Patterns, patterns, patterns! Everywhere I look, another BLEEP!ing pattern! Right out in front of God and everybody. You’d think they’d get more notice than they do.
Well, it’s not for lack of trying on my part, anyway. But some of these patterns are becoming so large, so all-embracing, that they pass all notice. They become “too big to be seen.”
Yet they might be the most important patterns of all.
The pattern on my mind as I write this is visible among the children of political-class members, especially those who’ve attained the presidency. Consider the offspring of:
- Jimmy Carter;
- Ronald Reagan;
- George H. W. Bush;
- Bill Clinton;
- George W. Bush;
- Barack Obama;
- and of course, Donald Trump.
Note the patterns in their children’s subsequent behavior and involvements. It leaps out at you with such ferocity that you’d have to be blind not to notice it... that is, unless you were deliberately discouraged from doing so.
We’ve known for a while that children tend to inherit their parents’ politics and associated values. But as usual, there’s more to the matter than that.
The children of highly placed Democrats seem to turn to politics and Causes almost as soon as they’re old enough to vote. Our most recent example is here:
The children of highly placed Republicans will sometimes embrace politics; we have the men of the Bush family as an example. However, their young are more often drawn into the business world. The young women tend to become wives, mothers, and homemakers along with any commercial involvements they choose.
It’s early in the game for the Obamas’ daughters, and even more so for Barron Trump. But the pattern so far appears clear. Therefore I would expect Sasha and Malia to become more politically visible, while Barron will pursue some sort of business career, perhaps along the lines of his father.
It’s probably not genetic, though in our time ever more associations between inheritance and behavior are coming into view. It’s far more likely to be an environmental transmission of values and standards vertically through the generations. And in certain cases it just might be conscious on the parents’ part.
The survival of institutions requires that they perpetuate their missions and values in their recruiting practices. This tends to be more visible in smaller organizations, in part because it’s more critical. Larger institutions, being larger and juicier targets for those who covet their resources, are more likely to depart from their original missions, perhaps to the extent of losing them entirely. That was one of the more important motifs in Polymath:
“Was there anything you want to discuss that we haven’t already covered?” Iverson said.
“Just something from our first interview,” she said. “I can’t quite fathom why you license the production of everything you design. You must be happy with the results, but you’re forgoing the possibility of making Arcologics a Fortune 100 firm.”
He chuckled. “Jeanne told me you’d return to that. It’s fairly simple, really. We’re not here for that. Well, it would be more accurate to say that I’m not here for that. Miss Cathcart—”
She held up a hand. “May I please be Kate, at least until I’ve become an actual employee?”
He nodded. “Okay.” He sat back and looked down at his folded hands. It was the classic pose of a man deep in his decision-making process. Kate’s anticipation level rose still further.
Finally he said “It’s like this. Everything, from one-celled organisms to corporations, has an optimum size. It’s determined by the nature of the beast: in the case of a commercial enterprise, what it was formed to do. Most publicly traded companies outgrow their optimum sizes without realizing it, because when their managements decided to go public they left their, ah, mission behind in a quest for big capital investment and the profit and prestige that go with it. But I haven’t forgotten my mission and I won’t, so I haven’t taken Arcologics public and I don’t intend to.” He sat back with an expression of anticipation, eyes locked with hers.
That’s my cue.
She swept her gaze around the cafeteria. The few others still dining were far enough away not to be a factor. “Are you willing to discuss that mission with your chief engineer to be?”
He nodded. “But only with you.” The gravity of his tone brought her to full alert. “This must never be disclosed to anyone else. No exceptions whatsoever. Still want to hear it?”
“My mission,” he said, “is to make Man not just a space-faring race, but a space-dwelling one as well.”
“How?” she breathed.
Todd Iverson’s gentle grin flared with an unmistakable intensity.
“By designing and constructing a closed, completely self-sufficient space habitat and positioning it at one of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points,” he said. “And then moving there.”
From the heavy emphasis on politics among American left-liberals – remember that one of their maxims is that “The personal is political” – we might expect that when they gain a foothold in an institution of another sort, they will begin to inject political postures and activity into its mission. Note in this connection the behavior of Human Resources departments, which are a favored target of the Left-inclined. The larger the company, the more emphasis its HR department will put on “political correctness,” and the more reliably and severely it will penalize deviations from it. Such an orientation needn’t be overt to be gruesomely effective in twisting the company’s mission in a left-wing direction, especially if it’s reinforced by pressures from outside.
An organization that has exceeded its optimum size is usually one that has deviated, whether or not its top management is aware of it, from its original mission and the values that powered it. Its internal conflicts and dynamics will bear little or no relation to the values that powered it at its inception. In many a case, the deviation was brought about by politicization.
Perpetuations often involve assaults on those who obstruct them. It’s in the nature of the thing: if you’re determined to grow but are blocked by an entity opposed to your values, that entity must somehow be neutralized.
From the perspective of the American Left, what has blocked its path most staunchly these past few decades is the American people.
The American libertarian heritage, so neatly encapsulated in our longtime mantra to “mind your own business,” impedes the absolute and universal politicization the Left so ardently desires. Far too many of us look at politics and its machinations and say “Got nothin’ to do with me.” That is a sign of emotional health, even though the swelling power of the Omnipotent State demands that we pay it more attention than we’d like. But while we resist, the Left cannot make the progress it seeks. Therefore, it must neutralize us.
Its vehicles for that have been the unlimited enlargement of the welfare state, the conquest of the news and entertainment media, the colonization of our educational institutions, and support for massive immigration whether legal or illegal.
To some extent those vehicles have supported the Left’s designs. However, various American institutions continue to stand in its way. Several of those, recently including the Electoral College, have succeeded in defeating its more important thrusts. As knowledge of the failure of the Left’s political ideology and nostrums becomes more widespread, it’s even being set back despite its bastions in the media, the arts, and education, and the torrent of non-Americans over our borders.
Recent weeks have seen a “doubling down” on the Left in response to the ascendancy of Donald Trump and his swift actions to implement his campaign promises. It’s unclear how this will play out. However, it might tell us that the Left’s top strategists believe that heightened activity is the only way to perpetuate its grip on its base in the face of the success of (and the steadily increasing popular support for) the Trump program.
We shall see.