Simple truths about power

These are all people who are connected to the power of government.

Either physically, i.e. economically, or emotionally—power. The dream of sharing power. The gender studies professor not only gets her money eventually from government, but she dreams of being part of a world-transforming enterprise.

Here, I agree with you. There is a dream that unites progressives and bureaucrats and wealthy technologists. And where does that dream come from?

It’s a dream peculiar to this class. Other classes have been united by different dreams.

Is it a substitute for religion?


Is that its primary emotional charge?

Well, I don’t know about primary. Look, the primary element is, as we Christians were taught, pride. That is the sin of sins. There is nothing that moves human beings quite so much as the desire to be on top of other human beings.

That is from an interview with Angelo Codevilla.


True story, just happened. I caught another squirrel in the live trap. I drove it up to a scenic pull out a mile away. As I get out with my gloves and trap, I nod to a contractor who is parked there taking a break. I let the squirrel go, and as I turn to leave the contractor rolls down his window and speaks to me (in an eastern European accent):

"This is what I love about America. People care not just about them selves, but even the little animals."

So we can be better, people expect us to.

(You might think this implausible, but it's true, and no way I go for "little animals" myself).

Well now isn't that special.

With just a little effort, you can probably save the planet and not burn the carbon taking the tree rat to the woods.

In Mother Russia, Squirrel release you!

They have squirrels in Brazil? Or which persona is this supposed to be, it's hard to keep up

About 10 yrs ago we were in Mexico, just leaving for the airport, when the driver pulled over amazed. There was a squirrel! We see them every day, so the amazing part to us is that he thought it was amazing.

It was a funny thing to have happen immediately before seeing this testimony against compassion.

Squirrels are good eating and they are in season. Should have at least been neighborly and gave it away if don't like the taste.

Ground squirrels?

Why are you trapping squirrels in the first place?

According to Twitter it's something most Americans do in their spare time. Which is why I do it. Releasing it was part of the compassion.

They tunnel up through the lawn and steal fruit off the trees.

Is it a substitute for religion?


Is taxation a substitute for baptism?


That is why I paid my taxes when I was a kid and never had to paid them again.

Tyler and Codevilla did this while listening to Kanye’s latest.

> There is a dream that unites progressives and bureaucrats and wealthy technologists

Only, it turns out to be simple, but not a truth. Because the truth is more complex than that - there's lots of types of people whose hunger for power mixes with other impulses, and they are spread across all the spectrum.

(reminds me of the old joke about Pravda and Investiya - there's nothing simple in the truth, and no truth in simplicity)

"Look, the primary element is, as we Christians were taught, pride. That is the sin of sins. There is nothing that moves human beings quite so much as the desire to be on top of other human beings."

And the evangelicals support Trump by an enormous margin. Um, solve for the equilibrium?

I'm so old. I remember when Christians were taught sodomy is a sin, an abomination. Now, it's a sacrament and if a church disagrees, they (Beto O'Rourke) promise to tax it out of existence.

I can't speak for evangelicals, I'm not one.

Equilibrium in three issues: abortion, gay privileges, elites' antipathy. You don't dump on 63 million American voters and win elections, sonny.

"solve for the equilibrium" Evangelicals are Christians, so they voted against the devil queen. Simple.

Codevila seems to be decrying the modern bureaucratic nation state and the accompanying politics of clientelism, but are there any current countries that show a better alternative? I just don’t see how else to effectively run even a small country, let alone one that spans a continent and has hundreds of millions of residents. Is there some sort of conservative alternative to a modern bureaucratic state that just doesn’t get much airtime?

Putin's Russia: instead of a bureaucratic state you get a one man state.
Ancient Athens: instead of a bureaucratic state you get a fully popular state.

Most modern governments are between the two: they are oligarchic states. Not quite democratic but also not quite authoritarian. Power is dispersed among many people but with a lot of variation in power concentration, with some groups having much more power than others.

I think that in the present countries like Switzerland and Iceland would be closer to the Athenian democratic ideal.

The Athenian democratic ideal left out all but a minority of the population. Their democracy was limited to a special class.

Liechtenstein in the heart of Europe is conservative, rich, and an absolute monarchy. The royal family a couple years ago even tried to give it up but the people demanded they stayed"oppressed"

As I remember it, Prince Alois told the people they would have to pay Austrian taxes, which are 70% almost on bottom dollar, and they suddenly became very friendly to the monarchy.

Right, everyone dislikes bureaucracy until it touches on an area they consider important. Before the creation of modern tax bureaus, tax collection was a deeply corrupt, violent, and arbitrary exercise. Militaries today are massive bureaucracies but, before that, it would be common to have completely unqualified people put in leadership positions, soldiers would loot because they weren't paid, etc. Conservatives who want limits to immigration are necessarily in favor of a bureaucratic system of rules, processes and enforcement divisions to determine who can or cannot live in the country.

How did bureaucratisation really interact with military exercise and the merit of leaders? Did bureaucratisation of armies in the early modern period make purchase of rank more or less likely?

Of modern day soldiers, I have seen it stated that in circumstances where there has been comparison, the draft performs better in searching for soldiers than self selection into the bureaucracy, in most cases below senior ranks (which probably do require some degree of special education).

I don't think its necessarily about proposing an alternative to bureaucracy, but understanding the bureaucratic personality and subculture and its excesses and politicization to usefully constrain bureaucratization.

We see through history that when bureaucratic classes become self-sealing units that stress their own virtue and reject public participation in the process of making law (through effectively building legislative codes that exclude public participation, whether explicitly or through lawfare claiming to preserve some ancient foundational law from demagogues), they lose the ability to effectively draw in revenue and public loyalty.

That results then in a weak state with little resources, or the use of military authorities to draw revenue back in and to compel the people, which ultimately transfers power away from the bureaucratic class to the military class and its attendants, such as its courtesans, eunuchs, jesters, performers, chefs, merchants, praetorian bodyguards, etc.

He was not "decrying the modern bureaucratic nation state" as much as he was decrying the process of who gets into the ruling class that runs our bureaucracies. As a conservative, he was fine with actual institutions themselves, but again as a conservative, he was just not a fan of the values they currently hold.

I don't think there is an American Empire anymore, but American Imperial mindset, yes.

There is a "California wildfire" theory of modern societies.

Try to suppress fires and you just end up with an accumulation of underbrush that eventually goes up like a tinderbox. We are all on a multi-generational fool's errand.

Tru but how will she accomplish all this if she’s also running to be the president of Brasil.

She is not. I can assure you she is not.

That sounds a lot more like a deeply unhealthy amount of projection than insight to me.

Very insightful interview on multiple levels

"The dream of sharing power. The gender studies professor not only gets her money eventually from government, but she dreams of being part of a world-transforming enterprise... It’s a dream peculiar to this class. Other classes have been united by different dreams."

This is tautological. By definition, almost anyone has dreams of being part of a world-transforming enterprise will work hard to either become a member of the ruling class or else try to hang out with those who are. Of course, there will always be grifters -- sometimes Hollywood and Wall Street rejects -- who move to the Beltway for the corruption and influence-peddling opportunities.

There are also people who just want to enjoy life. Jimmy Buffet has made a fortune selling margarita themed merchandise to them.

This must describe someone, but it's not any "Progressives" I know, but maybe I don't know any progressives. I sure don't know any tech moguls, but I surely do know, and arguably have been a bureaucrat. The mind set was not of "sharing power" but doing a job and making marginal changes.
"Pride," "winning," and very often bound up in their version of religion, is much more the rhetoric of my Trump -inclined FB friends.

Very interesting. Bits of it remind me of things Chomsky has said. Disagree with bits of it. At least in top-ten UK universities, I don't think student workload has dropped, and I think the students are maybe even a bit smarter.

>"One class, traditional publishers, had to spend a lot of money on fact checkers..."
I didn't think this was the case in the US, or do I have to revise my opinion on some matters that the National Enquirer has published?

>"substitute for religion.."
It and religion both fill the same needs. Religion doesn't have to be the default here.

The tone throughout, competing with each other to be the most sarcastically cynical, is really grating.

On the debates about the FISA bill:

"Scalia took the position that the danger, which I described, which he found real, was minor compared to the need to get the agencies doing their job vigorously. We see how the future turned out. I must note that Scalia is a southern Italian. And I am a northerner."

That is a sick burn coming from an old guy. He must be proud of that one. Also, Scalia can burn in hell for this singular act of destroying both the US Constitution and everybody's liberty.

Liberalism has become the new Western religion. It has many parallels with christianism. We have priests, cardinals, we have taboos, we have heretics, we have egalitarianism, we have samaritans, and we have the evil rich and white men.

Having read little into this so far, it seems to very much in sympathy with the Israeli school of New Nationalism as propounded by Yoram Hazony. (For all that the author would no doubt protest against being touched by this label! He's quite clear about his self ascribed status, after all.).

The contrast of America as "people from many different places can live together between two oceans, sharing a future-oriented outlook that methodically obliterates any ties to the past", in an implicit contrast to Israel (people from many places bound together by an idea of a shared past despite this shared past being either fictional or else voided by thousands of years!), and the positioning of the America as not a nation-state but an empire, subject to an imperial disease to the detriment of its citizens ("My theory is this: The wealth of any empire flows disproportionately to the capital, where it nourishes the growth, wealth, and power of the ruling elite. As the elite grows richer and more powerful, the gulf between the rulers and the ruled widens, until the beliefs and manners of the elite bear little connection to those of their countrymen").

Of course, this is not too dissimilar to what the New Nationalists tend to think generally, the Israelis simply get a bit more licence to express it without being defamed as morons (perhaps, that "a people of intellectuals" reputation is useful, after all?).

To those asking a few days ago for an explanation to the riots in Chile. There you have your answer.

Is there anything weak about being a fake Brazilian troll? Is there anything weak about having 10 personas to troll an economics blog, while spouting platitudes and belligerently word vomiting?

What the heck, Tyler, or admin. Check the email field. I have never been Thiago, and to take my answer down while leaving this up is .. a very strange choice.

Again, in the age of Trumpian populism do we want to accept that power, indeed indiscriminate power, is all?

Or do we want to harken back just a few years to when compassion could be a national value?

And quoting something on "kindness and compassion" is "belligerent."

Ye gods.

>There is nothing that moves human beings quite so much as the desire to be on top of other human beings.

Very true. And that's why you can't have a plastic straw.

I skipped the intro for now, only raising an eyebrow at the baldness of its last paragraph, which hopefully will be made clear when I do read it; and have paused at the part about Branson, MO - the significance of the "haves" not knowing what Branson is.

Certainly the people the author and interviewee together have in mind - the intellectual/bureaucratic/tech oligarch class barely aware of the water in which they swim - haven't been to Branson, that's true. Some may know it as a signifier for tacky, or cornball. I've not been there myself. My husband was there years ago and said "it used to be a laketown with bait stands, a fudge shop, kind of cute.... Now it's like an alternate Nashville, steeped in bad music and bad religion." That makes him sound like he's captive to the "ruling class mind," but in fact all he is is cranky.

Maybe a caricature of cosmopolitanism excuses a caricature of unsophistication, but that won't get you very far toward understanding.

So, instead of Branson, let the Ozark and Ouachita mountains themselves, and the springs of Missouri, and the Buffalo and White rivers and Petit Jean State Park represent the area.

It is much more of an indictment of the mindset of the "Capitol" that they don't know how beautiful and special that region is, and that they cannot understand a nationalism that is really regionalism, and based on an attachment to the land.

This part goes off the rails a bit: "Q: Really? How many tens of billions of dollars has Apple parked offshore? How much money do Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer and Mark Zuckerberg pay in taxes? A: Apple and Bill Gates have secured their money, not so much by relocating, but by having become the biggest lobbyists in the country. That is the source of their financial security. The point of the ruling class is precisely the confusion of public and private power. This is, in fact, this is becoming in fact a corporate state. Which by the way was pioneered by one of my former countrymen by the name of Benito."

The interviewer is correct that "meritocrats" who go to Ivy League schools and get government/NGO jobs are not as rich as Apple executives (though still very, very well off by global standards). But they are willing to trade some monetary rewards for cultural influence. Money makes the world go round, but some people care more about influence, and that's why they go to the Ivy Leagues and get government jobs. The idea that money is the only human motivator is such an ingrained liberal idea, that even the Catholic contrarian Codevilla falls in step with it, in his zeal to point out how powerful Apple is. Many thousands of people work for Apple, of which a handful have influence over content - and cultural influence seems to be the crux of this discussion.

Of all the words left up at MR, imagine these being the words taken down:

“There’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable.”

Imagine someone calling those words "belligerent."

Sounds more like a twitter finding, if you were conservative.

I think they are a good answer to:

"There is nothing that moves human beings quite so much as the desire to be on top of other human beings."

People who crave power over others and then call it compassion, kindness, and honor. If they had any kindness or compassion or honor they would let people make their own decisions in life.

I think the first thing we have to acknowledge is that kindness and compassion are real. They are part of human nature.

We need to recognize that kindness and compassion can shape government policy in an honest way.

Then sure, look at the margins for fakers or free riders who are insincere.

>world-transforming enterprise.... unites progressives and bureaucrats and wealthy technologists.

This is Marx’s evasion of the life-and-death difference between production and force. Bezos is not Stalin. The offering of values is not the destruction of values. The appeal to mans independent mind is not the political destruction of that mind.

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