Sovereignty

I think about sovereignty a lot. I wish I had it, and it’s one of those weird, abstract concepts that underlies pretty much everything. Lion prides, babies, bureaucrats, all want to be sovereign. Everybody wants to be the decider, not the decidee. Sovereignty is especially pertinent to immigration, because then we’re deciding who gets to be here and be sovereign with us. Half the country really likes the idea of having a lot of neo-Americans coming ashore and joining their team to overwhelm the other half of the country, who are just as enthusiastically opposed to losing their political and socio-economic clout. Again, nobody likes being the decidee.

Debating immigration, I am inevitably asked, in a tone betraying belief that the question is a solid and unanswerable coup de grace, “What about the American Indians?”

The argument being, one assumes, that We

sodhouse

don’t even belong here, so how dare We say who else does and doesn’t get in.

First, I’m not sure why this isn’t cautionary instead: Open Borders don’t work out for the native stock. But I understand the specious appeal of the argument. The English and European descended should relinquish the stolen goods and let the First Nations decide what to do with the Africans, Arabs, Jews, Chinese, Hindu, Hispanics, and others, and how many more of them will be let in. Or something like that.

Of course, any adult in the room understands the impossibility of this ethic. The farmers have been chasing off the hunter-gatherers since the Neolithic; the hunter-gatherers frequently killed each other over breeding females and territory; and the farmers often ended up massacred by the pastoralists, who took the farmers’ women and settled down in their stead.

Human history, one might say, is one wave after another, taking over. Even if we decided that everybody owes everybody for all such grievances, it’s impossible to net everything out and restore a theoretical pristine state where every haplogroup occupies an original patch of ground. So practically therefore, nobody owes anybody. We–everybody on the planet–are who we are, we got here, and that’s that. If you don’t keep and hold, somebody else will take.

Second, what-about-the-Indians overlooks that these events happen on the sovereign plane. If Britain invades the Americas and the Americans can’t keep them out, then the Americans are no longer sovereign. If the New Americans decide that they don’t want to be British, and the British don’t have enough rifles to keep them that way, then New America is the new sovereign. There’s no Court of Status Quo Ante where “Britain” can sue “America” to keep it Britain. Same with the First Nations.

Another characteristic of sovereignty is that only meta-entities like nations and states can be sovereign. Individuals who aren’t kings of desert islands can’t be sovereign, because there are too many other individuals with their own will to power for any one individual to be sovereign. Thus, the anarchists are wrong–there’s no such thing as a sovereign individual–and the other term, libertarianism, is not a stand-alone philosophy. “Libertarian” is a descriptor for the degree of individual autonomy allowed in a civic order, like its opposite-side tail on the spectrum, “authoritarian.”

The order governing relations between the Iroquois Federation and the British Empire is anarchic; the order governing relations between two Iroquois or two Brits is civic. This isn’t all decreed in a book somewhere; it’s just how things work out. And that’s why talk about theft of territory from the nominal First Nations is meaningless. There can be no “theft” of territory held by sovereign force. Property rights and property crimes don’t show up until the farmers arrive and kick the hunter-gatherers off and stake out the property lines and the bills of sale. Applying civic principles like property rights to the anarchic order of sovereigns doesn’t work.

This popped into my head and out on the page because I stumbled on a debate about Ukraine on unz.com:

Felix Keverich says:
July 7, 2018 at 11:35 am GMT • 100 Words
@El Dato
Does Russia desire territorial gains west of the Dnjepr?
In theory – no. Realistically, every part of the Ukraine that we fail to occupy will get pumped by NATO weapons, advisers and used as a platform to wage hybrid war against Russia, so either we’ll need a strategy to deal with this threat or we could just occupy, which will be cheaper and easier, than trying to contain NATO-funded Banderostan.
IMO destroying and ethnically cleansing Galicia would bring a decisive resolution to this conflict.
More on the subject of Ukrainian dysfunction: the country is facing clean water rationing after its Soviet era chlorine-producing plant shut down.
https://vz.ru/world/2018/7/7/609286.html
You don’t normally see this problem anywhere outside of Africa and the Middle East. Now it’s a problem in the Ukraine.

NB: The commenter is obviously Russian.

Ukraine is supposed to be a Big Deal right now because PUTIN. Here’s fairly typical commentary from the Brookings Institution.

Now, it’s probably a good idea for sovereign rulers like Putin not to invade Ukraine just because they can since other sovereigns get nervous and we could all end up in a war. But at the end of the day there’s nothing anybody can do about it except assert competing sovereignty. And the Russians have their own perspective on the situation, namely, that Ukraine is a permanent failed state who will invite in NATO to encroach on Russian sovereignty and make life difficult for their fellow Russians in Ukraine.

I don’t really care who rules Ukraine because 1) I’m not Ukrainian, and 2) I don’t see any particularly resonant principle at stake unlike, say, brutal, rotten-rich Saudi Arabia bombing pathetic, poor Yemen. Ukraine would probably be better off under comparatively more competent Russian rule, and the history and genetics of the place are muddled thanks to European imperial history and the Soviets. I do care about influential think tanks like the Brookings Institution saying I should care, because that often means we end up spending national treasure on some faraway, complicated dispute.

Here’s a question I have about nominal sovereignty: why are so many countries deemed sovereign? Haiti, for example, is sovereign. It would be declared a Violation of International Law, numerous talking heads would wet their pants if, say, the United States just swooped in and took over Haiti. But Haiti can’t feed itself, can’t run a municipal water system or sewage treatment plant, and is so freaking poor the people eat dirt. No, really.

haitian mud cookie

Haiti offloads thousands of its citizens to the US which makes impoverished Haitians our problem instead of Haiti’s problem. So why does Haiti’s sovereignty merit any respect? Sell Haiti to the Bill Gates family and let them figure out what to do with it. Same for Honduras, Guatemala, Liberia, and every other place in the world that is, as usual, failing.

Here’s another area where sovereignty, and the Ukraine, pop up:

Ukraine moves to split church from Russia as elections approach

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s Orthodox church could become independent of Moscow under the terms of a presidential initiative lawmakers approved on Thursday, a move that President Petro Poroshenko said would make it harder for Russia to meddle in Ukrainian affairs…

Poroshenko met Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, in Istanbul last week, to seek support for giving autocephalous status – effectively, making it independent – to the Ukrainian church…

A spokesman at Patriarch Bartholomew’s office declined comment. Poroshenko has previously suggested he has the Patriarch’s support for an independent church but could not divulge many details about their meeting.

The Moscow Patriarchate sees itself as the only legitimate Orthodox church in Ukraine. It vies for influence with the Kiev Patriarchate, a branch of the Orthodox Church that broke away from Moscow in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union, and other Orthodox and Catholic denominations.

This arcane fight has been going on for some time and, of course, Reuters garbles it a good deal. There are three competing jurisdictions in Ukraine with one in canonical order, ruled by Metropolitan Onuphry under the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate. The thinking by the Ukrainians is the Ecumenical Patriarch, the erstwhile Orthodox “Pope,” will grant a tomos of autocephaly to Ukraine, uniting the three factions in a new, autocephalous Church and giving Russia the heave-ho. It would be a radical move so it probably won’t happen, but there’s a lot of friction between the Patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople, and they don’t much like each other outside their Sacramental roles as brothers and successors to the Apostles. In fact, I’ve been told by reliable people that bishops everywhere don’t much like each other outside their Sacramental roles as brothers and successors to the Apostles. All of which is simply to say that sovereignty–whether of Nations, States, or Patriarchates–is serious business.

I know a number of non-Orthodox who are perplexed, even repulsed, by these ecclesiological fights. But I find them salutary in addition to interesting. The more time our bishops have to spend defending their sovereignty, the less time they have to mess with doctrine and lecturing us about how many millions of immigrants we should be accepting.

The Great Clarification

its-happening

It’s happening, and a lot of people aren’t ready. George Will is leaving the Republican Party in a huff because the Republican president is enforcing the nation’s borders. Will has made a good living telling his ethnic and ideological cohort what they want to hear. But his opinions gelled in an America that was 88% white, 120 million people smaller, and anybody other than “white” or “black” was a radar blip. We are simply not the same country:

The frontier-capitalist nation that enacted a Second Amendment for settlers fighting wild animals and hunter-gatherer tribes must perforce protect the right to keep and bear arms of illiterate thugs, psychopaths, and George Will alike.

We print money and buy our own debt with it, notwithstanding the Constitution’s solemn assurance that the States cannot make anything but gold and silver Coin legal tender. (See Article I, Section 10, para. 1).

The Culture War is over, and the conservatives lost. No worries, because we’ve practically abolished Scarcity, and you can safely make any number of reckless life choices that heretofore would have meant death, impoverishment, or exile.

George Will is at least maintaining some dignified prissiness. Other individuals are suffering full-blown manic breaks, like Shia LaBoeuf and Jim Carrey.

US-POLITICS-TRUMP-PROTEST-LABEOUF

JimCarreyArtwork2

I’m not sure if it’s a manic break, but Kathy Griffin has let hatred possess her soul. This is how you look when demons possess your soul.

kathy griffin trump

The commonality between frumpy conservatives like George Will and batshit-crazy Lefties is that politics as they have always known them are over. In religious terms they are having a God-is-dead moment. It never occurred to conservatives like George Will that Republican voters would tune out his exquisitely worded arguments over fiscal policy and Constitutional jurisprudence in favor of the strongman who says he’ll protect them from their enemies. The Left thought they could steamroll forever over the polite protestations of George Will. It never occurred to them that whites can play identity politics too.

Trump is the Great Clarification and the battle lines are drawing up:  Globalism vs. Nationalism; Who, Whom, not What, How; Ideology  vs. Reality. Politics is no longer the arms-length battle of ideas that are the provenance of a higher g, homogenous country.

In other words, politics both in the US and globally are now territorial, not ideological. If you believe it’s about ideas, and not about people and places, you are in uncharted waters. The common reaction among people who have lost their bearings is panicked and irrational behavior, or paralysis. Read my blog to keep your bearings, friends.

Let me introduce some graphics to show what I’m talking about.

First, the most populous parts of the US will be majority non-white in a generation. The future has already been born.

See also, National Population by Characteristics, 2010 – 2017, US Census Bureau.

The notion that people make countries is commonly regarded as step one to the Holocaust so I’m not going to elaborate much. Suffice to say, a minority-white US will be a very different place than a white super-majority US. This may be good or bad depending on which behavioral, time-preference, and intelligence means you favor. However, most people vote with their feet and their wallets for high IQ, low time-preference countries, and school districts.

Second, here’s the other really, really important graphic:  there are 41 States with less population than the County of Los Angeles, California.

LA County vs States

Now compare the above chart to the maps of majority-minority and age distribution above. Okay, I’ll do the work:  Ohio and Pennsylvania are the last big, white States.

Then look up voting preference by race. Wait, I’ve done it for you.

vote by race

Modern US politics is in the process of transforming from What, How to Who, Whom. As I like to repeat, it’s not what your politician supports, it’s whether he supports you. (H/T Steve Sailer).

California, conveniently located next to Mexico, has a steady source of reliably Democratic voters. By the way, remember that Grand Old Document, the US Constitution? Pursuant to the 14th Amendment, paragraph 2, “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.” So when port/border States want more representation, they can just import it and, to a large extent, dare the rest of us to stop them. They can stack the Electoral College in similar fashion. Immigration is the issue, because it determines who gets to decide all the other issues.

Another thing about that Constitution, it says the number of Representatives “shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand.” (Article I, Sec. 2, para. 3). There are currently 435 House members. Constitutionally, there are supposed to be over 10,000. Practically, this Constitutional requirement is impossible, so everybody pretends it doesn’t exist. Operationally, representation in Congress is extremely diffuse, resulting in squeaky-wheel, interest-group politics.

In summary, the electoral politics of the US are seriously out of whack. The anti-majoritarian tenets of the Constitution will only be respected by the growing urban super-majorities for so long. The anti-majoritarian tenets are already ignored in their converse, that is, in the ultra vires limitation on the number of Representatives. The US is actually becoming like Lebanon, afraid to have too rigorous an accounting for its Constitutional strictures for fear of blowing the place up.

Remember the fuss over the proposed elimination of state and local tax deductions a few months back? This is another example of seriously unbalanced political dynamics. High-tax blue States shift part of the political and financial cost of onerous taxation to low-tax red States. Recall that once upon a time we killed 600,000 of each other over such cost-shifting.

The current imbalances are just not sustainable. The Flyovers will not be ruled by the Coasts, and the Coasts actively despise and ultimately will refuse to be ruled by the Flyovers. I foresee the Left’s meltdown and agitation driving more voters into the flyovers’ Team White, so the anti-Trumpers are in for a long six more years, maybe fourteen after Don Jr. throws his hat in the ring.

After that, there won’t be any more national elections so we can stop worrying about it.

I hope to write less about politics going forward because it’s becoming terribly reducible at this point.

Et al.

I thought I’d do a brief post on the folks in my blogroll. If I’m on your blogroll but you’re not on mine, let me know and I’ll add your site. I follow the rule of reciprocity.

Ad Orientem – good Orthodox

John is an Orthodox Christian whose blog is a good aggregator for Orthodox, Catholic, and secular goings-on. He is completely trustworthy, unfailingly courteous, and responsible for half my site traffic.

American Fez – humor for the Decline

Very early on, I found my site linked by this Bostonian in the IT industry. Here’s a good example of his work:

am fez

Tee hee.

Amerika

Brett Stevens is one of the most incessantly excellent Alt-Right authors on the Internet.

Chateau Heartiste – the end of the World

Years ago, a D.C. bureaucrat who called himself “Roissy” started a pick-up blog which eviscerated feminism, instructed men on the nittier, grittier details of getting laid, and spawned numerous, mostly fraudulent imitators. At some point, he started quoting me, and we’ve shared a couple of e-mails.

We all age out of the hunt, and I don’t think “Roissy” has been active on the site or in the scene for a decade. My distilled advice to younger men:

Be friendly-flirtatious with every woman from age 18 to 80.

Be physically fit.

Be financially set.

Be nonchalant and, at least on first impressions, non-controversial.

If you’re shorter, consider wearing some low-slung boots.

Or, just take yourself off the treadmill. Getting laid is not the be-all/end-all of life.

Contra Niche – bleak Christianity

“August” belongs to that class of Christian who looks at the current wreck and wonders, what is Christianity without a Christendom? Good question.

Chronicles

Don’t bother with National Review. Read Chronicles.

Generic Views – from the belly of the Beast

Former Army Ranger and had a well-publicized site but took it down after getting some heat at work. Thankfully he started re-blogging and I’m looking forward to his retirement when he really lets it rip.

Glory to God for All Things – Archpriest Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is an OCA priest and probably as wise as Rudyard Kipling.

Happy Acres

Retired, 60-year old software developer with two college-age children and a Chinese wife. Do not follow this man. He is so dangerous that Tumblr had to ban him.

James Howard Kunstler

Kunstler is an old-school liberal who writes about the American anti-culture from upstate New York. Like Edward Abbey, at some point he will be un-personed by the Left.

Just Genesis

This is the blog of former Episcopal priest and now Antiochian Orthodox Christian and anthropologist Alice Linsley. Fascinating and scholarly.

Malcolm Pollack – the thinking man’s thinking man

Malcolm is trained as a physicist, and posits that the distance between human particles is decreasing, raising temperature and pressure, and accelerating the fluid dynamics. I’ve suggested that rising living standards are diffusing the system. But seeing what passes as dialogue for the Left on Twitter, I’m inclined to Malcolm’s view.

Mansized Target – Paleocon

MT labors in the legal vineyards like me.

Mapping the Dark Enlightenment

I’m there, so the map is here.

Marginal Revolution – piping hot cheap chalupas

Academic economist who moderates with a light hand. Good site to sharpen your arguments against ideological conservatives and the more intelligent liberals. You will also deduce that the ideological conservatives and saner liberals are running out of coherent, intelligent arguments.

Mystagogy

Greek Orthodox who is an excellent resource for all things Orthodox. John periodically writes an apologia for Hallowe’en. I used to tell my daughter when Christ told his disciples that he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven that the rule of the pagan demons and their human thralls was done. They’re trying to make a comeback but at 40% suicide rates I think this will be a problem that solves itself.

Outside In – Reaction central

A little esoteric but this is where the intellectual ferment is, and they link to me.

Patrick’s Blog – the last Englishman

Patrick is an Englishman and Orthodox Christian in England. Endangered species.

Porter – chronicling the Kakistocracy

In an actually sustainable world, you wouldn’t read David Brooks; you’d read Porter. Like Generic Views, he is hilariously neck-deep in the belly of the Beast.

Radish – Students Against a Democratic Society

Radish has not been active for quite some time. Back in the day, he made some great campaign posters.

Social Matter

This is conservatism.

Steve Sailer at Unz.com

If you are not reading Steve Sailer, please go away.

Unqualified Reservations – Godfather of Reaction

This is probably where it all started. My definitive breakdown of a Mencius Moldbug post is here.

View From The Right – website of the late Lawrence Auster

Lawrence Auster was a prickly, difficult personality who never had a real job and lived in New York City. He was an Ashkenazi Jew who converted to the Episcopal Church and received Last Rites as a Roman Catholic. You could only comment on his site via e-mail, and he was impressed enough to have at least one exchange with me. Like Mencius, he prophesied a lot of things.

The Daily Paroxysm

Apparently, I’m supposed to be outraged by this.

Minors who attempt to enter the US extra-legally are detained in facilities separate from their adult parents or guardians.

The source media, Quartz, contrasts these photos with images of US citizens Paul Ryan, Ivanka Trump, and Mike Huckabee and their shamefully intact nuclear families.

No less a worthy than former CIA and NSA head and retired Air Force general Michael Hayden reminds us that this can only end with Jews being marched into the ovens.

This is manufactured outrage over a problem that never should have been allowed to progress to this point. Minors are now being separated from accompanying adults, who may or may not be their parents, because extra-legal migrants were previously processed via “catch and release.” Under the admittedly laudatory policy of not breaking up family units across detention facilities, extra-legal migrants were instead released into the general community and exhorted to show up for their immigration hearings like actual, legally observant, net tax-payers. The Trump administration ended this obvious farce. There are simply not enough facilities convenient to the US border to house all the adults and minors seeking to enter the US by any means necessary, so minors are, perforce, housed separately in hastily constructed, sub-bourgeois facilities away from the adults.

Prisons, schools, day-cares, and entertainment venues are organized along the same lines. The problem never should have been allowed to get this far, and President Trump is being a responsible Chief Executive by broadcasting the human cost involved with coming to the US extra-legally.

This follows nicely from the preceding post, The 30,000 Foot View. Rather than sober deliberation and detachment–in recognition of a world of finite resources and remote consequences–people respond with emotional triggers, even retired executive-level spooks like Gen. Michael Hayden.

The 30,000 Foot View

30k view

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.

* * * *

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.

My phrasing for the two Right-side polarities has been Team Home-and-Hearth vs. Team Trot (as in Trotsky, as in these guys), or, the Clash of Civilizations vs. the End of History.

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.”

fellow kids

@Outsideness still likes the Alt-Right brand, as do I, and being on Twitter at the time, I set out some brief, operational tenets:

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.