Posts Tagged ‘2012’
There were three referenda on the ballot: Question 4, a statewide analogue of the DREAM Act, which would extend in-state tuition eligibility to illegal immigrants; Question 5, which would reject the 2010 Maryland districting, which can be reasonably described as resembling a CAT-scan of a diseased yak’s intestines; and Question 6, which would allow gay marriage. I’m sure you can guess which passed and which didn’t.
There is much to learn from each question, but some are more complicated than others; so they will be covered in reverse order. Question 6 is the easiest to explain: it represents the continuation of a trend visible for decades, if not centuries. The legalization of gay marriage in Maryland represents the further progression of, well, progress. The Zeitgeist rattles yet another pan. The historical vector can be traced back from Election Day to the 2008 UN discussion of LGBT rights to the entrance of gay marriage into public discourse as a serious issue to Lawrence v. Texas to the removal of homosexuality from the DSM’s list of paraphilias, and probably beyond. Analogous historical vectors can be found for many other issues. They track together, progressing inexorably through the Elsewhere—usually either Western Europe, in some ways more American than America, or Latin America, for which a significant influence is obvious in the name—to America, and then to the rest of the world. The American Revolution to the fall of Rhodesia! The abolition of slavery to civil rights to the end of South African apartheid! (Depression-era populism to the New Deal to Reaganomics to a Heritage Foundation healthcare proposal being labeled socialist…?) It cannot now be denied that history has a vector, that very powerful forces are at work, whether they be the justice of the progressive cause or the Reptilian Illuminati Space Jews, and as a corollary, that conservatism, the electoral force that not only advocates the progressivism of thirty years ago, but claims it as its unwavering core conviction, always held and always to be held and we will never concede any ground whatsoever to the Zeitgeist, not one more step and don’t look behind us at the miles we’ve already been dragged—is “about as likely to work as suing Shub-Niggurath in small-claims court.”
Where Question 6 shows the power of this historical vector, Question 5 demonstrates where its power comes from. Yak-intestine districts created to benefit Democrats are judged accurate districts by a heavily Democratic state. One could, perhaps, judge them evil for this, for corrupting what ought to be a neutral institution; but one could also walk into K’n-yan waving an allocation questionnaire. Gerrymandering makes sense. There is no reason within the system to refrain from it, and plenty of reason to fling the entrails of large bovines at a map, even disregarding the satisfying splat they make on impact. What advantage do ideals of sanity offer in the face of concrete electoral gain? In the end, the ends are always held to justify the means, for the simple reason that anyone who holds otherwise renders themselves less able to compete, and is therefore made obsolete. Nothing is off the table, save what would hurt support for the ends if it were known to have been taken off of it.
Question 4, and the passage thereof, throws into even sharper relief the winning strategyof the progressives. A heavily Democratic state votes on moral grounds to pass a law that just happens to incentivize behavior that is both illegal and immensely beneficial to their party. Yes, immensely beneficial: although it is beneficial for a party—more generally, an ideology, or memeplex—to control the Cathedral, the structures by which information is distributed, and although the Democrats—more accurately, the progressives—obviously do, this is not enough.
Why? There are two reasons. First, the market works. The structures of information distribution cannot be entirely monolithic, unless nobody disagrees with it strongly enough to want to switch to a distributor ideologically closer to them or it is impossible to start such a thing. Hence Fox News and Liberty University. Second, democracy has a race problem. Voting is essentially tribal. The voting-tribe of a child can be predicted with at least 50% accuracy by the voting-tribe of the parents. (Note also that, when the child and the parents disagree, it is far more likely that the child has become liberal than conservative. The Cathedral strikes again!) Party identification exhibits the key feature of group identity: people commonly incorporate party membership into their identity, and think people within their party are better than people in a different party. Examples of this are readily obvious to anyone on social media. So, although holding the Cathedral is necessary to maintain power, it is not sufficient.
What, then, can be done? The solution is obvious. Voting is tribal, and behavioral reality knows only one iron law: whatever is subsidized is promoted. Therefore, if a democratic faction wants to gain power, it should set up incentive structures to promote tribal demographics favorable to them. This is intuitively understood by almost all politically aware progressives, but not completely: it is widely known that conservatives would prefer the voting population to contain relatively more whites (voter ID is going to allow Romney to win Pennsylvania!), but not widely known (or at least not widely admitted) that progressives would prefer the voting population to contain relatively fewer whites. Consider:
When one of my old Labour Party acquaintances expressed anxiety over Islamic terrorism, I asked him why he had always been so keen on getting as many immigrants here as possible. He told me that he had been ‘trying to make the revolution’.
Or just read the headlines in the wake of the election. Hispanics helped drive Democrat success! This is Die Lösung. The solution. Wäre es da nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung löste das Volk auf und wählte ein anderes?
It can only be good in the long run that things are exposed as what they are. This election season, with its referenda, its base partisanship, and its always-inevitable win for Romney in the Republican primary and Obama in the general, is characterized by the destruction of illusions. Many conservatives honestly believed that a Romney win was inevitable, and that Nate Silver was a propagandist and only the party osteomancers could possibly come up with an accurate prediction; and many honestly believe now that the reelection of a neutered center-right neoliberal spells doom for the country within the next four years; if they aren’t self-aware enough to realize that their mental models of the world have next to zero predictive value and revise them accordingly, it is at least plain to everyone else that His Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition is in reality the court jester, fundamentally incapable of even holding, much less regaining, ground to the inexorable march of progress.
In time, people may come to realize that the things they detest are not corruptions of the system, but inescapable results of its internal logic—that “politics”, with its partisan mind-viruses and party capture of ‘neutral’ institutions, and that strange religion “democracy” are one and the same. That people are coming to understand Duverger’s law is a sign that this comprehension of system-logic may be soon to come: when it can be admitted that the American political system leads inevitably to the existence of two parties, can it not also be admitted that there is at least a possibility of it leading to other things? Remember: nothing is off the table.
Inescapable results of its internal logic! Sooner or later, all shams must end; the mystification of the true aspects of the system, the unexamined civil-religions, ideologies in the Marxian sense, cannot last forever. The “end of a world” never is and never can be anything but the end of an illusion. Or, if you prefer a longer quote:
When Maistre says that every nation gets the government it deserves, I believe him. Maistre didn’t think his great law was a law of physics. He thought it was a law of God. I am not a religious person, but I agree. History has convinced me that when laws of God are broken, bad shit happens. Bad shit will happen anyway. But isn’t Obama bad enough?
… Dear conservatives, I have a question for you. Suppose God appeared to you in your sleep, and gave you a choice. You could lose your country, but keep your institutions and constitutions. Or, you could lose your institutions and constitutions, but keep your country. Which would you choose?
But I don’t have to choose, you say! Au contraire, mon frere! I will save my country, by saving her institutions and constitutions! Which are the best in history ever! Look at all this corn and bacon! Dear conservatives, this is just your way of cursing God. Do you think he doesn’t have enough fools and drunks to look after?
Do you know what terrifies me? What terrifies me is that not only do I not think America deserves Mitt Romney, I don’t even think America deserves Barack Obama. After all, a couple of centuries of diligent looking-after has run us up quite a tab with God. A tab that will be paid or punished. What terrifies me is that while I see no collective interest in paying the tab, it doesn’t seem to me that the punishment has even begun to begin. Barack Obama isn’t exactly Robespierre, you know. “Capable” might be going too far, but “basically decent” isn’t that much of a stretch.
“Death to America!” is no longer a rallying cry, but instead a prayer, a hope that reality will stop dragging out what is essentially inevitable, and put an end to the shams, that we may cease to see them chattering incessantly in the tedious jargon of the sham-religion and get the hell on with our lives.
You’ve probably seen this already, but Lena Dunham, the writer for some SWPL show, starred in an Obama campaign ad comparing voting to sex.
This ad makes one thing clear: Christopher Lasch was right. Progressive zombieism is fueled by pathological narcissism.
In a dying society, perhaps in any society not deserving the term in its strictest sense, one can expect weakness. In weakness, there is the desire for a way out of it; but to find an authentic way out, a path toward true merit and merit-recognition, requires the very strength the absence of which marks a zombie-to-be. The shortcut is to sublimate oneself into a collective, alpha over sigma, Lena Dunham over Don Colacho, the rule of cool. Cool is that which brings merit-recognition without merit. Zombies will always look favorably upon other zombies. Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success.
A mediocre-at-best media nitwit zombifies into the face of a generation. We are cool, you are not. “Tons of flesh,” the blaring purple signs assert. “We have tons of human flesh. Will you resist us? Our meat and bone and hair and tooth will fall, and crush you.” We are the Zeitgeist, we are the media, we are the cool. Watch the tone: Lena Dunham is no religious fanatic. Her manner is that of a five-star zombie, someone at the top of a hierarchy, someone who knows they’re at the top of a hierarchy, and that that hierarchy is at the top of the meta-hierarchy. She is animated not by religious conviction, but by the smug coolness of the success-actor. Swag. Televangelists don’t have swag.
To illustrate the point further, consider the internet communist. Their methods of attack are that of the schoolyard. The distinction between blasphemy and uncool is admittedly subtle, but it exists: blasphemy implies a core conviction, a perceived Knowledge of Truth, and one could use it as a charge were one the last man to Know it. Uncool is just that: uncool. Uncool is a violation of not a truth-norm, but a social norm, a ton of human flesh, a jackboot upside the head of the shitnerd too douchey and bad to accept the norms. Blasphemy is Plato; uncool is Protagoras. Wrong vs. bad, blasphemer vs. douche, heretic vs. gross insect. Wracked by the depression of meritlessness (we really need a less clunky word for that; how about anaxia?), the anaxic (hah, see what you can do with these things!) zombifies into coffeeshop politics, theory as social game, coolness as truth. The brotherhood of man rested on common weakness and frailty. Religion can be painful; religion can demand sacrifice; religion can be uncool; but the coffeeshop cannot. The suffering inflicted by coffeeshop-theory involves interaction outside the coffeeshop. This is the difference between a religion and a cult.
Progressivism, with its emphasis on communal solutions, is particularly suited to the coffeeshop: regardless of the truth of their claims, individualists—at least, those who avoid the cultlike absurdities of movements like Objectivism—tend to be stronger people. Part of this is because individualism is uncool, but part is in the nature of the thing. Han Solo could never be an internet communist.
It’s super uncool to not vote. Right there in the video! Before, I was a girl; now I am a woman. Become cool. Obama is cool. Sex is cool. Lena Dunham is cool. Vote Obama because he is cool. Doing otherwise is super uncool. You wouldn’t want to be like these conservative freaks, now would you?
It is, of course, utterly inconceivable that the barbaric practice of the political paramilitary would exist in a civilized country; and to even suggest that major political forces would so much as allow themselves to benefit from such unthinkable obscenities is clearly absurd.
…there was a rather significant error in my last post: I forgot about Toyama Koichi.
Although the population of America is over six billion, fewer than two hundred million can vote! Our America! Wasn’t this supposed to be a democracy?
Through the organs – the press’s eye, the tongue of State, even DoD’s cold and useless fist – it is America herself, the Great Spectator, for whom all puppets dance and yell, kill and die. And not just America – for in 2011, America is bigger than America, not a continent but a planet. International public opinion! The international community! In 2011, anyone anywhere with any kind of education is an American. Race, color, language, citizenship – details, archaic details. Everyone on Twitter: American. The global hive mind is born, and born American.
Borepatch and Aretae have put out endorsements for the 2012 election, so I figure I might as well also. (Let’s assume for the purposes of this post that voting isn’t just large-scale political homeopathy; where’s the fun in admitting that it doesn’t matter?)
If you’ve been reading this for a while, you can guess two things already:
1. Borepatch endorsed Obama and Aretae endorsed Johnson, so I’m going to endorse Romney.
2. It can’t be as simple as just endorsing one candidate.
And you would be right.
I don’t like Romney. I don’t think he’ll be noticeably different from Obama in most regards; they’re both unprincipled chameleons from a hardcore establishment background, although one small benefit to Romney is that he’s more obvious about it. (It really says something about a country that a black father is enough to make people not realize that the son of a senior economist and an anthropology Ph.D., who went to one of the most prestigious public schools in the country, ended up at Harvard Law, and subsequently went off to teach at the University of Chicago, is establishment.)
I don’t like libertarianism either, at least in principle; but in practice, a more libertarian presidency would almost certainly be a better one. A break from the nutty interventionism of the establishment, a veto-happy monkey-wrench in the gears of the Leviathan, may be just what we need in the White House, so the presidential race should be pushed in that direction. Unless Maryland turns out to be a swing state, which, considering that the parts that matter are BDH to the core and packed with USG employees, it won’t, I’ll be voting Johnson.
If I lived in a state where the election results weren’t essentially predetermined, however, I’d vote differently; in that case, sending a message is less important than voting the best realistic option. There are admittedly few differences between Romney and Obama. They’re both firmly on the side of “the 1%”, as much as I hate that term. But the differences are nonzero.
One benefit to Romney is that nobody likes him. He’s a Republican, so the Democrats (and the media… as if that needs to be specified) don’t like him; he’s a blatantly establishment Massachusetts Optimate, so the Republicans don’t like him; and he’s a pasty-white Mormon, so he can’t personality-cult the college demographic. (In the primary polls for my home state, Romney’s favorability increases with age, and Santorum’s, somewhat counterintuitively, decreases.) All other things being equal, the less liked president will be put under more scrutiny, and I’d prefer more to less. The Republicans and the Breitbart crowd have been going after him to a degree, but with few resources and most of the establishment firmly on his side, their capabilities are limited, compared to what could be done if both sides of the media hated the president’s guts.
Even a leftist would find it to their advantage to support Romney; they’re both neoliberals, but if you have to choose between two devils, take the one who everyone knows is a devil. There are still people in this country who think Obama is on the left in any sense but the meaningless electoral one; granted, the ones I know think that mostly because they think it’d be racist to think anything else, but they’re still dumb enough to buy it.
Another difference is that Romney’s appointments will draw from a different crowd. Obama was a college professor, and it’s obvious from his appointments. I can’t imagine Romney appointing someone like Eric “My People” Holder, and really, between his department providing guns to criminals, his lying about his department providing guns to criminals, his obstructing the Congressional investigation about his department providing guns to criminals, and his admission, backed up by his actions, that he sees 87% of the country as foreign, that near-treasonous nut is enough of a reason in and of himself to vote Obama out.
And… well, those are the only differences I can think of. They both make me sick, but one is clearly a lesser evil than the other, and, contra passivism, evil is to be opposed when possible. (Of course, if I had any desire for power, I’d force myself into passivism; but I’d really rather just fish, and the only reason I do anything more is that I can’t not speak out against immediately visible displays of utter idiocy. Besides, voting doesn’t really matter anyway.)
Contra Borepatch, I don’t think there’s much hope for America, and the little hope there is comes neither from the government nor the already thoroughly co-opted and establishmented(?) Tea Party: the government merely responds to the will of certain monitors, so the monitors need to be taken in order to effect any real change. (I hope someone throws Santorum on a talk show like they apparently did Huckabee; he’s the only one around who can articulate a real alternative to liberalism, and if one alternative makes itself known, the people will become aware that alternatives exist, and might even find more. Of course, on a metapolitical level, it’s entirely possible that almost any sort of consensus is better than none at all, but I doubt it, especially since liberalism is running out of unprincipled exceptions that can be reasonably eliminated, if it hasn’t already. And no, a liberalism that pretends that society doesn’t exist is not a real alternative. But that all is beside the point.)
So, to sum up: go Romney in a swing state and Johnson otherwise. Romney is better than Obama, but he still sucks, and Johnson’s platform is less bad, enough so that the GOP should be pushed in its direction.
As Ron Paul rises in the primary, a 15-year-old controversy rises again in the news: that of the newsletters published under his name, and the questionable content therein. A torrent of articles now pours forth from the pens of both the left and the establishment right, raising to a deafening roar the cries of racist! homophobe! antisemite! that, predictably, resurface whenever the machine deems it necessary to dismiss one of its components without calling into the slightest question its undoubtedly shoddy construction. A Twitter account tweeting lines from the newsletters has almost six thousand followers, and the prominent left-liberal magazine Mother Jones says, accurately, that the newsletters are Paul’s “one problem”.
This itself is a problem, and a serious one.
I am not denying here that the newsletters contain content that is, to say the least, highly problematic; I just see no reason why they are relevant. In similar cases of politicians’ personal beliefs or actions being called into question, there are two arguments that I have seen for their consideration: that those beliefs or actions can be used to predict the political behavior in office of the candidate in question, and that the personal character of politicians reflects on, or otherwise affects, that which they govern. These arguments are certainly not always invalid, but their validity in this particular situation is dubious at best.
For the first argument to be valid, there must not be a body of evidence significantly more useful for making such predictions. Expressed personal beliefs are certainly better than nothing, but as we all know, politicians say things to get money, votes, or media attention that they neither believe nor intend to implement while in office. Ron Paul is no unknown Chicago one-termer; in fact, as he said in tonight’s debate, he has served twelve terms in the House. One cannot spend over two decades as a politician without accumulating some sort of record, but Paul’s record appears to be a non-issue here. As for the second argument, any ‘racist’ message that Ron Paul’s election may send must be contrasted with the message of toleration for the disastrous neoliberal status quo that any other candidate’s election certainly would send.
Another argument, peculiar to this case, is that Ron Paul’s claims that he was not aware of the articles run under his name show a lack of management skill that makes him unfit for the presidency. This commits the same error as the first: it assumes that Ron Paul, a politician, does not lie. It is possible, of course, but it is far too convenient to simply assume incompetence, especially since Paul has not mentioned that the only byline on any article published in the newsletter was not his.
I suspect that the issue of the newsletters came about thus: Ron Paul, after being defeated in the 1984 Republican primary, agreed to the ‘paleolibertarian’ support-building strategy of Lew Rockwell, chief of staff for Paul in the House, vice president of the corporation that published the newsletters, and suspected ghostwriter, in an attempt to get back into office. This strategy consisted of, as reason put it, “exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist ‘paleoconservatives’” by including in the newsletters the rhetoric that is now being used against him. This explains the time table: Paul was defeated in the 1984 Republican primary and reelected in 1996, and almost all of the citations in the two TNR attack articles are from that period: (the only citation after 1996 is a 2007 campaign letter “invok[ing] the Branch Davidians [by questioning the necessity of the Waco siege, although TNR declines to mention that] and ‘the mysterious death of Hillary’s pal Vince Foster’”)
In other words, what we have here appears to be a politician playing politics, and then, in refusing to admit it, playing more politics, and if we take this at face value, the concept of playing politics is so new to the entire media establishment that they are scrambling to do something else with it. But if this concept is not new to them, their statements are not to be reflexively taken at face value; they are to be seen as a political strategy, the most thoroughly unsurprising thing in the history of voting, and the surprise of the pundits shows their utter lack of comprehension of the voting public, and most likely a disdain for democracy. (A disdain which I share, albeit for different reasons, but at least I admit it.)
My respect for libertarianism of the odd liberal, market-fundamentalist sort that seems to be the only sort practiced today is only slightly greater than the same for left-liberalism or Stalinism, but I’m starting to think supporting Ron Paul might not be all that bad an idea.
I have next to no respect for that particular sort of libertarianism because it makes the patently absurd claim that the only source of power, or at least the only one worth worrying about, is government. The market libertarian argument is that market forces will ensure that this is true in the long run; worrisome uses of power by private corporations will cause those corporations to lose market shares to others less abusive of their power. But, since we are not ‘rational’ in the economists’ ridiculous sense of the word, not all non-governmental use of power is motivated strictly by the drive toward higher profits, and even if it were, as John Maynard Keynes, the devil of the market libertarian pantheon, said, in the long run we are all dead.
However, the most significant area that the president has control over is foreign policy, which is an area that Paul definitely gets right. Considering that neither Obama nor any of the ‘mainstream’ Republican candidates show any signs of reducing our military activities in foreign countries, and that the issues that Paul is worst on are the ones that the president has minimal control over (Obama’s use of his position and personality cult as motivators for specific legislative action notwithstanding), Paul could turn out to be a net asset to the country.
The ideal, I think, would be Paul as president and a Democratic majority in both houses, so the ideologue’s inevitable idiocy could be overridden when necessary, but bills could (and almost certainly would) be vetoed when not. In an ideal situation, I’d have no problem with a president as veto-happy as I’m sure Paul would be, but this is not an ideal situation and I do not trust ideologues.
I do not trust this specific ideologue because, among other reasons, he ‘knows’ things I do not; namely, that federal government intervention will not be necessary to deal with our economic situation, or any other situation that falls outside the boundaries of his own rather idiosyncratic reading of the Constitution. My paranoid tendencies lead me inevitably to the desire to hear a proof of that piece of knowledge, but government is not mathematics, so such a proof is clearly not possible.
What would it take for your belief to be falsified? I do not think Paul could answer that question, but I am not sure how relevant that is. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and utility must take precedence over ideological purity, especially since any ideology I could be said to hold is fringe enough to be not only unelectable, but utterly unheard of in the American political scene.