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Almost Missouri on an often overlooked perverse consequence of old age government welfare benefits:

The government is going to tax everyone’s kids to pay for your retirement, so it doesn’t particularly matter whether your kids feel like supporting you or not. Indeed, Social Security may be the biggest perverse incentive in history. For the previous few million years, your care and provision for your young determined their care and provision for you later. Two generations ago, FDR made everyone’s own kids materially irrelevant to their later selves. Indeed, children became a liability instead of an asset. You will pay to raise them, but they will be taxed to pay for everyone else’s retirement. The material winners are those who don’t have kids, never drain themselves of the massive child-rearing investment and then get to retire on everyone else’s kids’ taxes. The suckers raise all the kids who then pay for the freeloaders’ retirements. This is an unexamined cause of the Great Antinatalism.

Back in the days before the Great Awokening, when our rulers would at least put up a logical pretense for why they had to screw us over, we were told immigration was necessary to prop up our old age retirement programs because American citizens weren’t having enough kids to support them on their own. In a world where social programs turn children into financial liabilities for all but the poorest Americans, it almost seems like anti-natalism isn’t an unintended consequence but rather the intention.

Though he does not mean to make my blood boil over the human misery the Covidians have inflicted upon us, Craig Nelsen’s comment makes me febrile. It need not be read through the lens I forced upon it to be worthwhile, though:

I heard something some time ago that had a big impact. A woman who had worked for something like 40 years in a hopeless cases hospice–a place where people went to die–was asked what it was that the dying most regret. According to this woman, who knew human death as well as can be known to the living, said that, overwhelmingly, dying humans regret not maintaining relationships. They didn’t regret not being more thrifty, or not making better career choices, or not being more spiritual, or not being more faithful to God, or not working harder, or not being kinder, or not spending more time in nature, or not doing more charity work, they regretted allowing those relationships they’d had in life to disintegrate.

For relationships to disintegrate they must first exist. In this case the seen is bad–people unable to see friends and family–but the unseen–relationships that never come into existence in the first place because we’re all lepers now–is even worse.

AP on how the ramifications of the spirit of the democratic process being subverted in the 2020 election are more significant than is electoral fraud that may have transpired in the actual election process:

I doubt largescale cheating in the actual election process led to Trump losing (I agree with Karlin’s take); rather Trump lost unfairly through legal means such as media control and manipulation (i.e., shutting down the Hunter Biden scandal while constantly drumbeating about fake Russian collusion scandals, constant portrayals of Trump as an idiot and buffoon while scrubbing Biden’s gaffes our of existence) combined with hijinks such as ballot harvesting, false poll results aiming to demoralise Trump supporters, etc. The actual vote was probably real.

The total propaganda campaign by the media and entertainment industries (popular actors, singers, trusted talk show hosts suburban women watch, athletes all joining forces to tell the people whom to vote for) probably explains why Republicans in general did better than Trump did specifically. It’s a credit to the American people that about half of them voted for Trump despite the total media barrage.

Trump’s personal background and biography unfortunately made him an easy target. Hopefully someone without such baggage but with a similar political programme will emerge in 2024.

Remember when Trump was accused of blatantly lying in the debates about how a vaccine would be ready by the end of the year? At least the merchants of mendacity in the media apologized for that especially egregious fake news whopper, right?

Charles Pewitt on whether or not a characteristically middle-brow cultural reference was intentional:

Is Covid The Killer a reference to that baby boomer crybaby song about conquistador Cortez — Cortez The Killer — by the baby boomer cocaine booger kid Neil Young?

Yes. For each Spaniard marching with Cortez, there were ten Amerindians alongside him from tribes desperate to end the plundering and oppression they’d been subjected to at the hands of the Aztecs. Europeans weren’t more brutal or rapacious than the people they subjugated. To the contrary, they were generally less so. Who was the Aztec analogue of Bartolome de Las Casas? What European colonialists were able to do is to subjugate more effectively and at greater scale.

Young’s lyrics are laughably naive, about as naive as our response to Covid has been. But Cortez did bring about the death of the Aztec empire, even if not in the way he is conventionally understood to have done so, and Covid may do the same to the American empire.

 
• Category: Arts/Letters, Culture/Society, History • Tags: COTW 
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  1. Those were great comments this time, especially Almost Missouri’s. Regarding the great song Cortez the Killer, which was great due to Neil Young’s great guitar solo, not the lyrics, I really gotta link to Peak Stupidity‘s post from a couple of years back with a pictorial fisking of this song.

    Mr. Pewitt is right that this is a crybaby song, but just like Southern Man with its also asinine lyrics, compared to the sound, especially the guitar solos, the lyrics mean nothing. I can get my mind lost in those Neil solos in Down by the River, Powderfinger, and Like a Hurricane.

    Ignore the stupid lyrics. Hurray for Neil Young anyway!

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Curle
  2. nebulafox says:

    Wasn’t the big decimating factor for the indigenous peoples diseases like smallpox that they had no resistance to?

    IMO, Cortes was an inveterate liar and something of a hypocritical, preening prick even on imperialist standards, so I’m not doing to defend him. But there’s something more important that needs to be stressed: the modern bien-pensant view of non-Western cultures tends to reduce them to passive actors without any sort of history (involving good and evil like any society) of their own. Guys like Timurlane or Hideyoshi were probably even more sociopathic than the conquistadors, after all, and they needed no help from Europeans to do what they did.

    In the end, it’s the same thing that leads to many of these types seriously thinking that Muslims in the Islamic World are just like white liberals, but with headscarves and funny diets: everything revolves around them, with everyone else being Goodchildren or Badchildren in need of their guidance. Deeply condescending, really, when you think about it.

    • Agree: Polemos
    • Replies: @botazefa
    , @Catdog
    , @Icy Blast
  3. nebulafox says:

    On another note, this is probably a very bad historical analogy, but the Aztecs kind of remind me of an American Indian version of the Normans. Same kind of schizophrenic mixture of barbarism and culture, same hypercompetitive, militaristic society. They were originally desert nomads that came down into the valley of Mexico and got their start as mercenaries for the various city states in the area-parallels to the Norsemen coming down from Scandinavia. Over time, they absorbed the local culture just like the Normans became French and Christian, but just as the Normans retained something of their Viking nature underneath it all (the wanderlust, the resourcefulness, the military… and the mendacious ruthlessness), the Aztecs retained their own rough beginnings. Huitzilopochtli was their own tribal deity, not a copy from the more advanced civilizations around them, and while human sacrifice was a staple of Central American life long before the Aztecs arrived, the death cult revolving around him really jacked things up.

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @RSDB
    , @Getaclue
  4. MEH 0910 says:

    Neil Young – Goodbye Christians On The Shore (Official Music Video)

    Dec 17, 2020

    Goodbye Christians On The Shore
    Neil Young and The Stray Gators
    Previously unreleased song. Hear it in hi-res at NeilYoungArchives.com!

    [MORE]

    There are 12 songs on Neil Young’s new box set Archives Volume II: 1972–1976 that have never been released before in any form. One of the most beautiful is “Goodbye Christians on the Shore,” which even die-hard Young fans didn’t know existed until very recently. It’s on disc one (Everybody’s Alone 1972-1973) and Young also just posted it on YouTube along with a video.

    He recorded the song on December 15th, 1972 with the Stray Gators (drummer Kenny Buttery, bassist Tim Drummond, pianist Jack Nitzsche, guitarist Ben Keith) just before the launch of the Time Fades Away tour. The same session yielded “Come Along and Say You Will” and “Time Fades Away.” Those two songs were played live on the tour, but “Goodbye Christians on the Shore” was shoved into the vault, where it sat for 48 years.
    […]
    The set isn’t available yet on any streaming services, but it can be heard digitally on the Neil Young Archives website along with the rest of his vast catalog. Most of the time, only paid subscribers of the Archives have access to the music, but it’s available for free until the end of the year as a special holiday gift.

  5. @Achmed E. Newman

    Yes, Young’s solos on Southern Man are great despite the song. Neil Young, Richard Thompson and Jorma Kaukonen are the kings of that style of solo.

    • Replies: @Sean
  6. “The material winners are those who don’t have kids”

    What’s the point of dying wealthy unless you have kids to leave it to?

    I don’t know what it’s like in the States with house prices, but in the UK real wages have fallen slightly since 1997 while real house prices have more than doubled.

    I intend to give away most of my money to my kids, on condition it’s used in house purchase. Don’t want them to spend 20 years enriching a landlord. One child has already got their chunk.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  7. iffen says:

    What European colonialists Nazis were able to do is to subjugate more effectively and at greater scale.

  8. Sub says:

    Somewhere years back I came across a mention of Bronnie Ware’s book on deathbed regrets https://www.inc.com/candice-galek/the-top-5-regrets-of-the-dying-and-no-working-long.html and it stuck with me the same way Craig Nelsen’s experience did, although for a different regret.

    The top deathbed regret of men that she found was wishing that they had not worked so much, spending so much of their limited time on Earth away from family and friends and instead giving their ultimate loyalty to careers and corporations. Ever since reading that i have refused to work at places that have an overwork culture, and increasingly find myself mystified by the internal workings of the childfree millenial drones I encounter whose lives seem to revolve around their jobs.

    Do they actually think anyone is going to care that they gave it all to some non-human legal LLC entity in the hours before they die and their cats eat them?

    • Agree: Cloudbuster
    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
  9. Those of us with wives and children have managed the COVID crisis fairly well. Loneliness and lack of connections has certainly not been an issue. I wonder if the longer term legacy of this crisis will be to make some people think twice about embracing a rootless hedonistic lifestyle.

  10. Tho there are many dodgy elements in official stories of what is going on with coronavirus, one thing that struck me early on, is how the virus seems superbly designed to cull the elderly and seriously ill, quickly eliminating many ‘useless eaters’ who are such a burden on pensions and medical systems

    Tho infectiousness seems often over-played for the general population, with many false ‘positives’ from tests that many doctors claim tell us nothing –

    On 4 December in a home for the elderly, in a town called Mol not far from Antwerp Belgium, the son of one of the staff members, dressed up as Santa Claus to make a cheer-up visit to the residents. Since then, 23 of the elderly in that home have died, it is said from coronavirus Santa brought … Tho one sees surveys saying that many elderly would rather have visitors and die sooner, rather than be alone waiting for the Corona reaper

    In photo note the non-politically-correct but locally much-loved dark-faced assistants to Santa, traditional in the Low Countries, ‘Moors’ given that Santa is held to come from Spain

    • Agree: GazaPlanet
  11. Two generations ago, FDR made everyone’s own kids materially irrelevant to their later selves. Indeed, children became a liability instead of an asset. You will pay to raise them, but they will be taxed to pay for everyone else’s retirement. The material winners are those who don’t have kids, never drain themselves of the massive child-rearing investment and then get to retire on everyone else’s kids’ taxes. The suckers raise all the kids who then pay for the freeloaders’ retirements. This is an unexamined cause of the Great Antinatalism.

    I have been saying this for more than half my life.

    • Replies: @SFG
  12. … when our rulers would at least put up a logical pretense for why they had to screw us over….

    The takeaway here is that they feel they no longer need the consent of the governed. Question is, in a world locked down, what are the “governed” going to do about it?

  13. SFG says:
    @Mr. Rational

    It’s a good point.

    You could add in that no-fault divorce makes marriage more dangerous for high-earning men.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  14. @YetAnotherAnon

    All of the blabbering about Social Security, muh, “kids” and so forth overlooks people like you, me and many families I have known all my life: Those who leave capital to their children.

    Pensions, Social Security, etc. are simply attempts to enforce personal savings that will prevent most people from doing what most people do, i.e. spend everything they have and end up with nothing when they get old.

    Social Security here in the US was supposed to be a forced investment plan, kind of like a pension for everybody. It was NOT supposed to be a welfare plan paid for by the current generation of young workers to support the current generation of old retirees. But, of course, that is what it has become.

    You, I, and those others I have known have all inherited investments that were earned, wisely shepherded and then left to us. We are not “freeloaders,” and we do not need the State to support us. Nor do we need to live off our children, who should be free to explore and live as they see fit!

    Thank you for your comment. It is a breath of fresh air here at the moment.

  15. iffen says:

    Posts and comments like these give me deep pessimism as to our future. The only way out of this is if the Republican Party becomes the party of the American people, and it is chocked full of Social Darwinists that despise social welfare programs like Social Security.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Jay Fink
  16. @iffen

    As I just wrote previously, Social Security was not originally intended to be a social welfare program, but, rather, a State-enforced investment program.

    Now, I do not agree with the idea. I remember my own father telling me that his father said that Social Security would indeed become what it is now: a Ponzi scheme that cannot go on too long before it collapses. You see, there were many Americans during the FDR time that saw what would happen.

    My own, naive, hypothesis is that people like FDR and his peers thought in the same terms that I and some remaining others do today: Capitalism at the Personal Scale. We save and invest, as our parents and grandparents did, and we have — banked up like the hot coals of a big fire — CAPITAL that can live on through our lives and beyond.

    We don’t need anyone else, especially The State, to force us to do this, but FDR and his people thought we did. They thought we needed the State to force us to do what they did themselves: use capital.

    Social programs, and the whole “Democrat” program, resemble a religion for stupid people who are used to suffering and who live and work under a paradigm of suffering. (Religions work the same way.) People feel, and are told, that they need to be “taken care of,” when in fact, human beings are capable of taking care of themselves and their loved ones.

    • Disagree: iffen
  17. iffen says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    It does, in fact, take a village, even if the Wicked Witch of the West said it.

    • Agree: Dissident
    • LOL: Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @Dissident
  18. botazefa says:
    @nebulafox

    Deeply condescending, really, when you think about it

    I tend to believe that if modern cultures accept beheadings as normal, for example in Mexico & some Muslim countries, their forefathers did even worse.

  19. Catdog says:

    Yes. For each Spaniard marching with Cortez, there were ten Amerindians alongside him from tribes desperate to end the plundering and oppression they’d been subjected to at the hands of the Aztecs.

    Indeed. Though I have to say, there is a meme tangentially related to this that rubs me wrong. There seems to be a pervasive and growing idea that the conquest of Mexico was really a civil war, and the Spanish didn’t really do much but serve as cheerleaders or a Joan of Arc type rallying symbol. It’s nonsense.

    [MORE]

    The conquest was a close-fought thing, and any marginal mistake on the Spanish side probably would have changed the outcome. Without the aid of the Tlaxcala, the Spanish wouldn’t have survived after they were forced out of the capital. The Spanish couldn’t have won without native aid.

    However, the natives were neither eager to ally against the Aztecs, nor were they a more formidable military force than the Spanish. Cortes’ small band of impoverished, poorly-armed soldiers had to defeat large armies of natives before they agreed to ally against the Aztecs. The Tlaxcala were so oppressed by the Aztecs that they scarcely had clothing, but they were initially far more eager to kill the Spanish than the Aztecs. Cortes sent multiple requests for friendship, and the natives responded by sending army after army. Cortes only got the “friendship” he desired after he started cutting off the hands of prisoners.

    Despite being far outnumbered by their native allies, the Spanish still did the bulk of the fighting and killing. When natives followed Cortes’ army, they mostly served as porters, or waited until the Spanish had broken the back of the enemy before fully committing to the fight to chase down fleeing enemies and loot them.

    During the siege of the capital, it was the Spanish who both built and crewed the war galleys that cut off the city from resupply by water and it was the Spanish who led the daily assaults along the causeways into the city. The natives helped in these assaults for a time, until the Spanish forbid them from coming along anymore because they got in the way of the Spanish formations. The most important contribution the natives made was in making crossbow bolts.

    At one point it seemed that the siege would fail. The Spanish, thinking that the Aztec defenses had collapsed, pushed deep into the city. It turned out to be an ambush, and many were killed. The Tlaxcala allies, who were already weighed down with loot, decided that this would be a good time to go home. Except for a handful of native noblemen, the Spanish were left to finish the siege alone.

    A lot of people seem to find it hard to believe that an army of a few hundred beat armies of tens of thousands, over and over again, while usually taking only a handful of casualties. But around the same time, the Portuguese won control of the Indian ocean within a few years of reaching it for the first time. Pizarro conquered the entire Inca empire with a little over a hundred men.

    • Agree: RSDB
    • Replies: @Supply and Demand
    , @Talha
  20. Catdog says:

    Indeed. Though I have to say, there is a meme tangentially related to this that rubs me wrong. There seems to be a pervasive and growing idea that the conquest of Mexico was really a civil war, and the Spanish didn’t really do much but serve as cheerleaders or a Joan of Arc type rallying symbol. It’s nonsense.

    [MORE]

    The conquest was a close-fought thing, and any marginal mistake on the Spanish side probably would have changed the outcome. Without the aid of the Tlaxcala, the Spanish wouldn’t have survived after they were forced out of the capital. The Spanish couldn’t have won without native aid.

    However, the natives were neither eager to ally against the Aztecs, nor were they a more formidable military force than the Spanish. Cortes’ small band of impoverished, poorly-armed soldiers had to defeat large armies of natives before they agreed to ally against the Aztecs. The Tlaxcala were so oppressed by the Aztecs that they scarcely had clothing, but they were initially far more eager to kill the Spanish than the Aztecs. Cortes sent multiple requests for friendship, and the natives responded by sending army after army. Cortes only got the “friendship” he desired after he started cutting off the hands of prisoners.

    Despite being far outnumbered by their native allies, the Spanish still did the bulk of the fighting and killing. When natives followed Cortes’ army, they mostly served as porters, or waited until the Spanish had broken the back of the enemy before fully committing to the fight to chase down fleeing enemies and loot them.

    During the siege of the capital, it was the Spanish who both built and crewed the war galleys that cut off the city from resupply by water and it was the Spanish who led the daily assaults along the causeways into the city. The natives helped in these assaults for a time, until the Spanish forbid them from coming along anymore because they got in the way of the Spanish formations. The most important contribution the natives made was in making crossbow bolts.

    At one point it seemed that the siege would fail. The Spanish, thinking that the Aztec defenses had collapsed, pushed deep into the city. It turned out to be an ambush, and many were killed. The Tlaxcala allies, who were already weighed down with loot, decided that this would be a good time to go home. Except for a handful of native noblemen, the Spanish were left to finish the siege alone.

    A lot of people seem to find it hard to believe that an army of a few hundred beat armies of tens of thousands, over and over again, while usually taking only a handful of casualties. But around the same time, the Portuguese won control of the Indian ocean within a few years of reaching it for the first time. Pizarro conquered the entire Inca empire with a little over a hundred men.

  21. Catdog says:
    @nebulafox

    IMO, Cortes was an inveterate liar and something of a hypocritical, preening prick even on imperialist standards, so I’m not doing to defend him.

    Cortes was greedy and self-aggrandizing. He was constantly screwing his men over. He promised a lot but delivered little, and despite all the conquered Aztec gold the costs of the war left his men in debt. Despite that, he was extremely popular.

    The Trump of his day. He even had his never-Cortesers and deep-stater Velazquez tried to arrest him.

  22. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    The material winners are those who don’t have kids

    Yeah, but they pay taxes to support public education for those with children. People ignore their own subsidies but grouse about others. The money circulates locally and isn’t sent overseas which is one good thing. People in the US don’t live in tribal villages where the elders twelve children look out for them like in the third world.

    The total propaganda campaign by the media and entertainment industries

    It was amazing to behold the full-spectrum 24/7 propaganda apparatus at work. They dropped all subtlety as they ratcheted up the incessant lies and character assassination. The rottenness of agencies like the FBI also came into view. It’s worse than many thought. Free press, journalism, impartial reporting, all lies. It’s all what we were told existed in communist dictatorships but come to find out it’s right here at home.

  23. Civil rights legislation has probably played a bigger role in white anti-natalism than we care to admit. Modern social science has the tools to measure empirically whether the coercive suppression of “racism” in the white population has the effect of collapsing white fertility. After all, the parents of the Baby Boomers realized they had Social Security to look forward to, but they had largish families any way until the 1960’s, when our elites decided to demoralize the country’s white population and transfer resources from productive white families to unproductive black families.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    , @dfordoom
  24. anon[395] • Disclaimer says:

    The anti-natalism argument here bleeds over into Monty Python’s Every-sperm-is-sacred song. On my deathbed I’m gonna regret the studly genius billionaire kid I didn’t maybe knock up into that homely girl that time? That’s silly. What I’m gonna regret is realistic stuff, like my abandoned stalking relationship with Kim Kardashian’s phat ass. The counterfactuals of regret do not extend to imaginary friends you pop out of the crotch toaster.

    If you do have some, then they are kids, not livestock. They are not your assets, they’re going to put you in the home. The thing that makes kids a liability is highly class-specific – to wit, parents’ frantic struggle for positional goods, overpriced mediocre colleges, cultural capital, etc. That’s not due to hokey pension accounting but to the kleptocratic US gini coefficient, which makes you suck up to your betters to survive.

  25. Nodwink says:

    It was the late, great Australian art/social critic Robert Hughes who pointed out the brutality of pre-European cultures in the Americas in Culture of Complaint. Though published in 1993, its analysis of America’s culture wars is brilliant, it really is one of the best non-fiction books of the modern era. I highly recommend reading it.

  26. @Buzz Mohawk

    Buzz, You are completely mistaken about the roots of the US Social Security system, and all the iterations, changes, scope-growth since inception, all of it. 100% wrong, so wrong you will likely never believe how you could be so ignorant and ill informed.

    SS was designed to pay off AFTER most people were dead, at age 65. It was ALWAYS a general revenue tax disguised as a dedicated reserve/savings plan.

    I could go on. Look into it.

  27. RSDB says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    That’s an interesting opinion.

    Have you ever read Belloc’s The Servile State?

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  28. RSDB says:
    @nebulafox

    The most striking thing about the Normans might be their talent, if you can call it that, for assimilation. After a little while they were “more Irish than the Irish”, more Scottish than the Scottish, and more English than the English.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @Mark G.
  29. Almost Missouri is wrong:

    For the previous few million years, your care and provision for your young determined their care and provision for you later.

    Here’s Bryan Caplan from 2009:
    https://www.econlib.org/archives/2009/10/was_having_kids.html

    One popular story about the decline in family size over the last two centuries goes like this: Back in the old days, having kids paid. Children started working when they were quite young, and provided for their parents in their old age. Then industrialization and/or the welfare state came along and changed everything. Young children ceased to contribute much economically to their families, and once Social Security, Medicare, and so on were in place, people stopped supporting their aging parents.

    Kids did not pay in hunter-gatherer societies:

    [A]mong hunter- gatherers, resources flow from older to younger generations and not the other way around. These tribes all had very high average fertility (about eight births per woman), but in each case, children consumed more food than they caught, at all ages from birth until age 18. Grandparents continued to work hard to support their grandchildren and produced more than they ate. At almost no time in their adult lives, did adults produce less than they consumed. When people became too old and frail to work, death followed quickly. Suicide and euthanasia of the enfeebled were frequently reported.

    Kids did not pay in agricultural societies:

    Calculations by Mueller and by Goran Ohlin (1969) indicate that a parent who gave birth at age 20 and supported a child from age one to age 15 would receive a monetary rate of return of less than one percent on her investment if she retired at age 60 and was supported by the child until age 85 at the level of living that is normal for old people in peasant societies. When one accounts for the probability that either parent or child may die before the parent reaches 85 years of age, the expected rate of return becomes negative.

    Elsewhere, cannot find the link, Caplan makes the statement that children were net receivers of food in every society he studied. In other words, the older generations in every society supported the younger with provisions. He also said there is no evidence of ANY society where resources flowed from young to old in history.

    I would add: until the social welfare state in the USA (all right,in the West) where 18yo workers on minimum wage pay Medicare taxes for Warren Buffett’s healthcare. Bill Gates is also covered too.

    If there’s any stronger reason to suspect that our society is headed for the ash heap it’s that “no historical society had resource flow from young to old.” Some societies must have tried it, and vanished without a trace.

    • Disagree: GazaPlanet
  30. nebulafox says:
    @RSDB

    So did the Aztecs-they adopted the more ancient indigenous cultures around them to an astonishing extent. That said, one truly astonishing thing about the Normans was the sheer variety of places they adapted to. England is most famous, but they were equally successfully as far away as Sicily and the Levant.

    I don’t know if I “like” either race, but they are definitely never boring to study.

  31. Catdog says:
    @TomSchmidt

    You are conflating under-18 children with the grown “children” of their parents.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  32. nebulafox says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    One thing not pointed out enough about the early 1930s was that the notion of a revolution-Communist or fascist-wasn’t that far-fetched. The desperation engendered by the Great Depression was so profound that bank robbers like Dillinger were looked at as folk heroes for a while by many. So, I strongly suspect laissez-faire ideology was going to be emphatically rejected by the public, no matter how it was presented.

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with your statement because he truth is, my knowledge of economics is too limited for me to make any intelligent comment about it. But I do think the context of the times needs to be tossed out there. If you look at the trend of governments throughout the developed world in the time, it probably wasn’t ridiculous to assume that democracy was on the losing side of history. Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Brazil, China, Italy, Hungary, Poland, the Baltics, Romania, Greece, Turkey: all were ruled by some variant of a right-wing dictatorial government, in part out of non-irrational fear of the lunatics that took over Russia in recent memory. And even countries like France suffered from immense political infighting that was part of the reason for their swift collapse in WWII during the 1930s.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  33. tertius says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Anyone who has ever had employees knows that if you don’t take it and save it for them, it will never be saved. The majority refuse to participate in employer -matched retirement plans.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk
  34. Bill says:
    @TomSchmidt

    Caplan is bad at reasoning. He is especially bad at economic reasoning. Which is weird, given what his Ph.D. says.

    You could use that passage as an example of how the economically illiterate confuse marginal and average.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  35. It will be interesting to watch the politics as the Boomers (I am an early one, born in ’46) begin to die off and lose their political dominance. When it dawns on a greater and greater proportion of the population that our easy time of it was a one-off, there is going to be one hell of a lot of resentment.

    At my age, it looks like I will not need my bugout spot, a couple of acres with a good spring-fed creek and a trailer, but more and more that my kids might.

    They’ve been able to keep the wheels between the ditches longer than I thought they would, but eventually the piper must be paid.

  36. @TomSchmidt

    Calculations by Mueller and by Goran Ohlin (1969) indicate that a parent who gave birth at age 20 and supported a child from age one to age 15 would receive a monetary rate of return of less than one percent on her investment if she retired at age 60 and was supported by the child until age 85 at the level of living that is normal for old people in peasant societies. When one accounts for the probability that either parent or child may die before the parent reaches 85 years of age, the expected rate of return becomes negative.

    A rate of return of 1% or thereabouts is massive when the context is a society with near-zero mechanisms for capital accumulation and productivity growth. (And nowadays, a 1% net RoI is unavailable to the highly risk-averse. Thanks, bankers and government).

    Think of capital accumulation as a mechanism for congealing excess calories into a form that doesn’t perish. (Or congealing labour effort, which is the same thing more or less).

    Primitive societies simply don’t have any such mechanism – apart from feeding those calories to offspring, and trusting that the relationship can be managed in such a way that it ‘pays out’ in the parents’ dotage.

    For the most part, hunter-gatherers have few problems getting adequate day-to-day calories – I have seen edu-guesses that claim that tribal hunter-gatherers had/have higher levels of leisure than modern humans.

    If gathering sufficient calories is relatively easy to achieve, then feeding any excess to offspring really is a savings mechanism.

    Imagine a society that had zero or near-zero productivity growth for millennia. Any mechanism that arose that enabled storing calories with small losses, would be highly welcome. (As an example: some tribal societies harvest and store, but do not cultivate, local tubers).

    If the alternative rate of return on offer is -100% (i.e., all excess calories harvested, ‘go to zero’ in timeframes measured in days), a rate of return of 1% is huge.

    Think of a dog burying a bone rather than leaving it lying out in the open. In making the effort to bury the bone, the dog increases the rate of return from roughly -100% – where all excess bones are left lying around for any other predator to find – to some number that is still negative, but significantly better than complete loss. (The fact that dogs seldom bury multiple bones in the same place: that’s diversification and risk management, but that’s a story for another time).

    • Agree: EldnahYm
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  37. Mark G. says:
    @RSDB

    The most striking thing about the Normans might be their talent, if you can call it that, for assimilation. After a little while they were “more Irish than the Irish”, more Scottish than the Scottish, and more English than the English.

    They also became more Welsh than the Welsh. My ancestor was Dafydd Gam on my father’s side. Our family name became anglicized over the centuries but still starts with the “Ga”. According to the Wikipedia article on him, he was the model for the character of Fluellen in the Shakespeare play Henry V who was meant by Shakespeare to be the archetypical Welshman. My family is Norman, though, so Shakespeare’s archetypical Welshman was based on a real life Welshman who wasn’t even Welsh. He was a Norman.

    • Thanks: RSDB
  38. Jay Fink says:
    @iffen

    I agree even if I’m against government programs for the young and able bodied. There are two reasons I am pro Social Security. Workers are forced to pay into it their whole lives so they shouldn’t lose that money. The other reason is employers favor hiring younger over older workers. I am sure there are reasons for this (and arguments could also be made for doing the reverse) but if older people have a difficult time earning income there needs to be a safety net. “They should have saved” some of you are saying. That would have been easier for them if the FED didn’t keep artificially inducing inflation, in particular in things needed to survive such as housing.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @TomSchmidt
  39. zimriel says:

    Ookie Mouth Epigone has no use for the olds once they/we leave their/our child bearing years; they’re the problem of their families, and if there are no families they’re their own problem. This post explains why (in other posts) Ookie Mouth Epigone doesn’t care about CoVID infection-rates.

    Dead old singles are a feature of Ookie Mouth, not a bug.

  40. iffen says:
    @Jay Fink

    “They should have saved” some of you are saying. That would have been easier for them if the FED didn’t keep artificially inducing inflation, in particular in things needed to survive such as housing.

    Yes, and look at all that interest income you can get by “saving.”

    And another thing about saving. If you are working or middle class, and you save on your own for retirement, the Feds will tax 85% of your Social Security payments. Working people pay income tax on their FICA, then the payout is taxed when you receive it in retirement if you are fortunate enough to have saved for your retirement.

  41. @advancedatheist

    There was a significant drop from 1964 to 1965. That might be civil rights. It might be Medicare and Medicaid, which both passed in1965.

    But in order NOT to have a baby in 1965, you need to avoid getting pregnant after March, 1964, so it’s doubtful that the drop off in 1965 was related to anything in 1965.

    I strongly suspect that the killing of JFK threw a switch from a slow fertility decline to a cliff. I’d guess that the real cliff comes in August, 1964, which is 9 months after Dallas. I’ve not found monthly birth records for the USA to explain this, however.

  42. @Bill

    “You could use that passage as an example of how the economically illiterate confuse marginal and average.”

    Your point is not obvious here. Caplan is dealing with societies in aggregate. Are you implying that in hunter-gatherer or agricultural societies that some older people are substantially wealthier than the population average, so their resource flow to younger people skews the average?

    It’s only societies with significant surplus wealth that show the median/average skew you imply, if so. You might then look at the USA in the 80’s
    https://www.econlib.org/archives/2009/10/family_transfer.html

    Contrary to popular belief, the elderly financially support their kids, rather than the other way around. This was true in hunter-gatherer and peasant societies. A neat piece in the JEP shows that it was also true in the U.S. in the 1980s.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  43. @Kratoklastes

    Yes, it’s hard to adapt to a world where the 10-year is looking UP at a yield of 1%. Unreal, that. Given recent stock market increases, it’s also hard to recall that 2% growth, compounded for centuries, is what made the West rich. So we ought not sneer at a “monetary return of less than one percent.”

    Saving in the form of investing food in children who might be productive capital assets in the future (or, in a slave society like Rome, be turned into cash in the slave market) is better than letting bugs, mice, or fungus destroy the excess. I appreciate the insight.

    What do you think were the peasant society prospects of surviving until age 60 and living 25 more years? Recall that it is only in the 20th century that the human species exceeded 50 years in expected lifespan, although a lot of that was probably childhood diseases lowering the average.

  44. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Buzz Mohawk

    when in fact, human beings are capable of taking care of themselves and their loved ones.

    Yeah, I’m tired of paying taxes to support freeloading 90-year-olds. They should learn to code. And don’t get me started on freeloaders like quadriplegics and blind people. They should learn to code as well. And orphans are the worst of all.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  45. Getaclue says:
    @nebulafox

    The American Indians have been way over romanticized — various tribes were vicious killers of others and loved them some extended torture of the captured — does anyone ever read the real history?

    Garbage like “Dances With Wolves” and other endless propaganda paint a picture that never existed. Many of the Tribes joined the “evil” YT against others that had been raiding and torturing them endlessly– others WANTED what the YTs had in advancements given how they were living — some of the American Indians owned slaves….

    — Nearly all the Oral Traditions of every Tribe state that there were people here when they came over thru Alaska, that there were great cities and “Mound Builders (some said to have been White) — where are those first “Native Americans”? Gone — because we are told the American Indians murdered all of them — every last one — and are quite proud of it. The “evil” YTs didn’t do this obviously to the American Indians — if you are clued into life for any of the Casino Tribes (in Florida they are quite happy and prosperous on the Res) and those that aren’t plagued by vicious alcoholism have done well from what I’ve seen in my personal experience. Tired of so many lies and people spreading them thru ignorance or otherwise….

    • Agree: Mark G.
    • Replies: @nebulafox
  46. dfordoom says: • Website
    @advancedatheist

    Civil rights legislation has probably played a bigger role in white anti-natalism than we care to admit.

    Civil rights legislation has probably played a much smaller role in white anti-natalism than most people here care to admit. In fact it has probably played no role at all.

    Modern social science has the tools to measure empirically whether the coercive suppression of “racism” in the white population has the effect of collapsing white fertility. After all, the parents of the Baby Boomers realized they had Social Security to look forward to, but they had largish families any way until the 1960’s, when our elites decided to demoralize the country’s white population and transfer resources from productive white families to unproductive black families.

    Fertility has been declining in the West since the 19th century. The “Baby Boom” was a temporary artificial aberration caused by the war. The long-term trend has been towards decline.

    Not everything is about race. Racial issues have played no part in collapsing birth rates.

  47. Dr. Doom says:

    One has a duty to his ancestors to reproduce.

    Any way you can, really.

    Drop some seed into a woman. Its not that bad.

    This culture is dying off. Homosexuality, abortion and invaders.

    A New Order will soon rise here.

    Strong borders, Strong leaders, and no more wimmen’s rights.

    Women prefer strong men. These whiny metrosexuals are on their way to extinction.

  48. @Jay Fink

    “Workers are forced to pay into it their whole lives so they shouldn’t lose that money. ”

    The money was lost the minute it was sent to the Feds. Recall Nestor v. Fleming: there is no earned right to Social Security. Whether they shouldn’t lose it makes no difference: they have lost it and only their voting strength and maybe some guilt keeps the dollars flowing.

    Make no mistake: channeling vaccine AWAY from the elderly because they are “too white” is a trial balloon for defunding the people who’ve “benefited” from “systemic racism.” Can you think of any reason why a younger, poorer, 50%-non-white millennial generation should want to pay 15.3% of its wages to support an older, wealthier, 90%-white recipient group?

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @SaneClownPosse
  49. dfordoom says: • Website
    @nebulafox

    One thing not pointed out enough about the early 1930s was that the notion of a revolution-Communist or fascist-wasn’t that far-fetched.

    I agree. In fact even in the late 19th century fear of socialist revolution was perfectly rational. And it was still a rational fear in the 1940s.

    The welfare state was created to save capitalism. It was a simple choice. Either create a welfare state or face the near certainty of socialist or fascist revolution.

    If the welfare state were to be abolished tomorrow then revolution would again become a very real possibility.

    Capitalism cannot survive without the welfare state.

    • Agree: Dutch Boy, Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @Dutch Boy
  50. nebulafox says:
    @Getaclue

    Funny thing is that a lot of tribes are quite proud of their martial heritage, contrary to the 1970s white lefty portrayal of them as proto-hippies. The military remains a popular choice for youngsters looking for a ticket off the reservation.

    • Agree: Getaclue
  51. @dfordoom

    Tiny Duck would beg to differ.

  52. The government is going to tax everyone’s kids to pay for your retirement, so it doesn’t particularly matter whether your kids feel like supporting you or not. Indeed, Social Security may be the biggest perverse incentive in history. For the previous few million years, your care and provision for your young determined their care and provision for you later. Two generations ago, FDR made everyone’s own kids materially irrelevant to their later selves. Indeed, children became a liability instead of an asset. You will pay to raise them, but they will be taxed to pay for everyone else’s retirement. The material winners are those who don’t have kids, never drain themselves of the massive child-rearing investment and then get to retire on everyone else’s kids’ taxes. The suckers raise all the kids who then pay for the freeloaders’ retirements. This is an unexamined cause of the Great Antinatalism.

    There is one population group in the U.S.A. for whom this is not true: the Amish. The Amish do not take social security or unemployment payments, and are exempted from paying into these programs for religious reasons. They do not usually have health insurance either, and a little known provision of the law exempts them from the mandatory requirement coverage under Obamacare. Instead, they rely on their children and their community to take care of them when they are old or infirm, giving them a material interest in having large numbers of children.

    Another factor that I think leads them to have large families is the types of occupations that they hold. The Amish generally discourage their members from taking jobs that will remove them from their community, and although most of them no longer farm for a living, they tend to go into occupations such as construction and woodworking where the entire family can work together. Amish children do not go to school after the 8th grade, but instead tend to work in family-owned businesses until they marry and start families of their own – in other words, an Amish young person may spend 8-10 years helping out in the family business before leaving home, so that they contribute more than they cost.

    Other religious groups such as Mormons and traditional Roman Catholics may encourage large families, but they still live contemporary lifestyles that mean raising children is an expensive, money-losing proposition, and their growth rates have slowed as a result. For the Amish, on the other hand, children represent several years of labor benefiting their families as well as a guarantee of being cared for in old age or illness. Aside from religious reasons, it is in their self-interest to have large families, in contrast to almost everyone else, for whom children are an economic burden. Their population growth rates reflect that: from 5,000 people a century ago, there are now about 350,000 Amish in America today, and their population doubles every 20-25 years.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @Wency
  53. For relationships to disintegrate they must first exist. In this case the seen is bad–people unable to see friends and family–but the unseen–relationships that never come into existence in the first place because we’re all lepers now–is even worse.

    All we were asked to do in the summer was to take it outside. It’s a different thing now, and no, I’m not following the lockdown anymore. But the whole mythologization of the year 2020 as a year where we were we couldn’t see anyone else, it’s just so lame and gay.

    As to the fertility rate issue, I suggest a solution here: https://alexanderturok.wordpress.com/2020/06/04/a-modest-proposal-to-increase-fertility-rates/

  54. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Indiana Jack

    There is one population group in the U.S.A. for whom this is not true: the Amish.

    The example of the Amish is actually very depressing. They have high fertility rates but the downside is that you have to live like the Amish. That’s not an option for the entire population of a modern society, and in any case it’s an option very very few people would choose.

    If the only way to have high fertility is to live like the Amish then there’s no viable solution for demographic collapse.

    • Replies: @DN Oldworld
  55. utu says:

    “… my blood boil over the human misery the Covidians have inflicted upon us…” – You omitted most important part of Craig Nelsen’s comment

    As someone who read Ayn Rand as a teenager, I believe it should be illegal for teenagers to read Ayn Rand.

    […]

    The hyper-individualism of Ayn Rand appeals to teens because that is the stage in life we can imagine ourselves as Henry Roarks or Dagny Tabbarts (sp), as it should be, but it isn’t a healthy or sustainable life philosophy. There was a reason the novelist had to make Dagny Tabbart single and Henry Roark locked in a loveless marriage. Her heroes weren’t quite fully human.

    We see the results of this religion of the individual all around us–the ease with which we permanently disavow loyalty to our siblings, to our parents, and, most fatally, to our race

    As far as human relationships and connections the misery inflicted by Ayn Rand and all sorts of libertarian programming is greater than 30 years of covid lockdowns.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @Mark G.
  56. @dfordoom

    “It’s an option very very few would choose:”
    In fact, they all choose it. Amish are encouraged to explore the worldly temptations at 18 (rumspinga). This ensures that those who choose the path, don’t stray. They’ve seen our world and wisely choose theirs.

    Those of us outside the Amish society aren’t invited into it and can’t choose it. As alluded to by @another fred, however, many of us are working on a hybrid model.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  57. Icy Blast says:
    @nebulafox

    Why the pointless, baseless attack on Cortez? Did you just finish reading Howard Zinn, like a good little American Hipster? Are you a trustfunder who thinks Piketty and Robin DiAngelo are timeless intellectuals?

  58. Mark G. says:
    @utu

    As far as human relationships and connections the misery inflicted by Ayn Rand and all sorts of libertarian programming is greater than 30 years of covid lockdowns.

    Libertarians have very little influence now. If they had more influence we wouldn’t have such monstrosities as the newest trillion dollar stimulus bill that runs to 5600 pages, ten times as long as Atlas Shrugged. We wouldn’t have run an almost five trillion dollar deficit for one year here in the U.S. or driven thousands of businesses into bankruptcy with lockdowns or sacrificed the economic futures of our young people by crippling the economy in order to extend the lives of some very elderly people another year or two.

    It’s hard to judge what the long term costs of this is going to be. For example, the following article below estimates the long term decline in wealth from lockdowns in Britain may lead to an average loss in life expectancy of four months per person. Multiplied by the population of Britain, this is the equivalent of 560,000 average lives lost. Libertarian lockdown opponents don’t oppose lockdowns because they are selfish people who don’t care about others. They just think we need to look at both short term benefits and long term costs and decide if making us poorer and, most likely, less free in the future as the result of what we are doing now is worth it.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8925425/Lockdown-claim-equivalent-560-000-lives-health-impact-recession-cause.html

  59. @Catdog

    “despite all the conquered Aztec gold the costs of the war left his [Cortez] men in debt”

    If I did not already think that Cortez was Jewish, having his soldiers loan him the funds for the conquest, seals such a deal, and of course not paying them back is lox on the bagel.

    Ah, maybe the soldiers had to buy shares in a profit seeking venture chartered in Spain’s version of City of London. The venture had to raise funds to buy/lease the ships, procure provisions for the voyage, etc. Cortez was just reinvesting profits instead of paying dividends.

    • LOL: Leander Starr
  60. Charlotte says:

    I wonder whether Social Security doesn’t subtly encourage adult children to ignore their parents by making it easier to say, well, they’ll be okay . . . they’ve got an income, when things like human connection are terribly important to quality of life.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  61. Dutch Boy says:
    @dfordoom

    The welfare state and usury keep it afloat.

  62. @TomSchmidt

    Face it, 99% of everyone who ever lived on this planet never attained any where near the wealth of the 0.01%.

    Most of us are serfs, just some get to eat the good stuff in the kitchen, the rest make do with the crap that the master does not want to eat. Okra and pig’s knuckles were commodities that the masters could not market for profit. They live on as soul food.

  63. Sean says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Young’s long hair had got him a roadhouse beating by some Southerners. It is a bit like ‘Voltaire’, who became anti establishment after he got seven bells knocked out him over a personal matter with at the behest of an aristocrat who stood and jeered. Voltaire started hanging around with thugs and suspected of planning vengeance was ordered to leave the city. It was after this he criticized the ancient regieme. Much great art must have started with a right good kicking. See Robert Crumb’s Cave Wimp.

    The government is going to tax everyone’s kids to pay for your retirement

    That will be the ostensible reason, but in reality you will never see it.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  64. @Catdog

    In a hunter gatherer society, I expect that the 18yo children were soon set to breeding, themselves. So, though they were adults and so produced a surplus, according to the article I cited, it likely went to their own children. And, eventually, grandchildren.

  65. dfordoom says: • Website
    @DN Oldworld

    “It’s an option very very few would choose:”

    In fact, they all choose it. Amish are encouraged to explore the worldly temptations at 18 (rumspinga). This ensures that those who choose the path, don’t stray. They’ve seen our world and wisely choose theirs.

    Very few people not brought up in that world would choose it.

    How many non-Amish are emulating the Amish lifestyle?

    As alluded to by @another fred, however, many of us are working on a hybrid model.

    It would be an interesting experiment. I don’t think you’ll get many takers but you may get a few.

    The problem you face is that the Amish are an accepted part of American society so they’re tolerated and allowed lots of leeway to practise their lifestyle. I don’t think groups setting out to emulate (or partially emulate) that lifestyle will be afforded the same toleration. In fact I’m sure they won’t be. You’re likely to encounter a lot of legal and bureaucratic harassment. Or worse. Remember Waco.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Thea
    , @Almost Missouri
  66. @RSDB

    Thank you. I have not read The Servile State, but now you have me interested in it.

    I have of course read Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Based on what I have just now read about what you have recommended, I think Belloc’s book would be a very worthwhile addition indeed, particularly with regard to the topic of servility.

    I note also, in my quick search, something called The Servile Mind, by Kenneth Minogue. It is this “servile mind” that I think appears again and again in history and in very large organizations, but what do I know?

  67. Talha says:
    @dfordoom

    How many non-Amish are emulating the Amish lifestyle?

    Not many…guns and ammo are still flying off the shelves.

    Peace.

  68. Talha says:
    @dfordoom

    Civil rights legislation has probably played a much smaller role in white anti-natalism than most people here care to admit. In fact it has probably played no role at all.

    Agree. I’ve known plenty of white coworkers and acquaintances that have willingly decided to have one or no kids (or simply overlook marriage altogether); not a one gave their reason as “because blacks can sit in the same restaurant as me”.

    Peace.

  69. Talha says:

    Aztec gold

    Cortez was an OG dreamer…

    Peace.

  70. @Catdog

    Poorly armed compared to what, precisely? Cortes had metallurgy and arbalests, and a few arquebuses. They had rodeleros which could shatter obsidian blades. Toledo Rapiers that could pierce through wicker shields and impale their enemies with ease. They carried with them plague and the Catholic faith — the first to sew the seeds of chaos and the second to secure redemption. When they landed they were the Space Marines of the 16th century. They fought accordingly.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Catdog
    , @Curle
  71. Talha says:
    @Catdog

    Pizarro conquered the entire Inca empire with a little over a hundred men.

    If I recall, didn’t Pizarro basically pull that off by inviting the emperor over with an unarmed entourage for a feast and then basically going full gangsta on them with cannons for dessert?

    Peace.

  72. Talha says:
    @Supply and Demand

    Poorly armed compared to what, precisely?

    Hey man, don’t discount the efficacy of Aztecs heaving large rocks!
    I know, I know, these were the other guys, but I have read accounts of Aztecs also coming to the battlefield with some of them equipped with the equivalent of sticks and stones.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  73. Catdog says:
    @Supply and Demand

    I mean that Cortes’ original crew was poorly armed relative to a real European army. They had about a dozen each of harquebuses and crossbows and seventeen horses, only a few of which were good warhorses. In artwork they are often depicted wearing full suits of steel armor, but their armor was actually nothing but thick cotton jackets. The guns were useful for sniping captains and the horses disrupted charges with flank attacks, but the Spanish adventurers in Mexico were rag-tag compared to the Spanish army that was then fighting the French.

    Later waves of Spanish reinforcements were better armed, but were made up of softer, wealthier men.

  74. Wency says:
    @Catdog

    Whatever the financial position of his men (and more than the financial position, I’d consider that a great many, I think a majority, died) the conquest of Mexico manifestly caused the surviving Spanish in Mexico to become rich in women, seeing as how a relatively small number of Spanish men peopled a nation of Mestizos that are roughly 65% European in ancestry.

    Given a choice, I think most men, and especially the sort of men who join conquering armies, would prefer to be rich in women and status and poor in money, as opposed to the reverse. I’m sure it must be a hell of a rush to be an invader in a time and place where the native Y chromosome is being extinguished and replaced with your own.

  75. Thea says:
    @dfordoom

    There are a lot of “halfway” Mennonite communities near me. They are decades old and most people where born into it. Mostly offshoots of stricter orders. They aren’t exactly thriving but won’t disappear anytime soon.

    They wouldn’t turn away outsiders who want to join but they don’t proselytize either.

  76. Wency says:
    @Indiana Jack

    I’ll contend that the main reason the Amish have lots of children is not an economic one. It’s that they believe that having lots of children and discipling them in Amish ways is the right and proper thing to do. Centering your life around entertainment, travel, and living comfortably is not at all the right and proper thing to do. Moreover, a woman’s status is correlated with being married and having a large family. And because they have to look plain, live simply, and otherwise abide by traditional rules that don’t really allow for holiness signaling spirals, there just aren’t many other status games to play besides getting married and having kids. Everything in their society is directing young people towards this purpose.

    The economic value of children in a traditional society is constantly overstated in these discussions (and also referring to the Almost Missouri post that AE cited above). Human offspring — like the offspring of every other species, plant or animal — are almost always and everywhere a net expenditure of resources, particularly from a net present value standpoint, but typically in absolute terms as well. This is a law of nature. The apple tree doesn’t produce apples in order to grow stronger; it spends energy that could be used to better prolong its own survival because the apple is an end unto itself. It would be quite an odd thing if modern society with its failing fertility were more aligned with nature in this regard than traditional societies.

    Of course, the cost of human children is in a class by itself, and so it’s natural that successful societies would seek to defray that cost and to favor producing more children with less oversight instead of lavishly doting on 1-2 children as moderns do. It’s absolutely cheaper and easier to have children in an Amish family, but each child is still a sacrifice that is not worth it if you’re merely looking to maximize your standard of living.

    All that said, I do think people in traditional societies can sometimes be somewhat indoctrinated into beliefs that overstate the economic value of children. Despite those beliefs being false, they survive because they’re useful. But I think most people know deep down that their lives are about to become harder and stay harder for the foreseeable future when they have children.

    Lastly, I’ll observe that the Bible (Psalm 127:4-5) frames the advantage of fertility in terms of countering the threat of one’s enemies in old age, not the benefit of labor in one’s prime. This was surely a very important point in the clannish conditions that characterized the vast majority of human history, but it’s not entirely irrelevant in the present and might well become more relevant again in the future.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @Almost Missouri
  77. @Sub

    I retired a few years ago at 54, but my epiphany about the nature of corporate work came much earlier than that, probably ten years earlier. I had been extremely fortunate in the previous 20 years of my career to work under extremely good, caring bosses — bosses who would go to bat for you against management, even at personal cost, bosses who prioritized your home life and understood that you had a life beyond work. I lived in a kind of fantasy bubble, because this was four different bosses over 20 years all with that very human and brave ethic.

    Then, finally, I got to experience The Bad Boss. What a nightmare. I also got to experience the bad corporation — 10 years of going above and beyond for a company, only to have the executive team royally screw over the employees when the company got bought up by Boeing. I experienced cowardly bosses, vindictive bosses, bosses who would drive you regardless of the damage to your family and home life.

    I finally understood that we were all disposable cogs in a corporate machine that would discard us without a second thought once they couldn’t wring enough blood from us.

    I vowed then to get out. It took me about ten years of diligent, careful investment to achieve, but I’d rather die than go back. The time with family is far more important.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  78. @dfordoom

    when in fact, human beings are capable of taking care of themselves and their loved ones.

    Yeah, I’m tired of paying taxes to support freeloading 90-year-olds. They should learn to code. And don’t get me started on freeloaders like quadriplegics and blind people. They should learn to code as well. And orphans are the worst of all.

    I don’t mean what you imply. When The State takes over our personal, cultural desires to take care of our loved ones, then we have a problem. Can you see the difference?

    Like you, I feel strongly (as any normal person would, BTW, thus making your entire point here moot) that the kinds of cases you describe need, in fact REQUIRE, social help on the large scale. NO ONE should ever deny that.

    Actually, I do see your point of view, but I also see what you can’t see. (It is common, in fact perhaps the norm, for competing perspectives to both be right at the same time.)

    One gist of my comments here about this subject is the fact that the average bloke tends not to use CAPITAL in the way it can be used. My claim is that things like Social Security — and, frankly, PENSIONS that various employees are REQUIRED to participate in — were created to prevent the massive, social burden that would otherwise come about.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  79. Curle says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    And Young did have his red pill moments:

    “ People, pick up on what I’m puttin’ down now
    Welfare mothers make better lovers
    Down at every Laundromat in town now
    Welfare mothers make better lovers
    While they’re washin’ you can hear this sound now
    Welfare mothers make better lovers
    Divorcee!”

    And don’t forget:

    “ I was thinking that maybe I’d get a maid
    Find a place nearby for her to stay
    Just someone to keep my house clean
    Fix my meals and go away
    A maid
    A man needs a maid
    A maid”

  80. nebulafox says:
    @Catdog

    Cortes struck me as a very high-functioning psychopath, with all the classical strengths and weaknesses of one. It was a close run thing, because his penchant for pathological lying and screwing everybody around him (other Spaniards included) over nearly sunk the conquests. But the strengths won out in the conquest of the Mexica. A normal person would have been broken by La Noche Triste. A psychopath would just get more fixated on that gold and glory.

    I don’t necessarily mean that with the negative connotations that we instinctively attach to the term. Psychopathy doesn’t make you evil, exactly-it just means you feel no deep emotions or connections to other human beings. Among other things, this results in a constant sense of boredom that is alleviated in different ways depending on the man (and like most forms of mental exoticism, good and bad alike, it is almost always a man), and the main feature of Cortes that we get after all the white and black propaganda surrounding his is filtered out is a sense of sheer restlessness, from boyhood to death.

  81. nebulafox says:
    @Talha

    The obsidian weapons that the Aztecs used were harder than surgical steel and could slice off a horse’s head, so they weren’t to be taken lightly. Many conquistadors died, whether in La Noche Triste or in the final siege of Tenochtitlan, and some that were captured were sacrificed in full view of their comrades, to the horror of the conquistadors. The Aztecs were extremely skilled psychologically terrorists.

    (The Aztecs executed the Spaniards with a blow to the back of their necks in the final battles and then unceremoniously chucked the corpses down the pyramid to be eaten by the capital’s zoo animals. This speaks volumes about their view of the Spanish by that point: it was a disgraceful punishment ordinarily reserved for the worst kinds of criminals. This all had the effect of making both sides fight all that much harder, because the Aztecs knew the bridges were burnt and the Spaniards were under no illusions about their fate if they lost. And of course, the indigenous allies of the Spaniards, like the Tlaxcalans, knew that Tenochtitlan’s revenge rampage afterwards would be horrific if the empire came out on top.)

    That said, the contest between Old and New World had been decided in the favor of the Old for millennia. It was never even a real contest. The indigenous peoples of the Americas just hadn’t had civilizations for nearly as long as the Eurasian landmass. They could never hope to make up for that. And as I mentioned, the real cause of the the elimination of vast quantities of people were the diseases, the tribes that took the side of the Europeans as much as anyone.

    • Replies: @Talha
  82. Dr. Doom says:

    Having a government that cares about you is not a bad thing.

    Its the Nanny State where they tell you what to do that’s bad.

    A patriarchy that puts you and yours first is the best government.

    Accept no substitute. Help bankrupt the zionists.

    Sabotage, subvert and smile.

    Do not assist, RESIST.

  83. Talha says:
    @nebulafox

    That said, the contest between Old and New World had been decided in the favor of the Old for millennia. It was never even a real contest.

    Yeah. I mean having to go to war with other civilizations that have gone to war with other civilizations in an uninterrupted tug of war going back for centuries upon centuries gives you a pretty big bonus in experience.

    Disease is what really sealed it for the New World. When you read about some of the estimates of how many people died, it is just absolutely apocalyptic. That would have been horrific for morale.

    Peace.

  84. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Wency

    I’ll contend that the main reason the Amish have lots of children is not an economic one. It’s that they believe that having lots of children and discipling them in Amish ways is the right and proper thing to do.

    Agreed.

    Moreover, a woman’s status is correlated with being married and having a large family. And because they have to look plain, live simply, and otherwise abide by traditional rules that don’t really allow for holiness signaling spirals, there just aren’t many other status games to play besides getting married and having kids.

    That’s a point I keep making. If you want high fertility you have to take choices away from people. If people have other choices available to them other than child-rearing then (without very very strong religious motivations) they will find those other choices to be much more attractive than child-rearing. Which explains why fertility has collapsed in East Asia – East Asian societies now offer people lots of other choices, just like in the West.

    The better life gets, the less interested people will be in having children.

    So if you want high fertility rates you have to create a society that offers people as little freedom as possible. And you need to create a society with such a low material standard of living that material aspirations disappear.

    What you have to decide is – is it worth it? Is it worth creating a society in which most people’s lives will be endless misery and endless drudgery without any hope of things getting better just to have a high birth rate? Because without extreme religious zeal to motivate them most people would experience living in such a society as an endless nightmare.

    The only other option I can see is a very Brave New World sort of option, with the state doing the child-rearing. I’m not talking about providing child care centres and stuff like that, I’m talking about the state taking over child-rearing completely with children reared entirely in state institutions. Maybe even at some stage, when the technology is available, having the state take over the entire process of procreation which children both born and raised in the equivalent of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. That would make high birth rates possible whilst still giving people other life choices besides child-rearing.

    • Replies: @Wency
  85. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Buzz Mohawk

    I don’t mean what you imply. When The State takes over our personal, cultural desires to take care of our loved ones, then we have a problem. Can you see the difference?

    Of course. The problem is that peoples’ desires to take care of their loved ones are often not enough to overcome the difficulties involved in doing so. When my mother was no longer capable of caring for herself we cared for her at time rather than putting her into a nursing home. But we could only do that thanks to very generous government social programs. The expenses and the amount of work involved are horrifying when the person (as was the case with my mother) needs enormous mounts of care. If you try to do that from your own resources it will break you financially and emotionally.

    Like you, I feel strongly (as any normal person would, BTW, thus making your entire point here moot) that the kinds of cases you describe need, in fact REQUIRE, social help on the large scale. NO ONE should ever deny that.

    We basically agree, although one problem is that a lot of people who currently do not require such social programs live in a fantasy world in which they will never require them, so they don’t want to pay for them. It’s amazing how many people seem to think that their parents will never get old and that they themselves will never get old.

    Actually, I do see your point of view, but I also see what you can’t see. (It is common, in fact perhaps the norm, for competing perspectives to both be right at the same time.)

    Agreed. And I appreciate the fact that you’re able to see both perspectives.

  86. @Charlotte

    Agree. I even wonder if Social Security doesn’t subtly encourage adult children to resent their parents by making it easier to say, well, they’ll be okay … they’ve been getting 15% of my income for my entire adult life.

  87. @dfordoom

    Very few people not brought up in that world would choose it.

    True, but in various collapse scenarios you won’t get a choice.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  88. @Cloudbuster

    What is it with Boeing?

    I have never worked for Boeing but, over the past 30 years, have crossed paths with six or seven persons who had worked there or (departing from the university) were on their way to work there or (in one case) still work there. Only one out of the six or seven can seem to find anything nice to say about the company.

    Then, finally, I got to experience The Bad Boss. What a nightmare. I also got to experience the bad corporation — 10 years of going above and beyond for a company….

    Still at your desk at 7:30 p.m. while the office cleaning crew is bustling past your cubicle and your dinner is growing cold at home for the third night in a row. I know the feeling. You loved doing it. You were a team player. You asked little in return other than your regular paycheck and a nod of recognition from the chief once or twice a year. A company man, you were the unsung hero who made that enterprise go.

    And then some snot with an MBA from a fancy school gets put in charge and turns everything inside out for no reason whatever, within five years after which the division in which you work, now unprofitable, gets axed—and no one even remembers all those cold dinners but you.

    Such vain, careless spite is hard to forgive.

    Thank God there are so many good bosses out there. The Bad Boss is hell.

    • Agree: Cloudbuster
    • Replies: @Liberty Mike
  89. @Sean

    The government is going to tax everyone’s kids to pay for your retirement

    That will be the ostensible reason, but in reality you will never see it.

    That’s true, but that’s a separate problem: besides being a bad idea, the system is also a Ponzi scheme.

  90. @V. K. Ovelund

    That snot with an MBA from a fancy school may well have been a Bain Capital boy.

    • Agree: anarchyst
    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  91. @Buzz Mohawk

    Social Security here in the US was supposed to be a forced investment plan, kind of like a pension for everybody. It was NOT supposed to be a welfare plan paid for by the current generation of young workers to support the current generation of old retirees.

    Ah, I see you have fallen into the trap of believing what politicians said.

    But, of course, that is what it has become.

    Well, if by “become”, you mean that’s exactly what is was from day one, then yes. Notwithstanding what politicians, FDR chief among them, were saying, Social Security was explicitly designed as a tax on younger workers to pay for older pensioners. The very first retiree in the system immediately received more money than she had paid in. So it was never an “investment” plan, not even a forced one (unless you mean “investment” in that same way Charles Ponzi used the word.)

    The one thing that can be said in semi-defense of Social Security is that it was not an outright Ponzi scheme initially because life expectancy back then was low enough that they expected most people wouldn’t live long enough to collect their “investment”, so it was more of a mandatory life insurance scam than a pyramid scam. Rising life expectancy combined with Congress’s love for handing out money turned it from a life insurance scam into a Ponzi scam. Which is worse? Probably the Ponzi scam, except for the generation born early enough to be on the top levels of the Ponzi pyramid. The last of that generation are entering Social Security now, or already have entered it, depending what discount rate you use.

    Anyhow, for the initial survivors who lived long enough to collect, it was basically found money. For those coming now, they are (not unreasonably) anxious to claw back as much of their “investment” as they can. For those coming in the future, they will be lucky to get their monthly deposit without woke bureaucrats publishing their names and bank account numbers and the orc hordes massacring them for “stolen privilege”.

  92. @TomSchmidt

    I don’t have too much to add to what @Catdog, @Bill, and @Kratoklastes said.

    At almost no time in their adult lives, did adults produce less than they consumed. When people became too old and frail to work, death followed quickly. Suicide and euthanasia of the enfeebled were frequently reported.

    Caplan apparently didn’t notice that it’s easy not to have to support your elderly when you just kill them instead.

    I would also note that such studies as Caplan cites are being conducted upon peoples who never made much provision for their dependents, and thus have remained hunter gatherers, and are being conducted by the descendants of people who did make provisions for their dependents, and thus are now in a position to do studies. In other words, there’s a massive sample bias.

    a parent who gave birth at age 20 and supported a child from age one to age 15 would receive a monetary rate of return of less than one percent on her investment if she retired at age 60 and was supported by the child until age 85

    Even a rate of return of less than one percent, when compounded over 60 years, is not too shabby, especially if, as @Kratoklastes notes, the usual alternative is -100% return. I’m sure 1% is a better rate of return than a lot of parents get on their kids today.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  93. Wency says:
    @dfordoom

    I see your point, but I don’t think it’s as grim as that. Probably to achieve a TFR of 5+, but not to achieve a TFR in the 2-4 range, something we did in the not-too-distant past when we were still free and prosperous.

    I think we treaded this ground before here, but I still wonder how much could be accomplished just by modifying media. I recall reading that in places like India, the fertility rate started observably crashing as soon as women had regular access to television. Women wanted the lifestyle they saw there. And in theory, a free and prosperous society can have regulations on what the media can depict — see the Hays Code. It broke down, but did it have to break down so quickly?

    The PRC is trying to push pro-natal themes, but my understanding is it still has some anti-natal programs on television portraying single women doing exciting things. I suspect you need both positive and negative reinforcement for pro-natal propaganda to have an effect: large families are beautiful and the capstone of a life well-lived, and also people who are unmarried and childless beyond a certain age are shameful and pathetic losers and now it’s too late for them.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @dfordoom
  94. @TomSchmidt

    Contrary to popular belief, the elderly financially support their kids, rather than the other way around. This was true in hunter-gatherer and peasant societies. A neat piece in the JEP shows that it was also true in the U.S. in the 1980s.

    As commenters at econlib.org point out, that study was only measuring the froth on the waves while massive undersea currents move in the deep. Social Security and Medicare are obviously missing, as well as a host of other things.

  95. @Liberty Mike

    (Some readers that otherwise enjoy interacting with me have heard as much as they wish of my anti-Semitism. I don’t mean to rub it in. Such readers might prefer to skip this comment.)

    That snot with an MBA from a fancy school may well have been a Bain Capital boy.

    All right. You have my attention.

    I have had contact with the sort of person of whom @Cloudbuster speaks, but lack experience with Bain Capital boys. Have you an anecdote you would like to relate?

    [MORE]

    I do not mean to be contrary, for I generally sympathize with your outlook, but you are a sober, incisive, well-informed commenter, so I take your reply seriously. If you are right, then I want to agree with you but the agreement needs to be based in a reasonable, evenhanded, balanced, two-sided construction of the facts. (Unbalanced, one-sided constructions are not always wrong, only they’re unpersuasive to those who do not already agree!)

    My approximate understanding of Bain Capital’s main line of business was that Bain bought out distressed operations that were unlikely otherwise to have survived. Thousands of employees got axed. The axed employees naturally blamed Bain, but the chief fault objectively lay with the incompetent management that had preceded Bain.

    I suppose that I distrust the anti-Bain narrative regarding layoffs for the same reason that I distrust the anti-Dixie narrative regarding slavery: each narrative finds a convenient Gentile target upon which to scapegoat typically Jewish actions. I assume that Bain, one of the few Gentile firms in that cutthroat business, was one of the more ethical ones; and I am unaware of any evidence to the contrary.

    If you believe that I am defending Bain Capital then I have not explained myself well enough; but if I am to attack Bain Capital then I should like to do so on the basis of proper answers to the questions I have asked. I believe that you know that, unlike most commenters here, I happen to find Mitt Romney to be an attractive character; but my tastes are not the point. I can respond to facts.

    So please, if you have facts that might help, tell me about them.

    • Replies: @Curle
    , @Jay Fink
  96. @dfordoom

    Fertility has been declining in the West since the 19th century. The “Baby Boom” was a temporary artificial aberration caused by the war. The long-term trend has been towards decline.

    Sort of. But note that state largesse (“welfare”) has notably increased third world fertility (or more specifically, viable fertility), especially among third worlders living among first worlders. Almost every SS African country now produces more children than it can feed and relies on first world aid to avoid famines. And those surplus people are increasingly migrating directly toward the source of that largesse in the first world. In other words, those large non-self-sustaining populations only now exist because of foreign support. Yes, that is not “civil rights legislation” per se, but it is the same welfare mindset as has created the civil rights legislation. Mexicans living in the US, where much more direct and indirect welfare is available, have higher fertility than Mexicans in Mexico. US black fertility mysteriously started increasing as the welfare state came into place. Etc.

    The thing about declining fertilities is that in a democratic world of state largesse, being late to the population reduction game actually yields big political benefits to your late-declining group, notwithstanding the damage you inflict on the larger society.

    Not everything is about race.

    Sorry. I hope that too, but this one still is.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  97. @Wency

    I’ll contend that the main reason the Amish have lots of children is not an economic one. It’s that they believe that having lots of children and discipling them in Amish ways is the right and proper thing to do.

    That’s true, but it’s funny how “the right and proper thing to do” so often makes economic sense as well. It’s almost like there’s some kind of connection…

    The economic value of children in a traditional society is constantly overstated in these discussions… . Human offspring — like the offspring of every other species, plant or animal — are almost always and everywhere a net expenditure of resources, particularly from a net present value standpoint, but typically in absolute terms as well. This is a law of nature.

    That can’t possibly be true or the Second Law of Thermodynamics would have taken over and life would have gone to zero long ago. Indeed, a materialistic way of (superficially) understanding life is as the universe’s only neg-entropic process.

    The apple tree doesn’t produce apples in order to grow stronger; it spends energy that could be used to better prolong its own survival because the apple is an end unto itself.

    From the tree’s point of view, the point of an apple is that it has its seeds in it. From our point of view, the seeds are a nuisance: we want the apple flesh. A tree that refused to fructify and seed in order to conserve more energy for itself may make an outsize specimen. It would also be the last tree of its kind.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  98. @Almost Missouri

    The 1% rate of return is available only to those who retire at 60 and live to 85 in a peasant society, AM. In other words, nobody could collect on that.

    Caplan is making two points, or trying to. 1) Children have never paid off in traditional societies; they are luxury or status goods, in an economic sense. 2) previous societies have focused resources on the young at the expense of the mental health and life of the old; think of the idea of the ice floe in Eskimo culture. I do not care to see that sort of society return, but then we have so much wealth we can afford to keep “non-producing” elderly around, along with a lot of people who would have been killed off or died in hunter-gatherer societies.

    But keeping older folks alive is different from tilting the playing field as we do. You note the Ponzi scheme where Joe Biden’s generation as a whole will pay no net taxes to the Federal government. In the USA we actually transfer economic wealth from the poorest segment of the population to the wealthiest, and there’s no money for the middle classes until they get to 65. Caplan’s point about resource flow in all known societies to the young is there to make the extreme situation of stripping wealth from the young and poor to give to the old and wealthy obvious. It’s never been done before.

  99. @Almost Missouri

    Mexicans living in the US, where much more direct and indirect welfare is available, have higher fertility than Mexicans in Mexico.

    This is objectively not true. Mexico’s TFR is 2.1 and declining, and will soon be below replacement; however, the TFR of Hispanic Americans is already 1.95 (and also declining).

    US black fertility mysteriously started increasing as the welfare state came into place.

    This is objectively not true, either. Black TFR in 1950 was about 3.6; today it is 1.79.

    There seems to be some idee fixe among TUR-types that welfare states multiply the number of undesirable little street urchins when in fact the exact opposite is the case. Modern living conditions are highly antinatal and immigrants to the West quickly approximate to the low TFRs of their new neighbors.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  100. @Almost Missouri

    That can’t possibly be true or the Second Law of Thermodynamics would have taken over and life would have gone to zero long ago. Indeed, a materialistic way of (superficially) understanding life is as the universe’s only neg-entropic process.

    There is no such thing as a neg-entropic process. Lifeforms, considered thermodynamically, are highly dissipative systems and actually increase entropy quite rapidly.

    Tom Schmidt is correct in all he has been saying in this thread and there is little point in gainsaying his observations. The general rule of all life is that the individuals not only expend but actually exhaust themselves in the production of their offspring. It is only if this were not the case that life would “go to zero,” as you say.

    • LOL: Cloudbuster
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  101. Curle says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    Didn’t Mormon’s set out to explicitly mimic Jews? Banking scams the whole nine yards. High in group cohesion, tough participation standards and back scratching while outward pieties of multiculturalism not reflected in actual membership. Check out their actual demographics. Mormons, Jews and Episcopalians tend to be the biggest multicultural loudmouths while simultaneously having very few non-whites among their members.

    Only southerners, Italians and some eastern European ethnics have an ethos of authenticity. Yankees, Mormons and Jews are fake to the core.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  102. Twinkie says:
    @Almost Missouri

    state largesse (“welfare”) has notably increased third world fertility (or more specifically, viable fertility), especially among third worlders living among first worlders… Mexicans living in the US, where much more direct and indirect welfare is available, have higher fertility than Mexicans in Mexico. US black fertility mysteriously started increasing as the welfare state came into place. Etc.

    • Thanks: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  103. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Almost Missouri

    Very few people not brought up in that world would choose it.

    True, but in various collapse scenarios you won’t get a choice.

    Yes.

    The problem is that a major revival of Christianity or a mass return to the very socially conservative values of the past, or the establishment of effectively self-governing socially and/or religiously conservative communities – all rely on collapse scenarios coming to pass. The danger is that people who want to see a revival of religious and/or social conservatism will start to want those collapse scenarios to come about and will assume that therefore those collapse scenarios must be inevitable.

    It’s the same with secession. It can only happen if a collapse scenario occurs, therefore a collapse scenario must be inevitable.

    It’s a form of magical thinking that is usually associated with millenarian religious cults but it is now very common on the dissident right/alt-right/far right/religious right.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  104. Jay Fink says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    I was employed with a company for 22 years. Bain Capital bought it. Within a few months myself and all my longtime co- workers were cut fom the budget.

    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  105. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Wency

    And in theory, a free and prosperous society can have regulations on what the media can depict — see the Hays Code. It broke down, but did it have to break down so quickly?

    The Hays Code was a voluntary code. There were no actual regulations. Any studio or any producer was free to ignore the Code if they so wished. And some did. Otto Preminger released both The Moon Is Blue (1953) and The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) without a Production Code Seal of Approval.

    There were no regulations imposed by society or by the government. The Hays Code was nothing more than a vague promise by Hollywood to regulate itself. Which is a bit like bank robbers adopting a voluntary code to regulate bank robbery. When Hollywood decided in the early 60s that it wanted sex and violence it just quietly dropped the Code.

    The Hays Code is actually an example of the near-impossibility of a free and prosperous society having regulations on what the media can depict.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  106. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Wency

    I see your point, but I don’t think it’s as grim as that. Probably to achieve a TFR of 5+, but not to achieve a TFR in the 2-4 range, something we did in the not-too-distant past when we were still free and prosperous.

    I think you’re being a bit optimistic. The forces that have driven demographic collapse (urbanisation, consumerism, the decline of religion, more lifestyle and career choices) have been gradually accelerating over the course of the past century and a half. The acceleration of those forces will continue. Demographic collapse has been a very gradual long-term thing but the trends have been downwards for a very long time.

    As I said in an earlier comment the Baby Boom does not disprove this – the Baby Boom merely compacted the overall normal low birth rates of a couple of decades into one decade. It was entirely artificial. It temporarily masked the overall downward trend.

    I think we treaded this ground before here, but I still wonder how much could be accomplished just by modifying media.

    If you want pro-natal media in the West you would firstly have to get rid of capitalism and secondly establish an authoritarian state to force the media to become pro-natal. It could be done but only at the cost of abandoning any idea of having a free society.

    If you want a free society you are very limited in what you can do to increase birth rates. The few things that you can do might increase TFR marginally but you will still be below replacement level.

    So, as I mentioned in another comment, you’re left relying on magical thinking (the economy will collapse or there will be a complete political upheaval that will overturn neoliberalism) to achieve any significant increase in fertility rates.

  107. @Curle

    Only southerners, Italians and some eastern European ethnics have an ethos of authenticity. Yankees, Mormons and Jews are fake to the core.

    Perhaps. I haven’t seen it, but since I happen to be an ethnocentric Yankee, myself, maybe I suffer from myopia in the matter.

    If you merely give your impression, that’s fair enough. Impressions are worth something. However, if you also have some data then I would be interested to see those, too.

    • Replies: @Curle
  108. @Jay Fink

    I was employed with a company for 22 years. Bain Capital bought it. Within a few months myself and all my longtime co- workers were cut fom the budget.

    You have firsthand knowledge, then. Twenty-two years! You have my full attention.

    My understanding (or misunderstanding) has been that the companies Bain Capital buys are usually companies that have been substantially mismanaged. To what extent do you blame Bain and to what extent, the previous management?

    Any experiences, anecdotes or insights you cared to relate would be read with great interest by me.

    Accept my regrets in any case for the cut.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    , @Jay Fink
  109. @dfordoom

    [T]he Baby Boom merely compacted the overall normal low birth rates of a couple of decades into one decade. It was entirely artificial. It temporarily masked the overall downward trend.

    I did not know this.

  110. @dfordoom

    the Baby Boom merely compacted the overall normal low birth rates of a couple of decades into one decade.

    This is false on its face.  US involvement in WWII only lasted 4 years; the Baby Boom went from 1946 to 1964, 19 years and much longer than the reproductive lifespan of marriage-age women in 1941.

    Arguably it was the postwar boom and optimism with rising means that led to the Baby Boom; my own family had zero births during the Depression, but the Depression babies had plenty of babies of their own.

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  111. @V. K. Ovelund

    My understanding (or misunderstanding) has been that the companies Bain Capital buys are usually companies that have been substantially mismanaged. To what extent do you blame Bain and to what extent, the previous management?

    If Bain kept cutting essential human capital out of already-mismanaged companies, all it was doing was ensuring their death.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  112. Curle says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    Seems to me Hawthorne had Yankees pretty well figured out.

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

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  113. @dfordoom

    The problem is that a major revival of Christianity or a mass return to the very socially conservative values of the past, or the establishment of effectively self-governing socially and/or religiously conservative communities – all rely on collapse scenarios coming to pass. The danger is that people who want to see a revival of religious and/or social conservatism will start to want those collapse scenarios to come about and will assume that therefore those collapse scenarios must be inevitable.

    I don’t know about that. Christianity may be something of a luxury good: affordable for the modern middle class. In a collapse scenario, look for lifeboat ethics, not the golden rule.

    Good luck with magical thinking.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  114. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Mr. Rational

    the Baby Boom merely compacted the overall normal low birth rates of a couple of decades into one decade.

    This is false on its face. US involvement in WWII only lasted 4 years; the Baby Boom went from 1946 to 1964, 19 years and much longer than the reproductive lifespan of marriage-age women in 1941.

    It did not really last until 1964. Birth rates started to fall again in the late 50s. The real boom lasted little more than a decade.

    Arguably it was the postwar boom and optimism with rising means that led to the Baby Boom;

    To a certain extent. But it still makes the Baby Boom an aberration.

    my own family had zero births during the Depression, but the Depression babies had plenty of babies of their own.

    In my own family and in most of the families of people I know those Depression Babies tended to have very few children. Typically one or at the most two.

    As far as economics are concerned the 1960s and early 1970s were very very good times. Birth rates were low. Rising prosperity tends to reduce birth rates because opportunities are greater. People have more attractive options than child-rearing. And in good economic times it makes sense to just have one or at most two children and invest heavily in them so they can take full advantage of the increased opportunities.

    Were the 50s a time of optimism? They were, sort of. If you call a time when people were learning civil defence drills for when the Bomb dropped a time of optimism. There was also the disillusioning war in Korea. There was paranoia about juvenile delinquency. There was hysteria about the imminent communist threat. The 50s seems to have been a weird mix of optimism and anxiety. You could argue that the late 40s was a time of optimism but during the 50s there was more and more anxiety and paranoia.

    That’s why TV shows like Leave It To Beaver were so popular – people wanted reassurance.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  115. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Almost Missouri

    I don’t know about that. Christianity may be something of a luxury good: affordable for the modern middle class. In a collapse scenario, look for lifeboat ethics, not the golden rule.

    That’s probably true. It’s something that those who indulge in magical thinking (“people will go back to being good church-goers when the economy collapses”) never stop to think about.

    So it’s actually worse than magical thinking. Even if the collapse scenarios come to pass it’s possible that Christianity will continue to decline, and it’s possible there won’t be a return to social conservatism.

    It’s also possible that if the collapse scenarios actually happen birth rates will continue to fall.

    Of course it’s also possible that if the collapse scenarios actually happen there won’t be peaceful separation but instead there’ll be a period very like the Warlord Era in China. Endless civil wars.

    But people on the Right increasingly want to believe that they’ll get everything they hope for by magical means.

    It’s also possible that a collapse scenario will eventually result in right-wing government, but the nasty authoritarian kind of right-wing government that engages in mass imprisonment and even mass executions of its enemies.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  116. @Mr. Rational

    If all Bain does is ensure the deaths of the companies it buys, how does it make a profit? Or is corporate death somehow profitable to them?

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  117. Hopefully someone without such baggage but with a similar political programme will emerge in 2024.

    Due to the ongoing demographic invasion he failed his part in quelling, Orange Golf Bag will be the last recucklican president, probably even before Florida and Texas devolve into blue state shitholes and fraudservatives go extinct.

    Will be interesting to see how the uniparty continues its lie of two opposing sides. An agreed-upon secession would be much cheaper for all, in blood and treasure.

  118. Jay Fink says:
    @V. K. Ovelund

    I worked for Clear Channel, the company that ruined radio. Bain Capital grossly overpaid for them over a decade ago at the peak of the recession. They started making massive payroll cuts and continuously made the product worse under their new name iheartradio. Bain has fired so many people that the joke is iheart will soon only have two employees left who will take turns firing each other.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  119. @dfordoom

    Were the 50s a time of optimism? They were, sort of. If you call a time when people were learning civil defence drills for when the Bomb dropped a time of optimism. There was also the disillusioning war in Korea. There was paranoia about juvenile delinquency. There was hysteria about the imminent communist threat. The 50s seems to have been a weird mix of optimism and anxiety.

    I’m too young to have personal recollection of the 1950s, as perhaps are you (I was also given to understand that you were on the wrong side of the planet vis-a-vis America). But my parents were both “Depression babies” from different US states, different social classes and different ethno-religious backgrounds. Yet they had a surprisingly congruent recollection of the Eisenhower era: optimistic, dynamic and triumphal, full of opportunity and prosperity, and unalloyed with anxiety or paranoia. This is in spite of them both being liberal Democrats and “their” party being out of executive power. This view lasted even into the 1960s and through the Cuban Missile Crisis, which the modern media likes to portray as a great comeuppance.* I’ve asked them specifically about their memories of various historical events to compare their answers with what the media complex tells us to believe about the past, and their answers were always at variance with the media, to put it mildly.

    Were they ever worried about nuclear war or military defeat of the US abroad?

    “Nah. We always knew we would win. Maybe some neurotic scribblers in Brooklyn thought differently, but no one cared about them.”

    Even in their liberal Democrat minds, the 1950s were a Golden Age.

    I do have personal memories that starting about in the late 1970s there began a concerted media push to retcon the the 1950s as dark, ambiguous and oppressive. If the whys and wherefores of this seem baffling, a bit of Who-Whom reflection should be clarifying. (Hint: the neurotic Brooklyn scribblers hadn’t gone away and they wanted revenge for being neglected.)

    You could argue that the late 40s was a time of optimism but during the 50s there was more and more anxiety and paranoia.

    The post-war 1940s could more accurately be described as anxious. With collapsed global infrastructure and massive demobilization, there was a legitimate fear of return to Depression-era high unemployment and low growth. Fortunately for Americans (and Australians?), being the inheritors of world hegemony turned out to have its benefits, and the post-war fears mostly didn’t materialize.

    ——

    *Ironically, their optimistic views did not survive the social upheavals of the late 1960s and early 1970s (which the modern media now wants us to believe was the true beginning of liberation, optimism and triumph), in spite of the fact that those upheavals seemed (to me, at least) to be the natural and inevitable outgrowth of their earlier New Deal-ish liberalism.

    Another little irony: despite the media lying to their faces about history they themselves had lived through, it never seemed to occur to them that those same media might be lying about anything else. To them, as long as the newscast’s talking heads maintained the somber and sober tones of Cronkite and Sevareid, they must know what they are talking about.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @V. K. Ovelund
  120. @dfordoom

    The Hays Code is actually an example of the near-impossibility of a free and prosperous society having regulations on what the media can depict.

    I think you miss the point of the Hays code. As the code is voluntary, so is the audience’s use of it. The Production Code Seal of Approval was there to tell parents that they didn’t have to worry too much about what their kids would see after they entered the large dark room. (Whether that was actually true or not could be debated, but that’s a separate debate.) It descendant is modern movie ratings (G, PG, R, etc.). It’s supposed to be a shorthand for what level of visual harrowing to expect. As today with the G, PG, R etc, so back then with the Hays code, parents used them to pre-judge what their family would see. Neither system was supposed to prevent movies being made, just to allow the audience to choose more judiciously (or from the studios’ point of view, to channel different audience segments into showings of the appropriate product). Both systems kind of worked.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  121. @Almost Missouri

    I’m too young to have personal recollection …

    Your well-written tale makes the best comment I have read at The Unz Review this week. Fine pathos.

    It’s too bad that money is no longer available in the writing of books. You’d have made a good biographer.

    • Thanks: Almost Missouri
  122. @Almost Missouri

    is corporate death somehow profitable to them?

    Bain unloaded the asset-stripped companies after looting them.  The earnings would take a while to crater due to the loss of essential expertise, so they looked good in the short term and the stock price didn’t take a big immediate hit.  Bain made its profits on the difference; it wasn’t a “long” investor.

  123. Dissident says:
    @iffen

    It does, in fact, take a village, even if the Wicked Witch of the West said it.

    I am reminded of an exchange between Madame (Rodham-)Clinton and Mitt Romney that occurred, if memory serves, at some point during the 2008 Presidential primary season. Ms. Clinton, then seeking the nomination of her party, had made some comment that I recall as expressing essentially the same view as the one that you alluded-to. In a critical, summarily dismissive, reflexively pro-simplistic “free-market” orthodoxy response, Mr. Romney suggested that Mrs. Clinton ought to read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. My reaction at the time was to think that this response of Romney’s actually revealed more about his own ignorance of Smith’s actual writing than anything about H. Clinton’s comment (which I recall finding not unreasonable).

    I think it was somewhat after that I heard Noam Chomsky, in the course of one of his interviews or lectures, say (paraphrasing from memory),
    “Adam Smith, who we are all supposed to revere but not actually read…”.

    NOTE: I would reject and repudiate any interpretation of “it takes a village” that minimizes the essential importance of the strong, solid, traditional, heteronormative family. The village must support, not supplant, that base.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @iffen
  124. iffen says:
    @Dissident

    The village must support, not supplant, that base.

    I’m not advocating for the abolishment of families. AFAIK I support all pro-family policies.

    I was merely expressing my support for the Social Security System. (The Disability program is a disaster and needs major reform, but we don’t do rational policy reform anymore.) I believe that “we” are better off if “we” force people to save for their old age.

    My “village” was community, local and nation-state.

  125. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Almost Missouri

    I think you miss the point of the Hays code. As the code is voluntary

    The fact that it was introduced by Hollywood is the point. It wasn’t society or the government deciding what was acceptable, it was Hollywood. It was introduced by Hollywood as a way of evading what they saw as the danger that society or the government might decide to make those decisions. It was Hollywood making sure that they, and not society or the government, made the decisions.

    When Hollywood decided in the 60s they could make more money from sex and violence they had established the principle that that was Hollywood’s decision, not society’s or the government’s. It was Hollywood introducing the principle that they and they alone would decide what audiences got to see.

    When Hollywood decided that moral degeneracy would be more profitable than wholesome movies they started giving audiences moral degeneracy. Society wasn’t asked for its opinion. Hollywood made its decisions based on what was good for Hollywood, not what was good for society.

    And it was always going to happen that Hollywood that Hollywood unleashed moral degeneracy upon audiences because they had established a system under which nobody could stop them.

    It was exactly like letting the Mafia run the FBI. The Production Code existed to serve Hollywood’s interests, not society’s.

  126. iffen says:
    @Dissident

    the essential importance of the strong, solid, traditional, heteronormative family.

    Since there have been orphans, children from one parent homes, children from families that are so dysfunctional that it is difficult to call their situation a family that have gotten by, I think essential is the wrong word here. Extended families seem to be making a comeback and AFAIK are doing quite well. We’ll just have to wait and see how the Heathers eventually turn out.

    • Replies: @Dissident
  127. Dissident says:
    @iffen

    I’m not advocating for the abolishment of families. AFAIK I support all pro-family policies.

    While I appreciate your clarifying your position, I would not want you to think that I intended to insinuate anything concerning it in anything that I wrote. I merely wished to make my own position clear.

    Since there have been orphans, children from one parent homes, children from families that are so dysfunctional that it is difficult to call their situation a family that have gotten by, I think essential is the wrong word here.

    My point was that the traditional, heteronormative family is an ideal that has no full/true equivalent; offers profound benefits that cannot be fully replaced or substituted. Obviously, in any case of already-existing children for whom said ideal is not feasible, one must do the best with what is possible. And yes, certainly, even many children who grew-up in rather abject conditions have gone on to live successful, productive, fulfilling lives. It should be self-understood, however, that as long as the ideal-in-question is at all reasonably possible, nothing less should be considered acceptable.

    One can perhaps debate, for example, whether being adopted by a homosexual couple might, in some cases, be preferable for a child to being raised in an orphanage or placed in foster care. (And certainly, whether it is better for a child to be raised by his single biological parent, or in an adoptive or foster traditional family, is entirely dependent upon factors specific to each individual case.) But to not at least heavily prioritize married, heterosexual couples for adoption? To allow homosexuals to adopt a child when a suitable heterosexual couple is available to do so? And, worst of all, to allow children to be deliberately created (whether through surrogate motherhood, or insemination– artificial or natural, as celebrity hussy Madonna-style did) outside of the confines of a stable, heterosexual marriage? The very height of selfishness.

    • Replies: @iffen
  128. @Twinkie

    Hispanic ≠ Mexican

    The total fertility rate for Mexicans-born women in America has been higher than for Mexican women in Mexico for several decades now. The birthrate is extremely high for new immigrant women in the years right after they arrive in America. Thus, during the big Housing Bubble influx of immigrants, the TFR of foreign-born Hispanic women in California was 3.7 in 2005. The TFR in Mexico is 2.32. One reason Mexicans move to the United States, besides their hopes of buying V8 vehicles and big houses with airconditioning, is to have the extra babies they can’t afford to have in their own country.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/bill-mckibben-elect-new-people-now/?highlight=%22total+fertility+rate+for%22

    Also note that even in the hailtoyou chart Hispanic fertility, though declining, is still above the replacement fulcrum point, while everyone else is below. As already mentioned,

    The thing about declining fertilities is that in a democratic world of state largesse, being late to the population reduction game actually yields big political benefits to your late-declining group, notwithstanding the damage you inflict on the larger society.

  129. @Intelligent Dasein

    Thanks for your comment, but to recapitulate my reply to Twinkie, “Hispanic” and “Mexican” are not synonyms. Per Sailer, who observes Mexican immigrant patterns with far more assiduity than I can muster, the “total fertility rate for Mexicans-born women in America has been higher than for Mexican women in Mexico for several decades now.”

    As for black fertility, I probably should have said “relative fertility”, which is the only kind of fertility that matters politically:

    Black portion of US population at the dawn of the welfare state in 1930: 9.7%.
    Black portion of US population in 2010: 12.6%.

    So despite the black portion of the US having fallen by more than half in the 160 years since Independence (from 21.4% in 1770), blacks suddenly rebounded by nearly a third (so far) merely 80 years into the welfare state. This is almost entirely due to fecundity and early motherhood, as African immigration has been relatively small until recently.

    There seems to be some idee fixe among TUR-types that welfare states multiply the number of undesirable little street urchins when in fact the exact opposite is the case. Modern living conditions are highly antinatal …

    Modern living conditions are highly antinatal. Unfortunately they are most highly antinatal to the people one wishes they wouldn’t be antinatal to, while they are least antinatal to the people for whom one would wish more antinatality. It doesn’t matter that almost everyone’s fertility is declining when the most constructive populations are declining farther and faster than the “urchin” spawners.

    … and immigrants to the West quickly approximate to the low TFRs of their new neighbors.

    Unfortunately, that “approximate” thing leaves enough room for the welfare class to be above replacement while the productive class is below replacement. No fancy mathematics are required to foresee the the eventual consequence of this.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  130. @Intelligent Dasein

    Lifeforms, considered thermodynamically, are highly dissipative systems and actually increase entropy quite rapidly.

    Yet somehow, the amount of life on Earth keeps increasing, in defiance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  131. iffen says:
    @Dissident

    It should be self-understood, however, that as long as the ideal-in-question is at all reasonably possible, nothing less should be considered acceptable.

    I recoil from the setting of ideals that are beyond the reach of many people.

  132. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Almost Missouri

    Black portion of US population at the dawn of the welfare state in 1930: 9.7%.
    Black portion of US population in 2010: 12.6%.

    Do you think that could partly be explained by more people identifying as black? In the first half of the 20th century those of mixed black-white parentage had a very high incentive to identify as white (to “pass as white” as it was called at the time). If you were predominantly white with some black admixture you were likely to claim to be white if you could get away with it convincingly.

    That incentive had largely disappeared by the late 70s and has now entirely disappeared. People with even a small black admixture will now identify as black.

    How much of the difference between 1930 and 2010 can be explained by this? There’s no way of knowing but it’s almost certainly been part of the explanation.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  133. @dfordoom

    Do you think that could partly be explained by more people identifying as black?

    Yes.

    How much of the difference between 1930 and 2010 can be explained by this? There’s no way of knowing

    Agree that it’s difficult to quantify, but the amount is probably small. How do I know?

    1) Personal observation. Yeah, it’s subjective, but I’ve been in mixed and predominantly black neighborhoods more than most whites, and I can remember a bunch of light-skinned “blacks” from four decades ago, and I can see a bunch of light-skinned “blacks” today, and the proportions haven’t changed much.

    The thing about “passing” is that you can’t just check a new box and be on your way as a new race, you need new friends, new (or no) family, new social and work circles, etc. You basically have to restart your life with your new identity. Occasional people like Rachel Dolezal do go through with this, but it’s pretty unusual because it’s pretty laborious and sacrificial. So it wasn’t common to pass as white 80 years ago, and it’s not common to pass as black today. It happens. The number is not zero. But it’s not large either. We may hear about in more in the social media age because it is the ideal subject for the race-obsessed point-and-sputter Twitterers, but it is another case of the rarity of it making it so notable.

    2) Sailer occasionally publishes a DNA chart of people who identify as white vs as black and it shows that those identifying differently from their DNA are rare outliers.

    3) The trend of the black portion of the population relentlessly increasing was already established in 1930s, well before there was any incentive to change one’s public identity to “black”, so whatever has been driving the increase, it long pre-dated the relatively recent incentives to identify as black. As I keep saying, the one thing that correlates very cleanly with the increase is the growth of the welfare state. The fastest increase in the black portion was during the post-war statism boom of the 1960s-1980s—the Great Society and its aftermath. The rate slowed somewhat in the 1990s after welfare reform, even though that was the time when the incentives to pass as black started becoming most prominent. So the numbers just don’t work very well for the “passing” hypothesis, but they work very well for the welfare hypothesis.

  134. @Almost Missouri

    Well, duh.  Life capitalizes on the difference in entropy between incident sunlight and the ambient temperature, which is a factor of roughly 20.  The absorbed sunlight undergoes a radical increase in entropy regardless of what absorbs it, so turning some of it into low-entropy products of photosynthesis doesn’t change the overall balance.

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