Archive for September, 2010

Financial collapse still under way

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The Market Ticker ® complains that the banks and the regulators are flagrantly and massively violating laws that are necessary for borrowing and lending to work – violating every step that is necessary for the trust to work along the chain, with the result that our entire financial system is massively disfunctional, and continues to leak huge amounts of money.  He gives lots of interesting details of a multitude of flagrantly criminal acts.

But he fails to ask how the widespread criminality began.

It began because the law both commanded and forbade affirmative action lending, and to comply, what was illegal had to be done, therefore, had to be made de-facto legal.

Repeating my much repeated rant yet again:

When they gave a Nobel prize to Marie Curie for being female, that did not hurt anyone except more deserving potential Nobel prize winners.   But handing out phony Nobels on the basis of sex, race, and nationality necessitated handing out phony degrees on the basis of race and sex, and handing out phony degrees on the basis of race and sex necessarily led to a crisis where these phony degrees were being ignored by employers, so employers necessarily had to be forced to give out well paid phony jobs on the basis of race and sex.   But being given well paid phony jobs on the basis of race and sex failed to result in recipients living a middle class lifestyle, so lenders had to be forced to give out a middle class lifestyle on the basis of race and sex.  Which required every single banker to become dishonest or get a new job.  Which has led to our present financial crisis.  It all began with Marie Curie.

So if you roll back the most unpopular, extreme, and disastrous form of affirmative action, you then immediately face a problem with less extreme and more popular forms.  And if you roll them back … All solutions are either radical or unworkable.  Roll back affirmative action loans, and pretty soon you are going to have to ridicule Marie Curie, and say her husband should have kept her in the bedroom and the kitchen, and not put her in the lab.  And since no one wants to start walking down a path that ends in them saying it was inappropriate for Pierre Curie to try to make Marie Curie into a scientist, no one wants to stop bankers doing criminal things.

And so the financial system continues to leak money

Losing to Islam

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Islam is theocratic.  It intends to conquer. Shariah law, as interpreted by most Muslims, treats women fine.  Trouble is, as interpreted by all Muslims, even Sufis, it requires that infidels submit to law that makes them second class to believers and that Muslims fight to impose such law – and we are in fact submitting to such law.  The rather small Sufi minority merely propose less drastic measures to impose inferiority.

East Lansing, Michigan Police Department offers $10,000 reward in Qur’an-burning case

The department is offering $10,000 for any information that would lead to the identification and prosecution of those responsible for this act.

In November 2009, a high school senior was suspended in order to protect him from violence when he wrote an essay criticizing perceived special treatment for Somali Muslims in his school. In Dearborn, Mich., Christian missionaries were arrested for proselytizing at an Arab festival. In Minnesota, the state accommodates Shariah’s prohibition on interest payments by buying homes from realtors and reselling them to Muslims at an up-front price. Thereby providing Muslims with preferential access to homes at the expense of infidels.  Apparently the Constitution requires separation of Church and state, but no separation of mosque and state.

While Christianity is forbidden in government schools, Islam is preached and sponsored by the state.

Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist whose artwork sparked the controversial “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!” has gone into hiding, changed her name, and so forth.  The state is not protecting her.

Similarly for the Sweden Democrats.

In much of Europe, including England, people who criticize Islam are capriciously prosecuted

One supreme court justice has proposed that burning the Koran be banned – though none would suggest similar courtesy for the flag or the bible, or the 9/11 dead.  When an obscure church proposed to burn the Koran its website was  shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, and its mortgage has been called in by its bankers.

In England two men were arrested for watching a video of a Koran burning

Muslims are abducting infidel women, raping them, getting them pregnant, and forcibly marrying them as additional wives, and everyone is closing their eyes to it.

Our official moderate Muslim, Imam Rauf, is curiously evasive about 9/11.

How many Christians reacted violently to Piss Christ? Not a one, zero.  How many Muslims reacted violently to cartoon Mohammed?  Hundreds of thousands committed criminal acts, millions cheered them on.

All the great leaders of Islam were war makers, military leaders, conquerors, slavers.  This just is not a pattern you see in Christianity.  Not only did the original prophet of Islam massacre defeated populations, every subsequent great Islamic religious leader acted similarly – some better, some worse, but all directly commanded wars, personally led them, and took extreme measures to subjugate the defeated population.  In contrast, absolutely zero great Christian religious leaders has done this – you do not see popes and bishops leading armies, burning towns, and personally ordering the rape of the women of the conquered.

Christian fanatics generally lock themselves in dungeons and meditate.  Islamic fanatics blow themselves up.

Christian leaders that combined the role of military and religious leader have always been a marginal phenomenon, and phenomenon that  occurred only among those directly at war with Islam: the Knights of Malta and the Knights Templar.  Further, those combining Christian religious and secular power have frequently led their followers to disaster by recollecting Christ’s command to forgive one’s enemies and turn the other cheek at some highly inopportune moment, as Grand Master Bolheim of the Knights of Malta did.

Just as there is in all the world not one Christian who called for violence against the creators of Piss Christ and Andres Serrano, there is in all the world not one Muslim very few Muslims who condemned the fatwa against Molly Norris.  In that sense, every single Christian in the entire world is opposed to holy war and seeks peace, and every single Muslim in the entire world supports holy war and seeks conquest.

Let us imagine the situation was reversed, and some notable Christian preacher was to call for the murder of Andres Serrano. Obviously, if this happened, which it never would, every other notable Christian leader would condemn that call. Compare and contrast with the call for the murder of Molly Norris.  Not every Muslim has called for the murder of Molly Norris, but not one Muslim has condemned the call either.

Mao’s murders

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Rummel estimated that Mao killed wrongfully killed seventy seven million, and the Black Book of Communism estimates sixty five million  – but, of course, it is notoriously difficult to say what a totalitarian terror state based on slavery and mass murder is up to.   They called it an iron curtain because you could not see what was behind it. So how should we judge the accuracy of estimates?

One good way is to see what happens to those estimates when new data arrives.  If the estimates tend to go up when we get new information, the original estimates were on the low side.  If they tend to go down, perhaps the original estimates were exaggerated.

Because the great leap forward was violently controversial even within the communist party, it is the crime of communism that the present party leadership finds least hurtful to investigate. The present leadership descends from those who resisted the great leap forward, and are therefore less implicated by these crimes.  So they have recently allowed investigation.

Rummel estimated the great leap forward democide to be twenty seven million, largely a result of forced exactions of grain from starving peasants, akin to the Ukraine famine.  More recent data indicates forty five million.

The communist party of China now believes in “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” – which looks remarkably like Capitalism with Hong Kong Characteristics, and Hong Kong is itself the society that among present day societies most closely resembles Manchesterism, the capitalism that made the Industrial Revolution, which system was exported to parts of the third world by early nineteenth century colonists.

The cause of the crisis

Monday, September 13th, 2010

One of a series of posts titled “the cause of the crisis”, each discussing a different cause, but each of these causes caused or was caused by each of the other causes:

When the universal franchise was introduced a hundred years ago, people said the system would go to hell.  Now it is going to hell.

Obviously a government cannot go on forever spending much more than it collects.  For a while printing money and borrowing money will work, but eventually, it is bound to lead to trouble, and big trouble is approaching fast.

Government inexorably and rapidly gets more expensive and more intrusive.  No doubt more taxes could be collected if they went after the politically well connected, but overall taxes are close to the Laffer maximum – if they raise taxes on those whom it is easy to raise taxes on, for example a tax on luxury yachts, they will get less money, not more money.

A tax on gas, beer, and cigarettes would work, but be unpopular with the electorate.  A tax on bankers, educationists, and lawyers would work, but would be unpopular with the well connected – and even such taxes would merely postpone the day of reckoning.  Government’s existing commitments are unsustainable with any politically realistic, or even politically unrealistic, tax rise.

The welfare state is simply running out of money.

There are two related problems:  Theocracy and democracy.  The masses are stupid, the elite is theocratic.

Because the elite is theocratic, they compete for power by each being holier than the other, that is to say, more politically correct than the other – but because their religion is this-worldly, they are required to have religious beliefs about this word rather than the next, thus each member of the elite competes to be further out of contact with reality than the other.

Because the masses are stupid, they succumb to politicians promising that the voters can vote themselves rich.

A hundred years ago, progressivism was a sect of Christianity with ambitions for theocracy and world conquest.  To better pursue these goals, it discarded theism, becoming theologically indistinguishable from universalist Unitarianism, thus evading the restraints imposed by the first amendment.

Consider, for example, the doctrine that men and women are equal – therefore the same and interchangeable:  Women, supposedly, can be firemen and soldiers.  Men, supposedly, can marry other men.

The modern progressive theory of equality is in fact a variant of Christianity.

Equality of men and women, and of the races, makes no common sense or biological sense. Men and women, for example, are biologically so different, that pretty much however you decide to measure them, chances are slim that they will prove to be equal.

When I discuss the matter with leftists, the main argument is some kind of skepticism with regard to efforts to measure people (which always end up demonstrating sexual and racial differences). For example, Gould is skeptical about IQ and race.

Roissy wonders why the elites are so stuck on the obviously false idea of literal equality.  Understood as a species of Christian belief, it makes sense, because the Christians believe that the most important part of the self is immaterial. If it’s immaterial, then material differences have nothing to do with it. So Christians are free to believe pretty much anything they want about this most important part of the self, unconstrained by material evidence of any sort. They are free to believe that deep inside everyone, there is a core, an essence, that is not the slightest diminished by bodily infirmity etc. etc. I.e., the soul.

The progressives jettison God, replacing God with, presumably, Nature. So “equality before God” becomes “equality before Nature”. That is, natural equality (of some unspecified sort). And this could be how the progressives manage to believe in some unspecified “natural” (biological or whatever) equality even though no evidence backs them up. Their belief is derived, not from evidence, but from the Christian heritage of progressivism. Their belief looks superficially like a scientific hypothesis because all the terms in it could be interpreted as referring to natural things, but it doesn’t really have any empirical content, because “equality”, while it could refer to something measurable, does not actually refer to anything measurable. Any attempt to measure something to test the claim of “equality” is attacked by progressives.

Progressives are using naturalistic-sounding words to talk about equality, but they are behaving as though it didn’t make any sense to try to measure it, which is how Christians would behave with respect to attempts to rigorously test equality before God. Their reaction would range from skepticism that it could be done, to the sense that it doesn’t even make sense to try, and finally to the certainty that it is heresy to even suggest such a thing and the person suggesting it is evil and possibly a sorcerer and should be burnt at the stake.

The progressive reaction to naturalistic attempts to assess equality is exactly the same as the Christian reaction would be.

The Christian view of equality is entirely impervious to empirical evidence, and so is the progressive view. It makes sense, then, to interpret progressives, when they talk about male and female equality, and about black and white equality, as really talking about the Christian soul, even though they themselves do not realize this is what they are doing because they have forgotten why they are going through these mental motions.

The explosive expansion of the state

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Government employment is increasing relative to private employment, but only moderately, not explosively, yet the deficit is exploding.  Part of this comes from what Doc Zero calls the remora economy. Private businesses attach themselves to the state, and the state attaches nominally private businesses to itself and commands them to serve its political objectives.

The private businesses make corrupt profits from their state connection, and the state creates costs that are nominally off budget, as for example, the health crisis and the recent financial crisis which was primarily a crisis of affirmative action loans. Government regulatory intervention in the economy is exploding, creating a multitude of invisible taxes, off budget expenditures, and opportunities for corrupt profits by semi private businesses, such Al Gore becoming a billionaire from carbon credits.

Rigging the vote

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Rigging the vote seems to me to be redundant, since even the tea party supports unsustainable welfare, affirmative action, social security, and healthcare programs, yet oddly, vote rigging is under way.  Pajamas reports vote rigging in Texas and around the US

When the only people with a chance of winning are lunatic left, crazy left, and demented left, why bother? I conjecture this is because the major function of government has become handing out the gravy to true believers. This leads to everyone believing more truly than the next guy, everyone trying to be twice as holy as everyone else, but it also leads to vicious battles between the insider true believers, and those they doubt believe truly enough. As more and more government is handouts to political factions, the stakes are higher, so electoral contests are starting to use any means necessary, for although the election makes only a minute difference in what policy the US will follow (observe, for example, that Obama has been pretty much indistinguishable from Bush) the election will make a huge difference in who gets the gravy.

The number of the beast

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Greece Bans Cash Transactions Over 1,500 Euros

The Italian government will ban the use of cash in transactions over 5,000 euros, lowering the ceiling from 12,500 euros

In the UK a tax evasion crackdown on middle class professionals.

After mass democracy

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

A couple of hundred years ago, the conventional wisdom was that democracy with broad voter participation was unstable, violent, ruinous, and short lived.

A hundred years or so ago the world moved to mass democracy, universal franchise.  Many people predicted that this would result in the masses trying to vote themselves rich, resulting in social and economic collapse

Well guess what.  The masses have been trying to vote themselves rich, social collapse is under way, and economic collapse looms.

The success stories of governance are Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Botswana, which would suggest the future is not democratic.

Mass democracy is visibly self destructing.  In 2005 nearly half of births in California were on medi-cal, and the disappearance of statistics after 2005 suggests the situation is rapidly deteriorating, hence the present Californian meltdown.  The world of “the Marching Morons” is now.

Clearly this is unsustainable – Liverpool and Detroit represent the future of democracy – majority underclass. Detroit is the future of California, Liverpool the future of England if the Caliphate does not take England first.

I am hoping for anarcho capitalism, but a more likely outcome is military dictatorship evolving into monarchy, or gangs evolving into feudalism.

Mencius suggests an interesting form of futuristic government:  The sovereign corporation with cryptographic control over its weapons.  The vote of the board creates a cryptographic secret that gives the CEO control over the weapons of corporation’s security forces. If there is a coup by the armed forces against the CEO or the CEO against the board, the coupists weapons stop working.

Mencius’ proposal reflects the typical nerdly assumption that guns are all powerful. In practice, the way that power works is that the elite males settle things between themselves by means that are not overtly violent, and then the outsiders find they face a united, and violent front from the elite males. Once the elite males have agreed amongst themselves, the weapons are merely an afterthought, making the cryptographic locks irrelevant – which would suggest that if Kingship revives, it will have more resemblance to traditional kingship than to Mencius’s CEO.

Switzerland’s plebiscitary democracy is also an outstanding success, though it could be argued that this  mainly because it is sufficiently unwieldy to prevent the government from actually doing much, and therefore  prevents the government from vote buying in the fashion that led to the meltdowns in California and Detroit. Switzerland is a blast from the past.  The future is more likely to be China, though I think that anarcho capitalism, or the revival of feudalism are also possibilities.

The minimum necessary reforms are to stop the financial system leaking money, and put welfare on a sound basis – but only the most extreme elements of the tea party are proposing anything approaching this, and they are clearly far too extreme for the voters.  If reforms that would actually enable the system to survive were on the table, Christine O’Donnel would be unelectable left, not the unelectable right.

To put welfare and affirmative action a sound basis means imitating Singapore’s welfare, social security healthcare, and so forth.  Pigs will fly first.

Let us consider the seemingly more achievable problem of stopping the finance system from leaking money.  All bankers are criminals, for they were all party to the grossly improper loans that led to our present crisis.  Any honest banker was fired, because any honest banker got in the way of affirmative action and got run over.

To stop the system leaking money, have to fire crooked bankers, and replace them with honest bankers.  To replace them with honest bankers, have to end affirmative action lending.  That does not seem too hard.  After all 99% of the voters oppose affirmative action lending, and a clear and substantial majority oppose all affirmative action.  But it is hard.  We have affirmative action lending for a reason:  As I said before:

When they gave a Nobel prize to Marie Curie for being female, that did not hurt anyone except more deserving potential Nobel prize winners.   But handing out phony Nobels on the basis of sex, race, and nationality necessitated handing out phony degrees on the basis of race and sex, and handing out phony degrees on the basis of race and sex necessarily led to a crisis where these phony degrees were being ignored by employers, so employers necessarily had to be forced to give out well paid phony jobs on the basis of race and sex.   But being given well paid phony jobs on the basis of race and sex failed to result in recipients living a middle class lifestyle, so lenders had to be forced to give out a middle class lifestyle on the basis of race and sex.  Which has led to our present financial crisis.  It all began with Marie Curie.

So if you roll back the most unpopular, extreme, and disastrous form of affirmative action, you then immediately face a problem with less extreme and more popular forms.  And if you roll them back … All solutions are either radical or unworkable.  Roll back affirmative action loans, and pretty soon you are going to have to restrict the franchise, or bring affirmative action loans back.

The end is in sight

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

For the last hundred years or so, people have been predicting that the welfare and affirmative action state would collapse eventually.

Well, it seems that “eventually” is getting close.  Arnold Kling has a list of links showing that all the welfare state social democracies are going to hell in a handbasket, with everyone else in even worse trouble than the US.

Arnold Kling predicts a US debt crisis between 2015 and 2035.  Public sector pensions are unpayable.

The welfare state has made a pile of promises it cannot fulfill, and like a debtor in trouble, has been rapidly escalating the promises.

When the president and the most prestigious academies are out of contact with reality, then the path to advancement is to deny reality.  As the housing debacle illustrates, the elite is incurably insane.  The process is self reinforcing – any contact with reality, or tendency to engage in reality testing, disqualifies you for membership of the  elite.  Only lowly contemptible insignificant people engage in reality testing, and as everyone knows, they are boobs and disgusting racists.

In beauty contests, the contestants are asked to demonstrate allegiance to progressivism, by asking them questions on which America is divided. They must side with the Cathedral, or else they lose.  Similarly in a job interview for any important position.  If an executive doubts the Cathedral, the company is likely to be sued for a “hostile work environment”, so a precondition for employment in any substantial corporation in any important position is sincere zeal for the holy faith of the Cathedral.

The tea party is not actually all that rightwing.  They are right wing in that they support the extreme left status quo ante and oppose the even more extreme left status quo.  They want to turn the clock back to Clinton, not 1950, but to save the day, would have to turn the clock back to 1900.

People planned on social security and medicare being there for them. They see the government blowing all the money on pork barrel spending and dud mortgages for non asian minorities, and they suspect that the welfare state on which they intended to rely is going broke fast.  They want to preserve the quite left wing status quo of the Clinton years.

Hence the progressive parody of the tea party: “get the government out of my medicare”.

Only the most extreme elements of the Tea Party movement leadership (Sharon Angle) actually propose to put social security on a sound footing, propose to make it a forced saving program, where you individually and personally own your social security trust fund, rather than a welfare program.

The welfare problem is a necessary result of the universal franchise.  Singapore, and only Singapore, has a non catastrophic solution to the welfare problem.  They were able to get away with a non catastrophic solution only because of the Singaporean/Confucian attitude that the rulers have the right to rule, provided things are going OK, which rewards long term orientation by politicians.

The stupidity of the voters, and the short term orientation of politicians means that a universal franchise guarantees social, economic, and political collapse once government becomes large enough to drag everything down with it.

The least radical solution that could actually work, could make the welfare state viable,  is to implement Singaporean style welfare, social security and healthcare, and to restrict the franchise enough that such a solution wins majority support from those few entitled to vote – which solution is a lot more radical than anyone in the tea party will advocate.

We can divide the major political programs into three:

  1. The ignorant and unthinking, who are the great majority, since there is no point in knowing this stuff or thinking about it.
  2. Those who doubt the expansion of the state can go on forever, and fear the end is nigh:  these are the tea partiers, who want to stop the boat right by the edge of the waterfall.
  3. Those who believe the state can expand forever, because state expenditures are so much more productive than mere private expenditures: these are the elite, to whom thinking like the state thinks is a badge of status, and who therefore confidently believe that going over the waterfall will be fine because the boat will fly like a bird without any need for external support.

The practical solution, of course, is to back the boat away from the waterfall – a long way back from the waterfall, but it is too fiscally late to do that without blowing off most of the state’s financial obligations, and politically impossible to do that without radically restricting the franchise. A program of recognizing bankruptcy, and throwing most of the population off the voting rolls is unlikely to be very popular.