24 Comments
Jan 7Liked by Lorenzo Warby

"There’s also a certain delicious pleasure to be had in indulging one’s hatred and cruelty behind a mask of morality and ostentatious kindness."

What you get when you combine ressentiment and jouissance.

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Well, finally a point from Lorenzo where I find myself in disagreement.

"Greater scale means more capacity for accountability to be evaded by feedback dilution and for mechanisms to degrade accountability to emerge."

Avoidance of accountability is central to bureaucratic behavior, and this does not require scale to be problematic. Bureaucracy dilutes responsibility for decision-making - deliberately - because the cost of a bad decision is never a corrective feedback, just as the benefit of a good decision (rare as they are) is not a measure of success. Insularity of the bureaucracy is paramount, from the seed to the mature tree. I have seen this demonstrated in small organizations as well as large ones. Scale can certainly magnify cost, US Departments of Education and Defense coming prominently to mind, but the behavior itself is not dependent on scale. It is intrinsic to human organization and it takes great effort to overcome this natural tendency.

I would modify Robert Michels' formulation of "whoever says organization, says oligarchy" to include "also says bureaucracy".

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Yes.

Too bad they couldn’t run a bath.

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Nice work - the immediate thrust of this audacious foray is delivered with elan, and the reader gains some strong insight as a result. But, speaking as an aging native of the lesser precincts of LAla Land - aka suburban Southern California - I do feel compelled to contribute to the feedback loop and muddy the water a bit, particularly since the immigration issue is featured from the outset. As US readers are probably aware, my ‘hood has often served as ground zero for the immigration policy debate. As they may not know, there is a significant but veiled inner conflict within conservative ranks over the issue. The failure of immigration policy and border security enforcement (since the effects of Reagan-era reform have diminished), has, in fact, been of direct economic benefit to the class of small business owners who employ non-union labor. The substantial drag on lower-end wage growth that a reliably ample pool of eager, unskilled and legally vulnerable labor exerts is undeniable. It’s been that way for the better part of 30 years. Meanwhile the beneficiaries have tended to bemoan the cultural dilution even as they rub shoulders with their dusky brethren, develop a taste for hot salsa and intermarry with non-whites - all perfectly unobjectionable outcomes. And thus the core local supporters of the GOP accommodate a wee bit of cognitive dissonance in their own inimitable style.

Their historical aversion to occupations not centered on their own material obsessions has, over that same 30+ year period, contributed significantly to the utter dominance of academia by the left and its fringe-iest members. Most American conservatives abandoned that playing field long ago, so their objections ring hollow. Now that even their most cherished local institution of higher learning- The University of Southern California, one of the preeminent football factories in all of these United States - has shown signs of succumbing to wokery, they’re getting a bit miffed. Imagine that.

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I hate to say that the changes of the past 50 years are the result of feminisation. Take a look at the table in the article linked below that shows the degree of difference between male and female voters on the issue of free speech.

https://therenwhere.substack.com/p/women-changed-the-world-2

PS: the attitudes of woke supporters remind me forcibly of the way my sisters used to argue when I was a child. Truth was my truthmaker but for them it was whether mother would believe them or me or which choice upset them the most. In those days we used to simply write this down to females being emotional and manipulative - you'd probably be arrested for this nowadays. :)

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"Narratives are not about facts, they’re about making meaning. However, if they’re to continue to make meaning, they have to be protected from facts."

That's a rather pessimistic statement. It's only true if the narratives are contrary to fact.

While some narratives are indeed counterfactual, the bigger issue is that narratives contain opinion that may not fit the audiences preconceptions. An example would be an oppressor/oppressed narrative that conflicts with someone's more strongly held civilization/barbarian viewpoint.

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"... Watergate brought down a popular and effective President—one who’d won a landslide victory—because it was true. ..."

I think what you say in this paragraph is interesting and mostly true. It is also interesting to think about the outcome if a Watergate event happened in 2016. Would that President step down? Assuredly not. Would the likely impeachment result in a conviction? That's rather uncertain but I'd guess no.

And what about the Iran Contra affair?

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Jan 14Liked by Lorenzo Warby

“Anyone who dissents from key narratives then gets “right-coded”, especially if they appear in “right” media or publications.”

We could have fun with this; catch woke intellectuals saying or writing something reasonable and praise them for it

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