An Alternate Theory: Gell-Mann Amnesia

UPDATE (8/19/14):  Take it from Stacy McCain, if not from me.  My sentiments exactly.

 

Ace thinks the Amazing Ever-Changing Narrative re: Michael Brown comes from leftist reporters (BIRM) treating their readers like children.

The media is writing their reports like Children’s Stories because they conceive of their audience as essentially children, whom you must protect from jarring facts which might teach “the wrong lessons.”

Allow me to suggest an alternate theory: It’s the lefty reporters themselves who are the children.

Have you heard of Gell-Mann Amnesia?  It’s a coinage of the late, great Michael Crichton:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray [Gell-Mann’s] case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

We always forget that reporters are, as a group, incredibly stupid and woefully uninformed about basic stuff.  They’re not presenting big, complicated, messy stories as Aesop’s Fables because they’re afraid their readers will draw the “wrong” conclusions.  This is literally how they themselves understand the world.  Brown’s black, the cop’s white, what more is there to say?  If they could handle nuance and ambiguity, they wouldn’t think these

BvPX1U1IMAAPttBare rubber bullets.

It’s pretty simple: The left and the media (BIRM, of course) really really really wanted George Zimmerman’s white hispanic scalp last summer.  Or, failing that, a good old fashioned race riot; either one would distract from the ongoing implosion of the entire liberal project.  Or, ideally, both — Obama could give a few thousand more speeches, and they could cover those speeches, and pronounce them supra-Churchillian and uber-Lincolneque, and wouldn’t that be just swell?

But they didn’t get either, and they’re determined not to let another golden opportunity slip away.

That’s it.  They’re petty, petulant children who can’t even grasp the extent of their own ignorance.  But we can.  Don’t fall victim to Gell-Mann Amnesia.

The F-Word, Again

If you don’t want to hear any more about it from me, there’s always science fiction author John C. Wright.

One thing Wright doesn’t emphasize (because he’s talking about theory, not practice) is the sense of belonging that gives both Fascism and Communism their appeal.  Marx wrote so convincingly about “alienation” because he was an omega male loser, writing to other omegas (it’s no accident that a communist lady once observed that “the leaves die wherever we go“).  Having the correct opinion about politics is literally the only thing these people have going for them, and they’d rather die than give it up (many of them did).

The same is true of National Socialism.  We’ve been so over-exposed to Hitler that it’s almost impossible to get a sense of this now, but try watching a special on the Third Reich with the sound off and your eyes half closed.  Turn off, if you can, the part of your brain that says “ah yes, this is the 1935 Party Rally” and just look at the images on the screen.  Doesn’t Nazism seem… cool?  Exciting?  Thrilling?  The boots, the drums, the flags, the torches… it’s a high school pep rally on speed and X and mescaline.  The doctrines have nothing to do with it.  You respond primally.  Which is why, if you’ll recall, leather-jacketed shop kids and study-hall Sartres alike scored pep rallies and all that rah rah bullshit… but they went all the same.  You know, just to make fun of all the squares who like it.

This is why no leftist can never be argued out his leftism.  Because Marx’s theories a) purport to be scientific, and b) are obviously crack-brained gibberish, conservatives have been “debating” leftists to no avail since the middle of the 19th century.  Leftoids are impervious to facts and reason, because facts and reason never had the first thing to do with anything.

And that’s why I think something like fascism is inevitable here.  Wright may or may not think so (I’d guess not), but he’s dead on the money with this:

Conservatism (ironically, considering the firm, clear, and abstract ideals of the movement) prides itself on practicality and the lack of an abstract ideology; since National Socialism likewise sought a pragmatic method of putting the Marxist program of heaven on earth into practice, both are distinct from the airy and ethereal intellectual carbon monoxide fumes which pass for ideals in the brains of the Left.

The veneer of practicality + the primal appeal of flags and badges and uniforms = widespread electoral appeal.  The only thing needed to complete the coup is culturally sanctioned hate, and oh boy have Our Betters, the liberals, prepared us beautifully for that.  I’ll quote Henry Hazlitt again:

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others.

Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weaknesses, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects — his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity. Never believe in the honesty or disinterestedness of anyone who disagrees with you.

This basic hatred is the heart of Marxism. This is its animating force. You can throw away the dialectical materialism, the Hegelian framework, the technical jargon, the ‘scientific’ analysis, and millions of pretentious words, and you still have the core: the implacable hatred and envy that are the raison d’être for all the rest.

Our Betters, as we well know, are functional illiterates who have never read their movement’s scriptures, but they’re past masters at aping Marx’s fundamental attitudes:

Ask a leftist what she’s for, and you’ll get a list of gassy bromides about “equality” and “justice.”

Ask her how that’s to be achieved, though, and the first words out of her mouth will be “first we have to stop / end / eliminate _____,” where the blank can be filled in with whatever you like.

Ask her how we’re to achieve that, and it will always boil down to people like her depriving people like you of something you have — guns, votes, money, speech, whatever.

Ask her, then, what happens when only the elect have guns, money, votes, and speech, and….. no answer.

And no answer.

And no answer, because there is no answer.  Like Marx, like Lenin, like Hitler, she has no idea what the socialist utopia could possibly look like.  Not because she lacks imagination, but because utopia never had anything to do with it.  The entire leftist project, from start to finish, is about nothing more than culturally-sanctioned hate.  I hate you because you have more, but as I am a Good Person, I don’t hate — only right wingers do that!  I only want to take away your money, your guns, your vote, your speech, your life for the greater good.  That it will satisfy me on a deep personal level to see you suffer is just a coincidence, I’m sure.

The American left’s biggest mistake of these last few decades is to assume that history’s arrow flies only in one direction.  What’s done can never be undone; there is only “progress;” the clock can never be turned back.  We will always have the leisure security and money money money to burn on “animal rights” and “gay marriage” and “pacifism.”  The only thing preventing free health care and Skittle-shitting unicorns for all is meanness.

What they don’t see is that they’ve sawed the branch out from under them with this nonsense.  They don’t see — probably can’t see — that in pushing all of this on us, they’ve alienated a very substantial fraction of the population.  They have openly declared themselves the enemies of straight white Christian males, not realizing that in doing so, they’ve given their enemies all the tools needed to organize against them.  As they of all people should know, he who controls the discourse controls the country.  Flip “hate” to “pragmatism,” and you’ll have fascism here in fairly short order.

Obamacare is a prime example.  Leftwingers may be idiots, but they’re not stupid.  They knew — and they now admit — that there will be death panels.  But trapped as they are in their illusion of “progress,” they really seem to believe that these will be administered on a case-by-case basis.  And not, say, disproportionally directed at a disfavored group.  Because that would be “hate,” right?

Except when it’s pragmatism. What happens when the money starts running out and the electorate starts noticing that a certain demographic practices a lifestyle that almost guarantees a long, very expensive demise?  And that this lifestyle by definition isn’t adding anymore suckers productive citizens to the tax base?

You know, hypothetically.

In short: A movement that openly, unabashedly promises to administer the all-encompassing nanny state for the benefit of [take your pick] whites / Christians / straights / the native-born but calls it pragmatism could clean up at the polls in a lot of jurisdictions right now.  Throw in a well-orchestrated social movement – a Red Guards, a Bund Deutscher Madel — and you’ve got American Fasicsm, in practice if not name.

And the left made it happen.

Musings on Suicide

So, this story

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/08/11/robin-williams-dead-at-63-in-suspected-suicide-officials-say/

broke today. Robin Williams, aged 63 and one of America’s most beloved actors, has committed suicide. Millions are heartbroken, he was a gifted actor, his fellow stars enjoyed working with him, we’ll all miss him…blah blah blah. The president even took time out of his busy schedule of golfing, fundraising, giving speeches, and otherwise ignoring America’s problems to get in a kind word or three.

Great.

Just great.

You know what this says to me? It says, “The fame, the fortune, the adulation of millions – it just wasn’t enough for me. I couldn’t kick my drug habit and stop feeling sorry for myself, so I threw my life away. Screw you, fans.”

He became bored with life and decided to off himself.

Did those words actually come out of Robin Williams’ mouth? No, but that’s precisely what’s being said by the act of killing himself.

It’s been less than 24 hours since his body was found, and already the Internet is abuzz with talk about what a great guy he was, what a tragedy this is, and so on and so forth. My Facebook feed is cluttered with people crying over it.

You know what? I’m going to go against the grain here. Screw that guy. Screw him. Screw Robin Williams. I don’t feel sorry for him and I’m not calling his death anything other than what it actually is – a waste.

And it’s the worst kind of waste – the self-inflicted kind. The guy at least $50 million, had a long string of high profile credits earned over a four-decade career in film and television, and the adulation of millions. It wasn’t enough, apparently. He’d spent most of his life battling drug and alcohol addiction – in and out of rehab – and when he couldn’t sack up and get over his issues, he decided death was the answer.

Is Robin Williams the first celebrity to have a drug problem? Certainly not – it seems like most of them have at one time or another. We all can come up with the names of those who died of overdoses, from Jimi Hendrix to Amy Winehouse and hundreds of others. But those people died in an accidental way. They made poor choices. So did Williams, but unlike the others, he actually sought death. He willfully and intentionally killed himself.

Williams is guilty of murder – the murder of self. He took life – a great gift, one being denied right now by evil men such as the blood-soaked terrorists plaguing Christian communities in Iraq. Denied 3,000 times/day in American abortion mills. And threw it away. He threw away not only life itself, but also the other gifts God had given him: acting talent in such quantity as to earn him $50 million (and that’s just what he still had at the end, not what he actually raked in over the years). He was an international acting sensation, a man millions upon millions of people wanted to meet, wanted to emulate, wanted to honor just because he’d done such a good job entertaining them.

He
Threw
That
All
Away.

Can you get your head around that? I’m having trouble with it, personally.

Suicide is a despicable, disgusting act – one of the most hateful and selfish things a person can do. No matter what kind of signs there were (or weren’t) there before, what kind of notes of explanation might be left behind, the bereaved will never feel like they have the answer to the two big questions – “Why did this happen?” and “Was there something I could have done to prevent this?”

Now, a friend on FB criticized me for my remarks. She said that while she agreed with me, that I was long on judgment and short on compassion for Mr Williams. You know what I said to her?

What can I say? Suicide angers and disgusts me. My uncle took a troubled youth into his home and showered him with kindness. The little punk repaid him by stealing his handgun, blowing his own head off, and leaving his body for my aunt to find.

And I’m watching my dad – who is about the same age as Williams – struggle with addiction to the same drugs, and depression – and go on and on about how life isn’t worth living – when he’s surrounded by people who love him, and more money than I’ve ever seen. So forgive me if I’m coming up short on “compassion” today.

Compassion is great, but I reserve it for people who’ve been dealt a bad hand in life – who suffer through no fault of their own – especially those who don’t lose their optimism and their faith in God despite that suffering. Those are the people who are truly worth our compassion. Right now, I’m feeling compassion toward Robin Williams’ wife and family and the fans of his movies, not the man himself.

I don’t have compassion for people who commit suicide. It’s a crime against God, who is our Creator and our Maker. He’s the one who formed us together in the womb and is willing to walk beside us all the days of our lives, no matter how good or bad it gets (Psalm 23 comes to mind here). Our bodies are not our own, but belong to our Creator (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Williams violated the covenant God has made with all men – to be born, to live, and to die on God’s timeline and according to His prerogative – not our own.

Robin Williams failed to place his faith, trust, and hope in our Lord, in Jesus, the one who promised He would be with us always, even to the end of the age. He destroyed the body God created for him. He willfully chose to use drugs and alcohol. He willfully chose not to use the resources available to him in such a way as to beat addiction for good.

So rest in peace, Robin Williams. And screw you.

Checking My Work

I know at least 2 of our 3 regular readers don’t like it when I talk about onrushing fascism.  But the good news is, you can check my work!  If one understands the appeal of fascism, as I believe I do, and knows something of its history, one should be able to predict fairly accurately how it will manifest itself here.  So let me take a stab at one particular manifestation.

First, read this.  Or, if you don’t want to skim the whole thing, read this:

The economy declines, jobs leave for other climes, the petroyuan looms, college graduates crushed by debt find no work, the middle class shrinks, and the young begin to live perforce with their parents. Times of diminishing expectations are dangerous.

City after city joins the ranks of the bankrupt, semiliterate, corrupt black Bantustans which by honest naming would be called Lower Third World. Their culture is utterly alien to that of Eurowhites. Across the open border to the south pour huge waves from the Latino slums, less alien to Eurowhites, less hostile, but nonetheless threatening to form yet another country within a country. The Third World proportion of America closes rapidly on a full third. Despite desperate attempts to impose multicultural harmony, experience shows that widely disparate peoples who do not like each other do not enjoy happy endings. My country ‘tis of three, sweet land of dystrophy….

Fascism, and especially Nazism, were social movements long before they were political movements.  The Friekorps from which the Nazis grew were primarily anti-Bolshevik, not anti-Semitic.  The Nazis conflated the two, of course — not without reason — but the pall of unease that hung over all of Weimar had much more to do with democracy and decadence than anything else.  In those conditions, the appeal of discipline, of goals, of men who are openly and proudly for something that wasn’t either foreign (Jewish) eggheadery or effete decadence can’t be overstated.

So: Remember the Promise Keepers?  The media and the left (BIRM) couldn’t scream loud enough that their gatherings were the new Nuremberg Rallies (a search of NOW’s archives is also instructive, though all those links are conveniently dead).   And that was back in the 1990s, when the economy was strong, the borders were less porous, and the Muslim fanatics who were trying to murder us were only intermittently succeeding, so nobody was listening.  (It helped that one of their founders, Colorado University football coach Bill McCartney, was an outspoken badthinker with a zipper problem).

Note well:  I am not saying that the Promise Keepers were Nazis, or that they are Nazis (it seems they still exist).  All things considered, they look like a pretty decent group of guys to me.  But note their mission.  Note their values.  Note the media’s all-out efforts to smear them.  And, most importantly, note the timing.

A family-n-values social organization had deep mass appeal in the nineteen nineties, a.k.a. the most prosperous and secure decade in the history of the human race.  Opposition to politicized “diversity” and militant homosexualism was filling football stadiums twenty years ago, back when nobody had ever heard of “gay marriage” and our president, loathsome as he was, at least pretended to care about the country he ruled, and wasn’t importing the Third World as fast as their tubercular lungs could move them.

There will be another Bill McCartney, with less emphasis on the peace-n-love dimension of Jesus’s teachings and a lot more of the fire and brimstone and righteous anger.  And when the press goes all-in trying to smear him, and paint his followers as Nazis, and accuse him of using racial and sexual code words, and of trying to turn America’s white young men into patriotic little robots, he’s going to say: “Yeah.  So?”

This will cause the entire media-industrial complex to explode…. and gain him about a zillion new followers.

Maybe I’m wrong.  I don’t think so.  But it’s easy to prove it if I am.  I give it five to ten years — faster if we’re dumb enough to elect Hillary! (you can guess which way I’m betting), a little slower if a Romney clone wins in 2016.

Things I Wish Conservatives Understood: The Endless Fight Against Tribalism

Yesterday we explored the idea that all organizations, even the explicitly right-wing ones, eventually drift left.  One of the two main reasons for this, I argued, is simple tribalism.  I want to expand on that a bit today.

I.

Conservatives like to argue that “conservatism is the negation of ideology.”  And in some senses, that’s true.  You may not believe in the Gods of the Copybook Headings, but they most certainly believe in you, and you can’t argue them away (which is what “ideology” boils down to).

But leftism isn’t an ideology.  All their blather can be reduced to one sentence:

Hate the man who is better off than you are.

That’s not a political program, much less a worldview.  It’s just an ugly fact of human nature, gussied up in the impenetrable lingo of German Idealist philosophy by a talented grifter and his bloodthirsty disciple.  Tackling it on the intellectual level is wrong.  Marxism isn’t rational, it’s rationalistic.

II.

Rationalism is the notion that reason alone — independent of experience — is the only true source of knowledge about the world.  But experience is the school of mankind, and we can learn at no other.  “Reason” invariably becomes rationalization, which makes all organizations into tribes.

An example:  Even the staunchest libertarians among us would argue that national defense is one of government’s few legitimate functions.  We know this through unaided reason (very few of us, thank God, having experienced life during an invasion).  But people who are actually employed by the defense forces don’t think of it in those terms.  Rationally, the members of the 43rd Kazoo Battalion (Air-Mobile) know that times and technologies change, and armies must change with them to fulfill the one and only core function reason allots them.  A rational commander of the 43rd, therefore, would eventually find himself arguing for his unit’s dissolution.

Is he actually going to do that?  Of course not.  He’ll set his whole staff to proving that the loss of the 43rd Kazoo Battalion would be an irreparable harm to the morale of the entire 6th Old-Timey Carnival Division, and thus to the army as a whole.  A cynical observer would say he’s just doing it to preserve his own job (and that cynic is probably right), but — and this is the point — the commander himself wouldn’t think of it that way.  He’d justify his decision to himself in terms of the organization, and the members of the organization, and those who depend on the organization.  What about Major Bob, with his sick wife and five hungry kids to feed?  What about all the kazoo contractors put out of work?  The poor single moms who make their living cleaning up around the base?

Military efficiency has been demoted to a secondary concern, you’ll notice.  The purpose of the organization as a whole — national defense — no longer even registers.  The 43rd’s commander could no doubt give you an impassioned speech on the nature and purposes of the armed forces, and their place in the maintenance of free government.  He surely can tell you why units like the 43rd Kazoo Battalion (Air-Mobile) should be decommissioned.  But when it comes to his own outfit, all that reasonable stuff goes out the window, replaced by the mental picture of Major Bob’s starving kids.  And this in an organization that just about everybody thinks is right wing!

III.

Conservatives, at least, have the bulwark of their ideology to mitigate this kind of thing.  It’s not likely, but it’s at least possible that the 43rd’s commander will examine the situation in the light of his beliefs about government, and lay down his command.  Capital-T Truth, as he understands it, might trump tribe.

Leftists don’t even have that.  Tribalism is a feature, not a bug, of the leftist worldview.  Marx argued that

It is not consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.

If that’s true, then you can change human nature itself by force.  Which — if rationalism is true — means you can change reality by force.  Humanity’s new and improved social being will have a new and improved consciousness, which means a new and improved Reason, which means a new and improved Truth.

(Note that Erich Fromm, the author of the linked piece, backhandedly admits as much.  “[F]orce, for Marx, could have at most only a transitory significance, never the role of a permanent element in the transformation of society,” he writes.  Just so:  Once men are forced into a new social being, and thus a new consciousness, there will be no need to keep forcing them into it).

Thus Lenin’s brutal, brilliant summation of politics: Who?  Whom?  When truth itself can be altered by force, the only possible question is: Who’s going to win?

IV.

Everyone is susceptible to tribalism.  If one tribe embraces it, though, and practices it shamelessly and publicly, it corrodes the entire social structure.  By sticking to his guns, the commander of the 43rd put his whole unit, plus a whole lot of other people, out of a job.  A hoary old Roman senator of the early Republic might just do it, or a stiff-upper-lip Victorian civil servant somewhere east of Suez, but they lived in cultures that valued integrity.  In 21st century America, you’re a fool not to get yours as hard and as fast as you can, and anyone who put his group out of a job for anything as laughable as a principle would probably get sued for damages.

Group dynamics are entirely against us.  Conservatives have to understand that it probably will take someone falling on his sword — probably lots of someones — to even have a hope of turning the culture around.  Regardless, we have to understand that it’s an emotional issue, not an intellectual one, and this is why all organizations in modern America, even the explicitly right wing ones, drift left.

Introducing a New Category of Posts: “Things I Wish Conservatives Understood”

We’ve had “Things I Wish Liberals Understood” around here almost since the beginning.  And the list of basic, basic stuff that liberals just don’t get is long indeed (when it starts with stuff like “elementary arithmetic,” you know you’re looking at a steep climb).  But conservatives have their own idols of the tribe, and one of them is this:

Conquest’s Second Law of Politics doesn’t apply to all organizations, without exception.

Hence, this.  It should shock absolutely no one that the new Republican Party whip’s top consultant is basically a Democrat:

Let’s review Feehery’s history as a “communications aide” to House Leadership…he was Speaker Denny Hasteret’s spokesman. Yes Team GOP, by all means let us return to the glory days of Hasteret’s speakership. You know, the one that ended with the GOP being wiped out in 2006. But don’t worry, he only came to that job after working for Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm….

[Feehery] is a self-described “bi-partisan super lobbyist“…and he thinks the TEA party “must be crushed“.

The key word in Conquest’s Law is “organization.”  All organizations get more leftish over time, thanks to two simple, unalterable truths of human nature:

  1. Humans are tribal
  2. The future belongs to whoever shows up.

Number one guarantees that people invariably start putting the organization first.  American steel and auto workers, for instance, unionized themselves out of jobs.  Not because they were stupid, mind you, but because tribal loyalties trumped the big picture.  They saw that huge pay-and-benefit hike as a win for the union, not a killing blow to the entire industry.  And now a few lucky sods get huge paychecks to not make cars, and every other vehicle on the street is made in Korea. 

Number two means that the “best” people in any organization are the ones who actually do the paperwork.  Here again, consider unions.  Early labor organizers were famous for their iron feet and leather asses.  Or, if that’s too old-school, consider organizations like your local school board, or the PTA.  The only way to have input in committee meetings is to actually attend the meetings.  And who has the time — and, more importantly, the energy — for that?  And so the entire school district’s grading policy is changed in some obscure, seemingly senseless way that only benefits little Janey… because little Janey’s mom is the only one who sat through meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting…. when they finally voted on the proposal, she was the only one in the room still conscious.

So it goes with the GOP.  This Feehery guy, and his staff, are no different from a zillion other mid-level people inside the Republican Party.  The GOP could rebrand itself as the Fascist Party, or the Eco-Lunatic Party, or the National Association for the Advancement of Martians, and they’d still show up for work every day, because that’s their life.  It’s their job, but it’s also their social circle.  So long as the GOP keeps winning elections — and you’ll note that the Tea Party keeps getting jack shit electorally — they’ll keep beavering away.  So long as the organization, the brand, keeps turning a profit, the ideas behind it don’t matter at all.  Everyone still sits down at the same desk, with the same pictures of wife and kids and pets, and after work all the same people still go out for brews at the same bar.

If actual conservatives actually want to win something — and notice how branded and tribal “the Tea Party” already is — they’ll need to take a page from the communist playbook.  God alone knows what a conservative cadre would look like — I’m shuddering just typing the words — but that’s how you win.  Otherwise, take a good look at Conquest’s Laws, and keep looking until you get it.

Atheist Conservatives

Ace has an essay up I’m still mulling over, and I think it’s worth reading.  A quick thought:

For practical purposes, I’m one of those “atheist conservatives,”* and I see two big problems with Ace’s “tribalism” theory.

First, to whom are “we” atheist conservatives supposed to appeal?  Is someone really going to say “oh, go talk to Severian if you want to talk about conservatism, he’s not one of those fundamentalist whackjobs”?  That concedes waaaaaaaay too much of the argument to the leftist before it even begins (and that’s not even considering that a lot of those “fundamentalist whackjobs” are far better debaters than I’ll ever be).

Second, “Christianity” (broadly defined) is Western Culture (broadly defined).  If they’re consistent, atheists in western countries are cutting themselves off from 2000 years of culture — culture that’s more or less in our DNA at this point.  It can be done, of course, but you have to look elsewhere for your ethics — to Aristotle, say, or the Stoics, or the samurai.  And that’s a hard sell.  I’ve got a utilitarian, non-Christian case against “gay marriage,” but as it’s steeped in Western Culture — which is, again, Christian culture — there’s not much point in actually making it.  We’re making basically the same argument to the same purpose.

I dunno.  It’s worth thinking about, but I’m not sure how much it really matters.

 

*I’m not actually an atheist, and haven’t been for a long time.  After reading Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition, I realize atheism isn’t logically tenable.  But it’s a long leap from “some kind of God is logically necessary” to “that God is the Christian God, exactly as laid down by the Missouri Synod.”  Absent some actual revelation, I’m going to have to continue calling myself some kind of half-assed agnostic.  But in the sense Ace uses it, I’m indistinguishable from an atheist for political purposes.

RWCG Explains Our National Health Care Thing

Welcome to the new “constitutional” order.

In the mind of a run of the mill lefty Smart Person, once a Health Care Thing was passed, it was as if we had amended the Constitution. Scratch that; it was as if we had, instead, adopted a new, unwritten Constitution. It was a sort of infinite enabling-act allowing for a complete overhaul of our society, to do whatever it takes to cause it to have a National Health Care Thing. Having a National Health Care Thing, in other words, represented a sort of phase transition from our previous, nominally Constitutional arrangement, to our new, glorious National Health Care Thing-having arrangement.

A commenter asks for a catchall word to describe this.  I suggest Caesarism.

Caesarism is not dictatorship, not the result of one man’s overriding ambition, not a brutal seizure of power through revolution. It is not based on a specific doctrine or philosophy. It is essentially pragmatic and untheoretical. It is a slow, often century-old, unconscious development that ends in a voluntary surrender of a free people escaping from freedom to one autocratic master.

You know, The Decline of the West is a tough read, even in the highly abridged version.  But it’s worth getting familiar with the gist of Spengler’s ideas.