It’s Inevitable, Part III

Karl Marx was wrong about a lot of things — economics, human nature — but he was right about alienation:

The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realized human being, as an economic entity, this worker is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value, in the course of business competition among industrialists.

Ignore the pseudo-economic jargon; the bolded phrase is the key.  Doesn’t that perfectly describe cultural life in 21st century America?

The entire cultural apparatus — all media, all education, K-thru-PhD — is dedicated to the Postmodern proposition that everything is a social construction.  And yet, nobody can ever point to a “society” that’s doing the “construction.”  That probably seems wrong, as the edutainment media complex blames everything on White Males.  But ask yourself: Do you personally know any white males — or anybody else for that matter — who has any of the powers ascribed to these fearsome creatures?   Sure, sure, Soros, the Koch Brothers, pick your devil, but again: do you personally know them?  Unless you’re in the “private jet for a ski weekend in the Swiss Alps” set, I bet you don’t (and if you are, what are you doing here?).  The richest, most powerful guy you know, I’m willing to wager, is effectively as powerless as you yourself are.  The Patriarch, for lack of a better term, is a myth — and everybody knows it.

Hence, alienation.  Which is more psychologically damaging, being told that you are a powerless pawn in the hands of an omnipotent elite… or being told that you are that elite, even as you see your supposed slaves voting you out of your job, your house, your country?  Either way, it’s no good.  Especially combined with that last part: deprived of the right to determine the character of their actions, and define their relationships with other people.  From Kindergarten, white kids are told that the character of all their actions is negative, and they relate to all others as exploiters.  Non-white kids are told that the character of their actions is “noble savage,” and they relate to whites as exploited.  That’s effectively the only thing you need to know to go all the way through a PhD; instilling that one lesson is the entire point of the American educational system, and they’re really good at it (h/t House of Eratosthenes).

It’s not psychologically sustainable.  Everyone needs something to believe in, as a wise man once said.  Hence the proliferation of weird sexual fetishes that become entire lifestyles: BDSM, furries, etc.  Or minor lifestyle fluff, that in normal times would hardly rise to the level of hobbies, becoming central parts of someone’s identity.  Fantasy football was a $70 billion dollar industry back in 2013… which, if I recall correctly, was Obama’s fifth straight “recovery summer,” i.e. the depths of the most serious depression since WWII.  Any guesses how much money grown men spend on anime, comic books, online gaming…?  And that doesn’t count porn, a $97 billion industry in its own right.  That’s just money, mind you — how many hours do you think all of that takes?  I’m not knocking anime, fantasy football, or porn.  I’m just asking you to consider how many hours of your life are taken up by those things — watching them, thinking about them, planning for them, discussing them.  There’s a large and growing segment of White America, I’m pretty sure, for which, if watching porn or online gaming were a job, their employers would be required to provide them an Obamacare plan.  That’s not good, but what other choice is there?  They’re not allowed to know anything about their culture, except that whatever it is, it’s evil.  So they have to make up their own…. and fight constant rearguard actions even then, as there’s no activity so obscure and pointless that the Left can’t politicize it.

Speaking of the Left, they suffer from this, too.  Worse, in fact — Wrongfans having Wrongfun isn’t a conservative preoccupation, after all.  DC people and Marvel people have strong opinions, I’m sure, but I don’t think they set out to ruin each others’ lives and families for holding the heretical opinion that Thor is better than Batman or whatever.  Lefties feel more alienated than anyone, which is why they’re so hysterical about everything — it’s nearly impossible to get the virtue signal through the noise.

Under those conditions, “all inside the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State” sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

National Customs

General Sir Charles James Napier, out adding to the Raj, came across a large bonfire and a wailing widow.  He asked the natives to explain, and they told him that this was sati, a time-honored custom in which a man’s widow was burned alive on his corpse’s funeral pyre.  To which Napier supposedly said,

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

We could learn a lot from Sir Charles.

“The self-determination of peoples,” as they called it back in Woodrow Wilson’s day, used to be a staple of Progressivism.  Lenin may be roasting in Hell, but he was right about World War I: Imperialism caused it; specifically, the fact that the existing empires had no where left to imperialize.  Take away the empires, smarter men than Lenin thought, and you’ll cut out a major source of conflict in the world.  What reason does the Austro-Hungarian Empire, for example, have to exist?  It’s an old-and-busted relic of an even older-and-busteder medieval relic, the Holy Roman Empire.  Gavrilo Princip would’ve had no beef with Franz Ferdinand had the Bosnians had their own state.  Woodrow Wilson agreed, and he signed off on the rape of Germany at Versailles in exchange for self-determination in places the rest of the Allies didn’t care about.*

“”””Progressives”””” don’t know their own history, of course, but even if they did, they’d be against self-determination these days, because self-determination accords with human nature and every good Proggie knows people are blank slates.  The rest of us, though, should look long and hard, not at the world we want, but at the world we have.  I was one of those fools who backed our latest imperial adventure in Iraq, on the grounds that

  • somebody had to get slapped around for 9/1, and
  • WMD, which Saddam did have, was as good an excuse as any, so
  • Saddam volunteered.

I figured that “democracy” stuff was just eyewash, because W. was supposed to be a conservative, and conservatives know better.

Shows you what I know.

Iraqis, like most peoples most places, don’t want Western liberal (BIRM x2) democracy and have no idea what to do with it when it’s given to them.  Much of the “alt-right” would say this is because they can’t do democracy, because HBD.  Which is one of the many reasons I can’t get on board with too much of the “alt-right.”  Until you show me a “representative government” chromosome somewhere in the human genome — and I will need a specific spot on the map, boys — I’ll reason as a historian, which tells me that the same forces which transformed blue-assed savages like Boudicca into Gen. Sir Charles James Napier in less than 1900 years are operative everywhere.

Note the time frame, please.  I’m pretty sure “building democracy” can be done nearly anywhere; I’m almost as sure we’ll be under the domination of superintelligent apes by the time we can confirm the hypothesis.

Which leads us to now.  What, exactly, are we going to do in this, year 2017 of the Common Era?

If I were President Trump, I’d find a few pet intellectuals that can’t be traced directly to me, and pay them to remind Proggies of their own history.  Yeah yeah, Wilson was a horrible racist and of course they want his name off his School of Government at Princeton, but most Proggies still think of Woodrow as one of their saints.  Eugene V. Debs liked self-determination too, I’m pretty sure, and you can probably put the Haymarket Square guys in that bucket, too.  Not to mention Lenin and the rest of the Bolshies (self-determination was a steppingstone to communism, sure, but still).  Jonah Goldberg, for example, would be good at this — on the record as anti-Trump; knows his Wilson; can obviously be bought.  Get them thinking about the good ol’ days… then start self-determining for them, with that big beautiful wall.

 

*As opposed to, say, Palestine.

Fake Intellectuals

Further to a post at Z Man’s, there is exactly one political principle that doesn’t lead directly to totalitarianism: Equality before the law.  This principle cannot be amended, modified, nuanced, gray area-d, penumbra-d, folded, spindled, or mutilated.  Equality before the law, and let the chips fall where they may.

This will of course entail some outcomes that are not socially just.  Equally applied, the anti-crime laws will disproportionately affect blacks, as they commit disproportionate amounts of crime.  Equally applied, the patent laws will disproportionately favor Jews and East Asians, as they have higher average IQs.  And yes, equally applied, the laws pretty much guarantee that some people are going to get screwed, even up to, sigh, children starving in the streets.

lovejoy-think-of-the-children-16nov131

Life ain’t fair, and this notion that it’s somehow the government’s job to make life fair — thus abandoning the principle of Equality Before the Law — leads directly to tyranny:

  • There is no objective definition of “fair;”
  • Therefore, someone must be empowered to judge individual cases;
  • Anyone granted such power will abuse it;

And pretty soon we’re reduced to arguing whether that FEMA camp is a gulag, a workhouse, a concentration camp, or a thought reform center.

That’s really all there is to it.  People are what they are.  We can make up fancy theories about why this can’t happen, or that it’s actually fair, or how that guy really deserved his rubber hose time in a secret police dungeon, but at bottom there is only Reality.

Stop intellectualizing.  Stop over-thinking.  Stop rationalizing.  There is Reality, and there is Theory, and when the two conflict, Theory must yield to Reality.  You’ll find that’s true even in the gulag (thought reform center, whatever).  The way things are going, I’ll be in the next bunk over.

The Majesty of Royalty

Nicholas II, Charles I, Louis XVI… pick your deposed monarch. If you look at history with a jaundiced eye, you have to wonder: how did ANY of these guys survive as long as they did?

When asked “why was so-and-so deposed?,” different groups give different answers. Historians start looking for “root causes” — Charles I didn’t accept the new commercial ethos of the Puritan middle class; Nicholas II tried to rule as an autocrat through an all-but-medieval bureaucracy, etc. History Channel specials focus on personalities — that Richard III sure was a bastard, wasn’t he?

But forget about all that for a sec, and just focus on the situation. People actually fought for these guys, even though slitting, say, Henry VI’s throat would’ve been the easiest thing in the world. The lords who did all these loons’ heavy lifting on the battlefield could’ve crowned themselves king with — at worst — no more of a fight than the civil war they were already fighting on behalf of their drooling halfwit king. Why didn’t they?

It’s the culture, stupid. Think of English Bob’s “why not shoot a President?” speech in that great old Western Unforgiven: “At the mere sight of royalty, one’s hand would shake as if palsied!” One doesn’t kill a king because…. one doesn’t kill a king, even if that means meekly going to the chopping block or into exile like so many Howards before.

Your rebel lord, in other words, is just some guy. The peasants may hold him in awe, but his fellow aristocrats don’t — peers maneuvering to ruin each other was the national sport of every court in the Middle Ages, in their brief breaks between trying to kill each other on the battlefield. Very few kings got shanked, even when it was in everyone’s obvious best interest (e.g. the Hundred Years’ War, which would’ve been about 75 years shorter if someone had just slipped Jean II some tainted snails).

This is a lesson our wannabe-aristocrats in the political elite should ponder. As the Z Man points out re: Hillary Clinton, she’s not in it for the ego-stroke; she’s in it for the money. But the Clintons are arrivistes, the 21st century equivalent of hustling rubes from the sticks who bought their patents of nobility from an addled old monarch who found them almost as useful as they were amusing. While being a titled court jester suits Bill just fine — he’s a poonhound who only cares about droit de siegneur — Hillary’s got a hole in her soul that no amount of money will ever fill. She certainly thinks she’s in it for the money, as she has understandably confused money with security and above all prestige… but she’s wrong, as she will find out to her great dismay should she win the Presidency. Even if the King is a drooling halfwit, he’s still the King, and she’s not, and never will be. We can only hope she doesn’t set the world ablaze trying to avoid that lesson.

Or the related lesson, which is that once the Majesty of Royalty is revealed to be a “social construction” — ponder that deliciously postmodern phrase for a sec — deposing monarchs gets to be something of a habit. Look at all those Roman emperors who barely had time to slip on the purple toga before getting shanked by their Praetorian guard. Wilhelm II was ousted in favor of some lawyers; a grubby bald professor-wannabe had the last Czar killed almost as an afterthought; El Sleazo Caudillo del Momento always gets it from some playboy junior officer who can barely zip his own pants.

Legitimacy is built on symbols. The process takes decades, if not centuries. But it’s gone in an instant.

National Purpose

Over at Vox Day’s, we see this:

So Reagan is dead, so is Reaganism. The only question is what can we do to improve the lot of regular Americans, materially, and what can we do to generate some kind of purpose for our people and our nation.

Yep.  As I have repeatedly said, and guess I’m OCD-compelled to go on saying until every one of our Four Readers gives up in disgust, this is the entire point of the (((SexyFunTime))) system of government.  It gives men a reason to be men again — a large, encompassing purpose, a challenge worth taking because there really are Maidens Faire at the other end who appreciate the effort.  It guarantees a minimum standard of material comfort and safety, and above all, it gives a certain demographic — which has been shat upon from all quarters for going on 70 years now — a feeling of national community.*

It’s inevitable.  It seems we’re trying the Trump clown show version first — and thank God for that! — but if the circus act doesn’t work, get ready for the very serious steely-eyed fanatic with the passion for Parties.

 

*N.b. to aspies: Whether it can actually deliver what it promises are two separate questions.  We’re talking about the appeal, not the results.

Political Philosophy in 5 Minutes

Y’all know I love Thomas Hobbes, though more for his method than his conclusions — like Confucius, he thought that all misunderstandings boiled down to bad definitions.  He wanted all arguments to proceed like geometry proofs.  Whether that’s workable or not is above my pay grade (and note that Hobbes wasn’t a very good mathematician), but there’s no question that bad definitions are at the heart of most, if not all, political misunderstandings these days.  To wit:

Machiavelli said that nobles long to oppress the people, while the people only want to avoid being oppressed.  Which is true of any hominid hierarchy.  If you really believe in evolution, you know that humans are advanced software running on kludgy monkey hardware.  What’s true for the baboon troop is true for us, and that’s what we see in human societies — alphas at the top, with his lieutenants, ruling over the great mass of ordinary monkeys, with a few despised omegas lingering at the group’s edges.

Society, then, is a conglomeration of baboon troops, and government is the conglomerate’s internal organization.  The classical social contract theorists had it wrong.  It’s not individuals, each as sovereign as his physical power can make him, doing the contracting.  Rather, the “contract” preexists, in the form of monkey troops – we’re born into a troop, and like all monkeys we’re able to break off and form our own troops if we’re strong enough, but there’s no such thing as a pure individual in the State of Nature (which also doesn’t exist in the way Hobbes et al implied).  Society, then, is a fractal pyramid, and government likewise: all the little monkey troops banded together into one big troop.

BBookSTriangleMonkey troops have one purpose, and one purpose only: the flourishing of the troop.  And that’s where the problems start — as humans are mega-monkeys, we’re able to assign all kinds of different meanings and shades of nuance to “flourishing.”  How far does that extend?  Who gets to decide if the troop is flourishing or not, and what happens when the majority decides the troop isn’t flourishing?

That was Machiavelli’s simple, irrefutable point — the nobility must assure the peasantry that their interests move in tandem.  Nobles want to fight wars and sponsor art and live high on the hog because they’re alpha chimps, and that’s what alpha chimps do.  But nobles can’t do all that stuff without the active participation of the peasants, as they’re the ones who staff the armies, make the art, grow the food, etc.

In return, though, the nobles have to provide some basic returns — a share of the spoils of war if you’re on offense, and physical protection if you’re on defense.  That’s the real social contract, and if it’s broken, the macro-troop that is Government collapses back into micro-troops at the local level.  As humans, we have some limited degree of choice in what micro-troop we want to join when the macro-troop breaks down– this is the “State of Nature” — but joining one isn’t optional.

So here’s the homework that every aspiring noble used to do as a matter of course:

  1. define “flourish;”
  2. define “protection;” and
  3. define how you’ll provide for both.

Pretty simple, no? Problem is, none of our supposed “leaders” have any inkling that they’re supposed to be doing this.  Cf. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush — get them drunk (from what I’ve heard, that shouldn’t be tough) and make them answer a simple question: “Why do you want to be President?”  And we all know the answer: “Because it’s my turn!!!!”

Which means that this particular iteration of the macro-troop is kaput.  Most of us who reside here in the USA in this, the Current Year, have a decent instinctive idea of what “flourish” and “protection” mean, and though we may not be able to articulate it like 17th century Oxford dons, we know that our so-called “leaders” aren’t providing either.  Back when, this used to be called a “crisis of legitimacy,” and pretty much everyone — yep, Hobbes included — thought that an illegitimate government is no government at all, and nobody is obliged to obey its decrees.

And it’s illegitimate all the way down the line.  The closer you get to an answer to the Three Questions, from an ideologue of any side, the more you realize that they not only haven’t thought this stuff through, they have no idea they were even supposed to. Government is just kind of a thing that sorta happens, dude…. but it’s super-important that it happens my way, or else ur a h8r.

Which is, as the kids these days say, problematic.  I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you what happens to an alpha chimp when he can’t protect the troop.  It’s the same thing that happens to failed leaders in all times and places: lamppost, rope, some assembly required.

It doesn’t have to end that way, but it’s increasingly likely that it’s going to…. because it’s our turn, I guess.

 

A Great Idea – UPDATED

This is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time.  Of course, it could never work in America — the parasite class, both inside and outside government, is simply too large to ever implement it — but in less ridiculous polities than ours it might just work.

Maybe some municipalities could try it.

UPDATE:  This started as a reply to Nate Winchester, but needs to go on the main page.

Nate forwards a link from Bayou Renaissance Man, who makes excellent points about “Basic Income.”  I agree with them all.  Problem is, his objections assume that we still live in a republic.  We don’t, and we haven’t, for at least 150 years.

Once you accept the basic premisis of managerialism — that residents of a nation are problems to be managed, rather than participating citizens — you’ve abandoned democracy.  You can’t be both a citizen and a subject.  They’re opposites.  It’s unpossible.

28228-Thats-Unpossible-Ralph-wiggum-PcuIThe United States made its choice 150 years ago.  Thanks to the Pension Act, Union Army veterans got to vote on how much they’d be compensated for their disabilites, as well as what counted as a “disability” in the first place. As Union vets were the largest recognizable voting bloc in the Gilded Age, the easiest way to buy votes was to expand the pension laws… which government after government did, right up to the turn of the 20th century

We’ve been trying to square the citizen/subject circle ever since, and failing.  Every welfare program faces the same fundamental contradiction — you’re letting people vote on how much the government should pay them.

Note that it doesn’t have to be this way.  Great Britian’s 1834 Poor Law disenfranchised those who took public assistance.  If you want to be a ward of the state, you don’t get a say in how the state is run.  The inmates don’t get to vote on the asylum’s policies.  If, at any time, you wanted / were able to try your luck in the labor market again, you got your vote back.

In a rational polity — or even one less ridiculous than ours, like Finland — this would be part of the national discussion on citizenship.  We don’t let H1-B visa holders vote, even though — we’re routinely informed — their labor is so vital for the American economy.  We assume they’d form blocs and rig things in their favor, as they have only short-term personal interests in American politics.  They have no reason to take the long view, so they won’t.

Government assistance can — and should — work the same way.  We’ll never do it, of course, but since Trump et al are forcing us to at least kinda sorta nibble around the edges of the national question, we should at least bring this up as a live option.  Time was, we understood that rights entail corresponding duties — fail to discharge the one, lose the other.  If “welfare is a right” — as we’re so often told by Our Betters, the Liberal — then it’s the wefare recipient’s duty to bow out of elections.

And be honest: How many of you are truly bothered by the idea of a Welfare Queen as such?  Anyone with any experience of life knows that there are certain people who are just going to be parasites  They won’t work, and they’re going to go to the dogs no matter what incentives you hold out, or penalties you threaten.  Think of Huck Finn’s dad.  Those people are the bedrock on which the managerial state is built.  I for one don’t have a problem with paying taxes to get them a basic food ration.  It’s only when they get to team up and vote on how much to tax me that I get irate.

Finland is a Scandinavian country, so they don’t have such a…. diverse…. parasite class as we do.  So $900 a month or whatever will probably work for them.  And, logically, they’re willing to tolerate the natural Darwinian end of the incorrigible few who will spend all their allowance on booze and hookers.  Americans won’t do that either, but, again, be honest: If we could keep ghetto dysfunction in the ghetto by means of a food ration, some disposable cash, and Hamsterdam, wouldn’t you take that deal?  They don’t get to vote, and they get stomped by the cops if they bring their shit out of the ‘hood… and, of course, they get both the franchise and a get-out-of-a-cop-stomping card if they choose to leave their old ways behind.  Americans have no idea what goes on in the inner cities anyway.  Gang violence and ODs don’t bother us, because thanks to the Goodthinkers in the media, we don’t have to see them.  Again, in a rational polity a place like Detroit would be a burning national shame.  Fred Reed has written a zillion words on this topic; go take a gander.

And yeah, I’m well aware that this is “not who we are,” “not our values,” etc.  But look: I’m a historian.  We havent’ been who we are, or true to our values, since the War of Northern Aggression.  Disenfranchsing welfare recipients is, yes, cruel, awful, and of course racist.  But it’s also the only way to resolve the citizen / subject dilemma.  Agree to be managed, and take the consequences — again, I’d be happy to pay my taxes for this, and I suspect that you would to (be honest!).  Finland is giving it a whirl.  If they succeed… well, given what’s coming down the pike when the next financial bubble bursts, we need to at least think it over.

Trump is a “Progressive”…

….and so are his supporters.

One of the points I keep hammering here (our four regular readers can feel free to sing the chorus) is that both sides of America have been radicalized.  That sounds badly wrong to us — the Right — because unhinged, feelz-before-realz emoting defines the Left.

But think about it for a sec.  How do you argue with a lunatic?  Nothing the Left says or does makes any sense.  Their orthodoxy changes on a dime, such that yesterday’s vile insult is today’s sacred Constitutional right.  The cognitive dissonance of — just to take the most recent example — voting for the woman who covered her husband’s serial philandering (and probable sexual assault), because feminism, could crack Wolverine’s skull.  You can’t make a principled argument against someone whose only “principle” is “whatever feels most important to me at this instant is the most important thing in the universe.”

So we radicalize, too.  My go-to example is the W. Bush administration.  Foreign wars aside, you could post a neutral description of his policies on Bernie Sanders’s website and not raise an eyebrow.  And yet, stalwart conservatives — yours truly most definitely included — were out there defending the guy tooth and claw.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?  A great rule of thumb for mob bosses, but it has nothing to do with principles.  We just wanted to stick it to the blue-haired nose-ringers, and since the words “far right” freak them out, well, then, we’re the far right.  Right?

Feelz before realz, comrades…. feelz before realz.

And now along comes Donald Trump.  Oh, how he gives the Kos Kidz the vapors!  Lefties hate him almost as much as the GOP Establishment does, and the thought of Rance Priebus and the rest of the Old School Ties sharing the same campus safe space as the granola grrls gives us schadenboners.  That’s his appeal, right there.

Seriously.  That’s it.

As I am an amateur, let me pass the mic to a professional wordsmith, cartoonist Scott Adams:

The evidence is that Trump completely ignores reality and rational thinking in favor of emotional appeal. Sure, much of what Trump says makes sense to his supporters, but I assure you that is coincidence. Trump says whatever gets him the result he wants. He understands humans as 90% irrational and acts accordingly….

You can validate my low opinion of human rationality by asking yourself why Trump supporters don’t care that nothing he says is true. Trump literally makes up facts on the fly. Do you think his supporters have not noticed this awkward situation?

They noticed. They don’t care. And at this point they understand he’s just saying what he needs to say to get elected. Democrats will call that evil. Republicans will call it effective.

Now, admittedly most of that piece is satire.  But it’s true for all that.  Trump’s supporters really don’t care that he makes up “facts” on the fly, contradicts himself, misspells Tweets and calls Hillary Clinton a good person.  They don’t care that he’s a gun grabber, that he hasn’t read his own position papers, that he spends time in nationally-televised debates talking about how big his hands are.

Feelz before realz.  All the right people hate him, and that’s enough.  It just feeels….soooo… GOOD…. to tell the tatted-up androgynous barista who acts like it’s the labor of Sisyphus to pour a coffee for the likes of you to blow it out her no-doubt-beringed ass.

And if that ain’t Progressive, y’all, then nothing is.

Another Great Reason to Vote Trump

He has all the right enemies.

THERE they go again. The neocons who led the George W. Bush administration into Iraq are now touting a fresh crusade to save American democracy — and the Republican Party — from an authoritarian foe: Donald J. Trump.

Their campaign began with an impassioned essay in The American Interest last month by Eliot A. Cohen, a former Bush State Department official, who depicted Mr. Trump as symptomatic of the broader “moral rot” of America. Then, in an open letter, more than 100 Republican foreign policy mavens, including neocons such as Mr. Cohen and Robert Kagan, as well as more traditional Republican foreign policy figures like the former World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick, announced they were “united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency.”

In this, the year of Our Lord 2016, calling yourself a “neocon” is like declaring yourself a Ghibelline or a Girondin — a relic of an ideology so utterly exploded that few outside the ivory tower have even heard of it.

I wouldn’t trust those assholes if they said the sky is blue and grass is green, and I know I’m not alone.  The World Bank president?  Robert Kagan?  Would this be the same Robert Kagan that was John “Bomb Everyone” McCain’s foreign policy guru in 2008?  You know, back when we, as a nation, were so sick of bombing people that we elected the world’s wimpiest pacifist, who got the Nobel Peace Prize before he even took office?  The same Robert Kagan who said, and I quote

In 2006, Kagan wrote that Russia and China are the greatest “challenge liberalism faces today”: “Nor do Russia and China welcome the liberal West’s efforts to promote liberal politics around the globe, least of all in regions of strategic importance to them. … Unfortunately, al-Qaeda may not be the only challenge liberalism faces today, or even the greatest.”

I guess it’s Donald J. Trump now.  My, how things can change in just ten years.

At this point, I’d vote for the festering corpse of Josef fucking Stalin over anyone the Neocons endorse.  If they’re against Trump, I’m for him.

“We Were Beaten by the Best, Boy”

Spud: Hey! They just ran into the house! That Homer fella grifted you good, Dad.

Cooder: Well, there’s no shame in bein’ beaten by the best.

Spud: But he didn’t seem all that…

Cooder{brusque}: We were beaten by the best, boy.

Once again, I’m wondering if I read the same books as everyone else back in high school.  In this case, Psych 101.  Here’s Ace of Spades on how Trump just torpedoed his own campaign (ever notice how he’s always doing that?) by claiming GW Bush “lied us into war:”

Trump damaged himself with his claim that Bush lied us into war in Iraq. Not botched the intelligence, not read too much into thin intelligence.

Most Republicans, I think, would agree that that.

No, Trump claimed that Bush deliberately lied us into war….

If Donald Trump is right, and George W. Bush deliberately schemed with his neo-con advisers to “lie” us into a phony war with Iraq, what does that say about the average Republican voter who supported Bush from 1999, voted for him, defended him through the recount, cried with him on 9/11, agreed with him on Iraq, defended him from ceaseless liberal attacks on him during the war, defended him from Obama’s never-expiring “Blame Bush” blame-shifting, etc.?

Well… what does it say?

Ace thinks Trump just called Republican voters morons.  I think he just gave them permission to finally abandon Bush.

Show of hands: Anyone without an equity stake in Lockheed-Martin still think the Iraq War was a good idea?  It’s true that the average Republican voter supported it.  I did.  And it’s true that lots of us defended it — again, guilty — in the face of our liberal acquaintances’ nastiness and hysteria.  But — follow closely now — we were wrong.

It’s not easy for most people to admit they were wrong, even on piddly little things.  It’s even harder to admit that you were wrong about big things, and it’s really, really tough to admit you were wrong on huge things, identity-defining things that you went to the mat for again and again.

Like used cars.  Everyone knows someone who has bought a lemon, and every lemon-buyer has the same story: “The salesman tricked me!”  But it’s not true, and everyone, including the lemon-buyer, knows it.  Salesmen never lie, because it’s the end of their world if they get caught.  You tricked yourself.  You got your identity caught up in it — as the kind of guy who drives that particular car, or, more likely, as the kind of savvy shopper who got conned the conman.  You know the salesman’s not really going back to the office to “clear it with his manage,” right?  He’s giving you time to fix that identity in your head — you’re the gearhead who really put one over on that dimbulb sales dude.  Once it’s off the lot, it’s your problem.

Claiming that the salesman lied to you is a psychological defense mechanism.  If your wallet is more important to you than your ego, you admit that you got took, and change your behavior accordingly.  If ego trumps wallet, then not only do I have a used car to sell you, but I can get you a big discount on the undercoating.

Politics works the same way.  Not only do you have to swallow the pill that you were wrong about the Iraq War — galling enough, considering what it says about your judgment — but you have to at least tacitly admit that all those screeching liberal assholes were at least kinda sorta right.  Yes, they were against it for all the wrong reasons.  Yes, their whole pretend pacifism thing was and is bullshit.  Yes, they are grotesque hypocrites.  And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo, BUT — they were right.  All the grand Iraqi adventure got us was more government, more surveillance, more “homeland security,” more debt, more terrorism, more Democrats in the White House… and all at the cost of several thousand precious American lives.  That’s a near-fatal psychological wound….

….unless, of course, you got conned.  You were beaten by the best.  We all know that George W. Bush isn’t the idiot liberals make him out to be.  In fact, he’s the evil scheming Machiavellian genius liberals make him out to be.  There’s no shame in bein’ beatin by the best.

Time will tell, of course, whether I’m right, or Ace is.  But I’ll bet you two cases of undercoating that Trump’s poll numbers don’t drop a fraction.