Friday, March 25, 2011

Reactionary Propaganda---How The Cultural War is Really Fought

Composing good reactionary propaganda is actually pretty easy if you have control of a section of a cultural organ---e.g., a television show. The key is you DON'T go all 'afterschool special' or 'GI Joe--where now you know and knowing is half the battle' on your audience. You see, that induces your audience to actually think about what you said and to attempt to argue with you in absentia. Instead, you just do this:
Imagine on your TV show, you've got 20 regulars and 80 bit players that occasionally show up. Let's say you've got 20 reactionary characters, 60 middle of the roaders, and 20 leftist types.
What you do is make, say, 18 of the reactionaries sympathetic characters, and most importantly, you frequently let them demonstrate higher value when dealing with the opposite sex. Two of the reactionaries get to be low-status. For the leftists, just reverse the ratios. This way you can always point to counterexamples whenever anyone says anything.
Persuasion isn't about reason normally--I blog to encourage those who either consciously or unconsciously agree with me, I've few illusions I can convince anyone to change their mind except via attrition or divine intervention---it's about status and repetition. Humans are profoundly maladapted to television. Lots of people even seem to mentally process characters on their favorite TV shows as being their own friends. This has the effect of distorting their mental histograms as to what various groups in society are really about. Don't believe me? Ask yourself how often you see unsympathetic or uncool gay characters on TV? Now compute the same ratios for nongay characters. Do you think this is an accident?
If, for instance, a reactionary TV producer wanted to make good propaganda for Christianity in the social sphere, he'd just disproportionately stock his character pool with high status characters with Christian social markers. There's not even any need to have them show 'life lessons' or even pray on screen. In fact doing so makes your propaganda easier to resist. Just bang on the subliminal drum repeatedly---Christians, 90% hot 10% not, pagans 50% hot, 50% not, heathens, 10% hot, 90% not. Screwtape would recognize the strategy but obviously few Americans do.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan will endure

Just a few short thoughts, and a little encouragement for any of my readers with connections with Japan. I know that the last month or so has been profoundly difficult.

Japan will endure. In 2100, there will still be a Japan, and it will be recognizably Japanese. If the world as a whole manages to muddle through and maintain its trends in life expectancy, perhaps achieving 'actuarial escape velocity', there may even be a few Japanese folks old enough to have seen this post. They will almost certainly possess the reasonable belief that Japan is still THEIR country.

Your leaders are often venal and corrupt. So are everyone else's with very few exceptions. They're inclined to lie to you to avoid panic and to save face. So too again are almost everyone else's. You might have to take a significant chunk of real estate out of agricultural production for a while. Rebuilding will cost you a ton of money, which will probably hurt your economy substantially. But your elite and your leaders are NOT traitors. They do NOT wish to elect another people. They do not hate you and yours. In this I envy you. Contrast your movie 'The Seven Samurai' and our movie 'Braveheart'. They speak to the radical difference in nature between your elites and ours.

Eventually as your population decreases, your young people will feel that family formation is desirable and affordable in significant numbers. Try to avoid crushing them with debt and thereby suppressing their fertility. But your elites know this already, and, they don't hate you or want to replace you. You trust your elites more than we trust ours, for good reason. You'll probably manage to slog your way through this crisis without doing anything terminally stupid or creating a massive schism between your elites and the ordinary Japanese citizenry.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tiger Mothers and Steroids

Recently I read a follow-up to the Tiger Mother articles on Steve Sailer's excellent blog, referring to The Atlantic

I've a few thoughts on this myself. The whole Ivy League and top tier admissions thing is a lesser example of an 'only the obsessed need apply' dynamic which we see in full bloom in professional sports and the Olympics. Those of us who have a strong interest in the extremes of human capability recognize several things:
1) Even the person with the absolute most of quantity X usually only has a fairly modest amount more than their nearest competitor. You might be 5 sigma from the mean in your area of greatest focus, but that's only 1 in 3 or 4 million or so, there's probably at least 2000 people on the planet as good or better than you in terms of raw ability.
2) Performance enhancing drugs generally both work and frequently have adverse side effects
3) One sigma also frequently equates to 'working twice as hard'. Down at the more familiar levels of ability it's possible to significantly boost your relative position by being more driven, obsessive, or simply less lazy than your competition.
4) At the extreme levels, it's not feasible to work twice as hard as your nearest competitor, because there's just not enough hours in the day when only the obsessed need apply
So you predict from this to see a constant race between performance enhancing drug concealment, development, and detection---which accords precisely with reality.
We naturally prefer to ban such things from the highest competition because if they're allowed, they're basically mandatory. While I definitely appreciate the beta testing work on drugs that the competitors are doing unwittingly on my behalf, I understand their desire to not make the side effects of such a compulsory part of the competition. But there's a definite prisoner's dilemma going on here, and it's precisely the one that the Atlantic author is talking around.
Lots of mothers with Ivy League aspirations for their children---and, to be fair, if you're aspiring to be something like a Supreme Court justice or the like, it's pretty much a practical requirement--would prefer a competitive space wherein their children didn't have to compete with the products of extreme parenting. I can't say I'm unsympathetic to them.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Choose whom you would serve

A lot of us, myself included, would, given our choice, prefer a mode of living wherein we would live and let live with those who we disagree with on non-existential issues. Unfortunately, this is not in the American character. We've always had a strong streak of the crusader in us, the only thing that changes is the target.
Unlike other nations, even other nations in the Anglosphere, we required a war with a truly obscene amount of casualties relative to the population size to renegotiate our relationship with slavery. In later generations, we've recapitulated that approach with alcohol and then drugs, even going so far as to 'declare war' on them. Such is in our nature. The notion that something can be legal, but highly looked down upon and discouraged by the organs of the culture is far from us, and it's time we realize that. The space between forbidden and mandatory is thin indeed.
Inside a fairly short space of time, homosexual behavior will either be legal and highly punishable, or meaningful criticism of it will be effectively punishable. Those who speak of 'legal, safe, and rare' are either smoking something or attempting to get us to smoke it. In most of these issues it is not possible in the long view to live and let live. Will you be hammer or anvil?