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February Diary: Meritocracy; Pinker; Oncologist Humor; Etc. [11 ITEMS]
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Crooked timber

This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Michael Young’s book The Rise of the Meritocracy. You can read the book online here.

It takes the form of a long (170 pages) essay supposed to be written by a British sociologist of the year 2033. He reviews the previous century of social developments in his country, which are summarized by his title. The human sciences have advanced to the point where merit, defined as intelligence plus effort, can be measured early in life. Indeed, the narrator tells us, a recent Nobel Prizewinner “has recently shown that the intelligence of children could at last be safely predicted from the intelligence of their forebears.

The result is of course a society stratified by merit, thus defined. Smart exam-passing drudges form the elite. Less smart-or-industrious “technicians” keep the machines running. The dumb or incorrigibly lazy are a problematic underclass.

It seems to work pretty well, but there’s a worm in the meritocratic apple–at least two, in fact:

Feminism. Women, the narrator tells us, advance through the meritocratic education system along with men:

But what happens then? They take the post for which they have been trained only until they marry. From that moment they are expected, for a few years at any rate, to devote themselves to their children. The sheer drudgery of their lives has been much relieved by the revival of domestic service [to provide employment to low-merit losers] and the help of husbands. But they cannot, if they take any notice of the teaching of psychology, entrust the entire care of their offspring to a person of low intelligence.

Radical conservatism. A faction in the Conservative Party “have actually urged … that the hereditary principle should be openly restored.” This, the radicals claim, would just be an acknowledgment of reality: “The top of today are breeding the top of tomorrow to a greater extent than at any time in the past. The elite is on the way to becoming hereditary.”

These and other discontents have brought about a Populist movement led by renegades from the elite, especially women. The narrator tells us of a great Populist rally planned for the following spring, May of 2034, at Peterloo. (A name with great historical resonance for English democratic socialists like Michael Young.) The narrator promises to attend this rally and report on it.

A note added at the end of the book tells us that:

Since the author of this essay was himself killed at Peterloo, the publishers regret they were not able to submit to him the proofs of his manuscript …

Michael Young was much vexed in later life to see the word “meritocracy” given a positive spin. He disliked the idea; or at least, as his 21st-century narrator writes:

If sociology teaches anything, it teaches that no society is completely stable; always there are strains and conflicts.

I think most Americans, if put to the question, would say that meritocracy–rewards proportional to one’s ability and effort–is an ideal; much more desirable, at least, than an aristocracy of birth. The notion that a meritocracy may not be stable, may in fact produce an aristocracy of birth, is not welcome to us. It may none the less be true.

Michael Young’s prognostication has an effect on me similar to the one David Hume’s philosophy had on Bertrand Russell.

To refute him has been, ever since he wrote, a favorite pastime among metaphysicians. For my part, I find none of their refutations convincing; nevertheless, I cannot but hope that something less skeptical than Hume’s system may be discoverable.

Landline lament

I still have a landline phone in my house, with a screen showing caller i.d. Nowadays ninety percent of incoming calls are junk.

The phone allows me to block incoming calls by number, but this has proven useless. For a while I diligently keyed in the junk numbers to be blocked. The phone has a limit of two hundred, though. There are way more junk numbers than that. It is in fact unusual to see a junk number I’ve seen before. And a lot of them aren’t even proper phone numbers, just four-digit strings, or “Out of area” (which I suppose means it’s coming from some robot in Bangladesh) or “Private caller” (what the hell does that mean?)

We’ve pretty much stopped picking up the phone unless we happen to be near a handset and recognize the number as someone we actually want to talk to.

So here’s my question: Is there a phone I can buy that instead of blocking unwanted numbers from a list, blocks all numbers except those on a list? In other words, instead of a positive block list (“block these”), a negative block list (“don’t block these”)? There are only a couple of dozen numbers I want to pick up for; why should I be bothered by the phone ringing from anyone else?

Or am I just a relic: the last person on the eastern seaboard with a landline?

The new sixty?

Billy Graham passed away February 21st. I made what I hope is an appropriate brief comment on Radio Derb.

The great preacher was 99 years old. This is unremarkable now. The last obituary I can recall noticing was Hugh Hefner’s. Ner was 91 when he passed last September.

Living into your nineties used to be highly unusual. In the late 1940s and early 1950s there was a popular weekly radio program in Britain titled Have a Go! It was an undemanding quiz show targeted at working-class people–or “fowk,” as the unpretentious (in fact determinedly anti-pretentious) northerner emcee Wilfred Pickles would have said.

The show’s main appeal was Pickles’ folksy, or fowksy, chatting with the contestants about their very ordinary lives. “What’s been your most embarrassing moment?” was a favorite line.

ORDER IT NOW

My parents listened to that show. I find in fact that I can still sing the first few bars of the intro music. I had forgotten, though, a thing David Kynaston notes in Family Britain 1951-1957: There was “a large round of applause if a contestant turned out to be over 60.”

Will Japs cuck?

When reading VDARE.com and other immigration-restrictionist outlets, you are frequently offered Japan as an admirable example of immigration minimalism. Here for example was me last October, purring with approval at Japan for having admitted just three refugees in the first half of 2017.

In one of my first conversations with Peter Brimelow I asked him what he thought a sensible U.S. immigration policy should look like. “Like Japan’s,” was Peter’s succinct reply.

Alas, human hearts exist to be broken. A reader sent me this three-minute clip from NHK Newsline. NHK is Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, equivalent to Britain’s BBC; NHK Newsline is their English-language newscast.

In the clip we hear about Japan’s labor shortage. Apparently it’s particularly difficult for moving companies to find drivers and porters. The Japanese government wants to address the problem by loosening up immigration rules.

Say it ain’t so! What are we going to offer as a model if the Japanese cuck on immigration? Well, there’s always Israel, I guess.

I’m not going to panic. I can recall recurrent stories, back across several years, about someone or other in Japan proposing more immigration. Nothing much ever happens. The Japanese don’t want a flood of foreigners into their country. Even if they do loosen up, it will be neighboring Asian countries they’ll take their labor from: Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines. I seriously doubt they would be so terminally stupid as to favor Afghans or Somalis.

I liked the clip anyway, mainly for the delectable lisp of the female reporter, Yukari Kondo. “Finding a company to herrp them re-rocate is a charrenge …” Should Ms Kondo visit New York any time, I’d be glad to buy her lunch just for the pleasure of hearing her talk.

In Borisiam

In last month’s diary I omitted to note the tenth anniversary of Boris‘s passing. The Derbyshire family’s beloved mutt died January 18th 2008 after being with us almost sixteen years.

Two readers emailed in to chide me for the omission. I am sorry.

I passed the following observation in my Diary seven years ago:

Nothing I write or say about politics ever generates one-tenth as much email, or inspires one-tenth the number of people to cross a room to shake my hand, as do my treehouse and Boris pages. Those are my long-term star items. Politics? Fuhgeddaboutit.

That was before I attained everlasting worldwide fame with “The Talk: Nonblack Version,” which is the thing people most often want to ask me about now. Still it says something about human nature–something I find cheering and endearing–that those two thousand words of remembrance for a family pet have left as much of an impression on the world as the hundreds of thousands I have written on politics and culture.

Endearing, yes. I think the human race is going to be all right.

Browsing Pinker

Here’s another guy who thinks so: Steven Pinker.

Professor Pinker has a new book out: Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. My copy arrived last week but I haven’t done much beyond a perusal of the index and some random browsing.

I’ve met Pinker and found him very agreeable company, but I have mixed feelings about Pinker as a cultural historian. I aired those feelings in a review of his previous book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, concerning which I wrote:

The Better Angels of Our Nature is a rich and argumentative book containing a wealth of empirical analysis seasoned with Pinker’s usual complement of anecdotes, wit, and felicitous turns of phrase … It seemed to me, though, that Pinker is, in this book, noticeably less successful than formerly in keeping his own biases under control, and less skillful at negotiating his way through the minefield of political correctness.

[Be Nice! by John Derbyshire; National Review, December 19th 2011.]

Those biases, I went on to explain, are the tiresomely familiar ones characteristic of Jewish-American liberals: a dislike of Christianity–even of Christianity in medieval Europe, when it was the mortar holding the civilization together–and hostility to the idea of the nation-state.

I understand of course that if you’re Jewish, medieval Christianity doesn’t look like such a great deal. Things could have been a lot worse, though. Medieval Christianity did hold together a civilization; and civilization, even in the rough style of the Capetians and Plantagenets, is far, far preferable to the other thing. The Jews prospered anyway. When the Enlightenment brought Jewish emancipation, they were well placed to take advantage of it.

Likewise with nation-states. What would the Jews be today without their early pre-Enlightenment havens in 17th-century England and Holland–robust nation-states? (You’re welcome!)

It is not the proper business of a cultural historian to vent the particular resentments of his own ancestors.

In the Current Year you can add Trump Derangement Syndrome to Pinker’s biases:

Nothing captures the tribalistic and backward-looking spirit of populism better than Trump’s campaign slogan: Make America Great Again … Will Donald Trump (and authoritarian populism more generally) really undo a quarter of a millennium of progress? …

[Enlightenment Now, pages 334, 337.]

Etc., etc. This goes on for several pages. It’s hard not to hear the Cossack hoof-beats in the background. If there is any thoughtful reflection on why sixty-three million of us preferred Trump to the alternative in 2016, I didn’t see it.

That may be my fault, though, I was only browsing.

I did read philosopher John Gray‘s withering review in The New Statesman, samples:

[Pinkerists] don’t need to bother about what the Enlightenment was actually like. By any standards, David Hume was one of the greatest Enlightenment thinkers. It was the sceptical Scottish philosopher who stirred Immanuel Kant–whose well-known essay on Enlightenment Pinker quotes reverently at the start of the book–from what Kant described as his “dogmatic slumber.” Pinker barely mentions Hume, and the omission is not accidental. He tell us that the Enlightenment is defined by a “non-negotiable” commitment to reason.

Yet in A Treatise of Human Nature (1738), Hume wrote: “Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” Hume believed being reasonable meant accepting the limits of reason … Pinker’s Enlightenment has little in common with the much more interesting intellectual movement that historically existed …

Many Enlightenment thinkers have been avowedly or implicitly hostile to liberalism. One of the most influential, the 19th-century French positivist Auguste Comte–not discussed by Pinker–promoted a brand of scientism that was overtly anti-liberal …

The message of Pinker’s book is that the Enlightenment produced all of the progress of the modern era and none of its crimes …

[Unenlightened thinking: Steven Pinker’s embarrassing new book is a feeble sermon for rattled liberals by John Gray; The New Statesman, February 22nd, 2018.]

(For my notes on some recent books about reason, see here.)

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I think Gray has a point: the Enlightenment, like all human things, had two faces, and produced great crimes as well as great boons. I am sure that Lenin was a fan of the Enlightenment. (Pinker has just one passing reference to Lenin, in a list of 20th-century dictators that intellectuals have gushed over.)

On the other hand it’s surely indisputable that net-net the boons have outpaced the crimes over this past three centuries. The world is a much better place now than it was in 1718.

To that degree, I am a Pinkerian. I shall read the whole book, though, and pass a fuller judgement.

Oncologist humor

I’ll willingly grant this much to Pinkerian optimists: the current pace of advances in medicine is wonderful.

In 2011 I was diagnosed with a variety of leukemia. The following year I underwent six months of chemotherapy, one infusion a month. It was brutal: the first week after infusion, I mainly lay on my bed groaning. The second week I was up and staggering around, but still groaning. The third and fourth weeks I got back to normal … just in time for another infusion. Chemo works, though: I got five years’ relief from my symptoms.

The condition recurred last fall, so I was put back on chemo; but in the intervening five years, a new drug had been developed. This isn’t for infusion; it’s a pill you take orally, three a day. I’ve been taking it for four months, with complete relief of symptoms and no side effects at all. God bless medical research!

There are two downsides to this drug, however. The first is, it only manages the condition; it doesn’t cure it. I have to take it for ever, or at least until the next medical advance.

The second downside is that it’s eye-wateringly expensive. “The drug’s wholesale list price is $116,600 a year for leukemia patients.” [Patients Struggle with High Drug Prices by Joseph Walker; Wall Street Journal, December 31st 2015].

Those costs are a source of professional pride to my oncologist. “Yes,” he said with a smile of smug satisfaction when I discussed this with him, “there are not many drugs more expensive than the ones in our specialty [i.e. hematology].”

Fortunately my wife works full-time and her employee health-care plan covers the cost. The insurer has, however, been taking an unusual interest in me lately. They have assigned me my own personal nurse, who calls me up once a month to inquire about my health.

My oncologist has a dark sense of humor that I rather like. When I told him about this personal nurse, he said: “Ah, they’re hoping that one day they’ll call and the voice at your end will say: ‘I’m sorry, Mr Derbyshire is no longer with us.’ Then they’ll be high-fiving and fist-pumping–‘Yes-s-s-s!‘ Ha ha ha ha!”

I hope our health-care insurer is not really that heartless. I also hope my wife will not lose her job–not, at any rate, until medical science has found some much cheaper treatment for what ails me.

The Maine semicolon

I assume my highly-literate readers all know about the Oxford comma. For the handful who may not, the Oxford comma is the one placed, or not placed, between the penultimate item in a list and the following “and”: “He bought apples, pears, and bananas.”

Whether or not to use the Oxford comma is a topic of endless dispute among grammar pedants. Lynne Truss got a nice jokey book title out of it.

Well, everything comes down to money at last. This month a dairy company in Portland, Maine had to pay five million dollars to three of its truck drivers because of a missing Oxford comma in a state law.

The case began in 2014, when three truck drivers sued the dairy for what they said was four years’ worth of overtime pay they had been denied. Maine law requires time-and-a-half pay for each hour worked after 40 hours, but it carved out exemptions for: “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: (1) Agricultural produce; (2) Meat and fish products; and (3) Perishable foods.”

What followed the last comma in the first sentence was the crux of the matter: “packing for shipment or distribution of.” The court ruled that it was not clear whether the law exempted the distribution of the three categories that followed, or if it exempted packing for the shipment or distribution of them. Had there been a comma after “shipment,” the meaning would have been clear. [Oxford Comma Dispute Is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million by Daniel Victor; New York Times, February 9th.]

To fix the problem, state legislators have amended the law to read: “The canning; processing; preserving; freezing; drying; marketing; storing; packing for shipment; or distributing of: (1) Agricultural produce; … etc.”

That’s just ugly, a gross misuse of the semicolon. I don’t have any strong feelings one way or the other about the Oxford comma, but surely they could have clarified their meaning without throwing so many semicolons around.

At one point in his writing career George Orwell decided that the semicolon served no useful purpose. He thereupon wrote an entire novel, Coming Up for Air, without using a single semicolon. I commend Orwell’s example to state legislators everywhere.

Orwell later backslid: Nineteen Eighty-Four has lots of semicolons.

(And after writing that last paragraph I thought I should carry out journalistic due diligence, so I went to the only online text of Coming Up for Air that I could find and did a Ctrl-F for semicolons. The text has five. That’s a very small number for an Orwell novel: the text at that same website of the earlier Burmese Days has 258 semicolons. Five is not zero, though. Is Orwell folklore on this point false? Scrutinizing the occurrences, it looks to me as though they should be colons, so perhaps these are errors of transcription. If any reader has a print copy of the novel–preferably a first edition–and wouldn’t mind checking those five occurrences, I’d be glad to know the result.)

The Jeep Story

When you’re a couple, and make friends with another couple, there comes a point where Couple A and Couple B trade how-we-met stories.

The Mrs. and I have reached this point with many friend-couples, and have told our story in full, causing much mirth and many pleas to write the story up somewhere. I’ve been wary of doing that, though, for reasons described here (follow the asterisk).

ORDER IT NOW

This month, however, friendly importuning reached some kind of critical mass; so one idle afternoon I wrote up the Jeep Story and put in on my website. If you have a half-hour to kill and want to read a vignette of expat life in early post-Mao China, the Jeep Story is here.

Math Corner

A mathematician friend suggested the following as being suitable for Black History Month.

I’ll lay the abstract on you first. Don’t worry if your eyes glaze over. Mine did too, and I understand the jargon … well, more or less. The last two sentences are the important ones.

Let G(V, E) be a graph with vertex set V and edge set E, and let X be either V or E. Let ? be a search problem with input X and solution Y, where Y ? X. Let Y’ denote a sub-solution of ?. That is, Y’ is the solution of ? when the input is X’, the vertex or edge set of some minor G’ of G. Consider the set system (X, I), where I denotes the family of all sub-solutions of ?. We prove that the problem ? belongs to P if and only if (X, I) satisfies an extension of the Exchange Axiom of a greedoid (Augmentability) and the Partial Heredity Axiom of a greedoid (Accessibility). We then show that the Hamiltonian Cycle Problem satisfies Accessibility, but not Augmentability. Hence NP ? P. Thus, P ? NP.

It was filed at arXiv.org, the internet repository for papers in STEM topics, currently administered by Cornell University Library.

To get the joke you need to know that:

  • The issue of whether P is or is not equal to NP is a great outstanding problem in Complexity Theory. Anyone who could resolve the matter one way or the other–i.e. either prove that P = NP or prove that P ? NP–would instantly become world-famous. He would also get a million dollars from the Clay Mathematics Institute: this is one of their Millennium Prize Problems.
  • Papers filed at arXiv are not peer-reviewed.
  • The sole author of the paper is named Koko Kalambay Kayibi.

I am of course dicing with Fortune here. It’s possible that Dr Kayibi really has cracked the P vs. NP problem. It’s possible that he will shortly be a million dollars richer while I suffer ignominy and scorn for having mocked him.

I’m going to take the chance.

Worst comes to worst, I shall console myself that I have at least learned the word “greedoid,” a term of art in computational theory, hitherto unknown to me.

Greedoid! I think I’ve dated a couple of those.

Extra Math Corner

I don’t think this one is particularly relevant to Black History Month. Looking up Oberlin High School on GreatSchools.org, I see the student body is 50 percent white and 43 percent black, so this most likely belongs under the heading “General Idiocy.”

A discussion among students at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., about a mathematical symbol led to a police investigation and a search of one of the student’s homes, according to the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office.

[Students in Louisiana thought this math symbol looked like a gun. Police were calledby Scott Berson; Miami Herald, February 22nd 2018.]

The mathematical symbol in question is the square root sign.

For the historian of math, this story is merely the latest in a long tradition of dimwitted public security types finding sinister intent in unfamiliar math symbols. A notable instance was the Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie who, trying to leave France during the Franco-Prussian War, “was arrested as a German spy, his mathematics notes being assumed to be top secret coded messages.” (Friends procured his release.)

Early intense training in math gives you, for the rest of your life, an unusually acute awareness of the fact that the world is awash in stupidity. In the words of Albert Einstein:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Political Correctness 
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  1. Please help John. I earned my right to claim on your premium help service when I got through the print edition (enjoying much history and biography on the way) of Prime Obsession to the point where I understood what “All non trivial zeros of the Zeta function have real part one half” meant,
    (though not whether its sedative function generally outranked it as stimulus).

    What does the “?” mean when used in P ? NP and apparently in contrast to P = NP? Explain that and I think it will all be a breeze.

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  2. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Ummmm, yeah….what Wizard said.

    I was also moved by Steve Sailer’s Ode to his rabbit, he quoted Johnson.

    For God’s sake Derb, stay healthy!

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  3. 1. By far your (you Princeling bowers and scrapers) greatest gift to humanity was the English Mastiff.

    2. By far the worst aspect of being a hematology oncology patient is that it’s so much a young person’s tragedy. Six months of brutal ABVD infusions and 3,000rad (I think that’s right, it’s been some years) but the very very worst of it was seeing the children. University of Michigan Cancer Center has a common waiting area but separate (adult and pediatric) infusion rooms. My absolute worst day, including the bone marrow test day, was when the adult infusion room was full and I had my four hour infusion in the pediatric room. I was Agnostic before that day. After that day I truly hated any putative “god.”

    3. I have seen landline phones with Bluetooth that allow use of cell phones via the landline. You might therefore be able to use an iPhone which lets you block all “unknown” and “private” and “caller ID blocked” calls plus add a seemingly infinite number of individual numbers with one finger tap. My landline provider allows me to call forward ALL calls and that’s how I address the problem.

    4. Near as I can tell, semi-colons are semi-pointless. Literally, they lack the second point found in the colon don’t they? Gave em up decades ago. But the Oxford comma is a must.

    5. So Michael Young wrote a dystopian “Coming Apart” long before Murray wrote it?

    6. And last, Pinker, whose books I’ve skipped due to reviews I’ve read, has a lot of video online. He strikes me as one who so cautiously steps to the line of crimethink and makes the case for crimethink, but then does the Jewish “I have no opinion on the matter” dodge. He’s a precursor or gateway drug to more courageous stronger medicine such as Coulter. They eventually lead to the hard stuff peddled by you, Sailer, Molyneux, and Fred Reed. Those of us with the stomach for it (often as a result of direct personal experience with diversity) will move on to mainlining Jared Taylor or the many reality bloggers.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Yeah, your number (2) - there's not much sadder than that.
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  4. Again, I wish you and Mr. Unz could work out splitting these diaries up, as that would give the comment threads some consistency. I’ll write separate ones, at least.

    On the Japanese lady reporter. Yes, that is cute, Mr. Derbyshire, but have you heard them speak Japanese much, I mean up close and personal (not as personal as I would have liked!)? The Japanese flight attendants, when they translate safety instructions, the pilots’ updates, etc. into Japanese, sound so sexy. I don’t know what it is. It helps that the girls doing the talking ARE sexy. It’s all that fast-talking, multisyllabic, loaded-with-consonants sound that just, … I dunno, this is a family blog, so…

    … but then there’s Maude Yoko…

    Meanwhile you see and hear the Japanese male gate agents on the phone, and it sounds like a scene from Baa Baa, Black Sheep or a WWII- Pacific theater movie: “Hai, hai, …. hai!”

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  5. About the landlines and caller-ID, now:

    First, I would like to know if that is a REAL land-line, not just voice data over IP, like Magic Jack or what-have-you. I know that your are a technical guy, so maybe that was a dumb question. I respect people’s idea of getting a real four-conductor (only 2 in use) actual land-line for emergency back-up. If all the cell-based stuff goes down due to the power out, and the cable is down, that 80-V little signal will probably work fine, unless The SH (really hits) TF.

    I completely understand your point of a “call-allowing” system instead of “call-blocking”. That would be the best, and I’m sure that could have been programmed in with a switch of an if-statement. However, isn’t there a way on that caller-ID box to add names in with the numbers? Even it you have 200 names (greater than I have in a 10 y/o old mobile phone’s memory – maybe I’m just not a friendly guy), couldn’t you do 20/day to not make it too tedious, and then just look at the thing when you get a call?

    I hope you find a piece of electronics that does what you want, but 2nd best is just to be able to see a name and decide yes/no.

    A lot has changed since 40 years back, when, uhhumm, a friend of mine would chicken out about calling a girl up, and hang back up multiple times. No caller-ID see, so she had no idea that this guy was underconfident, right? Haha, what a different world due to electronic tech it is.

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  6. Tiny Duck says:

    I hope you guys know that the vast majority of the world rejects your world view

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    I hope you guys know that the vast majority of the world rejects your world view.
     
    You mean about the phone land-lines? I think you are a very wise duck with regard to this topic.
    , @ThreeCranes
    And well it were so. The pioneer has ever and always been a stranger to the mediocre.
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  7. @Tiny Duck
    I hope you guys know that the vast majority of the world rejects your world view

    I hope you guys know that the vast majority of the world rejects your world view.

    You mean about the phone land-lines? I think you are a very wise duck with regard to this topic.

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  8. @Stan d Mute
    1. By far your (you Princeling bowers and scrapers) greatest gift to humanity was the English Mastiff.

    2. By far the worst aspect of being a hematology oncology patient is that it’s so much a young person’s tragedy. Six months of brutal ABVD infusions and 3,000rad (I think that’s right, it’s been some years) but the very very worst of it was seeing the children. University of Michigan Cancer Center has a common waiting area but separate (adult and pediatric) infusion rooms. My absolute worst day, including the bone marrow test day, was when the adult infusion room was full and I had my four hour infusion in the pediatric room. I was Agnostic before that day. After that day I truly hated any putative “god.”

    3. I have seen landline phones with Bluetooth that allow use of cell phones via the landline. You might therefore be able to use an iPhone which lets you block all “unknown” and “private” and “caller ID blocked” calls plus add a seemingly infinite number of individual numbers with one finger tap. My landline provider allows me to call forward ALL calls and that’s how I address the problem.

    4. Near as I can tell, semi-colons are semi-pointless. Literally, they lack the second point found in the colon don’t they? Gave em up decades ago. But the Oxford comma is a must.

    5. So Michael Young wrote a dystopian “Coming Apart” long before Murray wrote it?

    6. And last, Pinker, whose books I’ve skipped due to reviews I’ve read, has a lot of video online. He strikes me as one who so cautiously steps to the line of crimethink and makes the case for crimethink, but then does the Jewish “I have no opinion on the matter” dodge. He’s a precursor or gateway drug to more courageous stronger medicine such as Coulter. They eventually lead to the hard stuff peddled by you, Sailer, Molyneux, and Fred Reed. Those of us with the stomach for it (often as a result of direct personal experience with diversity) will move on to mainlining Jared Taylor or the many reality bloggers.

    Yeah, your number (2) – there’s not much sadder than that.

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  9. Dwright says:

    Regarding Pinker, I really am reaching a serious level of Jew fatigue.

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  10. David says:

    I searched and found an item on amazon that says about itself (with a certain eastern flavor), “Block unwanted calls – you can block certain calls let all other pass or block all others, let certain call pass. Normal Caller ID box let phone ring for all. This unit will ring only to who you want talk to.

    Sounds like the very thing, and they call it “Caller ID with Phone Ring Controller.”

    Vonnegut famously said this about semicolons: “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

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  11. Finally cancelled my land line last week. Was letting answering machine get it, only picked up if I heard a voice I knew. Now I let it go to voicemail unless I recognize the number on my cell. Same old as answering machine. Anyone legit will leave a message.

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  12. Sean says:

    A lot of food for thought in this post.

    Those biases, I went on to explain, are the tiresomely familiar ones characteristic of Jewish-American liberals: a dislike of Christianity–even of Christianity in medieval Europe, when it was the mortar holding the civilization together–and hostility to the idea of the nation-state.

    Gentile intellectuals think that way too. Maybe because they respect Jewish intellects who dominate Western thought (John Gray was a friend of and profoundly influenced by Isaiah Berlin). Also, blame Hume, he said the apple does not exist, there are just qualities that we associate with it. No intellectual approves of nations being thought an actual thing , it’s only a thing for the lower orders duped by capitists. Whether philosophers like Hume ( Daniel Dennett) or try to refute him (Graham Harman) they all viscerally hate Trump. Dialectic versus Rhetoric. Donald S. Livingston is keen on Hume’s conservatism though.

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    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    Please cite the passage in which Hume states that apples don’t exist.
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  13. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Will Japs cuck?

    Problem is Japs are ‘stuck’ as in stuck-up.

    They now see themselves as TOO GOOD for ‘dirty, dangerous, or demeaning’ labor. So, Japs will not have kids unless they are sure they can send the kids to good school and get good jobs. It’s shameful to have a child who ends up doing ‘dirty, demeaning, or dangerous’ labor.

    This is why Japan needs nationalism, and I mean real nationalism, not the bogus GDP obsessed Japanese conservatives who just play puppet to the US.

    If Japanese feel value in being Japanese, then they will feel blessed to be part of the Rising Sun nation. And even for those with lower-level jobs, there will be pride of nation-hood and history.

    But there is no such national feeling in Japan. How can there be when Japan is a cuck puppet of the US? A people with no national sovereignty cannot have pride. And what did the LDP stress since end of WWII? Only money, money, money, status, status, status.

    Also, Japanese culture is totally artificial and raises kids to prefer videogame and anime over reality and humanism and history and culture.

    Btw, if Japanese won’t have kids, maybe the state should go the Brave New World Option and clone Japanese and have them raised by the state.

    Maybe they can get Toshiro Mifune’s DNA and clone him 1000x.

    PS. For culture, every town should do away with modern contemporary crap and set up a museum of history, ancestry, and labor. Every city and town needs a museum of labor that pays tribute to the men who built the place with their hands and feet.

    PSS. More than ‘will japs cuck’ is ‘will japs *uck?’

    Japanese soyboys don’t get married and don’t have sex.

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  14. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Likewise with nation-states. What would the Jews be today without their early pre-Enlightenment havens in 17th-century England and Holland–robust nation-states? (You’re welcome!)

    Jews got in big trouble when Nazi German empire broke down barriers between nations. If neighboring nations had been able to protect their borders against Germany, Jews would have been safe.

    And if Pinker wants reason, science, and humanism, he should be anti-black.

    Science tells us that blacks are naturally more muscular and more aggressive. They evolved in a savage world that favored hunters, warriors, and pillagers. Blacks who were most adept at chucking spears at hippos, taunting lions and gorillas, and clobbering gophers got the most prestige and the most women. So, blacks evolved to be strong and wrong. Science can prove this. Blacks have more fast-twitch muscles, and they are more given to psychopathy that is OKAY in the savage world but not in civilized setting.

    Civilization thrives with people with domesticated genes, not with people with wild genes. Now, if scientists can find a way to domesticate Negro DNA, maybe there is some hope. But current blacks are too wild and destructive. But against all evidence and reason, the media-academia-entertainment have decided to elevate blacks to Magic Negro status. We are supposed to worship Negroes as the new gods. So much for reason. Take a factual look at black reality, and you got Haiti and Detroit, not Wakanda. And look at the real MLK and he was a wild brotha and no saint. Magic Negro has no basis in fact and reason. It is a neo-religion concocted of white guilt(which is also irrational) and media fantasy.

    Also, humanism doesn’t work with blacks because blacks are more egotistical and self-centered. Humanism is about humility and accepting humanity for what it is and trying to get along with others on the basis of good will. Black attitude is “I’m the king of the jungle, I gots all these blings, so kiss my ass, sheeeeeeeiiiit.” Hardly material for humanism.

    There is a simple mind experiment to understand why some societies fail and some succeed. It’s called the 10,000 multiplication test. Take a typical person of a community and imagine a society with 10,000 like him. Then, ask yourself, what will the social order be like?

    Remember that black ball player who got arrested in China for stealing stuff? And Trump got him out, but the moron’s father was just full of shi* and gave middle finger to America.
    That father-son are typical of the black community(though a father sticking around isn’t very typica). Now, imagine multiplying people like that 10,000 times. What kind of society would you have? One of thievery, lack of remorse, pride of thuggery, idiot parenting, and etc.
    And that pretty well explains why black communities fail. Just take a typical Negro and imagine a society with 10,000 like him.

    Now, take a typical German and multiply him 10,000. One can see why such a society will work pretty well.

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  15. AaronB says:

    merit, defined as intelligence plus effort

    Well, at least the role of effort is being acknowledged.

    As for being an ideal, it is not clear to me that an elite composed of people, say, willing to sacrifice poetry, beauty, and love, to focus exclusively on career climbing is ideal at all.

    What’s more, the skills needed to become an elite may well not involve the kinds of ability that are of value to society.

    Ultimately, the ideal of meritocracy rests on the fairy tale notion that the world is organized according to rational principles. It’s a simplistic notion held by people who wish the world was not complex.

    In fact the world is far darker and scarier than we wish to admit, and a meritocracy can only ever be the meritocracy of the criminal or the banal and mediocore.

    It’s entirely possible that the skill most needed to get ahead is “mediocrity”, criminality, or a talent for social manipulation, and socially useful talents may merely get exploited.

    There is no room for such scary things in your “best of all worlds” daydream, is there Derb?

    In a fantasy world – a “rational” world – meritocracy may be best, but in our actual world, aristocracy may best. The former of “striving” for status is removed – so the elite can patronize art, beauty, and philosophy.

    We can have a relaxed and un-anxious elite – it may even d’s slip noblesse oblige. Who knows? I

    While such an elite would be socially secure, it must leave the door open for all the insecure strivey types to get the validation they need, channelling their energy away from insane wealth acquisition at all costs and taking the edge off their desperate need to feel superior. It would be freely granted in a secure way.

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  16. Talha says:

    In the clip we hear about Japan’s labor shortage. Apparently it’s particularly difficult for moving companies to find drivers and porters. The Japanese government wants to address the problem by loosening up immigration rules.

    It’s actually not that difficult to figure out. Give manual-type workers the ability to move for a limited time with their families in rotations of ten years. They will make a boatload of money before going back for an early retirement in their country of origin. Make sure they know the arrangement is temporary for 10 years. No voting rights, no path to citizenship. Surrender your living arrangements (which you do not and cannot own and can be managed so various nationalities are kept together) on your way out.

    Basically it’s what the Gulf countries do but much more humane.

    It’s not rocket science; the Japanese should be able to figure this out fairly easily.

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  17. Forget about all this landline rubbish. Go read Derb’s Jeep Story.

    Derb, I didn’t know you had it in you! A man not afraid to… (well, let’s not get into plot spoilers) … for his girl. What a guy!

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    I read it last night. Enlightening about early 80's China and a great story to boot!

    Mr. Derbyshire, some thought you'd "jumped the shark" in your "talk" column. They didn't know you had already "jumped the jeep" long ago. Good on ya', internet tough guy! ;-}
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  18. Alfa158 says:

    If you have a VOIP phone you can sign up for Nomorobo for free on their website. I’ve used it for a while and it blocks 98% of nuisance calls. The phone will only ring once, and if your phone has first ring suppression, it won’t ring at all before the call gets rejected and you just see the ID on the phone scree. About the only calls that do come through are when the robot is spoofing a real person’s phone number and user ID.

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  19. Anon 2 says:

    “What would the Jews be today … without England and Holland?”

    That’s a common historical misconception. In fact the Jews were expelled from the Western European countries like Spain, Britain, France, Italy, and especially the German states, often repeatedly, so by 1550 90% of the world’s Ashkenazi Jews found refuge in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a federal republic, and for 250 years Europe’s largest country. Rzeczpospolita, as it was known in Polish, accepted heretics and refugees, incl. many Scots, from all over Europe. Unlike in Western Europe, from which they were expelled, the Jews thrived in the Commonwealth, dominated by Poland, its language, and culture, to such an extent that Poland came to be known as Paradisus Iudaeorum (Jewish Paradise). The vast majority of the American Jews emigrated here from the terrains of the former Commonwealth, that is from central Poland, eastern Poland, today’s Lithuania, Belarus, and western Ukraine. Most of these lands were briefly part of the Russian Empire, but in point of fact the Jews were largely barred from Russia proper, i.e., Moscow, SPB, etc, until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

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    Interesting, thanks.
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  20. Koko Kalambay Kayibi is an associate professor at the University of Hull (where Philip Larkin was a librarian), according to:

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Koko_Kayibi

    But there is no mention of him on the hull.ac.uk site –

    http://www.hull.ac.uk/Faculties/fse/staff/school-of-mathematics-and-physical-sciences-staff.aspx

    Also, British universities don’t have associate professors, unless this is another recent import from the US.

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  21. “Maine had to pay five million dollars to three of its truck drivers because of a missing Oxford comma in a state law.”

    The so-called “Streetsweeper” or “Striker-12″ rotary magazine 12-ga shotgun was declared a Class 3 destructive device by BATF in 1994 because a comma was forgotten in the Gun Control Act of 1968 so that Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen could declare it “non-sporting.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armsel_Striker

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  22. @Anon 2
    "What would the Jews be today ... without England and Holland?"

    That's a common historical misconception. In fact the Jews were expelled from the Western European countries like Spain, Britain, France, Italy, and especially the German states, often repeatedly, so by 1550 90% of the world's Ashkenazi Jews found refuge in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a federal republic, and for 250 years Europe's largest country. Rzeczpospolita, as it was known in Polish, accepted heretics and refugees, incl. many Scots, from all over Europe. Unlike in Western Europe, from which they were expelled, the Jews thrived in the Commonwealth, dominated by Poland, its language, and culture, to such an extent that Poland came to be known as Paradisus Iudaeorum (Jewish Paradise). The vast majority of the American Jews emigrated here from the terrains of the former Commonwealth, that is from central Poland, eastern Poland, today's Lithuania, Belarus, and western Ukraine. Most of these lands were briefly part of the Russian Empire, but in point of fact the Jews were largely barred from Russia proper, i.e., Moscow, SPB, etc, until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

    Interesting, thanks.

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  23. @Christopher Chantrill
    Forget about all this landline rubbish. Go read Derb's Jeep Story.

    Derb, I didn't know you had it in you! A man not afraid to... (well, let's not get into plot spoilers) ... for his girl. What a guy!

    I read it last night. Enlightening about early 80′s China and a great story to boot!

    Mr. Derbyshire, some thought you’d “jumped the shark” in your “talk” column. They didn’t know you had already “jumped the jeep” long ago. Good on ya’, internet tough guy! ;-}

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  24. Anon comment # 13 reminded me of what I was going to write yesterday along with that sexy-Jap-voice silliness.

    The video about the lack of moving companies to do this work made me thing of the Oriental attitude against craftwork or any manual labor for that matter. They really seem to think it’s beneath them, unless that’s all the work they can get. I don’t like this about them. They have more respect in China for a guy that used his guanxi and/or real corruption to become well-0ff over any honest guy who can fix motorcycles.

    I’ve noticed that attitude mostly from the Chinese, but that couple in the video is a great example too. Are there no trucks for rent? All I saw were books and household stuff. Take a few trips with the car filled up to the brim, ya lazy bastards! Quit your bitching.

    I helped this one (good) friend move his stuff about 5 times total, but he reminded me of a long-ago incident that may bring it down to 4. I drove 100 miles to help him move a few miles to a different rental place. Guys help their friends move when there are things, such as dressers, bed frames, TV’s, laundry machines, etc. that just cannot be handled by one guy, not just boxes, books, and guns. I got there, and my friend was still putting cups into this box and wanted me to put other stuff into that other one. He reminded me about his recently, thatt I had just told him he wasn’t ready, got back into the car and driven back up the interstate.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Meant to link to two posts about America vs. China wrt Hardware stores and Do-it-yourselfers.
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  25. @Achmed E. Newman
    Anon comment # 13 reminded me of what I was going to write yesterday along with that sexy-Jap-voice silliness.

    The video about the lack of moving companies to do this work made me thing of the Oriental attitude against craftwork or any manual labor for that matter. They really seem to think it's beneath them, unless that's all the work they can get. I don't like this about them. They have more respect in China for a guy that used his guanxi and/or real corruption to become well-0ff over any honest guy who can fix motorcycles.

    I've noticed that attitude mostly from the Chinese, but that couple in the video is a great example too. Are there no trucks for rent? All I saw were books and household stuff. Take a few trips with the car filled up to the brim, ya lazy bastards! Quit your bitching.

    I helped this one (good) friend move his stuff about 5 times total, but he reminded me of a long-ago incident that may bring it down to 4. I drove 100 miles to help him move a few miles to a different rental place. Guys help their friends move when there are things, such as dressers, bed frames, TV's, laundry machines, etc. that just cannot be handled by one guy, not just boxes, books, and guns. I got there, and my friend was still putting cups into this box and wanted me to put other stuff into that other one. He reminded me about his recently, thatt I had just told him he wasn't ready, got back into the car and driven back up the interstate.

    Meant to link to two posts about America vs. China wrt Hardware stores and Do-it-yourselfers.

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  26. @Tiny Duck
    I hope you guys know that the vast majority of the world rejects your world view

    And well it were so. The pioneer has ever and always been a stranger to the mediocre.

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  27. MBlanc46 says:
    @Sean
    A lot of food for thought in this post.

    Those biases, I went on to explain, are the tiresomely familiar ones characteristic of Jewish-American liberals: a dislike of Christianity–even of Christianity in medieval Europe, when it was the mortar holding the civilization together–and hostility to the idea of the nation-state.
     
    Gentile intellectuals think that way too. Maybe because they respect Jewish intellects who dominate Western thought (John Gray was a friend of and profoundly influenced by Isaiah Berlin). Also, blame Hume, he said the apple does not exist, there are just qualities that we associate with it. No intellectual approves of nations being thought an actual thing , it's only a thing for the lower orders duped by capitists. Whether philosophers like Hume ( Daniel Dennett) or try to refute him (Graham Harman) they all viscerally hate Trump. Dialectic versus Rhetoric. Donald S. Livingston is keen on Hume's conservatism though.

    Please cite the passage in which Hume states that apples don’t exist.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    Thomas Reid wrote extended critiques of his contemporary Hume. Some think he misinterpreted him, however there is support for Hume holding such views in his major writings. In their correspondence on philosophy, Hume never complains of being misinterpreted by Reid on the point.
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  28. jamie b. says:

    State nurseries for all children would be a way to prevent the development of an aristocracy.

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  29. Gracebear says:

    So happy your health is better, Derb. Huge gratitude from all of us for modern medicine.
    I know of a teen-age boy with a dying kidney who is able to dialysize himself at home several nights a week and thus keep up with his friends in hiking, outdoor activities, etc. while waiting for a kidney transplant. On the other hand, I know of a poor foolish fortyish woman who was so intent on going to an out of town family wedding, though very sick with an obvious respiratory illness, that she refused all urging to see a doctor by friends and local family members (who were very concerned with how terribly ill she looked). She made it to the wedding–and then within a day or so, died of pneumonia! This woman was a very tough customer with a very foul mouth, but was also a hard worker, who left behind several children as well as her carpenter boyfriend. This happened a few months ago. Her shocking and very sad story struck me especially hard because my own grandmother died at the age of 31 of pneumonia, in 1913, leaving behind her broken husband (who worked in a small town Kansas bank) and three very young boys, my father the oldest at six years old. ( I myself was born twenty one years later, knowing this young grandmother only by a few old photos and brief family memories.) Of special interest to me was that, with her husband’s agreement and support, though he stayed behind working in Kansas, she had taken her three very young boys to New York City for several months, as a special cultural and educational treat, –very sadly, as it turned out, only half a year before she died. She had enrolled my father in the Horace Mann School and also took him to see the famous Armory Show of modern painting in 1913, a memory that stayed with him all his long life. He died at 94.
    As my husband’s kin say in the Russian Orthodox Church and as the congregation sings it, Derb, may you have “Many Years.”

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  30. SEATAF says:

    Mr. Derbyshire, you have many a fan, even among those who take exception to your politics and must, if they’re honest, reckon with your insights. Very best wishes for your health.

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  31. Sean says:
    @MBlanc46
    Please cite the passage in which Hume states that apples don’t exist.

    Thomas Reid wrote extended critiques of his contemporary Hume. Some think he misinterpreted him, however there is support for Hume holding such views in his major writings. In their correspondence on philosophy, Hume never complains of being misinterpreted by Reid on the point.

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  32. Eats shoots and leaves.
    Eats shoots, and leaves.
    Eats, shoots and leaves.
    Eats, shoots, and leaves.

    It’s not just an Oxford comma issue.

    BTW, the court was just looking to hand out money to the poor wretches by applying only the most basic rule of statutory interpretation to the matter. I could easily apply a couple others that would result in no payout,

    The picture of that “Eats …” book evoked “Eat, Pray, Love” before I read your text. Hmmm?

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