Nodes

1. Dr Cochran has some data on college majors at the Cathedral:

Harvard [2009] is different. They had 758 kids majoring in economics, 495 in government, 306 in social studies, 290 in psychology, 247 in English, 236 in history, 158 in history and literature, 155 in neurobiology, 154 in molecular cell biology, 154 in sociology.

The preeminence of economics in that count (25%) surprised me somewhat, but it makes sense after a little thought.  Economics is both useful for careers in finance (a popular destination for Harvard grads) and it is also the language in which all contemporary policy debates must be formally framed to be both respectable and admissible.

Notice that this is distinct from ‘the principles with which rational policy ought to be in accord’.  A few hundred years ago, if you wanted to conduct international diplomacy or speak at various courts, you had to know the lingua franca.  You didn’t even have to say anything true, or advocate anything rational, but whatever you argued for, you just had to be able to justify yourself in French.

But if you add it all up, fully half of our best and brightest catechuments were in Economics, Social Science, Sociology, and Government.

2. How many Divisions does the Pope have if he wants to launch a new Crusade?  Not the first Pope in History to express this particular concern, Francis says, ‘no Middle East without Christians‘  Notice the scare quotes around “victimisation”

…the Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, who often find themselves forced to flee…

We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians’

Francis said he “will not rest while there are still men and women, of any religion, whose dignity is affronted, who are stripped of the basics necessary for survival, whose future is stolen, who are forced to become refugees.

the patriarch of the Iraq-based Chaldean church, Louis Sako … told Vatican Radio that Iraqi authorities were supplying visas as part of “a whole strategy to help Christians leave Iraq”, even in areas in the north of the country where they are not under threat.  “The Middle East is going to empty of Christians”, he warned.

Tragic and predictable.  I suppose it’s good for Pope Francis to comfort the more beleaguered parts of his flock, but still, it’s not entirely clear what he’s planning to do about any of this.  So I’ve got to guess the only arrow in his quiver is some advocacy for resettlement in the West.

My own judgment is that peaceful proximate coexistence with today’s fanatic Islamists has become impossible for Mideast Christians, and that they need a homeland of their own – a kind of Christian Zionism.  We could kill (literally) two birds with one stone and have all the Mideast Christians take out all the nutcases in Syria and claim it for themselves, if they can hold it.  A different kind of road to Damascus.

3. Finally, Peter Hitchens has been on a roll lately.  Here’s an example, his review of Ed West’s Diversity Illusion. (HT: Sailer)  You should most definitely RTWT, but here’s some excerpts:

West says ‘The New Left movement that emerged in the 1960s shifted the aims of Marxism from the economic to the social sphere. While European socialists were traditionally concerned with the plight of the workers, following the increased prosperity of the 1960s, the emphasis moved towards the ‘New Social Movements’, feminism, gay rights, third-world liberation struggles and the light of minorities and immigrants in the West.

This is exactly right, and explains why the question, ‘What happened in the 60’s?” is an important one.  As we’ve recently learned, the Old Left really were classical Socialists.  They believed in centralized economic planning, public or labor-union ownership of the means of production, and the nearly equal distribution of that production.

At some point their successors gave up on these Old Socialist notions.  They stopped caring about the average American worker (who was probably white), and they came under the influence of just enough Hayek-Friendman economic thought to embrace the superiority of a production system deriving from competitive private firms operating, in turn, on market-based price signals.

Economically, they still go on about inequality and social justice and still want a lot of redistribution, but there is definitely a racial aspect to all this.  But they have become comfortable with (even members of) a managerial executive elite, they think they can tame the excesses and incentives for predation, production of externalities, and anti-social behaviors with heavy regulation.  They are content to merely heavily tax the private means of production to afford the maximum amount of redistribution that is 1. feasible, 2. sustainable, 3. still leveragable into election wins.

But the shift in focus from Marxist economic reorganization to the various social movements, multiculturalism, PC, and pursuing equality for racial minorities and all sorts of various outliers and misfits turned out to be the major and lasting shift in leftist thought.  The Marxists probably felt the same way the Christian Left felt when their successors abandoned religion.

He goes on:

‘Inspired in part by Hobsbawm’s essay ‘The Forward March of Labour Halted’ many on the Left gave up the idea of the working class as a revolutionary force, and looked instead to what they called “new social movements”, women ,blacks and gays. Allied to this was a growing lack of interest in economics, and a rise in interest in cultural theory’.

Cultural revolution, West writes,  ‘was a far more attractive idea for the middle-class radicals who comprised the bulk of the New Left. Economic radicalism is not just evidently unsuccessful, but involves financial sacrifice, and shunning wealth is often necessary for personal credibility. Political radicalism costs nothing; the benefits are to middle-class cultural revolutionaries, while the risks and costs are usually borne by people far away’.

I thought this line from West was quite potent:

.. being English meant not having to conform along political, cultural and religious lines was a strength derived from its traditional homogeneity. The bond of the nation, irrational though it was, was strong enough to make people submit to the will of the common good without the need for authoritarianism.

When the bond breaks, the cradle will fall …

‘As diversity increases, democracy weakens. Faith in democracy declines when people see they cannot make a difference., and mass immigration, a policy clearly and consistently opposed by most people and yet which no mainstream politician will speak against, has shaken the public’s trust in politics. Since politicians will not listen to people’s concerns, they come to the conclusion that politics is pointless’.

This seems to be a sad cloud, but is it instead a Silver Lining?

As someone with serious doubts about the virtues of democracy, I might be thought to be indifferent to this. But most people believe that democracy, rather than inheritance, tradition or religion, legitimates our state. If democracy becomes obsolete too, then there will be nothing left to legitimate our state, except force.

In the end, only Might makes Right?

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3 Responses to Nodes

  1. VXXC says:

    Yes. If might can rightly rule. It’s a mistake however to think that 1000 years of anglo-saxon self government and law vanishes. Also the issue is the elites, not the people. It’s seldom the troops, it’s usually the leaders.

  2. fnn says:

    Some of the comments are far more informative than Hitchens’ review.

  3. What the Left left behind” is indeed worthy of study. I wish there was a more dramatic explanation but I think you’re probably right: the 60’s happened when the Boomers graduated from high school. People do what people will do, and the religion they started became civil rights/diversity/multi-culturalism.

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