Steve Sailer has been posting on the NYC universal pre-K, which is the stereotypical stupid progressive policy, which everybody knows it doesn’t make any real sense. But progressives arguments are those of faith, faith who nobody (besides us) dares contradict, lest the demons of HBD appear and Hitler returns to Earth to execute the Gay Holocaust. Or something.
I could go on repeating all the arguments against spending public resources on trying to make stupid toddlers stop being stupid, but Sailer has done that very well already. Of course the question remains, are NYC public officials really that stupid? Or so devote to their progressive faith? Well perhaps they are but that can’t be the whole story. Religion is a powerful force in human society, but a skeptical attitude towards the real power of religion in peoples motives has always done me good. A commenter in Sailer’s post expresses my attitude very nicely:
Universal Pre-K is nothing but a pork project. They use it to create jobs and contracts to reward their friends. The politicians who argue that universal Pre-K will bring about racial equality do not care in the least if that claim is true.
The stuff about racial equality is equivalent to the low-pitched grunting noises that gorillas make when they don’t want other gorillas messing with their food.
“Don’t mess with my pork or I’ll call you a racist and bounce you out of your job,” is a good translation from politician-speak into English.
Pork is a very well known phenomenon in political analysis, but I feel neoreaction hasn’t been paying much attention to it. Which is a bad thing, as pork is of paramount importance in the critique of democracy. Besides the all too easy argument that democracy gives voice, or “nanoslices of power” to retarded people (which it doesn’t really do), perhaps the best argument against universal suffrage is that it increases the level of pork to an astronomical degree. Pork, i.e. the appropriation of public money to distribute to one’s political power base is a universal in any political arrangement. But in parliamentary politics you get an order of magnitude more people engaged in politics than in a monarchy. Electoral politics means each of those power holders has no title to its power so he needs a broad power base to put him there, a power base which of course requires pork for their services. And with universal suffrage the sheer size and level of organization of the power base increases exponentially, requiring ever bigger amounts of pork to satisfy them.
In fact one could make the argument that modern progressive politics are all basically a massive operation of pork distribution, and everything else is just rationalization marketing needed to justify the pork. See for example the War on Drugs. Peter Hitchens has recently wrote a book on the war on drugs which he says is a sham. Surely no real war on drugs is going on when acquiring and consuming drugs is easier than ever, and probably every single westerner has had some illegal drug at least once in his life. Where’s this war? He is of course correct, and I can’t but admire his oratorial skills and sheer patience he has in explaining his views in public. See this speech he did in Australia, and the retarded audience he has to deal with.
I have to give credit to a man who has the nerve and patience to answer with force to stupid arguments such as that. I’m sure many of you share my experience of just giving up arguing with these kind of people after feeling sheer despair towards humanity. Not to say that I agree with all of his argument. Surely there must be some biological cause for addiction as they vary greatly between nations, and East Asians have developed a gene to prevent them from digesting alcohol and getting drunk.
But of course Peter Hitchens, as his powerful oratory shows, isn’t arguing facts. He’s arguing faith, he is fighting the progressive faith in its own territory. A territory in which he lived for many years. Now leaving aside the fact of whether addiction is or isn’t surmountable through personal willpower, he’s of course right that Western states have made no real effort to stamp out drug use, so the “war on drugs” and the horrible evil it allegedly does by promoting criminal gangs (and putting millions of blacks in jail) is a baseless sham. East Asian countries have done much better at discouraging drug use without spending billions in DEAs and foreign military interventions. So no War on Drugs.
Yeah well, but why is that? Why does this half-assed “war on drugs” go on, and billions spent fighting it? Well because they are spending billions in it, billions which go to people which quite enjoy receiving those billions. And the present law enforcement arrangements towards drugs put the police in close contact with the most lucrative business on earth. And, surprise surprise, they get a cut on that business. I don’t know about the US but in my country when the police gets their hands into some drug stash in an anti-gang operation, it is widely known that they grab the stuff, sell it and keep the money for themselves. And juicy budgets for drug-fighting go to police forces all the time. There’s a very nice pork business built around the War on Drugs, the same way there’s a very nice pork business going on in Closing the education Gap, or in foreign aid, or in public healthcare. A guy’s gotta eat! Gotta keep the boys happy!
Authoritarian systems have many problems but pork isn’t one of them. The guys who gotta eat aren’t that many, and you don’t need an elaborate faith argument to set up a system for pork distribution. Say China. China makes their high speed rail system, spends untold trillions on it, trillions paid by public debt which will probably never pay themselves. 90% of the stations built 30km out of the main cities, many in the middle of rice paddies where proper roads haven’t even been built yet. How many billions were skimmed of it? I don’t know but the Railway Minister is in jail and the Ministry itself was abolished, which means even the Chinese government is embarrassed by it. But hey China now has a pretty cool high speed rail network which they sorely needed, works like a charm, and out of the hugest budget in human history they only had to pay off some local officials and the railway minister. I’ve seen estimates of 5%. The waste on pre-K education is 100%.
Japan’s history pre-WW2 is often told as one of creeping militarism, but nobody talks about why that happened. The Meiji revolution in 1868 set an aristocratic system led by the (duh) leaders of the revolution. Eventually in 1889 they acquiesced to a formal constitution and a British inspired parliamentary system, but they held the government. Until they died, and the suffrage was expanded, and political parties arose. With political parties came the inevitable emergence of pork, massive pork to pay off the MPs constituencies, in often wasteful infrastructure project which the still very poor Japan really couldn’t afford. It was watching this shameless distribution of pork that the young officer class in the Japanese military grew more radical in their authoritarianism, and started coup after coup to kill the parliamentary leaders and grab power to abolish electoral politics. That way the military would get all the public money. But that’s not pork. Oh well.
As I’ve tried to communicate through my posts on Chinese history, having a god-king doesn’t really matter inasmuch as he exerts his rule through associates who may be good or bad, few or many, respectful of their authority or secretly exerting power themselves. And the problem of comparing old and new political forms is that there are more differences caused by them being old and new. Arguably the size of the modern progressive states isn’t just only a contingent effect of the Roosevelt family, but is the result of historical processes that made it possible and necessary for the state to control more of the life of its subjects. No matter your political system, to fight WW1 you needed a huge army and a bureaucratic apparatus to raise and feed it.
Still to a big extent it is fair to say that political arrangements do depend on fairly contingent Schelling points. Say you needed a huge army and bureaucracy to fight WW1. If you have a democracy there’s no way in hell to dismantle that bureaucracy. It’ll stay there for there is no one with enough authority to dismantle it and send it home, and the bureaucrats will organize effectively to lobby for their survival. A King though can change the government as he wishes for he is the damn king. His word is law and he has no constituency to distribute pork too, except perhaps the Army if he’s a new king. Although Kings did have problems with ministers sending pork home, and the lack of competition in pork procurement means they had no limits on their pork shippings, which could get quite outrageous.
Recent scientific discoveries tell that most of human rationality is not used to make decisions, but rather to come up with arguments to rationalize decisions which the subconscious brain has already taken. It seems to me that political arguments aren’t also really used to make decisions, but rather to rationalize decisions which the subconscious body politic has already taken. Perhaps we should address those subconscious, systemic patterns of decision making, instead of all those hamsters rolling on the front, even though they have their bloodshot eyes locked at us demanding our attention. They can’t really hear us anyway.