Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Writing Boom

First, the grim statics of writing for publication, which I’m sure every author is aware of:

The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing

Thinking of Self-Publishing Your Book in 2013? Here’s What You Need to Know

This passage stood out:

1. The number of books being published every year has exploded. Bowker reports that over three million books were published in the U.S. in 2010. The number of new print titles issued by U.S. publishers has grown from 215,777 in 2002 to 316,480 in 2010. And in 2010 more than 2.7 million “non-traditional” titles were also published, including self-published books, reprints of public domain works, and other print-on-demand books. In addition, hundreds of thousands of English-language books are published each year outside the U.S.

In an era of instant messaging, selfies, and on-demand entertainment, it’s understandable how one could believe that the fiction market is dead – for both writers and readers – but it’s not, at least not for writers. In spite of our culture of instant gratification, more people than ever are taking to the tedious craft, the result being a writing boom – particularity in fiction, but also non-fiction – of the likes never before seen, which means that writers today have to fight tooth and nail to rise above the publishing quicksand of obscurity.

In spite of the complaints about traditional publishing, such as authors not earning much money on royalties or poor sales, publishing houses and agents are inundated with manuscripts – a tsunami – from aspiring writers, with no end in sight, which is surprising given that digital media has also become so pervasive. Who wants to write books, anyway, when there is Netflix and Facebook? Why are so many people writing despite the long odds and the pervasiveness of cheap digital entertainment as distractions? I pondered this for a little while, and finally found some reasons:

1. Baby boomers are retiring, which means they have a lot of free time for writing books.

2. Younger people, faced with a perpetually anemic labor market, also have a lot of spare time to write, with genres of choice being fantasy, youth fiction, and introspection and existentialism.

3. Due to mass education, related to number 2, there are a lot of people who are educated enough to write books with intelligible prose, versus a generation ago when the labor market was better and people weren’t as overeducated.

4. Writing is an inexpensive hobby for lean economic times, compared to, say, golf or art collecting.

5. Related to number 4, the barriers to entry in writing are low, but mastery or success is almost impossible unless you are either very lucky or talented. Self-publishing makes writing very inexpensive, with thousands of writers competing for scraps of attention and sales, and successful self-publishers few and far between.

6. Writing taps into a narcissistic, vainglorious desire to leave a mark, to defy mortality. If millennials are more narcissistic than earlier generations, it could partially explain the writing boom.

7. The rise of writing gurus, particularity online. They’re probably hundreds of writing blogs catering to legions of wannabee writers. It’s mostly a blind leading the blind situation of the gurus only being marginally better writers than their followers, only famous because of promotion and hype, not because they are great writers.

8. The rise of the debut celebrity. Despite the doom and gloom about publishing, six and even seven-figure contracts and film deals for debut authors are not at all uncommon, recent examples being Andy Weir and Pierce Brown. Unfortunately, this gold rush fuels the bottom line for gurus who sell overpriced writing services to novice writers who have dreams, however far-fetched, of being the next Weir or Brown. And although there are more big debuts, there are also many, many more authors, too.

9. Writing is ‘cool’ and transcendent, more than ever. In a news cycle dominated by misbehaving celebrities and various petty insubstantial matters, writing taps into a certain authenticity that many long for, as a way of transcending the chaos and minutia of everyday life to answer a higher calling. You’re not just putting words to paper, you’re changing the world, changing minds (or at least you hope so).

Moderates

Stulti Philosophiam

Interesting article. A couple thoughts:

I think some of us are being too choosy in rejecting too many people when our ‘movement/ideology/whatever’ is already pretty small to begin with. Bloggers who create YouTube videos and posts denouncing SJWs, are our ideological allies and like NRx many oppose leftist of ideals of egalitarianism and social justice. Some of these bloggers are of the British ‘neo liberal’ tradition (think Bertrand Russell, Dawkins, Pinker, etc), so I guess I could understand the possible ideological fictions between them and, say, paleocons who tend to reject moderation.

Of course, there are indeed Marxists and theorists who are aware of this fact, but that doesn’t apply to the layperson sucked into the university machine: the useful idiots Yuri Bezmenov described at various points. The Marxists at the helm of these institutions know exactly what they’re doing.

From link to the Wikipedia page:

In Marxist philosophy, the social-class function of the intellectuals (the intelligentsia) is to be the source of progressive ideas for the transformation of society; to provide advice and counsel to the political leaders; to interpret the country’s politics to the mass of the population (urban workers and peasants); and, as required, to provide leaders.

But intellectualism is not restricted to the left. Right-wing intellectuals include Rand, Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Sowell, Burke, Kirk, Evola, and Hoppe – to name a handful. If Marxists can use intellectuals to influence their citizens, why can’t we? Milton Friedman, for example, through his numerous college speaking engagements, helped spark the youth Reagan revolution of the 80′s, turning a generation against liberalism.

The fact is that most “individualists” in our midst today confuse totally the person and the individual. The latter can only be established in relation to what it is a part of, id est the collective of which it is a component part. I hope it is clear now how individualism and atomisation in the capitalist marketplace go hand in hand: hence it is not the main answer to our problems at all.

Hmmm…The Evola quote alludes to individualism resulting in a breakdown of the larger organic structure; a tree broken into its components is not a tree, but a bunch of dead twigs and bark. But I think some individualism is needed for society to advance technologically. But the vast majority of people by virtue of the Bell Curve will conform, so too much individualism should not be a problem.

NRx Ideology & Endgame, part 2

The recent dust-up over the ‘alt right’ has provoked some soul searching among the NRx community as to what, precisely, NRx means and or how a hypothetical NRx government should operate and ascend to power.

Why I am not Neoreactionary

more debate…

First, the basics: we have the ‘alt right’, an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of non-mainstream (hence the prefix ‘alt’) schools of right-wing thought and ideologies. It casts a very wide net, from skinheads on one extreme to rationalists on the other.

Or as a hierarchy:

Primary: ‘alt right’

Secondary: ‘NRx & dark enlightenment’ and others…

Tertiary (of NRx): ‘techno commercialism, neocameralist, traditionalists, rationalists, formalists, anarcho-capitalists, etc’

Among the NRx community, there is mutual agreement in rejection of democracy, egalitarianism, feminism, SJWs, and political correctness. But trying to ascribe ideological labels (conservatism, libertarianism, etc) or even combinations of labels (anarcho-capitalism, etc) to NRx has proven more daunting and discordant.

In 2010, scholar Arnold Kling described ‘neo-reaction’ as having elements of neoconservatism, and while ‘neoconservatism’ nowadays has pejorative connotations, to some degree it seems accurate.

Neoconservatives believe the state has a role in enforcing private property, as well as national defense, a judicial system, various public services, and police. Furthermore, they believe in traditional values, such as opposing the legalization of drugs and gay marriage as well as opposing the separation of ‘church and state’.

For the techno-commercialism faction, NRx could be viewed as neoconservatism meets HBD. I think the term ‘reactionary realism’ is fitting. Maybe it could be described as ‘partial libertarianism‘ or ‘minarchism‘ – mixing capitalism with some soft of state or governing body to oversee it, with an emphasis on resource optimization for ‘public goods’. Or Reactionary Modernism, a term I have thrown out a couple times here. This would be similar to the system we have today, but with many or all democratic institutions phased out. The transition would be slow enough to avoid major economic disruption, which is the approach I endorse.

Or, for the traditionalists and nationalists, NRx mirrors paleoconservatism and the Christian Right, but with more HBD and a possible monarchy. Although the monarchy concept has fallen out of favor as few seem to discuss it anymore. Paleocons, like traditionalist reactionaries, tend to oppose interventionism and globalization. This is described in more detail here.

Moldbug has mentioned several times about the US govt. or ‘state’ being analogous to a giant corporation. The next step is to ‘formalize’ it, almost contractually , especially regarding to property rights and rule of law. .Seems similar to Rothbard or Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

In Democracy Hoppe describes a fully libertarian society of “covenant communities” made up of residents who have signed an agreement defining the nature of that community. Hoppe writes “There would be little or no ‘tolerance’ and ‘openmindedness’ so dear to left-libertarians. Instead, one would be on the right path toward restoring the freedom of association and exclusion implied in the institution of private property”. Hoppe writes that towns and villages could have warning signs saying “no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems, Germans, or Zulus”.[23][24]

As I discuss in NRx endgame, trying to ‘buyout’ everything doesn’t seem feasible and could have deleterious economic consequences in the unlikely event it were ever pulled off. And given how corporations and politics are already intertwined, and that private property is already enforced, maybe we’re closer to Moldbug’s vision than many realize, although with an unacceptably high amount of moral decay. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia could be considered a modern prototypical reactionary government, combining private property, the rule of law, and traditionalism.

To quote N. Land:

Fifth: although the full neocameralist approach has never been tried, its closest historical equivalents to this approach are the 18th-century tradition of enlightened absolutism as represented by Frederick the Great, and the 21st-century nondemocratic tradition as seen in lost fragments of the British Empire such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. These states appear to provide a very high quality of service to their citizens, with no meaningful democracy at all. They have minimal crime and high levels of personal and economic freedom. They tend to be quite prosperous. They are weak only in political freedom, and political freedom is unimportant by definition when government is stable and effective.

Although I’m not sure sure about the freedom part. Sharia law is pretty strict.

As may only major criticism, are paleocons who believe nationalism, border control, and religion will fix everything, and then that problems like entitlement spending, runaway healthcare costs, and crime will just ‘go away’ once those three things are implemented. However, Tthe data suggests that crime and poverty are linked to IQ, and that IQ is to large degree heritable, so therefore that lends itself to a solution that is more biological in nature, not environmental, although turning away ‘low IQ’ immigrants would be effective. Nationalism is important, but it won’t change the fact there are a lot of people – legal American citizens – who are a ‘net negative’ on the economy and societ, consuming more than they produce.

Centrism

From WEST COAST REACTIONARIES: Consequence Time

Centrists and milquetoasts, your era is over. Your question is, do you want a society of honest labor, god, and traditional European/American values? Or do you want a society of transsexual Africans forcing you to pay a white privilege tax? Embrace one of those two, or embrace actual, brutal nihilism, and all that entails. This soft core apathetic mild embrace of nothing is not long for this world.

He says that the centrists’ time is over, yet the empirical evidence suggests it’s not. A someone who reads many articles a day and is ‘plugged’ into the digital ‘Zeitgeist’, centrism is thriving as measured by social media shares and page views. The author’s understandable opposition to centrism may make him more inclined into believing centrism is dying, but it’s not.. The author may be conflating the positive/descriptive (the world as it is based on facts and empiricism) with the normative/prescriptive (how the world ought to be), assuming that the latter implies the former. ‘Centrism is bad, therefore it’s dying’.

It was really easy to be very cynical, “radically centrist” and practice a sort of softcore comfortable nihilism ten or fifteen years ago. Go to the mall, buy a house on a mortgage, and complain about how the mainstream left or the mainstream right are essentially mismanaging the end of history, because there is no point, but the beauty of this arrangement is, there didn’t have to be a point, as long as there is a suburb to run away to, and good living conditions to come home to.

I think he may be confusing nihilism with indifference, apathy, or the belief in predestination. A nihilist has no values, but someone who resigns to the fact change is impossible, may still have his own values and preferences, but doesn’t seek to impose them on others, and he may not believe that his values are superior unless otherwise suggested by the preponderance of empirical evidence to be so. A centrist who is intellectually honest may change his values, preferences, and opinions when the facts and empirical evidence changes. Inaction and or a positive/descriptive approach to understanding is not the same as being a nihilist. Centrism may be simply the path of least resistance. Why get all worked up about things if the status quo tends to prevail, but second, the status quo may be right in certain instances. Take the national debt and bank bailouts, for instance, which many predicted in 2008 & 2009 – some of these prediction motivated by emotive partisanship – that it would cause hyperinflation and a debt crisis. Instead, the opposite happened: treasury bonds yields keep falling and the dollar is stronger than ever. The ‘status quo’ not only prevailed, it was correct in terms of being the best descriptor and predictor of reality. In other instances, such as the post-2013 SJW backlash, the status quo failed, and I was correct in early 2014 in seeing that trend, and is an example of where I depart from the status quo in supporting the backlash but, furthermore, one can argue that the backlash is merely the pendulum swinging back to the middle, or a return to centrism. Also, being a centrist and or adhering to an empirical-based approach doesn’t necessarily make one a welfare liberal. Based on the empirical evidence, we have an entitlement spending problem that needs to be addressed, a view many conservatives agree with. Then I transition from the ‘positive’ in which I describe the spending problem to the ‘normative’ in which I offer solutions. In confronting reality, there is room for both the prescriptive and descriptive, and one need not summarily reject centrism.

Trump skipping the debates: a smart move

The mainstream liberal and conservative media cannot fathom why Trump would want to skip the Iowa debate, but if Trump is smart he will continue to abstain from GOP debates. There is no ‘rule’ that says candidates must debate. But the main reason why candidates debate is not to pitch policy but merely for exposure. However, Trump has more than enough goodwill and exposure, making further debate unnecessary.

By not debating, everyone will be talking about him. ‘Where’s Trump?’ ‘Why is not not debating?’ Hence, he steals the spotlight, which is really what matters in the end.

By not debating, Trump controls the message and the platform. He can leverage the media attention from his refusal to debate to explain why he’s not going to debate, arguing correctly that he would not have gotten a fair shake.

A debate without Trump is otherwise forgettable. As Mike argues, Trump is so effulgent and charismatic, he lifts his competition, too. Without Trump, no one is going to remember what Rubio, Jeb, or Cruz has to say. Some have likened Trump to a rodeo clown, but he’s much smarter than that.

The final debate is probably unavoidable. Debating Sanders should be a cakewalk. All Trump has to do is point to the Soviet Union and Venezuela as examples of why socialism doesn’t work. Sanders will try to explain why higher taxes and more regulation is good for the economy, and Trump using his extensive business experience will articulate otherwise. Trump unlike Sanders, has experience in the private sector, lending credibility to his side. It will be like the October 2012 debate when Romney obliterated Obama.

A debate against Hillary will be harder, owing to Hillary’s superior intellect and policy experience. Hillary has waited decades for this moment, and she’s not going down without a fight. Trump will have to emphasize his charisma and private sector experience and avoid the semantic traps Hillary will likely lay.

Bernie the Brainiac?

From ILANA MERCER’s article Schooling Beck On Trump’s Nullification Promise, this passage about Bernie Sanders being a ‘brainiac’ stood out:

…But face it; “tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev,” didn’t bring down the Soviet empire. Neither was Communist Russia crushed by Reagan’s exorbitant “Star Wars fantasy of space-based missile defense.” Rather, Communist Russia collapsed under the weight of a centrally planned economy (the kind Brainiac Bernie Sanders and his supporters are eager to usher in).

But is senile, wealth spreader Bernie a ‘brainiac’? The evidence suggests ol’ Bernie is no smarter than Obama, which isn’t a very high bar to begin with.

Liberals have mostly succeeded in brainwashing the general public, pundits, and the media into believing their politicians are smarter, more intellectual than conservatives. However, Tevi Troy, in an article Philosophical Pragmatist in Chief?, argues that supposed intellectual superiority of liberal politicians may be mostly a myth:

Barack Obama is hardly the first liberal politician with an impressive academic pedigree to be celebrated as a savant. Michael Barone pointed out that Adlai Stevenson, the original “egghead,” died with only one book on his bedside table—the Social Register.

He died with only a single book in his possession, hardly the makings of an intellectual.

And what about the great wealth spreader in chief himself?

One way to discover that Obama is not the great intellectual Kloppenberg hypes is from the information the White House occasionally releases concerning the president’s reading habits. His reading periods appear to center around his vacations; he apparently does not read very much when not on holiday. In a conversation with the New York Times’s Michael Powell, he acknowledged that one of the challenges of the presidency is that “you have very little chance to really read. I basically floss my teeth and watch SportsCenter.” For example, the New York Times’s Peter Baker reported in early October 2010 that Obama was “seeking guidance” from reading “presidential biographies,” including Taylor Branch’s book,The Clinton Tapes. On December 25, more than two months later, the Washington Post also reported that Obama was reading the Branch book, which suggests that the very busy president is understandably taking a while to get through its 720 pages. Understandable, in any event, for a politician, although perhaps not for a celebrated intellectual.

In other words, when Obama does read, he’s a slow reader.

On the other hand, George W. Bush is a voracious reader, going through as many as 100 books a year:

There is a myth perpetuated by Bush critics that he would rather burn a book than read one. Like so many caricatures of the past eight years, this one is not only wrong, but also the opposite of the truth and evidence that bitterness can devour a small-minded critic. Mr. Bush loves books, learns from them, and is intellectually engaged by them.

Contrast that to Obama who can barely get through a single book a year. It’s Obama who is an amiable dunce, not Bush.

Back to Sanders, if you read his Wikipedia profile, nothing about his formative years stands out. He finished college at the age of 23; it’s not like he was a prodigy or anything remarkable. Some his tweets suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of issues, owing to his senility and or lack of intellect necessary to grasp the abstractions of complicated issues. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, is much smarter, and in senescence is still sharp.

Here some Tweets that show Bernie may be cognitively unfit for command. First, confusing Islam as a race instead of a religion:

Second, not being aware that gun trafficking federal laws already exist:

And is Bernie not aware that there is an obesity crisis in America, preeminently among low income families:

Senile Sanders…it has a nice ring to it. Putting someone this inept in such a high office could be a national security risk.

Four Years Later, Taleb Still Holding Grudge Against Pinker

Grumpy, anti-HBD liberal Nicholas Nassim Taleb is still holding a grudge against Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins – four years later! – after getting his butt handed to him in the ‘IQ wars’.

I agree. No one should buy your books. Your books rehash what statisticians and traders already know, repackaging the obvious as something ‘new’. Anyone who has studied statistics or has traded options for longer than a year is aware of fat tails and the limitations of conventional option pricing models and the Gaussian distributions that underpin them. Second, mathematically, Taleb’s methods are neither viable nor profitable anymore. [1]

Same for those Gladwell books and other pop-psychology rubbish. This includes much of behavior finance, studies of human ‘irrationality’ under controlled conditions, and the like.

Of course, most science books that are written for the general public do a lot of rehashing, but the authors of said books typically don’t go around attacking scientists who are smarter and better-informed than they are. When they do, it typically backfires, as in the case of Stephen Jay Gould who erroneously accused the late Samuel Morton of data fabrication. It backfired, reveling Gould as the fabricator, and now Gould’s legacy has been damaged – at least in the eyes of other anthropologists.

And now the big lib takes a shot at The Donald:

Taleb should stick to Twitter debates against opponents who are too busy and respected to waste their time arguing with him, since he loses actual debates.

He’s also a crybaby and hypocrite, accusing the media of taking him out of context, while simultaneously seeking media attention to promote his books. He says he begs the media to go away, but he keeps arguing with everyone. In other words, he wants attention provided the conversation goes the way he wants. And when it doesn’t, he attacks his opponents and then deletes his tweets. Here is an example. This is hilarious. It’s funny because of how easily trolled he is, and how someone with a book titled Antifragile has such a delicate ego.

In spite of all his rantings, Taleb never actually formulates tenable solutions.

The problem with moralizing is that if the empirical data doesn’t agree, you’re just falling victim to your own confirmation bias; this is bad for yourself and your readers. Another problem is that it leaves little grey area, such as how much a firm should be punished for taking a bailout. Taleb has said on numerous occasions that bailed-out banks should forfeit bonuses and officers should be paid a ‘civil servant’ salary, but he never specifies for how long. What if a bailed-out bank only took a tiny bailout and has reformed? When would it shed its scarlet letter.

Taleb is one of those liberals like Peter Schiff and others who pretend to be on the ‘right’ yet advocate policy and hold opinions that communists and socialists would approve of. Let the banks fail and end the fed? Communists want that, too, because it would cause the economy and stock market to fall, and hence rich, productive people would lose a lot of money, creating more wealth equality even if society is worse-off as a result. Then the left can swoop in to ‘fix’ the problem that they themselves exacerbated, rebuilding society in their image. This is communism 101: crisis, revolution, rebuilding.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s communists who are anti-intellectual, not conservatives. Read any history book on the matter; in all communist regimes, intellectuals were persecuted.

Here is some more anti-intellectual liberalism by Taleb:

https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/683442257610018816
https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/688048036665290752
https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/688082461763497984
https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/688361352268787712
https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/689126064296165376
https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/689127906933641217

Just another example of turning high-IQ into a handicap, arguing that intellect must be in lieu of ethics or creativity. And yes, smart people make mistakes, but so do dull people, too. If a rocket blows up on the launchpad, do we fire the rocket scientists and replace them with ditch diggers?

Is it any surprise he’s close with Gladwell?

Pinker, who is a neo liberal, has spoken out many times against communism. Taleb? Never. Harris and Dawkins, as part of the ‘neo atheist movement’, care about the free dissemination of ideas, denouncing Islamism while feminists, who claim to care about human rights, remain silent on Islam, instead attacking men and Christians. Welfare liberals like Taleb want to impose their anti-intellectual provincialism on the world, in much the same way communists do. The left’s logic is, ‘if an intellectual makes a mistake, all intellectuals are wrong and narrow-minded’ or ‘intellectuals have no skin in the game, so they are wrong and should be ignored’ or ‘book smarts are better than street smarts’. (Good luck building a computer or curing a disease with ‘street smarts’) ‘Blame rich people’, ‘blame smart people’ are mantras of the left.

[1] The Taleb ‘barbell’ strategy only works when you have high interest rates, like before 2008, since you can use the compounded interest to finance losing out-of-money (OOM) put bets, and also because the market has a tendency to fall when rates are high (like 1987, 70′s, early 80′s, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2007). High interest rates also makes put options cheaper, in accordance to the Black Scholes option pricing formula. Thus, high interest rates may give the put buyer a positive expected value. But with rates still close to zero, this method doesn’t work. Then you have the constant stock buybacks, record high profits that keep growing, consumers that won’t quit consuming, and so on. A totally different macro landscape than before 2008 when such a strategy was viable.

In a paper, Taleb argues that selling OOM puts is a bad idea due to the volatility explosion, but this assumes that options are priced strictly under the Black Scholes framework and that options can be traded at infinitesimally small fractions of a penny. In reality, the volatility smile or skew makes these far OOM put options much more expensive than assumed by Taleb and the Black Scholes framework, thus substantially limiting potential profit. Also, there is a minimum ‘ask’ price for OOM puts, usually a couple cents. The huge multipliers given by Taleb are under the assumption you can buy OOM options for infinitesimally small fractions of a penny, which you obviously can’t.

Alt Right Part 2, and the NRx Endgame

It’s kinda amazing how much attention this debate over ‘alt right’ has gotten in the past week. This leads to two questions; what is the ‘alt right’, which I discuss here, and, on a related note, what does this mean for NRx? What should the ‘goal’ or ‘endgame’ of NRx be?

From Xenosystems What is the alt right?

None of this should be taken as a competition for recruits. The Alt-Right will get almost all of them — it’s bound to be huge. From the NRx perspective, the Alt-Right is to be appreciated for helping to clean us up. They’re most welcome to take whoever they can, especially if they shut the door on the way out.

I don’t think this question will ever be resolved to anyone’s full satisfaction, nor do I think cohesion is possible.

The ‘alt right’ is almost too diverse for cohesion, besides a shared rejection of democracy and other aspects of liberalism and modernity, as well as antipathy towards ‘mainstream’ conservatism. But that’s where the similarities end. Commercialism don’t always jive with populist/ethnocentric interests. Christian reactionaries and agnostics may butt heads. It’s kinda like the split between neoliberals and welfare liberals. Besides the ‘liberal’ nomenclature, they tend to have very different economic and foreign policy positions.

Somewhat related there is discussion of the ‘approach’ NRx should choose. From Xenosystems:

Specifically — as a political philosophy — NRx advocates the privatization of government. It makes a public case for that, in the abstract, but only for purposes of informational and theoretical optimization. It is not, ever, doing politics in public, but only thinking about it under conditions of minimal intelligence security. Concrete execution of political strategy occurs through private deals.

And from The Hestia Society:

We will buy out the key stakeholders with shares on our new system, and replace the whole thing. This sounds a bit audacious, but bear with us:

Our new system is a synthesis of modern business practice and historically successful political wisdom: The best we really can do about government is to find the most competent people we can, and put them absolutely in charge. If they care about us, that’s great, but even a totally selfish government wants to cultivate its people so that they pay better taxes, as long as it is secure and competent enough to think long term. It is hard to make such non-utopian truths palatable, but this is the most reliable path to a flourishing civilization.

There are a handful of approaches: incrementalism (the one I favor, by gradually retiring America’s inefficient democratic institutions), subversion (related to the first), starving the beast/collapse, or secession. Hestiasociety.org suggests buying out stakeholders, but this would assume NRx is in a financial position to do so, and or gains sufficient power to have upper-hand in bargaining, and that said companies oblige. This is pretty much socialism and many magnitudes worse than 2008 bank bailouts, and the consequences of shuttering or taking over these businesses could be grave: economic collapse and then hyperinflation (to finance the buyouts and then due to the collapse of reserve currency status). It sounds like Bernie Sanders on steroids. Another possibility is for productive people to peacefully ‘exit’ or secede, creating their own ‘utopia’, the plot of Atlas Shrugged, and endorsed by some in the Silicon Valley ‘techno libertarian’ scene. A second, but more abstract version version of ‘secession’, which is already underway, is through tax havens, inversions, and ‘global citizenship’ for the wealthy elite and multinational companies in order pay as little tax as possible.

Back to the discussion of the ‘alt right’, the split between white nationalists and NRx is also quite obvious, with the latter seeing themselves as more nuanced and enlightened and the former too ‘larpy’. Even with the post-2013 SJW decline, white nationalism still seems to have branding/public relations problem, and few want to be openly associated with it. The recent Muslim-perpetrated terrorist attacks, the post-2013 SJW backlash, as well as the backlash against the European refugee invasion, is helping to raise awareness to causes and views that are congruent to nationalism, and I think NRx serves as a ‘middle ground’ between overt white nationalism, which is too extreme or polarizing to have broad appeal beyond the internet, and the ineffectual ‘mainstream right’ on the opposite side.

The Daily View: Today in Stupid

A child genius explains how she can memorize a shuffled deck of cards in less than an hour

That’s like saying ’7-foot-tall basketball player shows how he dunks basketball’…gee I wonder if being tall/genius has anything to do with it?Geniuses are good at memorizing stuff, that’s what makes them geniuses, no shit, Sherlock. Mnemonic are helpful, but you still have to memorize the mnemonic. With the exception of a handful of ‘idiot savants’, all mental feats (mental math, memorization, speed reading, etc) are are tantamount to IQ.

———-

JOHN MCAFEE: It’s extremely odd Donald Trump apparently doesn’t have a computer on his desk

So this fool who lost his fortune in the 2008 financial problem, went crazy, and then nearly got himself killed in Belize (probably for pissing them off with his stupidity) thinks is he qualified to ‘advise’ Trump.

The first photo that I saw of Donald Trump at work alerted me to a potential issue. There was not a single laptop, pad or other smart device anywhere on his desk. Given the fact that my own office, and the offices of everyone that I know are virtually littered with active screens, I found this to be odd in the extreme.

Has he ever heard of Twitter? Apparently, Trump uses it a lot, evidence he is technologically illiterate. There are many explanations besides technological illiteracy that might account for the absesne of a computer in that photo. Maybe Trump uses a smart phone, in which case it wouldn’t be visible it were in his pocket when the photo was taken. In fact, here’s a photo of Trump tweeting.

In August 2009, The New York Times reported that McAfee’s personal fortune had declined to $4 million from a peak of $100 million, the effect of the global financial crisis and recession on his investments.[9]

What a loser. Trump still has his fortune, so whatever he’s doing seems to be working.

———-

The backlash in the replies, as expected. Online, the SJWs are outnumbered. I don’t know the ratio exactly, but they are of the minority and are losing (online that is).

——–

And finally…

Dr. Anjali Ramkissoon, the drunk woman that was caught on camera attacking an Uber driver and smashing his cell phone, HAS been placed on administrative leave and removed from all clinical duties.

Like before, the backlash is always in the comments…

The thing that pisses me off most about this story is the blatant privilege and entitlement she exhibits. When she goes on about how she’s “100 pounds” and a “5 foot girl” she’s basically saying that she’s expecting to get off scot free on the basis that no one will believe the uber driver’s story. “I’m a little girl in med school and you’re just a dude who drives an uber, so say what you want but nothing will come of it” kinda vibe. Completely disgusting mentality. Edit: Clarification & grammar

Classic female bully here, assaults driver knowing he can’t fight back, laughs while she walks away from destroying his property. I some how doubt she had one too many.

So much for America being patriarchy, as SJWs insist it is …

Free Speech, Democracy, and Crime

From iSteve: Kinsley on the Advantage of a Written First Amendment

European countries, obviously, do not have a statute protecting ‘free speech’. The result is people are occasionally apprehended (severty of punishments vary, from being detained for a few hours or days or, in exceptional cases, imprisoned for years) for communication deemed ‘incendiary’ or a ‘threat to order’ (hate speech laws).

The trade-off is, although Europe has no first amendment, it’s otherwise soft on crime, with comfy EU-approved dorm room jail conditions vs. America, which is very hard on crime (with mandatory sentences), with the worst prisons and longest sentences second to Iran or North Korea. In Great Britain, for example, a woman with an extensive history of shoplifting, when finally caught, the punishment was 12 hours of detention upon which she was released with no charges. Or Glen Stacy, Britain’s most prolific shoplifter, who has been arrested 400 times. In America, given the mandatory minimums, he would have to live forever to shoplift that many times.

Britain, as well as much of Europe’s, justice system is dysfunctional, imprisoning ‘thought dissents’ yet giving actual criminals slaps on the wrists, while America’s system may be too functional to the point of putting too many people away for too long.

The thing, is people get mad (especially those on the right it seems) when political dissidents are thrown in jail, but under a reactionary form of government that’s what would happen. And people get mad (both on right and left) when you question the sanctity of free speech. Democracy? No so much. It seems like everyone is on board the anti-democracy train. * But free speech is sacred. But you can’t have it both ways – reactionary government and free speech. And free speech and democracy are, in many ways, intertwined. Although speech laws may seem egregious, one also dig up plenty of egregious examples in America, too, like people serving many years for possession of firearms or drugs. Pick your poison, I guess

On a related note, this raises the question of what is the best way of handling crime: the libertarian/anarchist approach (retributive) or America’s punitive approach. Let’s consider the case of shoplifting, which is a very common crime, yet not so severe of nature that the appropriate punishment is not without a large degree of ambiguity. Libertarians may argue that businesses, not tax payers, should deal with criminals. Under such a system, the business or individual would administer punishment such as a fine and or banishment from the store. But that is not very effective since the thief can go somewhere else, in perpetuity. Or, maybe the store could exact a more severe punishment as a deterrent – beating the thief into a pulp, for example. But that may violate the ‘non aggression’ principle of meeting force with equal force. And some employees may, understandably so, have qualms about carrying out such a heavy-handed punishment. Civil demands are another retributive option, but since it’s civil, not criminal, the thief is under no obligation to pay. A thief with no assets can’t pay, either. That’s why the punitive approach is the most effective, by putting criminals away so they cannot continue to inflict harm on society, possibly with rehabilitation, but also lifting the burden off the private sector in having to choose a suitable punishment for miscreants; the ‘justice system’ deals with that. But as we can see with Europe and their petty crime epidemic, even that isn’t good enough in many instances, since these thieves, once released, continue to steal. On the other hand, putting too many people away for too long can strain resources that can be better spent elsewhere.

*In recent years, online, it’s actually hard to find people, both on the left or the right, who don’t have reservations about democracy. Some of the major criticisms of democracy are that it does a bad job (inefficient) at allocating ‘public goods’ and gives to much power to the ‘ignorant masses’, which are both valid criticisms.