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AvatarComments by Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq*

On “The Politics of Survival: Putting Yourself in a Box

If, as you say, our social welfare net has grown larger over time, and we are also at the same time a large multicultural society, wouldn't that falsify the
"social welfare doesn't work with monoculture" argument?

And while liberals don't especially trust the Trumpers, notice how there isn't any movement to cut off their Social Security or Medicare benefits?
In fact, aren't the liberals trying desperately to deliver expanded social benefits to the Trumpers?

How is it that in a multicultural environment, the tribe in power is trying very hard to deliver benefits to the distrusted minority?

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After 1/6, I think we should be a lot more careful about tossing out phrases like "filter for the ones who are already highly skilled and who don’t have any ties to the various militias slaughtering people over their insane religious beliefs."

Because what the Trump era has taught us is that the most dangerous and insane groups are not ignorant 3rd World villagers or gap toothed hillbillies, but people with Harvard degrees and who run large businesses.

The Trump administration, and the howling mob that stormed the Capitol were chock full of Ivy degreed and high powered lawyers, surrounded by doctors, engineers, professionals, all well educated and prosperous people from the elite class.

And yet they were every bit as deranged and dangerous as the 9-11 hijackers (who were themselves also from the educated elite class).

We can't "filter" these people out because they form the warp and woof of the American fabric.

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First, the New Deal welfare benefits WERE massive, when you figure in the CCC, WPA, TVA, and various other make-work and subsidy programs. Yet somehow they didn't provoke a wave of freeloading immigrants.

Second, we have fewer foreign born immigrants today than we did in 1915.
Have you read any of the hysterical anti-immigrant writings of those times, which assured us we were on a path to cultural genocide?

How come that didn't happen?

And isn't the greatest cultural tension between two groups of native-born Americans? One of the staple complaints of the conservatives is that people like Chip are more comfortable around a Somali Muslim than a Texas Trumper.

Your writing suggests a sort of cultural essentialism, like an Irishman or Somali is forever an Irishman or Somali, and that cultural differences can never be bridged.

But the history of America flatly contradicts this. Throughout our history, even during the periods of greatest social welfare programs, we have been a multicultural nation, the most diverse in the world, and none of the predicted calamities ever occurred.

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Why do you say the Okies wanted to be Californians?

Look at an electoral map of California and tell me how it went. The map of "Trump voters" aligns perfectly with the map of "Where Okies landed".

I keep harping on this because all this talk of the dangers of multiculturalism is being spoken by the very same people who admonish us to be more sensitive to the culture of rural Trumpists.

The same people who despair about how a Somali Muslim will ever adapt to modern America, are the same people who feverishly pass around pictures of Jesus and Santa Claus laying hands on Donald Trump.

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But enough about the Okie influx to California!

No, I'm being serious here. Okies were a despised group of culturally hostile foreigners in the Depression era, and Los Angeles police erected a "Bum Blockade" to keep them out.

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WW2 forced FDR to stop messing with the economy.

He stopped.
Messing with the economy.
During World War II.
FDR did.

Really?

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Why wonder? Why don't we we apply this theory to America circa 1910-1940, when there was a large wave of immigrants, followed by a massive social welfare scheme.

What does the theory say should have happened?
What actually did happen?

For extra credit: What were some of the similarities of reaction in America in the 1920s to what is happening in Sweden currently? How did America ameliorate those reactions?

For extra-extra double secret probation credit: Apply the theory to the large wave of Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970s, at the peak of lavish welfare programs in America, and discuss the reactions of domestic tribal groups to the newcomers. How did this all work out?

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Is there any way that a nation can become a one out of many, an unum out of pluribus?

To be blunt (and politically incorrect) is there any way that the uneducated bitter clingers in ruralia can be made into type A hardworking strivers like Mexican immigrants?

Or do we follow Kevin Williamson's advice and just cut them free to find their own way out?

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I keep hearing this stuff about "monoculture"- How does that work to make social welfare schemes easier?

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The living standards of the average Russian citizen increased massively between 1918 and 1988.

By the time of Gorbachev, most Soviet citizens lived longer, healthier lives in greater consumer comfort than many people in the capitalist countries.

Using the same standards we use for "global free trade", Communism lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and therefore is proven to be a success.

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*two guys arguing*

"Let's have a minimum wage!"

"No, that's socialism! Besides, Norway doesn't have a minimum wage, instead they have a social welfare scheme and heavy business regulation."

"Fine, let's have a social welfare scheme and heavy business regulation."

"That's socialism!"

*throws chair*

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What frustrates the ideologues is that public schools produce some of the very best outcomes, and also the worst.

Charter and private schools for that matter, also produce the best and worst outcomes.

Come to think of it, quasi-public, unionized entities like the Postal Service provide about the same level of quality and price as private, non union entities like Fed Ex.

Ideology often assumes that political structures operate like algorithms or machines; You input this data or condition at one end, and it spits out a predictable outcome at the other end, varied only by the rules and mechanisms in between.

But they don't, really.

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Here in the People's Republic of California, marijuana is legal and sold in stores like candy.

Somehow, the same overweening and heavyhanded government that bans the sale of unpasteurized milk, somehow allows the sale of marijuana.

The editors of Reason are diligently at work to explain this paradox.

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Or to put it another way:
Chip sowing at 6PM on May 29: "Ha ha, eff yeah! DEFUND THE COPS!"
Chip reaping later that night facing a raging mob outside his building: "What the eff. This effing sucks. Where are the cops?"

Trying to discuss government in terms of size or "heaviness" gets us nowhere, because the two poles form a false dichotomy.
It isn't a slide between "Cops rampaging with impunity" and "Mobs burning with impunity".

Governments, good and bad, are simultaneously heavy in one area and light in others.

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People also like the "You are obliged to defend my rights" part, I think.

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What I find oddly surprising is the abject lack of traction for a platform of freedom from an overweening, heavy-handed government.

Odd, really?

Who here feel the heavy hand of an overweening government? Seriously in your everyday life, where are you being weighed down? What is it that you wish to do that you aren't, or what are you compelled to do that you would wish not?

I hear people often say stuff like this, and it just passes unchallenged like "those clown in Congress", one of the tropes that everyone says without thinking.

On “On Writing of Wrongs

Federalism is limited by Constitutional rights, and the modern marketplace demand for uniform markets.

The Constitutional guarantee of rights doesn't come in fifty flavors and Ford doesn't want to sell fifty types of pickups.

Various states can tinker around the edges of the Second Amendment or Roe, and add this or that doohickey to the emissions system of cars, but only in very limited ways.

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Exactly, which only points up the silliness of any secession talk.

Any independent state or even group of states could only survive by developing a greater degree of cooperation and reciprocity with its neighbors, not less.

Seceding because you can't stand Those People is absurd when suddenly Those People now have the power to shut down your economy.

Divorce is a game you win by not playing.

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Sure, and be at the mercy of the Antifa hordes on the commanding heights of Capitol Hill to sap and impurify all of their precious bodily fluids.

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I'm not sure what you mean by the "language of Truce and Plurality".

When was that, and what might be some examples?

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But Sir! We must not allow a carrier gap with Greater Portlandia!

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This is the point I'm making above, that America has always been in a simmering cold war between its factions, and the peaceful transfer of power has always been precarious.

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The Tulsa Massacre, the Matewan Massacre, the US Army taking control of Gary Indiana and declaring martial law, a lynching almost every week, the Klan virtually running the Indiana state government.

Point being, American history is astonishing violent from the viewpoint of us who only experienced the post WWII prosperity.

And yet the 1920s are looked back on with nostalgia. Claire Briggs certainly didn't think he was living in a nation beset with Troubles or civil strife, but he did.

We don't have to game this out or use our fortune telling prognostication powers. America has already experienced convulsions of polarization and violence on a large scale.

The good news is America survived and became a better place.

The bad news is the victory wasn't inevitable and the outcome could have been much worse.

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America, circa 1920 would be a suitable example.

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Loose talk of divorce or war also has the anesthetizing property of conjuring up Hollywood science fiction scenarios- Plucky teenager Katniss Evergreen shooting helicopters or something.

By being so otherwordly and alien, it has the effect of seeming unreal and un-possible and therefore soothing.

But a more likely scenario is just the long gray cold war struggle of other nations; Less violent than Beirut or Yugoslavia, but maybe something like Northern Ireland in the Troubles.

The show Derry Girls on Netflix does a good job of showing how normal life can be during Troubles; Where the recurring patter of shootings and occasional car bombings just fades into the background wallpaper of daily life, and going on holiday means passing through numerous checkpoints of armed military vehicles.

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