Every now and then one runs across a very good, thoughtful and even intellectually courageous Quora submission. This is one of them.
Two thoughts came to mind while reading this splendid piece. First, a few on the left are beginning to catch a glimpse behind the curtain. Recall that many Western communists in the 30’s and 40’s defected because they felt as if they simply were trapped on a treadmill of lies and self-contradiction.
We are beginning to see this now among at least a few on the left. A Few younger people are peering behind the curtain. What they discover are the same sorts of scabrous, self-aggrandising people associated with earlier iterations of the left who employed rhetoric purely with the intention of securing and remaining in power.
I also was reminded of something I read in Barbara Branden’s bio of Ayn Rand. Rand left the Soviet Union after it became apparent that she, as a bourgeois, college-educated Soviet citizen, would be enlisted throughout her life solely to work in an auxiliary role, consigned despite, her gifts, to menial tasks to serve the needs of the vanguard (working) class.
That is precisely what a few whites and principled people of color are realizing. A relative mentioned to me recently that this topic even comes up in the Showtime series White Lotus, which satirizes white privilege, guilt and all the other sundry pathologies allegedly bound up in Western culture.
Many affluent and middle-class whites are beginning to perceive that citizenship in the future will mean assuming middling jobs – support roles to serve what the elite class regards as vanguard groups, namely, people of color.
Indeed, I think that we will begin to see a growing number of middle-class whites foregoing college entirely in favor of trade-school, knowing full well that college, even elite colleges, no longer will afford aspiring whites upward mobility. This country will come more and more to resemble the post- Russian revolutionary world that faced Rand and other products of bourgeois backgrounds.
In the poem “Die Lösung,” written after the East German Communist state’s brutal suppression of the June 17, 1953 Workers Uprising, playwright Bertholdt Becht pointed out the remarkable fact that the regime actually distributed leaflets stating that “the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and [that they] could only win it back by increased work quotas.” Brecht then employed this brilliant rhetorical punch, phrased as a question, which struck at the very heart of this autocratic, self-serving regime: “Would it not in that case be simpler for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”
Reflect on this for moment: The U.S. Democratic Party is proceeding with a remarkably similar objective firmly in mind. It realizes that its path to permanent power – that is to say, vanguard party status not all that different from the East German Socialist Unity (i.e., Communist Party) – lies in demographic replacement of current voters with immigrants, overwhelmingly illegal immigrants. And here is the really frightening part: It very likely will achieve its goal.
Even so, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson has summoned the gargantuan fortitude to call out this strategy. And, predictably, all facets of left, particularly its agit/prop organs (i.e., Mainstream Media, Silicon Valley and unofficial censorship bureaus) are baying for cancelation of Carlson’s program.
Speaking as an avid Star Trek fan, I’m reminded of the Borg collective’s awakening and perfervid activity in response to anything it perceives as a threat to its vital functioning. And make no mistake: While at this point Carlson is little more than David battling Goliath, he has laid bare the Democrats’ paramount operating strategy: demographic replacement.
And let’s consider all of this alongside all the other advantages that the Democrats also have now secured. Not unlike the East German Communist Party in the decades following the suppression of its workers, the party has drawn close, horrifyingly close, to its ultimate goal of controlling the narrative through its command of all the major sources of cultural power: Mainstream Media, Silicon Valley, Big Entertainment, most of the federal bureaucracy and, even more alarming, the national security apparatus.
The Democratic Party is now even poised to squelch all forms of dissent, largely by applying the labels “Racist!” and “White Supremacist!” to them.
Underscoring the extent to which the party controls the narrative and displays many of the traits of a vanguard party, its leaders now openly extol a future in which this will be achieved – when states are transformed from red to purple and eventually to solidly and reliably blue states. Its objectives are hiding in plain sight and its operatives even feel confident enough to express this aspiration publicly, albeit in slightly veiled form.
As Carlson stresses, the party’s no longer interested in winning over voters through conventional rhetorical appeals, which have distinguished party politics in this country for more than two centuries, but rather, in unmistakable East German regime style, stacking the electoral deck unscrupulously and in ways that virtually guarantee their political hegemony for generations to come.
The Democratic Party now harbors such unbridled contempt for U.S. voters that it now has set about replacing them with an electorate of its own. And it is so caught up in it sense of entitlement and historical inevitability that it can’t even brook one lone political commentator who has summoned the temerity to call them out on it.
That is why Democratic Party should be regarded for what it is: a throughly corrupt, proto-totalitarian party, one that deserves nothing but our searing, undying contempt.
I’ve mentioned political columnist Andrew Sullivan a time or two before in this forum. He is no red-state sympathizer, and he undoubtedly would struggle with many of the hardened deplorable views I espouse frequently in this forum.
Even so, as a student and devotee of famed conservative philosopher Michael Oakshott, he frequently marshals – quite eloquently and brilliantly, in most cases – a stirring defense of those timeless things that have sustained our civilization for more than two millennia.
This most recent contribution, in which he discusses his ambivalence regarding the direction of his contemporary Catholic faith is especially appropriate for the Easter weekend – at least, I think so.
Reading this, for some reason, I couldn’t help but be reminded of philosopher Martin Heidegger’s characterization of human existence as a clearing of sorts. It relates somewhat closely to my own views about how we have used technology, language, writing and math to sculpt out across eons an understanding of our place within existence.
One integral expression of this, the Christian faith, notably in its Catholic form, has taken a rather severe thrashing in the last couple of decades. And, as Sullivan stresses, the pandemic has only exacerbated this challenge.
As he contends, we may come to regret the toll that these endless challenges have taken on the practice of the Christian faith within the last generation, especially in terms of what may have been irretrievably lost.
Anyway, I found this to be one of Sullivan’s more exceptional recent pieces.
The incomparable Victor Hanson Davis weighs in again on the deeply disturbing trend of rising intolerance of whites.
He raises a point, one that has always fascinated me, about how rhetoric, particularly political forms of it, are subject to endless mutation. And as he stresses, one of the most disturbing examples of this is reflected in the increasing use of the term “whiteness” among liberal and progressives to describe the underlying pathology with American society.
Until recently, the common term was white privilege, though it ultimately proved inadequate in the face of everyday reality. After all, as Hanson observes, it’s simply untenable to argue that “a white Dayton, Ohio tire-changer is innately blessed in a way an unfortunate Eric Holder or Jay-Z purportedly is not.” So, consequently, white privilege has given way simply to “whiteness,” which, needless to say, evokes disturbing parallels to “Jewishness,” of which the Nazis made such ready use in the years leading up to their seizure of power.
Plenty of ordinary people, certainly when engaged in private discourse with family and friends, readily discern the genocidal implications of this rhetoric.
Yet, there are legions of whites, even those from comparatively stereotypical “deplorable” socioeconomic backgrounds, who remain insouciant in the face of this of this rhetoric and the horrifying effects it likely will produce over the next few generations.
Indeed, reading Hanson’s account earlier this morning, I was invariably reminded of a family of especially rabid “yellow-dog Democrats” in my native Northwest Alabama hometown who incongruently remain committed evangelical Christians but who still eagerly regurgitate whatever tripe their ancestral party puts in front of them.
They still hold maniacally to this identity even today as their region’s economy, largely as a result of their party’s neoliberal policies, has undergone headlong decline.
Northwest Alabama, once one of the country’s most obstinate bastions of yellow-dog Democratic sentiment, now stands as one of the reddest of red GOP bastions in the country, even as this family still waves the blue flags of dissent on social media. One even embarked on a pathetically obscene Trump rant a few months ago, invoking the f-bomb multiple times.
They are proverbial Kool-Aid drinkers. Will they ever be awakened to what is unfolding.
When their grandchildren are singled out some day in public places and beaten senseless merely for bearing white skin, they likely will still be eagerly, even perfervidly, propagating ther party’s line.
But then, some people, irrespective of political conviction, will never yield to reality, especially when the truth proves too painful to accept.
I wrote a piece along very similar lines weeks ago, only this writer has said it much better.
In terms of the Supreme Court, we have witnessed a fascinating playing out over the past two centuries. In many respects the heightened prestige of the court and, even more significant and troubling, our increasing reliance on it, speaks volumes about the breakdown of American federalism. In many notable respects the court has come to redress the ineffiencies of the legislative branch, which the Founders envisioned as serving as the principal, if not sole, source of domestic policy making.
However, the legislature simply is ill-equipped to serve a federal system this vastly extended and, frankly, unwieldy and increasingly inefficient. Yet, as this columnist stresses, political and cultural divisions in this federal union are now so acute that the Supreme Court has to be extremely judicious about the issues it adjudicates, lest it destroys its remaining reservoirs of legitimacy.
The consequence has been increasing judicial branch impasse. And this raises the question: What element of federal power is capable of resolving what ultimately could prove to be an existential black swan crisis, one that even may involve the viability of the Federal Union?
This characteristically trenchant observation by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the late Lutheran theologian and martyr of Nazism, speaks to a egregious failing of of modern society, certainly the way it is expressed today in the digital age.
Simultaneously inspired and troubled by what I have witnessed over the past two generations, I have spent the last few years developing a concept I have come to call the “Networked Human Exoskeleton.”
I argue that not only human progress but also humanity itself sprang from a networking phenomenon that started with simple forms of technology (e.g., clubs and cutting tools) the effects of which over a long stretch of time were augmented by rudimentary language, followed much later by writing and mathematics.
Over many millennia the fusion of these four concepts not only shaped our hominin forebears into fully developed human beings but also enclosed our species into a kind of cocoon – an increasingly dense network that sustains and protects us but from which we are unable to escape. For several reasons, I settled on the term networked exoskeleton to convey the sense of ensconcement that characterizes our species. While some of it is quite tangible and reflected in the technology that we use, much of it is incorporeal in nature, though all of these elements are fused together to provide our species with the protection that corporeal exoskeletons provide crustaceans and insects.
Yet, by its very nature it is like no other exoskeleton on earth – a remarkable achievement that sets us apart from every other species on the planet. It’s growth within the past seven decades following the end of the Second World War has been nothing short of astonishing. We now inhabit an exoskeleton that extends it conceptual reach into the deepest reaches of our planet’s oceans and even beyond our solar system.
Yet, our exoskeleton, despite its age and enormous complexity, essentially is no different from the survival strategy of any other species in the sense that it represents only an improvisation across a very long stretch of time. Like every other evolutionary strategy on earth, our networked exoskeleton is only approximately rather than ideally suited to our species’ needs. Indeed there may come a day decades, centuries or millennia from now in which the evolutionary strategy embodied in our exoskeleton runs into an effective brick wall.
As I have expressed a few times in this forum, we very well may be fast approaching such as impasse. For many millennia, human beings were governed by overarching narratives supplied by myth and religion or a mixture of the two.
However, within the last few centuries, largely through rapid advances in scientific knowledge, these over-arching narratives have undergone steady erosion, perhaps most aptly embodied in Nietzsche’s observation about our having killed God. Consequently, society is now ignorant of a great many moral and ethical insights that were regarded as essential to the functioning of a healthy society only a few decades ago.
The Bonhoeffer quote above adequately expresses this unsavory fact of contemporary reality better than most others. All the more troubling to me and many others is the fact that so many moral and ethical appeals are now lost within a network that has now become so vastly extended and multifaceted. Indeed, it leads one to wonder if humanity will ever succeed in developing anything resembling a new over-arching narrative.
During the height of the Cold War, the expatriate Russian novelist and sage Alexander Solzhenitsyn observed that free speech, so widely affirmed as a sacred pillar of Western society, now essentially amounts to a dead letter because in a vastly extended and multifaceted consumer society such as ours, dissident speech has been rendered effectively meaningless.
So much has changed in the four-plus decades since Solzhenitzyn offered that observation. Indeed, due to advances in digital technology our network is now so vast and complex that all manner of philosophical and political appeals, even those issued with moral and ethical contexts, have been rendered effectively meaningless.
Consequently, Bonhoeffer’s warning about the propects of morality winning out in the face of rank stupidity seem more cogent and prophetic than ever before in history.
Why is it that so much of what is written today in the victimhood genre strikes me and many others as parody?
One of the most notable examples of late is a screed in The Nation written by a person of color who describes how he has ensconced himself within a dense web of material and technological comforts while anticipating the day, the dreaded day, when he reluctantly will have to emerge from this cocoon to confront once again all the indignities of white society.
Incidentally, he refers to this cocoon as his “whiteness-free castle.”
Hell, forget the parody and consider for a moment the irony bound up in all of this. But then, I doubt that he perceives any irony at at all – the fact that virtually all of the contemporary comforts in which he has enveloped himself all these months were achieved by the very civilization that he so obviously despises.
It’s also worth mentioning that this writer also possesses a singular educational pedigree, having graduated with a B.A. and J.D. from the educational institution that most embodies historic whiteness: Harvard.
Well, let’s just hope that the screen door, invented in 1887 by an Iowan named Elizabeth C Harger, presumably of European extraction, and, for that matter, refined over the past century and mass produced and marketed within a global economic system regarded as one of many crowning achievements of Western civilization doesn’t hit him in the ass on his to way to his first post-covid outing.
Mainstream media’s conspicuous silence in the aftermath of Biden’s very conspicuous fall on the steps leading to Air Force One is one of the many reasons reason why I will NEVER be lectured ever again by any liberal about anything.
If you’re old enough, you recall the unrelenting fun that SNL made of Republican President Gerald Ford’s repeated stumbles.
More recently, #AmericaPravda spared no effort to analyze anything and everything associated with Trump’s presumed physical and mental decline. But that is not surprising because Mainstream Media are Establishment media. They have been in service to a narrative since at least the FDR presidency and arguably earlier.
Whatever the case, American liberalism is nothing but a sick self-parody now days, evidence of this empire’s precipitous decline on all fronts, which is significantly of liberalism’s making. #LateAmerika #BrezhnevRedux
Speaking as one who has harbored a fascination with flags and symbolism for as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued with the amount of time legislators in several states have put into resolving issues related to their state’s symbols, notably flags.
Granted, the bulk of these challenges have been taken up by Southern legislatures as they are confronted with the sundry challenges associated the symbolism of the very late Confederate States of America, some of which is incorporated into their symbols.
Within the last generation two Southern states, Georgia and Mississippi, have undertaken wholesale revisions of their state flag, though Georgia opted in the end to retain a design inspired directly by the Confederacy’s first national flag, the Stars and Bars.
More recently, South Carolina is dealing with what could prove to be one of the most vexing challenges of all: settling on a standard for the state’s iconic Palmetto and Crescent symbol. Fortunately for South Carolina, this symbol predates the Confederacy and stems from the state’s distant Revolutionary past.
As it happens, the Palametto and Crescent flag hoisted daily over the Statehouse bears a somewhat different design than those displayed in the House and Senate chambers and the governor’s office.
Complicating matters is the fact that South Carolina, like many other frugal state governments, relies on private manufacturers to supply the flags it displays in official offices and on public grounds. And because the Palmetto and Crescent symbol never had been standardized, these companies supply different versions.
Consequently, the Legislature is now being challenged to adopt a standardized version of banner, one that has proven more challenging than any of the legislators anticipated.
Speaking as a proud Alabamian, I have to concede that I envy South Carolina immensely. No other state can hold a candle to the Palmetto and Crescent, except Texas, which possess the nation’s most iconic state symbol, the Lone Star flag, recognized the world over.
If only Alabama’s Yellow Hammer carried as much symbolic punch But alas, it is rooted in the Old Confederacy and sooner or later will be consigned to extinction – the symbol, not the bird – much like several Alabama college administrative buildings bearing the name of Gov. Bibb Graves, a noted educational reformer who also maintained KKK membership.
Whatever the case, I do think that the recent dust up over the Palmetto and Crescent is possibly highly instructive from a cultural standpoint.
In the face of an increasingly fraying American identity, state flags and symbolism are likely to become more significant in the future.
Way back in the mid-1970’s, I and my fellow classmates at Russellville Junior High School were blessed with an unusually gifted and dedicated 8th grade history teacher named Mary Alexander.
Mrs. Alexander, now long deceased, loved pointing out the irony of history, particularly in terms of how facets of it – whether these happened to be political or cultural ideals or ways of doing things – often re-expressed themselves at times when we least expected them, even when we thought that they had become discredited or simply had played out.
I never forgot her lesson. Indeed as an avid reader of history I am reminded of this on a frequent basis. Just when we think that some ideas have been discredited or forgotten and, consequently, consigned to history’s ashbin, they return with a vengeance, even with the sense of vibrancy and relevance that had distinguished them in previous decades or even centuries.
The rekindling of American federalism and even, perish thought, states rights, serves as an unusually timely example. I grew up at a time when federalism expressed as states sovereignty seemed throughly discredited. What seemed to have been an inexorable march toward human progress, LBJ’s Great Society programs, locked arm and arm with the civil rights struggle and the federal courts’ efforts to expunge the stigma of racial discrimination, seemed to have dealt, if not a fatal blow to states rights, at least a searing defeat that would leave this constitutional doctrine in what amounted to a semi-comatose state.
We were assured by teachers at every level of public education that states rights was a relic of the past – not just a quaint but even a disquieting one. I recall several political science courses in which the professor, a Great Society liberal, likened federalism to a marbled cake. The federal government was the cake, though states provided measure of enhancement, sort of like chocolate marbling.
Yet, history seems to be repeating itself with a vengeance. In the face of American federal impasse and national division, states, large and small alike, are reasserting the themselves. As I have pointed out on numerous occasions on this forum, it started more than a decade ago when then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger began characterizing his state as something resembling a nation within a nation. He successor, Jerry Brown, even began conducting a kind of incipient foreign policy related to climate change.
Recently, a prominent GOP leader, Allen West, has lobbied for a secession vote in the Texas State Assembly, a move that at least one GOP leader in another Western state characterizes not only as a positive move but also one that bears close watching.
More recently in Oregon, state Sen. Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) has proposed legislation that would reintroduce a state bank concept for Oregon, primarily with the aim of serving as a backstop for community banks and credit unions.
Golden holds up the Bank of North Dakota as the model for his efforts, stressing the role that this bank played in minimizing foreclosures during the Great Recession.
The Washington Post reports that small businesses in North Dakota, compared with their counterparts in other states, were ably served by this model. In fact, they secured more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans relative to the state’s workforce than other states, with more than $5,000 per private-sector worker as of May 8, 2020.
Yet, why is all of this surprising? States, by their very nature, possess the accoutrements of nationhood. And this is as much a matter of practicality as a historical fact.
As a student of constitutional history, I not only find this fascinating but also instructional in terms of how it underscores the increasing inefficiency of centralized federalism. If developments such as these demonstrate one thing, it’s that no central government, certainly one so big, bloated and overextended as the imperial behemoth in Washington, possesses the omnicompetence to manage a polity of the scale of the United States.
The late Mrs. Alexander was spot on: History does repeat itself.