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When working class citizens hear "more immigrants", they think "housing shortages, longer lines, fewer jobs available."

When the PMC hears "more immigrants" they think "Cheap au pairs and ethnic restaurants!"

I am generally in favor of immigration, but let's not pretend that it is cost-free, or that the costs are evenly distributed.

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I have had decades of lecturing & hectoring from the media and corporate classes. I ignore most of it now and listen to audio books mainly on history and philosophy.

I think there is a train wreck coming and these idiots don’t see it .

The best solace that I found was summed up in a short review of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Iggy Pop.

Worth a look if you are interested.

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ahaha great! Thank you!

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You can tie this back to your previous. Aesthetics politics is how current "progressives" became theological. Their thinking is concerned with theoretical explanation of how somebody is sinful in their thoughts more than with actions or consequences. Hence if someone says xyz it can be argued as indicating some kind of sinful thought (racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia etc.). Successfully doing this gives the pious progressive a sense of moral superiority and of its power.

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"Qu'ils mangent du brioche", eh?

If we assume that cognitive pattern for the PMC, then the action of current European elites makes a whole lot more (internal) sense. The question of interest becomes, at what point does the whole illusionary edifice collapse, if at all? Can they establish a sufficiently effective and ruthless dictatorship to survive the upcoming winter of discontent? Preliminary indications from Ukraine are a fairly strong Yes, but we haven't mage it to the hunger (and freezing in the dark) winter, yet.

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022

This invites the question of what "democracy" means. There are a lot of ideas about "democracy," usually mutually incompatible ideas, but, in practice, democracy means having to come up with rules under which people make choices and the formulas through which those choices are counted--which will invariably be problematic for reasons mathematical, logistical, bureaucratic, etc. What has come about, though, is that the existing political class has adapted well enough to the infrastructure for the practice of "democracy" that nothing short of throwing down the edifice of the rules and formulas altogether (or such spectacular turn of public sentiments that these rules and formulas are irrelevant--less likely) would actually throw them out of power.

PS. I think this is actually an interesting aspect of "aesthetics" vs. "practice." I used to be a poli sci academic (that's shown up quite a lot in my previous comments, I guess) and my interest was on the "practical" side of electoral politics, mostly as practiced in US but also in some other places. The biggest problem that I had to overcome (and usually couldn't) was the sense of "democratic aesthetic" that way too many students had that ran contrary to how the actual electoral politics were practiced, which, by necessity invariably struck them as "corrupt." The alternative to these seemingly corrupt "democratic" politics they'd come up with were some combination of impractical, dictatorial, and blindly self-righteous, and it always drove me up the wall that the environment of the institute was openly feeding this tendency and discouraging "practical" aspects of politicking.

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Hoo boy, what does democracy mean? That's a topic that'll tie us up in definitional knots

I'd argue, that Democracy, to a lot of people, means "I get what I want, without me getting a squick about how" (Or, to use the term of this piece, "a Not Nice feeling about how") Clearly, that's already howlingly worng, without getting into any of the very valid considerations you bring up

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022

Heh, that's a lot more blunt way of putting it. I will add that the practical side of politics, democratic or otherwise, is always about managing the squick (or, in Bismarck's words, how sausage gets made). I think this is the paradox we are coming up against these days--how to practice politics, let alone "democratic" politics (whatever that really means) without touching "not nice feeling." So politics becomes devoid of substance and deceitful (and nothing of real consequence ever gets done), because to have an actual sausage, you have to have someone make it and that often involves "not nice things" somewhere along the line.

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Outstanding article!!!!

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author

Thank you !

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022

One qualification that I'd like to add is that the "duties" that PMC thinks the rest of the world owes is not necessarily to them, but to their sense of aesthetics. I think this distinction is critical since a common critique by the old fashioned leftists (and also some rightists) is that the PMC is cynically using hypocrisy for their own gain...whereas, in generally, the PMC is not really profiting from them, but are merely paying a very small price. For instance, the energy crisis for the PMC means having to take shorter showers, which, for them, is an acceptable price for the "great cause." They cannot imagine people paying a higher price, let alone the crisis being a life or death issue for them. So they berate the people cluelessly for not being willing to pay a paltry price for what, to the PMC, is a self-evidently great cause. (Obviously, the other part of cluelessness is that they don't see that their great cause is not all that great to others, let alone self-evidently, BUT this, I don't think, is as important as the differences in the price that are to be paid).

In some sense, it is a matter of "rhetoric"--the elites could, conceivably, do better if they were not so dismissively offensive in their "lectures." But it's more than just that: no amount of wordcraft can make up for the credibility deficit. FWIW, the elites of yesteryear literally earned it with their blood, in the same trenches (literal or proverbial) as the common people. At least, on this side of the Atlantic, as late as mid-1960s, well-known scions of the elite families were going to Vietnam and dying next to the common people (although their numbers were dropping quickly by then). By late 1960s, though, the idea that the war was being fought for elites' ideas with common people's blood was getting increasing credibility (it didn't exactly reinforce the stereotypical "peace movement," which was too obnoxiously self-righteous for middle America, but it did feed the widespread support for "peace with honor," even if most people didn't know what that really meant--we have ample evidence of many people supporting mid-to-long term peace but in favor of short term escalation in public opinion surveys of the period, which helps explain the support Nixon enjoyed.)

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 15, 2022

One other postscript:

One common comment about why Russia dropped out of WW1 was that Russians were "tired of war," often followed by a snarky retort that they were so tired that they kept on fighting for much of 1920s, long after WW1 ended elsewhere in the world. It does remind us that, in 1917, Russians were not interested in paying in blood for whatever reasons the Entente powers and their friends in the Kerensky regime had to sell them--and many weren't too eager to do so for the Czar either (but, presumably, more were willing to do so than for Kerensky, irony of ironies!) but had plenty of (different) "Russian" reasons to keep fighting (i.e. inspire a sense of duty) that showed up once the Civil War began and different (Russian, or, at least, of the former Russian Empire) tribes began calling for support for their own reasons. That is, everyone, except the Kerensky tribe, which, though believed by the Entente leaders, was not native to Russia and couldn't call upon a reason to fight and inspire a sense of duty that spoke to any Russian tribe worth speaking of.

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With the news that the new Swedish government will be formed with a core of allegedly=formerly-nazi-adjacent politicians, its clear that all former ideas of left and right and conservatives and so on have lost all meaning. Much of this comes down to the utter refusal of the PMC (aided by the left) in talking about key issues such as immigration and the meaning of nationality and nationhood.

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Excellent summary and perspective on a complex idea. Thank you. I’ve commented that Elizabeth was competent and serious and that holds true whether I agree with her actions, positions, etc or not. But I have a feeling that duty and service won’t be hallmarks of the English monarchy anymore. There’s video of Charles throwing a tantrum because his pen leaked and mumbling about how “he hates this”. The idea that the queen’s pen would leak seems absurd. That she would handle it with anything except grace is unthinkable (she may have raged in private of course, but would never have done so publicly). Part of her duty was to appear unflappable. It appears that having a steady and reassuring hand may be of great value to Britain over the next few years. I’m not sure it has one to balance a dysfunctional politics. The same goes across the Atlantic where the president is supposed to exhibit some qualities of a monarch. Obama could pretend, trump didn’t bother and Biden can’t even pretend.

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Back when governments were sort of democratic, their function was to implement polices desired by voters. This lead to politician/leaders that actually had some skill in working together and problem solving. Now, in the developed west, the political parties, and hence governments, are all neoliberal. Now the function of government is to prevent democratically desired policies from being implemented. You know, regulations, single payer health care--all those things interfere with the Sacred Market, and must be stopped. And thus the leaders are only skilled in destruction, and looking good in front of the camera. In the election, you get the choice of 2 neoliberals in 2 different color culture war coats.

Wolfgang Streeck "How will Capitalism End"

"“After a certain amount of time, it may no longer be possible to stop the rot: expectations of what politics can do may have eroded too far, and the civic skills and organizational structures needed to develop effective public demand may have atrophied beyond redemption, while the political personnel themselves may have adapted entirely to specializing in the management of appearances,rather than the representation of some version, however biased, of the public interest.”

Thus we have the spectacle of Bilinken pretending to be a diplomat. He can no more do that job than a brain surgeon actor can actually perform the surgery.

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Describes the state of Canadian government and bureaucracy perfectly

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Or like a president actor “performing” a presidency…

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