The Narrative must die so that civilization may live.

Civilization without The Narrative

For those of us who yearn to live in civilized society, there is this gnawing feeling that society is not well-ordered because the framework in which it functions is not well-ordered. In fact, there is a clear sense that the framework is based on nothing but a basket of lies. That is because the framework upon which contemporary society rests is The Narrative.

Vox Day describes the Narrative in his book SJWs Always Lie in this way:

The Narrative is the story that the SJWs want to tell. It is the fiction they want you to believe; it is the reality that they want to create through the denial of the problematic reality that happens to exist at the moment. And there is no one definitive Narrative. Instead, there are many Narratives, all of them subject to change at any time, thereby requiring the SJW who subscribes to them to be able to change his own professed beliefs on demand as well.

My issue with Day’s description of the Narrative isn’t that it is too broad; if anything, it is not broad enough. SJWs are merely foot soldiers for the ruling elite. Politicians, crony capitalists, lazy academics, mainstream journalists, and the like ultimately benefit from the many Narratives, because they justify their continuing control over society. However, these Narratives are based on the flimsiest of reasons, and in far too many cases, lies.

Narratives may be helpful to those in power, but they ain’t no way to run a civilization. If falsehood is the basis of power and authority, the simple result is continuous conflict and violence across society. Stefan Molyneux, in his book The Art of the Argument, summarizes the challenge well:

In the hurly-burly of human interactions, we will always have disagreements, which is nothing to be upset about, as these productive conflicts produce the very sparks of progress. The fundamental question is: how will we resolve these disagreements? Historically, two “answers” have been implemented – fundamentalist religiosity, and government power. The third alternative – far more civilized – is The Argument, the reasoned debate, the honest willingness to submit to the higher standards of reason and evidence.

In the absence of this mutual surrender to a higher standard, we end up surrendering to lower standards – superstition, government force, bullying, intimidation, sophistry, you name it. In human society, it is literally The Argument – or else.

We all possess an animalistic side that seeks power over others, over resources. Curbing this side is the essential task of civilization, and the only tools it has at its disposal are philosophy, reason, evidence, and empiricism – the anti-madness magic of clear and critical thinking. We either surrender to facts, or we must be forced to surrender to each other. We are either dominated by reality, or by force and lies. As the old song says, you have to serve somebody.

In the current conflict between The Argument or The Narrative, The Narrative is the prevailing force throughout society.

And what havoc has it wrought.

The Narrative’s primary strength is it is impervious to The Argument. It could care less about reason and evidence. Rather, it seeks the highest rhetorical ground from which to destroy its intellectual opponents, otherwise known as enemies. To those who convey The Narrative, what matters isn’t finding the truth, but holding power.

Such Narrators see interactions with intellectual opponents in martial terms because to them, engagement with such opponents is not a dialogue but a battle to win. Vox Day observed that the Narrator’s primary tool is to play upon the emotions of their audience to get them to agree with The Narrative in question. Arguments per se don’t work with them; narratives, stories, and fairy tales do.

Does that mean that all is lost to stories and fairy tales based on nothing but lies? By no means! Rhetoric needs to be met with rhetoric as fire needs to be met with fire. In a conflict set in the world of ideas, bad ideas communicated through Narratives need to be mocked, scolded, jeered, and just plain old rejected.

However, rhetoric that confronts The Narrative must be based on truth. The Argument needs to support any narrative that attacks The Narrative. Otherwise, there is the risk that, just as in The Who’s We Won’t Be Fooled Again, the new boss is the same boss, and society operates on just another set of lies.

That does not mean Narrative-crushing rhetoric can’t evolve over time, or be supported by arguments from other perspectives that, while complementary to one’s world view, is not wholly consistent with the author. On the contrary. Honest conversations between such voices can only help strengthen their respective positions while sharpening the attacks against those lies that they commonly abhor.

For far too long, the ruling elite have been able to maintain power while the purchasing power of money continues to decline, foreign wars continue unabated, migration patterns suffocate already-suffering welfare states, poverty and homelessness increase in both town and country, and high taxes and bloated administrative states throttle the entrepreneurial spirit. These antisocial forces have been justified by many Narratives. However, the value these Narratives provide to the elite decline with each successive statement. The Age of the American Empire is nearing its end. What matters now is what will replace it. Will it be a society based on The Narrative, or The Argument?

To anyone who values the truth in any meaningful way, and is concerned about the future for their children and their progeny, there is only one side to take.

Civilization itself depends on it.

Is there only one way for wages to go up?

While I have followed Vox Day for several years, and respect him and his work, a recent post of his shows that he has an incomplete understanding of economics.

Putting together the post’s title and its beginning, he argues thusly:

The only way to raise wages [i]s to reduce the supply of labor. American workers can only benefit from the elimination of labor visas, increased limits on immigration, and stepped-up deportation, as evidenced by the response of Maine businesses to a “shortage” of H-2B visas.

Before addressing the article to which Day refers, I want to address the categorical manner in which he says wages can be raised.

Why do wages go up?

I agree that the methods Day cites will raise wages for American workers. For example, there has been increasing evidence that American companies have abused foreign worker visa processes to bring in lower-cost workers, at the expense of qualified yet higher-cost American workers.

However, I would like to think Day recognizes that this is not the only way to raise worker wages. In fact, through free markets, capital accumulation and higher wages go hand in hand. As Ludwig von Mises explains in Human Action:

In the capitalist society there prevails a tendency toward a steady increase in the per capita quota of capital invested. The accumulation of capital soars above the increase in population figures. Consequently the marginal productivity of labor, wage rates, and the wage earners’ standard of living tend to rise continually. But this improvement in well-being is not the manifestation of the operation of an inevitable law of human evolution; it is a tendency resulting from the interplay of forces that can freely produce their effects only under capitalism.

In other words, in the near term, it certainly makes sense that restricting the supply of labor will lead to its price going up. However, as time passes, there is a symbiotic relationship between capital accumulation, labor productivity, and wage rates. The less interference to that relationship, the better for everyone involved.

Now that I’ve discussed how wage rates go up, I turn to the article to which Day is referring.

Maine businesses scramble for seasonal workers

Day points to a Daily Caller report, indicating that Maine businesses are scrambling to find local workers because of a shortage in foreign guest workers.

Businesses in Bar Harbor, Maine are turning to locals to make up for a shortage of foreign guest workers that normally fill summer jobs in the bustling seaside resort town.

Because the H-2B visa program has already reached its annual quota, Bar Harbor’s hotels, restaurants and shops can’t bring in any more foreign workers for the rest of the busy summer tourist season. Like hundreds of similar coastal resort towns, Bar Harbor has for many years depended on the H-2B visas for temporary workers. The program allows non-agricultural companies to bring in foreign labor if they are unable to find suitable employees domestically.

Now they are coming up with creative ways to attract local labor, reports the Bangor Daily News.

The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce will hold a job fair Saturday in an effort to recruit significant numbers of workers from the region. Just about every kind of business in the town is looking for help, says chamber executive director Martha Searchfield.

“All types of businesses — retail, restaurants, the tour boats, all the trips, everything. All types of workers are needed,” she told the Daily News.

The shortage is so acute that companies are sweetening incentives for local workers. Searchfield says some businesses are offering flexible schedules that might appeal to older workers who might be interested in working only a day or two each week. And other companies have gone so far as to offer higher wages to entice locals.

Day, of course, applauds the situation.

That’s not a problem, that’s an indication of a solution. As long as tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed, there is absolutely zero net benefit to the economy or to American workers from immigration. All immigration accomplishes is to increase income inequality to the advantage of very large US corporations and the financial class that caters to them.

While I do not necessarily disagree with this, I also think that Day’s analysis is incomplete.

In addition to immigration, another key reason for high unemployment has been the disastrous drive across the country to raise the minimum wage.

Fortunately for Maine residents, its legislature developed some common sense and withdrew a previously-passed increase:

Last November, the Maine State Legislature voted to raise the minimum wage for restaurant servers. Then in mid-June, they voted to lower it back down.

And lots of Maine’s restaurant workers were thrilled.

The minimum wage for tipped workers in Maine is half that of the state’s regular minimum wage ($9). It’s called the “tip credit” rule, as it allows employers to take a credit of up to 50 percent from their employees’ wages, because servers will generally make that money back (and hopefully more) in tips. If tips and wages, together, don’t equal the state’s minimum wage, employers are required to make up the difference.

State Senator James Dill, a Democrat who initially voted to raise wages, told the Washington Post that after the Nov. referendum passed, he received “hundreds” of calls and emails from servers who were worried about their livelihood.

As a result, Dill threw his support behind a Republican measure to return the “tip credit” rule. After passing through the Senate on June 7, the bill was brought before the House on June 13, where it passed with a vote of 110-37.

Maine Governor Paul LePage signed the bill into law last week. It will go into effect 90 days after Legislature adjourned, reports the Bangor Daily News.

Restaurant workers wanted to retract the increase for two reasons.

[S]ervers were worried about the ramifications of the new laws for two reasons: first, that it would force employers to raise prices on their menu items, which could affect their current tips; and second, and perhaps more importantly, that employers might be forced to cut servers’ shifts as a result.

Preventing the minimum wage from rising encourages businesses to hire unskilled workers. Combined with competing with fewer foreign workers, lower-skilled Maine residents should have had a better shot at finding a job this summer:

Firms faced with minimum wage laws often substitute skilled for unskilled labor. In a report for the Show-Me Institute, labor economist David Neumark offers an illustrative example: Suppose that a job can be done by either three unskilled workers or two skilled workers. If the unskilled wage is $5 per hour and the skilled wage is $8 per hour, the firm will use unskilled labor and produce the output at a cost of $15. However, if we impose a minimum wage to $6 per hour, the firm will instead use two skilled workers and produce for $16 as opposed to the $18 cost of using unskilled workers. In the “official data” this shows up as a small job loss — in this case, only one job — but we see an increase in average wages to eight dollars per hour in spite of the fact that the least skilled workers are now unemployed.

This summer, it’s looking good for Maine residents who were otherwise prevented from working. Immigration abuse and a lower minimum wage is allowing them to find jobs.

In the long run, however, an unhampered free market allows capital accumulation and higher wages to coexist.