Clarification: Dr. Jill Biden did not compare Latinos to tacos.

She made a stupid simile, but she did not do that. 

I cannot believe I’m defending her. But her phrase was “as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.” I read in headlines that she has apologized. Worth an apology? Not really. It was dumb, but not offensive. 

She probably thought she was being funny. Or clever? It was indeed a goofy simile, and goofiness and dumb are close. Politicians and their wives should stop praising “communities.” My guess that the reality is that the community she was talking about is not especially unique (few are) and her dumb comment back-handedly said as much.

Still not offensive.

The word everybody’s looking for? Embarrassing.

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.

Elon Musk is — as far as I can tell — the first celebrity to fret publicly about population decline since the Progressives’ eugenics period, when the collapsing population idea was seen as a tragedy primarily in racial terms: demographers noticed that whites were going into demographic collapse first.

Elon can get away with it by having focused first on Japan, making the demagogic-progressive response of CRY RACIST! unsuitable. He tweeted about this back in May, to the consternation of the Perpetually Consternated.

But the truth of the matter is that Elon is right, and increasingly smart, unflusterable folks are recognizing the truth:

Note that today’s progressives can be seen to have taken old-fashioned Progressives’ worry from racist to anti-“human-racist,” extolling population collapse as a response to “the population bomb” which, somehow — with the left’s logrolling of their specially coded Get Out of Fail Free card — they never got stuck with the racist marker. But they should have, since over-population was always really a Problem With Brown People. The whole “population bomb” scenario was in fact always tinged by racism, if by the peculiar racist inversions typical of post-WWII technocratic-socialist thought.

That Elon is popularizing basic demographic truths, after decades and decades of hysterical ideological sub-rosa racist fearmongering, is interesting, to say the least.

twv

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

“That a republic may vanish is an elementary schoolbook fact.”

Since reading Garet Garrett’s The People’s Pottage 42 years ago, I have not really “believed” in the American federal republic. The three essays that make up the 1953 volume are “The Revolution Was” (1938), “Ex America” (1951), and “The Rise of Empire” (1952). While Garrett focused on the the revolution that was the New Deal in the first of these essays, the enormity of the revolution in the state became clearer to him over time, and I, since reading the book, have become aware of how right Garrett was. Though we are distracted from the anti-republican elements in American political governance by our quadrennial presidential election cycle and by the propagandistic efforts of major news purveyors, the reality is nevertheless revealed, though hardly fully revealed, to those who pay attention. The chiefest of these realities is the “Deep State,” which far from being a fictional entity or imposed category on experience, is the array of the bureaucracies and corporations that hide behind classifications of secrecy.

The dominance of these institutions preclude the terms “republic” or “democracy” as apt designators of These Benighted States.

My working model for American national government is that of a conservatorship, with the bureaus protecting the People from their own senile whims. The democratic elements are not at the root of our system any longer, the Administrative State is, the permanent government, especially the parts covered in protective secrecy. The Deep State, I hazard, is the firmware and the o.s.; the democratic parts are the GUI.

This conservatorship would be more comforting were it more competent, but the model requires that the real rulers come from the ranks of the benighted, and, with the recent fiascos of Russiagate, the Ukraine debacle, and the pandemic, it is quite clear that at least the public spokespeople for the real government are not merely deceptive, but foolish, their plans makeshift. We are not dealing with Evil Masterminds, here, though undoubtedly there are a few, who have been inducted into the deepest part of the Deep State

I am not saying that the U.S. ceased being a republic with the creation of the CIA. Garrett’s first essay is older. (Indeed, the Civil War, the Spanish-American war, and the Great War all subverted the republic profoundly.) Furthermore, there were multiple factors in the growth of the military-industrial complex that led to the current sub rosa conservatorship model. But as numerous major liberal figures in the 18th and 19th century repeatedly warned, a large permanent military presence and the practice of secrecy are utterly at odds with liberty, democracy, and citizen governance.

After the New Deal and World War II, Operation Paperclip, the multiplication of “intelligence” agencies, the continual parade of unwinnable wars, the cushy deals with armament corporations, the use of military bases as “pork,” and many other factors led ineluctably to our current ultra-fake republic, spurred by the witless partisans in the two major political parties.

And the only true “statesmen” are men and women in the deep recesses of power whose names you do not know. Our elected leaders, on the other hand, are a brummagem lot.

The comedy of democracy in the context of its actual diminished capacity is so great that it is often hard to keep a straight face. Most people manage by forgetting the context. It is great fun reading journalists who cover the Pentagon and Surveillance State beats knowingly narrate the budgets and bearing of the protected bureaus, and then pretend that “democracy is worth fighting for” by siding with one faction or another. But part of the comedy is forgetting. And to be an American intellectual is to be something of an amnesiac.

And as for the common folk? I have a great deal of trouble taking seriously a people who have voted into power, as putative maximum leaders,

  1. a sadsack peanut farmer
  2. an actor
  3. a former head of the CIA!
  4. a super-corrupt governor of a backwater state
  5. the witless buffoon son of a former president
  6. an identitarian poseur ‘community organizer’
  7. a ‘reality TV’ star
  8. a former bumbling senator of advanced age with obvious dementia problems and a family shakedown corruption scam, ongoing

But these are just the turds who floated to the top. Down below, it’s far more disturbing.

twv

. . . from Facebook two years ago. . . .

The self-fulfilling prophecy often rests on a more basic trap: the self-reinforcing policy.

You support a policy because you are alarmed at how awful x is, so you support policy A, which you say fights x. But policy A increases x. So when x increases, you double down on policy A. Demand more measures of an A-ish nature, and continued support of policy A. Because x!

This makes you a fool, of course, but most of us are fools about something, and it is impolite to call each other foolish, since there never would be an end to it. So, in politics, folly increases.

Here are some examples:

1. Low-skilled worker unemployment is bad, since it leads to crime, drug-use, family breakdown, and, of course, more unemployment. So, policy A: Raise the legal minimum wage rate! This of course increases unemployment, as economists have explained for two hundred years, requiring more state aid. But most people don’t listen to economists except when economists back up their prejudices. And since state aid is obviously designed to help the afflicted, we are not unreasonably distracted from noticing that policy A is responsible. Now focused entirely on intentions, not on means or results, when someone like me suggests getting rid of A, oh, the outcry! Raise A instead! This ensures more unemployment, more state aid, and a great deal of Pharisaic posturing. Forever and ever amen.

2. Terrorism is bad. Terrorists often come from foreign lands. So policy A: ‘let’s fight terrorists over there, not here!’ But bombing innocent weddings and children and the like in the War on Terror increases resentments that lead to terrorism here and elsewhere in the First World. But terrorism spurs resentment here as well, thus increasing support for policy A, the War on Terror. Which ramps up the violence, and. . . .

3. The latest contagion is bad. Undoubtedly. The standard way to deal with this is to quarantine the infected, isolate the at-risk population, and let the healthy part of the population get infected and handle the disease with their immune systems, and then build up herd immunity. But that is not a very woke way of doing things, so a new policy, let’s call it . . . A . . . would isolate the healthy population. Now, that is taking x seriously! Of course, we are now on a new course, and we aren’t concentrating on the at-risk populations, like those in nursing homes, and are even sending those who should be quarantined into nursing homes, leading to alarming death rates. This panics the proponents of the new policy A, so they demand . . . more of policy A, not the older policy, which is so passé — or should I say ‘pass-A’? The panicky folk demand evermore A, which prevents herd immunity. But when suppport for A diminishes, and a return to normalcy occurs, the number of cases of infection increase. Entirely to be expected, but it is ‘proof’ of a need for more A! So, A is re-introduced. Sure, it’ll decrease herd immunity and mean that more people will die later on, but hey: ‘at least we tried’!

Policies that reinforce themselves by their ‘failure’ are the favorite kind of policies of fools. Whole ideologies congeal around them. And certain unscrupulous people encourage them in full knowledge.

It is so easy to manipulate fools.

And since it is folly to tell fools of their folly — what is the percentage in that? — folly is self-reinforcing.

And it is my own folly that I persist, since there is a good chance that when they come to take me away to the new concentration camp — let’s call it camp A — many of the people I have called fools will shout huzzahs.

Making me the biggest fool of all.

So folly is bad. . . .

twv, July 3, 2020 (Facebook)

How many substantiated facts would one have to discount to believe that Bill Cosby did not drug and rape his accusers?

I know he was convicted and went to prison. So some facts likely exist. But all I heard was testimony. And the testimony of accusers and witnesses is often profoundly unreliable. Further, I suppose it is possible for an urban legend to evolve to such an extent as to encourage many false accusations that would then gain the weight of evidence.

The same people who would say that this sort of phenomenon would be impossible or highly unlikely nevertheless believe just such processes account for the origins of most major religions.

This is one of my favorite points to contemplate about the Pure Theory of Conspiracy and, even more pertinently, Invisible Hand Theory. 

It’s one reason why my estimate of general opinion has declined, as has “the consensus” in authority, and now I take everything with a grain of salt. Much of what occupies our minds may be, to some degree, fake. Error. Folly. Lies. Or a combination of all of these.

twv

The election of Barack Hussein Obama was the triumph of virtue signaling — specifically, leftist virtue signaling, for Obama was not only “representative” of a “marginalized group” (though there is hardly a plausible case for his personal marginalization), his name itself was also the ne plus ultra of The Other, in that it was of a culture that Americans had been warring with for decades, and quite earnestly for eight years. (Remember that his name was self-chosen. In early years he was called “Barry Soetoro.”)

At the time, I found it hilarious that “Obama” rhymes with “Osama,” “Barack” rhymes with “Iraq” and “Hussein,” his middle name, was identical with the last name of the former dictator whom the U.S. military had just executed less than two years before BHO’s election in 2008.

Now, in light of this astonishing selection — one that I had suggested to my Democratic friends early on in that presidential election cycle upon the Anyone But Hillary rationale — I think we can better understand the nature of left-v-right in modern politics, and the extent to which the Republicans had lost their grip on the culture.

First, it shows the essential power of the “leftward gesture,” that is, the reach outward beyond the in-group to gain moral weight to perform a revolution (or consolidate power) in the State (change the hierarchy) by upholding the outsiders, the others. The Other, Barack the Pumpkin God.

It also shows how badly George Walker Bush/Dick Cheney had managed their war footing towards the mid-East. Americans had ended up hating them in particular as well as American foreign policy in general.

Now, let me interrupt the story, a bit, here. I confess: I may never have actually hated a politician as much as I hated the Bush/Cheney duo. I remember all the hatred Democrats had harbored for Nixon, back in the 1970s, and I thought at the time it was overblown. I had followed his strange ascendancy to the presidency, though very young, and spent a summer watching his fall, on daytime TV (the Watergate hearings were televised). Even so, I saw Nixon as a less repellent figure than his immediate predecessor in office (and recent reading has more than confirmed my youthful intuition). And Reagan, whom Democrats pretended to hate as much as Nixon, I determined to be less obnoxious than Nixon — though I was no fan of either (and never voted for Reagan, though I could have). It was the political success of George Herbert Walker Bush that I saw as the most appalling thing to come out of the Reagan period (other than Iran-Contra and the Social Security pseudo-fix), and my distrust for a CIA man extended to his witless son who surrounded himself with Nixon men. So that slightly unhinged Democratic hatred for Nixon I allowed into my own soul, but directed with greater cause (I reasoned!) to the warmongers and liberticides Bush II and Cheney. Though I am frankly and unapologetically anti-Islamic, I thought their doubling down on the mid-East wars was foolish as well as evil, and I blogged in opposition to their wars from before they began.

But back to the pumpkinification of Obama.

Republican voters themselves were vexed by the politics of Obamafication. Whenever they took an even mildly alarmed note at Barack Obama’s peculiar outsider persona — and it was a persona, not a deep personal truth — they were called “racist.” Not fair, of course, but this predicament set up the current left-v-right antagonism, and why Democrats have in this later epoch lost their once-vaunted moral high ground. They overplayed that particular hand. They got addicted to cheap, philosophically indefensible accusations just as Republicans, in the aughts, had let themselves get addicted to expensive, diplomatically indefensible warfare.

I cannot sympathize with either of these. Warmongering of the chessboard gamesmanship variety is appallingly evil, and a people (Republicans) who supported it committed themselves to that evil. But witless accusations of immorality are perhaps even more corrupting, for they affect the “homeland” society — the nature of the in-group community — in such a deep way as to de-stabilize it, perhaps forever. There may be a way to repair it, but since the federal government itself is de-stabilized by insane finance, I say: disunion. There is no reason to keep the charade of “coming together” (the slimy pols’ favorite slogan) going. America is over as an experiment. It failed. It failed because instead of trying for a union, its political class tried to create a nation, and instead created two. Or more.

Barack Obama was a horrible president, and much of what he did, especially in his second term, set the way for that Asimovian Mule, Donald Trump, and for the civil war that is coming. He also carried on most Bush Era warmongering campaigns, and with his foreign policy “blunders” set up the stage for the invasion of Europe by illegal migrants.

Now, I think the civil war could be civil: we could get excited about disunion — or, more exactly, a receivership in place of Congress, and several smaller unions of states and territories where there now exists the ungainly mess of the Fifty States+Empire We could see it as an achievement to work towards rather than a consequence of failure.

But that’s unlikely.

Either way, we can thank Bush and Barack and The Donald for making this more likely. Biden, there’s no reason to thank him. Somebody that corrupt and that demented needs something other than thanks.

One of the funny things about current politics is the degradation of leadership. Barack Obama is revered as a statesman, but the Democrats, otherwise, have no one. We wound up with Biden not because he was good but because he could be made, with psy-ops in play, to look like a calming figure. But he’s not. He’s actually quite unhinged and radical, and his handlers are more radical yet.

Meanwhile, the Republicans: what have they got? Donald Trump screwed the pooch in his last year, and is unfit for service. And he has the stink of failure about him. De Santis could come out of Florida to lead, but is he ready? He seems about right for a post-Trump, but no one else does. Who?

The reason the leadership pool is so shallow is that none of these mainstream figures have a clue how to navigate between the Scylla of financial collapse and the Charybdis of postmodernist political correctness. Nothing really makes sense in the old terms. The American people themselves — the electorate — were deeply wounded by the pandemic scare, and managing their manias and regrets and suspicions regarding that scare could upset the world order. The elites — those Wardens of the Earth? — don’t even know who to put forward. They have trouble keeping Klaus Schwab from giving away their whole game.

We live in fascinating times.

Perhaps the next president should change his/her/zher name to something that rhymes with (or at least references) COVID, mask, and hyperinflation. Just to pull off an Obamification trick. Ovid Diaperdump Trask? Diaper was actually a British name in past centuries. It could work.

twv

. . . in which I look back on the changing winds of doctrine, and which way I blow. . . .

Thirty or forty years ago, while grappling with the theory of rights — building off from both from the Bentham side as well as the Grotius side — I found myself contrasting rights talk (and utility of same) between various rights adults disputed pertaining solely to themselves and the alleged rights of children, infants, fetuses and non-human animals. I developed a sort of Benthamic schema of rights that Bentham himself would have hated, since mine explained and did not dismiss natural rights.

I went into my inquiry as an advocate for abortion rights, since my basic social attitude was liberal. And was a young man with no intention of starting a family. But the immediate result of my inquiries surprised me a bit: I ended up with a rather complicated excuse for legal abortions. It was based, in part, on phenomenology, specifically the approach to the social world of Alfred Schütz.

But by the end, I realized that there was something creepy about my excuse for abortion, and I acknowledged that, on level of personal morals, I was against abortion — it was, I decided, a horrific practice that my contemporaries took too lightly, with all the self-deceptions that Sartre saw in the peculiar mental stratagems of anti-Semites. I knew that many past societies had engaged in infanticide and the abandonment of children, and my rights theory had come out squarely against those practices, as it did many other age-old institutions, like chattel slavery and imperialist warfare. But abortion: I had found an excuse for its legality — what of that?

Well, I pick at this constantly, because it is, I hazard, one of the things de-humanizing contemporary society and driving our civilization mad. We have several of these madness-inducing memes ongoing. One is deficit spending and debt accumulation by the federal government of these United States. This has uncorked a stopper on the culture, and is sending society reeling out of control. As evidence for this madness I give you ‘gender theory’ and the current trans-mania. What I see in society are people being driven by uncorked egregori of memes, with scant discipline to regulate them: tradition is broken; philosophy — which might do the job — remains remotely academic, a kind of cultural eunuch, and deeply unpopular.

I have never much liked the terms of the debate. I deem “pro-life” and “pro-choice” as witless terms to characterize the actual positions held. Reliance upon these terms tempts their users into irresponsible, thoughtless ideology and propagandizing. So I’ve been alienated, until fairly recently, from both sides. In more recent days, though, my alienation from the ”left” generally has led me, with gallows humor, to the “right-wing“ culture, somewhat, because I take no stand with any group that allies itself with socialism, biological fabulism, and the Deep State (which is not fictitious, but all-too-real).

Like most left-right divides, the abortion issue has many dimensions. It deserves to be looked at in more than one way. I have tried to do so. For in addition to the ways mentioned above, treating it as a social-world problem, from the perspective of rights theory, I also consider it as a matter of ceremony, of rite. This is where anthropology veers into the occult, for there is a reason that many opponents of abortion look at the legally sanctioned and culturally promoted practice of abortion as ritual mass slaughter — and that extreme interpretation is indeed “creepy.” But like I suggest above, killing little humans in the womb is indeed a creepy, de-humanizing practice. I am not shocked to discover multiple dimensions of the creepiness.

twv