Archives for category: Politics

Is some half-remembered Kantianism behind the clever person’s pseudo-clever rejection of the idea of “the Deep State”? Some misunderstanding of phenomenon and nuomenon?

Most of the institutions that make up the Deep State are known entities, with acts of Congress behind them, or public corporation status, and personnel and budgets and logos and the whole shebang.

But the essence of the Deep State is that much of it is secret, and the institutions we identify as Deep State are filled with secrets. So of course we must be circumspect and not pretend to know what we cannot. But we must not also pretend to not know what we do. And we know that secret powers and connections have their own properties. So even if we cannot know specifics, we know many of the principles that make the Deep State deep.

We have enough phenomena, and can make reasonable inferences, to understand the latticework of secrecy as a “thing.” The ontology is not too outré. And the fact that we do not experience its internal essences quite the same way we understand Congress or the Supreme Court or the local school board does not allow us to declare the Deep State unknowable, pompously intoning Wittgenstein’s apothegm “that whereof we may not speak we must remain silent.” Better Spencer, who inferred an invisible force and dubbed it The Unknowable.

But the Deep State isn’t that unknowable, and we certainly may say of its existential status that. It. Exists.

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Illustration, at top, of Gustave de Molinari, the economist who saw states instruments of war and terror.

It would be funny were it true that Trump has squirreled away classified documents — if those documents related to UFOs!

I don’t see any advantage he could possibly milk from “nuclear” documents. But from documents about UFOs? Ah, that would make sense. He could be threatening to disclose a bit more truth or lie than the Deep State Secret Keepers want. And the lore about the secrets indicates it could be almost anything, and still be a doozy.

The government has admitted there’s something to UFOs. We the People just don’t know what. Trump undoubtedly was briefed on the subject to some degree far beyond what we have been told, and what he was told is undoubtedly (at the very least) interesting.

twv

Just as it took “Nixon to go to China,” it has taken the “party of the common man” to mount the largest scale attack upon the poor and middle-income quintiles since the liquidation of the Kulaks, perhaps ever.

But of course this won’t be commonly understood until it is far too late. And by then, the plan looks like, the “party of the common man” will have insulated itself with the fascist techniques they’d been wailing about in their hapless opponents for decades.

Going after Trump may have jumped the gun, though. Only a removal of the majority “party of the people” from the Congress, followed by the largest run of impeachment proceedings in American history, could possibly prevent the onset of the totalitarian state “the party of the people” obviously itches for.

But it won’t stop the economic debacle coming.

twv

originally on Facebook
August 8, 2022

With the FBI’s move on Trump, I once again wonder to myself:

Are Democrats now so evil that they make themselves stupid, or so stupid they make themselves evil?

In America, the right wing doesn’t know what the left’s doing, and vice versa, and I expect it all to come to some sort of frothy head soon.


Cyril M. Kornbluth wrote a novel titled Not This August in which the communists conquer the United States — and the American people conquer the country right back.

It is supposed to be quite good, but I bet, in context, it’d be depressing, for it is Americans who are now pushing towards phase one of the conquest project.


The basic ”deal” of a two-party democratic republic is that the two sides do not attack each other using state power when they secure a unitary government. The idea is to let each other get away with the usual inelegances, self-dealings and crimes and not take advantage of a temporary impregnable position.

When Trump, during the 2016 debates, threatened to put Hillary Clinton in jail for her many crimes (and she was and is deeply, deeply corrupt), this alarmed the establishment. The Administrative State (both Deep and Wide) depends upon bipartisan corruption to thrive, using both parties to keep their confidence game going. Trump was ‘reckless’ in promising to take Hillary down. And so the insiders in the CIA and FBI went on the attack against Trump, and with the help of a partisan propagandistic media, got Democratic voters to think they were right to do so — the boobs of the booboisie can always be counted on to get it wrong politically.

But notice: Trump did nothing. The Hillary-bashing was a mere empty threat. While Democrats and major media newsreaders/talking heads relentlessly portrayed Trump as a tyrant, he acted in a fairly normal-American manner for three years, and then was blindsided by the China-Fauci Team and their pet project, COVID-19.

Now Democrats are in power and they are on the warpath. They are so afraid of a second Trump run that they are breaking the basic “deal.” The FBI’s raid on the Trump compound in Florida is quite a coup, you might say — not a coup d’etat, but along those lines. It was a breakdown in the fundamental truce that makes a republic work.

It’s another step to civil war, as I see it, and Democrat voters just fall in line. I said it years ago: it is the Democratic Party that‘s the Stupid Party now. It is indeed very funny, because “the smart ones” daily prove their folly and cluelessness.

It is kind of breathtaking to watch.

But since it solidifies all my old fugitive opinions, my ultra-marginal notions about how power really works — not the standard civics text fairy tales — I guess I shouldn’t complain. Thanks, Democrats, for proving how awful your ideas always have been, and how slim-to-nonexistent your commitment to “democracy” really is.


Isn’t it odd how President Herbert Hoover was scorned and excoriated for the encampments of “Hoovervilles” during the Great Depression but no politician receives any brunt of the blame for the vast encampments of the homeless in Seattle, Portland, and California’s most woke cities?


Nicknames for the union:

I’ve long liked Gore Vidal’s: The United States of Amnesia.

I’ve often used this one: These Benighted States.

But how about this: The Self-Satirizing States of America. SSSA!

While we chortle watching Democratic insiders scramble to pretend that

  • there is no recession,
  • inflation is no big deal,
  • their goofy tax increase package (complete with IRS-agent/audit-increase measures) will decrease inflation (it won’t), or
  • jabbing infants with COVID “vaccines” is a good idea,

it’s not so funny when we comprehend that the Republican response is led by

  • Trump.

While I’m not now nor have ever been a NeverTrumper, my huzzahs for the former president are severely muted.

Why? Well, Trump is almost as much to blame as Biden & Co. for the current fiasco. His last year in office was a disaster.

While watching a terrific report on the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory, it became clear to me from Trump’s own mouth just how in-over-his-head he was in 2020.

Yet Donald Trump still defends Operation Warp Speed and the vaccine roll-out. He glories in it.

What he doesn’t seem to realize that it was the vaxx that allowed for the governors — and world governments — to inflict lockdowns for months and even years longer than made any sense (much less that they had any right to inflict them).

It was the lockdowns that led to the bailouts that led to the money supply increases coincident with supply reductions that led to the current stagflationary morass.

Biden cannot blame Trump, though, and indeed isn’t blaming Trump — for he wants to do more of the same that got us into our fix.

But as horrible as Biden is, it was Trump who signed the bailout checks — not only to individuals but also to major corporations — and it was Trump’s pushing Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx up into daily prominence that allowed the contagion of mask mandates, lockdowns, and bad therapeutics to rule while we all “waited” for the vaccines.

And it is Trump who is marshaling the forces against the egregious Democrats.

This does not bode well.

But, again, it is hard to lambaste Trump to the exclusion of the Democrats, with their unhinged fixation on the January 6th mini-riot leading them to their seemingly insane belief that they have something on the man, to prevent him from running again. The FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence better be something more than what it looks like, a witless fishing expedition. For only the Democrats could make a Trump 2024 run look like a good idea.

That’s American politics today: there is no “bipartisan” loyalty in opposition any longer. Each side breeds its Nemesis, and suffers for it . . . while feeling, somehow, class-righteous.

twv

Americans haven’t been this generally disgruntled with the political establishment since the 1990s, when the term limits movement kicked off. And by “this” I mean the general unrest and “culture war” now.

Paul Jacob was there and in the thick of it back then, and — in conversation with him a few days ago — he says Americans are more angry now.

I agree. They have never been more distrustful of government and politicians and media and “the elites” than at present.

Which is why I don’t think there is any easy way to “go back to normal.” 

Why bring up this rather obvious point? Well, because J.D. Tuccille, writing at Reason, shows how easy it is to get this all backwards and upside-down in his opinion piece, “Biden and Trump Repulse Voters as GOP Shows Signs of Becoming Normal Again.”

Normal, of course, isn’t liberty, it is unthinking servility — and I confess to finding no camaraderie with libertarians who think it would be good for Americans to re-develop their trust in government and the establishments of power.

But that sure seems to be what Tuccille suggests.

Where does he go wrong? Orange Man, of course.

“Quite clearly,” Tuccille asserts, “Trump didn’t represent the Republican Party; the party became a vehicle for the man himself, to be used or discarded as he saw fit. That’s a classic cult of personality. . . .”

This misses the big message of 2015 and ’16: Republican leaders didn’t represent their constituents. Republican voters did not leap to Trump out of some mesmeric state of compulsion from The Great Orange Evil, they chose him above the others because he mocked those others, openly denying their standing as leaders. Trump’s supporters wanted “the Swamp” drained, so Trump promised it.

Dismissing Trump’s allure as “a classic cult of personality” misses the big story: the roiling, overwhelming distrust — a distrust of government way beyond disillusion.

“America’s experiment with strongman politics may turn out to be blessedly brief,” Tuccille begins his last paragraph. Though this implies that Biden’s also a strongman, nowhere in his piece does Tuccille acknowledge the truth of this: Biden rules in a far more dictatorial and “fascist” way than did Trump. Can’t say that in Reason these days? Hmmm?

By focusing on Trump as a cartoon strongman, and blaming Biden’s loss of support on his “bungling” and his “visible deterioration” and current “high inflation,” Tuccille avoids dealing with the great failure of The 21st Century American System.

The growing ranks of independents, of a trans-partisan recognition of that failure, and of disapproval of both Trump and Biden, bodes well. But not normal.

America needs structural reforms at the very least. Merely electing someone other than Trump or Biden is unlikely to pull off any “return to normalcy.” It won’t be that easy.

Mr. Tuccille’s been hanging around normies too much, I bet.

twv

N.B. Image from ”Normal Again,” one of the few great seventh season Buffy episodes, for obvious reasons. Of course, I am not suggesting that we non-normies are crazy — not at all. But think on’t.

To repeat: anarchy is either a good name for something bad, or a bad name for something good.

The problem with “anarchism” is that it is defined, first and foremost, by utopians like this Twitter user:

When Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari invented what today some call “libertarian anarchy” or “anarcho-capitalism,” he pointedly did not call himself an anarchist. He saw himself as a kind of liberal. “Anarchist” was reserved for the first people to homestead the term anarchy as a non-pejorative: Proudhon and Bakkunin and that ilk. Folks like “The Anarchist Turtle.”

Today, let’s respond to the propositions of this Twitter user:

  1. There is indeed human nature, and one of its chief features is its ability to adapt to the environment, though with varying degrees of success, individual by individual, group by group.
  2. Capitalism comes in several forms, but the core element of private property and market interaction does not teach people to be “evil and inconsiderate,” while the neo-mercantilist, statist versions do sometimes do that. What private property and markets encourage is service to others: if you don’t meet consumer demand, you fail.
  3. “Take away capitalism” — how? By getting rid of private property and market cooperation? If you want to see the struggle of existence — society red-in-tooth-and-claw — have at it. One of the odd things about left utopians is their blindness to the basic temptation of human nature, to “defect,” to exploit or “get one over” on others, and that this is ultra-common where many people share a common resource. It’s not called The Tragedy of the Commons for nothing. And while humans do concoct and discover ways to avoid this tragedy sans private property or the State, these social mechanisms are not exactly free-wheeling “anarchy.”
  4. What is it we really need “liberating” from? The need to work? Social pressure? Religion? Capitalism allows for human cooperation to flourish in the most astounding ways. Under expanded markets, whole blocs of the Third World have been brought up from dore poverty. I want more of that, not less.

But what’s my main beef with The Anarchist Turtle? “Human nature” doesn’t change, human behavior does. If you want to understand how our behavior changes according to circumstance and situation, study human nature. Don’t ball these concepts up. Which leftists like to do because, at bottom, most are Blank Slate/Tabula Rasa fantasists. They inhabit a world too irreal for me.

When I got interested in anarchism, in my teens, it was primarily to prevent warfare and mass exploitation. It wasn’t as a means of “liberating” “the People” from work or responsibility or all the difficulties with life. I was indeed concerned with bullying and tribal conflict, but I knew enough Big History to realize that getting rid of The State along with private property would just set us back to tribal and chiefdom organization: not my idea of liberation at all. And though I was fascinated by utopian experimentation, I never wanted to join any particular commune or “intentional community.” Families were enough along those lines.

But I did then and do now distrust and hate the Archons — the rulers behind the scenes and those in front of podia. They are liars and tempters [almost] all. They are always looking for ways to gain our servile compliance with their schemes, and they do so by enticing us into thinking we can both gain a special advantage and see ourselves as Good and Righteous.

I have much more to say about fighting the Archons — the dominations and powers — without falling into the goofy utopianism of “the anarchists.”

twv

A criminal bullies an old man, defending an act of theft by his loser girlfriend. He aggresses against the old man. Who, in self defense, stabs him. He dies.

That is a good story. Not a great story. Not exactly uplifting. But justice prevailed. Aggressive criminals who commit crimes lose the right to life in violent situations they themselves cause. The righteous must defend themselves, and when criminals die in such cases, only their families should weep. The rest of us? Our sympathies should be muted. Extremely muted, if existent at all.

But it was the aging Puerto Rican store clerk who was arrested and charged with murder.

Thus it is that thugs possess more effective legal rights than peaceful people do, the aggressed-against have fewer legal defenses than the aggressors. And the government and social media corporations? Why, they side with the thugs — GoFundMe denied the store clerk access to its fundraising mechanisms, so he is basically thrown back into the old days of the poor being poorly served by the judicial system.

Why, you ask.

The idea of self-defense — upon which rested the old liberal justification for government — is anathema to the dominant, ruling ideology, statism.

Statism’s a technical term for a whole swath of government ideologies, including fascism, social democracy, modish and old-fashioned Progressivism. And of course socialism. But caution: all these statist ideologies provide cover for what is really going on, which could be called technocratic class tyranny: Rule by the cognitive elites and plutocratic backers who control the Deep State and the Wide State, and who gain great advantages by leveraging their insider status.

And these elites use criminals and unthinkingly violent mobs to hold onto power. The policy that is key to their success is anarcho-tyranny. And that depends upon unleashing criminals and would-be criminals (illegal immigrants, for example) against normal peaceful people.

Here is Tucker Carlson getting close to the the core issues:

Tucker fingers a villain behind the scenes — George Soros — and this man, Soros, is indeed quite the villain, subsidizing local campaigns in major cities around America to put in progressive, pro-criminal prosecuting attorneys. Not liberal prosecutors, who stick to liberal principles, but actual pro-criminal attorneys. But we should wonder who’s behind Soros. For there may indeed be a cabal of the very rich who do indeed select and nurture a few wealthy investors and entrepreneurs and then make them perform their most unseemly moves in full light of public.

But one should doubt that, too, for we do not know the secrets of those who play behind the façades of “democracy.” For what really is going on here may be just the contagion of really bad ideas. These ideas infect people low and high, and those ideas are so constructed to reward most of their adherents in ways that the adherents never quite acknowledge, for it might make them feel a bit icky. Being rewarded doesn’t. So they continue the exploitation system.

But here’s the big deal, in America: a government that denies the right of self-defense is a revolutionists’ tyranny, illiberal and quite un-American. It has negated any plausible claim to the authority to govern.

And if you have read the Declaration of Independence, you know what that means.

twv

N.B. It is worth mentioning that the mayor of New York has shown some public sympathy for Alba, according to the New York Times story linked above:

A number of city officials have criticized the decision by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, to charge Mr. Alba with murder and to ask initially that he be held on $500,000 bail. The emergence of surveillance video that showed Mr. Simon shoving Mr. Alba raised the specter that Mr. Alba was acting in self-defense.

Jeffery C. Mays, “Adams Shows Support for Man Charged in Bodega Killing That Caused Outcry,” July 8, 2022.

But a politicians expressing sympathy is just a politician begging for forgiveness, not stopping governmental misdeeds. It is cheap. He wants cheap grace. Anything else? Probably not.

Craven Corporate CEOs Kowtow to BLM and the Woke-Left Mob

The long list of letters we receive from the heads of major corporations, genuflecting in the general region of the woke mob, is disheartening or hilarious or both. But Airstream’s missive is especially idiotic:

The Road Ahead: A Letter from Airstream’s CEO

Jun 11, 2020

As I’ve watched the events of the last two weeks unfold, I’ve wrestled with how to respond. I resisted the urge to simply react, to post about our horror and outrage at the killing of George Floyd, choosing rather to take the time to figure out what concrete actions we can take to catalyze real change. 
The killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black people has rightfully brought an intense focus to the issues of social injustice and racial inequity, and also much-needed clarity about how Airstream can be part of the solution. Though Airstream is a small company, we’re a big brand, and I feel both the undeniable responsibility to continue to use our voice for good, and optimistic that we can actually make a difference. 
Airstream was founded to inspire people to connect with each other and enjoy the outdoors. We know that, all too often, the prejudices and inequities that pervade society as a whole also keep people of color from feeling at ease in these natural spaces. So what can we do? 
* First, we can support those organizations whose aim is to combat inequities in our criminal justice system. To that end, we are making a multi-year financial commitment to the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative, whose work is at the front lines of challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
* Second, we are listening to people of color in the outdoor and camping space through feedback sessions. This is the next step in our important work to learn how Airstream can positively impact change and better understand how we can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment in the outdoors. 
* And finally, in addition to conducting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion training for our employees, we are listening to and learning from all Airstream associates who may have experienced discrimination so that we can better understand how those forces manifest themselves in our local community and our ability to counter them. 
As calls for real, systemic reform grow louder around the nation and the world, we are hopeful that this is the time for meaningful, positive, and lasting change so that all people can enjoy a life free from injustice and inequality. We know we have work to do.
Be well, be safe, and be compassionate.

Bob

Bob Wheeler
President & CEO
Airstream, Inc.

The idea that a travel trailer company has any business being “part of the solution” to a problem of which it is not plausibly the cause, is not “woke,” it’s dopey.

Why is it happening?

Perhaps because of the ‘race hustle,’ the shake-down process perfected by charlatans like Al Sharpton, on-the-make provocateurs who approach corporations, tell them they are racist and warn them that their status as racists can be publicized, and then accept hush money in the form of grants or programs to conduct “justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion training.”

On the Other Hand…

I am open to the “systemic racism” notion.

But what could it be? Individual and in-group racism is fairly easy to understand; organizational racism is not difficult to understand.

But what would “systemic racism” be?

Well, it would be patterns of discrimination resulting from human interaction within institutional frameworks but not of direct human intention or design. Perhaps it would be racist effects without racist intent.

The trick is not to be confused or hoodwinked by the words we like to use.

Relative prices in a market could be called “systemic.” The whole “invisible hand” process element could be called systemic. Economists have investigated the “spontaneous order” of the price system for centuries now. It is a fascinating social science paradigm.

The “systemic racism” notion would be parallel.

But merely to assert “systemic racism” and then pretend that it is “just the same” or even worse than standard forms of racism — or, at the very least, worth getting really, really exercised about — while not explaining the processes by which systems of subconscious or non-conscious adaptation might skew in a seemingly racist manner, well that’s sub-intellectual and makes you look like a hectoring idiot.

While I am open to such discussions, I don’t see them as showing a great deal of promise. Why? It’s not because there is nothing to them. It is because the chief use, these days, for the idea is as a hectoring tool, and this suggests to me that people leap to word ”systemic” because they’ve run out of really bad forms of racism, and they still want to get worked up.

Besides, it is a word that makes them look smart — to dumb people.

And the main reason to focus on racism? Because most of the left’s ideas are such nonsense and dangerous poppycock that they have to find something with a little meat on it. Something to throw into the dog pit and get the contestants snarling.

Ah, politics!

Its usual effect is to lower displayed intelligence.

And I remind Americans that racism was selected by Soviet propagandists as the most efficient angle to undermine American values and society and thereby government. Anti-racism was, among other things, a Soviet psy-op. (Keyword: Bezmenov.) Today’s anti-racist racism — as in castigating a white man for holding a non-white child on his lap — might best be explained as a propagandist-designed meme to infect and destroy a people, preparing the way for . . . communism? Maybe. But since communism doesn’t work, what you get is totalitarian tyranny over the people by the elites and for the elites.

So we might want to take caution in handling a psy-op and running with it. It’s like running with scissors. You had better be careful how you hold that tool. Do you really want to stab yourself and others?

The Key Concept the ”Systemic” Pushers Ignore

When it comes to racism, it is astounding how rarely the chief theorists of Anti-Racism mention the relevant concepts from ethology and anthropology: positive and negative ethnocentrism. Here are some passages from Edward Dutton, ”The Jolly Heretic,” to explain the basic concepts:

I was introduced to these concepts by reading Sumner (who was primarily a sociologist, not an economist) and Herbert Spencer. It is a testimony to how narrow-minded the neo-Darwinian the dominant paradigm had become to re-introduce these ideas of group-centered altruism that were a common theme in these two early evolutionists. Nowadays evolutionists talk about this all the time, but it was much less on the explanatory agenda in the first half of the 20th century. But the ideas were in those early evolutionists.

The concept that anti-racists prefer over negative ethnocentrism is xenophobia. But that has a real problem: fear is not hatred is not distrust is not, even, general antipathy. And an aesthetic distaste for another culture is quite distinct from an aesthetic distaste for another race, and both of these are distinct from moral disapproval and approval. A lot is covered up in the usual yammering about xenophobia.

There are many levels to the problems here, and my point in quoting Dutton is not to side with him, but merely to show a research program that the anti-racists don’t commonly consult.

Ethnocentrism is a natural human propensity. It may be useful to see it on a spectrum, with hatred on the extreme ends:

Racism, as I understood it in my youth, is a philosophical error, the making too much of matters of race. But in-group sympathy and cooperation are not ”making too much” of one’s own race. The evolutionists are likely correct in viewing positive ethnocentrism as a cross-cultural adaptive trait.

But negative ethnocentrism? That can lead to horrific destruction of the in-group because of excessive violence and retaliation and vendetta traps. Racism used to be associated with this. But instead of attending to principles and the rational appraisal of threats from inside as well as outside a community, today’s anti-racists seem to repeatedly and even consistently lurch to xenophilia and oikophobia (synonyms may work better, but these are in somewhat popular use). That is, they tend to reflexively over-value outsiders to compensate for the negative ethnocentrism of some insiders, and then even come to oppose fellow members of the in-group merely for their insider status.

These developments of anti-racism thus become racist by inversion, ”making too much” of race by making too much of racism, and by excessive support for those of genetic-ethnic groups unlike ourselves.

It would be helpful if people remembered the wisdom of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: virtue lies in the middle, with vice exhibited at the extreme ends of each spectrum of traits, and with vice characterized by both the lack and the excess of the beneficially adaptive trait.

twv

Passages from this book were quoted above.
Drunkard’s Walk (1960), by Frederik Pohl.

Spoilers & speculation:

A mathematics teacher keeps trying to kill himself in this somewhat satirical novel set in 2166 A.D. Why? The big reveal comes in the final chapters, where we learn that telepathic immortals are behind his suicides, because he and his kind are too close to them genetically. They fear competition. Being found out. So fearful are they that they unleash a worldwide plague to kill off much of humanity.

October 1969 edition, p. 138.

So I wonder: when our civilization develops truly successful life-extension methods, the political ramifications will necessarily become enormous. To fend off demographics-based chaos, the new immortals will seek to severely cut down the size of the global population, probably with a series of plagues . . . and rigged inoculations.

How will we know when the big advances in longevity research had’ve been achieved? When we witness a series of designer diseases with designer drugs developed in tandem.

Has the crucial advance in longevity research been achieved? Yes: it has already happened. SARS-CoV-2.

The novel lacks something, though it is very well-written, the first half reading more like a satire of academic life than an sf novel. But one reads science fiction at least partially to make one think. A thumb’s up.

twv