America is descending back into a war of “all against all,” due to authority that has been too deeply diluted in the Washington swamp. We are witnessing the approach of anarchy. The Leviathan is no longer a king sitting on top of a smooth political pyramid whose own self-interest dictates that the people be rich and vigorous so that his kingdom can be rich and vigorous. Rather, the U.S. government has become a patchwork of oligarchical cooperation where each committee, each department, each politician is linked in chains of obligation to many specialized interests that do not include the American people. The Leviathan is now a many-headed Hydra. Terrorists, illegals, petty thieves, murderers, pimps, Marxists, rapists and every sort of scoundrel one can imagine has been marching into the United States unopposed. Some have even been invited in as refugees. Hobbes’s notion of the social contract is quite clear: people submit to the state under the condition that it protects them. The United States government is not fulfilling its part of the contract; it is not protecting its citizens. Why, then, do we owe our loyalty to it?
I spent the past two weeks at sea. The ship I sailed on patiently meandered all the way around the island of Britain and called at various ports in England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. It proved to be a valuable education in that vast and elegant mystery known as the sea. I felt in some childish way as if I were in the company of Melville and Conrad. I had entered a world that, as their stories so often reveal, contained many enchantments as well as an overriding indifference to the affairs of man. There were mists that seemed to hang ominously over the horizon; sea swells that could make the giant ship I was on bob like a cork in a bathtub; strange currents where the ocean felt as still and as silent as the grave; dolphins that leapt beside the bow in the moonlight.
With these wonders in mind, while staring one evening at the gray smudges of the Isle of Skye, I imagined how peculiar the sea must have seemed to our ancestors. These were men who sailed the earth with only the sun and stars to guide them; the luckier ones of later eras had compasses and sextants but nothing half as convenient as a modern satellite positioning system. The bulk of Western civilization was built on the courage of men who were willing to brave the mysteries of the sea. They brought cinnamon from India and delicate blue and white porcelain from the Ming. They introduced Europe to the luxuries of pepper, silk, rice, turquoise, tea, coffee, furs, jade, indigo, diamonds, and a thousand other things that today we enjoy in abundance.
It is a shame that so few wish to understand the sea and its stories. We should not forget the sacrifices of our sailors: the thousands of drowned men, the malnourished deckhands fed for months on hardtack, the legless, one-eyed naval officers left destitute once they retired. We should not forget these things because to do so would be to forget who we are. The story of Western dominance is a story of the sea.
Heritage is sifting through stacks of dusty photos to find that your nose is amusingly similar to your great-granduncle’s before he enlisted. On the back of the photo you find a joke your grandmother had written in a loopy cursive script. You realize then that you had never seen her handwriting before and you certainly never thought her capable of humor. Heritage is not a set of intangible ideas; it is the living continuity of one generation with another through the bonds of blood. It is life itself. Just as with families, a nation is only as great as its heritage, and a heritage is only as great as its people.
I am sure that by now everyone has heard of James Damore, short of maybe a few grandmothers in nursing homes or an infant or two fresh from the womb. We have read for days about the memo he wrote at Google and his subsequent firing for code of conduct violations contained within the memo. To right-wingers in general and to reactionaries in particular, this memo was neither very objectionable nor was it very crude or edgy. Most of us would rather have seen a scathing, fire-and-brimstone indictment of Silicon Valley’s notions of equality. Instead, we have had to settle for a few simple statements of common sense.
The crux of his memo is easy enough to grasp: there are not as many women working in technology because women are not as interested in technology as men. Men and women are different. Boys like to build bridges and then knock them over when they play war. Girls like to wear jewelry and they feel good when they feel pretty. Those of us who live on planet Earth find Damore’s thesis to be as simple and straightforward as the motion of the sun across the sky or the rising of the tides. But, as the saying goes, common sense is not so common.
In Silicon Valley it is much more fashionable to pretend that the moon and the sun are no different from one another, that day and night are just moods, and that male and female are the same thing merely separated by societal conditioning. I am sure Google has some very illuminating ideas to help explain the difference in the hard-coded X and Y chromosome configurations that determine whether a person is male or female, but no matter how polished the words, no matter how tortuous the logic, nothing can change the biological fact that there is male and there is female and between these two extremes is a chasm of differences.
The intriguing part of this whole affair is not so much the content of Damore’s memo, but the lawsuit he is bringing against Google for his sudden termination. On the one hand, in an ideal world where we are all good little classical liberals, and we all live in a thoroughly free society, I would support Google’s right to fire whomever it wants, for any reason that it wants. After all, if I support the right of a Christian bakery to refuse to bake cakes for gay clients, then I should, for the sake of logical consistency, support Google’s right to hire or fire whomever it pleases.
The problem, however, is that we do not live in an ideal classical liberal society. The United States turned off of that dusty road quite a long time ago. The government intervenes and with the full force of the law gets to tell that Christian bakery that the humble cross-bearers who own it must bake rainbow cakes. With this situation in mind, I have to concede that we live in a society where identity politics rules the roost. In this kind of competition there is no sense in being fair to one’s enemies since it will only cede more power to them in the long run.
Therefore, for the sake of all of us on the right, I hope Damore goes ahead with his lawsuit. I hope that he sues Google for all they are worth and scores a smashing broadside for those of us who still have some common sense.
In the New England schoolmarm you find a strong dose of puritanism, or at the very least, a strong dose of the puritanical, but while the schoolmarm has departed from our culture forever, the social justice warrior has taken her place. There is the holier-than-thou finger-wagging, the arbitrary sense of fairness determined more by mood than by principle, and the smug hostility toward anyone who will not signal the proper herd virtues. The puritan still lives, and she is where she has always been: among the left.
Here’s my latest article over at Social Matter. Modern America could use a bit of the Napoleonic touch.
I had forgotten to post the links to my latest articles on Social Matter.
The first is an historical analysis of James II and the “Inglorious Revolution”.
The second is an opinion piece exploring the idea of authority, liberty, and their proper relation to one another.