– The court of public opinion:

The court of public opinion is an alternative system of justice. It’s very different from the traditional court system: This court is based on reputation, revenge, public shaming, and the whims of the crowd. Having a good story is more important than having the law on your side. Being a sympathetic underdog is more important than being fair. Facts matter, but there are no standards of accuracy. The speed of the internet exacerbates this; a good story spreads faster than a bunch of facts.

In related news:

They [i.e. the mob] are faced with choices and decisions which demand maturity, knowledge, and a range of information which they do not and cannot have. Elections are limited to the selection of individuals, which reduces the problem of participation to its simplest form. But the individual wishes to participate in other ways than just elections. He wants to be conversant with economic questions. In fact, his government asks him to be. He wants to form an opinion on foreign policy. But in reality he can’t. He is caught between his desire and his inability, which he refuses to accept.

For no citizen will believe that he is unable to have opinions. Public opinion surveys always reveal that people have opinions even on the most complicated questions, except for a small minority (usually the most informed and those who have reflected most). The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing opinion: this gives them the feeling of participation. For this they need simple thoughts, elementary explanations, a “key” that will permit them to take a position, and even ready-made opinions.

As most people have the desire and at the same time the incapacity to participate, they are ready to accept a propaganda that will permit them to participate, and which hides their incapacity beneath explanations, judgments, and news, enabling them to satisfy their desire without eliminating their incompetence. The more complex, general, and accelerated political and economic phenomena become, the more individuals feel concerned, the more they want to be involved. In a certain sense this is democracy’s gain, but it also leads to more propaganda.

– Newsflash: China is neither Puritanical nor retarded. Also, it might work.

– A review of The Problem of Democracy (HT: Paleo Retiree)


Interesting stuff on the (lack of) diversity in Silicon Valley.

The deserving poor and race. More.

– Economics taught us about the invisible hand, which put in the negative means that we’re too stupid to figure out what’s best for everybody, and that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Oddly, “economists” don’t believe in these things with respect to immigration. On this issue, it instead appears that nations should act to promote general well-being (having somehow solved the knowledge problem) and that there’s all sorts of free stuff lying around (especially if you don’t count any of the costs!). My favorite part:

Truly open borders might prove unworkable, especially in countries with welfare states, and kill the goose laying the proverbial golden eggs; in this regard Mr. Clemens’s analysis may require some modification.

Is New York’s renaissance sustainable?

Black twitter

The end of Reader and Google


16 Responses to Randoms

  1. joetexx says:

    “Besides [other] defects, the democracy has ethical standards of its own, which differ widely from those of the educated classes. Among the poor, ‘generosity ranks far before justice, sympathy before truth, love before chastity, a pliant and obliging disposition before a rigidly honest one. In brief, the less admixture of intellect required for the practice of any virtue, the higher it stands in popular estimation.’*

    In this country, at any rate, democracy means a victory of sentiment over reason. Some may prefer the softer type of character, and may hope that it will make civilisation more humane and compassionate than it has been in the past. Unfortunately, experience shows that none is so cruel as the disillusioned sentimentalist. He thinks that he can break or ignore nature’s laws with impunity; and then, when he finds that nature has no sentiment, he rages like a mad dog, and combines with his theoretical objection to capital punishment a lust to murder all who disagree with him. This is the genesis of Jacobinism and Bolshevism.”

    *a ‘Miss M. Loane’, quoted in W. R. Inge “Outspoken Essays”, 1919

  2. Sgt. Joe Friday says:

    Public opinion is what people think other people think. That is the only possible explanation for why Michelle Obama enjoys 75-80% approval ratings.

    • Matt says:

      Why wouldn’t Michelle Obama have high approval ratings? She goes on Oprah and smiles and is generally pleasant. Heck, I’m inclined to approve as well–what else is a first lady for?

  3. VXXC says:

    It doesn’t matter what people think, less what they say.

    It matters what they do, or don’t…

    Reaction seems to be on the side of Don’t. Progressives are on the side of Do. They’re evil, but they do act and are deserving of respect for that, those who exhaustively taxonomize Evil but do not act deserve the opposite of respect.

    • rightsaidfred says:

      Too harsh. Action isn’t necessarily deserving of respect.

      I see plenty of action by reactionaries at the local level. The big problem is that they are swamped by demographic change and policies of the Cathedral. These things take a long time to shift.

      Meanwhile, it is good to bolster the theories.

  4. rightsaidfred says:

    The immigration piece from Tyler Cowan is so dreary in the usually psychotic way… “He found that unrestricted immigration could create tens of trillions of dollars in economic value.” Good grief, where’s the evidence that immigrants are creating any net value? The US of A? Not in my neighborhood. I’ll be sure to show all the drug dealers and insurance scammers this article, and tell them to get busy and create all this wealth. An economist’s reputation depends on it. What’s been our GDP growth lately, anyway, after all the world record levels of immigration we’re so fortunate to have had?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Immigration is good for the world overall; it’s just bad for US citizens whose economic state will approach that of their BRIC counterparts.

    • rightsaidfred says:

      Certain kinds of immigration might be good, but not overall. If immigration turns western Europe into an Islamic Caliphate, how is that good?

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not that worried. Western Europe faced an Islamic invasion down in the 700’s, and has since progressed technologically, while Islam has not. Orthodox Islam is in the process of being defeated by satellite TV.

  6. Bedarz Iliaci says:

    As family is formed by the complementarity of the male and the female, the State is formed by the complementarity of the ruling and the ruled elements.

    This ought to be the bedrock reactionary dogma-that there are ruling and ruled elements.

    The liberals of libertarian type deny this for they are consumed by power-envy, similar to the wealth-envy of progressive liberal.

    The ruling element consists of superior types, essentially he is more intellectual. For the State is based ultimately on reason and not brute force. So the ruling element essentially outthinks the ruled element.

    The existence of these elements and their characterristics are inevitable. A liberal society only wishes that attention be not paid to them.

  7. dearieme says:

    It’s a bit odd to claim that democracy demands a demos when the Swiss counterexample stands before him. More likely it’s fine with multiple demoses (plural invented) if they are prepared either to (i) assimilate themselves, up to a point, into a quasi-demos, or (ii) arrange their political affairs to reflect their lack of demos-hood. The Swiss satisfy (ii) by their system of cantonal government. The British satisfied (i) by erecting a United Kingdom. But they have formed separate national rugby and football teams, for which purpose they refer to themselves as the Home Countries – note the plural.

    • joetexx says:

      Do the Home Counties actually even regard the geordies and the West Country as English?

      I’m reminded of the Monty Python clip,

      “Birth in the Third World: Yorkshire”

      Oops. Misread countries as counties.

  8. Samson J. says:

    What’s this Google Reader thing, anyway? What is the big deal about just checking your favourite blogs regularly to see if there’s anything new there?

  9. […] Sailer and Moldbug both have thoughts on the crappy immigration piece I linked to last […]

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