Economy or Culture?

This is extraordinarily disappointing. Whoever controls the money, controls the mass education and the mass culture. Has anybody heard of Disney and its role in the culture wars?

There is a reason why every large (or even not so large) company so aggressively peddles far-left propaganda. And that reason is 100% financial and economic.

Conservatives messed up big way when they embraced the “free market” ideology which invariably leads to “fluid identities,” open borders, instability (economic and mental), the collapse of the family and the destruction of the nation-state. The exit is located in the same place where the entrance was. Neoliberal economy is causing every left-wing malady of our times. We need to walk away from the neoliberal economy and the attendant “fluid” mentality.

17 thoughts on “Economy or Culture?

  1. “Conservatives messed up big way when they embraced the “free market” ideology…”

    This has always been the essence of conservatism, at least since Eisenhower. It is precisely why I have always been what Agnew called a “radical liberal”, at least since the 1960s.


    1. But then it became the essence of Liberalism, especially of the radical kind. That’s why I moved to the Right.

      I highly recommend the book by Stephanie Mudge “Leftism Reinvented.” She explains how the Left embraced free market ideology everywhere in the world. It’s excellent research.


  2. “Conservatives messed up big way when they embraced the “free market” ideology ”

    I remember in the 1970s when conservatives used to warble about how capitalism wasn’t a socio-political system, it was merely an economic system…. so the rot is not new….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Let me save you some frustration: there is no going back. The Right will continue focusing on the culture wars. The main driver of the fluid modernity is the computer, it’s a worldwide phenomenon, and things were set in motion many decades ago.

    I had a front seat, so to speak. My dad got his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Kyiv State University in 1974. He was in the first graduating class of that program. He was working at the Antonov aviation company when I was born and during my early childhood. His last project there was actually the An-225 (Mriya).

    I was lucky enough to have a personal computer at home for my entire conscious life, and I always knew software was the future and would take over the world.

    Technology in general had been automating men’s working class jobs for a while. First came industrial-scale farming in the 20th century, then industrial robots in factories (starting in the late 1990s/early 2000’s at the latest). Many middle-class jobs were lost as the internet became adopted worldwide. Travel agents were first; it took about 15 more years for technology to destroy journalism.

    The AI we’re seeing now became possible when computers became powerful enough. Much of the theory was already in place.

    The still unprofitable Uber has destroyed the taxi industry. Those were small businesses.

    You know, there are conservatives in the software industry. Their main complaint about their high-paying jobs that are destroying industries and the American way of life are the minor culture wars within – between them and their coworkers about whether women are as interested in and as good at software engineering as men are.

    I don’t think that magically eliminating all illegal immigration going forward will restore the previous standard of life. I know you’ve mentioned that the money going towards educating the children of illegal immigrants would be saved. Well, I don’t think it will be enough. I don’t think we can get to a decent standard of living for all the citizens of this country without big changes involving redistributing capital and hamstringing the market, and the politicians on the Right will always encourage their constituents to reject those as socialism.


    1. There are other places on the world, though. And great things are happening. Spain, for instance, is about 15 years ahead of the US in neoliberal immiseration. And in academia and art people are so far ahead. Nobody cares about this ancient left vs right stuff any more. I have a discussion group with Spanish academics, and it’s like visiting a different planet.

      The whole point of ideology is to trick us into believing that it’s a reflection of the only reality. But it’s not. It’s an illusion. The reality is very different.


      1. When you use words like “fluid” and “instability”, I think of how these describe my profession. Technologies change and the rate of change is accelerating. You need to constantly learn new things to keep up and stay employed.

        The rest of the world is becoming more like that. The axis of technological change is completely separate from the left-right continuum as well. Overall fluidity and instability in human civilization is increasing as our technology is getting more advanced and our world is getting more complex as a result. It’s a one-way flow.

        The only exception is taking a step back because of a civilization-endangering cataclysm, and I think humanity will have to live through that in the coming centuries. Shit will get bad, but we won’t be around long enough to see much of it.

        What’s happening in Spain? I have only a very cursory understanding of various European economies. Countries get poorer as you move south. The Scandinavian countries have high standards of living, but also tiny, homogenous populations, and high taxes. They’re not very useful for analyzing the situation in the USA.

        Then there’s Germany, the technologically advanced economic powerhouse, and countries that are rich mainly thanks to their financial industries (the UK, Switzerland). And France, Spain, Italy, and Greece are poorer, with higher unemployment.

        And in all those countries, there’s less inequality than in the USA.

        Is the working class doing well in Spain?


        1. “The axis of technological change is completely separate from the left-right continuum as well”

          It also seems completely separate from the useful-useless continuum as well, it’s so much harder to work in word and my students don’t even use that they use online apps and don’t have the slightest idea how to change any of the default settings….
          It’s like back to the 1970s with typewriters (except in their phones).


        2. My feeling is that technological change is more of a jump and then a long pause kind of thing. We’ve experienced a jump in one area, and it’s a pretty big one. But then everything kind of stalled.

          I’ve recently had to go back to machine translation after a 20-year break. I expected I’d need to learn and adapt but no. Everything is exactly the same as it was in 1998. We now have Google Translate instead of algorithm -based systems but the quality of translation is identical. The only difference is that GT is extremely inconvenient to use in contrast to the algorithm-based systems.

          I also went back to laptops after only using desktops for many years. And again, nothing has changed. The same operational system, the same problems that nobody has bothered to address in forever.

          In education we are using the methods invented in the 1960s because nobody came up with anything new.

          When my father got diagnosed, I discovered that the last time something new was created for his illness was in the decade of his birth.

          Even for something as stupid as an ear infection, I got the exact same medication as I had back in the USSR. With the exact same side effects that nobody still knows how to treat.

          This is not to say that we didn’t experience a major technological breakthrough. We did. But it turned out to be a lot less important than many people originally thought. It failed to have an impact in many areas, and then it stalled altogether. There’s a lot of talk being purposefully put out to mask how much the technological advance in this one area (in the absence of any advance in others) has stalled. We go from a larger smartphone to a smaller smartphone and back to mask that the smartphone hasn’t done anything new in a decade. Endless updates and everything stays exactly the same.


          1. Talking specifically about Spain. The working class has been destroyed and the countryside emptied of people a while ago. But the working class is never an agent of change. Things start happening when the eggheads wake up. In Spain, the destruction of the middle class and of its very educated children started earlier than in the US. These educated children, the most educated class in Spain’s history, have finally started figuring things out.

            We don’t have to wait for them to come and rescue us. We can all start freeing up parcels of reality from the neoliberal ideology. Each of us has a thousand opportunities daily to think and feel like a neoliberal or not. We can all participate, and it’s completely free. 🙂


          2. Of course some things never change. If you’re pretty healthy to begin with, the best way to get nutrients is still the way we did as hunter gatherers.

            I disagree about machine translation. No rules-based system (what you call algorithm-based systems) could ever accomplish what machine learning systems can, in principle.

            Were the texts you were trying to translate with GT recently? Rules-based translation can handle specific types of texts really well – structured, predictable things, like journal articles for a specific discipline. A lot of work was put into those systems over decades, feeding it specific rules for specific languages and subject matters.

            Machine translation figures out the rules.

            There is no difference between a laptop and a desktop. It’s just a slightly different form, and yes – neither device has changed radically over the past 20 years. The innovation was in creating smartphones, smart watches, fitness bands – oh, and in voice recognition. You can use that on any kind of computer (desktop, laptop, phone).

            I can pick out many other things that haven’t changed, including treatments for some diseases. Is it prying if I ask what the diagnosis was, or is it a lack of empathy and caring if I don’t care enough to ask? Either way, I’ve thought about it and you don’t have to answer.

            There’s no point in arguing about technological change. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

            As for Spain – well, the problem is the overproduction of elites, right? There simply aren’t enough good jobs to go around for all the educated people. This is not specific to Spain, it’s a modern problem, and it sounds like they’ve clued into that.

            I don’t quite get what you mean by the daily opportunities and how it applies to me. We’ve very different. An example that comes to mind is the mask. I haven’t worn one once it stopped being mandatory in Massachusetts. Fast fashion? I kind of lost interest in regularly getting new clothes once I could easily afford them. I try to buy quality items that are more classic than stylish, and have trouble recalling buying anything other than underwear on Amazon during the last 2 years of COVID.

            I don’t use Facebook. I don’t use Instagram. The whole influencer economy terrifies me. It feels like the only jobs of the future will be us influencing each other to buy stuff we don’t need.


            1. I was facetious there at the end, listing things that I think I’m doing right, so don’t mind that.

              I guess you’re saying that we can try to resist neoliberalism individually for a bit by not giving in to treating everything as a commodity. I suppose that’s better than nothing.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Exactly. Everybody can do something. We aren’t powerless. Neoliberalism doesn’t work unless enough people interiorize it. That’s why it imposes its mentality so ferociously.


            2. We did every kind of translation in my translation course. GT does great with contracts. But everything else requires a lot of post-editing. I worked in the development of algorithm-based machine translation systems back in the 1990s. The results GT gets us 30 years later are pretty much identical. I was kind of surprised. I expected it to do better.

              I do use Facebook but that’s because I’m obligated to at work. Which makes me all sorts of upset. They tried to sneak Instagram into the contract but I managed to wiggle out of that.


              1. A big advantage of GT is the number of languages supported. I don’t think the old system would have been that helpful if I went to Brazil and wanted to translate the menu from Portuguese.


  4. People probably chose culture because they see how the GOP generally approaches economic issues and feel a little queasy. No normal and decent person wants the GOP to abandon Trumpism in favor of Paul Ryanism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I don’t want to be a Republican if that means supporting the inane neoliberalism of Paul Ryan and his ilk. Thankfully, it no longer does.


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