Wednesday, August 16, 2017

RE: Facing the Coming Government Shutdown

Some commentary on Brett Stevens's recent post, Facing the Coming Government Shutdown.
[A] currency backed by debt is not as valuable as one backed by industry or other actual value.
Why would that be so? I suspect he may be violating The Compounding Debt Fallacy, an extremely common misunderstanding I see from smart people on the right. Why is a debt (i.e. contract) backed system lower in value than, say, a shiny-metal backed currency? And how do you back a currency by industry? The value of the debt backed currency derives from the US government's authority to enforce legal contracts.

He quotes from the Washington Post:
Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the non-partisan Peterson Institute for International Economics, argues in a new report that once you take these kinds of tax breaks into account, the U.S. actually devotes far more resources than many other countries to “social spending” — spending on pensions, health care, family support, unemployment, housing assistance, and similar benefits meant to help people out in hard times. And, compared with most advanced countries, the U.S. gets far less bang for its buck in terms of health outcomes and equality.

…The U.S. offers huge amounts of what Kirkegaard calls “tax breaks for social purposes,” including the Earned Income Tax Credit, tax-exempt pension contributions, and new tax breaks for Americans to buy health insurance. In contrast, many European governments give services or cash benefits directly to their citizens, but then take some of that money back by taxing those cash benefits, or the person’s spending more generally.

…Once you add in that private social spending and the effect of taxes, it changes the ranking entirely. Now the U.S. devotes more to social spending than Sweden, the U.K., Germany, and Denmark – actually, every other advanced country except France.
This is a subject that was discussed on this blog in January in the proposition for an Energy Backed Currency. In EBC, the government controls spending but income comes in solely through energy sales, removing their ability to tinker on that end. Currently the fiscal policy is like a ship with rudders at each end. The actions at one end can be negated by actions at the other and they can do sneaky things like redistributing wealth at the taxation end but calling it okay because they didn't increase spending.
In addition, the more we are in debt, the less stable we are as an investment, which makes companies and other countries value our currency lower than it could be.
Why should we worry about being a foreign investment? When foreign countries invest in America, they own a part of us. We lose a part of our sovereignty. America is rich enough that it isn't starving for foreign investments. And why would we want other countries to value our currency? Driving up the dollar hurts our manufacturing and other export sectors, furthering the state of America as a nation that doesn't make things, and is forgetting how to make things. Foreign entities acquiring our currency is the same as us acquiring debt. How does, say, China, acquire dollars? They trade real value for them, in the form of goods and services. At any time, China can use its dollars to extract real wealth back out of America. Thus we are in debt to whoever holds our currency, and have lost some of our sovereignty.
This leaves the US with two grim choices, which Trump is brave enough to take on where no other American politicians will:

1. Default and lose currency value, or
2. Cut social programs and pay off the debt

Our present path leads to the first option. At some point, we will simply have borrowed too much. The experts will tell us that since our debt service is still under 10% of the budget, we are doing fine, but the real effects will be secondary. Our currency will lose value, we will lose prestige, and our government will be manipulated by foreign debtors.
The first option is indeed the only real option. US debt is sure to implode at some point. In addition to this, the vast sums of US currency in foreign exchange reserves means that, if there is ever a run on the dollar, foreign entities will unload their dollars as fast as possible, sucking wealth back out of the US. The only way to prevent that scenario will be for the US to debase the dollar, and to do so while we're strong enough, militarily, to get away with it. The causal chain of currency devalued $$\rightarrow$$ manipulated by foreign debtors is not sound. No, devaluing the currency will be the only way to reduce manipulation by foreign debtors.

From here out Steven's transitions from economics to a political discussion.
For those on the Alt Right, a transition to minimal American government — funding military and infrastructure alone, and leaving everything else to the states — would be an optimal scenario. With the fall of entitlements, diversity also will fall, and with that, the economic model of the circular Ponzi scheme will fail. At that point, the US will politically fragment as it already has socially.
Agreed, this is the ideal outcome, and one in which we might even get some help from some on the left, as long as they don't think we're agreeing with them on anything.

I read Brett Stevens almost daily. My biggest gripe is that he writes so much it is hard to keep up with it (not the worst gripe in the world, to be sure), but when you see these kinds of economic fallacies mixed in you have to wonder what else is askew. The bigger point here is that even the smartest guys out there misspeak about the economy. If you, the reader, understand the criticisms made here and start seeing them for yourself in the wild, then you understand economic reality better than the vast majority of Americans, which is knowledge that may one day work well in your favor.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Label Warfare

If Alex Jones ever got anything right it was in calling his organization Infowars. We are in the midst of a heated information war. Ideally this would be a battle of ideas, but in practice it is a war of labels. Each side seeks to assign labels in such a way as to display moral superiority to the other. Some labels are apt and defensible, while others are outright farcical. Labels are deployed as weapons, and some become rendered useless in battle and must be replaced.

Generally the left is more active in this domain than the right, but also less effective. They must rely on weaponized labeling as they tend to fare poorly in the marketplace of ideas. Their ideas are easy to repudiate, and they aren't very good at arguing to begin with, because they haven't really had to. The liberal narrative has been the unofficial state religion for some time now, and they been able to get away saturation and shaming rather than engaging in logic.

We see that the left constantly has to rebrand themselves as their self ascribed labels become burdensome. Sometimes the labels are degraded by the right, but more often they are soiled by the left's own behaviors. A few years ago liberal became something of a dirty word, thanks to constant attack from conservative radio. So liberals started calling themselves progressives. Progressive had a positive connotation, and depicted their push forward in their linear worldview. It's an excellent label, but they've ruined it. Progressive is the term used by 3rd wave feminists, intersectionality psuedo-intellectuals, and street-brawling anarchists. Most people these days associate progressives with radical communist revolutionaries. It's interesting watching some on the left call themselves progressives to avoid the negative stigma of the term liberal created by conservatives, while many moderates seek to assure us they are liberals, to avoid the negative stigma given to the term progressives gave to their own term. They are in a position of defining themselves by what they are not. The Z Man has written extensively on the dangers of negative identity, or defining oneself on what they are not, in posts such as The Anti-Man.

The left rebrands any of their pet projects that become soiled. They frame illegal aliens as undocumented immigrants. The right has made the obvious rebuttals, calling shoplifters undocumented purchasers and so on. Negroes became colored and then black and then African-Americans and then black again. Now many say "people of color" which is just another way of saying colored. The left has had a lot of success dubbing the economic refugees storming Europe as refugees, making it nearly impossible to turn them back as the preferred label portrays them as victims who face certain death in their home countries. (Never mind that it's all young men who have left the rest behind.) They have also managed to label any identity they dislike (white, male, straight, Christian, etc) as privileged. While it hasn't garnered mainstream adoption like some other terms, it has given them an easy way to dismiss anyone they want.

The left engages in what I would call loose labels, or labels they can ascribe to themselves that apply to nearly everyone. Recently I heard a musician say he was a feminist because as a father/son/brother he could not allow his daughter/mother/sister to be degraded. Well that's a hell of a loose definition. Who wants to see their mother, daughter, or sister degraded? Feminists defend their position by pretending the definition is something that has universal approval. This musician practices up to 17 hours a day and is fairly successful. I wonder if he supports the notion that a bunch of the money he makes be taken and given to a mediocre female musician who practices an hour a day. Because that's what feminists actually want to do. And they also have a tendency to degrade themselves in public. He should just raise his daughters not to be feminists.

More often than not their labels fail. They can't call themselves Marxists anymore, or Communists, even though that's what they are. Cultural Marxist is considered a pejorative, as is their own invented phrase "social justice warrior." While Bernie was big they defended the term social democrat, not knowing, it would seem, the original name of the Russian Communist Party. [The Russian communists also rose to power through label warfare. Bolshevik just means majority in Russian. The battle between the Bolshevik and Mensheviks was over before it started.] The left has become exceptionally bad at labeling their opponents as of late, resorting to the worst names that practitioners of the progressive cult can imagine: racist, sexist, Nazi, anti-semitic, Nazi, and a whole slew of hate-based terms. These terms mostly only serve to radicalize themselves, which probably doesn't bode well for their long-term success.

The right doesn't engage so much in labels but doesn't fail as much either. Mostly it's enough just to call the leftists whatever they call themselves, and they will generate the negative connotations for us. We spend more time deconstructing and sabotaging their labels than we do creating our own. One area where the right really hit a home run was in the term Pro-Life. This has been almost impossible for the left to counter, and is a powerful tool in rallying Christian votes. The countering Pro-Choice label just doesn't have the same gusto. During last year's March for Life in Washington DC that news orgs were using the term anti-abortion instead of pro-life. By choosing to use a negative definition for the marchers rather than their own term for themselves, the enormous bias of the media was revealed, showing the power of the label.

One conservative label that has acquired a negative connotation is neocon. But then again, neocon was never really a conservative label at all. It was the label that imperialists gave themselves to get conservative votes, and was ruined by their failed foreign interventionism. Other negative terms have come from the right itself, by calling liberals posing as conservatives RINOs and cuckservatives.

All this brings us to the alt-right. It was a label given to conservatives who wished to separate themselves from the establishment right; from the neocons and the corporate globalists and the National Review. It was dangerously close to a negative identity to begin with. It was also an abused term. The left found the most radical component of the alt-right and used that to try to attack Trump with. (Hillary's anti-alt-right speech wondrously backfired.) It's worrisome now that the term has finally become a burden, and was done so by members of the alt-right in Charlottesville. While the left instigated the violence, the world now associates the alt-right with yokels popping off Nazi salutes. The brand is all but ruined. We find ourselves in the position of having to rebrand, just like the left always has to do. What can we say, that the Nazi saluters aren't alt-right? They certainly fit the definition of non-establishment right-wingers. So now we're forced to do what we should have been doing already: providing positive identity labels of what we are, rather than negative labels of what we are not.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Futility of Right-Wing Political Activism

The big news this weekend seems to have been the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. The major story is an incident that a right-wing activist ran his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. The narrative, of course, is that this was a deliberate attack. If so, there is not much to say about the media's rampant hypocrisy, as they've already been expertly skewered by Ann Coulter. However, this case isn't even equivalent to the incidents of Islamic attacks she compares to because it appears that the driver was under attack first (there is a video showing his car hit with a baseball bat before he accelerates into the crowd). It seems that the driver is likely to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter at worst, a far cry from the pre-meditated mass murders carried out by "Allahu Ackbar" chanting Islamists.

The rest of the rally is somewhat as predicted. Right-wing marchers were forced to get permits; Antifa and their ilk did not need permits to counter protest. Police did not protect the permitted activists from lefty violence, yet the right-wingers took 100% of the blame when they returned the violence or acted in self-defense. Any moral infraction by a right-winger was broadcast at full signal strength and decreed as representative of the whole group. Any moral infraction by a lefty was ignored as much as possible and characterized as an isolated incident committed by someone not really affiliated with the larger group. In short, street activism is a domain that fully and completely favors the left.

Which brings up the obvious question: why even bother with it? What exactly is the goal here? I nearly wrote against the Unite the Right March last week, because I didn't see the point. But it seemed harmless, at least, so I left it alone. Well, it's not harmless. Every other time these people organize, the alt-right spends weeks in damage control. Unite the Right as a public demonstration theme was doomed to failure. Because, guess what, there are Nazis on the right. Maybe they're not real Nazis, maybe they're just being edgy carrying a swastika flag, but in either case, those are some of the people we are supposed to be uniting with. If you have 10,000 right-wing demonstrators and one of them has a Nazi flag, what do you have? 10,000 Nazi militants, at least in the eyes of the public. Any why shouldn't that be the case? If the alt-right is okay with marching with a Nazi flag, or kids throwing out "Roman" salutes, then they will be identified with that symbolism.

The unwanted symbolism is being associated with the alt-right because no one is following the advice given in To Save the Alt Right, Punch Right. What is the point of having Richard Spencer or Baked Alaska on board if all they do is cause us trouble? We'd be better off without them. Punch right. What is the point of having supporters so dedicated they'll risk personal injury to march in the streets of Charlottesville Virginia, but they only serve to give the left a concrete instantiation on which to focus their abundant hate? We'd be better off without them. Punch right. This is the reason why Milo refused to be designated as a leader of the alt-right. (Well one of several). Giving them something concrete gives them an attack surface. It violates the principle of assume formlessness. And it violates the principles recommended on this blog in The Resolution of Ideology. These people think that if they take the full-spectrum ideological signal and make it public enough, they will win the war of ideas. They are seriously misguided, and leaders of the alt-right are not doing enough to keep these amateurs in check.

Marchers do nothing to advance our interests. Perhaps they fuel energy within the movement, but are these really the people we want to be highly energized? What moderate ever realized the failures of progressivism because they saw some flag-waving white trash walking through the streets? They are not helping us at all. In fact, the people who are helping us are mostly mainstream persuaders. Rush Limbaugh does more for us than these marchers could ever do. Having conservatism associated with Nazi salutes and vehicular manslaughter makes it impossible for them to continue their work. Everyone is now playing defense, instead of what we have been doing, slowly turning the tide in the marketplace of ideas and reclaiming the cultural institutions.

Worst of all, these activities feel like the things the lefties do, which means they must be wrong somehow since liberals are always wrong about everything. Liberals organize protests and complain in the streets. Conservatives go to work and raise families. Marches are shows of force. They are the democratic equivalent of military processions. In more autocratic regimes, the military is marched through town to say look how strong your rulers are; don't even think about rebelling. Similarly, political movements put on marches to show how strong they are, how many votes they command. A march makes sense from a position of strength.

The alt-right does not operate from a position of strength. It is an upstart political movement, even if conservatism is nothing new. It is an insurgency. It needs to start thinking like one. Successful insurgencies do not parade through town when they are outgunned. They would get demolished in the war of bullets, just as the Unite the Right marchers are now being trounced in the war of propaganda. I may start a series on successful insurgencies and how they might correlate to the arena of public opinion, as that seems to be a discussion that is either not being had or is being ignored.

In the meantime, the major takeaway should be this. One of the core principles of the alt-right is the existence of a natural human hierarchy, in opposition to the left's notion of "equity" (i.e. communism). If the alt-right practiced what it preached, none of this would have ever been an issue. No one affiliated with the march would have been permitted to don Nazi garb or flash Roman salutes, at the direction of wiser leaders-in-charge. Actually, the march would have been nixed altogether, because it was stupid in principle. If the alt-right can't even implement a functional hierarchy in its own ranks, how can it ever hope to do so in a largely hostile society? They need to get their house in order and very quick-like. The movement has nearly been destroyed for failing to practice what it preaches.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

More On Moron Google

This Google memo debacle has been nothing short of amazing to watch. A smart, soft-spoken politically moderate engineer wrote an internal memo describing how Google was not taking the best approach towards the shared goal of building a working environment that is diverse, inclusive, and, more specifically, female friendly. For that, his memo was blasted by the media as right-wing sexist bigotry, the media engaged in the most egregious lie-telling, and his employer publicly denounced him as dangerous and summarily fired him without even the pretense of due process.

How do you know your society is dominated by a cult of lies? When soft-spoken, private truths are amplified into national fits of outrage. Let's look at some examples of the sheer mendacity at play here.

Gizmodo first broke the story, where they set the tone by dubbing the memo as an Anti-Diversity Screed. Despite the fraudulent title, the article actually gives the memo a reasonably fair shake.
In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.
Of course, they seem to have missed the very first sentence of the memo as they posted it:
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.
Googler: I value diversity.
Gizmodo: That's anti-diversity!!!

The Guardian chimed in with their piece, Fired Google memo writer gives first big interviews to rightwing YouTubers. I'll concede that Molyneux could be called right-wing these days, but Peterson? What is the basis for that?
Damore – who argued in his memo that “biological” differences between men and women contribute to the gender gap in the tech industry – gave lengthy video interviews to Stefan Molyneux and Jordan B Peterson, who both have large followings on YouTube and have espoused anti-feminist views.
Oh, there it is. If you aren't a 3rd wave feminist you're right-wing. Look at the quote they use to qualify the memo. "biological." That's it. One word. It's just about the longest quote I've actually seen from the memo. They don't dare quote an entire statement. Because it would come off as too rational. So they just describe it however they want, using a single word quoted from the memo to make it appear to be properly sourced.
One former Harvard student, who was in the systems biology program at the same time as Damore, told the Guardian that it was not surprising to find out he was the author of the controversial manifesto, which was widely criticized for relying on shoddy science.

“His comments do not reflect the ability to read literature critically that a typical Harvard student develops over the course of actually completing a PhD,” the former classmate said.

Damore’s views, the source said, made him an outlier in the department, which values diversity.

“It’s pretty unusual someone would have those opinions and be stupid enough to voice them,” the former classmate said. “Part of me worries that he got into some dark corner of the internet.”
Again, Damore literally states in the first three words that he values diversity. This couldn't be a more blatantly false critique if it tried. It's like reviewing The Cat in the Hat and stating, "I'd prefer a book about a cat in a hat." We also have the insinuation that he relied on shoddy science. His external references were previously compiled on this blog here. Sources include, but are not limited to:

The Atlantic
Wikipedia
The New Yorker
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
British Journal of Guidance & Counselling
The Wall Street Journal
The New Yorker
Scientific American
Psychology Today
Boston Review
Perspectives on Psychological Science
Association for Psychological Science

When the same lefties condemning Damore's referenced science start criticizing the (mostly liberal) sources he referenced, then we can at least give them credit for consistency and move on with the debate. But until they do so, the situation is apparent. Science is the holiest sacred word unless quoted by a conservative (or someone merely defending conservatives), in which case it becomes "shoddy." We can't have a debate with people expressing blatant intellectual dishonesty. Also note that the classmate doesn't say it's stupid to have those facts opinions, but that it's stupid to voice them. Everyone knows that the liberal orthodoxy is a cult that seeks to punish dissent.

Google's Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance (i.e. Social Justice) was also compelled to virtue signal show leadership. From Fortune:
Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I'm not going to link to it here as it's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.
Can you take a moment to appreciate how fucking insane this is? "I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender." Okay but, which one? Which of the 22 linked sources is faulty? Do journals or media outlets need to issue retractions? Do the institutions of the researchers need to take action? What is actually the thing that is wrong here, and what further action is required, oh head of governance?

"I'm not going to link to it here as it's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages." Holy child's argument. If you don't know why I'm mad I'm not going to tell you. Like The Guardian, she doesn't dare reference arguments made from the article, because there is no way to quote it to make it look unreasonable. It's so offensive I must shield you from its horrible power, is merely the excuse to avoid anything that smells like truth or logic. This is the Vice President of Integrity. Anyone know how to short Google stock in the long run?
Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.
Oh boy, I bet Googlers are lining up to share their differing views and political opinions. Why don't you feel safe sharing? Just because we publicly degraded and fired that other guy? Note the cop-out, that views must comply with the Code of Conduct. But she's not even attempted to explain how it violated the Code of Conduct; hasn't recited a single sentence or a single fact cited in the memo. They decided they don't like it overall, thus it violates the Code. You're free to share alternate views that don't violate the Code of Conduct. Also, all alternate view violate the Code of Conduct.

To be fair, the CEO did make an attempt at this in his initial response.
Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being “agreeable” rather than “assertive,” showing a “lower stress tolerance,” or being “neurotic.”
The source of those facts is here, done by American, Estonian, and Austrian researchers and published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Is this study faulty? Should it be retracted? Should researchers be forbidden from determining gender correlation with psychological measurements? Is referencing those studies to make your company more hospitable to all genders really a violation of the Code of Conduct, and, if so, doesn't that seem a bit self-defeating?

The Google CEO made another statement:
First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.
Much of the memo is fair to debate? I agree. But, like the VP of Social Justice, he insists that portions of the memo violate the Code of Conduct by "advancing harmful gender stereotypes." Which. Fucking. Portions? Which statements or cited facts were the offensive ones then? Which research institutions are producing these fraudulent hate facts, and which publications are promoting them? He mentioned some before, then decided not to. I wonder why.

Just like fish swimming in water, these people so accustomed to navigating a web of lies and deceit that they don't even realize it anymore. These are Fake People. Someone's blog, maybe it was Brett Stevens, put forth the notion that democracies inherently lead to this kind of mass delusion. In a democracy, the only way to be important is to be popular, and the only way to be popular is to tell people the little lies they want to hear. At some point we become so accustomed to the sound of lies, and so immune to the resulting cognitive dissonance, that truth starts to sound strange. People don't understand it and are upset by the truth. And, as Mr. Damore's old college contemporary rightfully states, you'd be stupid to voice it.

Mr Damore is not really conservative. He shares the values the left cherishes. Diversity, inclusion, etc. If he was truly conservative he would not really hold those values to begin with. Instead, he attempted to use reasoning to help the left advance those goals more effectively, and they've done everything to destroy him for it. Being a liberal and a truth seeker are no longer compatible behaviors. Objective liberals and moderates have only two choices. They can abandon their desire for truth and recite falsehood to gain social status on the left. Or they can change their values and join us on the reactionary right. The irrational left is driving the schism, we are responding to it. The left may control the public narrative, for now, but they also push the best & brightest in our direction, and they put us on the side of objective truth. And doesn't the truth inevitably win out?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Google Hatefacts

Here is a collection of 22 hatefacts referenced by James Damore in his infamous Google memo. They mostly are references to scientific literature, or sources that reference the relevant literature, or are pieces out of the left's own media outlets.

These are the biological realities that Google CEO Sundar Pichai describes as "advancing dangerous stereotypes." As such, we demand that all investigators, authors, and publishers related to the following links be publicly identified, retract their works, and step down from the positions in which they serve. It's time for the scientific community and liberal media to stop advancing dangerous stereotypes.


Google Hatefact 1
Mainstream media outlets politically left of center
Link

Google Hatefact 2
Sex differences in psychology
Link

Google Hatefact 3
Women prone to empathizing over systemizing
Link
Link

Google Hatefact 4
Women score moderately higher than men in neuroticism (anxiety, stress)
Link

Google Hatefact 5
Greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits
Link

Google Hatefact 6
Men Suffer 93% of work-related deaths
Link

Google Hatefact 7
Competitiveness and self-reliance disadvantaged in education
Link

Google Hatefact 8
Women prefer a work-life balance
Link

Google Hatefact 9
Diversity programs can increase race and gender tensions
Link

Google Hatefact 10
The left is doing more than the right to set back scientific progress
Link

Google Hatefact 11
95% of the humanities and social sciences lean left
Link

Google Hatefact 12
Enormous confirmation bias in the social sciences
Link

Google Hatefact 13
Men paid more for a variety of reasons
Link

Google Hatefact 14
Political correctness constrains discourse
Link

Google Hatefact 15
Moralizing an issue halts cost/benefit analysis
Link

Google Hatefact 16
Conservatives alienated in field of psychology
Link

Google Hatefact 17
Conservative professors fake liberal political beliefs to avoid workplace hostility
Link

Google Hatefact 18
Conservatives score higher in conscientiousness
Link

Google Hatefact 19
Excess empathy causes us to overvalue anecdote and harbor biases
Link

Google Hatefact 20
Microaggression training equates words with violence
Link

Google Hatefact 21
Evidence does not support the premise of microaggressions
Link

Google Hatefact 22
Stereotypes more accurate and open to new information than training suggests
Link



Monday, August 7, 2017

Shots Fired in the War on Biology

I have been anticipating that the left would eventually begin attacking three academic fields: biology, evolutionary pysch, and anthropology. The first two are because they will reject any scientific results that imply a biological basis for gender, race, or sexual behaviors. The last one has recently been added as I've learned about the social brain hypothesis for the evolution of human intelligence, which makes the case that it was internecine competition, not ecological pressures, that drove the emergence of intellect. Liberals will seek to dismiss or silence any result that shines a positive light on human competition.

As expected, Google has fired the engineer who dared to distribute a memo questioning the effectiveness of the social-justice monoculture for "advancing gender stereotypes." The CEO signaled the firing with a memo sent out today, which includes the following snippet:
To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects “each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.”

The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being “agreeable” rather than “assertive,” showing a “lower stress tolerance,” or being “neurotic.”
The war on biology is now underway. Biological results will not be tolerated in Gootopia. I hate to delve into credentialism, as the arguments made by the engineer should stand alone, but they are very juicy here. Not only did the memo include numerous references to scientific literature, but the author himself has a PhD from Harvard -- the favored lefty institution -- in Systems Biology!


To quote a commenter on Steve Sailor's post, Google Fires Honest Man Pour Encourager Les Autres:
They said that if DRUMPF got elected we’d have scientists silenced just for speaking out against the grain, and they were right!
The author of the memo was making the observation (a risky activity these days) that the differing outcomes between genders are more explained by different inclinations and capabilities of the genders as measured through scientific inquiry rather than some vast culture of institutionalized oppression. Common sense has long been under assault, and now the scientific world is as well. Liberals must by their very nature destroy anyone promoting uncomfortable objective truth, as they are in a constant struggle to reject it. We are at the point where the statement women tend to have vaginas could put one at risk of termination for advancing gender stereotypes.

The good thing is the truth must prevail, eventually, one way or another. (Although, how we get there can be the difference between simple honest debate or wholesale tyranny followed by inevitable social collapse.) It's hard to know if this engineer was very naive thinking he could influence liberals through logic and proper scientific rigor, or if he knew the score but was courageous enough to declare battle anyway. Probably more of the naivety, but we'll be hearing plenty of his side of things to be sure. The fact that Google fired him so swiftly only serves to underscore his case, and to give this thing huge exposure, huge-redpilling potential. They didn't even wait the measly 2-3 days for the news cycle to move one, let alone give the illusion of bureaucratic due process. He said dissent to the sjw monoculture was not to be tolerated (not his language), and they proved him correct. This only goes to show that Google is a fully converged institution. It is a political organization first, followed by its role in providing IT services to the public.

Google will fall. Slowly, but it's death sentence has been signed. Now would be a good time to think about business ventures that might compete with Google's products, as they are now severely handicapped to properly compete in a reality-based competitive market. Rational and observant (i.e. evil) white males will start looking for the exits, leaving only the rabid feminists who don't actually contribute to the code base. And it's not much to begin with. I've only had limited exposure, but I did once try using their open source Google Test library, written in C++, which I wanted to modify a bit for the output I needed from the test results. The code was not at all written in a modular way to allow for expansion. I tried to tease it apart to do so, but it was such a tangled web I had to abandon the task. In short, the code was very poorly designed, if you could call it designed at all. The hype is real over there. [And would seem to confirm Damore's assertion that Google's culture is one of individual heroes (favors the boys) versus collaborative teamwork (favors the girls). Team code is more likely to be modular, because that's the only way to do parallel workloads in a project.]

If you are interested in the leftist war against scientific results and objective facts, I've started keeping a list at https://voat.co/v/hatefacts. If you're on voat I encourage you to contribute, if you like.

UPDATE: looks like Slate is going after evolutionary psychology too, as predicted. http://www.unz.com/isteve/it-cant-be-hate-speech-against-white-men-because-you-deserve-it/

Contradictions in the Ctrl Right?

A key difference between liberals and conservatives is we believe in a more traditional social arrangement based on natural hierarchies. The alt-right, being very conservative, tends to be more intense in its desire for a return to hierarchy, to the point of being anti-democratic and desiring a political structure based on aristocracy or even monarchy. Brett Stevens is one such advocate:
[P]eople choose what is more convenient for them, at the expense of civilization and nature, every time. This means that we need a force to intervene and force civilization at large to do what is right, because its impulse is to do otherwise unless such an intervention occurs.
Our major complaint with the left is that it ultimately boils down to a movement for centralized social and political control, under their terms. In fact, we dub them the "Ctrl Left" for just that reason. Just the other day this blog stated:
For every liberal opinion, there is advocacy for state control of other people's behavior.
That doesn't seem all that different from "force civilization to do what is right." Are we hypocrites for condemning their program of social control, while advocating our own? Let's first look at this through the lens of the Law of Canceling Hypocrisy, postulated on this blog, which states:
Hypocrisy is not a valid argument against hypocrisy. Perceived hypocrisy is immaterial if the accuser must engage in hypocrisy to make the case.
There are two ways we might attack the Ctrl Left. First would be the application of straightforward partisanship. Wars are ultimately fought this way. It's bad if the Nazis bomb England, but it's okay if we bomb Nazis. It's bad if the left tries to control society, because they will ruin it. It's good if the right tries to control society, because we will save it. Such an argument is fine, but it does put us on an even moral footing with the left. We'd prefer to have the superior position.

The second viewpoint is that we point out that the left is controlling to call them out on their own bullshit. The ideological core of the left is that there is an oppressor class (i.e. the controllers) and a victim class. The left purports to free people from control, yet in action everything is about government control of behavior. Thus, hypocrisy. But the right can't condemn the liberals for seeking to control society since that's what they do. The rule of canceling hypocrisy applies.

The difference may be that, as long as the right is open about their intentions, and they don't make the implication that a drive for social control is implicitly evil, then they are not committing hypocrisy, but merely stating a fact. If I'm a serial killer on death row, it would by hypocritical to declare the Hillary is wicked because she killed Seth Rich. But it would not be hypocrisy to merely state as fact that Hillary did indeed kill Seth Rich. If we are trying to "force civilization to do what is right", then we can't condemn the left for doing the same, but we can point out that social control is their intent no matter how nicely they dress it up, and that their version of control will destroy all the good things our society has built. In this case we take the superior moral position. They seek to control civilization just as we do, except we don't lie about.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Case for Cruelty

I saw a great guitarist this weekend, Michael Chapdelaine, an accomplished classical guitarist who is most noted for his fantastic pop covers. It was a house party in a small living room, so there was a lot of interaction between performer and audience. The first thing I noticed about him, right when he walked into the room, was how calm he is. He seemed totally at ease and free of anxiety. It wasn't very surprising when later he mentioned he is a practicing Zen Buddhist. I don't know much about Buddhism, but this isn't the first time I've met someone who radiates inner peace and later found out they were a Buddhist. We can't be sure if Buddhism truly guides people to tranquility or if tranquil people are simply drawn to Buddhism (likely both are true to some degree), but there seems to be something to it.

Tranquil people are really worth their weight in gold. They're the types you want to surround yourself with, while keeping the dramatic people at arm's length. Anxiety is contagious. We see that all the time. One person emits anxiety and the uneases ripples through the group like a wave, with an uptick in fidgeting, foot tapping, and throat clearing. Tranquil people are anxiety neutralizers. They're like baking soda in the freezer, or an active carbon filter. When they're around, everyone else feels at ease. Ideally, every social gathering should have one of these types present. (Otherwise alcohol is the typical substitute.)

Whatever your thoughts are on religion or Buddhism, this man was spiritually enlightened. On this blog we're typically concerned with intellectual enlightenment. Human nature is a triad composed of mind, body, and spirit, which is approximated in Christianity with God the Father, the omnipotent; Jesus, the physical incarnation; and the Holy Spirit. Most people believe we need to live with each in equal proportion for proper balance. Christianity would seem to imply an ordering. God is foremost, followed by the son, and the Holy Spirit playing a more minor role. Given the spiritual wisdom of Jesus, the order of importance overall is really Mind > Spirit > Body. Intellectual enlightenment is the most important component of the three because intellect is the unique gift given to humans. All things have a physical embodiment, and many animals display emotion, but intellect is the sole domain of humans. To call intellect no more important than physical well-being or emotional concerns is to resist one's own humanity. Genesis makes the point very clear. Mankind did not emerge thanks to the Tree of Physical Health or the Tree of Spirituality, but the Tree of Knowledge.

At some point during the performance, the guitarist was talking about how his favorite arrangements were those that conveyed songs that had a component of anger too them. (He's quite fond of Somebody That I Used to Know.) He said he had learned to embrace the full range of human emotions, including anger, except that he just couldn't comprehend humans' ability or propensity to be cruel to each other. This seems to be a common condition for thoughtful or enlightened people. It is the great tragedy of humanity, that we could build so much and then destroy it through war. The key component of this is frustration. It seems so irrational. But there is an order to this. We can't escape the cruelty paradox, but with deeper wisdom we can at least soothe the frustration. Cruelty has played an important role for humans, and, surprising as it may sound, we would not be here without it.


The Social Brain Hypothesis is the leading theory from anthropology for the evolution of human intelligence, and argues that the primary selective pressure was internal, not ecological. Most people would likely assume we evolved from ecological pressures. For example, to survive under predation by lions, or harsh environmental conditions. Yet these kinds of pressures face nearly all organisms, and all have evolved much simpler solutions than the human brain, which is by far the most complex structure in the known universe, and which comes with costs. It has extreme energy requirements makes childbirth difficult and risky.

The social brain hypothesis posits that the primary evolutionary force on intelligence was other humans. There are two aspects to this. First, humans are tribal, and human tribes are complex. Those at the top acquire better reproduction opportunities, but getting to the top requires the cognitive ability to navigate the complex social situation. The second aspect is that smarter tribes are likely to displace duller tribes. The uncomfortable aspect of evolution that people prefer to ignore is that it requires death by competition. The prairie grasses that give Illinois its nickname prospered at the expense of the oak forests that preceded them in wetter times. The Megalodon was driven to extinction by sharks and killer whales. And nearly every tribe or nation on earth that occupies some location displaced other people that were there first. Certainly intelligence yields an advantage in tribal and national rivalries, and there is empirical evidence to support it. For instance, Indo-Europeans, who birthed the most successful nations in history, displaced the Neolithic farmers of Europe and modern genetic testing shows they are indeed more intelligent than those they displaced. The Indo-Europeans also had an advantage as they were the first to domesticate the horse, but we assume greater intelligence yields a greater rate of technological progress. The Neolithic farmers themselves dominated thanks to their invention of agriculture. We should suspect they were more intelligent than whoever they replaced.

At any rate, the theory provides a reason for cruelty. If more intelligent tribes did not displace and kill less intelligent tribes, human intelligence would not have improved much. Without improved intelligence we'd not have agriculture or writing or beautiful classical guitar compositions. In Genesis, the Tree of Knowledge was provided by God, but in reality the tree was paid for by many thousands of years of men killing each other for access to resources and women. This doesn't sound like a revelation the should ease the consciences of men pondering the great tragedy of human cruelty, but in fact it should. Knowing there is a cruelty paradox is a much better position than frustrated grappling with the question of why cruelty should exist at all. We can deal with paradoxes. Duality of nature seems to be the norm and, as mentioned here before, if you find yourself in some field of thought that embodies no duality, tradeoffs, or paradoxes, then either you don't understand the field adequately or there is an opportunity to make a breakthrough in that field.

Mr Chapdelaine is comfortable with the range of human emotions, including anger. That is because we understand that the dark emotions, while dangerous in abundance, can also be dangerous if absent. This seems to be a fundamental principle of psychology. We strive for a balance of emotions, not the removal of bad emotions and the forced imposition of good emotions. (Although in America a lot of people demand just that.) Look at anger. What is the role of anger? Too much anger is bad, and we see those results all the time. But anger plays an important role. It causes us to act in the face of great injustice or incompetence, and to defend what is good. Think of a man that never gets angry, even if his wife or children are at risk of harm. We would never say his lack of anger was a virtue. Everyone would despise such a man and call him a coward of the lowest order. Likewise, a tribe that didn't express anger would be quickly destroyed by a tribe that did. We know that there is a healthy expression of anger, and extremes in either direction are dangerous and immoral.

The same must be true for cruelty. The great accomplishments of humanity require an intelligent and stable society. If building such a society was easy, then it would be easy. But it's not easy. It requires sacrifice, work, a general sense of morality, and leadership willing to make difficult decisions and to engage in cruelty when necessary. A tribe that decides to forbid cruelty will degrade and be replaced by a tribe that embraces it. It's no surprise the western countries are being invaded by Muslims. It's the natural way of things, given the current co of the two civilizations.

The question isn't is cruelty permissible? but, rather, in this instance do the benefits of cruelty outweight the costs? Let's look at America as an example. No one can deny that whites were cruel to the Amerindians. We do debate on extent; for instance, the mainstream narrative tends to overstate the genocidal nature of Europeans while understating the primitive and barbaric nature of most of the Indian tribes; but ultimately the Amerindians were cruelly displaced by an invading tribe. The costs are immense. But what of the benefits? Would America, or the world, be a better place if Europeans had landed and said "Oh my, looks like some people are here already, better turn those boats around," instead of building a nation that has exported democratic ideals to the world, exported technology that has dramatically risen the standard of living of virtually every person on the planet, and created an era of Pax Americana, an unusual period of time where the primary causes of death are not violence and starvation? In most of the world these days you're more likely to die from too much food! That is truly incredible.

You could hardly say this in our society without being demonized, but I believe the wholesale displacement of the natives was worth the cruelty cost, just as the near eradication of Neolithic farmers by Indo-Europeans was, overall, beneficial to humanity, and just as we benefited by the Neolithic farmers displacing their predecessors, and so on. What if America had compromised, and instead blended with the natives? Well that was the outcome for all countries in the Americas besides the US & Canada. (After that Argentina is closest.) None of those countries has profoundly benefited the world. (Unless maybe we count bossa nova. 😃)

Like all emotions, the human propensity for cruelty plays a vital role. It fits into the Ying & Yang of human morality, just like everything else. The fact that people find so much cruelty to complain about in our society means that either (a) our society is indeed excessively cruel, or (b) those people have an unhealthy dismissal of cruelty as a natural aspect of building and maintaining an advanced society. I suggest our civilizational malady is of the second variety. The typical westerner recoils at the thought of any sort of cruelty. We are as unbalanced as the man who never rises to anger, not even in the face of grave injustices or harm to his family. If we don't learn to responsibly apply cruelty from an intellectual perspective, then we will be eventually forced to do so out of pragmatism. And if still we find ourselves unable to do so, we will simply be replaced. This is all perfectly natural.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sabotage & the Deep State Cult

The war between Trump and the bureaucracy/media (i.e. the deep state) rages on. Today the Washington Post ran with full leaked transcripts from Trump's state conversations early in his tenure. This is internal sabotage on a scale never seen before. Sure the Republican Congress was obstructionist against Obama, but never did he have private state discussions leaked wholesale to the press. No, that idiot had to jabber into a hot microphone for his conversations with foreign dignitaries to be revealed to the public.

There are two forces working against Trump here: institutional inertia and questions of trust. The first is just what we expect. Trump is an outsider and a government reformist. He doesn't have an established political machine to draw from, and he faces resistance from a behemoth state that doesn't want to be reformed. If the system was easy to reform, it wouldn't need to be reformed.

But the even more profound problem here is a matter of trust. How can he know who to trust?  This is an area where we are completely outmatched by the left. Why? Because the left is a cult. Recalling from Religions, Cults, and the Alt-Right, which gave one definition of a religion is an organization where members profess logically improbable beliefs to gain acceptance. A cult demands purity. It is a religion characterized by a virtue spiral, wherein the more improbable one's beliefs, the more social status one acquires within the organization. Look at today's other big headline: Man gives birth to baby boy. These people are clearly trying to outdo each other.

A religion may be a type of a more general organization where people engage in self-harm to signal loyalty. Call it a trust signaling network. Think of the monks of old engaged in self-flagellation, or Jesus fasting in the desert. Stating logically improbable beliefs is a form of self-harm: it opens one up to ridicule from outsiders. Engaging in socially taboo behaviors is a form of self-harm because it puts one at risk of ostracization or punishment from the larger society. Which brings us to the deep state elites. How do they signal loyalty to the in-group? At the higher levels, by participating in occult rituals and pedophilia. If you've seen Bob worshipping Moloch at Bohemian Grove, spirit cooking with Marina Abramovic, and diddling children at Jeffrey Epstein's Lolita Island, you can be pretty sure he isn't a traitor to your cause. Here we see the value of a cult. There are many downsides (e.g., it can be destroyed by its own virtual spiral), but the major benefit is that it serves as a trust network. The cult trickles down through the entirety of the organization. For instance, if you're a liberal Democrat president, you can be fairly sure that, if an intern says that a woman with a hormonally induced beard is a man who can give birth, they aren't going to leak your private conversations to the Washington Post.

They have the advantage that their most dangerous signaling is done in secret. Trump doesn't know if Bob has secretly proven his loyalty to the liberal elites through salacious behavior. It is possible to infiltrate their organizations, as shown by Project Veritas, but getting to the higher levels would take years or even decades, which would require a large and persistent political machine to accomplish. The right doesn't have the benefit of secrecy because the left uses the largest and most persistent political machine there is  -- the state -- to infiltrate right-wing trust circles. 25% of the Oregon standoff militia were informants. I think of the joke that there are no Ku Klux Klan members anymore, just FBI agents who don't know the others are also under cover.

As it turns out, the alt-right doesn't need to build shadowy institutions to determine its trust circles. We can just let the left do the job for us. Look at what's happening with the leaks. A lot of people think McMaster is leaking. Many others think it's Priebus. Both men were plucked from the established political machine. No one thinks Bannon is the leaker because we know the press hates Bannon. There is a simple heuristic here: if the media hates someone and Politifact gives them "Pants on Fire" ratings, they can be trusted. If the media rushes to defend someone, they're traitors. Look at McCain.

If Trump wants to hold off the deep state sabotage he needs to start ejecting everyone the media does not despise. In fact, being despised by the media should be the number one job qualification. Scaramucci went overboard and torched his audition as communications director, but he also displayed his allegiance by enraging the political establishment. Trump should find some role for him.

Only the alt-right can survive against the liberal establishment because only the alt-right is a trust signaling network. The moderates & Rinos sell out or they get shredded. They are constantly at the mercy of leftist sabotage and negative media coverage. The media can't destroy the alt-right. In fact, being attacked by the media raises one status within the ranks. It's going to be alt-right nationalism versus communism. Pick your side.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Body Modification Oppression

The latest most trendy oppression group are people who mutilate their own bodies for attention. No, not trannies, but people who tattoo, pierce, and otherwise modify the physical appearance of their bodies. The call to acceptance is now, like most political action, summarized in a facebook video, here. A number of liberal ethos are on display here, most significantly, you can't judge me no matter how I behave. Let's look at some of the others.


This is an example of the liberal ethos of words mean whatever I want them to mean. There is a meaning to the word professional, and it certainly does include maintaining the proper appearance for the job. The word is a bit subjective, in that what is deemed to be professional depends on the actual profession being practiced. The word has meaning, but it's flexible depending on circumstances. The video here disregards all logic & nuance and boils the whole thing down to a simplistic good/bad dichotomy. Unprofessional sounds like a bad word. Engage liberal powers of logic & argument: I'm not [the bad word], you are!!


Another major liberal ethos, perhaps the premier liberal ethos, is using the government to control other people. It's not enough to state that you should tolerate body modifications, or that you are a sinful oppressor if you don't, but they want the government to demand that you hire people you wish not to. For every liberal opinion, there is advocacy for state control of other people's behavior.


Here we see the liberal demand to have everything both ways. Do you think this guy got his large neck tattoo in spite of stigma against them? No, he got it because of the stigma. He got it to be edgy, because he wants attention, wants a tough image, wants to attract chicks, and wants to signal that he isn't a square. Guess what...businesses love hiring squares, and they avoid edgy tough guys who might have an attitude problem. These people want all the upsides of their social signaling but none of the downside.


How dare people use their human intuition and pattern recognition abilities! I suppose Mr Pink Mowhawk isn't aware of recent science showing a correlation between cognitive ability and stereotyping. People need to stop being smart & stereotyping, I guess. Speaking of being smart...


This is an appalling statistic. That means nearly 3 out of 4 Americans are unaware of the empirical evidence indicating a negative correlation between tattoos and IQ. This would highlight a couple final insights into the liberal worldview. First, facts don't matter. Only feelings matter. Second, statistics are evil because they might imply something inaccurate somewhere about some individual.

The thing about liberals is their solutions only make the problem they're trying to solve worse. Tattoos are fairly well accepted in society these days. The worst thing that could happen, if lowering stigma against body modifications is the goal, is to have them become associated with leftist politics. You can be sure that I won't hire a tattooed or pierced person if the first thing my mind associates them with is social justice warrior.

CORRECTION: the last link appears to be satire. Looking deeper I can find only one minor study (sample size 104) which showed no correlation between IQ and ink.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Racket Ratchet

There's a rule of democracy that's been playing out very publicly lately, which is that social welfare, once granted, cannot be revoked. The government can easily expand but can only contract with great difficulty. Many are condemning the Rinos in Congress like John McCain for failing to do what they've campaigned to do for eight years, and what most of them did do when they knew they'd be overruled by a veto. They should be condemned; they're absolutely despicable. And yet they're also inevitable. Someone would have to step up to sabotage democratic reform because that seems to be the law of the universe. It's like in Disney's Sleeping Beauty, when Rose is drawn to the spindle, but is blocked by a stone wall. The magic spell creates a door for her. If John McCain didn't exist the universe would have to create him, just to go commit treason against conservatives one last time before his clock runs out.

A lot of people are blaming Republicans en masse over their failure to revoke Obamacare. We should hold off on that a bit. Most Republicans actually voted for repeal. For straight repeal, even. So the majority of our R-stamped Congress critters actually supported the conservative solution, which is almost surprising given what we expect out of them. And for all the flak Harry Reid is catching, at least he got these measures to the floor, and forced the Rinos to publicly admit they've been completely full of shit for the better part of a decade. The Republicans can't do much when facing traitors in the ranks, and when they're up against the mystical forces that prevent meaningful containment of a democratic government. My condolences to those being reamed by high costs, but keeping the Democratic pile of garbage on the books to fester -- for which no Republican voted for, by the way -- is the best option in the long term short of full repeal, no replace.

Socialism is a racket. A politician can't offer to pay people for their votes, but he can offer to give them other people's money. Somehow if you bribe and steal at the same time it comes out ok, so long bureaucracy gets its cut of the deal. Once they've had a sniff, the people become addicted to the bribe. Like any unhealthy addiction, one must chase an ever-increasing dose to get the same high, and any reduction leads to manic fits of withdrawal. Democracy is a ratchet. It can only exert increasing pressure on the system until it breaks.

What is lacking is some form of pressure release. Legislative reform would relieve pressure, but it is nearly impossible, as reformers will make great enemies out of the handout-addicted voters, the bureaucracy feeding on the overhead, and the politicians and their handlers who exploit the racket for self aggrandizement.

There was pressure relief built in to the framework of our government. Federalism means there is competition between the states. States that govern well will succeed, and states that govern poorly will have to adjust or fail. Just like shops at the mall, the people vote with their feet and their dollars. But federalism is now 70% destroyed. In Missouri, 70% of the state budget is actually determined by the federal government. They tax us, then release the money back as long as we spend it the correct way. Competition between the states is only about 30% effective. But it's probably even less than that, as the scope of the federal branch is so vast. People won't quibble over whether they live in a state with 4% income tax versus 5% when the federal government charges them 30%. The state situation tends to be overshadowed by the federal behemoth.

As described in Distortions in the Financial and Political Markets, our reality-insulating bubbles are inflating unchecked. Expect that the pressure won't be gently released. The release mechanism of the political racket ratchet is broken. The voters gave the Republicans majorities in the House, Senate, and White House, virtually all of whom promised to end Obamacare, and yet it remains. Even with all the right pieces in place this government program can't get undone. Is there any reason to believe that any other pressures on our political and financial systems will be responsibly released? That's not a bet I would take. The democracy-fueled ratchet of fiscal carelessness and denial of reality is under enormous strain, and all signals indicate it can only increase. Plan accordingly.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Christianity is not the West

The alt-right generally embraces Christianity. Not out of feelings of deep religious fervor, but more as a matter of conservatism. Our tradition is one of embracing Christianity, thus returning to traditional values demands a return to Christianity. They also see the decline of religion coinciding with the decline of morality and assume the two to be causally linked.

There is a segment, however, who question the benefit of Christianity to western civilization. This blog falls into that category. (See last year's post, Christianity: the root of the West's downfall?) Some have gone so far as to reject Christianity entirely and are advocating a return to the kind of paganism practiced in early Europe. The response of the Christian alt-right has been to reassert their position that Christianity is fundamental and necessary for Western tradition. Frankly, I find their arguments to be less than convincing. Here's my satirical take on what I hear from them.
Bible around for 1000 years: no mass literacy
Printing press invented: mass literacy
Conclusion: there'd be no mass literacy without the Bible
Pagan Europe rebuffs Persian invasion
Christian Europe rebuffs Muslim invasion
Conclusion: Christianity saved the West
Christianity introduced: Rome falls and Europe enters a thousand year dark age
Ancient western philosophy reintroduced: Church power wanes and era of scientific rationalism begins
Conclusion: there'd be no science without Christianity
Chinese Christian population grows: prospers
African Christian population grows: pestilence
Conclusion: Christianity is the key to prosperity
Spaniards attempt to spread Christianity to save the natives: create Latin America, world's most crime-ridden society
English ignore Christian values and clear out the natives: create the greatest, most powerful nation in world history
Conclusion: Christianity is the source of civilizational power
These are all claims that people make. That Christianity drove literacy, repelled Muslim invasion, birthed science, and bestows prosperity and civilizational prominence. These claims all tend to follow what is probably the fundamental statistical fallacy: the conflation of correlation with causality. In general, the argument is that because the Christian West became powerful, Christianity must make civilizations powerful. (It's a bit ironic that the measure of success for the great anti-materialist philosophy of Jesus is the acquisition of worldly power, although that's beside the point.) Each of the five sarcasms above is a rebuttal to their faulty theories of causality. For instance, they state that China's success is due to its growing Christian population. (Which is only a few percent of the total; China is hardly a Christian nation.) At any rate, even if the trend is there, then why doesn't Christianity make African countries successful, and why is Latin America such a mess?

The major tome of the alt-right is that race and culture matter. They ridicule the notion of what is dubbed Magic Dirt Theory, which is the claim by liberals that just living on the soil within a nation's geographical boundaries makes one a member of that nation. A Dearborn Muslim agitating for Sharia law is just as American as any of us because, hey, he does live in America, right?

But the alt-right has a tendency to their own fallacy: the Magic Church Theory. Spend an hour a week in the church and suddenly one is a bona fide Westerner. One wonders if Magic Church Theorists have visited heavily Christian locales like Brazil and the Philippines.

This isn't meant to be an attack on Christianity, or on the alt-right call for a return to the faith. Christianity is fine as a personal mode of spirituality, as a moral guideline, as a social organization, and as a charitable venture. These things are all fine. But the discussion is in the context of Christianity as a civilizational institution, and the claims are that Christianity is indispensable to Western society and that Christianity, an Eastern religion derived from Judaism, drove the West to prosperity.

One wonders, then, how did the great classical Western civilizations ever become so great and influential without the benefit of Magic Church? In fact, looking at the long-arc of Western history would indicate that Christianity has had a dampening effect on Western success. From the time Christianity was adopted by Rome under Constantine, it was only a couple hundred years until the fall of Rome. For the next thousand years, Christianity was the dominant force in Europe, and not much happened. The only argument the Magic Church advocates can make of the era is that Christian Europe repelled the Muslim invaders, thus Christianity saved the West! But it wasn't the first time the West had met an existential threat and prevailed. The Greeks held off the Persians, for one. Do we attribute this victory to Zeus?

After a thousand years of Christian-dominated dark ages Europe underwent a Renaissance, and it is the advances in post-Renaissance Europe that are being attributed to Christianity. But they forget that Europe also went through a Reformation, or a restriction of Church authority and a move towards secularism, at the same time. Both movements were related and came about as a consequence of the re-introduction of the lost Western tradition of Greek philosophy. After it's re-introduction, as measured by the publication of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica, it was only 250 years until Copernicus was challenging the Church's authority on scientific grounds and Martin Luther was challenging it theologically. The term Renaissance means a rebirth or renewal. What was being renewed? Western civilization. And it happened at the expense of Christianity, not because of it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

We Must Solve Our Problems or it's Just Going to be Communism

The nice thing about the left is that they have more or less the same solution to all problems, which is communism. So at least you know what you're getting. Predictability is the most important quality to any theory of thought, or at least that's what science tells us. And if we heed the advice of Sun Tzu, understanding the enemy is core to defeating them. The other side of this is that any open problems in society become leverage for the progs to advance their agenda. What we have now is problematic, let's try socialism is basically the Democrat platform.

Perhaps the best way to reproach them is to deal with society's problems. Easier said than done, no doubt, but eliminating liberal power means depriving them of an environment in which they can prosper by eliminating the problems the seek to exploit. Doing so won't quell the radicals. If they can't find a societal flaw they'll just invent one, but they'll get much less leverage out of that than a real problem with supporting evidence that many people in the middle are troubled by.

Let's look at healthcare, since it's in the news lately. One of the major flaws of our healthcare system is its dependency on employment. Lose your job and you lose your coverage. It's cruel. Insurance is intended to mitigate risk. I buy insurance because of the small chance I'll get cancer. I can't truly buy insurance if I already have cancer. There's no risk to mitigate, no uncertainty. I could no more buy health insurance with cancer than I could buy homeowner's insurance while my house is aflame. Insurance companies deny preexisting conditions for a reason. People who are cut off from their insurance benefits are thus stranded, because now there is no uncertainty about the state of their health.

There are a couple obvious solutions to this very real problem. The first would be to remove the government incentives for employment-based health insurance and let the problem work itself out. The second would be for the government to perform its job and to enforce legal contracts. Clearly people buy health insurance because if they succumb to some ailment, they expect the condition to be covered. Losing that coverage because of employment status is a legal loophole that should never have been permitted to start with. If I buy health insurance and get cancer, I expect the insurance company to cover my treatment until I'm cured or dead, whether or not I lose my job.

These solutions are not creative or difficult. They don't require brainstorming or compromise. They're just the obvious application of conservative fundamental principles. The government should not distort the free market. The government should enforce legal contracts.

Despite this really being an easy problem, the government response has only served to worsen the situation. They have responded by outlawing discrimination against preexisting conditions. It's as if the government said you can no longer refuse to grant someone homeowner's insurance just because their house is presently on fire. It fundamentally destroys the purpose of insurance, which is to mitigate risk. The government now forces companies to take on customers on whom they are certain to lose money.

What's interesting about Obamacare is that it's just about the worst possible solution. It is actually worse than just having single-payer (a euphemism for communist) medicine. There are at least some arguments to be made in favor of communist medicine, even though they're naively idealistic or they ignore history, but Obamacare is fundamentally flawed in all aspects. This is no accident. Liberals didn't have the political capital to impose communist medicine, but they certainly couldn't allow the painful problems of healthcare to be solved by the simple application of conservative principles. No, they need problems to exist to leverage their push for communism. They need healthcare to be broken. So they passed the worst legislation possible. Now there's an even bigger problem in medicine, which means there's even more opportunity for a communist solution.

If there is a silver lining to liberalism, it is that they force us to solve our problems. In the software world there is a catchphrase: broken gets fixed, shitty lasts forever. We often don't fix things until we have to. With liberals we can't let our problems fester too long, because they will just turn into communism. This is a great motivator for us to fix the things we should be fixing anyway. Healthcare should not be so expensive that it is the major driver of personal bankruptcy, and insurance benefits should not be tied to employment. By not solving the problem, we give the left leverage for their agenda, which also means the left is intrinsically motivated to create problems and sabotage solutions. The consequences of this for the right are apparent. We must be solving society's major problems, and we must be ruthless in suppressing the leftist propensity for treason. This is the only approach to prevent democracy's tendency to decay into socialist authoritarianism.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Punish, Reciprocate, or Perish

The big news today (are there any slow news days anymore?) is that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has gone public that Obama White House staff made hundreds of unmasking requests against their political opposition during their last year in office. Not only does this seem to confirm our suspicions of the worst-case scenario -- that the Democrats were using the state security apparatus as a political weapon -- but also that they weren't even trying to cover their tracks. All but one request contained the same boilerplate text as justification for the request. They just copy/pasted it! The amount of hubris is astounding. They were so sure they were going to bury Trump that they didn't put forth even token effort to appear legitimate.

These are serious crimes. Are we the world's preeminent democracy or a 3rd world dictatorship? (Let's not answer that for now.) It should be apparent to anyone not brainwashed by propaganda why White House staff would have made hundreds of requests for intelligence against members of the Trump team. They wanted any excuse to spy on them to uncover a scandal. Anything. It doesn't have to be something big. In 2012 the big Mitt Romney scandal was that the family dog had traveled in a kennel on top of the van. They'd be looking for anything like this they could leak to the media. And actually, they did. Where do you think the Donald Trump Jr.'s recently leaked emails came from? Almost certainly from intelligence gathered by the deep state, unmasked at White House request, then saved to be used as a political weapon.

There are only two satisfactory outcomes from this. This first is that the abusers of the state security apparatus are punished. Who knows how many are criminally culpable, but clearly a number of highly placed aides of the Obama White House need 20 year terms behind bars, at the least. Slaps on the wrist or the sacrifice of pawns is not acceptable.

I strongly suspect this won't happen. Between the Democrat ownership of the corporate media and Session's limp-wristed command of the Justice Department, I'm not optimistic for any sort of justice. Assuming there are no prosecutions, Trump's only good option is a 2-part response. First, he must goad the Democrats and the media into defending the intelligence abuse. (And largely they've done that.) Second, his team must reciprocate. They must do exactly what the Obama White House did. Hundreds of unmasking requests against political opponents. Look for anything. Bribes, tax evasion, questionable canine transport, affairs, drug use, liberally anything embarrassing. Then blackmail or leak it to the press.

If abusing state power as a political weapon is not a punishable crime, then refusing to use it is political suicide. It's like taking a knife to a gun fight. The only practical reasons not to bring a gun to a knife fight are social norms, where one loses status if the culture values a fair fight, or for fear of legal repercussions, such as being charged with a felony and sent to the clinker. Barring those two pressures, there's no reason not to. If we don't punish Democrats for these crimes, we give them complete license to repeat them in the future. If they aren't punished, and those same tactics aren't used to prevent them from re-taking power, then in four or eight years Trump just hands them the keys for state tyranny on his way out the door.

The Compounding Debt Fallacy

It's pretty well known that the US federal government is in debt to the tune of twenty trillion dollars. The Economic Collapse Blog is reporting that, if we account for personal debt as well, such as mortgages, students loans, credit card debt, etc, that number balloons to $41 trillion. That comes out to $329,961 per household, which amounts to 584% of median household income. The numbers are almost numbing and don't even account for corporate debt, state & municipal debt, or debt in the form of unfunded liabilities likes pensions, Social Security, and Medicaid.

You might be asking yourself how it is even possible that we could have so much debt. Can the size of the debt really exceed that of the monetary supply? Is the whole system intrinsically insolvent? Let's look at a couple relevant articles that are highly placed in Google searches on the subject. The first is from ZeroHedge, titled It Is Mathematically Impossible to Pay All of Our Debt. They assert,
There is no way in the world that all of that debt can ever be repaid.  The only thing that we can hope for now is for this debt bubble to last for as long as possible before it finally explodes.
Hoping for the debt bubble to last as long as possible is short-term, almost malicious thinking. The longer bubbles take to pop, the worse the resulting turmoil. In general, the longer the market ignores reality, the more severe the eventual correction will be.

The other item is from Simon Thorpe's blog, in an article titled Global Debt is now 2.5 times the total Money Supply - the system is clearly unworkable. He paints a similarly gloomy picture but goes even further to offer an explanation into how our monetary system would allow debt growth to outpace the monetary supply, as well as offering a systemic fix for the issue.
How on earth did we get into this situation?

For me, the answer is pretty simple. Commercial banks create money when then make loans to individuals, businesses and governments. But when they do this, they create enough money to make the loan, but don't create the money that will be needed to pay the interest. Thus, if a bank creates $1 trillion in loans with interest at 2% and waits for 20 years, the total amount of debt  in the system will have increased to nearly $1.5 trillion. This is what has been happening for centuries, but the effects of that compound interest have now become totally out of control.

It is clearly time for us to change the system. All money should be created interest free. Full stop.
Both his analysis and his conclusion are very wrong. He's wrong because of a very common misconception about the economy, which we'll dub the Compounding Debt Fallacy. The author keeps a blog and a video series dedicated to the discussion of economics and still falls into the trap. We'll walk through the reason his analysis is wrong. After that, you'll have a better understanding of our debt-based monetary system than the vast majority of Americans, even many who dedicate a substantial amount of their time to the study of economics.

The Compounding Debt Fallacy is something like this.
When banks make loans, they create debt that must be repaid out of the monetary supply. Thus the debt will compound perpetually until there isn't enough money to repay the debt.
Or something like that. It's pretty much what Mr. Thorpe was saying in the above quote. These people are often consumed with the notion of runaway debt creation. But they miss two very big aspects of the process. First, the bank actually does create currency when it issues debt, and second, that currency is destroyed when the loan is repaid. Think of debt and money like matter and anti-matter. They are equal and opposite to one another, and, when they meet, they annihilate each other. Some time ago this blog did some thought exercises on the subject of debt creation in a fiat monetary system. Let's run through one again to try to understand all this.

Suppose there is $100 in the monetary supply. (Which also means there's $100 in national debt.) You work in the economy, which means that you trade your labor for money out of the monetary supply. You make enough that you can dedicate $2 each year to housing. The house you want to buy is $10. What do you do? Remain homeless for five years until you save enough to purchase the house? Probably you'll go to the bank for a loan.

The bank says, "We'll loan you ten dollars for a house, and you must repay us a dollar a year for ten years, and it will be paid off. But you must also pay us an extra dollar a year in interest as our service fee."

Noting there is a cold front moving in, you respond, "Ok."

The bank deposits ten dollars into your account. Where did it come from? In our system of fractional reserve lending, the money was simply created. As long as the bank has 10% of the loaned amount on reserve -- in this case, a dollar -- they can generate the loan. They create a mortgage contract and then give $10 to the seller of the home. Here's the part where people who only see one side of the equation lose their minds. Some say, "They created money out of thin air! Runaway inflation! Unsound monetary policy!" Others say, "They created debt out of thin air! Debt bomb! We're all debt slaves!"

The bank created both, the money and its complementary debt. Now the money supply is effectively at $110. Eventually, the bank gets their $10 dollars back. They then use that money to cancel the mortgage bond. This is the part everyone misses. The bond and the cash annihilate each other and we're back to where we started, with a money supply of $100 and privately held debt of $0. The only long-term effect of the mortgage is the transfer of wealth from you, the homebuyer, to the bank, in the form of interest payments. But that's just exactly what we expect to happen. You pay them for providing a financial service.

What's happening here is that people don't understand our fractional-reserve fiat monetary system, so they aren't making the proper critiques or offering valid fixes. For instance, the author's suggestion that all money be lent interest-free is absurd. So he wants all banks to go out of business, and no one gets a mortgage. Cool. People think of money as an asset-backed system, but the dollar is a contract-backed system. In an asset-backed system, the value of money comes from the value of some commodity. Not terribly long ago, US coins contained silver, giving them value, and the paper dollars had value because they were (supposedly) redeemable for gold. So holding a dollar was as good as holding it's equivalent in gold.

Today's money has value because it is created out of debt, and someone has the legal obligation to repay that debt. If the government did not enforce contracts (one of its primary duties), the currency's worth would be equal to its BTU value on combustion. If the government of the United States ever collapses (**crosses fingers**) the dollar will be destroyed with it.

There's nothing wrong with a contract-based monetary system, but that doesn't mean that in practice it is being operated properly, or that it is remotely solvent in the long-run. Going back to the original article, how is there $41 trillion in debt if the money supply is significantly smaller? This is an important question. It's not because banks issue home loans. Either the money supply is somehow not being properly accounted for, or something is very screwy in the way things are being done. The fact that we don't constantly hear people asking the question why doesn't the debt equal the value of the money supply? means that (a) a lot of people don't understand the modern monetary system, and (b) the people who do understand the modern monetary system mostly decide, for whatever reason, not to ask that question.