A constant pivot

Bruno's picture
Submitted by Bruno on Sat, 2018-11-03 01:02

Yaron Brook talks about "bad genes" now. I thought that IQ studies and the like were an "evil science", "waycist", etc... [two minute video, listen]

That's all fine and well, but why is he still advocating for open borders (for America)? He wants us all to move to Ghated communities? And damned be the consequences for American democracy? How does he expect tens and tens of millions of people who are socialist-leaning, tribal, etc... to not wreck the democratic process, and bring economic and political catastrophe simply through the ballot box? What about the enormous costs to increase law enforcement? What about people who are robbed or even die at the hands of uncheked entrants? What happens to the federal and state expenditures on public schooling, health, etc...? Just let the entire country collapse?


Be Careful What You Wish For

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Yawon did contribute a chapter to A New Textbook of Americanism. Here's the part I quoted from liberally in the last Bruno/Linzio:

There is little doubt that Rand would have much to say about the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Above all, I suspect that Rand would be alarmed by the rise of a particularly ugly form of collectivism: nationalism—not the nationalism of placing the interests of one’s citizens first in foreign policy (which she discussed favorably), but a nationalism that feeds off of fear mongering, that blames foreigners for all our problems, that rejects immigration and free trade in the name of “made in America,” and that places its trust, not in the principles of individual rights and a constitutional system of limited government, but in a leader given unconstrained power to achieve an undefined “national interest.” Trump’s inauguration speech, for instance, made only a single passing reference to freedom (actually “freedoms,” which is quite different), but instead spoke of “national pride,” “a great national effort,” and national “solidarity.” Rather than call for the government to get out of the way so individuals could produce and trade freely, Trump identified foreigners as the source of America’s ills, and declared that the “two simple rules” that would guide his administration’s economic policy would be “Buy American and hire American.” “Protection,” he went on to say, “will lead to great prosperity and strength.” And instead of identifying individualism as the essence of American exceptionalism, he appealed to the collectivist notion that “We are one nation… We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny…When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.” For Rand, proper nationalism consists of support for one’s country and its culture because they are based on rational, individualistic principles. Here is how she explained the issue in a 1967 Q&A:

What is the value of nationalism? That depends on how you interpret the term. Nationalism as a primary—that is, the attitude of “my country, right or wrong,” without any judgment—is chauvinism: a blind, collectivist, racist feeling for your own country, merely because you were born there. In that sense, nationalism is very wrong. But nationalism properly understood—as a man’s devotion to his country because of an approval of its basic premises, principles, and social system, as well as its culture—is the common bond among men of that nation. It is a commonly understood culture, and an affection for it, that permits a society of men to live together peacefully. But a country and its system must earn this approval. It must be worthy of that kind of devotion.

Trump showed no concern for the premises and principles that “make America great,” and instead displayed “a blind, collectivist, racist feeling” for America. His concern was not with American freedom but America “winning,” i.e., triumphing over other countries through protectionism and “strong leadership.” As with every form of collectivism, nationalism is a variant of authoritarianism: it demands individual obedience and devotion to a vague “national mission,” guided by the dictates of a powerful leader. And the most alarming aspect of the 2016 presidential election was the receptivity of an unprecedented number of Americans to unveiled authoritarianism. As my colleague Onkar Ghate argued in an essay published shortly after the election, “Trump publicly projected the mentality, methods and campaign of a would-be dictator—however much it may have been an act and however difficult it may be to enact specific decrees—and…he won the presidency because of this.” As Ghate pointed out, Trump painted a (falsely) dark picture of America, blamed America’s alleged problems on scapegoats (mainly foreigners), and offered a (troubling) solution: hand him “whatever political power he deems necessary to make America great again.” He, somehow and singularly, knows what to do. ‘I alone,’ Trump declared, ‘can fix it.’” How would he fix it? Somehow. This was all straight out of the authoritarian playbook, and Trump’s audiences ate it up. (And it was not only Trump. As Ghate observed, “this follow-the-leader authoritarianism is not a disease confined to Trump’s campaign, to the Republican Party or even to the so-called right. It appears to run deep in the veins of the country, infecting also independents, Democrats and the so-called left. It was clearly discernible, for instance, among some of the fervent supporters of Bernie Sanders.”) Nationalism, and authoritarianism more broadly, are the antithesis of what Rand argues for in her Textbook. Rand saw the essence of America as contained in the ideas that created it: reason (not obedience), individualism (not collectivism), and freedom (not statism). America, in her estimation, is great—to the extent it remains true to those ideas. And this is why she And this is why she would have rejected any attempt to “make America great again” by ignoring ideas, jettisoning freedom, and handing over arbitrary, unchecked power to a “strong leader.” While America might not yet be ready for a true “blood and soil” nationalist, the election of Trump has brought us closer than ever to that day. To prevent nationalism’s dominance of America’s future, Rand’s insights are needed now more than ever.

IMMIGRATION

Immigration has become a central issue in our current political debate, and it is striking that both sides of the debate typical rely on collectivist arguments. Opponents of immigration typically call on the government to stop immigrants from stealing “our” jobs, lowering “our” wages, and threatening “our” culture. Similarly, they make collective judgments about immigrants, wishing, for example, to ban Mexican immigrants because some are criminals or may accept welfare. Supporters of immigration, meanwhile, do not focus on the individual rights of Americans to deal with any individual he or she chooses to, but instead appeal to the positive social consequences of immigration, such as the economic boon of entrepreneurial immigrants; or to the multiculturalist idea that it is wrong to discriminate against individuals from Muslim nations that threaten us. What immigration policy follows from an individualist approach is a controversial issue, even among Objectivists and other admirers of Ayn Rand. What is clear is the relevant standard the government should adhere to: the protection of the individual rights of Americans.

Note the gratuitous, fact-free equation of Rand's "bad" nationalism with Trump's good nationalism.

Yawon does seem to have flipped for the better on Muslim immigration, but note the hedging.

Funny and Sad

Grant Jones's picture

Isn't it funny how Yawon won't put his views in writing? He has time for endless rants on YouTube, but he just doesn't have the time to place his deep thoughts in objective print. Why can't he produce an op/ed every week on a topical issue like so many real pundits and intellectuals? It's almost like his main objective is just to get donations from suckers on Patreon.

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