Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sowell Gets Down to Brass Tacks on Immigration Policy

by way of Le Cygne Gris
Let's go back to square one. The purpose of American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants. The purpose of immigration laws and policies is to serve the national interest of this country.

There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively.

This is coupled nicely with
Discussing the salutory effect on unemployment that Alabama's anti illegal immigration act has had since its passage.

Why is it that only Black Republicans are allowed to speak most of the truth regarding immigration issues without being totally demonized?  I suspect this is a part of the appeal of Herman Cain, many Republicans think him immunized against the charge of racism for the horrible crime of advocating, in some cases, their interests as non-elite white people.
Sowell comes awfully close here to advocating my demographic hegemony thesis---damn, listen to this:

When you import people, you import cultures, including cultures that have been far less successful in providing decent lives and decent livelihoods. The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want unlimited imports of cultures from other countries

Once again, thanks to Le Cygne Gris for bringing these items of news to our attention.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting the Money out of Politics, Who...Whom?

It is pretty clear to me that there are two main beneficiaries to 'getting the money out of politics'

The first group is, of course, the mainstream press.  Obviously they can't be stopped by any such law from favoring, subtly if necessary, the candidates that they favor
The second group are entrenched incumbents.  Incumbency is a huge advantage

Since we, as reactionaries, are not fond of either group, it follows that we shouldn't be too enthusiastic about any campaign finance reform.  Frankly, I'm not at all surprised that money buys policies.  What I am surprised about is the fact that the policies are so damned cheap---politicians are the highest ROI investments going for big corporations.  Under more rational circumstances, we'd expect to see the costs of such bid up until the rate of return normalized with ordinary investments.  But politics is far far from the idealized free market.

Another key point is that any rules you write ARE going to be circumvented.  When regulating or legislating, you CAN NOT match the decision and action speed (the OODA loop if you're fond of such terminology) of your opposition---frankly not even if you're a tyrant with little respect for the rule of law.  Making rules in such fuzzy and vague areas simply advantages the glib and those inclined to game the system.  Sound familiar?

Here's one thing that we CAN do though.  Insist that every politicians investments be put into a blind vehicle prior to them taking office---say, an S&P index fund or the like.  The insider trading exemption Congress gets is obscene---does ANYONE really believe the rate of growth increase that Representatives get and Senators get more of is actually due to investment acumen?  No, it's due to (charitably) the fact that they have advance knowledge of how the rules of the game are to change, because they have a fair bit of control over such and (more likely) the fact that corporations can give them inside information as a means of currying favor. 

But any belief that politics can be separated from graft is folly.  As long as they regulate buying and selling, they'll be the first ones bought and sold.  The rules gaming weasels WILL find a way, no matter what roadblocks you set in their way.  And this is to say nothing of the fact that the rules WILL be selectively enforced against us---ever see the Fairness doctrine used against liberals?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Little Encouragement for those who despair that redheads may perish from the Earth

There's been quite a bit of noise in the news about redheads becoming extinct. It has even reached me 2nd and 3rd hand from total strangers in places like Costco, shopping malls, and the grocery store.  They see my two little ones in the cart with their 'Eric the Viking' style red hair and big blue eyes and are drawn to them as if by a magnet.  Frequently they'll say something about the way that redheads will all be gone by some year---2050 is the popular one---while talking and playing with the little ones.  Usually I'll reassure them that my wife and I are doing our best to insure that there are little redheaded children around for future generations.  Sometimes they'll even encourage us to have more beautiful children, which is a surprisingly positive sign of cultural health when you think about it.

Here's the thing though---both my wife and I are redhead carriers---having a fairly significant number of redheads in our respective families, but neither of us are redheads ourselves, although we both do have blue eyes.  My wife does have some strawberry in her blonde, which does create the question of whether our children had a 50/50 shot or merely a 1 in 4 chance of being redheads.  As it is though, both of them are.  So we've successfully increased the frequency of redheads, and may further increase that frequency with a child to be named and determined later.  Besides the redheads born to redheads, there are quite a few born to redhead carriers like ourselves.

On the other side, there's my brother, who is a full-on Irish redhead (his hair is VERY red and he's regularly asked for directions in Ireland when he visits with his wife and kids).  His wife is one generation out of Spain, with the archetypical very dark, almost black hair, dark eyes, and fair skin.  None of their children are redheads, looking much like their mother, but all of them are redhead carriers.  They will quite likely produce a fair number of redheaded grandchildren.  Since they've got 3 children, the genetic frequency of my brother's redhead genes has increased, and it's likely to show up in the phenotype going forward.

So don't despair.  Redheads will not perish from the Earth---especially as long as the opposite sex continues to find them compelling.   Even as mere toddlers, they're positively totemic in the fertility sense, having apparently touched off a minor baby boom among our church and close circle.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The National Conversation We Desperately Need to Have Regarding Health Care, But Probably Never Will

Most of the population in the US (probably honestly everywhere else to, but I can't speak as definitely of them) remains in abject denial of the fundamental axiom of reaction

Put simply:  every decision in a political arena WILL suck for at least some real persons.

This greatly complicates our health care debate---causing us to fail to actually ask the questions and determine the answers that could drive a policy that could improve things somewhat, or at least, create a policy that a supermajority of us could live with going forward.

Here's the first question, I'll put the premises of the question in parenthesis:

What fraction of our governmental budget are we willing to spend on the subsidy of health care? (Premise:  Health care desires are unlimited, should we wish to, we could easily spend our entire budget in this area).  How much money are we willing to spend--that's the first and most important question.  Get a supermajority answer to this question and you can actually approach the next questions reasonably confidently.

Who do we want to subsidize, and how much?---In crude terms, how will we divide the loot from question number 1?  Do we think particular medical procedures are deserving of more subsidy?  (e.g., delivery of babies).  Do we think that particular people are deserving of more subsidy?  How do we feel about injuries/illnesses that are largely self-inflicted? (e.g. Type II diabetes).  How do our answers to all of these questions change as the income/social status of the recipient changes? (e.g., should we subsidize a Type I diabetic with impeccable self-discipline in caring for himself who makes more than 200K per year?).  Do we want to insist that anybody we subsidize makes lifestyle changes to prevent further self-inflicted issues?  How do race and sex play into these questions?  Do we want to subsidize those with more years of life remaining more? 

How do we want to pay for all of this through taxes?  Who...whom?

If we could actually ask these questions, and debate them honestly and without attempts at shaming, we could probably reach a compromise that most of us wouldn't have any grave issues with.  That compromise would probably entail something like a subsidized catastrophic coverage policy with something on the order of a 10k/year cap (my guess is on the order of a 5K deductible with a fairly long transition to full coverage).  That's probably about as generous Americans are willing to be when they're made aware of the fact that they actually have to pay for it.  But the question is a moot one, perhaps because the whole constellation of them can't be debated openly because we're collectively in such denial.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


In my house we are thankful for many things.  Goods of material sustenance are terribly cheap by historical standards.
For instance, at your local Costco, you can buy approximately 4000 calories worth of white rice for a dollar.  Alternately, you could buy 2000 calories worth of Adams Peanut Butter or dried beans for that same dollar.  In terms of pain relief, one can buy 40 or 50 pain relievers for about the same amount of money.  And even at the present price of gasoline, for $1 you can buy a truly obscene amount of power, enough to make kings of bygone days drool.

Most of these things are the products of technology and engineering.  Much of the dysfunction of our present age's government has been papered over and masked to some extent by said infrastructure.  Can't be bothered to actually maintain law and order in the center of the cities?  No problem, we'll just migrate to the suburbs powered by our armies of petrol minions.  I'm thankful for these glorious hordes of BTUs made available to me, and hope you are as well.  The day will likely come when they're nowhere near so cheap nor so numerous.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Undercounted Economic Benefits of Low Diversity and Trust

My wife and little ones are big fans of going to the beach, even though beaches in Oregon and Northern California aren't about swimming.  On the way to many of our favorite spots though, we pass through lots of extremely white small towns on the coast.  One thing that jumps out is the very high levels of trust that persist there (the second being the celebrity treatment my two little tiny redheads get from the many grandparents that inhabit such places).  Here is an example---it strikes me as profoundly alien every single time I pass it because of all the things it implies.
In the middle of a very small parking lot---really more of a spot where one could pull off the coastal highway than a parking lot honestly---there are stacks of bundles of firewood, and a sign advertising them for sale for the customary $5 or so.  Next to the sign is a bucket where you can put your payment.  That's it.  No watchman or clerk, no cameras...Nothing.  But it's been here for years now, so apparently the guy who cuts the wood must not get ripped off often.  This speaks to positively alien levels of trust by the standards of the societies that I've been a part of.  I recall visiting relatives with my great-grandmother in Northern Idaho as a preteen and being similarly floored when I was told NOT to lock the front door and that the sofa in the foyer was to be kept made up in case some passer-by needed a place to crash during the night, and even more so when I confirmed with their neighbors that my relatives were NOT just weird, that this was a social norm.
From an economic standpoint, whoever runs this gets the $5 per bundle of wood that people (usually campers) expect to pay for cutting and stacking the wood, and the customers pay the going rate.  But all the usual middleman costs are totally absent.  Most of said middleman costs would be calculated in as part of what economists call GDP.  Something to think about when one hears that economists say that 'immigration is good for the economy'.  How can one take them seriously when they have not even a mechanism to measure how much the degradation of trust created by diversity costs?  You could probably even argue that increasing diversity creates an artificial economy of scale benefiting larger firms versus the guy---probably a retiree, who likely enjoys cutting wood.

Monday, November 21, 2011

So what are the advantages of being a (non-elite) white person in the US anyway?

A lot of ink is spilled talking of the mythic creature known as 'White Privilege'.  Normally these arguments say---hey, these elite guys, who happen to share the same skin color as you, have a lot of things going for them and the system cuts them obscene amounts of slack.  Therefore you, Mr Non-Elite white person shouldn't grumble about you or your kids being discriminated against for the benefit of Mr. Present or Future Elite non-white person.  Obviously this is a crock, and, even if we DID enjoy a substantial advantage by way of something shady, we'd be fools to volunteer to reverse that advantage.  But let's investigate just what a non-elite white person has going for him in the US today.

An observer can reasonably infer that your IQ, conscientiousness, executive function, etc are drawn from the white distribution.  Which is to say, in the case of IQ, 100 mean with approximately 15 as a standard deviation.  Whether you want to toss in the fact that, as a non-elite white person, your 'attributes' are generated in the first place using that sort of distribution is something of a philosophical point, and not one I'll go into in this post.  The point is, when an observer is analyzing your capabilities, and doing that little regression towards the mean thing to correct for his fairly low r-squared in his estimate, that's the underlying distribution he's using for his priors.  He'll likely do a similar computation when estimating how criminal or antisocial you are.  Were you, a black guy, his prior estimate of the probability of you being, say, a murderer, and thus potentially very dangerous, would be around 9x higher (if he had a set of priors informed by the FBI UCR or reality).
One can infer that this is probably reasonably advantageous in most cases, although someone visibly Jewish or Japanese/Chinese might in fact do slightly better in terms of the priors.
Ironically, the better the tests you've got available in your battery, the less said priors matter.  If you've got, say 95% reliability or more, like a lot of the most popular psychometrics on intelligence, the correction for regression towards the mean is pretty small.  On the other hand, if you're doing what I'll call folk psychometrics (and people are actually not half bad at this), that correction is pretty large.  So having a lot of tests and such pervasively applied actually reduces this advantage, insofar as it exists.

The next big advantage is the places wherein you look out of place are usually a lot less desirable than if you were, say, a NAM.  You are likely to fit in culturally in a considerably larger fraction of reasonably functional neighborhoods.

The final big advantage is that you presently enjoy demographic hegemony.  Hopefully you're not so foolish as to fail to defend it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Debt, the Reason Reactionaries Can be Optimistic in the Medium Term

Presently the US' debt at the federal level has just crossed over GDP.  This of course doesn't actually count federal obligations in the future, such as Medicare and SS, or debt at the state and lower levels, which in many cases is far worse.

There are a lot of similarities with the 70s right now, but there's one glaring difference.  In the 70s debt was down around 40% or so GDP.  To get debt levels comparable to now, you've got to go back into WW2.  The situation is clearly unsustainable.  Either action or inaction will result in continuing and widespread damage to the legitimacy and prestige of the existing order.  As reactionaries, this is cause for great optimism.  The US has never been able to effectively tax more than around 20% of the GDP of the country, so owing 1x GDP is, from a governmental standpoint, a lot like owing 5x one's yearly income.  That would be bad bad news indeed for any sane loan officer.

Are the bond vigilantes on the way, or are they still busy in Europe?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heads I win, Tails they Lose: The Supreme Court and Obamacare

The individual mandate and Obamacare is up for consideration by the Supreme Court.  In essence, the Supreme Court is to decide whether the Commerce Clause actually means anything (hint, if it always applies, it is meaningless).  I find the situation rather encouraging.  Here's why:

A slight majority of the population wants to see it struck down by the Supreme Court.  If that happens, it will cost the Court quite a bit of institutional prestige.  I suspect this is what will happen, probably on a 5-4 vote.
If the Court on the other hand decides NOT to strike it down, it'll cost tremendous amounts of prestige as well---again, it'll probably be a 5-4 vote--at least as much as Roe v Wade.  Since I'm all about the delegitimization of the Judicial System, this is a no-lose situation, unless the court can pull something truly Solomonic out of its hat.  I'd prefer they strike it down---considering I have zero confidence that a Republican administration would, even if it had both houses of Congress and the executive.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

REAMDE imitating life, or vice versa perhaps?

I've recently started reading Stephenson's latest opus, and enjoying it thus far.  One thing that really jumped out at me was the War of Realignment, which strikes me very much as a virtual assault by the Vaisya/non-SWPL white/Spartans/Red Staters against the Brahmins/SWPL/Athenians/Blue Staters---depending on whose social schema you prefer to think within.  Basically, there's plenty of bottled up animus out there (something I think that explains the OWS crowd and the Penn State riot pretty well), and the features of a virtual world allowed the sides to organize to smite their respective 'Others'.  The particular colors involved are accidents, not essence, much like the Greens and the Blues of historical fame.

I suspect pretty strongly that an MMO that allowed such affiliation and conflict on a grand scale would be pretty popular.  Even the old Dark age of Camelot game got a good dose of ersatz nationalism going on early and there was a pretty strong geographic bent to the three realms in terms of their players in the real world (e.g., the Pacific Northwest was disproportionately Hibernian).  There may be some possibilities in this for reactionaries to precipitate a supersaturated suspension, as it were.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What is Cheap and What is Dear in the Marriage Market

Continuing the thread from my last post, let's discuss what will cost you serious 'currency' in the marriage marketplace and what will not.  Readers should be warned that there is some reductionism here as well as more than the usual dose of candor.

Whether this constitutes something akin to value investing depends greatly on what you, the reader, actually value (actually value, not say for public consumption that you value).  Since we're writing primarily for the benefit of the non-neurotypical male, we'll look at the marketplace from that perspective.  Readers with other perspectives will need to translate accordingly.

By far and away the most 'expensive' thing is her looks---as in, the approximate percentile where she falls relative to women her age when viewed from a male perspective.  This is what will cost you dearly.  The only thing even close to as pricey as this is her age relative to yours.  If you know these 2 things, you know probably 90% of her value in the marriage marketplace viewed by the average male participant.

The good thing for you is that if you followed my advice in previous posts, you've accepted enough first dates that you now have a pretty good idea just how desireable you are in the marketplace yourself.  My personal observation is that, when dealing with marriage-minded women (i.e., women who are consciously aware that they're in the marriage marketplace and not merely the sexual marketplace), women who are of similar marketplace value to you will actually tend to react the most favorably towards you.  It's actually NOT the women who are lower on that hierarchy than you that will usually do so---they'll avoid investing too much if they see you as nearly unobtainable.  Note also that the mere fact that you're 'interviewing' lots of applicants will improve your status in the whole process, and it'll probably also protect you from becoming overly committed too early.

Here are some things that will cost you a little---they're not free in the marriage marketplace but you might be interested in them.
Her grace in movement:  The classic example is the woman who did ballet when she was younger and probably still enjoys dance, yoga, or similar pursuits now.  This does command a bit of a premium in the marketplace.
Particular hair/eye/skin coloration combinations that some, but nowhere near all, guys have a minor fetish for:  e.g., blue eyes/blond hair, fair skin or red hair/green or blue eyes/fair skin with a few freckles
How pleasant and agreeable her disposition in general is and her overall level of mental stability:  This, IMO, is seriously undervalued.  I give it a strong buy regardless of who you are.

Here are some things that cost almost nothing---this is to say, a woman with them experiences only a trivial increase to her average value in the marriage market
Intelligence:  In general she ought to be within 2 sigmas of you, and most women prefer that you be the smarter one.  But in itself this doesn't make her any more marketable, although it may make her harder to find.
Artistic ability:  Only will cost you much if its pretty seriously out there--e..g. 3-4 sigma ability in singing
Cooking and other domestic ability:  Again, only costs you if its seriously out there, and even then, not much
Height:  Won't cost you much at all---it doesn't seem to matter much for women unless they aspire to be models.  This isn't true of guys, who seem to get the maximum bonus around 6' to 6'2"--tall enough to be noticeably taller than the average, but not to trigger any uneasiness
Athletic ability:  Again, this costs you almost nothing (although any woman who has a significant amount of it nearly guarantees herself around 60th-70th percentile in looks by the simple expedient of NOT being significantly overweight).  This also isn't true of guys, who actually do get fairly significant mileage out of being visibly athletic.
Quality of her family, especially her parents:  This costs you almost nothing, most guys aren't even smart enough to consider it early on.  If her relationship with her father is solid, and her mother is married to her father still and treats him with consistent respect, this is a VERY good sign, and one that the marketplace IMO seriously undervalues.  STRONG BUY once again
Level of Religious Commitment:  Unless she's an Amish or the like, this costs you almost nothing.  As before, I've advised readers that generally only women who have strong, credible, and expensive signals of piety are good risks in the present marriage environment.  The good news is that the marketplace hasn't caught up to that recommendation (IMO, that reality) yet, so you won't need to pay much for it.
Non-neurotypical tolerance:  I'm guessing you want this quite a bit also.  You're in luck, it's practically free.  Being an 'engineer's daughter' like my wife doesn't tend to make you significantly more or less desired by the average man, but for you, gentle reader, such a woman is likely to be a much better fit.

Some people like to say that a house is likely to be the most highest stakes negotiation you'll ever be involved in---I disagree, I think selecting your mate is by far.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is an Efficient Marriage Market Hypothesis Supportable?

By this I mean, is there a very strong correlation between the percentile rank of the groom's desirability with respect to the female population and the bride's desirability with respect to the man population.
By this, we'd expect 70th-80th percentile males to marry 70th-80th percentile females most of the time, with outliers being rare and noteworthy.

I'm inclined to think that the evidence for this is pretty strong, although I'll concede that measuring the bride's desirability with respect to the male population is amenable to much more rigor than the reciprocal.  In the vernacular that neurotypicals use, we say that the two are almost always 'in the same league', and refer to a partner as 'out of his or her league' if there's a serious mismatch---sometimes also---'what does she or he see in him or her'.

Clearly also we see substantially higher rates of divorce when one partner's effective desirability shifts significantly with respect to the other's.  The classic examples include a formerly fat wife losing a lot of weight and suddenly noticing that her market position has changed and a husband whose career really starts to take off and thereby gaining a large push in status looking at younger women.  It is also clear that as the number of potential marriage partners for the average marriage market participant increases, we should expect to see the market become more efficient over time, since that vastly increases the pool of people that each partner is ranked against.

We could reasonably model these circumstances as saying that each potential bride or groom has a certain amount of 'currency' in the marriage market with which to purchase their opposite number.  Oddly, one could reasonably expect this would apply in polygamous circumstances also, since the quality of mate willing to be a 2nd spouse will be lower on average than that willing to be a one and only.

It is this model that I'm going to attempt to develop in more detail with the aim of extending my remarks in 

The goal is to provide a useful framework for the non-neurotypical contemplating seeking a suitable partner for marriage, although I suspect it will have value to neurotypicals as well.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More things difficult to explain from a Darwinian or a folk animal husbandry frame

Most people who think seriously about HBD tend to view it from either a Darwinian frame of reference or from the frame of what I'll call folk animal husbandry.  Folk animal husbandry tends to talk about things like 'the apple not falling far from the tree'---an expression, which, if you think about it, implies pretty strongly a strong central tendency based on genetics with some variation due to randomness and environment, especially when the modifier, the wind wasn't blowing too hard when that apple fell from the tree, is applied.  In addition the expressions about 'good stock' (sometimes 'good pioneer stock', with the stipulation that 'the cowards never came, the weak died along the way' applied) abound in the language.

For most practical HBD purposes, these frames are equivalent.  Honestly, creationists are more likely to agree to the practical application of HBD than are evolutionists, probably due to memetic entanglements.
Most creationists, for instance, will not dispute the claim that the races are partially inbred families writ large.  The ones who know their Old Testament will even point out the particular pedigrees involved going back to Noah.  Most also won't dispute the claim that different families have different tendencies towards large or small endowments in various attributes.  The ones who are lower case o orthodox won't even balk when one points out that said endowments are not fair in any human sense of the word---there's no point-based character generation going on here, God is not a Champions or Hero system gamemaster.  Those with a good practical command of Scripture will quote 'Hath not the potter power over the clay, to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?'  It's also not unlikely that the Parable of the Talents will be shared with you.  The creationist feels no need to pretend equality in any human sense, because he is confident that human beings are of equal (or at least inestimable) value to God. 

But whichever frame one chooses, one has two huge problems to deal with---two huge brute facts that challenge our frame.

The first is alluded to by a commentator on the 'Final Judgment of Darwin' on homosexuality.  The evidence that the trait is partially influenced by genetics is reasonably strong, but the depression in TFR that it causes is extremely strong.  Using either frame of reference, one would predict that it would be rapidly extinguished from the population, even leaving aside the impact of various 'social diseases', pogroms, or the like.

The second one is the massive differences that exist between women in terms of fertility and ability to safely carry a child to term.  Presumably, if Darwin or animal husbandry optimize ANYTHING, they optimize the ability to produce offspring.  That's about as fundamental as it gets.  Yet we have women like, say, my wife, mother, or great great grandmother who have had no significant difficulties whatsoever bringing a fair number of descendants into the world.  On the other side, we have women like two of my sisters in law who have had a great deal of such difficulty, one of whom would not survive a pre-modern childbirth.  Similar differences exist in terms of ability to conceive in the first place.  Given that even the youngest of Young Earth Creationists believe that humanity is around 300 generations old, that's plenty of time for natural/artificial selection and/or animal husbandry to optimize this pretty key capability and to largely fix whatever genetic variants promote such throughout the population.  Compare, for instance, lactose tolerance, which took very little time to become near universal in populations where cattle were common.

Both of these problems point to the conclusion that we don't understand this portion of reality anywhere near as well as perhaps we think we do.  This isn't to say that we know nothing, or that what we know is not useful (look to the radically increased yields we've been able to squeeze out of plants, for instance, even before modern 'genetic engineering' or, for instance, the incredible amount of intellectual talent the first wave of psychometrics was able to mine out of unexpected sources).  But it does tend to indicate that we should try to avoid straying too far from the actual data. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Further Encouragement for Reactionaries: The Ongoing Tide of Shall Issue CCW
Depicts a map of the states in the US by their Carry Concealed Weapon laws.
Things have come a long way since newspapers were breathlessly reporting on the 'Gunshine State', and predicting apocalyptic bloodbaths on the streets of Miami and Tampa if Florida opened CCW to ordinary, non-politically connected people.  Indeed a lot of states even give full faith and credit to several other states' CCW permits.

There are all sorts of reasons people support CCW laws, ranging from the totally prudential (the belief, probably justified by the evidence, that the proliferation of CCW holders in the general population will reduce crime and/or possessing a CCW myself will improve my own safety) to the idealistic (the right to life entails the right to reasonable provision to defending such) to the purely tribal (I strongly detest the people that are against the CCW initiatives and would like to put a stick in their eye).  It turns out that I actually agree and support CCW for all of these reasons.  But there's another very large reason I find encouragement in this trend, and it's not a reason one hears talked about much.

An effective monopoly on the means of defense and violence is the central pillar of governmental prestige.  Since that government is largely our enemy, and having tons of citizens with CCWs reduces that prestige, it is therefore a very good thing.  Call for an ambulance, call a cop, and call for a pizza, which will arrive first in a big city?  Having lots of people trained to look only perhaps after the fact to the almighty State for protection serves the cause of Reaction.  And, ironically, all the training and certification that several of the states put into place in the attempt to mollify opponents and the 'cultural elite' has only succeeded in making CCW holders more effective in all of these aims, the spoken ones and the unspoken ones.  Couple this with the incredibly high gun (and more importantly) ammunition sales figures and things start to smell somewhat like an aroma some of my great great great grandparents would have recognized.

Just to add salt into Leviathan's wounds a few years back, Katherine Harris (yes, that one from the whole 'hanging chad' affair) recognized that the CCW fees in Florida (which were quite reasonable already), exceeded the cost to administrate the system, which had astonishingly become more efficient as it scaled upwards.  So she cut the price of the CCW permit.  That sort of behavior is so alien to government that it is clearly contra-Cathedral.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Concept for a Reactionary Cartoon: The Last Judgment of Darwin

Take the original work, place the standard image for Darwin in the Throne of Judgment.
On Darwin's right, place representative examples of groups with high total fertility---Mormons, Amish, traditionalist Catholics, partriarchal extreme natalist Protestants and the like

On Darwin's left, place various examples of the converse--SWPL's with single or no children, reform Jews, and various winners of Darwin awards.  Those who infamously lobby their own ethnicity to control its fertility while leaving other groups alone would figure prominently among the wicked.  Those who worked against the relative fertility of OTHER groups and NOT their own would instead be on the right.

And above all, the figure of Darwin:  Depart from me ye barren, ye never knew me.

Feel free to steal this concept if you like it.  I've also been contemplating a 'Darwin's Inferno'.  This of course is all satirizing the replacement of God with Darwin and the irony that Darwin, like the several versions of Baal in the Old Testament, loathes his followers far more than his nominal opponents.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A quick and easy way to identify a (lower case o) orthodox church

I'm often asked by reactionaries the question:  how do I find a church that is actually orthodox and isn't a bastion of mere churchianity?  How do I find a church that actually respects and reveres that masculine and not just the feminine?  A lot of folks among the MRA/MGTOW crowd have become profoundly alienated from their foundational faith for pretty much this reason.  Fortunately, there exists a remnant of churches that do not hate men for being men, and they're sprinkled throughout a wide variety of denominations.  Identifying said churches is pretty easy.  Here's how you do it.

Count the approximate number of men in the congregation.  Count the number of women who aren't obvious elderly widows.  If the two numbers are very close together, you almost certainly have a lower-case o orthodox church that will give a damn about your personal and spiritual well-being before you.  The dead giveaways are the lack of large numbers of obviously married women without their husbands and the presence of comparable numbers of single men to single women.  There's really nothing mystic here---men go where they're wanted and stay where they're appreciated.  Churches that don't hate men are also extremely unlikely to hate the authority of Scripture and usually don't shy away from preaching the whole Bible, not just those portions that modern society likes to hear about.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some Suggested Tax Simplifications

Since several candidates for president have weighed in with portions of their tax plans, I'll toss a few suggestions in as well.  The overriding theme of these suggestions is simplification with minimal impact on aggregate taxes collected---revenue neutral in the language politicos like to use.

1.  Make health plans fully taxable.  Increase the personal exemptions by the average amount presently exempted by health plans being effectively above the line.  People with exceptionally high health care costs during a year can continue to use the itemized additional deduction.
Benefits:  This has the potential to effectively disentangle health care plans from employment, which will make labor more mobile. Also, it will tend to reduce the complexity of health insurance in general since there will be no temptation to cram things into an insurance paradigm simply because they can then be paid with pre-tax dollars.  Insofar as winners/losers, this will benefit the younger versus the older.

2.  Make dividends deductible as an expense (like interest is) for corporations that pay them out.  Make them fully taxable as ordinary income (also like interest) for those that receive them.
Benefits:  Removes the distortion of incentives for corporations and stockholders insofar as how to return money to the shareholders.  Dividends are also a lot harder to game than the other ways and tend to keep companies more honest.  In addition, because dividends are antithetical to stock options (because granting a dividend of x cents immediately drops the price of the stock by x cents), this will tend to reduce the amount of options companies will have an incentive to grant.  Options can create all kinds of perverse incentives, because if you hold an option, you want the price of the stock to be volatile and tend to care most about the highest spike of stock price rather than the long term value.  Consider also how this interacts with stock buybacks (another method of returning value to the customer).  Do heavily option-loaded executives have a strong incentive to 'buy low' when executing a stock buyback?  Or is the incentive rather to attempt to juice the stock price prior to exercise of options?

3.  Seriously consider trashing the Mortgage interest deduction and using the average amount to increase the personal exemption.  Winners:  renters and those who have paid off their houses already---people who don't care:  those who don't itemize---losers:  those with large mortgage interest payments.  This will also deflate the housing market prices somewhat because people won't be paying for houses with artificially cheap dollars anymore.  The college loan fiasco should provide an object lesson as to what happens when everyone is bidding with subsidized dollars (hint, the prices inflate far faster than inflation).

4.  Get rid of phase outs.  If you want to charge people higher tax rates at higher AGI levels, just charge them higher tax rates.  Don't create a bunch of knuckles in the marginal tax curve by phasing things out over various 10k and 20k wide bands thereby increasing the complexity of the tax code (and, in particular, increasing the complexity of optimizing one's behavior and timing so as to pay less).

5. Get rid of customer-side tax credits.  If you really HAVE to give a tax credit on, say, Toyota Pious V's or holy light bulbs and washing machines, give it to the seller, not the customer.  The ultimate effect will be similar but you'll inflict the complexity of compliance and record keeping narrowly instead of widely.

6.  Seriously consider getting rid of the deduction for state, local, and other taxes paid.  Instead, once again just raise the personal exemptions by whatever that would average out to.  In theory at least, people who live in higher tax areas receive higher services in return for their taxes.

7.  Seriously consider moving charitable contributions above the line and having the charities automatically furnish the year end statement to the IRS as well as to the taxpayer, much like employers already do.  This would probably remove most of both fraud and unnecessary audits (since the IRS could just add the numbers up themselves) from the present itemization process.  Charitable mileage deductions could be eliminated at the same time, helping revenue neutrality and reducing the record keeping and audit complexity at the same time.  In addition, if items 3, 5, and 6 have been implemented as well, this will remove most of the remaining taxpayers that itemize.

All told I suspect that these changes would at minimum cut the compliance cost in time by average taxpayers at least in half.  Turbotax would, of course, be upset, because very few taxpayers would require anything more than Turbotax basic.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Central Support of the Moldbug Cathedral: The Civil Service Bureaucracy

Frequently well-intended semi-reactionary politicians win the fight in the polls and in the majority opinion, but fail to achieve any actual victory.  Part of this is the resistance of the Judiciary, which we've discussed at length in earlier posts, acting essentially as a diode blocking reactionary current while permitting current in the 'progressive' direction.  Most reactionaries and conservatives are aware to some degree of this dynamic.  Victory will eventually require the destruction or short-circuiting of this diode.

But most are not aware that the civil service bureaucracy is an even more central support of the Cathedral.  It is probably its oldest and most powerful edifice.  Politicians struggle against it largely in vain, and it deliberately leaks embarassing things when it feels itself under attack, things which are invariably blamed on the attacker.  When budgets are cut---and in the newspeak, simply reducing the projected rate of increase is deemed a 'cut'---it ensures that the most near and dear things to the public suffer the ax first.  It is a bit of a Gordion Knot problem, since the existence of a heavily entrenched civil service prevents any semblance of accountable governance or meaningful movement of the US in non-progressive directions.

However, it so happens I've got a sword to offer you for this turbulent knot.  Here it is:

Return to the Spoils System...the bad old days solution where offices were used to buy votes and key supporters---wait a minute?  You say that sort of stuff still goes on today, to an even greater extent?  Amazing how the civil service acts, intended to act as a brake on governmental corruption simply made said corruption more subtle but vastly more pervasive.

To do this you'd have to repeal all of the civil service acts, and make every single employee of the federal government fire at will---by which I mean they could be fired for ANY reason, and mass firings would be the expected norm when a new administration took power.  They would have to enjoy not even the protections that people in the private workplace enjoy regarding 'cause' or discrimination.

From a practical standpoint, to get there from here you might need to do a bit of counterintelligence work---deliberately manufacture totally inflammatory cases where a handpicked person is totally unsympathetic to the population at large but they can't be fired because of the letter of the civil service law. 

Now some say that the spoils system is far more democratic than the existing civil service system.  That's true, but that's not the reason why I support it.  I support it because the existing system is totally in the hands of the enemy and therefore needs to be destroyed or subverted.  This is the way in which that can be accomplished.  Selling this to the population will require a fair bit of propaganda, probably invoking the fact that the civil service system prevents any actual accountability and is profoundly undemocratic.  Weakening the bureaucracy through budget and staff cuts is probably also necessary as battlefield preparation.  Fortunately the economic and budgetary conditions give us good tailwinds in that endeavor.