February 25, 2005
The Prince, For Liberals
I ran across an amazing essay on the philosophy of the Right and how Liberals can defeat it.
I've copied in to the extended entry section for safekeeping.
You Liberals are Clueless
Thu Feb 24th, 2005 at 09:59:27 PST
(From the diaries. Read it all the way through -- kos)
Part one: The Introduction
Seriously. I mean it. You are completely, utterly clueless.
Well, that's a lie. You are, however, utterly clueless about the hearts and motivations of the core of your opposition, American Conservatism. That's OK. Don't fall into the trap of "Personal Responsibility" and shoulder too much blame for your ignorance. How could you ever know us if no one ever told you?
You can't. So this American Conservative will tell you.
Diaries :: Palladiate's diary ::
First, what is this American Conservative (also referenced henceforth as "conservative" or "AC")? We are about 10-20% of the American population, 90% of elite corporate officers, 50% of the US Congress, 60% of the national judiciary, and 100% of the White House. We have driven the Republican Party since the 1950. We are the reason 40% of this country isn't farther left than you.
Liberals function because of a strong sense of empathy. You do; pat yourselves on the back. Conservatives don't function. Seriously, we don't. We are driven by a powerful litany of antipathies. We are driven because we hate; we hate the poor, the damaged, the turned-out, the dirty, the alien. We hate them for many reasons, but all the reasons stem from power. Make no mistake, there is power in equality- equality is utter power over the oppressor. Yes, equality is jewel at the top of our hate list. If you suspected this was true, take 5 points off your score- unless you can articulate why it's at the top. I'll give you until the next section.
Part Two: Power, Hatred, and Inequality
So you're 5 points down already. Don't flinch, I'm not going to kick you over it. I may be a conservative, but in the words of Samuel L. Jackson, "I'm trying real hard Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the Shepherd." Instead, I'll help you connect the dots between Power, Hatred, and Inequality.
So let's reverse engineer the series of hate we have, and try to map the Conservative Hate Causality. To do that, we need to work with what is known.
What you do know (probably):
1.Equality (Remember, I told you this one, it's at the top)
7.Stupid Laws and Regulations (Stupid being ones that don't benefit me)
8.The Federal Government (actually, any primary acting agency, more on this later)
10.Anything perceived as free, open, or lazily obtained.
If that's not your list, that's OK. Not all of us subscribes to EXACTLY the same order or list, but this is pretty darn typical.
First, is there any causality in this list? Yes. The Poor are Weak, so that's a group. Taxes pay for public education. Maybe there is a primacy of hate? Yes, there is. It's based on the liberal model of society:
is reached by
The (Federal) Government*
Laws (stupid)* and
to create and fund systems for
the elimination of systemic Poverty* and the chill it creates, and
the Integration of the Alien* and Outcast into society
Open* and Free* Opportunities for all
a public educated* enough to maintain the Government* and its Laws (stupid)*.
Hrm. This doesn't incorporate #3, Weakness. Let's look at the competing Conservative model for Weakness:
Power (God we love power)
is reached by
Private (our) Endeavor
to create and fund systems for
Motivating Work, and
Maintaining Ownership of Work
Own and Exploit Opportunity
The Deserved (Chosen, Landed, Noble, Lordly, etc).
Once upon a time, that meant the farmer used his work ethic, farm, and sweat to make a profit and maintain his farm. He deserved it, didn't he? God told his white ass in the Bible of all places that he DESERVED it. When his great-grandson runs Krispy Kreme, by God he DESERVES that two-million-dollar-a-month jet! Why? Because he Power. Power maintains The Deserved, and drives them to accumulate more power. The Deserved motivates others to work (fear of poverty), and own thats work (profits on doughnut sales). He enables the cycle of Power.
Buy that if you will.
Let's wrap this up. Remember what I told you about Equality being Power? It is. Equality is the Liberal's Power. The Conservative Power is Control. An American Conservative sees Control as their strength and Equality as a show of weakness. Yes, I just called you a pussy, Pussy.
So, we have the Power and Inequality portions of the Trifecta. What about Hate? Why so much hate over differences in world view? What trauma, what soul-raping, can induce the hatred found writhing in nightmarish slumber at the core of every one of us?
I wish I knew. I'm missing it. Seriously, it's why I'm here, telling you folks this. But although I don't have it, I have pieced together what creates this hatred of Equality. It is nothing other than the failure of the Liberal model. No, I haven't made you read all this way to tell you that you suck. But you MUST face the fact that Liberalism and Equality AREN'T perfect. I now, like you, may think it's the best model we have for society, but to say it's perfect is a bit disingenuous.
So how, exactly, does liberalism cause so much hate? That's the next section. But, outcast from the liberal society, many flock to the only other choice on the block- Hatred, and the Power and Inequality of the western feudal model of society, also known as American Conservatism.
Part Three: Failure of the Liberal Model
Time to rub your nose in it. Hey, it's your spot on the carpet, not mine. Take pride for a moment first, though, because Liberalism really is the primogenitor of American Conservatism. Who's the Daddy Party?
First, the Liberal Model doesn't really FAIL, at least not in the real world. You can kinda, sorta, maybe, opt out, but that would just cast you out of the system, wouldn't it? The Liberal model compensates, and the more money and power you make, the more you pay in taxes, and the more everyone else is pulled along with you. You can refuse to pay taxes, or you can leave the country, but you can only stop it or opt out. You can't really BREAK it in the real world.
However, there's this thing called the world of perception. And trust me, when you deal with as many Conservatives as I have, you realize perception and reality don't have to mirror each other. And in the world of perception, where the rules are no longer stable, Liberalism can fail.
How? Maybe it's in the kindergarten playground and someone's first experience with the ugly backside of group dynamics- exclusion. You can't be an equal playmate when you aren't even allowed in the group. Maybe it's that first sexual encounter, and it turns out that what you heard in the locker room about nibbling her clitoris wasn't the best idea. Maybe it was your father convincing you from a young age that you are just plain better than those other "people." Whatever it was, it was the beginning of a pattern of perception of exclusion. "These are not your people. These are not your people. These aren't people."
This pattern is made worse by selectively beginning to believe that many, many people want to take from them. It may be "those women" taking their dignity, or "those negros" trying to take their money, or "those wetbacks" for taking their jobs. Insulated from reality (remember the earlier exclusion), the mind begins to reinforce a philosophy based on sketchy and circumstantial evidence. This is sometimes called stereotyping. It's usually called bigotry.
This isn't unusual, really. As such, lone bigotry isn't the impetus of a harsh American Conservative view. But this pattern will become entrenched for some who (usually willfully) lack the empathy to pull themselves out and back into acceptance. So, with few people to relate to, we either become crazy, gun-toting loners, or we become Young Republicans (depending on your closest tax bracket).
There is one further step. True American Conservatives need to find a mentor. We are a cohesive group, not just a movement. We go by MANY names in many places, but we are all interconnected by acquaintance (we call it networking). Then, with help, we face, internalize, and accept our fears. We still fear, but we are no longer ruled by fear. We begin to rule fear.
Yep, seriously, that's about it. "NO," you cry, "It can't be just impotence! I could have told you that!" Yes, but you probably couldn't tell me why. It is really the humiliation of impotence, and we are only dangerous because we've stopped fearing it. That's what makes us rise above mere bigots and assholes.
It should be surprising to you to watch the liberal model fail. We've got great systems in this country to reinforce feelings of exclusion and impotence. Sports, American capitalism, celebrity, the list goes on. It comes from your Little League baseball coach who tells you "If we're loosing, throw the ball at the little fucker's head." It comes from us telling our children "You can't have that $5 Lego. We don't have the money."
Yes, that's how we arrive at our best tool, exploiting the humiliation of Exclusion and Inequality. The best method to wield this tool is money. There is no humiliation like denying your children because you are poor. That's a cornerstone of our winning fixation on family, money, and wealth. Left out of Power (remember how we felt we were less than our perception of equal/entitled?), we seek to redefine Power. We are driven by the deepest needs in biology (impotence is rooted in the sexual drive, anger is part of the fight-or-flight response).
It's also why you can't understand us. Equality isn't zero sum- everyone can win. But we fixate on creating shortages- on a zero-sum game. Equality gives benefit to both. Inequality can give benefit to me, and humiliation to you. And that is the key. Remember, we want a two things: compensation for me, and humiliation for you. We can't accomplish that with the liberal model. We can with ours.
Part Four: The Benefits of the Conservative Model
There are none. None for you at least. This will then be a necessarily brief section.
In short, the Conservative Model lets us hurt other people and makes us feel better. To us, it is justifying. Economic disadvantage lets us hurt people and motivate your kind of people. Economic advantage lets us gratify ourselves and motivate our kind of people.
But the real pride of the model is how it is self-stratifying, insulated, and inherently zero-sum. You have to fight for ever decreasing opportunities (promotions, fame) for exponentially increasing reward (look at ANY upper management/consultant/star's salary and prestige).
We sit at the top (usually).
Under us, you find Greedy Sons of Bitches (people who LOVE some reward).
Under them, you'll find Highly Motivated People (they love reward too, but they're just not Sons of Bitches enough to actually get to the guys above them).
Further down, you see People Who Actually Do Things (They generate incredible amounts of work, and we can't let them get higher than this).
Below them, the Hopeless Homeless (Outcast Troglodytes, so we can scare the children)
The system vets those below them for inclusion in ever tightening groups. In corporate parlance, it's called "Grooming." It's why we use credit checks to hire people. It's why we have accredited business schools we fund, and think tanks we staff. You want the guys who fit in the groups above them.
Look at how mega-corps, fly-by-night-and-strip-mall churches, and other conservative power structures work. Fear of the Outcast Troglodytes (The Poor, The Damned) keeps the bottom in the structure, which enriches the rings above it. Yea, it's basically Amway (which donates TONS to us).
But how do we get away with Practical Enslavement? Selective Perception (lies). We give words new meanings, then blame you for changing the language. We lie. We let (make) you perceive that our company is doing good. We let (make) you perceive our financials our good. We then take the money and run (maybe for office).
We close books, plans, schematics, models, and operations to prying eyes in the name of Competitive Advantage (more lies). We claim our competition (cartel partners) would gain benefit from knowing how we run our company, or what goes into our product, or where our money goes. It's so we can keep prices low! And we take your money and hide.
Yep. We've been hammering this out for a couple of hundred years (more if you include true feudalism). So, how do you beat it? It's integral to the American Dream. It's the American Way! Our country was FOUNDED on this. How do you fight us?
Part Five: What's Good For the Goose...
Because, it's NOT integral to anything, really. It's smoke, mirrors, lies, and schemes. Granted, it's Lance Burton caliber, but it's illusion nonetheless. And rule number one of illusion? It works because people WANT it to. You can't just go about exposing the inner workings of magic. It makes people sad when you stamp out their dream.
Can you fight it with better illusion? Maybe. Sounds promising. I'm sure you've got your ideas. But I've got an idea, too. I think you should fight it with real magic.
Part Six: Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology...
Apply Clarke's Third Law. You need magic to prevent the leaks in the Liberal Model. So, how can you teach empathy? How can you reinforce a self-sustaining society of equals? How do you deny us selective perception?
Well, our attacks on science have worked pretty good at working perception. Of course, all we can really do is besiege science. Where would we put the corpse if we killed it? So, you'll pretty much always monopolize truth, all we can do is offer distraction and willful ignorance. And with truth, you can do some real damage to selective perception. You just have to take the school systems back first.
We've won on violence and hate. For the love of God, humanize the people we are destroying. Your bit about sex worked great, you shouldn't have given up on it. We aren't a society of prudes; we are a society of prurient monkeys. Is there a good reason why violence is so damn prevalent in our culture, but even the suggestion of a nipple causes the media to herniate in their orgy of mass exposure? Yes, because violence is ours, and is the first tool of inequality.
The Internet (one of em anyway) is stage one of the inevitable shared consciousness. It's innovations consistently free communication of time and place. Leverage that! Wireless the whole damn country, and don't let us stop you.
Don't, don't, DON'T let us monopolize "Fairness." It's pretty obvious that stinking rich, aristocratic mo'fos do not deserve to be preaching about fairness. Take a play from our book and humiliate the hell out of anyone who preaches fairness but has played their entire life and fortune by unfair practices. If you can't get it on the news, buy ad time. God knows, we do.
Open business models. You will win here. It makes money, prevents the competitive advantage of lying, and rewards only work, and shrugs rentiership (our favorite way to make money). It's all work and capital. It can't lie. Publish all your source code. Show ALL financial transactions on the web. Make all your sales data completely accessible to anyone. It won't kill your business, and it will offer us a big heaping plate of humiliation.
Which brings me back to humiliation. Serve it in coffee cups for all I care, but get it out. I understand that most of you folks don't like to be that aggressive, seeing as how the liberal model doesn't really include attacking people and humiliating them. But remember, you only have to play nice to your equals. It's our meme that tyrants are your equals.
Remember too that we lie when we say "Shareholder." We act like the only people that matter are the people who own stock (that's our pillar of Wealth, remember?). That word itself is not true. The real word is "Stakeholder," and that word includes everyone affected by a company. The public has a stake in knowing EXACTLY what they are buying, be it a product or a stock. We game capitalism by monopolizing on what are fundamental externalities- uninformed consumer behavior (don't know the value of what you are buying) and tragedies of the commons (free air pollution). We only win by breaking the system. We sell you what we say is X, but is really X-4, or even Y. Don't let us do that. Hold our feet to the fire of transparency. We can't spin the fact we really do want to make money off your children's suffering. Set better corporate examples. Drive the Open Business Model.
When you cheat at the game so long, you'll never be able to weather real, fit, aggressive competition.
Part Seven: Final Thoughts
A few things.
The first question now has to be why? Why did I ramble on this long, and why am I telling you this.
Frankly, it's because I utterly failed as a hard-boiled Conservative. Sure I voted for Bush, worshiped Regan, and thought the Iran-Contra affair was a genius bit of work. I had invasion plans for Indonesia by the time I was 7 (no shit). Yea, I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, and helped with Samaritan Industries (they ran a homeless shelter, among other things), and fervently believed in my rather progressive Methodist church, but that didn't make me less of a sorry SOB.
Then, among other things, I went to a VERY liberal college. So liberal, in fact, it was 60% gay and lesbian (I ended up as treasurer of the Rainbow Alliance organization, since no one else was good at handling money). I didn't know it when I applied, and it started to crack any core of hate I had. When one of your best friends is a gay black man in a wheelchair, you just loose any kind of inbred hate. I came to love people, and was a very popular (and swinging) senator and dorm president for four years. I helped people to become happier with themselves and others. As it turns out, sincerity makes your charisma real. The experience also polished off the grime from my empathy. Who knew?
But what really pushed me the last little mile into my forsaken state was a Bible study with my VP. Yes, the bastards can guilt you into a Bible study if a promotion is in the pipe. Turns out, I didn't walk into a discussion of the vapid "A Purpose Driven Life," but instead walked into a meeting of Dominionists (yea, no shit). The words "What we really need is to get rid of all the laws, and live by the Bible," were vomited across the table. The discussion then centered on getting rid of that old thing called the Constitution, and living by God's (Paul's) laws.
So, a few days later I talk to my parents. My dad used to get a damn CARD every year from the Republican party. What do I find out? I don't know my parents very well, it seemed. I hear
I tell you because I can no longer bear to see my side winning. I tell you because I want you off your asses (I'll join you, don't worry).
Is this the only explanation? Isn't there more? What about strategy, and Conservative Coalition groups?
Well, this is the heart. Evil lies here. Most people are really liberal at heart. Fear and bigotry (more fear) keeps them in line.
Even those Christians are really yours (this may not be the place for this rant, but hey). They've just believed the bullshit they are fed. Progressive Christians have been misled, like nearly all of the Republican coalition. Of course, the real message spread by Jesus is empowering can't be used to externally control people (Christianity is a wonderfully empowering internal control). That's why those bastards (starting with Paul) hide the teachings of Jesus behind glib, one-way sermons and create a power structure out of church social and ecclesiastical hierarchy. That's why their religion isn't practiced right, and why there are televangelists and ponzi fly-by-strip-mall churches. Sorry, that's just something in my craw. It's also why I'm a Taoist. I'm cutting out the middleman.
As for strategy? Cut the strings of the heart, and the whole damn thing will collapse. Fold up the false dichotomies we've created. Roll back our legislation. Make the Open Society.
Any more questions?
February 14, 2005
Happy Birthday, Molly
Molly's been around for a year now, but I've aged about three. Caring for her has been an education and a challenge, a spiritual rejuvenation and a physical stress, a delightful scientific experiment and a wrenching self-examination. The commitment is utter, but the reward is tangible, almost as if a final missing piece of my heart has been found at last.
She's cruising and babbling with gusto now, and it won't be long till she speaks her first word and takes her first step. She's over twenty pounds, which puts her on the low end of the size scale, but well within normal growth parameters. We've even turned her car seat around so she can face forward, which makes her happier (yes!).
Our early luck in regard to her sleeping all night has run out. She wakes up pretty regularly during the night, and, if she can't be quickly soothed, Mom or I have to sleep with her on our chest on the couch. Only fellow parents can empathize with the feelings of aggravation and affection at those moments.
My current favorite behavior by Molly involves food. Molly absolutely must have a bit of whatever we're eating. She'll crawl over, under, into, and around anything to get to her prize: my plate. In the morning, when I'm sitting on the edge of the couch and eating cereal, her face appears, grinning, in the space between my knees and bowl. The beast must be fed!
The work I anticipated as a new father--changing diapers, feeding, dressing--has proven to not be the true parental labor. The real challenge has been more abstract and personal. What and how to teach her? How to balance work, personal time, and caring for Molly? How to share the workload with Momma? Is this TV show appropriate, even for a one-year-old? The decisions, not the physicality, of child-rearing drain the energy.
Thank you, Molly. In your short life, you've taught your parents what they're made of and what you're capable of. In one little body, you manifest the primal act of passing on the genes, the spark of life that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, and the limitless human potential embodied in all of us.
Happy Birthday, Molly.
Edit: Added pics.
February 11, 2005
Messing with Their Heads
I was editing a passage about planets with my classes the other day when we ran across part of a sentence that said, "Mercury takes only 88 days to circle the sun." I observed that, since Mercury's year is so short, it's a good thing we don't live there, otherwise we'd reach 90 years old very quickly and die of old age.
I thought it was funny. They didn't.
February 09, 2005
Videodrome is a favorite movie of mine from the eighties. It involves a pirate TV station broadcasting subliminal messages to an audience who can't take their eyes off the program. What's the compelling program they're broadcasting? Torture.
The only place to go from here is public executions on TV, which, of course, are already on the big screen. In five years, tops.