NYT writer (((David Brooks))) is bemoaning the fact that his global cosmopolitan vision is collapsing.
It seemed as if there would be a global convergence around a set of universal values — freedom, equality, personal dignity, pluralism, human rights.
The obvious flaw in this premise is that none of these values are actually universal. They're products of Christianity, the Enlightenment, and Jewish parasitism. The word is simply beginning to say no to "Western" cultural imperialism, including Western countries themselves.
We called this process of convergence globalization. It was, first of all, an economic and a technological process — about growing trade and investment between nations and the spread of technologies that put, say, Wikipedia instantly at our fingertips. But globalization was also a political, social and moral process.
It was above all a political process. The rest is just used as an excuse to make it seem more organic than it actually was.
Globalization was about the integration of worldviews, products, ideas and culture.
No it wasn't. It was a project of subversion, conquest, and domination by international finance.
In the wider public conversation, it was sometimes assumed that nations all around the world would admire the success of the Western democracies and seek to imitate us. It was sometimes assumed that as people “modernized,” they would become more bourgeois, consumerist, peaceful — just like us. It was sometimes assumed that as societies modernized, they’d become more secular, just as in Europe and parts of the United States. They’d be more driven by the desire to make money than to conquer others. They’d be more driven by the desire to settle down into suburban homes than by the fanatical ideologies or the sort of hunger for prestige and conquest that had doomed humanity to centuries of war.
It's amazing how he's framing this entire history as something that just happened to us. As if it was entirely organic and not pushed on us from the top. Also, look at how he denies that globalization was itself a process of conquering others.
This was an optimistic vision of how history would evolve, a vision of progress and convergence.
More delusional Whig historiography.
The Economist reports that between 2008 and 2019, world trade, relative to global G.D.P., fell by about five percentage points. There has been a slew of new tariffs and other barriers to trade. Immigration flows have slowed. Global flows of long-term investment fell by half between 2016 and 2019. The causes of this deglobalization are broad and deep. The 2008 financial crisis delegitimized global capitalism for many people. China has apparently demonstrated that mercantilism can be an effective economic strategy. All manner of antiglobalization movements have arisen: those of the Brexiteers, xenophobic nationalists, Trumpian populists, the antiglobalist left.
The world economy seems to be gradually decoupling into, for starters, a Western zone and a Chinese zone.
Ideally we would have our own European zone. Europe doesn't actually need the rest of the world. We could do almost everything ourselves without the need for "free trade". If Europe unites around a racial/civilizational union it would become the most powerful bloc in the world. In the archeofuturist vision this would include Russia, but that seems increasingly unlikely, unfortunately.
Economic rivalries have now merged with political, moral and other rivalries into one global contest for dominance. Globalization has been replaced by something that looks a lot like global culture war.
No matter how hard liberals try, they will never overcome the friend-enemy distinction. It is an inevitable part of the human condition.
Looking back, we probably put too much emphasis on the power of material forces like economics and technology to drive human events and bring us all together.
What's this? A mea culpa?
First, human beings are powerfully driven by what are known as the thymotic desires. These are the needs to be seen, respected, appreciated. If you give people the impression that they are unseen, disrespected and unappreciated, they will become enraged, resentful and vengeful. They will perceive diminishment as injustice and respond with aggressive indignation.
Well, well, well, it looks like they're finally beginning to learn something. He's probably read Francis Fukuyama's book Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. Greg Johnson made an excellent critique of the book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKqYSY4Rl_w
In country after country, groups of highly educated urban elites have arisen to dominate media, universities, culture and often political power.
Great swaths of people feel looked down upon and ignored. In country after country, populist leaders have arisen to exploit these resentments
The goyim don't want to be subverted and replaced in their own countries?! How dare they!
Putin tells humiliation stories — what the West supposedly did to Russia in the 1990s.
Supposedly? It was literally the greatest act of plunder in history. The Clinton administration at the time admitted this.
China’s leaders talk about the “century of humiliation.” They complain about the way the arrogant Westerners try to impose their values on everybody else.
Where's the lie?
Second, most people have a strong loyalty to their place and to their nation. But over the past few decades many people have felt that their places have been left behind and that their national honor has been threatened. In the heyday of globalization, multilateral organizations and global corporations seemed to be eclipsing nation-states.
Wait, weren't people who made this argument called "fascists" for decades? What gives?
Third, people are driven by moral longings — by their attachment to their own cultural values, by their desire to fiercely defend their values when they seem to be under assault. For the past few decades, globalization has seemed to many people to be exactly this kind of assault.
So little self-awareness on display here.
The problem is that Western values are not the world’s values. In fact, we in the West are complete cultural outliers. In his book “The WEIRDest People in the World,” Joseph Henrich amasses hundreds of pages of data to show just how unusual Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic values are.
I wonder (((why))) that's the case.
It’s completely possible to enjoy listening to Billie Eilish or Megan Thee Stallion and still find Western values foreign and maybe repellent. Many people around the world look at our ideas about gender roles and find them foreign or repellent. They look at (at our best) our fervent defense of L.G.B.T.Q. rights and find them off-putting. The idea that it’s up to each person to choose one’s own identity and values — that seems ridiculous to many. The idea that the purpose of education is to inculcate critical thinking skills so students can liberate themselves from the ideas they received from their parents and communities — that seems foolish to many.
Yes David, "our" ideas are so enriching. Why won't those filthy goyim in the rest of the world realize that?
With 44 percent of American high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, our culture isn’t exactly the best advertisement for Western values right now.
Wow, just wow...
Despite the assumptions of globalization, world culture does not seem to be converging and in some cases seems to be diverging. The economists Fernando Ferreira and Joel Waldfogel studied popular music charts in 22 countries between 1960 and 2007. They found that people are biased toward the music of their own country and that this bias has increased since the late 1990s. People don’t want to blend into a homogeneous global culture; they want to preserve their own kind.
That's right David, we're all evil Notzees!
Every few years the World Values Survey questions people from around the globe about their moral and cultural beliefs. Every few years, some of these survey results are synthesized into a map that shows how the different cultural zones stand in relation to one another. In 1996 the Protestant Europe cultural zone and the English-Speaking zone were clumped in with the other global zones. Western values were different from the values found in say, Latin America or the Confucian zone, but they were contiguous.
First it was "Western", and now it's "Protestant". You're getting warmer David. Maybe you should read On the Genealogy of Morality?
But the 2020 map looks different. The Protestant Europe and English-Speaking zones have drifted away from the rest of the world cultures and now jut out like some extraneous cultural peninsula.
Could it be that there's just something utterly repulsive about those zones? Who's disproportionately in charge of them? Keep digging David, I'm sure you'll find out.
Finally, people are powerfully driven by a desire for order. Nothing is worse than chaos and anarchy. These cultural changes, and the often simultaneous breakdown of effective governance, can feel like social chaos, like anarchy, leading people to seek order at all costs.
Who knew that allowing months of riots would repel people?
We in the democratic nations of the world are lucky enough to live in societies that have rules-based orders, in which individual rights are protected and in which we get to choose our own leaders. In more and more parts of the world, though, people do not have access to this kind of order.
Lmao! Imagine saying this with a straight face.
Just as there are signs that the world is economically and culturally diverging, there are signs it is politically diverging. In its “Freedom in the World 2022” report, Freedom House notes that the world has experienced 16 consecutive years of democratic decline. It reported last year: “The countries experiencing deterioration outnumbered those with improvements by the largest margin recorded since the negative trend began in 2006. The long democratic recession is deepening.” This is not what we thought would happen in the golden age of globalization.
Ah yes, democracy means whatever I like.
In that heyday, democracies appeared stable, and authoritarian regimes appeared to be headed to the ash heap of history. Today, many democracies appear less stable than they did and many authoritarian regimes appear more stable. American democracy, for example, has slid toward polarization and dysfunction. Meanwhile, China has shown that highly centralized nations can be just as technologically advanced as the West. Modern authoritarian nations now have technologies that allow them to exercise pervasive control of their citizens in ways that were unimaginable decades ago.
Oh boy, the irony.
Autocratic regimes are now serious economic rivals to the West. They account for 60 percent of patent applications. In 2020, the governments and businesses in these countries invested $9 trillion in things like machinery, equipment and infrastructure, while democratic nations invested $12 trillion. If things are going well, authoritarian governments can enjoy surprising popular support.
Wait, what about all those doctors and engineers we're importing? Surely they'll save us, right?
What I’m describing is a divergence on an array of fronts. As scholars Heather Berry, Mauro F. Guillén and Arun S. Hendi reported in a study of international convergence, “Over the last half century, nation-states in the global system have not evolved significantly closer (or more similar) to one another along a number of dimensions.” We in the West subscribe to a series of universal values about freedom, democracy and personal dignity. The problem is that these universal values are not universally accepted and seem to be getting less so.
Really?! What a shocking revelation! Give these people a Nobel Prize!
Next, I’m describing a world in which divergence turns into conflict, especially as great powers compete for resources and dominance. China and Russia clearly want to establish regional zones that they dominate. Some of this is the kind of conflict that historically exists between opposing political systems, similar to what we saw during the Cold War. This is the global struggle between the forces of authoritarianism and the forces of democratization. Illiberal regimes are building closer alliances with one another. They are investing more in one another’s economies. At the other end, democratic governments are building closer alliances with one another. The walls are going up. Korea was the first major battleground of the Cold War. Ukraine could the first battleground in what turns out to be a long struggle between diametrically opposed political systems.
Equating democracy with liberalism yet again. It's all so tiresome.
But something bigger is happening today that is different from the great power struggles of the past, that is different from the Cold War. This is not just a political or an economic conflict. It’s a conflict about politics, economics, culture, status, psychology, morality and religion all at once. More specifically, it’s a rejection of Western ways of doing things by hundreds of millions of people along a wide array of fronts.
The arrogance of all of these deplorables. Why won't they just turn into white liberals?
To define this conflict most generously, I’d say it’s the difference between the West’s emphasis on personal dignity and much of the rest of the world’s emphasis on communal cohesion. But that’s not all that’s going on here. What’s important is the way these longstanding and normal cultural differences are being whipped up by autocrats who want to expand their power and sow chaos in the democratic world. Authoritarian rulers now routinely weaponize cultural differences, religious tensions and status resentments to mobilize supporters, attract allies and expand their own power. This is cultural difference transmogrified by status resentment into culture war.
The amount of sheer hypocrisy in this paragraph is astonishing.
Some people have revived Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations theory to capture what’s going on. Huntington was right that ideas, psychology and values drive history as much as material interests. But these divides don’t break down on the neat civilizational lines that Huntington described.
Yeah, it's almost like there's an internal enemy within Western civilization. I wonder who that could be?
In fact, what haunts me most is that this rejection of Western liberalism, individualism, pluralism, gender equality and all the rest is not only happening between nations but also within nations. The status resentment against Western cultural, economic and political elites that flows from the mouths of illiberal leaders like Putin and Modi and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil sounds quite a lot like the status resentment that flows from the mouths of the Trumpian right, from the French right, from the Italian and Hungarian right.
Oh no, that's awful! Those poor "Western" cultural, economic and political elites!
There’s a lot of complexity here — the Trumpians obviously have no love for China — but sometimes when I look at world affairs I see a giant, global maximalist version of America’s familiar contest between Reds and Blues. In America we’ve divided along regional, educational, religious, cultural, generational and urban/rural lines, and now the world is fragmenting in ways that often seem to mimic our own. The paths various populists prefer may differ, and their nationalistic passions often conflict, but what they’re revolting against is often the same thing.
Yes goy, it's just Reds vs. Blues. There's nothing else to it whatsoever.
How do you win a global culture war in which differing views on secularism and gay rights parades are intertwined with nuclear weapons, global trade flows, status resentments, toxic masculinity and authoritarian power grabs? That’s the bind we find ourselves in today.
Ultimately, people want to stand out and fit in. They want to feel that their lives have dignity, that they are respected for who they are. They also want to feel membership in moral communities. Right now, many people feel disrespected by the West. They are casting their lot with authoritarian leaders who speak to their resentments and their national pride.
Yes, it's totally people on the populist right who are filled with resentment. The (((elites))), leftists, and organizations like BLM have no resentment at all.
At the end of the day, only democracy and liberalism are based on respect for the dignity of each person. At the end of the day, only these systems and our worldviews offer the highest fulfillment for the drives and desires I’ve tried to describe here.
Let's keep adding leeches. It's bound to cure the patient eventually.
The Chinese seem very confident that our coalition against Putin will fall apart. Western consumers won’t be able to tolerate the economic sacrifice. Our alliances will fragment. The Chinese also seem convinced that they will bury our decadent systems before too long. These are not possibilities that can be dismissed out of hand.
I wonder what it is about China that makes them so confident? Surely it couldn't be their massive high IQ -- and mostly homogeneous -- population? Or the fact that they have an ideology that blends nationalism and socialism? No, that can't be it, right? That would make them eerily similar to... Don't say it David!
But I have faith in the ideas and the moral systems that we have inherited. What we call “the West” is not an ethnic designation or an elitist country club. The heroes of Ukraine are showing that at its best, it is a moral accomplishment, and unlike its rivals, it aspires to extend dignity, human rights and self-determination to all. That’s worth reforming and working on and defending and sharing in the decades ahead.
My reaction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhckuhUxcgA