23 December 2015

The Modern Vice

Is it wrong to call someone who steals a "criminal"? 
In a recent thread on NextDoor, a group of neighbors living in the Noe Valley-Glen Park area were engaged in a discussion around the city's crime and debated whether labeling a person who commits petty theft as a "criminal" is offensive. 
In the site's Crime and Safety area, where residents share strategies for fighting crime, Malkia Cyril of S.F. suggests that her neighbors stop using the label because it shows lack of empathy and understanding. 
Cyril pointed out that instead of calling the thief who took the bicycle from your garage a criminal, you could be more respectful and call him or her "the person who stole my bicycle." 
"I [suggest] that people who commit property crimes are human and deserved to be referred to in terms that acknowledge that," Cyril, who's the executive director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, writes in the thread. 
"I think we should think twice before speaking in disparaging terms about 'those criminals,'" she adds later in the thread.
This posturing is nothing more than moral hedonism, wherein one seeks to gain a feeling of moral superiority (and status) by publicly displaying one’s empathy and understanding.  Of course, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with being empathetic and understanding, and I see no particular reason to be inhumane to thieves, but I would suggest that it would best to simply practice one’s morality privately and quietly.

Much like the Pharisees in Christ’s day, there are those who put on displays of piety and morality in order to receive the praise of men.  Like the Pharisees, they undoubtedly have their reward.

22 December 2015

What’s The Point?

At least 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security are listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a Democratic lawmaker. 
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D., Mass.) disclosed that a congressional investigation recently found that at least 72 people working at DHS also “were on the terrorist watch list.” 
“Back in August, we did an investigation—the inspector general did—of the Department of Homeland Security, and they had 72 individuals that were on the terrorist watch list that were actually working at the Department of Homeland Security,” Lynch told Boston Public Radio.
I guess my main question is this:  Just what the fuck is the point of the DHS?  How in the hell is it going to keep the homeland secure if it can’t even keep itself secure?

Frankly, I lack the vocabulary to describe how astonished and perplexed I am by this.  It’s simply incredible that our government is being infiltrated like this in spite of its massive surveillance abilities.  The entire justification for expanding government spying was security against foreign terrorists.  The entire point of expanding the federal security budget was to increase security against foreign terrorists.

More to the point, how does no one catch this?  You’d figure job applicants’ names would be checked against the internal watch list.  Has non-discrimination policy become so completely ass-backwards that federal government feels it would be unfair to discriminate against people on the basis of their terrorist associations?

Either the DHS is staffed by moronically incompetent retards, or it has completely castrated itself with political correctness.  Either way, it is simply has no reason to exist anymore.

Love and Hedonism

When an American man says that American women aren’t worth marrying, what does it mean?  Dr. Helen, at A Voice for Men, lists some salient reasons:
2. You’ll lose out on sex. Married men have more sex than single men, on average – but much less than men who are cohabiting with their partners outside of marriage, especially as time goes on. Research even suggests that married women are more likely to gain weight than women who are cohabiting without marriage. A Men’s Health article mentioned one study that followed 2,737 people for six years and found that cohabiters said they were happier and more confident than married couples and singles. 
3. You’ll lose friends. “Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine.” That’s an old song, but it’s true. When married, men’s ties with friends from school and work tend to fade. Although both men and women lose friends after marriage, it tends to affect men’s self-esteem more, perhaps because men tend to be less social in general. 
4. You’ll lose space. We hear a lot about men retreating to their “man caves,” but why do they retreat? Because they’ve lost the battle for the rest of the house. The Art of Manliness blog mourns “The Decline of Male Space,” and notes that the development of suburban lifestyles, intended to bring the family together, resulted in the elimination of male spaces in the main part of the house, and the exile of men to attics, garages, basements – the least desirable part of the home. As a commenter to the post observes: “There was no sadder scene to a movie than in ‘Juno’ when married guy Jason Bateman realized that in his entire huge, house, he had only a large closet to keep all the stuff he loved in. That hit me like a punch in the face.” 
8. Single life is better than ever. While the value of marriage to men has declined, the quality of single life has improved. Single men were once looked on with suspicion, passed over for promotion for important jobs, which usually valued “stable family men,” and often subjected to social opprobrium. It was hard to have a love life that wasn’t aimed at marriage, and premarital sex was risky and frowned upon. Now, no one looks askance at the single lifestyle, dating is easy, and employers probably prefer employees with no conflicting family responsibilities. Plus, video games, cable TV, and the Internet provide entertainment that didn’t used to be available. Is this good for society? Probably not, as falling birth rates and increasing single-motherhood demonstrate. But people respond to incentives. If you want more men to marry, it needs to be a more attractive proposition.
Assuming that the above list is actually representative, a healthy chunk of the reasons why men don’t want to get married is pretty hedonistic.  In essence, it’s like overpaying for a bad hooker.
The single lifestyle is cheaper, the sex is more frequent (and the partner is hotter).  Worse still, your new live-in hooker will take all your house space, and demand more time, taking you away from your friends.

It seems to me that the complaints about marriage stem from some frankly ridiculous assumptions about the nature of the beast.  In fact, it seems as if the complaints men have about marriage are based on the assumption that the point of marriage is lots of sex with an eternally hot live-in maid.  And women are the demanding ones…

Gay marriage didn’t kill marriage—if anything it was a nail in the coffin.  No, marriage died when men viewed it as an economic pact for the satiation of hedonic desire.

Within this lens, marriage just isn’t worth it for any man, especially in lieu of how cheap hookers are and how ubiquitous internet porn has become.  The issue, though, doesn’t lie with the institution of marriage but with the participants.

Men and women alike are less inclined than ever before to view marriage as a holy, sacred union between a man and a woman, united together in God to fulfill their primary purpose of producing Godly offspring, raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  As such, marriage is now viewed as simply a contract for commencing carnal copulation instead of a covenant for creating Christian children.  Consequently, there really is no logical reason to oppose homosexual unions, easy divorce, polygamy, incest, or any other possible configuration of consenting adults.  Even the Muslims have figured out that this line of thinking justifies legalizing prostitution as well.

Thus, the lamentations for declining marriage rates, and the repeated proclamations that marriage just isn’t worth it is really a complaint that marriage has been utterly debased.  What was once viewed as the primal spiritual covenant is now viewed as an economic contract.

A spiritual journey is a noble cause, worthy of lifelong commitment; a contract is only worth the effort if it is profitable.  A Man may fight and die for love, but he will not inconvenience himself for hedonism.

21 December 2015

Bad or Evil

There is one thing which, in the presence of average modern journalism, is perhaps worth saying in connection with such an idle matter as this. The morals of a matter like this are exactly like the morals of anything else; they are concerned with mutual contract, or with the rights of independent human lives. But the whole modern world, or at any rate the whole modern Press, has a perpetual and consuming terror of plain morals. Men always attempt to avoid condemning a thing upon merely moral grounds. If I beat my grandmother to death to-morrow in the middle of Battersea Park, you may be perfectly certain that people will say everything about it except the simple and fairly obvious fact that it is wrong. Some will call it insane; that is, will accuse it of a deficiency of intelligence. This is not necessarily true at all. You could not tell whether the act was unintelligent or not unless you knew my grandmother. Some will call it vulgar, disgusting, and the rest of it; that is, they will accuse it of a lack of manners. Perhaps it does show a lack of manners; but this is scarcely its most serious disadvantage. Others will talk about the loathsome spectacle and the revolting scene; that is, they will accuse it of a deficiency of art, or aesthetic beauty. This again depends on the circumstances: in order to be quite certain that the appearance of the old lady has definitely deteriorated under the process of being beaten to death, it is necessary for the philosophical critic to be quite certain how ugly she was before. Another school of thinkers will say that the action is lacking in efficiency: that it is an uneconomic waste of a good grandmother. But that could only depend on the value, which is again an individual matter. The only real point that is worth mentioning is that the action is wicked, because your grandmother has a right not to be beaten to death. But of this simple moral explanation modern journalism has, as I say, a standing fear. It will call the action anything else--mad, bestial, vulgar, idiotic, rather than call it sinful.
In keeping with my review of Cuckservative, I think it worth pointing out that the main failure of modern conservatism—and perhaps even protestant Christianity—is that it is utterly ill-suited to the task of discerning good from evil, of separating wheat from chaff.  To wit:  observe how often Islam is portrayed as violent, or as misogynist, or what have you.  As is often the case, the argument against Islam is doesn’t attain the ideals held by the Modern Man, the modernist.  In essence, conservatives accept the modernist, progressive premise that violence is bad (or, more accurately, undesirable), as is misogyny.  In doing so, they must accept as right the fundamental underpinnings of progressive philosophy, which is where they ultimately go astray.  For, if one accepts ones opponents’ premises, all that really can be argued is whether the logic is sound.  Thus, the conservative finds himself in the position of arguing that the stated goals of modernism/progressivism will be more easily attained by other means.  Cuckservatives are basically haggling over price.

What’s disturbing to me is how very few people seem willing to say that the real issue with Islam is that it is evil.  While it is undoubtedly true that Muslims are violent and misogynist, it’s also true that God himself is rather violent (and uses threats of violence to keep Man in line) and would also be labeled a misogynist based on the teachings of the New Testament.  By this line of reasoning, God and his children should be as repulsive to modernism and progressivism as Allah and his followers.  Since the logic of modernism would call God evil (or at least undesirable), it should be obvious that the philosophical underpinnings and assumptions of modernism are completely rubbish, and are fit only to be ignored.

To get back to the point at hand, the issue with modernism, as Chesterton points out, is that it is utterly lacking in moral clarity.  Violence is bad to a modernist, but it is not by its nature evil to God, for God himself uses violence as a tool.  A modernist, then, can only oppose Islam on the grounds that it is violent, and never on the grounds that it is evil.

The fundamental issue with Islam is that it dishonest.  Satan is a liar and the father of lies, and all liars are of Satan.  As such, Islam is completely and utterly Satanic.  The fundamental lie of Islam is that it denies the death and consequently burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the father.  In this regard, Islam is not any different than Atheism.

Because Islam denies the most fundamental purpose of Christ’s purpose on earth, its purported respect for the teachings of Christ is disingenuous or satanic.  For example, if Islam takes Christ’s stated purpose for existence as sincere, then it has failed to respect his authority as evidenced by their elevation of Muhammed above Christ.  If Islam takes Christ’s stated purpose as insincere but respects him anyway, then Islam respects a deceiver and reveres deceit.

Since Islam clearly cannot be by its nature anything other than evil, it should come as no surprise that those who belong to this religion are evil as well.  Thus, the issue with Islamic violence isn’t the violence, it’s the motive:  violence for its own sake, administered against the innocent and defenseless.  Moreover, Islam’s domineering misogyny is wrong, not because of its dominance or even its misogyny, but because of its utter disrespect, and perhaps even downright hatred, of the weaker of God’s creation.  Evil pervades every fiber of the Islamic world, and it is to be opposed because it is thoroughly rotten, corrupt, and evil.

That cuckservatives are unable to identify the problem with Islam is itself a serious issue, in that cuckservatives have the same moral blindness as the progressives toward whom they claim to stand in opposition. As such, they are not to be trusted any more than leftists.

Book Review

Cuckservative: How “Conservatives” Betrayed America by Vox Day and John Red Eagle

This book is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.  It is extremely easy to read, quickly paced, and extremely informative.  Moreover, the sheer amount of historical perspective this book provides is very hard to beat.  As an added bonus, this book is extremely relevant and timely.

Vox starts off by addressing the myth of the melting pot, and brings some extremely fascinating history to the reader’s attention.  Among other things, he quotes Ben Franklin at length on the issue of whether Germans would assimilate into Anglo culture and then points out that even today, some 260+ years after Franklin originally voiced his concern, there are still a couple hundred thousand American citizens that communicate in Pennsylvania Deutsch, and this in spite a prolonged, dedicated attempt at large-scale assimilation in the early twentieth century.  Moreover, Vox points out research that indicates assimilation isn’t really occurring under this current wave of immigration.

From there, Vox addresses the concept of Magic Dirt (a phrase I believe was originally coined by Steve Sailer). Put simply, the magic dirt theory is that “certain beliefs, behaviors and values somehow appear in particular geographical areas…rather than being carried around from place to place by groups of people wherever they happen to be.”  This is absurd, of course, and rather reminiscent of prohibitionists who tried to pin the problems of alcohol addiction on the alcohol instead of the addict.

The most fascinating and useful part of the book is chapter 4, wherein Vox traces the history of the modern conservative movement.  In a nutshell, conservatism is rather vapid and kind of sad.  In Vox’s words, “From their very beginning the principles of conservatism were subordinate and defensive and nature, or less charitably, they were submissive and passive-aggressive in their relation to the left.”  That explains a lot, I would say.  Moreover, the conservative movement has also been characterized by its willingness to disassociate itself from its more fringe members in order to win the respect of the left. Strangely, the left doesn’t seem to respect it much.

Vox also takes the madness of open borders to task.  Longtime readers of his blog won’t be surprised by the arguments made.  The most obvious case against open borders is that it necessarily destroys nations, and moreover is a tremendous disfavor to the people who actually make a nation prosperous and peaceful.  In short, it rids a successful nation of its birthright.

Vox also makes the economic case against open borders, and it’s mostly a distilled version of Iain Fletcher’s work.  Some have apparently complained that this is the weakest chapter of the book.  I think it would be more accurate to say that this is the least accessible chapter of the book since Vox has to explain the Ricardian theory of comparative advantage in order to refute it.  Given how ineptly complex the Ricardian theory is, it’s pretty easy to see why many readers would simply skip over it.  More to the point, the entire crux of Ricardo’s theory is that, every possible thing being equal, it is better for one to focus on producing what they are best producing.  This near tautology is both banal and irrelevant.  For starters, it’s always been known on an individual, micro, mezzo, macro and national level to focus on doing what you do best in order to come out ahead.  No 5’3” guy is going to spend a lot of time, say, trying to make it to the NBA, especially if he has a knack for programming.  Banality aside, Ricardo’s point doesn’t make for a good principle upon which to make policy simply because everything else is almost never equal.  Ever.  (And even if everything else magically becomes equal, the equality is never permanent, but rather temporary.)  Thus, the economic case for open borders and free trade is built on the fantastical and outlandish theories of an “economist” that few economists take seriously these days.

Finally, Vox also addresses the prevalence of cuckservatism among nominal Christians.  In many ways, Churchian cuckservatives are worse than their secular counterparts simply by virtue of believing that they are doing the Lord’s work.  Vox spends a lot of time debunking their doctrine of welcoming invaders with open arms.  Overall, his points are very well made.

Overall, I’d say this book is a very important book at this current point in time.  It highlights just how backwards and dishonest the pro-immigration crowd.  Their hatred of the concept of the nation is simply abominable, and their self-destructive desire for foreign invasion is defended with falsehoods.  They hate their neighbors and appease their enemies, and are utterly lacking in wisdom, and knowledge of history.  This book deftly and succinctly exposes them for who they are.

Strength or Defect?

I'm not gonna engage in the same tactics SJWs do when it's their tactics that make me dislike them in the first place.

NOTE:  The tactics are what make him dislike SJWs. He apparently has no problem with their ideals or objectives.
Mr. Scary Cell @gameragodzilla
If I "punch back" in the exact same manner, then there is no functional difference between me and "the enemy".
Chesterton (surprise, surprise) dealt with this very mindset some hundred-odd years ago, in his essay “Conceit and Caricature.”  To wit:
A man will plume himself that he is not bad in some particular way, when the truth is that he is not good enough to be bad in that particular way.
To illustrate this, he continues:
You are not bloodthirsty, not because you would spare your enemy, but because you would run away from him.
Are we without the fault because we have the opposite virtue?  Or are we without fault because we have the opposite fault?  It is a good thing assuredly, to be innocent of any excess; but let us be sure that that we are not innocent of the excess merely by being guilty of defect.
In a nutshell, the moderate mindset is one that attempts to rationalize a defect as a sign of moral superiority.  It’s akin to a homeless man bragging that he is not weighed down with unnecessary worry about material goods.  While the homeless man may be indeed far from materialistic, it hardly makes the laziness and drug addiction that caused his homelessness a cause for celebration.

Likewise, a moderate who lacks the intestinal fortitude to resist evil isn’t superior to those who get their hands dirty; he is merely a weakling and a coward.  Thus, while it could be true that Vox and others are perhaps a little more aggressive in their attacks of SJWs than is merited, it doesn’t follow that the man who is too weak to counterpunch is morally superior.  He is merely too weak and cowardly to put up a fight; and, ultimately, that’s a much graver defect than being too tactically aggressive.

29 October 2015

Authority and Submission

Prior to working for my previous boss, I wasn't very good at my work.  Consequently, I wasn't very confident, and was rather passive-aggressive and indecisive.  Once my boss hired me and began to train me, I became more confident and decisive.

The first thing he trained me to do was paint sharp lines.  His business was predicated on provided the highest quality painting service, and to that end the first goal of every job was to make our work look as clean and crisp as possible.

The second thing he trained me to do was clean up messes.  If the first thing customer's notice is sloppy lines, the second thing they notice are messy floors.  To that end, I was expected to take precautions to avoid making messes, then go back and clean up when the work was done.
After that, he taught me how to talk to customers, how to manage job sites, and how to attend to various details that make customers want to hire you again.  In providing me with a set of values, he enabled me to focus my decision-making.  By taking responsibility for his rules, he gave me confidence to act decisively.

Thus, I learned that submission brings to itself its own type of authority.  Submitting to an authority gives you a paradigm in which to operate, thus focusing your work and making you more decisive.  Certain options are removed from before you simply because they do not fit within the framework provided by the one to whom you submit.  Furthermore, you can be confident in your decisions because, in a sense, you aren't really the one making them.

Paradoxically, submission brings forth a strong sense of authority because it gives you a framework for decisions.  The decision-making framework provides a goal and limits one's options.  Consequently, one can make decisions more quickly and confidently because one doesn't have to do any first-order thinking or parse through as many second-order options.  Thus, the reason why submission to a higher authority makes one seem more authoritative is because submission to a higher authority makes one a lower authority, extrapolating a paradigm downward.

28 October 2015

Obedience and Submission

Before I quit working for my boss, I was assigned to be in charge of an employee that everyone hated.  The kid, Drew, wasn't a bad person, though he was little weird.  He was socially awkward, vegan, a distance runner, quiet, lacking confidence, kind of dumb, and incredibly stubborn.  Customers didn't like him because he was weird and different.  Coworkers didn't like him because he was weird and generally made everyone's life difficult.  My boss didn't particularly care for him, but kept him on because he was just productive enough to be a net positive, and was pretty clean cut, which made customers feel a little bit better.

Anyhow, the number one foreman, Mike, was in originally put in charge of training the guy.  Mike tapped out after one month and threatened to quit if my boss didn't have him work with someone else.  Since I was the number two foreman, he was assigned to me.  After about two months of working with him, I quit trying to train him.  He simply did not pick up on the new processes, and simply worked how he wished to work.  Sometimes his methods meshed my boss's processes, sometimes they did not.  As such, my method for dealing with the little shithead was to only assign him to tasks that matched his methods with the boss's processes.  I picked up the rest of the slack.

I found out, through the grapevine, that he quit approximately one month after I did.  No one missed him, at least at first.  However, after my boss hired on the new guys word came back to me that he tried to hire Drew back.  It turned out that the new hires were not only extremely green, they weren't particularly motivated either.  Thus, while Drew was nowhere close to being a good employee, he at least had some bit of competence, and was at least willing to put in overtime.

What I came to realize after hearing about all this was that while I was valuable for being submissive, Drew was still a little bit valuable because he was at least obedient.  By this I mean that he would show up to work on time, carry out the tasks he was assigned (at least by me), work overtime when requested/threatened, and maintained a clean-cut appearance.  However, he was never concerned with ensuring the boss turned a profit, nor did he ever really care about making the boss's life easier.  He viewed his job as a checklist for a paycheck, and never bothered to see the boss as anything other than a check-signer and order-giver.  That didn't make him completely useless, but it did make him rather less valuable in the eyes of my boss.

More to the point, there is a distinct difference between submission and obedience.  Submission is positive and outward-focused; obedience is negative and inward-focused.  Both are good, but the former is clearly superior.

To illustrate the difference, I would say that the mindset of obedience is to avoid facing the negative consequences of disobeying one's leader.  The mindset of submission is seeking to please one's leader.  The obedient is concerned about what happens to him while the submissive is concerned about what happens to the leader.  The obedient is focused on avoiding what is bad while the submissive is focused on bringing about good.

While obedience is better than disobedience, it is not close to being as good as submission. However, obedience is a necessary prerequisite to submission.  If one wishes to be powerful, one must make the journey from obedience to submission.

27 October 2015


A couple of months ago I received a text from my former employer.  It read, "Simon, I need you to come back so I can pay you way more money I'm really swamped with work its ridiculous. [sic]"
To be honest, I was surprised by this.  I had quit four months earlier.  He still had three other guys on the crew, and had just hired a new guy who I had begun to train to replace me.  I had heard, through the guys still on the crew, that he had hired four guys after I left.  Granted, he subsequently fired one, and another guy quit.  Nonetheless, he was running a six-man crew, and the few times I'd run into subsequent to leaving, he'd made a point of telling me how good things were going for him and how busy he was.

What I came to realize was that he still couldn't replace me, even with a larger crew.  The reason I was irreplaceable was because I had submitted to him completely.

While I was in his employ, my attitude towards working for him was that it was my job to make sure that he turned as large a profit as possible with as few headaches as possible, and so I took it upon myself to master his business as completely as possible and manage his job sites as professionally as possible.  I was promoted to foreman within a year of working for him, and was put in charge of managing the most difficult employee he had.

I didn't particularly enjoy working for my former boss, but I can say with complete confidence that I was the best employee he ever had.  I showed up on time, worked full shifts, volunteered for all possible off-hour jobs, rarely asked for time off and gave plenty of notice when I did, made sure the crew had all the necessary supplies, made sure jobs were completed, made sure all the details were taken care of, addressed customer complaints directly, and made sure all job sites were clean and free of mistakes before wrapping up.  I volunteered for all the difficult work and crap assignments, and made a point of praising my boss whenever customers asked about him.  And then I quit.

Now, my point in all this isn't that I'm amazing or impressive (although I am, natch).  My point is that, ultimately, those who live in complete submission to authority are functionally in control of the relationship.  Because I submitted to my boss as completely as I could, I was functionally the one in charge of the relationship because through my submission I became increasingly irreplaceable while he became more replaceable.  When I gave him my three weeks notice, his immediate response was to offer me an 18% raise.  His latest offer was to nearly double what I'd been making before.

The irony in all of this is that I would not have been so valuable to him had I never submitted to him.  By respecting his authority as my boss and doing everything I could to make his business as profitable as possible, I became indispensable.  But I never could have become so valuable if I did not recognize and submit to his authority.

The truth about leadership and submission, then, is that authority belongs to those who lead but power belongs to those who follow.  Thus, a leader without followers is powerless.  An authority that does not inspire submission is impotent.  The meek, as it were, will inherit the earth.

26 October 2015

Linear Thinkers

One of the themes on blog of late, particularly in the past two posts, is that global warming apologists aren't very good at approaching science holistically.  Obviously, this is very problematic for people who wish to study global warming because analyzing a matter on a global scale will obviously require massive amounts of data and balancing a very wide array of variables.  Clearly, most climate scientists and apologists are not doing this at all.

In fact, the shrillest doomsday predictors often seem focused on variable to the near exclusion of all others.  Those who are concerned about CO2's effect on the atmosphere seem downright ignorant of its effect on plant life.  Those concerned about melting ice caps seem almost uninterested in oceanic water evaporation.  The irony is that in each case, the presumed negative effect is, to some degree, offset by the positive effect and--most importantly--inseparable.

I suppose that the biggest issue with the global warming screamers is that, while they are certainly more clever than average, they are very much linear thinkers.  In fact, I would suggest that they are probably be the smartest linear thinkers.

Unfortunately, climatology is not a branch of science that is well-suited for linear logic.  Isolating a variable and extrapolating its effects is an extremely stupid thing to do in climatology because a) every variable has multiple effects and b) no variable is truly independent in reality.  More CO2 may lead to a greater greenhouse effect, to be sure.  The point of a greenhouse, though, has always been to leverage a warmer, more humid environment into increased plant growth and yields.  Thus, an increased greenhouse effect would likely have a positive effect on crop yields and subsequently ameliorate global poverty.

Thus, applying the tool of linear logic to an isolated variable is akin to digging a hole with a shovel.  The tool simply isn't meant for the job.  So, while the global warming crowd may be quite clever at using their analytic method, when's all is said and done they are not really clever enough to realize that they are using the wrong tool for the job.  So really, they aren't even that clever.

25 October 2015

The Rising Tide

Karl Denninger:
The problem with the claim is that there's a tide gauge (actually, several of them) in the San Francisco Bay basin.  One of them with a 75 year record is at Alameda Naval Air Station. 
It shows no material change in tidal levels.
When one actually stops to compare the claim that increased global temperatures will lead to rising ocean levels to elementary school science, it becomes readily obvious that the claim is, to put it bluntly, full of shit.  More precisely, the idea that higher temperatures lead to melting ice caps, which in turn leads to rising ocean levels is an extremely simplistic model that ignores some very basic and well-established scientific theories.

In the first place, it must be noted that ice (solid water) is less dense than liquid water, as evidenced by its tendency to float on water.  To wit:
Things float when they are positively buoyant, or less dense than the fluid in which they are sitting. This does not mean that an object has to be lighter than the fluid, as in the case of a boat; objects just need to have a greater ratio of empty space to mass than the fluid.
More to the point, pound for pound, ice takes up 9.05% more volume than its liquid counterpart.  Converting liquid water into solid requires more volume; reversing the process requires less volume.  Thus, melting ice caps and oceanic ice (e.g. icebergs) wouldn't necessarily increase oceanic levels at all simply because liquid water is more dense than solid water.

Moreover, it is estimated, at least in the case of icebergs, that only 10-20% of the volume of the ice sits above the water.  Assuming that the visible area is closer to 10% of volume than 20%, an iceberg that melts completely would have virtually no effect on ocean levels, since the visible volume is basically the same as the difference in volume between the solid and liquid forms of water.  As such, as the berg melts it would condense in volume and not cause anymore displacement.

Considering that water covers 71% of the earth's surface while only 1.7% of that volume is in solid form, it seems downright illogical to assert that such a relatively small amount of water will lead to increased oceanic levels as it condenses in volume.  Granted, some solid water is on land (e.g. glaciers), but given that water condenses when it melts, it does seem remarkably ignorant to hypothesize that melting ice caps will lead to unparalleled catastrophe.

Finally, one must also account for evaporation when discussing the water cycle.  If higher temperatures led to more melted ice, they would also likely lead to an increase of water vapor in the atmosphere.  Per Wikipedia:
The main ways water vapor is added to the air: wind convergence into areas of upward motion; precipitation or virga falling from above; daytime heating evaporating water from the surface of oceans, water bodies, or wet land; transpiration from plants; cool or dry air moving over warmer water; and lifting air over mountains. [Emphasis added.]
Ocean water evaporation is very much contingent on relative temperature:
The most noticeable pattern in the time series is the influence of seasonal temperature changes and incoming sunlight on water vapor. In the tropics, a band of extremely humid air wobbles north and south of the equator as the seasons change. This band of humidity is part of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, where the easterly trade winds from each hemisphere converge and produce near-daily thunderstorms and clouds. Farther from the equator, water vapor concentrations are high in the hemisphere experiencing summer and low in the one experiencing winter. [Emphasis added.]
Obviously, if more ocean water evaporates in the summer when the temperatures are warmer, then it should make sense to assert that warmer global temperatures will generally extend and/or accelerate this cycle.  If that is indeed the case, then it should also seem reasonable to assert that the evaporation cycle would ameliorate the admittedly limited effect of melting ice.  Hell, for all anyone knows, the evaporation cycle might be severe enough to add so much water to the atmosphere that ocean levels recede and the coastline expands.

Anyhow, as Karl Denninger points out, the mere fact that ocean levels haven't risen in conjunction with temperature should suffice to refute the theory that global warming leads  to rising ocean levels.  In fact, given the basic science of the water cycle and the chemical properties of water, it seems to be a downright ignorant assertion.  Perhaps it would be best to simply start ridiculing global warming scaremongers for being so ignorant about science.

06 October 2015

The Real Cause of Global Warming

Via Karl Deninger, here's a report showing the sun's effect on global temperatures:
“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.” 
There is another problem with the original climate model, which has been around since 1896. 
While climate scientists have been predicting since the 1990s that changes in temperature would follow changes in carbon dioxide, the records over the past half million years show that not to be the case. 
So, the new improved climate model shows CO2 is not the culprit in recent global warming. But what is? 
Dr Evans has a theory: solar activity. What he calls “albedo modulation”, the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun, is the likely cause of global warming. 
He predicts global temperatures, which have plateaued, will begin to cool significantly, beginning between 2017 and 2021. The cooling will be about 0.3C in the 2020s. Some scientists have even forecast a mini ice age in the 2030s.
So the sun is what's been driving global heating and cooling all along?! You don't say!  Next thing you know, scientists will be telling us that the moon affects the tide!

At any rate, it's nice to know that someone has taken time to analyze the sun's role in global temperature fluctuation, something I suggested two years ago.  In fact, it's rather astonishing that climate "scientists" haven't put much effort into doing this very thing given that the daily cycle of climate change corresponds almost perfectly to solar visibility, and the annual cycle of climate change corresponds strongly to the rate of solar exposure.  As such, it seems like it would be obvious to assume that if the sun is the biggest driver of climate temperature fluctuation on a micro- and mezzo-cycle, then it's probably the main driver of temperature on a macro-cycle as well.

Also, climatology isn't really a proper science given that its theories aren't generally subjected to testing and falsification.  For instance, it seems like it would be possible to hypothesize a correlation between CO2 emissions and global temperature increase.  If, say, 1,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions led to a 1-degree Celsius increase in global temperature year over year, this could be tested by generating 1,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions and observing the subsequent trends.  This is never done, of course, and for good reason:  a one degree difference in measured temperature could simply be measurement error.  Nonetheless, the complete absence of anything approaching empirical testing in climatology means that the discipline bears considerably more resemblance to the statistical analysis common in marketing research that the hard science of chemistry.  And keep in mind that statistical analysis isn't even as rigorous as mathematics.

Anyhow, given that climatology isn't rigorous to be math or science, and given that the current consensus of climatologists has been demonstrated to woefully incompetent at even statistical analysis, I think it safe to double down on my prior assertion that people who worry about climate change are really just people who like to worry.  Climatology thus exists provides them with complex jargonistic rationalizations for their feelings of crisis (read: guilt) and compels them to action to save the world (read: evangelize).  In short, climatology isn't science, it's priest craft for earth-worshiping pagans.

07 September 2015

Book Review

In many ways, SJWs Always Lie is the sequel to The Irrational Atheist.  If the latter could be described as Vox Day taking a backhoe to the roots of the tree of lies, than the former can be described as Vox taking a chainsaw to its trunk and branches.  Atheism is, of course, the big lie from which the vast majority of the small lies—such as feminism, equality, diversity, and so forth—spring forth.  SJWs, being liars, are the practitioners of the Atheist philosophy whether they realize it or not.  In fact, the SJW orthodoxy and orthopraxy is practically to a word the communist manifesto of 1963, in which the destruction of the Christian religion was one of the stated aims.  In short, Social Justice is practiced by those who hate God and the natural order, irrespective of whether said practitioners recognize the roots of the philosophy they have put into practice.

To this end, Vox’s epigraph neatly solves answers the question of what to do with those who fight for the forces of darkness.  The answer is pretty simple:  fight back twice as hard.

Vox begins by identifying the enemy.  The prototypical SJW is a self-deputized member of the thought police, an activist for activism’s sake.  They are defined by victimhood and identity politics; indeed, this is how they determine status amongst themselves.  In a complete subversion of the natural order, higher status is given to those who are (nominally) the furthest away from possessing oppressive power.  Basically, the closer one is to be the antonym of a straight WASP conservative entrepreneurial male, the more social power one accrues in the SJW social circle.

This subversion of the natural order means that SJWs always lie, which is Vox’s first law of the SJW.  The second is that SJWs always double down (i.e. continue to lie when called out), and the third is that SJWs always project.  Because SJWs virtually always obey these three laws, their mode of attack is both easy to predict and easy to counterattack.  Vox spends a lot of time describing their methods of attack, in part because he uses #GamerGate and the Sad Puppies campaign as real-world examples.  Not surprisingly, he also spends a lot of time discussing how to counterattack.  I won’t summarize either of these points here, in part because he has done so himself, and in part because I want readers to line his pocket by buying the book out of curiosity, if nothing else.

SJWs Always Lie is a tremendously important book for the role it plays in giving conservatives and Christians—the main targets of the Social Justice Brigade—a guide on how to resist their attackers.  Intriguingly, a small amount of resistance is often enough to inspire SJWs to retreat.

While this book is a very useful guide to resisting the SJWs, it has some very serious shortcomings.  The most fundamental shortcoming is that Vox’s focus is much more political than religious.  This appears to be an extension of his personality and subsequently personal desires.

He mentions that “Truth, Liberty, and Justice” are the ideals of the anti-SJW movement, and makes no bones about allying with those who just want to be left alone to make their own games/art/whatever.  In essence, his fight for liberty as an ideal is mostly an extension of his sympathy towards those who just want to be left alone.  Furthermore, the man himself has stated on his blog that he wants to be left alone by the SJW crowd, and that he wouldn’t fight them if they simply left him alone.  He is essentially a loner that wishes to exist outside of a social hierarchy—he doesn’t want to answer to anyone, and he doesn’t want people to answer to him.  He simply wants to be alone.

Because he personally desires to live and let live, he chooses liberty as a political goal and fits his tactical prescriptions to that aim.  In doing so, he makes two serious errors.  The first is that he identifies SJWs as being politically motivated instead of religiously motivated (an amusingly ironic error, as will be obvious shortly).  Subsequently, his second error is tactical, in that he advises treating moderates with civility.  After all, his goal is to minimize social conflict and strife so as to be left alone in pursuit of his own interests, so there is little point in being more divisive than necessary, which makes him sound downright…moderate.

The root of Vox’s primary error is especially ironic because he ignores his stated first goal of the SJW, which is that they always lie, and takes them at their word that they are politically motivated.  If they always lie, then why believe that they are motivated by politics?  Even more ironically, Vox appears to be highly susceptible to believing that SJWs are politically motivated because, in this instance, his own motivations for writing this book and resisting the SJWs are political, which means that Vox is projecting his motivations onto his opponents, which astute readers will note is in complete accordance with the third law of the SJW, making Vox …an SJW?

I kid, of course, but I think Vox’s error is entirely understandable in light of his personal experience, and I don’t think his error does anything at all to undermine the tactical value of his book.  However, I think that it is far more accurate to identify SJWs as religiously motivated, rather than politically motivated, and that the religion they practice is Satanism for they are liars just like their father the Devil.

The reason that I believe SJWs are religiously motivated instead of politically motivated is because the behavior that Vox describes as intrinsic to the SJW perfectly describes the behavior of a false teacher that I know.  More to the point, I was able to witness this behavior firsthand.

Well over a year ago, a preacher by the name of Holger Neubauer began to preach the doctrine of preterism.  It was the full-blown AD 70 theory nonsense that runs counter to basic bible doctrine and teaching.  In teaching this theory, Holger managed to convince another preacher by the name of Steve Baisden to join him in teaching this heresy.  Steve and Holger then commenced to convince another preacher by the name of Scott Klaft to join them in this, then the three of them went around challenging preachers they knew to debate them on the subject.  No one would respond to them, what with them being apostate and all, so they began to brag that everyone “in the brotherhood” was too scared to debate them.  Steve felt pretty bold by this point, and began to state on his facebook page that he would debate anyone at anytime and anyplace.  When no one took him up on that offer, he began to claim that no one could refute his false doctrine, which enabled him to drag a large number of his congregants into apostasy.

About fifteen months ago, a preacher by the name of John Chowning took him on his offer to debate anyone anytime anyplace, and suggested they have a debate at IPFW in August of last year. John Chowning submitted the affirmative that “the scriptures teach that like Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, there will be a universal bodily/physical resurrection from the dead.”  Steve agreed to be in the negative and rebut Chowning’s affirmative.  This was the result:

Assuming you watched the video in its entirety, it is pretty obvious that John Chowning had a grasp of the dialectical and Steve Baisden did not.  Consequently, Steve was pretty well trounced by John, and lapsed into general incoherence.

Per the second law of the SJW, Steve doubled down.  He declared himself the winner of the debate, in spite of not ever answering any of the logical syllogisms presented and also in spite of violating the rules of formal debate (e.g. no new material in final rebuttal).  Astute observers will note that Holger, on Steve’s behalf, complained about the difficulty of making it to the debate in spite of a) having promised to debate anyone anytime anyplace and b) having agreed to the debate a couple months prior.

In the months following the debate, Steve bragged on his facebook page that everyone was still scared to debate him because he trounced John Chowning.  He has since also doubled down on preterist doctrine, and fully admits that there is no hope of resurrection.

The reason I share this story is because Steve is nominally a Christian, and is also a political conservative. In fact, his dislike of SJWs would probably rival Vox’s.  Furthermore, if you watched the whole debate, you’ll note that Steve ineptly tried to DISQUALIFY John as a political liberal.  In essence, we have a self-described Christian conservative conforming to the three laws of the SJW.  The problem is, Steve isn’t an SJW, and his behavior wasn’t politically motivated.

Thus, it should be more apparent why I say SJWs are religiously motivated.  They are liars, and children of their father the Devil, the great deceiver.  They are self-deceived liars who believe lies.  Thus, I think it an error to describe their motives as political even if the theater of war is political.
Consequently, this means Vox’s book is tactically sound but strategically suspect.  The battle is (currently) political but the war is spiritual in nature.  Those who are liars are the enemy.

This bring us back to the second error, which is the advice to treat moderates with civility.  Vox describes the moderate as “the man who only shoots at his own side, and never the enemy” and goes on to say:
Moderates merit friendly civility, but no respect.  They are often useful, if irritating allies, but do not permit them any input into strategy and tactics or decision-making.  And do not accept them as leaders except of their own moderate faction.  They are considerably worse than useless in that regard, because they are constantly trying to find a middle ground that quite often does not exist.
As tactical advice for a political battle where the goal is to beat back the SJWs in order to be left alone, this is sound advice.  As a strategy of spiritual warfare, this is unsound advice.  Those who are not for us are against us.  There is no third way in spiritual conflict, there is good and there is evil; there is nothing else.  Those who are lukewarm are no better than those who are evil. As such, it is best to treat moderates as SJWs.  They need to know, in no uncertain terms, that they must either be fully committed to defending what is True, Just and Good, or they will be counted as enemies.  Plus, if they only shoot at you and never your enemies, you are only deceiving yourself if you think these so-called moderates are anything other than your enemies.  If it walks like a duck and all…

All in all, this book is very useful, and will hopefully serve as a springboard for some very practical Christian theology of modern spiritual warfare.  It does have its shortcomings, but its tactical practicality cannot be overstated.  It’s a must-read for anyone who plans on resisting the children of the great deceiver.  Buy it and read it today.

01 September 2015

The Pathology of Cowardice

I had just started the second chapter of Vox Day's most recent book--SJWs Always Lie--when I was struck by this assertion:
Even if telling a lie is in your best interest, it would bother you to be caught lying.  It would reduce your credibility in the future, so you would avoid telling stupid and obvious lies that are bound to be exposed.  [Emphasis added, ed.]
It's true that spiritually normal people would be bothered to be caught lying, but that's not how SJWs are because SJWs are cowards at their core.  Worse yet, this cowardice starts with the best of intentions, albeit childishly naive intentions.

SJWs are human beings, which means their motives are often quite human.  In this particular instance, I'd imagine that the descent into SJWism tends to start with the typical human desire to be accepted as part of a group.

With a few notable exceptions, most human beings wish to belong to something.  Belonging is the fundamental source of human contentment.  Children wish to belong to their parents (especially fathers), which is why children from broken homes have so many issues.  Women typically wish to belong to men, which is why single women seem more neurotic than married women, and why the typical woman seems to become less neurotic after marriage.  Men also like to feel a sense of belonging, which is why they often join tribes or the modern equivalent: organizations.  Belonging to someone or something and knowing one's place within it creates a sense of peace, and the absence of belonging--isolation--creates a sense of unease.*

It is within this framework of human motivation that the seeds of SJWism are planted, for the start of this problem is that of cowardice.  Specifically, SJWs fear social ostracism, probably to an atypical degree.  Thus, if one were to be asked by his peers for his opinion on a subject, he would likely toe the group line whether regardless of whether he believed what he actually said.  He might even do this in spite of, say, having a track record of holding an opinion contrary to the group's generally held opinion on the matter.  Thus, while he might be bothered to be caught lying, he would be even more bothered to directly disagree with the people whose approval he seeks.

Thus the game is started, and thus it progresses.  One must subordinate to the group by affirming that one is just like everyone else in actions and beliefs whether one actually does and believes like everyone else.  As this progresses, words are not used to convey information, but to placate people.  The meaning of words doesn't depend on objective metrics, but on the effect they will have on the listener.  Eventually, words exist to make friends feel good and enemies feel bad.**

Unfortunately, this quickly becomes a losing game in the long run because one destroys his credibility by constantly abusing language for social gain.  One also becomes increasingly attached to the group whose approval he seeks because he has unwittingly isolated himself by his dishonesty, and so the only ones who will have anything to do with him are those for whose benefit he lies.  I suspect that most SJWs come to realize this after a fairly short amount of time, which is why they often double down in their lies.

The reason they lie in the first place is to avoid social ostracism.  Unfortunately, their lying precludes them from being part of any group but the SJW group.  They have to double down because if they don't, they will be kicked out of the SJW group and then be completely alone.  This is their greatest fear.

I also suspect that most SJWs know in their hearts that they are cowards, which is why they refer to themselves as Warriors, bravely fighting against injustice of all stripes.  They fancy themselves to be knights of the modern age, upholding the chivalric code of a keyboard Camelot.  SJWs, even in their descent into cowardice, still recognize the virtue of bravery and attempt to delude themselves into thinking that they are courageous.  They are projecting a fantasy, but even in this fantasy they still recognize virtue even if they are lying to themselves about possessing it.

Unfortunately, their actions betray them.  They destroy with words what has been built by hands.  The fabled knight, on the other hand, would destroy with his hands what had been built by words.***  SJWs are lots of talk but almost no action.  Yes, they write, tweet, post, blog, call, DDoS, etc. but this is merely words.  Their conception of justice as put into action is to "raise awareness."  Basically, they point and shriek.

At no point has any SJW done any work of substance to mitigate injustice.  They don't build schools for minorities; they don't provide food, shelter or clothing for those cruelly laid off by evil capitalist overlords; they do nothing to help the oppressed build their own business and thus escape the evil clutches of the white cis male ruling class.  Sometimes they have fund raiser drives, often quite snarkily, but it does not appear that they are ever the ones who actually do what needs to be done for those who are allegedly oppressed.  In short, they are not brave enough to actually act.  They try to hide this, though, behind a whirlwind of consciousness-raising activity.

While it is easy to have sympathy for SJWs because they just want to belong to something and are scared of rejection, it is foolish to tolerate their dishonesty and cowardice.  Just as a caring mother doesn't let her child eat a steady diet of candy and cake, a caring society should not let its members be cowardly and dishonest.

For starters, cowardice can never lead to healthy relationships.  Paradoxically, the fear of rejection guarantees rejection.^  One core insight of Game is that the man who is supplicating and works hard to not be rejected by a woman is almost sure to be rejected by her because he constantly demonstrates low value.  This applies more broadly, though, in that "men are men but Man is a woman."  Anyone who supplicates to others is broadcasting low value and will be treated accordingly.  Consequently, the most supplicative member is often the one made scapegoat.

The converse paradox is also true:  Those who display no fear of rejection are most likely to be accepted.  While it might, on the surface, seem strange for people to accept someone who doesn't care all that much about their opinion of them, it actually makes sense at a deeper level because someone who has a fairly high opinion of himself, such that he doesn't care about others' opinions, will command respect by virtue of implicitly demanding it.

Thus, it is crucial to root out cowardice where it is found, particularly among young men.  Men must have a healthy sense of self-respect in order to function in society, else they will be devolve into cowards.  A man who cannot be confident in who he is or in what he believes is not really a man; he is a puppet to be used by those who prey on the weak.

* Perhaps this is why social ostracism, aka excommunication, is the primary form of church discipline.  Perhaps this is also why God said it was not good for Man to be alone.  Maybe God knows a thing or two about his creation.

** More accurately, words intended to make the listener feel bad exist more for the benefit of signaling to friends that you are fighting the good fight.

*** That is, by a spell.

^  I generally suspect that a lot of SJWs have daddy or mommy issues, or lived through a divorce or have been sexually abused.  They strike me as miserably sad people who just want to belong to something and feel content, which is why I have a lot of pity for them.

23 April 2015

The Real Gender Bias

CNN reports on a new study showing there is a HUGE gender bias in hiring decisions in the United States and it has been this way in some fields since the eighties. You already knew there was gender bias in hiring (duh) but you probably did not know how bad it was. Check this out: The gender preference in hiring decisions was 2-to-1 in some areas for candidates with equal qualifications. 
That is an embarrassing number for a country that prides itself on equal opportunity. A 2-to-1 advantage is not even within driving distance of equal rights. 
By the way, this study matches my personal observations over a lifetime. I have been in countless meetings in which a strong gender preference in hiring was discussed behind closed doors. Now I feel terrible about all those conversations. I am officially part of the problem because I did nothing to stop it. 
I’m not sure if I mentioned that the study shows the gender advantage in hiring favors women by 2-to-1. That matches my experience in business. I have been in lots of closed-door meeting with other men discussing a preference for hiring women. I have never heard a man express a preference for hiring another man. Nor have I heard it in a private conversation. It makes me wonder how common my situation is.
The above situation seems fairly common to me, and roughly describes my experience with retail hiring decisions.  In fact, I advised my boss to hire a female because it would be good for sales and business.  The only time I’ve ever heard anti-female discrimination was with a contractor for whom I formerly worked.  He did upscale painting, and was adamant about his customers wanting paint crews that were clean-cut white males.  As such, he never hired women, non-whites, or any white male that looked like a drug user or convict.

Getting back to the point, I think the feminists have pretty clear won the workplace battle for the most part.  Women can pretty much work in any industry they choose because most of the people in charge are willing to bend over backwards to not appear sexist.  More to the point, there are of jobs where feminine traits are huge plus anyhow, which gives women in ingrained advantage in several areas.

Therefore, if women are being underrepresented in certain sectors of the economy, it’s probably because they don’t want the jobs at the price being paid, or they don’t want the jobs at all.  Not every woman wants a career; many are content to stay home and raise families.  Thus, it’s time to stop worry about male career privilege.  What we have now is about as good as it is going to realistically get.

Are Cop Cams So Bad?

David Brooks raises some objections:
All these concentric circles of privacy depend on some level of shrouding. They depend on some level of secrecy and awareness of the distinction between the inner privileged space and the outer exposed space. They depend on the understanding that what happens between us stays between us.
Cop-cams chip away at that. The cameras will undermine communal bonds. Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you. When a police officer is wearing a camera, the contact between an officer and a civilian is less likely to be like intimate friendship and more likely to be oppositional and transactional. Putting a camera on an officer means she is less likely to cut you some slack, less likely to not write that ticket, or to bend the regulations a little as a sign of mutual care.
Of course, it’s not like people trust the cops as it is.  Trust has to be continually earned through consistent good behavior, and cops just haven’t been doing that for some time, what with their increasing militarization, no-knock raids, and accidental shootings.  In short, cops act like small-dick cowards with military complexes who think their badges make them badass alpha males that everyone must respect.  Consequently people can’t stand being around them because they tend to abuse their authority, which leads to distrust.  The cop cams are merely a reflection of that which has already occurred.  More to the point, cop cams will help to rebuild trust because they will incentivize cops to be on their best behavior, which would be a marked change from the status quo.
Putting a camera on the police officer means that authority resides less in the wisdom and integrity of the officer and more in the videotape. During a trial, if a crime isn’t captured on the tape, it will be presumed to never have happened.

Of course, it would help if cops had wisdom and integrity in the first place.  That a mechanical recording device with a host of potential for mechanical failure is considered more reliable than the average cop should indicate just how far the police have fallen in prestige and trustworthiness.
Cop-cams will insult families. It’s worth pointing out that less than 20 percent of police calls involve felonies, and less than 1 percent of police-citizen contacts involve police use of force. Most of the time cops are mediating disputes, helping those in distress, dealing with the mentally ill or going into some home where someone is having a meltdown. When a police officer comes into your home wearing a camera, he’s trampling on the privacy that makes a home a home. He’s recording people on what could be the worst day of their lives, and inhibiting their ability to lean on the officer for care and support.
This is actually a pretty fair point.  However, there is little reason to believe that cops are the only people who mediate a conflict.
Cop-cams insult individual dignity because the embarrassing things recorded by them will inevitably get swapped around. The videos of the naked crime victim, the berserk drunk, the screaming maniac will inevitably get posted online — as they are already. With each leak, culture gets a little coarser. The rules designed to keep the videos out of public view will inevitably be eroded and bent.
This is kind of an interesting point, because Brooks spends his whole time arguing that cops are mostly trustworthy and cams will undermine the trust between cops and civilians.  Now he argues that cops shouldn’t wear cams because they can’t be trusted to handle the video with propriety.

In spite of that, I can’t really say that concerns over individual dignity are that big a deal for a couple of reasons.  First, if all “colorful” incidents recorded by cop cams make it to YouTube, it’s unlikely that there will be as big effect as Brooks assumes.  Time, like all resources, is finite and so it is unlikely that any given video of perps behaving badly will get a lot of views because few people will find it worth the time.

However, these sorts of videos will be locally popular among the perps’ social circle, which should lead to greater mockery and shaming of the perps.  Like sitting in stocks, this consequence will help to marginally reduce crime by encouraging shamable assholes to put a little more thought into their actions prior to doing something.

Moreover, unless the perp is a criminal, it is unlikely that his instant celeb that comes from being posted online from a cop cam will result in any major long-term negative feedbacks.  Humans have short memories, so unless someone tries to make a perp’s post-incident life a living hell, the controversy should blow over quickly, relatively speaking.

In sum, there really is not much of a reason to oppose cop cams, at least for the time being.  Once the cops have earned back the trust of the people, then we can reconsider the costs and benefits of demonstrating trust.

22 April 2015

Triumph Over Religion

Pat Buchanan laments:
Politics follows culture. And the cultural revolution of the '60s is triumphant. Traditional Christianity, driven out of schools and the public square, is being whipped back into the churches and told to stay there.
America has gone over to the revolution. 
Looking back, the sweep of the capitulation becomes stark. 
First came the plea of atheists not to have their children forced to participate in prayers at school. Fair enough. Americans do not believe in compelling people to do as they disbelieve. 
Then followed the demand that no child be exposed to prayers or religious books, including the Bible, nor have any day or week set aside as a holiday if connected to Christianity. 
Out went Christmas and Easter. In came winter break and spring break. Coaches of high school teams were ordered to dispense with prayers before games. The coaches complied. 
No matter what the majority wanted, the minority prevailed, thanks to a Supreme Court whose dictates were never challenged by democratically elected presidents or Congresses, nor ever defied by a Christian majority. 
In the sexual revolution there came first the plea that abortion in extreme cases be decriminalized, then legalized, then subsidized, then declared a right. From crime to constitutional right in two decades!
Unfortunately, this outcome has been pretty much inevitable since the north won the civil war. Here’s why:  while the first amendment of the constitution prohibited congress from regulating religion, the individual state governments were free to do so, and could impose a state religion if they so desired (in fact, quite a few states were founded for the purpose of having a state religion, e.g. Rhode Island).  The federal government was intended to form an economic and political union among the states, and was thus entirely secular/political in nature and operation precisely because its main function was consolidate selected areas of political power to ensure that the various American states could have more sway in the global realm and thus be less subject to the overreach of European powers.

As long as the federal government amicably resolved disputes among the states, the union would be preserved, and the federal government would be relevant and have some degree of strength.  To keep the government in check the ability for states to secede from the union was implicitly understood, for if the states could not secede, than what would prohibit the federal from simply dictating to the states?  Thus, the importance of the civil war becomes obvious, for if states cannot secede, then the federal government must necessarily trump over them, and ultimately all states must adhere to the federal constitution.

Thus, when the north won the civil war, it was all but inevitable that the federal government would overpower the states and, more to the point, that secularism would triumph over religion because the federal government is secular, not religious.  While the various states still had the option to leave the union, they also had the power to establish their own religions.  Once leaving was no longer optional it of necessity became the case that religious pluralism would take hold, only to be overcome by secularism.  Funnily enough, religious pluralism is exactly what enabled the triumph of secularism because, for as an astute internet commenter has noted in the process his recent Rabid Puppies campaign, a house divided against itself cannot stand.  In order to preserve religious pluralism, it is necessary to have an irreligious moderator keep the various divisions from overpowering each other (a religious moderator could not be trusted, as it would be widely assumed to have a vested interest in something).

As pluralism increases (i.e. as more denominations pop into existence), the secular power that keeps them in line must necessarily become stronger to prevent the system from breaking down.  Thus, the great irony takes shape:  freedom of religion is death to Christianity. Only a secular state that is given authority over religion can preserve pluralism.*  And what the state giveth, it can take away.
The silver lining in all this is that the inevitable persecution will cleanse the church of its evildoers and lukewarm members.  There are two things holding the church back in America: heterodoxy and patriotism.

Heterodoxy holds America back because it absolutely demands the need for a secular government.  As long as American Christians demands the “right” to each determine their own hermeneutic and consequently draw their own lines of fellowship and recognition, they will inevitably be doomed to being regulated from above by a secular government.  (Also, given that the government is essentially playing the role of baby-sitter, it should be obvious why religion is more or less mocked in America and looked upon as inferior to secularism.)  There is a reason why Saint Paul condemned the divisions that cropped up in the CorinthianChurch:  Internecine squabbling weakens the church and subjects it to harm from without.

As a side note, this is precisely what happened during the crusades.  Whenever the Christians won, they eventually wound up bickering with each other over petty questions of power and rule.  While they bickered, the Muslim forces would recover and regroup, then attack the Christians, often successfully.  Internal division makes the church highly susceptible to outside attacks.

As bad as heterodoxy is, the American combination of religion and patriotism is even worse.  Many Christians in America seem to take pride in having religious freedom, or at least some form thereof, and therefore feel that America is a country blessed directly by the Father himself because America enshrines religious liberty as a right.  There is much to say about how the entire notion of “rights” is bullshit, to say nothing of the stupidity of manifest destiny, but those will be posts for another time.  For now, suffice it say that as long as American Christians are proud of their nation’s enshrinement of religious tolerance, they will always be valuing secularism over Christianity, whether they realize it or not.

Thus, the RFRA hullabaloo can be seen as a sign of the times, as a warning of things to come.  Given that religion conservatives are mostly modernists through and through, and continue to cling to the notion of somehow restoring America to its glory days of religious freedom, it is inevitable that widespread persecution will occur.  As long as division—seeds of dissension sown by Satan—is lauded as beautiful and desirable, the church will be persecuted until the wheat is separated from the chaff.  Though this will be painful, it is a necessary and good thing.

Fortunately, persecution is essentially a form of hormetic stress:  what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  My belief is that the persecution of the church in America will ultimately turn the heterodoxy into orthodoxy.  Weaker and more delusional sects will disappear (think Mormons, JW’s and the Pentecostals), while larger and more orthodox sects will combine and become more rigid, and thus more resistant.  My guess is that Calvinism will finally get stamped out.

From this, I think one of two scenarios is quite possible.  I think there is a decent chance that the pluralist denominations get subsumed into the Catholic church (either Roman or Greek, the former being more likely).  Alternatively, I think that fundamentalist sects merge into an orthodox group that practically turns in to the Greek Catholic church after a very long time.

Now, while widespread persecution is likely inevitable, it doesn’t have to be this way.  There is no reason why American denominations cannot stop their bickering, join together and have a uniting faith and doctrine.  Aside from pride, that is.  There are a large number of nominal Christians in this country.  As long as they are willing to work together while still in large numbers, there is no reason to think that the tide cannot be stemmed.  However, this seems to be an unlikely development as long as Christians continue to splinter off from each other and celebrate their inferiority to secularism.

* Pay close attention to this quote too:  “Last week, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a vaguely worded statute called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was promptly signed by Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican often touted in conservative circles as a potential presidential candidate. Ostensibly, the law simply states that the state courts in Indiana cannot intrude on an individual’s religious liberty unless it can provide a “compelling” state interest to do so.”  Even the RFRA bill assumed the state’s authority over religion!  If that’s what so-called religious conservatives are defending, no wonder they’re losing!

21 April 2015

Skepticism About Redistribution

From the NYT:
With rising income inequality in the United States, you might expect more and more people to conclude that it’s time to soak the rich. Here’s a puzzle, though: Over the last several decades, close to the opposite has happened. 
Since the 1970s, middle-class incomes have been stagnant in inflation-adjusted terms, while the wealthy have done very well; inequality of wealth and income has risen. 
Over that same period, though, Americans’ views on whether the government should work to redistribute income — to tax the rich, for example, and funnel the proceeds to the poor and working class — have, depending on which survey answers you look at, either been little changed, or shifted toward greater skepticism about redistribution. 
In other words, Americans’ desire to soak the rich has diminished even as the rich have more wealth available that could, theoretically, be soaked.
I suspect that the decreased desire of average Americans to soak the rich among can be traced to at least two issues.  First, most people have an intuitive understanding that there are limits to how much the rich can be soaked before they just up and leave.  Second, promises of soaking the rich, particularly in the name of reducing inequality often has the strange effect of soaking the middle class.

Regarding the former, most people who know or work with or for rich people (e.g. accountants) know that the rich can afford to manipulate a system to their advantage, whether by lobbying/bribery or more commonly by hiring people to manipulate the system for them, which is why tax lawyers make pretty good money.  More to the point, tax exile has been used by plenty of people who could not or did not structure their income so as to avoid paying income taxes.  Thus, it’s pretty clear that vilifying the rich, though an enjoyable pastime, doesn’t really accomplish much, save for occasionally getting rich people to make their money in country where it isn’t taxed as much, making everyone else more equal while having reduced access to ta funds.

Regarding the latter, vilifying the rich in order to push for greater fairness and equality has more or less led to the modern IRS tax code, among a host of other things.  The complexity of the tax code makes it patently unfair and necessarily increases inequality because it requires the need for specialists to help the ignorant and less-intelligent navigate and manipulate the system.  This isn’t as big a deal when for rich people (the relative costs are low and the upside is high), but it is a big deal for those who are not rich because not all can afford to hire an expert and may lack the intelligence or know-how to navigate the system to their benefit.  Since vilifying the rich to justify greater equality tends to be a smokescreen for increased systemic complexity, most people are wise to be distrustful of talk of “soaking the rich” since often turns out to be the rich soaking the peons.

There are, of course, other reasons why people aren’t as inclined to soak the rich.  Aspirational affiliation is likely among them.  Also, humans have a tendency to feel sympathetic towards the rich, partly out of the human tendency to revere high-status individuals.  Nonetheless, there is good reason to distrust talk of redistribution.  That reason is deceit.

14 April 2015

Germans and War

From Radix:
But when Christian missionaries tried to appeal to the Germanic invaders by invoking the universalism, pacifism, and egalitarianism that had attracted the alienated inhabitants of the empire, they failed. That was because the Germans practiced a folk religion that reflected ethnic homogeneity, social hierarchy, military glory and heroism, and “standards of ethical conduct ... derived from a sociobiological drive for group survival through ingroup altruism.” Germanic religion and society were “world-accepting,” while Hellenic Christianity was “world-rejecting,” reflecting the influence of Oriental religions and ethics. By “Germans,” it should be noted, Mr. Russell does not mean modern residents of Germany but rather “the Gothic, Frankish, Saxon, Burgundian, Alamannic, Suevic, and Vandal peoples, but also... the Viking peoples of Scandinavia and the Anglo-Saxon peoples of Britain.” With the exception of the Celts and the Slavs, “Germans” thus means almost the same thing as “European” itself. 
Given the contradictions between the Christian ethics and world-view and those of the Indo-European culture of the Germanic peoples, the only tactic Christians could use was one of appearing to adopt Germanic values and claiming that Christian values were really compatible with them. The bulk of Mr. Russell’s scholarship shows how this process of accommodation took place in the course of about four centuries. The saints and Christ Himself were depicted as Germanic warrior heroes; both festivals and locations sacred in ancient Germanic cults were quietly taken over by the Christians as their own; and words and concepts with religious meanings and connotations were subtly redefined in terms of the new religion. Yet the final result was not that the Germans were converted to the Christianity they had originally encountered, but rather that that form of Christianity was “Germanized,” coming to adopt many of the same Indo-European folk values that the old pagan religion had celebrated.
I’m fairly ignorant on the history of Germanic peoples and how their culture has descended through time.  Nonetheless, I think it would be quite interesting to see just how much influence those of Germanic descent have on this modern world. 

I say this because I’ve been repeatedly struck by how martial those of Germanic descent have tended to be in the last, say one thousand years.  For example, I found it interesting when reading a fairly comprehensive history of the crusades how Just War theology began to become popularized in the Roman Catholic Church soon after the Church began to bring Germanic tribes under its authority.  Moreover, as I’ve been reading van Creveld’s history of military theory, it’s also striking how large a number of military theorists in the last couple hundred years have likewise been of Germanic descent.

Perhaps there is something to the notion that our genes play a non-negligible role in making us who we are.  Perhaps there is eve something to be said for racial and ethnic stereotypes too.  Perhaps I’m just completely ignorant, and there is absolutely nothing to the notion that those of Germanic descent might be a wee bit martial and bloodthirsty.