The Great Inversion

There’s a political trend I have been privately thinking of as “the Great Inversion”. It has been visible since about the end of World War II in the U.S., Great Britain, and much of Western Europe, gradually gaining steam and going into high gear in the late 1970s.

The Great Inversion reached a kind of culmination in the British elections of 2019. That makes this a good time, and the British elections a good frame, for explaining the Great Inversion to an American audience. It’s a thing that is easier to see without the distraction of transient American political issues.

(And maybe I have an easier time seeing the pattern because I lived in Great Britain as a child. British politics is more intelligible to me than to most Americans because of that early experience.)

To understand the Great Inversion, we have to start by remembering what the Marxism of the pre-WWII Old Left was like — not ideologically, but sociologically. It was an ideology of, by, and for the working class.

Now it’s 2019 and the Marxist-rooted Labor party in Great Britain is smashed, possibly beyond repair. It didn’t just take its worst losses since 1935, it was eviscerated in its Northern industrial heartland, losing seats to the Tories in places that had been “safe Labor” for nigh on a century.

Exit polls made clear what had happened. The British working class, Labor’s historical constituency, voted anyone-but-Labor. Only in South Wales and a handful of English cities with large immigrant populations was it able to cling to power. In rural areas the rout was utter and complete.

To understand the why of this I think it’s important to look beyond personalities and current political issues. Yes, Jeremy Corbyn was a repulsive figure, and that played a significant role in Labor’s defeat; yes, Brexit upended British politics. But if we look at the demographics of who voted Labor, it is not difficult to discern larger and longer-term forces in play.

Who voted Labor? Recent immigrants. University students. Urban professionals. The wealthy and the near wealthy. People who make their living by slinging words and images, not wrenches or hammers. Other than recent immigrants, the Labor voting base is now predominantly elite.

This is the Great Inversion – in Great Britain, Marxist-derived Left politics has become the signature of the overclass even as the working class has abandoned it. Indeed, an increasingly important feature of Left politics in Britain is a visceral and loudly expressed loathing of the working class.

To today’s British leftist, the worst thing you can be is a “gammon”. The word literally means “ham”, but is metaphorically an older white male with a choleric complexion. A working-class white male, vulgar and uneducated – the term is never used to refer to men in upper socio-economic strata. And, of course, all gammons are presumed to be reactionary bigots; that’s the payload of the insult.

Catch any Labor talking head on video in the first days after the election and what you’d see is either tearful, disbelieving shock or a venomous rant about gammons and how racist, sexist, homophobic, and fascist they are. They haven’t recovered yet as I write, eleven days later.

Observe what has occurred: the working class are now reactionaries. New Labor is entirely composed of what an old Leninist would have called “the revolutionary vanguard” and their immigrant clients. Is it any wonder that some Laborites now speak openly of demographic replacement, of swamping the gammons with brown immigrants?

It would be entertaining to talk about the obvious parallels in American politics – British “gammons” map straight to American “deplorables”, of course, and I’m not even close to first in noticing how alike Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are – but I think it is more interesting to take a longer-term view and examine the causes of the Great Inversion in both countries.

It’s easy enough to locate its beginning – World War II. The war effort quickened the pace of innovation and industrialization in ways that are easy to miss the full significance of. In Great Britain, for example, wartime logistical demands – especially the demands of airfields – stimulated a large uptick in road-making. All that infrastructure outlasted the war and enabled a sharp drop in transport costs, with unanticipated consequences like making it inexpensive for hungry (and previously chronically malnourished!) working-class people in cities to buy meat and fresh produce.

Marxists themselves were perhaps the first to notice that the “proletariat” as their theory conceived it was vanishing, assimilated to the petty bourgeoisie by the postwar rise in living standards and the propagation of middlebrow culture through the then-new media of paperback books, radio, and television.

In the new environment, being “working class” became steadily less of a purchasing-power distinction and more one of culture, affiliation, and educational limits on upward mobility. A plumber might make more than an advertising copywriter per hour, but the copywriter could reasonably hope to run his own ad agency – or at least a corporate marketing department – some day. The plumber remained “working class” because, lacking his A-level, he could never hope to join the managerial elite.

At the same time, state socialism was becoming increasingly appealing to the managerial and upper classes because it offered the prospect not of revolution but of a managed economy that would freeze power relationships into a shape they were familiar with and knew how to manipulate. This came to be seen as greatly preferable to the chaotic dynamism of unrestrained free markets – and to upper-SES people who every year feared falling into poverty less but losing relative status more, it really was preferable.

In Great Britain, the formation of the National Health Service in 1947 was therefore not a radical move but a conservative one. It was a triumph not of revolutionary working-class fervor overthrowing elites but of managerial statism cementing elite power in place.

During the long recovery boom after World War II – until the early 1970s – it was possible to avoid noticing that the interests of the managerial elite and the working classes were diverging. Both the U.S. and Great Britain used their unmatched industrial capacity to act as price-takers in international markets, delivering profits fat enough to both buoy up working-class wages and blur the purchasing-power line between the upper-level managerial class and the owners of large capital concentrations almost out of existence.

The largest divergence was that the managerial elite, like capitalists before them, became de-localized and international. What mobility of money had done for the owners of capital by the end of the 19th century, mobility of skills did for the managerial class towards the end of the 20th.

As late as the 1960s, when I had an international childhood because my father was one of the few exceptions, the ability of capital owners to chase low labor costs was limited by the unwillingness of their hired managers to live and work outside their home countries.

The year my family returned to the U.S. for good – 1971 – was about the time the long post-war boom ended. The U.S. and Great Britain, exposed to competition (especially from a re-industrialized Germany and Japan) began a period of relative decline.

But while working-class wage gains were increasingly smothered, the managerial elite actually increased its ability to price-take in international markets after the boom. They became less and less tied to their home countries and communities – more willing and able to offshore not just themselves but working-class jobs as well. As that barrier eroded, the great hollowing out of the British industrial North and the American Rust Belt began.

The working class increasingly found itself trapped in dying towns. Where it wasn’t, credentialism often proved an equally effective barrier to upward mobility. My wife bootstrapped herself out of a hardscrabble working-class background after 1975 to become a partner at a law firm, but the way she did it would be unavailable to anyone outside the 1 in 100 of her peers at or above the IQ required to earn a graduate degree. She didn’t need that IQ to be a lawyer; she needed it to get the sheepskin that said she was allowed to be a lawyer.

The increasingly internationalized managerial-statist tribe traded increasingly in such permissions – both in getting them and in denying them to others. My older readers might be able to remember, just barely, when what medical treatment you could get was between you and your physician and didn’t depend on the gatekeeping of a faceless monitor at an insurance company.

Eventually, processing of those medical-insurance claims was largely outsourced to India. The whole tier of clerical jobs that had once been the least demanding white-collar work came under pressure from outsourcing and automation. effectively disappearing. This made the gap between working-class jobs and the lowest tier of the managerial elite more difficult to cross.

In this and other ways, the internationalized managerial elite grew more and more unlike a working class for which both economic and social life remained stubbornly local. Like every other ruling elite, as that distance increased it developed a correspondingly increasing demand for an ideology that justified that distinction and legitimized its power. And in the post-class-warfare mutations of Marxism, it found one.

Again, historical contingencies make this process easier to follow in Great Britain than its analog in the U.S. was. But first we need to review primordial Marxism and its mutations.

By “primordial Marxism” I mean Marx’s original theory of immiseration and class warfare. Marx believed, and taught, that increasing exploitation of the proletariat would immiserate it, building up a counterpressure of rage that would bring on socialist revolution in a process as automatic as a steam engine.

Inconveniently, the only place this ever actually happened was in a Communist country – Poland – in 1981. I’m not going to get into the complicated historiography of how the Soviet Revolution itself failed to fit the causal sequence Marx expected; consult any decent history. What’s interesting for our purposes is that capitalism accidentally solved the immiseration problem well before then, by abolishing Marx’s proletariat through rising standards of living – reverse immiseration.

The most forward-thinking Marxists had already figured out this was going to be a problem by around 1910. This began a century-long struggle to find a theoretical basis for socialism decoupled from Marxian class analysis.

Early, on, Lenin developed the theory of the revolutionary vanguard. In this telling, the proletariat was incapable of spontaneously respond to immiseration with socialist revolution but needed to be led to it by a vanguard of intellectuals and men of action which would, naturally, take a leading role in crafting the post-revolutionary paradise.

Only a few years later came one of the most virulent discoveries in this quest – Fascism. It is not simplifying much to say that Communists invented Fascism as an escape from the failure of class-warfare theory, then had to both fight their malignant offspring to death and gaslight everyone else into thinking that the second word in “National Socialism” meant anything but what it said.

During its short lifetime, Fascism did exert quite a fascination on the emerging managerial-statist elite. Before WWII much of that elite viewed Mussolini and Hitler as super-managers who Got Things Done, models to be emulated rather than blood-soaked tyrants. But Fascism’s appeal did not long survive its defeat.

Marxists had more success through replacing the Marxian economic class hierarchy with other ontologies of power in which some new victim group could be substituted for the vanished proletariat and plugged into the same drama of immiseration leading to inevitable revolution.

Most importantly, each of these mutations offered the international managerial elite a privileged role as the vanguard of the new revolution – a way to justify its supremacy and its embrace of managerial state socialism. This is how we got the Great Inversion – Marxists in the middle and upper classes, anti-Marxists in the working class being dismissed as gammons and deplorables.

Leaving out some failed experiments, we can distinguish three major categories of substitution. One, “world systems theory”, is no longer of more than historical interest. In this story, the role of the proletariat is taken by oppressed Third-World nations being raped of resources by capitalist oppressors.

Though world systems theory still gets some worship in academia, it succumbed to the inconvenient fact that the areas of the Third World most penetrated by capitalist “exploitation” tended to be those where living standards rose the fastest. The few really serious hellholes left are places (like, e,g. the Congo) where capitalism has been thwarted or co-opted by local bandits. But in general, Frantz Fanon’s wretched of the Earth are now being bourgeoisified as fast as the old proletariat was during and after WWII.

The other two mutations of Marxian vanguard theory were much more successful. One replaced the Marxian class hierarchy with a racialized hierarchy of victim groups. The other simply replaced “the proletariat” with “the environment”.

And now you know everything you need to understand who the Labor party of 2019 is and why it got utterly shellacked by actual labor. If you think back a bit, you can even understand Tony Blair.

For Tony Blair it was who first understood that the Labor Party’s natural future was as an organ not of the working class, but as a fully converged tool of the international managerial elite. Of those who think their justifying duty is to fight racism or sexism or cis-normativity or global warming and keep those ugly gammons firmly under their thumbs, rather than acting on the interests and the loudly expressed will of the British people.

Now you also know why in the Britain of 2019, the rhetoric of Marxism and state socialism issues not from assembly-line workers and plumbers and bricklayers, but from the chattering classes – university students, journalists and pundits, professional political activists, and the like.

This is the face of the Great Inversion – and its application to the politics of the U.S. is left as a very easy exercise.

254 thoughts on “The Great Inversion

  1. Fantastic analysis of what happened. But how do we stop them from dissolving the people and electing another?

    • Immigration control seems to me to be the obviously necessary first step. This, I think, is why Donald Trump was so successful: the deplorables saw clearly that the Left wants to replace them, and he was the only candidate willing to stand up and say “enough!”.

      • But that’s the thing: the immigrants only replace the deplorables if the deplorables try to stop it. Otherwise, the immigrants assimilate to the deplorables (because they are “deplorables” to start with), and the whole thing becomes an exercise in cheerfully handing the left enough rope to hang itself.

        I’m more worried about endogenous leftism than imported leftism.

        • Sorry, but I don’t accept your argument that demanding legal, controlled immigration causes leftism any more than a five-year-old’s “he made me hit him!”. Your argument is essentially an argument for open borders, and that’s not going to happen without massive civil unrest.

          • Look at the Canadian experience. Immigrants only go hard to the left if they’re worried about anti-immigrant sentiment – if the right avoids the usual pitfalls of sounding racist(or actually being racist, if we’re talking about people like Steve King), then immigrants are just fine with conservative politics. It’s not unanimous or anything, but the breakdown is similar to the native-born.

            Basically, immigration to move the population to the left is a Chinese finger trap for us. It’s only a threat if we pull away without thinking.

            • Mass immigration for the last fifty years has had two big effects- lower wages and a browner America. But no one parasitizes the anti-racist cause to get lower wages because they hate racism.

              • “Mass Immmigration” has had very little to do with either of the listed effects. Please do a little more research on this.

                • What research will tell me the law of supply and demand doesn’t affect wages? Or will tell me that population is not affected by population?

                    • Supply does not create demand. There have been many products brought to market that bankrupted the company or the individual. It is a false argument, like a solution looking for a problem to solve. I know, because I helped engineer products that companies thought were needed and ended going toes up. Better to create a solution for a problem or need.

            • > if the right avoids the usual pitfalls of sounding racist

              Ah, but see, the left has figured out that the right already understands this, and now simply redefines anything the right says as racist. The left operates on the axiom that to be on the right is to be racist inherently.

              As such, per the rules as dictated by one side, there is no way to avoid this “usual pitfall.” It’s usual not because the right is racist, but because the left are dishonest bastards.

              • The left operates on the axiom that to be on the right is to be racist inherently.

                The word ‘racist’ is a dog-whistle that means ‘heretic’. By definition, rightists are not upholding leftist doctrine, and are indeed heretics.

                The left deploys several such dog-whistles, tailored to specific situations to disguise the fact they all mean ‘heretic’. They all end in -ist or -phobia, though.

              • Proggies don’t condemn Muslims as racist or sexist because Islam isn’t a heresy of Progressivism. Muslims are instead heathens. You might even call them infidels.

            • They don’t have to go “hard to the left”. They just have to keep voting for the “moderate” left candidate.

            • In Canada the points system means that most immigrants are already some form of bourgeoisie. The Liberals use bribery and special favours to keep the immigrant vote in line, but as they go more into loonie left territory [forcing transgenderism on preteens, immiseration through “green” taxes, using sex education as a form of sexual grooming] they loose many of the more conservative ones. So they dump more money into immigrant communities and come increasingly close to tanking the economy with debt.

        • I would be very interested in seeing empirical support for any of the following:

          – “But that’s the thing: the immigrants only replace the deplorables if the deplorables try to stop it. Otherwise, the immigrants assimilate to the deplorables (because they are “deplorables” to start with), and the whole thing becomes an exercise in cheerfully handing the left enough rope to hang itself.

          I’m more worried about endogenous leftism than imported leftism.”

          – “Look at the Canadian experience. Immigrants only go hard to the left if they’re worried about anti-immigrant sentiment – if the right avoids the usual pitfalls of sounding racist(or actually being racist, if we’re talking about people like Steve King), then immigrants are just fine with conservative politics. It’s not unanimous or anything, but the breakdown is similar to the native-born.

          Basically, immigration to move the population to the left is a Chinese finger trap for us. It’s only a threat if we pull away without thinking.”

          • The problem that ESR kind of skirts around in the post is that Marxism made promises to “the workers” it couldn’t fulfill because its economic / class theory was wrong.

            You can’t stop the capitalists from skimming and give the excess to the workers if the capitalists *aren’t skimming* but are producing value. In reality, the capitalists are producing value and the workers are paid a competitive wage so the result is that there’s nothing for Marxists to redistribute on a mass scale. Eventually people notice that they don’t get any richer and the less Marxist a place is, the better off “the workers” are so they stop supporting socialists. The actual beneficiaries of Marxism / socialism are the people who still support it – the “knowledge workers” – the priestly class who makes a living manipulating public opinion.

            Here’s where immigrants come in. They’re all from low IQ, low productivity groups that, due to genetic reasons, are able to produce less. Now *these* are people you can bribe by skimming – but you don’t skim from “the capitalists” (turns out they’re necessary) – you skim by race and skim mainly in status rather than in direct money so it doesn’t collapse immediately.

            It’s impossible to win “immigrants” away from the left because the left is offering them a better deal. Sure, in the long run this fails but the long run is tomorrow and power is on offer right now.

        • >because they are “deplorables” to start with
          You’re still thinking in terms of class, not tribe.

          >I’m more worried about endogenous leftism than imported leftism.
          I’m more worried that tribalism might be a fundamental aspect of human nature. Diminishing it was one of the triumphs of western civ.

        • This fails in two ways.

          When the immigrants arrive, they arrive poor and vote for the party of handouts, i.e. leftism. They act as clients to get free shit. (See most every recent immigrant group.)

          After a generation or two when the immigrants are established and start to get ambitious, they seek to JOIN the party associated with high SES, i.e. leftism. They act as patrons, handing our free shit. (See today’s woke Asians.)

          The ONLY ones who reject this are the more thoughtful minority of those with long, intimate, ruinous, soul-deadening experience with socialism in their old countries.

          Combine that with the assumption that our immigration policy is to select for potential leftist voters, and it will accurately predict which groups from which countries have been, and will be, unwelcome.

          • After a generation or two when the immigrants are established and start to get ambitious, they seek to JOIN the party associated with high SES, i.e. leftism. They act as patrons, handing our free shit. (See today’s woke Asians.)

            Except as they realize it’s now their money that’s being taken to pay for all of it. See, e.g., how East Asians are slowly being squeezed out of the left coalition.

            • That realization seems to be rare and slow in coming, and only for those in certain fields (like medicine) or who own their own businesses.

              Otherwise the leftist feedlot (gravy train industries like academia and the media) provides, still.

              • It might be happening faster than the East Asians want; it appears that the stronger tribes in the Left Coalition no longer see much need to compromise (i.e., share the spoils) with them.

  2. It was an ideology of, by, and for the working class.

    I must disagree most emphatically. Marx and Engles never did an honest day’s work in their entire sniveling, misanthropic lives. Their rhetoric was all about workers, but communist leaders are very rarely workers (the Venezuelan asshole driving their bus off the cliff is the only one who springs to mind).

    • The socialists of old benefited from a lot of self-organizing among workers. Trade unions, in the 19th century sense(where they were industrial and not governmental), were very plebeian, and that includes their leadership. You even see that today, where the unions still exist – the head of the AFL-CIO is a second generation coal miner, for example(though looking at the numbers, it seems like he mined to pay for university, and climbed the ranks as a miner’s union lawyer after ~6 years underground part-time).

      • My uncle was a union electrician. Bought his way in after he got out of the Navy post WWII.

        When he joined the union the shop steward made what the workers made, worked the hours the workers worked, and had a (small) office *on the shop floor*.

        That was then, this is now.

        • Where I work now the shop stewards don’t have an office or make any extra money, just get invited to go on vacation with other union people. Union Utopia? No. Shop stewards are low on the totem pole- some extra work, meet a lot of people in trouble and help most of them, they can build a net of friends, they will risk bad enemies- they are the rubber meeting the road.

          Union corruption is real, but it’s exaggerated by employers in perfectly good faith. The union administrators they work with, they are bribing. So they think every union administrator is a crook. That’s who they know. Like when Soviet party members in the twenties and thirties honestly thought the whole world was either communist or fascist- every foreigner they met in the Soviet Union was either a fellow communist or a German soldier working on new German Army tech away from prying eyes; including apolitical soldiers. Others cared about Mussolini’s theories as hardened by the Teutonic wolf-spirit, cared about rousing speeches by a young veteran frontline fighter with a trim moustache and an Iron Cross.

    • Yes and no. It’s debatable if it was for the workers – I tend to think that before Hayek & company they honestly believed that a planned economy would bring more wealth to the masses than free market.

      What they definitely did was use the working class, and to do this they had to at least be intimately familiar with it. So in some respect it was the most “working class ideology” out there.

    • I’m sorry, but you are wrong. Marx had a short period when he ran a radical newspaper in Germany. It was shut down by the government and the main reason he had to live in exile. Engels, who was the more radical of the pair, successfully ran part of the family business from his thirties until the end of his life. He was managing a factory in Manchester. A proper class traitor. He bankrolled Marx for decades.

  3. Indeed, an increasingly important feature of Left politics in Britain is a visceral and loudly expressed loathing of the working class.

    That’s always been there, though. Just look at Lenin’s vicious persecution of the peasants.

  4. Is it any wonder that some Laborites now speak openly of demographic replacement, of swamping the gammons with brown immigrants?

    The problem with that strategy is that insofar as the immigrants have the neccesary numbers and cultural characteristics to swamp the gammons, and insofar as the local gammons refrain from antagonizing them, they *are* gammons. The reason that British gammons and American deplorables map so well together is that if you take the “white” qualifier away, the type maps quite well into some segment of every society: it’s a constant of human nature.

    On the other hand…

    The whole tier of clerical jobs that had once been the least demanding white-collar work came under pressure from outsourcing and automation. effectively disappearing.

    …the reaction of the local gammons to this trend tends to be to antagonize the incoming gammons, which tends to make it trivial for the left to gain their support and plug them in to the victim hierarchy, and their reaction to the suggestion that the incoming gammons are their natural allies tends to be that you must be a leftist trying to trick them.

    I’m not going to get into the complicated historiography of how the Soviet Revolution itself failed to fit the causal sequence Marx expected; consult any decent history.

    Well, the most important thing I see there is that pre-revolutionary Russia was not a free-market economy, it was a feudal economy, and feudalism is, effectively, honest communism with no pretenses to democracy or equality. Other than on that point, I’m perfectly willing to grant to the Marxists the assumption that they’re right about the trajectory of the Russian revolution being what Marx expected, because it turns the Russian revolution into the exact type of own-goal that the Polish revolution of ’89 was. I suspect similar things are true of China.

    What’s interesting for our purposes is that capitalism accidentally solved the immiseration problem well before then, by abolishing Marx’s proletariat through rising standards of living – reverse immiseration.

    /me sticks his fingers in an electrical socket and emits a 60-cycle hum:

    [hum]
    For free market advocates to accept “capitalist/-ism” (a coinage by Marx himself referring to mercantilists) as a name for ourselves / our philosophy is an own-goal on our part.
    [/hum]

    • “For free market advocates to accept “capitalist/-ism” (a coinage by Marx himself referring to mercantilists) as a name for ourselves / our philosophy is an own-goal on our part.”

      I don’t get your light-socket thing, but why, exactly, is this anything more than libertarian definitional hair-splitting of the kind that turns off non-theorists and chases them straight back to the Republicans?

      • He’s probably been reading the recent post at Jim’s Blog about not using “enemy words”. It was pointed out and discussed there that Capitalism is one of a host of “enemy words” such that even using the word, sets a false frame for any discussion.

        • I’m not familiar with said blog, but at least on “capitalism” that’s pretty much my logic (I haven’t read the post in question, so I can’t say I agree or disagree with it on other words it may cover).

          However, see my additional point that the use of “capitalism” facilitates crypto-mercantilists disguising themselves as free-marketers.

        • Except his list of enemy words does not include “capitalism”. In fact doing Crtl+F for “capitalism” on his blog produces instances of him using the term positively.

      • >I don’t get your light-socket thing,

        It’s a reference to the term “60-cycle hum”, which I could have sworn it was in the Jargon File somewhere, but it doesn’t seem to be.

        Our host has used the phrase from time to time, for example, here:

        http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2823

        I’m poking fun at myself, because I tend to complain about the use of the term “capitalism” a lot, because:

        1) The left loves the strawman of conflating mercantilism and free marketism, and allowing ourselves to be referred to as “capitalists” makes the strawman trivially easy to pull off.
        2) Mercantilists love doing things like conflating legally enforced monopolies with property rights, and the linguistic confusion makes that easier for them to pull off, allows them to profit from the good name of free marketism, and their behavior then lends credence in the public eye to the leftist slander of free markets.

        > but why, exactly, is this anything more than libertarian definitional hair-splitting of the kind that turns off non-theorists and chases them straight back to the Republicans?

        See 1 and 2 above for why I think making the distinction is important, but maybe I am hair splitting: I’m just mad that the left gets to strawman us with significantly less effort than if we insisted on a different name, and other ne’erdowells get to hide behind our good name, and whether or not I know what it is or can effectively convince people to find it, I’m convinced that there *has* to be a better name we can use for ourselves than “capitalist”.

        A more hair splitting answer is that I’m currently mid transistion from Republican to libertarian-ish, so where exactly I may be chasing non-theorists from and to is up for debate. :-)

        /me unplugs himself from the electrical socket, stops humming, and walks off in a cloud of blue smoke.

        • Just humming along — I know the lyrics, though.

          Marx calling modern market economics systems “capitalism” — lumping everything that is not labor together, land and location and methods and reputation and finished-goods in inventory with raw materials all as forms of “capital” — is like a homeopath ranting about modern medical practices. He will call surgeons “butchers” and lump together radiologists, anesthetists, pharmacists, physical therapists — everything that is not “nutrition” — all as part of the the “butchery” system. But then for us to embrace the division and attempt to explain and defend the virtues of butchery while exposing the fallacies of homeopathy is starting off on the wrong foot.

          • But then for us to embrace the division and attempt to explain and defend the virtues of butchery while exposing the fallacies of homeopathy is starting off on the wrong foot.

            The hell it is.

            “Butchery” is the only reason I have more than 20% strength in my left arm and not slowly losing control and strength over stuff south of there.

            “Butchery” is the only reason my wife (and hence daughter) are alive. TWICE for the wife.

            Anyone who calls modern surgery “butchery”…I’m going to get *seriously* anti-social with.

            Oh, and homeopathy isn’t about nutrition, it’s 19th century sympathetic magic. “Like cures like” nonsense, it has nothing to do with nutrition (or anything else sane).

            • o.t. – The only reason we do not hear about the benefits of super hemlock is because the promoters succumbed to it’s wonders prior to developing a cult following.

            • ““Butchery” is the only reason I have more than 20% strength in my left arm and not slowly losing control and strength over stuff south of there. ”

              I think you missed his point. I think he was saying “arguing the benefits of modern medicine while using the anti-medicinist’s term ‘butchery’ is a losing proposition”.

        • 1) The left loves the strawman of conflating mercantilism and free marketism, and allowing ourselves to be referred to as “capitalists” makes the strawman trivially easy to pull off.

          That’s because the left believes that “capital” is a fixed asset that neither grows nor shrinks in response to economic conditions. If you vote for the leftists, voters are told, you will be given a larger slice of the immutably sized pie. This message is then fixated by assuring the voters that they are part of either an economic or social victim class.

          • This does bring up a fault on the right, though: we tend to be reluctant to believe that anybody not on the left will shrink the pie to enrich themselves, or in some cases, to believe that the pie can ever shrink. I tend to believe that the pie can shrink or grow, but that humans tend to be predatory and that growth-friendly societies are unstable against decay into predatory societies. Free market capitalism is good, but people are not by nature free market capitalists.

            • ” I tend to believe that the pie can shrink or grow”

              A comparison of global wealth before the Industrial Revolution vs. now should have permanently put to rest the idea there’s an immutable pie, and anyone who doesn’t realize that once it’s pointed out to them is not very bright.

          • This is at the core of the late Ric Locke’s theory that the tribal, hunt-n-gather mentality at the core of leftist economics is that the amount of Stuff is fixed, with perhaps the possibility of petitioning ${DEITY} to bestow the tribe with more Stuff, and the ritual sacrifices that entails.

            Agriculture and industry create orders of magnitude more Stuff than hunt-n-gather can collect. But the price for that bounty is that the farmer must be allowed to keep most of what he grows, and the craftsman what he produces, in order for the incentive to exist for him to invest his effort in the process.

            I believe the Left’s anti-industrial “environmentalism” is (at the rank-and-file level) based on the idea that producing more Stuff without those ritual sacrifices offends ${DEITY:-Nature aka Gaia} and must be punished. The countless millions who must die to achieve their pure neo-Eden are a feature, not a bug, from that perspective. They represent the debt owed for generations of cheating to get more Stuff.

            At the leadership level, it’s based on wanting to get rid of the proof they’re utterly wrong.

          • Free-market advocates preach that the economy (absent the horror of government intervention) will always grow, and will grow at a rate that allows for capital gains for the wealthy while giving everyone else a fair shot.

            Piketty showed that this is not the case, and he showed what happens when capital gains exceed the overall growth of the economy. He also proposed a solution. Currently the only presidential candidates I know of who take that solution seriously are Sanders and Warren.

            • >Piketty showed that this is not the case

              Do try to keep up. Piketty showed nothing of the sort. Most of what he thought was capital cornering historically high returns turned out to be a mirage resulting from increases in the book value of real estate.

              To be fair, it looks like Piketty made an honest methodological mistake rather than the intentional fraud I normally expect from Marxists, but it’s the reason you don’t hear a lot about Piketty these days. If his thesis had held up he’d have the Nobel in Economics by now.

              In related news, the Trump economy is producing disproportionately high income gains among lower-income workers as the labor market tightens. A more exact refutation of Piketty’s thesis would be hard to imagine.

              I bet you still think The Spirit Level wasn’t full of shit, too. That one probably was intentional fraud.

              • In related news, the Trump economy is producing disproportionately high income gains among lower-income workers as the labor market tightens.

                Along with even higher cost of living increases, meaning lower-income workers are even worse off than before. The Trump economy is a rising tide that lifts only yachts. That validates Piketty, rather than refuting him.

                Meanwhile, in much of Western Europe, the government provides essentials, like health care, education up through university level in some cases, and sometimes even housing for those who need it, for free. The American allergy to government redistribution for public benefit is how you get situations like San Francisco, with homeless people shitting in the streets and yet the city has five unoccupied homes for every homeless person.

                • Higher costs of living is not some new invention of the Trump economy. It was happening during the Obama administration. It was happening during the Bush administration. Though I was not old enough to yet need to care about such, I’ve a suspicion it’s been happening for much longer, the party holding Congress or the White house be damned.

                  Trying to attribute rising costs of living to Trump’s policies is more of that same My Tribe Good Your Tribe Evil mentality that’s done exactly fuck all to stem the rising cost of living over the past 16+ years. San Francisco’s housing problems come from San Francisco’s polices and how they chose to implement/enforce them. Trump’s relation to SF’s policies and the implementation/enforcement thereof is about equal to the relationship of between your favorite kinds of furry porn and the price of tea in China.

                • > The American allergy to government redistribution for public benefit is how you get situations like San Francisco, with homeless people shitting in the streets and yet the city has five unoccupied homes for every homeless person.

                  And that’s where you’re wrong.

                • The American allergy to government redistribution for public benefit is how you get situations like San Francisco, with homeless people shitting in the streets and yet the city has five unoccupied homes for every homeless person.

                  You do realize SF is one of the most leftist cities in the country. Funny how when those policies lead to disaster it always gets retroactively declared “right wing”.

              • If his thesis had held up he’d have the Nobel in Economics by now.

                Excuse me? Has the committee decided to require some semblance of intellectual rigor again, after the ridicule they suffered from lauding Krugman?

            • Capital gains are not just “for the wealthy”. A lot of non-wealthy people have money in retirement funds that are invested in equities that earn capital gains.

              The Left positively hates corporations (except for those that contribute heavily to their causes) despite the fact that it’s the corporation that allows a bunch of Little Guys to pool their assets to compete against Big Guys.

                • Why not both? Leftists hate corporations because that system allows individuals to pool assets together when starting one and compete against the existing giants without the Leftists’ help, and they also hate corporations despite that fact since any success transforms the loved Little Guys into the hated Big Guys.

  5. I am not so sure capitalism automatically raised standards of living as you seem to suggest. The robber barons and their successors held onto every penny they could. Life only improved for the working class because they fought relentlessly for their rights (via trade unions, mainly) over a long period, aided by the diminution of labour supply due to war.

    • See my complaint about the use of the term “capitalism” above, and my counter-response to Jay Maynard.

      “Capitalism” means different things when used by a middle class American conservative on the one hand, vs. a liberal or a robber baron (with different motives but the same definition) on the other.

    • >The robber barons and their successors held onto every penny they could.

      This is utterly false. For just a start on understanding how false, search “carnegie” “philanthtpopy”.

      Even had it been true, the 19th-century magnates later slandered as “robber barons” did more good through greed than they could possibly have through philanthropy. They built entire industries – wealth-creation engines that outlasted them and dramatically raised living standards not just in the U.S.but planetwide.

      • The last couple centuries have consisted of raw, naked, greed dragging the entire world kicking and screaming into enough wealth that people don’t die for want of a nail. All the while charity and “doing good” has done everything in its power to destroy the world.

        A gross exaggeration, true. But if they want to play the narrative game we can play it too.

      • They weren’t all philanthropists and anyway, they had still amassed enormous amounts before they started giving small amounts away. Apart from Ford, how many industrialists willingly paid their workers decent wages? How many tried sacking and even attacking them when the workers organised?
        I don’t believe in this rosy story of capitalism magically sharing the wealth. Solid evidence please that it didn’t require prolonged fighting by the working class to get just some of it. I am not talking about handouts, whether one calls it charity or philanthropy.

        • >I don’t believe in this rosy story of capitalism magically sharing the wealth.

          Magical sharing has nothing to do with it. Greed driving market behavior that benefits everybody is a more powerful force for good than altruism. The working class’s position improved because price levels fell, average wealth increased, and there was more competition for their labor. The magnates may not have intended this, but it was an inevitable result of increasing the efficiency of production with capital goods.

          • I question the wisdom of attempting to explain this to people who seem to think that rich people shovel cash into their Scrooge McDuck vaults (quote “held onto every penny they could”).

          • Absent coercion, a transaction must leave each party at least a little bit better off than he was before the transaction (enough better to offset the effort involved in the transaction). This simple fact means that the aggregate of countless transactions leaves everyone in a free economy better off for having traded with others.

            That it’s a positive-sum game is counter to those intuitions based on the hunt-n-gather Ancestral Evolutionary Environment, and requires some actual thinking rather than mindlessly executing the Envy subroutine. To support agriculture, industry, and information-based economy means actively teaching people why creators must be rewarded for their efforts.

            If we don’t lay down that capitalist software on top of our tribal firmware, people revert to the latter, with disastrous effects. This is why the Gramscian march through the info-edu-tainment institutions has done so much damage. It’s easy to get people to envy someone with more than they have. It takes hard work to teach people it’s better to emulate than envy. We literally have to reprogram every generation in order to maintain the prosperity that’s so easy to take for granted.

            .

          • If you believe that, ESR, you might tell me that Bill Gates was an empire builder that created inefficiencies. It is entirely appropriate to learn from the present and look for similar patterns in the easier to whitewash past.

            Or read a 1940’s Wharton School of Business summary of the US economy, where these monopolies were described in detail. Glass, steel, oil, radio, and broadcast monopolies of the last century were also parasitic and harmful to the overall economy. Sure, there was dynamic growth from exploiting new energy sources, knowledge and technology, but it could have been better had effective competition been protected by rule of law.

            The beneficiaries were not engineers or rank and file managers, who you might malign as “socialists” for wanting clean air and water.

            • Windows was a damn good product. The NT kernel design is superior to almost anything else including Unix, and the system had OO integration throughout, in the form of COM and OLE, in a way that only NEXTSTEP could match. And Internet Explorer was superior to Netscape. The big bad Microsoft monopoly was, in part, a narrative spun by rival companies who couldn’t actually compete, not without getting the government to hobble Microsoft.

              Microsoft was actually benign as far as monopolies go. In terms of reach it had nothing on the current OS and browser monopolist, Google, who exhibit considerable control over what is realistically publishable online, as well as extensively surveilling their user base. And Microsoft had nothing on the polluting, cost-externalizing behemoths of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

            • Microsoft’s competitors created a big inefficiency when they gave the Clintons a half billion dollar bribe to sic the Justice Department on Microsoft and break the dot.com boom.

        • The big guys didn’t simply steal money from some people and occasionally give it to other people. They created something to get that money. How do you quantify the collective gains of nation-spanning railroads? Mass manufacturing? The automobile?

          You can’t just pretend these gains don’t exist, or that the so-called “robber barons” weren’t responsible for them to at least a major degree. Good things don’t just magically come into existence.

          • They created something to get that money.

            Moreover, once they created it, they traded it away, or traded use of it away. The hoi polloi got something in exchange for their otherwise worthless paper and metal tokens.

            I have yet to see a Marxist grok this and make the “barons exploiting us” argument at the same time.

        • I don’t believe in this rosy story of capitalism magically sharing the wealth. Solid evidence please that it didn’t require prolonged fighting by the working class to get just some of it. I am not talking about handouts, whether one calls it charity or philanthropy.

          Once again, there are two things called capitalism. One is “That which is in the interest of those who have capital”. In this sense of the word “capitalist” means “one who owns large amounts of capital”. This is the sense in which the words “captialist” and “capitalism” were coined by Marx. The other is “Free market economics”. In this sense of the word “capitalist” means “one who believes in free market economics”. Ideally, it would be called something other than capitalism, but the capitalists (sense 2) made lousy decisions in marketing their philosophy.

          Capitalism (sense 1), doesn’t share wealth just to be nice (or, at least, the capitalists of sense 1 that do so aren’t the ones that you hear about being great philanthropists). Public philanthropy from sense 1 capitalists (or really, from anyone who is public about their philanthropy) tends to be a PR investment more than anything else. And getting more than that out of type 1 captialists is like pulling teeth. But the thing about type 1 capitalism is that it looks a lot like socialism, just without the concern for the working class, because free markets aren’t in the interest of people who own large amounts of capital. In a free market, they can’t rest on their laurels and fill their bank accounts: they always have to keep working to keep ahead of the startups.

          Capitalism (sense 2) doesn’t share wealth either: it shares the opportunity to gain wealth (plus another important thing I’ll get to at the end). It gives more working class people the chance to start their own small businesses, which forces the capitalists (sense 1) to compete with those small businesses. And then some of those small business owners get rich enough to become capitalists (sense 1), so that there are more capitalists (sense 1), and in a free market, they all have to fight each other to survive. And the ways that they fight are by paying better wages (so that they get workers instead of the other guy), and slashing their prices (so that the working class can afford more cool things). The harder they punch each other, the more money goes flying for all the bystanders to pick up, so to speak. And the part about slashing prices is one of the big points of capitalism (sense 2): Economic success isn’t about amassing wealth, it’s about minimizing costs.

          • “And getting more than that out of type 1 captialists is like pulling teeth.”

            Yeah, right. Tell that to the folks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who have pledged to give away their entire fortunes.

            Your hair-splitting tries to impose boundaries that do not exist. Even the robber barons you love to hate did more good for the people than the socialists you equate them with.

            • >Yeah, right. Tell that to the folks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who have pledged to give away their entire fortunes.

              Key word pledged. If you proclaim it from the rooftops, it’s a PR investment.

              >Even the robber barons you love to hate did more good for the people than the socialists you equate them with.

              Not necessarily by choice, though. But that’s the beauty of capitalism (sense 2), the freer the markets are, the fewer net-negative options there are that aren’t self-destructive

        • Ford didn’t willingly pay his workers decent wages. He had to offer high wages to attract the types of people who would show up reliably, not drunk, and work consistently. If he paid less he couldn’t get the workers he wanted.

          Also, FWIW, Ford was a big antisemite and mutual admirer of Hitler.

          • He willingly paid his workers decent wages, since he believed that the purpose of a business was to serve the community, not just to enrich the shareholder, as he explicitly states in his book, Life and Work. Have you read any of Ford’s books or work?

            • ‘My first toys were tools. They still are.’ One of the great brags made good, like ‘Veni, vidi vici’ or ‘Hello ladies, I’m Long Dong Silver’.

            • Do you really expect him to put “I pay my workers well because I’m a terrible person to work for and that’s the only way I can keep my employees from running to my competitors the moment they know which end of the wrench to hold” in his book?

      • Mathias Baldwin developed his business, in the 19th century, by having ’employees’ bid on segments of work needed. It was a very successful approach. Those employed were satisified with the arrangement, as it led the way to higher incomes and home ownership for a significant percentage of the workers. It took a combined effort of investment bankers and the federal government to end it.
        While not falling into the catagory of a robber baron, he did amass a large fortune and enjoyed agood reputation both as an employer and a citizen.
        John K. Brown authored “The Baldwin Locomotive Works 1831 – 1915” in the 1990’s. (very few pictures, so it must be read)

    • The robber barons and their successors held onto every penny they could.

      Why is this seen as unique? I genuinely don’t get it. Everybody tries to gain advantage for themselves as best they can. Rich people are better at it, sure, but it’s not like a minimum wage employee would turn down a raise. Why would we expect anyone else to?

    • The “robber barons” drastically improved the standard of living of the working classes. It’s how they got rich.

      Kerosene was a life-changing advance for the poor.

      • Indeed. This whole digression about robber barons and their ‘selfishness’ vs their philanthropy, as if that status was somehow the deciding factor in whether or not they ‘benefited’ ‘the poor’ is absolutely retarded.(As in it’s basically religious stupidity and anyone pushing it should be laughed out of the discussion.)

        And the same thing plays out all day, every day, in our politics.

        Why do so many otherwise intelligent people seem to cling to the delusion that the only way you can ‘help’ someone, to make him better off, is to GIVE him something? As in, a handout (and in politics as in crime, any handout given has to be stolen from some third party but that’s another topic).

        How about helping someone by giving him a *chance*? A JOB? Honestly, it’s possible. You simply have to stop doing things that throttle the economy. (Cue Trump here….)

        You can be the worst person in the world (and Ford as an example was pretty bad) and benefit people as a whole by being responsible for increasing productivity. And most people do that in order to try to make a lot of money for themselves. The horror.

    • See this 1907 article from The Atlantic for a good summery of just how much human progress there was during the era of the “robber barons”.

  6. ‘Life only improved for the working class because they fought relentlessly for their rights’
    True. But that capacity comes from freedom of association, an important corollary of freedom to contract.
    I agree the use of the term ‘capitalism’ and ‘capitalist’ is unhelpful, and that the term ‘free market’ is better. ‘Free market’ has a far more user-friendly feel to it than do the first two.

  7. This is a great piece, Eric. I wonder what are your thoughts on the long-term effects of mass immigration (assuming, as your piece suggests, that loose immigration controls are in place to deliberately replace the proletariat with more easily-manipulated voters). Do you suppose that, either in UK or US, the immigrant population will eventually change its behavior, shifting the balance of power once more, or is it a one-way ratchet effect?

    • >I wonder what are your thoughts on the long-term effects of mass immigration

      Too complex to fit in a comment. Possible future post.

      I will note as a matter of fact that the adoption of demographic replacement as a strategy by the U.S. Democratic Party’s forward thinkers goes back to 1991-1992. I remember wondering why this wasn’t causing outrage at the time. Probably because books on political strategy are easily dismissed as hype, but when the Democrats began acting on that theory fifteen years later it passed almost without notice.

      • … demographic replacement as a strategy by the U.S. Democratic Party’s forward thinkers goes back to 1991-1992. I remember wondering why this wasn’t causing outrage at the time. Probably because books on political strategy are easily dismissed as hype, but when the Democrats began acting on that theory fifteen years later it passed almost without notice.

        This is the other half of the “rhetoric ratchet” seen with such topics as universal health care and gun control confiscation. First there’s the “don’t be so melodramatic, we don’t actually mean what we are literally saying” phase, and sometime after that stops it shifts to “why are you objecting now? We’ve been talking about this for years without such complaints!”

        Kudos to the Democrats of the 90s though. If they really were long-term planning to “elect a new populace” via open immigration, having President Clinton restrict immigration during his term was a brilliant way to make opposition arguments look like mere hyperbolic agitprop.

        • President Clinton may not have been on the Left’s side. IMHO, he was the most conservative president since Coolidge (including Reagan).

      • It isn’t just pushing mass immigration, it’s also a matter of sabotaging the Great American Assimilation Machine.

        There’s a bargain to it:
        “You will do you best to assimilate. If your best isn’t good enough, you will accept a second-class social status without putting up a fuss.”

        “In return, we will not kick you while you attempt to assimilate, and if you do succeed, we will accept you as a member of the American tribe.”

        Some of America’s biggest headaches have come from breaking this bargain, by one side or the other. And now the Democrats want to hammer it flat.

        In soundbite terms: “It’s OK to act White.” (I much prefer that as being both more subversive and more principled than “It’s OK to be White.”)

        • Let me elaborate on that cryptic comment.

          Demographic replacement as an actual working strategy for the US Democratic Party goes back to WELL before 1990. They went to the trouble of drastically changing US immigration policy in 1965, which introduced things like chain migration.

  8. Might part of the current story be due to Marxists, fellow travelers, and useful idiots turning on their supposed beneficiaries for failing to accept the truth they were offered? If so, the significant increase in Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) antisemitism late in his life offers a parallel.

    Like most men of his time and education, Luther was an antisemite. For most of his life, though, he believed that his interpretation of Christian theology would persuade large numbers of Jews to convert. When he realized that Jews rejected his view of Christ’s teaching as firmly as they rejected the Roman version, his antisemitism became virulent.

    I’m an agnostic, empirical, supply-side, microeconomst, not a historian or theologian, so I’m probably deep in the mountains. Take my casual empiricism for what it’s worth.

  9. There are those on the Left in the UK who are both horrified and puzzled by the working class vote against Labor because they’re convinced that Labor is still better for the workers than those evil predatory capitalist Conservatives. “The forest keeps shrinking, so why are the trees voting for the Ax?” (From memory, so not an exact quote.)

    The US version, of course, is “What’s the matter with Kansas?”

  10. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1The Great Inversion – Wince and Nod

    • >I thought that, at least as far as the UK is concerned, the Liberal Democrats were the party of the cognitive elite.

      They had a good claim on that title at one time, having been the institutional remnant of the (Classical) Liberals – the pro-free-trade, pro-market, anti-slavery party of the 19th century. But they’ve been adrift ever since being displaced by the rise of the Marxists early in the 20th. At time inconclusively tacking leftward, at times partly reclaiming their classical-liberal origins, they’ve been unable to develop a stable platform or constituency.

      • This all reminds me… Have you made any progress with the “ideomania” concept?

        Also, good to see you’re still alive. I was starting to worry. :)

        P.S. – Merry Christmas, everyone.

      • And for some bizarre reason, the LibDems decided that it’s a Good Thing for the UK to be a vassal of the 4th Reich. I can’t think of anything more antithetical to their purported ideals than being ruled by unelected technocrats.

    • The cognitive elite represent the top of the “bun” (those who believe they’re smart enough to run others’ lives) of the Leftist coalition. The bottom (those who believe the system’s rigged against them, and need help running their lives) are the rest of the Left.

      The meat in the middle of the burger represents those who would neither be master nor slave.

  11. If I may, I would like to overlay a phenomena that I think underpins this “political” metamorphosis.

    For about a billion years, lifeforms on Earth evolved robustness to individualized environments via fitness selection driven by local forces. For most of the history of Homo sapiens, this pattern culminated in DNA which encodes localized robustness attributes that “work”, i.e. increase the odds of survive/thrive outcomes in any particular environment. Then came language, the bicameral mind, increasing IQ, agriculture, civilization, industrialization, affluence, and the luxury of creating man-made artificial environments (as opposed to the natural environments that existed for most of Earth’s history).

    And then the game changed fundamentally. Fitness selection still operates the same way it always has, but now in a Brave New World of artificial environments in which natural robustness has been supplanted by memetic fitness drivers leading to entirely artificial attributes. This is getting obtuse, so let me cut to the chase.

    For the last few centuries (or perhaps within the last few generations), the extinction of real hardship and existential threat in our current artificial environments has change evolution such that we now systemically select for non-robust attributes. The worker/elites dichotomy reflects these fundamental changes and we are now morphing via artificial selection in wholly new ways. We are changing the species, and the change is neither trivial nor slow.

  12. You make the elite’s support for “state socialism” seem deliberate, but I’m not so sure. I mean, it’s hard to construct a worse party for high earners in London than labour – and yet most London districts went to that party.

    I read somewhere that the top polling candidate in Silicon Valley was Warren – and again, it’s hard to find a worse candidate for that demographic.

    • >I read somewhere that the top polling candidate in Silicon Valley was Warren – and again, it’s hard to find a worse candidate for that demographic.

      Religions make people do insane things. That doesn’t stop being true merely because the religion is Marxism.

      • Either people’s rational self interest predicts their politics or it doesn’t. It’s not massively consistent to write a blogpost about how people are voting differently because their economic incentives have changed and then go “Religions make people do insane things” when it’s pointed out that economic incentives aren’t good predictors of people’s votes.

        • >It’s not massively consistent to write a blogpost about how people are voting differently because their economic incentives have changed and then go “Religions make people do insane things”

          People aren’t massively consistent either, and both kinds of motivations operate – often in the same person.

          Besides, you’re confusing an economic incentive (gain or keep more wealth) with a psychological one (gain or at least not lose relative status). My thesis is that upper-class Marxists are doing economically insane things to satisfy status needs.

          Which is yet another reason rising wealth levels are relevant. They lower the cost of economic insanity.

          • Many tenets in left-wing ideology don’t even make sense in terms of status. I can see how state controlled education fits the bill, but what about higher income taxes, wealth taxes, breaking up tech companies, etc? How do those increase elite status? Why not just go for old-fashioned oligarchy, or other elite favoring systems?

            Also, why would most people prize relative over absolute standing anyway? They don’t in their personal life. (A simple way to increase your relative standing: move to a small village or a poor country.)

            I buy the religion story, I don’t buy the self interest one (not even in terms of status).

            • what about higher income taxes, wealth taxes, breaking up tech companies, etc? How do those increase elite status?

              The “elite” in this case is not an economic or wealth elite, it’s a (self-styled) intellectual elite. These are people who think they’re smarter and more enlightened than everyone else. Forcing people who are richer but less enlightened to pay more taxes, or breaking up tech companies, is a way of signaling that the intellectual elite is superior to those who are merely wealthy or productive.

              Why not just go for old-fashioned oligarchy, or other elite favoring systems?

              We do have an oligarchy: an intellectual oligarchy. Only certain preferred intellectual opinions are allowed to be heard in the public arena.

              I buy the religion story, I don’t buy the self interest one (not even in terms of status).

              The Puritans combined both (enforcement of religious orthodoxy as a means of status signaling and competition) in much the same way as today’s leftist intellectuals do.

              • A point of order, sir. We have a pseudo-intellectual oligarchy. While they possess an ample supply of every vice one traditionally associates with a society’s elites, they lack any of the virtues. Including a lack of adequate education (but plenty of credentials!) of genuine intellectuals.

                • We have a pseudo-intellectual oligarchy.

                  As far as their actual intellectual ability is concerned, yes, you are right. That was the point of my calling them a “self-styled” intellectual elite.

          • The “top of the bun” cognitive elite want their status under the Marxist regime. The “bottom of the bun” want Free Stuff they can’t get from a free market.

        • It is self-interest. It’s not *economic* self-interest.

          To distill my Grand Unified Theory of Modern “Progressives”: they’re a bunch of frustrated rich and semi-rich people who believe they should rule and are angry that simply being credentialed and having money doesn’t confer any real legal privileges. They have electricity and cars and Internet and computers, but so do the poor. Worse, the poors’ stuff is sometimes better: a Toyota Camry will start pretty much every damn time for 250,000+ miles, while an Italian exotic won’t unless you have a mechanic on staff.

          Their solution is to simultaneously push for a reason the poors shouldn’t have nice things (environmentalism) and a political system (socialism/communism) where they believe they will be the ones in charge after the revolution. I suggest they ask Trotsky how that worked out.

          • There are also the children of the rich and semi-rich who are angry that simply being credentialed isn’t giving them the high-paying sinecures that they were promised.

          • I think you are half right; even so, I would still prefer the frank honesty of Rose Wilder Lane’s explanation in The Discovery of Freedom. The briefest summary of the first few chapters might be [“random” capitalization as per original text]:

            The ancient view of man is that all are, by their nature, controlled by some Authority. It is true that, for a time, a baby will have everything he needs or desires — food, comfort, cleanliness — come from a power outside himself, unfathomably stronger than he. When this great power coincides with is desires, it must seem to him that it controls his energy; when it does with him what he does not want done, he is powerless to resist.

            Men do not remain babies all their lives. Nevertheless, a majority of men across history have believed some Authority controlled them. The theorist, taking it for granted that man does not control himself, looks for the Authority that controls mankind. Every imaginable kind of such Authority has been tried, and is still being tried, in every possible combination. Yet with all this, no Authority has ever permitted human energy to work effectively, because the theory does not recognize the fact that adults each control their own energy. For thousand years, humans struggled to get from this earth enough food — proof society does not use human energy in accordance with human nature. If men and women do not wish to struggle, then they must acknowledge this one fact: human energy does not work under control of any kind of Authority imaginable.

            It is not so much that “progressives” have a will to rule, but that they feel that they are controlled by the Patriarchy — that omnipotent and omnipresent authority which has unjustly and unfairly condemned their fate — and revolt in favor of their own favorable authority. [Naturally, to extinguish the Patriarchy, it will be necessary to impose their new authority and social structures upon everyone else… because somehow making every individual should be their own equipotent authority is oppression??]

      • It’s not insane. The socialists have power. The opposition is merely LARPing.

        As Bill Gates and coal companies found out first hand, if your business doesn’t vote correctly you’ll suddenly find that being profitable is against regulations. Bill Gates hurriedly caught up on his indulgence buying, so the antitrust suit was dropped. Google would never be so gauche as to let it get to that point in the first place.

        Coal companies, not so much.

        • As I recall, the antitrust suit was dropped because GWB wasn’t enthusiastic about flogging the rich the way that Bubba Clinton was.

          • Bush hadn’t taken a half billion dollar bribe from Microsoft’s competitors the way the Clintons did. Or maybe you believe Mueller’s coverup.

          • Wiki:

            The Federal Trade Commission began an inquiry in 1992 over whether Microsoft was abusing its monopoly on the PC operating system market. The commissioners deadlocked with a 2–2 vote in 1993 and closed the investigation, but the Department of Justice led by Janet Reno opened its own investigation on August 21 of that year, resulting in a settlement on July 15, 1994

            If you get a proper timeline you’ll find Bill Gates’ or Microsoft’s first political campaign contribution was in 1993 or 1994 or soon after, and it was to the Democrats.

            https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/08/microsoft-antitrust.asp:

            The ruling on April 3, 2000, called for Microsoft to divide the company in half, creating two companies that were to be called “baby bills.” The operating system would make up one half of the company and the software arm would make up the other.

            Before this could be achieved, however, the fangs were removed from the ruling during the appeals process.

            Hmm?

            2000 Total: $8,200
            Democrats: $6,200
            Republicans: $2,000
            https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/totals.php?id=D000031958

            It’s rank bribery. But unlike those icky chicoms, here in America we bribe legally.

    • This was addressed in the post:

      At the same time, state socialism was becoming increasingly appealing to the managerial and upper classes because it offered the prospect not of revolution but of a managed economy that would freeze power relationships into a shape they were familiar with and knew how to manipulate. This came to be seen as greatly preferable to the chaotic dynamism of unrestrained free markets – and to upper-SES people who every year feared falling into poverty less but losing relative status more, it really was preferable.

      They think that they can protect their positions.

    • Amongst the ex-Soviet expatriates you often hear a mutter of “???? ????????? ???????” which most closely translates as something like “a land of frightless idiots”. The idea being that the fools are fearless because they’re completely oblivious to the danger all around. Imagine a dude walking around in bear country in the Spring with his pockets stuffed with sausage who thinks a grizzly is just like the teddy bear he used to play with.

    • >t’s hard to construct a worse party for high earners in London than labour

      Labour/Ds are the parties for high status (vs. high income) types. A weird trait of ‘new money’ types everywhere seems to be a desire for acceptance by ‘old money’ types (the one notable exception being the ‘millionaire-next-door’ R base).

      But more generally, it’s not even clear to me that Labour is worse for most high income folks: 1) Many (most?) high earners earn their money by being close to power (e.g., hedge fund guy who went to school with a pension manager), or being good at navigating regulations (government contractors, lawyers, etc), or being in protected industries (lawyers, doctors, bankers, etc). That is, the downsides of Labour (e.g., higher taxes) are massively outweighed by its opportunities; and 2) highly educated individuals tend to be highly risk averse (e.g., entrepreneurs generally don’t go to law school), which imho, drives their voting behavior more than income opportunities.

    • Consider the anit-vaxxers. The core driver behind their idiocy is that they have no first-hand experience with what a pre-vaccine society looks like. Tellingly, it’s not rural Alabama that you find gaggles of unvaccinated kids, it’s the local Whole Foods.

      • That you so casually refer to “their idiocy” belies your prejudice. If you believe that all vaccines only do good, and do not ever have ill side effects, you’re in no position to describe anyone else’s thinking as “idiocy”.

            • Shh, you’re not supposed to notice Inkstain’s use of the term “anti-vaxxer” to conflate raising concerns about specific vaccines with objecting to all vaccines.

            • There’s a pretty wide gulf between the rational wariness you describe and the lunacy of a blanket refusal of all vaccination. Sadly Samoa has recently provided an object lesson as to where that sort of attitude leads.

              • There’s a pretty wide gulf between the rational wariness you describe and the lunacy of a blanket refusal of all vaccination.

                Yes, and the medical establishment responded to the former by accusing everyone involved of being the latter.

                • In fact near as I can tell, to the extent anyone at all holds the latter position, it’s due to this reaction. “If the establishment’s position is that this (questionable) vaccine is as safe as any other, then I guess that means none of them are safe.”

                  • I’ve had grown adults explain to me how all vaccines are a conspiracy by Big Pharma. And they were dead serious.

                • >Yes, and the medical establishment responded to the former by accusing everyone involved of being the latter.

                  That is true, and I’m actually rather worried about possible consequences when I’m reminded of it. Public trust in the medical establishment’s ability to handle epidemic disease is a valuable social asset. We’ve seen how much worse infectious diseases get in parts of the Third World when that trust is absent and that hinders their ability to intervene effectively.

                  I’m medically literate. I think I grasp the large benefits and small risks of vaccination pretty well. I worry that by pretending there is zero risk – rather than admitting that adverse reactions happen but are so rare that you lower your overall mortality risk by taking the jab – the medical establishment may be setting itself up for a legitimacy collapse.

                  Even if you’re the good guys, it is never wise to cede your enemies an exclusive on the truth.

                  • I would deeply appreciate a link to somebody in the medical establishment claiming or implying there is zero risk.

                    • >I would deeply appreciate a link to somebody in the medical establishment claiming or implying there is zero risk.

                      It’s never asserted that baldly.

                      But I know I’m not imagining the overdone effect. Here’s how: I have a friend who’s (a) a GP, (b) teaches medicine at Temple University, and (c) has been on a couple of government commissions on infectious disease control. For those of you’ve followed the blog enough that the name “Phil Salkie” rings bells, this is his wife Jen Hamilton.

                      When I told her I was concerned about nothing-to-see-here-move-along anti-anti-vax propaganda setting the medical establishment up for a legitimacy collapse her response was “I worry about the same thing.” And this is a person who is literally on the front lines of the fight to maintain herd immunity.

                    • They simply accuse anyone who brings up a specific risk, or questions the value of a specific vaccine of being an “anti-vaxxer kook”.

                  • So the knock against anti-vaxxers is not that they’re wrong in principle, but that they’re really bad at weighing risks vs benefits.

                    • >So the knock against anti-vaxxers is not that they’re wrong in principle, but that they’re really bad at weighing risks vs benefits

                      It’s not just that. They’re seized with a kind of nuttery resembling religious zeal. And they fixate on the wrong things. Vaccines will not give your kid autism, but if he/she has a fragile karotype and rolls enough snake-eyes Stevens-Johnson syndrome is an equally serious possibility.

                    • Look at it this way. Seatbelts inevitably kill some people. Hell, I personally know a dude who would have been smeared into a paste if he was belted in; as it happened he was thrown out the open window, flew something like a hundred feet, landed in a bog, and walked away. The car hit a tree and was pancaked.

                      Having said that, not wearing a seatbelt is almost certainly sheer folly.

                    • No, the knock against anti-vaxxers is that they’re chasing the WRONG risks, and they’re utterly ignorant of the real risks.

                      The biggest general risk with vaccines is an allergic reaction. It happens in one or two doses out of a million.

                      Other things like fever are a lot more common, but also a lot less of a problem.

                      A mild rash at the injection site fever for a day or two and you get protection against Rubella for three or four decades? **BARGIN**

            • Let me be clear. Anyone who exercises a blanket refusal to vaccinate his kids without a sound medical reason is literally banging on Darwin’s front door screaming “let me in”. Abject folly is the kindest epithet I can think of.

              • But if you vaccinate your own kids it’s literally none of your business, and your religious zeal is revealed by your emotional insistence for sticking your nose in their door.

                • Two thoughts. First, the free-rider/herd immunity responses posted many times on this thread. But I would not bother to post a redundant point. My contribution is to note that that some portion of the population is immunocompromised, and short of exiling them to sanitoriums, the unvaccinated pose a life-threatening danger to them.

                • Your habits regarding certain basics like hygiene, sanitation, and yes, core vaccination are entirely my business to the extent of deciding whether I need to stay the fuck away from you or not.

                    • No need. The sort of fools I have in mind already do a great job of self identifying.

                      Honestly I’d deeply prefer not to see the rest of the country become a literal shithole like San Francisco.

    • Whomever Warren has identified as being the outgroup in her political ideology, you can be fairly certain that the majority of SV residents do not see themselves as belonging to it.

  13. “The other two mutations of Marxian vanguard theory were much more successful. One replaced the Marxian class hierarchy with a racialized hierarchy of victim groups. The other simply replaced ‘the proletariat’ with ‘the environment’.”
    in the framework of Moral Foundations Theory, Social Justice is traditional Caring-based leftism. Greenism incorporates the Sanctity dimension, which is more typical of conservatives. It’s certainly interesting to watch the socio-political kaleidoscope turn.

  14. This analysis dovetails with Spandrell’s identification of “Biological Leninism”, or “Bioleninism”, as the operating system of the modern Left. (This is essentially equivalent to Steve Sailer’s “Coalition of the Fringes”.) The white working class, correctly perceiving that Bioleninists hate them and wish for their destruction, has therefore run fast in the opposite direction.

    https://spandrell.com/2017/11/14/biological-leninism/

  15. One consequence of this that I noticed, is that a lot of working class who are still economically leftist are joining the right-wing parties and attempting to drive the to the left on economic issues.

    I suspect that’s what’s behind the objections to the term “capitalism” elsewhere in the other thread.

  16. I am always surprised to see Americans take an interest in British politics and wouldn’t even expect one to know what a “Tory” was. (It’s jarring to see talk of the “Labor” party, though.)

    I find it hard to believe that WW2 led to benefits for working class people due to road building – do you have proof of this? War is a force of destruction and leaves everyone worse off.

    >At the same time, state socialism was becoming increasingly appealing to the managerial and upper classes because it offered the prospect not of revolution but of a managed economy that would freeze power relationships into a shape they were familiar with and knew how to manipulate. This came to be seen as greatly preferable to the chaotic dynamism of unrestrained free markets – and to upper-SES people who every year feared falling into poverty less but losing relative status more, it really was preferable.

    It would be interesting to see this broken down by subgroup. There are hereditary landowners and people with titles who are traditionally Conservative although increasingly irrelevant to democratic discourse.

    There also what might be called “middle class” people, although people who have become wealthy due to private businesses should be distinguished from public service bureaucrats. (Although to be honest, many of those who do not think of themselves as state employees still benefit from state regulation and largesse, e.g. lawyers, accountants and bankers.) The Conservatives appeal to financially successful people with the rhetoric of entrepreneurship and free markets even if this is not the complete reality. I see the Labour party in recent decades as the party of public employees, e.g. with teachers overwhelming voting Labour. The Conservative party has been the party of private businesses although not always having promoted free market ideas: in the past, the Conservative party promoted protectionist policies under Disraeli.

    I doubt how much you have to look at Marxist theory to find the roots of the attitudes of the powerful. Basically people with power and influence love the system as it is and want to maintain the system where people like them get to tell others what to do. They love rules and bureacracy, like the European Union. I doubt the “working class” understand this and want a freer economy and society. I expect a lot of the support for Brexit was for identitarian reasons.

    Euroscepticism in the Conservative party goes back to Thatcher, who was herself of a working class background. Before, attitudes were more internationalist. This tendency in the party has become more and more significant, partly thanks to pressure from smaller political parties on the right, as well as freer political discourse on the internet.

    • > War is a force of destruction and leaves everyone worse off.
      Only on average. If, for example, you are a construction worker, it creates a mini-boom.

      Things like ‘free trade’ are similar. It might make us better on average, but also rocks the lives of particular individuals. Theoretically, you could use some of the surplus to help those particular individuals…but in practice, it doesn’t happen/work.

  17. It’s damn interesting how things which I thought were limited to my home country (with so called”compradorian elites” and “xero-capitalism” – in English probably better rendered as “photocopy-capitalism”) are actually expression of pan-european, or even world trends.

  18. Herbert Marcuse, an exiled adherent of the Frankfurt School, was a professor at UC San Diego when I was there. He was one of the pioneering theorists of the racial and sexual underclass as the new revolutionaries. He also was an early advocate of the idea of “repressive tolerance,” which said that freedom of speech that allowed people to criticize, say, the welfare state was inherently authoritarian, and liberation lay in suppressing the advocacy of such ideas. His intellectual children seem to be at all the universities these days. I think he has to be credited as one of the architects of the radical version of the Marxist you describe.

    • The Frankfurt School is indicative that ideology trumps existential experience. If anyone should have been skeptical of aggregations of state power, they should have been. But all their effort in their new home was bent toward establishing their own kind of authoritarianism.

      This is why I’m skeptical of arguments allowing permanent residency to authoritarian types who seek asylum in the U.S. after the worm turns. And to ‘reach out’ as we did with the silly lottery visas that brought us the Tsarnaev Bros is madness indeed. One does not need to have been in power to be an advocate of authoritarianism. And I see no reason to grant entré to such folks here.

      Bertolt Brecht suggested, in irony, that the East German State dissolve the people and elect another. That – minus the irony – is precisely what the Left in this country is attempting to do with their immigration and associated policies.

  19. >I find it hard to believe that WW2 led to benefits for working class people due to road building – do you have proof of this? War is a force of destruction and leaves everyone worse off.

    He did specify great Britain, so I can’t give a full answer, but I know that very similar things were true in the US: unlike pretty much every other serious belligerent, our homeland remained unbombed, war production stimulated the economy, the entire world’s war debts were basically financed by us, etc, so we found ourselves in the rare position of actually having won a war (as opposed to having simply not lost). That, and the fact that Hitler was as evil as he was, really does a lot, I think, to explain the attitude towards war held by Americans in general up to Vietnam (and past Vietnam into the present day for conservatives).

    In Britain, I’m not sure that you were better off after the war than you were before, but factors like wartime roadbuilding probably made the postwar period easier than it could have been, and, whatever the absolute condition of the British working class, I can believe that their position relative to the rest of British society improved.

    • war production stimulated the economy

      NO.

      This is a very dangerous Keynesian fiction. War production is waste. The war diverted massive productive capacity away from improving our standard of living, which is why the great depression didn’t end until ’46, when we 1) released a vast number of men from the military, 2) rolled back many of FDR’s crazier fascist economic schemes like wage and price controls, and 3) drastically cut the looting of the productive sector of our society by the ruling class.

      • >This is a very dangerous Keynesian fiction.

        Not…entirely. Sometimes wartime conditions cause infrastructure buildout that is a net gain to the economy but wouldn’t have been built in peacetime because the ROI is too long for private investors.

        Of course that money had to be taxed, and it’s completely legitimate to object that the people it was taxed from might have had better uses for it. But that’s a general argument against taxation, not against the Keynesian concept of stimulus.

        The effect of such “good” wartime spending is to divert money from consumption to capital goods. Consumers may be “repaid” by lower price levels after the war. I gave an example in the OP.

        • > but wouldn’t have been built in peacetime because the ROI is too long for private investors.

          I’d be more inclined to say “because too much of the benefit comes in the form of positive externalities.”

          It’s also possible that the road-building was a subsidy to the working class. That it cost more than it was worth, but with the “cost more” part being paid by the middle and upper classes.

        • “ROI too long for private investors” is exactly equivalent to not-profitable.

          In part because conditions change. An investment that might be wildly profitable in ten years will, far more often than not, be a bust due to failure to predict conditions. Negative expected value when evaluated post-mortem.

          In part because you can do four 2-year investments and then use the profits to buy outright whatever benefit you wanted from the ten-year investment, on top of continuing to see interest on the four other investments. Opportunity cost is too high.

          There’s no incentive for wartime ‘investment’ to genuinely benefit the economy. This is whirlwind-assembling-airplane territory. The odds are, shall we say, low.

          Further, the fact it’s wartime means there’s a war. Even if the whirlwind assembles an airplane it will dun be broke. Since communism self-terminates, it’s debatable whether it’s more expensive to fight off communism or to surrender and let nature take its course. I lean on the side of war…but you have to run the numbers.

          Also, in reality the market connects 10/20 year investments with investors all the time. We call them venture capitalists. Youtube’s profitability is still questionable. Yet, no shortage of money.

          • >Since communism self-terminates, it’s debatable whether it’s more expensive to fight off communism or to surrender and let nature take its course. I lean on the side of war…but you have to run the numbers.

            You neglect to take into account the transition to and away from communism, and shear amount of human misery this causes, both from the direct economic impact and the intangibles that you can’t put a number to. War against communism is preferable.

      • war production stimulated the economy

        NO.

        Actually, yes.

        The war production employed LOTS of people who previously had no jobs, and moved others up the ranks. This poured money back into the economy.

        This is a very dangerous Keynesian fiction. War production is waste.

        It’s not fiction. It does stimulate the economy.

        If the only reason you’re starting the war is to stimulate an economy it is a waste AND the people making that decision are monsters who need to be put down (and their progeny studied for signs of psychopathy and ALSO put down), but war is sometimes necessary.

        The problem with wars as economic stimulus is that you shouldn’t *need* the government to stimulate the economy, if it stays the f*k out of the way, provides a reasonably light touch regulation wise, protects private property, enforces contracts fairly yada yada, the economy will ebb and flow, but individual effort will almost always provide sufficient stimulus. If it can’t or won’t the *system* should be analyzed to figure out why.

        In the case of the US prior to WWII, and I suspect England (and most of Europe as well) the problem was the heavy hand of the government on the economy.

        • The war production employed LOTS of people who previously had no jobs, and moved others up the ranks. This poured money back into the economy.

          Oh, for fuck’s sake. It DIVERTED manpower from productive to wasteful activity. There was full employment in the Soviet Union, but it was still fucking squalid.

          • The statement wasn’t whether the stimulus was *useful*, only whether it stimulated.

            It did stimulate.

            And given the monstrous behavior of German and Japan I’d still put it in the useful category.

      • War is itself wasteful. What gets spent to fight it…? Not so much–If nothing else, war serves as a very effective mechanism to transfer wealth from the government to the public.

        Even going back to the Napoleonic Wars, there were lots of people who did very well out of the whole thing, and who would have likely never managed to improve their lives under normal peacetime conditions.

        What war does is disrupt things, and break down the areas of the economy where money has stagnated. It ain’t pretty, and it sure as hell isn’t nice, but it does do that very effectively in the regions that aren’t suffering under the impact of combat.

        Napoleon had to do things to finance his wars that got money moving in the economy, which benefited those who took advantage of that fact. Large and small, businesses and other enterprises benefited from the shaking-up. It’s a lot like the sort of technological disruption that goes on with improved technology–Kodak didn’t adapt very well to changing conditions, and so it went out as a major factor in the imaging business, right along with their paper-and-chemical technology base. War does the same thing, on a much bigger scale, which is overall beneficial to the majority.

        Individuals caught up in the machinery of it all…? Not so much. The rest of society? Yeah, it’s like throwing gasoline on a bonfire. How much economic improvement came about because of the research money lavished on things like penicillin and other medical innovations that would have otherwise taken decades longer to come into widespread use?

  20. WRT immigrants voting Left:

    Don’t overlook the effects of clientelism. The Third-Worlders flooding the US today xomwe from countries where government is effectively the business of a clan or faction. One gets along by being friends with those in power; if there is an electoral turnover, what changes is who gets the swag. They don’ expect the US to be different.

    When they arrive in the US, they are taken in hand by ethnic-welfare non-profits and “community organizers” funded by grants.from government or left-wing foundations. They are taught to be good Americans, which includes voting Democrat by default. They mosltylive in Democrat-controlled cities, and they have been raised not to fight City Hall.

    • Even America has de-facto immigration restrictions for populations likely to vote right. Teaching them how to vote correctly is risky. Easier to pick up natural left-hand voters.

    • Matthew Goodwin was interesting, if only in a “look at the academic who half-way gets it” kind of way.

      On the other hand, his spending the last three minutes saying that the next big issue was going to be the politics of climate change was hilarious.

  21. It was an ideology of, by, and for the working class.

    Of course this was never actually true. It was always Marx, Lenin, Stalin types cynically using dumb, gullible working-class shock troops. Only, no matter how dumb…non-brain damaged humans are Turing complete. Eventually they figure it out. In particular, they voted for Brexit and noticed the vote didn’t work. They glimpsed the man behind the curtain.

    A similar thing will happen in America with Trump’s wall. Only, since Trump is right-wing instead of Labour, it will be worse. There may be some stages of grief between now and then.

    (Pol Pot hated intellectuals, and thus had the infamous glasses-wearer purge, because they were better intellectuals than he was. “sat the brevet entry exams for the upper classes of the Lycée, but he failed.” From La Wik. Even has a nice revealing ‘upper classes’ in there. See also later bits about envy engines. )

    It has been obvious to the clued-in that democracy isn’t real for at least a century. Longer for the particularly clueful. For a while it’s merely been a matter of talking down to the gammons without being too obvious about it. However, lies are inherently unstable. Eventually the liar is boxed in and runs out of excuses. Then Boris Johnson is elected. Though, fun fact: like Trump, Johnson is a limited hangout. “Okay, we were fooled…but we weren’t totally fooled. Right? …right?”

    state socialism was becoming increasingly appealing to the managerial and upper classes because

    …coercive States are cancer. They are unproductive parasites that must grow at the expense of the productive body that hosts them. As the cancer gets thoroughly out of control, the excuses for further expansion get more and more tenuous as the expansion itself becomes more and more ravenous.
    Your grandfathers could afford a house at 20 and you can’t. Why? Because the State has appropriated your mortgage downpayment for itself. Socialism must be good because only socialism can justify the inevitable growth of future appropriation.

    the formation of the National Health Service in 1947 was therefore not a radical move

    Communism is not radical? A fascinating rhetorical manoeuvre.

    That the NHS is indeed elites consolidating their power doesn’t make it conservative, if those elites are themselves radicals. Controversial but true: rightism is responsibility and leftism is irresponsibility. The NHS takes responsibility for health away from individuals, and is thus leftist. (If you get sick in Britain, I have to pay for it. Even, or perhaps especially, when it’s your own damn fault.) Using this metric we can comfortably define an absolute right-left axis, where all of British postwar politics fits in the leftmost eighth or so of the spectrum.

    the managerial elite, like capitalists before them, became de-localized and international

    This is an IQ issue. If your IQ is 140, you have much more in common with 140 IQ foreigners than you do with 100 IQ countrymen. (Further, there’s a shortage of 140 IQ countrymen, a problem the foreigners also have.) The internationalization mechanic also occurred in monarchies. Princes married French princesses rather than British marquesses or what have you.

    This rather stretches the ‘mobility of capital’ argument, given that it took weeks for letters to reach a couple towns over. By contrast you’ll notice that capitalists, proggie-priests, and princes all share the human feature of having a brain.

    Also disappointed by the failure to categorize skills as a kind of capital.

    But while working-class wage gains were increasingly smothered, the managerial elite actually increased its ability to price-take in international markets after the boom

    It does no good to pretend State metastasis is some kind of parochial event or coincidence. These ‘opportunities’ were seized using legal force. Nobody complained at the time because voters are dumb and didn’t notice.

    As that barrier eroded, the great hollowing out of the British industrial North and the American Rust Belt began.

    The jobs are offshored because domestic regulation makes domestic labour non-competitive. Even the largest American companies pay a 30% premium on labour costs which is essentially set on fire, sacrificed for the glory of Lincoln. (Not to mention that minimum-wage laws are making McDonalds build self-checkout machines. Can’t exactly offshore the retail front end, and yet…)

    As Gregory Clark notes, foreign labour is actually terrible. As you may have noticed if you have ever had to phone a call centre. American labour is inherently more expensive because it is more productive. Even the Japanese take 90 hours to do what an American does in 40. (Unlike Indians they choose to work the necessary extra.) Willingness to offshore is meaningless unless someone is buggering the market.

    This began a century-long struggle to find a theoretical basis for socialism decoupled from Marxian class analysis.

    Democracy is an envy engine. Marxism is an envy engine. The problem with OG Marxism is you can change your social class. Or at least, folk can imagine doing so. An envy engine pivoting on class envy is weak. Game theory – duh, change to whatever class is de facto the parasite class.

    You can’t change your race, though. Racial envy: now you’re cooking with gas.

    Like a thermodynamic engine extracts work from a flow driven by a temperature differential, an envy engine extracts rents from a flow justified by a (perceived) social-status differential. This fact is what makes social-status such a taboo topic that only Robin Hanson is willing to dip his toe into it. Especially due to the redistribution impossibility theorems. If someone is genuinely high status you can’t extract rent from them, so the envy engine is inherently based on lies and delusion. An open conversation about the envy engine could well collapse all of postwar society.

    The engine works by exploiting the low’s envy of the middle, so that the high can extract more rents from the middle. Conservation of wealth – the middle gets poor. Sound familiar?

    It’s fun to contrast the Progressive myth of exploiting the downtrodden. Criminals, homosexuals, prostitutes and slaves don’t have any money. There’s nothing to exploit. Only exploiting a relatively productive middle is worthwhile.

    Also envy is a sin. So there’s that.

    During its short lifetime, Fascism

    Acktualy America still is fascist. Best summarized as furtive-communist.
    References:
    https://dailycaller.com/2016/10/17/the-f-word/
    http://alrenous.blogspot.com/2019/11/eco-pretends-to-think-about-fascim.html

    Fascism: when you want to seize the means of production but don’t have the will or confidence to actually go through with it.
    BTW socialism is functionally the state seizing the means of consumption. Ref: NHS. Recall the non-mythological relationship between demand and supply.

    Though world systems theory still gets some worship in academia, it succumbed to the inconvenient fact that the areas of the Third World most penetrated by capitalist “exploitation” tended to be those where living standards rose the fastest.

    Capitalism is responsible is right-wing.
    Communism is irresponsible is left-wing.
    Controversial but true: irresponsibility is a sin. You want to live where folk mind their own business.

    • Will we be here in five years? Trump is finna start World War III to take press attention away from his crimes.

      • Patrick Cockburn’s guess:

        ‘The Iranians and their Iraqi allies may or may not carry out some immediate retaliatory act against the US, but their most important counter-stroke will be to pressure the Iraqi government, parliament and security forces into pushing the US entirely out of Iraq.’

        Oh please Br’er Iran don’t use your clout to get the US out of Iraq! Soleimani dead, US troops coming home, SAD!

        • The US troops aren’t coming home. This is the opening salvo in yet more war profiteering disguised as “fighting for freedom and democracy”. There will be more military involvement, more pointless slaughter of innocent civilians including women and children. All so Trump’s friends can grow richer and pull the strings to get him re-elected. Or did you think it was mere coincidence that this strike occurred in the run-up to Trump’s re-election, shortly after unredacted DOJ documents appeared that incriminated him in the Ukraine affair?

          Mikel Jollett, an Iraq vet, spells it out.

          • -US troops aren’t coming home-

            You could be right, but after he tried to get us out of Syria it doesn’t look like Trump’s fault. And if you mind him killing an experienced, resourceful professional terrorist and assassin who’d brought off thousands of terrorist attacks and assassinations and had just made a major speech saying he’d assassinate Trump, well, it’s not mere coincidence. It’s not an open betrayal of his office like Clinton launching missiles at foreignerstan the day he was impeached.
            Since 2016 Trump has known he faced impeachment 2016-2024. He won once by claiming he opposed the bipartisan consensus of lower wages through higher immigration, he could win again: there’s a bipartisan consensus he has to go by any means necessary. Notice D party media saying Solomeini ‘mocked’ Trump and ignoring the dead serious death threat. They have to. Too many D party loyalists have threatened to kill Trump.

            Maybe Patrick Cockburn is ignorant of middle east politics, but I hope he’s right and Iraq votes us out. Shiites want us gone, Sunni want us gone, Iran will know their hero died with honor because we left, we will know we left with honor by honest vote after killing the chief terrorist, you want us out, I want us out. It’s the least bad outcome.

            • >but after he tried to get us out of Syria

              This has been an under reported story… he’s ordered us out twice now and it appears the Pentagon(!) ignored those orders.

            • There’s a major difference between then and now. Hint: It’s an election year. Hint 2: The articles of impeachment against Trump got a MAJOR shot in the arm on Friday when unredacted documents came out indicating Trump gave the order to withhold Ukraine aid.

              Nothing like a little war to rally the Republican base when it looks like you might not hold onto the White House. Especially when the propaganda machine kicks in and conditions an association between patriotism and the continued murder of brown children.

              • >The articles of impeachment against Trump got a MAJOR shot in the arm on Friday when unredacted documents came out indicating Trump gave the order to withhold Ukraine aid.

                Link? I’ve been searching for news on this and haven’t found anything. And it’s not the kind of story the Trump-haters in the major media would fail to yell from the housetops if it were real.

                  • > CNN was crowing about this then

                    Just the same way they were crowing about the Steele Dossier and the Mueller report, you mean?

                    I’m sure CNN will live up to its sterling record, and this will turn out to have been just as truthful as everything else that has come out of Schiff’s mouth. Yup – betting on that.

      • Why should you worry about that? After all, we died in 1982 when Ronaldus Magnus started WWIII…

        • So the 12 year doomsday deadline sponsored by the AOC squad is more akin to the last episode of “Lost” than the first episode.

      • Wait, wait.

        Joe Biden, the democrat party FRONT RUNNER publically brags that he threatened to withhold aid from the Ukraine unless a investigator who was looking into corruption at the firm his son was getting paid 50k a MONTH to be a consultant for (despite having no credentials in the industry) is fired.

        Trump, backed up by an anti-corruption treaty with the Ukraine, simply *asks* that this be looked into. At the same time some aid to the Ukraine is first held, then released.

        And y’all are after TRUMP here?

        Fucking christ mate, y’all are going to start a fookin civil war and then complain that we don’t lock ourselves into the fookin gas chambers.

        • You’ve got things almost backward here.

          1. Most Western governments wanted “the investigator” (Shokin, their then-prosecutor general) removed because he himself was corrupt, not because he was investigating Burisma. Some reports stated that he was actually not investigating corrupt entities.

          2. According to the conversation where Biden mentioned all this, Ukraine’s then-president Poroshenko had already committed to remove Shokin, but hadn’t done so at the time of the meeting.

          3. If Trump wanted to call on that “anti-corruption treaty” – our Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty – there was a formal process to follow. The US would have to open an official investigation, then the DoJ’s Office of International Affairs would have request assistance from their Ukrainian counterparts. Instead, Trump bypassed all that, and even encouraged Zelensky to involve a private citizen (Giuliani).

          4. Even if Trump was legitimately worried about Ukrainian corruption, he personally asked a foreign country to investigate a political rival. That personal interest taints the request. It’s just like any other conflict-of-interest case. It doesn’t matter if the underlying reasoning is legit – the potential conflict of interest destroys trust in the process. Without a mind reader, we can’t restore that trust.

          • >he personally asked a foreign country to investigate a political rival.

            Actually, he didn’t. Have you not read the call transcript yourself?

            What he asked for was forensic access to CrowdStrike’s servers. It was Zhelenskyy who brought up an American name. Trump didn’t propose that a specific Biden might be implicated at all.

            You’ve been flim-flammed by the press.

            • I read the call readout of the July call myself. I re-checked it before my earlier comment, and I just double-checked it.

              When you said “It was Zhelenskyy who brought up an American name”, I assume you mean that he mentioned Giuliani before Trump did. That’s true, but he said “I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently”. That means someone injected Giuliani into the process before this call.

              As for the Bidens, unless Ctrl-F is broken, Trump was the first one to mention them. And one of the things he said was “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.” That sounds like he was implicating the former VP.

              On an unrelated note, thanks for your open source work, and I hope your ankle is healing well.

          • >he personally asked a foreign country to investigate a political rival. That personal interest taints the request.

            Your proposed rule leads to a horrible place – that anyone who might possibly run against a president is above-the-law.

            Ironically, the most elegant way out the actual conflict of interest is to ask an independent party to do the investigation i.e., exactly what you are criticizing here.

            • >Your proposed rule leads to a horrible place – that anyone who might possibly run against a president is above-the-law.

              I’m not proposing that they can’t be investigated – I’m saying that the President can’t ask for the investigation. If something needs looking in to, have a low-level diplomat ask his low-level counterpart for assistance using the proper procedures.

              A request directly from the President (or another high-level official like the Attorney General) automatically applies political pressure. That sort of pressure is often questionable and completely inappropriate in this case.

              It’s just like any other federal investigation – follow appropriate channels, stay the heck away otherwise, and definitely don’t discuss it in public.

              • > have a low-level diplomat ask his low-level counterpart for assistance using the proper procedures.

                Everyone would just complain about how the President influenced and/or directed that request. (after all, he’s that low-level diplomat’s boss(!)) That isolation doesn’t work in practice.

                • Yes, they would complain. When a government entity (controlled directly or indirectly by Person A) investigates a rival of Person A, there will always be conflict-of-interest complaints. That’s why people recuse themselves in these situations. It’s a lot harder for the guy at the top to recuse himself, of course.

                  If Trump used formal processes and maintained his distance, he could at least say “Look! I did my best to avoid any conflicts of interest.” Some people would still complain, but he’d have a decent argument to defend himself.

                  Instead, he did the exact opposite and I waded into the middle of things.

          • Most Western governments wanted “the investigator” (Shokin, their then-prosecutor general) removed because he himself was corrupt, not because he was investigating Burisma.

            Of course he was corrupt. Comey and Mueller anyone?

            Some reports stated that he was actually not investigating corrupt entities.

            Then why was BIDEN making the call?

            Ukraine’s then-president Poroshenko had already committed to remove Shokin, but hadn’t done so at the time of the meeting.

            If Trump wanted to call on that “anti-corruption treaty” – our Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty – there was a formal process to follow.

            Then why wasn’t Biden following it?

            Oh yeah, 600k a year is a hell of an incentive.

            Even if Trump was legitimately worried about Ukrainian corruption, he personally asked a foreign country to investigate a political rival.

            Which is UTTERLY unlike a President sic’ing the FBI on a candidate from the other party.

            • >Of course he was corrupt. Comey and Mueller anyone?

              I’m sorry, i don’t quite understand what you’re saying here. Could you elaborate?

              >Then why was BIDEN making the call?

              As far as I know Biden wasn’t the driver of our Ukraine policy. I don’t know why he was involved at this stage – I’m assuming someone asked him to help.

              >Then why wasn’t Biden following it?

              The treaty doesn’t apply in that case. It covers Ukrainian assistance of a US investigation. The request to fire Shokin was basically a request for a policy change.

              >Which is UTTERLY unlike a President sic’ing the FBI on a candidate from the other party.

              That’s irrelevant, and a classic case of whataboutism. Bad acts by Obama or Biden wouldn’t justify bad acts by Trump.

              • >That’s irrelevant, and a classic case of whataboutism. Bad acts by Obama or Biden wouldn’t justify bad acts by Trump.

                No, not if they’re substantively bad (I don’t think they are in this case). But they undercut the case of the impeachment-pushers – clean hands matters.

              • > I’m sorry, i don’t quite understand what
                > you’re saying here. Could you elaborate?

                Comey and Mueller are (and were) corrupt.

                Probably not as corrupt as leaders from the former Soviet Union, who really are on a different level. But still corrupt.

                > As far as I know Biden wasn’t the driver of our Ukraine policy.

                “They were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, … we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president—the president said’ … I said, ‘Call him.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ I said, you’re not getting the billion. … I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a b—-. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

                > I don’t know why he was involved at this stage –
                > I’m assuming someone asked him to help.

                It is rather odd that the VP was sent over on something like this. Especially with his son up to his neck in it.

                > The treaty doesn’t apply in that case.
                > It covers Ukrainian assistance of a
                > US investigation. The request to fire
                > Shokin was basically a request for a
                > policy change.

                Trump wasn’t asking for an investigation, and there was no discussion of the aid being contingent on Biden’s behavior being “looked into”.

                > That’s irrelevant, and a classic case
                > of whataboutism. Bad acts by Obama
                > or Biden wouldn’t justify bad acts by
                > Trump.

                Depends on the acts. There are acts that *every* president in living memory have engaged in that are borderline to outright wrong. Sometimes it’s *part of the job*.

                But here’s the thing, if you aren’t going to complain about Obama lying under oath, you don’t get to complain about Trump doing it.

                If you didn’t complain about Obama obstructing justice, you don’t get to complain about Trump doing it.

                If you didn’t complain about the Obama administration using the FBI and the CIA to spy the Trump campaign, aren’t calling for the arrest and trial of FBI, CIA and other operatives for the utter bullshit around the Streele dossier, FISA warrants, wiretapping and selective leaking, then you don’t get to fucking whine when Trump *effectively* asks Ukrainian officials if Biden DID WHAT HE CLAIMS HE DID.

              • “Whataboutism” – A pejorative term used by one side of the political divide to undercut the other side’s demands that everyone should be held to a common standard. No sell.

              • Shall we impeach the R hack for investigating the D hack? Every R says no. Every D says yes. The more corrupt the D, the more orgasmic the yes! yes! Oh God Oh God YES! If I was Hillary Clinton, wondering if Mueller’s coverup from the time the Clintons took a half billion dollar bribe from Microsoft’s competitors to sic the Justice Department on Microsoft would hold as well as the coverup from getting a half billion dollar bribe from the Sauds to cover them killing our ambassador at Benghazi, I’d say yes with every capital letter pixels can hold. If I was Never Trump R but still R, my no would be soft, kittenish and docile, but I’d know I could leave the R party or say no.

      • The point is that neither the Conservatives nor Labour has the power, nore the inclination to clean up the mess. Politicians love messes. Which is why they always create lots of them.

        Governments have less power to decide the fate of the nations they govern than before, yet the population has higher expectations than ever. That is why we see the electorate veering so much left and right all the time. There is no great inversion. There is just an electorate trying to find someone to vote for. And failing. In many European countries where right wing populists made big gains they are already on the return, with left wing populists taking over.

        As I said during the last UK elections: I wanted to vote for the “Non Idiot Party”, but unfortunately they were not fielding any candidates.

        The conservatives won because of two factors: Brexit and Corbeyn. Both will be absent next time around. The underemployed masses in the North of England will still be underemployed, and will have had their entitlements slashed. Not a good basis for a repeat victory of the Conservatives.

        • Only half right. Yes, Brexit is settled and will shortly cease to disturb British politics, and Corbyn has been ousted. But the attitudes and interests that led the Labour party to oppose Brexit, and which brought Corbyn to prominence, are still dominant over that party; and those attitudes and interests are inherently hostile to the working class. What’s more, the workers now know it.

          That’s the Great Inversion in a nutshell. British elections now turn on whether the working class will vote Tory or stay home – they won’t vote for Labour again, because Labour actively opposes them. The 2016 election in the US had the same dynamic.

          The mere fact of the working class being the swing vote would be a major political shift by itself, but what’s actually happened goes a lot farther than that.

          • The attitudes of Labour are hostile to the working class. But so are the attitudes of the Conservatives. The voters will figure that out. Where they will flock next is only a guess.

            • I suspect that the Tories are merely indifferent to the working class, since they’re not a traditional Conservative voting bloc. Certainly the corresponding group in USA politics, the GOP “establishment”, is like that. But when the choice is between someone who doesn’t much care about your interests, and someone who loathes the sight of you, who are you going to support?

  22. I’m surprised to see no mention in comments (I searched) of False Consciousness, the wonderful Marxian excuse for Why The Proletarian Isn’t Embracing The Wonders Of Communism.

    They don’t always use the proper Marxian terminology, of course, but the idea’s still always there – the only reason the masses don’t agree with us is that they’ve been brainwashed.

    • The concept does still exist, though, in the form of “Internalized X” where X is the oppressive force in the Marxist oppressor/oppressed dichotomy. A standard example is Feminists denouncing women who don’t buy into their bullshit as having “internalized misogyny.”

      • The accusations of false consciousness are always levelled at those resisting false consciousness. For some reason the accusations aren’t laughed out of the room.

  23. Wow, Congratulations ESR!!! Great success in building a local troll farm.

    – else

    The ignorance among the “educated” is absolutely astounding in these times.

    • Dear “John”,
      if you can’t say something nice, say something informative;
      if you can’t say something informative, say something original;
      if you can’t say something original, say something funny;
      if you can’t say something funny, say something specific;
      if you can’t say something specific either, kindly get out of the gene pool.

  24. @ESR

    This is exactly the kind of analysis I would have made before I met NRx. Now I consider it wrong.

    First, the Old Left was for the working class but not by the working class. Recall Orwell, The Road To Wigan Pier:

    “Sometimes I look at a Socialist–the intellectual, tract-writing type of Socialist, with his pullover, his fuzzy hair, an his Marxian quotation–and wonder what the devil his motive really is.
    It is often difficult to believe that it is a love of anybody, especially of the working class, from whom he is of all people the furthest removed. The underlying motive of many Socialists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of order. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is untidy; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a chessboard. Take the plays of a lifelong Socialist like Shaw. How much understanding or even awareness of working-class life do they display? (…) On the one hand you have the warm-hearted un-thinking Socialist, the typical working-class Socialist, who only wants to abolish poverty and does not always grasp what this implies. On the other hand, you have the intellectual, book-trained Socialist, who understands that it is necessary to throw our present civilization down the sink and is quite willing to do so. And this type is drawn, to begin with, entirely from the middle class, and from a rootless town-bred section of the middle class at that. Still more unfortunately, it includes–so much so that to an outsider it even appears to be composed of–the kind of people I have been discussing; the foaming denouncers of the bourgeoisie, and the more-water-in-your-beer reformers of whom Shaw is the prototype, and the astute young social-literary climbers who are Communists now, as they will be Fascists five years hence, because it is all the go, and all that dreary tribe of high-minded’ women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come nocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.”

    It was made by (intellectual) elites, for the working class. The elites wanted to grab power, the working class were their clients.

    This is because Mosca’s Law: it is always elites who rule, it is always elites who enact political change, every successful grassroot movement ever had patrons above.

    That is because the coordination problem, Scott Alexander’s Moloch. A small number of people are capable of coordinated, organized action. A large number of people will not spontaneous self-organize. Thus every member of “the masses” stands as an individual before smaller groups of organized, coordinated elites. So they win. If they are much smarter and much more ambitious, that helps, too. Their whole life is about getting power and ruling. While a member of “the masses” may cast a vote or throw a cobblestone but will eventually go back to baking bread and raising his kids, that is his life. More info: https://archive.org/details/BurnhamJamesTheMachiavellians

    Recall Leninist lingo! The party avant-garde going out to agitate and organize the peasants. Discussing if the peasants have revolutionary potential i.e. if they are unhappy enough to really rock the boat, maybe capsize the boat. If they have energy the elites can use.

    This is a bit similar to the market. If you invent a new smartphone, your best customers are those who really dislike the current selection of smartphones. If you go advocating Linux, your best customers are people who really dislike Windows.

    Except that you have to deliver. They don’t. Politics is the art of bullshit, rhetorics and sophistry. So they don’t need to fix their clients problems. All they need to do is to find clients who are unhappy enough to channel it into becoming an engine of their power grabs.

    But grabbing power is only half of it. Then comes ruling. This is why I warmly recommend the Leninism and Bioleninism series from spandrell.com

    It seems to me in Soviet Russia it had two distinct phases. First they grabbed power, then ruled. That’s because they went for the throat: the state. They grabbed state power, then made the state run and rule everything. So in the first phase they used the class envy of the workers and peasants to overthrow the system and grab power, in the second phase they used them as a recruiting pool, as HR policy, to hire workers and peasants into administrative positions to run the system for them.

    In the West, the workers were living well enough by the fifties and sixties that they lost their revolutionary potential, they got cautious about rocking a boat well filled with beer and burgers.

    So the Left needed new clients. And found it in people who have some kind of a biological problem. Gay men are unhappy because they want to have sex with masculine men and masculine men don’t want to have sex with them. Ugly women, feminists are unhappy because they want to have sex with masculine men and masculine men don’t want to have sex with them. Blacks are unhappy because they are less successful than whites, the Left tells them it is because of oppression, the Mainstream Right tells them it is because they are not working hard enough on pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, and nobody tells them they have hereditary traits like lower IQ that make that bootstrapping far harder for them than for whites, so even when they try hard and fail the Mainstream, non-hereditarian Right tells them you were just not trying hard enough.

    But there is also the part that they did not go directly/only for the state in the West. Rather there was this long march through the institutions. Universities, media. So it is was not like first grab power, then rule, but rather gradually take over this and that, and rule what they already have. So they had the two phases conflated into one. They had to recruit people who are unhappy enough to have revolutionary potential, to really rock the boat, but they also had to recruit people who are capable enough for working in administrative positions in the institutions they already captured. This explains it.

    But you are right about the managerial elite. You know Charles Stross? http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/02/political-failure-modes-and-th.html

    “The emergence of a class of political apparatchik in our democracies is almost inevitable. I was particularly struck by this at the CREATe conference, which was launched by a cookie-cutter junior minister from Westminster: aged 33, worked in politics since leaving university, married to another MP, clearly focused on a political career path. She was a liberal democrat, but from her demeanour, speech, and behaviour there was nothing to distinguish her from a conservative, labour, or other front-rank party MP. The senior minister from Holyrood was a little bit less plasticky, slightly more authentic — he had a Glaswegian accent! And was a member of the SNP! — but he was still one of a kind: a neatly-coiffured representative of the administrative senior management class, who could have passed for a CEO or senior bank manager.”

    • >>>> Except that you have to deliver. They don’t. Politics is the art of bullshit, rhetorics and sophistry. So they don’t need to fix their clients problems. All they need to do is to find clients who are unhappy enough to channel it into becoming an engine of their power grabs.

      And that is why we actually do not see the “great inversion” ESR claims.
      We extreme left wing parties making gains as well. In most elections it appears to be the constant that those in power, in other words, those who most recently failed to deliver get punished. Because voters have short memories they forget that those they now turn to also failed to deliver when they were in power…

      In the UK the issue dominating the election was for once not a failure to deliver, but who would be least likely to fail to deliver in the future…

      • The inversion was recently noted by none other than Thomas Piketty, who cited it as a problem the left had to overcome.

        Less recently, Steinbeck’s quote about “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” didn’t actually refer to the proletariat, but to the sort of person whom he observed to turn up at Communist Party rallies: well to do, and hoping to become better to do after the revolution seizes power.

  25. BTW managerial elite. You see, Burnham wrote his Managerial Revolution back when he was still a Marxist, so it is written in a triumphant tone that is really annoying for everybody who isn’t one, and for this reason it is not much read in my circles and I suppose neither in yours. But he did get some basic facts right.

    So Samuel T. Francis eventually looked into it, threw out the crap and rewrote the true parts as Leviathan And Its Enemies. Full text: https://archive.org/details/LeviathanAndItsEnemiesSamuelT.Francis2016/page/n1

  26. ESR – if you haven’t discovered this site yet, head on over and prepare to get your head stuck for a while ;)

    opensourcedefense.org

    There are aspects highlighted in various “gun rights” posts that touch on your concept of “inversion”

    • Well just looked at the article. Well, the amount of cost appears to have been pulled out of someone’s ass.

      • No, and the article even says they use figures from the House of Commons. To be fair, their link goes directly to a PDF, but it was a moment’s search to find a spreadsheet detailing annual contributions from the UK (bottom of linked page as “Supporting documents”), going all the way back to first membership… although at time of writing, that page doesn’t list figures for 2019. Still, the listed total net contributions (payments minus negotiated rebates / refunds / receipts from the EU) give a total lifetime cost of £156.3B NOT adjusted for inflation [£82.4B of which is dated 2010 or later]. I don’t care to do all the math for inflation, but this implies the adjusted £215B figure given in the article is reasonable.

        No, my main objection with how the article presents this comparison is the assumption that £1 of government expenditure is equal to £1 of economic growth. [Unless the tax rate is 100%, £1 of economic growth today will generate less than £1 in taxes, and the interest incurred by deficit spending partially consumes the taxes produced by future economic growth.]

        • The House of Commons figures are for the payments to the EU. The figure for economic cost of Brexit was attributed to “research by Bloomberg Economics”.

              • Since the cost in question was attributed to policy uncertainty, it can probably be attributed to the remoaners.

          • Well, that doesn’t seem off base to me either. You can read the Bloomberg article linked to that wherein they explain their logic (if your “free monthly article” has expired: log out of Facebook, clear their site cookies, and don’t open the page in incognito — you should be allowed 2+ free articles again) :

            There is a strong historic correlation between the U.K. and G-7 countries. … But the uncertainty since the 2016 referendum has taken a toll. Business investment in particular has been held back, and annualized economic growth has halved to 1% from 2%. Dan Hanson, U.K. economist for Bloomberg Economics, puts the total cost of Brexit by the end of 2020 at 200 billion pounds as uncertainty continues to take a toll on companies and consumers.

            On the one hand: when constructing a hypothetical economy to compare to, ceteris paribus is probably the least terrible assumption to be making, and the G7 (as a basket of similarly industrialized economies) is quite reasonable for international comparisons with or without historical correlation. On the other hand, the chart Bloomberg shows starts around the Q4 2016 Brexit vote so we don’t actually get to see the claimed historical correlation, and I’m left wondering how a other indexes [such as the G12 instead] compares.

            So in brief: its definitely a hypothetical data point, but seems pretty reasonable for hypothetical data, and if I was going to complain I’d want a superior alternative to present.

  27. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1The great inversion: “deplorables” versus intellectuals – Bayou Renaissance Man

    • >Just checking in…making sure we don’t have any dead middle-age hackers stinking up the place ;)

      Still here. Shall post soon explaining the dead air.

  28. While I disagree on some incidental notes (like the ridiculous idea that Communists kind of invented Fascism), I agree with your analysis. I’m an Italian living in Russia, so I cannot say a lot about the UK or the US, but it’s undeniable that the “mainstream” left, even in Italy, despises the working class. While these parties consider themselves Marxists, it’s clear to me that Marx is revolting in his grave whenever his name is mentioned by them.

    The point is, a true Marxist party cannot miss the votes of a majority of the working class. It’s a tautology. If they fail, it’s because they are not Marxists.

    It’s undoubtable that Marx’s text are not 100% appliable today; for one, in today’s world he would not say that *religion* is the opium of the people, but rather that *science* is (for the way it’s being manipulated by the capitalist class). But the mechanisms of capitalis power are still the same (just perfectioned).

    • >(like the ridiculous idea that Communists kind of invented Fascism),

      It’s the truth. Look up Mussolini’s background. Then read up on Georges Sorel’s program of using irrationalism to sell socialism.

      • ” Look up Mussolini’s background.”

        That is claiming Paul was not a Christian because of his background.

        Nazis and Fascists are flocking to Trump and the GOP. Even as candidates looking for voters.

        Birds of a feather flock together.

        https://www.vox.com/2018/7/9/17525860/nazis-russell-walker-arthur-jones-republicans-illinois-north-carolina-virginia

        https://www.foxnews.com/politics/nazis-and-anti-semites-slip-through-gop-primaries-causing-headaches-for-party

        • Now you’re just trying to tar Trump and the Republican Party by association, just so you can desperately prove to yourself and your global communist masters that Trump really is the Nazi they claim he is.

          Eh, NPCs gonna NPC.

          • “Now you’re just trying to tar Trump and the Republican Party by association,”

            Pot, meet Kettle.

            But you might read my words better. I do not say the Republicans invite these people (Trump did have a Nazi book on his bedside table)
            https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-adolf-hitler-books-bedside-cabinet-ex-wife-ivana-trump-vanity-fair-1990-a7639041.html

            Only Conservatives, US Libertarians, and Republicans claim that Nazis and Fascists are just Socialists and Democrats in disguise (or vice versa).

            However, if you ask the Nazis and Fascists, they associate and vote for Trump and the Republicans, and never ever with a socialist party.

            So, who should I believe, you, or the acts and words of the Nazis and Fascists?

            • >However, if you ask the Nazis and Fascists, they associate and vote for Trump and the Republicans, and never ever with a socialist party.

              Modern-day ones, yes. They too have internalized Soviet disinformation about Naziism and Fascism.

              That doesn’t change the historical fact about how Fascism was (re)invented, as a way to rescue socialism from the failure of class-immiseration theory. Nor does it change the fact that modern Fascism still advocates state-socialist economics.

              I say “(re)invented” because Fascism did have a brief pre-Socialist phase, from Gabriele D’Annunzio’s original invention to the seizure of the movement by Mussolini. But all it kept from that phase is the snappy uniforms; once Mussolini redefined Fascism as “Everything for the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State”, any differences from Soviet Communism became minor and technical, and have remained so ever since.

              • “Nor does it change the fact that modern Fascism still advocates state-socialist economics.”

                That is just 19th century nationalism. State-socialist economics is nothing particularly communist.

                And the fact still remains, Nazis and fascists feel more at home inside the Republican party and like minded parties in other countries than inside the Democratic and Socialist parties.

                They vote with their feet.

                • And yet most Republicans, including Trump, want nothing to do with these collectivizing monsters.

                  This is guilt by association, a kind of argumentum ad hominem. This is par for the course for you, is it not?

                  Think about it this way: if the Nazis and fascists started moving towards the Democrat Party, would you condemn them as evil?

                  • “And yet most Republicans, including Trump, want nothing to do with these collectivizing monsters.”

                    Trump has been quoted as saying that there were “very fine people on both sides” where one side were a white-supremacist rally.

                    I never said the Republican party wants to be associated with fascism. But the GOP is where the fascists feel most at home and where they want to campaign and participate. And not at all in the Democrat camp.

                    • Trump has been quoted as saying that there were “very fine people on both sides” where one side were a white-supremacist rally.

                      That is false, in an egregiously misleading way.

                      Trump was quoted that way, by sources that wanted him tarred by association with white supremacists.

                      What Trump was actually referring to were people debating on each side of whether a statue of Robert E. Lee ought to be taken down.

                      In the same press conference, Trump also said “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

                      But the GOP is where the fascists feel most at home and where they want to campaign and participate. And not at all in the Democrat camp.

                      Fallacy. One could take any large group and assert it’s terrible by showing how some extremely small group “feels most at home” there.

                      You really ought to know better than this, given the years you’ve been here. I’ve reason to believe you will never learn at this rate, so I’m only posting this to cut down on the damage you do to other readers.

                  • “if the Nazis and fascists started moving towards the Democrat Party, would you condemn them as evil?”

                    When fascists start to feel at home in the Democratic party, I would say it is time to start a new party.

                    • But all the communists who not only feel at home in the Democratic party, but are actively welcomed are just fine with you.

                    • You seem to have a VERY low bar for calling people communists. I am all for peaceful people of different stripes going into politics.

                      If the GOP wants to welcome an extremist view like that of Mike Pence, your current vice president, then the Democrats can welcome people from the opposite side of the spectrum.

                    • You seem to have a VERY low bar for calling people communists.

                      What I said is true even if one restricts to self-identified communists, e.g., the kind of people putting a hammer-and-sickle in their twitter bio.

                      If the GOP wants to welcome an extremist view like that of Mike Pence

                      So apparently your definition of “extremist” is someone who refuses to move leftward fast enough to keep up with you.

    • > While these parties consider themselves Marxists, it’s clear to me that Marx is revolting in his grave whenever his name is mentioned by them.

      Given Marx’s history I’m not sure he would recognize a “working man” from either era if one was kicking his teeth in.

      > for one, in today’s world he would not say that *religion* is the opium of the people, but rather that *science* is

      The entertainment industry is the opium of the masses today, and progressive politicians (and their mouth pieces in the press and entertainment industry) take the place of the priests of yore.

  29. It is interesting that we can pinpoint the date where the Nazis, and by extension Fascism because “right wing”.

    23 June 1941. Because of the events of the previous day.

    Prior to that the Communists were (at least publicly) “kissing cousins” of the Nazis and Fascists. The both grow out of the same ideas and ideals, and both are fucking poison.

  30. @William O. Blivion
    “The[y] both [Nazis and Fascists] grow out of the same ideas and ideals, and both are fucking poison.”

    Nowadays, Nazis and Fascist vote Trump and Republican, as do Clansmen. There is no living Nazi or Fascist that votes Democrat.

    Go figure who is closest to the Fascists, Republicans or Democrats.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/7/9/17525860/nazis-russell-walker-arthur-jones-republicans-illinois-north-carolina-virginia

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/nazis-and-anti-semites-slip-through-gop-primaries-causing-headaches-for-party

    • Winter “quoting” @William O. Blivion:

      “The[y] both [Nazis and Fascists] grow out of the same ideas and ideals, and both are fucking poison.”

      Your bias appears to be so strong as to reduce your reading comprehension. Here’s more context, and my understanding to what the term “both” should reference:

      23 June 1941…. Prior to that the Communists were (at least publicly) “kissing cousins” of the Nazis and Fascists. The both [communists and fascists] grow out of the same ideas and ideals, and both are fucking poison.

      Frankly, I don’t see any value in the rhetorical device of “both Nazis and Fascists” unless (for some reason) the argument must separate the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei/German Third Reich as “Nazi” from all other fascist regimes. Contextually, this is far less plausible than than reading Will as suggesting a relationship between the 20th century Marxist communism and fascist thought — especially when he also references the date of Operation Barbarossa as the divergence point. If Barbarossa was a critical divisor, then between which two groups was that division formed? Surely Germany’s invading Soviet Russia didn’t break some treaty between Germany and either Francoist Spain or Mussolini’s Italy….

      So instead let’s consider the argument that both “communism” [which I typically see refer to Marxism or Marxist-derived socialism, as opposed to the various collectivist movements which came before] and fascism share a historical root. Both Giovanni Gentile, who co-wrote/ghost-wrote Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism and Karl Marx self-identified as “neo-Hegelian” or students of Georg W.F. Hegel, and both would [in their own writings!] argue that their politics were grounded in the philosophical works thereof. Both took Hegel’s dialectical development [a thesis provoking strong antithesis to contradict; finally both resolve to form a novel synthesis] as a foundation myth to their worldview: Marx transformed this into his infamous “material dialectic” applying this concept to socioeconomic classes, and the fascists in a palingenesis, or nationalist rebirth [as seen in the rhetoric of all three fascist regimes referenced above].

      At this point I’d normally re-quote your post to address your attack against the [American] Republican party, but instead ask a question: since W.O.B. didn’t reference this political party, why did you feel the need to associate them with fascism? Especially when you seemingly mis-read WOB’s post to ignore all references to communism, this begins to appear like you seek only to attack and smear (perceived) political opponents.

      • “why did you feel the need to associate [the GOP] with fascism?”

        Look at the OP and comments. I count 20 references to Democrats (including mine). And they are regularly associated with the Nazis. The same with Socialism (18 hits). And this OP is no exception on this site.

        Now, if people here associate the Democratic Party and Socialism with Fascism, then it is only natural that I show that in the US, it is the Republican party and Trump where all the Nazis and Fascist flock together. So it is not at all the Democratic party where we must look for fascism and Nazism, but the GOP.

        • > I show that in the US, it is the Republican party and Trump where all the Nazis and Fascist flock together.

          No, you don’t show. You assert. And it’s not true.

          You’ve bought the propaganda hook, line and sinker.

          Just like 23 June 1941.

    • ““The[y] both [Nazis and Fascists]”

      Nazis, Fascists, Communists and Socialists all grow out of the same notions, the notion that the state (1) can and (2) SHOULD organize the entire economy (which is to say the people). Socialists have *always* been willing to kill their own people in job lots, a trait shared with Fascists.

      They both use the same sort of propaganda, the same anti-capitalist bullshit, the same anti-freedom thought control.

      The only two significant differences between Socialists and Fascists are that the Socialists tend to nationalize industry and shoot the former owners while Fascists just put a gun to their heads and tell them what to do, and the Socialists look at class first and race/tribe second (and they DO look) while Fascists look at tribe/race first and class second.

      This is, as I’ve often

      > Nowadays, Nazis and Fascist vote Trump and Republican, as do Clansmen.

      The Klan (not Clan) was a creation of the southern Democrats.

      It’s possible that the few actual Klansmen left vote Republican, but the Nazis in the US are ideologically more at home with Democrats (anti-semitism, state control of the economy to the smallest degree, treating non-whites like they’re intellectually inferior and fit only to mow lawns and nanny children, etc.)

      This is, as I’ve often noted before like Metal. If you’re a dedicated metal head the difference between sub-genres is pretty evident. If you’re not into Metal at all, you’re really confused because it all really does sound the same.

      As a Minarchist/Libertarian/Anarchist type (with a conservative bent), things like Fascism and Socialism all sound the same to me.

      As a dedicated socialist you’re like a Death Metal fan insisting that it’s not Thrash Metal.

      Don’t care. Same shit, different name.

  31. “So instead let’s consider the argument that both “communism” [which I typically see refer to Marxism or Marxist-derived socialism, as opposed to the various collectivist movements which came before] and fascism share a historical root. ”

    Yes, 19th century industrialization. This united Nationalists (mostly farm hands) and Communists (industrial workers) against globalization and free market capitalism. At that time free market capitalism was the third revolutionary movement. Industrial Free Marketeers, Capitalists, and Communists were two sides of the same coin.

    But that is ancient history. Today it is pretty clear. Neo Nazis and Neo Fascists are voting with their feet: To the Republican party and nationalist populists. NEVER to socialists or Democrats, or even Communists, where they still exist..

    • “communism” and fascism share a historical root.

      Yes, 19th century industrialization. … But that is ancient history.

      If the geopolitical forces of the 19th century [i.e. circa 1801-1900; remember, the first century ends in year 100, not starts!] is what drove the philosophical divide between two political organizations which caused a world war and most of the revolutions in the middle of the 20th century…

      Well, then even if you would consider events occurring 70-90 years ago as “ancient history”, the argument prevents them from being irrelevant. Quite the contrary, if the same timeline holds again that particular datum might be more relevant now than ever….

  32. [back to level one for the indent-averse]

    Supply does not create demand. There have been many products brought to market that bankrupted the company or the individual. It is a false argument, like a solution looking for a problem to solve.

    I agree with the second claim, but it does not prove the first.

    It is certainly the case that a company can offer a new product that solves a problem that doesn’t draw enough demand to sustain the product. However, that can happen for multiple reasons, including the company spending more than it could afford to develop the product, or finding out not enough people have that problem, or not finding the people who do have that problem, or little incidentals like the company heads deciding they hate each other or something.

    At any rate, I couldn’t tell what Russ meant by his point, as I don’t see how it refutes Bruce’s claim that a rise in supply of labor will lower wages. I think it will. Russ’ point seems to imply someone will find something to do with that labor, which is true, but it’s still going to be cheaper labor.

    Unless Russ was making some cheeky point about all those laborers then turning around and demanding their own goods and services, which would raise demand for labor still further (and raise wages for even non-immigrants). It’s plausible.

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