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And how many siblings?

Mark Steyn points out, quite correctly, that many if not most of the problems of Western society are ultimately demographic:

[Greece] has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren — i.e., the family tree is upside down. In a social-democratic state where workers in ‘hazardous’ professions (such as, er, hairdressing) retire at 50, there aren’t enough young people around to pay for your three-decade retirement. And there are unlikely ever to be again.

And why will there never again be enough young people? You do know where the babies that grow up to be young people come from, don’t you? Young people still like to fuck!

This also points to the vexing question of why there aren’t more youngsters going into the “STEM fields”, the professions where creativity can result in something enduring.

Bluntly: They ain’t gonna get paid.

If you know — know for sure — that if, as a young person, you go into a productive field, you are never going to be rewarded for your productivity because any return will be immediately skimmed off to pay for the three-decade retirement of your elders, what’s the point in learning to be productive? Calling for the younger generation to work harder so as to provide their parents and grandparents with comfort, while they must content themselves with a tiny fraction of the fruits of their labor, is just a call for volunteers for slavery. It’s no real surprise that they’re seen as such, or that the response of the real, ultimately rational young people is “Fuck that for a game of soldiers!” Instead, they angle for their own seats on the gravy train.

The problem is made worse by Progressive ideology. Every society ever has agreed that taking things away from people is Bad, right up to the Socialists, whose initial impulse came from people who noted angrily that Workers weren’t getting their Fair Share of production. Of course there’s a loophole: It’s not just all right, it is positively Virtuous, to take things away from Bad People in order to punish them for being Bad. It is therefore Progressive to define anyone who has things as Bad, in order to justify taking them away. Producers will inevitably have more than parasites, up to the point where what they have is <hiss>redistributed</hiss>. It follows that the productive must be defined as Bad People, in order to justify depriving them of what they have produced — and few want to be Bad, to be seen by society as Evil, so even if they don’t see a future of slaving away for no return they choose the Good by avoiding productivity.

This has long been the case in the STEM fields, especially engineering, where the diligent, creative, and productive have seen the fruits of their labor go largely to Management and other offshoots of politics. What they got in return was job satisfaction. Even if they didn’t get a lot of money, they could point with pride to the bridges and moon rockets they built. I have an acquaintance who is quietly proud that some of the things he made using machine-shop tools are now on Mars, components of the rovers. No more. Newt Gingrich is a wild-eyed visionary! He wants to build moon bases! This cannot be borne! Technical resources must be directed to Saving the Planet, and (not incidentally) preserving the lifestyles of the parasitic classes. It’s not a wonder that young people don’t go into science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Not only are they difficult studies, not only is it clear that they won’t get paid proportionately for their efforts, they won’t even be allowed to build anything cool. No spaceships — it’s gonna be incremental improvements to wheelchairs and portable oxygen generators right up to the point where they’re needing them. This is (ahem!) not a particularly exciting prospect for an enjoyable career.

And I don’t know how many offspring Mark Steyn has, but as an intelligent and rational person he might well have seen this situation coming — and, if he did, might well have concluded that producing another few slaveys or parasites wasn’t worth the effort. How about it, Mark?

Stacy McCain rips most entertainingly into Amanda Marcotte over her anti-endorsement of Santorum. There’s no doubt whatever that Our Amynda is a piece of work with a number of fairly frantic bees in her bonnet, but it’s worth asking how she got that way. Rightists often ask, with visible wonder, how people like Marcotte and Margaret Atwood come up with their extreme and often hysterical views of the Right, and I consider myself a Rightist (of sorts) but totally understand where they’re coming from.

There is a vast chasm of a gap between opposed to abortion and wanting a Law against abortion. The first is both moral and practical. Moral issues are canvassed elsewhere much better than I can manage, but the practical remains stark: You are gonna die someday. The future belongs to those who show up for it, and if you don’t have children you have no future. The second — aaah. The second is what generates Marcottes.

Postulate a Law against abortion. What would have to be done? Well, would the simple existence of a Law stop babies being killed? Of course not. The Law would have to be enforced. There would still be doctors, nurse practitioners, med students, a host of other medical practitioners, and a good-sized number of wannabees providing the service on the sly, and you have to have a way to detect them and put them out of business. The information about how to do it is public on the Internet and elsewhere, and you have to find a way to suppress that. It’s perfectly possible, although damned dangerous, for a woman to do it to herself, perhaps with a sympathetic friend to help, and a method must be found to keep that from happening.

Parsing the Whys and Wherefores, we circle around and come to a conclusion: the only way to stop abortion using a Law is to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, charged with finding out whether any woman is pregnant and preventing her from getting an abortion. Any lesser means will still allow leakers, and experience tells us that any system that allows leaks will eventually allow a flood. Behind all of Marcotte’s sneers and vulgarisms, it is that police force that she opposes; The Handmaid’s Tale describes one alternate version of such a police force, and not the worst version possible by any means. Atwood, too, is opposed to the establishment of such a force — and so am I.

If you want to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, I am your opponent — and I don’t give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn what you want it for. It’s a source of power, and by Rule #3 becomes an attractant for power-seekers who, once ensconced in it, will seek to expand its power without limit regardless of its original function or the reasons for establishing it. Nor do I give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn about your bitching about, e.g., the EPA, which is a marvelous example of a police force seized by extremists and power-seekers who use it for ends its founders never intended. In all the history of the World, there has never, ever, ever been a case in which such a police force didn’t get seized by extremists and power-seekers, and if you want to set up Yet Another Example of a proto-Gestapo (which is what all such are, your excuses about Saving the Children being totally irrelevant), I’m agin it.

I vote for, and generally support, the Right over the Left, and I consider Amanda Marcotte and her ilk to be generally wrong and distastefully nasty in expressing themselves, but I also see, at least in many cases, where the fears that led to their nastiness originate — and they are often, as in this instance, perfectly logical and rational. I don’t like them worth a damn, but if push came to shove I’d be bound to join their camp over the underlying issues. The fact that they have issues requiring the establishment of massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police forces for their own ends just makes it into a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils, and as a general rule the Left at least tends to be honest about it, to the point of delighting in what their goon-gangs will do to opponents if allowed. It’s unattractive as all Hell, but the obliviousness displayed by many “socon” rightists is even more distasteful. If you’re going to rant that consequences be damned if you can save one child you make my trigger finger itch in exactly the same way the Leftists do, because the only difference between you and them is some technical terminology. I have to ally with you because the other causes you support are more in line with my thinking, but it doesn’t mean I despise you any less than I do any other supporter of intrusive meddlers with guns.

All of which is one of the main reasons Left and Right have gotten to be, and stay, neck-and-neck in politics. Independents, whose votes are crucial in any election, tend strongly to have (usually incoherent versions of) the same attitude — there are already plenty of goon squads euphemized as “police forces” out there, and establishing another one is not to be favored. The fact that socons tend to gloss over, or seem oblivious to, the difference between wanting some outcome and establishing a goon squad to achieve an outcome makes them equally, if not more, unattractive to people whose actual wish is to be left the f* alone. It was opposition to such measures that led to “smelly hippies” getting their hands on the levers of power in the first place, and that’s going to keep happening. Examine your Issue. If it means establishing a massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police force in order to accomplish it, I’ll vote for the Other Guy — and I know damned well I’m not alone in that.

Not really, of course, but if you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action[1].

Comes the news that the Romney campaign put together a conference call discussion with media outlets, and the outlets they chose came exclusively from the leftoid-liberal side. Moe Lane is resignedly indignant that no right-leaning outlets were included, and Stacy, The Tech Guy, and Ed Morissey are a little more outspoken. It’s quite true that “left-liberal media” is very nearly a unitary phrase, but c’mon, Romnists — there are some that aren’t quite as far out as Mother Jones.

What the incident points up is that Republicans don’t really lust for death. The Republican leadership longs to be Democrats, or at least to get the kind of coverage from the media Democrats get, and in seeking such favor from the media mavens they betray the “base” they depend on for votes. That being a form of political suicide, it’s easy to conclude that self-destruction is what they intend. It’s the major reason support for John McCain was so lukewarm, and why I, personally, will go out on a limb to add Mitt Romney to the list of people who will never be President of the United States of America. He chooses to appeal to the media gatekeepers, and thereby chooses that I (and a lot of people) will stay home rather than voting for him. Choose the action, choose the consequences.

It’s also the much-sought-for reason for the appeal of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Whatever else can be said of those two, it is impossible to visualize either of them performing the full proskynesis on the sidewalk in front of 620 Eighth, piteously imploring Pinch & Co. to say something nice about them. The primary difference between McCain and Romney in that respect is that John would try hard to build a wall of bystanders to prevent public notice, whereas Mitt would call in the cameras before heading for New York. Flash traffic for all Republican hopefuls: this does not endear you to the hinterlands.


[1] With apologies to L. M. Bujold, who articulated Cordelia’s Law.

“Capital” is the resources taken out of society to form the means of production.

If “Stomp Out Capital” means not doing that any more, it means no production because there are no means of production. “Production” is what most of us eat (and wear, and live in, and…) Before Europeans came to the American continent, the natives didn’t engage in capitalism and had no means of production. They also engaged in continuous violent conflict over resource allocation. Estimates I’ve seen put the number of them, at that time, at about a tenth of the number of people we have now, or fewer — which says the carrying capacity of the North American continent is about that, or less.

So taken literally, “stomping out capital” means killing nine out of ten of the people now alive. Guns and bulldozers are products, output from the means of production, and are themselves things that can be used for production or to facilitate it — capital. If capital is anathema, firing squads and mass graves are Right Out; the killing will have to be managed by attrition, a nice, neutral term for “starving ’em or letting ’em freeze”. My response to that is you first, m– f–s, and that’s the way it would probably work out, anyway. The Sioux had neither Professors of Gender Studies nor the resources to support such societal excrescences, and a society without capital will need warriors to dispute resource allocation, not academics free to pursue their courses of study.

But of course that isn’t what the “Occupy Movement” intends. What they really mean is that farms and factories and the other means of production should continue to exist, so that surplus resources continue to be available to feed the idle, most especially including their good (by definition) selves. They don’t want to “Stomp Out Capital” at all; they want to have it all under the aegis of a single organization — a monopoly.

That exposes the fatal flaw of all socialist-oriented notions: the assumption, maintained by rapid side-shuffles and handwaving, that there is a fundamental moral and existential difference between “Government” and all other forms of human organization. “The Government” == “The People”, or so they’ll tell you. That’s a hole aspiring Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Mellons can drive a truck through, and they do. Preventing the custodians of resources from dipping into them for their own benefit makes ordering back the tide look like a trivial exercise. Nancy Pelosi used The People’s resources to ferry her dog back and forth between San Francisco and Washington in a private jet, and there are plenty of examples of that kind of thing regardless of whether (R) or (D). Do you really suppose that, e.g., Jeff Immelt would have fewer perquisites and privileges as People’s Commissar for Electrical Equipment (North-East Region) than he does as President of General Electric? It is to bitterly chuckle.

What’s even more ironically amusing is that the Occupiers’ most vocal complaint is against the early stages of transferring custody of the means of production to Government control. The bureaucrats who will be taking over know nothing about the process, so they will have to be taught; the obvious way to do that is to co-opt the existing management into Government to facilitate the transition — “crony capitalism”. A pseudo-Marxist Government is neither more nor less than crony capitalism taken to the utmost degree. Marx himself was aware of that, which is why he did so much handwaving about “the Proletariat” as distinct from “Government”. However, he never defined a mechanism whereby the Proletariat could manage the means of production — and there isn’t one. Enterprises require day-to-day hands-on management that cannot be done by committee, let alone a Committee of the Whole People. That means the Proletariat must appoint deputies to do that for them, and such deputies constitute a Government, by definition. The obvious candidates for the posts of deputies to manage the means of production are the ones who are doing it now — “crony capitalism”.

So what does OWS want? Mass murder, or monopoly as an extension of crony capitalism? The answer is “both”, depending on which OWSer you ask.

The mass of the movement is composed of people who haven’t thought the matter through. Such people see what they consider to be injustice (correctly, in many cases), and want to eliminate the structures that support it — but they don’t know or don’t care what the unintended consequences will be. They’ll be wailing in despair that that’s not what they meant, right up to the moment the firing squad puts bullets in their temples.

The leadership, as with all pseudo-Marxist or “socialist” movements, is either as oblivious as their followers or aware and doesn’t give a damn, and it doesn’t matter. Their goal is to be In Charge, largely because of the egotistical notion that they could do much better than the existing managers, but in many cases because they want the privileges of being Boss (hello, Mr. Obama). Ignore their speeches. They don’t want to destroy the System, they want to control it, and the ones who want power for themselves have the advantages of stronger motivation and a better handle on the process than the naifs who think they can Eliminate Injustice by getting their hands on the levers. If the process is allowed to proceed, sooner or later a truly determined individual will emerge to take absolute control. Since such a person will have to be obdurate and unbending, I suggest that we call him “Steel”.

 

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