More on the Future of Liberalism

My last couple of pieces at Crisis Magazine, The Darkness Gathers and How Long Will Secular Liberalism Endure?, continue the discussion. Basically I say it has a strong internal logic with strong institutional support, and it’s  well-defended against external criticism. On the other hand, those strengths mean that it refuses to deal with reality, and that problem gets worse as it progresses, so it also has some basic weaknesses. Conclusion: it’s a kind of bubble. Bubbles last much longer than you think they’re going to, but not forever. (What does?) We don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t know just how or when it will end, but in the meantime we should maintain life, live as well as we can, build as much as we can, and preach the word in and out of season.

On other fronts, I reviewed Garry Wills’ book on why there shouldn’t be any priests a few months ago.

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46 thoughts on “More on the Future of Liberalism

  1. I would ask the same question Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn asked of the Soviet regime – “to what extent is it necessary to lie to yourself to continue to exist in such a regime?”

    At the present time, I would say there are more true believers at the present time, in classical liberalism, which you so eloquently described in your first essay, than there were ardent Bolsheviks during the Brezhnev era.

    Also, you smart, multisyllabic guys seem to think that everybody will shake out into the upper and middle niches in any return to a hierarchical society. Classical liberalism has performed fairly well for us poor plankton at the bottom.

    • Actually – coming from an impoverished, Mid-Western background – my personal experience belies the opposite. I see those of my ilk either sedating themselves or being consistently manipulated and exploited by the current social order.

    • I agree we’re still in the true believer stage. We’ll get to the Brezhnev phase soon enough as life gets cruddier and public life more cynical and corrupt.

      Dunno there are any special assumptions about who ends up where. If you look at how things are going though the current situation doesn’t seem that good for people in the bottom half. American blacks are an obvious example: 70+% illegitimacy rate, one in three lifetime incarceration rate for the men, the longterm climb out of poverty basically stopped in the early ’70s. And Murray’s Coming Apart says non-elite whites aren’t doing so well either. (Also see this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/us/life-expectancy-for-less-educated-whites-in-us-is-shrinking.html.)

      • But is this a direct result of liberal policies or because we are reaching the saturation level of bacteria in the sugar solution?

        Thank you for a reasoned answer instead of a bumper sticker. I guess I need kind of an Orthosphere 101, as I am Orthodox, not Catholic.

      • Liberalism in principle and by at least implicit design destroys natural, particular and transcendent attachments (family, particular culture, religion). That makes it progressively harder for anyone to lead a decent, dignified, and productive life. It makes it especially hard for people who don’t have as much ambition, prudence, intelligence, and impulse control as the smart multisyllabic types who make it into a meritocratic ruling class. So I’d say it’s a result of everything liberalism is and does.

      • The trouble is, it will be Brezhnevism without a clear and striking example of a freer, richer, and saner society next door. This may well make the upcoming Brezhnevian phase of the liberal order far more stable and long-lasting that the USSR could ever hope to be.

        In particular, it will also mean a constant supply of enthusiastic true believers,, no matter how bad the reality may become. It was hard to be a true believer in the late Soviet era, but only because the contrast between the Soviet and American systems was so blatant for all to see, and the communist side actually had to shoot people to prevent them from escaping to the other side. But if the USSR had swallowed the whole world, its propaganda could have presented a much more plausible and believable case in its favor, undoubtedly to an enthusiastic acceptance of young generations without anything else to look up to. The modern liberal ideological hegemony actually has this advantage.

      • It’s interesting to speculate but impossible to be sure since so much is in play. The ideological justification and standard for liberalism is equal dignity and satisfaction for every individual. That makes liberalism less apt to use direct physical coercion. It’s also more focused on destroying stereotypes and reforming immediate human relations, and so disrupting the immediate connections that people rely on for support when the public order isn’t functional. Those features suggest a certain ultimate fragility.

        The lesser physical brutality also means a greater concentration on ingrained ideological control. That aspect supports Vladimir’s suggestion that the system will still keep on churning out true believers–our rulers are much more PC than the commies were and hangers-on take after their betters–but it also means a tendency toward gross lack of realism in the ruling class. I think we already see that, and it doesn’t bode well for the continuance of the system.

      • The problem I see is that they system we have is much more decentralized than the Soviet system, which makes it much more resilient. Our bureaucrats and functionaries may very well be trying to control things, but they are not actually in control. No one is. Which is why I do not believe there is an imminent collapse of liberalism. It is a much more organic, bottom up phenomenon than many think. Ultimately, it is non-functional, of course, but it’s going to take a good while for us to get there.

        Of course, the economy is likely to give us a fairly bumpy ride from time to time, as the ideology of our elites definitely has its effects on the economy. However, that does not mean outright collapse is coming anytime soon.

        The two most likely candidates for how liberalism actually does goes down are:

        1. the proportion of the population that is innately unintelligent and feckless becomes so great that a modern economy becomes impossible; or
        2. the proportion of the population that is incorrigibly religious becomes so great that they abolish liberalism.

        Basically, we are in a demographic footrace between the underclass and the religious.

      • As stated, it’s quite complicated.

        To say it’s organic is to say it’s pervasive. So whatever problems it causes are organic and pervasive as well. Ideological blinkers to the point of insanity at the top, and fine-grained social disorder a la Theodore Dalrymple/Charles Murray at the bottom. It’s not just innate stupidity that’s the problem.

        I agree liberalism is unlikely to fall in the manner of communism, as a result of a few decisive episodes. Something more functional will have to pull itself together and become available as an alternative. At some point that won’t be that difficult and even Islam combined with tribalism will be superior. Our job is to offer something better so we don’t end up where the Cradle of Civilization did.

  2. I apologize for putting this comment here; it belongs in response to ChevalierdeJohnstone’s comment on the Christians Did Not Build “The Cathedral” thread. I do not want to hijack this thread, but I was not able to make time to respond to that comment until after comments were closed on the original thread.

    Begin response.

    I do not understand the first half of your comment. Are you agreeing with me, saying that even though we are not Ephesians or descendants of Isaac, that the New Testament applies to us as well, or are you arguing that we can ignore any part of the Bible that is not explicitly universal?

    As for the second half of your comment, here we simply have to part ways due to different axioms. On the one hand, Catholics hold that the “Church fathers” wrote and compiled the Bible; it seems to me that this is the only way that Catholics can put their institution in authority over (or perhaps parallel to) the Bible. On the other hand, Protestants hold that the Bible was written by God, that the Holy Spirit used men as His scribes and editors. Men no more wrote the Bible than my computer wrote this post. Regardless, there is no value in debating this point, as I will not convince you to convert to Protestantism, nor will you convince me to convert to Catholicism, especially not on the basis of comments made here.

    In any case, your post was not really a response to mine. As far as I can tell, you advanced no argument for or against any of mine. Perhaps I am not clever enough to have figured it out; I’m a pretty literal-minded, explicit kind of guy.

    • What I wanted to say in that thread, though I saw it too late to comment, was that I was offended by the aggressive, obnoxious manner in which Lydia hijacked that thread. The moderator(s) should have shut that nonsense down rather than locking the thread after it had already been totally diverted from discussion of what JMSmith actually said into contention over what Lydia thought he should have said.

  3. The other problem with bubbles is that they don’t pop in predictable ways, and once they do the end-state isn’t a simple reversal of the folly that led up the bubble.

    There is an appeal to having a gnosis about the way our society is organized, but its mostly useless knowledge.

  4. If anyone uses FedEx Office to view the Orthosphere, I found the site blocked.

    I left this message with their customer support:

    The site http://orthosphere.org/2013/08/21/the-modern-mind-cannot-be-evangelized/ is blocked
    by FEDEX SECURITY with the message “FedEx Information Security has blocked potentially harmful content from being displayed in your browser. The site you attempted to visit has been categorized as malicious or constitutes a breach of Information Security’s safe-browsing guidelines.”

    This is a discussion site for religious and cultural issues. The categorization is itself obviously malicious and is attempting to suppress free exchange on the Internet. Please make this site available again. I intend to follow up this matter on a daily basis and will take legal action if it is not resolved satisfactorily.

    • I think I musn’t fully understand your reasoning. Your objections above may all be true, but obviously you are able to access the site via other means. Why do you threaten to take legal action to resolve the issue to your personal satisfaction? Thanks.

      • To Josh: I have had problems accessing Mangan’s site before. Bandwith restricted by an employer is not all that problematic. They are paying for bit; they can restrict it if they want to.

        To Terry Morris: FedEx Office is a service offered to paying customers literally paid for minute by minute. I use it on occasion when my laptop is on the fritz or the library is inaccessible; FedEx is open 24/7. It’s infuriating to find a site I regularly use censored when I’m spending my own green and silver to view it. The fact that I have other means to access the site is irrelevant; this is the kind of brush-off that would provoke an explosion.

        Am I serious about legal action? I can’t fight a case with my resources but I can get a letter from a lawyer at no charge, I may do so if I don’t get a satisfactory response from FedEx Office, which I have not. Haven’t been on FedEx Office over Labor Day. The Big Boys intimidate ordinary folks with vaguely worded correspondence all the time. If I’m not willing to counter-intimidate, how serious am I about my glorious 1st Amendment rights?

  5. I have just written a response to James Kalb’s article “How Long Will Secular Liberalism Endure?” at my new blog Secular Patriarchy. I focus on the contrast between accelerating decline in the political area and sharp deceleration in decline in the family area since 1995. I also attempt to explain what Secular Liberalism is more precisely and why people fall for it.

    Here is the article for those interested:

    The Conflict between Conservative Behavior and Liberal Belief; a response to James Kalb

    http://secularpatriarchy.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/the-conflict-between-conservative-behavior-and-liberal-belief-a-response-to-james-kalb/

  6. I admire James Kalb’s writings, and he is obviously writing from a Catholic viewpoint. It would be helpful to me if he could then explain why the most liberal states are at least nominally some of the most Catholic. Similarly, some of the most prominent liberal politicians are also Catholic.

    • Good question! It’s worth noting that in Europe Catholic regions don’t seem more liberal than Protestant regions. Possible explanations for the difference include:

      1. Most Catholics are in big urban states that are liberal for reasons having nothing to do with religion.

      2. As peasant immigrants they wanted to make their way in a very different setting. That meant identifying with whatever gave them a career advantage. For intellectuals and big city politicians that meant liberal political and social positions.

      3. Their status as immigrants in a non-Catholic society also meant they weren’t part of the established informal social networks and institutions. So they had no use for the traditional society, traditional religion, and informal hierarchies that actually existed here.

      4. American conservatism is strongly influenced by an individualistic form of liberalism that Catholics don’t find as appealing as Protestants do.

      • All four of these explanations are plausible, but are we missing something?

        1. It is a common observation that urban areas are generally more liberal than rural ones. But that can’t be the only explanation. Conservative Utah is 87% urban. Conservative Texas is 80% urban. Liberal Massachusetts is 84% urban.

        2. The liberal drift of Catholicism came a generation or two after the European immigrant experience, i.e. since the 1950’s, and contemporary Hispanic Catholic immigrants may be more socially conservative than their American counterparts.

        3. The immigrant experience also tended to create distinctly Catholic institutions inside the larger American framework, allowing Catholics to create and maintain their own traditions and networks.

        4. Libertarianism, rugged individualism, and liberalism are three strands of thought influencing America. Many residents of Texas and Utah consider themselves rugged individualists, but both states are socially and economically conservative.

        All of this begs also the question, why was liberalism seen as a career or political advantage? One can imagine a society where being conservative is the key to promotion and advancement into positions of power. Indeed, such societies are not hard to find around the world.

        Are Catholics simply more European in thought with modern Europe now being more liberal than modern America? Did Catholics take up liberalism to challenge the more conservative establishment, e.g. the Boston Brahmins?

      • Are the urban areas similar? Utah and Texas have much more space than Massachusetts, so the cities are much more spread out. Presumably Steve Sailer’s affordable family formation principle, which is mostly a matter of cheap housing, comes into play and affects political inclinations. Also, it seems it would be less disruptive and therefore less radicalizing for rural Mormons or Southern Baptists to move into a city created and dominated by recently-rural Mormons or Southern Baptists than for European Catholic peasants to move into a city created and run by people they find quite alien.

        For Catholics it seems that liberalization was part of assimilation and making their way. It enabled them to maintain their independence from WASPdom, declare independence from the Catholic ghetto created by immigrant communities and specifically Catholic institutions, and become part of an increasingly dominant social movement. Vatican II (which also requires discussion) was also an important influence because it promoted assimilation and leftish causes.

        Liberalism was a career advantage because technocracy was strong and it’s a natural ideology for technocratic society. It is both liberal and technocratic to say that the point of social life and morality is to create a rational system of maximum equal preference satisfaction.

      • Leo says,

        “…contemporary Hispanic Catholic immigrants may be more socially conservative than their American counterparts.”

        Not when it comes to teen pregnancy and bastardy, they aren’t. Or crime, for that matter. In these areas, figures for Hispanic are worse than those for whites.

      • Vatican II (which also requires discussion) was also an important influence because it promoted assimilation and leftish causes.

        I hope to see such a discussion. It may be plain sense that VII promoted liberal causes*, but it is also plain sense to a faithful Catholic that an ecumenical council binds that Catholic in faith and practice. There is a dilemma here that bears down on the traditionalist that can quickly lead to the questions, what good is a council anyways, or what do we need a pope for when we can determine his activities are too leftist for our consciences?

        *How do we know conclusively, by the way, what it promoted or what was its intent when we can’t really ask it? VII gets blamed for disintegration in the liturgy, but it turns out that none of the documents produced from the Council ordered priests to abandon ad orientem posture, for instance. Yet most people say the priests now face the people because of VII changes to the liturgy.

      • I do understand that one can disapprove of the actions of the Pope, or disagree with his publicly-stated personal opinions. But as he is the head of the Church, the sign of the fullness of the Christian Faith by virtue of his office of holding it in its entirety, how is it possible to argue that he is holding it and also destroying it at one and the same time because of his leftism?

      • I probably should have said that Vatican II *had the effect* of promoting assimilation and leftist causes, since it’s mostly Vatican II as an event–as reported and interpreted–rather than the documents themselves that is the issue. Still, it’s open to Catholics to find that this document or that presented the wrong emphasis and ended up creating the wrong impression You don’t have to think that hierarchs are always wise in their pronouncements or for that matter their policies or decisions. Before he become pope Benedict XVI had some sharp things to say about Gaudium et Spes, for example.

      • 4. Libertarianism, rugged individualism, and liberalism are three strands of thought influencing America. Many residents of Texas and Utah consider themselves rugged individualists, but both states are socially and economically conservative.

        Here again we encounter the problem of definitions. In the Catholic tradition what you call “economic conservatism” is considered a form of radical liberalism. So it doesn’t make sense to use that as a standard of determining Catholic traditionalism.

        By what metric Is a state considered “socially conservative”? Is it because the state votes 75% for Mitt Romney? There is strong evidence that many Red States like Texas consume immoral paraphernalia at a higher rate than many blue states. Many of these states also have high rates of abortion. I am not defending the morality of blue states, obviously most of which are cesspools including many areas formerly inhabited by Catholics but it seems to be a pretty low bar to hold up states like Utah and Texas as paragons of social conservatism. Perhaps those values like “rugged individualism” and “economic freedom” do much more to undermine traditional values than normally assumed by many conservatives.

        Are Catholics simply more European in thought with modern Europe now being more liberal than modern America? Did Catholics take up liberalism to challenge the more conservative establishment, e.g. the Boston Brahmins?

        This is partially true. Catholics are certainly more “old-world-medieval” in orientation, which garners hostility from Protestants and liberals alike. I think Catholic cooperation in say the New Deal was a shaky alliance born largely out of desperation. Catholics had some good influence in at least moderating some of the aspects of American liberalism. For example FDR stated that he was in part influenced by Papal social encyclicals. The New Deal programs were based on the assumption of a single male breadwinner.as head of a family as opposed to merely citizens as individuals. I am not saying that the New Deal was necessarily ideal but it did bring a semblance of order in America and Catholics were able reverse many advances of liberalism in American society in a way not previously seen before.

        As to the final question of how did so many Catholics become liberal? Other commentators here have responded better than I but in short I think it largely had to do with Catholics becoming a victim of their own success and thus were subsumed into wider American life putting American values above Catholic values.

  7. Re Hispanic immigrants and crime, I am not convinced that Wm. Lewis is right. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/immigration-crime-statistics_n_1089164.html

    Teen pregnancy among Hispanics, while potentially problematic, is not immoral. Out of wedlock births among Hispanics may represent an aversion to abortion. From my perspective, less than an hour north of the border, Hispanics seem to exemplify family values better than what I see among Anglos. I also see Anglo panhandlers, but not Hispanic ones. The Hispanics are working or actively looking for work.

    • I’m sorry, but I don’t consider the Huffington Post to be a reliable source.

      When you say “Hispanic immigrants,” I assume you mean “illegal aliens from Mexico and elsewhere south of the border.” By definition—illegal aliens—such people are criminals. it is estimated that by living and working here, illegal aliens are violating about half-a-dozen laws every day.

      When it comes to other crime, Hispanics are over-represented in prisons nationwide. They have higher-than-white rates of crime in nearly all categories. Start looking around the immigration restrictionist websites for links to data.

      “Teen pregnancy among Hispanics, while potentially problematic, is not immoral.”

      If they were married at the time of conception, then, and only then, is your statement correct. Out-of-wedlock sex is otherwise known as fornication and is a sin. As it turns out, the Hispanic rate of bastardy greatly exceeds that of whites, and is approaching parity with blacks, whose rate is about 70%.

      About the only thing I can agree with is the virtual non-existence of Hispanic bums (i.e., panhandlers). Of course, that’s because many illegal aliens quit jobs in Mexico to come to America to earn more than they can at home, and few beggars earn a good living. For all their other faults, at least they’re willing to work.

      • Hispanics have lower than expected crime rates, given their socioeconomic level. See http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED247328 That might be considered the liberal argument.

        Now read the following from The American Conservative:

        “Consider two large and comparable American cities—San Jose, California and Seattle, Washington. Both are located on the West Coast, are overwhelmingly suburban and generally affluent, earn their living from the technology industry, are politically liberal, and have small black populations. Seattle is one of the whitest cities in America at 70 percent, with Asians being the largest minority; Hispanics number only 5 percent. By contrast, San Jose is over 50 percent larger in size and although mostly white and Asian, is one-third Hispanic, with a large number of impoverished illegal immigrants. Seattle’s crime rate is indeed low, but the crime rate in San Jose is actually much lower: one-third lower for homicide or violent crime in general and with less than half the robbery rate. In fact, none of the most heavily white major cities in America have crime rates anywhere near as low as one-third Hispanic San Jose.”

        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/his-panic/

        The article shows that once crime rates are corrected for age distribution, the crime statistics are much lower than they appear at first glance.

        From where I sit it is very hard to tell who is legal and who is not, but some of the people I suspect may be illegal are nevertheless otherwise very good people, and they are great workers (my oldest son likes to say you can’t out work a Mexican) with a lot of family solidarity (you fight the bean, you fight the whole burrito). I have no statistics on chastity, but I suspect young Latinas are more likely to be chaste than young Anglos in California, though America may have succeeded in corrupting them. If Anglos are diligent in pursuing contraception and abortion, that may reduce their out of wedlock births, but that is not the same as chastity. My observation and the observation of many scholars is that “Mexican culture is familistic, emphasizing values which give overriding importance to the family and the needs of the collective as opposed to individual and personal needs.’’ (Journal of Marriage and the Family 39:759–67). This is the opposite of the liberal radical individualism so often decried on this site.

        I don’t in general approve of breaking the law and hence of illegal immigration, but I can also view it as a moral intelligence test. If the choice is to watch your family starve outside of America or commit a misdemeanor by crossing the border, the morally intelligent choice is to cross the border. America has not treated its Hispanic migrants and their families as well as it should have. For a photo gallery, see http://themigrantproject.com/gallery.html

        To return to the question of the endurance of secular liberalism, I would say that the endurance of traditional values might dwell depend on the survival of the religious and family values of Hispanic immigrants.

      • On the face of it, comparisons involving Mexicans in the US are complicated:

        1. It seems they mostly don’t assimilate successfully. Telles and Ortiz, Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race documents the failure of Mexican immigrants to assimilate and thrive even after multiple generations.

        2. The longer they stay and the more influenced they are by U.S. culture the more trouble they get into. The familial culture disintegrates and there’s nothing functional to replace it. Breslau J, Borges G. “Migration from Mexico to the United States and Conduct Disorder: A Cross-national Study.” Archives of General Psychiatry 68, no. 12 (December 1, 2011): 1284­1293. doi:10.1001/arch-genpsychiatry.2011.140. Also see Berger, Eric. “English Linked to Promiscuity in Hispanic Teens.” Houston Chronicle, March 8, 2005. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/English-linked-to-promiscuity-in-Hispanic-teens-1942500.php.

        Nonetheless their crime rates remain lower than black crime rates. It wouldn’t be surprising if that situation, together with the large number of less-troubled recent arrivals and Hispanics who come from Cuba or wherever, meant the overall Hispanic crime rate is less than average for people in America of the same age and socioeconomic class. There are lots of high crime people in those categories to make them look good by comparison. Still, it’s hard to see Mexican-American culture as a durable bastion of traditional Catholic family values especially given its apparent informality and institutional weakness. It’s not even clear how many of them will stay Catholic–it’s said that third generation Hispanic immigrants are only 40 percent Catholic. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/faith-can-overcome-secularism-archbishop-chaput-tells-latinos/ goes into some of the statistics.

        In any event, what does Mexican immigration have to do with starving families? In 2009 36 percent of Mexicans said they would move to the United States if they could. http://www.cis.org/ZogbyPoll-EffectsOfAmnesty. I can’t believe starvation is the reason. Mexico is a middle income country and it’s near the top of the international rankings for obesity.

      • The primary correlating factor for crime is not socioeconomic status, but IQ. See The Bell Curve. Hispanics, with an average IQ between blacks and whites, are incarcerated at rates between whites and blacks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States#Race see the graph based on U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics).

        Consider that crime increased during the 1960s, but the unemployment rate was much the same as in the 1990s and early 2000s, when crime fell. Also, crime rates generally fell during Roosevelt’s Folly (i.e., the Great Depression). During the current recession as well, crime rates have fallen, so it is a mistake to think that lower, or decreased, socioeconomic status causes crime. (http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_3_crime-decline.html)

        San Jose may have a lower crime rate than Seattle, but Hispanic-majority (75%) Salinas, CA, has a terrible murder rate: 20.2 per 100,000 in 2009. Its overall crime rate is significantly higher than average, and has been above average for more than a decade. True, much of the crime in Salinas is gang-related, but that hardly speaks well of Hispanics. (http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Salinas-California.html)

        Yes, some illegal aliens are otherwise good people, but they have demonstrated their contempt for our laws and our people by the very fact of their ongoing presence here. The economic argument is skewed, however: Mexico, as Mr. Kalb noted, is the fattest country in the world (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57592714/mexico-takes-title-of-most-obese-from-america/), and Mexicans come not because they are destitute but because they are greedy. Most—yes, most—illegal aliens quit jobs in Mexico to come to live and work in America illegally. They come because they want more, not because they lack enough. (http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/017237.html)

        Young Hispanics are not more chaste than their white counterparts. While teens have the highest rates of illegitimacy, regardless of race, Hispanics overall rate of 53-ish percent is is significantly higher than whites overall rate of 30-ish percent, and rates for Hispanic teens are slightly higher than for white teens. It’s hard to say how much this is altered by abortion, but the conclusions are clear: Hispanics are not more chaste than whites. (http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2011/11/fertility-and-marriage-declines-continue/)

        When you say, “America has not treated its Hispanic migrants and their families as well as it should have,” what do you mean? Should we have done anything other than deport the illegal? Should we have given special advantage to the legal immigrants? That we have accepted them at all is largess beyond what they deserve. Also, to put the shoe on the other foot, Hispanics have not treated their American “hosts” as well as we deserve: the website Immigration’s Human Cost, while not kept up to date, has archives of how illegal aliens have killed, murdered, raped, and otherwise victimized and violated Americans (their archives, here http://www.immigrationshumancost.org/archives.html show more of the doctors, police officers, students, and children—the husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—slaughtered by illegal aliens, most of whom are Hispanic.)

  8. The West does have vast open spaces, but much of it is inhospitable to settlement, being too arid, too mountainous, or preempted by the federal government. This is not true for Massachusetts. The urban areas of Utah are primarily in just one swath, known as the Wasatch front. I do think there is something to the theory of affordable family formation and the high price of urban housing. And Utahns are likely to be comfortable moving to the cities their ancestors founded, but that raises the question of why Catholics preferred American cities to the many Catholic cities of Europe or Latin America.

    I am not convinced that modern liberalism is the natural ideology of a technocratic society. The Business School, the College of Engineering, and the Department of Chemistry, are likely to be more conservative than the Theater Department, Anthropology Department, or anything ending in “studies,” yet they are likely to be at least as technocratic.

    I do think Vatican II played a role, but I am not in a position to put my finger on it.

    • Isn’t housing including detached single family housing cheaper in Utah? It was my impression that it was, and the reasons had to do with the availability and price of land.

      The basic idea I suppose is that if you’re more hooked into family you’re conservative, while if you’re more hooked into government services you’re liberal. Expensive housing means slower family formation and crowding means more need for government services. I suppose diversity is another issue: more diversity means less social trust and fewer functional informal institutions, and so more need for government services and for government supervision and control to keep people from molesting each other.

      Catholics who emigrated were looking for livelihoods and presumably preferred American cities for economic reasons. .

      Contemporary liberalism is an application of technocracy to social, moral, cultural, and political issues. So you’re especially likely to find it among people who theorize about those issues in a setting in which the public theory is technocratic.

      • Yes, detached single-family housing is much less expensive in Utah (and Idaho and Wyoming for that matter) than in, say, coastal California. About a decade ago I moved from suburban Chicago to Coastal California and wound up with half the house for twice the money. The move was possible because by then I was an empty nester. If I retired to the Intermountain West, I could trade my San Diego townhouse for a much larger home, except in places like Aspen, CO and Jackson, WY.
        Therein hangs the tale. If you want to raise a large family in the style that Americans have become accustomed to, there are places where that is still affordable and places where it is not. So many young, LDS families that want to raise children tend not to stay in Coastal California and leave for the Intermountain West.

        Housing stocks are also built to meet market expectations. Many years ago we nearly moved to Dallas. Suburban Dallas housing was priced about like suburban Chicago housing, but very few homes in Dallas had more than three bedrooms. With higher prices, the Dallas homes had bigger walk-in closets, bigger great rooms, pools, etc., but rarely more than three bedrooms. In contrast, it is not hard to find homes in Utah and Idaho with four or five bedrooms. Homebuilders in Utah and Idaho built to meet customer demand both for number of bedrooms and price.

        There are limits to the amount of habitable land in Utah and Idaho, but those limits have not been reached yet. But there is also plenty of land left in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and elsewhere. There is not a shortage of dirt, even in the blue states. I have heard it said that in the Illinois River Valley, except for population centers like Peoria, population density was higher in the era of the Native Americans than today.

      • There is not a shortage of dirt, even in the blue states. I have heard it said that in the Illinois River Valley, except for population centers like Peoria, population density was higher in the era of the Native Americans than today.

        Absolutely true. I just returned to California a week ago from a trip in which I drove from Chicago to New Haven, an arc of territory I know quite well, having grown to manhood there and traveled extensively all over the Northeast and Midwest. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “an arc of territory I once knew quite well.” My impression is that outside the large urban areas, which are twice as large as I remember, almost all of Ohio and Pennsylvania is about half as populated as it was fifty years ago. There were vast, vast stretches of young forest where I remember continuous farmland. If we wanted to form a traditionalist enclave, we could do a lot worse than western Pennsylvania. Gorgeous country.

  9. Ita Scripta Est quite properly raises the question of how should we measure social conservatism. Being socially conservative is not the same as voting for the GOP in the last election, though the social issues of marriage redefinition and public funding of abortion have created some correlations.

    Using these metrics http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/05/profile-of-states-draft/ for social well being, one can group the “best” states into six clusters. Using different metrics might change the lists a bit, but many indicators of quality of life would produce similar results.

    The six best clusters and their red/blue and religious leanings are:

    Hawaii. A blue state. Unique and Asian influenced.

    The Mormon Core (UT, ID, WY). Very red states.

    The Rest of the Upper West (WA, OR, MT, CO). Blue and purple states. No particularly strong religious correlations.

    The Upper Great Plains (IA, MN, ND, SD, NE). Red, purple, and blue states. Lutheran, Methodist, and rural.

    Upper New England (NH, VT, ME). Blue states. A mix of Catholics and old Protestant stock, but also some of the least religious states according to Gallup.

    The Prosperous East (CT, MA, NJ). Blue states. Large Catholic populations, urban centers, and considerable wealth.

    In contrast, the red, religious, and Protestant South does poorly in these metrics. A major problem, however, is their large black population, whose disadvantaged condition can be traced to slavery and Jim Crow. So it is hard to sort everything out.

    Why does this matter? Because the future of liberalism in this country will be played out in these varying political and religious landscapes.

    • A major problem, however, is their large black population, whose disadvantaged condition can be traced to slavery and Jim Crow.

      Modern blacks’ condition has nothing to do with slavery or Jim Crow. It has everything to do with their moral degradation and lower innate abilities. Please see View From the Right and Stuff Black People Don’t Like for more on this.

  10. I don’t believe that the tendency to commit crime (prominently featured in the websites you mentioned) is a genetically inherited characteristic, and I don’t believe you have proven that to be the case. Violent crime rates were much higher in Medieval England than in modern England. See http://soci.ucalgary.ca/brannigan/sites/soci.ucalgary.ca.brannigan/files/long-term-historical-trends-of-violent-crime.pdf Would you argue that this is due to dilution of the inherently violent genetic stock of England?

    Are you arguing that black slavery was not a disadvantaged condition? Or that it produced no negative effects on modern America?

    • I’m afraid you misunderstand what is said on those sites in much the same way the Human Biodiversity (HBD) people misunderstand the correlation between genetics and behavior.

      Criminal behavior is not genetic, but intelligence is. Not completely, but largely: up to 80%. Furthermore, there is a correlation between IQ and crime: the lower the one, the higher the other. See The Bell Curve. However, there is no necessary correlation between morality and intelligence.

      No living American has any connection to slavery as it was practiced here; therefore, no living American has either responsibility for it, or has suffered from it. To claim that slavery is responsible for blacks’ current woes is to place inerasable guilt on whites. It makes whites responsible for all black behavior, and relieves blacks of all culpability. The Thinking Housewife has an excellent post on this titled “The African American Heresy.” Please read it. It was posted on Sept. 5, 2013, so should be on the front page for a while.

      In my opinion, the worst modern effect of slavery on America is the coexistence of two races in one country. That, in and of itself, is the classic formula for strife, even genocide. What exacerbates the problem is the greatly different civilizational abilities of each group. Although some individual blacks are able to participate and prosper in a non-black civilization, for the the majority, their lesser abilities will leave them permanently outside of mainstream success. The key point here is that blacks’ lower abilities is inherent to them, and is not due to anything that whites are doing to, or failing to do for, blacks.

      I do believe that blacks, as much as any other people, are part of God’s plan. They have certain qualities that, when nutured, add to our overall quality of being and to God’s glory. However, fifty years of whites’ bending over backwards for them has produced not only no improvement in their lots, but an actual worsening of blacks’ condition in America. (Obviously, I’m looking beyond mere economics: everyone is more prosperous now than they were five decades ago.)

      I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know that when what you’re doing doesn’t work, the first thing to do is stop doing it. I look forward to the day that liberalism dies; I only hope that it happens before it kills its host societies first.

  11. I agree that we are responsible for our own sins, not for the sins of our fathers. See Ezekiel 18. I agree that the whole group guilt game is a very dangerous one for everybody. And I agree that America still has a racial problem, and that solutions will not be easy to come by. We need to focus on where we are now and where we go from here.

    The whole subject is a minefield, but I think Daniel Patrick Moynihan was onto something when he focused on the family, and slavery did have a devastating effect on the family, as has, to a lesser degree, modern liberalism.

    • @Leo – “slavery did have a devastating effect on the family, as has, to a lesser degree, modern liberalism.!”

      As you say, ‘to a lesser degree’. Maybe hardly at all, or the opposite, if the comparator is West Africa.

      A few years ago I read a lot of books by Thomas Sowell (very worthwhile exercise), and this came through very strongly – that up to the mid 1960s social indicators for US African Americans were generally improving, and in many respects to do with the family, employment, crime etc. were much better than since that time.

      Indeed this argument is pretty conclusive, as conclusive as social science ever gets – and the fact that it is never mentioned in mainstream discourse, but the ‘civil rights’ era is instead seen as a breakthrough to a better world, I take as evidence of the increasingly deliberate evil of the Left – because a refusal to learn from experience, and indeed the coercive and moralistic imposition of learning the opposite of what experience teaches, is about as close to purposive evil as we see in this world (since evil is never naked, and cannot be).

      Just how bad would things have to get before the Left would admit error? I don’t think there is any point – even the fate of Detroit is ‘deniable’.

      Indeed, the state of African American culture is counter-evidentially relevant to the Left – the worse it gets, the more desperately urgent they perceive the need for Leftist solutions.

      For me it was a watershed when I became convinced that the Left did not want to solve, but instead to exacerbate, the problems for which they present themselves as the solution.

      The particular issue I noticed this was (in the UK) the ‘poverty trap’ whereby governments have engineered and maintained (over decades) an incentive scheme to create greater and more widespread dependence on state handouts, since taking a job causes an immediate and severe drop in standard of living.

      This mechanism has been fully understood for more than 40 years (I watched TV programs on the subject as a child) yet has been ratcheted up to include not just native Britons but anybody from the European Union, and indeed anybody who happens to set foot on British soil (literally so, without any exaggeration; since deportation of anybody who doesn’t want to go, from anywhere, for any reason is now de facto impossible under EU rules).

      Another one was ‘disability benefits’. When I was working in the NHS administration 20 years ago, it was fully understood that the couple of million people on disability benefits was more than double what it should be – and was sustained by having the patients own primary care/ general practitioner be given the job of deciding whether they should qualify for disability benefit.

      The solution was very simple, that long term disability certification be done by government doctors.

      It didn’t happen, and now there are – oh I don’t know how many more long term ‘disabled’ in Britain (I don’t know, because the government is dishonest about statistics) – maybe four million? (from a population of sixty something million).

      Leftist governments capture support with dependence, and because dependence is corrupting, yet if anyone tries to remedy the corruption, the media (our real rulers) will portray them (personally) as evil sadists who enjoy taking away the crutches from cripples and watching them suffer…

      • Which brings us to the question of how to counter modern secular liberalism. The task will require enlisting the help of all the forces of conservatism, including the Historically Black Churches and conservative Hispanic Catholics.

      • So many of the historically black churches have been taken over by fraudulent teachings such as Black Liberation Theology, and so many blacks are infected with anti-white sentiment, that I suspect that the number of blacks who are our actually our allies is very small indeed.

        My understanding is that Mexican Catholicism is not very Catholic. It is also clear that many Mexicans are openly anti-American/anti-white. Again, few allies here.

        We cannot look outside for help. We will need to repent of our own sins, and help ourselves. We should welcome help from fellow travelers whoever they may be, but we cannot ask them to deliver us from our own folly.

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