Friday, November 25, 2016

The Alt-Right

Much has been said and written about the Alt-Right, little of it from the Alt-Right itself. I've been interested in and in a minor way participating in conversations with others in the Alt-Right for much of the year. Much of what is written about it focuses on a single issue to the exclusion of all else and often with a slant that ignores both the context and spirit. So, I will share what the Alt-Right has written and my comment about it.

1. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right.

What is meant by "Political right"? In context it means a political view oriented towards individual liberty and limited government. It supports capitalism and in the United States, government constrained by our Constitution. In the past (actually, even now), Conservatives politically have been the political form of individual liberty and small government. But in the last twenty years, many have supported larger government that is more interventionist - both individually and geopolitically.

For much of the last 40 years we have discussed Conservatism as a fusion of traditionalist and libertarian viewpoints. Gay marriage is an example: libertarian point of view is that people have the liberty to choose their mates while traditionalists point to historical precedent and social constructs. (They argue the social constructs are based in biology - but we are not animals bound by our biology...) Using government to impose one viewpoint on individuals where there is no Constitutional foundation creates tension. The other variation (popularized during Reagan years) is the three-legged stool: fiscal, social/traditional, and hawk/defense conservatives. The problem has been that the GOP has not shown fiscal restraint, we have over-reached militarily and our social mores have been broken (family destruction). The stool has no legs and fusion has fractured.

2.The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russel Kirk's 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism.

The Alt-Right seeks to reassert the originalist point of view of individual liberty and limited government by not supporting global interventions militarily, limited government generally, fiscal restraint and established social norms. It does not support the free-wheeling libertarianism but is much more traditionalist.

It seeks to reassert societal norms established by historical precedent - such as national borders, limited immigration, individual racial groups, familial bonds and limited (to no) global intervention, either militarily or via trade yet to be both absolute and resolved not to compromise for any reason. To establish a strong but independent national identity.

(Additional note: I have my own issues with Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles and have written a response to them elsewhere)

3.The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.

Alt-Right does not seek to impose its views but rather is clear that history has been unrelenting in defining what works. When society departs from normative behavior (such as homosexuality), those societies fail from the inside and become weak in the face of outside forces. When diverse cultures are put into close proximity, it invariably leads to significant conflict as each culture attempts to maintain/attain superiority/dominance.

By pointing to historical precedent the Alt-Right does not need to establish an authority for its positions - those foundations are there for anyone to see. Its foundation is not in a belief system - though that exists - but rather in human nature. Rather than deny or dismiss it, Alt-Right embraces our human nature, what it argues is inevitable, human nature will always win no matter how long or how much damage is wrought trying to deny it.

4. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.

Alt-Right looks to the last couple thousand years of human history and notes three factors have driven human progress to this point:
1. Establishment of the rule of law. Most of human history can be defined by "might makes right" or "rule by man". The strongest rule and everyone submits to their whim. But starting generally with the Greeks and eventually leading to our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, humans have sought the stability and progressive (as it means to embrace everyone) nature of the rule of law.
2. Concurrent with that process has been a dominance of European nations: Greece, Rome, Spain, France and Great Britian. Although China and Japan (and prior to the Greeks, Egypt) have dominated their regions, it was the European nations that spread out both economically and culturally well beyond their borders. The reach of the British Empire is evident even today as Canada and Australia continue to exist as part of Great Britain. Except for the nature of their American colonists, Britain today would span the globe. The European culture embraces (until relatively recently) the rule of law and traditional mores.
3. Christianity. It is hard to speak of European history and culture without recognizing the influence of Christianity - either as a foundation or formative influence, Christianity is part of the individual, rule of law, social normative foundations. To dismiss or diminish its role is to ignore history.

Combined, Alt-Right sees these foundation stones as having reached their pinnacle in the establishment of Western civilization in general and in the establishment of the United States particular.

Looking at history generally - African culture has existed for eight thousand years, Middle Eastern culture has existed for six thousand years, Oriental culture for four thousand years and Western culture for three thousand years. Where has human progress been most productive?

5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nations and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.

Alt-Right explicitly states that nations have the right: to exist, to self determine, and to defend themselves. All nations. Not just those that are our friends or allies. It explicitly argues that each nation can establish its culture and enforce it however it chooses without interference (or violence) from others.

6.The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.

It explicitly opposes globalism or one-worldism in whatever form - culture, economic, governmental or religious.

Both of these two positions are pretty self explanatory and clear. Nationalism is not for the powerful nations but for all nations.

7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

All men were created equal is used incorrectly so often it all but signifies the idea that a big lie is easier to get people to believe. I was not born equal to Andre the Giant, Albert Einstein or Nadia Comaneci. While we were all born human, with the same need to breathe, eat, drink, sleep and shit, with the same biological functions and design (bi-pedal, tool using, genetic compatibility) we most certainly have different abilities, strengths and ambitions.

I do not expect to BE equal, I can't (or shouldn't) be treated equally in context (situationally). We have attempted to create a system where our institutions (specifically government) do try to address us all the same, ie equally. But even that recognizes that we are different. That is why our court system is one of equity not equality. We should recognize our differences and not seek to create a system by which you put in diversity and output conformity. Equality of outcome is not only a bastardization of "all men were created equally" it ignores every single gene of human nature. It defines the very nature of societal failure. We have seven billion unique individuals on this planet, to suggest we are all equal is "unicorns and leprechauns".

8. The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.

Alt-Right specifically embraces science. Not the science of consensus (political whim) but the results of the scientific method. A science that reflects humanity's growing and changing understanding of the Universe. It rejects "the science is settled" except in those places where the "laws of nature" are well defined and established.

That is the foundation of the Alt-Right. I doubt many Conservatives or anyone on the Right would have a problem with it. That said, there is an inherent bias - almost all of the Alt-Right is found in Western Society. From this foundation flows the interpretation and philosophies. There is division/dividing lines/differences in what this foundation means for a 'movement'. What follows is what I think is the dominant strain/element, the part that gives Alt-Right its heft, its substance.

9. The Alt Right believes identity begets culture begets politics.

Alt-Right believes identity establishes your community, your place, which establishes the culture you exist within, which guides your politics. That this is true for everyone, everywhere. This transcends race, religion or nationality. And yet because we are our human nature, race, gender, ethnicity, and nationality are all dominant features of our identity that are all but impossible to deny or escape. Us vs Them is inherent historically and maybe genetic. Even when we escape one "identity" we often establish another to be part of. Most commonly via immigration.

Actually moving from one country to another does not always mean changing identities. We see immigrants waving the flag of the country they or their family came from, establishing aspects of the culture they left behind only geographically but not emotionally. People live with those that identify with their past, not their new, culture/identity. Those that immigrate to change their identity, to establish themselves in a culture they want to embrace, not change, seek to become different. To change into something different, and unassumingly, better. That has been the lure and promise of the United States. To become American.

Who you are is the most important thing you learn growing up. It seldom changes once it is established no matter how much you want it to - it can, it does, but its influence is permanent. That is human nature and it is the foundation of our community, our culture and our politics. It is also why massive immigration of people with different identities, culture and politics are so dangerous.

10. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.

Alt-Right believes most new immigrants do not seek to assimilate, no not seek to change, but to retain their identity, their culture, their politics but for a time to take advantage of our system. They are not immigrants but invaders seeking to plunder without the warfare. And the Alt-Right seeks to exclude them from our society because that is what they choose - to be different, to be exempt. When so many already here are fighting to survive, why are we inviting so many with no desire to assimilate?

Further, why should we allow those that do not seek to assimilate to gain power and influence within our own borders? A simple example: we are a nation of English speakers yet there are communities in our country where no English is spoken.

11. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.

Diverse communities are fractured, not cohesive, and prone to conflict as groups seek to establish dominance. The greater the diversity the greater/frequent the conflicts. When large communities/nations with divergent cultures meet it almost always ends in war.

Islam is at war within itself and at war with the larger non-Muslim world. Ignoring or dismissing this reality is giving that culture opportunities to enter and fracture existing non-Islamic communities. We are seeing it happen in many communities in the United States with vast numbers of illegal Hispanic immigrants.

12. The Alt Right doesn't care what you think of it.

For a long time now people that seek to establish/claim an identity that opposes 'diversity' have been singled out and attacked as racist, bigoted, phobic. So long and so often have the attacks gone on that almost everyone (other than those seeking power) has stopped being affected by the name calling. It has culminated in two ways that have broken its claim of hatred:
1. If you are white, you are racist
2. If you are white, you are privileged

These claims are absolute and the only acceptable response is to bow and beg forgiveness and to offer restitution. Whether it was the final straw or it just coincided with the discontent associated with the economic malaise I leave to others. At this point most, if not all of the Alt-Right doesn't care what others say or think about them. If their mere existence is an affront to a culture then that culture is nothing the Alt-Right cares about.

13. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intra-national free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.

Personally, I support global trade - if for no other reason than we do not have everything I want or we need within our borders. However, the 'free trade plus open borders' crowd is a detriment to us and all countries. There are benefits to trading with other countries but not at the expense of our own population. A pan-nationalist approach might be more to their liking but it is an active argument on the Right across the board.

At this point I want to point out that NONE of what I have written about above is exclusive to the United States. Every country can (and should) accept the above. Generally, most people I know even if they have issues with a specific point, generally would agree with everything above. Yes, the Left would have problems with the diversity issue but history is a harsh reality.

I am going to skip this one for a moment to address the final two items and then I will come back to it.

14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.

15. The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

Alt-Right does not believe in the supremacy of any race, nation or people (or human sub-species*). Each is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses. I think that the Western culture is the best and I personally think the United States is exceptional (not just first among equals). But the Alt-Right does not distinguish one as supreme - neither nation nor race.
* sub-species does not imply a hierarchy but rather differences between groups of humans - there is genetic diversity among the races (and groups).

16. The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.

And it argues each nation is sovereign and should be free from outside interference.

Alt-Right also abhors war and explicitly notes one means to attain peace is to limit diversity and culture clashes. By limiting immigration and open borders, Alt-Right seeks to minimize war.

These two, like others above are pretty straight forward. However most readers with other bias' will read them and think "aw one thinks like that, it has to be a front, a false face." I would say, nope. I've read a lot and think that it is in fact true. There is no demand for diversity or conformity - be who you are, establish yourself in a community, support and defend that community. Avoid conflicts but don't shrink from attacks - attack back until the threat is permanently removed. Strength personally and within the community.

Number 14, the one the media and many others focus on to the exclusion of all else.

14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.

This is the culmination of the Democrat Party and Liberal politicians (here and in Europe). For decades the Left has promoted identity politics - each group supporting "it's own". Be it gays, Blacks or Latinos or women, your identity was your political badge. With the culmination of anti-White activists over the last two years, is it any wonder that a politician that explicitly argues for 15 of the 16 points of Alt-Right "principles" while ignoring every accusation of bigotry might win a general election among AMERICANS?

The largest identity in this country is white, as it is generally throughout the West. If you demand people vote their identity, don't be surprised if it works for the majority.

Identity politics only works for minorities when the majority can be cowed into supporting the minority demands, even when those demands are harmful to the community as a whole. This is a problem for the Alt-Right. When the minorities realize their hold is slipping (or gone) they have only two choices: submit to the dominant culture or violence. Undoing the decades of damage will be painful in many ways.

It can't be racist or bigoted for Blacks to demand Blacks conform/vote for Blacks, for women to conform/vote for women, for Latinos to conform/vote for Latinos and BE racist when whites conform/vote for whites. It just goes back to the 'being white is racist inherently'. People are both tired and disgusted that nothing they do or say makes a difference, only the color of their skin determines their social standing - exactly who are the racists here?

Here is where I break from the Alt-Right...and it might not be a break as much as a difference or divergent point of view. I am the first born of immigrants to this country. I was in lesbian relationship for 18 years. I have helped to raise an adopted baby girl from China. I am NOT demographically an Alt-Right. Yet, philosophically much of the foundation is something I can embrace.

It goes back to a difference I think only exists because the numbers NOW support it: immigrants to this country are not assimilating. Prior to the 60s or 70s it used to take everything and emotionally, intellectually abandoning the external components of your identity to immigrate. With very few exceptions, immigration was a one time, forever proposition. There was no ability to avoid assimilation, you had to in order to survive. Until recently those trips took days, weeks and even months to accomplish moving to another country. Yet, there were always enclaves of immigrants. Did that mean people didn't assimilate? On a case by case basis, probably. As a community, it tended to break down as generations grew up and moved out. It took time.

My parents didn't associate with similar immigrants - they fully embraced America and everything about it. They raised six American children. No hyphen.

For a significant portion of our history, immigration to the United States skimmed the best of almost every other country. Best in the sense that they WANTED the American identity AND were willing to assimilate and work damn hard for it. It has become easy for people to come here and keep one foot in their past. There is no desire to assimilate, only plunder/take advantage of the United States. And we have given them the ability to influence our country in ways that damage and are destroying our culture and identity.

I can see a uniquely American identity that is more than the Alt-Right.

Finally, there are variations within the Alt-Right that are both acknowledged and distanced by different individuals. I put them here to distinguish them from the broader Alt-Right that the media is trying to paint.

The Alt-White focuses on the future for the White Race to the general exclusion of others. A SMALL subset are those White Supremacists we see in the media. They have taken the opportunity that the media (and some politicians) has given them - unintentionally - to gain a platform/megaphone. We'd all be better off it they were ignored. Their numbers are extremely limited...

The Alt-West tends to downplay the race but focus on the European aspect.

Alt-Lite is newer and I've seen several different explanations including ignoring the religious aspect but also that ignore race as a factor.

Right now Alt-(whatever) is trying to piggyback on the attention Alt-Right is getting. We are talking about groups that MAYBE number in the hundreds but are more likely much much smaller.

There it is. Alt-Right is generally, white, male, Christian, of European descent, traditionalist, chauvinist, and decidedly independent. If you are inherently weak in your own identity, Alt-Right is scary. It isn't. Your fears are not it's features. It doesn't care about you. At all. Join it because it represents you, or not. I have not been made to feel unwelcome. Some disagree with my choices, but I've found more angst and anger from Conservatives and Liberals than I have from Alt-Right.

Be aware however, as a movement, the thought leaders are intelligent, well read, and strong personalities. If that scares you, the Alt-Right is not for you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Health care

The fundamental problem with health care in the United States is NOT rising prices - those are the symptom.

It started 51 years ago. Medicare.

95% of all the medical costs you incur in your lifetime will happen in the last year of your life. An insurance study done decades ago and only since refined, but not altered in the conclusion. As we have increased the life span the percentage has gone done for the last year but increased for the last five years of your life - we live longer but at a cost. Still, quality and quantity have been improving.

If I told you that your car insurance was $1 a day for January though November, but $10 a day for'd demand one of three things:
1. A quote from another company
2. That we spread the December amount over the whole year, or
3. You wouldn't bother with insurance in December (or conversely, for January through November)

When there is no other company - you MUST get your insurance through me - the only other options are what we have with Obamacare.

#3 is what people decide when they think they are very good drivers and they have a very good record of not getting into accidents.

#2 is what everyone gets when we take the most expensive costs and spread them out over the whole. could go your entire life without getting into a car accident, but you will not get out of this life alive. And those final costs are, especially over an entire population, significant. So, we spread it out. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical care times millions of people every year.

Medicare shifted the cost of health care for the elderly onto everyone else. When the number of seniors was small and the number of workers large, the difference was pretty small. Now, the reverse is true.

In a nutshell:
A procedure cost $10,000. For a senior under Medicare, because of agreements with hospitals and doctors, the government only pays $6,400 and lets the senior pick up $2,000. What is the hospital supposed to do with the missing $1,600? Simple, it increases the cost to everyone else (not on Medicare) to $10,500. But insurance companies want some of the same deals that Medicare gets so, they pay $6,800 and leave their customers to pay $2,100. What happens to the other $1,600? Simple, the hospital charges the guy that pays for it out of pocket $11,500.

The cost is shifted from the senior to the insured to the uninsured (or self insured). Spread that out over thousands of procedures on millions of people and the numbers become staggering. Add in inflation and more expensive care as more people survive longer and the cost shifting becomes a game of who can shift the cost to someone else fastest. Government, seeing rapidly rising costs demands more shifting away from the growing number of people on medicare (and the state provided, medicare subsidized medi-programs), while insurance companies faced with their own escalating costs of complying with ever increasing documentation and regulation and inflation and rising medical costs, shift the cost to their clients in higher deductibles and more co-payments and demands for their own cost shifting. Dumping more people that can't afford it into the uninsured universe of the highest costs.

x 50 years.....

Obamacare takes the sickest of the uninsured and tells the insurance companies - insure them.

That is telling the car insurance company to insure someone sitting in an intersection with a crumpled front end and dripping fluids...

Insurance is about managing risk - there is a 100% risk to insure someone that just had an accident FOR that accident. Obamacare was not only destined to fail, it was designed to. So that the 'only solution' was government cutting insurers out of the system and just putting everyone on medicare.

Sounds good to people.....except to those people already on medicare who have watched their costs skyrocket over the last 5 years of Obamacare's initial efforts while care and service has dropped because there is a flood of new patients but no change in the numbers of nurses, doctors or hospital beds - and basic economics will tell you that increasing demand over a fixed supply means rising prices.

It is a vicious cycle that started....51 years ago. And all the people that sold Medicare, voted for Medicare, who benefited first from Medicare are long dead. We are left to live with the destruction they sowed. There are alternatives....I've considered two different options in the last dozen years....but something will change in the next two years, no matter who is elected....