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Monday, July 23, 2012

Still more thoughts on Penn State

Vox Popoli has a thread.
I truly don't care about Penn State football or college football in general. If college students want to stage athletic events, they can rent a field and buy insurance and equipment and practice facilities on their own dime. To equate the NCAA--a purely private, contractual body--with God's Holy Justice is downright comical. The NCAA only survives because of intense lobbying by vested interests to avoid government oversight and because it fellates the NBA and NFL by cartelizing college negroball. And, yet again, it is a useful distraction from the root hazard: homosexual access to young males.

I could have told you for nothing that big-time college football programs are structurally incapable of running foster care charities and you wouldn't have to hire Louis Freeh. This is like blaming the Marine Corps because some of its recruits rape 14-year old Okinawans.

Kings And Queens

The incomparable Taki Theodoracopulos acclaims monarchy here. Mr. Taki is in very good company. Austrian-school economist Hans-Herman Hoppe has noted the advantages in political economy of a monarchist regime here.

Unfortunately, the truth is we cannot be monarchists even if we want to be. As commenter Roland on Salo Forum explains,
The monarchists from the New Right do not understand the history or nature of traditional western monarchy. The monarchy to which the mediocre elites in the article above are connected is the institutional foundation of western culture, established by powerful, enterprising men over the course of a millennium through force and intermarriage. Accordingly, the traditional monarch either earned his rights through conquest and usurpation or inheritance from someone who had earned those rights. If those rights had been lost, the only way to reacquire them was by earning them again through brute force. Therefore, we can imagine a modern monarchy that reproduces the political conditions of classical absolutism only to the extent that any modern individual possesses the resources to challenge, militarily, the modern nation state.

The main reason an authentic 21st-century monarch is impossible is that the modern nation-state has perfected the absolutist mechanism of government by eliminating the weaknesses inherent in government by a private individual. While a private individual will never be able to command the mob by appealing to their impulse to self-rule, modern democracies are able to fund and power their absolute, centralized governments by cloaking every policy in the cover of democratic legitimacy (the genius of Hobbes). Moreover, while it took monarchies hundreds of years to acquire the legitimacy of the Church, modern governments can choose when and how their acts will be connected to a given myth by virtue of being premeditated, written -- "founded" -- governments. The United States government is, in fact, the premier example of modern absolutism because it succeeded in adopting some of the classical methods for harnessing and placating the mob without damaging the scope of the absolute, centralized government, i.e., without allowing classical aristocratic republicanism to actually perform its natural function.

People who claim that aspiring and upstart monarchs can do the same are actually thinking of modern, ideological dictators who acquire power by virtue of their ability to manipulate the mob through appeals to justice and other myths rather than by virtue of their personal material success and acumen for war.

The quote is admittedly a secular viewpoint. But where do we even begin to return to the institution of Divine monarchy? To take a single example, England's line of succession is hopelessly tangled by intervening democratic acts. I've previously commented on the morphing of European monarchy into a pan-national, inter-bred ubermensch here. It was for no small reason that the Israelites were commanded, "Thou mayst not make a man of another nation king, that is not thy brother." (Deuteronomy 17:15). (They were likewise commanded, "He shall not have...immense sums of silver and gold," but that's another topic). Not to mention, where are the "true" bishops of the Church to perform the rite of ordination these days--Catholic? Orthodox? Lutheran-Missouri Synod? Any one of hundreds of Protestant sects?

In terms of culture, a paradigm shift that results in the populi viewing their nation and state as legal property of the King is hard to imagine. There is a passage in Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver/Baroque Cycle when Daniel Waterhouse suddenly comes face to face with "England" during the London Great Fire in the exemplar of Charles II, personally directing the firefighting efforts. Can anyone imagine a modern American making this sort of equivocation?

Practically speaking, even if (1) the legitimate bloodlines could be traced and (2) the property restored, the institution itself is utterly gone, reduced, as Taki notes, to a purely ceremonial role. The extant order and all existing public property claims would have to disappear, and some putative neo-monarch start again from Year Zero. Not impossible, but extremely unlikely.

As they say, you can't go home again.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Additional thoughts on Penn State

If we accept that homosexuals are likewise humans with normal sex drives, just a different orientation, then it makes no more sense to allow them unsupervised access to same-sex adolescents and teens than it does to allow heterosexual men unsupervised access to female adolescents and teens. Eventually, somebody is going to end up squeezing the Charmin. I don't know why there are vociferous efforts to deflect this debate toward pedophilia, which is a very different disorder, or to institutional "accountability," as if the prime directive of elite college football programs is to detect homosexuals' efforts to nest elaborate constructs which enable sex with easily-manipulated youths in their midst. Perhaps this deflection is entirely innocuous. Perhaps instead the homosexual lobby wants this debate squelched before it becomes apparent that sex with young post-pubescents, whose hormone-wracked bodies are in a state of nascent sexuality, is a particularized expression of the reproductive urge. I am willing to have the former hypothesis proved, but I'd bet that even the necessary data-gathering would be discouraged if not forbidden.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Elitism and meritocracy

David Brooks is puzzled:
Through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Protestant Establishment sat atop the American power structure. A relatively small network of white Protestant men dominated the universities, the world of finance and even high government service.

Over the past half century, a more diverse and meritocratic elite has replaced the Protestant Establishment. People are more likely to rise on the basis of grades, test scores, effort and performance.

Yet, as this meritocratic elite has taken over institutions, trust in them has plummeted. It's not even clear that the brainy elite is doing a better job of running them than the old boys' network. Would we say that Wall Street is working better now than it did 60 years ago? Or government? The system is more just, but the outcomes are mixed. The meritocracy has not fulfilled its promise.

For starters, it is arguable whether the old boys' network wasn't replaced with a meritocracy so much as it was an affirmative action pageant, and wreckers whose primary interests are to line their own pockets and deconstruct Anglo-America.

When America was a 90% Anglo-Saxon polity, the interests of its WASP elite were largely aligned with the interests of its non-elite classes. Immigrants faced a stark choice: buy into the American ethos or be marginalized. The WASP elite was essentially proprietary. They ascended the ladder by being WASPs, a genetic and cultural trait they shared with the majority of their countrymen. While considered unjust by current norms, such a system had the advantage of insuring more commonality of interest between elite and non-elite. In the same sense, a hereditary noble could command the loyalties of what were, in a genetic and proprietary sense, his people. NB: When Europe's royal lines started coalescing into an inbred, pan-European ubermensch, the nobility lost much of their legitimacy. This is not a new idea. Israeli kings who took foreign wives were considered a big problem under the Old Testament.

Steve Sailer has remarked that Brooks (whom Sailer assures is a regular reader of his blog) has an excellent grasp of the issues, but then has to do backflips to reach the politically correct conclusion. Brooks is true to form here:
[T]oday's elite lacks the self-conscious leadership ethos that the racist, sexist and anti-Semitic old boys' network did possess...The best of the WASP elites had a stewardship mentality, that they were temporary caretakers of institutions that would span generations. They cruelly ostracized people who did not live up to their codes of gentlemanly conduct and scrupulosity. They were insular and struggled with intimacy, but they did believe in restraint, reticence and service.

Today's elite is more talented and open but lacks a self-conscious leadership code. The language of meritocracy (how to succeed) has eclipsed the language of morality (how to be virtuous). Wall Street firms, for example, now hire on the basis of youth and brains, not experience and character. Most of their problems can be traced to this.

If you read the emails from the Libor scandal you get the same sensation you get from reading the emails in so many recent scandals: These people are brats; they have no sense that they are guardians for an institution the world depends on; they have no consciousness of their larger social role.

Brooks cannot allow himself to reach the simpler and more elegant explanation: modern elites have no proprietary sense for an inter-generational institution larger than themselves because, obviously, they are not in any generational line. It would be crimethink for Brooks to accept that 1) the old system was not actually broken, and 2) the new system inherently is.
The difference between the Hayes view and mine is a bit like the difference between the French Revolution and the American Revolution. He wants to upend the social order. I want to keep the current social order, but I want to give it a different ethos and institutions that are more consistent with its existing ideals.
Brooks's handwaving "solution" (i.e., safely free of all practical detail) cannot work because he offers nothing of substance to which any elite loyalties can attach: the Christian Faith, the Buddhist Faith, the English, Israeli, Turkish nation. Consequently, the elite's default loyalty is toward preserving a process that is really not good for much beyond lining their own pockets.

UPDATE: Sailer has focused his smarter and better-connected mind on Brooks's column as well. He reads it as a thinly veiled homily addressed to Brooks's fellow Jews to for-God's-sake stop raping the country that has provided you with so much opportunity.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Independent Inquiry: Penn State Does An Awful Job Running Foster Care Program

Ad Orientem: Independent Inquiry Slams Penn State

Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and the senior leadership at the university covered up incidents of child sexual abuse on the Penn State campus by a former assistant football coach, showing “total disregard for the safety and welfare of the victims,” a team of investigators concluded in findings released Thursday morning. Former FBI director Louis Freeh, who along with his law firm conducted an independent review of the circumstances surrounding the scandal, blamed Paterno and university officials in his report for “catastrophic failures” that were reinforced by a Board of Trustees that had failed to create an environment of accountability.
This is actually deflection of the worst and most disingenuous kind. It is hardly surprising that executives running big-time college football simply had no clue how to deal with a homosexual co-executive who pretextually nested a program for "at-risk youths" (i.e., pederast feeding ground) in the middle of their athletic department.

The moral agency is not in dispute; these men are gravely culpable. But they spend 80 hours a week running big-time college athletics, not assuming that their old pal Jerry Sandusky is actually building an elaborate construct to enable sex with youngsters.

Freeh's report pins the blame on failure "to create an environment of accountability," as if that has anything remotely to do with the institutional mission of Penn State Football. This allows him to avoid ruffling important feathers over the root hazard: allowing homosexual men intimate access with male adolescents and teenagers.

The Big Lie

From Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open: The merging of two generations (and an idiot in the pub)
The two Canadians had joined myself and a friend at our table after the football. They'd shuffled over as the big screens rolled up, bought a round of drinks; we imparted our London knowledge and now the conversation had moved on. Somehow, the subject of age came up. I told one of them mine, and was completely thrown by what came next.
"Isn't 27 a little old to be single?"
"Pardon? Too old?"
"Yeah, like if you want to have kids and stuff - isn't 27 a bit old to still be single?"
Once I'd picked my jaw up off the floor and provided a response which didn't include nearly as many swear words as I'd have liked in retrospect, it wasn't long before I was wishing them a good night, and making my excuses to go home. The next morning, his question was the first thing to come to mind. Too old?

Probably not, but definitely not too young.

If you decide tomorrow morning to start your marriage quest, count on one year to sift through the chaff. Let's assume you meet the Special Someone, and spend another year getting to know one another. Once over that threshold, it's time for the engagement, the family's happy announcement, and the wedding planning. Three years after tomorrow morning, it's wedding day.

As career-chasing adults rather than dumb youngsters happy with a couch and each other's arms, you'll take another year to merge your households and sort finances out. Then it's one more year while your body recalibrates from the decade or so of synthetic estrogen.

Six years from tomorrow morning, you give birth. You are now 33. You may be biologically capable of one more child. You will also be calculating the age differential with your children and grandchildren on the back end.

No more children--you are too old.

The author continues:
Our lives are different to the ones we grew up expecting. Somewhere in the depths of 1996, there's a gaggle of thirteen year olds who thought we'd be married with kids by now - or at least paired with someone who wanted that with us - but instead, we're nowhere close.

For the most part, we're happy. We're doing well. We're well adjusted, fun to be around, brimming with experiences and stories to tell. We look at those who settled down young and feel bad: they're the ones missing out, not us. However, there's no denying it, we've had our long term relationships, they've broken up and now we're single again. But it's different this time around. There's an edge to it; a desperation creeping in, a scrabble to locate the nearest hot man in any given vicinity.

You get the idea. The author realizes that amidst the blur of work-party-travel-fuckbuddies, the great god Time continues his unstoppable count. It seems like a long way off, but by age 35 she is not going to get the same looks from men in pubs. By age 40, they'll be avoiding eye contact.

Ladies, you will never be as attractive to the opposite sex as you are in your 20's. That is when God and biomechanics endowed you with peak ability to turn a man's head and make him crazy for you to bear his children. Do not squander them.

Obamacare

I've been trying to find some good critiques on Obamacare, and really can't find anything better than this comment on socialized medicine which I posted in April 2011. "Health" is inherently uninsurable; we all get old and sick. Bill Sardi has pointed out the inherent contradictions of medical insurance, the vehicle chosen by the Democrats to socialize US medical care.

Insurance is an awful way to pay for anything. The low risk subsidize the high risk, every casualty is maximized by individual self-interest and collective neglect, and on and on. To the extent insurance works at all, it is only where insurers are able to discriminate in pricing risk. If insurers are not allowed to price risk via market mechanisms, they will price risk via government. The law (there's actually no such thing as a 2,454 page "law") should be called the Affordable Cartelization Act. Read here to see some of the jockeying already taking place.

The alternative to mandated medical insurance is single-payor socialized medicine, which seems to work okay in places of 5 to 30 million white people with lots of natural resources for net export. Europe, on the other hand, is sinking under its entitlement obligations, as are Medicare and Medicaid.

I'd like to believe in a place which provides a public guarantee that none of its citizens will ever want for medical necessities, regardless of condition. In practice, it always ends in deficits and increased net tax consumption. Medical care is a scarce commodity like any other. It can be rationed via the market or it can be rationed via the government. The latter always ends in unsustainable demand and malinvestment. I'd love to be proven wrong.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Orthodox converts

From an Orthodox convert, via Ad Orientem.

From the comments:
No one is making a general call for all Orthodox converts in America to suddenly become Russophiles or Dostoevsky scholars. Well, maybe some people are making that call, but my point is this:

If you take the Lord's Incarnation seriously, and you truly believe that the Church is the *Body of Christ*, you should consider that the Faith becomes "incarnationally" "fleshed out" in real human cultures, with real human people. But this doesn't happen quickly. The Church is a tree with Semitic roots, a Hellenistic trunk, and Syrian, Romanian, Slavic, and yes, even American branches. And you don't have to be ashamed of who you are or be trying to imitate an Eastern European to understand that the American branch is still a tiny little green shoot in the grand scheme of Orthodox history and that we have A LOT to learn from the people who have been living out the Faith for thousands of years. That all seems like common sense, so what's the problem?

The problem is that for some strange reason (maybe it is the internet, maybe it is the wealth of translated material available, maybe it is the fact that Orthodoxy is such a small, weird, and cultural irrelevant pond in this country so any obnoxious voice sounds twice as loud...), but when new converts decide they have opinions, they are usually wrong. And they are usually REALLY loud. In almost any other setting, the new guy is expected to learn...But not so in good ole McAmOrthodoxy. Nope, here the converts all start political blogs, start getting personally involved in the Synod's politics (sometimes to an embarassing degree, especially when they get caught- let's face it, that's why Dreher and the people in Texas were upset), and before you know it, they are in seminary. To be placed in a LEADERSHIP POSITION. Without even spending years (at least 10 or 12) having their Orthodox faith tested in the fires of real life QUIETLY and PATIENTLY! Most of the time it is before they've even had the life experience and intellectual maturity to prove that they wouldn't be a complete failure OUTSIDE the Church. Yes, that is a situation worthy of ridicule.

I hope that explains why some of the joking about converts takes place. If they didn't engage in ridiculous posturing and attempts at teaching without even being exposed to a fraction of the Orthodox world, then the jokes wouldn't come so often. And yes, being Orthodox is being a part of the Orthodox WORLD. American exceptionalism **and** American Orthodoxy's exceptionalism be damned. We are a tiny drop in a 300 million strong family. When the newest member of a family, for example the immature young guy your daughter brings home for the first time so he can meet the family, starts to dictate how you should do things in the house, the temptation is to run him out with a broom. Don't be that guy. "We have to teach the lax ethnics which part of their faith is legitimate and which part is cultural baggage and superstition! We can't do stuff like that! The laity needs to be involved! We need to form a new committee! We need to vote! This is not Russia! This is America!"

No. This is Orthodoxy. This is the ***global*** Church. The fact we're in America just means that it is the American expression of the Church which is still too young to contribute as loud of a voice as it has been doing. I know that Americans feel that they have something to add to every debate and every problem in every culture even though we are a baby country a little over 200 years old and still learning how to walk. But it doesn't work in Church. Once we have a few more saints on our calendar and a more uniform parish life with less influence from extremes on all sides, then we'll talk.

To put the debate in context, the young and very American +Jonah (Paffhausen), a former Episcopalian, was named Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America and pushed into resigning four years later. Prominent converts, such as Rod Dreher, are appalled, and this has led to the perennial mutterings between the American converts and cradle Orthodox. This Blogger commenter, Julio Cesar Guerra, provides some good perspective.