Posted by: M. Walgenbach | July 2, 2011

The Loss of Loyalty Threatens Our Civilization. You Had Better Bet on Rising Crime.


There was a time in American history when caderie was common. That was a simpler time, when families did not move every five years. Pastors did not resign every five years to take a larger congregation. Men stayed with the same company for four decades. The pre-War world that Jean Shepherd described in his stories about life in the steel town Hammond, Indiana (“A Christmas Story”) was long gone by the time I listened to him on WOR radio in New York back in 1963.

The last time this nation had anything like camaraderie was during World War II. I think nostalgia for the camaraderie of that era this has been a big reason for the popularity of books and movies about World War II. But something like 1,000 veterans of that war die every day. Our church has only one left. The second is not well enough to attend. My children, now adults, have no memory of that war — nor do I, except for my father’s absence — or the post-War years in which the last traces of that era were fading. I think the best movie about the immediacy of that fading camaraderie is “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946). For that movie, Harold Russell won the Oscar as best supporting actor. He played the returning veteran who had lost his hands in an explosion. Russell really did lose his hands in the Army, in a training accident involving TNT. He died this year at age 88. His death represented the loss of an era.

Camaraderie flared up briefly in the aftermath of the attack on New York on 9/11. Mayor Giuliani became a beloved man — something that no once could have predicted. But neither he nor the camaraderie lasted long.
Today, camaraderie is confined mainly to groups of men who work together in high-risk jobs, such as the police or fire fighters. It exists in front-line military units. But for most Americans, it no longer is a factor in our daily lives.
While we don’t say it, we have also lost the sense of loyalty. In fact, camaraderie and loyalty go together — or, better put, went together. In police departments, it is no longer trusted by the public. “Loyalty” is associated with “crooked cops.” Among firemen, it is still acceptable. But how many TV shows are there about firemen? How many novels?

Loyalty is a mark of a team. Teams develop slowly. What undermines teams is mobility. When a member of a team may move at any time, it weakens the personal bonds that make teamwork possible. When a person’s motivation for a transfer is the quest for more money, teamwork suffers. Other members know that their worth to each other has more to do with income than with the work itself and the camaraderie associated with the work. Men stick together because they can make more money by sticking together. It’s strictly a matter of the division of labor: greater output per unit of resource input. So, the bonds of loyalty disappear.

There used to be local community associations that provided loyalty. Churches still do, but their stability is fading along with the rise of mobility. Other associations tended to be either service oriented or athletic teams. Bowling leagues used to be big among blue collar workers. So were taverns. Taverns were not simply about getting drunk. Taverns were what we saw in “Cheers,” which was canceled and replaced by “Frasier,” the story of a pair of dysfunctional psychiatrist brothers and their father, a retired policemen who shares little in common with them. It is a show mainly about how the family is a fading institution in America.

There is a church in New Hampshire that invites me to speak at its regional conference every year. It is mainly blue collar. Once a month, most of the men in the church go to a local Irish pub. Several of them play in a church band that night, and the band is good enough so that the pub owner pays several hundred dollars when they play. The church has grown steadily over the years because the families don’t move to get better jobs.

The blue collar world is local. Unless there is an economic set-back, blue collar workers stay where they are. Bonds of loyalty and community are worth more to them than the opportunity to make more money. They aren’t in a position to raise their income significantly by moving, so the subjective cost of moving is higher for them, net, than it is for white collar professionals.

A white collar worker, which most Americans now have become, is always on the lookout for a better job somewhere. He is not loyal to his employer, nor is his employer loyal to him. There is greater mobility, but there is less loyalty in our lives.

Here is the strange irony. The blue collar worker is interchangeable. He can be replaced by someone with similar skills. This is why he usually gets paid less. He stays put because the economic opportunity is essentially the same everywhere else. He sticks because there is no good economic reason to leave, and lots of social reasons to stick.

The white collar worker can develop his skills, and as he does, he fits into ever-more narrow employment slots. He may find one in which he is uniquely qualified, and which is more valuable to consumers, and hence to employers. So, as men become less interchangeable in their work, they become more upwardly mobile. When capital extends the division of labor, this creates ever-greater specialization. Teams become more complex but less loyal. Each participant is his own man or woman. Members don’t know how to do each other’s jobs in the way that men on assembly line know each other’s jobs. They don’t share the same experience. A bunch of people sitting in cubicles front of a phones, calling all day, are not part of a team. They talk on the phone, not to each other. They might as well be at home with a phone.

Then why aren’t they? What ever became of flexible time, home-based jobs, and all of the other promises of the new electronic work place? So far, most people still drive to work at rush hour, which is what we call long lines of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Part of this has to do with the desire of managers to have daily eye contact with subordinates, in order to maintain discipline. In this respect, some subordinates have the same need. They want external the motivation that they don’t have in an isolated setting. Most people are not self-starters. But part of the preference for going somewhere to work has to do with the desire of people to feel that they are part of a team, even if this means long drive times.

I have not been in an employment setting that had any camaraderie since I left Capitol Hill. In 1976, I worked as a research assistant for Congressman Ron Paul. The office was physically divided. I was in the back office down the hall — way down the hall — with John Robbins (which will amaze those of you who know about the Van Til- Clark debate over Calvinist philosophy in 1944, which Clarkian Robbins keeps alive today) and a secretary. Bruce Bartlett was in the front office. His columns on economics these days are posted on

That camaraderie was based on a shared vision, shared work, and an understanding that we really were a unique team on Capitol Hill. We understood each other’s jobs. The staff writers could have switched jobs with each other, but we would have been hard to replace from the outside. But this lasted only more six months. Paul lost the election in 1976 by 268 votes out of some 180,000. So, we scattered.

In Tyler, Texas, a group of men shared a team effort for about a decade. It was mainly a publishing effort. We cranked out a lot of books. I was productive. They were productive. Those books are posted on my Web site:

That was a unique experience. Not one of the team still lives in Tyler. It was a one-time event.
Today, about half a dozen men from our church meet on Monday nights for dinner. We talk about this or that, sometimes breaking up into two groups of three each. We have been doing this for two years. But most of the church’s men don’t come to the meeting.

The women in the church aren’t organized. I think they suffer from this, but the younger ones have families, which traditionally have kept women focused inward, toward their children, rather than outward, toward the world. This is why camaraderie is generally associated with men rather than women. There is the sense of being a band of brothers, the title of Stephen Ambrose’s best-selling book on World War II. You get that same sense in “Saving Private Ryan,” which is a great strength of the film. But, of course, wartime camaraderie is always capable of being shattered by death in the unit. It is a camaraderie of shed blood.

This brings me to the point at hand: the new-found camaraderie of Islam. This camaraderie is a major threat to the West. Islam is traditionally intensely local in its loyalties: sect, clan, and family. This is why, until very recently, the Palestinians have been ignored by the Islamic world. They have received lip service, but not much else.
This has changed since 9/11. Part of the change is that Ariel Sharon is more aggressive than Barak was. Part of it stems from the fact that the Arab world sees the State of Israel as a religious interloper geographically, which it clearly is, and a bearer of Western economics and lifestyle, which it does. Now, part of the Islamic camaraderie is the perception that Muslims can reap revenge against the United States and Israel through terrorism. Resentment that has been building since 1948 was given expression on 9/11 and in daily suicide bombings.

Some terrorism is truly suicidal. The terrorism of Russian revolutionaries in the early 1880’s took this form: a violent lashing out with little hope of changing the system, except for the worse: even more repression. I call this the terrorism of the lost cause. It is based on envy: the desire to tear the other man down, not to replace the social order with something better. It is always the product of very small groups that have trouble recruiting new members. This form of terrorism can be suppressed, though at a high cost to liberty. The Czar who succeeded the liberal Alexander II, who died from a terrorist bomb, successfully repressed the terrorists. But the weakening of repression under Nicholas II led to a resurgence of terrorism and revolution. The Bolsheviks were not terrorists of the lost cause. They saw themselves as terrorists of inevitable victory.

This second form of terrorism is far more deadly and disruptive: the terrorism of absolute confidence. It is motivated by a long-run perception that the establishment is weak, and that successive acts of terrorism will make it weaker. This is what the United States and Israel are facing now. It is the terrorism of the victorious cause. It is not based only on envy: the desire to tear down. It is based more on jealousy: the desire to weaken and then replace the existing order. This form of terrorism has lots of recruits.

Islam has about 1.2 billion members today. They have one thing in common: an abiding hatred of Judaism, which is a tiny group with almost no members outside of the United States and Israel. The Jews have put all of their demographic eggs in two baskets, which they have never done before. In the United States, intermarriage is steadily removing Jews from the population. Half of Jews marry gentiles, and three-quarters of the children of these marriages are not raised as Jews. It’s only a matter of time for Jews in America, other than the Orthodox, who have large families. Secular Jews are losing the war of survival. America’s public schools and the universities are the greatest threat secular Jews have faced since secularism appeared as a force in the Jewish community in Europe in the early nineteenth century. They are unable to deal with it. The education system tells them, “Come one; come all; you’re welcome here. But you must obey the unbreakable rule: no supernaturalism in class.” They obey the rule.

In Israel, the Jewish population grows mainly through immigration, mainly from Russia, by Jews who have little knowledge of Judaism. Islam now sees these Jews as easy targets. All that need be done is to reproduce inside Israel at twice the rate of Jews, which is taking place, and also to keep on the terrorist pressure to undermine their confidence. This is also being done. More money must go to the Israeli military budget. This hurts economic growth. The headlines announce daily: more suicide bombings. More and more dual-citizenship Jews in the child-bearing ages will eventually decide that home is where there are no suicide bombers. The bombers are counting on this: the departure of Jews who have the capital to leave. This will leave poorer Jews and older Jews to defend the territory.

We have witnessed a turning point in Arab-Jewish relations. The initiative has passed to the Arabs. They know that they cannot be beaten now, short of one horrendous possibility: Israel’s use of nuclear weapons against Mecca and Medina to vaporize the religious icons of Islam. The Jews dare not threaten this publicly, out of fear of Western sanctions. Saudi Arabia apparently doesn’t think the Jews would ever do this, so the princes funnel millions of dollars into anti-Israel terrorism.

The hatred of Israel, when coupled with a new confidence that Israel is unable to stop the terrorism, is now creating a sense of camaraderie within the Islamic world. It is a camaraderie of representative shed blood. The bombers are seen as representing Allah and Muslims everywhere. This is a powerful force that secular Jews, who have always dominated Israel’s politics, cannot deal with successfully, or at least have not dealt with it so far.

Yesterday, Warren Buffett predicted that there will be a nuclear attack on the United States. It’s only a matter of time, he said. He blames envy.

There is no doubt that envy would be a motivating factor: the desire to tear down for the sake of tearing down. There is no possibility that the United States would go Islamic as result of a terrorist campaign. But envy would not be the only motivating factor. If the attack is used to create a “fortress America” mentality, and weaken the reach of American military forces abroad, then the motivation would be jealously, not envy: the terrorism of long-run optimism, not the terrorism of the lost cause.

As Europe becomes more Islamic, as it will, according to the war being fought in the bedrooms of Europe and on its borders, Islamic optimism will increase. I have read Buchanan’s book, THE DEATH OF THE WEST. I agree with it. Caucasian Europe is not reproducing itself — not in a single country. Neither is the United States, but we are closer to the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family (2.0). To maintain this rate requires that we count Mexican residents as Caucasians, which, compared to Islamic North Africans in Spain, they surely are.
At a time when the West is loosing its sense of camaraderie, and hence its loyalty, the Islamic world is gaining both. The corrosive effect of pessimism on loyalty is very great. It becomes ever-more difficult to resist a new mentality: “Every man for himself.” When this mentality replaces loyalty on a battlefield, the troops are overrun.
The problem with the free market is that it rewards “every man for himself.” All free market economic analysis begins with the assumption of individual self-interest. Take away this assumption, and academic economic analysis collapses. When every loyalty, every institutional commitment, is reduced to “high bid wins,” then society becomes vulnerable to enemies who retain loyalty and a corporate vision.

This is an old argument against capitalism, and it is a powerful one. The free market does not teach that individual self-interest will, in and of itself, retain the social bond. It teaches only that men, left free to choose what their priorities are and how best to attain them, will make the decision better than some distant bureaucracy could. The strongest defense of the free market is that its system of incentives directly rewards and punishes the individual, who is responsible for his actions. The free market matches up personal responsibility and institutional sanctions: profit and loss. Men are economically responsible before other men for what they do with the resources entrusted to them. This is a tremendous social benefit.

Free market economics does not teach that each man will make the best decision for society. How could it? It teaches that each man will make the best decision for himself. If people are not taught by families and churches and community service organizations to sacrifice on behalf of others, voluntarily, then loyalty and camaraderie will die.

Free market economic theory says that it is not the responsibility of the State to forcibly extract money or wealth from individuals in order to indoctrinate the public to be loyal to the State. Yet this is what has happened politically. Generation by generation, the State schools have undermined loyalty to the family, the community, and churches.

Modern man is therefore subject to two powerful forces: individual self-interest and tax-funded education. Individual self-interest needs little encouragement. Teaching a child to say “mine” is effortless. Teaching the child to say “yours” and honor it takes effort and the imposition of sanctions.

It took thousands of years and considerable investment of resources to teach loyalty to family, local community, and church. The two most powerful national loyalties, race and State, sometimes combine forces, as in Nazism, and sometimes are at war, as in multiculturalism. Today, the West has used tax-funded education to erase all loyalties except loyalty to the State. But it has not taught Islamic immigrants to respect this monolithic loyalty. I don’t think it has time to accomplish this.

Osama bin Laden is still at large. The American public has lost its enthusiasm to see him killed. He and al-Qaida have been pushed to the back pages. Now it’s Arafat and the Palestinian terrorists who get all the coverage.

It’s a tale only the best conspiracy theorist could dream up.

The war on terrorism ultimately will involve nukes: either Israel’s bombs against Mecca or Islamic mini-nukes against the United States and maybe Israel. In the history of conflict, technology has always been destiny. “If it can be used, it will be used.” Poison gas was an exception, but biological weapons may not be. As to the West’s defenses against biological terrorism, consider this report from Canada’s GLOBE AND MAIL (May 4).

Eleven microbiologists mysteriously dead over the span of just five months. Some of them world leaders in developing weapons-grade biological plagues. Others the best in figuring out how to stop millions from dying because of biological weapons. Still others, experts in the theory of bioterrorism. . . .
 The first three died in the space of just over a week in November. Benito Que, 52, was an expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School. Police originally suspected that he had been beaten on Nov. 12 in a carjacking in the medical school’s parking lot. Strangely enough, though, his body showed no signs of a beating. Doctors then began to suspect a stroke.         

Just four days after Dr. Que fell unconscious came the mysterious disappearance of Don Wiley, 57, one of the foremost microbiologists in the United States. Dr. Wiley, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard University, was an expert on how the immune system responds to viral attacks such as the classic doomsday plagues of HIV, ebola and influenza.

He had just bought tickets to take his son to Graceland the following day. Police found his rental car on a bridge outside Memphis, Tenn. His body was later found in the Mississippi River. Forensic experts said he may have had a dizzy spell and have fallen off the bridge.

Just five days after that, the world-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector Valdimir Pasechnik, 64, fell dead. The pathologist who did the autopsy, and who also happened to be associated with Britain’s spy agency, concluded he died of a stroke.

Dr. Pasechnik, who defected to the United Kingdom in 1989, played a huge role in Russian biowarfare and helped to figure out how to modify cruise missiles to deliver the agents of mass biological destruction.

The next two deaths came four days apart in December. Robert Schwartz, 57, was stabbed and slashed with what police believe was a sword in his farmhouse in Leesberg, Va. His daughter, who identifies herself as a pagan high priestess, and several of her fellow pagans have been charged.

Dr. Schwartz was an expert in DNA sequencing and pathogenic micro-organisms, who worked at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Va.

Four days later, Nguyen Van Set, 44, died at work in Geelong, Australia, in a laboratory accident. He entered an airlocked storage lab and died from exposure to nitrogen. Other scientists at the animal diseases facility of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization had just come to fame for discovering a virulent strain of mousepox, which could be modified to affect smallpox.

Then in February, the Russian microbiologist Victor Korshunov, 56, an expert in intestinal bacteria of children around the world, was bashed over the head near his home in Moscow. Five days later the British microbiologist Ian Langford, 40, was found dead in his home near Norwich, England, naked from the waist down and wedged under a chair. He was an expert in environmental risks and disease.

Two weeks later, two prominent microbiologists died in San Francisco. Tanya Holzmayer, 46, a Russian who moved to the U.S. in 1989, focused on the part of the human molecular structure that could be affected best by medicine.

She was killed by fellow microbiologist Guyang (Matthew) Huang, 38, who shot her seven times when she opened the door to a pizza delivery. Then he shot himself.

The final two deaths came one day after the other in March. David Wynn-Williams, 55, a respected astrobiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, who studied the habits of microbes that might survive in outer space, died in a freak road accident near his home in Cambridge, England. He was hit by a car while he was jogging.

The following day, Steven Mostow, 63, known as Dr. Flu for his expertise in treating influenza, and a noted expert in bioterrorism, died when the airplane he was piloting crashed near Denver.

So what does any of it mean?

“Statistically, what are the chances?” wondered a prominent North American microbiologist reached last night at an international meeting of infectious-disease specialists in Chicago.
Janet Shoemaker, director of public and scientific affairs of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C., pointed out yesterday that there are about 20,000 academic researchers in microbiology in the U.S. Still, not all of these are of the elevated calibre of those recently deceased.
She had a chilling, final thought. When microbiologists die in a lab, there’s a way of taking note of the deaths and adding them up. When they die in freakish accidents outside the lab, nobody keeps track.

Not good.

The West is losing what Islam is now gaining: loyalty. We see this in our own lives. It takes time and effort to create a sense of camaraderie. Camaraderie grows out of shared risk, shared vision, or shared community. It is always local. There is no virtual camaraderie. In “You’ve Got Mail,” the movie moves relentlessly toward the off-line meeting. It ends, in effect, with a joint AOL account, not separate ones.

Loyalty is not manufactured. It is not ordered like fries at McDonald’s. It is essentially religious. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).
A camaraderie based on hate is temporary, but it is powerful while it lasts. It is not offset by a non- camaraderie of indifference.

It is nice to live free from worries about money. It is nicer to be part of an association based on loyalty. The stronger the sense of loyalty, the fewer the worries about money. Consider the Amish, where children do not attend public schools. Amish do shop at Wal-Mart, however, which sets up buggy parking places for them. But they take care of each other. Mobility is restricted — clippity- clop — but loyalty is retained.


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