You may now call the First Citizen Dominus

He who claims to be the salvation of the notional Populares from the tyranny of the leader of the traditional Optimates holds the keys to the victory of the new order over the old. The very means of power by which the plebian faction may grasp the reins of power will destroy the order under which the plebians can make their voices heard in a customary manner. The stability and order which the Optimates crave will also crumble the more they grip tightly to the past.

Here I’m making observations. Offering descriptions of what I see. These are symptoms, reflecting an underlying condition. But it strikes me that there is no cure for what ails us. This life is near its end, and all that remains to be decided is who strikes the death blow, which faction can claim the Pyrrhic victory.

History does not repeat. Villains and heroes are not reborn. And yet the dramatis personae of the past suffice to describe the players of the present.

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50 thoughts on “You may now call the First Citizen Dominus

  1. This life is near its end, and all that remains to be decided is who strikes the death blow, which faction can claim the Pyrrhic victory.

    It’s best to win and let the unintended consequences of victory sort themselves out on their own. Some of those unintended consequences will undoubtably be bad, but some might be unexpectedly good. So try to be a winner. Always.

    Most people who get philosophical about losing are just trying to justify losing, and one way to do that is to act as if winning won’t matter. That may be true, but it’s a bad attitude to take through life.

    So if someone has to strike a “death blow,” then by God I hope it’s my side. And if that victory is not as sweet as I hoped it would be, at least I will be around to appreciate the irony.

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  2. “There must be some way out of here”
    Said the joker to the thief
    “There’s too much confusion
    I can’t get no relief
    Businessmen, they drink my wine
    Plowmen dig my earth
    None of them along the line
    Know what any of it is worth”

    “No reason to get excited”
    The thief, he kindly spoke
    “There are many here among us
    Who feel that life is but a joke
    But you and I, we’ve been through that
    And this is not our fate
    So let us not talk falsely now
    The hour is getting late”

    All along the watchtower
    Princes kept the view
    While all the women came and went
    Barefoot servants too
    Outside, in the distance
    A wildcat did growl
    Two riders were approaching
    The wind began to howl

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  3. I wish I knew what my side is.

    All it takes is self-awareness. If you know where you stand, then you should know your side. That side may change over time as the world evolves around you. Or you may change sides because of new information or for some emotional reason.

    But if you know where you stand, you should know your side.

    If you don’t know your side, you probably either don’t have strong views or you have heterodox views that prevent you from viewing any side as either your permanent ally or permanent enemy. But even in the latter case, you can still pick sides, but one which is dependent on the particular issue.

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  4. Uh, what brought this on?

    Can’t speak for Razib, but given what’s been in the news, I presume he’s making allusions to Micheal Bloomberg.

    The whole situation kinda astonishes me – as a multi-billionaire who has – as recently as a year ago in some cases – come out stridently in opposition to the majority of the policy positions of the Democratic Party is ready to be acclaimed as a savior simply due to his unlimited personal spending and his supposed insistence he will “do whatever it takes” to take on Trump.

    I find the prospect of a Bloomberg presidency terrifying TBH. He displays the same negative traits I find in Trump – the authoritarian tendencies and lack of anything resembling empathy – yet instead of being stupid and kinda hapless he’s reasonably intelligent and ruthlessly organized. He’s exactly the sort of person you don’t want anywhere near power when social norms are fraying.

    That said, he has all the charisma of a pile of warm spit. He is still less likely than not to win the Democratic nomination, and if he does get it, he’s almost certain to lose to Trump due to large portions of the “base” loathing him and the number of skeletons in his closet. Which frankly would be the better outcome regardless – better a hapless strongman than a canny one.

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  5. who is against you? be against them.
    Which explains why a multiple-divorced, strip-club-owning rake like Trump can win so many Christians. Or why a showboating billionaire who was born into money, like Trump, can win the working class. Or why a New-York born and bred Manhattanite like Trump, can win the South.
    Rightly or wrongly they feel that the media, the Democrats and the cultural establishment hate them and want to do them harm.

    Of course I’m a Canadian looking in from the outside, so I may be wrong. But that’s how it appears to me.

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  6. Our current situation is indeed strange.
    We have a huge problem with inequality of wealth
    in this country — and many members of a liberal party
    seem to think we should solve this by nominating a multi-billionaire. The US is moving rapidly to
    autocracy or oligarchy.

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  7. The alternative was Hillary. More Title IX, more money for abortion clinics, and really not much of a change when it came to foreign policy. Except perhaps with protests funded by the Secretary of State.

    Of course, I’m Mexican. It’s very 3rd world country here.

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  8. Wow! For once in my life, I’m the optimist in the (proverbial) room.

    The situation in the US is charged, this is true, but we fought a bloody civil war once upon a time!

    Fortunately, the tools we need to get out of out predicament — federalism, anti trust and strict constitutionalism are already there. The adjustments needed are relatively minor compared to anything that someone like Sanders is proposing. They just need to be used against the wishes of the bureaucracy.

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  9. federalism, anti trust and strict constitutionalism are already there.

    the main skepticism i have is that see the middle class being immiserated. i don’t see a plausible solution on the left or right.

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  10. the main skepticism i have is that see the middle class being immiserated. i don’t see a plausible solution on the left or right.

    I think that there are plenty. Very few are out there from the establishment since the establishment (right or left) serves the establishment. I’m not being conspiratorial – just saying that people will identify with their caste/class the majority of the time.

    They are being immiserated by poor schools- we already have an answer there:school choice. We just need the will to implement.

    Universities? Their corruption stems from unfettered federal funds which allows them to pass all costs and errors to young students burdening them for life. This can easily be changed via adjustments to the student loan system.

    Housing? That problem is solving itself as people flee high regulation states for low regulation.

    Inequality? In my mind this is caused by low rates which are driving investments into “lottery ticket” tech and premium private equity managers. If the 10-yr was ever to return to 6-7% you will see the financialization of our economy reverse.

    Some of these transitions may be painful (especially the last one). But they are not new or revolutionary— all are returns to status quo ante.

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  11. I don’t see the drama. This is not a repeat of 1968. The politics of this year are descending into farce. The underlying forces — principally demographics — tend to conservatism and retrenchment, not revolution. FWIW, I see the major problems as China and excessive public debt. I would rather be US than China. As for the debt, taxes will go up and we will muddle through.

    I was more worried about Domestic US politics a few months ago, but after watching the Impeachment Fiasco and the Democrat Presidential Candidates I have decided to relax and enjoy the show.

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  12. Nick Patterson,

    We have a huge problem with inequality of wealth in this country — and many members of a liberal party seem to think we should solve this by nominating a multi-billionaire.

    I don’t think the problem is that Bloomberg is a multibillionaire. Like FDR, a man of privilege and wealth could conceivably be a “traitor to his class.”

    But Bloomberg doesn’t talk like he would be a traitor to his class. To the contrary, he seems rather convinced that people like him should be catered to.

    I wouldn’t worry about it, though. Bloomberg is not in a good position to win the Democratic nomination. He’s spent around $400 million so far and hasn’t won a single delegate nor is he likely to until Super Tuesday (March 3rd). To put that number in perspective, it only cost Trump a total of $600 million to win the presidency. Bloomberg is currently a distant third in national polls and his support is backloaded to states which do not vote anytime soon, which is an artifact of Bloomberg’s blanket national TV ad campaign and the other Democratic candidates putting their money where it matters more.

    Even on Super Tuesday (March 3rd), I’ve seen zero evidence that Bloomberg is in command of a single state. There’s no region or group of states where he can make a stand and win outright, as Clinton did in 1992. Not in California. Not in Texas. Not in North Carolina. In all the polls I’ve seen, only in Arkansas does Bloomberg hold a polling lead in any state which votes on Super Tuesday, and even that is within the statistical margin of error.

    Could Bloomberg conceivably win a couple of the 14 states voting that day? Sure. Could he win as many as four or five? Maybe, but I doubt it. It’s also conceivably he wins none. And Super Tuesday is likely to be the best day Bloomberg’s top-down strategy of buying influence and campaign ads will have. After that, the campaign schedule favors a more retail brand of politics and Bloomberg has shown zero talent for retail politics.

    Political parties are certainly weakening. Trump (and Sanders) showed that in 2016. But I suspect that Sanders rather than Bloomberg will be more the beneficiary of that in 2020.

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  13. None of Eric K’s proposals – school choice, internal migration, cutting back on student loans, higher interest rates, etc. – strike me as serious solutions to the hollowing out of the middle class.

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  14. “More Title IX, more money for abortion clinics, and really not much of a change when it came to foreign policy”

    Quite a bit more than that, lad. Hillary would have gotten us into a war and imported 3rd worlders by the boat load. Open borders and endless wars

    Reproducing what is in Europe here would be frightening

    There’d be no jobs, and it’d be up to the proverbial you, young man, to do the fighting

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  15. the comparisons to trump are overblown, though bloomberg is definitely worse. but he’s too late, and on the wrong side.

    could a bloomberg presidency destroy the republic? in my opinion, unlikely. it’s a less fragile edifice, politically, than it seems.

    could a coronavirus pandemic destroy the republic? hmm.

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  16. @Nick: “The US is moving rapidly to autocracy or oligarchy.”

    The USA were always an Oligarchy, but other political, social, religious, ethical and ethnic ideals and considerations, communities and social cohesion prevented it falling apart.
    Now you have a late, fully Capitalist, pluralistic society of alienated individuals and lack of social cohesion, with central institutions, with whole milieus and conservative life concepts, with a whole people and their way of living being eroded.
    And this full fledged Plutocracy without moderation moved in that direction deliberately in the last decades.
    That was no big mistake, that was a plan. But like with many plans, even if you are successful with your initial plan, you might end up in a situation which looks different from what you had in mind in your delusional power games.

    So this is endgame for a lot of developments the US-British Plutocracy started.
    We are approaching de-industrialisation in the West before full scale automation kicks in (!). This means these fields can be lost in a historical turning point.

    The European population will largely collapse in the West on the next 2-3 generations without a correction and the majority of the foreigners, in Europe in particular, is not more fond of the system as Europeans socialised in it for generations are.
    The financial system is completely rigged and corrupted, a total mess which could result in a massive lockdown of the whole global economy, much worse and more fundamental than on the 1920s-30s.

    We are also approaching an unprecedent surveillance and control society, with the digital revolution just starting and giving those in control immense power over the citizens, unimagimable before.

    I’m not even starting to talk about the environment, which is a case on its own, but there has to be an emerging power struggle and Razib is right with the comparison.
    Because even some real Plutocrats might reach out to the populace, because they believe in their policy or because they feel being in a bad position in the established oligarchic circle on top.

    Because at some point there will be just masters and slaves. Even if you are rich and for todays standards powerful, if you are not part of the ruling elite with its control instruments, you will be just a better off slave in the new world order.

    As soon as the now privileged people really understood that, “political correctness” will be still used as a weapon, but it won’t work any more.
    What’s now being said under the surface will emerge and thats a good thing even if the conflicts will be brutal.

    And the reason I say so is that people should fight for their and their children’s future. Not just being deceived and calmed down by well made propaganda with stupid content. They should realise what happens,which interest groups are there and how they struggle with each other.

    A large portion of the current Western political debates is just a mock fight. Who cares for how good a husband or devout Christian Trump is, if the other candidate would have started a major war which was wanted by the Plutocracy but not in the interests of the American public and the World?

    Bloomberg represents the worst of all political spectra in the United States. If he wins the elections, it would just mean that you can do everything with the American voters. The term “sheeple” would come to mind.

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  17. They are being immiserated by poor schools- we already have an answer there:school choice. We just need the will to implement.

    I despair that the first clause is such conventional wisdom, and that the second is still believed by intelligent people.

    The schools try to shovel tremendous amounts of academic knowledge into young people, knowledge that they are largely not interested in and which they will not use in their lives. It is way too much and for a substantial number of people too difficult to understand. School choice as presently structured will not change that.

    Arnold Kling talks about the Null Hypothesis in education: there is no scalable change in American education which will result in a significant, long-term improvement in student performance. “Scalable” rules out the charismatic principal or teacher. E.g. Jaime Escalante’s calculus program collapsed after he left; the Perry Preschool will never be duplicated. Long-term rules out Head Start, whose academic gains seem to wash out by third grade.

    For the last 40 years, nothing has falsified his Null Hypothesis.

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  18. In the past 50 years, education costs have doubled, college costs have dectupled, and there hasn’t been an increase in outcomes. SAT test scores have remained stagnant.

    https://www.cato.org/blog/public-school-spending-theres-chart
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/2d/9c/ba/2d9cbab55baab364c0059a8b2415a45d.png
    https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2015/mar/02/dave-brat/brat-us-school-spending-375-percent-over-30-years-/
    https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt_2012/summary.aspx
    https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_320.asp

    We have been testing the Tabula Rasa hypothesis for 50 years or more. It fails again and again, yet our response is to cling ever harder. We sacrifice to a false god.

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  19. I have decided to relax and enjoy the show

    They are replacing scholarship with queer basket weaving. Houston already has multiple intractable problems. How many of those problems will get worked on in the near future?

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  20. no scalable change in American education which will result in a significant, long-term improvement in student performance.

    The improvements have been tapped out. Improvements at the margins will allow a few lucky individuals to join the brain drain and escape, leaving the working class on its own.

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  21. None of Eric K’s proposals – school choice, internal migration, cutting back on student loans, higher interest rates, etc. – strike me as serious solutions to the hollowing out of the middle class.

    It’s hard to respond to this without details of your disagreement. Why even make the statement if you are not going to give details? There is a “thumbs down” button which you can use.

    For the last 40 years, nothing has falsified his Null Hypothesis.

    Yes. My primary belief is that government involvement distorts incentives for all parties. The government monopoly on education and the teacher’s guild provide very little benefit for the students.

    All males in my family are on the spectrum and my experience with a upper middle class school system (wrt my sons) reinforced the notion that the main goal of public education is to provide for the comfort of the teachers. This makes sense if you consider the monopoly school system is run by the teacher’s guild. So, you have to get rid of the guild, then the parent market can figure out not only what type and level of knowledge is appropriate.

    There is also the problem of the lack of parental involvement in schools — but that a longer story.

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  22. “then the parent market can figure out not only what type and level of knowledge is appropriate.”

    Oh, if only that were so. Almost nobody wonders, “What is an education?” “What does it mean to be educated?” For almost everyone, the answer is obvious. Education is “what goes on in school” and being educated is passing classes. Being well-educated is passing classes with good grades.

    Most parents are busy and won’t put a lot of time and effort into such speculation (if they’re going to put in so much time and effort, they may just home school). For most parents, a “good school” is a school that gets their kids into college and a really good school is a school that gets their kids into a selective college. That means a school whose educational program is pretty much the same as the currently existing schools.

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  23. Eric K,

    It’s hard to respond to this without details of your disagreement. Why even make the statement if you are not going to give details?

    To invite other people to share their views about your post and see if there was agreement (or disagreement) on my point. A long, detailed post will sometimes kill dialogue rather than facilitate it.

    I could’ve gone on at much greater length – and your post’s comprehensiveness in proposals allows for that – but I first wanted to see if there was any interest in talking about your ideas.

    *****

    I think two of your suggestions would actually further encourage the hollowing out of the middle class.

    For example, how does raising interest rates help the middle class at all? Higher interest rates raise the cost of borrowing, which makes it harder to form businesses, which makes it harder to hire people. Does that sound like a proposal to reduce inequality and cause the middle class to burgeon?

    There’s really no other reason to raise interest rates other than an overheated economy or a lack of capital.

    And the suggestion that some permanently high plateau for interest rates would be good for reducing inequality is kind of ridiculous since interest rates should always be considered a flexible policy device that one can adjust depending on current economic circumstances, and those circumstances can always change.

    School choice is the other proposal you name which I think would probably encourage more inequality rather than reduce it. There’s no evidence school choice works to increase the long-term productivity of students or turn them into more productive adults. School choice does, however, help to segregate kids between those with ambitious parents who want to provide their children with any marginal benefit they can provide and those children whose parents are, to put it politely, more laissez faire.

    Underperforming schools are primarily caused by students who are difficult if not impossible to teach. So the entire point of school choice for many parents is to escape the hoi polloi, if not the dregs, that their child would have to socialize with as they are educated.

    I sympathize with those parents in which the safety of their child in a public school is at risk, but just as often it appears that the desire for school choice is driven by parents who want to self-segregate their child into more elite peer company.

    So nothing about school choice will reduce inequality. If anything, school choice probably increases inequality at the margins.

    *****

    I will say that your idea about internal migration is not a bad one. There’s still a lot of cheap land in the United States. Why more successful businesses don’t relocate to the interior to take advantage of this asset is beyond me.

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  24. Roger, do you have school age children?

    I have two boys in high school — I can assure you that “what is an education?” conversation is happening constantly. More like “wtf are they teaching them now?”

    Yes, I live in an upper middle class suburb – so there is a bias.

    However, I’m an immigrant, so that conversation has been happening in those communities as well. That conversation is happening in faith communities,

    Every year, parents are asking a related question ‘[Given that I’m stuck in a location based education monopoly], which school district is appropriate for my children and budget. Hundreds of thousands more get on charter school waiting lists with the same dilemma.

    Part of the reason that question is not being asked is that it is moot as parents have no options. When I was growing up in the Soviet Union, no one I knew asked what kind of milk we wanted — there was only one kind. Trying to determine if 2% was better than half and half was pointless and a waste of time since neither was an option.

    If you want people to talk about types of education — you need to give them options.

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  25. I have two boys in high school — I can assure you that “what is an education?” conversation is happening constantly. More like “wtf are they teaching them now?”

    Yes, I live in an upper middle class suburb – so there is a bias.

    If you already live in an “upper middle class suburb,” then how is improving your school going to help reduce national inequality?

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  26. Pincher

    Thank you — I appreciate you following up.

    Let me start with the shorter answer regarding education. I actually don’t think that it is a bad thing if parents become ambitious – I think that will increase the competitive spirits of their peers. Fundamentally, I don’t believe our education system is a zero-sum game. I think that the current system is drag on our society, but if we spurn competition on the supply-side, we can also spurn competition on the demand side.

    I think that you have a much stronger argument on the interest rates. My idea is contrary to most established thought. I base it on my experience — I’ve worked in finance for about 25 years. I will make two arguments in support of my idea:

    1. Lower rates have not benefited the middle class.

    – I agree that “classic” economics says that lower rates spur industrial growth, but it seems like this effect loses effectiveness at very low rates.
    Most of the lending done in the past economic cycle has gone not to increasing industrial capacity but to increase leverage of companies and to dividend out to shareholders. This does not help the middle class, but it has benefited folks like me.

    – Lower rates have incentivized borrowing by the middle class. This borrowing is pernicious. Companies have been able to raise prices, since most borrowers base their decisions on payment amount. This is similar to what we saw in the housing market and affordability mortgages. YEs, I also believe that we have been undercounting inflation

    2. Higher rated may benefit the middle class.

    – Higher rates encourage savings. Middle class people have traditionally been big savers.

    – Higher rates will shore up pensions and retirement funds. These are in pretty bad shape right now. This is a time bomb waiting to happen.

    – There are other reasons related to more efficient capital allocation which will help the economy in the long term.

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  27. Both my children are grown, but they both went through 13 years in the local public schools. Both graduated early in this century. While they were in school, I subbed all across the district and then became a high school teacher when the youngest graduated. I am now retired. So I saw a lot of places from both the inside and the outside.

    Here in eastern Massachusetts, a lot of people sort themselves on the basis of the schools. If you “care about education”, you stay away from Randolph. You might want to live in Westwood or Sharon instead but you probably don’t have the money, so you wind up in Norwood or Stoughton. Even within a town, different schools are regarded as better or worse. Ironically, it turns out that what people see as a school’s quality is almost entirely determined by the students. Smart, well-behaved kids who want to do well in school make a good school. The less the kids check those boxes, the worse school you have.

    So in some sense, parents have a lot of choice. There are also a number of Catholic schools (which take children of any religion) and some private schools. But they all offer essentially the same educational program. The only noticeably different programs are in specialized schools for children who officially have a “learning disability”.

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  28. If you already live in an “upper middle class suburb,” then how is improving your school going to help reduce national inequality?

    To be fair, I was discussing my biases.

    This will help lower middle, working and welfare class families.

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  29. Eric K,

    I think you need to keep in mind, as we work through these issues, how this discussion began: Your proposals were about reducing inequality and helping to prevent the hollowing out of the middle class.

    That’s why when you speak of how your sons’ high school in an upper-middle class suburb could be improved, it’s really not relevant to the discussion. Even if everything you say is true, it’s still not relevant. The upper-middle class in America is doing fine. It’s the lower-middle class that’s getting its teeth bashed in.

    The upper-middle class* owns homes, and those homes are increasing in value. They save money. They hold 401ks, IRAs, HSAs, and 529s for their children’s college education. They have stable marriages. The growth in their income over the last twenty years has increased more than has the income growth for the median household in America. You may not be happy about the education provided by your sons’ high school, but by every objective measure, both nationally and internationally, the children of the upper middle class in America are provided with a good education.

    1. Lower rates have not benefited the middle class.

    The hollowing out of the middle class in the United States began when interest rates were at all-time highs. So this hollowing out is a multiple-decade phenomenon that has nothing to do with interest rates. It started when rates were at record highs and it continued when they dropped to record lows.

    _________

    * For the sake of specificity, I suggest we define the upper-middle class as the top quintile (20%) of U.S. households, which is currently earning around $200,000 a year.

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  30. It may have been easier to tell “Populares” from “Optimates” before TV and FaceBook. Picking up on what Karl Zimmerman said about Bloomberg having no empathy; –of this I can’t say, but he has plenty of money and gives a lot of it away. Also, he seems to have less personal insecurity and is therefore less verbally and litigiously demonstrative.

    I think the Plebs lose because they want it that way. There is thinking and there are circuses and meatball sandwiches. Take your pick.

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  31. There is thinking and there are circuses and meatball sandwiches. Take your pick.

    There ain’t no picking and choosing. We’s doing the best we can with what we wuz dealt.

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  32. @Z: “We have been testing the Tabula Rasa hypothesis for 50 years or more. It fails again and again, yet our response is to cling ever harder. We sacrifice to a false god.”

    The reason is simple: Cultural Marxist dogmas being entrenched in the Western Liberal societies and they were omnipresent if its about societal policies. If they officially confess that they are wrong on one important issue, the whole house of cards will collapse. It is, it always was, a political scam.
    How many studies from 1945-1965 which were used as a cheap excuse for irrational, destructive political decisions from the 1960’s on in particular were faked? And how do the mainstream media and science thank you, if you expose the scam, even now, after decades of its publication?

    Even if its about rather theoretical issues, like anti-migrationism in archaeology, you have a hard time and without bullet proof evidence, you would still bang your head against a brick wall of “scientific authority”. Even with rock solid data, a lot of the 60’s agents don’t move one inch from their original, completely falsified position. And its not they couldn’t see it! These ideas were always unscientific crap based on Marxist theories solely, even when they invented it the first time – and its no surprise, everybody could and should have known.

    Take as another example the idiocy of the gender dogma for girls in technical studies and jobs: The more Feminised and social a society is, the more influence and political power women have, the less likely females are to study for a “typical male (technical) profession”. Because then they can decide freely what they really want, and they – oh wonder! – prefer female typical jobs on average! What a surprise and what a proof for the all-powerful stereotypes (it is not)!

    On the other hand, in still overwhelmingly patriarchal societies, women, if they get the chance and have the talent, will more often study these “male dominated” fields because they want to prove their parents and father in particular, that investing in their education and personal freedom was worth it and they do something “of value” and “with prestige” for them and their family. So its the lack of freedom of choice and low esteem of women in such societies which make them choose what radical Feminists and Capitalists want to force Western women to do.

    So the idea of “the patriarchy” and “gender stereotypes” keeping women from studying in those fields before anything else is complete nonsense.

    In the same way the current orthodox economic and financial theories are completely flawed and being kept alive just to keep up the status quo of our structured, essentially plutocratic Western societies.
    So they won’t talk about the money and banking system too much “in science”, because once more, those in power are afraid of being revealed, their lies exposed and real reforms demanded by the people.

    So we live in a time and society in which “openness”, “democracy” and “equality” being all so important superficially and everbody agrees on “how bad fake news” and “fake science” is. Yet when its about the real power structures and exploits of this societal system, when its about the real truth and propaganda lies of the Oligarchy and erred political movements, like Cultural Marxism, nobody is allowed to say a word without being personally attacked and ruined.

    And its not just about a critique like mine, fundamental and a broadside, no, it suffices to scratch on just one small aspect of it and you are a “bad guy”, politically incorrect, spreading fake news or whatever. Being thrown in the same basket as those which believe the world is a disc or there are aliens among us. So the critique can be ridiculed, pre-judged or criminalised, depending on the circumstances.

    This problem appears again and again in our current societal situation. Even if you ignore it, even if you try to fall back to your private space and family. It will hit you again and again.

    If its about your children, its just like that too. Even the debates among parents are ridiculous quite often. Because the best schools are usually those with the better students even if the teaching concepts are questionable. Everbody knows that. Its not just about ethnicity, because you can get a good social selection from most ethnicities, but social profile, cultural background and ethnicity adding up.

    If your kids have to be afraid of being stabbed in the back or getting into contact with drugs, bad behaviour and violence at school, instead of getting a good curriculum in a motivational, social healthy and stable environment, what do you expect? I see it everywhere in the Western world, that’s the main thing. You want your kid, regardless of how good it is, in a good class with nice and well-mannered children.

    In the Soviet Union, since that was mentioned too, you had less choice, that’s right, like in some rural parts of the West too, even now. But you don’t had the problematic social and ethnic environment neither in most parts of the Russian country. You had a fairly high educational standard, fairly homogeneous classes and disciplined students with authoritarian teachers. Obviously, somewhere in a desert region, with local shepherds of a very different ethnicity and cultural background, the Russian administrative and military personell might still have preferred their own “Russian school” by the way.

    With good students you need an idiot teacher to fail, with bad students a genius teacher will fail. The best you can do is to activate potential, but you can’t create individual potential which is not there.
    You can debate what the reasons for “good” and “bad” students are, but schools can’t change that as a rule of thumb. They can just work with what they get and the individual and anti-authoritarian teaching concepts are the worst for “bad students” and generally speaking for males, especially aggressive, provocative males.
    So you have a Liberal/Cultural Marxist educational system which works the best for good/female students, and the worst for bad/male students. Go figure!
    That’s what all statistics prove to you around the world. Male students get worse in less hierarchical, less punishing and rewarding, less disciplined school environments – on average. Females can, then, more often surpass their male counterparts.

    Alternative and anti-authoritarian teaching works the best for middle class plus, well-mannered and fairly intelligent students with a motivation they brought from home, from their family and community.

    I’m always sceptical if people come up with projects – well, most of them are not randomised and as pointed out before, they are not successfull on long with reasonable financing. So even if the students come from a low profile background, those which want to participate and with parents caring for their children’s education might be already above average for that background. Because my experience is, that parents-students with a low level just don’t really care anyway.

    But yes, just blame “prejudices”, “racism” and “gender stereotypes” for everything, instead of improving the overall social and health standards for the whole population and looking for additional genetic and socio-cultural causes of different outcomes and profiles, while questioning the current cultural and educational concepts as such. Its so easy and sounds so – Cultural Marxist – to blame everything on an -ism and just saying “first deconstruct everything, then all will be better for everybody in our dream society.” Yeah sure, but living in this Western bubble, a lot of people just need a (too) long time to get where they are really heading, which is intended.

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  33. We Boomers ate the seed corn. The only unknown is the severity of the coming famine.

    I am a Gen-Xer, and my money is invested in agriculture, medical care, and ammo. 😉

    I homeschool my children, teach them the Western canon, how to kill and eat animals, grow crops, perform basic trauma care and wilderness medicine, and train them in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu – to be able to survive and thrive in deprived environments, but also be able to be charming at cocktail parties – how to stand out and how to blend in.

    I don’t know the future, but I aim to prepare my children. Beats playing video games and using Facebook.

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  34. I will gladly call the First Citizen Dominus if he rids us of the insane woke elite and all their noxious works. Yeet the Elite, boss, and I’ll be first in line to attend your triumph through the Imperial City.

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  35. I will gladly call the First Citizen Dominus if he rids us of the insane woke elite and all their noxious works. Yeet the Elite, boss, and I’ll be first in line to attend your triumph through the Imperial City.

    So you think this lord (or warlord) of yours will only smite your enemies and leave you and yours alone and merely require you to acclaim him in public? You might wish to read the history of such men in the late Roman republic. They killed a lot of people extrajudicially (and not just their enemies) and expropriated huge amounts of property.

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  36. Do radicals feel they have enough control of our institutions to attempt revolutionary change?

    Why would they need a revolution? They are winning and convincingly so.

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  37. So you think this lord (or warlord) of yours will only smite your enemies and leave you and yours alone and merely require you to acclaim him in public? You might wish to read the history of such men in the late Roman republic. They killed a lot of people extrajudicially (and not just their enemies) and expropriated huge amounts of property.

    When the few oppress the many, the many call their champion to drive out or subdue the few. That’s how things are at this juncture.

    Give me a break with your Galt’s Gulch fantasies. You can buy all the Foxfire books you want, can your own preserves, and amass a small arsenal. None of that will save you when the People’s White Privilege Revocation Committee decides you have too much privilege and have arrived to settle the score. That’s where things are headed if the woke elite have their way, and we don’t have a champion of our own.

    BTW things worked out pretty well for the average Roman once the civil war was decided in favor of the Populares.

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  38. The real problem with a true autocracy, especially monarchy/dictatorship is not necessarily the first good leader. Augustus was one of the best leaders the Romans ever had.
    The real problem begins with finding the successor(s). Because once you have taken that path, it gets harder and harder to come back from it.
    And unfortunately, the imperial rule didnt end civil unrest and civil wars at all. Even on the contrary.

    This relates to the professional army which became more and more a mercenary army, in which true Romans, even by a lose definition, became less and less frequent.

    Another trend in the United States which repeats itself. conscripts are more political and less likely to shoot on their own people, their own ethnicity and social class.

    No wonder the Plutocracy wants to have diverse professional mercenary soldiers which form their own reference and especially technical AI controlled instruments for mass control. So the manpower of trusted fighters can be constantly reduced, while the potential resistance gets even harder to succeed.

    So the successor problem and how conflicts can be managed peacefully is the main problem.
    Once you can breed and educate a stable, highest level leadership which is no longer prone to corruption and delusion as normal humans are, this can ignored at least if you have a council. Because I probably wouldnt trust a single person even then. Because you never know. The fate of a nation and the world should not be in the hands of a succession of single Handel leaders.

    Until then you always need an exit strategy like the Greeks and Romans had it too. The historical leadership was limited and after the challenge was dealt with, the democratic or at least regularly organised institutions took over. The leaders stepped back.

    Like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. There is a reason the society and city was named after him. Because thats the ideal leader in such a situation. Someone who does his job and then steps back again.
    Unfortunately, like suggested before, many people, especially those which come to power in a Plutocracy, don’t have that greatness.

    Even worse, once the fundaments of the state were eroded by the Plutocracy, the leader can’t step back as soon, because the base for a healthy community is no longer there. Coming back to it is transgenerational work. Then we have the successor problem once more and we are in a vicious cycle.

    That’s why I said this might be the last years for a peaceful and humane correction. Once the fundaments of the people’s state being lost, they can’t be repaired easily. It will become a brutal power struggle with modern weapons of AI enhanced control, in the worst case WMDs.

    You better get your Plutocracy and Cultural Marxists under control in America. Its not just for you, its for all of mankind.

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  39. @milosz: “could a coronavirus pandemic destroy the republic?”

    @Sobchak: “The underlying forces — principally demographics — tend to conservatism and retrenchment”

    Me: Covid-19 seems to mainly kill older people.

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  40. the many call their champion to drive out or subdue the few.

    Now that’s a fantasy. “Champions,” like revolutions, often turn on their erstwhile supporters.

    You can buy all the Foxfire books you want, can your own preserves, and amass a small arsenal.

    I am talking about imparting skills and abilities, and you are talking about things.

    None of that will save you when the People’s White Privilege Revocation Committee decides you have too much privilege and have arrived to settle the score.

    I am not white.

    That’s where things are headed if the woke elite have their way, and we don’t have a champion of our own.

    That’s a dumb hyperbole. The social war going on now is not white vs. nonwhite. It’s a white vs. white civil war with various nonwhites being used as auxiliaries.

    BTW things worked out pretty well for the average Roman once the civil war was decided in favor of the Populares.

    No, it didn’t. The civil wars thinned the ranks of middle class Romans and immiserated them. The purported “champions” of the Populares couldn’t or didn’t impede the growth of Latifundia, based not just on conquests but also expropriations. Pliny the Elder had a thing or two to say about that (“latifundia perdidere italiam…”).

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  41. You getting ready for the new global Roman empire, it is necessary anyway considering that Latin-Mediterranean civ(or “Western” as it is ignorantly called) has globalized itself for 500 years. All other civilizations have felt the impact of modern latinization. Death to protestantism and it’s ideological successors.

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  42. “He who claims to be the salvation of the notional Populares from the tyranny of the leader of the traditional Optimates holds the keys to the victory of the new order over the old.”

    Sounds like a discussion of Andrew Jackson at his inauguration.

    My prior is that we are not living at an inflection point, especially at the scale Razib is discussing.

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  43. Re:the discussions above on the middle class being assaulted

    This is where the Democrats lack a clue. Student loan debt has made it very difficult for the middle-class to reproduce itself, as people approaching or even past 30 years old have no savings, are much more often than not still paying back their loans, stuck in dead-end jobs in order to service the debt, and in far too many cases are still living like college students (or even lapsing back into high school teenagers). Even the ones with good jobs have student loan debts, and *juuust maaaaybeee* mortgages that they will likely be paying until well past 50 years old, maybe closer to 60. But we hear how focusing on tackling that debt isn’t “progressive”, because it would disproportionately benefit wealthier white and Asian people who got degrees from pricey schools or (multiple) advanced degrees. Instead, the argument is that it’s more “progressive” to make cheap colleges aimed at poorer people, and which are more likely to be used by black and Hispanic people, free.

    The end goal is obvious: the wealthy are sealed off, while the middle class is pitted at war with the working class and poor to fight for the scraps. And on top of that, these two classes are often portrayed in highly racialized terms.

    Not that the Republicans are any better on this front, but they’ve been the party of rich people for over a century.

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  44. Some valid points here. Additionally you can not educate people beyond the mean. The disproportionate disadvantages for the last 50 years have fallen on those at or below the mean. Automation, robotics & AI reduces the need for people in necessary occupations. When trucks are driver-less and pizza deliveries are robotic where will the dispossessed go and what will they do; take up college classroom space, learn Java? Either basic income is doled out to forestall revolution, or work is created in refurbishing physical and social infrastructure — which I don’t see happening. Not all working class kids are destined to be cops or plumbers, unfortunately some will become addicts and homeless.

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