April 22, 2010

I’ve seen a bunch of analysts predicting that house prices could rise significantly next year. I think this would be a sign of the end of times.

Everyone is discussing what shape our recovery will be. I would suggest that if we do have a V-shaped recovery, we’re screwed. The status quo pre-recession was totally unstable. If we recover to that point, we’ll be headed straight down again.

If you see house prices rise 10+% in a year, sell everything and stockpile ammunition and canned goods.

Feminism and the illusion of abolition

April 22, 2010

I’ve been grappling with the Carlylean notion that you cannot abolish slavery. At this point, I’ve come to understand it as the notion that certain people are – and will be – dependent upon others. These dependents, for him, are slaves. As Mencius Moldbug put it:

Many Californians – most Californians – are assets. That is: productive citizens, or children who will grow up and become productive citizens. Their place is the left side of the balance sheet. Their presence in California increases California’s productive power, and thus its value as a financial asset.

As the King begins the transition from democracy, however, he sees at once that many Californians – certainly millions – are financial liabilities. These are unproductive citizens. Their place on the balance sheet is on the right.

Slavery – for Carlyle – is the relationship between the dependent class (i.e. those on the right side of the balance sheet) and those upon whom the dependent class depend (i.e. those on the left side of the balance sheet).

When people think of slavery, they generally think of pre-Civil War chattel slavery in the South. However, if we’ve read our Carlyle, we understand that slavery can’t just be abolished. The old chattel slavery was eventually replaced by a new form of slavery that – if anything – was worse than the old form.

In the most cynical terms possible: pre-Civil War, blacks in the South were used to inflate the representation of white Southerners; post-Civil War, blacks in the South were used to inflate the representation of radical Republicans and help other white Northerners loot what was left of the Southern economy. In both cases, for many of the "freed" slaves, there was no meaningful "freedom" or "independence."

In modern times, slavery has been nationalized. Today’s dependents, are dependent upon the state.

The big point to take from this is that some people will be dependent on others. This basic fact cannot be wished or legislated away. Reforming slavery is possible – certainly everyone believes that slavery based on race is wrong. But abolishing dependency is impossible, as there will continue to be people who are dependent on others for their existence.

I’ve titled this post "Feminism and the illusion of abolition." I think I’ve covered the "illusion of abolition" part, but what about the feminism part?

Pre-feminism, many women were dependent on men. As I understand it, ending this dependence was the point. However, for some women, dependency is a fact. They may no longer be dependent on their husbands, but they are still dependent – now they are dependent on government.

Tas has a nice post illustrating this point. The woman profiled in the story is dependent on government to maintain her existence. In no meaningful sense is she "free." As Tas puts it:

Note that there is no mention of a father or husband. Indeed, she fails to mention him at all in the article. Perhaps she should have thought about the difficulties of raising three children before she decided to become a career woman with three kids. True, the father (probably fathers) of her children might not pay much in child support, could be incapacitated or dead, and might have abandoned her and her children. However, if that was the case, she probably would have mentioned it to gain the sympathy of her reader. She would have appeared as a hardworking woman who fell on tough times rather than being a dumb slut who bit off more than she could chew.

Single career women with kids don’t need a husband, remember? They are strong and independent women. Well, not quite independent, since they essentially use Big Government as a surrogate husband.

If she loses the subsidies, she says she will be screwed. Good. If more single mothers like her end up poor, maybe women will realize that both choosing to be a single mother and trying to live a middle class existence is impossible without some form of external support.

Many words could be used to describe this woman’s situation, but "free" and "independent" are not among them. For this woman, feminism has served only to change her master. She is no longer dependent on a man whom she chose, she is now dependent on a government that she didn’t. Government insulates her from the "consequences of her actions" as Tas says. Ancients would have recognized such a relationship as the relationship between master and slave.

I suspect that feminism helped to free intelligent women and has therefore (in its less radical form) been a significant benefit to such women. For the women on the other end of the intellectual bell curve, the results have been devastating, as government makes for a brutal master.

You’re civilization might be dying if . . .

April 21, 2010

. . . people get divorced because of how their English muffins are buttered:

When Jim Caudill’s first wife sat him down and explained that she wanted a divorce, she had a long list of complaints: He didn’t help enough with the kids. He didn’t do his share of the housework. They were more devoted to work than to each other.

Then she brought up the English muffins. "She said, ‘You never butter them to the edges, you just pat it in the middle,’" says Mr. Caudill, a 59-year-old winery marketing representative in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Talk about the eternal solipsism of the female mind.

Unfortunately, the real problem with their marriage was that he was a giant Renfield with a soul-sucking wife:

Mr. Caudill says he understands now that his wife was not really upset about a muffin; she was frustrated at having to repeatedly tell him what her preferences were—on many things. "She was telling me I wasn’t hearing her," he says.

Random thought

April 21, 2010

There is a new design for the dollar. As they debase the currency more and more, they also make it look gayer and gayer.

I wonder if there is some connection.

Perhaps by the time hyperinflation sets in, dollars will be printed on rainbow-colored paper.

Statistical modeling as modern astrology

April 21, 2010

I’m guessing that future generations will look back at our fondness for statistical models in the same way we look back on people who believed in astrology.

It looks like European airports may have been mistakenly shut down because of computer models. The other obvious examples of model failure are the financial crisis and global warming.

The commonality between these events is that they are really complicated. There are way too many variables to control for. The resulting conclusions that come from the models are gibberish as the error bounds are enormous.

Eventually, we may get better at predicting really complex phenomenon, but we’re not good now.


April 20, 2010

I’m getting into Froude and he’s quite good:

To take a gloomy view of things will not mend them, and mod­ern en­light­en­ment may have ex­cel­lent gifts in store for us which will come by-​and-​by, but I will not say that they have come as yet. I will not say that pub­lic life is im­proved when par­ty spir­it has de­gen­er­at­ed in­to an or­gan­ised civ­il war, and a civ­il war which can nev­er end, for it re­news its life like the gi­ant of fa­ble at ev­ery fresh elec­tion. I will not say that men are more hon­est and more law-​abid­ing when debts are re­pu­di­at­ed and law is de­fied in half the coun­try, and Mr. Gladstone him­self ap­plauds or re­fus­es to con­demn acts of open dis­hon­esty. We are to con­grat­ulate our­selves that du­elling has ceased, but I do not know that men act more honourably be­cause they can be called less sharply to ac­count. ‘Smug­gling,’ we are told, has dis­ap­peared al­so, but the wreck­er scut­tles his ship or runs it ashore to cheat the insur­ance of­fice. The Church may per­haps be im­proved in the ar­range­ment of the ser­vices and in the pro­fes­sion­al demon­stra­tive­ness of the cler­gy, but I am not sure that the cler­gy have more in­flu­ence over the minds of men than they had fifty years ago, or that the doc­trines which the Church teach­es are more pow­er­ful over pub­lic opin­ion. One would not gather that our moral­ity was so su­pe­ri­or from the re­ports which we see in the news­pa­per, and girls now talk over nov­els which the ladies’ maids of their grand­moth­ers might have read in se­cret but would have blushed while read­ing. Each age would do bet­ter if it stud­ied its own faults and en­deav­oured to mend them in­stead of com­par­ing it­self with oth­ers to its own ad­van­tage. [emphasis mine]

Shakespeare’s politics

April 20, 2010

Of course he:

subscribed to a medieval rather than a modern view of society, preferring monarchy, strict social hierarchy, and the role of guilds to anomic democracy, social mobility, and capitalism.

It’s funny anyone would argue that he didn’t, since he lived at a time when everyone did.

Cougar moms

April 20, 2010

Talleyrand found a really disturbing article.


April 20, 2010

Obsidian has an 850 word post complaining about people who hide behind a computer and complain about stuff. Seriously. He also criticized bloggers for blogging anonymously – I was unaware that Obsidian was his real, full name. He also complains about the use of acronyms, but he uses 21 acronyms in his post.

I’m not going to comment there, because he shuts down any interesting lines of comment. But, I will comment here.

The only relevant part of his giant post is this:

Anyway, what I find fascinating about the HBDers’ jihad against SWPLdom, is the fact that while they vilify said class for being hypocrites, such as being gung-ho for Black folks yet carefully steer their kids from attending Black schools, the HBDers aren’t much better. For all intents and purposes, these guys ARE SWPLs themselves-they haven’t worked a hard day in their lives, have attended, if not Ivies, at the least decent Big State Unis, work in cubicles pushing pencils, wouldn’t be caught dead in a Micky D’s drive thru, and have many of the other trappings of the pampered SWPL set. Ah, but the difference, you see Obsidian, is that the HBDers are keeping it real-by telling the truth about life, the way the world works, and all the “pretty lies” that SWPLs trade in.


Er, no.

I would have assumed that it was relatively obvious that the HBDers’ complaints against the SWPLs are based on the inherent contradiction between the SWPL hostility to any form of "white" culture and the obvious cultural norms observed by the SWPLs. SWPLs do everything on this list. The list signifies that there is a "white culture." Yet, SWPLs are hostile to any notion of white culture.

HBDers are not hostile to the notion that white people are different from other people in certain ways – in fact, that notion is central to HBD. Hence, for HBDers, there is no contradiction in observing any "white" norms. SWPLs should be mocked – they obviously observe cultural norms, but refuse to recognize them as such. That is why Stuff White People Like is funny.

I’ve said before that if HBDers did live in close proximity to blacks, the strength of their beliefs would be solidified, not lessened. For example, on my way to work today, I got to hear a giant black guy loudly singing along to the "music" in his headphones about killing snitches. He had to stop every few seconds to pull up his pants. I also live near lots of black people who meet every criteria listed by Obisidian, i.e. they haven’t worked a hard day in their lives, attended an Ivy, etc. I don’t see why this is relevant one way or another.

For what it’s worth, I love McDonald’s drive thru.

Short skirts or global warming

April 20, 2010

Here we have some lefties musing about a possible tie between global warming and the Icelandic volcano.

Here we have Iran blaming promiscuous women for the Icelandic volcano.

Compare and contrast.

According to Wikipedia, there was a lot of volcanic activity in the Paleozoic era. I’m not sure what could have caused this activity, since there were no humans around wearing short skirts or releasing carbon dioxide 500,000,000 years ago.