Tag Archives: politics

A Letter to ‘Trump Haters’

I address this letter to ‘Trump haters’, not ‘Hillary supporters’, because based on personal observations, some of Trump’s biggest detractors also hate Hillary just as much, if not more (for denying Bernie Sanders the nomination, who would have been a better candidate).

Trump’s win has elicited a visceral, almost primal, rebuke from otherwise rational, smart people that I otherwise respect and or even agree with on some certain issues.

From Scott Sumner of Money Illusion:

And Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror:

Brad Delong, who recently did an AMA on Reddit, also voiced a lot of concern over Trump, but at least was far more polite about it, setting a good example of how to criticize specific policy without resorting to ad hominem attacks against Trump and his supporters.

I agree with these anti-Trump economists on certain things–about the US dollar, deficits, the US economy, and about how Peter Schiff and other doom and gloom ‘Austrian alarmists’ tend to be wrong more often than not. By ‘agree’, what I mean is that they are closer to being ‘right’ (or less wrong) even though I may not, personally, like it. Drad Delong is closer to being correct regarding the ‘free trade debate‘ than Vox Day even though I wish Vox Day were right. Rationality and the ‘pursuit of the truth’ means we need to accept the world as it is, not how we want it to be. By better-understanding reality, one can be more fruitful in not only predicting but optimizing the present situation to his or her own advantage. It sounds trite to say, but knowledge (and understanding) really is power. So even though we lie on different points on the political spectrum, we both seek islands of truth and rationality in what is otherwise a sea of media nonsense, misinformation, and sensationalism. That’s the ‘common ground’ here, that we can both agree on.

And we can both agree that Hillary was a lousy candidate who ran an equally lousy, uninspiring campaign that was backed by corporate interests instead of the interests of voters, doing a disservice to both her party and supporters. From Vice.com Why 2016 Seemed Like the Worst Year Ever:

…Hillary Clinton campaigned on the absurd slogan that “America is great because America is good” and was so convinced of her own inevitable coronation as the khaleesi of corporate feminism that she didn’t even bother campaigning in Michigan. Half the electorate stayed home, and a few million useful idiots for a bargain-bin…

Going back to Trump, yes, 2016 sucked for a lot of people. For Sanders supporters (for obvious reason); for myself, other reasons. Many beloved celebrities died. The situation Syria deteriorated. ‘Brexit’ left a lot of people divided, almost literally. We are on this boat together, and although we disagree on specific issues or policy implementation, we can both agree the economic direction of the country for the past decade or two has gone in a direction that, for better or worse, has benefited too few.

Now the compromise: between 2009-2015 Obama did things we ‘The Right’ opposed, but we got through it. More importantly, we didn’t make our opposition too personal (and we will take back the ‘birtherism’ if you can take back the part about Trump being Hitler). And admittedly, Trump can be rough on the edges and uninhibited, but is a departure from the tradition of bland and predictable politics (during the primaries, democrats voted against Hillary for the same reasons republicans voted for Trump).

Trump, in many ways, is the ‘inverse Obama’, embodying ‘hope and change’ for his millions of voters who felt, and justly so, ignored by ‘politics as usual’. Yes, Hillary won the popular vote, but 62,979,879 Americans voted for Trump. ‘Unity’ means bringing everyone above the fold in the ‘national debate’, not just those with whom you agree with. The 2017 Berkeley riots, was, regrettably, a missed opportunity to go in this much-needed direction.

Why conservatives always lose

From John C. Wright: The Last Crusade: Rip van Con, and related: Why conservatives always lose.

Conservatives are good at winning public office. Right now, the GOP has control of all three branches of government. The GOP controlled the executive branch for much of the 70′s-2000′s, save for Clinton and Carter. Obviously, the GOP platform is one that appeals to a lot of Americans, or at least half. In addition, the GOP has won the ‘economic wars’ and the Cold War, in that capitalism has obviously triumphed over Communism (fall of Communist Russia, and to some extent, China). Only a handful of countries (N. Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.) still cling to that failed ideology. Related to Communism, despotism has also been in decline. So that’s the good news. The bad news is the GOP has completely failed the ‘culture wars’, so much so that many on the ‘right’ are throwing in the towel. Conversely, the ‘left’ has lost the economic wars but have won the culture wars. As alluded by Thomas Frank in his best-seller What’s the Matter With Kansas, this may be due to the ‘great compromise’ whereby both right-wing and left-wing elitists agree to give up ground to get half of what they want. Politics is just theatrics, like professional wresting, where the outcome is predetermined. Large democracies and republics, such as America, are good at preserving the status quo, which is good for economic and geopolitical stability, but also tends to leave a lot of people unsatisfied.

‘I don’t think that candidate is who you think he is’

This meme applies to a lot of populists, non-interventionists, and fiscal hawks, who think Trump is one of them:

The tax cuts and defense spending is a shoe-in…border control, wall, deportations, and trade deal renegotiation…much less likely.

Politics is storytelling. Tell people a good story and they will vote for you.

There’s a joke…politicians are like schizophrenics – they have two personalities: one for the campaign and the other after they get into office. The voter has to hope the latter doesn’t diverge too much from the former, but it often does.

Many people think Trump is like Ron Paul – someone who wants balanced budgets, less debt, a small military, and less foreign intervention…after all, Trump was billed during the primaries as a sort of ‘anti-establishment’ figure, in contrast to neocons like G. W. Bush who embody the ‘establishment’. Lost or buried in the sea of MAGA baseball caps, private jets, enthusiasm, and speeches – was his actual plan. Trump is not Ron Paul..not even close. He’s not like Bush either…He’s something different, combining spending with nationalism. Some could call it ‘civil nationalism’ or ‘citizenism’ (or as I describe it, a right-wing FDR).

Vox Day writes:

This is good news. Even the hardcore economic-growth-at-all-costs conservatives are finally beginning to understand that their politics are a non-starter. Moore is smart enough that he’ll likely come around completely before long.

But your ‘god emperor’ wants more economic growth, and will spend to get it.

Or from Oil Price.com: Geopolitical Overhaul: What Will A Post-Obama World Look Like?

Debt reduction, stimulated domestic economic growth and employment, the visible reduction of what is seen internationally as overbearing statism in the U.S. economy, and creative attempts to build a new era of investment in the U.S. will be critical to building back long-term U.S. global capabilities. This would imply a process to reduce U.S. debt creation through the creation of Federal budget surpluses, something which several U.S. administrations until this point have felt disinclined to attempt. Deficit spending by the U.S. Government has been a short-term tool to buy votes, creating a longer-term certainty of economic self-strangulation.

A full four-year term by the Trump Administration spent on achieving stable economic growth would al-most certainly guarantee Pres. Trump a second term in office, but it does not mean that such a domestic focus should represent a return to U.S. isolationism. Quite the contrary, adept management of a growing economy — even in a situation in which stimulus is created by incentivizing domestic investment and pur-chasing — can stimulate the revival of the U.S. as a net exporter of cash (investments).

Did you not read the headlines? Trump wants more spending:

Trump Says He’ll Spend More Than $500 Billion on Infrastructure

Donald Trump: we need more fighter jets, ships and soldiers

Trump calls for military spending increase

Military Experts: Trump Defense Spending Plans Would Break the Budget

I’m like only one of maybe eight people who actually reads this stuff.

Another thing that’s annoying are all these labels to describe a variation of something preexisting. It seems like every year, the ‘new right’ reemerges. How can it keep being ‘new’ every year? Or ‘The base’ vs. ‘The Establishment’. Is Trump The Establishment now that he has won?

These experts think Trump is like clay…to be molded to fit their preexisting beliefs about him, without actually understanding his objectives. It’s just funny…how pundits and experts think ‘voter ignorance’ is something that they are too smart to fall for, but they often are just as vulnerable to it.

Flight 93 Election (analysis)

A couple weeks ago, when I first came across the now famous ‘Flight 93‘ article, I skimmed the first few paragraphs without giving it much further consideration…the crux of the article is that America is doomed if Hillary becomes president, but with Trump there is at least a fighting chance, even if the odds are long. We can either ‘charge the cockpit’ to have a shot at living (or in the case of America, saving the country), or do nothing and certainly die.

But people kept talking about it, so I decided to investigate further, reading the article thoroughly, as well as its follow-up. Judging by the conversational tone, verbosity, attention to detail, sesquipedalian sentences, and rich punctuation, the the article sounded similar to a very popular reactionary blogger who recently went on hiatus, and my hunch was confirmed in the follow-up, in which he writes: Everything I said in “The Flight 93 Election” was derivative of things I had already said, with (I thought) more vim and vigor, in a now-defunct blog.

The first thing that struck me is how much faith he has in the system….possibly even more than I do, and some say I’m ‘too optimistic’. When I began bogging about NRx, I took a different approach, advocating incrementalism (rolling back democratic values and institutions) and possible minarchism, in contrast to monarchy or secession, and the last paragraph of Restatement, as well as overall both essays, seems to echo this theme, focusing on policy (like welfare, taxes and other policy reform) within the current constitutional republic framework, versus more far-fetched or drastic measures such as eschatology, deracination, ‘exit’, or monarchy:

One can point to a few enduring successes: Tax rates haven’t approached their former stratosphere highs. On the other hand, the Left is busy undoing welfare and policing reform. Beyond that, we’ve not been able to implement our agenda even when we win elections—which we do less and less. Conservatism had a project for national renewal that it failed to implement, while the Left made—and still makes—gain after gain after gain. Consider conservatism’s aims: “civic renewal,” “federalism,” “originalism,” “morality and family values,” “small government,” “limited government,” “Judeo-Christian values,” “strong national defense,” “respect among nations,” “economic freedom,” “an expanding pie,” “the American dream.” I support all of that. And all of it has been in retreat for 30 years. At least. But conservatism cannot admit as much, not even to itself, in the middle of the night with the door closed, the lights out and no one listening.

However, many reactionaries believe the ‘system’ is irreparable, advocating ‘accelerationism’, in which America’s decline is deliberately hastened so it collapses and from the ruins can be ‘restored’. Others advocate pacifism, because fighting democracy with democracy is, ultimately, only a win for democracy. And that Trump, despite his best efforts and good intentions, is merely a cog of a broken machinery. This is probably why there was some push-back in response to Flight 93.

But still…I’m surprised by what seems like somewhat of an about-face on his part. ‘American dream’? It sounds cheesy, and few who are alive still believe it. The ‘American dream’ is more a construct, really (the phrase was originally a marketing slogan by Federal National Mortgage Association). Also the ‘small government’ stuff reads too similar to libertarianism, which the author repudiated on many occasions. But I agree that I would rather have the government focus less on the lives of individuals, and instead pay more attention to not wasting public resources on ineffective programs and or entitlement spending.

From Flight 93:

Ever-higher taxes and ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure. Inability to win wars against tribal, sub-Third-World foes. A disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege. And so on and drearily on. Like that portion of the mass where the priest asks for your private intentions, fill in any dismal fact about American decline that you want and I’ll stipulate it.

Yeah all of this is true. Part of the reason why America is unable to ‘win’ any wars it because it’s not allowed to win in the traditional sense of total annihilation of the enemy (which if pressed America is capable of doing). Instead, America has to engage in ‘nation building’ , which is much harder. The higher educational system need reform to a large extent, as millions of millennials are graduating with debt and no good job prospects to show for it.

In the followup, I was also surprised he considers Churchill an example of ‘good leadership’, considering Churchill [1] seems antithetical to a lot of what NRx stands for. Although his essay was intended to be an endorsement for Trump, and any obvious allusions to NRx were avoided, a better example could have been chosen. Of course, I could be wrong, and a Google search for NRx writings on Churchill didn’t yield much.

But overall, the author raises a valid point about how mainstream conservatives (akin to the Washington Generals) ‘always lose’ and how Trump departs from this trend. It’s not really a new message, and it didn’t need 3,000 words to convey, but interesting nonetheless.

[1] got his butt handed to him in the battle of Gallipoli, pulled Britain int multiple wars, and acted on personal vendettas at great loss of civilian life (bombing of Dresden), all of which contributed to the decline and demise of the British Empire and the softening of the already weak monarch

Alt-Right: Classifications and Significance

For some reason the definition of the ‘alt right’ refuses to be resolved to anyone’s full satisfaction.

My ‘definition’ is that the ‘alt right’ is a subset of ‘right’ that rejects the ‘mainstream’, which is a kinda circular definition, but taken literally that’s what ‘alternative’ means. The ‘alt right’ can include rationalists and pacifists (rejection of activism and politics), which includes NRx. Then there is also the ‘larpy right’ (pro-activism, political involvement) which may include Richard Spencer and Raddix Journal. Most of ‘alt right’, especially pacifists, are unified in rejection of ‘low-information’ discourse – such as mainstream taking points and sensationalism that one would find on major networks like Fox News or CNN – preferring more nuanced discourse that puts greater precedence on empirical evidence than ‘tribal loyally’ or emotion.

The hierarchy could be like this:

primary: ‘right-wing’

secondary: ‘mainstream right’ ‘alt right’

tertiary: ‘activist alt-right’ ‘pacifist alt-right’ ‘futurist-right’ etc.

Or in the case of this blog:

Neoconservatism meets HBD, with elements of anarcho capitalism, reaction, futurism, and rationalism.

The quadrant below helps illustrate the differences between these subsets:

The ‘GOP intelligentsia’, which mostly consists of neocons, seems miscatergorized and belongs on the upper-plane, equidistant from ‘Nick Land’ and ‘The Economist’. Neocons tend to embrace technology and capitalism and are also unapologetically anti-populist. In many ways, neoconservatives and pacifist variants of the alt-right have a lot in common, both rejecting egalitarianism and populism.

Some define the ‘alt right’ as inclusive of only activist-variants of the ‘right’, and that pacifists, like NRx, belong to a separate categorization, separate from the ‘alt right’. But if the bottom-right of the quadrant is the ‘alt right’, what should the upper-right quadrant be called?

Most of the disagreement between these different subsets of the ‘right’, particularity between the ‘anti-cuck right’ and the ‘mainstream right’, seem to be over small differences. From Ingroup/Outgroup dynamics:

For NRx, the ‘outgroup’ may not be liberals, which is the most obvious choice given than NRx is a right-wing ideology/movement/whatever. Instead, perhaps, it’s ‘low-information’ and ‘democracy’, both from the ‘right’ and ‘left’, as one type of ‘outgroup’. As in the case of utilitarianism, it’s possible to be on the ‘left’ and still reject direct forms of democracy.

As very recent example of ingroup/outgroup dynamics over small differences, the post-2015 ‘cuckservative’ movement, which pitted ‘traditional conservatives’ against ‘establishment conservatives’, with insults hurled between both sides on Twitter and blogs, despite both sides being ‘conservatives’.

Thus, possibly in every group, there may be two ‘outgroups’: one involving small differences (establishment conservatives vs. alt right, neoliberals vs. welfare liberals) and an ‘outgroup’ of broader differences (conservatives vs. liberals).

That’s why I have always found the split in the right between the ‘alts’ vs. the ‘establishment/mainstream’ to be kinda frivolous. They agree one everything except for immigration and Trump. It’s not like the mainstream right is for open borders. Rather they support ‘some’ immigration under controlled conditions. I’ve never heard a mainstream conservative like Hannity or Limbaugh come out and endorse open borders. Sometimes arguments are so heated because the differences are so small. The ‘anti-cucks’ believe that the ‘cucks’ are too moderate on some issues, and there is perhaps some truth to this, but we’re talking about tiny differences when they otherwise agree on 95% of stuff. Ben Shapiro, for example, is a frequent target by the ‘anti-cucks’ on Twitter, but here are a list of his books:

Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth (ISBN 0-78526148-6). WND Books: 2004.
Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future (ISBN 0-89526016-6). Regnery: 2005.
Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House (ISBN 1-59555100-X). Thomas Nelson: 2008.
Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV (ISBN 0-06209210-3). Harper Collins: 2011.
Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America (ISBN 1-47671001-5). Threshold Editions: 2013.
The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration (ISBN 1-47676513-8). Threshold Editions: 2014.

Just going by the titles, how can anyone on the ‘anti-cuck right’ find disagreement here. Isn’t there mutual agreement that universities are indoctrinating America’s youth with leftism. Or that Obama is inept. Or how the ‘left’ has taken over much of popular culture. The disagreement, again, has to do with two issues specifically: immigration and Trump, but otherwise they agree. Yet over the past year and a half, the two sides have been hurling invectives at each other on twitter and blogs over these small differences.

But there is probably more to is than that. The rejection of the ‘mainstream’ is in repudiation of neocon economic policies, as well as a general suspicion that that ‘establishment’ is not acting in the best interests of average, middle-class Americans – but rather the interests of either the really poor who may not even be citizens (illegals) or the interests of elites (business interests, Wall St., etc.) that may have no loyalty or cultural anchoring to America (as Ross Douthat calls ‘faux cosmopolitanism’). Meanwhile, the ‘bedrock’ of America – its middle class and even ‘working poor’ – is being ignored. Since the early 80′s, beginning all the way with Reagan, GOP economic policy has answered to a Frankenstein’s monster-like amalgamation of think tanks – Cato, AEI, and CFR – which tend to promote globalist policy such as free trade, automation, outsourcing, deregulation, and open borders. As Thomas Frank mentions in What’s the Matter with Kansas, to win voters the GOP uses culture war issues but tends to gloss-over the economic ones, using vague language and buzzwords (as all politicians do) such as ‘job creation’ and ‘competitiveness’. Whether or not globalist policy works (creates growth and jobs in the long-run despite the short-term inconvenience of job loss) is subject to some debate, but I imagine that if such policy were presented prima facie (and not obfuscated with buzzwords), many voters would likely not support it, and I think that’s what’s happening with the rise of Trump and the ‘at right’. Trump is arguably the first GOP nominee in over 30 years that is chartering his own economic policy, without the influence of think thanks, wonks, and pundits.

Neoliberalism

An article by Sam Bowman on neoliberalism went viral: I’m a neoliberal. Maybe you are too

Neoconservatives also support free trade, markets, and are consequentialist, unlike the far-right. They also tend to have a more optimistic outlook than either the far-left or the far-right.

Neocons are typically consequentialist, supporting policy such as 2008 the bank bailouts, which created the risk of moral hazard over the long-run (and went against the ethos of ‘free market capitalism’) and was very unpopular with a lot of people, but may have been necessary to stem the bleeding from the financial system and boost confidence so that the healthier parts of the economy would not be weighed-down by the ailing banking and housing sector.

Also, Sam Bowman is from the UK. The European-equivalent of ‘liberal’ tends to be more further to the ‘left’ than the US-equivalent. Bill Clinton, despite running as a democrat, favored deregulation, welfare reform, and was tough on crime.

In response to an earlier post, someone counters that liberals are optimistic:

Small correction: as a far-leftist, we actually believe we’re (ie: Marxists, anarchists, other radicals) the inheritors of the Enlightenment and its tradition of emancipation, understanding, and happiness through the systematic application of reason. We do not have a pessimistic view of human potential merely because we object to Whig history. The opposite! We object to Whig history because we look at the world and believe that we can progress much further than the present day.

Not all Marxists and far-leftists agree on everything. Some Marxists believe technology may render jobs obsolete, and that this is a good thing, whereas many on the far-left want ‘full employment’ (examples being the Works Progress Administration by FDR in the 1930′s and the Obama stimulus in 2009).

Karl Marx, in a section of his Grundrisse that came to be known as the “Fragment on Machines”,[22][23] argued that the transition to a post-capitalist society combined with advances in automation would allow for significant reductions in labor needed to produce necessary goods, eventually reaching a point where all people would have significant amounts of leisure time to pursue science, the arts, and creative activities; a state some commentators later labeled as “post-scarcity”.[24] Marx argued that capitalism—the dynamic of economic growth based on capital accumulation—depends on exploiting the surplus labor of workers, but a post-capitalist society would allow for…

Neoliberals, unlike welfare liberals, are more receptive to post-labor economics. Also, the inheritors of ‘The Enlightenment’ are today’s neoliberals and classical liberals, and maybe some libertarians. Like Same Bowman above, they are generally optimistic about human nature, and support free trade, free dissemination of ideas, technology, markets, and some social safety net. Now contrast that to the far-left of today, such as BLM, SJWs, Sanders, and, in 2011, OWS. BLM, for example, has a very negative view of human nature, believing that blacks are being systematically oppressed by so-called ‘institutional racism’, a view also shared by SJWs. Sanders, rather create wealth and celebrate individual success, wants to fan the flames of class warfare. SJWs oppose free speech and support censorship of ‘offensive’ ideas and individuals, going so far as even protesting liberal professors (or anyone whom they deem as ‘privileged’). The far-left also subscribes to the notion of the ‘noble savage’ and that modern civilization and technology are inherently racist and oppressive, preferring that the world revert to a simpler and more egalitarian state.

Maybe I’ll make a spreadsheet to show the similarities and differences between these and other ideologies

Why They Support Trump

From RICHARD FERNANDEZ of PJ Media, Divided and Under Attack:

The effect of the short term (scandal talking points) game will not be to convert any great numbers, but to whip up their respective new coalitions, which are based principally on emotions. Reason has gone out the door and will not return any time soon. The result will be an increasing and shrill polarization. The short term game will increase political hostility to levels not seen since 1968; perhaps not since the Civil War.

Guess what…political pundits say this every four years. Every election it’s a new coalition, a new paradigm. Every election we bemoan the quality of candidates, the hostility of the political process, the partisanship, irrationality, and emotion…yet the world doesn’t come to an end. Eventually, we get through it.

Pundits overestimate the power of politics: the real power is in the fed, smart and productive people, consumer spending, and the private sector. People are quietly getting rich as stocks keep going up, as everyone else loses sleep over politics. The stock market has more than doubled since Obama became president – not because Obama is a good president (he isn’t) – but due the strength of the private sector, the economic contributions of America’s best and brightest, and the propensity of Americans (and the rest of the world) to consume.

That’s where we make our money… All your BS..’oh the economy is a bubble’…get out of here with that crap. You been wrong since 2009. Get lost.

‘Horse race’ is an apt metaphor for following the polls, which have pretty much been in a tight 10-point band for the past four or so months despite all the media hype of how ‘so-and-so is pulling ahead’..really, it’s just noise:

Like Brexit polls, it’s gonna be split down the middle up until a week before the voting, and all this micro-analysis, minutia, and hair-splitting will be for naught. No matter how much you scrutinize the candidates or how bad or good a candidate is, it’s still going to be roughly 45-48% of the country that will support either candidate. The outcome of the remaining 6%, comes down, essentially, to a coin toss. There’s little rhyme or reason to predicting it. I remember the night of the Brexit polls, and everyone was certain ‘remain’ would win – before the counting had even begun. So much for that. I can say ‘Hillary is persuasive’ or ‘Trump is persuasive’ but 95-98% of the country are gonna vote for them anyway, so big deal. The real ‘skill’ of a campaign or a candidate is getting those 5-10% on the fence.

National sentiment is also important. In 1984 and 1996, probably no amount of charisma and persuasion would have saved Mondale and Dole, because the economy was strong and there was no upheaval, so people voted for a continuation of what had worked. If the economy suddenly implodes and America is struck with another major terror attack like 911, then the odds will probably suddenly shift significantly and meaningfully in Trump’s favor.

IS IT JUST ME, OR IS THE WORLD GOING CRAZY?

Maybe Trump and his supporters may seem ‘crazy’, but pundits are missing the point.

What struck me the most was this constant narrative that somehow the world has become this insane and dangerous place and we need somebody to take charge and make everything “safe” and “secure” for us again. At one point there was even a gigantic projection of the words, “Make America Safe Again” at the back of the stage.

The author is right in this regard, but although the United States is doing well according to a wide variety of metrics (steady GDP growth, booming stock market, low inflation, low violence, low crime, clean water, low infant mortality, etc.), many average Americans may not be fully participating in the process (or at least not as much as they felt they were in the 80′s and 90′s), or they feel ignored or sighted by the establishment, subjected to economic and social forces outside of their control. They perceive policy makers as showing more deference to either immigrants or moneyed elites than to just average citizens. Being patronizing (poor ol’ crazy Trump supporters too blinded by ideology and anger to know what’s good for them) , as the author seems to be, isn’t going to help his cause. Many people are simply tired of an unmovable status quo that seems to be stacked against them. Right now, there is a crisis affecting poor white Americans, that the media is largely ignoring.

A common argument is that Trump supporters are blinded by ideology.

This inattention to empirical evidence works both ways (for example, that some Trump supporter believe that world is dying, or the ‘left’ believing there is a ‘war on blacks’ by police or a campus ‘rape epidemic’, etc. ). I subscribe to the Bryan Caplan view that most voters are irrational by not knowing what is good for them (in the economic sense of the word ‘rational’) and are misinformed, but it’s better to find ‘common ground’ and ‘shared narratives‘ than to belittle or patronize those with whom we disagree with. Instead of getting mad at them or mocking them for being misinformed, try to understand why they think the way they do, and then try to find common agreement, and then maybe fix the source of disagreement.

It’s also easy to fall into the trap of overgeneralizing.

There are many Trump supporters who are optimistic about the economy and don’t subscribe to a ‘doom and gloom’ worldview, an example being Mike Cernovich, who is both a Trump supporter and an optimist. They support Trump because he’s better than the alternatives, for example, not because these voters want to bring about the ‘end times’, are delusional, or are bitter about the world. I fall into this category. Despite being an economic optimist, I support Trump over Hillary or Sanders even though I don’t agree with Trump on everything.

Of course, ‘tribal identity’ play a major role too. Many people support candidate ‘x’ because he or she is not ‘y’ – and vice versa – without having a deep understanding of the issues. This is probably 75% (a guesstimate) of the total pool of voters. Maybe another 15% are swayed by specific issues more so than party loyalty and may defect under certain circumstances. And the remaining 10% are on the fence, and have no preexisting party loyalty. This 5-10% figure agrees with polls from the 2012 presidential election:

‘Culture Wars’ give way to ‘Shared Narratives’

As I explain in The Genius of Ross Douthat, partisanship and ‘culture wars’ have given way to ‘shared narratives and themes’ (existential matters, the economy, anxiety, distrust of elites, etc.) that cross the political aisle. This was especially evident during the 2016 GOP convention, where in his well-received speech Peter Thiel openly proclaimed being gay and implored the GOP to focus not on ‘culture’ issues (such as gender-neutral bathrooms) and instead focus on more ‘worldly’ objectives. From his speech:

But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can’t even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all. That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.

Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East. We don’t need to see Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it’s a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.

When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?

Of course, every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American. I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform; but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.

The US government being ‘broken’ is another example of a narrative that both liberals and conservatives can agree on. The same for how ‘culture wars’ (which he explicitly mentions in his speech) are a distraction, and how America should focus on ‘real problems’, not contrived ones.

His speech, arguably the highlight of the night and even overshadowing Donald Trump himself, was met by raucous cheers by the audience, indicating that perhaps the GOP has thrown in the towel on the culture wars. You see this in the online in the ‘alt right’ movement, with Milo who is openly gay as their ‘shitlord leader’. Or Donald Trump, who has positioned himself more as an ‘economic warrior’ or a ‘border-control warrior’ than a ‘culture warrior’. Hot-button issues such as abortion, gun control, contraception, gay marriage, or the ‘separation of church and state’ have been pushed to the periphery or ignored all together.

To some extent Scott also concurs, in POST-PARTISANSHIP IS HYPER-PARTISANSHIP:

The consensus explanation was that there was a moment in the 90s and early Bush administration when evangelical Christianity seemed to have a lot of political power, and secularists felt really threatened by it. This caused a lot of fear and arguments. Then everyone mostly agreed Bush was terrible, studies came out showing religion was on the decline, evangelicalism became so politically irrelevant that even the Republicans started nominating Mormons and Donald Trump, and people stopped caring so much.

Not only have they stopped caring that much about religion, but they’re willing to adopt progressive religious people as role models and generally share stories that portray religious people in a positive light. Pope Francis gets to be the same sort of Socially Approved Benevolent Wise Person as the Dalai Lama.

The Defense of Marriage Act was a big deal, until the court struck it down in 2013 and everyone seemed to stop caring. Same for Obamacare, which generated a lot of heated, emotional debate between 2009-2013, and now it’s just become background noise, something that is annoying but tolerable. Prayer in schools, ‘under god’ in the pledge of allegiance, etc. were a big deal in the early-mid 2000′s, but now hardly any discussion about those things.

Perhaps many Americans have become inured and indifferent to ‘culture-war outrage’ and ‘partisanship’ that reached a fever pitch in 2008. Tribal politics were more appealing during periods of economic crisis like in 2008 or in the early 2000′s after 911, but as the stock market keeps making new highs and companies like Google and Facebook keeps reporting blowout earnings and computer sci and math become more important than ever, people are now seeking nuance and understanding, as part of the rise of ‘shared narratives’ and intellectualism. Instead of duking it out about gender-neutral bathrooms, people are now wondering if post-scarcity is possible, if quantum physics and relativity will ever be reconciled, if wealth inequality threatens the economy, if liberal arts degrees instead of STEM are a waste of money, if the stock market is a good buy at these levels, or if the singularity is near.

The traffic of medium.com and vox.com, two sites that epitomize the post-2013 trend towards ‘wonkish’ journalism and intellectualism, have exploded in recent years:

Although Vox.com, overall, does have a liberal bias, they frequently entertain contrarian, non-PC ideas as IQ-determinism, the Revolutionary War being a bad idea, and feature-length write ups about neoreaction (NRx) and the ‘alt-right’. These contrarian articles, as well as articles that are chock-full full of data and graphs instead of emotive partisanship, and the fact that these articles always go viral, is part of bigger trend of an ‘intellectual renaissance’ of sorts unfolding in America.

Same for medium.com, another website that entertains contrarian and complicated, intellectual stuff, that is seeing massive growth since 2013 and is now one of the top-400 sites in the world according to Alexa. Just this morning I checked my email and in the spam folder are tons of articles from Medium about programming, technology, psychology, machine learning, and other smart topics. It’s not like I deliberately chose to follow bloggers who write about smart subjects – the whole site is like that.

RE: History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

Interesting article: History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

This passage stood out:

Indeed, many takes on the effects of the Black Death are that it had a positive impact in the long term. Well summed up here: “By targeting frail people of all ages, and killing them by the hundreds of thousands within an extremely short period of time, the Black Death might have represented a strong force of natural selection and removed the weakest individuals on a very broad scale within Europe

Too bad America has a system of ‘reverse Darwinism’ where billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year keeping the least fit alive.

This article was recommended 5,000 times on Medium , which is a huge amount, indicating that topics of such as euthanasia and eugenics can gain wider acceptance if they are presented as an extension of Darwinism or in some sort of historical context, as a way of improving society.

Mugabe is a very good case in point. He whipped up national anger and hatred towards the land owning white minority (who happened to know how to run farms), and seized their land to redistribute to the people, in a great populist move which in the end unravelled the economy and farming industry and left the people in possession of land, but starving. See also the famines created by the Soviet Union, and the one caused by the Chinese Communists last century in which 20–40 million people died.

Between the Holodomor, Pol Pot’s killing fields, and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Communism has a significantly higher death toll than fascism, but the left tries to dust this inconvenient truth under the rug. To borrow from Land, liberalism (specifically, welfare-liberalism and revolutionary forms of liberalism) is inherently entropic in that it results in disorder, versus the ‘natural’ order of the strong and productive rising above the weak and lazy. Liberalism seeks to invert this hierarchy to create equal outcomes, even if society is worse-off as a result. Classical liberalism, although it’s still liberalism, is predicated on equal opportunity instead of equal outcomes, and is not (in theory) entropic. The reactionary argument is that classical liberalism is a stepping stone to full-blown welfare/revolutionary liberalism, and this is a valid point.

That was Hitler, but it was also Mussolini, Stalin, Putin, Mugabe, and so many more. Mugabe is a very good case in point. He whipped up national anger and hatred towards the land owning white minority (who happened to know how to run farms), and seized their land to redistribute to the people, in a great populist move which in the end unravelled the economy and farming industry and left the people in possession of land, but starving. See also the famines created by the Soviet Union, and the one caused by the Chinese Communists last century in which 20–40 million people died. It seems inconceivable that people could create a situation in which tens of millions of people die without reason, but we do it again and again.

[...]

Trump is doing this in America. Those of us with some oversight from history can see it happening. Read this brilliant, long essay in the New York magazine to understand how Plato described all this, and it is happening just as he predicted. Trump says he will Make America Great Again, when in fact America is currently great, according to pretty well any statistics.

The article however falls apart when the author tries to equate Trump’s populist support with mass-murdering genocidal dictatorships. That’s a pretty huge leap to make…and one that almost borders on paranoia, as in the case of Ross Douthat a couple days ago when he had meltdown on Twitter over Trump.

The author’s thesis is that Trump will doom the economy, but Trump will never have enough power to do that. Despite the incompetence and ineptitude of Obama, I remained bullish on the US stock market all through 2011 and up until now, because of the strength of the private sector, the efficacy of the fed, and the ingenuity of America’s best and brightest, to overcome eight years of Obama, and I was right. Not to only pick on the ‘left’, the consensus is that George W. Bush was a lousy president, but the economy survived him, too. Companies Facebook, Google, Amazon keep reporting blowout numbers quarter after quarter. The federal reserve is actually more powerful than the executive branch, and fed policy moves the markets whereas Obama almost never moves the market. Also, unless there is crisis that demands urgent action, it takes years to get policy passed through the house and senate.

But for those at the sharp end — for the thousands of Turkish teachers who just got fired, for the Turkish journalists and lawyers in prison, for the Russian dissidents in gulags, for people lying wounded in French hospitals after terrorist attacks, for those yet to fall, this will be their Somme.

The author seems confused. He is right about Mugabe’s famine, but fails to realize that liberalism is also to blame for terrorist attacks in Europe, too.

So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover, and move on.

If history is so certain, there is something called the NYSE and there are many people happy to take the opposite side that bet.

Here is how I would play it: if there is global upheaval, the US will still come out ahead, and yields on all duration treasury bonds will plunge to zero, so one can make money regardless of the outcome by going long America (S&P 500) and shorting Europe and emerging markets, while also going ‘long’ treasuries. Even if there is peace (which I think is still the mostly likely outcome) the S&P 500 should still outperform Europe (which is weakened by Brexit), and treasuries should do well too.

Against the Elite

It should be fairly obvious to readers that I’m not not a populist nor do I have ‘solidarity’ with populist/collectivist causes, whether it be organized religion, organized labor, political parties, or the ‘middle class’. Individualism within a ‘state‘ and enforcement of ‘rule of law’ (the minarchist approach) is my ‘interpretation’ of ‘Reaction’. Yours may differ.

The response by the ‘alt right’ to Kevin Williamson’s ‘mean’ NRO article read like something from Huffingtonpost, Alternet, or MotherJones. There seems to be a common thread among some on the ‘far right’ between post-structuralism and anarcho-primitivism, in rejecting certain aspects of modernity (the cognitive & financial elite and free market capitalism, for example), the result being a sort of anti-establishment liberalism.

Perhaps Kevin raised some valid points about the need for individuals and communities to bear some responsibility for their blighted economic and social conditions. Even if biology (low IQs , high time preference, etc) impairs the ability of some to improve their lives, it doesn’t mean we have to feel sorry for them – or even concern. In much the same way a wildlife photographer doesn’t mourn a cheetah taking down a gazelle, Social Darwinism shouldn’t make us too ill at ease either.

But on the other hand, the importance community and nation cannot be ignored, but I don’t take the noblesse oblige concept as far as he does. Maybe the hierarchy is like this:

Nation > state > community > family > individual

There is probably some optimal balance between individualism and community, as well as how much of a ‘duty’ the well-off have to help the disadvantaged, which I discuss in further detail in Against Intellectualism.

As I explain in Pencil Pushers these cognitive meanies happen to create the jobs that give these mediocre people livable wages, as going out your ‘own’ is not only much harder, but pays less. This is not even econ 101; it’s common sense.

We can offer advice, as Kevin does, and whether they choose to heed it in their hands or genes.

Scott agrees with Free Northerner, writing:

….Second, a bunch of atheist homosexual polyamorous feminist liberals are doing absolutely fine, and in fact statistically these people do better than traditional religious folk in a lot of ways. Northerner’s post solves both of these in one fell swoop: it theorizes that the genetically gifted have low impulsivity, low time-preference, etc and will succeed (almost) no matter what; these people support liberalism because they don’t need traditional morals and feel like such morals are bogging them down. The genetically unlucky are in great danger of social failure, but traditional values and culture are a guide for them to live their lives in ways that nevertheless let them flourish. For example, an upper-class Ivy Leaguer might be able to practice free love and experiment with drugs without serious consequences; a lower-class hillbilly might try exactly the same thing and end up a teenage single mother addicted to meth. Conservative ideas like chastity and avoiding drugs would be useless baggage tying the upper class down, but vital to the lower class’s continued success. This idea is very appealing in tying a lot of conservatives’ favorite hobby-horses together and making liberals look like the privileged bad guys throwing the lower class under the bus for the sake of the well-off, but thus far people have been content to raise it and let it speak for itself; the next step is for somebody to really start presenting evidence for or against….

The myth cosmopolitan elite vs. the poor, uneducated conservative doesn’t necessarily hold up to scrutiny. Its a very enduring narrative – of the obedient poor being exploited by the perfidious elite, popularized by Thomas Frank’s bestselling What’s the Matter With Kansas, a thesis which has received criticism. The relationship between IQ and political preferences are not clear-cut:

It would seem like the most and least educated tend to lean Democratic.

Nature-defying leftists think they can remodel men and make them all into perfect new socialist men. All men are blank slates that can be molded by education to become perfect. Man is perfectable. Of course, every attempt at perfecting man has failed.

Modern conservatives, having whole-heartedly adopted liberalism, fall into the tabula rasa trap from a different angle. All men are capable of perfecting themselves, they just need to become rugged individualists and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. While personal responsibility and individual effort are important, to think that all men are capable of self-actualization in anomic isolation is just as nonsensical the New Soviet Man.

Agree. Both the ‘pull-yourself-up/better families’ and ‘not enough welfare and education sending/too much racism’ explanations fail to take into account human biology and thus are insufficient. We (the general public and politicians) want to believe that society can ‘perfect’ man, to avid having to confront the more unpleasant reality: that maybe some people are ‘born better’ than others, and hence no amount of blame, hope, government spending, or wishful thinking will ameliorate problems that are inherently biological, not political. And those who speak against perfectibility in favor of biology tend to be punished, as in the case of Larry Summers, Tim Hunt, James Watson, and others.

Scott also asks:

… although it has fun using new genetic discoveries to mock socialist concepts of human malleability, a full biodeterminism would equally negate the conservative insistence on instilling traditional values – if things like conscientiousness and criminality are mostly genetic, why care if people have traditional values or not?

HBD-conservatives may argue that although individuals, due to biology, may not have much control over their actions, they should still not be shielded from the consequences of their actions. Second, HBD-based policy can be used to improve society, rather than current environment-based programs that are costly and largely ineffective.

Free Northerner continues:

Finally, just to make it clear, there is nothing shameful about not being an aristocrat or priest or with being a yeoman, peasant, or even a slave. While our modern status structure prizes the priestly class (ie. the educated, the academic, the high-IQ, the journalist, the bureaucrat, etc.) as having status above all, primarily because the priestly class seized the status hierarchy for themselves through their control of modern mass communications, this is a corrupt and degenerate status hierarchy. (The aristocratic class is all but dead). The denigration of the admirable yeoman or peasant and the loss of the status that used to be given granted to an honest blue-collar family-men is an evil corruption.

Anybody, who knows their proper position in the hierarchy and faithfully renders their duties should receive the proper honour and status. Such is right and noble. The priestly class should and will pay dearly for their destruction of the natural status hierarchy.

This is true. There is a lot of degeneracy among the ‘priestly class’. But in any sufficiently advanced society, ‘status’, if it is to mean anything, is not given or bestowed just for existing or being average, it is earned. Otherwise, you just have participation trophies. Hierarchy by definition means some will have more status than others. Honer seems more equitable though, but even still people on the top of the hierarchy will tend to get more honor, too. Equality under the rule of law is the only equality that is, ultimately, noble and just.

Working-class whites (and blacks, and hispanics) are not able to and can not be expected to function in an inhuman, cutthroat, anomic socio-economic system designed by and for upper-middle class WASPS and Jews.

Yet millions of these people do have jobs and have a relatively good standard of living compared to the poor of the rest of the world, thanks to the ‘elite’who create jobs, just to put things in perspective. If you think America is awful (and I agree there is a lot of room for improvement), just read the newspaper of any non-European country and it’s not uncommon to find headlines about people dying in heinous acts of terrorism and other violence – bus bombings, suicide bombings, real rape (not the fake kind), war, etc.