stripe) don’t know what they’re doing, there is no scientific evidence supporting any of their core theories (such as that self-esteem has any beneficial effect whatever on anything about one’s life) and in fact there is considerable evidence to the contrary. Contrary to what the Therapy Industry claims, people get over most things after a year or so, whether they’ve had therapy or not; in fact, those who have therapy tend to take longer to get better. (If you doubt that people can get over bad experiences, go to your local synagogue and strike up a conversation with an elderly person with a foreign accent.)

At their most benign, the advice of therapists is comically useless. One article I read, no longer online, stated, “The best strategy is probably to try to minimize actual negative events in one’s life (e.g., avoid conflict, minimize stress).” I never would have thought of that, but then, I’m not a psychologist.

“One waits in vain for psychologists to state the limits of their knowledge.” Noam Chomsky, demonstrating the “stopped clock” principle

Supporters of the pseudoscience of psychology promote myths that allegedly demonstrate their nigh-clairvoyant abilities, but on closer examination, it always turns out to be lies.

Dangerous Minds: Criminal profiling made easy

James Brussel didn’t really see the Mad Bomber in that pile of pictures and photostats, then. That was an illusion. As the literary scholar Donald Foster pointed out in his 2000 book “Author Unknown,” Brussel cleaned up his predictions for his memoirs. He actually told the police to look for the bomber in White Plains, sending the N.Y.P.D.’s bomb unit on a wild goose chase in Westchester County, sifting through local records. Brussel also told the police to look for a man with a facial scar, which Metesky didn’t have. He told them to look for a man with a night job, and Metesky had been largely unemployed since leaving Con Edison in 1931. He told them to look for someone between forty and fifty, and Metesky was over fifty. He told them to look for someone who was an “expert in civil or military ordnance” and the closest Metesky came to that was a brief stint in a machine shop. And Brussel, despite what he wrote in his memoir, never said that the Bomber would be a Slav.

More standard psychology myths, including the one about Ivy League graduates writing down their goals, can be found here.

Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth

Boosting people’s sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, research shows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior.

“Surprisingly”?


Psychiatrists cannot even correctly identify fake “patients” who are shamming. Their alleged emotional skills can’t even stop them from murdering their own children. Real doctors want the medical specialty of psychiatry to be eliminated.

Even they are realizing that they’re full of it: Psychology’s top 10 misguided ideas.

And yet, these quacks are permitted to testify in court as “experts”.

Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this.
~Tony Soprano

The author of one of the best anti-therapy books I’ve read, Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry Is Doing to People, has little patience with people who see themselves as “victims” of trivial “traumas”. Victims, she explains, are people who have survived actual violent assaults and comparable things, not people whose coworkers put offensive toys in their cubicles where the “victims” could see them (actual case). She admiringly mentions many examples of great resilience sans therapy in genuine victims, like the elderly woman who was offered “professional help” after her home was burgled and replied that the only help she needed was with cleaning up the mess. (I wish I’d known her; I’d have gone over there with a broom just for the honor of meeting a lady like that.)

There was one bit in that book which made me wish I was a psychologist in California:

Trade Guns for Therapy – some California psychologists are offering three free hours of therapy in exchange for a gun, with the stipulation that they will help the person continue to go to therapy by providing sliding scale fees or arranging insurance coverage.
p. 246

Only problem would be, eventually I’d run out of room to display my gun collection.

“Llama Therapy” – In Idaho, llamas are used to “teach teenage offenders to develop affection and concern for other creatures,” while in South Carolina, llamas are used in the treatment of abused children. In British Columbia, the Llama Therapeutic Group offers stress management. Psychotherapist George Appenzeller explains that llamas “stick together and take care of each other without giving up their individuality, so you could say they’re good role models.” p. 245

If I were in charge of showing these kids good role models, I’d have them watch John Wayne movies.

Even fun gets pathologized:

Star Trek fans are like drug addicts who suffer withdrawal symptoms if deprived of their favourite television show, a British study suggests. Psychologist Sandy Wolfson is quoted as saying, “My research found that about five to ten percent of fans met the psychological criteria of addiction.”

I wonder if they have a patch for that?

The ignorant pronounce it Frood,
To cavil or applaud.
The well-informed pronounce it Froyd,
But I pronounce it Fraud.

– G.K. Chesterton

A few years ago, my synagogue got a new rabbi whose wife was a psychologist. I was glad I was about to move to another state, because if that rabbi was married to a psychologist, he must have believed in psychology, and one of a modern clergyman’s most important jobs is to counteract psychological thought habits. Not that many of them realize this.

With the decline of the authority of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many people stopped looking to external sources of moral standards in order to decide what is right and wrong. Instead of being guided by God, the Bible and religion, great numbers — in Western Europe, the great majority — have looked elsewhere for moral and social guidelines.

Liberal feeling vs. Judeo-Christian values by Dennis Prager

Like most of you reading this, I grew up in a psychology-drenched culture, and I didn’t have religion or anything else to counter the attitudes of pop psychology for most of my life. It’s still a revelation to me, finding how very differently I look at the world since I became acquainted with the basic principles of conservatism and got religion. (It happened in that order.)

Psychology is actually a quite totalitarian ideology. Most interpretations of Judaism and Christianity hate the sin but not the sinner. If you think that is a tautological distinction, compare the way Christian Europe treated Jews with the way secular Europe treated Jews. European Christians hated the Jews’ “sin” of not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. They proceeded to try to convert us by both fair means and foul. (A lot of the laws discriminating against Jews had the motive of making it uncomfortable to be Jewish, hence pressuring us to join the True Faith.) Most of the time, the Church discouraged antisemitic violence, but of course the times when they did the reverse are what go down in the history books.

Being Jewish in Christian Europe was not easy. But when Europe went secular, the result was not universal brotherhood; the result was communism, fascism, and mass murder. This is oversimplification, but: Christian Europeans hated the “sin” of practicing Judaism; they discriminated against Jews and occasionally gave them a choice between conversion or death. Secular Europeans, most notably the Nazis and to a lesser extent the Soviets, hated the sinners; they didn’t give Jews the choice, just killed them. Hitler wrote somewhere that if a Jewish child were raised by Gentiles and had no access at all to any Jewish books, etc., he would still carry Judaism in his very blood. George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the *wince* American Nazi Party, stated that part of his Final Solution involved brainwashing (not his word) experiments to see if Jewishness could be “cured”. (It can’t.)

So, whether one condemns the sinner or the sin is a vitally important distinction. There’s a big difference between giving a choice of remaining true to one’s beliefs or dying, and simply being murdered regardless of whether you change your faith or political party or whatever.

Headshrinkers rarely accept that people naturally have certain feelings that shouldn’t be acted on; instead, they want people to only have approved feelings. They decide that anger is “unhealthy”, and suddenly there’s something wrong with us for feeling it. They decide that jealousy is unhealthy, and cultural and moral traditions of fidelity and the emotion’s survival value to reproductive success are both tossed out the window and we’re told to let our S.O.’s bed-hop and be cheerful about it, and if we can’t, that’s a flaw in us. Same with the competitive urge, hierarchical behavior, etc. etc. They don’t examine the value of these emotions, properly channeled, to a peaceful or prosperous society or to the survival of the species; they just construct a mirage consisting of their idea of a “healthy person”, even though they’ve never actually met anyone remotely like it, and then start telling people they’re neurotic, unhealthy, suffering from an Oedipus Complex or some such if they don’t fit it. The big problem is, things like anger, jealousy, territoriality and competition can’t be eradicated from the human soul.

I’ve gotten suspicious of people who want to make anyone “live up to their full potential” or anything similar. At their most innocuous, they’re self-improvement gurus who want me to buy a bunch of their motivational tapes. At worst they’re utopian thinkers who believe that only those who have attained some particular type of enlightenment or personal achievement are “fully human”. Since only about one half of one percent of the human race ever has come up to these utopians’ standards, it tends to be a green light to mass murder. Why not kill (to give one example among many) the Russian masses? They were all too oppressed by the czar and the bourgeois to have become “fully human” anyway.

In short, psychology is far less tolerant than religion. It isn’t content with modifying people’s behavior, it wants to modify people’s souls. And not in the direction of making them, say, kinder, but in the direction of fitting them into this procrustean mold they’ve dreamed up.

This is an attitude I’ve encountered in a lot of trivial ways. For instance, once after a trip through Alabama and Mississippi, I talked to someone else who’d visited the same area and I commented on how friendly and polite the people were. She assured me, “It’s just an act.” Well, what does that have to do with it? Many of these friendly, polite people I encountered in stores and restaurants were doubtless in bad moods. Had they been “sincere”, they would have snarled and scowled at me. But they had a cultural tradition of friendliness, and they pretended to feel friendly rather than show me their true feelings. Considering that I was a complete stranger walking into a Taco Bell, I hadn’t done anything to earn friendliness on my own merits, so had they been “sincere”, I wouldn’t have gotten much friendliness. I don’t care if the cashier who smiles and thanks me really means it or not; her behaving this way makes my day easier. I’m not interested in anyone’s motives for speaking politely to me, passing me the butter, or refraining from murdering me. I’m just interested in the results of those motives. Human nature being what it is, sincere emotion as a motivation for behavior is not reliable. Civil and religious laws don’t change nearly as often as human emotions do!

This is why the MSM ignores the distinction between believing that something is a sin and believing that wanting to do something is a sin: they genuinely can’t understand that there is a distinction. Drenched in the headshrinkers’ attitude that any deviation from their fantasy image of the “healthy person” is a sign that something is wrong and that it can be fixed with therapy, that the problem is people having the wrong feelings, modern journalists can’t even conceive of believing that impulses ought to be controlled rather than that people ought not to have certain impulses. They belong to the school of thought that one should give in to one’s emotions, that controlling them at all is “repressing” them and that this is a terrible thing, and that emotions are terribly important things, and so are forced to blame bad acts on bad feelings, not bad ethics or bad self-control.

I regard psychiatry as fifty percent bunk, thirty percent fraud, ten percent parrot talk, and the remaining ten percent just a fancy lingo for the common sense we have had for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, if we ever had the guts to read it.
~Raymond Chandler

Sometimes I suspect sinister motives on the part of those who shill for therapy:

Islamic extremists should get therapy, Home Office tells local councils

New mums tested to spot antisocial trend

Psychoanalysis is confession without absolution.
– G. K. Chesterton

Psychologists would be useful members of society if they started teaching us how to repress our emotions, an approach which has been proved to have a beneficial effect.

Stiff upper lip best way to deal with shock

Repress Yourself

Thank You For Not Sharing

We live in days when the saying “Be Strong” is equated with insensitivity and that appeals to bravery are an embarrassment to those who make them. There is only one thing that must be done; all of us must be as judgmental as possible. We should never excuse the immoral behavior surrounding us. Rather than minimalize and rationalize pathological acts on the part of the narcissistic, violent, or drug-addicted, our nation must embrace personal responsibility without qualifications. We should follow the advice that Don Imus gives the sick children on his ranch, its time to “Cowboy Up.”

Making the Case For Repression

Therapeutic culture fanning flames of national enfeeblement by George F. Will

From childhood on, Americans are told by “experts’ therapists, self-esteem educators, grief counselors, traumatologists that it is healthy for them continuously to take their emotional temperature, inventory their feelings and vent them. Never mind research indicating that reticence and suppression of feelings can be healthy.

At Suffolk University, psychologist Jane Bybee classified high-school students on the basis of their self-awareness: “Sensitizers” were extremely aware of their internal states, “repressors” focused little on themselves, and “intermediates” occupied the middle range. Bybee then collected student evaluations of themselves and each other, along with teacher evaluations of the students. On the whole, the repressors were more socially and academically successful than their more “sensitized” classmates. Bybee speculated that repressed people, not emoters, may have a better balance of moods.

The article concludes, “Healthy stoicism should not be confused with the emotional numbness that may be brought on by posttraumatic stress disorder. Most people experiencing such traumas as war, assault, or natural disaster can benefit from immediate counseling, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.” Well, maybe, but I think I can take a wild guess as to who pays the membership dues for the National Institute of Mental Health.

Stiff Upper Lips: The virtue of stoicism

Repress yourself

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.
– Sam Goldwyn

Further Reading:
Revealing Quotes on the Goals of Psychiatry and Psychology

Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age
The Symposium
The Review by the great Theodore Dalrymple
The Excerpt

Very good summary of the movie “Century of the Self”, which Netflix carries. Also, another summary.

So you’d like to… Know About Abuse In Pscychiatry

The Dark Side of Psychology

Read Full Post »

Before I begin, I think I should warn you that my evaluation is not particularly encouraging. You may prefer to skip it.

There is a visible current of despair throughout traditionalist and reactionary thought, at least for the last half-century if not longer. I am not using the word “conservative” because there are too many different varieties of conservative, and many of the people who go by that name do not share the despair of more traditional conservatives. Rush Limbaugh assures his listeners that we can and will reclaim America and make it back the way it was, and points to the increasing absurdity of leftist behavior as evidence. I do respect Mr. Limbaugh a great deal, but he is missing the point. The Left is behaving and speaking so absurdly because they are powerful enough to get away with it. It is also, probably, a way of humiliating the ordinary Americans who must endure the consequences of the Left’s follies. I wouldn’t be surprised if the animal-liberation wing of the Left elected a horse to the Senate.

Similarly, a conservative friend of mine, a highly intelligent churchgoer and staunch Republican, replied to my outburst of despair at our most recent election by saying dismissively that “all” we have to do is elect another Reagan, who will fix everything. Now, I admire Reagan greatly. But domestically, he only had two substantive achievements: he renewed American optimism, and he somewhat rolled back the socialist measures of previous decades. Now those measures have regained the ground he cost them and claimed considerably more. Meanwhile, he was able to do nothing about abortion, no-fault divorce, drugs, excessive immigration, or judicial activism. Mainstream Republicans, who believe that we can rebuild the society progressives have destroyed via a ballot box, are simply naive, there is no way around it. The most they can achieve – and it is not to be sneezed at – is to slow down the Left’s rapacious progress with their stolid resistance. (In this, their naivete may even be useful.)

For the less sanguine among us, the theme comes up over and again in our magazines, blogs, and books: What in God’s name are we going to do?

The profferred answers are unsatisfying. Often they consist of “don’t let them shame you into keeping silent”. But in this era, saying what you think can get you expelled, fired, sued, and in Europe or Canada, imprisoned. Why do you think I’m posting as Cassandra Goldman instead of under my real name?

Sometimes people hold out hope of a military coup. I wish I could put my faith in such a possibility, but it seems unlikely. And if it doesn’t happen soon, it will likely become impossible.

A couple of commenters in assorted blog threads I’ve followed have tried to find a silver lining in the current financial situation, hoping that with enough poverty, the regime will collapse and we can presumably start over with a conservative or libertarian government. But that wasn’t the result of economic disaster in Russia, Germany, or even America.

Whenever I hear my fellow reactionaries speculating about how we might turn back the tide of progressivism, I find myself thinking of Bertie Wooster’s Uncle Tom. “But he’s just had a demand from the income-tax people for an additional fifty-eight pounds, one and threepence, and all he’s been talking about since I got back has been ruin and the sinister trend of socialistic legislation and what will become of us all,” his wife, Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia, mourned. Later, when the gifted French chef gave notice, he hid “in the study with his face buried in his hands, muttering about civilization and melting pots.” In the delightful television version, when one of his guests crept downstairs for a midnight snack, he was certain it was the Bolsheviks come to murder the aristocracy in their beds and charged out of bed with his hunting rifle. (This especially lingers in my mind because I identify with it, except that I do not have a moustache, and I only have a pistol.)

Uncle Tom knew it was coming, as did many members of his class. They had the money and the power, but they were not able to prevent the social revolutions which led to their great-grandsons becoming tattooed drug users demonstrating against those who would stop the crimes of Muslim immigrants and their great-granddaughters becoming strumpets who dump their great-great-grandchildren in day care centers while they waste their days in offices with jobs they got through the threat of litigation.

We have been trying to stem the tide of progressivism since it began. We burned Lutherans at the stake, but their faith and its offshoots spread nonetheless and fundamentally changed the political and philosophical makeup of Europe, and subsequently of America. Protestantism has yielded many good things, but progressivism is its mutant spawn. (I do not know of any compact essay detailing how Protestant Christianity gave birth to this bastard, but if you keep reading Unqualified Reservations, you’ll start to see it. According to Brussels Journal, Hawthorne’s prophetic The Blithedale Romance shows an understanding of this, but I have not yet read the book.) We spent a whole century trying to beat back communism, even allying with fascists against it. The Evil Empire fell, but in America, income tax takes a third of everyone’s income. In Europe, the theft is even greater. Then there’s the ever-escalating amount of regulation we have to deal with. Many Americans have pointed out that our ancestors went to war in 1776 over a degree of government regulation which today would seem nonexistent. In short, the first socialist empire fell, but socialism is alive and well.

People opposed the New Deal. For that matter, people opposed the Square Deal. People opposed the social havoc now summarized as “the 60’s”. All to no avail.

Not once in history has progressivism ever been successfully turned back. At most, it can be delayed, buying a decent life for another decade or so.

If you read this blog, you probably follow most of the same websites that I do. If so, then news-wise, you are probably on the same page as I. And you will probably agree with me that we are just about out of delays.

Our civilization – Western civilization – is dying. It is highly unlikely that it will be revived. The cancer which is destroying it has weathered massive wars, revolutions, plagues, and depressions. It has only continued to spread.

But civilizations have come and gone before. Plato predicted our present situation with eerie accuracy. When this one is finished collapsing, another will rise.

Nonetheless, we have to continue pondering how to seize our civilization back.

Two reasons that we cannot simply resign ourselves to waiting for the next cycle, not that the next is likely to surface during the lifetimes of anyone currently alive.

One, with modern technology, specifically in the areas of spying and weaponry, a tyranny could conceivably last for a very long time. Even half a century ago, dissidents could at least flee to some faraway shore. In the age of the jet and the UN, there is, in effect, no such thing as a faraway shore.

Two, if we do not revive Western civilization, then the next civilization will not be a Western one. It will be Indian or Chinese or something. Call me provincial, but I value the unique attributes of Western civilization and think that the world will be a far poorer place without them.

In short, do not cease your trips to the drawing board. We must continue to strive to comprehend what has been done to our culture. We must strive to amass what financial and political clout we can. We must continue to look for a way to reclaim our countries.

Unfortunately, I suspect that the best we can hope for is to step up and offer strong moral guidance when things have truly fallen apart, as they did, for example, during the so-called Dark Ages of Europe. If that is so, then we must be prepared. Most of all, we ourselves must not forget what we stand for.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »