Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Our Democracy" -- What is it Really?

“We need you to take this seriously. Our democracy is at stake. Elections matter. Voting matters.”  Barack Obama, November, 2017

From community organizer to President of the United States – now, back to community organizer. Obama cast these pearls of wisdom (above) before an adoring crowd in Richmond during a Virginia Governor election campaign stop. The ex-President continues to be a walking compendium of clich├ęs of which he seems determined to flaunt as profundities. Vacuous they may be – nevertheless, they have served him well – to wit, the culmination of Obama deep thought –“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Unlike other ex-Presidents, he has eschewed dignified retirement, and so, given his relative youth, many years lie ahead for him to inflict on us the weight of his massive ego and the steady stream of flagrant banalities delivered with all the condescension of an obnoxious adolescent lecturing his captive elders about how to fix that awful mess they have made of the world.

But there is more to Obama’s public interventions than just the usual dispersal of vapid nostrums for consumption by the useful idiots. They still cannot seem to figure out why, after eight wonderful years of Hope and Change, a former real estate mogul and reality show host is now resting his jackbooted feet on the White House coffee tables. Not to mention that poor old Bill Clinton had to disappoint that bevy of future White House interns he had recruited from his flights with Jeffery Epstein on the “Lolita Express.” 

So, Obama is hitting the trail with the scary “Our democracy is at stake.” The former Golfer-in-Chief who defiled the White House with regular guests such as Al Sharpton and criminal rapper, Rick Ross, is the now the basso profundo in the chorus of Chicken Littles intoning the demise of our system of government. You see, “our democracy,” the one that elected him twice, has been mysteriously swept away with the tides of Trumpian Fascism. When you win, it’s democracy in action; when you lose, the sky is falling.

Members of this distinguished chorus are out and about. Recently, Our Revered Lady of Chappaqua waddled into a Toronto bookstore peddling “What Happened” and told the Canucks, now having to stomach the best Canadian Democracy has to offer – Justin Trudeau – that: “Democracy is under attack everywhere. It's not only my country….  But I also want a concerned world to recognize that democracy is under assault.”  Well, no doubt, when Hillary speaks, the “concerned world” wakes up and listens. She can keep her finger on the pulse of the concerned world or whatever other nebulous abstraction that pops into her head, but an ambassador and embassy staff under siege on her watch? What difference does it make, now?

Moving along then toward the immanent collapse of America, there is Former Attorney General under Obama, Eric “My People” Holder who recently told Rachael Maddow that “Our democracy is under attack.” For those with a short memory, Holder was a highly useful Clinton errand boy who helped secure Bill’s notorious pardon of Marc Rich when he was Assistant Attorney General around the time the Clintons were looting the White House on their way out. The quid pro quo? Bill Clinton got a half a million dollars for his Presidential Library from Rich’s ex-wife and Holder would be the new AG in an Al Gore administration. If there were a perfect fit for “deplorable” and “irredeemable” would it be the man who bought the pardon or the man who sold it? Perhaps Hillary could help us out with this dilemma.  From Slate:   
Rich was a pioneering commodities trader who made billions dealing in oil and other goods. He had a habit of dealing with nations with which trade was embargoed, like Iran, Libya, Cuba, and apartheid South Africa. Rich also had a habit of not paying his taxes, to the point where one observer said that ‘Marc Rich is to asset concealment what Babe Ruth was to baseball.’ The United States indicted Rich in 1983, hitting him with charges—tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, trading with the enemy—that could’ve brought life in prison. Rich fled the country.” 

These are the Clintons et al … making “our democracy” work for them. What greater opportunity for the most extravagant cynicism when people like this try to put us into a state of fecal incontinence by prattling about “the assault on our democracy.” This is post-modern politics at its best: every serious activity becomes (wink, wink) a parody of itself. Language is disconnected from reality, its meaning always temporized by the speaker’s relation to power.

The initial temptation is to say that if what we as citizens get out of “our democracy” are the likes of Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Al Franken, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Jeff Flake, then perhaps “democracy” really means “kleptocracy,” and “our democracy” is just a euphemistic bouquet intended to cover the stench wafting up from the capitol city cesspool of corruption and decadence, a special place run by poseurs and hypocrites who devote their energies to self-enrichment by selling political influence to the highest bidder. Added to the injury of their shameless corruption is the insult of their arrogance and condescension, their pretense to wisdom, moral superiority, selflessness and compassion for the oppressed.  
Whatever a serious observer might wish to call what the average citizen gets out of participating in the American political process, a “democracy” is not what would first jump to his mind. Democracies, supposedly, “are states in which all sane adults participate in making political decisions.” (Minogue, Kenneth. The Liberal Mind, 2580-2581. Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.)  By a rough count, there are approximately 200 million registered voters, official participants, so to speak, in U.S. political decision-making. How many of them are sane (or stoned or literate or dead), of course, is anybody’s guess. So then, for each and every one of you, my fellow citizens, your participatory share of American democracy is about 1/200,000,000th. Imagine being informed that you were named a distant heir to an estate worth $200,000,000, then your reaction to learn that you were in the will for a whole dollar. Well, that is how excited you should be about how much power you wield in American politics, or, how worried you should be the next time Obama (taking time out from proof-reading the ghost-writing of his $40 million memoir or Hillary now worth a hundred-plus million from her selfless devotion to women) tells you that “our democracy” is in great peril. 

A more accurate, prosaic description of American politics is that it is a client-patron system. The politicians compete to be patrons (elected officials who sell access to power) for clients (officially designated victim groups). The quid pro quo is obvious: the votes of the victims put the patrons in power; the victims get to be favored by the patrons over non-victims. “Favored” means rent-seeking privileges and political and legal support to leverage your official victim-status for social-professional-economic positioning. The patron also helps his clients with the stigmatization of the non-victims as bigots, those responsible for making the victims into the victims (best to ignore the irony at this juncture). Much of what now passes for political campaigning is simply a language game that separates the victims from the non-victims with code-words (“racist”, “sexist”, etc.) used by the patrons to secure and align their client coalitions and morally isolate the assigned bigots bearing their particular stigmata.

A client-patron approach to politics leads to an escalating state of “victim-inflation” because being a victim (a client) means you get to go to the front of the line. With no patron to advance your claims to victimhood, you to back of the line, if you are lucky to make it to the line at all. Client-patron systems, however, would seem to be highly entropic, moving toward completely disordered and chaotic end states like Venezuela and Detroit.

When Hillary tells her campaign audience that Trump supporters are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it,” she is not simply intending to insult a particular voting block. She is signaling prospective clients that she will be their devoted (vote-purchased) patron who will use her power to assure their protection and favor and to punish the “irredeemables” because punishment is what racists and other designated bigots most deserve. “You name it” is not, I repeat, not a throw away phrase. It is an open invitation for the not-yet-initiated to get in the game, to help themselves and help her to expand her client base – more victims, more favors, more votes, more power … then, more Marc Riches and Eric Holders – fewer deplorables. Welcome to “our democracy”, politics in 21st century America.  If it is under attack, bring it on. Better late than never.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Islamophobobia and the Destruction of Hamtramck

Hamtramck, Michigan is a decrepit town of twenty-two thousand enveloped by Detroit. With forty-nine percent of its people below the poverty line, ancient, crumbling housing stock, and a crime rate that puts it at only 12% safer than all U.S. cities, why has it recently made the “We are the World” propagandists and virtue signalers so ecstatic? Here is a clue. Hamtramck in 2013, All the praises and thanks be to Allah, became the first majority Muslim city in the country with a majority Muslim city council. What better occasion for an edifying celebration of diversity (43 percent of residents born outside of the U.S. with twenty-seven languages in the public schools) and a stern rebuke for the naysayers and bigots who might wonder if the reproduction of Bangladesh and Yemen near the Motor City is a such a good idea?

But why not? Illuminati from the likes of The Nation, Politico and other champions of the voiceless and downtrodden over the past year or so have sojourned to this Mecca-in-the-making. They have seen the future, and have put their “diversity” stamp of glowing approval on it. After dispatching a few interviews, they report to their great relief that the locals are telling them that they are thrilled about this. The massive influx of Muslims, the erection of seven mosques (the most per capita in the U.S.)  and the call-to-prayer blasted out into the streets five times a day into what was once a ninety percent Polish Catholic community, is no big deal. 

Lianna Aghajanian of Teen Vogue (that’s right, Teen Vogue) tootled her way through Hamtramck last February and tells us that “[t]he city has been subject to a narrative full of inaccuracies, but the real story is just how quintessentially American it is.” Just when this crazy old world gets way too hard to understand, leave it to a savant from Teen Vogue to let us in on the “real story.” Now, when more of America becomes as “quintessentially American” as the new Hamtramck, Ms Aghajanian might want to pause a moment in her pursuit of the latest beach ware and think carefully about how the standard current fare in the hypersexualized fashion pages of Teen Vogue such as “Rihanna Responds to Fenty Beauty Fan’s Message About Trans Models” and, the monthly “Lovescope” will go down with the ascension of the Imams and the burka trendsetters.

A couple of months after Donald Trump’s inauguration a reporter from NPR interviewed some Hamtramck non-Muslim residents. Not everyone was gushing about the transformation of the city into “Hamtramistan,” the city’s new moniker.  “The Hamtramck they knew had changed. ‘It's now more like a Bangladeshi town, so, that's a different story,’ says [Alek] Fidler [a Polish American immigrant who came ten years ago]. ‘Seems like, you know, they were basically taking over.’ St. Florian's priest, Miroslaw Frankowski, recalls his first impression of this city when he arrived in Hamtramck about 10 years ago. ‘I’m almost like in Cairo,’ he says, ‘because you know, the call for the prayer — and people covered up under clothing typical for Middle East. Yeah, it seemed like I’m working in Middle East.’ In Hamtramck streets, it’s common now to see women fully veiled, with only their eyes exposed. The amplified Muslim call to prayer was a source of controversy here some years back, and still can raise hackles.” Religion invading the public square? Strangely, the lawyers from the ACLU are nowhere to be found. 

Tom Perkins, however, reporting for The Nation tells us that there is nothing much to report. “In reality, there’s not much tension worth mentioning in Hamtramck….  To the contrary, many of the city’s non-Muslim residents are proud to be a part of a historic first, and reports of tension and conflict are the work of those with an agenda or reporters capitalizing on a hostile national discourse.” Perkins, apparently, doesn’t think it is “worth mentioning” just why these non-Muslims are so proud, but we can take his word for it because we know that reporters from The Nation are far removed from “hostile national discourse” and never operate with “an agenda.”

Here, though, is the nub of Perkin’s non-agenda: “The Western world is experiencing a wave of Islamaphobia, and people want to know what life is like in an American city where Muslims are in charge. This is the first time in decades that the Polish Catholics haven’t run Hamtramck.” The Muslims haven’t been in charge here for very long, so let’s not jump to premature conclusions. Perhaps, however, it is not unreasonable to suggest that those inquiring minds who would like to know what life is like in any place where Muslims are in charge should look at what life is like in places like Mogadishu, Aden, and Dhaka where they have been in charge for a long time. These, I suspect, are not the sort of “model home” communities that exude tolerance, inclusivity and equality of women, the norms so prized by our betters at the Washington Post, NYT and Teen Vogue.

Let us grant for the moment that this wave of Islamophobia is washing over us (more on that in a bit), but does Mr. Perkins ever wonder, given this tsunami of fear and loathing experienced by Muslims in the Western world, why so many of them (by the millions) continue flocking to it? But let’s first get to the heart of his non-agenda, which is – a city in America, at last, “where Muslims are in charge.”   

Here exposed is the foundational premise of the cultural Marxism which is, of course, all about who should be in power (“in charge”) and who should not. The Polish Catholics, Perkins gloats, don’t get to “run Hamtramck” anymore. They might be unhappy about it, but who cares? Get over it! As Chuck Berry would put it: “Roll over Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news.” Out with the old; in with the new. Polish Catholics were part of the problem – the old, oppressive, white, Eurocentric, Christian order – and the historically oppressed Muslims, so stylishly multi-cultural, now in charge, are the solution, the future. Diversity has arrived in rustbelt America, and it is where there is a mosque on every street corner, and all you are allowed to see of the ladies are their eyes.

Hamtramck is the picture of what today’s proud progressives call progress. Presumably, they would be happy to see America increasingly resemble Hamtramck and eager to celebrate the disappearance of an America that took its cultural heritage from Europe and worshipped at Christian altars. A couple of more Hamtramcks in Michigan would likely have put the state in Hillary’s electoral column last November.

As we are now supposed to understand, one form of resistance to “progress” is a pathology known as “Islamophobia” discovered by newspaper columnists, cable-TV talking heads, sociology professors, and Democrat politicians. Phobias, as we know, are diseases of the psyche, irrational thoughts, fears and impulses that turn those who harbor them into disordered and dysfunctional personalities. The consensus of the cognoscenti that “Islamophobia” is now a great affliction of the Western world would suggest that we all now must admit that the West itself is a diseased, pathological entity, and that the only acceptable moral future for West must be a surrender to the “Other,” the East, a Hegelian sort of historical moment. Hamtramck would seem to be a surrender in the miniature, but, certainly emblematic of Der Untergang des Abendlandes, portending the triumph of the crescent over the cross.

But not so fast. We are grappling with agitprop, not psychology. “Islamophobia” does not refer to a real disease or anything real for that matter, but is just a word with a clinical ring to it, contrived by the traducing ideologues firmly entrenched in our opinion-shaping institutions. It is a Shimpfwort, a word of abuse. Its purpose is to rationalize and dramatize their moral outrage and to demonize the subjects of that outrage. After a period of sufficient repetition by the right people, it firmly entrenches itself in the expanding vocabulary of victimhood (“transphobia” has recently made its debut) and sustains the orthodoxy of egalitarian politics with its relentless aggression against hierarchy and Christianity.  

How, in general terms, this “wave of Islamophobia” game of pin the bigot’s tail on the white Christian donkey is played was brilliantly described by the political philosopher, the late Kenneth Minogue over thirty years ago. “In ideological criticism … [there is] a kind of perverse-reverse logic, i.e., condemnation goes before explanation, or, rather the moral precedes the factual. A sort of intellectual show trial. Censure leads to theory rather than theory to censure. But then, of course this is problematic because it is better to discover something that brings condemnation, than to shop around for a theory to support your moral outrage.” (Kenneth Minogue: Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology, St. Martin’s Press, 1985, 58) Stalin’s chief hit-man, Lavrenti Beria, put this concept in the most succinct of terms: “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” Tell Beria who you want to be put in the dock, and he invents the charges. “Islamophobia” is another invention of our contemporary Berias, the “theory” they shopped around for that bolsters their moral outrage with the sins of the West, condemns the unrepentant (the “unredeemables”) and seeks their extinction.

The response to the Islamization of once Polish Catholic Hamtramck – ho-hum by much of America and hip-hip-hooray by the Social Justice Mafioso.  It is a very bad omen.