Randoms of the day

March 30, 2011

High finance is a bubble.

Lawrence Auster: "Hey, I’ve got the solution to this problem! Let’s invade black America and convert them to democracy!" Perhaps we could start the invasion on the pretense of protecting civilians . . .

We’ll see what happens in Wisconsin, but the public sector workers haven’t lost yet.

Dennis Mangan:

In a couple of posts on this blog (American Diversity Outreach and Permanent Revolution), we’ve* tried to make the case that the U.S. comprises the locus for the spread of diversity, "democracy", and in general making the world safe for the project of the globalists. Other nations – such as in one of our examples, France – still have a residual, nearly reactionary sense of self, which various organs of the U.S. such as the State Department feel the need to break down. The globalist project of democracy and diversity, which effectively means the breaking down of Western nations plus one or two in the East, such as Japan, cannot succeed so long as some of these nations maintain a stubborn sense of self and of particularity.

The Libertarian Alliance: "The Left-Libertarian will extend his claim by classifying the voluntary organization of individuals into racially exclusive communities as a form of authoritarianism; this is argued on the ground that their implied exclusion of those outside their race is a violation of their right to free movement. However, according to Libertarian theory, if property is privately as the basis for free association, then this includes the right to not associate."

Mark Tully:

Members of the US Congress are feeling left out of the reindeer games in Libya. It seems they actually believe the illusion that sovereign power resides in the three branches of the US Federal Government.

Three groups made the decision to intervene in Libya: the media, non-governmental organizations, and the State Department. The rubber stamp from the United Nations (which merely indicated that China and Russia, the last potential outposts of independent decision making outside the United States, had no material objection to the matter) was superfluous.

Borepatch on "scientific" "progress"

On free trade: "The point here is that while trade has been hugely important to Asian development success stories, that hasn’t meant “free trade” it’s often meant export-promotion strategies."


Randoms of the day

March 29, 2011

Vladimir on dogs, sheeps and wolves:

If you wish to protect sheep from wolves, then you need some tame wolves, i.e. dogs. The sheep cannot protect themselves, and the wolves cannot resist attacking them. Something must stand in the way, something that the wolves fear.

I think the analogy can be extended to cover civilisation in general. The sheep are relatively weak. They are not fighters – they have some other role in society. The dogs are strong but civilised – the army, the police. And the wolves are both strong and uncivilised – criminals, barbarians.

I’m reminded of my own status whenever I encounter uncivilised behaviour, for I’m a sheep. I have no intrinsic defence against the wolves. I am not particularly strong, I do not own any weapons, I live in a house instead of a fortress. Someone wishing to take my possessions would only require a moderate level of force. My only defence is extrinsic – I rely on the dogs to protect me.

One of the many problems with Decent People is that they just don’t believe that dogs are necessary. They think that the wolves can be civilised – that a wolf is merely a hungry sheep, raging against the inequality and social injustice of a world that provides plenty of food for the favoured few, and nothing to the rest. The Decent People do not know many wolves.

The abolition of the dogs is a slow process throughout the West.

George Friedman on declarations of war:

I am making the argument that the suspension of Section 8 of Article I as if it is possible to amend the Constitution with a wink and nod represents a mortal threat to the republic. If this can be done, what can’t be done?

Worth a read. I only wish he would have added that Congress seems all too happy to let the President take their power. They’d rather not take responsibility – so much for checks and balances.

The Western Confucian found a great interview with Hoppe on monarchy and democracy.

Sonic Charmer has some thoughts on democratic foreign policy.

Half Sigam on Hispanics and crime. I think the bigger concern with Hispanic immigration is that they no Hispanic countries have a very good track-record when it comes to good government.


Review of “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” by Sean Gabb

March 28, 2011

The book is a blueprint for a reactionary takeover of the British government (thanks to Kalim Kassam – I think – for the recommendation).

Gabb suffers from no illusions, as he makes clear early on: "The truth is that we have lost every argument at any level that matters. On all issues during the past quarter century or more, we have failed to set an agenda to preserve—let alone to re-establish—ourselves as the free citizens of an independent country. We have lost."

I have very little to quibble with in this book. Gabb sees clearly identifies the problems that modern reactionaries face. Our opponents control government (which has become more and more immune to change) our education system and most of our culture. They are importing a new people to further cement their power.

After discussing the problem, Gabb discusses what a reactionary movement would do in power. Here’s a summary in his own words:

I suggest, therefore, that within days of coming into power, we ought to shut down large parts of the public sector. . . .

The chief purpose is to destroy the present ruling class. Moving as fast as we can, we must abolish as much as we can of its institutional means of action and support. . . .

Our education policy would need to be more complex. On the one hand, we should cut off all state funding to the universities. We might allow some separate transitional support for a few science departments. But we should be careful not to allow another penny of support for any Economics or Law or Sociology or Government and Politics department, or for any course with the words “media”, “gender”, or “ethnicity” in its name. . . .

On the other hand, we would have to keep the schools open—not because their teaching is needed, but because of their childminding function. Most people would neither notice nor care about losing things like the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy, but they would object to having to find somewhere else to put their little ones during the day. Therefore, the schools would stay open. . . .

Following from this, I suggest that our government of reaction should stop gathering and publishing official information. We should want no more censuses, or balance of payments statistics, or epidemiological surveys—no more government reports or future projections. . . .

I would like to see the abolition of both income tax and value added tax and their replacement with property taxes. These are simple to assess and collect, and cannot be used to justify the sort of financial inquisition that we now have. . . .

And so I will make it clear that when I talk about a free market, I do not mean a legal framework within which giant corporations are able to squeeze their suppliers, shut down their small competitors and socialise their workers into human sheep. I have already said I would not defend the landed interest. I would very strongly favour an attack on the structures of corporate capitalism. . . .

The Company Acts allow them to incorporate so that their directors and shareholders can evade their natural responsibilities in contract and tort. They are, for this reason, privileged in law. The alleged justification is that, without such limiting of liability, ordinary people would not invest money in organisations that provide us with necessary or useful products. The institution is, however, undesirable. . . .

Above all, we should work towards the abolition of limited liability. . . .

I would suggest abolishing all new criminal offences created since around 1960. . . .

As a libertarian, I would go further and repeal all the laws against sale and possession of recreational drugs, and all the laws against the right to keep and use weapons for defence. . . .

On the other hand, the Monarchy has been co-opted by the present ruling class as a front organisation. Its function now is to persuade the unreflective that there have been no fundamental changes. The reign of our present Queen has been, so far as I can tell, one long and uncomplaining surrender to the forces of revolution. . . .

Wherever possible, ancient forms should be preserved in their outward appearance and adapted to modern uses. After all, one of the main reasons why the Great Revolution failed in France was the wanton abandoning of symbols that restrained the will of men to unbridled power. . . .

But turning to foreign policy in general, we should work towards isolationism. The war in Iraq is now generally accepted to have been a disaster. But so is the war in Afghanistan. So was the war with Serbia. The Cold War and the two world wars served no valuable national interest. We should withdraw from NATO and every other military alliance. We need armed forces sufficient to defend our own territory. We should not pretend that it is either our duty or our ability to join in policing the world.

He then gets a bit wishy-washy on immigration. He considers this proposal to be radical, and it is, but I’m not sure it’s radical enough to dislodge the present ruling class. He cites two examples of direct frontal attacks working to destroy a ruling class: Henry VIII destroying the "Roman Church in England" and the events of 1641. Unfortunately that was probably the last time that any attacks worked. Progressivism is undefeated since then.

His plan for taking over government is much less inspiring:

My answer in the short term is that we must assist in the destruction of the Conservative Party. While it remains in being as a potential vehicle of government, every initiative from our movement will be taken over and neutralised. . . .

The present ruling class came to power not all at once, but by a silent capture, over several decades, of the main cultural and administrative institutions. We may not by the same means be able to dislodge it from this power. But we can bring forward the moment when the ruling class will eventually run out of commitment, and begins to transform itself into an increasingly timid ancien régime. Remember, these people are at war not just with us, but with reality itself. That war must always be lost in the end. . . .

The book is an interesting read, but I’m not sure a revolution by democratic means is possible.


Freedom, dependency and self-government

March 28, 2011

Aretae responded to my posts on freedom and dependency a while back. I think I understand where he’s coming from, but I’d like to try a different tactic.

If we’re talking about distinct but related concepts (freedom and dependency), I’d like to add another one to the mix: self-government.

I’m speaking broadly about the ability of a person to participate in the governing of himself.

Modern progressives (i.e. us) associate self-government with freedom. We think of the history of the 20th Century as one in which freedom was expanded, and by freedom being expanded we largely mean people being able to vote for their choice of mediocre symbolic head of state (heh – just making sure that you’re paying attention). This is called "progress." And you’d better like it.

I believe that a person cannot legitimately participate in the governing of himself if he is dependent. Such a person becomes a pawn – his opinions are controlled by potential sources of support, for which he longs.

The fundamental problem with modern government therefore becomes obvious: we have a lot of people participating who appear to be participating in their own government but who are incapable of actually doing so.


Private prejudice

March 28, 2011

I’m not sure how to feel about this particular issue:

This is another scary example of corporate censorship. Now yes, I know that the First Amendment only applies to the government, but with just a few big corporations having control over the distribution of information, such as Apple and Google, and these big corporations enforcing the political correctness of the political left, the future looks scary. A few months ago, Google punished me by removing the ads from my blog. This month, Apple prevents a conservative church from spreading its message on Apple devices. I don’t like where this is headed.

On one hand, Half Sigma is correct – corporate censorship seems scary.

On the other hand, if government got a lot smaller (which would be good) I think we’d see a lot more prejudice. When people are freed, they don’t want to live near people they don’t like, put up with ideas they don’t like, or generally have to deal with the "benefits of diversity" (even diversity of opinion).


Implications of the “God metric”

March 28, 2011

If there is a God metric (two posts later and I’m talking like a progressive in grand fashion) and that metric is "long-term economic growth," what follows?

Let’s leave aside questions of how such a metric would be defined.

My first thought is that advances in economics aren’t really that helpful. Economics is good at answering questions about which policies will lead to immediate economic benefits, but it’s track record with respect to long-term growth is much more mixed.

This leaves us in a fuzzy realm without many peer-reviewed studies to guide our way. We may – gasp! – have to rely on our own judgments and intuitions (hopefully all right-thinking people have now stopped reading, though I doubt I have my right-thinking readers).

I suspect our biggest concern would be in selecting our population. We’d want a relatively homogeneous population and a relatively smart one (this is why I assume that someone who is in favor of open immigration and increasing long-term economic growth is ultimately un-serious about one of these positions).

Only after we’ve selected the population would we select the system of government – this is not to say that the governmental system is unimportant, I just think it’s second to population. My favorite system would be Singaporean. Of course, if you heart democracy then picking you system of government before picking your population would be retarded.

Then I suppose we’d consider some geographic issues.


Gin

March 28, 2011

Do yourself a favor and get some of this stuff if you ever see it. I’m not a particularly religious person, but it’s the sort of stuff that almost demands a spiritual explanation.


We all talk progressive

March 28, 2011

(Note: my wife went to bed early and I’ve been drinking – the following posts will not be heavily edited – read at your own risk).

Part of the problem with becoming a reactionary is that you can’t really become a reactionary.

I’ve spent the better part of two years trying to learn to be able to think like Filmer, for example. I can read his writing and understand his arguments. I can agree with his points, but I can’t really quite actually think in the same way that he thought. The problem is that – at root – I think it’s impossible for someone raised in modern times to stop thinking like a progressive – even when said person is rejecting progressivism.

We see everything in terms of "problems" that "need" "solutions" which are to "flow" from "systems of government" that are "designed." It’s un-reactionary to even have a position on how society should be structured.

The reactionary and even the conservative (the old kind that don’t really exist anymore – which perhaps best illustrates my argument) shouldn’t view the world this way. The goal isn’t to make the world perfect, it’s to make the world a little less crappy. The goal isn’t to make everyone better off, as some people aren’t capable of "being made" (damn it, I can’t even get this point out without talking like a progressive) better off.

The fact of the matter is that the truly reactionary society may not capable of being described in modern language.

The best I’ve been able to come up with is to use certain heuristics. For example, I assume that someone who wrote a book a couple hundred years ago that is still easy to obtain and read is a lot smarter than anyone else that I’m going to read in the present. I try not to think of people in the past as "child-like" in any way compared to modern people. But the root problem remains – progressives have successfully won the battle of language. The victory has been nearly absolute. Perhaps this is the biggest obstacle to any reactionary movement (damn it again!).


Randoms of the day

March 28, 2011

On regulators

AMcGuinn has been doing some excellent blogging lately. There are plenty of gems like this one: “It is impossible for a democracy to make peace with a non-democracy. Overthrowing non-democracies is a permanent foreign policy aim of any democracy.” Or here: “Democracy is a method of producing a group of people with both the capability and the motivation to make government worse.”

Game is Reactionary

Is our government capable of passing any law without attempting to undermine the traditional family?

A round-up of monarchist reactions to the situation in North Africa (I love the blogosphere).

Big banks are now GSEs: “This newspaper recently reported that these banks pay 78 basis points less for their funds than their smaller rivals.” (I disagree with the article, but I found this fact interesting.)

Weirdest argument ever against laissez-faire.

I’m somewhat sympathetic to arguments that “the rich” have too much influence on government, but we should recognize that it is basically their government: “Almost half of California’s income taxes come from the top 1% of earners. In New York, the percentage is now 41%, up from 25% in 1994. In Connecticut and New Jersey, the top 1% pay more than 40%.”


New Ward boundaries in DC

March 27, 2011

While I’m on the topic of DC’s demographics, some of my readers might enjoy playing with this map.

DC has to have 8 wards and the 8 wards must be roughly equal in population. The white/gentrified Wards have gotten too big, while the black/historic Wards (Wards 7 and 8, across the river) have gotten too small. At this rate, Marion Barry – the representative of Ward 8 – will soon represent half the District’s land by square footage, but he’ll be representing an area that’s largely uninhabited. Progress!


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