Thursday, September 29, 2016

Realist Left on the Debate between Hillary and Trump

In a great and thought-provoking new video here:

Some interesting points:
(1) will Gary Johnson take more votes from Clinton or Trump?

(2) I 100% agree that Trump’s performance crashed as the debate proceeded, and Trump’s best moments were in the first 30 minutes or so on the economy.

(3) there does seem to be evidence that the popular perception was that Clinton won the debate.

(4) but a very interesting point is this: are the polls skewed by the possibility that a significant number of voters lie and are too embarrassed to say that they will vote for Trump, as suggested here?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Proposal for an Alt Left Political Program

The Alternative Left Facebook group seems to be growing quickly, and I am very glad to see this.

So I have some suggestions for them to create a coherent political program.

First, the Alt Left needs to get a coherent economic theory. This is extremely important. I urge them to read up on why Classical Marxism is a flawed economic theory here, and why Marxism is based on the mystical labour theory of value.

At the same time, practically all other economic schools of thought from neoclassical economics (in all its forms) and Austrian economics are also charlatanry and pseudo-science.

The only real and proper economic science for a capitalist economy is Post Keynesian economics. The Alt Left should adopt this as its economic theory, quite simply because it *is* the only legitimate economic science for market economies.

There are various subschools of Post Keynesian economics, including Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), as can be seen here.

Post Keynesianism is a radical development of the theories of John Maynard Keynes, but also takes important insights from Classical Economics and the theories of the idiosyncratic Marxian MichaƂ Kalecki.

There are all sorts of other ideas and policies that should be combined with Post Keynesian economics to produce a revitalised, rational, humane, and effective left for the 21st century, as follows:
(1) the objectives of economic policy are full employment by government fiscal policy and public investment, high wages, a tendency for real wages to rise with productivity growth, strong aggregate demand, and, ideally, a dynamic economy based on manufacturing.

(2) as in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), the Alt Left should reject the myth that taxes are required to finance government spending (see the discussions here and here). Governments with their own central banks and fiat currencies are always solvent in their own currency, and there is even a case for limited Overt Monetary Financing (OMF) (or what is commonly called central bank “money printing” to finance some government spending).

(3) a fundamentally important policy to attain full employment is an MMT Job Guarantee. This is a program in which the government will offer employment to anyone ready and willing to work (but unable to find a private sector job) at a socially-acceptable minimum wage to ensure real full employment at all times.

(4) governments should generally pursue sensible protectionism and industrial policy, not only to protect their manufacturing sectors from the disaster of free trade under absolute advantage, but as the best strategy to ensure future economic growth and economic independence.

(5) governments should reject privatisation of social services and infrastructure. Instead, these sectors should be nationalised or run as public utilities and maintained by high government investment, e.g., in healthcare, education, scientific and technological R&D, infrastructure, etc. There is now even a case for limited nationalisation of certain key industries as an industrial policy.

(6) foreign ownership of public assets, infrastructure, key industries and large-scale foreign ownership of real estate should also be strongly rejected, and instead these sectors should be owned by private domestic citizens and things like infrastructure owned by governments.

(7) the banking and financial sector should be subject to severe regulation and prevented from destabilizing the economy, given its tendency to create asset bubbles and inflating the level of private debt to catastrophic levels. There is now a case for nationalisation of the commercial banking sector. For many nations, there is a case for discretionary capital controls (see here).

(8) the taxation system should be progressive, but particularly concerned with taxing parasitic rent seeking and destabilising speculative activity.
Social and Cultural Issues
(1) The Alt Left should support reasonable and sensible civil and equity women’s rights and gay rights, but strongly reject French Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, truth relativism, cultural relativism, moral relativism, SJW cults, divisive and extreme identity politics, Third Wave Feminism, and endless cults of victimology from identity politics. The combination of all these ideas has created a toxic wing of the modern left called the “regressive left,” which needs to be totally rejected.

The Alt Left should also reject extreme social constructivism and the “blank slate” view of human beings, because this is not supported by science.

(2) the Alt Left should strongly defend free speech and freedom of expression from its enemies on the right, the regressive left, and from religious conservatives.

(3) the Alt Left should support a secular state and separation of church and state, but not alienate liberal religious people.

(4) the Alt Left should continue the anti-imperialist tradition of the left, and be largely non-interventionist on foreign policy, but not isolationist.

(5) the Alt Left should oppose regressive and illiberal Islamism and religious fundamentalism, and promote the assimilation of immigrants in the West.

(6) the Alt Left needs a sane and pragmatic policy on immigration. It needs to reject mass immigration and open borders on economic, social and cultural grounds, and support sensible limits on immigration. It also needs to recognise that promoting “diversity” is not necessarily a good thing in and of itself, and that multiculturalism has serious problems (see here).

(7) the Alt Left should consider the importance of the nuclear family, promote pro-nuclear family policies and – at the very least – be open to serious and rational discussion of the breakdown of the nuclear family in the Western world, and what harm this may have done to our societies, but with humane policies free from right-wing viciousness or free market economics.
As a further point of interest, there is an interesting post over at the Samizdat blog on the various subgroups of the Alt Left here.

He divides the Alt Left or the people who are receptive to it into these categories (I have added numbers for clarity):
(1) “The Left Wing of the Alt Right” – Rabbit uses this phrase quite explicitly. They are most open to race realism and most opposed to mass immigration and Islamism but are also inclined towards some kind of economic socialism or social democracy and are otherwise put off the Alt-Right somehow or other. Strasserites might be a more explicitly national socialist variant of this, and National Bolshevism would be even more out there still. Left wing nationalism would be a softer variant of this.

(2) “Gamergate Leftists” – Named from an article I read a while back claiming that most Gamergaters were left-leaning, these are another type. These types need not be big on Gamergate per-se (the more I studied Gamergate personally, the more lost and confused I got) but being anti-feminist (at least against the kind of PC feminist theory you'd find in a women’s studies class or on any left-leaning blog) and anti-SJW is huge with them as is civil and cultural libertarianism.

I found a number of these posting on anti-SJW pages. They come to the Alt-Left usually because of a belief in Leftist economics, though they are usually not that far Left. Guys who believe in some regulation and a social safety net. Some too get put off by the tendency of anti-SJWs to drift into genuinely misogynistic and racist territory. Remember kids that SJW and social liberalism are not the same things. Think YouTubers like Sargon of Akkad or the Amazing Atheist, though they don’t use the term Alt-Left to describe themselves. Not yet, anyway. These kinds are defecting less from Richard Spencer and more from Milo Yiannopoluous. I used Gamergate’s colors in the design of my page’s logo and banner in an attempt to attract these types.

(3) “Red Enlightenment” – These are most passionate about rationalism, skepticism, empiricism and in some cases, transhumanism and futurism. Generally scientifically minded and technocratic sorts of socialists or social democrats.

(4) “True Liberals” – Antiracist and feminist supporters who think the whole thing has gotten out of hand and are concerned for the SJW’s lifestyle puritanism and opposition to free speech. They are more pro-feminist and pro-social liberal than the Gamergaters though. “The Democratic Party of the 1990s,” someone once remarked to me when I described the alt-left to them, to which I replied, “There were no liberals or Leftists in the 1990’s except myself.”

(5) “Brocialists” – Socialists or social democrats with a penchant for men’s rights and anti-misandry. I seem to have drawn a number of these to my page, and a few of my moderators fall into this category. Hillary Clinton supporters have accused Bernie Sanders of using these as his base of support. Used as a pejorative by the ‘Lorettas’ of the present day left, I’m a firm proponent that we reclaim the term.

(6) “Red Templars” – Especially and specifically anti-Islamic. We get a lot of these from Sam Harris and Bill Maher’s followings. Unlike the Left Wing of the Alt Right types, these sorts are more standard liberals otherwise.

(7) “The New Old Left” – Would dispense with race, culture and identity all together if they could and make Leftism mostly about economic Leftism. The Realist Left page and the blog Social Democracy for the 21st Century are like this. Farther left you’d find /leftypol/ on 8chan and some Marxist/Anarchist groups that reject IdPol. A whole separate entry could be made of the economic subtypes one might find on the alt left. I've also found a lot of labor nationalists and assorted 3rd positionists: mutualists, distributists, market socialists, state capitalists, syndicalism and so on.
Group (1) doesn’t even belong on the Alt Left at all in my view: these people belong on the Alt Right. The only exception I would make is Robert Lindsay, who seems to have some pretty controversy opinions and is extremely hostile to cultural leftism, but at least doesn’t seem motivated by Alt Right racial hatred or white supremacism.

The big-name Gamergate Leftists seem to have a strange tendency to morph into cultural libertarians or even outright libertarians, and I have noticed the same tendency amongst “True Liberals.” Both Sargon of Akkad and Dave Rubin, though I doubt either are aware of the Alt Left, seem to be morphing into Classical liberals.

I am placed in the “The New Old Left” category but the description is not right: I constantly stress the need to understand differences of culture, and to reject cultural relativism as Postmodernist irrationalism. I also strongly think the Alt Left should adopt a pragmatic view that mass immigration and open borders are actually provoking a nationalist backlash in many countries. The Left should channel this into a healthy, sensible nationalism, and recognise open borders are wrong on perfectly good economic, social and cultural grounds.

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