19 November 2012

Mea Maxima Culpa

So some brave filmmaker has released a documentary called Mea Maxima Culpa, which covers the Catholic church’s cover-up of the relatively recent sex abuse. I bet the next documentary that these brave filmmakers tackle next will deal with cover-ups of public school teachers’ sexual abuse of students. Then after that, they’ll probably do a documentary on the possible link between pedophilia and homosexuality. Yes, this new documentary is just the first step in defending children from predators, and is not at all an attempt to smear a religious organization.

But Then, Romney Wasn’t A Conservative

One of the most basic tenets of conservatism is a loathing and mistrust of big government and bureaucracy. Project ORCA was the embodiment of big government, top-down management. Information was sent by volunteers in swing states across the country to Boston, and those in Boston were then tasked with assigning other volunteers in those same swing states to contact those who had not yet been to the polls. Boston was, at best, a detour and an unnecessary middleman in the GOTV efforts, and when that link in the chain broke, Romney’s GOTV effort crumbled on the most crucial day of his campaign. One of the most successful components of Karl Rove’s GOTV efforts with George W. Bush’s campaigns was his small-government ideological approach. Each volunteer was tasked with personally getting a handful of voters from their area to the polls, voters that they were already familiar with from their church, their children’s schools and their community. Instead of this strategy, Boston was the hub; information was sent there and GOTV assignments were delegated from thousands of miles away by Romney staffers largely unfamiliar with individuals and communities. At Ace of Spades, Ekdahl described the organizational approach of Project ORCA: “The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters).” [Source.]
Two points:

First, if Romney’s campaign is indicative of how he would act as president, I think it’s safe to say that he would be as big a fan of centralized bureaucracy as Obama. In other words, he’d govern like a dictator.

Second, the centralized, technocratic approach to running a human enterprise is almost inevitably bound to fail. There are simply too many variables to account for, and humans “on the ground” are generally able to make better decisions about how to handle things in real time than some formula devised by autistic eggheads. Quite simply, human beings are too complex and unpredictable to be reduced to a single formula, which is why—ironically—all humanist endeavors will inevitably fail, for humanists, in their desire to perfect man, never actually get around to understanding man. And so, the top-down management of human beings will fail time and again because, ultimately, those at the top can never be bothered to understand the chess pieces below them.

Because as We All Know, the Cure For Cancer is More Cancer

Sean Hannity is an idiot and a sell-out:
We've gotta get rid of the immigration issue altogether. It's simple for me to fix it. I think you control the border first, you create a pathway for those people that are here, you don't say you gotta go home. And that is a position that I've evolved on. Because you know what—it just—it's gotta be resolved. The majority of people here—if some people have criminal records you can send 'em home—but if people are here, law-abiding, participating, four years, their kids are born here ... first secure the border, pathway to citizenship ... then it's done. But you can't let the problem continue. It's gotta stop.
 While the time is past to actually solve the immigration problem, seeing as how kicking all the immigrants—legal and otherwise—that have moved to America over the last forty years are rather sizable in number and would offer more than a little resistance, it is incredibly foolish to advocate for a policy that makes the problem of immigration worse. As has been noted by several commentators more astute than those here at Le Cygne Gris, it should not be surprising that immigrants from totalitarian cultures end up electing, when given the opportunity to vote (in multiple districts, even), people who promise a totalitarian government. It’s analogous to liberals who mess up their home states move away once the mess becomes intolerable, and then begin electing people to implement the very same policies that just failed in the state they left.

More to the point, while Sean is correct in noting that immigration, whether legal or illegal, has significantly altered the American electorate, his solution is completely terrible. More immigration, and absolution for illegal immigrants will only make the problem worse because it will speed up the rate of the federal government’s transformation into a completely totalitarian state. The more sensible approach would be to buy time by slowing down the demographic shift, thus allowing freedom lovers (white anglo-saxon protestant middle-aged males) to solidify regionally. The federal government will eventually collapse under its own weight, as all totalitarian governments eventually must, and then the country will be left to reform itself into smaller, regional states based on demographic alliances. Allowing foreigners to move in en masse undermines freedom by enabling totalitarian-minded foreigners to go everywhere spreading their gospel, so to speak. Capping immigration, then, improves the odds that some regions of the country will have a freedom-oriented population. And thus, since Sean Hannity advocates for a policy that hinders liberty, it should be obvious that he is either stupid or a sell-out.

Happiness


Or, an abstract of a paper on why happiness studies are nonsense:
Being happy and finding life meaningful overlap, but there are important differences. A large survey revealed multiple differing predictors of happiness (controlling for meaning) and meaningfulness (controlling for happiness). Satisfying one’s needs and wants increased happiness but was largely irrelevant to meaningfulness. Happiness was largely present-oriented, whereas meaningfulness involves integrating past, present, and future. For example, thinking about future and past was associated with high meaningfulness but low happiness. Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker. Higher levels of worry, stress, and anxiety were linked to higher meaningfulness but lower happiness. Concerns with personal identity and expressing the self contributed to meaning but not happiness. [Emphasis added.]
This research calls to mind the words of an obscure Jewish carpenter:  It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” 

At any rate, I think this research is helpful in illustrating a key feature of those who are takers:  they appear to have rather short time horizons.  They live in the moment and make few plans for the future.  They also appear to not dwell much on the past.  Extending this further, it is likely that they are not particularly intelligent, nor are they introspective.  In essence, they have the markers of being poor/lower class.

As I’ve noted before, though, this mindset is not altogether an illogical one.  To summarize a prior argument, life is often “nasty, brutish, and short” for a good number of people.  Why they should be expected to forego pleasure now in exchange for a non-guaranteed expectation of pleasure later is a bit puzzling.  If you think life generally sucks, there’s no reason not to occasionally alleviate the boredom and pain of life by getting your pleasure early and often.

The GOP Decides Not To Screw Up For Once

Marginal Revolution has a post about a position paper put out by the GOP stating that—gasp!—IP reform should be based on constitutional principles. While I think the ideal IP system would be the one that doesn’t exist, I’ll take this reform proposal over the current setup. Recognizing that IP is not actually property is a good step forward, and designing a system that decides to maximize general creativity is undoubtedly a good start since it should be obvious that encouraging creativity should lead to less restrictive copyright and patent laws, and quite possibly shorter terms for both as well as softer punishments for violations.

The RIAA won’t like this, and I suspect that they will be joined in their hatred of reform by various media producers, most notably Hollywood. But, seeing as how these groups tend to go overboard in punishing “pirates,” and also seeing as how neither the current music scene nor the current movie scene are particularly creative, a good case can be made that both the progress of the arts and sciences, and consumers, will benefit from IP reform. That it shanks the RIAA is just a bonus.

12 November 2012

Stop Da Wacisssssssm


Some liberal laments:
Dear Mr. Drudge:

I have written before that, whether I like it or not, you are the one of the most influential forces in modern media, possibly THE most influential single player. You tower above your peers in what you do. Despite my failed efforts, no liberal or Democrat has even tried to create a legitimate competitor to what you do. But with your influence comes power, and with power comes responsibility, and the Drudge Report in recent months has become inundated, and saturated and permeated with baiting stories about the president's race, and about blacks generally. These are beneath the standards you should set for yourself and your profession.

You should be, and I hope you will be, a better citizen and more worthy professional than is suggested by the sheer number of race-related and often race-baiting stories that you regularly banner on the Drudge Report.
Look, if the news stories aren’t being made up, then the accusation of racism is tenuous to say the least. If blacks don’t want to be compared to roving gangs of feral wolves, then perhaps they should stop acting like it. If young black males are going to go around “getting back at whitey,” then they should have to live with the consequences, even if said consequences include having the media’s light shed on them briefly. And if young black males don’t want Drudge’s spotlight on them, then perhaps they should stop going around assaulting whitey.

Neo-Conflation


Debra Saunders:
As Rosenberg investigated driver Roberto Galo's background, he discovered that San Francisco's sanctuary-city policies have served as an enabler for dangerous drivers.

Rosenberg sees his son's death as highly preventable. Five months earlier, San Francisco police stopped Galo for driving the wrong way on a one-way street and driving without a license. The city even impounded his Chevrolet -- the car that later would kill Drew Rosenberg -- which a friend recovered and then released to Galo.

I write "even impounded" because, though it is illegal to drive without a license, in 2009 then-Mayor Gavin Newsom implemented a policy to allow unlicensed drivers stopped by police to avoid an automatic impoundment of their cars if a licensed driver could drive them away. Police Chief (now the district attorney) George Gascon told the San Francisco Chronicle's Phil Matier and Andrew Ross, "We recognize that this is a problem within the Hispanic community, where people working here can't get a driver's license because of their immigration status."
So Sauders is upset because some Latino killed a whitey. So, the solution is more and tighter regulation regarding the operation of a motor vehicle.
 
This is a dumb policy. In the first place, driving laws are unconstitutional. In the second place, driving laws are a violation of the right of self-ownership. In the third place, no number of laws, and no increased stringency of laws will ever prevent tragedy with 100% efficacy; at some point enough is enough. In the fourth place, driving regulations are no substitute for immigration policy.

Look, everyone knows immigrants from third-world countries are terrible drivers. I’ve been to India, and I know from first-hand experience just how terrifying foreign drivers can be. So, if you don’t want terrible third-world drivers on your roads, don’t allow them in the country in the first place.

Incidentally, this is another reason why modern conservatism is doomed to fail: the leaders of the conservative movement keep selling out their followers. Here, Saunders basically wants to give the government more power, making life more onerous for the white “middle class,” while trying to get a dig at Mexicans without coming right out and complaining about immigration. It’s an unwinnable position because Mexicans are not going to suddenly start liking a conservative lady because she just sold out her buddies in order to not have to criticize immigration policies. And conservatives are going to hate her because she just sold them out.

Really, it’s a lose-lose for everyone involved, except third-world immigrants. Fortunately, though, they should be productive enough to make every American independently wealthy. Or something like that.

A Trend Too Late



Josh Hedlund at PostLibertarian reports that the GOP is slowly becoming more libertarian/paleo-conservative.  I suppose that this is a good trend, though it’s developing a bit late.  The GOP was hijacked by neo-cons who are now, a la Hannity, embracing leftist policy like a college freshman with a raging hard-on embraces a slutty drunk chick at the welcoming party.  There are really only two ways for things to go at this point:  neo-cons continue to dominate the GOP, and turn it into Democrat-Lite, or the neo-cons migrate back to the Democrat party where they belong and let the libertarians and Paleo-Cons keep the GOP for themselves.  This current election hints that the latter is starting to happen, but frankly it’s too soon to tell.  Sadly, we’ll be out of time before we can tell.

Even Child-Me Knows Better


Here’s some hilarious news:
As of Saturday November 10, 2012, 15 States have petitioned the Obama Administration for withdrawal from the United States of America in order to create its own government

States following this action include: Louisiana, Texas, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon and New York. These States have requested that the Obama Administration grant a peaceful withdrawal from the United States.
In truth, part of me is proud that my some of my fellow Hoosiers are willing to stop suckling at the pus-filled, bloody teats of the festering federal sow’s slowly-rotting corpse. However, it just seems kind of petulant to ask the federal government for permission to leave

When I was child, there were a couple of occasions when I thought about running away. Even back then I was wise enough to know not to include getting permission to leave in plans because if you want to leave, you just leave. You don’t ask permission

Now, I realize that the threats of secession are more of a political game, being played either to test the waters for secession (i.e. see what the federal government will do) or as a way to retain some degree of leverage over the federal government and thus keep some of the constitutional checks and balances still in play.

Personally, though, I’d rather this not be a political game, but an honest to goodness secession. But then, I really hate the federal government and really want to see it dissolved.

Conservatives on Election Fraud


On Townhall.com, Rachel Alexander complains about election fraud might have cost Romney the election. Three points come to mind.

One, where was all this outrage when Ron Paul was being defrauded of a primary victory in Maine?
Two, do you seriously think that Republicans don’t engage in election fraud? They may be worse at it, but that doesn’t magically negate their evil and dishonesty.

Three, even if it discovered that election fraud cost Romney Ohio, he still wouldn’t have won. Even if he was given Florida and Virginia, he still would have lost the election 272-266. And he would likely lose the popular vote anyway (not that it matters; it simply proves he’s not actually that popular).

Look, conservatives, the Republican candidate lost this time around. And it’s silly to blame his loss on mere election fraud. I mean, seriously, does anyone really think that neither W. nor Reagan faced any election fraud when they were running for office? So how did they win? They fired up their base and got conservatives excited to vote.

Romney’s fundamental problem wasn’t fraud. Again, if the primaries are proof of anything, it’s that the GOP machine is perfectly capable of defrauding opponents of their rightful victories. Romney’s most fundamental problem was that he was an unlikeable twat. He was a political chameleon that not even conservatives liked, as evidenced by the fact that the first half of the Republican primary consisted of cycling through all the major not-Romney candidates.

At any rate, conservative bellyaching on this subject is disingenuous, to say the least, because they didn’t ever complain about any of the fraud that Romney’s campaign committed, even though they hated the guy at the time. And really, their complaint should really lie with the party bosses who sold them out for yet another pussy-ass candidate

Why Social Conservatism is a Losing Strategy

Chuck writes:
Socially conservative Hispanics, in my estimation, hold a strong stigma against abortion and they’d socially shame a family member or friend who obtained one. That feeling is so strong that it doesn’t require politicians to push the plank and it doesn’t require them to care about whether or not other people are having abortions. So a national platform that focuses on limiting abortion or gay marriage or any of those social issues is a mere redundancy for the Hispanic community. They don’t really need a political party to help them do something that they’re already doing. A GOP preaching these values has a hard time gaining traction.

On something like gay marriage or abortion – here is how I believe Hispanics think about these issues. Being relatively more religious than others, their intuition about religion is different than the evangelical-influenced denominations that make up the core of the conservative movement and the GOP. And in truth, Hispanics seem to have it right given the presuppositions behind religious belief. Political opposition to abortion and a gay lifestyle is futile since God is the ultimate judge and jury. This leaves little room for a political party or the State.
Midwit “middle class” whites are too clever by half, politically speaking, which is why their political scheming is doomed to fail. I say this because I actually go to church at a predominately poor, predominately black congregation, and therefore am fairly familiar with the conservatism espoused by those of the lower social order. In many ways, the socially conservative blacks and Hispanics are far more conservative than middle class white SoCons (not that the two groups are radically dissimilar). For starters, the former group has a much more visceral disgust for homosexuality. White SoCons hate gays because gays are assholes; black and Latino SoCons hate gays because homosexuality is a perversion. White SoCons hate abortion because it is, in an abstract sense, murder; black and Latino SoCons hate abortion because it’s destructive, and they have witnessed it’s destruction first-hand.

As Chuck correctly notes, Latino SoCons (and I would toss black SoCons in the mix as well) do an okay job of enforcing social norms on their community. As such, they see no need for political involvement on these issues because the government would either make the problem worse or not actually make the problem better. Plus, why would you call the government to solve a problem you already have under control?

Thus, it should be clear why social conservatism is a losing issue: its presence as a political platform is a tacit admission of preexisting communal failure. Whites have failed to preserve their social mores, which is why they now feel compelled to enforce them from the top down. Unfortunately, this is being attempted in a democratic nation, which means that there is no longer a large enough consensus to actually enact the laws that SoCon desire. Of course, if there were enough social support for SoCon political policy, it wouldn’t be needed in the first place.

Ironically, it is the lower class black and Latino conservatives that have the solution for what ails whitey: more preaching. The religiosity of black and Latinos is one thing that helps enforce their social norms. The biblically basic, hellfire and brimstone manner of preaching that lower class religious folks flock to hear is one of the things that preserves their community. Such preaching is politically incorrect, to say the least, and I have sat through my share of it. Yet, for such lower class conservatives, various moral subjects, like homosexuality and infanticide, are not danced around at all. There is no mealy-mouthedness about these matters. They are vociferously condemned by the fanatically intolerant. And because of this, lower class conservatives have no need for top-down political showboating; they’ve already taken care of the problem for themselves.

09 November 2012

Cultural Eugenics: An Addendum

Heartiste writes:
The top and bottom against the middle. White status whoring with minority pawns. SWPL hypocrisy. Anti-white anti-racists. Two Americas. Jesusland.

You’ve heard all these before. The Orwellian prognosis of a political culture steeped in a mountain of lies and suppressed crimethink. Astute observers of the American scene can’t help but notice that something foul is afoot, and they’ve given it a contour: the white ruling class has it in for the white working class. [Emphasis added.]
I’m in the middle of reading The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson.* In her book, Paterson asserts that the middle class is a misnomer; in reality, the middle class can be better understood if it’s referred to as the free class. Once the nomenclature is updated to better reflect reality, Heartiste’s theory of cultural eugenics makes sense. “The top and bottom against the middle” makes far more sense as “the rulers and the ruled against the free.”

The motivations of the ruling class and the ruled class are readily transparent. The ruling class want to enslave the free class because it gives them more power, and also helps to keep those who were already enslaved in line. The ruled class wants to see the free class become enslaved because it justifies their poverty and enslavement. After all, if those who were better and brighter couldn’t escape poverty and slavery, what hope was there for those of lesser talents and abilities?

Where this trend will go, though, is anybody’s guess. Many attempts at enslaving the free class have failed; many have succeeded. History demonstrates an ebb and flow of varying degrees of freedom. History also demonstrates that there is never a period of complete slavery or of complete freedom—at least for very long. There will always be those who wish to rule; there will always be those who wish to be ruled; there will always be those simply want to live and let live. These types are permanent and in constant conflict, with the competing views attaining cultural ascendency then later descending. Over and over, there is an ebb and flow of freedom and tyranny, each in constant struggle with the other, and neither gaining victory over the other.

For now, though, it looks like tyranny is gaining the upper hand. Here’s hoping that its advantage doesn’t last long.

* The Kindle version is $1.99, and well worth the price in my opinion.

08 November 2012

Election 2012: Gay Marriage

Washington legalized gay marriage. But really, who cares? Either marriage is fundamentally a government institution, or it is not. If it is, then no consenting adult should be forbidden from entering into marriage under whatever contractual constructs he, she, or it wants to set up. And if it is not, then the government has no business being involved with marriage. Really, the most illogical view is to say that marriage is fundamentally a government institution and that consenting adults should not be free to enter into it as they please.

Election 2012: Nullification

Several states decided to nullify ObamaCare. I fully support this since ObamaCare is unconstitutional. Also, I hate the federal government, and I love gridlock. My hope is that these attempts at nullification lead delay the implementation of the law, and also lead to a good, long, hearty debate on the role of the federal government. My hope is that this leads to the federal government being abolished, but I’ll settle for some of its powers being diminished. Unfortunately, the pessimist in me doesn’t think even the latter outcome to be all that likely.

Election 2012: Pot

So a couple of states have legalized pot:
There have been small steps toward ending marijuana prohibition — state medical-marijuana laws being the most radical — in the last several years. Recently the tide has turned against draconian laws that have sent pot offenders to prison while drug smugglers and gangs thrive off the black market. Thus more mainstream attention and credibility has been given to plans like the ones passed Tuesday that would regulate, tax, and sell marijuana to adults, just like alcohol, in both Colorado and Washington.
 This will likely spark a conflict between the federal government and the respective state governments. I, for one, welcome this development because a) this means some degree of governmental gridlock and b) this puts conservatives in an uncomfortable position. To me, the latter is more important because conservatives often claim that they want limited government. They also claim they want the government to stand up for traditional values. What they often fail to recognize is that you can’t have a limited government that goes around micromanaging people’s morality. Thus, conservative will have a tough choice soon: do they support limited government, or do they want to impose their vision of humanity on others, just like the liberals they claim to oppose? If they pick the latter, then I will have no sympathy for them if they end up being oppressed by the government. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

In the meantime, I hope that these states’ attempts at nullification are successful. Wars are expensive, even the domestic ones. And besides, the war on drugs is blatantly unconstitutional and immoral. Also, I really hate the federal government and want to see it abolished, so go states!

Election 2012: Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico had a two part-vote on sovereignty. 54% of Puerto Ricans voted to change their relationship with the United States. Of those 54%, roughly 61% voted to join the United States. Once you work out the math, this means roughly one-third of Puerto Ricans want to join the US. Why? Steve Sailer notes that Puerto Rico will get another (another!) $20 billion in federal money if it becomes a state.

In the event that Puerto Rico does become a state, it will simply continue the trend was made readily apparent this election cycle: those who are not older white males want bigger government and the handouts that come with it. Regardless of whether you support bigger government, it should be obvious there are limits to its scalability, and so this trend of sucking at the federal teat will not be able to continue forever. Thus, it may be Puerto Rico’s statehood that sends the US over the fiscal cliff.

Election 2012: The Fed

The one concern I did have about this election would be the practical effects it would have on the Fed. Bernanke is rumored to be stepping down in January. Mark Thoma speculates:
 If President Barack Obama is re-elected and chooses to replace Bernanke, I believe -- as do others -- that Fed Board of Governors Vice Chairman Janet Yellen is the most likely nominee. Her views are close to those of Bernanke, so she would provide the continuity that financial markets seek. She is also highly experienced, having served as president of the San Francisco Fed, and her academic credentials are very strong. She'll be able to handle the academic heavyweights on the bank's monetary policy committee. There are also political advantages for Obama if he appoints what would be the first female Fed chief.

If Romney is elected, it's a different story. Economists in the Romney camp, such as Stanford University's John Taylor, would be much more hawkish in trying to control inflation and much more devoted to following rule-based, rather than discretionary, policy.
 While I don’t agree with Thoma’s assertion that Romney would have been a different story, practically speaking, I am inclined to defer to his expertise about Obama’s pick. My concern, though, as stated before, is that by Bernanke stepping down, less attention is paid to federal reserve policy, making it easier for the Fed to keep harming the country by its policies. If the rumor that Janet Yellen will replace Bernanke and essentially follow in his footsteps is correct, more vigilance will be needed. Thus, the main downside to Obama’s reelection is that it ensures that Federal Reserve policy will continue unabated. Not that things would be all that different under Romney, of course.

Election 2012: Protest Votes

Here’s part of a comment I left at Chuck’s:
Protest votes are completely worthless, at least as long as ballots remain secret. If no one knows for whom you’ve voted, but does know that you did vote, then you are implicitly giving the democratic system your approval even though you claim that system doesn’t actually represent you, as evidenced by your so-called “protest” vote. The rational thing to do, if there is no candidate that represents you, is to not vote, since you will be demonstrating that the system has nothing to offer you.
 Basically, I see no point in protest votes since they are not a clear enough signal. If you vote, you’re basically saying you support the system, so whatever protest your vote may carry is going to be drowned by the public proclamation that you think the system is worthy of your support. Thus, my advice for those who wanted to protest the GOP’s treatment of Ron Paul would have been to simply stay home. Especially since no one reports on third-party candidates, let alone write in candidates.

Election 2012: Third Parties

As was expected, third parties proved themselves to be complete crap again this year. Most third parties have candidates that appeal to either hardcore progressives or hardcore neocons. The libertarian party candidate appealed to retards who thought that a winning candidate is going to be someone who couldn’t run a deficit-free campaign but would nonetheless promise to have a deficit-free federal budget. There were other problems with Gary Johnson (mainly, that he was neocon who didn’t give a crap about liberty and so only affected the two dumbest libertarian causes—pot legalization and gay marriage—while running a campaign in the middle of a recession), but the main thing to take away from this is that all third parties suck, and have no way of appealing to a particularly broad base.

Now, the GOP will collapse eventually because demographics do not favor conservative or libertarian bases. So, the only option is for the GOP to either die off because it’s not the Democrat party or else eventually be co-opted by the Dems. However, this makes a good opportunity for starting up two new parties: the conservative party and the libertarian party. But, you may be objecting, these already nominally exist. I know. I’m simply saying that the conservative base and the libertarian base should go ahead and leave the GOP and join the parties that nominally represent them.

If conservatives and libertarians do this and forget the GOP, they may be able to make a dent in federal policy and in various state policies. In the first place, while neither libertarians nor conservatives will ever hope to attain the presidency, they could hold, together, a majority of house seats and a decent number of senate seats. This will help to keep the federal government in check. They could also control a decent number of gubernatorial seats and state senates. This will also help to keep the federal government in check. Thus, for conservative and libertarian third parties to work, they will need to be realistic about their role, which is not to control the federal government per se, but to keep it from getting to out of control. This means, then, that the conservative base and libertarian base of the GOP need to accept that the GOP is no longer the vehicle for implementing their policy.

Election 2012: The House of Representatives

Interestingly, the House of Representatives remains strongly GOP. Of course, this doesn’t mean anything because the GOP is becoming harder and harder to distinguish from the Democrats. My bet is that House Republicans will continue what they’ve been doing for the last two years: they’ll continue to puss out on the major issues and defer to and side with the Democrats on the important things. They’ll basically be Democrats Lite. The claims of a one-party system from disaffected libertarians and paleo-cons will increase in both frequency and shrillness. But really, could they have expected a different outcome? After all, the Democrats and Republicans were once the same party. Perhaps they will reunite again.

Election 2012: Obligatory Ron Paul Reference

The GOP pissed off a good portion of its base with the way it treated Ron Paul. Vox had an open thread asking readers who they voted for and a good portion said they wrote in Ron Paul as a protest vote. I personally know two people who did that. There are also some who stayed home because they couldn’t stomach any of the cadidates. Basically, the GOP did not help themselves by ostracizing Paul supporters and then nominating Romney.

But, as I said in my year-end predictions back in December, there is no way Ron Paul would have gotten elected even if he were nominated. In fact, Romney might have been the wisest choice the GOP could have made. Santorum might have been a better alternative, since rabid conservatives seemed to really like him. However, he seemed like rape gaffe waiting to happen, so maybe it’s best the GOP didn’t back him.

Maybe, though, the real problem is not that GOP mistreated Ron Paul, but that the GOP is basically dead. Quite simply, the GOP’s best option is to be Democrat Lite. Liberalism is now ascendant, so there is no way to come to power by acting in complete opposition to liberalism. Furthermore, the libertarian streak among conservatives is not significant enough to support the party, so catering to that extreme is foolish. Unfortunately, the same is true for the conservative streak as well: it’s not strong enough to support the party. There were several states that legalized pot and gay marriage in this past election, which suggests that advocacy for traditional values is not going to be a strong suit for the GOP. Also, all the “rape candidates” lost, which suggests that those who stand against this age’s libertine view of sex are going to get their asses handed to them.

In short, neither the conservatism offered by Rick Santorum nor the libertarianism offered by Ron Paul will be enough to give the GOP victory, and it’s unlikely that these two factions will join up. Thus, the only reasonable play for the GOP to make is to cut ties with both factions and chase Democrat voters who only want some of the socialism of the Democrat party.

Election 2012: Obama

I don’t think Obama’s second term will be as bad as conservatives expect, but it will be much worse than progressives expect. In all reality, the president isn’t all that powerful. Most of the power in this country is concentrated in the hands of the banksters, who control the central bank and, to a somewhat limited extent, the economy. Furthermore, the central bank implicitly controls the bureaucracy since it pays for it (by monetizing a significant portion of the federal deficit year after year), and the bureaucracy has more power than the president. Basically, the president is a figurehead whose main power is controlling the troops and pardoning people. As such, the president is very limited in what he can do.

That said, the popular practice of treating the president as a scapegoat, no matter how factually wrong it may be, is still an enjoyable pastime for many. However, for conservatives, they won’t be able to use Obama as a scapegoat as often as they expect to. In the first place, Obama will likely govern as a lame duck president. He already passed Obamacare, so his big legislative accomplishment is out of the way. Additionally, his trend of the last two years is to do as little as possible. Case in point: look at what he hasn’t done. He hasn’t created much in the way of race controversies in the last eighteen months; he hasn’t significantly raised taxes; he hasn’t started a whole bunch of long-term wars; he hasn’t committed any major gaffes or pissed of allies. He really hasn’t done much of anything over the last eighteen months except play golf. I don’t see why he would change.

For liberals, however, it is a different story. The honeymoon period of ObamaCare is over. Now the taxes must begin. Soon, the rationing will as well. The economy is not going to get better at all. Unemployment will rise, especially for young folk. Everyone’s standard of living will decline. The accumulated consequences of easy money, moderate inflation, deficit spending, free trade, high taxes, and petty regulations will all come crashing down. This is unavoidable; the only question is of timing. There are rumors of (God help us) QE4, in the event that the inflation levels of QE3 are not high enough to spur consumer spending. Of course, even if consumer spending does pick up dramatically, all it will do is cause a bubble while depleting or preventing the accumulation of long-term capital stock, making the recovery more difficult and more prolonged. Plus, the current monetary inflation supply coupled with the recent decrease in the food supply will guarantee that either short term food prices will rise or employment related to food production and distribution will decrease. In short, it’s not going to be pretty. If Obama continues his support for the Keynesian central banking policies that contributed to this mess, he will only be making the problem worse, and its consequences more severe and immediate.

This is not to say that the current mess is entirely of his making. Rather, it is the result of progressive policies that can, in many cases, trace their root to John Adams’ appointment of John Marshall to the Supreme Court. Since that day, the federal government has grown increasingly and unconstitutionally powerful. And it has been progressives from Wilson onward that have increased the rapidity of the pace by which this country marches towards socialism. All presidents from FDR onward, with the possible exception of Eisenhower, have contributed to progressive bent of federal policy, and so all Obama has done has been to continue in the same self-destructive policies that were practiced by Bush before him, and Clinton before him, and Bush before him, and Reagan before him, and Carter before, and so on and so on, etc., etc. Nonetheless, there is a strong chance that the inevitable self-destruction of progressive policies will occur on Obama’s watch, and this mess will get hung around his neck. This will be fortunate, in a symbolic sense, insofar as people are willing and able to learn the lessons that history will harshly teach them.

Election 2012: Voter Fraud

I had a chance to speak to my parents about the election today. My mom was complaining that Obama may have committed fraud to win the election. I don’t if any other conservatives feel this way, but if they do, I would like to introduce them to the concept of karma: what goes around, comes around. If Obama and/or the Democrats defrauded Mitt Romney of the election, I think it would be fair to say that Mitt has absolutely no room to complain since it was his campaign that defrauded Ron Paul supporters out of their victories in the primaries. The irony is that Romney didn’t need to defraud Ron Paul, just as Obama didn’t need to defraud Romney.

Election 2012: Mitt Romney

It does seem somewhat hypocritical to me for conservatives to complain about Romney losing when a good portion of the early primaries consisted primarily of trying to find the most viable non-Romney candidate. Seriously, if conservatives don’t like Romney, why did they think non-conservatives would? Romney was/is an unprincipled snake-in-the-grass opportunistic politician. In many ways, he’s worse than Obama. And you’re not going to win an election when your campaign slogan is basically “Mitt Romney: He’s not Newt Gingrich.” Mitt Romney couldn’t even appeal to his base; it’s no wonder he lost.

Election 2012: Nate Silver

As Sonic Charmer detailed in exhaustive detail, many on the right spent a lot of time criticizing Nate Silver and his presidential election model for being too biased in Obama’s favor. It’s obvious now, though, that Silver was exactly correct. He called every single state correctly. Not only that, his model also indicated which states would be the closest. His model suggested that Obama would have narrow victories in Virginia and Florida, and that Romney would have a narrow victory in North Carolina. His model seemed overly confident in calling Ohio for Obama, and seemed too pessimistic in calling Colorado and Iowa for Obama. That aside, his model was quite serviceable and predicted the Electoral College quite accurately.

But what to make of conservatives’ charges of bias? Sonic Charmer argued on several occasions that the only criticism that makes sense is that all the polls are systematically biased in Obama’s favor. Now, it makes some degree of sense in retrospect that some conservatives would find this theory plausible. After all, the MSM has a fairly long history of liberal bias, and this has been well-documented by conservatives like Bernard Goldberg and Michael Medved, among many others. It makes sense, then, that polls undertaken by the liberal media would have a liberal bias.

I think, though, that Stephen Colbert was more prescient than he realized at the time when he said that, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” I think that this election, in vindicating Nate Silver’s model, shows clearly that reality does now have a liberal bias. Furthermore, I think this liberal bias is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The education system and the media* have done quite a bit to undermine traditional conservative values. (In my opinion, this is not a wholly good or wholly bad thing, but it’s more important to simply acknowledge this as reality for the time being). Allowing immigration of the sort and to the extent that America has of late hasn’t been helpful either.

Thus, this election appears to prove that liberalism is, for better or worse, ascending, while conservatism (of the traditional and not neo- variety) is on the decline. It is unlikely that this trend will continue forever, but there is no telling when or how it will end. That said, conservatives would do well to accept the fact that American culture has shifted from traditionalism to progressivism, and that it is highly unlikely that a conservative resurgence will occur soon.

* To those that would argue that the media cannot influence anyone, I would like to simply point out that if this is the case, then the media has sold advertising under fraudulent pretenses. Cf. Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death and How to Watch T.V. News for a more in-depth look at this subject.

Election 2012

I started writing down all my thoughts on this year's election into one big post but quickly realized that it was better to simply do a long series of short posts in order to give each subject its own forum.  As such, please keep whatever comments you may have to to the relevant post.

07 November 2012

Book Review

Free Trade Doesn’t Work by Iain Fletcher 

Here’s another book I read a couple of months ago. The main point of the book is suggested, though not fully articulated by the title. In reality, the main theme of the book is something like this: the theory of free trade, though likely correct, is not put into practice properly, and therefore leads to terrible results.

The above assertion should be obvious to all but the most oblivious economists, like Bryan Caplan. While the theory of free trade is generally correct, assuming you deny the existence and/or legitimacy of the state and/or borders, its application leaves much to be desired.

In his book, Fletcher details how what often passes for free trade is nothing more than foolish, counterproductive statism. He also spends a lot of time looking at how free trade principles are applied in practice (hint: rather stupidly). He also spends some noting the difference between the functioning model of free trade and current reality. When all is said and done, it’s a wonder than anyone takes policy prescriptions from free traders seriously; they have their heads so far up their rectum that it’s impossible for them to see the light of day.

At any rate, the book is a fairly engrossing and eye-opening read. While theories are always nice, it’s considerably more important to know how a theory will be applied in reality. In the case of free trade, the translation from theory to practice is often lacking. Fletcher’s book does a good job explaining why, and offering better alternatives and solutions.

Book Review

Race and Economics by Walter E. Williams

This is a book I finished a while back. The main theses of the book are: state governments and the federal governments have often held blacks back, and they have done so at the behest of white racists. In throughout the book Williams details just how often the government has gone out of its way to prevent blacks from competing freely in the marketplace, and how it has often encouraged blacks to give in to a large variety of social pathologies.

The main conclusion I draw from the book is this: White nationalists need to shut up about black pathologies. I say this, not because the observations made by many WNs, HBDers, and “race realists” are false; to the contrary, blacks do have a good number of social pathologies troubling them at this point in time. However, this cannot merely be accounted for by race since there was a point in time in American history where blacks were more industrious and less prone to social problems than whites, which Williams points out by noting that, among other things, there was a point in time where blacks enjoyed a lower unemployment and a lower illegitimacy rate than whites. This begs the question: have blacks devolved genetically?

The answer could be yes, in that federal actions would implicitly favor inferior black genetics, or at least remove the Darwinian penalty for inferior genetics. However, this retrogression has occurred over a very short period of time—roughly four generations. The main difference between blacks of today and blacks of, say, the 1940’s, is not genetics but the current government system. Thus, a strong case can be made that government interference in the lives of blacks has caused their retrogression, and not necessarily inherent genetic differences.

Incidentally, a good portion of detrimental government interference into the lives of blacks occurred at the behest of white racists who viewed themselves as the superior race. An example of this is seen in minimum wage laws were specifically designed to price black labor out of the market and give preference to white workers. As a result, the black unemployment rate, which was at the time lower than that of whites, began to skyrocket, and it has not gone to such low levels since.

So, while it is undeniably true that blacks are, on the average, intellectually inferior to whites, they were at one point able to overcome this gap in the marketplace by pricing their labor more cheaply than that of whites. This prevented the pathologies of laziness, handout seeking, and high unemployment. Thus, the current problem with blacks is not that they aren’t as intellectually capable as whites; it’s that they aren’t as intellectually capable as whites and are forbidden from ameliorating this disparity by pricing their labor accordingly.

Thus, the problems facing blacks today are not due to the inherent genetic inferiority of blacks in certain areas of measurement. Instead, a good portion of the problems facing blacks are due to government policies enacted by racists many years ago, which have not been repealed. And so, while WNs, HBDers, and Race Realists are correct in observing the well-documented disparities between blacks and whites, their policies for addressing this matter—which are often racial separation—do not begin to come close to adequately handling this matter. Race and Economics, then, provides a good starting point for figuring out how to enable blacks to overcome their limitations. Unsurprisingly, freedom in the marketplace is one of the recommended solutions.

Called It

It looks like it is safe to say that Obama will be reelected. At the time of this writing, Politico has called all but four states, and the current results show Obama winning by a comfortable margin, even though Florida and Virginia have not yet been called. Incidentally, Ohio has been called for Obama, but his victory is more or less secure even if this call is reversed later.

As a happy reminder, here is my election prediction from December 28th of last year:
6. Obama will be reelected. Obama has comfortably shifted into a do-nothing president, so he hasn’t done anything recently to piss anyone off (except possibly the signing into law the recent NDAA legislation). The negative effects of ObamaCare won’t kick in until 2013, assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t rule it unconstitutional. The army is finally clearing out of Iraq. Osama is dead. The Fed is taking some of the heat for the current economic mess. And, if Obama goes to war with Iran, he will effectively own that issue.

Furthermore, the Republican field is a mess. No one likes Romney, except for his wife and the GOP bosses. Gingrich is a joke that everyone laughs at. Bachmann is Palin lite, except for the rabid support base. Huntsman and the other 3-percenters (now there’s a band name) have no shot. As for Ron Paul, I don’t see how he will win. The media has become its smear campaign and the GOP bosses are hanging him out to dry. He’s more polarizing than Obama, and has no eloquence. An Obama-Paul presidential race would probably lead to one of the lowest turnouts in history, and Obama would win by virtue of having the Chicago machine backing him.
Yep, I called it. When the results are finalized, I’ll take a look at how they compare to Nate Silver’s model. By my current estimate, I think we can confidently say that he has correctly called at least 31 states. We’ll know tomorrow if he correctly called all 50, plus D.C. I’ll have other things to say about the election throughout the rest of the week, but for now I’m simply going to bask in my prediction. Maybe getting this one right will help to make me feel better about getting QE3 wrong.

06 November 2012

Camachonomics


If I didn’t already know that this was from Mike Judge, I’d almost believe that this was an actual campaign ad that ran at some point during this year’s circus presidential nomination and election process. Anyhow, isn’t it interesting that Camacho’s economic policies aren’t all that different from what most politicians and even some professional economists recommend?

Also, what with this being the time of the year in which civic-minded masturbation voting is lauded to the high heavens, now’s a good time to go back and watch some political comedies. My personal recommendations are Idiocracy (featuring president Camacho) and Duck Soup. The latter is hands-down the Marx Brothers’ funniest movies, in no small part because it features this song.

05 November 2012

Unintended Consequences



This time with texting bans:

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 3 of every 4 states that have enacted a ban on texting while driving have seen crashes actually go up rather than down.

It's hard to pin down exactly why this is the case, but experts believe it is a result of people trying to avoid getting caught in states with stiff penalties. Folks trying to keep their phones out of view will often hold the phone much lower, below the wheel perhaps, in order to keep it out of view. That means the driver's eyes are looking down and away from the road.

The concept of risk equilibrium in regards to traffic laws has been discussed on this esteemed blog before, but it’s worth pointing out, at this time, one practical consequence:  there are  limits to attaining safety.  People, for better or worse, want some degree of risk in their lives.  We’ve required that drivers get a license and insurance; we’ve forced a ton of safety regulations on the cars they drive, and even give them speed limits.  Yet, they still crash.  Why?  Because people want some degree of risk in their life.

This is why texting bans do not work.  We’ve made driving so safe that texting while driving doesn’t seem obviously dangerous.  If driving seemed more dangerous (narrower, bumpier roads, more dangerous cars, absence of insurance mandate, etc.) people would be more engaged in driving and less likely to text.  But, given the level of safety already found in driving, it should come as no surprise that many young drivers don’t think that texting puts their life in greater danger.  Quite simply, texting doesn’t even begin to approach their risk equilibrium.

A Fun Chart

The American Conservative compares the presidential candidates primary source of donations and finds that Romney’s top five donors are all major banks while Obama’s are universities, software companies, and the US Government.  In comparison, Ron Paul’s donors are the military and Google. I think this speaks for itself.

Another Argument Against Voting




Romans 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.


So, if you choose to cast your vote for candidates supporting sins such as homosexual marriage or abortion, you are just as guilty of these sins as if you had committed them yourself. If you choose to cast your vote for candidates who support persecuting our citizens who refuse to pay for insurance that covers abortions, you will be held guilty of the persecution that will be meted out in the next few years.

Basically, the argument is this:  it doesn’t matter if your vote has any impact on the outcome of the election; what matters is that your vote is a tacit endorsement of a particular candidate.  As such, when you vote for someone, you are essentially saying that you approve of that person’s actions and decisions, and, more importantly, their practice of evil.  This principle is important to remember in light of the common argument that it’s best to vote for the lesser of two evils.  But a lesser evil is still evil, and voting for said evil is still a ringing endorsement of that evil. Thus, another credible argument can be made against voting.