Friday, June 23, 2017

The Resolution of Ideology

In Antifragile, the author, Taleb, makes a reference to a phenomenon I'd call the resolution of information, but maybe it goes by another name already. The information we gather from data often depends on the scale in which we view it. Imagine some measurement in time. Perhaps the price of a stock index, or the unemployment rate, or the oil flow through a pipeline. If we view the data on an annual scope, we might gather some information from it. We might make out long-term trends and seasonal patterns in the data. The information we gather is the signal, and our task is to separate it from the noise. Suppose the data amounts to 50% signal and 50% noise.

Now imagine we view the same data on a daily scope. Suddenly random market fluctuations will become vastly more significant, with more like 1% signal and 99% noise. If we refine our resolution to hourly data, we will be so saturated with noise that there will be no hope of detecting any meaningful signal.

Taleb notes that this phenomenon highlights the uselessness of 24-hour news coverage. It is saturated with noise. Even if the mainstream media wasn't primarily an outlet for falsehoods, propaganda, and detergent commercials, it would be difficult to gain much of value from it. If the news actually was accurate and impartial, the "information" gained from viewing 24-hour news sources would likely be just confirmation bias of our own worldviews.

Something that has given me great trouble these last few months is that I frequently encounter or befriend people with whom I have much in common. We might share similar outlooks, interests, and attitudes on life. Generally we're on the same wavelength, with one major exception: politics. And as our society becomes increasingly split, being on the opposite side of politics is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. It bothers me that people who I personally align with end up on what is quite certainly the wrong side, and that the separation can be enough to strain, if not outright sever, what would otherwise be perfectly cordial and beneficial relationships.

How can people so loving acquire a political orientation that is so hateful? How can people who are such natural and caring parents side with those who want to destroy the family? How can those who desire a simple, elegant, and peaceful life advocate for the destruction of traditional society? How can those so beautiful and talented join forces with those who see aesthetics and success as inherently evil and oppressive?

The following video really lays out the ideological foundings of the modern left. It is worth viewing for its own sake.


How many of your liberal acquaintances, those who are otherwise decent people, know anything about the core of leftist ideology? How many know that critical theory is really just nihilism or, at least, anti-Westernism? The typical liberal doesn't know about any of this. They know that the left is "pro-environment", and the environment is important to us, so that's good. They know the left is "pro-woman", and we love our women, so that's good. They know the left is in favor of helping the poor, and since our Christian values uphold such belief, then that is good. But those viewpoints are the superficial resolution of the leftist ideology. They are just noise. They don't mean anything. The left isn't really pro-woman when they throw tens of millions of dollars to prevent the Georgia 6th District from electing their first woman congressman. And they aren't pro-gay when they ban gay Trump supporters from gay-pride events or ignore Muslim violence against gays. And they aren't pro-poor when they advocate for open-borders policies.

Most liberals only see the very narrow resolution of the leftist ideology, which doesn't reveal the full signal, which is that the leftism is an ideological movement that is quite open about its desire to destroy our current civilization. It is purely subversive and targets the good, stabilizing aspects of society while encouraging the immoral and destructive. One has trouble separating leftism from the works of Satan as described in Christian literature. They desire to destroy civilization so they can rebuild a better one in its wake. Given their historical record, this isn't likely, but that doesn't mean they won't have success destroying what's already there.

Someone with a narrow resolution will interpret the same message quite differently than someone with a wide resolution. For instance, we might interpret a sinusoid as a perpetually increasing value if we are zoomed in too far. Even when a typical liberal gets some of the signal it's usually incomplete. They see the feminism or women's advocacy and see that as its own signal. Perhaps such advocacy for women is a good thing (ignoring 3rd wave feminism, which is insane), but that advocacy is a portion of the larger signal. Leftists are pro-female only because they perceive society as pro-male, just as they are pro-gay because society is traditionally pro-heterosexuality, and are pro-drugs because societies tend to oppose them, on the whole. We see routinely, such as with the recent election in Georgia, that advocating for their preferred groups isn't actually a big priority for them, not compared to the prime objective of liberalism which, currently, is doing anything to attack Donald Trump.

If we look at a signal long enough, with a narrow resolution, contradictions will inevitably arise. Our example of a perpetually increasing signal in some cases appears to be decreasing. If we don't know that what we are looking at is a sinusoid, then we must come up with some rationalization as to why the signal is sometimes upwards, sometimes downwards, and sometimes level. If it happens that 9 observations show an upward trend, and the 10th downward, we would tend to focus our attention on the 10th to determine why it is an outlier. The ideology of being anti-society drives its own contradictions. Feminism and gender fluidity both result from the leftist ideology, but, without an understanding of the deeper leftist signal, rectifying them is an impossible task for typical liberals to undertake. Feminism is neutered if any man can call himself a woman as needed to get the desired gender preference. The only real response to the apparent contradiction is to either (a) acknowledge that the who point of liberalism is to destroy society, or (b) to resort to ad hominems, straw man arguments, and physical violence to vent their frustration with the intractable paradox. We tend to see a lot of the latter these days.

Many otherwise decent people are caught up supporting the leftist signal of evil because they only view it in parts and it is often buried in noise by propaganda and the 24-hour news cycle. While I'm a big advocate of r/K political theory, we have to realize that one's r/K leanings can be strongly influenced by their perceptions of reality. Many people are pushed away from the left when the intractability of its own contradictions become too exhausting, and many more are pushed away by the hysterical behaviors of its frustrated low-resolution acolytes. Our goal should be to always press liberals into the conundrum where they must either admit to the logical inconsistency of their viewpoint or that they wish to destroy western civilization. (Or, most likely, lash out in pathetic fits of hysteria.)

We on the right can take some lessons from all this. Note that the left has great success in persuasion despite a horribly flawed ideology that most of them struggle to rationalize. They do this by persuading with noise and signal fragments. How often do you hear leftists advocate to destroy society so that a better society can be rebuilt in its ashes? They never do that. It's always some partial signal wrapped in enough noise to give it the appearance of moral superiority and social approval. They also tend to insulate the truth of the actions from the superficial narrative with several layers of rationalization and plausible deniability.

"Why do you violently oppose free speech for the alt-right?"
"We support free speech, just not for fascists."
"Why are they fascists?"
"They're fascists because they want to oppress women, gays, kittens, ..."
"How will they oppress them?"
"blah blah blah"

And so on. There is a truth at the bottom of all this. They oppose anyone attempting to defend society. Traditionalism is equal to fascism. They'll never come out and say it. Most don't even realize what the truth at the bottom really is. Again, they've been sold on one little snippet of the ugly ideology that's been dressed up to look pretty. We need to keep these tactics in mind. At some point, we will probably be advocating for actions that are bitter to the palate. One example that is likely to be seen in the near future, and many are already arguing for, is the removal of Islam from Europe, one way or another. This is just a hypothetical, but if it came to that, our tendency on the right would be to make a grand case for the removal of Islam. That is, we'd expose and broadcast the full-spectrum signal. It might be wiser to follow the liberal strategy. Yes have removal as an academic objective, but keep public discourse fragmented and layered. People might be able to latch on to some snippets of an anti-Islam campaign if they are properly isolated and padded with noise to give them the air of moral superiority. For instance, banning halal meats because the process is cruel to animals. This is just an example, but the larger lesson is this: to properly counter progressivism and to bolster our own positions, we must always be consciously aware of the resolution of ideology.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When is it War?

A week and a half off from politics and social issues has been refreshing. I'd recommend it to anyone.

It seems that the west is becoming accustomed to Islamic terror. Many smaller attacks aren't even being picked up by the mainstream media these days. But perhaps there is a more general trend. A Republican Congressman was shot at a baseball game and the media quickly moved on from the story. This is in stark contrast to the coverage for Gabrielle Giffords which continued for weeks after she was shot. Are we becoming less sensitized to violence overall, or is this just the standard narrative spinning by the MSM? There was recently a "counter-terror attack" in the UK, where a Brit drove a van into a crowd of Muslims. After an initial media blitz and a chorus of false equivalency claims, it too quickly fell off the MSM radar.

In either case, it seems that terror attacks in Europe are becoming routine. Islamic terror is rampant, and there may be counter-terror forming up. The evidence is limited, but there have been anti-Muslim attacks in Britain and Canada in the last year. Muslims are moving into Western countries and just don't have the patience to hold off on violent activities even while a small minority. The locals are starting to respond in kind. The question is: at what point does all this become a civil war? Would we call it a civil war if attacks were daily? Or does civil war imply direct, violent interaction between armed belligerents? How long can attacks on soft civilian targets continue until each side starts forming up into militant units for self-protection?

It seems that as bad as things appear to be, this is really low-grade violence compared to what might erupt in a few years if Muslims are allowed to continue streaming into Europe and grow strong enough to feel competent to engage in open hostility against their hosts. The Europeans are so soft and their morale so low (suicidal, basically) that the Muslims really only need some as yet undetermined fraction of the native population to reach that level. Until then we'll see terror attacks gaining less and less attention by the public as they grow increasingly frequent.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Vacation

This blog will be on hiatus for about the next ten days, which sounds like an eternity in today's political/news climate. But hopefully there won't be much to write about when I get back. :)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey: Square Peg in a Round Hole

Comey has been hard to peg down. You think he's one thing and then he's another. You think he's genuinely honest and then you think he's an absolute weasel. What's the deal with him? Is he extraordinarily complex? Is he mental? After seeing plenty of Comey in action, I would make the suggestion: he's a square.

He has a reputation as a by-the-book guy. As a cop's cop. He seems to be dedicated to protocol (except when he's violating it). I still think he was genuinely trying to do the best job he could. Whether he did it well or flubbed it entirely, you have to appreciate what a pickle the man was in. A preposterously corrupt candidate under investigation for shitting all over national security and his boss was meeting her husband, the former president, on a private jet in secret! It was absolutely a Constitutional crisis. We ask why Comey didn't follow the normal protocol, and probably he should have, but this was not in any way normal circumstances. Averting a national political catastrophe is not in his job description and we shouldn't be surprised he wasn't cut out for the task.

We have this tendency to think that the leaders of organizations should be the premier technicians from the relevant domain. While it is certainly a plus if they are, and they must be competent in domain knowledge, their primary role is to provide political leadership. The FBI Director is appointed. It is by definition a political role. People are promoted to this level, not because of their technical competence, or even their domain knowledge, but their ability to successfully engage in the power game to support the organizational mission. People who excel at the power game have their own language. Power talk.

Based on Comey's testimony it is clear to me that what we have here is a case where one powerful leader is speaking in power talk and the other is not. Trump's language is somewhat cryptic yet suggestive. He meets with Comey. "I'd like to have you stay. You're doing a great job. I just need loyalty." Trump meets several times with Comey, or on the phone, to have similar conversations. But Comey is a square. He doesn't speak power talk himself. He's actually frightened by it, as suggested in his own testimony, and reports that he tried to avoid Trump at social events.

While most of us (being little people) can understand Comey's reaction, as we'd react in a similar fashion, you must also consider from Trump's perspective. He's a tycoon. He's been surrounded by powerful people his whole life. His primary role in society is this: he speaks power talk to other powerful people to strike deals, and takes a cut of the transaction for himself. So he goes to Washington, the pinnacle of power, and probably assumes he is in like company. Imagine his frustration at having these conversations with Comey over and over again and not having the message go through. The message is clear: I'm being eaten alive because the media and half the country say I'm under FBI investigation and there is strong evidence against me. Set the record straight.

There's nothing to suggest he was asking Comey to call off any investigations (which he is authorized to do) or anything illegal. Was there a quid pro quo on offer? Implicitly yes, there was. And because quid never materialized, neither did quo, which was Comey's continued employment with Trump's branch of government. Is it shady? Arguably yes. But also arguably no. That is the dynamic of every organization. Is the president supposed to have no influence at all in these matters? Then why have a president of the executive branch at all? If he's violating the law it really falls on Congress -- not his underlings in the FBI -- to keep him in check. That's what they're doing now with the Senate investigation, and what many Democrats are threatening to do with House impeachment hearings. There's a convention of non-interference between the White House and the Hoover Building, but it's merely convention. Ultimately the FBI works for the president, and it's naive to think that perfect insulation is even possible, let alone preferable.

Comey mentions that Loretta Lynch ordered him to refer to the Clinton investigation as a "matter". Was that ethical? Surely not. She was asking him to use the language of the campaign of the political party in power. Was it illegal? Probably not, but it should be. Lynch didn't use power talk on Comey, either because she doesn't speak power talk herself or because she knows Comey doesn't, so she gave it to him direct. A common complaint from other nations, particularly from Russia (as explained frequently on the Saker blog linked on the sidebar), was that the Obama administration didn't engage in diplomacy, but merely issued orders and ultimatums. Diplomacy is just power talk between nations. Obama and his cronies did not have the necessary skills to engage in proper diplomacy. Trump came in and found that his Obama-appointed FBI Director did not either.

Comey's organization had been co-opted as a weapon against the sitting president. Investigations were launched in response to media reports (as admitted by Comey), then those investigations -- not specifically directed at Trump -- were used to justify calls for impeachment. Trump tried to get Comey to fix the situation. Comey, who after the Clinton investigation was probably terrified to do anything to deviate from rote protocol, refused. And so he was fired. I find myself unable to assign moral judgment in all this. Comey was justified to resist pressure to make another unorthodox announcement when technically Trump might still get swept up in the ongoing investigation. Trump was justified in firing Comey because the FBI was underpinning a political attack that was preventing him from carrying out his agenda, among other reasons.

Comey mentioned that he felt he failed to respond to Trump appropriately at times because he was caught off-guard and didn't know what to say. That's because he doesn't speak power talk. He also mentions waking up at night with certain revelations, or that he has kept himself up at night self-analyzing his own actions. Do you think Trump loses sleep ruminating? Comey has confessed that he knew when he exonerated Clinton he was making a bad decision, but it was the least bad decision and that he was risking his career to avert a Constitutional crisis. He was right on the latter point, and I commend him for his "service before self" attitude. But if he was properly qualified for the job, meaning he was adept at power talk, he would have responded appropriately to Trump, would have worked a deal where he satisfied Trump's needs to de-weaponize the FBI without hindering his ability to do the investigation "the right way." Instead, he got canned, and he no longer has the authority to ensure the FBI maintains the proper attention to protocol. There is no doubt that Trump will appoint someone more adept at the political game than Comey and, we hope, just as patriotic and duty-oriented. If so, our nation will ultimately be better served by our new FBI Director than we were with Comey, the square peg in the round hole.

Wildly Successful "Muh Russia" Psy Ops Campaign Winds Down

The Russian conspiracy theory is now right about a year old. The narrative began in June of last year when it became clear to most people that Trump had secured the Republican nomination and there would be no brokered convention. This was also after DNC emails -- which showed collusion between the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and the media to sway the outcome of the Democratic primary -- had been released by Wikileaks, and after Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails had been hacked, but prior to their release by Wikileaks.

The Muh Russia conspiracy theory includes 3 major components.
  1. That Russia surreptitiously acted to sway the US election in favor of Trump, including by hacking the DNC emails and releasing them through Wikileaks.
  2. That the Trump campaign somehow coordinated with the Russians in their activities.
  3. That Trump committed obstruction of justice to hinder/stop investigations into Muh Russia out of fear that they would reveal his criminal activities.
The culmination of the media frenzy is the current investigation into the matter by the US Senate. The event has been hyped to Super Bowl levels by the media. The first major testimony, made yesterday by NSA Director Rogers, was disappointing to the left. Rogers not only flatly denied that he had received any sort of pressure to from the administration as suggested, but he even pushed back on the hysteria being laid on him by Senators such as California's Kamala Harris.

Similarly Comey's much-anticipated testimony today didn't deliver much of substance. Trump was never under investigation, he pressured Comey to go easy on Flynn, and he seemed to try to extract some sort of display of loyalty from Comey, which I believe to mean that Trump wanted Comey to publicly announce that Trump was not under investigation, which would be a fair request given that every left-winger in existence is saying Trump isn't fit for the presidency because he is "under investigation". (They certainly didn't hold that view when Candidate Clinton actually was under FBI investigation.)

The narrative is generally falling apart in the media. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor with a reputation as a staunch liberal, argues that nothing Trump has done could be considered as obstruction of justice.


While the investigations are ongoing, there are clear indications that the media frenzy is subsiding. Some high-ranking Democrats are engaging in expectations management about the whole ordeal. The first aspect of the narrative -- that Russia worked to rig the election -- is defended by both Rogers and Comey. We have to believe they have some reason for those assertions. However the evidence that has been made public is highly lacking, and there's no evidence that the Russian publicly leaked any information to Wikileaks. In fact, the only evidence out there suggests that they did not. The second and third aspects, that Trump colluded with the Russians and is covering it up, are losing steam. The only aspect of all this that might be unethical is Trump encouraging Comey to lay off on Flynn. Unethical, perhaps, but legal. As Dershowitz tells us, even if Trump had ordered Comey to lay off Flynn, it would have been within his legal authority as head of the executive branch. Whether Trump's coercion was proper is a matter to be decided in the next election. However, it is a far cry from what is being alleged here: that Trump is a traitor for helping Russia rig the US election, and has sought to obstruct the subsequent investigation. Both charges are totally without merit. It seems likely he used his influence to try to protect Flynn, who had been a loyal and early support of Trump, joining him at times on the campaign trail. Perhaps that's improper, but let's look at it within context. The Democrats wanted to re-elect the Clintons to office. Their history of pay-for-pardon while in office is surely much more unethical than Trump's attempt to protect an ally from an investigation that only occurred in the first place due to widespread and misplaced media hysteria that was triggered by political opponents. This is all as if he was accused of murder, and it turns out he had just tried to sweet talk a cop to get out of a speeding ticket.

Because this is all so well documented, I suspect this entire incident will one day became a canonical case study in mass propaganda and delusion. When they teach the principle "if you repeat a lie often enough people will start to believe it", this will be the go-to example. It will be studied from a political science perspective as well because the Democrats were able to turn a reality where they were caught rigging an election to one where they were the victims of a rigged election, and they were able to bog down their political adversaries in the process. Many on the right are truly ecstatic at this point. The whole nonsense narrative is finally being destroyed through exposure to reality. They anticipate that they will be vindicated, and the leftist media discredited, in the eyes of the public. But why should anything change? If that was to be true, it would have happened in response to the DNC emails, over a year ago. The notion that the left will finally acknowledge objective reality is a fantasy. This whole ordeal will be rationalized or memory-holed. Don't believe me? Just ask a liberal about the Wikileaks or Trump's tax returns and see what kind of responses you get.

This narrative has failed in the sense that it didn't get Trump impeached. In many cities crowds gathered to watch the Comey hearing on TVs, like a political Super Bowl party. They truly believe something of substance against Trump was going to come out of this. However overall the whole fiasco has be a resounding success. No one is talking about Democrats rigging an election, or Obama spying on a political candidate, or the billions of dollars in political slush funds Trump just shut down, or the massive crackdowns on pedophilia and human trafficking, or the emails just released showing Hillary was advised by security experts not to run a private server, or Eric Holder being looked at for squashing the Fast & Furious investigation, or the murder of Seth Rich......

Those are all newsworthy items, especially the political slush fund. No, all eyes are turned onto a fake Trump scandal. If brainwashing and misdirecting the general public were the general goal, then this has been a wild success. Trump, the master of perceptions, certainly has his work cut out for him, and his greatly handicapped because the media is owned by the left.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Beta Male Inaction

A video going around on Facebook shows a Philly policeman maintaining a professional demeanor during an encounter with an extremely belligerent and hostile woman. She is probably drunk but definitely nuts. I'd bet that she's a virtue-signaling prog and that, given her belligerence, she has a social media trail that could quickly settle the wager.

The video isn't that interesting on its face. Yes, the cop did an excellent job holding his composure, yet we sort of hold cops to that standard anyway. Good for him, but he is just doing his job. More interestingly, watch the limp-wristed beta manlet she has in tow. Have you ever seen anything so pathetic? I initially assumed he was her boyfriend, and maybe he is. He plays the role of the ineffective appeaser. He tries to calm the woman down, which doesn't work. He tries to restore positive vibes with the officer, which doesn't work. This guy doesn't really do anything; he might as well not exist.

He's so weak that I have to question if he's really with her, or is just your standard beta orbiter hoping he can appease his way into her pants. The fact that the woman made sexually suggestive comments towards the cop would indicate that she's not romantically involved with the manlet. And it doesn't matter really. Maybe he's her brother or her co-worker. The dynamic is the same. The woman feels free to be as awful as she wants because no matter how grotesque she becomes some pathetic manboy will remain dutifully by her side. A healthy person signals and maintains personal boundaries and all relationships are conditional on those boundaries being respected. This guy seems to have no set boundaries and, even when it's apparent that he realizes her behavior is unacceptable, is unwilling to exercise the only card that most people have in such a situation: a willingness to terminate an unsatisfactory relationship. They say you can't change a person. Well, you can. You can give them the option of respecting your boundaries or losing the relationship. If you are sufficiently valuable to them they will change their behavior, or try to at least.

This is a micro version of the macro problem in society. The progs are out of control. No one is forcing them to conform to any sort of modes of behavior. How do we "walk away" in our scenario? I say give them California. Dice it off and deport the most radical lefties to their prog paradise. They'll be begging for us to take them back within a decade.

UPDATE
Heavy.com has more on the incident. The reporter has lost her job and is claiming she didn't drink that much and was probably drugged. Lol. She admits thought that she had at least 5 drinks. That's enough to get a lot of girls hammered. We've all seen it. Here's a better shot of the perp.


A pretty brunette with those blue-green eyes? No wonder she never heard the word no. But either way guys, hot or not, boundaries are boundaries. And my respect to the beautiful women out there (I understand many of them read this blog) who remain grounded despite society giving them plenty of room for bad behavior. Frankly, it takes more self-discipline for pretty women to maintain character and class because society (played in this scene by the lanky beta male) rewards them either way.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Law of Immigrant Domination

The recent post Why Muslims Keep Committing Terror Attacks in Europe proposed a Law of Immigrant domination.
To take over a democratic nation through immigration, the invaders must amass a voting population equal to  $\frac{1}{3}$ of the native voting population to achieve political dominance.
The idea is that in a democracy the immigrant bloc does not need a population majority to control the national politics. Because some percentage of the native population will be r-selected traitors, all that is needed is for the immigrant + r-type populations to exceed 50% of the total. Without knowing anything about the distribution of r-types, k-types, and moderates in a particular country, the best we can do is assume a uniform distribution, hence $\frac{1}{3}$ for each segment.

What we need is an index to measure the r-selectedness of a nation. (AnonCon hinted at doing something like this in a recent post.) Developing a science for measuring general r-selectedness would require enough work to fill a book. Let's just look at the case study at the core of all this: Muslim migration into Europe. The best litmus test is a straightforward question: do you support more Muslim immigration into Europe? Those who support it are r-types, those who reject it are K.

A recent poll has asked exactly that question to Europeans. The results don't show a uniform distribution. (But we wouldn't really expect them to.)


Unfortunately, our guinea pig for Muslim takeover, Sweden, is not mentioned. Let's just look at the results as a whole.

Opposed: 54.6%
Neutral: 25.3%
Support: 20.1%

Germany's numbers are pretty similar to the European average. So this looks quite a bit better than the uniform distribution assumed by the Law of Immigrant Domination. This would indicate that only 20% of Europeans are hard r-selected, which is much lower than I would have assumed, given the overall tone of their rhetoric. By this measurement, assuming it is reflective of native Europeans and not skewed by immigrants in the survey, Muslims would need 38% of the population to dominate politically. Whatever the demographics numbers are currently, we're a long way from 38%.

Or are we? In the US the non-white population is at about that percentage. And since current trends indicate a growing racial divide in politics (there's a pro-white party and an anti-white party, more or less) then we aren't really far from that dynamic in the US at all. Further, we must consider that western nations are not pure democracies. Most Europeans want to ban immigration, yet immigrants keep coming in by the boatload. The vast majority of Americans opposed the Wall Street bank bailouts, yet they were handed out from presidents of both parties. Saying that a voting bloc needs 50% of the population is idealistic: the number is skewed, sometimes heavily, by the will of the ruling elites. In the west the elites are obsessed with foreign immigration, which can be judged by their propaganda activities (mainstream media) and by what elected politicians are actually saying.

The Law of Immigrant Domination is clearly far too simple to capture the complexities at play here. Even if we could capture the dynamics in a model, we'd be too short on good data to make very good use of it, and we don't have much in the way of historical precedent to compare with. Does it really matter though if the model is not predictive? It hardly matters whether the tipping point is 25% or 38% Muslim. We'll make it there in either case, as things are headed now. This is probably one of those areas where human intuition and logic are just as effective as scientific formulations. And my human intuition tells me the western nations are doomed, unless we make a drastic change of direction very soon.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Religions, Cults, and the Alt-Right

The word religion gets thrown around a lot on this blog, usually in reference to the Progs. It's worth elaborating on the the meaning of the word, and of related terms like cult. These definitions are meant to codify the terms as they're used on this blog. It's not meant to be a clarification of what Wikipedia or Mr. Webster have to say on the subject.

A religion is a social entity whose members make logically improbable statements to signal their allegiance. Religion requires belief, and the belief must be, to some degree, anti-scientific or irrational. 

Spirituality is the belief that there is more to existence than pure materialism. It is somewhat anti-scientific as it requires the belief that science can't give us all the answers. (As Vox Day notes, science doesn't have an opinion on rape.) However this does not imply that spirituality is inherently religious, because spirituality may occur without religious social signaling. Also religions are not necessarily spiritual. In the USSR communism and atheism were the state religions.

A cult is a religion that demands purity. Mainstream Christianity and Islam are not cults. Christianity teaches that everyone is a sinner, thus no one is pure. Islam doesn't generally require proof of devotion: displays of submission are adequate. However, organizations like the Taliban, which strictly punish any minor perceived deviations from behavioral norms, are cults. Progressivism is a cult as they even punish subconscious transgressions (microagressions) of their belief system.

The subjective part of all this is the notion of logical improbability. No one in a cult believes they are in a cult. While their psychologies drive them to make logically improbable statements to gain inclusion, it seems to be done at a subconscious level. At the cognitive level they are able to convince themselves that they truly do hold the belief. Because of this it can be very difficult for even a rational person to determine that their beliefs don't amount to religion. 

Of special notice is Scientism, the religion of science; a group whose religion largely revolves around the mistaken belief that they are not religious. They've rejected religion in the colloquial sense (mainstream spirituality-based organized religion) but not in the sense defined here. These people are especially dangerous because they believe they are immune to assuming logically improbable belief systems. In a recent facebook conversation regarding Parexit -- where I was the only participant who supports exiting from the Paris Accords -- one commenter suggested that I "consider peer-review". Such a statement is not a logical argument but an expression of religious belief. If only I'd embrace the truth of the holy infallible peer-review I'd see the error of my ways and seek salvation! I responded that I spent two years in grad school and was quite familiar with the shortcomings of the peer-review process. I was told I was being too cynical. (Again with not an argument.) I responded that now three times climate research has been outed as fake, including NOAA scientists who received political pressure to come to some favored conclusions in time for the same Paris Accords that the US just left. I received no further responses.

Surely she wasn't familiar with the NOAA research scandal. On a purely logical level we'd hope that she would take note of that new information and update her worldview accordingly. But there's very little chance of that, because she has not adopted a logical stance but a religious one. The whole encounter was neutralized by labeling me as overly cynical, which was a way of calling me a heretic. It doesn't matter what arguments a heretic makes, because heretics are by their very nature wicked and wrong.

It's not just the left that experiences cult-like behavior. The alt-right sees plenty of examples of demands for purity. Many want to reject alt-light personalities like Milo because he doesn't personally conform to a more traditional lifestyle. For those of us who want to see the alt-right succeed we should work to identify and contain cult-like behavior wherever it arises. For that matter we should root out religious proclivities as well. That means calling out logically improbable beliefs wherever we encounter them, even if it means punching right.

[I'm not entirely certain on the last part. Maybe what we really need is a religion. Islam is a religion and it's taking over the world.]

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Ol' Libtard Switcharoo

Kathy Griffin bought herself another fifteen minutes of fame by enacting an ISISesque (there's a fun word) beheading of Donald Trump in a photo shoot. The response has been almost universal condemnation. Even Chelsea Clinton expressed her disgust at the act. (Credit where it's due). Griffin, who has apologized, is planning a conference today, to talk about her bullying at the hands of the Trump family! If you suspect the world might be going nuts, you wouldn't suffer a shortage of evidence to support the claim.

The tactic at hand, to accuse your opponent of whatever you have done, is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook and is used routinely by the left. (I'm sure there are Republicans who do too. That party isn't without its share of cretins.) It was the driving force behind the "Trump attacks gold star family" fiasco, where the father of the fallen soldier delivered an insulting diatribe against Trump in a key speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. When Trump returned the rebuke, he was vilified by the media for daring to say anything bad about such a nice man.

[Trump seems to have learned the hard way that a high-status person can raise the status of a lower person by responding to their criticisms. Despite excellent execution in one direction (Trump was able to get the media to raise his status by tricking them into covering him all the time), he seemed surprisingly unable to defend himself from the reverse scenario, such as when he tweeted against SNL after he was already president. He could have circumvented this painful learning process by reading Antifragile, an excellent book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.]

The ultimate example of the Ol' Libtard Switcharoo has been the Russian conspiracy theory. Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and the media colluded to make sure the Democratic primary was not a fair contest. When the evidence of that cheating leaked, they flipped the script. Instead of being evidence of the cheating in favor of the Democrats, that evidence became evidence of cheating against the Democrats! Can you appreciate not just how utterly absurd this is, but that half the American population bought the ruse? This is profoundly troubling, but interesting too, in this sense that watching one's body succumb to cancer might be interesting from a scientific perspective. One day a Democrat will be arrested for murdering his wife and, not being able to help himself, will plead, "I didn't murder her. She murdered me!" Hopefully the police are not as gullible as the American voting public.

I don't like to name call. Not everyone who is a liberal should be called a "libtard". Many are decent; some are quite smart. But anyone who engages in or falls for this mindless "I know you are but what am I" charade is fair game. They aren't using the human brain they were blessed with. They are subject to ridicule. So please, when you see the Ol' Libtard Switcharoo in action, call it out for what it is.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Parexit

The US has exited the Paris Climate agreement. You really have to hand it to Trump for carrying through with that campaign promise. Imagine the great pressure on him not to do so. The vast majority of what we'd consider to be establishment forces are poised against him on this issue. The political elites, the media, the celebrities, foreign interests, even many global corporations are opposed to his action. He has benefited politically from having people like Elon Musk (the left's darling entrepreneur) involved in his government, who has suggested he will end that relationship in response to Parexit. It would be very, very easy for Trump to pay tribute to the religion, but he has opted not to, for a single reason: it's not a good deal for the US. He's right, and he is sticking to his principles on this issue. We think of Trump as the ultimate pragmatist, but this is not pragmatic for him politically. The negative reaction is so strong that the political gains of serving his base can hardly be worth the tremendous backlash he's receiving, and yet he has done so anyway.

Despite the hysteria, he made the right decision. The Paris agreement was flawed economically, politically and scientifically.

Economic

The goal of the Paris agreement is to reduce global carbon emissions. That may be a laudable goal, but the reality is that the agreement will shift carbon emissions from advanced countries to backwards countries. The agreement punishes successful economies and rewards failed economies. Perhaps you can see why the liberals love the agreement so much: it's welfare on steroids. Generally speaking, they support anything that punishes success and rewards failure. I can't off hand think of any example that contradicts the principle.

The agreement doesn't stop at just shifting economic production, but actually advocates a direct transfer of wealth as well. The financial goal is an annual transfer of $100 billion a year from rich to poor countries. The reasoning behind this is that backwards countries need investments to modernize towards more efficient, carbon-friendly economies. But that is not logical from an environmental viewpoint. Advanced economies always generate more externalities than primitive ones. The proposed transfer of finances is not evidence but proof that the primary agenda of the agreement is more about social justice than the environment. The liberal agenda is always wrapped in virtue signaling.

Political

In their angst over why Trump would remove the US from a virtuous climate agreement, I wonder how many are stopping to ask themselves why he was able to unilaterally remove the US from the agreement in the first place. None that I can find. Trump was able to do so because Obama unilaterally put the US into the agreement. Unilateral action by one president can be unilaterally undone by the next one.

Many conservative commentators are informing us that the US involvement in the Paris agreement wasn't Constitutional because it was a treaty that was never ratified by the Senate. And they're right, but they aren't right enough. It's true that international treaties must be ratified by the Senate; the president does not have the authority to act on his own. But that assumes that a climate agreement can be considered a treaty. Treaties are relevant to war/peace posturing between nations. Climate agreements have nothing to do with those sorts of diplomatic relations. They are internal policy decisions reached in unison with other nations. They must be enacted in the normal way: by passing both houses and the president. The agreement really just amounts to a tax on the American people. It is an outrage that Obama imposed it on Americans. How did he even get away with it? Even if the agreement was the most wonderful thing imaginable, Trump would be right to revoke that unilateral decision and encourage the Congress to legislate on the issue in the proper manner.

But even that isn't right enough. Where is the federal government granted the authority to dictate carbon emissions regulations? [You can almost hear a distant muttering about the Commerce Clause.] In response to Trump's action, many states are considering adopting the climate agreement's standards anyway (warning: Buzzfeed). That is wonderful news! Have you ever noticed that the left always resorts to states' rights when it benefits their agenda? If only they adopted states' rights in principle I wouldn't have nearly the problem with them that I do. California can be as liberal as it wants, just don't impose it on Missouri.


Scientific

The major premise of all this is that the agreement will reverse man-made climate change. We've heard some wild responses to Trump's action. That climate change is sexist and racist. (Don't laugh, racist climate change is actually codified in the Democratic national platform.) But the most common allegation is that the act is anti-science. Nearly everyone I see opposed to the measure reminds us that it is anti-science, and they are pro-science. None of them have any clue about the science at hand or, if they do, they sure don't indicate it.

The core aim of the agreement is to restrain the global temperature to within 2° Celsius of the pre-industrial global temperature, with a preferred delta of 1.5°. I'm not able to find where they define the pre-industrial temperature. Clearly the temperature a few thousand years ago was cooler than a few hundred. A favorite tactic they like to play is to measure from the Maunder Minimum, a period of abnormally cool weather near the end of the pre-industrial era.

The big question in all of this is the degree to which humans are impacting the climate. (Unless you're Bill Nye, who is certain that the climate would not change at all if it weren't for humans.) Let's go through some scenarios, just to understand the dynamics a bit. Let's say Nye is correct, and only humans can change the climate. If human actions caused a 2° degree change in global temperature, then the agreement would require no action. We'd just barely meet the requirement. If human actions caused a change of 4° then drastic action would be needed. We'd have to reduce carbon emissions by 50%, which effectively means a 50% reduction in human economic activities. (Which means more poverty and all that.)

Let's say Bill Nye is wrong and that the climate can change without human activity. (There's a bit of evidence to that effect.) Let's say the natural underlying climate cycles would increase the Earth's temperature 1°. Then all human economic activities would have to be reduced to the point their impact had at most a 1° impact on the climate. What if the natural forces caused a 2° increase? Then we would have to halt all burning of fossil fuels completely. In short, we'd have to stop nearly all economic activity and revert back to pre-industrial economies. And if it is 3°? Then we'd have to get creative. Perhaps we could increase the Earth's albedo (its tendency to reflect sunlight) by seeding clouds with chemicals and wrapping equatorial areas in aluminum foil. Or perhaps we could erect some sort of massive solar umbrella at the first Lagrangian point. Interesting approaches, but none include the global transfer of wealth, so they're not likely to be considered.

The point of all this is that we don't know how much warming is caused by humans and how much is natural. Hell we're not even sure exactly how much warming there is. It makes no sense to base the agreement on a hard-set temperature limit. A more reasonable approach would be to concede that we aren't sure exactly what the effect of human behavior on the climate is -- although we know that carbon dioxide must have at least a small effect -- and to throttle carbon emissions to get the most economic bang for the carbon buck. While that creates its own complications, at least we'd be framing the problem in the proper manner. The goal would be maximizing our efficiency and reducing our potential impact, rather than binding ourselves to arbitrary goals which may not even be feasible. But this won't happen, because they will never concede that the question of climate change is anything but wholly settled.

Carbon exchanges

One aspect of the agreement is carbon exchanges, where carbon emissions carry a cost that can be bought in a marketplace. I'm not opposed to the idea in principle. I advocate for a similar concept (see Energy Backed Currency) in which the national currency is backed by energy production. This arrangement would have the effect of increasing efficiency by reducing unproductive energy use. Carbon credits are a proxy to that approach, but they allow for far too much tinkering and exploiting. Much of the regulation will be politicking over who gets more carbon credits (thus they can influence who the economic winners are) and will manipulate things to benefit economic activities that bureaucrats think are environmentally friendly but really aren't. Further, there is a question of what to do with the collected taxes. In energy-backed currency the taxes are used to cancel government bonds. In a carbon credit scheme the money is collected and given to ... someone. Carbon credits are inherently redistributive; energy-backed currency is not.


The Grand Triggering

There is a bonus to Trump removing the US from the Paris climate agreement: the enormous triggering of the left. There is great entertainment value in this, but it serves practical purposes. In the intermediate-term, it means that in 4 years liberals will likely be exhausted and demoralized, much as they were before Reagan's epic landslide re-election. And in the long-term, the American psyche will improve as the atrophied amygalae that drive people to leftism in the first place become exercised and either strengthened and returned to healthy functioning, or pushed towards over-the-top neuroticism. We're seeing signs of all those effects already.

Covfefe: case study in projection

The big news today is Covfefe-gate. Last night Trump's tweet included the non-word "covfefe", and apparently that's big news to people. Especially to people who specialize in big news, like CNN, who have made the incident a major headline.


I love the first related headline underneath: President Trump's tweet typo goes viral. We really have memed ourselves into the future. Before I go on, just take a moment to appreciate what a wonderful moment in time we're living in.

The gist of the article is that Trump's typo is proof that he is a renegade president with no discipline, no self-control, and who summarily rejects all good advice he might be given.The piece was penned by a CNN Editor-at-large (whatever that means) in the Politics section (why does CNN even distinguish at this point?) and was labeled as Analysis. Here's what passes for political analysis from a CNN editor. Let's start with the very first sentence.
To be clear: This is, on its face, dumb.
Wow, look at him analyze! I smell Pulitzer. (That's not even a joke, given that they just gave a Pulitzer over the Russia conspiracy theory. How do you reward journalism with no evidence?) The rest of the opening paragraph:
Trump seemed to be trying to type "coverage" and misspelled it. As he often does. Then he fell asleep and didn't correct the mistake until he got up in the morning. We've all been there! (OK, not all of us. But me.) 
Okay, so it's not really that dumb. Typos are perfectly natural, we all do it, but the president should have better communication processes in place to catch these kinds of gaffes before they happen. Fair enough. The next paragraph:
While spending time trying, as Trump suggested, to figure out what "covfefe" means is a waste, it's far more worthwhile to take a big step back and look at the situation that leads to the President of the United States tweeting, poorly, at 12:06 a.m. about the bad press he gets.
This is where the irony really sets in. He's talking about how the big problem here is how Trump's tweets evoke bad press. Mr Cillizza, you are the bad press. You are CNN, the pre-eminent 24-hour news source. You are writing political analysis that begins with Trump is a dumb face, lol. Your organization gives Trump "bad press" for eating ice cream, and a whole host of other inane minutiae. CNN is like the abusive husband who provides sober & impartial analysis: she really shouldn't talk back like she does. It only gets her hit.



The thing is that "Convfefe" tells you all you need to know about the media. It is just as likely that Trump wrote the typo on purpose as their conclusion that a man with an Ivy League graduate degree in economics misspelled a word with such a large Hamming error that we aren't quite sure what word he was going for. If the media is correct then yes perhaps Trump is a rogue Tweeting President, but he always was. That's half the reason he was elected. If they are wrong then it merely reinforces the notion that Trump has great strategic control of the media. In either case it shows the media has gone hysterical in their Trump coverage, where a random typo is the major news of the day. I'll leave you with this wonderful gem of irony, thanks to CNN.

CNN's Cheif Political Analyst on Trump's typo