Monday, January 21, 2013

New Geography hits the nail on the head

One of the few democrats I agree with more often than not is Joel Kotkin of New Geography. He may be a dem, but he's an old school FDR type and certainly not a new urbanist or a modern day "progressive." New Geography is one of the better social/political blogs out there and concentrates on the old school areas like actually building things.

From New Geography

This shift stems, in large part, from the movement from a predominately resource and tangible goods-based economy to an information-based one. In the past, political struggles were largely fought over how to divide up the spoils generated by the basic productive economy; labor, investors and management all shared a belief in the ethos of economic growth, manufacturing and resource extraction.
In contrast, today’s new hegemons hail almost entirely from outside the material economy, and many come from outside the realm of the market system entirely. Daniel Bell, in his landmark 1973 The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, may have been the first to identify this ascension to “pre-eminence of the professional and technical class.” This new “priesthood of power,” as he put it, would eventually overturn the traditional hierarchies based on land, corporate and financial assets.
Forty years later the outlines of this transformation are clear. Contrary to the conservative claims of Obama’s “socialist” tendencies, the administration is quite comfortable with such capitalist sectors as entertainment, the news media and the software side of the technology industry, particularly social media. The big difference is these firms derive their fortunes not from the soil and locally crafted manufacturers, but from the manipulation of ideas, concepts and images.
Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are far from “the workers of the world,” but closer to modern-day robber barons. Through their own ingenuity, access to capital and often oligopolistic hold on lucrative markets, they have enjoyed one of the greatest accumulations of wealth in recent economic history, even amidst generally declining earnings, rising poverty and inequality among their fellow Americans. Last year the tech oligarchs emerged as major political players. Microsoft, Google and their employees were the largest private-sector donors to the president.

That's one wing of the dem base. The other two are closely tied to that industry. Academia and Foundations. A lot of the foundations have academia and politicians as trustees. I learned about the foundations from back in the late 90's and early 2000's in the 2nd Amendment movement as these big money foundations are often the biggest funders of the gun grabbers. They were propped up by the Joyce Foundation (Obama was trustee), Soros, Tides Foundation, MacArthur Fund, and other similar "C3's." Interesting, Obama's campaign organization is reforming into either a C3 or a C4. 

An even greater beneficiary of the second term will be the administrative class, who by their nature live largely outside the market system. This group, which I call the new clerisy, is based largely in academia and the federal bureaucracy, whose numbers and distinct privileges have grown throughout the past half century.

Indeed the clerisy accounted for five of the top eight sources of Obama’s campaign funding, led by the University of California, the federal workforce, Harvard , Columbia and Stanford. Academic support for Obama was remarkably lock-step: a remarkable 96% of all donations from the Ivy League went to the president, something more reminiscent of Soviet Russia than a properly functioning pluralistic academy.
To understand the possible implications of the new power arrangement, it is critical to understand the nature of the new clerisy. Unlike traditional capitalist power groups, including private-sector organized labor, the clerisy’s power derives not primarily through economic influence per se but through its growing power to inform opinion and regulate everything from how people live to what industries will be allowed to grow, or die.
The clerisy shares a kind of mission which Bell described as the rational “ordering of mass society.” Like the bishops and parish priests of the feudal past, or the public intellectuals, university dons and Anglican worthies of early 19th century Britain, today’s clerisy attempts to impart on the masses today’s distinctly secular “truths,” on issues ranging from the nature of justice, race and gender to the environment. Academics, for example, increasingly regulate speech along politically correct lines, and indoctrinate the young while the media shape their perceptions of reality.
Most distinctive about the clerisy is their unanimity of views. On campus today, there is broad agreement on a host of issues from gay marriage, affirmative action and what are perceived as “women’s” issues to an almost religious environmentalism that is contemptuous toward traditional industry and anything that smacks of traditional middle class suburban values. These views have shaped many of the perceptions of the current millennial generation, whose conversion to the clerical orthodoxy has caught most traditional conservatives utterly flat-footed.
As befits a technological age, the new clerisy also enjoys the sanction of what Bell defined as the “creative elite of scientists.” Prominent examples include the Secretary of Energy, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist David Chu; science advisor John Holdren; NASA’s James Hansen; and the board of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In the words of New York Times hyper-partisan Charles Blow, Republicans have devolved into the “creationist party.” In contrast Obama reigns gloriously hailed as “the sun king” of official science.

In reality, once you stop testing theories, you're no longer a scientist, but a cult. The "sun king" fits perfectly.  This cultist collectivist mindset reminds me of the Eugenics push and racial social darwinism of the early 20th century which lead to Planned Parenthood (Margaret Sanger) and Fascism. It was bad when I was in school, and it has gotten much worse since then.

So who loses in the new order? Certainly unfashionable companies  – oil firms, agribusiness concerns, suburban homebuilders — face tougher times from regulators and the mainstream media . But the biggest losers likely will be the small business-oriented middle class. Not surprisingly Main Street, far more than Wall Street, harbors the gravest pessimism about the president’s second term.
The small business owner, the suburban homeowner, the family farmer or skilled construction tradesperson are intrinsically ill-suited to playing the the insiders’ game in Washington. Played up to at election time, they find their concerns promptly abandoned thereafter, outliers more than ever in a refashioned political order.

This is what we are up against.  We need to A. know the enemy and B. be prepared to counterpunch a knockout when they swing for our heads. Today's left wants to control our lives because they they know what is best for us. Think back to the Thomas Frank (academia) mantra when they complain that we all "vote against our interest." Our interest is actually controlling our own destiny and not being handcuffed by the zillions of regulations out there.

They need to get out of our way. If they don't, they need to be fired. That's all there is to it. 

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