Whingey Kickballers

And so, the US women’s soccer team, world champions, so they say, is suing for equal pay. Well, Bookworm took a look. Let’s see what she found.

The 26 members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, winners of the 2019 World Cup, are in the midst of a court battle against the US Soccer Federation, with whom they have a collective bargaining agreement signed in 2016. The ladies are screaming about gender discrimination and the gender pay gap. They want to be paid the same as the men on the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team. Or as CBS’s 60 Minutes frames it:

Few teams have been as glorious on the soccer field as the United States Women’s National Team. They’ve won three World Cups, four Olympic gold medals, and set the standard in the most popular sport on the planet.  But despite their achievements, the players say they have been discriminated against, paid less and treated worse, next to the U.S. men’s team. Soccer may be known as the beautiful game, but the team has embarked on a bruising and historic legal fight for equality and their opponent is the U.S. Soccer Federation, their own employer. For the players, it’s the match of their lives. They hope a victory will help close the gap, not just in sport, but in any job where women do the same work as men for less pay.

Heart rending, is it not? There is a reason everyone on the left is framing this as an equitable and emotional argument.  Neither statutory law nor the laws of free market economics are on the side of the ladies.

If their labor was purely soccer and we lived in the world of Karl Marx and the labor theory of value, they would have a good argument.  It is not.  Whether the women win or lose on the pitch, the labor of the U.S. women’s soccer team has no intrinsic value to their employer, the USSF. To the employer, the sole value of the ladies’ labor is to generate revenue, and women soccer players overall do quite poorly relative to the men.  Only a small subset of soccer fans care enough about women’s soccer to support it.  For comparison, the world soccer governing body, FIFA,reported revenues from men’s soccer in 2018 of “over $6 billion”  in revenue in 2018, while the women’s tournament “is estimated to only have brought in $131 million in 2019.”

Book makes an excellent point here. Professional athletes are not paid to play their sport. They are paid to sell tickets, TV contracts, and hot dogs. That they do that by playing a sport is as relevant as the steelworker who thinks he is paid to swing a hammer, he is part of an effort to make steel, the hammer swinging, as important as it may be, is not the point.

But it’s California where the law depends on your feelings, so they’ll probably get some unearned income, depend partly on how hard the USSF fights, I suppose.

The Babylon Bee also reported on this and may have the most relevant post of all.

U.S.—Despite the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s stunning performance in winning the World Cup, there is a giant pay gap between them and the less successful men’s team. This has caused a huge outcry, as many Americans are now baffled that anyone is paid to play soccer.

“What? Why? How?” stammered plumber Rory Eubanks, expressing the sentiment of many Americans. “Where is that money even coming from?”

Soccer is a game played by children and Europeans that involves moving a ball around without using one’s hands — the feature that distinguishes man from lesser animals. It is unclear how such an activity could generate money. “I know with actual sports, you have stadiums that make money from selling tickets and hot dogs,” said Alison Jensen, a nurse and another citizen scared and confused by the concept of soccer players being paid, “but there’s nothing like a soccer stadium around here.” Her eyes then grew large with fright. “Is there?”

Even scientists are baffled at how soccer players are being paid. “I dunno,” said scientist Earl Webb before adding, “You got me.”

Theories on how soccer players are getting paid range from tax money boondoggle to mob money laundering scheme to ISIS plot to get Americans to do a useless thing like kick a ball around instead of activities that actually help the economy like hauling lumber or driving an Uber.

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

On American Greatness, Victor Davis Hanson asks this question. It’s a good one, I think. Because almost all of us of the middling sort are pretty angry about things. So let’s have a look.

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and the stunning recent Australian re-election of conservatives?

Put simply, the middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies and propagandistic journalists.

What are the popular gripes against them?

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. […]

He gives us six, in all. All are, as one would expect, cogent and accurate. So go and read them.

One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.

In other words, elites never suffered the firsthand consequences of their own ideological fiats.

That’s a huge part of it in my estimation. It’s one thing if all these things are good for us, or necessary for the world to survive, or something. It’s an entirely different kettle of fish if you’re telling me how important this trash is, but it doesn’t apply to you and your friends. “Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t work any better leading a company, group, country, civilization, or anything else than it does trying to raise a kid. Never has, never will.

What it does is bring rebels. It did when my high school said we couldn’t wear blue jeans. Suddenly my entire class showed up in them. What are you going to do now, Mr. Principal? Give a quarter of the school detention? Makes you look sort of bad, doesn’t it, that your leadership is so bad?

The same principle applies when you and a few hundred of your closest friends fly their private jets into Davos for a party disguised (badly) as a conference.

Elites masked their hypocrisy by virtue-signaling their disdain for the supposedly xenophobic, racist or nativist middle classes. Yet the non-elite have experienced firsthand the impact on social programs, schools and safety from sudden, massive and often illegal immigration from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia into their communities.

As for trade, few still believe in “free” trade when it remains so unfair. Why didn’t elites extend to China their same tough-love lectures about global warming, or about breaking the rules of trade, copyrights and patents?

Do you know anybody who believes any of this tosh, unless, perhaps, their livelihood depends on it, or the indoctrination they received in school hasn’t been rubbed off yet? I can’t think of one that I do. I know a few trolls who say they do, but I’d bet they’re paid to say that. I do know one person who believes in Global Warming, but he also believes it is beyond the tipping point, so we may as well ‘Rock on’.

If Western nations were really so bad, and so flawed at their founding, why were millions of non-Westerners risking their lives to reach Western soil?

How was it that elites themselves had made so much money, had gained so much influence, and had enjoyed such material bounty and leisure from such a supposedly toxic system—benefits that they were unwilling to give up despite their tired moralizing about selfishness and privilege?

So where does it end?

Because elites have no answers to popular furor, the anger directed at them will only increase until they give up—or finally succeed in their grand agenda of a non-democratic, all-powerful Orwellian state.

Or in an armed revolt, which I discount less each month. The people are not going to go quietly into the night.

 

Making Sense of American Conservatism

And so, time to start trying to make sense of the world again, I guess, Matthew Continetti has a long piece up at The Washington Free Beacon called Making Sense of the New American Right. It’s a valiant effort at a nearly impossible subject. Let’s look.

The story goes that, for many years, American conservatives adhered to a consensus known as “fusionism.” Economic and social conservatives put aside their differences. Freedom, they decided, was necessary for the exercise of virtue. The struggle against and ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union was more important than domestic politics or intramural disagreements. Conservative intellectuals eager to privilege either freedom or virtue like to attack this consensus, which they often describe as “zombie Reaganism.” The truth is that the strength of fusionism always has been exaggerated. The conservative intellectual movement has been and continues to be fractious, contentious, combustible, and less of a force than most assume.

Episodes of division and strife are far more common than moments of unity and peace. The more you study the history of American conservatism, the less willing you are to describe it in monolithic terms. There isn’t one American right, there are multitudes, every one of them competing for the attention of politicians and policymakers. The most prominent and politically salient varieties, as expressed in William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review, Irving Kristol’s Public Interest, Norman Podhoretz’s Commentary, and William Kristol’s Weekly Standard, have weakened or disappeared altogether. One of the reasons the intra-conservative argument has become so personal and acrimonious is that nothing has replaced them.

Indeed, the situation today is awfully similar to that which confronted conservatives in the 1970s. Then, the Buckley consensus had to find a modus vivendi with neoconservatives as well as with the Catholic integralists around Triumph magazine, against the background of a populist revolt that called out failing elites while relying on racial and ethnic appeals that sometimes crossed the border of decency.

Indeed, that consensus is what many of us to today deride as ‘cocktail party conservatism’. It is one of the things that Donald Trump blew up on his way to the White House, with the willing help of many of us. We also tend to believe these are the people who gave us never-ending wars, mostly to enrich their friends, while denigrating our troops.

The rise of Donald Trump, Brexit, and nation-state populism throughout the world certainly suggest that something has changed in global politics. American conservatism ought to investigate, recognize, and assimilate the empirical reality before it. The trouble is that no one has concluded definitively what that reality is.

Not for lack of trying. Beginning in 2016, intellectuals who favored Trump have been searching for a new touchstone for conservative thought and politics. These writers are often described as populists, but that label is hard to define. Broadly speaking, they have adopted the banner of nationalism. They believe the nation-state is the core unit of geopolitics and that national sovereignty and independence are more important than global flows of capital, labor, and commodities. They are all, in different ways, reacting to perceived failures, whether of Buckley conservatism, George W. Bush’s presidency, or the inability of the conservative movement to stop same-sex marriage and the growth of the administrative state. And they have turned away from libertarian arguments and economistic thinking. Not everything, these thinkers believe, can be reduced to gross domestic product.

And that is an important concept. Too many, whom some call the ‘Chamber of Commerce’ Republicans do believe it is all about the GDP. And what is even worse, they tend to believe the best GDP is taken from the quarterly balance sheet. This very short term thinking has led to the deindustrialization of the US (and Britain and some other nations). There is nothing wrong in profit-seeking, but there is in putting short term profit ahead of the firms long term best interest. And that is what I see all too often.

That is rather the foundation of what we are going to be talking about, there is a lot out there, both in the linked article and some others. So much that there is at least one but probably two (maybe more) articles in it to talk about, since I write articles and not books here. So let’s discuss this much and we’ll continue, hopefully, tomorrow, if the creek doesn’t rise too much.

Sunday Funnies: Green Nude Eel Edition

Well, another week where Occasional Cortex proves the point. There really is no intelligent life in there. And so on we go, like a runaway bumper car.

From Italy comes The God Emperor Trump, including the Twitter sword

Might just be the best thing the Italians have given us since this

click to embiggen

Jungle Love

And, of course

Mostly, but not all, from PowerLine, as usual

A word or Two in Favor of Gaming

So we’ve been wringing our hands about video games and the loss of a generation. Could we be overdoing it? Like we do almost everything that gets on TV these days. Maybe. Let’s look about a bit.

First, we have the NPC meme, the non-playing character, which has suddenly emerged from game-world to become a meme for those who, mostly in comment streams, on Twitter, and in public discourse, do not think but merely spout talking points. In other words, 99.95% of the left. No wonder they hate it.

Then there was the article in the UK Spectator this week.

[…]As these trends continue to deepen, as recent data suggests, the influence of the virtual world grows. The adverse behavioural consequences of video games are well known, but determining their impact on political opinion has proved a more elusive task. In fact, video games may well be a nascent progenitor of the politics of tomorrow.

Nested in a promise of fun and entertainment, the virtual realm has acted as an alternative pedagogical platform. Governing the online sphere is a libertarian ethos, which designates individual agency and free expression as primary tools to achieving player fulfilment. In the competitive online landscape, competence is demanded, and taking it upon oneself to improve and succeed is elementary. Within this anarchic space, a resistance to authority manifests. Gamer culture rejects the mundane attitudes of traditionalists and the finger-wagging, high-minded pretensions of the nanny-Left. Such temperamental qualities feature in all popular games, and constitute the theoretical bedrock of video game entertainment. Consider one game that inculcates this libertarian ethos – World of Warcraft. Played predominantly by men aged 16 to 25, the game centres around individual character development within an über-competitive social hierarchy. Wealth distribution is non-existent – everything is earned by the player, and failure to enrich oneself results in a suboptimal gaming experience. Azeroth, the world WoW is played in, acts as a microcosm of sentient social relations – trade follows market principles, multiplayer cooperation creates prosperity, and venturing into the unknown amplifies opportunity. The fact that affairs are conducted in a virtual reality make them no less instructive. Rather, a unique opportunity is granted to the player to understand the peaks and troughs of the ‘real world’, with the protection of a virtual safety net.

Or take Fortnite, the ultimate survival game that has swept the globe this past year. Dropped into an expansive world with one hundred fellow avatars, players are forced to find weapons, kill foes and survive – the last man standing wins. The formula is simple, but mightily effective. Success rests on the judgment, competence and inventiveness of the player; the weak meet their fate with cold abandon. Fantasy materialises in this goofy, cartoonish world, as creativity and imagination run amok.

Unsurprisingly, free expression is held dear amongst gamers, although online anonymity can sometimes invite nasty excesses. Game moderators attempt to quash particularly vile rhetoric, but no amount of coding is a panacea. Given its inevitable existence, some practical value can be extracted. In fact, this exposure to vulgar, raw sentiment neatly negotiates a tolerance of unpleasant and offensive speech. The virtual sphere acts as a preparatory academy of democratic hard truths, coarsening its participants for the unavoidable improprieties of adult conversation. Appalling as it may be, this inadvertent exposure therapy readies individuals for uncomfortable language in the ‘real world’, which, in today’s cotton-wool culture, can only be an axiomatic good. It can be ugly, but despite what the gaming world’s most vociferous critics claim, it’s no creeping Fourth Reich.

More at the link but let’s think about this a bit. There’s really nothing in there that a conservative wouldn’t want his kids to learn, except perhaps the bad language. Well, guess what, they’re gonna learn that anyway, just like we did. The most one can hope for is that they recognize when it’s inappropriate to use. That we can teach.

That doesn’t mean it’s all they need, they need to get out and get more exercise. (Don’t we all?) It just is not healthy staring at a screen all day. But know what? I’m as guilty as anyone, although I do manage to tear myself away, given a reasonable excuse. Maybe we should give these guys better excuses instead of preaching at them.

Measuring the impact of video games on political opinion is difficult. What is certain, though, is that the mind cannot be torn from its natural proclivity to explore. The virtual world actively encourages this adventure, and promotes the agency of the individual in navigating its precincts. It may be this unsuspecting platform – the platform that conservatives accused in its embryonic stages of infecting the minds of the young with debauched and depraved ideas – that will help keep dialectical freedom and independent thought from drifting further down the cheerless path of collectivism and control.

May it indeed be so.

An American President, at Last

From Bookworm:

It’s another #NeverTrump attack on Trump’s rough-hewn style. Pfeh! Trump is the perfect American president: a heart-of-gold brawler who puts American first.

In its endless competition with the Weekly Standard to be the outlet the drive-by media quotes most (and whose pundits get the most appearances on MSM outlets), National Review has published an article entitled Americans Want Their President to Have a Little Class. As the title suggests, the article bemoans the fact that Trump, despite being rich (although his opulence is nouveau riche rather than “classy” rich), actually gets down in the dirt to fight his political and media opponents (but I repeat myself).

Frankly, I don’t care about presidential class. Unlike the Queen, our president is not a figurehead. He’s a working executive.

Given the president’s intended functionality, I’m infinitely more interested in his accomplishments on behalf of the American people than I am in bemoaning his pugilistic style. And indeed, to the extent his pugilistic style is serving the American people by (a) exposing media figures for partisan hacks rather than honest reporters and (b) bypassing that same media to bring his message direct and uncensored to the American people, that pugilistic style is an important part of his serving the American people.

I’m also uninterested in all the mean-girls gossip our hysterical media likes. Was he mean to Omarosa and other employees? I don’t care. Does he like to eat two scoops of ice cream? I don’t care. Is he a diet soda freak? I don’t care, although he might care if it leads to kidney stones. Has he been an unfaithful husband? I don’t care. That’s between him and Melania, and it matters about as much as the unfaithfulness of Kennedy, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, etc. Clinton’s unfaithfulness mattered only because (a) he raped and assaulted women, (b) he lied under about his attacks, and (c) with his White House shenanigans, he exposed himself to serious blackmail. His relationship with Hillary was none of my business.

As for lowering the tone of the White House, that ship has sailed. [follow the link, and keep reading]

I don’t completely agree about Clinton or Kennedy for that matter. It also goes to whether one can trust them to keep their word, but it’s water over the dam, and her major point is valid; the president’s job is to lead the United States, not to be a style icon. Not that we couldn’t use one.

I’ve often described America as rowdy, loud, and proud, and so we are. And so should our president be. You know, a man of the people. We ain’t never gonna be as reserved or polite as the British, get over it, mostly they have, and from what I’ve seen, they rather like us (except their leadership, who worshipped at the Obamashrine).

We’ve built from essentially nothing except the best British ideas, a juggernaut of a country, a bit rough around the edges, but more powerful and more liberty loving than anything the world has ever seen.

What has Europe done lately to compare, that we should always defer to them? They’ve lived off us for 75 years, we’ve freed them from their mistakes three times, at a high cost in blood and treasure. They should be emulating us, not us, them.

A few years ago P.J. O’Rourke summed it up for all time.

I was having dinner…in London…when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “Your country’s never been invaded.” And so I said, “let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD. We’re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying ‘Cheerio.’� Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.”

Of course, this guy should have punched me. But this was EUrope. He just smiled his shabby, superior European smile. (God, don’t these people have dentists?)

I can hear a president from Brooklyn saying that to his staff, can’t you?

Back in the frontier days, we had some mythical heroes, Mick Finn, Paul Bunyan, and others. They were the biggest, baddest guys on the river or in the north woods. Their feats were legendary, and many. Donald Trump is like that. He may put on his pants one leg at a time, but he wears seven-league boots with them.

And that makes him an American president, not for the ‘elites’, not for the Europeans or the Chinese, but for Americans who do what is necessary, yesterday, today, every day in fact.

Here he is stopping to chat with some real American elites.

Looks like America to me, in fact, it reminds me of this

 

Not a bad thing! In truth, a very American thing.

%d bloggers like this: