Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Multiple Blood Children, The Hammer of Reality

One of the most interesting aspects of having multiple children shared with a single spouse is how it brings the hammer of reality down on your thinking.  The sort of thinking I'm discussing here is thinking on how all of your children are the same and how they are different.  When you only have one child, it's easy to pretend that things might be a fluke.  It's also easy to pretend nonsense like a child's gender being 'socially constructed' and not real at a gut level.

Looking at my two little ones would beat that out of me if I ever truly held it.  For instance, give the little boy a toy sword, and what does he do with it?  Why, he flourishes it with an excellent grip and proceeds to whack at the floating balloons nearby, or anything else identified by his parents as a legitimate target (he's been taught that he's not allowed to swing at anyone who isn't holding a similar weapon themselves).  Give the little girl a sword, and she too will flourish it with a remarkably effective grip for a one year old.  The difference is she uses it to get attention and to flirt with, flashing a huge grin and capturing the eyes of passers by, such as women of grandmotherly age.  She won't try to whack at anything with it, despite never having been discouraged from so doing.  One displays typical little boy behavior, and the other stereotypical little girl behavior, with no particular prodding required at all.

Another big thing one learns is that despite possessing very similar genetics and an extremely similar environment, each child really is significantly different.  All we can do in essence is determine what tables their attributes will be generated using, it is not to us to determine the exact fall of the dice.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lasik, an example of how medicine can work with rational incentives

A little more than a week ago, a friend of mine got LASIK done on both of his eyes.  His vision was extremely wretched with quite a bit of astigmatism as well.  For the price of around $2400, and what was almost literally an overnight recovery (by the morning he was up to 20/30), he now has 20/20 vision and the possibility of improving to 20/15 or so.  Apparently better than normal vision isn't an uncommon result from LASIK.

LASIK is almost universally NOT covered by health insurance (although you CAN often pay it with pretax dollars through an HSA or the like), and it is also one of the only medical procedures where the cost has fallen dramatically over time.  The cost collapse hasn't been quite like that of computers, but it has fallen around an order of magnitude in only 10-15 years.  Perhaps in anticipation of my questioning, my friend also talked to his provider about the business model being used as well.

Apparently in many LASIK shops, the manufacturer actually owns the equipment, and is paid a fixed fee every time the machine is used.  In addition, they receive the results and feedback to help them drive software and hardware improvements.  It's almost effectively a royalty model.  Pricing is very transparent---even ADVERTISED in many cases, a clear departure from the opaque norms of medicine.  Satisfaction with the procedure also is considerably higher than the norm and innovation in this space has been very strong (the procedures used now are a lot more reliable---thank you early adopters for beta testing for me in the future).

One wonders if there's any way we can move more of medicine onto this model (transparency, declining costs to customers over time, and strong technological innovation).  Perhaps we could get areas of medicine banned from health insurance coverage?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wrapping up the US Senate, all the rest

Here we break down everybody else.

Akaka F-
Klobuchar C-
Shaheen F-
Webb F

Baucus B
Kirk B
This is something of a surprise, I expected much worse from the United Church of Christ
Brown B-
 Not that bad all things considered, probably the best we can hope for from Massachusetts honestly
Cornyn B-
Tester B
Perhaps this has something to do with how a Democrat can survive as a Senator in Montana?

Snowe C+
I have to confess I thought that the Republican women, often considered RINOs were worse than this. 
Thune B-
I was kind of hoping this guy would run.  He strikes me as solid and boring, just what I want in a president around this time.
Conrad D+
How is it that a Democrat survives as a Senator in North Dakota?  I suspect this guy is pretty vulnerable when his seat comes up for reelection.  His career rating is a C- though.

 Unspecified affiliation

Both F-, go figure.  The median political values of atheists and the non-religious are probably responsible for a good deal of the animus against them.  Depending on how things shake out if things fall apart, I could pretty easily see score-settling occurring against the vocal atheist segment of the population also.

Rounding out the large blocks in the Senate with Methodists, Baptists, and Lutherans

Bingamann F-
Burr B-
Inouye F-
Iskason B
Lugar D
Moran A
Nelson B+
Portman (no grade but career D+)
Roberts A-
Sessions B+
Stabenow D-
2 A's 4 B's 3D's 2 F's
Largely a Democrat (bad) Republican (less bad) split.  Amusingly Inouye is F- rated---being a native Hawaiian himself you think he'd know better!  How did unrestricted immigration work out for the Hawaiians?  This group is pretty much the median of America as a whole.

Blunt B+
Boozmann A+
Coburn B-
Cochran C+
Graham B+
Grassley B+
McCain B+
McConnell B+
Pryor B-
Wicker B+
1 A, 8 B's and a C.  This group frankly rocks.  Even the Democrat is a B-.  While their denominational leadership in many cases is flaky, their political elites are generally faithful to the demographic interests of their coreligionists.  There is definitely a strong Scots-Irish influence here as well.
Brown B-
Johnson (R-Wi) (No Grade)
Johnson (D-SD) F-
Merkley D-

Another median group like the Methodists.

For reference, it should be noted that in general, Presidential Candidates are worse than Senators (Bachmann has the best rating at a B-, Romney is a C-, and everyone else is worse, sometimes a lot worse).  In turn, Representatives tend to have better grades than do Senators (only 5% of the Senate is A rated, 21% of the House is).

Mormons, Presbyterians and Episcopalians in the Senate, Oh My

A basic search reveals that there are about 6M Mormons in the US.  This isn't terribly far from the number of Jews in the US, which would yield 2 senators with normal representation.  As it is, there are 6 Mormon Senators, so they're managing approximately a 3x overrepresentation.

Crapo B-
Hatch C+
Heller A+
Lee B
Reid F-
Udall F-

Definitely a decidedly mixed set of grades, everything from F- to A+.  Mormon republicans range from A+ to C+, Mormon democrats are uniformly F-.  But Mormons definitely have the best average thus far.  Too bad Reid wasn't knocked off in the last election in Nevada---the MSM really brought big guns to defend him against the upstart Sharon Angle.  Interestingly, Udall F- and Heller, A+ are from the same state (New Mexico).  Romney, with his C rating (sadly the 2nd best on the Republican candidates for President, only Bachmann has a better rating) is on the low end for Mormon Republicans but clearly better than Mormon Democrats.  Can't we do better than this guy?  Apparently not, he's better than Perry or Gingrich, and Paul, while not ideologically hostile to us, is opposed to the only mechanisms that would be proven to work.

Alexander B+
Barasso B-
Carper F-
Coats (No Grade but career D)
Coons F-
Corker B+
DeMint B+
Enzi B-
Hagan C-
Inhofe B+
Kyl B+
Paul (Rand)  B-
Rockefeller D+
Shelby B+
Warner F-

Another really mixed batch, 6 B+'s, which are among the best grades any presidential candidate has gotten recently, 3 B-,  a C- , 3 F- grades, a D, and a D+.
Hagan has the best grade for a Democrat here, at C-, Rockefeller the worst for a Republican at D+.  Overall this group has a considerably better immigration record than I'd expected to find for a fairly mainline denomination (9 B grades, 1 C, 2 D's and 3 Fs)

Chambliss B+
Hutchinson B+
Nelson D- (note that there is ANOTHER B. Nelson in the senate, from NE, who is also a Democrat who has a B+)
Whitehouse F-

2 B+ grades, a D-, and one F-.  This actually surprised me somewhat---I expected this group to have a much worse record considering how elite and SWPL mainline the Episcopalian denomination is on the whole.  But you've got the usual breakdown of Republicans in the B to A range and Democrats in the D to F range. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Inquisition Regarding the Catholic Senators

There are 24 Catholic Senators in the US Senate

Using the same methodology (, grades for 2009-present.  Where no grade is assigned I also checked if they had a career grade since Senator is usually not an entry level position.

Ayotte (No grade)
Begich F-
Cantwell F-
Casey F-
Collins C
Durbin F-
Gillibrand F-
Harken D-
Hoeven (No grade)
Johanns B
Kerry F-
Landrieu D
Leahy F-
Manchin (No grade)
McCaskill C
Menendez F-
Mikulski F-
Murkowski D+
Murray F-
Reed F-
Risch B+
Rubio B-
Vitter  A-
Toomey (No Grade, but career B-)

So here we have one A-, one B+, one B, one B-, 2 C's, one D+, one D, one D-, and  11 F- grades as well as 4 No grades
This is a pretty wretched average grade but nowhere near as bad as the average  grade for the 12 Jewish Senators.

I will admit that my affection for the Catholic church in general is greatly reduced by the stance of its elites on the immigration issue.  If the Catholic church were at least effectively neutral on this issue I'd seriously consider 'swimming the Tiber'.  The rank and file Catholic in the US has a fairly good view on the immigration issue.  Looking at the numbers, it'd also appear that Rubio might be a fairly decent vice-presidential candidate from our perspective.

Working Overtime to Manufacture Anti Semitism in the Supreme Court

Presently the Supreme Court consists of 6 Catholics and 3 Jews.  That's 1/3 of the SC with less than 2% of the population.  Catholics, for their part, are overrepresented by a factor of 2 or 3.
 Kagan, Breyer, and Ginsburg are Jewish, all of the rest of the Supreme Court Justices are Catholic.

The problem for the Jewish brand is that all 3 of the Jewish justices are hostile to White interests.  It is practically a certainty that all will vote against the Arizona law when the case comes up, with the possible exception of Kagan recusing herself due to conflict of interest, since she was the Solicitor General on the case in the first place.  If a 4-4 tie didn't have the same net effect as 5-4 against (since to overturn the previous court requires a majority), I doubt very seriously whether Kagan would recuse herself despite the blatancy of her conflict of interest.   Sotomayer will also almost certainly vote against the law.  In all likelihood, the decision will hinge on the vote of Kennedy.

Now, when things fall apart and the center does not hold, just WHO do you think is going to have absorbed the blame here?  It doesn't matter who writes the majority or prevailing opinion, or who concurs in part.  What matters is the end result and whether it tars the Jewish brand further.  Breyer and Ginsburg have long been hated by many.  Kagan creates the possibility of creating decisions that inspire vitriolic hatred on the back of a majority Jewish vote (3 Jews and 2 Catholics).  Who do you think will be blamed here?  Do you think this will inspire a pogrom against Catholics?  No, they'll be swept under the rug, and the fact that 4 Catholics voted on the side of 'righteousness' will be considered instead.  There are presently several really significant issues on the Supreme Court's docket, issues that I guarantee will create lots more anti semites if they go the wrong way and might even if they go the correct way.  The fact that all 3 votes can be predicted with a great deal of certainty in advance without even so much as a law degree by a layman is also very concerning.

Ginsburg and Breyer are both pretty old (born in 1933 and 1938 respectively).  I'd suggest that when the time comes to replace them, that Jewish folks back a Jewish justice somewhere to the right of Justice Thomas for one seat and a white Protestant for the other.  Holding a block of 3 seats in the SC is an extremely dangerous lightning rod.  It's not in your interest to have the average Joe in the US think of those 3 when he thinks 'Jew'.

Manufacturing Anti Semitism in the Senate

Jews in the US represent around 2% of the population, concentrated heavily in urban areas on the coasts, especially in the Northeast.  Therefore an awful lot of people don't know personally any significant number of ordinary Jews.  This makes the public perception of the Jew in America particularly heavily influenced by the famous or infamous.

Today, we'll consider Jews in the US Senate, taking stated religious affiliation rather than attempting to research ethnic background (Hillary Clinton, for instance made much of her 1/64th Jewish ethnicity when running for Senate in NY, but she's not considered Jewish for these purposes, nor would be a person of Jewish ancestry who professes to be a Christian).

From Wikipedia
So first off, we have about 12% of the Senate being Jews, which is a 6x factor of overrepresentation, comparable, but probably higher than the overrepresentation of elite Protestant denominations.

Next let's consider what these Senators are doing for the Jewish brand.  For this, we'll go to

We'll consider recent activity (2009-2011).

So we have 3 D's,  2 F's, and 7 F- 
This is pretty damned abysmal considering that the average grade in the Senate is a C.  These 12 Jews are doing an awful lot to manufacture anti-semitism among Americans who are against the loss of demographic hegemony.  Senators are pretty high profile figures, and there is NOT A SINGLE ONE on this list that possesses even a marginally passing grade.

Here's the huge disconnect:
Approximately 60% of Jews in America are perfectly acceptable on the immigration issue.  Granted, this is lower than the population at large, but the claim that Jews in general want to racially replace Whites as the demographic hegemon is difficult to support.  What is happening is a massive betrayal of non-elite interests by elites (you see this also among most of the mainline Christian denominations).

Here's my warning to Jews in America.  Unlike, say, Methodists, you are defined in the public eye by your leaders.  Almost everyone knows Methodists that they think are great folks, ditto Catholics---and frankly, even Mormons are more recognized by their rank and file than by their supposed leadership.  Whether this is fair or not is frankly irrelevant, suffice it to say this it is simply so.  As a group you desperately need to stop your leadership from destroying your brand.  In 2010, there was an opportunity to do just that (Kaus ran against Boxer in the Democratic primary for her CA seat in the US Senate), and unfortunately, you blew it.  Even one or two A or B rated Senators would go a long way towards improving your image among ordinary Americans.

Why is it important to avoid getting branded on this issue (and others, such as gun rights or abortion)?
Given the unfortunate history of the Jewish ethnicity do I really need to go there?  Suffice it to say, that if the center does not hold, and things fall apart, there will ALWAYS be a search for scapegoats.  It is human nature and can't be repealed by any act of Congress.  It is always more appealing to punish an 'Other' than members of one's own radically extended family.  I'd prefer that the next scapegoat not be 'the Jew', but your leaderships is making that difficult.  It is also manufacturing a lot of new 'anti semites' every time someone connects SOME of the dots.

Next time we'll consider the Supreme Court.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Evolution of Atonement

Back in Old Testament times, a follower of God who had sinned had a fairly organized rubric for what he needed to do in order to get 'back right with God'.  Basically he had to sacrifice an assortment of animals through approved clergy and make restitution to whoever besides God that he had injured through his actions.  Since there hasn't been a properly consecrated temple for a very very long time (AD 70ish), if you're still observing that covenant there exists a massive sin backlog.

If you're a Christian, you believe that God replaced that covenant with a new and improved version, where Jesus served as the sufficient and perfect sacrifice for all sins that were, are, or are yet to come.  God still commanded, though, that Christians were to make restitution to those besides Him that they had injured, and to confess their sins to one another and thereby take the social status hits associated with such confession.  A very very dim view of gossip was taken though, so in a functional Christian community this wouldn't have been quite as scary as it might sound to modern ears.  The Catholic church later formalized this into the sacrament of confession, appealing to Jesus' grant of power to forgive or retain sins to Peter, upon whom he would build His Church.  There, instead of confessing your sins in what might amount to a neighborhood prayer meeting, you instead confess to a priest who has lots of experience maintaining confidentiality and who has probably heard far worse than the tawdry sins you're confessing.  I find this far less intimidating, as do most people, which is probably why the practice caught on so strongly.

Sometime later on, some brilliant theologian got the idea that the Saints had built up SO much 'good works capital' that lots of it could be sold in the form of indulgences (the Catholic church still grants indulgences, they just don't sell them anymore).  Here, people with unresolved guilt could purchase indulgences, which would be used to fund the magnificent architectural and cultural contributions of the Church at the height of its temporal power.  Of course this didn't last, it lead fairly predictably to the Reformation, and few Protestants today have anything remotely like either the free for all confession of the Early Church or the organized confession sacrament of the Catholics.

Interestingly enough, few Catholics these days go to confession either---the matter is considered scandalous.  So there's all kinds of unresolved guilt that people have in modern America.  And how do they resolve it?
Well, there's a new step in the evolution of indulgences.  Instead of doing penance for one's sins, or paying for an indulgence for the same, we now, in our upper middle class SWPL segments, outsource the penance and payment for the indulgences instead to other groups that we don't like or who compete with us for status.
So, instead of giving to the poor, we lobby for income redistribution away from other groups.  Instead of living simply so others could simply live, we lobby to force other people to live more simply.  To expiate the perceived sins of racism, we lobby for Section 8 housing in OTHER people's neighborhoods, and for the discrimination in terms of allocation of society's goodies against OTHER people's children.

Frankly I think I prefer the medieval version---oh, how did it go?  When the coin in the bottom of the coffer rings, the soul, from Purgatory springs?  At least the sinners in question usually paid with their own money.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Visit to the Gun Show, Taking the Pulse of Folk Reactionaries

Gun shows have always been hotbeds of what I'll call 'Folk Reactionaries' in the US.  This morning, my wife, our kids, and I went to one of the larger gun shows around these parts to see what might be seen.  My wife has been expressing a desire to gain cultural familiarity with arms, and I was considering getting either a 38 special revolver, 9 mm automatic pistol or a 22 target pistol to serve that end.  Normally we go to a gun show every year or so, usually the same one down in the Expo Center.

Here are a few of the things I noticed:
The place was busy---really busy.  It felt much more crowded than in years past.  My wife says that this is partially explainable by the season.  Apparently a lot of people want a Luke 22:36 Christmas in Oregon.

The crowd was somewhat less male than normal.  Granted, my youngest draws women, especially of grandmotherly age, like a magnet, but there were a lot more women around than is usually the case.  I take this as an indication that gun purchasing demographics are broadening.  We even saw a couple of small groups (2 or 3) of just women to add to the usual leaven of wives and girlfriends.  In addition, we saw a reasonable number of booths selling hand-crafty things that is probably aimed at that demographic.

The explicitly political material on offer was substantially reduced from years past.  Sure there were the usual anti-gun control and generally wonderfully politically incorrect t-shirts and tracts, but much less so than is the norm.

Instead, much of the booth and floor space that such material generally occupies appears to have been converted instead to preparedness and survival material.  Some examples---When There is No Doctor (medical field manual), When There is No Dentist, Nuclear War Survival Skills, tons of water filtration and freeze dried/otherwise highly preserved rations, and the like.  This can be taken as a sign that this section of the population has raised its estimate of the probability of civil disorder.

On the guns and ammo, this year appeared to be more rifle than pistol centered, and a lot of the ammunition was being sold in larger lots than I recall the norm being.  I saw considerably fewer SKS rifles than I'm used to seeing, and quite a few more AR-15s.  Perhaps there's a desire to have ammunition compatibility with the NATO standard?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Without Illegal Immigrants to Pick the Crops, We'll All Starve, Right?!

Apparently, in the wake of all of these 'mean-spirited' state immigration laws (Arizona, Alabama, several other Southern States), crops must be rotting in the fields and farmers must be truly suffering, right?
Apparently not, farm profits are up about 28%.  Obviously those laws calling for the ejection of illegal immigrants aren't bringing about the Armageddon that the media breathlessly speaks of on every chance they get.

 I've seen numbers before indicating around 6% of the cost of produce in the US is from farm labor.  This means that if you doubled their total cost, you'd expect to see a @6% increase in the price of produce.  As of 2007, the average family spent about $1 per day on produce, so their yearly produce budget might be busted by around $20 or so if the labor shortage resulted in a doubling of farm labor wages (farm wages were @$9.06/hour, doubling them would push them to $18.12/hour, which would exceed nonfarm wages, which were $16.75/hour).  These numbers are pulled from the Center for Immigration Studies

Doing a little independent research of my own, I went to the US Department of Agriculture's site. CIS's numbers could plausibly be painted as biased, so here we go to the horse's mouth.

From this chart, we can see that total labor costs, both contract and hired labor, make up around 10% of the total production cost on farms.  Note also that this is only the farm's production cost---it doesn't get the produce to the shelves of your local Safeway or Costco.  So the estimate of 6% by the CIS is probably pretty accurate.  Looking, for instance, at the Tillamook milkshed, the farms seem to receive a little more than a dollar a gallon for their milk (according to their material posted around their Cheese Factory in Tillamook), and the lowest cost sellers of milk (i.e., Costco or Winco), sell it for about $2.50 a gallon in this area, so assuming that the later levels of distribution and sales add at least half of the cost also appears reasonable.

As expected, by everyone but mainstream economists, Alabama's law has resulted in significant decreases in unemployment, as documented by Le Cygne Gris.

It remains to the several states to continue calling the media's bluff on this matter, much as the 'blood running in the streets' predictions of the 1990s as the CCW movement gained steam.
It's in circumstances like this that I really envy the Old Testament Hebrews' convention for dealing with false prophets.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Supreme Court Plays into Our Hands Once More by Granting Cert on the Arizona Immigration Law

Once again the Supreme Court plays directly into our hands, this time by granting cert on the Arizona immigration law case.  They really have two options:
1)  Uphold the law in substantive terms.  If they do this, we win, as it will embolden more states to do likewise or
2) Strike down most of the law.  If they do this they will bleed TREMENDOUS amounts of prestige from their institution, especially if they do it by a narrow vote, like 5-4.   It is a terribly difficult thing to sell to ordinary people that no, YOU can't enforce one of our laws while WE refuse to enforce it ourselves.  That is, we refuse to do our job and we refuse to let you clean up the mess resulting from us failing to do our job as well.  That infuriates people.  Since as reactionaries, we are long both anger AND volatility, this might actually be the preferred outcome---if only we could get something that looked like 2 but effectively was 1.

It is getting easier and easier for me to convince ordinary people---not networked reactionaries---that the judicial and political system is rigged against them and that they are no longer required to play by the 'gentleman's rules of engagement' in said arenas.  This is all to the good, the existing order must collapse before Reaction can proceed, and we can't score all the goals needed ourselves.  The System must score lots of 'own goals', which fortunately it seems to be managing quite nicely.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Smart is a nice to have, but loyalty is of existential import in a leader

I see a terrific amount of ink spilled talking about how Newt is 'smart', or Romney is intelligent and highly competent in a managerial way.  These things are nice to have in a leader, but they are not the elephant in the room.

Before I can care about how much a prospective leader knows, I need to know WHO he actually cares about.  Are me and mine part of his who, are are we rather the WHOM?

In that regard I view neither Romney nor Newt as acceptable, although Romney is probably a little closer to tolerable than Newt.  If Palin was actually solid on demographic hegemony (which unfortunately, she is not), I'd happily support her despite the fact that she's likely on the very low end of the Second Sigma or near the high end of the middle of the First Sigma.  Intelligence is only a discriminating factor between candidates if they can pass the Who...Whom test.  If the candidate is your enemy at the existential bottom line, honestly, a reasonable man would prefer that they be stupid and of dubious competence.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Macy's and the Transgendered: Time to Heighten the Contradictions?

Just recently Macy's has fired one of its employees for refusing to allow a man dressed in women's clothing to use the women's dressing room.  Allowing anyone who says they're a woman, physical evidence not withstanding, to use the women's dressing room, is apparently a Macy's policy.
My wife of course points out that a crossdressed man would creep her out were she in such a dressing room.  In that feeling, she's hardly atypical, just perhaps a bit more honest about her opinions than most.  Judging from the comments on the story, her decision to avoid patronizing Macy's isn't abnormal either.

It occurs to me that perhaps the way to deal with this sort of thing is to deliberately heighten the contradictions. Hire some actors to be incredibly obnoxious, but legal crossdressers---think fat guys in floral dresses, and have them parade around through wherever such policies are in place, creeping out all of the customers with similar feelings to my wife.  After all, Macy's and similar establishments shouldn't want business from such wanton bigots as my wife, should they?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Generational Animus

No doubt our profoundly unnatural educational system with its extreme age segregation has aggravated the degree of generational animus in the US.
Let's enumerate, I'm sure many of my readers can help fill in the gaps...
Greatest Generation <-> Boomers
Boomers say their parent's generation was distant, materialistic and never paid enough attention to them
Greatest Generation says the Boomers are selfish, ungrateful, and narcissistic.  Generation X agrees with their grandparents' claim.
Boomers <-> Generation X
Boomers say that Generation X are cynical, lazy slackers.  Generation X strongly resents the Boomers for failing to stay married (about half of Gen X'rs have experienced the divorce of their parents, with a majority of such divorces NOT being for one of the 3 A's)
Millennials are viewed as being lazy and entitled by the older generations.  In turn, they greatly resent the bill of goods they've been sold as regards college degrees and employment (exceptionally high unemployment in this set right now)

The Greatest Generation by far has the best PR, escaping blame for many of the things that can rightfully be attributed to them.  Millennials have by far the worst PR---few taking their grievances seriously even when they are actually legitimate.  Boomers have by far the greatest political clout and control most of the engines of indoctrination.  X'rs will hopefully step up to the plate as they gain political ascendancy and stop enforcing edicts that they don't really believe in but go along with out of fear of sanction or ostracism.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't Check Asian: Who...Whom?

It's not a surprise to anyone who is paying attention that colleges and similar institutions discriminate against Asians, particularly those of Chinese or Japanese ancestry in admissions.  Likewise, they discriminate against whites (especially non-elite whites with non-elite activities like FFA, 4H, or JROTC).

But should we be against this practice as primarily white reactionaries?  Well, once again, I ask the question...who...whom?

White people would be stupid to end only this discriminatory practice because 'it is wrong' while leaving intact all of the discrimination against their own children.  This isn't to say that some sort of bargain couldn't be reached, but it is very difficult for the non-elite whites and non-elite Asians to reach a bargain that they can enforce, even through referendum or initiative.  Simply put, if a large amount of admissions are set aside for NAMs, legacies and the connected, those of us who are none of the above have to scrap for the scraps.

I know a lot of us in the HBD sphere have a dream world where, like many Euro elite universities, every applicant takes a totally transparent test and the top N scores get the N spots.  There's no way in hell that will fly in the US, even if we had no diversity.

There's nothing that is actually sacred about GPA and SAT scores.  Yes, they predict reasonably well, and, the SAT score at least is pretty hard to game by standards of the other sorts of things colleges and other institutions consider.  But relying on them is largely a value judgment---specifically, it's placing value on efficiency.  Society can choose whatever values it likes.  I'd just prefer that it stop pretending to attach moral significance to its more arbitrary decisions and do so more transparently.

Perhaps we're going about this the wrong way.  Perhaps we should DEMAND transparency and relative objectivity in our metrics for determining such goodies.  If we want to make elite college admissions based on military press, 40 yard dash, and test scores for men and attractiveness, overall fitness, and test scores for women, so be it.  I must say I'd be amused at the spectacle of something like an NFL combine being held each year for graduating high school seniors and homeschoolers.  The key for reining in the institutions here though in my opinion is starving them of any discretion.  Every last decision must be numerical and someone other than the institution in question must produce the numbers.  What should the numbers be about?  I don't know, and honestly I don't care all that much.  But they must be advertised and transparent and consistently measured.  I think young people would vastly prefer the externalities associated with college admission application padding under my system.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Looking for information to update priors

I've a few questions that perhaps some of my readers could answer.

Question #1:  Are Denver/Colorado churches reporting significant upticks in attendance relative to the same time last year?
For which priors---I'm interested in whether there's a 'Tebow effect'.  My gut says there probably is due to a 2nd order memetic entanglement, i.e. I'm a Broncos fan, therefore I have to be a Tebow fan, therefore I ought to go to church more frequently.

Question #2:  Has recruitment in the upper levels of the various Norwegian Socialist Parties suffered now that Norway has had a chance to partially digest the impact of the Brevik slayings
For which priors---I'm interested if my estimation that the sort of people that inhabit the middle and upper levels of bureaucracies have fairly low morale and thus will be deterred from seeking positions by the possibility of retaliation against their teenage and young adult children is correct.  What probability of retaliation against my children would be sufficient to deter me from practicing engineering for a given company?  The probability wouldn't have to be very high.  My current take is that political candidates are likely to be relatively undeterred but bureaucrats and other 'lifers' are much more likely to be intimidated.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Mea Culpa from the Greatest Generation

Some time ago, I got to talking with my grandfather (WWII generation) about the Baby Boomers.  I was somewhat surprised by his generational admission---not so much by what he said, but by the fact that he essentially said mea culpa for the Greatest Generation as a whole.

He explained to me that growing up during the Depression was really hard.  City kids frequently had to keep cows and such (in the city no less) and really scrounge to make ends meet.  Because of this, they really really wanted to make sure that their own kids in the future would never have to do anything like that.  This of course led them to ask very little if anything of their own kids (the Baby Boomers), probably contributing heavily to that generation's narcissism.  I suppose it shouldn't be terribly surprising that the Great Depression had profound psychological effects on those who lived through it.  Perhaps that's the reason why most of us give the Greatest Generation a pass from the animus held against the Boomers, despite the fact that the Greatest Generation raised them.  Most likely my generation would have acted similarly, given similar conditions.  Depending on the current fiscal and monetary train wreck, we may well get a chance to see how other generations deal with similar circumstances.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Luke 22:36 Christmas?

Or, All I want for Christmas is an AR-15...

(For those unfamiliar with Luke 22:36, here's the King James)
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Apparently the population is continuing to arm itself at record rates, and taking Jesus' recommendation to his disciples at face value (two versus later, the disciples, demonstrating that they're a 'heavily armed cult', display 2 assault weapons, to which Jesus replies, it is enough).

I've written on the record sales of guns, and in particular, ammunition before, but this is fairly noteworthy.

From the article
"Gun dealers flooded the FBI with background check requests from shoppers,  smashing the single day record with a 32% increase from last year." USA Today has more: "Deputy Assistant FBI Director Jerry Pender said the checks, required by federal law, surged to 129,166 during the day, far surpassing the previous high of 97,848 on Black Friday of 2008."

That's pretty hardcore, and the article notes that's just the number of checks, not the number of firearms sold (buying 10 guns for instance still results in only one check).

This speaks to a population that at least in its gut knows that something is very wrong.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Governmental Involvement in Education: What Forms of Government is this Actually Appropriate For?

By now it should be fairly clear that education in practice is also indoctrination.  Even if you're not consciously trying, as an educator, you will wind up profoundly influencing the worldview of your students.  This is especially true if you're a member of a class that has a decisive advantage in terms of amount of access time, like, say, public school teachers.

But, back to the original question---for what sorts of government is it actually appropriate for the government to have a role in public education?

Certainly, in the case of a monarchy, theocracy, or dictatorship, it is consistent with the form of government for the government to control public education.
But it is quite obviously incorrect for a democracy to control the education of large numbers of its future electorate.  Controlling education is to a great extent battlespace control---it defines to a great extent the limits of acceptable discourse.  It is obviously inappropriate for a democracy to engage in propaganda about who should win elections.  It can be argued pretty strongly that it is inappropriate for a democracy to EVER tell its electorate what to think, since it is supposed to obey them in the classic 'voice of the people is the voice of God' sense.  I suppose if you had an actual republic, with limited franchise, it'd be acceptable for the State to educate those without possibility of gaining the franchise, but even there it is problematic.  For this reason I advocate the separation of School and State, at least as long as we insist on making the pretense of democracy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Can Society Do for the Neurotypical?

Commenter In asks whether it is possible for neurotypicals to transcend their state to become not neurotypical.  At first blush, this seems a strange question, as most people would prefer to be neurotypical---or at least to have available a very good emulation capacity.

But it is true that the garden variety neurotypical mind is vulnerable to a lot of exploits.  Game and salesmanship exemplify a lot of these, and value investing as a strategy relies on the fact that the neurotypical mind feels a loss of X approximately as negatively as it feels positively about a gain of 2X.  That 2:1 risk aversion isn't common to all primates btw, some species have nearly no statistical risk aversion.  Human beings have been coming up with these hacks for thousands of years, in some cases writing them down like Ben Franklin, Carnegie, or a myriad of other practical manuals for selling goods, services, and status.

But what can we, or society, do about this?

The Bible, in the Old Testament, is the long story of God attempting to get the Jews to love him---God is a lover who wants to be loved, reading the bible, particularly the accounts of the prophets like Hosea, and the cycle of degradation and partial redemption played out in Judges, Kings, and Chronicles should give you some empathy for His position.  God is essentially trying to teach the Jews to be grateful---to have gratitude for the many gifts he has given them.  But gratitude isn't in our neurotypical nature.  We don't like people better that do use favors, or who we owe a great deal to, we like the people WE have done favors for.  The stereotypical complaint of the neurotypical about the non-neurotypical is that they are selfish (and don't get it).  The stereotypical complaint of the non-neurotypical about the neurotypical is that they are ungrateful (and don't get it).  In my more lucid moments I realize both are correct.

Interestingly, when God brings the pain---shows the Jews His 'hand', in the Old Testament, they tend to fall back into line, repent, and beg Him to deliver them. He loves them, and it terribly pains Him to do so, but he does what is necessary.
In the New Testament, God seriously doubles down on His strategy to teach human beings gratitude, basically allowing a member of the Trinity to be dismembered on and after the Cross.  Pretty extreme stuff, when you think about it, but how many folks, even fairly devout Christians, act as if they are truly grateful?
Not many, which IMO is a big part of the reason why Tim Tebow makes many of us so uncomfortable.

So on the gratitude count of the indictment, even the Master of the Universe is having grave difficulties.  He says His is a work in progress though, and that he'll finish what he started.  I believe Him, but I recognize from the fact that He is having so much trouble that anything I, or a society, could do will have even less fruit.

On a lot of the other aspects of being neurotypical, most Western societies prior to around 1960 were considerably more functional.  Conservative sexual morality and the fairly harsh consequences for bearing children out of wedlock kept many of the worst problems associated with hypergamy largely in check.  Society collectively practiced what you'd call 'Game' on most of its immigrants---fairly mild hazing promoted far more actual assimilation and loyalty than the present coddling approach.  One of my great-grandfathers, for instance, immigrated from Sicily and lied about both his age and place of birth to get INTO WWI, and such behavior was more the norm than the exception.  Men were encouraged to be reasonably dominant, or at least not unreasonably timid or deferential in their romantic relationships, which counter to the the modern intuition, made women happier in general.  Divorces were very hard to obtain and required cause, which made them considerably more rare.  Obviously there were costs associated with all of this, any good reactionary recognizes that every system or decision will suck for somebody, but the overall effect was far more functional.  Back in the early 60s, less than 1 in 4 blacks were born out of wedlock, less than the rate for white people today.  Today, being born IN wedlock is unusual for black people, and the rate for white people is similar to that experienced by blacks in the 60s.

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.