CrissCross – A Portly Politico/OCF Cultural Exchange

To put the lie to all this talk of inter-generational warfare my friend at The Portly Politico, Tyler and I have decided to reach across the generational abyss and sponsor an exchange of posts.  He has posted an essay here at OCF and I have posted one of my reviews at his site (see link below).

Guest Contributor – photog – “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” – A Science Fiction Movie Review

Seriously we thought it would be fun for his readers and mine to get some slightly different material for a change.  I think injecting some other points of view on the site is a big plus.

photog

 

Guest Contributor – The Portly Politico – The Concerns of a 35-Year Old Man in 2020

[Update] – I saw what a nice intro Tyler gave to my post over at his site so I decided I should try to follow suit.  As part of a cross-posting agreement, Tyler from over at the Portly Politico has kindly agreed to talk about what it’s like for the millennial generation to try to follow in the footsteps of their parents’ lifestyle.  I think it will be valuable for Boomers, Xers and Millennials alike.  Highly recommended.

photog

 

By Tyler James Cook, The Portly Politico (https://www.theportlypolitico.com)

When photog proposed swapping blog posts in the comment section of The Fat Man’s “Cityscape at Night,” I was intrigued, and quite enthusiastic.  That was before I succumbed to a gnarly head cold and worked a thirteen-hour day.  But that sickly plight leads nicely into photog’s suggested topic:  what are the major concerns of a young American today?

At thirty-five, I don’t know how “young,” I am, but it’s one of those ages where older people tut-tut when you suggest you’re aging.  I suppose their advanced years have taught them otherwise, and that they’d much rather be a slightly creaky thirty-five than a croaky eighty-five.

Surprisingly, I am considered part of that great, reviled generation, the Millennials.  I certainly don’t feel like one, what with my love of tradition, Christianity, and President Trump.  I was born in a time when Internet usage was limited to college campuses and obscure Bulletin Board Systems, when we weren’t handed a Star Trek communicator with access to all the world’s knowledge—and it’s basest, filthiest indulgences—when we were five.

But we had Nintendo and cable TV, and all manner of luxuries and gadgets our parents could only dream of (although my parents apparently played Pong while dating).  Suburbia was kind to my generation—too kind, as we grew up spoiled and allergic to hard work.

That said, not all Millennial whining is unjustified.  Our parents—the latter Boomers and the early Gen-Xers—could support a family of four or five on blue-collar salaries.  They also didn’t pay a fortune for college, and their college education taught them something useful, rather than Derridaean deconstruction of everything good and decent.  That degree was also their ticket to the middle class.

We grew up being assured that if we followed the same path, we’d end up with similar outcomes; indeed, we’d be better off than our parents.  For many Millennials, that was true:  both of my brothers, for example, make very good livings in academia and the law.  Access to the credentialed classes was greater than it had ever been in American history for my generation.

But one of the problems is that we could no long sustain a family on a working man’s family.  Indeed, the girls we grew up claimed they didn’t want that.  They wanted careers and academic accomplishments; the highest accolades of their chosen fields.  Never mind that most of them finished out college with a useless B.A. in Psychology (the go-to degree for girls who don’t know what they want to study) and loads of debt; that just began their long 20s, that period in which they could explore and “find themselves.”  Or they got married straight out of college after all.

The problem is that with excessive credentialing, degrees have become increasingly worthless.  For example, I hold a B.A. and M.A. in History.  That M.A. paid off in that it gained me a small initial boost in my teaching salary, and it made it possible for me to adjunct at a local technical college (never mind that I’m teaching the same material—often at a slower pace—to the college classes than to the high school students; the State wants to see that M.A.).  Otherwise, it’s been largely an ornament, something my school can tout in its statistics about faculty qualifications.

I’ve managed to carve out a decent living for myself in rural South Carolina, but it’s required constant hustling and budgeting.  To sustain myself (and sock away money for retirement), I work full-time at the high school; adjunct one or two classes online each semester; teach multiple private music lessons after school; organize and book my own shows to bring in revenue (mainly through merch sales); teach summer classes and camps; and, until this summer, work maintenance at school.  For all of that effort, I scrape together around $50,000 to $55,000 a year (although I came close to $60,000 one year).

Self-employment taxes eat away at a good chunk of my private lessons business, which The Virus temporarily shattered (along with live gigs).  I do fine for myself—I managed to buy a used car with earnings from music lessons in 2019—but if I had a stay-at-home wife and kids, there would be no way we could make it work.

For one, my health insurance would outrageous if I didn’t game the Affordable Care Act.  In order to avoid paying $400 a month in premiums for a plan with a $6750 deductible (you read that right), I max out 403(b), traditional IRA, and HSA contributions, which gets deducted, for the purpose of ACA subsidies, from my gross income.  That modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI, is low enough that the ACA considers me sufficiently destitute to pay out subsidies, so my $400 a month premium drops to around $1 a month.

Again, for a single man at thirty-five, it’s not a bad deal.  I’m in relatively good health (and am dropping some extra fat) and have managed to squirrel away enough in my emergency fund to reach my deductible without touching my HSA contributions (I’m treating my HSA as an investment vehicle, with my contributions invested in various mutual funds).  But if I were married with kids, it would be a whole different story.

I’m also blessed to have made it through college and graduate school debt free, and to have never had a car payment.  That is a luxury—really, the result of extremely generous gifts from my parents and grandparents—that has enabled me to pursue a life of financial asceticism.  If I had student loans and car payments, like many of my peers, it would be far more difficult to save and invest.

As it is, I feel like I work constantly just to provide a good life for Future Portly.  The cost in the here and now, though, is palpable.  Not only have I sacrificed energy, I’ve sacrificed some of the enjoyment of life.  Those are necessary sacrifices to avoid becoming a ward of the State in my dotage, but the price seems very high—and one that it seems I must now bear alone.

To be clear, I don’t mean to complain.  I am blessed to live a good life, and to own a house, free-and-clear.  I enjoy a degree of financial autonomy that strikes awe in my peers.

But I don’t know if it’s sustainable with a family—what I want more than anything.  The debased nature of modern dating—the topic for another guest post, perhaps?—puts a man with a traditional worldview and sound financial sense in a precarious situation.  Having built my legacy, I don’t want to squander it on some Tinder harridan with a butterfly tattoo and blue hair.  But the inflated nature of the modern dating marketplace makes even the greasiest of girls believe their beauty queens with only redeeming qualities.

A Plug for Someone on Our Side of the Culture Wars

Tyler Cook, my friend over at The Portly Politico, is having a sale of his music at his site.  Even though I’m a country music guy I think it’s my duty to provide a link to show my solidarity for non-Leftist arts of all kind.  If you are a music lover and feel so inclined check out his link and see if it’s your kind of sound

Support Indie Musicians

 

 

Taking Back the Momentum

Recently I got into a discussion with one of my on-line friends, Tyler (The Portly Politico) about whether the Dissident Right was correct when they said that the only path forward was dividing up the country between the Left and the Right.  Now this division could take several directions.  The one everyone always mentions is some kind of civil war with armies and battles.  But a more likely direction would be some kind of loosening of the ties between states and the federal government to the point where differences on legal and criminal matters end up making them essentially different countries but keeping the parts of the federal government that benefit everyone like the armed forces and interstate highways.

I stated that I thought that something like that was possible but was not necessarily what needed to be done to straighten out the mess we’re in.  What would make sense is for the redder states to start asserting themselves on policy issues where the federal government has been pushing their Leftist ideas on the states.  A good example would be the abortion laws that some of the southern states have recently passed.  Take a stand that you know the Left hates and make them squirm.  It’s not enough to pass good legislation.  You have weaponize your actions in the same way that the Left does.  Another fruitful avenue would be anti-discrimination laws that would allow an employee to take his employer to court for being forced to celebrate something like say, the rainbow coalition that goes against his religious beliefs.  Or if the company has openly used diversity as a cover to favor some candidates over others then they could bring this into a state court for adjudication.  There’s nothing that a corporation hates more than to have to pay out fines and then have surveillance done on them by government.

An easy one is to go after Leftists in red states.  Texas should immediately enact some laws that criminalize the abetting of an illegal alien presence in Texas and then jail all the city politicians in Austin who have made it a sanctuary city.  Basically, set up some traps and force them to either follow the illegal immigration laws or go to jail.

If you look at these ideas you can see that they are the mirror image of what the Left does to us in places like California.  They pass laws that take some recent court decision and use it as a club to beat any conservatives who happen to live under their jurisdiction.  Eventually the Supreme Court might find the law unconstitutional, but in the meantime, they’ve made life hell for their enemies.  That’s what our side needs to start doing.  Make them pay a price.  And with the Supreme Court nominally against them on a lot of these issues, they won’t have any recourse.

These types of actions have several good effects.  First off, morale; bad for theirs, good for ours.  Secondly, doing things that everyone said was impossible changes opinions, emboldens people who have already given up to give things another chance.  Who knows?  Maybe we can even flip the Dissident Right back to civic nationalism.  And lastly it gives you something to build on.  Other states will get the idea and join in.  Once you have enough momentum even the Supreme Court might get enough courage to reverse some imaginary constitutional right that a former court made up.

What it’s going to take is some governors and legislators in red states to start coordinating with a Republican President to let some of these types of actions go forward.  Sure, the Ninth Circuit Court will scream bloody murder but as long as it’s out side of their jurisdiction they can’t do anything concrete.  Hollywood will boycott the states.  Good, let them.  The states have to start learning to say no to blackmail.  This is the perfect time to start.  The economy is good and there are plenty of business opportunities that aren’t beholden to leftists.  So, if the Chamber of Commerce squawks the Governor can tell them to count their tax blessings that they aren’t in California.

Part of the problem all along is the Republican Presidents have never tried to rein in the Deep State.  They are enormously strong but so is the executive power of the presidency.  If it can be coordinated with the power that the state legislatures and governors have at their disposal, real progress can be made.  And once again we see that all this comes back to having a Republican president who actually is on our side.

 

Tyler Over at the Portly Politico Has Added His Two Cents on Dissident Right and the Civic Nationalists

Tyler has a lot of good things to say about the topics we’ve both been seeing on the political stage.  Plus he says some good things about me, so how can I resist.

 

The State of the Right, Part II: Dissident Right and Civic Nationalists

White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century by John Oller – Book Review

Tyler over at the Portly Politico sent me this recommendation. I read the review and it sounded interesting for you history buffs.  Here’s his message followed by the link to the original book review at the bottom of the post.
A buddy of mine wrote a great book review for his blog, Corporate History International, that I thought might be of interest to you.  It’s a review of John Oller’s White Shoe:  How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century.  He touches upon some of the historical parallels between the Progressive Era and our current times, albeit subtly.

 

White Shoe: How a New Breed of Wall Street Lawyers Changed Big Business and the American Century by John Oller

New White Shoe Review for You

 

The Portly Politico Explains the Hereditary Nature of Mitt Romney’s Treachery

Any of you readers under the age of 50 wouldn’t be expected to remember that Mitt Romney’s father ran for president against Richard Nixon back in 1968.  Tyler over at the Portly Politico has a very enlightening essay about the elder Romney and the nature of the Romney spinelessness.

Their behavior brings to mind that classic Firefly meme, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”