Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Chilling Blurt-Blats of Trumpists
  Jeff Sessions' Hawaii Incident reminds
  us to heed Sun Tzu's The Art of War

Politics in a democracy is a war, of sorts. Or rather it is a substitute for killing each other in power struggles related to economics (wealth and property) and beliefs (religion, ideology, tribe).

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC attributed to the Chinese military strategist and philosopher General Sun Tzu. As noted in Wikipedia, much of the text is about how to fight wars without actually having to do battle. It gives tips on how to outsmart one's opponent so that physical battle is not necessary. As such, it has found application as a training guide for many competitive endeavors that do not involve actual combat.

As with too many things in American culture, we kinda, sorta think we know about The Art of War. That is foolish because it is a long philosophical treatise that does not lend itself to the common American understanding limit of 140 characters. For instance, many Americans are aware of "know your enemy" when in fact the wisdom as shown in the image above is:
    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be put at risk even in a hundred battles. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
In the context of an "opponent" in a competition outside of a physical battle, "know your enemy" means to understand how they likely will respond to the changing circumstances within which they find themselves. To know your enemy, you must know their frame of reference, their "structure of concepts, values, customs, views, etc., by means of which an individual or group perceives or evaluates data, communicates ideas, and regulates behavior."

Everyone has a frame of reference based on a lifetime of experience which sets their standards for judging the world - their perspective, their way of looking at things. Among the elements of a lifetime that create a frame of reference in childhood and adolescence are
  1. the importance of kinship, lineage, and affinity groups and
  2. the cultural quiescence within the hometown region.
These influences can be clearly heard in the blurts and blats that emanate from the Trumpists - members of Donald Trump's team. If I as a Californian really listen to them, I find that trumpeting disturbing.

But, when Trumpists blurt and blat, I know those are an expression of their frames of reference as is my varied and many reactions. In such a case it is important to "know" them and equally important to "know" ourselves.

Last week the Trump-appointed United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions made this comment about a federal judge in the state of Hawaii:
     "I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power."
Despite the subsequent repugnant (to me) discussions and defenses offered that he was just attacking the judicial branch, his statement clearly sounds like he meant to minimize the place - an island in the pacific, maybe U.S. territory, but surely not a place entitled to membership in the exclusive country club known as These United States.

It wasn't a comment that would be outside of Trumpist Session's frame of reference. But as a fellow American whose frame of reference is Californian, I must consider Jeff Sessions' frame of reference in the context of his childhood and adolescence from the facts of
  1. the importance of kinship, lineage, and affinity groups and
  2. the cultural quiescence within the hometown region.
It isn't just that Sessions was born and raised in, and lived most of his life in, Alabama, a geographic region historically different from California, though that might give a hint. It isn't just that since the early 1700's no male in his paternal lineage ever called home a place outside the southernmost part These United States:
Click on image to see a larger version!

Rather it's all that plus the fact that his great-grandfather died at the Battle of Antietam fighting for the South in the Civil War, and that his grandfather, his father, and he are all named "Jefferson Beauregard" Sessions...
  • as in Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the Confederacy at the constitutional convention in Montgomery, Alabama. 
  • as in Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard.
Now I know those names were commonly used among white families in the South after the Civil War. And I know that Jeff Sessions didn't name himself. But most other people likely will not share a perspective, a way of looking at things, with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III - including most any American whose lineage includes no one from the Slave States indicated in the map below:


Early 19th Century American history isn't as simple as that. Among many people where Sessions was born and raised, there is a shared belief that any state within the land area not a U.S. state before the Missouri Compromise in 1819 indicated in the map below has a somewhat-less-than-equal standing relative to Alabama...

Click on image to see a larger version!
...because in 1819 when Alabama became a state, there were 11 Free States and 11 Slave States. The open furious political/ideological debate after 1819 - regarding what would be allowed in the frame of reference in new states not on the map above - ended after about 1 million Americans were killed in the Civil War.

For many in the South, "These United States" of 1819 was the last map of the nation formed in 1789 pursuant to the 1790 Census Map. The brutal reality of that map is subconsciously embedded in the frame of reference of many who live in those pink states today

However, while the Civil War as a series of physical battles ended on April 9, 1865, when General Lee surrendered at the village of Appomattox Court House, it could be said that the last battle casualty of the Civil War occurred five days later on April 14, 1865, when President Lincoln was shot.

As an aside, the last Confederate General to surrender his forces was Cherokee leader Stand Watie, on June 23, 1865 - while many 21st Century Americans think the only issue of the Civil War was black slavery, members of the Cherokee nation, which was subject to the genocide policies of the United States that continued into the 20th Century, would disagree. Anyway....

So what gut response would you expect from Sessions about a judge on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean overturning a Presidential Order??? Particularly when the response is from someone like Sessions who was in elementary school in Alabama when former California Governor Chief Justice Earl Warren ordered an end to desegregation???

Think about this frame of reference.When the land that makes up most of Alabama became part of the nation under what we know first 13 States pursuant to our Constitution in 1789, slavery was legal in 8 of 13 states, including 87% of the new nation's land area and holding 63% of the population.

When you look at that 1790 map, you may not realize that of the states shown, 75 years later the strongest support in the North for going to war came from New England states and Pennsylvania. Further, consider the irony in the fact that Donald Trump's New York City historically liked to sell stuff to the Sessions and their neighbors:
    ...From Wall Street financiers, to commercial shippers, to merchants selling manufactured goods to a South that produced little of its own, the New York City economy depended heavily on southern cotton. In response to the divisive Compromise of 1850, a group of merchants formed the Union Safety Committee, which pledged “to resist every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest.” During the war years, Mayor Fernando Wood, a “Peace Democrat,” led opposition to the war in the city, which grew as the wartime economy floundered and casualties mounted.
Based on their frames of reference, it's a given that Jeff Sessions and his boss don't understand Californians with their legal pot and their immigrants and their (at least from many like me) constant doubt that the United States is anything more than a fraudulent spin when it comes to liberty and justice for all, much less when it comes to equality.

That some non-white judge from Hawaii overturned the travel ban against some non-Christian brown people must be particularly galling to Trumpists even though the Senate, including Sessions, unanimously confirmed Derrick K. Watson. Maybe when he voted then Senator Sessions didn't know that the "K" stood for the middle name Kahala reflecting Judge Watson's frame of reference differences from a Southerner whose middle name is Beauregard.

When the judge was confirmed it was noted that he became the fourth person of Native Hawaiian descent to serve as an Article III judge in American history. Also the District of Hawaii became the first federal court in U.S. history with a majority of Asian Pacific Americans, as Judge Watson joined Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway and Judge Leslie Kobayashi on the bench. At the time of Watson’s confirmation, Hawaii Congresswoman and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Judy Chu said:
    I am thrilled that the Senate has voted to confirm Derrick Kahala Watson’s nomination to the U.S. District Court. This decision continues a significant trend of working to ensure that our federal judiciary reflects the diversity of the American people. Judge Watson is a strong addition to the federal bench, and will surely be a great public servant for the people of Hawaii.
Watson, whose mother worked in a bank and father was a Honolulu police officer, after attending the the Kamehameha Schools became the first in his family to attend college getting his undergraduate degree at Harvard. Like Sessions in his native Alabama, Watson has deep roots in Hawaii, growing up in a multi-generational household on Oahu.  Of course, Watson's Harvard Law graduating class included Barack Obama and Neil Gorsuch.

An interesting non-Sessions perspective on Watson's ruling was offered in this article:
    There are indications, though, that Watson’s viewpoint may have been further influenced by his Hawaiian heritage and his long record of advocacy for immigrant rights and civil rights. While with a San Francisco law firm in the early 2000s, he devoted hundreds of hours to pro bono cases defending the rights of Mexican restaurant workers being held in slave-like conditions and to landlord-tenant disputes.
    The complaint filed by Hawaii’s attorney general against the Trump travel ban contained an explicit reference to some of the most painful chapters in the islands’ history – the Chinese Exclusion Acts and the imposition of martial law and internment of Japanese Americans following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At the time, the US supreme court upheld the government’s argument – similar to Trump’s – that it had the executive authority to defend national security as it saw fit. But the court’s ruling in Korematsu v United States has since been described as a “stain on American jurisprudence” and has been widely repudiated in federal court rulings if never explicitly overturned.
    “If you have an order taking us back half a century to a time when there was discrimination on the basis of national origin or religion,” Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, told reporters after Watson’s ruling, “that’s something we have to speak up against.”
Jeff Sessions is two years younger than me. The fact is I too have a frame of reference based on the culture of my home state, California. Also I was heavily influenced by the fact that while my Irish Catholic family members were serving in WWII, when stationed in the South they suffered discrimination from Sessions family compatriots. We understood the reality of the 1881 observation written in a letter by British historian Edward Freeman on his return from America:
    This would be a grand land if only every Irishman would kill a Negro, and be hanged for it. I find this sentiment generally approved - sometimes with the qualification that they want Irish and Negroes for servants, not being able to get any other.
When I was 2 years old, then California Governor Earl Warren supported the integration of Mexican-American students in California school systems following Mendez v. Westminster. I was in elementary school when then Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Earl Warren wrote the opinion for Brown v Board of Education. Some of my California high school classmates were born in Japanese-American internment camps. A lot of my California high school classmates were Mexican-Americans.

Why anyone would care about a 19th Century American Civil War in the 21st Century is a mystery to me. The South lost. Get over it. But I also recognize the depth of feelings in Sessions frame of reference.

Most Americans today do not live in the states indicated on the 1790 map above. But wherever they live, what Americans need to learn from history is that our American progenitors screwed up, a lot. They got a lot wrong, more than they got right. We need to forgive our American ancestors, but not make mistakes based on their stupidity. That particularly goes for Trumpists who have acquired political power, such as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

California Senate Majority Leader Kevin de León when challenging Sessions' threats against Sanctuary Cities was partly correct when he stated:
    It has become abundantly clear that Atty. Gen. [Jeff] Sessions and the Trump administration are basing their law enforcement policies on principles of white supremacy — not American values. Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level.
He is right that the policies reflect white supremacist values. What he fails to openly recognize is not that Sessions and Trump and the Deplorables are white supremacists, but that they are Americans reflecting their values as Americans - American values that consistently go back to 17th Century America. It is clear to me that Sessions' frame of reference retains in him a concept of America that is chilling.

That's a problem for 21st Century residents of Hawaii and California. When a country permits persons with this frame of reference to hold office because of a failed democratic election that gave such persons power not only with less than a majority vote but with fewer votes than the other candidate, the result may be legal but it is a literal threat to non-white Americans.

When "the other" appears on their radar, the Trumpists would be as comfortable as their 1940's predecessors carrying out a racist act under the color of law.

It would be a racist act similar to putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps because their ancestors lived in a country with which America is at war, while not imprisoning German-Americans nor Italian-Americans.

We so spin this in our history classes that we don't recognize that this happened not because of any danger to our country but because Germans and Italians are white Europeans while the Japanese are Asians.

By spinning it in our grade school and high school classes by not noticing what we didn't do to German-Americans and Italian-Americans, we won't recognize as our core beliefs the tenants of white supremacy when we do it again, such as that Trump immigration order which is clearly a white supremacist act carried out under the guise of threat from "the other."

Not only that, but it is likely that today's Supreme Court full of white Catholic men would uphold it in the name of safety and security despite facts to the contrary.

That's the country Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump and the Deplorables want to live in and actually live in.

As a Californian I have a problem with that kind of America. It was less than 100 years ago, in 1881 when British historian Edward Freeman made his observation about America quoted above, from When Italian immigrants were 'the other' we learn:
    The largest mass lynching in U.S. history took place in New Orleans in 1891 — and it wasn’t African-Americans who were lynched, as many of us might assume. It was Italian-Americans.
    After nine Italians were tried and found not guilty of murdering New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy, a mob dragged them from the jail, along with two other Italians being held on unrelated charges, and lynched them all. The lynchings were followed by mass arrests of Italian immigrants throughout New Orleans, and waves of attacks against Italians nationwide.
    What was the reaction of our country’s leaders to the lynchings? Teddy Roosevelt, not yet president, famously said they were “a rather good thing.” The response in The New York Times was worse. A March 16, 1891, editorial referred to the victims of the lynchings as “… sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins.” An editorial the next day argued that: “Lynch law was the only course open to the people of New Orleans. …”
    John Parker, who helped organize the lynch mob, later went on to be governor of Louisiana. In 1911, he said of Italians that they were “just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything filthier in [their] habits, lawless, and treacherous.”
If you think Sessions' and Trump's America is different, the writer of that article points out:
    ...In earlier centuries, Catholics in America were in a position similar to today's Muslims. In 1785, when Catholics proposed building St. Peter's Church in the heart of Manhattan, city officials, fearing the papacy and sinister foreign influences, forced them to relocate outside the city limits. In this incident, it's easy to hear echoes of the Murfreesboro protests where there is opposition to the building of a mosque, as well as the ongoing protests against an Islamic center proposed for 51 Park Place in contemporary Manhattan.
    On December 24, 1806, two decades after St. Peter's was built on Church Street, where it still stands, protesters surrounded the church, outraged by mysterious ceremonies going on inside, ceremonies we now commonly understand to be the celebration of Christmas. The Christmas Eve 1806 protest led to a riot in which dozens were injured and a policeman was killed.
When in 2016 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in protest of racial oppression and inequality in the United States knelt during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, Session's and Trump's America went on the attack in outrage. At no time did, or would, the Deplorables ever wonder why because they and Trump revel in ignorance. As I explained elsewhere, The Star-Spangled Banner is something we should know about but don't because its pro-slavery verse written by a racist slave-owner who thought the British would take away his slaves is deliberately hidden from us.

Read this post About that Star-Spangled Banner.... Remember that this occurred in 2016, not 1816 or 1916, and it was a Californian who came under attack, the same year Donald Trump was legally elected President.

My frame of reference created in me values demonstrated by the actions of Watson and Kaepernick. I know that we are in a political war with "another America" over those values. So when I hear...

...I know the effect will be chilling. meaning those blurts and blats will create a feeling of sudden fear, anxiety, or alarm. It is the threat that underlies my statement in the prior post here Regarding "When We Rise" - How history repeats itself and why we must protect "San Francisco Values":
    How much does middle America respect San Francisco Values? It appears that answer is "not at all." When one realizes that San Francisco Values include love, peace, tolerance, diversity, creativity, freedom, spirituality, prosperity, community, truth, justice, and care for the environment it is a little hard to understand why anyone would not respect San Francisco Values.
But if we understand a frame of reference that is structured around 1790 Christian Old Testament tribal values (not the teachings of Jesus) and 1990 Selfish Capitalism tribal values, we do understand the enemy as recommended by Sun Tzu.

1Any time you don't understand American politics, remember that some 75 years after the ratification of the Constitution in order to amend slavery out of the Constitution, the North under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln decided to take the risk to kill 1 million Americans, more than half from slave states including Jeff Sessions great-grandfather. And there is nothing factually untrue about that statement.

Many feel that strong evidence exists that Americans on both sides did not understand that hundreds of thousands would die. That is true. As with every truth about the general population in a democracy, the voters were basically ignorant about what was at stake, so they voted with their ignorance. The fact is, in 1860 most would not have read the poem The Charge of the Light Brigade an 1854 narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson about the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. Nor would they have seen the photograph titled Valley Of The Shadow Of Death snapped by British photographer Roger Fenton in 1855:

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.

One of the truths of American history is that many leading American politicians were well aware of the Crimean War, one of the first conflicts to use modern technologies such as explosive shells, railways, telegraphs, nursing, etc. They knew the likely future reality:

    The Civil War is often to referred as the first "modern" war in history as it included the most advanced technology and innovations of warfare available at the time. Some of the innovations and advances of the Civil War included mass production of war material, rifling of gun barrels and the use of the Minié ball, the advent of repeating firearms and metallic cartridges, ironclad warships, advances in medicine, communication (especially the telegraph), and transportation (railroads), and the gradual decline of tactics from previous centuries.
Because, of course, too many Americans today choose their ignorance of history, most are not aware that in 1863, when the Russian Baltic fleet arrived in New York harbor, the Russian Far East fleet arrived in San Francisco. This was probably the most important Civil War related event to occur in California.

Late in the Civil War, the Confederate cruiser CSS Shenandoah was operating in the Bering Sea, where the unarmed, unsuspecting New Bedford whaling fleet hunted the gray whales. Over the course of a few days, 24 vessels were captured – most burned, the rest loaded with prisoners and sent into San Francisco. American whaling never recovered. Without a reliable supply of inexpensive whale oil as a smokeless lamp fuel and premium lubricant, there was now a vast new market for kerosene distilled from that nasty black stuff that oozed out of the ground in Pennsylvania: petroleum.

When an attack on San Francisco by the Shenandoah seemed to be imminent, the Russian admiral there gave orders to his ships to defend the city if necessary. There were no major Union warships on the scene, so Russia was about to fight for the United States. The attack never came as the bloodiest war in history up to that time came to a close.

The point here is American politicians and generals on both sides of the dispute in 1860 were not ignorant of the risk demonstrated by the Crimean War. In fact, John Basil Turchin, a Union army brigadier general in the American Civil War who led two critical charges that saved the day at Chickamauga and was among the first to lead soldiers up Missionary Ridge, was Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov. He was a Russian immigrant and former Colonel of Staff in the Russian Guards who fought in the Crimean War.

They well understood that hundreds of thousands of Americans would die in a Civil War.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Slowing the 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life
  Emperical Egalitarian Progressives act to
  rebuild California infrastructure and jobs

Disruption, of course, is just change at a higher speed. Humans have always had disruption - the death of someone important to you is an instant disruption. We had rituals, better than those we have today, to deal with a death of someone you love and the process of moving forward in time.

But a way-of-life means "the typical pattern of behavior of a person or group." The above definition of "disruption" in the context of a way-of-life creates psychological trauma which is defined as follows:
    Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one's ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. A traumatic event involves one's experience, or repeating events of being overwhelmed that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences.
The thing is, somewhere around 2012-13 researchers began to notice a change in death age patterns among Americans. The media began to catch on to it in 2016 and The Washington Post did an extensive set of stories beginning with this:
    White women have been dying prematurely at higher rates since the turn of this century, passing away in their 30s, 40s and 50s in a slow-motion crisis driven by decaying health in small-town America, according to an analysis of national health and mortality statistics by The Washington Post.
    Among African Americans, Hispanics and even the oldest white Americans, death rates have continued to fall. But for white women in what should be the prime of their lives, death rates have spiked upward. In one of the hardest-hit groups — rural white women in their late 40s — the death rate has risen by 30 percent.
    The Post’s analysis, which builds on academic research published last year, shows a clear divide in the health of urban and rural Americans, with the gap widening most dramatically among whites. The statistics reveal two Americas diverging, neither as healthy as it should be but one much sicker than the other.
California is not an exception as made clear in this Fresno Bee article:
    Young and middle-aged whites in the Southern Central Valley are dying at an increasing rate, researchers said Wednesday at the release of a preliminary report that they said reveals a “health crisis of white death.”
    The report for the California Endowment found that in four counties – Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern – the death rate for whites was almost 40 percent higher than the overall white death rate in California from 2010-14.
    “The deaths are occurring among a population struggling with unemployment, wage stagnation and poverty rates,” said Dr. Steven Woolf, lead author of the study and director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The economy is literally costing lives.”
That confirms the opinion Laudy Aron, a Senior Fellow at Urban Institute who co-authored a 2013, a sweeping study, “Shorter Lives, Poorer Health,” from the National Research Council and the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine, who noted for the Washington Post article:
    I think we are undergoing a change that’s comparable to the Industrial Revolution - those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs are sort of clinging to them for dear life.
For California it is has been easier to deal with disruptive Climate Change, a subject which lends itself to advancing adaptive cool new technology for power generation and cars and trucks, plus despite bickering ending municipal treated water wasting in urban areas. In fact, these are part of the California tradition of economic discontinuity and displacement as explained in the previous post.

When you see this, though, you know...
  1. the images below represent the women who are our "canaries in the coal mine" warning as the impacts of economic disruption are not limited to rural white women, and 
  2. therefore California must mitigate the impacts the inevitable economic disruption brought about by the Digital Revolution
...which despite the comparison, is moving much faster than the 200 years of the Industrial Revolution:

Sure, increasing the awareness of the problem will help those canaries. So would better physical and mental health care.

But creating "blue collar" jobs and modernizing agricultural jobs must be a serious goal for the rest of the 21st Century in California. We must lean heavily on our tradition of California Empirical Egalitarian Progressivism.

In fact, these active disruptors will have to get over their Neoliberal tendencies....

...and be happy that a Gas-tax increase to pay for road repair clears California Legislature:
    The legislation will raise the money to pay for the plan over 10 years. It raises the base gasoline excise tax by 12 cents, creates a transportation improvement fee based on the value of a vehicle and raises diesel excise and sales taxes.
    “This bill will provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for poor people who need work and it will stimulate the economy,” said Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, who introduced Senate Bill 1. “For me, this is a wise plan that’s a modest plan.”
    Republican lawmakers criticized the deal for putting a burden on ordinary Californians to pick up the bill for the Legislature’s failure to prioritize spending on roads without raising taxes.
In addition to the fee based on value, electric car owners will pay their share through a $100 vehicle fee for zero emission vehicles as outlined in What Californians need to know about the state’s $52-billion transportation plan.

Senator Beall is correct about the plan. In addition to fixing our roads which are a mess, the taxes and fees will be putting people to work in construction over a decade, mostly in blue collar jobs. If Donald Trump can get Congress to spend some money on an infrastructure program, that would create blue collar jobs.

We need to become job creators in a creative way. Many ways to give people blue collar jobs in California exist.

For instance, At the end of the drought, the Sierra Nevada contained 102 million dead trees. We could, a probably will, let them burn in catastrophic fires. Catastrophic fires don’t stimulate regrowth, as lesser fires do: The hotter temperatures they generate scorch the landscape and destroy the seeds needed for plant regeneration. That leads to severe soil erosion, landslides and devastated wildlife. Megafires also blanket large areas of the state with sooty black carbon, which is toxic to humans and a notorious climate pollutant, with a global warming potential 3,200 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

As the Los Angeles Times points out some clever folks have thought of A beneficial way to dispose of the Sierra's lost trees: Use them for energy. But the political and bureaucratic stumbling blocks will probably blanket large areas of the state with sooty black carbon, sort of a metaphor for 21st Century political bickering.

I hate to say this, but even Trump's wall will create blue collar jobs if it actually gets built. And just maybe it isn't quite as awful as the media and politicians on the left tell us.

First we need to rename it as the California Border Barrier Replacement Program. As I said in a prior post, "Regarding 'The Wall' we might want to look at a picture or two before we get all hot and bothered by that publicity." If you look at that pictures in that post you might discover we have a wall, an ugly wall, built by the Bush and Obama administrations which Trump's Deplorables may not have known about.

And now we learn from Trump's border wall will get its start in San Diego County:
    President Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico will kick off in the San Diego border community of Otay Mesa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed Monday.
    The community is home to one of two border crossings in San Diego and will be the site where 20 chosen bidders will erect prototypes of the envisioned wall. Winners will be selected around June 1, the agency said.
    Of the possible border locations in the region, building the prototypes near the Otay Mesa crossing makes the most sense because it allows companies to test out designs in a heavily trafficked area that still has room and flexibility, according to Eric Frost, director of San Diego State University’s graduate program in homeland security.
    Frost added the wall could be a benefit to both nations if, for example, it helps alleviate notoriously slow wait times for trucks crossing through Otay Mesa. He envisions an “intelligent wall” with sensors and wireless technology that can start tracking trucks before they reach a border guard, speeding up the process to move goods between the two nations.
    “There’s a positive in here, if you can design a wall that works way better,” Frost said.
"If you can design a wall that works way better" in this context means not buiildng a new wall but replacing the following mess at Otay Mesa where where volumes reach over 55,000 vehicles daily and annually more than 700,000 trucks carrying more than $20 billion in goods pass through the northbound border crossing after being inspected:

Whether Trump gets any other element of his own infrastructure plan approved, it strikes me that sometimes California's Democratic politicians and media need to become a little more cynically self-serving on behalf of the state. That Border Barrier Replacement Program could put a lot of blue collar Californians to work.

Of course, as I've noted before self-driving vehicles such as the tractor-trailer rigs shown in the pictures will start to eliminate positions for drivers in the next decade. And that "'intelligent wall' with sensors and wireless technology that can start tracking trucks before they reach a border guard, speeding up the process to move goods between the two nations" will reduce employee hours at the borders.

California, the home of Silicon Valley distributive technology, must continue to work to slow the 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life enough to soften the blue collar disruption trauma. Creating road maintenance jobs over the next 10 years is a good start, but it is just a start.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life
  The California tradition of discontinuity
  and displacement needs to be mitigated

By the mid-20th Century Californians had become pretty much responsible for The 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life.

In this context, "disruption" means a series of events that result in
  1. "discontinuity" meaning an interruption resulting in a permanent break in the expected flow of events and
  2. "displacement" meaning moving, shifting, or forcing people from the usual place or position, especially from a job and/or a place of residence and/or a homeland.
Economist Joseph Schumpeter's corollary to this is the new does not come from the old, it appears next to the old and competes with it up until it replaces it. Of course he observed that in 1911 when the agrarian society was being displaced by an industrial society over a period of 200 years from the mid-1700's to the mid-1900's.

By the mid-20th Century, unlike the folks in The Rust Belt, far more of Californians regularly migrated from employer to employer or entrepreneurial opportunity to entrepreneurial opportunity and, because of that, from community to community. In 1950 California's divorce rate was double that of Pennsylvania. Being a resident who was born in California was a rarity - meaning that most adults lived a "far distance" from their birth families.

In the five years after 1940 beginning with WWII, California's population grew by 2.5 million or 30%. Some of that was due to military movement of personnel, but many people came for the jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, which even then were "high tech."

In Southern California, some of the key employers (with peak WWII numbers of employees where available) were Douglas Aircraft (40,000) in Long Beach, Santa Monica, and El Segundo; Hughes Aircraft in Culver City; Lockheed Corporation (94,000) in Burbank; Northrup Aircraft in Hawthorne; North American Aviation in Inglewood; Consolidated Aircraft (45,000) in San Diego and Vultee Aircraft in Downey in 1943 merged to become Convair.

There was Aerojet, an American rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer based primarily in Rancho Cordova, California. Aerojet developed from a 1936 meeting hosted by director of Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology Theodore von Kármán, including rocket scientist and astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky and explosives expert Jack Parsons, all of whom were interested in the topic of spaceflight. Their first design was tested on August 16, 1941, consisting of a small cylindrical solid-fuel motor attached to the bottom of a plane. Takeoff distance was shortened by half, and the USAAF placed an order for experimental production versions. Aerojet employment in California peaked at around 10,000 in the early 1960's.

Perhaps most the important happening was when IBM opened its San Jose Research Laboratory in 1952. One of its first developments was the IBM 350 launched in 1956 with the first commercial moving head hard disk drive. As noted in this article:
    IBM is often overlooked in the valley. It’s seen as an East Coast outfit, despite the fact that for years it’s been among the valley’s largest private employers. (Today those employees work primarily at the Almaden center and IBM’s Silicon Valley Lab, a software development operation.) IBM is seen as stodgy — a suit-and-tie company in shorts-and-sandals Silicon Valley.
    But in fact, IBM brought an innovative fury to the valley long before the founders of Facebook and Google were even born. In 1952, the company sent senior engineer Rey Johnson west to open a lab in San Jose. Years before Steve Jobs launched nimble and independent skunk works to kick-start innovation at Apple and decades before Google launched its “20 percent time,” hours set aside for engineers to think big thoughts, IBM was experimenting with open-ended invention.
    “When I came out here you either worked at Lockheed or IBM,” says [Howard} Bell, 75, who started with IBM in 1958 and eventually managed the utility plant at Almaden. His father had already worked at IBM for 13 years when Bell started at the company. Eventually, his son, two daughters and his daughter-in-law also went to work for IBM in San Jose. Collectively, the Bells put in 127 years at the 100-year-old company.
As a child who was born in California during WWII, I was aware of the growth, but not really of the "dynamic" of life. But by 1970 I first worked with a "room sized" IBM 360 and by 1980, with my wife, started a computer services business. Yet, I wasn't fully aware of the socioeconomic impacts of the digital revolution. It just seemed like we had some better tools.

In reality, of course, disruption was occurring around me. Previous to 1970 I had worked has a reporter for a newspaper, the paper kind. This disruption was happening in the typesetting process:

Still it wasn't until 1999 in the Sacramento Valley when a supervisory employee in his late 20's who had young children observed that he thought his kids might not be able to have the life he had - for instance, they wouldn't be able to buy a home or stay with an employer to gain promotions and seniority.

He could see the economic and social disruption surrounding the beginning of the 21st Century.

I responded noting that the one mandatory skill for his kids' generation will be to adapt readily to change which will require a quality education creating a solid foundation in the basics - reading, math, science, and history.

And then, I noted, they will have to lower their expectations to a life comparable to that of the middle-class in Mexico in 1999 not the middle-class in the United States in 1969.

After I said that, I realized my ongoing awareness of the impending 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life had heightened.

In 2005 the New York Times published an article headlined In Silicon Valley, Job Hopping Contributes to Innovation examining studies about the relationship between frequent job changing and technology exploring the reality of the change in the work culture, but most of the data was over the prior decade. By 2015 in the Harvard Business Review article Setting the Record Straight on Switching Jobs this is offered:
    Stay in a job for at least two years.” “Never leave a job until you have your next one lined up.” Everyone from your mother to your mentor has advice about the best way to switch jobs. But how can you know whom to trust? Especially since what was true in the job market 20 years ago — even two years ago — is not necessarily gospel now. And the market is constantly changing.
    Consider the power dynamic between candidates and employers, for example. Though it differs across industries and regions, and is dependent on the health of the economy, in the past few years, experts have described the current labor market as “candidate-driven.” Job seekers hold more power than employers, a trend that seems to be deepening.
    ...Fernández-Aráoz points to the advice in The Alliance by Reid Hoffman (the cofounder and chairman of LinkedIn) and his coauthors that life-long employment is no longer realistic but being a completely free agent isn’t perfect either. “The alternative is what they call a ‘transformational alliance,’” explains Fernández-Aráoz, “where through honest conversations you explicitly agree on a temporary alliance, clarifying expectations regarding your contribution to the organization and what the organization will provide you in return, which may well be the support to continue your career elsewhere.” This is popular in Silicon Valley now, and “is probably showing the way to talent and career management over the next decades.”
While the concept of a "transformational alliance" with your employer appears not unreasonable, what is actually meant is a focused employment period where you are drained of your creative skills and ideas. It is not unlike the insurance agencies that hire someone to be a sales person to drain them of possible leads from their friends and family.

In fact in 2015 Business Insider offered this article Some tech workers over 50 are literally working themselves to death — and other things we discovered about their careers. And then this year there is this You Should Plan On Switching Jobs Every Three Years For The Rest Of Your Life which explains:
    Patty McCord, former chief talent officer for Netflix (and responsible for the company’s current innovative work culture), says job hopping is a good thing, and young people should plan to do so every three to four years.
    “I think that the most important, critical change in people’s mental outlook is to view employees as smart contributors from the beginning,” advises McCord, who now coaches and advises companies and entrepreneurs on culture and leadership. ...She adds. “You build skills faster when changing companies because of the learning curve.”
    Why the high learning curve? Because job hoppers are constantly placed outside of their comfort zones. They join companies, know they have to learn fast, make great impressions, and improve the bottom line—all within a couple of years before moving on to their next conquest. As a result, they’re usually overachievers and learn a lot in a short span of time.
    According to Penelope Trunk, serial entrepreneur and author, life is actually “more stable” with frequent job changes. ...She adds: "... I read a lot of research about what makes a good employee . . . and people used to think that the longer you kept an employee, the more worth they are to you, because you train them and they get used to their job and then they do it. But, in fact, an employee who stays on the job and isn’t learning at a really high rate is not as engaged, so they’re not doing as good work. So it turns out, the employee who stays longest, you get the least work out of, and the employees that job hunt are the most receptive of becoming extremely useful, very fast."
    But what about companies? We all know how costly it is to train employees. If companies have to keep training new employees, how does this affect their business objectives?
    This is a concern McCord is asked about regularly by the companies she consults. Employee retention is a big issue, and “it scares the hell out of” employers, says McCord. They’ve invested a lot in hiring big talent. To that, McCord has some advice: In 15 years, when your company is growing rapidly because of all the high, job-hopping achievers that have come and gone, unless you’re an institution, don’t worry that no one has any institutional knowledge of your company.
Then there is this Forbes story Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less. Economic opportunities pretty much drive the way we live, at a minimum because we need food, clothing, shelter, health care, and Netflix subscription. It would appear that the best economic opportunities come with biennial discontinuity and displacement.

So far, the 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life is pretty much as expected.

This is not the discussion of "disruption" seen in 2017 media evaluation of technology business innovation, a positive view of the role of destruction and creation of businesses and even whole industries within a decade. That discussion too often ignores the fact that the process destroys communities and regions, and the people therein.

By the year 2000 the inevitable future seemed obvious. But even for someone who had lived in the Salinas Valley and was aware of this...

 ...these pictures of technology affecting California's agricultural economy in the 21st Century still boggle my mind even as the jobs on that graph that existed in 2012 are disappearing:

The pictures provide a more directly informative image than graphs by economists. But most Americans understand the meaning of this graph:

But that doesn't mean that we understand the 21st Century employment picture. This graph from economists provides some further understanding with the explanation below it:

    The primary sector of the economy is the sector of an economy making direct use of natural resources. This includes agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining. The manufacturing industries that aggregate, pack, package, purify or process the raw materials close to the primary producers are normally considered part of this sector, especially if the raw material is unsuitable for sale or difficult to transport long distances.
    The secondary sector includes industries that produce a finished, usable product or are involved in construction.
    The tertiary sector of industry involves the provision of services to final consumers and other businesses. T
he focus is on people interacting with people and serving the customer rather than transforming physical goods. Services also may involve the transport, distribution and sale of goods from producer to a consumer, as may happen in wholesaling and retailing, or may involve the provision of a service, such as in pest control or entertainment. The goods may be transformed in the process of providing the service, as happens in the restaurant industry.
But somewhere around 2000 people became aware of a change which led to consideration of a fourth "sector":

    The quaternary sector of the economy is a way to describe a knowledge-based part of the economy - which typically includes services such as information technology, information-generation and information-sharing, media, and research and development, as well as knowledge-based services like consultation, education, financial planning, blogging, and designing.
The problem is not everyone is in agreement on what are quaternary activities and some are now breaking things down into five activities. An then we don't have adequate statistics that have been graphed but one source has offered this for the United Kingdom which offers some hints about the future:

Looking at the curve on the tertiary line it appears that it peaked around the year 2000 much as secondary activity employment peaked in the 1930's. As we know self-driving vehicles are going to be disruptive for those who drive trucks for a living and retail sales employees are already being displaced by auto-checkout systems and internet sales.

The disruption in the primary and secondary activity employment is still being felt in areas of the United States such as the Rust Belt. Contrary to political rhetoric, those trends will not reverse. Americans who worked in agriculture (consider the pictures above), plus mining, and industry are delusional if they expect a change.

One of the realities is that a Tesla auto assembly plant looks like this:

Perhaps "Trump The Deplorable" would assure you that Tesla is a special case and that workers in auto plants in Mexico stole all the jobs. That is both stupid and a lie, because in that Tesla plant you can actually see some humans doing things because some things are experimental or custom, while in this Kia plant in Mexico there are no workers pictured:

 I''m sure they must employ people there, but my guess is most would be involved in quaternary sector activities keeping those robots working properly. If you're skill is operating a wrench, to work in one of these plants in the future you will have to get additional education and training requiring that calculus you fortunately took in high school because, as I said in 1999, you got a quality education creating a solid foundation in the basics - reading, math, science, and history.

The reality is that much of the technology creating the disruption came from California's aerospace industry and California's Silicon Valley. It cannot be undone nor can those businesses that created the technology employ those who have lost their jobs. There just aren't enough jobs in Silicon Valley. But even if there were, there aren't enough qualified workers - let me emphasize the important word qualified - to fill the millions of vacant jobs. As recent stories noted Cyber security jobs in high demand, currently 1 million job openings and Businesses say they just can't find the right tech workers.

Oh, and if you want to work in retail consider this March 2017 story hiring hundreds of tech workers in San Bruno, Sunnyvale to challenge Amazon Prime:
    The hiring is expected to more than offset recent job cuts of about 175 workers on the Peninsula.
    The retailing giant also has bought e-commerce firms, Shoebuy and Moosejaw in a series of transactions in September 2016 and January and February of 2017.
    “We are shifting our investments and building up teams that can launch two-day shipping and other customer-facing initiatives that further enhance the digital shopping experience,” [said Ravi Jariwala, a spokesman for, the digital arm of the Arkansas-based retailing titan].
    “Every traditional retailer is trying to come up with a winning formula for its online channel,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo.
What possibly would make someone write that the hiring of tech workers would offset retail jobs lost by these folks in nearby Walmart stores?

How many of those WalMart workers will be able to slide right into the tech jobs remains to be seen. But certainly most likely will face stressful displacement and discontinuity in their lives. And for many it will not be the first or last time they will experience The 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life.

The 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life is not going to be limited to economic disruption. There is what Obama Administration White House science adviser John Holdren called "global climate disruption" which admittedly is a slower process, though by the middle of the century many places Americans live will not be very "desirable" or even "livable". Unfortunately, the term climate "disruption" was not picked up by the media. Nonetheless combined with economic disruption, it will help form the 21st Century Disruption Way-of-Life.

Scenes like this will become more frequent and, in many cases, will cause displacement and discontinuity, sometimes extreme displacement and sometimes inconvenient permanent discontinuity:

As noted previously in these posts, Californians have their own environmental program working with people in other Pacific Rim, European, African, and Asian nations and states they hope will make the next 100 years of climate disruption less disruptive for their children and grandchildren. We Californians should be doing that because the 20th Century California addiction to the automobile is at least partly responsible for climate disruption.

Now Californians have begun an effort to make the economic disruption less disruptive. We will explore that in the next post.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The critical civics lesson America & Trump needed
  21st Century Ideologies in America &
  the Government$ of the United States

    At the end of WWII, the United States and the world had experienced 16 years of economic and social upheaval which closed with the most appalling mass bloodshed in human history topped off by the development and use of the most nightmarish weapon imaginable.
    All of this was because of failures and actions by governments which were unable to adapt to the changes in political thinking - to ideologies - brought about by the impact of the Industrial Revolution. The problem is that "ideology", coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796, was born in the highly controversial philosophical and political debates and fights of the French Revolution. Ideological philosophy evolved after the beginning of European and American democracies which occurred within agrarian economies.
    Underlying the failure was the concept of Weltanschauung - Worldview - a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology referring to a framework of ideas and beliefs forming a global description through which an individual, group or culture watches and interprets the world and interacts with it. Worldview remains a confused and confusing concept in English, used very differently by linguists and sociologists. Core worldview beliefs are often deeply rooted, and so are only rarely reflected on by individuals, and are brought to the surface only in moments of crises of faith.
    A subset of a Weltanschauung is a political ideology, a comprehensive set of normative beliefs, conscious and unconscious ideas, that an individual, group or society has. And it is out of this German (Prussian, Austrian) philosophical milieu of the late 19th and early 20th centuries addressing the failures of the Industrial Revolution that we see Marx and Engles and Heidegger and Hitler among many, many more.
    Karl Marx, in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844) laid out for the rest of humanity an observation about the economics of the Industrial Age that underlies the Weltanschauung that creates furor among various ideological groups:

    The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. Tthe increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion to the devaluation of the world of men. Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity -- and does so in the proportion in which it produces commodities generally.
    In his 1943 book The Menace of the Herd, Austrian scholar Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn described Hitler's goals as to quash individualism in furtherance of political goals:
    When Hitler and Mussolini attack the "western democracies" they insinuate that their "democracy" is not genuine. National Socialism envisages abolishing the difference in wealth, education, intellect, taste, philosophy, and habits by a leveling process which necessitates in turn a total control over the child and the adolescent. Every personal attitude will be branded—after communist pattern—as "bourgeois," and this in spite of the fact that the bourgeois is the representative of the most herdist class in the world, and that National Socialism is a basically bourgeois movement.
    Hitler in Mein Kampf repeatedly speaks of the "masses" and the "herd" referring to the people. The German people should probably, in his view, remain a mass of identical "individuals" in an enormous sand heap or ant heap, identical even to the color of their shirts, the garment nearest to the body.
    The reality is none of this means much to the ordinary citizen.  Until it does - when a political ideology becomes a dominantly pervasive component within a government.
    Ordinary citizens impacted by the disruptive Industrial Revolution were not spending their "off time" contemplating political philosophy. Nor are today's ordinary citizens impacted by the equally disruptive Digital Revolution spending their "off time" contemplating political philosophy. However....
    For the past 40 years, two ideologies have struggled for dominance in the governments of the United States - Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism.
    Neoconservatives have walked the corridors of power at the federal level for several decades reaching maximum influence during the George W. Bush administration as regularly noted in the press. They will make an impact during the Trump Administration, though how great a one is unclear.
    On the other hand, while no one was looking Neoliberals, led and funded by the extensive efforts of the Koch brothers and others, have taken control of most state governments.
    Offered at the end of this post is an excerpt from a very significant speech not reported in the media delivered about a month before the election that should clear up any mystery as to why the Koch's and the Neoliberals refused to back Donald Trump.
    The purpose of this lengthy post is to increase an awareness of those two ideologies because the United States has reached the Until it does time.

In Donald Trump's world he has his opinion which, when it came to replacing ObamaCare, ran head-on into some ideologues. He responded as Trump does:

While other media covered the responses to Trump's threats, some targets of his tweets chose to have their responses published in the Heritage Foundation-backed Daily Signal March 30 article After Trump Threatens to ‘Fight’ Freedom Caucus, Conservatives Vow to ‘Keep Promises’ which was followed the next day by the article Leading Conservative Groups Stand With Freedom Caucus After Trump Attacks.

President Trump is getting a critical civics lesson. Like most Americans, he probably thought the American political scene could be described more or less as represented in this image:

Within this framework, many think that Congressional Freedom Caucus is much like the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues which is supported and monitored by issue oriented groups such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the other 88 issue oriented feminist organization listed in the Wikipedia page.

That is simply not the case. In fact, Trump is surrounded by warring, though sometimes confused and confusing, ideologues. And The Freedom Caucus is about ideology, really about an ideological movement, one that has been very successful amassing power in state government$.

If someone announced that a small group of people committed to an ideology which rejected your politics was about to take control of the United States government, would you be alarmed and, with others, act to stop them?

What if someone announced that a small group of wealthy people committed to an ideology which rejected your politics was going to systematically take control of the 50 state governments of the United States over the next 70 years using the established democratic processes, would you be alarmed and, with others, act to stop them?

In the post-Johnson era, Neoconservatives have held significant positions of power in the White House relative to foreign and monetary policy. And to some degree their view is strongly represented on the Supreme Court.

But over a period of 70 years, between 1947 and 2016, one group of ideologues - the Neoliberals - achieved effective control of most state government$ in the United States and, at this time somewhat less effectively, taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives. And to some degree their view is strongly represented on the Supreme Court.

In fact, the shift from 1976 to 2016 within the important government$ of the United States, the state legislatures, looks like this (focus on Nebraska which has a unicameral legislature that is supposedly non-partisan):


At a surface emotional level, 21st Century American feelings about ideology are derived from the cartoon-like characterizations of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin - fascism versus communism as implemented in Germany and Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. That is totally irrelevant today but nonetheless we are taught and repeatedly inundated with "scary" noise represented in this cartoon:

In fact, most Americans do not understand ideologies, particularly the dominant ideologies competing in the United States today. In order to insure a shared understanding, it seems important to define "ideology" and in particular political ideology.

    Ideology (from Greek ιδεολογία) is a collection of beliefs held by an individual, group, or society relating to human behavior and the expected (and unexpected) outcomes from that behavior. An ideology differs from a religion in that an ideology does not try to relate humanity to the context of existence except when the ideology requires a belief in an established societal religion
    Implicitly, in societies that distinguish between public and private life, every political or economic tendency entails ideology, whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought. Commonly, ideological beliefs refers to the system of abstracted meaning applied to public matters, thus making this concept central to politics.
    A political ideology is a defined set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, or large group that explains how society should work, and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order....
    Political ideologies have two dimensions:

  1. Goals: how society should work
  2. Methods: the most appropriate ways to achieve the ideal arrangement
    An ideologue is an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic.
    An ideocracy is when a political ideology becomes a dominantly pervasive component within a government, though some of us think of it is idiocy.
    Finally, for the sake of clarity we need to visualize the ideologies of the world as a globe surrounding the political discourse. One needs to think of each curved line on a side of the globe running from North to South as a specific ideological range. For example, let's take an ideology not currently politically competitive in the United States - socialism. (Sorry Bernie, but had you been the Democratic candidate, you would have been clobbered by anti-socialist rhetoric.) The Socialist Ideological Compass would at the North be Totalitarian Communism, at the Equator, Democratic Socialism, and somewhere in between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn you would find Roosevelt "New Deal" ideas to various Scandinavian country implementations. As you approach the South end you find communal collectives such as a kibbutz, ashram, or other planned commonly-owned community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork which sometimes leads to an extreme cult.
    It is using this view of a globe of ideology that allows a proper understanding of the situation in the 21st Century United States.

In the 21st Century government$ of United States we have a compass, not a spectrum, to represent the expressions of ideological perspectives as follows:

Near the southerly point of the Compass is the Ethnocentric Chauvinism ideology of racist, nativist, extreme views of Americans in "Alt-Right" groups like the KKK, League of the South, Minutemen, et al.

A little North on the East side we find Tribes that have become more closed cult-like and paranoid than normal societal groups which can result in the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act prior to the events of September 11, 2001, the The Jonestown Massacre of The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ.

A little North on the West side you find we find more isolated Individuals who become "loners" and paranoid - such as the Unabomber.

As we move in a Northerly direction beyond the Ethnocentric Chauvinism, the United States has always sustained populist tensions between between Cultural Tribalism and Cultural Individualism - what in the 21st Century we would call "lifestyles" not ideologies, perhaps something that could be studied as behavioral psychology.

From the beginning we had Cultural Tribalism epitomized by the Puritan and Quaker pioneers setting up their "Cities Upon the Hill", people sheltered and constrained by tribal religious/cultural rules/traditions. Ultimately in the 21st Century, Americans have included that traditional Cultural Tribalism into the ideological core of Social Conservatism which seeks enforcement of the tradition of the assimilation of "the others" into the one national culture, a view generally known as the "Melting Pot."

Social Conservatism is the East Point on the Political Compass, adjacent to the Cultural Tribalist-leaning population of America.

From the beginning we also had Cultural Individualism epitomized the Fur Trappers/Pathfinders like Jim Bridger, people who flourished by avoiding the constraints of any one tribal religious/cultural tradition. Bridger is a classic example.

Born in 1804, Bridger's parents moved from Richmond, Virginia, to St. Louis, Missouri, then died when he was 13. Later in his 30's while repeatedly traversing from the Canada–US border and the southern line of the Colorado, from the Missouri River westward to Idaho and back to Missouri, either as an employee of or partner in the fur trading business, Bridger married a woman from the Flathead Indians tribe and after her death the daughter of a Shoshone chief. In 1843, Bridger and Louis Vasquez, also a mountain man and trader and the son of a Spanish father and French mother, built a trading post, later named Fort Bridger, on the west bank of Blacks Fork of the Green River to serve pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

Ultimately in the 21st Century, Americans have included that traditional Cultural Individualism into the ideological core of Social Liberalism - a view that individuals "free of the shackles of society" observe the peaceful expression and sharing of a variety of cultural traditions with no restrictions, generally known as the multicultural milieu.

Social Liberalism is the West Point on the Political Compass, adjacent to the Cultural Individualist-leaning population of America.

The significant difficulty for Americans is that the espoused ideologies of political candidates do not comfortably fit with the cultural preferences within the American electorate who like to pick and choose the various elements that form the two ideologies.


As you move towards the North Point on the East side of the Compass you find Tribes that have become Economic Conservatives, nationalistic with a corporate economic view which becomes more protectionist, expansionist  and militaristic until it becomes Totalitarian.

The ideological seeds of Economic Corporatism were planted in the 19th Century American belief of Manifest Destiny the effects of which are well expressed by John Gast’s painting “American Progress” containing images of government subsidized railroads and homesteaders taking advantage of the various Homestead Acts...

...which includes the darkness of the genocidal American Indian Wars, the permanent occupation resulting from the Mexican American War, and the Imperialism of the Spanish American War which was reflected in this political cartoon of the time...

As explained in the Wikipedia entry, Manifest Destiny:

    The legacy is a complex one....
    The belief in an American mission to promote and defend democracy throughout the world, as expounded by Thomas Jefferson and his "Empire of Liberty" and Abraham Lincoln, was continued by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Under Harry Truman (and Douglas MacArthur) it was implemented in practice in the American rebuilding of Japan and Germany after World War II. George W. Bush in the 21st century applied it to the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tyner argues that in proclaiming a mission to combat terror, Bush was continuing a long tradition of prophetic presidential action to be the beacon of freedom in the spirit of manifest destiny.
    President Woodrow Wilson continued the policy of interventionism in the Americas, and attempted to redefine both manifest destiny and America's "mission" on a broader, worldwide scale. Wilson led the United States into World War I with the argument that "The world must be made safe for democracy." In his 1920 message to Congress after the war, Wilson stated:

    ... I think we all realize that the day has come when Democracy is being put upon its final test. The Old World is just now suffering from a wanton rejection of the principle of democracy and a substitution of the principle of autocracy as asserted in the name, but without the authority and sanction, of the multitude. This is the time of all others when Democracy should prove its purity and its spiritual power to prevail. It is surely the manifest destiny of the United States to lead in the attempt to make this spirit prevail.
    This was the only time a president had used the phrase "manifest destiny" in his annual address....
    "Manifest destiny" is sometimes used by critics of U.S. foreign policy to characterize interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere. In this usage, "manifest destiny" is interpreted as the underlying cause of what is denounced by some as "American imperialism." A more positive-sounding phrase devised by scholars at the end of the twentieth century is "nation building," and State Department official Karin Von Hippel notes that the U.S. has "been involved in nation-building and promoting democracy since the middle of the nineteenth century and 'Manifest Destiny.'"

In a peculiar "spin" twist, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a German Jewish refugee from the Nazi's, claimed to have been a non-ideologue who was guided by Realpolitik which was seen as a most practical means of securing national interests. It was thought Realpolitik often entailed compromising on ideological principles because for all intents and purposes ideology was popularly and erroneously defined as communism and fascism, as explained above.

In fact, in the 1970's Kissinger was empowering, if not creating, the ideology of the Neoconservative. As outlined in Wikipedia, Neocons "typically advocate the promotion of democracy and American national interest in international affairs, including by means of military force and are known for espousing disdain for communism and for political radicalism. Many of its adherents became politically famous during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Neoconservatives peaked in influence during the administration of George W. Bush, when they played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

In the 21st Century, the ideology that has continued the Manifest Destiny tradition is Neoconservatism at just East of North on the Compass.

When you gain an understanding of the Northeast quarter of the Compass you begin to note several things consistent with the concept of Tribes. First there is Social Conservatism which has no qualms about government supporting tribal religious/cultural rules and traditions. It is where you find Economic Corporatism which is "the sociopolitical organization of a society by major interest groups, known as corporate groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labour, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of their common interests." Here, government intervention in favor of corporate tribes (almost never equally balanced for all) is encouraged and even government participation is required in some cases (the American military in the Military-Industrial Complex equation for instance).

From a Neoconservative view, government exists not only to promote of democracy and American national interest in international affairs, American-based corporate groups define the American national interest in domestic and international affairs.

In terms of economics, Wikipedia notes that Neocons "tend to reject the Hayekian notion that the growth of government influence on society and public welfare is 'the road to serfdom.'" And so the acknowledgement that Neoconservatism rejects "Hayekian" thought brings us to the Northwest quarter of the Compass.


The map below indicates which among the 50 U.S. states at the beginning of 2016 had
  1. a Democratic Governor and 
  2. Democrats in control of its legislature. 

In addition to California which has Democratic super-majorities in both houses of the its legislature and eight of eight elected executive offices filled by Democrats, the other five Democratic states are Oregon, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

This map, and the map of the government$ of the United States in 2016 presented in the first portion of this post above, are not indicative of a routine shift between political parties in the United States. It is the result of a 70-year effort by dedicated Neoliberal ideologues, an international movement actually begun by these two guys in 1938:

Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises are the Founding Fathers of the most successful ideological movement in the United States. Yet most Americans have no idea who they are and did not hear the term Neoliberal or Neoliberalism mentioned once on any news show on TV in the entire year of 2016. Neocon maybe. But Neoliberal, no.

The informed American should know what the Neoliberal ideology is and how, over a period of 70 years beginning in 1947, dedicated, well-funded organizers, not particularly enamored with either political party, were able to utilize our political system to take control of most state government$ in the United States. And, at this time somewhat less effectively, they have taken control of the U.S. Congress, less so of the U.S. Supreme Court, and are in a power struggle in the U.S. Executive Branch. Let's begin with an examination of the Northwest quarter of the Compass.

Remember that Hayekian notion that the growth of government influence on society and public welfare is "the road to serfdom." When you look at the Northwest quarter, you cannot escape the realization that the range runs from Individualism to Anarchy. Slightly West of Anarchy is Neolibralism and somewhat South of that is Economic Individualism which rises up out of Social Liberalism. The history of how this evolved will be discussed below.

But for clarity's sake, it should be understood that the role of government in any Northwest direction ideology is minimal except to, through...
  • freedom, 
  • democracy, 
  • private property ownership, and 
  • the rule of law, 
 assure the rights of the individual
  • to live life among, 
  • to receive an education from, and 
  • to engage in commercial trade with 
...other individuals around with world.

As explained by the web site of the Mises Institute located in in Auburn, Alabama, supporting one of the two divergent branches of thought from the Austrian School of Economics:

   The story of the Austrian School begins ... when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization.
    These Late Scholastics observed the existence of economic law, inexorable forces of cause and effect that operate very much as other natural laws. Over the course of several generations, they discovered and explained the laws of supply and demand, the cause of inflation, the operation of foreign exchange rates, and the subjective nature of economic value—all reasons Joseph Schumpeter celebrated them as the first real economists.
    The Late Scholastics were advocates of property rights and the freedom to contract and trade. They celebrated the contribution of business to society, while doggedly opposing taxes, price controls, and regulations that inhibited enterprise. As moral theologians, they urged government$ to obey ethical strictures against theft and murder.

The Mises Institute is, of course, named after Ludwig von Mises who in 1938 in Paris with fellow exile from Austria Friedrich Hayek, discovered a shared belief that social democracy was a manifestation of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism, as exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state.

At that time they coined the term Neoliberalism as a label for their view. Thus Neoliberalism came into being. Except that in 1938 it was a discussion between economic theorists in an academic setting. To avoid the Nazi's, Mises ended up in the United States and Hayek in Britain.

It is not a coincidence that the quote above discusses the University of Salamanca during the 16th and 17th Centuries. What happened there is the foundation for Neoliberalism and, irony of ironies, it was as much the result of the discovery of the Americas as the settlement of North America by the English Puritans and Quakers.

The effect of precious metals arriving in Spain and other European countries from the Americas created a new look at the relationship between individuals and wealth when it was observed that in the countries where precious metals were scarce, prices for them were higher than in those where they were abundant. As explained by Wikipedia:

    The juridical doctrine of the School of Salamanca represented the end of medieval concepts of law, with a revindication of liberty not habitual in Europe of that time. The natural rights of man came to be, in one form or another, the center of attention, including rights as a corporeal being (right to life, economic rights such as the right to own property) and spiritual rights (the right to freedom of thought and to human dignity).
    The School of Salamanca reformulated the concept of natural law: law originating in nature itself, with all that exists in the natural order sharing in this law. Their conclusion was, given that all humans share the same nature, they also share the same rights to life and liberty. Such views constituted a novelty in European thought and went counter to those then predominant in Spain and Europe that people indigenous to the Americas had no such rights.

The economic theories included not only the right to own property with the exclusive right to the benefit from that property but, in recognition of the evolving entrepreneurial spirit, the right to borrow and loan money with interest previously prohibited as usury. Given that borrowed money was no longer strictly for consumption but for production as well, it could not be viewed in the same manner.

Further, contrary to the prior view that the value of goods should be based on the cost of production as the sole determinant of a just price, in the new economy just prices would arise from mutual decisions in free commerce, barring the distorting effects of monopoly, fraud, or government intervention in the process effectively introducing the concept of a free market economy.

Of course, as one moves towards the American Revolution - and that Tea Party - the most influential economic theories come from Adam Smith, a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment era, who wrote The Wealth of Nations first published in a year familiar to Americans - 1776 - and which explores the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, covering such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets. As summarized by Wikipedia:

    An important theme that persists throughout the work is the idea that the economic system is automatic, and, when left with substantial freedom, able to regulate itself. This is often referred to as the “invisible hand.” The ability to self-regulate and to ensure maximum efficiency, however, is threatened by monopolies, tax preferences, lobbying groups, and other “privileges” extended to certain members of the economy at the expense of others.

Lest one think that Smith was some unknown Scot with no influence on America, Wikipedia explains:

    James Madison, in a speech given in Congress on 2 February 1791, cited The Wealth of Nations in opposing a national bank: "The principal disadvantages consisted in, 1st. banishing the precious metals, by substituting another medium to perform their office: This effect was inevitable. It was admitted by the most enlightened patrons of banks, particularly by Smith on the Wealth of Nations". Thomas Jefferson, writing to John Norvell on 14 June 1807, claimed that on "the subjects of money & commerce, Smith's Wealth of Nations is the best book to be read, unless Say's Political Economy can be had, which treats the same subject on the same principles, but in a shorter compass & more lucid manner".

Adam Smith is generally regarded as the founder of modern economics. Adam Smith advocated the capitalist free enterprise system, based on the belief that men are motivated by rational self-interest. Wealth of Nations became a standard text book for economists throughout the Western world. One could, of course, write extensively about the influence of Smith and even the Chicago school of economics.

  In a 1944 book Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. In 1947 he, with Mises and others, founded in Switzerland the first organization to spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – supported by billionaires and their foundations. Charles Koch, one of the famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) Koch brothers, is a long-standing member.

On the international level, we have Sir Antony Fisher, whose mother was an heir to part of the wealthy Astor family, who introduced battery chicken-farming techniques to Europe and made many millions of dollars through his Buxten Chicken business. He had smuggled special quick-fattening, highly selected eggs into post-war Britain. These had been bred for battery-hen breeding and could survive without exercise of foraging which allowed intensive farming. He turned chicken from a luxury to a staple food in war-impoverished Britain.
After founding the Institute of Economic Affairs in London in 1955,  Fisher helped to establish the Fraser Institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Pacific Research Institute in the 1970s. In 1981 Fisher conceived of  the Atlas Network as a means to connect various think tanks via a global network through which the organizations could learn best practices from one another and "pass the best research and policy ideas from one to the other, and so avoid the need to reinvent the wheel." Atlas has been described as "self replicating, a think tank that creates think tank."

In addition to the Pacific Research Institute, California members of the Atlas Network include the Hoover Institution, the Ayn Rand Institute, the Benjamin Rush Institute, the California Policy Center, the Claremont Institute, the Independent Institute, Liberty International, the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Reason Foundation, Seasteading Institute, Smock Media, and Taliesin Nexus.

Which brings us to the United States, where Neoliberal wealthy corporate interests created a national network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists who always hid under the traditional label "conservative." They funded academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia, plus a series of think tanks. The latter include among others The American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute (founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974), the Pacific Research Institute, and The Heartland Institute.  In 1992 they established a network of state-level think tanks across the United States called the State Policy Network (SPN) which include (links to the websites of all of the following can be accessed from the SPN website):

  • Alabama: Alabama Policy Institute
  • Alaska: Alaska Policy Forum
  • Arizona: Goldwater Institute
  • Arkansas: Advance Arkansas Institute, Arkansas Policy Foundation
  • California: See the 13 listed above.
  • Colorado: Independence Institute
  • Connecticut: Yankee Institute for Public Policy
  • Delaware: Caesar Rodney Institute
  • Florida: Foundation for Government Accountability, James Madison Institute, Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Georgia: Georgia Center for Opportunity, Georgia Public Policy Foundation
  • Hawaii: Grassroot Institute
  • Idaho: Idaho Freedom Foundation
  • Illinois: Illinois Policy Institute, Heartland Institute, Institute for Truth in Accounting
  • Indiana: Indiana Policy Review Foundation, EdChoice
  • Iowa: Public Interest Institute
  • Kansas: Kansas Policy Institute
  • Kentucky: Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
  • Louisiana: Pelican Institute for Public Policy
  • Maine: Maine Heritage Policy Center
  • Maryland: Calvert Institute for Policy Research, Maryland Public Policy Institute
  • Massachusetts: Pioneer Institute, Beacon Hill Institute
  • Michigan: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Docs4Patient Care Foundation, Acton Institute
  • Minnesota: Center of the American Experiment, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, Intellectual Takeout, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom
  • Mississippi: Empower Mississippi Foundation, Mississippi Center for Public Policy
  • Missouri: Show-Me Institute
  • Montana: Montana Policy Institute, Property & Environment Research Center
  • Nebraska: Platte Institute for Economic Research
  • Nevada: Nevada Policy Research Institute
  • New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, Granite Institute
  • New Mexico: Rio Grande Foundation
  • New York: Empire Center for Public Policy, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Moving Picture Institute, National Review Institute
  • North Carolina: John Locke Foundation, Civitas Institute, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, Jesse Helms Center
  • Ohio: Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, EFoundation, Liberty Foundation of America
  • Oregon: Cascade Policy Institute
  • Pennsylvania: Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, Free To Choose Network
  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity
  • South Carolina Palmetto Promise Institute, South Carolina Policy Council, Center for Independent Employees, Ceterus
  • South Dakota: Great Plains Public Policy Institute
  • Tennessee: Beacon Center of Tennessee, Spark Freedom
  • Texas: Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Utah: Libertas Institute, Sutherland Institute
  • Vermont: Ethan Allen Institute
  • Virginia: Thomas Jefferson Institute, Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Charles Koch Institute, Charles Koch Institute, Young America’s Foundation, Institute for Humane Studies, Institute for Justice, Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Leadership Institute, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, DonorsTrust, National Legal and Policy Center, Center for Competitive Politics, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Association of American Educators Foundation, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, American Legislative Exchange Council
  • Washington: Freedom Foundation, Washington Policy Center
  • West Virginia: Cardinal Institute, Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
  • Wisconsin: MacIver Institute for Public Policy, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty
  • Wyoming: Wyoming Liberty Group
And yet despite all that activity, which along with political contributions has involved expenditures in the billions - sometime in the early-to-mid-1950's the term "Neoliberal" disappeared from normal political discourse, except in certain tight circles and among those who study political science instead of media celebrity politics that began with the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960.


Using one of my favorite phrases, around 1960 when nobody was looking the Industrial Age ran into the Digital Revolution which very rapidly shifted our economy into the Information Age. To use Wikipedia's words:

    The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a period in human history characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information computerization. The onset of the Information Age is associated with the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the onset of the Industrial Age. The definition of what digital means (or what information means) continues to change over time as new technologies, user devices, methods of interaction with other humans and devices enter the domain of research, development and market launch.
    During the Information Age, the phenomenon is that the digital industry creates a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy that spans over its influence on how the manufacturing throughput and the service sector operate in an efficient and convenient way. In a commercialized society, the information industry is able to allow individuals to explore their personalized needs, therefore simplifying the procedure of making decisions for transactions and significantly lowering costs for both the producers and buyers. This is accepted overwhelmingly by participants throughout the entire economic activities for efficacy purposes, and new economic incentives would then be indigenously encouraged, such as the knowledge economy.
    The Information Age formed by capitalizing on computer microminiaturization advances. This evolution of technology in daily life and social organization has led to the fact that the modernization of information and communication processes has become the driving force of social evolution.

Humans today, unlike at the beginning of the Industrial Age, have their act together. Particularly in the United States, in the Information Age we have dealt with the kinds of disruptions experienced before such as significant unemployment and underemployment and wealth and income inequality. Yeah, right. The one thing that is unlikely to happen is that a new generation will think the experiences of their great-grandparents offers them any lessons.

Will humans as before ultimately experience a total collapse of the world's economy and a war that will kill 3%± of the world's population? Or will we just end it all with a nuclear holocaust or climate change? These are questions the ideologues are debating.

Everyone else ignores the ideologues and that's not a very good idea.

For instance, as I've noted in this blog previously no one thought about the internet in ideological terms when it was being developed in the framework of the Department of Defense and cooperating universities. But in his August 2016 article The Internet Should Be a Public Good Ben Tarnoff, a San Francisco journalist who writes about technology and politics, decried the planned October 2016 action of the government that turned over ownership of the internet domain name system (DNS) to the private sector:

    ...The symbolic significance is huge. The October handover marks the last chapter in the privatization of the Internet. It concludes a process that began in the 1990s, when the US government privatized a network built at enormous public expense.
    In return, the government demanded nothing: no compensation, and no constraints or conditions over how the Internet would take shape.
    There was nothing inevitable about this outcome — it reflected an ideological choice, not a technical necessity. Instead of confronting critical issues of popular oversight and access, privatization precluded the possibility of putting the Internet on a more democratic path.

Tarnoff was, of course, 100% correct. No government, not even California's, within the Information Age has seriously attempted to quite operating as an Industrial Age institution. One of the simplest indications is that the legislative processes still require legislators to travel to capitols instead of working from their homes or offices in the districts they represent. We had a U.S. Senator in the context of opposing network neutrality talking about "a series of tubes."

In December 2016 Tarnoff was also 100% correct in Neoliberalism turned our world into a business. And there are two big winners:

    No industry has played a larger role in evangelizing the neoliberal faith than Silicon Valley. Its entrepreneurs are constantly coming up with new ways to make more of our lives into markets. A couple of decades ago, staying in touch with friends wasn’t a source of economic value – now it’s the basis for a $350bn company. Our photo albums, dating preferences, porn habits, and most random and banal thoughts have all become profitable data sets, mined for advertising revenue. We are encouraged to see ourselves as pieces of human capital that must ceaselessly enhance our value – optimizing our feeds and profiles, hustling for follows and likes and swipes.
    If Silicon Valley is turning our personal lives into a business, then Trump hopes to turn our government into one. Like all of Trump’s ideas, this isn’t especially original. For decades, neoliberal politicians of both parties have promoted the notion that government should not only serve business, but operate like one. They’ve argued that public services should be privatized, or at least model the “efficiency” of the private sector. They’ve claimed that business is the highest form of human endeavor, and that the role of the state is to empower and emulate it.

The problem with ideologies when the ideologues gain some power is they then must interface with the real world containing real people.

For instance, take the matter of government involvement in health care. Since 1950 the federal and state governments have subsidized a health care program - employer sponsored health insurance, which is deductible for the employer, and for the employee is an untaxed benefit. It has been frequently criticized as government health care for working white people. Medicaid was created in 1965 to help states take care of the poor not receiving employer sponsored insurance. Medicare was added in 1966 to cover the retired population.

This combination of programs meets the criteria for the Easterly side of the compass primarily because it is Tribal. You are associated with some employer - a part of a tribe. You are the poor. Or you are among the senior citizen tribe. Some people don't belong to such a tribe and have not insurance. And prior to ObamaCare many employers were dropping coverage and new employers were not offering coverage. But, it was a system.

This combination of programs does not meet the criteria of the Westerly side that there should be no third party in the economic transaction. The Westerly side sees health care as an arrangement between two individuals - you and your doctor (or hospital, etc.). A Cultural Individualist does not depend on third parties for anything.

In the real world, things are not that simple and the Neoliberals know that.  But they do believe that the "the road to serfdom" is just as likely through government intervention supporting "major interest groups, known as corporate groups, such as ... business [and] labour ... affiliations, on the basis of their common interests." At least government provided single payer health care would be egalitarian, but it is the choice of the socialist ideologue who cannot gain any position on the American Political Compass.

Healthcare policy is complicated, as Donald Trump explained in surprise. On the other hand, it was easy without a Democratic President for Congress to undo internet privacy rules which in the process has broader implications as explained in this comprehensive Business Insider article.

So far the Neoliberal ideology is winning in the Information Age, though the Neoliberals do not like Populists such as Trump because of what they can do to democratic societies - think Hitler taking over a democracy by legal democratic means which is what happened.

On September 19-23, 2016, the Mont Pelerin Society - founded in 1947 by Hayek, Mises, and others, and supported by Charles Koch - held a General Meeting in Miami. It's President, Economist Pedro Schwartz, gave the closing address which in part read as follows:

...I would also like to thank the generous sponsors of this meeting. You may see their names on the screen. They are very different from some of the people I will allude to when I speak of POPULISM.

The Spread of Populism in the World at the Start of the 21st Century

...Nearly seventy years have passed since Hayek gathered a small group of thirty eight thinkers around him in the small village of Mont Pelerin, overlooking Lac Leman in Switzerland. The contribution of those Pilgrims of Liberty to building a better world, and the work of the many of us who have followed in their footsteps, has been crucial - I affirm without false modesty. But we meet here in Miami because there is still so much to be done. We must always be ready to Battle for Freedom and to open new ways for the progress of our societies. We are still very much needed.

Our aims

To get ready for more battles, our members have approved important changes in the Mont Pelerin Society.... We want to make our organisation more dynamic and relevant to the questions of the day.... We want to join in the battle of ideas because the central values of civilisation continue to be in danger.... That most precious possession of Western Man, freedom of thought and expression, is threatened by the spread of creeds whose object is to suppress and obliterate all views but their own. We are unfairly presented as extremists to dismantle our defence of private property and the competitive market. Economic nationalism is rearing its ugly head again in the programs of those who would resist change and progress. Let me read in full the last paragraph of that Statement:

The group does not aspire to conduct propaganda. It seeks to establish no meticulous and hampering orthodoxy. It aligns itself with no particular party. Its object is solely, by facilitating the exchange of views among minds inspired by certain ideals and broad conceptions held in common, to contribute to the preservation and improvement of the free society.


...The latest danger for freedom is the spread of Populism in our democracies, be it of the democratic kind or of those who use our liberties to try to destroy our freedom. We Pilgrims of Liberty have much to contribute to the fight against this new plague, because much of it originates in the realm of ideas.

Aristotle denounced demagogy many centuries ago as being a degeneration of democracy. This is true but is not all. Populism is a flood to which four currents contribute: the beguiled voters; the power-hungry intellectuals; the short-sighted politicians; and the appeasing elites.

It is usual but unfair to put all the blame on the people. In fact demagogues have it so easy because the people have been fed with unfeasible promises of welfare: They have promised good free education, quality free healthcare, ample free pensions, no attention paid to cost or incentives. They have even been promised the end of the business cycle and unemployment. When voters discover they have been tricked, they grow angry and turn to even more irresponsible dreamers.

The anger is there all right. During the American election campaign, we are hearing angry demands of total protection from competition or of money poured into pharaonic infrastructures. Many Britons voted for Brexit from a disillusionment with a fancied European Union imposed by politicians in London and Brussels....

As regards the people, not all is gloom and doom, however.... So, if a gullible people are not wholly to blame for the dangerous flirting with utopia that we are witnessing in so many lands, who is?

A group deserving blame are the professors, philosophers, sociologists, economists, journalists who have committed la trahison des clercs, as Benda called it, or the treason of the clerisy, to use the name given them by Deirdre McCloskey. For more than a century mainstream intellectuals have done nothing but extol the virtues of socialism, harp on the defects of the market, lament the alleged exploitation of the poor, ...denounce the immorality of capitalism...inspire or condone the fattening of Leviathan and the servitude of the individual. Intellectuals, undeterred by the failure of socialism, now speak of fairness, social equality, and wicked bankers. I call this 'Picketing' holes in capitalism. They are always silent on the magnificent results of the capitalist economy and the free market, especially for the poor.

We see with dismay that the Universities of Europe and America have been transformed into places where the philosophy of Freedom has no place and is even forcible expelled. At this meeting we have heard from many long suffering Faculty, especially from Alan Kors, what it means to be a believer in economic Freedom in the Liberal Arts Faculties of the US or the Social Science programmes in Europe. Those unfaithful teachers and students shamelessly follow the recommendation of Gramsci that the way to make the socialist revolution is to monopolise the field of culture. The paradox is that we the classical liberals and libertarians do have in our midst the outstanding thinkers that can help us push back the tide of politically correct intellectual dishonesty ... but they are not heard in society as they deserve. The battle of ideas is as important as it was at the birth of our society. It is a battle that especially concerns us here.

The treason of the clerisy deeply influences politicians. ...Politicians maximise just like any other human beings. They maximise votes but they could try to maximise votes also by helping maintain the institutions of freedom. ...As Jose Pinera told us, it is crucial that we change the atmosphere in the media and the social networks. Why do the traitorous clerisy have such a wide hearing and the demagogues such a large following?

To put it bluntly, it is because 'the rich' have a bad conscience. For the socialists 'the rich' is the likes of us here in the professions, in business, in gainful employment, and also the captains of industry and finance. Not us in the Mont Pelerin Society, of course, but many in the more affluent part of the society are prepared to compromise, to take the middle road, to curry favour, especially in Europe and Latin America. The well-to-do seem to be always ready for compromise with the enemies of liberty. I sum their position with the symbol of an umbrella - the umbrella Neville Chamberlain carried to his meeting with Hitler in Munich. He thought he could face the monster with sweet reason, by showing his willingness to compromise - at the cost of Czechoslovakia!

Is there no hope? Of course there is. We have the best ideas to win the battle against the traitorous clerisy. The battle of ideas is as crucial as it was in 1947, when Hayek founded the Mont Pelerin Society. Not only in the media and the social networks, but also in the Universities, the learned journals, the films, the novels, the theatre. We Montpelerinians have our work cut out. Never forget: truth will prevail if the seekers for truth do not Falter.

They may have their work cut out for them, but in the United States they do have a major advantage with the organizations listed above and the money available to them. Certainly no other ideology nor any political party can match their resources. That should be of concern to someone....