Archive for November, 2010

The war with Islam was lost on the playing fields of Sidwell Friends

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Roissy reports how when the Washington school to which the elite send their children made a poor sporting performance, their response to losing was childish, unsporting, and unmanly.

Pajamas Media reports how unsportsmanlike attitudes are inculcated, and masculinity treated as a mental defect caused by testosterone poisoning.

If the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, America was lost on the playing fields of Sidwell Friends.

The childish and unmanly response of the kids from Sidwell Friends very much reminds me of the unmanly British response to military defeat in Basra.

Decline of the west

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The last man on the moon left in 1972

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

Cars are becoming humbler.

US electricity production was growing exponentially until 1972.  After 1972 it grew more slowly.  Per capita electricity consumption  seems likely to have peaked around 2007 or so.

Supposedly GDP is still growing rapidly, just as supposedly inflation is zero, but it seems improbable that GDP is growing when per capita electricity consumption is not.

One could present all sorts of rationalizations for the decline in manned space exploration – for example that manned space exploration was a polite way of demonstrating superior capability to nuke the other side, and supposedly we are so much more civilized and mature now that the need for such chest beating has diminished.

However, by 2000, we have more compelling evidence of decline.  The buildings damaged or destroyed in 9/11 have not been repaired or replaced.

The west is the past. America sinks into Eurosocialism, while Europe becomes the western satrapies of the new Persian empire. Every rising civilization was a lender, innovator, and investor, every declining civilization a borrower.  California used to be the place where the future was invented, but no longer.

The west’s lead was California’s lead.  And California is no more.

Where, for example, was the netbook commercialized?  Who invented and built the “Amazon” Kindle?  Who is today creating the blue light lasers that are the core of every DVD reader and writer?

The Kindle was developed in Taiwan, by Eink.   It is some standard computing parts wrapped around a new display technology invented, developed and manufactured by Eink.

Indians looking to study abroad rate Melior in Singapore higher than Stanford in the USA.

Today, our universities turn out people trained in political correctness and “diversity”.  Every male CS graduate can parse a boolean expression, but most female CS graduates cannot, indicating that a male needs to be able to parse a boolean expression to get a CS degree, and a female does not. The end stage of this process is that no one needs to be able to parse a boolean expression, but everyone needs to be able to hate dead white males.

China leads the world in coal to liquids technology.

China leads the world in internet based transactions.

The simplest explanation for the fact that western research seems to have fallen off a cliff is that we are now reaching the point where hating dead white males is a more important academic qualification than anything else.  Doubtless it is in reality more complicated than that, but the simplest explanation works quite well:  Consider, for example, the recent demonization of Chagnon.  The most striking factor was the ignorance and stupidity of the academic associations condemning him.  They just did not know stuff.  It was as if they don’t read books by dead white males, as if they feared that reading such stuff might contaminate their minds with dangerous thoughts.

What we have had for some time in academia is theocracy, not meritocracy, and theocracy tends to promote those whose faith is most zealous and reliable.  It is easier to have zealous and reliable faith if you are dumb as two planks glued together.

Who is at the top of Academia:  I suppose the tip top crust are the people who condemned Chagnon, and people like the leading scientists of global warming, Mann and Phil Jones, who are demonstrably not nearly as smart as I am.  Mann, for example, keeps making ludicrous and amateurish mistakes in his statistics, and any time Phil Jones wants something scientific done, he summons a post grad, and tells the postgrad to produce a chart that proves such and such, suggesting that Phil Jones cannot produce such charts, nor tell if the chart actually does prove such and such.

Mann’s work demonstrates he is simply stupid.  Mann’s power over other scientists demonstrates that simply stupid people are on top.  Stupid people on top provide a simple explanation of why science does not get done.

How did Mann get to the top?  By telling the state what it wants to hear, by political correctness.

Demonstrably, the people in charge of science and research are not the tip top crust.  They got where they are by hating dead white males more than anyone.

The fact that undergraduates are marked on the basis of race, gender, and political correctness is fairly harmless.  That academics get power over other academics on the basis of political correctness has not been so harmless, and we are today paying the price, in that western research is failing.

Singapore has sustained its rate of growth.  Taiwan has sustained its rate of growth.  Therefore China is likely to sustain its rate of growth.

Assuming China grows like Singapore from now on, and the US grows like Europe (counting European growth as real, even though such growth as occurs is government employees, whose product is valued at cost, which cost grows at astonishing rate) then China should surpass the US in total GDP by 2019 or so.

China should surpass the US in GDP per head, as Singapore already has, by around 2045 or so.  Taiwan should surpass the US in GDP per head in 2018 or so.

The financial system of the west is collapsing because the fed and its bureaucrats have the mission to replace financial panics with wise regulatory authority – which might work if wise regulatory authority had the will to punish elite wrongdoing the way financial panics did, and resist the desire of politicians to use the financial system as a piggy bank for vote buying the way bankers threatened by financial panics did.  Since brave regulators are not to be found, the replacement is not working.

The last time the west stalled, it stalled for four hundred years under intellectual stagnation induced by theocracy, from 1277 to 1648.

We are seeing multiple simultaneous crises.  Academia is a thousand loudspeakers controlled by one microphone, and that microphone in the hands of an idiot.

All the massive financial crime that the financial crisis exposed <> continues unpunished and unabated, foreshadowing another, even bigger financial crisis coming up fast.

The graffiti on the buildings that are now owned by the Federal Reserve foretells our future.

We are also seeing an explosive gold rush in government as rent seeking monopolies multiply.  Thus it used to be, for example, that the local council gave itself a monopoly of water and sewage, though there is in practice no rationale for the sewage monopoly – septic tanks and highly localized sewage farms are more economical.  Large centralized sewage facilities beloved of councils and council unions suffer severe diseconomies of scale due to the high cost of  piping sludge any reasonable distance. Seeing the lucrative flow of money, every other level of government gets into the act.  Just as to get anything done, a private individual needs multiple permits from the council, each requiring him to hire numerous “consultants” at $400 per hour, the council needs multiple permits from state and federal governments, requiring the council to hire numerous “consultants” at $100 000 per hour.  The tip is emitting methane!  Oh the horror.  Someone official comes to officially look at the methane, charges  $100,000 for looking, and issues an enforceable “recommendation” for an open ended and indefinite series of remediation measures, each of which will require another look.

Oh what did we do before there were people to officially and highly scientifically investigate the fact that tips are apt to pong?  What would we do without government to supervise government?  And surely any problems that might occur can be easily remedied by providing yet another layer of regulatory authority to regulate the regulators that are regulating the regulators that are regulating the local council.

This, like the housing boom is unsustainable.  A single monopoly will charge inefficiently high prices and produce inefficiently low product, which is indefinitely sustainable. Multiple layered monopolies suffer a coordination problem that results in them charging infinite prices and producing zero product, as each attempts to get the majority of the squeeze.

This problem is remediable only through collapse or foreign conquest.  As I have remarked several times, the reason that Dubai can build high towers and we no longer can, is that in Dubai, you only need the approval of one theocrat and one holy religion.

I hope for collapse, since foreign conquest is likely to be unpleasant.  Last time around, however we had stagnation for four hundred years.   Collapse would be preferable.

Democracy is self destructing, as it inexorably moves further and further to the left – the fate of the past democracies of Athens and Rome.

Losing to Islam

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Parapundit discovers that 130 000 US soldiers have suffered brain damage in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is far too high a price.  We have to defeat Islam, but cannot do it this way.  We have use methods that inflict much higher costs on Islam, at much lower cost to ourselves.

Like Hell There’s No Inflation

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Business Insider tells us:

  • Post Raisin Bran goes from 2.50 to 3.00 per box at Walmart.
  • My favorite yogurt goes from .50 to .58 each at Walmart.
  • Cherry tomatoes go from 4.98 to 5.98 per package.
  • Walnuts go from 9.98 to 13.98 per bag at Sam’s.
  • Bottom round goes from 2.48 to 2.68 per pound at Sam’s.

Al Dente tells us

What was once purchased for weekly meals at the supermarket for under $100, now exceeds $120. We have cut back on many items and we still pay more for our weekly food bill.

Econbrowser, however, tells us everything is coming up roses:

If the expectations hypothesis of the term structure (EHTS) holds, then these movements imply that as of 11/8, the average inflation rate over the next five years will be a breathtaking 1.6%!

Here is a free clue for Econbrowser: The tips market does not predict what the inflation rate will be. It predicts what the government will report the inflation rate to be – and indeed, the government is going to report near zero inflation during the next five years – because the government thinks you are stupid.

Hyperinflation coming, but not soon

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

There is a lot of ruin in a nation.

Glen Bleck predicts catastrophic instant inflation completely collapsing the currency and government in a single two week crisis.  That is not the way hyperinflation happens.

Hyperinflation consists of a series of hyperinflationary crises.  In a hyperinflationary crisis, the value of money falls abruptly, typically to two thirds, half or a third of its previous value.  The collapse occurs so suddenly that by the time most people realize that the hyperinflationary crisis has begun it, is already over.

And, after the crisis is over, people think normality is returning.  After all, most of the government’s debts have been inflated away.  And sometimes normality does return.  But usually the irresponsibility, criminality, and incompetence that led the government to run up unpayable debts is still present, so suddenly, when people least expect it, there is another hyperinflationary crisis.  And then another.  And another, until the government gets its act together or people just stop using its currency.

So when will the first hyperinflationary crisis hit?  Europe is in worse shape than the US, and Europe still stands.  So probably not for a few years.

Government probably will not collapse in the first hyperinflationary crisis, but there is a good chance it will collapse or undergo some fundamental change not long after.  In 1994 I predicted governmental collapse around 2016, 2020, or 2025, or so.  The American government has lasted a lot longer than most other governments, but there are numerous indications that its run is ending.  That the buildings damaged or destroyed in the 9/11 attacks are still down is an omen, a manifestation of loss of cohesion and internal discipline withing the ruling elite.  Park 51 cannot be repaired because to repair it needs permissions from lots and lots of authorities, and each authority wants the largest share of the vigorish.

Reflect on the proposed victory mosque at at Park 51.  The factory at Park 51 suffered extensive damage in the 9/11 attack, due to parts the plane and parts of people landing on it, and could never be repaired or replaced, because any repair would require too many permissions from too many different authorities, each wanting the lion’s share of the vigorish, so stands damaged and empty to this day, with bits of the 9/11 passengers still in it to this day.

But Imam Rauf, unlike the owner, has no trouble getting all the permissions he needs for a victory mosque, because if anyone creates difficulty for him, instead of paying off the bureaucrat making trouble, Imam Rauf drops a gentle hint that if Rauf does not get what he wants, some other Muslims, immoderate Muslims quite unlike the wonderfully moderate Rauf, might blow up the offender.  Rauf, of course, understands that Islam is the religion of peace, but if he does not get what he wants, might inspire some of those dreadful misunderstanders of Islam to blow you up.

In the final stages of state decline, presaging final collapse, broader and broader state power, the power to destroy, is delegated to more and more people subject to less and less state discipline.  Patent trolls are merely one more consequence of irresponsible judges with too much power and not enough restraint, and irresponsible overpowered judges are merely one more consequence of the expanding bureaucracy and regulatory apparatus that has prevented the towers from rising again.

The left rules, but like the Soviet Party,  has lost faith in itself: Mencius remarks:

Over a century ago, Lecky found the core of liberalism in his portrait of Gladstone:

Passion and casuistry seem naturally incompatible, but in Gladstone they were most curiously combined.

The perfect leftist is the fanatical hypocrite. While his beliefs correspond precisely to his own advantage, he believes in them furiously just the same. His opportunism does not even slightly detract from his sincerity, which is palpable and enormous. Indeed, if the situation changes and so do his interests, his mind will change as well. And change sincerely.

Alas, this character is easier to describe than find. In the day of Gladstone, liberalism was young and crazy and full of juice. Today? The movement exudes the overwhelming odor of fatigue. It remains both fanatical and hypocritical – but not in one person. Its fanatics, who could be broadly described as the amateur left, are devoid of any tactical cunning. And its hypocrites, who despite Robert Gibbs constitute the professional left, are as passionless as an eggplant.

They try to care. They moan, they gasp, they writhe. But their eyes are dead, whore eyes. Now that we’ve seen it in the White House, we’d know it anywhere. You have to be an awfully blind fanatic not to see what you’re looking at. Can the amateur left, the audience, the chumps who buy the magazines, find a professional leftist who actually cares about his ideals? They’ll need a much brighter lantern than it took to find B.H. Obama.

In 2010, there is nothing fresh about the revolution industry. The idealistic professional leftist is the exact counterpart of the romantic porn star – a human impossibility. A porn star is a prostitute. It’s simply impossible for a prostitute to feel, or even simulate, normal sexual passion. If any ordinary, amateur leftist were somehow transported into the White House, “enhanced patdowns” and Afghan wars would end tomorrow. But once a pro, always a pro. And who gets elected, but a pro?

And why has the ruling elite lost faith? The gate keepers to the elite demand proof of sincere radical leftism before anyone can be allowed in, require a demonstration of sincere leftism so extreme that no genuine leftist is likely to manifest it:

Gonzalo explains in Selecting for Cynicism in the Ivy League

Chatting with my new classmates on my first day in Hanover, I quickly learned that none of this do-goodism was genuine. That wasn’t my verdict—it was the verdict of my peers: The very ones who had done all this do-goodism admitted to me that it was not genuine—had never been genuine.

But community service or volunteer work was key: Any student serious about getting into an Ivy simply had to do community service or volunteer work.

Four years of high school meant eight “community service” extra-curriculars—one per semester. Anything more would seem like you were a “dabbler”, and therefore “weren’t serious”. But anything less would show a “lack of commitment”, which was equally bad. And the extra-curriculars had to be more or less aligned: You couldn’t read to blind people one semester and then go save the whales in the next. Rather, you had to work on saving the whales in one semester, and then volunteer to work on an organic farm in the next: That showed you were “environmentally aware”. Or else you had to tend a soup kitchen for the homeless, then read to the elderly in the next semester: That showed you were “socially engaged”.

My fellow Dartmouth students, as well as students at all the other Ivies that I would get to know over the years, did all this do-goodism as a requirement, in order to get into a good school—an Ivy League school.

They did it in order to get ahead—and they were openly encouraged to do it: Not just by their parents, but by their high-school guidance counselors, their college prep advisors, even the visiting admissions deans of the very universities they were applying to—

—it was simply part of the admissions process: “It’s like taking calculus,” I still remember a girl named Debra, from Nebraska, telling me on the bus ride back to Hanover from Moosilauke Lodge. “You have to grind it out, and get it over with.”

In 1985 I predicted the Soviet Union would fall, because the party had lost the faith.

A ruling elite sticks together, and presents a united face to all their inferiors. A ruling ideology, a theocratic state, like the Soviet Union, like the leftist ruled west, is a state where the elite derives its cohesion from shared belief. And when the theocrats no longer believe, the state will collapse at the first serious challenge.

How dumb is Obama?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Obama is an affirmative action president.  Affirmative action people are always stupid, incompetent, and corrupt.  Is Obama stupid, incompetent and corrupt?

For corruption, observe that the infamous regulatory revolving door between Goldman and the Treasury continues to spin, even after the wall street financial system imploded, and similarly between Soros and the DoE. Perhaps Bush II was as corrupt as Obama, but Obama’s corruption is more conspicuous.

As for stupidity – well clearly, he is a lot smarter than the most affirmative action blacks, such as his ivy league wife, and a lot smarter than the average white.  But how does he compare with the elite?

Recently an anonymous person who we are told is a Washington insider told us

if you want to see President Obama get excited about a conversation, turn it to sports.  That gets him interested.  You start talking about Congress, or some policy, and he just kinda turns off.  It’s really very strange.  I mean, we were all led to believe that this guy was some kind of intellectual giant, right?  Ivy League and all that.  Well, that is not what I saw.  Barack Obama doesn’t have a whole lot of intellectual curiosity.  When he is off script, he is what I call a real “slow talker”.  Lots of ummms, and lots of time in between answers where you can almost see the little wheel in his head turning very slowly.  I am not going to say the president is a dumb man, because he is not, but yeah, there was a definite letdown when you actually hear him talking without the script.

No – I am not going to call him stupid.  He just doesn’t strike me as particularly smart.

Well, so says an anonymous informant that we are told is a Washington insider.

So let us look at evidence whose veracity is easier to check:

We all know of his stumbles such as telling us that America has 57 states, and pronouncing corpsman “corpse man”, but I am a very smart guy, and have done worse, and if I chide him on such things, will probably do something equally dimwitted in the same article as I chide him.

But I can fluently give a speech on complex topics from brief notes.  Sarah Palin can fluently give a speech on complex topics from brief notes.  Obama falls apart without a teleprompter.  Without a teleprompter, he keeps it simple, and if lured onto complexity, starts to sound black.

So, not stupid, but stupid by elite standards.

Intelligence is not the only requirement for a president.  Blacks generally have more charisma than whites, more style, and are better able to think on their feet.  Obama has more charisma and style than any major white politician, but now that the hype has faded away, it is apparent that he has not got much charisma and style by black standards.  By black standards he is a bit of a nerd.  Compare and contrast with most of the black republican candidates in recent mid terms.  Most of them have lots of charisma.  Blacks are also good at thinking on their feet, street smarts.  Obama’s ability to think on his feet is impressive.  When the presidential seal fell off the podium, he ad libbed “It does not matter, you all know who I am” – but on more complex topics, considerably less impressive.  Again, the Black Tea partiers gave a dazzling demonstration of ad libbing and thinking on their feet, considerably more impressive than that given by Obama.  By black standards, Obama’s ability to think on his feet is not all that impressive.

It looks to me that Obama was selected as the whitest possible black, rather than the black best qualified as a political candidate, that he was selected to prove there is no difference between whites and blacks, to prove that affirmative action does not give the results it so obviously does give.  If you were selecting the black best qualified to win, you would come up with someone with a lot more charisma and street smarts than Obama, even at the cost of being a little bit dumber, you would come up with some one like the Tea Party candidates.  Instead, they came up with someone as much as possible like a member of our very white elite, our very very white elite, the whitest possible dark skinned black.

Britain goes totalitarian

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Sean Gabb, speaking very carefully to avoid saying things he could be arrested for, tell us:

Without thinking very hard, I can remember how Nick Griffin of the British National Party stood trial for having called Islam “a wicked vicious faith”. I can remember how a drunken student was arrested and fined for telling a policeman that his horse looked “gay”. I can remember how a man was arrested and charged and fined for standing beside the Cenotaph and reading out the names of the British war dead in Iraq. I remember a case from this year where a pacifist unfurled a banner outside an army cadet training base. “Stop training murderers”, it said. His home was promptly raided by police with dogs, while a helicopter hovered overhead.He was arrested and cautioned. If I started mentioning the cases where Christian street preachers have been arrested for quoting the Bible, or where Moslems have set the police on people for alleged words or displays, or if I even alluded to the Public Order Act or the various racial and sexual hate speech laws, this article would swell immensely. It is enough to say that anything said in public is now illegal if someone complains to the police, or if the police themselves take against it. And, when something is not illegal, we are all getting used to the idea – second nature in most other countries – that we should “watch ourselves”. Even I find that, if I discuss politics in a coffee bar, I sometimes drop my voice. A few weeks ago, I found myself looking round to see who might be within earshot.

The party of the state

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has doubled in the two years since President Obama took office

Update: Bill however argues this is less alarming that it seems:

The big jump in % over $150K is all from the fact that the GS scale maxed out less than $150K in 2005 and over $150K in 2010. It’s totally mechanical, an incident of drawing the line at $150K.


Monday, November 8th, 2010

Officially, America has near zero inflation and a mere ten percent official unemployment.  Odd that it has a mere ten percent unemployment when the proportion of young adult males with jobs has dropped a lot more than ten percent.

As with third world and Marxist countries, the government’s reaction to bad news is to declare a new era of prosperity.  The recession is officially over.  With an unprecedented proportion of the workforce on the government payroll, productivity has officially risen to amazing heights and somehow, despite the big increase in the proportion of people on the government payroll, public spending has officially not risen much.

Unofficial inflation, however, is starting to look quite frightening:

Market Ticker tells us:

I just got back from the grocery store.  Eggs, which were $1.60 two weeks ago, are now $1.99/dz.  Butter?  Two boxes for $6 – on sale.  The same two boxes were $4.50 a couple months ago.  Land-O-Lakes Brand?  $4.89 – each.
Cheese?  8oz bricks were commonly 3/$5 as recently as September.  Now?  $3.50 – for one.
But there’s no inflation, you see.
Oh, and on the way home I passed the gas station.  It was $2.59 for regular a couple of weeks ago.  Now?  $2.89.  30 cents in about 2 weeks, a 12% increase.

This is consistent with inflation rates of thirty to fifty percent per year, early hyperinflation rates.

Sarah Palin is, as usual, on the ball, while ruling class is floating away in La La Land, sincerely puzzled that the peasants are failing to eat cake.

This is the decisive test of Keynesianism.  Of course, we already had a decisive test of Keynesianism:  The Japanese crisis.  Keynesianism failed dismally, to which the Keynesians replied that Japan’s troubles were the result of not applying Keynesianism vigorously enough.    This time, however, it has been applied vigorously enough.  The results should be apparent by around 2012-2016.  The fat lady has not yet sung, but so far, things are not looking good for Keynesianism.

Money is a matter of functions four,
a medium, a measure, a standard, a store.

There is a conflict between the use of money as a store and the use of money as a standard, since if everyone wants to store value at the same time, the value of money is apt to rise, and if everyone wants to use their store at the same time, the value is apt to fall.  Keynesianism therefore addresses a real problem, but its proposed solution tells the ruling class what they want to hear – that they can buy votes with money they do not have, that they can eat their cake and have it to, which is of course not true, and not a solution to the problem.  Keynesianism addresses a real problem, but is not a real solution.

It seems to me that a sounder solution would be to target the long run value of money.  If people had confidence that in the long run, the value of money would be constant, that inflation would run for a few years to be followed by deflation, and deflation would run for a few years to followed by inflation, that what goes up must come down, then I doubt that natural fluctuations would be large or damaging.   Fluctuations are large and damaging because there is no telling what the future value of money is likely to be, because Keynesianism makes money dangerously ineffectual as either a standard or as a store.  This large uncertainty destabilizes the economy.  The objective of monetary policy should be to give people confidence that the value of money will be the same in twenty or thirty years, even if it fluctuates a bit from year to year.

Of course, I am prescribing what an honest issuer of fiat money should do, if he cares about the long term, and wants everyone to continue using the fiat money he issues.  Since issuers of fiat money sooner or later find themselves in a situation where the major question is whether the political leadership will survive another week, such advice is unlikely to be heeded.  Keynesianism will continue to be believed, not because it is true, but because issuers of fiat money are compelled to act as if it was true.

Jihad watch reports Obama is Muslim

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Jihad watch reports on the anointed one’s visit to India:

Obama is visiting … a Muslim shrine. He has no plans to visit any holy places of the Sikhs (such as the Golden Temple, Amritsar), or any Hindu holy places, Buddhist holy places, or Jain holy places. Nor does he plan to visit Nariman house, the Chabad house in Mumbai that was the chief target of the jihad mass-murderers who killed 173 people in November 2008.

India is majority Hindu. All the faiths of India are in a state of war or near war with Islam, which conflict has within living memory been conducted at the level of full scale pogrom, mass murder, and full scale conventional military operations with tanks and columns of uniformed troops, as well as the more usual level of angry mobs and unconventional small scale operations deploying people out of uniform. Obama is being conspicuously rude to his Hindu hosts in visiting a Muslim shrine without visiting a Hindu Shrine.