Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happiness of Women Declining Faster than that for Men


None of this should be terribly surprising.  Raising the status of women relative to that of men creates relationship unhappiness for women moreso than for men.  Women are attracted to status, it is catnip for the neurotypical woman.  Lowering the relative status of men basically makes men less attractive to their women.  The flip side of this is the increasing prevalence of obesity, since looks are to men what status is to women.

Furthermore, women derive most of their satisfaction from their relationships and communities.  Guess what diversity undermines and destroys?  You can cite Putnam if you really need to in support of this claim, or you could alternatively just open your eyes.  Women thrive in a high-trust environment when they have ready access to similarly situated friends, another thing that packing most of them off to an office environment while putting their little bundles of joy into daycare to be raised by someone else tends to fragment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Diversity and the Loss of Free Association Sucks for the Proletariat


It occurs to me that most of the so-named proles are perfectly decent neighbors.  A thought experiment to prove this follows:

How many low middle class/upper lower class neighborhoods in the US would fail to become nice places to live if you could eject (or ideally, prevent from living there in the first place) the worst 20% of the residents?  Not very many I wager.  But under a PC multiculturalist regime, only rich people are allowed to live in nice neighborhoods, and only by erecting economic barriers to entry.

It has been said that the worst part of being poor in the US is having to live next to other poor people.  A huge part of this is that people outside the upper middle class and upper classes aren't allowed to maintain control over their own neighborhoods.  Hell, under high diversity, they can't even maintain soft power by controlling normative behavior.   And if this isn't bad enough, the SWPL/DWL crowd even supports stuffing Section 8 residents into whatever lower income neighborhoods are too functional for their tastes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Contribution to the High Education Bubble: Two Free Thesis or Dissertation Topics

Most rational observers agree that there is a serious higher education bubble going on, and way more theses and dissertations are produced that is optimal (although there's been a strong move towards non-thesis option Masters degrees).  But we're in the habit of encouragement here at the Chariot---it seems to be our area of comparative advantage, so today I'm offering two suitable topics, absolutely free.  You don't even have to cite me or credit me in any way.

Topic 1:  Do a study of the ending outcomes of children who are homeschooled of the various main flavors (traditional or unschooling) vs the various flavors of private schools vs public schooling.  Control by the IQ of the parents (you can get this from military records or the longitudinal studies that Murray used back in the Bell Curve, another alternative would use SAT/ACT scores).  This beats the hell out of just controlling by race/SES/education, and controlling by the parent's IQ gives you an indication on whether any of the modes of schooling might actually increase IQ, which after all isn't 100% nature although most of it is in the context of a high surplus modern society.  Some interesting questions you could answer this way, besides the obvious, might be which modes of schooling work best as a function of IQ ranges.  Do homeschool kids overperform their IQ?  Do homeschool parents tend to be smarter than their SES/education/race would tend to imply?
I imagine you could walk this topic in any of a number of departments, and it'd probably be worth several journal articles.

Topic 2:  It has been observed that the homicide rate presently would be a lot higher if we still had the medical capability of, say, the 1980s (this is to say a lot of people treated today and who make full recovery from aggravated assaults and the like would've been remanded to a pine box 20-30 years ago).  Put meat on this skeleton.  Using hospital and other medical aggregated records, compute a normalized homicide rate, normalized to 1900 medical technology or thereabouts, or the earliest date where your records of homicide and medicine are of good quality.  Consider also likely criticisms:  is there any evidence that people murdered today receive more injuries prior to actually expiring?  Do those intend on murder automatically adjust the lethality of their attacks to compensate?  Is the trauma medicine capability significantly unevenly distributed throughout the country?  Enough to make county-level rate significantly impacted by this effect?  Has the particular means of murder significantly shifted?  Like the first topic, you could walk this in several different departments, although I'd say Criminology is less likely to make a hash of it than medicine, although you'll probably want someone with relevant medical expertise (preferably a very long history of such, like a guy nearing retirement age in a major hospital in a big city who has worked trauma medicine most of his career) as a co author on several of your papers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Zeroth Commandment of the Cathedral: Thou Shalt Be Fungible?

Many things on God's Earth are fungible to one degree or another.  Money is the classic example, being almost perfectly fungible.  Oil under normal circumstances is mostly fungible too---a few nations refusing to buy Iranian oil isn't likely to hurt Iran all that much if they can turn around and sell to China and India instead.  Similarly, even if we were to miraculously achieve 'foreign oil independence', we'd still be affected by the market as a whole, because American oil producers are perfectly happy to sell to, for instance, freezing Europeans with a taste for expensive diesel fuel irrespective of the opinions of Americans if the price is right.

But the sort of fungibility I'm talking of here today is that of people.  You see, I'm arguing that the Cathedral absolutely loathes any kind of real diversity. If you're a counselor, for instance, the notion that you might be willing to counsel a person who experiences unwanted homosexual temptation in a way that doesn't glorify or affirm the lifestyle associated with such gives them hives.  They absolutely hate the idea that in a free marketplace, Joe, who hates the fact that he is tempted towards homosexual fornication and wants help from a counselor grounded in a reactionary Christian worldview in dealing with the fallout and stress assocated with his struggles can do so, while Jack, who likes the fact that he is gay but wants help dealing with the fallout and stress associated with his lifestyle can also find an appropriate counselor.  They hate the fact that some pharmacists refuse to traffic in some sorts of wholely legal drugs for reasons of conscience.  They detest the fact that an artist might not want to affirm a lifestyle that they consider degenerate, or bake a wedding cake in honor of it.  In short, they insist that everyone be fungible and interchangible within their particular role and class, even those elements who on the surface appear to have an exemption (woe to them when they stray off the reservation!).  God forbid you start talking about free association.

The classic reactionary position on this is that fungibility is anti-human.  Human beings aren't fungible nor were they made by their Creator to be such.  Large corporations love this zeroth commandment though, for fungible peoples are less difficult to market to and manipulate, probably explaining a lot of the alliance of the corporate and the Cathedral.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is There a Connection Between Pervasive Negotiation and Being a Low Trust Society?

Such seems pretty likely to me, as most of the societies that spring most to mind when I think 'low trust' are also associated with all kinds of haggling and negotiation, and not just on rare big-ticket purchases.  George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, also seemed to think so, believing that negotiation inherently disadvantaged the meek and who introduced fixed pricing in England as the implementation of his belief.  Just from a pure productivity standpoint, were this a technology in a game like Civilization, it'd almost certainly be considered radically overpowered.  Think of how many hours are expended haggling over prices---guessing that fixed pricing practices resulted in a 5-10% improvement in overall productivity is probably an underestimate, to say nothing of the reduction in stress levels, particularly among the more introverted segments of the population.
Can a case be made that the introduction of fixed pricing and the marginalization of negotiation in daily life increased the trust levels in the Anglosphere (George Fox pushed the idea pretty charismatically on Quaker merchants, and the success of it lead to increasing adoption over the years by other merchants---the reputation of Quaker businessmen for honest dealing, relative to the standards of that era, was commercially valuable)?  Is it an accident that people that negotiate prices in general are thought poorly of in our society (e.g., car salesmen and furniture salesmen)?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Supreme Court Takes Up Texas Affirmative Action Case: No Lose Battle for Reaction


If they dismantle more of Affirmative Discrimination, we win.  If they don't, they hand us more of the all important public anger at an advantageous time, perhaps even enough to move more of the population down my judicial delegitimisation scale.
This summer's raft of decisions should be interesting indeed, especially played to the background of $4+ a gallon gasoline prices.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On Politicians, Faith, and Nearly Information-Free Statements

Pretty much every politician in the US proclaim their Christianity.  They do this because a supermajority of the US population professes at least nominal Christianity.  The mere statement by a politician that they are Christian carries precious little information, because if they were not, they generally would say they were anyway.  My gut tells me that an awful lot of politicians in the US are functionally atheists and this isn't limited to the Democratic party or 'Catholics in Name Only'.  They simply profess a faith because it is death electorally if they do otherwise.
About the only politicians you can probably take at face value when they declare a religious affiliation are the ones of non-mainstream faiths in the US---like say a Buddhist or a Mormon.  Much talk is advanced on whether Obama, for instance, is a secret Moslem.  I don't think he is, but I don't think he's a Christian either.  Obama worships Obama, and seems to want everyone else to also.  Christians and others who care about religious values in the political arena in the US should pay much more attention to a politician's track record of voting on the issues that matter to them and put much less stock in their nominal affiliation.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Desperate Struggle Against Homeschooling


by way of  http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/02/argument-for-against-homeschooling.html

I find this article terribly funny.  The author of the Slate article is attempting to convince progressive/liberal parents not to make an unprincipled exception for their children in the matter of education.  He's saying they need to make their children 'take one for the team'.  He's making the flip side of the argument I make when highly liberal parents claim to believe their cant while private schooling their kids (I've never had an argument of this form with a homeschool parent for some reason).  My argument has typically been of the form:  You don't act as if you believe X, see here is evidence of that fact, therefore you don't really believe it and you should stop mouthing the platitudes.  I've rarely had any success converting people's opinions in such discussions, but it does nearly invariably succeed in suppressing them like artillery fire and they slink away with their tails between their legs.  Now this author attempts to get them to break their hypocrisy in the opposite direction---implying excommunication from progressive status should they not do so.  This will fail, because if there's anywhere people will make unprincipled exceptions, it is for their kids.  Only the most degraded, withered examples of humanity make status points on the backs of their children.  No president since Carter, for instance, has sent their kids to a public school.

The beauty is, if this is not an isolated note, but rather a regular drumbeat, this will have the effect of radicalizing a lot of progressive/liberal homeschoolers.  It will drive them further into the arms of reactionary homeschoolers.  There's an old expression common to mothers:  Love me, love my kids.  It also works in reverse---when you love (i.e., protect the interests of) their children, they'll tend to like you better.  They might just realize that not only are they unwilling to have their children 'take one for the team', but that there is no 'team' there at all.  Teams, after all, imply reciprocal ties of obligation and support in the pursuit of a shared goal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Scandal of the US Public Health Apparatus: Pissing Away Moral and Social Capital

Frequently you'll read breathless stories about how large numbers of children and adults are not 'properly immunized'.  It is also frequently commented on that most people don't stay home when they have contagious illnesses.  Further, we see a public with extremely low by modern historical standards confidence in the public health system.  This may be part of why there's so much pull towards socializing medicine---the doctors lack the standing that they once had socially.  How did we get here?

Well, for one thing, the public health apparatus doesn't ACT like they're fanatical partisans of public health.  If they did, they'd be constantly screaming holy hell over the failure to maintain the integrity of our borders.  Back in Ellis Island days, preventing the spread of disease into the US was actually taken seriously.  Seriously enough that a lot of diseases USED to be pretty much extinct in the US, including TB.  But no more (this is just the latest story, there have been quite a few over recent years).

Add to this not taking the AIDS matter properly seriously---a serious response would've been extremely heavy handed from a 'civil liberties' point of view with quarantines and sanctions against those that break quarantine being only the beginning.  Here's a hint to doctors:  You're not expected to uniformly WIN all such struggles of protected class VS public health, but you ARE expected to give it the old college try.  When you don't or just phone it in, people get the idea that the health of the public is NOT your highest priority.  That's dangerous, and not just to your income stream.

Mass disease control can be compared to nuclear fission reactions.  Diseases only get really dangerous to societies when each new carrier begets more than one new carrier, analogous to a supercritical chain reaction.  This is where the whole concept of 'herd immunity' comes into play.  See, most vaccinations are nowhere near 100% effective, which is why when there's a minor outbreak, of, say, measles, frequently only half to two-thirds of the infected will be unvaccinated.  Flu shots are even worse, sometimes only reducing your probability of getting the flu personally by a third or so.   Much of the benefit of your vaccination doesn't actually go to you.  It goes to the population in your area as a whole, by lowering the number of new carriers that might otherwise have been produced by you.  The whole affair is very probabilistic and it is based on a utilitarian ethos, which is why this is very rarely discussed openly in public.  To be able to make pronouncements of the form:  You and your kids need to do X, which may be unpleasant or have side effects (which we will keep as quiet as possible) for the benefit of capital-S Society, you need to have moral authority and the requisite standing.  Otherwise the public won't trust you and you'll be in the position of frequently lying to the public about the whole nature of the disease control game, which begets, you guessed it, further degradation in public trust.

The awful standards of research and statistics in medical journals don't help either, but the average person doesn't actually feel that in his gut the way the previous failings rankle.  My recommendation is to work on these failings now, or be ready for a really really nasty surprise should we ever have to contend with something as bad as the Spanish Flu again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can the Catholic Church Find Its Voice?


Apparently a clear majority of American Catholics support mandating that the health insurance provided by employers cover contraception.  This is a step of apostasy beyond simply ignoring the clear direction of Catholic doctrine and tradition.

Clearly, Benedict, you've got an apostasy problem.  Now, as a Quaker (albeit in name only), I've got little room to talk, as my denomination is at least as hollowed by apostates and frankly, probably moreso.  So let our Catholic readers not imagine that I'm taunting them.  Far from it, encouragement is what we do best here at the Chariot.  What we aim to do this evening is encourage.

As I see it, the problem is that you've lost your voice.  Oh, I see your many encyclicals---I've read many of them.  I'm a Protestant but I'm more inclined to give you the time of day than most Catholics, at least in my country.  The problem with the many encyclicals is that they generally tend to speak to Reason, and not to the gut.  Not by accident, I think, does God say He wants obedience, not sacrifices.  But most of us have forgotten what your voice sounds like.  Perhaps you have as well?  Let me refresh your memory

(From A Canticle for Leibowitz, hat tip to http://payingattentiontothesky.com/2009/09/18/book-recommendation-a-canticle-for-leibowitz-by-walter-m-miller-jr/ for the quotation, but read the book if you've not already, it is a masterpiece and the only thing, IMO Walter Miller wrote of lasting value)

“ – but even the ancient pagans noticed that Nature imposes nothing on you that nature doesn’t prepare you to bear. If that is true of a cat, then is it not more perfectly true of a creature with rational intellect and will – whatever you may believe of Heaven?”

“Shut up. Damn you, shut up!” she hissed.
If I’m being a little brutal,” said the priest, “then it is to you, not the baby. The baby, as you say, can’t understand. And you, as you say, are not complaining. Therefore—”
“Therefore you are asking me to let her die slowly and –”

“No! I’m not asking you. As a priest of Christ I am commanding you by the authority of Almighty God not to lay hands on your child, not to offer her life in sacrifice to a false god of expedient mercy. I do not advise you. I adjure and command you in the name of Christ the King. Is that clear?”

Dom Zerchi had never spoken with such a voice before, and the ease with which the words came to his lips surprised even the priest. As he continued to look at her, her eyes fell. For an instant he had feared that the girl would laugh in his face. When Holy Church occasionally hinted that she still considered her authority to be supreme over all nations and superior to the authority of states, men in these times tended to snicker. And yet the authority of the command could still be sensed by a bitter girl with a dying child. It had been brutal to reason with her, and he regretted it. A simple direct command might accomplish what persuasion could not. She needed the voice of authority now, more than she needed persuasion. He could see it by the way she had wilted, although he had spoken the command as gently as his voice could manage.

That, Friend, is what your voice sounds like.  Not the plaintive meow of a housecat but the roar of the Lion of Judah.    Not the simpering of the scholars of the Second Sigma, but the Command Voice of the Vicar of Christ.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Justice Breyer Receives Cultural Enrichment on Holiday


Maybe it'll do positive things for his jurisprudence.  Isn't the old saw that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged?
If memory serves, Breyer has been a gun control fan as well, fitting he was robbed at machete-point.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gasoline and the Upcoming Election

Most seem to expect that the price of gasoline will rise on the order of 60 cents by this summer, putting the price right around $4 a gallon for most Americans.  That is also right around the price that I think would doom Obama under most circumstances. 

In addition to this, we see that gasoline consumption is way down year over year

This would tend to imply that economically things are a lot worse than we are led to believe.  I have a suspicion that Obama will call for a release of oil from the SPR to attempt to keep gas prices below the psychological value of $4 a gallon.  I'm not sure whether it'll work.  There has been since 2008 a lot of demand destruction in the US for gasoline and oil in general---we're importing a lot less than then--much more so than can be accounted for by increased fuel production inside the US.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blessed are They for Whom the Media Does Not Impute Wickedness

By way of Instapundit we have:

Let's see...proportional rates likely HIGHER than those of the much reviled Catholic Church....check
Coverup....which we're all told is far worse than the original crime...check

Massive media attempt to generate public outcry to raze the schools to the ground and salt the earth on which they stood?  No

This is a classic example of the media applying radically different standards to groups it likes versus those that it doesn't.  Think, for instance, of how much cultural attention the less than around 5000 lynchings over the course of about a century got.  Way more than the disproportionate black on white murders get, and a lot of the lynchings back in those days were frankly, quite justified.

Let me relate an old family story of mine.  I'd have been inclined to dispute it but for the fact that a postcard from the beginning of the 20th century was produced as photographic evidence.

A malefactor in a Southern state raped a girl.  He was convicted by the jury and sentenced to death.  Nobody seriously disputed the fact that he was guilty.  However, he was a crony of the state governor.  The governor pardoned him---incidentally breaking the 'honest graft' rules of his contemporary up North (George Washington Plunkitt, who called the penal system the Forbidden Fruit).  The good citizens of the capital city in question decided they'd have none of that, so they strung the convicted and pardoned man up from a lamp post, and made a postcard of it.  I suspect a lot of lynchings were similar, despite the popular narrative in the media that all lynching victims were innocent black people murdered by wicked white people (in this case, I'm pretty sure that the lynched was neither innocent nor black).  History is always messier than any clean narratives progressives like to spin.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Problems in a Bright Future: There is Plenty but Plenty of People are Useless from a Productivity Standpoint

On the previous post, B writes

"I agree with everything except the idea that there is necessarily a fixed limit to the amount of unproductive people that a society can support. It is entirely conceivable that technology could evolve to a high enough level that a small amount of productive people could support the rest. The main issue is how to keep stupid and unproductive people (whose unproductivity is mostly contextual and caused by tech-in a tropical climate, given a digging stick and a 5 gallon bucket, they could produce enough manioc to support themselves and a dozen kids) from degenerating morally and making their life and the lives of those around them a living hell."

This is one possibility for the future---fictionalized in 'The Diamond Age'.  What has happened in such a scenario is that a very large fraction of the population has become useless from a productivity standpoint.  A few people have meaningful jobs but most forms of scarcity, excepting, of course status and positional goods, have been repealed.

In our own time in the US, we've seen a steady rise in the fraction of the public that are unemployable or 'zero marginal product' workers.  Indeed the minimum IQ coupled with average work ethic needed to be worth a 'living wage' has steadily risen.  As it continues to rise this will inexorably raise tensions between the productive and the combination of the unproductive and those simply not allowed to produce due to regulations, minimum wage, and the like.

My suggestion regarding how to deal with this problem is the following (my recommendation with how to deal with an economic contraction due to a future where cheap energy has gone the way of the dodo is similar):

Repeal pretty much all social safety net programs---medicare, SS, welfare, unemployment, et al.
Eliminate pretty much all minimum wage and similar labor regulations
Guarantee all citizens over the age of majority a citizen's dividend, probably on the order of $10k/year present purchasing power.  You can fund this dividend however you like, but I recommend a simple consumption tax or something equally transparent.  Treat it exactly like monthly dividends from a corporation like the Realty Income Corporation (O on the NYSE), except it wouldn't be transferable.  No means testing would be used and the team to do the distribution could probably be a dozen people or less.  Ideally, this would represent 2/3 or so of the governmental budget and the tight connection between taxes paid and dividend received would tend to constrain other budget elements.

Do that and most of the population can find SOMETHING useful to do, and the reasoning behind minimum wages and the like becomes moot.  Status striving will insure that most people don't just take the dividend and like a low lifestyle, although such would be an option and necessarily so.  The fact that people would be free to work for very low wages---as a supplement to their dividend, much in the way that some retirees work as Walmart greeters and the like to make a few extra shekels---would tend to drive unemployment rates very low.  People would also have a strong incentive to maintain the borders and be conservative on legal immigration, since it would directly and tangibly impact their own dividends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Only Social Security Plan With A Track Record Of Success

More folks my age believe that Aliens are regularly visiting the Earth than believe that they will collect any meaningful amount of money from Social Security.  In this estimate, I believe they are correct despite my low probability estimate of regular visitation from interstellar illegal aliens.
Social Security is not structured as a forced savings/investment program, but rather much like a tax-supported welfare program with a loose connection in amounts paid out versus amounts paid in.  Relatively recently outflow exceeded SS taxes collected.  Some speak of a 'Social Security Trust Fund', but frankly, that is merely an accounting fiction.  Where is the trust fund?  Why, it is in fact just part of the national debt.  You didn't really think they did something like used it to buy tons of gold and oil did you, cached somewhere in the deep Midwest?  Or invested it into a Sovereign wealth fund like the Chinese?  No, they used it to offset deficits and reduce their apparent size.  Anyone who talks about a Social Security 'lock box' with an eye to mollifying you ought to be locked in a box.

But, be that as it may, SS would still be in deep trouble even if it were structured the way some people still naively assume it is----like a gigantic 401k system with conservative investment management.  Even under ideal conditions, there will be massively correlated net selling activity as the huge elephant in the demographic python enters retirement age--i.e. the Baby Boom Generation.  And what does massive net selling activity generally do to the prices that the sellers receive?

At bottom, money or investments represent a present claim to resources in the future.  A society can only support X% of its population not being productive.  In crude terms, only so many can ride in the wagon that the rest must push.  The increase of the retiree to non-retiree ratio means problems, big problems, in the fairly near term future and massive headwinds for the economy as a whole.  In addition, the lower 'demographic quality' of the younger generation will not help either---anyone with delusions that illegal immigrants and massive legal immigration from the 3rd world is going to solve this problem should sell the excellent drugs they have discovered to fund their own retirement.

There is, however, a fairly time-tested strategy for retirement, used for most of human history.  Raise functional children, preferably several of them, and hope that at least one of them and their spouse will look after you in your declining years.  For reactionaries I'd suggest at least 3, four if you had the good sense to marry early.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Faithful Follow the Reactionary Plan for Victory


Brought to us by way of the Thinking Housewife, which is, IMO an excellent blog

Here we have evidence that, just like homeschoolers, the areas of the reactionary Remnant are increasing exponentially, albeit from a low base.  These areas, called Fertile Intact Census Tracts (or FICTs) are areas where the fertility is high and most families are intact.  This is the reactionary long game---simply avoid committing suicide along with the rest of the culture and ensure that it can not take you down along with it in its dying spasms.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Adding Insult to Injury With Anarcho-Tyranny

On Super Bowl Sunday, some church friends of ours had their car tagged by some 'loosely organized youthful malefactors'.  The police, of course, have zero interest after it was reported to them in actually investigating the crime or punishing the guilty.

But they were most interested in warning our friends that they have only 2 weeks to get the tags removed, or THEY will be punished.

Things like this make me loathe the police.  I wonder if they recognize just how much ill will this sort of thing generates?
Of course they'd move heaven and earth to prosecute and punish were our friends to form a civic committee of vigilance to do the job that they themselves refuse to do.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rational Economic Man, DUI, and Desacralizing Adoption


Apparently this very rich man decided to adopt his girlfriend to shield a large amount of assets from a potential civil judgment in the aftermath of DUI charges against him.  Both of his kids are minors, and apparently his trust for his children could still be hit by a future judgment against him, but with the adoption of another daughter who is not a minor, the trust becomes immune to such judgments.  Enter the girlfriend and the strategic adoption.  Rational Economic Man never disappoints in his ability to desacralize institutions and game systems.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Komen Breast Cancer Foundation: PR Malpractice and the Never Apologize Rule in the Political Sphere

This week has shown us a rather amusing little drama.  First, we hear the the Komen breast cancer foundation has decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood.  Then there was a massive outcry from those who view abortion as the Great Sacrament of their misbegotten religion.  Then for a few days, donations to the Komen foundation surge.  Finally, the Komen foundation apologizes and reverts to their original policy---i.e. decides to continue funding Planned Parenthood.

Frankly I couldn't make a worse PR decision if I tried, and I'm a believer in strategically inflaming particular adversaries whenever possible (Per Sun Tzu, if your opponent is choleric, inflame him---this is of course because if you can cause him to lose full control over his emotions, you will find him easier to defeat).  First, you piss off those who view abortion as a sacrament, like, say, the famous reporter woman who said she'd have been happy to emulate Monica for Bill Clinton for 'keeping abortion legal'.  This group is so damned touchy that a private charitable foundation simply deciding not to give them money anymore sets them off, predictably.  Anyone who doubts what I say about the neurotypical mind being ungrateful as hell can look here for Exhibit A.  If you give me money or useful help on a regular basis out of the goodness of your heart, with no strings attached, and then one year you tell me you'll no longer be able to do this for me anymore, my gut response bears no resemblance to Planned Parenthood's.  It's more akin to---Thank you very much for your many years of support.  I hope that maybe you'll find it beneficial to support us again at some future date.  Gratitude for the favors granted, and no hard feelings or feeling of entitlement to future favor.  But then I'm way the hell out of the neurotypical range.  Classier outfits than Planned Parenthood, even if they didn't feel the way I would at the gut level, would at least attempt to emulate my response.  This is one of the areas where Christianity has had a profoundly beneficial impact on the culture---in getting people to at least FAKE gratitude and act as if they were grateful when they receive unmerited favor.

Then, to compound their predicament, they decide to change their mind and apologize.  Yes, companies can often help themselves by apologizing.  For instance, my wife got a loaf of bread from a grocery store some weeks back that was stale when opened well before the sell by date.  When she called the bread company, they were profoundly apologetic and sent several loaves of bread worth of manufacturer's coupons (effectively like a small gift card).  The apology was accepted and we did not prejudice any future transactions with this particular manufacturer.  But politics in the US doesn't work that way---hasn't at least since the 60s.  When you apologize in such a venue it is simply used to beat you with further.  Amusingly, I suspect that the Komen foundation would've been better served if it said something like this:

Burn in Hell you damnable baby-killers.  We're sorry we ever funded you and if we could retroactively take it out of your miserable hides, we'd do so.  You'll never see a plugged nickle from us ever again.

Had they said that they'd at least have had the pro-life community behind them---that group which was likely responsible for the surge of donations in the meantime.  Here's the thing, they are now seriously on the radar of pro-lifers.  Before I knew they did business with Planned Parenthood and had no truck with them, but I'm an outlier and I know it.  Now the fact that they support Planned Parenthood is in the public eye and record.  What's more, an awful lot of pro-choicers are going to remain pissed off at them.  So their chosen course of action results in pretty much everyone hating them on both sides of the issue.  Had they followed the first rule of political PR---never ever apologize---they'd have at least kept the pro-lifers...in fact if they'd been as vulgar as my facetiously proposed PR message, they'd have become a celebrated cause in those circles and gotten a big bounce out of it, in much the way Gingrich got a huge bounce for telling off the media moderator who asked about his position on informal polygamy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Romney Shows Additional Signs of Being an Educable Whore


Glory be, he might actually want to win this thing.

Here's the main thrust:

"My own view is clear. I stand with the Catholic Bishops and all religious organizations in their strenuous objection to this liberty- and conscience-stifling regulation.  I am committed to overturning Obamacare root and branch. If I am elected President, on day one of my administration I will issue an executive order directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a waiver from its requirements to all 50 states. And on day one I will eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith. Such rules don’t belong in the America that I believe in."

First, he states his intent to overturn Obamacare in full.  Secondly, he describes actions that he would actually have the authority to do unilaterally (issue a waver to all 50 states and eliminating a previous administration rule).  This is encouraging, it demonstrates that Romney might actually understand what a president can actually DO.

Standing up for the Catholic church against bullying by the current administration is also very good politics.  This sort of action is likely to improve Romney's standing among evangelicals---many of whom, it turns out, actually hold the Pope in very high esteem.  The Pope often receives a more respectful hearing from conservative or reactionary evangelicals than he does from his own flock.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is Romney Educable?

Many of our readers know that I've long described Romney as a whore, which, by the standard descriptions I apply to most politicians in the US, is actually somewhat above the median.  Romney can historically be counted on to modulate his positions according to his electorate.  However, of late, I've begun to wonder if he might not also be an educable whore.

Romney has been one of the first politicians, certainly on the national presidential stage, to actually start talking about solutions on the national question involving self-deportation.  This is one of the most important observations on the national question, going back to Operation Wetback.  For every illegal you deport, if you show you're serious about enforcing the law, lots more will self-deport, which is much cheaper and doesn't make for tear-jerking media coverage.


Another interesting story by way of the Washington Post.  Apparently, not satisfied with simply avoiding what I deemed 'Gross Political Malpractice' in a previous post by insulting  Ron Paul, and more importantly, his supporters, Romney has apparently been quietly forming ties.  This shows better judgment than I thought likely from him.  It also illuminates the possibility of a 'grand bargain' between supporters of the Pauls and more conventional Republicans come convention time.  Could the stupid party do something profoundly not stupid?


My suggestions for such a bargain would be to dial back the support for the 'War on Some Drugs' and the rhetoric substantially, and let the states go their own way on the issue.  The cover can be an appeal to Federalism and States Rights.  The second issue would be to recognize that the US can not afford to maintain its present level of military spending or its level of foreign  'military intervention'.  The budget for such simply isn't there and defense and entitlements are the elephants in the budget room.  Since talking about a sustainable entitlement reform is death electorally, this leaves the best option to greatly reduce the volume on the war drums and wind down the Empire.

Romney with the addition of a substantial chunk of Paul's independent support would have, IMO, a better than 50-50 shot of winning the presidency.  But Paul's voters are more discerning than most, to buy them you actually have to pay them.  Romney would need to persuade them that he can be THEIR educable whore.

More encouraging developments: The SWPLs embrace Homeschooling in the Guise of DIY Education


I find this incredibly encouraging.  Once they take the step of homeschooling their little one, several things are likely to happen.  First, they will have taken a massive step towards Reaction.  Homeschooling a child is a pretty explicit acknowledgment that there are limits to one's submission to the Cathedral.  The second thing is that homeschool families tend to become larger.  I suspect part of this is that the marginal cost of additional children once you've gone ahead and restructured your family life and economics for homeschooling is pretty small.  This in turn tends to drag the family further towards Reaction.   Approaching Reaction from what Americans deem the Right is not the only way to get there, you can also approach from what we call the Left, especially the 'Old Left'.

As the fraction of non-public school children increases, support for the accursed Cathedral public school system dwindles.  We already see this reduction in public support as the various states have been squeezing the teacher unions to make their budgets balance.  Bringing a bunch of SWPLs into the orbit only accelerates this positive feedback process.