Politics, et Cetera
A publication from The Political Forum, LLC
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
They Said It:
Google furnishes a large number of internal mailing lists catering to employees with alternative lifestyles, including furries, polygamy, transgenderism, and plurality, for the purpose of discussing sexual topics. The only lifestyle that seems to not be openly discussed on Google’s internal forums is traditional heterosexual monogamy.
(For instance, an employee who sexually identifies as “a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin” and “an expansive ornate building” presented a talk entitled “Living as a Plural Being” at an internal company event.)…
In March of 2017, Google HR strongly suggested to a Google employee that conservative and traditional parenting techniques were unwelcome at Google.
Google HR brought up the following post that the employee made in response to a Google thread in which someone specifically requested conservative parenting advice:
“If I had a child, I would teach him/her traditional gender roles and patriarchy from a very young age. That’s the hardest thing to fix later, and our degenerate society constantly pushes the wrong message.”
Google HR stated, “We did not find that this post, on its face, violated any of Google’s policies, but your choice of words could suggest that you were advocating for a system in which men work outside the home and women do not, or that you were advocating for rigid adherence to gender identity at birth. We trust that neither is what you intended to say.
Text of the Class-Action Lawsuit filed by former Google Engineer James Darmor, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, January 8, 2018.
SEXUAL SELF-DECEPTION. AGAIN.
In case you missed it – and if you have a life, it’s quite possible that you did – the second annual “women’s march” took place this past weekend. We don’t want to make light of the women or their march, mostly because some of the issues that motivated their participation are real and deeply objectionable. The actress Natalie Portman, for example, shared her experiences of being sexually harassed and targeted when she first broke into show business at the age of thirteen, a horrific account of truly execrable behavior.
At the same time, it’s hard not to chuckle at the overall “Resistance” theme of this year’s march. All these leftists prancing around, complaining about Donald Trump and his sexual tyranny, never quite recognizing the irony of the date they’d chosen to express their displeasure. For those of you who don’t recall, this week marks the twentieth anniversary of the greatest sexual harassment/abuse scandal in American history, a scandal which many of the organizers and participants in this weekend’s march ignored, accepted, or, in some cases, enabled.
On January 17, 1998, Matt Drudge shook up the political and digital worlds, with his headline about Newsweek/The Washington Post sitting on a major story about a presidential sex scandal. Over the next several days, the story leaked, slowly but surely, and exactly a week later, Bill Clinton pointed his crooked finger at the American people and declared that he did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
The rest, as they say, is history. Bill and Hillary did their best to portray Monica as a crazy stalker. Bill lied under oath and quibbled about the definition of “is.” Bill lied to the members of his cabinet, whom he then sent out to embarrass themselves in front of the media on his behalf. Hillary ran around town insisting that the whole thing was the product of a crazy, vast, right-wing conspiracy. The House voted to impeach the perjured president, though the Senate failed to convict. And, eventually, more people in this country voted to put the two of them back in the White House than voted for Donald Trump. And yet, somehow, Trump is the real problem according to women’s marchers.
None of this should surprise anyone. Sexual confusion is no longer just a problem for teenagers. It is, in many ways, the core condition of American society, which is precisely as the masterminds of the sexual revolution hoped it would be. In an April 2016 piece, we described and tried to explain the Left’s apparent obsession with sex. Sexual liberty, we argued, was the only negative right to which the Left subscribes. And thus the Left constantly discusses sex specifically to distract from the impracticality – one might say impossibility – of the positive rights it prefers. We put it this way:
The Left doesn’t believe in any negative rights, except those having to do with sex. It’s not just the right to free speech that the Left measures only in terms of sex; it’s every other negative right as well. The Left doesn’t believe in the right to speech. It doesn’t believe in the free exercise of religion. It doesn’t believe in the right to bear arms. It doesn’t believe that there are rights reserved to the states or to the people. It specifically invented the right to privacy in order to advance sexual liberty – birth control, abortion, sex toys, you name it….
Negative rights, as you may know, are those that are believed to be possessed by all men and women and which serve as defenses against the government. These rights enumerate the activities of which the state may NOT deprive its citizens. The government, for example, may not restrict the rights with which you have been endowed by your creator, among which are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and property. Negative rights are the rights embodied by the American founding and enshrined in the Constitution. They serve to protect the citizens from the ever-encroaching state.
The statists, for their part, hate negative rights and despise the Founders for their explicitly “negative” vision of liberty. Barack Obama famously criticized the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” He’s right. And it drives him and his fellow leftists nuts.
The leftists favor positive rights or positive liberties, the rights they believe all men are entitled to as wards of the state. All men have the “right” to guaranteed health care. They have a right to meaningful employment. They have a right to shelter and to food. The former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Brown once said that “we” have a “fundamental right” to “freedom from insult.” The problem for the leftists is that they can’t justify their favored rights – i.e. positive rights – in terms of the Constitution, which is to say that they can’t guarantee them in perpetuity as “inalienable” rights. Positive rights in our system are unambiguously statutory rights, meaning that they carry only the force of law, not the imprimatur of nature, God, or “the Creator,” and thus they can and do change with political fortunes.
Given all of this, the Left has NO intrinsic appeal to freedom or liberty. Its agenda has no recourse to human rights as the Founders saw them two-plus centuries ago and as the American public still sees them today. The Left would rightfully be seen, therefore, as purely authoritarian, purely statist, bent exclusively on taking liberty from the people – except for matter of sexual behavior. Sex and the taboos surrounding it provide the Left with one right, one zone of liberty that it can embrace in constitutional terms and which it can employ to bolster its claim to support liberty, even as it undermines the traditional order.
This, then, is how you end up with hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of people out marching on a Saturday in January, in support of an ideology that enabled a sexual predator in the White House and tried to put his wife in there as well, and against a man who has not infringed on their actual liberties one bit, but who upsets them nonetheless. The sexual revolutionaries of the Left promise the masses unlimited “liberty,” and the masses believe, somehow, that this liberty is the very embodiment of American “values.” This vision of politics is fundamentally and intrinsically flawed. It offers sex as a substitute for all liberty and therefore encourages individuals to see sexual behavior as the highest form of human expression and the key to promoting a “progressive” and advanced society.
On the surface, it all sounds pretty nutty – sex as the key to temporal utopia. As it turns out, though, not everyone sees it as nutty. Indeed, many see it as both perfectly logical and perfectly ingenious. Sex is a tool, a device designed both to manipulate the masses and to undermine the institutions that make Western civilization possible. The implications here are severe and far-reaching, and they affect more than just Hollywood, more than just hyper-partisan Washington, and more than just the debates over marriage and abortion.
Again, we have discussed some of these repercussions at length in these pages before. One of the most significant and far-reaching is the use to which sexual liberty has been put with respect to undermining the non-state institutions that are uniquely American and uniquely important in terms of imposing genuine restraint on the state. Two-hundred years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that one of the characteristics that distinguished the then-young United States from its Western siblings was the role that civic associations played in managing public discourse. He wrote:
The political associations that exist in the United States are only a single feature in the midst of the immense assemblage of associations in that country. Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society. Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association. . . .
Governments, therefore, should not be the only active powers; associations ought, in democratic nations, to stand in lieu of those powerful private individuals whom the equality of conditions has swept away.
The history of the last century is the history of the state recognizing the power of these civic associations and then doing its very best to crush them, so as to leave no alternative but the central government. As the late Russell Kirk noted, this is, indeed, the principal ambition of the modern state: “Hostile toward every institution which acts as a check upon its power, the nation-state has been engaged, ever since the decline of the medieval order, in stripping away one by one the functions and prerogatives of true community – aristocracy, church, guild, family, and local association.”
The American state has put sex to good use in accomplishing this goal, particularly over the last few decades. Today, of course, the state and its bureaucratic apparatus insist that there can be no other authority on sexual matters outside itself. On matters of birth control, for example, the state will brook no dissent. Everyone, everywhere must have access to free birth control, and employers must provide it, be they hobby store owners personally opposed to birth control or an order of Catholic nuns. The same principle holds with respect to what is now called “marriage equality.” It is well and good for the people of certain religious traditions to believe in the procreative/heterosexual definition of marriage, just so long as they don’t dare to express those beliefs in public. Religion, in short, may be a private matter, but such non-governmental associations are not to be tolerated any longer on matters of civic discourse. Tocqueville rightly called this tyranny:
No sooner does a government attempt to go beyond its political sphere . . . than it exercises, even unintentionally, an insupportable tyranny; for a government can only dictate strict rules, the opinions which it favors are rigidly enforced, and it is never easy to discriminate between its advice and its commands. Worse still will be the case if the government really believes itself interested in preventing all circulation of ideas; it will then stand motionless and oppressed by the heaviness of voluntary torpor. Governments, therefore, should not be the only active powers; associations ought, in democratic nations, to stand in lieu of those powerful private individuals whom the equality of conditions has swept away.
Because of its ability to leverage sex and its associated matters to its advantage, the political Left and its monster – i.e. the total state – have been able, slowly but surely, to enfeeble those very institutions and associations that once made the United States a unique and uniquely vigorous democratic republic. In the fight against “big government” the Right has already lost, in large part because it was unable or unwilling to save the private associations that prevented government from growing too powerful. In the two decades after World War II, the argument about the state and its scope seemed settled. Whereas once the public men and women of this country debated the wisdom of granting government the power and responsibility to address various matters, in the post-War period, the debate shifted to how best to allow government to handle each and every issue. The private associations still stood but were weakened, only to be killed off in time by the largely tangential matters of abortion, birth control, pornography, marriage equality, and the rest.
As we said above, however, this isn’t just about government, and it isn’t just about the usual suspects in the culture wars. The unrelenting dumbing down of the American education system coupled with the cultural obsession with sex threatens repercussions that could, conceivably, undermine key American industries and even the nation’s competitive advantage.
In the February issue of Vanity Fair, Emily Chang writes what is an adaptation of her new book Brotopia and exposes what is, apparently, one of the worst kept secrets in the tech industry. The story she tells is, in one sense, bizarre and unbelievable, and in another sense, perfectly mundane and foreseeable. You’ll forgive the length of the excerpt here, we hope, for the story is too good not to share in some detail. Ms. Chang writes:
About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley Technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party. Sometimes the venue is an epic mansion in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights; sometimes it’s a lavish home in the foothills of Atherton or Hillsborough. On special occasions, the guests will travel north to someone’s château in Napa Valley or to a private beachfront property in Malibu or to a boat off the coast of Ibiza, and the bacchanal will last an entire weekend. The places change, but many of the players and the purpose remain the same.
The stories I’ve been told by nearly two dozen people who have attended these events or have intimate knowledge of them are remarkable in a number of ways. Many participants don’t seem the least bit embarrassed, much less ashamed. On the contrary, they speak proudly about how they’re overturning traditions and paradigms in their private lives, just as they do in the technology world they rule. Like Julian Assange denouncing the nation-state, industry hotshots speak of these activities in a tone that is at once self-congratulatory and dismissive of criticism. Their behavior at these high-end parties is an extension of the progressiveness and open-mindedness — the audacity, if you will — that make founders think they can change the world. And they believe that their entitlement to disrupt doesn’t stop at technology; it extends to society as well. Few participants, however, have been willing to describe these scenes to me without a guarantee of anonymity.
If this were just confined to personal lives it would be one thing. But what happens at these sex parties — and in open relationships — unfortunately, doesn’t stay there. The freewheeling sex lives pursued by men in tech — from the elite down to the rank and file — have consequences for how business gets done in Silicon Valley.
From reports of those who have attended these parties, guests and hosts include powerful first-round investors, well-known entrepreneurs, and top executives. Some of them are the titans of the Valley, household names. The female guests have different qualifications. If you are attractive, willing, and (usually) young, you needn’t worry about your résumé or bank account. Some of the women work in tech in the Bay Area, but others come from Los Angeles and beyond, and are employed in symbiotic industries such as real estate, personal training, and public relations. In some scenarios, the ratio of women to wealthy men is roughly two to one, so the men have more than enough women to choose from. “You know when it’s that kind of party,” one male tech investor told me. “At normal tech parties, there are hardly any women. At these kinds of party, there are tons of them.”…
To be clear, there is a wide range of parties for experimental sexual behavior. Some, devoted entirely to sex, may be drug-and alcohol-free (to encourage safety and performance) and demand a balanced gender ratio. Others are very heavy on drugs and women and usually end in group “cuddle puddles,” a gateway to ever-so-slightly more discreet sexual encounters….
These sex parties happen so often among the premier V.C. and founder crowd that this isn’t a scandal or even really a secret, I’ve been told; it’s a lifestyle choice. This isn’t Prohibition or the McCarthy era, people remind me; it’s Silicon Valley in the 21st century….
They don’t necessarily see themselves as predatory. When they look in the mirror, they see individuals setting a new paradigm of behavior by pushing the boundaries of social mores and values. “What’s making this possible is the same progressiveness and open-mindedness that allows us to be creative and disruptive about ideas,” Founder X told me….
Chang goes on from here to cite various academics, female executives, and others who have drawn the same conclusion that she has, that this is the good ol’ boys network reborn with “highfalutin” justifications. It’s still about men with power getting what they want – taking what they want – and exploiting women in the process. It isn’t “progressive” or “open-minded.” It’s regressive and repressive. This is, in short, Utopia for rich guys, or “Brotopia” as Chang calls it.
It will probably come as no surprise to you that we have a somewhat different take on the whole matter – and thus a different take on the “consequences for how business gets done in Silicon Valley.”
For our money, the last paragraph in the section quoted above holds the key to what is happening here and what it all means. These people believe that they are creating a “new paradigm.” They think they’re “pushing the boundaries of social mores.” They see themselves as the heralds of “progressiveness and open-mindedness,” which allows them to be “creative” and “disruptive.”
Now, if you are familiar with your history of Western utopian movements – or if you happen to be one of the select few who perused a pre-publication copy of our soon-to-be-published book on the subject – you will all but certainly recognize that these progressive and creative “titans” of Silicon Valley are not exactly unique in Western history. In fact, they are mind-numbingly common.
Sexual perversion and liberation were key themes of the French Revolution, which, of course, “outlawed” the Catholic Church and its sexual “repression.” Sexual liberation and libertinism were also themes of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, as man was, once again, “totally transformed” and made more enlightened. The French Utopian Socialist Charles Fourier likewise dreamed of remaking man and believed that sex was one of the principal means to do so. Many of the British Fabians – most notably “sexologist” Havelock Ellis – were obsessed with the notion that sex was transformative. But perhaps the most relevant antecedent for our Silicon Valley brotopians was an offshoot of the Fabian Society, a collection of 20th century “creative progressives” known as the “Bloomsbury Group.”
This was a collection of left-wing intellectuals, most of whom were either members of the Fabian Society or friends of Fabians, who began to meet to discuss literature, art, philosophy, and politics around 1905 and reached the height of their notoriety during the interregnum.
While each of the so-called Bloomsburies eventually became known for his or her social and professional positions, the group itself became famous for its public celebration of unconventional sexual behavior. Of course, one can be quite certain that they did nothing to or with one another that had not been done to or with others since the beginning of time. What these folks brought to the party was the apparent belief that their unconventional sexual antics and their accompanying dismissal of prevailing morals, mores, and religious teachings were not only deserving of much public airing but also meritorious as a means of bringing ridicule on the Victorian virtues that they regarded as outdated and lacking the benefit of “reason.”
The British philosopher Roger Scruton described their antics thusly in an article in the October 2009 American Spectator entitled “A Dark Horse.”
[This “new upper class”] adopted the habit of flaunting its effete sexuality. Lytton Strachey, whose Eminent Victorians, debunking the icons of the old moral order, appeared in 1918, advocated what he called “the higher sodomy,” in which the promiscuity of the public-school dormitory was combined with high romantic attachments designed to shock the few remaining advocates of marriage. The works of Freud, which were being translated by Lytton’s brother James, seemed to authorize all breaches of the old sexual customs, and — in the wake of the First World War — the culture of inversion acquired a sudden glamour. Homosexuality had been a hot topic ever since the pseudo-scientific explorations of [the extremely eccentric British physician and psychologist] Havelock Ellis and the trial of Oscar Wilde. But it enjoyed a kind of endorsement from the new elite that made it into a badge of membership, and a sign of moral distinction . . . Many of its leading figures were Communist sympathizers, many more were romantic socialists of the H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw variety. Among French intellectuals, leftist ideology, anti-patriotism, and prancing homosexuality were as frequent as they were in England — witness Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, André Gide. But in France the cultural and the political elite were distinct. Politics was conducted on the rive droite, culture on the rive gauche of the city, and they were divided from each other by the vast and unfrequented monument of Nôtre Dame. In England the very people who were dominating the arts were shaping politics. They could join the political discussion through the hereditary House of Lords, and the public school system meant that the intoxicating Hellenism imbibed by those who joined the bohemian circles of Soho and Bloomsbury was imbibed also by those who went into Parliament, and by those — a surprisingly large number — who inhabited both milieus: J. M. Keynes, for instance, Bertrand Russell, Leonard Woolf.
There was no formal membership involved in the Bloomsbury Group, so reports vary as to who was and who was not a regular at these meetings. Among the best known participants were Virginia Spencer Woolf and her husband Leonard; Vanessa Spencer Bell and her husband Clive; E. M. Forster, the novelist; Lytton Strachey, the essayist and critic; John Maynard Keynes, the economist and one-time lover of Strachey; Duncan Grant, the painter and one-time lover of both Strachey and Keynes; Roger Fry, the noted Art Critic and lover of Vanessa Bell; Vita Sackville-West, author, poet, wife of Harold George Nicolson, and promiscuous lesbian lover of seemingly dozens of notable ladies of the day, including Virginia Woolf; and Harold George Nicolson, diplomat, author, Vita’s husband, and bi-sexual bon vivant.
Finally, there was the philosopher G. E. Moore, whose 1903 book Principia Ethica formed the basis of the group’s secular “religion” and who personally became so central to the group’s early discussions that his biographer Paul Levy describes him as the “father of Bloomsbury.”
Moore was one of the founders of something called the “analytic tradition” in philosophy. He is also known for something called “common sense concepts.” For our purposes today, however – which is to explain the connection of the Bloomsburies to the hyper-sexualized, hyper-political, and palpably bifurcating social discourse of contemporary America – Moore was also one of the chief developers and promoters of moral worldview called “emotivism.” The great moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre defined emotivism as the belief that “all evaluative judgments and more specifically all moral judgments are nothing but expressions of preference, expressions of attitude or feeling.” Other philosophers are more closely associated with emotivism, but MacIntyre credits Moore with having moved the idea from the realm of philosophy to the drawing rooms of the radicals, where it became a foundational principle of the Left and remains so today.
Keynes, whose claptrap economic theories were the inspiration for Roosevelt’s big-government economic program, recalled the overwhelming influence of Moore on the Bloomsbury crowd in an essay entitled “My Early Beliefs,” which he wrote in 1938.
I went up to Cambridge at Michaelmas 1902, and Moore’s Principia Ethica came out at the end of my first year . . . of course, its effect on us, and the talk which preceded and followed it, dominated, and perhaps still dominates everything else . . . Indeed, in our opinion, one of the greatest advantages of his religion, was that it made morals unnecessary – meaning by “religion” one’s attitude towards oneself and the ultimate, and by “morals” one’s attitude towards the outside world and the intermediate . . . In short, we repudiated all versions of the doctrine of original sin, of there being insane and irrational springs of wickedness in most men.
So what’s the point of this seemingly prudish attack on good people who are just trying to have a good time? Is it not their business what they wish with their genitals? To which, we say, “Of course.” Our concern is that this kind of behavior in politically and economically powerful people is a cause for concern, for it is a clear sign of a disdain for all moral principles, which, in the powerful, can represent a threat to social order.
The Bloomsburies thought of themselves as enlightened, progressive, creative wunderkinds. But in truth, they were perfectly boring wannabe-rebels whose sole contribution to Western Civilization was to sow the intellectual seeds of a philosophical abomination that has turned our political culture into a contemptible competition over whose feelings matter most.
When Emily Chang heard about the powerful men in Silicon Valley who hold or attend wild, drug-fueled sex parties, she thought that too little had changed in the battle of the sexes. By contrast, when we heard about the parties, we thought: what a bunch of morons. These dolts are too dumb to know what they don’t know, which is to say that they aren’t creative portents of a brave new world, but rather sad, uneducated men who don’t know that they’re retread egomaniacs embracing a retread notion of their own importance.
Additionally and more to the point, history has shown that the abandonment of moral principles inevitably leads to the adoption of either socialism or nihilism, along with a lack of respect for human life. For example, the Bloomsburies and the Fabians became Joseph Stalin’s most powerful support groups in the West during the post-World War I period, at the very same time that he was committing murder on a scale never before witnessed in the world. The two groups were also fanatical supporters of exterminating the “feeble minded” and other objectionable human beings. Havelock Ellis put it this way: “Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit to carry on the race.”
We can only hope that these techy sybarites are as harmless as the barnyard animals they imitate. But we should not ignore the damage that have done and will do, given their enormous wealth and their belief in a politics that reflects their narcissism. The political ideal embraced by Silicon Valley as a whole is much like the sexual ideals embraced by faction of it identified by Emily Chang, which is to say trite, tiresome and destructive. We’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again, as the “great” men of every era try to complete Hegel’s dialectic by repeating the mistakes of their predecessors, leading, in time, to massive corruption, massive loss of wealth, and societal decay.
As we have been saying in these pages for over two decades, the greatest threat to capitalism extant in the world today is moral and economic corruption. Beware.