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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SO WHAT CAN WE DO? Pt 2: Yes

"Remember when America was called 'the land of opportunity?'"

So we're in an America in decline, with economic disaster looming over us all, in an economy far worse than the federal government or press cares to admit, watching our culture, heritage, and future collapse.  What can we do?  Can it be saved, and how?
The short answer is: no.  I know that sounds awfully defeatist and depressing.  The Tea Party Oregon facebook page keeps putting out stuff like "will you fight or surrender" as if that's what we're faced with.  They won, and there is no question of surrender, its over.
PIONEERS
Consider the history of the United States.  America was discovered and settled by Europeans who were self sufficient adventurers, men and women of courage, virtue, and strength who were willing to leave the comforts and ease of civilization to start completely over in a land with nothing but raw materials and hostile locals.  Imagine today leaving your home, your computer, your car, your lights, food, television, cell phone, everything behind, to go essentially camping... for the rest of your life.  In an unknown place, filled with unknown threats, even hostile locals.
That's what the pioneers and settlers of America did.  They deliberately gave up what they had so they could have more.  They abandoned the old comforts of home to build a new, better home for themselves.  Only the strong, the self-determined, the responsible, the hardy, and the bold could even consider such an act.  You want a house?  Build it.  You want food?  Grow it.  You want protection?  That's you. You want roads?  Clear them out.  You want fuel?  Gather it yourself.  From the land, and back then, you had to do it without machinery or technology we recognize today.
The people who did this did it because they wanted to face life themselves, to carve out a new life in a land so open and rich that they could be anything they were strong and determined enough to be.  They left behind a world that was safer and more comfortable, more regulated and predictable, for a life that was freer and had more opportunity.
The new world represented a place without kings, without lords, without oppression and taxation. The people who came to the new world wanted a world where they didn't have to bow and tug a forelock to every lord, where they could own land and hunt, where no man could kill and abuse them without consequence or their ability to fight back.  The new world meant a world where a man could stand up and build his future, rather than kneel as others did instead.
And the people who were left behind?  The followers, the people who lived off others, the pampered and the people without vision, boldness, ambition, or drive.  So America was based and built on people who took chances, stood on their own, and valued freedom.  And the heritage, the tradition, the history of America was forged in the crucible of facing terrific hardship and conquering it all.  The sacrifice and hard work of our ancestors built the mightiest nation the world has ever seen.
THE LONG MARCH
While that was the core of America, the majority, we kept building and growing and doing.  But for about 100 years, the left has been working to corrupt and undermine all that, to build a world where nobody has to take risks, where nobody can fail, where nobody gets more than others, to create a concept of justice that is not just and fairness that is not fair.  They've worked through the education system, the judicial system, the entertainment community, the political system, even labor and religion.  And as a result, the people who take risks and stand on their own have become fewer and fewer.
Now, the people who built America, the traditions of America, the culture of America are all outnumbered and eclipsed.  The country  has gone from the land of opportunity to the land of people with their hand out, expecting big brother government will take care of us all, and those rats who have more than us will pay for it all.
So that's a quick rundown of how we built the nation and how we got where we are now, and it helps explain the basic problem with where we are now.  We can't leave the takers and the leeches behind.  There is no new world to flee to where there's liberty and opportunity.  There is no America left to run to. Canada right now is moving more toward freedom than America, but it is very limited in its nature and won't last.  Their movement is an elastic reaction to the excesses of the left, but in time people will tire of the tilt and run to the other side again.
And that's why I say there is no stopping this.  Because the entire system, the entire culture is filled with the people who oppose everything we stand for, believe in, and want to see.  Our dreams of liberty and opportunity are considered unjust and horrible to them.  Their ideas of justice and fairness are repulsive and tyrannical to us.  The twain will never meet, and now we're buried in their power.
It isn't just that they have the positions of power, its that they've convinced people not only that taking and depending is superior to making and personal responsibility, but that its evil and awful to think otherwise.  It isn't just that they are the mainstream establishment, its that they've convinced everyone that they are hip rebels and outsiders in the process, so its cool.  Its like how Apple, putting out a phone in several ways inferior to Nokia and other devices, became a huge seller based on how cool it seemed.  Logic doesn't even enter into this, they appeal to a gut level emotional reaction and have convinced people that logic and reason are like, boring and lame, bro.
BUT WAIT
However, all that does not mean there's nothing at all we can do.  It just means that we can't do anything to stop the disaster.  The two trains full of nitroglycerine are full steam on the same track toward each other.  The only thing to do now is to get to cover.  So that's the first thing to do.
By "get cover" I don't mean run away.  I mean you need to be ready for when things start to fall apart.  We take many things for granted that may not necessarily be there for us in the near future.  Things like regular, reliable energy and internet, things like safe streets and cops, fire departments who show up swiftly and for free, things like the freedom to say what you want and go where you want.
THINGS BREAK, DON'T THEY?
To survive the coming times you need to learn how to fix and care for what you have, be more self sufficient, form networks to get what you need, and how to stay out of the attention of people in charge.  I don't expect to see a massive dictatorship arise, but I do expect to see a system of rewards and Chicago-style dealing become standard.  If you work with them, you'll do okay.  If you buck the system, well paperwork gets lost and regulations we usually ignore get noticed.  If you make too much money, or you pay cash too often for purchases, if you don't hire the right people or shop the wrong places, well things might get a bit tough for you.
In 3 years, the Obama administration added 106 new major regulations and over 10,000 new rules.  Cops say you can't drive across town without breaking a traffic law, you can't live without violating at least one of these rules.  There are laws that are only enforced to give cops a handle by which to grab bad guys: if your wheels touch the center line, that's illegal and they can ticket you.  If you don't go 100 yards before changing lanes, that's illegal and they can ticket you.  On and on it goes.  These laws are ignored most of the time because police view their job as keeping the peace, not mindlessly enforcing every rule and people make mistakes.  But when they want to, they have those laws around to use.
Now think about the federal government, which is intrinsically hostile toward you and further is driven by a system of favors and deals.  A government which helps people that help them and punishes those who fight against them.  A government which investigates and sends the IRS against major donors to their political opponents, which tells businesses to violate the law because they'll pay for fines, that ignores electoral law about foreign donations and election places.  The kind of government built around the concept of scratching backs in return.
Now, you're unlikely to get noticed if you are just an individual.  If you don't blog, don't have a major business, don't rock the boat, and don't have a high profile, you're basically invisible in a sea of 300 million faces.  But ask Microsoft what it was like to just run your business and not need to lobby.  Ask them how it turned out under the Clinton administration when they were targeted by Republicans in congress for daring to not give out their tribute to congressmen.  Now they lobby and donate to politicians like good boys.
Another thing to do is to maintain your culture in the midst of an increasingly alien one.  The truth is, crosses and all Christian references and images in the nation are going to go away.  In time, any religious symbolism in even graveyards will be sued and torn away.  The establishment clause!  they will cry; it makes me feel bad, you're oppressing me! they will claim. Keep the things you hold dear to yourself, for yourself and your family.
Think of how Jews lived in hostile cultures - and still do - for over a thousand years.  They kept their traditions, quietly, to themselves.  No more merry Christmas in stores?  That's okay, say it to each other.  No more crosses displayed in public?  You can wear one under your shirt.  No more praying?  You can pray in private.  That gun an offense to have visible?  Keep it under cover.  Cut out the bumper stickers and the facebook posts, keep quiet when people attack and slander you, you know what is right and true inside.  Survive and wait for the future, when you will prosper rather than survive.
And work, work hard.  Produce, do the best you can.  Be good at what you do, quietly and humbly.  If you make shoes, make the best shoes you can and sell them for a fair price.  Eventually some people will hate you for it - just ask Jews about that.  But in the meantime you're building a future, setting things aside, and preparing for when Israel returns.  That's what the Jews planned for: some day they would have their home.  And that's what we have to do, work toward our own Israel.

NO EXCUSE
Another lesson from the Jews is to give no excuse.  Christians used to know and live this well, its a lesson taught repeatedly in the New Testament but largely ignored today.  Live a life that gives your enemies no excuse to attack you.  Live a life of virtue and do right, so that accusations have to be falsified to demonize you.  Remember that wave of Republican politicians and evangelical leaders in 2006 that were revealed to be perverts and hypocrites?  Remember General Patraeus who suddenly was shown to be an adulterer?
Don't give them that leverage.  Don't give them an easy angle to attack you.  Live a life consistent with your confession, do the right thing.  Stay out of trouble and under the radar, and force them to lie to get you if they have to.  General Patraeus was almost certainly one of the big sources for information about Benghazi and the horrific lies and incompetence there, and they had an easy handle to grab him with.  Those politicians and evangelicals were inconvenient for the left, and they all had weaknesses to exploit.  Don't be that guy.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL
Okay, sure, you're a conservative, you think virtues are important and you won't be fooled (again).   You aren't going to fall into the trap.  But your children, well... Sultan Knish (via American Digest) puts it this way:
...progressives have few children of their own. Your children are their children. If they can corrupt your children, then they have a future. If they cannot, then they will go off and die in a corner.
The left kills their own children, except a few for show.  Mostly they adopt little brown children from other nations so they feel like they are liberating an oppressed other.  But they still feel that need to breed and pass on their ideas, so they do it with your kids.  They do it through culture and education and music and literature, through every single venue in the world.  An old article at Speak Up I've been sitting on for a while now notes:
The late American philosopher Richard Rorty (d. 2007) in describing his assessment of the role of university professor wrote:  “When we American college teachers encounter religious fundamentalists, we do not consider the possibility of reformulating our own practices of justification so as to give more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures.  Instead, we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization.”  The re-education imperative is one that he, “like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, invoke when we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.”  Rorty explains to the “fundamentalist” parents of his students:  “we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable.”  He helpfully explains that “I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents.”
Its not that every teacher in every school is this way, its that the leadership and many of them are, even if they aren't aware of it.  They want to reshape your kids because what you believe in is not just mistaken or different but evil and must be crushed.  They don't want to address you logically and debate, they want to turn you into a caricature and destroy you.  Consider this video by Stephen Crowder about how people are secretly Republicans:
The truth is, most people do still basically agree with the right on many issues, but they have been so successfully convinced of a lie about the right they just can't bring themselves to show it.  I'd vote for this guy because he says everything I agree with but he's a Republican, gawd.  Its over with.
You have to teach your kids, raise them to be distinct from the culture around them, while not being separate.  The trick is to not make them Amish, but to make them Jewish.  They need to be different, but in the world.  Christians have been trying to do this for almost 2000 years - to be in the world, but not of the world.  Its tough.  You cannot expect your kids to accept the culture and ideas they are brought up with if they are immersed in and taught by people who hate you and mock you continually.  Kids respond well to sarcasm and mockery - if you make something seem stupid and lame, no arguments change that.
If we can teach our kids well and raise them right, if we can pass on conservatism to the next generation and keep that going, then eventually, things have a chance at being turned around, when the rebuilding starts.  Its a matter of generations, not years.  We'll be dust in the ground before our grandkids are elderly and see a chance of it happening, but that's how long it took the left to win this victory.  They started in the late 1800s, not in the 1960s.  It took them that long to get us here.  The only way we can repair this is to take the long view too.
And that long view means future generations.  If we steal the left's ability to turn our kids into their subjects, they will starve on their own.  Immigration is a double-edged sword; almost all Hispanic immigrants are strongly conservative on social issues, for example.  The left's hope is to turn kids into like-minded sponges. That means not only do we have to fight for our kids, but the rest of the nation's kids, too.  
That means aggressive, courageous entrance into the system.  Not politics, but entertainment.  Not as leaders, but as teachers, writers, directors, and so on.  It took a long time before Hollywood became a leftist propaganda machine.  It wasn't until the 70s when the left basically took over education.  They fought and fought for almost a century before the left finally gook over.  We can't run away entirely from the culture around us, but we have to make sure we keep our kids from drowning in it in the process.
If we can do that, if we can out breed and keep our kids straight and true, then it won't take very many generations to just outnumber the opposition.  The alternative is idiocracy, where we have a few kids and they breed like crazy, and it doesn't matter how true and right we are.  The truth is, its selfish and wrong to refuse to have kids if you're a Christian and/or a conservative.  You have a responsibility to the future.
CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENT
Civilization is the historical oddity, not the norm.  Most of the time, in most places, for as long as humans have been on earth, we've had little civilization and it rarely lasts long.  Every major civilization in the past has died, usually because of its benefits: they got fat and happy and comfortable and lost all the virtues that made the civilization to begin with.
Look at how fast technology and learning has grown in the last 200 years.  We went from horses to moon landings in 100 years.  We went from horses to cars in 25.  We went from counting on our fingers to computers in 50.  We went from telling stories by voice to reading them on Kindles in about 150.  Why suddenly?  Even the most limited theories say humans been on the planet for thousands of years, so why this explosion in only the last few centuries?
Because disaster is the norm, too.  Every time a civilization or culture began to become major, something ghastly would happen to destroy it.  Earthquake, plague, war, famine, volcano, there are a host of ways it can all go horribly wrong, and almost always does.  Each civilization in the past accomplished wonderful things.  Babylon had steam-powered doors on their temples.  The Greeks invented calculators.  Rome had sewers and running hot water, a mail system, fire department, police, and a sophisticated monetary and economic system.  It took most of a millennium before western civilization had a fire department and police again.  Mail didn't get really going for a thousand years.  Road building was so good in Rome that those roads still exist, but it was lost so bad only in the last century have we gotten back to it.
Think we're beyond that?  Even if the slow grind of sloth and parasitical culture doesn't grind us down, think about this: there is no real way to shield our electronics from a solar flare.  If we have a big one - and scientists are certain we're due - it would be like an EMP device detonated on the entire planet at once.  That means it would fry every single server, computer, cell phone, electronic station, power plant, television, and memory device in the world.  All of them, except the very few that are hidden away.
Imagine waking up one morning to no power, no internet, no radio, no phone, no television.  How long would it take to rebuild all that, especially given our current culture and attitudes about work?  How long before the world turned into Mad Max?
Augustine wrote a great book called The City of God which covers this situation quite well.  He wrote it just as Rome was being destroyed by barbarians, and the whole western world watched in shock and horror.  Christians thought the world was ending and were terrified, unable to think of what to do.
Augustine wrote that they should accept what was happening and understand that it didn't make any difference to their faith - that was based on God, not political events.  
Yes, it was an almost incomprehensible disaster to see the seat of civilization collapse.  Rome brought order, roads, medicine, literature, art, music, and civilization to everywhere it went.  It was a rough sort of civilization, but it was far less rough and far more civilized than the areas it conquered.  But civilization never lasts.
What does last is our knowledge and our culture.  We can maintain that through any disaster, if we try.  And the only way to do that is to recognize the hardship we face, and keep our children close.  I've exaggerated things a bit in this, to make a point, and that point is this: things are worse than we think and are ready for, and we must be prepared, because to do otherwise is to lose everything.
Nobody expected the soviet officers to kick in their door and drag them away.  Nobody expected the Nazis to turn out like they did.  And by the time people understood, it was too late to prepare.  I don't see any rational basis for expecting things to get that bad here... but preparing for things to be worse than they turn out doesn't hurt you at all.  Failing to prepare for things being worse than we expect is deadly.
Do you think I'm being hysterical, that I've lost it, that I'm a lunatic?  I hope you're right.  I would love to be totally wrong about this.  But it certainly doesn't hurt you to be ready in case I'm not.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t think your concerns are overblown. We are headed on a course that is not sustainable; either fiscally or culturally. We have gone past the point where gentle course corrections would put us on a more sustainable trajectory.
Fiscally, our governments (federal, state and local) have promised too much to too many, and perhaps worse, they have done it in a way that creates the illusion that meeting these obligations doesn’t depend on the health of the economy. Setting aside Social Security, I have no defined pension benefit; I’ll be largely dependent on retirement savings in 401K and IRA accounts. These only prosper when the economy in general does well (I realize that for any nit pickers reading this that a sophisticated and lucky investor can make money short selling or through puts in a bad economy, but those aren’t typically available in 401Ks and not common in IRAs). I’m exquisitely sensitive to the need for a vibrant, growing economy.
The problem is that there are trillions in pension benefits due to people who labor under the misguided assumption that they will collect them if the economy goes in the toilet. They believe they can vote for any silly, feel-good policies, no matter what damage those policies do to the companies in which their pension funds are invested, or to the employees of these companies that pay the taxes to fund government pension funds, etc. The connection is not direct, but ultimately government pensioners are deeply dependent on the private economy.
The good news is that with the exception of government workers, an increasingly large percentage of private industry workers will depend on 401Ks for a large part of retirement. They need to be educated that they need to balance the desire for whatever social objectives they want with the economic damage that arises from excess regulation, etc. Government workers need to be put on a pension diet. It should max out at about $36k and a 401K type investment should be promoted to them if they want a larger retirement income. That will help align their interests with the people who fund their pension.
As much as we are now fixated on the “fiscal cliff”, the more challenging problem may be cultural. We are fragmenting and splitting apart. Societies and cultures evolve, so I have no illusion about trying to defend the status quo, but I am deeply invested in wanting to see us improve. I don’t think we are improving, so I am concerned.
I think one of the root causes is the rise of “moral relativism” in conjunction with the rather contradictory conviction by some of our elites that our culture is deeply flawed and not worthy of emulation. You end up with the weird belief that all cultures are equal, except ours which is worse. There is room for improvement, but we are integrating beliefs into our society that are antithetical to our core ideals in order to demonstrate our commitment to multiculturalism.
We are a gluttonous society, afraid to discriminate in our tastes, so we swallow anything shoved in our face whether nutritious or toxic. I fear some of what we have ingested can only be expelled by vomiting it out.
I vaguely remember the summer of 1968 when many cities were convulsed in mindless riots. It’s hard to tell if that will happen again, but it would not be unprecedented. I don’t know how it will transpire, but a major change is inevitable. I’m hoping it will be merely abrupt, and not violent.
HK

8:00 AM, December 13, 2012  
Blogger pdwalker said...

No, I think you are being optimistic.

5:06 PM, December 26, 2012  

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