|The Sweating of Business||Conservative Off-site: Vision Statement|
by Christopher Chantrill
December 04, 2008 at 11:20 am
JUDGING from reports it seems that the Indian authorities in Mumbai last week were more concerned with stamping out the terrorists than protecting innocent human life.
In the US and Europe, surely, authorities would have established a perimeter around the terrorists, stabilized the situation, and started to negotiate.
But in Mumbai the government just sent in their crack commandos, as many as it took to get the job done. Chances are that a lot more people got killed than if more western tactics were used.
In our American notion, propagated by the elite media, Asian cultures like meditating Hindus and tranquil Buddhists are more peaceable than the US and its gun culture. But of course that is rubbish. India, we learned last week, has not one but at least three major terrorist threats. There are the Muslim terrorists, the Hindu terrorists loosely connected with the Hindu nationalist parties, and then there are the Marxist guerrillas, the Naxalites. We have nothing like that in the US.
Then theres China. News reports tell us that China experiences thousands of major civil disturbances every year. And with tens of thousands of businesses closing in the global economic slowdown, workers are protesting and rioting in response.
Here is where I am going with this. Let us stop worrying about the rich-kid Islamic terrorists and their headline-grabbing rich-kid attacks on New York and Mumbai. Let us talk about real problems.
The world is entering a serious recession. Most likely in the developed world the hardships will be anesthetized by unemployment and welfare benefits. But not in India and China.
India and China are in the middle of the industrialization process that Europe and the US went through in the nineteenth century. But the word industrialization doesnt tell the story. It refers to a massive human migration from the country to the city, the biggest human migration ever known. In China, they say, 15 million people move to the city every year. The Chinese government believes that the economy needs to create 25 million jobs each year to absorb that migration.
What happens if the Chinese economy fails to generate 25 million jobs for a couple of years? Will the Chinese workers burn down the economy? They very well might. When people get desperate they do desperate things. Herders raid the neighboring herds, peasants revolt against their lords. Miners occupy the mines. But not in the modern west.
Before the west entered into the industrial age it first created the Disciplinary Society. Beginning in the sixteenth century, Charles Taylor writes in A Secular Age, European elites began a conscious effort to reduce the level of violence in society.
[W]e can say that late medieval elites...clerical... [and] lay... were developing/recovering the ideal of civility, with its demands for a more ordered, less violent social existence.
This development, according to Taylor, included increased regulation of the poor, suppression of rowdy popular culture, ordinances of economic, educational, spiritual and material improvement, disciplinary government structures, and the proliferation of training programs. And it worked!
The sixteenth century sees the taming of the unruly military aristocracy... The eighteenth century begins to see the taming of the general population. Riots, peasant rebellions, and social disorders begin to become rarer in Northwest Europe.
In Discipline and Punish the inventor of the disciplinary idea, Michel Foucault, sneers at this emerging disciplinary culture. For the edgy gay philosopher, transgression is the thing, not discipline. For Charles Taylor it is surprising that anyone thought such a transformation possible, let alone that it succeeded.
But what about India and China? Have they developed enough of a disciplinary society so that their people will endure the hardships of a serious economic downturn without bursting the bounds of social peace?
For that matter what about the US and Europe? Ever since the beginning of the nineteenth century our intellectual elite has celebrated not discipline but impulse and creativityin the Romantic movement, revolutionary politics, class warfare, and liberation. They have not proposed this for everyone, of course. The typical center-left coalitionthe educated elite allied with government functionaries and the underclasshas advanced a culture of uber-liberation for itself and demanded a culture of uber-discipline from everyone else. This is a reversal of the cultural tide of previous centuries, in which the excesses of elite and underclass were tamed, not condoned. It takes a disciplined culture to endure the agony of recession and hardship.
India and China are not going to be intimidated by is rich-kid Islamists. But their governments might soon find themselves battling revolutionary mass movements of the kind described by Eric Hoffer in The True Believer. Mass movements are not started by the abject poor, people that cannot imagine changing their lives, but by the discontented yet not destitute attracted to some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique that offers a recovery of lost power.
There will be plenty of the discontented in India and China in the next few years.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization