31 May 2014

What's The Point of Drugs?

Via Bloomberg:
Tamiflu and Relenza, antiviral drugs stockpiled by governments to tame influenza outbreaks, haven’t been proven to prevent pandemics and may cause more harm in some patients than good, researchers said after reviewing 170,000 pages of clinical-trial data. 
The findings, published today in the journal BMJ, came from the Cochrane Collaboration, a nonprofit U.K. research organization, using information obtained from Roche Holding AG (ROG), maker of Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), which sells Relenza. 
The U.S. has spent $1.3 billion, and the U.K. 424 million pounds ($710 million), stockpiling the drugs following a 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu. The Cochrane researchers, who examined the reports of 20 Tamiflu trials and 26 Relenza studies, found Tamiflu reduced flu symptoms for adults by 17 hours without curbing the number of hospitalizations. Tamiflu also caused vomiting, delirium and loss of kidney function in some patients. There was no evidence that using the treatments could stop a massive outbreak, the researchers said.
It amazes me that people even listen to pharmaceutical companies and doctors when it should be obvious that most of these people are simply making shit up and talking out of their asses.  When a proposed solution is ineffective or makes the problem worse, or even creates new problems, that's a sign that it is time to propose another solution.

What's weirder to me, though, is how there are certain types of Christians (that I've known, at least) who get upset at the thought of recreational drug use but don't bat an eye at pharmaceutical companies.  They hate recreational drugs fundamentally because they're illegal and are cool with pharmaceuticals because they are legal, even though the legality of a given drug is mostly arbitrary (e.g. some recreational drugs can have deleterious effects on the kidney, just like Tamiflu yet the recreational drugs are banned while Tamiflu is not, thus showing that health concerns aren't the deciding factor).

To get back to the topic at hand, pharmaceutical companies are no more trustworthy or reliable than the average street pharmacist, and those who put their faith in medicine are fools.  Successful pharmaceuticals owe their success more to marketing than real science.

Quiet Prosperity

Steve Sailer:
Driving cross country recently, we zoomed through the Amish country in Holmes County in Ohio, where 44% of the population speaks some sort of German/Dutch as their first language. I was under the mistaken impression that the Amish abjure all technology past some point in history, such as the New Testament, on fundamentalist theological grounds. This would imply that the comfort gap is continually increasing: e.g., children would be playing with un-awesome wooden toys. 
But a couple of hours of driving around showed I was mistaken. Congregations apparently pick and choose which technologies they will allow themselves based on what they kind of culture they want. This means they can adopt new technology if they feel it is constructive. The kids, and there are a lot of kids, typically have brightly colored plastic outdoor toys like other children have.  
There's nothing that looks like modern poverty and there's a faint air of quiet prosperity. It's a much tougher life than I'd like, but my general impression was that these people know what they are doing. They might well be getting better at doing what they do. 
There is a sizable Amish community northeast of my former home, Fort Wayne.  One of my brothers once interned for a financial consulting group in Fort Wayne and was surprised to discover that there the firm had a relatively large number of Amish clients, most of whom were millionaires, that were looking for asset protection.  The Amish also seem to have a good political lobby, seeing as how they live quite out of step with the modern state and don't seem to suffer much in the way of political penalty for it.

The Amish life might seem tough to outsiders, but my perspective as a painter is that manual labor is more rewarding and enjoyable than most white collar workers would suspect.  Toss in the fact that Amish women tend to be prettier than average and also quite open to having lots of children (and consequently the adult calisthenics such outcomes necessarily imply), and you have yourself a pretty enjoyable life.  Rewarding work, lots of sex with a beautiful wife, and amassed wealth besides...  How bad can that really be?

How to Cheat at Employment

Vox on purges:
Most of the time, employment purges are not legal. If you are being pressured to resign, that is in itself a de facto admission that they know they can't fire you. Of course, none of this will prevent you from getting blackballed when applying for a new job, which is why it is wise to always use an untraceable pseudonym on the Internet and to avoid social media.
Cheating at wrongful firings is mostly a matter of getting the leftists to do their own dirty work, which can be fairly enjoyable if you have the right sense of humor.  Cheating at hiring and firing, though, is a different story.

To cheat at hiring, the easiest thing to do is have a comprehensive list of qualifications  that no one can meet.  This means that you can pick pretty much whoever you want for whatever reason you want because you can disqualify anyone at will. If you don't want to hire someone because he's an especially aspie atheist progressive, just say he doesn't meet your (impossible) qualifications.  Thus, you have a legal justification for your personal decision.  Just make sure that you have an official, approved story for rejecting an applicant and that you stick to it at all times.

Cheating at firing is a bit trickier, but it should be possible to offer an unwanted employee a promotion and raise and detail that the new job requires the execution of certain duties the employee is particularly unsuited for.  After enough documented failures to perform, you can fire the employee with minimal chance of repercussion.  Make sure to document everything, though, and never voice that the firing is related to anything but job performance.

Employment laws are mostly checklists.  As long as every box is checked correctly, there shouldn't be much of an issue.  As long as you can provide a reasonable professional explanation for your decisions, you can pretty much do whatever you want as far as hiring and firing goes.  You just have to make sure that the right boxes are checked.  These are the rules of the game; exploit them to your advantage.

05 May 2014

Meekness

If meekness isn't weakness, what is it? The word has an association with domesticated animals, specifically beasts of burden. At first blush, this etymology doesn't thrill me; I don't particularly aspire to be ox-like. But when I think about it, an ox at the plow is not weak but extraordinarily strong. The key, though, is that his power is harnessed and directed. Perhaps meekness is strength that is submitted to an appropriate authority. [Source.]
With the exception, perhaps, of Paris Hilton's purse-dogs, domestic animals are not generally viewed as weak.  Dogs, particularly large dogs, are able to incite fear in most children, and even some adults.  Indeed, few things are scarier than an angry, uncontrolled dog.

Horses can also be quite dangerous because not only are they large and strong, they can generally be quite skittish.  Anyone who is kicked by a horse, assuming he survives, is in for a world of hurt.

A good example of meekness was seen this weekend at Churchill Downs, in the Oaks and Kentucky Derby races. The horses in those races are massive, strong thoroughbreds.  They are extremely powerful, but their power is harnessed to win races.  Meekness is brute strength under a master's control.  It is domestication.

A sheep dog and a race horse are both meek.  They are not weak, nor are they pushovers.  They have strength to be used for specific purposes.

In like manner, the human forms of meekness are usually on display in the military and police forces.  In both organizations, men are trained to hurt and kill effectively.  However (in theory at least), these men are trained to be discriminate in their use of power.  Police men are not supposed to abuse citizens, but rather to arrest criminals.  Soldiers are not supposed to fire their guns at the slightest noise, but rather to carefully aim at their enemies.  Both police officers and soldiers have great power, but they are not supposed to wield it thoughtlessly.*

Since meekness is meant to conjure up the image of a powerful animal being brought into subjection to a master, it is worth asking whether Christians are truly meek in the sense in which the word is biblically.
There are two conditions that must be met in order for one to be considered meek.  First, is one living in subjection to a master?  Second, is one powerful?

While most Christians will claim to live in subjection to Christ (and will be judged by Christ, not me), most Christians are not powerful.  Indeed, most Christians appear to be weak and fearful.  Thus, most Christians are not really meek, for though they live in subjection, they are not powerful.

And yet, meekness is well spoken of in the Bible.  Moses was called the meekest man on the earth, and Christ said that meek were destined to inherit the earth.  Since meekness is bringing one's power in subjection to God, why is so much emphasis placed on subjection and so little on power?  As far as meekness is concerned, you cannot have one without the other.

Indeed, it was Christ who told his followers to "be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."  The choice to use "serpents" was deliberate, and meant to evoke certain satanic connotations.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong about understanding how the world works and using the Prince of the Power of the Air's power structures against him.  Indeed, that's exactly what Paul did to get what he wanted from the Roman officials in Philippi in Acts 16.

Thus, the church is suffering from a lack of meekness because it easier to subjugate through castration than through training.  This neutering robs the church of its power and thus its weakness.  It also robs the church of its future because the castrated cannot reproduce.

Ultimately, if the church is to grow and become stronger, it must stop castrating its members and reducing them to powerless, cowardly people.  Instead, it must teach them to be strong and channel their strength appropriately.

Christ was easily the most powerful man who ever lived.  No other man could raise the dead, cure diseases, and change the weather like he did.  And no other man brought his power under the Father's control like Christ did.  Christ's meekness was seen both in his calming of the storm and in his death on the cross.  And his death would not have the meaning it does if Christ never had the power he did.

So, since Christians are to be meek like Christ, they must have his power and use it in subjection to the Father's will.  And, they must not ever view weakness as a virtue.

* It's interesting, is it not, that women tend to be almost-universally attracted to men in uniform.  Wearing a uniform conveys power and purpose, and women tend to be attracted to both.  It's interesting to see that clerical uniforms have tended to lose their social cachet (relatively speaking) over the last couple of decades.  Clearly, being Christian does not speak to having power, simply subjection.

Is America Still A Serious Country?

Pat Buchanan asks a rather spurious question:
Which brings us to the unanswered questions.
How did Donald Sterling get away with behavior, in a professional sports league dominated by black players, which would get a college kid kicked out of school and scarred for life? Have they no morals clause in the NBA? How was Donald Sterling voted that lifetime achievement award by the NAACP?
The answer to all likely lies in the adage: Follow the money. 
Nevertheless, when nonsense like stupid racial remarks by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and Clippers boss Donald Sterling can consume the nation's conversation for a full week, it does raise a far more disturbing question:
Is America still a serious country?
First, it is assumed though not proved that America ever  was a serious country, and therefore the question is a leading one.  Indeed, when America was ruled by more philosophical leaders, it wasn't a country at all, but a union.  This is but quibbling over words, and doesn't address the real meaning of Buchanan's syntactically misleading question.

What I don't understand is how the man who grasped the full import of the "gay mafia" fails to understand the significance of racial politics in 21st century America.  The issues that Bundy and Sterling bring to the forefront are symbolic of a greater matter:  racial animus as a tool for political control.  Bundy would have been a non-issue if he had simply paid off the feds like a good serf.  Sterling would be a non-issue if he sold his team to someone of whom the NBA approves.  While the media lapdogs duly report the pre-approved talking points in an almost robotic manner, the issue of racism is indeed a serious business because it is the current front for fascism.

The former front of fascism--environmentalism--has largely fallen by the wayside at this point because the alleged science upon which its fascist policies recommendations are based have generally been proven false or misleading.  Equality, though, is built right in to American mythology.  It's in the Declaration of Independence, after all, and thus egalitarians not only get to be fascists but also take the moral high ground away from more liberty-minded opponents by appealing to patriotism, of all things.  Thanks, Thomas Jefferson!

At any rate, race matters more and more because it is the front line of ideological warfare, and one that is fairly favorable to progressive fascists.  As such, spending lots of time discussing race, though juvenile-sounding in its practical application, is a deadly serious business, and not one to be dismissed lightly.  Just because the anti-racists sound like austists learning how to interact with other people for the first time ("don't be mean or call people names; it's really bad") doesn't mean that the consequences of their anti-racist apologias are without significance.

More to the point, countering anti-racists  by asking, "how could Sterling be the Bull Connor of California when he has a girlfriend who describes herself as black and Mexican, hired a black coach for his Clippers, Doc Rivers, and pays his players, mostly black, millions of dollars a year?" is not much of a rebuttal.  First, you don't counter flaming rhetoric with logic; emotional appeals are best answered with emotional counter appeals.  Second, if you are going for a logical appeal, don't use bad logic.

Hiring people of a different race is not proof-positive that one is not racist; it simply proves that one hired people of a different race.  The definition of racism is predicated on one's beliefs, not one's economic practices or "revealed preferences."   Clearly, Sterling is not fond of black people.

So what?  Most white people aren't fond of black people either, which is why so many affluent liberals like to live far away from blacks and deal with black people's problems on thier own schedule, and with a path of retreat mapped out in case any of the youths they attempt to help decide to turn on them.

Indeed, the best and easily most amusing response to liberal hysteria over racism is to play a little game I like to cal "Where Do You Live."  The game consists of asking nice white anti-racists where they live and then asking them why they don't near the "black" part of town.  In Louisville, where I currently reside, my particular variation is to ask why people living in, say, the Highlands or in Middletown don't live off of Preston or Dixie.  The standard reply is "the schools" and so all I have to do is chase the rabbit down the hole and then get them to admit that they're racist and then spend lots of time making them feel guilty.

That so few conservatives are willing to do this sort of thing exaplins why conservatism is becoming increasingly irrelevant.  If you accept the progressive paradigm of anti-racism, you eventually have to condemn racism like they do.  If, however, you believe in free association, you should be willing to embrace racism to some degree and thus defend it.  We all discriminate, even the fascists.  We even discriminate by race, even the fascists.  So what, then, if someone is racist?  Aren't we all?

The problem, ultimately, is not that America is not a serious country, but that it is not an honest country.  We have plenty of serious discussions about race, especially when a conservative opens up his mouth.  What's been lacking in all these discussions for the last fifty years, though, has been honesty.