I don't know
liberals wrong on politics, economics, culture
Let’s assume that our liberal friends that elected Joe Biden and the Democrat Congress in 2020 are facing economic downturn — as in “worst economy in the last 50 years.” It’s sad, of course, because our liberal friends are all educated and they know that climate change and systemic racism are existential problems that only an educated and evolved class of the Anointed can “tackle.”
But I think that our liberal friends are clueless. They have bought into generations of Narrative that assume that, given the right people with political and economic and cultural power and with the right ideas, that we can “fundamentally transform” society and bend the arc of history towards justice.
I think that this world view is fundamentally in error, and I want to think about it and tell how it is wrong at all three centers of society: political, economic, and cultural.
As you know, I believe that the way to understand the political is through Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt’s notion that the political is the distinction between friend and enemy.
To make it “real simple” far-right Curtis Yarvin wrote that “there is no politics without an enemy.”
And, Schmitt points out, when you have defined someone as the enemy you have raised the question of violence, even killing.
Therefore, I say, any sensible human society should sharply limit its politics, because really, just how many real enemies are their out there? Nazis? For sure, as in the Holocaust. Commies? For sure, as in 100 million dead in the 20th century. Hey President Xi: how yer doin’ pal? Sexual predators that prey on underage children? Of course. Ordinary criminals? Yep. But all-American racist-sexist-homophobes? I don’t think so. Something a little less strong is needed for them.
Whatabout climate change? You can immediately see the problem with climate change as a political program when climate enthusiasts call people that disagree with them “climate deniers.” And you can see the problem as our leaders implement warlike programs that impose a political agenda on the economy, canceling cars, gas stoves, and imposing all kinds of regulatory burdens on everyone on he forced march to Net Zero. Yes, 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is a problem, but 78.9 percent of them live on government grants, and know which side their bread is buttered. And there is the little problem that living things survive and thrive by adaptation, adapting to changes in their environment.
You can see the problem with politics in the whole race question, as Richard Hanania analyzes with The Origin of Woke that I have analyzed here and here. You start with a Civil Rights Act. Then you think it needs a little nudge with Affirmative Action. Pretty soon you are calling all white males racists and you have created a DEI bureaucracy to keep tabs on them. Of course, that’s because the political is the distinction between friend and enemy. If you look out on the fruited plain and think that blacks or women are not getting their share of the fruit, then the next step is to assume that there’s an enemy at work. You see that with the current president of the American Library Association, lesbian Marxist Emily Drabinski who believes in “collective power.” Do you see that “collective power” means “using force?”
The great challenge of the next century is to dial down the political, because very few questions can be reduced to friend versus enemy.
We are all taught that the extreme libertarian notion that the market economy should be completely deregulated is a fantasy. Whatabout labor exploitation? Whatabout monopolies? Whatabout scabs taking jobs from union workers on strike? Whatabout child labor? OK. So what do we do about it? Minimum wage laws? But that makes it difficult for young, unskilled workers to get a start. Anti-monopoly law? Yes, but pretty soon the gubmint is using the law to bully corporations it doesn’t like and favor corporation that it does like. Labor strikes? But usually they are a result of gubmint policy. There was a big union expansion in the late 19th century when the US was executing a deflationary monetary policy after the Civil War. Ditto in the 1930s when the gubmint totally bollixed up the economy after failing to staunch the Crash of 1929. Child labor? there are a lot of teenagers that would much prefer to be working rather than grinding through high school.
And there is the false assumption that government can actually make things better. Suppose that by interfering with prices it makes things worse? Suppose that by administrative supervision it just doesn’t have the bandwidth to know what is going on and what to do about it? Suppose that all regulatory efforts are useless, because “regulatory capture?” Yes, just what can government do to help rather than hinder?
See, my judgement is that almost all government intervention in the economy ends up as corrupt quid-pro-quo favors for politically connected businessmen and powerful interests. Theoretically, government could step in to help non-powerful people, but usually the powerful go to the head of the line.
There is a whole world of human life outside the harsh world of politics and enemies and the economy and its eternal demand “does it pay?” There is Law, which is really separate from politics. In the old British system the law was Common Law, that built up over the decades and centuries from legal decisions in actual legal cases. Of course, there have been notable attempts to codify law, with the Napoleonic Code the most famous example. But frankly, I would prefer judge made law to politician made law: law created outside the hothouse of politics.
Then there is religion, in which humans form moral communities and develop agreement about good and evil and also the meaning of life, the universe, everything. Religion tends to get mixed up with the state and thus politics, partly because politicians want the moral authority of the priests, and partly because the priests kinda like the idea of forcing their moral system on others. Obviously, it is impossible to separation church and state completely, but we can certainly try.
Then there is knowledge: scientific, philosophical, and there is education and the whole area of the arts. Again, there is a temptation for scientists, philosophers, teachers and artists to cuddle up to gubmint money and power and for government to use the culture to advance its agenda. I dream of a world where there is a lot less of this than right now.
Like I say, there’s a good chance that our liberal friends are going to be looking for answers if their current effort gets thrown out at the next election. I hope that one fine day they will understand just how much damage they have done to the American people. But whether they do or they don’t, we the people need to come up with good ideas that can help: ideas that make American government, eonomy and culture better rather than make things worse.