Blog of the Month: Slate Star Codex

Blogs don’t usually promote other blogs, but in the vast array of blogs, the blogosphere, or perhaps even larger than that, the multi-blogosphere, there are not a lot of blogs that are worth reading. Most of them parrots the day’s conventional wisdom, or the particular angle of the many competing ideologies; copied and repeated endlessly over and over.  If you read one anti PIV feminist blog, or “Obama is a Muslim” blog post, you might as well have read 10,000 of them.

So when you come across one that actually educates a bit, you take notice.  So from following link to link to link, I came across Slate Star Codex.  The writer, “Scott S Alexander” keeps his real identity secret (don’t we all?) but is a doctor who apparently has more time on his hands than a doctor should to generate such wordy, well researched posts. Politically, he seems vaguely centrist, which, when broken down to its components, means liberal.  However he’s liberal who actually seems to have educated himself on all things rightward.

As I’ve noted previously, that’s exceedingly rare.  So when I read his critique of Neo-Reactionary thought in his post, Reactionary Philosophy in an Enormous Planet Sized Nutshell, I was blown away by the comprehensive depth and broad based understanding of the topic that was shown.  It was a better summary of Neo-Reaction than the Neo-Reactionaries have been able to produce.

So although impressed, I didn’t think much more about it, until I came across another link to the blog in which he broke down the major differences of left and right that probably comes as close to providing a unified field theory of the roots of the right and left as anything I’ve read.  In his post A Thrive/Survive Theory of the Political Spectrum, he overlaps right and left strategies on top of one of my favorite teaching tools, the Zombie Apocalypse.

Imagine the philosophical heights Socrates might have reached had he had the Zombie Apocalypse as a model for explaining various ideas?

Anyway, I recommend this blog.  I learn something every time I read it.  I wish that was the case with everything else I read.

 

Why Elites Love Low Skilled Immigration

Let me offer a hat tip to the Lion of the Blogosphere for alerting me to a year and a half old column written by the New York Time’s house conservative, David BrooksCalling Brooks a conservative is a bit of a stretch.  As a Columnist for the New York Times and regular contributor to PBS’s News Hour, referring to Brooks as a conservative is akin to describing the Commander in Chief Barrack Obama as a soldier.  It’s probably more apt to describe his politics as me-too Republicanism.  That basically describes the Republican Party from the FDR era up until the age of Reagan.  They were for whatever the Democrats were for, only not as much.  Democrats would propose a program, the Republicans would say, “OK, but that program is too big. We need to trim it down.”  The Democrats would say OK and they would work out a number, not as big as first proposed, but still big, and there you go, bipartisan compromise.

English: David Brooks

English: David Brooks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Me-too Republicanism.

As a commentator, Brooks seems to bring nothing to the table.  I’ve watched him many times over the years expound on the conventional wisdom of the day on The News Hour.  His opinions were banal and shared by everyone in his class.  He could have written the ‘Conventional Wisdom Watch’ column for Newsweek.  And of course, he was in love with Obama, famously deciding that Obama would make a great President after staring (too long I think) at the crease in Obama’s pants.

So it’s no surprise that Brooks is a supporter of amnesty and open borders immigration.  After all, everyone in his class is.  That’s the dominate view of the cocktail party set.  Brook’s column is loaded with a pablum of open borders clichés, and inaccuracies that have been debunked multiple times, but what got my attention was this comment:

 

“Thanks to the labor of low-skill immigrants, the cost of food, homes and child care comes down, living standards rise and more women can afford to work outside the home.”

 

That remark leapt out at me, so revealing as it was of the class that Brooks is a part of; wealthy, urban, liberal, and totally disconnected and unattached to the rest of the country.  Yes, food is cheaper.  But it’s cheaper because we are allowing growers to ignore actual agricultural visas and employ illegals far cheaper than they would have to pay foreign, but legal workers.  Child care, however, isn’t cheaper.  For the struggling middle class shopping for day care is as expensive as it’s ever been.  But Brooks doesn’t mean day care, he means nannies.  For that class, that’s what child care means.

Brooks is justifying a permanent underclass to keep him and his buddies in the cocktail party circuit awash in cheap nannies and arugula.  His cheap food and labor argument could have been used, and probably was used, by some southern senator in the 1850’s justifying slavery.  “Ahh say suh…(yes I’m imagining him as Foghorn Leghorn) the institution of slavery is needed to provide cheap and plentiful food and clothing for all, as well as mammies to raise ouah babies so we can pursue self actualizing careers…”  OK that last bit is more Brooks than Foghorn Leghorn, but you get the idea,

Putting it another way, Brooks could be saying, “Thanks to the labor of our slaves, the cost of food, homes and child care comes down…”Slaves, serfs, proles, no matter what you call them, a life dependent on keeping a permanent underclass so that you can live your dreams because you are crushing theirs is fundamentally un-American.  And unstable. The elites want a life of plentiful servants, just like they see on Downton Abbey, and to do that they are willing to crush wage rates among the native poor, working class, and middle class.

You can’t be an Eloi without the Morlocks, but eventually the Molocks will turn on you.