Archive for December, 2010

The end of the road to serfdom

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Hayek, in “The Road to Serfdom” predicted the welfare regulatory state must inevitably become the totalitarian terror state.

Observe:  We have arrived. America is now a totalitarian terror state.

In 1992 I visited Cuba.  Thereafter, I argued it was a totalitarian state, because when I asked certain questions some people fled, fearing that merely hearing the question would result in them being punished for the thoughts it might elicit, and others answered furtively.

Yesterday, I asked someone very close to me a question apt to have a politically incorrect answer (I cannot identify him further, for he swore me to secrecy)

He looked around furtively.  We were on top of a hill overlooking the Coral Sea in a semi rural area, the other side of the world from his workplace.  He lowered his voice.  He then proceeded to utter a series of politically correct platitudes, with gestures and grimaces reversing their meaning, his grimaces implying the opposite of the ostensible meaning, the same sort of communication coded against possible eavesdroppers and hidden microphones that I encountered in Cuba, where they would swear loyalty to communism, while making a gesture of their throats being cut.

Like Havel’s green grocer, the truth would destroy his career.

This is the behavior that in 1992 I saw in Cuba and thereafter used as evidence that Cuba was a totalitarian state, a state of omnipresent fear.

So if Cuba was totalitarian in 1992, America is totalitarian in 2010.   We have arrived at the end of Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”.

In America, unlike Soviet Russia, we don’t send dissidents to Alaska, and although lots of American psychiatrists are eager to diagnose political deviation as mental illness and treat it with electroshock and lobotomy as they do in Cuba, government has as yet declined to employ them in this capacity.  But what government does do is ensure that political deviation blights your career.  If a company knowingly employs political deviants, it is apt to be sued by quasi governmental organization for a “hostile work environment”, in which lawsuit, no evidence will be presented of anyone saying unkind things to those for which the work environment was supposedly hostile, but evidence will be presented that employees had subversive thoughts – often evidence that they expressed subversive thoughts far from their workplace, as perhaps on a hill overlooking the Coral sea the other side of the world from his workplace – so the company will be punished, for failure to punish subversive thoughts.

Hayek, in “The Road to Serfdom”, argued that regulatory welfare state must inevitably become totalitarian.  Lo and behold, totalitarianism has arrived.  Most people, everyone with some position in society, everyone with something that could be taken away from them, are very, very frightened.

And what is totalitarianism?  Hayek’s totalitarianism seems to be pretty much Havel’s totalitarianism, and here is Havel on totalitarianism:

The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!”

Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

I think I can safely assume that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and the carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be.

If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

Obviously the greengrocer is indifferent to the semantic content of the slogan on exhibit; he does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone.

The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.”

This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan ‘I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,’ he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth.

The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?”

Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the façade of something high. And that something is ideology.

As Bruce Charlton points out:

If you go into an institutional environment – a government office, a school or college, a hospital or doctor’s surgery, a museum, public transportation – and you observe posters adorning the walls on politically-correct topics such as diversity, fair trade, global warming, approved victim groups, third world aid – remember Havel’s essay, and that the correct translation of such posters is as follows:

“I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient”

Such posters are a coded admission of submission to ideology – except in the rare instance where they advertise genuine corruption by ideology.

The frequency of such posters nowadays, compared with a generation ago, is a quantitative measure of the progress of totalitarian government.

The future is Muslim, Mormon, and Catholic

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Anglican Christmas church service, ten attend, eight with one foot in the grave.  Sermon is about the other foot dropping.

Catholic Christmas church service, approximately one hundred attend, most of them young.  Sermon is about Christmas being a time for children.

Some months ago I checked the graveyards.  To judge by the absence of angels, graveyards one hundred  percent protestant.

High returns on IQ between countries, but low returns within country

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

If we control for academic qualification, there is zero or negative return on IQ within a country.  That is to say, of two people of different IQ but same country and the same academic qualification, the smarter one will have similar or lower socioeconomic success.

If we do not control for academic qualification, IQ still does not make a very large difference.  Of two people of very different IQ, but the same country, and academic qualifications typical for their IQ, the much smarter one will not be much richer

I think it likely that this is a manifestation of the observed fact that high IQ people tend to be nerds, socially low status, tend to get in trouble socially.

However, if we compare between countries, countries where people have slightly higher average IQ tend to be much more prosperous than similar countries with slightly lower average IQ.

A two standard deviation difference in an individual person’s IQ predicts only about a 30% difference in his wage.  But half a standard deviation difference in a country’s average IQ score predicts a 200% difference in the average wage in that country.

Why do high IQ people do so badly?

Suppose you have a bunch of people together.  And the crowd makes a mistake about X, or, which comes to much the same thing, a high status person in the crowd makes a mistake about X.  The high IQ kid is going to say “X is wrong”.  But no one else in the crowd can tell whether X is right or wrong.  They will think it is a matter of opinion, like what flavor of icecream is better, or a matter of authority, an arbitrary rule decreed by someone, and this kid is wrongfully claiming authority to decree that rule.

And will conclude that the smart kid is inappropriately throwing his weight around, is acting inappropriately for his status, they will be insulted, offended, and angered at what they incorrectly perceive as a claim of status and authority. And so will attempt to correct his swelled head, will tell him his status is low, and his status claim inappropriately high.

So the smart kid in the group, like the stupid kid in the group, is going to wind up at the bottom – and very likely with an income to match.  The high IQ kid is going to be a social failure in a group where the majority is stupid.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is at the bottom.

So if you want society to be run by smart people, that society has to stream the kids, group smart kids with smart kids, and dumb kids with dumb kids, and get its leadership from the leadership that emerges from leading the smart group.

If, on the other hand, society thinks that everyone should go to university, and the elite universities select their students primarily on political correctness and cultural similarity to the existing elite rather than smarts, then your society is going to wind up being run by people who are not much brighter than average, and most of the wealth and power is going to be in the hands of people who are not much brighter than average for that country.

The smart group will do well, but the smart individual will do badly.  Thus a smarter country is much richer, but a smarter individual is little richer, and may well be be poorer.

It follows that the way for the smart kid to succeed is to get in with a smart group of about his own intelligence that is in charge of its own destiny, get in on the right track early, and the way for a country to succeed is to make the formation of such groups easy and natural.

Leftist fratricide

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

The unity of the left in part derives from room at the top, that the ruling elite promised endless expansion – government jobs, and quasi governmental jobs like “diversity training”, “human resources”, and “sensitivity training”, jobs for which one must demonstrate adequate leftism as a entry requirement. As the west moves into financial crisis, there is a marked shortage of additional room at the top. In Britain, the expansion of the state has halted, or considerably slowed, a change misleadingly described as “drastic cuts”. For those Britons expecting natural progression into government jobs and government created jobs, it certainly feels like they have been cut, that they have been abandoned to drop into the underclass. The end of endless expansion is, to them, indeed a “cut”.

So anti establishment leftist Julian Assange exposes the establishment leftists in the state department. Rotund establishment leftist Michael Moore supports Julian Assange, pays his bail, and smirks and rolls his eyes when discussing the ludicrous sex charges against him. Immediately ugly diesel dyke feminists are thrown into a frothing rage by that smirk and eye roll and call Michael Moore a rape enabler.

The unity of the left is expensive, and starting to exceed the capability of states to pay. The left is therefore moving into a crisis analogous to the reformation.  The reformation was a loss of unity in the theocracy which made the age of reason possible.  Today’s theocracy is suffering from a similar weakening.

On the other hand, Roissy, like Unwin, argues that rationalism can only dominate in a patriarchal society, for which proposition Oprah is plausible evidence.

Political correctness kills

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Pajamas Media has a long list of notable and obvious terrorists, who, as moderate Muslims, were invited into the highest reaches of the US government.

They only tell stories of high terrorists in the bosom of authority, simultaneously in authority in the US government, and in authority in Al Quaeda, neglecting to mention lowlier foot terrorists who actually carry out the killing, for example Hasan: the first terrorist to give an academic lecture with Power Point – to an Army audience – explaining his intention to commit a terrorist attack against his audience for the glory of God and the destruction of the infidel.

Pajamas media piously tells us that it does not want to see Muslims profiled – oh no, heaven forbid, the horror, the horror – merely held to the same standards as normal people.

But, of course, that is exactly the problem. Because profiling is such a horrible sin, because making generalizations on the basis of available evidence is such a horrible horrible horrible sin, people are bending over backwards to avoid drawing the conclusion that a particular Muslim is a terrorist when it is glaringly obvious that the particular Muslim is a terrorist.

Fear of profiling not only means we strip search and grope three year old girls from Pasadena. It means that we wave through people covered in a Burkha. There is no middle ground. If you allow people to use all available evidence, they are profiling. If you don’t allow them to use all available evidence, there is no limit to what evidence they are required to ignore.

Julian Assange’s “rape”

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Roissy has the details:  The Assange “Rape”: A Case Of Spurned Groupies

These girls, excited by his internet fame, pursued him, stalked him, and jumped his boner.  He pumped them and dumped them both.  Upon discovering they had been dumped and that he had banged them both, they then claimed rape – not on the basis that he had coerced them, but on the basis that he had refused to wear a condom, had been banging them both, and had refused to keep on banging them – on the basis that he treated them the way famous people usually treat the numerous  women that eagerly pursue them.

Julian Assange is a hero

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Yes, he is a leftist, but he is an enemy of the regnant left, an enemy of the state, an enemy of my enemy.  Why are all these rightists complaining when Assange makes Obama look like a dangerous lunatic and the state department look like deluded religious fanatics?  Are these rightists loyal to a government that is at every level composed of men who hate them and regard them as enemies?  Apparently so.

What took down the Roman Catholic theocracy was not the light of reason, not the enlightenment, but bigoted religious zealot theocrats like Martin Luther, who were rebelling because the Church was not theocratic enough.  Julian Assange is one of those rebel theocrats.

Julian Assange’s most important accomplishment was not leaking a pile of private emails that show our masters speaking unspeakable truths that no one speaks in public.  What I found more disturbing was how often the cables were bland, how often they sincerely believed their deluded lies.  What I found disturbing was not that these diplomats sometimes spoke the truth, but that they usually did not, that while hereditary aristocrats and monarchs can usually see the truth and are apt to speak it, and foreign politicians can sometimes see it and sometimes speak it, American diplomats can seldom see the truth even when it is right in front of them.  The cables are shocking not because they reveal what was unknown, but because they sometimes reveal what everyone know but no one says – but far too often, the cables are not shocking, far too often they reveal a theocracy that piously and sincerely believes in its official religion, far too often the cables reveal a frightening lack of hypocrisy.

Julian Assange’s most important accomplishment was rubberhose, the predecessor to truecrypt.  In the long run, it is more effective to change society by changing the tools through which people interact, than by direct confrontation with the state.  The state exists only because people think it exists, and is therefore far more fragile than it seems.

about one third banksters, two thirds …

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The crisis is about one third theft by banksters, one third theft by rude, arrogant, and uncivil civil servants, and one third theft by the bastard spawn of welfare moms.

The split is not between rich and poor, but between tax consumers and tax payers.

I have emphasized the role of affirmative action loans in this crisis, and on the evidence, the great majority of the American dud loans were made to Hispanics  – though it was highly profitable for the wealthy banksters to arrange these dud loans, take the fees, and pass the loans onto someone else, and it was highly profitable for middle class loan offices to fill out the loan documents with whatever story would get the loan made, and then have the applicant sign a pack of lies that he was quite incapable of reading.

To which people reply by pointing at the crisis in Europe, where affirmative action lending is not a big problem.  So in Europe, the problem is supposedly all banksters.

No it is not all banksters:  The breakdown on the latest Irish bailout is thirty five billion to bail out the banks, and fifty billion “to shore up the public finances and allow the government to keep making welfare payments and cover other expenses such as health and education.”

So the stupid violent bastard spawn of Irish welfare mums are getting a major chunk of the loot, even though by a different mechanism to the way the stupid violent bastard spawn of American welfare mums got a major share of the loot.

The underlying mechanism of the crisis is that the regnant left (the Cathedral) buys as many votes as it needs to stay in power. As its internal discipline breaks down, it becomes more and more corrupt, hence more and more expensive, requiring ever greater expenditures on vote buying. To buy votes as cheaply as possible, it prefers low intelligence semi criminal immigrants and bastard welfare spawn, since their votes cost less, so sets about flooding society with low intelligence immigrants and bastard welfare spawn.

This does not mean there is any possibility that elections could fix the problem – there was no daylight visible between Bush and Obama, and very little daylight visible between Obama and Palin. Rather, what it means is that the measures that are taken to ensure that elections cannot fix the problem are becoming increasingly drastic.

If Keynesians believed what they say they believe …

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Nobel prize winning economist Krugman tells us we need stimulus, that is to say, more deficit spending.  Government needs to spend more to stimulate the economy, he tells us.

Government spending puts money in peoples pockets.  Then they spend stuff, so people get hired to produce stuff, so the newly employed get money too.  Being employed rather than unemployed, they will produce and spend.  So when the economy is in recession, government spending on pretty much anything is the best investment there can be – or so Keynesians tell us, so Nobel Prize winning economist Krugman tells us.

Despite the government vigorously applying the remedy that Krugman so enthusiastically recommended, the US economy is still in obviously in recession, not withstanding official government statistics that assure us that everything is coming up roses.  Krugman tells us this is because the government did not spend enough.  It needed to spend more.  Spending cuts are destructive, they are economic illiteracy.  That some republicans suggest spending cuts when unemployment is so high shows us that they are ignorant cavemen, unlike the highly sophisticated and knowledgeable Nobel Prize winning economist Krugman

But if a Keynesian believes in Keynesianism, should not he believe that tax cuts are better than spending increases?  There is after all no such thing as a shovel ready project.  Government spending programs take many years to get moving, and once moving tend to grow unstoppably.  If the government has to manage the total level of demand, stimulating it in recession, cutting in booms (though somehow Keynesians never seem to think that a cut is necessary in booms) then taxes, which can be swiftly and easily raised and lowered, are the instrument to do it, rather than spending which cannot be quickly increased, and once increased, can never be cut.

If spending cuts in times of high unemployment are economic illiteracy, should not tax rises in times of high unemployment also be economic illiteracy?

Apparently not.  According to Nobel Prize winning economist Krugman Republicans are economic illiterates for proposing cuts and they are economic illiterates for opposing tax rises.

If Keynesians actually believed Keynesianism was true, they would advocate tax cuts whenever unemployment was too high – and since a Keynesian never thinks unemployment is too low, they would advocate tax cuts day in and day out.

Anthropology stops pretending

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Anthropology stops pretending to have contact with reality, and positions itself as pure brainwashing.