The New Bosch

As an artist, my daughter works in the tradition of Hieronymus Bosch. Here is a segment of the mural she created over her bed:

Competitive Advantage

For most white-collar jobs, from secretary, to copy writer, to a PR agency, you can hire extremely effective people in poor countries at a fraction of the cost. They will work remotely (and who doesn’t in these jobs?), put in about 500% of effort, and won’t pout or tell you about their endless mental crises.

White collar workers in rich countries know (or intuit) that their jobs are about to go the way manufacturing jobs went in the 1990s. So they press their competitive advantage which is that they are (in their opinion) better-quality human beings. They can’t say that in those exact words because it sounds icky, so they deliver the message through BLM signs and rainbows in their social media and LinkedIn, endless demonstrations of refined sensibilities as they film their mental collapses and post them on TikTok, the confusing language of wokeness, and bizarre identities and sexual preferences. The marketing slogan this is supposed to transmit is, “Hire me because I know how to protect you and your company from being hounded by a mob of rabid leftist protesters.” I’m not saying people think it in those precise words but neither do we think things like “let me cook this dish because my husband loves it and I love him and want to do something nice for him.” We just do it because it feels right.

#MeToo and the cancel culture exist to make these people competitive on the labor market.

Waah, Waah, Why?

And what’s with the inane moaning that “Biden is buying votes”? Of course, he is. He’s s a politician, so he’s delivering for his voters. College-degree holders are his voters, so he’s delivering results for them. They’ll be happy, so they’ll vote for him again. And this pearl-clutching about the inherent immorality of pandering to voters is an excuse to cover up your own impotence.

“And why aren’t people who paid off their loans responsibly getting anything, waah, waah, waah?”

Because nobody they voted for can be assed to do anything for them, that’s why. And they won’t be assed until we make them.

What Are You For?

Conservatives have been on the defensive for so long, they now can only say what they are against but never what they are for.

“We are against abortion!” OK, but what does that mean? Exceptions? Life of the mother? Ectopic? How about miscarriage? I have two friends who miscarried. One at 7 weeks, another at 10. Both were devastated but the heartbeat just stopped. It happens a lot in the first trimester.

You know what happened next? They had to take abortion pills. Unlike they show in soap operas, a woman doesn’t go, “Ah! I think I just lost my baby!” It’s, sadly, a lot more complicated and horrible than that. Since nobody on the Republican side is saying anything, these women are quite justified in wondering whether Republicans plan on denying abortion pills to the women in these tragic situations. Will such women – who tend to be in a terrible emotional state – have to prove that they didn’t choose to experience this tragedy? Will they be hassled? The weaselly “let the states decide” doesn’t help. Yes, let them, but what is your position? Like the Democrats can’t define what is a woman, Republicans are unable to squeeze out what is an abortion.

Now we are seeing the same incapacity to say anything proactive about the Biden college loan forgiveness. “We are against!” OK, great. What are you for? If your argument is that this unjustly helps out college degree holders, are you planning to do anything for people without college degrees? Free vocational training for everybody who seeks it? A huge tax break for families that are priced out of the house market and have to rent? Or is it only corporate handouts to supranational corporations that you support? Do you want to be the party of the working people who currently don’t have a political force to defend their interests or will you keep trying to ingratiate yourselves with the corporations that have long abandoned you and gone full-on woke?

Then again, illegal immigration. “End Biden’s border crisis!” OK, how? Build the wall? Stop processing immigration claims from illegal crossers inside the US? Move the immigration process outside of the country? I love all 3 solutions (just as I love the measures to support the working class I listed above) but what is the official position of the Republican party? Before Trump, it was a party of a fanatical, single-minded support for mass migration (see the policies of Reagan and Bush Jr). Is it still?

Trump was refreshing because he spoke in the language of what we need to do instead of what we should try to prevent. By the way, this is true in our individual lives, as well. Don’t fixate on what you don’t want. Concentrate on what you do.

Midterms are coming. I want to vote Republican straight through. But honestly, I have no idea what I’ll be voting for. With Democrats I do know in minute detail. I hate it but at least I know what it is.

Polite Conservatives

There’s an unfortunate tendency among conservatives to fixate on good manners, politeness and propriety to the exclusion of everything else. We’ve seen it with Never Trumpers who had attacks of the vapors every time they saw Trump on TV but not because of any policy he championed. It was his rudeness that drove them to weekly conniptions fits.

Now this is happening to Ron DeSantis. He called Fauci a little troll, and the same group of conservatively minded castrati is happily performing the old aria titled “How Could He Ever Be So Impolite?” They didn’t suffer from lockdowns and have no desire to notice how much rage about it people feel. DeSantis does notice and shrewdly uses it to make voters feel heard. If you don’t like the vocabulary he uses in the process, fine, word the issue however you want. But don’t pretend that there’s no issue at all and we have nothing better to do than discuss DeSantis’s word choices.

Philosophy of Losers

Arestovich says – and I agree completely – that stoicism is the philosophy of losers. If your whole worldview is about preparing you to bear hardship and loss, life will oblige and give you exactly that. Instead of preparing themselves for suffering, people should prepare to win.

Everybody will experience suffering. We’ll all get knocked around by life, without exception. But getting fixated on it is unhealthy and counterproductive. All of this willpower crap is simply masochism in a respectable disguise.