It is the end of times (or something)

Two op-eds have caught my eye today.

The first by Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times and reproduced in the AFR:

The idea that the middle-class and the young will always be the most stalwart supporters of democracy is also looking increasingly rocky. 

The erosion of democratic values in the west was outlined last year in a much-discussed article by the academics Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk, writing before the election of Donald Trump. The article highlighted the rise of anti-democratic sentiments in both the US and Europe.

Rachman describes democracy in broad terms – so not just regular election, but including the norms of western civilisation like the rule of law and so on.

Joseph Schumpeter argued:

Lawless violence the bourgeois stratum may accept or even applaud when thoroughly roused or frightened, but only temporarily.

Western values are being eroded because we have failed to practice those values. For a generation (or more) we have become accustomed to being frightened. Our governments have made full use of “the crisis” to introduce draconian legislation, to give itself greater powers to “protect” us from danger. The routine reversal of the onus of proof, the removal of the right to silence, the expansion of the administrative state, etc. etc. are all mechanisms whereby our own democratic institutions have undermined their own legitimacy.  If our own institutions do not practice and uphold our own values why are we surprised to see them eroding.

That brings me to the second op-ed; Bret Stephens writing in the WSJ:

There was a time when the West knew what it was about. It did so because it thought about itself—often in freshman Western Civ classes. It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome. It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals. It was not ashamed of its prosperity. If it was arrogant and sinful, as all civilizations are, it also had a tradition of remorse and doubt to temper its edges and broaden its horizons. It cultivated the virtue of skepticism while avoiding the temptation of cynicism.

And it believed all of this was worth defending—in classrooms and newspapers and statehouses and battlefields.

We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a Le Pen or a Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.

I realise that it is becoming incresingly popular to blame our civilisational and cultural malaise on immigration and “peaceful invasion” and the like, but both of these arguments suggest that we should look to ourselves.  These two authors are speaking in terms of Donald Trump’s election. One of them, at least – I think, sees his election as a cause of collapse, many around here see his election as the solution to collapse, while I think is is merely a symptom.

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92 Responses to It is the end of times (or something)

  1. A Lurker

    These two authors are speaking in terms of Donald Trump’s election. One of them, at least – I think, sees his election as a cause of collapse, many around here see his election as the solution to collapse, while I think is is merely a symptom.

    I’ll present again my termite analogy.
    Our house – Western civilization – used to be strong and secure and able to withstand storm and tempest. However, over the last fifty years or so, Termites – Marxist/Regressives/Socialists/Communists – have set up active colonies inside our house. On the outside, the house appears strong and secure, its institutions are still in existence, everything appears to be operating as normal. However, the Termites have eaten away the strength of the house and what appears to be strong and secure, is in fact, an illusion. The illusion of a strong house is maintained only by the exterior paint. The thing is, the strong supporting timbers have been wholly eaten away, making the entire edifice weak and fragile and prone to collapse when storm and tempest hits. Sadly, the storm – Islam – is now battering the weakened house and critical parts of the house are starting to collapse and fall. The house needs urgent repairs in order to be made strong, but it would be a foolish homeowner to call in the builder and the carpenter whilst the Termite colonies are still active within the house. Enter Trump. Trump is neither a builder nor a carpenter. Those will come after him. What Trump is, is the Exterminator. The presence of Trump is because of the presence of Termites. If the house wasn’t riddled with Termites, then there would be no need for an Exterminator.

    Thus Trump is neither the cause, the solution or the symptom.
    He is here because he needs to be here.
    No one else possesses the skillset to be the Exterminator.

  2. struth

    The cure is to be found where all this problem starts.
    In our schools.
    Leftism has control of education.
    It is that simple.
    No really.
    It is.

  3. Suburban Boy

    “We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this …”. This seriously understates the problem.

    The problem isn’t the lack of teaching of the West’s virtues and magnificent (albeit flawed) history. The problem is teaching (in schools and universities, but also in the mass media) that the West and Westerners are uniquely evil: the only people truly responsible for genocides, slavery, environmental degradation, etc, etc.

    If you were actually to believe that poisonous propaganda from the hard left, of course you’d hate the West.

  4. C.L.

    We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a Le Pen or a Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.

    Oh please. Bret Stephens just can’t help himself, can he?
    It would have been far more appropriate to say “If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from an Obama, a Trudeau or a Merkel …”

    But no. Stephens puts the grand argument and then fails to name the most guilty parties – namely, the left-wing subjectivists whose mission it is to destroy Western civilisation.

    What a total knucklehead.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    There’s so much that could be said about this topic, for example Conquest’s 2nd Law and the Gramsci ‘long march through the institutions’. In both those cases the disease is leftism, which is intolerant of debate, other views and of opposition.

    But the point I will make now is a narrow one about the European Union. The citizens in the EU quite like it. They like that they can travel from Belgium to Romania without going through half a dozen sets of customs. They like that their money isn’t eroded (especially Club Med EU citizens). They’re prepared to put up with high taxes for the safety and convenience.

    Which is the problem. The Left have totally captured the political infrastructure of the EU and have used it to push their wheelbarrows. Greenery, which is skyrocketing living costs. Muzzo immigration which is rendering chunks of major cities like Paris too dangerous to enter and is forcing things like a security wall around the Eiffel Tower.

    The EU would not be failing if they had controlled the border as we do, deterring muslim immigration, and if they had gotten their finances in order. It would help if they also booted the Greens, but the first two policy issues are exactly why the EU is currently collapsing.

    If the EU had simply controlled its border to exclude Islam, and had gotten their finances in order, there would’ve been no Brexit, and no threatened exits of France, Netherlands, Italy and Greece.

    The same problem here. When the Left get in they always try to bring in their religiously dogmatic Marxism-derived destructive policies. If they could jettison them and govern like Bob Hawke we’d not be in such strife here in Australia.

  6. Senile Old Guy

    These two authors are speaking in terms of Donald Trump’s election. One of them, at least – I think, sees his election as a cause of collapse, many around here see his election as the solution to collapse, while I think is is merely a symptom.

    Trump is certainly a symptom of the problem; whether he is the solution remains to be seen. This author appears to present a false dichotomy: trump is the symptom or the solution. He could well be a symptom and a solution.

  7. herodotus

    Our governments have made full use of “the crisis” to introduce draconian legislation, to give itself greater powers to “protect” us from danger.

    But only after all the individual citizens’ defences, those applied by individuals (or jointly/severally with others) have been removed. The disease started to set in a long time ago, and the handmaidens/midwives of this fabian plague has been a large section of the media, who still try to set the agendum on a daily basis. Their methods are now being attacked, rather late in the life-cycle of the western democracy.

  8. B Shaw

    The point Bruce of Newcastle makes is a very good one.
    I doubt anyone could better that entire comment.

  9. A Lurker

    We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a Le Pen or a Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.

    You start by changing the zeitgeist of the universities.
    The best way to do this is for Governments to withdraw funding from any publically funded university that fails to teach the principles of the Enlightenment, fails to provide freedom of speech for all, fails to uphold the virtues and traditions of Western Civilization, fails to teach proper history etc.
    Withdraw funding and they will soon come to their senses.

  10. Razor

    I thought, until the last line, that the writing was referring to the development of cultural marxism and it’s effect of denying any valuable form of historic democracy – globalism not nationalism.
    So this is how one (such as the authors) can demonstrate careful analysis and yet arrive at the reverse ( and wrong) conclusion.
    I think the growth of the mega city (> 1 million) has lead to the actual loss of a national identity. Things have been increasingly regulated and done for the resident of the large city. They have become increasingly dependent for their daily bread on a highly controlled environment = the erosion of democracy in a manner which has each increment written off as a must be. Eventually desensitization leads to acceptance without rigour being applied except by the contrarians.

  11. cynical1

    The EU would not be failing if they had controlled the border as we do,

    Just be thankful for the deep,blue sea.

    With a shared border, our zealots would soon have a Trojan horse or two inside the gates.

    The 50,000 illegals under Labor would have been little more than forward scouts…

  12. Tel

    It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals.

    OK, so there’s an advantage to believing that your own culture is worth defending. Fair ’nuff.

    If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a Le Pen or a Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.

    Hmmm, but seems to me that Le Pen is the one calling for her culture to be respected and defended, while her opponent is claiming that any culture is as good as any other and there’s nothing to defend. Am I missing something, or does this conclusion completely contradict the original premise?

    Who would be more similar to a Churchill style leader: Trump or Obama?

    Why do we need to “immunize” our children against people who stand up for the very same values that Bret Stephens just a moment before thought were important and worth defending?

    BTW, what does Sergey Lavrov have to do with this at any rate? He must be the token “bad Russian” to throw some dark light on Trump and Le Pen, or some such shallow media device. Does this guy take me to be an idiot? I think yes he does.

  13. RobK

    Some good points in the comments.
    I think of Trump as a reset button, perhaps one step away from resorting to the second amendment being relied on. At least the US has the 2nd amendment. It maybe a brilliant reminder and allow a trump to come to the fore. (where’s our trump).
    The media is little more than a face of the machinations of power.

  14. Piett

    The cure is to be found where all this problem starts.
    In our schools.
    Leftism has control of education.
    It is that simple.
    No really.
    It is.

    I agree. But the underlying problem is that hardly anyone on the right wants to go into education. The lefties control the sector because very few conservatives or classical liberals or libertarians become school teachers. A slightly higher proportion become university lecturers, like the folks who run this blog, but still very much a minority.

    In the years I’ve been lurking here, I recall maybe one or two people identifying as teachers. Most people on the right stand around saying someone (but not me) should teach our kids better.

    Is it the low social status? Is it the view that teaching is only for those who can’t achieve in the real world? Is it the money? I’m not arguing for more money — lord knows, education budgets are bloated enough as it is — but whatever the reason, the right has only ourselves to blame.

  15. Tel

    But the underlying problem is that hardly anyone on the right wants to go into education.

    I dunno, Master Member at Liberty Classroom costs you five hundred bucks.

    Lasts a lifetime, cheaper than unionized teachers and you probably learn more as well.

  16. Matthew Bromley

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

  17. alexnoaholdmate

    …the only people truly responsible for genocides, slavery, environmental degradation, etc, etc.

    There is much to be ashamed of in the West’s association with slavery, and I am always perfectly willing to admit so when some Lefty wants to rub our collective noses in it – as if I’m somehow responsible for slavery myself.

    But then I point out to them: slavery still goes on, especially in the Islamic world. It’s widespread throughout history, and it’s widespread today. Yet of all the civilisations in history that have practiced slavery, only the West has taken it upon itself to stamp it out in its territories.

    Get on the side (I tell them) of the only civilisation in history that has done something about it, and has done so because slavery was a direct affront to its ideals and its picture of humanity.

    That tends to shut them up.

  18. RobK

    Piett,
    Well said. The right are generally more focused on their own enterprise. For the past couple of decades I’ve been involved in property rights groups (from self interest beginnings) . It’s very hard to get people alerted to what awaits them until it’s too late. I expect the IPA has the same issues. I do run into John Hyde from time to time, a true warrior for the cause.

  19. politichix

    A Lurker
    #2303819, posted on February 21, 2017 at 6:33 pm
    Thus Trump is neither the cause, the solution or the symptom.
    He is here because he needs to be here.
    No one else possesses the skillset to be the Exterminator.

    Exactly…

  20. John

    Immunise them from Trump and Le Pen? What about immunising them from tyrants like Juncker? Or immunising them from rampant populists like Obama. Or Turnbull, Rudd, Gillard? Cretins like Clinton who loves donations and OPM. Or immunise them from demagogues like Merkel or Blair.

    The laugh is that Trump maintains he is saving people from servility brought on by Obama and Clinton. Farage simply wanted British sovereignty returned. Le Pen wants to lead France, not a united Europe run by totalitarian bureacrats and elites.

    The other funny thing is that the fascist impulse is more from the left and is contextualised by the actions of Obama and the EU elites. Mussolini would have been proud of them.

  21. Piett

    I’ve been thinking about this stuff recently because a friend of mine has two kids in their middle teens, who are just at the stage of deciding what to do with their lives.

    The girl is not very smart. She’s not a bad person, but she laps up leftist opinion on every subject with gusto, and regurgitates it loudly and uncritically.

    The boy is much savvier. He knows a lot of history for someone his age, is literate and numerate, and has a refreshingly cynical attitude. He’s no leftie.

    One is going into teaching, the other into IT. No prizes for guessing which is which.

  22. Boambee John

    FDR was an admirer of Mussolini.

  23. Rebel with cause

    In the late 1980s Stanford University did away with its required Western civilization course

    Western values have not eroded because elite universities stopped teaching them. This is a massive lie propagated by the house conservative elites.

    The decline in teaching Western values and history is a symptom, not a cause.

    Western values have been eroded because the elites have done nothing but sneer at them for the last 40 or more years.

    Western values were always at their core those of the working man and the small businessman. That’s what made the West different – that we were governed by values commonly held across the vast swathe of the productive middle class.

    There was also upwards and downwards mobility that spread those values further into the poor and upper middle class.

    What’s happened is that the West has become much more like every other society – governed by the values of a far off and insular elite.

    Trump got where he is becuase he is one of the few politicians to acknowledge that the public are sick to death of being talked down to. Whether he fixes things is another matter, but he at least starts from a place of respecting those that voted for him.

  24. Beertruk

    Is it the low social status? Is it the view that teaching is only for those who can’t achieve in the real world? Is it the money?

    A male teacher that I know said that a couple of his teacher mates have been dragged through the courts on ‘made up charges’ by vindictive female students. Even though charges were proven to be false in court, or the vindictive students dropped the charges when they realised they had been caught out, it destroyed their teaching careers. Nothing happened to the students.
    You might also wonder why there is a severe lack of male primary school teachers.

  25. Rob MW

    “………….while I think is is merely a symptom.”

    What ??? So it’s impossible a virgin politician promising to drain the swamp and fix economic suicide is a symptom of a collapse brought on as a result of big government, an open borders theology and global economic Marxism to be anything other than a symptom of the collapse. Uhmmm…….I think that the chicken didn’t lay any eggs !!!!

  26. Civilisation lessons to immunise children against Trump, Lavrov and Le Pen? (Thanks for the reminder of how much we need war with Russia, Bret. Without the MSM that can slip my mind.)

    Really have to wonder whether our technocrats, theoreticians and elites are going to be up for a real struggle. For the refined, the Franks who saved our civilisation may have been a bunch of self-interested bullies…but it got saved. The scholars and monks of Charles Martel’s day gave him some bad press, much of it true, but at least they were around to dish it.

    I’ll take survival before refinement.

  27. jupes

    Thus Trump is neither the cause, the solution or the symptom.
    He is here because he needs to be here.
    No one else possesses the skillset to be the Exterminator.

    Brilliant Lurker. Well done.

  28. hzhousewife

    One is going into teaching, the other into IT. No prizes for guessing which is which.

    The lass may train for teaching, but may not succeed in becoming a teacher. Attitudes are changing and standards are rising.

  29. JohnA

    It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome.

    He conveniently left out the fact that Jerusalem eventually swallowed and transformed both Athens and Rome.

  30. jupes

    I still don’t understand how anyone but a committed socialist or jihadist can see the election of Trump as anything but a good thing.

  31. Shy Ted

    I’ve long thought that the average leftie is unemployable outside of the public service and once you’re in it’s just an echo chamber so you feel right at home and have no desire to leave and achieve something.

  32. Denise

    Great analogy, Lurker. Let Trump’s creative destruction commence; I’m all for it.o

  33. Makka

    We can all philosophise about the demise of the west and lament it’s shortcomings. Theory is fine and opinions are like arseholes and all that. However, in order to arrest the undoubtedly awful situation and flay the leftist scum and globalist elites who have brought the west to this point in time, few corrective options exist that will readily and handily work. This is Trump’s true value- he is available, ready and able to work. It’s brash, ugly and obnoxious at times but as a remedial option, he is undoubtedly working.

  34. john constantine

    Western values have eroded because reducing Western Values through cultural marxism from the inside was the non nuclear weapon of mass destruction launched by Stalin himself from behind their iron curtain.

    Just because their Berlin Wall came down and Putin’s Russia is a brand new thing doesn’t mean that the left’s legacy Doomsday Machine stops ticking.

    The deindustrialistion and dewesternisation of the enemies of Stalin is nothing but a cold dead hand reaching from beyond the grave for the company of billions.
    Their left are just corpse fingers, grasping with the strength of rigor mortis to crush the free living people of the world.

  35. Piett

    I still don’t understand how anyone but a committed socialist or jihadist can see the election of Trump as anything but a good thing.

    Because he’s not actually advancing conservative or classical liberal values. He’s an opportunist, who recognised and responded to conservative anger, but only as a means to get elected.

    He was openly boasting in the 1990s about his sexual conquests. He never served in the armed forces and was, at times, contemptuous of those who did. He never appears to have done community or charity work (like Tony Abbott, a real conservative, has been doing all his life). He does not appear to have any philosophy of how to govern, or indeed any philosophy at all.

    The only reasons for anyone on the right to see Trump’s election as a good thing are the way he’s shaking up the American political structure, which had become rather ossified, and because he’s not Hillary Clinton.

  36. Tim Neilson

    “We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

    CS Lewis saw it coming decades ago (as he did with most of the problems which now beset us). Having trashed conventional values so thoroughly the bien pensants are now desperately trying to blame the consequent disasters on someone, anyone, something, anything, other than the demolition job they’re still so busily engaged in.

    Much excellent comment above in the thread, especially Lurker’s brilliant analysis.

  37. Makka

    The only reasons for anyone on the right to see Trump’s election as a good thing are the way he’s shaking up the American political structure, which had become rather ossified, and because he’s not Hillary Clinton.

    Rubbish, there are many other reasons. Primarily that he is opening peoples eyes to the fraudulent media and how they , in cahoots with the leftfilth, mislead people for decades. You sound like the ossified political structure Piett.

  38. Kurt

    Mass immigration is a symptom of our loss of faith in our culture.

    The people coming to the West are not coming because they share our values or respect our culture. In fact, often times they don’t even like us and consider our culture degenerate.

    Yet we are too frightened to say these people are not welcome.

  39. Tim Neilson

    because he’s not Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush or John Kasich.
    Or anyone else from the Democrat/RINO duopolistic cartel.
    And he was the only one from outside the cartel who could win.
    And being outside the cartel he’s not an open borders loon.
    And plenty of other reasons actually.
    Yes, he may end up disappointing us or even doing things that appall us, but if he halts the ramped up Vortigern stunt that’s been going on for years and manages to lessen the dominance of the far left wing of the cartel in the control centres of the USA he will have justified the experiment in spades.

  40. StraightShooter

    A Lurker

    Thank you for your termite analogy. I have not seen it before, being only a sometime visitor to Catallaxy, but I find it a great analogy, and true.

  41. Piett
    #2304040, posted on February 21, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    He’s an opportunist, who recognised and responded to conservative anger, but only as a means to get elected…..
    ….He never appears to have done community or charity work (like Tony Abbott, a real conservative, has been doing all his life). He does not appear to have any philosophy of how to govern, or indeed any philosophy at all.

    Sounds to me like you never bothered to find out about the man.
    Trump is on record since the late 80’s (numerous videos of talk show interviews) espousing the very same things he does today. Was there anger 30 years ago?
    One can physically do charity work, or one can donate and or generate money for charity. In most cases Trump chose the latter path because he can do more good like that than physically dishing out soup in kitchens etc.
    Do some research, learn about the man, maybe read one of his books or hear testimony from his friends and collegues before spouting nonsense.

  42. Anonandon

    i blame the baby boomers.

  43. JC

    I realise that it is becoming increasingly popular to blame our civilisational and cultural malaise on immigration and “peaceful invasion” and the like, but both of these arguments suggest that we should look to ourselves.

    More or less agree although more care should be taken with immigration in terms of who we let in. But if you’re looking for the foundational collapse of the West, you couldn’t avoid reading the transcript to this, which I scrolled through today.

    Where’s me money

  44. Piett

    People here have great faith that Trump will destroy the Termites (the left, in Lurker’s analogy) or at least reduce their dominance over institutions. But I am yet to see an explanation of how.

    Rallies and tweets aren’t going to do it. Trump can make all the late night tweets he likes — many of them are pointed and funny — but in the morning, the left will still be there.

    People have bought into a wish-fulfilment fantasy that Trump is selling, without thinking about how he will accomplish it.

    He won’t accomplish it, because he is playing to his base, his committed supporters, and only them. He disdains conservative-leaning parts of the MSM. He picks fights with congressional Republicans. He isn’t doing what Reagan did, which was to build bridges across the right, and to moderate Democrats as well, and bring a broad spectrum of American society with him. That is the way to defeat the Termites.

  45. Rob MW

    People have bought into a wish-fulfilment fantasy that Trump is selling, without thinking about how he will accomplish it.

    Perhaps you have some good ideas mate ? Your reasoning is about as intuitive a four sided wheel.

  46. JC

    Piett

    You have to give the guy at least a year to figure out if he succeeds or fails. It will take six months to fill up his administration and it will take that time to figure out what he’s going to do with legislation. But more about the first, he can’t really clean out the swamp by himself as he needs the under secretaries and those below them.

  47. .

    loss of faith in our culture

    Dude. This is very postmodern. Are you sure you’re a conservative?

  48. BorisG

    If the EU had simply controlled its border to exclude Islam, and had gotten their finances in order, there would’ve been no Brexit, a

    The number one issue in Brexit was intra-Europe legal migration. The English don’t like not only e fact that ey are becoming a minority among Poles and Romanians but also that this absolutely legal and any quotas would be illegal.

    I think the Swiss also have a problem with this. The Swiss exit case is less well known, in part they are not members of the EU but I will not be surprised if they leave the European economic zone soon.

  49. BorisG

    But I am yet to see an explanation of how.

    JC, Piett isn’t judging by four weeks of Trump. Piett is asking how he is EXPECTED to do it.

    I really can’t see how tweets and rallies can help with this. He is preaching to the choir. Exclusively.

  50. Andrew M.

    As the gaffes, lies, incompetence, jingoism, and crassness of Trump become clear, even his most die-hard supporters are having to wince and grin while they turn away from their monitors, reaching for excuses that will assuredly fall flat.

    The camel-breaking clanger from yesterday’s solo press conference had to be the moment Trump said that everyone would applaud him if he blew the Russian spy ship out of the water.
    Incompetent almost to the point of accidental world annihilation, and that is hardly an exaggeration.

    How much worse does it have to get before Pence, Clinton, and the neighbour’s dog all start to look like better presidential candidates? Not much.

    The good Lord Mises only knows whether civilization will survive 4 years of Trumpism. All I ask is that Cats do not try to deny what Trump has said and done and do not attempt to defend the indefensible. It’s bad.

  51. 300 – This Is Sparta – Full scene

    Just because…

  52. Rob MW

    The good Lord Mises only knows whether civilization will survive 4 years of Trumpism. All I ask is that Cats do not try to deny what Trump has said and done and do not attempt to defend the indefensible. It’s bad.

    How much did your shelter cost ? With only a month into his first term you have examples of what Trump “has said and done……….” that was not voted upon ?

    It’s good that you are really scared mate because if Trump fails its what come next that will make snowflakes like you really shit your pants.

  53. testpattern

    There is no such thing as western civilisation. Wilkinson on the central civilisation-

    http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1130&context=ccr

  54. RobK

    Trump is an orator, showman and has an agenda to, well, MAKA. The preparation of the cabinet is shaping up. I can only speculate how what we hope for might happen. It’s a guess, but here goes:
    The upper circle is selected, the media is moderated over a period, the rest of the world adapts to bipartisan trade, energy and mining are liberated from the EPA, NASA is remodeled. By then the writing is on the wall, the centre starts to return to where it was decades ago. When things have bedded in a bit and support is flowing from a recovering economy, the climate caper will be tackled and at least moderated if not demolished at IPCC level. If he can do that in 4 years he’s a genius.

  55. Andrew M.

    >>you have examples of what Trump “has said and done……….” that was not voted upon ?

    the moment Trump said that everyone would applaud him if he blew the Russian spy ship out of the water.

    Don’t try to deny he said it.

  56. RobK

    I interpret Trumps recent rally a his jazzed up version of FDR’s “fireside chats”. FDR had some 60 of these during his time as president. Direct reporting to the people. The media say it’s electioneering; that’s just dumb. FED’s fireside chats were given credit for guiding the nation through tough times of the late 30s-early 40s.

  57. RobK

    ” There is no such thing as western civilisation.”
    Because Wilkinson says so, yet there are many cultural, religious and language differences, political differences. I don’t think Wilkinson’s hypothesis is a settled science.

  58. Jannie

    Last week I got a circular from an associate of UOB Kay Hian, I use them to invest in Singapore, a nation I have come to regard as the smartest on the planet.

    The gist is the danger that Trump is posing to the global trading system, and a flow of dribble I could get in the AFR or NY Times. They propose a flow of investment that will prevent fear trumping hope in emerging markets, and hedge against the threat to the rules based international system of trade and investment that took decades to build. And yes, they have a nice little Unit Investment Trust that will do the job, advising that its still possible to make good investments in the uncertain future.

    Its only one associate I guess, but this is hard headed Singapore. Do they believe this, or is it just an opportunity to leech on to the fear meme generated from within the USA, and scam stupid investors?

    I sent a short note in reply, asking them whether the SGX has performed better than the US markets since Trump was elected, and did they think US stocks were now a bad investment. No reply, but I was only a circular and the mailbox probably not monitored.

    Almost all Singaporeans I have met value highly British/Western cultural institutions, democracy, the rule of law and the security it gives to trade and property, because these allow them to grow rich. They used to think our (the West) biggest problem was hypocrisy, but we now have a much bigger problem. Quietly they will tell you they think we are amazingly stupid to allow it to be eaten away bit by bit, by the usual suspects. But if we in the West are determined to give it all away, then the Singaporeans will take their share.

    In some strange ways Singapore is now more faithful to classic Western values than “the West” is.

  59. BorisG

    In some strange ways Singapore is now more faithful to classic Western values than “the West” is.

    Funny that most cats probably see Singapore’s authoritarian system of govrernment preferred to the western democratic system. Talk about decline of western values.

  60. BoN;

    The Left have totally captured the political infrastructure of the EU and have used it to push their wheelbarrows. Greenery, which is skyrocketing living costs.

    Yep, the destruction of the Bourgeoisie is paramount.
    Conquest’s 2nd Law – “Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.”.
    But point out that the Libertarian movement has been captured by the Left/Marxists, and get abused. Libertarians believe they are immune to the Left takeover, which is what has made them so valuable to the Left. Too many persons can claim to be Libertarian, acting as a shield to the Left, while maintaining their virtue signalling.
    Useful fools.

  61. Piett;

    In the years I’ve been lurking here, I recall maybe one or two people identifying as teachers. Most people on the right stand around saying someone (but not me) should teach our kids better.

    Is it the low social status? Is it the view that teaching is only for those who can’t achieve in the real world? Is it the money? I’m not arguing for more money — lord knows, education budgets are bloated enough as it is — but whatever the reason, the right has only ourselves to blame.

    Someone asked me once why I didn’t become a science teacher, probably because I had been seen to be good at explaining sciency stuff to people.
    My reply was “Why would I put myself in such a vulnerable legal situation?”
    How many of the teachers here have to be verry careful navigating the Teacher/Pupil relationship, knowing that if they stepped away from from the Left agenda, that one fake/unsubstantiated rumour could destroy their professional standing, their marriages, and even their lives?
    I dips me ‘at to the teachers – they have a bastard of a job.

  62. Tom

    What CL said. Bret Stephens is a NeverTrumper, a termite and part of the problem. The idea that a democratically-elected US populist will undermine Western civilisation — when he has campaigned on the very idea of restoring Western values and traditions — is not only laughable, but indicates well-advanced mental illness that we have seen so spectacularly in the violent, anti-democratic left.

  63. Tom

    Funny that most cats probably see Singapore’s authoritarian system of govrernment preferred to the western democratic system.

    Speak for yourself, you commo clown.

    Singapore’s anti-democratic authoritarianism is repulsive and creepy.

  64. Tom

    Melanie Phillips (Times via Oz) has an op ed on this very subject:

    For several years now, Trevor Phillips has been on a political journey. Originally a fully paid-up member of the metropolitan liberal set, the former chairman of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has been regularly denouncing some of the shibboleths to which he previously subscribed.

    On Friday (AEDT) he will take this further. In a documentary on Channel 4, he will blame political correctness for the rise of populism throughout the West.

    The reason nobody saw the people’s revolt coming is that political correctness is too easily dismissed. At best it is viewed as a kind of idiocy that takes the avoidance of giving offence to absurd lengths; at worst, as the unpleasantly assertive politics of identity and group rights.

    Phillips appears to understand that, far more damagingly, it has corroded the very basis of moral accountability. “It was a clear statement,” he observes, “that some groups can play by their own rules.”

    Those PC rules derive from secular ideologies such as anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, feminism, multiculturalism, moral relativism and environmentalism. All these and more are based on the idea that the white, male-dominated, Judeo-Christian West is the embodiment of oppressive global power — the political source of original sin.

    So white Western men or Christians can never be offended or hurt because they are themselves innately offensive and hurtful, while “powerless” women or minorities can only ever be their victims. In other words, such victim groups are given a free pass for their own questionable behaviour.

    The reason these secular and utilitarian ideologies are unchallengeable is that, in a pattern going back to the French Revolution, they are held to represent not a point of view but virtue itself.

    Therefore, anyone who opposes them must be bad. This creates a moral imperative to drive dissenters out of civilised society altogether. For daring to question multiculturalism, Phillips found himself accused of being a fellow-traveller of the far-right British National Party.

    Reason has thus been supplanted by a secular inquisition, complete with an index of prohibited ideas. It is in effect a dictatorship of virtue, drawing upon the doctrine first promoted by Jean-Jacques Rousseau of forcing people to be free.

    Of course it’s not freedom at all but a form of moral extortion: extracting permission to behave badly or questionably under threat of character assassination and social opprobrium.

    Phillips may not appreciate the comparison but my own experience echoes his journey. For nearly two decades I wrote for The Guardian and The Observer, from which Eden I was eventually driven out by the disgrace of my political heresies.

    From the late 1980s, I followed where the evidence led me to challenge one politically correct doctrine after another. Lifestyle choice, I argued, was by and large a disaster for the children involved in such fractured families.

    Multiculturalism would dissolve the glue that held society together. National identity, far from being xenophobic, was essential for democracy and the defence of liberal values.

    I was appalled that women, ethnic minorities and the poor were being infantilised and even dehumanised by being treated not as grown-ups with responsibility for their own behaviour but as helpless victims of circumstance.

    Racism was supposedly endemic in every institution. Social-work staff were reduced to tears when told their refusal to confess to racism was itself proof they were racist. Any curb on immigration was racist. To me this was absurd, oppressive and culturally suicidal.

    The understanding that education involved a transmission of the culture was regarded as an attack on a child’s autonomy. When I supported a retired head teacher who protested that teachers were no longer guiding children but abandoning them to ignorance and under-achievement, I was denounced as “ignorant, silly, intellectually vulgar, vicious, irresponsible, elitist, middle-class, fatuous, dangerous, intemperate, shallow, strident, reactionary, propagandist, simplistic, unbalanced, prejudiced, rabid, venomous and pathetic”. All that over just one article.

    Nor did it stop at name-calling. I found myself in a kind of internal exile. There was no more cosy camaraderie round the tea trolley or invitations to supper. I lost work and was blacklisted by every major publishing house.

    As Phillips says, the social infrastructure of advancement, rewards and status depends entirely on having politically correct views. If not, social and professional ostracism follows.

    People have finally had enough of this institutionalised attack on accountability, natural justice and freedom. It turns out that what I’ve been arguing for decades is supported by millions throughout the West.

    Now those millions are being vilified in turn as neo-fascist, racist and too stupid even to know what they’ve voted for. Their uprising is being called populism.

    I call it a return to decency and reason.

  65. B Shaw

    Thanks for sharing the excellent words of Melanie Phillips.

    Multiculturalism will certainly dissolve the glue holding society together.

  66. ” There is no such thing as western civilisation.”

    Central civilization appears to be little more than Western civilization.

  67. herodotus

    The left discovers a Lost World of conservative opinions:
    Richard Fernandez: The Secret Door
    “Where did these beasts come from? The truth is they’ve been there for years. Since September 11, from the Golden Age of blogging through the Tea Party days, right on past the “populist upheaval”, outsiders have written extensively in parallel with the mainstream media about all the issues of the day. They’ve written about God, politics, history, the philosophy of science, strategy and military affairs.
    If their very name is news, that is because till now their very existence and legitimacy have been minimized by the “Mainstream Media” and the intellectual elites. You may have read some of them: Glenn Reynolds, Spengler, the writers at Breitbart,  etc. — the people (who are) never invited to talk shows or get book advances but with inexplicably large followings. To some extent, the media has always known this intellectual universe existed, which is precisely why they’ve only now been discovered.”

    Now that they can be demonised.

  68. jupes

    Because he’s not actually advancing conservative or classical liberal values.

    Oh, so secure borders, cheap power and fighting political correctness are all socialist values. Who knew?

  69. politichix

    Piett
    #2304040, posted on February 21, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    The only reasons for anyone on the right to see Trump’s election as a good thing are the way he’s shaking up the American political structure, which had become rather ossified, and because he’s not Hillary Clinton.

    You’ve just made jupes point…..

  70. Indigo

    People who accuse Singapore of being anti-democratic fail to realise that the party that has been in power for so long have been re-elected because they have done an outstanding job. Lee Kuan Yew took his country for 3rd world to 1st world in one generation, an outstanding effort unmatched by any other country – ever.

  71. incoherent rambler

    Now those millions are being vilified in turn as neo-fascist, racist and too stupid even to know what they’ve voted for. Their uprising is being called populism.

    I call it a return to decency and reason.

    Thank you posting Melanie’s article.

    Maybe Sinc will consider her definition of populism.

    Liberty!

  72. Senile Old Guy

    He isn’t doing what Reagan did, which was to build bridges across the right, and to moderate Democrats as well, and bring a broad spectrum of American society with him. That is the way to defeat the Termites.

    Reagan did not ‘defeat the Termites’; he merely delayed their progress, a bit. Trump is not Reagan. And now is a very different time to when Reagan became president. It is worth remembering that Reagan did things that shocked people: his “Tear down this wall” speech was one of them. But he succeeded.

    How much worse does it have to get before Pence, Clinton, and the neighbour’s dog all start to look like better presidential candidates? Not much.

    Hillary Clinton was, as is, corrupt, selling government influence to anyone who had a spare million.

    the moment Trump said that everyone would applaud him if he blew the Russian spy ship out of the water.

    Russia, under Putin, is being very deliberately provactive on the international stage. No-one thinks Trump would actually, without warning, attack Russia. It’s well understood “sabre rattling” to warn the Russians to not go too far.

  73. Boambee John

    Are those horrified by Trump’s “blow out of the water” remark equally shocked by Russian jets flying dangerously close to US warships?

  74. Recent Historian

    The quality of a people is reflected in the quality of their currency.

    Using Gold and Silver coins we would have none of these problems, because people, societies, and governments would have to act in a very careful and conservative manner, you would have to be careful of who you associate with, avoid un-neccessary conflict, public intoxication etc etc etc.

    Almost every social problem you can point to would be averted if everyone had to deal in Precious Metals to go about their daily life.

  75. Jannie

    Singapore is partly an authoritarian state reflecting certain conservative Confucian values of obedience to elders and respect for order and harmony. I may not agree with some restrictions on personal liberties, eg drugs, but they feel it’s a form of discipline which acts as a binding mortar to their social structure. People have to be responsible for and to themselves and their families first, state welfare is the rust that destroys the concrete

    It has a high level of support from most of its people, even those many who grumble about it, the “fine” state. But it is honest about itself, knows its authoritarian roots, and disdains the hypocrisy and moral posturing of those who should know better, ie “the West”.

    In my view Singapore is a free country for those who are happy to abide by the law, there are no restrictions on emigration. And in my experience it is a less authoritarian state than Australia.

  76. alexnoaholdmate

    People who accuse Singapore of being anti-democratic fail to realise that the party that has been in power for so long have been re-elected because they have done an outstanding job. Lee Kuan Yew took his country for 3rd world to 1st world in one generation, an outstanding effort unmatched by any other country – ever.

    Cool.

    Why the need, then, for media licensing restrictions that make it practically impossible for critical news outlets to exist in Singapore?

    I mean, they keep getting re-elected because they have the backing of the people, right? So why the media restrictions? There’s nothing to fear, after all, from an open expression of political views – no?

  77. alexnoaholdmate

    Almost every social problem you can point to would be averted if everyone had to deal in Precious Metals to go about their daily life.

    Sigh. There’s always one, isn’t there.

    Goldbugs are like vegans – if there’s one around, they’ll let you know.

  78. Jannie

    Why the need, then, for media licensing restrictions that make it practically impossible for critical news outlets to exist in Singapore?

    I think they would say something about social harmony. They do actually fear the open expression of political views, particularly of the Marxists variety, because of the potential for disharmony and demagoguery. The elders might say that those who presume to grandstand about their political views are not necessarily the smartest kids in the class, and are more likely to have studied social sciences than engineering.

    In other words they don’t like stupid people buying votes with other peoples social and financial capital.

  79. Rob MW

    the moment Trump said that everyone would applaud him if he blew the Russian spy ship out of the water.

    Don’t try to deny he said it.

    But that is what the Democrats and the establishment Republicans/McCain (WWIII) democrats Never-Trumpers have been demanding since the Russians supposedly fooled the American voters into seeing the truth.

    I feel short changed with that single example, you wouldn’t have another that is more in tune with your moronic comment ? Just a hint: first scrape off the leeches before entering the world of reality.

  80. B Shaw

    Trump’s “blow out of the water” remark.
    I don’t know if the horrified ones will themselves remark on Russian jets flying close to US warships.
    But I can guess.

    My sweet, little “Women for Trump” cap has arrived; discreet pink lettering.
    I’m expecting horrified looks from some relations.

  81. .

    In my view Singapore is a free country for those who are happy to abide by the law, there are no restrictions on emigration. And in my experience it is a less authoritarian state than Australia.

    This is incorrect but sadly correct as well.

  82. Alex;

    Why the need, then, for media licensing restrictions that make it practically impossible for critical news outlets to exist in Singapore?

    I mean, they keep getting re-elected because they have the backing of the people, right? So why the media restrictions? There’s nothing to fear, after all, from an open expression of political views – no?

    I’ve a feeling, Alex, that the Singaporeans have taken a leaf from the Marxist Play Book and seen what happens to a nation when the Left gain control of the media.
    Media is the Achilles Heel of any democracy – just look at the West where the media are destroying civil society.

  83. alexnoaholdmate

    Media is the Achilles Heel of any democracy – just look at the West where the media are destroying civil society.

    Hmm. When the Left tell us we need a government regulator to prevent the press from printing opinions they don’t care for, we’re outraged – and rightly so.

    But when a non-Leftist government we rather admire actually puts into place such restrictions – well, then they’re necessary to protect democracy.

    Which is exactly the argument the Left made in the first place – that ‘fake news’ (a term we didn’t yet have in the dark days of the Gillard government) threatens democracy because it misinforms the public. “Misinform”, of course, meaning “to print opinions that don’t agree with our own.”

    Exactly. The. Same. Argument.

    But it’s okay if our side does it.

  84. test pattern

    ‘Singapore’s anti-democratic authoritarianism is repulsive and creepy’

    And may not last another generation.

    ‘Kyaukpyu is of particular interest to China because overland links between Myanmar and southern China can reduce reliance on the potential chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca. By eliminating the need to travel via the Strait of Malacca, Kyaukpyu Port would save about 5,000 kilometers in sailing distance for shipments traveling to China from India and points beyond. The drive to diversify its shipping routes – and to increase economic clout in neighboring countries – is a major impetus behind the new “Belt and Road” initiative, which envisions infrastructure and trade networks linking China with every part of the Eurasian continent.’

    http://thediplomat.com/2016/01/chinese-company-wins-contract-for-deep-sea-port-in-myanmar/

  85. test pattern

    ‘Melanie Phillips’

    ..is a conspiracy theorist who pushes the modern day equivalent to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion ie the Eurabia conspiracy.

    ‘In Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Bat Ye’or claims that Eurabia is the result of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, based on an allegedly French-led European policy intended to increase European power against the United States by aligning its interests with those of the Arab countries’.

    Only for Breiviks. Plenty of them at Catallaxy I see.

  86. alexnoaholdmate

    Only for Breiviks. Plenty of them at Catallaxy I see.

    Yeah. Quoting a journalist once is the equivalent of shooting a dozen kids en masse.

    Sheesh.

    If Numbers – yes, it’s him – wasn’t real, it would be necessary to invent him.

  87. Mark A

    alexnoaholdmate
    #2304338, posted on February 22, 2017 at 9:40 am
    I mean, they keep getting re-elected because they have the backing of the people, right? So why the media restrictions? There’s nothing to fear, after all, from an open expression of political views – no?

    Right, on the one hand we keep saying that in the privacy of the voting booth we vote as we please regardless of opinion polls and media interference.

    Then you say that if the media in Sing. would only be free of restrictions, the notion with I agree wit BTW, then the populace would vote different?

    I don’t think so, people are not stupid, they vote for the most beneficial policies for themselves.

  88. alexnoaholdmate

    Then you say that if the media in Sing. would only be free of restrictions, the notion with I agree wit BTW, then the populace would vote different?

    No, I don’t say that at all. I don’t care how they vote.

    Someone above alleged that the party keeps getting re-elected because they’ve done such a great job, not because of any authoritarian actions.

    Okay – so why the restrictions? What are they afraid of?

    That particular justification – “Who cares about restrictions on civil liberties, the people would re-elect them regardless?” – doesn’t add up.

    Also, the argument from consistency: when the Labor Party tried to restrict our own press here, we (rightly) blew our tops. Why, then, are certain Cats happy to excuse the Singaporean government, just because we might admire certain other actions of theirs?

  89. Tim Neilson

    alexnoaholdmate
    #2304791, posted on February 22, 2017 at 4:20 pm
    With you on this one.
    It all works fine till it doesn’t. Maybe at the moment there’s not much of substance to complain about in Singapore, but one day there will be, and what happens then?

  90. Jannie

    Why, then, are certain Cats happy to excuse the Singaporean government, just because we might admire certain other actions of theirs?

    Well I guess I may be guilty of this, I recognise a certain cognitive dissonance or logical contradiction in admiring them, while disliking aspects of their illiberalism. I do have many libertarian instincts, but not for eg open borders. I am not a purist, just like to pick and choose my ‘beliefs” based on what’s good for me and my close ones. Intellectual consistency is ok, but its unreasonable to expect it because everything means different things to different people. Make as many definitions as you like, but life is still just a bowl of porrige, full of lumpy contradictions.

    Perhaps its because the Singaporean authoritarian way allows you to become wealthy, or at least comfortable as a compensation for not rocking the boat. Australian authoritarianism seems to desire to drag the middle class down to the lumpenproletariat, as a way of creating social equality for all, except the usual ruling government celebrity elites of course..

  91. BorisG

    People who accuse Singapore of being anti-democratic fail to realise that the party that has been in power for so long have been re-elected because they have done an outstanding job. Lee Kuan Yew took his country for 3rd world to 1st world in one generation, an outstanding effort unmatched by any other country – ever.

    has this been the case, they won’t need to restrict press freedom, sue dissidents etc.

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