….The Working Classes cannot any longer go on without government; without being actually guided and governed; England cannot subsist in peace till, by some means or other, some guidance or government for them is found.
For, alas, on us too the rude truth has come home. Wrap-pages and speciosities all worn off, the haggard naked fact speaks to us: Are these millions taught? Are these millions guided? We have a Church, the venerable embodiment of an idea which may well call itself divine; which our fathers for long ages, feeling it to be divine, have been embodying as we see: it is a Church well furnished with equipments and appurtances; educated in universities; rich in money; set on high places that it may be conspicuous to all, honored of all.
We have an Aristocracy of landed wealth and commercial wealth, in whose hands lies the law-making and the law-administering; an Aristocracy rich, powerful, long secure in its place; an Aristocracy with more faculty put free into its hands than ever was before, in any country or time, put into the hands of any class of men.
This Church answers: yes, the people are taught. This Aristocracy, astonishment in every feature, answers: yes, surely the people are guided! Do we not pass what Acts of Parliament are needful; as many as thirty-nine for the shooting of partridges alone? Are there not tread-mills, gibbets; even hospitals, poor-rates, the New Poor Law? So answers Church, so answers Aristocracy, astonishment in every feature.
Fact, in the meanwhile, takes his Lucifer-box, sets fire to wheat-stacks; sheds an all too dismal light on several things…..
Nay, at the bottom of things, is it not a singular thing this of Laissez-Faire, from the first origin of it? As good as an abdication on the part of governors; an admission that they are henceforth incompetent to govern, that they are not there to govern at all, but to do…….one knows not what!
The universal demand of Laissez-Faire by a people from its governors or upper classes, is a soft-sounding demand; but it is only one step removed from the most fatal…..
What are all the popular commotions and popular bellowings from Peterloo to the Place-de-Greve [The square in front of the City Hall of Paris – AJ] itself? Bellowings, inarticulate cries as of a dumb creature in a rage and pain; to the ear of wisdom they are inarticulate prayers: “Guide me, govern me! I am mad and miserable and cannot govern myself!”
Surely of all “rights of man” this right of the ignorant man to be guided by the wiser, to be, gently or forcibly, held in the true course by him, is the indisputablest. Nature herself ordains it from the first; Society struggles towards perfection by enforcing and accomplishing it more and more. If Freedom have any meaning, it means enjoyment of this right, wherein all other rights are enjoyed. It is a sacred right and duty, on both sides; and the summary of all social duties whatsoever between the two….
The relation of the taught to the teacher, of the loyal subject to his guiding king, is, under one shape or another, the vital element of human Society; indispensible to it, perennial in it; without which, as a body bereft of its soul, it falls down into death, and with horrid noisome dissolution passes away and disappears.
— Thomas Carlyle, Chartism, Pages 342-345 (1847)
* * * *
Consider a small law firm interviewing two job candidates, one male and one female. Both candidates are recent Harvard Law School graduates and are eminently qualified for the position. If the “best” candidate for the job is the one who will earn the most money for the firm, which seems a reasonable assumption, then I will argue that the rational choice is to hire the man. The interviewer has no specific information on the family plans of the candidates at hand (and is forbidden by law from asking about them), but can a reasonable inference based on what everyone knows about America at the beginning of the twenty-first century: Women still bear the bulk of child-rearing responsibilities. Demographics suggest that both candidates are likely to start families in the near future….
When we approach this situation as in information problem, there are several crucial insights. First, firms are not the only villains. When professional women choose to have a child, take paid maternity leave and then quit their companies, they impose a cost, arguably unfair, on their firms. More importantly, they impose a cost on other women. Firms that feel they have been “burned” by employees who take maternity leave and then quite are more likely to discriminate against young women in the hiring process and less likely to offer generous maternity benefits…..
Of course, the best long-term solution is to change behavior at the household level. If and when men assume a larger share of child-care responsibilities, it will change the “profile” of job applicants. An interviewer will no longer be able to rationally infer that female applicants are more likely to leave the firm than male applicants. Thus, the incentive for firms to discriminate against young women in the hiring process will go away completely. At the same time, firms with a higher fraction of men leaving early for soccer practice and doctor’s appointments will be more sympathetic to the challenges of balancing work and family, making the workplace more hospitable for all workers with children, male or female.
— Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics, Pages 84-85 (2002)
Richer we all are, by far, due to the labors of the economist. Honor is due where honor is due. We no longer toil in dangerous conditions for our daily bread and enjoy the immense fruits of our labor at a rate that would be almost incomprehensible to our forefathers of just a few generations ago.
But as some crank said long ago, Man does not live by bread, nor air conditioning, nor a Mercedes, nor X-Boxes alone.
Time comes and goes, and still there sits the naked ape, the common man and woman looking to their better for guidance, for leadership, for government. Instead, we have stuffed their bellies with gold and told them to thank us for it. And if they have to stuff themselves further with anti-depressants, ever more intense stimulation, then what business is that of ours? Have we not lead the horse to water? Have we not given man the gift of life, the horn of plenty? Never have so many enjoyed so much. Never has the world and its varied fruits been so available for the asking, or, if you’d prefer, the clicking.
And yet, naked ape he is still. Longing, inarticulately, without knowing how or why, for guidance, for honor, for being led, gently or forcibly, to the path Nature has decreed for him.
The Economist has made us richer, but in his haste to decorate our lives with gold and spices from far away places, has forgotten that we are not widgets, inter-changeable at whim to the maximization of productivity, to the equalization of clear information, to the highest and best use of capital.
Men lawyers and Women lawyers are not inter-changeable because one is Man and the other Woman. Note the going-on about “child-rearing” and “child-care” while the learned economist skips over the tiny detail that I, alas, regardless of the profit motive, am unable to make a womb fertile. Or even, at any price on any market, acquire a womb itself.
Thus, the world has turned from the time the good Scot was surveying the Chartist movement to today’s rule by Wall St Journal. We have certainly become richer in the process. For that, we should be thankful but for the cost.
The reduction of human beings to widgets and their interactions to the nexus of cash has reduced our social relations to rudderless and aimless, furious atomized individuals, while our modern Church (Secular Liberalism) and our modern Aristocracy (the Media and Government Meritocracy Elite) protest that they have done all they can do to secure for us the fruits of our pursuit of happiness.
This is why, decade after decade, the Left never ceases in producing a new cadre of young recruits. It doesn’t take much intelligence or sensibility to recognize that a system that treats the entire world as made up of inter-changeable cogs and that counts as success the number of Big Gulps and Cool Ranch Doritos produced is one that is not worthy of respect and which should be overthrown.
Our task is to explain why that is, and how that is to be done, given that for decades now the Left has been unable at its root to address the actual cause of (dare I say it?) alienation.
This is where our new European and European-American Nationalism comes in. The least of us can explain to anyone why our learned economist should not confuse men and women law applicants, and, further, I would even say can explain why the Church has an obligation to teach and guide, the Aristocracy to rule and why disorder and inarticulate unhappiness result when that divine obligation is ditched in favor of a theory of trade.
In short: We win.