Randoms of the day

Ilkka translates some aphorisms.

Lots of people have been commenting on this article, which criticizes public sector unions. It makes some good points, however, I think it misses the most pernicious aspect of public sector unionism. Some public sector workers now draft, enforce and interpret laws. If you can’t fire your lawmakers, executives or legislators, you’re screwed – paying them well is the least of our problems.

Sonic Charmer had a good post on regulation a while back. I would only add that most of the industry representatives I deal with want more regulation. If you support "more" regulation in order to punish financial institutions, you’ve got things generally backwards.

Not getting married is prole: "As Murray documents in his new book, the key class divide today centers around marriage and legitimacy."

nydwracu did some good DC-demographics blogging a while back.

China’s IQ geography.

Eugenicist asks what we’ll (HBDers) do when the truth comes out. My suggestion would be that we return to an older system of organizing society. Everyone should have a place in society that is suited to their abilities. If we can’t do something this productive, at least we could stop wasting so much money trying to improve the un-improvable.

Elusive Wapiti reviews Gibbon.

ZH: "Kyle Bass was right about everything . . . again"

Mangan on doing what you love (a phrase which I also hate – I particularly dislike "follow your passion"):

Why should we care? Because this mantra enchants and fools legions of young people. It’s akin to the idea that if you practice 10,000 hours you can be an expert at anything, or that anyone can be president. People who take the mantra seriously – and since the average inhabitant of our benighted land is so uneducated and culturally illiterate that he is unlikely to have the wit and examples at hand to refute it easily – can go on to put a serious dent in their life prospects. I suspect that all those OWS folks who feel entitled to earn a living through puppetry or bachelor’s degrees in anthropology are following this script.

Mangan is also good on the NYT’s discovery that IQ maybe sort of matters.

Jim: "In general, it may not be a good idea to utilize financial instruments regulated by an insolvent state." In unrelated news, gold continues to increase in value for no apparent reason.

Sometimes it’s surprising how little things change. For example, this story could easily have been written anytime after the Civil War.

OneSTDV on the police. My own views on the police are a bit more nuance, but not much.

WRM: "What’s interesting, of course, is how much more mature physicists seem to be than climatologists." That’s because physicists are scientists and climatologists are statisticians.

Jehu on the benefits of diversity:

Most of said middleman costs would be calculated in as part of what economists call GDP. Something to think about when one hears that economists say that ‘immigration is good for the economy’. How can one take them seriously when they have not even a mechanism to measure how much the degradation of trust created by diversity costs? You could probably even argue that increasing diversity creates an artificial economy of scale benefiting larger firms versus the guy—probably a retiree, who likely enjoys cutting wood.

He also has a good post on getting the money out of politics.

Alex Tabarrok: "It’s one of the ironies of American history that when the Pilgrims first arrived at Plymouth rock they promptly set about creating a communist society." Actually, I think it’s about right.

Isegoria links to a review of Herbert Hoover’s book, Freedom Betrayed, which sounds quite interesting.

Aretae summarizes the zero marginal product workers debate that was very interesting last week.

Whiskey has some interesting thoughts on divorce in your 20s.

Aretae tries to explain democracy, he believes its purpose is:

To constrain the executive. 2000-10000 years of history demonstrate that roughly all kings all the time are horrid. They range from uninterested, and therefore only minimally oppressive to interested and(theref0re) atrocious. Democracy is an attempt to constrain the power of kings, whose power is known to be dangerous on a level somewhere between forest fires and Cthulhu.

Interestingly I think this is wrong on every possible dimension. Far from restraining executives, democracies have set them free. They are now not shackled by any restraints. After all, they represent the people, and who dares oppose the people? The kings of old (many of whom were – obviously – not horrid) could only dream of exercising the power that modern executive branches exert. The modern executive is also free from any consequences of his actions – the most terrible sort of freedom.

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36 Responses to Randoms of the day

  1. aretae says:

    Purpose != success. Democracy does not seem to have accomplished it’s purpose…but it was still a (failed) attempt to constrain executive power.

    • Foseti says:

      No one that designed the American system liked democracy. They all knew it was a vehicle for expanding executive power – it always has been.

      • aretae says:

        As with most of the libertarian/federalist types, democracy is not especially well liked.

        The question is…some very smart , honest, well-intentioned people instituted democratic systems in order to solve a problem. What problem?

        Hint: Modern democracy occurred (to begin in the modern age) in the Netherlands after they threw out an oppressive king…in England, when Parliament was given the power to constrain the King after Cromwell killed the last one…in America, when the populace threw out the King…what is the purpose of democracy. What GOOD goal is it chasing?

      • Foseti says:

        I don’t agree that smart people instituted democracy. The American Founders were universally critical of democracy. You can’t really find any smart people saying anything good about democracy until the 20th Century. FDR and his ilk made the US truly democratic, in the sense that they began the process of actually purchasing votes (the surest sign that you live in a democracy).

      • Aretae – maybe it’s like Baptists/bootleggers…the Baptists’ good intent only tells part of the story…

      • aretae-

        In the case of England, your history is basically backwards. The rebels in the English Civil War want the power to control all of English society themselves. It was not some libertarian, freedom loving revolt. The rebels wanted to turn England into theocratic puritan state, like Massachusetts. Immediately after taking power they closed the theaters, made adultery punishable by death, required preachers to get licenses in order to preach, and raised taxes. This was their plan all along, and their plan along was that England should be ruled by elected ministers. They wanted rule by elected ministers because that’s who the movement was lead by, they wanted a government that would put themselves in power. The king stood in their way, he held the power they wanted. So the king had to go. Charles I was not particularly oppressive. He did persecute the puritans and presbyters as a treasonous sect. But considering that they actually were a treasonous organization, I hardly blame him for this.

      • josh says:

        “some very smart , honest, well-intentioned people instituted democratic systems in order to solve a problem. What problem?”

        Martin Van Buren capitalized on supporters of Andrew Jackson after the 1824 election to bring NY style political machines to the national level. Democracy was used to justify undermining the slightly more constitutional system of the congressional caucas nominating candidates and to justify such absurdities as the “rotation” system in government. I believe the problem he was trying to solve was, how do I, Martin Van Buren, make my life more awesome.

        Democratic rhetoric had existed in America before this and was generally used for similar purposes. It was effective propaganda to promise people political power and rewards that come with it. This encouraged people to support the revolution, when democracy was associated with congregationalism, and Sam Adams (of the proto-democratic Caucas club of Boston) dreamed up a ridiculous conspiracy that associated monarchy with a Papist plot. It was democracy that fueled this insanity, and democracy was purely used as a tool help Samuel Adams and John Hancock take political property rights that did not belong to them. Jefferson used democratic rhetoric to stage a coup against the national government. Has there ever been a time when the goal of democracy was not to create and motivate an army for one set of plutocrats to unseat another?

      • aretae says:

        @SonicCharmer,

        I’ll grant Baptists and Bootleggers. What problem is still an open question.

        @Devin,

        I’ll grant up front your expertise over mine on English Civil War. And I’ll take book recommendations… However…La Wik has a pretty solid line that says that English Civil War was caused by Royal over-reach (religious)…and by the king’s ignoring of the already-existing constraints on the king built into English tradition. Seems solidly in the King-over-reach as per my initial line.

        @ josh

        Democratic rhetoric used to amp central power is a distinct issue from which problem folks were attempting to solve when they instituted democracy originally. I am no democratic fundamentalist, and prefer republican, and varied governments. It’s just that kings were the problem (AFAICT), and democracy is a failed attempt to solve the problem that is kings.

      • tenkev says:

        Democracy was not a reaction to a problem. Democracy was an extension of the idea “Every man his own priest” to “Every man his own King”.

        To extend Butler’s quote “The first Whig was the devil” and a Protestant.

      • josh says:

        aretea,

        Why does their need to be an initial problem. Couldn’t it just be that democracy has always been a bait and switch technique for forming a political army to seize power? The “problem” that people respond to could just be tha they wish they were king.

      • Alrenous says:

        Re: Devin

        Priests -> scholars -> Athenians wanted power. Its the whole sophistry/democracy connection again. I really didn’t expect the pattern to hold this far. Once again, someone let their antique intellectualisms out of level 4 containment.

        Ideology is dangerous stuff, man.

        Re: Josh

        Hey, that’s what I said!
        Though you can put a positive spin on it – why shouldn’t I be allowed to be king? What special about the king? In fact, nothing is special about the king. He ruled by right of conquest, which implies that if you can beat him up, you get to be king. So they did, and they were.
        Thing is, wanting to be king and/or kinglike is a big deal in most people’s lives. And honestly it’s reasonable to say that since the king isn’t special, everyone should have a shot at kinghood.

      • aretae says:

        @josh

        At the very least, there was a problem in that some (large) number of folks didn’t like being bossed about by a king. I think that the most plausible analysis of democracy is that Kings suck, just like bosses suck, and people wanted to try something less onerous. Democracy, particularly the American version of (historically) constrained representative democracy and the Swiss version of (historically) even more constrained direct democracy did a great job of constraining the king for some period of time. And then they fell apart, progressively, in 1789, 1860, and 1932.

      • spandrell says:

        >josh

        best comment ever

  2. “ar from restraining executives, democracies have set them free. They are now not shackled by any restraints. After all, they represent the people, and who dares oppose the people? The kings of old (many of whom were – obviously – not horrid) could only dream of exercising the power that modern executive branches exert.”

    I did some reading on Frederick the “Great” recently (I read the section about him in Will Durant’s history). I don’t understand why you and Moldbug like him so much. Yes, he was a philosopher and a king, which is kind of cool, yes he was very brave in battle (or a foolish maniac), and yes, he was a tactical genius. But he took a state that was peaceful and completely secure, and got it embroiled in a series of ruinous war that left the land devasted, 10% of the population dead, and it was dumb luck that he and Prussia survived the war at all. The only state that really ends up looking good from 1700 to 1900 is Switzerland and England. And from 1700 to 2000, only Switzerland.

    • Foseti says:

      Take Prussia’s starting point when Frederick took over – it’s basically miraculous that it didn’t disappear. Not only did it not disappear, it managed to succeed and to conquer. Try reading about Frederick and denying Carlyle’s theory of history.

      • I think Frederick II’s dad – Friedrich Wilhelm – was pretty good. He avoided war his entire reign, and built a very well disciplined army of 150,000 soldiers.

        Frederick II brought upon unnecessary disaster. Prussia had no real enemies in 1740. It’s survival was not threatened. It has a very strong army and no very valuable resources or land that was worth invading against such a strong army. But Frederick II made the aggressive move and made Austria an enemy and brought two bloody, bloody wars upon his people. Yeah, at the end he ended up with a little bit more land under the Prussian flag. But that was basically dumb luck. If not for the miracle of Brandenburg Prussia would have been destroyed and never heard from again.

        And why do we care if Silesia flies a Prussian flag anyways? Would you consider Barack Obama a great president if he cost 1 out of every 10 Americans their life, but managed to raise an American flag over Mexico City?

        On the flip side, if Prussia had simply rolled over and surrendered completely to Austria, it would have been better for the people of Prussia than the actual war that happened. Neither the Austrians or the French of any of Prussia’s other enemies were barbarians. War was the worst case.

        But surrender was not needed either. The best course for Prussia when Frederick II was to be Switzerland. Remain neutral as much possible, play one power off the other if needed, stay out of aggressive wars, defend the home turf with great discipline and bravery.

      • Foseti says:

        As I said, for me, it’s really more about the theory of history than anything else. His character is fascinating and his stamp on history is unmistakable.

    • tenkev says:

      Even Carlyle, in his history of Friedrich II, seems to agree with you on this. The only place Friedrich Wilhelm looks bad is in his domestic relationships and in the fact that his most trusted advisors were actually Austrian agents and he didn’t know it till the end. Which fact kind of explains why the son did what he did. “Pour la gloire” and also “fur den Vater”.

  3. Hwan Lewi says:

    That’s because physicists are scientists and climatologists are statisticians.
    That’s an insult to honest statisticians everywhere. (I don’t know how many there are these days or where to find one, though. Maybe in petroleum geology? For an industrial scientist, they sure rake it in.) What would W. Edwards Deming have said about Messrs. Mann, Bradley and Hughes?

  4. spandrell says:

    Eugenics won’t take us back to a traditional society where people knows its place. Eugenics must mean selective breeding. If we have hard proof that intelligence is inherited, and this is accepted and taken as a policy guide, nodoby will stand still and leave the left half of the bell curve go on breeding. Nor will charity survive. We’ll have wars of conquest on genetic rationales, etc.

    I’m all for it, don’t misunderstand, but we should be honest about what we’re arguing for. Smart liberals argue against hbd mostly because of fear of its consequences.

    • Hwan Lewi says:

      Consequences arise because of the policy, not because of hbd itself. hbd belongs to the realm of fact. Whether we choose to ignore it, implement eugenic policies or dysgenic policies, whether we keep charity or dispense with it is up to us. Many liberals implicitly reject the fact-policy distinction (following i.a. Marx) and hold basically utilitarian positions. Utilitarianism combined with hbd automatically produces the scary consequences (of which there are many recent examples). For one wedded to utilitarianism it is easier to reject the facts. Also I imagine it is scary to formulate policy regarding (or decide your personal stance towards) such facts as hbd, so they avoid having to do so.

    • Jehu says:

      Spandrell,
      What you say is true in a totally secular society. Serious Christians, on the other hand, generally don’t have a problem accepting that most things are to some degree inherited and that races are just partially inbred families writ large. If you want a durable reason why all humans should be treated as members of a human class, with some inherited rights, you’re pretty well stuck with some sort of religious reason. Physical/Mental/Social/Moral equality just isn’t there, and certainly isn’t some ‘contingent fact of history’, as the Goulds of the world would have us believe.
      My prediction in the US is that acceptance of HBD would cause a great reduction in public support for welfare programs and a reduced willingness to pay for the consequences of people’s bad decisions. That position is easy to square with Christianity (them that will not work shall not eat). There was plenty of charity in the US pre-1960, where most people took most of the implications of HBD largely for granted.

      • spandrell says:

        Serious christians are for charity. Hbd argues strongly against it.

        Utilitarianism is science applied to social policy. Whats the alternative? Making Christs kingdom on earth?

        Traditional morality’s blind eugenics has taken us this far. No way that with hard scientific proof we wont go for hardcore selective breeding, black removal, etc. It makes too much sense

    • tenkev says:

      Traditional practices with parental approval required for marriages, dowrys, and bans on fornication and divorce were highly eugenic when you think about it. Poor men with no status and women whose family could afford no dowry found it hard to marry and rich men from good families and women from good families usually married young and had many children.

  5. PT Barnum says:

    A local police officers in my area became annoyed at some youths with no criminal record. Since he was a little bit to much of a mouth-breathing idiot, he decided to that their truck rolling back a little after they had parked when he stopped them was a good enough excuse to execute them.

    He then killed both the male driver and the male passenger with shots to the back of the head. The truck remained parked after it’s driver was murdered. While their two girlfriends screamed in the truck.

    Oh the whining and howling and screaming about how everyone needed to wait till “all the facts were in” by the police. So careful were they.

    It took more than a week before they finally gave up and charged the moron.

    The one thing I’m really worried about is, someone needs to work with those girls in the truck so they don’t get the wrong idea about cops.

  6. josh says:

    ” That’s because physicists are scientists and climatologists are statisticians.”

    Statisticians can use excel.

  7. Foseti

    I would love for you to explain this:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/politicaltheatre/2011/11/federal-bureaucrats-heart-ron/

    It’s hilarious that the uber-cynical, conspiracist Lew Rockwell thinks self-interest has no role in federal workers donating politically.
    So far, I can’t think of any theory that makes sense beyond Rockwell’s and I don’t believe Rockwell’s theory at all – its profoundly anti-cynical.

    Please, enlighten us!

  8. Thanks for the linkage, Foseti!

  9. RS says:

    > I’m all for it, don’t misunderstand, but we should be honest about what we’re arguing for. Smart liberals argue against hbd mostly because of fear of its consequences.

    Essentially all whites were hbdist throughout the belle epoque (including in America). That was a good time. Obviously Americans thought blacks inferior on average from ~1630 or whenever they were first brought here. Overall, really heavy atrocities on them were quite limited. (At least some rebs executed black POWs in the war, but I’m sure more bad stuff happened during slavery. The large majority were probably semi-decent to black slaves – just not everyone. Plenty of individuals are pathological of course.)

    > Utilitarianism is science applied to social policy. Whats the alternative?

    Deontology (revealed ethical truth), – or what’s much more relevant for me personally, eudaimonism. Which basically says (well, some versions of it do) that you shouldn’t act too nastily because it’s self-degrading. Eudaimonism basically means seeking to please, gratify – in a sense that’s very nearly aesthetic – the highest part of the self as much as possible. Rather than the lower reaches. Mettle is pleasing and cowardice displeasing. Good conduct smells fresh and sweet, bad acts savor ill. But one still needs to have a certain minimum of ‘lower’ (hedonic) sorts of pleasure, as Aristotle was more than realist enough to admit. (Of course, not all the utilitarian luminaries were necessarily the worst sort of hedonists, though some were.)

    If you happen to have read any Nietzsche, the entire point of all his writings is to re-create a eudaimonist society comparable to Hellas. (And ultimately to create superhuman hominids, which is maybe sort of the ultimate eudaimonic act.)

    > Traditional morality’s blind eugenics has taken us this far. No way that with hard scientific proof we wont go for hardcore selective breeding, black removal, etc. It makes too much sense

    Why not just publicly execute all significantly violent criminals (ie, fistfights no, armed robbery yes). It worked fine before. Lots of stuff did.

    The proximate trigger for mass atrocities is usually societal violence of a low or high grade. For instance the three biggest mass murders of ashkenazim: second northern war, russian civil war, and obviously the second war, which in my not so secret opinion had everything to do with 1917. I once argued here at length that the current regime is slowly creating the conditions for this discharge of violence. Consider a reader of this blog. Right now he cares a lot about seeing a rather humane fate for black americans, whether or not he’s a segregationist or what have you. Under conditions of low-grade war or just chaos (say a >7x hike in the crime rate against upper middle class whites), avoiding political brutality becomes way less of a priority. Not so much on the first day, but certainly after such conditions persist for about four years. People’s resistance to adversity gradually fails more and more. Before you know it, they couldn’t care less about any person they don’t know – any million people they don’t know, ten million. The hell with everybody, let them starve and eat each other. Which not a theory, it is of course how people behaved in malthusian times. Lots of people half-famished and got TB – there was some level of charity, but beyond that, so much the worse for them. Thirty years war raged in your neck of germany for an entire generation, foreign soldiers tortured your whole family to get at your caches – so much the worse for you.

    There are risks to hbd (or racialism), but basically I think that not renewing society pretty clearly leads us to worse risks of atrocity. The time to renovate is right now, as fast as possible. Virtually nobody wants to see nasty things happen right now. That’s a very real sort of capital that you draw on for social change without atrocity. In the future, progressively fewer people will be passionately averse to nasty things. Obviously germany can illustrate this, it was very lebanon-like by 1919, and the hyperinflation and the bolshevik threat made it progressively worse – so too, if my sources are correct, did the holodomor. Obviously it ended up showing a high level of aggression, despite being arguably the single most talented of nations (by a small margin). Though celts and half-celts are way better looking for my money.

    • RS says:

      Basically if the US devolves to semi-feudalism over 35 years… people just won’t let (most) blacks live in their local polities. They’ll have to shift for themselves someplace. And nonwithstanding certain successes like Botswana (which has a huge capital of diamonds), we know they aren’t likely to shift well.

      First of all, it’s likely that they are considerably less well off genetically, as a group, than Botswanans are. And probably still fading very fast, since (from memory) something like the top 7% of black women have about one child on average, whereas the mean for all blacks is like 2.5. Unless some sort of environmental, epigenetic, or genetic-by-environmental trend is overbalancing that, it’s really bad.

      So basically most of them would die horribly. Probably most would just starve. And if you or I have been guarding something with a shotgun in shifts for five years, and weeding soybean rows, we aren’t going to do anything about it… we won’t even think about it, except vis-a-vis our own interests. Everyone will be all pereat mundus; let the world perish.

    • RS says:

      > The proximate trigger for mass atrocities is usually societal violence of a low or high grade. For instance the three biggest mass murders of ashkenazim

      I might add the Mongol genocide of Baghdad, also various mass slaughters in Euro v Muslim wars. Often cities were murdered if they didn’t surrender in the first place.

      Also the Armenian genocide, I think.

      The holodomor, if any major part of it was in fact intentional (debated), would be one example of mass murder that was not precipitated by war. Another would be the red terror.

    • spandrell says:

      >essentially all whites were hbdist throughout the belle epoque (

      Well what happened then? The problem is people were somewhat aware that blacks are stupid, but they didn’t have hard proof. So when some yankee busybody came by and said that blacks aren’t stupid, they just aren’t fed as well as whites, the southerners didn’t have arguments against it. Because blank slaters had the Bible behind them, saying that all humans are of equal worth.
      Now we have the hard proof, and we give a damn about the Bible. So we have enough arguments to act.

      >if you happen to have read any Nietzsche, the entire point of all his writings is to re-create a eudaimonist society comparable to Hellas

      I did get that from Nietzsche, what I didn’t get is how. Anyway Hellas was mighty awesome, but its creative peak didn’t last long. And Western European’s creative peak is comparable to it; not like ancient Greece is some cultural paradise we must all strive to go back to.
      Utilitarianism prevails today because that’s how modern bureaucracy’s work. And we haven’t found a substitute for bureaucracy on managing big nations.

      >In the future, progressively fewer people will be passionately averse to nasty things
      You just described me. In the past few years I totally stopped giving a damn about anything. Fuck them all. The alternative is race replacement and that would be the end of humankind.

  10. RS says:

    Yes, I have also been very intrigued about ‘how’. For one thing, he was really lamarckian to the end (lol); that probably has something to do with it. If you just become really awesome, your subsequent offspring will be biologically enhanced. In Zara he says you can make yourselves fathers and fore-fathers of the overman.

    At one point he tried to go study natural sciences at Vienna or something, but he wasn’t able to go through with it, too bad. And he was about to read Kierkegaard at the request of that Jewish Dane, Prof. Georg Brandes.

    Sadly I guess a lot of what you say is pretty true, about cultural pinnacles.

    I too have become more callous, though I don’t plan on reaching F. Nietzsche-style extremes. He was pretty damn harsh.

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