Monday, April 25, 2011

Copyrights--Can the Right Come to its Senses?

First let's clear something up. Copyright is NOT a natural right. It is a convention created by human law (or explicit social contract if you prefer). It is authorized in the US Constitution explicitly
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

The first copyright laws in the US came about in 1790, and granted a 14 year copyright with a possible extension of a further 14 years if the author was still alive. Since then the length of copyright terms has only grown. This has created a number of problems---most notably the orphan works problem, but the problem as I see it is that this is a major revenue source for the enemies of reaction. I can understand why the Left would want to support the status quo, but why the Right is willing to put up with Disney owning US copyright law is beyond me. Is there any legitimate reason why copyrights should be longer than patents? Any reason why an author should never have to see what he sees as misuse of his invention whereas an engineer's inventions are fair game after a mere 20 years or so?

There's actually an opportunity for the Right to peel away some groups of support by supporting an initiative to shorten terms of copyright to a length of time approximating that of patents---perhaps just 30 years with no renewal whatsoever possible. One effect of this is it'll cut off revenue streams from your enemies. This, along with demographics, is the logistical phase of a war for hegemony. The second effect is that should the Left decide to give battle, it'll be really hard to paint it as anything other than the Right standing up for 'the little guy' and the consumer against big evil corporations. So frankly, you want them to fight about it. The final effect would be this:

Video editing software has gotten really damned good in recent years. Delisting pretty much everything from copyright protection before 1980 or so would open a massive amount of cultural output to reinterpretation and, as I'd put it, 'weaponization'. This would be a strong opportunity to apply the techniques I described in my recent cultural war post. You wouldn't have to do anything terribly noticeable at an overt level. Just apply the cultural markers you like to the alpha and high status characters and the reverse to low status characters. 95% of the population might not even notice the difference between the reinterpretation/remastering/reimagining and the original work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hurrah for the True Finns While there are many issues I disagree with the True Finns party on, we agree on the existential ones, and I'm happy that the Finns have chosen to elevate their party considerably in the recent election. We agree on the following: 1) Demographic hegemony is an existential issue. It is THE issue. The True Finns wish to retain the hegemony of Finns over Finland. I support this and appreciate that they are stretching the Cathedral's malevolent energies on this issue. 2) We also agree on the fundamental question of government----Whose interests is the government of Finland constituted to defend and advance? The True Finns would say, well, the Finns. God bless them. Yes, the True Finns are in favor of a more lavish welfare state than I'd be in their place, and have some different economic ideas, but these issues aren't existential. If securing demographic hegemony for me and mine means I have to make concessions towards more socialism targeted at me and mine, well, so be it. The Chambers of Commerce should bear this in mind---if they want people like myself to be their friend on economic issues, they need to stop being our enemies on existential ones. Otherwise there's just a strong temptation to punish them with whatever coalition is available just for pure retribution.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Insurance and the fundamental axiom of reaction

Ever notice how much more vociferous the arguments about health insurance are these days than those about auto or home insurance? Sure, there are a few ongoing controversies in home and auto, like whether you can use credit ratings to proxy for other variables that you're forbidden from using by the federal government since the civil rights act, but by and large, these insurance markets actually work. The main reason is that, well, they're actually insurance. Generally in these markets you pay about 1.3 to 1.5x your actual actuarial risk (insurance usually has in the neighborhood of a 70% payout on average and needs that to have 'normal' levels of profitability in the present day US market) to transform your risk distribution from something with unpleasant spikes to a manageable monthly payment. Such transactions have a very long history---some of the first insurance was for the transportation of crops to market downriver---farmers would distribute their loads among the various boats such that if, say, 10% of the product was lost, their own losses would reflect that rather than the possibility of a larger personal loss. Of course there's some moral hazard involved, and social conventions have to be cobbled together to mitigate that, lest farmer Joe's screwup of a boat pilot son get to take the helm. Insurance actually works when the hazards involved are fairly unpredictable to the insured but the distribution of such hazards is well understood. It doesn't work at all well when people try to use it to have one group of people PREDICTABLE IN ADVANCE subsidize another. This is where the fundamental axiom of reaction comes in. Sure, it might suck badly for you if, you have, say, type 1 diabetes, and insuring your family has an expected cost of 25K instead of 12k per year, and the non-reactionary would propose to force the insurance company to ignore this fact, smearing your additional risk over the rest of their subscribers. Insurance companies predictably respond by refusing to cover pre-existing conditions or refusing to insure you at all. The reactionary is of course familiar with this---it is not possible to make political decisions that don't suck for someone, and frequently, you can only make things worse by meddling with them and creating complex situations that suck in a complex manner instead of simple situations that suck in a simple manner. Unnecessary complexity is a poison in any society, and is in fact about the most regressive form of taxation (hitting the lower half of the bell curve disproportionately) around, with the possible exception of inflation. A reactionary would tell you two things: 1) There's a difference between the 'deserving' and the 'undeserving'----many conditions---for instance type 2 diabetes, are largely self-inflicted. If you get into the business of smearing the risk of the self-inflicted conditions over the rest of the population, you shouldn't be surprised at all when they react with rather jack-booted efforts to stomp over the behaviors in question. 2) If you, as a population, believe that the monetary part of the 'suck' of a condition should be borne by society as a whole, the way to do this that sucks the least is just to do a governmental transfer payment. See statement 1 again as to the predictable reaction of the rest of the population if the consensus on this decision isn't heartfelt. Resources, in health care or otherwise, aren't unlimited. The hard cold truth is that some mechanism of making trade-offs will be used---be it price, waiting in lines, political connections, lottery, or the like. You can not escape this fundamental axiom of reality, at least not until the Second Coming, when insurance will be the least of your worries.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Fundamental Axiom of Reaction: Every decision in a political arena will suck for at least some real persons

I often find myself dismayed by the political discourse between the right-leftists and the left-leftists because of what they take for granted. Both sides routinely pretend that their plans are all champagne and roses. As a reactionary, I believe firmly that perfection is impossible in the world short of the return of Jesus, when some hard-core reaction will take place. Furthermore, I believe that every political decision that is made will have victims (or losers if you prefer), and the fact that one might not be able to enumerate them by name in no way makes this insignificant. For instance, if a society makes a decision to shame and lower the status of unwed mothers, things WILL suck more for those women who still manage or choose to become such. However, there will be considerably fewer of them than if society decided to subsidize them and not inflict an explicit status hit against them. Being a reactionary, some might say a counter-revolutionary, I believe this (shaming the practice of having children out of wedlock) is the optimal choice for society's cultural organs to make, but I recognize that it will hurt people. It is unfortunate that in the world of Public relations, acknowledging that your decisions have NEGATIVE consequences for some people and are not in fact all unicorns and happy dances is a major handicap. So my advice to reactionaries who in fact have such decision making authority is to understand it at a personal level, but not to talk about it terribly much in public---at least not until we've taken control of or destroyed the organs of the culture.