Category Archives: Politics

The 51st State

A conservakin implied I’m not cosnervative because I said single-payer health care is not the worst thing in the world.

So, I’m going to take a round about way to explain Canada and why single-payer is not good but not horrible, but why this might not necesasrily work for the US.

Contrary to what most believe English Canada is conservative, it always has been. The US has always been the liberal. When the US revolted against the British in order to install Puritan liberalism Canada was mostly French Catholic at the time and was wary of Puritan anti-Catholicism, so it refused to join the revolt and remained a British possession. The loyalists, Americans who opposed the revolution, moved to Canada because and formed the core of English Canada. At the very beginning, Canada was founded by conservatives who were opposed to the revoutionary liberalism of the Americans.

Almost a hundred years after the American Revolution, Canada became indpendent in 1867. The process was slow because of the inherent distrust fo the loyalists for republicanism and mob rule. Until 1931, the UK still had the power to legislate for Canada. It wasn’t until 1982 that Canada was allowed to modify its own constitution and introduced a Bill of Rights. The Queen is still the Head of State and technically legally owns Canada.

Until the late-70’s Canada was a liberal-conservative country, in the Burkean sense. It conserved its institutions, had a free-market, and reformed slowly. The Liberals were pro-free market, anti-government interventionism, and pro-responsible government. The Conservatives were aristocratic, in favour of noblesse oblige and organic community.

That changed in 60-70’s. During that time, Quebec had the quiet revolution, and its moved from traditional Catholic social doctrine to French socialism and an independence movement began. The Liberal Party under Pearson and Trudeau moved from classical liberalism to social liberalism and the New Democratic Party formed as a social-democratic party from an older farmer’s party.  In the Progressive Conservative Party the Blue Tory (neo-liberal) faction began to arise in the traditionally Red Tory (aristocratic). The Blue Tories continued to grow stronger and eventaully eliminated the Red Tories in 2003 with the creation of the Conservative Party.

Around this time, English Canada, or at least the populous and powerful southern Ontario region, adopted US puritan liberalism and combined it with Quebec’s French socialism to outholy the American puritans.

Also up until this time, Canada was an imperial dependency of Great Britain. The Suez Crisis in 1956 and the development of NORAD in 1958 marked when Canada began to move from Britain’s Sphere to the US’ Sphere. This process was completed in 1982, when Canada officially became its own country and informally became an imperial dependency of the US.

Since WW2, Canada has joined pretty much every American war except for Vietnam and Iraq. In Afghanistan, Canadian troops were literally airlifted over by the US. Our military has been consistently and severly underfunded, as we rely on the US to protect us. NORAD made us an integral part of the US continental defence system, while the NATO partnership basically made Canada’s military a semi-independent arm of the US military. The Canadian and Americans markets are integrated through NAFTA and over two-thirds of out exports are to the US, much of which are just raw materials. OUr cultural products are almost entirely American in origin (despite fairly useless Canadian content regulations).

Despite the nationalist left’s posturing (and yes that exists, and essentially it is ‘we hate America and love socialist health care’), or any practical purposes, Canada is essentially a somewhat indpendent 51st of the US, and the left are the one’s forcing American liberal culture on the US.

Despite having adopted the American revolutionary puritan spirit and trying to outrun the US in the holiness competition, this is not natural to English Canadians. Canadians are pragmatic converts to the faith, not natural zealots, like our American breathern.

This manifests in different ways.

First, Trudeau is the only real radical who has ever led Canada. He combined adopted English puritanism and French socialism to enlarge the state. Under him came a huge bloat in government. But beyond that, all our leaders have generally been moderate, non-radical liberals or conservatives. Change, while always moving left, has generally been small, sane, incremental increases rather than radical, half-baked changes.

Example in point, health care. Canada has single-payer, public health insurance, which is technically more socialist that Obamacare’s mandatory private insurance. But even in it’s Trudeaupian radicalness, the Public Health Act is a short, sane 14-page document that basically says provinces need to offer universal comprehensive public health insurance to receive federal health funding. It mostly followed the lead of what provinces were already establishing on their own and the actual implementation was left up to the provinces. On the other hand, Obamacare is a 900-page monstrosity detailing every last specific of dozens upon dozens of provisions and forces them upon the states, willing or not, and has had to be rewritten by the Supreme Court twice, just to be feasible.

This is generally the case. Canada creates short, sensible, incremental laws that leave the details and implementation up to professional bureaucrats or the provinces, while the US creates insane, bloated, radical laws that address everything related or unrelated in detail.

The second is race. Canada is divided by region: southern Ontario thinks it rules the rest of Canada, if it even deigns to notice we exist, the West resents the East, and Quebec hates everybody. These regional divides define Canadian politics, but because they are regional they mostly don’t matter in everyday life. Our conflict is a distant thing with those folks over there. While we have some minor racial troubles, particularly concerning Aboriginals, race is not that big a deal in Canada.

In the US race is everything. All conflict is essentially racial conflict and evevrything must address race. There are two large minority groups each making up about 12% or so of the population. It’s white republicans vs everybody else. So, there’s constant pressure to keep pushing the racial divides and keep the holiness competition moving. In Canada, our largest racial minorities are well-behaved East Asians and South Asians (each at about 5%) and some struggling aboriginals (~4%), who live largely on reserves anyways. So, while there’s some racial nonsense in universities, in the real world Canada, race doesn’t really matter. A few neighbourhoods might be bad, but nothing compared to US ghettos.

The third is bureaucracy. Canada’s bureaucracy, while having all the problems a normal bureaucracy has, is a professional bureaucracy made up of competent people. Most civil servants have to undergo some form of testing when entering the civil service and it is seen as a public service to enter the bureaucracy. The politicians mostly leave the bureaucrats alone. This ensures that the Canadian bureaucracy is generally functional if inefficient.

On the other hand, the US bureaucracy operates on a spoils system and is essentially seen as an opportunity to plunder. The politicians appoint the bureaucrats for political reasons rather than professionalism and race issues eliminated testing for competency. So, the bureaucracy is dysfunctional looting rather than simple inefficiency.

Fourth immigration. Immigration in Canada is generally done on a merit basis. Other than a small number of refugees, the people allowed in are either competent job seekers or the families of said job seekers and immigration is generally spread out among varying countries. Illegal immigration is a relatively minor problem. In the US immigration is based on a lottery, Mexicans are the thoroughly dominant immigrants, and illegal immigration is a major problem. Canada does not share America’s fling the borders open attitude.

Finally, Canadian politicians rationally attempt to fix problems, even the liberals are sane in this regard. For example, in the 90’s Canada experienced a debt crisis. The ruling Liberal Party made large cuts to public and introduced some new taxes and eliminated the deficit and tamed the debt in a few years. Since then, the federal budgets have been more or less balanced and the debt growing but stabilized. Meanwhile, US politicians continue to ignore their debt and deficit and continue to ramp up spending without being able to pay for it.

So, while Canada has adopted socialism, it is not the wild-eyed fanatical puritanism of the US, but rather a pragmatic socialism. Even there though the US and Canada’s level of socialism is not that much different. While Canada’s tax levels are 10 percentage points higher, the US actually now has slightly higher government spending levels than Canada because the US funds its spending with debt rather than taxation.

So, now back to the original point. In Canada, single-payer health care is not the worst thing in the world. It’s probably less efficient than a fully free market one would be and tax levels are somewhat higher because of it, but in terms of health care, it not really that bad for most people. A few people have longer wait times for ‘elective’ surgeries, family doctors can be difficult to find in some place, and there’s the rare person who gets overlooked in the emergency room, but mostly it works fine. While the comparative effectiveness of the US and Canadian systems has been debated endlessly, essentially health outcomes are not really all that different once you account for race and obesity, and the Canadian system is cheaper overall.

The question is, though, if this could actually be applied to the US. The Canadian single-payer system more-or-less works because the government is basically functional. The US bureaucracy is basically dysfunctional. Look at Obamacare, regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of a theoretical mandatory subsidized health insurance system, the actual applied system is one giant unworkable clusterfuck. I find it highly unlikely that the US would adopt a sane approach to a single-payer system.

Would the US federal government ever be able to create a simple 14-page law that says the states only get federal health funding if they provide comprehensive public insurance? Doubtful. Even if by some miracle they did, there is no way it would be competently and professionally run.

Evidence-Based Decision-Making

There are a lot of meaningless phrases that make the rounds. One of these that wannabe intelligent people pass around to make themselves seem rational is “evidence-based decision making.” This phrase is often used in politics and public policy, where one side will use it to describe the adoption of policies they like (with the implication that the other side is not using evidence-based decision making). It is also contrasted with ideological decision-making.

Now, I am not against using evidence to inform a decision; using evidence is a good thing. As a stand-alone, face-value concept it is unobjectionable, how can anybody be against evidence? But this unobjectableness is the reason for its meaninglessness.

Everybody in politics and public policy uses ‘evidence’ to make decisions. In the days of yore, the autocratic king may occasionally have indulged himself in the occasional bout of thoughtless whimsy, but in today’s bureaucratic world, no policy decision is made without rounds upon rounds of evidence, discussion, writing, revision, etc. Even the autocratic king’s bouts of whimsy were usually based on evidence and fact. “People over six feet are tall” and “an army of tall people amuses me” are both evidence-based facts that can be used to inform policy. The other may not be interpreting evidence the same way as you, they may impute differing levels of legitimacy to certain forms or instances of evidence than you, and they may be using the evidence to pursue different values than you, but they are using evidence.

Using the phrase evidence-based decision making in a modern public policy context is as meaningless as going around saying a four-sided square when discussing geometry. But meaningless phrases are commonplace, the context of the phrase reveals a more important and deep stupidity.

Any time someone uses the phrase with any intent at creating even the tiniest amount of semantic meaning, the semantic meaning is (either implicitly or explicitly) evidence-based as compared to ideological (or opinion-based, which is the same thing), where the ideological is irrational (and therefore wrong). Nobody ever points out the idiocy of this semantic meaning.

Evidence doesn’t make decisions. Evidence is neutral. Evidence is fact and fact is meaningless by itself. Is is not ought.

To make a trite example, the fact that you need to breathe oxygen or you die has absolutely no decision-making implications standing on its own. Only when you create a value system around breathing does the need to breathe factor into decision-making. The suicide and the astronaut will both make entirely different evidence-based decisions on that particular fact.

To make a decisions requires a value-system: the value system under which the decision is being made is the most important part of any decision-making. The value system will create a goal. Reason will create a plan to achieve a goal. Evidence upon which to reason is the final and least important part of a decision-making architecture.

Another word for value-system is ideology. All public-policy decisions are first and foremost ideological. Anybody who thinks they aren’t is so ideologically brainwashed that they are not even aware that they have their own ideology.

To call attention to the fact you use or favour evidence-based decision making reveals either:

1) a very weak decision-making architecture if using evidence is the best you can say about it,
2) the shallowness of your own thinking, if the facts you use are the deepest you can delve in your own decision-making architecture,
3) ideological blindness, if you can not even see that you are making decisions under a value system,

or, it might reveal something more sinister:

4) the purposeful distortion of language to fool the gullible into accepting a particular ideological as reality.

Practically speaking, the use of the phrase ‘evidence-based decision making’ as related to public policy is usually a signal you can safely ignore the surrounding verbiage as wasteful rhetoric, empty-headed stupidity, and/or attempted manipulation. Rarely will it be used in any commentary on public policy that is worth listening to.

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Note: Evidence-based decision-making started out as a concept for medical research and practice. In the medical context, it is a reasonable approach and something reasonable to talk about, as the ideology of medicine is mostly firmly established and medical “conflict” (barring corruption) is based around finding the best methods of healing to input into this system.

5 Reasons Gun Owners Should Join the NRA

Luke McKinney at Cracked has an(other) idiotic article lacking that substitutes snark and insult for anything resembling logic or reason over at Cracked on why we should hate the NRA (Spoiler alert: Because they think you should be free to own a gun). So, I’m going to reply to his distortions:

#5. They’re Paid By Gun Manufacturers

In 2013, Business Insider reported that less than half of the NRA’s revenue came from membership dues and fees …

Which means almost half of its funds come from member dues and fees (it has 5 million members according to wiki). Compared to other lobbying groups, that’s pretty high. For example, the AMA (the second largest lobbying group next the the Chamber of Commerce) supposedly represents physicians. It gets only 16% of its fees from dues.

In this section, Luke throws out a bunch of random unrelated trivia, but never gives any reason why they matter. Why is it bad that the NRA is half-funded by the industry? Luke never explains, he just says it is. In fact, I’m happy that the gun companies support their customers and their freedoms.

Also, notice how Luke links an article saying the NRA engages in illegal activities, when the article’s big findings (after the updates are taken into account) were that a website page was accidentally improperly routed, that taxes were properly paid but incompletely documented, and that a single box was left unchecked on tax papers (not effecting taxes paid).

So, Luke McKinney believes that if your webmaster screws up a link and you screw up your tax forms, nobody should ever associate with you again. I’ve done both, you all must never read my blog again.

#4. They’re Allowed To Casually Talk About Shooting People

Ted Nugent made a joke about shooting senators, therefore the NRA is evil. (That is literally his argument).

Cracked made multiple jokes about beating retarded children, therefore Cracked is evil. If Luke McKinney has any decency at all he will quit writing for Cracked. Or does Luke support beating developmentally disabled children?

#3. NRA Board Members Are All Kinds Of Scary

According to McKinney, because one NRA member argues for school paddlings you should leave the NRA. Maybe you don’t agree with school paddlings, but it is a normal practice and is hardly that frightening to support. 26% of the US supports school corporal punishment: so Luke literally thinks a quarter of the US is so evil you should not interact with them.

Fellow board member Don Young, a congressman from Alaska, described the BP Gulf oil spill as a “natural phenomena,”

What he actually said, right where Luke links is:

Young said: “This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again because it is a national phenomena. Oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries, will continue to do it. During World War II there was over 10 million barrels of oil spilt from ships, and no natural catastrophe. … We will lose some birds, we will lose some fixed sealife, but overall it will recover.”

If you are not retarded (sorry Luke) you can easily read, even in that conveniently clipped quote, that it is referring to oil spilling into the sea is a natural phenomena, not that the BP spill itself was.

Then Luke just flat out lies:

and thinks wolves would be a great solution to the homelessness problem.

Actually, if you read the article Luke linked, you can see that he wasn’t talking about solving the homeless problem at all. He was talking about how wolves are dangerous and how urbanites who never had to deal with the danger of wolves are making laws to prevent rural folk from protecting themselves. Of course, Luke, being an ignorant urbanite, has no idea about the danger of wolves in rural areas where their aren’t a lot of police and where animal control is far away. It almost seems like he supports wolves killing people.

So, if you are one of the quarter of the US who support paddling in schools and believe that rural people don’t deserve to get eaten by wolves, you are so scary that everyone should disassociate from you.

#2. They’re Pretty Racist

The NRA’s 2015 annual meeting featured a presentation on how whole swathes of American cities had been turned into Muslim “no-go zones,”

It seems Luke McKinney thinks Muslims are a race. I think that makes him a racist, not to mention just plain ignorant of biology, sociology, and religion.

“Demographically symbolic” is a masterpiece. Nine syllables that would be less obvious if he’d just screamed, “Racism sexism racism!” It’s a code word, but not a disguised code word;

He links to this:

Eight failed years of one demographically symbolic president is enough. Eight years of the Obama-Clinton regime has sent our nation into a tailspin of moral decay, deceit and destruction.

I guess Luke McKinney thinks the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein is racist for thinking of the emotional symbolism of Obama’s victory, or Habib Aruna for thinking of the sybolism of an African American winning resoundingly twice, or NBC news, or CTV news, etc. The symbolism of the first African American winning the presidency was a huge topic in 2008. I guess Luke’s ignorant of recent political history as well.

He went on to blame the president for all problems, to describe how guns solve all problems, and to explain, “For that right, NRA will always fight and, believe me, the fight is coming.” Of course, there’s no possible problem with the leader of an armed group blaming a single named individual for all the problems in the world in public and insisting “the fight is coming.” Not even in a country where a Cracked writer can be placed on the No-Fly list for writing a satirical article. Right now the only difference between NRA talks and Al-Qaeda videos is production value.

Do I honestly need to explain how retarded this is?

Maybe I do. Luke believes that using a fighting metaphor to describe a political battle (oh no, a war metaphor, I must be Hitler) is exactly equivalent to to literally talking about blowing thousands of other people, and yourselves, up. (But only when the evil NRA does it).

I am sure Luke has never used a war metaphor before.

#1. They Blame Victims (And Everything Else)

The NRA makes the very accurate point that if you vote against people’s ability to defend themselves they won’t have the ability to defend themselves. This makes them evil (somehow, he doesn’t exactly explain how).

After Sandy Hook, Wayne LaPierre blamed music videos, movies, video games — they’re on course to blame every object in existence for shootings except for objects that actually shoot. Blaming everything except the gun is their only job, and the angrier it makes people, the better it works.

Luke McKinney believes guns are magical objects that have their own agency and willfully kill people. People who don’t share this belief are implied to be evil (for some unexplained reason).

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Finally, though, through all the distortions Luke finally gets to his real point:

Their sole function is to prevent rational debate…They’ve buried the country under so much bullshit that even intelligent Americans start talking about individual rights and waiting periods, as if there was any sane sequence of words that ends with a peacetime civilian holding an AR-15

He wants to limit any discussion of guns to “rational debate” and by “rational debate” he means people who agree with him that guns he doesn’t like should be banned being able to talk and everybody else should shut up. He wants to control the discussion and he wants to limit your ability for self-defence. And he is willing to distort the truth and slander others to do so.

The whole point of his rambling, illogical, unconnected anti-NRA rant was that he hates the fact that civilians can own a semi-automatic weapon. He wants to take them away from you.

Join the NRA so he can’t.

Join the NRA: where business and citizens work together to protect freedom, where celebrities make jokes, where people don’t believe rural dwellers deserve to be eaten by wolves, where people make and understand common metaphors and use basic communication skills, and where people don’t believe inanimate object have agency.

If you value sanity, join the NRA!

Hail the Donald!

Land is wary of the Trump enthusiasm from some of the NRx crowd, and rightfully so, we can’t become demotist around here. Being one who occasionally joins in on the Trump enthusiasm, I thought I’d respond. I should note that I’m Canadian and can’t vote in the US and that I wouldn’t vote even if I could, but here’s why NRx should support Trump.

Before I begin, Trump won’t win and even if he does, not much will change (except maybe the wall). No matter how popular Trump becomes, he won’t win the presidency. I doubt he’ll even win the Republican primary. There is no way the Cathedral will let him win; they will do everything in their power to destroy him, and it will work. If, by some miracle, their efforts fail, Trump will lose against the bureaucracy and if he manages to get past the bureaucracy, the Supreme Court will shut him down. Nothing real will change (except maybe the wall). Whatever minor changes he gets through will be reversed a decade later.

#1: lulz: Everybody worth hating hates Trump. Lapping up their tears as he succeeds beyond what anybody expected is a worthwhile endeavour in its own right. There are two things that makes me consider voting and liberal tears is the second (gun freedom is the first). Sure voting means nothing, but it sure is fun to watch liberals suffer when their candidate loses.

#2: The destruction of the Republican Party. The Republican establishment are afraid and are doing what they can to try to stop him, but Trump speaks for the base. By trying to destroy him the GOP will destroy itself. If Trump somehow wins the nomination, the establishment will have suffered a huge blow and maybe the base can use it to clean house and heighten the ideological conflict. But in the more likely event the GOP rigs things against Trump (as they did with Ron Paul) and Trump loses, the GOP’s credibility will be destroyed. How many libertarians were alienated by the GOP’s treatment of Ron Paul? (How much did his treatment do to drive some to NRx?) And he was just a small side candidate. How fully will the base be alienated when the GOP destroys Trump? Unless Trump pussies out (and he does not seem the type to do so), Trump’s run could spark a bloodbath in the GOP no matter what the result. One of NRx’s goals is to get conservatives to realize that the GOP is no more than the controlled opposition who exist to lose and Trump could be a catalyst for endarkenment.

#3: Immigration. Immigration is the issue all the elites try to suppress. Trump is bringing it to the forefront and the people are responding. When he gets shut down and it is further drilled in that their elites hate them, how much endarkenment will that engender among the masses?

#4: Flowing from this: the truth of democracy. If the Trump train starts chugging for real: the Cathedral will bring all the rigging, all the slandering, all the viciousness, all the lawfare, etc. it can against Trump and his supporters and he will almost inevitably lose. How many of his supporters will realize how much of a sham democracy is as this occurs? How many people will people will come to understand the Cathedral and its ways through this?

#5: The Wall. If against all odds Trump wins, the wall will go up. There is no way I could see him back down from it, as the wall is his campaign, and I can’t see anybody who will be able to bring a clear enough threat against him to stop him. Once the wall is up, bureaucratic self-preservation will keep it up.  The wall is good because collapse is coming; it is nigh unavoidable. The question is the conditions under which the collapse comes. Living out in Asia, Land may be mostly insulated when the American Empire (and its dependencies: the Commonwealth and the EU) implode, but for those of us who refuse to leave our homeland the on-the-ground conditions when the collapse occurs do matter quite a bit. There are two main issues relevant to collapse: immigration and guns. Guns is obvious: will we have the ability to defend and hold our own when the happening goes down? This issue has mostly been won in the US and is the only real victory conservatives have ever achieved. When the happening occurs, people will inevitably split along tribal lines: when this happens how many of them will there be at war with us? The wall will lessen the number of them and maybe savagery can be prevented or at least mitigated.

#6: The punishment. Trump is both rich enough and bombastic enough to punish those activists attacking him. He’s already suing Univision for $500M and is threatening to sue the Hispanic Media Coalition and NBC for dropping him. Trump has the resources to really bring the heat against those who cave to activists and show that there are consequences for bowing to liberalism.

#7: The fluke. Have you read Caliphate by Tom Kratman? In it, a future-history tells of not-Patrick Buchanan winning the presidency and establishing a dictatorship through manipulation of presidential powers that freezes the decline. While he probably won’t do that, Trump is a wild card. I wouldn’t put much past him if he had the opportunity. If somehow he wins, you never know what could happen. (King Trump, anyone?)

As for the man himself:

Sure, Trump may be clownish, arrogant, and self-aggrandizing, but it’s an honest arrogance. The entire system holds you in contempt and wants to destroy your culture; every wanna-be chekist, SJW, bureaucrat, and politician is arrogant enough to think they should be able to dictate what you think, what you say, what you eat, what guns you can own, what you buy, what you drive, etc. Compared to that contempt, that insufferable, smug, all-consuming arrogance hidden under a thin veil of ‘the greater good’, a bit of honest old-fashioned arrogance is a breath of fresh air. As for clownishness, nothing Trump has done or could do could possibly compare to ‘a thrill up my leg’ and the outright worship everybody bestowed upon Obama 8 years ago. Democratic politics is clownish by its very nature; Trump is the only influential person awake enough to see it.

Sure, it’s hard to tell what is theatre and what is real, but it’s honest theatre. Everybody knows Trump is playing to the audience and he’s not even trying to conceal that he is. Compare that to the democratic theatre we regularly have. The GOP pretending to stand for something, the barely concealed corruption of the iron triangle, the farce of a democracy where Judge Roberts can single-handedly rewrite the law, the delusion we are free when we pay taxes even serfs and slaves of bygone days would think harsh. At least Trump’s show is a fun spectacle, rather than mind-killing, soul-draining drudgery of lies that is our normal politics.

So, however much you hate democracy, however useless you know politics is, however doomed you think we are, you should still agree:

Viva la Trump!

Safe, Affordable Housing

Sailer has pointed out that the federal government is trying to use housing vouchers to get poor people out of public housing and bad neighbourhoods and into good neighbourhoods in the suburbs.

This will fail.

I will state what should be obvious, but nobody ever seems to state:

Neighbourhoods aren’t dangerous, neighbourhoods don’t murder people. Building aren’t dangerous, buildings don’t rob people. Homes aren’t dangerous, homes don’t rape people. Look at this picture of the infamous Cabrini Greens:

How many people did those buildings murder? How many drugs did they sell? How many people did they rob? None, because the Cabrini Greens buildings didn’t move, they were inanimate objects.

However convenient a shorthand it might be, neighbourhoods aren’t dangerous, the people in them are. Housing isn’t safe, the people in them make a safe environment.

It is the people in the neighbourhood who make it safe or make it dangerous.

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With that bit of self-evident obvioussness out of the way, it is easy to see why this will fail. When you start moving people to new neighbourhoods, the people stay the same. Because the people make a neighbourhood good or bad, the people moving from a bad neighbourhood will make the new neighbourhood the same as their old one (over time).

You can not use vouchers to make safe neighbourhoods, because the kinds of people who use vouchers are the kinds of people who make neighbourhoods unsafe. The poor, the unemployed, the shiftless, the criminals, the single mothers, the addicted, the drunk, the high time orientated, etc. are the types who receive vouchers, they are also the types who make neighbourhoods unsafe.

Safe, affordable housing is an impossibility, because as soon as you make housing affordable, the type of people who make neighbourhoods unsafe move in. These unsafe people then cleanse the neighbourhood of safe people and the neighbourhood turns becomes just like the ones the people were trying to escape.

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There are two possible exceptions.

The first is discrimination. A neighbourhood can remain safe and affordable if the neighbourhood is allowed to discriminate to keep the safe poor (college students, young married families, large traditional families, struggling entrepreneurs, etc) while keeping the unsafe poor out. The safe poor though, are likely not going to be on vouchers. Vouchers select for the unsafe poor. As well, discrimination is evil, so it can’t be allowed no matter how much it would improve the lives of the safe poor.

The second is dispersal and selection. You could select desirable candidates on an individual basis from the unsafe poor to give vouchers and then then disperse them, no more than one family per a block, in safe neighbourhoods. If the selected individual is not naturally an unsafe person, they could fit into the neighbourhood and be uplifted by it, while not adversely effecting the neighbourhood.

But it’s risky. If the selected family turns out not to be a safe one or if their progeny regresses to the mean, they could start causing trouble, starting a downward spiral that drives safe people out, lowers home prices, and brings unsafe people, turning the neighbourhood into an unsafe one. As well, if the voucher families are not dispersed enough, they could come into contact and feed into each others’ weaknesses and start the downward spiral, even if one family alone might not.

But either way, the second method is, of course, is not going to happen. To select safe individuals and not select unsafe individuals is discrimination and discrimination is evil.

Cultural Evolution Response

Scott has a post where he fails to see the dangers of gay marriage to cultural evolution:

First, he distinguishes between two types of cultural evolution and concludes:

Consider: one Inuit tries the red berries and discovers they make her sick. Out of pure self-interest, she decides not to eat them again, and tells her friends the same. Also out of self-interest, they decide not to eat them; those who think they can get away with eating them anyway are quickly disabused of the notion. The taboo against eating red berries quickly spreads throughout the culture.

Marriage doesn’t seem to work that way. If one person decides not to marry in the usual way, it doesn’t necessarily hurt that person. They might have lots of affairs, and enjoy them. Or they might get gay married, and enjoy that.

Here he misses the obvious: STD’s.

About 1.2 million Americans have HIV; about 658,000 have died.

On gays specifically, one-fifth have it.”Although MSM represent about 4% of the male population in the United States, in 2010, MSM accounted for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections. MSM accounted for 54% of all people living with HIV infection in 2011, the most recent year these data are available… Since the epidemic began, an estimated 311,087 MSM with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 5,380 in 2012.”

About 1.8% of men identify as gay, which would mean that about 2,725,200 men in the US are gay. Over about thirty years, over a tenth of the homosexual population has died of AIDS. Most of that was front-loaded in the 80’s; currently there’s a yearly mortality rate of about 2 in 1000. The only reason this isn’t massively worse is because scientists developed drugs to combat the disease.

The yearly death rate in 1995 before the drugs was about 17 in a 1000. (Assuming gays still accounted for 54% of cases and were 1.8% of the population). By comparison, the death rate due to OD by cocaine addicts is about 4 in a 1000, while the death rate of smokers due to smoking-related disease is about 11 in a 1000. That’s not even including other STD’s, which are also not as deadly/disfiguring as they used to be thanks to modern medicine.

Homosexuality is a huge health risk kept mostly in check by modern medicine.

Not to mention that Scott ignores reproduction entirely.

But beyond that, we can go to the second type, the group selection form of cultural evolution.

So I interpret it as a different claim: a culture that allows gay marriage will, for various reasons, become weak and unsuccessful. Then it will be crushed by other cultures, either militarily, economically, or in a sort of marketplace of ideas where people convert to or assimilate into the other culture because it’s more attractive and successful.

Note that THIS IS REALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE FIRST TYPE OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION. In fact, it might be diametrically opposite. For example, gay sex may be lots of fun – and as people figure this out and tell their friends, it will be positively selected through the first type of cultural evolution. But it might weaken a culture’s Moral Fabric – in which case it will be negatively selected through the second type of cultural evolution.

There is no distinction between the two, which is obvious when he talks here:

How long is a “generation” in cultural evolution? Rome lasted a thousand years, Byzantium another thousand. It took about three hundred years for Christianity to replace paganism in Rome; Enlightenment values have been replacing Christianity for three hundred years already and aren’t nearly done. Any sort of evolutionary process that involves waiting for Rome to fall is a process that will take way longer than human history to come to any sort of conclusion… Communism, which basically took all of the worst ideas in history, combined them together into a package deal, and said “Let’s do all of these at once”, took almost a century to collapse, and still hasn’t collapsed in a couple of places.

These were not static societies; they went through numerous dynasties, governments, wars, coups, splits, expansions, and so on. Cultural evolution never stopped: his ‘generation’ had uncounted evolutions. These civilizations adapt to outside pressures. failure to adapt leads to doom, but having a failing policy then fixing it internally can stop doom before it occurs.

For an example, take Rome in the Punic Wars. They were at a disadvantage because they had no fleet when they started. They adapted by creating a fleet, then eventually won. Had they not created a fleet, it may have been Carthage destroying Rome.

Cultural adaptation is different than genetic adaptation and can not be calculated the same way. Genetic adaptation necessarily happens one generation at a time because genetics can only be transmitted by procreation. Cultural adaptation does not as it is not bound by procreation; there are no generations.

(Not to mention that ‘coming to a conclusion’ would put Scott’s generation as the equivalent of an extinction. How long did it take for the Dodo’s to ‘come to a conclusion?’ As well there is survival bias. Scott is only looking at the major, successful, civilizations.  What of all those city-states Rome conquered or destroyed? Rome was the one that survived; the life of the conquered was probably shorter. But these are tangential to the real error).

Finally, he acknowledges a third type:

Actually, this leaves out a possible third kind of cultural evolution, where cultures try good ideas, learn to like them, and stick with them; or try bad ideas, learn to hate them, and stop… Likewise, there’s a cultural evolution argument that we tried traditional sexuality, that made a lot of people unhappy, and now we’re trying something else. It’s unclear how this is different from the Maoism example in a way that makes jettisoning Maoism good, but jettisoning traditional sexuality bad.

The difference is traditional sexuality is not an idea being tried. Traditional sexuality is (in some form) how every civilization that has been successful has made itself and how our civilization has been for millennia. Traditional society is a healthy dog; Maoism is the bright idea to chop off 2 of its legs and see what happens; gay marriage is removing of one of its testicles and seeing how that works out. The latter might no be as immediately debilitating, but if his other testicle is already gone, he won’t be reproducing.

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For a taste of gay marriage cultural changes, just look at all the effects of other similar evolutions (divorce, acceptable fornication, etc). High bastardry rates, plummeting marriage rates, and a plummeting birth rate. We’ve gotten to the point where simply to keep things running because we’re not having enough children, we import foreigners with different cultures to work for us; foreigners who are gradually replacing us.

That’s cultural evolution in action. White Americans have adopted policies that have made them evolutionary dead ends and will soon be replaced in their own country, after adopting the other peoples’ cultures through multiculturalism.

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Scott put another post up with some responses after I had written this one. It doesn’t address the issues I raise. Also, I know I still have to respond to Scott from about a year back. I have the post half-written, I just never quite finish it.

Jim Crow

Lynching Deaths 1882-1968 (87 Years)

Whites: 1297 – 14.9/year
Blacks: 3445 – 39.6/year

Homicides 2013:

Black on Black: 2245
Black on White: 409
White on Black: 189
White on White: 2509

Homicide Rates 1964 (per 100,000)

Nonwhite: 22.9
Whites: 2.7

Homicide Rates 2015 (per 100,000)

Black: 31.4
White: 4.5

Imprisonment Rate 1926 (per 100,000)

Black: 106
White: 36

Imprisonment Rate 2012 (per 100,000)

Black: 463  (198251/42,750,000)
White: 88   (172,843/195,148,000)

Poverty Rate 1959

Black: 55.1
White: 18.1

Poverty Rate 2013

Black: 27%
White: 10%

Bastardry Rate 1965

Black: ~25%
White: ~5%

Bastardry Rate 2013

Black: 72%
White: 36%

Children in Broken Homes Rate 1965

Black: 25%
White: ~8%

Children in Broken Homes Rate (Unmarried minus Cohabiting) 2013

Black: 44%
White: 13%

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During Jim Crow, blacks were generally safer, had stronger families, and were less likely to commit a crime or be jailed, but had double the poverty rate they do now. If so, how can the social dysfunction be blamed on poverty? Also, are they necessarily better off?