Post-scarcity Politics

Once upon a time, the national government was (relatively) limited. If States didn’t want women to vote, that was that. The only remedy was to get a super-majority of the States to amend the federal constitution in accordance with its terms. Nobody thought for a minute that the Supreme Court could judicially declare that restricting the franchise to adult males was a violation of the federal constitution.

Wars required legislative enactment. The Marine Corps was America’s expeditionary  force–an arcane branch of the Navy–to be dispatched to protect U.S. foreign interests and high seas navigation. If you wanted to send the military somewhere, there had to be a war. (Read the Wikipedia entries for the First and Second Barbary Wars to get a sense of the Founding generations’ scrupulous adherence to enumerated powers, and even to post-Westphalian international law).

As recently as the 1930’s, a whole class of criminals exploited the fact that individual States administered their discrete criminal codes in a far-flung, libertarian country.  The official response to these criminals, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in particular, was downright anarchic: a posse of six lawmen from Louisiana and Texas persuaded a family friend to wait by the side of the road near the gang’s designated safe house, and when Bonnie and Clyde showed up, they executed them.

police-posse

There was no official inquiry, no protests, no lawsuits. Six public employees just used their imprimatur to kill members of a rising American outlaw class. Simpler times.

Compare that world of ordered chaos to the current anarcho-tyrannical, managerial state. Government and its media handmaidens manufacture and manage crises to maintain control. Congress no longer governs the country via legislation; we have all the laws we need, after all. Most legislation is just enhancement of existing bureaucratic powers and tax favors. The judiciary obligingly handles all the important domestic issues (abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, civil rights) leaving Congress free to act as the World’s Greatest Investigative Body and run for reelection. The Executive branch dispatches troops wherever it wants and tells Congress to fund them.

Like the private sector, America’s public sector waxes fat off unprecedented prosperity. Liberals tell me Blumpf is finished over a telephone call with the Ukrainian president and a whistleblower within that august protector of republican virtues, the CIA. The transcript of the call is here. This is all political theater.

Speaking of the CIA, remember when they looked like this?

then the cia

cia now

Now they look like this.

the cia

evan for prez

I don’t think the CIA does any actual field work anymore. I think they just hire gay Mormons and perimenopausal women to look at satellite photos and conduct clandestine communications with journalists, politicians, and high net-worth individuals for “intelligence.” Then they pretend to do “analysis” at their computers.

Prepare yourselves. It will all be over soon.

(Inspired by an iSteve comment).

P.S. I rag on the career bureaucracy a lot, but you still see remnants of the hyper-competent Mandarin class.

The Acting AG Whittaker Group Glare:

whittaker glare

The Bill Barr Bodyman Glance, and Bill Barr Torquing Double-Take:

The Geoffrey Cox Stentorian Harangue:

Bernie Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee for President

bernies tax

I sympathize with the old bolshevik. Billionaires are anti-democratic. They can nullify the votes of 63 million mere citizens with a few phone calls; they can get all sorts of tax breaks from local governments by putting the location of their corporate headquarters in play; hence my argument that we should just give them the government. Precisely because of their venal influence, there is no way they are letting this old fool anywhere near the Presidency.

Ecclesia Is Downstream From Culture

Without getting too specific, let me summarize my Christian life by saying I have  observed and participated in numerous iterations of Christian worship, theological doctrine, and church governance over my lifetime. Over the decades, I have observed a single constant, as unchanging and timeless (though not, theologically, as significant) as the Our Father taught by our Lord Jesus Christ himself:

Ecclesia is downstream from culture which is downstream from ancestry.

Prove me wrong. You can’t.

Christians–humans–prefer the faith of their fathers. If you don’t believe me, change the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and see what happens. Or, transplant any ethnic group to another country and see where they go on holy days. We gravitate to the familiar, and public worship of our God (the Ahtman, the Tao, Allah, who or what ever) is about as fundamental an expression of Who We Are as it gets. Over years of inter-generational succession, the ecclesia (the body of the faithful, the liturgics, the aesthetics, etc.) reflects the ancestral culture which temporally generated it. If it’s not, then it’s just an individual affectation.

Now granted, at a given time Christianity will be Year Zero for somebody somewhere, but that’s temporary. The Russians followed the Byzantine forms to which they were introduced, and then 400 years later they had their own. This tale repeats over and over, with moralistic Germans and pig-headed Anglos deciding to leave Rome and develop their own liturgics. Celtic hillbillies in the Appalachians forged their own way, as did African slaves after them, and on and on.

This is not a new thing. The Egyptians left for their own Coptic Church to get out from under Byzantine imperialism very early in Church history.

In Guatemala, Greek Orthodox missionaries have started Mayan Orthodoxy.

mayan orthodoxy2

Not Guatemalan Orthodoxy, and not Roman Catholicism which has been there for 400 years, but Mayan Orthodoxy. Exarch parishes are being established in the United States as well. It’s a good cultural fit for these people, and they are on fire with the True Faith. And they are going to carry it as part of their national heritage respective of the State where they may reside. This is not for a lack of extant Orthodoxy anywhere. The United States is already home to three well-established jurisdictions: the Greek, the Russian (OCA, or ROCOR, and that’s a whole other topic) and the Antiochian (Middle Eastern).

Incidentally, the Antiochians have a monastery in Guatemala. There are a number of Middle Eastern diaspora in Antiochian parishes in Central and South America. I am told they are culturally Latino at this point and do not bother with the Arabic language. Here, for example, is the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires’ Facebook page.

The Antiochians in the United States probably have two more generations before they become largely indistinguishable from the “mainstream” American Christian sects. Middle Eastern Christians tend to outmarry easily into the dominant Anglo-American population. The more insular ones tend to drift to the Catholic Maronite and Melkite exarchates.

The extant American Orthodox jurisdictions could easily set up Spanish-language missions but the mestizo/indigenous Central Americans already have the bit in their teeth. They are not Spaniards, they are not Anglo-Americans, and they want their own Church. After all, ecclesia is downstream from culture which is downstream from ancestry.

If the traditional Orthodox dictum of unity in diversity and diversity in unity is appropriately expressed in a Nation for every People and a Church for every Nation, this debate disappears. Instead, we are told that the Church model is ecumenical and an ethnic exarchate in the US would be phyletism and hence heretical. But we already have multiple overlapping Orthodox jurisdictions in the US because people cling to the faith of their fathers. Of course, it would be an excommunicable offense to call for an Anglican Orthodox jurisdiction to reflect the ethnic heritage of Anglos.

Or would it? Maybe that’s what the Western Rite is for.

I expect the Western Rite and, eventually, the larger jurisdictional debate to become less of an issue in the New World over time. For example, nobody would mistake the below wedding ceremony (with the groom in a Colonial America suit and the bride in High Medieval-inspired design) for an Orthodox service in Russia. Antiochian choral directors are already experimenting with Gregorian and even American folk arrangements so the Western Rite vicariate will probably be absorbed into its parent at some point. Ecclesia is downstream from culture which is downstream from ancestry.

 

In which I wade into the immigration debate

Refugees-welcome

I found this post in the hopper but apparently forgot to finalize and publish it. It was inspired by a surprisingly candid story from local news in Harlingen, Texas in April 2019, so I decided to dust it off.

Illegal crossing spike shows men traveling with children

… “The whole world knows, it’s all over the news, everyone knows that if we come to the United States they’ll help us,” said Mayra Aguilar, an immigrant from Honduras.

She brought her family of eight with her and turned themselves into Border Patrol agents near Granjeno, Texas.

“We came with nothing, we came by God’s grace and God is so good, look how far he’s brought us,” Aguilar said.

She says the family migrated because they were being extorted by criminal organizations after refusing to cut gang members a portion of their taxi family business profit.

She decided to head to the United States after seeing advertisements on her local news outlets about free opportunities.

“We saw it on the news, television,” Aguilar said.

Our cameras found dozens of immigrants who said the same, they crossed because of Free American services and assistance being advertised in their home countries.

“We were told by the newspaper, that if a father brings his child they would help us here in the United States,” said a Guatemalan man who says he’s a pastor.

He was traveling with his 17-year-old son who said they left because his son received death threats after having a extramarital affair.

… One woman from Honduras said she needed to pay the smuggler in order to find a job in the United States to send money back to her family.

“For my family, to go further in life, we just want a better life.”

The Rio Grande Valley Sector continues to lead the nation in illegal crossings and narcotics seizures.

“A better life.” I hear that so much I wonder if it’s coached. Is it buried in some immigration regulation or precedential opinion written by an administrative law judge somewhere? And why does that justify anything? Me, you, convicted felons, all want “a better life.” Is there a single actual political dissident or persecuted minority among this bunch? I think it’s safe to assume 100% of them are net tax eaters fleeing the fact that they and their countrymen are incapable of self-governance.

Why is that our problem?

And if it is our problem, why isn’t the solution deposing their incompetent governments and ruling in their stead?

But there’s a more fundamental principle at stake which the menopausal women and their whipped husbands in the above photo don’t understand.

The modern world operates at least nominally under the Westphalian state order. Formally recognized States enjoy absolute sovereignty over their territory. This benefits the State’s owners, their taxpaying citizens. It means there are international norms against Spain invading Holland to prosecute archaic, unworkable claims, Germany can’t invade Poland for lebensraum, etc.

When the Obamas or the Mark Zuckerbergs or any other wealthy people want more lebensraum, they just buy it. The Obamas are buying 29 acres for their family of four on Martha’s Vineyard. Mark Zuckerberg has a thousand acres in Hawaii. Just last post, I referenced David Letterman’s two thousand acres for his three-person family in rural Montana.

Revealed preferences: people want elbow room. If you’re not a millionaire, then all you’ve got are borders and the bit of house you can afford within them. That’s frankly the only reason on which we can all agree to pay taxes:  so the government can maintain a redoubt for its citizens where they can realize their particular vision of a good life. That’s what the Peace of Westphalia was all about. The Dutch should get their own place to be Dutch, rather than being subject to arcane claims of inheritance by Spanish aristocrats. That’s what allows us to have prosperous, stable self-rule instead of bloody, chaotic wars by competing sovereigns that drag on for decades.

Open Borders are the end of nation-state sovereignty. Now, there is no place to hide. When another Nation wants to move into your State, there’s no sovereign to whom you can appeal. There’s only a State-less international elite which has decided, within the walls of its well-guarded, palatial, and uncrowded residences that the citizens don’t deserve borders.

The Peace of Westphalia has been revoked. Prepare yourselves.