Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The American Gleichschaltung



      I recently came across a 2017 Business Insider article discussing the "unusual" increase in death rates for 30-year-olds in the United States over the past 15 years. According to the article:
Premature mortality rates in the US are on the rise for white individuals (women especially), American Indians, and Alaska Natives, according to a study published January 26 in The Lancet. That increase is driven by accidental deaths like drug overdoses, liver disease and cirrhosis largely caused by alcohol abuse, and suicide. 
The article went on to note, however, that "the study also found some important improvements in mortality rates over the same time period." That is:
       Premature death rates for Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders (already all lower than other groups) continued to fall throughout this 1999-2014 range, resulting in 112,000 fewer premature deaths in Hispanics aged 25 to 64 and 34,000 fewer premature deaths among Asians and Pacific Islanders. 
       Even more impressively, premature death rates for black Americans decreased up to 3.9% per year, resulting in 311,000 fewer deaths among individuals aged 25-64. This narrows the gap between black and white Americans, though death rates among black Americans were still 1.5 times higher than those of white Americans in the 2011-2014 time period, one of the most recent spans that the study included data from.
       The findings of the study shouldn't be surprising: over the last several years, there has been a spate of news reports noting that the life expectancy of white Americans had fallen, although it had risen for blacks and Hispanics. (See also here). Similarly, in 2012, there were reports that the life expectancy for poor white Americans had fallen, with the greatest decline among poor white women, although life expectancy had increased for blacks and Hispanics.

The American Divide

       What is happening? It is a consequence of the rural-urban divide. Poor white Americans, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives all have one thing in common, which is that it is these groups that comprise much of the rural population. "As the balance of population shifts from farms to cities, urban elites are increasingly favoring laws and regulations that benefit urban voters over those who live in small towns or out in the country," wrote William Tucker in April 2015. He added: "The implications are more than just economic: it's a trend that fuels the intense populism and angry politics that has shattered the post-World War II consensus and divided the nation." Angelo M. Codevilla has described the current discord in America as a conflict between a "ruling class," grounded in the large urban centers of the country and headed by a largely monolithic "elite," versus the "country class" which are, per his description, is rural (and, he should have added, largely white).  J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis has described the grave social and economic crises facing "his people"--the "Hillbillies" of his book's title--and notes that "[t]he two political parties have offered essentially nothing to these people for a few decades." He adds that "[f]rom the Left, they get some smug condescension, an exasperation that the white working class votes against their economic interests because of social issues," while "[f]rom the Right, they’ve gotten the basic Republican policy platform of tax cuts, free trade, deregulation, and paeans to the noble businessman and economic growth." Even the mighty New York Times has acknowledged the abandonment of rural America by the urban elites. In an op-ed by Robert Leonard, Leonard wrote:
       In state capitols across America, lawmakers spend billions of dollars to take a few seconds off a city dweller’s commute to his office, while rural counties’ farm-to-market roads fall into disrepair. Some of the paved roads in my region are no longer maintained and are reverting to gravel. For a couple of generations now, services that were once scattered across rural areas have increasingly been consolidated in urban areas, and rural towns die. It’s all done in the name of efficiency. 
       In cities, firefighters and E.M.T.s are professionals whose departments are funded by local, state and federal tax dollars. Rural America relies on volunteers. If I have a serious heart attack at home, I’ll be cold to the touch by the time the volunteer ambulance crew from a town 22 miles away gets here. 
       Urban police officers have the latest in computer equipment and vehicles, while small-town cops go begging. 
       In this view, blue counties are where most of our tax dollars are spent, and that’s where all of our laws are written and passed. To rural Americans, sometimes it seems our taxes mostly go to making city residents live better. We recognize that the truth is more complex, particularly when it comes to social programs, but it’s the perception that matters — certainly to the way most people vote. 
       To make matters worse, jobs are continuing to move to metropolitan areas. ... Many towns with a rich history and strong community pride are already dead; their citizens just don’t know it yet.
       But while rural and suburban white Americans may have delivered the White House to Trump, I think it is a mistake to put the current divide down to simply urban versus rural, differing levels of education, or, even, wealthy versus poor. Remember that even in rural counties and states that Trump took by 60% or more of the vote, there was still 40% that voted for Clinton; and Trump support was also high in suburban locales.  Rather, there is a cultural and psychological division that divides the elites, the eloi, the transnationals, from those that, in mind and body, still live in America.

       Leonard, a self-described Democrat, recognized in his op-ed that liberals and conservatives "live in different philosophical worlds, with different foundational principles." These include, as he notes, conservative beliefs in personal responsibility, the sanctity of life, personal freedom and individualism, loyalty to one's nation and its people, and a rejection of racial politics (although he does not use these terms).

       Codevilla also notes the differences between the ruling class and country class:
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.
Moreover, he observes:
The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
       The difference may be more fundamental than philosophical outlook, though.  The Anonymous Conservative has applied evolutionary psychology to the issue, and has proposed both in his articles and his book, The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics, that there are biological or physiological differences between so-called liberals and conservatives, one that is largely explained by differing reproductive strategies of r (reproductive rate) and K (carrying-capacity). To briefly understand these terms, I turn to the explanation in Michael Levin's Why Race Matters:
Reproductive-rate, or “r,” strategists such as fish produce numerous offspring, few of whom survive. Across species, the r strategy associates with lower intelligence, greater investment in reproduction than in postnatal care, short gestation periods, an accelerated life history,opportunistic feeding, little interindividual cooperation, lax social structure, and boom or bust population cycles. Carrying-capacity, or “K,” strategists, typically large mammals, produce a few offspring in widely spaced litters and care for them long after birth. The K strategy associates with higher intelligence, regular feeding habits, pair-bonding, cooperation, complex social structure, and longevity. 
(pp. 135-36). In short, r-strategists (which the Anonymous Conservative refers to as "rabbits") act as though there are unlimited resources and no consequences, and consequently follow a basically selfish, hedonistic lifestyle of doing what feels good; while K-strategists ("wolves" in the Anonymous Conservative's parlance) have strong protective and cooperative instincts toward their offspring and tribe. Although the Anonymous Conservative has not addressed the ethnic issues directly, he asserts that economic migrants, such as those flowing across our southern border or into Europe from Africa and the Middle-East, have r-selected personalities. Levin states in his book:
Rushton argues that the greater adaptiveness of the r-strategy in Africa made Negroids more r, which would explain the lower mean black levels of intelligence, self-restraint and social organization (as evidenced by failure to form stable political units beyond the tribe, or, in the United States, the gang), and a stronger black reproductive drive as measured by illegitimacy, age of menarche, age of first intercourse, age of first pregnancy, frequency of intercourse, and marital instability. An intriguing phenomenon resistant to environmental explanation emphasized by Rushton is the race difference in litter size: there are 4 pairs of dizygotic twins per 1000 births for Mongoloids, 8 per 1000 for Caucasoids, 16 per 1000 for Negroids. Black infant mortality remains twice that of whites even when social factors are controlled for (Schoendorf et al. 1992).56 An accelerated life cycle is suggested by the greater maturity of black babies when gestation period is controlled for, their greater developmental precocity, and the constancy of the race difference in life expectancy during the twentieth century.
[Levin 135-36]. For our purposes, it is enough to realize that urbanites will tend toward r-selection, while the country class tends toward K-selection.

       But perhaps I have digressed too far. The point I want to make is that there is an unbridgeable gap between the two sides, no matter what you call them. And this provides the backdrop to the current unrest that we see in such disparate events as the violent riots at Berkley, the protests against restrictions on immigration and travel from terrorist states, the blatant and not so blatant subversion and undermining of Pres. Trump by the federal bureaucracy, his impeachment (strictly along party line vote) and the rise of several recent leftist "resistance" organizations whose modus operandi is violence and intimidation.

       But all of this is merely the foreground to shifts in relationships between government, academia, and large businesses that have occurred over the past 80 years or so.

Gleichshaltung

      Codevilla points out:
Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy. Hence our ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Hence more power for the ruling class has been our ruling class’s solution not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming. A priori, one might wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make Americans kinder and gentler, much less control the weather. But there can be no doubt that such power and money makes Americans ever more dependent on those who wield it
Although the ruling elite engage in a "bread and circuses" approach of promising and providing welfare benefits to bloc voters in exchange for votes (blocs that are generally shaped around some form of identity movement), this is not the where their real power over the nation lies. Rather, it is through the operation of the administrative state: often the judge, jury and executioner rolled into one on the many issues delegated to them by Congress.

      In an article by John Cochrane entitled "Rule of Law in the Regulatory State," Cochrane warned:
We’re headed for an economic system in which many industries have a handful of large, cartelized businesses— think 6 big banks, 5 big health insurance companies, 4 big energy companies, and so on. Sure, they are protected from competition. But the price of protection is that the businesses support the regulator and administration politically, and does their bidding. If the government wants them to hire, or build factory in unprofitable place, they do it. The benefit of cooperation is a good living and a quiet life. The cost of stepping out of line is personal and business ruin, meted out frequently. That’s neither capture nor cronyism.
       Cochrane used the term "bureaucratic tyranny," to describe this relationship. I think the a better term is Gleichschaltung--a description that the Germans, prior to WWII, used to describe the close cooperation between segments of the economy (represented by large cartels and business and labor organizations) and government bureaucracies, but also the control exerted over those business and labor interests by the bureaucracies. "In Nazi terminology, Gleichschaltung was the process of Nazification by which Nazi Germany successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of society, 'from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education'."

       In his book Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley relates:
       The period from the election of March 5, 1933, to the death of Hindenburg on August 2, 1934, is generally called the Period of Coordination (Gleichschaltung). The process was carried on, like the electoral campaign just finished, by illegal actions from below [riots and attacks by the SA] and legalistic actions from above. ...  
* * * 
       The middle classes were coordinated and disappointed. Wholesale and retail trade associations were consolidated into a Reich Corporation of German Trade under the Nazi Dr. von Renteln. On July 22nd the same man became president of the German Industrial and Trade Committee, which was a union of all the chambers of commerce. ...  
       The breakup of the great department stores, which had been one of the Nazi promises to the petty bourgeois ... was abandoned.... Moreover, liquidation of the cooperative societies, which had also been a promise of long duration, was abandoned....         Labor was coordinated without resistance, except from the Communists. ... The unions themselves were incorporated into a Nazi German Labor Front under Robert Ley. ...  
       Agriculture was coordinated .... The various land and peasant associations were merged into a single association..., while the various landlords' associations were united into the German Board of Agriculture....  
       Religion was coordinated in various ways. ...  
* * * 
       This movement [the Nazi movement], once it came to power at the behest of the Quartet [a term referring to the primary powers in the nation: the Army, the bureaucracy, large industry, and large landlords], took on life and goals of its own quite different from, and, indeed, largely inimical to, the life and goals of the Quartet.
In an interview from several years ago with Jonah Goldberg about his book Liberal Facism, he also discussed Gleichschaltung:
       You know, when I first started pondering the book, I thought it might be all about economics. About ten years ago I went on a junket to Switzerland and attended a talk with the CEO of Nestlé. Listening to him, it became very clear to me that he had little to no interest in free markets or capitalism properly understood. He saw his corporation as a “partner” with governments, NGOs, the U.N., and other massive multinationals. The profit motive was good for efficiency and rewarding talent, but beyond that, he wanted order and predictability and as much planning as he could get. I think that mindset informs the entire class of transnational progressives, the shock troops of what H. G. Wells hoped would lead to his liberal-fascist “world brain.” 
       If you look at how most liberals think about economics, they want big corporations and big government working in tandem with labor, universities (think industrial policy), and progressive organizations to come up with “inclusive” policies set at the national or international level. That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism. When you listen to how Obama is making economic policy with “everyone at the table,” he’s describing corporatism, the economic philosophy of fascism. Government is the senior partner, but all of the other institutions are on board — so long as they agree with the government’s agenda. The people left out of this coordinated effort — the Nazis called it the Gleichschaltung — are the small businessmen, the entrepreneurs, the ideological, social, or economic mavericks who don’t want to play along. When you listen to Obama demonize Chrysler’s bondholders simply because they want their contracts enforced and the rule of law sustained, you get a sense of what I’m talking about.  
Thus, we see corporations make seemingly irrational business decisions in order to support so-called "social justice" programs, whether its ruining entire franchises in order to undermine white male characters in favor of strong-females and people of color, sporting goods stores ceasing to sell firearms, or the inclusion of LGBT messages into advertising.  This is our Gleichschaltung.

They Really Do Hate You

      While you may be tempted to believe that the issue is merely one of philosophical difference that can set aside, you would be wrong. The ruling class and their ilk hate the country class; in their minds, the divide between the groups represents an existential threat. Or as Kurt  Schlichter recently summed it up:
Leftists don’t merely disagree with you. They don’t merely feel you are misguided. They don’t think you are merely wrong. They hate you. They want you enslaved and obedient, if not dead. 
Although Schlichter says "left," the "haters" include all so-called progressives. And this animosity shows up in their attitudes toward the country class. Kevin D. Williamson, for instance, when demonstrating his frustration with Trump supporters at the National Review, wrote: "The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible."  Obama famously pontificated that "it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Hillary Clinton probably sealed her election fate when she said of the country class that they were a "basket of deplorables," and "irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America." And, of course, there are the calls from the left to kill conservative whites.

History May Not Repeat, But It Surely Rhymes

      The great contribution of Oswald Spengler was his realization that while no two civilizations are identical (just as no two plants are identical), they still grow and experience similar phases of growth, stagnation and decay.

        When he wrote Volume 2 of his magnum opus, The Decline of the West, it was the interwar period between World War I and II. Although Germany had lost the first round, it was still an open question of whether the U.K. or Germany would dominate Europe. Ironically, and probably to the great dismay of millions, the United States would step into void of an exhausted Europe to become the dominant power, similar to how the Grecian and Ptolemaic states of the Eastern Mediterranean fell into the hands of Rome.

        Spengler recognized that Western Civilization, in the 1920s, was in the midst of a democratic stage, and the means of politics were "parliamentary--elections and the press."
Now, the publicly visible outer form thereof is not the essential but merely the disguise, and consequently it may be altered, rationalized, and brought down to constitutional texts--without its actualities being necessarily affected in the slightest--and hence the ambitions of all revolutionaries expend themselves in playing the game of rights, principles, and franchises on the surface of history. But the statesman knows that the extension of the franchise is quite unimportant in comparison with the technique ... of operating the votes.
Thus, for example, he noted that "[h]ow the English constitution reads is a matter of small import compared with the fact that it is managed by a small stratum...." But, as he notes, a parliamentary system is one that is dominated by money interests for the simple reason that it takes considerable money to pay for the press required to influence an election. Thus, he writes:
And as for the modern Press, the sentimentalist may beam with contentment when it is constitutionally "free"--but the realist merely asks at whose disposal it is.
     But, even that age must pass, and a civilization will move on to a post-democratic phase which Spengler described as Caesarism (corresponding to 100 BC – 100 AD in Classical civilization): that is, power will pass to "a charismatic strongman whose rule is based upon a cult of personality, who advocates the need to rule by force, the establishment of a violent social order, and the involvement of the military in the government." He predicted that the West would enter this period about the year 2000.  "Caesarism marks the end of 'Democracy,' brings 'Victory of force politics over money'.... Economic powers give way to an authoritarian model that promotes collective values of health and social justice—or to use Spengler’s own description, 'Ethical socialism after 2000'."*

      Caesarism, though, is not the victory of the moneyed interests that have the real control during the period, but is a reaction to their excesses and the loss of culture. As one author described it:
        People become increasingly aware that their “democracy” is not that at all and is in fact a sort of plutocracy where the strings are being pulled by the richest behind a façade of cynical self aggrandizing opportunists posing as statesmen, whose real purpose is the accumulation of power for power itself and treating politics as a sort of game to be indulged in for the pleasure of it. 
        The parties on the ballot paper are mirror images of each other, peopled as they are by cynical game players who can be bought by the money men, be they socialist or conservative their “policy differences” are mere window dressings and the true policies are in essence the same for both sides, the continuation of the status quo and victory for the personal, financial and power gains and “jobs for the boys.” 
        The masses, aware of their powerlessness resort to a purely passive role as spectators of the suffering of others on TV so long as it doesn’t affect them directly. They are supplied with a reasonable standard of living and shallow entertainments (bread and circuses) in return for keeping their heads down and their mouths shut, and for going along with the status quo at election time or abstaining as more and more do. 
         In any case the “free media” which goes along with democracy is essentially in the power of money also and increasingly resorts to a sloganeering form of ranting, whether either right leaning or left leaning it is just another form of entertainment to titillate the viewers without any real substance. Slowly the cynicism builds and builds until one day, sick to the teeth of the corrupt, bogus and empty institutions of state and the utter meaninglessness of a isolated and empty existence, the people cry out for a savior in the form of a great and heroic leader who will smash the rotten edifice of democracy and purify the world. 
       Hail Caesar!
       Hillary was a tool of the moneyed interests--the plutocracy. Her election would have finally allowed the Left to stomp out what little opposition yet remained. But the Left overplayed its hand, perhaps pulled along by events as much as the manufacturer of events.

The Multi-Cultural Empire

      I've noted before in this blog the goals of the Cultural Marxists, which is the destruction of Western culture and traditions, and the creation of a new world system--"world improvers" indeed. This, however, is merely the West's version of Imperialism. In fact, as Daniel Greenfield has noted, the elimination of nationalism is a hallmark of Imperialism, and a necessary corollary to the international order desired by the Plutocracy.
Empires may be expansionist, but they're also tolerant and multicultural. They have to be, since out of their initial phase they have to enlist the cooperation and services of subjects from a variety of cultures and religions. An empire may initially be fueled by the talents and skills of a core nation, but as it reaches its next phase, it begins sacrificing their interests to the larger structure of empire.
Sir John Glub noted in his thesis, "The Fate of Empires":
One of the oft-repeated phenomena of great empires is the influx of foreigners to the capital city. Roman historians often complain of the number of Asians and Africans in Rome. Baghdad, in its prime in the ninth century, was international in its population—Persians, Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Egyptians, Africans and Greeks mingled in its streets. 
He continues:
      In the age of the first outburst and the subsequent Age of Conquests, the race is normally ethnically more or less homogeneous. This state of affairs facilitates a feeling of solidarity and comradeship. But in the Ages of Commerce and Affluence, every type of foreigner floods into the great city, the streets of which are reputed to be paved with gold. As, in most cases, this great city is also the capital of the empire, the cosmopolitan crowd at the seat of empire exercises a political influence greatly in excess of its relative numbers.
      Second- or third-generation foreign immigrants may appear outwardly to be entirely assimilated, but they often constitute a weakness in two directions. First, their basic human nature often differs from that of the original imperial stock. If the earlier imperial race was stubborn and slowmoving, the immigrants might come from more emotional races, thereby introducing cracks and schisms into the national policies, even if all were equally loyal.
      Second, while the nation is still affluent, all the diverse races may appear equally loyal. But in an acute emergency, the immigrants will often be less willing to sacrifice their lives and their property than will be the original descendants of the founder race.
      Third, the immigrants are liable to form communities of their own, protecting primarily their own interests, and only in the second degree that of the nation as a whole.
      Fourth, many of the foreign immigrants will probably belong to races originally conquered by and absorbed into the empire. While the empire is enjoying its High Noon of prosperity, all these people are proud and glad to be imperial citizens. But when decline sets in, it is extraordinary how the memory of ancient wars, perhaps centuries before, is suddenly revived, and local or provincial movements appear demanding secession or independence. 
In this regard, I would note the following from Z Man:
        One of the reasons our rulers are cracking down on speech is that even the most tepid debate will lead to uncomfortable questions. Just look at a public discussion of immigration. You cannot get into the discussion unless you agree that immigration is always good. The reason for that is no one in charge ever wants to address the one question that is never asked, which is, how many? How many immigrants should we take? Should Germany take a million Arabs or ten million? How about 100 million? 
        There are two reasons to avoid the numbers question. If you agree that one million is a reasonable cap for Germany, the implication is that there is a level where you have too many Muslims or Africans. ...
         The other reason to avoid talking about numbers is it would reveal a truth that our betters would prefer remain concealed. If the goal is to move to a post-national world where borders are meaningless, then talking numbers would give the game away. The people who dream of a borderless world have to admit the numbers don’t matter to them. ... 

Where Next?

     In past history, peasant revolts could quickly be quelled because the expense of outfitting and training someone to effectively use weapons was prohibitive to anyone but wealthy lords and/or the state. But, to paraphrase an old firearms advertisement, "Sam Colt made everyone equal." True, the state has an overwhelming advantage as to crew served weapons, missiles, tanks, etc. But quantity has a quality of all its own, and armed civilians far outnumber the military and law enforcement combined. All this means, however, is that the current Elites cannot be sure of putting down a revolt or holding the nation together in the event of a civil war. The end result will be same, though. A strong leader will arise--chaos will demand someone that can bring order. I think what scares the Elites is that Trump may be this strong leader.



* Spengler saw Socialism as the successor to Western Christianity, as, in his view, both are preoccupied by improving the world. However, as a civilization enters a period of megalopolism, it becomes increasingly irreligious. Thus, to Spengler, Socialism was an irreligious version of the most radical elements of Christianity.

2 comments:

  1. First, Merry Christmas. Second, great post, as usual. Third, a data point: When I drive on rural roads in red states, they're good roads. When I drive on rural roads in blue states? They're garbage. As the only population that "matters" to the politicians in blue states lives in the cities, this makes sense.

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    1. Thank you. Hope you and yours had a good Christmas as well.

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