Monday, December 29, 2014

Prominent IT venture capitalist declares entire premise of US education system invalid

He's right, by the way, but that's for another post, and I'm confident it's not the point he intended.

Via The Kakistocracy.
What the anti-immigration people don’t understand is that there is a huge variation in ability between competent programmers and exceptional ones, and while you can train people to be competent, you can’t train them to be exceptional. Exceptional programmers have an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training.
The fact of innate, hereditary talent for a particular skillset is presumably the reason men like Paul Graham devote substantial amounts of their personal time and fortune to lobbying Congress for more H1-B visas. Otherwise, they could just spend the money on schools in places like Camden or Detroit to train all the untapped labor there for the next generation of genius-level programming. Or, if you're Bill Gates, just give your intelligent, bored wife a few extra billion to fund all these Blank Slate/social engineering schemes while your company continues to recruit from a few select colleges.

Of course, when you and I say or do things like this, people scream about eugenics and Hitler.

Other good headline material could be mined from the fact that Paul Graham has apparently never heard of conference calls and e-mails.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Today is born of a Virgin He who holds the whole Creation in His hand.

Today we commemorate the birth of the King of Kings and Prince of Peace. A blessed feast to all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What is wrong with women?

"I would not make it home"

I agree with this Tumblr author. I'm a 220-pound white male and if I did this, I would not make it home.

Imagine me on the left, and a 140-pound female, or even another 220-pound white male on the right. What do you think would happen? I'm guessing those cops in the background would follow their triggered instincts and start raining down blows on my head. So if men and women are truly equals in the eyes of God and everybody, why aren't the cops pummeling this woman? Is it female privilege?

In any other context, a woman this close to a man would be signaling sex, just as a man this close to a woman would be signaling sex. So why shouldn't I assume this woman is, in fact, signaling sex? Has personal space really been obliterated to that extent? Again, if the genders were transposed, would the woman be expected to just stand there and maintain a thousand-yard stare over the man's head?

My hypothesis is we are treating women like men, and they are screaming for help.

To see just how far down the rabbit hole women are falling, check out this iSteve post from December 15.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mad scientist plans to poison the globe with giant clouds of sulfuric acid


Via Marginal Revolution.
Now, there will be some direct risks, for sure. If you put sulfuric acid in the atmosphere, some people could die from the extra air pollution. That’s a serious issue, and not one to take lightly. There’s an ethical aspect to taking action that results in harm.

But it seems clear that the net impacts would be hugely positive. And that seems to me to be true from essentially all climate models. Other people might come to different conclusions.
This guy has no idea what would happen. All he does is program computers to generate models. He does not observe the natural world nor does he perform actual experiments to test his hypotheses, and there is no way for him to account for all variables even if he did.

Keith's statements are deliberately opaque and speculative of course, because he's smart enough to know that at bottom, human economic activity causes carbon emissions. So if we are to reduce carbon emissions, then we stop building roads and start analyzing the carrying capacity of countries and tell immigrants to stay put. Container ships rust in vast, ocean graveyards as carbon-spewing Chinese factories shut down. Africa and India are told to stop breeding or starve, as the protein paste spigot is turned off. Urban scale is reduced and employers enable remote worksites where their employees actually live. The vehicle-choked highways that enable homogenous, atomized, statist culture are left to molder into decay. Nuclear energy maintains living standards, as solar and wind are abandoned as unworkable, unaesthetic, and environmentally destructive.

Keith obviously is worried about the retrograde effect--I personally am getting pretty excited--and of course denounces such prudence as "'morally indefensible' [and politically undesirable] at this stage of history."

This is what happens when we give emotionally stunted people Ph.D.'s and academic tenure.

Note from his bio that Keith also "helps lead Carbon Engineering, a company developing technology to capture of CO2 from ambient air." This is exciting, as I too have developed technology to capture CO2 from the ambient air. Here's how it works:

John at Ad Orientem has a good post on the pathology of the environmentalist Left. They hate Man and his place in Nature, and they actually don't care for Nature, just some gnostic notion of "change."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

This is getting tiresome

How right, and how ahead of the curve I am.

India's Public Health Disaster, from Eric Margolis, 12/6/14.

Antibiotic Apocalypse Now, from Business Insider, 12/7/14:
In India, that scenario may already be unfolding.

Last year, 58,000 newborns there died of bacterial infections that didn't respond to antibiotics. "While that is still a fraction of the nearly 800,000 newborns who die annually in India," Gardiner Harris writes in The Times, "Indian pediatricians say that the rising toll of resistant infections could soon swamp efforts to improve India’s abysmal infant death rate." (India already has one of the highest rates of newborn death in the world.)

"Five years ago, we almost never saw these kinds of infections," New Delhi neonatologist Neelam Kler told The Times. "Now, close to 100% of the babies referred to us have multi-drug resistant infections. It's scary."

The bacteria are likely transferred to newborns from the mother, who comes into contact with them just like everyone else — via the water, animals, and soil in her surroundings. Unlike adults, however, newborns are especially vulnerable to infection since their immune systems haven't had a chance to develop completely yet.

A nightmarish combination of crowded slums, a lack of toilets, and the country's severe over-reliance on antibiotics (doctors and pharmacists give them out for everything from undiagnosed to mild infections) is making India's problem worse. Plus, getting antibiotics almost never requires a prescription .

That's not to say severe infections — ones that actually require antibiotic treatment — don't happen. With half the population relieving themselves outdoors, bacterial infections are rampant. Powerless to address the root problems, however, doctors simply give out as many antibiotics as they can.
The Anti-Gnostic, from 1/4/14:
FDA acts decisively to curb super-bug threat

By banning your hand soap.

... And of course, never a word about the fact that most countries on the globe lack the technology and know-how for functioning sewage systems and waste disposal, as the denizens of such places are enthusiastically welcomed here.
My prescience is not limited to the future direction of the environmental movement and public health. On June 17, 2014, I made the point that Iraq, among other countries in the region, no longer existed. Here's's Andrew Bacevich, in goggle-eyed amazement at a friend reaching the same conclusion on November 23, 2014.
“Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It’s been years since we’ve last seen each another. It may be years before our paths cross again. As if to drive his point home, M repeats himself: “Iraq just doesn’t exist.”

His is an opinion grounded in experience. As an enlisted soldier, he completed two Iraq tours, serving as a member of a rifle company, before and during the famous Petraeus “surge.” After separating from the Army, he went on to graduate school where he is now writing a dissertation on insurgencies. Choosing the American war in Iraq as one of his cases, M has returned there to continue his research.
Ah, man. Where's my research grant?

In the past week, Steve Sailer called the narrative-breakdown on Rolling Stone magazine's lurid account of a gang-rape at the University of Virginia. Way back in November 2013, I made the same call on the NFL's Martin/Incognito dust-up.

The sad part is not so much being right on troubling, consequential matters; it's that the supposed professionals are so slow on the uptake.

Or, as Vox Day notes on the apparent drying-up and blowing away of the venerable New Republic, that's actually the good news. Professional writers expect middle-class incomes for their mediocre, dated, and frequently erroneous storylines. Myself and the folks in that blogroll on the left are doing it for free.
In other words, a small group of people will no longer enjoy the stranglehold they once possessed over politics, literature, philosophy, history, religion, music, and fine art, to "set the terms of Washington’s debates" and tell readers "what they should care about". [Recall's fatuous mission statement to, "Explain the news."]

This is supposed to be a bad thing? Are you kidding me?

The New Republic is gone. It would be a good thing for the American Right if National Review followed suit.
Let the creative destruction begin.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Speaking of colleges ...

They are in debt and barely viable, despite the income stream from $100 billion in guaranteed student loan funds per year. "Guaranteed" means a government-chartered company known as Sallie Mae, which will never be allowed to go bankrupt promises to buy those loans which meet its generous criteria.

Post-secondary education is one of the clearer examples of government good intentions paving the road to hell, and the distortions are obvious and legion: completely unmarketable and academically shoddy Grievance-Studies and other programs; tenured, Marxist bureaucrats; minor league for the NFL; duplicative and unnecessary science, such as professors of Polar and Marine Biology in, of all places, the University of Alabama at Birmingham; tuition rising to the clouds, even as the job market shrinks. I could devote a whole separate blog to this, with an entry each day.

Why does government have any involvement at all in the post-secondary aspirations of legal adults? If an adult wants education past high school then he or she can pay for it, or the parents, spouse, friends or investors can pay for it. And where they live and what they do on the weekends will be up to them instead of loading the taxpayers with yet another hothouse flower who must be constantly fretted over and sheltered from any adverse outcome.

The whole corrupt structure is a ridiculous middle and upper class subsidy that should be ended tomorrow. In one month, we’d be wondering why we didn’t pull the plug 50 years ago.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

This is why we can't have nice things

Once upon a time, colleges were land-grant institutions chartered by the State, for the important task of providing a broad education in the Western canon to society's ruling elite.

Not any more.

Thus, women have gained access to these elite male spaces. And make no mistake, "elite" means "male" and no amount of liberal handwringing will change this biological fact. When the walls are knocked down to let everybody else in, the institution is no longer "elite." It is now demotic, not meritocratic, and everybody knows it in their bones.

Of course, women don't like being slotted into hierarchy or being kicked down the totem pole from Dad's Precious Snowflake to one of thousands of atomized strangers on campuses that have been transformed into island-fortresses with their own police forces. Colleges started in bucolic or high-trust settings have seen their environs transformed, with their students subject to attacks by human predators.

Thus, we get the uniquely 21st century problem of "rape culture" dreamed up by lonely, confused women insisting they are the objects of unremitting sexual assaults on campus, and requiring all manner of extruded, rococo mechanisms to keep them safe.

In the first place, if colleges really are these horrific, conveyor-operated rape factories, then women should be running screaming from the institutions. They should be forging nuclear and extended family ties and patronage networks so they can always have a trusted male chaperone at hand. They should be demanding a homogenous, high-trust society of reduced scale, so everybody knows everybody. They should demand an end to co-education and promoting religious strictures against promiscuous sex. None of this is happening of course, so we may conclude this is more about protecting the feelings and life-outcomes of women who want safe, consequence-free sex with attractive strangers who treat them shabbily.

In the second place, if colleges really are such dysfunctional, misogynistic hellholes, then they need to be torn down and that will be the end of this 21st century problem. Revoke their land grants and tax-exempt status. Students can live at home and go to commuter schools which operate under the same rules of premises liability and risk management as everybody else.

So that's the end of this:

And now it's all going to be this:

And that's why we can't have nice things, because egalitarian democracy screws everything up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

US military to defend the borders

Of Poland.

This got ridiculous a long time ago. If European countries must rely on the US to defend their borders against Russia, then they are no longer sovereigns in their own right and should be paying us for the privilege of pretending to be sovereign. If the troops paid for with my tax dollars are going to be off protecting Europe, then Europe had better sign a lopsided trade agreement with me to provide a guaranteed market for my goods and low-cost raw materials for me to buy. Of course, the actual threat to the cultures of Europe--unassimilable, r-selected Africans and Middle Easterners--is allowed free ingress.

The world is full of tiny countries that would be reduced to provinces of their larger neighbors without the Pax Americana. Do I as an American really care if Lichtenstein or Luxembourg are independent states? Monaco? Belgium? Three fairly large countries, Syria, Iraq and Libya, have ceased to exist in their previous forms. Has this made any difference in any American's life? Would anybody in the US really care if Ukrainians paid taxes to Russian bureaucrats instead of their hilariously corrupt, incompetent countrymen? Europeans appear no longer to care about their countries as geographic redoubts of their particular ethnic kin, so why should we? Better they be ruled by Orthodox Christian Russians than homegrown Muslim barbarians, which is where all the demographic trends are pointing.

Of course, I've answered my own questions here. This is all, always, about maintaining the status of the dollar as the world reserve currency.

Friday, November 28, 2014

r/K selection theory

From Koanic Soul, via Bob Wallace. He explains it better than I can, so please click through and read.

In my opinion, the future wars will be K-selected versus r-selected. I expect the K-selected will win eventually, because historically they always have. The farmers always beat the hunter-gatherers except where the farmers just can't be bothered and withdraw instead.

It won't be pretty--war never is--but it will be prettier than it would be if the r-selected were to take over.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Gilded Age

Thanksgiving dinner for only $35,000.
"We know it's over-the-top expensive, but Thanksgiving comes once a year. If you can splurge for this, you have a lot to be thankful for," said Old Homestead Steakhouse co-owner Marc Sherry.

It features nine-courses including squab stuffed with foie gras soaked in a $5,000 a bottle L'Esprit Cognac, roasted organic turkey stuffed with Japanese Wagyu and gravy made with a $1,750/bottle claret, butternut squash with black truffles, and sweet potatoes topped with three pounds of caviar. For dessert, diners will be served bourbon-soaked pears with pumpkin paste dusted with 24-karat gold.

For the elite, it's like 2008 never happened. Myself and a number of my peers were personally taught some severe financial lessons with that downturn. My lifestyle has never been the same since; I live well within my means now, much to the economists' horror. That's why I was screaming at everybody that a 'bailout' was unnecessary. The 2008 bust was big news because of who was ending up poor. Unlike a high-flying Texas realtor from past boom-bust cycles who had to suck it up and go work at the local hardware store, now it was the personal friends of Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke looking at wage-slavery. So clearly, Something Must Be Done. It was, and it worked beautifully. The Fed just printed up money and handed it out in exchange for assets that should have been liquidated for pennies on the dollar.

As the Mises Institute's Joseph Keckeisen wrote in 2009,
The corpses of the erstwhile automobile empires would have breathed their last, their good assets now transferred to the hands of newer more responsible entrepreneurs. The prior executives would be moving over to Cheapside and brushing off their overalls, perhaps in line to join a new remodeled UAW, in search for some job where they couldn't mess things up any more.

The bankruptcy courts would be finishing up their exequies for the deceased former titans of the packaged debentures. The tombstones of the new economic cemetery would display the once great names of Fannie and Freddie, of Citi, of AIG, of Merrill Lynch, along with the hapless Lehman Brothers, interred several months before. And so many more financial cadavers would have been laid to rest, their memory duly to be forgotten, as perpetrators of a fake capitalism now buried and forgotten. Perhaps the cemetery could be economically located in an enlarged churchyard at Trinity Church at the head of Wall Street, to occupy the now excess real estate in the area and be a perpetual reminder that treason in the capitalist world will always be avenged.

Washington would finally be silenced, even if the Fed were not yet duly junked in the process, and the Treasury's overbearance would be bridled as the rest of the uneconomic trash was being flushed out of the system.

The Case Shiller indices would have completed their downfall to a level that future homeowners could devote the traditional 30 percent of their money incomes towards purchasing their long-wanted love nests. New families would be rushing in to fill the vacant home sites.
So this Thanksgiving 2014, remember 2008 as the bellwether for the US government's descent into banana republic economics: the rich are to be protected from becoming poor. And please stay home on Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Nature is the ultimate fascist"

Liberal, anti-fascist whites are getting old and tired, and their children are being killed.

A God to Damn Us, by Gregory Hood.
The former Army Ranger known as Peter Kassig met his end under the knives of the Islamic State as Abdul Rahman Kassig. Even after his death, his mother is making media appearances wearing the hijab. For that matter, James Foley was a convert to Islam, as were other hostages. And while some undoubtedly convert in the (futile) hope of better treatment, it appears that many of these cases are sincere. Nor is this surprising, as the likes of Kassig, Foley, and others who have been taken captive in the Islamic State’s territory defined their lives by their efforts to help Muslims thousands of miles away from home.

Even liberal Whites ostensibly motivated by vacuous concepts like “human rights” can’t help but be impressed by those who possess actual strength of belief, especially from Third Worlders immune from charges of racism or cultural imperialism. Of course, many of these Third Worlders actually are racist or imperialist, but that reality is easily ignored by liberals who insist on viewing them as agency free moral mascots. Yet the fact that some Whites (even former Army Rangers) are willing to dedicate their entire lives to serving the Other and literally renounce their own identity at the moment of death testifies to something deeper than simple egalitarianism. It’s a kind of ethical exhaustion--liberal Whites are weary of the moral responsibility of existence and survival.

The very absurdity of our culture (if we can even call it a culture) shows that many Whites are looking for a way out. They actually seek escape through foreign occupation. To be occupied is to live in a world where meaning and cultural context is provided by a foreign people. You can be a religious minority (or an atheist) in a majority religious society and be “free,” but power, narrative, and taboo are ultimately in the hands of someone else. The same goes for being a racial minority or sexual minority.

This feeling of occupation is what underlies the fury of most minorities towards their host societies, no matter how well they are treated. To most people, being a minority is alienating--even if no one is specifically insulting you, you recognize you exist at the sufferance of someone else. However, to many liberal Whites, this feeling comes as a relief. In a kind of parody of Christianity, powerlessness constitutes a certain moral authority because it removes the possibility that you can inadvertently oppress someone else. It’s the only way to be free of White guilt, as even charity is just an expression of privilege. To the egalitarian mind, freedom really is slavery.

The hard truth is that Freedom Failed. Its failure is all around us. The Death of the West is an ongoing demographic and cultural reality. But what comes next? If Identitarians fail, it may be nature’s backup plan--Islam, particularly in its militantly monotheistic, Wahhabi Sunni variant.

Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin Trilogy posits exactly this outcome for the United States--a mass conversion as a response to spiritual exhaustion. The society he posits is built on a lie (in the book’s case, a nuclear attack blamed on Israel) and under the sway of religious fanatics, but is in many ways more admirable (and certainly more masculine) than what we have now. As Ferrigno notes, “the moral certainty of Islam was the perfect antidote to the empty bromides of the churches and the corruption of the political class.” Ferrigno’s scenario is obviously implausible but the demographic replacement of post-Christian Whites with Muslims is precisely what we are seeing in Europe today.

Our post-society is the rotten fruit of “liberty” and classical liberalism. We are told that once they are free of the dead hand of tradition, individuals can determine their own identity, inherently possess limitless potential to achieve perfection, and create the best kind of society by pursuing enlightened self-interest. Instead, we find technological wonders and vast wealth in our subjugated Europa and her cultural colonies in America, Africa, and Australia, but the denizens of these depraved outposts of supposed civilization can’t even be bothered to sustain themselves.

There are no limits to this process. It will follow its course until it is replaced. And the attempt to defy Nature is leading to a predictable result--inadvertent hilarity, followed by European extinction. In the end, Nature is the ultimate fascist...

Much more at the linked article. I know there are a number of polite, generous-minded and faithful Christians who read this blog. Please click through, and click through the embedded links in the OP.

We buy peaceful co-existence with Islam and other alien cultures through an unprecedented level of hedonic consumption, itself made possible by unprecedented levels of debt and monetary stimulus. The West has been pulling future spending forward to fund present consumption for a long time, and the whole pyramid scheme nearly came undone in 2008. There was nothing magical or financially arcane about the remedy. In simple terms, we printed money to paper over the enormous hole that opened up in nominal wealth, betting that the "real" economy would catch up and fill it. These are the "green shoots" upon which neo-Keynesians like Bernanke have bet their intellectual integrity, and on which current Fed chair Janet Yellen has bet her place in history. We are winding down a six year-process of printing EIGHTY FIVE BILLION WITH A B dollars a month and buying mortgage-backed securities, student loan-backed securities, and US Treasury debt with them. The collateral motive is to chase investor dollars from "safe" harbors like GSE and sovereign debt securities to riskier investments like corporate equity and venture capital funds.

Has the real economy (i.e., the part of the economy supported by savings from the surplus generated by past production) grown enough to fill that hole in nominal wealth and enable us to defer hard questions about who gets what and where they live, and who they are? We are about to find out. And let me end by pointing out that this gamble, and not some academic principle or moral imperative, is what is behind the court economists' obsession with growth, growth, growth by immigration, globalization, automation, scale, and whatever other euphemisms for job loss, displacement and obsolescence we can dream up. Because otherwise, we are falling back into a 3.5 trillion-dollar hole and population sub-groups might not continue feeling so accommodating and generous to each other.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Diversity" destroys diversity

From the superlative Brett Stevens.
When it comes to holidays, in a country where people are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Shinto, there are no holidays in common. As a result, it will be unfair to impose a single set of holidays. My prediction is that in ten years, schools will give students a dozen “floating” absence days that they can take for any reason in order to cover the religious holidays of a dozen faiths.

Welcome to the cultural idea of liberalism, which is destruction of the majority and its culture. By importing many different types of people, it becomes “safe” only to celebrate that which everyone shares, which is nothing. Thus everyone becomes an exception and everything becomes a personal choice. This is the method of liberalism: create an ideological group and expand it to absorb others.

This contrasts the conservative idea of culture, which is to pick people by what they share and then select for the best of that culture, so that culture and people alike advance, with natural selection and conscious choice of “better” balancing each other. That is how you get a rising civilization: you find a natural majority and enhance it.

When I write that “diversity” does not work, what I mean is that it is bad policy. It is not the fault of Muslims, Jews or Christians that they do not integrate. It is the fault of the policy of diversity itself, which insists you can combine many different things without destroying them. You cannot, but then again, the goal behind diversity has always been destruction — destruction of the natural majority, replacement of culture with ideology, and creation of a permanent liberal State.
Amerika, where culture goes to die.

Canada is going in the other direction: the premise is that, for example, the Hindus can take advantage of the public medical care, cheap land, and transparent governance to create the idealized Hindu culture, just without the filth, corruption and superstition of the Indian homeland. So far, most Canadians appear happy to participate in their own displacement. Presumably, the new Canadians feel enamored enough of their homeland to pay their taxes and not just regard it as a place to crash and launder money from the homeland.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Translation: We need our cut

Legalize and regulate sports betting.
N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver: Allow Gambling on Pro Games.

The Iguala massacre

Which reader seeing that headline was able to place it in context?
...Here are the barbaric facts. On Sept. 26, Iguala municipal police broke up a march and a political demonstration staged by student protestors. Police killed six and then arrested another 43 student protestors. The police killed perhaps another dozen (by "asphyxiation," investigators believe) and then handed the others over to the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang. The gangsters killed the other 30 or so young men and women, shredded their corpses and burned the remains. After two gang members confessed in late October, investigators found burnt bone fragments in a dump near the town of Cocula (17 kilometers from Iguala). Search parties also discovered six bags of human remains.

Yes, policemen and gang gunmen colluding to commit mass murder. The tragedy, however, has a Lady Macbeth turn, which leads to Guerrero's governing elites.

In early October, residents of Iguala claimed that Iguala mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, pressured by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, ordered municipal police to attack the students. Pineda intended to run for mayor of Iguala (to replace her husband after he completed his term). Pineda, whom local media call "Lady Iguala," had scheduled a speech before 3,000 bused-in supporters in the city plaza. She told her husband opposition demonstrators must not interrupt her campaign fiesta.
Via Vox Popoli.
I recall the story popping up briefly on my MSN homepage before disappearing back into the pop culture soup. Mexico is a pretty strange place, with jet planes, architects and computers co-existing with a level of casual brutality and corruption.

What's more interesting to me is how this story, like a lot of things Mexican, just doesn't seem to pique many journalists' curiosity. If the mayor of a US city of approximately 100,000, say Albany, New York, told the police to kill 43 students and shred their bodies, it would be Kind Of A Big Deal. But there's this strange incuriousness about Mexico which, in its storied history, hosted Trotsky (and the hitmen sent by Stalin to kill Trotsky), went through a really virulent anti-Catholic, Masonic phase, and periodically takes potshots at US military and Border Patrol units.

Incidentally, in 2000 the Sheriff of DeKalb County, Georgia, Sidney Dorsey, lost his election so he ordered a deputy to assassinate his successor. I was pretty shocked by this at the time; political rivals getting assassinated is not really something that happens in metropolitan Atlanta. But at the time I can tell you the attitude was pretty much that this awful crime had been committed. Nobody gave much thought to the notion that this could indicate some pretty serious breakdown in the social fabric.

We should probably look more carefully at the originating society before we decide to move another country of 30+ million people into the continental US. It would be nice if journalists dug into these things a bit more. For that matter, I would think it would be good for business generating content where the writers asked a lot of questions about turbulent places with a complex history. But Mexico is one of those places where nobody can think of anything to ask.

The splashy, strivingly-hip Vox was supposedly started by young maverick journalists. Its mission statement is, hilariously, "to explain the news." (I guess the focus groups didn't like, "to tell you how to think.") You can scan their front page and headline stories and figure out pretty quickly that they have already decided which questions they won't be asking.

Friday, November 14, 2014

You heard it here first

Folks, when the prognosticating mood strikes you, this blog is really all you need to read. No matter the object of whichever policy the Establishment chooses to ride off the rails and over the cliff, your Anti-Gnostic has probably broached it first. I said it here in January 2012 and I'm sure earlier in the iSteve comboxes:
Some causes the Left has quietly tiptoed away from:...

3. Environmental advocacy. Here is a fairly typical jeremiad. Note the passive voice, as if deforestation and fauna extinction are just happening in Africa, like an earthquake or tidal wave. I don't hear anybody lecturing China or India on their appalling industrial practices. David Gelbaum's purchase of the Sierra Club is well-documented. National parks in the American Southwest are becoming no-go zones. Mother Jones, Audubon and other environmental groups don't seem to be covering these crucial topics.
I repeated it again in January 2013:
I have said for some time that environmentalism is one of those causes that the Left is going to quietly back away from. Most of our 1+ million new Americans a year come here precisely because they don't want to hunt, fish or strap on a backpack. Also, pensions, disability checks and public schools won't pay for themselves, so we better crank up the bulldozers.

The Left appears to recognize its dilemma, hence the move away from difficult, hands-on stuff like land stewardship and wildlife management and on to vague, incorporeal notions like 'global warming.'

And now it has come to pass: the LA Times has pronounced sentence on "bushy-bearded Scot" John Muir as the first Dead White Male environmentalist racist whose corpse is to be dug up and pissed on.
John Muir is the patron saint of environmentalism, an epic figure whose writings of mystical enlightenment attained during lone treks in California's wilderness glorified individualism, saved Yosemite and helped establish the national park system..

As the first president of the Sierra Club, Muir shaped enduring perceptions about how the wild world should be prioritized, protected and managed.

But now some critics are arguing that the world has changed so much in the century since his death that Muir has gone the way of wheelwrights.

He is no longer relevant.

"Muir's legacy has to go," said Jon Christensen, a historian with UCLA's Institute of Environment and Sustainability. "It's just not useful anymore." ... To Christensen and others ... Muir's notion that immersing people in "universities of the wilderness" — such as Yosemite — sends the message that only awe-inspiring parks are worth saving, at the expense of smaller urban spaces.

Critics also say Muir's vision of wilderness is rooted in economic privilege and the abundant leisure time of the upper class.

Rather than accessing Muir's beloved Sierra Mountains as backpackers, skiers or rock climbers, they argue, Californians would benefit more from the creation of urban parks, additional roads and trails in wild lands.

Nature exists in many forms, they say. Pristine wilderness is but one.

On Thursday, six weeks before the centennial of Muir's death, conservationists, geographers, lawmakers, artists, historians and environmental justice advocates will meet at UCLA to discuss his legacy and relevance. The occasion is the investiture of Glen MacDonald as the university's John Muir memorial chair in geography.

Among the presenters at the event, titled "A Century Beyond Muir," will be Christensen, who is a friend and colleague of MacDonald's.

Lining up behind him will be other critics — including Richard White, a historian at Stanford University who says Muir's late 19th century, Anglo-Saxon brand of environmentalism and bias toward untouched wilderness skewed the way nature has been portrayed in popular culture.

For example, in his writings, Muir said the squirrels he killed on his ranch in Martinez, Calif., were disgusting pests out to ruin the orchards. But he described the squirrels living in his beloved High Sierra as hard-working creatures like those later popularized in the Disney classic "Snow White."

Critics also see a correlation between the emotional, biblical language of Muir's writings and the demographic makeup of national park visitors and the ranks of the largest environmental organizations — mainly aging, white Americans.

The Sierra Club, which Muir founded, and the Audubon Society are struggling to connect with California's diverse population, particularly Latinos, who polls show are among the most devoted environmentalists in the state. A strong and diverse membership in California, where Latinos are expected to become a majority by 2050, is important to influencing political decisions and raising funds to support missions of conservation and environmental education.

Yet "the conservation movement reflects the legacy of John Muir, and its influence on a certain demographic — older and white — and that's a problem," Christensen said.

He is joined in that view by D.J. Waldie, an author and expert on Southern California culture.

"We have to reimagine our relationships with nature to accommodate modern, increasingly diverse communities that see the world differently than white Anglo-Saxon Protestants like Muir did in the late 19th century," Waldie said.

It is all to be destroyed my friends. The pristine wilderness, the apex predators, the old flora, the unspoiled vistas. Did we really believe r-selected groups would look on that space so scrupulously maintained by a K-selected people and think, take only pictures, leave only footprints?

Plenty of room there for solar cell arrays, wind farms, water treatment plants, strip malls, affordable housing. And below that, mineral riches that will back the dollar to support welfare transfer payments for decades to come. Against all that, you're going to pose white, middle-class backpackers?

"Say what?"

I am sick to my soul. Those wilderness spaces will not be maintained absent a very bloody and violent defense against encroachment which a prosperous people are loath to take up. Americans will either defend these natural riches with their lives or they will see them consumed, but I am afraid we are all going to say the same thing: I've got responsibilities, so it won't be me.

However this turns out, that old America which I and others in my cohort glimpsed in that short, stupid period called youth--that time when we should have been cracking heads back when we still had the numbers and the vitality--is gone forever. There is no hope.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

So far so good

The US remains a fairly conservative place. Ad Orientem found a great photo.

Who would have thought such a thing, that Republicans could win on a platform that didn't include the active loathing of their own constituents?

For all his bloviating and hyperbole, I think Rush Limbaugh is right. (Via Vox Popoli).
It is rare that a political party running for office in a midterm election not standing for anything ends up with a mandate, and they have one, and it is the biggest and perhaps the most important mandate a political party has had in the recent era, and it is very simple what that mandate is. It is to stop Barack Obama. It is to stop the Democrats. There is no other reason why Republicans were elected yesterday. Republicans were not elected to govern.

I tend to agree. The sentiment I hear from my crowd is that Obama is anti-business and anti-American and they want this crazed social crusader stopped before all of small business goes under and there's not a single good school district left. Anything but this smug, shallow pseudo-lawyer.

The Kakistocracy looks on with suspicion, as the geriatric Mitch McConnell assures worried Kentuckians that he intends to get right to work on corporate tax reform and trade agreements. This geriatric aspect of US politics is puzzling and under-remarked. Apparently, 91-year old Bob Dole is still being wheeled around. Who are they trying to appeal to, the 70-year old vote?

Sailer wonders if Obama and the Democrats are pushing people outside their comfort zones, with their championing of three-hundred pound bullies and net-tax consuming immigrants with contagious deadly diseases.

I think there is something to Sailer's thesis. The Democratic message is beginning to run counter to a lot of people's instincts, including the instincts of traditionally communitarian, low time-preference groups such as Asians. (Via Marginal Revolution.)

Obama was elected because everybody non-white and single white women voted for him, and over five million other whites stayed home rather than vote for a crazy old man named John McCain or a slick apostate named Mitt Romney. Obama never had a liberal "mandate" beyond his NPR-listening fan club.

As the activities of most people tend to revolve around raising children, religious worship and trying to earn a living, it actually makes sense that political equilibrium settles a little right-of-center. In other words, most people realize that non-normative sexual practices aren’t healthy; they want a connection with the metaphysical; they want to have children and love and be loved by a member of the opposite sex; and they want to keep their stuff rather than giving it to the government. So reality you might say comes out rather conservative.

As I've mentioned, I am skeptical of the Republicans being interested in conserving anything more venerable than early 20th century Progressivism, but compared to the party of public employee unions, restive ethnic minorities, blue-hairs, Jews, sexual deviants and Jewish sexual deviants, they look like the ancien regime.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fourth generation warfare

"Almost everywhere, the state is losing." From Vox Popoli,

Good if typically inflamed discussion in the comments. But I still get the sense that a lot of people haven't fully grasped that all those lines drawn on the globe after WW2 don't exist in reality; that is, they exist only to the extent people act like they do. People seem to have this sub-conscious picture of lines neatly painted on the ground, snaking off in either direction to mark the border of Iraq and Syria. (Or Mexico and the US.) Based on that globe you may have on your shelf, "Iraq" and "Syria" are real and ISIS is a non-state abstraction, like "al Qaida" which once operated in its super-duper secret underground headquarters in the Afghan wilderness, as hilariously depicted by nobody less than the BBC.

People know these groups are real enough, but I'm not sure at the policy level or the voter level they grasp the details of living, breathing, and highly motivated men, walking around with rifles and meeting to discuss things like tactics, how to keep the groceries stocked, etc. Obama can lecture everybody about ISIS having no place in the 21st century all he wants and Malcolm Pollack's priceless rejoinder remains: "Well it's 2014, and here they are." They sure seem real enough and practical enough in that Vice documentary, which the cutting-edge journal of high thought, The Atlantic, frets may be illegal.

Obama and the NATO leaders, as with everything else they're doing, don't seem to have their hearts in this one. We make aerial bombardments look easy, but they're actually very expensive and nobody has any legislative or popular authority for another Middle Eastern war.

So assuming the Islamic State is more than just a bunch of high time-preference rabble (which may be entirely the case), what if they decide they've captured enough infrastructure and start putting down stakes? They'd have to marry off their fighters and kill the Chechens and their other crazies, but if the leadership is at all forward-thinking then I'm sure they'll do what's necessary. But everybody just seems to think we'll bomb ISIS here and there until there's nothing left to bomb but masses of starving women and children poking around the rubble. Then the aid trucks and troops roll in. Then we set up a government of carpetbaggers and scalawags and tearfully pledge US taxpayers' money to them. Right? Right, guys? Who's with me?

The reality that I've been talking about for months--that Syria and Iraq no longer exist, and Kurdistan does--is only just now creeping into the mainstream. Politically, nobody seems prepared to deal with this reality. Just like nobody seems to realize that Germany is one of the most important countries in the world and is quietly running Europe, as opposed to ever-shrinking Britain and socially-simmering France and non-entity Belgium. Politically, nobody realized that Libya no longer existed, so they sent some fop to pretend to be an "Ambassador" to "Libya" and the poor fairy got himself killed. That's what happens when you pretend reality doesn't exist. Remember the term realpolitik? Grey-haired guys and field operatives used to talk about it and practice it. Now of course, we know it was all just a hate-riarchal construct dreamed up by Richard Nixon, possibly the most evil man who ever lived.

Here's a partial list of American pretensions:

1. Bashar Assad is Genghis Khan [who's that?] Hitler, and has no popular support.
2. The current emirs of the Arabian peninsula, being all good guys with popular support, will rule forever.
3. There's no problem pluralistic democracy can't solve. Except for Israel, the most exceptional and important country in the world, which must remain a classic nation-state.

That's my morning rant on things of which I have only attenuated knowledge. But my theme doesn't require any specialized training or experience to grasp: policy should be based on physical, biological and social reality, not on ideology. Can anybody think of a single exception?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Narrative breakdown

People are tying themselves in predictable knots over this video of a young woman with tight-fitting clothes walking around in the Harlem section of Manhattan. On the one hand, the comments directed at her do not seem particularly threatening. On the other, what are the rules these days? It used to be customary for men to tip their hats to high-status women. I guess now it would be called eye-rape. Female freedom to sleep with men who make terrible husbands and fathers means the old customs are obliterated. And who do liberals think they are tut-tutting here? The prize in the sexual marketplace goes to the most aggressive men and the most erotic women. What this is really about is women offended at attention from men they regard as beneath their pay grade.

Catcalling didn't seem to bother Ninalee Craig, the subject from that famous Ruth Orkin photograph.

Samantha Geimer was drugged and sodomized by hotshot movie director Roman Polanski when she was thirteen. She says she wasn't raped. She married, had kids and seems to be living a perfectly normal, even successful life. So if a famous movie director drugs and sodomizes you when you're still wondering if you want to be a ballet dancer or princess bride when you grow up, the psychological fallout seems pretty limited.

Also from that link, Gennifer Flowers was sexually harassed by her boss; she's still in love with him. And if you're interested, Sinead O'Connor will let you violate her in several different ways.

There are some other variables here which the mainstream studiously avoids. The Florentines in that Ruth Orkin photo stay away from the woman's personal space. The stereotypical urban hardhats (working class whites) keep to their worksites. What's noticeably different is the stalking behavior by men of a certain complexion who clearly have nothing better to do.

The Narrative, which places the blame for all this on white, male, heterosexual heteronormative cisgendered privilege, is not sure which way to go at this point.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Annual apologia for Hallowe'en

Did St. Nikolai Velimirovich write against Hallowe'en?

Of course not, says John Sanidopoulos.

Love this guy. Here's his October, 2013 post.

Orthodoxy in a pluralistic society

Good morning everyone. Time for the same old rant:

Orthodoxy and the Problem of Choice: Converting Out of Postmodern Pluralism. (Via Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy)

A convert, Richard Barnett, considers the problem of Orthodoxy in America, and is pleased to have arrived at a solution.
So, my suggestion is this. America is America. It is not an Orthodox country. It’s not even really a Christian country, although it is culturally Protestant. The Orthodox renaissance that Anglophone Orthodox would like to see happen in this country, if it is to happen at all (and I am dubious of that), is not going to happen because of our arguments. In my experience, you’re not going to convince anybody of anything that they aren’t already inclined to believe in some way, or without God’s intervention. Therefore, stop trying to convince people with arguments. To go back to Tertullian again, consider what he said about what made truth claims not just authoritative for the world in his day, but self-evident:

“But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how [Christians] love one another, for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how [Christians] are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death." (The Apology 39.7)

If we Orthodox want to make an authoritative truth claim, if we want to say that we’re part of the church that Paul (or Nicholas, or Chrysostom, or Basil, or Tertullian for that matter) established we have to back it up with that level of love and self-sacrifice. If we’re not willing to do that, airtight rational arguments aren’t going to get very far.

Make your choice about Orthodox Christianity. Do so out of love for Christ, do so because you believe it is true, do so because you could make no other choice. However, having made that choice, remember that the Church is incarnational — She is the body of Christ on earth, in a very literal sense, and as one of Her members, your actions mean something in terms of witness to the world; you don’t need to look to externals to see Christ’s action, because you are part of His body. Shoring up your manner of disputation is an easy way out of that; acting accordingly out of love and self-sacrifice is much harder, but it is what will be more authoritative than trying to establish that your arguments are less circular than sola Scriptura.
This is a thoughtful and good essay. It is also sound doctrine. Let me now upend the brimming bucket of ice water-reality on it:

Richard's conclusion only returns us back to where we started. Every other Christian sect and, for that matter, every other religious faith, makes the same exhortation. Some of the most generous, friendly, family-centered people I've met have been Muslims. Islam actually has much to recommend it, especially for young men. It is robust, sure of itself, and when its adherents require a safe place where they can maintain the status of their males, their females' modesty and their support networks, then they simply occupy it, bolstered with the certitude that Truth is on their side. The message of modern Christianity, by contrast, is one of endless cession and accommodation to its illiberal enemies. The Catholics, just for an example, now have a Pope who is far more troubled that Muslims may not feel welcome in what was formerly Christendom, than that Christendom has been outlawed by Western democratic, secular governments.

To reiterate, I think Mr. Barrett's conclusion that proof of Truth via love and self-sacrifice is ultimately just as circular because 1) everybody else preaches it, and 2) everybody else seems to be winning. In the Middle East, Christians who have been there in a continuous line of baptisms since the very Apostles cannot halt their own physical extinction. In the less dire context of Lewis's 'mansion,' to my observation the Protestant tide just keeps rising and rising. While the mainline denominations may be dissipating, they are being replaced by extremely popular, well-funded evangelical 'churches' with careerist pastors. We also have the 'home church' movement--the old joke about the individual Protestant and his Bible is, well, no longer a joke. Then there's 'messianic Judaism.' This last one I take rather personally, as I have family members who like to wave it around as the ultimate fundamentalist trump card. Those modern innovators from 33 A.D. can't get more fundamental than the Abrahamic covenant, can they? I suppose not. Maybe I'll set up a pile of rocks in my back yard and start slaughtering sheep on it--I see your Abrahamic covenant and raise you a Noahide covenant, pal.

Christianity in the public square has just as appalling a record. We have lost all the major fights: abortion, pornography, sodomy (now sacralized by the State as 'gay marriage.') What sort of 'Truth' is this orthodox and catholic Faith, which cannot prevent its own displacement?

This is why I say (again and again) that the age of Christian evangelism is over. Everybody knows where to find us and as sure as we are of this Pearl of Great Price, to the non-Orthodox we're just another booth in the American Christian bazaar. (Or, what our friend The Kakistocracy might call the American religious carnival walk.)

I don't know why our bishops don't point out the obvious lifeblood of the Church: more Orthodox babies. Weddings and baptisms are how you make new Christians, not sterile preaching. It also requires a synodal consideration and statement on birth control. But all this in turn requires a community that helps its young people be good Orthodox: hooks them up for marriage and provides patronage and support so they can afford to start families.

Incidentally, I find myself able to debate any number of controversial issues with other Orthodox, and this position I take is the only one which has been met with overt hostility and anger, both on the Internet and in the real world. American Christians are absolutely obsessed with this messianic, exceptionalist vision of themselves in the Apostolic era, preaching on Mars Hill and speaking the truth to Herod Agrippa.

The most enduring religious institutions seem to be the ones that can help knock off some of the sharp corners of life for their adherents. That's sort of the whole point of community, isn't it? If you want to see how this is immanentized, I'd suggest looking to the Amish and Hasidim. For that matter, American Catholics have taken and are taking things in this direction, moving en masse to their parish's neighborhood and placing their children in the parish school. That is the only way in atomized American society to keep your family orbiting the Faith and living the cycle of feasts and fasts, instead of the priest telling everybody good bye and good luck until next Sunday. In other words, if you want your Tradition, you have to make your Tradition.

Fr. John Peck prophesied for this in his visionary essay, but he seems to have fallen silent.

It would be nice to conclude this rant by saying I'm doing my part to fill the pews with my offspring, but that opportunity has passed.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spreading the Good News

Muslim evangelism.

The message of modern Christendom is one of endless cession and accommodation to her illiberal enemies. Islam, by contrast, gives its followers certitude and tells them to bide their time. Secularized Christianity is now the Establishment, which is why the desert creed of Islam evangelizes.

When Muslims need their own space away from abominations such as gay marriage and feminism they take it, secure in their patronage networks, their patriarchal culture, and their unflinching sense of truth. Modern Christianity can only exhort her adherents to pray and do the best they can with such resources as the individual or nuclear family can muster, and even commands them to seek illumination from the anti-Christian view.

The age of Christian evangelism is over, with the modern Christian gospel of utter altruism and voluntary displacement being adopted by the secular State. The garment-rending of modern Christian evangelicals is pure theater at this point. The other day, I watched a commercial with a Christian missionary at least thirty pounds overweight stomping around, demanding I send his employer money as the camera panned on a doe-eyed Haitian girl in a ragged dress. At that point, I was screaming at the TV, "Build them a f***ing sewage treatment plant!" I'm going to start doing this in real life.

Time for the Church to feed Her sheep.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ahead of the curve

Apparently that video I linked to yesterday from the court eunuchs of the Good Men Project is really making the rounds. Sailer takes it apart here, and so does Radix Journal here.

These jeremiads are getting pathetic. Like gun control, it's really just a Progressivist dog-whistle by hipster whites, begging to be allowed to live unmolested in urban centers. Another example is the "Take Back The Night" crusades at various colleges, which are basically pleas for help from female co-eds at campuses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries that now find themselves in the middle of some uniquely 21st century problems.

"One of three suburban Denver girls..."

Read on.

DENVER — One of three suburban Denver girls who authorities say tried to join Islamic State militants in Syria was confused about what her role would be if she had actually made it there, the girl's father said Tuesday.

"She told me they were going to get there and somebody is going to contact them," said the father of a 16-year-old Sudanese girl, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he is concerned for the girls' safety. "I ask her, 'Who's that person?' She actually didn't have a clear idea about what's going on. They're just like, you know, stupid little girls. They just want to do something, and they do it."

The FBI says the 16-year-old and her friends, 15- and 17-year-old sisters of Somali descent, were headed toward Turkey en route to Syria when authorities stopped them on Oct. 20 at the Frankfurt, Germany airport. They sent them back to Denver, where FBI agents again interviewed them before releasing them to their parents without pressing charges...

The father wasn't sure how his daughter, a typical high school girl who likes going to the movies and the mall, was lured to terrorism online. Officials have said one of the girls had planned the voyage and encouraged the others to come along.

The family moved to the U.S. in 2001 and to Colorado three years ago after living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Less was known about the Somali family, but those close to them said they have been in Colorado for years. Their father, who works as a hotel housekeeper, is from Mogadishu.

Members of southeast Denver's tight-knit East African community are now concerned other children will follow the girls' path. The FBI has been investigating whether they had friends or associates with similar intentions.

Jeez lou-eez, these typical high school girls and their Muslim jihad problems. Kids these days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My God, who are these creatures?

The Good Men Project.

I think I may have come across the name at Dalrock's or Roissy's without really thinking about it, and I know I've seen this picture somewhere.

I just never imagined a website like this could actually exist. There can't be that many eunuchs walking around with their nuts in a jar. Somebody please tell me this is a parody. I mean, the horror. For the sweet Name of Christ everybody, please wake up. Kill it. Burn it with fire.

I posted comments here and here, but I doubt they make it through moderation.

Satire really is no longer possible. And advertisers and subscribers will actually pay for this Shinola. Or maybe they're funded by Soros or the CIA or Third International. Holy effing crap.

At the very least, I have got to enable ads here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You have to pay to be in this thing?

The EU sticks the UK with an unexpected bill for $2.7 billion due to GDP revisions.

Well, I suppose you would since bureaucrats and the office buildings that house them don't pay for themselves.
Britain's membership of the European Union has been threatened by an 'appalling' demand for an extra £1.7 billion for Brussels coffers, David Cameron warned today.

In a furious rant against 'technocrats and bureaucrats without a heart or a soul', the Prime Minister insisted he would not write a cheque for the deadline of December 1.

The European Commission issued the demand after using rules dating back to 1995 and finding Britain's economy has grown faster than expected, so must pay a greater share to Brussels. To add insult to injury, France will receive a £790 million rebate because its economy is struggling.

Mr Cameron admitted he only found out about the bill yesterday, 48 hours after Chancellor George Osborne, but made clear the European Commission is at fault, adding: 'It is an appalling way to behave.' [Henry the Fifth wept.]

Via Vox Popoli.

Why would any self-respecting country agree to a supra-national arrangement like this? (Question begging: there are self-respecting Western countries.) Isn't free trade and free movement within the zone something each country could administer itself? They could send their own representatives to sit in executive session once a year to iron out administrative details. You could have a tribunal of jurists already on the payroll from their own countries to sit on a European tribunal and decide cross-border disputes.

Of course, that would mean most of your time would be spent just schlepping away as a German, French or Italian bureaucrat or judge, and you'd take the train to Brussels each year to hash out the format of ID cards or decide if a particular sales tax is an effective tariff. In practical application, you'd end up deciding very little--this is a league of sovereigns after all. Start hammering on minutiae, and the sovereigns start telling you to pound sand. But doubtless the EU bureaucrats, sitting comfortably behind NATO defenses ultimately backed by US nuclear dominance, consider themselves on the lofty heights of the imperial plane. The post-WW2 generation that spawned these bureaucratic horrors were really awful people. Technocratic, conformist, fascist living fossils.

The EU will probably follow the same organizational arc as the NCAA, which has wisely agreed to let its Division I members do whatever the hell they want in exchange for not being drawn and quartered in courtrooms across the US. Germany will be the most important country in Europe, notwithstanding everybody's efforts to pretend otherwise.

The Episcopal Church is another example of an organization that's scaled for no good reason. The bishops could elect one of their colleagues to be "presiding" for a term and fly to his diocese once a year to eat a really good dinner and take photographs. That all changed in the 1970's, when the Episcopal Church decided to be respectable instead of orthodox.

There's a pretty clear pattern here. These meta-level organizations are for leftist control freaks who know if they can just hijack the upper tier they can impose top down rule. But why do we put up with it? A few people just shrugging their shoulders at the same time, and the whole edifice collapses.

New label: scale.

How it all works

From a talk by Peter Schiff, summarized by Anglican Curmudgeon:
Every week, the Treasury auctions off a mixture of bills, notes and bonds (bills are short-term, bonds are long-term, and notes are in between) to meet the cash flow needs of the U.S. government. Normally what the Treasury has to offer is picked up by the bond market and by foreign governments (central banks) wishing to acquire dollar reserves.

But when the government runs a huge deficit, as it has during the latter Bush years and all of Obama's first and second terms, the Fed can step into the bond market to buy up any bills, notes or bonds that are not sold to dealers or central banks. By doing so, the Fed ensures that interest rates on the Treasury's borrowings remain stable in accordance with their maturity dates. (If, for example, the Treasury could not find a buyer for all of its long-term bonds at its offered rate of interest, it would have to raise the interest rate to find more buyers. But if the Fed steps in and buys what's left first, the Treasury does not have to offer higher rates -- it just pays the Fed the same rate it pays all the other buyers).

When the Fed buys, say, bonds from the U.S. Treasury, it simply credits the Treasury with cash from its bottomless checking account, and takes possession of the bonds. When the Treasury later buys back those bonds at maturity, as it must for every bond it issues, it has to pay the face amount of the bond plus the interest at the bond's stated rate. And to do so, it needs the required amount of cash in its accounts.

Now, think a minute: if the Fed buys $1 billion worth of 30-year bonds at 3% (say) interest per year, the Treasury is credited with $1 billion when it first sells them. But then it is has to pay the Fed $30 million each year in interest, for 30 years -- or a total of $900 million (almost as much as it borrowed in the first place). And when the bonds mature, it has to come up with another $1 billion to pay off the principal.

So by selling $1 billion of bonds to the Fed, the Treasury commits its budget to come up with a total of $1.9 billion over the next thirty years. And so it goes, week after week. As Sen Everett Dirksen once famously noted: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

Now, here's the wrinkle: all interest the Treasury pays to the Fed gets turned over, at the end of each year to: (you guessed it) the Treasury! (The Fed simply deducts what it needs to erect and maintain all of its splendid marble buildings, and to pay all of its officers and staff the very best salaries and benefits.)

So it is not quite a merry-go-round, because of the Fed's needs for money to operate. Out of the $1.9 billion the Treasury pays to the Fed in my example, $1 billion (the principal) is a wash, and the Treasury might net, say, $870 million out of its original $900 million paid in interest. The figures don't matter as much as the fact: the Treasury still, after everything is said and done, has to come up with new money in order to clear its books with the Fed.

By using "quantitative easing" to help out the Treasury, therefore, the Fed is really simply delaying the ultimate day of reckoning. For if the Treasury did not have the Fed buying those bonds from it, it would have had to come up with a full $1.9 billion to pay them at maturity, instead of being able to use what the Fed returns to it each year.

The same result occurs in the end, however. As long as anyone keeps buying bills, notes and bonds from the Treasury, the Treasury has to come up with more cash to pay back the principal plus the stated interest.

The Fed's QE to date has kept the interest rates the Treasury has to pay artificially low, because the Fed always buys whatever bonds are left without demanding higher rates. But how long can the game continue?

And that is just what Peter Schiff points out. The Fed has thus far "phased out" QE three times. Each time, it said (at first) that there would be no more QE, but then as interest rates began to threaten to rise, and the stock market threatened to panic, the Fed would step in again and announce "another round" of quantitative easing. Thus we have had QE#1, QE#2 and QE#3 so far. The Fed is now almost done with the process of phasing out QE#3, as it has been buying less and less bonds each passing month.

And how has the stock market taken this? Exactly as it always has -- with panic drops and uncertain swings because of the inability to predict how high interest rates will have to rise for the Treasury to sell all of its bonds without the Fed being the buyer of last resort. And if bond interest rates rise, the stock market will really plummet.

Moreover, if interest rates rise, the Treasury will have to come up with ever more and more cash to pay the interest on each new bill, note or bond it issues. Since it cannot print money itself, the Treasury has to go into the market to borrow that extra cash. And the more it has to borrow, the more the interest rates will rise -- it is a vicious cycle.

Mr. Schiff therefore predicts the Fed will soon be forced to announce QE#4. Most agree with him, because the alternative is to let the Government default on its debt, which would lead to institutional and commercial failures of all kinds, all around the world.

But QE#4 will at best be a temporary solution. How long will the Fed be able to continue to tell gullible markets that each new phase of quantitative easing will be only "temporary"? The fact is that, having started down the QE road, the Fed cannot reverse course permanently without disastrous consequences for everyone.

And once the Fed's game is seen to be what it is -- the repeated printing of paper money with nothing to back it except the promise to print more paper money as needed -- the notion of inflation will begin to get a toehold on the economy. Would you accept the promise to be paid in a year with paper that will be worth less than what you turn over to your borrower today? Not without demanding a suitably high rate of interest, you wouldn't. And so the Fed's policies inevitably will lead to a war between the demand for more interest to compensate for the shrinking value of paper money caused by the printing of ever more and more paper money to pay that interest.
This is a great summary with one cavil: the dollar is not actually "unbacked." Rather, it is backed by all the goods and services which dollars can buy. And that, dear readers, is the explanation for nearly everything. If we are going to print ever more dollars to service ever more debt, we must grow ever more and ever larger markets. Therefore,
* The US must prop up multi-lateral organizations such as the UN, NATO and the OECD to maintain open channels for global trade. US imports must necessarily be paid by US exports, which requires overseas markets for our goods, services and financial instruments.

* The US domestic market must grow and grow and grow to sop up the never-ending stream of new dollars entering the economy. The stodgy, extant K-selected population can't do it, so we must import r-selected peoples to provide eyeballs to Facebook, subscribers to Comcast and debtors to Titlemax (pawn-title loans are now bundled and securitized, I am informed by someone well up the food chain in that sector).

* Open borders require the US to invade the homelands of imported Americans to nip threats in the bud, whether due to militant Islam or the Ebola virus, because there is no question that we are going to let everybody in.

Of course it's an economic Mobius strip: the US dollar is backed by all the goods and services exhangeable for US dollars. This is why we must be perennially going back to step 1 and repeat.

As I put it, if you could just print money and buy your own debt with it, the US would not exist; we'd all be loyal subjects of Caesar in Rome. But at the same time, there are real goods and services that can be purchased by dollars, so the dollar remains a marketable commodity and, due to the size of our market, the most marketable commodity.

This game of economic musical chairs ends when the US can no longer uphold its end of the balance sheet: the US military is no longer able to assure global hegemony; the US populace is no longer adding value; US markets no longer supply or demand products with long, sophisticated production chains.

It will end when it ends. And it will end.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A day in the life of Michael Brown

Amerika (Brett Stevens) considers.

So Mike Brown comes staggering out of the convenience store in a state of utter confusion. He got high, got confused, panicked and did something dumb, and now he is totally unsure of himself. Worse, he is now in the badlands territory of the enemy. He knows he is high and thus vulnerable because stoned people are sort of like large children. He is paranoid from the effects of the drug. He is also afraid because of years of racial divide, racial myth and racial enmity, and he believes that white cops are out to get the black kids. What else explains the ghetto? He doesn’t know and no one he knows knows either, so it’s assumed to be the pigs and the racists in government. Now we have a paranoid young man who is barely in control of his large body, and he is in a stage of utter mental disorder. Then the worst possible thing happens: he is hailed by authority, but even worse, one of them. The white cops who want to jail him for their racist plans are trying to talk to him, trying to get him on something. He panics again and we all know how it shakes out.

Over time I have come to the regretful conclusion that most human activity consists of denial so that we can hold on to whatever social positions we have as individuals. People do not like to look at the core issue but instead take sides that represent their interests. In the case of Mike Brown, two sides pop up immediately: those who want to pity him and use him to argue for more equality and less authority, and those who see him as a threat and want to use him to argue for less criminal activity. Both have truth to their statements, but they miss the real issue here.

The real issue here is that diversity does not work for anyone. By work, I mean function as a system of social order. Diversity makes us distrust each other. It strips away our identity, so we are always paranoid. We will never trust the cop of a different race because we perceive that he has an agenda against us. We will never feel good about living in a country where our people are not the dominant authority. This is not just hard-wired into our gut instinct, but it is also pure logic. People divide on differences, and wishing that away by saying “we are all one” has never worked. We need communities of our own. Diversity puts us into conflict and creates situations like the one that got Mike Brown killed. There may be no fully good guys, and no fully bad guys in this one, just another broken human system that betrays us for the convenience of those who want not to rock the boat.

Mike Brown wasn't inferior, just very different from you and I. In other settings, aggressive men who outweigh most of us by over 100 pounds do quite well for themselves. In an integral community for Michael Brown, old bulls with similar time preference and T-levels are on hand to channel aggression into socially redemptive pursuits. (Black America has been decimated of its older, steadier males thanks to welfare enabling women to sleep with attractive lotharios, and criminal laws drafted by whites who prefer higher levels of organizational complexity.) Instead, he's in a dysfunctional, matriarchal stew ruled by vestigial public sector whites hanging on for pensions and seniority, even as their private sector peers slip away to the next county.

Going up a number of levels above Mike Brown's world, African Big Men like Robert Mugabe are not actually cynical. Robert Mugabe is as sincere in his principles as Ron Paul is in his: you reward your friends and punish your enemies; you get while the gettin's good; you spread the green around and buy status for your family. The Non-Aggression Principle? Nigga pleaz. This is the problem with good-hearted whites: they think inside everybody is just another classical liberal or social democrat trying to get out.

As a commenter at the OP notes, liberalism is cruelty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

John Zmirak lets fly

Via Rorate Caeli
... The men who are leading the Synod do not need theology lessons from me. If only because enough good men remain among them and tell the truth, these saboteurs know exactly what they are doing.

And like the Pharisees, they already have their reward — their attaboys from the New York Times and their Methodist and Unitarian golfing pals. The Synod leaders have neutralized the nastiest attacks from homosexual activists, and bought peace with the secular state for the next ten years or so. Like Henry VIII’s compliant bishops, they will be “safe.” For a decade at least, they will keep the hundreds of millions of dollars gathered in Germany from the “church tax,” and in the U.S. from federal contracts to agencies that are Catholic in name only, such as Catholic Charities and diocesan immigrant offices. Bishops will get to pretend that they preside over powerful, consequential institutions, and the world will pretend to believe them. For now. Until the hatred of Christianity ratchets up another notch, and demands an even more craven surrender.

Bishops who are so inclined — including the Bishop of Rome — can continue to garner headlines for their attacks on a mythical “unregulated capitalism,” their demands for radical redistribution of the wealth and the dismantling of borders. They can praise the mass influx of Muslims into Europe, and cash a check every time an illegal immigrant arrives in America. As men without children, they don’t need to worry about their descendants. They are confident of eternity, since they don’t believe in hell.

Let me give these men something to worry about. These men who are fracking the Church to produce the current “earthquake of mercy” are hungry for recognition and legitimacy. They want to be seen as leaders — which is why they dash out in front of every crowd, wherever it’s headed. But legitimacy is precisely what the bishops and even the pope will sacrifice if the Synod ends up approving the radical proposals that are before it ...

Much more at the link. Zmirak is one angry Catholic.

You don't need to be a seminarian or even a professing Christian to spot the flaws in +Francis's sloppy theology.
As he beatified Pope Paul VI who implemented the Second Vatican Council’s vast changes, Pope Francis said ‘God is not afraid of new things’.

Traditionalists, the Pope said, risk a temptation of ‘hostile inflexibility’...

Remarks that follow are premised on the article cited above being genuine and not an Onion-style fake news satire. I will hope to be informed this assumption is incorrect.

So the fundamentals of this pope’s position:

* The church offers no timeless message of Christ, but should instead merely reflect the whimsy of societal fashion.

* Traditionalists (and presumably the static bible they read) are at “risk” of “inflexibility.” One must be flexible in adhering to God’s designs.

* The most amazing statement of all: “God is not afraid of new things.” What would qualify as a “new thing” to the omniscient creator of the Earth and heavens? Is it possible that such a being had never considered the virtues of male buggery until a U.S. judge found them hiding under a penumbra? Is Francis implying that God toddles along behind the will and impulsion of man, rather than the opposite?
I'll venture a prediction that the most insidious part of this synod was the beatification of +Paul VI.

At some point, I imagine the Roman Rite will split along its traditionalist and modernist fault lines. Who seizes the Vatican, in a future Europe wracked by sectarian conflict and resurgent nationalism? I am being completely serious. People have washed themselves in their countrymen's blood over less. Change a few extant circumstances--weaker government, lower population density, younger median age--and dust-ups like the current US Episcopal lawsuits get settled in the streets. And there are a lot more people, properties and status at stake in the Catholic conflict.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I have been doing what I do to earn my keep for the past 23 years. Before that, since age 14, I went to school and did labor-intensive jobs. This blog is my personal bitching-post about the macro, and the tone is perforce negative. Personally however, I still manage to string some victories together, like those few shots out of 18 holes that keep you coming back to golf. That's life.

Thanks be to God, I have a comfortable existence, good health and the love of good people. I also have appalling stress levels and can only watch numbly as the world marches from idiocy to idiocy. (Exhibit A.) I cannot believe, at the tender age of 50, how much error and shortsightedness is mechanically repeated, over and over. My esteemed father, age 70, assures me that nothing changes in two decades' lead time.

There are a lot of us of my ideological stripe and time in life from the tail end of the Boom, and I hope we all hang on for the next few decades. I have been at several funerals of those who did not. Anyway, al-hamdal'Allah, I have managed to carve out a position a little above the fray of naïve youngsters brought in and told to work harder for that brass ring which is kept perennially dangling out there, and devil take the hindmost.

Obviously, a business can't carry sloth, and God has commanded His creatures to work. (Note that this is not part of the Woman's curse.) This implies a duty on employers to make that work dignified and remunerative. Otherwise, it is probably not work that a human being should be doing.

Resources should instead flow toward more capital-intensive models.

To put it another way, if the marginal product is so low that the producer can't pay more than the cost to keep somebody alive, with the difference to be made up by the taxpayers, then the employer needs to change his business model, or go out of business.

Of course, if I'm so smart, I should be implementing these models and raking it in.