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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An elite protected by tough men willing to undergo hardship, taking advantage of their cocooned existence to mock and subvert their defenders' values

Bryan Caplan leads off:

Unlike many readers of Coming Apart, you don't have to convince me that I live in a Bubble. I've known it for decades. In fact, I think my 3-out-of-20 score on the "How Thick Is Your Bubble?" quiz greatly overstates my integration into American society. I live in a Bubble Within a Bubble.

You might even call it my Imaginary Charter City. I'm not just surrounded by Ph.D.s; I'm surrounded by libertarian economics Ph.D.s. I'm not just unfamiliar with NASCAR; I forget the very existence of professional sports for months at a time. I don't just watch shows for yuppies; I manage my entertainment to make sure that I never hear a commercial. In my world, Alex Tabarrok is more important than Barack Obama, Robin Hanson is more important than Paul Krugman, and the late Gary Gygax is more important than Jeremy Lin... whoever that might be.

Unlike most American elites, I don't feel the least bit bad about living in a Bubble. I share none of their egalitarian or nationalist scruples. Indeed, I've wanted to live in a Bubble for as long as I can remember. Since childhood, I've struggled to psychologically and socially wall myself off from "my" society. At 40, I can fairly say, "Mission accomplished."

The objection to Caplan's position, as Steve Sailer and others point out in some follow-up postings, is that he espouses an open-borders position that guarantees his fellow Americans lower on the food chain do not get their own Bubble Within A Bubble.

Which leads us to Occupy Wall Street, reinvigorated now that the weather has warmed.

Steve Sailer points out their unintentionally ironic poster:


Very apt, considering that ballet would not exist but for the high-culture dollars spent by wealthy capitalists and their wives. And how much of the Left's cherished social welfare and wars for democracy would exist but for the Fed and its primary dealers network as the buyers of first and last resort for government debt? A Wall Street bull supporting a ballerina, indeed.

As is becoming increasingly obvious, the Left is no longer about such things as the working class, ethnic pride or environmentalism. Increasingly, the Left is about asserting, as Sailer puts it, "one's expensive cultural refinement over the hicks." This assertion takes a number of forms. Only upper percentile knowledge workers can gentrify an inner city and take over an in-town school district; the proles have to hoof it to the exurbs to find a decent neighborhood. Academic economists in highly zoned college towns can generate models to show how open borders raise GDP to the skies and makes us all millionaires; they didn't scrimp and save to buy more house than they could afford, only to see their property value crater as the tide of global blue-collar washes in.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Conservative or libertarian?

I believe in the pre-State institutions of Church, Family and the Market, which tags me as a knuckle-dragging bigot conservative in some quarters, and a heartless oligarch libertarian in others. I'm not an anarchist and I actually don't believe you have a right to masturbate on your front lawn or marry your own sex, so I'm probably fascist by libertarian standards. 'Conservative' sounds nice, but I don't really see any support for the venerable institutions in the conservative movement.

Conservatives despise the Church, favoring their atomized, do-it-yourself pastors in their preaching hall megaplexes. Every five to ten years, some nominally Christian fad sweeps through (evangelism, glossalalia, messianic judaism) and the megaplex members splinter off and fester until the next big eruption. There is a wry comment about the Protestant church eventually devolving to lone Christians lugging around their King James Bibles. That's apparently no longer satire.

Conservatives have done nothing as the State put their sons and daughters in economic competition with each other and with prospective spouses. They have destroyed their own children's bargaining power for academic and work advancement by swamping the country with immigrants. They have driven any notion of patrimony out of American discourse. They have reconciled themselves completely to the idea that the State, not the Family, is responsible for a child's education. They put their heads in the sand as the last redoubt of tradition in American public life (I am extending the concept of Family out to Nation here), the US military, was transformed into a Global Democratic Rainbow Warrior army. Conservative legislators, without whom the courts and the bureaucracy do not get a single penny for their crazed social engineering, have fallen meekly in step with the Marxist march.

Conservatives actively supported the 2008 bailout, the largest government-engineered transfer of wealth in human history. They support a tax structure that grinds the self-employed into the dirt. Any politician who questions the immoral public debt, money debasement (an act of theft), the Fed and its active manipulation of capital markets, the rent-seeking and externalities that sluice money to Wall Street, is labelled a crank or worse.

Only Ron Paul, a member of the nominally conservative Republican Party, has articulated a policy to foster organic society and energized young voters (no longer a coveted demographic, now that geriatric Boomers have a super-majority). Of course he is despised, and a demographically-doomed Republican Party is set to nominate one of their own shallow, glib number and member of an apostate sect.

Which raises the the question, as we survey the current wreckage, what do conservatives think they are conserving at this point? If homosexuals in the military are 1) no longer proscribed, 2) previously ignored and 3) now lionized, is the line in the sand going to be trans-sexuals? If women can lead churches, what is the conservative objection to single mothers leading families?

I think for now I'll just be a reactionary.