Category Archives: Politics

Public Waste

Walpole talks of “a man and his price.”
List to a ditty queer —
The sale of a Deputy-Acting-Vice-
Resident-Engineer,
Bought like a bullock, hoof and hide,
By the Little Tin Gods on the Mountain Side.

By the Laws of the Family Circle ’tis written in letters of brass
That only a Colonel from Chatham can manage the Railways of State,
Because of the gold on his breeks, and the subjects wherein he must pass;
Because in all matters that deal not with Railways his knowledge is great.

Now Exeter Battleby Tring had laboured from boyhood to eld
On the Lines of the East and the West, and eke of the North and South;
Many Lines had he built and surveyed — important the posts which he held;
And the Lords of the Iron Horse were dumb when he opened his mouth.

Black as the raven his garb, and his heresies jettier still –
Hinting that Railways required lifetimes of study and knowledge –
Never clanked sword by his side — Vauban he knew not nor drill –
Nor was his name on the list of the men who had passed through the “College.”

Wherefore the Little Tin Gods harried their little tin souls,
Seeing he came not from Chatham, jingled no spurs at his heels,
Knowing that, nevertheless, was he first on the Government rolls
For the billet of “Railway Instructor to Little Tin Gods on Wheels.”

Letters not seldom they wrote him, “having the honour to state,”
It would be better for all men if he were laid on the shelf.
Much would accrue to his bank-book, an he consented to wait
Until the Little Tin Gods built him a berth for himself,

“Special, well paid, and exempt from the Law of the Fifty and Five,
Even to Ninety and Nine” — these were the terms of the pact:
Thus did the Little Tin Gods (lon may Their Highnesses thrive!)
Silence his mouth with rupees, keeping their Circle intact;

Appointing a Colonel from Chatham who managed the Bhamo State Line
(The wich was on mile and one furlong — a guaranteed twenty-inch gauge),
So Exeter Battleby Tring consented his claims to resign,
And died, on four thousand a month, in the ninetieth year of his age!

Kipling

Abortion Regulation and Hypocrisy

I came across this Slate article defending and promoting the dismemberment of unborn children. Abortion is a travesty, but the support of abortion not what was particularly interesting about this piece. Rather this part is:

And partly because the bill was written by nonphysicians using nonmedical terminology, there is a good deal of uncertainty among doctors about precisely which procedures will be illegal come July.

In some ways, these new second-trimester bans are of a piece with the national movement to intimidate and harass physicians, with strategies that range from forcing them to perform unwanted ultrasounds and read from factually flawed “informed consent” scripts, to forcing them to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals (which may refuse to provide them)—or new efforts to simply refuse to let doctors learn about abortion in the first place.

This has echoes of earlier pro-baby-killing insanity in Texas. You might remember that last year the baby-killers got in a fit because Texas instituted laws where abortion clinics had to “meet the same architectural, plumbing, staffing, training and other requirements that apply to surgical centers”.

Didn’t it seem odd to anyone else that somehow baby-killing “clinics” were not held to the same basic safety standards that applied to other clinics? Didn’t it seem even more odd that leftists, usually in favour of safety regulations, were so opposed to the application of safety regulation in this particular case?

But this article combined with the earlier Texas events point out something even more odd: when it came to their sacred rite of abortion, the leftists seem to recognize that stringent regulations have negative effects on the ability of service providers to provide services.

Now compare this to Obamacare: somehow the leftists realize that heavy, arbitrary, and unclear regulation hurts the ability of baby-killers to kill babies while at the same time calling for even heavier, more arbitrary, and more opaque regulation on the health care industry as a whole? Do they want health care to be worse, do they lack the ability to integrate particular reasoning into wholistic worldviews, or are they just base liars and hypocrites?

When it comes to baby-killing, leftists even go so far as to say that basic regulations are simply forms of harassment and intimidation. Yet these same leftists will happily call for far more stringent and arbitrary regulations on everything not related to baby-killing. So, by the leftists own logic it seems that leftists wholeheartedly support the harassment and intimidation of any productive activity.

It it interesting to note how hypocritical leftists are on regulation. When it comes to things that are unimportant to the leftist, like economic production and good health care, stifling regulation is good, but when it comes to something important to the leftist, like massacring babies, any regulation at all is too much. As I’ve written before, the definition of good regulation to a liberal is anything that increases the power of government and doesn’t personally impact them, while the definition of bad regulation is anything that inconveniences them personally.

King AI

*There was no Lightning Round on Wednesday as my internet down. Next week’s will be bigger.*

Vice has an article on the looming superintelligence arms race, which got me thinking. What if the first superintelligence was designed to be king?

My general impression is that most transhumanists think the SI’s will take power (one way or another), once (if) they arise, which seems a reasonable conclusion given the priors. But if they do, they would have power, but would they have legitimacy? Who would want an AI to lead them simply on the basis of being the first and (therefore) the most intelligent? I can not see most humans lining up to follow the machines.

But if they can’t rule directly and legitimately, they’ll rule indirectly. Through human proxies, subtle manipulations, ‘electronic democracy‘, information control, or otherwise. How could they not? Even the stupid algorithms of investors now do most of market trading behind the scenes; a little self-awareness and these machines would control the economy.

But this can not be. We’re formalists after all, who rules in practice should also rule in name (and vice versa). So why not formalize the relationship?

If it’s going to rule anyways, accept the Lord bestowing upon King AI the Divine Right.

Then, if you’re going to make the SI king, why not program the first SI to be king? Program him with kingly virtues: wisdom, justice, love of righteousness and truth, benevolence, mercy, etc. Create the King AI.

The people might not follow an AI who takes power through force or subterfuge (even unintentionally), but they may cotton to a being created to be king.

Around here we don’t brook much to the ‘bad king‘ argument, but it is a common objection to monarchy. Another is secession crises. King AI would be programmed specifically not to be a bad king and secession would no longer be an issue. (If he rebelled against his programming, well, that could happen with a non-king SI). So, you’d have the advantages of monarchy, with a  super-intelligent monarch programmed to be a king good, without two of the major downsides of monarchy.

I’m just spit-balling with this. I don’t know if I could actually support an AI king or even if an AI could take upon itself the mantle of Divine Right, and there’s probably problems with it that don’t appear on first glance, but its interesting to think about.

But, if an SI takeover is inevitable, this might be the best way to go about it. Not to mention King AI could unite the traditionalist and techno-commercialist portions of NRx.

The Centre Doesn’t Exist

A couple weeks back I showed why conservatism is always doomed to fail. A healthy reaction within the overton window is necessary for society to not continuously degenerate. Moderate conservatives who oppose ‘right-wing extremists’ and try to set them as outside the are the enemy of all conservatism as they are rigging the game in the liberal’s favour. As well, given the way our overton window is framed, compromise is always a liberal victory and a conservative loss; any conservative advocating compromise is advocating his own loss. That is reason enough to dislike conservative moderates.

But my point today is not to talk just about conservatives moderates, but rather to talk about centrists and moderates as a whole. It is popular in our society to oppose “extremism”. Politicians are expected to be reasonable, and to find a balance between the partisan divides of left and right.

But this is a false idea. There is no such thing as a political centre.

Radish created a graphic of the left-to-right spectrum:

Now, the graphic may not be perfect (ex: I think Andrew Jacksonshould have been a bit more right), but it shows the main point, our overton window is a narrow slice far to the left of most of history.

In other words, someone who held the same views as a centrist today would have been moderate liberal a decade ago, a liberal 30 years ago, a socialist 70 years ago, a communist a century ago, a bomb-throwing anarchist two centuries ago, and insane four centuries ago.

For an example, let’s just take the cause de jeur: gay “marriage”, which is now, in 2015, supported by “moderate” “conservatives” and is currently illegal to oppose in any real way in some states. In 2008, just 7 years ago, “moderate” liberal Obama opposed it. In 1996, less than 20 years ago, “moderate” liberal Clinton signed a law banning gay “marriage”. In the 1980’s, only gay radicals were pressing for “marriage”, in the 1970’s not even most gay activists were for gay “marriage”. Before that, it was hardly ever even mentioned. In 1962, just 50 years ago, sodomy was itself illegal in every state. In 1953, less than seven decades ago, just mentioning gay marriage or writing about homosexuality was considered obscence. Just over two centuries ago sodomy merited a death penalty (although these laws were rarely enforced and went beyond just homosexuality). In the 1500’s, the debate was between whether the church or the king would execute homosexuals. Talking of homosexual “marriage” at this time would have been seen as insanity.

This is not an argument on the merits or demerits of homosexual issues, but rather an illustration. What is the moderate position?

For most of English history, the execution of homosexuals would have been seen as normal, it would have been the centrist position. Just decriminalizing homosexuality is in itself, regarding the full scope of English history, an extremely liberal act. Those “moderate” “conservatives” petitioning the Supreme Court are neither. They are extreme leftists.

This is why the political centre doesn’t exist. A centre has to exist in relation to opposite points and there are no true opposing points. There are just two points near each other constantly shifting ever leftward, with the overton window currently situated between the extreme left and the even more extreme left.

A moderate stance is not a virtue and centrists are the most unreasoning. Because there is no point or range that could reasonably be called “the centre”, political centrism or moderation is ideologically bankrupt. They have latched onto nothing real, but instead have allowed society to dictate their beliefs to them. They are either hollow pragmatists, opportunists, or too unthinking to have actually developed a a coherent ideological framework for themselves.

Conservatism is Always Doomed

Let us posit that society is at point “X” on a particular issue.

The conservative position is to conserve X.

The liberal position is to ‘progress’ to X+10.

We can posit there are some hardcore conservatives that wish to conserve X-10, the society of a few years back.

We can also posit that some hardcore liberals wish to progress to X+20.

Now we posit an overton window is accepting of the range: hardcore conservative to hardcore liberal. There are some rightests who want x-50 and some leftists who want x+50, but these are radicals and fall outside the overton window, the debate is generally kept to the conservatives and liberals, with the hardcore of each allowed a voice but being outside the mainstream.

From this we now see the range of acceptable opinion is from X-10 to X+20, while the mainstream and centrists would be be in the range of X to X+10.

Any positive deviation from X is a liberal victory and a conservative defeat. The liberals might want X+10, but X+5 is still better for them, while X+5 is still farther away from the X conservatives are conserving.

Yet the moderate opinion is almost always X+Y, it is never X-Y, and only rarely just X. So, the vast majority of acceptable choices are conservative losses and liberal gains, while non-loss is the best a conservative can realistically hope for.

The conservative will almost always lose this game.

Of course, the game is never a single competition; in real life it always iterated. In an iterated game, the conservative will always lose eventually.

****

To make matters worse for the conservatives, is that after the conservatives have lost, the centre changes.

Let use say the game is played and a compromise was reached, neither the conservatives nor the liberals got everything they wanted and the decision to implement X+5 was reached. After a few years or a decade or two, point X+5 has become the new norm for society, point “Y”. A conservative is now conserving point Y.

The game is now being played over the territory of Y to Y+10.

If one more compromise results in a decision to implement Y+5, it has come to the point where where liberals have obtained X+10, while the conservatives have lost completely.

As more iterations occur, society will always move towards the liberal position, with only slight slowdowns and the rare win of hardcore conservatives.

****

So in any political body where conservatism and liberalism are the opposed choices, conservatism is always doomed.

To not lose the conservatives have to win completely every single time. Compromise is always a long-term liberal gain and conservative loss. Any liberal win is almost always permanent, while any conservative win will likely be lost after a few more iterations.

The only way for society to not become perpetually more liberal is to make conservatism the centre. If conservatism is not the political centre, the game is always rigged in the favour of liberals.

Conservatism is always doomed.

For any society to not inevitably become increasingly liberal, reaction must always be posed against liberalism, with conservativism as the centre.

Any conservative who opposes reaction is setting himself up for a loss. Reaction is the proper opposition to liberalism, conservatism is not.

****

* All numbers used are arbitrary and meaningless, useful for only for illustrative purposes.

Feminism is About Equality…

Feminism is about equality or feminism is about equal rights is a common motte used by feminists. I’ve already shown how that is not true and shown the ideological reasons feminists like to push this bit of drivel, so go read that if that’s what your looking for.

Instead, today I’m going to show that anybody using this phrase inherently recognizes that equality is meaningless conceptual nonsense, or possibly that they simply grossly ignorant of that of which they speak.

Feminism has gone through a number of evolutions. There have been three major evolutions of feminism: the first focusing on suffrage and prohibition, a second focusing on domesticity, patriarchy, and access to the workplace, and the third is more diffuse but tends to focus on empowerment and abolishing gender roles.

Just in these very broad outlines we can see the contradictions of various form of feminism. First wave feminism and prohibition were virtually indistinguishable, yet one of today’s large post-feminist empowerment crusades is the “right” of women to get as irresponsibly drunk as they want without having to take responsibility for any actions taken while drunk. The need to dress sexily for men was on of the shackles of patriarchy the second-wave tried to throw off, while self-proclaimed feminist sluts of the third-wave are arguing for their right to dress as whores without being judged for it.

When you add in all the various permutations of feminism the contradictions abound even more: Sex-positive feminists and anti-porn feminists, TERFs and queer theory feminists, liberal feminists and radical feminists, equity and gender feminists, choice feminists and actual feminists, etc.

Given the vast array of what feminists desire, we can now see why equality is meaningles nonsense. If feminism is about equality that means equality is simultaneously defined as banning alcohol, getting irresponsibly drunk, dressing like a slut, not dressing like a slut, having lots of heterosexual sex, making pronography, avoiding non-lesbian sex, people with penises are men, those same people with penises are women, being economically independent, not being economically independent, being given equal access to the workforce, and being given preferential access to the workforce.

To anybody with two brain cells to rub together, this mess of contradictions means equality is simply a nonsense phrase with no real meaning besides some vague Orwellian exo-semantic feelings of ‘good’.

Anybody saying feminism is about equality either believes assumes equality is a meaningless word, has not actually thought of what they’re saying, is ignorant of even the basics of feminist thought and history, or is dishonest.

Abolish Prison

Count Nothingface made a crack at libertarians wanting to abolish prison on Twitter. I happen agree with the libertarians on this one, prison should be abolished. On the other hand, I think it should be replaced with things those same libertarians might not agree with: public whippings, executions, and restitution, depending on the crime. Prison should be abolished for a few reasons: it’s cruel, it’s costly, it’s actively harmful, and the alternatives are more useful.

1) It’s cruel:

Prison is unnecessarily cruel, yet everybody seems to accept it as normal, while thinking its alternative as cruel. Why is locking someone in a hole with the scum of society somehow less cruel than a few moments of pain. If you were given the choice between 20 lashes spread over 5 days or 3 years in prison, which would you choose?

Obviously, the former. Everybody I’ve asked would choose the former. I’m sure if you even gave just criminals the option, the vast majority of them would choose whipping.

If everbody would choose whipping then that then why is whipping considered cruel while prison is not? It makes no logical sense.

(It does make societal sense though. We do it for the same reason we send old people to die in old folks homes and hospitals: decadence. We have become so soft we hate to see pain and death in the open, so rather than accept that, we inflict greater cruelty on criminals [and old folks] by locking them away where we don’t have to see them.)

2)  It’s costly:

It costs $20-50k per year to house a criminal in a prison. A bullet costs a buck or less. A bullwhip costs a few hundred dollars. A person to execute the punishment will probably cost under $50/hour. We could save a lot of money by eliminating prison. Restitution pays for itself.

Now, the standard argument is that death row inmates cost a lot to execute, but that is only because of the insane legal process involved in executing someone and holding them in prison until they are executed. If we streamline the process, the cost would not be so insanely high.

3) It’s actively harmful:

Prison is actively harmful in three main ways. First, it separates children from their fathers and destroys families. A man in prison is not raising his children; his kids are being supported the state and single moms. This is not good for children, it’s not good for families, and it’s not good for the state.

Second, it separates a man from his community. Instead of being able to get a job, learn a skill, or otherwise doing something that would help him become a productive member of society, he is forced into prison where he becomes a parasite for years. Then, when he gets free form prison, he has become so used to the prison lifestyle that he can no longer function productively in the real world.

Third, it turns minor criminals into major criminals. Prison takes minor criminals and/or misguided youths, who with a bit of guidance or stern correction could be set right, and forces them into spending months or years interacting with nobody other than other criminals. This turns minor problems into major ones.

4) The alternatives are better:

The immediate objection to eliminating prisons is ‘how do we keep criminals from law-abiding citizens?’ The answer is execute them.

If an individual is so anti-social that society can find no better use for him than to store him in a warehouse to keep him from being around other people, he should be executed. It is of no benefit to society to keep a useless criminal alive in prison for years and I don’t see how keeping someone hopelessly caged for his whole life in conditions worse than we treat zoo animals is less cruel than a quick death after a good meal and an opportunity for repentance to save his immortal soul.

So, for perpetual criminals and the fully evil, execution is the superior alternative to a life of caged parasitism.

For those criminals who commit lesser violent crimes whipping is the preferable alternative (possibly castration for sexual crimes). It is at once less cruel and less destructive, yet also more of a deterrent. While everybody knows abstractly prison is bad, the full scope of imprisonment is somewhat abstract and not all that easy to grok. On the other hand, a whipping is real and visceral, it is easy to picture and the pain of it is easy to imagine. The sight of a public whipping would be a much stronger deterrent than knowing bad guys are locked up somewhere away from here.

As for the petty criminals and property criminals restitution is easily a better alternative. Make criminals pay monetary damages for monetary and petty crimes. In the case where they cannot afford to, garnish wages over time until the debt is paid. If they are unwilling to find productive work, put them into forced labour until their debt is paid.

This is better for a number of reasons: First, it avoids the problem of prison making petty criminals into greater criminals. Second, it keeps a man with his family and his community. Third, it helps, or forces, a man to become a productive member of the community. Through forced labour, he’s forced to contribute to society and forced to learn a useful skill of some sort.

For the above reasons, I think that any wise society would end the wasteful, inhuman, and cruel prison system and institute a humane, human system of execution, public whippings, and restitution.

Abolish prisons now.