Thursday, September 14, 2017

Price gouging: a feature, not a bug

Something we were treated to in the last couple weeks with the hurricanes in Texas & Florida was indignant outrage from price gouging in the affected regions. There were many examples of prices for gas, water, and airline tickets increasing tenfold. This shouldn't be terribly surprising. Prices respond to demand; that's like day 1 of microeconomics. What's a little more surprising is how easily the situation evoked communist messages. Memes from liberals cried this was finally proof that capitalism is evil. On facebook this video was being passed around, garnering 16 million views. Let's look at a couple screen grabs out of that.

Businesses are trying to MAKE MONEY off of hurricane victims. Oh, the horror! Guess what, that's what businesses do! The opposite headline would read: Businesses REFUSE SERVICE to hurricane victims.

You know what else skyrocketed? Demand for fuel, ice, and lumber throughout the state.

Opposite headline: customer stranded in hurricane zone because all flights quickly sold out.

In other words, it's time for resources to be free. Welcome to r-selected philosophy. There should be no competition four resources; they should be free.

As a thought exercise, imagine a scenario where disaster hits. A town has 100 residents and one store. That store has 100 cases of water. The store must decide whether or not to raise water prices. If they do not, there are three possible outcomes.

  1. High trust society. This is what liberals assume. The store doesn't seek to make an unfair profit and each resident takes just what they need, a single case, and everyone gets a case. This is the ideal scenario, but relying on this in reality would be a nice way to die of thirst. Liberals assume a high-trust society while doing everything to destroy it. Conservatives wish to preserve the high-trust society we had.
  2. Hoarding. The most likely scenario is that each customer buys more than one case to ensure they have enough in a worst-case scenario. So 50 people each buy 2 cases, and 50 people are turned away.
  3. Misuse. Kevin buys 50 cases so he'll be able to keep watering his weed grow operation throughout the emergency. 50 people are turned away.
  4. Illegal markup.  Mark sees a business potential and buys 50 cases. He sells them at double price. This is no different than if the store had raised prices, but Mark profits instead and pays no sales taxes.

On the other hand, the business could raise prices, which discourages hoarding and misuse. It's the best you can do, short of a high-trust society. It might put a stronger burden on the poor, but that can be avoided through preparedness. Everyone knows they should maintain emergency preparedness, and that it may cost them if they do not. Rich people can afford to neglect preparedness; the rest of us can't. With a little personal responsibility, and a high-trust society, these problems would not have arisen. But that would be the conservative solution. They don't want the conservative solution. They don't even really want a solution. They just want the state be in charge of distributing resources. They want communism.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Global warming is caused by climate skepticism

Another liberal meme.

The message here is that natural disasters wouldn't occur if we didn't have a government that doesn't "believe" in science. What I love about liberal memes is how much wrong they can cram into a little image macro. Let's count the ways.

  1. Science is not a belief system. One might believe in Christianity, or true love, or leprechauns, but science is a process of sorting out objective truth from the soup of human subjectivity. We don't believe in science; we apply it to the problems at hand. We on the right tend to be skeptical of climate science because of its perversion by government funding and liberal orthodoxy in academia. No one on the right says they "don't believe in science." We are the science defenders, and studies confirm that conservatives are more science literate than liberals. We just happen to know that science, like all human endeavors, is subject to corruption and we seek to defend its purity. There is a word we use for viewing science as a belief system rather than an analytical tool: scientism. Those who create & share memes like this tip their hands.
  2. What government doesn't "believe" in science? The obvious implication here is that this is Trump's fault because he is a climate non-believer for pulling us out of the Paris accord. Well, okay, he's been president for about half a year. Probably not enough time for his evil policies to destroy the Earth, right. But Obama was president for nearly a decade before. In fact, 16 of the last 24 years the government was run by so-called climate believers. So why did the world go to hell under their watch?
  3. It assumes the government can do anything about climate change, even if it wanted to. The great paradox of big government is that whatever problem it tries to fix it makes worse. Not only that, but the science believers are completely incapable of stating how much we should attenuate our economy to stop global warming. For all we know (and we skeptics suspect), we could knock the entire global economy back to the stone age and the earth would continue to warm, as it has done for the ten thousand years or so since the last glacial era. Liberals don't actually believe the government can stop climate change because they don't promote solutions that might actually work; they only want to destroy a capitalist society where some people do better than others. Because if we were serious about cooling the earth, we could probably do it. Paint the deserts white, seed clouds, launch a massive solar shield; anything to reduce the amount of sunlight that is converted to heat. But, of course, they don't really care about the problem of warming, who is causing it, or how to solve it. This is political warfare in disguise.
  4. The big one is that it assumes global warming is caused by climate change skepticism. The lefties have themselves in a comfortable safe space on this issue. If you pushed them, they would immediately retreat to the position of, "of course we know that climate change is caused by emissions, not climate denial, because blah blah blah..." Yet, they still act as if it was caused by mere skepticism itself. The reality is abstracted away so that skepticism is equated with worldly sin. If pushed on the issue they can pretend it's not a religion long enough to make the annoying sinner go away so they can go back to playing climate crusader. This makes sense if you understand how the left is organized. By and large, leftists don't set their own agenda; they are guided by propaganda. Liberal elites are the most hypocritical carbon abusers on the planet. They don't the issue to be too literal about emissions. That is, they don't want their attack dogs turning back on them. So they steer their underlings not to obsess over emissions as much as beliefs. Climate change is not a matter of scientific debate or even an ideological battle so much as religious warfare.
While you're praying for Houston and Florida and the other places, let's not forget the one group that needs it most. Pray for liberals. Perhaps only divine intervention can save them.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

When you create false premises, climate change is real

From the trusty Facebook feed:

Note that the "once in every 500 years" part is put in quotes, with no attribution. 500 years according to whom? Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane, a very serious storm to be sure, but not unusual. Certainly not "every 500 years" unusual. Harvey was particularly destructive because it stalled out over one area, but they can't be blamed on higher temperatures. Hurricane Camille did the same in 1969 over Appalachia. There are numerous hurricanes that have dumped nearly as much as Harvey on a single spot in the US.

Irma is a true monster of a storm, but not unprecedented. It is still weaker than Hurricane Camille or the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Perhaps it will strengthen, but forecasts show it hitting Florida at Category 3 strength this weekend. Hurricane Andrew was a full-power Cat 5 when it ravaged Florida in 1992. Hurricane Hugo was a Category 5 Cape Verde type hurricane like Irma and hit the Carolinas at Cat 4 strength in the 1980s.

There is nothing to indicate these are "500-year" storms. Someone made that up and used it to "prove" climate change (where climate change means their theory of cataclysmic man-made global warming). The most humorous commentary has come from Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of airlines and cruise ships, who complained that his private luxury resort island, which he accesses by private jet and helicopter, was leveled by Irma, which he blames on global warming. None of this is Branson's fault, of course, as he has worked tirelessly to ridicule global warming skeptics. He seems to have convinced himself that global warming is caused by skepticism rather than actual carbon emissions.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

It it Ain't Communism, It Ain't Christian, Pt 2

As mentioned in If it Ain't Communism, It Ain't Christian, liberals like to conflate Christian values with communism. Then they beat up on Christians for hypocrisy whenever they fall short of the Marxist ideal.

This dynamic has been on full display for the last couple days with the witch hunt of Houston-based MegaChurch pastor Joel Osteen. Social media is running wild with headlines like Joel Osteen Can’t Get His Story Straight On Why He Didn’t Offer His Megachurch As A Shelter. That article includes a link to this interview.

What part of his story is he not keeping straight? The building was indeed flooding. The government entities enacting disaster responses did not, at the time, ask his church to become a shelter. What was he expected to do, just throw his doors open anyway? For whom? I can't find any media accounts of anyone being turned away from the official city shelters in the period that Lakewood Church was closed. But to hear their accounts, there were masses of cold starving orphans knocking on the doors and Osteen was standing on the roof with a megaphone politely encouraging them all to piss off. And if he opened the doors, then what. They'd sit in the seats of the church auditorium and eat what? What to drink? Was Joel just expected to have all those things on hand in case of cataclysmic flooding? What about medical staff and equipment? Are churches expected to have these at the ready at a moment's notice? The city and higher governments coordinate these things. The church served as a shelter when the organizers asked them. They also mobilized volunteers and supplies to help out however they could. What did people expect him to do, work miracles? Do liberals actually think he's supposed to be Jesus or something?

None of this hysteria is rational because no one really knows why the church responded as it did. Maybe Osteen is a greedy asshole. I can't tell. He sure does live lavishly. But he did explain why the church responded as it did, and no one has really specified what he should have done differently, or the flood victims who were negatively impacted. This is just the same shit as always. It's oppressor/oppressed dynamics. It's communist values. It is the expectation that material wealth be redistributed from rich to poor. That is the prime objective. Any hesitation is met with indignant outrage. No one right now really knows if Osteen should have acted differently. No one can cite any party harmed by Osteen's decisions. No one has made the case that he would have made the situation any better had he responded differently, or that he wouldn't have made things worse. None of that logic matters, of course. Witch hunts are inherently illogical.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Old Man Yells at Cloud

If the oil economy causes global warming, and global warming causes hurricanes, then what city is more to blame than Houston? Taking the crazy old man's argument to its logical conclusion, and it just amounts to victim blaming. I haven't had the immense please of arguing this one out with any liberals, but I can guarantee it would take less than two minutes before they blamed the 10% of Houston that are straight white males for being the recipients of petrol largess, while the oppressed 90% saw no benefit whatsoever from Houston's heavy oil industry.

 Also, I can't help but note that cities housing 2 of the 3 largest oil hubs in the US have been drowned by acts of nature. If Cushing, OK gets taken out by a freak earthquake or tornado we can be certain that Mother Nature is methodically exacting her revenge. I'm not an ideologue on the climate change issue, I'm just very skeptical of the scientism cult and Big Research. If it appears that oil cities are being ravaged by angry gods, I am prepared to make whatever human sacrifices are necessary to regain their favor.

Bernie isn't posing a question when he says we need to determine global warming's contribution to Hurricane Harvey. He's making a statement. He's saying it was climate change. The implication is clear, and all that's left is to round up the details. Like everything Bernie says, his statement betrays some lack of understanding on subject, even for a tweet.

To get the understanding that Bernie wants "tomorrow", we must ask two questions. (1) What is the effect of global warming on hurricanes? and (2) What is the global warming? Clearly, we must know how much the Earth has warmed since some previous time to know its effect, and we can't be entirely sure of that, with all the measurement corrections and cherry-picked sensor data. But even most climate skeptics agree the warming is a bit over one degree per century, so let's go with that.

As to the other question, every eco-obsessed halfwit knows for certain the science - Holy Science! - tells us that global warming means stronger hurricanes. That certainty comes from studies such as this one run by Nature in 2006. While I have no reason to doubt their analysis, can you spot the flaw in making the conclusion that global warming drives stronger hurricanes?
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta examined data for a range of climate variables thought to contribute to the formation of hurricanes in categories 4 and 5, the upper end of the strength scale. Only sea surface temperature showed a strong correlation with the observed increase in the occurrence of these storms since 1970.
At first blush it makes sense. Hurricanes are fueled by heat. More heat $$\rightarrow$$ stronger hurricanes. That is junior high science. Everyone can understand it! No one can deny that kind of scientific fact! But it is a simplistic understanding. College-level thermodynamics gives a better insight. Hurricanes are heat engines. (Most people have at least heard that.) Higher temperature does not mean more heat. Technically speaking, heat is the movement of thermal energy caused by a temperature gradient. There must be a temperature differential for heat engines to run. Hurricanes are powered by temperature differences between the sea and the atmosphere, as well as within the sea and within the atmosphere.

The study narrowed in on surface temperature but said nothing about the other variables. Of course, if all other things are held constant, higher surface temperatures drive stronger hurricanes. That's to be expected. But we could get a similar effect by holding surface temperate constant and lowering deep sea and upper atmosphere temperatures. What really matters is the thermal gradient.

If the global temperature rises, the surface of the ocean will warm. But so will the atmosphere. And so will the rest of the ocean (which will lag but catch up). There's no reason to expect that global warming will only increase the temperature of the ocean's surface.

So how much did global warming contribute to Hurricane Harvey? How much did a monarch butterfly flapping its wings in South America last June contribute to it? It's hard to say. It's not due to global warming that a hurricane would strike a hurricane-prone locale during peak hurricane season. And it's not due to global warming that the storm would happen to stall out and dump almost all its contents over coastal Texas. And it's not due to global warming that Houston is a concrete jungle on a flood plain. But for Bernie, this isn't about science. It's about blame. Oppression causes all bad things. Houston must be a victim of evil greedy capitalist forces. It's just a bit inconvenient for him that so much of the Houston-oppressing oil economy would happen to reside in Houston.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pathological Empathy

Empathy is becoming a much-bandied word these days, especially from our friends on the left. Empathy is the capacity or tendency to understand the viewpoint and emotional state of another. It is a virtue, but it is a weak virtue. If Sheila has empathy for Larry, we're only talking about Sheila's internal state, and how it relates to Larry's internal state. If Sheila's behavior is not affected by her empathy, then it is irrelevant. This is in contrast to a strong virtue like courage, which describes a person's actions in the face of fear or uncertainty.

Most psychological conditions seem to stem from a shortage or excess of some human trait. It is not healthy to have too much anger, nor is it healthy to have too little. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not list a disorder for an excess of empathy. The lack of empathy is sociopathy, which often drives ruthless blind ambition. Sociopathy is especially onerous in our loose-knit democratic society, where power comes from popularity, popularity comes from image, and sociopaths are chameleons who can quickly adopt whatever image will lead to power.

We can imagine what an excess of empathy might look like: someone so overwhelmed by the emotional states of others that they can't function normally in the world. Such a person would find it difficult to socialize, conduct business, or even turn on the TV. While we all know people who seem to have a bit too much empathy (I'm sure the average man believes the average woman to be over-empathetic), pathological empathy must be rare enough, as it is not even given it's own designation in the manuals.

Pathological empathy may not exist in the literal sense, but there is reason to suspect that the term empathy is mostly not being used in the literal sense. When tumblrinas talk about their empathy, they aren't saying, "I can easily relate to the viewpoint and emotional state of others." Clearly they can't. They're saying, "I care," which is quite different. "I'm empathetic" describes my relation to your condition. "I care" just describes me. In this usage, claims of empathy are used to declare allegiance to the Cult of Caring. Look at me! Look how much I care! It's just so much virtue signaling.

Empathy is not just an abused term, but it has been hijacked entirely, much like racism, which is now just a generic term meaning evil that is applied only to conservatives. (see here) Empathy just means virtue, and only gets applied to liberals. The radical lefties lack any sort of visible virtue, so they create one. Empathy is a soft-virtue, so it's near impossible to disprove. They can then justify any horrible stance they want through the lens of caring. We care about blacks, we are virtuous. White conservatives don't care about blacks, so they must be eliminated with violence. We know their caring is a sham. But they don't have to really care. It's difficult to prove a lack of caring. Just pretending is enough.

Today's big story from the liberal media, besides Melania's shoe choice for boarding a plane, is that Trump displayed a lack of empathy in Houston. Apparently he didn't hug enough of the destitute to quench their insatiable thirst for victim voyeurism. Caring is as difficult to prove as to disprove. How could Trump prove that he really cares about the people in Houston? More importantly, why does it matter? Is he showing effective leadership, or is he not? I don't recall CNN attacking Obama's lack of empathy when he golfed while Baton Rouge was inundated. (Recall that candidate Trump was the first prominent political figure to visit that region.) Just as with baseless charges of racism, if you hear accusations of a lack of empathy, or boasts of one's own empathy, you can be fairly sure you're dealing with an unprincipled lefty with a shortage of any real, demonstrable virtues.

The good thing about this empathy nonsense is that no one actually gives a shit about it. We all know it's a ruse. Do you think Trump was concerned that the media, fresh off calling him a Russophillic traitor and neo-nazi racist, are now calling him weak on empathy? He's probably getting a kick out of it, and noting just how watered-down their assaults are getting.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dogma Behind Progressive Hate Speech

I don't use Twitter, but it might be a nice idea if I ever decide it's time to discard my last remaining bit of faith in humanity.

These comments aren't disturbing just because they're incredibly hateful. They're disturbing because they're so ironically stupid. How does one, in a single sentence, call for ethnic cleansing against a race that is undesirable because they are racist, without one's head exploding? Your instinct might be to explain logically why calling for the death of a race for racism any reason makes you a racist genocidal monster. But you really need to understand the Prog cult first.

Progressivism seems to be just Protestantism gone secular. Take WASPy Puritanical Christianity, swap out theology for some worldly virtues, and you're left with Progressivism. The transformation took place after World War II, when youth church attendance started to plummet.

Protestantism, already heavily saddled with Enlightenment principles, replaced its Christian mythology with World War II mythology. Satan became Hitler, demons became Nazis, and forces of evil became oppression. Sins against the Father became crimes against humanity. The 1st Commandment was rewritten to state: Thou shalt not be racist. Racism is the cardinal sin, to the extent that other sins can be largely ignored. The great virtues are no longer piety or humility, but diversity and inclusiveness. Jesus was replaced with MLK Jr., angels with social justice advocates. The concept of original sin remains. All are inherently guilty of the great sin of racism, but only white people. It is, after all, primarily a white religion.

When lefties, like those who Tweeted about the hurricane, say white people are racist, they don't mean literally racist. They couldn't possibly, as it's in itself an incredibly racist thing to say. No, they are just hurling the worst insults in the lefty lexicon. When I was a kid the worst thing you could call another boy was a faggot. There was a taboo against homosexuality, the slander carried weight, so that's what you used. You weren't providing commentary on a young boy's sexual nature. You were calling him the meanest and most disrespectful name you could muster. The leftists are doing the same when they call everyone a racist, white supremacist, a Nazi, or, their new favorite term, a "Nazi sympathizer." They're just hurling what to them are the worst insults imaginable. This is why it's a fool's errand to explain the illogicality or incorrectness of these statements. To do so is to engage in an adult conversation with petulant children. "Well actually Billy, I couldn't possibly be a faggot because I kissed Susie just last week." Such a response is not going to have any effect on Billy or his potty-mouthed taunting. It might even encourage him to double down. Likewise, we should not lob their insult grenades back and engage in what Vox Day calls DR3 (Dems are the real racists). DR3 is to be avoided because calling people we don't like racist and fascist endorses the Progressive cult worldview, which is the last thing we should do.

This all provides context for the Nazi symbolism we see from some on the far right. There is an argument for it after all, because, what could possibly be a larger middle-finger to the Progs than the open display of Nazi symbols? In that sense, the swastika is the banner of anti-Progressivism. Perhaps we should all wear swastikas to rub their noses in it! The problem with all that is that, while they are an abstract concept in the Prog religion, Nazi still existed in the real world and were very reckless and genocidal. Don the symbol to trigger libtards and suddenly you're brandishing the propaganda of an enemy that killed many American soldiers and committed countless atrocities in Europe. What's needed are symbols that snub Progs without alienating us from decent ordinary Americans. (The American flag actually does very nicely for this.)