John Gray on Machiavelli:

A world in which little or nothing of importance is left to the contingencies of politics is the implicit ideal of the age.

The trouble is that politics can’t be swept to one side in this way. The law these liberals venerate isn’t a free-standing institution towering majestically above the chaos of human conflict. Instead – and this is where the Florentine diplomat and historian Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) comes in – modern law is an artefact of state power. . . . Western governments blunder around the world gibbering about human rights; but there can be no rights without the rule of law and no rule of law in a fractured or failed state, which is the usual result of westernsponsored regime change. In many cases geopolitical calculations may lie behind the decision to intervene; yet it is a fantasy about the nature of rights that is the public rationale, and there is every sign that our leaders take the fantasy for real. The grisly fiasco that has been staged in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – a larger and more dangerous version of which seems to be unfolding in Syria – testifies to the hold on western leaders of the delusion that law can supplant politics. . . .

The true lesson of Machiavelli is that the alternative to politics is not law but unending war. When they topple tyrants for the sake of faddish visions of rights, western governments enmesh themselves in intractable conflicts they do not understand and cannot hope to control. Yet if Machiavelli could return from the grave, he would hardly be annoyed or frustrated by such folly. Ever aware of the incurable human habit of mistaking fancy for reality, he would simply respond with a Florentine smile.

This is a mediocre essay on a very interesting topic: what will happen when economics discovers evolution? I can’t wait to find out. I expect support for unrestricted, mass immigration to be one of the first casualties.

– Ridiculous explanations for the fall of Detroit continue. My favorite is still Yglesias’ suggestion that it’s because Detroit doesn’t have any good universities. Does anyone write better progressive propaganda than Yglesias? These explanations have led me to one important realization – I actually have some reasonably strong principles. For example, you couldn’t pay me enough money to write shit that stupid under my own name. I never really considered myself a principled guy.

– A new project from Nydwracu and company.

– Nick Land has a two-part series on the Arab world, which is worth your time.

– In local news, you be interested in the YouTube series (some of which is shot very close to my home) which starts here

Comparing the rich and the poor.

– Mangan passes on a story from Japan. I was there a few weeks ago. It was super hot and most buildings (especially offices) were barely air conditioned due to energy shortages. No one seemed to mind at all (other than to be very apologetic to foreigners). If that happened here, no one would go to work.

– The benefits of monarchy.

– Imagine what we’d learn in school if we got rid of the dumb kids.

– Here’s a non-gay discussion of racial profiling from Rod Dreher. Regardless of what you think of all this, it’s silly to pretend that the average person will sacrifice his own security so that you can feel better about yourself and your ever-so-correct opinions.


– The consequences of copyright laws.

Why Christianity won’t save the West.

Radish covers Henry Maine.


29 Responses to Randoms

  1. Toddy Cat says:

    With all his talk about order preceding rights, it sounds like Gray has been reading Mencius Moldbug.

  2. ve says:

    W/r/t copyright, it’s not really surprising that giving authors/publishers monopolies over their books resulted in reduced supply. Monopolists generate profits by reducing supply below what it would be in a competitive market. This doesn’t address the empirical question of whether the monopoly profits are needed to spur creative enterprise in the first place.

    • Foseti says:

      Either their way, it’s probably a net plus for the reactionaries. A disproportionate number of the books are old.

    • Red says:

      There’s another way to deal with copy rights: Outlaw leasing. Make it so that when you buy a copy righted item that you are allowed to transfer sell it whatever format you want to whomever you want. Basically establish full private property rights for virtual goods. Eventually market saturation would reached and the item would become essentially be free.

    • Marc Cabot says:

      There’s actually a much simpler explanation for the ratio the OP describes.

      Books still in print from the 1880’s are in print because somebody wants them. Books not in print from the 1980’s are not in print because nobody wants them.

      We published 8x as many books in the latter decade, but only about 1/8th of them could sustain demand for 30 years, whereas any book still in print from the 1880’s has proven its market fitness.

      If you want to see some evidence for this thesis, go look at how many books are being published NOW and consider how many will retain any market viability whatsoever in 100 years. The ratio is getting lower all the time.

      • VXXC says:

        Nailed It.

        Far more true of music. The only music we have that will endure are soundtracks.

      • ve says:

        It’s not solely in percentage terms. Given the greater number of books being written these days, there should be at least an equal number of quality titles.

      • Marc Cabot says:


        That assumes that writers are of equal quality these days. This is not an assumption I am prepared to stipulate.

  3. cassander says:

    Why should economics care about evolution? The fact that some groups of people are smarter than other groups doesn’t affect the calculus of comparative advantage. The danger of immigration is that while one immigrant crossing the border triples his productivity, too many and they will undermine the things that make crossing that border meaningful. But that is a political danger, not an economic one. What economists need to discover (rediscover, really) is politics.

    • Red says:

      It’s primarily about explaining that people do not act in a rational manner as economics insists on, but rather in a manner that comes from their evolutionary development and usually has very little to do with rationality.

      • cassander says:

        only if you take an over specific definition of rational. Rational just means pursuing your interests, even if those interests are crazy. If people are tribal, and they are, that shouldn’t change economists’ recommendations, just their expectations.

      • K(yle) says:

        “Rational just means pursuing your interests, even if those interests are crazy.”

        This is emphatically not the definition of ‘rational’ that economics is based on.

    • VXXC says:

      Politics should actually discover economists.

  4. Zimriel says:

    Yglesias may have a point. In fact, Yglesias may have *your* point, but encoded.

    If Henry Ford (and friends) had founded a “Ford University” in Detroit, it would have been a magnet for young white (and Near-Eastern) engineers.

    Maybe the whites wouldn’t have had the fortitude to stave off Coleman, but the Arabs sure would.

    • Handle says:

      Shall I go in order of University Ranking at just the Universities I’ve personally visited?

      The part of Cambridge around MIT is one of the lousier parts of greater Boston.
      Don’t even talk about Yale’s New Haven – it’s awful.
      Cal Tech’s Pomona? Please. Not these days.
      And UPenn butts right up against 40th, definitely don’t go West of there!
      Or South of the University of Chicago
      The University of Michigan is nice – and it’s less than 20 miles West of the exurbs of … Detroit.
      And Johns Hopkins still have to have armed guards escort their students around after dark because Baltimore really does live up to it’s The Wire reputation.

      NYC and DC are on the mend, but 30 years ago, despite Columbia (abuts Harlem) and NYU, and George Washington, those cities were ground-zero for crime and bankrupt governance (in more ways than one).

      That’s just considering proximate-area crime rates, but otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be any connection whatsoever between having or not having a ‘world class’ university in the middle of your town and the kind of trouble that Detroit found itself in – which is the same kind of trouble a lot of these top-tier-institution-possessing cities have despite their urban higher-education assets.

      It’s almost like they’re completely unrelated, and no one in their right mind, especially one as clever and creative as Yglesias, would publish such a preposterous and unsupportable hypothesis unless they were really, Really out of ideas on how to distract from the obvious conclusion.

      As a kind of aside, I can’t find where exactly, but I was reading through some of Ron Unz’s other posts on his site, and somewhere recent he wrote that one of the problems of the structure of taboos in our society is that people will go over to Sailer’s (and, gasp even worse places), and because the entire ‘conversation’ is impossible to have and everybody knows it, they’ll just assume everything they read over there is true.

      They’ll do this because, pretty much, Ron Unz is basically alone in his willingness to try and dispute any of it with a sincere quantitative attempt (the Hispanic Crime relative propensity) instead of just pointing and sputtering and excommunicating and burning witches. And he will do so even if in his attempt to dispute one false and taboo stereotype, he ends up producing incontrovertible proof for another one.

      When Yglesias and Krugman et al go this far out on their limbs, my impression is that it has the same effect that Unz worries about. Even perfectly progressive readers all around the country live with significant amounts of ‘job sprawl’, and in the back of their minds, reading such weak-tea ‘explanations’, they receive the signal that makes them that much surer the stereotypes are true, even as that signal tells them as strongly as ever it’s exile-worthy to actually admit it aloud.

      Maybe Derbyshire’s right. Combine his long era of ‘cold despair’ with counterproductive dissembling in the official press, and maybe the Brahmins will turn racist after all.

      • Mike in Boston says:

        While the areas around the universities are often crappy, the professors are going to live somewhere, and it’s going to be nice. Near MIT, West Cambridge, Brookline, Newtown, even Watertown are very nice, as are Woodbridge and East Haven near Yale, and so on. Universities bring a flow of tuition money from all over Middle America to a region, which gets spent creating nice Whitopias for the professoriate to live in These also act as islands of stability for the region.

      • josh says:

        Even Ithaca is scummy, despite being small and white. This is the most visible undiluted impact of having an elite University with out confounding factors of blacks and industry. The city is run by communists (the “local currency” is the Ithaca hour, named for the labor theory of value) and everyone appears to be on drugs. There are lots of street people everywhere. Once you come down from the hill, even the white people seem dangerous.

    • asdf says:

      I went to a good university in a shitty former steel magnate town now full of NAMs. Its like two different countries on and off campus. We did little to revitalize the city besides two blocks of restaurants right off the campus.

    • Jqwan says:

      Wayne State is serving that function in Midtown and really is the main anchor for recovery. They’ve also been providing the only reliable police presence in that part of the city for some time.

      Just before the EM was appointed, Detroit went through a redistricting and I believe this is the map they settled on. You can see the demographic effect the university has had (the Hispanics work in the few remaining plants), and this also gives an idea of what the rechartering and/or unincorporating options might look like.

    • Tarl says:

      If Henry Ford (and friends) had founded a “Ford University” in Detroit, it would have been a magnet for young white (and Near-Eastern) engineers.

      That end of the magnet would be sooooo much less powerful than the other end of the magnet (blacks) that would push them away.

      Anyway, why would they stay there after they graduated? They’d go somewhere else and get a job. Engineers who graduate from USC don’t work in Watts.

  5. Kgaard says:

    Jesus that evolution essay was boring. It had the highest word-to-content ratio of anything I’ve read in a long time. It SEEMED useful but I could not keep from nodding off long enough to figure out what it might have been trying to say.

    The Nick Land essay, however, was excellent.

    • asdf says:

      6,575 posts

      Posted Today, 03:57 PM

      The Eagles are really dumb if they don’t cut him. 80% of the team is black, how much of the front office/coaching staff is black?

      This isn’t about football now. It’s about public relations, discipline and player morale and of course, it goes further than just the locker-room.



      I find this remarkable. It’s true that there is zero to lose by posting something like this, but there is also zero to gain. It’s not like he’s having a conversation at work or amongst friends where not expressing this opinion could have some adverse effect. This is an anonymous fan message board for a football team. There are 29 pages of this in one day, most like the above in some form.

      Pink cleats and now this. I love football, but I don’t know how much more I can take.

  6. RS says:

    > They’ll do this because, pretty much, Ron Unz is basically alone in his willingness to try and dispute any of it with a sincere quantitative attempt (the Hispanic Crime relative propensity) instead of just pointing and sputtering and excommunicating and burning witches. And he will do so even if in his attempt to dispute one false and taboo stereotype, he ends up producing incontrovertible proof for another one.

    I doubt it’s false. It does seem that Mestizos born here have perhaps 2.5-3.5x the crime rate of US ‘Whites’ — whatever that means . . . some data sources probably count SW Asians as White.

    See a recent post from Occidentalist.

    It’s the migrants that are low in criminality. I take it for granted that their behavior holds little interest for the thinker or futurist, their demographic fraction among US Mestizos being in free fall, particularly within the 16-35 age range where crime has its stronghold. Bracketing out the migrants is what Unz does not do, I’m guessing, in building up his overall outlook. I have not read the Unz work in question.

  7. RS says:

    > Wayne State is serving that function in Midtown and really is the main anchor for recovery. They’ve also been providing the only reliable police presence in that part of the city for some time.

    That may be, but isn’t it a drop in a bucket? The larger milieu sounds very refractory to positive influences. It’s not a still-pleasant town that’s picking up a thin patina of seaminess.

    • Jqwan says:

      Right. I think the idea was that Detroit should have foreseen all of history, from the 1860s to the 1960s, and fortified the city against the negro with a wall of prestigious universities, or, in the case of Yglesias, presumably, so that the blacks would be able to exercise their equal right to higher education through affirmative action. Not arguments I would care to make, but there is something to it because, as it stands now, Wayne State is the only thing they have to build around. Apart from the stadium and bridge, I’ve not heard any substantive plans for downtown, other than “Dan Gilbert is spending money.” Maybe healthcare.

      And with the redistricting, Wayne State is a drop in a much smaller bucket, where you now have a central district with a non-black majority. If I were Snyder, I’d be looking to jettison those 90% black outer districts into the much larger bucket of Wayne County, depopulate them, redline them, or otherwise neuter them politically — again, like they’ve done with the water dept.

      What is the alternative? To build a wall and start a nigger fighting league?

  8. JJ says:

    One of the replies on the Dreher profiling thread deserves to be quoted at length. Background: teenage black thief and friend casing houses in New Orleans, witness doesn’t call police for fear of racial profiling, thief later gets shot while attempting to break into one of them. Observe ye Liberal psychosis in full cry:

    “I’m extremely glad that that neighbour in New Orleans didn’t call the police! Things played out as they were meant to. Imagine if the police had shown up only to have something go wrong (perhaps an officer “mistaking his gun for a taser” a la “Fruitvale Station””) and the kid wind up dead. For what? Even if he was thinking about robbing houses, he might have changed his mind later. He might have decided that very afternoon to turn his life around and stop being a thief. The neighbour who declined to pre-emptively call the police on him gave him that opportunity, and there is nothing foolish at all about that! It was morally laudatory, morally necessary.

    The young thief made the wrong choice, and suffered the consequences. That too is as it was meant to be. His agency, his freedom to choose good over evil, was respected ‘til the last moment. No assumptions were made about how he would choose based on the colour of his skin; and, when he chose wrongly, he suffered the inevitable consequences of his choice, nothing more.

    I’m not advocating foolishness, or saying that a person isn’t entitled to make snap judgments on the basis of evidence. But “race” is not evidence: to treat it as such must be impermissible. “Race” cannot even be used circumstantially to enhance the probative value of class or clothing. To use “race” as a factor in determining when you should or should not ask the police to step in and make snap judgements for you, police armed with guns and backed by the fearful power of the State, is to abandon your own moral agency in placing those fellow human beings that you deem “racially suspect” at unacceptable risk. It is calling upon the police to fill the role of the Mafia, instead of taking the effort to police your own life.

    It is, in a word, evil.”

  9. JJ says:

    The murder rate in the U.S. is about 5.5 per 100,000. In Brazil it’s 27, in Mehico it’s 22, Guatemala 38, etc. The greater wealth and social order of the U.S. probably means that rates of crime will be lower among these migrants but then again their very presence will erode the social capital which that wealth and order is a product of.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: