Trump and Curiel

I know I’m late to the game here, but I find this ginned-up outrage over Donald Trump’s comment about Judge Curiel tremendously irritating. I would chalk it all up to mere cognitive dissonance, of the sort that is essential to maintaining a modern Leftist worldview, but it is really nothing more than another salvo in a hot propaganda war. That many soi-disant conservatives have piled on makes it all the worse. I understand the natural conservative impulse for civility and decorum very well indeed — I feel it strongly myself, and Donald Trump’s habitual coarseness bothers me too — but the stakes are high here, and they are missing the real point in all of this, and choosing the wrong side.

It is a hobby-horse of the Left that race and heritage have a permanent and irresistible effect on one’s worldview. For example, the United Church of Christ — an influential mainline Protestant organization — recently published a list of “10 ways you can actively reject your white privilege.” Rule #10 says:

Recognize that you’re still racist. No matter what.

That’s because you’re white. Period.

Look at the aporetic collection of propositions the Left insists on:

1) Race is purely a social construct, with no underlying reality.

2) To assume, merely because of his race, that any individual instantiates any particular cognitive or behavioral properties is racism.

3) Racism is a very great evil, perhaps the greatest evil.

4) White people are all racist: not because of any remediable beliefs or behaviors, but intrinsically and forever, because of their race.

From which it follows, of course, that:

5) White people are irremediably evil.

Much has been made of Sonia Sotomayor’s comments on diversity in the courts. In 2001, the future Justice gave a speech at the annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley. (Her remarks there were transcribed by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.) Among other things, Ms. Sotomayor said (my emphasis):

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle.

I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Included therein are the following assertions:

1) Judging is not, contrary to what we would like to imagine, impartial. Our personal differences will affect our judgment.

2) Those personal differences are due not only to our cultural embedding and affiliation, but may also be innate (or, in Ms. Sotomayor’s word, “physiological”).

3) “Wisdom” — which is what we seek above all in judges — is not an objectively existing singularity upon which all lines converge, but varies according to the innate and cultural starting-points from which one begins the process of reason.

4) A Latina judge will, in some cases, therefore reach a different conclusion from a white male.

5) That conclusion will, according to the biases, preferences, axioms, and tribal affinities of Sonia Sotomayor, be better that whatever a white male would have done.

There is also a sixth assertion, over which the official organs and supplicants of our modern liberal secular religion swooned with approval:

6) To install a Latina judge on the basis of this argument is therefore a blow against white, male hegemony, and a great leap Forward in our society’s moral progress.

We could argue about Ms. Sotomayor’s assertions on their merits. (I certainly agree with some of them myself.) We like to imagine that the judiciary is impartial and wholly rational; that it is, as in John Roberts’ words, just an umpire calling balls and strikes strictly according to the law. But Ms. Sotomayor is right: there can never be a universal definition of “wise”. (I’ll note, in passing, that this piece of meta-wisdom probably comes as close to universality as it’s possible to get.) She is also right, I think, that “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences… our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” Indeed, her stated opinions lead quite naturally — perhaps inexorably — to a conclusion that I’ve expressed before in these pages: the conclusion that, rather than race being a social construct, societies are racial constructs.

If Ms. Sotomayor is right, then the extent to which it is possible for judicial wisdom to harmonize with ambient cultural wisdom depends, quite obviously, on the unity of the culture itself. As the culture fragments and disintegrates, a necessary consequence is that the judiciary increasingly becomes a battleground-by-proxy for the factions, tensions, and incompatible worldviews that divide the nation as a whole. The West is very far along, now, in that mortiferous sequence.

All that Donald Trump has done here is to take up Ms. Sotomayor’s principles and to apply them consistently to Judge Curiel. Why, then, is Ms. Sotomayor celebrated, and Mr. Trump reviled? Given Mr. Curiel’s tribal and political sympathies — of which he has made no secret — it is entirely reasonable to think that he would have profound antipathy to a presidential candidate who has spoken so frankly against the very causes that Judge Curiel so actively supports.

Mr. Trump is a blunt man; it seems often that he has no unexpressed thoughts, which is hardly an asset in a statesman. But he is also, in his way, a man of sharp discernment (can one be both blunt and sharp at the same time?), and his disregard of bien-pensant fictions, and his willingness to express unsayable truths, are the basis of his broad appeal. Mr. Trump might easily have found less controversial ways to approach Judge Curiel’s almost certain bias in the case against him, and his remarks have alienated many Republicans who might otherwise have supported him. But his brazen disregard for taboo will almost certainly increase the passion of those who support him as a disruptor of the sclerotic political and cultural status quo.

I’m fond of quoting George Orwell. Here’s another:

In times of universal deceit, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act.

Sadly, we live in such times.

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38 Comments

  1. Malcolm,

    2) To assume, merely because of his race, that any individual instantiates any particular cognitive or behavioral properties is racism.

    […]

    4) White people are all racist: not because of any remediable beliefs or behaviors, but intrinsically and forever, because of their race.

    From these two propositions, which the Left insists on, does it not follow that all Leftists are racist, and, by proposition 5), evil as well?

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  2. JK says

    Thanks for linking to that “List of Ten Things …”

    Number Four particularly;

    Never invite POC to the table for the sake of claiming diversity.“Diversity” is now a buzzword and “diversity work” is a very profitable industry.

    No shit.

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  3. JK says

    I might, and I would take pains to acknowledge my innate racism – too, my privileged existence – add something to the stew that … (“stew” … please folks, I don’t mean to be dismissive in any culturally mis-appropriating way) that; being as we’re all mere riders on the planet of Brave New World;

    Anyway I ought bring (as a public service) to this readerships’ attention, there’s a new word y’all ought be familiar with (but, and it only applies if you’re white) even if we can’t use this newish word:

    It should be noted that CultureGraphically Cultural Citizens and Sleeping Giants in the Black community would typically not be familiar with this term.

    http://culturalhealth.blogspot.com/2007/11/what-is-meaning-of-hotep.html

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  4. To borrow (steal?) Kevin’s clever conjecture:

    I guess this is a bad time to make a “POC palindrome” pun.

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Henry,

    From these two propositions, which the Left insists on, does it not follow that all Leftists are racist, and, by proposition 5), evil as well?

    Well, yes, of course it does. That’s why in recent years the Left has added a new axiom. I should have added it to the aporetic collection.

    7) The white race is innately different from all other races, in that only members of the white race can be racists.

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm,

    Ah, yes, the old standby of last resort — fiat!

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  7. How to personalize an impregnable worldview, in three easy steps:

    1) Assemble all your favorite biases; any order will do.

    2) Have your stable of logicians locate all the contradictory constructs.

    3) Plug all the contradictions (wait for it) by fiat!

    Got it.

    Posted June 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  8. Tim says

    Malcom, your writing reminds me of Lawrence Auster. I mean that as very high praise.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 1:20 am | Permalink
  9. Musey says

    Malcolm, I have a problem with you lumping together the issues of race, physiology and gender, seemingly giving them even weight. Most Mexican people, male or female, would have a problem with Donald Trump. Physiology and gender are very closely related, so to my mind you’re playing the gender card twice.

    When you mix up all this stuff with the ravings of some religious group, and you do it so cleverly..you weaken your argument. Very few white people accept that they are racist just because some Christian group tells them that they are, by definition. I have Jehovah’s Witness fools on my doorstep every few weeks. They sincerely believe their message and so I try to be polite, but I don’t take them seriously, and neither would I use their ideology or doctrine, to bolster up my personal theories.

    White people do not, on the whole, think that they are racist and they’re not going to be told by some United Church of Christ adherents that they are.

    I’m sure you do write like Lawrence Auster. That’s how you get away with writing stuff that is clearly wrong, and how some will believe you. You just say it so beautifully.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 3:37 am | Permalink
  10. whitewall says

    “When you mix up all this stuff with the ravings of some religious group, and you do it so cleverly..you weaken your argument. Very few white people accept that they are racist just because some Christian group tells them that they are, by definition.” Well, which is it? A raving religious group or a Christian group. UCC is hardly raving, it is prominent and has deep roots which are heavily German in origin. This denomination also sided with the pro same sex “marriage” side. UCC is certainly not alone is this new “progressive Christianity” that is eating away at our social fabric.

    There are too many delicate Republicans these days who still, in spite of the last 8 years, seem to believe that the forces arrayed against them are decent and reasonable souls who just want what is best for the country. This view is beyond naive and the actions of Obama and the entire apparatus supporting him have made themselves quite clear. For these Rs who claim to be taken aback, there is almost nothing that will open their eyes, so we get a crude vulgarian like Trump as the messenger from the unwashed masses–no more velvet glove approach to the threat.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  11. Troy says

    I practiced law for 10 years. Out of the three branches, I have the most contempt for judges. They should not be immune from criticism and pointing out their conflicts of interest is fair game. And if someone does have to point out you have a conflict of interest, you are already a f@$# up.

    But Courts have developed.. well, myth isn’t the right word. It is about respect for the integrity of the court. Well the court doesn’t have any integrity. The laws are a sham and written by oligarchs. Judges rule in contradictions.

    Why should we respect judges, they took a key part in the destruction of the republic.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  12. Tim says

    I want to post the following on my FB feed but am chickening out because it could hurt my job:

    “Without commenting on the election itself, I think it’s disturbing the casual disdain that coastal elites (including many of my friends) have for Middle America. With 92 million Americans over the age of 16 out of work, declining median wages, rampant drug use, and hugely widening disparities in wealth between the 1% and the 99%, it’s not hard to see why policies favoring economic protectionism and restricted immigration are popular. Combine these with the doubling of the national debt in the past 8 years, which everyone on both sides is now casually ignoring, and America has enormous structural problems that cannot easily be tossed away with sneering allegations of racism. Regardless of who wins the election, without addressing these issues on a fundamental level, they will only grow in importance in the future.”

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  13. JK says

    Adding to Troy’s (*Note: I never “practiced” law [as an “Insider per se”] & am not a lawyer and TRY not to even seem to be a lawyer on the Internet!)

    However: I am of the general opinion Everybody Knows (and has known for a long time) that the practice of Judge Shopping is and has, a long and well-established tradition.

    (Qualification: I have been remunerated by a lawyer or three to do research that “might offer insight” on the direction a particular Judge might tend. Making every* effort of course, to be open and transparent [and within the bounds of the legal] as I made my travels through the muck.)

    But Courts have developed..;.well myth isn’t the right word.

    I agree. “Myth” isn’t the right word.

    ***

    Musey?

    Your gunscope’s field is too narrow. “Religious ..’Affiliations’.. aren’t the only groups where the phenomena you describe takes place. As a “for instance” Bookmark the below links; read, over some appreciable period both the articles but especially the comments then – come back and report to us, your findings.

    http://www.theroot.com/

    http://www.nclr.org/

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  14. JK says

    Tim? Pay attention to your inner chicken would be, my advice.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  15. the one eyed man says

    It is no more remarkable that Sotomayor’s Latina heritage would inform her judicial rulings than Scalia’s Catholic faith informed his rulings, just as both Justices undoubtedly thought that their backgrounds gave them insights which those with other backgrounds did not have.

    What Trump said was entirely different. In his civil trial over the fraudulent conveyance known as Trump “University,” he said that Curiel could not judge him fairly because he may disagree with Trump about politics. He offered no evidence of bias besides the fact that the Indiana-born Curiel’s parents are Mexican. The case has been going on for a while, and if Curiel has “almost certain bias,” it would have shown up by now. Exactly the opposite: Trump’s lawyers have won on some motions and lost on others, and had praised Curiel’s handling of the case. They never asked for a recusal, which would have been laughed out of court.

    The logical implication of Trump’s remarks, of course, is that only those who agree with Trump’s political views can judge him fairly. By his logic, a Black Panther could demand a jury comprised of black radicals, a Muslim could demand a jury comprised entirely of Muslims, someone in Aryan Nation could demand a jury of virulent racists, Scalia would be disqualified from issuing a verdict on atheists, and so forth. Trump, as is his custom, employs uninformed bluster and bellicosity in defense of his self-interest. It’s nonsense.

    * * *

    What’s up with these captchas? I thought there would be no math?

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  16. Tim says

    one eyed man, that is not correct: Curiel belongs to an organization called La Raza Lawyers; an organization with the stated mission “to promote the interests of the Latino communities throughout the state.”

    Translated, “la raza” means “the race.” Imagine the outcry if white attorneys from Mississippi, such as this author, started a a legal association called “The Race” with the stated mission to promote the interest of white, Southern communities. Hollywood stars and entertainers, such as Bryan Adams, would boycott the state in perpetuity.

    Read more here:

    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/06/06/trumps-questioning-federal-judge-not-racist/

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  17. CanSpeccy says

    Logical analysis of anti-white racism is all very interesting and, so it would seem to me, all very useless.

    The European people, whether in their native homelands, or in the white settler states, are destined for extinction at the hand of their own governments. This will be achieved by a combination of suppressed reproduction through state-funded abortion, compulsory K to university sex “education”, legally and administratively enforced speech control, aka, political correctness, and mass immigration of generally more fertile non-Europeans of mainly reproductive age.

    If anyone doubts this consider Bill Clinton’s remarks at Portland State University, Oregon June 13, 1998:

    Today, largely because of immigration, there is no majority race in Hawaii or Houston or New York City. Within five years, there will be no majority race in our largest state, California. In a little more than 50 years, there will be no majority race in the United States. No other nation in history has gone through demographic change of this magnitude in so short a time … [These immigrants] are energizing our culture and broadening our vision of the world. They are renewing our most basic values and reminding us all of what it truly means to be American.

    So my question is, what, if anything, has philosophy got to offer European people who desire the indefinite continued existence of their own race and culture?

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  18. Malcolm says

    Musey,

    …I have a problem with you lumping together the issues of race, physiology and gender, seemingly giving them even weight… Physiology and gender are very closely related, so to my mind you’re playing the gender card twice.

    First of all, when I speak about the differences between males and females, I’m talking about sex, not gender. Sex, like race, is physiological, and does not stop at the neck.

    Second, I am not playing “cards”. I am distinguishing reality from propaganda.

    Third, The United Church of Christ is not a fringe group, and their Rule #10 — that whites are irremediably racist solely in virtue of their race, and live within a sheltering, invisible emanation called “white privilege”, which they will never transcend — is hardly a fringe opinion on the Left.

    I “have a problem” with many of the things I write about, too. I wish they weren’t so. But to “have a problem” is not to rebut or refute. If I have written something you think is “clearly wrong”, tell me — clearly, and by citing what I have said — what it is.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  19. Malcolm says

    Tim,

    Thank you very much. That is high praise indeed.

    Also, that you fear to post even the mild remark you quoted for fear of reprisal is a grim sign of the times.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  20. Malcolm says

    Peter,

    It is no more remarkable that Sotomayor’s Latina heritage would inform her judicial rulings than Scalia’s Catholic faith informed his rulings, just as both Justices undoubtedly thought that their backgrounds gave them insights which those with other backgrounds did not have.

    Agreed. That was my point, and Sotomayor’s.

    He offered no evidence of bias besides the fact that the Indiana-born Curiel’s parents are Mexican.

    Agreed also. A tactical blunder. It’s worrisome that he is so careless in this way. He certainly has ample basis to request a recusal; the judge, after all, belongs to an organization that’s calling for a boycott of Trump’s businesses on the basis of ethnic resentment.

    The logical implication of Trump’s remarks, of course, is that only those who agree with Trump’s political views can judge him fairly. By his logic, a Black Panther could demand a jury comprised of black radicals, a Muslim could demand a jury comprised entirely of Muslims, someone in Aryan Nation could demand a jury of virulent racists, Scalia would be disqualified from issuing a verdict on atheists, and so forth.

    As I pointed out in this post, this is also the logical implication of Sonia Sotomayor’s remarks, and there’s a lot of truth in it. (This also raises what has been a vexatious question in both British and American legal history: what is the appropriate role of juries? Should they have unlimited power to convict or acquit, even when their ruling ignores law and evidence? At the O.J. trial, for example, one of the jurors gave Simpson the black-power salute after the verdict was read. The same questions apply to judges.)

    Multiculturalism makes all of these natural difficulties worse. It erodes and loosens the horizontal ligatures that bind individuals into a cohesive civil society and social order — and, as I said above, “a necessary consequence is that the judiciary increasingly becomes a battleground-by-proxy for the factions, tensions, and incompatible worldviews that divide the nation as a whole.”

    You don’t have to take my word for it, though: we can see it happening before our eyes.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says

    CanSpeccy (what a curious handle!),

    So my question is, what, if anything, has philosophy got to offer European people who desire the indefinite continued existence of their own race and culture?

    Clarity.

    What people do about their situation is up to them.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
  22. CanSpeccy says

    Re: handle:

    CanSpeccy is derived from “Canadian Spectator,” a name I’d used elsewhere but which was taken, though not used, by another person on Blogger.

    Re: clarity

    That’s a good answer, but it raises the further question, how much clarity does philosophy, as a community of scholars, offer the public? Not much, I would say, (though there are obvious individual exceptions) which raises the yet further question, what are America’s 9,200 philosophy professors doing in the pay of today’s PC academy?

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    CanSpeccy,

    …how much clarity does philosophy, as a community of scholars, offer the public?

    As a community? Not much. (There are, of course, notable individual exceptions.) And how much of the public is listening to philosophers anyway?

    Nevertheless, ideas are upstream from opinions. If I can put a little chlorine in the water, I’m going to do what I can.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
  24. Troy

    “Out of the three branches, I have the most contempt for judges. They should not be immune from criticism and pointing out their conflicts of interest is fair game. […] Well the court doesn’t have any integrity.”

    Thomas Sowell agrees with you. If you haven’t read “The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy”, I recommend it highly.

    Unlike the self-congratulating “Wise Latina”, Sowell, who is indeed a very wise black man, would have made a superior Supreme.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  25. CanSpeccy,

    That’s not how you spell Ken Spacey (Kevin’s cousin :)

    I’m just funnin’ with ya. Welcome.

    Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
  26. Musey says

    Whitewall, some Christian groups are stark staring bonkers. Which is it? It can be both. Christianity is a very broad church.

    Malcolm, no way can I itemize, or pin you down on specifics without spending ages backing up my views which you would instantly rebut because you write better than I do. But, that does not mean that you’re right.

    I would just say that when you’re talking about “sex, not gender” I would appreciate more explanation because to me they’re, at the very least, closely related.

    JK, the homework will have to wait because we have visitors, but I accept that religious groups are not the only bodies that come up with crazy theories. I was responding to the given example.

    I don’t like to ride on the back of OEM’s observations but it did occur to me last night that the Muslim population who are asking for Sharia law to be put in place, and to work alongside but independently of mainstream law encapsulates,or at least reflects Donald Trump’s views. A Mexican man cannot be reasonably expected to be unbiased. Likewise, we need our own system to deal with our little disputes (which you don’t understand) and if we want to give some woman fifty lashes because she did the wrong thing, then that should be allowed because it’s our way. So say British Muslims.

    We must trust that our judges are unbiased and we should all, living in the same country, be subject to the same laws. And should it happen that Mister Trump comes up against a judge, we should (you should) have confidence in that person to be fair and impartial.

    I think there may have been a bit of overnight editing. Malcolm, I’m quite okay with “got it”. I know some people don’t like me, and it’s quite alright. I can, and do, live with my own stupidity every day. They have to live with theirs.

    Posted June 11, 2016 at 6:38 am | Permalink
  27. JK says

    I would just say that when you’re talking about “sex, not gender” I would appreciate more explanation …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwntpO6YoRo

    http://duffandnonsense.typepad.com/duff_nonsense/2016/06/when-idealism-runs-headlong-into-reality.html

    Posted June 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
  28. Malcolm says

    Musey,

    …no way can I itemize, or pin you down on specifics without spending ages backing up my views which you would instantly rebut because you write better than I do. But, that does not mean that you’re right.

    I’m sorry, but saying “you’re clearly wrong about something, but I can’t tell you what or why because you’re a better writer than I am” doesn’t really advance your cause. It also accuses me of mere sophistry, which I don’t appreciate.

    It leaves me thinking that the problem is really that you don’t like the way the things I say make you feel.

    As for “sex” vs. “gender”: sex is objective and biological. Gender, to the extent that the word even has any coherent or consistent meaning anymore, is whatever anyone wants it to be on any given day.

    And yes, I routinely make little edits to posts after I’ve put them up. Esprit d’escalier, if you like.

    Posted June 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
  29. JK says

    https://ricochet.com/podcasts/down-with-shakespeare-they-say/

    Posted June 11, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  30. cecilhenry says

    If any ‘professor’ said the same things about blacks, Orientals or Jews he routinely says about whites, he would be in prison.

    Hatred is evil. But anti-White self-hatred is not only evil, it is also SICK.

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  31. @ cecilhenry,

    I agree with your sentiment. But any flavor of self-hatred is sick — by definition.

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  32. Russell says

    It’s amazing how you take this out of context by not adding in the rest of the article.

    “White people always benefit from institutionalized racism, no matter how anti-racist your ideologies may be.”

    Which, guess what, is true! Oh but having the full context of the article means you can’t whine and complain about “THOSE MEAN LIBERALS!”

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  33. @ Russell

    “It’s amazing how you take this out of context by not adding in the rest of the article.”

    After 30+ comments having multiple commentators, comprising adherents to most (if not all) of the political affiliations, it is virtually impossible to know whom you are addressing with your pronoun “you”. Moreover, I am not sure which article you are talking about.

    As for “THOSE MEAN LIBERALS!”, I can, and I will continue to, both whine and complain about them. Because free country. Last time I checked, which I think was Thursday.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  34. Malcolm says

    Russell,

    “White people always benefit from institutionalized racism…”

    Which, guess what, is true!

    No, it’s utter rubbish. Obvious examples are: affirmative action, lowered written-test standards for hiring of firefighters, police, etc, overruling of suburban zoning regulations in the name of “disparate impact” (much more in the pipeline on that front), preferences for “people of color” in government contracts, and so on.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  35. Malcolm says

    Here’s an apt little excerpt from Part 2 of Mencius Moldbug’s Gentle Introduction:

    Let’s say you were a person who didn’t care at all about the Constitution, and you wanted to take America back to the past and establish a new order of hereditary nobility. What could be more deliciously reactionary than that? Real, live nobles, walking around on the street. So let’s see what it would take to make it happen.

    First, we need to define noble status. Our rule is simple: if either of your parents was a noble, you’re a noble. While this is unusually inclusive for a hereditary order, it is the 21st century, after all. We can step out a little. And nobility remains a biological quality – a noble baby adopted by common parents is noble, a common baby adopted by noble parents is common.

    Fine. What are the official duties and privileges of our new nobility? Obviously, we can’t really call it a noble order unless it has duties and privileges.

    Well, privileges, anyway. Who needs duties? What’s the point of being a noble, if you’re going to have all these duties? Screw it, it’s the 21st century. We’ve transcended duties. On to the privileges.

    The basic quality of a noble is that he or she is presumed to be better than commoners. Of course, both nobles and commoners are people. And people do vary. Individual circumstances must always be considered. However, the official presumption is that, in any conflict between a noble and a commoner, the noble is right and the commoner is wrong. Therefore, by default, the noble should win. This infallible logic is the root of our system of noble privilege.

    For example, if a noble attacks a commoner, we can presume that the latter has in some way provoked or offended the former. The noble may of course be guilty of an offense, but the law must be extremely careful about establishing this. If there is a pattern of noble attacks on commoners, there is almost certainly a problem with the commoners, whose behavior should be examined and who may need supplemental education.

    If a commoner attacks a noble, however, it is an extremely serious matter. And a pattern of commoner attacks on nobles is unthinkable – it is tantamount to the total breakdown of civilization. In fact, one way to measure the progress that modern society has made is that, in the lifetime of those now living, it was not at all unusual for mobs of commoners to attack and kill nobles! Needless to say, this doesn’t happen anymore.

    This intentional disparity in the treatment of unofficial violence creates the familiar effect of asymmetric territorial dominance. A noble can stroll anywhere he wants, at any time of day or night, anywhere in the country. Commoners are advised not to let the sun set on them in noble neighborhoods, and if they go there during the day they should have a good reason for doing so.

    One of the main safeguards for our system of noble authority is a systematic effort to prevent the emergence of commoner organizations which might exercise military or political power. Commoners may of course have friends who are other commoners, but they may not network on this basis. Nobles may and of course do form exclusive social networks on the basis of nobility.

    Most interactions between commoners and nobles, of course, do not involve violence or politics. Still, by living in the same society, commoners and nobles will inevitably come into conflict. Our goal is to settle these conflicts, by default, in favor of the noble.

    For example, if a business must choose whether to hire one of two equally qualified applicants, and one is a noble while the other is a commoner, it should of course choose the noble. The same is true for educational admissions and any other contest of merit. Our presumption is that while nobles are intrinsically, inherently and immeasurably superior to commoners, any mundane process for evaluating individuals will fail to detect these ethereal qualities – for which the outcome must therefore be adjusted.

    Speaking of the workplace, it is especially important not to let professional circles of commoner resistance develop. Therefore, we impose heavy fines on corporations whose internal or external policies or practices do not reflect a solid pro-noble position. For example, a corporation which permits its commoner employees to express insolence or disrespect toward its noble employees, regardless of their relationship in the corporate hierarchy, is clearly liable. Any such commoner must be fired at once if the matter is brought to the management’s attention.

    This is an especially valuable tool for promoting the nobility: it literally achieves that result. In practice it makes the noble in any meeting at the very least primus inter pares. Because it is imprudent for commoners to quarrel with him, he tends to get what he wants. Because he tends to get what he wants, he tends to advance in the corporate hierarchy. The result, which should be visible in any large business without dangerous commonerist tendencies, will be a predominance of nobles in top executive positions.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  36. If there is a point to Moldbug’s writing, I’m just not getting it.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  37. Malcolm says

    Context, Henry.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  38. Ah, so; from contexere. I did well in high school Latin, but not so much in college basket weaving.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink