Randoms of the week

– Here are two (this one includes a Lecky quote) good somewhat anti-democracy articles. Thanks to the reader that passed them along.

The Atlantic has an interesting article on John Mearsheimer’s foreign policy views.

Monarchies. Related thoughts from AMcGuinn

A review of Charles Murray’s new book. And another.

Jim on economic decline:

If we adjust for the fake boom and subsequent correction, we see not an abrupt decline starting in 2009, but rather a long arch, with growth slowing in the 1970s, the economy peaking soon after Reagan, and decline slowly and steadily accelerating since then.

He believes that technological change in other areas are masking this decline – so do I. (Also see Jim on book burning)

– Robin Hanson loves hierarchy.

Photos of post-war Berlin

Thoughts on impermanence from Chuck

My generation:

Men of my generation do share a thing or two in common due to our collective experiences. We were subjected for the first half of our lives to a school system that bloated our self-esteem with unwarranted praise and inflated our optimism with empty promises. Then the twin towers imploded on us. Then one sector of the economy after another imploded on us while our experts and educators insisted that everything was hopeful and changing for the better. More than anything, we’ve been longing for somebody on the national stage to level with us about how bad we suck, how disastrously off-course we’ve gone as a society and a nation, and how hope and change can only be had in exchange for deep and painful sacrifices and a radical realignment of priorities.

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10 Responses to Randoms of the week

  1. Phlebas says:

    >Men of my generation do share a thing or two in common due to our collective experiences. We were subjected for the first half of our lives to a school system that bloated our self-esteem with unwarranted praise and inflated our optimism with empty promises.

    But schooled people often have very low self-esteem. It would be more accurate to say that subjects’ reward-seeking behaviour was directed towards and made dependent upon the recognition of an “expert” representative of the Universalist state. Praise in this context is unwarranted in the sense that the behaviour being rewarded would not be so highly praised outside of this dysfunctional system – but this doesn’t mean that these young people have been treated “too well”; in general, they have been subjected to wholly unnecessary degradation and misery, all for the sake (in the ultimate analysis) of Universalism’s adaptive advantage.

    I would concur with Fabian Tassano’s opinion on the effect of contemporary state schooling on human morale, expressed here.

    >Our society’s one in which we attend school in chronologically defined “classes”, relocate to special age-delimited dorms when we come of age, and get carted away to grimy nursing homes to hide our suffering and death from our more youthful family members. Even our churches, those supposed outposts of tradition, segregate youths into special “youth groups” that deliver a more hip, modern, and casual relationship with a less judgmental God than our parents worship.

    This is true, and the unhealthiness of this situation is something that people who understand young humans, like unschooling writers John Gatto and John Holt, keenly point out.

    Interestingly, Rothbard’s essay on the history of compulsory education reveals that it was first promoted very enthusiastically by the likes of Martin Luther and Jean Cauvin, and:

    “In the majority of American colonies, education was in the English tradition, i.e., voluntary parental education, with the only public schools being those established for poor families free to make use of the facilities. This system originated in the Middle and in the Southern colonies. The crucial exception was New England, the sparkplug of the collectivist educational system in America. In contrast to the other colonies, New England was dominated by the Calvinist tradition, among the English Puritans who settled Massachusetts, and later the other New England colonies.”

    The significance of this will not be lost to readers of this blog.

    Raising young humans in such a way that they are isolated from transgenerational institutions, and so they lack interactions with the productive ways of the free market and industry, and throwing the amongst a group of unrelated people whose only differentiating feature is their age, is a good way of creating little socialists. And blaming young people for becoming socialists after being raised this way, as is the wont of (for example) the mises.org crowd, is both petty-minded and unlikely to improve the situation.

    >As a Radical Traditionalist, I reject Ron Paul’s libertarian ideology as a misguided doubling down on the very mercantile morality that got us into this mess in the first place.

    I wonder if a friend of Mr. Parrott could ask him what exactly he means by this “mercantile morality”. I’m not sure what he thinks is objectionable about profit discipline, or why he thinks this is responsible from the problems that most here would regard as being associated with the hegemony of the Universalism memeplex.

    There is such as thing as unhealthy, mindless consumerism, but this is an effect of social decline and not a cause.

    PS: Foseti, have you considered lightening the comment moderation around here – perhaps the trade of more spam for livelier discussions would be worthwhile?

  2. By “interesting article on John Mearsheimer’s foreign policy views” you mean one that doesn’t tell readers he is a crank and an anti-Semite? I agree.

    P.S. I missed you while you were gone.

  3. Fake Herzog says:

    When you say “interesting article on John Mearsheimer’s foreign policy views”, by “interesting” do you mean cranky and anti-Semitc?

    It’s great to have you back though…

  4. Fake Herzog says:

    “In general, the idea that the US is wasting its time and money in the middle east also doesn’t seem anti-Semitic.” Agree with you 100% (even if I disagree with the policy). But the problem is that is not what Mearsheimer argues (or he used to argue something like that until he became obsessed with the Jews) — now he argues that the Jews in America keep us in the Middle-East against our interests and furthermore, Israel is evil and the Palestinians are oppressed. Sad really, because if he argued your position, he would still be considered a serious scholar.

  5. rightsaidfred says:

    Jim on economic decline

    Part of this depends on where you draw the circle. Draw it around Mexico and the US, and things look better, for Mexico anyway: their population more than tripled, with almost a third living in the US at a higher standard of living, occupying territory, gaining political power, milking the public spending arena. Quite a nice coupon.

    Also consider the principle of “hedonic adjustment”, where things become more valuable from added leisure and convenience. Applied to something like college education, apparently now giant bordellos, where instructors earn more and teach less, to the point where students know less after the experience, people happily flock to the places and stay there quite a while. The good times provided are a good in themselves, and things are better overall. Maybe.

  6. dearieme says:

    That first democracy article – his history is a bit approximate. (i) Charles I (of England and Scotland) wasn’t opposed because of the threat of the imposition of Roman Catholicism – though James II & VII was booted out for exactly that reason. (ii) “…In the great Reform Bill of 1832, the middle classes were belatedly invited to join their betters at Westminster: no, the middle classes hadn’t been excluded from Parliament, in the sense of being excluded from being MPs, but in many constituencies large parts of the middle class had been excluded from voting. The Reform Act standardised the franchise, widened it socially (but narrowed it sexually – those women who had had the franchise lost it), and extended it it religiously – Roman Catholics were given the vote on the same terms as everyone else.

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