Randoms of the day

December 30, 2011

- Arnold Kling suggests some trends to watch, including:

a trend toward the Diamond Age scenario, in which people with Victorian values (marriage, thrift) accumulate wealth, while people who lack those values can address their basic material needs but otherwise fall behind.

- The Mad Monarchist Awards

- Egypt is going after NGOs and USG defends its NGOs, er, I mean not its NGOs.

- David Brooks on Communitarian Conservativism

- Mencken on freedom


American and European

December 30, 2011

Yesterday I criticized OneSTDV for suggesting that that white Christian America was somehow non-hostile to the reactionary cause. Mangan made a similar suggestion. He noted that certain ideals were American and European, while failing to mention that the ideas he had condemned in the previous paragraphs were . . . American and European.

Jim posted something today which at first may seem unrelated, but which makes my point better than I did:

La Griffe du Lion finds that though the average criminality of blacks is substantially higher than that of whites, the variance is substantially lower. This predicts that under a firm and effective law enforcement environment, in which only the most criminally inclined misbehaved, a black majority area would be safer than a white majority area. However in a lax environment, in modern anarcho tyranny where everything has been criminalized, except crime, which has been decriminalized, the difference between blacks and the more evolved types of human is exceptionally visible, and the fact that no one can speak of it exceptionally ludicrous. . . .

La Griffe Du Lion’s analysis shows that though the typical black is criminally inclined, and the typical white is not, the exceptionally and extraordinarily criminally inclined individual is typically white, not black. Just as very smart people are overwhelmingly male, due to the greater male variance in IQ, very criminal people are overwhelmingly white. . . .

Singapore does not allow us to test this theoretical prediction, because by and large, they just don’t let black people in, however the America of the past does allow us to test this prediction, since back then, most crimes would get you immediately hung from a tree. Consistent with this prediction, we read Nehemiah Adams in “A Southside View of Slavery” telling us how peaceable and well behaved negroes are. Similarly, Froude in “The Bow of Ulysses” never pays the slightest attention to whether or not he is in an all black area. Carlyle in “Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question” remarks on how negroes thrive under white rule and are made into good people, and argues that God and/or Nature makes it the duty of whites to so rule backs for the good of their souls, and if not so ruled, blacks will prey upon each other. . . .

The solution, therefore, is not separation of whites and blacks, but just, efficient, and swift law enforcement, preferably with offenders hanging by their necks from trees, something that democracy is unlikely to provide us because we have wound up with rule by those who steal the money of the productive to buy themselves the electorate they want.


Review of “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin

December 29, 2011

A while back, I linked to a post (I think from Ulysses) extolling the virtues of boredom. Alas, my attention span is much too short to actually put up with doing nothing for any significant period of time. However, one way I’ve found to slow things down is to listen to books. I spend a couple hours a day commuting, walking the dog, cooking, working around the house, etc. During this time I enjoy listening to a book.

Thanks to the work of volunteers, you can listen to many out of copyright books for free (if you pick the right book, you might even hear my voice). Newer books, you’ll have to pay for, get from the library, or turn to other means which I won’t mention.

I’ve found that it’s best to listen to fiction – there’s little in life that’s more enjoyable than hearing a good story told by a good story teller.

The audiobook version of "A Game of Thrones" that I found is read by Roy Dotrice. Mr Dotrice does a wonderful job. The pace changes to fit the story, characters have distinct voices, and you notice certain parts of the story that you wouldn’t notice if you were reading the book.

So much for the storyteller. The story is also great – I’ll start the next book right away. Surely, by now, you’ve seen the HBO series. If not and you’d like a summary of the book, it’s here.

Anyway, take some time to do something slowly.


Randoms of the day

December 29, 2011

- Unamused defines "conservative"

- Yglesias thinks that normal people shouldn’t have to invest. Of course, this is true. Unfortunately, we live in a world where policies are controlled by people like Yglesias, who support inflation. Therefore, you have to invest your savings or they will slowly (or not so slowly) disappear. We are all investors now, whether we want to be or not. (Also, a balanced portfolio hasn’t been hard to achieve on the cheap for a least a decade or two now).

- Simon Grey thinks the Fed is done with QEs thanks to political pressure. Unfortunately, it appears that the Fed is just responding to political pressure by changing the way it conducts bailouts. As I’ve said repeatedly, the bureaucracy is almost entirely immune to the sort of political pressure that Simon is referring to.


Celebrating America

December 29, 2011

I think OneSTDV’s latest post Ron Paul perfectly highlights a larger divide.

Here’s are some snippets of One’s argument:

I criticize Paul for not celebrating white Christian America . . .

I don’t celebrate white Christian America either. If you’d like the long explanation of why I don’t, read this post and this post. In short, the parts of American society that I don’t like (see e.g. multiculturalism) are the inventions of . . . white Christian Americans. Indeed, one could make the case that nothing may be a better representation of "white Christian America" than progressivism. (There may have been a separate Southern tradition of white Christian America with which many alt-righters (myself included) sympathize, but I’m pretty sure this dispute was settled rather definitively a while back).

More highlights of One’s argument:

The alt-right Paul-bots ignore the fact that Paul has said essentially nothing positive about white America, thinks vague liberty is more important than traditionalist culture, opposes federal efforts for finding illegals, opposes a border fence, and has a pretty bad record on immigration, including an F from NumbersUSA.

This argument, of course, disqualifies all politicians (as holding these beliefs would put a politician out of work). Anyway, what truly separates the reactionary from the conservative is that the reactionary has an understanding of America (including white America) that is not based on propaganda. One lists the following things as being potentially American:

"Economic and personal freedom" and "states rights" – that’s America, huh? No "apple pie, baseball, and Chevrolet"? No southern hospitality and northern Yankees? No pre-colonial Ivy League colleges? No Bible belt football? No Paul Revere’s midnight ride, Pilgrims landing at Plymouth rock, Washington’s cherry tree or crossing the Delaware, or Franklin’s kite? No Boston Tea Party, California Gold Rush, or Pony Express? No Whitman, Twain, Hemingway, or Fitzgerald? No Leave it to Beaver, the quiet suburbs, the close small towns of the Midwest?

These things are part of the conservative idea of America, but puritanism, incredible violence toward non-Progressive causes, communism, progressivism, radical leftism in general, the bureaucratic state, and wildly interventionist foreign policy also have deep roots in American history.

Indeed, virtually all the ideas that alt-rightists oppose are ideas that are well-founded in the beginning of American history. All these ideas can also be traced back to white Christian Americans.

The immigration policy issues are a side-show. In order to fundamentally change US immigration policy, you’d have to fundamentally change the way the American government works. There is no chance that any candidate for President will do this. Therefore, regardless of who is elected in this or any subsequent election, there will be no wall built along the border with Mexico, the government will continue to actively subsidize illegal immigration and NumbersUSA will continue to publish meaningless grades. If you want to change the immigration policy of USG, you’ve got to essentially destroy the modern incarnation of USG.

Paul at least wants to destroy the modern incarnation of USG. Unfortunately, it won’t happen.

One sort of seems to recognize some of the points I’ve made when he says:

I agree with Sailer here that whites will not just stand up and shake off 50 years of cultural programming from media, academia, and the elites.

But I don’t think he sees of the full extent of what he’s up against here. It’s not 50 years of programming that must be undone. One wants a puritanical country to become anti-puritanical. He wants a progressive country to become anti-progressive. And, perhaps most weirdly, he wants all this to happen while simultaneously celebrating puritanism and progressivism.


Randoms

December 27, 2011

- Good governance is valuable. It will benefits countries with good governance, which correspond exactly to . . . wait for it . . . countries with high IQ. I don’t mean to suggest that good governance isn’t important, but I do mean to suggest that it’s much easier to create good governance in Sweden than in Mali. In fact, good governance in those places might look very different.

- A Carlyle Christmas.

- Spandrell says he doesn’t consider himself a reactionary because he doesn’t want to return to the past. I would note – in defense of the term reactionary – that it’s impossible to return to the past. We don’t want to return to it – we just don’t want to condemn, disregard and ignore it.

- Someone at Treasury has apparently discovered maturity transformation.

- More maps of racial segregation in American cities (I live on a block that is all close to 50/50 white-black, whereas the block to my west is apparently all white and the block to my east is apparently all black). The maps almost overlay race and crime (results are obvious).

- Sam Francis defined anarcho-tryanny by saying, “we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).”

In unrelated news, on my way to the airport last week, I drove by an uninhabitable neighborhood (due to high levels of crime) to the airport, where my one-year-old’s organic peanut butter was confiscated by TSA because “it is a liquid.” The phrase “stealing candy from a baby” comes close, no?

- One asks about pop culture. I don’t follow pop culture, but I do follow all the popular hour-long, 13-episode shows on HBO and the rest. I also spend a little time playing video games. I don’t think it’s necessary to throw out the TV, but I do think it’s necessary to take some time, every now and then, to leave it off and get lost in old books. Often when I travel for work, I spend a whole week doing nothing but reading books from the 18th or 19th Century and working. You approach the modern world in a different way after a week like that.

- Lasik and health insurance.

- If I made up this story, I’d be racist.

- The case for monarchy – Portugal edition.

- Maybe we should arrange marriages.

- The People cannot be questioned.

- Increasing exports is good, right?


Our political elites

December 27, 2011

Ron Paul often hints that he’s in the Presidential race to get certain ideas back into the debate (since he occasionally hints that he knows he won’t be re-elected). Commentators often mention concerns with the Fed and foreign policy as ideas that Paul wants to discuss. More interestingly though, Paul’s candidacy is demonstrating that America really has only one political party.

All the pillars of mainstream Republicanism are moving quickly to denounce Paul. When doing so, they always use liberal language.

When denouncing Paul, why do these "non-liberal" groups shift immediately into the language of college sociology professors?

For example, Rich Lowry, head of National Review (and a wonderful personification of the rapid decline of the Conservative movement), apparently scoured the archives of The Nation for a hit piece on a Republican and changed the target’s name to Ron Paul to create this gem. A more moderate Democratic publication like The New Republic would have made it past the second sentence before calling Paul racist. Lowry, of course, is relatively subtly steering his paper to Mitt Romney, who is different from Obama in some important ways, I’m sure.

(There are lots of other examples. Michael Barone starts a WSJ column: "I don’t have anything against Iowa’s Republican caucusgoers." Here’s Jonah Goldberg vehemently agreeing with the NYT, that Ron Paul is probably racist and anti-Semitic and a neo-nazi).

Steve Sailer often notes that America’s guiding principles these days seem to be: invade the world, invite the world, in hoc to the world. Paul fails at least two (if not three) of these tests. He is therefore considered too extreme. Acceptable candidates to all mainstream publications, including National Review, must support all three of these positions.

The alt-right-o-sphere has been filled with lots of commentary on Paul, but I believe most (possibly excepting, Steve Sailer, Chuck and Elusive Wapiti) have missed the above story, which is the most interesting (the two political parties in the US nominally oppose each other, but they do so on very limited grounds). Sailer – in the link above – notes the similarities in articles appearing the NYT, Weekly Standard, and New Republic (an interesting list of friends if there ever was one).

Anyway, if you’re interested in other thoughts on this subject, here’s a round-up of the discussion from the last week. And I’d add the same disclaimer that Kalim Kassam added: "None of my Ron Paul tweets should be interpreted as an endorsement of democracy or voting in any sense."

- The use of liberal language to condemn Ron Paul is (very unfortunately) not limited to the Conservative right (though it should be noted that Half Sigma may be on the payroll of the Romney campaign – it’s getting hard to tell – either that or HS has some sort of weird man-crush on Romney (not that there’s anything wrong with that)).

- My own thoughts on Paul are probably closest to Mangan’s, though I don’t see a need for anyone in the alt-right to support anyone or to vote. I basically agree with everything Richard Spencer says here, as well.

- Chuck also notes that a lot of conservatives have come out against Paul because of his "blame America first" attitude. Paul has made some silly statements on foreign policy, but the conservatives making these claims are generally retarded. The vast majority of them supported Bush’s foreign policy which is – thus far – indistinguishable from Obama’s. More again from Chuck here.

- Larison has a good post on Paul’s policy toward Iran, which notes that the blame America idea may be justified, "Not every political confrontation with other regimes has been the fault of the U.S., but policy towards Iran has been unusually short-sighted and confrontational, and the only candidate currently opposed to that policy is Ron Paul." Indeed. Some of Paul’s statements may have been stupid, but if they’re stupid, then the fact that the other candidates are seriously considering entering a third land war in Asia should mean that they’re all wearing helmets.

- Simon Grey and OneSTDV got into a bit about Paul, here.


WSJ on regulation

December 27, 2011

The WSJ has an article on regulation that shows how little they understand regulation. It’s here, though it may be gated, so I’ll provide relevant excerpts.

It’s too boring for the press corps to notice, but a growing body of evidence suggests that the Obamanauts are undermining these basic due diligence practices that have been commonly accepted by whatever party happened to be in power.

Take the rule-making aftershocks of the Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial markets, which the Government Accountability Office reviewed in detail in a late November report. The GAO observes that the law "requires or authorizes various federal agencies to issue hundreds of regulations," some discretionary, others not. Among the 32 final rules the banking, futures and securities agencies have issued so far and GAO reviewed, the report dryly notes that "regulators may be missing an opportunity to enhance the rigor and improve the transparency of their analyses."

It goes on to say that the regulations are badly written, but the paragraphs above are the interesting part, since virtually every statement in them is wrong and/or weird.

A bit of background is in order. Your humble blogger is working on several "Dodd-Frank related" rule-makings. Interestingly, I was working on some of the same rule-makings before Dodd-Frank was passed and before Obama was President (so much for the term Obamanauts – we were here before him and we’ll be here after him).

Once Dodd-Frank passed, Republican law-makers began lobbying us bureaucrats (yes, Congressmen lobby us to actually write the law) to water down Dodd-Frank. Democrats on the other hand, lobbied us to strengthen the various portions of the law.

The WSJ’s second paragraph notes that bureaucrats have largely sided with Republicans. Why is the WSJ complaining about this? In this case, the bureaucracy is doing what they want.


Bill Gross on Gresham’s Law

December 20, 2011

Here:

Gresham’s law needs a corollary. Not only does “bad money drive out good,” but “cheap” money may as well. Ultra low, zero-bounded central bank policy rates might in fact de-lever instead of relever the financial system, creating contraction instead of expansion in the real economy. Just as Newtonian physics breaks down and Einsteinian concepts prevail at the speed of light, so too might easy money policies fail to stimulate at the zero bound. . . .

Zero-bound money – credit quality aside – creates no incentive to expand it. Will Rogers once fondly said in the Depression that he was more concerned about the return of his money than the return on his money. But from a system wide perspective, when the return on money becomes close to zero in nominal terms and substantially negative in real terms, then normal functionality may breakdown. . . .

Conceptually, when the financial system can no longer find outlets for the credit it creates, then it de-levers.


Free college for all

December 20, 2011

The Washington Post has a three-part story on some poor children who were told they would receive college tuition from philanthropists while they were in elementary school. Makes for interesting, if not particularly surprising, reading.

As eighth grade ended, it was clear that not everyone would make it to college. . .

Proctor began to alter his definition of success. Back when they were in fifth grade, he was certain that the Dreamers would all go to college. Now, he just hoped that they would grow up to be responsible citizens, that they would be law abiding and employed, that they would stay alive. . . .

In a drawer in his home office, Tracy Proctor keeps a sheet of paper titled “Class of 1995 Final Stats,” a list he once presented to Pollin and Cohen that laid out what he knew about each student they’d adopted at Seat Pleasant. Among its findings: at least 11 of the 59 graduated from four-year colleges; at least three of those 11 attained advanced degrees; at least 12 students completed trade school; six dropped out of high school; what happened to six more remains unknown.

Proctor understands that those numbers are vital to any assessment of the program. He knows that the Dreamers’ high school graduation rate of 83 percent far surpassed Prince George’s overall rate in 1995. He also knows that the vast majority did not finish college, a fact that is true of many Dreamers nationally, according to a summary of several studies by the “I Have a Dream” Foundation.

The story is here, here and here.


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