“Who cares what’s the matter with Kansas?”

November 13, 2012

Paul Krugman, very pleased with the re-election of Obama, wrote:

I have to say, the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments on the right comes as a surprise. We knew that they would be upset; but the extent to which they were really, truly unprepared for the obvious possibility that Obama would be reelected is remarkable. I suspect that it comes down to two things: self-definition in terms of always being the people with the power, and the right-wing bubble, which left them completely unaware of information they didn’t want to hear.

It’s true that the odds were always in favor of Obama, and it’s also true that many on the right (including myself) became excited when a Romney victory began to look possible, and felt devastated when he lost.

In some ways it’s analogous to what Democrats went through in the 2004 elections, working themselves into a frenzy with the belief that they could kick the hated George W. Bush out of office. I still remember the image of Bruce Springsteen triumphantly stepping off stage after a benefit concert right before the election. They really believed they would win, because they wanted so to win, and after all, they were right.

The next day they were all in shock, talking about wearing black in mourning and moving to Canada.

It is not fair to mock conservatives for their wishful thinking. Americans have always felt that elections matter and that their individual votes matter, and those on the right have, until the last decade at any rate, been able to count on a reserve of conservative white sentiment emerging at election time to confound the hopes and predictions of liberals. The reality that is only beginning to hit some of them now is that demographic change in America has largely neutralized this force.

But it is very noteworthy that Krugman, whose credibility hangs on his credentials as a world-class economist, sheds objectivity when he reveals his delight in the increasing marginalization of white middle America:

…one big thing that just happened was that the real America trumped the “real America”. And it’s also the election that lets us ask, finally, “Who cares what’s the matter with Kansas?”

For a long time, right-wingers — and some pundits — have peddled the notion that the “real America”, all that really counted, was the land of non-urban white people, to which both parties must abase themselves. Meanwhile, the actual electorate was getting racially and ethnically diverse, and increasingly tolerant too. The 2008 Obama coalition wasn’t a fluke; it was the country we are becoming.

And sure enough that more diverse and, if you ask me, better nation just won big.

Notice too that to the extent that social issues played in this election, they played in favor of Democrats. Gods, guns, and gays didn’t swing voters into supporting corporate interests; instead, human dignity for women swung votes the other way.

A huge night for truth, justice, and the real American way.

Krugman is right: the Obama coalition now represents the majority – though not a unified, coherent, or very large one. Republicans might be able to rally for another few elections, though it isn’t looking likely, considering their complete unwillingness to consider appealing to actual white – er, “Kansas” – interests. This writer disagrees, however, that the Obama coalition represents the “real America.” That is not a matter to be determined by numbers, especially not numbers inflated by the presence of foreigners like the so-called “Latinos.”

Like many I find it increasingly unlikely that our traditional institutions or the democratic process can ever again function to serve the interests of white Americans. But that only underscores the need for traditionalist conservatives to keep the flames of truth burning, and search for other ways to recover a decent way of life as a people. It’s not over by a long shot.

Advertisements

On the Disaster in Japan

March 14, 2011

I feel preoccupied with the horrible loss of life we are learning of in Japan. I have friends there although, thankfully, none in the areas struck by the tsunami. I certainly agree with the bloggers and writers who have commented on how the Japanese response to this disaster shows the advantages of belonging to a high-I.Q., homogeneous population. Apart from that, it seems to me that Japanese society has a blend of order, attention to detail, honesty, and decency, qualities realized in a unique national character that can’t be imitated or fully explained.

But really, this is not the time to project our selfish concerns upon a people undergoing terrible suffering and loss. I’d rather refrain from comment and just send good wishes and prayers to the people of Japan.


A Type of Protest I’d Like to See

November 16, 2009

I like to think that what I write in this blog might have the effect of influencing a person or two of liberal, or mainstream conservative, persuasion by helping them to see some of the non-politically-correct truth of what is happening to their country. Yet I recognize that in reality most of my readers are already sympathetic to my perspective. Consequently, much of my writing reads like part of a conversation among like-minded people. That has its own legitimate function, of course. We traditional patriots (if I may be so daring as to apply such an epithet to such a shadowy group and further to include myself in such honorable company) need the encouragement, the intellectual stimulation, even the entertainment that largely anonymous Internet formats currently provide better than any other. And if we keep striking flint to steel we may eventually get fire. So be it. For now.

Yet my mind returns again and again to the question of what I can do to contribute to the cause of my people, or, if that sounds grandiose, to at least be part of a functioning movement. The traditionalist conservative, or ethno-conservative, or nationalist, movement has as yet no real power in our society. In America we have scarcely even begun to define ourselves as a people in any other than universalist, liberal terms. The most “conservative” among us are unable to explain why it would be wrong to reduce whites to 1% of the population, though even the most liberal of us must see that there would be something wrong with this. There seems to be no base on which to stand to fight. I myself work for a liberal bureaucratic institution and would quickly become persona non grata were my views to become known to my co-workers. (I do anticipate taking that risk when the time is right, but that does not seem to be now.) Perhaps it might be better to enter a more “conservative” field, where this would be less of a problem. But lo, I look all around and there is nothing but liberal bureaucracy in every area of society, even in the military, even in the churches – and it’s getting worse all the time. What to do? Sometimes I fantasize about getting together with some friends and forming an Amish type of community separate from the larger society. But that hardly seems practical either.

Oh, sure, I send money to a few causes, call my elected representatives once in a while, write letters, things like that. And these are worthwhile, even essential, things to do. But there is no power in them. The powers that be allow the expression of opinion. Almost on a daily basis letters to the editor appear in the local paper expressing solid, middle-American values. But this opinion is carefully filtered out from the actual decision-making bodies, leaving only lifeless printed words that are remembered by none.

And after all, expressing opinion is nothing in itself. For in truth – as some have said – what is going on is not an argument but a fight. A war, which requires the use of force. I am not talking, of course, literally about battalions of troops shooting each other, but I am talking about pressure, coercion, compulsion, strategy, propaganda, and even (as Mohammed knew well) deceit.

We have very little force at our command except for a few fine, brave thinkers. And, on the other hand, all that remains of the spirit of our nation in the hearts of the people.

Now, our society is so rotten, so corrupt and weak in so many ways, that there ought to be numerous weaknesses that we traditionalists can exploit. The very passivity, lack of clear thinking, lack of loyalty, and venality that lead our politicians and businessmen to roll over and surrender to invaders who are largely inferior in ability to their hosts (or victims) and without exception dependent on the largesse of those hosts, ought to be exploitable by those of us who are tired of living under the conditions they set.

Yet for me, a clear path for action has yet to emerge.

One small thought I’d like to throw out today concerns the possibility of protests. Conservatives, of course, don’t much like protesting. Left-wing theatrics, George Bush paper-mache dolls on stilts, stupid chanted slogans, are embarrassing to us. Mob activity is repugnant, the antithesis of the type of politics practiced by a free people.

And yet…we have reached the point where things so outrageous and abominable as to have been inconceivable only a few years ago are being presented to us as normal and beyond question. (Read any issue of the New York Times for examples. Or, on second thought, don’t.) In some cases, I believe the supporters of these causes and activities have become careless, assuming they have already won a struggle that is still far from decided. Why not figure out some areas where selective protest might catch its targets off guard?

For instance, Gay Pride parades. These have become elevated to mainstream events in recent years. I witnessed one in Columbus, Ohio, a few years ago. At first glance, they look like a normal sort of summer festival – floats, music, a big turnout, neighbors on their porches watching the show while enjoying drinks from coolers. Then you look more closely and you see the aged transvestites, the flashes of nudity, the free packets of sexual lubricant tossed from a float, and you begin to feel ill. Then you see the small children who are being exposed to the filth and start to feel that a crime is taking place.

Then you see that Chase Bank (or some such pillar of the community) is a sponsor of the event.

Could a group of citizens not organize themselves to follow these events and, without actual violence, disrupt them? Even if the event could not actually be stopped, it would surely put a crimp on their fun, would it not? One would, of course, have to attune the signs, slogans, and actions to the values of real, average citizens. None of this “God Hates Fags” stuff which one suspects is actually planted by the opposition to convince the public that only foaming-at-the-mouth “haters” oppose these events.

Would this not possibly embarrass Chase Bank just a bit? Are the homosexualists really that powerful and do they really enjoy that much support? Or is their “pride” more like an inflated soap bubble that could be easily pricked? And, if the government or police go too far in supporting them, won’t this undermine them in the eyes of much of their constituency? Yeah, we know about free speech and all, but are you actually arresting people who don’t want this in their neighborhood?

Then there are the atrocities carried out by Muslims on U.S. soil and the craven and dead response of the media and other authorities, up to and including the current President of the United States. The demonic fiend and enemy alien who probably planned the mass slaughter of Americans in Washington and New York is going to be given a civilian trial in New York with our best lawyers arguing that evidence against him gained by “torture” cannot be admitted? Given a platform to terrorize Americans and rally the Muslim enemy through grandiose speeches given while sporting the bin Laden lookalike stinking beard and turban we’ve allowed him to assume as his “human right”? The type of non-human being who makes me realize that even my deep opposition to lynching and torture has exceptions?

Why not have a large and continually replenished group of dignified (but obtrusive) protesters with signs saying “Death to Jihadist Murderers”? Why not set up some of the same outside Fort Hood or wherever the “fair trial” of that creature is supposed to take place? There would need to be enough present for a long enough time that even if the media chose to ignore them they would be seen by thousands of people in person. Again, if such protesters are arrested or forced to move, what will that do to the credibility of the authorities?

Well, I probably should apologize for raising the grand question of What To Do and then offering just another limited, conventional sort of action, of the sort which is indeed being conducted from time to time. But my point is that we need to examine the structure of our liberal society as a whole and identify the weaknesses that might be exploited to undermine it – and the areas (for instance, at present, the Internet) that can still serve as bases for strategic actions.

Since hostile readers will have little to say on this question, I invite my friendly readers to share their insights on this question.


What a Difference Half a Century Makes

August 16, 2009

MacArthur and Hirohito

One of the iconic images of the American occupation of Japan (1945-1952) is the photograph of General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito taken at MacArthur’s headquarters. The photograph is a striking symbol of American dominance and Japanese submission, a brilliant propaganda move by MacArthur. The 44-year-old emperor, previously rarely photographed or seen by the public, appears nervous and awkward next to the 65-year-old MacArthur, who seems to tower above him and deliberately strikes a casual pose in his open-necked khaki shirt. Further, it was the emperor who paid audience to MacArthur, and not vice versa. Hirohito did have reason to be nervous: the Occupation authorities were in the midst of deciding whether to retain the imperial institution, or whether to have Hirohito tried as a war criminal and quite possibly executed, something that much of the American public and many of Japan’s other enemies were quite in favor of.

Historian John Dower writes in Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1), that “Rigid royalists like the [Japanese] Home Ministry’s censors immediately saw the photo as an appalling sort of lese majesty” (p.293). Nevertheless, it was published, serving as a demonstration of American-style freedom of the press as well as as a reminder of the Japanese defeat.

And yet, the photograph was not as injurious to the emperor as it might seem. Writes Dower: “The photograph is often said to mark the moment when it really came home to most Japanese that they had been vanquished and the Americans were in charge. At the same time – and this is what the censors and the more overwrought superpatriots missed – it also made it plain that SCAP [Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers] was hospitable to the emperor, and would stand by him” (293). MacArthur’s audience with the Emperor was followed by a campaign, engineered by General Bonner Fellers and strongly supported by MacArthur, to prevent the criminal prosecution of the emperor. The preservation of the imperial household of Japan as a national symbol of a democratic nation came to be accepted by the Americans and by most Japanese.

I couldn’t help seeing the ironic resemblance of a recent photo containing similar elements, but taken and published under very different circumstances:

Jong-Il and Bill

While the height difference between the white man and the Asian man is the same, the other important elements have been reversed, and the American – a former president, no less – is the subordinate and the one being made a fool of. Of course, the photos differ completely in their particulars. The first shows a moment in history when America, having decisively defeated Japan in a total war that culminated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, commenced an occupation with a firm sense of her own rightness. The second incident is infinitely trivial by comparison: Asian-American female journalists put themselves in harm’s way and were nabbed by the enemy; the Obama administration decided to allow Kim his desired PR coup by providing him with a real U.S. president (and, Charles Krauthammer thinks, other forms of aid) in exchange for the release of the hostages. It is just one of the sharper illustrations of the results of a fifty-year breakdown of the American sense of identity and national interest.

It is easy, from a position of safety, to make fun of Kim Jong-Il, (yes, I think the linked video is funny) and Clinton’s own history has inevitably led to to jokes about the incident. However, the reality is not funny. I have no solution to propose for our relationship with the Koreas, but the permanent posting of 28,000 troops in the South to protect it from the North, even as the South becomes increasingly anti-American, is unacceptable. As is any policy, whether regarding North Korea or Iran or the admission of Muslims as graduate students in the sciences, that does not put as its highest priority, and minimum acceptable outcome, the prevention of a nuclear attack against the United States.

There are other intriguing threads between the two pictures. In both cases the possession of nuclear weapons is the source of the victor’s power. Another link is the figure of MacArthur himself, who became the commander of UN forces during the Korean War, and was dismissed by Truman for insubordinate behavior. He seems to have been both more aggressive and more idealistic than his administration in his Korea policy. And the occupation of Japan that he headed, while by any standard a historically unique and massive success, set the precedent for the U.S. policy of trying to help and democratize other countries, including our defeated enemies. The liberal universalist rationale of the American occupation has become standard in all our foreign military activities, and continues to distort our understanding of the Korean situation. Finally, the contrast between America’s wartime propaganda against the emperor and the eager fraternization of occupation authorities with Japanese court circles (described by Dower) gives pause for thought.

MacArthur’s America was strong, though flawed. Today, America “no longer exists,” as Lawrence Auster put it in his commentary on the reason for our tepid response to the Chinese capture of the personnel of a U.S. spy plane in 2001. That is, we have lost a sense of being part of a larger national entity whose identity transcends that of the individuals who belong to it. As a result, when a hostile nation like North Korea commits an act of aggression against us as a nation, we respond solely in terms of the welfare of individuals. From this point of view, Clinton’s mission to North Korea was a resounding success, praised even by Republicans like Douglas Paal, who in an opinion piece for the New York Times, supports the Clinton visit. His approval is based on the simple belief that Clinton’s visit was the only way to free the journalists, mixed with some wishful thinking that Kim “may be ready now to turn a more cooperative face to the outside world.” Lee and Ling themselves have expressed emotional thanks to the U.S. government and the individuals who supported them, but don’t appear to be conscious of the considerable burden they placed upon their nation.

Meanwhile, the palpable humiliation of America, in the person of our former president, is recorded on film for posterity, quite visible to the rest of the world and to the North Koreans, though suppressed from the consciousness of most Americans. There is no way to escape the daily humiliations and increasing threats to our physical safety until we recover a historically rooted sense of who we are as Americans.

Notes

(1) John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 1999.


Outlook Murky – The New York Times

August 10, 2009

I spent some time looking through the New York Times today (to be precise, the Friday, August 7 issue). Conservatives, of course, are deeply suspicious of the Times. Its left-wing bias goes way back, well before 1969 when its editors showed their lack of happiness at the successful Apollo moon landing. Still, it remains in my mind the newspaper. Nowadays it is available everywhere, and even given out free on college campuses.

When I was growing up in the Midwest, the Times was hard to get hold of. You had to go to a larger town to get the Sunday edition, or get it by mail subscription. For practical purposes you could only read it at the library. I remember going to visit my grandparents in the New York area in my early teens, and being impressed at how they had the Times delivered to their home every day. On July 4, the paper would always reprint the Declaration of Independence. I suppose they probably still do. When I went to college, I made a point of subscribing to the Times at a discount through the student agency. I felt I had “arrived” as a student.

Nowadays, I doubt many students read newspapers at all. Those I have talked to say that the news is all bad anyway, or that they get their news from the Internet. I am like them in that last respect. And yet I still feel one should read a newspaper, just as one should write real letters to people (I don’t do much of that either). They should be our bread and butter for understanding society; not a final authority, but a fundamental source. That’s what my father said.

I might still read the Times regularly if its only problem were liberal bias. After all, you can still get useful information from a biased source. But it has fallen far below that. If you are a person who still believes in some of the traditional American values – say, limited government; personal responsibility; national identity; national interest – the Times is almost unreadable. Its stories and editorials adhere to “scripts” that reduce every issue to simplistic liberal paradigms. There is less variety of perspective, I imagine, than there was even in Communist publications during the Cold War; the only advantage the Times has over those is its sense of style – which probably makes it the more dangerous of the two.

What a strange, grim world is portrayed on those pages! It reminds me of something I have said before, that the one thing conservatives and liberals in America have in common is a deep sense of foreboding about the future. No one could read this paper day in and day out and come out with any sense of optimism for the future.

The headlines this particular day:

Headline: Senate Confirms Sotomayor for the Supreme Court: First Hispanic Is Approved by 68-31 Vote. Comment: Justices in our highest court are now chosen based on an ethnic spoils system. Americans: from now on you will see more and more “Hispanics” presiding over you. Did anyone ever ask you if you wanted this?

The Times sees this as a “resounding victory” for their side. I have to admire the brazenness of the photograph of the victorious Justice “returning to her Manhattan home,” with graffiti on the brick wall in the background. Seems to symbolize the third-worldization her confirmation represents.

Headline: Economists See A Limited Lift From Stimulus: Jobs Report Due Today – Outlook Murky. Comment: The “economists” seem to belong to the Obama administration. They and a few “private analysts” think they see a teensy benefit from the massive “stimulus” expenditures. The Times writer hopes this is the case, because when higher unemployment figures are released today, this will provide “Republicans and conservative economists new ammunition to argue that the stimulus has been a waste of taxpayer money.” This seems to leave out the possibility that the stimulus actually has been a waste of taxpayer money….

Headline: A New Battle of Vieques, Over Navy’s Cleanup. Comment: A Puerto Rico story, obviously paired with the Sotomayor confirmation. The Navy used this island of 9,300 residents for military training from World War II to 2003. They are now cleaning up unexploded munitions, with residents unhappy with the possible health effects of detonating munitions to clean them up. It appears to be the usual give and take between the U.S. government and the locals that one would expect, which the Hispanic author of the article attempts to spin as a major incident.

Headline: For Iraqis Released by the U.S., Little Hope and Plenty of Suspicion. Comment: The Times must have published hundreds of stories following this template. The poor Iraqis, detained for trying to attack us! When they get out, they find there are no jobs, so they’re likely to join the insurgency again. Apparently, America needs to create jobs for all of them, or let them immigrate to America. And of course, people are always “suspicious.” We just need to try harder, and spend more, to win their hearts and minds!

Headline: ANOTHER HURDLE FOR THE JOBLESS: CREDIT INQUIRIES. DISCRIMINATION FEARED. Employers Defending a Practice Some states Seek to Restrict. Comment: Poor Juan Ochoa! He thought he had a job lined up as a data entry clerk. “Before he could do much more, though, the firm checked his credit history. The interest vanished. There were too many collections claims against him, the firm said.”

Actually, I am not comfortable with the enormous significance credit ratings are taking on in our society, and the regularity of credit checks in daily life. But if this guy has a bunch of unpaid debts…but the author didn’t think it important to fill us in on those details.

Headline: High-Risk Drug Is in Spotlight In Wake of High-Profile Death. Comment: Propofol, the drug that may have killed Michael Jackson, is being abused by some people. The article discusses an anesthesiologist from Nebraska who supposedly got to the point of injecting himself with the drug 15 times in one night, and another medical professional who used it 100 times a day. A serious problem, if this is so, but the Times writer does not choose to question the character of this anesthesiologist, obviously a seriously irresponsible, out-of-control person, who apparently is now back on the job after several months of rehab.

The Times, and its cousins, provide daily intellectual fodder for our elites in all fields. Presumably they read it to stay “informed” in ways relevant to their work and lives. But what do they learn? The theme is always the same. The economy, the health industry, foreign relations, war, unemployment – in each realm discontented people, usually foreign or minority, present a problem to government or other authorities, with their grievances, dysfunctions, or illnesses. To solve these problems, “experts” must conduct studies and the government must then attempt solutions based on their findings, using public money. But like the heads of the Hydra, the problems multiply endlessly, while there is never even a fraction of the money available that those experts insist is needed. With no concept of the larger, timeless truths that form the foundation for the social order and teach the limitations of what man can accomplish on earth, all you can do is rely on hope – in the person of figures like Obama and Sotomayor, who have no conception of the Good but do believe in Change, Change, Change.

I have long been disillusioned with our liberal media, but I still miss the days when I could take pleasure in reading the New York Times.