Two quotes

January 31, 2011

The first on sex:

On xTube, of the videos submitted to the amateur portion of the site, only 20 percent are pay-per-view; the other 80 percent are evidently uploaded for kicks. Consider AlphaHarlot, a regular contributor to the site. Her real name is Liz. She’s 30 and lives in Clifton, New Jersey, where by day she works as an accountant. Two years ago, she started uploading videos to xTube, which her boyfriend at the time had done. “When I joined I was in kind of a weird place,” she says, “dating that guy plus a bunch of others that were more like one-night stands than relationships. And xTube gave me another outlet for that sexual energy, so I stopped slutting around in real life. xTube made me feel better about myself.”

Hmmm . . . well, that’s one way to reduce sluttiness.

The second on race:

As Dan Domenech of the American Association of School Administrators told NPR last week, "The correlation between student achievement and Zip code is 100 percent. The quality of education you receive is entirely predictable based on where you live." And where you live in America today depends largely on income and race.

The correlation is 100 percent (actually, it’s 1, but never mind) between achievement and zip code. Further zip code is dependent on race . . .

If you’re waiting for the Post to connect the super-obvious dots, don’t hold your breath.


Review of “The Four-Hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss

January 31, 2011

I’m not really sure why I read this book.

I’m not big on the self-help stuff. Also, I don’t really diet or stick to exercise routines. I’ve been on the skinny side and reasonably in shape without having to do much planning. But, I kept seeing people linking to the book.

I agree with a lot of what Mr Mangan had to say about the book. I picture Ferriss as the sort of guy who lectures with the sort of microphone that he’s wearing in his Wikipedia picture (I started laughing when I saw that picture). Frankly, I bet he’s a pretty annoying guy.

In all, I’ll make some changes based on what I read in the book, but it wasn’t life changing. I found Ferriss’ style more interesting than the majority of the content.


Formalism and neocameralism

January 31, 2011

Joseph thinks that formalism won’t work.

First, I think he’s confusing formalism with neocameralism. Perhaps this essay will help.

However, I can’t resist providing a brief summary.

Formalism is the idea that we should not lie to ourselves. For example, the temporary members of the US government are currently debating whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. The actual debt of the US government, however, is already well above the debt ceiling. Officially, it is below the debt ceiling because the US government’s accounting system is fraudulent – for example, Fannie and Freddie debt are not part of the limit and the social security shortfall is not accounted for at all. The formalist believes, among other things, that the US government needs a honest accounting system. This belief is so radical that the formalist is considered crazy by correct-thinking individuals.

Neocameralism is the belief that governments should be run like corporations.

The ideas of formalism and neocameralism intersect because (one can argue that) governments are, in fact, run like corporations. The institution of neocameralism would therefore be consistent with formalism.

Moving on . . .

A neocameralist ruler in fact does not need to be any more enlightened than a ruler under the current system of government. Far from it. In a neocameralist system, a ruler has direct and objective feedback – i.e. profit – about the success of his policies. Under the current system, feedback is indirect or non-existent.

Saying that a neocameralist rule must have the characteristics that Jospeh lists is incorrect. Such characteristics are not required to run a profitable company. Steve Jobs, for example, exists.


Weekend links

January 31, 2011

Most importantly, Woot rounds up the "most bad-ass communists from 80s pop culture." I miss the old days of stereotypical TV.

Don’t miss Mencius Moldbug on Egypt.

Deogolwulf also has some thoughts on Egypt, including:

In other words: ongoing, widespread, and subversive manipulation of the workings of another country for the sake of an egalitarian-revolutionary ideology. Here it seems that France, the land of the world’s second-born left-wing republic, is just not left-wing enough for the land of the world’s first.

I don’t think anyone on the internet is currently more entertaining than orientalright.

PUAs and finance.

Audacious Epigone shows what dysgenics looks like.

Kalim Kassam:

In the last year or so, in some ways I’ve gone from a 19th C Whig to a 19th C Tory. I’m blaming that dang Thomas Carlyle!

Dennis Mangan and Richard Spencer on what I’d prefer to call "The Ben Bernank Revolutions."

Finally, don’t miss this piece in City Journal from a teacher in an urban school:

Here’s my prediction: the money, the reforms, the gleaming porcelain, the hopeful rhetoric about saving our children—all of it will have a limited impact, at best, on most city schoolchildren. Urban teachers face an intractable problem, one that we cannot spend or even teach our way out of: teen pregnancy. This year, all of my favorite girls are pregnant, four in all, future unwed mothers every one. There will be no innovation in this quarter, no race to the top. Personal moral accountability is the electrified rail that no politician wants to touch.

. . .

“Nobody gets married any more, mister,” Shanice and Maria chime in.

. . .

My students often become curious about my personal life. The question most frequently asked is, “Do you have kids?”

“Two,” I say.

The next question is always heartbreaking.

“Do they live with you?”


Rioting

January 31, 2011

Megan McArdle wonders when rioting works. In the process she states:

But what’s really striking about the riots is how little they changed. They made things much worse in the neighborhoods they devastated, of course. And they did produce some moderate change at the municipal political level, particularly in DC, where the operations of the city had often been controlled by old-school southern senators whose priorities, to put it mildly, were not the liberty and economic advancement of the city’s black residents. But despite what some of the black and white radical leaders of the era thought, there was never even a modest chance that the widespread rioting that followed King’s assassination was going to trigger a change in the overall government of the country.

I’ve written before about the areas in DC that were destroyed by rioting following the assassination of MLK. In short, they’ve sat as burned out monuments to self-destruction, until recently when they’ve been re-civilized by an influx of white people.

Ms McArdles states that the pre-rioting DC government was not focused on the advancement of the city’s black residents.

Presumably, this means that the post-rioting DC government was focused on the advancement of the city’s black residents. Certainly, the post-rioting government was controlled by blacks as monolithically (if not more so) than the pre-rioting government was controlled by "old-school southern senators."

I would not like to defend either system of government, but it’s worth pointing out that in the old days, blacks in DC were much less likely to be murdered and they could obtain a decent education. They could also safely walk through most, if not all, areas of the city. They also advanced at a faster rate under the old government.

The new government, on the other hand, is perhaps perfectly embodied by Marion Barry. Has there ever been a politician so perfectly matched with a political climate? When control of the DC government was turned over to locally-elected officials, opponents of the transfer of power said that the mayor would end up being someone . . . less than spectacularly competent. Was any group ever proved more correct? When you think of Marion Barry do you think of someone "focused on the advancement of the city’s black residents?" I do not.


Randoms of the day

January 28, 2011

Devin takes a slap at Half Sigma’s absurd theory of "value transference."

Truth in our Time on Detroit. I could pretty much read about Detroit all day.

Here are some interesting stats on the decline of the city of St. Louis – which has a lower population than it did in 1900. The author, however, is silent as to why everyone left the city.

If you’re at all interested in Christianity and Progressivism or free trade, be sure to check out the comments to my Randoms post from yesterday.

I mentioned a murder in a gentrifying DC neighborhood a few days ago. Here are some suggestions about why the particular location at which the murder occurred is so dangerous. Be sure to read the comments. It doesn’t take long for someone to suggest that not wanting to live by drunken or meth-addicted unruly vagrants is "criminalizing poverty."

"No," is the answer to the question.

Brace yourself. It appears that criminals have low IQs.


Randoms of the day

January 27, 2011

Bruce Charlton argues that PC (i.e. progressivism) is not a descendant of any form of Christianity. I won’t be persuaded – even a little bit – until he tackles Moldbug’s favorite primary source. Could there be a more pure expression of progressivism as a form of Christianity?

Vox finds a great comment:

In reality, the natural state of mankind is a mother and her children (as the feminists claim). The family, instead, is the natural state of civilization. The monogamous marriage of patriarchal control and exclusive sexual access guarantees each man a woman and thus gives him a stake in the civilization around him. This reduces one major source of conflict and allows men to cooperate more easily. In fact, this exclusive sexual access is a hallmark feature of Western Civilization and a major reason why it surged ahead against the various polygamous societies of Africa and the Middle East.

Chuck on brawls.

Sometimes Matthew Yglesias expresses the absurdity of progressivism in shockingly sincere ways. Here he discussing the unemployed:

Does anyone seriously deny that there’s something these people could be doing that would be more useful than being unemployed? Now ask yourself this. Suppose you had more money. Would you buy more goods and services? I would. And if more people were buying more goods and services, then wouldn’t firms need to hire more people to provide those goods and services? I don’t see any way around it. So why not put some money into people’s hands so they can go out and buy more goods and services? Maybe you think we can’t do that because “the money has to come from somewhere.” But it doesn’t. It’s fiat currency, we can just make more.

He recognizes that this might cause inflation, but he doesn’t recognize any other side effects. One envisages the creation of a Democratic army, being paid to get poor people to vote or something. One further envisages the creation of a vast army of dependents becoming ever more dependent. In other words a continuation of the FDR strategy for getting Democrats elected.

Laura Wood is reading Ian Fletcher’s Free Trade Doesn’t Work. I’ll be reading that soon.

Isegoria links to a positive review of Modern Family. I’m not sure I agree. The men are portrayed much too negatively (and the women too positively) for my tastes.