Archive for May, 2011

“Democracy never lasts long”

Monday, May 9th, 2011

In 1814, John Adams, second president of the United States, and one of the revolutionaries that founded it, said

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy.

And that was the common wisdom at the time.  Democracy in the United States, the work of the revolutionaries, has lasted a lot longer than anyone expected, but the end is now in sight.

I hope that after democracy, we will get, in at least some small parts of what once was the United States, anarcho capitalism, or failing that, monarchy, but the usual successor to democracy is a brief period of oligarchy swiftly followed by the worst form of dictatorship:  popular dictatorship.  Mencius Moldbug hopes that popular dictatorship will transition to monarchy, but consider that in the case of Rome, that took a very long time.

One small ground for optimism is that we are seeing a fair bit of crypto anarchy, as business goes underground, and non state armed forces, both legal and illegal, are growing stronger.  The rise of crypto anarchy could lead to anarcho capitalism, at least for the wealthy, and the rise of private armed forces could lead to feudalism, but I fear that the way to bet is popular dictatorship.

The difference between popular dictatorship and monarchy is illustrated by the difference between Botswana and Zimbawe.  Mugabe, endorsed by the London School of Economics to rule Zimbabwe, had to allow and encourage one group to loot another, in order to maintain a base of support.  Similarly, Ivy League Graduate  Ouattara, sent to rule the Ivory Coast by the world bank, now presiding over the place as the Muslims that gave gave him his legitimacy run amuck.

When the colonialists left, most of Black Africa turned into hellholes, with the notable exception of Botswana, now 53 in world GDP, far above any other black African country.  When Botswana became independent they elected the man born to be King, and the place remained in good shape so long as he lived. Till the day he died, it was the fastest growing economy in Africa. So long as he lived, the place had low and stable taxes, and the best economic and personal freedom in Africa  – because he was elected on the basis of his royal birth, not elected on the basis of paying off one group with the lives and property of another group.

Unfortunately, popular dictators, such as Mugabe, have the same need to pay off their supporters as democratically elected presidents, such as Quattara, so I am less optimistic than Mencius Moldbug about the prospects for America transitioning to a relatively benign monarchy via one man one vote once.  When the deluge commences, let us aim for anarchy and/or feudalism, rather than monarchy.  It takes generations for the sons of dictators to become monarchs, and in the meantime you get most of the disadvantages of democracy with none of the benefits.

Google is evil

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Firefox reports your IP and all nearby wifi systems to Google. Thunderbird reports your IP to Google. From the nearby wifi systems, Google can locate you relative to nearby wifi points.. From a multitude of browsers reporting in, it can locate wifi systems relative to each other. When it does ground level photo drives for Google Earth, it locates wifi systems relative to streets and houses. Knowing the location of some wifi systems relative to streets and houses, it can locate all wifi systems relative to streets and houses. So when you launch a search for a sexual preference, or a politically incorrect fact, Google can tell where you are sitting, what house you are in, when you search for unapproved knowledge. It keeps this information forever.

The intent is that when you search for a restaurant or some such, Google will know to provide information about local restaurants. But Google notoriously plays ball with governments. More sinister uses are also possible. And why does Google need to know the geographic location where your email is coming from?

To turn this off:

  • Mozilla Firefox
    • Type ‘about:config’ in the address bar
    • Click through the warning
    • Type ‘geo.’ in the search box. A list of items appears
    • Doubleclick on the geo.enabled item till it reads ‘False’
    • Rightclick on the ‘geo.wifi.uri’ item and select ‘Modify’
    • Modify the item from evil google to ‘http://localhost’
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
    • Select Tools/Options/Avanced/General/Config Editor
    • click through the warning
    • type ‘geo.’ in the search box. A list of items appears
    • Doubleclick on the geo.enabled item till it reads ‘False’

Google piously proclaims:

Your privacy is extremely important to us, and Firefox never shares your location without your permission.

This is of course a lie. Firefox never shares your location to advertisers without your permission – but it does continually send your location to Google without your permission.

If your privacy was actually important to Google, the browser would only send this information to Google when advertisers requested it and you gave them permission.