Category Archives: Politics

Economic Options

Back when I wrote my first post in this series Williamson and the other cucks were accusing everybody who doesn’t like how the current economic system destroys traditional communities and promotes rootless cosmopolitanism is a liberal, because, according to them the inhuman destruction of community and the promotion of rootless urbanism all in the name of greater efficiency is the definition of conservatism.

Clarkhat wondered:

So, today, I’m going to propose some non-socialist, non-liberal, and traditionalist measures that could be potentially taken to stop the rapaciousness of the modern US economy. There is no liberalism or big government in these measures, simply traditional common-sense. I’ve already explained how the market should be restructured on a large scale to be more human, it should be owned, but the following are more practical in nature, and could all be implemented within our current system. (also, keep in mind my points made about the economy and GDP here throughout).

Replace Income Taxes with Tariffs and Consumption Taxes

We could raise tariffs on foreign goods. Trump has mentioned this and many conservatives have pointed out that this is a tax on consumer goods. They’re right but they’re also wrong in that they’re bad.

For the government to function it requires taxes of some sort and I have yet to hear a conservative saying we should entirely eliminate government. So we need taxes. For taxes we have a few options:

Wealth taxes are the worst: they encourage consumption, discourage savings, punish the virtues of planning and thrift, and destroy capital. Corporate taxes are the next worst form of taxation: they are inefficient, they hinder entrepreneurship and production, and the costs are simply passed down to the consumer and employees in the form of higher costs and lower wages. Income taxes and payroll taxes are almost as inefficient: they discourage working, punish labour, and hurt production, they also reduce the amount a worker retains after working. Consumption taxes are the best: they are more efficient, they punish consumption rather production, and they discourage consumerism while promoting savings and thrift.

If we’re going to tax (which everybody but anarcho-capitalists agree we will) we should gain tax revenues from consumption taxes rather than other, worse forms of taxes. Tariffs are a form of consumption tax, but they have an added advantage: they specifically punish the purchase of foreign goods made by foreigners for the profit of foreigners, while general consumption taxes punish all consumption, including the consumption of domestic goods made by domestic workers for domestic profits.

So, if you care about your nation (and if you don’t you are not conservative in any meaningful sense) you should be support tariffs over any other forms of taxation. For any funds needed that can’t be raised through tariffs, we should use consumption taxes. This would have the benefit of promoting the reindustrialization of America and encouraging real growth through savings and investments.

A proper tariffs scheme will also effectively end off-shoring as it would no longer be worthwhile to do so.

Decentralize and Reduce Federal Regulation and Bureaucracy

Conservatives pay this lip service, but rarely do they actually do anything real. Cutting red tape and solving inefficiencies sounds nice to the ignorant, but it is limited. So actually start doing real cuts and and passing more power to the states.

The Department of Education should be immediately eliminated. It serves no purpose and is entirely superfluous, if not actively harmful. Anybody who doesn’t make this a plank of their platform is not meaningfully conservative.

Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services should be rapidly devolved. Agriculture should be eliminated, food safety can be spun off to its own small agency. Transport should be heavily slashed; any ground-based regulations should be devolved to the states. Energy should be eliminated; their laboratories and regulatory functions sold ot devolved and nuclear weapons programs moved to Defence. Labour should be devolved. Commerce should be slashed, limited to foreign trade and statistics. Veteran’s affairs should be placed under Defence, and Defence should be slashed to the point where the US has no more troops in foreign countries we are not enagaged in war with. State should be slashed as the US reduces foreign entanglements.

End Student Loans

I’ve already gone in depth how the tuition bubble is economically raping and enslaving our young, leading to a massive economic waste as people pursue the empty status-signalling of degrees.

If we simply stop all federal student loans (and any other government post-secondary education subsidies) and make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy like all other loans, the problem will mostly right itself. Banks will only loan out to students they are sure they can make a profit from (ie. those who can make use of a degree), while the intellectually deserving will still get scholarships. With fewer people going to college, degrees will no longer be necessary status signals to get jobs where post-secondary education is not necessary.

Eliminate Mortagage Insurance and Securitization

I’ve went over this before, housing is mostly a positional good. Easy and cheap mortgages raise demand for housing, accelerating out of control housing costs, and making people house poor. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, and any other federal organization dedicated to securing, insuring, backing, or otherwise making loans easier to obtain should be eliminated. The lenders should be solely liable for any mortgages they lend out with no government involvement. This will makes mortgages harder to obtain, lower house prices, and stabilize the housing market.

Eliminate the Federal Reserve

The Fed destroys savings and real growth and enriches bankers at the expense of the people through manipulating interest rates and money supply. It should be eliminated.

Raise Interest Rates/Stabilize the Money Supply

This is a lesser version of the previous point. If you’re unwilling to end the Fed, then at least set a set schedule in the rate of growth in money supply, preferably a low one to prevent inflation and the subsequent erosion of capital. As well, raise interest rates (slowly, over time, not as a sudden shock) to ensure that we are allocating capital efficiently.

End Illegal Immigration and Minimize Legal Immigration

Wages are low, particularly for low-skill jobs, because we keep increasing the supply of low-skilled immigration. Reduce the labour supply and wages will increase. “Economic efficiency” may suffer slightly (remember what I wrote), but the actual economic health of the nation will improve.

Criminalize Usury

This is the first one that is an actual regulation. Usury is the abomination at the base of most of our economic woes and many of our social woes. It is the fuel of degeneracy. Criminalize it. Usury regulation is traditional and Christian.

Criminalize Credit Cards and Payday Loans

If you’re not willing to fully criminalize usury then at least criminalize credit cards and payday loans. These are the most virulent forms of usury;  prey on and enslave the poor and middle classes and promote hollow consumerism. They prioritize consumption over savings and provide no long-term economic benefit.

Lower the Legal Work Week to 20 hours

As I’ve already shown productivity has increased 500% over the last 70 years, while work hours have only decreased by 12%. The 40-hour week was formalized in 1937, 8 decades ago during a time of massive productivity gains. We should reduce the legal work week to 20 hours. This should not be done all at once, but a slow transition, say, for example, 2 hours a year for 10 years. We’d still be producing far more than we used to, but we’d have more leisure. This would ease the effects of the transition to post-scarcity and create more productive employment for more people while overall work is declining.

Some might argue this is government intrusion in the marketplace, but we’ve already accepted that the government should be allowed to regulate work hours. This is only a difference of degree, not of kind. This objection is only valid from those opposed to any and all limits on work hours and overtime pay.

End Free Incorporation

Incorporation is a government intrusion on the free market. They distorts the free market, promotes big business over consumers, and reduces accountability. They are anti-free market and it should be ended, or rather our current way of using them should be. Maybe We could reinstitute chartered corporations , but we should end free incorporation.

End Government Unions

If we have a government, we will have government workers. They should not be allowed to unionize. Doing so only creates a bribery system for government workers.

Encourage Off-site Work

With the increasing digitization of many white collar jobs, actually going to the office is becoming less necessary as time goes on. All government workers who’s physical presence is not required for them to do their jobs, should be work from home. Hopefully, by setting this example, private businesses will follow. This will result in cost savings, may help improve quality of life, and will have the added long-term benefit of reducing the pressure on urban real estate markets, as commercial office real estate becomes less important.

Activism

In the comments to my recent article on passivism, I’ve been accused of not defining activism, even though I did.

Activism is democratic politics. It is action by the people for the people to influence the people’s laws. Activism is necessarily leftist because it assumes the people should be involved in politics and in the power of the people to change politics, which are both inherently leftist concepts. In an ordered, right-wing society, the people do not engage in politics (at least, until society becomes disordered and the people throw a revolution), so there is no activism. Activism should be avoided for this reason alone.

Yuray has defined activism as well:

Per Google the definition of activism is “the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.”

Activism is participation in the official political process, which the Brahmins at Google have found fit to define as “campaigning to bring about political or social change.” Passivism is not “doing nothing,” it is non-participation in the official political process.

Activism is people power. It is a part of democracy in which the people take political action, generally against the authorities or those perceived to be in power.

Democracy is inherently leftist. People power is inherently leftist. Activism is inherently leftist. There is no such thing as right-wing activism.

If you are trying to influence the people or democratic power structures you are not acting right-wing. You are acting like a liberal and are engaging in liberal democracy on liberal terms on the liberal battlefield. You are completely pwned and accepting your enemies’ frame.

The term for this is folk activism, which Moldbug borrowed from Friedman, while altering the meaning. Folk activists commit ostensibly right-wing activism. I say ostensibly, because even though folk activists may be pursuing nominally right-wing ends, they are legitimizing liberal and democratic values and the system that represents these values.

Some commented that writing and speech are activism, but they are not. Political writing and speech are only activism when it stirs (or is at least meant to stir) the people to action. Political philosophy is not activism. By calling political writing and speech activist you are accusing Plato, Confucius, or Hobbes of being activists, which is patently absurd.

Neither is building the mannerbund, institutions, groups, or families. These activities are generally non-political. Where they are political, they are only activist insofar as they participate in liberal democratic activities.

Activism is not synonymous with action. Activism is democratic action against (perceived) authority. Some action is activist, but much action is not. The right needs to avoid activism, as it further legitimizes liberal democracy, which is antithetical to right order, tradition, and right authority.

If you want to take action, then take right-wing action. Write anti-democratic political tracts that delegitimatize liberalism. Build order in your communities. Build institutions and/or gain power in them. Gain legitimacy and authority through action.

You’ll notice these right-wing actions are exactly what passivism encourages.

Passivism

What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
Sun Tzu

Passivism is the current NRx strategy because right-wing activism always fails.

Passivism gets a lot of flak, such as in this Twitter conversation which inspired this current post and this Esoteric Trad’s post I found after I wrote most of this, from people who want to do something. A lot of this criticism seems to be because people don’t understand what passivism is and the previous explanations of it have been rather abstract and arcane, so, I’m going to explain in my continued attempt to cut to the core of neoreaction and what if offers.

First, passivism is most definitely not doing nothing. Second, if is definitely not pacifism. Passivism is simply the opposite of activism, which is left-wing political action by the people.

As Mao once said, power comes from the barrel of a gun. Power is violence. The ability to force your will on others, even if it might be concealed behind a few layers of a civilized facade. In society, many men have more violent force than any single man, now matter how strong he might be, so man’s capacity for violence comes from his authority, which is, essentially, how many armed men can a man get to follow him?

Authority comes from either illusion or legitimacy. Legitimate authority comes from men obeying you because they accept you are their rightful leader. Illusion comes from people obeying because they believe others perceive you as legitimate and are afraid of the violence they will enact should they disobey. It is necessarily tyrannical. Legitimacy lasts until it is squandered or the authority dies. Illusion and the tyranny that results lasts until someone openly disobeys without consequence and is dispelled.

Right now, the left holds power and it holds legitimacy. People believe the left should rule because they believe in equality and the rule of the people, two left-wing ideals. Cthulu continues to swim left as people hold these ideals ever stronger.

Politics is downstream of culture which is itself downstream of politics. This is confusing, so we’ll call the former politics and the latter metapolitics.

Politics is the workings of the political machine. It is voters voting, protesters protesting, activists acting, courtiers courting, judges judging, educators educating, assassins assassinating, revolters revolting, and so on. It is the sausage being made.

Culture is society: it is your language, beliefs, rituals, religion, customs, moral, etc. The culture determines what political actions are legitimate.

Metapolitics is the system itself. It is the core political beliefs and institutions that the culture works itself within. It is where real power resides. There is overlap between culture and metapolitics.

Activism is democratic politics. It is action by the people for the people to influence the people’s laws. Activism is necessarily leftist because it assumes the people should be involved in politics and in the power of the people to change politics, which are both inherently leftist concepts. In an ordered, right-wing society, the people do not engage in politics (at least, until society becomes disordered and the people throw a revolution), so there is no activism. Activism should be avoided for this reason alone.

Activism, being politics, only has authority to change things if it is viewed as legitimate by the overarching culture and metapolitics. Any action not viewed as legitimate is a crime, or, if not, is viewed as something beyond the pale that most people want to distance themselves from.

In our culture, racism is illegitimate. So a group of racist, well-behaved Tea Party protesters marching for lower taxes are extremists, while a group of blacks burning down their shopping district in support of other blacks’ right to assault police officers and asian shopkeepers with impunity are a human rights movement.

In our current culture and metapolitics, any folk activism is inherently illegitimate. Hence, why Trump is at fault for inciting riots when leftists mob his speeches and is at fault whenever one of his supporters hits someone, yet no Democrats are responsible for when left-wing activists cause riots and attack people. Trump is engaging in folk activism. Hence, why Moldbug gets banned from tech conferences by supporters of communist butchery. Hence why Piss Christ and The the Holy Virgin Mary are art and drawings of Muhammed are provocation. In the situation where anti-abortion activists go to jail for making videos and people selling baby parts do not, right-wing activism is useless. It accomplishes nothing.

Activism accomplishes nothing. Using inherently left-wing tactics to stop the left is self-defeating. Folk activism is inherently illegitimate in the West (the East is a different story) no matter what form it takes because the culture and metapolitics dictates that it is. Even if folk activism started working and started convincing people, power, ie: the cops and military, is in the hands of the left and the activists will just be arrested.

So instead of trying to engage in politics we need to go upstream. The problem is culture is a left-wing sewer becoming ever more left. Evangelicals have tried to change this and have failed miserably. Real culture has been totaled (we’re a multicultural melting pot now) and is illegitimate (old books are racist and sexist). Pop culture and left-culture are all that is left. There is no way to right culture, it is in an ever-downward spiral. Culture will remain a sewer until restoration.

Activism is pointless and self-defeating and changing culture is impossible. What can be done though, is a restoration, a complete reset of the metapolitics. Through reset, culture will be forcibly changed and legitimate politics will be inherently changed.

Restoration will not be easy. It will require a great man to make the reset and the supports necessary for the great man. (If you think activism is good, but doubt the great man, you are failing at being right-wing).

Passivism is building the supports for the great man to commit the restoration.

Instead of openly and futilely resisting the left on its home turf, democratic politics, you can fight on our turf, the family and the community. The left rules democracy as democracy is inherently left-wing, but the family, the church, the local community, are all inherently right-wing organizations.

What you need to do is build virtue in yourself, in your home, in your mannerbund, and in your community. Any activism you partake will be useless, but you can build around yourself. You can subtly alter the core polticical beliefs and institutions around you. How this will take shape depends on your particular circumstances.

You can not change the education system to stop being leftist, but you can homeschool your kids. You can’t stop the Supreme Court from driving bakeries out of business, but you can become an elder at your church and keep gay “marriage” out. You can’t change divorce laws, but you can build a working home with a good woman. You can’t stop the feminist invasion and destruction of male public spaces, but you can create your own male private spaces.

Instead of focusing on activism, which has become popular because the powers behind the left found it a useful myth to deploy, work quietly at what you can change. You can not change the world (unless you happen to be the great man) but you can set up a support system, so that when the great man appears, he has something backing him.

This is becoming worthy, this is the passivist strategy: work in the shadows to build bonds and structures. Build virtue in yourself. Build a strong family with many children and teach them your values and how to succeed. Build a religious community that holds to traditional values. Build a mannerbund of men devoted to each other and their values. Join community, religious, or fraternal organizations, then slowly capture them. Build a functional community around you that people want to join. Build bonds of virtue, loyalty, and ideology. As you build, you will naturally accrue legitimacy, authority, and power.

Keep building those structures and those bonds and wait. Build until victory is inevitable, then, when the time is right, when the great man appears, strike. At this time, the right time, there will be action, no activism, simply action. Victory will happen because you have built power behind the scenes. Your enemy will have lost his legitimacy and will be ruling through illusion. The great man will have legitimacy, authority, and power based on the bonds you and hundreds, thousands, of others like you built. He will act and shatter illusion and the restoration will commence. This is accepting power. All that’s left is to rule.

****

The problems with activism were amply demonstrated by General Piquemal. The former commander of the French Foreign Legion engaged in activism, he attended an anti-immigration march. This was the result (watch the video if you want):

A former general was forced to eat pavement for protesting against the Cathedral. He accomplished absolutely nothing with his activism, was hospitalized and will soon stand trial for his activism.

This man once led a renowned 7,700-man armed rapid deployment force. Until recently he was the head of the National Paratroopers’ Union. I don’t doubt he is highly respected with many connections. How much more could General Piquemal accomplish if instead of getting arrested, he quietly built up a virtuous, pro-French, anti-immigration brotherhood among all the highly organized armed men he has led and worked with. Then bided his time until the right moment real change could be accomplished. The man who could have led the future vanguard of restoration (or even been the great man himself) is now a known subversive complaining about the conditions of his cell.

This is what activism not in service to power leads to, a waste of good men, valuable resources, strategic positioning (a known subversive does not have the potential for surprise on his side), connections (as a known subversive, how many potential allies will be wary of becoming potential subversives themselves), morale, and face/respect (a general eating pavement at the hands of the cops just makes the general look weak), with no real gain.

****

To see the benefits of passivism, we need only to look at Golden Dawn. Look at the brief wiki synopsis of the history of Golden Dawn compared with its electoral results. The decades they engaged in political activism they had essentially no support. But when they switched to a passivist strategies of building structures and offering crime protection and social services, they became a major force. (I should note, economic woes also helped with this).

Read this study of Golden Dawn’s appeal to youth. There is nothing about marches, protests, get-out-the-vote, etc. or any other sort of activism. Instead, what they focused on was building structures. They held history courses for children, they held meetings to build bonds between young men and the party, they had camps to build young men up, they donated food to the community, etc.

Golden Dawn is the most successful extreme right-wing party in the Europe because they followed a passivist strategy. They did not engage in activism, they built structures. I think they may have struck too soon but time will tell.

****

Activism accomplishes nothing, wastes time and resources, and may land you up in jail, removing your ability to be useful. Instead of wasting resources attempting to fight first, then seeking victory, we need to set-up the conditions of victory, then strike.

Passivism is winning the battle before it is fought, it is creating the conditions of victory before the enemy is even aware a battle will be joined. It is building the local support structures, so that when the time is right and the great man appears, he will have the support necessary to coast to victory in such a way that historians will view his rise as inevitable.

It is tempting to want to engage in activism because the left-wing educational-media complex has spent decades indoctrinating you into thinking that writing letters, voting, marching, etc. is how things get down. For the leftists it seemingly worked, but that is only because their passivist strategies of the long march and institutional capture had already created the conditions of victory before the first hippy or civil rights marcher hit the streets yelling ‘make love not war’.

Activism works when it is service to power because the power is already there to implement the changes. It does not work when it is not serving power.. Activism worked for the left because they already controlled power and all it did was give power a veneer of democratic legitimacy. In eastern Europe activism works because there are still right-wing power centres, we do not have those in the West.

I understand the appeal of activism. It feels good. You get a dopamine hit from the (false) sense of accomplishment. You get some status among your pals for doing something. It’s fun to go out protest with the guys, stick it to the man, and maybe even beat up a few antifa. You think your accomplishing something. It feels good to be working for cause greater than yourself and losing yourself in an active organization.

But it’s like voting, it’s political masturbation. You have the illusion of power and the illusion of accomplishment without actually actually doing anything of import or bearing any real fruit. Political masturbation is not necessarily harmful, so you can do some harmless theatre for the lulz as long as you don’t convince yourself you’re exercising people power, because that is a leftist, democratic way to think.

Passivism on the other hand is real work, hard work, with no immediate sense of accomplishment. It’s a slow grinding process of building bit by bit with no visible end in site. But this work is how civilization will endure during the dark times ahead and how it will be reborn at the restoration.

So accomplish something real, be passivist.

A Eulogy for Rob Ford

SoBL notes that Rob Ford is dead then asks:

How did this guy become a symbol for anyone to use as a top ticket figure? It says more about the donors that they could not figure out how to position someone else as their candidate for mayor. What is the goal of these guys? is it to maximize the value of real estate for the developers? Can the donors just debate onstage their proposals rather than place the fat puppets like Rob Ford onstage? Make Toronto safe? What is it? Do you know, because I cannot figure it out and this is how we get stuck with guys like Rob Ford supposedly in charge of major Western cities.

I’m Canadian, so I know a bit of Rob Ford. In fact, I’ve previously written a paean to Rob Ford.

Rob Ford was not a product of donors, he was a reaction to the elite class. He was a vaisya at war with Canadian brahmin class and he deserves our respect. The closest American politician to Rob Ford is Donald Trump.

Toronto is the largest city in Canada. It is also the cultural and economic centre of English Canada: it is what you’d get if you rolled up LA and New York into a single city and made it Canadian. Most of our major newspapers are centred there, most of our TV and movies are from there, Bay Street is our Wall Street, most of our major corporations are headquartered there (or in the Greater Toronto Area), and so on. It’s centrality has been waning, paricularly in the economic sphere, as Alberta’s oil-powered economy has grown over the last couple decades, but it still remains at the front.

The elites in downtown Toronto are exactly what you would expect if you mixed Manhattan, Wall St., and Hollywood together, then added a bit of Canadian socialism. They are the center of the universe in their own minds, and to them Toronto is English Canada. They are very much in a centre-left bubble.

Back in 1998, Toronto was amalgamated with a half-dozen municipalities into a single metropolitan municipality, against the wishes of those municipalities. The other municipalities are generally more middle-class, with very high numbers of minorities and immigrants. Since than there has been tension between the priorities of core Toronto, made up of the elites, and the amalgamated areas.

David Miller, the mayor prior to Ford, was a tax and spend politician. Increased spending was usually in line with the priorities of the elite Toronto core. Throughout his mayorship, Ford was a strong anti-spending advocate. As well, the Toronto elites were pushing a light rail transit plan that benefited their idea of good transit policy, while Ford pushed a subway plan that would have been more helpful for the amalgamated areas. Smitherman, Ford’s opponent, was more of the same, an elite governing for the elites.

Look at this electoral map:

Rob Ford was essentially the populist, working- and middle-class revolt candidate (like Trump) against the elitist core of Toronto. He wasn’t “respectable”, because anybody respectable would have been from the elite and gone along with elite opinions. He was just your average lower-middle class guy who liked football and decided to take a stand.

He may not have been the most competent or polished fellow, but he did what almost every “competent” and “professional” conservative politician fails to do: hold to his values, fight for them, and stand strong against the enemy. He was probably the strongest right-wing voice in Canada since Ralph Klein died and Preston Manning cucked himself. Because of this he was attacked by every respectable voice possible; he was so strong the brahmins of other countries banded together just to crush the small vaisya rebellion he led. They couldn’t let the other prols get out of line. Despite this he held firm and did not waver until the end. For that he deserves our respect.

Since his death, all we’ve really got left is Brad Wall, who isn’t as powerful, being the premier of puny Saskatchewan rather than mayor of the centre of the universe, but he’s probably the biggest conservative voice now. Stephen Harper was powerful, but he didn’t govern all that particularly right-wing. Other than the Canadian Wheat Board and the gun registry, his government was barely distinguishable from Chretien’s Liberals in the 90’s, despite what the tribal wailing and gnashing of teeth of the Brahmin class may have made you think.

The Economy Doesn’t Exist

I said last post, I plan to have an economic post upcoming. This is not it. This is some basic foundation for the upcoming post.

The economy does not exist. There is no such thing.

Hyperbole, but true hyperbole.

The economy, despite the absolute importance we place on it in our mammon-worship, is not a real, existent entitity. It is an abstraction and simplification of millions of humans making billions of trade decisions.

It does not stand alone. It should not and cannot stand apart from the people and decisions it abstractly represents.

The economy is the be all and end all of the liberal state. Almost every political decision comes down to: ‘will this grow the economy?’

But the economy is not an end. All these abstracted trade decisions exist, or at least should exist, to better human welfare. The flourishing of humanity is the goal, the economy is merely an abstraction of the trade decisions and processes we use to help bring this about.

The question government should ask itself is not, ‘will this grow the economy?’, but ‘will this benefit the people being governed?’

Growing the economy for its own sake is pointless and counterproductive.

To misquote Jesus, “The economy was made for man, man was not made for the economy.”

Which brings us to a sort digression on GDP.

GDP does not a measure human flourishing. It is a measured abstraction of the production of goods and services within a country, that is somewhat correlated to the economic health of a nation.

GDP was a moderately useful measure for ascertaining one small aspect of human welfare (goods), but it has become a goal purported to be the primary measure of welfare, against it’s creator’s advisement. Once a measure becomes a goal, as GDP most assuredly has, it ceases to be a useful measure. In addition, a measure is useless for measuring that which is was not designed to measure.

GDP was not designed to measure well-being and it does not do so. It measures economic production and to some degree economic health. Economic health is a part of well-being but definitely not the full measure, it ignores community, relationships, culture, and all those other things that make us human.

But even in that, GDP is insufficient. It counts the use of capital for consumption as economic gain, even though, long-term, capital loss is economically draining.

It doesn’t include productive activity if no one is getting paid, so making a beautiful wooden table for yourself does not add to the GDP or the economy, but buying a plastic table from Walmart does both. Making a home-cooked meal does not add to GDP, buying McDonald’s does. Raising your own children does not but paying a stranger to do so does. In each case, the former is probably superior for both economic production and human welfare, yet the GDP and the economy only recognize the latter.

More interestingly, the movement of women from home to the home to the workplace helped the economy, even though women generally do the same work in both.

Beyond this, the economy, and it’s measurement, GDP are not necessarily positive goods themselves, even in the limited areas where they are useful. While more widgets are usually, all things being equal, better than fewer widgets, all things are not equal. All goods and services come at their own cost, of which time is the most obvious, but the focus on the economy doesn’t measure time apart from the wages spent hiring them (if the income approach is used)  (ie. More time spent working leads to a higher GDP, ceterus parabus).

Look at these charts (keep in mind the y-axis labels):

Labour productivity (ie. comparitively how many goods/services workers in an hour) is five times what it was 70 years ago, on the other hand, the average work week has only dropped by about 4 hours. We can make 5x as many widgets per an hour as we used to be able to, but we still spend almost the same amount of time working.

The more we work and the more efficiently we work, the more the economy grows. If people started working less, the economy would shrink. Our government and almost every mainstream analyst would consider this shrinking a bad thing.

But wouldn’t life be better for everyone if a 5x increase in productivity led to a more than a 12% decrease in work hours? Full-time hours could be only 8 hours a week and we’d have the material standard of living as our grandparents, we could work 16 hours a week and have the same material standard of living as our parents. This doesn’t even include that during your grandparents’ time, women mostly didn’t work. Ceterus parabis, two parents could each work 4-hours per a week and have the same material standard of living as their grandparents.

Yet, more free time would kill the economy, because fewer widgets would be produced and fewer wages would be paid, even though many people would be happy to live like their parents if it meant only working two 8-hour shifts a week.

If GDP measures free time at all, it measures a lack of it, through money spent on wages.

Finally, GDP treats increases in the nominal value of goods as an increase in production. As an example, housing makes up 15% or so of GDP (real estate is the largest industry in the US, other than combined government). As I’ve argued before, housing, is a positional good. What this means is that, as housing costs (captured by rents or imputed rents) go up due to competition, GDP goes up. So, if the cost (as shown through rents) of the same house doubles, GDP would increase, but there would be no difference in production. Other industries where the goods are positional, or that are mostly services suffer the same fate. For example, primary and secondary education costs continually increase, but it would be hard to argue anybody is receiving better education.

For many sectors of the economy increased GDP is not actually reflecting an increased quantity or quality of goods or services which may contribute to well-being, it is only reflecting an increase in costs and competition.

For all these reasons, the economy doesn’t exist, growing it is not an end goal, and the GDP is a narrow measure not an all-consuming goal.

Trapped in the Holiness Spiral

The leftist holiness spiral has been increasing as late. One activist explains how he sacrificed everything to win the holiness competition.

Activism is hard. Plain and simple. Being an activist is even harder. It’s long hours, empty bank accounts, angry girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses who are ready to leave you at any moment, family that doesn’t get it, making calls, receiving calls, logging contacts, selling a vision, rejection, empty promises, fulfilled promises, emails, press releases, signatures, counts, validation, databases, vendors, merchandise, rallies, public speaking, volunteers, supporters, haters, naysayers, politics, more politics, and people wishing you would just stop. Especially your doctor.

After a year of this, I can say that I’m tired. This stuff consumes you in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. My life revolves around cannabis, reform, legalization.

What people often forget, is that I’m a volunteer too. The last campaign took years off of my life, and several others. For at least the past year I’ve neglected myself, my personal life, and all the rest of the things I should be focusing on at this age. The ripe old age of 32.

Throughout the piece you can feel a vague, suppressed sense of disillusionment with the process that ate his life. Not surprising. Yet he continues to support activism. He believes that sacrificing everything in his life for easier access to chemical highs was worth it.

On the other hand, another radical activist is complaining about the holiness spiral of leftism. This activist hails from London in Ontario, not the real one, best known in Canada for confusing people with its name and being somewhere near Toronto. She is best known for her world-changing work of being arrested for spray-painting Pink Floyd references on other people’s property, then complaining that the arrests were political persecution.

Anyway, she points out something everybody knows about leftists, that they claim to care about the poor while shitting all over them, that they try to outholy each other, and that they suppress speech that they don’t like. She states she’s sick of it. Good for her, I guess.

Yet, even as she descries the holiness spiral, she says this:

That is not to say that we should accept bigotry in any form?—?far from it.

She can not escape holiness signalling even as she decries it. This ignores that the entire piece reads like a holier-than-thou lecture, as she paints other activists as less holy han herself for their holiness signalling. To be fair, it might no be easy to avoid sounding like holiness signalling when calling out the left as a leftist.

She also wrote a follow-up, which included this:

So, humour me for a second and let me tell you a bit about myself: I am a white working class queer female with a history of trauma. I have experienced intimate partner violence in many forms and I have been formally diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I’ve been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and struggled with drug addiction in the past. I’ve been stalked, harassed and had the shit kicked out of me by police. Until I landed my current job, there were times when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, or if I would be able to make rent that month, or pay off the bills on time. While I’m doing better now in a lot of ways, and I am definitely not claiming to win the “Oppression Olympics” (spoiler: it’s not a competition to begin with), it is not only ignorant, but simply incorrect to assume that I am nothing more than a privileged white girl refusing to check herself.

Notice how she signals herself well in the ‘Oppression Olympics’, but makes sure to signal that it’s not a competition, thus making her more holy. Also notice how shitty her life is; I guess being a citizen journalist doesn’t pay so well and ain’t so good for the mental health. Why are leftists activists almost invariably mentally ill with have a history of abusive relationships?

Onto my point, for individuals, the leftist holiness spiral is almost impossible to exit from once entered. Those whose lives have been chewed up in the signalling continue to support it as only martyrs can. Even those who oppose the signalling, can’t help but keep up their own forms of counter-signalling. They have to show how holy they are by pointing out how they are above signalling it.

The need for status runs deep.

Institutional Capture

I’ve mentioned before that the left has, in the long-term, won almost every political battle of the last century. The one big area where the US (and just the US) has not been moving overly left is gun freedom. The main reason for this is the NRA, but the NRA wasn’t always as powerful or hardline as it is now.

In the second half of the 1970s, the NRA faced a crossroads. Would it remain an Establishment institution, partnering with such mainstream entities as the Ford Foundation and focusing on shooting competitions? Or would it roll up its sleeves and fight hammer and tongs against the gun-control advocates? Or flee to the Mountain West? The latter was appealing, and the NRA leadership decided to move the headquarters to Colorado and also spend $30 million to build a recreational facility in New Mexico called the National Outdoor Center.

The moderates felt rejected by both the NRA hard-liners and the Washington elite.

“Because of the political direction the NRA was taking, they weren’t being invited to parties and their wives were not happy,” says Jeff Knox, Neal’s son and director of the Firearms Coalition, which fights for the Second Amendment and against laws restricting guns or ammunition. “Dad was on the phone constantly with various people around the country. He had his copy of the NRA bylaws and Robert’s Rules, highlighted and marked. My father and a lot of local club leaders and state association guys organized their troops.”

Theirs was a grass-roots movement within the NRA. The solution was to use the membership to make changes. The bylaws of the NRA gave members power on the convention floor to vote for changes in the NRA governing structure.

“We were fighting the federal government on one hand and internal NRA on the other hand,” Aquilino says.

In Cincinnati, Knox read the group’s demands, 15 of them, including one that would give the members of the NRA the right to pick the executive vice president, rather than letting the NRA’s board decide. The coup took hours to accomplish. Joe Tartaro, a rebel, remembers the evening as “electric.” The hall’s vending machine ran out of sodas.

By 3:30 in the morning the NRA had a whole new look. Gone were the Old Guard officers, including Maxwell Rich, the ousted executive vice president. The members replaced him with an ideological soul mate of Knox’s named Harlon Carter.

Carter, a longtime NRA board member, had arrived in Washington in 1975 as founding director of a new NRA lobbying unit, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA). His pugnacious approach, which rankled the Old Guard, was captured in a letter he wrote to the entire NRA membership to discuss the fight in Congress over gun control: “We can win it on a simple concept —No compromise. No gun legislation.”

The right is holding its own in this particular battle because hardliners captured the NRA (and then later recaptured it after a moderate pushback). This is how the left has always won, by capturing institutions: the academy, NGO’s, the media, the bureaucracy, etc.

If the right wants to win, it needs to figure out a way to take over pre-existing institutions. Making institutions is also good, but it takes a lot more effort. Conquering pre-existing institutions and their resource base is better.