Monday, January 30, 2012

The Task of the Church: To be an Honest Broker between Disputes, Not to Shout 'Me Too' with the Culture

Presently the Church as a whole stands accused of being a one-eyed watchdog on a lot of issues.  By this I mean it sees two sides of a dispute, both of whom can be accused of being in violation of some command or covenant, and it chooses to hold merely one party responsible, and that party invariably being the one that the Culture also generally chooses to sanction.  Thus you see the majority of the Church, and nearly the entire 'elite church' taking the anti-male and anti-white sides whenever possible in disputes.  I do not believe that shouting 'Me Too' is a productive form of Christian witness.

For instance, lots of males and an overwhelming preponderance of women have seriously defaulted on the command and covenant that used to exist and which the Church still nominally upholds.  We call this marriage 1.0---woman respects, man loves, woman obeys, man sacrifices.  You see the breakdown of the extended social version of that covenant (Women and children first) in recent events.  The extended social version was based on a level of social solidarity basically making the pact---we'll sacrifice for YOUR woman and children if you'll do the same for ours.  Now, of course, neither the social solidarity nor the original man-woman covenant has the strength to be a moral hegemon.  Why should we be surprised when we no longer see the sacrificing behavior?

The problem arises when the Church selectively decides to shame and scold only one side of this social default.  This sort of thing is but one reason of the many why most churches have a serious deficit of males (I've recommended to readers looking for a good church in the past that they look for one where men are not significantly outnumbered by women, since men will go where they are wanted and stay where they are well treated).  This would be one thing if the culture were, say, a culture that seriously shamed women who defaulted so and gave the men a totally free pass (e.g., said 'boys will be boys').  There it would be an example of redressing a imbalance.  But when the Culture is pushing hard in only one direction, the Church must exercise extreme caution if it decides to push in the same manner.  Yes, you get called names when you push in the opposite direction, but Jesus never promised you that the culture would like you.  Rather the opposite, if my memory serves.  But the calling of the church when two groups have mutual grievances is to make peace where possible, and to provide a sterling example always.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Honest Graft: Some Wonderful Writings Excavated from the Era Before The Hegemony of the Cathedral

Whilst wandering throughout the Reactionary and fellow traveler spheres, I came across the phrase 'Honest Graft'.  Being somewhat intrigued, I found that it was attributed originally to one George Washington Plunkitt, of Tammany Hall, a Democrat from New York City back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Here's the reference:
 Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, by George Washington Plunkitt
A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics, Delivered by Ex-senator George Washington Plunkitt, the Tammany Philosopher, from His Rostrum—the New York County Court House Bootblack Stand
(Google books and Project Gutenberg are both quite wonderful, making lots of historical research easier than it ever has been).

Now the big city 'machine' politics were the original adversaries of the Cathedral.  Plunkitt is a damnably astute fellow, largely free of hypocrisy, cant, or even self delusion.  He correctly identifies the civil service acts as the sin qua non of the Cathedral and attacks it with any stick that comes to hand.  He argues in defense of what he calls 'honest graft'.  I'll let Plunkitt speak for himself:

"EVERYBODY is talkin' these days about Tammany men growin' rich on graft, but nobody thinks of drawin' the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. There's all the difference in the world between the two. Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics. I have myself. I've made a big fortune out of the game, and I'm gettin' richer every day, but I've not gone in for dishonest graft—blackmailin' gamblers, saloonkeepers, disorderly people, etc.—and neither has any of the men who have made big fortunes in politics.
There's an honest graft, and I'm an example of how it works. I might sum up the whole thing by sayin': "I seen my opportunities and I took 'em."
Just let me explain by examples. My party's in power in the city, and it's goin' to undertake a lot of public improvements. Well, I'm tipped off, say, that they're going to lay out a new park at a certain place.
I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before.
Ain't it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight? Of course, it is. Well, that's honest graft.
Or supposin' it's a new bridge they're goin' to build. I get tipped off and I buy as much property as I can that has to be taken for approaches. I sell at my own price later on and drop some more money in the bank.
Wouldn't you? It's just like lookin' ahead in Wall Street or in the coffee or cotton market. It's honest graft, and I'm lookin' for it every day in the year. I will tell you frankly that I've got a good lot of it, too. "

Sound familiar?  It's like what Cathedral politicians do today, writ small, except they don't confine themselves to honest graft at all.  It's as if the Progressives acted to rid us of some minor fleas and ticks and instead brought in bona fide vampires---excepting that unlike self-respecting vampires of fiction, many of them drain blood well in excess of that needed for actual sustenance.

C.S. Lewis knew this well---here's him speaking about the Cathedral and its more honest theocratic cousins

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Here's the takeaway from the Reactionary point of view.  All systems of governance devised by Man are going to suck for someone, and they're all going to be 'suboptimal' from a cosmic point of view.  This is what I term the Fundamental Axiom of Reaction.  Tammany Hall had aspects of it which sucked, but nowhere near so hardcore as what followed it.  Could you see Plunkitt countenancing the ethnic cleansing of his constituents or the collapse of Order in New York City?  Were he and his half as oppressive as what has followed them?  

To stay in power, a government needs to be able to deliver the goods to its coalition.  That means graft if you're lucky and massive transfer programs and huge numbers of sinecures otherwise.  I'll contend that 'competent corruption' like Tammany hall is probably the most benign manifestation of such a ruling coalition we're likely to actually see in the real world.  Would that 'honest graft' be the worst corruption in the body politic.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

High and Low Surplus Societies: Yet Another Reason Why You Should Also Read (Very) Old Books

On a number of my previous posts and in comments elsewhere I've spoken of high and low surplus societies.  Apparently I've vastly overestimated how common these terms of art are, searching google turned up very few matches.  So let me describe in more detail what I mean by high and low surplus when speaking of societies.

A high surplus society is a society that has vastly more resources readily available than are necessarily to sustain basic survival for all of its members.  To earn enough money to have basic food and shelter takes a small fraction of the available time for even a person who is well below the mean in terms of economic value.  A high surplus society is so rich it can even afford to give significant alms to those who can't (or in extreme cases, won't) work.  You and I live in a high surplus society, probably the highest surplus society to exist for thousands of years.  Even welfare recipients in most Western countries have treasures that the kings of old could only dream about.  Pretty much everyone would be in the category of 'a rich man' from the perspective of Jesus' contemporaries.  Status is a different matter---that is largely zero sum, someone must always be, by definition, in the back of the bus.  We'll not belabor that in this post.  The high surplus condition of our society is largely the result of our technology base and the availability of extreme quantities of cheap energy.  Here's an exercise I once offered for extra credit to new engineering students a couple of decades ago.  Hop on a treadmill at the gym.  They've normally got meters on them that indicate how many watts of energy you are expending.  150 watts isn't terribly atypical for a sustainable level for a healthy young man.  Now consider that to make one kilowatt-hour you are talking 6-7 hours at that pace, probably enough to largely exhaust your energies for the day.  Now look up how much that amount of energy would cost you from the electric company (typically 8-20 cents).  To do this is to truly understand at a gut level what permits the 'holiday from history' we are presently still mostly living in.

A low surplus society conversely lives very close to the margin of basic survival.  Famines, droughts and the like don't just mean higher prices, they mean lots of people are likely to die.  Most people today in Western countries with the exception of a few missionaries to the absolute worst basket cases of countries have no experience at all with a low surplus society.  But there are quite a few reasons why we desperately need to understand such societies:

1.  We need to understand low surplus societies so we can properly understand our own history without radically distorting our view of our ancestors.  Much of 'White Guilt' can be traced to a failure in this.
2.  It is difficult to understand our present institutions without understanding the circumstances that gave rise to them.
3.  Our present high surplus condition is not guaranteed by the laws of physics or history.  Being reduced to a low surplus condition is not only possible, but frankly quite likely, especially if the center does not hold and things fall apart.  It is also, of course, quite possible that we may find ourselves in a nearly-limitless surplus society, should something akin to the Singularity come to pass.  I rate these two prospects as both far more likely than business as usual when I think about the medium-term (25-75 years out) future.

So how can we understand such societies, assuming we're not interested in a long term mission to examine what is most likely an extremely dysfunctional low surplus society ('modern' low surplus societies are usually a lot less functional than historical ones).  Our old friend Thomas Carlyle provides us an answer:

"In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream."
(From On Heroes and Hero Worship)

C.S. Lewis had quite a bit to say on why modern readers should add old books to their diet, and preferably the original sources rather than 'books about books'  His essay, in the form of a forward to Athanasius:  On the Incarnation is linked below---I dare say his forward has become more famous than the work to which it is prepended.  I'm not certain how he would have felt about that.

In short, Lewis' argument is that you are totally surrounded by the trappings, attitudes and assumptions of your Age and your only real way to get a perspective outside of that is to read works from other Ages.  The books from the future being sadly unavailable, those from the past must suffice.

I'm normally loathe to excerpt such a masterpiece, preferring to link it for the benefit of our readers, be they reactionary or fellow travelers, but I'll make an exception for Jack.  Hopefully it'll induce enough appetite in you to consume the whole thing.

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook—even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united—united with each other and against earlier and later ages—by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, "But how could they have thought that?"—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them."

By reading these particularly old books--these works of Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, et al, I contend you can gain a better grasp on past, present, and future.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Giving the Devils Their Due: Romney and Gingrich

Let me be blunt, I don't like either of these two candidates.  If Gingrich or Romney is the answer, it is a pretty damned stupid question.  Unfortunately, one of these two is probably the answer to the question:  Who will run against Obama with more than a single digit percentage chance of victory?

My gut would love to beat them with sticks, but Christian charity obliges otherwise, and to at least make an attempt at being fair to them.  So here is my praise, faint as it might be:

Is a husband of one wife and seems to have raised functional children.  Maintained his financial privacy as long as was feasible, but is now shown by his tax returns to be very generous (around 15% average, which is still way above average even if one neglects his expected Mormon tithe).  That he never trumpeted his generosity speaks well of him.  Romney also apparently possesses considerably more than the average level of self-control (I'd say 2 sigmas, maybe more).  Newt might even have ordinary (+0 sigma) levels of that same quality.  Let me explain:

Romney, and especially Gingrich are both very high status males.  Most of us have to work to some degree to make attraction to the opposite sex happen.  Some of us have experience with unsolicited indications of interest from them---as I did, for instance, when my status was enhanced by being a ranking representative in the student governing body at a large university.  But I'm willing to bet very few of us have any experience at all resisting a deliberate onslaught of temptation in the manner that a Romney or a Gingrich receives as a matter of course.  It is for this reason that I occasionally find a slot for Tim Tebow in my prayer list, and hold him in great esteem for his manifestly superior self-control, which we Christians deem one of the 'fruits of the Spirit'.

Indeed, Christianity has always recognized this, even back on the Sermon on the Mount prior to the Resurrection.  Simply because you may not be attractive or have no 'game' in no way immunizes you to the spiritual sin of adultery.  God looks to the condition of your heart and not your capability to find willing partners for sinful purposes.  Many are perplexed by why God loved King David so much, despite his appalling behavior in the Bathsheba/Uriah affair.  My intuition is that most of us, faced with the same intensity of temptation and in possession of the power to paper over the difficulties that King David had, would fall just the same as he did.  For this reason I'm inclined to be less harsh in my appraisal of the character of politicians who commit adultery than I would otherwise be inclined to be.  I'm also, in the spirit of 'avoiding the occasion of sin', seriously disinclined to run for any significant office.

And Newt, I did promise to say at least a few things positive about him.  Newt, in conjunction with his brother in spirit, Bill Clinton, did accomplish significant welfare reform back in the 90s.  They also accomplished something a lot less ruinous in terms of living beyond our means than did Bush II and God forbid, Obama.  Finally, in Newt's favor, he is one of the only prominent governmental figures who vaguely gets the notion of civil defense (check his forward to One Second After).  The condition of our civil defense apparatus and the brittleness of our infrastructure (especially the power grid and the Just in Time system) is appalling, and could easily turn survivable setbacks into outright catastrophes.  Newt, given the proper position, might actually move towards doing something about this problem, if he can keep his  attention focused long enough.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Neurotypical Republican Women Choose the Serial Adulterer Over the Whitest Man in America

I admit that I'm a little, but only a little, surprised that the airing of Newt's serial adultery failed to hurt him in the polls.  Newt even managed to win among married women in South Carolina.  Among neurotypical women, an adaptation of a common Scriptural adage might as well apply:

Blessed be the alpha male, for women shall not impute his sins against him.

Were the (completely true) accusations against, say, Romney or Santorum, they would almost certainly be fatal, as they were against Cain and a host of other politicians.  But Newt deftly deploys a reframe and shames the questioner, and probably gains support rather than loses it.  The fact that he's consistently talked a 'family values' line that he manifestly fails to live up with is irrelevant.  Only non-alphas get held to standards of hypocrisy by the neurotypical woman who is on the same side of the red/blue tribal boundaries.  Perhaps the easiest way to describe Newt is a lesser Bill Clinton, an appetite in a suit.  They've got nearly all the same markers, but Clinton is (IMO) slightly smarter---I view Clinton as likely @3 sigma and Newt between 2 and 3--and somewhat more charismatic.  Neither lacks the ability to seduce though, and they have nearly exactly the same vices.  I suppose some of the delta between their respective approval ratings can be explained by their median media coverage (Clinton, fawning vs Newt, hostile).

My gut tells me that neither Clinton nor Gingrich is neurotypical---that both of them are just running emulation.  Emulation that good should be viewed with extreme scrutiny, as it indicates truly exceptional capacity for deception, without even the need to believe one's own bullshit like a more neurotypical liar would need to.  What do you call someone with no intrinsic sense of gratitude?  Neurotypical.  What do you call someone who doesn't run away from being called selfish?  Non-neurotypical.  What do you call someone with neither a gratitude heart OR at inclination towards unselfishness?

Apparently you call him a candidate for the presidency of the United States.

Monday, January 23, 2012

So You Say You Want to Reduce Inequality in America?

Inequality is a pretty hot topic right now, especially in discussion of Charles Murray's latest writings as regards marriage, family, and inequality.  I have some thoughts on inequality within the US.

First and foremost, I have no particularly strong passion for equality.  But neither do I have a strong passion for inequality.  Most who posture about inequality don't really have a real passion either---except one for moral posturing so as to aggrandize their social status.  But for the purposes of this post, I'll take many at their word and postulate that they do indeed wish to reduce inequality within the US (the geographic boundary wherein the desire to reduce inequality exists is very very important).

To begin with, if one sincerely wishes to reduce inequality, one would pretty much shut down all immigration, legal or otherwise.  Adding more people at the bottom end of the distribution just aggravates what you claim to wish to reduce.  So supporting something akin to the immigration law of the 1920s is what is called for here.
The next item is more subtle.  What you really need to do is motivate a higher birthrate in your upper classes while reducing it in the lower classes.  If a rich man has, say, 4-6 children and a poor man has one or two, the inequality of the next generation will be reduced substantially, almost by definition.  What you want to do is restructure the way child tax credits and exemptions work so as to motivate more fertility at the top of the distribution and less at the bottom.  I suggest raising marginal rates in general but reducing the marginal rates by X percent per child when both parents of said child are still married to each other.  The key is you want it remain highly significant even for those who earn millions of dollars but not to be a material incentive below the median.  Should the parents divorce, I recommend reducing the benefit by 50%, and dividing that reduced benefit between the two former spouses equally.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Suggested Punishment for Those Who Pushed SOPA

Patent terms in the US are presently approximately 20 years.  Is there ANY good reason why copyrights ought to be longer than that term?  Is there any good reason why authors/screenwriters/etc should receive monopoly protection longer than engineers/biologists/pharmacists/etc?  Let's leave aside that both are usually intermediated through huge corporations and we'll also leave aside that the archetypal copyright beneficiary (the author) typically receives a higher fraction of the surplus created by their invention than does the equivalent for patents.

So here's what I propose.  Reduce, retroactively, all copyrights to the term of patents.  20 years, no more.  Prissy artists will just have to learn to live with people misusing their creations.  We engineers have had to deal with this for a LONG time.  Check out, for instance, the developer of the TV set.
Depicts the copyright term expansion over time.  I also encourage any readers to practice who...whom anytime they might happen to be on a civil or criminal jury relevant to the issue.

Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA, and Other Complex Legislation Made Simple

All you really have to ask is, who is pushing it?  In this case it was Hollywood and the MSM.  Who...whom.
You don't even have to read it or pay any attention to it, you know from the above that you're against it.  Yes, reading it may be useful for broadening the base of outrage against it, but who..whom tells you nearly everything you need to know.  Amusing how often that is true.

With the initial effort to pass SOPA blunted, how about pushing for a repeal of the last extension of copyright terms?  Groups like this need to be punished when they try to push things like this rapidly through Congress before opposition can form.  Laying on an immediate counterattack after a successful defense is probably the only way diffuse groups can compete with concentrated interests in a pseudo-democratic system like ours.  The message needs to be sent:  Don't piss us off again or we'll hit you back even harder next time.  As a more broad-based retaliation, I suggest widespread who...whom any time this industry is in the courtroom where a jury is present,  be it criminal or civil.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Culling the Herd, Goodbye Perry

Now Rick Perry has dropped out of the race, taking his abominable immigration positions with him.  Hopefully Gingrich will be next, as, in my opinion, he's the next worst candidate still in the race.

Perry and Gingrich are both particularly bad because one gets the feeling that their hearts really are in the whole racial replacement enterprise---that they're not just posturing for anti-racist/anti-white brownie points from the MSM.  In addition, both Gingrich and Perry have generally run from fairly conservative areas (Perry the governor of Texas, Gingrich a representative from Georgia if memory serves).  It is a good bet that their positions would modulate to the left when running in a less conservative electorate.  With Romney that effect is likely to be in the opposite direction---most of the US is more conservative than the state of Massachusetts.

Interestingly enough, I noticed today that the MSM is running the line that Gingrich's ex-wife says that he wanted an 'open marriage'---i.e. to practice a soft polygamy.  It's amusing what rope is being produced to hang him with---I'd prefer that we practiced a more old school hands-off approach to the personal lives of the politicians that we set up as alpha males, but I can't say I terribly mind seeing Gingrich cut down, especially if in so doing more of the prestige of the MSM is eroded away.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interesting News From Saudi Arabia in Light of the 2012 Elections

Apparently the Saudis have targeted around $100/barrel as the price for oil.  Presently the price of oil is around $110/barrel.  In addition, the political break even prices of oil (i.e. the price at which oil revenues allow business as usual for the governments of mostly oil revenue-dependent nations) have been rising substantially as well.  Whatever you take this as a sign of (e.g., Peak Oil, export land model, or socialism eventually running out of other people's money), the take away is pretty clear.  Expect the prices of oil and gasoline to continue to rise, even without a major incident in Iran, which is hardly out of the question.  I'd also not be surprised to see a purely political release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, probably close to the summer, in the attempt to keep gas prices in the US from rising towards that magic $4 number that my gut tells me is the doom of one Barrack Obama's reelection hopes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Encouraging Developments in the Republican Primary, Huntsman Out, Santorum Upgraded

What's this?  A Republican candidate that actually WANTS to win rather than be considered nice or respectable by the MSM?  Perhaps the crude taunting over the untimely demise of his little two hour old baby and his family's utterly human response to the  tragedy has driven him over the edge.

Whatever it was, he's come out sufficiently strongly on the immigration issue to push himself from a D all the way to an A-, stronger than even Bachmann, who has dropped out of the race.  With Huntsman out as well, the Republican field has marched in our direction a fair bit.
Santorum as a Senator had a B- overall, so this is, I suppose not a radical departure for him and apparently he has butted heads on occasion with the Catholic hierarchy over this issue.

Here's one recommendation for Mr Santorum:  dial back the militancy of your rhetoric as regards foreign policy, especially on Iran.  You don't have to go as far as Ron Paul, although I'd suggest you actually consider it, but I'd invite you to consider this question:

When was the last war that the US got itself involved in that was good for Christians in the area of conflict, before, during, or afterwards?

Iraq?  No, Afghanistan?  No....Libya or Egypt?  Are you kidding me?  Bosnia?
No, near as I can tell, the impact on Christians in the areas of conflict that the US chooses to involve itself in are almost invariably negative, generally amping up the level of persecution, sometimes to the point of near annihilation.

South Korea I think was the last conflict where the US getting involved actually helped Christians in the area of conflict.  There's also this:  Iran is a conflict that would have extremely grave repercussions on the global economy if it ignited with the strong potential for undesired escalation.  Such affairs should be handled carefully because they carry the possibility of turning into genuinely existential matters.

Romney also appears to have inched upwards to a C+.  This too is an encouraging development.  Hopefully Gingrich and Perry will fall by the wayside soon.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Normal Distribution and You

The normal distribution crops up so often in our daily experience and applies to so many different phenomena that a tremendous amount of mental energy has been spent in its study.  Furthermore, we talk about those aspects of reality so frequently here at the Chariot of Reaction that it is probably useful to make a utility post on what we mean when we speak of sigmas.

Normally when we're talking about sigmas, for instance, saying +1 or +2 sigmas,  what we are referring to is the rarity of that level of talent or capability within the population as a whole.  Generally here at the Chariot, we speak almost exclusively of positive sigmas, but the distribution is symmetric, so the frequency estimates apply just as well for negative sigmas.  What I find particularly interesting is how this is embedded into the language and how even such prosaic metrics like the rating of attractiveness on a 1-10 scale are obviously using something akin to a z-score (basically, the number of sigmas from the mean, NOBODY says 10% of all persons are 10's, for instance).

In terms of frequency within a population, here's what you get:
+1 standard deviation or more is approximately 1 in 6.3.  This means that about one in every 6 people is at or above this level in a given attribute or quality. Linguistically, this usually translates to 'Joe is strong' or 'Joe is smart' or 'Joe is good looking' or the like. Sometimes when the speaker himself has a high attribute in the quality being described, he'll apply a hedge like 'pretty strong'...'fairly smart' or the like. You (the reader), almost certainly know a fair number of people with this level of capability in any attribute you can think of. Good examples include almost anyone with a real degree (intelligence), people who have no debt and live within their means (fiscal discipline, this one is really uncommon in the US as recent events demonstrate), people who tend to lead their small social circle (charisma), and anyone you'd describe honestly as 'athletic'.

+2 standard deviations is about 1 in 44. So for every 40 or 50 people, you generally have someone in this category. In language, we typically apply some sort of amplifier to our description---for instance...Joe is very strong or Joe is very smart. Almost nobody puts a linguistic hedge around their descriptor here. Typical examples here for the physical are noteworthy athletes at the high school level---some of the larger high schools might well have people with this level of physical prowess on their starters on the sports that they emphasize.

This level of intelligence is typical of the 'talented and gifted' and a lot of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and honestly, national level politicians are at or slightly below this level. If your social circle is at all typical, you probably know at least one person at this level for each attribute (albeit not usually the same person).

+3 SD is about 1 in 740. You usually get one, maybe two people at this level per 1000 people. In the US, for instance, you'd expect about 405K people at this level for each attribute. It is very exceptional, and people here usually get the superlatives hauled out when describing them. In a small town, at this level, you might well be 'the strongest man' or 'the smartest guy' in town. This is the bare minimum for 'only the obsessed need apply' sorts of competitions, such as the NFL. At this level in athletics, if you're doing all the other stuff, you've got a very thin chance of going beyond college level. With a broad social circle, you probably know at least one person at this level, although probably not for many different attributes.

+4 SD is about 1 in a little more than 30K. So for every 100,000 people, there are 3 at this level. In the US, you'd expect about 10,000 people at or above this level. So, Mr. Smart guy with the 160 IQ, there are probably 10000 people in the US smarter than you are, more if the US is disproportionately brain-draining other nations. This is the typical level for the NFL or the NBA in their relevant attributes.  Linguistically, people break out the words like 'genius', 'incredible', and the like.

+5 SD is about 1 in 3.5M. So for every 10 Million people, there are probably 3 at this level. The US, for instance, with @300M population would have about 90 people at this level. Really noteworthy guys in the NFL are probably at this level. This is also the level of the 1st string Olympian in sports that your nation takes seriously.

+6 SD is 1 in a billion. Probably 5-10 people like this exist in the entire world. Athletes at this level frankly EXPECT to medal.

+7 SD is past the limits of most of the tables you'll find. Human history Might include one person at this attribute level in each attribute.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to: Who...Whom in the Jury Room

I've talked at some length about the use of Who..Whom in Jury Nullification before, which I'd like to expand on more.

Specifically, how does one actually carry this out?
Unlike FIJA, which is a fine organization, I'm not advocating openly attempting to nullify.  Instead, I'm advocating a backhanded and passive aggressive nullification strategy, one that is far harder to fight against, by, say, the judge removing you from the jury.  Conflict requires both in your face and slippery strategies---one enables the other just like rushing sets up passing opportunities in American football.

The first rule is you never breathe a word about jury nullification anywhere near the courtroom and certainly not in the jury deliberations.   You don't even hint at it with things like---oh I don't think it's right to send him to jail for so long for X or I'd rather use the prison space for guys like Y.  No, instead what you do is expand the area of fuzziness that you are given into obscene proportions.  That fuzzy area is 'reasonable doubt'.  What does reasonable doubt mean?  Does it mean being 99% sure?  99.9%?  as sure as a Christian with 4 aces?

The key is it means precisely what you want it to mean.  So take a leaf from Public health guys making 'studies' about gun control.  Start with your desired conclusion and set your parameters to whatever they need to be to 'justify' it.  Remember, if you torture the data enough, it'll confess to whatever you want it to.  Of course you go who...whom, under the same circumstances as the FIJA-style nullifier, you just aren't open about such.

The first phase from your perspective (I'm assuming you're not a grand juror---I've been called for jury duty several times but never for a grand jury) is jury selection.   Both the prosecutor and the defense are looking to shop for the most favorable jury they can get.  What you want to do is betray as little information to them as you can short of obvious perjury.  They're looking for information out of the verbal band as well as what you actually say.  For instance, the more words you say, the better their estimate of how smart you are is going to be.  If they're actually good at their craft (fortunately, an AWFUL lot of them are horrible at it, I can normally infer a person's political positions and cultural alignment within a minute or so of hearing them speak on matters that are not explicitly political, it is a matter of word choice and inflection and a willingness to combine signals that are only in the range of 80% or so accurate into a reasonably accurate prediction, stereotypes are damnably useful things) the more you say the more likely your game is up.  Plus particularly smart people are prone to be more verbose and to want to cover their answer completely and with the desired nuance.  Try not to present that image.  Last time I was in jury selection I knew one of the sides was going to smoke a peremptory challenge on me when the defense attorney asked me what standards of evidence I was familiar with employing, and I answered him with the two that he knew (preponderance of evidence and 'reasonable doubt') and another that he didn't know (clear and convincing, typically an administrative law standard midway between the other two).  But I had negative interest in being on that jury.  So remember, short answers that betray no bias towards defense or prosecution, even though if you're going to go Who...Whom, you are the most biased defense juror imaginable.

Assuming you make it onto the jury, what you need to start doing as the trial progresses is make lots of notes (if they allow you, many don't), or mental notes (if you have to), on anything and everything that is plausibly painted as weak in the prosecution's case.  Imagine what the five star defense attorneys would question.  Question that and remember it for the jury deliberation.  It's actually better if the defense doesn't actually question it, because then the prosecutor would have a chance to defend against that line of argument.  But guess what, neither lawyer gets to go anywhere near the jury room.  You do.  Think 'motivated skeptic'.  Emulate whatever group you consider to be 'immune to reason' that 'uses its high intelligence to deny what is nearly certainly true'.

Here's the bottom line.  Simply by staying the course, you can almost certainly force a mistrial, since the jury won't reach a decision.  But you can play for more than a mere tactical victory.  You've got things on your side, notably that you're likely way more committed (imagine this is, say, a case against some redneck for having a shotgun that is 1/4 of an inch too short) than are the other jurors.  They know this (and you should NOT explicitly remind them of this, that is likely to backfire)---they get to leave only once a mistrial is declared or a decision is made unanimously.  One way to get there is to surrender to your who...whom and return a not guilty verdict.  In addition, by spinning scenarios that are admittedly of low probability, you will make them seem more real to the other jurors, and hence higher probability in their minds. Drip, drip, drip--exploit those cognitive biases.  Try to seem reasonable and extremely 'fair minded'---it helps if you betray a lot of cultural markers of disliking the class/group from which the defendant is drawn, this will make your scenarios wherein the defendant isn't actually guilty seem more credible, as in an admission against interest.  But if you can't swing the other 11, no biggie, a mistrial is usually nearly as good as an acquittal.  Done in reasonable numbers, this procedure would result in making nearly any law without an overwhelming consensus behind it practically unenforceable.  The only defense against it is trying to take away the right of a trial by jury, which, by the way, was one of the big grievances motivating the 1st American revolution.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Schelling, Kuran, Reaction, and the Way Forward

About a week ago, on my post
a short discussion took place in the comments.  
CLAR said...
my impression is that most reactionary/conservative types are stuck in a mode like wildebeests getting ready to cross a river- milling around, getting frustrated, yet still scared to be the first into the river and have their career ended by the crocodiles enforcing the informal thought crime laws of our government. i definitely count myself in this crowd.

my prediction is that when this shifts, it will be a stampede that might run away with itself. while such radical change will be to our net benefit, it will probably have many negative side effects from being so rapid.
at the time I responded
'Negative Side Effects' is an interesting euphemism. What you're describing is a preference cascade a la Timur Kuran, and yes, I do think such an event is not unlikely.

I've had this on my mental back burner for some time, and recalled a few jigsaw puzzle pieces lying about on my mental map that can probably be usefully pressed into service.

CLAR clearly identifies one major aspect of the problem.  There are tons of wildebeests, and only a few crocodiles, but nobody wants to go first.  This is directly analogous to the metastable circumstances immediately preceding a riot (or more commonly, a riot that doesn't actually happen).  This brought to mind Schelling (for those unfamiliar with his work, specifically, a Schelling Point or 'point of coordination', here's the executive summary.  A Schelling Point is a point around which groups can spontaneously organize based on their estimate of where others of like mind will naturally gravitate.  The classic example is of meeting a person in New York City, where you have no time or place, just a date---the 2 Schelling points being Grand Central Station at noon and the top floor of the Empire State Building).  Fortunately, a lot of mental energy has already gone into analyzing these particular problem.

The publication below provides a hint

The entrepreneur will throw the first stone when he calculates that the risk that he will be apprehended for doing so has diminished to an acceptable level. The risk of arrest declines as a function of two variables--the size of the crowd relative to the police force available to control it, and the probability that others will follow if somebody leads. This latter point could potentially be tricky, because as we have noted, crowds will generally be inhospitable to the commission of violent acts. But it is possible for a crowd to telegraph its willingness to riot. Buford's account (1991: 81n-dash85) of a soccer hooligan rampage in Turin furnishes an example. Members of the crowd marched themselves around in a spontaneous formation with a stilted, unnatural gait, chanting the name of their team. This unmistakable token of cohesion stopped well short of anything that the Italian police could plausibly charge as solicitation or incitement, but served to assure the members of the crowd that a critical mass had formed.

In essence, what is needed to to provide at least one Schelling point to generate plausibly deniable cohesion.  A group needs to be able to communicate its intent in an easily deniable fashion.  Leftists understand this at least at a gut level, which is why they impose their regime of thought crime enforcement so rigidly.  They perceive the possibility of a preference cascade wiping out much of their work and work hard to maintain massive preference falsification per Kuran.  If you ever want to be REALLY encouraged as a reactionary, leaf through some of the books by the left about the vast right wing conspiracies at your local bookstore.  They will tell you what they fear.  It's funny honestly, to read their perception of the average conservative as being like me, but on Thomas Carlyle class reactionary steroids.

If we look at this through a chemical metaphor, one needs several things.  First, the reaction requires sufficient energy to overcome the barrier of activation energy.  The analog of course is that the population must become sufficiently angry to create a prerevolutionary condition per Lenin.  Second, a catalyst is needed to speed things along.  This is where the plausibly deniable cohesion comes in.  I've suggested several things that fit that category here in the past:

1.  Weaken the power of universalist moral rhetoric in the public sphere through mockery and identification of the real particularist interests that ACTUALLY motivate said rhetoric
2.  Assault the various entities of the Cathedral at every opportunity, and use their mistakes to weaken them and erode their legitimacy.  In particular, the Judiciary is presently ripe for the destruction of its prestige.  Several cases of obvious (but deniable) who..whom Jury Nullification can be used to embolden one's supporters and demoralize our adversaries.  Such will almost certainly provoke a disproportionate response from the Cathedral, which is actually a positive thing from our point of view, because it just raises the temperature of the reaction.

Here's how we can reduce the activation energy to Jury Nullification.  First, simply by talking about it (although inside a courthouse, never breathe a word about it or you'll never be selected as a juror) we make it more likely.  Second, it would be very useful to us to break down some of the social taboo on it by maneuvering other groups into making the first move on it.  The group that is really ripe for this are drug users and the legalization crowd.  Pretty close to half the population is against the War on Drugs, at least insofar as pot is concerned.  If you can get substantial sections of that group to start bringing out the jury nullification hammer, the reluctance of other groups to use it will be greatly reduced.  This is something I've been working on for years now in other guises on various forums on the left.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Fatal Flaw of Whites and Jews: The Insatiable Hunger for Cheaper Labor

We hear the same refrains throughout history...

That's no job for a white man.  Let's buy slaves to do it instead.
Those are jobs Americans won't do, and I want cheap maids.  Let's import a new people, and if you complain about it, you're a racist!
And apparently these statements and the sentiments translate pretty well (or, from my perspective, rather horridly) into Hebrew in Israel instead.

Always rather than pay the prevailing wage in a free market, the white and Jewish business classes contrive to change the rules of the game to the profound detriment of posterity to beat down the price of labor.  In practice, all the the statements above have the implicit clause, at the price that we'd prefer to offer, built into them.  Businessmen need to be called on this and called hard.  The Chambers of Commerce get nowhere near enough flak from supposed conservatives for their demographic treachery.  They are about half of the alliance against us, and, frankly, we should lay into them without any remorse or any mercy at all.  It should be personal.  Any time they attempt to introduce moral language into the argument they should be brutally slapped in the face with their obvious economic motivation.  And since they started the moral language first, that motivation should be loudly castigated as greed, avarice, exploitation, or whatever infuriates the population best at the time.  The left side of that alliance can be painted as dupes and useful idiots of the Profits of Doom.  The Chambers of Commerce need to be brought to heel on this question by being punished sternly.  If Obama whipped them with whips, let us whip them with scorpions.  Automation and innovation are far better ways to improve standards of living in any case, and it'll be a long time before robots decide they're a new people.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Most Annoying Thing About the SWPL

SWPL's piously claim to believe tons of things that are manifestly out of touch with reality, especially as regards material (i.e., not spiritual or legal) equality.  But this isn't what is truly annoying about them.

What is annoying is that they behave more or less exactly as you'd expect them to if they were members of the KKK or 'white citizen's councils'.  This means they don't even provide a huge block of 'stupid money' which an 'evil racist' could make huge amounts of money trading in stocks and real estate against.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interesting Adhoc Bumper Sticker Sighted This Weekend

Saw an SUV with 2 large Jesus-fish above 5 medium sized Jesus-fish while out and about this weekend.  Said sticker was apparently assembled by mix and matching individual stickers, much like the common window decals on such vehicles that depict the family transported by the vehicle.

Perhaps they should have a beatific Darwin figure standing to the side, with the caption:
Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Insane Political Malpractice by Both Gingrich and Santorum

So Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul are all candidates for the Republican nomination presently, and all in the 10-25% range in terms of their fraction of supporters.  Ron Paul's support nationally is probably in the 15% neighborhood.  Any one of these 3 can only hope to win the presidency with the support of a substantial fraction of the voters who presently support one of the other two.

So what does Gingrich do?  He calls Paul's supporters dangerous and way out of the mainstream.  Riddle me this, how large of a fraction of the population, by definition can be 'Way out of the Mainstream'?  This is damned stupid of Gingrich, there's zero need for him to pile on at this point considering the massive media barrage against Ron Paul and insulting Ron Paul's supporters is doubly stupid.  Many of them are smart and observant enough to actually notice.
What does Santorum do?  Calls Ron Paul 'disgusting'.  This is damnably stupid also, although not QUITE as stupid as Gingrich's move.  This will probably only mortally piss of maybe half of Paul's supporters, as opposed to nearly all of them.

Look, I'm no stranger whatsoever to antagonism and conflict.  When I have a disagreement I make no bones about it at all.  But attacking people who could be your friends, or at least your co-belligerents is stupid, if only because you only have so much ammunition available on any given day.  It is perfectly appropriate to attack competitors for a nomination, and a certain amount of rough & tumble is the expectation.  Calling someone a flip-flopper, a tax & spend liberal, et al is all part of the game.  But going meta and attacking their supporters is suicidal, at least from the standpoint of a desire to actually win elections.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the Wisdom of the Electoral College

Pretty soon---my guess is no more then 3-4 months, stories will start cropping up on how the Electoral College is an anachronism and should be done away with otherwise neutered.

Others will talk about how it maintains a balance between large and small states, or discourages regionalism.  I'm not going to talk about that, although many of those points are perfectly true.

The key virtue of the electoral college is that it limits the ugly consequences of a very close election and that it also serves to compartmentalize fraud.

No matter HOW many people RISE FROM THEIR GRAVES on election day in Chicago, they can only take Illinois.

Can you imagine if you had Florida 2000 style recount shenanigans going on in every state in the country?
Presently, the main reason why fraud is not investigated much in elections is because it rarely changes the outcome---it tends to happen most in areas that are already heavily blue to begin with...that and who..whom of course.

I could easily see a close election without an electoral college touching off a civil war.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adios Bachmann

Bachmann has officially suspended her candidacy today, after the Iowa primary results were reported.  This was not unexpected, but it is too bad, as Bachmann was the closest thing to an acceptable candidate on the immigration issue going.  Now Romney has the best rating, at a C-.  Too bad Buchanan isn't running, or the Ron Paul of the 80s and early 90s.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Advice for Conservatives: You Need to be More Offensive

Football is much maligned in intellectual circles, which I think is a mistake, because it is the only contact with  multidimensional strategic thinking that most people have in their daily lives.  Football is, after all, a metaphor for war, and if one reverses Clausewitz, politics is a continuation of war by other means.

Particularly for the non-neurotypical, sports and religious metaphors and language assist greatly in both making you seem less alien to the neurotypical and in actually getting your points across.  Here's the point I'd like to get across to conservatives in the US, and to a lesser extent, in Europe, and the rest of the Anglosphere.

As a group, you need to be much more offensive.  This has a double meaning, both in terms of being on the offense and in terms of giving offense.  I'll discuss the more Clausewitzian offensive part first.

Playing defense exclusively will not win you any games.  It can keep the score down, and slow the progress of the opposite side, but a lack of offense gets you into exactly the fix you now find yourselves in, where the collective center of the political battlespace marches leftward generation after generation.  Consider yesterday's game with the Broncos vs the Chiefs.  The Broncos defense managed to keep the score extremely low, allowing only 7 points, but the Broncos offense couldn't execute offensively at all, and thus they lost the game.

When you do actually play a little bit of offense, such as over the abortion issue, your offense is entirely too one-dimensional.  In football, teams that threaten only a run or only a pass suffer because the opposing defense can easily adjust to counter their expected attacks.  This is also true in politics.  If you actually want to win, you need to assault your enemies on multiple axes simultaneously and constantly.  You need to wage economic, moral, psychological, legal, and electoral warfare at all times.  The operative question for any attack needs to be:  is defending against this attack more expensive for the other side than mounting it is for us?  When you only have a few attacks going at once, this allows the reserve armies of the left, for instance the MSM, to concentrate a great deal of fire against them.  One might compare this to the Soviet assaults against the German army from 1942-1945.  When the Germans had reserves still available, they could blunt Soviet assaults and sometimes execute a devastatingly successful counterattack.  Since you're not killing or imprisoning your political opponents, the equivalent here is exhausting and demoralizing them.  In football terms, you're using ball control and time of possession to wear out the opposing defense.

In addition, you need to strike BEHIND the lines of the cultural war and actually threaten progressive victories of years past.  It is criminal, for instance, that you make not even an oblique attack against no fault divorce.  Think of this as establishing a passing threat so you can actually run the football.  You're going to be accused of being retrograde reactionaries regardless of what you do, so why NOT attack?

I know a lot of you find this antithetical to your nature.  You don't like conflict in general and a protracted cultural and political war isn't anything you relish.  But your alternative is to continue to lose.  This brings me to the second aspect of my advice to 'be more offensive'.  Most of you are terribly concerned with being perceived as nice and not giving offense.  Let me break this to you:

If you achieve any meaningful portion of your objectives, your opposite numbers WILL profess loudly and often that they are offended and that you are a mean-spirited and evil band of villains.  Whether you've actually given offense is irrelevant, they will steal it if they have to.  Get over your normal projection that someone acting that offended MUST have been wronged somehow.  Of course that wide receiver is going to exaggerate to try to draw a pass interference call.  It's just a de facto part of the game.  In addition, a fair amount of 'trash talk' is a part of any real struggle.  You can only get away with voluntarily and unilaterally obeying a more restrictive set of rules of engagement than your opposite number if you have a gross superiority in terms of power.  You don't.  Get over it.  You can and should win, but you must have the will to do so.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Too Smart for the New London Police Department?

Apparently the guy who applied to the New London Police Department and who was rejected for being too smart (with @125 IQ per Wonderlic when they wanted only 100-115) has lost his appeal on his discrimination case against the city.

I'm somewhat amused by this honestly.  A lot of people I know are viscerally offended by this, especially those who inhabit the 'Second Sigma' that I've discussed here before.  Even a lot of those outside that range are mortally offended by the notion that you can score TOO well on a test.  I suspect a lot of that is the indignation at the lack of transparency---obviously they won't tell you openly that you need to somewhat tank the test in advance---that fact is likely insider knowledge and the existence of insider knowledge terribly offends a lot of fair-minded people.  I'll admit that the lack of transparency is the only part that somewhat offends me.  Obviously were I a taxpayer in said jurisdiction, I'd be annoyed, because this action fairly provably will reduce the effectiveness of the local police force (reference the Bell Curve and its cited research, police officer effectiveness was specifically discussed in that tome).

But society can choose whatever figure of merit it wants to hand out its goodies, and it isn't a moral issue.  God did not inscribe on his tablets that jobs must be handed out to the top N scorers on an IQ test, despite the protestations of the Second Sigma, and sometimes the third as well.

I know the legal perspective must confuse the hell out of a lot of readers here---I mean, why is it that it is ok to discriminate against people with high IQs but apparently, per Griggs v Duke Power, not against low IQs.
The short answer is who...whom.  The long answer is this---but keep in mind it is all, at the bottom, who...whom.

You're allowed, under US law, to discriminate against any member of a non-protected class as long as there is a 'rational basis' for said discrimination.  Basically a rational basis is anything you can plausibly argue isn't 'mere animus', and the scrutiny that your supposed basis gets depends a lot on the court and whether the class in question is angling successfully to get 'protected'.  White guys with high IQs are clear at the bottom of that list.  If you're talking about protected classes, you get something called 'strict scrutiny', which is pretty much what it sounds like.
Now, if you were to, say, discriminate against people with low IQs, what would be looked at is if this had a disparate impact on protected classes---i.e., on black people.  If it fails the 4/5 rule the scrutiny will be very very strict indeed.  What does this boil down to?  Legal sophistry surrounding the central pillar of the system...who...whom.

Some commentators have suggested that by artificially restricting the range of police officers, the IQ-related performance differences for those benefiting from Affirmative action will be far less noticeable, when the time comes for, say, a detective's examination.  Devilishly clever, I must admit, it stinks of something a Third Sigma adviser to the Second Sigma cooked up.  New London seems to be generating a lot of such schemes.

But, because we value the interests of our readers, if you happen to be taking a Wonderlic IQ test for whatever reason, and you need to emulate a lower IQ than you actually possess, here's the deal.

It's typically a 50 question test administered very fast, 10 minutes is the typical time if memory serves.  Scoring is 1 point per question answered right.  100 IQ (average) is 20 questions.  A 26 is NFL quarterback standard (@112).  The basic formula is roughly (RAW_SCORE-20)*2 + 100.  So if you need to present, say, a 120 IQ roughly, shoot for 30 questions correct.  The questions are generally really easy, you just have to work them very fast.  So if you're naturally, say, a 140 IQ, which would roughly equate to a 40 Wonderlic, just slow down a bit.  Don't finish the test.  Most people don't anyway, it's akin to the ASVAB's old computational section, where they tell you that you won't finish it.  Just make sure to allow a little cushion in case you make a stupid mistake or two, but with New London's range, the target region is pretty broad.  If you need to emulate a higher IQ, I can't help you, other than to say, you should take several practice tests so you aren't freaked out by the format of the test.  It isn't a sort of examination that most people have a lot of familiarity with, so you can probably get a bit of artificial support for your score by being less naive to the test format than the average person who is tested.  This is a good idea in general for those who need to take high-stakes examinations---be at least as familiar with the test type as the average person taking the test.  Yes, such tests frequently have reliability levels up past 0.8 and 0.9, but there's often room to gain a small advantage through specific preparation.