The 30,000 foot view is one of those corporatespeak phrases I actually don’t mind. It’s descriptive, and punchier than “the big picture,” which is what we used to call it. The phrase bespeaks executive detachment, delegation of purely operational tasks, and ability to foresee larger consequences. I’m about to work it into some thoughts on the State and the Individual so bear with me.
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The phrase “Alt-Right” has taken a beating, hysterically associated with the several hundred people supposedly still left in the Ku Klux Klan, and personal disasters like Matthew Heimbach. I still own it, because I think it’s pithy and punchy. The “Right” is too vague and inchoate at this point, referring both to the Reagan’s-America ideologues, and Mr. Trump’s more grounded view:
[Marco Rubio]: I think conservatism is about three things. The first is conservatism is about limited government. Especially at the federal level. The federal government is limited by the constitution, which delineates its powers. If it is not in the constitution, it does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to states, communities. It is about free enterprise. It allows everyone to survive without pulling anyone down. The reason why free enterprise is the greatest economic model in the history of the world is because it is the only economic model where you can make poor people richer without making rich people poor. It’s about a strong national defense. It’s believing that the world is a safer and better place when america is the strongest.
[Donald Trump]: I view the word conservative as a derivative of the word conserve. We want to conserve our money. We want to conserve our wealth. We want to conserve, we want to be smart. We want to be smart, where we go, where we spend, how we spend. We want to conserve our country. We want to save our country. And we have people that have no idea how to do that and they are not doing it. It’s something i believe in very, very strongly.
Anyway, like I said, I remain loyal to the Alt-Right branding, and not the amateurs desperately attempting to shore up the right side of the Overton frame with the contrived and already-stale “Dark Web.”
1. Immigration is destabilizing. Borders and citizenship are property and should be respected as such.
2. The State is not the ultimate human institution. It should be de-scaled to the provision of truly public goods.
3. The social safety net should be a net, not a lifestyle. I’m not convinced even that’s tenable.
4. Equality is a delusion. We can only try to give everybody a dignified life commensurate with their abilities.
5. Families are little kingdoms and the elders are the aristocracy. This is the minimal unit of the larger social order. Short of criminality and intra-family abuse, the regime is not concerned with the individual.
Number 5 is what I’m getting at with this post, which is the 30,000 foot view. Instead, we live in an era in which the State takes the immediate, one-foot view. The State has become the spouse, parent, insurer, employer, lender, guardian, counselor, and fiduciary of first, last, and everything-in-between resort. The State and its agents are bizarrely personalized even, and perhaps especially, in international affairs. President George W. Bush tearfully declares that America “stands with” the “Iraqi people,” whoever the hell they are. Pundits gnash their teeth over President Trump meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un , a violator of human rights, as if the chief executive negotiating on behalf of the most powerful sovereign on the planet is supposed to give a shit about the plight of individual North Koreans.
I’m being hyperbolic to stress the 30,000 foot view, which is the view of and by the State in a coherent society. The State is there for the provision of truly public goods, like clean air and water, functioning civil order, national defense, perhaps even roads and scaled utilities. We can argue over whether something qualifies as truly non-excludable and non-rivalrous, or to what extent we’ll overlook the strict definition, and over matters such as how we choose heads of State. That’s what politics are for, after all. In dealing with other States, the State is only concerned with the advancement of the national interests of its citizens, who are members in good standing of the State, and who fund its operations.
What the State is not there to do is endlessly re-hash existential questions that were presumably settled at the State’s founding. People still debate whether Anglos and Europeans have any “right” to be here on the American continent. Who knows? Who cares?! We’re here, just like every other people in history have found themselves somewhere that’s “here.” If we’re not supposed to be here, what are you willing to do so that we’re not? The settled answer will be part of the existential creed of any new State on the American continent.
Likewise, the State is not there to haggle over the extruded, rococco rights of Individuals. The minutiae of individual behavior is governed by other Institutions, such as families. Families are, after all, little kingdoms (mini-States), headed by fathers/husbands and mothers/wives (kings and queens) with power shared and administered by other aristocrats (aunts, uncles, grandparents, older siblings, etc.).
The State does not concern itself with the pecadillos, quirks and endless complaints (and they will always be endless) of individuals, either at the level of “human rights” of the subjects of another State, or whether mentally ill men can use women’s bathrooms. The State is concerned with offenses against public order, like fraud and assault, and breakdown of the mini-States, like intra-familial abuse. Relating the State to each individual in the polity results in totalitarianism. The State becomes arbiter of even the most trivial or intimate transactions, and displaces other Institutions, which find themselves unable even to regulate a woman’s track meet without somebody making a court case out of it.
The modern democratic State–a government of rabble–is incapable of the 30,000-foot view.