Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hope Against History

     Being a “fan” of reality, I’ve tried to hew to the evidence in reaching conclusions about the various social, economic, and political questions that Americans must face. It’s possible that I haven’t always succeeded, but I’ve tried.

     Today, we have a brief but illuminating exchange between Stacy McCain and a commenter:

     Daniel Freeman offered this gloomy assessment:
     Diversity + Proximity = War. The details vary throughout history; in our case, it turns out that all non-whites are tribal, so we can’t afford not to be.

     Even when they aren’t violently racist, mere tribalistic nepotism is a powerful competitive advantage, to the point where our choices are to copy them, die out or kick them out.

     War? Is America doomed to be destroyed by ethnic violence? Or is there still hope for our nation? This was my reply to Mr. Freeman:

     It is still possible, I hope, for the American people to step back from the brink of the abyss toward which the past eight years have led us.

     “It is history that teaches us to hope,” a great man once said.

     “Never take counsel of your fears,” another great man said.

     Strange as it seems, our new president may be the man who can heal the wounds our nation has recently suffered. The opportunity is there, and I dare to hope Mr. Trump will make the most of it.

     McCain has hope “on his side;” Freeman has history. Where should we place our bets?

     The history of Mankind is to be at war: with persons of different races; with persons of different faiths; with persons who speak different languages; with persons who follow different kings; with persons who wipe with the other hand. We’re a bit less bellicose today than we were a few centuries ago...well, most of us, anyway...but the history is there for anyone to read.

     Part of the reason we make war less frequently than we once did – and I know the Hate Mail Bag will swell to bursting over this – is the ascendancy of whites of Anglo-European heritage over all other peoples. Over the three centuries behind us, the Anglo-European nations accomplished two things of supreme importance:

  1. The transformation of the greater part of the world economy into a market economy in which value and efficiency prevail over force and tradition. Let’s call this the market ethic.
  2. The transformation of warfare from a hand-to-hand struggle between the retainers of nobles into a massive, highly technological, earth-shaking cataclysm with the potential to extinguish Mankind.

     The acceptance of the market ethic, with its emphasis on peaceful production and trade rather than war and plunder, makes possible the elevation of living standards. Thus, wherever trade has displaced force as a means of bettering one’s condition, people have become steadily better off as time has passed. All people, even those who, whether from lack of interest or lack of ability, fail to participate in the productivity explosion.

     Note that living standards and the potential devastation from warfare have risen in tandem, as both are fueled by advances in science and technology. These, with vanishingly few exceptions, are the domain of Caucasian Anglo-Europeans...whites.

     In consequence, the predominantly white nations have advanced faster than the rest. That was inevitable, given that the breakthroughs and innovations were occurring in the white nations. But the inevitability of it did nothing to assuage the envy of others.

     Envy may be the most powerful immaterial force known to Man. It’s been the principal retardant of all human progress. No “natural disaster” can compare to its corrosive effect. When envy is mated to a perceptible difference between the envious and the envied, the combination frequently proves deadly.

     Once again, I exhort you, Gentle Reader: Don’t take my word for it. Study history. Read Helmut Schoeck’s treatise on the power of envy. Look for the patterns. They’re plain to anyone with eyes to see.

     Envy powered the wars of pre-Westphalian Europe, and a couple of the post-Westphalian ones as well. Envy was the moving force behind the tribal clashes of Africa. Envy animated the conflicts of Asia and the Middle East. Only where the envious impulse – the impulse to wound another even though his loss would do oneself no good and quite possibly harm – was controlled by even more powerful forces has peace prevailed among men.

     In recent decades, envy has become a powerful force within the Anglo-European nations. The pseudonymous “John Galt” has this to say:

     As mankind has advanced through the centuries, envy has come to be almost as much at home in prosperous nations (who prosper only because they have been able to limit the influence of envy in their societies, yet feel unjustifiable guilt for their productivity) as impoverished ones. The fear of envy may explain why the countries with more freedom always seem to self-destruct through economic (redistributive) anarchy. Although envy is never absent from any society, it becomes most pervasive and counterproductive when it gains control of government and then of the “law,” which subsequently sets itself above the rights of property. As laws of envy multiply, so does the emotion, because like all forms of neurosis envy cannot be satisfied. Various envious entities continually find new “inequalities” that must be rectified by more government plunder, and thus less individual freedom and security.

     [From Dreams Come Due: Government and Economics As If Freedom Mattered (1st Edition). Emphasis added by FWP.]

     The rise of envy as a sociopolitical force in the Anglo-European nations correlates with another macro-scale phenomenon: the ingress of the world’s non-white populations into those nations. The tribalism of those non-white peoples has been an important spur to envy. As non-whites and their tribal mindsets – what’s more politely termed “identity politics” by those reluctant to call a spade a spade – have acquired mass and force in the politics of the West, envy has become the dominant driver of changes to our legal systems.

     I’ve written in other venues about the importance of formal structures in limiting the frictions that arise between different races, ethnicities, and creeds when brought into proximity. The most important such formal structure is the market: the trading interface between buyer and seller, who interact within a set of customs and procedures. Those customs and procedures seem simple, even casual, but in point of fact they had to be invented, then protected by another formal structure – the law – and kept in place by the forcible correction of deviances.

     When different races, ethnicities, creeds, et cetera interact through a market, the influence of envy upon their relations is minimized by the customs and procedures that markets observe. When the interaction is more intimate, such as is brought about by large-scale immigration, the frictions and resultant envy of the better off by the less-well-off are greatly magnified. In nations with a quasi-democratic order, the natural dynamic of aspiring politicians is to pander to the envious demographics.

     Thus did identity politics, and the concomitant struggle over the law, enter the lives of previously stable, peaceable, predominantly Caucasian Anglo-European nations.

     I don’t want to beat this topic senseless, but before I conclude, allow me to point out how white women, who until about forty years ago had never been regarded as a downtrodden group, have learned to imitate the attitudes and political orientation of non-Anglo-European demographics. Feminist politics is almost entirely driven by white women, the most prosperous, even pampered group in Western society. Yet the women who embrace it claim to be “oppressed,” “victims of the patriarchy,” and spout hatred of men as they clamor for legal, economic, and social privileges no group in Western history has ever possessed.

     Feminist women, particularly white American women, embraced not merely the politics of those other tribes, but their envy as well. What were they envying? Men’s greater initiative and aptitudes for innovation and enterprise? Those things had been at their service for centuries, with little to no effort required on their part. Now that forty years of “I am woman, hear me roar” has proved to be a disaster for the majority of its devotees, feminist luminaries have begun to castigate their own former followers, with open envy of those women who’ve embraced femininity, home, and children and have rediscovered happiness thereby.

     Such an irony is beyond the creative powers of any storyteller.

     To sum up: tribalism is a potentiator for envy. Where tribes form, human envy will rise in importance. Unless controlled by custom, religion, and law, it will provoke conflicts that will destabilize any political system. The natural reaction is the one Daniel Freeman cited: a counter-tribalism will be practiced by those under attack.

     The hope Stacy McCain expresses can only be realized by the quelling of the tribal impulse among those swarming into the Anglo-European nations. That will require that our nations rediscover a truth Clarence Carson noted in The American Tradition:

     In a conversation with one other person, you have discovered that person to be sympathetic, polite, and thoughtful You may go away from such an experience concluding that you have met and are coming to know a genuine human being. Your next meeting, however, may take place in a group. Here the person who was congenial when alone with you may make cutting remarks and align himself with the others of the group against you on matters upon which you were sure you would agree. A little reflection should convince us, if we are not entirely unusual, that we have done the same thing ourselves....

     Anyone who has worked with aggregates of people should have noted some differences between groups and individuals. Groups do not think or reason; that is solely a function of the individual. On the other hand, individuals, feeling the strength of numbers, are emboldened to do things which they would be afraid to do alone. Children in a classroom will become defiant if they sense the class is with them, and one may observe them darting their eyes about over the room to assure themselves that the others are behind them. At a more serious level, anyone who has endured the abuse of massed pickets when he crossed the line can testify to the loss of inhibition which accompanies the merging with a group. People tend to lose their sense of individual responsibility when they become part of a crowd.

     So far the resolve and consistent effort required to disaggregate our querulous, demanding tribes back down to individuals, to be treated entirely according to their rights, desires, and capabilities, has not emerged. Stacy McCain can Hope that it will, but for my part, I’m betting on History.


sykes.1 said...

"It is still possible, I hope, for the American people to step back from the brink ..." Mr Freeman is correct. There is not now and has not been an American people since the very early 19th Century. The American people were the original WASP colonists. Immigration ended the era of the American people. The illusion of a single people could persist as long as Whites were a dominant majority, as we were in the 1930s and for awhile afterwards. During that period, Whites could divide along ideological lines. However, as Whites become just another minority, they will have to adopt identitarian politics, like the blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indians and Jews always have, in order to survive.

Anonymous said...

We can easily avoid the diversity 'problem'. The problem is not in skin color or any other 'racial' aspect. It is in culture. Time was (and still is for many) that coming to the US was based upon a desire to become American and have the American dream. Getting citizenship and learning English were great milestones that many worked very hard to achieve. This type of immigrant is always always welcome. They need not abandon every aspect of their ethnicity but they must first and foremost be Americans. The unique foods and traditions of every country of the world can be available without introducing the diversity problem.
However these are not the type of immigrants the left wants. The left wants to welcome those who only come to rape and pillage. The left hates this great country and welcomes its destroyers with open arms.
So no, we on the right do not hate immigrants. As a matter of fact we heartily welcome those who come to become Americans and add to the melting pot.

Those who don't like this country and only want to see it destroyed are free to stay out or leave. No one will lift a finger to stop you. We may even use our footwear to help propel you out!