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Thread: Suicide of the West

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    Chris's Avatar Senior Member
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    Second paragragh cited in op: "family breakdown, mass immigration, the war on assimilation, and the rise of virtual communities pretending to replace real ones."

    So he recognizes immigration as part of the problem.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Second paragragh cited in op: "family breakdown, mass immigration, the war on assimilation, and the rise of virtual communities pretending to replace real ones."

    So he recognizes immigration as part of the problem.
    I saw that. That's what prompted my initial comment. As I recall, that wasn't always so. A change of mind perhaps. I'm not being cynical. It just struck me as out of character for the Goldberg that I remember.
    Whoever criticizes capitalism, while approving immigration, whose working class is its first victim, had better shut up. Whoever criticizes immigration, while remaining silent about capitalism, should do the same.


    ~Alain de Benoist


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister D View Post
    I saw that. That's what prompted my initial comment. As I recall, that wasn't always so. A change of mind perhaps. I'm not being cynical. It just struck me as out of character for the Goldberg that I remember.
    Here he discusses how stances on immigration were reversed only back in the 90s, and has shifted since: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/...litical-shift/

    I don't think he's a neocon, based on his writing about them.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Anyway, what struck me was the resemblance in theme to Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed. One Catholic, one Jewish.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Anyway, what struck me was the resemblance in theme to Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed. One Catholic, one Jewish.
    It struck me too but what struck me was out of character it was for Jews.
    Whoever criticizes capitalism, while approving immigration, whose working class is its first victim, had better shut up. Whoever criticizes immigration, while remaining silent about capitalism, should do the same.


    ~Alain de Benoist


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    Podcast interview of Goldberg by Russ Roberts on EconTalk: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/201..._goldberg.html. Transcript there too.


    Early on Goldberg says something simple but, I think profound: "at the heart of conservatism--is this idea that human nature has no history."
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    OK, so, I hear a lot of people talking about tribalism lately. But the tribalism they speak of is not the tribe of time and place of community, but tribes of ideology, of nationalism, even tribes of identity, abstractions from community, from time, from place.

    Here is a review of Yale law professor Amy Chua's Political Tribes: Group Instinct And The Fate Of Nations, A Time Of Tribalism:

    ...Chua does not write as a political partisan. Rather, she writes as an analyst of our political culture, which is rapidly tribalizing....

    ...The book starts by talking about how Americans’ blindness to tribalism as a social and anthropological fact has been disastrous for us overseas. She quotes President Woodrow Wilson saying that “America does not consist of groups” — a statement that was bonkers on its face....

    That was the American ideal, though not the American reality. Chua doesn’t use that to slam America as hypocritical, though. She says that this sentiment represents America “at both its best and its worst.” That is, America aspires to be a nation where loyalty to ideals and principles trumps group loyalty — that is America at its best — but is also a nation where the better angels of our nature are so comely that the cause us to overlook our demons.

    ...One of the deepest tribal affiliations is ethnicity. When you have an ethnic minority dominating a nation’s market, you have the potential for vicious conflict....

    ...Chua points out that we fetishize democracy so much in the West that we miss how democracy can exacerbate tribalism....
    On and on it goes about these abstractions.

    Here is another interview with Goldberg, Goldberg's 'Suicide Of The West' Tackles Ills Of Identity Politics, in which he gets back to the traditional meaning of tribalism--in which also the NPR interviewer doesn't seem to quite get the difference:

    INSKEEP: He says it's been hard to build a world of technology, and longer lives, and libraries and literacy - and for many people, security - and we could lose it. Goldberg fears we are retreating to an older, more natural form of society - tribalism. His critics suggest Goldberg was part of the problem. He's a political conservative who once wrote a book called "Liberal Fascism." Yet his dismay over tribalism and many conservatives' embrace of President Trump led him to a different approach. His new book avoids partisan labels and explores how many people abandoned their faith in civil society - families, churches, governments and more. The book is called "Suicide Of The West."

    GOLDBERG: People are retreating to their little cocoons. They're retreating to social media. And what they're retreating to are things like identity politics. Our colleges teach people that they should simply think of themselves in racial categories or gender categories. You've now got this whole - what I would consider asinine - cottage industry on the right that says that we need, essentially, an identity politics for white people. But that's the real problem with identity politics, is that it reduces people's identity - people's true identity - their character, their personality, their lived experiences - to these really thin abstractions.

    INSKEEP: It's tribalism.

    GOLDBERG: It's tribalism, but it's a really cheap form of tribalism because at least the authentic, evolutionary form of tribalism, which says, the people I grew up with, the people I go hunting with, the people who protect me when I sleep - right? - I know these faces. These are humans to me. Now we are - have a tribalism of abstractions where people a thousand miles apart have more fellow feeling for someone because they have the same color skin or they vote the same party than they do for their neighbor, who might, you know, share so much more real, lived experience with them, but they don't fit into one of these categories.

    INSKEEP: Are you telling me that people on the left caused Donald Trump?

    ...
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Podcast interview of Goldberg by Russ Roberts on EconTalk: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/201..._goldberg.html. Transcript there too.

    Early on Goldberg says something simple but, I think profound: "at the heart of conservatism--is this idea that human nature has no history."
    That fits Progressivism. If Goldberg said it he is profoundly wrong.
    Call your state legislators and insist they approve the Article V convention of States to propose amendments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterVeritis View Post
    That fits Progressivism. If Goldberg said it he is profoundly wrong.
    Progressivism is the notion that you can change and perfect human nature through reason, science and technology.

    Liberals and socialists stress the malleability of human nature under the influence of changeable historical conditions. The anti-conservative Rousseau had an optimistic conception of human nature, blaming government and society for failings that—according to conservatives—belong to individuals. Conservatives, in contrast, regard human nature as weak and fallible, unalterably selfish rather than altruistic (Kekes 1997: 368). Scruton is typical in regarding human beings as frail creatures of limited sympathy not easily extending to those remote in space or time (Scruton 2012).
    @ Conservatism
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    A follow up, a review of James Burnham’s Suicide of the West from which Goldberd took his title. Reducing it to a few paragraphs leaves perhaps too much out.

    Why the West Is Suicidal

    ...the image of Western eclipse drawn from geography in the first chapter of James Burnham’s Suicide of the West. Looking over an old atlas, Burnham describes how the maps from year to year and decade to decade show the lines and colors of the great European empires expanding almost continuously from the fifteenth century until the twentieth—and then, as he imagines the sequence continuing from 1914 to the mid-1960s, suddenly drawing back, to leave a world filled by scores of postcolonial regimes and vast new domains under the control of Communism. Burnham eschews the language of Oswald Spengler and does not call this a “decline.” In neutral terms, it is a “contraction.” But what, he wonders, brought it about?

    Suicide of the West, published in 1964, does not provide a definitive answer. What Burnham was certain of, and what we can be just as sure about today, is that the West had not been conquered by some greater outside power, as the empires of pre-Columbian Central and South America once were. The West did not, and does not, suffer from any lack of material resources, either. If our civilization is in retreat—geographically or otherwise—the cause must lie within its own mind and spirit. Decline, for lack of a better word, has not been forced upon the West; it has been chosen. In this sense, it is a suicide.

    ...In The Managerial Revolution, Burnham pointed to the New Deal, fascism, and Communism as early forms of the new managerial control that was replacing capitalism....

    ...Burnham’s Suicide, and his 1944 book, The Machiavellians, are more helpful than Goldberg’s Suicide in illuminating the worldly relationship between tribalism and universalism. Both works by Burnham owe an acknowledged debt to Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist and social philosopher whose masterwork is translated into English as The Mind and Society. From Pareto, Burnham adopts the concepts of psychological “residues” and “derivations.” The former are psychological drives, such as “the instinct for combining” (Class I residues) and “the persistence of aggregates” (Class II residues). What Goldberg calls “tribalism” is one expression of Class II residues, while many of the attributes of progressive liberalism—such as a penchant for multiculturalism and a love of novelty—spring from Class I residues. In more poetic terms employed by Machiavelli, among others, people with a high proportion of Class I residues are clever “foxes,” while those more characterized by Class II residues are honor- or duty-bound “lions.”

    Pareto’s “derivations,” meanwhile, correspond roughly to ideologies and rationales. Under a misleading guise of consistency and logic, they serve to justify and explain—to the individual himself, as well as to others—feelings and actions that arise from the residues. In this light, progressive liberalism is a “derivation” that puts a sophisticated veneer on the behavior of foxes, rationalizing their essential faithlessness as a philosophy of openness.

    ...Burnham did not write Suicide to refute liberalism. He concludes that if the West decides to resist its contraction, “then the ideology of liberalism, deprived of its primary function, will fade away, like those feverish dreams of the ill man who, passing the crisis of his disease, finds he is not dying after all.” But what could change the mind of the West? What accounts for its suicidal turn in the first place? Burnham only hints at the answers. The loss of traditional religious faith is part of the tale, but even that may be, in earthly terms, as much effect as cause. The clearest prescription to be found in Suicide of the West is for the rediscovery of the spirit of the lion—to cherish again “the persistence of aggregates.” In a word, to respect “tribalism” once more.

    ...America’s ideals depend not on tribal loyalty to universal propositions but on loyalty to the tribes—and little platoons—from which our ideals arise.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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