– Say what you will about Berlusconi, but he understands democracy almost as well as he understands women. I think these things are probably related.

– Round-up of thoughts on WWI.

– If your policy idea makes Lee Kuan Yew “chuckle[] for several seconds at the idea,” you might want to pause for thought. More from Mr Lee here (subscription?)

– On paperwork:

But feeling powerless and actually being powerless are not at all the same; blurring the difference between the two may be the most far-reaching ideological function of frustration with bureaucracy.

– Lots of economists seem to support a higher minimum wage and that policy seems to be contradictory to simple economic theory. What should one therefore conclude about economists?

The Barbarous Years.

– The first one that I would have named is Earth Abides.

– Review of Flashman



14 Responses to Randoms

  1. I started reading Earth Abides, but I found it unbearably pretentious.

    My first girlfriend really liked it, though.

    • Marc Cabot says:

      I didn’t think it was pretentious for the time period it was written in, but I found it unbearably depressing for personal reasons. I don’t recommend it to others.

    • Isegoria says:

      I didn’t find Earth Abides pretentious. Slow? Maybe. Depressing? Certainly. Pretentious? I didn’t get that at all.

      (By the way, we’re discussing the same topic over at my place.)

      • Isegoria says:

        Apparently I didn’t close my “cite” tag properly, and that emboldened some additional text. Sorry about that.

      • Foseti says:

        Super depressing – I don’t really see that as an argument against it!

        I thought it was anti-pretentious. Ish tries so hard to preserve knowledge and all his efforts come to nought. All pretensions are crushed in the most hopeless way possible.

  2. Federico says:

    Revolution promises to wash away the most intractable social problems, but then paperwork rears itself to show that these problems have only been displaced to an impersonal and intractable medium.

    This reminds me of Max Stirner:

    ‘In the citizen-State there are only “free people,” who are compelled to thousands of things (e. g. to deference, to a confession of faith, and the like). But what does that amount to? Why, it is only the—State, the law, not any man, that compels them!’

    I’m surprised he didn’t mention Brazil, which is like 1984 but more accurately diagnoses the problems of our own society.

    Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Dick’s books do have a political theme. He always sides with the everyman. This makes his books libertarian, albeit of a conservative flavour. (Not “freedom is great”, but “you can’t trust powerful people”.)

    It isn’t one of his best books, but I like his depiction of socialism in Galactic Pot Healer.

    “I’m quitting my profession,” Joe said. “I’m going to give up this work area and I’m going to cancel on my phone. I won’t be here; I won’t be able to play.” He took a plunging breath, then spoke on. “I’ve saved up sixty-five quarters. Prewar. It took me two years.”

    “Coins?” Smith gaped at him. “Metal money?”

    “It’s in an asbestos sack under the radiator in my housing room,” Joe said. I’ll consult it today, he said to himself.

    “There’s a booth down the street from my room, at the intersection,” he said to Smith. I wonder, he thought, if in the final analysis I have enough coins. They say Mr. Job gives so little; or, put another way, costs so much. But sixty-five quarters, he thought; that’s plenty. That’s equal to–he had to calculate it on his note pad. “Ten million dollars in trading stamps,” he told Smith. “As per the exchange rate of today, as posted in the morning newspaper… which is official.”

    After a grinding pause, Smith said slowly, “I see. Well, I wish you luck. You’ll get twenty words from it, for what you’ve saved up. Maybe two sentences. ‘Go to Boston. Ask for–‘ and then it clicks off; then it’ll cap the lid. The coinbox will rattle; your quarters will be down there in that maze of viaducts, rolling under hydraulic pressure to the central Mr. Job in Oslo.”

    • rightsaidfred says:

      I’m surprised he didn’t mention Brazil, which is like 1984 but more accurately diagnoses the problems of our own society.

      Yeah, trenchant to the max. But disturbing, as usual, in that many at the higher end who fully embrace totalitarianism are the happiest.

  3. mobile me says:

    Let’s do the “VDARE analysis” of a rise in the minimum wage. There’s Unz’s point that if these marginal low labor productivity jobs are filled mainly by immigrants, then eliminating the jobs favors outsourcing (imports) over immigration. MeXicans picking strawberries in Mexico vs permanently moving to do so in California. It also encourages us producers to switch to a higher capital to labor ratio with tools and automation, creating higher paying jobs Americans “will do.” On the other hand, higher minimum wages encourages more immigration from less marginal folks who think they will still be completive for jobs at the new wage.

    There will be winners and losers, and identifying them is important, and it won’t necessarily be the people the left thinks it will be. Look for them to stop vigorously prosecuting under the table, below minimum payments if their oxes turn out to be the ones getting gored.

  4. […] 3.  Beards are good. (h/t Foseti) […]

  5. I may have just had a bad reaction to the first bit. The main character (who, if I recall, is written in first person perspective) basically opines about how he knows it all, etc, IIRC.

    It’s been like a year and I only got through the very first bit before I had to put it down.

  6. Thomas Fink says:

    Regarding Berlusconi: How much alpha is viagra? How much alpha are sex obsessed old men that only get it going with a pill? Is it alpha to get the skin under your remaining hair tattoed to give the impression of full hair? Questions over questions.
    There is somewhere a great talk from Plato where a bunch of old men sit together and praise it that they are now free from the sexual urges of their youth. Who is more alpha, Plato or this Italian clown? BTW I find his performances hilarious entertaining as much as the hysterical reactions from the serious clowns.
    Lately my doctor offered me a testosterone treatment. I happily declined and took a nap.

  7. Thomas Fink says:

    That is true. I was more commenting on the Chateau thread you have linked to. Most of the manosphere I cannot take seriously.

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