The Decline of ‘Low Information’ Conservatism

This article is going viral Advice to the Alt-Right

Vox Day and Zman represent an insurgency against the ‘low information’ brand of conservatism that is characteristic of NRO, Drudge, Townhall, and elsewhere. Smart conservatives, in particular, are tired of hyper-partisanship and low-information punditry that regurgitates the same old predictable talking points, platitudes, and homilies…We, the ‘alt right’ and reactionaries, seek more evolved discourse. Intelligent conservatism is not about reflexively opposing everything the ‘left’ does, but rather about looking at issues from the context of preserving the greatness and richness of civilization and culture. For example, when Obama in his last days in office ended the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy for Cubans, the alt-right conceded that Obama was right, even if by happenstance, but the NRO-conservatives had to drag their feet as to why this was a bad move by Obama, because they are programmed to oppose everything Obama does. Even if they oppose citizenship, because Obama signed the bill, they had to rationalize why it was bad anyway. This fixed mindset of ideological conformity, which is no different than for the SJW-left, is why NRO-brand conservatism is dying, or at least for the 10% of conservatives who have an IQ above 110 and are capable of looking at issues a greater depth than whether said politician has a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ after their name. I’m optimistic the in time this percentage will rise–not due to rising IQ scores–but rather due to increased awareness of how mainstream conservatism has failed.

Another factor is how online journalism has evolved in a post-2013 era, in which emotive partisan articles that ‘push’ the reader have ceded to ‘shared narratives’ and intellectual and introspective long-form content that merely tries to nudge the reader. Vox Day’s articles have many shared narrative themes, such as distrust of elites–a distrust shared by both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’. You don’t need to be alt-right to not like George Soros; many liberals also don’t like him.

Second, many smart conservatives, related to ‘intellectualism culture‘, [1] are weary of reductionist or seductive narratives that are backed more by wishful thinking than science or empirical evidence, such as the belief that the ‘free market can fix everything’, that ‘pulling oneself by one’s bootstraps’ is a panacea for poverty, or that ‘strong families will cure all social ills’, ignoring the role of biology in all of these instances. Telling the large swathes of the unemployed, who don’t have genius-level IQs and who lost their jobs to outsourcing or automation, to ‘learn how to code’ is like telling penguins to ‘flap harder’. Tens of thousands of years ago, height was useful for picking tall stuff off trees. Now brains are more important. Biological determinism is real in our competitive post-2008 economy. IQ is becoming a sorting mechanism for who succeeds or fails.

[1] Intellectualism culture is a social theory I devised that describes how smart people interact with each other and understand the world. One of its tenets is that for smart people, intellectual bonds are stronger than ideological ones.

Why Bitcoin Keeps Going Up: Analysis

The huge 2016-2017 Bitcoin rally is on a lot of people’s minds: Why does it keep going up? Didn’t all the ‘experts’ in 2011-2014 say it was a bubble? Why does it refuse to burst? Is it a bubble? Maybe not.

Correct Predictions, Part 2:

Over and over again I keep being right: Bitcoin keeps going up, now at $630 on its way to $1,200 again, and even higher. Been telling readers to buy since $100 in 2013.

It hit $1,200 last night.

In late 2015, I explained why the US government didn’t make a concerted effort to prohibit Bitcoin, and how many got it wrong:

Since 2011, Bitcoin has defied all predictions of its collapse. If I had to compile all of the failed predictions of Bitcoin’s demise, it would take days and fill dozens of pages. Here are some of them, courtesy of Google. Even Moldbug, as smart as he is, got it wrong.* One could argue it’s too soon to call Bitcoin victorious, but I think three years is long enough. If the US govt. were going to make a concerted effort shutdown Bitcoin, it would have done so already. Unless it’s overtly illegal, what has to be understood is that the government typically doesn’t like to shut things down, preferring instead to regulate and tax. In the wake of the Silkroad debacle, Bitcoin has become heavily regulated,as far as America is concerned, and people who trade bitcoins are subject to capital gains taxes, much like a stock. Same for vendors who use Bitcoin as payment. If the government can’t shutdown cigarette companies, which cause about 500,000 deaths per year in the United States alone, are they really going to make a big effort to shutdown a harmless currency**? Because people occasionally use firearms for nefarious activities, does that make guns illegal? No. But guns are heavily regulated…same for cigarettes and alcohol.

But my explanation was inadequate. There are more factors at play as to why Bitcoin keeps going up–global macroeconomic factors.

Bitcoin is surging because it’s a globally accepted store of value and means of commerce, and the fixed quantity and production prevents devaluation. Unlike gold, all transactions can be done remotely and confidentially, and there are no storage costs, eliminating all the problems that are associated with storing large quantities of gold. My prediction is all dips will continue to be bought and the price will keep rising. $4,000/coin is possible. Been long since 2013, so I am biased in that regard, but there are real fundamentals here too.

Foreign currencies have lost anywhere from 30%to 99% of their value against the US dollar since 2013. Beginning around 2002 and ending around 2011-2013, many foreign governments carelessly amassed substantial infrastructure debts that now they are struggling to pay off (due to economic weakness for these foreign economies and the surging US dollar), creating a cycle of inflation and currency depreciation, making Bitcoin more attractive to own for people and businesses in these countries.

Between 2002-2011, US hedge funds and private equity flooded foreign markets with billions of dollars in capital in the hope such countries would emulate the economic success of America, but these countries amassed large debts, such as to fund construction projects, pensions, and other initiatives. Such hopes dissipated in 2011-2013 when the foreign economy turned south, first during the 2011-2012 Euro crisis, then in 2013 when the Federal Reserve began its ‘taper’ program, and then, finally, two year later when the Fed began its rate hike cycle after an seven-year hiatus. These factors made foreign debt became much less attractive, helping to spur both a US dollar rally and and outflows out of foreign asserts and currencies, and then the commodity crash of 2014-2015 dealt a second blow to these foreign economies, particularly Russia and Brazil, both of which fell into recession. Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, which squandered their 2000′s surpluses on pensions and other projects, fell into recession and needed to be bailed out.

US investments helped propel an emerging market bull market that lasted between 2002-2008, but since 2011 emerging markets have significantly lagged. Hedge funds, having been burned in 2011-2015, are not going to touch that stove again.

Bitcoin is rising because citizens and businesses have lost faith in the competence of their governments, and rightfully so. America is an exception in that it’s well-managed and strong economically and fiscally (especially relative to these foreign economies), which explains the flight to the US dollar, and also Bitcoin.

For example, in 2013, depositors at Cyrus’ largest bank lost 48% of their savings above 100,000 Euros:

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Depositors at bailed-out Cyprus’ largest bank will lose 47.5% of their savings exceeding 100,000 euros ($132,000), the government said Monday.

The figure comes four months after Cyprus agreed on a 23 billion-euro ($30.5 billion) rescue package with its euro partners and the International Monetary Fund. In exchange for a 10 billion euro loan, deposits worth more than the insured limit of 100,000 euros at the Bank of Cyprus and smaller lender Laiki were raided in a so-called bail-in to prop up the country’s teetering banking sector.

A second factor may be the rise of global authoritarianism, unrest, and unease, reducing confidence in keeping money in banks, and assets that face geopolitical risk…Bitcoin, because it’s decentralized, is immune to geopolitical risk. As long as you have your wallet, you have your wealth.

But what about the US debt clock? Doesn’t America also have a lot of debt?

The absolute debt does not matter. To put the debt in perspective, interest paid on US debt relative to GDP is at multi-decade lows, meaning that the debt burden is not significant:

The US dollar is unique because it’s the world’s benchmark of wealth. The Forbes 400 list is benchmarked in dollars, not Yen or Euros. The US dollar is not only a reserve currency, but everything (such has oil, gold, etc.) is denominated and traded in US dollars, not Euros, Francs, Pounds, or Yen. This allows the US to persistently run trade deficits without hurting its ‘wealth’, unlike other countries that would lose wealth in the form of high inflation and currency depreciation if they did the same. This makes the debt clock almost meaningless, and had someone in 2000 sold short US treasuries in anticipation of high inflation, they would have lost their shirt despite the national debt surging since then. Foreigners are buying Bitcoin to preserve their wealth against recession, currency depreciation, inflation, and crisis.

Related: Collapse Can Wait, Part 2

Peter Schiff was technically right…but he got the country and the currency wrong. The debt crisis is not in America…the evidence suggests it’s everywhere else (except Germany, Japan, and China). So the same ‘debt crisis’ argument that is often ascribed to America applies to the rest off the world instead, and that helps Bitcoin.

Grey Notes: No Trump Impeachment

If Trump is Impeached, it Might Be the End of America:

It could become a sort of reverse Cambodian Year Zero. In 1975, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, declared all money valueless and forced the “New People”—urban artists and intellectuals—out into the countryside to work the fields. The idea was social fairness and mass production of food, but the results were the exact opposite. Over 3 million people starved to death and the society collapsed. Tyranny reigned in the extreme. It wasn’t until the Vietnamese stepped in to re-assert order that the country stopped its free fall into the Stone Age.

If Trump is impeached, the United States could face an opposite, yet potentially similar scenario. If rural people begin what’s effectively a mass general strike, urbanites won’t be forced out of the city by the government, they’ll be forced out by necessity. The price of food will skyrocket to the point of being unaffordable for anyone but the very richest of city-dwellers. Lines of production and transport will break down from lack of labor and self-sabotage, and the economy will begin folding in on itself.

No, unlike anarchists and SJWs, ‘the right’ doesn’t throw temper tantrums when they don’t get their way.

Donald Trump’s presidency ‘likely to be second shortest in history’, says presidential historian

Trump impeached? You can bet on it

And

Paddy Power currently has the odds of a first-term Trump impeachment at 2/1. Ladbrokes is much more pessimistic about Trump’s prospects and currently lists the odds that Trump will “leave office via impeachment or resignation before end of first term” at even. In addition, Ladbrokes lists the odds that Trump with “serve full term” in office at 4/5.

These odds are absurdly high given that only two presidents have been impeached in the history of the United States. Given the GOP control of the House, the odds of impeachment are even worse.

And ‘Vanity Fair’, the magazine that introduced the world to Caitlin Jenner:

DONALD TRUMP MAY HAVE JUST COMMITTED AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

Nevermind all the times Obama violated the Constitution…

The desperation of the left is manifestly obvious. House Republicans know that impeaching Trump will doom their reelection campaigns. Also, Trump has not actually done anything to warrant impeachment…the left has to create their own alternate reality when facts alone won’t suffice. If Trump’s competence becomes a concern (which is also very unlikely), most likely Congress and the courts will just stonewall him.

Another Correct Prediction: Tesla

For years on this blog I have defended Tesla and Eon Musk against defamation by the SJW-left, as well as being bullish on Tesla stock. Tesla has defied the left yet again, posting yet anther quarter of strong revenue growth. Tesla, like Trump, is an American capitalist success story, and the left hates that. Elon Musk is also a high-IQ success story, and you never bet against high-IQ (GM (which went bankrupt) vs. Google).

Why has Tesla done so well even though it’s losing money? The devil is in the details. People who lose money shorting Tesla are losing their shirts for the same reason as those who shorted Amazon: cash flow + growth matters more than profitability, PE ratios, or EPS. Tesla’s car business is cash flow positive but the quarterly losses are due to infrastructure investments. This is how finance can be more subtle than meets the eye.

Tesla’s car business is very profitable:

Tesla also reported an automotive gross margin excluding SBC and ZEV credit (non-GAAP), of 22.2% in the quarter, up from 19.7% a year ago, but down from 25.0% in Q3…

Huge growth in shipments:

Looking at the future, Tesla said it expects to deliver 47,000 to 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles combined in the first half of 2017, representing vehicle delivery growth of 61% to 71% compared with the same period last year.

Tesla is reinvesting operating profits into investments, which is why it’s losing money:

The company also expects to invest between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in capex ahead of the start of Model 3 production and continues “to focus on capital efficiency while also investing in battery cell, pack and energy storage production at Gigafactory 1. It also forecast that both Model 3 and solar roof launches are on track for the second half of the year.

There is a common misconception that Tesla is losing money on each car sold, but the car business is profitable. When the left says Tesla is losing money on each car, that is after subtracting capital expenditures. let’s say you buy a McDonald’s franchise for $1 million. That is a huge capital expenditure, but each burger sold is $1 of pure profit. If 10,000 burgers are sold, then technically each burger costs $100, but the burger business itself is profitable.

How To Predict

Most people when they make predictions, predict change. I’m the opposite in that I predict that things will tend to remain unchanged, which has worked well for me since 2011 (and in retrospect best agrees with the subsequent empirical evidence). The S&P 500 keeps making new highs every week. Same for home prices in the Bay Area. Bitcoin, which in late 2015 I predicted would go much much higher, has gone up 120% since then and is now at $1,130/coin. There is no guarantee these trends will continue, but I’m batting nearly 1000, whereas most people, who predict change, fare much worse.

Then the obvious questions is, how do you know which trends will persist. Why is Facebook so successful and Fit Bit and Go Pro are not?

There are three factors:

1st: Understanding markets. Facebook, Amazon, and Google are irreplaceable, in addition to having huge growth in users and advertising dollars. There are no substitutes for these three companies. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of wearable fitness device copying the same technology as Fit Bit. A Go Pro is just an expensive phone camera. Also, Facebook, Amazon, and Google cannot be ‘fads’, because they are such an important, indispensable part of the global economy and society. It’s like trying to create a substitute for indoor lighting. Bitcoin is another irreplaceable technology..although there are other blockchain currencies, Bitcoin by far has the most ubiquity. This is where the ‘Matthew Effect’ kicks in, because existing big and successful companies, such as Facebook, can use their market dominance to keep growing. Facebook becomes more valuable by having more users, because the total number of interactions grows quadratically (Metcalfe’s Law).

2nd: The role of HBD. This blog is the only site to incorporate an HBD into its predictions, which historically have proven to be unfailingly accurate:

High-IQ countries outperform low-IQ ones, on an inflation-adjusted and per-capita basis (Singapore vs. Brazil)

High-IQ industries and sectors (tech) outperform low-IQ ones (energy), and have less volatility. With the exception of the grand finale of the tech bubble (1998-2000) which negativity skewed the 2000-2006 returns for tech, this trend has held for many decades, and especially since 2009.

High-IQ companies outperform low-IQ ones (specifically, companies that have a high valuation relative to the total number of employees, indicating a very selective hiring process and a lot of value created per employee. An example is Whats’s App, which was valued at $18 billion but only had 150 employees. GM, on the other hand, has thousands of medium and low-IQ employees. The latter went bankrupt in 2008. )

The real estate markets and economies of High-IQ neighborhoods and cities outperform low-IQ ones (Detroit vs. Palo Alto)

So with the help of this sorting process, predicting becomes much easier.

3rd: Having an understanding of underlying macroeconomics economics and trends, but more importantly, an ability to put data in context and filter out noise. 90% of my economics prediction were accurate, from predictions about GDP growth, employment, the strength of US dollar, and low inflation. Understanding the fallacy of composition is especially important here. Weakness in one part of the economy (labor market) does not portend to weakness for the entire economy, as well as other misconceptions about the economy. Between 2009-2005, a lot of pundits wrongly predicted another bear market and repeat of the 2008 recession, by erroneously extrapolating a single negative data point and generalizing it for the entire economy and ignoring the healthier data, or a failure to put the negative data in its proper context. This is related to the confirmation bias. In 2013-2014, others said that the end of QE would cause the stock market to crash, because the economy was supposedly dependent on it. Nope.

Here’s an example: in June 2016, the ADP report, which is released every month, showed only 50,000 non-farm jobs created in the prior month, well-short of the estimate of 150,000-200,000 jobs. The usual pundits proclaimed that this was the start of another recession, and so on. I ran a statistical analysis on the numbers and determined that such a large miss was statistically due to happen and that the miss, although large, wasn’t a big deal. In retrospect, a year later, the miss turned out to be just an outlier, not the start of a recession.

Much Ado About Milo

Milo is in the news again for some comments he made..There’s Milo, theideological ally of the right…and then there’s Milo’s private life. I think you have to try to separate the art from the artist.

Some are saying Milo is in deep trouble. IMHO, he’ll be fine.

Losing the book deal was just a one-month setback in terms of pay. A month ago he had no book deal. Now he still, technically, has no book deal, but now he also has much more publicity than a month ago, due to all the media coverage surrounding the book deal and its subsequent cancellation, along with the Berkeley riots, which also generated a lot of news coverage. So now with all this publicity he can sell more books than ever before, either with a new publisher or on his own. He doesn’t seen Simmon & Cuckster to sell books.

Like Trump, Milo is a one-man media platform. He doesn’t need Twitter, Fox News, or Breitbart. No one cares about CPAC…they have been irrelevant for years, full of the same people who a year ago thought Trump would lose. If Milo is banished from all social media and TV platforms, he can just take to the internet to do his own podcasts, like Joe Rogan and others.

Milo is a like a ‘rock star’ to his hundreds of thousands of young fans, who will remain loyal even as the media turns against him. Milo is voice for a generation tired of liberal indoctrination and the hegemony of the liberal media and education system.

As others have noted, the ‘left’ has done far worse…with actual pedophiles and other sex offenders among the ranks of the left (Polanski, Woody Allen, Jeffrey Epstein, etc. ).

Another issue is the age of consent, in which the laws are different. In the UK it’s lower than in the USA, as someone astutely noted in the comments of Danger and Play:

Milo is anti-pedophilia and he’s spent his life taking out pedophiles. Calling him pro-pedophilia is a fucking disgraceful hatchet-job.

Now, the IMPORTANT context of Milo’s comments is that he is “the boy” not “the man” in the relationships in question.

He is referring to himself as a 17 year old when he began a 10 year relationship with a 29 year old (16 is legal age in UK). That is important. They try to spin it like he’s the man who wants underage boys, when he’s the LEGAL age boy in a relationship with older men. Changes context completely.

And separately when Milo speaks of 13 year olds consenting, he’s again speaking about himself. He was raped as a boy repeatedly. This is his way of coping with it. Trying to pretend like he could consent. It’s common amongst rape victims (especially child rape victims) to try and say that they were at fault or they weren’t really raped.

This is the truth.

Milo should bring these points up and use them to re-frame the argument. He’s an anti-pedophile journalist who fought and took down pedophiles. But he was raped as a child and is going through some of the psychological trauma of it.

Yeah this is pretty sad and depressing stuff.

Milo’s mistake would be to show contrition to the media that seeks to destroy him; rather he needs to firmly reiterate his position, yet remain defiant, and then drop the issue, and then maybe get some counseling.

Grey Notes: The Futility of Activism

I’m introducing Grey Notes: Brief blog posts about topics when longer responses are not needed.

Activism is like a cart driver dangling a carrot in front of a mule, where the carrot is whatever news the activist has latched onto and the mule is the activist. Or running on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike, etc. In either case, there is the illusion of progress in that there is action and movement, yet futility. Activism is repetitious, beating on the same issues, memes, and stuff over and over to no avail. Activism and wishful thinking are also related, in that it represent a longing or ‘ideal’ that is never realized or fulfilled. Another problem with activism is that it’s focused on short term, day-to-day developments, which at the time seem urgent and demanding of attention, but in retrospect is just noise. Consider the stock market rises 100 points, then falls 100 points the next day, rises 100 points the next day, falls 100 after that, etc. for fifty 2-day pairs (total 100 days). Activism is like celebrating all the ‘up days’ but forgetting or not realizing that over the 100-day period the market did absolutely nothing. Activism enriches people who make money on noise, while people who are looking for direction get nowhere.

The Best of Times or The Worst of Times?

We have two contrasting opinions:

From Bill ‘RamZPaul’ Gates: Warren Buffett’s Best Investment

Bill: One of my favorite books is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. It shows how violence has dropped dramatically over time. That’s startling news to people, because they tend to think things are not improving as much as they are. Actually, in significant ways, the world is a better place to live than it has ever been. Global poverty is going down, childhood deaths are dropping, literacy is rising, the status of women and minorities around the world is improving.

And on the other extreme: Our Miserable 21st Century

Based on the empirical evidence, I side with the latter (optimism about the US economy and America), although it’s sightly more complicated. I argue there is a Lockean/Hobbes optimism/pessimism dichotomy, from Neo Masculinity and Christianity, Darwinian Conservatism, Free Will, Biological Reality:

But this should not be confused with a pessimistic view of human nature, as expounded by Hobbes. In the spirit of Locke, I am optimistic about the human condition, as well as the economy, but not for most individual humans – in that while society will continue to advance and prosper in terms of technology and other metrics, and the stock market will keep going up, at the individual level things won’t feel so great, with ennui, anxiety, and emptiness the dominant human condition for the vast majority who are not smart enough to attain ‘enlightenment’. John Locke’s optimism was rooted in his faith, for man to full fill his ‘god given’ potential to create, in contrast to the atheist Hobbes who equates man to animals. There is a middle ground, in that we are in an ‘enlightenment’ for those who are smart and successful enough to participate in it , but a Hobbesian ‘dark age’ for everyone else. The capacity to create does not come from god or some creator, but from genes, which is how Darwinism can be reconciled with the more optimistic, future-oriented worldview of the Enlightenment.

America, are measured by it’s economy, S&P 500 profits & earnings, stock market, global military and economic influence, and innovation is doing better than ever; but a lot of people, especially those in the ‘fat middle’ of the IQ distribution, seem to be falling between the cracks. They aren’t starving to death, but they aren’t fully participating in the post-2009 recovery either, plagued by high debt, weak job prospects, medical bills, student loan debt, etc…

So for for rich and or high-IQ people, especially in the web 2.0 ‘tech scene’, times are, generally, good:

..America, especially since 2008, has become a hyper-meritocracy in overdrive. If you like coding, have a prestigious degree and a high IQ, now couldn’t be a better time to be alive, although having the first two qualities pretty much guarantees the third. We’re in a high-IQ, STEM, wealth creation feeding frenzy on a biblical scale. The Rockefellers, Vanderbilt and Carnegies actually had to build something to get wealthy, which took decades and thousands of people. Now start-ups less than three years old are making instant billionaires out of their youthful founders and early investors. Even in the 90′s – what many consider to be the epitome of a bubble – a typical tech start-up was seldom valued at over $60-100 million. Now that is just the Series A round. The Bay Area housing market is going nuts in all-cash bidding wars above the asking price due to endless fed money, rich foreigners, web 2.0 founders and investors flush with cash, and private equity.

This does not apply to all smart people, obviously, but your odds are better than for the less intelligent. For everyone else, maybe the odds of economic success are poorer. That’s the way I see things for the foreseeable future, possibly for decades or even a century or longer. This is also how HBD, the ‘American dream‘, and the success and strength of the US economy are intimately related, because America, through its free market, political stability, and prestigious research universities, is like a ‘magnet’ for the world’s best and brightest, boosting the US economy but also causing a ‘brain drain’ among countries that have their top talent poached by American tech firms and universities. The ‘wealth of nations‘ is real, and, economically, low-IQ countries do worse the high-IQ ones, like Singapore:

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Singapore was worth 292.74 billion US dollars in 2015. The GDP value of Singapore represents 0.47 percent of the world economy. GDP in Singapore averaged 71.73 USD Billion from 1960 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 306.34 USD Billion in 2014 and a record low of 0.70 USD Billion in 1960.

A 422x gain in 55 years, greater than perhaps any developed country:


source: tradingeconomics.com

Contrast that with Zimbabwe, which only gained 14x in the same time period:


source: tradingeconomics.com

Obviously, there are other factors besides IQ, but as we see, time and time again, smarter countries are better countries, with greater economic growth, less corruption, and more stability.

America’s national IQ is 100, but that includes large populations of ‘low scoring’ groups, but in regions such as the Bay Area, Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, and Manhattan, it’s probably as high as 110-115. The same applies to real estate: since 2007, smarter regions (Palo Alto, San Francisco, Manhattan) have provided higher returns than low-IQ ones (Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis).

Regarding the second article, Our Miserable 21st Century, the author is misconstruing/misinterpreting statistics and committing logical fallacies (such as moving the goalposts) to advance his political agenda.

The recovery from the crash of 2008—which unleashed the worst recession since the Great Depression—has been singularly slow and weak. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), it took nearly four years for America’s gross domestic product (GDP) to re-attain its late 2007 level. As of late 2016, total value added to the U.S. economy was just 12 percent higher than in 2007. (SEE FIGURE 2.) The situation is even more sobering if we consider per capita growth. It took America six and a half years—until mid-2014—to get back to its late 2007 per capita production levels. And in late 2016, per capita output was just 4 percent higher than in late 2007—nine years earlier. By this reckoning, the American economy looks to have suffered something close to a lost decad

Yes, maybe growth is slow and weak compared to the 40′s and 50′s, but compared to the 80′s and 90′s and early 2000′s, it’s pretty much in-line with historic trends, albeit just a tad lower:

But part of the alleged economic weakness may also be attributed to the declining population growth rate of America:

When adjusted for population size (per-capita GDP growth), it’s better.

Yes, it often takes 4-5 years to recover from a recession. It was that way in the 70′s and 80′s, yet the author somehow ignores those instances.

“The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO), for example, suggests that the “potential growth” rate for the U.S. economy at full employment of factors of production has now dropped below 1.7 percent a year, implying a sustainable long-term annual ”

Sounds like moving the goal posts…growth is growth, and the USA has the highest real GDP growth (at 2-3%) than almost all developed countries. Anyone can create an arbitrary metric and than say the US economy is ‘failing’ by not meeting said metric. Part of being a ‘reactionary realist’ is living in reality, not, as Scott Adams calls, a ‘mental movie’.

The USA has the highest real GDP growth of all developed countries, which is even more impressive given its size:

This is the chart the ‘fake news’ does not want you to see, who insist the US has weaker growth than the rest of the world, which is refuted by simple empirical comparison of growth rates.

The fake, misleading financial media only reports nominal GDP growth, not real growth, so countries with high nominal growth seem to be better but the are actually worse because all that growth comes at the cost of inflation and falling currencies. From Slow Economic Growth Not a Big Deal:

It’s like selling a book for $20 but inserting a $20 bill inside. Yeah, you’ll get a lot of sales, but it’s costing you more money than you make. That’s the bad situation facing many of these emerging countries right now…they are borrowing a lot of money at very unfavorable rates to keep growth high, whereas America can borrow at very little and still have solid growth.

Profits & earnings for tech companies, payment processing, retail, and consumer staples companies have far-outpaced GDP growth. A lot of the lag comes from the chronically weak financial, commodity, and energy sector.

Google, Amazon, and Facebook reported blowout quarters for like the 50th time in a row. Companies like Nike, Lowes, Costco, Disney, Johnson and Johnson, Starbucks, and Home Depot reporting double-digit profits & earnings growth.

The pundit-left as of late has invented a new tactic: trying to emphasize with the concerns of Trump voters and the ‘working class’ (as Michael Moron tries to do), instead of mocking them, which I have dubbed ‘concern liberalism‘. Maybe this is a sign of desperation or capitulation by the far-left, because they know their ideology is failing and they are losing.

Make The Stock Market Great Again

Stock market hits new highs The ‘Teflon market’: Why stocks keep setting new highs despite Trump drama

The S&P 500 has gained 10% since Trump’s victory.

However, thank free markets, profits & earnings growth, exports, consumer spending, web 2.0, technology, and innovation by America’s best and brightest, not Obama.

Glad I ignored all those people who said to sell stocks if Trump won…Bitcoin will also keep going up. Same for home prices in Bay Area. My favorite picks, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, keep doing well too. the Snapchat IPO will also likely be a success and I’ll buy some of that (but not much). These companies have become an inseparable part of everyone’s lives…people using Google for search, and there are Google Adsense ads everywhere (all major sites have them…Bloomberg, NY Times, WSJ, Forbes, etc). Everyone shops on Amazon, which is overtaking offline retail. Over a billion people login to Facebook every day and also click the Facebook ads, which advertisers spend billions of dollars every year on. Also, there is Instagram and WhatsApp, both owned by Facebook are are seeing huge growth and ad spending.

Barry Ritholz, who despite being on the ‘left’ provides a sober and rational outlook on political and economic matters, has a list of all the pros and cons stock market under Trump The Investing Pros and Cons of Trump:

No. 1. Tax Reform: This is the big one, and it includes tax cuts, cleaning up the corporate tax code and repatriation of trillions of dollars of corporate profits parked overseas to avoid onerous taxation. As noted before, it would be hard to beat the economic impact of tax cuts, tax reform and the return of all that overseas money. Add this to No. 3 on our list, and you get Keynesian stimulus at its finest.

No. 2. Deregulation: Hope comes not only from the financial sector, which has enjoyed a bigly post-election market rally, but from lots of other industries. The wishful thinking is that the cost of doing business declines.

No. 3. Infrastructure: Trump seemed at one point to be gung-ho on a plan to spend as much as $1 trillion on refurbishing and expanding America’s bridges, roads, tunnels, ports and water systems. As we pointed out yesterday, it is long past due.

No. 4. Sentiment: All of the above have combined to make business people and investors more optimistic, which of course feeds into what we’ve seen going on in markets.

Barry also lists the potential negatives, which in my opinion are vague and vastly outweighed by the positives. Should Trump get his way, which given the GOP-controlled house is almost certain, we can expect a couple trillion dollars of more spending on top of existing spending projections. Much of that spending is going to flow into the economy, housing market, and stock market. Even if tax cuts do not pay for themselves, because the USA can borrow at such a low rate, the spending adds to top-line growth at almost no immediate cost.

I don’t like Zuck’s politics, but Facebook has been and will continue to be a great investment, and Zuck seems to know how to please the people who matter most, the shareholders. Same for Google and Amazon, which despite censorship from the former (by deleting YouTube videos and accounts that post ‘controversial’ stuff and then making up lame excuses such as ‘copyright violations’ for a mini soundtrack from 25 years ago or some other BS) and crappy politics from the CEO of the latter, continue to be good investments. Sometimes you can’t agree or have everything. Zerohedge, although they tacitly support Trump, has been wrong about the economy and stock market since 2009. I don’t take my politics and investment advice from the same source: Facebook has crappy politics but it has been a great investment; I agree with the alt-right on things like anti-democracy, Trump, anti-feminism, anti-SJW, Nietzsche philosophy, HBD, etc., but not on the doom and gloom economic stuff.

Gab is gaining momentum as an alternative to Twitter, but alternatives to You Tube are more elusive.

I tend to be more of an empiricist when it comes to certain issues. It’s empirically obvious to myself (and others) that SJW-liberalism is as much of a mental illness as it is a failed ideology, that the alleged ‘college rape epidemic’ is a combination of hoaxes and false memories, that biological differences between men and women and races exist and such differences manifest in socioeconomic outcomes and IQ scores, that capitalism > communism, that ‘rape culture’ is a also myth, that the mainstream media is rapidly losing credibility, and that democracy as a system of government is deeply flawed. Yet at the same time, the empirical evidence also shows that that US economy is not dying, but is doing quite well as measured by data such as consumer spending, technological innovation, exports, and profits & earnings growth. Although there is some some civil unrest and angst in America, the empirical evidence again shows it’s not abnormally high relative to earlier decades.

However, there is significantly more unrest in counties such as Turkey, France, and Brazil (so much so that it threatens their economies), but I would never invest there nor recommend anyone else do so. I have been bearish on emerging markets and Europe since 2013. Emerging markets and Europe have significantly lagged the S&P 500 since 2011, as another example of a correct prediction by this blog. Low-IQ countries tend to have a lot of unrest, graft, inflation, and corruption and make bad investments. Italy and Greece are much closer to being an ‘idiocracy’ than America. In America, the Tea Pot Dome scandal and Watergate are still a big deal, to give an idea of how rare corruption in America is compared to quotidian corruption in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Turkey, which fills volumes and is a part of everyday life for those countries.

I am ‘short’ Europe and emerging markets while ‘long’ US stocks and treasury bonds. If there is global civil and economic collapse, Europe will most certainly go down the drain first and the deepest and furthest down the drain. I will profit from the differential (America minus ex-America), so even if there is collapse I will come out ahead.

Another reason I’m optimistic is because the neocons in Congress, even if they aren’t crazy about Trump, will gladly accept lower taxes, deregulation, more military sending, which is what Trump wants and what the stock market wants. Trump may cave on some issues to get his other policy passed. If Congress stonewalls Trump, then fears of Trump upsetting the economy through ‘rash policy’ will be abated, which is an undue fear to begin with.

Overall, the fact so many pundits were wrong about Trump and the stock market is further reason why they (and the rest of Fake News media) are losing credibility. Let them fail…their absence won’t be missed.

Mark Zuckerberg: a Modern-day Progressive

Not surprisingly, Zuckerberg’s manifesto was panned by everyone.

Zuckerberg Gives Public an Indication How He Lives in an Alternative Reality

Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto for Facebook offers a social dystopia

But also, people don’t like being reduced to props and ‘extras’ for the screenplay that is Zuck’s ‘new world order’, except that instead of being a movie it’s real life.

Furthermore, as the saying goes, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. When powerful, ambitious people think they are on the side of ‘good’ or try to ‘play god’, there is a natural tendency to be wary.

To others, the manifesto was self-serving and self-absorbed, as a sort of thinly veiled pr for Facebook.

And the hypocrisy of elites preaching ‘unity’ yet spending millions of dollars to isolate themselves (luxury doomsday bomb shelters, New Zealand citizenship, private islands, walled residential complexes, etc.) from the very people whose interests they claim to support but otherwise want nothing to do with.

Zuckerberg is essentially a modern day Progressive, related to reformers of the late 19th and early 20th century who supported sweeping social initiatives to carry out the ‘will of God’, although Zuck’s progressiveness is obviously more secular but still keeping in the tradition of optimism of science and technology and the power of ‘social reform’, with Zuck as the self-ordained minister of the contrived religion that is ‘one-worldism’.

Progressivism in America continues where the Age of Enlightenment in Europe leaves off.

Progressivism is a philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition. Progressivism became highly significant during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, out of the belief that Europe was demonstrating that societies could progress in civility from barbaric conditions to civilization through strengthening the basis of empirical knowledge as the foundation of society.[1] Figures of the Enlightenment believed that progress had universal application to all societies and that these ideas would spread across the world from Europe.[1] Sociologist Robert Nisbet defines five “crucial premises” of the Idea of Progress as being: value of the past; nobility of Western civilization; worth of economic/technological growth; scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith; the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth.[2] Beyond this, the meanings of progressivism have varied over time and from different perspectives.

-late 19th century, early of 20th century (ended in 1920)
-modern progrressives (or what we simply call ‘liberals’) differ from forebears (imho, modern, secular progressives are actually worse)
-substantial social reforms
-experimented with eugenics
-in the spirit of John Stuart Mill: ‘reason’ and utilitarian-based policy.
-some social Darwinism
-supported minimum wage, opposed free markets, supported regulation and state intervention.
-administrative state, borrowed from Germany
-’the state’ > individual (the state as analogous to an organism whereby the ‘whole’ is greater than the parts it is composed of). This differs from classical liberalism, in which individual liberty and rights (natural law) are paramount.
-Protestant reformers who felt they were carrying out the ‘Will of God’.
-economists such as Irving Fischer and Richard T. Ely
-President Woodrow Wilson
-elitist, paternalist, expanded role of state, (a society run by intellectuals and experts…the epitome of ‘expert culture’, put the ‘best and brightest’ in charge to maximize economic growth)

Zuckerberg’s manifesto was panned because modern day liberals, who tend to have a very negative world view, don’t want to reform the system using ‘science’ and ‘reason’; rather, like modern day barbarians that they are, the left seeks destroy society (as the revolutionaries did to Russia in 1918); and second, the left doesn’t like how Zuckerberg is so rich and doesn’t spread his wealth more.

Although Zuckerberg’s politics are unadulterated paternalist liberal elitism, there is a silver lining which is is that Zuck’s approach, in the NRX-sense, is counter-revolutionary, emphasizing ‘restoration’ instead of ‘revolution’. Thiel and Silicon Valley neo reactionaries understand this distinction.