Posts Tagged ‘decline of the west’

Technological decline

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Konkvistador has drawn my attention to the Pu238 shortage. We stopped making Pu238 in 1988 You need Pu238 for nuclear batteries. The 2006 New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper belt was launched without enough Pu238 to keep all its equipment live during the Pluto flyby, and without enough Pu238 to do its Kuiper belt mission, from which I conclude that since 2011 we have been totally completely flat out of Pu238, just as the Fed is totally completely flat out of gold. For the last few decades, the government has been acting as if we are very very short of Pu238. For example, no allotment for pacemaker batteries, so people with pacemakers have to have major surgery every couple of years. The Europeans are using (dangerous and expensive) americium based nuclear batteries for their space program.

Supposedly we can simply make more Pu238, just as supposedly when the two towers fell, we could supposedly build buildings just as tall or taller, just as we can supposedly still build warplanes that can cruise at supersonic speeds, we just supposedly do not want to. Today’s businessmen are supposedly so secure in their masculinity that they do not want a higher corner office with a bigger view than the next businessman.

Maybe.

But I rather think if we could do that, we would not have run out in the first place. we would not have launched New Horizons with a half flat battery. We have been mighty short for at least a couple of decades, and since 2011 the cupboard has been just flat empty.

Technological decline

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

If we cannot build high buildings any more, progressives say we are now so sophisticated that we are now superior to status competition based on giant penis substitutes, and status competition based on having a higher corner office than the other business executives.

If high art is an aids infested trannie projectile vomiting over the audience, progressives say that we philistines just don’t get high art.

But the most important thing about a military aircraft is that it can fly faster, higher, and further than its opponents, so that you can get away from enemies, but enemies cannot get away from you.  And of these, the most important by far is to fly faster, so that you can bring trouble to your enemies, but your enemies cannot bring trouble to you.

SR 71 Blackbird, first built in 1972, about the time we put the last man on the moon.

Cruising Speed Mach 3.2
Ceiling 85 000 feet
Range 3 200 nautical miles

Today’s latest and greatest American warplane, the impressively named F-35 Lightning II. Does not that sound so much more impressive than “Blackbird”?

Cruising Speed Mach 1.6
Ceiling 60 000 feet
Range 1 200 nautical miles nautical miles

So let us make a little table:

Capability Then Now
Speed Mach 3.2 Mach 1.6
Ceiling 85 000 feet 60 000 feet
Range 3 200 nautical miles 1200 nautical miles

(more…)

mens rea

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

I have been arguing that social decay is ending technological and scientific progress.  In most areas it has strikingly slowed, in some areas, going backwards in the west, as we forget how to do what once we could do.  Others, however, argue that technological and scientific progress is still running hot, or that if it has slowed, it is that we ran out of low hanging fruit.

But a big tell is that people are lying about it. The lie indicates not only failure, but that the failure is shameful – that the failure is in us, not in external circumstances.  That we are lying about it shows the failure is social decay. (more…)

Tall buildings and the social order

Monday, January 20th, 2014

To make and keep the upper stories of a tall building habitable requires routine high technology.  The lifts have to work, the water needs to be pumped, the toilets have let the poop down one hundred stories without shattering violence.  It is not all that expensive.  Current office space costs in the centers of major cities are so high that very tall buildings are immensely profitable.  It is simply difficult to do, requires able people working together, both initially to build the systems, and subsequently to keep them going.

It is habitable floors that are hard to do, and habitable floors are what generates the rental income.  So, to assess a society’s technological level, count habitable floors.

By and large, the taller the building, the more the profit.  Doubtless there is a limit, but in the center of most major cities, most tall buildings are below that limit.  If people could build taller, they would.  At our present technological level, settling space seems likely to be fatally unprofitable, but building upwards, building the city of tomorrow, is highly profitable. (more…)

Leftism as cancer

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Leftism is to memes as cancer is genes.

If the cells of the body mutate, cells that multiply at the expense of the body will be selected.  And cells that mutate to a faster mutation rate will be selected, since they will have more fast multiplying variants.

In a healthy body, each cell lives for the body, and performs its role in the whole body, making the body one. In cancer, each cancer cell lives for itself, at the expense of the body, parasitically, until the parasites devour the host

Left wing memes are selected by propagation through state power for propagation through state power. (more…)

Predicting collapse

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I am a prophet of doom.  There tends to be an oversupply of prophets of doom, and the proportion who turn out correct is quite small.

Equally, there are also a large number of prophets of non doom, for example the numerous prophets of complacency during the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, who assume that everything will continue as today, often even when spectacular collapse is under way, they assume that everything has now stabilized, or will very shortly stabilize.

So, I reach for the mantle of an accurate prophet:  Ayn Rand in her science fiction novel Atlas Shrugged accurately predicted the condition of today’s Detroit, though her book was published when Detroit had the highest standard of living in America. (more…)

Apostolic Succession

Friday, November 1st, 2013

According to some branches of Christianity, notably Roman Catholicism, Jesus ordained his disciples to perform certain sacraments, and they in turn ordained others to perform these sacraments, and only the legitimate successors of the apostles can validly perform these sacraments.   So supposedly most sacraments are invalid unless performed by a priest, by someone who has been authorized by someone who has been authorized … all the way back to Jesus.

Trouble is that because the official Roman Catholic Church has not believed in Apostolic Succession for some time, Pope Francis arguably never got ordained, in the sense that his ordination did not grant him power over sacraments, in the sense that it failed to say, or act out, the granting of power over sacraments,  and is therefore only a layman who cannot perform a valid sacrament.

If you do not believe in apostolic succession, then Pope Francis is just another man.  And if you do believe in apostolic succession, then he is still just another man, because ordained by people who corrected the ordination to avoid expressing belief in apostolic succession. (more…)

Progress

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

In 1900, there were no planes, no space travel. Motorcars were toys that enthusiasts played with, not useful means of transport.  There were no computers, no radios, no antibiotics, no rockets, no nuclear power, no knowledge or understanding of the interior the atom, no very useful plastics.

In 1961 we had all of this stuff

Since 1961, what have we got?

The last man on the moon is getting pretty elderly.  We have abandoned supersonic transport, and supersonic fighter planes are close to being abandoned.

Cell phones and the internet show radical improvement, but are just more intense and improved use of computers and radio, technologies that existed well before 1961.  Genetic technology shows promise, but is not yet doing anything big.  While reading genes continues to improve, writing them may well have peaked, and without vastly improved writing, gene technology is not going anywhere exciting.  AI remains thirty years in the future, as it has been for the past sixty years, even though every desktop now contains more computing power than the human brain.

And, as I regularly point out

The last man on the moon left in 1972

The tallest building in the united states was finished in 1974.

Cars are becoming humbler.

 

Cladistic analysis of neoreaction

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

As humans are bony fishes, and the Cathedral the heretical spawn of Cromwell’s puritans, the neoreaction is the heretical spawn of Libertarianism and anarcho capitalism.  Consider for example the blog title Anarcho Papist.

The Dark Enlightenment is libertarians mugged by reality, a libertarian who realizes that the eighteenth century was right about women, and Bull Conner right about blacks..

An anarcho capitalist favors a free market in law and defense agencies, defense agencies that are in many cases the private property of individuals and small groups.  A neoreactionary is an anarcho capitalist who thinks that a monopoly defense agency that is the private property of one man (monarchy) or a cartel of defense agencies that are the private property of a few men (feudalism) is not so bad after all.  Hence, throne conservatism.

He concludes that, progressivism being an official religion, therefore an official religion is unavoidable.  He suspects that most people need religion to persuade them to act sensibly, hence, whether Atheist or Christian, he endorses altar conservatism. (Or in the case of Israel, Temple Judaism.)

Thus libertarianism mutates into throne and altar conservatism, as puritanism mutated into militant atheism. (more…)

Preparing for Civil War Two

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Many reactionaries compare today’s America to the latter days of the Roman Republic, reflect on the excellence of the early Roman empire, and hope for a military coup that ends the corrupt and decadent American republic, replacing it with disciplined imperium.

The reigns of the five good Roman emperors illustrate that the reign of stationary bandit, an absolute dictator secure in his power, fearing neither votes nor coups nor riot nor military insurrection, is a pretty good system.  He has an incentive to shear the sheep, but not flay them, while other forms of government tend to flaying.  Observe that taxes on the rich are everywhere far above the Laffer limit, and in many places, such as Greece, taxes on the working poor are far above the Laffer limit.

Unfortunately such a tranquil transition seems improbable, for every officer above company grade in the US army is selected not only for political correctness, but, more importantly, for lack of military competence.  The Cathedral fears losing a war with the US military far more than it fears the US military losing a war with some external enemy.  A successful coup requires a leader who commands a reasonable level of respect from the junior officers. Being such a potential coup maker absolutely disqualifies officers for promotion above company grade.

Nor could the US military provide order after such a transition, for order requires legitimacy, and such a tranquil transition would leave the new imperator illegitimate.  Coercive power is insufficient to enable a government to govern. (more…)