WND column

Republicans and Demon Debt

Are they completely incompetent, or are they merely Democrats in disguise? That is the question one is forced to ask of Republican politicians on a depressingly regular basis. I tend to incline toward the latter position, since I see the two “parties” as being rival factions of the same bipartisan ruling party, but every now and then, there is evidence that points to the distinct possibility that Republicans are simply stupid. Consider this excerpt that the Fraters Libertas quoted from “Decision Points,” George W. Bush’s book about his presidency.

I adjourned the meeting and walked across the hallway to the Oval Office. Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, and Dana Perion, my talented and effective press secretary, followed me in. Ben’s historical comparison was still echoing in my mind.

“If we’re really looking at another Great Depression,” I said, “you can be damn sure I’m going to be Roosevelt, not Hoover.”

One would have thought – one would have hoped – that both the president of the United States and the chairman of the Federal Reserve would know that Herbert Hoover was not the laissez-faire “liquidationist” that the historically illiterate (or at least those who have heard of him) usually believe the 31st president to have been.


He drank the red Kool-Aid

I had no idea that the Original Cyberpunk was such a Schwarzenegger enthusiast. Or so well-versed on vampires. Although, I have to admit, I’ve never been to a more electrifying movie on opening night than Total Recall. The mood was more like a rock concert than a movie, and when the screen went red, then flashed SCHWARZENEGGER in giant white letters across the screen, the entire crowd just roared. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. Pity the movie was merely okay.


Umberto Eco on Stephen Hawking

I was thinking about addressing Stephen Hawking’s absurd new book, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to bother even picking it up, let alone reading it. Fortunately, Umberto Eco was willing to do the dirty work for us:

Philosophy is not Star Trek

In “The Republic” of last April 6th, there appeared a preview of the book by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, introduced with a subtitle that more or less reprised a passage from the text: “Philosophy is dead, only physics can explain the cosmos”. The death of philosophy has been announced on various occasions and therefore the announcement made little impression, but it seemed to me it must be balderdash to have claimed that a genius like Hawking would say such a thing. To be sure that “The Republic” had not erroneously summarized the book, I went and bought it, and the reading confirmed my suspicions.

The book appears to have been written by two hands, although in the case of Hawking the expression is sadly metaphorical because, as we know, his limbs do not respond to the commands of his exceptional brain. However, the book is fundamentally a work of the second author, whose qualifications are described on the cover as having written some episodes of “Star Trek”. In the book, one can see the beautiful illustrations that appear to be conceived for a children’s encyclopedia from a bygone time; they are colorful and engaging, but do not actually explain anything about the complex physical, mathematical, and cosmological theorems they are supposed to illustrate. Perhaps it is not prudent to trust one’s destiny to the philosophy of individuals with rabbit ears.(1)

The work begins with the fixed affirmation that philosophy no longer has anything to say and only physics can explain:

1)How we can comprehend the world in which we find ourselves.
2)The nature of reality.
3)If the universe had need of a creator.
4)Why there is something instead of nothing.
5)Why we exist.
6)Why this particular set of laws exists instead of some other.

As you see these are typical philosophical questions, but it must be admitted that the book demonstrates how physics can, in some ways, serve to answer the last four, which appear to be the most philosophical of all.

The problem is that in order to attempt to answer the last four questions, it is necessary to have answered the first two. It is those questions which, in a large way, are what one requires in order to say that something is real and if we know the real world as it is. Perhaps you will recall from your philosophical studies at school that we understand by attribute what the intellect perceives of a substance,(2) it is something outside of ourselves. (Woody Allen adds: and if so, why are they making all that noise?) Either we are Berkeleyans(3) or, as Putnam said, brains in a vat.

Well then, the fundamental answers that this book puts forward are exquisitely philosophic and without these philosophical answers not even the physicist could say “because he knows” and “what he knows”. In fact, the authors speak of “a realism dependent on the models”, that is, they assume that “other concepts of reality independent of description and theory do not exist”. Therefore “other theories can satisfactorily describe the same phenomenon by means of different conceptual structures” and all that we can perceive, we know, and we say of reality depends on the interaction between our models and that thing which is outside but that we know only due to our perceptive organs and our brain.

The more suspicious among the readers will have already recognized a Kantian phantasm, but it is clear the two authors are proposing that which in philosophy is called “Holisticism” and by others “internal realism”. As you see, it is not a treatise of physical discoveries, but of philosophical assumptions, that stand to sustain and legitimize the research of the physicist – those which, when he is a good physicist, can only address the problem of the philosophical foundations of his own methods. We already knew, we were already familiar with these extraordinary revelations, (evidently due to Mlodinow and to the company of Star Trek), for “in antiquity there was an instinct to attribute the violent actions of nature to an Olympus of displeased or malevolent gods”. By gosh, and then, by golly.(4)

(1) “Orecchie da leprotto”. Literally, “the ears of the hare”. I’m not familiar with this phrase, which could mean anything from implying that the two men are asses (think Pinocchio) to a leafy green vegetable found in salads. Or it may simply be referring to Mlodinow’s background in television. Seeing as it’s Eco, one hesitates to guess. But one thing is certain; it’s not a compliment.
(2) I think this refers to Spinoza’s philosophy of mind. Some school. But do they know how to put condoms on bananas?
(3) Philosopher George Berkeley, who argued against rational materialism and considered the idea of “matter” to be unjustified and self-contradictory.
(4) “Perdinci e poi perbacco”. It’s an Italian expression that doesn’t necessarily translate well, but indicates a lack of surprise. The sense of dismissive sarcasm should be readily apparent.

As my Italian is better described as “conversational” rather than “fluent”, don’t put too much confidence in my translation. The four italicized notes are mine and therefore may be incorrect. Regardless, it should be clear that Eco is describing a material example of how, once more, science has climbed to the summit of another intellectual mountain, only to find the philosophers already there.


Killing the churches

One tolerant step at a time:

Halifax’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are without spiritual anchor after their church of 20 years closed on Sunday. Around 50 people gathered at Safe Harbour Metropolitan Community Church on Veith Street to hold one last worship service. The congregation of 27 decided to disband on April 17 after a vote at their annual general meeting.

“We reached a point in our history where we realized we couldn’t go on,” says Jane MacConnell, the vice-moderator of the church. “The biggest (reason) being the financial side of things.”

Let’s see if the usual signs of the church death spiral are there. Female pastor? Check. “Reverend Darlene Young” and “Reverend Jennifer Paty”. Homophilic? Check. “Safe Harbour was the first church in HRM to accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.”

One wonders if this gentleman understands the irony in his words: “Tim Doufar has been a member of Safe Harbour since 1993, yet sees the church’s dissolution as a step forward for gay people… “Now (gays) are accepted in my home church, the Anglican church.” Doufar said it’s only a matter of time before all churches accept gay people.”

It’s never going to happen. Eventually, even the most would-be tolerant Christians are going to notice that once a church starts throwing out the clear teachings of the Bible, it leaps into the death spiral that killed Safe Harbour and is now in the process of relegating the Anglican church to the dustbin of history.


Call it what you want

It still isn’t marriage:

New York made history last night by becoming the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage. The state Senate passed the bill by a 33-29 margin and Gov. Cuomo quickly signed it five minutes before midnight.

To paraphrase F.A. von Hayek, the adjective modifies the noun. The mere fact that homogamy is described as “gay marriage” is sufficient proof that it is not actually marriage. And the ironic thing is that as has been seen in other states and nations, virtually no gay men are going to pretend to get married anyway, since monogamy is generally considered about as desirable as ebola to the male portion of the same sex community. I look forward to seeing feminists go ballistic when the next step begins and everyone who claimed that homogamy would not inevitably lead to polygamy begins to pretend that they never said anything of the sort.

Homogamy is an interesting test of the level to which an individual worships the State. My question to those who assert that a marriage is valid simply because the state said so is this: if the state in which you are resident passed a law declaring that the sum of two and two was five, would you still believe that the answer to 2+2 was 4 or would you insist that it was, in fact, 5?

The historical fact is that homogamy is not new, it is not progress, and it is not a human right. If Barack Obama were to come out of the closet and marry Reggie Love tomorrow, this would permit the United States to finally catch up with that epitome of modern social progress, the Roman Empire of Nero and Elagabalus.


Inflationistas

I have a request for you all, particularly Nate. I’ve been working again on my next inflation video and in doing so ave assembled a surprising collection of competing inflation definitions from the monetarist economists. So, given this imprecision, I would like to know precisely what your definitions of inflation are. I’d like two things for each definition, the description and the statistical metric.

For example, you might describe inflation as an increase in the money supply and define the statistical metric as being M1. Or M2. Or M2 less Eurodollars, whatever. The reason for this request is that I intend to address the common monetarist conceptions of inflation as well as the more technical ones; there isn’t much point in disproving the significance of velocity when no one of a nominally monetarist position is taking it into account in the first place.


The Conscious Women’s Manifesto

Now that the text is done, where is the video?

I appreciate the great gift men gave to women – civilization. I apologize for refusing to acknowledge just how nasty, brutish and short my life would be without this gift. I apologize for not acknowledging that men created civilization because women are incapable of doing so because of our limited capability for and general aversion to abstraction. I promise to remember that without men, civilization would grind to a halt in short order. I promise to remember that men build houses and women live in them.

I’m not sure which I find more amusing, the Manifesto for Conscious Women or the fact that the Huffington Post was afraid to publish it: “We submitted this to the Huffington Post in December 2010, but they felt it was too “edgy” and “not a fit” for their audience.” Either way, it is as humorous as it is historically true, although it could never hope to reach the inadvertent heights provided by the GammaConscious Men video.

Naturally, it took a man to write the first draft….


Keynesian reductio ad absurdum

Courtesy of the Secretary of the Treasury:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase so the administration does not have to “shrink the overall size of government programs.”

The administration’s plan to raise the tax rate on small businesses is part of its plan to raise taxes on all Americans who make more than $250,000 per year—including businesses that file taxes the same way individuals and families do.

Believe it or not, Geithner’s position makes an amount of sense so long as you accept a failed economic model and then misapply it. After all, if economic growth is equal to the rate of increase of C+I+G and G is supplying all the GDP growth, then obviously everything that feeds G should take absolute priority over that which sustains C or I.

What is lost from C or I will be more than made up for by G, therefore higher rates of taxation that permit higher levels of G should be considered pro-growth policies. QED.


Voxic Shock 1.3: Officer Nick Novello

In this week’s Voxic Shock podcast, I speak with officer Nick Novello of the Dallas Police Department about his membership in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, his experience in fighting the War on Drugs, why he now supports the legalization of marijuana and other prohibited substances, and his perspective on the increased militarization of the American police.

In related news, Representatives Ron Paul and Barney Frank are reported to be introducing federal legislation to legalize marijuana and remove the federal government from at least one aspect of the drug war.


Better hope for a breakup

Because the USA as a whole is rapidly going the way of DC and Detroit:

For the first time, minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S., part of a sweeping race change and growing age divide between mostly white, older Americans and predominantly minority youths that could reshape government policies.

Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women – made up of mostly single mothers – now exceeds African-American households with married couples, a sign of declining U.S. marriages overall but also continuing challenges for black youths without involved fathers.

The findings, based on the latest government data, offer a preview of final 2010 census results being released this summer that provide detailed breakdowns by age, race and householder relationships such as same-sex couples.

Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.

I understand that a lot of people believe that this increasing vibrancy is a good thing for the nation because “diversity is strength”. The fact that this charming equalitarian belief happens to fly in the face of every relevant historical example as well as the recent societal patterns doesn’t appear to bother them in the slightest. One need only look at the governance of any non-white majority city to see what is in the cards for the USA as a whole; when Los Angeles or Mexico City are your rosy scenarios, well, you’re pretty much out of luck.

The thing that the multicultural and racial fantasists can’t seem to understand is that culture is malleable. The non-European immigrants, forced and voluntary, are not going to be magically transmogrified by the laws and social mores they find, they are instead going to transform them to their liking. Victor Davis Hanson describes, in ominous detail, precisely how that process has taken place in his California valley:

Last week was another somewhat depressing chapter in a now long saga of living where I was born. I returned to the farm from leading a European military history tour, and experienced the following — mind you, after a number of thefts the month prior (barn, shop, etc.):

1) I left my chainsaw in the driveway to use the restroom inside the house. Someone driving buy saw it. He slammed on the brakes, stole it, and drove off. Neat, quick, easy. Mind you there was only a 5-minute hiatus in between my cutting. And the driver was a random passer-by. That suggests to me that a high number of rural Fresno County motorists can prove to be opportunistic thieves at any given moment. The saw was new; I liked it — an off-the-shelf $400 Echo that ran well. I assume it will be sold off at a rural intersection in these parts, or the nearby swap meet for about $60. I doubt the thief was a professional woodsman who needed a tool of the trade to survive.

2) On the next night, three 15-hp agriculture pumps on our farm were vandalized — all the copper wire was torn out of the electrical conduits. The repairs to each one might run $500; yet, the value of the wire could not be over $50. I was told by neighbors that reports and descriptions of the law-breakers focused on youthful thieves casing the countryside — in official parlance a “gang,” and in the neighborhood politically-incorrect patois “cholos” — like the fellow who recently drove in, in his new lowered shiny red pickup (hydraulic lifters are not cheap), inquiring about buying “scrap” and “just looking” before I ran him out….

I conclude that most Americans would agree that chain-sawing a peach tree or pumping irrigation water enriches the nation, while cruising around looking to destroy such activity does not. The latter represents the sort of social parasitism that I read about each Saturday night in our environs (and, in terms of illegal immigration, once wrote about in Mexifornia — a book I seem doomed to relive in Ground Hog fashion each day — nearly a decade ago): gangbanger A shoots up gangbanger B; B goes to emergency room for publicly funded $250,000 worth of surgery and post-op treatment by C, an MD, who otherwise would have been insulted and intimidated by A or B should he have met either earlier in the day. Indeed, C is more likely to be ridiculed or sued by B than thanked. And yet C does not need either A or B; both need the former in extremis.

Where does this all end — these open borders, unsustainable entitlements and public union benefits and salaries, these revolving door prisons and Al Gore-like energy fantasies?

We are left with a paradox. The taxpayer cannot indefinitely fund the emergency room treatment for the shooter and his victim on Saturday night if society cannot put a tool down for five minutes without a likely theft, or a farmer cannot turn on a 50-year old pump without expecting its electrical connections to have been ripped out. Civilization simply cannot function that way for either the productive citizen or the parasite, who still needs a live host.

Where VDH and other nominal social conservatives go wrong is to imagine that this has anything to do with illegal immigration. It has to do with the ethnic and racial makeup of the country. As we have seen everywhere from Atlanta and Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a society can not only survive, but thrive, with a small dash of vibrancy. A country that is 90 European, 5 percent African, and 5 percent Hispanic might well benefit from the additional heterodoxy provided by the minorities, while a country that is 40 percent European, 20 percent African, and 40 percent Hispanic is going to be riven by a constant battle for government spoils of the sort that distracts the elites of most of the nations in the third world.

But it is obviously too late now to save the nation as a whole. There is no coherent nation anymore. Those who hope to save a vestige of what was once America would do well to ally themselves with the likes of La Raza, who will probably be one of the more important forces in ultimately ending the ill-starred Union.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded- here and there, now and then- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.””
— Robert A. Heinlein