Randoms of the day

May 9, 2011

Jim’s blog:

The difference between popular dictatorship and monarchy is illustrated by the difference between Botswana and Zimbawe. Mugabe, endorsed by the London School of Economics to rule Zimbabwe, had to allow and encourage one group to loot another, in order to maintain a base of support. Similarly, Ivy League Graduate Ouattara, sent to rule the Ivory Coast by the world bank, now presiding over the place as the Muslims that gave gave him his legitimacy run amuck.

When the colonialists left, most of Black Africa turned into hellholes, with the notable exception of Botswana, now 53 in world GDP, far above any other black African country. When Botswana became independent they elected the man born to be King, and the place remained in good shape so long as he lived. Till the day he died, it was the fastest growing economy in Africa. So long as he lived, the place had low and stable taxes, and the best economic and personal freedom in Africa – because he was elected on the basis of his royal birth, not elected on the basis of paying off one group with the lives and property of another group.

Auster is getting tied up in knots about German hyper-liberalism. What he really means is that Germany is the country most successfully conquered by the Harvard of 1945. He just can’t find the words to say it that way.


James Q. Wilson: "This book has two messages. First, religion reduces crime. Second, look what happens to scholars who say this is true."

I was emailed this article. It’s too bad that such an idea has no chance of happening

Fiat Bernanke dollars

May 9, 2011

We have a good chunk of our savings in gold. We’re not really diversified, but we do have some money in other commodities, particularly silver. So, we took a hit last week, though we’re still up big time.

Frankly, I’d rather not have to speculate that much with my money, but what choice do I have? I’d be happy to put my money in something that returned 4-5% in real terms with little risk, but our modern monetary system can’t create such an asset. It needs you to spend your money. It punishes saving. The development of this financial system in which savings are punished and we’re all forced to be speculators is a cornerstone of “progress.”

Moldbug’s latest piece was long and complicated even by his standards. But his argument wasn’t particularly complicated. In one sentence it was: “you’re a dumb ass if you keep your savings in fiat Bernanke dollars.”

If I got to add another sentence, I’d add: “this means that a de facto gold standard is likely to return.”

You’re a dumb ass for two reasons: 1) the people that control how many dollars exist are trying to create as many dollars as possible; and 2) in the last few years, it’s gotten very easy to keep your savings in any form you want.

You should make some return for your savings. It should now be clear however that if you save in dollars, you’re saving in a medium that is becoming less valuable over time. In modern times, we’re all forced into being speculators – you better get used to it.

Prior to the creation of ETFs, it was hard to convert all your savings into anything other than dollars. Now, with a discount broker and PALL, you can keep all your savings in palladium, for example. This might strike you as dumb. It might be dumb. But it’s almost certainly not dumber than keeping all your savings in dollars. Bernanke is creating more dollars. God isn’t creating any more palladium.

So the question is, if you have lots of easy choices for your medium of savings, why on earth would you pick fiat Bernanke dollars? What happens to the dollar when enough people realize that it’s no longer a viable means of savings? What happens when one medium wins as the most viable form of savings (hint: it’s value goes way up)?

In the old days (like 15 years ago), if you believed in the return of the gold standard, you were considered crazy. You probably were crazy, because you were almost certainly referring to a de jure return to the gold standard. Such a return is not going to happen – governments will not willingly give up control over money.

However if you’ve followed my argument this far, you’ll see that a de facto return to the gold standard seems quite reasonable given that saving in gold is now no more difficult than saving in dollars and saving in dollars is retarded. Again, the really interesting recent development is that it’s no longer true that governments would have to formally adopt a metal-based standard for a major shift in savings to occur. If enough people decide to save in gold, it will become the de facto medium of savings.

I am not an atheist anymore

May 9, 2011

I’m not calling myself an atheist anymore.

I haven’t started believing in God though.

The problem is that most people that identify as atheists believe in things that I consider much more fantastical than God. I know that I’m not the first person to observe this phenomenon, but it’s been hitting me hard lately.

For example, virtually all atheists I know (in real life and online) believe that if the US had completely open borders, we’d live in a better world. A world in which all the poor people would be made rich and everyone in the US would be better off. Through some miracle, the US would maintain a first-world standard of living even though it would be made up of a third-world population. How would this happen? Is there something miraculous about the particular land mass that the US occupies? I don’t know. I do however know that it’s more likely that there’s a God than it is the the US would still function like a first-world country (to the extent that it still does) when it’s filled with Haitians.

Similarly, all the atheists I know believe that people have souls. The atheist don’t actually use the word “souls” but they refer to the same concept by other names constantly. The ideas that everyone would live productive lives that are free from any coercion if everyone was just left alone from government intrusion, given a “good education,” or given the “necessary resources” are religious ideas. I don’t see these ideas as any different than the idea that “we’re all equal in God’s eyes.”

From now on, I’m considering myself a believer in the gods of Kipling and the gods of Carlyle.

Randoms of the past few days

May 8, 2011

As Alternative Right would say . . . so this is how it ends.

Frost’s review of Athol’s book.

An interesting discussion on the American Revolution at Auster’s.

Apparently about 50% of people from Detroit can’t read. Wow

Bruce Charlton: "Men are biologically reasonably well adapted to modern society – but not women." Also: "Broadly speaking, the most feared groups are given the highest status by PC."

The joys of diversity.

"Where are all the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Medicine?"

Al Fin: "In conclusion, the Flynn Effect is a variable and limited trend in the rise of IQ scores across many nations. It should be yet another reminder of the remarkable complexity of human intelligence and behaviour, all of which derive ultimately from the human genome."

Randoms of the weekend

May 2, 2011

I know I should say something about Bin Laden, because it’s big news. Frankly though, I’m still confused by some of the details. So, other than being happy that he’s dead, I’m not going to say much else.

Steve Sailer:

The point of thinking about the past is not to decide whether or not we’d rather live there. Since we don’t actually have time machines, we aren’t confronted with an all or nothing choice between living in the past and living in the present. Uninventing advances in coffee-making machines or lawnmowers isn’t on the table. The point is to understand the past to help us make decisions in the present to make the future better. . . .

Please note that the relevant issue for policymaking isn’t whether or not the future will be better or worse in some overall sense than the present or the past, the issue is to choose the policy now that would make the future better than alternative futures in which worse policies were chosen now. Fortunately, we have analytical tools for considering tradeoffs resulting from policies. Unfortunately, these are tools that are almost never used whenever the topic comes within a country mile of immigration.

The immigration policies that most of these pundits advocate have had tremendous effects of various kinds on the affordability of family formation, but most pundits would rather discuss side issues like coffee and lawnmowers.

Deogolwulf: "In terms of the fostering of culture and the forming of good taste and character, liberal-democratism has been so great a failure that it is believed by most to have been a great success."

Roissy: "Economists and liberatarians work to make economic theory fit human nature as they see it. What they fear most is that human nature will not bend to fit economic theory. And so they ignore human nature. Or whitewash it. Or demonize it. And they look sillier and sillier by the year…" He has more on stupid people here.

The Economist has a briefing on the employment situation for low-skilled men in the US. I’m glad they’re discussing this big problem, but they don’t even mention immigration. They spend a lot of time on the demand side – noting that demand for unskilled work is falling (more re-training!). But its intellectually dishonest (especially for economists!) to completely ignore the supply side.

Mencken was a Southern sympathizer.

Isegoria on the three kinds of people.

Ilkka is having some scotch-induced flashbacks. Those are the best.

Φ: "We’ve reached the point where the legal standard of “consent” is now lower for killing someone that for having sex with her. If a woman is non-communicative, then the law assumes that she does not consent to sex if she claims later to have not done so. But if an old person is non-communicative, then he is assumed to consent to being starved to death, and conveniently will never contest that assumption."

Richard Spencer on the royal wedding: "Though I hesitate suggesting this, as I don’t want to have trouble with the British border authorities the next time I travel there, would it not be in keeping with the monarchy’s tradition for a sovereign to dismiss parliament, establish a dictatorship, expel all foreigners, and negate all legislation of the past 60 years? (Perhaps some parliamentary-liberal elements could be re-instituted at a later date)."

In defense of McCarthyism.

Another victory for diversity.

Carl from Chicago has some thoughts on the declining value of the dollar. He thinks we’ll soon default to getting fifty-dollar-bills out of ATMs instead of twenties. Progress!

The reactionary blogosphere

May 2, 2011

OneSTDV has a series of questions on the reactionary blogosphere, which I’d like to answer. The questions are italicized and my answers follow.

What do you think, in general, of the reactionary/anti-PC blogosphere (loosely defined as my blogroll and sites one degree away)?

In general, I think it’s about as good as we can hope it would be. I’d like to see it coalesce around some common beliefs. The three strands of the reactionary blogosphere that I follow are the game-related sites, the HBD-related sites and the reactionary politics sites (defined generally as those sites that oppose democracy, though if you have a better definition, I’m all ears). They’re all related. Once you begin to understand what people are really like, democracy becomes an absurdity, as do the ideas that all the races are super-equal and that men and women are totally the same.

What do you consider are its strengths and its weaknesses?

Its obvious strengths are: 1) it has truth on its side and 2) it’s the only place that certain – very important – ideas and concepts can be discussed.

It’s weaknesses are basically a function of its strengths. If you want to discuss certain ideas in modern times, you basically have to do so anonymously. This anonymity obviously limits its size and likelihood of having a broader impact.

Does it need a mainstream head? If so, should this come from an apolitical source (I think so as to avoid the partisan attacks, though Jimmy the Greek and James Watson might argue otherwise)?

No – to the first question. With mainstream-ness comes the closing of our minds to certain topics – this is basically the definition of "mainstream" in modern America. I think the reactionary-sphere can be defined or thought of as the anti-mainstream. To speak of or imagine it becoming mainstream is an impossibility in my mind.

Are there too many differing opinions or too much consensus?

I think lack of cohesion is the problem, as I said above. There isn’t too much consensus since no one really knows how to slow or stop Progressivism. Progressivism has been winning and brutally destroying all its enemies for so long, that’s hard to imagine what non-progressive ideas even sound like. As I’ve said before, it’s hard for us to even discuss ideas without using Progressive language.

Is it too pessimistic, masculine, or unpalatable to a wide audience?

Probably, but that’s a feature not a bug. If we wanted to appeal to a wide audience we’d be democrats, not reactionaries. As reactionaries, we know that anything appeals to a wide audience cannot – by definition – strive for anything above mediocrity.

Is it shrinking or gaining a niche mainstream presence by arising sporadically in news stories like this one?

I don’t think it’s gaining via mainstream sources (it almost can’t by definition), but I think people are increasingly aware of its ideas.

How can the reactionary/anti-PC blogosphere improve?

OneSTDV transitioned his blog from a HBD blog to a reactionary-politics blog and the transition was relatively seamless. This shows that the strands I discussed above are related. This relation should be more explicitly acknowledged.

Comment of the year – so far

May 2, 2011

Nick Gillespie wrote a post trying to prove that he’s more politically correct than John Derbyshire, despite the fact that we all already knew this to be the case. Congrats, Nick!

In the comments, Dean Ericson writes:

You kids don’t get it. You sit here splitting libertarian hairs, counting angels on pinheads, spinning out your abstract theories as if they mattered. Listen; in your open-borders fantasyland libertarianism is dead, dead, DEAD! And you and yours are dead. What the hell do you think happens when 100 million foreigners from around the world come pouring in here? They all sit around sipping espresso while discussing the finer points of libertarianism? — it’s laughable! Listen; they wage a merciless politics of my-group-against-all-others, a savage struggle of competing peoples to see who comes out on top and garner the spoils and who shall be plundered and ruled. For pete’s sake use your imagination, try to see what would actually happen, try getting your thinking out of the lazy rut of your precious ideology and *imagine* the reality.

If you need some inspiration just crack any good history book and observe the savage struggles of competing peoples contesting over disputed territory. That we have been at relative peace here in America for some centuries tends to lull the mind into thinking it shall always be so, but that is illusion. Take care to safeguard what you have, protect it, the same way and for the same reasons you have locks on your doors and don’t leave them wide open; so too you must guard the borders of your nation and consider carefully who you let in. You act as if the only thing in the world worthy of being protected is your precious ideology! You are oblivious to the great history of culture, biology, and civilization that was given you by your forebears, who gave you life itself, who gave you a language and system of laws, who gave you great art and architecture and everything you are, including the ability to sit idly constructing coffee house theories, and you think not to protect it and safeguard it and pass it along intact to your descendants? Fools! What monstrous treason to say it matters not for your entire inheritance to be submerged and forgotten, as long as your precious ideology remains.

When your inheritance, your country, your people, your language, your laws, your country, and your family is entirely submerged, well there too goes your little ideology, glug, glug, glug, that ridiculous tin god enthralling you for the moment, which ridiculous god would vanish leaving you without so much as a lincoln penny if your crackpot notions were ever to be realized, God forbid.