Monthly Archives: December 2016

Reaction, Pacifism, and Realism

On this blog there are posts about economics and finance, which falls under ‘lifestyle and investing’ but from a reactionary-realist perspective. The idea of reactionary realism is to be cognizant of reality without engaging in too much, yet participating at the same time, but still holding out for something better, within reason. One neither pushes nor pulls. One could liken it to stoicism, fatalism, or determinism – but it doesn’t have to be painful, because pain is only inflicted when one resists, because the equal and opposite and opposing force pushes back. Reactionary realism is descriptive (such as explaining economic trends)- hence ‘realism’, and keeps romanticism and idealization to a minimum. Whereas Communists may envision a ‘Worker State’, and some on the at-right envision a ‘White State’, realists tend to avoid such idealizations as they are either unlikely, impractical, or unrealistic. The realist is concerned with the present – what can be done now, and how to maximize the present situation once one knows the rules and attains ‘understanding’. For example, one can believe that certain cultural aspects America are dysfunctional, but also profit from these underlying social and cultural trends.

Activism: noisy and visible but ineffective because it plays by the rules created by the opposition. Tends to also subscribe to ‘great man’ theory.

Total pacifism: to disengage and unplug completely, to literally do nothing.

Subversive pacifism: shifting the national dialogue by subversion, by planting seeds of doubt, that maybe democracy is the problem, not the solution. The alt-right is an example of this in helping to get Trump elected by using ‘memetic-warfare’.

4th option: understanding how the economy works (realism aspect), maximizing the present situation to his or her advantage (pragmatism), yet at the time acknowledging there are problems, in addition to engaging in subversive pacifism.

Realism means acknowledging the world, as it is, not as you want it to be. You have pundits like Peter Schiff railing about the economy being doomed, year after year to no avail, but that’s not realism: it’s dogma or wishful thinking, or just another form of activism. Activism is like pounding your fist into a cement wall repeatedly, expecting it to yield, only to have nothing to show for your efforts but a broken hand.

It’s more fruitful for one to focus their priorities, first and foremost, on their ‘inner circle’ (oneself, family), followed by a second circle which encloses friends and community, and lastly, the most outer circle that encloses whatever is going on in world beyond one’s immediate control. But many have their priorities backwards by putting external events in the center circle and pushing more important stuff to the outer circles. Many bemoan ‘globalization’, yet we engage in it everyday by focusing our attention on global events and news out of our control. This may sound like objectivism, and although there are important global issues with a lot at stake, peace of mind comes, literally, from having a piece of something, because if you don’t carve it out yourself and get that ‘piece’, no one else will. Happiness and fulfillment comes from ownership of one’s own labor and ingenuity as manifested by something (tangible or not) that one can claim their ‘own’.

One thing that is interesting about the alt-right is how ‘global’ it is. It’s like a giant international community that spans from Russia, Europe, and America, consisting of people of varying economies, ages, and nationalities conversing online about Trump, immigration, Brexit, and the European Union. Obama wooed Germany and the East and West coasts of America, but the rest of the world likes Trump. The fat-left, such as BLM, however, is more provincial and homogeneous and focuses on community-driven activism.

Despite the campaign rhetoric, it’s likely both legal and illegal immigration will rise under Trump…trying to slow, let alone reverse, immigration is a massive undertaking. Large cap consumer staples companies (immigrants, as do natives, buy toilet paper, toothpaste, and cigarettes) benefit the most from immigration. These huge companies realize top-line growth from the consumer spending from this influx of foreign consumers, despite the burden of having more immigrants being passed on to bond holders and taxpayers in the form of more debt for entitlement spending. So even if immigration is a net-negative for the US treasury due to all the entitlement spending, it’s pure gravy for large US consumer stocks like Proctor and Gamble, McDonald’s, Disney, and Kellogg, who get more customers and see their stock prices, dividend yields, and stock buybacks surge. But because of America’s reserve currency status and the insatiable demand for low-yielding US debt, taxes don’t have to rise to fund this spending, which further helps stock prices and boosts GDP growth. Buying consumer staples stocks is one way to profit from the inevitability of more immigration and related deficit spending. Even if there is slightly more inflation, taxes still won’t go up. Trump is planing a massive tax cut, on top of other spending…but the US dollar is surging, contrary to Peter Schiff who said that more deficits would cause the dollar to crash an gold to surge (gold has crashed since Trump was elected).

Policy makers are hell-bent on inflating the economy and asset prices… Fiscal conservatism is dead (not that it ever really existed). Sovereignty means currency creation. In Bernanke’s own words, “The US government has a technology, called a printing press, that allows it to produce as many dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

A second example is profiting from techno-commercialism (the ‘second cathedral’) by buying and holding tech stocks like Facebook, Palo Alto Networks, Google, and Amazon. And also, buying real estate in certain regions (like Bay Area) that benefit from high-IQ immigration and techno-commercialism.

The Left’s Favorite Books, Debunked

At the end of the post Understanding the far-left, I dismissed much of the left’s work on social science as ‘flimsy science’.

The far-left tends to blame environment for inequality, because biological differences, such as IQ, that may engender inequality less tractable to state intervention. Stephen Jay Gould (The Mismeasure of Man) and Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel), who were inspired by the progenitor of cultural relativism, Franz Boas, are major proponents of this view. The media by corroborating with academia are complicit in pushing what is essentially cultural Marxism wrapped in flimsy science.

Publications that conform to or advance a leftist agenda tend to take longer to be challenged, because peers, who often hold similar political views, want to believe what they read and are less inclined to scrutinize the work. This is related to confirmation biases, in which people look for evidence that supports their own personal biases but subconsciously overlook contravening evidence.

Much of the left’s arguments in the social sciences fall apart when challenged, and there are many notable examples, from outright frauds to revisionism and wishful thinking, of the left trying to promote a political agenda under the veneer of ‘science’.

Here are some examples:

Arming America, by Michael A. Bellesiles – a book which purportedly upended America’s history of ‘gun culture’ was later shown to be an elaborate hoax involving false or non-existent probate data and misattributed quotes. Academics initially lavished the book with praise, but it wasn’t until two years later thanks to sleuthing by Clayton Cramer, a historian and software engineer who initially raised doubts about the veracity of the book, did the extent of the fraud become revealed in an independent academic inquiry, eventually resulting in Bellesiles losing his professorship and the trustees of Columbia University rescinding the book’s prestigious Bancroft Prize .

Books by Daniel Kahneman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Dan Ariely fall into the category of being unreproducible pop-psychology pseudoscience. To get an idea of how big of the problem this is, Diederik Alexander Stapel, a former professor of social psychology at Tilburg University, was suspended in 2011 for fabricating data to give politically correct results. He falsified data in over 50 papers. This is related to the recent ‘replication scandal’ in the social sciences, in which a large percentage of results were found to unreproducible. Out of 100 results, only a third could be replicated. The entire field of behavior psychology, while it sells a lot of books and fills TED Talk auditoriums, seems to be mostly bunkum. There are many ways dishonest behavior psychologists can achieve ‘significant results’, such as by re-testing subjects repeatedly until significant results are obtained by chance, or by outright fabricating the data.

Related: Pop Psychology Charlatans

The Mismeasure of Man, by Stephen Jay Gould. Although not an obvious fraud like the above examples, in the decades following its publication much of the book has been discredited by leading psychometricians Rushton and Jesnon. The title refers to purported misconduct by Samuel Morton that attributed skull volumes for blacks as too ‘low’, but research in 2011 later vindicated Morton, with Gould, not Morton, having ‘mismeasured’. Furthermore, recent MRI studies not only corroborate with Morton’s cranial measurement findings but also show a statistical correlation between brain-size, IQ, and the g factor. From The Persistence of the Black-White IQ Gap, head size is hereditary, correlated with intelligence, and varies among races:

Gould often defers to an argument that intelligence cannot be ascertained through tests nor can be measured objectively, accusing scientists who try to do so of ‘reification’, in which an abstract concept like intelligence is made ‘concrete’ through tests. But Gould’s dismissal of IQ and the general intelligence factor, g, is also discredited. From Wikipedia

Research in the field of behavioral genetics has established that the construct of g is highly heritable. It has a number of other biological correlates, including brain size. It is also a significant predictor of individual differences in many social outcomes, particularly in education and employment. The most widely accepted contemporary theories of intelligence incorporate the g factor.[4] However, critics of g have contended that an emphasis on g is misplaced and entails a devaluation of other important abilities, as well as supporting an unrealistic reified view of human intelligence.

There is also evidence Gould misrepresents studies:

Davis accused Gould of having misrepresented a study by Henry H. Goddard (1866–1957) about the intelligence of Jewish, Hungarian, Italian, and Russian immigrants to the U.S., wherein Gould reported Goddard’s qualifying those people as “feeble-minded”; whereas, in the initial sentence of the study, Goddard said the study subjects were atypical members of their ethnic groups, who had been selected because of their suspected sub-normal intelligence

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond, another favorite of the blank-slate left, tells a politically correct tale of how certain groups (sub-Saharan Africans, Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians) fell behind not because of any sort of biological or cultural factors, but due to being ravaged by Europeans and Eurasians bearing guns, germs and steel, who were blessed with certain geographical benefits that these other groups lacked. Jared’s thesis falls apart when you consider the evidence that shows that Blacks still lag Whites and Asians for a variety of metrics (IQ, income, incarceration, employment, welfare dependency, educational attainment, wealth of nations, national IQ, etc.), despite modern advances. We can no longer blame geography and germs for the persistent under-performance of certain groups, given that modern technology, modern medicine, and the modern liberal welfare state has created a much more level playing field. Even Black children raised in wealthy families perform as poorly as poor Whites on the SAT, suggesting some combination of biological and cultural factors for underachievement, versus Blacks being victims of Whites oppression or Whites having an unfair advantage. This means that biological factors such as IQ cannot be ruled out as Jared tries to do.

There are many threads on Reddit that tear this book apart. Experts concede that Guns, Germs, and Steel is more of a story than a serious academic inquiry and that the ambitious scope of the book comes at the cost of accuracy.

Fooled By Randomness, The Black Swan, and Anti-Fragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, describe how unexpected things occasionally happen, dubbed by Taleb as ‘Black Swans’. Liberals like to cite these books as examples of how capitalism, bankers and Wall St. elites, and interconnected systems fail. Because Black Swans have unlimited potential variance, they cannot be modeled by Gaussian distributions, and occasionally lead to catastrophically large losses for funds that fall prey to such unexpected events. Taleb suggests betting on Black Swans is profitable, and he himself purportedly made a fortune in 2008 doing so, but the evidence suggests otherwise – that such bets, over the long run, have a negative expected value despise occasionally large payoffs. What is profitable, however, is writing books and giving seminars about Black Swans, which is why he keeps doing it. Taleb, like the examples above, often omits or misconstrues research by experts that counter his assumptions.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis, as well as the movie, ignores the role of the Clinton administration and the irresponsible homeowner for the 2006-2009 housing and financial market crash, instead blaming Wall St. greed and bankers.

Small-Government Ethno-States

Andrew Anglin of Daily Stormer interviews Alex Linder: Daily Stormer Interview with Alex Linder

Trigger warning: Mr. Linder is pretty extreme…more so than probably the vast majority of the alt-right…He makes Richard Spencer seem like Obama by comparison.

This passage stood out:

I think I’ve given you that above. I happened to drive through a lot of the country two times in October, and he certainly won the battle of outside signs. I thought the election would be very close. I think Romney had the key insight last time: that 47% of the population is essentially parasitic, and would vote for the devil herself if he represented their benefits. This is another reason I’m antisocialist – it turns white men into niggers. If a white man needs government to provide health, education and welfare, then he’s not a white man. We never needed that centralized bureaucratic monstrosity before the 20th century, and look at the misery and bankruptcy and generally fecklessness that resulted from ‘public education’ (conformity concentration camps for kids), welfare and the rest. The key is is that Trump is a proxy for whites, white interests, a real nation.

I agree with Mr. Linder about Romney and the ‘parasitic class’, having mentioned Romney here and again in an earlier post about why a basic income won’t work in America. America has too many takers and not enough makers.

However, I doubt a laissez-faire, small-government, non-socialist, non-bureaucratic, white ethno-state can exist, or at least not without major preconditions. As I explain HBD-Nationalism Conundrum, a in a free market, companies have to make use of all labor options to be competitive, possibly conflicting with ethno-interests. The only way this could be resolved is if the whole world were white (which obv. it isn’t) or if major restriction on trade and labor are imposed, but then it would not be laissez-faire. The UAE, for example, is a federation of seven eremites and has capitalism, but it also has a lot of foreign labor – about 7.8 million of its 9.2 million population are expatriates, who have access to few benefits, are ineligible for citizenship, are unable to purchase property, and must leave the country after working. That’s an example of how an ethno-state could work, but it would not be a pure ethno-state.

The main problem with Mr. Linder’s argument is that eliminating social safety nets means people have to become self-sufficient. Although they can turn to community for support (churches and families), it means survival (necessities such a food and shelter) will come before ethno-interests. Although limiting social benefit will make the economy more efficient, like above, it will possibly conflict with enthno-interests, and additionally, there may be more unrest and crime as people resort to any means necessary (including nefarious underground activity) to make ends meet once all welfare benefits are rescinded.

With or without social benefits, turning America into an ethno-state is impossible, much more more so than mot countries. Some factors that auger poorly for homogeneity include: America’s deep-seated racial and ethnic diversity, the large geographical size of America, and America’s large population size. Catholics and Protestant, although both are mostly white, are very different culturally. Homogeneity works better for smaller countries like Iceland, Norway, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark.

New ‘Alts’

In addition to the alt-right, which everyone is familiar with, new ones are constantly being invented: alt-left, alt-lite, alt-White, alt-West, and even ‘alt-rino’.

So here are some more that I made up:

Alt-rat (rational): this blog. Combines rationalism with elements of Dark Enlightenment; agnostic/atheist; HBD; leans libertarian and or minarchist; minimal activism.

Alt-trad (traditionalist): Vox Day. No-nonsense; typically an older demographic; nationalism/ethnicity/culture are upstream of economics; theistic; very smart and well-educated on matters pertaining to theology, literature, and history but also many other topics; some activism

Alt-nat (nationalist): Richard Spencer. Younger demographic; like Alt-trad, nationalism/ethnicity/culture is upstream of economics; very open to debate; very visible to media; lots of activism

Alt-bro: Brietbart, Milo; emphasis on politics and self-improvement from a right-wing perspective; some elements of Alt-nat and Alt-trade but not as much; hip and edgy – targets younger democratic; free speech, politics, and activism are very important

Alt-eso (esoteric): NRx and Dark Enlightenment; deep philosophical inquiry; covers a wide range of topics such as economics, HBD, social theory, political philosophy, and artificial intelligence; shuns activism and politics; described as the ‘intellectual priesthood’ or avant-garde of the alt-right.

Alt-intro (introspective): Richard Fernandez of PJ media; articles about social observations and ‘paradigm shifts’, from a right-of-center perspetive; uses the word ‘elite’ a lot

Wealth Creation as the New American Religion

On sites such as Hacker News, Quora, Medium, and Reddit, posts, threads, and discussions about wealth creation always go viral. Everyone is obsessed with wealth, economics, finance, and money, but why?

In the past, society was more collective, and family, civic participation, and organized religion were the bedrock of American society, but in recent decades, and especially since 2013, society has become more individualistic, as families have become smaller, church attendance and religious affiliation has declined, and culture celebrates individualism and quantifiable individual merit as embodied by the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. The celebration of wealth and individualism has become the new ‘religion’ in America. A religion, that unlike theistic ones, is objective and quantifiable (as in measured wealth, social media followers, and status), not abstract things like God, morality, virtue, and heaven. To get an idea of how pervasive this trend has become, just do a Google search for any semi-famous person and very often the two most common ‘search prompts’ are the net worth and house of said individual. Yes, apparently more people interested in Richard Dawkins’ ‘net worth’ and the size of his home than his writings on evolution.

Salvation in America’s new religion is through quantifiable exceptional individual achievement and results, not in the collectivist belief in a deity or being an unexceptional ordinary person of good moral character. We aspire to be like Mr. Money Mustache, the pseudonym of a blogger whose rugged individualism and self- determination has made him a millionaire and whose writings on personal finance and wealth creation has made him something of an internet celerity and sensation, read by millions. Or like James Harris Simons, a physicist and the billionaire founder of Renaissance Technologies, one of the most successful hedge funds ever, combining the two things most prized in post-2013 society: wealth and intellectualism. Or Jack Boggle, the inventor of the Vanguard index fund, and beloved by the millions of people who adhere to indexing with a zeal and commitment of a religion.

America’s new religion is hard. Whereas organized religion and politics are inherently collectivist and thus, by definition, have low barriers to entry and don’t highlight the individual, our new religion exalts financial independence (such as Mr. Money Mustache) as well as the accomplishment of difficult individual intellectual feats (such as physics, mathematics, and coding) that bring respect and prestige to the individual. And instead of being ‘holier than thou’, now it’s who has the most followers on social media, the most money in his or her bank account, the most academic citations, the most Vine loops, the most YouTube subscribers, or the most Twitter followers – again, all highlighting the individual and generally being difficult things to accomplish, versus going to church, supporting a political cause, or being a decent, moral person, all of which, comparatively speaking, are easy.

And instead of going to mass every Sunday or reading the Bible before bed – now everyday we check our computer to see how much our stock accounts have risen or fallen. And instead of revering saints, we turn to the Forbes 400 list for inspiration, displayed on smartphones that have become as ubiquitous and indispensable as Bibles a century ago.

Holiness and virtue were once inseparable, and people sought to become closer to God through personal sacrifice such as going to church often, charity, community service, or raising a family. But nowadays virtue is measured by wealth and achivement, and millennials are living a similar monastic, minimalist lifestyle – but not to serve God or to become closer to God, but to enrich themselves and become financially independent at an early age by saving money and investing instead frittering away money on material possessions or on family. An example of a modern, secular ‘monk’ is the popular blog Early Retirement Extreme, run by a retired 40-year-old physicist who for the past decade has been able to live on a meager $7,000 a year, and thanks to his investments and minimalist lifestyle, never has to work again.

The American obsession with wealth is not new, going as far back as the Gold Rush, and later, popular game shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but what makes the recent obsession different is how wealth is seen as an ends in and of itself, not a means or a stepping stone to something else – be it raising a family, going on vacation, buying a car, donating to a cause, or just good ol’ fashioned hedonistic debauchery. In the case of debauchery, money is still being used to achieve an end rather then being accumulated for the sake of accumulating money – that’s the distinction. This probably has to with with economic uncertainty, and young people specially are stockpiling money for a future of fewer social safety nets as both the US population and national debt continues to swell. Trump’s proposals for defense sending, stimulus, and tax cuts will increase the national debt and make funding social security more difficult.

Karl Marx wrote that economics, not religion or culture, is what drives society – and now – whether it’s online debates about wealth inequality to the obsession with wealth creation, his words ring true. The stock market perpetually making new highs, as well as headlines about multi-billion dollar web 2.0 valuations, has made everyone acutely aware of their position in the financial and social pecking order. In the past, people had FOMO over not going to heaven. Now it’s FOMO over missing out on the housing or stock market boom, or fear over not having enough money for retirement. We fear falling behind of our peers who are richer and more successful in quantifiable terms. The poor aspire to be like the middle class, who aspire to be like the upper-middle class, who aspire to be like the wealthy, who aspire to be like the ultra-wealthy, who aspire to become immortal through life-extension technologies rather than through God. We’ve become slaves to numbers, such as the number of dollars in the bank account, the number of followers on our social media accounts, or the amount of money in our stock accounts, or as victims of wealth inequality or stratification, where people are reduced to numbers that fall somewhere on a wealth distribution. The alt-right could be seen as an secular revival or insurgency to return or restore America to a more theistic, holistic, or idealist worldview where hard-to-quantify things like ‘identity’ and ‘nationalism’ replace what is easily quantifiable. It’s not just about taking back America but also about taking back our identities.

The Value of Republican Moderates

I defended Richard Spencer a few days ago and now I will defend, gasp, Ben Shapiro and Erick Erickson, who are often targets. Ben and Erik agree with the alt-right on about 80-90% of issues (SJWs, BLM, political correctness, second amendment, feminism, etc.), with the exception of being somewhat soft on immigration, yet they are called ‘cucks’ and other names. That makes no sense.

From Alt-Right: Classifications and Significance:

That’s why I have always found the split in the right between the ‘alts’ vs. the ‘establishment/mainstream’ to be kinda frivolous. They agree one everything except for immigration and Trump. It’s not like the mainstream right is for open borders. Rather they support ‘some’ immigration under controlled conditions. I’ve never heard a mainstream conservative like Hannity or Limbaugh come out and endorse open borders. Sometimes arguments are so heated because the differences are so small. The ‘anti-cucks’ believe that the ‘cucks’ are too moderate on some issues, and there is perhaps some truth to this, but we’re talking about tiny differences when they otherwise agree on 95% of stuff. Ben Shapiro, for example, is a frequent target by the ‘anti-cucks’ on Twitter, but here are a list of his books:

But such differences and animosity are cultural more so than issue-based, with the ‘mainstream’ representing an ‘elite’ who are out of touch with the reality and concerns of the majority. Specifically, Ben and Erick are not ‘identitarians’. Things like ‘white identity’ or ‘working-class identity’ mean nothing to them.

From an article in the New York Times, An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the Swastikas, this passage stood out in explaining how the alt-right eschews economics for identity:

Mr. Spencer said in an interview that as he saw it, the principles of American conservatism throughout most of the 20th century had been wrongly defined within the context of capitalism and its ideological battle with communism. The matter of European identity, he said, was assumed, but never stated outright.

To say it was ‘assumed’ is even being generous.

However, Ben and Erick, with their mainstream appeal, are useful for converting moderates and other fence-sitters to the ‘right’. Initiates can decide whether to to go further to the right, by reading Ann Coulter, for example. And then ever further yet, there is Red Pill, alt-right, NRx, Dark Enlightenment, and so on, although far fewer get that far.

Despite the left’s control of multi-billion dollar media properties, they still couldn’t prevent Trump from winning. Look at the primaries…voters could have chosen Cruz or Rubio but they picked Trump. The right is winning, thanks not only to the at-right but also moderates, who help to a certain extent, too, by at least presenting an alternative, however watered down that may be, to leftist orthodoxy.

The question is whether ‘the right’ benefits more from having a mix of varying levels of ‘extremeness’, or only extreme choices. In the former, moderate voices can act as a ‘gateway’ to more extreme views. In the latter, it’s possible that extreme views will be an automatic turnoff, resulting in less overall support, but, on the other hand, there is no risk of dilution in having moderates gain support that would otherwise go to more extreme views.

Pundits and bloggers have families to feed, not and everyone has the luxury of being uninhibited.

Trump Presidency Analysis

A Rising Stock Market Does Not Signal Economic Health

Are we in a stock market bubble? No. Will there be a crash anytime soon? No. Those are just opinions, not facts, but they are no worse than 1000+ word analysis by ‘experts’ who are often wrong all the time. My record, backed by years of blogging here and elsewhere, is almost always right.

The stock market and economy economy is driven primarily by four things: consumption, production, profit & earnings, and innovation. All of those things are doing well: consumer spending is at record highs, S&P 500 profits and earnings are at record highs, there is a lot innovation in Silicon Valley (such as Amazon and Google delivery drones and self-driving cars), and America produces and exports a lot of intellectual property. As far as the stock market and economy is concerned, the importance of GDP growth is overstated. GDP has to be put in the proper context as only a single piece of data in bigger economic picture, which the media often fails to do, treating GDP and employment as the only two pieces of data that matter and ignoring the role of profits & earnings.

The media has pages of content to fill in order to sell advertising. Every year the media proclaims it’s a ‘new paradigm’, because if it weren’t, who would listen to them and click the virus-filled ads next to the story? Clicks are the lifeblood of the news media.

When Presidents Defy Economic Gravity, Gravity Usually Wins

If Mr. Trump really wants to boost manufacturing employment he would figure out how to train workers to fill some of the 334,000 manufacturing jobs that are now vacant. If he doesn’t have the patience for that, he should just raise tariffs across the board. It would hurt consumers and could start a trade war, but at least they’d be transparent.

The problem with job training is it inevitably hits the barriers imposed by biology: age (all else being equal, it’s typicality harder for older people to learn new skills than younger people) and IQ (not everyone can be a coder). And also economic and incentive barriers: there simply may not be any jobs, so no training will help, or the jobs pay so little and or are so difficult and tedious that going on welfare or faking disability is better. Should technology render too may jobs obsolete (should the Luddite Fallacy cease being a fallacy), warehousing may the the only option, whereby the millions of people who are rendered obsolete by technological and economic fores are housed in cheap communal dwellings at taxpayer expense, along with birth control and immigration restrictions, to control population growth.

Something similar happened when Mr. Obama imposed tariffs on Chinese tires in 2009: Chinese imports plummeted while other countries’ jumped. The action saved at most 1,200 jobs, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found, at a cost to consumers of $900,000 per job because of higher prices.

As the passage above shows, tariffs would increase costs, making it harder to fund a post-labor welfare state. It’s better to have cheap goods and higher unemployment under a welfare state than high inflation and overpaid jobs, and also a large welfare state (because tariffs wont create jobs, but actually destroy them.)

Tariffs make everything worse: Tariffs Won’t Bring Back American Jobs – They Will Destroy Them:

According to a study commissioned by the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, steel-users — such as the U.S. auto industry, its suppliers, heavy construction equipment manufacturers and others — were harmed by higher steel prices.

It is estimated that the steel tariffs caused at least 4,500 job losses in no fewer than 16 states, with more than 19,000 jobs lost in California, 16,000 in Texas and about 10,000 each in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

But Trump and his staff are not idiots and are not going to ruin the longest uninterrupted bull market and economic expansion ever, by passing tariffs and provoking unnecessary trade wars. Trump will probably focus initially on the tax cuts and defense spending, both which will inflate the economy, inflate the stock market, and energize his base of voters and thus helping his odds of being reelected. Trump needs the economy to not go into recession (the odds are slim, but if it happens, it may doom his re-election). Such spending will also create debt and inflation, but most voters will not notice either. Nominal stock market gains and nominal GDP growth are what matter most, because the media doesn’t differentiate between real growth and nominal growth.

Those who expect Trump to initially enact sweeping border and immigration control and trade policy renegotiation may be disappointed, as I predict Trump will put those issues on the back burner to focus on tax cuts, stimulus, and defense spending. I could be wrong, but what has to be understood is that Trump is virtually guaranteed the nomination in 2020. The only way he could conceivably lose is if the economy fails or the left has a really good candidate. If Trump reneges on immigration and jacks up the national debt even more, neither the left nor the right can use it against him in 2020, being that the left is pro-immigration and also, to a slightly lesser extent, pro-deficit spending. And given that Trump is guaranteed the nomination in 2020, he doesn’t need too toe a hard line on immigration like he did in 2015. By passing a lot of stimulus early in his presidency, he can post good GDP and stock market gains that will help his reelection.

Trump’s policies of handouts and cronyism, should they be enacted, will boost nominal profits and earnings, and hence the stock market, due to inflation. Even if Congress balks on the tariffs and handouts, the tax cuts and defense spending will pass and help the market a lot. If I had to predict, the US economy will see 2-3% YOY GDP growth, which is considered slow or average, but 5-10% YOY earnings expansion and at least a 20-30% rise in the S&P 500 over the next four years.

Trump and the Secretary of State “Brand” Decision

Trump is just a month from assuming office…unless he’s trying to convince Congress, persuasion is less important being that he won. All he needs to do now is not screw things up until reelection. Cabinet picks don’t matter much, and owing to rational ignorance and apathy, most people are unable to name more than two current members of Obama’s cabinet [1] (excluding Biden). Even if he wanted to, Trump can’t mess things up too badly, because the economy and society is becoming increasingly autonomous. Since 2008 or so, we’ve been in an autopilot economy where we’re like automatons just carrying out the motions, as the economy becomes less and less dependent on the actions or input of any one individual, or even politicians. Also, we’re reached a point where the ‘business cycle’ has been mastered or tamed (sorta like a hydrostatic equilibrium that keeps a star intact), meaning far fewer recessions or bear markets in America. The boost-bust cycle has become a permanent protracted boom.

[1] Here are all off them courtesy of Whitehouse.gov:

Department of State
Secretary John Kerry

Department of the Treasury
Secretary Jack Lew

Department of Defense
Secretary Ashton Carter

Department of Justice
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch

Department of the Interior
Secretary Sally Jewell

Department of Agriculture
Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack

Department of Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker

Department of Labor
Secretary Thomas E. Perez

Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Julián Castro

Department of Transportation
Secretary Anthony Foxx

Department of Energy
Secretary Ernest Moniz

Department of Education
Secretary John King

Department of Veterans Affairs
Secretary Robert McDonald

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Jeh Johnson

Understanding the far-left

An imgur gallery of statistics that show how society is improving went viral.

Far-left liberalism, in a nutshell, is the belief that man – particularly white, heterosexual men – are intrinsically corrupt [1] (similar to the concept of original sin) and that it’s the job of the state ‘purify’ man, as well as to enforce equal outcomes and punish/suppress exceptionalism and talent (egalitarianism [2]). As I explain here, here, and here, optimistic statistics such as how crime is declining is an affront to the left’s self-appointed role to ‘fix’ society, because if society is peaceful and prosperous, it’s less inclined to need the left’s ‘help’. The left thrives on chaos but also foments it, too, by pitting the rich against the poor, makers against takers, Whites against Blacks, and so on. And from the rubble and chaos, the left seeks to ‘rebuild’ society in their image. But if society isn’t collapsing, the left can’t rebuilt it, and this makes the left very mad. And also, entire narratives, such as the existence of man-made goal warming that threatens humanity, depend on the willingness and credulity of the general public to not reject this collective guilt and burden foisted on them by the far-left, similar to the concept of ‘original sin’, where all men are born sinners and have to redeem themselves through repentance.

The left are desirous for power, with liberalism and the state the national ‘god and religion’. In the absence of turmoil and suffering, acquiring this power is much harder for the left. The left is still powerful in terms of controlling certain national narratives and institutions, but their ambitions are so much bigger than isolated issues such such gay marriage and global warming may suggest, because it’s total control they seek under the pretense of ‘free speech’ and ‘liberty’, and those small issues are just skirmishes in a far bigger war.

Furthermore, the sensationalist liberal media manipulates data and statistics to spread fear, in order to boost advertising dollars. By only reporting bad news, one is inclined to believe that everything is bad, when in actuality the media is just deliberately choosing the bad stories and ignoring the good ones. One may not realize that the number of homicides and burglaries relative to the total US population has fallen in recent decades, because crime gets a lot of media coverage, and the media can affect public perceptions of crime or the health of the economy by the stories they choose to report or ignore.

[1] This would seem to contradict the left’s belief in tabula rasa. The far-left tends to hold absolutist and conflicting views on this – that everyone is either a blank slate for certain traits, or born corrupted by ingrained prejudices. This is similar to the left believing that sexual orientation is a fixed trait but intelligence and susceptibility/propensity to crime isn’t. A second explanation is that the left believes everyone is born a blank slate and are later corrupted by environmental factors such as racism, and that it’s the role of the state to ‘program’ people to be politically correct. The existence of individual cognitive exceptionalism is not a failing of tabula rasa but rather attributable ‘unfair’ environmental advantages bestowed upon said individuals, and that state intervention, at any cost, is needed in the futile effort to close an achievement gap that is actually an IQ gap.

[2] Egalitarianism, from Wikipedia (from French égal, meaning “equal”)—or equalitarianism[1][2]—is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people.[3] Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.[4] According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English:[5] either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights;[6] or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity.[7][8][9]

For the far-left, by ‘egalitarianism’ they mean equal outcomes instead of equal opportunities. With the exception of ‘congenital racism’, the far-left rejects the idea anyone is intrinsically better than anyone else. And individual differences in socioeconomic outcomes are a collective failing of society, not the individual. Far-left liberalism always shifts the burden from the individual to society. The left champions civil rights provided no one is able to get too far ahead of anyone else, and rights such as private property don’t count. Inequality is blamed on imagined structural racism, unfair advantages, or oppression, not differences in biology or work ethic. The far-left tends to blame environment for inequality, because biological differences, such as IQ, that may engender inequality less tractable to state intervention. Stephen Jay Gould (The Mismeasure of Man) and Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel), who were inspired by the progenitor of cultural relativism, Franz Boas, are major proponents of this view. The media by corroborating with academia are complicit in pushing what is essentially cultural Marxism wrapped in flimsy science.

Nassim Tooleb Loses His Temper Again

Nassim Tooleb lost his temper again. He began by asking the difference between democracy and populism, but only asking for ‘rigorous’ explanations, which is kinda difficult given the 140-character restriction of Twitter. But people tried anyway.

Daniel Drezner responded by suggesting that Tooleb read up on the matter, which is good advice, to which Tooleb responded like the bully he is by calling him a fucking idiot:

Tooleb is too thin-skinned to take advice and insults and or blocks anyone whom he disagrees with. Many months ago Tooleb blocked me after I (with as much patience and kindness I could possibly convey in 140 characters) disagreed with one of his tweets. He also has a habit of misconstruing and twisting arguments.

But to answer his original tweet, democracy is a political system (albeit, a very flawed one). Populism is an ideology.

If anyone deserves to be banned from Twitter for being an asshole, it’s him. Anyone who trolls Tooleb and gets him mad, even if they are a SJW, is a friend in my book.

HBD-Nationalism Conundrum

Let’s assume you hold a ‘populist’ view on immigration and nationalism (border control, ethno-states, etc.) but an ‘elite’ view on IQ and HBD (IQ is important, a measure of individual ‘worth’, is reliably testable, and varies between races/groups/nations, etc.). Although both of these individually may be correct, to hold both simultaneously may be logically inconsistent. How much precedence should one take over the other? If entirely the latter, then IQ and competence, not race, should be the deciding factor for inclusion. Or maybe a mix of both, choosing only high-IQ foreigners, for example, as part of a ‘guest worker’ program that proscribes any pathway for citizenship and allows only limited use of ‘pubic goods’, but then the ethnic makeup of the country still becomes altered in the process. This is a conundrum I have grappled with since writing this blog.

Consider a hypothetical company, Photon Corp, that needs 20 programmers. After an exhaustive search, it is only able to find 12 White, America-born programmers to do the job. Here are some options for filling the remaining eight spots:

1. It can hire eight of the most competent programmers, regardless of race, that meet the job description (probably the best option). This may mean hiring foreign guest workers as well as possibly outsourcing programming jobs.

2. Raises wages to spur demand such that it is able to fill the eight spots with only native-born programmers. Raising wages from $80/hour to $500/hour may encourage more people to learn programming, but the problem is Photon Corp is highly unprofitable if wages are that high, so it will eventually have to fire the programmers if it goes out of business.

3. Lowering standards by hiring workers that aren’t as competent. This will hurt business because the software is full of errors and the production is slowed, and eventually Photon Corp is displaced by its competitors that aren’t encumbered by labor restrictions, and all of Photon Corp’s 20 programmers are eventually fired.

4. Makes do with only 12 programmers and leaves the eight spots unfilled. This may inhibit Photon Corp’s ability to expand its business. Due to the shortage of programmers, Photon Corp finds it very difficult to complete its projects on time, costing it clients, and eventually Photon Corp overtaken by its competitors.

5. Government subsidies. Photon Corp petitions the government for subsidies as an incentive to not use foreign labor. If an American programmer costs $100/hour and a foreign programmer costs $50/hour, the US government will cover the $50 difference, plus a $200 bonus for cooperating and ‘keeping jobs in America’. The problem here is that tax payers pay for this, and it raises the national debt, and it create a perverse incentive for companies to threaten to move jobs overseas, to collect the $200 bonus.

6. Collusion. Photon Corp and its competitors all agree to the same hiring practices and will raise prices and wages at the same times, so that no one company is worse-off. These costs are passed to their clients, who then pass the costs to consumers in the form of higher prices. This raises inflation, lowers competitiveness, and lowers living standards (because certain products become more expensive relative to wages).

Of course, it’s not that simple. The problem may not be a skills shortage but rather that companies are replacing existing American workers with foreign workers to save money. It’s not a skill shortage but rather a shortage of American workers that are willing to work for a sufficiently low wage. (Related: How the H-1B Visa System
Can Hurt American Workers
) In a free market, restricting labor options puts individual companies at a major disadvantage provided they are unable to collude or receive subsidies. It’s rational and to be expected for companies to exhaust all options in minimizing labor costs. A pure meritocracy and free market combined with an ethno-state seems incompatible. We exalt the virtues of merit, but then this bumps into ethno-interests if some of the most meritorious aren’t of the desired race and ethnicity. This is one of those issues that is hard to resolve.