Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ultimately empty

I picked up a copy of The Australian at my parents' house today. I don't usually read it, so was interested in how recognisably right-liberal many of the stories were.

A good example was a piece by Caroline Overington ("What's a nice kid doing in a pop-cultural caricature like that?) The gist of it was that what the world really needs is not Donald Trump but a nice guy right-liberal.

What is the right-liberal ideal for Caroline Overington? It's someone who isn't self-hating and who believes positively in the individual in the market. In her own words:
In the U.S. they are thirsting for a Reagan-style leader who believes in the individual and in the superiority of Western culture...Somebody who believes that capitalism - bold, enriching capitalism - is the best way to drag millions and then billions of people out of poverty; who is tired of being told that wealth must be redistributed to those who didn't earn it; who believes in merit and reward for sacrifice; who can't bear the stultifying political correctness of daily life any longer.

Who thinks that the pale-white, middle-class men behind revolutions such as the Apple computer company and the Microsoft operating system and the Google search network haven't done such a bad job, actually, of improving the world, just as it was largely American companies such as Ford and General Electric, led by white, middle-class men, who helped improve the previous century.

Who thinks our culture, our way of doing business, is not too shabby, so what is with the self-loathing? Because actually I want to feel good about myself and my country.

I can understand the superficial appeal of this kind of politics. If the only two options are a left-liberalism, which holds that inequality exists because of evil white males and the oppressive racist and patriarchal institutions of the evil West, and a right-liberalism, which holds that the liberal West is to be looked on positively for its progressive achievements and that what matters is people achieving things in the market - then the right-liberal option can seem like the more attractive one.

But if you look at it closely, then its emptiness becomes more apparent. Right-liberalism reduces a society to the market. What matters for right-liberals is a freedom of the individual to be self-made in the market. This then becomes a poor foundation for resisting the inroads of the left. Why, for instance, should a right liberal care if the left pushes for open borders? After all, an economic migrant is someone seeking their individual advantage in the market - which is a virtue in the right-liberal outlook. And if the market is the great force for progressive change, then why not have the kind of global free trade arrangements which have helped to deindustrialise parts of the US?

There is nothing in right-liberalism which runs counter to the abstracted and atomised view of the individual that is also part of the operating framework of the left. An individual in the market is not someone who is marked by a sense of belonging to a particular ethnocultural tradition; nor is this individual a moral being, distinguished by integrity or honour or conscience; nor is this individual marked by biological sex - by manhood and womanhood - and the identity and social offices deriving from this. An individual in the market is stripped down to a technological role of producer or consumer or profit seeker.

How then can we look to a right-liberal politics for our defence? Returning the Republican Party to this kind of politics is not the solution Caroline Overington imagines it to be.

Musings on women and resilience

At school we sometimes have to do risk assessments for student activities. I was discussing one with a female colleague and I was surprised at how differently we assessed risk factors.

For instance, one activity involved a museum guide talking to a small group of students with three teachers present. I assessed this as low risk, my female colleague as high risk. I asked her what could possibly go wrong. She answered that the museum guide might say something that offended the students and hurt their feelings. She said that if it were my child I would not want this to happen.

This led to a discussion in which I tried to explain how important it has been in my life that I was expected at school to be resilient. The strengths I learned back then have served me well. But my female colleague wasn't at all impressed by this and said that I was the exception and that it was essential that nobody ever had their feelings hurt.

This led me to the thought that there are women who don't really understand the strengths that men need to cultivate to do well in the world. But why wouldn't they understand this?

The political answer might be that women have been raised, first, to think in gender neutral terms and so might assume that the lives of men and women are the same. They have also been raised to think that men are a privileged oppressor class, who, presumably, are thought to have it easier than women and so are less in need of resilience.

But I'm not sure that the political answer is really the decisive one. The thought occurred to me that a woman can grow up with the expectation that she will be looked after and cared for in her adult life. Not all women might take this option, but it is there. If needs be, she might find a man who will seek to protect her and keep her from excessive difficulties and hardships in life.

Adult men don't have this option and so don't even think about it. It is not usually on a man's horizon. For us, it is a competition to prove ourselves. So perhaps that goes some way to explaining why a woman might not be focused on developing resilience in boys - she might assume that men have the same support options as women do. (Or maybe it just has something to do with the maternal instinct being different from the paternal one.)

Anyway, this led on to some other thoughts. First, the disparity has grown more rather than less under feminism. Yes, there are some women who are independent careerists and who don't look to men for support. But at the same time women no longer nurture men domestically as they once did. No more coming home to a cooked dinner and a clean house and a smile - men are now expected to do the domestic things for themselves. So in a way it has become more one-sided now, with men often still expected to protect and take care of their wives, but not to expect to receive domestic support or comfort in return.

I should say at this point that most younger men probably prefer women to show at least a little vulnerability and need. I think that when I was 25 I would have been left cold by a woman who was totally independent and without any need of masculine support. But at the same time it's possible for a woman to take being looked after too far. I have known women who translated any difficulty or hardship in their life as "the man has failed to support me" - even if the difficulty was something outside of the man's control. There is a balance here in which a woman is ideally willing to accept a man's support but also sees herself as capable of doing her part to work through life's inevitable difficulties.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home: a short review

I went to see the latest Tim Burton film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I found it mildly enjoyable - I think young teenagers would relate to it better than I did.

It did, however, have one feature I thought worth mentioning. The portrayal of the female characters was better than you usually find in the cinema or on TV. The two younger female characters were undeniably feminine: physically graceful, dressed prettily and a little emotionally vulnerable. It was credible that they would attract romantic interest from the younger male characters.

And then there was Miss Peregrine herself. I am someone who believes that the human body gives us a clue as to our telos - the qualities that we are supposed to cultivate and develop toward. You can see glimpses, at times, in the female body of a certain kind of nobility. Miss Peregrine's "peculiarity" in the film is the care of the young, and her dedication to this gave a depth to her character which, along with her bearing, did at times suggest a kind of feminine nobility.

Miss Peregrine is, in some ways, still following the older understanding of caritas - of a particular, concrete love that is settled in the will. She is not, in other words, just following her heart wherever it leads, no matter what the damage to others. She has a duty, founded on the love of the children in her care, to which she is willing to make sacrifices.

So, despite its quirkiness, and despite some features that are likely to irritate traditionalists, it did not strike me as being, at its core, a liberal film.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A conversion story

A blogger has written a post titled "Dear Progressives: My Path From Left To Right". It's worth reading the whole thing, but I'll pick out some choice bits here. He begins by noting that once upon a time,
I was a liberal; a latte-sipping, NPR-listening, Salon-reading, organic food-eating, SWPL. I worked for the Clinton and Kerry campaigns. I gave to Greenpeace and the ACLU.

So how did he end up leaving the left? First, leftist beliefs went against normal heterosexual perceptions:
I always disagreed with radical feminist beliefs, and was frustrated by their insistence that men and women be psychologically identical, or that sexual attraction was learned, or that beauty standards were entirely conventional.

Second, as liberals pushed their theories into ever more radical territory, he found it difficult to keep believing:
When the left went from saying you should not harm homosexuals to attacking “heteronormativity,” that was a straw. It was just insane to me to claim that heterosexuality wasn’t the biological norm. When racism went from the belief that you should not treat someone badly because of their race, to an impersonal, omnipresent, invisible, malevolent force against which you must guard every stray thought lest you be lead astray–when it became witchcraft–that was a straw. When the Sierra Club sold out the environment over immigration, that was a straw. The way leftists obviously expanded the definition of emotionally charged words like “rape” or “racism” for political gain was a straw. The slogan “diversity is our strength” was a big straw. I think I first heard this phrase during the Clinton administration. I laughed because it was so obviously not true

He explains why he still found it difficult to break away from the left as follows:
It is so difficult to break from being a leftist because it is the entirety of your identity. White leftists believe themselves to be entirely self-created individuals and have no ethnic, racial, or religious identity. It is an amazing coincidence how these purely self-created individuals all happen to end up with the same tastes, styles, opinions, and political views. This is beginning to change as white liberals have come under attack and are starting to dimly perceive that they are a type, and live in homogenous enclaves like any other. Even then it really angered me that despite all being white, having all their friends be white, living in white neighborhoods, listening to music made by white people, having the organic, fair-trade, localist values that only whites have, they had the smug clear conscience that they weren’t racist because they had learned the right things to say in the right situations to throw off suspicion.

That's a good insight. He is observing, first, that if as a liberal you believe yourself to be entirely self-created, that your political identity then forms a greater part of who you are, as you have rejected predetermined communal identities. Shedding this political identity is then a very significant upheaval.

Second, he notes, as many of us have done, that despite believing themselves to be self-created individuals, leftists are actually quite good at forming homogeneous enclaves of their own.

Finally, he came to see that liberalism could not sustain the tradition that he valued:
This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist...I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct. This is what is currently happening to all the ancient peoples of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

That was it for me. Seeing that liberalism ultimately destroys whomever practices it was the end. My goal really became the preservation of my kind and the defeat of the liberalism which rots and destroys. When I finally broke with the left it was quite a liberating feeling.

Protect yourselves, said Rousseau...

Another good one from Conservative Thoughts:
Protect yourselves, said Rousseau, from the cosmopolitans, who pretend to love humanity in order to desert the duty of concrete solidarity. (Bernard Willms)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Swedish feminists demonstrate in support of men?

There is a feminist political party in Sweden called Feminist Initiative. On its Facebook page there is an entry from the party's sex policy representative. She writes in support of a proposed new law by which a rape could be proved when there is no resistance. Predictably, she also wants an education campaign that targets masculinity:
Feminist Initiative wants the government to allocate resources for an education initiative about how power structures are supported by ideas of masculinity in which the right to exercise control is an important part. Such training should also include questions about sexuality, gender perspective, lgbtq plus issues and knowledge of men's violence against women. Such skills should be a mandatory part of the training in the police, health service and the judiciary.

But what happens if an alleged rapist is not an ethnic Swede but an immigrant? Does all this still apply? Apparently, the answer is no. A disabled Swedish woman has alleged that she was raped by a group of asylum seekers in Gotland. The reaction of Feminist Initiative? To organise a demonstration in support of the accused men:
We want to show that we do not accept the simplistic description of the need to protect Swedish women from external threats, says Lisa Tune Farm, Feminist Initiative, Gotland.

It's difficult to see this ending well. Feminist Initiative thinks that it is supporting Swedish women by:

a) using the issue of rape to introduce education campaigns intended to emasculate Swedish men


b) denying that there is a need to protect Swedish women from external threats

Note too that once again the "intersectional" politics of the left puts race above sex, so that even a feminist party believes that male asylum seekers should get more priority as a group than Swedish women.

Finally, in an age old story, some very masculine men (of the kind that Swedish feminists want to deconstruct) are the ones actually protecting women in the Middle-East (see here).

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cafe has a speech code

There's a vegan café at Monash University here in Melbourne which has this policy:

Once you adopt the liberal principle that our predetermined biological sex has to be made not to matter, this is the kind of thing you end up with.

Remember, liberals believe that telling people not to speak in terms of sex, e.g. by discouraging terms like "brother" or "ladies", is making us free - to most of us it will seem like an intrusive denial of a basic aspect of human life.

Hat tip: Traditional Britain Facebook

A message to the mayor

We're having a local council election here in Eltham. I saw a poster in someone's front yard supporting the current mayor, Bronnie Hattam, who has expressed support for housing Syrian refugees in the local aged care centre. I could see that the poster had some graffiti on it, and went to have a look, and saw the following:

If you can't make out the writing, the word is "traitor." Instead of just thinking it, someone has chosen to write it as a message to the mayor.

I don't know a lot about the individual candidates for the local council, but there appears to be a pro-development group and a lefty environmentalist group - neither representing a traditionalist viewpoint. I'm not sure, in other words, that Bronnie Hattam's opponents are a better option.

An Australian current affairs show ran a major story on the Eltham aged care issue recently:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A great leap forward in our schools?

There was once a time when people in Western societies looked down on the openly ideological states, like communist China in the time of Mao. Below is a picture of Chinese school children reciting Maoist propaganda during the Great Leap Forward:

But Western states are starting to mimic the style of these ideological states.

The Western states have a liberal ideology which asserts that the overriding good in society is a freedom to self-define or self-create. Therefore, unchosen, predetermined qualities like our sex and our sexuality have to be made not to matter - they are to have no influence over what we choose to do or be. In a liberal order we are to self-define our sex and our sexuality uniquely from a buffet of options.

Enter the new school curriculum here in Victoria:
Schoolchildren as young as four will be shown pictures of boys doing the dishes and girls playing footy in a bid to stamp out gender stereotypes.

Year one and two students will play games teaching that some kids have two mums or two dads and teens will be taught the meaning of terms like pansexual and cisgender.

The changes come as part of a newly released education curriculum by the Victorian Government, which will be made a mandatory subject in all state primary and secondary schools at the start of 2017.

The youngest students will be chanting the state ideology in our classrooms:
Year 1 and 2 students are encouraged to chant statements such as: “Girls can play football, can be doctors and can be strong”, and “boys can cry when they are hurt, can be gentle, can be nurses and can mind babies”.

Victorian Chinese state school students chanting propaganda

And there's this:
Children will be taught from an early age the importance of challenging male and female-based labels in the playground and classroom.

Students in their final year of high school will be educated in 'gender literacy', with lessons about identities including: cisgender, transgender, transman, transwoman and gender fluid.

Those students will also be taught the difference between gender and sexuality, and schooled on sexuality preferences including heterosexual, bisexual, asexual and pansexual.

It makes me wonder if the West has now surpassed the former Communist East in its radicalism. It's true that the first leader of the Bolshevik women's department, Alexandra Kollontai, had ideas similar to our Education Minister. She too wanted to erase the binary sex distinction. She gave speeches in which she:
longs for the female body itself to become less soft and curvy and more muscular ... She argues that prehistoric women were physiologically less distinct from men ... Accordingly, sexual dimorphism may (and should) again become less visible in a communist society.

But Kollontai soon become sidelined in the Bolshevik Government as being too far to the left. I doubt if either Lenin or Stalin were as radical as our Education Minister in denying heterosexuality as the norm, or in wanting to erase the male/female sex distinction.

Western societies are not yet as authoritarian as the communist ones, but modernist ideology has now been taken further with us than it ever was with them.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Ryan frame

Paul Ryan is a Republican and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is very much a right-liberal rather than a traditionalist. He said something interesting in response to the story about Donald Trump talking crudely about women, namely "“Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified".

Women are to be revered? That's an interesting stance to take. It comes across as both naïve and sacrilegious. So why would he say it?

One possibility is that he is simply pandering to women as a politician.

A second possibility is that he is running too far with how he has perceived womanhood. It is possible for men to have a sense of the existence of spiritual womanhood (the eternal feminine) and to catch glimpses of this in individual women. This can be a profound experience that then enlivens a man's experience of himself and the wider world. This idealised womanhood becomes associated in a man's mind with a heightened experience of life.

I recently read the letters of Endymion Porter, a courtier and patron of the arts. Despite his high station in life, and his many life accomplishments, he was one of the most supplicating men who ever lived. His wife did not always respond well to his protestations of devotion, and Endymion Porter was stung by her once to write the following (in the year 1625):
MY DEAR OLIVE, I did not think to have received such a swaggering letter from you, but I see you can do anything now, for time hath worn out the kindest part of your love, which I did hope would have lasted longer. I am glad you had not the keeping of mine towards you for so we might have been without by this time, but be it spoken to your comfort or your grief, I will preserve mine whilst I have breath, nor shall age nor time make me forget my Olive. I know my own thoughts best, and I am not ignorant that you are the best of them, and therefore do not tell me that you will not be unworthy, for if you be you will wrong yourself most.

He seems to be saying that although his wife doesn't love him in a kindly way that he will continue to love her, in part because this love is part of the best of who he is (i.e. no matter what the faults or shortcomings of his wife, he will continue to build her up in his mind as being worthy of love, because this gives him a certain valued experience that he is determined to hold to).

It ought to be possible for a man to accept his ability to perceive the eternal feminine in women, and to value this experience, without then falling into a naïve idealisation of women. It only takes a little mental strength to do so.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. I think I am instinctively repelled by Paul Ryan's formulation because a man who sees women this way won't then be in a position to wisely apply a frame to society which attempts to order relationships between men and women. In other words, if your outlook is to "revere" women, then you won't be focused on the potential in women to act in ways that do harm to society.

But perhaps this isn't entirely true. Maybe if men put women on a pedestal, women then feel bound to act the part. So, in an odd, roundabout way, perhaps pedestalising women is an attempt to apply a frame which then holds women to a standard. Certainly, there have been women's libbers who have felt this to be so. I can still remember feminists in the 1980s focusing much of their fury on men who idealised women - they clearly did not want to be put on a pedestal.

And I noticed that some feminists weren't entirely happy with Paul Ryan's comment, either:
I’ve watched today as politician after politician has said things like this quote from Paul Ryan: “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,”

Excuse me….I don’t want to be “revered”...Every man who says things like that is just as misogynistic as Trump’s just more insidious this way.

For once, I'm with the feminist. I'd prefer men to be self-consciously aware of both the virtues and the vices of women and to openly encourage the former and to suppress the latter. This requires a little courage (a willingness to acknowledge that women are flawed in their natures), but it has a better outlook in the long run than telling women that they are perfect angels in the hope that women will then live up to the role.

If Western society did try to run with the "Ryan frame" for a period of time, then it's one part of our cultural heritage that is better jettisoned and now is the perfect time to do it, given that women have been brought up to ignore it anyway.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Diverging paths

Mark Moncrieff wrote a good post recently on the breakdown of consensus. He believes that liberalism has reached a point that he no longer feels that he has anything in common with those who hold to liberal orthodoxy.

I too get this feeling at times - a sense that some liberals are now alien to me in what they believe, i.e. that there is a gulf between us that puts us on separate paths.

Take, for example, the liberals at Duke University. They have established the Duke Men's Project. It's a nine week storytelling course which aims to create a space for "male identified individuals" to contemplate their "toxic masculinity." Will the men feel better and stronger after this experience? More confident in their masculine identity? Um, no. The aim is, and I kid you not, to "intentionally seek to radically challenge, decenter and destabilize what we might consider normal, to lean specifically into dialogues of discomfort, disagreement and tension".

Then there are the liberals at Vanderbilt University. They're all enthusiastic about "preferred pronouns". And so they have proposed staff name tags with preferred pronouns attached, and they have created a poster which suggests that professors should include their preferred pronouns in their email signature, along with a recommendation that on meeting someone, even a familiar colleague or student, professors should give their preferred pronoun and ask the other person for theirs.

All of this is logical from the liberal point of view. If you think that a freedom to self-determine is what matters, then you will want to self-determine your own sex, and that then means having your own individually tailored pronouns. But we're seeing now what this means in practice: social interactions in which, on each encounter, people have to share their pronouns.

The important thing is for enough of us to realise we are on a different, incompatible path and to create institutions of our own that reflect our own values and aspirations.

An old English saying

"He that makes himself a sheep shall find wolves enough." (1619).


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Narrowing down culture

Another good find by Conservative Thoughts (Konservative Gedanken), this time by Collin Cleary:
The liberal “celebration of diversity” is in fact a celebration of culture only in its external and superficial forms. In other words, to Western liberals “multiculturalism” winds up amounting simply to such things as the co-existence of different costumes, music, styles of dance, languages, and food. But the real guts of the different cultures consist in such things as how they view nature, how they view the divine, how they view men and women, and how they view the relative importance of their own group in the scheme of things. And it is by no means clear that members of cultures with radically different views on these matters can peacefully co-exist.

Unless, of course all cultural differences are eliminated save the purely external, via the transformation of all peoples into homogenized, interchangeable consumers bereft of any deeply-felt convictions. This is, in fact, the hidden global capitalist agenda of multiculturalism, now being cheerfully advanced by useful idiots on the anti-capitalist Left.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Eltham protest a success

I have to congratulate the organisers of the protest against refugees being resettled in a retirement home here in Eltham, Melbourne. The rally attracted a lot of media attention. Eltham residents will now be aware that there is opposition to the plan.

As an example of the media coverage, here is the headline from the Daily Mail:

I'm not sure yet what the next step will be. There are council elections coming up, but I don't know if any candidates are willing to openly oppose the plan. I will be doing what I can to continue building up opposition (if you weren't aware there is an online petition that can be signed (Australian readers in particular might be interested in putting their name to it), with 2269 supporters to date - see here).

A European reader has informed me that it is common in places like Sweden for retirement homes to be used to house Middle-Eastern refugees. We in Eltham are facing the same problem, for instance, as the residents of the picturesque town of Kungsbacka in Halland, Sweden:
90-year-olds at a nursing home in Kungsbacka are in despair after the municipality forced them to move away. "Unethical and systematic discrimination," says the elderly professor.

And the same thing is happening in France. In the village of Bretteville-sur-Laize in Normandy, the former socialist mayor is suing townspeople for opposing plans to house Middle-Eastern refugees in a former retirement home.

My sympathies go out to these people, as we are all facing the same issue. It is a problem created by the liberal globalists who are currently in charge of the major parties. Here in Australia the Liberal Party is almost as bad as the Labor Party. It was the former Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, who is responsible for the immigration flow into Eltham, and the current Liberal Party Treasurer, Scott Morrison, is pushing for ongoing high rates of immigration into Australia:
Australia must embrace immigration, trade and foreign investment - or risk the prosperity of future generations, according to Treasurer Scott Morrison.

However, "it would be foolish for anyone to deny that there is concern about immigration in Australia," he will argue, according to an advance copy of the speech seen by Fairfax Media.

"The way to address it is not to be dismissive, but to engage on those concerns and have policies that effectively address them" - not to pull up the shutters.

"The same is true for our approach to foreign investment and trade, where our policies are delivering real economic benefits for Australians across the country. So we will continue to pursue immigration, trade and foreign investment policies that are focused on the national interest, by focusing on how Australians can participate and benefit from a growing economy, to boost wages, increase profits and raise our living standards."

It always amazes me how denatured these right-liberal men are. They see their country as nothing more than an economy. Don't worry, says Scott Morrison, if you find yourself living in a globalised society without any culture or tradition of its own - we'll try and make sure there's a dollar in it for you too, that'll keep you happy.

I so look forward to the day when the conservative grassroots breaks free of the Liberal Party and finds a home somewhere else.

New German identitarian video

A reader alerted me to a new German identitarian video.